Monday, January 23, 2017

How I Find Books To Read

Typically, when I want to find a book to read, I look no further than my bookshelf because it's stocked full of books that I thought looked interesting in the bookstore and haven't read. Ha! In all seriousness, I typically look at Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or NetGalley (for upcoming titles). I maintain to read lists at GoodReads, Library Thing and I have a wishlist of books on Amazon. As you can see, I love to collect books and organize them, but I'm still suffering in the reading department. To be honest, I think I'll be utilizing NoveList more often now that I've used it. The Nashville Public Library has a subscription to it so that's easy for me and it makes it easier to find read alikes. I can input books that I love (like anything by Neil Gaiman) and find books that match that same tone and style. As much as I rely on user reviews on Amazon/GoodReads/Library Thing, I really think that NoveList might work out better for me.

NoveList Questions

1. I am looking for a book by Laurell K. Hamilton. I just read the third book in the Anita Blake series and I can’t figure out which one comes next!

I used the Series function of NoveList to find the Anita Blake series. I would first clarify that she's reading books and not graphic novels, since apparently there's both. The Lunatic Cafe is listed as the next book in that series.

Link to GoodReads for The Lunatic Cafe

2. What have I read recently? Well, I just finished this great book by Barbara Kingsolver, Prodigal Summer. I really liked the way it was written, you know, the way she used language. I wouldn't mind something a bit faster paced though.

This question was particularly difficult for me. Since the reader really liked the way it was written, I decided to search for the writing styles descriptive, lush and lyrical. This yielded several results but nearly all of them were leisurely paced. I narrowed results by using the fast-paced limiter in the side bar and 4 books popped up. Two of them were what looked like part of a fantasy series, and I'm not sure that's a good match with someone who enjoys Barbara Kingsolver. I came up with The Yellow Emperor's Cure by Kunal Basu. It is descriptive, lush and lyrical and the pace is listed as fast-paced. That being said, I would also recommend some of the read-alikes listed on NoveList for good measure, but since the language and pacing seemed most important to this patron, I would definitely lead with The Emperor's Cure. 

Link to GoodReads for The Yellow Emperor's Cure

3. I like reading books set in different countries. I just read one set in China, could you help me find one set in Japan? No, not modern – historical. I like it when the author describes it so much it feels like I was there!

 I must have been such a success with my last recommendation (The Yellow Emperor's Cure is set in China) that the same patron came back to seem me for a historical fiction novel set in Japan. Haha! Using the search parameters - historical fiction and Japan - I was able to find a list of novels that fit the bill. I narrowed my results by using the limiter of richly detailed. I found the book The Teahouse Fire by Ellis Avery. I also would recommend Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. If I could only choose one, I would choose The Teahouse Fire because it has the added writing style of descriptive.

Link to GoodReads for The Teahouse Fire

Link to GoodReads for Memoirs of a Geisha

4. I read this great mystery by Elizabeth George called Well-Schooled in Murder and I loved it. Then my dentist said that if I liked mysteries I would probably like John Sandford, but boy was he creepy I couldn't finish it! Do you have any suggestions?

I truly struggled with this one. As I was searching for a suggestion I realized that I really should have chosen Suspense/Thrillers to read and annotate. This was a bit like reading a map upside down. All the information was there for me on NoveList, but I was still so lost. For this patron, I would recommend more Elizabeth George novels. If John Sandford is too creepy, it may be safe to stay with a known author. It appears that Well-Schooled in Murder is part of the Thomas Lynley mystery series, so I chose A Suitable Vengeance which is the next book in that series. Another good option might be Still Life by Louise Penny. This doesn't have "violent" in the tone but is still a mystery. It's leisurely paced so this could also make the book not so creepy.

Link to GoodReads for A Suitable Vengeance

Link to GoodReads for Still Life

5. My husband has really gotten into zombies lately. He’s already read The Walking Dead and World War Z, is there anything else you can recommend?

