Friday, November 28, 2008

Readings on Reading

As a sick, sick bookworm not only do I love reading books- I even dig reading ABOUT books. Books about books, magazines, blogs, you name it. Soon- after a healthy amount of Netflixing- I'll have a post centering on films about or centered around books. Not films based on books or where the plot is someone writing a book- but book-centric movies. If that confuses you, just be glad you're not having to dig them up with that designation!

Anyway, back to this post.One of my favorites is Bookmarks magazine, which is a great read if you love reading about books- but it's REALLY great if you don't have time to surf around and find out what's worth reading in new releases. They basically take a book, give a brief synopsis and background on it and/or the author, then collect a handful of random reviews on that book, ranging from the highest to lowest rated. They re-print about a paragraph's worth of the review, and include the "meat" of what the reviewer truly felt about the book. So if you're a book lover who doesn't want to spend all your free time reading up multiple reviews on possible To Be Reads, it's a nice resource.

All their content includes a TON of lists of books, but they do it in a clever and entertaining way and you don't feel like they're just making long lists on books you should buy. The latest issue focuses on historical fiction (modern, that is) I'm a fan of that genre and was happy to see that the books I've read on the list were very good recommendations. Some include Lauren Willig's great historic female spy series that begins with
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. Also on my "have read, words will travel" from their list is The Observations by Jane Harris, The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani and Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund. My one disagreement is The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl- the plot intrigued me and is very clever, but the execution was tedious and didn't use half the imagination it could have to really make the idea come alive.

They also have a really nice little one-page features on random book groups in the US (including what books the members enjoyed and hated) and favorite of readers. The reader will recommend about 9 books with a short description on why they love it, and if it's printed you get a free years subscription. just today I picked up a book based on a readers recommendation- The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster. Warning- the magazine WILL add on a fair amount of books on your TBR pile.

Today in Border's I also discovered A Public Space, one of those cool-minimalist magazines that seem to have merged 'zines with literary "glossy" magazines. I feel like the target market is probably well-educated but loft living people from 20-40 years of age. They're vegan, probably graphic designers and like dogs but aren't big on children.
In all honesty though, it's a very attractive magazine that's about the size of a trade paperback with surprisingly high paper stock. This is a magazine of pretty much the same quality of a paperback novel and will look good alongside the "real" books on your shelf. This issue I have, 06, contains poetry, short fiction, interviews and essays. After I actually read it I'll post my thoughts, if they're worth posting, of course.

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