Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Special Topic Paper. Readers' Advisory: Graphic Novels Summary

Hello All,

I find writing summaries rather difficult, because I feel that I either add in too much information or not enough.  In my paper are plenty of websites listed of where to locate the various types of resources.  If anybody would like a copy I will attach the sources to this blog.

For this paper I wanted to provide information for reader advisors who are not particularly familiar with graphic novels.  The first part of the paper is defining basic graphic novel term including what a graphic novel is: "graphic novel is a term gaining acceptance that is used to describe bound narratives that tell a story through sequential art with or without text." (Butler Library, 2017).  In the paper are brief descriptions of basic graphic novel terms, such as comic book, trade paperback/trade hardcover, omnibus, one-shot, manga, and hentai.

Graphic novels are not a separate genre but a format; in the same way that a novel in printed form is the same item in digital form.  There are many types of graphic novels.  The illustrative medium lends itself very well to any genre.  If there is a genre in fiction and some in non-fiction then there is a graphic novel counterpart. 

The next section of the paper discusses the six appeal elements found in books: pacing, characterization, story line, frame/setting, tone/mood, and language/style.  These are essential when digging deeper to fine tune what the reader wants. 
Graphic novel readers could be interested in a specific comic book series, character, writer and/or illustrator.  With graphic novels different writers and illustrators can interpret the same characters very differently.  The different ways of interpretation can drastically alter the six appeal elements from book to book.

The last sections contains advise for getting reader advisory information for graphic novels from online/ print sources, publishers, fellow librarians/library employees, patrons, and comic book stores/comic cons. A very good way for a reader advisor to learn about graphic novels is to read some in a variety of genres. 

The bottom line is to treat reader advisory for graphic novels the same as you would for other novels.  Take the time to find out what kind of genre, sub-genre, and which characteristics in the six elements of book appeal that the patron is looking for.  The exception is to include the art work as being equally important as the story.    

Butler Library. (2017). Research guides: Graphic novels. Columbia University Libraries. Retrieved from http://library.columbia.edu/subject-guides/graphic_novels.html      

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Week Seven Prompt: My views about celebrity inspired book clubs and how it affected my job

I have a love/hate relationship with the idea of celebrity inspired book clubs.  I am a GoodReads friend of actor Wil Wheaton.  He is best known for his role as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek the Next Generation and playing himself on the Big Bang Theory.  I noticed that we have similar taste in graphic novels, so I watch for his reviews.  However, for me he is just another reviewer with similar taste in books.  I do not base my reading selection only on his reviews, because he is a celebrity. 

My love part of the love/hate relationship is based on my role as an educator and soon to be master degree librarian.  I do not care what you read, as long as you read.  It can be the National Enquirer magazine or War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I will not judge you.  Celebrities like Oprah Winfrey has created a book club to encourage people to read.  Here is the URL for her book club http://www.oprah.com/app/books.html. David Kipen, former director of literature for the National Endowment for the Arts, states:  "Oprah gave America an excuse to talk about books every couple of months" (Minzesheime, 2011).

Oprah has introduced books to the American public that have soared in book sales.  For example, “Oprah’s Book Club began in 1996, when Winfrey recommended The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard, a novel recounting a child’s kidnapping. Audiences were immediately captured: In June of that year, only 68,000 copies of the novel had been printed. By mid-October, when Winfrey discussed the novel on her show, that number had skyrocketed to 750,000” (Berg, 2016).  Did the publisher make money from Oprah’s recommendation?  Yes.  Did the author Jacquelyn Mitchard’s popularity soar? Yes.  Has Oprah put her name on the cover of books as an Oprah Book Club selection and in return raised her own popularity? Yes.  However, in the end it comes down to two important factors: Oprah got people who are not readers to read more books.  She also encouraged people to discuss books.

