Today, my friends, is a very important day! It’s my sister’s birthday. Well, ok, it’s also National Buy a Book Day. I will admit I don’t know much about the organization behind it, but I think we all get the gist.
So now we are left with a difficult choice: what to buy. I’m going to head to the store on my way home to pick something up, but I’m not sure what it should be. I’m currently reading Tom Perrotta’s The Leftovers (for DGLM bookclub) and then need to start Téa Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife (for my personal bookclub). There are at least 18 million books on the TBR pile at home, plus the bookshelves, plus the bookcases behind me right here at the office. And that’s not even counting the things I’m reading for professional reasons. But I can’t just not buy a book on National Buy a Book Day. I’d be letting down the nation!
Conveniently, I polled friends earlier this week on how they choose books, which might help me decide. The two smartest people I know more or less say they read whatever I tell them to. There’s one vote for genre. One for reading free samples on her e-reader. One for free e-books. One for bookclub. One sarcastic and one serious vote for judging a book by its cover (along with a vote for those books that are faced out on the shelves). One for random book reviews. One for the literary press/blogosphere. Interestingly, no one said bestseller lists, though I’m sure that’s a factor for many.
Though my friend Chuck didn’t weigh in on the poll, he shared this parody video for “Call Me Maybe” (you don’t know how much it’s hurting me not to throw a comma in there) from Open Books bookstore in Chicago, which sounds like a pretty great organization dedicated to literacy. The video seems to advocate choosing books by staring at people reading print editions on public transportation, so that’s an option, too:
So I think that does it: I can’t just tell me what to read without knowing the answer first. I like to read across genres. I don’t ever feel like I have time for free samples and feel obligated to buy books to support my industry. I already have my next two bookclub books at home. I don’t have time between now and leaving to wander through reviews and the literary press. Covers might work, but we all know what they say about that. And I have to buy the book before I get on the subway. So I’m just going to go ahead and buy the book the video recommends at the end—I’ve been thinking about it anyway, considering how the publishing community on Twitter has been raving about it.
So…what are you buying today? And how’d you pick?