Finding your next read


One of my favorite things to do as a librarian is recommend books. I enjoyed it when Evelyn, a former volunteer, would frequently ask me for recommendations. Her tastes differ from mine so it was always a challenge.

I prefer gritty, dark fiction and she likes gentle reads, often about British women vacationing on the coast of somewhere warm, or mysteries without violence. I had been able to find her quaint novels before and I made a few new recommendations based on books I had heard about.

One day I made a recommendation for a title that contained a slightly tasteless scene that put her off and she started asking others for recommendations. I was crushed. I should have used Novelist.

Novelist is a database subscribed to by the King County Library system. When you visit the database page, www.kcls.org/databases, you will find Novelist under the alphabetical list, or under the subject heading marked reading. Once you log on with your card number and PIN, you can start searching for a new book.

There are multiple ways to use the database. You can search for authors and titles, or browse by genre and subgenre or find a new series. It’s easy to look up a title you’ve enjoyed to find a read-alike list based off the book and author. There are special sections for award winners within genres or across fiction. Advanced searches allow you to pinpoint the audience of a book such as adult, young adult or children’s, publication date, and lexile level.

Once you have selected a title, you can read professional reviews on the book, view Good Reads ratings and find book group discussion guides. Book records include genre, tone and pace of the story, so you will know if it is upbeat and happy or if the writing style is witty or lyrical. There is also a link to take you directly to the item in the KCLS catalog so you can start placing your holds. Create a personal login to save titles you have read, create a list of things you’d like to read or email finds to your book group members.

I could have avoided making a bad recommendation by using Novelist. Under the category of mysteries, I looked over subheadings of It’s Getting Very Noir in Here, Crafty Crimes and finally settled on Getting Cozy. That list of cozy mysteries is the perfect fit for Evelyn’s search. What’s your next read?

Darcy Brixey is the teen services librarian at the Bellevue Library. She’d like to tell you she loves to read, but it’s an expectation of the job.


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