Writing Wednesdays: Taking chances as a reader

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A couple weeks ago, I asked about taking chances as a writer, specifically through different genres.

This week, I wonder about taking chances as a reader. What does it take to get you to take a chance on a new author? One single review from a reviewer that you trust? A whim? A bunch of reviews, or a groundswell?

I bought Jenny Offill’s superb Dept. of Speculation on the strength of James Wood’s review in The New Yorker, because I respect his opinion and tend to agree with his assessments.

However, I have hitherto resisted going anywhere near Karl Ove Knausgard’s My Struggle, though people I know rave about it, and though professional reviewers (including Wood) are respectful, because I couldn’t quite get into the excerpt that was published in The New Yorker and don’t feel like taking on such a huge time commitment as a reader.

In between those two extremes is a spectrum of other examples.

What prompts you to experiment as a reader?

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