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Library News

By: Virginia Volkman, Library Director
For: Red Rock News
Date: October 23, 2009

How to Find Your Next Good Book

If you’re looking for some help in choosing your next book, pick up a copy of BookPage.  The Sedona Public Library purchases multiple copies of the publication to distribute to our patrons.  Published since 1988, BookPage is a 32-page monthly book review distributed through over 4,000 public libraries and bookstores nationwide.  The editors evaluate and select for review the best new books published each month.  

BookPage serves as a broad-based selection guide. The tone is upbeat and literate, focusing on bestsellers as well as new discoveries.  All the content from the print edition is also posted on each month.

The library’s website features “Good Reads”, by the publishers of BookPage.  When you’re wondering what to read, click on the link.  Here you'll find more than 20 e-newsletters highlighting titles in specific categories. Subscribe to your categories of interest and on a regular basis you'll receive e-mail notification of new titles in those categories. And not just titles - you get a peek at the book jacket, a brief description of each title and a direct link from the e-newsletter to the library catalog to place a hold on titles you'd like us to reserve for you.  If the title isn’t listed in the catalog, let us know you’re interested in reading it so we can consider it for the collection.

Good Reads is more than e-newsletters. You can listen to a good book or receive an e-mail about a new book every morning.  Go behind the books to meet the authors - there are biographies and interviews with more than 1500 authors. Or choose a "good read" from the New York Times bestseller list or more than 80 other bestseller and award lists for adults, teens and children.

Try these websites for book recommendations: is part of the New York Times Company.  It’s well organized and covers hundreds of topics.  If you visit the website and choose “bestsellers” from the drop down menu of topics, you’ll find yourself on Erin Collazo Miller’s guide.  Her “Book Reviews & Reading Lists” section includes latest reviews, longtime bestsellers; romance and chick lit; mystery and suspense; memoirs and family; literary fiction; contemporary British literature; historical fiction; books about Islamic cultures; books that make good gifts; inspiration and religion. takes you to the Academy of Achievement website where you can discover which books made a difference in the early lives of the most eminent achievers of our times.  Their answers to the question, “What book did you read when you were young that most changed your life?” remind us of some neglected classics and other works we may want to take into our own lives. is a British site, but it includes authors from many countries and has many features.  It has all fiction genres even though the name sounds like it might be only for fantasy fiction and it’s a good place to find the sequence of books in a series. is a resource for lovers of mystery, crime, thriller, spy, and suspense books.  It’s good for finding books by characters, including where the characters live and what they do for a living. is a different way of finding a book that might appeal to you .  It allows you to obtain a list of suggested books by describing your preferences for books in terms of being in ranges from happy to sad, funny to serious, conventional to unusual, short to long, and a number of other options.  Results are very short reviews, with several options including "more like this" and a link for an extract from the book. Results also include "Where next" suggestions if you've already read a particular title. is one of my favorite sites for its Question of the Week.  Some recent questions:  Name one book you recently read that you couldn’t stop talking about.  What book did you love so much that you would give multiple copies of it this holiday season?  What is a recent book that you just zipped through reading?  Name up to five authors you would like to see at a book festival who would make it "worth the trip."

On a local note, book lovers who attended the Sedona Book Festival kickoff reception and dinner earlier this month had an opportunity to get some tips from the keynote speakers. Barbara Peters, founder of the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, suggested that a recommendation from someone who shares your taste in books is the best way to find a good book. 

Sharing a dinner table with authors, publishers, and other book lovers is also a pretty good way to get a recommendation.  The location for the festival dinner on the terrace of the Yavapai College Sedona campus couldn’t have been better – the setting sun and the rising full moon offered a beautiful backdrop for informal discussions of favorite titles and anticipated publications.  Another good choice would be to drop in and strike up a conversation with a fellow book lover at the library.

Virginia Volkman, author of this week's article,
is Director of the Sedona Public Library.

Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News
and is also presented on: Gateway to Sedona and Sedona Biz.