Book People: what are the best resources to hear about new books?
August 15, 2012 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Book People: what are the best resources to hear about new books?

Cliffs notes:

I'm a bookseller seeking resources to help me keep up with everything going on in the book trade. Blogs, podcasts, literary journals, whatchya got? 

Norton Annotated edition:

I've got 6ish years under my belt working at a Big Box bookstore (oh I'll say it, Borders), and after a two year hiatus I'm at an independent bookstore and feeling a little out of the loop. 

When a customer asks me what my favorite new books are, I find myself recommending the same stuff as I did two years ago (Just Kids, David Mitchell, Jonathan Lethem & Michael Chabon, Dave Eggers, Jennifer Egan) as well as falling back to the same old Bookseller Standbys List (Diana Gabaldon & The Historian for smart ladies who want something lighter, The Book Theif & Phillip Pullman for 8-12 year olds, Lemony Snicket & Bartimaeus Trilogy for 6-10, and Scandinavian noir, Erik Larson, Bill Bryson, David McCullough for dad). 

These lists feel old and crusty, and working at an indie makes me want to rely less on Standbys. I want to read the newest, most exciting things and then geek out about them to customers.

This summer I've been catching up a little, but what I ended up reading were lukewarm big sellers: Night Circus, Gone Girl and so on. Good but they didn't get my bookseller blood pumping! 

What I really love are Europa Editions, Granta, Teller, Re/Search, 33 and a third, The Believer, McSweeneys Quarterly concern, this book and this one were fucking amazing. 

My idea is to keep up with fantastic, under the radar (can't think of a less lame term) new stuff that I'm crazy about and customers will be thrilled to be the first to hear about. 

Any blogs featuring advanced reader's copy reviews? Podcasts by independent booksellers? Your zany friend who never leaves their book cave's website? Literary journals I haven't heard of because I live in the Midwest and I don't mean Chicago?

Thanks book brethren.
posted by moons in june to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 114 users marked this as a favorite
Would Publishers Weekly be too obvious?
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:34 PM on August 15, 2012

Best answer:
posted by matildaben at 3:36 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: There are so, so many book blogs.

The Book Smugglers are my favorite book blog, with The Readventurer pulling a close second. But I'm more of a YA person (I have a YA sci-fi review blog myself at the Intergalactic Academy, if you want to update your YA & MG suggestions). There's also, of course, bookslut and HTML Giant for literary stuff. For genre works, SF Signal highlights a huge number of forthcoming titles.

You should get on NetGalley, and Edelweiss, particularly if you own an eReader.

But goodreads is really your best tool for this stuff. Their recommendation engine is great, and there are all sorts of listopia lists for upcoming titles.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:41 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Indie Next is great. Booksellers from independent bookstores submit reviews of their favorite new books every month. Your store should carry their newsletter if it doesn't already. Some of the books are hit-and-miss with me, but others are really wonderful ones that don't get any publicity otherwise.

Subscribe to Shelf Awareness!

Follow publishers' websites. I do the sci-fi/fantasy section at my store so is invaluable to me.

Ask your buyer for galleys? Buddy up to your Random House rep?

Happy reading!
posted by wintersonata9 at 3:43 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for mentioning the millions, that is exactly the type of thing I'm looking for. I forgot to add the book sites I already visit: the millions, bookslut, shelf awareness, onion av club, New York times book review, large hearted boy, goodreads lists. If anything, the sites I go to are far too mainstream. Hit me with the weird stuff.
posted by moons in june at 3:43 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Sorry, trying not to thread-sit, but I just have to say the suggestions so far are outstanding, more more more!
posted by moons in june at 3:48 PM on August 15, 2012

Best answer: Directly from my feedreader, in rough order of how much I love them:

- The Rumpus
- The Millions
- Bookslut
- HTML Giant
- Largehearted Boy

The Bat Segundo podcast is not only an amazing reading list but a series of really interesting conversations between damn smart people. The New Yorker Fiction podcast is likewise great -- it's contemporary authors published in the New Yorker reading their favorite stories from the New Yorker, and it's led me to lots of good stuff, new and old.
posted by ourobouros at 3:51 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I've gotten some of my best recommendations from non-book-specific blogs:

BLDGBLOG's "Books Received" posts


Jace Clayton's Mudd Up Book Clubb

posted by neroli at 3:57 PM on August 15, 2012

Best answer: The Reader's Advisor Online Blog aggregates a lot of book news weekly.
posted by Daily Alice at 4:17 PM on August 15, 2012

I love that whenever I recommend The Millions on AskMe, cmaxmagee favorites my comment. I don't work for him, I swear. (I'm not fishing for favorites, either.)
posted by matildaben at 4:23 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I love you guys so much.
posted by moons in june at 5:03 PM on August 15, 2012

To self-link, I try to review a lot of small-press and other less hyped books.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:26 PM on August 15, 2012

It's only yearly, but the The Morning News Tournament of Books is always full of excellent books, some hyped and some not.

Quill & Quire is the Canadian publishing industry mag, and might give you some north of the border ideas.

And do you follow prizes? That's always a good bet. Follow ALL the prizes. Just off the top of my head, the Orange, the Giller, the Man Booker and the Man Asian, Hugo and Nebula, and on...
posted by snorkmaiden at 5:32 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Quarterly Conversation, The Complete Review, and Three Percent are great, especially for literature in English translation (for instance, lots of Europa Edition reviews on The Complete Review).
posted by Handstand Devil at 5:56 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm a big fan of The Boswell and Books blog by Boswell Book Company owner (and my former boss) Daniel Goldin. His employees have a blog too.
posted by drezdn at 6:07 PM on August 15, 2012

Yay for Europa (who I freelance for)! I also do work for Melville House; perhaps check out MobyLives.

To put on my personal reading hat, I find that browsing Publishers Weekly gives me a good idea of what's worthwhile out there. NPR sometimes gives me ideas too--they do a weekly books email on Thursdays that I've signed up for.
posted by mlle valentine at 6:11 PM on August 15, 2012

MeFi's own John Scalzi (also president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) has a regular feature called The Big Idea where writers can promote new novels. The rest of his blog also has some things along those lines, including monthly-ish pictures of "here's a stack of new books, omg".

This doesn't exactly fit your under the radar criterea, but a lot of libraries have RSS feeds through Wowbrary which list new library purchases. It's a convenient way for me to skim through the new section without actually leaving the house, especially as each item has a link directly to reviews.
posted by anaelith at 7:07 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

You're in the Midwest, not in Chicago: so is Rain Taxi, an excellent and highly variegated book review out of the Twin Cities.
posted by escabeche at 7:20 PM on August 15, 2012

I am a librarian in a public library. Booklist magazine is one of my favorites for book reviews; I also read Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, and BookPage on a regular basis. I second the rec for Shelf Awareness, too.

Here are some of the RSS feeds I skim regularly:

Bookshelves of Doom
Early Word
The Art of Manliness sometimes mentions books

Nancy Pearl, world famous librarian (model for the Librarian Action Figure) has written several books with recommendations for her favorite hidden gems (though not brand new books), and she's also started republishing her favorites that have gone out of print.
posted by stampsgal at 7:18 AM on August 16, 2012

I rely on John Self's blog Asylum for books I won't hear about in the newspaper review sections. He loves books, takes his time, and has superb taste. And I would like to add to the praise here for The Millions, it really is good.

My gosh that's a handsome hardback heading up the Publisher's Weekly review page and with a starred review to boot
posted by WPW at 1:07 PM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

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