Publication Year and Relevance: Why I Review and Recognize Older Books

“Older books.” A relative term in itself.

In publishing, it often doesn’t take long for new books to become old news, so to speak. A book may only receive “new release” recognition or be eligible for certain new release promotions within 14 or 30 days of its publication. “See What’s New!” a sign in a bookstore or a public library will urge readers with excitement, spotlighting a special display of titles. But ultra-visible placement only lasts a short time before most books are put up on the regular shelves with all the others, usually with just their spines showing. And library and bookstore shelf space is limited, so books that don’t garner enough interest fast enough will be replaced with different books.

Book contests and award organizations tend to accept entries or nominations for books that are not yet published or that have been published within the organization’s current calendar year. Any other books are, well, too old.

Oh, a single book may have multiple releases, in a sense, particularly if the author is popular. A publisher may release a hardback before the trade paperback edition of a book is released, and then a mass market paperback may follow some time afterward. The audio and ebook versions of that book may also become available at different times. Multiple formats releasing at staggered times might help a book to remain “new news” for a longer stretch.

Yet, not every title is an award winner, becomes a bestseller while it’s new, or is written by an award-winning or bestselling author. It may only be a matter of months from the time when a book is released to the point when the publisher stops buzzing about it. I don’t blame publishers for that. If they spent all their time and money trying to actively market every book on their ever-growing backlists, there wouldn’t be enough time and money to push the newer books they’re continually putting out.

Even so, I know that a relevant book doesn’t lose its relevance just because it hits the six-month or one-year mark since its publication. I know that a meaningful novel doesn’t lose its meaningfulness just because the “new release” sparkle has sparkled off. I know that a well-written and profound story doesn’t cease to be well-written and profound just because the initial marketing has ceased or the initial buzz about the story has died down.

Yeah, a book may only have a short time to prove itself in sales and reviews and such before publishers are moving on and promoters/advertisers are looking for the next new thing. But, hey, I won’t even get into all the works through the years that may not have had the best reception or may not have become instant hits after their original releases, but audiences have come to recognize the merit of those works after all.

So, I don’t only seek out and read new, recently published books. I don’t only review new books. I don’t only share and recommend new books. New books aren’t the only ones that show up on my annual book award lists. Yes, I even share my enthusiasm about books that are out of print, and interested readers may have to buy or borrow a used copy, as I did.

A book might have first been published yesterday, or it might have first been published hundreds of years ago. If that book is meaningful, relevant, and well-written, then that’s what it is, regardless of its publication year.

An author may only have so much time or finance to promote their own books, and no author will be able to promote their work forever. But other people—especially readers—keep books circulating, start up new buzz, wield word-of-mouth power to get more people reading and benefiting from an author’s words.

Whether a good story is old, new, or somewhere in between, it takes a community of book lovers to keep that story alive.

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Living that Bookish Life

Someone asked me on Goodreads how I got into reading and writing, and I felt like blogging my answer.

So how did I get started in this bookish life, hmm? I’d say my parents are the guilty parties here. They both were readers.

My mom took me and my siblings down to the public library for books since we were quite little, and we had a family reading club for years. My dad would put up a new calendar in the kitchen each month where we’d write our initials down every time we finished a book, and a running total for each family member was at the bottom of the calendar.

Every time one of us kids finished ten books, we’d get some sort of little prize, but when it came down to it, it wasn’t about the prizes. Even when the reading club eventually phased out, we kept on reading. My uncle once joked that he’d never seen kids who were so excited to get books for Christmas!

As for my writing, if I had to pinpoint a time when I got started, it was when I was eight years old. I had to write a story for school, using specific spelling words, and my dad seemed to think the story was rather good. (He kept the story–still has it, in fact.)

I’ve been writing stories ever since. I just put book covers on them now. 🙂


Meet Nadine C. Keels

The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter

Romance Book

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

3 Stars

Go to The Goodbye Bride on GoodreadsThe Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“I don’t remember the last seven months.”
“Not at all? That’s…that must be hard.”
Still being in love with the man whose heart you didn’t remember breaking? Not exactly a walk in the park.

Lucy Lovett’s got an unresolved past (both remembered and forgotten) behind her and an emotionally daunting journey ahead of her in The Goodbye Bride, the second Summer Harbor novel by author Denise Hunter.

I picked this book up with little knowledge of its plot, set on reading it on account of how much I enjoyed the preceding novel, Falling Like Snowflakes. In this sequel, I appreciated the glimpses of returning characters and the messages of forgiveness, of relying on God for strength to face human relationships, of love that is stronger than fear. And like the first romance I read by this author, I’d place this one on the steamier side of Christian Fiction–not at all a bad thing!

Still, the romance began to lose my interest after a while, as the instances and descriptions of Lucy and Zac’s attraction became redundant. It seemed that they each stopped to brood over and around the same desires and doubts a number of times throughout the story, and the reading lagged for me in the middle. There also seemed to be a menacing build-up toward something that pretty much fizzled into nothing.

Nevertheless, I’m rather sure this heartfelt return to Summer Harbor has built on a good setup for the next book in the series…

Here’s my review of Falling Like Snowflakes.

Meet Nadine C. Keels

The Someday List by Stacy Hawkins Adams

Women's Fiction

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

4 Stars

Go to The Someday List on GoodreadsThe Someday List by Stacy Hawkins Adams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Apart from her heart surgeon husband, two young children she loves, and her rather privileged lifestyle, Rachelle Covington isn’t exactly sure who she is or what she truly wants for herself. Her journey to figuring it out, and dealing with her past, begins in The Someday List by author Stacy Hawkins Adams.

I can tell how much I’m enjoying a novel when, at some point or another, I hear myself as I read: hear myself laughing, hear myself gasping, hear myself talking back to a character who needs to catch a clue. In this case, a number of points during the reading were punctuated with an audible “Mm” from me as Rachelle’s situation incited my interest, my reasoning, my emotions. The story deals with some hard, real, messy issues without being “messy” about it but also without sugarcoating it all for faith’s sake—the strong faith theme notwithstanding.

Now, while I could feel for Rachelle and a good handful of the other characters, there was one key character who didn’t quite have me convinced. When an antagonist is headed for a change down the road, that character is most intriguing when he or she doesn’t seem “bad” just for the sake of it, when there’s a little deeper dimension to who the character really is and why. This story’s “villain” didn’t intrigue me that way, so his portion of the plot eventually fell a bit flat to me.

Still, this novel kept me invested from the first page to the last, and I deem it a worthwhile pick for other fans of contemporary Christian Fiction.

The Someday List is first in the Jubilant Soul series.

Go to Worth a Thousand Words on Goodreads Go to Dreams That Won't Let Go on Goodreads

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