Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Sunday Salon: Old vs. New

I saw a tweet between John Green and Cassandra Clare recently that's had me thinking. The tweet was regarding space in the YA sections of bookstores. It was said that the focus is given to new titles and less importance on backlist titles. And yes, that does seem to be true. What concerned me is that if the same applies to book blogging?

For many years, I ran this blog, Fluttering Butterflies with no outside source of books aside from what I bought myself. I read and reviewed for the pleasure of sharing what I read with others. If I read a book and liked it, it's possible that I might review it. It's only very recently that I began recieving books from publishers or winning them in giveaways on other blogs or via twitter. And it seems to be a pretty common occurrence amongst other book bloggers, recieving ARCs from publishers. Has it changed the shape of book blogging?

A quick glance at my google reader and the handful of blogs that I looked at with reviews recently ... Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma, Linger by Maggie Stiefvater, two for Firespell by Chloe Neill, Forget You by Jennifer Echols, The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, Withering Tights by Louise Rennison... all published this year. There were a few classics thrown into the mix, one for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, one for I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. But on the whole, recent releases.

Do other people review older titles and recieve so few comments that they're discouraged to continue doing so?
Are people not reading and blogging about the backlist tiles? I know that I get severely less comments on my reviews of lesser known books. But is that just me? Is it the way I'm writing about these books? Is it just a coincidence? Is it only specific to the book blogs that I read?

One of my birthday presents (last week) was a copy of Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. I'd been dying to read it for ages, but now that I have my copy, a little of my enthusiasm to read it has been dampened by the million or so reviews of it that I've seen since it was published. Do other people feel this way? I'm not saying I don't love the reviews of very recent books published or that I don't read and review recent releases all the time too, all I'm hoping to do is be more aware of what I'm reading and hope that I'm always reading the books I enjoy and not trying to follow a trend. Maybe now that I'm more aware of this old vs new theme, I can try to highlight some more older YA titles that still have a broad appeal.

I read a YA book today published way back in 1992. Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta. It was excellent. I fell in love with Josie Alibrandi, her mother, her grandmother, her love interest. I cried. When it finished, it left me thinking. I hope to review it soon and convince you that you haven't already read it, than you really should! Watch this space.


  1. Interesting question. I like to have mix of both old and new. It is fun to review the new stuff and try to "beat" everyone else to it! I don't manage that very often though. Usually I'm getting to the new stuff months later. But I love catching up on the old stuff. I did a post once about how I missed everything that was published in the 90's and so all that stuff is "new to me" and I'm having fun discovering it all for the first time.

  2. It's definitely not just you. I think in general more people have read the new stuff because they get it sent for review, which sort of snowballs because then we all want to read it as well, if it's good. Older titles don't really seem to get the same effect.

  3. What an amazing post!
    I feel exactly the same about you and I am starting to find ways to read and review other books as well as say no to some publishers on recent books. Everyone's IMM seem to be similar some weeks, so it gets a bit boring.
    I have also noted that I get very few comments on classics and other older titles compared to new releases, but I won't budge!
    Thanks for your article and your initiative to review older YA novels!
    x Caroline

  4. I need to be more conscious of this--there are so many different ways I want my reading to be diverse, and it's hard to keep track of them all! I think with newer books, loads of people are reviewing them at the same time and you have a sense you're entering into an ongoing discussion when you review them; which you don't necessarily get with older books. Maybe?

  5. I know exactly what you mean. I have a few books which when I read and review Im sure I wont bother going into too much detail on plot etc because there have been loads of reviews already and I wont be contributing anything new (The Help being an example)

    I think most of my reviews tend to be books that are about 3-5 years old with a few classics and new ones thrown in.

  6. I think you raise some good questions. I've found that the reviews of more recent books tend to generate more reader response, but sometimes I enjoy reviewing the older books more, because I don't feel like I have to come up with a new twist on what everyone else is saying.

    As far as I see it, the purpose of my blog hasn't changes - to keep a record of what I read and my thoughts about it, regardless of where it comes from. It's been interesting to see how bloggers' approaches have evolved over the last few years.


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