But I’ve Never Fixed a Carburetor! Readers’ Advisory Training for the General Practitioner New Hampshire Library Association Conference May 5, 2011 Presenter: Nanci Milone Hill [email protected] Today’s Agenda • • • • • • • • • Introductions What is Readers’ Advisory? The Quick and Dirty on Appeal Factors Appeal Groups The R.A. Interview Making Recommendations Common Mistakes Group Exercise Resources What Is Readers’ Advisory • Patron-centered library service. • Based on the belief that reading for pleasure has intrinsic value. • Answers the question “Can you recommend a good book?” • Why do it? The Quick and Dirty on Appeal Factors • The way to capture the essence of what a reader enjoys about a book. • We make connections between what a reader enjoyed about a particular book and why he/she might enjoy another. • Pacing • Character • Story Line • Frame Appeal Groups • Joyce Saricks, author of Readers; Advisory Service in the Public Library (1989), The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction (2001) • Adrenaline Group • Intellect Group • Emotion Group • Landscape Group Adrenaline Group • Readers talk about the pacing of the story and the action of the plot. • Thrillers • Adventures • Suspense • Romantic Suspense Intellect Group • What the reader thinks about while reading the book is more important than what they feel. • Readers talk about the language, the internal life of the character. The book answers the question “what if?” • Science Fiction • Literary Fiction • Mysteries • Psychological Suspense Emotion Group • The focus is on feeling, tone, mood, character reactions and motivations. • Romance • Horror • Gentle Reads • Chick Lit • Women’s Lives and Relationships Landscape Group • These novels have a driving sense of place. Readers are driven by the detail of the world building. • They focus on setting. • Westerns • Fantasy • Historical Fiction The Readers’ Advisory Interview • A dialogue between two readers, one of which happens to be the librarian. • “Tell me about a book you’ve read and enjoyed.” • Listen. • What are the initial elements the reader registers? • Consider the reader’s mood, life experience, past reading history, world outlook. Making Recommendations • Pull together a list of suggestions you think the reader might enjoy, based on what they have told you about their reading tastes. • Spend no more than 15 seconds going over each recommendation. • Let the reader choose. • Offer future services. Common Mistakes Avoid these common pitfalls when offering Readers’ Advisory services. • Avoidance behavior • Beware of OPAC dependence. • Get beyond personal experience. • Don’t promise anything – it’s not about YOU. • Follow-up after the session is over. Group Exercise • No, we’re not going to do jumping jacks. • Break up into four assigned groups. • Go over the reader response your group has been given. • Come up with title suggestions and be able to answer why you recommended them. Group 1 • I just finished Ice Station by Matthew Reilly. What was great about it was that it never stopped. I mean the battle started right away and there was never a break in the action. It was fantastic. Those Marines are iced — all the gear and the tactics. I don't like to read much, but Ice Station was so great it made me forget I was reading. It was like being in the middle of a video game or movie. Have anything else like that? Group 2 • The last book I read was Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Everyone is reading it so I had to pick it up. It was lovely. She is such an interesting woman and so brave. I enjoyed the descriptions of the countries she went to and what she did while she was there, of course, but I think what I liked most was how she shared her inner thoughts — so reflective but funny too. I thought it might be just light fluff or all me, me, me, me, but it was so much more than that. I read all the Oprah books and just love them. I am half way through Away by Amy Bloom — what a story — any way I wanted to ask you for a few suggestions for my book group. It is my turn to pick the title. Group 3 • Born in Fire by Nora Roberts is my favorite book. I really got interested in art glass after reading that book, she talks about how glass gets made and even works several projects into the book. I loved that. It is set in Ireland and they use a few Irish words here and there and that is nice, but mostly I like Maggie and Rogan. She is so fierce and brave and he is just yummy. It is the first book in a series and I love how they keep showing up in the other books. Turns out Maggie is a great mom. I really like how Roberts makes everything seem so real but still so romantic and happy. I have read all her books and hope you can help me find something else just like her. Group 4 • I liked Absent Friends by S. J. Rozan. It is a story about a community of friends from Staten Island who grew up together and the impact of 9/11 on the group, especially the death of one of the friends, Jimmy McCaffrey, a firefighter lost in the fall of the towers. Jimmy was always a hero to the group and even more so after his hero’s death trying to save others. Then news reports imply that he was involved with the mob and the shooting of one of the friends many years ago. The death of the reporter is the flashpoint for this story. Did the reporter fall, jump, or was he pushed? The story is told from the many points of view of the friends. You learn about Jimmy, but even more about the friends. There is suspense as you wonder about the impact of the childhood death and the reporter’s death on the group. The story does not go in a straight line, but the chapters are short which makes it seem to move quickly. Group 5 • I like the western/mystery series by Steve Hockensmith about the Amlingmeyer brothers. The first couple of books are Holmes on the Range, On the Wrong Track, and The Black Dove. In the last title, the brothers Amlingmeyer, having given up cow punching to become detectives like their idol Sherlock Homes, look for jobs in San Francisco and find a murdered acquaintance instead. His death is made to look like suicide. The brothers look for the reason and the