Thursday, January 21, 2016

Films, Films, and More Films!

Are you a film buff? Do you like independent films? Or do you just like keeping up with film awards in general?

If you answer to any of these questions is Yes, then this is your time of year!

The Golden Globe Awards were held on January 10, followed by announcement of the Academy Award nominees on January 18. Though the Oscar ceremony will not be held until February 28th, the Screen Actors Guild Awards will be broadcast on January 30th.

As if those three were not enough, the Sundance Film Festival 2016 is running this week from January 21-31, 2016 in Park City, Utah. Click here for a schedule and listing of submissions for this year's film program. 

Care to speculate which of the submissions might be among the nominees (or winners!) for the 2017 Golden Globes, Oscars, or SAG awards?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

National Book Critics Circle Announces 2015 Publishing Finalists

The National Book Critics Circle was founded in 1974 with the purpose of supporting book criticism and literary culture. According to the mission statement, the NBCC "honors outstanding writing and fosters a national conversation about reading, criticism and literature." 

The National Book Critics Circle Awards have been presented in March since 1975, honoring the best literature published in the United States during the previous year. The awards are made in six categories: Autobiography, Biography, Criticism, Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry.

The NBCC finalists for publishing in 2015 were announced in a Critical Mass blog post on January 18, 2016: National Book Critics Circle Announces It's Finalists for Publishing Year 2015


  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Eternity’s Sunrise: The Imaginative World of William Blake by Leo Damrosch
  • The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
  • On Elizabeth Bishop by Colm Tóibín
  • The Nearest Thing to Life by James Wood

  • Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay
  • How to Be Drawn by Terrance Hayes
  • Bright Dead Things by Ada Limón
  • Parallax and Selected Poems by Sinéad Morrissey
  • What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford by Frank Stanford
Winners will be announced at the NBCC Awards Ceremony and Reception to be held March 17, 2016 at The New School in New York City, NY

Monday, January 11, 2016

More Book and Media Award Announcements

Sunday evening, January 10th, I monitored Twitter from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM CST while the Book and Media Awards Ceremony was held in Boston as part of the American Library Association's (ALA) Midwinter conference. I followed up by watching for the official press releases to be put online. (See yesterday's post for information about the Louis Shores Award and the List List)

I found there was representation from my library and other systems in the St. Louis area on a number of committees and have listed them with the pertinent award. Perhaps you know some of these folks? :-)

And now ... here are the rest of RUSA's 2016 Book and Media Awards:. :-)

Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction - recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. in the previous year
  • Fiction: The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • NonFiction: Hold Still: A Memoir in Photographs by Sally Mann

Reading List - an annual best-of list comprised of eight different fiction genres for adult readers. (I am particularly fond of this award as I had the honor of serving on the inaugural committee in 2007 (and again in 2008). What a great way to expand your genre reading!)
  • Adrenaline: Pretty Girls by Karen Slaughter
  • Fantasy: Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  • Historical Fiction: Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans
  • Horror: The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp
  • Mystery: The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney
  • Romance: Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl
  • Science Fiction: Golden Son by Pierce Brown
  • Women's Fiction: Re Jane by Patricia Park

Notable Books - makes 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 (Also share a fondness for this award as served on this committee in 2009. A fabulous way to experience literary fiction and nonfiction reading!)

  • Delicious Foods by James Hannaham
  • In the Country: Stories by Mia Alvar
  • The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Maara
  • The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • The Sellout by Paul Beatty
  • Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
  • Black River by S.M. Hulse
  • Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson
  • A Little Life by Haanya Yanagihara
  • The Prophets of Eternal Fjord by Kim Leine
  • This is the Life by Alex Shearer
  • The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard
  • Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War by Susan Southard
  • The End of Plenty: The Race to Feed a Crowded World by Joel K. Bourne Jr.
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle by Lillian Faderman
  • Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
  • The Interstellar Age: Inside the Forty-Year Voyager Mission by Jim Bell
  • Give Us the Ballot: THE Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America by Ari Berman
  • Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley by Charlotte Gordon
  • The Wright Brothers by David G. McCullough
  • The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery
  • M Train by Patti Smith
  • Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva by Rosemary Sullivan
  • Bastards of the Reagan Era by Reginald Dwayne Betts
  • Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems by Joy Harjo

