ARRT GENRE STUDY WEBSITE

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.

RA FOR ALL...THE ROAD SHOW!

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.

Friday, February 23, 2018

RA for All Roadshow Visits Omaha Public Library

Today I am in Omaha, NE. I have been very excited about this program for a while. First because I have never been to Nebraska, but second, because Erin and Amy, with whom I designed this training, have worked very hard to get their staff primed, ready, and eager to change the way they serve their leisure readers. They have also invited area library workers, so we will have a few others joining us at  the University of Nebraska Omaha Community Engagement Center.

Today I am presenting the following schedule:

  • RA for All Signature Training. This is where I take the participants’ love of reading and use that as the springboard to get them excited about serving all leisure readers. It follows my 10 Rules of Basic RA Service.
  • Booktalking: Harnessing the Power of Sharing Books with Readers featuring a BRAND NEW book talk. The slides can be accessed here.
  • We are then going to do a working lunch, one of my new favorite added learning opportunities. When I offer this option I schedule 90 minutes for lunch with a 15 minute break after lunch. This gives me the chance to provide another book talk AND get the participants to book talk to each other a few more times. I cannot express how wonderful this small addition has been to the participants’ learning experience; they leave with more confidence in the skills we have started building together. This makes me so happy. I have had great feedback too.
  • We will end the day with my 2 genre programs, both of which have been recently revamped and these for today specifically have had a further update/refinement. 
That’s what we will be doing today. Whether you are joining us or not, you can access those slides. If you want me to come to your library, system, or conference, contact me. I am currently booking August 2018 and beyond. Click here to contact me and here to see sample programs and my rates.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

What I’m Reading: Flashback/Omaha Edition

Today is a travel day. I am headed to Omaha for a regional library training all day tomorrow, but as soon as I land today I will be headed to Lincoln to tape a segment for Nebraska Public Radio’s All About Books program. [When the recording goes live on the radio I will let you all know.].

I thought I would leave you with the best novel I have ever read set in Omaha. It made my 2014 personal best list too-- The Swan Gondola by Timothy Scaffert.

This is a genre blended, backlist option that would work for a wide range of readers.

I pasted the original review post below and you can also access it with this link. I hope my trip to Omaha will now help you to find a backlist gem to suggest to a reader today, tomorrow, or sometime soon. Or maybe, it will simply serve as a reminder of the joys and pleasures readers can find in the treasure trove that is the backlist and spur you to look to an older suggestion as you help your readers. Remember, a book doesn’t have to be new to be a good read.

Back tomorrow with the info about tomorrow’s training session.
______________________________________________

Back in March I had the pleasure of spending time with Timothy Schaffert’s The Swan Gondola.  Notice I said “spending time” not reading.  I did read this book, but as you will see in a few moments, this is not a novel you simply read. If that is the type of book you are looking for, stop reading this review. Rather The Swan Gondola is all about the atmosphere you are placed into while turning the pages.

But first, a tiny bit of plot, not because something will be given away if I give a lot of plot, rather I am simply giving a tiny bit because this is the type of book where nothing happens, yet everything happens. The plot is very inconsequential to whether or not you would enjoy the book.

The story begins and ends with Ferret, a ventriloquist/con man. The entire story is framed around Ferret’s escape from the 1898 Omaha World’s Fair in a hot air balloon, and while we keep returning to that “present” from which Ferret is recounting his story, the bulk of the tale is Ferret’s story of falling in love with Cecily, a performer at the Fair.

We spend Ferret’s days with him as he works the fair with his dummy, follows Cecily, watches her perform, meets new people, and has adventures.

The publisher’s sound bite is:
"A lush and thrilling romantic fable about two lovers set against the scandalous burlesques, midnight séances, and aerial ballets of the 1898 Omaha World’s Fair. 

I think this makes the book sound more action packed than it truly is.  This is a fable, told in the form of an homage to The Wizard of Oz. The bulk of the action is taking place at the Fair, but there isn’t much action.  This is a leisurely paced, historical set piece.  It is all about the setting and the tone. You inhabit the place with Ferret, our narrator.  You meet his friends and associates.  These are people who live on the fringes, and we are meant to follow along.

