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.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Library Reads: October 2019

Today is Library Reads day and that means four 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.
  4. Every book now has at least 1 readalike that is available to hand out RIGHT NOW. Book talk the upcoming book, place a hold for it, and then hand out that readalike title for while they wait. If they need more titles  before their hold comes in, use the readalike title to identify more readalike titles. And then keep repeating. Seriously, it is that easy to have happy, satisfied readers.
    Also, the Library Reads Board has also started another great book discovery and suggestion tool for you, a monthly What We're Reading column. This means there are even more library worker approved titles, new and old, for you to choose from. 

    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.

    Also, please remember to click here for my Library Reads 101 recap for everything you need to know about how to participate. And click here to see a database of eligible diverse titles sorted by month. 

    October 2019 LibraryReads

    The Body: A Guide for Occupants

    by Bill Bryson

    Published: 10/15/2019 by Doubleday Books
    ISBN: 9780385539302
    “A fascinating look at the human body and how it functions. Each historical tidbit is well-researched and thoroughly cited. Interesting stories, such as how diseases, cells, nerves, and organs were discovered, are woven throughout. For readers who like narrative nonfiction such as Gulp by Mary Roach, Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, and Guts by Giulia Enders.”
    Carolynn Waites, Manvel Library, Manvel, TX
    NoveList Read-alike: Gross Anatomy: Dispatches from the Front (and Back) by Mara Altman

    The Art of Theft

    by Sherry Thomas

    Published: 10/15/2019 by Berkley
    ISBN: 9780451492470
    “In this fun, playful series, Thomas has created a female version of Holmes who is vibrant, real, relatable, and intelligent. This fourth book has Holmes and Watson travel to France, with twists and turns the reader won’t see coming. Perfect for fans of Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell series and Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily series.”
    Carrie Pedigo, Tippecanoe County Public Library, Lafayette, IN 
    Novelist Read-alike: Jem Flockhart novels by E.S. Thomson

    The Butterfly Girl: A Novel

    by Rene Denfeld

    Published: 10/1/2019 by Harper
    ISBN: 9780062698162
    “Denfield’s writing is like lyrical poetry, with every word captivating. Add to this an amazing mystery, a plethora of suspense, and an ending that exceeds all expectations, and we have another 5 star book. For fans of What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan and Love You More by Lisa Gardner.”
    Cyndi Larsen, Avon Free Public Library, Avon, CT 
    NoveList Read-alike: Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

    Cilka’s Journey: A Novel

    by Heather Morris

    Published: 10/1/2019 by St. Martin’s Press
    ISBN: 9781250265708
    “A powerful follow-up to The Tattooist of Auschwitz, this story begins after the liberation of Auschwitz, when Cilka is sentenced by the Soviet liberators to 15 years in one of Stalin’s Siberian labor gulags. From one death camp to another–for doing what was needed to survive. For fans of Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly and We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter.”
    Don Crankshaw, Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, Evansville, IN
    NoveList Read-alike: House of Meetings by Martin Amis

    Imaginary Friend

    by Stephen Chbosky

    Published: 10/1/2019 by Grand Central Publishing
    ISBN: 9781538731338
    “Christopher and his mom run from an abusive boyfriend and seek peace and quiet in a new town. Instead, Christopher becomes agitated and sneaks out at night, doing anything a “nice man” tells him to do. This is pure horror, a classic battle of good and evil, and a must for fans of Stephen King, Joe Hill, and Paul Tremblay.”
    Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX 
    NoveList Read-alike: The Stand by Stephen King

    The Library of the Unwritten

    by A. J. Hackwith

    Published: 10/1/2019 by Ace
    ISBN: 9781984806376
    “The ideas of books never actually written possess dangerous potential and power. They are kept in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell. Determined librarians tend the library keeping watch for escaped characters, angels and demons. For fans of Genevieve Cogman or Neil Gaiman.”
    Jessica Trotter, Capital Area District Library, Lansing, MI
    NoveList Read-alike: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

    Ninth House

    by Leigh Bardugo

    Published: 10/8/2019 by Flatiron Books
    ISBN: 9781250313072
    “Alex has always been able to see ghosts, and this talent uniquely qualifies her to become part of the Lethe, a group that regulates the eight magical societies at Yale. When a murder happens nearby the campus, Alex suspects that a society has their hand in this and it’s not just a normal homicide. For fans of urban fantasy and secret societies.”
    Amy Verkruissen, Calcasieu Parish Public Library, Lake Charles, LA 
    NoveList Read-alike: Magic For Liars by Sarah Galley

    Nothing to See Here

    by Kevin Wilson

    Published: 10/29/2019 by Ecco
    ISBN: 9780062913463
    “A funny, snarky narrator takes on the job of caretaker for kids with remarkable and strange abilities. Everyone involved learns that sometimes all we need after being repeatedly let down is someone to rely on. For fans of Chuck Kosterman and Gary Shteyngart.”
    Linda Quinn, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT
    NoveList Read-alike: Gravity is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty

    Ordinary Girls: A Memoir

    by Jaquira Diaz

    Published: 10/8/2019 by Algonquin Books
    ISBN: 9781616209131
    “Diaz was out of control. Her life was a never ending cycle of indifferent (or worse) parenting, street fights, abuse, drugs, arrests, alcohol, skipping school—all are detailed in this coming of age memoir. Reading this extraordinary memoir, I was reminded that no one can make you do something until you decide to on your own. For fans of Hunger by Roxane Gay and When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago.
    Linda Tilden, Mt. Laurel Public Library, Mt. Laurel, AL 
    NoveList Read-alike: Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden

    Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts

    by Kate Racculia

    Published: 10/8/2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    ISBN: 9780358023937
    “Engaging characters set off to follow the mysterious clues of the will of an elderly, wealthy eccentric for a chance at winning the grand prize. Young grief and loss, family guilt, secrets, and hilarity are featured throughout. Plus: ghosts! For readers who liked The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson and Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst.”
    Pamela Gardner, Medfield Public Library, Medfield, MA 
    NoveList Read-alike: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

    Full Throttle

    by Joe Hill

    Published: 10/1/2019 by William Morrow
    ISBN: 9780062200679
    “Hill’s short story collection hits the sweet spot: thirteen supernatural tales that satisfy but also leave you wanting a tiny bit more. He also discusses the inspiration for each story, allowing fans more insight into his process.”
    Mahogany Skillings, Richland County Public Library, Richland County, SC 
    Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
    Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
    Ghost Summer by Tananarive Due

    The Giver of Stars: A Novel

    by Jojo Moyes

    Published: 10/8/2019
    by Pamela Dorman Books
    ISBN: 9780399562488
    “Moyes brings Depression-era Kentucky to life in this historical novel about five women who become horseback librarians. Vivid descriptions of daily life in a 1930s coal-mining community and great characters punctuate an informative, fun read that’s based on a true story.”
    Linda Sullivan, Mission Viejo Public Library, Mission Viejo, CA
    The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
    The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani
    Over the Plain Houses by Julia Franks

    Olive, Again: A Novel

    by Elizabeth Strout

    Published: 10/15/2019
    by Random House
    ISBN: 9780812996548
    “Olive Kitteridge is back and still as crotchety, opinionated, and endearing as ever. Aging, death, racism, prejudices, infidelities–nothing gets past Olive as she sticks her nose into every corner of her small town.”
    Sharon Hutchins, Keytesville Library, Keytesville, MO 
    Lila by Marilynne Robinson
    Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
    The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

    Royal Holiday

    by Jasmine Guillory

    Published: 10/1/2019
    by Berkley
    ISBN: 9781984802217
    “An irresistible Christmas fantasy about a woman of a certain age who falls for the queen of England’s private secretary on a visit to the U.K. Guillory describes Britain so well, and it was great to read a popular romance novel starring an older protagonist.”
    Meghan Sanks, Glenview Public Library, Glenview, IL
    A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
    Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev
    My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan

    Twice in a Blue Moon

    by Christina Lauren

    Published: 10/22/2019
    by Gallery Books
    ISBN: 9781982135706
    “Sam was Tate’s first love and turned her world upside down. Years later they reconnect unexpectedly, and she wonders if young love should get a second chance. Another unputdownable book from Lauren.”
    Melissa Stumpe, Johnson County Public Library, Greenwood, IN 
    Not Quite Over You by Susan Mallery
    Perfect Timing by Brenda Jackson
    Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins

    Read-alikes provided by NoveList and the LibraryReads community.

