High-demand, bestselling titles meet the immediate needs of a large group of patrons. They’re the sparkly gold dust that attracts attention and draws in readers. But beneath that top layer of new titles are the “midlist” titles – the majority of all published works. In this group is where emerging authors, alternative and esoteric titles, and a much broader selection of works live. These are the titles chosen by libraries focused on providing a rich collection that encourages readers to look beyond the “shiny” titles.
By Holly Hibner and Mary Kelly
Remember in high school and college when you were assigned classic fiction reading? Those titles are classics for a reason. They have stood the test of time and are still assigned reading in many classrooms. Some of my personal favorites were The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn, Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, and Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. I remember thinking that there were such profound ideas in those novels, and soaking up every metaphor and every turn of phrase. As an adult, I am interested in these same profound ideas and great writing, and I think that there are a lot of books published in the last ten years or so that make great read alikes to those classic novels. Let’s start with my favorites.
Forget the “Columbus sailed the ocean blue” mnemonic devices and dusty history books. If you want to experience history with dimension and humanity, turn to historical fiction.
Before they were stars…soon-to-be movie blockbuster titles available in large print!
Ahem…and cue the announcer! “IN A WORLD dominated by video and movies, a plucky group of librarians dares to put large-print books into the hands of readers starved for stories in the most readable format available.”
Some readers crave fiction. But a growing number of readers are hungry for nonfiction. In fact, a recent analysis of circulation data from libraries around the country revealed phenomenal growth of circulating nonfiction over the last 20 years. Why? Well, here are two possible reasons:
Science fiction is often called the “literature of ideas.” It tells the story of humanity with unparalleled imagination and often stimulates powerful insight into the human condition by exploring grand “what if” scenarios.
Books like 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World and Animal Farm introduced science fiction broadly to American audiences and it quickly became a popular literary genre. Since then, interest in science fiction has grown immensely, as readers of all ages are drawn to the genre that allows us to explore other worlds from the comfort of home.
The highly anticipated annual Publisher’s Weekly Best Books list gets the full attention of three enthusiastic groups of people:
- Authors, who want their book to be on it
- Readers, who refer to it to discover new books for their must-read list
- Librarians, who use it to develop their collections with high-quality, relevant titles
Well, this year’s list has arrived, and it’s stocked with great books that readers in every community are itching to read.
Did you know that Hitchcock’s epic The Birds was based on a Daphne du Maurier short story? Hollywood loves a good story.
Once you find an author you love, you want to read every book they’ve written. It’s even better than finding that one elusive brand of jeans that fits you perfectly.
By Holly Hibner and Mary Kelly
You’re going away for the weekend. You have a few hours to kill on the plane, or maybe in the car, and you love to read. You don’t want to think too much, though – after all, you’re on vacation! You need a book you can devour in a weekend. What’s it going to be? Here are some suggestions for quick, light reads perfect for vacation.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows (2008)
History buffs will find this short work of fiction (274 pages) a perfect vacation read. German-occupied Guernsey Island during World War II is the setting, and the characters are a lovable, eccentric group who form a literary club. A writer named Juliet is intrigued by their society, and joins them on Guernsey Island. Her letters detail her experiences with people who become true friends, and their struggles during the occupation of their home during the war.
Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich (2014)
There’s something for everyone on this list! Fans of chick lit, gossipy style, and a little (ok, a lot…) of sexy romance will enjoy this quick read. Holly Brennan, a young widow, hooks up with a trainer to get her into shape. Of course, there is undeniable chemistry between them! This one is not recommended for a family car ride audio book! Load up your e-reader and bring a fan, because this one is hot, hot, hot! Perfect for the beach!