RA FOR ALL...THE ROAD SHOW!

I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Never Ending Suggestions of Largehearted Boy's Best Books of 2018 Database

All month I have been trying to give you as many varied suggestions of "best books" lists that you can use so that you do not run out of "best book" suggestions for your patrons. One of my back pocket tricks to keep the "best books" flowing into patrons' hands despite the rush to check them all out is to remind them that previous year's "best books" are still a great option. [Click here for more by me on this.]

But, as I know all too well, that doesn't cut it with every patron. Some only want to read this year's best as the year comes to a close, and they will not hear otherwise, no matter how you explain it to them. Of course we know that many of these titles 2018 appear on multiple lists, and by this point [2 weeks before the end of the year], the most common "best books" are checked out and have long holds lists.

So, what should you do with these particular patrons? Give up? NOPE.

Largehearted Boy is here, like he has been every year for the last eleven years to help you, with his archive of every online "best books" list. There are hundreds of lists, and he includes library best lists too.

So never fear. Click here and pull up the entire archive. It is just what you need in these waning days of the year, as your 2018 "best" stock is dwindling.

Click here to access.
Psst....he also has easy access to every previous year's list too. While, these more particular patrons might not want those, you can use it on everyone else too.

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Booklist Starred Reviews Issue 2018

The current issue of Booklist is the Starred reviews for 2018 roundup. This year, the magazine was paired with an excellent and useful 22 minute, free webinar:
The December 15 issue of Booklist will be our second annual Starred Reviews issue, collecting all the adult and youth titles published in 2018 that received the coveted Booklist star. How can you make the best use of this remarkable resource in your library or school besides filling in collection gaps? Join Erin Downey Howerton, Children’s Manager at the Wichita Public Library, for a star-spangled list of ways the Booklist Starred Reviews issue can help with fundraising, displays, programming, book groups, community engagement, and more. As a special thank-you to webinar attendees, all registrants will receive a digital copy of Booklist’s December 15, 2018 Starred Reviews issue! 
Click here to watch and learn how use the magazine you already paid for.

I also wanted to use the publication of this issue to point out the 6 horror titles, 1 collection of speculative stories, and 1 science fiction novel which I gave a star to that appear in this issue. The links lead to my review here on the blog too:


However, no matter what area you purchase for or help patrons with, there is much you can use the Star Review Issue for. Again watch the 22 minute webinar which breaks it down, and put the dollars you have already spent to work for you.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Library Reads: January 2019

Today is Library Reads day and that means three 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 Library Reads is the compound interest it is earning. We now have hundreds and hundreds of titles worth suggesting right at our fingertips.
  3. You have no excuse not to hand sell any Library Reads 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.
    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.

    Also, please remember to click here for my Library Reads 101 recap for everything you need to know about how to participate. And click here to see a database of eligible diverse titles sorted by month.

    ********************************************

    January 2019 LibraryReads

    Don’t miss the January 2019 Hall of Fame Winners! Scroll down or visit the Hall of Fame page.

    Once Upon a River:

    A Novel

    by Diane Setterfield

    Published: 12/4/2018 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
    ISBN: 9780743298070
    “A wonderfully dark and mysterious read. Something happens one stormy winter solstice evening that triggers a chain of events that changes the lives of all the main characters. Moody and mystical. For readers who love gothic fiction like The Death of Mrs. Westaway and The Clockmaker’s Daughter. ”
    Melanie Liechty, Logan Library, Logan, UT 

    An Anonymous Girl

    by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

    Published: 1/8/2019 by St. Martin’s Press
    ISBN: 9781250133731
    “Struggling to stay afloat with a job as a makeup artist, Jessica signs up for a study, thinking she will earn some easy money. After the first two parts of the study, she gets invited to the professor’s house for more questions and more compensation. Fans of psychological thrillers won’t want to miss this one as Jessica is a compelling character and the novel will keep you reading long into the night.”
    Annice Sevett, Albert Lea Public Library, Albert Lea, MN 

