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RA FOR ALL...THE ROAD SHOW!

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Library Reads: August 2017

This is your monthly Library Reads announcement.

I usually just cut and paste the same intro each month, but for the next few months I am amending it with this long introduction. I want to address the fact that Library Reads has been called out for their lists being too "white." While this is a fair criticism, blaming Library Reads is not fair because Library Reads and their Steering Committee are only the ones running the website, coordinating the eArc process, and counting the votes, the voters who pick the books are ALL OF YOU!!!! [Seriously, Steering Committee members votes do not come into play. I looked into it.]

So that means all of you-- all of us-- are falling down on the job of nominating more diverse titles-- both in terms of the ethnicity and race of the author and the genres represented. So I think the problem requires action in a two pronged strategy.

First, we need more of you to participate, especially those of you who read more diversely and widely. Basically Library Reads needs new blood. Library reads is SUPER EASY to participate in, yet despite that, as I travel the country meeting all of you, many of you do not participate and surprisingly, a lot of you don't even now how to begin. So, we are going to fix that. Here's how, directly from Library Reads:
Want to know more about how you can participate in LibraryReads using Edelweiss+? Join them for a free webinar on July 18th from 4-5 p.m. ET. Click here to register!
I am signed up. You should do it too. There will be an archive if you cannot make it live.

But one fallacy about Library Reads is that you have to write a full annotation in order for your vote to be counted. That is not true. You just need to read [or honestly skim] the eARC and then rate the book and submit your vote to Library Reads. But the webinar will explain it all.

I know many of you have not gotten involved because you thought that it was too difficult. I am here to tell you it is not. So let's get some new people submitting votes. It only takes a few new people to make a big difference. I am calling on you, my readers [and there are close to a thousand of you a day] to step up and make your voices heard.

[On a side note, while Library Reads will not release how many votes it takes for a book to make the list, a publishing rep [not a big 5] told me confidentially that she has gone back and crunched the numbers that she has seen for her titles and she estimates that about 40-45 votes gets you on the list. But to be number one, she has no idea because one of her books hasn't ever been number one.]

Second, stop voting for the obvious books. I know you like the big name authors. We all do, but seriously people, voting for big name, huge bestselling authors over and over again is helping no one. Looking at the list below for August 2017, WHY is Louise Penny taking a spot from a less well known author. Look don't get me wrong. I LOVE Louise Penny [proof here]. For goodness sake, if you go on NoveList and see the author appeal statement for her-- I WROTE THAT. So I am not dissing her. I adore her novels. But seriously is there a library worker in America who hasn't hear of Louise Penny AND who doesn't have this author on automatic hold already? NO!

We are Library Reads. We need to do better. Library Reads needs to be more proactive in helping library workers identify the great books we wouldn't know about without this resource. Don't squander the opportunity to read a great under the radar title- early and for free- and to then pass it on to others. Read Louise Penny early for yourself, but spend your time voting for the titles that will not find an audience without your expert help.

If we keep voting for the mainstream titles, the publishers will keep spending money signing similar authors, but if we use our power to vote for more diverse and less mainstream works that we know our patrons would love, titles that no one would know about without us raising our voice to be heard, we can make great change. We can force the publishers to sign more diverse authors and we can get some great reads into more library collections, and we can have a backlist archive of great titles for all readers.

I am not going to tell you what to vote for though. I want you-- all of you-- to decide for yourselves. Me telling you would be as bad as the publishers forcing titles on us [which they already do]. The more voices we can gather who each independently choose the books that they are passionate about, the better the list will be. It will be more diverse by default when more of us use this two pronged approach that I have outlined today.

Remember, Library Reads is not a nebulous group of librarians lording over us-- it is you, me, your co-workers. It is up to us to do the right thing here because goodness knows, the publishers aren't going to do it unless we force them to.

Let's work together to make Library Reads more diverse and reflective of the full range of great books that are coming down the pike, then when we go to use these lists as a backlist tool we have an ever better resource at our fingertips.

[Now back to your regular Library Reads message.]

Library Reads day means 3 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. 

August 2017 LibraryReads List


Young Jane Young:
A Novel

by Gabrielle Zevin

Published:8/22/2017 by Algonquin Books
ISBN: 9781616205041
“Aviva Grossman was involved in a relationship with her boss, who just happened to be a member of Congress. She becomes ostracized as her name is associated with scandal and  reinvents herself as Jane Young.  She has a daughter, Ruby, who decides to run away to look for her father. Ruby learns things are not always what they seem. I loved Zevin’s engaging style. The characters are flawed and real. You are rooting for them until the end.”
Audra Bartholomew, Bossier Parish Library, Bossier City, LA

Glass Houses: A Novel

by Louise Penny

Published: 8/29/2017 by Minotaur Books
ISBN: 9781250066190
“A new threat arises in Three Pines as a mysterious masked figure stands watch on the village green. ‘It’ refuses to communicate in any way, which is just the start of another thrilling adventure in this long-running series. Gamache is still trying to restore the Sûreté du Québec back to what it was before it was corrupted under the previous regime. Choices are made that will forever change our hero in ways we can only begin to imagine. The next book can’t get here fast enough.”
Joseph Jones, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Brooklyn, OH

