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, January 31, 2022

Using Awards Lists As a RA Tool: National Book Critics Circle Award and PEN America Literary Award Finalists

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.  

A couple of the big literary fiction awards released their finalists lists recently and they have a lot of crossover. This crossover is great for you, the library worker as it allows you to see some consensus. Both awards lists also have excellent backlist access and multiple categories across fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Below is the information and links, but remember to refresh your memory on why awards lists are such great tools to help readers with the links in the intro above. Any time someone asks me my favorite resource, my answer is ALWAYS "Awards Lists."

The National Book Critics Circle whose mission is, "Honoring outstanding writing and fostering a national conversation about reading, criticism, and literature since 1974," released their short list for what they deem "the finest books published in English in six categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Biography, Autobiography, Poetry, and Criticism," here.

Their backlist of nominees and winners is also easy to get to at the top of the current awards page and here directly. You can search by year or keyword going back over 45 years!

The PEN American Literary Awards were also announced and they give backlist access right on the main awards page. From that page:

"Since 1963, the PEN America Literary Awards have honored many of the most outstanding voices in literature across diverse genres, including fiction, poetry, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, and drama. With the help of our partners, PEN America confers over 20 distinct awards, fellowships, grants and prizes each year, awarding nearly $350,000 to writers and translators. View and search our archive of Award winners here."

That archive has both lists and a search option. What I love about this award is that the categories are so broad and in many ways, more intuitive for our readers, meaning we can use the categories in real time as we help readers. 

This year's finalists can be found here.

But here's what I mean about the categories. The main award isn't just for "best" novel a criteria that is not very specific. Rather it is for "a book-length work of any genre for its originality, merit, and impact, which has broken new ground by reshaping the boundaries of its form and signaling strong potential for lasting influence." This is easier to use to handsell a title to potential readers.

Other categories include:

  • The Open Book Award: "To an exceptional book-length work of any literary genre by an author of color." [What I love about this category is that there are authors of color in the main book award, but they do not overlap them in this category.]
  • Debut story collection-- this is a great way for you to identify up and coming authors to add to your collections.
  • Debut novel
  • An award for "the art of the essay"-- a very popular nonfiction area. 
  • Poetry-- still gaining in readership and popularity
  • 2 translate literature prizes-- One for poetry and one for "book length prose."
  • Literary Science Writing-- another very popular nonfiction area. The "literary" page is not a judgement rather it denotes that the works are not peer reviewed science but rather, "For a work that exemplifies literary excellence on the subject of the physical or biological sciences and communicates complex scientific concepts to a lay audience."
  •  Biography 
  • General Nonfiction
You can check out all of the current finalists and the judges for each category [which would also make for good suggestions for readers interested in that specific category] here.

And please, do not underestimate how helpful all awards lists are as a way for you to help readers, build displays, and enrich your collections. In vernal Awards Lists are truly your very best RA tool.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Resource Alert: Library Specific Resources for Graphic Novel Readers

I have had this post in the queue and with the banning of MAUS and the long-standing [and WRONG] dismissal of Graphic Novels as "lesser" than text only books, I am moving this up to today. 

This post is here to highlight multiple Graphic Novel resources for your library to use right now for collections development, displays, and suggestions. With MAUS garnering attention, interest in graphic novels in general will be high. Let's take advantage and promote this format. 

Last week, my colleague Sonia sent me this excellent resource-- Manga in Libraries. I have not seen a resource for this format geared toward a library audience before this one. 

Also, the ALA's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table recently released two excellent resources:

In general, the Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table of the ALA does excellent work and you should bookmark their website to return to frequently. 

Finally, don't forget to check out the NoveList and LibraryReads Crash Course on Graphic Novels from May 2020. 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

RA for All Roadshow Visit PCI Webinars for 2021 RA Year in Review

Today I am presenting my annual RA Year in Review for PCI Webinars. I enjoy putting this together each year because it gives me a chance to look back at the year that just happened from the widest lens possible before forging ahead into another year.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to take the time to think about where you have been before you forge forward, and especially in these trying times of blatant censorship and a pandemic entering its third year, this reflection is even more important.

