Thursday, September 10, 2009

Readers' advisory & series

I just returned from a vacation to Seattle and realized I brought two sequels with me to read. I think I was, however consciously, looking for things I knew I would like and that would be an easy read.

I finished Jordan Summers' Scarlet (book 2 of her Dead World series, which began with Red), and I started Suzanne Collins's Catching Fire (book 2 in her Hunger Games trilogy) on the trip. I have to say, I think I would write up Red and Scarlet differently in an RAview or annotation/shelf-talker. Scarlet seemed to use a more paranormal romance construction (a new couple, a periphery and a nonexistent character from the last book, get the longest, final sex scene), and the fear and tension weren't as palpable to me as in the first book. Catching Fire does not have the shock and tension present from the very beginning simply because of the premise of Hunger Games. (More later.)

Do RA librarians generally recommend a series or simply a title or two from it? I know I read somewhere (likely in Joyce Saricks' Readers' Advisory Service in the Public Library) that readers' advisors should recommend the best title in the series rather than the first. This seems problematic to me. First, in my personal efforts trying to pick what to read next, it seems near impossible to figure out which book is the best (although librarians do have more knowledge and resources than me). Also, some series can be entered at various points (especially mysteries, I'd think) and others will loose a lot without background. But publishers seem somewhat reluctant to sell things as series titles, probably because they want to attract new readers, which can make finding the first in a series while browsing in a bookstore or library really hard. And, let's face it, not everyone will take the time to ask their bookseller/librarian.

All in all, I'm somewhat baffled. I need to pick up an RA book on a specific fiction genre, which may help. In closing, here is a post on a fun book blog from Entertainment Weekly, Shelf Life, in which the blogger wants to skip ahead in Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series (on which True Blood is based). The adamant, exclamatory comments are the best.

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