I suspect most of my readers would agree that Facebook can be a huge time-suck. You vow to take a quick look, and before you know it, an hour has passed. For me, that would be time much better spent reading a book, writing a column, or continuing to work on my next book.
Still, I can’t help myself, and I’ve found one big benefit to FaceBook beyond the delights of connecting with high school and college friends—discovering new books. We’ve all read about Facebook algorithms and how the munchkins that run the site choose what to show us. Well, the munchkins show me plenty of dog and cat videos and pics because I can’t resist clicking on those, but I also see tons of posts about books.
I stumbled across a British readers group called Book Connectors and through them have discovered all kinds of books I never would have heard of. Most of these books are available only from Amazon, not from my local library, either because they’re written by British authors who haven’t made it big in the USA or they’re earlier titles in a series.
One thing leads to another, and because I often google these titles and wind up on Amazon, I’ve started getting FaceBook ads about other British books. And, of course, after checking Amazon, similar titles appear in my regular Amazon emails. It’s never-ending.
I order most of these British books as e-books, and one series I enjoy is the Inspector Hilary Greene saga by author Faith Martin. I’m on book five of seventeen and was addicted long before I made my visit to Oxford last year. Now I get a further kick out of recognizing towns and street names in this series set in an around Oxford.
I also downloaded book one in the Martha Gunn series by Priscilla Masters. The main character is a coroner who resides in Shrewsbury in the Cotswolds, and though I didn’t make it to that town when I was in England, I’m enjoying recognizing names of neighboring towns I did visit. The good news is that my library has some of the later books in this series, so after a few more Kindle downloads, I can switch to paper.
Another Kindle boxset I’m enjoying is the Beatrice Stubbs series. I’d seen it mentioned in Book Connectors and then started getting ads about it. The icing on the cake was when an author friend who lives in France recommended it. The Amazon description reads, “Beatrice Stubbs of Scotland Yard: detective inspector, metaphor mixer and stubborn survivor. Battling crime by day and her own demons by night, the question remains: justice or the law?”
As in all experiments, not all of the books I’ve tried have been winners. I only made it through book one and part of book two in Rebecca Tope’s sixteen book Cotswold Mysteries series. Despite the pleasantly familiar towns and settings, the plots didn’t grab me. Still, if there are sixteen books in the series, others must see something in them.
I’ve just realized that all of these books have strong female protagonists. Lest you think me sexist in my reading habits, please be assured I’ve read plenty of mysteries with men as the lead characters. The DCI Banks series by Peter Robinson come to mind. I’ve read all 25, in order of course, and am eagerly awaiting the next one.
Enquiring minds would like to know. Have you ever read a book because you saw it on Facebook? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.