I found this article among many in my Reader this morning and it got me thinking again about book covers, synopsis and street reading.

I picked up Jarful of Angels by Babs Horton at least 1,000 times in Waterstones over the course of about three months. I liked the book cover but hated the synopsis so much that I always put it back down. Finally I bought the book and loved it; the cover was right but the synopsis was wrong. I now trust Babs Horton and won’t even look at the synopsis when I see her work;  although I do like her book covers.

I make it a rule never to  talk to strangers. I was taught this at an early age and as a maxim for life, it has served me well. I will however walk up to anyone engrossed in a book to ask them what they are reading. This is how I discovered Henning Mankell and Angry White Pyjama’s by Robert Twigger, to name but two. The Henning Mankell reader was so delighted at being asked that she immediately launched into a rave about the author and the Wallander books. I absolutely love and never tire of people talking about books they love. It strips away a lot of surface inteference about the person and when anyone is passionate, you can’t help but like them.

When it comes to new books I function rather like a human Evernote, collecting visual images of book covers, newspaper clippings of reviews, article mentions, handwritten scribbles of authors and books, and the obligatory want to read list which is sadly and annoyingly strewn across 90 notebooks and about a gazillion pieces of paper. I keep a pile of A5 paper in a tray under my monitor so that if I want to make a note, everything is to hand. This morning I jotted down another two books to add to the list – Faulkner’s Absalom! Absalom, and Kristoff and WuDunn’s Half the Sky. One of these days I am going to grab a couple of bottles of wine and go through every piece of paper I own and pull together a proper, definitive to-read list. Because that is not a displacement activity at all.

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