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Dark Puss

From my selfish (do I hear a gasp of amazement, no I thought not) perspective I don't care in the slightest when you write about a book, when it was published or how near or far from a "best seller" chart it might be. Certainly it would be depressing in the extreme if all of you who review recently published books were to write about them simultaneously.

As you know I do a little reviewing myself, of scientific textbooks of course, for a journal that still publishes fairly extensive book reviews. I'm given three months to read the book and write the review, and some books have publication dates up to two years earlier than when I receive them. Not all areas of publishing are quite as frenetic as novels, which is what I assume you are primarily writing about above.

Let me continue in my selfish streak, I'd actually like to see you writing more often about books published years, decades, centuries ago rather than concentrate so heavily on the fairly recently published.

Is any of this helpful? Probably not, but you always get it unadorned from The Cat who Walked by Himself ;-))


Re. 'old' books, that is of course what the Cornflower Book Group reads.

Dark Puss

So far, although I hadn't realised that you were not likely to chose a "new" one. Still my selfish point of view persists; I'd like to see more "old" books reviewed outside the CBG and thus fewer recent ones.

It's your weblog and you will, I hope, run it for your pleasure at least as much as ours. I'm willing to bet my opinion will be out of kilter with the majority of your readers.

Stalking off to flute lesson new ...

Simon T

Karen - I actually asked a publisher about this at the Sceptre event we attended, and was surprised to learn that she actually preferred reviews to come out staggered - I assumed they focused all their attention around the release date (not that I ever manage to write about books by then). But no, she actually preferred what bloggers do already!

I actually like it when lots of bloggers write about the same book, I think it's interesting to see different views, and gathers more momentum behind a book - having said that, I almost always write about older books now. I *really* love it when an older book comes from nowhere to be read by lots of blogs - as happened with Shirley Jackson a while ago, for instance.


I deliberately seek out blogs that mix reviews of older books with new ones for several reasons.

New "important" books are reviewed in the papers and it frankly gets boring to log onto every blog and see a review of the same book, it even gets off putting - for instance I've read so many reviews of Solar that I know feel that I know the book without having read it and have lost interest in actually picking it up.

Secondly, I can't afford to buy hardbacks and I get so frustrated at seeing books reviewed that I know I won't be able to buy for a year.

Thirdly I really enjoy seeing the review of a book I've read and joining in with the comments, it can add a lot to my appreciation of the book and even prompt me to re-read it.

And finally, but definately not least, there is the utter joy of being alerted to an 'older' book and then discovering that there's a whole wonderful backlist by the same author to read through.

But as Darkpuss says it's your blog and continue reading what you enjoy!

Crafty green Poet

I'm not in a reviewing contract at the moment and I read mostly second hand books and so mostly review old books on my blog. I think my readers like the fact that sometimes they can hear about an overlooked gem on my blog.

I'm also happy that blog reviews of my poetry book have been staggered because it keeps the momentum going!

I think its nice to have a bit of a splash when a book is published, it gets attention, but that can be overdone, I think its very boring to get loads of blogs to write about the same book on the same day. Also i think that any splash needs to be back up with good ongoing coverage


I joined this group because you sounded great on the the 'Book Café' and I have stayed because you cover a wide range and using your comments & the replies of others, I seem to be able to judge whether I am likely to enjoy the book.

Most of the books I have discovered and enjoyed here have not been totally new, but some have. My highlights include ...Jacob de Zoet, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Travels with Charley & The Strange Case of the Composer and his Judge.

I know some others who have been equally happy with older books, such as the Diary of a Nobody & Death comes for the Archbishop.

So to please everyone, you will have to continue to include everything!

Dark Puss

I know someone who didn't like Diary of a Nobody!

adele geras

Speaking as a reader of the blog, I do like the kind of mix I find here, Cornflower...and as a writer I can honesstly say I love it when a review pops up unexpectedly, often years later than the book was published. We are so starved for reviews, particularly for kind ones that we fall on each one like famished creatures! Keep on doing what you're doing....

