this was made by my Readers' Advisory class in 2014.
Welcome! Here are the RA Sources you all identified in class during Spring 2014. Links might break...if so please send me a note (bossallerj at missouri dot edu) and I'll fix them or remove them. If you have suggestions later on, let me know and I'll add them.
MysteriesScience Fiction and FantasyYA And Graphic NovelsWesterns and Historical FictionNonfiction, Cookbooks, and Biographies
Christian, Inspirational, and Gentle ReadsHorrorRomance and Chick LitMulticultural and International ReadsBestsellers
MysteriesRT Book Reviews: Everything Mystery, Suspense, & Thriller: When I took a class in romance fiction last year I used Romantic Times to find reviews of books on our reading list but I never spent a lot of time browsing the site. I was quite excited to discover that they have an entire blog dedicated to mysteries, suspense novels, and thrillers. Romantic times does really fantastic, well written, concise reviews. They also do very interesting author interviews, a monthly mystery overview, monthly book recommendations, and fun book lists and give aways. There are also articles on other things mystery readers might be interested in like feature films based on the novels. Interviews include well known authors such as Sue Grafton. Many of the mysteries do have romantic themes and the titles tend to be geared towards women more than men, but there were many titles reviewed that I wouldn't necessarily consider romances. This is a great tool for librarians and users alike and I would recommend it to either.
Mystery Sequels: This site has a slightly misleading name. It does indeed provide a list of mystery series in their correct order (and I think we all know that many series in this genre can go on for a loooong time, so it's nice to have that ordered list), but there are also areas to read reviews, see a list of new releases by month, and see if there are any mystery book tours coming your way soon. While the site is nowhere near extensive, it's a nice little resource for readers who read books in the particular series listed on the site. I think it could be good for librarians, but I think readers would find more use out of it, as I'm sure there's a more extensive list elsewhere that would be better suited to librarians.
Mystery Scene Magazine:Mystery Scene is a magazine that also offers an awesome online mystery reads blog. This site offers lots of articles and reviews on fiction, non-fiction and mystery audiobooks. The blog is interesting and updated regularly as well as provides a database for searching for mystery titles. With just a quick glance, readers will find the "Most Popular" mystery recommendations. I found several titles to add to my "To-Read" list including Jennifer McMahon's The Winter People. --Ashley Nixon
Mystery Readers.org: I want to do my final project on crime fiction and mysteryreaders.org is something I have come across a lot in trying to find out more about the genre. Mystery Readers publishes a journal that is freely available to the public online. Each issue of the journal deals with a different mystery sub-genre. It's really helpful in the it delves into very specific types of mysteries (some of the most recent being environmental mysteries, chicago mysteries, and murder in transit), and many people like mysteries with those very specific story lines. It can really be treated as a subject guide for browsing different types of mysteries if a patron can describe what type of mystery they are looking for.
Mystery Readers also provides a list of mystery periodicals that are published. These are magazines and journals that contain short stories and commentary related to the mystery genre. It also provides a list of mystery book retailers for each state in the United States in addition to a list of mystery book reading groups. Their blog is rather addictive, and it has regular postings about award nominees and winners in the mystery genre. --Ashley Anstaett
I Love a Good Mystery is a blog that was last updated in 2010, so it's not useful if you're looking for a recent mystery to read. That being said, it is a very good resource for reviews of books from the mid to late 2000's, many of which are by authors I'd never heard of before but will now be looking for next time I'm in the mood for a mystery but don't want to read an author I've read over and over again. The blog's author keeps her reviews short and sweet, sometimes (but not always) including the book's first line, a brief synopsis, and a "Why I Loved It" section. She frequently discusses the strengths and weaknesses of book's plot and characterization, and mentions similar authors, which is helpful in letting readers know other authors to look for (or avoid). I Love a Good Mystery may not be as polished as some of the more professional RA resources, but it's a nice resource for mystery lovers looking to see what a fellow mystery lover recommends. --Gwen Gilpin
Reviewing the Evidence :is a very accessible website edited by Yvonne Klein that has as its most prominent feature a group of short reviews of recently published mystery novels. They are concisely written, neatly sum up the plots, compare them with similar works, and are easy to read. At the bottom of the page is a list of recent reviews, so the reader can check for a specific new title quickly. There is also a section on the left of the home page that includes an interview with a mystery author as well as links for the previous couple author interviews. I don’t know how often the interviews are updated, but the reviews are new every 2 weeks. I like the currency of that. On the “About Us” page of the site, the editors of the site clearly state that they do not review any religious books, including religious mysteries. So, if a reader is looking for that genre, this is not the site to go to. However, the editors of the site are independent. They don’t work with any publishers, so the reviews are more likely to be unbiased.
This website has been around since 2001, so there are thousands of reviews that are archived and searchable. The reader can type in a search term to find a review. The reader can also look through two lists of reviews—one alphabetical by author, the other alphabetical by title. Those lists have nearly 9000 reviews. There is also a separate search page on which the reader can do a keyword search or search by author, reviewer, or book publisher. I was impressed by the comprehensive searchability of the database.
Additionally, there is a page full of links. The first category of links is composed of author websites. I found this useful as an advisory tool. Unfortunately, the list isn’t in any kind of order, so if a reader is looking for a specific author, it would be quicker to just Google the name. The list also contains links to forums, publishers, general websites. The general websites looked fun. They included links to watch episodes of Dexter online, mystery books awards sites, online mystery serials, and sites like Wheredunnit—a site that categorizes novels according to where their action takes place. I could lose myself in this list.
There is also a page devoted to mystery writers’ conventions. Its information is dated; there is nothing beyond 2003. Furthermore, there are only four different conventions covered, and one of those had a broken link. It was kind of neat to look at the pictures of authors I’ve only ever seen on the backs of books, even though they are from over 10 years ago.
Finally, the reader can subscribe to the site, I believe through an RSS feed. There is also a social media presence, so it might be useful to link to a library website and increase cyber traffic while also offering a solid readers advisory tool to mystery lovers. --Sharon Tucker
NPR Booklists: Mystery. I tend to really like the NPR booklists. Every year as part of their summer reading series they do a list of the top 100 books in a certain genre. They haven't done mystery, persay, but the Top 100 Killer Thrillers list includes a number of mystery titles, along with some horror and sci fi. The lists always inspire me to spend more time reading - there's just too many good options!!
While I can't really comment on trying out this tool on users (I don't work in a library). I found this list from NPR to be a useful compilation of current mysteries published within the last year. NPR tends to promote books with more literary merit, so it would be a good list for someone whose preferred genres are mystery and literary fiction.
--Tori Lyons and Bethany Neuart
Eurocrime is a resource for mysteries/thrillers that are published in, you guessed it, Europe. It might not be the most obvious choice for an American librarian but it could be a really valuable tool. This site gives you access to a large number of books published in Great Britain, providing many more reading choices for patrons. The strength of the site is in the sheer volume of information organized for the reader. Lists of reviews, author sites, news, bibliography of authors by country, etc. The site's weaknesses are appearance (very plain, this may only matter to those of us also taking Intro to Web Design this semester), and a lack of sophisticated tools or any division into subgenres etc for on site comparison. Eurocrime is for someone who is willing to browse through reviews until they find something they would like to read. It is not a fully formed RA tool. However, finding Icelandic mysteries with English translations is enough to impress me, it's a great site to find gems that your patrons might never otherwise come across. --David Piening
Cozy Mystery.com: This weekend, I happened to be visiting a friend, and in the midst of a conversation with her mother who is also a librarian, her mother expressed how much she enjoys reading mysteries, but she doesn't enjoy ones that are too violent, graphic, or "thrilling." Luckily, I was able to tell her about a book that I had just read for this class, but it kind of got me wondering about where I could find information for similar books. Doing some research, I stumbled across this website, Cozy-Mystery.com. Fans of Murder She Wrote or Agatha Christie's Miss Marple would be able to find similar stories on this webpage. Authors can be browsed by name, with lists of their works provided. These lists of titles then link to corresponding Amazon pages. However, if you want to read reviews, the website's creater also has a link to her blog by the same name. Another link allows you to discover cozy-mysteries by theme, which I find can be much more thorough than genre, for not only are your typical genre/themes listed like historical, paranormal, etc., but more specific themes are given such as animal themes (like cats), cooking themes, hobbies (like quilting, crosswords, even NASCAR), or even professions (if you want your sleuth to be an amateur or a bookstore owner). I find this type of breakdown to be really helpful when trying to help find a book based on mood or specific interests.
Also, one other thing I liked about this website/blog, there is also a tab for a list of free or cheap Kindle books, with links listed by date posted. --Jamie Cox
The Mystery Guide at Vernon Area Public Library District (VAPLD) is quite an extensive guide issued by a public library. A menu on the left side directs readers to various mystery awards sites, such as the Edgar Awards and the Agatha Awards. The top menu selections offer a great sub-genre breakdown, such as paranormal, culinary, or international mysteries. Thumbprints of book covers appear next to books, and the site is user-friendly. I'm a bit disappointed that the last update was November 22, 2013. This site appears straight-forward and thorough; a most impressive site for a public library to have compiled. --Beth Shapiro
The Mystery Reader.com: I did a little searching for an RA tool, as I'm not often one to look into mystery novels or thrillers. This site seems to be helpful for those searching for a new thrilling read. At first I found the site hard to figure out and had to click in a few places before I got the hang of things, so it's perhaps not designed in the most user friendly way. However, they have their picks broken up according to subgenres, such as "Police/Detective," "Suspense," "Cozy," "Historical," and "Romantic Suspense." This is especially helpful, as there are a lot of subgenres in this particular category. A person who reads feel-good mild mysteries won't want a recommendation for a particularly violent serial killer thriller. I can see myself recommending this site to someone who is an avid mystery fan who really has no interest in reading outside the genre. --Amy Bailey
MysteryNet.com is a reource I found when I was looking up information on one of the authors I read this week, Dashiell Hammett. It is not the widest in scope of RA resources and definitely skews toward the classics of the genre, with some representation of more contemporary authors. It hasn't been updated in a while (the awards lists only seem to go to 2004...). It does have essays on mystery writing and authors, and some of them do focus on particular subgenres with write-ups that give authors and titles within them. In short, this is a good resource for someone unfamiliar with the genre to brush up and get an overview/background, but it is somewhat lacking in depth and currency to be a source to consult when a patron is right there looking for the next great book. --Hebah Amin-Headley
Myster Book Lovers: This site is set up to look like a book’s table of contents with “chapters” devoted to authors, reviews, favorite quotes, etc. It’s a very interesting site with lots of good information. It’s not as extensive as “Stop, You’re Killing Me!” but definitely worth keeping bookmarked for future reference.
Stop! You're Killing Me!: This site allows users to search by author or character and lists series order, as well as any non-series books written by the author. It also divides authors and characters into subgenres and provides readalikes on a handful of popular authors. Users can also view lists of series/characters by job, location, time period, and ethnicity. The main downside of this site is that it doesn't provide any summary or synopsis of each title - clicking on the name of the title takes you to its Amazon page. I think this would be a good site for patrons who are already regular readers of the mystery genre, but I don't know if I would recommend it to someone who is just dabbling in the mystery genre. --Tori Lyons
Mystery Fanfare, a mystery blog by Janet Rudolph, editor of Mystery Readers Journal compiled a list of “50 Blogs for Mystery Readers." This list is a resource for more resources for mystery readers and librarians alike. Each entry includes a short description which can be especially handy for this genre with resources aimed at a variety of audiences (writes, publishers, readers) and an extensive and ever-growing set of sub-genres. Rudolph features her own blog at #2. --Aubrey Seavey
Three great papers that give information on a few different Mystery related genres:
This covers the genre of True Crime. First there is an explanation of what True Crime is, why people read it, some well known authors, how to talk with fans, and last a few extra tips. I like the section with extra tips because it's stuff you don't necessarily think about like awards related to True Crime and other similar genres.
Thriller and Suspense
Basically the same layout as the True Crime one. What is Thriller and Suspense, why do people like it, what are some popular titles, popular authors, how to talk to fans, and extra tips.
In the extra tips I thought it was interesting that they suggest you not suggest the first book in a series because often times the characters aren't as fully developed as they are later in the series, if the person is interested enough they can go back and start from the beginning. I guess this would work well if they aren't missing out on any important plot points by skipping a book or two.
