Archive for the ‘Readers Advisory’ Category

From Nancy Pearl’s Own Library

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Nancy AvatarLibrarian Nancy Pearl made one of her regular visits to NPR’s Morning Edition today to talk to Steve Inskeep about favorite books. She just returned from a “fishing trip” among her own book shelves with some of her favorite older titles.

These books are clearly old friends. After introducing one of them, Inskeep can’t help but comment on Nancy’s reaction, “I love hearing the change in your tone of voice … the excitement that comes over you just from the name.”

All four books featured on the show, plus four more they couldn’t get to, are still in print and listed on the site with excerpts, including the following first paragraph from The Cold Cold Ground, by Adrian McKinty, which Inskeep loves so much that he reads it aloud:

The riot had taken on a beauty of its own now. Arcs of gasoline fire under the crescent moon. Crimson tracer in mystical parabolas. Phosphorescence from the barrels of plastic bullet guns. A distant yelling like that of men below decks in a torpedoed prison ship. The scarlet whoosh of Molotovs intersecting with exacting surfaces. Helicopters everywhere: their spotlights finding one another like lovers in the Afterlife.

9781616147167_0f732   9781616147877   9781616148775_16407

The Cold Cold Ground is the first in The Troubles Trilogy, followed by:

I Hear the Sirens in the Street, which came out in May

In the Morning I’ll Be Gone, to be published March 4 (all by Prometheus/ Seventh Street Books; audios from Blackstone).

First LibraryReads List Is Live

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Library-Reads-LogoThe inaugural LibraryReads list, featuring ten titles that librarians have read and most look forward to promoting in September, has been collated from nominations by library staff across the country. It has just been released to the library community (the official email announcement is here). Coming to the web site in time for the launch to the public, are templates for posters, press releases, and digital banners  for libraries to use to spread the word to their communities.

FangirlThe number one title is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin; Listening Library). Published as a YA title, it was chosen for its crossover appeal to adults. The list quotes one of the nominations, from Stephanie Chase, Seattle Public Library, “At turns funny, sweet, smart, and sad, Fangirl traces Cath’s journey to independence as she begins college, struggles to have an identity separate from her twin sister, find her voice and passion as a writer and fall in love, maybe, for the first time. As sharp and emotionally resonant as Rowell’s previous novel, Eleanor & Park.”

The other nine titles on the list represent a mix of genres by both well-known authors and debuts as well as nonfiction, in both hardcover and original trade paperback.

Link here for a spreadsheet with ordering information, LibraryReads, Sept.

Nominate your favorites titles for upcoming lists. The deadline for the October list is Sept. 1. You can nominate any forthcoming titles for it and future lists.

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

LibraryReads Noms

LibraryReads; Nominate Your Favorites

Thursday, July 25th, 2013


The deadline for nominations for the inaugural LibraryReads list is August 2, a week from Friday. If you haven’t already, submit your nominations for forthcoming books (titles published in late August and beyond) that you loved reading and cannot wait to share!

The ten books that get the most nominations will be featured on the list. Participation is open to everyone who works in a public library, both senior staff and new arrivals, no matter which area of the library you work in. The more the merrier – LibraryReads is designed to be inclusive, and to represent a broad range of reading tastes.

LibraryReads is using Edelweiss as the platform to gather nominations. If you don’t already have an active account, you can sign up for free on the site. After you’ve registered, enter each title you want to nominate into the search box, click on “Your Review” on the title page. A new window will open, with a place to write your review and to “Submit to LibraryReads.” Much more info on the nomination process is available on the LibraryReads Tumblr site.

Please also encourage fellow library staff to nominate their favorites.

Help LibraryReads prove how effective libraries are in helping readers discover books.

Good Reads Summer Reading Picks

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

So far, despite many predictions, no book has emerged as THE hot summer read  (where are you, Dragon Tattoo?).

FrigidWe’ve checked Goodreads to try to divine titles bubbling under the surface, and the highly-rated titles tend to be dominated by erotic or “New Adult” series (is there really a new series from best selling J. Lynn called Frigid? Warning to that guy on the cover; going shirtless in the falling snow may not be a good idea, even if you’re embracing a hot woman).

A Hundred Summers

Entertainment Weekly’s “Shelf Life” blog reports that the number crunchers at GoodReads have come up with a list of seven titles that are taking off with their readers for summer reading. We’re dubious;  there’s not a six-pack on the cover of any of them.

Nonetheless, it’s an interesting group of titles, a mix of above- and below-the-radar titles, worth reviewing for reader’s advisory. The only one showing heavy holds in libraries at this time is A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams, (Penguin/Putnam, May 30).