Ferret and Cecily’s story has a macabre tone, in fact it is more like a ghost story than a romance, but an old-fashioned ghost story in the Gothic tradition.  Atmosphere rules here. The entire story is set slightly askew.  Their love story is odd, the people they know and meet are all over the top, but interesting.  Theirs is a doomed love, but we know this from the start as Ferret is recovering from his balloon crash and slowly unveils the entire novel to the elderly sisters who are caring for him.

While reading The Swan Gondola, I began to realize that it would become a book best characterized as “perfect for Becky.”  This is my kind of book all around-- odd, interesting, character driven, macabre, with historical details [involving a fair or carnival (bonus Becky love)], a frame that pays homage to another work of literature, and all of it told in a quirky, slightly askew way.

Now this being said, a perfect book for Becky does not mean I am out at the desk thrusting this book into every patron’s hand.  No, I am actually much more discerning about who I hand sell this book too because I realize how quirky it is.  I have only given it to one person so far, carefully chosen, and she liked it.  It is a book I will keep in my perverbial back pocket for years to come, puling it out at the right moment, for just the right patron.

But for now, I was happy to inhabit the world of The Swan Gondola for a few enjoyable days.  I may even go back out for another ride some day.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Atmospheric, historical, macabre

Readalikes: Because The Swan Gondola is so much the classic Becky book,  I have a ton of books which I have loved that share this same feel. I will list them with links to my reviews in no particular order:


For a more traditional readalike suggestion, if you have a patron who loved all the parts in The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson about the fair, but could have done without the murder investigation, than this is a great choice for him or her.

And of course, people who love the original L. Frank Baum Wizard of Oz tales will gobble up this book.  I would think twice about giving it to patrons who only love the movie version though.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What I’m Reading: Mister Tender’s Girl and The Woman in the Window

Today I am reviewing Mister Tender's Girl by Carter Wilson and The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn, two brand new domestic suspense novels.

First up: Mister Tender's Girl:

Remember back in 2014 when two teenage girls lured a friend into the woods and stabbed her in an attempt to impress the evil fictional character Slender Man? Well Carter Wilson does, and he used that horrific true crime as the inspiration of his intense and voyeuristic psychological suspense story, Mister Tender’s Girl. To all who know her now, Alice is simply the owner of the local upscale coffee shop in sleepy Manchester, New Hampshire, but she is hiding a huge secret. Alice was the victim of a horrible and famous attack 14 years earlier. Alice was brutally stabbed by twin girls in a park near her English home, girls claiming that they did it to honor the evil, graphic novel character, Mister Tender, a character Alice’s own Father had created. Barely surviving the attack, Alice watched her family fall apart in the ensuing years. Now, in America, Alice has changed her last name but inhabits a body covered in scars that will never let her forget. She lives in constant fear, a fear so real that she cannot even bare to keep a single knife in her home. Tense and dripping with creepy atmosphere from the very first  line, this page turner builds relentlessly as things steadily ratchet up from bad to worse to unimaginably awful. The complex plot unfolds brilliantly, with anxiety so palpable that it’s not only Alice who is constantly looking over her shoulder, but also the reader will walk away from the novel afraid to trust anyone, even their own family. This one has all the feels of a horror novel without a supernatural monster, but these human monsters might be even scarier than anything anyone’s imagination could dream up. Fans of serial killer stories, true crime, Ruth Rendell and Sharp Objects or Dark Places by Gillian Flynn will all enjoy experiencing the dread while they watch the complex plot satisfyingly play itself out.


Further Appeal: This book is creepy from the first lines-- Alice tells us, before we know anything about her, that there are absolutely NO knives in her house. Eating chicken is hard, she acknowledges, but she gets by. This sets the uneasy stage from the start and it only intensifies from there. 

Alice is very flawed, but still we are on her side. You may not be able to relate to her, but you do sympathize with her. 

You cannot ignore the true crime angle here too. Anyone who is interested in true crime will be intrigued by this book, and the last time I checked that's a whole lot of library patrons.


Three Words That Describe This Book: intensely creepy, complex plot, compelling

Readalikes: Seriously if you could merge the first two Flynn books into 1 novel, this book is a perfect readalike. Those links in the review above go to my my longer reviews which contain more readalikes and further details about those titles in particular. I would say if you were more drawn to the messed up family aspects of this novel try Sharp Objects first, but if the true crime survivor parts appealed to you more, go with Dark Places.

