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 including RA for All's EDI Statement.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Guest Post: Kelly Jensen on Celebrating Backlist July

Readers of this blog know that I love the backlist, that treasure trove of titles that are wonderful to read but have been forgotten, surpassed by their shiny new brethren. Well I am not alone. Kelly Jensen, a reformed librarian, editor over at Book Riot and editor of the critically acclaimed Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World, enjoys the backlist so much that she is celebrating it for the entire month of July. Below I have reposted her post with her permission. It originally appeared here on her YA focused blog, Stacked.

And if you are looking to celebrate with her, you can join Kelly and me and a host of others who have said we would join another backlist project staring now-- a re-read of Stephen King’s IT led by Daniel Kraus over at Booklist Reader. 

So with Kelly’s ode to the backlist and her call to make “Backlist July” an annual reading tradition below and a library community re-read of a classic backlist title- you have no excuse not to join in. Also, consider making a “Backlist July” display at your library. All you have to do is pull a few books off the shelf that are not brand new, but still great reads.

Have fun. And here is Kelly’s post. Thanks again to Kelly for allowing me to repost it.  Check out Stacked regularly for their great YA resources.


Backlist July
Last year, I finally put into process a thing I’d been wanting to make a tradition in my reading life. I dedicated an entire month to reading nothing but backlist titles. Backlist titles seem to fall to the wayside, especially when it comes to blogging, since so many new and upcoming titles hit my doorstep everyday. I want to read them and talk about them, since that’s part of why they show up in the first place.
But there’s a special place in my heart for backlist titles. Backlist, as I define it, is anything published a year ago or further. I prefer to go deeper than a year, but a year is a good yardstick, as it allows for some “catching up” on the reading of big books from not-too-long-ago.
I dedicated last July to rereading (or as it turns out, first-time reading) the entire “Little House on the Prairie” series. The fact that I gave myself a month of no-pressure reading let me dig into the books in a way that’s often harder for me with new books. Since much of my reading life is public, I am less emotive than I am critical. That’s not to say I don’t express love or distaste, a moment that made me happy or angry. But rather, I don’t necessarily give a blow-by-blow of what I’m thinking or considering as I read. But going with backlist, especially digging into a series, allows me to have a totally unique experience in reading. I’m more emotive, as well as more willing to toss out theories and ideas, as well as share some harsh assessments of the characters which represent little more than my feelings about the characters on a reader-response level. It leads to thinking about and enjoying books in a different way. This, for example, pretty much sums up how I felt about the “Little House” series last year.
The backlist reading started a little earlier this summer for me, as one of my goals was to finally read all of Harry Potter. I’ve read the first three books before, but after that, I let the series go. This year, I wanted to go all in, start to finish, and have the experience I hadn’t yet let myself have — whatever that experience might be. Without the expectations upon reading The Series Everyone Has Read, I’m getting to enjoy what I like, hate what I hate (Ron), and have those ups and downs in a no-pressure way. As July rolls nearer, though, I’ve realized I might be mostly done, if not completely finished, with the series by then.
So it’s onto thinking about a series which would make an excellent Backlist July read, alongside the pile of other books on my list.
This year, it’s “Ramona Quimby.”
I remember reading these books as a kid and loving them. But I’ve been told again and again, for years, that they’re worth revisiting not only because they hold up, but also because they’re SO GOOD and there’s so much that, as an adult, resonates really strongly. I scored my copies off Etsy for really cheap, and am eager to take that ride.
My July list also includes a little bit of fantasy, some nonfiction, and a few YA titles I keep meaning to pick up but haven’t yet. I’ve been reorganizing and weeding my personal bookshelves, and stumbling upon some of these older ARCs has been motivating. I want to read them, then recycle them. And without the pressure to talk about them in any meaningful way, I am eager to see if what I think matches what was said about them initially, and I’m curious if there’s anything new I can add to the discussion.
From the writing perspective, it’ll be fun to find those tiny threads or sparks that encourage a whole post. Little things that might get missed during that pressure reading often make for some of the most interesting research projects which may or may not manifest into a blog post or two.
I always read backlist, but there’s something really rewarding in doing nothing but reading these older titles. It’s slower, more leisurely, and, as I discovered last year, actually encourages me to read more than I normally do. Maybe it’s the long, lazy days of July. Maybe it’s also knowing I get to be a reader first, then someone who talks about books second.
Backlist July is one of my favorite new reading traditions, and I’m excited to see where it takes me this time.
Tell me: do you dedicate specific time to backlist reading? What have been some of your favorite backlist binges lately? What should I consider for my list for this coming month and/or for future series reads? Let’s talk backlist traditions, since backlist always deserves more time and attention.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Where To Find Indie Book Reviews

