Thursday, November 1, 2012

Introducing: The Backlist Book Club

I read a lot of recent fiction. As I spend so much of my reading time reading prize lists, most of the titles I pick up were published this year or last year. I'll never manage to fill in all of the reading gaps and keep up with what's being published, but today I'm launching a new monthly initiative: The Backlist Book Club. On the first of each month I'll announce a backlist title. I'll read it sometime during the month and post my review in the middle of the month. On the last day of the month, I'll host a discussion of the title with others who have read it. I invite you all to join me!

Why backlist?
As someone who reads a lot, friends and family members ask me if I've read (insert name of famous literary success here). Often, the answer is no. How can I, someone who reads so much more than they do, not have read this great book they've read? The list of authors I want to read is ridiculously long (as is the one of authors whose work I've enjoyed and want to read more of). Typically when any of these authors publishes a new book, I start with it.

One of the perks of picking a backlist title is accessibility. These titles may already be on our shelves. These titles shouldn't have a long waiting list at the library. These titles should be easy (and cheap!) to pick up used.  I love reading reviews of backlist titles. It's so easy to track down a copy quickly and dig right in.

What does backlist mean?
Backlist refers to the titles that have been published for several years. For the purposes of The Backlist Book Club, I'm loosely defining backlist as anything originally published from 1980 up to 5 years ago. I was born in 1980, and I want to focus on books published during my lifetime, but at least five years ago. I want to take time to read the books I meant to read in high school, college, and the early years after college, when reading wasn't a priority in my life.

How will titles be chosen?
For at least the first two months, I'll be picking the titles. I'm certainly open to suggestions for December! For January, I'll reassess and see how many are participating and may opt to open the selections up to votes.

I'm in! What's our first title?
The Giant's House by Elizabeth McCracken! First published in 1996, The Giant's House is Elizabeth McCracken's first novel. It was a finalist for the 1996 National Book Award. McCracken, a self-described "lapsed librarian," writes about a 26-year-old librarian in 1950's Cape Cod. Over wine one night several months ago, a reading friend whose taste I respect told me I had to read The Giant's House. Several months later, I am, and I hope many of you will join me!

Convinced? Get the book! Order The Giant's House from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository, or Amazon (no Kindle version).

Look for my review in the middle of November and our discussion on Friday, November 30.

Grab the button and share the news. Cheers to reading backlist titles together!

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

15 comments:

  1. sounds like a great idea; I may actually have this one on my shelves if I haven't donated it.

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    1. Diane, I hope you do still have a copy. I started it this morning and am loving all of the library references!

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  2. I like this idea! I'm not really good at participating in read-alongs or book clubs but I'll try especially since my library has this.

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    1. Vasilly--I'm not good at read-a-longs either, but I hope to fare better with the one I'm hosting!

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  3. I'll be a very occasional participant but I love the idea. :)

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    1. Alex, I hope people will pop in when the book particularly appeals to them:-) I'll be happy to have you any time!

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  4. This is such a great idea! I hope to be able to participate with you in the future. I've heard a lot about McCracken but have never taken the time to learn more. The storyline seems promising. Looking forward to your review!

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    1. Thanks, Beth! I'm really looking forward to it.

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  5. I love this idea -- I've never heard this book and might not be able to fit in for Nov -- but I'm in for future reads!!

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    1. Thanks, Audra! Our (semi-failed) co-read of The Magician's Assistant inspired me, and the idea has been percolating for a bit. I hope you'll join in when the titles intrigues you!

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  6. This is a great idea!
    Have you thought of expanding it? Alongside your book group you could allow people to link up reviews of other backlisted titles at the end of the month?

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  7. What a great idea! I"ll join in from time to time if I can!

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  8. This is a great idea! I really need to focus on backlist books too... plus, then there isn't pressure, when the focus is this, on reading all the great new books (in theory, LOL)

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  9. This is SUCH a great idea and falls in line with some ideas Heather and I have had for The Estella Society. Would love to promote this through the ES site. Will send an e-mail your way! :D

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  10. This is a brilliant idea, it is always so tempting to read the newest book that has come through the door and neglect volumes that have been sitting on the shelf for longer. I won't be joining in for November but will definitely be keeping an interested eye out for your future choices.

    Marie
    http://www.girlvsbookshelf.blogspot.com

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!