ARRT GENRE STUDY WEBSITE

CLICK HERE for quick access to the materials for the 2016-17 Speculative Fiction Genre Study.
The website now features UNRESTRICTED access, including notes from our meetings; however, in order to attend the meetings in person, you must be a member of ARRT. Click here for information about how you can join.

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.

Monday, November 30, 2009

State of Crime Fiction Part 2 and the Genre Problem

About 2 weeks ago I wrote this post on the current state of crime fiction.

Publisher's Weekly has posted this article on their website which continues the discussion from the authors' points of view.

Much of what these best-selling authors say comes up each and every day at my library. What is genre fiction and what is literary fiction? Who decides? What are the criteria? Does it matter? (See the comment by Tana French, at the end of the article, for the answer to this question)

However, the most important question from the RAs point of view, which Michael Connelly brings up in the opening sentences of this article, is are genres walls that keep readers out or are they guides to help readers find a book they may enjoy?

I grapple with this issue frequently. In fact, just today, I got fed up with figuring out if a book should be in our fantasy section or if we should catalog it with the general fiction. Exasperated I said to Kathy, "Let's just take away our sections and just file all the books together, with stickers indicating their genre."

The La Grange Public Library
did this a few years ago. I wasn't convinced of the idea at the time, but the more authors write across genres and the more supernatural elements creep into all genres of fiction, the more I love the idea.

I'll keep you posted on our on going discussion at Berwyn, but if you are interested in the issue, go to the Fiction_L archives and read a thread of this very discussion from February of 2006. Librarians weigh in passionately on the issue and many have concrete examples from their libraries.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Best Graphic Novels of the Decade and General GN Library Collection Comments

Here is another one of Paste's lists of the "Best of the Decade." This time it's the best graphic novels.

We have worked hard at Berwyn to have a graphic novel section for readers aged 16 and up. Click here to read some of my posts about our work. This does not mean our "adult" graphic novel section is in any way "R" rated, it just contains books with stories and art that is sophisticated enough to interest an older audience.

I knew our work is getting noticed when about a year ago (after, at that point 8 years of building the collection), an over 50 year-old woman asked me for help in picking out graphic novels for herself. Thus, the first of my "graphic novels for grownups" lists was born. (There have been updates, but I will save that for another post.)

Don't forget to click here and see the graphic novels my students have read over the last few semesters too. Some are from the decade's best list above.

Looking at these three lists and reading the annotations, it should become clear that graphic novels are not just comic books, and they aren't just for kids.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Holiday Book Lists

I haven't talked about some of my favorite resources for book lists in a while and I thought with Thanksgiving tomorrow, now would be a good time both to mention them and use them to find Thanksgiving books.

Library Booklists is a compilation of book lists from libraries all over the world. If you have a topic, setting, character, genre, or really just about anything you want a book list on, Library Booklists has compiled it for you.

Case in point, here is the link to holiday lists. And here is the link that gets you to Fall and Fall Holidays directly. Scroll on down for something to read this week as you give thanks.

I always have a link to this useful website in my "RA Blogs and Sites to Checkout" list in the right gutter of this blog.

Fiction-L, a listserv for RA librarians also has a great archives of lists to be found here. Use it to find something different to read, or click here for a list of suggested Thanksgiving titles.

Since the lists are generated by the discussions that are constantly occurring on the listserv, there are new offerings all of the time.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Shelf Renewal Has Moved

In this post I mentioned the new blog, Shelf Renewal, by my friends Rebecca and Karen.

Since that original post, their blog has been bought by Library Journal. Go here to follow their relocated blog. After some initial growing pains, it is all set up for your subscription.

And, of course, you'll want to read this post.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Best Lists-- Looking Back and Looking Forward

Tired of trying to catch up with the best of 2009? Why not revisit the past decade's best or get a jump on 2010 instead?

Paste Magazine has been posting many lists of the best books, music, TV and movies of the decade. Click here to see them all. My favorite two are their lists of the 20 Best Books of the Decade and their 10 Best Debut Novels of the Decade. I have read 6 of the 10 Debut novels already and highly recommend them all.

If you are more of a "don't look back" kind of person, my go to resource for all things speculative, io9, posted this list of SF novels they are excited to read in 2010.

