November 15, 2017

The Mary Roach approach

Do you Gulp when Mary Roach fans ask for recommendations? When her latest book is all checked out and a patron has read her other titles, are you on the brink of Packing for Mars?

Help is on the way! 

Among the many feature articles in NoveList Plus is one called “The Roach Approach” by NoveList Book Squad’s own Kim Burton! If you’ve never read her books, Roach writes humorous, quirky, and accessible books on science. Readers admire both her light-hearted style and her personal engagement with her topics (you’ll have to read them to believe it!). Feature articles include information about why readers like an author, series, or subject, as well as read-alikes suggestions. You can find Kim's article by typing UI 444018 in the search bar or by clicking the Lists & Articles tab on any Mary Roach title record.

No need to Grunt if your Mary Roach fans have read every book in Kim’s article. Your readers will be awed when you show them how NoveList Plus can retrieve recommendations for them. Using appeal terms (like humorous, quirky, and accessible), they can find matches for other favorite books, too. Watch the Finding books using Appeal tutorial for all the tips and tricks you need to show them how. If you or your readers aren't sure how to name the things they like about their favorite author or book, show them the list of terms in our Secret Language of Books: A Guide to Appeal. If you like the appeal guide, be sure to ask for copies. We’ll mail you enough for all your service points (or all your staff).

Often, a reader is interested in other books in the same genre. Grunt, for example, is both History Writing and Science Writing. In NoveList Plus, you can browse lists of genres and target the category you want. Try our Finding Books by Genre tutorial. As with appeal terms, we also have information on genres (including our free downloadable Guide to Genres and Book Discovery which discusses fiction genres).

But there's more!

Are your readers' advisory skills so great, they're Spook­-ey (feel free to groan)? You can become even more impressive! Here are some more advanced tricks. When you know the NoveList Plus Field Codes, you can construct your own Boolean search. One search I like is to find references to the author you want to match, while excluding that author from the search. For example: RV "mary roach" NOT AU "roach, mary" will retrieve books by other authors for which a review mentions Mary Roach.

And more!

Bonk your fingers to that keyboard, because for any specific book, the Search for More option lets you mix and match genre, appeal terms, and subject matter. Just scroll down to that section at the bottom of the book record. For example, to find more "Science Writing" that covers "Technological innovations," check those terms on the Grunt title record and click Search. Add "Writing Style" or "Tone" appeal terms if you wish -- sometimes that narrows the search results too much. 

Before I forget:

There are read-alikes suggestions on every author, title, and series page in NoveList Plus. Look at the right side of the screen, and if you want to print out the list, click the View All button. On the left is part of the list of authors who might appeal to Mary Roach's fans.

And there you have it! No need to get Stiff with fear because someone mentions enjoying an author you don’t read. NoveList Plus gives you ways to find books according to subject matter, as well as a variety of tools to help you find more precise results. Enjoy!

Katherine Bradley Johnson is a Readers' Advisory Librarian who writes NextReads newsletters.

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