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Saturday, June 25, 2022

ALA 2022: Friday Recap

First, because people have asked, the Washington Convention Center itself and the ALA Annual Conference are requiring masks. There was concern about this. 

Now on to what I did yesterday.

My ALA began Friday morning with a lovely event, the Booklist Reviewers Meetup. This was a casual event and was just like is sounds, a chance for those of us who review for Booklist to gather informally and catch up. Normally, I would not add this to my report, but I am doing it because my afternoon induced rage [and that was without taking the Supreme Court, only a mile away, into consideration]. I wanted to have something positive in this post sand this event brought joy.

I spent most of the day [1-4pm] at a free pre-conference sponsored by United for Libraries [UfL] entitled, "The ABC's of Preserving Intellectual Freedom: Anticipating, Bridging, and Conversing." I attended with my colleague Kristi Chadwick who is a Consultant with the Massachusetts Library System, but some of you may also know her as the SF/F Columnist for LJ [she also co-chaired StokerCon Librarians' Day in Providence with me]. As a Trustee, I am a member of United for Libraries, but I was also interested in this program as someone who trains Trustees.

The two women running the pre-conference are crisis communication experts who work with libraries through UfL and ALA. 

It all started off okay with the Anticipating portion of the ABCs. They advise you too:

  • Know your library's selection and reconsideration policies and how to find them.
  • Monitor local social media and news
  • Anticipate easy and difficult responses ahead of time.
  • Practice with colleagues and friends to feel comfortable with your messaging points.

This is actually advice my Board has used as troubling events have unfolded around us at other libraries and our high school board. For example, we saw the comment portion of the high school board meetings getting out of control and started instituting the same procedures they do: the board does not respond to any comments at the meeting, only those who live in the service area may speak [other can submit written comments only], for example.

This is advice is excellent. Don't think you are safe where you live. People trying to stop you from offering materials or services are in every community. I have already written extensively about being prepared and Kelly Jensen's excellent coverage on this difficult topic here.

I want to get to the rage inducing part because it was also an eye opener to a lot of the problem Robin and see when we do our training programs and I think, while this made me [and Robin from afar] mad, it might be a turning point in our work.

That rage inducing part was the "B" in their ABC: Bridging

The idea of “Bridging," is how we move from listening to a complaint and turn the conversation toward the message we want to tell. So after someone says [and this is a tame example]. “You need to remove your Pride display from the teen room because it is inappropriate,” you are supposed to use a bridging phrase that turns the tables but center being kind and placating them.

Here are some they suggest: “I respect your views. May I give you another perspective…” or  “We share your concern for the children. Our approach is…”

First of all, I do not respect this opinion and I do not share their concern for our children. Saying we should use those words is enraging and gives their hate power. I won’t do that. 

So I challenged the two [white] women presenters and raised my hand to say, “As a Jewish woman, I will not tell a Nazi who comes to the library and wants to reserve the meeting room that I respect their opinion. Saying that causes me personal harm.” 

Their response: That is fair, chose different words.

But no, I told them, it is harmful to tell marginalized people to respect the opinion of those who think you are less of a human than they are. 

They would not engage with this point.

I texted with Robin about this after the event and she gave me permission to share her thoughts. One statement she made— “It is always about obedience with theses people.”

But here is the main point Robin and I discussed— It is easy for these well meaning white ladies to tell us that we have to lead with civility at all costs, because it is NEVER them on the receiving end. It is always attacks again Blacks [coded as CRT] or LGBTQ or Jewish or Muslim etc…. Not white hetero ladies. They never use examples that include them

Robin suggests if we want to make the majority cis, white, hetero profession feel what we feel this should be the example of the problematic patron:

“I think it should be legal for any incel man to have sex with any woman he fancies. Including your daughter. Including you.”

Now, she said, I want to ask those presenters, can you say you “respect” those views. OF COURSE NOT.

Look the main point here is that we need to STOP using examples that tell OTHER people how to react when they are being demeaned and told they are less than human.  

We need to have the message that we will stand up to bullies, not try to placate them. They have been emboldened to keep using their hate because we are unwilling to stop them. Our “civility” has allowed them to keep marching onward. They are using our unwillingness to engage against us. Our LGTBQ books are being checked out en mass by an organized effort, using our own tendencies and procedures against us.

This is everything that is wrong with our responses to challenges. But what I learned by this program that was supposed to help us to be better at preserving Intellectual Freedom is that everything we are telling people to do is making it all worse. 

We need to tell people with harmful opinions that they are wrong. We need to calmly stand up to them, not listen to them tell us that others are less human. 

As my colleague Kristi said at the end of the day, “Their advice was…. [and she thought about the word for a moment]….neutral.” Yes it was Kristi. And readers here know how I feel about that.

Robin and I will be taking what I learned into consideration as we strengthen our our Actively Anti-Racist Service to Leisure Readers— a program many already deemed “to confrontational” as is it. Well, they have seen nothing yet.

—-Deep Breath——because there is a bit more anger coming, although not as much.

Finally, I attended the Opening Session which featured a conversation between ALA President Patty Wong and FCC Chairperson Jessica Rosenworcel. There was a lot of conversation about things like E-Rate and the Emergency Connectivity Fund, programs that the FCC funds in order to help close the digital divide. And top be clear, Rosenworcel has done quite a bit in her long government career to try to get broadband to all. 

Of course, in ALA style, the conversation was peppered with “happy” stories and even some interview clips with library workers, showing how in terrible situations, libraries worked above and beyond to make sure their patrons got internet access, especially students, so they could get their homework done.

Great, but here is the elephant in the room, the one no one mentioned. Broadband should be a public utility— full stop. 

It is embarrassing that libraries have to scramble to help their community have access to broadband. The ALA has issued a statement confirming that access to high speed internet is a human right. The FCC chairwoman agrees, and yet, we have a system of complicated grant programs that people need to jump through hoops to get money to help their citizens access a “human right.”

Let me put this more simply. Would the room have been nodding along at these “uplifting” stories if they were about libraries helping their communities get access to electricity? No, we would be applaud if this complicated patchwork system was required for the lights to be on. And yet, for broadband we think this is okay. Well at this point, not having access to  affordable or reliable broadband is a detriment to your life as a 21st Century American, the same as not having electricity would be. 

I wish there was a chance to ask questions because THAT is what we should be talking about. We can talk all day about the feel good stories of how the FCC helps close the digital divide, but you know what would bridge it forever? Making broadband a public utility. That is what we should be fighting for, not another grant program that requires mountains of paperwork. 

This is indicative of the entire problem with library advocacy in general. We are too afraid to ask the big ask. We don’t want to cause a stink. We want the feel good stories of helping at the local level, but when we do that, we hurt the cause for all. ALA should be demanding— not asking— the FCC to make broadband a public utility. We can thank them for the grants as a stop gap measure, but we should keep on them— relentlessly— until we fix the problem for good.

Well, that’s all for Friday. Saturday looks to be less rage inducing. But I will say, I am here to be challenged and reckon with the nuance and problems within our profession so that as a Library Leader I can help bring about real change. 


Thursday, June 23, 2022

ALA 2022: My Schedule In Person and On the Blog

My goal here on the blog, whenever I go to a conference, is to provide both info for those attending and an educational experience for those who stay home. I take it seriously. To that end, today, I will discuss my plans for the blog and then give you all a preview of a few key events I will be attending and reporting on.

Tomorrow, the blog will be off. I will be attending my first day of programming. But each night after I come back to the room, I will write up a recap post of what I did that day. That means you can expect a post Saturday recapping Friday, a post Sunday recapping Saturday, etc.... Through Wednesday morning [which will recap Tuesday and have some of my closing thoughts]. After that I may take Thursday and or Friday off, but I will keep you posted.

To see the recap content I provided at PLA for context, click here. I do not live Tweet programs anymore. 

Now in terms of following along with the conference, I suggest using this link to follow #alaac22 on Twitter. Remember, you do NOT need a Twitter account to follow along. Anyone can see it, while only those with accounts can interact. 

If you are attending and want to find me, awesome. I love meeting readers. I will have pens and stickers, so when you find me, ask for some. I often forget to offer because it is so busy.

I will also have coupons for my book which you can order with a discount and the coupon and FREE shipping at the conference. Booth 1833 which is the ALA StoreThis is a VERY good deal for a MUST buy book. So there is even more incentive to find me. 

And here is another guaranteed chance to see me on Saturday morning:

Diversity in Publishing Stage 

DATE: Saturday, June 25

TIME: 10:30 AM – 11:20 AM ET

LOCATION: Exhibit Hall, next to Booth 833 on the cross-aisle

DESCRIPTION: Creators Brynne Barnes and Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (Stop Telling Women to Smile) talk about their newest picture book, BLACK GIRL RISING. In this intimate and uplifting discussion, Brynne and Tatyana will discuss their creative process and collaboration in creating this moving, poetic rallying cry that celebrates and asserts Black girlhood.

I am replacing the irreplaceable Stephanie Sendaula as the moderator of this conversation. I am very excited. The book is AMAZING and I have so much to talk to them about.

I like to reserve the right to not show up for something so I will not list my full planned schedule here on the blog; however, I do have many programs marked on my conference scheduler. I made my profile public so anyone  can see it. The best way to reach me during the conference-- if you are there-- is to either ping me on Twitter or use the app. For the app you click the search magnifying glass on the top right and type my name. [I come up.] I just tested it. And I have it set so anyone can send me a message. 

I would like take a moment to highlight the presentations posted on the LibraryReads Events page as I plan to be at all but the Nonfiction [it is up again R.L. Stine]. Also, these are the most revenant to my readers. Please note below, some need you to register so they have enough books for everyone. 

Saturday, June 25: Nonfiction Author Panel 4pm WCC 145B Panel info and registration: https://bit.ly/LRALANF22 

Sunday, June 26: ALMA’s Library Family Feud Sponsored by LibraryReads, 1:30pm Marriott Marquis Monument (Panel info coming soon!)

Monday, June 27: Your Morning is Booked: ALMA/LibraryReads Adult Author Panel, 8:30am, WCC 146B
Panel info and registration: https://bit.ly/YourMorningIsBooked22

Booklist and LibraryReads Read ‘N Rave, 10:30am WCC 145B

Also check out: Read Hard: Get the Most Out of Your Reading Life as a Library Professional (featuring our very own Allison Escoto!) Monday June 27, 1pm, WCC 158A

Back Saturday with my first recap post from Friday's events. Safe travels to all coming to DC. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Libraries Are Not Neutral: More Arguments and an Important ALA Program Coming Next Week

As readers of this blog know, one of the most important training programs I offer is the series I do with my presenting partner Robin Bradford entitled, Actively Anti-Racist Service to Leisure Readers. We have an entire page about it here.

One of guiding principles that you are required to agree with before hiring us [and let me tell you, some people have NOT hired us because of this requirement] is that LIBRARIES ARE NOT NEUTRAL. They aren't now and they never have been. 

I our program, Robin and I, actively attack ALA for not supporting this stance even as they have added a 9th Principle to the ALA Code of Ethics which basically says you should abandon neutrality in order to fulfill said principle. That 9th Principle reads:

“We affirm the inherent dignity and rights of every person. We work to recognize and dismantle systemic and individual biases; to confront inequity and oppression; to enhance diversity and inclusion; and to advance racial and social justice in our libraries, communities, profession, and associations through awareness, advocacy, education, collaboration, services, and allocation of resources and spaces.”
--Passed by ALA Council 6/29/21: https://www.ala.org/news/member-news/2021/07/ala-adopts-new-code-ethics-principle-racial-and-social-justice

Well, it turns out that there is a committee who has also been working on this, behind the scenes for a while now, and on Monday at ALA they are sharing their results in person and in the virtual conference:

News You Can Use: Updates from the Working Group on Intellectual Freedom and Social Justice.
Virtual and In Person
Monday, June 27
Convention Center Rm 151 B

Over the last year, the Working Group on Intellectual Freedom and Social Justice has been exploring alternatives to neutrality rhetoric. In this session, you will have the opportunity to learn about three frameworks that can be used to inform how we work with our communities: radical empathy, trauma-informed response, and cultural humility. This will also be another chance for dialogue about these topics before the Working Group submits its report to the ALA Executive Board. Please join us as we consider these ways to help us build and strengthen trust with our users. 

