Get $5 off your pre-order of THE READER'S ADVISORY GUIDE TO HORROR THIRD EDITION. Click here and enter RAGH21 at checkout. Works with your ALA Member Discount also.


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 20, 2021

NoveList and LibraryReads Crash Course in True Crime Coming 10/27

The NoveList-LibraryReads free interactive Crash Course training programs are back and this time it is all about True Crime.

Click here or see the details below to register. I know it is not until October 27th, but sign up today so that when you forget about it later, or get busy, you will automatically get the reminder and the recording link. 

Click here to see the archive of past programs in this series.

Click here to sign up

Webinar: Crash Course in True Crime

Do you have a go-to strategy for helping readers with True Crime? Whether your readers are fans of salacious, ripped-from-the-tabloids scandals or dramatic capers with nary a murder in sight, let NoveList and LibraryReads break down the best True Crime has to offer your readers.  

Join as they cover:  

  • Why readers choose True Crime  
  • History of the True Crime genre 
  • Classics, new titles/authors to watch, and trends to know    
  • Subgenres and crossovers  
  • NoveList insider information on genre headings, themes, appeal terms, and more  

We welcome anyone interested to stay for an additional 15-minute training to share search strategy tips and learn where to access genre-related information in NoveList. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2021, from 2-3 pm ET 



Kate Fais is the Senior Young Adult Librarian for the Bloomingdale Library, a branch of the New York Public Library (NYPL). A voracious reader from an early age, her mother inadvertently started Kate down the path to True Crime by giving her Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie novels. Eventually, she happily discovered the 364.1523s, and the rest is history. In 2021, Kate also co-chaired NYPL’s first-ever Best Romance committee, so it has been pretty weird in her head with the happily ever afters and serial killers. When not watching Forensic Files (or listening to any of her various True Crime podcasts) with her four parakeets, she enjoys knitting, Scottish Country Dancing, and learning as much as she can about eels.  

Yaika Sabat is Senior Readers' Advisory Librarian at NoveList. Yaika comes from a background in public libraries and now works on editorial content as part of the Book Discovery team. She is passionate about graphic novels and diverse representation in books and media. Proudly nerdy, Yaika is a Potterhead, Whovian, movie lover, and a folklore, myth, and urban legend addict. Yaika has two adorable cats who keep life interesting and loves animals. She enjoys reading a wide variety of books, but her favorites are graphic novels, horror, magical realism, and short stories. In her free time, you’ll find her reading, listening to podcasts, writing, and watching movies. 

Susen Shi is a Young Adult Librarian at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (NYPL). She is a huge advocate for teen voices in all aspects of life. Susen believes in empathy-led interactions in libraries and conversations. When she is in a cozy chair, Susen enjoys reading all True Crime and mysteries, preferably with a cup of tea. 

Moderator Halle Eisenman leads the Content Team which oversees the creation of the lists, articles, NextReads newsletters, and read-alike recommendations. Prior to working at NoveList, she spent a dozen years working for a public library system in a variety of roles, but no matter what her job title, her favorite part of any day was suggesting books to patrons. When not at work, Halle can often be found walking her dogs (they get lots of exercise when she’s listening to a particularly riveting audiobook), binge-watching TV shows aimed at teenagers, baking, or sitting on her back porch with a book. She is currently serving as 2022 committee chair for the ALA Reading List Council. 

Friday, September 17, 2021

RA for All Virtual Roadshow Visits Aurora, IL Today and PLA News

This morning I am giving the keynote address at the staff day of the Aurora Public Library District. I am very excited they invited me, not only because Aurora is the second largest city in Illinois, but also because it is the hometown library of my husband who is proud to have grown up walking distance from the West Branch.

Today I have 90 minutes to present Actively Anti-Racist Service to Leisure Readers. This is one of my appearances without Robin, but as always, her thoughts will be scattered throughout. In this case, I can be a little less specific too because Robin and I are appearing together at the Illinois Library Association Annual Conference in 2 back-to-back sessions- 1 hour of lecture and 1 hour of live q and a. So all of these employees can access the more in-depth version next month.

