But I also know that when this HUGE single book events happen, you can never have enough readalike options.
You also want to make sure you have options for every kind of reader. Remember, a book like this brings people out of the woodwork. People who haven’t been to the library in a long time. They do not realize there will be a wait list.
We need to use event book opportunities like this one to show off our awesome services.
Harper Lee brought em in the building, now it is our job to show off our skills and promote those books which are on the shelf right now.
With bestsellers, you cannot only have exact readalikes [if there is such a thing] ready. Your instinct will be to have other southern set titles with Civil Rights themes ready to hand out automatically each time someone asks to be placed on the waiting list. And while, for example, The Help is a great readalike suggestion, there are many readers who only want Go Set a Watchman for this type of read, when actually they generally prefer a completely different type of book normally.
This is where you can shine and turn these newbie library users into lifelong believers. You can make them see the light and turn into library evangelists, spreading the word of your amazing skills all over town.
[I used bold, but I am not exaggerating. This has worked for me. I have made this happen multiple times.]
First, make sure the patron in front of you asking to be put on hold for the Lee book wants to read something just like it while they wait. Instead of offering a readalike immediately, try saying something like, “We have lots of great reads on the shelf right now. What kind of book do you want to read while you wait? I am sure we can find you something that will make the time pass quickly.”
This is how we at the library turn a publishing event into a chance for us to market ourselves and our book expertise. We hand them a much better option for them, tailored to their specific preferences, and they LOVE it. They think we worked magic when all we did was have the RA conversation with them. Success!
So by all means, have the very specifically matched readalike suggestions lists for Go Set a Watchman out for people. But the patrons that stop and ask for help...to those patrons, please engaging them in a conversation about what they like to read (in general) and use all that you have learned by reading this blog and attending my trainings over the years to find these patrons the perfect read for them- whether or not it shares anything in common with the book they came in to reserve.
To help you start thinking outside the box, I will give you a few Southern Gothic options with a coming of age theme. BY the way, these would be great for the people who you haven’t seen since Gone Girl came out. Click on the titles for a full review of each.
- The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell
- The Darkling by R.B. Chesterton
- This Dark Road to Mercy or A Land More Kind Than Home both by Wiley Cash
- Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones (not Gothic, but an undertone radar option that I love and wanted to sneak in somewhere)
Now go out there are show off your mad RA skills! I know you can do it.