Sunday, 16 August 2015

Sunday August 16th Reader's Advisory

If you are a reader or someone who wants to return to reading after an absence, then the search for a “good” book can be a challenge. Every week thousands of books are released, both in physical and electronic format, so finding the right one is as daunting as finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.  I love to wander bookstores, seeing which covers catch my eye or noting the new release by a favourite writer, but frequently even I feel overwhelmed by the choices available.

One of my jobs at the library is to provide Reader’s Advisory. Reader’s Advisory is a quick and easy way to ask someone a few questions about what they liked or disliked in a book that they have read and use their answers as a guide in choosing similar books.  While no two authors write alike, many authors share some similarities so choosing something that supplies the reader’s desire for fast paced action, or witty repartee, or fantastical world building, is possible with little more than a good general knowledge of the library collection.

Sometimes though, asking a staff member isn’t possible so the library has provided a plethora of sites to help guide you to finding a great book similar to what you would normally read or assist you in discovering something entirely new.   Library staff write a review blog about our favourite reads at   Entries include book reviews, book news and interviews with numerous authors, both local and international.   Attached to TBPL Off the Shelf are a number of blogs and links that we recommend for finding your next read.

The gold standard of reading recommendation is Goodreads, (  Goodreads is a large, international community of readers who read, review and rate titles.  Anyone can rate a book and frequently opinions vary but it usually gives a strong overview of what any books strengths and weaknesses are.  A bonus feature to using the site is its ability to track a reader’s history of books and keep a list of titles the reader has selected as “to read” titles.

Other parallel sites you might wish to explore are The Millions (, which includes reviews, news and critical analysis. The site also offers advice to budding writers, quizzes, master reading lists and a cornucopia of quotes about readers, writers and reading.  Early Word, ( ), covers both book suggestions and looks at the business of words. If you want to know if your favourite book has been sold to Hollywood, this is a great site to check. Other great sites to try are Indiebound (, which concentrates on independent and self published releases or Readerly (, which is like reading an online magazine about books.

Beyond Goodreads, there are a large number of sites devoted to particular genres of fiction.  No matter what type of book you read, whether it’s romance, mystery, horror, or western or anything else, there is a website that addresses your passion.  Occasionally, if you have no idea where to start or you are in an unusual mood, try Which Book (, which selects books based on your series of emotional scales, or try a selection site called What Should I Read Next? ( Type in a book you loved and by process of elimination it will select the right book for you.  So whatever way you find your books, happy reading.  

Lori Kauzlarick

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