Sunday, January 29, 2017

Week Three Prompt: NoveList

  • 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!
    • Book 4 in the Anita Blake series is The Lunatic Cafe (Fantastic Fiction). 
  • 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.
    • I would recommend Kingsolver’s book Flight Behavior, if the user hasn’t already read it. It has Kingsolver’s characteristic descriptive, lyrical writing about ecological issues as well as complex characters (NoveList Plus). 
    • I would also recommend Laura Groff’s Fates and Furies, a look at a “modern marriage”. It is “intricately plotted” and lyrically and compellingly written, but its high drama and perspective shift give it a quicker pace than some literary fiction (NoveList Plus). 
  • 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!
    • Takashi Matsuoka’s Cloud of Sparrows and Autumn Bridge are multi-genre works set in 19th century Japan. Part suspense, part love-story, they introduce readers to shogun-era Japanene culture (NoveList Plus).
    • David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is the exhaustively researched and “richly detailed” story about a Dutch trading clerk in 18th century Japan (NoveList Plus).    
  • 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?
    • For this one, I looked up the author read-alikes for Elizabeth George. I would recommend Deborah Crombie and P.D. James,  for literary, traditional mystery or police procedurals with “layered plots” and complex characters. Deborah Crombie’s Duncan Kincaid series would be my first choice for its English setting.
  • 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?
    • Without knowing whether The Walking Dead books read were the graphic novels or the novels beginning with Rise of the Governor, I would recommend whichever this patron hasn’t read. Both the graphic novel series and the novels are bleak and gritty. (NoveList Plus). 
    • If he enjoys graphic novels, I would recommend the series Revival by Tim Seeley. It’s a zombie/horror series with a rural setting and a police office protagonist. It has more of a mystery element than The Walking Dead, but it definitely delivers in terms of action and horror.  
    • If he likes the action and sometimes gruesome horror of World War Z, he may enjoy Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series (Feed, Deadline, Blackout) (NoveList Plus).  
  • 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.
    • For this one, I used NoveList Plus’s new genre “GX books into film” and filtered by publication date and literary fiction. The four selections are all descriptively written, but range from dark humor (Family Fang) to bleak war story (The Yellow Birds).
      • The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
      • Room by Emma Donaghue
      • The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
      • Billy Lynn’s Long Half-time Walk by Ben Fountain
  • I love thrillers but I hate foul language and sex scenes. I want something clean and fast paced.
    • I am looking for things that are plot-driven and fast-paced with little to no foul language and sex. I am looking at thrillers and romantic suspense writers with appeal terms like “fast-paced”, “suspenseful”, and maybe “mildly sensuous”. I don’t want anything “gritty”, “gruesome”, or “steamy”. 
    • The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark and The Obsession by Nora Roberts would be my go-to choices. Both are recent, plot-driven thrillers, but these author’s do not typically have a lot of swearing or sex. While characters may have sex, especially in Roberts’ romantic suspense novels, it’s not gratuitous (NoveList Plus). 

I have access to NoveList Plus through my home library, though the library I work in does not have a full version. NoveList’s list and definition of appeal terms was very useful to help me articulate my own tastes and to gain insight into why readers like certain authors. When I field readers’ advisory queries, it is often difficult for people to say why they like what they like. 

I also use Fantastic Fiction, a site that compiled authors’ work by series or by publication date for standalone titles. I use this site primarily to find series information and publication information for upcoming titles, though it does provide author read-alike links. I have used What Should I Read Next, but I honestly have no idea how they get their results. I think that site should only be used when readers like a variety of styles, genres, and subjects.  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Reader Profile

I have always been preoccupied with books and tend to panic if there is nothing to read within reaching distance. I will read just about anything, though my favorite genres tend to be literary fiction, horror, science fiction and fantasy. In the last two years I have taken to listening to audiobooks during my commute. Weirdly, audiobooks have helped me "read" outside my comfort zone, and I have begun listening to mystery series that I never would have picked up in print. I tend to enjoy books with a lot of description and insight into quirky characters. I also seem to be a fan of multiple voices, though I tend to prefer third person if I have to pick. I enjoy nonfiction, especially history, and graphic novels as well.

I am in two book clubs, one that I facilitate through my library and one with a group of friends. I enjoy the challenge of putting lists together to balance new, notable books with older titles that I or other attendees want to read and discuss. I also coordinate my library's delivery service which is largely reader's advisory. Many of my delivery users enjoy inspirational, cozy, and mystery fiction, and I like learning about those genres and authors.  

Favorite Books Read in 2016

The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

The Witches by Stacy Schiff

Paper Girls Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

White Trash by Nancy Isenberg

Sex Criminals Volume 1-3 by Matt Fraction     

Ms. Marvel Volume 1 by G. Willow Wilson

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Favorite Books Started in 2016 that I Intend to Finish in 2017

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Scott Snyder's Batman run