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message 1: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments Do you research a book before, during or after reading it? Do you look up places, events, or people? Do you read up on the author, watch interviews, look for adaptations, or see how the book was received?

What are some of your greatest finds?


message 2: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8849 comments Actually, nope. I fear that makes me unsophisticated, but at this stage in my life, I simply do not have the time. I barely have the time to read through our threads, which are generally delightful. I do enjoy though, hearing when other people add stuff that I didn't know. I find it really enriching. It impresses me about our friends here, and I enjoy basking in the fruits of that knowledge.


message 3: by Holly R W (last edited May 24, 2020 08:55AM) (new)

Holly R W | 1387 comments I tend to read the book first to form my own impressions. Afterwards, I like to read what others here on GR have thought of it. And, if I enjoyed the book or am puzzled by it, I'll look for a youtube video with the author that I can watch.

Meeting a favorite author in person is always a nice experience.


message 4: by LibraryCin (last edited May 24, 2020 09:46AM) (new)

LibraryCin | 8620 comments Jason wrote: "Do you research a book before, during or after reading it? Do you look up places, events, or people? Do you read up on the author, watch interviews, look for adaptations, or see how the book was re..."

I always look at the blurb (at some point) before reading it. Sometimes that's when I add it to the tbr, and that can be a few years before I read it, so it doesn't mean, when I open it up, I actually remember what it's about (beyond vaguely).

Looking up people, places, events... sometimes during, but only if nonfiction and the outcome won't (or shouldn't) be a surprise! Often (probably almost always!) after, to either find out more that the book didn't address, or to see if there's something I missed or glossed over. (Just did this yesterday while writing my review for Green River, Running Red: The Real Story of the Green River Killer - America's Deadliest Serial Murderer. The audio was abridged, so I wanted to see what I might have missed, plus check a couple of things when I might have just been distracted as it came up.)

I don't very often check info or interviews on/with the author. I might look at other reviews of the book... usually after I've written mine, but sometimes while I'm writing it, as it does sometimes remind me of things I wanted to include.


message 5: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 6191 comments Do you research a book before, during or after reading it?
I don't do much research before reading a book. I may just read a blurb and know that it might be something I would like or I may read a review and know that I will(should) like it.

I want to go into a book relatively blind, so that it will be a surprise. I dislike when a cover or title gives a book away. There are some story lines I don't care for and avoid those books which seem to telegraph them.


Do you look up places, events, or people? I always look up places, events and people while I am reading a book.
I need to feel centered to time and place, which is why I love reading on my kindle fire, because I can look up a location as I am reading the book. I like to look at pictures of the location and find it on a map.

Do you read up on the author, watch interviews, look for adaptations, or see how the book was received?

If I am greatly impressed with a book, I will try to find an author interview and find out more about how the book was conceived.

What are some of your greatest finds?

I was impressed by the research that Mary Doria Russell did for Thread of Grace and also the story about how she decided which characters would survive.

I know that Celine, was not a favorite for everyone of Peter Heller's books, but I did do research about it after reading and found that Celine was based on his mother and actually did many of the wild things the character did in the book. It impressed me and probably made me like it more than I would have.

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message 6: by Joanne (last edited May 24, 2020 10:57AM) (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7867 comments Do you research a book before, during or after reading it?

I read the GR's blurbs, but I rarely read any reviews(besides those posted here on PBT) until after I have read the book. Then I am always curious to see what other people have thought. Sometimes while reading non-fiction history or HF, I will google if I am confused or in doubt about something.

Do you read up on the author? Very rarely, an author has to really impress me for me to follow their blogs. I can only think of 2 right now, Sharon Kay Penman and Michael J. Sullivan


message 7: by Barbara M (last edited May 24, 2020 11:15AM) (new)

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2275 comments Do you research a book before, during or after reading it?
When I read GR reviews and it looks like one I would enjoy, I put it on my TBR without any further research. That way, I already know its one I want to read without getting a fresh review from GR because I want to get my own impressions as I read it. I will read the description again though. However, if a book grabs me or teaches me something I didn't know about at all or not much about, I will definitely do research during or after.

Do you look up places, events, or people? All of those depending on how the book affected me. Did it leave me with questions, then I look up the answers. It's the librarian in me.

Do you read up on the author, watch interviews, look for adaptations, or see how the book was received?
If I'm impressed with the book, I definitely will although I don't usually "follow" the author after.

What are some of your greatest finds? I have way too many to list. At least couple every year!


message 8: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 2939 comments Before I read a book, especially before I buy one, I look for the opinions of PBT friends to see who recommends the book. After reading together for so many years, I know where my tastes usually align with people here. I rarely read a book as soon as it is published unless its an author I've always enjoyed or when its the next book in an ongoing series.

I might do a little research before I read a book depending on the subject matter or setting. I'm always looking things up as I read. I love it when a book sends me down a rabbit hole of links to new information and more books to read.

Most recently I discovered and rediscovered dozens of literary and cultural links while I was reading This Is How You Lose the Time War. Totally satisfying, down to my nerdie, little toes.

