Friday, May 18, 2007

Will You Read Moby Dick Because Alton Brown Is?

The issue of how to get book titles out in front of the public was of interest to me even before all the excitement over the demise of the book review section. Even with the newspaper book reviews that were recently dumped there were nowhere near enough review spots for all the books that are published each year, forget about reminding people about the books that came out three years ago that they still haven't read.

But I'm into history, and for me that means that I can accept that things change. Other ways of talking about books are evolving even as we speak.

I have a family member who is a big Alton Brown fan. While said family member was at AB's website, he noticed a page called What I'm Reading. As you might expect, a couple of the books are about food, but AB is also reading Moby Dick (seafood!) and Watchmen.

I found this interesting. Is this a way for entertainers and other people who the public enjoy following to share their interest in books? Will their fans care enough to check out their reading material?

I know some will blow off this sort of thing as being celebrity-based and thus shallow. But a lot of TV viewers feel close to the personalities they watch regularly, especially the ones who, like Alton Brown, appear as themselves. How is this exchange of book info substantially different from talking about books with friends?

Well, except that the friendship is one-sided, of course.

The publishing industry isn't in such good shape that anyone can give these kinds of recommendations a cold-shoulder. Read faster, Alton! Read some kids' books!

2 comments:

FaxMeBeer said...

I'm not a big celebrity follower -- in fact, I'm an MBA student with two kids, a stay-at-home wife who is also working on her M.ED., so we don't even know who most celebrities are! -- but I love AB. That dude is so intelligent that reading the same books as him can do nothing but make you a better, more well rounded person. Now, if Rosie O'Donnell, or Bill O'Riely has a recommendation, I'd probably give it as much weight as the latest fare from Reading Rainbow (a great show, right?).

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