    Friday, September 13, 2019

    What I'm Reading: The Twisted Ones

    Happy Friday the 13th! Do I have a great upcoming book for you. This one is super creepy, and it is based on a classic readers may not know about. More after the daft review, including readalikes you can read today.
    The Twisted Ones 
    Kingfisher, T. (author).
    Oct. 2019. 385p. Simon &Schuster/Saga,
     paper, $16.99  (9781534429567); Simon & Schuster/Saga, $24.99 (9781534429574). 
    First published September 15, 2019 (Booklist).

    Mouse goes to rural North Carolina to clean out her grandmother’s house after the old, nasty woman died. What she finds at first is an unsettling, hoarder mess, but as she digs through the mounds of garbage, she stumbles upon her step-grandfather's journal, and with that discovery she enters a whole new level of horror, one that he has described in terrifying detail, one that Mouse and her dog also begin to experience, and one that they might not survive. Told with a “found book” frame and an intense first person narration, this folk horror novel begins with the unease of Mouse telling us how her life was forever tainted by the experience she is about to recount. It is a tale as tightly twisted and menacing as that carvings she finds in the woods. Readers will stand back in awe as it all unravels, slowly at first, and then with great and terrifying speed. While The Twisted Ones is a modern retelling of the seminal Weird Fiction tale, “The White People,” by Arthur Machen, a story cited as one of H.P. Lovecraft’s biggest influences, it can also be enjoyed on its own without that context. Kingfisher has done a great job bringing this story to a new generation so that they can experience and interpret the wonder and dread that has made this brand of horror so satisfying across a century, much like the popular and award-winning work of Caitlin Keirnan, Matt Ruff, and Paul La Farge.
    Further Appeal: "Twisted" is the perfect word for this book. It is pervasively creepy and will burrow under your skin as it twists Mouse and the reader into an uncomfortable, claustrophobic, and completely disoriented state of mind.

    This book is about Mouse, getting into her head space, and being trapped there. It is intense, but not bloody. The intensity is psychological, but it does lead to physical danger too. This is a book, while short, that you may need to put down for a bit, take a breather, and then return to. However, for fans of this type of horror story, they want that and will love it.

    I cannot stress enough how closely this book is based on the Machen original. This will make some of the writing and plot devices seem odd to some readers at first, but Kingfisher is also able to make this story intriguing and compelling on her own. Retelling and reclaiming of Lovecraftian horror by people who he would have hated in real life [women, poc, LGBTQ] is also a huge trend.

    This novel also embraces the folk horror trope which is very hot right now too, especially for those who have seen the popular movie Midsommar.

    Three Words That Describe This Book: claustrophobic, psychologically intense, found book frame

    Readalikes: Obviously you cannot read this book on Friday the 13th today, since it is not out yet. But, the links in the review above go to some very solid readalikes that you can get your hands on right now. Those three are going to be very true to the style and storytelling of the older texts they are based upon, just like The Twisted Ones

    However, there are other works that are in not based off of these older texts that this novel reminded me of, specifically The Grip of It by Jac Jemc and The Motion of Puppets by Keith Donohue. Both are intensely creepy and claustrophobic, create a sense of disorientation in the characters and the reader, and have a touch of "the weird." Click on the linked titles to see even more readalikes. These are also both mainstream titles I know most libraries have already.

    If you want to try a few more classic authors who inspired Lovecraft, I would also suggest Algernon Blackwood and Clark Ashton Smith to get started. Also if you want an introduction to Lovecraft, I highly suggest the Annotated Lovecraft series by Leslie Klinger, especially the brand new volume in the series with an introduction by Victor LaValle whose excellent The Ballad of Black Tom is an amazing Lovecraft retelling on its own [again by a black man, someone Lovercraft would have hated himself]. These books collect the stories of Lovecraft and include Klinger's award winning annotations that bring the text to life for the modern reader, including discussions of his influences, such as Machen.

