CLICK HERE for quick access to the materials for the 2016-17 Speculative Fiction Genre Study.
The website now features UNRESTRICTED access, including notes from our meetings; however, in order to attend the meetings in person, you must be a member of ARRT. Click here for information about how you can join.


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.

Monday, February 19, 2018

President’s Day Reading Lists

Today I have the middle school boy with me for President’s Day. The high school cancelled the day off after the snow day back at the beginning of the month, so the girl is at school.

This means it’s a partial day off here on RA for All. But I know many libraries are open today and the people coming in may have Presidents on the mind, so I will not abandon you completely. Here are a few links to help you suggest a good read today or to use to throw up a quick display. Remember, you can keep this display up past today too. People will still have President’s Day in the back of their mind after the actual day passes. In fact, often patrons are appreciative when our suggestions go past the actual date they are meant to play off of because they are busy and miss the “day” but are still interested in a read associated with it.

Might I also suggest when you put up that display that you ask people to tell you their favorite “Presidential” book, or better yet, ask them to add those titles to your display; and yes, put it in quotes to get a wider range of titles in your responses. As important as it is to make all of our displays interactive in order to make coming to the library as participatory an experience as possible, it is equally as vital to make sure we listen to what our patrons tell us in those responses.

Okay, enough, I have to get the boy off to get his TSA pre-check status [nothing says you’re turning 13 soon like a trip to have your fingerprints put on file with the government so mommy doesn’t have to wait in line zt he airport] and  the dentist. Yup, we party hard here on days off of school. Here are the links you need for displays and suggestions for this week:

Friday, February 16, 2018

What I’m Reading: BASH BASH Revolution

Today I have my latest review from Booklist, a title, when I received it in the mail did not excited me too much, but when I sat down to actually review it, boy were my initial instincts wrong. Below is my draft review with the citation to the published one followed by more appeal comments and readalikes.

Bash Bash Revolution.

Lain, Douglas (author).
Mar. 2018. 300p. Night Shade, paperback, $14.99  (9781597809160)
First published February 15, 2018 (Booklist).

Philip K Dick Award nominee, Lain presents an ominous, cautionary, AI dystopia that has much in common with Dick’s own Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It is 2017. Trump is President, Russia and North Korea are very real threats, and Matthew’s Dad has suddenly returned. He has been gone for a decade, working for the NSA on perfecting an AI known as Bucky; however, both the AI and the real world are unravelling, quickly. Matthew is recruited by his father to teach him the video game BASH BASH Revolution, as a way to work on perfecting Bucky. Told mostly in flashbacks, Matthew DMs his girlfriend [with a few unsettling interruptions from Bucky’s point of view], calmly explaining how the world has become what Matthew describes as a zombie movie but with gamers in VR goggles who are the undead. It is an intensely urgent, and terrifying story with a complex plot, but Matthew sucks readers in and pulls them along briskly, easily relating the hyper technical details while entertainingly unraveling the plot. It is a fun read, that is, until you close the book and start thinking about the implications of what you just experienced. Not only will you think twice before opening a game app on your phone after completing Lain’s novel, but you may also start wondering if we are already living as pawns to a superintelligent machine. This is not a cartoonish sketch, it is a realistic and bleak look at the post-singularity world. An easy suggestion for fans of current, accessible science fiction that thoughtfully contemplates AI such as Ready Player One or Sea of Rust, but it is also a great choice for those who enjoy John Scalzi’s narrative style.

YA Statement: Teens will be lured in to the novel by the video game frame, the artificial intelligence and government conspiracy details as well as the hyper current events, but they will stay for Matthew’s moral and philosophical journey as he tries to resist the AI takeover of humanity.

Further Appeal: The unsettling, thought provoking aspects of this book drove its appeal for me. Here are some notes I made while reading the book:
Is Matthew a reliable narrator; is the entire story the creation of Bucky; or are we already living in a world where superintelligent machines are in charge and we are simply pawns in a giant computer simulation?  Can we even trust Matthew or has he been corrupted by Bucky?
In my review I think I got the essence of these thoughts worked in, but I cannot stress enough how the hyper current events made everything feel real and scary and just so uncomfortably close.

Also, I make a mention of this book not being “cartoonish.” I say that because the cover does this book no benefit. It was way too playful for what is actually inside. I know I am a huge advocate of judging a book by its cover, but in this case, stay away from that instinct.

