October is one of my favorite times of year. Kids and school have hit a nice routine. I have been on a mystery kick and have particularly liked Stieg Larsson's books. I think it is time for me to try some more of those Swedish mysteries that have been on my to-do list forever!
Reader advisory is one of those areas of librarianship a public librarian has to work at constantly. Reading as a duty? Yes, and not just the stuff you like. As a librarian, it is important to sample constantly from the buffet of fiction and nonfiction. Not a big fan of science fiction? Not a lover of Fantasy or Christian/Inspirational fiction? Too bad. It is time to suck it up and do your job! As book pros, we have to be able to talk about all kinds of titles, not just our "favorites".
Okay, now that you have agreed to try, where do you start? Go slowly. By now you should now the most popular authors in your library and if you don't, start checking holds and circ numbers for those titles and genres. Ask around for a favorite or two and stay away from series. Amazon can also be a big help in identifying the new hot stuff of a particular genre. Pick one or two and start there. Not all of it will be fun or interesting to you, but try and think of a patron or two that might like this title. Stick to new stuff as much as possible as this puts you ahead of the curve.
People like books for many reasons, but most likely they will be drawn toward the plot, setting, or characters. This is usually true regardless of the genre. Plot oriented people will use words like fast-paced. Setting people will like where the story takes place (generally) or the period of time (think historical fiction with a lot of detail or the use of the word "research"). Character folks are probably the hardest to nail down. They need the person's personality or character to be the main focus of the story.
So use October as your month of something new to read or try. You might be surprised at your next chance to book talk a new title.