I am waiting for the audio recording of the RUSA CODES Research and Trends Committee’s ALA presentation “Dealing in Diversity” to be posted [I have a direct line to the people in charge. It should be ready soon]. I will have it with the slides for you because it was one of the better programs on this topic I have ever attended, especially because the publishing representative on the panel pulled NO punches calling out her fellow white, upper class, elite educated peers.

But in the mean time, one of the fixes to diversifying your collection that was mentioned on that panel was to look outside the traditional publishers for titles. Someone briefly mentioned Foreword Reviews, which I have used for a few years now [here is my “Resource Alert” on them from last year] . As they say on their about page:
Founded in 1998, Foreword Magazine, Inc. is an independent media company totally devoted to covering the indie book publishing industry. From multi-imprint independent publishers, to micro presses, university presses, and author-owned publishers, the universe of indie publishing is vast and widely underserved; Foreword exists to fill that void, giving a platform for indie publishers to be discovered by our varied audience of librarians, booksellers, book-loving consumers, publishers, agents, and other publishing professionals. 
Click here for all of the winners.
This past weekend, Foreword once again released their books of the year in a wide array of genres and categories. Plus they include a publisher of the year- books published in 2016.

Now, some of you may be thinking, well, I am a small library and these books might be too “fringe” for us.

To that I say, no way because look at their Editor’s Choice of the Year for Fiction: We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Katilyn Greeidge-- this is a book many libraries own.

So click here or see below for links to all of the winners [Click on the purple and it will take you to the category]. Also, don’t forget the backlist winners. Those are on the website going back to 2005!

You have no excuse to not try to diversify your collections now. Foreword Reviews makes it easy. And, in the coming months, I will have information about another new resource for Indie presses, so stay tuned.



Below is the list of fantastic indie literature Winners for the 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards. Read the 2016 winners press release.







Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Full ALA Annual Read N Rave List With Bonus Advice On How To Make This List Work For You RIGHT NOW

Today, as promised here in my longer report on the titles I "Raved" at ALA Annual, is the full post from Booklist on what all 5 of us discussed.

The event was hosted by Rebecca Vnuk, editor for Collection Management and Library Outreach at Booklist.

I think we did a fantastic job working together to provide a wide range of books for all kinds of readers.

Keep these books on your radar because we all think they will have traction with library patrons. But even better for right this minute, are the previous Read N Rave program lists. Many of those titles are books you already have on the shelf. They are a year or two old, so they could use a push right now. It is easy to use the newest list to create interest in these back list gems which are still awesome reads.

Here's what you do, step by step:

  1. Pull up the 20172016, 2015 Read N Rave lists.
  2. Use the 2017 list to do pre-ordering and/or pass on to those who do order.
  3. Make a display about librarians picks. Print out, the cover for the upcoming books we suggest and put a "coming soon" tag on them. Then in the display (or on a list that you put in the library or online...or all of the above) put books from the previous 2 years lists that you do own.
  4. And....you have a quickly put together but awesome display of backlist gems that also let's people know what new books are coming. The display will be diverse in every way. You will have multiple genres, varied voices, and nonfiction. And all of the titles are library worker approved!
  5.  Not required-- you can make this display interactive by asking patrons to fill out a slip of paper answering the question, "What upcoming books are you most excited about?"
  6. Everyone finds a good read.

I can't wait to hear form some of you who give this a try.