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Science Fiction and FantasyBest Fantasy Books: I am going to have to third or fourth or however many other people have already testified for this site. What an amazing resource for both those overwhelmed by an apparently daunting genre for the non-fantasy-reader AND readers like me who love the genre and are looking for new reads. Something that can be daunting about helping a fan of fantasy, for a non-reader, can be moving beyond big names once someone has read Tolkien, Jordan, and Martin and wants something new, so this would be a great piece to reference, especially with the books sorted out by subgenres and standalones and top 25 picks.--Hebah Amin-Headley
My favorite way to keep track of fantasy books is by following fantasy author's blogs and / or Goodreads. For example - Patrick Rothfuss is an active contributor to Goodreads and rates books regularly - he has 783 books rated on Goodreads. So if a fan of Rothfuss came to the library asking for something similar to the Kingkiller Chronicles, I might point them towards his blog / Goodreads for ideas. Plus, you get the added benefit of getting a glimpse of the author themself when reading their blog / reviews. It's silly but when I personally dislike an author, I have a hard time enjoying their books. Orson Scott Card for example, is a bit of a jerk so my appreciation for his work has waned. Rothfuss, on the other hand, is a great humanitarian :) --Claire Presley
Wayne County Library's website: I had a hard time finding really good Sci-Fi/Fantasy RA tools, but I finally found a couple of really good suggestions from the Wayne County Library's website. They gave a link to SFFWorld, which is a really nice website that has tons of reviews for science fiction and fantasy books. You can read official reviews, author reviews, and reader reviews. They also keep up on Sci-Fi/Fantasy news and announce new books and award nominees and winners. It would be nice if there were an easier way to search by sub-genre or type of work, but it would be a good place to get some ideas for recommendations and keep up with new books. --Ashley Anstaett
Worlds Without End describes itself as "a fan web site, and a growing online community, dedicated to identifying, reading and sharing the best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror novels the genre has to offer. We don't want you to ever have to read a bad book again." On first glance, the website design seems overly busy and a bit overwhelming, but that's because it has a ton of resources for fantasy, sci-fi, and horror readers. To list just a few: lists of award winners, lists of series books, book reviews by the site's users, descriptions of subgenres and lists of books within that subgenre, a BookTrackr that members (site membership is free) can use to keep track of their reading, author interviews, a blog, discussion forums and much more. It's definitely the most exhaustive sci-fi/fantasy/horror resources I've come across and one that a fan of those genres could easily lose themselves in for a few hours without even realizing it. --Gwen Gilpin
Libguide from Miami Dade College: There is a staggering array of science-fiction and fantasy book websites out there. Many of them are awful. They have black screens filled with bad space-themed clip art, neon colored text, and very little worthy content. Others are pretty good. However, I found www.allreaders.com to be one of the more useful. The composition of the site is very bare-bones. It is incredibly easy to navigate. At the top of the page are two navigation menus: one is for books, and the other is for movies. Each menu is subdivided by genre. When I navigated to the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre, I was presented with one choice. I had to choose a letter of the alphabet that would contain a Sci-Fi/fantasy author's name. I chose the "G" for Gaiman. The "G" was then further subdivided into smaller groups: GA-GD, GE-GL, etcetera. Once I found the list of authors in the subcategory, it was a very manageable list. There were about 5 or 6 reviews of different Gaiman titles. Each review showed the first few sentences with the option to click for more. I really liked the simplicity of the setup. The reviews were thorough without being too long. When all is said and done, there are a great many authors featured on the website. I think this would be very helpful as a reader's advisory tool. There were aspects of the site I didn't like. First of all, I found the advertisements distracting. Perhaps it was because I was looking at the site on a tablet, but the ads fell right in between the reviews, and since the style of the website is so simple, and the ads were as well, it was difficult at first to distinguish between the two. The ads also distracted me from seeing, until I really looked, that there is an author/title lookup. Until I saw that, I was afraid that the site would be pretty useless, as many readers remember titles but not authors. Once I did find this feature, I was able to type in a title, and I was given a short list of books with the search term in their title as well as who wrote those books.Another shortcoming of the site was the lack of extra material related to science fiction and fantasy. For instance, many of the sites I found had lists of helpful websites, lists of authors' websites, links to helpful information, interviews with prominent authors. This site has one link entitled "Trade links with us!" that had a very spartan list of sites people had submitted that they felt were useful or were simply related to books or writing sci-fi. The absence of more sophisticated information makes this site a very focused advisory tool. Without these features, the only reason a person would really need to use this site as opposed to amazon or goodreads is if they were looking specifically for a review rather than a simple summary.Another feature of the site that I found relatively useless was a listing of recent discussions. The topic of the message board--author, title, or reviewer--was listed and each topic linked me back to the message board. I don't really find message boards useful. They are not usually used for a person to express thought that adds to the discourse on the finer points of literature. These message boards were no different.Finally, my final complaint about the site is that there weren't any credentials for the reviewers. I was able to find out what other authors they had written reviews for, but there was not information given to explain who the reviewers are, where they work, if they write for anyone else, or if there is any reason their opinion should be viewed as more substantive that anyone else's.
By and large, I think this is a useful site for readers who want to browse authors and look at some quick reviews. Beyond that, I wouldn't say it is the best place to find information about science fiction and fantasy novels.----Liz Aleshunas, Ashley Nixon, and Sharon Tucker
The Hugo Awards: Sci-Fi and fantasy are kind of my thing :) The resource that I often use to find great books in these two genres is the Hugo Award winners and finalists. I have enjoyed the vast majority of Hugo winners that I have read, maybe with the exception of Ringworld by Larry Niven...it was just "okay" in my opinion; it wasn't Dune or anything. Anyway, most of the great works of sci-fi will be on this list. Enjoy! --Bethany Neuart
SciFan: One thing I liked about the site is it allows you to search by year of release, themes, authors, series, classics, and for the newest releases in science fiction and fantasy. This opens up a lot of different doors for finding the most possibilities for a good read. Unfortunately, the site did not seem up to date. The most recent post from the "news" section was from May 2010, and the post before that was from 2008. Additionally, when I searched for new titles from March 2014, it only gave me one title. This site doesn't seem to be the most well-suited for those looking for new science fiction. However, the information was very detailed when searching for older or classic science fiction, and pointed readers to the various places they could acquire a book for which they are searching. It even linked to the best price available from Amazon.com. Though this is a promising site, I would probably be hesitant to use it in a situation with an actual patron due to its lack of currency. --Amy Bailey
Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB): According to the webpage, it is a collaborative catalog for science fiction, fantasy, and horror and features It links together various types of bibliographic data including "author bibliographies, publication bibliographies, award listings, magazine content listings, anthology and collection content listings, and forthcoming books.
The database can be searched by ISBN, Publisher, Series Name, Title, Name, Date of Publication, Award or Tag. There are also directory pages that include awards, publishers, magazines and authors. --Jenny Sutherland
Fantastic Fiction: Allows users to search for an author, provides a list of authors who write in that field, and you can view books by genre. After selecting a book to view, it brings you to a synopsis page, what reviewers say about the work, links to buy a copy in a variety of formats, and some "similar books by other authors" on a scroll. While the backcolor is distracting, a good site for finding not only science fiction, but also other related genre.
Best Fantasy Books: I know that Amy already posted this site, but it was one I found, and none of the others I found were as good as this one, in my opinion.
I like all of the lists this site has. I think it would be good for both librarians and patrons to use. Personally, I think the site could be set up a little better--there is a LOT of scrolling involved. This site offers many different lists about best sci fi books, best standalone works, best series, etc. There is also a forum where users can interact with each other, which I thought was neat. Overall a great resource! --Jillian Frasher
Science Fiction and Fantasy Readers' Advisory: The Librarian's Guide to Cyborgs, Aliens, and Sorcerers (ALA Readers Advisory Series): This is a book written by Derek M Buker, and published by ALA, covering science fiction and fantasy readers advisory. What I like about this tool is the way that it is written. It is funny and enjoyable, and written for the librarian who knows absolutely nothing about the science fiction or fantasy genres (meaning that is it is written for me). There is even a fun little quiz you can take to see how much you already know about these genres. There are short chapters on different subgenres with rrecommendations for books, many of which include short summaries, and an appendix with lists of award winning books from the genre.
I found this book to be easy to use and fun to read through. It was well laid out and easy to navigate so I could see this being easy to use at the reference desk. One problem with it is that it is a bit dated. It was published in 2002 so it doesn't account for the many books published since then. However, as a resource for librarians wanting to learn more about these genres i can see it being vry useful. MU Libraries have a print copy and an electronic copy that I will link below in case any of you want to check them out. --Christina Virden
Curated Fantasy Books : I stumbled across this website this week, and I've already bookmarked it so that I can use it again. This website is geared to provide 9 subgenres of fantasy to explore. I found the site to be very-well ordered and easy to navigate. Links are provided to locate a site to purchase books, but one of my favorite features is that if a book is part of a series, a "series" button is provided which will direct you to a page that lists all of the books in that particular series. Short descriptions of each subgenre are provided, as well as a simple star-rating and summary of each book. Here's the site's own description of itself:
"Whether you read ebooks or printed fantasy, it is hard to find that next great read.
Here at CuratedFantasyBooks.com, we suggest only the best fantasy books, selected by a human curator, and organized by specific fantasy category. Unlike many sites on the web, we can’t be gamed and we can’t be bought. Imagine entering the world’s best fantasy bookstore, with table after table filled with great suggestions. Find the books that you will really love reading. Enjoy!"
I also discovered that there are other "curated" sites for other genres, including Science Fiction at http://www.curatedsciencefiction.com/. Only 6 subgenres for science fiction are given, but the layout and format is the same. Also, apparently, the site is looking for more "curators" to help others find more good books to read. Sounds like a great way for a readers' advisory librarian to brush up his/her skills. --Jamie Cox
Best Fantasy Books: Best Fantasy Books.com is an excellent tool for finding all types of fantasy books. This site lists books by the type of fantasy the reader might want to be immersed in: dragons, sorcery, Tolkien clones, military fantasy, etc. You name it, they’re got a list for it. This site leaves no stone unturned. --Amy Whitener
SFSite : Science Fiction and Fantasy lovers will find this site to be very helpful in finding book reviews, excerpts, news, etc. for favorite science fiction and fantasy titles. The site is maintained regularly by several authors of the genres. There are tabs to help the user find information quickly and easily. It is a very thorough and user-friendly site. --Amy Whitener
Locus Magazine : For diehard sci-fi fans I'd recommend Locus Magazine and its accompanying website. The website contains reviews, award lists, and the most up-to-date news in the genre. It offers links to authors, publishers, and booksellers. One drawback that I notice is that some of the reviews are not online, and readers would need to refer to the hard copy of the magazine. --Beth Shapiro
Fantasy Cafe: When searching online for tools to use to find fantasy books, I came across the Fantasy Cafe. From reading the About section, I learned that this blog is "dedicated to reviewing and discussing speculative fiction books of all kinds". This includes both fantasy and science fiction titles. Blog posts vary from reviews of specific books (complete with the bloggers own rating as well as ratings from Amazon, LibraryThing, and Goodreads) to brief, unbiased description of titles under the heading "The Leaning Pile of Books". There is also a Review Index page where you can find reviews by title or author as well as links on the right side of each page to a multitude of author websites and related blogs. I think this website would be good for readers who are already fans of the fantasy and/or science fiction genres. The wealth of information appears useful but perhaps overwhelming to those who are not avid readers of these genres. However, I do like that the blog includes a variety of ratings for each reviewed title and as well as cover images.
Best Science Fiction Books: is a science fiction readers advisory site that has a great deal to offer and a lot of unexplored potential. It is very ambitious in scope, with headings in place that apparently will connect to a great deal of supplemental material to flesh out the site, but as of now many of those headings only lead to "page not found" messages. What it has, however, is a list for nearly everything. It starts with Top 25 Best Science Fiction Books of all Time, as well as 25 Best Series', Top 25 Underrated, and the top 25 of several popular subgenres (a total of a dozen top 25 lists). It includes a description of the category or subgenre, detailed annotation of each entry, a list of similar books, and then, if you don't trust the website's judgment, there is a supplementary crowdsourced list of the same subject. It also has a list of 55 subgenres each of which link to a list of popular titles in that particular category. Along with each is a detailed definition of what the subgenre is, its common features, and again, an independent crowdsourced ranking of the subgenre's works.
I love this site. I just wish its scaffolding was fully fleshed out. The only other complaint I have is that each page with its list is frightfully long. One scrolls forever to get to the bottom and there is no mechanism to quickIy go back to the top. I think it would do better with linked pages (although there would be a lot of them). --David Piening
Fluent in Fantasy: The Next Generation by Diana Tixier Herald and Bonnie Kunzel:This book, published in 2008, is part of the Genreflecting series of RA resources. It is divided into over a dozen subgenres, with further distinctions of sub-subgenres in most chapters. After describing the subgenre, it provides extensive lists of notable works and series with short descriptions of each. Indexes in the back of the book allow users to look up specific authors, titles, or subjects. The subject index would be useful to readers looking for books that include very specific elements, such as gargoyles or Caribbean folklore. I am doing the genre presentation on this genre, so I have looked at a number of RA tools in the genre and this book is probably my favorite. It is quite comprehensive and makes me want to read a lot more books in this genre! --Tori Lyons
SFFWorld, short for Sci Fi Fantasy world is an online community for readers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. The site includes book reviews, author interviews, and articles by authors on a wide variety of topics, and even a discussion forum. The site is user friendly, graphically pleasing, and combines the best of a variety of fan-site formats (as most fans of anything will have a favorite/most reliable site for each facet of fandom—one for a discussion forum, one or more for reviews, one for author interviews, etc). Best of all, SFFWorld categorizes their reviews, allowing browsers to select recommendations from official review sources, readers, or authors reviewing other authors. --Aubrey Seavey
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Young Adult Books and Graphic NovelsHickey Picks - Young Adult Readers Advisory : I was sucked in by the name of this blog. It was too cute not to click. Basically this is a blog containing only book reviews but they do seem to be very good book reviews. Many of them include discussion questions that librarians, teachers, or parents might want to use when discussing these books with teens. The blog is also searchable. The thing that I don't like about this blog is that browsing is difficult. There is no menu for finding reviews by subgenre and there aren't separate pages (just endless scrolling). --Christina Virden
The Book Smugglers is a blog that covers YA and Sci-Fi. They do frequent posts reviewing different titles and send out monthly email newsletters. Even if I'm not reading YA I enjoy their reviews They are detailed, include genre descriptions, and a interest summary. --Jenny Sutherland
A Mighty Girl: "Empowering graphic novels starring girls and women": "The world's largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls". It includes a wide range of graphic novels, from classics like Persepolis and Ghost World to biographies of famous women like Rosa Parks and Helen Keller, to superhero comics like Ms. Marvel. Each entry includes a brief summary of the book, a recommended age range, and a link to purchase on Amazon. Overall it looks like a pretty good resource for girls wanting to break into reading graphic novels! --Gwen Gilpin
Pinterest YA Board: a pretty good idea! The Thomas Branigan Memorial Library in Las Cruces, NM has a Pinterest board for Young Adult Readers Advisory. It's very visual, with cover images of YA books and short blurbs about the book by the library staff. Additionally, it includes reading lists from other sites, like this The United States of YA list, featuring a YA book from every state, from epicreads.com. --Gwen Gilpin
Buzzfeed: 25 books for Adults who Don't Read YA: the BuzzFeed does a really good job of promoting YA books. They have all sorts of lists like the one I am posting. They also had a list that referred readers to adult books based one what they liked as children, and YA books that should get made into movies. Pretty cool stuff! --Bethany Neuart
Teenreads.com is a resource I return to again and again for young adult literature. Since I work in a school library, the information is especially helpful when I am coming up with titles for students and teachers. The site is visually appealing and easy to navigate. Its home page is a preview of the rest of the site, so everything on the homepage is covered in depth on another page of the site.
The site offers author interviews. One author is featured each month on the homepage, but there are author interviews archived back through 2006, plus a couple interviews from 2001. The authors are searchable by name. The site also offers book reviews that are searchable by genre, title, author, and date. If you don’t know what book you’re looking for, you can also browse the reviews. They are featured in chronological order starting with the most recent. Each book offers a summary that is viewable on the Reviews page, and the review can be accessed by clicking on the book title.
