Books on the Nightstand discussion

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New Book Fatigue

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message 1: by Eric (new)

Eric | 1175 comments Mod
While I enjoy being part of the zeitgeist of keeping up with what's new, sometimes I think I'd be better served by waiting until five years after publication before picking up a book. While there are many good books out every year, there are also many that are hyped because of the need of the industry to hype stuff.

After about five to seven years, you get a real sense of whether the book is a real keeper, or destined to be forgotten. If I were a faster reader, I'd read every new book I could. But as I'm a one book a week reader, I simply don't have enough time to read everything that gets a lot of attention. Maybe I'd be better served by backing off on the new and sticking to books that have developed a steadfast reputation, thereby avoiding wasting time with flashes-in-the-pan.

What do you think?


message 2: by Lara (last edited Dec 18, 2012 06:46AM) (new)

Lara | 75 comments Myself, I read a mix of old and new, both for work and school. I agree that there is certainly industry hype over mediocre books for the sake of marketing, and then a backlash when critics and readers become disillusioned.

However, I don't think this should necessarily change your reading habits. It really depends on what you mean by 'better served'. Are you reading for your own enlightenment and enjoyment? If so, then it really shouldn't matter about the hype or the backlash. If the book resonates with you, it is a keeper, regardless of how the literary trends work themselves out years later.


message 3: by Elizabeth☮ (last edited Dec 18, 2012 07:51AM) (new)

Elizabeth☮ i think you are right eric. i have read many new releases over the past couple of years (once i started listening to various podcasts on reading) and i find that many times i just feel lukewarm about a book that has been raved about in the media.

i think when you come to a book on your own, you are drawn to it for the right reasons rather than because it is marketed a certain way.

i do feel a drawback is when a book is so hyped that when you do wait several years, you may be disappointed in what you read. but as you say, if it is truly well-written, it will stand the test of time.


message 4: by Michael (new)

Michael (mkindness) | 537 comments Mod
This is a great topic Eric and we're going to steal it for an upcoming episode if that's okay with you!


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

LOL, The idea certainly has merit, though someone needs to read the books when they are "hot off the press" to help generate the books' legacy! I think a mix of backlist and new releases works well, using a series of personal preferences as filters for new title selections.


message 6: by Susan from MD (new)

Susan from MD I usually wait for a while before reading to let the hoopla die down, otherwise my expectations are too high. I also tend to buy rather than get books from the library because I work crazy hours, so waiting for the paperback is cheaper - a side benefit to waiting. Finally, I have been rereading some classics so have not been as focused on new books.


message 7: by Eric (new)

Eric | 1175 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "This is a great topic Eric and we're going to steal it for an upcoming episode if that's okay with you!"

Cool. Feel free to drop my name.


message 8: by Eric (new)

Eric | 1175 comments Mod
By "better served", I mean "enjoying my reading more".


message 9: by Amy (new)

Amy | 463 comments In 2011, as I was going through the voting for the Goodreads awards, I realized how few "new" books I had read. So I made an effort with my 2012 reading goals to read at least 1 new release a month, preferably within a month of it coming out. I think I read around 16 or 18 books published in 2012 (out of 119 so far). I feel like this was a great amount - enough that I was familiar with multiple books in a category but still made a dent in the "older" titles on my TBR list.


message 10: by Gerald (last edited Dec 18, 2012 08:39AM) (new)

Gerald Miller | 808 comments Some of the books on my shelf are certainly over 100 years old and I have not read them.This is a great subject.


message 11: by Lisa (last edited Dec 18, 2012 11:42AM) (new)

Lisa | 43 comments According to a recent NYT book review podcast, the publishing industry has done exceptionally well this year (especially Randomhouse). I think it's due to readers like me who buy up all the new 'it' books of the moment. I actually own more new release books than I can possibly hope to read over the next two years.

I suspect that you may be right about the new book hype phenomenon. Although I haven't read enough of my new books to say for sure, I do notice that the star ratings of new novels tend to go down over time.


message 12: by Louise (new)

Louise | 279 comments I get stressed out when Goodreads asks me to vote for this years books, or when there are new prize short lists out. This year I've read 103 books - 8 of them were published in 2012. I always have huge piles from previous years, of books that I really want to read, so usually I'm 2-3 years behind.


message 13: by Callie (new)

Callie (calliekl) | 646 comments Louise wrote: "I get stressed out when Goodreads asks me to vote for this years books, or when there are new prize short lists out. This year I've read 103 books - 8 of them were published in 2012. I always have ..."

Louise- I have this same reaction. I always feel guilty, like I was supposed to be reading all of these books every year.


message 14: by Victoria (new)

Victoria It's a good idea and will certainly save you money. I love being the first to read a book before the hype builds though - that "oh I read that ages ago" smugness.


message 15: by Amy (new)

Amy | 463 comments Vicky wrote: "I love being the first to read a book before the hype builds though - that "oh I read that ages ago" smugness."

*Like*


message 16: by Lori (new)

Lori (much2busy) | 23 comments Eric, LOVE this topic and ditto to almost everything you said. Historically I tended to be an "old" book reader. I was not interested (and still shy away from) books that receive all the hype. I much prefer to let time sort through the great and the OK books that a publisher needs to sell. I am a really slow reader, there are too many options and I just don't have the time to waste on something I won't enjoy.

