Tuesday, January 27, 2015

WESTERN Book Discussion - Question # 7

One final question about the characters ...

  • Are any of the characters in THE OUTCASTS "good people," in your estimation? What qualifies as goodness in the universe of this novel? Which character (if any) do you consider the story's moral center, and why?

Submit your points via the Comments: link.

Monday, January 26, 2015

WESTERN Book Discussion - Question # 6

Who might enjoy this book ...

  • To which of your customers, family, friends, or co-workers might you suggest The Outcasts? Why do you think they would enjoy it? 

  • Many readers learn about new titles using social media ... how would you promote the book on Twitter or Hootsuite, using less than 140 characters?

Let's talk about the readers' advisory aspect using the COMMENTS: link.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

WESTERN Book Discussion - Question # 5

What about the genre itself ...

  • How does this book compare with other Westerns that you have read (or seen)? What themes does this novel share with them, and which does it reject or reimagine?

Use the COMMENTS: link to provide your answer.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

WESTERN Book Discussion - Question # 4

Let's continue with the title ...

  • Why do you think this novel is called THE OUTCASTS? Which characters does this phrase describe, and why? What would it take for THE OUTCASTS to be "included," and what would they lose in the process?

Please enter your response using the COMMENTS: link.

Friday, January 23, 2015

National Readathon Day - January 24, 2015

Tomorrow is national READATHON day which is being sponsored by Penguin Random House, goodreads, Mashable, and the National Book Foundation

Anyone can get involved by joining readers across the country in a marathon reading session from 12:00 Noon to 4:00 PM on Saturday, Jan 24th, 2015.  Local businesses or libraries may even be holding reading parties for visitors to join. 

Participants can also share experiences and photos through social media, use the hash tag and make #timetoread.

WESTERN Book Discussion - Question # 3

What about Nate, the male protagonist ...

  • Nate's first encounter with Dr. Tom and Deerling is marked by distrust and disapproval of their questionable methods, but his relationship with both men evolves as they work together. What does Nate learn from these more seasoned rangers, and from being on the job? How would you describe the portrayal of male friendship in this novel?

Use the COMMENTS: link to discuss this point.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

WESTERN Book Discussion - Question # 2

Now let's expand the discussion by exploring the character of Lucinda ...

  • Lucinda's moral spectrum has many shades of grey. Dr. Tom sums her up with a question: "What makes you think a woman with any decency left would cleave to an evil man like McGill?" Is his assessment of Lucinda fair? Did you find yourself sympathizing with Lucinda or judging her? To what extent should we forgive her capacity for cold self-interest and even brutality?

 Use the COMMENTS: link to continue the discussion.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WESTERN Book Discussion - Question # 1

The Western benchmark selection is THE OUTCASTS by Kathleen Kent, "a taut, thrilling adventure story about buried treasure, a manhunt, and a woman determined to make a new life for herself in the old west."

Let's begin with a bit about the main characters ...

  • Most of THE OUTCASTS revolves around the separate journeys that Lucinda and Nate take before their paths cross. Discuss the motivations that initially drive the two protagonists towards their goals?

Post a COMMENT to begin or continue the discussion.

Friday, January 16, 2015

An Old-Fashioned Book-Group Leader?

 Another great post from the district's own Sue D about book discussion groups! Check out her current Book Group Buzz blog post on The Booklist Reader:

I'm an Old-Fashioned Book-Group Leader - and Proud of It!

The article has some interesting and useful points for consideration, no matter how a leader or group runs their book discussion.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge?

Many set goals with the start of a new year - lose weight, live a more healthy life, manage their time better, and so on. By now, half way through January, those goals are most likely set so I wondered what reading goals may have been established as individual challenges for 2015.

Some will challenge themselves to increase their reading, setting a goal for a number of books to be read each month or for the year. Why even Mark Zuckerberg of facebook has set himself a reading goal for this year: to read a book every other week

Others wish to expand their reading into other areas by, for example, reading more titles in a specific genre, reading more nonfiction, or listening to recorded books. 

