Thursday, January 15, 2015

Reading APPtitude

In the past few weeks we learned of a new app called “Novel Engagement”, put out by Romance Writers of America (RWA).  Available on iTunes and Google play, its purpose is to help “readers discover romance novels and connect with authors…there are five main sections to the app: Books, Authors, Events, Reader Zone, and More.”

This got us thinking….are there other apps out there that might be of interest to readers?  We started researching beyond the romance genre to see what we could find.  A general Google search of “reading apps” yields a lot of results along the lines of audio book and eBook “readers,” that is apps that provide content.  We were more interested in apps that help you find your next book or favorite author.

The app that most closely resembled that for which we were searching is the Goodreads app. We have individual accounts with Goodreads and have thoroughly enjoyed the free website, which is basically a social network for readers.   Their app allows readers to “discover and share books…, find new and interesting books by browsing personalized recommendations based on books you've read and your favorite genres…,see what your friends are reading, write book reviews, and keep track of what you want to read.”  The further advantage to Goodreads is that it crosses genres.  We’ve yet to find a genre that we are interested in finding books in that does not have a list on Goodreads. 

We really wanted apps that were genre-specific, like the RWA app, but did not have much luck.  Western Writers of America has an app that will let you search for literature set in the American West in all genres.  iTunes has “Sci-Fi Library” which has a core collection of 100+ sci-fi novels but I could not find any related to mystery, inspirational, or fantasy; we found nothing similar in Google play.   There are plenty of apps that will come up for all of these genres, but they provide content rather than suggestions or recommendations.  If you read YA, you can check out “Teen Book Finder” (right) for ideas of what to read in that genre. 

There are also different apps that allow you to keep track of what you’ve read (similar to Goodreads), depending on your device.   Apple offers “iReadItNow” (left) through iTunes, which is more like a reading journal app, but allows sharing via Twitter and Facebook.  This app is not free, so it has many premium features.  Android devices have a free app called “To Read – Reading List,” (right) also more of a reading journal than anything else.  

We went searching for genre book apps and these are the ones we discovered.  Do you use apps to find books to put on your ‘to-be-read” list?  If so, do you keep it general or do you have a certain type of book app that you use?   Let us know!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

January's Adult Reading Challenge "Clues"

“There is more treasure in books than all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.”  Walt Disney
This year’s Adult Reading Challenge is called Hidden Treasure and is based on Walt’s quote.  We want you to find the treasure of good books in your bid to finish this year’s challenge. Instead of racking up miles going to foreign countries, or traveling to different time periods, we give you a list of “clues” which are subjects and you choose a book based on the clue. There are 4 preprinted clues on the list you receive when you sign up for the challenge. Then each month 2 more clues are released here on our blog and other social media sites.  If you haven’t signed up yet, come in and see Stephanie or Rhonda to join the game. For those who have signed up here are your clues and explanations:

Dragons-This one is super easy you can read any book that has a dragon in it, has the word dragon in the title, or has a picture of a dragon on the cover.

Art- This one requires a book about visual art or a museum setting. For our purposes we will go with the Britannica Encyclopedia’s explanation of traditional visual art. This includes painting, drawing, sculpting, and printmaking. 

Quilting-This clue requires the book to be about quilts or for a character in the book to be a quilter.

Spy Thriller- A book that has a spy for a character or is about any of the alphabet agencies will work.

2 additional clues:
In honor of the King of Rock and Roll’s January 8th birthday, read a book that has music as the theme. It could be a fiction book that has a musician as a character or the opera or Broadway as a setting. Of course if you prefer non-fiction it could be a biography of a musician or a history of genre of music or about a particular instrument.

The second clue is to read a book by an author born in January.  A few suggestions to get you started are Karin Slaughter, Stuart Woods, Laura Lippman, and Isaac Asimov. If you have a favorite author look them up and see what month they were born, they just might work for this month’s clue. Of course the list for both of these clues will be added to the Suggested Reading Guide found in the Reference Department on Friday, January 9, 2015.
Happy Reading!