The hate part of my love/hate relationship of celebrity book clubs comes down to the realization that some people will read something only because a celebrity tells them too.  They do not take into consideration if they would like the book or not.  I like that Oprah choices different kinds of books for her book club.  However, because Oprah likes it does not mean that everyone will like it. 

I came across a situation recently at work concerning a celebrity book recommendation.  I was asked by a couple of patrons to order Oprah’s new cook book: Food, Health, and Happiness: 115 On-Point Recipes for Great Meals and a Better Life (2017).  Before the patron requests I checked into the book.  The county already has 9 copies plus a digital download copy.  The book retails for $35.00.  The reviews of the book are average with many users commenting that the recipes are too involved with too many ingredients.  So, with the numbers of copies available through the county, the cost, and the just average reviews I was going to pass on ordering this cook book. However, one day a patron came to the reference desk complaining that the library still does not have Oprah’s new cookbook. (The book had only been out for two weeks).  I offered to help her find other cookbooks in the library or recipes online. The patron’s response was “you don’t understand. I do not want a cook book.  I want the cook book that Oprah recommends”.  With this I realized the power of a celebrity book club, especially with the celebrity as author.  The patron was not looking for recipes; she was looking for recipes and anecdotes by Oprah.  I ordered the book.  This patron and many more patrons will checkout this book only because Oprah's name is associated with it.

Cited Sources

Berg, M. (2016). With new book club pick, Oprah's still got the golden touch.  Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/maddieberg/2016/08/03/with-new-book-club-pick-oprah-has-still-got-the-golden-touch/#591066b26647

Minzesheimer, B. (2011).  How the ‘Oprah effect’ changed publishing.  USA Today.  Retrieved from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/books/news/2011-05-22-Oprah-Winfrey-Book-Club_n.htm

Winfrey, O. (2017). Oprah’s book club. Harpo Productions. Retrieved from http://www.oprah.com/app/books.html

Monday, February 20, 2017

Mystery Book Selection

The Hound of the Baskervilles
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Published in 1902

The great detective Sherlock Holmes and his trusty partner Dr. James Watson are called upon again to solve a mystery.  This mystery brings the brilliant detective duo to the foggy moors of England to solve what could be a supernatural threat going back generations against the Baskerville family.

The mystery begins in typical Holmes fashion with the men relaxing at home until a strange walking stick is left in the foyer of their famous 221b Baker Street residence.  As Holmes and Watson carefully dissect even the smallest details of this stick, James Mortimer, arrives to claim his property.  He used his walking stick as a  calling card of sorts to hire the detective.  James tells them the story of how the late Hugo Baskerville kidnapped a fair maiden of a local manor house with the intent to marry her.  She does not want to marry this scoundrel and escapes the Baskerville manor running into the moors.  Hugo is drunk and enraged so, he and his friends chase her into the moors only to come face to face with a giant glowing hound with brilliant green eyes. The beast attacks Hugo ripping out his throat as the others escape.

As a man of science Holmes is far from impressed by this supernatural story and in his snarky way dismisses James for wasting his time.  However, James explains that there is more to the story. Charles Baskerville had moved into the Baskerville Estate and was fixing up the old manor. Then when he went for his nightly walk on the moors James heard the savage howl of the beast and found Charles dead with giant dog prints near the body.  James then produces a letter sent to Henry Baskerville, who is believed to be the last of the Baskervilles, warning him to stay away from the estate.  Now, with multiple murders involved this story intrigues Holmes as he agrees to the case.

With great detail Holmes examines the letter and concludes which newspaper the words were cut from.  He informs James to go back to Baskerville Estate to meet with Henry.  Watson will join the men there later and will stay for a few days observing the place.

From here the adventure is afoot. Holmes and Watson decipher many clues as they meet the strange characters from the manor like the housekeepers John and Eliza Barrymore.  The local quirky neighbors Jack Stapleton & his sister, and Mr. Frankland & his daughter Laura all add intrigue into this story.  The moors is a spooky place by itself, but hiding in the moors is an escaped convict, a strange man with a beard, and of course the giant vicious hound.