My personal goal this year is to read 50 books, on average 4 a month. In addition I want to make, at least, half of those audiobooks. Have been increasing my audiobook listening in 2014 and decided a challenge for 2015 was the way to get me to increase it again.

So tell me what your reading goal is for 2015? Can hardly wait to see your challenges in the Comments!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Western is Still Alive, Really ...

Wish you could offer more than paperback series titles when customers ask for assistance in finding a Western to read, but you don't know where to begin?

Maybe you are interested in exploring the Western genre for yourself? Why not read one (or more) of the suggested titles under the Book Talk Titles tab and next time that pesky Western question comes your way you will have more to share. Copies of each title on the list are available in the SCCCLD collection, including the designated *benchmark*

If you wish to or have already read the *benchmark*, The Outcasts, please join in an online book discussion of Kathleen Kent's award-winning title through Tales from the RAT Queen

Watch for a question to be posted each day, beginning Wednesday, January 21 running through Tuesday, January 27. Use the Comments link at the bottom of each post to carry on the discussion.

Posting about your Western book of choice on the SCCCLD Book Challenge blog will help your co-workers and our customers learn about more titles in this genre. Please submit your Western title posts to the staff blog beginning January 28th, the day after the online book discussion ends. 

Contact Laura P at the Spencer branch if you are not already a participant in the district book challenge.

It will be great to hear about all the upcoming Western discoveries made by the SCCCLD staff!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Genre Study Schedule Update

The schedule for Round 5 of the Genre Study Book Discussion program has been updated. The format of the program has also been adjusted.

Check out the link under the Round 5 tab to see the changes.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Local Area Librarian Honored!

Check out the blog post on BOOKRIOT - Five Book Culture Heroes of 2014 by Brenna Clark Gray. Librarian Scott Bonner of Ferguson Municipal Public Library was chosen as "Book Culture Hero of 2014." The story was also picked up on EarlyWord - Ferguson Librarian Honored.

Ferguson Municipal Public Library (MO)
It is great to see Mr. Bonner and the Ferguson Library recognized for all their good work.

CONGRATULATIONS!! Well done and well deserved!

RA Tip: Finding Mixed Genre Titles

Genre Blender
Do you have customers who are fans of mixed genre titles? Have trouble finding books to suggest? Wish there was a tool to help?

Well, thanks to librarian Megan McArdle there is a place where you can choose two or more genres, throw them in a 'blender' and get a list of title suggestions! 

Check out GENRIFY: Where genres mix and mingle

The blog is a companion to The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Blends by Megan M. McArdle (ALA Editions, 2014)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

What Are You Reading for the Holidays?

Many of us will be taking time off in the next week or so to celebrate the holidays. That vacation may include visits with family and friends, opening presents, watching sports, going out to the movies, food (plenty of food, more than likely), or simply time to just kick back and relax!

One of the best ways to relax is reading and there are sure to be folks who already know what they are planning to read during their Holiday vacation. Some folks may currently be reading (or have already finished) the book they were planning to read in  December. Or perhaps you have a favorite title you enjoy re-reading at this time of year. 

Soooooo, tell us ... 

What ARE you reading for the Holidays? And if so inclined, let us know why that book for this Winter season. 

Use the COMMENTS link below.

Friday, December 12, 2014

RA Tip: LibraryReads January 2015 Top Ten Announced!!

The first Top Ten list for 2015 has come to pass and the winner is ... As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust: a Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley.

Lizzi Gall of Grand Rapids Public Library (Grand Rapids, MI) describes the book ...

"After the unexpected recover of her mother's body brings the de Luce's family secrets to light, Flavia's life is turned upside down. Now on her way to a Canadian boarding school, she must survive her first term-and more importantly, uncover the mystery of a corpse found in her dorm room chimney the night she arrives. A delightful installment in the series!"

Check out the complete January 2015 list at LibraryReads. A PDF of the annotated list is also available - use it with a display or as a customer handout!

