August 21, 2018

What’s new? The secret world of books that haven’t been published yet

As readers’ advisors (and enthusiastic readers!) the staff at NoveList are always on the lookout for new books -- whether from long-time favorite authors, or advance reader copies that just happen to catch our eye. Having come off reading two AMAZING but very different ARCs in a row myself (Diane Setterfield’s Once Upon a River, and Anne Youngson’s Meet Me at the Museum, which fit into those two categories respectively), I was curious about what my colleagues were excited about. Finding out was quite a lot of fun -- I’m a big fan of serendipity when it comes to finding great new things to read and they’ve provided me with a host of options.

My first conversation was with Jennifer, our Director of Sales and Marketing, who picked up Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood, by Rose George (October 2018). Someone had brought this back from ALA, and she picked it up -- despite never having really thought about blood -- because of the Mary Roach blurb on the cover. (We then segued into talking about an interview with Mary Roach that it turned out we’d both attended. But I digress.) She couldn’t put it down, so fascinated was she by the history of blood donation, the current-day use of leeches, and other things she’d never considered.

Why else do people pick up books? Amie, our Metadata and Database Design Librarian, thought the cover art of Signe Pike’s The Lost Queen (September 2018) was beautiful. She’d also cataloged it for inclusion in NoveList, and thought the central conflict of the historical fantasy novel -- between the Celtic religion and Christianity -- sounded interesting; she’s already anticipating the sequel, which is a particular form of torture when this book hasn’t even come out yet. Content Development Manager Halle enjoyed the first book by duo Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, so when she saw an ARC for the second, An Anonymous Girl (January 2019), she snagged it -- and was very glad she did. She recommends this page-turner for anyone who “still gets a thrill” out of domestic thrillers.

Also in the “I’ll read anything so-and-so writes” category is Lindsey, a Readers’ Advisory Librarian who primarily works on content for kids and teens. I’d actually heard her mention Dry, by Neal Shusterman (October 2018), a couple weeks prior, but it was still on her mind (a sign of a good reading experience!). It’s a novel for teens that explores what happens when people lose access to safe, reliable drinking water, and it made her think about how she would handle such a loss. When I asked her who she’d want to share it with, she said “anyone who lives a coddled life.”

Recommendations Content Lead Autumn, meanwhile picked up I’m Ok by Patti Kim (October 2018) at ALA because the cover intrigued her -- she wasn’t able to tell if it meant “okay,” or if “Ok” was a character’s name; she was hoping for the latter, and for a Korean-American character. And she got it! She loved the characters (“smart, creative kids who are perceived as losers by everyone but themselves”) and swears she’ll share it with everyone she meets, but particularly with friends who attended Korean Christian Church as kids. Also, she says, “If I’m Ok doesn’t win at least a Newbery honor, I will eat my hat.” You heard it here first, folks. 

Rebecca (another RA Librarian!) had a problem picking just one -- but she ended up telling me about The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler, by John Hendrix (September 2018), because she loves Hendrix’s illustrations, and is intrigued by Bonhoeffer’s story. The book did not disappoint -- from the infographic-infused illustrations to the theme of faith in action -- she loved it, and wants to give it to all tweens, teens, and adults interested in activism, history, and innovative graphic nonfiction. And she can’t wait to get her hands on the real thing -- the ARC was in black and white, so just imagine what color will do!

While having an unusual book fall into your lap is a great experience (as evidenced by Nine Pints for Jennifer and Meet Me at the Museum for me), readers are often looking for something specific -- often, the question is simply “what’s new in my favorite genre”? When it comes to forthcoming books, NoveList can help -- from exploring the genre browse widget (many genres offer a peek at forthcoming books) to using the “forthcoming” limiter on search results, to signing up for the LibraryReads newsletter through your library’s subscription to LibraryAware -- we’ve got ways of helping readers get excited for what will soon be coming to your library’s shelves.

Now, the question is, what will they read while they WAIT?

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