    Finally, if you are interested in finding out more about cosmic horror, old and new, I highly suggest you subscribe to the podcast, Cosmic Shenanigans, hosted by horror author and writing professor, Mary SanGiovanni. This weekly podcast focuses on a specific story, novel, movie, graphic novel, even video game in each episode. She either reads the work [if short enough] or describes it in detail and then discusses how and why it is in the "cosmic" horror subgenre. This podcast is especially good for those of you who aren't horror fans but want to understand the enduring appeal of Lovecraft and his work. You can browse the archives to find stories, authors, or artists that you would like to know more about.

    I think this gives you plenty to fill your Friday the 13th with spooky reads.

    Thursday, September 12, 2019

    Bookworms? No, We Are Booksharks!

    In order to further promote the fantastic ARRTCon program we have in store for all of you, I wanted to highlight a recent column by our afternoon keynote speaker, Gabino Iglesias, entitled, "Ten Problems Only Booksharks Have."

    [I posted about the program here yesterday, and seriously, if you can get to Naperville, IL on 11/14, you need to come join us.]

    This piece is tongue in cheek yes, but it is also 100% true! I love how Iglesias always embraces his book nerdom, while also reminding all of us who share in his love of books how ferocious, powerful, and awesome it is to be readers, especially professional readers.

    Reading is not a passive activity for weak people; we are not worms who bury underground and hide; we are predators who stalk our prey, both books and the people who haven't read the books we want them to. Iglesias wants us all to embrace our power, own it, and bask in it. We are more powerful that we think we are....every single day.

    I hope this piece inspires you. I hope it gives you the energy to tackle whatever your day brings to you; and I know from 15 years of public service myself, what is brought to you on any given day could be anything and everything. And, even if your day is not filled with as much personal reading as you would hope for, remember, when you share books, talk about books, put up displays, promote titles, all of it, remember you are being a Bookshark! Own it.

    Why not also include your patrons. Use the graphic below for social media or an in-house display. Ask patrons to comment on what makes them a bookshark. What books to they stalk? What titles are they on the hunt for, etc.... Just don't be literal and only include books about sharks please. That is not the point here.

    I have included the introduction of the article with a link to the rest below. I promise you, this is worth your time [as is just about anything Iglesias writes].

    Ten Problems Only Booksharks Have 

    Shark image by GEORGE DESIPRIS
    Let's get the obvious question out of the way. Booksharks is a term I created after getting tired of seeing readers referred to as bookworms. We read ferociously. We never stop. We hunt exciting narratives. We discuss books aggressively. We move through bookstores with purpose and killer instinct. We are predators, and "bookworm" just doesn't cut it anymore. We're fucking booksharks. 
    Moving on! If books are a huge part of your life, you have a unique set of problems only others like you will understand. Everyone else will either make fun of or simply ignore them because they can't relate. The list is long, but this is the internet and we have to keep things relatively short, so here ten of them. 

    Wednesday, September 11, 2019

    ARRTCon 2019-- A Full Day RA Conference-- Registration is Now Live!

    I am so happy to announce ARRTCon 2019 coming November 14, 2019. Days like today are wonderful because this is something I have been working on for months and finally, the rest of you can register for this AMAZING full day program we have organized for you. It includes breakfast and lunch, and you get to choose your break out sessions.

    We often have people come in from out of town for this event and it usually sells out, so now is the time to jump on this amazing opportunity.

