To read, or not to read: that is the question. I get asked a lot whether or not I read my reviews, and my answer is 'yes, sort of'. Basically, I don't believe any authors who say that they don't notice reviews. Pretty much everyone does it, and the ones who say they don't are liars.
Nevertheless, I don't tend to read the bad ones all the way through. I'll usually glance at the last paragraph of the review and, if that's okay, then I'll read the rest. If the final paragraph is the equivalent of a dagger being twisted in my heart, then I don't bother reading the rest. I'm not a masochist. Well, not that much of a masochist anyway.
So the reviews for The Book of Lost Things have been coming in over the past couple of weeks. So far, between Ireland, the UK, and the advance US reviews, there have only been two negatives, and all of the rest have been glowing. That's probably as well as I've ever done with a book, review-wise, and it's kind of consoling. It is, as one reviewer pointed out, an "odd" little book, but that's no bad thing.
When I was doing a radio review show last week, I was asked where bookstores were going to put it, given that it didn't obviously fit in with my previous books, and was a difficult book to describe. It was a good question, and I'm not sure that I had the right answer, but, secretly, I was kind of glad that it forced people to ask these questions. If nothing else, it's a little different from the norm, and, with luck, readers will begin to find that out for themselves, regardless of where it's positioned in the bookstores.
The UK tour comes to an end this week, and then I head to Madison for Bouchercon. I'm trying not to worry about sales - this book was always going to be something of a slow burner, and it has come out at a very competitive time for fiction. It's nudging the Top Ten list in Britain, which is a surprise to me, although a welcome one. It would be nice to see it break into the list, but it may not, and I'll live with that.
Now, given that I have my first afternoon off in as long as I can remember, I'm off to see Helen Mirren in The Queen. And then maybe Clerks II, because it's going to be that kind of day . . .
This week John read
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
The Sound of No Hands Clapping by Toby Young
and listened to
101 by Depeche Mode
Tripper by Efterklang