The science fiction aspects rule here, but there is a horror tone. Horror readers who like scientific frames and science fiction fans who enjoy a good scare should seek this one out.

Three Words That Describe This Book: unsettling, thought provoking, AI

Readalikes: I managed to work in 3 titles and an author readalike above. You can click on the three at the end of the review for many more readalikes by me from here on the blog.

You may find that fans of more technical science fiction with a focus on AI or VR like titles by Neal Stephenson or William Gibson might enjoy this one too. It would be a bit more fast paced and lighter option for those readers, but I think they would enjoy it if they knew that it was less dense going in. The ideas, tone, and themes are similar.

Also, another author who this reminded me of was Max Barry, especially Lexicon.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to Night Shade Books, a division of SkyHorse. They are a smaller publisher, but have great distribution through your normal ordering channels. Their lineup of speculative fiction never ceases to amaze me. They don’t have a huge promotional arm, but I can tell you from experience, these are genre titles that appeal to many library patrons. They publish new novels, important collections, and reissues of classics. One of my favorite books I read last year, In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson, was a Night Shade publication. I only know about these titles because they send them to Booklist and my editor passes them on. Here is the link to their upcoming titles. Give it a look.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

New Issue of the Corner Shelf

Today I am mired in deadlines including, if you can believe it, my Halfway to Halloween column for Library Journal [it will appear on the next to last page of the April 15th issue, but you can click here to see my backlist of LJ Readers’ Shelf Horror columns].

But, I am taking a short break to direct you to the most recent issue of Booklist’s Corner Shelf, the free newsletter “where readers’ advisory meets collection development.”

From editor Susan Maguire’s intro to the current issue:
I am an eternal optimist. This tendency to think things will work out for the best is sometimes at odds with my inner curmudgeon, but what can you do? I like to think this conflict keeps my also-inner Pollyanna in check, but sometimes, that Pollyanna is strong. 
Take, for example, the time my book group read The Ministry of Special Cases, by Nathan Englander. If you've read it, you know it's a deeply affecting novel set in 1970s Argentina, about a Jewish fixer of sorts, Kaddish Pozman, and his wife and college-age son. If you haven't read it, I'm about to spoil it. The son goes missing, and despite Pozman's shady connections, the ending is ambiguous, vis-á-vis his son's fate.  
At least I thought it was ambiguous. When I brought up the possibility that Pato might have survived his disappearance, well, the group laughed at me. 
Before you rush to my defense (and thank you for that), I think it was more of a laugh of surprise. They didn't know that my crusty shell held such a soft, gooey center! Frankly, neither did I.  
But that's the beauty of the book group, isn't it? Not that people laugh at you for naive optimism (which hopefully is an experience unique to me . . .) but that we can read unexpected things that can teach us about ourselves.  
Say, speaking of book groups! We've got a live event coming up in Chicago in partnership with NoveList: ROGUE BOOK GROUP CHOICES. Woo! And if you're not in the Chicago area, fear not: we will be streaming the event on Facebook live and recording it for posterity. (And I'll share a link in the next Corner Shelf.) 
And speaking of Chicago . . . in this issue of Corner Shelf, Stephen Sposato, from the Chicago Public Library, shares the way he turns their beloved Best of the Best list into a readers'-advisory training opportunity. Then we highlight some great, diverse reads: a top diverse nonfiction list, some suggestions from Keir Graff about soccer and immigration (which would be great to incorporate into any international-sports displays you may be doing right now . . . hello Olympics!), and I select a backlist title just because I like it. Happy reading, folks!
Click here to read the entire issue complete with all the links she mentions and a bonus shoutout to me. Can you find it?

Back tomorrow with a review of a book that I only read because I had to, a book I wasn’t expecting much from, and yet, when I finished it, wow!It was great. And with that teaser, I am back to work on that deadline

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

RA for All Roadshow Visits Winnetka-Northfield [IL] Public Library District

Today I am headed to the northern suburbs of Chicago to lead a training for selected staff of the Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District.

This library is going through a renovation of their main branch, so they are taking advantage and doing quite a lot of staff training during this time. I will be working with staff who already do RA and some of the staff who will be called on to start providing this service after the renovation.

