Thursday, March 14, 2013

Do Books Still Have Staying Power?

Best Books of 2007 (NYT)
I wonder if with fewer stores and  libraries do books still remain on our radar once the first bloom has passed. I am not talking about forgotten books this time, but rather books from say 5-10 years ago. Here is a list of the Edgar nominations from 2005. Here is a list of the best books as chosen by the New York Times.

How many of them have you heard mentioned recently? Are we all about today now? Are we all about classics from the distant past?. Do you think it is more difficult to keep a book in print than ever before. I wonder. Although, in a sense, books might have more staying power. If you troll blogs, as I am wont to do, people are telling each other about books written some years ago. We are more in contact with a wider range of people than ever before. I used to get all of my recommendations from a few sources. Now they come from everywhere.

What book from 2000-2008 have you recently read? Although I have read a handful, none of these books were recently read. I have CALIFORNIA GIRL in my California pile. But now I am back in Michigan.

18 comments:

bryonquertermous.com said...

I think books have more staying power now than ever before because there are more avenues for discussion. As the bigger publishers turn out more and more crap, many readers are returning to older works or discovering older works. Back before broad Internet communication, if a book wasn't discussed in a classroom it wasn't discussed much at all. But these days I'm consistently hearing discussions about books that were published 5 or more years ago.

Thomas Pluck said...

I have tons of books unread from that time, but you're right, older books slip away, some have staying power, but most are forgotten.
I had high hopes for GoodReads as a Flixter recommendation service, but it's just a mess. Maybe LibraryThing will do it? I just joined.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I joined Library something years ago. I wonder if it's the same one. I just can't keep up with Good Reads although it seems widely used. We need to look at books published between 1990 and 2012 on forgotten books.

Dana King said...

I think books, like authors, have a period of time where they are in limbo: no longer fresh, but not old enough to be re-discovered and appreciated anew. Ed McBain is currently in that window as an author. I expect him to have a renaissance within 5 - 10 years. Those that are deserving will come back into focus. It's part of the natural weeding out process.

George said...

The Terror (2007)by Dan Simmons confronts me every day because it sits near the top of my Read Real Soon stack. But it keeps getting pushed down by the torrent of new books that flow into my house.
Five years is a long time to delay reading a book.

F.T. Bradley said...

I've read a few 2000-2008 titles, but often find them a little dated. They reference the internet like it's something new (because it was then :-).

In children's books (where I mostly roam), staying power is much stronger. It takes a while for a book or series to be discovered, and then it becomes a library staple. If you're lucky...

Charles Gramlich said...

I read a LOT of older books. In fact, except for recent ebooks, the vast majority of what I read is at least earlier than 1990. I know the older books much better. But I don't know much about books in the last 10 years or so.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Ninety-nine per cent of the books I read are from the last century, mostly pre-1980 going back all the way to the 19th century. The only books I read dating 2000 through 2008 is the Harry Potter series though I have a few new standalone ebooks that I intend to read this year.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I don't read a lot of older books. And the reason is this-I see a new book reviewed somewhere, put it on reserve at the library, it comes in and that is what I read. Or I buy it in some cases and that is what I read. Thing have changed mightily with so few book stores around.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's always been this way--a massive glut of books that gradually gets winnowed down by time and word of mouth. Think of all the hundreds, if not thousands, of pulp fiction titles. Naturally, not all of them were Black Wings Has My Angel, but there were still many unjustly overlooked books. And remember that list of best sellers for each year in the last century that you linked to a few weeks ago? How many of those are remembered today?

Deb

RkR said...

I think books from 2005 ARE forgotten books, at least almost all of them. The list is proof. I have read just two of the Edgar list - and not recently - and none of the NYT list. Nor have I read anything by the authors in the last few years.

Usually I'm so far behind on reading that 6 or 7 years is about when I do get to books, if then, but that's not always so, sometimes it's much longer. What's sad to me is that libraries keep less and less older books, making it hard to go back and read through a series, even by popular authors like Peter Robinson.

I think e-books will have far less staying power, as they are not physical entities.

Anonymous said...

I must say one thing - even in the year the Edgar nominees come out they include books and authors I've never heard of and am unlikely to ever read.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And I think that is the one great flaw in the Edgar awards. The people who choose each year are not necessarily the best critics. Some years their choices range from remote known to unknown. Not that the book has to be a best seller but it should be a book some people have read.

Cap'n Bob said...

My reading is eclectic as far of the ages of the books go. My observation about Publishing is that it's much like Pop Music. Books, like songs, come and go rapidly and the powers that be are always on the lookout for the next hit--or, more likely, imitator.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - Interesting question as always. I do sometimes go back 5-10 years if I've heard of a series and want to catch up on it. I sometimes do it too if I someone mentions a book from that time on a blog and it catches my attention. But you're right; it's easy to forget...

Ron Scheer said...

Day late and a dollar short. I pay no attention to the bestseller lists and the book awards. I've been burned too many times by them. And TREE OF SMOKE is an example. I thought it was mediocre and never understood all the noise made about it.

Repeating a comment made earlier, I often get tips on excellent books from readers and writers here in the blogs for books that have been around for decades--and that I've never heard of.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And my son loved TREE but neither my husband or me really got it.

John said...

Three years ago my reading log tells me I was reading many books that were published between 2000-2010. One of them A FIELD OF DARKNESS by Cornelia Read (2007) I thought especially good. But her second was a huge let down. Never went back to her.

I will take you up on the challenge of reviewing books from 1990 to the present for the entire month of April, Patti. It will get me out of my "poison victims in the country estate" rut I'm currently stuck in. (I'm drowning in oxalic acid and untraceable South American venom! HELP!)