    The Au Pair

    by Emma Rous

    Published: 1/8/2019 by Berkley
    ISBN: 9780440000457
    “After giving birth to Seraphine and her twin brother Danny, their mother throws herself from a cliff. 25 years later, Seraphine finds a picture that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her childhood. For fans of compelling suspense novels and family secrets.”
    Selena Swink, Lake Public Library, Lake, MS

    The Current: A Novel

    by Tim Johnston

    Published: 1/22/2019 by Algonquin Books
    ISBN: 9781616206772
    “When two girls, trapped in a RAV4, fall into an icy river one dies and the other barely survives. Unanswered questions and old accusations resurface as the small Minnesota town recalls another incident ten years earlier where a girl died in the same river. For readers who love small town suspense.”
    Shellie Taylor, Iredell County Public Library, Statesville, NC

    The Dreamers: A Novel

    by Karen Thompson Walker

    Published: 1/15/2019 by Random House
    ISBN: 9780812994162
    “A virus appears in the small town of Santa Lora that causes its victims to fall into a deep sleep from which they cannot wake up. While this story is about a pandemic apocalypse, it also reminds us of our humanity and how we are all connected. For fans of The Country of Ice Cream Star and The Water Knife.”
    Cari Dubiel, Twinsburg Public Library, Twinsburg, OH 

    My Favorite Half-Night Stand

    by Christina Lauren

    Published: 12/4/2018 by Gallery Books
    ISBN: 9781501197406
    “Another delightful contemporary rom-com from the author of Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating. Millie and her four male friends decide to jump into the pool of online dating together. When Millie matches with one of the friends, chaos ensues. For fans of The Kiss Quotient and The Wedding Date.”
    Kelsey Hudson, Middleton Public Library, Middleton, WI

    The Red Address Book

    by Sofia Lundberg

    Published: 1/8/2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    ISBN: 9781328473011
    “A ninety-six-year-old Swedish woman reflects on her life, paging through a long-kept address book. A compelling, charming, and ultimately heartwarming read. For fans of Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk and The Japanese Lover.”
    Brenda O’Brien, Woodridge Public Library, Woodridge, IL 

    The Suspect

    by Fiona Barton

    Published: 1/22/2019 by Berkley
    ISBN: 9781101990513
    “Reporter Kate Waters pursues the story of two 18-year-olds who have gone missing in Thailand. The case takes a turn when the main suspect is Kate’s estranged son. For fans of twisty psychological suspense.”
    Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ 

    Unmarriageable: A Novel

    by Soniah Kamal

    Published: 1/15/2019 by Ballantine Books
    ISBN: 9781524799717
    “A thoroughly enjoyable retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in modern-day Pakistan. The characters, storyline, and dialogue are true to the original while being completely fresh. For readers who enjoy a comedy of manners.”
    Kristen Gramer, Lewes Public Library, Lewes, DE 

    Watching You: A Novel

    by Lisa Jewell

    Published: 12/26/2018 by Atria Books
    ISBN: 9781501190070
    “Set in an upscale English neighborhood where everyone knows everyone and someone is always watching. When one of the residents is found murdered, the police investigation turns up long buried secrets. Told from multiple viewpoints and alternating between past and present.”
    Cyndi Larsen, Avon Free Public Library, Avon, CT

    The Golden Tresses of the Dead: A Flavia de Luce Novel

    by Alan Bradley

    Published: 1/22/2019 by Delacorte Press
    ISBN: 9780345540027
    “Follow the delightful hijinks of the precocious Flavia and her faithful Dogger as they take on their first case as private investigators. Although this is the 10th Flavia de Luce adventure, it is one of those rare mysteries you don’t have to read in series order.”
    Abby Hardison, Rowan Public Library, Salisbury, NC 
    Readalikes:
    Home Sweet Homicide by Craig Rice
    Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett
    The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall
    The Case of the Missing Bookmobile by Ian Sansom

