This week I've had some wild posts on my blog about radical publishing ideas. In one of the discussions someone raised a point that set me thinking about something.

I think most people here will find their referrals the same way others do, so it may be a moot point to ask, but I'll ask these questions anyway.

When, if ever, was the last time you just wandered through the bookstore, pulled a book off the shelf, read the back cover (or first page if that's your thing) and took it home and fell in love with an author?

That was how I was converted to crime fiction. I'd learned my lesson about six years ago now, about those nasty end-cap displays because I tried some stuff from them and it was crap. (I know this is highly subjective and not always the case, but at the time I knew nothing about the publishing business.) I actually went to -gasp!-the mystery section and started pulling down books.

That was how I discovered Rankin. No ads. No end-caps. No reviews. No idea who he was and didn't really care (then) - but I loved the book and bought all his stuff.

Do any of you guys still do that? Sometimes I do...

When was the last time you fell in love with a new-to-you author and how did it happen?

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I've read Ender's Games numerous times over the years. It really is just a brilliant book. The sequel Speaker for the Dead is very good also, but it is very much a different book then EG, in tone, voice, style. I would recommend it but just be aware that it is different on every level. I also couldn't stand at all the other books in the series but those first two are fantastic,

On a side note I've since come to realize that I don't like most of Card's works and only count those two as favorites.
ENDER'S GAME is one of my lifetime favorites. Card is very up-and-down. Some of his series I buy religiously, others I know to ignore. Try the Seventh Son fantasy series.
Oh, I have. I've read damn near everything the man has written. Except for the latest Bean/Ender series, which quickly morphed into political science novels, which is when I finally gave up on Card as his stock, in m eyes, had already been slipping for years.

But Enders Game & Speaker For the Dead can never be tarnished.
I mostly buy books that have been praised by other authors and by reviewers. Otherwise, I tend to select them by subject and protagonist. Some protagonists don't interest me. Generally, I'm a patient woman. I waited until the Edgar nominations to read THE JANISSARY TREE. It was quite good in some respects. I found Olen Steinhauer and Kevin Wignall via blogs and immediately loved their books. I have also come across books that were praised or won major awards and found them tossable. You never know, and these days I have little time for amusement reading so I don't rush out to buy everything that's hyped right away.
Most recent first:

Taconi and Claude by M.E. Finke. An aborigine boy and his cockatoo friend. I only read the ms, but I'll be hoping for any of her other aborigine books to be published, too.
Competitors! by Susanne Marie Knight. A group of Neanderthals has a mission among the modern human civilizations. That rarity, an original romance plot. Entertaining, too.
Darcy's Story by Janet Aylmer got me going on books that explore the backstories of Pride and Prejudice characters.
The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld. Freud turns detective in a story rich with psychological twists and turns. The author, a renowned legal scholar, has so many side interests that the book is a fascinating intellectual exploration. If he is writing more mysteries, I'm there.
Black Fly Season, Giles Blunt. Charismatic drug dealer leads his followers farther than most of them want to go. The detective opposing him is almost as interesting. I'm scared to read the next one, but I know I will. Very powerful.
I didn't intend to go back more than a year, but The Mercy of Thin Air is fabulous. Debut of Ronlyn Domingue. I'm excited to find her next one, whatever and whenever it may be.
Time to revive this thread! I recently read John Scalzi's sci fi trilogy: OLD MAN'S WAR, THE GHOST BRIGADE, and THE LAST COLONY. Between the basic human concept, the science, the psychological issues, and the intergalactic politics, I fell in love. Part space opera, part military adventure, part philosophy, with just enough plot twists.

A good friend raved about this over a period of several months, and finally the moment came when I unearthed the first two from my tbr's. The evening that I finished THE GHOST BRIGADE, I had to call my local bookstore to make sure they had THE LAST COLONY, and make a quick run over there before closing time.
All the time. In fact the back cover or the front flap is THE number one way I choose a book and I can't name all the authors I have discovered that way and fell in love with their work. Carol O'Connell was the one with the largest impact. Mallory's Oracle was sheer magic. A Conspiracy of Dunces came from trying to pick a book to read in an airport bookstore. I actually did not need Xanax for the entire flight. Same with The Secret Life Of Bees. Now I am looking forward to Mistress of the Art of Death because of reading the inside flap.
I do check the back for reviewlets, the inside flap for content, and the first page for style. But I have never fallen in love at first sight, so to speak. In any case, it happens rarely that I become enamored even after reading the book. One time when I liked a new-to-me author well enough to look for his other books was with a Bouchercon freebie (the only one I took with me from the give-away pile). It was the first Mma Ramotswe book. Not really my kind of thing, but he does cozy exceptionally well. The other time it was Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor novels. Usually I encounter books in the library. If I like them well enough, I look for more by this author. If the author is new, I buy the other books, figuring he/she can use the support.
I must confess, I get to discover authors previously unknown to me on a regular basis. It's the primary benefit of being a reviewer. Except for those, the new authors I have discovered have come via word of mouth, or written references in blogs, web sites, etc.
Gee, is this how you respond to all men who are hitting on you? ;)


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