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.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Library Reads: January 2018

I really thought this was the month I stopped prefacing my monthly Library Reads announcement with a statement about diversity. We were doing so much better. But, nope. We got 1 diverse title-- The Wedding Date. It is a great one though.


So you are still getting my double preamble for the monthly list. It’s about diversity but also about why we do this list. Here’s some hard truth-- Last time I checked every library worker knows that the new JoJo Moyes and Jayne Ann Krentz will be popular. Why are we wasting our time nominating those books? Let's get lesser known books on there.

Sigh

Read below. There is a statement about nominating more diverse books and a statement on how to use the list to help patrons.

Library Reads is a great thing, but WE together are Library Reads. Let’s work to make it awesome and representative.

__________________________________________

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 thousands of you reading this] to step up and make your voices heard.


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 order 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. 

January 2018 LibraryReads

The Immortalists

by Chloe Benjamin

Published:1/9/2018 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
ISBN: 9780735213180
“A thought-provoking, sweeping family saga set in New York City’s Lower East Side, 1969. Four siblings sneak out to visit a psychic who reveals to each, separately, the exact date of his or her death. The book goes on to recount five decades of experience shaped by the siblings attempts to control fate.”    Kelly Currie, Delphi Public Library, Delphi, IN

The Wife Between Us: A Novel

by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Published: 1/9/2018 by St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 9781250130921
“A thriller told from the perspective of three narrators:  a woman, her ex-husband, and his fiance. The storyline is intricate and nonlinear and the characters are likable, but unreliable. This one will keep you guessing.”    Kelly Moore, Carrollton Public Library, Carrollton, TX

The Woman in the Window: A Novel

by A.J. Finn

Published: 1/2/2018 by William Morrow
ISBN: 9780062678416
“A menacing psychological thriller that starts out like Rear Window and then veers off into unexpected places. An agoraphobic recluse languishes in her New York City home, drinking wine and spying on her neighbors. One day she witnesses a crime that threatens to expose her secrets.”    Joseph Jones, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Cuyahoga, OH 

Promise Not To Tell

by Jayne Ann Krentz

Published: 1/2/2018 by Berkley
ISBN: 9780399585272
“Virginia owns a successful art gallery in Seattle now, but she has had to overcome many demons from her childhood in a cult. When one of her artists commits suicide, leaving her a mysterious message, she suspects the cult leader may have resurfaced.”     Kelly Rohde, Mead Public Library, Sheboygan, WI​

The Wedding Date

by Jasmine Guillory

Published: 1/30/2018 by Berkley Jove
ISBN: 9780399587665
“Drew is in San Francisco for his ex-girlfriend’s wedding. When he finds himself stuck in an elevator with Alexa, they hatch a plan to go to the wedding together, pretending to be a couple. Told in alternating points of view, this is a delightful multicultural romance.”    Elizabeth Gabriel, Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee, WI

Carnegie’s Maid: A Novel

by Marie Benedict

Published: 1/16/2018 by Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 9781492646617
“Engaging, richly-detailed, biographical, and historical fiction. In 1860s Pittsburgh, Clara, an Irish immigrant takes a job working as a maid for Andrew Carnegie, with whom she falls in love, and then goes missing.”    Carol Ann Tack, Merrick Library, Merrick, NY

Beneath the Sugar Sky

by Seanan McGuire

Published: 1/9/2018 by Tor.com
ISBN: 9780765393586
“McGuire continues her astounding Wayward Children series with the third volume. A fantastical journey to find and resurrect a mother in a land of sweets. A great fantasy for those who want to give the genre a try.”    Andrienne Cruz, Azusa City Library, Azusa, CA 

Still Me: A Novel

by Jojo Moyes
Published: 1/30/2018 by Pamela Dorman Books
ISBN: 9780399562457

“The irrepressible Louisa Clark is back and she has a new job as an assistant to the super wealthy Gopniks in New York City. She’s thrilled, a little overwhelmed, and unsure how distance will affect her relationship with her boyfriend, Sam. A spirited look at New York high society.”      Donna Maturri, Pickerington Public Library, Pickerington, OH 

The Girl in the Tower: A Novel

by Katherine Arden

Published: 12/5/2017 by Del Rey
ISBN: 9781101885963
“Vasilisa’s gift for seeing what others do not won her the attention of Morozko and together they saved her people from destruction. Compelling political intrigue set in medieval Russia with a twist of folklore and some lush and inventive world building.”    Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY 

Eternal Life: A Novel

by Dara Horn

Published: 1/23/2018 by W.W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393608533
“Ever since she made a deal to save her son’s life in Roman-occupied Jerusalem, Rachel has been doomed to live eternally. When one of her grandchildren tries to study the secret of her longevity and asks for a DNA sample,  her world spins out of control.”      Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Library, Austin, TX

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Agreed about the shameful need for greater diversity in these picks, but one quick note - I believe Jasmine Guillory, author of The Wedding Date (which is a charming, sexy read, with an interracial relationship), is a woman of color.

Becky said...

You are correct. I will fix the post.

Sonia Reppe said...

Eternal Life is very Jewish, (it starts with the protagonist living in Jerusalem and then she lives in America) I would count that as multi-cultural and diverse. (I'm glad it made it--I voted for it but wasn't sure enough librarians would have given it a chance).

Becky said...

I guess as I Jew I don’t really count Jewish books as diverse but maybe for Christians they are. Good point but still, Jayne Ann Krentz? We all have her books on automatic order.