Here is the schedule for today:

[Also, Happy Valentine’s Day.]

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Check Your Shelf: A New Librarian Focused Newsletter via Book Riot [Featuring a Mini Call to Action by Becky]

Friend of the blog and overall awesome librarian, editor, and author Kelly Jensen has been working for months to try to do her part to fill the void left by the closing of Early Word. Along with Katie McLain [librarian and Book Riot contributor], Kelly is coordinating an every-other-week newsletter just for library workers.

You can click here to see the very first issue.

But you also need to click here to sign up to get it delivered to your email box.

The newsletter has all of the categories you would expect such as, book news, adaptations, lists and more, but every issue will end with something I am very excited about-- A Call To Action. From that first newsletter:

Level Up
Do you take part in LibraryReads, the monthly list of best books selected by librarians only? Whether or not you read and nominate titles, we’ll end every newsletter with a few upcoming titles worth reading and sharing (and nominating for LibraryReads, if you so choose!). Links here will direct to Edelweiss digital review copies.
  • They Come in All Colors by Malcolm Hansen (May 29, 2018): A story about a biracial teen boy and his experiences with racial tensions that alternates between New York City and the deep south.
  • The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar (May 1, 2018): The pitch for this one is “the novel that is to Syria as The Kite Runner is to Afghanistan.”
This is so needed. As I have said many times on the blog, the LibraryReads list is too white. We need to be suggesting more diverse books because goodness knows we don’t need to know about bestsellers [there are at least 4 authors on this month’s list that many libraries would be receiving via their automatic orders for popular authors already. 4 out of 6 books I would be getting and authors who I knew about]

LibraryReads should be about getting those great, under the radar titles that the vast majority of library workers wouldn’t already know about out front and center. LibraryReads was create to show the power of libraries to drive book sales. I am pretty sure we show off less by promoting a book that the publishers already expect to sell well. Where we can shine and flex our book muscles is with titles that may have gone nowhere without us. [See Radium Girls from last year. We did that guys!]

Look, even the LibraryReads Steering committee wants us all to do better. We, the library workers of America, are responsible for the list. We need to read and recommend more diverse titles. It will not get better if you don’t actively work to make it better. You can read prepub books, for free, before they come out. You can find a hidden gem. You can click a few boxes and recommend it. You, yes you, any one of you who works in any library, no matter your position, you can become a tastemaker.

Guys, I got one recommendation, from one librarian in LA about a book from a crowdfunded publisher and I got that book considered for the Bram Stoker Award this year and that librarian got it in the running for The Reading List. It won the horror category for the Reading List and it is nominated for the Bram Stoker. That is two people working to get 1 book [Kill Creek by Scott Thomas] noticed by others, others who read it and also loved it. It is not that hard.

Kelly, is doing her part by altering you, with the links directly to the eARC. Kelly and Katie will include suggestions every newsletter. Why not try one? I am very interested in the Joukhadar myself. I don’t know as much about Syria as I should.

Again,  click here to sign up and get the “Check Your Shelf” newsletter delivered to your email box every other week.

Monday, February 12, 2018

ALA Adult Books and Media Award Announcements

The Youth Media Awards are abut to be announced, and while I enjoy those as a librarian, we here in adult services had our own big ALA announcements for the Adult Books and Media Awards. You can click here for all of the award announcements including a link to past winners.

Below you will find the beginning of each announcement with a link to the full information, except for the Reading List-- the genre awards-- which I will repost here in their entirety because of all of the awards announced last night, these are the ones you are going to use the most.

  • The American Library Association (ALA) announced “Manhattan Beach,” by Jennifer Egan, published by Scribner, as the winner of the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir,” by Sherman Alexie, published by Little, Brown, as the winner of the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. [Link here]
  • The Reference and User Services Association’s Notable Books Council, first established in 1944, has announced the 2018 selections of the Notable Books List [link will take you to old lists], an annual best-of list comprised of twenty six titles written for adult readers and published in the US including fiction, nonfiction and poetry. The list was announced today during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Denver. Link to 2018 list is here.
  • The Listen List Council of the Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES) of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has announced the 2018 selections of the Listen List, selected for both avid listeners of audiobooks and those new to the pleasures of the fastest-growing format in publishing. This juried list of twelve newly-released titles features extraordinary narrators and listening experiences that merit special attention by a general adult audience and the librarians who advise them.