The Overstory was another book that pointed me in a dozen different directions. Powers referenced so many things that I'd never heard of or that I'd only half remembered.


message 9: by Karin (new)

Karin | 7198 comments Jason wrote: "Do you research a book before, during or after reading it? Do you look up places, events, or people? Do you read up on the author, watch interviews, look for adaptations, or see how the book was re..."

Once in a while I will do that during or after a book, but rarely in depth and only if it is something I am not familiar with.

In normal times I check GR friends et al reviews before reading a book, but I avoid reading long ones that tend to give more information about the book than I like before reading it. Since when it is NOT a kindle book and not an audiobook I always read the ending after starting but long before finishing it's the parts in the middle not told in the blurb that I don't want to know.


message 10: by Robin P (new)

Robin P | 1860 comments Before buying or adding a book to my TBR, I will look at reviews on GR (or Audible for audiobooks). But when I start to read a book, I purposefully avoid the blurb and info on inside jacket, which often includes spoilers. After I finish the book, I will sometimes look at reviews to see if other people liked or disliked it as much as I did.

I almost never interrupt my reading to look up anything, even in French which I am pretty much fluent in, but don't know every word. I just don't like to stop reading. Occasionally after I read a book I might look up about the historical era or geographical location. If the book includes maps or lists of characters, I'll look at that while reading.

Wow, Karin, I can't imagine reading the ending ahead of time! I even get annoyed if my eyes stray to a later page and it gives something away. However, sometimes if a chapter ends with a character in danger or possibly dead, I will skip ahead to reassure myself that the character comes back.


message 11: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 7414 comments Interesting topic, Jason, and I echo so much of what everyone has said.

I rarely research any book before reading. Yes, I read blurbs and reviews to find books that might interest me, but not necessarily. I routinely am seduced by covers -- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern was one of those. But I may not read it for years -- as with The Night Circus, after buying it I read the blurb or a review and thought it might not be my thing, so it languished looking seductive, on my TBR Towers. It was the recommendation of an entire family (parents and 2 teenagers) that finally kicked me into reading it.

But if I become interested in a topic - i.e. Peninsular war and Age of Napoleon - I will do some reasearch on the books available before selecting.

There are books I will look things up while reading and research a bit after. I always have done that, but especially frequently with ebooks as it is so easy to look things up. I like looking at locations and maps of where a books is set. I'll look up other books referenced, or historical information (i.e. The Dreyfus Affair features prominently in Proust, and my memory of the events and parties involved, including the defenders who later got the verdict overturned, was cloudy as I had read about all that last in college), or people.

Indeed after reading some books I will look up the author and find interviews or blogs where they talk about their books. I did that with Emily St. John Mandel and even with Ann Patchett - after reading State of Wonder by Ann Patchett , I was so puzzled by the ending and how much I disliked the book when I had LOVED Bel Canto by Ann Patchett , I had to figure out what was going on (Patchett likes to experiment with and explore different writing techniques and styles). But I don't follow many blogs or authors on social media -- some but without much energy. Well, except for George R.R. Martin because of course, I'm in the legions waiting on The Winds of Winter.

I do go to a lot of author interviews and signings of all kinds - often finding wonderful books I would not have read -- like The Scribe of Siena. And if you have a chance to go to or listen to an Alan Furst, Cara Black, Sujata Massey, or Erin Morgenstern reading, interview, signing, do. They are fascinating and provide a lot of background on process and the inspiration and influence behind their books.

And I do read reviews after, especially if I'm less than impressed and cannot figure out why/how it has received such accolades. Did this with Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1) by Hilary Mantel . The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden . If I really like a book, I'll see what else the author has written. Ditto if I hated a book --- like The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell --- because I can't believe it was published and want to see if anything else published by these bozos (there wasn't).

Memoirs of a Geisha was interesting to read up on after because it received such raves and then the lawsuit came, and the info on how he breached non-disclosure agreements and suddenly the book was not being so enthusiastically reviewed. I of course knew none of that when I finally read it and ranked it so low.

If a book reads in a very cinematic fashion, I'll see if there is an adaptation, or with classics. if anyone has done a modern take - like the Austen Project. But since most adaptations are pretty weak, I don't get too into that.

I have had many 'finds' after researching something in a book:

Gone With the Wind -- discovered interviews with Margaret Mitchell about how she came to write it and telling how her mother took her every year to walk in neglected areas to see the remnants, then still visible if you looked, of the plantations that fell into ruin after the Civil War.

Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code - there really is a Rose Line in Paris and you can follow it, as Tom Hanks does in the movie.

There is much much more but pulling a blank. Even in books that I automatically read because they are part of a series or by a favorite author, I inevitably find things to look up -- words, locations, other books, historical references. I own a lot of different reference books and dictionaries for a reason - and it's not because as a lawyer I write a lot!

For me, it's all part of the experience.


message 12: by NancyJ (last edited May 24, 2020 02:44PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5572 comments I usually read the blurb and glance at a few reviews to decide if I want to read a book. Friend's reviews are often shown first, so that's helpful.

