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Mix it Up with the Appeal Mixer for Books

Post by Elizabeth Coleman
Posted September 11, 2015 in NoveList Plus

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What are you in the mood to read today? Heartwarming books with Relatable characters? Books that are Fast-paced and Funny? Or maybe books that are Character-driven, Reflective, and Spare? With NoveList’s new appeal mixer you can find the right book for your reading mood.

Recently, I used the appeal mixer to search for books that were Intricately plotted, Atmospheric, and Lyrical. Among other titles, I came across the Tufa novels by Alex Bledsoe, an Urban fantasy series set in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Although I don’t often read Urban fantasy, I was intrigued by this particular blend of appeal terms, which also included World-building, Character-driven, Lush, and Engaging. After reading the first novel in the series, The Hum and the Shiver, I was hooked. I immediately plowed through the other two books over the course of a weekend. 

And the good news is that there are plenty of other books with that same combo, from Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose to Louise Penny’s Inspector Armand Gamache series. I have my to-read list set for a while…. or at least until my reading mood changes again.

In case you haven't seen the appeal mixer yet, here is a peek at what it looks like:

You can find the appeal mixer in NoveList using the top menu (just go to Browse by | Appeals).

The mixer is divided by age-level and allows users to search for up to three terms in the appeal categories of character, illustration, pace, storyline, tone, and writing style. It provides a great way to get at books based on its particular attributes, instead of the usual way of finding them based on genre or subject matter. Because of this, the appeal mixer can generate some fun and interesting results that cross genres and the fiction/nonfiction divide.

For example, if you’re looking for Offbeat and Witty you’ll find Sarah Vowell’s highly readable Assassination vacation next to Karen Russell’s Swamplandia. Or maybe you’d rather pick up something Thought-provoking and Reflective, like Atul Gawande’s Being mortal or Marilynne Robinson’s Lila.

On the Teen side, if you were too look up Fast-paced and Emotionally-intense, you would find a variety of genres, including the final Harry Potter book (Fantasy fiction), as well as Gary Paulsen’s Woods runner (Historical fiction), Sarah Dessen’s Lock and key (Realistic fiction), and Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as we knew it (Apocalyptic fiction). The result lists are not recommendations, but the appeal mixer allows users to group books and think about them in a unique way.

A word of warning, though, not all combinations will return a result. For instance, you’ll have to look elsewhere for books that are fast-paced, upbeat, and disturbing.

Can’t decide what your reading mood is today?  Don’t worry! NoveList has you covered with a collection of appeal combos already made for your browsing pleasure. Each age-level offers various combinations which will be changed on a monthly basis.

So try out our new appeal mixer and let me know what you think in the comments below!


Elizabeth Coleman is a Cataloger at NoveList and recently became the team lead for appeals.