However, my reading habits have changed dramatically since discovering Books on the Nightstand. Several years ago I rarely read anything written within the past 10 years. Looking at the list of books I've read this year, about 2/3 of them were published within the past few years.

There are several contributing factors but the majority of it is because of the BOTNS podcast. After at first hesitantly reading suggestions from Ann & Michael, I now trust their recommendations. They give just the right amount of information to let me know if a book might interest me and then when my good reads friends jump in with their ratings and opinions, I feel confident that even if I don't rate the book as an all-time favorite, I won't have wasted my time on it which happened regularly before I had BOTNS and GoodReads as a guide.

I must admit that what I have enjoyed most about reading the newer selections has been the ability to discuss them with others even when I'm not a part of a book group. That rarely happens when I am reading an older book.

Louise & Callie, I agree with the pressure feeling when being asked to vote on the new books lists when I have only read a tiny fraction of them. I tend to use those "best of" lists years later after more friends have read & rated them and then add them to my TBR pile.


message 17: by Stacie (new)

Stacie | 51 comments I do enjoy reading new releases and in the past I was sucked into too many "just ok" heavily hyped books...but I am much better now. As most everything is now on ebook format too, my solution is to rely on the Free Sample feature of Kindle books from Amazon. I usually get a great sense of the book / writing style from the first chapter or two. If I know it's not for me I delete it from the device, no harm done and not a lot of time invested. Unless it's an author I know I like, if I don't get hooked by the first few chapters I can put it down. I do have some trouble with the ones people say "just get through the first 100 pages"; that does pose a problem as I am a slow reader but luckily is not the norm. I have a lot of book friends that ask my opinion of new books and the sample lets me give them an overview too.

Now if I was just a faster reader....


message 18: by Esther (new)

Esther (eshchory) Until I returned to full-time work recently I did not have the budget for many new books and to stretch my budget further I only bought paperbacks.
Due to living in a country where English is not the mother-tongue, English books are expensive and the choice limited (oh so limited). Until the TBD came along shipping costs put online shopping beyond of my budget and anyone who came to visit would be asked to 'smuggle' in a book or two.
During really lean times I only bought books on special offer which meant I read a lot of classics.
Most of my books are second hand from friends or garage sales.
Nowadays I could afford a few hardbacks but I read on my commute so paperbacks are more convenient.

I also found the GR awards a little depressing but with my physical TBR approaching 300 I don't think I can justify buying a lot more books.


message 19: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Ditto to everything here. That's exactly why I really enjoy recommendations for older (at least a few years old) books which are sometimes hard to find. I like to go back and look at "old" national book award winnners.


message 20: by Renee (new)

Renee Rosen (reneerosen) I admit I like reading the new books but I try to be careful and consider the source of who is doing the recommending. And it's not just the cost of a hardcover, it's the time. I'm a slow reader and my reading time is precious--I don't like to feel like I've wasted eight hours on the Emperor's New Clothes, if you know what I mean.


message 21: by Melissa (new)

Melissa | 279 comments I only used to read books that were very old. If the book wasn't a classic, it wasn't worth my time. The only newer books that I read were mysteries and science fiction in between the heavier reads.

Since I began listening to Books on the Nightstand and the Readers, I have expanded my reading to include newer books. I am still very careful in choosing new books; I look at prize lists and read reviews. I am enjoying my reading more now, because while I still read the Brontes and Trollope, I can be a part of the conversation about new releases.

I heartily agree with Eric that reading time is precious. I feel that more than ever now that I am in my forties. I once commented to my husband (jokingly) that my only fear of dying was that I would die without having read everything that I wanted to read. He smiled and said, "Dear, for you, Heaven will look just like an endless bookstore."


message 22: by Linda (new)

Linda | 2764 comments Mod
Melissa wrote: "I only used to read books that were very old. If the book wasn't a classic, it wasn't worth my time. The only newer books that I read were mysteries and science fiction in between the heavier reads..."

In that case, Melissa, we will be in the same heaven.


message 23: by Heather (new)

Heather (hmcgivney) | 35 comments I tend to read things that are at least a few years old because much of my reading is for a book club that only reads paperbacks. Mostly, I like waiting because the cream really does tend to rise to the top. However, I tend to keep up with the new book buzz via BOTNS, NPR, Goodreads, etc, so I've been spoiled more than a few times on plot points and twist endings.


message 24: by Robin (new)

Robin (mcrobus) | 254 comments Eric wrote: "While I enjoy being part of the zeitgeist of keeping up with what's new, sometimes I think I'd be better served by waiting until five years after publication before picking up a book. While there a..."

Great topic Eric. The past year I found myself caught in the rush of keeping up with the 'latest and greatest' of books. What about a BOTNS Thread like 'What are you reading Jan 2913 - Old Books'?


message 25: by Bobbi (new)

Bobbi | 153 comments Linda wrote: "Melissa wrote: "I only used to read books that were very old. If the book wasn't a classic, it wasn't worth my time. The only newer books that I read were mysteries and science fiction in between t..."

Ditto for me, too!


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