Back to today. Today, I will spend about 1 hour on the presentation and then we have 30 minutes for questions. I love when there is time for questions because this is where the real learning happens, but also, Robin and I learn the most about what you need from us in these trainings going forward when you ask questions.

Whether we present together or alone, we both report back to each other on what we have heard from you. I also know it can take courage to ask some of the hard questions in front of your co-workers, and for this reason, we both take questions for free at any time, from anyone, but we do prioritize those questions from places where we have presented. 

Click here for slide access to today's program.

I also wanted to share some BIG news with everyone. Robin and I submitted our Actively Anti-Racist Service to Leisure Readers training to PLA for one of their 3 hour pre-conference sessions on March 22, 2022. We also asked our friend and colleague Alene Moroni from the Forbes Library [MA] to share her experience putting anti-racist measures into real action at her library. I will also be inviting a BIPOC Horror author to appear with us. This means we will have a fully interactive, 3 hour discussion with those of you who join us in person [for now] in Portland.

I am excited to add more content to what Robin and I already offer. Look for information about the PLA Conference coming soon. For now though, you can click here or on the image below to access the website.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

RA for All is Off for Yom Kippur

See some of you on Friday morning when I am presenting the Keynote for the Aurora [IL] Public Library District's staff day.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

LibraryReads: October 2021

   It's LibraryReads 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 LibraryReads is the compound interest it is earning. We now have hundreds and hundreds of titles worth suggesting right at our fingertips through this archive OR the sortable master list allowing you to mix and match however you want.
  3. You have no excuse not to hand sell any LibraryReads 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 upcoming 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.
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.

Please remember to click here for everything you need to know about how to participate. Click here to see a database of eligible diverse titles sorted by month.

And finally, here is LibraryReads' extremely helpful Resources page.

Now let's get to that list.... 


Announcing the October 2021 LibraryReads List!

And it features THREE! Horror Novels [with links to the 2 books I have reviewed already]


All the Feels: A Novel 

by Olivia Dade


Alex is an actor on a Game of Thrones type TV show entering its final season. Lauren’s job is to keep him out of trouble. Their relationship develops over forced proximity, a road trip, and tons of fanfic tropes (only one bed!). This steamy romance, with flawed, genuine characters and sensitive treatment of mental health and body issues, is a delight from start to finish. For fans of Spoiler AlertGirl Gone Viral, and One To Watch.”
Lauren Mitchell, Neenah Public Library, Neenah, WI

NoveList read-alike: Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev



by Rachel Harrison


“Annie is floundering after an unexpected breakup and a subsequent move to a small, quirky town. Her new friend Sophie is a little strange, but Annie is so happy to have someone who has chosen her that she ignores her concerns. This delightfully creepy fall story will work well for those who like paranormal fiction and light horror, and fans of The Year of the Witching and The Deep.”

—Rebecca Swanson, Fitchburg Public Library, Fitchburg, WI 

NoveList read-alike: We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry

Death at Greenway: A Novel

By Lori Rader-Day

William Morrow Paperback

“In this departure from RaderDay’s usual thrillers, two young women, hired as nurses to care for a group of children, are evacuated to Agatha Christie’s country estate during WWII. Then a dead body shows up, and suddenly there's no telling what is safe and who can be trusted. For fans of Agatha Christie and Louise Penny.”

—Linda Quinn, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT 

NoveList read-alike: In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen 

The Death of Jane Lawrence: A Novel

by Caitlin Starling

St. Martin's Press

“Jane, a sensible young woman, decides that she must get married. Her first choice is Dr. Lawrence, but she soon discovers his dark, terrifying secrets and becomes engulfed in a tangled mystery of magic, ghosts, demons, and bizarre rituals. A well-written story for fans of gothic fantasy and horror like Gideon the Ninth and Mexican Gothic.”

—Sandra Allen, South Community Library, St. Petersburg, FL 

NoveList read-alike: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

Last Girl Ghosted

by Lisa Unger

Park Row

“Wren meets Adam on a dating app, and they seem to hit it off. After she tells him a secret, though, he ghosts her. She refuses to let it go and starts searching for him. What she finds is shocking, but she can match him in the secret department. Chilling, twisty, and hard to put down. Give to fans of Ghosted and The Couple Next Door.”

—Shari Suarez, Genesee District Library, Goodrich, MI 

NoveList read-alike: The Date by Louise Jensen

The Lincoln Highway: A Novel 

by Amor Towles


“In 1952, castoffs from a Nebraska juvenile detention camp embark on a road trip that takes them in different directions than initially intended. There’s so much genuine sweetness and aching loss in this exuberant book full of characters you’ll care about deeply. For fans of John Irving and Ann Patchett.”

—Diana Armstrong, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR 

NoveList read-alike: Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig

Nothing But Blackened Teeth 

by Cassandra Khaw

Tor Nightfire

“This short, creepy haunted house tale, brimming with Japanese folklore, cleverly reveals the 

monstrousness in ordinary human callousness--we’re awful not from horrendous actions or beliefs, but because we just react and shout each other down. For fans of My Heart is a Chainsaw and The Toll.”

—Matthew Galloway, Anythink Libraries, Thornton, CO 

NoveList read-alike: Slade House by David Mitchell

Once More Upon a Time

by Rohani Chokshi

Sourcebooks Casablanca

“In this classic fairytale with a twist, a prince and princess who became a cursed king and queen are given a second chance at a future. The storyline and characters are engaging, but it’s the beautiful, flowing writing that really stands out. Recommended for readers of Stardust and Kill the Farmboy.”

—Sandra Woodbury, Burlington Public Library, Burlington, MA 

NoveList read-alike: Monkey Around by Jadie Jang

Payback's a Witch 

by Lana Harper

Berkley Jove

“Emmy reluctantly returns to her hometown to serve as arbiter of a magical tournament. But the town now seemingly has much more to offer, including a gorgeous witch. Will she be enough incentive for Emmy to stay? Romance and a welldeveloped magical system make this perfect for fans of TJ Klune and Seanan McGuire.”

—Alicia Ahlvers, Henrico County Public Library, Henrico, VA 

NoveList read-alike: The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling


A Spindle Splintered 

by Alix E. Harrow


“Harrow delights with a queer fractured fairy tale novella. Zinnia Grey, forever obsessed with the Sleeping Beauty story, gets a spindle for her 21st birthday. When she pricks her finger, she’s transported to another dimension and finds a princess who'd rather not marry the dashing prince. For fans of Naomi Novik and Margaret Atwood.”

—Jill Minor, Washington County Public Library, Abingdon, VA 

NoveList read-alike: Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

The LibraryReads Hall of Fame designation honors authors who have had multiple titles appear on the monthly LibraryReads list since 2013. When their third title places on the list via library staff votes, the author moves into our Hall of Fame.

Click here to access the Hall of Fame Archive with annotations and readalikes


The Book of Magic: A Novel 

by Alice Hoffman

Simon & Schuster

A Line to Kill: A Novel 

by Anthony Horowitz


Oh William!: A Novel 

by Elizabeth Strout

Random House

The Vanished Days 

by Susanna Kearsley

Sourcebooks Landmark

Well Matched 

by Jen DeLuca

Berkley Jove

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

New Booklist Reader Magazine is Live

Booklist has debuted a new publication, and this one is public facing. Booklist Reader is now a Readers' Advisory product for you to share far and wide, with your patrons. 

This month it is all about Crime Fiction and includes extensive annotated reading lists of titles by age level and format. There are also interviews with authors and every month will feature that month's LibraryReads list and Hall of Fame authors.

It is useful? Yes! 100% yes. Everything in here can be used by you immediately to help patrons.

But even more important, it looks great! This is a professional magazine crew putting out this information. Your patrons will want to click through and read it. You can print out lists to hand out to patrons of all ages. You can build displays and offer a print take away. And each list is not only filled with some of the best RA info you can find anywhere, but it also makes you look like you upped your graphics game and or budget, which will impress your patrons [or at the very least grab their attention better].

And all of it is included with your Booklist subscription. In other words, you are getting more help for the same amount of money!

When you click through to read the digital issue, you will see in the Editor's Note stating that sharing this magazine far and wide is highly encouraged. 

Click here to see the digital magazine or click the cover image below. 

