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2.26.2011

Galleys

I've been thinking lately of how I miss having the opportunity to read advanced copies of new books on the market. I read the now ubiquitous Hunger Games as an advanced reader (the original ARC is still on my shelf) and even blogged about it once upon a time.

I still read books in advance of when they come out, but they are now always the books my company publishes. There is a sense of anxiousness about those readings; they are as much to catch unnoticed errors as they are to become familiar with the material.

At one time, I almost considered myself a sort of book consultant, offering a broad literary perspective for uncertain readers. Pointing the way toward as-yet-undiscovered works of fiction (or non-fiction) for those who have not learned the careful art of browsing. It was arrogant, I know, but I was a bookseller. As with so many things, it was always so much easier to choose for others than for myself, and I was often amazed at how many books my friends could read through in a month - or even a year - when I, the book aficionado, could barely make it through a small handful.

Last year was a barren year in my reading for pleasure. Apart from the works I published, I read three books - all young adult novels and all read within two months of each other. I was a certain kind of depressed. I was also stuck in a rut.

I have often wondered why literary fiction is one of the hardest categories of books to sell, assuming that it is my own category of choice. But I did not realize that it has been a very long time since I've read any real literary fiction. I want to write it someday, but I do not read it. And this is odd.

Here are some literary fiction works I would like to read someday soon, books I've been looking at and acknowledging somewhere in the back of my mind that they are "for me." Some old, some new . . . just a few:

The Magicians
City of Thieves
The Blind Assassin
Divisadero
Against the Day

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