Below is this year's list replicated from Booklist Reader--

Annual Conference Read n’ Rave Report, 2017
Booklist and the Association of American Publishers convened another well-attended Read ‘n’ Rave at this year’s ALA Annual Conference. Modeled after the popular Shout ‘n’ Share panels that take place at the end of Book Expo every year, the program brings together a panel of collection development librarians who roam the exhibit aisles in search of galleys that should be on your radar.
The latest panel included Stephen Sposato, Manager of Content Curation and Reader’s Advisory at the Chicago Public Library, Erin Downey Howerton, Children’s Manager at the Wichita Public Library, Kaite Mediatore Stover, Director of Reader’s Services for the Kansas City (MO) Public Library,  Magan Szwarek, Head of Reference at the Schaumburg Township District Library, and Becky Spratford, a Reader’s Advisory consultant who blogs regularly on all things books and library-land at http://raforall.blogspot.com.
To follow are their choices, linked to their Booklist reviews when possible.

Erin Downey Howerton
Autonomous, by Annalee Newitz
The Belles, by Dhonielle Clayton
The Black Painting, by Neil Olson
Jane, Unlimited, by Kristin Cashore
The Last Mrs. Parrish, by Liv Constantine
Lies She Told, by Cate Holahan
Little & Lion, by Brandy Colbert
The Long Count, by J. M. Gulvin
Plague Land, by Alex Scarrow
Rez Rebel, by Melanie Florence
Spliced, by Jon McGoran

Stephen Sposato
Bluebird, Bluebird, by Attica Locke
Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News, by Kevin Young
The Child Finder, by Rene Denfeld
The Ghosts of Langley: Into the CIA’s Heart of Darkness, by John Prados
A Kind of Freedom, by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
The Ninth Hour, by Alice McDermott
Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything, by Lydia Kang
Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
We Are All Shipwrecks: A Memoir, by Kelly Hrey Carlisle
The Talented Ribkins, by Ladee Hubbard

Becky Spratford
An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
The City of Brass, by S. A. Chakrsborty
Creatures of Will & Temper, by Molly Tanzer
In the Valley of the Sun, by Andy Davidson
The Last Ballad, by Wiley Cash
My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Talent
The New Annotated Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
Paperbacks from Hell, by Grady Hendrix
Strange Weather, by Joe Hill

Kaite Stover
An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
Bookshops, by Jorge Carrion Biblioasis
Caroline, by Sarah Miller
Class Mom, by Laurie Gelman
Cuz, by Danielle Allen
Dear Fahrenheit 451, by Annie Spence
Futchi Perf, by Kevi Czap
Heating & Cooling, by Beth Ann Fennelly
In the Cage, by Kevin Hardcastle
Island of Point Nemo, by Jean-Marie Blas de Robles
Musnet, by Kickliy
Red Clocks, by Leni Zumas
Santa’s Husband, by Daniel Kibblesmith, illustrated by A.P. Quatch
Sourdough, by Robin Sloan
Tell Me How it Ends, by Valeria Luiselli
The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Finn
The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder, by Marta McDowell

Magan Szwarek
The Burning Girl, by Claire Messud
Eternal Life, by Dara Horn
Forest Dark, by Nicole Krauss
From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death, by Caitlin Doughty
Future Home of the Living God, by Louise Erdrich
Nomadland: Surviving American in the Twenty-first Century, by Jessica Bruder
Seven Days of Us, by Francesca Hornak

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

ALA Wrap Up Notes, Links, and Resources

After a very long but fun and productive 4 days at ALA Annual, I of course have many things to share.  Today I am going to try to do direct you to other places you can find wrap ups, notes and resources as well as report on a few smaller things I did.

I still have at least 2 more posts coming, but for one, I am waiting for the recording to be posted. That one is on Diversity in Publishing but in the meantime, please, please read this, "Post-ALA Race Fatigue." by April, a librarian, lawyer and blogger. Seriously, go now. I'll still be here when you get back.

Okay, first, I want to remind everyone clamoring for conference news from those of us who did attend, you can always get news about any conference or our industry in general from three places: American Libraries, Library Journal, or Publihsers' Weekly archive of all Library News

Also, Steve Thomas, the host of the excellent interview podcast, Circulating Ideas, did 4 mini-podcasts during the conference. You can click here to listen. Yes, I am one of the people he interviewed, but what I liked most about these mini-episodes was that Steve also did a recap on the programs he went to and what he learned. [For those of you who encounter this post in the future, they are Episodes 111.1-111.4].

