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Resources for picking good books?

March 2006

Whenever I need information on children or being a better childcare provider, I look here. Whenever I need recommendations about good books to read, I look...? Recently, I have actually been finding myself with time to read. Lots of time to read. I've already asked close friends for their favorite books, and swapped novels with a few of them. I've been to Moe's and Cody's on Telegraph. Even so, I need more. Do any of you know resources for picking books? Its hard to browse and pick out a book simply based on its cover, back or front. Are there are email groups? Websites? Thanks! book obsessed

I rely on the recommended book table at the Pegasus bookstore on Solano - love that place. Plus, on amazon.com I often look up a book I enjoyed because they list other books people have bought if you scroll down. happy reading
Abundant time to read, how wonderful! I get lots of ideas for reading material from the book review section in the Sunday NY Times, which I'd guess is available online as well as in hard-copy. To a lesser extent, also the book reviews in the Sunday Chronicle and the special book section of the East Bay Express (comes out monthly, I think). The reviews tend to be of new, hardback (expensive) books, but...sometimes you can find them used shortly after they come out. Or they'll show up on the sale tables at Pegasus/Pendragon in a few months. And eventually they come out in paperback. If you read the reviews regularly, you develop a rolling list of authors and titles that sound interesting and you can hunt for them over time. Auntie M
how about your local library? the adult services librarian's job is to be familiar with what's out there. i'm sure you'd find a few titles, which you can then check out, or go buy. library fan
One of the main libraries (opposed to a tiny branch) should have a librarian who is an expert in adult fiction. There are booklists, reference books, and databases available through the library to help you decide what to read next; I've used and liked a database called NoveList. Reader
If you like books so much but don't know which ones to read, why don't you pick up a newspaper and read the book reviews? The Chronicle and NY Times have entire sections devoted to it. The Oakland Tribune also reviews books somewhat regularly. My mother is a retired children's librarian, but she still gets the magazine ''Booklist,'' and it has reviews of all SORTS of books (adult, not just kids) and she's constantly recommending books for me to read. If you don't want to read about books in review form (but why not if you like to read?) you can always join a book club. The Book Passage in Corte Madera has a program (Aunt Lydia's book club) that will pick out a book a month for you and send it to you (you pay for it of course, by the book). reader
Check out www.readerville.com, particularly the thread called ''What's That You're Reading?'' You will soon have more books than you can keep up with! Claire
The book ''Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason'' by Nancy Pearl is a good source for choosing books. I found one of my favorite books through Book Lust. I also recommend checking out your public library for ideas. Happy reading! Cathy
A lot depends on your tastes in literature, of course, but my best source for book recommendations is book reviews, which I try to keep up with. The New York Times and Sunday Chronicle are good places to start (both are online). The Chron also publishes a list of best-sellers that's specific to the Bay Area, which I find really useful, since SF is a book-loving town. That lists tends to include higher-quality books than the national list. Finally, pay attention to announcements of book awards and award finalists like the Pulitzer, the Booker Prize, and the National Book Award - it's hard to go wrong with those. Fellow bibliophile
Check out the forums on www.bookcrossing.com (specifically http://www.bookcrossing.com/forum choose ''book talk'') to read dicussions about different books. You can also search and browse books to see people's mini-reviews of them, and you can request books from bookcrossers or swap books with them. The book review section in the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle gives me good ideas. I also read the New York Review of Books and the Atlantic Monthly for book reviews, although they mostly review non-fiction. Check out the UC Berkeley Summer Reading Lists too: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/Instruction/readinglists/ for really interesting lists. Join the Berkeley Public Library's online book club to have excerpts from books emailed to you: http://www.supportlibrary.com/su/su.cfm?x=2809 I need more to read too so I am looking forward to other people's suggestions! Andi
I have really started to use Amazon for book ideas. When someone suggests a good book, I request it from the library, but also enter it into Amazon and see what other books people are buying when they buy the book I was recommended. It's the best positive argument I can think of for Amazon collecting preferences. With one book search at Amazon, I usually end up with 3 or 4 other books to go to the library for. Try it. voracious reader
You can look up book lists on the websites for the major children's books awards, such as the Caldecott Award or Parents Press Award. There are more awards out there too. anon
Oooh, you are so lucky! I wish I had lots of time to read. However, even without lots of time, reading good novels and memoirs is my main and essential form of relaxation and escape. I read the SF Chronicle Book Review each week, and I belong to QPB (Quality Paperback Books), a book club which sends me a newsletter every three weeks, filled with reviews of many kinds of books. I keep an ongoing list of books that seem of interest to me, and then I utilize the (Berkeley Public) library to get hold of the books. I put lots of stuff on hold. A few months ago, a friend sent me a paperback book chain letter. I wish I'd known of you then, because it seemed like a cool idea, even if I do hate chain letters. Most of the people I sent the chain letter to pooped out on me, but I did get four or five free books this way. I'll be curious to see what other kinds of replies you get. Nanu
I have been pleasantly suprised by how much I have enjoyed the books recommended by the staff at the bookstore. B has a shelf with staff recommended books, most independent book stores do as well - plus you can also ask them. My favorite of all though, has been Kevin Hunsanger at GreenApple books in the city. The book store is wonderful, the staff all have had great recommendations, and Kevin's review of books on Kfog have led me to many a great read. His current review are listed here: http://www.greenapplebooks.com/cgi-bin/mergatroid/keywords/kfog.html Happy reading! Shahana
Go to Amazon and pick out a book that you enjoyed. When you go to the link to read about it, it will say something like People Who Liked This Book Also Bought... Then, write down the suggested readings and go to the library and check 'em out! -Book obsessed, too.
I did not see your original post, but a very fun way to get ideas for what to read is... www.ideacog.net/psychicbook/order.html Also if you poke around online, many book lovers have book themed blogs. Liz

Good source for children's book reviews

May 2003

Can anyone recommend a good resource (preferably online) for children's book reviews? It would be especially helpful if you knew of ones that included reviews of both old and new books. Thanks for your help. Molly G

I reccomend the Sunday New York Times book review. In each issue they usually review a few childrens books. I am sure you can find it on their web site. The reviews are excellent. Around December they review quite a few childrens books. JB
I really love the ''Read-Aloud Handbook'' by Jim Trelease for recommendations of terrific children's books. You can get it at most bookstores. Susan
Check out: http://www.armory.com/~web/notes.html Includes reviews/news about classic children's books that are back in print. AW
You might check with your local children's librarian. Most will have multiple reference sources that have reviews in them. Books like:
Best Books for Children,
Our family, Our friends, Our world
The Read-Aloud Handbook
Books kids will sit still for
Reading rainbow guide to children's books
They're never too young for books
Black Books galore!
Valerie and Walter's best books for children
Adventuring with Books
Great books for African-american children
Babies need books Beyond Picture books

Most libraries also have subscriptions to review sources such as:
School Library Journal
Book bird
Horn Book

I have not given you an exhaustive list by far, but that should get you started. denise

For knowledgeable reviews of newly published books, the best sources are The Horn Book (the gold standard!) and School Library Journal. Both of these use children's librarians and other professionals in the field of children's literature as reviewers, something which is not always the case with the NYT Book Review. Another source I've found helpful is _Babies Need Books_ by Dorothy Butler, although unfortunately some of the books she discusses are now out of print. Elizabeth