If there is a contest related to young adult literature, you might also find it on this site. Usually the winner gets a free copy of a book related to the contest. In addition to contests, there are also regular features such as Books on Screen, Cool & New Books, Adult Books, Blog, and Quote of the Day. Another feature is Videos that offers author interviews and book trailers that relate to YA literature. There is also a monthly poll that readers can participate in. Links to the newest poll and the results to the previous poll can be found on the home page. There are extensive archived polls as well. The feature entitled Word of Mouth is a message board of selected posts submitted by viewers. I liked this feature because the entire message board is not shown. The less insightful comments have been sifted out, so what’s left is more pithy. Another favorite feature is the Coming Soon section. It lists what is new during the current month, and I was also able to click on the next two months’ lists as well. The lists are not exhaustive, but the editors of the site state that the books featured are ones that caught their eye and seemed interesting to them.
I have a weird love of lists, and this site nurtures this love. There is a section of the site entitled “Ultimate Reading List.” It is an 18-page list that is overhauled yearly, and any changes are noted. A site user can access a pdf of the full list or a web page that is classified by genre.
I really find all the facets of this site useful, and I like the fact that it is fairly extensively archived. It allows me to find books that might be a few years old but are still good. Not all library collections offer what is brand new, so the ability to pull books from previous years is important.
Finally, there is a social media presence on the site. Teenreads.com has a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, and has a board on Pinterest. Anyone who is plugged in to the YA literature world can really use this site as a good source of information. --Sharon Tucker
YA Reads is ran by Nikki and Ivy who met on a Twilight fansite. One has a degree in technology, the other in journalism. Their educational background shines in the form and function of the site. It’s a clean site with great-looking graphics that I can recommend to teens. The posts and reviews are insightful and informative as well as enjoyable to read. The teaser quotes provided at the end of review posts are excellent choices; sometimes those, more than anything, made me want to pick up a book. Some of the features of the site included author interviews, giveaways, book club, yaFlicks (reviews of young adult movies), searchable archives (including searching by genre), as well as social media features – you can get updates from the site on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, or good old fashioned e-mail. A feature I liked were posts where readers got to vote on what books the bloggers will review next. I'm also subscribed to get email updates, and I like getting updates on posts called "Waiting on Wednesdays" which keeps me updated on what YA books are coming out. Overall, I’ve kept this blog bookmarked in my internet browser. I’ve found the reviews fun to read, and I’ve grown to value the bloggers’ opinions.
ATN Booklists: I came across a pretty decent site for Youth/YA Readers' Advisory in ATN Booklists. It's a wikispace, and pretty bare-bones, so it might be hard for them to attract the short attention span crowd, but there is some good stuff there. ATN contains a large number of reading lists organized in a variety of ways, including by grade level. In fact, on the 'genre' page it has about links to about 40-45 lists organized by grade level, then about 100 links to lists which are just named by genre/subgenre, from Autobiographies to Historical Mysteries to Feminist Fairy Tales. Farther down the sidebar there is a link to the 'Themes', where there are booklists for over 350 theme descriptors! The majority of the material can be classified as youth resources, but there is significant YA content as well. It aint' fancy, but there is a lot to look at when you get into it. --David Piening
Goodreads Listopia: 500 Essential Graphic Novels. I love the Goodreads Listopia lists. Skimming them is a great way for me to instantly double my reading queue. There are several great lists pertaining to graphic novels; I have snagged the list for this post. A quick skim of the first page contains many great choices, widely renowned in the genre (Alan Moore, Gaiman, Craig Thompson, Spiegelman). This is a great starting place for librarians who don't know much about the medium as the choices on here represent a wide range of story tones and subjects. --Hebah Amin-Headley
YALSA's Teen Book Finder: While this isn't a website, I thought this would be appropriate for the YA crowd. YALSA has an app called "YALSA's Teen Book Finder." The app has a feature where you can put books in a "favorites" list, a "hot picks" section for current popular titles, and a search feature where the user can search by author, title, series, awards, booklist, year, and genre. Once finding a book you can also use the "find near me" feature, and it will show you the nearest location with the title (from what I've used it, it just always pulls up the local library, each title I've used I know the library actually has, so I'm not sure how accurate that really is, but still thought it was a cool feature.)
I think this would be a great resource for teens and youth services librarians alike. I think making an app like this for teens is absolutely perfect in today's technology driven world.
The Comics Journal: I've been following the "Reviews" section of The Comics Journal for some time now. It reviews single issue comics in addition to trades, which means you would have to be careful, when working in a library, that you are looking at the reviews for trades and graphic novels. That being said, it reviews mostly trades, and the Comics Journal provides reviews of all different types of comics. It reviews its fair share of traditional, superhero-esque comics but it also includes a lot, not even more, comics that would appeal even to non-comic fans. I do wish that it were easier to sort through the reviews. It would be nice to be able to organize them by subject, but it is easy enough to search by author and artist, and browsing the reviews is very entertaining. The photos are informative and there is a good blurb about each one even before clicking on the full review It is also very current, updated frequently, so if the librarian is presented with a voracious comic reader, they may be able to recommend something new that will suit the tastes of the patron. --Ashley Anstaett
Guys Read: This is a site that focuses on the young adult guys in the world. There are several things that I like about this tool.
First of all, the page is full of books that are chosen to appeal to teenage boys. You can search by keyword, find similar books, listen to audiobooks, etc. The first page gives topics like "how to build stuff" and then lists books that fit there. While some people go on about how stereotypical this might be, having "boy books" and "girl books", the truth is that there are different appeal factors for these two groups, especially in the YA age range, and teen boys typically are not the ones curled up on the sofa with a novel (there are exceptions, of course. I know many a book touting guy). Another thing that I like about this site is that it has "spotlights" on postivie role models. YA boys need to know that there are men who think it is important to write and read books. Men that they admire and respect. This goes far in helping struggling readers with a "who cares" attidude.
This sources has many great suggestions in many genre, reading lists, articles, and a good search feature. --Daniela Gemignani
Forever Young Adult: I wanted to mention a blog I check out pretty frequently- Forever Young Adult. I would say this website would probably appeal more to adults that read YA than teens but really either group would probably get something out of it. It has both YA book reviews from adult reader as well as other non-book content. I would say this is more a "just for fun" type blog but you can still get some good book reviews from it. The book reviews are written in a fun way that makes it enjoyable to read them. I read a lot of YA so often times I go to this website to see if they have a review for a book I'm interested in reading to see what they have to say. They review mostly new books but there are some classic YA book reviews too. --Liz Aleshunas
Stacked: This site is well maintained by two librarians and has lists for all types of young adult genres. By clicking on any link along the left side of the screen, the user will find reviews about the latest books in a particular genre. There is SO MUCH information to be found on this site. You will not only find YA fiction, but also non-fiction, pop culture, the latest trends in teen library spaces (think 3-D printing), etc. This would be a good site to bookmark and use regularly for help with YA programming and book ordering. --Amy Whitener
RA Tools Graphic Novels: To fill your desire for the next great thing, check out this site. It has plenty of links to help you find the perfect graphic novel based on favorite authors, series, reviews, etc. Also, there are plenty of ways to get socially connected to this site, so you will always have the information at your fingertips. This site is maintained by a group of six avid readers that call themselves “Book Reporters”. They seem to love what they do and have an extensive knowledge base of the genre. --Amy Whitener
YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults: The Young Adult Library Services Association, or YALSA, puts out a yearly list of the best titles published for young adults in the previous 16 months for young people ages 12 to 18. They've done this since 1996. The lists contain a brief synopsis of the book and basic information, including price, which is helpful if you're library is using these lists for collection development. While this list is great for staying current, it's not so good for looking into lists of classic books or books published before 96, because the archive only goes back that far. The print version, Best Books for Young Adults, is far more detailed, but it is out of date, as it was published in 2007. The two publications are probably best served being used in conjunction with one another. A con of the online publication is that it doesn't break up anything into genre or subgenre, so it would be difficult to look for something to read in a particular genre. --Amy Bailey
While the Teen Librarian Toolbox is a great overall YA librarian asset, I think it would be particularly useful for non-YA librarians. It contains a lot of reviews, author interviews, and themed lists covering topics like read-alikes for popular television shows or books with positive depictions of consensual sex (part of an ongoing series of posts about opening up dialogue with teens about abuse and consent). As it is in touch with teen cultural reference points and issues, I think it is a good resource for librarians who want to gain some cultural context for helping teens find good reads. Bonus: if you love YA literature yourself, I promise your to-read list is going to grow. A lot. --Hebah Amin-Headley
No Flying No Tights: I first heard about this website last semester while taking the Youth Services class and immediately thought it was a great graphic novels resource. No Flying No Tights is a blog with graphic novel review divided by Kids, Teens, and Adults, with each of those categories further divided into such genres as fantasy, historical fiction, nonfiction, etc. There is also a Staff Picks section with reviews under categories like Classic Fantastic, Must Have, and a "Best of" for the kids, teens, and adults categories. There is a search option that I suppose you could use to find reviews on a specific title, but I see this more is a website for browsing and being exposed to the vast amount of graphic novels available. One more thing - under the section Comics 101 there is a page entitled Why Should I Read Comics? - that information could be useful in creating library displays and using under techniques to "lure" patrons who are anti-graphic novels to give them a chance. :-) --Rachel Schremp
The Barnes & Noble Graphic Novels: contains sections that identify bestsellers, new releases, and books which are coming soon. The menu also breaks down graphic novels into specific types, such as horror, manga, gay and lesbian, and other. Further, it lists author picks and series. One weakness to the site is that while I can search on B&N's "over 3 million products," I cannot search on graphic novels only. --Beth Shapiro
YALSA's Best Graphic Novels of the Year: lists YALSA’s picks for the best graphic novels of the year and features lists going back to 2007. There are lists for the Top 10 each year, as well as a longer list of all recommended titles. The lists are broken into Non-Fiction and Fiction, and a very short (generally just one sentence) description is provided for each title. While the lists is specifically targeted towards 12-18 year olds, I believe that many of the titles would appeal to adults, as well. If you’re looking for detailed descriptions of plot summaries or if you’re searching for specific genres, this is not the tool for you. But it’s great for someone who’s curious about graphic novels but isn’t sure where to start. --Tori Lyons
Weiner, Stephen, and Keith R. A. DeCandido. The 101 Best Graphic Novels: A Guide to This Exciting New Medium. New York: NBM, 2006. Print.
This awesome print resource offers a short chapter on the history of comics and graphic novels. Each recommended title features the original artwork and a short annotation describing the plot of the title and who it appeal to. I also appreciated that the authors created a rating system for their recommendations including: C for all ages, Y for ages 12-15, Y+ for ages 16-19 and A for 20+. --Ashley Nixon
Rolling Stone magazine recently featured an article through their online magazine that would serve as an excellent resource for librarians in addition to graphic novel fans/readers. Titled “Drawn Out: 50 Best Non-Superhero Graphic Novels”, the list features pictures of the covers (arguably an important aspect of graphic-novel RA) and a short annotation on each of the editors’ top 50. I personally would like to see more library web catalogs feature genre guides that more closely resemble online magazine articles like this and those that can be found on Paste magazine’s online site. User-generated content in catalogs and editorials by librarians could learn a lot from online review formats, features, and graphics for music and movies to augment readership. --Aubrey Seavey
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Westerns and Historical Fiction
Wow, the Historical Novel Society is one of the nicest online RA tools I have come across. Aesthetically it is just lovely, and so intuitive! The home page is simple, displaying recently reviewed historical fiction novels. It lets you browse a bunch of different ways, by time period, subject (military, medieval, women, etc.) and genres within historical fiction (mystery, romance, etc.). It's a really nicely designed site that has a lot of great information! --Ashley Anstaett
Goodreads Genre Page-Tudor
I am sort of obsessed with all things Tudor (I can't explain why), including Tudor historical fiction and this is one of my favorite places to find it. I have found some blogs relating to Tudor fiction specifically but nothing quite as extensive as the Goodreads page. It has some great book lists that can help you find books by specific authors, or about different historical figures or events that took place during the period. There is even a YA list for younger Tudor lovers. There are book groups that you can join to connect with others and discuss books. --Christina Virden
List compiled by a club that enjoys all things Western. --Daniela GemignaniReadersadvice.com: I found a site called readersadvice.com that I found very useful for the historical fiction genre. The homepage of the site offers several indexes: author, series, and genre. I chose the genre index which led me to the historical fiction genre, among others. What I like about the breakdown of the historical fiction genre is that it offers so many different types of genres. I could choose from different time periods (Middle Ages, 17th Century), locations (Ancient Egypt), events (Civil War, WWI), characters (Robin Hood, Jack the Ripper) subgenres (historical mysteries, historical romances, Dixie Triumphant), and themes (swashbuckling adventures, pirates).
After I chose a subgenre, I was happy to see a list arranged alphabetically by author of books that fall into the category I selected. An exception was the historical biographies which consisted of fictionalized biographies of historical figures. These books are listed under the names of the people they are about. Along with the lists of authors and titles is a link to Amazon.com that allows the reader to see a summary of the book (and, of course, purchase it).
Some of the broader subgenres, like historical romances, are broken down even further by time period and location of the story. For instance, there are links for Regency romances, Highland romances, and Native American romances, as well as American romances delineated by region and time period. Other subgenres provide links to related genres, like Historical Mysteries: Victorian & 19th Century and Psycho-Killer Thrillers under the subgenre of Jack the Ripper.
While I am sure the lists are not exhaustive, I am confident that the site is useful for anyone who needs a quick list of suggestions for a library patron. The clearly cut categories of historical fiction make finding the appropriate niche easy. This is invaluable when a patron wants a suggestion quickly.
The homepage also features a section entitled “Reader’s Advisory Tips & Sources” which contains links for some of the genres. There is only one link under the Historical Fiction genre, and I would like to see more so readers could explore those subgenres further. However, some genres, like Romance, have several links for additional information and browsing.
Also on the homepage is a section listing the “Big Names” in the latest fiction. While these books are not subdivided by genre, each title has a link labeled “similar titles” next to it that takes the reader to the genre or subgenre under which that book falls. This page of the site reveals a pretty major downfall of the site. It hasn’t been updated since December 2011. Different pages of the site were last updated at different times, all between 2010 and 2011 as far as I can tell, but that’s where it ends. This is a great site, but it requires quite a bit of time-consuming updating that hasn’t been done.
Overall, I think this is a good site for browsing among genres, but not if you are looking for the latest releases. --Sharon Tucker
NPR's Best Historical Fiction: The introduction to the list tells about how the genre has experienced a resurgence in recent years due in part to authors like Hillary Mantel (a Booker Prize winner).