Many people, including myself, Tweeted from the conference. You can see all of the Tweets, even if you don't use Twitter by searching the official hashtag- #alaac17.

One of the best programs I went to was Librarians Go To Juvie. Working with teens in jail is a personal interest and career goal. This program was on the last full day at 4:30, but boy am I glad I stuck it out and went. I have Storified my Tweets here so you can all learn about this wonderful program run by the Kalamazoo Public Library.

My friend and Read N Rave co-panelist Stephen Sposato from Chicago Public Library also wanted to share something he learned with everyone: "Someone (whose name I didn't catch) shared a great tip: use Bookshots for Hi-Lo readers (high-interest books for adults of low-literacy). Some libraries have special sections devoted to this need, but books specifically published for this market can be hard to come by."

This is so true. In fact, if anyone out there works with Hi-Lo collections for adults, please contact me. I want to talk to you about writing a post for me.

I also took my own advice and met a few interesting people by just starting up a conversation with the person who happend to be next to me by chance. 90% of them were happy to engage. I will share some of those stories in future posts. I also touched base with a few people I sorta knew and am working with them to create some useful guests posts here on the blog.

Also many of you came up to me and introduced yourself. Thank you for doing that. I never would have met you otherwise and I love meeting library people everywhere and anywhere, but especially at library conferences.

This is enough for a day after round up. I will be back with the full Read N Rave list of everything the entire panel talked about yesterday, but remember you can read more about the books I raved in this post. Plus I will have that audio recording of the Diversity in Publishing panel as soon as it is available.

Monday, June 26, 2017

RA for All Roadshow Hits ALA: Read N Rave Panel

Today from 10:30-11:30 I was a part of Rebecca Vnuk’s Booklist Read N Rave panel.  For all of the titles that were Raved and by whom, you can go to this post from Booklist Reader. Together we gave you some great books.

Each panelist had 10 minutes to Rave to the audience about the books from the conference which we are most excited about. Below are nine titles and that I Raved with way more information about them than I gave in my 10 minutes.

My nine titles break down nicely into three distinct categories. 5 books getting a full rave, 3 teasers on upcoming titles which I will be reviewing in Booklist, and 1 book that is already out, but I am still talking about it. I wanted to talk about it so much, I orchestrated a giveaway with the publisher so the book would be on the floor and therefore eligible to be Raved.

Also, in true Becky fashion, all 9 of my books are dark and have complicated protagonists [yes even the NF as I will explain], but you know what, some of us love that. Give me steadily building dread, oppressive atmosphere, and total devastation over rainbows and sparkles any day. Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you. Besides, we’ve all got our quirks.

Enough preamble, let’s do this.

Five Books That I Gave the Full Rave Treatment:

The City of Brass

Hardcover528 pages
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Harper Voyager

The City of Brass is a debut, historical, epic fantasy novel. I was drawn to this title because- well look at the gorgeous cover, but also because it was offered as a good choice for fans of The Golem and the Jinni, and as that link shows, I love that book. 

The set up-- Nahri is a young woman, con artist, making her living on the crowded streets of 18th Century Cairo by providing “magic” to her rich customers-- fortune telling, healing, etc... Except one day, while performing an “exorcism” she accidentally summons a djinn warrior. And so begins a story you think you know-- disadvantaged young adult stumbles into a magical world where they have so much more power than they ever knew and are the key to saving that fantasy world.  

That’s what I thought at least, but what followed was a spellbinding story, with beautiful prose, adventure, magic, political intrigue, and even some romance. Yes, it has the requisite world building, and the frame, based on the mythology and fairy tales of the djinn from Arab culture [which by the way was well research and authentic; I checked into it], but it was a story that simply grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. Seriously, watch out if you start it, it is not a short book, but you may not be able to stop reading it. Clear your schedules.

Yes you can suggest this for fans of "Arabian Nights”-esque stories like Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson, but if you limit your hand selling of this title to those readers only, you will miss a lot of readers who will LOVE this book. 

This is a book for people who want to get caught up in a detailed fantasy world based in established fairy tales, like those who loved Uprooted by Novik. 

