In my wanderings out there on the great big electronic Web-like thingie we call, uh, the Web, yesterday I saw someone praising The Big Idea and saying that she could always rely on the book recommendations I make through it.
Naturally, I’m delighted she finds The Big Idea so useful — that’s the whole point, to introduce you the readers to works you might want to read — but I do want to add a small point of clarification, which is that when I select books for The Big Idea, what I’m mostly going by is release date, not by content or (importantly) by my own personal feelings about the book. If an author/publicist/editor asks if a particular date is available, and it is, and the book meets my inclusion criteria, I’m likely to offer them that slot. With a very few exceptions, that’s been my selection process.
What I think this reader is responding to is not my selection of books and authors to highlight, but how the authors themselves are writing about their books here. Which is I think one of the really excellent things about The Big Idea: it isn’t in fact about me, and what I like; it’s about the author telling you what makes his or her book worth your time to read. All I do is provide the space and an intro paragraph and then get out of the way.
So, if The Big Idea is doing a great job of helping you find books, I’ll take credit for the basic idea and offering up the space. You’re welcome. But the people who are doing the real heavy lifting here are the authors themselves. The credit for the success of the feature goes to them.