• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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I Ain’t No Monkey But I Know What I Like



What makes you buy a book? The title, the jacket art, the author, the blurbs, the author photo, the first sentence, first paragraph, last line? Do you read a review, see something on Facebook, see the author on Trevor Noah, or hear about it from a friend, your book club, Goodreads, word of mouth.

What gets you?


11 Responses

  1. Yes. All of the above. I’d add to that the tactile experience I get from holding it. Example: Terry Terry Tempest Williams “When Women Were Birds” and currently Patti Smith’s “M Train” – both of these books make me very happy just holding them in my hot little hands.

    • Ok. I do know Terry Tempest Williams is not Terry Terry. Sometimes my keyboard is possessed – cursor moves randomly around making picking up where I left off problematic.

  2. I will forever stand by word of mouth as the very best way to hear about a book. You know what I mean. The excitement over a book is contagious when the person telling you about it has the enthusiasm of a soccer mom encouraging her little one to kick the ball. There might be some jumping up and down, and screaming.

    But, for the most part, my way of learning about a book nowadays is through all those mediums above – except author photo and the last line. (last line?!?! I’d be afraid of ruining the whole experience)

    Here’s a good example of the word of mouth working when the chorus of social media (meaning people talking about it on FB/Goodreads/the news) had been saying all along “you should read this, you should read this.” I was at the Bookmarks Moveable Feast on Sunday, and after I was done with my spiel on my book, someone said, “You should read Hillbilly Elegy. I think you’d find a lot of parallels with regard to what he went through and the story you tell. Even though his is memoir. It’s a really good book.”

    I bought it when I got home.

    Off topic – I love that picture of the bluebird. Then I noticed the other little bluebird (Twitter) and went out to see if I was following you – couldn’t remember – and I was, but then I took the time to read some of your tweets, and I saw the one back from December and the pic with Temple Grandin. I LOVE Temple Grandin. I learned about her through that movie where Claire Danes played her, and then I was so enthralled by her overall, when my book club had a theme called Strong Women, my program was…on Temple Grandin.

  3. Cover or jacket blurbs may get me to open the book, then it’s the words. Sometimes those other things get me to seek it out and pick it up, but it’s the words.

  4. Mostly word of mouth. I’m a floater, a listener. I catch suggestions in the wind and have been led up many a strange alley.

  5. Reviews have disappointed me. The books I’ve enjoyed the most have been those handed to me or simply caught my eye in the book store or on Amazon. Winter’s Bone, The Snow Hunters, Cold Mountain and A Confederacy of Dunces have all called out to me in the rawest of ways — Hey, you! Check it out, check it out.
    Some back alleys lead to interesting places.

  6. No Facebook, I’m part of Goodreads but I don’t think I’ve ever bought something from its recommendations, and I don’t watch enough TV to have that be helpful. I don’t buy from Amazon except work-based reference books that I can’t get anywhere else.

    I’m a browser. I go to Northshire Books in Manchester VT and spend hours wandering. I start with authors I already know, see what they’ve done lately. And then I just walk.

    There’s a sort of gestalt about an unknown book that comes home with me, the title and the cover art (including the typeface) that feels like it holds a generous mind. And that’s what I look for most: generosity, a writer of possibilities and aspirations and big dreams.

    I don’t pay much attention to blurbs, except those on the “recommended” hangtags written by the bookstore staff. Those have gotten me to buy a book a few times.

    When my last book came out a year ago, I got the cover design and was very pleased. I asked also to see the spine, and my editor laughingly said that in fifteen years, she’d never had a writer ask for the spine. But unless you’re one of the handful of books in the store that are faced out, the spine does most of your PR work. If the author’s famous, the author name will be huge and the book title small; if the author’s not famous, the title will be huge and the author name small (that’d be me). That little inch-and-a-half by nine ribbon is enormously influential, helping us choose to pull that book down off the shelf in the first place, seeing one snowflake in the blizzard.

  7. “What makes you buy a book? . . . . What gets you?”

    If I’ve read something the author has written and it gets me, and I get it, that may get me.

    If it’s a classic that fills a gap in my library, that may get me.

    If I have a personal connection with the author, that may get me.

    It it’s time for me to spontaneously buy a book, that may get me.

  8. In a store it’s the cover that catches my eye, then the blurb. On line it’s the sample.
    Word of mouth gets me hooked. But, I have so little time I wriggle on the line and usually forget.

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