    In An Absent Dream

    by Seanan McGuire

    Published: 1/8/2019 by Tor.com
    ISBN: 9780765399298
    “Young Katherine stumbles into the Goblin Market, where order, friendship, and belonging carry a high price. The latest novella in the Wayward Children series shines just as bright as its kin, as McGuire spins a tale infused with mist-covered magic and sharp and creative storytelling.”
    Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library,Huntington Station, NY
    Readalikes:
    The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
    The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi
    Among Others by Jo Walton
    The Book of Lost Things by John Connelly

    The Only Woman in the Room: A Novel

    by Marie Benedict

    Published: 1/8/2018 by Sourcebooks Landmark
    ISBN: 9781492666868
    “A fascinating look at a famous movie star with an unexpected past: Hedy Lamarr, the Austria-born screen siren who was also a brilliant inventor. Brisk pacing and atmospheric scenes of pre-World War II Europe round out this intriguing work of historical fiction.”
    Alissa Williams, Morton Public Library, Morton, IL
    Readalikes:
    The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
    The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams
    Marlene by C.W. Gortner
    The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton

    The Winter of the Witch: A Novel

    by Katherine Arden

    Published: 1/8/2018 by Del Rey
    ISBN: 9781101885994
    “In this magnificent conclusion to the Winternight historical fantasy trilogy, Vasya risks everything to ensure that both medieval Russias–human and fey–can continue to live together. Exciting, moving, and beautifully written, this is a story readers will savor.”
    Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY
    Readalikes:
    Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
    The Winged Histories by Sofia Samatar
    Deathlesss by Catherynne M. Valente
    The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

    Thursday, December 13, 2018

    Resource Alert: Using Author Recs as a Suggestion

    When a patron likes a specific author, one of the best tricks of the trade I have for finding them something new to read is pointing the patron to that author's favorites, or at least books the author shared with the world that they enjoyed.

    Nothing makes a patron happier than reading a book that one of their favorite authors loved, well except maybe a new book by their favorite author. Seriously though, you look like a genius and often the book is better received by the patron than the carefully crafted suggestion you agonize over by analyzing their reading tastes. All that matters is that the reader in front of you finds a good read; you don't get extra points for working harder to get them that suggestion.

    My go-to resource for this kind of information is Fantastic Fiction. If you search an author like Stephen King here, and scroll to the bottom of the author record, you will see covers of the books the author has recommended over the years, with the blurb as to what they likes about it. Simple and easy.

    There are thousands of choices here especially if a patron tries a new author because of this resource, likes them too, and then goes and finds books they recommend the same way. It's a rabbit hole of awesome reading recs.

    No, these are not always "readalikes" for their favorite author, and often the suggestions end up being very different from what the patrons likes about their favorite author, but 9 times out of 10 the patrons I have used this resource on have loved the outcome. Sometimes they don't love the book, but they feel like they learned more about their favorite author by reading a book they liked.

    This time of year there are also some bonus options for suggesting books recommended by an author.

    The most well known one is The Millions "A Year of Reading," their annual year-end series of essays by some of the most talked about authors of the current year telling you what they read during the year, why, and what it taught them. Each author has a different style in how they present their essay which I also love. Some patrons will connect more with the author who writes a full essay and works books into it, while other may enjoy the annotated list, and still others just the simple, "Here's what I read," list-- and there is every presentation style in between.

    Here is the link to this year's series and at the bottom of every page in the series there are links to all the previous year's essays going back to 2005! I can confidently proclaim you will find something for every reader here. And bonus points to The Millions for easy backlist access.

    The other list of authors making recs I wanted to point out is in the current issue of Booklist Magainze-- The Star Reviews Issue.