Besides taking at detailed look at the best sellers vs most library checkouts vs best lists, I also break down the major issues of the year. Of course this year that means I have more than a few slides about censorship. 

I realize not all of you have the time to do the research and compile this information. That is why I do it each year and take it so seriously. It is a lot of work for 1 presentation [and honestly,. I lose money on this one], but it is so helpful and to so many, that I always make time for it.

However, since this talk is only given through PCI webinars [once for FL libraries only and once for the rest of the country] and I know not everyone has access to their full slate of webinars, I make the slides extremely useful. You can get a sense of the major issues just from the slides and the links I have provided. 

Although, I would suggest you double check with your system or state library because many libraries do have access to PCI webinars, especially the replays, and do not even realize it. 

Either way, here are the slides for the 2021 RA Year in Review, or you can click on the screen shot below. And for context here are some past year's slides [I did not do one for 2019]:

Click here to access the 2021 slides

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

What I'm Reading: First Three Books of 2022 are From 2021 Best Lists

As usual, I have begun my year with some of the "best" books from the year before which I had not read yet. I do this every year; I even have a category for it in my year end person best list. From 2021's final post:

Best Book From 2020 Best Lists That I Read in 2021Caste: The Origin of our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson [thought provoking, engrossing, conversational and well researched]

Why do I do this? Because there are always books I miss. No one can know about and or read every book. As the year end best lists start coming out, I have a chance to digest all of the titles that might interest me, and then I flag a few to read early in the year. For me it is a great way to start the year off with some titles I may have missed, but which are still a great read.

In the case of the first book in the list below, I even used one of the resources I had been posting about [here] to identify a title to try, and it was my favorite of the three I read!

Doing this is fun for me, but it is also a reminder to myself that a good read is a good read, no matter when it came out or when I encountered it. I love starting the year off so intentionally and with a focus on capturing the joy of reading. Also, since most of my reading is assigned for review, I relish the chance to read for just me. It might not be your thing, but I thought sharing why these were my first reads would be as helpful as the reviews themselves.

Below are the titles of those three books, the "three words" I noted, the format I read, and a link to my detailed, appeal based, Goodreads review.

  • The Trees by Percival Everett [uncanny, open ended, thought-provoking]
    • Print
  • The Sentence by Louise Erdrich [darkly humorous, moving, compelling]
    • Print
  • Matrix by Lauren Groff [mystical, strong sense of place, character centered]
    • Audio

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Using Awards Lists As a RA Tool: ALA Adult Awards Part 2-- Remaining RUSA and YALSA Alex Award

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.  

Yesterday, I posted 2 major ALA adult awards here. Today I have a bunch more with links and backlist access. Remember, all of these lists can be used to help readers right now, for displays, for collection development, and of course, use the backlist to double [or triple or quadruple] the resource [and the fun].

First the rest of the RUSA Books and Media Awards that are most pertinent to RA  Service [click here for the archives of all of the RUSA Books and Media Awards and winners on one page]:

  • 2022 Notable Books List: "The Notable Books Council, first established in 1944, has announced the 2022 selections of the Notable Books List, an annual best-of list composed of 25 titles written for adult readers and published in the US including fiction, nonfiction and poetry. The list was announced today during the Reference & User Services Book & Media Awards Virtual Ceremony."
  • 2022 Listen List: "The Listen List Council of the Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES) of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has announced the 2022 selections of the Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration. This year’s committee evaluated 284 titles with a total listening time of more than 3,118 hours.  The final deliberation produced a list of 12 winners. This award highlights extraordinary narrators and listening experiences that merit special attention by a general adult audience and the librarians who advise them."
  • 2022 Sophie Brody Medal: "The Sophie Brody Medal is given to encourage, recognize and commend outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. Works for adults published in the United States in the preceding year are eligible for the award."
And then over to YALSA-- The Teen arm of ALA-- for their Alex Awards: "The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. The winning titles are selected from the previous year's publishing. The Alex Awards were first given annually beginning in 1998 and became an official ALA award in 2002."

Monday, January 24, 2022

Using Awards Lists As a RA Tool: ALA Adult Awards Part 1-- Carnegie Medals and RUSA CODES Reading List

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.  

Last night and then this morning, the American Library Association gave out their book and media awards. For the next couple of days I am going to be highlighting the ones that are most useful to you as you help readers.

Today I am going to start with just two, but there are many more here [and I will write about them tomorrow]. And the two I am highlighting are the most useful to you, not only because of the categories but also because the awards list themselves contain readalikes and annotations and more! Also backlist access is sublime. But I digress...

First up is the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. While you can click through to see the winners, what I love about this award is that Booklist is in charge of creating resources for the award. So if you click here you can find the shortlist, the longlist, and essays by all 6 of the finalists [3 fiction, 3 nonfiction] with further reading suggestions, both ones that pertain to their specific books and authors they enjoy in general. It is a great example of why awards lists are your best tool to help readers.

The Carnegie Medal site and the RUSA site also have easy backlist access to past winners with annotations, so you can build displays and make suggestions with ease. 

Second, is the less prestigious, but in my opinion much more useful and fun, RUSA CODES Reading List awards. From the site:

Established in 2007 by the CODES section of RUSA, The Reading List seeks to highlight outstanding genre fiction that merit special attention by general adult readers and the librarians who work with them.

The Council, which consists of twelve librarians who are experts in readers’ advisory and collection development, selects one book from each of eight different categories. The eight genres currently included in the council’s considerations are adrenaline titles (suspense, thrillers, and action adventure), fantasy, historical fiction, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction, and relationship fiction. However, the Council is constructed in such a way to be adaptable to new genres and changes in contemporary reading interest.

This year's winners are not up on the awards page website yet, but the announcement can be found here. As it says above there are 8 categories-- all genre based! Each category has a winner. That titles gets an annotation [which you can use to book talk the title to a patron] and 3 readalikes. There is also a short list of other titles as well. 

This means that for each of the 8 categories you have 8 titles that you can trust for each genre. That is 64 genre titles at your fingertips just this year alone! And then, take into account that the Award homepage goes back to 2014, and, well, try not to explode with genre resource happiness.

Also, it is VERY important to note that these are genre titles picked NOT by genre specialists, rather by general adult services librarians. That's what I love about this list. It reflects what is most appealing to a wide audience, not just hard core fans of each genre.

Click through to look at the current genre award winners. And then go to the main Reading List web page for backlist access back to 2014. Just a quick perusal of these lists will give you a sense of where each genre is from a public library standpoint. I will be posting the specific, Horror information on the other blog.

Friday, January 21, 2022

New NoveList & LibraryReads Crash Course: Narrative Nonfiction

NoveList and Library Reads are having another FREE crash course. I LOVE these classes. They are the genre or format or reading area overview that we all need. They are quick, contain the most up to date information, are diverse, and oh so useful. 

The next one is Narrative Nonfiction and is on February 9, 2022 at 2pm Eastern. I signed up already even though I already know I cannot make it as I will be presenting for another library at that time, so that I do not miss the recording.

Click here or see below to register now. And click here to easily access all of the Free Crash Courses in the series. They are my go-to genre resource. 

Event date: 9 February 2022
Do you have a go-to strategy for helping readers with Narrative Nonfiction? Narrative Nonfiction is a large category of books, and if you don’t read nonfiction widely, it can be hard to know where to start. A juicy biography? A detailed piece of science writing? Something funny? NoveList and LibraryReads will break down the wide variety of Narrative Nonfiction, why readers love it, and how to help both seasoned nonfiction and new nonfiction readers alike find the next book they will be talking about with family and friends.

Join as they cover:  
  • Why readers choose Narrative Nonfiction 
  • Classics, new titles/authors to watch, and trends to know    
  • NoveList insider information on genre headings, appeal terms, and more 
  • How to help readers  

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, February 9, from 2-3 pm ET 

Optional NoveList training from 3-3:15 pm ET 


In between working in public libraries, Belinda Blue also worked in academic, corporate, and school libraries in New York City, South Carolina, and Virginia. She reads mostly nonfiction; however, she will read fiction that deals with race and other social issues. When she's not running a branch, she plays the cello – sometimes at library storytimes! 

Before working as the Director of Sales and Marketing for NoveList, Jennifer Lohmann was the manager of a reference department at a library in Durham, North Carolina where she ran too many book clubs and especially loved the meetings where the clubs discussed nonfiction. She loves popular math books (totally a thing!) and nonfiction that explores wider cultural forces through the story of one person’s life. For about two years, she recommended The Black Count by Tom Reiss to everyone she met, including random people at the grocery store. In fact, she recommends it to you. 

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 committee chair for the 2022 ALA Reading List Council. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Using Awards Lists As a RA Tool: Edgar 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.  

The Mystery Writers of America have announced the nominees of the 2022 Edgar Awards here. These are awards for Mystery and Crime, Fiction and Nonfiction, as well as television, all produced in 2021.

The Edgar awards are an EXCELLENT resource, for all of the reasons I normally discuss [see link in the intro], but also because 2 of their awards are straight up readalike awards-- The Mary Higgins Clark Award and the Sue Grafton Memorial Awards. I rely on these awards to help fans of these authors find new titles and authors.

The Edgar Awards also have a WONDERFUL database. You can easily search back 76 years [!] and because mysteries are so popular in our libraries, there are endless display and suggestion possibilities held in that database. You can search by category, author, year, basically anyway you might want to look for titles, they have you covered.

Explore the database for yourself.

And click here or on the image below to access the full color, PDF press release for this year's nominees.

Click here to see the nominees

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Becky Interviews Alma Katsu for LJ

In the January issue of Library Journal, I have a STAR review of Alma Katsu's latest Historical-Horror novel The Fervor. I cannot stress enough how great a read this will be for a wide swath of patrons. Katsu's The Hunger and The Deep were already widely popular and critically acclaimed, but The Fervor is even better, and I would argue it is because Katsu took a person turn, examining the the racism and hate faced by her own people.

In our conversation, Katsu makes a LOT of reading recommendations. I have added links to help you find my reviews or more information on those titles and authors.

Katsu is also the 2022 Spokesperson for Summer Scares and will be appearing at StokerCon Librarians' Day on May 13, 2022 [talking about genre blending in Horror]. You can click here for info on that event and here for the Summer Scares resource page.

You can read my star review here. Pre-order your copies now. And, keep an eye out in the coming weeks over on the #HorrorForLibraries giveaway I host every Thursday on the Horror blog for a chance to win a coy of The Fervor. You can enter right now. A new giveaway drops tomorrow. 

Enjoy learning more about this author and finding new reads for your patrons.

Q&A with Award-Winning Horror Novelist Alma Katsu
by Becky Spratford

Alma Katsu is an internationally award-winning novelist. The Hunger is one of NPR’s 100 favorite horror stories, and The Deep was nominated for the Stoker and Locus awards for best horror novel. Red Widow draws on her career as an intelligence officer, and her latest novel, The Fervor, is a horror novel set in a Japanese internment camp. LJ caught up with her to talk about writing, the power of horror fiction, and authors who inspire.

What drew you to writing, in general, and historical horror in particular?

I was a big reader as a kid, and it made me want to be a writer, too. I went through school thinking that’s what I’d do, but I ended up getting the opportunity to work at a U.S. intelligence agency. It’s the kind of job that takes over your whole life and I ended up giving up writing for a long time. My debut novel—at age 51—was The Taker. It’s been compared a lot to Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire: historical, but with a supernatural/fantasy element. I’ve always loved otherworldly stories—dark fantasy, speculative fiction, the Gothic. Stories that bring magic into our lives. History always seems to find a way in there, too, I guess because it grounds us, makes the fantastical seem more plausible.

You wrote a stirring and highly personal introduction to the anthology Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women where you explored the harmful stereotypes of Asian women. But The Fervor is the first time you have explored your own identity as an Asian American woman in a novel. What was that experience like for you?

Writing The Fervor was an eye-opening experience. As you say, it was the first time that I wrote a lead character who is Asian. The Fervor is a personal book for me: my mother is Japanese and came to America after World War II, and my husband’s entire family was interned. So, I learned a lot about this episode in U.S. history, and the issues around internment are quite complex. We don’t hear the whole story in school—it’s not as straightforward as some might have you believe, but the real lessons from this event, the “why” it happened and what it really means to the soul and character of a nation, are in those details. It was a revelation to write a book with a character that was the same as me. I could suddenly say all these things that had only been in my head. That’s why it’s so great to write horror: you can really explore those feelings. You don’t have to be polite, you don’t have to turn away.

