The Southeastern Mass. Reader’s Advisory Roundtable (SE-RART) group met on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., at OCLN Central Site, Braintree, to discuss Readalikes by Mood.
The benchmark title was either Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes OR A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. We discussed developing readalike lists by mood, using either of the feel-good benchmark titles as a starting point (e.g. “If You’re in the Mood for a Feel-Good Book”.)
“Up Lit is realistic, feel-good fiction that affirms positive human connections. Even as characters confront tough circumstances, they also encounter kindness, humor, hope, compassion, empathy, and the best of ordinary humanity. Plot specifics, subject matter, and setting can vary: the story’s central goal is to leave readers with a good vibe.” — NoveList Book Squad Beyond Genre, Up Lit Appeals
Our supplemental readings were:
- Saricks, Joyce, Readers’ Advisory Service in the Public Library, 3rd ed., Creating Readalike Lists, pp. 114-20. ALA, 2005.
- Beckerman, Hannah, The Guardian, Gone Girl’s Gone, hello Eleanor Oliphant: Why We’re All Reading “Up Lit”, March16, 2018
- NoveList Book Squad, Beyond Genre: Sunny-side Up – Up Lit Appeals
“Creating readalike lists helps us see the bigger picture of how books and authors appeal within and across genres, fiction and nonfiction, and this process makes us better readers’ advisors.
Working on readalike lists also reminds us we do not work in a vacuum. No one has read everything or thought of all the ways a reader might read a book and a book might appeal. Working with other readers and readers’ advisors to brainstorm and generate these lists forces us to think more broadly and certainly provides more possibilities than each of us could if we were limited only to the books we personally know.” — Readers’ Advisory Service in the Public Library, 3rd. edition
We brought along ideas for other feel-good titles and talked about them in terms of reader’s advisory appeal factors, as laid out by RA-guru Joyce Saricks:
- Pacing (e.g. breakneck, unhurried, densely written)
- Characterization (e.g. quirky, well developed, ensemble cast)
- Plot/Storyline (e.g. action-oriented, sensual, domestic, sexually explicit)
- Tone/Mood (e.g. gritty, heartwarming, humorous, dark)
- Style/Language (e.g. sophisticated, homespun, frank)
- Frame/Setting (e.g. historical time period, historically accurate or fantastical, amount of historical detail, span of story)
IF YOU’RE IN THE MOOD FOR A FEEL-GOOD BOOK
Baumeister, Erica — The School of Essential Ingredients
Berg, Elizabeth — The Story of Arthur Truluv
Center, Katherine — How to Walk Away
Flagg, Fannie — Elmwood Springs books
Hibbert, Talia — Get a Life, Chloe Brown
Hornby, Gill — All Together Now
Moore, Edward Kelsey — The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat
Napolitano, Ann — Dear Edward
Patrick, Phaedra — The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
Pooley, Clare — The Authenticity Project
Ray, Jeanne — Julie and Romeo
Staffer, Mary Ann and Barrows, Annie — The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Waxman, Abbi — The Garden of Small Beginnings
Bissinger, H.G. — Friday Night Lights
Brown, Daniel James — The Boys in the Boat
Bryson, Bill — A Walk in the Woods
Crothers, Tim — The Queen of Katwe
DeFede, Jim — The Day the World Came to Town
Iftin, Abdi Nor — Call Me American
The above are some suggestions our group came up with.
For more ideas, check out NoveList, using the search-term suggestions in their newsletter, mentioned above.