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, April 30, 2021

What I'm Reading Booklist Edition: Beneath a Pale Sky and Best Crime Fiction of the Year Lists

Today I have a new review in Booklist's May 1 issue. And it is a must buy collection for all public libraries because Josh Malerman wrote the introduction and his fans will want to read this. But more on the review and appeal of this collection in a moment.

But first, I want to remind all of you that the May issue of Booklist is one of the best as it is the spotlight on Crime Fiction. So please head over the Booklist Online to see all of the coverage. There are links to useful lists like:

Check them out, make sure you own these titles and formats and use them for displays and suggestions right now.

And now the promised review...

by Philip Fracassi
June 2021. 258p. Lethe, paper, $17 (9781590217191)
First published May 1, 2021 (Booklist).

The events occurring the eight stories in Francassi’s second collection are, at first glance, deceptively innocuous: a wedding day, a date at the pier, or the story of two lifelong friends, but as Josh Malerman notes in the introduction, these seemingly small scenarios have enormous repercussions. Of course they do because this is Horror through and through. So that wedding is visited by a man with supernatural powers, the pier is the site of death and destruction, and one of those friends is Death. However, these are not tales centered around the terrifying action that occurs or even the characters it all happens to. Rather, this is a collection that articulates the dark emotions of the genre itself-- unease, anxiety and dread-- as each tale turns from slightly unsettling to palpably terrifying on a dime, often with a single sentence, and the results are breathtaking. This is a must read collection for those who enjoy horror in its short form by authors who can morph two dimensional words on the page into a very real terror from which readers cannot hide, even if they wanted to, such as Nadia Bulkin and John Langan.

Three Words That Describe This Book: slathered in dread, economy of words, overflowing with emotion

Further Appeal: I cannot stress enough how these stories are all about the dread. The characters and even the plot do not matter as much as how each story makes you feel.

I captured that quickly in the review above, but here is something else I wanted to include that illustrates it perfectly, but there wasn't room-- The title of a story right in the middle of the volume is the single word, “Ateuchus.” Google it and the picture you get back says it all about what is to come.

Each story contains at least one line [if not more] that will make readers pause to ogle its brevity and  how perfectly a few words can convey deliciously dark emotions, slather the story in dread, and turn the tale from unsettling to palpably terrifying on a dime. It is an immersive experience as a reader.

And this is all without considering that Josh Malerman wrote the introduction. This alone would be a reason for you to consider adding this book to your collections. Quite honestly, it is why I jumped on a chance to review it because I knew there would be interest and I wanted to give you all guidance beyond, "Malerman told me to read it." 

Readalikes: The two above are an excellent option, but I also recently read and reviewed 2 other collections that would also work well. Click on the titles below for reviews:

Thursday, April 29, 2021

RA for All Virtual Roadshow Visits Wisconsin Valley Library Service [w/ bonus content]

Today I am presenting my signature training for a system in Wisconsin: RA for All Flip the Script and Think Like a Reader. 

I give this talk often, and I always post the slides because they change slightly each time. For example, I have now added to my slide where I explain why I call my company RA for All. 

Here is the slide in question:

Back in 2007, when I named my blog, although I didn't realize it then, I was challenging the status quo in terms of equity and inclusion. 

I began advocating for AND teaching library workers that anyone can help with RA Service, even as I taught the course on RA at an accredited MLIS program. I was very public and vocal, and not surprisingly, I was called out for "deprofessionalizing" a core library service.

[Please see page 37 of this 2014 issue of Public Libraries. Although I am not called out by name, the person who wrote this article was a colleague and he was not kind to Joyce Saricks and myself [unnamed] as we taught the RA course at his institution for 8 years prior to this article.]

As time has shown, I am right and he is wrong. But this is not the only time I have taken a controversial position and publicly called out the "old way of thinking." It's actually become my signature.

In this specific presentation, I do spend a few moments discussing how RA Service has changed from when I was taught it [by the author of that article, at the end of the last century]. The slide captures a few key points. 
  1. Since books are our brand, all staff, from the facilities staff and pages up to the director, can and should be engaged in delivering the services around it.
  2. Audio books, graphic novels, and ebooks are all "books." And if you disagree, you are wrong and there is no room for argument.
  3. Despite our recent trend to de-emphasize books and promote our spaces, 2020 taught us that it is the collection that still matters the most.
I am not using this post or slide as an "I told you so" moment however. It is a way to have a conversation about how things change and evolve, and this evolution was centered on inclusivity. I wanted to include all staff to be a part of the library's conversation about books-- RA for All-- both all staff but also all patrons. 

