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Happy new Year!
We hope you have a wonderful 2018!
Why Not Try Some
New Authors?
One of the most common complaints that I hear from customers is that their favorite authors do not write quickly enough.  I concur, even though I know that quality writing can be a slow process.  One author that I have never heard a complaint about, in this area, is James Patterson.  He is the world's bestselling author and very prolific.  In October and November 2017, for example, he released five new hardcover books (one may wonder how much is done by ghostwriters).  I feel lucky if one of my favorite authors writes one book a year.
 
So, how does a reader usually find new authors?  Often, one will ask friends that are also avid readers for suggestions.  It is usually a pretty good bet to get ideas from someone you know, as long as you share the same taste in books.  Customers also frequently ask bookstore staff for recommendations.  We maintain a "staff favorites" shelf that many customers check out whenever they visit. Customers often chat with other customers and recommend favorite books to one another.  Publishers often advertise similar authors in their books.  They may also put a quote by a famous author, recommending a book by a lesser know one, on the cover.  For example, I gave Nick Petrie a try because Lee Child recommended him. His main character, Peter Ash, is no Jack Reacher but he is interesting in his own right. Another method to find new writers is to just scan through our racks, pick out something that looks good, and take a chance! You could also take an even bigger chance and venture $1 for one of our blind date books.
 
When someone asks me for a suggestion my first question is, "What authors do you like"?  No point in recommending Danielle Steel to someone who likes Dostoyevsky.   Once I find out several authors a customer likes then I am usually able to recommend a new author or two for them to try. If their favorites fall outside my genre comfort zone, such as fantasy, then I call on another more knowledgeable staffer to help them.
 
Another good method to find new authors is to search websites that have lists of recommended authors.  Quite a few have lists of:   “If you like.....then try .....”, a list of writers they consider to be similar to the author you were looking up.  We have a few of these lists posted around the bookstore.  They are not fool proof, and there are many that I don't agree with at all, but it can give you a starting point.  I don't think there are many things that I enjoy more than discovering a new author that has a large catalog of books.
 
Goodreads.com has read alike book lists and at gnooks.com you can key in three of your favorite authors and it will give you recommendations based on the authors that you entered.  It further refines the list as you vote on whether or not you like each of their recommendations.  At www.whatshouldireadnext.com you can also key in a favorite book or series and it spits out a long list of similar authors.  I was very impressed when I tried out this website because out of it's list of over 30 recommendations there was only one book that really seemed out of place.  So, of all the websites out there designed to help you find new authors my top pick definitely is: what should I read next.com.    
 
I hope you will all make it a point to try some new authors in the coming year.  It had always been my policy to finish a book once I started reading it.  I was cured of this foolishness after forcing myself to finish reading Moo by Jane Smiley.  I really disliked the book, even though several people I have discussed it with thought it was great.  I decided I would never waste time again reading a novel that I did not enjoy!  If you pick a new book that you don't care for, put it aside and try another.  As it says on my coffee cup:  “So many books, so little time”.  There is a good chance you will be well rewarded for trying a new author in the coming year.
 
Jill B.
RIP
Sue Grafton

I was saddened to hear that one of my favorite authors, Sue Grafton, passed away on December 28th, 2017 at age 77.  She was most well known for her "alphabet series" of mysteries featuring Kinsey Millhone, a private detective in southern California. 

She gave Ross MacDonald credit for being the biggest influence on her writing.  MacDonald wrote an excellent series from the forties to the seventies featuring P.I. Lew Archer.  She also used a Lawrence Block book on writing to help guide her way.  She picked excellent mentors as they are two of the very best writers in the mystery field.
 
Grafton created a memorable cast of characters based in fictional Santa Teresa, which was a thinly disguised Santa Barbara. Unlike the protagonists in most mystery series, Kinsey stayed in her thirties throughout the 25 book series. Keeping the books in the eighties made them fun to read because they were a period piece of the days of looking for a phone booth to make a call and struggling to make triplicate copies with carbon paper on the typewriter.
 
Sue Grafton had already picked out a title for the 26th book in the series, Z Is For Zero.  Unfortunately, due to her cancer treatments, she had not started writing the book at the time of her death.  Her family knew that she would not have wanted a ghost writer to finish the series, so it ended with Y. 
 
Grafton told a newspaper reporter that she wanted to be "...the king of American mysteries."  Well, Sue Grafton, you can rest well knowing your wish came true. 

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