How does your book list grow?

I keep having these tiny epiphanies, that are really not revelatory to anyone but me.  I think it has something to do with my impending birthday, a nice round number this year.  One of my recent (non)revelations is that I will never have enough time to read all the books I want to read.  Classics that I never got around to, newly-released novels from favorite authors, tantalizing books written by brand new authors … not to mention everything that calls to me from the non-fiction section … bookstores are my inner child’s toy shops, and it’s taken me this long to experience that moment of realization that no matter how many times I come back, I’ll never get it all. 

Some people seem to have the opposite problem, though, and are at a loss as to what to read next.  No one wants to waste their time (and money) buying a book they end up hating, so people everywhere ask their friends for book recommendations.  Of course this can be a great way to find a great read, but what if you and your friends are in the same boat?  Or, what if you love grisly murder mysteries but your friends are into political biographies? 

When I’m building a book list I love to drop by A Novel Idea Booksellers on State Street in Bristol and pick up the latest copy of the Indie Next List.  Especially at this time of year, with summer beach (or deckside) reading just around the corner, this list put out by independent booksellers is a treasure trove of enlightening reviews and recommendations for good books both on and off the beaten path.  If you’d rather have that human contact you can ask bookstore owner Sue Woodman and her staff about their favorites.  Our local libraries are great for this, too – Rogers Free Library keeps a display shelf on the main floor called ‘Staff Picks’.  And the website for George Hail Free Library includes a link to a local blog for book recommendations written by book club leader Pam Grove.  

I love the Indie Next List, though, because reading the reviews usually gives me a sense of whether or not I’d like the book (they’re always more in-depth than, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was awesome!”).  Maybe it’s a booklover quirk – can you ever have enough book recommendations?  I don’t think so – that’s why this week’s East Bay Life section of our local newspaper gave me a giddy little flutter.  With features like, “Read any good books lately?” and “So many books for the sweet days of summer”, I’ve gone and added another handful of titles to my already overfull summer list!

Another headline in this week’s East Bay Life caught my eye, a small piece written by Jim McGaw, tucked in the corner of page 4.  Now, I know this blog is hyperfocused on Bristol and Warren, and that’s by design, but I can’t resist mentioning this upcoming event.  It just sounds so nerdy-cool to the bookworm in me; besides, maybe our local librarians can be inspired by the idea!  I’m talking about Barrington Public Library’s ‘Literary Speed Networking’, a free event taking place at 6:30pm on Monday, June 13th.  Like speed dating, except without the dating, library director Debbie Barchi says, “it’s about getting lots of folks to talk face to face about books.” 

However your book list grows, here’s wishing you a summer filled with plenty of time to relax with a great read!

please note: The Arts Room blogger Kristen Quinn does not like grisly murder mysteries or political biography, and has not read ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’.  She is planning to escape into a few Cathy Holton books this summer, though.

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