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, October 31, 2022

Happy Halloween and Welcome to Summer Scares 2023 Featuring Spokesperson Daniel Kraus!



The Horror Writers Association (HWA), in partnership with United for Libraries, Book Riot, and Booklist, is proud to announce the fifth annual Summer Scares Reading Program. Summer Scares is a reading program that provides libraries and schools with an annual list of recommended horror titles for adult, young adult (teen), and middle grade readers. It introduces readers and librarians to new authors and helps start conversations extending beyond the books from each list and promote reading for years to come.

Summer Scares is proud to announce the 2023 spokesperson as author Daniel Kraus:

"Libraries were the space in which I nurtured my early interest in horror. I was able to make autonomous decisions about my own limits and how to push them, and that benefitted my confidence, intellect, courage, and empathy. I couldn't be more honored to work with Summer Scares to help other kids have their own life-changing experiences."

Kraus is joined by a committee of five library workers who, together, will select three recommended fiction titles in each reading level, totaling nine Summer Scares selections. The goal of the program is to encourage a national conversation about the horror genre, across all age levels, at libraries nationwide and ultimately attract more adults, teens, and children interested in reading. Official Summer Scares designated authors will also make themselves available at public and school libraries.

The committee’s final selections will be announced on February 14, 2023, Library Lover’s Day. Kraus, along with some of the selected authors, will kick off Summer Scares at the 7th Annual HWA Librarians’ Day, Friday, June 16, during StokerCon 2023 at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square in Pittsburgh, PA.

Additional content, including podcast appearances and lists of suggested titles for further reading, will be made available by the committee and its partners between the announcement of the Summer Scares 2023 titles and the kickoff event. 

Of special note is the annual Summer Scares Programming Guide, courtesy of HWA Library Committee Co-Chair Konrad Stump and the Springfield-Greene County Library, which provides creative ideas to engage horror readers. Centered around the official Summer Scares titles, the guide offers tips and examples for readers’ advisory, book discussion guides, and sample programs, enabling librarians, even those who don’t read or especially enjoy the horror genre themselves, to connect their communities with Summer Scares. 

To see past year’s Summer Scares titles, spokespeople, and programming guides, please visit the program archive: http://raforallhorror.blogspot.com/p/summer-scares-archive.html

And keep your eyes peeled for more updates coming soon from Booklist, Book Riot, and United for Libraries, as well as at the HWA’s website: www.horror.org and RA for All Horror: http://raforallhorror.blogspot.com/p/summer-scares.html.

Questions? Reach out to HWA Library Committee Chairs Becky Spratford and Konrad Stump via email: libraries@horror.org


Summer Scares Committee Members:

Daniel Kraus is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and graphic novels. He co-authored The Living Dead with legendary filmmaker George a. Romero. With Guillermo del Toro, he co-authored The Shape of Water, based on the same idea the two created for the Oscar-winning film. Also with del Toro, Kraus co-authored Trollhunters, which was adapted into the Emmy-winning Netflix series. He has won two Odyssey Awards (for Rotters and Scowler), and The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch was named one of Entertainment Weekly‘s Top 10 Books of the Year. His books have been Library Guild selections, YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults picks, Bram Stoker finalists, and more. His work has been translated into over 20 languages. Daniel lives with his wife in Chicago. Visit him at danielkraus.com.

Becky Spratford is a library consultant and the author of The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror, third edition which was released in September of 2021. She reviews horror for Booklist Magazine, is the horror columnist for Library Journal and runs the Readers’ Advisory Horror blog, RA for All: Horror. Becky is also a member of United for Libraries and is currently serving as Secretary for the Horror Writers’ Association.

Konrad Stump is a Local History Associate for the Springfield-Greene County (MO) Library, where he co-coordinates Springfield-Greene's popular “Oh, the Horror!” series, which attracts hundreds of patrons during October. He created the Donuts & Death horror book discussion group, featured in “Book Club Reboot: 71 Creative Twists” (ALA), and co-created the Summer Scares Programming Guide. Library workers who are interested in cultivating horror programming can contact him at konrads@thelibrary.org for free assistance.

Carolyn Ciesla is an academic library director in the Chicago suburbs. She has worked as a teen librarian and reference librarian, and reviews horror titles for Booklist Magazine. She’s currently enjoying providing all the scary books to her teen daughter, and revisiting a few along the way.