I have also reposted the landing page information below. Most libraries already have a subscription, bu,m you at the desk may not know how to access everything. See below or click here for contact information on how to fix that. 

Click here to access the magazine

What is Booklist Reader?

Booklist Reader is Booklist’s new library patron–facing magazine, featuring diverse readers' advisory recommendations, in print and on audio, for readers of all ages.

Who benefits from Booklist Reader?

All library patrons and all readers’ advisory specialists, and everyone who loves to read!

Where and when can you find Booklist Reader?

Starting this September, Booklist Reader will be available monthly at

Why Booklist Reader?

  • Booklist Reader is now part of the Booklist and Book Links subscription: three magazines for the price of one!
  • Booklist Reader is patron friendly. Filled with high-interest, themed lists that showcase books patrons can read and check out now, Booklist Reader is designed to be a readers’ advisory tool and time-saver in one.
  • Booklist Reader is sharable: the digitalonly format means you can feature articles in newsletters or on your library’s home page— and print them to keep by the circ desk, too.
  • Booklist Reader is librarian and readers’ advisory approved! Every issue includes the LibraryReads roundup of the top 10 books published that month, voted on by library staff across the country.

How can my library offer this to our patrons?

Subscribe today! Does your professional review source publication give you additional monthly printable lists, including LibraryReads and roundups of books and audiobooks for all ages? Booklist and Booklist Reader do. Subscribe today and get:

  • 22 print and digital issues of Booklist
  • 4 print and digital issues of Book Links
  • 2 digital issues of Booklist Reader
  • Booklist Online archive access

Already a subscriber? Set up a Booklist Online profile so you can access the digital-only Booklist Reader, the perfect readers' advisory tool for your staff. Questions about how to sign up? Call 1-888-350-0949 or email

Monday, September 13, 2021

Get Prepared for the Busy Fall Release Season

Fall is a very busy release time and it is easy to get overwhelmed, both my the number of HUGE titles coming out and by the patron reaction to the long holds queues. 

First and foremost, be aware of the release calendar. My favorite resources to stay on top of the current news and upcoming releases are:

  • Book Pulse, PW Newsletters, Shelf Awareness: any and all of these newsletters can be delivered to your in box daily or you can check the sites on your own. I appreciate receiving them automatically, and while I do not read them all completely every single day [there isn't always time], I do skim them at the least. Even a quick perusal of these every day keeps you up to date on the current news.
  • The Millions and Lit Hub: Those links go to the best places to find their lists of upcoming books. They both do extensive coverage and it is geared toward those who work in the book industry like us.
Second, and actually more important, let's talk about using the backlist for while you wait suggestions. We often get caught up in our patrons' excitement for the newest titles we forget a few things.
  1. While people like Colson Whitehead and Lauren Groff have new titles coming out, titles everyone is talking about, most of your patrons have NOT read their backlist. Making a suggestion of a past book by someone who has a hot Fall title coming out is an easy and satisfying option for your readers.
  2. Last year's hot Fall books are also EXCELLENT suggestions. The Millions is a great resource here. Click the search I ran, " Top Ten October 2020." That's how easy it is to pull up any month's back list of "hot" books. But its success comes from how you sell it to the patron. You tell them that you know they have to wait for the current hot books, but what about books from a year ago, 6 months ago, etc..... Just run the search and you have dozens of "hot" titles at your disposal.
  3. Good old fashioned readalikes. Use Novelist or Booklist [they had this article about how they are constantly updating their readalikes for perennial favorites here] or simply Goggle, "Lauren Groff readalikes" [or whatever author you need to match up]. These will get great reads in your patrons heads, yes, but even better, it will show them how important you are in their search for their next good read. 
  4. Always remember, it is important that you ask every patron if they want something while they wait. Just the offer that you can do that will remind them that you are there for them; even those who leave in a huff because they can't get the book they want that second.
Finally, sometimes you just need a humor break during this very busy release season. For that I pass you off to Lit Hub and this fun flow chart of how you should pick you big Fall read. 

While it is a bit silly, like the best jokes, there is a lot of truth here. Pass it off to patrons and then put them on hold for the title that best matches what they are looking for and then use what you learn by them going through the flowchart in combination with my tips above to find them something to read right now.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Start a Book and Don't Finish It: A Call to Action Flashback

Earlier this month, I had this post about the importance of reading what you want. It struck a chord with many so I thought I would end this week with another reminder on this same topic.

