Wine Bar & Bistro on Lark's fantastic patio, which is even better now that we live close enough to walk. After brunch I'm looking forward to an afternoon and evening full of relaxation and reading. I'm currently devouring Sara Gran's quirky, dark, and beautifully written forthcoming mystery Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead, which is set in post-Katrina New Orleans. I'm also hoping to start The Twisted Thread by Charlotte Bacon today.
New or Old?
My Waiting on Wednesday pick this week was the forthcoming novel by Lydia Millet, Ghost Lights. I first read Millet last April after she was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist. As soon as I heard she had a new book, I rushed to know more about it. When I discovered it included a character from a previous novel, I got to thinking. When did I become anti-backlist?
For years, I kept a list of authors whose works I wanted to Read Every Word. About once a month, I would search Books in Print to see when they had new novels coming out, but I also got caught up on their already published titles. The world of book blogging has made me more aware of publishing trends. In many ways, I'm more aware than ever. I correctly predicted a third of the Orange Prize longlist. In some ways, however, I'm less knowledgeable than in my days as an independent bookseller. Even at an independent bookstore in an affluent, well-educated Atlanta neighborhood, we mostly sold bestsellers. I could list the titles and order of all the typical bestselling authors. Now? I'm a little out of the loop, and I'm okay with that. I'm a literary fiction devotee, and I love being part of the conversation.
When The New York Times named their five best fiction picks for 2010, I had already read all three novels (short stories interest me less, as we all know.) Tomorrow, the Pulitzer Prizes will be awarded. I'm hoping I've read at least one of the three. There is a certain level of gratification that comes from being an evangelist for a book before others are. There's a joy in being part of the conversation about contemporary literary fiction. I have no plans of leaving the conversation anytime soon, but I do want to incorporate more backlist reading.
A New Goal: Backlist Reading
I'm adding a new reading goal for 2011: read at least one backlist title a month. I may find it browsing the shelves at my wonderful public library (I do love now being a few blocks from the downtown branch with the city's biggest collection) or I may choose to explore the older titles of authors I've enjoyed. Either way, I'm determined to squeeze in at least one backlist title among the new releases I enjoy each month.
Now tell me: do you prefer new releases or backlist titles?
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