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Q: “What should I read?”

Written on: June 17th, 2012 by: cathay in Q & A's

Question:  Now that it’s summer, what should I read?

Librarians love this question!  It not only means you’re interested in reading, which puts sparkles in our eyes, it also gives us the opportunity to hone our reader’s advisory skills.

In order to find a good match between you and the materials you’d like to read, we’ll ask you some questions such as:

  • What types of books or magazines have you been reading recently?
    • What is it you liked about these?  (Considerations:  The setting?  Learning something new?  The style of writing?  That it was historical? )
    • Does it matter if it’s a physical book or ebook?
    • Do you like books that are in a series?
    • What are your favorite types of stories? 
      • For example, do you like exciting mysteries, romances, thrillers, science fiction, etc.?  Some patrons prefer stories based on fact and biographies, too, or ones that were movies they watched that lead to interest in reading the books.

In addition to your interests, we’ll also help determine books that fit your age and/or reading level.  There are so many out there to choose from.  To assist us, we have some great reader’s advisory tools available, such as Novelist (Novelist Plus and Novelist K-8).  You can use this too!  It is linked through our catalog and also online at:

When you click on Novelist Plus, you’ll be prompted to log in using your 14 digit library card number (with no spaces) and PIN.  Once logged on, simply describe the type of book you’re searching for in the main search field.

When asked for the title of a young adult novel I read a few months ago by a colleague to recommend to her 14-year old son, I just couldn’t recall it.   Using Novelist, I searched for “boy with electrical powers” since that was what stood out for me.

Once the results show you should have plenty of options.  You can broaden or narrow your search using the topics on the left navigation side, such as by writing style, story line, and setting.   Look below each book cover to see “title read-alikes”, “author read-alikes”, and “series read-alikes”.  In my case, I recognized the title and book cover right away (“Michael Vey, The Prisoner of Cell 25” by Richard Paul Evans).    I also thought it might be interesting to see what Novelist would recommend as an author read-alike and clicked on that.

There were many options given and from the list, I can quickly see if any are immediately available at my local library through the catalog link, and place a request (aka “place a hold”) on items that are currently checked out.

The online catalog also has links to best seller and recommended reading lists that can keep you up to date on popular fiction and non-fiction.  When you go to the catalog, available online from the Delaware Libraries’ site at:

…look at the bottom of the catalog page for a plethora of top lists, from Oprah’s to the New York Times.

These are some great ways to browse for items that spark your interest, but remember that your Delaware librarians are very happy to assist you with reading recommendations anytime, in person or online through our Ask a Librarian Delaware 247 chat service.   We love helping our Delaware patrons find new treasures, anytime!