...and Another NPR List of Historical Fiction: I like this list because it intersperses more literary titles in historical fiction with romantic historical fiction, featuring books like When Beauty Tamed the Beast with the typical busty woman/six pack abs man cover :) --Bethany Neuart
The Historical Novel Society : The website of the organization, self-described as "a literary society devoted to promoting the enjoyment of historical fiction." They have a print magazine, hold regular conferences, host the website, and have a social media presence. It is an organization that historical fiction lovers can join. The website is very well organized and easy to use, and you don't have to be a member to access book reviews and reading lists online. When you click on a book review, it gives you a lot of information in addition to the basic review. One aspect I thought was very helpful is that it lists the time period in which the book takes place. The review of Katherine Paterson's "Preacher's Boy" listed it as in the Edwardian Period in the 20th century, so it is extremely specific in this regard. It also gives any further information on genre. For example, "Preacher's Boy" is not only historical fiction, but it is considered Children/Young Adult. Other helpful information listed include number of pages, formats available, publisher, year published, price, and ISBN #.
One thing that sets this website apart is that it has various resources about the genre under the "Guides" tab. Such titles include "Defining the Genre," and booklists for specific aspects of historical fiction such as "Alternate History," "Philosophical Historical Novels" and "Christian Historical Fiction." When I cliced on "Ancient Rome," it look me to the collected reviews for 272 novels that deal specifically with Anicient Rome. There's also a section that lists upcoming historical fiction novels to look out for. Browsing is super easy on this site, as there are easy to spot links at the top to browse by Author, Genre, Period, Century, and Publisher. This is definitely a site I will keep bookmarked and will refer any historical fiction fans to, because I can see it being a great help for someone who's looking for their next great historical read. --Amy Bailey and Tori Lyons
Mostly Fiction: This website actually covers a variety of genres but I just looked at the section for historical fiction. The main page has a huge list of "recently" published hardcover books (as well as a link to "new" in paperbacks). On the left side of the page is a very large list of popular historical fiction authors. If you page down a bit they have a list of Pulitzer Prize winners by year. This website seems like it would be best as a browse for more info type website. It would be good if you didn't know what in historical fiction you might be interested in and you want a large variety of options. The authors list doesn't have any rhyme or reason (it isn't in any order at all). And as far as I can tell this site is not kept up, the most recent book listings are from 2009 which is very disappointing. --Liz Aleshunas
American Cowboy is a magazine about all things concerning cowboys and western culture. On the website, you can find articles, events, history, music, food and drink, gear, and, yes, books. On the Books page, you can find a spot-lighted title, book reviews, and links to articles in past issues including editor's picks for the month, Spur Award winners, as well as book lists such as The Greatest: True Accounts of the Old West and Top 10 Western Books. I liked browsing through these links because they give the feeling that these are western books recommended by cowboys for cowboys (or at least fans of that culture). I also like that this website was more than just about western books; it's about all western/cowboy culture, and I think western booklovers would love this site as well. --Jamie Cox
Historical Fiction review is a site that that claims to cover "all time periods of American and International History". It was created on Blogspot, so it is a fairly simple blog-based resource. It has a number of links to "sites of interest", and the rest is a blog of book reviews. A helpful tool is on the sidebar, it has all the reviews on the site organized by topic including time frame, theme, and location. --David Piening
Western Fiction Review: Unlike most of the blogs I came across, this one is regularly updated. It has monthly posts dating back to 2008, so it has an impressively large collection of reviews. There is a search function, but users can't browse titles so that is a drawback. --Claire Presley
Best Western Books: From the name of this website, I expected there to be a lot more information but unfortunately this website is quite limited. This website was clearly created by a fan of the western genre, and while there are some great example of fan wesites with lots of useful RA content, this is not one of them. So far there are only two lists of recommended reads - 10 Top Non-Fiction Old West Books and Top 10 Western Novels. My thought is that perhaps the person who created this website is planning on adding additional lists, but since the site also allows comments and the first is from July 2012 I am not so sure that is the case. I can see how the two lists the website does have could be helpful for readers new to the western genre who want a place to start, especially the Top 10 Western Novels, but with so many other book recommendation sites out there are better options for librarians and patrons alike. --Rachel Schremp
The Historical Fiction list of the Library Booklists: breaks out lists by geography, eras, and intersecting genres (mystery, romance, etc.). For example, the first link under prehistoric historical fiction leads to a list on Trussel.com (last updated November of last year), which would be a great resource for the patron who comes up to the desk looking for something like Clan of the Cave Bear, for example. For a patron looking for war stories set in a particular era, the site refers to a great listfrom a library in Nebraska neatly sorted out by conflict. The Library Booklist bibliography even notes website/lists with older last-updated dates like 2000 or 2004, so you can rule out a list if you need more up-to-date resources. By randomly clicking links, I see that some of them are no longer active, but honestly, the sheer volume of the available links amply makes up for that. You can even find resources for children's and YA books by subject too. Pretty impressive. Searching for something specific isn't really an option, but there are enough lists to search that you should probably be able to find something useful. --Hebah Amin-Headley
The website for Western Writers of America is a good resource for award-winning westerns, particularly the Spur Awards. It's fairly bare-bones, just lists of the winners, but it can be paired with other resources to come up with a list of award-winners or help a patron who wants to read the award-winning stuff. --Hebah Amin-Headley
Historical Novels: "Over 5,000 Historical Novels Listed by Time and Place."
There are tabs along the left side of the homepage of this site to select a certain area or place to find titles. By clicking on one, you are taken to another page that can be long to scroll down, but there are links at the top that will jump you down the page to the next category you want. There is also an area to read reviews of certain titles, which you can also find through a time/place search.
There is no direct search feature, though, so if you were looking for a particular title, this could be slightly difficult. There is a page where you can find authors by last name, but there is no list of titles there. By clicking on the author's name you are directored to the author's page.
I do not think this is a good source for librarians necessarily, but I think it could be useful for patrons to use who are interested in the genre and want a way to browse books that take place in their favorite era or region. --Jillian Frasher
Goodreads' Book Browse :offers a variety of search options, such as, authors, read-alikes, reviews, and blogs. There is a search bar right at the top of the page to get the user started in finding just the right book. The site is more of an online magazine of book reviews and could be considered a “one-stop shop”. Users can access the site free-of-cost, or join for a monthly fee to enjoy additional benefits. --Amy Whitener
To find books by great western authors, such as: Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey, check out Western Authors. You can find a western based on categories, such as: traditional, mystery, romance, and young readers, and many others. You can also search by favorite author. There are links for photos and articles, along with a very extensive list of links to other online resources to keep the avid western reader engrossed. It is a very thorough site maintained by the eBook company Book Strand. --Amy Whitener
Women Writing the West is a beautiful site, representing a nonprofit association of writers promoting the Women's West. The association does require dues for some aspects, but other offerings are free, such as its recently issued, visually appealing catalog of members' books. Award listings are available, too. The association would likely provide great support for writers but also showcase new western works for readers who love this genre and are looking specifically for female authors. --Beth Shapiro
The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader is a blog by an avid reader who also posts to a website called Historical Tapestry—also recommended source for consistent stream of readers’ reviews of historical fiction. A 2010 blog entry at intrepid reader lists “100 All-Time Best Historical Fiction Books” grouped by time period (rather than ranking). Both the blogger and the posts readers have questioned the source of the list. However, this is an excellent source for a selection of titles for any historical time period perfect for a display or jumping off point for recommended reading lists and genre guides.
Hooper, Brad. Read On--Historical Fiction: Reading Lists for Every Taste. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2006. Print.
This title is a print resource that I really liked. I appreciated that the author listed his recommendations in chapters based on this genre’s appeal factors: setting, character, story, language and mood & atmosphere. Then each of those chapters was broken down into topics that might appeal to each reader. For example, the Character chapter was broken into subtopics including: Royalty Rules, A Large but Well Drawn Cast, Women with True Grit, Unlikely Heroes, From Here to There: The Story of Immigration. I think this would be a great resource for readers who like a very specific feel in the books that they read. --Ashley Nixon
The Historical Fiction Notebook blog describes itself as " a place for history, historical fiction, and other random reads". It includes book reviews, author interviews, themed reading lists ( a recent one was Olympics themed to coincide with the Sochi Olympics), twice yearly lists of best books and biggest disappointments, and a long list (some with reviews, many without) of all the historical fiction the blog author has read since 1995. --Gwen Gilpin
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Nonfiction, Cookbooks, and Biographies
Non-Fiction Connection : is just like Fiction Connection by Bowker except of course it covers non-fiction books. The homepage has the great feature of a slide show with word lists. The different word list selections include: topic, genre, setting, character, location, and timeframe. Each of these sections have a large list of words associated with them. For example if you look under selection of "Topic" you can find topics such as: music, race relations, religion, animals, sociology, sports, travel, etc. (the lists are pretty extensive). By selecting one of the topics you are then taken to a list of books on that topic. On the left hand section of the page there is a word web. This lists the topic you chose in the middle then lists a variety of associated topics on lines that extend out from the main topic. For example looking at the topic of Social history, you can also look at war, love, family, women, culture, experience, etc. The books they list allow you to look at a specific book but also look at similar titles related to that book. This is a great feature if you see a book you've already read and enjoyed and you want one that is similar to read next. On the right hand side of the page they give you a list to refine your results these include all the different selections from the word lists slide show on the homepage (genre, topic, location, etc.). Overall this website seems like a good starting point to explore for people interested in non-fiction but maybe not sure exactly what they want. The word lists are a great way to explore. I could see someone who wanted to find non-fiction books about the 1920s could easily explore by timeframe for books on this topic and be able to redefine exactly what they want easily. --Liz Aleshunas
Wyatt, N. (2007). The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction. Chicago: American Library Association.
This is a book that is written for librarians to help them understand non-fiction readers and provide better RA service. It is available through MU in both print and electronic format. I have looked at a couple of these books since starting this class and have found them to be very useful especially with genres that I am unfamiliar with, or those that are simply huge like nonfiction. They are well organized and generally enjoyable to read. I found this one to be no exception. There is a nice section discussing the barriers to providing non-fiction RA service and good descriptions of the different types of non fiction materials out there. There are also very good lists of recommended titles. I do wish the title lists were annotated though. This would be much more useful at the reference desk if that were the case. --Christina Virden
Nonfiction Reader’s Advisory Tool from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has a helpful page on their website at which is subtitled “Your Guide to Enjoyable Books.” The site reviews books for fiction, nonfiction, teen, and graphic novels. Within the nonfiction review page, there are 20 different subgenres of nonfiction that contain reviews. Each review is written by a staff member of one of the many branches of the library system. One feature I like is that if you see a review you like, you can email it to yourself or a friend. You can also write your own comments about the book if you are a cardholder with that library. The reviews are short and easily read and there is always a picture of the book’s cover.
Another feature that I like but am confused by is that under many of the reviews, there is a link where you can see more titles in that book’s sub-subgenre. However, the sub-subgenre it links to is different from any of the 20 subgenres listed under nonfiction. For instance, there is a nonfiction book about WWII, and the link it provides for books in a similar subgenre reads “War is Hell.” The problem is, while the link works, there is no way to get to that page unless you find the link next to a book. There are no sub-subgenres listed under the subgenre of History. I could not find a list of all the sub-subgenres anywhere.
I also could not find an archive of reviews, so I don’t think it’s possible to search for specific books. However, since the hosting site is a public library, it would be simple to search their catalog and find specific books that way. --Sharon Tucker
Entertainment Weekly: Ok, I know, it seems more focused on pop culture items, but I love reading the book reviews at the back of the magazine. They're quick to read, have an easy-to-understand rating system (A-F), and the biggest draw to me -- they inform me what books are the most buzzed about, including non-fiction & cookbooks. Since I'm subscribed to the magazine, I get a quick re-cap each week, of what books everybody is talking about. This week, I checked out EW's website for books. To me, the site is a little messy .... actually it's a lot messy to me, there's so much thrown at you on the Books home page. However, it does provides a best-seller list both for nonfiction and fiction. Plus, there's a page just for book trailers. Also, if you scroll down on the Books home page and click on "see more" under the Book Reviews listed, you'll be directed to EW's Book Review database . Here, you can search by title, by genre (there's so many!), or even by reviewer, which comes in handy if you trust one reviewer's opinion more than another. When I clicked on the Cooking/Home genre link, I was given a list of 92 titles which I could then sort by publishing date, grade/rating, or title.