killer and find lots of things they didn’t expect. ‘Big Red’ (Otto) is the larger, younger brother who aspires to be a writer. Older brother ‘Old Red’ (Gustav) is the short, wiry, unlettered (illiterate) member of the pair who admires the ‘detectiving’ of Sherlock Holmes. The mystery part of the stories is serious – people are either dead or in danger. The chapter headings and dialogue between the brothers are very funny, but not comic or ridiculous. Group 6 • I just finished reading Far Bright Star by Robert Olmstead and I just loved it. Napoleon, a world weary and hardened horse soldier, is training new recruits in the southwest and Mexico during the hunt for Pancho Villa. The soldiers are herded into a dry bed by a motley band of Villistas and soldaderas who toy with them before they begin to try to kill them. Napoleon and his green soldiers fight valiantly, but in the end it appears that only Napoleon and Preston, a recruit from the East who is used to buying his way out of situations, survive. The two are marched to a camp and tortured--Preston very brutally and sadistically. You get the idea that his brutal treatment is in revenge for something he did in the past. Preston eventually killed, the soldaderas haul Napoleon back to a dry riverbed to survive or die. What I loved about this book was the battle scenes which were very realistic and horrifying. I also loved the way Olmstead talked about Mexico. Can you recommend something like that? Group 7 • I liked The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke. The story happens in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans is reduced to a medieval city; services are unattainable, hospitals are without meds or power, the smell is overwhelming. Many of the characters in this Dave Robichaux mystery are the same as in Burke’s previous novels, but the setting is very different. Katrina is in the room, glowering, destroying and laying waste. Who killed the two black men rowing about the city? Was it a crime or justice? What happened to the addicted priest? Is there a vigilante running about the city? Tin Roof Blowdown is not a traditional mystery, and the atmosphere is creepy without ghosts. You don’t know quite where the next action is coming from. Group 8 • Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith is an incredible story. During the Stalin years, a society much superior to the ‘decadent west’ where health care, food, shelter and safety are guaranteed by the state, serial crimes are not possible. The multiple, ritual killings of children are ‘random’ accidents. Leo Demidov, a war hero and star of the state security force, is assigned to look at one of the cases. He cannot sweep the inconsistencies of this child’s death under the rug or ignore the similarities with other deaths. Even though the only crimes acknowledged are crimes against the state, Leo insists that a serial killer is operating along the rail lines throughout Russia. He jeopardizes his career and is demoted far from Moscow. Will Leo solve the crime? If he does, will he seal his own fate with the state by forcing them to admit that terrible things can happen in an ideal society? I never thought about what life was like in Russia during that time. The details seem accurate and consistent. The descriptions are horrific and chilling. Group 9 • Altar of Eden by James Rollins is a good book. It reads like an action movie; you can see the scenes move through your mind. After a hurricane passes near the Louisiana delta, the Border Patrol sends a helicopter to pick up Dr. Lorna Polk, veterinarian/biologist for ACRES, the Audubon Center for Research on Endangered Species. A trawler has washed up carrying a load of extremely exotic/genetically modified animals and a trail of blood up the gangway. Lorna and Border Patrol Agent Jack Menard are in a race to capture an escaped saber-toothed jaguar before it reaches the mainland and to find who has developed and enhanced several extinct animal species as terrorist weapons. Lorna and Jack aren’t thrilled to be working together; they have history which resulted in the death of Jack’s brother. Resources • Baker, Jen, et al. "A selection of core resources for readers' advisory service." Reference & User Services Quarterly 50.1 (2010): 6+. • Chelton, Mary K., and Janet Nottingham. "Doing it right: a readers' advisory program. (Readers' Advisory)." Reference & User Services Quarterly 41.4 (2002): 335+. • Chelton, Mary K. "Readers' advisory 101: a crash course in RA: common mistakes librarians make and how to avoid them." Library Journal 128.18 (2003): 38+. • Duncan Smith, Iain, and Mary K. Chelton. "Talking with Readers." Reference & User Services Quarterly 40.2 (2000): 135. • Duncan Smith, Iain. "Valuing fiction." Booklist 1 Mar. 1998: 1094+. • Hollands, Neil. "Improving the model for interactive readers' advisory service." Reference & User Services Quarterly 45.3 (2006): 205+ • May, Anne K., et al. "A Look at Reader's Advisory Services." Library Journal 125.15 (2000): 40. Shameless Self-Promotion Reading Women: A Book Club Guide for Women's Fiction by Nanci Milone Hill ABC-Clio. 2011. ISBN # 978-1-59158-802-3 More Shameless Self-Promotion The Book Hussy Reading Anything… Any Time… Anywhere http://thebookhussy.wordpress.com/ Resources • • • • May, Anne K., et al. "A Look at Reader's Advisory Services." Library Journal 125.15 (2000): 40. Moyer, Jessica E. "Adult fiction reading: a literature review of readers' advisory services, adult fiction librarianship, and fiction readers." Reference & User Services Quarterly 44.3 (2005): 220+. Saricks, Joyce. "Celebrate ARRT." Booklist 1 Feb. 2009: 24. Saricks, Joyce. Readers’ Advisory Service in the Public Library. 3rd edition. Chicago: American Library Association. 2005. • Shearer, Kenneth D. and Robert Burgin, ed. The Reader’s Advisory Companion. Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited. 2001. • Smith, Duncan. "Your brain on fiction." Reference & User Services Quarterly 49.1 (2009): 38+. • Wyatt, Neal. "An RA big think: the concept of appeal is on the table, and readers advisory librarians are revolutionizing it." Library Journal 132.12 (2007): 40+.