So there are many options for all types of readers. You can also access any "best lists" I have ever posted using this link.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

BPL Book Discussion: Olive Kitteridge


This past Monday, my ladies and I met at the BPL to discuss Olive Kitterridge, the winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize, by Elizabeth Strout. I read this book about 9 months ago for the first time and this is an excerpt from what I said about it then:
Olive Kitteridge is the story of the eponymous woman. She is a retired middle school teacher in a small town in coastal Maine. Olive has a husband and one distant son, she is crotchety and probably suffers from untreated depression. Sounds like fun, huh? It is though because what makes this story so engrossing, goes way beyond who Olive is. Strout's choice to reveal Olive through connected stories, all told from different points of view (including Olive's) gives the reader a unique experience. We learn about Olive, her family, and her town. We get intimate portraits of many of the inhabitants of Crosby, Maine. And although Olive is an abrasive woman, at the conclusion of the 13th story, the reader sees her finally moving toward an
understanding of herself and what her behavior means to those around her.
Click here for my full report including some readalikes (I will have a few more at the end of this post.)

On to our discussion. I began with the following quote from Strout (which I got from the NoveList book discussion guide for the book)
I don't have a stake in whether people like Olive. Some people have told me they absolutely love her, and some people have said they can't stand her but they're still very drawn to the book. ...I hope that even if they have a negative response to much of Olive's behavior, they are maybe still drawn into this humanity that is underneath all of her action(s).
I then immediately asked the group, "Did you like Olive?" The most common response was, "yes and no." Some comments were that Olive was real, she was like actual people the participants knew. Stories were shared of friends and family who are "just like Olive."

More general comments about Olive:
  • she irratated people, but they saw her humanity
  • she had falshes of true compassion and caring
  • she was opinionated and brusque, but still fragile
  • Olive was the best representation of older people that my group of (mostly) senior citizens had read
  • ...and my favorite: Olive had a shell around her; for us to get through we need the views of all the townspeople.
This last comment led us to discuss the format. Strout wrote Olive Kitteridge as 13 linked stories. For the most part it alternates back and forth between stories where Olive is the main character and those where she is more peripheral. These "periphery" stories range from Olive being a participant in the story, to barely making it into a crowd scene, to not being there at all, but mentioned by a character.

The group was mixed about the format. A few participants don't like short stories, so they were turned off from the start. But others liked how it was "a different way of writing." They enjoyed how Olive's character was developed through other people's eyes. We all were happy for the portrait it painted of the town of Crosby, Maine. Without the story format and the shifting points of view, we would have only had a story about Olive. Instead we also got a story about a town and its residents over time.

But no matter the opinion on the format, surprisingly, everyone enjoyed the experience of getting to know Olive and Crosby, Maine.

We also spent time discussing Olive relationship with Henry (her husband), Christopher (her son), and Jack, her "friend" at the end of the book.

I ended the discussion by going through the "non-Olive" stories and giving people a chance to comment on them. A few led to a couple of comments, but it was clear that, as a group, we were more drawn to the Olive stories.

We ended as someone said that this whole book is about life as an experience. We take the good and the bad and it makes a life. Well said.

Readalikes: As I mentioned above, I read this book earlier this year and if you click here, you can see some readalikes. To that list I would add Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson for those who want to read another novel in stories; any book of stories by Alice Munro, who is both one of the best short story writers today and one of Strout's favorite authors; any book by fellow Pulitzer Prize winner Oscar Hijuelos, whose novels about Cuban Americans have an episodic feel, and are about both individual people and a larger community, like Olive Kitteridge.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

National Book Award Winners

NBA's were announced tonight and Galley Cat was Live Blogging at the event.

Full and official results here.

Student Annotations: Special Reading Interests

Tonight we talked about the fact that in every community there are special interests you need to be aware of. The four most popular special reading interests in the Chicagoland area are Inspirational Literature (both religious and non-religious), African American Literature, Latino/a Literature, and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Literature.

These are not genres, but rather specific interest areas which include books in all genres. It is also important to note that you do not have to "be" in one of these groups to read books in these special reading interest areas.

My students read some books in these 4 categories and posted about them on the Word Press blog.

Since people are less familiar with these areas I thoughts I'd also share just one web resource from each area.

Inspirational: Beliefnet
African American: African American Literature Book Club
Latino/a: The Boston Public Library's Latino Life Bookmarks
GLBTQ: I'm Here, I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read?