Dark Puss

Adele, I'd hope all reviews were "kind" even if the reviewer was not positive about the book. "Unkindness" has no place in reviewing and if I was better at it weblog readers wouldn't see it in any of my comments; I do try!

Nina Douglas

As a publicist *and* reader of blogs of all kinds, I think a healthy mix of the two is surely preferable.

I'd like to think that bloggers know their audience, genre and themselves well enough to be able to judge what works best on a case by case basis. A publicist (and an author) will always love a splash around publication, helping to get a book noticed by the wider reading public, or a niche audience. And perhaps a publicist will discuss that directly, if it is regarding a particular idea, or for a particular moment. But sustained interest in a book, or an author rather than all then nothing is surely a better aim all round.

While I love reading about new books, and read blogs to help stay aware of what is new, I have also found amazing 'older' books via blogs and twitter, that I would not have found, perhaps ever, without being led to them in the same way I've been led to new releases.

This is only my own opinion of course...


I think one of the nicest things about book blogs as opposed to book review sections of newspapers or whatever is that you get the blogger's thoughts about such a wide variety of books. No formal book reviewer would write about something published 200 years ago (unless somebody came out with a fancy new edition, or something), but a blogger can write about a book from any time, at any time. I think this has quite an important effect on keeping older books alive.

Susan in TX

Oh, I like the variety and the staggered reviews. It does seem a bit tedious if every blogger seems to be blogging about the same book (which is very RARE I should add). I prefer older books normally, but reading blogs has opened up a whole new genre of "older books" to me that I'd never heard of before, and that's been a lot of fun. (E.g. I would never have heard of the Bloomsbury Group releases outside of book bloggers.) I've also read many this year with your Book Club that I would never have heard of otherwise, so I have esp. appreciated it. As long as I'm on the topic, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for all of your blogging efforts and esp. the book club. I was part of a wonderful reading group here that had to split up as all of our children aged and our lives got too busy for us to keep up with them and the club, so yours is filling a gap for me that I couldn't get any other way. Happy BBAW to you, dear Cornflower! :)

Linda B

And it's great when you review or recommend a book that's been around for a while and I haven't heard of it before. These tempt me into reading something that I wouldn't otherwise have done. Keep up the mix.


I like a mix as well. Sometimes it can be fun to be reading the same book as others are from the standpoint of being part of a larger discussion, though I think I tend to lag behind most people. Often I will finally pick up a book months after the flurry has passed, but I figure it must be good for an author to be mentioned and written about after that initial flurry. I think you should be able to please yourself, though, and read what you are in the mood for rather than feeling as though you must stay on a schedule as then it makes reading closer to work than enjoyment. I know you have alerted me to lots of good books that usually tend to end up in my TBR pile for just the right moment! :)


I like the mix of old & new books I read about here & at the other blogs I read. It's what I do myself, read old & new books so my own blog reflects this mix, especially as I'm trying to read from my tbr shelves this year. So my reading has been a mix of classics, older titles from my shelves & new books from the library.

Jennifer Dee

I agree with Dark Puss's comments. I prefer the writing of decades ago rather than the present.Otherwise keep up the good work.


The reviews in f.i. newspaper keep me well informed about new books or books to come soon, yet the books I read mostly come from having seen them mentioned in the few blogs I follow. These blogs really have inspired my reading.

Simon (Savidge Reads)

I was talking about this (as he mentioned your post) and then I commented on DGR's post. I think publishers like any coverage whenever time it is you feaqture a book. Yes there is a good thing with seeing it in lots of places because you can discuss it but most readers of our blogs then cant as they havent bought it yet, and there is a certain saturation point where if I start to see a certain book everywhere I go off reading it for a while.

Its a difficult equilibrium. I think just read them and write about them when we want to because there nothing worse than reading a book that you feel you are to a deadline, you might not enjoy it to its full and it then passes into the review - I think.

Simon (Savidge Reads)

Oops I meant to say I was talking about this with Simon T - sorry!


Like a lot of people, I really enjoy the mixture of old and newly released books to be found on my favourite blogs.

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