Entertainment Weekly is not good as an in-depth readers' advisory tool for any specific genre or sub-genre, but it is a good tool to check out what titles are buzzed about or popular. --Jamie Cox
Some general lists for the top nonfiction:
Modern Library 100 Best Nonfiction
Time Magazine's List of 100 Best Nonfiction Books
The Librarian's Shelf, created by Cindy Grove, a librarian at Tewksbury Public Library in Massachusetts is primarily a Readers' Advisory by Book Review site, and focuses on nonfiction and christian fiction. The nice part of this site is the right side of the page, which has tag cloud subject searching and a dropdown search menu organized by Dewey Decimal Number(!!) There are not a huge number of reviews here but there are enough to make it useful. I might use it again next week for inspirational reads... --David Piening
BookSpace page for nonfiction lists: has links to a variety of nonfiction book lists, divided into numerous categories including Biographies and Memoirs, Humorous Nonfiction, True Crime, and many more. Clicking on one of the categories takes you to a list of relevant books, each complete with title, author, publication year, short summary, and cover image. As an added bonus for patrons of the Hennepin County Library, clicking on the title then takes you to that book's record in the library catalog. This is obviously a good reader's advisory resource for Hennepin County Library's patrons and librarians, but it could be useful for patrons and librarians anywhere in that it provides descriptions of numerous nonfiction titles in several categories, which in turn helps readers find nonfiction materials that appeal to their interests. --Rachel Schremp
NYTimes Cookbooks: lists all the cookbooks reviewed by the NYTimes since 1997. While it's possible that you could run into an issue accessing all of these from home (I was able to click on and read about 5 different reviews), since I know sometimes you have to subscribe to get full access, however, I know a lot of libraries have a subscription, so it probably wouldn't be a problem in a library. Since a lot of people swear by NYT book reviews, this could be a great resource for those types of patrons looking for a cookbook with a good review from a reliable source. --Jillian Frasher
Books N Bytes : has a complete section for nonfiction book reviews, and you can search the site for reviews by Author, Title, Subject, and for specific text. It's helpful with nonfiction to search by subject, as it's such a broad genre that includes many different subjects. I must admit I was a little turned off by the format of the site. I thought it was a little confusing and didn't like the font styles they used for the reviews. Plus, eery reviewer used a different system. Some used little stars for ratings or paw prints, but most didn't give a 1-5 rating at all. Not that I believe rating a book using a star rating is a must, but I feel the site as a whole should have some kind of consistency to its method. One thing that I initially liked about the site is that you could click on a link to see the reviews posted in the last 90 days. Unfortunately, when I clicked on this for nonfiction, there were no reviews present. This told me the site is woefully outdated and isn't kept up. I checked into it, and the most recent nonfiction review I could find was from 2009. Considering this, I would probably skip Books N Bytes as an RA source for any genre, as it was a great idea that was poorly executed. --Amy Bailey
BookPage: is a monthly book review publication. Users can browse the following genres of nonfiction: Biography Memoir, Society, Memoir, History, Essays, Humor, Politics, Biography, True Crime, Novelty, Education, Reference, Science Nature, American, Arts Culture, Science, Self Help, and Lifestyles. Users can also browse by authors, contributors, and publisher, and there is a standard search feature. Overall I think this is a handy Reader's Advisory tool. However, since it is not specifically a non-fiction website, the collection of non-fiction reviews is not very large. --Claire Presley
Each month PBS reviews 5 new-release cookbooks. Users of the site can browse by month, but you can't browse or search for cookbooks, so that limits this site as a reader's advisory tool. I think it would be a great way for librarians to stay up to date on the latest cookbook publications though. --Claire Presley
Datablog, The Guardian: Nielsen BookScan collected data directly from over 35,500 bookshops and compiled a list of the top selling biographies and autobiographies since 2001. I think this would be a good source for readers who want to read a biography but aren't set on reading about a particular person. --Claire Presley
Epicurious has a great site for finding reviews on cookbooks and links to several blogs to help the user find just the right item. The page is user friendly with links to a variety of different subjects, such as, baking, healthy, seasonal, news and gossip, etc. There is another section with links to information for about fifty guest contributors—chefs, restaurant reviewers, etc. A third section will guide the user to the staff contributors for the site, while a fourth section provides access to about fifty favorite blogs, which are just as full of information as this site. That will give the user hours upon hours of information to sift through! The site can also be used to search for specific recipes and for guidance in creating menus. This site is part of the Bon Appétit magazine, but the user does not have to subscribe to the magazine to have access to all the great information. --Amy Whitener
NPR books, sponsored by National Public Radio, is a treasure-trove of information for finding all types of books. The link at helps readers find the newest and best biographies. The user can choose to search for books according to author, reviews, bestseller lists, etc. This site is well-maintained and current, with plenty of ways to connect socially through a smart phone. This feature will help readers on the go access the information they seek anytime, anywhere. This is especially helpful when standing in a bookstore, trying to remember the title of a book that needs to be purchased! --Amy Whitener
NPR books articles have a way of making my to-read list explode, so I decided to look at their coverage of non-fiction books. Pretty impressive, including reviews and links to other news stories relevant to the books. This is a site sure to have books readers are talking about, so it's a good one to be familiar with if one is working in public service. --Hebah Amin-Headley
Creative Nonfiction at is an online magazine with easy-to-use links to help readers find great nonfiction books. There are book reviews, bestsellers, access to online shopping, and a variety of links to help readers find nonfiction material. The site looks to be useful for authors, as well. There are opportunities to take online writing classes through the site and some types of professional development, such as, workshops and conferences. This link is worthwhile to share with die-hard, non-fiction-reading patrons. --Amy Whitener
Johnson County Public Library “Find a Good book” tab Awards section.
I inadvertently have been using this class for a bit of navel gazing about my family’s involvement in the Civil War and when I saw the category for Recommended Civil War Books-Classic and New Nonfiction: I decided to use that list to find a read for the Nonfiction portion of the assignment.
My RA tool for this week: Knowledgeable librarians who post recommendation lists. --Jenny Sutherland
The Kitchn, which is a sister site of the popular Apartment Therapy website, includes a section of cookbook reviews. Each review is slightly different, depending on the reviewer, but most generally include the cookbook’s “angle,” how many recipes are included in the book, who would enjoy the book, and a list of the reviewer's favorite recipes. I think this is a good site to stay on top of cookbook trends and new releases, but it wouldn’t be the best site to use if a patron was asking for help finding a good cookbook of a certain type, such as gluten-free or vegetarian. However, as a cookbook junkie, I think it’s a fun read. --Tori Lyons
R. Burgin Software & Consulting Book lists: Bethany and I are working on our upcoming nonfiction presentation, and we quite early on discovered this great site. I like the site because it includes both general nonfiction booklists, as well as booklists for specific genres, such as memoirs, humor, and travel. It appears, somewhat oddly, that the site is hosted by a libraries' technology consulting company. I appreciate that the site had been updated as of today.
Kirkus Reviews publishes an annual best nonfiction of the year list complete with single-sentence annotations and book reviews for each recommended title.
I also like browsing each year’s non-fiction nominees for the National Book Award as an alternative method for seeing the best recent non-fiction. Check out each year’s nominees and winners. --Aubrey Seavey
While looking for non-fiction tools, I found an awesome site: The Greatest Books: the Greatest Non-fictions Books of All Time, which featured a list, compiled by Shane Sherman, of over 900 of the best non-fiction titles. While the site is not flashy or eye-catching, it is very user friendly and easy to follow. I liked that Sherman included the books' original artwork as well as a short description of each book. I also liked that this list was not narrowed to just one type of book, like history or self-help, I think this helps readers to get a more accurate picture of what is available from the non-ficion genre overall. I think that readers will appreciate that Sherman also includes the links to similiar reading lists, such as the Best Southern Non-fiction and 100 Most Influential Books of the Century, for those readers who are looking for something more specific. This site also allows readers to create an account to keep track of what titles on the list that they have read and which ones they would like to read in the future, like Goodreads. --Ashley Nixon
The Electric Typewriter is a website that "collects articles and essays from the world's best journalists and writers." The whole website would probably be very appealing to anybody interested in works of non-fiction, featuring daily lists of essays and links to the essays on fascinating topics like American Culture, World History, Science and Technology and many, many more. They have a section devoted to the 100 Great Non-Fiction Books that are very well-edited and are browsable by topic. It has lists of essay collections, memoirs, and works on nature, politics, science and technology, history, and so many more. A great, and potentially addictive site for any voracious reader of non-fiction. --Ashley Anstaett
75 Biographies to Read Before You Die is a list put together by the Open Education Database. The web page includes a nice little graphic of five reasons to read biographies (Great people can be a "mentor at a distance", see the world through the life of another person, learn lessons from others' decisions, get context for our own decisions, and promote self-discovery through the stories of others). The list itself is divided up into categories - The Arts, History, Literature, Politics, and Science and Technology. The biographies listed are pretty eclectic. For instance, the Arts category includes both The Lives of the Artists (biographies of the great Italian Renaissance artists) and Bruce Campbell's If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor. Also, strangely, the History section includes Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World. Still, I think it's a good resource for anyone looking for an interesting biography to read. --Gwen Gilpin
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Christian, Inspirational, and Gentle Reads
Adult Reading Round Table: This is a nice site for librarians in particular, because the ARRT briefly describes the genre, its appeal factors, and the most common subgenres. It gives a list of classic authors in the genre and the top authors currently writing in it. Then they provide links to a bunch of different websites with book lists and other RA guides for gentle reads and inspirational fiction. There is also a list of big publishers in the genre, and a list of periodicals dedicated to gentle reads. --Ashley Anstaett
The Episcopal Church has an adult education process called "Christian formation". Googling ["Christian Formation" +Episcopal] will link to some really good reading resources, including reading lists. Here's one from the Diocese of Texas that includes links to the Amazon pages for each of the suggested books. Forward Movement is an Episcopal-affiliated publishing house that can help me find new titles. --Jenny Sutherland
Christy Awards site: "honoring and promoting excellence in Christian fiction." Going back to 2000, this site lists the award books by subgenre, such as first novel, visionary, young adult, etc. The "Christy" refers to Christian writer Catherine Marshall's well-known 1967 book Christy; 27 publishers are included in the awards. Additionally, the site contains videos of recent keynote addresses. Unfortunately, although the site contains strong lists, the showcased books don't link to any further information such as brief book descriptions, an author biography, or reviews. --Beth Shapiro
Brigham City Library presents a nicely designed gentle reads book list. To make the most of the space, the library mentions that only one book from each series is presented. The caption also mentions some general appeal factors for people looking for thier kind of book. I like how the top states: "These novels have little explicit sex or violence. Only one title is highlighted for each author/series in this bibliography. Other novels by the authors are available at the library." Other features include the "find a book" guide and staff picks. --Daniela Gemignani
Palatine Public Library Gentle Reads: This is a very basic and short annotated list of gentle reads. I can see it being useful for patrons who are new to gentle reads and want a list of books that is not overwhelming. It would also be useful to librarians helping those types of patrons. Users who are avid readers of gentle reads will find that this list leaves a lot to be desired. This list contains a lot of popular titles that they would be likely to have read before. --Christina VirdenThe St. Charles City-County Library District has online reader advisory services for a variety of genres and reader types. They have RA tools for kids, teens, and adults. Within their adult section they list different types of genres they have more information on. One of the sections they list on the website is Christian Fiction. This page gives a great list of subgenres of Christian fiction and lists popular authors for each of these subgenres. These subgenres include: apocalypitic, biblical, chick lit, gentle reads, classics, contemporary, romance, mystery/thriller, historical, historical romance, sci fi/fantasy, and westerns. This would be a good list for someone that is looking for a wide variety of different types of Christian reads. This page can also be brought up as a PDF which would be great to be able to print out for library patrons. --Liz Aleshunas
The County of Los Angeles Public Library's website gives a list of "gentle" authors. You can click on a name and see a list of books they have written. Obviously this isn't the most in-depth website, but it could be useful for someone who wants to find another "gentle reads" author, but don't know where to look. --Jillian Frasher
Novel Crossing: I am very impressed with this website. On the homepage, you will find a featured author interview, a couple book covers designated as certain genres, a featured review, a link for their book club, featured video, an author’s compilation of 5 books that changed his life, a devotional (opinion page with Christian bent), featured books, and new-ish releases. Another great feature of this page that carries through to other pages on the site is the opportunity for registered readers to create their own virtual bookshelves of books they have read, are reading, and want to read. In other words, there’s a lot to look at. However, it is not cluttered or difficult to navigate, and it gives a lovely sampling of what the rest of the site holds.
Beyond the homepage, you will find the news page which features more topics like those previewed on the homepage. It has links to articles about certain authors, conventions, publication events, etc. There is also an author page. I really liked the way this page was set up. At the top are 6 featured authors with their pictures. You can click on the pictures for more information about the author. Below that, you can search the author by name by clicking on the letter of their last name. Finally at the bottom, you can search authors by genre. I thought this was especially useful since there are so many subgenres of Christian Fiction.
There is also a “Books” page that begins with featured books that include reader-provided star reviews. These featured books also include reader reviews, a compilation of other books by that author, and some read-alike suggestions. Below the featured books are the new releases. This site appears to be very current, since it has the April releases posted. Below that are the books that are coming soon. What’s really cool about this section of the page is that the books that will come out soon are listed by genre, so if I want to know what new apocalyptic Christian fiction is out there, I can just focus on that section instead of sifting through an entire list and reading a bunch of book summaries.
On the “Community” page, there are full reviews written by readers. I should also note that for each book on the site, a reader can post a one sentence review. On this page, a reader, if registered, can also post to a discussion board. A few new books are also featured on the Community page along with their summaries. Finally, any news is posted here as well.
