Hello! Another day for discussion. Here are my thoughts on today’s Armchair BEA topics.
Author interaction is tricky. It can be fantastic! Or it can get rather awkward, especially if you haven’t always said flattering things about their work. These days with Twitter and Facebook, it’s easier than ever to contact authors. On the flip side, they can contact you as well.
I try to keep a little distance between myself and the authors whose books I review. I did have coffee with a local author but that was just one time. I follow lots of authors on Twitter but I find that more authors follow me than I do them. There can be a lot of noise on Twitter, a lot of self-promotion. Some are good at it, and some are not. By only following authors I’ve already read and enjoyed, as well as the ones who say interesting things, I keep my feed fairly clear of “Buy my book NOOOOOOW” tweets.
That’s not to say I haven’t been star struck. I was very excited when one of my favorite authors, Simon Van Booy, started following me on Twitter. “He followed meeeeeeee!” I thought!
If I could give you one tip, it would be not to send an author a link or tweet to a negative review, unless they asked you to do that. Usually, I’m contacted by publishers or publicists, so I will send them all links. They can decide whether or not to send it on, that puts a middle man between you and the author. Hopefully, an awkwardness can be avoided that way.
More Than Just Words
It’s funny, before I started blogging I only thought of books as words on a page, how things have changed!
I ‘read’ a lot of audiobooks these days. How you tried Librivox? If you haven’t, you should. Librivox is run by volunteers who record books in the public domain for free. Sometimes you get a good narrator, and sometimes you don’t but, hey, it’s free. The Audiobook app on my iPod runs Librivox books through it. I have three on the go right now. I also use my library quite often.
Since multimedia is mentioned, there’s one thing that audiobooks can’t give you. That visual experience. Last summer, I received an audio version of Night Film. Night Film is heavy on visuals. There are screenshots of websites, letters, documents, magazine articles, photographs. There is even an app you download to access the Easter eggs hidden throughout the book. Needless to say, I missed a lot of that by listening to the audio. Later in the year, I borrowed the book just to experience it.
To muddy the waters even further, what about graphic versions of previously published books? What do you think of this? Have you read any? I have read a few. It was an interesting experience. I think it helps to have already read the books they’re based on. Jane Eyre was one of the first I read, then the delicious The Picture of Dorian Gray. The Exile, the Outlander graphic novel, was quite something too. Those formats just add to the reading experience. It’s like a VIP experience. You get a little extra.
Which formats work for what books depend on the book in question. If I had to recommend particular formats for some books, here’s what I would say:
- Bossypants by Tina Fey
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
- A Girl Walks Into a Bar by Rachel Dratch
- Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (read by Megan Follows- so good!)
So, for audio, I like the have memoirs read to me by their authors, especially if they are funny ladies. Megan Follows did such a fantastic job narrating Carmilla that I think everyone should hear it.
- Night Film by Marisha Pessl
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Anything that has a major visual component, like these do.
Graphic novels: If not originally graphic novel creations, I’d recommend reading the novels in the format they were first published first.
For fun, here are my favorite graphic novels:
- French Milk by Lucy Kinsley
- Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
- Mercury by Hope Larson
So, what are your favorite formats?
*Logo Amber of Shelf Notes