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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Book Your Trip from NPR: An Ingenious Summer Reading Resource

Back in December, I was blown away by the tag-team of ingenuity AND usefulness when NPR unveiled their awesome Book Concierge, a new way to match readers with one of the many “Best” books we are all bombarded with at the end of the year.  Click here for my post and for links.

Well, now they have “blown the roof off the door” (quote and meaning, click here) and have completely transformed the summer reading list resource with Book Your Trip, a series of reading lists based on the form of transportation employed to take you on your summer reading journey.

Those of us who work with readers on a regular basis know that they are constantly looking for ways to link their summer reading to what they are doing or where they are going.  I do it too.  Although I have ways to find books based on setting, sometimes, setting alone does not capture the feel these readers are striving to capture as they pair their book and their destination.  So enter, Book Your Trip where I can find a critic approved title which prominently features travel by city transit or train, or even foot (among many other options).

The critic approved part of the equation is vital here.  There is a person behind these suggestions, not just a computerized search engine.  Someone thinks this book is worth reading AND it has the mode of transportation at its heart.  Just searching the catalog or NoveList for “motorcycles," will find you books, but are they any good and does the transportation component play more than a passing part in the story.  Well, these human curated lists do consider how the book is written, how it flows, and what part the particular method of travel plays in its enjoyment.  They also range from children’s stories to adult with everything in between, meaning the entire family can join in the fun.

Now I have to say, my surprise is tempered a bit.  A few years ago, NPR went on a high profile search to find someone new to run their online books coverage.  They understood that it was lacking and that as a major media leader in book coverage, they needed to do a better job leading and not just following.  I am so glad they have embraced their role and have combined their reporters' and critics' skill with new technology that still puts a pure, unabashed love of reading in the forefront of everything they do.

I cannot stress enough how essential a resource NPR Books has become for me as I help readers.  You should be hanging out there regularly yourself.

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