On the “Reviews” page, you can read full reviews written by fellow registered readers, and there is a listing of recent one-sentence reviews. Throughout the site there are also links to Twitter, Facebook, and an RSS feed. There is also a newsletter that you can subscribe to. Overall, there are over 800 Christian authors and 4000 Christian fiction books featured on the website. This is pretty impressive for a fairly new website. --Sharon Tucker
Douglas County Library's website's Inspirational Fiction Lists: Most libraries I found had Inspirational Fiction lists, but they were slanted to mainly Christian titles, with the Amish and occassional Mormons thrown in. However, this library in Oregon goes way beyond those three generic types. This library also provides lists for Islamic fiction, Jewish fiction (and Jewish mysteries!), Interfaith stories, as well as sub-genres and types broken down into Exotic locations, Emigration and immigration, westerns, Eastern Religions, humor, the list of lists just keeps going. I'll definitely be keeping this library's page bookmarked! --Jamie Cox
Christianbooks.com among other things peddles evangelical homeschooling supplies...but the fiction section on this site is a good deal like an Amazon.com for Christian fiction. The books are divided by category, they have featured authors listed in many categories and they include book reviews. There is a great deal of information to be had. They have categories from Amish to Sci-f/Fantasy, from ebooks to fiction by series. The non-fiction area is similar, with a broad range of topics and selections in each. It is worth exploring for those reasons. --David Piening
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's Reader's Club for Inspiration reads: "Any good book can be an inspiration, but many of these books highlight people overcoming adveristy or reaching new levels of understanding. Whether they pull themselves up by their bootstraps or have help from a higher power, these books will uplift and entertain you." Readers have the option of subscribing to the Inspirational reviews RSS feed to be kept aprise of new reviews that are posted. The reviews seem to be very thorough and concise, and even have links to the author's websites if applicable. Other users can comment on the reviews, so you can get a pretty thorough understanding of what the general concesnsus is about the book. One thing I liked about the site is that libray employees are the ones who often post the reviews, which means the site is limited to books that have been read and reviewed by staff members, but I think it's a nice touch. There are some reviews that are labeled as being submitted online by Reader's Club patrons, so I like how the community can get involved as well. The books may or may not be Christian or religious. For instance, the first review on the page was from writer Sam Harris, a well-known atheist writer. I liked the library's all-inclusive stance on this. I like this resource as an RA resource, as it is affiliated with another library, and I like the idea of libraries supporting one another and collaborating. I encourage you to check it out. --Amy Bailey
FamilyFiction: is a straight-forward booklist site that separates Christian fiction into categories, such as Amish, historical, speculative, romance, etc. You can search by genre or author. On the home page, the list that came up had recently published books (all from 2014). They also have a separate section for book reviews as well. --Bethany Neuart
Faithful Reader is a subsection of the larger reader's advisory website Bookreporter. However, the Faithful Reader section alone contains more information than some other websites I've come across. This resource includes author interviews, study guides, links to Christian book award websites, and a multitude of book reviews. This could be a good resource for patrons who are already fans of the genre and are looking for information about specific books or authors, but it would be a bit overwhelming for patrons new to the genre or even librarians, mostly because it is difficult to search the reviews. There is a search box, but I found that entering a title in the box produced results from the entire Bookreporter website, and while it is possible to browse the reviews because they are listed alphabetically, there are a total of 121 pages! There is some good information on this website, but there are likely others that are more user-friendly for those not already quite familiar with the genre. --Rachel Schremp
Hennepin County Library Gentle Reads: provides patrons with suggestions of 30+ suggested gentle reads. The titles contain minimal sexual or violent content. While some of the titles may involve some degree of religion, they are not Chirstian Fiction, persay. Many of the titles are parts of series, and there is also a sidebar with suggestions of more authors in this genre, so this list could generate many more titles beyond the 31 listed. This would be a good resource for patrons who are looking for gentle reads but are not interested in exclusively christian fiction. --Tori Lyons
Library Book Lists, Inspiration: has categories for adult, children’s, YA, and non-fiction books. Under each category, the user can search by author, characters, bible personalities, genre, readalikes, etc. This site represents a compilation of a variety of booklists created by libraries across the United States. It is a wealth of information and easy to use. The only downside I found with the site is that most of the booklists are dated. As I mentioned, these lists come from a variety of libraries. The dates are listed for the lists and most of them haven’t been updated in several years. The lists range from about 1999 to about 2008. It is definitely a good jumping off point in finding resources in this genre. --Amy Whitener
For an alternative to traditional Christian Inspiration reading guides, check out Beliefnet’s “Top 100 Inspirational Books”. Featuring children’s books, non-fiction titles, and books of poetry in addition to novels, I particularly like how this list doesn’t limit the concept of inspirational reads to books in the Christian Inspiration genre. This resource could be especially helpful to connect genre readers to titles outside of religious or gentle reads. In addition to C.S. Lewis, Benjamin Hoff, and Mitch Albom, beliefnet recommends Gandhi, Robert Heinlein, and even Dr. Seuss. --Aubrey Seavey
I found an interesting list of 50 life-changing, inspirational books that includes both allegorical fiction (a la The Alchemist and Five People You Meet in Heaven) as well as non-fiction like Peale's classic Power of Positive Thinking or Christopher Reeve's autobiography. It would be a good start for a display of inspirational reads, I think. --Hebah Amin-Headley
Tim Frankovich is the sole reviewer for Christian Fiction Review where he has archived hundreds of reviews on christian fiction books. The site is pretty sparse but functional, from the home page you can see the recent or featured reviews as well as sign up for the site's newsletter to be notified when new reviews are available. I liked that Tim also puts up a list of upcoming reviews to keep users apprised of what he is reading and will be reviewing in the future. The archived reviews are organized in two fashions, by the author's last name and by the first word of the book's title, I think that this is helpful for users who are interested in one author or are seeking a review for a particular book title. This site also features a useful search function which allows the user to search for books based on a rating system(out of 10), publication date and award winning designation. --Ashley Nixon
Hillsboro (Oregon) Public Library's list of gentle reads is heavy on classic works of literature by authors like Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Agatha Christie, and E.M. Forster, but also includes some more recent works like The Notebookand The Princess Bride. --Gwen Gilpin
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Monster Librarian: This is one of the most fun RA tools I have encountered! You can sort by age range (J, YA, or Adult fiction), which is a benefit for parents of children interested in the horror genre. The site contains extensive book lists, reviews, and annotations. Users can search a large number of different subgenres (werewolves, vampires, zombies, ghost stories, psychological) which allows them to more easily find a book that they may like. It's a really fun site to play around on! --Ashley Anstaett
I have to admit, I am a sucker for a cute title. Also, I am also always so thankful when things are broken down into sub-genres; it makes it so easy to search and browse. Also, I just discovered that one of the categories listed is "Interactive e-books" which has peaked my interest. There's only one book listed, but as time passes and technology grows, I can imagine that this category will be one we'll all have to include in the future on many book lists. --Jamie Cox
It isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing site, but it is useful.
On the homepage is a “What’s New” link showing what has been published recently. It is updated weekly. There is also a “Musings” link that has articles on topics such as what to read on spring break, spooky classics, and women in horror fiction. There are also links to horror book reviews for adults, young adults, and children. Within the adult and young adult reviews sections, the reviews are broken down into subgenres. This saves a lot of time. There is a link to the most recent Bram Stoker Awards winners. The homepage also includes an index of reviews which is alphabetical by author name and includes the targeted age range and genre. I would like to see a more intuitively searched author page, but if you know what author you’re looking for, you can find it easily on the list. If you know the title of the book but not the author, you can type the title in the search box located on all the pages. It automatically searches just the monster librarian site, so whether you’re looking for an author interview, a review, or just an essay that mentions that book, you will find it in the results.
The “Coming Soon” link is a bit lacking. There are only 1 or 2 entries for the first several months of the year. All of the above features are linked in the middle of the homepage. At the top, though, is a menu that includes a few other features. One is “Author Interviews” which lists links to interviews that are listed alphabetically by author’s last name. There is also a list of horror book resources. The list is not impressive. It has only 8 links and they are not very current. The same can be said of the Librarian Resources tab. The resources offered are fine, but there aren’t many and they aren’t very up-to-date.
By far the most useful element of this site, in my opinion, is the genre specific review feature. As anyone knows once they start digging into a genre, there are many sub-genres. So, when a person is looking specifically for apocalyptic horror, I know I can find that here. --Sharon Tucker
Hooked on Horror III: A Guide to Reading Interests by Anthony J. Fonseca and June Michele Pulliam is part of the Libraries Unlimited Genreflecting Advisory Series. It includes an overview of the genre and subgenres along with different appeal elements. The book also includes an annotated bibliography of horror novels and films arranged by subgenre in addition to read-a-like lists. One particularly useful feature was the subject headings that follow each entry: Interested in a horror novel that features Angels, look it up “Angels” in the subject index and voila, you get a list of page numbers with entries that include angels as central themes to the book. --Jenny Sutherland
Flavorwire: 50 scariest books. OK, so it's not extensive and scholarly, but for a quick and easy jumping-off point, Flavorwire offers a nice list of one person's top 50 scariest books. A cover image is followed by a brief explanatory paragraph for each title. Certainly plenty on there that look intriguing and creepy. --Beth Shapiro
Buried.com: An interesting site which is concerned with all things horror. This includes horror movies and videos which are not of interest to this class, but also includes horror fiction reviews and interviews with people involved with producing works of horror for all media, which includes authors. It's not the largest site I've ever seen, but their dedication to the variety of horror out there (even comic books) is commendable. --David Piening
The Horror Ficton Review: You have to like a site that smells the books it reviews. This is a blog/fanzine featuring reviews of horror titles written by horror fans for other horror fans. They fully admit that they do “fanboy” reviews and tend to go easy on the titles they review. They do however review a wide variety of titles andupdate the site frequently.My only complaint is that there isn't a way to browse by subgenre or by popular author, but the site is searchable. This is a fun blog that I would recommend to any horror fan. --Christina Virden
As the tag line states, this blog is "by the fans, for the fans" and has been around since 2003, although it originally was published in print until 2008. From what I can tell, the tag line is a perfect description of this blog - in-depth reviews of horror fiction titles are published each month, with review archives dating back to 2011. The reviews are current (the most recent batch dated March 2014), but since they do not appear to be searchable it would be difficult for librarians to use this blog to conduct RA. However, I think this would be a great resource to recommend to patrons who are fans of the genre. --Rachel Schremp
The Readers' Advisory Guide to Horror, Second Edition, by Becky Siegel Spratford. This is a Readers' Advisory guide created by ALA. The book is broken up into 11 chapters covering anything and everything in the genre of horror. The various genres covered include- classics, ghosts and haunted houses, vampires, zombies, shape-shifters, monsters and ancient evil, witches and the occult, satan and demonic possession, and comic horror. Although not a very long book (170 pages) this does do a great job of giving book idea and authors for each sub-genre. Each chapter has a brief summary on each sub-genre then give a list by author last name of novels including short summaries. This edition was published in 2012 so it's pretty up-to-date. This would be great for librarians to have as a resource on horror books.
I really enjoyed how many sub-genres of horror this book covers. I wouldn't personally think of including some of the sub-genres myself if I was trying to think up all the sub-genres in horror (like shape-shifters). I thought it was fun that they included a comic horror section. They actually list a book I've had on my to-read list for a while, John Dies at the End, by David Wong. --Liz Aleshunas
Goodreads' Listopia for Horror: In any genre, for any purpose, if you can't find a read on Listopia there's something wrong with you. I decided to check out what goodreads has to offer on its horror listopia section. There are 503 separate lists in the horror category. If anything, this as an RA tool is a bit overwhelming. Lists include "Best Horror Novels," which includes 1,030 books, "Zombies," "Vampires, and Werewolves and Witches... Oh My!" and "Best Gothic Books of All Time." This is just a small sampling. All of these lists are voted on by goodreads users, and each list has a different number of votes. They typically have between 1,000-2,500 voters. The best thing about goodreads is you automatically have access to a plethora of reviews for each book, and each book has an average rating. Over the course of my goodreads career, I've noticed these ratings can be pretty accurate. If there's a book with a 4.23 average star rating out of 5 with 200,000 ratings, odds are it's a pretty good read. One thing that pleasantly surprised me is that when I opened a particular list, goodreads told me how many books I'd already read and rated from the list and how many were on my to-read shelf! Using goodreads means that you don't have to pick up a book immediately to add it to your to-read collection. Add as many books as you want to your to-read shelf and then you can go back later to see what you added. You never have to ask yourself that dreaded question, "What was that book again?" --Amy Bailey
The Literary Gothic focuses on gothic horror specifically. It includes authors, titles, and other resources for finding books in the genre. There is also a page of publishers and Zines. Another interesting feature is the "Horror Timeline" that outlines some of the best horror fiction from the 13th century to present. While mostly useful to the educated horrorite and librarians, this page does provide some useful tips and book recommendations. --Daniela Gemignani
The Horror Writers Association is, according to its website, a "nonprofit organization of writers and publishing professionals around the world, dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it." This organization also sponsors the Bram Stoker Awards. The website includes a blog as well as pages dedicated to young adult horror, poetry, as well as Halloween. There is also a page dedicated specifically for librarians (http://horror.org/librarians.htm), which includes recommended reading lists, awards winner lists, etc. So not only does the sight benefit loves of horror and writers to horror, but the website also makes a point to cater to librarians! --Jamie Cox
The Horror Writers Association is responsible for the Bram Stoker awards for horror writing, so it would be a good resource for librarians to get familiar with genre offerings themselves or to help patrons find good reads. The awards cover books, short stories, young adult, and graphic novels, so there should be something for everyone looking for horror and might be a good way to think of read-alikes for patrons (maybe someone read a great horror novel, and they're open to different media and might be willing to try a graphic novel, for example). It's mostly just a list of winners and runners-up, so it would be a supplemental tool as librarians would probably have to cross-check with their catalog to see what they had and what the fiction is about. --Hebah Amin-Headley
Spooky Reads: not the most extensive website, but it does offer some good reviews. It has an index of all the sites reviews. There are author and publisher interviews, an "indie horror" section (which I had never heard of), and a special spooky-books for Halloween section. One thing I really liked about this site is that it gave links to other horror-book websites for users who maybe don't find what they need. I found that super helpful! --Jillian Frasher
Fear and Loathing: is maintained by the former horror editor for Amazon.com. This site is full of additional links to other items related to horror, not only for a reader but also for a writer. There is poetry on the page with nods to Lewis Carroll and Edgar Allan Poe. This in itself would hook most horror aficionados. There are links to true crime, horror book reviews, horror in art, and all kinds of other things. It is definitely worth checking out and sharing with readers that can’t get enough in this genre. --Amy Whitener
Dark Echo Horror: This website set out to select the best of modern horror fiction, displaying lists in stand-alone works, series, and anthologies.
PRO: The lists are comprehensive, feature little-known authors and titles, and avoid the household names many library patrons will already have read if they’re asking for horror recommendations.
