[Ed note: Yesterday, I mentioned I would need a few days to get back on track, but it turns out I only needed yesterday.]
Recently I was working on this review and I thought, "You know who would be a great readalike for this? Hannah Tinti." When I had that thought, I stopped what I was doing and immediately went to see if she had something new. She does not. But it had me getting nostalgic for how much I loved her first 2 novels.
Tinti's books captivate me. I literally cannot get them out of my head. They are slightly askew, creppy, unsettling, and immersive. They overlap with so many genres that they also appeal to a wide range of readers. And, they have received critical acclaim, so you probably have them on your shelves. I could go on and on, but instead look at all of these times I have mentioned her on the blog, many of those mentions as a readalike to something else.
This got me thinking about reminding all of you about Tinti specifically, but also of backlist authors in general, especially those who haven't had something new in a while. Their backlist titles fall off of our radar when new books aren't coming. And in this case, they should not. These are great reads for a wide audience.
As I say frequently, we are here to help get the books into our patrons hands that they would never find without our help. I have a much longer post about this from February here. One fun way to discover backlist gems is to go peruse your own reading logs from years ago, best lists from past years, or even old LibraryReads lists because they are 10 years old now!
So today, I am encouraging you to take a trip in the wayback machine and find a gem that you used to love and suggest to everyone. Revive that title. Put it out on display. Suggest it to a reader for whom it is new to them. Ask others to look for titles and authors that fit this category for them. And turn it all into a "Backlist Gems" display in your building, on your websites, and social media. Our backlist is our biggest asset. We have way more backlist books than new ones. It's a huge investment and it is hiding literally gems. Let's get to work.
To help you get started or to at the very least give you one backlist author you can suggest with confidence, using my words if you want. I have links below.
- Here is my original review of the book in October 2008
- It made my Best Books I Read in 2008 list.
- Here is the book discussion report from when my old library book group read it in 2010