I have just discovered these marvellous things, via The Wild Bookworms and NetGalley, which latter is kind enough to provide members with free copies. They are the most recent Buzz Books volumes put out by Publishers Lunch, which yes, of course they are a marketing tool created in the hopes of publicity, but I feel like I have just discovered a free buffet. The volumes include excerpts from both fiction and non-fiction works coming out in the next season, with an introduction that situates these books with others in the wider publishing context. For me, as a reader, it is a chance to plan out some of my reading in the months ahead, and a chance to try without committment some authors I might otherwise ignore. These samplers are, as one would expect, weighted towards what is already expected to be successful, but even that I find useful — knowing that so many people are going to be talking about Franzen’s Purity, do I wish to join in on the conversation, or do I wish to use my time and energy and voice upon an author who might not be the focus of much discussion? What I love most about these volumes, however, is just the sheer pleasure of getting to try 53 new books, new voices, like — perhaps not a buffet after all, but an omakase meal at a Japanese restaurant, a little taste of everything the chef thinks is good. Whether I agree or disagree, I enjoy the experience — so much so that I wish I could go back and download the older volumes as well.