Use the resources or the student blog to find something new to read.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Forum On the State of Crime Fiction

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The Huffington Post has been trying to increase their book coverage, in order to compete with their rival, The Daily Beast.

We, leisure readers, are the beneficiaries of their on-going battle for readers. Case in point, today's post by thriller writer, and Huffington Post blogger, Jason Pinter. He gathered six well known crime fiction reviewers and asked them a series of questions about the current world of crime fiction.

This is a must read for any librarian or reader, for that matter. This idea of "crime fiction" which combines some (but not all) books in the following genres-- mystery, thriller, suspense, romantic suspense, and even psychological suspense-- is something I have been interested in for a while, both as a reader and as someone who helps leisure readers. Click here for other posts where I have mused on crime fiction. This link will lead you to a lot more resources.

Keeping Up With the Year End Best Lists

Even I have a hard time keeping up with all of the best lists that come out this time of year; so I rely on the help of other great resources. Which leads me to point out a particularly important rule of being a librarian. Librarians do not know all the answers. We know where to find them though.

Early Word, is also trying to stay on top of it for all of us. Click here for a link to their spreadsheet of all the major bests lists (it is toward the bottom of the post).

But even Early Word cannot keep up, so following their lead, I will direct you to Largehearted Boy's self proclaimed compiled list of every best book list. Use this link to get the first post, and then follow his daily update link.

And, if this is all too much for you to keep up with, those of us in the RA department at the Berwyn Public Library will be putting up a comprehensive display of all the "best" book of 2009 up for you in January-- when you finally have the time to read them.

Monday, November 16, 2009

BPL Displays: November 2009

This month we are featuring 2 displays with annotated lists at the Berwyn Library.

The small display has novels with recipes, so you can enjoy a good story and get ideas for all of your upcoming holiday feasts.

The tall display has been up for a week already and is extremely popular. It is filled with first books in some great series. If you like to read books in a series, then stop by this display to get some new ideas.

Don't forget we keep all of our past annotated lists archived here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What I'm Reading: The Guinea Pig Diaries


Not only does my husband subscribe to Esquire, where A J Jacobs is the Editor-at-Large, but I have read all three of his books, and one even made it to my favorite books of the year list. So of course I put my name on the hold list for his newest, The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life As an Experiment. His other two books follow his exploits through a full year: reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica one year and living his life to the standards of the Bible for another.

Guinea Pig Diaries is different in that it is a series of essays recounting shorter experiments. My favorites were when he outsourced his professional and personal life to India, the month he tried not to multitask at all, and the month he did whatever his wife told him.

Guinea Pig Diaries would be a good introduction to Jacobs' writing style which is funny, but personal. His works are about him trying something, but they are also a memoir of his life with his wife, kids, family and friends. He takes himself seriously enough that his experiments are worthwhile, and he pokes enough fun at himself to keep you smiling. He also learns something from each experiment and ends each with a coda outlining how his experiment has changed him.

However, unlike his first two books, which followed an experiment over an entire year, some of the essays in Guinea Pig Diaries, in which all experiments are only for 1 month, are not as compelling as stories in and of themselves.

Overall, Guinea Pig Diaries will appeal to readers who want an episodic book which is heartwarming, insightful, thoughtful, introspective and hilarious all at the same time.

Readlikes: Jacobs is one of the most popular authors in the genre that is becoming known as "Year in the Life." Those of you with access to NoveList, they have a great list under the record for Jacobs' Bible book to get you started (Berwyn patrons, click here). A few highlights from this list are Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper by Diablo Cody, The Year of Yes: a Memoir by Maria Dahvana Headley, and Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine.

Jacobs has been described as a modern day George Plimpton. I agree. Plimpton's immersion journalism still has resonance today. I even named my fantasy football team after his classic Paper Lion: Confessions of a Last-String Quarterback.

Wall St. Journal sports reporter Stephan Fatsis is another similar author in both tone and subject. He has gone on the professional Scrabble circuit and tried out as a kicker for the Denver Broncos.

David Sedaris
and Roy Blount, Jr are also humorists who would appeal to fans of Jacobs. They all use humor as a way to talk abut serious issues. All three also use their personal lives for material.

Jacobs mentions a ton of books throughout Guinea Pig Diaries, and he lists all of them in a chapter by chapter bibliography, but of special interest may be The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph Ellis, and Marriage, and A History by Stephanie Coontz.

