NoveList Plus and Summer Reading
By Jared Richards, Adult and Teen Services Librarian
There is nothing like the feeling of checking out your favorite author’s latest book, but unless your favorite author is James Patterson or Danielle Steel, you’ll probably have a bit of a wait before that next book comes out. The in-between is the perfect time to branch out and discover a new author or even dabble in a new genre entirely. The world is your oyster, and anything goes while patiently waiting on your favorite author.
The Manhattan Public Library is here to help in your literary explorations. We will always encourage you to stop by the library to speak with us or just wander around, serendipitously browsing our collection, but we know this isn’t always possible. That is why we offer so many resources that are available online, one of which is NoveList Plus.
NoveList Plus can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. Whether on your laptop from the comfort of your own home, or surreptitiously on your phone from the discomfort of your nephew’s latest peanut shell puppet show, a reimagining of “Flowers in the Attic.” Let NoveList Plus be your escape, your rabbit hole to a world of new authors and books.
When dipping your toes into the pool of new-to-you authors and books, one of NoveList Plus’s strongest features is their list of read-alikes, which are authors and books that are similar to what you have searched for. In the search bar at the top of the screen, type in your favorite author or book, and click on the author’s name or book title to go to that page. Along the right side of your screen, you’ll find the list of read-alikes, which also provides an explanation for why that author or book was picked.
I recently fell down this rabbit hole and discovered Daniel H. Wilson and his new collection of short stories, “Guardian Angels & Other Monsters.” Wilson has a PhD and a Master’s degree in Robotics and another Master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence, so it’s not surprising that his books and short stories focus on robotics, artificial intelligence, and science in general. The stories cover topics ranging from a robot bodyguard/nanny to meteorology, to a man training a mail-delivering robotic dog. It quickly turned into a “just one more story” kind of book, and I found myself up way past my bedtime on more than one occasion.
Another great feature of NoveList Plus is that they collect several reviews for each book from reputable sources, like Kirkus, Booklist, and Library Journal. “Uncommon Type” by Tom Hanks is a collection of short stories that has received generally positive reviews, and deservedly so. Of all the short story collections I have read, and I’ve read more than a few, “Uncommon Type” is one of the most eclectic. Hanks jumps from WWII to subtle psychic visions, to space travel and even to time travel. Given the title of the book, the cover art, and Hanks’ love of typewriters, it should be no surprise that each story mentions at least one typewriter, which leads to its own bit of fun, looking up each one to see what they look like. I recommend going with the audiobook version of this book because it is not only narrated by Tom Hanks, he also puts his Foley artist chops on full display, by performing his own typewriter sound effects when necessary.
A final aspect of NoveList Plus that I really like is the “For Fans of…” section, which provides a list of books for people who are fans of various movies and TV shows. For example, if you’re a fan of “Black Mirror” on Netflix, a show that brings “The Twilight Zone” into the modern era, you might like “The Circle” by Dave Eggers, a story that explores the potential issues of all the large internet and social media companies merging and gaining a little too much influence on our lives. You will also find recommendations for shows like “Westworld,” “This Is Us,” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
NoveList Plus can help you discover a new author or get lost in a new world, whether it throws you into a fantastical past or a dystopian future. And there’s no better time than the present, because we may or may not have had a Spring, but Summer is upon us, which means the Summer Reading program at the library is just around the corner. Registration has already begun, and you can start keeping track of your minutes on June 1.