With many clues, places, people, supernatural element, and a bit of romance Holmes and Watson have their hands filled in this atmospheric story.  Of course, the great detective will use his superior skills to find and explain even the most confusing clues to solve this strange mystery.

Elements of Mystery
CharactersThe world renowned detective Sherlock Holmes is represented here wonderfully with his brilliant ability of observation to deduce not only clues but human body language and characteristics.  His snarky demeanor and his dislike of wasting time and energy on trivial matters shine through.

Dr. John Watson is the ever lovable opposite to Holmes’ rigid mannerisms.  As the narrator of this story he observes the actions of his partner while bringing an element of humility to the story.
As a team the two work wonderful off of each other.  Through the childish bickering and playful ribbing between them is respect, care, and a deep friendship.

The rest of the characters add different attributes of emotions and intrigue to the story.  The mysterious hound, convict, and the bearded man add a sense or terror.  Mr. and Mrs. Barrymore add a sense of strangeness.  Jack Stapleton adds mistrust. Laura Lyons adds a sense of pity. Henry and Beryl add a touch of forbidden romance.  And Mr. Franklin adds a bit of humor.

Settings: The settings is used to great effect.  221 Baker St., the residence of Holmes and Watson is world renown in mystery fiction.  In a way their residence gives a familiar feel in comparison to the rest of the locations in the story.

The moors are eerie and spooky.  The words used to describe it brings up images of foggy nights amidst the tall grass and ancient stones.  Baskerville manor gives the impression of great wealth, power, and greed which describes Hugo Baskerville. However, this contradicts the characteristics of Henry Baskerville which add to his disconnect to the Baskerville history since he spent a lot of his time working in Africa.

Tone/Mood: The mood varies a bit in this story.  It starts out light hearted as Holmes and Watson examine the walking stick.  This light heartedness can be seen when Watson and Henry are relaxing at the Baskerville estate.  There is a mood of suspense, spookiness, and danger when the scenes are in the foggy dank moors and with the giant hound.  Naturally, there is a mysterious tone throughout the story.

Style/Language: Written in the typical Sherlock Holmes style this story is written from Dr. Watson’s point of view.  He narrates the story giving great details to actions, body language, and atmosphere.  The characters in the story and locations are distinct. 

Pacing: The pacing of the story is fast and smooth.  There are a lot of clues and details, however this does not slow down the pacing.  The transition from locations feel smooth and natural.

The Sussex Vampire by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Originally published in 1927.

Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout. Originally published 1914.

The Beekeeper's Apprentice: or, On the Segregation of the Queen by Laurie King. Originally published in 1994

Whose Body?: A Lord Peter Wimsey Novel by Dorthy L. Sayers. Originally published in 1923.

Hercule Poirot: The Complete Short Stories: A Hercule Poirot Collection by Agatha Christie.  Collection published in 2013.

GoodReads gives it 4 ½ stars out of 5.
BookieCookie from the Guardian News and Media describes it as “The story was very good; gripping with a good sense of mystery'

Science Ficton Book Selection

The Martian Chronicles

                              By Ray Bradbury

                                           Originally published in 1950


This is a collection of short stories connected together sometimes with a continuing story and other times are loosely connected together with a similar location or event.  It has aspects of science fiction, science fantasy, aliens, robots, ethics, philosophy, voyages, religion, government, war, post-apocalyptic, dystopian fiction, and humanity.  To give a proper summary of this book is difficult and would take away from the brilliance.  So, here are some highlights to peak your reading interest without giving away any spoilers.

Ø  It starts innocently enough with a Martian woman having dreams about a man arriving from earth.  Her verbally abusive and short tempered husband does not like this.  She later begins singing a song from another language and expecting something strange to happen.  Other people start singing different earth songs.  Why are they doing this and how can they cope with this strange event?

