Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Globe and Mail's Book Site

A year or so ago the Globe and Mail phoned us up to ask us to renew our subscription which we had let lapse a few years ago. We told them no thank you, there wasn't that much in it that we wanted to read except in the book section, so we only get the Globe and Mail on the weekends. Perhaps we aren't the only ones that have told them that as the G&M have revamped their book section and alleluia, they have put much of it online.

Have just taken a look at it to see if it takes our fancy. First of all we notice it has best seller lists. Handy, but only if you are aware what best seller lists represent. We don't believe for a moment that best seller lists really mean what they pretend. Instead these lists are mainly a measure of publication push - the books the publishers are promoting heavily. And the ploy often works. Still we don't mind looking at the bait with a critical eye.

Joseph Boyden seems very in right now. We see His book Through Black Spruce is on the hard cover fiction list. We read his Three Day Road a while back and although we liked it, we had this nagging feeling he borrowed a lot of his material. I'm afraid that's one of my pet peeves. When authors use material I expect the author to at least make a nod to the source. But that's an aside. On the softcover fiction list we see books by Jodi Picoult and by Khaled Husseini. I wouldn't mind reading Husseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns since The Kite Runner was so good. I've read 3 books from the non-fiction lists which seem to have books that have been around a while. Then there are Canadian lists for those who want to restrict themselves by nationality! The lists by genre are useful too. I see a couple of appealing titles on the mystery list.

But I am less interested in the lists than the reviews and other articles on the site. Having belonged to a book club for several years, I liked the profile of a Montreal Club which has been meeting for 30 years. The Globe says:

This is the first instalment in a new series in which Globe Books will shine a light on Canada's legion of book clubs.

Each month over the course of four Saturdays, we will introduce you to a new club, the book they are reading, their history and traditions, and their verdict about the book.

Gee, maybe they will do a profile of my women's reading group! If I was still in my book group I could write in and tell them which book we were reading. [Mamie take note!] They say there will be an online book club coming and a blog coming too.

Besides the articles and reviews, (they say there will be one every weekday) there are some online "ask the author" sessions lined up. One with Joseph Boyden this week (Didn't I say he was in right now?) but I am more interested in the one with P.D. James, which is scheduled for the week of Jan 24-29th. I'd ask her if it is too late for me to become an author at my age.

There is a video Blurb promoting all the bells and whistles of the site here.
I think I'll be checking in regularly.

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Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.
Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937)