Blessing or Curse? by Cindy Hulsey

I was a reader long before the Internet took over the world. These days it’s easy for book junkies like me to find good books to read. Thousands of titles and authors, book reviews and articles, reader ratings and reviews are at my fingertips. This wasn’t always the case.

I remember reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt when it was published in 1992. It was Tartt’s first novel and I couldn’t wait to read the next one. For years I kept returning to the book store scouring the shelf for a new book written by Tartt, only to be disappointed. There was no Internet (well, there was, but it wasn’t widely used), there was no Google; I was on my own.

Now of course, I know that Tartt publishes a book only once every decade. Had the Internet been available to me in 1992 I could have saved myself some trouble. Today I can do a quick Google search and find photos of authors, archived interviews, reader reviews, and much more. I can get biographical information, newspaper and magazine articles, websites, blogs and databases devoted to books and authors.

I wouldn’t go back to the way things were for anything, but I must say, there is a downside to having so much information at my fingertips; namely, information overload. Just as I used to be frustrated by not having enough information about books and authors, I now find myself being equally exasperated by having too much information. I’m bombarded by a plethora of electronic information about books; so much so that I can’t possibly digest it all. My to-read list contains more books than I can ever read, and it grows each week. I know that somewhere there is a balance between too little information and too much; I just haven’t found it yet.

If you feel overwhelmed by too many book choices; let the professionals help you. Complete the “Your Next Great Read” survey and a specially trained TCCL librarian will present to you a list of authors and titles you might enjoy based upon your reading likes and dislikes.  Yes, we librarians are overloaded with book info, so you might as well take advantage of it!

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