Our theme for Summer Reading 2011 is “One World, Many Stories,” which is apropos. Walking into the library is a magical thing: there are so many books crying out to tell their stories that the cacophony matches that of a mid ’80s Metallica concert (back when they weren’t sellouts, but I digress). So here are some ways to find your Next Great Book. Although I have made separate categories, many of these following sites overlap due to multiple features and information so keep that in mind, I suppose. Also keep in mind that these are only a few!
(Special thanks to Kim C. for several great links!)
Social Book Sites:
Goodreads permits individuals to sign up and register books to create their library catalogs and reading lists. It has a nice and easy interface and gives you the ability to share your collection information with others. It is great to see a visual bookshelf of what you have read as well as see what others are reading.
LibraryThing is a social cataloging web application for storing and sharing book catalogs and various types of book metadata. It is used by individuals, authors, libraries and publishers. It is a bit more intense than Goodreads, especially with its extensive lists and tagging. It is well worth looking into for its sheer depth.
What Should I Read Next?
This site is simple and fun. Type in a book or author. You will see books by the author appear as you type. Choose one that you have read or sounds interesting. This will then take you to similar authors. I searched “Andrew Vachss” and found a great book by T. Jefferson Parker, for example.
This one is pretty cool. I snobbily misjudged it based on its late ’90s web design. Using the sliders is a unique idea. I found some great reads here in the last few years like David Peace’s “Red Riding” Quartet (aka 1974, 1977, 1980, and 1983 by their individual book titles). By the way, there is a three-part DVD based on these books available at SJCPL titled The Red Riding Trilogy.
The Book Seer (dig the beard!)
Readalike.org is a bit more comprehensive for genres often overlooked by other sites such as chic lit, horror, and graphic novels.
Favorite Subject Websites:
Stop, You’re Killing Me
I think their blurb spells it out! “(Stop, You’re Killing Me) is a resource for lovers of mystery, crime, thriller, spy, and suspense books. We list over 3,600 authors, with chronological lists of their books (over 40,000 titles), both series (4,000+) and non-series.”
Hennepin County Library’s Bookspace
Find some creative lists of fiction books on a wide variety of topics.
WorldHum: The 100 Most Celebrated Travel Books of all Time
A list of classic travel books for those with wanderlust!
Information on books by African-American authors.
Christian Book (fiction)
To find reader reviews, information about authors, series lists and new books, try these web sites:
Fantastic Fiction is great for following prolific authors (uh, James Patterson or Robert Parker) and their series’ characters. For example if you want to know Robert Parker’s Spenser novels in a chronological list, enter his name and hit ‘enter.’ Bingo! It will also give you his Jesse Stone novels as well as standalone works. Many of the pages have recommendations of other authors at the bottom of a particular author’s page as an added bonus.
This is another goood website for finding information about series.
Provides information about new books, popular books, blogs, reader reviews and so forth.
* Like I said, these are a few. You can always search out Wikipedia’s master list of literary awards. If overwhelmed, scroll down to genres for Bram Stoker Award, Agatha Award, Hugo Award, Caldecott, Newberry as many have their own site with backlogs of awards through the years.
Have fun and enjoy your summer reading!