CON: The list was compiled in 1998. This list is so excellent, one wishes the author offered an updated version (to include the latest offerings worthy of this list) annually or at least every decade. --Aubrey Seavey
When Fall rolls around I always get in the mood for a good, scary read so the Kirkus Reviews article Something Wicked This Way Comes: 10 Horror Novels for Fall from September 27, 2013 would've come in handy last year. It's a list of ten horror novels that came out last Fall (and one that came out early this year) and includes works from horror heavyweights like Stephen King and Dan Simmons and includes some very interesting looking titles. A couple that caught my eye were 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil, about a woman who dreams about a happy, popular version of herself at 3:59 a.m. every night, but when she gets the chance to trade places with her dream self finds that her dreams may have left out some scary parts; and The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman, about the small town of Oleander, Kansas whose citizens suddenly go on a killing spree one quiet day. --Gwen Gilpin
Horror Novel Reviews: I think this would be a great resource for horror novel readers. Writer Matt Molgard posts about 5 book reviews a week, his reviews are well written and easy to follow especially for a reade new to the genre. Molgard includes a star rating for each book and a user friendly link to Amazon to purchase the book if the reader is so inclined. This site also features useful articles on horror books like "10 Scariest Novels of All Time" as well as archived book reviews starting in June 2012. --Ashley Nixon
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Romance and Chick Lit
Bella Books Blog: Bella is a well-regarded lesbian romance publishing house. The blog features new and upcoming releases from Bella and also allows for free downloads of sample chapters. I also have a few authors whose themes I'm partial to so If something is written or edited by Radclyffe, I'm usually game. --Jenny Sutherland
ChickLit Central: While not as functional as some other websites, all the good ones I found have been reviewed! This is a cool blog I came across that has reader reviews, author interviews, and even book giveaways! It's a pretty fun website that I think could lead to other interesting blogs/websites as well. They have a sister site, and have a list of other blogs the blog follows. There are tags on the right hand of the page to click on if there is a specific author or topic you are looking for. It's not guaranteed to be there, but it's a good place to start. --Jillian Frasher
Fiction Vixen: includes editor picks of romance novels. --Bethany Neuart
The Romance Reader: a privately-run site with romance reviews that, evidently, has been in business since 1996. The reviews are broken up into different subgenres, such as Historical Romance, Contemporary, paranormal/fantasy, and eclectica, among others. It has separate sections for the reviews archive and for the newest reviews. My one quibble with it is that it's very selective and not very detailed. Some sections weren't very up to date while others were less up to date. It appears this is a pretty small site with a limited number of reviewers, so it's very limited in its selection. It would be a pretty good resource if you're desperate to quickly find something for a patron who may not be that picky and is just looking for something romance, but it wouldn't be my first choice. --Amy Bailey
Affaire de Coeur is a magazine with online and print subscriptions. It is also a website that has all their stuff so I am not sure why one would subscribe but ok. That being said, the website has a number of nice features that will help with RA. It is primarily a review site, with reviews organized by subgenre and date. It also features a blog as well as archived interviews with authors going back at least several years. There is also a section with links to publishers' websites and editor contact information. There is also a great deal of advertising on the site, and new releases are always featured. --David Piening
All About Romance--the back fence for lovers of romance novels. This site is a great resource for romance readers! Not only does it give lists, recommendations, reviews, and is searchable, but it also links readers in the community. There is a message board with a variety of topics being discussed, and reader's reviews of various works. --Daniela Gemingnani
Novelicious is a site dedicated to contemporary female fiction. It is a pretty well laid out site and would definitely be a good tool to recommend to patrons. It is run by a staff of female writers and women's fiction enthusiasts, with short biographical information available for each one. They do frequent reviews and seem to focus on well known titles and authors. They generally do not review self-published or e-book only titles. Overall I thought this was a fun site with a lot of really good reviews, author interviews and some good resources/articles for those looking to start writing.They have also published some titles. The only thing I wish it had (and I say the same thing about most of these sites) is a better way to browse reviews. There is a tag cloud of categories but it's towards the bottom of the screen and the print is tiny and crowded. --Christina Virden
Harlequin's website is a great tool for librarians. Romance readers often very specific in their wants. For example, many readers of the genre are loyal to a specific series by a specific publisher. Given the fact that many of these series consist of several hundred books, it can be hard to keep up. The Harlequin website allows users to search titles by series and sort by release date. So if a reader is looking for the most recent titles in the Harlequin Blaze or Love Inspired series, it only takes a couple of clicks to get there. --Tori Lyons
Chick Lit Chloe, a blog written by a late 20s-aged woman who adores Chick Lit, is filled with reviews, author interviews, and lists of upcoming releases. It's nice to refer to a blog like this one to get a sense of what's happening in the genre from a devoted reader of the genre. She links up to a few other related blogs as well. --Beth Shapiro
ChickLitBooks.com: As the name suggests, this is a website "devoted to the chick lit genre". According to the About Us page, it was started back in 2003, and now has links to both Facebook and Twitter pages. The website consists of book reviews and author interviews, the latter alphabetized by author's first name. The reviews page, however, is not clearly organized, so even though there is a search box this might not be the best RA tool for librarians looking for chick lit books to recommend to patrons. That being said, the website does have two pretty neat features - a "What is Chick Lit?" page and, even better, descriptions of and recommendations for select chick lit sub-genres. In addition to aiding librarians, the sub-genre recommendations could be quite useful to patrons who are fans of the genre and are looking for recommendations tailored to their specific interests. --Rachel Schremp
Chicklit Club has more than 2500 rated titles. Users can search by title, author, topic, release year and more. I like chicklit club because of it's great searchability and also because it has an active community with author Q & A's and more . --Claire Presley
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books: I found this resources ages ago just web surfing (it was a snarky review of a terrible romance), and it was my first glimmer of respect for romance novels and their readers. It's a blog, so not all posts are reviews, but the writing is clever, snarky, and very self-aware of the perception of romance novel reading. Readers can specifically look for reviews, sorted by author and grade; the author sorting would be good for a librarian trying to get a feel for what a well-known author's typical plotlines look like (for read-alikes), and the sorting by grade is a good way to get a feel for the best of the best. And I have to say, as someone who doesn't read romance novels much herself, I still find their content enjoyable.
One of the bloggers also went on to write a book called Everything I Know About Love, I Learned from Romance Novels, which I read and enjoyed and found a new respect for the genre (as well as reading suggestions for best-loved romances, several of which I read and found surprisingly fun, fluffy reads). There's a good deal of confirmation bias in the defense of romance novels, but it's a good glimpse for non-readers into why readers do love them. --Hebah Amin-Headley
This site at is a romance readers dream! There are tabs to find books, reviews, blogs, etc. The site is maintained by five women that are authors in their own right and love romance fiction. It was started in 2005 and is very current. There is a search bar feature if you have a title or author in mind to check out, or you can just browse the site for inspiration. The site is cute with lots of book cover pictures and other fun little tidbits. If you enjoy this genre, you will definitely need to check out this site! --Amy Whitener
RT Book Reviews: I have found this website to be the most helpful source when looking for romance books. You can search by author, title, genre, etc. There's a genre index with short descriptions about each genre. There are reviews for each book as well as ratings, both for content and for sensuality. There's even a page to explain how the ratings system works. I find this to be really helpful, especially when I'm helping someone find a book, and I'm not for sure what their comfort level is. This website is also linked to the magazine of the same name, so articles can be searched as well. Also, there's a whole social community attached. Romance fans can participate in forums as well as find information for RT conventions.
A wealth of information has been stored on this site, and I have found it helpful both for my own reading, and I imagine it would be just as helpful in a readers' advisory setting. --Jamie Cox
Chick Lit and Wine is a fun site that reviews chick lit tiles and pairs the titles with wines. Three women who go by the pseudonyms Syrah, Chardonnay, and Noir review the reads, recommend the wines, and administer this bright, fun, interactive site. Browsers can narrow their search to book reviews, wine selections, or visit often for a steady stream of both since 2010.
The Romance/Chick lit reader’s advisory tool I reviewed is Smexybooks.com. This is a fun site—and useful too! It offers reviews that can be browsed by genre or letter grade rating. The genres covered on the site are: paranormal romance, contemporary, erotic, urban fantasy, historical, romantic suspense, male-male romance, female-female romance, BDSM, fantasy, historical paranormal, and young adult. I was not completely sure what BDSM stood for; I got the idea from the books reviewed, but I wanted to know what the acronym stood for. So, I emailed the contact person and she got back to me the same day. (BDSM stands for Bondage & Discipline / Domination & Submission / Sadism & Masochism, by the way.)
Under the Features tab of the site, there are book recommendations given by both book reviews and by genre. There is a Top Ten category that is not always book related. There is a Weekly Wrap Up which offers an overview of the grade ratings for books reviewed that week. It also includes news from the reviewers. Finally, there is a Smex Scene Sunday feature which relates the hottest sex scene of the books reviewed that week.
There is a discussion section where readers can join a discussion board and talk about a book, theme, or something from the top ten. The weekly book giveaway winners are posted here as well. There is a To Be Read section that lists the upcoming reviews. To cap it off, there’s a Smexy’s Boyfriends section which is a list of the reviewers favorite characters.
The About tab has links to information about the reviewers, the review policy, and the contact information. There’s also a tab for Advertising which is where the site producers solicit ads to fill spots on the site. There is a disclaimer explaining the site producers earn a small commission on links to Amazon.
Another feature I liked was the list of Kindle bestsellers in romance. The drawbacks of the site are that some of the acronyms on the site may be confusing to some. Also, the home page features pictures of different types of couples; the implication is that those types of couples will be featured in the reviews. There was a picture of an African-American couple, but in the listing of genres, there was nothing for African-American couples. I’m sure there are books reviewed featuring these couples, but they would not be easy for a person to find.
Overall, I enjoyed this site, but felt wrong looking at it at work. ;) --Sharon Tucker
Romance Novels for Feminists is a blog that says it's "for readers who like a little equality with their love". It includes very in depth book reviews. sometimes spotlighting categories like LGBTQ books and interracial romances; and essays on topics ranging from writing sex scenes to the origins of the phrase "kick-ass heroine". --Gwen Gilpin
Romancing the Book: This awesome online resource was honestly a little hard to navigate at first, I think because I had written down that the site's name was Romancing a Blog but that is just one of the site's links. I kept wanting to go there to find the reviews but they were more appropriately situated on the site's homepage. I liked that this site did not focus solely on one romance subgenre but had reviews on all of them. I was also suprised at the number of reviews archived and available, some months there were over 100 reviews posted. I also appreciated that as a user you could click on a reviewer and see all of the reviews that they have posted, in case you wanted to follow what they were reading if you had similar tastes. --Ashley Nixon
Girls Love to Read is a super cute, easy-to-navigate, fun blog that specifically reviews chick lit. There are adult and young adult selections featured on the blog. You can sort the reviews by title or by author, although there is not any way to search by subgenre. However, it is a very user-friendly site, and they also provide lots of interviews with various authors, which is fun! Every Tuesday they release a top ten list, and while they're silly, they are fun to read and may be interesting to those who like to search within the subgenres. There are lots of different people writing the reviews and it is a fun website browse! --Ashley Anstaett
Chick Lit Plus focuses on book reviews, author interviews, celebrity news, tips for writers, writer services, etc. On the homepage they have a list of the most recent book reviews as well as some ads for recently published books. They have several tabs across the top of the page that have drop downs for various pages. I think the most helpful tab is the Chick Lit Review tab. Listed under this tab: British Lit Reviews, CLP Favorites, Hollywood Lit Reviews, Mystery Lit Reviews, Samantha's Favorites, and Sara's Favorites. Looking through a few of these pages all the reviews are on chick lit or romance, some broken down by sub-genres (brit lit, mystery, etc.). There is some stuff that it's really not helpful for readers, such as baby news, celebrity news, couples news, etc. but it has a lot of book reviews and would be great for people looking specifically for chick lit reviews. They have a surprisingly large number of author interviews. --Liz Aleshunas
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Multicultural and International
The Intercultural Alliance of Artists & Scholars, Inc. (IAAS), according to its website is "a New York-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2000 to promote multicultural literature and literacy. In order to foster understanding of and respect for cultural diversity, the IAAS collaborates with poets, writers, artists, scholars and community organizations to promote literary talent and achievement through innovative programming." One of these programs is phati’tude Literary Magazine, which is a "collection of the best poetry, prose, short stories, articles and interviews along with literary criticism, book reviews and biographical profiles by established and emerging artists, poets and writers with a focus on writers of Native American, African, Latin, Arab and Asian descent." The magazine's website allows you to browse book reviews as well as an Author/Artist Index. There are also videos, profiles of featured poets, and writer resources. Browsing the web, I could easily find multiple sites for multicultural children's books, but this was on of the rare sites that did not have that limitation. It gave me pause to wonder what that says of our society - that we have these resources for our children but not for ourselves as adults. Just something to consider. --Jamie Cox
World Literature Today: This periodical features book reviews, international author interviews, a blog, and book recommendations for international fiction. While subscription based, much of the content is available on the website. --Daniela Gemignani
Megan Honig's Urban Grit: A Guide to Street Lit : an invaluable source that includes a nice summary of the genre at the beginning of the book and introduces the features of the subgenres really well. Another feature I appreciate is the book notes the level of violence and sexual content for each of the titles included. --Jenny Sutherland
Contra Costa County Library's Libguide to Multicultural Books: Finding a good site this week, particularly one for adults, was hard!! I stumbled across this, which technically is geared for teens, but I looked at the titles, and many of these are "adult" books and would appeal to teens and adults alike. I also like that this website could be a tool for other genres in the future, so it serves a double purpose. Not the best RA tool, but it was the best of what I could find!
ALA's Ethnic Materials Information Exchange Task Force (EMIERT) bibliography: The Resources page of the ALA's Ethinc & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) has a lot of helpful info in this area. In addition to listing Booklists and Bibliographies (most of which, admittedly, are targeted towards children and teens), the site also includes information and links on multicultural awards, publishers, and organizations. This site would be a great resource for a library looking to build or expand their collection in this genre. --Tori Lyons
Across Cultures: A Guide to Multicultural Literature for Children by Kathy A. East and Rebecca L. Thomas looks like it might be a great resource for preschool through grade 6 resources. It's current, seems extensive, and receives positive reviews from reliable sources.
