Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Great Book Expectations

Doppelganger posted about Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series on 50Books today, and it made me think about how much I love the main character, Precious Ramotswe. I picked up a trade paperback of Smith's subsequent series opener, The Sunday Philosophy Club, and unfortunately, it was far less intriguing. As I mentioned to Lady O, it might have been worth the price of a mass market paperback, but definitely not trade paperback or hardbound.

I have tiers of expectation for favored authors and series.

1) Author/series is worth buying in hardback. (This is really rare. Harry Potter is one of the few. It's a statement that I not only am willing to spend the money, but that I'm willing to devote a larger amount of space on our crowded bookshelves. Hardback-worthiness can be revoked. I loved Neal Stephenson's earlier work so much that I have the entire Baroque Cycle in hardback, and that was a mistake. It was too darn heavy (physically and textwise) to carry around, and I think I'm going to exchange 'em for paperback.)

2) Author/series is worth buying in trade paperback. (I consider books in this category as a sure-enough thing that I'll pick them up without doing a long internal debate at the bookstore. The Ladies Detective Agency series falls into this tier. So do Meg Cabot's books.)

3) Author/series is worth buying, but wait until the book comes out in mass market paperback. (Most of my favorite sci-fi authors fall into this category - not because I don't love them, but because I have so many of their books that hardback would take too much space. Tolkein, Anne McCaffery's dragons, Frank Herbert's Dune (haven't read his son's prequels yet), the Ender's Shadow series by Orson Scott Card, the Miles series by Lois McMaster Bujold, Dick Francis novels with "New York Times Bestseller for 8 Weeks" on the cover.)

4) Author/series to find at the local library. (This is for art books that I definitely don't have room to store, sequels to The Sunday Philosophy Club, Dick Francis novels with "By the Author of 'The Edge'" on the cover. Lady O determined the formula for the DF novels, and boy is it accurate.)

5) Books that I pretend don't exist. (Non-fiction tomes that tell you all the things you are now doing to ruin your children, their health, and their futures.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's a Stanford Continuing Studies course called "Anxieties of Early Childhood." The title alone makes me feel anxious.

Hooray fiction! I just re-read Bujold's Memory. Soooo good.

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