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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Secrets of the Book Critics and Book Marks: A Great RA Resource

On Monday I had this post about using Librarians' Best Book Picks as a resource.  Today, I have the other side of the coin, interviews with Book Critics via Book Marks [incidentally one of my favorite resources and I wrote about that 6 months ago here].

From Book Marks "About" page:
Every day, the Book Marks staff scours the most important and active outlets of literary journalism in the US—from established national broadsheets to regional weeklies and alternative litblogs—and logs their book reviews. When a book is reviewed by at least three outlets, each of those reviews is assigned an individual rating (Rave, Positive, Mixed or Pan). These ratings are then averaged into a result and the book becomes part of our Book Marks database. 
Each book’s cumulative rating functions as both a general critical assessment, and, more significantly, as an introduction to the range of voices and opinions that make up the world of American literary criticism. These opinions are accompanied by pull quotes representative of the overall stance of each individual review, and readers can click through to the full review at its source. 
Readers can express their own opinions alongside those of the critics in each book page’s What Did You Think Of… comments section.  
Book Marks exists to serve as a consolidated information resource for the reading public and a link between the worlds of literary creation, criticism and consumption. We hope it will bring more attention to great books and great criticism. 
The writing community benefits from a multiplicity of voices.  
We’re eager to hear yours. 
I love using this resource to find out more information about books, especially genre titles. For example, here is the horror page that features many titles. First, this is a great place to go for each genre  they break out to see what the newest and best reviewed titles are. But second, I also like it because they look to Booklist as one of their sources for reviews. Our reviewers [myself included] are featured prominently and with as much weight as more traditional reviewers. Libraries matter to them, so this resource would matter to you.

That is why I was super excited to see that Book Mark featured one of my Booklist colleagues, Annie Bostrom, in their Secrets of the Book Critics feature series.

Not only did I love reading about someone I know, but I also went through more of the interviews in the series and quickly realized how much of what I said on Monday about using the librarian interviews holds true here too.

So go back and read Monday's post if you haven't already. Look at those interviews. And then, come back here and look at Secrets of the Book Critics too. You will learn a lot about how reviews are written and get a cache of new titles to recommend. And by new, I don't mean the books are all new, rather the suggestions are new to you and your patrons.

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