Wednesday, September 26, 2012

DIY - Find the Perfect Next Book

You sit back with that wonderful glow and satisfactory pause after having experienced a great book. Then it hits you - you've finished the book, the last page has been turned. Now what? How can you find another book you'll like just as much?

Believe it or not it is possible. You're always welcome to ask for assistance at the reference desk - we love helping people find the perfect book! However, you can also try some DIY (Do It Yourself) book hunting.

Here is a list of databases and websites to guide you towards your next great read.

NoveList
This database allows readers to search for their favourite authors or titles, and find others of similar interest.  Users can browse theme-oriented book lists at every reading level through Explore Fiction, and look for outstanding titles in Best FictionThere are many ways to generate searches on this database. I usually search something vague in the "Search for..." bar at the top, and using the limiters on the right and left-hand side columns, fine tune my searches. You can limit your search by age suitability, year published, award winners, genre, writing style, location, tone and much more. There is also a NoveList designed for kids, NoveList K-8. This is a great resource for helping your children talk about the books they've read and getting them excited about reading and literacy.

Fantastic Fiction
This is a UK site that allows users to search by author or book title to discover reading-related information. I use this all the time to find comprehensive lists of book series in the correct order (especially for series with multiple publication dates). Try searching the author of a book you've enjoyed in the past and read a short bio, forthcoming titles, awards, links to their websites, and author recommendations. The bottom of each author page includes a section on "Visitors to this page also looked at these authors". I find that following the links here can help me discover new authors and series I never knew existed.

BiblioCommons

This is our interactive library catalogue at the Stratford Public Library. Here you can find information about new titles added to our collection, award winners, staff picks, read reviews from users all over the world and participate in the discussion comments. For most items, on the right-hand side there is a section called, "Similar Titles", that automatically searches our collection for books that may be of interest to you. Don't forget to share your opinions on BiblioCommons by starring, commenting, or tagging items so that others can benefit. Best of all is that you're not limited to books, you have the same options for searching and sharing about audio visual materials too.

iDreamBooks
Like what rottentomatoes.com does for films, iDreamBooks aggregates book reviews by critics to help you discover the very best of what's coming out each week. Rather than rummaging through a bunch of websites and papers to find reviews published on different dates iDreamBooks has put all the reviews for one title in one location. The site is organized by genre and has preselected over 40 genre topics including  fiction, non-fiction, bios, romance, mystery, travel, erotica and nature. There is also the option to search by title, author. The major drawback to this site is that it focuses on the most popular titles and authors in the United States and tends to ignore CanLit novelists such as Susan Swan and Emma Donoghue despite their significance over the border. 

GoodReads
GoodReads tagline, "Meet your next favourite book", sounds promising. This site has really picked up steam the last few years as it continued to integrate social software in order to connect users with other readers and authors. Accounts are free and can be used to track your reading history. Using the star system users can rate the title and add them to individually designed shelves (for example, I have one for CanLit). Once you've added some titles GoodReads will begin generating recommendations based off your reading history. I have found some real gems this way. 

What Should I Read Next?
Very straightforward site - type in an author or book you've enjoyed and you will immediately receive a list of books. When you click for more information or to buy the book it links to Amazon, but of course we know you would just check for the book in the library catalogue.

There are also a bunch of interesting infographics available online such as this one from First Book - Denver Metro.

If you have other suggestions please join in the conversation by leaving a comment.

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