Ruth Rendell's backlist of excellent, compelling and intricately plotted psychological suspense novels are a great way to introduce readers to some of the origins behind this uber popular genre. You probably still have them all in your collections since she only died in 2015. Start with 13 Steps Down. You will look like a genius. Trust me.

Please do not forget true crime suggestions here.

Finally, as I mentioned above, another new psychological suspense book I recently read and reviewed here on Goodreads that makes for a "fun" pairing is The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn. Notice I put "fun" in quotes. That is because while I enjoyed pairing these super intense, psychological suspense stories with damaged female protagonists, you may not find the feelings of extreme anxiety and dread which you feel while slipping into Wilson and Finn's worlds as enjoyable as I did.

You can click through for my full review of The Woman in the Window.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Help Me To Help More Libraries Add interactive Elements to Their Displays

One of my 2018 mantras, something I bring up in conversation as many times as I can when I am working with library staff, is that every single one of our library displays needs to be interactive in some way. Click here for a post on the topic.

I have been spreading this notion far and wide and many of you are doing it. Some are embracing it 100% and others are taking baby steps to introduce interactive elements to your displays. But, unfortunately, there is a good number of you who have also contacted me to let me know that you are receiving push back from your administrators who despite encouraging you to watch my webinars and attend my training programs, don’t want you to “rock the boat.”

I have received a handful of emails from people who need more data, photos, or even just communication from libraries who have tried to make their displays more interactive before they are allowed to proceed further.

Now, if I have received 5 or 6 emails about this topic in the last few weeks, experience says that there are at least 5 times that many people who have experienced similar administrative resistance and have not reached out. Plus the number of you who are even afraid to try for fear of backlash from superiors.

So today, I am appealing to all of you to help me. I know that a lot of you have taken my advice and have had great success. I know because you have told me in emails and in person. But, I need this information gathered all in one place, here on this post, so I can help those who are encountering resistance at making their libraries more participatory and giving patrons a chance to have a say in their own service. Sigh. It doesn’t seem like I should have to do this, but alas, I do. And, unfortunately after almost 20 years working in the public library world, I do know the level of bureaucracy out there so I am not surprised.

Here is what we are going to do...together. If you are willing to help, please post a comment to this post whenever you get a chance. Leave some information about what types of interactive displays you have done and if you can, link it out to some pictures from your social media or webpages. Also please leave your name and your library info so the library staff who need your help in order to serve their patrons better can contact you for more information.

Here what I promise to do in return for all of you. Once I start to get some comments here, I will include this post in all of my presentations. I will promote the good work each of you is doing at your libraries to every library I visit. In turn, I hope that by keeping this post “alive,” I will be able to encourage new people to add their comments. The result over time should be that I no longer need to field those emails from library workers who need more information before they are allowed to make positive changes in their service to patrons.

Please consider helping me and sharing your work. I know some of you have in the past by sending me an email or even contributing a guest post, but even if you have already done this, consider helping by sharing again, here on this post, in the comments. I know there are many more of you out there who have tried to make your displays more interactive than there are those of you whose hands are tied. Let’s work together to help patrons all over the country.

Finally, if you are an administrator reading this [psst all the rest of my readers, print this out and leave it for your hesitant administrator and yes, I know they can see this comment], stop being afraid of change. If your staff learn something new in a program, whether I was the presenter or not, let them give it a try. Who cares if it is new or seems unorthodox? If it doesn’t work with your community, oh well, at least you tried. And if the public complains, blame the trainer. I tell people all of the time to blame me when they are forcing staff or even patrons to try something new. I have even gotten calls from Directors who want to confirm what I told their staff members before they let them try it. [This is not an exaggeration, I have had more than 1 of these calls over the years. Fewer than 10 but I haven’t kept count exactly.]

Seriously, stop being so worried about it not working and just let your staff try. I am always shocked at the wonderful new things the people I have trained come up with. Most of it is 100% them. I simply put the concept in their heads and they run with it, taking these inspirations to places I never would have dreamed of. And you know who wins-- your patrons.

I am so proud of all of you. Now help me to help others. I hope to see your comments soon. And thanks in advance.

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:
Adrenaline
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.
Fantasy
Winner“Down Among the Sticks and Bones” by Seanan McGuire. A Tor.com 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 Tor.com Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates.
“Passing Strange” by Ellen Klages. A Tor.com 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
Winner
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.
Horror
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.
Mystery
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.
Romance
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
Winner
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
Winner
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 

Tangerine

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