The Reading List Council has announced the 2018 selections of the Reading List, an annual best-of list comprising eight different fiction genres for adult readers. A shortlist of honor titles was also announced. The list was announced today during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting held in Denver.
The 2018 selections are:
Winner“Fierce Kingdom” by Gin Phillips. Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
Joan and her four-year-old son, Lincoln, are enjoying an afternoon outing at the zoo when the unthinkable happens–a mass shooting. Trapped and in tremendous danger, Joan must rely on her bravery and survival instincts to make it out alive. This terrifyingly plausible thriller unfolds in real time.
Read alikes
“Lockdown” by Laurie R. King.
“The Quality of Silence” by Rosamund Lupton.
“This Is Where it Ends” by Marieke Nijkamp.
Short List“The Marsh King’s Daughter: A Novel” by Karen Dionne. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
“She Rides Shotgun: A Novel” by Jordan Harper. Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
“Lola: A Novel” by Melissa Scrivner Love. Crown, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House.
“The Force: A Novel” by Don Winslow. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Winner“Down Among the Sticks and Bones” by Seanan McGuire. A Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates.
Twin sisters Jack and Jill discover a portal that leads them to the Moors, a dark and unsettling world that reveals their true selves. But will their conflicting desires tear them apart?
Read alikes
“The Book of Lost Things” by John Connolly
“The Magicians” by Lev Grossman
“Birthright” by Joshua Williamson (graphic novels)
Short List“Winter Tide” by Ruthanna Emrys. A Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates.
“Passing Strange” by Ellen Klages. A Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates.
“The Witches of New York: A Novel” by Ami McKay. Harper Perennial.
“A Gathering of Ravens: A Novel” by Scott Oden. Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press.
Historical Fiction
The Half-Drowned King: A Novel” by Linnea Hartsuyker. Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Betrayed and left for dead, Viking raider Rangvald seeks revenge and his inheritance, while his sister Svanhild’s path to freedom lies with Rangvald’s mortal enemy. This epic tale of uneasy alliances, set in 9th century Scandinavia, offers action, intrigue and historical detail.
Read alikes“The Sagas of Icelanders” by Robert Kellogg
“Saxon Tales” (series) by Bernard Cornwell
“Vikings” (TV series)
Short List“The Confessions of Young Nero: A Novel” by Margaret George. Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
“Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee. Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book Group.
“Golden Hill: A Novel of Old New York” by Francis Spufford. Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
“Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions: A Kopp Sisters Novel” by Amy Stewart. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Winner“Kill Creek” by Scott Thomas. Inkshares.
An homage to horror and the authors who write it, “Kill Creek” features four prominent authors who are lured into spending the night in a famous haunted house as a publicity stunt. The aftermath is both unexpected and terrifying.
Read alikes
“Hex” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
“The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson
“The Family Plot” by Cherie Priest
Short List“Little Heaven” by Nick Cutter. Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
“In the Valley of the Sun: A Novel” by Andy Davidson. Skyhorse Publishing.
“A God in the Shed” by J-F Dubeau. Inkshares.
“Ararat: A Novel” by Christopher Golden. St. Martin’s Press.
Winner“The Dime” by Kathleen Kent. Mulholland Books/Little, Brown.
Dallas detective Betty Rhyzyk comes from a family of cops. She’s nearly six feet tall, has flaming red hair, a New Yorker’s sharp tongue, and a girlfriend. When her investigation into a Mexican drug lord goes sideways, she must salvage the operation while dealing with a highly disturbed stalker.
Read alikes
Mallory Novels (series) by Carol O’Connell.
“Cop Town” by Karin Slaughter.
“Revolver” by Duane Swierczynski.
Short List“The Dry: A Novel” by Jane Harper. Flatiron Books.
“Magpie Murders: A Novel” by Anthony Horowitz. Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
“Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel” by Matthew Sullivan. Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
“Casualty of War: A Bess Crawford Mystery” by Charles Todd. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Winner“An Extraordinary Union: A Novel of the Civil War” by Alyssa Cole. Kensington Books.
Elle Burns, a free black woman, voluntarily leaves the North to work in the Confederacy as a slave and a spy. When she uncovers a possible plot she also encounters Malcolm, a white Union spy. Their intense attraction places their lives in danger in this tale of forbidden love.
Read alikes“The Spymaster’s Lady” by Joanna Bourne.
“Indigo” by Beverly Jenkins.
“His at Night” by Sherry Thomas.
Short List“The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1” by G.L. Carriger. Gail Carriger LLC.
“Wild at Whiskey Creek: A Hellcat Canyon Novel” by Julie Anne Long. Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
“Hate to Want You” by Alisha Rai. Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
“The Lawrence Browne Affair” by Cat Sebastian. Avon Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Science Fiction
The Collapsing Empire” by John Scalzi. Tor, a Tom Doherty Associates Book.
In the Interdependency, each planet relies on its far-flung neighbors for survival. Now a galactic change is transforming the universal order, a new empress has been crowned, a rival is plotting a revolution, and a foul-mouthed captain is caught in the middle.
Read alikes
Foundation series by Isaac Asimov
“The Cold Between” by Elizabeth Bonesteel
“The Wrong Stars” by Tim Pratt
Short List
The Power” by Naomi Alderman. Little, Brown and Company.
“A Closed and Common Orbit” by Becky Chambers. Harper Voyager, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
“Paradox Bound” by Peter Clines. Crown, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House.
“An Oath of Dogs” by Wendy N. Wagner. Angry Robot, an imprint of Watkins Media, Ltd.
Women’s Fiction
The Almost Sisters” by Joshilyn Jackson. William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Geeky Leia is pregnant after an encounter with a sexy, anonymous Batman. Pondering when to tell her Southern family she is expecting a biracial child, her life is upended by the implosion of her half-sister’s marriage, her grandmother’s dementia, and a skeleton in the attic in this humorous tale.
Read alikes
“June” by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
“Six of One” by Rita Mae Brown
“Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” by Fannie Flagg
Short List
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman. Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
“The Woman Next Door: A Novel” by Yewande Omotoso. Picador.
“Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel” by Kathleen Rooney. St. Martin’s Press.
“The Garden of Small Beginnings: A Novel” by Abbi Waxman. Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Library Reads: March 2018