    In the issue [and available for free online for 2 weeks] are lists from each of the 6 Carnegie Medal finalists recommending titles that "resonated with them" to you. From the Booklist Reader:
    With the Carnegie Medals announcement approaching this January, this issue includes recommended books from our finalists in fiction and nonfictionEsi EdugyanRebecca MakkaiTommy OrangeFrancisco CantúKiese Laymon, and Beth Macy.
    These lists work for all of the reasons discussed throughout this post AND because they also make wonderful suggestions for patrons looking for the current books by these authors, who are appearing on just about every other best list.  Because the request from Booklist was appropriately vague, each author took a different take on their list. For example, Kiese Laymon did books he wished he wrote while Esi Edugyan did "Required Reading You May Have Overlooked."

    Links are in the above paragraph for all 6 and they make the perfect suggestion for the reader who has to wait for these currently hot "Best" titles.

    Wednesday, December 12, 2018

    What I’m Reading: A Dozen Goodreads Reviews in Audio and Print

    Today I have more links to my reviews of books the have appeared on Goodreads but not here on the blog. I periodically post the authors and titles here mostly so that they are searchable for both me and you. All of these titles were read in 2018.

    The links go to my Goodreads review each of which have my three words and readalikes, although I have indeed the three words here in the post too.


    I have really enjoyed putting my “non-paid” reviews on Goodreads and linking them here. First of all, I feel more open and casual about the way I write them on Goodreads. I don’t stress about making them perfect and I really focus on the appeal.

    Second, indexing them here is important because I need to be able to pull them up here on the blog with a search. Some of you may have seen these reviews, when they posted on Goodreads, but this is their first appearance on the blog.

    And third, these are the books I read on my own time, for myself and my own enjoyment, not because someone assigned them to me. And as you will see, one appeal factor that unites just about every book I pick for myself...character centered].

    Read in Audio:
    • The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti [Character Centered, Flashbacks, Suspenseful]
    • Borne by Jeff VanderMeer [Surprisingly Uplifting, Thought Provoking, Weird Fiction]
    • Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan [History From Female POV, Richly Detailed, Character Centered]
    • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee [Compelling, Character Centered, Saga]
    • There, There by Tommy Orange [Collage of Voices, Strong Sense of Place, Character Centered]
    Read in Print:
    • The Power by Naomi Alderman [Tables Turned, Thought Provoking, Dramatic]
    • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward [Character Centered, Stylistically Complex, Heartbreakingly Beautiful]
    • I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara [Haunting, Compelling, Journalistic]
    • Dread Nation by Justina Ireland [Character Centered, Compelling, Moving]
    • The Buffalo Soldier by Maurice Broads [Steampunk, Story About Stories, Engaging]
    • All Systems Red by Martha Wells [Intense First Person, Robots With Emotions, Snarky] 
    • Florida by Lauren Goff [Nuanced, Strong Sense of Place, Unsettling]

    Tuesday, December 11, 2018

    More Best Lists Worth Your Time: BookRiot and Book Marks

    Today I have 2 more best lists you can use confidently with a wide range of readers all year long.

    First is the more traditional of the two-- BookRiot's Best Books 2018. This list contains books that you have seen other places but there are also some great hidden gems. And the list is broken up into genres if you want/need that [although, no horror :( ]. Overall it is a good one because the fact that it has many of the books you have seen elsewhere gives you more confidence to try to suggest the ones you are less familiar with. If the list was all wacky things that you had never heard, no one would trust it. I like this approach.

    I also wanted to remind you of another "Best" list Book Riot has: their Best Books I Read in [fill in the month].  Every month Rioters [what they call contributors to their site] submit the best book they read in that month, but it doesn't matter when it came out. I love this list because it is a great one to use to suggest books to readers-- the books aren't all brand new so there is a better chance they will be on the shelf, the list is made by a wide variety of readers so the list is varied and inclusive by default, and the annotations are written in a colloquial style that focuses on the feel of the book. You can also use any of the lists at any time. Here is a link to pull them all up at any time.

