Monday, January 23, 2017

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


  1. I also struggled a lot with the Elizabeth George question. I kept finding authors and then having to research them to make sure they weren't too violent. I should have suggested more Elizabeth George novels like you did and if a patron had actually approached me with this question, I probably would have. However, I ended up recommending Louise Penny, as you did, so I feel like we were both on the right track.

    1. I was completely shocked how difficult it was to recommend mysteries and thrillers. The Elizabeth George question and the question about the thriller with no sex and foul language really tripped me up! Now I'm really wishing that I picked one of those genres to annotate. Glad to see that we recommended the same person - that makes me feel more confident. :)

  2. Great job outlining how you found the queries. The last one is a bit tricky, sometimes looking for Christian or inspirational books is a way to make sure there is nothing to steamy. Another good cheat is and you can put no sex as a search term. Great post, very thorough! Full points! Also, you can let Zone One be an African American genre pick :)