By Mary Kelly and Holly Hibner
Book blogs are everywhere. One of the best features of technology is when readers can share with other readers. The love of books is shared by so many people across the web. These websites are great for everything from collection development, new releases, genre favorites and discussions. However, literary types tend to get a bit stuffy. We prefer something less precious and more about the greater landscape of entertainment. Preferably with a bookish touch.
Book Riot is always fun and the content is constantly changing. They have everything from a podcast to book reviews. One of our favorite sections is Book Fetish which features all sorts of fashion, jewelry and cool book themed accessories. Even with the all the fun and humor, there is lots of meaty content as well. Editorials are not shy about discussion of events within the library and publishing industry.
Romance isn’t always respected as a genre. These ladies don’t care and will absolutely convert you to romance. Is it weird? Is it bad? They will tell you! Book reviews, smart editorials and comments on everything from sex scenes to some of the stranger sub-genres within romance. (Can you say dino-rotica?) This site needs to be read all the time.
Books, movies, television and anything else that crosses into the world of pop culture can be found here. Good book reviews and just the right amount of gossipy news bits. This site is especially helpful for the movie/book crossover crowd.
This book blog is fun and doesn’t seem to have an agenda. It is a regular person doing regular reading. Reviews are short, complete and rated on a scale of 1-10 caterpillars. There is a sense of humor at work and there isn’t a false note in any review. The website is a bit basic, but otherwise this blog has content down pat.
Bookalicious Babe (also known as Ms. Caboo) is a voracious reader and former book store employee. She reviews quite a large variety, including teen fiction, memoirs, and popular nonfiction. Bookalicious Babe is more like a personal book list or diary of reading. What is a bit unique is that she says what she is reading and planning to review. The reviews themselves are comprehensive and with a nice narrative about the plot. This is a nice place to get ideas for new books and a little bit of introspection.
For all teen book lovers, your first stop should be at Stacked. The librarians at Stacked are focused on young adult readers. We appreciate the in depth reviews that keep in mind librarians that need to book talk or do reader’s advisory or that reluctant teen reader. The ladies at Stacked have themed book lists that no librarian should be without. For book professionals and those interested in Young Adult, New Adult, teen genre fiction as well as publishing and library trends, this blog should be on your “must read” list.
Monkey See is a pop culture blog from NPR. (There is also a great podcast, as well.) The gang at Monkey See cover everything pop culture: books, movies, television, as well as a bit of talk about the media. This is a great blog to cover any books making a dent in the media landscape. Our recent favorite is the discussion of the movie and book Gone Girl.
Science fiction fans will love SF Signal. This blog reviews science fiction and some crossover fantasy and horror titles. There is also lots of talk on television, movies, and anything pop culture with respect to the genre. They have a wide variety of reviewers/writers that give a variety of styles and opinions. Again, this is a site that book pros should put on their reading list.
Looking for something different? Lab Lit is a comprehensive science-centered website that reviews books featuring scientists. They like to differentiate from the science fiction crowd by defining their interests as “realistic fiction” featuring a scientist protagonist. In addition to book reviews, there is lots of talk about science and culture. In depth interviews, essays are hallmarks of this site. This is definitely a niche site that is worth a look.
This deep and comprehensive book review site has been around forever or 2002. There is a substantial archive of reviews that can keep a person busy for years. They cover nonfiction, fiction and poetry. They pride themselves on including some books that are under the radar. The site seems a bit awkward in design, but the content is first rate. They are quick to point out that just because they are booksluts, they do have standards!
Although not a blog, this online database is an essential reader advisory tool that compliments many of the websites we have discussed. In our home state of Michigan, this is available through our MeL databases arrangement with the Library of Michigan. Regardless of the type of library, this database is an essential tool for any reader advisory service. It is especially helpful for any librarian not as familiar with some of the popular genre fiction. When patrons are searching for recommendations outside of your comfort zone, Books and Authors is a go-to source for all things fiction. I have also used this for a jumping-off point for literary criticism for a range of students.
Of course we also need to recommend the Gale Blog for all things collection development. There are lots of resources for all kinds of library collection development and readers advisory.
Good collection development is fundamental to library quality. Effective reader advisory is also a core service for libraries. Developing a regularly-scheduled stop at these websites will keep your fiction collection fresh and ahead of the trends.
About the Authors
Holly is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Plymouth District Library in Plymouth, MI. She has a mild obsession with collection quality (ok, maybe not so mild) and can be found at the Readers’ Advisory desk dreaming up read-alikes.
Mary is the Youth Services Librarian at the Lyon Township Public Library in South Lyon, MI. She, too, is obsessed with collection quality, and has taken it up a notch with never ending shelf lists, spreadsheets, and inventory. Mary has a special knack for linking books to readers of all ages.