Finally, something I know! I've read both of these before, so I feel like I can make some decent recommendations. World War Z, while written by one person reads like a book of short stories. Furthermore, The Walking Dead graphic novels break up the story into shorter, digestible pieces. For those reasons, I think that Zombies: The Recent Dead would be a great option. It's a collection of short stories from several authors, including Max Brooks, the author of World War Z, (and my beloved Neil Gaiman). Another good option would be Zone One by Colson Whitehead. It appears that it may have some humorous elements, which can be greatly appreciated when you're reading something so tense and horrific. Interesting side note: NoveList categorizes Zone One as African American Literature. I wonder if I can get away with reading that for my African American Literature annotation...

Link to GoodReads for Zombies: The Recent Dead

Link to GoodReads for Zone One

6. I love books that get turned into movies, especially literary ones. Can you recommend some? Nothing too old, maybe just those from the last 5 years or so.

I started by searching the Books to Movies page for newer books that have been turned into movies (or will be). Then, from those results, I narrowed them down by looking for Literary Fiction. I came up with two books that have been published in the last 5 years: The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. If she just wants books that can be published at any time, but only the movies from the last 5 years, then I can expand my list considerably. As part of the Readers' Advisory interview I would have to clarify this.

Link to GoodReads for The Yellow Birds

Link to GoodReads for Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

7. I love thrillers but I hate foul language and sex scenes. I want something clean and fast paced.

Ouch, this one is impossible. I admit I had to Google for clean thrillers. I tried to find some that I could look up on NoveList to see how they're categorized. It would appear that the best thing to search for is "Cozy Mysteries" or "Cozy Thrillers" on NoveList. That being said, I think (emphasis on think) I found some clean thrillers. I would feel so terrible if I recommended something that a reader might be offended by, but it's hard to do that when you haven't read what they need. Supposedly, Julia Spencer-Fleming writes clean, fast-paced mysteries. I chose In the Bleak Midwinter since it's her first one. There is also the option of reading books by Carolyn Hart. Death on Demand is listed as a cozy mystery with a fast pace on NoveList.

Link to GoodReads for In the Bleak Midwinter

Link to GoodReads for Death on Demand

Sunday, January 15, 2017

My 5 Selected Genres

I have chosen the following 5 genres for annotations this semester:

1. Adventure
2. Romance
3. Historical Fiction
4. Non-Fiction
5. African American Literature

My Reading Profile - A Reader's Awakening

As much as it pains me to admit to a class of future librarians -- I have a confession -- I'm not really a big reader. I don't really know why that is, but I think it was a combination of being forced to read books I didn't enjoy in middle/high school, coupled with my love of comic books and graphic novels. I can remember being an avid reader when I was a child. I started reading on my own when I was 5 years old and have a very vivid memory of sitting on my rocking horse, reading a book and pouting because my mother wouldn't let me watch She-Ra because the Challenger had just exploded and she was watching the news coverage. Ah, those barbaric times when homes only had one television and no DVR!

I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but I fell out of love with reading. In high school, I was an Honors English student and remember plodding through Charles Dickens and crying because I just couldn't manage to get through Moby Dick because I hated it. When I graduated high school, my reading habits continued to revolve around what I was required to read for my college classes and little else. When I was 19 years old, I picked up my first comic book Promethea by Alan Moore. I was completely mesmerized and soon thereafter discovered the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman, Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis and Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore. I was hooked and have been primarily reading comics and graphic novels ever since. I do read books without pictures. It just doesn't happen as often as it probably should. I am kind of a master of adding books to my To-Read list and never actually getting around to reading them. 

Neil Gaiman is my favorite author and I can't think of anything of his that I haven't been crazy about. Neverwhere is my favorite, but American Gods is a close second. Like most good nerds, I love the Harry Potter series too. Since beginning my MLS, I've taken a couple of courses (mostly in the YA/Children's area) that have forced me to read a LOT more than I'm used to. I feel like it's reawakened my interest in reading and I've come to love a lot of books that I probably wouldn't have given a chance otherwise. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson was a complete game changer for me. It opened me up to reading outside my standard genres. I read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry for the first time last year, and cried so much because it was important and perfect and made me feel all the feelings. 

My recent reading experiences are awakening something in me - something I lost touch with a long time ago. I feel like I'm a real-life example of what can happen when the right books are put in the hands of a patron. Good reading experiences create passion for reading and excitement to read more. I'm seeing that firsthand in myself and for that reason, I decided to take this Readers' Advisory course.