I didn't realize how important this decision I made in 2007, to be as inclusive as possible, would be to my overall learning about the larger components to EDI, but it has. And it has reminded me that any change, but especially change that opens access to more perspectives, makes people very angry [especially those who held all the power and privilege before]. 

I know that my decision to begin fighting as white woman in librarianship and before I had as large a platform, made a difference. I know because many of you have reached out to me to tell me it has. But I also know that it was upsetting and lonely at times. The way I was made to feel about my professional decisions sucked. I questioned if I was in the right, even though I knew I was. Thankfully, a different white man with power in the profession [he has a quote above] stood up for me in a very public way. 

And that is what I try to do with all of my rant posts, my EDI training, and even my work reviewing horror. I make an effort to support and stand up for those who are advocating for the right kind of change, even when the status quo seems to be against them because I have the megaphone, now and I am going to amplify the inclusion of more voices in every conversation.

I am often given backhanded compliments about "my unique brand of RA," or told, "this list is so 'diverse.'" I know those are coded comments. I am not dumb, although I pretend like I do not notice the implications and just keep doing it.

My point here is that being a voice for change is not easy. I know that and I see all of you who are working hard, feeling overwhelmed, and are just tired. Especially those of you from marginalized communities who are constantly asked to speak for those "like you." 

Many of you reach out to me already, but please, you don't have to work for a library who hired me to contact me. Anyone can. Let me know how I can help you. Let me take the argument to your supervisors for you. Let me showcase your work when no one wants to listen to you.

I am here and I will continue to be loud and confrontational. I always think my arguments through, even when I sound a little exaggerated. Know it is for effect and on purpose because sometimes, for example, telling a teacher or YS librarian who won't let a kid count a graphic novel as "reading," just needs to be told they are wrong. End of sentence. You are wrong. Stop with your nonsense. And then I just walk away and let them think about what I said. 

This slide unapologetically does that. Stop with your nonsense and allow ALL staff to help you create conversations abound leisure items. It is your brand. It will only make them more connected to your mission, happier with their jobs, and lead to more satisfied patrons-- all things you want.

More about this in the signature program; slides available here.

Now I have a system of library worker to indoctrinate, I mean train.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Socially Distanced RA and Programs: Free Program via ARRT and RAILS

One of the good things about Zoom programs is that they are accessible to a wider range of participants. Today I have a great example of a program that is free and extremely useful to a wide range of library workers who serve adults. I can personally vouch for all 4 presenters. They will each have something different to share. See details below the flyer, click the flyer, or just click here. And maybe I will "see" you there.

Thursday, May 20
2-4 pm

Struggling to provide reader’s advisory virtually? Zoomed out or not getting the attendance numbers you’d like? Hear from a panel of librarians about the ways they have continued to offer bibliographies, book talks, author visits, personalized recommendations, and more, all while unable to interact with patrons in-person. Come away with ready-made program and service ideas for reaching readers where they are and ask questions about struggles with virtual engagement.

Speaker lineup:

  • Jez Layman, Elmhurst PL
  • Jennifer Asimakopoulos, Wheaton PL
  • Sonia Reppe, Stickney-Forest View PL
  • Monique Flasch, Glenview PL

Please register via Zoom

Sponsored by Reaching Across Illinois Library System

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Crash Course in Gentle Reads Recording Access and Appeal of the Genre

Earlier this month I posted about the joint NoveList and LibraryReads Crash Course in Gentle Reads.  

Here is the link to that post and more info about what you should expect from the webinar.

And here is the free video access.

I would also note, one of the best things this webinar does is to help you, the library worker, better understand what readers who are asking for "Gentle Reads" may actually be looking for. This is a genre that isn't really a genre. It is more of a category. But, it is also a category who lines are defined by the perceptions of the reader in front of you and what they consider "gentle." It morphs and changes with each person.