In terms of fiction, I would suggest anything by Christopher Moore (humor, satire, horror elements), Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon (Jewish, writer, funny), and On Beauty by Zadie Smith (humor, introspective, satire).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Influx of Haunted House Books Tied to the Horrors of the Housing Market

io9 has an interesting article about the flood of recent haunted house titles. They speculate that this deluge is a result of the real life horrors of the American housing market.

Here is the direct link to the article which includes an annotated list.

It is an interesting argument; although, I suspect it is all more of a coincidence. Not matter the reason, it makes for great reading options.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

ARRT Audio Books Annotated List

As I have mentioned before, I am on the steering committee for The Adult Reading Round Table. Each year we prepare a bibliography to go along with one of our programs.

This year we focused on audio books to go with the program I wrote about here.

Each member wrote 2 annotations. We made a conscious effort to choose books read by the most popular narrators. I wrote the annotations for Ghost Radio and The Book of Fate.

Here is a link to the entire annotated list.

I always have a link to the ARRT website in my list of "RA sites and Blogs to Check Out" in the right gutter of this blog. There are a lot of great resources there, so check it out.

Student Annotations: Nonfiction

In class last night we talked about Nonfiction and the students who read books for the week posted their annotations here.

We spent a good deal of time talking about biography and memoir as well as going over how you assist nonfiction leisure readers differently than their fiction counterparts. I introduced them to the most popular categories of nonfiction and the correspondingly important authors. We also went over Joyce Saricks' appeal areas and really focused on how you thought about appeal differently for nonfiction.

Next week will be our last of annotations for the semester.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What I'm Reading: Stieg Larsson



When The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (herein TGWTDT) first came out and everyone was telling me how much they loved it, I got my name on the hold list. When the book came and I started reading, I realized that the names of the characters and places, being Swedish words, were too distracting to me, but I also was pretty sure I would love it. I just couldn't love it while struggling to pronounce things. So, I solved the problem by ordering the audio. While I was at it, I placed a hold on the (as of then) yet to be released The Girl Who Played With Fire (herein TGWPWF).

Since I take the discs and upload them into iTunes (where I delete them after 1 listen, thus breaking no copyright laws), I waited to listen to TGWTDT until TGWPWF came out. Now I have just listened to them back-to-back. Although I loved them both, these are dark, violent, and twisted books. Listening to them (or even reading them) back-to-back takes a strong constitution. Even I, queen of dark books, thought I might need a break halfway through TGWPWF. But I continued and now I am desperately awaiting the third book. I have to know what happens next!!!

I don't want to give away too much of the plots, but here are the key details. Our two main protagonists are Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative journalist and Lisbeth Salander, a loner outcast, who may have Asperger syndrome, and is one of the world's best computer hackers. TGWTDT tells their stories in tandem until the two meet up to solve a decades old mystery involving a missing relative of a famous and rich industrialist. TGWTDT focuses much more on Blomkvist which TGWPWF is focused on Lisbeth. The first book leaves some plot threads up in the air (although the mystery itself is resolved), but they are picked up and resolved satisfactorily by the end of TGWPWF.

In both books there are very dangerous and evil people, doing very bad things, sometimes to our heroes. I cannot stress enough how dark and graphically violent these books are. But the plotting is so original and the characters so compelling that I could not put them down.

BTW, Lisbeth is the girl referred to in each book, so now I am wondering about her kicking a hornet's nest...

Appeal: These books are intricately and cunningly plotted, with extremely sympathetic series characters. The two main characters are very flawed individuals, but we, the reader, love them despite their quirks and issues. Readers will love following a subplot into the next book. This series must be read in order. Intriguing and detailed secondary characters are introduced and given a chance to tell the story from their point of view. Like all good suspense novels, we get the villain's point of view, so we know more than the protagonists. This adds to the suspense. We know how bad the danger is before they do. Both books resolve the main mystery but leave other secondary story lines and issues totally open. This is not a problem because there is another book; however, Larsson conceived this as a 10 book series and he died only completing 3. After The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest comes out next year, we may all be left up in the air. The thought already worries me.

Red Flags: Lots of violence against women, hero and heroine in grave peril, and graphic depictions of sex and rape. Violence and gore throughout.