But beyond the fairy tale frame, The City of Brass will also bring readers back to other magical titles that caught them up in their webs and held them breathlessly captive while reading, and then longing for more after they finished, like Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and The Night Circus [which as a side note, is still one of the most popular posts on my blog- itaccessed multiple times each month.]

The only reason you wouldnpick this book up is because it appears to be the first in a series and waiting for another book would make you angry. 

Three Words That Describe This Book: Captivating, Fairy Tale Frame, Great Characters 

My Absolute Darling

Hardcover432 pages
Expected publication: August 29th 2017 by Riverhead Books 

Keeping with the debut theme and also with a very strong sense of place, but decidedly NOT fantasy in any way is My Absolute Darling. In fact, I was given this book as the answer to this questions I asked PRH rep Robert, Whats the darkest book you are going to have at ALA?” He brought the question to the entire team.

So t everyone at PRH I say, “Touché. Job well done.” Let me start with a warning here-- this book is DARK, like seriously, realistically dark. But, it is also beautiful.

Here is the quick set up, Turtle is 14 and lives with her survivalist father in Northern CA. Her mother is dead. Her father, may love her, but he is brutal. I cannot stress this enough. There is physical and emotional abuse here. Turtle spends much of her time roaming the miles of unspoiled wilderness of the woods, creeks, and islands near her home. She knows no other way of life. She lives under the rules and oppressive world views of her father. Her only interactions with people are in school, and well, you know how middle school can be, so that’s not the best either.

But, when Turtle befriends Jacob, a high school boy who lives a fairly normal life, she begins to see that she has a choice to live differently. Thus begins Turtle’s journey. Using the survival skills her father has been teaching her for her entire life, Turtle goes on a journey to save herself. It is gripping, dangerous, and harrowing. The story is suspenseful as we are intimately engaged in Turtle’s struggle. But she is 14, so all her choices are not the ones we would make.

This book is as close as you are going to get to a horror novel without ANY supernatural interference [like a super intense horror novel],  but what sets it apart from other brutal stories of terrible childhoods is the beauty of the writing. The passages describing the natural world are worth the price of admission. And, Turtle is an inspiration.

I will admit right now, this book is not for everyone. There are many trigger warning here, and Tallent pulls no punches. He does not use metaphors when it comes to the brutality and terror of Turtle’s life. However, if you are a reader that can move past that, I promise you that at its core, this is a beautiful and inspirational story that will stay with you for years to come.

Readalikes would include A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. If you don’t mind a little bit of speculative, I also think The Road by Cormac McCarthy or Never Let Me Go by Kazou Ishiguro would workAll have a disturbing tone, a character centered storyline and lyrical language.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Coming of Age, Strong Sense of Place, Heartbreakingly Beautiful

The Last Ballad: A Novel

384 pages
Expected publication: October 3rd 2017 by William Morrow
Speaking of Wiley Cash, his third book is coming out in October and it is a departure from the southern Gothic influenced psychological suspense he has written before it. Now, I know Cash is a no brainer add for public libraries at this point, but I wanted to include it today because while it is excellent you are going to need to let patrons know how it is different from his other novels.

In fact, I was considering not Raving it today because he is so popular and you don’t need me to tell you to buy it, but here is what pushed me over the edge....Wiley Cash left me a voice mail. He saw on Goodreads that I had already read The Last Ballad and given it 5 stars. He followed the links to my blog [I’m a Goodreads author], saw that I was a librarian, found my cell number [it’s listed here so libraries can contact me to hire me], and called me.

Yes that’s right, Wiley Cash was stalking me. But to be fair, he both admitted to it and apologized for it in the first seconds of the almost 2 minute voicemail he left me. Well, of course I called him back. He wanted me to know that he wrote most of this book in a library because he and his wife had moved in with her parents while they were looking for a new house. He couldn’t write there and went to the library. He is also very worried about this novel because it is so different and he really hopes people like it.

Well, after chatting for a few minutes I told him that he just won himself a spot on my limited list because he was so sweet. I also told him librarians will love his story! And, the few I have told already do.