The speaker is the head of the Committee, Martin Garnar, the Director of the Amherst College library. As an alum, Friend of the Amherst College Library, and the parent of a current student, I was able to have a great conversation with Garnar about the progress of the committee when I was on campus in late May. He is one of the people fighting the good fight. When we finished our conversation, I realized that the word I chose to summarize our conversation was "heartened. At least Garnar has things moving in the right direction through his committee.

I will attend the program above to hear what he has to say officially, and then it is up to the ALA Executive Council to take action when they meet in July. After that, Garnar and I plan to meet up in late August [when I am on campus again] to talk about next steps So stay tuned.

I will say, this conference is the final chance for ALA to finally kick "neutrality" to the curb. I think so, Garnar thinks so, and the next 2 ALA Presidents seem willing. at least unofficially. Of course anything can happen, but you know Robin and I won't give up no matter what, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I also wanted to share some more perspective on why Libraries are NOT, and NEVER HAVE BEEN neutral. 

First, there is this article from PW, "Once More for Those in the Back: Libraries Are Not Neutral," featuring five prominent library educators defending the profession’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion You can access that article for free at this link. It serves as an eloquent response to the loudest supporters of neutrality-- who are 100% in the wrong.

Second you can watch an hour long presentation on the topic by Dr. Andrea Jamison as part of the Illinois Library Association's Noon Network programming. It is entitled, "Balancing Equity and Freedom in Collection Development Policies," and you can view it free here.

One way or another, this neutrality discussion is coming to a head and will be resolved soon. Get yourself up to speed with those two links right now.

If you are not attending ALA Annual nor are part of the virtual conference, don't worry. You have these links now and I will have a full report on the program with Garnar posting on Tuesday morning.

Back tomorrow with my full ALA Annual klick off post including the blog recap schedule. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

ALA Annual Galley Guide via Library Journal

I am getting ready to attend ALA Annual in DC. On Thursday morning, I will have my general schedule and some other details. I am presenting on Saturday but it is not on the schedule because I replaced someone. Again, details on Thursday.

I will also have detailed information about the blogging schedule because I want to bring as much of the conference to you, my readers who cannot make it, as possible. But to see what you can expect from me in terms of reporting back, click here for my PLA 2022 recap posts. I no longer live Tweet events as I don't pay as good attention when I do that. I may retweet others but I focus on recaps from my notes.

However, today I do want to focus on a great resource for you the library worker who is NOT going to ALA-- the Library Journal Galley Guide. This resource is a list of all of the ARCs that attendees can get in the exhibit hall. But again, it is not about being there. It is important to remember that the LJ Galley Guide for any conference is a wonderful resource for everyone, but maybe even more valuable for those staying home.

First, and most obvious, every single one of the ARCs listed here is also going to be super easy to download from NetGalley or Edelweiss. The publishers are prioritizing that.  If you get the Library marketing emails, you have probably already seen that. They want everyone to have access to these books.

Second, those of you who are back at home, you have time to go through the Galley Guide, taking note of which books the publishers are pushing the hardest. What do they think will take off? What should we be pre-ordering? We should all be using it as a resource to help our patrons and craft our collections, but unfortunately, those who are there, they mostly use it to be greedy and go around and grab books. [I am on the record here saying that running around trying to get free books and wait in long lines is not a good use of your time.] You should take your time and use it for collection development.

Third, everyone, whether they are attending ALA or not, should look through the guide and note trends or authors who you already have in your collections who are going to have a new book, etc... Across the entire guide, what are you seeing that is similar? Where are the trends? Promote these upcoming titles and start taking holds. You could even make a few lists based off trends you find that would most interest your patrons and call them, "Hot Titles Fresh From ALA Annual." 

Fourth, after noting trends in the guide and trying to gather advanced holds numbers to make your ordering easier, you should also be making displays of titles that fit those trends you are noticing at the same time. Reminding people of what you already have that they may like while you are letting them know what is coming soon is very important to do in tandem. Those buzzy titles coming soon can be supplemented by readalikes from your backlist. You are anticipating what they want to read by giving your readers targeted displays now. Trust me it works and you look brilliant.