LibraryReads — Recommend Your Favorites

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Library-Reads-LogoA program that brings together and highlights the work of  library staff  to promote books, both in person and online, launches this fall.

Modeled on the ABA’s successful IndieNext program, LibraryReads is a monthly list of the top ten newly-released titles that libraries around the country love and plan to promote to their readers. Developed by a grassroots group of librarians, the program is being announced at the ALA Annual conference in Chicago this weekend.

To make this work, we need you to join the effort. Please go to to learn how you can become involved.

Let’s prove how effective libraries are in helping readers discover books.

The Real Housewives of Historical Fiction

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

The Aviator's WifeHolds are heavy in most libraries for Melanie Benjamin’s novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh, The Aviator’s Wife, (RH/Delacorte; BOT; Center Point Large Print). It enters USA Today‘s best seller list at #149  this week and is featured in USA Today’s roundup of  a “bonanza of new titles in the vein of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank.

Above All ThingsAmong the titles in that list is Above All Things by Tanis Rideout (Penguin/Putnam Amy Einhorn; Thorndike Large Print), about George Mallory’s final attempt to climb Mt. Everest, told partly from the point of view of his wife. It is reviewed separately as a “debut novel that gingerly walks the precipice between women’s book-club fiction (think The Paris Wife) … and riveting Everest adventure tale (think Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction account of the deadly 1996 debacle on the mountain).”

See also our interview and online chat with the author.

Get Ready For PARADE’S END

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Parade's EndCalled “Downton Abbey for Grownups” (Laura Miller, Salon) and “The Better Downton Abbey” (The New Yorker), the BBC/HBO mini-series adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s series of four novels, Parade’s End, begins on HBO on February 26. A hit when it aired in the UK last summer, it’s recently been nominated for a number of awards.

In her audio column, “The Listener,” on Salon, Laura Miller notes that “Downton comparisons will abound, though some viewers will be disappointed to find Parade’s End lacks a mansion and wisecracking old ladies — not to mention the complete absence of attention paid to the servant class,” adding, “Although [Benedict] Cumberbatch, cast against type  [in the lead role], delivers an impressive performance … You can only really appreciate what the actor does with this deliberately inexpressive man if you’ve read the books.”

Miller recommends the audio version, to be released next week as a tie-in by S&S Audio (also from Recorded Books as both CD and downloadable) for “Steven Crossley’s sensitive naration.” Miller applauds Crossley for making the many characters distinct and for handling women particularly well; “Not for Crossley the risible practice of adopting an artificially high-pitched, drag-queen voice whenever a woman is speaking.”

Official Series Web Site:

New Approach to Online Book Recommendations

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

After the publisher-supported site delayed its summer, 2011 launch date  and changed management several times, many in the book business wondered if it would ever arrive. Just as rumors had begun to die down, the site launched last night.

Aimed at consumers, it’s a Johnny-come-lately to online book merchandising. As Ron Charles of the Washington Post notes with tongue-in-cheek, “If you’re one of the countless people wondering, ‘Why isn’t there anywhere to buy books online?’ we’ve got good news: Bookish went live last night.” The press release offers details on what is billed as a “one-stop, comprehensive online destination designed to connect readers with books and authors.

The site is sponsored by publishers Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group and Penguin Group, with participation from 16 other publishers.

Users can buy books directly from Bookish, with B&T handling fulfillment. There are also links to online retailers, including ABA’s IndieBound.

The site will include author interviews (a conversation between Michael Koryta and Michael Connelly is currently featured), book excerpts and reviews.

It also aims to provide a “state- of-the-art recommendation tool…from a proprietary algorithm that factors in editorial themes, professional and consumer reviews, publishing house editor insights, awards and more.”

At this point, it’s not working that well. Entering The Power Trip by Jackie Collins brings up the following results. Hemingway might be pleased with the comparison.

Power Trip Recs

THE Best Books of the Year

Monday, December 24th, 2012

The Daily Beast is checking the best books lists to see which titles get the most picks. According to their current calculations, the winners are:

Fiction — Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Nonfiction —  Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

Dozens of American and UK sources are included, from Publishers Weekly to Vogue. So far, Library Journal‘s recently-released Top Ten, plus sixteen More of the Best, is not.

 By the Iowa Sea    Gillespie and I     A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar

At this point, we’re finding the unexpected choices more interesting than the consensus titles. LJ is the only source to pick Joe Blair’s memoir By the Iowa Sea (S&S/Scribner). They think so much of it that they make it one of five nonfiction titles in their Top Ten and describe as “startling, bleak, and thoroughly honest.”