But back to the book- The Last Ballad. This is seemingly the story, set in 1929, of one poor, uneducated, 28 year old woman- Ella May Wiggins- who works the night shift at American Mill No. 2 in North Carolina. We know from the very early pages that Ella May is not going to live for much longer because Ella May is a real person. She joined the organizer trying to unite the poor white workers; in fact, Ella May was not only fighting those in power to try to unionize the white factory workers, she was also involved in trying to make the poor white workers accept the poor black workers into the unions too.  

Despite the fact that we know she will die before the book is done, and make no mistake that darkness and sadness penetrates the book, as I read, I couldn’t stop turning the pages and hoping that somehow she would make it through. That the poverty and oppression would end-- I know it does not, it still has not, but I still hoped as I read. Such is the brilliance of Cash’s writing.

So the publisher suggests Ron Rash’ Serena, Denis Lehane’s The Given Day, and films like Norma Rae and Silkwood as read/watch alike. I agree but I would also like to add the Pulitzer Prize winning, linked story collection, Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout to the list. The Last Ballad is told in a  similar fashion to Olive Kitteridge, with Ella May only having the POV for a few of the chapters. In most of the  chapters the story is told from those who have come into contact with Ella May. Some only for a moment, but that encounter effects them greatly. This stylistic storytelling choice is what elevates this novel from a good story about an ordinary woman who made her mark on history [a popular subgenre today] to an excellent book about the fight for equality and dignity for all.

I would also suggest this to people who have enjoyed recent books like, Hillbilly Elegy or White Trash. Here we have historical fiction, well researched but fiction, on the same topic. Speaking of, Cash also told me that the finished copy of the book will include an appendix essay about the real Ella May.

This book may be set in 1929 but it shows us the roots of our current social turmoil and upheaval. It illustrates issues and concerns of right now, from racism to workers rights to police brutality to the 1% vs the 99%- all by telling the story of one forgotten woman’s life through her eyes yes, but also those around her, in one compelling, emotional, and fascinating book.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Multiple POVs, Historical but Timely, Character Centered

An American Marriage

Hardcover320 pages
Expected publication: February 6th 2018 by Algonquin Books
Jones’ last novel, Silver Sparrow is one of my all time favorites. I still regularly hand sell it to readers, and it came out 6 years ago! When I saw she finally was going to have a new book, I knew I needed to get my hands on it as early as possible. 

Like Silver Sparrow, An American Marriage is set in Atlanta and like Silver Sparrow it has a provocative setup-- Celestial and Roy are a couple in love and on the rise, but soon after they are married, Roy is convicted and sent to prison for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit-- for 12 years. How does your life and love continue from there.

Celestial turns to Andre, Roy’s best friend for help. After 5 years, Roy’s conviction is overturned and poof...he is free and ready to join his old life. But can he? Is that life still there? 

But seriously, what would you do if this happened to you? That question alone and how these characters deal with it would make this a good book. But what makes it great are the characters and the fact that Jones allows them each a chance to tell the story. She writes eloquently but through the characters. We watch their lives unfold with a truth and complication that feels real and without the melodrama that would creep in if Jodi Picoult or Nicholas Sparks told this story. And by the way, that is not a judgmental statement. Melodrama is a style of storytelling that has its place for the right reader, but this is not the kind of book that is, even though if you just knew the story line it may sound that way.

This book reminded me more of The Mothers by Britt Bennett. Both are character- centered novels that deal with serious issues in an honest way [The Mothers takes on abortion] set in African American communities. But as I said above about The City of Brass, you do the biggest disservice to your patrons if you only suggest “black books” as readalikes because this a book about characters, issues and relationships, period.

To that end I would also highly suggest Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka or The Round House by Louise Erdrich- neither of which is a “black book.”

Three Words That Describe This Book: Multiple POVs, Character Centered, Honest

Paperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction from the '70s and '80s
Paperback256 pages
Expected publication: September 19th 2017 by Quirk Books

Paperbacks From Hell: A History of Horror Fiction From The 70s and 80s is exactly what the title says it is, but it is also so much more. 

Like Hendrix’s fiction, this nonfiction book has the snarky humor, but you can also not deny his true, undead love for these books.

Broken up into categories based on subgenre [similar to ones I use in my book], Hendrix looks at the best paperback books and authors from this era in chapters on, for example vampires, demonic possession, and deadly animals. Yes he provides the crazy covers but he also gives biographies of authors from the still well known to the barely known ever. There are discussions of the books, their appeal and summaries. There is a huge index. It is exhaustive. But it is so fun to read.

