Book lovers welcome. Though I am writing this article as a fellow bibliophile, I am double minded about it because I think that most of the points mentioned here would be obvious to someone who taps the web for information. But I hope, the reader will look upon these ideas as another reminder that books or their authors are just the beginning. You can take both as keywords and launch a search to deepen your learning not only about the books in general, but also everything else they touch upon.
The idea for this article came about when I wrote about Small Demons and its attempt to take us deeper into a story and beyond. There are some other obvious ways we can deepen our learning by following a few web trails left by the author and his book.
Learn From Book Recommendations
Book recommendation services like Goodreads and LibraryThing are community gatherings around books. They are the online book clubs, and like any club they help to give you a broader view of any book. These sites also have book clubs that are often started around a specific title, author, or genre. For instance, Goodreads has nearly 1600 groups. You can use the search box to find a group of your interest and chime in. Most of these groups are moderated, so you can expect a certain level of civility.
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Hunt The Amazon JungleIt’s not only that you can go to Amazon and analyze a book though its reviews before you buy it; you can also go there later and see how others found it to be. Knowledgeable readers review a book threadbare, and that helps you take note of something you might have missed when you read the book for the first time. I am pretty sure Amazon clusters the more detailed reviews at the top. Also, read some opposing views to help you balance the scales.
Just like book recommendation sites, Amazon also links a book or its author with others in the same genre. Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought is full of hints to expand your learning by exploring other titles around similar reading tastes.
Amazon also has pages devoted to authors. It has a brief biography, other books by the author, and customer discussion forums around the author.
Do a Video Watch
Videos are the new promotional tools which authors are using to drive traffic and pitch for sales. Publishing houses often host author interviews in video format on their sites. Behind the scenes peeks and author opinions are brought forward. I have stumbled across sites like Reading Rockets where authors have opened up their minds to discuss how they thought up ideas and characters that went into their books. Just do a search and you will hit publishing sites like Simon & Schuster, Barnes & Noble, Random House, and more using book trailers to spread the word around.
If video doesn’t do anything for your learning about authors and books, then podcasts could do the trick. Check out iTunes…with a free subscription to a series like Meet The Authors, you can take your learning anywhere.
Search for Author Interviews
I haven’t forgotten Google Search or web search in general here. That’s the usual tool you would turn to in any case. Author interviews give you an insight into why the book was written in the first place. Usually author’s elaborate in the foreword, but author interviews are also cues for learning more about the background of a book.
Community sites like the one we discussed above sometimes have Q&A sessions with authors. Those also make for a good read.
It’s more than likely you will bump into your favorite author on Twitter. Twitter and the many search tools built around its API makes it so easy to follow authors and get instant updates. Of course, some authors just plug their latest books while some truly work to build up a following with great conversations. Following an author on Twitter is also a keyhole look into how they spend a creative day.
A Twitter profile usually has the link to where we are going next – the author blog/website.
The First Person Mouthpiece – Author Blogs
I have learnt a lot from people like Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, and Paulo Coelho. Let’s say blogging comes naturally to authors and more often than not their blogs are learning spots about the universe they write about in their books.
Books are about engaging our emotions first and our I.Q.’s second. If the former works out, the latter can be broadened easily with a bit of search on the web. Do you take the effort to seriously follow up a book you read with some more pottering around the web? If you love to discover more about the books you read and the authors who wrote them, drop your comments below.
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