Ø  Earth men arrive in a rocket ship, but to no fanfare.  Where are the men who came before them?  The Martians seems to dismiss these men as insane Martins and they are committed to an insane asylum.  What happens when they are proved sane?

Ø  Another rocket ship from earth arrives however Mars looks like Earth from when the crew were kids.  Then they meet their dead friends and family.  Is this heaven?

Ø  Yet another rocket lands on Mars.  They discover the Mars population is almost all dead and their cities destroyed.  The archaeologist on board fears that humans with exploit and destroy the beauty of Mars.  Is he correct or has humans evolved beyond their own greed and need for destruction?

Ø  More and more humans arrive on mars building cities and shaping the world into a utopia.  Is this going to a utopia?

Ø  A human man meets a Martian.  They can talk to each other, but cannot touch each other. They determine that one of them is alive in a different time, but which one is a live in the present?

Ø  A priest worries that earth’s sins will follow humans to Mars.  When he arrives he discovers a new species that the other priests declare useless and unintelligent.  Or are they intelligent? 

Ø  Books have been banned and burned generations ago on Earth, except for some few select government approved books.  Mr. Standoff builds a house on Mars detailing Edgar Allen Poe’s story The Fall of the House of Usher along with other literary aspects.  A man from earth arrives to destroy the house.  Will standoff convince this man that this house represents a new beginning of free thought on Mars?

Ø  Earth erupts in an atomic war. People leave on space ships to Earth to fight in this war.  A few people stay behind on Mars looking for companionship.

Ø  Decades later the war rages on and Earth is almost destroyed and a family goes back to start a new life.  However, back on earth the automatic machines of everyday conveniences still do their duties for a mankind that does not exist.  Do these machines have a purpose anymore without someone to appreciate them?

Elements of Science Fiction:

Plot: The stories in this book represent speculative fiction.  It brings up questions about what if? with an underlining moral consciousness.  Such as, what if earth men landed on Mars?  How would they act?

Characters: The characters in these stories are not well defined.  They do not represent a single character throughout the stories.  Instead they represent ideas, issues, ethics, society, and worlds.  This is designed so that the underlying messages of the stories could be related to anyone, not just a certain characteristic or image.

Frame/Setting: The settings in this book frame the story.  The stories are on earth, mars, and others planes of existence.  The areas are immaculately detailed. The reader's imagination is easily filled with images off alien and earth landscapes along with futuristic machines.

Style/Language: Ray Bradbury's writing style is poetic in its nature.  It is very lyrical.  The lines are written in almost a rhythmic fashion.  Special attention is given to emotions and expressions of ideas.  Some stories are written more as prose, but even these have intensity to them.

Tone/Mood: The mood is somber throughout the stories.  There is an overwhelming heaviness that is represented in the morals and ideals of humanity.  Even when it seems like everything may work out for the best it still feels like there is an underlying message or warning.

Pacing: The overall pacing of the stories is interior in that it is more philosophical and psychological than action.  There are some scenes of action when the earth is being destroyed, but these are toned down.  A part of the slower pacing is the descriptive and intense writing style.


The Sands of Mars by Arthur C. Clark. Originally published 1951.   

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Originally published 1912.

Martian Time-Slip by Phillip K. Dick.  Originally published 1964.

Ray Bradbury's The Martian chronicles: the authorized adaptation (Graphic Novel) adapted by Dennis Calero.  Published 2011.


GoodReads gives it 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

Thomas M. Wagner from SFReviews.net stated "On the whole, this is such a lyrical, haunting, poetic book, with the immersive quality of a particularly vivid dream."

Kirkus Review describes the story "...has an imaginative rather than technical ingenuity."

Blogger Ink Slinger: "I was enthralled from start to finish. Bradbury’s Mars is a world unto itself – a place of marvels beautiful, mysterious, and deadly. And behind it all, reinforcing this imaginative setting, is the breathtaking prose."