You are the 2022 Summer Scares Spokesperson, but before that you spent 2021 appearing at a variety of libraries across the country as The Hunger was one of three adult selections for the 2021 program. What did you learn about public libraries through these appearances? And what do you hope to share with the library community going forward in 2022?

It was such a gift to talk to librarians and readers across the country. I learned that there are more horror fans than you might imagine, particularly among librarians. I’m so excited to be able, through Summer Scares, to bring new horror to more readers. There’s nothing wrong with the classics, whether it’s Poe or Stephen King or R.L. Stine. But horror seems to be in a new golden age right now, with so many great books being written, and the genre broadening to include stories and ideas that might surprise some people. Too, in the pandemic age, people seem to have more of an appetite for horror, for stories that help us face our fears and make sense of the unknowable, and I’m looking forward to talking horror with librarians and readers.

Who are the authors that inspire you as a writer? What specifically do you glean from them and their example?

I am drawn to stories that are original in some way, whether it’s subject matter or approach, and especially the way it uses narrative form. Josh Malerman is a favorite: that man is pure artist, unafraid to take risks. I don’t think any two of his books are alike. I think of him when I sit down to outline another historical horror novel, so I’m inspired to try something new and take chances. Stephen Graham Jones has a gift for conveying the inside life of society’s “outsiders,” an especially important talent in today’s fractious world. Audrey Niffenegger is an example of artistry in narrative form: I read and reread The Time Traveler’s Daughter in order to figure out how to handle nonlinear jumps in time in my debut, The Taker. And Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl was the narrative model for my spy novel, Red Widow: I wanted to have a second POV character come in and completely blow apart what we’ve learned from the first POV character, and Gone Girl was the perfect model for this.

I cannot let you leave without asking you to tell all of us which authors we are missing out on. Who should more people be reading and adding to our library collections?

I’ve been telling everyone who will listen that they should read These Bones by Kayla Chenault. It’s a bit genre-defying—is it historical, horror, or memoir?—but it’s definitely one of those magical, rewarding, transcendent reads and hard to believe it’s her debut. Another favorite is The Art of Space Travel and Other Stories, the latest from British writer Nina Allan. One way to be exposed to a bunch of talented writers at the same time is to pick up an anthology. When Things Get Dark, edited by Ellen Datlow, is a collection of stories inspired by the work of Shirley Jackson. You have deliciously macabre and uncanny stories by masters such as Kelly Link, Paul Tremblay, Elizabeth Hand, Richard Kadrey, Josh Malerman and Stephen Graham Jones, and many lesser-known but not lesser-talented writers. As long as I’m talking about anthologies, I’d like to give a shout-out to two for which I was lucky enough to write the forewords. Miscreations, edited by Doug Murano and Michael Bailey, explores what it means to be a monster. The second is Black Cranes, edited by Lee Murray and Genever Flynn, mentioned earlier, a collection of short horror stories written from the perspective of Asian women.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Resource Alert: The Great First-Half 2022 Book Preview Is More Useful Than You May Think.

One of my favorite tools came out recently, The Great First-Half 2022 Book Preview via The Millions.

This is a comprehensive, and yes, a bit overwhelming, list of all of the titles, coming soon, that you MUST know about. Of course if you do collection development you can use this list to start filling your carts for future purchases, but please do not underestimate how helpful this list is even if you do not have any collection duties.

In fact, it is one of my favorite resources to help readers at the desk. How? Well, here are some of the ways I use the current list, and backlist versions of their "most anticipated lists." And please note, cross reference this post with my post on Curbside Patrons and Discovery to include these ideas, lists, and conversation starters in your socially distant RA work too.

