Guest Post by Linda White: How Do You Decide What to Read Next?

by Linda White | Aug-05-2010


In doing research for a recent client, I recently came across a subterranean (or maybe not so hidden) realm of book and literary sites. I can’t believe I didn’t find them before. I’ve been working at home for over a year now, and you would think that with all the hours I have logged surfing, I would have found them months ago (oh yeah, and all those years I worked in publishing, too). I have recently laughed at McSweeney’s, got lost in The Millions, and have completely enjoyed the bloggers on Huffington Post (Jason Pinter, etc). I have read more of Salon than ever before, and my list of bookmarks is growing.

I also have a few solo literary bloggers that I like to visit. The Lit Witch is one, Jodi Chromey another. Then there’s the National Book Examiner, Michelle Kerns. Her treatise on book reviewing is enough to send me. I went from links in her story to links in the NY Times Paper Cuts blog. One story they did had over 200 comments. I was particularly stricken by Comment 254. I laughed so hard I cried. I love it when book people are also word people.

I have stayed up til 2am chasing links, chased them in the middle of the day when I should be working (wait, isn’t this work?), and found the most delightful associations through them.

I chased some links in a blog recommended to me – BookFox – and found links to Jodi Chromey, who did a profile on Jeff Kamin, who runs Bars and Books (a book club in Minneapolis), and then discovered that he is the Forbes book blogger, and he is now looking at a review copy of my current client’s book. Oh, and he also lives in town here so I can actually meet him, and work up a profile on him for one of my online columns. That is downright handy.

I was led to a great article recently in The Nation about book reviewing, but was saddened to find they listed my own local paper as one lacking book coverage – the Star Tribune. I assure you, it is excellent and in good health. I rely heavily on our local Books editor to keep me up to date.

Recently I’ve discovered Ward Six, The Big Other, and the Quarterly Conversation. I haven’t quite looked them over yet. I have always known about Arts & Letters Daily, and for a long time that was my go-to place on the web for current buzz. But I forgot about it for a time, until a friend recommended it to me.

In the past, I relied heavily on PW, the NPR Books website and book catalogs such as Bas Bleu for new reads. I review books, so that helps, too. I read BookPage and I have often looked at award lists and those year-end lists everyone cooks up – even cooked up a half-baked one myself.

I don’t follow particular reviewers, but instead read the reviews of the books that sound interesting to me. My TBR pile is teetering. I have far too many books checked out of the library, and my requests there are getting to be too much to keep track of. I get a lot of suggestions from the two book clubs I belong to. I also find I own several volumes that I will definitely need to read soon. I always knew there was a big wide world of discussion going on, but I guess I didn’t look deep enough. I have found most of these book websites in the past month. All you have to do is drill, baby, drill! And in a good way, mind you.

About the Critical Mass Blog

Commentary on literary criticism, publishing, writing, and all things NBCC related. It's written by independent members of the NBCC Board of Directors (see list of bloggers below).


Categories & Archives

Make a tax deductible donation to the NBCC Join the NBCC/Renew
Emerging Critics

NBCC Awards

Finalists for 2018

See all award winners

Find out how to submit

Read how we select

Frequently Asked Questions

Videos and Podcasts

NBCC 2018 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2017 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2017 Finalists Reading

All videos and podcasts.