    Second, is a list that you can also use throughout the year-- Book Marks: The Book Review Aggregator's Best Books of 2018 via Lit Hub. It is what it sounds like, they take reviews from major sources and then assign a rating of RAVE, POSITIVE, MIXED, or PAN. So this is the list of the best reviewed books of the year, but they do this all of the time, updating the site every day.

    Click here to see the main site which has rotating features but generally always has easy access to the newest releases, genre titles, and even a category of current best reviewed books. Basically it's like Rotten Tomatoes, but for books. And I am happy to see they have included my reviews of horror in Booklist and even quote me by name.  Here is an example.

    Again, a reminder to my readers as I wrap this post up. I do not try to post every best list here on the blog, but I do make it a priority to point out the ones I like to use as a resource all year long. Best lists are a treasure trove of information and suggestions for us to use every day, not just during the waning days of each year. I hope these posts have been reminding you of that without hounding you.

    Now get out there and place a "Best" book in a reader's hand. Just remember, it doesn't have to have been deemed best this month or year. Any "Best" destination can be a valuable suggestion resource.

    Monday, December 10, 2018

    #LibFaves18 Has Begun: Participate And Access Previous Year's Lists Immediately

    Beginning today and going for 10 straight days, library workers all over the country will be counting down their personal favorite reads of books published in 2018 by Tweeting 1 books a day, with the title in ALL CAPS, and using #LibFaves18.

    Whether or not you are a Twitter user you can enjoy all the countdown fun using this link. But even better, the entire 10 days of library worker recs will be compiled into one, accessible spread sheet where every single title that is mentioned, even if it is only once, will be available for all to see, use to suggest to patrons, and for collection development. And, the organizers will also extrapolate some data from the process too.

    In fact, it is in the analysis of the results, after the 10 days are up, that I love even more than following along in real time because when all of our titles are aggregated together, some interesting trends appear. To see specifics, click on the year to see the final reports for 2017, 2016, and 2015 on the #LibFaves host, EarlyWord.

    I have not only included those links to show you what the organizers do with the titles each year, but also to remind you that those 3 past lists still make for perfect "BEST BOOK" suggestions to your patrons today. And, the best thing about those backlist best lists, there is a much better chance those titles will be on your shelves right now. Meaning, a patron can enjoy a previous best book, one they missed, one that is still just as good a read as it was 1, 2, 3 years ago, one they do not need to wait for. Sounds like a win-win to me.

    Personally, I take advantage of the  #LibFaves18 spotlight and use the fact that every single title will be included in the final list to promote only horror. Throughout #LibFaves18, I will be counting down my top 10 #HorrorForLibraries and then I will wrap it up with a post on the horror blog with more details.

    I take #LibFaves18 very seriously as a chance to promote horror to the widest audience of library workers possible. Go back and look at last year's list and you will see at least 10 horror titles on the LibFves17 list because of me. Without me horror is almost non existent on the list. Since I know some libraries will use the aggregated list to enhance their collections, I am not missing the opportunity to advocate for the appeal of horror to the widest audience possible.

    Please consider participating yourself. And while you wait for the results, peruse the last few year's lists. Remember, best lists are a great resource all year long, not just at the end of the year, and not just the current year's best. If it was someone's best at one time, there is a great chance it could be your patron's next best book right now.

    Friday, December 7, 2018

    RA for All Road Show Visit Ela Area [IL] Public Library

    Today I am headed Northwest to Lake Zurich, IL to work with the popular materials staff of the Ela Area Public Library.
    I will be speaking to a group that ranges from experts to novices. This is very common for me. What I like about these programs is that I can come and get everyone on the same page and begin the process of working together. Then after I leave, the leaders will be able to easily keep the RA ball rolling in the right direction.
    My program is only for the morning as the library will remain open and other staff will help cover the desks that will be left empty during the training.
    As always, the slides and links can be accessed by all.
    9-10:30 am: RA for All: Readers Advisory belongs in every library, no matter its budget. The implementation of this vital service is the responsibility of every staff member-- from pages to directors, from those behind the scenes to the ones on the front lines. This program will remove the mystery behind providing great RA service. Using her “Ten Rules of Basic RA Service” as a guide, Becky Spratford will use your own love of your favorite books to show you how to help any patron find their next great read. It's not as hard as you think. But more importantly, you will learn why a staff that can harness the power of sharing a great read will become a stronger team and improve service to all patrons.