Kelly Jensen is a former librarian who works as an Editor for Book Riot (bookriot.com), where she runs the bi-weekly "What's Up in YA?" young adult newsletter and cohosts the popular "Hey YA" podcast about young adult literature Her books include the award-winning (Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation About Mental Health and Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World, both from Algonquin Young Readers. She's also a well-known and long-time co-blogger at Stacked (stackedbooks.org). A life-long lover of all things scary, she finds herself eager to scream about horror reads for teens with those who love good thrills and chills.

Julia Smith joined the Books for Youth team at Booklist in 2015, where she is now a senior editor. Her love of middle-grade literature and all things unsettling and strange draws her to creepy children's stories. You can follow her at @JuliaKate32 on Twitter.

Friday, October 28, 2022

RA for All Greatest Hits: Use the Words of Others

This post is part of my newly created RA for All "Greatest Hits Archive. You can click here to use the tag to pull up everything in the series or you can visit the newly created Greatest Hits page here

Today's post is a rerun of one of the MOST IMPORTANT things I teach when I teach RA Service-- you can and should use the words of others.

As we are assisting out patrons to find a good read, theys do not care if we read the book we are suggesting or not. What they do care about though is that someone has read the book and enjoyed it. 

So stop worrying so much about reading all the books and only using your experience to help readers and start using resources to book talk any title. More below, and honestly, anytime you hear me talking about RA Service to anyone anywhere.


You Can Use The Words of Others to Booktalk

Starting tomorrow and a half dozen times over the next 45 days, I am going to be promoting the idea of booktalking-- all over the library-- to many different organizations across a few different states.

I love talking about booktalking as much as I love booktalking. My booktalking training is one of my favorite and most popular programs. You know why? Because every single person on staff at your library can booktalk. Everyone. From the maintenance crew to the Director.
In my program I share stories about specific libraries who have cultivated a culture of booktalking at their library. But the basic idea is, anyone on staff can and should talk about what they are reading, watching, and listening to with each other or with patrons-- out loud for others to hear. As long as the things you are talking about are something that can be checked out from the library. Even new movies are good to talk about at work because they will be available at some point and you can use them to start a conversation about other movies or books.
The point is that booktalking is not only about hand selling a title to a specific patron based on their likes and dislikes. Rather, booktalking is a way to start conversations at the library. When you talk about leisure items at the library freely, openly, and often, you are both demonstrating that you care about leisure items AND advertising that you are qualified to help patrons find some themselves.
This is a concept I spend a a good 30 minutes developing in this program, but today on the blog I want to point out something I have learned after presenting a version of this program for three years now. I have found that many library workers don’t want to talk about what they are reading or watching. There reasons are valid and fair for sure. Some cite privacy concerns, especially those whose job is not at a public desk; they don’t want to have to share what they do in their free time. Others rightly comment that they are reading, for example, erotic romance, and work at the Children's’ desk most of the day [this has come up enough that I think you might want to ask your youth staff if they have any suggestions here]. Still others say, I want to talk about the book I just read, but I am not comfortable finding the right words.
For all of these reasons, and just so you can share books you haven’t read, I have what I thought was common sense advice, but through training after training I am learning is quite a revolutionary idea--

I hope my sharing this advice encourages all of you to get out there and talk about more books with patrons, especially those you haven’t read yourself.
Use the words of others when you booktalk!

I just assumed people knew that a “book talk” didn’t need to also be written by them. I was wrong to assume.

Yes, you heard me. You don’t have to write the words about the book you are talking about, heck you don’t even have to have read it. The point of the booktalk isn’t to prove you have a great way with words. The point is to talk about an item...period.

One of my 10 Rules of RA Service is “Use Resources.” We have trained patrons for over 100 years that librarians do not know the answers to every question, rather we know how to find the answers. We use resources. Guess what, we can use them for leisure reading too. As long as we are honest that the words are not ours, it’s fine. In fact, it is better than fine. It is what we are best at. Its what our patrons expect us to do.

That’s right. Many of you think your patrons will be disappointed in you if you “read” a booktalk. Why do you think that? You read them answers about reference questions. They don’t expect you to pull facts about North Korea out of thin air. Here’s the truth, we put this pressure on ourselves. Our patrons expect us to use resources. So stop giving yourself more stress and more work to do. Use resources!

