Dive Into A Great Book

May 2012

As we turn the page on another spring, summer brings more time for relaxing and reading. Whether you’re sunning at the beach, lounging at the pool, or simply enjoying the air conditioning indoors, summer is book season. But which book is often the question. Go beyond the standard best-seller list, and find something that will get you turning pages and even making recommendations to friends.

Personalized Book Lists

Libraries can compile a personalized list of book recommendations for you based on a survey you fill out regarding your reading preferences. The online form asks what you have read recently that you enjoyed, and also what you don’t like. You can enter preferences for genre, topics, and length of book. You can exclude things like excessive violence or obscene language. You can specify a certain age range or gender of the main character. Based on this form, a librarian creates your list. Turnaround time is usually around two weeks.

Coordinator of Marketing and Programming for the Harris County Public Library Linda Stevens says, “The list you receive should have ten books.” In just over a year since the service began, the library has prepared over 2,300 lists for patrons.

I tried this service called Book Hunters at the Harris County Public Library and called Have You Read at the Houston Public Library. The lists I received intrigued and excited me.  Stevens explains that as the requests come in, “they are categorized by what that person reads.” Then, they can match the request to a librarian with similar interests.

Book Club Lists

Many book stores and libraries offer book clubs for patrons. Two neighborhood book clubs meet at Blue Willow Book Shop. Owner Valerie Koehler says, “Book clubs are a great place for people to gather and talk about ideas and themes that are common to the human experience. Book clubs help you expand your reading and help you focus on the overarching themes.”

Koehler shared a list of her top picks for book clubs for the summer with us.

Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman:

New in paperback and well-

researched about biblical times.

• House At Tyneford by Natasha

Solomons: Set in England between

the wars, a well-written family drama.

• Coffins of Little Hope by Timothy

Schaffert: Quirky, funny, and

ultimately an incisive look at

contemporary culture.

Even if you are not interested in joining a book club, you can review their lists for suggestions at your local book store.

Books for Kids and Teens

Encourage kids and teens to step away from the electronics and pick up a good book. The Houston Public Library categorizes reading lists by age level, award winners, and school district at http://houstonlibrary.org/reading-lists. The Harris County Public Library has a page on Pinterest where you can browse through their most popular book choices for teens and younger kids; adult books are listed too. Take a look at http://www.pinterest.com/hcpl.

Getting your kids to the library this summer should be easy. Most branches offer a wonderful selection of fun activities. They also have programs that encourage kids to keep track of the books they read and reward them for reaching certain milestones.

Make This a Novel Summer

From science fiction to romance, e-reader to good old paperback, you’ve got the resources to create the perfect summer reading list just for you.

Copyright 2012 Absolutely! Focus Media

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