Readalikes: Larsson's series is a wonderful example of the extremely popular category of Scandinavian suspense and mysteries. All are marked by a dark atmosphere and graphic violence. So why do people like them so much? I think it is because the most successful of these titles have compelling stories with satisfying twists AND great characters. Lisbeth and Mikael are not stereotypical in any way. They feel real; they have depth which one does not often find in suspense and mystery.

Other Scandiavian authors I would suggest if you like Larsson's books are Asa Larsson, Henning Mankell, and Yrsa Sigurdardottir (I am cheating, this is Iceland), all of whom are well represented on American library shelves.

As I was reading both books, I kept thinking about Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie suspense books too. Atkinson's books are not anywhere near as graphic, but they are on the darker side and Jackson is often described as the champion of lost and voiceless girls, which reminded me of Lisbeth and Mikael. Atkinson is also great at carefully and cunningly plotting her books so that details from earlier come out to mean quite a bit later on; just like in Larsson's books. Specifically, When Will There Be Good News would be a great readalike here. It is the third in the series, but the best and most like Stieg Larsson. You can easily pick up the series there.

Finally, Irish author Tana French's In the Woods and The Likeness are dark and original suspense stories with a man/woman team. And like Larsson and Atkinson, French's novels have won lots of awards.

Nonfiction options, obviously books about Sweden and Stockholm. But also books about Asperger syndrome, computer hacking, and investigative journalism may also be of interest.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What NPR is Reading?

Readers of this blog know that I regularly post about what I'm reading.

Well, NPR just began their own weekly report on what their staff is reading. Use this link to see the first 2 weeks' reports.

Here it is in their own words:
At NPR, we cover a lot of books every week. Among those, there are always a handful of standouts — the shortlist, the books with buzz. "What We're Reading" brings you our book team's picks of the most interesting new fiction and nonfiction releases, along with candid comments from our reporters, hosts and staff.
I was already a big fan of NPR's book information and have posted about it many times, but I love this. NPR already has lots of author interviews, official book reviews, and essays about books by authors, but this is different. People already feel like they "know" the people they hear on the radio (trust me, I used to work in radio, I know about this first hand), and now, these "friends," can give readers books suggestions.

To get the list every week, sign up for their RSS feed.

Monday, November 9, 2009

50 Books for 2010

Over at Bookmunch, there is this anti-best of 2009 list: The 50 books you'll want to read in 2010.

Those of you who want to get a jump on the best of next year, click on over. They have nice annotations on each entry too.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

What I'm Reading: The Man Who Loved Books Too Much


I recently picked up The Man Who Loved Books Too Much (herein TMWLBTM) by Allison Hoover Bartlett for 2 reasons, it was set in San Francisco (to which I was traveling), and I love books about books (shocking I know). TMWLBTM is marketed as being similar to The Orchid Thief; while I agree Bartlett was definitely influenced by Orlean's book , TMWLBTM does not live up to Orleans' outstanding book. That is not to say TMWLBTM is not good, it is good, but not great.

Here's the basics on plot. Bartlett has too main characters here, John Gilkey the book thief and Ken Sanders the rare book store owner who helped to catch him. Bartlett meets with both men, tells their stories, and tries to understand Gilkey's motivation. However, it is when Bartlett is giving the details of how the rare book industry works that the book is most compelling.

Sanders is a great hero. He worked very hard to convince American rare book sellers to create a database to share their info about stolen items. Gilkey, on the other hand, is not a strong villain. He is weak and wishy-washy. Although he has strong feelings about why he is entitled to steal the books, they do not make sense, to me. Bartlett struggles with this too. It is not her fault, but it does effect the ultimate power of her book.

Appeal: People who like books about books will enjoy this book. The details about the rare book industry give this an "insiders" feel that many will enjoy. The author writes in a very conversational tone; she is talking to the reader as if she is our friend, and she is both telling us a story and confiding her own secrets to us. This book is extremely open ended. Bartlett never figures out Gilkey's main motivation for compulsively stealing books, she never gets him to tell her where the biggest stash is hidden, and we still have many questions after turning over the last page. It is not Bartlett's fault that her protagonist/villain is not as interesting as we (and she) hope him to be, but readers can be left wanting more after finishing TMWLBTM. TMWLBTM is a quick read that will hold your interest while you are reading but may leave readers unsatisfied.

