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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.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Library Reads: September 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 the recording of a LibraryReads webinar on how to participate.

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. 

September 2017 LibraryReads

Little Fires Everywhere

by Celeste Ng

Published:9/12/2017 by Penguin Press
ISBN: 9780735224292
Little Fires Everywhere delves into family relationships and what parenthood, either biological or by adoption, means. We follow the members of two families living in the idyllic, perfectly-planned suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio: Mia and Pearl, a mother and daughter living a less traditional lifestyle, moving from town to town every few months, and the Richardsons, the perfect nuclear family in the perfect suburb…until Izzy Richardson burns her family home down. Ng’s superpower is her ability to pull you into her books from the very first sentence!”
Emma DeLooze-Klein, Kirkwood Public Library, Kirkwood, MO

Sourdough: A Novel

by Robin Sloan

Published: 9/5/2017 by MCD
ISBN: 9780374203108
“Lois works at a company trying to perfect a robot arm, and while she has been eating the ‘Slurry,’ or nutrient paste, that many use for nourishment, she discovers a nearby take-out restaurant that offers a ‘double spicy’ along with the most delicious sourdough bread she has ever tasted. The brothers who own this restaurant also briefly enchant her, and before they leave San Francisco they share with her the starter for the bread, which changes her life forever. This delightful tale of food, robotics and microorganisms is filled with charm, magical realism, and science.”
Michael Colford, Boston Public Library, Boston, MA 


Dear Fahrenheit 451:
Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks

by Annie Spence

Published: 9/26/2017 by Flatiron Books
ISBN: 9781250106490
“If you could tell a book how you really feel…this is what the author has done with her collection of love letters to books. Readers (and librarians especially) will appreciate the sly stabs or ‘roasting’ that the author makes to point out fine and not-so-fine moments of key books that she is contemplating removing from her shelf. She weaves in stories from her life inside a library (which is fodder for chuckles in itself). Perfect for fans of Jenny Lawson.”
Andrienne Cruz, Azusa City Library, Azusa, CA 


Jane, Unlimited

by Kristin Cashore

Published: 9/19/2017 by Kathy Dawson Books
ISBN: 9780803741492
“A chance encounter with former tutor Kiran Thrash enables Jane, an umbrella-crafter and college dropout, to fulfill a promise to her beloved late Aunt Magnolia—to accept an invitation to visit the mysterious Thrash family home, Tu Reviens. During her visit, Jane reaches a seemingly insignificant moment in time where one action will branch her off into different futures. Each choice results in a different path for Jane that takes her far beyond her previously ordinary life. An ambitious, complex offering with diverse characters from the author of the Graceling series.”
Pearl Derlaga, York County Library System, Yorktown, VA 


Love and Other Consolation Prizes: A Novel

by Jamie Ford

Published: 9/12/2017 by Ballantine Books
ISBN: 9780804176750
“Ford excels at historical fiction, especially set in the Pacific Northwest. In this tale, the reader follows the life of Ernest Young, experiencing the early 1900s in Seattle. He is raffled off in the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exhibition. The story then follows adult Ernest as the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair opens. Rich with historical detail and touching on a time period not widely known (the wilds of Seattle’s early days), this moving story comes together and draws the reader in.”
Alissa Williams, Morton Public Library, Morton, IL

The Child Finder: A Novel

by Rene Denfeld

Published: 9/5/2017 by Harper
ISBN: 9780062659057
“Who better to find a missing child than one who escaped abduction? Denfeld offers a nuanced treatment of a difficult subject. The narrative switches between the voice of the missing child and the Child Finder, Naomi, as she searches. While Naomi’s abduction gave her a unique ability to find missing children, it left her with issues. As she searches for the missing child we see her move toward resolution. Additionally, the glimpse into the mind of the missing child, which shows us the child’s view of the situation and the steps she takes to survive, is fascinating.”
Joan Hipp, Florham Park Public Library, Florham Park , NJ 

The Salt Line

by Holly Goddard Jones

Published: 9/5/2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
ISBN: 9780735214316
“This dystopian novel describes a future in which a tick infestation has driven humanity to barricade itself in a series of safe zones. A thrilling plot involves a group of wealthy individuals on an extreme adventure trip that doesn’t go as planned. Through chapters written from their viewpoints, the reader comes to sympathize with and understand the motivations of the people involved. While telling a story involving hostage taking, drug smuggling and the search for a solution to the bug problem, the novel raises the question of what we are willing to sacrifice for safety.”
Michelle Geyer, Durham County Public Library, Durham, NC 


Hanna Who Fell From the Sky: A Novel

by Christopher Meades

Published: 9/26/2017 by Park Row Books
ISBN: 9780778328735
“Hanna is a young woman, like any other in the world today, except for one unique thing: she is part of a polygamist community and has just been told, at eighteen, she has to marry a man who is her father’s age and has four other wives. Hanna must make the confusing and heartbreaking decision about where her future path lies. Should she stay at home and be obedient to the only family she has ever known, or will she choose her own love and life? A gripping story that would make a great book club selection!”
Kelly Baroletti, Wantagh Public Library, Wantagh, NY

Caroline: Little House, Revisited

by Sarah Miller

Published: 9/19/2017 by William Morrow
ISBN: 9780062685346
“This novel retells the story of Little House on the Prairiefrom the point of view of Laura Ingalls’ mother, Caroline. In 1870, Caroline, Charles, and their two young girls leave their home and extended family to travel more than 600 miles in a covered wagon. This is a fresh, deeper look at a much-loved story. Five-year-old Mary is lively and eager to please, and charming three-year-old Laura will still delight Little House fans. The relationship and personalities of Caroline and her husband Charles are more complex and fully realized, making for a wonderful reading experience.”
Brenda O’Brien, Woodridge Public Library, Woodridge, IL

George and Lizzie: A Novel

by Nancy Pearl

Published: 9/5/2017 by Touchstone
ISBN: 9781501162893
“The daughter of two renowned narcissistic psychologists, Lizzie’s problem has always been overthinking everything. George, raised in a very adoring family, comes into Lizzie’s life with one goal – to love her completely and forever. Can she relinquish the past to move toward the happiness that could be hers in the future? Relationships, good and bad, past and present, all come together to make a truly wonderful tale of the reality of the struggles of everyday life. Very well-written.” 
Debbie Wittkop, Southwest Public Libraries, Columbus, OH

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