Saturday, June 26, 2010

Low risk reading?

I've just returned from a trip into town to pick up four books I'd ordered a couple of weeks ago.  Following on from Bernadette's post yesterday over at Reactions to Reading concerning risky reading, these are titles I probably wouldn't have bought a couple of years ago (or even heard of) - which included more than a fair share of 'well-done but already done' books.  Most of my purchases were picked up in airports, train stations and high street bookstores.  I read some pretty good stuff, but the choice always felt limited and samey.  I've never read books by Tonino Benacouista, Phillipe Claudel, Domingo Villar or Zymunt Miloszewski before.  These should be considered risky purchases - bought sight unseen and highly unlikely to be 'well-done but already done' given they're translated fiction.- but I actually consider them low risk buys.  Why?  Because I've come to trust the reviews written on other crime fiction blogs.  These are four books that received positive reviews over at Crime Scraps, Petrona, and International Noir. And even if they are not as stellar as I hope they will be, they'll be a welcome change to some of the fare that clogs the three for two stands on the high street.  And yes, they are often a little more pricey, given that such books are rarely included in price discounting, but for sheer improvement in reading experience, they are worth it.  'Well-done but already done' seems like the low risk strategy for reading pleasure, but I've come to appreciate that notion as something of a false view.  Rather, it is the path to mundanity and tedium.  Better to take the slightly more risky path, laying off the bet by following some top blogs.


Anonymous said...

Rob - I agree with you that sometimes it really is worth it to take a reading risk. I've done the same, myself and been glad. I hope you'll enjoy the books; I think you've chosen excellent review blogs for ideas!

Bernadette said...

Badfellas is a good example of something I enjoyed just this month but would never have read a couple of years ago. I also have Water Blue Eyes making its way to me from my favourite online retailer which is another that I hope to enjoy but if I don't I won't mind too much because it will be better than whatever James Patterson is publishing this week ;)