Wednesday, April 15, 2015

RA Tips from Staff - Check the Back Cover!

Over the last month or so I have been talking with staff and others about ideas for regular posts on the blog. One suggestion which I found particularly appealing was for tips gleaned from the staff on providing readers' advisory service! What a great way to share some RA wealth and let others know how their co-workers work with customers! 

Starting today, April 15th, I will present RA Tips from Staff posts once a month, more if staff inundate me with tip suggestions. :-) Why I picked April 15th to begin this I don't know except that it is TAX Day! The forms have been submitted and everyone deserves to relax with something great to read! 

Ever been working with a customer, offering title suggestions, only to run out of ideas? Here is a readers' advisory tip from SCCCLD's own Sarah H (Technical Operations Dept) which might help:

"If you have exhausted the read-alikes for a popular author, turn to the back of the book. The authors that review their fellow authors may satisfy a reader's need."

Publishers pick those authors to provide quotes on purpose! Often they write in the same genre, on related topics or have a similar writing style. Those quotes can lead to other authors and titles the customer might want to consider, especially if they haven't read any of their books! 

Below are examples from some recently released books:

THE SELLOUT by Paul Beatty - a satirical novel about race, politics and popular culture in contemporary America

"The Sellout is brilliant. Amazing. Like demented angels wrote it." - Sarah Silverman [author of The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee]

"I am glad that I read this insane book alone, with no one watching, because I fell apart with envy, hysterics, and flat-out awe. Is there a more fiercely brilliant and scathingly hilarious American novelist than Paul Beatty?" - Ben Marcus [author of The Flame Alphabet]

"Paul Beatty has always been one of smartest, funniest, gutsiest writers in America, but The Sellout sets a new standard. It's a spectacular explosion of comic daring, cultural provocation, brilliant, hilarious prose, and genuine heart." - Sam Lipsyte [author of The Fun Parts: Stories]

PAST CRIMES by Glen Erik Hamilton - an action-packed, suspenseful debut 
introducing Van Shaw, a tough, morally ambiguous former criminal

“A home run off the first pitch - this guy has got what it takes.” — LEE CHILD, New York Times bestselling author of Personal

“A debut novel from a gifted writer with a sure hand. As much fun to read as Lee Child’s Jack Reacher.” — J.A. JANCE, New York Times bestselling author of Remains of Innocence

“Glen Erik Hamilton has crafted a compelling new hero in Van Shaw, an Army Ranger with a dark streak who operates in the spaces between shadow and light. PAST CRIMES is a zipline ride of a thriller, plummeting through the back alleys of Seattle where murder and intrigue reign supreme and the undead past lurks around the next wrong turn. Buckle in and hang on!” — GREGG HURWITZ, New York Times bestselling author of Don't Look Back

If you have a readers advisory tip to share, let me know so it can be featured in a future RA Tips from Staff post!


  1. I think this is a great idea! I can always use tips and tricks on providing Reader's Advisory. One thing I would like to know, is there an easier way to memorize what Character belongs to which series? So if someone says "Lucas Davenport" we know they are talking about John Sandford's "Prey" series.

    1. Thanks! Interesting question. I am not aware of a specific technique for ‘memorizing’ what character goes with which series. Will check into it and see if I can find something for you.

      In the meantime, have you tried using the ‘Advance Search' feature in the “Books & Authors” database? FYI ... “Books & Authors” can be found on the library’s ‘Electronic Resources A–Z’ list at:

      The producers of this readers’ advisory database do TAG character names as part of their indexing and include them in the title entries. This indexing makes Character names searchable in the database.

      Access the database and click on the ‘Advance Search’ link. This will take you to a search form which includes a box specifically for ‘Character Name.’ Type in a character name, click on ‘Search’ and a results list will be generated.

      Keep in mind, the database must contain titles with the character for which you are searching. Hope this will help in a pinch.

  2. Another resource you may find very helpful for RA work is NoveList Plus. Using the default keyword search, I was able to retrieve John Sandford's Prey series be typing in Lucas Davenport. Once an book entry is displayed click on the series link. This link gives you all the works and they are in series order! (a definite help for those customers who want to read the entire series in order only).

    You may start with the author first. I tried with Patricia Cornwell. The first work on the results had this "Kay Scarpetta mysteries, 22". Click on the series link and you get to all the Kay Scarpetta works in series order.


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