    See the details below including information about our 2 keynote speakers and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

    Register now for ARRTCon 2019! Here are all the details…

    Thursday, November 14, 9 am – 4:40 pm 
    Naperville Public Library | 95th Street Library 
    Registration: $60 for ARRT members / $75 for non-members
    Join ARRT for an all-day conference covering a wide variety of RA Topics!
    After a continental breakfast, Rebecca Vnuk, Executive Director of LibraryReads, will kick off the day discussing Librarians as Influencers.
    Each attendee will be able to attend three breakout sessions from the list of eight topics. You’ll be prompted to rank the breakouts you are most interested in when you register!
    • #OwnVoices for All Readers: Incorporating EDI Values into RA Service
    • Developing Inclusive Reading Challenges
    • Genre 101: Using Your New Workbook
    • Genre Study Success: Hosting Your Own — Big or Small
    • Large Scale Book Based Programming: From Idea to Event Day & Everything In-Between
    • New Way RA
    • NoveList: Unlocking Themes
    • Working with LibraryReads Panel
    Lunch is included, and preceded by a “Book Buzz” by Sourcebooks
    Author, reviewer, and educator Gabino Iglesias will speak on I Don’t See Race, I Only Care About the Story and Other Polite Microagressions sponsored by NoveList.
    All participants will receive a digital copy of The ARRT Popular Fiction List, 5th edition, ARCs from Sourcebooks, and new ideas to share!
    If you are a 2019 member, you can also renew your membership for 2020 now! If you aren’t a member, your registration fee will include a 2020 membership.

    Tuesday, September 10, 2019

    Call to Action: All You Need for a Display Are Items for Patrons to Check Out

    Today I have a Call to Action post that is more of a gentle reminder:
    You do not need props, a backdrop, or and visuals components to put up a library display. ALL YOU NEED ARE ITEMS FOR YOUR PATRONS TO CHECK OUT!
    All over the internet I see these intricate and massive set ups for displays made by library workers who have probably spent more time on the props than on the book choice.

    Now, don't get me wrong, these are visually stunning, and as the former boss of an employee who LOVED making the displays look awesome, I get it. If you have a staff member with the skills to create an intricate backdrop for your displays, let them use their skills for good. Please, do not stop them.

    However, I want to talk to the vast majority of you out there who are feeling inferior because all you did was put out some items on an open shelf.

    You are doing a great job too!

    As Joyce Saricks taught me, people gravitate to a smaller universe of books. The vast expanse of the stacks is overwhelming to most patrons, this is why no matter where or how you display smaller groups of books, patrons will stop and browse them. It is much easier for our brains to tackle a smaller set of choices.

    This also means you don't even need fancy shelving in order to put items out for display. You simply need a flat surface where you can group a few titles. Also, while a subject or title  for the display is nice, it isn't necessary.

    Simply grouping books that you think patrons may enjoy, face out on the end of a shelf, on your desk, on an empty table top, anywhere is enough. In fact, it is more than enough, it is perfect!

    The "face out" part is key though. Get as many books you display face out as possible because the covers were designed by professional artists whose job it is to make the books look good. They are the ones with the artistic and display skills, and they have already been hired to do that job. Use their hard work to help you make a great display by showcasing the covers of the book.

    [See also: my 2008 post on judging books by their covers. Summary of said post-- do it and encourage patrons to join you in this fun and slightly scandalous activity.]

    The point of a display is to catch patrons' attention and encourage them to check out an item they would enjoy, but probably couldn't find on their own. We are there to enable discovery, and studies show that discovery happens with or without a fancy backdrop.

    Don't believe me? Try this for a few days. Just put out a cart of recently returned items somewhere patrons can browse it. Don't sort it. Just plop the mess from the book drop onto a cart and place it in the middle of the lobby. Patrons will attack it. Why? Precisely because it has a little of everything and does not look too fancy to touch. I know this is true because for many years do to lack of space, we had our return carts in an area where the public and staff areas came together. Patrons LOVED this cart. When we were able to move it to the back, we had tons of complaints. So we created a shelf of recently returned items to satisfy demand. [By the way, that is a display that fills itself and people love it.]

    Since just having a few books grouped together, away from the mass of the stacks, draw them in, you do not NEED to be fancy. [Again, if you want to and it isn't a burden go for it, but I know for the vast majority of my readers, it is the "making it pretty" part that is the rate limiting step.]

