Friday, April 22, 2011

Don't know what to read next? Try Novelist.

Novelist is a subscription service from EbscoHost that many public libraries offer to their registered users. It provides a number of ways to search for titles that you might enjoy, maybe because other people liked them, maybe because they're similar to other books that you liked, or perhaps because you're looking for something totally different from what you've been reading.

My favorite way to use Novelist is to put in a title that I really liked, and then look at the genre, subject, and location descriptors to see which things appealed to me the most. Then I use those for locating a new author or a related book, or maybe to branch out to something that I hadn't paid much attention to before. One author I discovered this way is Mayra Montero. She's a Cuban writer who I found on Novelist by starting my search with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I've read several of her books and found each to be engaging and well written. Set in Caribbean tropical locales they contain intrigue and I feel immersed in a culture totally different from my own. She writes in Spanish and I think the translations were done by Edith Grossman, who has also translated Garcia Marquez. Montero's book In the Palm of Darkness is about a biologist searching for a near-extinct species of tree frog in a rain forest. It's a great introduction to her work for someone who's never given her a try.

If you have Louisville Free Public Library card, you can access Novelist from the Research Tools page.


No comments: