This is a pretty common statement we hear at the library and it always presents a delightful challenge to the library staff. Delightful because it gives us the opportunity to open up a conversation about books; challenge because the reasons why a patron might be stumped on what to read next are as astronomically varied as our wonderful patrons. Sometimes it’s because they’re waiting on the next book by their favorite author and are looking to read something similar; sometimes it’s because they’ve tired of a genre and they’re looking for something completely new; sometimes it’s because they need to recommend a book that will appeal to everyone in their book discussion group. I could go on, but I think you get the idea…
These conversations can be lengthy or brief but when done well, the patron will walk away with a smile and a new book to enjoy. These can be some of our most rewarding conversations as very often, the person working at the desk will also come away from it with a smile and book recommendation or two. Many times these conversations will hone in on what you’re in the “mood” to read. Are you in the mood for something fast-paced? A light, relaxing read? Something you can really sink your teeth into on these increasingly chilly autumn nights? These types of mood indicators can often help us pick out a book for you that maybe you hadn’t considered, but are still likely to enjoy.
But, what if you’re at home browsing the catalog for something to put on hold? Or the library is closed (we don’t like to, but it does happen occasionally)? Or maybe you just can’t quite articulate what you’re looking for enough to have a conversation with someone at the desk yet. Well, we at the library love helping people, and sometimes that means helping people help themselves. So this week, instead of recommending specific books I’d like to introduce you to a great (free!) tool the library offers, which can put together some book recommendations. You can access this tool anywhere you have an Internet connection, and it can help you along during those times you’re stuck on what to read next.
Go to the library’s homepage, go to the “eLibrary” menu and select “Articles/Databases.”
There are all sorts of cool tools on this page you’ll end up on, but the one pertinent one for this post is NoveList Plus.
The NoveList Plus page is pretty fascinating all on its own because you can find authors or titles similar to ones you just read, browse through articles about books, and more. But if you’re looking for a book to fit your mood, you’ll want to click “Browse By” then “Appeal.”
Once you’ve navigated your way to what NoveList calls the “Appeal Mixer” you can really have some fun!
For example, I was still a bit caught up on comfort reads from last week and found that many of the books I talked about have well-developed characters, a richly plotted storyline and a leisurely pace. So I plugged that combination of characteristics into the three drop-down menu options, clicked “Find Titles” and it even picked one of my comfort reads!
George Eliot’s Middlemarch is right there, along with at least a dozen other books that have similar characteristics (clicking the blue arrows will get you to more selections). There are dozens of combinations you can pick, including books with bold illustrations, books with a creepy tone (just in time for All Hallows Read), books in which authors exhibit an accessible writing style and so much more. You can even pick only one or two options and see what pops up. Maybe you have a child that can’t decide what to read? You can click on the tab for the appropriate age group and create an appeal mix for something he or she is in the mood for. If you scroll down from the mixer, there are some suggestions for mood to get you started like “Leisurely paced and Atmospheric” or “Menacing and Suspenseful” and maybe this is all you need to find a new book that will suit your mood.
So if you’re just not sure what to read next, try exploring this tool and discover something you might not otherwise have picked. Of course, you’re always welcome to come to the library where we will love to talk books with you and do our best to recommend something that will appeal to you, whatever your mood!