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Week Six Prompt

For this prompt I took the “Pretend you're pitching an idea to your boss” literally and wrote a faux email letter to the director of my library.  All names have been changed.

Subject: Promoting Library Horror Materials

Library Director Khaki

You assigned me the project of coming up with new ways to promote the Library’s Horror Materials.  After some brainstorming and researching I offer the following ideas.  The first couple of ideas are more traditional for our library.  However, I did some out of the box thinking and offer those ideas too.

Please look over these suggestions and we can discuss them at our meeting.  If you have any questions before then I will happily meet with you to clarify or alter my suggestions.       

  • The best time of the year to promote the horror genre to library patrons is starting in mid-late September through Halloween.  People are already seeing and hearing commercials for Halloween costumes and candy.  This is also a time when horror movies are advertised on television, at the movie theatre, and online.  So, it would be a good time for out library to join in on the bandwagon and create a Halloween book, audio book, and DVD display.  This could be complimented by funny and slightly scary decor like pumpkins and faux spider webs.  Perhaps we can do different displays for the children, YA, and adult fiction material sections.  The extra displays of spooky, but fun décor would add interesting focal points for patrons looking around the library.    
  •  The library could throw a Halloween costume party.  There would be refreshments, candy, decorations, and a horror movie.  However, the horror movie would be related to a book(s) the library has in its collection.  For example, showing the movie Hotel Transylvania (2012) for a children's Halloween party.  Then after the movie is over the children’s librarian Sherry would show the patrons library books and graphic novels with vampires, werewolves, Frankenstein's monster, and other characters from the movie.
  • This could also work for the high school and adult groups.  We could show a horror movie like Hellraiser (1987).   After the movie YA librarian Abby would explain that the movie is based on Clive Barker's book The Hellbound Heart and discuss read-a-likes for those who are interested in reading similar books or watching similar movies.

There are other times of the year when the horror genre could be advertised in the library without using Halloween as the stage.  The following ideas could be used around Halloween or at other times of the year.

  • Adult Coloring books are very popular.  Adult programmer Kristie already has an adult coloring program that meets twice a month.  It would be a fun idea to have horror theme adult coloring book sessions.  While the adults are coloring the reference librarian or Kristie would be at the coloring program discussing and showing horror books and DVDs that are related to the coloring books.  This would be a good way to showcase some of the materials from the library.  Here are a few adult horror themed coloring books.  There are many more available. 
  1. Dracula: A Coloring Classic by Chellie Carroll
  2. Haunted House: An Adult Coloring Book with Gothic Room Designs, Halloween Fantasy Creatures, and Relaxing Horror Scenes by Jade Summer
  3. Haunted Horror Pre-Code Cover Coloring Book Volume 1 by Various 
  4. Great Scenes from Horror Stories by John Green.  

  •  Abby has a once a month video game program for YA.  Each month the group plays a different themed game.  Last month’s theme was first person shooters and they played the classic Golden Eye on the N64, Call of Duty on the Xbox, and Doom on the PS4.  So, I suggest a video game program where the theme is Horror.  Some of the games could be Castlevania on the NES, Fatal Frame on the PS2, and any of the Resident Evil remakes on the Wii.  Before the patrons start playing these games Abby would walk them around to different sections of the library highlighting the locations of popular horror writers in novel format, graphic novels, and audio books.  Then she would take them to the DVD section highlighting some of the more popular horror movies.

Before sending this email I ran these ideas past Sherry, Kristie, and Abby to make sure they would be willing to do them in their individual programs.  They all liked the ideas and said that their normal patron base and possibly new attendees at the programs would also like them.  This is a good way to bring awareness of the Horror genre sections of the library by incorporating it into programs they already have.