It did occur to me from last night's class that we ironically do approach the multicultural genre from only an English-speaker's perspective. Lots of books won't even be translated into English. I took a look at the website of the Little Village branch of the Chicago Public Library, which is located in a Latino immigrant neighborhood of Chicago. It contains almost 5,000 Spanish-language holdings. Yes, some of these books are translations of books authored in English. But many of them are books written originally in Spanish. Likewise, the Chinatown branch of the CPL contains over 14,000 Chinese language items. I guess I am thinking ELL, but it seems that we should be considering these readers and authors, too, obviously depending on the patrons we serve. --Beth Shapiro
International Fiction Review is a scholarly periodical that includes original essays on the contemporary fiction of many countries as well as reviews of recently published novels and scholarly works on fiction. It gives authoritative coverage to world fiction. Users can access the journal for free online - both current and past issues. --Claire Presley
RESA: Wayne County (MI) Educational Service Organization: There were a ton of resources on children and YA multicultural books. It seemed a bit more difficult to find lists on adult multicultural fiction that weren't obvious, like Goodreads. This source has a good list of links to other websites and books. --Bethany Neuart
ForeWord Reviews: finding an RA tool for ADULT multicultural books was hard! The website I finally selected is not necessarily a great resource for multicultural book reviews, but it is a good tool for librarians to be aware of because it reviews and awards books in multiple genres for adults, YA, and children. Interestingly enough, "multicultural" is not listed as a genre when searching for book reviews, but it is a category in the award winners tab, where users can browse both finalists and winners since 2005. The website itself does not provide reviews of the books, but there is a Buy from Amazon link where you can find more detailed information if a book looks appealing based on the title and cover. As I said, this is not the easiest or most comprehensive RA tool out there, but it is something librarians could consult to see what adult multicultural books have been honored in recent years. --Rachel Schrimp
GoodReads: Goodreads has a very detailed list of popular multicultural books and, if you're linked to your account you can see which books you've already read and reviewed, even if you don't remember having read them (this is a problem I often have). The way this shelf works is it tallies up the number of times each book has been shelved by users as "multicultural." The more number of times a book is designated as such, the higher it is on the list. This is one way in which goodreads is an intuitive site, gathering data from its users to make the site more productive. Unfortunately, this particular list contains everything for every age group, but Listopia on goodreads has some more narrowed-down lists that you could narrow down for adults only. The best thing about goodreads is you automatically have an average rating from users, and goodreads has a huge volume of users! The reviews for popular books are many, so it's nearly impossible to not get a pretty good idea of what a book is like. I always urge patrons to check out goodreads. --Amy Bailey
Pasadena Public Library Readers Advisory LibGuide-Multicultural This is a page that is part of a larger LibGuide. It is divided by region and contains 3 recommended titles for each along with links to lists (Goodreads, Amazon, library catalog lists, etc.) that can guide the user to other multicultural titles. Most of the titles listed are also annotated which is nice. Regions include middle eastern, Latin American, African American, Asian, European, English, Irish and Scottish fiction. There does seem to be a bit more focus on Europe than other areas. --Christina Virden
City of Elk Grove: Multicultural Book Club. lists their top 25 titles in the genre and offers links to more information on the genre, such as links to the NY Times and Lee & Low (a publisher that focuses on diversity-type books for young people). The site is very current and the club itself seems to be very active. This is worth taking a look at and bookmarking for future reference. --Amy Whitener
Website Library Booklists has an extensive compilation of links to various library lists on diverse and multicultural fiction. The list is sub-divided to enhance searches by:
The Athens Regional Library System has a tidy little guide to international books. There are three sections: Award Winners and Bestsellers, List of books by location, and Books made into movies. There are a few drawbacks to this site. First of all, it is just a list. There is no additional information besides the author and title of the books. It is only possible to browse the list, not search. Another caveat is that there is not any information about how recently the list was updated. Therefore, I can’t be sure if the bestsellers, for instance, are current bestsellers unless I do some cross-referencing. Finally, the list is in no way comprehensive, nor does it explain where the titles came from. I can’t tell if the titles were chosen based on a librarian’s opinion or if other sources were used to populate the lists. --Sharon Tucker
The International Prize for Arabic Fiction was established to "reward excellence in contemporary Arabic creative writing and to encourage the readership of high quality Arabic literature internationally through the translation and publication of winning and shortlisted novels in other major languages." The website includes winners going back to 2008 along with all the books nominated for each year. This year's winner Frankenstein in Baghdad looks really interesting - it's the story of a vengeful Frankenstein's monster-like creature set in Baghdad in the year 2005! --Gwen Gilpin
Under the community section of the Elk Grove City website there are several lists concerning the city's multicultural book club and age appropriate reading lists. The adult reading list is meant as an introduction to the multicultural genre with popular author and book descriptions. I like that this list covers many different cultures without focusing too heavily on a specific one. I also appreciated that the librarians who compile and add to the list ask for readers suggestions and encourage readers to read outside of this list especially if they find an author on the list that they like. I also liked that the books on this list weren't just the well known ones like Memoirs of a Geisha or Kite Runner but also included titles that I was not familiar with but after reading a short description of them I would be interested to read them. --Ashley Nixon
The blog "Three Percent" started the Best Translated Book Awards in 2011 in order to draw attention to the best works of international fiction and international poetry that are published in the United States every year. It's cool because you are able to see some of the outstanding works from all over the world and also be assured that the translations are of high quality. It hasn't been going on for that long, so there aren't a ton of books featured, but it is a good way to find out about new works of international fiction. --Ashley Anstaett
I came across this article called "Getting Up to Speed in Urban Fiction" while exploring NoveList Plus. It does a great job explaining what the genre of Urban Fiction is, who is usually drawn to read Urban Fiction, five key titles, five key authors, and ways to help Urban Fiction fans. It's a really good starting point for anyone who's unsure about the genre and wants to get an idea on where to start. I really like the additional tips listed at the end. They suggest searching by publisher rather than author since some authors only have one or two titles while there are some publishers that only publish Urban Fiction. To try and find Urban Fiction books by their covers, they usually have a specific style. Last to keep on hand a list of popular Urban Fiction titles and authors who write it. This genre might not be popular at all libraries but if you know your audience and know that's what they like this is a great source for unfamiliar librarians. --Liz Aleshunas
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Ranker: While Ranker is created by a collective group of people who vote, soem things are based on the numbers. This list compiles a list of the best selling books (minus political and religious texts) in order of numbers of copies sold. --Daniela Gemignani
Barnes and Noble bestsellers: In this digital age, it can be quite refreshing to actually see and browse physical books. Taking a quick trip (ha! as if any trip to a bookstore can be quick!) to a bookstore such as Barnes & Noble can be helpful in checking out what books are bestsellers and what books are catching people's attention. Bookstores usually have a display of what books are currently bestsellers -- it makes sense, if they're selling a lot of copies of a book, then they're going to display it prominently in order to sell more copies. As a librarian, you can actually take a look at these books in person at a bookstore -- see which books are popular; which books grab your attention? Do you see people in the store gravitating to certain book covers? Are there any displays that you can get ideas for your own library's book displays? It doesn't hurt to check out the "competition" in this way. In fact, it can help! If you can't make it to the actual store, or need a quick way to search, Barnes and Noble also has a list online.
On the website, there are also links for This Hour's Top 100, This Year's Top 100 Books, and Top 100 NOOK Books. You can also browse "Daily Bestsellers by Subject" which includes Biography, Business, Cookbooks, Fiction, History, Mystery, Religion & Inspiration, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Self-Improvement, and more. There are also links to The New York Times Bestsellers, with all of its subcategories, as well as B&N Weekly Store Bestsellers. You can see what books are actually most sold in stores according to category (Hardcover Fiction, Mass Market Paperbacks, Teen, etc.). You can also "Browse More Books" with the links Coming Soon, New Releases, Paperback Bestsellers, and Trending Books. I found the Trending Books to be an interesting link because it lists what has been moving quickly and is updated hourly.
I found a great resource for popular materials that are being talked up in the media, by way of Fresh Fiction. Whether a book was talked up on NPR or the Good Morning show (and you can't remember that book that was written by So-and-So's wife--you know, they talked about it on the Today Show), it's a great resource, especially for public librarians. I might be skewing the definition of an applicable resource here, but this is part of how buzz gets generated and best sellers made. --Jamie Cox
Fresh Fiction: I found a great resource for popular materials that are being talked up in the media, by way of Fresh Fiction. Whether a book was talked up on NPR or the Good Morning show (and you can't remember that book that was written by So-and-So's wife--you know, they talked about it on the Today Show), it's a great resource, especially for public librarians. I might be skewing the definition of an applicable resource here, but this is part of how buzz gets generated and best sellers made. --Hebah Amin-Headley
USA Today publishes a weekly list of the 150 top selling titles. This list is unique in that it does not separate books by fiction/nonfiction, adult/YA/childrens, etc. The website does allow you to filter books by genre, but the list itself compares all books together. It is an interesting tool to consult to see, for example, how sales of YA books compare to adult sales and also whether fiction or nonfiction books are currently selling better. As an interesting side-note, for the week of 4/24/14 9 of the top 10 books were fiction - the only nonfiction book to crack the top 10 was Heaven is for Real at #4! --Rachel Schremp
Indiebound bestsellers: I stumbled across this site tonight while working on my genre presentation, and I LOVE it! It offers lists of the "bestsellers" from independent booksellers across the country. I love that it doesn't take big, chain stores into account (nothing wrong with those--I shop at Amazon and B&N all the time), but this was just really cool. The site has it's regular lists weekly, and puts out a "fun" one a couple of times a month--such as "mystery" or "baseball" or "travel." --Jillian Frasher
Amazon has a page dedicated to current NY Times Bestellers. The titles are divided by category, and users are able to scroll through titles in the most popular categories without having to leave the main page. One of the nice things about looking at these titles via Amazon is that you have instant access to hundreds (sometimes thousands) of reader reviews. The "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" section may also lead to some recommendations. This could be a useful tool to look for possible readlikes for hot new titles that have long hold lists.
You can also browse the bestsellers on Amazon here. --Tori Lyons
Powell's Books: I use the subscription service from Powell's Books, Indiespensable, to receive upcoming best sellers. Every six weeks or so they send a new first edition and typically include an advance copy that complements the lead title. I've been a subscriber since 2011 but if I'm interested in something a little older, they have a list of past Indiespensable titles and companion books listed on the page as well. --Jenny Sutherland
NYT Bestsellers List: While it's not very original, this is one of the top resources to find out what's hot right now in the publishing world. As a matter of fact, it's the first place I looked when finding something to read for this week in class, as these bestsellers are much more difficult to come by quickly if you are fond of using the library. 199 holds... yeah, I won't have that in a week! I like this list because you can keep looking back each week to see what the most popular books were in several different categories. They designate between hardcover print and paperback print books, hardcover fiction and nonfiction, E-books fiction and nonfiction, and many others. Each list can be expanded to get a more detailed view and it's easy to navigate to the previous week. It also tells how many weeks a particular book has been on the bestseller list. However, for an RA tool, this online version doesn't have very detailed information. Each book has a title, an author, a publisher, and a very short snippet about the book. While it doesn't have pricing information available immediately, there is a cool option to buy the book which opens up a little window allowing you to navigate to Amazon, B&N or other local booksellers, so the pricing information is eventually available from multiple source through the site. This is a site every librarian needs to be aware of, because reference personnel may occasionally get inquiries about what's atop the NY Times bestseller list, so I'd have this site bookmarked. --Amy Bailey
Publishers Weekly Bestsellers: PW includes an overall bestseller list, along with lists for trade paper, mass market, hard cover and more. Each book is reviewed and the review page contains links to information about the author and links to reviews of other titles by that author. A good resource to see what is most popular right now. It would be a good tool for patrons or librarians to use.
DBRL Bibliocommons: One of my favorite places to look for bestsellers is on the Indie Bestsellers list which Daniel Boone Regional Library posts under its "explore" tab. This list is sortable by the following categories: children's illustrated, children's interest, hardcover fiction, hardcover nonfiction, mass market, trade paperback fiction, and trade paperback nonfiction. I love how the list links the individual books right to their records in DBRL if available, and additionally shows the number of copies and the number of holds. --Beth Shapiro
NPR, NPR, NPR. What would we do without all the resources to be found through NPR? They maintain a daily list of the bestsellers on their site. You can also search this list by fiction hardcovers, paperbacks, nonfiction, all kinds of various options. They put their lists together by using surveys through independent booksellers, so their list might vary from something you could find through the New York Times, but it will still be very thorough and timely. They also have notations by the books they have actually covered on one of their shows (on NPR) which would be helpful for people who catch a piece of a review on the radio. Not only can you search by the date, but they also archive the lists so the user can find a particular week to search. --Amy Whitener
NPR is awesome just in general and their book site is very helpful for those looking for RA bestseller help. They have constantly updating lists of bestsellers in various categories, author interviews, connections to shows that feature books, and if you follow them on Twitter, you don't even have to go looking for their bestseller lists, as they tweet them every week. --David Piening
Chicago Tribune: I found it difficult to find a reader’s advisory tool for bestsellers that wasn’t already reviewed, but I did look at the Chicago Tribune’s bestsellers list. It is pretty typical in that it lists the top 5 books in hardcover fiction and nonfiction. The source for these lists is from Publishers Weekly. A drawback was that the lists were about 2 weeks old.
What I really liked about this site, though, is that it also featured bestsellers in Chicago. Since I live in the Midwest, I thought this list might be more indicative of what my readers are more interested in. Out of the 10 titles from the Publisher’s Weekly lists, only 2 titles were the same as the Chicago lists. Some of the titles on the Chicago list were of local interest; others were books that had been on the bestsellers list a while back but where either new to the Chicago list or were hanging on longer. I think it’s important to remember that there are areas of the country whose interests might be outside the mainstream and to remember to serve that population is important.
The source for the Chicago bestsellers list was a group of Chicagoland bookstores. --Sharon Tucker
The LA Times breaks divides their best sellers into hardback fiction, paperback fiction, hardback non-fiction, and paperback non-fiction. It is really very similar to the best sellers lists of other big papers like the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. However, it is fun to look at what is popular right now and you can go through the weekly archives to see what the best sellers in the past were. It's really a good way to keep in touch with what's popular right now. --Ashley Anstaett
Author Dianna Dilworth posted an article on Media Bistro's Galley Cat webpage on recent self-published best sellers. While this site is dedicated mostly to publishing news, they claim to be the "first word on the book publishing industry" they also have a lot of interesting articles like this one concerning different kinds of best sellers lists, like the indie seller list. I think that these lists are important for readers to see because they show a different side of the publishing industry and the idea that there are best sellers out there that aren't written by Nora Roberts or James Patterson.--Ashley Nixon
The New Yorker always contains a good list of current fiction and reviews. The books are their page are more literary in scope. One thing that I like about their site is that they predict trends and award-winners in books. --Bethany Neuhart
The Wall Street Journal has a weekly Bestseller list, that uses data from Nielsen Bookscan. --Claire Presley
Barnes and Noble Bestsellers: In this digital age, it can be quite refreshing to actually see and browse physical books. Taking a quick trip (ha! as if any trip to a bookstore can be quick!) to a bookstore such as Barnes & Noble can be helpful in checking out what books are bestsellers and what books are catching people's attention. Bookstores usually have a display of what books are currently bestsellers -- it makes sense, if they're selling a lot of copies of a book, then they're going to display it prominently in order to sell more copies. As a librarian, you can actually take a look at these books in person at a bookstore -- see which books are popular; which books grab your attention? Do you see people in the store gravitating to certain book covers? Are there any displays that you can get ideas for your own library's book displays? It doesn't hurt to check out the "competition" in this way. In fact, it can help! But, if you can't make it to the actual store, or need a quick way to search, see their list online.
On the website, there are also links for This Hour's Top 100, This Year's Top 100 Books, and Top 100 NOOK Books. You can also browse "Daily Bestsellers by Subject" which includes Biography, Business, Cookbooks, Fiction, History, Mystery, Religion & Inspiration, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Self-Improvement, and more. There are also links to The New York Times Bestsellers, with all of its subcategories, as well as B&N Weekly Store Bestsellers. You can see what books are actually most sold in stores according to category (Hardcover Fiction, Mass Market Paperbacks, Teen, etc.). You can also "Browse More Books" with the links Coming Soon, New Releases, Paperback Bestsellers, and Trending Books. I found the Trending Books to be an interesting link because it lists what has been moving quickly and is updated hourly. --Jamie Cox
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Other General RA Sites:
Jack Flannel: I want to give a shout-out to the Reader's Advisory Link Farm which is a clearinghouse for a bunch of RA links organized by genre, it is where I have found several sites for this class. --David Piening
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Jenny S. Bossaller, PhD
Jenny S. Bossaller, PhD