How to Find Love in a Bookshop

by Veronica Henry

Published: 8/15/2017 by Pamela Dorman Books
ISBN: 9780735223493
“When Emilia’s father dies, she returns to her small English village, takes over his beloved bookshop, and begins working through both her grief and the myriad renovations and changes the store needs. The author weaves stories of multiple village residents and their romantic travails and triumphs. I admired the well-crafted nature of this story, with the interwoven storylines offering wide variety without becoming scattered or straining to remain believably interrelated. All in all, just lovely.”
Carol Reich, Hillsboro Public Library, Hillsboro, OR

If the Creek Don’t Rise: A Novel

by Leah Weiss

Published: 8/22/2017 by Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 9781492647454
“It is 1970 and pregnant seventeen-year-old Sadie Blue is trapped in a marriage with her horrific moonshiner husband Roy in an Appalachian mountain town. Their friends and neighbors live stark, gritty lives that are written with vivid and captivating detail. Hope and strength shine through in bits and pieces in this terrific debut about Sadie’s struggles. Weiss’s fresh voice captivates the reader as this tale spins from several perspectives that draw the reader into Sadie’s world. A terrific debut that will keep you riveted until the last page.”
Carol Ann Tack, Merrick Library, Merrick, NY

Reincarnation Blues: A Novel

by Michael Poore

Published: 8/22/2017 by Del Rey
ISBN: 9780399178481
“A witty and fascinating look at reincarnation. Milo has been reincarnated more than any other human. He’s been enjoying his lives and grown wise without quite achieving perfection, the ultimate goal. He is absolutely in love with Death, who’d rather just be called Suzi and ultimately would like to settle down and run a candle shop. Unfortunately, he comes to find out there’s actually a limit on how many chances you get at perfection. A moving and lovely story about love, meditation, the journey of life, and becoming the best person you can be.”
Jessica Trotter, Capital District Libraries, Lansing, MI

Morningstar: Growing Up with Books

by Ann Hood

Published: 8/1/2017 by W.W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393254815
Morningstar is Hood’s account of growing up in a family and a town that did not value books and learning to love them anyway, finding them a gateway into ‘a big, beautiful world.’ Her taste in literature runs the gamut from Dickens to Jacqueline Susann, Frost to Rod McKuen, and Hood makes a powerful case for what each contributed to her life. Give this to avid readers; it will likely send them off to reread old favorites and maybe inspire curiosity about titles they missed. Fascinating reading.”
Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY

The Address: A Novel

by Fiona Davis

Published: 8/1/2017 by Dutton
ISBN: 9781524741990
“In New York City in the 1880s, Sara Smythe emigrates from England to manage a new apartment building, the Dakota. She soon becomes the lover of the architect, Theodore Camden. After Sara murders Theodore, she is sent to an insane asylum which is infiltrated by journalist Nellie Bly. A second story line also takes place at the Dakota, but this time in 1985. Bailey is hired to renovate the apartment after she gets out of rehab and uncovers mysterious secrets and her personal connections to Camden. This suspenseful book provides a fascinating look at the history of New York during this period.”
Maggie Holmes, Richards Memorial Library, North Attleboro, MA

Emma in the Night: A Novel

by Wendy Walker
Published: 8/8/2017 by St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 9781250141439

“One night, Emma and her sister Cass go missing. Three years later, Cass returns home without Emma and tells the story of a couple who held the girls hostage and kidnapped the child to whom Emma gave birth. FBI Special Agent Abby Strauss is brought in to interview Cass with the hope of finally finding Emma. The more answers Cass gives, the more questions Abby has, and she knows that beneath all of Cass’s stories lies the truth. This thriller, with many unreliable characters, will keep readers off-kilter and uncertain, even after one final twist.”
Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ

The Burning Girl: A Novel

by Claire Messud

Published: 8/29/2017 by W.W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393635027
“Julia and Cassie were once inseparable, but once they start middle school, things unexpectedly change. Cassie has found new friends, and it is clear Julia is not welcome. Julia doesn’t understand how Cassie could just forget how close they were and leave her to navigate a new school alone. When things start to go wrong for Cassie, Julia steps in to help but is left to wonder how close they really were. Messud really captures the anguish of the early teen years, when friendships are heartbreakingly intense and can change in an instant. Beautifully written and moving.”
Pamela Wiggins, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC

The Clockwork Dynasty: A Novel

by Daniel H. Wilson

Published: 8/1/2017 by Doubleday
ISBN: 9780385541787
“When an inventor, employed by Peter the Great, creates two human-like clockwork automaton robots using anima discovered near a stream, he has no idea about the history behind those anima, nor could he imagine his creations’ future. Weaving through the present and the past, this book creates a world where humans co-inhabit alongside a group of powerful automaton robots. Fun, intriguing and nearly impossible to put down! I loved reading this book.”
Katherine Rose, Edwardsville Public Library, Edwardsville, IL

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is so terrific, Becky: I couldn't agree more. My favorite August release that I recently read was The Talented Ribkins, by Ladee Hubbard, a truly captivating and original debut novel at the surprising intersection of superhero culture and the Civil Rights era. It happens to be by a writer of color, from a smaller press. Plenty of buzz: blurbs from the likes of Toni Morrison, Mary Gaitskill, Stewart O'Nan, & a starred review from Kirkus. Not on the LibraryReads list. Why? Simply because not enough of US read it and raved it up.

Yes, we need diverse books, but it is even more crucial for us to value the diversity of the books we already have.

- David Wright