Are you looking to read more, read “better”, or read something “different”? Do you ever feel clueless when you’re trying to find something to read? Does it seem like you keep seeing the same book, different title over and over? No surprises there, 80% of the US book market is published by just five companies! If a title does well, they will print many, many versions of it in the future. How many versions of stories about quirky, intrepid female spies evading the Gestapo while pining for an enigmatic co-worker “is he/isn’t he a covert enemy” love interest can they publish anyway?
This blog post is dedicated to introducing you to a variety of resources that can help you find something new and/or different to read.
Resources at the library
BookPage – This monthly magazine is available free at the library. It features articles on new books for all ages, book club suggestions, and usually has special features such as author interviews or in depth looks at different genres. January’s issue just arrived, and it’s a good one!
NoveList – If you’re a Wisconsin resident, you have free access to BadgerLink, Wisconsin’s Online Library, which provides licensed trustworthy resources from a variety of content providers. You can access BadgerLink from our website, or go directly to BadgerLink here: https://badgerlink.dpi.wi.gov/resources. Scroll down to NoveList. If it’s your first time, there is a short video to help users learn how to make the most of what NoveList has to offer.
New York Times Bestseller List – The current NYT bestseller lists can be found at the library’s New Book display. Each side (fiction and nonfiction) has a stand with the current week’s bestsellers. Bestsellers tend to be popular, so you might not find the book on the shelf; however, the Information Desk staff will be happy to put a copy on hold for you.
Library Reads – This monthly list of books is created from suggestions by library staff across the nation. It’s not a bestseller list, but you’ll probably see some items on the list that will also be found on best seller lists. You’ll find the Library Reads list on top of the New Fiction book shelf.
Magazines and Newspapers – Many magazines available at the library regularly feature articles on books. Time and Atlantic are both known for their coverage, but don’t forget that other magazines have them too. For example, if you’re interested in the outdoors or nature, Outside magazine and Mother Earth News are possibilities. For an all in one source, try the Library Journal, which covers hundreds of titles every month. Newspapers that the library carries also regularly feature articles on books. The Wall Street Journal has articles on new releases, and the Journal Sentinel is a good source for articles on books by authors from Wisconsin.
Book Club Lists – The library’s website lists all the books ever read by all our book clubs. Go to https://germantownlibrarywi.org/book-groups/, then search under the different groups to see what they’ve read.
Resources outside the library
Online book groups – Search for “online book clubs”. Even if you’re not interested in participating, these sites are a good source of ideas for books to read. A couple of the most popular groups are:
- “Read with Jenna” – Jenna Bush’s Today show book discussion lists
- “Reese’s Book Club” – Reese Witherspoon’s book club
Additional online resources for book club suggestions, discussion questions upcoming books, book trends and more:
- The Guardian (newspaper)
- She Reads
Need more tips? – Try googling “best books” or “reading suggestions” and then select the sites that look interesting to you. A recent search I did for “reading suggestions” came up with a wide variety of lists, including books recommended by TED Talk speakers. If you enjoy listening to TED Talks, you’re likely to find something of interest on this list. Some sites will require you to create an account, but if you don’t want to do that, you’ll still find plenty other sites to access.
And just like love, sometimes you find the right one when you’re not looking: the book I enjoyed most last year was Whale Hunt: The Narrative of a Voyage by Nelson Cole Haley, Harpooner in the Ship Charles W. Morgan 1849-1853. First published in 1948, this memoir was a fascinating look into a world long gone. I was looking over the shelves of the library’s ongoing book sale, and it caught my eye. Someone read it, donated it, and it found a new home on my own shelves.
Adult Reference Librarian