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, May 28, 2021

Celebrate Horror and Test Drive Some New Authors

 Last year, as the pandemic shut downs were in full force, Horror reviewer and advocate Sadie Hartmann was looking for a way to pick up her own spirits as she spent her birthday in quarantine. She had spent the 2 months previous to her birthday reading to distract herself from her own anxiety and wanted to combine her love of horror, thankfulness for the comfort those books brought her, and an online celebration into one event. And thus we all got-- Celebrate Horror 2020-- a series of videos featuring authors reading from their own works 

Sadie has an excellent article about how Celebrate Horror 2020 was born and how she expanded it in 2021 here on LitReactor.

This year for 2021, she did not limit herself to authors she had read before; in fact, she didn't even limit herself to Horror only. There are authors that span the entirety of the genre and even into horror adjacent genres as well as authors that span the full breadth of personal identity. The entire event expanded in every way. And it is still free!

I am here today to encourage all of you library workers to check out this year's event which began early this morning and is available on demand now and into the future on the Night Worms YouTube Channel.

But I would like to extend a special invitation those of you who are a bit scared of horror yourselves.

This online series of author readings is a great collection development tool. You can read a review of works by the author and then listen to them read from their own work to get a sense of how they write. IT is also a safe way for those who think horror is too scary but want to be able to suggest it to patrons, to give it a try.

You can even take it one step further and add a link to the specific videos of the authors reading to their author record in your catalogs. That would be awesome because then your patrons could try them out too. 

I hope many of my readers give the Celebrate Horror 2021 a try over this holiday weekend, but also going forward since the videos don't have an expiration date.

Below is the list of authors appearing; graphics from the LitReactor article.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Who Deserves a Book Deal via Vox

When Robin Bradford and I present our Actively Anti-Racist Service to Leisure Readers discussions we are able to delve into the nuance of how libraries can craft and promote collections that respond to patron requests for problematic titles while still being an actively anti-antiracist library. While we advocate for tagging problematic titles for more aggressive weeding as one solution, Robin often makes this excellent point which she also put out on Twitter the other day:

I was thinking about her comments and why we get so many questions about this issue the other day. It seem as if there are so many more problematic people getting book deals. Or is it simply that the number is the same but that many of us, including those employed by the publishers, are unwilling to be silent about it anymore?

Well, I think the answer is more complicated, but I found an excellent place to begin digging into the issue

And it is this article via Vox. It is long, so please carve out some time to read it. The article, by Constance Gray, contains a lot of history and analysis; it is honest and straightforward. If you work in a library you need to read this. The questions and concerns on this issue, from all sides, are not going away anytime soon. You need to educate yourself and then discuss as a library how you are going to proceed and handle problematic titles. Robin's response above is a great first step, but these concerns are also a great way for your library to start having serious discussions about where your goals and actions are in opposition and how you can rectify that while still honoring patron requests.

This is not easy and neither Robin nor I have all the answers, but refusing to talk about the problem is how we got here. The reckoning for 400 years of systemic oppression is overdue. Be part of the conversation about dismantling it. Take action. And read the Vox article linked below to give yourself some context.

Who deserves a book deal?

As former Trump officials and other polarizing figures seek book deals, publishing is caught in a generational battle that’s becoming an existential crisis.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

US Book Show is Going All Week and There Are Useful Reports


This week, the virtual US Book Show is going on. I had posted previously about how all library workers could get a free ticket here.

I did get one of those tickets but due to having spent most of the last 5 days at Virtual StokerCon, I am going to take advantage of the archived access I will have to the panels through the Summer.

But in the meantime, whether you sign up for the show or not, Publisher's Weekly has plenty of coverage including summaries of many of the panels. These recaps alone are helpful. 

And of course, Library Journal's daily Book Pulse, a daily recap of all the important book news for library workers is also a resource to receive US Book Show news but and every day news too.

I knew some people are energized by the US Book Show right now and others are virtual conferenced out, but either way, these two resources will let you know the most important information and buzz coming from the event. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

New Issue of The Corner Shelf and It is a Must Read

The latest issue of The Corner Shelf went live this week. This is a Booklist newsletter by my editor, Susan Maguire. The current issue is especially good, but you should subscribe here to always get them.

See below for the ToC and Susan's Editor's Note, which has an excellent general RA reminder. 

Click here for access to this issue or here for access to all back issues. And as you can see, the backlist is always important at the Corner Shelf because Susan has a "From the Backlist" suggestion in every issue.

May 2021
• Notes from the Field: The Lac La Biche County Instrument Library
• Top 10 Historical Fiction
• Excerpts from the Experts: The Complete Collections Assessment Manual
• Listen Up: Summer Listening for Two
• Professional Reading Roundup: Spring 2021
• Shelf Care: Circ Stats, Bridgerton, and Other Library Business
• From the Backlist: Killing Trail, by Margaret Mizushima

Editor's Note

Click here to keep reading....

Monday, May 24, 2021

StokerCon Wrap Up: Bram Stoker Awards, Summer Scares, and Me!

 Well I had a weekend! It was months in the making, but somehow a group of us all pulled off a completely Virtual StokerCon and it was a HUGE success! Even the Co-Chairs, who worked tirelessly, were shocked at how it all went so well.

Thank you to all who attended and look for an email soon about extended access to recorded panels.

But even those who didn't join us, I wanted to report of a few things of note.

First of all, StokerCon is the annual kick off of Summer Scares. Although we have already matched many of the authors with libraries, this is the day our video content goes live.

Please visit the Summer Scares playlist for an explanation of how to use the Programming Guide and 3 videos featuring most of the Summer Scares authors in conversation with committee members. I took on YA duties this year covering for our YA expert Kelly Jensen who is on maternity leave. I have to say, I might have enjoyed my self a little too much. You be the judge though.

These videos are completely free and can be use and promoted by your library as a program for your patrons. When an author is chosen they agree to these conditions and we are so appreciative that so far not a single selected author has refused.

Now on to the Bram Stoker Awards. You can watch the live video presentation of the winners including taped acceptance speeches by the winners here. I also live tweeted the event on this thread here.

Here is the official press release of the winners and nominees. I would like to point out that quite a few of these winners were reviewed by me. I don't do this to brag, but to remind you that you can trust my recommendations of what horror is worth your time, even when it comes from smaller presses.

Click here for the full list, but here are the titles that won, which I have reviewed:

And finally, because it would be weird if I didn't mentioned it. During the Bram Stoker Awards broadcast [at the 1hr 13 min mark] I received the Richard Laymon President's Award. You can watch President John Palisano present it and me accept it here. And here is the official press release.

Quick clarification, I convinced John NOT to give me the award last year [pre-Covid] because with the convention planned for the UK we knew there would be no Librarians' Day at the Con itself, and as that was one of the main reasons I was winning the award, I respectfully asked him to rethink giving me the award for a time when there was an LD if he still wanted to. But I was especially touched that he called out my work to make the HWA more transparent in our work to support marginalized voices. That I was not expecting.

No back to the rest of my life which has been on the back burner for a few weeks, including working on some promotion for my own new book. See the top of any page on either blog for a coupon and a link to pre-order. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

See you at Librarians' Day

No post today. I am presenting at and moderating Librarians' day for StokerCon from 10-7 Eastern.

Details here: https://hopin.com/events/stokercon 

See you Monday.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Enter to Win Two Books from Tor Nightfire to Celebrate StokerCon Starting Today!

This is a cross post with RA for All Horror:

It's #HorrorForLibraries Giveaway day, but it is also a special mini-series within the larger giveaway series. For the last few weeks, I have been giving away books by those set to appear at StokerCon Librarians' Day. Today is the final one of these special giveaways and it is a big one! I have one of the best vampire books written this century finally back in print and the buzziest book of the summer. 

More details on this week's giveaway below but first...

Here is a refresher on the basic rules to enter:

  1. You need to be affiliated with an American public library. My rationale behind that is that I will be encouraging you to read these books and share them with patrons. While many of them are advanced reader copies that you cannot add to your collections, if you get the chance to read them, my hope is that you will consider ordering a copy for your library and give away the ARC away as a prize or pass it on to a fellow staff member.
  2. If you are interested in being included in any giveaway at any time, you must email me at zombiegrl75 [at] gmail [dot] com with the subject line "#HorrorForLibraries." In the body of the email all you have to say is that you want to be entered and the name of your library.
  3. Each entry will be considered for EVERY giveaway. I will randomly draw a winner on Fridays sometime after 5pm central. But only entries received by 5pm each week will be considered for that  week. I use Random.org and have a member of my family witness the "draw"based off your number in the Google Sheet.
  4. If you win, you are ineligible to win again for 4 weeks; you will have to re-enter after that time to be considered [I have a list of who has won, when, and what title]. However, if you do not win, you carry over into the next week. There is NO NEED to reenter.
Click here to see giveaway #43. Our winner was Sarah from the Richland [SC] Library.

Today I have a 2 pack of titles courtesy of Nightfire, Tor's new Horror specific imprint. As part of the Librarians' Day schedule we are featuring a few of their blog writers, including the site editor Emily Hughes. And then on Saturday, I am moderating a panel with some of the authors from the inaugural season of the press: John F.D. TaffCassandra Khaw, and  the two authors whose books I have to giveaway today, Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Catriona Ward.

First is The Last House on Needless Street by Ward which I gave a STAR review. It will appear in the June issue of Library Journal, but here are the notes I left on Goodreads including my three words: layered, multiple points of view, heartbreaking. This is THE most highly anticipated released of the inaugural catalog for Nightfire and it deserves all of the accolades it is receiving. This is a book that you can hand out with confidence to readers of thrillers, suspense, psychological suspense,  and horror. And yes, that cat on the cover is a main character.

Second is the 2016 modern vampire classic, a book that NPR named to its best of the year, but a title which had gone out of print, Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno Garcia. Not only does this title appear in my new book [Chapter 5: Vampires], but it is also marked as a "Becky's Pick" as one of the top three titles [of 12] in that chapter. Here, for the first time, is the annotation from my new book: 
In this bittersweet, issue oriented, and culturally diverse vampire tale, Alt, a descendent of Aztec blood drinkers, is forced into hiding in Mexico City, one of the only places on earth where vampires have been successfully banned. Alt has lived a life of luxury, kept safely away from the human world, but after the Necros, a vicious subspecies of vampires, kills her entire family, Alt is forced to go on the run. She teams up with Domingo, a garbage picker, to help her escape, but Alt is very hungry and the Necros are closing in. Featuring a strong sense of place and an extremely flawed but ultimately sympathetic protagonist, this novel uses a genre lens to take a hard and thought provoking look at our current reality, all without sacrificing a violent, action packed, and crowd pleasing vampire tale.
Both ARCs are courtesy of Nightfire and will go to 1 lucky library worker winner. Get your entries in ASAP. I will be announcing the winner live at the conclusion of Librarians' Day at 6:30pm eastern. You need not be at LD to win, but it will still be fun to do the announcement in front of a live audience.

Tor Nightfire is a Gold Sponsor of StokerCon 2021. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Novelist and Library Reads Crash Course Survey

Today I am sending you to NoveList where they are asking you for information about what FREE training you want to see next.

Click here or use the links below, and make yourself heard.

Crash Course Webinars: We want to hear from you! 

It’s been a little over two years since we debuted our Crash Course webinar series
in partnership with LibraryReads. Since then, we’ve covered: 
  • Science Fiction
  • Crime, Mysteries, & Thrillers
  • Fantasy
  • Romance
  • Horror
  • Historical Fiction
  • Graphic Novels
  • Literary Fiction
  • Relationship Fiction
  • Gentle Reads

Ten hours of learning all archived so you can rewatch. 

More than 7,000 people have attended these sessions live and have 
watched all together more than 10,000 hours of Crash Course webinars. 

As NoveList and LibraryReads continue our partnership, 
we’d like to hear from you. 

What genres or genre blends would you
like to see represented? 

Have someone (including yourself) you’d like
to recommend for a panelist? 

We want to hear from you. 

Click here or on the image below to take the survey

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

LibraryReads: June 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 June 2021 LibraryReads List! 

One Last Stop 

by Casey McQuiston

St. Martin's Griffin

“A phenomenal read with well-developed diverse characters and a unique, compelling plot. For August, romance is way at the bottom of her to-do list. Then she meets mysterious Jane, who's always on the same subway car no matter where or when August gets on. Before she knows it, they are a thing, with a circle of friends to share their life. There’s only one catch: Jane isn't really here. For fans of Meryl Wisner, Morgan Rogers, and Jasmine Guillory.”

—Heather Cover, Homewood Library, Birmingham, AL 
NoveList read-alike: Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

And now the rest of the June 2021 list:

The Maidens: A Novel 

by Alex Michaelides

Celadon Books

“Tragedy dogs Mariana’s footsteps as she struggles to recover from the deaths of her husband, sister, brother-in-law, and father. Then, in her beloved Cambridge, young girls are being killed. Fearing for her niece, Mariana is determined to find the murderer, and in a twisted plot discovers that she doesn't know who to believe, including herself. For readers who liked The Sea of Lost Girls and The Secret History.”

—Courtenay Reece, Millville Public Library, Millville, NJ
NoveList read-alike: Ill Will by Dan Chaon

Neon Gods 

by Katee Robert

Sourcebooks Casablanca

"Robert masterfully turns the myth of Persephone and Hades on its head, making it modern and kinky and exploring issues of consent and the arranged marriage trope (which she delightfully subverts). The steamy sex is absolutely integral to the plot, and Robert includes nods to the original myth. For fans of The Unhoneymooners and The Dating Plan.”

—Kate Fais, New York Public Library, New York, NY 
NoveList read-alike: Black Sheep by Zara Cox

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot: A Novel

by Marianne Cronin

Harper Perennial

“In a Glasgow hospital, two dying patients, one a teen and one much older, begin an art project to chronicle their lives. This delightful "Odd Couple" pair, along with the hospital chaplain and a gaggle of well- meaning staff, help Lenni live her best life through Margot's stories and show what really is important. For readers who love Fredrik Backman and
Gail Honeyman.”

—Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX 
NoveList read-alike: The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg

The Other Black Girl: A Novel 

by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Atria Books

“Nella, an editorial assistant at Wagner Books, is excited when another Black girl is hired at her publishing company. But after a mysterious note turns up on her desk that warns her to "Leave Wagner. Now," she is left questioning who would want her gone. Provocative and suspenseful, this genre- bending book is perfect for fans of When No One Is Watching and the movie Get Out.”

—Erin Shea, Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
NoveList read-alike: Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

Our Woman in Moscow: A Novel  

by Beatriz Williams

William Morrow

"A spy novel set in Europe during and after WWII featuring twin sisters, Ruth and Iris. A cat and mouse game of intrigue where it is often hard to tell not only who is guilty or innocent, but also, who is who? Give this one to readers who enjoy Kate Quinn's brave female characters."

—Gail Christensen, Kitsap Regional Library, Bremerton, WA
NoveList read-alike: The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

The Personal Librarian 

by Marie Benedict; Victoria Christopher Murray 


"Both history and homage to The Morgan Library, one of the world’s greatest private libraries. It is also the story of a young African-American woman named Belle posing as a white woman of Portuguese descent. For fans of Fiona Davis’ historical novels."

—Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ 
NoveList read-alike: An Illuminated Life: Belle da Costa Greene's Journey from Prejudice to Privilege by Heidi Ardizzone

The Queer Principles of Kit Webb: A Novel 

by Cat Sebastian


"Lord Holland is being blackmailed, he will do anything to get back his mother’s book of secrets that has been stolen by his father, so he hires a reformed highwayman for one last job. For readers who enjoyed The Vicar and the Rake and A Fashionable Indulgence."

—Chris Ely, Whitewright Public Library, Whitewright, TX
NoveList read-alike: The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite

To Sir, With Love 

by Lauren Layne

Gallery Books

"A modern take on You've Got Mail set in New York City. Gracie is running her family's champagne boutique while Sebastian and his family are trying to buy out the building. The results are a meet-cute times two that would certainly make Nora Ephron proud. For fans of Jennifer Cruisie and Talia Hibbert."

—Amy Mehrle, Gwinnett County Public Library, Dacula, GA
NoveList read-alike: Ghosting by Tash Skilton

The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible

Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear 

by Kate Moore


"In 1860, Packard was committed to an insane asylum by her husband with no evidence of any condition other than she disagreed with him on some issues and spoke her mind. Moore deftly presents Packard’s story of her confinement, subsequent trial, and crusade to improve women’s legal standing. Give this book to those interested in stories of trailblazing women, legal thrillers, and even true crime."

—PJ Gardiner, Wake County Public Library, Raleigh, NC
NoveList read-alike: The Unfit Heiress by Audrey Clare Farley

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.

Dream Girl: A Novel 

by Laura Lippman

William Morrow

“Poor Gerry Anderson: esteemed novelist, confined

to his highrise after a freak accident, besieged with assistants and badgered by his ex. Gerry sees himself as a victim, but not all agree, and someone is taking murderous measures to bring him to task. Who’ll outsmart whom in this game of cat and mouse?”

—Lori Hench, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD
NoveList read-alike: Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

Malibu Rising: A Novel 

by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Ballantine Books

“Four celebrity children of Mick Riva, a famous singer, throw a massive party that ends in a fire and leaves family secrets exposed. Reid skillfully goes back and forth in time to fill in the background story of the entire Riva family, beautifully bringing each character to life.”

—Cathy Branciforte, Ramsey Free Public Library, Ramsey, NJ 
NoveList read-alike: The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

The Night Hawks 

by Elly Griffiths

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

“In the thirteenth Ruth Galloway mystery, the forensic archeologist returns to familiar ground in Norfolk, where she’s accepted a post at a local university. A dead body is found nearby and soon Dr. Galloway is back on the case in a satisfying story full of surprise twists and familiar faces.”

—Meredith Snepp, Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, Topeka, KS
NoveList read-alike: Reverend Clare Fergusson mysteries

The Road Trip 

by Beth O'Leary

Berkley Jove

“Exes Dylan and Addie are on their way to a friend’s wedding, and their rocky relationship is traced through alternating POVs from past and present. With interesting character development and several genuinely funny moments, this is a perfect read for your own summer road trip.”

—Jennifer Sullivan, Sno-Isle Libraries, Marysville, WA
NoveList read-alike: Three Little Words by Jenny Holiday

Survive the Night: A Novel

by Riley Sager


“In the 1990s, Charlie, a traumatized woman who sees life like a movie, heads home from college. After agreeing to share a ride with a stranger, she begins to fear that she’s in danger. With heart- pounding suspense, nostalgic film references, and a locked room setting, this is a fun throwback thriller.”

—Vanessa Phillips, Pelion Branch Library, Pelion, SC 
NoveList read-alike: No Exit by Taylor Adams

When Stars Collide: A Chicago Stars Novel 

by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

William Morrow

“Quarterback Thad and opera star Olivia embark on a weeks-long PR campaign for an upscale watch company. Both successful in their careers, they each have a strong sense of themselves, which makes for a refreshingly toned down take on the hero-to-the- rescue trope in this unputdownable read.”

—Janet Schneider, Peninsula Public Library, Lawrence, NY 
NoveList read-alike: The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai