Thursday 13 March 2014

Finding Magic Realist Books

I am sometimes asked how I discover so many magic realist books. Magic realism is not a category in Amazon's listings and if you search for it you will get a load of children's fairy books and very few books that would qualify as magic realism. If you look up books that you know to be magic realism you will find them listed under a range of categories.

Obviously one way for you to find magic realist books is to follow this blog (see right). You can also look at the list of 195 books I have in my collection. I have a confession to make: that list is badly out of date as my collection has grown to about 300 now, but I haven't had the time to update the list on this blog.

There are other lists out there, the most obvious being the ones on Goodreads. In Goodreads you get lists of magic realist books which have been voted on by Goodreads members: there are two main lists. Favourite Magical Realist Novels has 654 books on it: As the books are ranked according to votes cast, the best place to start is therefore at the top of the list where the books have a lot of votes. Magical Realism has a more manageable 92: Of course these lists do rely on the members understanding what “magic realism” is, and when you look at them you will soon see that not everyone does!

Of course once you start buying magic realist books on Amazon, the Amazon recommendation system kicks in – “people who bought this also bought...” which can be a good way of finding similar books. It can also produce totally irrelevant results, so do check the description and use the look inside feature.

Both Goodreads and Shelfari have groups of magic realism fans, however they don't seem to be very active. I recommend joining the Magic Realism Books Facebook Group and not just because I am the administrator. There are lots of discussions on there with readers and writers of magic realism taking part. Some of the writers offer review copies to group members.

Browsing for magic realist books is hard in physical bookshops for the same reason. They can be shelved all over the place. I have created a list on my computer of “magic realism books I do not have”, which I have printed out and carry around with me just in case. But I've also got quite good at recognizing a magic realist book by its cover. I can't say exactly what distinguishes them, sometimes the title, sometimes the design. I have a pinterest page featuring the covers of the books I have reviewed, do have a look and maybe you can see what I am talking about.

1 comment:

Leann said...

Thank you, Zoe. I really enjoy your blog.