    15 Minute Break
    10:45 am-12 pm: Booktalking Your Way to the Friendliest Library in Town: Booktalking is at the heart of what we do with patrons each and every day at the public library. Whether we are sharing books informally at the services desk, presenting a prepared list of books, or posting information online, talking about books is something we do each and every day. It is a core service, but it is also hard to teach. Booktalking is more of an art than a skill, but with the right guidance and some practice, it can go a long way toward engaging your patrons and re-energizing your staff. Join experienced Readers’ Advisory Becky Spratford as she shares the secret behind delivering great book talks, giving you tips and tricks you can begin using right away to hone your own skills. Rediscover the power and joy that comes from sharing books with patrons.

    This is my last in person appearance for 2018. But 2019 is filling up quickly. Currently I am booking April for my earliest in person appearances that require a flight, but February has a bit of space if I can drive. And don't ask about May. I cannot possibly be anywhere else in May. I have already turned down 2 fabulous offers for May 2019 because I can only be in one place at a time.

    Thursday, December 6, 2018

    Best Book Covers of 2018 via BookRiot and a Reminder to Judge Books By Their Covers

    This week Book Riot released their list of the best book cover of 2018. There are many RA opportunities in this piece as each cover was picked by a different contributor and includes a statement as to why that person chose it. The annotations are awesome and enhance the list both as a resource for me, the library worker and me, the reader.

    This is a different kind of best list and is a nice break from the sameness of the daily onslaught of best lists we are getting every day.

     It is also a great one best list to use to help readers. How? Well I have a post about that. Back in 2017 I outlined why you need to judge a book by its cover and how to use it to help patrons.

    Pair the two together and you will have a great resource.

    Also it is fun. I judge books by their covers all of the time and every time it makes me giggle, like I am doing something wrong. Every time I match a book with a reader this way it makes me smile. Give it a try yourself.

    Click here for theBookRiot post

    Wednesday, December 5, 2018

    RA for All Roadshow Visits La Grange Public Library

    Today I am presenting a half day afternoon training at my local library, where I am on the Board of Trustees. Yes, that means I cannot charge them, but I am fine with this because training the staff of my local library means that I am helping all of my neighbors get better service. 

    Here is the schedule for this afternoon. As always, the slides and links can be used by all, at any time.


    RA for All: Readers Advisory belongs in every library, no matter its budget. The implementation of this vital service is the responsibility of every staff member-- from pages to directors, from those behind the scenes to the ones on the front lines. This program will remove the mystery behind providing great RA service. Using her “Ten Rules of Basic RA Service” as a guide, Becky Spratford will use your own love of your favorite books to show you how to help any patron find their next great read. It's not as hard as you think. But more importantly, you will learn why a staff that can harness the power of sharing a great read will become a stronger team and improve service to all patrons.


    Booktalking Your Way to the Friendliest Library in Town: Booktalking is at the heart of what we do with patrons each and every day at the public library. Whether we are sharing books informally at the services desk, presenting a prepared list of books, or posting information online, talking about books is something we do each and every day. It is a core service, but it is also hard to teach. Booktalking is more of an art than a skill, but with the right guidance and some practice, it can go a long way toward engaging your patrons and re-energizing your staff. Join experienced Readers’ Advisory Becky Spratford as she shares the secret behind delivering great book talks, giving you tips and tricks you can begin using right away to hone your own skills. Rediscover the power and joy that comes from sharing books with patrons.