Monday, February 5, 2007

So Many Books, So Little Time

Despite the electronic charms of the World Wide Web, books are still hot. More books are published annually today than a decade ago, bookstores (in bricks and online) do a booming business, and public library circulation figures continue to rise. For book lovers, nothing is as satisfying as discovering a compelling new author or meeting someone who shares your passion for a particular book or getting a call from the library saying that your turn has come up for that bestseller everyone's talking about.

How do you find out what's new to read? You can see what the library has recently bought at the New Materials tab in the online catalog. From there you can choose lists of Adult and Young Adult titles, Children's titles, and Media. Browse to your heart's content. The library also maintains a web page called Reader Resources where you'll find links to book lists, reading groups, and library services that promote reading and discussion.

Say you've read every novel by David Baldacci and you'd like to try an author who writes like him. This is a job for NoveList. Enter your Merrimack library card number when prompted. NoveList lets you create a search using the features of your favorite novels to find similar works. You can identify all the books in a series, keep lists of personal favorites, and find discussion questions for book groups. We also offer NoveList K-8 for our younger patrons.

Here's a fun site for celebrity readers and the people who watch them. Who Reads What has been compiled annually since 1988 by Glenna Nowell of the Gardiner (ME) Public Library. Look here to see what your idol reads and why.

LibraryThing is a way for collectors and casual readers to keep track of their home libraries and connect with others who share their reading interests. LibraryThing uses the social software system of "tags" to categorize the titles. Members write book reviews and suggest titles, even "un-suggest" titles, on the site's message board. It's an online gathering place for book lovers.

It's awfully cold out there tonight! Wouldn't you liked to be curled up next to a fire with a good book?

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