So where can you find booktalk material? Reviews, professional or from Goodreads, blurbs from other authors [check Fantastic Fiction for those], other libraries’ websites, book lists, etc.... Heck, I ever pull books of the shelf and read the blurbs and summary off the back with the patron. You can read all of these to a patron and say, “Wow, this book looks so interesting. Here’s what someone who enjoyed it says.” This is a book talk! You are starting a conversation about books by using the words of others.

I often keep the conversation going with the patron here by adding, “Well I will put that on my mountain of a TBR pile. What about you? What are you reading?”

Using resources for your booktalking material means you can talk about ANY BOOK AT ANY TIME. You have no limits now.

This also goes hand in hand with yesterday’s post when I talked about owning up to us not doing everything we can to curate and promote diverse collections. Another excuse some library workers make as a reason for their failure in this is that they don’t have time to read all the diverse titles, and that is why they don’t promote them. While I think this excuse is BS, this concept of using reviews and book talks by others counters this excuse. Now you can freely talk about any title in the world. 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

RA for All Roadshow Visits Back to the Book XXI

Click here for details

Today I am in Twinsburg, OH for the popular Back to the Book Festival, now in its 21st year. This is the first time this event has been held since Fall 2019 when they hosted my colleague Robin Bradford. I was all set to appear in Fall 2020, but of course, that was cancelled.

So here we are, gathered for a day of learning that was 2 years in the making.

You can click here for the full schedule [which is mostly me all day] but I have also cross-posted my presentations with slides access from my Recent and Upcoming Presentations page below.

Please note, the organizers asked me to create a brand new program for them for this specific event: Bringing Readers Back to the Building: Book Based In-Person Events Beyond Community Reads [Slides].

I am very happy with how this turned out, and in fact, have already scheduled two more presentations of this brand new program in the coming months. [Again, see my Recent and Upcoming Presentations page for details.]

I am excited to see and interact with so many of you in person today, and all of you, please enjoy the free slide access below, including an updated Horror RA.

  • Northeast Ohio Regional Library System: Back to the Book XXI
    • In person: Thursday October 27, 2022-- ALL DAY
    • Details here
    • Booktalking Your Way to the Friendliest Library in Town [Slides]
    • Bringing Readers Back to the Building: Book Based In-Person Events Beyond Community Reads [Slides]
    • Horror Readers' Advisory" How to Help Your Scariest Patrons [Slides]

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Now Live!: Learn With NoveList's Actively Anti-Racist Service to Readers featuring Me and Robin!

Today is the official launch day for Learn with NoveList's first ever hybrid course and it is me and Robin! We began working on bringing this course to the world back at PLA in March. It is so satisfying and exciting to know the rest of you can now access it.

The official marketing for this course is below, but here is some real talk from me and Robin. This is everything you get from hiring Robin and I and more, for less money. Just like we advertise here, we can offer your library 2 recorded lectures sessions with us and then get us to come live for one 60-90 minute question and answer session for $1000 total [$500 to each of us]. And if you wanted to save money and just have me, that is still $350.

But with this class, you get all of that PLUS, interactive exercises and groups learning opportunities for an ENTIRE YEAR for prices starting as low as $199 a person.

Readers of this blog can use the code SPECIAL22 to get $40 off on the purchase of the course. The discount is valid from now till 31st December 2022.

This is not only the best version of our class because of the interactive elements and group learning opportunities, but it is also the cheapest way for you to learn from us

You can also click here to watch a video explaining the basics of the course featuring Robin and I. 

Please email learnwithnovelist@ebsco.com with any questions and for group rates.

And now, to the official NoveList marketing.


New Learn with NoveList Course: Actively Anti-Racist Service to Readers with Robin Bradford and Becky Spratford

Click here for the course details and to sign-up.

This course is for anyone who works with readers in any capacity.

Providing robust readers’ advisory service that values equity, diversity, and inclusion principles is essential to anyone working with readers. But moving from being a neutral, well-meaning organization to an actively anti-racist organization requires a deeper understanding of systemic racism.

In this course, you'll learn the action steps needed to provide actively anti-racist readers services. You'll also come away with tangible skills to build enthusiasm for reading and discovering diverse books and to incorporate Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion principles in all interactions with readers.

Here are the core skills you will learn in this course:

  • What it means to be anti-racist.
  • How to incorporate the concept of Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass Doors in collection development.
  • Ability to discover, purchase, and promote diverse titles and decolonize your collection development.
  • Ten action steps your organization can take to become actively anti-racist in service to readers.
  • How to address bigotry directly in your work and interactions with community members. 