Here is an example of that morphing. I often mention A Man Called Ove as a "gentle read" option; however once in a while I get push back on saying that this book, framed by a man who is about to commit suicide [but learns that he doesn't want to], cannot be considered gentle because of that troubling frame. Well, as you will learn in this webinar, this novel is part of a subset of the genre which are gentle but have a contemporary edge.

To that end, I also want to direct you to this link from Goodreads. It is the list of the most popular books tagged "Gentle Reads" by readers. Using this link every once in a while gives you a sense of what people think of as "gentle" because it is a user generated list. 

Watch the video and rethink how you suggest gentle reads, but also, how you work with readers looking for the types of appeal factors they mention. It truly is a more complex, rich, and interesting genre than many of you may think. 

And don't underestimate gentle reads for yourself. One of my favorite reads all of last year is solidly in the gentle reads camp-- The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune. And I love Horror, so again, don't underestimate the genre.

Monday, April 26, 2021

28 Books You Should Read If You Want To via The Millions

In my 10 Rules of Basic RA Service my first rule is not mine, but it is so very important to everything we do:

Betty Rosenberg: “Never apologize for your reading tastes.”
      -- A non-judgmental list of what you “should read”
      -- Set a better example of the first rule of RA

Too often we all get caught up in the newest, shiniest, and flashiest titles. We often forget that reading is not just our job, it is something we love. That link goes to a post that was originally published in 2014 in The Millions, but it is one I ask the library workers I am training to turn to every time I present my signature training. And, I too return to it often.

I have reposted the list below because I know some of you never click through, but do click through. The comments have been added to over the years with even more ideas on what you "should read."

Sometimes, when I am stuck for aa suggestion for a patron or I need a conversation starter, I turn to this list for ideas on what they can read next. If nothing else, these questions will spark conversations about books and reading, and that is the entire point of RA Service as it should be practiced today. 

28 Books You Should Read If You Want To

With that in mind, here is my list of books you should read (if you want to):

  • You should read the book that you hear two booksellers arguing about at the registers while you’re browsing in a bookstore.
  • You should read the book that you see someone on the train reading and trying to hide that they’re laughing.
  • You should read the book that you see someone on the train reading and trying to hide that they’re crying.
  • You should read the book that you find left behind in the airplane seat pocket, on a park bench, on the bus, at a restaurant, or in a hotel room.
  • You should read the book that you see someone reading for hours in a coffee shop — there when you got there and still there when you left — that made you envious because you were working instead of absorbed in a book.
  • You should read the book you find in your grandparents’ house that’s inscribed “To Ray, all my love, Christmas 1949.”
  • You should read the book that you didn’t read when it was assigned in your high school English class. You’d probably like it better now anyway.
  • You should read the book whose author happened to mention on Charlie Rose that their favorite band is your favorite band.
  • You should read the book that your favorite band references in their lyrics.
  • You should read the book that your history professor mentions and then says, “which, by the way, is a great book,” offhandedly.
  • You should read the book that you loved in high school. Read it again.
  • You should read the book that you find on the library’s free cart whose cover makes you laugh.
  • You should read the book whose main character has your first name.
  • You should read the book whose author gets into funny Twitter exchanges with Colson Whitehead.
  • You should read the book about your hometown’s history that was published by someone who grew up there.
  • You should read the book your parents give you for your high school graduation.
  • You should read the book you’ve started a few times and keep meaning to finish once and for all.
  • You should read books with characters you don’t like.
  • You should read books about countries you’re about to visit.
  • You should read books about historical events you don’t know anything about.
  • You should read books about things you already know a little about.
  • You should read books you can’t stop hearing about and books you’ve never heard of.
  • You should read books mentioned in other books.
  • You should read prize-winners, bestsellers, beach reads, book club picks, and classics, when you want to.
  • You should just keep reading.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Using Awards Lists as a RA Tool: Multiple Awards Edition

This is part of my ongoing series on using Awards Lists as a RA tool. Click here for all posts in the series in reverse chronological order. Click here for the first post which outlines the details how to use awards lists as a RA tool.

