Lori's Book Nook

Judge a book by its…website?

Posted on: January 14, 2008

Can you?

More and more the author is required to pull together much of their own marketing, and the really savvy ones will come up some really imaginative ideas — like a website. But is a really good web-presence enough to inspire you to buy a book?

Check out this one: a novel entitled Specialty Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. I had never heard of the book until I stumbled upon this brilliant website. It appears to be a mystery, with a very literary main character…and if you dig a bit, you’ll find some tasty buzz for it.

Has anyone out there read this one? I must admit I’m tempted.

Your comments?

16 Responses to "Judge a book by its…website?"

Hi Lori,
Just caught this post – have you seen http://noonebelongsheremorethanyou.com/ ?
It’s the website for “No One Belongs Here More Than You” by Miranda July. I haven’t read it but I like the website.


Yes! I have seen this one…the website written on the top of her fridge. Witty.

Hi Lori,
After checking out the website for ‘Special Calamity..’ I was called upon to immediately take it out of the library. I will let you know as to its value as a book, but the value of the website is immeasureable *if you can get it out to readers*. As a voracious reader of mysteries and quirky off-beat comedy thrillers, I was probably among the target demographic for this book, yet it was by chance that you came across the website, and I followed up your reference. Marketing books to readers via the internet is going to be a hard road, and I think only through word-of-mouth (so to speak,it’s more blog-to-blog) will books get the buzz they might deserve.


Thanks, Jo. I look forward to hearing your review. πŸ™‚

Read this Book. It is for readers, and about a reader, and is compelling and fascinating and all the good things that I want in a book. I kept stopping to read phrases aloud to my husband. Not phrases to tell about story itself, but how the author uses words about colour and texture to envelope you in the narrator’s world. I need to own a copy of this, and will spread the word. This will become a cult book, like Perfume, Confederacy of Dunces, etc.

Cool! Thanks, Jo. I’ll add it to my list.

Cheers to the power of the web! πŸ™‚

Speaking of amazing websites attributed to books, have you seen Jasper Fforde’s website?


I’m pretty sure he did all the coding himself.

And, if you haven’t, check out his books. They’re amazing. In fact, a review of one of them is on my blog. πŸ™‚

Er, whoops, that hasn’t been posted yet. Ok, that will be my post for tomorrow. The Jasper Ffrode review I mean. πŸ™‚

Oh, I really enjoy Jasper Fforde’s stuff. I’ve blogged on him too: on The Big Over Easy, Jane Eyre and the Eyre Affair, and on a list of 4 books. Haven’t read his latest yet, but I do enjoy his websites, with the ‘upgrades’ and such.

Loricat, Found your website while trying to find updated info on Robertson Davies. I started The Cunning Man, a novel of his that has been languishing on my shelves for ‘lo these many years, and thanks to your site, I was able to find a more extensive biography on him. I’ve read several of his other books, but have not touched him in years. I read ‘Special Topics’ when it first came out a year ago, and found Blue and the father fascinating and amusing characters. I too am a biblioholic and read any number of books at the same time which drives friends mad trying to understand how I keep plots and characters seperated, though I read as much non-fiction as I do fiction. I am also a trivia maven which also confuses and irritates people no end. I will visit your site again. I am always searching for fellow bibliophiles to find out what they’re reading.

Welcome Bill. Biblio-holics are as welcome as bibliophiles here at the Book Nook. Robertson Davies, product of his time and arrogant ass as he may have been, he was a great writer. What kinds of books do you read? You may want to check out BookTalk.org if you like non-fiction — a neat community.

Hi Bill and Lori!

I am sadly remiss in commenting on the Robertson Davies page here, even though I had really wanted Lori to set it up. I think I’m just not very good at ‘analysing’ books, so I often think I have nothing much to say.

Wasn’t The Cunning Man the second book in the Toronto Trilogy that was never finished? The first book being Murther and Walking Spirits. Unless I have them backwards.

I’m now into the second book of the Cornish Trilogy – What’s Bred in the Bone – for about the fifth time.

An old (now ex) friend of mine in Toronto once told me she had Robertson Davies as one of her profs at university and she said she couldn’t stand him and found him very pretentious and a misogynist,etc etc.

I think the friend in question lacked a certain sense of humour and she was also a very staunch feminist (this would have been in the early 80’s).

I have loved this man’s writing ever since I was made to read Fifth Business in highschool when I was 17 … hell, I would have kissed the hem of his cloak and if summoned to attend high tea with him (as my ex-friend had been, along with others) I think I would have enjoyed it thoroughly and seen the ‘pretentiousness’ as very good theatre.

If I’d met RD in my university years, as a feminist, I don’t know which would have won out — the reader enthralled or the feminist appalled. My ideology has mellowed. :p

“Feminist appalled” only feeds the negative stereotype of humourless feminists. Which is basically why I never became a feminist. Didn’t want to have to grow a moustache and throw away all my pretty bras. πŸ˜‰

I think when anyone takes on a set of beliefs, there is a tendency, esp. in the beginning, to be rather hard core about it. I know for a fact that I was a right bitch when I became a feminist…rigid like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve mellowed, and I thank my lucky stars that I discovered Linguistics first at university, before Womens’ Studies, so that I see the world through a filter of language, not a filter of perceived/real injustices.

Academic feminism IS incredibly humourless — the rhetoric is very much “If you disagree with me, you are an –ist.”

And I have some lovely bras…

[…] a first book by a young woman in the USA, Marisha Pessl’s Specialty Topics in Calamity Physics (Astute BookNook followers will recall that I blogged about the book’s amazing website here!) […]

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Book Discussion Pages

Here on the Book Nook you can discuss: The Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, as well as the next two books in the Deptford Trilogy, The Manticore and World of Wonders, and if that's not enough for you, see what's up on the forums at BookTalk.org!
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