The majority of adult fiction, mysteries and science fiction is ordered for the library based on reviews. I regularly read Booklist, Library Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly. In addition, I subscribe to several on-line review sources and also check the reviews in People and the Sunday edition of the Star Ledger. Whatever I am reading, I look for reviews. The reference staff checks a variety of bestseller lists. Yes, we do our homework before a book is shelved and available to our patrons.
Reviews can be very straightforward and even forceful, the reviewer may command,
"All public libraries should buy this book!"
Reviewers are sometimes very polite and use phrases such as,
"Nice but not essential," or imply the book might not be the author’s very best effort.
Reviewers can be absolutely brutal,
"No public library should buy this book!"
Frequently, the reviews are puzzling and offer no real guidance or indication of who the intended audience might be.
The following snippets caught my eye this morning:
" … sensitive readers may not get past the foul language…"
"…if her novel has any weakness, it’s a lack of plot and character development…"
'"…recommended for fans and those who’ve enjoyed a good cookie table…"
"…fun if gruesome horror read…"
"…gets off to a strong, compelling start but loses its way midpoint…"
"…her novel’s startling ending may leave some readers scratching their heads…"
"…readers will find that all their tears are worth it…."
Would you read any of those books?
Oh well, back to reading reviews and trying to find the right books for your library.