So that is my push for the ALA Galley Guide for those left behind.  I hope those of you who are going, go back to this post and do the same thing after you return.

Tomorrow I am going to focus on one of the larger things that is happening at ALA, the report by the committee tasked with finding alternatives to neutrality. And then Thursday the first of ALA specific posts with much more detail about what will be going on here on the blog.

Monday, June 20, 2022

What I'm Reading: The Last Storm by Tim Lebbon

Today I have another review form the current issue of Booklist. This one is going to the the PERFECT Summer Horror-Thriller hybrid read. It has all of the action and suspense people crave with a touching family story at its center. While I personally enjoyed Lebbon's last book, Eden, more, I 100% think this one will be more popular, like really popular. Please don't sleep on this one. Your readers will LOVE it.

The Last Storm

By Tim Lebbon

July 2022. 352p. Titan, paper, $15.95 (9781803360423)
First published June 1, 2022 (Booklist).

Global warming has turned most of North America into a desert. Twenty years ago, Jesse, a “Rainmaker, brought down a deadly storm containing more than water. Now, living alone, off the grid, Jesse is punishing himself, not only for the harm he caused that day, but also because when he realized that his young daughter, Ash, held even more danger inside of her and tried to halt her training, he may have caused her death. For ten years, Katrina, Jesse’s estranged wife, has been searching for Ash, and when she hears word of a young Rainmaker, Katrina convinces Jesse to join the search and save their daughter. But Jesse and Katrina are not the only ones looking for Ash. Lebbon's [Eden] latest climate change fueled Horror novel uses multiple points of view to allow the characters to develop and the suspense to intensify, racing to a climactic, stormy battle. Thought provoking, disturbing, and family centered, this tale will appeal to readers of tales as varied as fans of the storytelling style of The Violence by Dawson, the family centered, dark fantasy of The Changeling by LaValle, or water crisis fueled cli-fi The Water Knife by Bacigalupi.

YA Statement: Teens will be drawn in by Ash and her compelling and unique coming of age storyline, but they will stay for the intensifying action and honest assessment of a near future climate dystopia. The addition of some terrifying monsters literally falling from the sky is a nice bonus.

Further Appeal: This is a plot driven narrative, but with character development and a strong sense of place. There was so much detail about the most important storylines that frame this story that I had to use up many of my 175 allowed words on that in the draft above. However, I did add words back into my final sentence that do NOT appear in the magazine.

The original frame for Ash and Jesse's powers was fascinating and very well developed. They are genetically derived from a single line of humans with the ability to enter a parallel dimension and bring rain into our world. Descriptions of the process and what each of them–Jesse and Ash– see while there is very cool and I will not spoil it for you. And this world building of their separate spaces collides nicely toward the end. I think those were some of my favorite parts of the book.

Some more notes from when I was reading: High unease, through provoking, family focused, fast paced, multiple povs, cli fi, compelling, disturbing, intensifying!!! With a little cosmic twist. Walks the Horror-Dark Fantasy-SF line in a satisfying way.

The multiple points of view are key. With such a fast-paced, plot heavy story, there is no way we could have gotten the character and place development we needed here without that. This is a book that will satisfy a wide range of readers for that reason.

I also wanted to drop this quote from my book here as it explains the different between climate fiction in Horror versus Science Fiction because it might matter for some [see the YA statement above for a sneak peak at why this is Horror].

"Climate change horror differs from its science fiction fueled cousin (“Cli-Fi”) in that it is not simply the changes in climate which bring the unease. Rather in these horror stories, as the climate itself brings natural disasters, it is also an instigator of the creation of a monster itself, whether born of the climate change or awakened by it."

Three Words That Describe This Book: Climate Horror, high unease, multiple points of view 

Readalikes: The plot is very different here than in The Violence listed above, but the similarities between the two stood out to me as I was reading. Many will want more fast paced, cli-fi and the Bacigalupi is the best place to start there before sending them to this extensive archive of excellent Cli-Fi choices via Book Riot. But I wanted to make sure people understood the very touching parent-child story here. The LaValle rec is to hammer that home as well. Also fans of Christoper Golden [and there are many] will enjoy this and all books by Lebbon.