  • According to the recent numbers the library’s e-books are not being utilized as much as we had hoped.  So, doing a display about OverDrive could help the issues.  I suggest that the library purchases a life size cardboard cutout of Frankenstein’s Monster and place it near the reference desk.  I checked a few places online and the average cost of the cardboard cutout is only $40.00 and could be reused for other library events in the future.  In front of the monster there would be small table with signs advertising e-books.  These signs would also advertise free Old Time Radio Shows (OTR) related to the Horror theme, Project Gutenberg, and Librivox websites.  Since, patrons may have questions about OverDrive and other e-sources having the Frankenstein’s Monster cardboard cutout near reference allows them easier access to the Reference Librarian.  Also, using this specific cutout would make some patrons ask the question: why?  The answer: Frankenstein’s Monster was brought to life using electricity and the “E” in e-books stands for electricity.  I know this explanation is kind of stretching, but a life size Frankenstein’s Monster would also get patrons attention.

The books, DVD, and video games titles I mentioned in this letter are only used as examples.  The library has a good variety of horror titles that can be used.

      Thank You for your time and consideration of my ideas

      Diabolical Genius.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Horror Book Selection

Edgar Allan Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum
First published in 1842

A man whose name we are not given wakes up in a cold dark dank chamber.  He is unaware of where he is at or how he arrived at such a bleak place.  His memory is recalling the black robbed men and the surreal dreadful situation that lead him to this chamber. When he awakes from these disturbing images he finds himself in a ghastly environment.  He tries to focus on his current situation debating within his fragile mind whether he is in the dungeons at Toledo or has died.  After finally accepting his fate of being in a dungeon the man is put through different agonizing tortures as he slips in and out of consciousness due to his exhaustion and being drugged by his captures.  Can this unnamed man escape from his mental and physical torture or will the wild ravenous rats and deadly blade of the pendulum seal his gruesome end?

Characteristics of Horror within this Story:
Mood/Tone: The tone of this story is very bleak and disturbing.  It gives a hopeless feeling of despair, dread, and confusion as the man’s past and current situation is revealed to the reader. 

Setting/Atmosphere: A dark torture chamber could be a grim setting for any story.  However, the incredible gruesome atmosphere created in this story brings the terrifying situations to life.  It makes the reader feel like he is in the dungeon with this man.  It is like the reader is experiencing the emotions and physical events of anxiety, fear, hunger, thirst, hope, and hopelessness as the character in the story.            

Language: The story is very descriptive in the way it explains the man’s dungeon chamber, situation, mental stability, and torture devices.  It brilliantly paints a mental picture of the surroundings and actions in the story.

Pace: The pacing of the story starts off slow and then builds as the man becomes more aware of his surroundings and the dire predicaments that he is in.  The pace is perfect because it allows the tension to build. 
Monsters: The names of the men in the black robes are never revealed to us.  We suspect that they are the ones who put the poor man in his horrendous situation.  However, the emotional and physical monsters presented in this story are very real.  The monsters prey on some of our common fears
·         fear of the dark
·         fear of being unaware of our surroundings
·         fear of not being in control
·         fear of falling to our death
·         fear of vicious animals
·         fear of sharp deadly objects used against us
·         fear of being tied down against our will
·         fear of the unknown

Ending: At the end the man is saved and we realize that he was in a dungeon, because of the French Inquisition and General LaSalle becomes the savior of this poor man who was just mere seconds away from falling into the pit.

GoodReads gives this story 4.15/5 stars.
Crystal Hua from LA Youth states "Death can’t possibly seem more real and imminent than it does in the Pit and the Pendulum."

Similar Reads:
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Originally published 1886.

The Fall of The House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe. Originally published 1839.

The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe. Originally published 1842.

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Originally published 1892.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. Originally published 1898.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Week Five Prompts

Week Five Prompts

Question 1: “Different publications review different types of books and they allow different types of conversations. For example, Booklist will not publish negative reviews, while, as you have all seen, Kirkus has no problems with it. Ebook only books, which are increasingly popular (especially in the romance genre) see little to no reviews in professional publications unless they have a big name author, and then still it's usually only RT Reviews (formally Romantic Times) or other genre heavy publications. How does this affect collection development?”

