I read the blurb on the back of books, of course I do. But I’m usually more than a little sceptical about the comparisons I find there: Wuthering Heights meets Girl, Interrupted? The Paris Wife meets Out of Thin Air? (That last one was actually real.)
But when a fellow author writes: “It’s The Royal Tenenbaums meets Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” I sit up and pay attention. I lay my sceptical nature to one side. This is surely worth paying attention to, I tell myself.
But that’s not the reason I bought this book. The reason I bought it, truth be told, is that Kevin Wilson’s agent is Julie Barer, and I’ve been stalking her for a while, because I think she’d make a great agent for my book. The thing is though, this book wasn’t really on my list (books that cover the same emotional territory as mine). Not really. But the praise was so glowing and the premise so delicious and compelling that I went ahead and bought it anyway, just for the joy of reading it.
Readers of this column will know that Book of the Month started life as a New Year’s resolution (courtesy of Red Sofa Literary). The idea is to buy at least one new book at full price from a local independent bookseller every month (yes, I am a little behind in logging my purchases, although 2012 is up to date). I added a couple of extra riders: let it be fiction, and let it be by an author I’ve never read before. To date this has been the easiest New Year’s Resolution I’ve ever made, although much more expensive than, say, giving up alcohol for a month. Much more enjoyable too than giving up alcohol. I recommend it to everyone who loves their local bookstore. If you don’t support it, who will? This book was purchased at Nicholas Hoare, because, although they didn’t have any of the Julie Barer books I wanted in stock, they ordered them for me and then took the trouble to find me a few books to read while I awaited delivery. Which is one reason why I’ll continue to pay full price for books I could get cheaper on Amazon, fool that I am.