I did more research before I got on the poll tag high speed train. I occasionally read about authors, especially for non-fiction books (to see the author's qualifications, or citations), for classic books, and others that stand out in some way (Zora Neale Hurston, Delia Owens). Historical fiction is more likely to spark an interest in new topics, eras or other books.

I'm in a bookclub run by a librarian and she always brings in author information, articles, or something interesting. The whole group brings stuff on some topics (especially art). The controversy about A.J. Finn (Woman in the Window) was really interesting, especially because he sounded so much like the character in A Ladder to the sky.

Bottle of Lies was so mind blowing, it had me searching for all sorts of things online. She Said also inspired many google searches. In other books I might look up maps, information on locations, unfamiliar words or phrases, or historical events/people.

I love it when someone in gr points out something interesting about the author, the book, hidden meanings, or links to other books in discussions. Some groups on gr tend to dig deep when reading a book together, especially classic books. This enhanced my reading of Rebecca, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Their Eyes were Watching God, Fahrenheit 451, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, etc.

I tend to geek out most when I finding interesting or unexpected links between books (and shows). Frankenstein, Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley, movie on Mary Shelley, and Frankissstein: A Love Story which led to books/shows with AI and transhuman variations - Years and Years (tv), Close and Common Orbit, We are Bob, Vanishing Birds. There was another set of books with links to genetics, memory, finding parents, children, adoption, alzheimer's.


message 13: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments As most already know, I love my research. I research non-fiction and classical books much more than current or main stream fiction. Research was required to even find the books when I did my century challenge. (1 book from each century starting in 1st century AD. I did all but 2 centuries)

Going into a book, I do not want to know much. I think expectations can alter ones view, but while reading and especially after reading, Google and Wikipedia are my best friends.

I love to look up paintings or music or places I am not familiar with. Events in history I am not familiar with. I also notice, that after looking up these things, I find references to them elsewhere that I would have missed or not understood.

For foreign literature, mainly classics, that have many characters, I will find a character list to keep everything straight. I have had some books that I needed to read a synopsis about half way through to understand what was going on. My current book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is like this. I became lost and needed some guidance. I read a plot summary up to the point I was at and it really has helped me keep everything straight going forward.

I also read about classic authors, their other works, their motivation behind writing their book. An example is again my current book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Victor Hugo bemoaned the destruction of the Gothic architecture in France. The Hunchback of Notre Dame helped bring attention to preserving this architecture and this book is what helped make bring attention to the cathedral and lead to it being one of the most widely recognized symbols of France.

It was through research that I learned of the mysterious death of Edgar Allen Poe, the disappearance of Agatha Christie, themes I missed in some of my favorite works. Research into the stories I was reading lead to my fascination with English and French Kings and Queens and peculiar stories, like what happened King Edwards IV children after he died and King Richard III became king.

Research is all part of the fun of reading. Research allows for context, intent, and better understanding as well as finding other areas of and books of interest. Without looking into The Three Musketeers, I never would have know there is a whole series, The D'Artagnan Romances. And I never would have read Animal Farm.

Researching my favorite authors has lead me to other works. Fredrik Backman's blog where he has published short stories. Dan Brown, Andy Weir, and Liane Moriarty have all published children's books. And I just learned of the third Beartown book.

Anyway, I said all that to say, Yes I research the books, authors, events and other things related to the books I'm reading.


message 14: by Robin P (last edited May 25, 2020 03:40PM) (new)

Robin P | 1860 comments In another part of my life than just personal reading, I give talks on various subjects, mostly historical women. For those I do research. For instance, NancyJ mentionedRomantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley and the movie about Mary Shelley, which I read and watched, as well as rereading Frankenstein and finding a collection of essays on science in Frankenstein - for a talk I called "Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, and the Risks of Science." For a talk on Louisa May Alcott, I reread Little Women, watched 2 movie versions (this was before the current one) and read Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father and Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women plus a TV documentary based on that last book. Not exhaustive research, as these are all popular rather than academic books, but my talks are only about 20 minutes each, so that's plenty of material.


message 15: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7867 comments Robin wrote: "In another part of my life than just personal reading, I give talks on various subjects, mostly historical women. For those I do research. For instance, NancyJ mentioned[book:Romantic Outlaws: The ..."

How very cool Robin! I just love finding out fun facts about our members! Thanks for sharing!


message 16: by NancyJ (last edited May 25, 2020 03:56PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5572 comments Robin wrote: "In another part of my life than just personal reading, I give talks on various subjects, mostly historical women. For those I do research. For instance, NancyJ mentioned[book:Romantic Outlaws: The ..."

That sounds like fun! Who do you speak to? I didn't particularly enjoy Frankenstein, but I loved everything related to the book and Mary Shelly.

When I was watching classic films, I noticed more women with interesting jobs/careers in the 1930's than in the 1950's. I would have loved to prepare a talk about it, or discuss it's implications. (Did it reflect changes in society, or did it help influence changes? Was it a part of the post wwii effort to get women back into the home where they belonged?)


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