Response: Collection Development requires more than buying books for areas I like to read.  I have to take into consideration the library’s patrons.  Since this requires a large variety of genres I need to take the time and review various website, journals, blogs, and library reader recommendations.

Questions 2-4: “Look over the reviews - do you feel they are both reliable? How likely would you be to buy this book for your library? Is this e-book even romantic suspense?” 

Responses: I would consider these both reliable for different reasons.  The first review from Amazon is by someone who just loves everything about Christmas.  So, I wonder if she really liked the story and characters or was more drawn to the Christmas Season aspects. The second reviewer seems more balanced.  She feels the warm fuzzy feelings of the holiday setting, but also breaks the review down to the unrealistic romance end.
My final verdict is that review two is better, but I would continue looking for more reviews and information about this book.

With just these two reviews I would not be inclined to place by book order just yet.  I would check and see if the library already has any books by this author, especially in the romantic suspense genre.  If so, then I would check circulation numbers.  I checked the author’s website and could not find a listing for this book, so I went to Amazon and found that this is part one of a three part book series.  I have found that patrons at my library like to read book series, so the next question is would I invest library money into this series, which Amazon only has e-books?  If the library already has other romantic suspense books at my library by this author and they circulate well I would order the series.  If not I would say no.  The main reason is that while the price is very reasonable the overall patrons at my library who read romance and romance suspense books do not like to use e-books and I feel that this author’s name would not be big enough of a pull to bring in the e-reader crowd.

Romance? Yes.  Romantic Suspense? Not so much.  Based on the reviews there does not seem too much suspense. The woman loves Christmas and the man hates Christmas. The suspense seems to lie in: will she open up his heart to Christmas and then fall madly in love? There does not seem to be any danger, fast paced plot, or a villain. The story seems more like a safe romantic read.

Question 5:  “How do these reviews make you feel about the possibility of adding Angela's Ashes to your collection?”

Response: The reviewers use different examples to showcase the overlying reason for this book: a beautiful, funny, inspiring, and sad memoir. Add in the fact that the book won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography and became a movie in 1999 and this book is an easy purchase.  

Questions 6-7: “Do you think it's fair that one type of book is reviewed to death and other types of books get little to no coverage? How does this affect a library's collection?”

Responses: It is not fair that one book gets reviewed more often than another book.  Unfortunately, this can be due to the popularity of the author or how much the publishing house advertises the book.  A lot of great indie books get little love, because they do not have the power or money of a big name publisher advertising the book.

A library’s collection is designed around its patron base.  So, if the patron’s see book advertisements while surfing the net, reading Entertainment Weekly, or watching a YouTube commercial then they are more inclined to ask for the book at the library.  The problem lies in that patrons do not read what they do not know exist. It is the job of the Reader Advisor and other librarians who order books to try to learn about books under the radar.  I personally enjoy finding out about indie and low advertised graphic novels.  I have found some good gems.

Questions 8-9: And how do you feel about review sources that won't print negative content? Do you think that's appropriate?”

Responses: I feel cheated and lied to when a source will not print both positive and negative content.  As long as the review is truthful and not malicious then I want to read the negative review.  Positive and negative reviews help me chose what books to purchase for my library and what books I want to read.

I feel that if someone creates a list of their top reviewed books then their purpose is not to exclude negative reviews, but to show only the best books on this list.  However, in order to be a well rounded reviewer I feel that they must include negative reviews on an overall list to show a comparison of what books are good and what books are not so good.  

Question 10: “If you buy for your library, how often do you use reviews to make your decisions?”

Response: If I have not read the book recently then I read reviews before all of my library purchases.  I try to get professional reviews from places like Booklist and Library Journal along with amateur reviews from GoodReads, Amazon, and personal blogs.  If I have read the book and I am on the fence about ordering the book I will read reviews, because my opinions and viewpoint of the book are not the opinions of everyone.