This post comes from my Call To Action series [access the the archived series is here]. It is entitled, " Start a Book and Don't Finish It."

But before I get to the specific post, a note about my Call to Action posts. Although I don't do them as regularly as before, this series is full of useful information. These are my no holds barre, tough love rants, posts where I tell you the way it really is and challenge the status quo.

The archive is worth a look as many of the topics are [unfortunately] timeless. 

But I want to remind you why it is NOT necessary to finish every book you start.

Have a great weekend. I hope you have the chance to start [and stop, if you want] a book or two.


Call to Action: Start a Book and Don't Finish It

To end this week I wanted to have a Call to Action that requires you NOT do something for a change.

Consider this post your permission to stop reading any book, ever, that you are not personally enjoying. Just put it down. Right now. Seriously. Stop and back away from the book.

I am not sure when it became a badge of honor to finish a book you aren't enjoying. People complain when they are slogging through something, and then pat themselves on the back when they finally finish it, like they deserve recognition or a medal.


We should read widely to help the greatest number of patrons. Yes, this statement is true. But, we also have a limited amount of time to read. It is actually just as important that we spend enough time reading what we want to, for fun, because that is what keeps our passion for what we do alive. How can we help match people with the books they will love if we aren't in touch with what we love and why? You use the same skills and enthusiasm to help others that you gain from your own experiences. You might be suggesting different books, but the sentiment and the goals are the same. You want to capture for the person in front of you, the joy and pleasure of a good read, by suggesting the perfect book for them, but if you don't have your own joy of reading and an understanding of what you love and why as a basis, you cannot begin to help others.

This is the basic principle to all of my RA training sessions by the way. I spend most of the time allowing the group to reconnect with a favorite book and fall in love with it all over again. We don't even worry about helping others find a good read, rather we focus on each individual being able to share their book to others.

This strategy is a huge departure from the way RA Service is usually taught, and I can tell you first hand, it works.

But back to the issue at hand today-- not finishing a book you aren't enjoying.

As I say in my 10 Rules of Basic RA Service:
5.   Read widely (at least speed read widely)     -- reading ABOUT books is just as important as reading the book
I stand by this. If you aren't enjoying a book personally but feel like you either should know about it because it is an area you don't normally read in OR you think you have patrons who will enjoy it, read about it. Go to NoveList and Goodreads in particular to see reviews and actual reader comments [5 star and 2 star are the best]. Go to my 10 Rules page and scroll to the bottom for more resources.

The point is, there is absolutely NO REASON you have to finish a book you are not personally enjoying....ever. Well, there is one reason: if you are leading it in a book club. But other than that, you can stop.

I am making this a Call to Action though because when we refuse to stop books we aren't enjoying, we make it harder for our patrons to also do this. We tell them to stop after 50 pages if they don't like it. We tell them it's fine, we didn't write the book, why do we care if they read the whole thing and like it. We tell them to come back and try something else instead. But our actions speak louder than our words. 

If we make a big deal about slogging through books we hate, they will be embarrassed and ashamed if they stop. I stopped reading books I didn't like personally years ago. I still have former patrons who tell me that the best thing I ever did for them was give them the freedom to do the same- by my words and my actions.

So for today's Call to Action, let's all start a book and not finish it. Let's make sure we let others know we did it too. Be proud of the DNF designation. Don't be ashamed. Let's admit that there are books we didn't finish just because we didn't want to. And let's remind ourselves, our coworkers, and our patrons that this act of not finishing a book is not only okay, it is good for us all. It frees us up to rekindle our joy of reading a good story, which in turn will make us better at matching patrons with their perfect read.

Let yourself off the hook. It really is no big deal to start a book and not finish it. I promise you because I do it all of the time and the library police have not put me in jail. This is not life or death here. It's reading. And yes, it is my career and I am very serious about it, but I also know there are no consequences from NOT finishing a book, but there very well could be some negative ones if I did force myself through it.

For past Call to Action posts [but be warned most ask you to do something] click here.