This book comes out in early July, so if you haven't pre-ordered yet, fix that ASAP.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Ultimate Summer Reading List via LitHub

Today I leave you with Emily Temple's EXCELLENT compiled Summer Reading List. From the introduction:

It’s June. We’re barbecuing. We’re sweating on the subway. We’re building forts in the backyard, and we’re building them out of our massive summer TBR piles (use a tarp). Yep, it’s that time of year again—so let the list of lists commence.

If you’re new here, here’s how it works:

1. I read all of the Most Anticipated and Best Summer Reading lists that flood the internet this time of year (or at least as many as I can find).
2. I count how many times each book is included.
3. I collate them for you in this handy list.

This year, I read through 36 lists, which recommended a grand total of 514 books. As always, I avoided narrowly themed or genre-specific lists (like “thrillers” or “business books” or “Hallmark novels”), though I included those marked either fiction or nonfiction. (The full list of lists is at the end of this post.) I have included those books recommended at least three times below, in descending order of frequency. The recommendations this year are a little more diffuse than usual—I noticed more older books being thrown into the mix, and the top scoring book only got 13 nods (as opposed to 21 for last year’s top scorer). Like everything else, it’s probably because of the pandemic. Or inflation!

Still, if you want to Read the Book That Everyone is Reading (or at least recommending) this summer, or even if you’d just like to Judge Everyone For Their Taste in Books, Please, here’s where you should start

Click here to keep reading 

Also, don't miss the linked list of all 36 lists she consulted for even MORE Summer Reading options. It's at the end of the article.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Two Resources in One: An Award That Is a Great Display Idea On Its Own

Because I make sure to start each day reading about books through my email subscriptions to PW Daily, Self Awareness, and LJ's Book Pulse, I learned about the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award. From the announcement in Shelf Awareness:

A 12-title longlist has been released for the 2022 Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award, which celebrates "the best storytelling across contemporary fiction, regardless of genre." The shortlist will be unveiled July 28. The winner, who receives both £2,000 (about $2,505) and a handmade glass bell, will be named September 8. This year's longlisted titles are:

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila HarrisTall Bones by Anna BaileyMrs. March by Virginia FeitoWe Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa ZayyanThe Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.Sisterstong by Lucy Holland The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper Ariadne by Jennifer SaintThe Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth OzekiDaughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean Threadneedle by Cari Thomas

Normally I write about how to use awards lists as a RA tool when I post award long lists, and while that is important here, what is more important is the idea encompassed by this award's mission. This is an award for great storytelling REGARDLESS OF GENRE.

We need to stop only displaying and promoting books by genre. Readers do not care about genre as much as we think. People who like to read in a particular genre know how to find those titles. However, the vast majority of our patrons are just looking for a great read. 

I have been on a kick telling every library I work with to keep a permanent display up at all times called "Great Reads You May Have Missed." This display or list can have anything on it AND it can feature the backlist AND you can encourage patrons to contribute to as well. 

It is a display that is a conversation between you and your collection, between you and your patrons, and even between your patrons and your collections. You can ask any staff member to contribute titles to it, meaning you are capturing the preferences of all staff, no matter where the work in the organization. You can display forgotten books that are languishing on the shelves but are still so good. And, if you are brave enough, you can even ask you patrons to contribute to the display, adding their voice to it as well.

This is a display that focuses on good storytelling with no genre constraints. This type of merchandising of your collection also showcases the wide variety of titles you have in one place which is not what patrons normally encounter. 

Think about it. Most libraries have a new shelf, but this display would be backlist. Also most libraries have some genre separation on sections, meaning those browsing the general fiction may never see your mysteries or SF or Romance, even though they may love one of those titles. Putting these books together, but in a smaller area than the entirety of your collection, means people will encounter great storytelling they may NEVER have found. And if it becomes a permanent display, not only will it change constantly, but patrons will go back to it over and over again. 

