Sunday, January 29, 2012

Browsing for Book Junkies: Friday Reads

Are you familiar with the Friday Reads website and Twitter stream? I'm a fan of this growing movement. It's an easy way to share and discuss whatever you're reading every week, and to find out about the stories capturing others' imaginations, too.

And in the spirit behind Friday Reads -- namely, that reading is always better when shared -- here are a few things I've been reading and enjoying this past week:

First there's the third installment in Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games Trilogy Mockingjay, in audiobook form. I got hooked after we picked up the first in the series for our son. Collins came up with a brilliant take on an all-too plausible dystopian future of reality TV meets gladiatorial games. Its appeal is far broader than the intended youth audience, and the audio version has been a very enjoyable companion for me in the car, on dog walks and during otherwise unfun chores (such as today's task: finally taking down the Christmas lights).

I've also been re-reading Cradle to Cradle, the 2002 vision of a less wasteful way of designing, living and doing business by Bill McDonough and Michael Braungart. This is one of the works that influenced my thinking as I wrote my upcoming book, Garbology.

Finally, anyone who is interested in the future of books and publishing should read the first story I devoured in today's New York Times, "The Bookstore's Last Stand." Julie Bosman's insightful and illuminating story looks at Barnes & Noble's efforts to re-invent itself in the eBooks era while holding on to what it does best -- provide the age-old joy of the book browse. My take on this brave new world is that all of us in publishing need to embrace the opportunities in this evolving world where book junkies like me can find new ways to savor books ALL the time, anywhere - on paper, digitally, and through audio. I don't know about you, but I'm buying more, not less, books than ever.

Sites like Friday Reads, where the passion for books is so evident, are a vital part of this ever-expanding online community of book lovers.