Dartmouth Medal for excellence in reference - honors the creation of a reference source of outstanding quality and significance
[Serving on committee: Patricia Gregory, Saint Louis University]
  • Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Law

Sophie Brody Medal - given to encourage, recognize and commend outstanding achievement in Jewish literature
  • The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard

Zora Neale Hurston Award - honors an ALA member who has demonstrated leadership in promoting African-American literature
[Serving on committee: Sue K Dittmar, St. Charles City-County Library District. Glad to see a co-worker on an award committee I also served on in 2009 and again in 2011.Volunteering for a RUSA committee is fun and a great way to learn more about the association!]
  • Dr. Florita Bell Griffin for creation of the Little Flower® literacy project

Other awards announced: 

Outstanding Reference Sources
[Committee chair: Annie Fuller, St. Louis County Library; serving on committee: Kara Krekeler, University City Public Library]

Sunday, January 10, 2016

2016 RUSA Book and Media Awards

This past year, I had the honor and joy of serving on two Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) award committees. Both awards are offered under the auspices of the Collection Development and Evaluation Services (CODES) section of RUSA. 

I served as Chair for the Louis Shores Award, an achievement award and as a member of the Listen List, a book/media award award. The winners were decided upon in December 2015, to be revealed in January at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter conference.

The results of the committee deliberations were announced this evening in Boston, MA during the Book and Media Awards Ceremony. I was sworn to secrecy before although now I can now present the winners. :-)

Louis Shores Award - recognizes an individual reviewer, group, editor, review medium or organization for excellence in reviewing materials for libraries. The 2016 recipient is ...
  • Multimedia & Technology Reviews offers incisive, objectively written critical reviews for a variety of free multimedia resources and is readily available online. It's a great resource, you should check it out!

The Listen List - highlights extraordinary narrators and listening experiences that merit special attention by a general adult audience and the librarians who advise them. And the audiobooks chosen for 2016 are ...
  • All Involved by Ryan Gattis. Narrated by Anthony Rey Perez, Marisol Ramirez, Jim Cooper, Adam Lazarre-White, and James Chen
  • All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer. Narrated by Ari Fliakos and Juliana Francis Kelly
  • And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander. Narrated by Kate Reading
  • Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. Narrated by Scott Brick
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker. Narrated by David Horovitch, Jamie Parker, Joseph Kloska, Alison Pettitt, and cast
  • H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald. Narrated by Helen MacDonald
  • The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. Narrated by Davina Porter
  • The Jaguar’s Children by John Vaillant. Narrated by Ozzie Rodriguez and David H. Lawrence XVII
  • The Knockoff: A Novel by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza. Narrated by Katherine Kellgren
  • The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter. Narrated by Alex Wyndham
  • Til the Well Runs Dry by Lauren Francis-Sharma. Narrated by Ron Butler and Bahni Turpin
  • True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa by Michael Finkel. Narrated by Rich Orlow
Great listening experiences here, folks and wouldn't they make for a great display!  :-)

Thursday, December 31, 2015

RA Tip: Unconventional RA Techniques

It's been a while since I posted, I know but I've got a good one for you ... :-)

Ever had a non-reader ask for help finding something to read? The standard readers' advisory query "Tell me about a book you read and enjoyed" may not garner the response you are trying to elicit. In such cases, you might consider asking "What's your favorite TV show?"

If you haven't heard about this readers' advisory technique, a recently posted article on Public Libraries Online is a great introduction to the concept! Check out: 

And don't forget to click on the links included at the end! Great online sources to which you can subscribe as a means of keeping up.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Calling All Mystery Fans ...

The 2015 World Mystery Convention: Murder Under the Oaks was held this weekend in Raleigh, NC. 

