Bookish Thoughts: Older Titles vs. Current Releases

Books, books, books.  

Do you ever find yourself reading new releases by popular authors rather than reading older titles by the same authors? There are some authors that can be considered my absolute favorites.  Authors like Diane Chamberlain, Elin Hilderbrand, and Colleen Hoover.  Have I read all of their books? No.  Do I always read the new books they release? Yes.

As I sat here thinking about this, I realized that often when we talk about the books that we’ve recently read and enjoyed we often discuss new releases, but what about older works? 

Lately, I’ve been making a conscious effort to read older titles by the authors whose new novels I usually always read.   I’ve also found that I sometimes enjoy these older novels more than their latest releases.  A good example of this is with Jodi Picoult.  I wasn’t the biggest fan of her two most recent novels The Book of Two Ways and A Spark of Light, but I devoured Small Great Things and Harvesting the Heart when I read them this past year. I also recently read and enjoyed Jane Green’s 2012 novel Another Piece of my Heart and Beth Harbison’s 2012 novel Always Something There to Remind Me.  Maybe 2012 was just a good year for books, but these novels pulled me right in and I was unable to put them down!

Have you found yourself reading more current releases rather than older works? Why do you think this is? If you’re a fan of older novels, what are some titles that you’d suggest others read?

Katie, Head of Adult Services & Acquisitions: I read both older titles and current releases! One example is the Pendergast Series. I read all the new books they put out the day they are released, but I also love going back to revisit some of the earlier stories, mainly Cabinet of Curiosities or Still Life with Crows.

Hongmei, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian: I love to read old classical books because they have stood the test of time, the new books are still in a probationary period. Reading old classical books helps me to understand the past and know how things were developed. I enjoy classic books such as Jane EyreWar and Peace, The Time Machine, Gone With The Wind.

Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian: I most definitely am lured by and tend to read newer works of popular authors, rather than their older ones; I can think of couple of reasons for that–

  • Publicity given to new releases in the print and online media makes new releases very conspicuous and hard to miss and resist.
  • It is hard to find enough reading time, and I feel it is better to keep myself updated with the author’s new releases, rather than go back to older titles.
  • As a result of this I have a growing backlog of older works and classics in literature that I haven’t quite got to reading yet and are on my bucket list.

Suggestions for older reads include works by Jane Austen, Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, H. G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, Bronte sisters, Agatha Christie,Charles Dickens, among infinite other must reads!

Joe, Adult Service & Acquisitions Librarian: I try to maintain a balanced diet of older & current books, though I probably read older ones slightly more often. I guess it’s because there’s simply a far bigger selection of books from the past than from the present, and so there are a lot more good old books to choose from. Of course, if a writer I’ve enjoyed for years publishes a new book, I’ll try to read it as soon as I can– like with George Saunders and his latest release, A Swim in a Pond in the RainAnd if anyone’s looking for sharply satirical, endlessly imaginative, extraordinarily poignant short fiction, I enthusiastically suggest CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, Saunders’ first collection from 25 years ago.

-Jessica, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

Bookish Thoughts: 2021 Reading Challenge

Don’t you just love the beginning of a brand new year of books and reading?  

One of my favorite parts of the new year is setting a yearly reading goal and tracking not only how many books I’ve read but also what I’ve read.  Every year I regularly read about 100 books (including poetry collection and audiobooks) and I track them through the GoodReads app. Every year I also vow to read slower and more carefully- really absorbing the words and taking my time. However, in reality this rarely happens and I often find myself trying to read faster to beat my reading goals of the past. 

This year I’m going to try to stick to the goal of 100 books and try not to feel the need to read faster or read more than 100.  I’m going to try to really enjoy what I read and cherish each and every page.  Each year I have been trying to add more classics into my to-read pile and one that I am looking forward to tackling this year is The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  

Interested in the reading goals of other #LtownLibrary staff members? Here’s what staff of the Livingston Public Library is looking forward to reading in the new year:

Katie, Head of Adult Services & Acquisitions: I plan on reading 85 books in 2021.  I’m very excited for the new Preston and Child book, The Scorpion’s Tail.

Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian: I do not keep any reading goals  because I feel that will put pressure on me and make my reading experience more anxious.  I just try to read as many as I can and of course, my to be read pile is infinitely larger than the books I have read.

I am looking forward to reading 2 biographies by major celebrities– One is the first volume of Barack Obama’s memoir called The Promised Land which was released this past November. 

With all 174 copies of the book checked out, the hold queue for the title is way long, but this glimpse into the personal journey of our former President and inspirational figure will definitely be worth the wait. Another memoir I am excited about is the memoir Unfinished by global celebrity  Priyanka Chopra Jones, slated for a February release.Having seen her as a popular actress in the Indian film industry, it will be interesting to read about her childhood, her transition to the world stage and the numerous challenges she faced in her personal and professional lives all along.

Another novel which I am considering reading is actually an older one; published in 1993 it is Vikram Seth’s The Suitable Boy –which is one of the longest English language novels published in a single volume.  Set in a newly post-independence, post-partition India, the novel follows the story of four families over a period of 18 months, and centres on Mrs. Rupa Mehra’s efforts to arrange the marriage of her younger daughter, Lata, to a “suitable boy”.  The BBC has dramatized the book this year under the direction of Mira Nair, and this has reawakened my interest in reading it. Not sure though if I will be able to complete this hefty tome of 1,349 pages!

Joe, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian: I don’t often set specific reading goals, since I’m not a very fast reader. On top of that, being in grad school right now means I have less time for leisure reading than usual. But I’ll say that I hope to read at least 50 books in 2021, and there are definitely a couple titles in particular I’m looking forward to reading. For a class on Young Adult literature last semester I read a novel I really enjoyed called Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, and I’m excited to finish its sequel, Exile from Eden, early in the new year. And for Christmas, my mom got me a copy of How to Write One Song by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. As a big fan of Tweedy’s music and his previous book, the memoir Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back), I’m eager to dive into his new book as well.  

Are you excited about a new year of reading and setting a yearly reading goal?  What are you looking forward to reading in 2021 and how do you keep track of what you’ve read?  Tell us in the comments below!

-Jessica, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian