Cool Site: Overbooked

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Websites aimed at readers are often labors of love created by people who would really rather be reading, and so even the most promising sites come and go with unsettling rapidity.  So when a site like Overbooked.org sticks around for a dozen years, it is something to celebrate.  Years before metacritic or bookmarks magazine began summarizing critical consensus from the vast array of book reviews, Overbooked set out to save the reader huge amounts of time by scanning four standard professional review sources (Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Library Journal), and pulling out just the starred (or highly recommended) titles.  The resulting lists represent the cream of a decade’s worth of crops, neatly arranged into major genre categories (including selected non-fiction) – a rich field for readers to graze.  Only have time for the most outstanding of titles?  Check out the all stars – books that received three or more starred reviews.  The site also has handy tables of forthcoming titles, a wealth of thematic booklists, and ample links.  All-in-all, one of the most useful literary sites out there, period.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Children’s Book Blogs

Planet Esme BlogHave you ever wondered how to keep up with the thousands of children’s books that are published in a year? Have you always wanted to be able to know more about a book than what you can look through at a bookstore or read the reviews about on amazon.com? Well, here are a few blogs about children’s books that can start you on your way. Check them out, find the ones you like best and if you look back at them every now and then you’ll be able to keep up with and enjoy the wonderful world of children’s books. Here are my five favorites.

Planet Esme
Esme Codell is a children’s book author who describes herself as a “professional readiologist.” Her blog is at the very top of my list of sites to check daily.

Bees Knees Reads
Written by sisters Kim Baise and Nancy Arruda (publisher of Bees Knees Books), who are also mothers of young children and children’s book authors.

Black Threads in Kid’s Lit: Exploring African American Picture Books and other Fanciful Topics
Written by author and quilter Kira E. Hicks.

Book Buds
Written by Anne Boles Levy, author and mother of a young child. She just wants to share what’s new in children’s literature.

Just One More Book
Just One More Book is a thrice-weekly podcast which promotes and celebrates literacy and great children’s books.

~posted by Mary

Looking for a good read?

Of course you are!  But the problem is, how to sort through the plethora of reading lists and suggestions?  Wouldn’t it be cool if someone – someone trustworthy – could poll award winning novelists, historians, poets, critics and biographers and then compile the top vote-getters into a tidy list?  Plus, it would be nice if you could get descriptions and reviews for each book, rather than just a list of titles that you have to take on faith.

The good news is that the National Book Critics Circle has done the work for us. Their voters have included Jonathan Franzen, Annie Proulx, John Updike, Cynthia Ozick and more than 500 other literary types.

Here is the NBCC’s GoodReads list from 1976 to the current year!

~posted by Paige C.

Shelf Talk: The Seattle Public Library Blog

image-of-girl-reading-courtesy-of-carl-alexander.jpegShelf Talk is created and maintained by the staff of The Seattle Public Library. This is our first post!

Seattle loves its libraries. Four out of five Seattlites has a library card (what’s with you other fifth, anyway?), and our per capita library circulation is among the highest in the country. We’ve been ranked the nation’s most literate city several times; either we read a lot of books, or we buy a lot of books and pretend to read them. In either case, Shelf Talk is a blog aimed at serving our lively and diverse community of readers. Here you will find book reviews and discussions, topics of local interest and human interest, literary events and links to the world of readers here in the Queen/Jet/Emerald/Rainy City, and beyond.

Read any good books lately? Have any great ideas for things you’d like to see here? We invite you to share your own favorite reads and other enthusiasms by commenting here, or drop us a line, at shelftalk@spl.org.