"The World Mystery Convention is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization which holds an annual convention in honor of Anthony Boucher, the distinguished mystery fiction critic, editor and author. It is the world's premier event bringing together all parts of the mystery and crime fiction community, and is commonly referred to as Bouchercon. [bough'·chur·con]" [Bouchercon World Mystery Convention]

On Saturday, 10/10/2015, this year's Anthony Awards were announced. The Anthony Awards are a literary award for the best in mystery fiction presented since 1986 at the annual Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. The award is named in honor of Anthony Boucher, mystery critic, editor, author, and one of the founders of the Mystery Writers of America. 

And the 2015 winners are ...

After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman 

The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day 

 The Day She Died by Catriona McPherson 


Writes of Passage: Adventures on the Writer's Journey edited by Hank Phillippi Ryan 

"The Odds Are Against Us" Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Nov 2014 - Art Taylor 

In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger 

The full list of 2015 nominees can be found at Anthony Award Nominees and Winners

Next year's
Bouchercon: Blood on the Bayou will be held September 15-18, 2016 in New Orleans, LA.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

KLA/MLA 2015 Libraries Without Borders Conference!

Yours truly, the RAT Queen, will be presenting at the upcoming state library conference, KLA/MLA 2015 Libraries Without Borders, being held in Kansas City, MO Wednesday, September 20 - Friday, October 2. It is a joint meeting for members of the Missouri Library Association (MLA) and the Kansas Library Association (KLA) which means double the fun and plenty of programs!

Not sure I was thinking clearly when I submitted them but had two proposals of my own* accepted, a general session program and a poster session and then volunteered (Yes, volunteered!) to be a presenter in two others, the Readers' Advisory pre-conference and a 4-speaker panel presentation about YA Lit. It's going to be a busy conference!

If you are coming to Kansas City, look for me at the following:

50 Shades of Quit Judging: Readers' Advisory, Intellectual Freedom, & Personal Taste (Pre-conference)

Developing RA Skills & Moral: Genre Studies & Team Building (general session) *

Six Degrees of Reading (poster session) *

So Your Youth Has Become Historical Fiction: Talk Up Your Era with Today's Readers (general session)

The full conference schedule is available at Libraries Without Borders. Follow the conference on Facebook and also on Twitter with @KLAMLA2015. You can even track all the readers' advisory programs by using hashtag #raBlitz15

Follow-up posts with additional information about each of the sessions listed above are forthcoming, so keep checking back for more! :-)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

2015 Hugo Awards Announced

On Saturday evening, August 22nd, the 2015 Hugo Award Winners were announced during the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention, Sasquan, in Spokane, Washington. The Best Novel award went to The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu. 

The 2015 Hugo Award Winners Announced post includes a statement related to the giving of 'No Award' in a number of categories. "The members of the World Science Fiction Society rejected the slate of finalists in five categories, giving No Award in Best Novella, Short Story, Related Work, Editor Short Form, and Editor Long Form. This equals the total number of times that WSFS members have presented No Award in the entire history of the Hugo Awards, most recently in 1977.

Voting statistics, along with a list of all the finalists, showing the winners highlighted in Red, can be found at 2015 Hugo Awards

And if your from the Midwest and were not aware, MidAmericaCon II, the 74th World Science Fiction Convention, will be held in Kansas City, Missouri in 2016 from August 17-21!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

October Display Ideas

Courtesy of the September issue of Book Display Ideas, a Library Aware e-Newsletter compiled by staff at NoveList:
  • Feature ghost stories or horror novels this month since Halloween is October 31
  • Twenty-five years ago, in October 1990, Rwanda’s civil war began, setting the stage for the horrific 1994 genocide.
  • Dinosaur National Monument was established 100 years ago on October 4, 1915. It started with only 80 acres in Northeast Utah but now encompasses over 210,000 acres in both Utah and Colorado. Since kids more than any other age-group love dinosaurs, this would make for a great children's display
  • If you didn't do a Saturday Night Live display earlier this year (the show marked this milestone with a prime-time TV special on February 15.), do one this month; the sketch comedy show first aired 40 years ago on October 11, 1975.
  • October 18-24, 2015 is both National Friends of Libraries Week and Teen Read Week.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien's final book in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King, was first published 60 years ago on October 20, 1955.
  • Even people who aren't British know that the Battle of Trafalgar was an important day in world history. Trafalgar Day, October 21, is celebrated in various Commonwealth countries, and this year marks 210 years since the battle
  • Celebrate the countries of the world -- the United Nations was founded 70 years ago this October, and October 24 is United Nations Day.
As mentioned in a post on August 3, celebrity birthdays can be great for creating fun displays. Choosing the Friday dates in October for a weekly display theme, here are some famous birthday ideas: 

  • October 2 - Comedians: Groucho Marx, of the Marx Brothers and Bud Abbott, of the comedy team 'Abbott & Costello' 
  • October 9 - Singer/songwriters: John Lennon of the "Beatles" and Jackson Brown
  • October 16 - Literary stars: Noah Webster, compiler of first American English Dictionary and Oscar Wilde, playwright & poet
  • October 23 - Sports figures: Pele, soccer player and Dan Flutie, football quarterback
  • October 30 - Actors: Henry Winkler ('Happy Days') and Harry Hamlin ('L.A. Law')

Check out Holiday Insights for more Famous October Birthdays

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Titles to Watch for NEXT WEEK: August 23-29, 2015

Forthcoming titles which may be of interest ...


The Fall of Princes by Robert Goolrick - "In a compelling, wholly seductive narrative voice, Rooney tells of his high-flying days as a Wall Street trader during the 1980's; however, his fall is as precipitous as his rise, and he recounts his days of great wealth and even greater excess with both wistfulness and regret, never failing to mention the people he hurt along the way." (Booklist review, June 2015)

A Good Family by Erik Fassnacht - "Fassnacht's debut works as a read-alike for both Jennifer Weiner and Jonathan Franzen for the way it so convincingly melds domestic drama, suburban angst, and beautifully descriptive writing." (Booklist review, July 2015)

  • Fantasy 

Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore - "In San Francisco, the souls of the dead are mysteriously disappearing and you know that can't be good in New York Times bestselling author Christopher Moore's delightfully funny sequel to A Dirty Job" (HarperCollins, publisher)

  • Historical Fiction

Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig - "Raised in the mid-1950's by his beloved grandmother in Montana's Two Medicine Country, orphaned Donal Kyle fells as if he's been tossed into cold water when Gram, recovering from surgery, sends him to live with her bossy and mean-spirited sister in Wisconsin. Aunt Kate is so put out with Kyle that she sends him back, to be placed in the custody of the authorities. Gratifyingly, though, Kate's harassed husband slips away to join him." (Library Journal review, March 2015)

  • Mystery

Last Ragged Breath by Julia Keller (A Bell Elkin mystery)  - "A beautifully craftey mystery in which Keller (Summer of the Dead, 2014, etc.) explores love, hate, and poverty in a place of stunning natural beauty with pockets of overwhelming ugliness. The ending may leave you in tears." (Kirkus Reviews, June 2015)

Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny (A Chief Inspector Gamache novel) - "A strong sense of place, a multilayered plot, and well-crafted (and for Penny's fans, familiar) characters combine for a thoughtful, intriguing tale. More than a simple mystery, Penny's novel peels away the emotional and psychological layers of the inhabitants of Three Pines." (LJ Reviews, July 2015)

X by Sue Grafton - " ... features a remorseless serial killer who leaves no trace of his crimes. Once again breaking the rules and establishing new paths, Grafton waste little time identifying this sociopath. The test is whether Kinsey can prove her case against him before she becomes his next victim." (Penguin Putnam, publisher)

  • Suspense Thriller

 Iron Wolf by Dale Brown - "The first woman president of the United States is tested by a Russian invasion of Ukraine and Moldova that compel a previous U.S. president to organize a radical counterattack involving manned robot soldiers." (NoveList annotation)

  • Women's Fiction
If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins - "A divorced wedding-dress designer tries to extricate herself from her ex-husband's new life by moving from Manhattan to her suburban hometown, just in time to see her sister's marriage rocked by a sexually graphic text." (Kirkus Reviews, July 2015)

