Today’s BBAW prompt is, “What have you read and loved because of a fellow blogger?”
The tough thing about this prompt is that after eight years of book blogging, it’s hard to come up with great books that didn’t come from blogger suggestions!
Teresa: When I look back on my own top reading selections for the past few years, almost all of them come from a blogger in one way or another. To put it simply, blogging is how I learn about books now. If I read a book, good or bad, it’s probably because of a blog. If I didn’t blog, I would find out about many of these books some other way, but blogs are my main source of reading ideas. But there are, no doubt, lots of books I probably wouldn’t have encountered at all if it weren’t for blogs. These are just a few!
- The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanigihara. It’s true that I’ve been a vocal and extremely cranky critic about her new book (a book I would have known about without blogging because of how it’s everywhere), but that’s partly because it was such a disappointment after her first book. I heard about this one from Jenny who made a point of noting in her review that I’d probably like it.
- Tigerman by Nick Harkaway. Jeanne is an ardent Nick Harkaway fan and is always urging people to read his books. I’m glad I listened! One of these days, I’ll read his other ones!
- A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimar McBride. I first heard about this one from Stefanie. It’s a wonderful example of how an experimental style can make a story better (and more unbearable in exactly the right ways).
- The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamisen. This book got a lot of attention in the blogosphere, but I’m pretty sure it was Rebecca who got me to read it. She’s someone whose taste in essays I particularly trust.
- Thorn by Intisar Khanani. This retelling of the Goose Girl was self-published and thus didn’t get attention in mainstream media, but Ana and Aarti brought it to my attention, and I’m glad they did. I feel like blogging is made for books like this.
- As We Are Now by May Sarton. I can’t say for sure that Thomas put this in my hands during a book shopping adventure, but I do know I’d never even have known about May Sarton if it weren’t for his enthusiasm for her work.
- Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton. There’s no way I wouldn’t want to read a book that’s basically an Anthony Trollope novel with dragons, but I’d have never known such a book existed if it weren’t for bloggers, especially Aarti and Lisa who got me to read this. It was my introduction to Jo Walton, and now I’m a big fan.
Jenny: I agree with Teresa — many of my favorite books from the past few years have come from recommendations from bloggers. I especially love it when I find books I’d never otherwise have heard of, and a whole new world opens for me. Here is a random scattering of them:
- It was Jeanne’s constant reminders that got me to read The Gone-Away World, by Nick Harkaway. This is one of my favorite books of the past several years: a big, digressive, crazy, serious book I adored. I’ve given it to several people now and haven’t stopped recommending it. I loved his other two novels as well, Angelmaker and Tigerman, but it was The Gone-Away World that blew both socks off.
- I get so many recommendations from Tom that I can’t pick just one. A few instances: I got in on the Portuguese reading challenge and learned about the magnificent Machado de Assis; I finally read John Galt’s The Entail, to find out why Tom says it’s such a great novel; I found out about Christina Stead’s The Man Who Loved Children on his blog; and it was there I was introduced to W.G. Sebald. These (among others) have been some of the most interesting, entertaining, beautiful, fascinating reading experiences I’ve had over the past several years. May his shadow never grow bulkier.
- Victoria recommended Hans Fallada’s Every Man Dies Alone, a marvelous book with tremendous moral significance. It made me think in a fresh way about what difference it makes to stand up against oppression.It was so good, and I’d never have read it if not for Victoria’s wonderful review. (And when I went to her site to get the link, I got another recommendation! Her reviews are so deliciously dangerous.)
- I have read so many books on Other Jenny’s recommendation! I was always a Diana Wynne Jones fan, for instance, but she led me into reading a far wider variety of her books; she helped me find books about changelings; she (and Teresa) introduced me to Maggie Stiefvater; I have lots more of her recommendations on my TBR list as well. I think the happiest recommendation she made to me, though, was Hilary McKay. I started with the books about the Cassons (beginning with Saffy’s Angel) and have loved all of them. Thank you, Jenny.
- Claire is the one who convinced me to read Angela Thirkell. I was skeptical at first, thinking it would be a sort of silly pastiche of Anthony Trollope, but when I began reading with High Rising, I was completely hooked. Those books have been such a pleasure!
I would also be leaving a gaping hole if I didn’t talk about the one blogger who influences me most of all — Teresa! Not only does she write so well that I want to read most of the things she writes about (unless she hates them), she makes perfect recommendations for me. It’s like having a personal service. I have to say that everyone should have such a great co-blogger!