Bookish: A new website to find and learn about books

February 5, 2013

The book publishing industry has just released a new website, Bookish (, designed to “to engage more readers with more books, more authors and with one another.” The website, which was primarly funded by Simon & Schuster, Penguin Group USA, and Hachette Book Group, also includes books from 16 other publishers including major ones such as Random House.The Bookish website describes its purpose by stating:

Users will find a variety of tool on the website including:

Find your favorite books and authors–it’s easy! Our rich catalog includes book descriptions and author bios, related videos, other books by the author, Essential reading lists, the latest stories from around the web about specific books and authors and much more.

Explore our unique recommendation tool by inputting books you’ve recently read. Can’t settle on one title? Our dynamic tool lets you expand your search with multiple title selections.

Enjoy original book-related pieces, including author exclusives, essential reading lists and video interviews. Our staff of well-read editors cover books in 18 popular categories.

According to an article in the New York Times, Bookish was originally scheduled to go live in the summer of 2011, but was delayed due to updates to the site, including its book recommendation engine. The New York Times articles states,”its creators argue will be the most sophisticated available. Instead of relying essentially on the taste of other customers with similar preferences, as most recommendation engines do, Bookish’s tool takes into account critical reviews and awards. Eventually it will even reflect the insights derived from a reader’s own nuanced description of books — for example, that the reader found a book to be exciting but unsatisfying.”

The Huffington Post quotes the Bookish CEO Ardy Khazaei, “”Bookish was created to serve as a champion of books, writers and, most importantly, readers. Ultimately, we seek to expand the overall marketplace for books, and whether a book gets into a reader’s hands via Bookish’s e-commerce partner or another retailer, everyone – from the publisher, to the retailer, the author and the reader – wins.”

The site interface is very easy to use and book recommendation engine useful, if you are looking for a new book try it out!


Kaufman, Leslie. “Bookish, New Web Site, Provides Information on Books and Authors”, The New York Times. February 4, 2013,

Italie, Hillel. “Publishers Launch Online Site,, To Attract Readers, Sell Books”, Huffington Post. February 4, 2013,


New York Times Book Review Podcast

January 26, 2013

If you enjoy reading the Sunday New York Times Book Review, the Book Review podcast is a great listening experience. The New York Times description of the podcast; “Sam Tanenhaus, the editor of the Book Review, talks to authors, editors and critics about new books, the literary scene and current best sellers.” The links to listen to all the podcasts in mp3 format can be found on the New York Times’ website: The podcast can also be downloaded through iTunes. Sam Tanenhaus is a great interviewer and the podcast always provides insight into the writing of articles in the Sunday Book Review and what is happening in the book publishing world.

New York Times “Best of 2012” Book Lists

December 1, 2012

The New York Times “Best of 2012” book lists will be published in the December 2nd Book Review section of the print edition. The lists are also available online at:

The book lists include the books named the 10 and 100 best books (nonfiction, fiction, and poetry are all covered) as well as reviews of children’s books and cookbooks. The books on the New York Times “10 Best Books of 2012” list that are available through the Minuteman Library Network are below along with links to their records in the MLN network catalog.

The 10 Best Books of 2012: The year’s best books, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

FICTION UP THE BODIES By Hilary Mantel. A John Macrae Book/ Henry Holt & Company.

BUILDING STORIES By Chris Ware. Pantheon Books.

A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING By Dave Eggers. McSweeney’s Books.

NW By Zadie Smith. The Penguin Press.

THE YELLOW BIRDS By Kevin Powers. Little, Brown & Company.

NONFICTION THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. By Katherine Boo. Random House.

FAR FROM THE TREE: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity. By Andrew Solomon. Scribner.

THE PASSAGE OF POWER: The Years of Lyndon Johnson. By Robert A. Caro. Alfred A. Knopf.

THE PATRIARCH: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy. By David Nasaw. The Penguin Press.

WHY DOES THE WORLD EXIST? An Existential Detective Story. By Jim Holt. Liveright Publishing/W. W. Norton & Company.



Readers’ Advisory Website: BookBrowse

August 21, 2012

BookBrowse is a readers’ advisory website that offers a ton of book suggestions. Although one can subscribe for a yearly fee, BookBrowse has a lot of information available for free including:

  • Featured new books with reader’s recommendations and reviews.
  • Read A-likes lists
  • Featured author interviews
  • Find a book feature listing books by
    • Genre
    • Setting
    • Time Period
    • Theme
    • Award Winners
  • Book Club suggestions

If you enjoy looking through BrookBrowse, the Newton Public Library subscribes to a wide variety of Reader’s Advisory Databases. Links to the databases are located on the Newton Public Library website:

2012 Notable Children’s Books

April 29, 2012

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), announced its 2012 list of Notable Children’s Books in March. The list is divided into four categories: younger readers, middle readers, older readers, and all ages. The books are judged to be of “special interest, quality, creativity and value to children 14 years of age and younger.” A selection of the titles are listed below along with links to the Minuteman Library Network with a full annotated list of the selected books is located on ALA’s website.


All the Water in the World. By George Ella Lyon, Illus. by Katherine Tillotson, Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

A Ball for Daisy. By Chris Raschka, Illus. by the author, Schwartz & Wade Books.

See Me Run. By Paul Meisel, Illus. by the author. Holiday House.

Tales for Very Picky Eaters. By Josh Schneider, Illus. by the author, Clarion Books.

Me…Jane. By Patrick McDonnell, Illus. by the author. Little, Brown.


Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade. By Melissa Sweet, Illus. by the author. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children.

Breaking Stalin’s Nose. By Eugene Yelchin, Illus. by the author, Henry Holt.

The Great Migration: Journey to the North. By Eloise Greenfield, Illus. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. HarperCollins Children’s Books/Amistad.

Inside Out and Back Again. By Thanhha Lai. HarperCollins.

The Lily Pond. By Annika Thor. Trans. by Linda Schenck. Delacorte Press.

Soldier Bear. By Bibi Dumon Tak, Illus. by Philip Hopman. Trans. by Laura Watkinson. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.

Underground. By Shane Evans, Illus. by Shane Evans. Roaring Brook Press.


Between Shades of Gray. By Ruta Sepetys. Philomel Books.

Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition. By Karen Blumenthal. Roaring Brook Press.

Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck. By Margarita Engle. Henry Holt.

Music Was It: Young Leonard Bernstein. By Susan Goldman Rubin. Charlesbridge.

The Scorpio Races. By Maggie Stiefvater. Scholastic Press.

Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem. By Rosalyn Schanzer, Illus. by the author. National Geographic Society.

All Ages

Can We Save the Tiger?, By Martin Jenkins, Illus. by Vicky White. Candlewick Press.

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans. By Kadir Nelson, Illus. by the author. Balzer + Bray.

Never Forgotten. By Patricia McKissack, Illus. by Leo and Diane Dillon. Schwartz & Wade Books.

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature. By Joyce Sidman, Illus. by Beth Krommes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

The Book Report Network

March 6, 2012

The Book Report Network is a company that provides an extensive and diverse set of book reviews. The mission of the Book Report Network is “to solve these reader dilemmas, with thoughtful book reviews, compelling features, in-depth author profiles and interviews, excerpts of the hottest new releases, contests and more every week.” The Network’s main site is the Bookreporter but their reviews are also organized by genre and reader type on a series of other websites. Links to several of their unique sites are below.  “Created for readers in their twenties, which we define as, ‘A decade. A state of mind. An age. A lifestyle. A time for self-discovery. A new perspective. An attitude. A philosophy. Independence. Freedom. A time to re-discover reading for pleasure – and FINALLY – read what you want.’ It is a place “where readers, writers, booksellers, librarians and twentysomething bibliophiles share the books they’re reading and the books they suggest you read as well. Before you come into your twenties most reading was by assignment for school with short stints for reading for pleasure, thus this is a time to broaden reading horizons and discover and explore books in a whole new way.”

Teenreads Created for teens, this website reviews young adult literature. One really unique feature is the Ultimate Teen Reading List. The Book Report Network describes this list as “over 400 titles that we believe are perfect choices for reading and discussing. Our dream is that schools will use this list to help them make their own for summer reading or, even better, suggest that students just read what they want from this list. How did we create our list? Titles range from young adult books to adult books that we think would be enjoyed by teens.”

Kidsreads Designed “for kids to find info about their favorite books, series and authors. Reviews of the newest titles, interviews with the coolest authors and special features on great books are our specialties.”

ReadingGroupGuides Provides book group suggestions and reading and discussion guides for a wide variety of selections.

NPR Series: Three Books

January 15, 2012

NPR has a special book series titled Three Books, “in which authors recommend three books on a single theme.” The authors and themes are diverse and the entire series is worth listening or reading. The books from the most recent feature which aired on January 4, 2012 entitled, Hell-Raising Heroines: Three Ladies With Spitfire by Heather Havrilesky are listed below.

The Great Man : A Novel (2009) by Kate Christensen. “The Great Man is a scintillating comedy of life among the avant-garde—of the untidy truths, needy egos, and jostlings for position behind the glossy facade of artistic greatness. Not a pretty picture—but a provocative and entertaining one that incarnates the take-no-prisoners satirical spirit of Dawn Powell and Mary McCarthy.” – description from the publisher, Doubleday. Kate Christensen’s most recent novel, The Astral, was published in 2011.

After Claude (1973) by Iris Owens ; introduction by Emily Prager. “Harriet is leaving her boyfriend Claude, “the French rat.” That at least is how Harriet sees things, even if it’s Claude who has just asked Harriet to leave his Greenwich Village apartment. Well, one way or another she has no intention of leaving. To the contrary, she will stay and exact revenge-or would have if Claude had not had her unceremoniously evicted. Still, though moved out, Harriet is not about to move on. Not in any way.” – description from the publisher, New York Review Books.

The Journal Keeper : A Memoir (2010) by Phyllis Theroux. “Essayist Theroux has long captivated readers with her pitch-perfect rendering of the inner lives of American women. The Journal Keeper is a memoir of six years in her life, covering universal topics such as love, loneliness, growing old, spiritual growth, and death.” – description from the publisher, Atlantic Monthly Press.