Collection Development: As I mentioned above, this is the most obvious reason to use these lists. You can go through them to learn about the most anticipated titles and get them on order. This list is especially helpful at identifying midlist gems. Titles that the editors think will gain traction but may not have the largest marketing plans and/or from lesser known authors. Even if they don't end up becoming break out hits, the fact that these editors identified them early is enough reason to have them in our library collections. The midlist are often some of our best "sure bets," titles we can suggest to readers with confidence ones that they would not know about with out us. They are also more likely to be on the shelf. Ans don't forget previous "most anticipated lists." Those are books you somebody probably ordered, are a great options, are probably on the shelf waiting for their next reader, and have an annotation right there for you to use to handsell.

Displays: New books get their own display space, but what about great titles from the last 1-4 years that are in your collections, smashed between other books, not being highlighted, but are still a great option. We are always looking for ways  to get our high interest, backlist titles out in front of patrons. Well, these lists are just what you and your patrons are looking for. There are so many titles, from so many years that you could go through them one at a time. Make a display [or online lists with catalog links and in building traditional displays] by year. For example, flashback to 2018's hottest books. And then put all the ones you own out and watch them fly off the shelves. Make it interactive by asking people what their favorite read from 2018 was and then make a second display of patron [and staff] picks from 2018. Then feature another year. Do one a month. Patrons will LOVE  IT. And your administration and board will also love it because your backlist will be circulating. Most of our investment collections-wise is in our backlist. Think about it; we have more older titles than newer ones. Help that backlist shine, collect data on the increase in circulation, and then get it into Board reports. Everybody wins!

Conversation Starter: I alluded to this above as a way to engage patrons in a conversation about their favorite books of "yore" for display, but in general these lists are a great conversation starter, at the desk or online. And even more especially, on Goodreads. Why? Because if you get a library account and ask your patrons questions about their favorite books from 2018 on Goodreads, they can just go to their shelf and see what books they gave the most stars to that year. They are already in the space where the answers to your questions are. You could also start this convo on other social media platforms and link to the Goodreads conversation too. Those who use Instagram, post pictures of your physical displays and start a conversation about that year on that platform. There are many possibilities to start conversations about lesser known titles here.

Booktalks: One of my main mantras as I encourage more staff to actively participate in RA Service is to remind people that they can and should use the words of others as they suggest books to potential readers. These lists are all fully annotated, with a prepared soundbite that you can share with patrons. Obviously you  want to share books you own, but there is no excuse to not hand sell these titles if they are in your collections. You start by saying it was a hot title in, for example, 2019, and then read the blurb. If they seem interested you can pull the physical book or look up reviews on NoveList [professional opinions] and Goodreads [regular reader opinions] for more information. But the hardest part of your job-- finding a high interest title that is readily available and having something well thought out to say about it-- well that is done for you with these lists.

Covers: Finally, the least important reason I love this resource but a nice bonus, the cover is right there with the book's entry. Covers tell us a lot about a book [I have discussed it  many times and you can click here to read more on how to use covers in your service to readers] and having the cover in front of you before you pull the book is extremely helpful.

Please check out this year's and past year's previews and use them to make your job easier and your patron's happier.

Monday, January 17, 2022

LibraryReads: February 2022

  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.... 


February 2022 LibraryReads List!

The Paris Apartment: A Novel 

by Lucy Foley

William Morrow

“Foley hits it out of the ballpark with this solid thriller set in a Paris apartment
building. Jess goes looking for her brother, but finds only the smell of bleach and a broken St. Christopher medal lodged in the floorboards. Written in short chapters with multiple points of view and delicious secrets dropped along the way, this gripping, wild ride is impossible to put down. If you like Liane Moriarty or Ruth Ware, pick this one up.“

—Douglas Beatty, Baltimore County Public Library, Baltimore, MD 
NoveList read-alike: Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

And now the rest of the list:

Black Cake: A Novel 

by Charmaine Wilkerson

Ballantine Books

“In this extraordinary debut, two estranged siblings must reunite on the occasion of their mother’s death, opening old wounds and exposing long held secrets. The novel is a rich, woven tapestry of cultures, characters, traditions, and social issues, with several “wow” moments along the way. For fans of The Vanishing Half and Ask Again, Yes.”

—Ronni Krasnow, New York Public Library, New York, NY
NoveList read-alike: These Ghosts are Family by Maisy Card

The Christie Affair: A Novel 

by Nina de Gramont

St. Martin's Press

"An intriguing take on Agatha Christie’s famous 11-day disappearance. In a Christie- esque subplot, Nan manipulates Agatha’s husband to leave her so that Nan can step in, but her plans go further. Interspersed in the story is Nan’s retelling of her own tragic background, and as it unfolds, her true objective comes to light. For fans of The Mystery of Mrs. Christie and The Guest Book.”

—Maribeth Fisher, Scotch Plains Public Library, Scotch Plains, NJ 
NoveList read-alike: A Talent for Murder by Andrew Wilson

Count Your Lucky Stars: A Novel

By Alexandra Bellefleur


“Two women get a second chance at romance. Margot and Liv shared a bond and one steamy week back in high school, and ten years later they become roommates by chance. This time, they're not letting one another go again. For fans of Honey Girl and Boyfriend Material.”

—Danielle Hansard, Westland Public Library, Westland, MI
 NoveList read-alike: The Shaadi Set-up by Lillie Vale

Delilah Green Doesn't Care 

by Ashley Herring Blake


“As a teen, Delilah felt ostracized after her father died. When she reluctantly returns to her hometown for her stepsister’s wedding, she meets Claire, one of a group of girls who Mean Girled her in high school. An absolute delight of a queer romance, women’s fiction with insta-attraction, forced proximity, family drama, and cute kid moments. For fans of Something to Talk About and Red, White, & Royal Blue.”

—Laura Eckert, Clermont County Public Library, Milford, OH
NoveList read-alike: Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper


Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead: A Mystery 

by Elle Cosimano

Minotaur Books

“The second Finlay Donovan installment is just as funny, charming, and over-the-top as the first. Finlay is still a lovable hot mess and her love life hasn't gotten easier. While it's definitely a mystery with some dead bodies, the humor and giant heart of this series prevail. For fans of Janet Evanovich and Sarah Strohmeyer.”

—Rebecca Swanson, Fitchburg Public Library, Fitchburg, WI 
NoveList read-alike: Spellman Files series by Lisa Lutz

Good Girl Complex 

by Elle Kennedy

St. Martin's Griffin

“Mackenzie decamps to a coastal college to fulfill a promise to attend school, even though she’s a successful business owner. Little does she know her boyfriend has already ruffled feathers in town, and local bad boy Cooper plans to break Mac's heart in revenge. A perfect balance between steamy and adorable; give this new adult romance to readers of Anna Todd.”

—Serita Patel, MCMLS-South Regional Library, The Woodlands, TX 
NoveList read-alike: The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent

Not the Witch You Wed 

by April Asher

St. Martin's Griffin

“Violet is perfectly happy being the triplet without magical powers. However, since reconnecting with high school heartbreaker and wolf shifter Lincoln Thorne, she suddenly has magic and is afraid she’ll be forced into an arranged marriage. What’s a witch to do but to fake-date a werewolf? A fun and light read for fans of The Ex Hex.”

—Alicia Ahlvers, Henrico County Public Library, Henrico, VA 
NoveList read-alike: Fairy Godmothers, Inc by Saranna DeWylde

The Verifiers 

by Jane Pek


“Claudia Lin, a lifelong reader of mystery novels, may be getting in over her head when she decides to investigate a mysterious death connected to the online dating detective agency where she works. Well- developed characters and an engaging locked room plot make this a great pick for those who loved Arsenic and Adobo and Dial A For Aunties.”

—Mara Bandy Fass, Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL 
NoveList read-alike: Skin Deep by Sung J. Woo

The Violin Conspiracy 

by Brendan Slocumb


"The one bright spot in Ray’s rough life is his love of playing the violin that once belonged to his great-ancestor, a slave. The instrument turns out to be a Stradivarius, creating all sorts of problems. This first- rate story offers a probing look at the experience of being a Black musician in the classical music world. Great for book clubs that enjoyed Harlem Shuffle and The Queen’s Gambit."

—Joan Hipp, Florham Park Public Library, Florham Park, NJ 
NoveList read-alike: Hell of a Book by Jason Mott

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

An Impossible Impostor 

by Deanna Raybourn