A Window Opens: A Novel by Elisabeth Egan - "... Elisabeth Egan brings us Alice Pearse, a compulsively honest, longing-to-have-it-all, sandwich generation heroine for our social-media-obsessed, lean in (or opt out) age. Like her fictional forebears Kate Reddy and Bridget Jones, Alice plays many roles (which she never refers to as "wearing many hats" and wishes you wouldn't, either)." (Simon and Schuster, publisher)


Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff - "...New York Times reporter John Markoff, the first reporter to cover the World Wide Web, offers a sweeping history of the complicated and evolving relationship between humans and computers." (HarperCollins, publisher)

Rising Strong by Brené Brown, Ph.D. - " Brené Brown isn’t a spiritual guru, or someone who’s risen from the ashes to tell us how to live our lives. She’s a researcher. And Rising Strong isn’t some feel-good-get-over-it regimen; it’s more investigative reporting on the common denominators of people who whole-heartedly get back up and go another round after getting their asses handed to them in big and small ways." (Amazon Best Books of August 2015 review)

  • Biography / Memoir

The Face That Changed It All: A Memoir by Beverly Johnson - "Featuring stunning never-before-seen photos, the first black supermodel to grace the cover of Vogue and one of the most successful glamour girls ever shares her childhood growing up in the racially charges 1960's, her meteoric rise to fame, her struggles with racism, drug addiction and divorce and her triumph over adversity." (Baker & Taylor annotation)

Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman by Greg Grandin - "A new account of American's most controversial diplomat that moves beyond praise or condemnation to reveal Kissinger as the architect of American's current imperial stance." (McMillan Palgrave, publisher)

The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion by Tracy Daugherty - "Explores the life of the distinguished American author and journalist, following Didion's life as a young woman in Sacramento to her adult life as a writer interviewing those who know and knew her personally. (Baker & Taylor annotation)

Friday, August 14, 2015

Invitation to Book Group Program at St. Louis Public Library

I received an email from Jennifer Ohzourk, the new Senior Subject Specialist at St. Louis Public Library's Center for the Reader. She encouraged me to share the information and an invitation for any who might be interested in attending their upcoming program.

  • On Wednesday, September 23rd at 9:00 a.m., Kaite Stover will be presenting Care and Feeding of Book Groups: Maintaining, Sustaining and Rejuvenating. At this session, learn a little history of the book group, how to make good book selections, how to formulate discussion topics (especially when none can be found online), good internet resources for book group leaders, and how to handle difficult book group members. Share ideas for making a book discussion special, titles that were a hit, and titles that were not. Come prepared to talk about your book club experiences and get ideas for creating new ones.
  • Kaite Stover is the Director of Readers’ Services for the Kansas City Public Library. She is the co-editor of The Readers’ Advisory Handbook (2010) with Jessica E. Moyer, and currently writes the "He Reads, She Reads" column for Booklist with David Wright and "Under the Radar" for Public Libraries with Jessica E. Moyer. Additionally, she is a regular blogger for Booklist's "Book Group Buzz" blog.
  • The program will be held from 9:00 am – 11:00 am in the Central Library’s Auditorium. Registration is required for the event. 

The St. Louis Public Library calendar link is or those interested in attending can call the Center for the Reader at: (314) 539-0376.

Jennifer Ohzourk
Senior Subject Specialist
Saint Louis Public Library
Central Library | Center for the Reader
1301 Olive Street, St. Louis, MO 63103

Thursday, August 13, 2015

September 2015 LibraryReads Top Ten Announced

And the September favorite is ...

The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo 

 At once tragic and hilarious, this book is a roller coaster of a read. You'll find yourself rooting for the snarky and impulsive but ultimately lovable Mattie. At the heart of this tale is a beautifully unraveled mystery that has led Mattie to her current circumstances, ultimately bringing her to her first real home.” Patricia Kline-Millard, Bedford Public Library, Bedford, NH

The rest of the LibraryReads September Top Ten are: 

Make Me: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child 

House of Thieves by Charles Belfoure

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

The Scribe: A Novel by Matthew Guinn

The full list with annotations is available at LibraryReads

For those who enjoy listening to an audio version, here is a link to a recent Booklist Reader post about the September 2015 LibraryReads on Audio!