Friday was Library Reads day but I was presenting in Green Bay all day, so you get the list as a bonus Sunday post. Library Reads Day means three 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 Library Reads is the compound interest it is earning. We now have hundreds and hundreds of titles worth suggesting right at our fingertips.
  3. You have no excuse not to hand sell any Library Reads 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.
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.

March 2018 LibraryReads

Let Me Lie

by Clare Mackintosh

Published: 3/13/2018 by Berkley
ISBN: 9780451490537
“For readers who enjoyed Mackintosh’s I Let You Go and I See You, you most certainly will enjoy her latest suspenseful thrill ride. Anna has been struggling to get on with her life after her parents’ suicides when she starts to receive clues that maybe her parents did not carry out the heinous act that everyone believed they committed.”
KC Davis, Fairfield Woods Library, Fairfield, CT

The Broken Girls

by Simone St. James

Published: 3/20/2018 by Berkley
ISBN: 9780451476203
“Parallel narratives, one set in Vermont 1950 and the other in Vermont 2014, are woven together in this intricate mystery. Timely themes of violence toward women and abuses of power resonate throughout. A well-crafted and unsettling tale for fans of Gothic horror and female centered thrillers.”
Kate Currie, Hennepin County Library, Minneapolis, MN 

The Flight Attendant: A Novel

by Chris Bohjalian

Published: 3/13/2018 by Doubleday
ISBN: 9780385542418
“Cassie Bowden is a flight attendant with a drinking problem. Rock bottom comes when she wakes up in a hotel room in Dubai with a dead man next to her. Warning: do not read this on a plane!”
Marika Zemke, Commerce Township Public Library,
Commerce Township, MI 

Sometimes I Lie: A Novel

by Alice Feeney

Published: 3/13/2018 by Flatiron Books
ISBN: 9781250144843
“For fans of the recent psychological thrillers, The Woman In the Window and The Wife Between Us, comes another one that will keep you on your toes. I felt like I needed a whiteboard to keep track of the twists and turns.”
Robin Beerbower, Salem Public Library, Salem, OR

