Sunday, January 29, 2017

Week 3 Prompt

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

The fourth installment of the Anita Blake series is The Lunatic Cafe. Using NoveList, I did a search for Anita Blake series, and it lists the titles in publishing order. I could also use Fantastic Fiction, an excellent website for tracking down series installments.

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

I did a search for the Kingsolver novel in NoveList and checked out the read-alikes. In the end, I’d probably recommend Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult because, while it is among the first hits in the read-alikes, NoveList describes the writing style as “compelling,” leading me to believe it’d be a bit faster paced than Prodigal Summer.

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

I did a search for historical Japan, limiting the results to fiction and richly detailed. Based on the results of this search, I’d recommend The Iris Fan by Laura Joh Rowland or Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.

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

I’d first ask what this reader found creepy about John Sandford because, from perusing the description of Well-Schooled in Murder, it seemed to have a graphic component. After hearing what aspect they didn’t really like, I’d probably move on the read-alikes listed for the George books and suggest Still Life by Louise Penny. This novel is described as leisurely paced by NoveList, so maybe it’d provide enough mystery without the same creepy factor as Sandford.

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

This is probably my ideal question, as I love zombie books intensely and unapologetically. I’d first recommend Max Brooks’ other book, The Zombie Survival Guide since the reader’s husband enjoyed his first book so much. Then, I’d scope out the read-alikes in NoveList to try to make an informed choice. NoveList recommends the Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant, and I’d definitely recommend that series, both personally and professionally. Many of the recommendations are more apocalypse based, and not necessarily focused on zombies, so I’d be wary of suggesting them to this patron. A keyword search for zombies yields better results. I might also recommend The Rising by Brian Keene, based on the results of this search.

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

Under Quick Links I found a Books to Movies option, which then further led me to the Books to Movies genre within NoveList. Here I was able to limit the results to the last 5 years and peruse the options. I further limited the results to Literary Fiction, but found that limited the choices a bit too much. Based on the results, I might recommend Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain or The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

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

I found NoveList a bit unhelpful in this search. There is an option for Christian Thrillers, which are likely to be clean with few to no sex scenes, but it’s also not what the patron asked for. I ultimately ended up doing a genre search for thrillers, with the limiter of chaste to locate the title Fool Me Twice by Stephanie Black. Realistically, I’d probably use another tool for a request like this, probably checking GoodReads for a reading list based on this type of book.

When it comes to finding reads for myself, I tend to utilize a combination of resources. I often heavily rely on in-person recommendations from friends and coworkers, but this can also get you into a spiral of books you know nothing about and don't really care for. However, I also am a big fan of suggested reading lists. GoodReads has so many user-generated reading lists, and I really like to read the feedback people leave on books when making my selection. I also tend to pay attention to end of the year “Best of” lists.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Reading Profile

I've always been a reader. I have a distinct memory of perusing my father's bookshelf while I was in middle school and, incredibly optimistically, picking up The Grapes of Wrath. Now, I have to be honest. I never finished The Grapes of Wrath. Matter of fact, I don't believe I made it much past page 5, but what I like best about this memory is that I absolutely thought I could do it. The size of the book presented a fun challenge to my mind, and I felt confident it was within my reading ability. I have loved reading and will continue to love reading for as long as I have access to books. Even without them, I imagine I'd happily read the backs of cereal boxes until my golden years.

My most favorite genres to read are Young Adult and Science Fiction. Better yet, Young Adult Science Fiction. I do on occasion like to read Non-Fiction, but it's usually a book that has a humorous slant. If you think you don't like non-fiction and you've never read The Year of Living Biblically or The Know It All by A.J. Jacobs, I highly recommend you do so.

I love to have book discussions with friends and colleagues. I find that this is the best way to find my next great read. The passion people feel when talking about a really great book is unmistakable and infectious.

Some of my all-time favorite books are as follows (but in no particular if I could choose!):

A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin
World War Z by Max Brooks
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
The Graceling Trilogy by Kristin Cashore
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams