January 12, 2017

Announcing the 2017 edition of The Secret Language of Books

Have you ever wondered if books have their own secret language? We here at NoveList think they do, and we call it appeal.

Appeal is how a book whispers to a reader. It’s how a memoir leaves them feeling inspired or a novel leaves them wondering if the narrator was being straight with them, long after they’ve closed the pages.

When books speak to us at NoveList and to readers in your library in appeal, they aren’t speaking about subject matter (nurses, diaries, Presidents, Antarctica, etc.), they are speaking style and how the book feels.

Using the groundwork laid by Joyce Saricks, Nancy Pearl, Neal Wyatt, and others, NoveList introduced our vocabulary describing book appeal in 2010. We created this language in response to readers, librarians, and reading trends and, with your help, it’s grown and adapted to serve you better.

We’ve pulled nuance out of “Funny,” adding eight additional terms, including “Sardonic” and “Silly.” Similarly, we are better able to describe illustration appeal for readers of all ages, from Goodnight Moon to Fun Home.

Our metadata librarians spend their days discussing and evaluating appeal to make your job of finding a reader’s next amazing read, easier. We’re proud of this work and we’re proud of the role you played in making it happen.

Download your digital copy of The Secret Language of Books now. We welcome your feedback to make appeal even better! What term would help you find your next favorite book? Let us know in the comments!

Happy reading!


Elizabeth Coleman is a Metadata Librarian at NoveList.





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