Burn Bright

by Patricia Briggs

Published: 3/6/2018 by Ace
ISBN: 9780425281314
“The latest installment in the Alpha and Omega series. The tension between humans and werewolves is ramping up and Charles and Anna are becoming more deeply involved in Pack business. For readers who enjoy Ilona Andrews and Kelly Armstrong.”
Shana Harrington, Las Vegas Clark County Library District, Las Vegas, NV 

Sunburn: A Novel

by Laura Lippman

Published: 2/20/2018 by William Morrow
ISBN: 9780062389923
“Polly leaves her husband and child while on a beach vacation and winds up in a small town in Delaware with almost nothing. She gets a job at the local bar and starts a relationship with Adam, someone who seems to have landed in the town by accident as well. As the novel progresses, we learn of Polly’s past and soon you won’t know what to believe. Sunburn is a twisted novel that will suck you in.”
Annice Sevett, New Hanover County Public Library, Wilmington, NC 

Every Note Played

by Lisa Genova

Published: 3/20/2018 by Gallery/Scout Press
ISBN: 9781476717807
“Richard is a successful concert pianist who has contracted ALS and now his right arm is paralyzed. His wife Katrina takes on the role of reluctant caretaker. Theirs is a marriage filled with secrets, blame, loneliness and disappointment. The book is beautifully written and visceral in its description of the progression of ALS. Most moving to this reader was both characters’ impassioned relationship to music.”
Maggie Holmes, Richards Memorial Library, North Attleborough, MA 

Girls Burn Brighter: A Novel

by Shobha Rao
Published: 3/6/2018 by Flatiron Books
ISBN: 9781250074256

“A beautiful tale of survival despite overwhelming destructive forces all around. After her mother’s death, Poornima is left to care for her siblings and father until her arranged marriage. When a free spirited Savitha enters, Poornima begins to imagine a different life. Told in alternating perspectives, the girls’ ambition keeps them going through unimaginable trials.”  
Darla Dykstra, Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence, MO 

Alternate Side: A Novel

by Anna Quindlen

Published: 3/20/2018 by Random House
ISBN: 9780812996067
“This book really captures contemporary New York, the increasing disparity between the wealthy Manhattanites and those who work for them and live in the outer boroughs, and the obsessive search for parking. The title hits exactly the right tone as “alternate side” has several meanings in this novel.”
Rosemarie Borsody, Lee Library Association, Lee, MA 


by Christine Mangan

Published: 3/27/2018 by Ecco
ISBN: 9780062686664
“This novel brings to mind Hitchcock. This is the story of two women, friends in college, until an accident drives a wedge between them. Years later, Alice is living in Tangier with her husband when Lucy shows up. A twisted tale told in alternating points of view.”

Terri Smith, Cornelia Habersham County Library, Cornelia, GA

Friday, February 9, 2018

RA for All Roadshow Visits Green Bay Wisconsin!

Today I begin a stretch of training trips and appearances where I will present 6 times in 6 weeks and run a 1 day conference in Rhode Island.

I am very excited for this busy stretch to begin. After my self created break in January, I am raring to go. I have updated all of my presentations and some are so revamped that they are basically brand new.

It all kicks off with a 3 hour drive due north to Green Bay, Wisconsin to conduct a training for the staff of Brown County Library.

Below is what we have planned for the day including the links you would need whether you attended this event or are just following along at home.

Back Monday with all of the Adult Book Award Announcements from ALA Midwinter!

Brown County [Public] Library Staff In-Serivce Training Schedule

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Guest Post: How to Gamify Your TBR Featuring Jennifer from Book Den

Back in November I had this post where I laid out my strategy for handling TBR anxiety. I got a lot of positive feedback from a wide range of readers thanking me for the post, for acknowledging this anxiety and for trying to help you combat it.

Many people have been informally sharing their strategies with me, but back in January, my friend Jennifer from Book Den had a post about how she turns her TBR into a game with the TBR mug. I asked her to write up something for my readers to help them battle their own TBR anxiety.

Jennifer’s TBR mug is a fun way to gamify your own reading list. Gamification is one of the biggest trends in society and thanks to The Center for the Future of Libraries [here], there was some direction on how to move this trend into libraries specifically. Gamification in libraries is pretty mainstream by now, but why not gamify your own reading too? What a great motivational tool, and it is fun.

Thanks Jennifer for sharing with my readers. She will be updating her progress on her site all year long if you want to follow along for fun or inspiration.