Note: the due date for LibraryReads has changed to six weeks ahead of the publication month. For example, the nomination deadline for February 2015 titles is December 20, 2014 with March 2015 titles due by January 20, 2015.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

#libfaves14 Winners Announced on EarlyWord!

Yesterday's post was about the  annual event of library staff tweeting their Top 10 favorite reads for the year. The 2014 'event' ran from December 1 through December 10 and during that time, the tweets using hasttag #libfaves14 were being compiled on EarlyWord to create a full list of titles.
EarlyWord: The Publisher/Librarian Connection

'Votes' were also being counted to determine which favorite title (or titles) were tweeted about the most! The #libfaves14 winners were posted on EarlyWord this morning!

Were the winners one of your favorite reads for 2014?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


For the last 10 days, library staff from all over have be tweeting TOP 10 titles for 2014. If you didn't know, tweeting about your Top 10 reads of the year has become an annual event with the titles posted once a day in reverse order from December 1 through December 10. [NOTE: you can play catch up if you miss the starting date or happen to skip a day ... ]

See last year's post RA Tip: FAVORITE READS OF 2013!

Using #libfaves14, participants list title, author and a brief description using fewer than 130 characters. I participated again this year so here are my Top 10 reads for 2014, posted on Twitter over the last few days: 

10. Gaiman’s THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE: part childhood reminiscence, mythology, & innocence lost, with lyrical language #libfaves14
9. DRACULA VERSUS SANTA - DeJesus & Power: hilarious Graphic Novel with Christmas symbols facing off famous monsters #libfaves14
8. THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY – G. Zevin: made me feel like I was wandering the aisles of a small cozy bookstore #libfaves14
7. THE BOOK OF LIFE: search for Ashmole 782 concludes with life & family becoming more complicated for Diana & Matthew #libfaves14
6. Cain’s ONE KICK: dynamic between Kick & Bishop is intense, 2 determined, flawed individuals working toward a common goal #libfaves14
5. DANGEROUS WOMEN: great anthology of new short stories by 21 different authors who write is multiple genres #libfaves14
4. STORM FRONT: listened to with family during long drive, believe have turned my children into lifelong Dresden fans!  #libfaves14
3. FIRST LORD’S FURY - on a Jim Butcher kick in 2014: finished listening to last title in his Codex Alera fantasy series #libfaves14
2. IN THE KINGDOM OF ICE: fascinating nonfiction about lost ship & crew searching Arctic passage to the North Pole in 1880s #libfaves14
1. THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING by Erika Johansen: an epic fantasy debut with magic, mystery, adventure; 1st in series #libfaves14

What were your top 10 reads for 2014? Let's use the COMMENTS: link below and you'll only need to list the title and author. :-)


Do you anticipate a particular "Best of..." book list every year? Or do you enjoy looking at any and all such lists?

The "Best of ..." lists usually come out near the end of the year and it has become common practice for them to be posted online. They are posted on the website of whichever the newspaper, journal, organization, company, publisher, or [insert name here] that produces the list.

Some lists are re-tweeted, re-posted on related news sites, or blogged about by interested parties. It can be a problem keeping track of the "Best of ... " book lists those who find such lists of interest. Well there is a site which can help with that!

A music blog called  largehearted boy has posted an alphabetical list of every online "best of [year]" which they can find very year for the last seven years! What a great way to look for a link to your favorite "Best of 2014" book list.

Check out their most recent update to the Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

RA Tip: BOUCHERCON - 2014 Anthony Awards

Did you miss the announcement of the 2014 Anthony Awards at BOUCHERCON, the annual World Mystery Convention, which was held Nov 13-16 in Long Beach CA.? 

This year's list of nominees can be found at BOUCHERCON: World Mystery Convention. The winners are indicated by a ' ' before the title.