This course will take the average learner about 4 hours total to complete.

Group rates are available:

20% off for 3-25 seats

30% off for 26-49 seats

40% off for 50-99 seats

Ask us if you need more than 100 seats.

To take advantage of a group rate, email learnwithnovelist@ebsco.com.

Use the discount code SPECIAL22 to receive $40 off on the purchase price of this course. The discount code is valid till December 31st, 2023.    

Course format: 

This course consists of three lessons: two self-paced lessons and a third live session. You must complete all three lessons to get your certificate of completion.

You have 24/7 access to the first two lessons in this course, and they can be completed at your own pace. These two lessons consist of multiple smaller units featuring videos with closed captions, activities, assignments, and short, automatically graded quizzes.

Finish lessons one and two at your own pace, and then attend a live, interactive session with your course instructors to receive your course completion certificate.

We hope to see you at one of our 4 live sessions in the coming months.

Click here for the course details and to sign-up.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Reading Between the Lines: Race, Equity, and Book Publishing via PEN America

As readers of this blog know, I spend a lot of time on my presentations with Robin Bradford which we call "Actively Anti-Racist Service to Leisure Readers." And in fact, we have BIG news about that coming to the blog tomorrow.

One of the things we hear often from our critics is that our call to intentionally diversify our collections and suggestions to readers is not harming white authors. The argument goes that since the book publishers focusing on diversifying their offerings, there are fewer and fewer white books available now.

This argument is COMPLETELY FALSE and I have talked about here on the blog and in my presentations, but now we finally have an actual report from PEN America that debunks this completely and thoroughly. 

Entitled, "Reading Between the Lines: Race, Equity, and Book Publishing," the report can be read for free here.

Please take some time to read it and process it. To help you understand what is included, I have pasted the ToC below. But first a bit from the Introduction section of the report:

If publishers are the curators of our country’s stories, they have an obligation to ensure that these stories reflect the breadth of our society. Current diversity statistics, alongside the testimony of many publishing and writing professionals of color, point to persistent obstacles and shortcomings in fulfilling this responsibility. 

PEN America undertook this report to better understand why the debate over the lack of diversity in publishing has seemed to stagnate, or to progress only in fits and starts. Our hope is to shed light on the dynamics that both enable and inhibit the broadest range of voices in American literature. In researching this issue, PEN America focused on racial and ethnic diversity—acute and urgent, if not the sole, areas of under-representation. Our research and analysis incorporate interviews, conversations with major publishers, and open-source data and draw on PEN America’s deep contacts with authors and editors and throughout the field of adult trade publishing.

This is a report I know I will be coming back to as well. Please read it and save it for further use. 

This report has five sections.
  • Section I offers a snapshot of the transitions afoot in the industry.
  • Section II addresses recruitment and retention, delineating how the lack of staff diversity impedes the autonomy and authority of editors and executives of color, and limits the books that are acquired and how they are marketed and sold.
  • Section III explores long-standing attitudes and platitudes that have shaped the way the publishing industry has dealt with books by authors of color, including the shibboleth that “diverse books don’t sell.”
  • Section IV examines how certain timeworn conventions such as author advances and the use of comparative titles (“comps”) for sales projections may perpetuate existing inequities for authors of color.
  • Section V focuses on the marketing, distribution, and sale of books and how standard practices can disadvantage books by authors of color.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Attack of the Best Lists 2022: NPR Books We Love and Publishers Weekly Best of 2022

This post is part of my year end "Attack of the Best Lists" coverage. To see every post in my "Best Books 2022" series [and more backlist best options] you can use the best lists tag

It begins earlier and earlier every year. I used to be surprised when Best Lists started showing up on November 1, but here we are, it's not even Halloween and 2 major year end "best lists" went live last week. I will say I am not surprised they came out early because not only are these 2 of the best and most useful best lists that are available, but they are also updated and available year round.

But since this is the first Attack of the Best Lists for 2022 I do want to remind you that I take all of the best lists that come out this time of year to craft my popular, annual presentation for PCI webinars: Reader's Advisory Year in Review. The registration for those has just gone live as well. 

PCI Webinars: Reader's Advisory Year in Review: 2022

  • Tuesday, January 31, 2023; 10:30-11:30am Eastern [FL Libraries only]
  • Wednesday, February 1, 2023; 2-3pm Eastern [Everyone else]
Now back to today's featured best lists. And again, a reminder, both are excellent year round resources.

Click here to enter the site

From the about page which also explains how the books are selected:
Books We Love is NPR’s interactive reading guide. In the past, it’s been a year-end guide we put out annually. But this year, we’ve decided to offer it in summer and winter! So this summer edition of Books We Love focuses on books published in the first six months of the year, from January through June 2022. But what hasn’t changed is the bounty of hand-picked books. Mix and match tags such as Book Club Ideas, Biography & Memoir or Eye-Opening Reads to filter results and find the book that’s perfect for you or someone you love.

I love this list for a few reasons. The first is the filters. Listed in the left gutter of the page in natural language with recognizable categories such as "Biography & Memoir," "Mysteries & Thrillers," or "Young Adult," but also including more intuitive, reader focused categories like "Eye-Opening Reads," It's All Geek To Me," and "The Dark Side," and even choices based on length, this is an excellent portal to "best" books that allows any reader [or library worker] to created highly specific and expertly tailored suggestions.

Second, it is fun to use. The mixing a matching potential is endless because of the breadth of choices. A lot of that breadth is because of the nature of how they add titles to the list. They ask all of their NPR Books contributors to suggest titles. As a result, a huge swath of reading interests are represented in the list. Their intentional inclusion of all voices, even those who only write a few reviews a year, makes this list one of the best. 

Third,  every former incarnation of this list is easily accessible with a single click from the top of this year's list meaning you have over 2,800 customizable suggestions for literally any reader, no matter how picky, at your fingertips. 

Fourth, Books We Love is a great go-to resource all year long because of the breadth and variety of titles included and the ease of backlist access. Users get to steer the ship to find their own suggestion amongst a universe of pre-approved titles. Then they can be as picky as they want, choosing their own filters to narrow it down. And since these lists are VERY broad in terms of the types of books that are included each year, the results are very useful. And they stand up over the test of time. 

When you visit the NPR Book Books We Love portal now and have fun using it for yourself or your patrons, but don't forget about it all year long. It is a wonderful  resource and, after years in existence, the compound interest of titles makes it even more useful. 

Next up is something very similar, PW's Best Books 2022.

Click here to enter the site

Look at that screen shot. From the Best Books of 2022 page on PW you can access by all ages and genres as well as single click access going back to 2010! And it includes their Summer Reads picks and overall Best titles in one place

This inclusion of Summer Reads access is key because often, those books are better general reads options but they don't make the year end lists as well. This allows the PW Best Books portal 
Nowhere will you find a resource that puts this many "sure bet" options in front of you so easily. There are literally hundreds of titles here, at your fingertips, both old and new, that you can confidently suggest to readers immediately. And so many readers. Readers who read across all age levels [down to infants] and in just about every genre. 

And, since every title is annotated, you also have a book talk [or annotation] for each title right there. You don't have to have read the book to suggest it. [Reminder: Use the Words of Others.]

I could keep gushing about how much I love this resource but I would rather you played around with it yourself.

Click through, check out the upcoming titles, but also look back at older titles, read the annotations, check genres you love and those you don't normally read, especially those you don't normally read because you will learn much about the current state of that genre [trends, popular authors] this year and going back a few years. You can both get access to some great sure bet suggestions AND brush up on your genre knowledge all in one place.

Spend some time really getting to know this resource. And then use it-- all of it including past years and both summer and year end lists-- to make your own lists for your readers. Make displays [digital displays too], make suggested reading lists by genre, by year, by whatever you want. Just embrace the wealth of information available to you with one click and help readers in ways they would not think to help themselves.

Go check out this database of "sure bet" reads for any season, and keep it bookmarked for use anytime you need a solid suggestion [especially for those hard  to satisfy readers].

And keep an eye out here on the blog for more "Attack of the Best Lists" posts coming soon.

Friday, October 21, 2022

RA for All Roadshow Visits the Haunted Library at Glen Ellyn Public Library

After a busy week at ILA, I am ending the week at a Haunted Library! Sound perfect if you ask me. Here are the details.

Glen Ellyn Public library is in the western suburbs of Chicago. A few months ago, they approached me to help them create a Haunted Library. I got the Chicagoland Chapter of the HWA involved and what you see below is being offered to anyone who wants to come for free. It will be a theatrical event, with students from the local high school [ironically, one of my local high school's biggest sports rivals] reenacting scenes from the author's books. It was a fun process to watch the authors figure out what scenes from their works they wanted staged.

I will be there as a tour guide and cannot wait to take people through. Here is the link for more information and the program description is below but please note ALL are welcome. All ages, people from all communities, everyone:

Friday, October 21, 2022
6:00pm - 8:00pm

The library will close early on Friday, October 21 at 3 pm and re-open at 6 pm transformed into two floors of bone-chilling hauntings!In the Youth Department, find family-friendly frights, participate in a scavenger hunt, and listen to not-so-scary stories like The Ghosts Went Floating read aloud.

In the North and South meeting rooms, Chicagoland authors Michael Allen Rose, Daniel Kraus (The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch), Damian Serbu (The Vampire’s Angel), Cynthia Pelayo (Children of Chicago), and John Everson (The House by the Cemetery) will talk horror and have books available for purchase.

On the 2nd floor, Glenbard West Theatre students and library staff will enact excerpts from horror stories. Please note that there will be flashing lights and dry ice in use on the 2nd floor.

Visit the library after hours, if you dare!

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Where is All the Book Data?

I want to talk about data today. Libraries have gotten very good at using data to help us make decisions and craft our collections. So many of us now rely on it.

It is getting to be so important that systems, like mine, RAILS, have hired entire Data Analysis Teams. You can click here to see what RAILS has done to make data analysis easier for our member libraries. 

I began in public libraries at the start of this century, which means I have watched as the card catalog was replaced by OPAC systems. And I have seen the online catalogs not only take over, but improve, both in terms of the user experience and in how easy they are for us to use to collect and sort data. 

As a trustee I have also seen how useful data can be to communicate with our citizens as well. As organizations funded by public funds, we have been proactive in providing as much open access to our data as possible. In fact, public libraries are going out of our way to get more data out there so that the tax payers can more easily understand what a great deal the public library actually is.

But book publishing, is the exact opposite. As we all expect more access to transparent data, the publishing world has become less open. Even how a "best seller" is calculated has become a trade secret. 

But with libraries leading the way by publicizing their checkout data and with the success of the Panorama Project* which provides data-informed insight on public libraries and their impact on book discovery, author brand development, and sales, the public and professional outcry for more transparent book data is growing. Libraries have been successful at showing our patrons how our checkouts save them money AND at showing publishers how we help make them more money.

And yet, the publishers are digging in for more and more secrecy.

Thankfully, the Post45 Data Collective has stepped up. Click here to read a report from Public Books. Here is a pull out quote that opens the article.

Culture industries increasingly use our data to sell us their products. It’s time to use their data to study them. To that end, we created the Post45 Data Collective, an open access site that peer reviews and publishes literary and cultural data. This a partnership between the Data Collective and Public Books, a series called Hacking the Culture Industries, brings you data-driven essays that change how we understand audiobooks, bestselling books, streaming music, video games, influential literary institutions such as the New York Timesand the New Yorker, and more. Together, they show a new way of understanding how culture is made, and how we can make it better. 

—Laura McGrath and Dan Sinykin

Everyone in the book world needs more accurate, open, and real time book data. In a world where every other industry is getting more transparent, the lack of transparency in publishing is troubling.

I am proud of how libraries have led on this issues [the article even mentions that], but I hope publishers follow our lead.

Please click though and learn more about this issue from the Public Books report

*Full disclosure, I was involved with Panorama Project when it first began. Click here for all of my posts about it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

What I'm Reading: Blood Country by Jonathan Janz

The October 15, 2022 issue of Booklist is live and I have an excellent 2nd book in a SF-Horror hybrid series. [I reviewed the first book here.] The entire series is a MUST buy for all public library collections as it will have a wide appeal. Also the book came out YESTERDAY! More below. 

Blood Country
[The Raven: Book Two]

By Jonathan Janz

Oct. 2022. 288p. Flame Tree, $26.95 (9781787586635); paper, $16.95 (9781787586611); e-book, $4.99 (9781787586642). First published October 15, 2022 (Booklist).

Three years after the long-buried genes of monsters thought to only exist in fiction were reactivated by terrorists [in The Raven], Dez, a “latent” with no powers, is hiding in vampire controlled territory with Levi, Michael, a Pyroteknic, and Iris, a Siren. Recuperated from the battle at Four Winds, they must move on to rescue Iris’ young daughter and Dez’s girlfriend from the vampires who kidnapped them at the close of The Raven. After teaming up with a sympathetic, if not completely trustworthy, vampire, Dez and his crew head to the high school, the seat of the Vampire Queen’s power, knowing this might be their final fight. The pacing is fast, the action sequences exciting, but the story is elevated by the space Janz makes for character development, world building, and most importantly, a warmth that radiates out from every page. With a realistically diverse cast, numerous Horror references, and even more monsters emerging from world-wide mythologies, it is also a very fun read. For fans of original, Science Fiction-Horror hybrid trilogies like The Passage or The Strain but also for those who appreciated the heart at the center of The Road.

Further Appeal: I purposely don't give you extra info on Levi above because....spoilers. But he is behind the next book's mission. And this is an important point to make here. We are in book 2 of a planned trilogy. The story here is actioned packed and super fun, but while the mission in this volume is resolved, clearly we are being set up for the next book. And that is great because we know this is a series.

I cannot stress enough how much fun this series is. It both plays with established tropes and monsters and adds something new it all. The action is awesome. The detail of how the school is used to frame so much of the story was fascinating. Since I've read the book, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. It was very clever.

And the characters-- good and evil-- all are fully formed with the heart of many shining through. The pacing is fast, but Janz makes sure you know who is fighting and why. And none of it is black and white. 

There is also humor sprinkled throughout the action and bloodshed.

A must add series to all libraries. Flame Tree is distributed by S&S so these are very easy to get and add to your library ASAP.

Three Words That Describe This Book: fun, fast paced action, original world building.

Further Readalikes: From the first book's review, I mentioned Malerman and Roanhorse in my review in LJ and Booklist mentioned Lee Child. I stand by those here as well. I have said it before, but Janz's writing also reminds me of Brian Keene.

Side note: I also reviewed Janz's upcoming novella in Library Journal this month; I gave it a STAR. While the stories are very different, comparing theses two books, I clearly see the similarities-- Janz take established tropes and breaks them open to create something completely new.

Janz is an author who is PERFECT for public library collections. Every book is worth a read and they appeal to a wide audience.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

RA for All Heads to the Illinois Library Association Annual Conference

Today the Illinois Library Association Annual Conference returns in person in Rosemont, IL. Click here for the conference website.

While I will be busy at the conference, I have set both blogs to keep posting. Don't worry, I have you non IL people covered. 

Not only is this the first time back in person since 2019 for the ILA Annual Conference, but also,  I am now an Executive Board member for ILA, so I have new roles and responsibilities. I am excited about it though. I love learning new things. So, on top of presenting and sponsoring this conference, I am working a 2 hour shift at the information desk for the Trustee Forum and I have a list of exhibitors I am responsible  for visiting and thanking. I am very interested in seeing how that goes and what feedback they have, both as an ILA Board member but also as someone who plans conferences as well.

But back to the event itself. I have 3 presentations, plus I will be at the awards luncheon because I nominated the Trustee of the Year winner! I will also be part of the Trustee Day breakfast, lunch, and forum meetup.

Here are some details with a secret coupon for all of my readers, not just those in attendance:

  • Tuesday, October 18th Robin and I presenting our Actively Anti-Racist Service to Leisure Readers in 2 sessions. Both in room 40-41. We will spend the first session- 2:45-3:45- doing our foundational lectures and then the next session- 4-5- facilitating a discussion. You can click here for Robin's slides and here for mine
    • Secret coupon alert! My last slide has details about the brand new, coming very soon, version of this training via NoveList with a coupon code.
  • Please come to RAILS Executive Director, Dee Brennan's, retirement party from 5-7pm in rooms 26-29. It is free, but we are asking people to register here. Come anytime in the 3 hour slot, but there will be a short ceremony at 5:30. I will be there from 5-6:30.
  • Wednesday, I will be around but probably will not have much time to attend sessions. Find me at the welcome table from 1-3 however. I will also be at the Membership meeting- 10:15-11:45. And the Exhibits opening w/lunch. 
  • Thursday is Trustee Day. We have a breakfast, lunch and forum meeting which will take most of my day. I am also moderating: Get On Board: Encouraging Library Workers to Run for Local Library and School Boards. I will link the handout here to this post on Thursday.

Now for those of you not at ILA Annual. You can follow my adventures on Twitter through my handle or  the hashtag #ILAAC22. You can click through to see the Tweets whether or not you have an account or follow in the gutter of this blog where I post my Twitter feed for the things I tweet and retweet.

I hope to connect with some of you there. But again, for those not anywhere near us, both blogs will be running with content all week.