There has been a bonanza of literary awards announced recently. Below are the links with a quick description as to what the award is for. Please remember to refer to the links in the introduction to this post [above] as this is an ongoing series with lots of information about how to use awards lists in general.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Resource Alert: PW Summer Reads With Super Easy Back List and Year's Best Access

One of my favorite year round tools is now live-- The Publisher's Weekly Best Books of Summer 2021.

But while the list itself is great, it is the search bar that is the reason I adore this resource:

It is a little hard to see here on the blog, but click through and look at it for yourself.

While the list itself is displayed below the search bar as a slide show of one book at a time, you can use the search bar to look at the list by genre and for all age levels.

PLUS-- every summer reads list going back to 2012 AND every "Best" of the year list going back to 2010 is also accessible right there from the main navigation bar.

So many lists of great titles across the breadth of reading preferences, easily accessible, with very few clicks, are right at your digital fingertips.

Because remember last year's [or 5 year's ago's] best summer reads are still great summer reads right now. They are even great when it isn't summer. And those older titles are available RIGHT NOW!

And PW does this every time they update with their Summer Reads of Year End Best lists, linking both lists together and with the backlist each time.

Also, each book comes with an annotation that gives you a way to book talk the title to any patron. Remember, one of my biggest pieces of advice when it comes to hand selling titles to patrons is that you should not be afraid to use the words of others. These PW lists are the words of others that you can easily use to book talk any title, new or old, that appears on these lists. And the annotations also link to more information, interviews, reviews, etc.... about that title or author that had previously appeared in PW.

So stop reading this post and start hunting through the treasure trove of reading suggestions with ready to use book talks that makes up the PW Summer Reads list.

Bookmark it for use all year long. There are very few places where you can find the breadth of suggestions that are "best" with backlist access as easily as here.

Click here to enter the database

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Booklist Webinar Access- Library Love for LibraryReads and a Webinar Backlist Resource Reminder

Yesterday, Booklist hosted a webinar in conjunction with LibraryReads. Below are all of the links including a link to the recording. This is an upcoming books webinar. Even if you don't watch it, please look at the slides. Each slide is a booktalk you can use with patrons to hand sell this book now [to get holds started] and later when the books come out. 

I have all of the info below, but Booklist always has ALL of their webinars available in an archive HERE for free. That link is a great resource in general to suggest books to readers. Often these webinars are about upcoming books when they happen live, but please remember, the archive because after the books come out...these are tools you can use in real time to suggest books that are on the shelf now and a book talk is right there and ready for you.

Thank you for registering for
"Library Love for LibraryReads"

As promised, here are links to the follow-up materials:

Webinar Archive
PowerPoint Slides
Title List
Certificate of Completion

Be sure to check out these helpful links from our panelists

Norton Library Edelweiss Catalog
Subscription link for the Norton Library Newsletter (Adult books):
The Book Drop (from Simon & Schuster)
Book Club Favorites (from Simon & Schuster)
Simon & Schuster Monthly Newsletter
LibraryReads YouTube Channel

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

RA For All Roadshow Visits Ontario Library Association's RA in A Day

Today I am proud to be the keynote speaker at a full day conference for "Readers' Advisory Advocates" [I love that phrase by the way] sponsored by the Ontario [Canada] Library Association. Called RA in a Day, this annual event has moved to a virtual platform this year. 

I am presenting Actively Anti-Racist Service to Leisure Readers. I am extra excited to present this program for OLA because as you can see below, they aren't just talking the talk on EDI and Anti-Racist issues; they are working hard to improve in every way. Seriously, look at the programs they scheduled.

Click here or see below for details. My slides are here.

Tuesday April 20, 2021. 9:30am – 4:15pm.  Hosted on Zoom.

RA in a Day is a one-day conference that brings some of the best readers’ advisory advocates together to share their knowledge and expertise on meeting the needs of adult readers. During the day, participants will learn about the latest RA trends and look at how to best serve those who visit our libraries every day, whether online or in-person.

Thank you to our event sponsor Library Bound.