 BOUCHERCON 2015 - Raleigh, NC
According to the Bouchercon standing rules. published work candidates eligible for nomination are defined as "Crime Fiction/Mystery genre published between January 1 and December 31 in the year immediately prior the the Bouchercon at which the Anthony Award will be given." 

What 2014 mystery do you think will be nominated for next year? The next BOUCHERCON will be held Oct 8-10, 2015 in Raleigh, NC. 

Will your favorite be one of the nominees (or the winner!) of a 2015 Anthony Award?

Use the COMMENTS: link below to tell about your favorite Crime Fiction/Mystery title published in 2014.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Links from the Staff - Week of November 30 - December 6, 2014

 Posted for all staff this week were: 
  • Maggie M (SP) says: "Gosh I love best of lists..." (12/03/2014)
  •  From Melanie F (KL) - Greetings! (12/05/2014)
  • A continuation from Maggie M's (SP) 'National Book Award Winners Announced' post to Stafftalk on Nov 21 ... (12/05/2014)
    • A thoughtful and poignant response from winner Jacqueline Woodson to a offensive statement made by Daniel Handler as he was MC'ing the National Book Awards on November 19, 2014. The Pain of the Watermelon Joke by Jacqueline Woodson (The Opinion Pages - New York Times, November 28, 2014) 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I Love My Librarian Award - 2014 Winners Announced

 The 10 Winners of This Year's 'I Love My Librarian Award' - American Libraries Direct, December 2, 2014. 

The 'I Love My Librarian Award' is an annual initiative of the American Library Association (ALA), sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the New York Times.

Think we can nominate someone from SCCCLD for the award in 2015? Wouldn't it be great if one of our own were to win it!?!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

NONFICTION Book Discussion - Question # 7

Let's talk about similar reads ...

  • What read-alike titles might you suggest for someone wishing a book like In the Kingdom of Ice?

    • Would you only suggest other Nonfiction titles or could you expand into fiction? If so, what title(s) could you suggest?

Enter your responses using the COMMENTS: link below.

Monday, December 1, 2014

NONFICTION Book Discussion - Question # 6

Now lets discuss how to 'sell' the book to potential readers ...

  • Using no more than 4 sentences, how would you give a book talk for In the Kingdom of Ice? Try applying the PRES technique listed under the RA Resources tab.

    • What about using social media ... how would you describe the book on Twitter or Hootsuite, using less than 140 characters?

Use the COMMENTS: link below to provide your answers.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

NONFICTION Book Discussion - Question # 5

Let's discuss the book from a readers' advisory point of view ...

  • To which of your customers, family, friends, or co-workers might you suggest In the Kingdom of Ice? Why do you think they would enjoy it?

Please enter your response by using the COMMENTS: link.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

NONFICTION Book Discussion - Question # 4

How about comparing the story to events of similar import ...

  • According to the newspapers in 1879, if successful, the Jeannette Expedition would "be one of the most brilliant geographical adventures ever won by man." Another paper stated "man is on the verge of a discovery before which the discovery of America by Columbus would pale." (Page 128)  Are there any recent or current endeavors which have been proclaimed in similar terms? If Yes, name one. If No, why not?
      • Taking into account the fate of De Long's expedition, would you consider it a success? Was is 'doomed' from the start?

    Use the COMMENTS: link below to discuss this issue.

    Friday, November 28, 2014

    NONFICTION Book Discussion - Question # 3

    Now let's discuss Hampton Sides' presentation ...

    • What did you think of the author's writing style? Was the use of source documents helpful or a hindrance in following and understanding the narrative? Please explain your point of view.

    Use the COMMENTS: link below to discuss this point.

    Thursday, November 27, 2014

    NONFICTION Book Discussion - Question # 2

    Let's continue with the history of the time period ...

    • What did you learn from In the Kingdom of Ice? How familiar were you with any of the events, personalities, theories, or science which lead to De Long's arctic exploration expedition in 1879? 

    Use the COMMENTS: link below to continue the discussion.

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    NONFICTION Book Discussion - Question # 1

    The Nonfiction benchmark title is In the Kingdom of Ice: the Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides, "a white-knuckle tale of polar exploration and survival in the Gilded Age."

    Let's start with a bit about the time period ...

    • How did news reporting in the 1800's differ from the the way the news is reported today?  If a newspaper were written in such a manner today, do you think people would subscribe to such a paper?  Explain why or why not?

    Enter your response by using the COMMENTS: link below.

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    Read a Great Nonfiction Title Recently?

    Well, have you read an interesting nonfiction title in the last few months? If so, the SCCCLD staff would love to hear about it!

    Do you have customers asking for assistance in finding that next great nonfiction read but you don't know where to begin? Come hear about some titles that you could share the next time the question comes your way ...

    A Nonfiction Staff Book Talks session will be held Wednesday, December 3, 2014. starting at 9:00 AM in Room 112 at GA. All staff are invited to come and talk (or just listen) to co-workers present brief book talks about nonfiction titles which caught their interest. 

    Looking for a nonfiction title for yourself? Consider one of the suggested titles on the Nonfiction Book Talk list under Book Talk Titles. Copies of each title on that list are available in the district collection, including the designated *benchmark* title. 

    If you have read or are listening to the *benchmark*, In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides, join in an online book discussion through the blog. 

    Watch for a question to be posted each day, beginning Wednesday, November 26 running through Tuesday, December 2. Use the Comments link at the bottom of each post to carry on the discussion.

    Looking forward to hearing about the Nonfiction discoveries from among the SCCCLD staff!

    Sunday, November 16, 2014

    RA Tip: LibraryReads 2014 Favorite of Favorites Announced

    And the winner is ... The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by by Gabrielle Zevin. 

    Zevin's title was the Top Ten pick on the LibraryReads April 2014 list. The novel was described by Beth Mills, of New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochell, NY  

    A middle-aged bookseller mourning his lost wife, a feisty publisher’s rep, and a charmingly precocious abandoned child come together on a small island off the New England coast in this utterly delightful novel of love and second chances.
    To see the complete list of 2014 titles with the most votes check EarlyWord.

    The fully annotated list will be posted at www.libraryreads.org on December 1st.

    Friday, November 14, 2014

    Bring the Author to St. Charles, MIssouri!!!

    Posted for all SCCCLD staff - Thanks to Sara N. and Beth P. 

    Susanna Kearsley will go on tour in April to promote her new book A Desperate Fortune. Her publishers are holding a contest to determine which cities she will visit.

    A few people have sent this to us through social media, and a few staff members have emailed it to Adult Programming. It sounds like a fun opportunity for us, and there definitely seems to be interest to have this author visit. Why not give it a shot? But we need your help as a staff to make this happen. 

    The contest will work in two stages. First people have to nominate their hometown. The 15 towns with the most nominations will be released on Dec. 16. From there people can vote on their hometown, and the 8 towns with the most votes will be announce Feb. 18

    To nominate you have to fill out this form: http://books.sourcebooks.com/adesperatefortune/. In the store or library name please put: St. Charles City-County Library District. And in the city spot put St. Charles. This way we can keep everything consistent and have more of a chance to make it to the next round. 

    It would be great if you can put in a nomination, or two. (you can submit a nomination multiple times) If you can also forward it on to friends, and/or post it on your social media accounts, that would be awesome! 

    There is also a chance to win a grand prize if our town is chosen. The prize is a one of a kind piece of jewelry related to her latest book. Anyone who submits a nomination will be entered in to win the grand prize if she comes to our town.

    Bad Sex in Fiction Awards for 2014

    Nobody does it quite like the British! 

    The 22nd Annual Bad Sex in Fiction awards have been announced. The award is sponsored by Britain's Literary Review - "a lively, intelligent literary magazine for people who love reading, but hate academic and intellectual jargon."  

    They claim the "prize is to 'draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction' in order to discourage them."

    Take a look at the Bad Sex Shortlist article posted on The Booklist Reader.