    So spend your time picking the items you want to display and get them up quickly, rotating often. Make sure you are highlighting under the radar titles that would otherwise languish in the stacks without your help. Target those titles from 2-5 years ago that are great reads but have simply gone out of fashion. 

    And make sure you are selecting books that are inclusive and diverse. In other words, your books shouldn't only be by heterosexual white dudes. A mix of voices and experiences makes for the best kind of display because it represents the breadth of our reality and the fact that the world is made up of all kinds of people, with different strengths, identities, and perspectives.

    Let's help our patrons find a good read by not holding ourselves to an impossible visual standard. Get those items face out and displayed somewhere, anywhere. And watch your patrons happily encounter something they never would have found on their own. 

    For past Call to Action posts, visit the archive here.

    Monday, September 9, 2019

    Free Webinars Always Available via Booklist Online

    Today, to start a busy week, I wanted to remind you that Booklist Online is offering many FREE webinars for all age levels, fiction and nonfiction, basically, everything leisure reading related that you could possibly need to know.

    Click here to see the archives of webinars you can view immediately. [I'm working on some today myself].

    Click here to see the upcoming webinars.

    Also, below, I have included information about a few of the most recent and upcoming that are of the most relevance to a majority of my readers. Honestly, you are silly not to take advantage of these programs.

    Start your week off right by making some time for your continuing education, and even better, it is all on your schedule.


    Archives to Watch NOW!!!

    Adult Announcements: Fall (and Winter) Faves (August 20, 2019) You’ve already torn through your beach reads, your vacation days, and each day feels shorter than the last. What’s an avid reader to do? Never fear, representatives from Bloomsbury Publishing, Harlequin, HarperCollins Publishers, Plough, and Workman Publishing are here to ease that summer–autumn transition, presenting the latest and greatest adult titles hitting shelves this fall (and winter)! Join us for this free, one-hour webinar, and prepare to fall for forthcoming books galore. Moderated by Booklist Adult Books Editor Donna Seaman.

    We Need to Talk: Great Book-Group Reads for Fall and Beyond (July 30, 2019) Is your book club in a reading slump? Never fear, because we have some upcoming adult titles that are sure to create lively discussion and get group members wanting more. In this one-hour, free webinar we’ll talk with representatives from Ingram, W.W. Norton & Company, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt about your next group reading assignment. Trust us, your book club will have recs to last you the whole year! Moderated by Adult Books Associate Editor, Annie Bostrom.

    Booklist's Small-Press Speed Dating Extravaganza (July 16, 2019) Meet the small press of your dreams during this scintillating hour of succinct presentations by six exciting indie presses in the United States and Canada. Donna Seaman, Booklist’s editor for Adult Books and a big fan of small-press books, will run the show. Here’s the line-up: Casemate Publishers; Dead Reckoning, an imprint of the Naval Institute Press; Dundurn Press; ECW Press; Nimbus Publishing; and Restless Books. Join us and learn about forthcoming titles from dynamic small presses that will bring rich variety and fresh energy to your collections.

    Friday, September 6, 2019

    New Set of Bite Sized Book Lists for NoveList by Me

    One of the most common communications I get is from people looking for interesting book club titles. I have been working with NoveList to make more "grab and go" lists of inclusive and interesting books for book clubs over the last year to help satisfy the demand.

    My first group of 5 lists with 6 books in each went live last year and you can see the categories and titles for those here. Now below you can access my second group of 5 lists of 6 books that recently went live on NoveList.

    While all you get here on the blog are the titles and the annotation for the category, all of the title annotations are available through NoveList, When you look up a title go to the "Lists and Articles" tab and "Bite- Sized Book Lists" will be listed there. That link then brings you directly to the full list. [See the entry example photo for Unbury Carol to the left]

    With both sets of lists that is 60 books total! You can use these to make displays, as sure bet suggestions based on the categories, or for book groups. And, there is no excuse not to book talk these titles-- again 60 of them-- because I wrote you a 30 second [or less] book talk for each. They are sure bet titles for adult readers. And most are also good for teens.

    Even without Novelist access, you can at least book talk the category and then offer title suggestions. So get out there and start book talking.