Anyone who has ever read a horror paperback will find something here to enjoy. Like Hendrix, who openly shares his younger self’s obsession with these books, books he only first opened because of their covers, many of us have read a book or two [or in my case a hundred] found within these pages and we loved it! The affection Hendrix has for the topic-- the “trashy” books that turned him into a critically acclaimed novelist-- bleeds through [pun intended]. In fact, after you read this book, you too will accept that these books are no less worthy because they blatantly intended to scare readers- or at least that’s what Hendrix [and I] hopes.

This book pairs nicely with Stephen King’s 1980s nonfiction masterpiece advocating for the importance and the universal appeal of horror- Danse Macabre, a book all of your libraries own. Of course any of the hundreds of books mentioned within the pages of Paperbacks from Hell could be sought out by your patrons.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Fun, Books About Books, Eye-Opening

Three Titles I Teased About Upcoming Raves:

In the Fall, I will have full reviews of these three books in Booklist. I didn’t want to waste my limited Rave time talking about them, since you can read my “Raves” in the magazine soon, but just a quick heads up about why you need to pre-order these titles ASAP.

Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer [November 2017]. John Joseph Adams Books from HMH. From the imprint’s landing page:
Led by John Joseph Adams, the acclaimed short fiction editor and series editor of The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, John Joseph Adams Books is dedicated to publishing best-selling and award-winning science fiction and fantasy from a diverse range of voices, both new and established—fiction that is literary and accessible, sometimes experimental, and always full of a sense of wonder.
In this one fencing, demons, and upper crust Victorian society collide. I am very excited to dive into this one after the conference. Horror authors in particular have been buzzing about it already.

Strange Weather by Joe Hill is coming out in October. It is a collection of 4 novellas. So already we have two reasons to love this book-- Joe Hill and novellas.  As I mentioned back in April, novellas are hot right now, and Joe Hill well, he is great. Just preorder it. My full review will be in the August 1st issue of Booklist which is the Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror Spotlight issues.

Speaking of that issue, I will also have a review of The New Annotated Frankenstein and an interview with the editor, Leslie Klinger. You may think this book is the least “sexy” of the ones I mentioned today, but you are wrong. I will let you read the review and interview to see why, but for now, you need to know that this is a book to order because 2018 marks the 200th Anniversary of this novel, written by a teenage girl, which birthed both the horror and science fiction genres. For more information, visit Arizona State University’s Frankenstein Bicentennial Project.

One Title That is Already Out and I Have Already Raved:

In The Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson is a book that I loved. You can read my full review but here are my-- Three Words That Describe This Book: lyrical, haunting, atmospheric.

I wanted to Rave this book even though it came out in early June because it is THAT good, but its is from from a smaller press so I want to make sure I give it all the attention it deserves. The rules to mention something in this presentation were that the book much be on the exhibit floor. So.....I talked to Skyhorse and they have not only put the book out on the floor, but they also made 25 hardcover copies available to folks who came to this program. I handed out tickets, and the first 25 who turned them in at booth 3131 got a copy...for FREE!

Buy this book. It is amazing. You will thank me later.

And now, time for a breath. [Exhales]

Of course I did not say all of this in my ten minutes during the program. This post has a lot more detail. Also you can go to Booklist Reader for a list of all of the titles.

Finally, I “Raved 15 more titles that were at the conference in this post on Friday. So in total that’s 24 titles coming soon that I think are worth your time.

I will be back tomorrow with more ALA Annual wrap up posts including wrap ups by others.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Buzz Chicago Summary and Recap

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at Chicago Public Library Harold Washington Center for the Association of American Publishers Pre-ALA Annual Book Buzz.

I was only there for the Adult portion of the buzzing. I tweeted almost every book, although I will admit that by the end I got tired. If you click here you can pull up the #bookbuzzcpl hashtag (whether you are a Twitter user or not) and see every book and something about each. It will be in reverse chronological order and will have me and others who Tweeted.

