Monday, October 27, 2008

What Mood Are You In?

"Now What Do I Read?"

Here at the Readers’ Services desk on the third floor, one of the most common questions from our patrons is what to read next. A patron will say she finished a book or a series that she loved, but what next? If only there was an author who wrote in the same general style… If only there was a way to find this information…

Well, fret no longer. You can always ask one of us or call us on the phone or you can go to NoveList Plus. This is a subscription database at Des Plaines Public Library which is available on our library’s homepage under “References.” Because NoveList is online, you can search it here in the library or at home from your computer.

So what is NoveList? It’s a website which “suggests” books. For example, I happen to love books by Michael Connelly but I’ve read practically all of them. When I want suggestions for books to read that are similar to Connelly’s, I go to NoveList and type in his name. After a thorough explanation of his books, there’s a button called “read-alikes”, library-lingo for similar books. In this case, NoveList suggests titles by Ian Rankin, James Ellroy, James Lee Burke and Harlan Coben to name a few.

You can also find information on award winners or book discussion guides or book reviews. If you’d like, you can even keep your own private list of books on NoveList if you choose to create an account. (It’s free). NoveList isn’t only for adults either – there’s information for all ages, and we even have a separate database called NoveList Plus K-8 which can be found in the online reference section too.

NoveList is not the only resource of this type. One of my other favorites is WHICHBOOK because it's not only informative, it's fun and well, goofy. It’s like a mood ring that tells you what to read next. This free website at http://www.whichbook.net/ lists a series of moods, qualities and characteristics you might find in a book, for example, happy, sad, optimistic, short, unpredictable, serious etc. You click on the qualities which describe your mood and WHICHBOOK suggests some titles. I chose “funny” and “down to earth” and received a list of book suggestions, starting with Cynthia Ozick’s Puttermesser Papers.

Of course, as far as the Readers’ Services staff is concerned, the best way to get a suggestion is to ask us. We are all book-crazy, and for that matter, movie and music-crazy too. Come up and visit us and we’ll guess your mood!


Linda said...

While I love being a part of the Readers' Advisory staff I could never quite figure out why people ask "what should I read next?" because I've never had a problem finding a book. My problem is how to squeeze all the ones I want to read into my schedule! Personally I like to skip the 14-Day "new" books and browse the "older" fiction and mysteries. My favorite thing is to look at titles and book covers that grab my eye in passing. I've found so many terrific reads via treasure hunting in this way. Take a chance. Read an author you've never tried before.

Cathy F. said...

I just tried out Whichbook.net and probably spent way too much time exploring my mood. It is fun! I worked backwards and tried to set the moods to find book titles I have already read. Many of the titles were unfamiliar to me, and with further exploration, I've come to believe the site is from the United Kingdom. So a new perspective may be had from using this tool.

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