Speakers include: 
Debbie Reese
Becky Spratford
David A. Robertson
Dewey Divas
Glad Day Bookshop

Members $75
Non-Members $125
Non-Member PLUS $150 (includes a one year membership)
Staff at First Nations Public Libraries – Free

Actively Anti-Racist Library Service to Leisure Readers
Stop Scrolling! Level Up Your Library’s Social Engagement
Dewey Divas Best Reads
Oh the Titles You’ll Pull! A Discussion About Readers Advisory, Collections and Responding to the Latest Controversies
Not Just on Holidays: Diversity and Inclusion Titles for Your Library
RA Open Forum
Indigenous Representation and Critical Analysis in Literature
Author Presentation: David A. Robertson

Monday, April 19, 2021

What I'm Reading: Instinct

Today I have a review of a great example of a SF-Horror hybrid that will appeal to a wide
audience from Booklist. As usual, this is my draft review with extra appeal and readalike info as well as my 3 words.

By Jason Hough
Apr. 2021. 336p. Gallery/Skybound, $27.
(9781501181399); e-book, $12.99 (9781501181405)

Silvertown, WA, population 600-ish, is a conspiracy fueled community, deep in the Cascade Mountains, a place where weird stuff tends to happen, often. The town used to be a bit more bustling back when the Conaty family’s silver mine was still running. Mary Whittaker is the new police officer in town, one of only two, and serves as readers’ eyes into this unique place. Opening with the funeral of a local teen who died under strange circumstances, this is an uneasy read from the start, but then Mary, still new to town and with her own backstory as to why she left the Oakland Police department, is left alone so the Chief can visit his sick mom, and immediately, more instances of people going against their natural instincts and putting themselves in mortal harm begin multiplying. With a strong protagonist and a steadily increasing pace, that strains to contain its tension even as it bubbles through some well placed cracks, until it finally bursts, exploding in nonstop action for the final third of the book, this is a deeply unsettling, immersive, and fun read for fans of Science Fiction-Horror hybrids like Crouch’s Wayward Pines series or Johson’s The Loop with a healthy dose of paranoia like in Now You’re One of Us by Nonami.

Three Words That  Describe This Book: steadily increasing pace, deeply unsettling, strong protagonist

Further Appeal:  The place is a character here. It is a place where weird and menacing things do happen and our outsider, Mary, needs to learn with us that the speculative reason of the menace is the most probable.

Everything has an explanation albeit a stretch and conspiracy reason. The entire revenge horror frame is a bit out of left field when you think about it after reading, but you will not care while you are reading it because it is a lot of fun, well paced, and you stay glued to the page wanting to know what will happen.

I couldn't fit this in the review, but there are "Interludes" between chapters of conversations in the bar featuring one of the lead characters, the bartender, and these are excellent. They manage to both break the intense tension of the chapter before and yet also increase it at the same time just from a different  angle. That was very cool.

This is a midlist title that will have WIDE appeal. Order a copy and hand it out to your fans of well paced and menacing SF-Horror hybrids.

Readalikes: The first two listed are spot on in setting, tone, and as SF-Horror hybrids, but the addition of the Nonami is there because there is this disorientation, the thought that Mary could be being gaslit and yet clearly she is being manipulated. That feel is captured in the Nonami title.

Also for any fans of the bestselling horror-SF hybrids by Mira Grant of Christopher Golden's Ben Walker series and Twin Peaks the TV show.

Friday, April 16, 2021

RA for All Roadshow Visits Reaching Forward [Yesterday and Today]

Yesterday and today was Part 1 of the Illinois Library Association's Reaching Forward conference

"Part 1?" you ask. Just like many things in our world these days Reaching Forward had to pivot and it looks a little different now.

Let me back up a bit though because the history and mission behind the entire Reaching Forward conference is important to share, especially because not all of you live here in IL.

Reaching Forward is a long standing conference for library workers. While professional librarians won't be turned away, this is a conference that is always focused on and geared toward everyone BUT the librarians at a library. I love that we have this conference and have been a supporter of it for many years.

It also used to be presented as two distinct and unconnected conferences, one called Reaching Forward South and the other just Reaching Forward but presented in Rosemont [next to O'Hare Airport]. Last year, I was invited to RF South in person and was going to present 4 sessions [1 for each time slot]. I was excited to work with my colleagues further south. However, that conference set for Spring 2020 was cancelled. I agreed to contribute to whatever form it took for 2021 immediately.

Well, that form is what we began yesterday when I presented RA for All: Flip the Script and Think Like a Reader and Booktalking Your Way to the Friendliest Library in Town and will continue this morning when I offer Demystifying Genre and Actively Anti-Racist Library Service to Leisure Readers.

I am a bit embarrassed as it looks like I took over the conference, but I am also excited. All 4 programs are updated and the last one is BRAND NEW. It is part of the work I am doing with Robin Bradford as outline here. 

And then there is still the RF Part 2. That is on May 7th, the date when the Reaching Forward near Chicago would have taken place in person. This is also part of that new form. The organizers of Reaching Forward who use to put on separate conferences, have combined forces and are offering all 3 days of content for only $50.  It is one of those good things to come from the pandemic and I hope this unification sticks into the future.

My presentation for May 7th is also brand new: Peek Behind the Admin Curtain: Trustee Secrets All Library Staff Need To Know with Joe Filapck. Details on that program are here. But I will have slides and more about that program on May 7th. For now, you can use the links above to access the slides for my 4 presentations over the last 2 days no matter where you live.

In fact, you can also follow the conference and see what we were talking about yesterday, today, and on May 7th on Twitter with #RFIllinois2021.

And if you want me to come to your virtual state library conference, it is easier [and cheaper] than ever because I can do it from my living room. Contact me for rates, programs offered, and availability. I am also starting to be asked to attend some possible in person events this fall. I will be fully vaccinated by next week and I am entertaining offers to appear in person beginning in September. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

LibraryReads: May 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 May 2021 LibraryReads List!

People We Meet On Vacation 

by Emily Henry

Berkley Jove

“An aching slow-burn romance focused on chaotic sprite Poppy and buttoned up Alex and their twelve years of summer vacations. Set in present day Palm Springs and interspersed with flashbacks from the previous vacations, this story is full of yearning, friendship, and discussions of what it means to find a home. For fans of This Time Next Year, One Day in December, and Waiting for Tom Hanks.”

—Elizabeth Gabriel, Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee, WI 
NoveList read-alike: Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Arsenic and Adobo 

by Mia P. Manansala

Berkley Prime Crime

“This fast-paced, cozy mystery with a diverse and colorful cast will make you laugh, cringe, and salivate. Lila has returned home to help with the family's failing Filipino restaurant, which is repeatedly panned by her food blogger ex. When he comes to lunch and ends up face down in his dessert, Lila becomes the prime murder suspect. For readers who enjoyed Dial A for Aunties and Mimi Lee Gets a Clue.”

—Laura Eckert, Clermont County Public Library, Milford, OH
NoveList read-alike: A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette

The Bookshop of Second Chances: A Novel 

by Jackie Fraser

Ballantine Books

“Nothing like turning a page in an upended life to find a surprising plot twist leading to a satisfying ending. That’s what readers will find in this charming novel. The power of books to soothe will attract bibliophiles, but stay for the lively banter of the romantic leads, the quirky local residents, and the brisk Scottish countryside. Perfect for fans of Evvie Drake Starts Over and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill.”

—Kaite Stover, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, MO
NoveList read-alike: How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

The Guncle 

by Steven Rowley

G.P. Putnam's Sons

"Gay Uncle Patrick," a reclusive TV star, takes in his niece and nephew for the summer after the death of their mother, his dear friend. As the three navigate their grief together, Patrick finds he needs the kids as much as they need him. By turns funny and poignant, this heartwarming story is great for fans of actor (and Instagram fave) Leslie Jordan and for readers who like Fredrik Backman.”

—Heather Bistyga, Anderson County Library, Anderson, SC
NoveList read-alike: The Family Man by Elinor Lipman

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island 

by Colleen Oakley


“Anders, a journalist, is sent to Frick Island to cover a Cake Walk, where he meets Piper, a widow who behaves as if her husband had never died. The strangest thing is, the entire island goes along with this delusion, and Anders, who is smitten with Piper, is determined to find out why. For fans of The Story of Arthur Truluv and The Garden of Small Beginnings.”

—Aubrey Parker, Montgomery County Memorial Library, Conroe, TX
NoveList read-alike: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid


Mary Jane: A Novel 

by Jessica Anya Blau

Custom House

"It’s 1975 and Mary Jane takes a job babysitting while all her friends are away at summer camp. The job comes with exposure to a celebrity and her addicted rock star husband and Mary Jane experiences a world very different than her own. For readers who enjoyed Be Frank with Me, Nothing to See Here, and This Tender Land."