So check out the Goldsboro long list and pull these 12 titles right now, but consider finding a place [big or small] where you can always feature great storytelling, from any genre. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

LibraryReads: July 2022

Editor's Note: This month has four straight up Horror Novels!!! Two in the list, including the number 1 title, and two in the HoF. Kingsolver, Tremblay, Galleyand Moreno-Garcia. I have linked my reviews to three of the four below. Don't tell me people only like Horror in October. By the way, this is the third summer in a row this has happened. It is not a fluke. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Also, please make sure you look at the Hall of Fame. There are 10 [!!!!] titles [and two are Horror authors] on this list this month. Take a moment to understand what that means. All 10 of those books probably had more votes than most of the other titles on the official list, but because the HoF exists, those perennially popular authors still get their LR celebration, and, at the same time, 10 titles that wouldn't have had a chance to shine at all get a shout out. Love it!

 It's LibraryReads day and that means four things here on RA for All

  1. I post the list and tag it “Library Reads” so that you can easily pull up every single list with one click.
  2. I can remind you that even though the newest list is always fun to see, it is the older lists where you can find AWESOME, sure bet suggestions for patrons that will be on your shelf to actually hand to them right now. The best thing about LibraryReads is the compound interest it is earning. We now have hundreds and hundreds of titles worth suggesting right at our fingertips through this archive OR the sortable master list allowing you to mix and match however you want.
  3. You have no excuse not to hand sell any LibraryReads titles because there is a book talk right there in the list in the form of the annotation one of your colleagues wrote for you. All you have to say to your patron is, “such and such library worker in blank state thought this was a great read,” and then you read what he or she said.
  4. Every upcoming book now has at least 1 readalike that is available to hand out RIGHT NOW. Book talk the upcoming book, place a hold for it, and then hand out that readalike title for while they wait. If they need more titles before their hold comes in, use the readalike title to identify more readalike titles. And then keep repeating. Seriously, it is that easy to have happy, satisfied readers.
So get out there and suggest a good read to someone today. I don’t care what list or resource you use to find the suggestion, just start suggesting books.

Please remember to click here for everything you need to know about how to participate. Click here to see a database of eligible diverse titles sorted by month.

And finally, here is LibraryReads' extremely helpful Resources page.

Now let's get to that list.... 


July 2022 LibraryReads List!

What Moves the Dead 

by T. Kingfisher

Tor Nightfire

A retelling of The Fall of the House of Usher, Kingfisher's latest adds the creepiest of flesh to the bare-bones tale by Poe. Complete with a scary, isolated mansion and eerie behaviors of the residents, this version not only makes perfect sense within the original narrative, but adds a depth of understanding that suddenly makes all the pieces fall into place. For fans of Mexican Gothic, The Haunting of Hill House, and The Night Stranger.”

—Sheri Stanley, Gulfport Library, Gulfport, FL 
NoveList read-alike: The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Now the rest of the list 

Bet On It: A Novel 

by Jodie Slaughter

St. Martin's Griffin

“Aja meets a handsome stranger while having a panic attack. Walker’s not looking for a relationship, especially in his hometown, the source of his PTSD and anxiety. But Aja is beautiful, understands him, and kisses like a dream. The bingo hall setting, the senior characters, the body-positive and steamy sex scenes–so much to love in this fun, interracial romance. For fans of Talia Hibbert and Gail Honeyman.”

—Elizabeth Gabriel, Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee, WI
NoveList read-alike: Getting His Game Back by Gia De Cadenet


Big Girl: A Novel 

by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan


“For eight-year-old Malaya who must attend weekly Weight Watchers meetings with her mother, enough of anything... especially food...is never enough. This beautifully written, heart-breaking, hopeful story follows Malaya as she navigates middle and high school, her family, and her burgeoning sexuality, told with compassion and honesty. For fans of Queenie and Dominicana.”

—Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ
NoveList read-alike: What the Fireflies Knew by Kai Harris


Booked on a Feeling: A Novel 

by Jayci Lee

St. Martin's Griffin

“After experiencing a panic attack during her first trial, lawyer Lizzie Chung decides to take a leave of absence and visit her childhood friend Jack. They team up to help a struggling bookstore. It brings them closer, but will their anxieties and insecurities doom their relationship? A sweet romance that deals with some serious topics. For fans of Ten Rules for Faking It and Girl Gone Viral.”