Heres Jennifer.

Every year I have a select list of books I'm hoping to finally read. More often than not, the year goes by without me getting to read many of the books that have been sitting on my shelf for years. This year I decided to implement a TBR jar. I went through all of my unread books and selected 15 books I'd love to finally read this year.

The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub
My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due
Neverland by Douglas Clegg
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Fury by John Farris
Summer of Night by Dan Simmons
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
Rebecca by Dauphne du Maurier
1984 by George Orwell
Little Brothers by Rick Hautula
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Tell No One by Harlan Coben
The Orchard by Charles L. Grant

Each of the these titles have been placed into a mug that sits on my bookshelf. I plan to select one title each month through 2018. (There are 15 titles in the jar instead of just 12 so I can have a little wiggle room to mood read if I want to put a title back into the jar.)

The first title I pulled from the jar was Summer of Night by Dan Simmons which is turning out to be a fantastic read.
Since February is Women in Horror month, I may cheat a little and read My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due without pulling it from the jar. Even if I don't follow the rules exactly, having my TBR jar sitting up front on my shelf will help keep the books I want to read most in the forefront of my mind. 

I'd also like to mention how fun it is to pull a random title out of the jar. I was so nervous and excited to find out which book I would be reading first. I have a feeling by the end of the year I will have finally read many of the books I've been wanting to read that I already own.

If you decide to do a TBR jar of your own, you can put as many or as few titles as you would like. I tried to keep my list small because these are the books I'd really like to focus on this year. I'm already thinking ahead to which titles will make the cut next year!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Bram Stoker Awards Final Ballot and Semi Regular Reminder on Using Awards Lists As A RA Tool

On Monday, the Horror Writers Association announced the final ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards. As a member of one of the juries and an Active voter, I am very proud of this list. I already voted in the preliminary round and most of he books I voted for made it through. Most importantly, in the category for which I was on the jury, all of the books I wanted to make it through, did. I have a favorite, but I would honestly be proud if any of the five nominated titles won.

In the ballot I have attached below, I linked to the books for which I have written a formal review. I have read many more than that, but I am only 1 person and never manage to write a review for every book I read. You can also click here for the official press release from the HWA.

But before we get to the list, I wanted to also remind all of my readers of the wonderful resource awards announcement lists make.  I have written many times about using awards lists as a RA tool but the first time was here.

Please don’t ignore this post if you think horror is not “for you.” If you help a single reader, ever, knowing what is considered “the best” in any genre, at any time is very important. Awards lists are always a fantastic resource-- any awards list. Yes, you use this list for collection development, but you also use it for sure bet suggestions.

Take the “Best Novel” category below. I know for a fact that most of the libraries in the country have the Golden, Malerman, and King books in their collections.  Go down just a bit further and there is the Ferris Graphic Novel which has been one of the best reviewed graphic novels of the year. Even further you see a collection by Hill, and ones edited by Maberry and Datlow. And of course, in nonfiction we have Paperbacks from Hell. All of these titles are linked to more info by me [except the King, you don’t need my help on that one].

The point is, you know some of these titles. You own them. Suggest them or the other titles here on the final ballot. Or make a display of any of the nominees you do have, and not just these nominated titles, anything you have by nominees. Just the Datlow edited anthologies you have alone could probably fill a display. Also the fact that King is nominated this year will draw people to your display. Use the big name authors [King. Hill, Maberry] to introduce readers to other authors they may like, if only they knew about them.


The 2017 Bram Stoker Awards® Final Ballot
+MailThe Horror Writers Association announces the 2017 Bram Stoker Awards® Final Ballot. HWA is the premier organization for writers of horror and dark fantasy. “This year’s slate of nominees truly demonstrates the breadth and quality of the horror genre,” said Lisa Morton, HWA President and multiple Bram Stoker Award winner. “Once again, our members and awards juries have chosen outstanding works of literature, cinema, non-fiction, and poetry.”
The presentation of the Bram Stoker Awards® will occur during the third annual StokerCon™, to be held March 1st-4th at the historic Biltmore Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island. The gala presentation will happen on Saturday night, March 3rd. Tickets to the banquet and the convention are on sale to the public at . The awards presentation will also be live-streamed online via the website.
Named in honor of the author of the seminal horror novel Dracula, the Bram Stoker Awards® are presented annually for superior writing in eleven categories including traditional fiction of various lengths, poetry, screenplays and non-fiction. Previous winners include Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, Joyce Carol Oates and Neil Gaiman. HWA is a nonprofit organization of writers and publishing professionals around the world, dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it. The HWA formed in 1985 with the help of many of the field’s greats, including Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, and Joe R. Lansdale. The HWA is home to the prestigious Bram Stoker Award® and the annual StokerCon™ horror convention.
We proudly provide the list of talented nominees who reached the final ballot below for each category.
Superior Achievement in a Novel
Superior Achievement in a First Novel
Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
    French, Gillian – The Door to January (Islandport Press)
    Leveen, Tom – Hellworld (Simon Pulse)
    Liggett, Kim – The Last Harvest (Tor Teen)
    Lukavics, Amy – The Ravenous (Harlequin Teen)
    Porter, Sarah – When I Cast Your Shadow (Tor Teen)
Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
    Carey, Mike and Arvind, Ethan David – Darkness Visible (IDW)
    Duffy, Damian and Butler, Octavia E. – Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation (Abrams ComicArts)
    Hickman, Jonathan – The Black Monday Murders (Image Comics)
    Liu, Marjorie – Monstress Volume 2: The Blood (Image Comics)
Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
    Edelman, Scott – Faking it Until Forever Comes (Liars, Fakers, and the Dead Who Eat Them) (Written Backwards)
    Kiernan, Caitlín R. – Agents of Dreamland (
    Taylor, Lucy – Sweetlings (
    Waggoner, Tim – A Kiss of Thorns (DarkFuse)
Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
    Bailey, Michael – “I Will Be the Reflection Until the End” (Tales from the Lake Vol. 4) (Crystal Lake Publishing)
    Chambers, James – “A Song Left Behind in the Aztakea Hills” (Shadows Over Main Street, Volume 2) (Cutting Block Books)
    Mannetti, Lisa – “Apocalypse Then” (Never Fear: The Apocalypse) (13Thirty Books)
    Neugebauer, Annie – “So Sings the Siren” (Apex Magazine #101) (Apex Publications)
    Yardley, Mercedes M. – “Loving You Darkly” (F(r)iction Magazine #8) (Tethered by Letters)
Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
    Hill, Joe – Strange Weather (William Morrow)
    Kiste, Gwendolyn – And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe (JournalStone)
    Malerman, Josh – Goblin (Earthling Publications)
    Matsuura, Thersa – The Carp-Faced Boy and Other Tales (Independent Legions Publishing)
    McGrath, Patrick – Writing Madness (Centipede Press)
Superior Achievement in a Screenplay
    Del Toro, Guillermo and Taylor, Vanessa – The Shape of Water (TSG Entertainment, Double Dare You Productions)
    Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – Stranger Things: MadMax, Episode 02:01: Chapter One (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)
    Frost, Mark and Lynch, David – Twin Peaks, Part 8 (Rancho Rosa Partnership, Inc.)
    Palmer, Chase, Fukunaga, Cary, and Dauberman, Gary – It (New Line Cinema)
    Peele, Jordan – Get Out (Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, QC Entertainment)
    Shyamalan, M. Night – Split (Blinding Edge Pictures, Blumhouse Productions)
Superior Achievement in an Anthology
Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
    Brittany, Michele – Horror in Space: Critical Essays on a Film Subgenre (McFarland)
    Brooks, Kinitra D. – Searching for Sycorax: Black Women’s Hauntings of Contemporary Horror (Rutgers University Press)
    Jones, Stephen – The Art of Horror Movies: An Illustrated History (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)
    Mynhardt, Joe and Johnson, Eugene – Where Nightmares Come From: The Art of Storytelling in the Horror Genre – (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
    Frazier, Robert and Boston, Bruce – Visions of the Mutant Rain Forest (Crystal Lake Publishing)
    Manzetti, Alessandro – No Mercy (Crystal Lake Publishing)
    Simon, Marge and Turzillo, Mary – Satan’s Sweethearts (Weasel Press)
    Sng, Christina – A Collection of Nightmares (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
    Wytovich, Stephanie M. – Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Active and Lifetime members of the organization are eligible to vote for the winners in all categories. For more on the Horror Writers Associations, please visit .