—Jan Fisher, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT
NoveList read-alike: About a Boy by Nick Hornby

The Newcomer: A Novel 

by Mary Kay Andrews

St. Martin's Press

"Letty is on the run with her four-year-old niece, afraid she will be accused of her sister’s murder. She ends up at a beach front motel in Florida full of interesting and entertaining characters. Murder, fugitives, romance, and a great cast of characters. A perfect beach read. For readers who enjoy books by Elin Hildenbrand and Janet Evanovich."

—Sandy Ruhmann, Allen Park Public Library, Allen Park, MI
NoveList read-alike: Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Talk Bookish to Me: A Novel 

by Kate Bromley

Graydon House

"A must-read romance novel, this enemies to lovers contemporary romance has enough tension and sizzle to satisfy any romance reader. Bonus, the lead character is a romance writer and readers get a romance novel within a romance novel. For readers who loved Much Ado About You and The Invitation."

—Hannah Spratt, New York Public Library, New York, NY
NoveList read-alike: The Things We Leave Unfinished by Rebecca Yarros

While Justice Sleeps: A Novel 

by Stacey Abrams


"Avery's boss is a Supreme Court Justice and he is currently in a coma after naming Avery (instead of his wife) as his guardian. This situation is further complicated by the fact that the judge is a swing vote in a very important decision before the court. How well Avery knows her boss will determine the fate of both of them. For readers of John Grisham and Robert Dugoni."

—Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Public Library, Austin, TX
NoveList read-alike: Paper Gods by Goldie Taylor

The Woman with the Blue Star: A Novel 

by Pam Jenoff

Park Row

"Based on the true stories of Jewish families who utilized the sewers to escape persecution during WWII. Sadie struggles to come to terms with loss. Ella struggles to figure out where she fits in amidst the chaos. Their friendship brings them hope and purpose. For readers who enjoyed The Rose Code, Our Darkest Night."

—Kate Eminhizer, Pamunkey Regional Library, Hanover, VA
NoveList read-alike: Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris

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.


Hour of the Witch: A Novel

by Chris Bohjalian


“In Puritan New England, Mary Deerfield is trapped in a marriage with a violent man. She has the audacity to file for divorce in a time where women were accused of witchcraft for any perceived slight or behavior. This book is filled with strong women and speaks to the witch hunts of today.”

—Lisa Casper, Douglas County Libraries, Highlands Ranch, CO
Read-alike: The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Berry
Read-alike: The Witches by Stacy Schiff

How to Find a Princess: Runaway Royals

by Alyssa Cole


“Billed as a queer retelling of Anastasia, a long-lost princess falls for the investigator who tracks her down. This full-length f/f romance from Cole, the latest in her delightful Runaway Royals series, makes for a fun read.”

—Annabelle Mortensen, Skokie Public Library, Skokie, IL
Read-alike: Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Read-alike: Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

Local Woman Missing: A Novel

by Mary Kubica

Park Row

“A kidnapped child, two dead women, affairs, secrets, and a malpractice suit seem like a lot to pack into one book, but Kubica skillfully weaves the plot to create a perfect level of intrigue in this twisty suspense tale."

—Sandra Woodbury, Burlington Public Library, Burlington MA
Read-alike: Dear Child by Romy Housmann 
Read-alike: The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher

Project Hail Mary: A Novel

by Andy Weir

Ballantine Books

“Ryland Grace wakes up alone on a spaceship with amnesia. Gradually he remembers being on a one- way journey to save Earth from a dying sun. Then he encounters Rocky, an engineer on a similar mission. Hard to put down and impossible to forget, this is ingenious science fiction to celebrate and share."

— Brenda O’Brien, Woodridge Public Library, Woodridge, IL
Read-alike: Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
Read-alike: The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Soulmate Equation

by Christina Lauren

Gallery Books

“A statistician and geneticist are an unlikely match in a DNA-based dating app in this latest breezy romance from Lauren. What follows is sure to pull on readers’ heartstrings and even get them interested in the science of genetics.”

—Melissa Stumpe, Johnson County Public Library, Franklin, IN
Read-alike: The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
Read-alike: The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon