Readers Advisory Tools
Readers Advisory Databases & Websites
Goodreads allows users to track the books they’ve read, books they want to read, and books the user is currently reading, review books and read the reviews of other users, and offers tailored recommendations based on the lists of what you’ve read and want to read. It can be more difficult for some people to use, however, under the Browse menu, users can navigate to what’s known as “Listopia” where other users make lists of books under whatever criteria they choose. Users can also browse lists of books “Readers Also Enjoyed”, which typically appear to the right on a given book’s page. Recently, Goodreads has added several lists of curated reading recommendations from popular authors.
Search and browse bibliographies of over 50,000 bestselling fiction authors, with the latest books and series information. Creating an account allows you to follow authors and keep lists much like on Goodreads. Each author page includes a wealth of information, including books by the author, series they’ve written listed in order, similar authors based on the activity of other users, and relevant genre pages. Genre pages enable filtering by format and provide titles that are coming soon under that genre
Whichbook advertises itself as perfect for the user who isn’t good at remembering book titles, or if you are the sort of reader who likes to choose by browsing round a little and seeing what tempts you. Using up to four of the descriptor sets, users can choose on a sliding scale how much of one way or another a book should be. For example, on a scale from optimistic to bleak, how do you like your books? Short to long? Expected to unpredictable? With 12 descriptor sets to choose from, readers can pinpoint the perfect read for them. Pre-created lists enable readers to find books based around a particular concept, while book descriptions also offer links to read-alikes, including a scale that limits by how similar to particular elements of the original book the list is. There are links at the bottom of the webpage to take you to alphabetical author and title lists if you prefer a familiar starting point.
With over two million users, LibraryThing is similar to Goodreads. Book pages include reviews, ratings, read-alikes, linked tags, external links to access the books, linked lists the book appears on, and more. LibraryThing describes its primary purpose as one that “helps you create and track a library-quality catalog of your media—books (along with movies and music) you own, have read, want to read, etc.”
Gnooks (part of Gnod, or the “Global Network of Discovery”) describes itself as “a self-adapting system that learns about the outer world by asking its visitors what they like and what they don’t like.” In the case of Gnooks, the subject at hand is books. Users type in the names of three authors they have enjoyed, and are then given name suggestions which then have three options for the user to select: I like it, I don’t like it, and I don’t know. Once you’ve clicked on one of those options, the system supplies the user with a new author, using that option to inform its new author and to inform future associations. It generally offers about 10 – 12 names, and after a brief questionnaire to review Gnooks, it ends with a summary of the original names, the names the user liked, didn’t like, and didn’t know.
Literature-Map is another Gnod creation with a unique visual approach. Readers enter an author’s name into the search bar and the tool produces other options. It provides more than one match and indicates how similar the options are to the author you started with based on how close they are on the visual cloud of names onscreen. For example, if you enter “Jane Austen,” you’ll see the names “Charles Dickens” and “Harper Lee” near the original author in the center of the page, while David Sedaris and Terry Pratchett float nearer the margins. Click on another name on the map and that author will be brought to the center, and a new set of similar authors will appear. Note that it does not offer titles, only similar authors to try.
What Should I Read Next
What Should I Read Next? has a simple search feature in which the user types in a book title or author. The site recommends options as you type and allows you to navigate to the relevant page. On the book page, What Should I Read Next? suggests titles the user might enjoy as well as a subject list as might be found in a library catalog. These are linked as well, making accessing other books with specific similar elements easy.
This blog provides a list of linked genre tags as well as posts that offer lists of read-alikes based on apps, movies, trends, tv shows, and video games. Four librarians contribute to a very broad range of lists, including read-alikes for the popular movie Elf, books for fans of Taylor Swift, and more.
Based on the Book*
One of the most comprehensive databases of its kind, Mid-Continent Public Library has compiled a list of books, plays, short stories, and graphic novels that have been made into feature-length movies or adapted for TV. From new releases to beloved classics, browse by title (book/story), author, movie, or year to discover adaptations, including some you may not have known were based on a book.
The Juvenile Series and Sequels database by Mid-Continent Public Library contains over 36,000 books in 4,900 series titles that are classified into three audiences: Juvenile Easy [JE] for birth – 2nd grade; Juvenile [J] for 2nd through 6th grade; Young Adult [YA] for 6th through 12th grade. View by series title, series subject, book title, book author.
* These databases offer a “find it” feature that allows users to choose to search the catalog, check amazon, or find the title on goodreads. The library that created these databases is NOT part of our library system, so the catalog search feature will NOT let you know if Cuba Library or anyone in our system owns the book. You will have to manually search STARCat to find the title in our system.
The Notable Book List
Since 1944, the goal of the Notable Books Council (a committee of the RUSA, a division of the American Library Association) has been to make available to the nation’s readers a list of 25 very good, very readable, and at times very important fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books for the adult reader.
The Reading List
The Reading List, compiled by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) – a division of the American Library Association, highlights outstanding genre fiction for general adult readers. The list selects one book from each of eight different categories. The eight genres currently included in the council’s considerations are adrenaline titles (suspense, thrillers, and action adventure), fantasy, historical fiction, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction, and women’s fiction. The winning titles are announced in January each year. A short list of honor titles (up to four per genre) is also announced, and readalikes for each title are also listed. Lists for the current year, as well as several previous years, are available for browsing.
Rise Top 10
Rise, also known as the Amelia Bloomer Project, is a blog with an annual booklist of the best feminist books for young readers, ages birth through 18. It is part of the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association.
Rainbow Book Lists
Created by the Rainbow Book List Committee of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association. It presents an annual bibliography of quality books with significant and authentic GLBTQ content, which are recommended for people from birth through eighteen years of age.
Over the Rainbow
The bibliography features quality fiction and nonfiction books for adults that are recognized by Over the Rainbow Project, an ad hoc committee for GLBTRT, for their authentic expression of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experiences. Each year, the Over the rainbow Project releases its annotated bibliography to aid librarians and patrons in selecting quality books released over the past 18 months.
The Books That Shaped America
The Library of Congress compiled this list of 88 books in 2012 as part of an exhibition that marked the beginning of a multiyear “Celebration of the Book,” a series of programs and other events that explore the important and varied ways that books influence our lives. Note that this list contains no books published after 2002. A downloadable copy of the list can be found here.
100 Best Novels
Modern Library, which is part of the Random House Publishing Group, compiled this list of 100 novels based on a readers’ poll for books published in the English language since 1900. The poll opened on July 20, 1998 and closed on October 20, 1998. Note that this list contains no books published after this date. Clicking on the titles on the website will open a brief description of the book. A downloadable copy of the list can be found here.
100 Best Nonfiction
Modern Library, which is part of the Random House Publishing Group, compiled this list of 100 nonfiction titles based on a readers’ poll for books published in the English language since 1900. The poll opened on April 29, 1999 and closed on September 30, 1999. Note that this list contains no books published after this date. Clicking on the titles on the website will open a brief description of the book. A downloadable copy of the list can be found here.