Readalikes: TMWLBTM is being compared to The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean and rightfully so, but Orlean's book is the gold standard and TMWLBTM is paying homage. If you haven;t ever read The Orchid Thief, try it.

Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz is another good suggestion. Here, Horwitz looks into the lives of people who are obsessed with the history of the Confederacy.

For those who liked the book aspects in TMWLBTM, try The Professor and the Madman about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester, which includes information about the OED's biggest contributor, an insane, incarcerated murderer. For these readers I would really suggest just about any book about books or book lovers here.

For fiction suggestions try, Arturo Perez-Reverte, and these mysteries about books.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Student Annotations: Genres of the Emotions

Last night we had the class on genres which appeal mostly to your emotions: Horror, Romance, Women's Lives, and Gentle Reads.

Each genre is all about the mood it creates; they are different moods and emotions to be sure, but mood is the most important here. These are also books that focus on characters and use lots of adjectives.

I love teaching this week for both obvious and subtle reasons. Obviously I like talking about horror to the class, but as an instructor, I love how illustrative this week is. For example, I purposely do horror and gentle reads back-to-back to show how similar they are in terms of "why" people choose to read them. It is when the students learn to make the connections between seemingly diametrically opposed genres that they really learn something. This is why I also save this grouping until later in the semester. They need more experience before they can "get it."

Click on over to the class Word Press blog to see the books they read for this week, and look at what they had to say about them.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What I'm Reading: Casting Spells


Supernatural elements are cropping up everywhere. Case in point, Barbara Bretton's charming knitting, chick lit series which begins with Casting Spells. Chloe Hobbs is the unofficial mayor of Sugar Maple, VT. She is the half human, half sorceress ancestor to the town's founder. Sugar Maple is a refuge for supernatural beings of all kinds. As long as a female descendant in the founder's line is still living in Sugar Maple, all of the witches, Fae, vampires, and pixies are safe; outsiders come to visit and see them as regular people. And the town makes a killing as a tourist destination.

Chloe runs the very popular knitting shop, but she so far, she has no powers. She is also pushing 30 and has not produced a female heir. The spell is weakening. Case in point, someone is murdered in the town limits. A handsome Boston cop is sent to help solve the case, and sparks literally fly.

Appeal: Casting Spells is part crafting cozy and part supernatural romance with a touch of mystery. It is romantic, but gentle. It is character centered, has a shifting point of view between the male and female protagonists, and has eccentric and compelling secondary characters. Casting Spells is fast paced with lots of action and humor. Many people love small town settings and Sugar Maple will satisfy those readers. It has a resolved ending, but the characters will still call you back for the sequel.

Readalikes: Casting Spells is for people who like the Sookie Stackhouse books in theory, but find them too violent in practice. It's Sookie lite.

A few other supernatural women's lives series that are similar to Casting Spells are The Demon Hunting Soccer Mom Series by Julie Kenner which begins with Carpe Demon and the Betsy Taylor Undead series by MaryJanice Davidson which begins with Undead and Unwed. But really anyone who enjoys any "chick lit" authors, and doesn't mind the supernatural aspects should try Bretton's well plotted and satisfying Chloe Hobbs series.

Don't underestimate the crafting appeal here too. Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilters series would work here for the multi-generational angle as well as the crafting. There is also Kate Jacob's popular Friday Night Knitting Club series.

Casting Spells walks a fine line between chick lit and romance, so contemporary romance with a sense of humor like Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a good bet.

For nonfiction, I would try these knitting books and these about Vermont (which was a key appeal for me personally).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Top Books of 2009...on November 2nd?

My husband was making fun of all of the Christmas ads that began in the newspaper on November 1st, but i think the race to name the best book of 2009 is just as premature.

Today Amazon ended their week long countdown of the 100 best books of 2009 by posting this top 10.

PW also released their top 10 in the last few days.

As a librarian, I love best lists; they are a great tool to help readers find their next good read. But as a reader, I wish I could enjoy the fall release season for a bit longer. I mean, the Stephen King "Halloween" release isn't even out for 8 more days and we're talking year's best on November 2.

That being said, the lists are good. Amazon's is better because it has a top 100 from the Editors and a top 100 from the readers. Also, Amazon's top 10 has both male and female authors. Seriously PW, there are women writers worth mentioning.