    Not Your Father’s Westerns: Westerns are making a comeback carried on the backs of a new crop of writers, led by women and own voices authors, who are turning their pens to the legacy of this rich, cinematic and uniquely American genre. The results are a spate of fresh, entertaining, and thought provoking tales that are perfect for book discussions because Westerns are tales not only of heroes and adventure, the vast and often unforgiving landscape, but also of outsiders and loners looking for their place in the American story.  
    • The Son by Philipp Meyer
    • Little Century by Anna Keesey
    • Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman
    • The Hunger by Alma Katsu
    • Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
    • River of Teeth  by Sarah Gailey
    Graphic Novels for Book Discussions: This may shock your average book club participants, but some of the most thought provoking and discussable books being written also come with pictures. If you are dismissing graphic novels as childish or think they are not for YOUR book club, you are missing out on some great stories and thought provoking discussions. Here is a list of six graphic novels that will engage your group to discuss the themes, the art, the writing and how it all works together to create a memorable story. 
    • The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui
    • Journalism by Joe Sacco
    • Here by Richard McGuire
    • My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Volume 1 by Emil Ferris
    • Destroyer by Victor LaValle
    • Lumberjanes Vol 1: Beware the Kitten Holy written by Noelle Steveson and Grace Ellis, illustrated by Shannon Watters and Brooke Allen

    Books in Translation: Over the last few years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of books not originally written in English, being made available in translation. We can thank the success of novels like those by Haruki Murakami and series by Stieg Larsson and Elena Ferrante for making books in translation a viable commercial endeavour for American publishers. This list includes titles from all over the world and from a variety of genres, all of which make for an excellent book club experience in English. 
    • The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani
    • Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
    • Snow by Orhan Pamuk
    • Floors Up by Eshkol Nevo
    • The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
    • The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
    True Crime: No longer a genre only read in secret,True Crime is a genre that is loudly proclaiming its place in the mainstream. With the popularity of true crime based podcasts like “My Favorite Murder” and “Serial,” there is a huge appetite for books to fill the gap between episodes. The genre has also seen a renaissance in the writing style, as until very recently, the books were mostly written by those doing the investigations. Now, we see more writers entering the genre, leading to a narrative focus that goes beyond the specific “facts” of the cases and engenders further inquiry into larger, universal issues, creating a perfect space for book groups to enter the picture. Here is a list of 6 true crime titles, split up into three pairings that will further enhance discussion over multiple meetings. 
    Popular True Crime-Memoir Mash Ups: These books feature true crime stories where the author also inserts themself and their life story into the narrative; as a result, they are an excellent choice for groups already comfortable discussing memoirs.
    • I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara 
    • Black Klansman: Race, Hate and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime by Ron Stallworth
    True Crime With Lots of Frame: These books are as much about the details of the time, place, and worlds in which they are centered as they are about the crimes in question; as a result, they make a great choice for group’s who already enjoy historical fiction and narrative nonfiction. Both of these titles are also excellent on audio.
    • The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Johnson
    • The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum
    True Crime Set Outside America: Most of the true crime being read in America and featured on the most popular podcasts is set right here. Why not try reading about a crime overseas? These books are a great choice for groups who like, or want to try, internationally set stories.
    • There Are No Dead Here: A Story of Murder and Denial in Columbia by Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno
    • A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel: Murder, Money, and an Epic Power Struggle in China by Pin He and Wenguang Huang.
    Take a Trip Around the World: While I’d be willing to guess that your book club does not have the budget to travel the world in person, since you already meet regularly, you could plan some armchair travel, together. Below is a list containing one book from each of the 6 inhabited continents. All are set in the 21st century, allowing your group to explore the world as it is now, compare experiences across continents, and make true connections with characters and cultures from all across the globe.
    • Europe: Ordinary People by Diana Evans
    • Africa: Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo 
    • Asia: The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga 
    • Australia: A Hundred Small Lessons by Ashley Hay
    • North America: There,There by Tommy Orange
    • South America: The Discreet Hero by Mario Vargas Llosa