Sunday, February 22, 2009

Things to Look Forward To

There I really enjoyed in the ReadsMonthly supplement of Starmag today was the piece written by Abby Wong of Kinokuniya looking forward to some good reads in 2009 after a "barren" 2008. Among the novels she's looking forward to - Tash Aw's Map of the Invisible World, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's The Thing Around Your Neck (out April) and Yiyun Li's The Vagrants which has already been spotted on the shelves of Kino and is worth a journey into town!

(I must add here that I miss Abby now she has moved to Sydney.)

And among the reviews is Janet Tay's take on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald which is a must-read, as do the two stories that are published with it. (And I so want to see the film ... will it get an Oscar tomorrow?)

And again, there are tasty vouchers to clip giving substantial discounts!!


Anonymous said...

People who are involved in bookstores and the business of selling books shouldn't be reviewing or writing about books. It's unethical, and even if you are sincere about what you write, it will still cast doubt over your views.

Anonymous said...

People who love books and enjoy reading and writing are the best people to review books - whether they are in the business or not.

Anonymous said...

So, if someone who sells cars and also enjoys driving and nice cars, tell you that a particular car he is selling is good, then you would buy it?

Anonymous said...

Here is Anonymous, arguing with himself, or myself, again.

bibliobibuli said...

i think that Abby's list is a damn good one - she's picked a selection a lover of lit can't argue with. yes and sure she has a vested interest in you going and buying books, but she isn't going to make more money by recommending those particular titles! (i.e. yiyun li isn't slipping her a backhander to promote her book!)

and what's wrong with a bookseller choosing a selection of books they like? it does happen all over, in the UK, in the US etc etc

there is a lot of commercial interest in the bookpages though. notice how all the bookshops have money off coupons in there. but the problem of getting sponsorship for our bookpages otherwise is very difficult.

i would like more writing from Abby, cos i feel she's a kindred spirit!

Anonymous said...

"People who are involved in bookstores and the business of selling books shouldn't be reviewing or writing about books."

That is the stupidest thing I've heard all week. People involved in bookselling are EXACTLY the people who should be writing about books. They're exposed to more new titles than anyone else, and they obviously care about literature or they wouldn't have got into the business. Access to their opinions is exactly why serious readers have always preferred small bookshops with personal contact.

A bookseller was on the last Booker Prize committee; in the US and UK booksellers routinely put out newsletters, and the staff of bookshops recommend their favourite new titles with little cards on the shelfs and/or mini-reviews on their websites. Kinokuniya is not the only place doing this; you have to have been living on Mars not to have encountered booksellers' recommendations before.

As Sharon says, a bookseller has zero interest in recommending one book over another. If they wanted to make money, they'd be recommending the most expensive books: the coffeetable books by Samy Velly and the angkasawan, the glossy feng-shui books. The fact that they are recommending fiction at all should tip you off that profit is not the first thing on their minds. One could even argue that they're limiting their own profits by doing this, because a person who goes in and buys Yiyun Li's book will have that much less discretionary income to spend on a pricey coffeetable book.

-- Preeta