—Shari Suarez, Genesee District Library, Flint, MI
NoveList read-alike: A Lot Like Adios by Alexis Daria


Grace Under Fire 

by Julie Garwood


“Romantic suspense at its best. A beautiful woman who is a talented songwriter and a great listener is at her sister-in-law’s awaiting a trip to Scotland. During a brief walk around the block, her whole world changes. Of course, a handsome man helps her save the day. Loads of fast-paced fun. For fans of Catherine Coulter and Karen Robards.”

—Susan Willis, Chanute Public Library, Chanute, KS
NoveList read-alike: Reluctant Heroes series by Suzanne Brockman


A Lady's Guide to Fortune-Hunting: A Novel 

by Sophie Irwin

Pamela Dorman Books

“In Regency London, recently orphaned Kitty Talbot is intent on finding a wealthy husband who will settle the family’s debts and allow her sisters to remain in their home. Kitty is nuanced and layered, a well- developed heroine amid a cast of riveting characters. This enthralling novel is a must-read for Bridgerton and Jane Austen fans.”

—Janet Schneider, Peninsula Public Library, Lawrence, NY
NoveList read-alike: Regency Vows series by Martha Waters


The Pallbearers Club: A Novel 

by Paul Tremblay

William Morrow

“Tremblay always knows how to tap into the deepest of emotions, and this dual- narration horror thriller is both unrelentingly creepy and filled with the bittersweet pathos of a formative, toxic, unforgettable friendship in which one participant may or may not be a vampire. For fans of Stephen Graham Jones and Samanta Schweblin.”

—Kate Currie, Hennepin County Library, Minneapolis, MN
NoveList read-alike: Jawbone by Monica Ojeda

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy: A Monk and Robot Book 

by Becky Chambers


“The second volume of this series returns to a world which is both post- apocalyptic and hopepunk, focusing on the ways that both the Monk and Robot have to deal with other people now that they’ve re-entered society after their travels together. For those who enjoyed The Murderbot Diaries and the more hopeful aspects of Station Eleven.”

—Monica Shin, Boston Public Library, Boston, MA
NoveList read-alike: Rampart Trilogy by M.R. Carey


Sugar and Salt: A Novel

By Susan Wiggs

William Morrow

”Margot Salton, a Texas BBQ master, sets up a new restaurant in San Francisco, sharing a kitchen with Jerome’s bakery. She has been running from a huge secret that eventually catches up to her. An intriguing story that addresses heavy topics of date rape and racism but is also full of hope and love. For fans of Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake and Recipe For Persuasion.”

—Jaime Bink, Harford County Public Library, Whiteford, MD
NoveList read-alike: The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman


Wash Day Diaries 

by Jamila Rowser

Chronicle Books

“At its core, this graphic novel is a story about four beautiful, strong black women and their friendship. Within the framework of hair wash day, we see each character dealing with her own issues, from work and relationships to mental health struggles. For readers of Another Brooklyn and Queenie.”

—Aryn O’Connor, Cabarrus County Library, Concord, NC 
NoveList read-alike: The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel


The LibraryReads Hall of Fame designation honors authors who have had multiple titles appear on the monthly LibraryReads list since 2013. When their third title places on the list via library staff votes, the author moves into our Hall of Fame.

Click here to access the Hall of Fame Archive with annotations and readalikes 

The Bodyguard: A Novel

by Katherine Center

St. Martin's Press


The Daughter of Doctor Moreau

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Pub date: 7/19/22

Del Rey

ISBN: 9780593355336

The Hidden One: A Novel of Suspense

By Linda Castillo

Minotaur Books


The It Girl

by Ruth Ware

Gallery/Scout Press


Just Like Home

by Sarah Gailey

Tor Books


The Last to Vanish: A Novel

by Megan Miranda

Scribner / Marysue Rucci Books


Storm Echo

by Nalini Singh



Things We Do In the Dark: A Novel

by Jennifer Hillier

Minotaur Books


Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: A Novel

by Gabrielle Zevin



Upgrade: A Novel

by Blake Crouch

Ballantine Books