When CPL librarian, and my friend, Stephen Sposato welcomed us to the Buzz he asked us each to find at least one book from today’s presentation to Buzz about- to our colleagues, to Library Reads, to our patrons.

So Stephen, challenge accepted. I will Buzz about 1 book from each presenter here below. Please note, I will NOT be promoting any of the big author's titles because you don’t need me to do that for you. You know about those books; they are on automatic order. My job is to help you learn about the books you might miss. I know you aren’t a moron. The publishers, however, some of them think we are. *sigh*

I will also include links to the Library Marketing Team’s page. Titles link to Goodreads. But again, go to the hashtag and the links to the  publishers’ pages for all of the books. I am doing only 1 per publisher.

Here they are in the order in which the publishers appeared.

WW Norton & Co

  • Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A. by Danielle Allen [NF]: This book looks amazing. It starts as a personal memoir about Ms. Allen helping a young cousin get back on his feet after spending 11 years in jail. Things are going well, but three years later he is murdered. The book then also becomes a work about reforming the system we use to deal with juveniles who commit crimes. I think it would be a great readalike for The Other Wes Moore.
  • See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt [Fic]: Written by an Australian librarian who was doing research on another topic but facts about Lizzie Borden kept coming up. Lizzie was haunting her in nightmares, so she had to write a novel about her life. This is a story about the entire family told from Lizzie’s point of view.
  • The Green Hand and Other Stories by Nicole Claveloux [GN]: French comics master’s stories gathered in English for the first time! Originally published in 1970s, this book is a great introduction to a neglected artist. Daniel Clowes loves her. Give this to his fans.
  • The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker [Fic]: Robert McCammon blurbed it, so that should be enough, but here are some details. Edgar is not a good Dad, but he is separated from his family when an asteroid hits the Earth, he races back across the wasteland to reunite with his family. For fans of Station Eleven and The Martian. Was a bestseller in Europe.
  • Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly [NF]: The unflinching and honest memoir by Kelly about his record breaking stays in space, but also his life growing up and how he came to be an astronaut. This will be a great read for anyone. We need more real life science heroes in our lives. I think my whole family will enjoy this one.
  • Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda [Fic]: Okay, this one sounds creeptastic. Paul is a perfect husband and father. He whisks his wife away for a couples weekend at their lake house, promising it will be the “best day ever,” except....things are not as perfect as they appear. A page-turner, that spirals out of control quickly. For fans of Big Little Lies. Should be a huge library hit.
  • A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa [NF] by Alexis Okeowo: A New Yorker writer and one of the best young journalists out there today looks at the regular people, mostly women, fighting to stop fundamentalism from taking over the continent. This books looks amazing but I wish she gave it moe time. Michael Connelly and James Patterson [!] did not need to be buzzed.
Quirk Books
  • Cinemaps: An Atlas of 25 Great Movies by Andrew DeGraff [NF]: Detailed, handprinted maps from classic films like The Shining, The Princess Bride, The Breakfast Club and Jaws!!!! [I am doing a different Quirk Books title from the presentation for my Read N Rave panel.] 
  • The Dirty Book Club by Lisi Harrison [Fic]: Yup, its what it sounds like. It’s the 1960s and a group of women read dirty books for their book club. The story is about how the club changes their lives. Harrison is a YA author. This is her first adult title. This seems like a great pick for book clubs.
  • The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey [Fic]: This is the first in a brand new mystery series set in Bombay in 1921 and featuring a female, lawyer sleuth who fights to protect women’s rights. 
  • The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson [Fic]: 1930s, Georgia. In a white sharecropping family, the daughter gives birth to twins: 1 white, 1 black. A black farm hand is accused of rape and lynched. That is where the story begins. So many issues to consider here. Compelling read too.
  • The Floating World by C. Morgan Babst [Fic]: A Katrina set debut novel by a NO native. Deals with the aftermath, both overall and personally for one specific family. Dazzling, piercing, unforgettable.
  • Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker [Fic]: 2 sisters disappear. Three years later one comes back. It’s a twisted, family, psychological suspense, but what got me was when Anne said that this book “sets a new standard for the unreliable narrator.”
Now it’s you turn. If you attend any book buzz programs either this weekend or in the future, take a moment to promote at least one title out in the world.