Unique picks on LJ‘s More of the Best include Jane Harris’s paperback original novel, Gillespie and I (Harper Perennial), which sounds delicious (read Carolyn See’s review in the Washington Post) and a librarian favorite, Suzanne Joinson’s A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar. They like that one so much they picked it twice (as both a reviewer’s historical fiction and an editor’s pick).

We’ve now wrapped up all the lists we are tracking (not as many as the Daily Beast; we’re focused on professional sources plus the most influential consumer sources) and will add Booklist’s picks when they are released in January. You can use the lists for end-of-the year ordering and to discover new readers advisory titles (there’s RA gold in those unique picks).

Adult Fiction Best Books, Collated

Adult Nonfiction Best Book, Collated

Childrens Best Books, Collated

RA Flow Chart for Hipsters

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

We love the idea of reading flow charts, like the Summer Reading Flow Chart from

GoodReads has just published a tongue-in-cheek Hipster Lit Flowchart that works as a visual representation of a readers advisory interview.

Several commenters complained that there is nowhere to go if you answer “No” to the first question.

Come on guys, that’s the point.

Holds Alert: MONKEY MIND

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Anxiety can be a healthy reaction to stress, but Daniel Smith suffered anxiety attacks so severe that he was unable to leave his house.

He writes about his experience in Monkey Mind, a memoir that has been called a classic in the making by the Psychiatric Times, and named a People pick. It’s been moving up best seller lists (currently at #6 on the Indie Hardcover Non-fiction list. Curiously, Los Angeles seems to be a more anxious place than New York; it reached #5 on the  L.A. Times’ list, but only #21 on the N.Y. Times‘).

Smith appeared on The Today Show yesterday.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Libraries in areas of high anxiety (you know who you are, Hennepin!) are showing heavy holds.

Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety
Daniel Smith
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2012-07-03)
ISBN / EAN: 1439177309/9781439177303

Blackstone Audio

Thorns Have Roses

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

If your reading clubs are looking for a book “with all the heart-tugging appeal of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society,” Entertainment Weekly suggests Margaret Dilloway’s The Care and Handling of Roses With Thorns, an “exquisite little novel, about a biology teacher who breeds roses so she won’t have to think about her kidney disease.”

The public hasn’t caught on yet; libraries are showing few holds, so you might actually be able to find copies on your new book shelves to recommend.

The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns
Margaret Dilloway
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover 368 pages
Publisher: Penguin/Putnam – (2012-08-02)

Thorndike Large Print, Nov

A New Sylvia Day

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012


Word is out that the second title in Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, Reflected in Youis coming October 2, causing it to rise on Amazon’s sales rankings, where it is currently #24.

The series began with Bared to You, widely considered the successor to Fifty Shades of Grey, (the author objects to this, pointing out that both books were published at the same time, in an interview on the romance site, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books)Like Fifty Shades, it was originally self-published and then picked up by a traditional publisher, in this case, Penguin/Berkley. In its first week of reissue it hit the New York Times trade paperback list at #4.

Unlike Fifty Shades author, E. L. James, however, Day has published several books in other genres — historical, fantasy, and paranormal — with traditional publishers Kensington and Macmillan/Tor, before trying the self-published route. Many libraries own several of Day’s earlier titles.

During their interview with the author, Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Jane Litte of, talked about the similarities and differences between Day’s series and Fifty Shades. While Litte says readers who liked Fifty Shades are likely to enjoy Bared to You, the latter is darker and doesn’t have the “Cinderella quality” of Fifty Shades. In a review on DearAuthor, she suggests “it is what 50 Shades could have been.” (see Smart Bitches list of other Fifty Shades read-a-likes).

New Title Radar: July 16 – 22

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Next week will bring several books by celebrities, including Glee star Chris Colfer‘s middle-grade fantasy debut, a memoir from Giant’s receiver Victor Cruz, and Elton John‘s look back on his fight against the AIDS epidemic. Usual suspects include Iris Johansen, Orson Scott Card, Daniel Silva, James Lee Burke, and Chris Bohjalian.

Watch List

Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; Thorndike Large Print, Nov) is a debut novel set on Martha’s Vineyard after WWII, about two women finding marriage and motherhood more complicated than they expected, when a murder throws their lives into further turmoil. The author is Herman Melville’s great-great-great-great-grandaughter. It’s getting glowing advance praise, including from PW: “this carefully crafted soap opera skillfully commingles mystery with melodrama, keeping readers guessing about what really happened until the end . . . Her characters’ duplicitous behavior will elicit strong reactions.”

Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio) is a whimsical debut novel about a woman who’s been hiding her baldness to fit into her suburban Virginia community and her astronaut husband, whose lives are redefined by freak accidents. The advance buzz brought an early review from  Janet Maslin in the NYT a week before publication, saying, “it is so full of oddities that no simple summary [presumably, like the one we just did] will do it justice. ” It also had several fans on GalleyChat in June.

Usual Suspects

Close Your Eyes by Iris Johansen (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press; Brilliance Audio) is the fourth collaboration by this mother-son team, and stars Dr. Kendra Michaels, an FBI consultant and music therapist who was born blind and developed her other senses to an extraordinary degree before her sight was restored at age 20. PW says, “The authors combine idiosyncratic yet fully realized characters with dry wit and well-controlled suspense that builds to a satisfying conclusion.”

Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card (Tor Books; MacMillan Audio) is a science fiction adventure that gives fans of the Ender series a new backstory to the classic Ender’s Game. LJ says, “Card’s gift for strong, memorable characters combined with screenwriter Johnston’s flair for vivid scene-building results in a standout tale… [that] should also please readers of military SF.” Production of the movie of Enders’s Game, starring Harrison Ford and Abigail Breslin has recently wrapped and is scheduled to be released on Nov. 1, 2013.

The Fallen Angel (Gabriel Allon Series #12) by Daniel Silva (HarperCollins; Harperluxe; HarperAudio) stars art restorer and spy Gabriel Allon in Rome, who gets a call from the pope’s personal secretary about the body of a woman in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Creole Belle: A Dave Robicheaux Novel by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster; Wheeler Large Print; Simon & Schuster Audio) finds southern Louisiana deputy Sheriff Dave Robicheaux recovering from the wounds he received in the last book (The Glass Rainbow), and facing another round of New Orleans-style homicide. Kirkus says, “Burke, in his latest attempt to outdo himself, ties the Gulf oil spill to art fraud, sexual slavery and Nazis. A darkly magnificent treat for Dave’s legion of admirers, though not the best place for newcomers to begin.” One-day laydown.

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian (RH/Doubleday Books; Random House Large Print; Books on Tape) is the story of modern American woman who joins her father on a philanthropic trip to Syria to aid Armenian refugees, and pieces together the lives of her great-grandparents, who met on the eve of the Armenian genocide of 1915-16. It has been featured in many summer reading roundups, and is a GalleyChat favorite. Entertainment Weekly gives is a B+. The reviewer notes that Bohjalian, draws ” for the first time on his own heritage [as] the grandson of Armenian survivors [and] pours passion, pride, and sadness into his tale of ethnic destruction and endurance,” but notes the book’s structure is  “precariously ornate.”

Kids/Young Adult

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer (Hachette/LBYR; Hachette Audio) is a middle-grade debut by the Glee star, and finds 12-year-old twins Alex (a girl) and Conner roaming fairy tale land after falling into their grandmother’s book of stories, trying to collect the elements for a wishing spell that will get them home. Booklist says, “Golden Globe winner Colfer writes for an audience that will likely include plenty of teen readers (i.e., fans of Glee), and generally they will not be disappointed by the giddy earnestness of the writing, cut with a hint of melancholy.” Unsurprisingly, the author is getting plenty of media attention. The audio is read by the author.

Spark: A Sky Chasers Novel by Amy Kathleen Ryan (St. Martin’s Griffin, MacMillan Audio) is the sequel to Glow, in which girls and boys struggle with issues of leadership and violence on a spaceship after their parents have been kidnapped.


Out of the Blue by Victor Cruz (Penguin/Celebra) is a memoir by the 25-year-old salsa victory-dancing Superbowl champion. USA Today says it “will include the highs and lows of his life — his spotty college career and rocky road to professional football (he was undrafted), his father’s suicide and his recent triumphs.” It will also be published in Spanish as Momento de Gloria in September.

Love Is the Cure: On Life, Loss, and the End of AIDS by Elton John (Hachette/Little, Brown) is the pop singer’s personal account of his life during the AIDS epidemic, including stories of his close friendships with Ryan White, Freddie Mercury, Princess Diana, Elizabeth Taylor, and others, and the story of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

The Violinist’s Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code by Sam Kean (Hachette/Little, Brown) is the next book by the author who made the periodic table fascinating in The Disappearing Spoon. In this new book, he explores the secrets of DNA. Leading up to the book’s release, Kean has been “Blogging the Human Genome” for Slate.