By Nina Wright, Reference Librarian
I am getting ready for a vacation in a couple of weeks, so I’m looking for books to take. My calculation works like this—for a week off, I estimate I will read about four books (probably less now that I have kids!) and I need backups for those books in case I start one and it just doesn’t click. So I need to bring at least eight books along. I eagerly welcome recommendations from friends and family, however, we don’t have exactly the same taste in books so I can’t rely on them alone for my reading list.
Where else can people go when they are looking for their next read? I have a free account at Goodreads (www.goodreads.com) and that site is very helpful. I enter books as I finish reading them so I have a log of what I’ve read. Goodreads also has lists on their main page, such as “Best Books of the 20th Century”, and “Best for Book Clubs”, to name just two, that are great for finding new ideas. These features are all helpful, but my “To Read” list is the best. Anytime I see a book that looks appealing, I immediately login to Goodreads and add it to my list, and it eliminates the stress an avid reader feels when they don’t know yet what their next book will be (and, additionally, what the backup book to the next book is). Now I just need to access my list and I have more choices than I can handle. This is a wonderful “problem” for a reader!
Westerly Library subscribes to a database that is also very useful, called Novelist. To access it, go to www.askri.org, and you’ll see it listed there (among many other great databases). It is free to our library patrons, and you can use it from anywhere you can get on the Internet! Looking for a book for your teenager or child aged 9-12? They have numerous lists for both age groups. Also, they provide book discussion guides—very helpful for those of you in book groups! Another handy feature is author read-alikes. I love this section and use it a lot in my job at the library. It is always fun to recommend books I have read and enjoyed, but not everyone likes the same kinds of novels. With the author read-alike feature, you can enter a book’s title, and Novelist will furnish you with two lists—one of books similar to the book you entered, and another of authors with a similar style to the one you looked up.