Introduction to Goodreads

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Looking for a way to keep track of what you’ve read? Want to find new books and get personalized recommendations? There’s an app for that! We now offer a Goodreads Workshop and we’ll show you how to make the most of this free app.

Here’s an outline of what you can do with Goodreads, and what you’ll learn if you drop in for our workshop!

What is Goodreads?

Goodreads is a free database of millions of books. You can receive book recommendations and read reviews by other readers. If you ever wish there was a Summer Reading Club for adults, you can do the yearly Goodreads challenge or join an online reading group/discussion group!

You’ll get the most out of Goodreads by creating an account for yourself. If you choose to share your account, you can see what your friends are reading and let them know what’s on your bookshelf. *This is optional.* You do not have to connect your Goodreads account to Google, Facebook, or any other platforms.

Goodreads is also useful without an account. If you want to see book reviews but you don’t want an account, type “book title goodreads” into your search engine. Example: “Da Vinci Code goodreads” will show you all reviews and star ratings for a book. You can also visit the link to the author’s Goodreads page.

Get Started with the App!

Go to your app store or Google Play store on your device and search for Goodreads. It’s free! You can create an account using your email address.

After you create your account and sign in, you will see the Reading Challenge screen.

reading challenge

You can create a reading goal for the rest of the year, or you can skip this step by pressing the button in the top right corner.

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Option to link to Facebook

You can choose to link your Goodreads account to Facebook or invite friends by allowing Goodreads to access your email account. We recommend you skip this step and check out the privacy settings before sharing your information.

 

Notifications

We also recommend selecting “Not Now” when you see the “Allow Notifications” pop up.

 

The next screen shows different genres of books. Choose your favourites and swipe up for more options. You can change these options later if you want!

Genres

Now it’s time to rate books. This is so that Goodreads can give you personalized book recommendations. You can skip this step if you want or come back to it later.

rate books
Rate books that you have already read.

Swipe left to see more options on the book rating screen. When you see a book you have read, give it a rating. This will also add the book to your “Read” shelf. If you see a book you want to read, press “want to read” and the book will be added to your “To Read” shelf. If you do not see any books you have read, or want to read, click the drop down next to “biography” (or a genre you chose) and pick a different genre.

Once you have rated 20 books, you will a menu appear at the bottom of the screen. The home button takes you to a feed of the most recent reviews posted on Goodreads.

recommendations bar
Menu

Searching for Books

Recommendations screen
My Books Screen

You can search Goodreads for books using the book title, author, or ISBN. In the My Books screen, you will see the books you rated when you set up the app and any that you selected as “want to read.” You can also create shelves to organize your books. You can organize your bookshelves any way you want! Maybe you want a shelf for mystery books, or a shelf for your favourite books, or a shelf for books you want to read on your vacation, or a shelf for books that your friend Sharon recommended to you.

Scanning Books

You can scan books with your phone or device using the Goodreads app! Go to the Scan screen and use your camera to scan the barcode on the back of a book. This will link to the reviews and book information on Goodreads. This is great if you’re not sure about a book and want to check out some reviews before you buy it or check it out from the library!

ISBN

And More!

The More icon contains a number of different options that will lead you to groups, your reading challenge, events around the globe, the option to add friends, settings, and your profile.

Keep in mind that Goodreads is a public site. Any books you rate, or reviews you write can be seen by others. You might want to choose a username that is different than your real name or use only your first name. Example: Maplebooks or just Malcolm.

Be sure to read the settings and choose the options that are right for you. It is also important to decide which emails you want to receive from Goodreads. For an in depth discussion of privacy settings, join our Goodreads Workshop on August 4!

If you have questions when using the app, explore the Help section. Here’s an example of a question:

Remove a book

If you cannot find the answer, you can contact the Help team. They respond quickly and efficiently.

Enjoy exploring Goodreads! Have fun making and organizing your bookshelves and discovering new books to love. Happy reading!

Stranger Library Things

library-thingsStranger Things! This show is everything. The eight episode Netflix series has made many of our lives complete this summer as we soaked it in, and then left a void in our hearts as black and empty as the Upside Down when we finished watching the last episode. This emotional roller coaster is a sign of true love, no? Now we have entered a sort of purgatory of boredom waiting for season 2, due in 2017 at some point. That’s next year! But it doesn’t have to be a meaningless existence until then, just come to the library to find some Stranger Library Things to tide you over! There are many lists like this one on the internet, but I have tailored this list to include items you can borrow from the library. Vetted by a true horror fan, these books and movies will contain the nostalgic feel and elements of strangeness that we love so much about the series. Here we go:

Books

1. It by Stephen King (1986)

Stephen King’s It has a definite Stranger Things feel: A group of misfit kids up against a supernatural horror. If you are only an occasional horror consumer, this novel may be too terrifying for you. The enemy in It is far more manipulative than the sentient piranha-plant-head demi-gorgon of Stranger Things, and the kids have much less of a Spielbergien glow. The group faces real life monsters such as abuse, alcoholism, and severe bullying that are nearly as terrifying as the novel’s ancient shape shifter that most often appears as Pennywise the Clown. If you want Stranger Things but with deeper character studies and darker horror, It will leave you satisfied.

it
We all float down here…

2. Paper Girls volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan (2016)

Paper Girls is Brian K. Vaughan’s newest graphic novel series, illustrated by Cliff Chiang in a vibrant neon colour palette straight out of the 1980s. The story takes place on the morning after Halloween in 1988 and follows a group of twelve-year-old newspaper delivery girls as they band together to solve a supernatural small town mystery. The dialogue gives the characters perfect depth and also feels true, much like the dynamic between the kids in Stranger Things. Read volume 1 now, and you’ll only have to wait until December for volume 2!

PaperGirls_Vol01-1

3. The Shadow Year by Jeffery Ford (2008)

The Shadow Year is pure nostalgic gold. While the story takes place in the 1960s, anyone who grew up in the 60s-80s will have their memories of childhood stirred up by the imagery in the novel. The three kids in the story, two brothers and their younger sister, build a model of their town in their basement. When Mary, the strange, Eleven-like younger sister, makes changes to the model, a corresponding strange event happens in the town. The supernatural is understated but has such an eerie feel to it that you’ll wonder if the kids are living close by a portal to the Upside Down.

The Shadow Year

4. Locke and Key by Joe Hill (2009)

Locke and Key is a six volume series of comics by Joe Hill, son of horror icon Stephen King. Gabriel Rodriquez brilliantly illustrates the comics with complex, beautiful scenes you can get lost in. Like It, do not tackle Locke and Key expecting the levity of Stranger Things. It is a relentlessly dark story featuring three siblings who find keys that unlock supernatural powers, and they soon raise a demon from a well who wants to collect the keys in order to unleash a hellish dimension into our own. Like Stranger Things, the Locke children fight with the armor of childhood that seems to give them an advantage over the adults in the story. Check it out if you have a strong constitution for visual horror.

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Movies

1. Super 8 (2011)

Super 8 takes place in a small Ohio steel town in 1979. A group of young teenage friends are filming a super 8 movie when they catch an epic train crash on video, and strange things begin to happen in their town. This movie shares a lot with Stranger Things: small town, young friendships taking on more mature dynamics, kids against an enemy they seem to understand better than the adults do, and the inevitable return of buried grief.

poster-super8

2. Stand By Me (1986)

Based on Stephen King’s short story The Body, available here, Stand By Me follows four boys on their quest to locate the body of a local kid who was struck and killed by a train. Again, it is the dynamic of the friendship as the boys mature that is reminiscent of our five young heroes in Stranger Things. There isn’t anything supernatural at play in the movie, but everything is rumbling beneath the surface of the sleepy everyday with a sort of phantom energy that is embodied by the Upside Down in Stranger Things. In Stand By Me, the disappearance of a boy also drives the action, and the innocence of the group of friends is lost when they confront the mortality of their young lives.

Stand_By_Me_1986_American_Theatrical_Release_Poster

3. It Follows (2014)

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It Follows makes the list because it seems to have kicked off the recently growing trend of 1980s nostalgia in movies. The film isn’t explicitly set in the 80s, but it has that feel to it. The story follows a group of teens as they try to help their friend, Jay, fend off an enemy that can take any form and is always walking towards her. The premise is strange and simple, yet makes for a terrifying, paranoid atmosphere. The soundtrack to It Follows will remind you of the opening of Stranger Things, as will the settings and dialogue among the friends. This entry comes with a warning, there is considerable gore and adult content in this one!

4. Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

The Disney movie of the classic Ray Bradbury novel is surprisingly terrifying, and conveys a definite nostalgic feel, perhaps because it was produced in 1983 before Disney began to really churn out its canon of sickly sweet animated fairy tales. It’s hard to pin down why this one comes so close to Stranger Things, but fans of the show will eat this movie up. It has a supernatural enemy in the form of Mr. Dark and his phantasmic Pandemonium Carnival, and two young boys with a complicated friendship that must expose the carnival for what it is before it overtakes their small town.

SomethingWicked

That wraps up the list of read and watch- alikes, but if you don’t already know, Stranger Things is full of references to classic horror and sci-fi movies. Here are some of referenced titles that are available at STPL:

Alien, The Thing, Pan’s Labyrinth, Needful Things, The Shining, Rambo, Firestarter, Altered States, Twin Peaks, Jaws.

Happy horror-ing!

*We will be discussing The Shining by Stephen King for our October STPL Book Club on Tuesday, October 4th at 10 am in the Carnegie Room! If you enjoyed this post, join us to discuss this deliciously terrifying horror novel! Open to all, extra copies available at the circulation desk.

-Strangely yours,

Amelia

 

Featuring Fabulous February Finds

The Adult Department on the main level of St. Thoma Public Library now has THREE book displays: one in the fiction area, one in the Marketplace near the DVDs, and one in the non-fiction section. It keeps our staff (and our customers) busy, busy, busy! What’s featured this February? Nothing but fabulosity!

The MarketplaceBlind Date with a Book Display 2015

They’re back! Blind Date with a Book is in full swing and ready for you to pick our your fate-crossed-read. These books have been selected by library staff to represent the good, the bad, and the unusual. It might be the most amazing thing you’ve read, or it might be a bit of a dud. Ah, the beauty of a blind date with a book – you might read something that you wouldn’t have considered even picking up and fall absolutely in love with it, or you might think “What the heck am I reading?” The point is, you won’t know what book you get until you “Check it out,” and the mystery is half the fun. We just hope you can get past the cheesy book pick-up lines… (They’re books. Cut them some slack. They do the best they can, even with pick-up lines like “You’re good for my circulation.”) Date not working for you? No worries! You can simply return your date and they’ll never call you leaving awkward voicemail or creep you on Facebook.

Adult Fiction

Read it and weep DisplayRead it and Weep Display SignNot everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day in February, and we support those folks! We’re doing something 100% opposite to the lovey-dovey chick-lit that usually appears in February. We have a new library display: Read It and Weep. This display is full of books that will move you to tears, be they happy, heartfelt, indignant, righteous, or horrified tears, we suggest you have a box of tissues with you. Don’t get us wrong – they’re not meant to be depressing. Some of the best books we’ve ever read have moved us to tears! And besides, sometimes you can use a good cry. Books like these open your eyes to certain issues and make empathic readers out of all of us. Give this display a good look. There are some GOOD ones here for sure!

Adult Non-fiction

When it comes to displaying non-fiction books, it can get a little tricky. They can ofteHave you Red this book yet 2015 displayn be too specific and we sometimes run out of books to display! Never good. So we’re relying on an old faithful – displays by colour. This month, we’re going with Have You RED This Book Yet? All of the books on this non-fiction display have nothing really in common, except the colour of the cover. There are books from nearly EVERY subject on this display; You’ll never know what treasure you’ll find on there. It’s interesting to see what kind of themes appear when we just select books based on the colour of their cover. Let us know if you can sense a pattern. (It isn’t intentional, but the book publishing folks would probably tell you it is!)

Movember Bro-Lit

Movember Bro-lit Display Movember Bro-Lit

 

 

During the month of November, thousands of men grow mustaches to create awareness of men’s health, in particular the importance of prostate check-ups. Men (and women) also raise money to help support research and awareness of prostate health.

This year, St. Thomas Public Library is getting into the spirit of creating awareness and supporting the issues of men’s health in a more creative way. Check out our “Movember Bro-Lit” display, located on the main level of the library in the fiction section. These books feature male protagonists, are mostly action, mystery, and crime fiction, and are generally “Guy books.” They’re action-packed, plot-driven, fast-paced, and suspenseful. Ladies, no worries. You can read Bro-Lit, too. The book doesn’t mind who reads it.

To find out more about Movember, visit the official Canadian Movember website: http://ca.movember.com/

Books & Brews – November 2014 Meeting

Books & Brews

Our first book discussion for our NEW “Books & Brews” Book Club is quickly approaching! Join us on Wednesday, November 19 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Midtown Tavern (701 Talbot Street, St Thomas, ON) for a discussion on “Wind, Sand & Stars” by Atoine de Saint-Exupery.

We currently have 4 copies of this book available, thanks to Interlibrary loan, on our Holds Shelf on the main level of the library. We’re very excited for our first official book discussion!

Please note that this book club does take place in a bar, so we ask that only those 19 and older participate. Please note that you are by no means obligated to purchase alcoholic beverages to take part in this book club. We leave that choice to the discretion of the participants.

Have questions about the Books & Brews Book Club? Give the library a call at 519-631-6050 ext. 8013 or email Trish, the Books & Brews Book Club coordinator, at tlee@stthomaspubliclibrary.ca. Hope you can join us!

Reason #73: Staff Picks Mean Less Time Searching

Reason #73: Staff Picks mean less time searching

We’re a busy busy busy people. (It’s a “Cat’s Cradle” reference, get it?) We’re rushed, we’re stressed, and we don’t always have time to spend browsing the shelves of the library to find something good to read. Sometimes, we don’t even know what we’re looking for! Talk about a time drain…

Don’t worry – staff are here to help. For the month of August 2014, St. Thomas Public Library staff have put together “Book Bundles.” We’ve picked three books that all have something in common and made up handy-dandy tags to tell you what they’re all about. Sometimes they have a common theme, such as “Weddings,” some have something loosely in common, such as “Experimental Reads: Interesting, Unorthodox, and Unusual,” and some are taken from lists such as the BBC Top 100 Reading List or the poster in the Adult Fiction area called “100 Books That Will Make You More Interesting (PDF).”

Have a suggestion for a book bundle topic? Leave a comment to let us know! We’ll do our best to make it happen.

This display is located on the main level of the library in the Adult Fiction section, near the Information Desk. All you have to do is pick a topic, and you have three books ready to go! Wham, bam, thank you ma’am! We’re adding to this display all month long, so be sure to stop by and check it out, especially if you’re in a hurry. ;o)

Reason #60: Kids Can Find Their Next Favourite Book

Reason #60 Kids can find their next favourite read with NoveList K-8 Plus

  • Are you between the ages of 0-16, and are looking for a good book?
  • Do you enjoy Animal Stories, but don’t know what to read next?
  • Do you want your kids to continue reading books they enjoy throughout the summer?
  • Are you a parent who wants to learn more about new books and authors of children’s literature?
  • Are you a teacher who wants to recommend some awesome books to your students?
  • Do you want to learn more about a certain series?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then NoveList K-8 Plus is just what you need!

St. Thomas Public Library has a subscription to the online database NoveList K-8 Plus – an amazing reader’s advisory database where you can learn about titles, series, authors, and genres, find read-alikes, book reviews and recommendations, discover Award-winners and book lists, check out discussion guides, and much, much more! It looks very similar to the regular adult version (NoveList Plus), but the K-8 database is tailored specifically for children’s literature!

You can search among hundreds of thousands of popular fiction and readable nonfiction titles – NoveList has a staff of book experts, including over 25 librarians, who write all the recommendations! You know that you can trust a review from NoveList, and since it’s so easy to use, you’ll be finding new favorite books in no time at all!

The main page is easy to navigate. There is a simple search box on the top, where you can do a search by Keyword, Title, Author, or Series.

Homepage

Along the left-hand side, there are categories you can browse in, including: Adventure Stories, Animal Stories, Best of 2013, Canadian Fiction, Graphic Novels and Manga, Science Fiction, and Sports Stories, among others! Once you select a category, you can explore some of the titles and authors.

As an example, I clicked the category “Adventure Stories” and selected “Survival”.

Here we see a short description of what a “Survival” story is, as well as some books from that genre. One feature that could be helpful is that you can see the “popularity” of each book.

Search results

To continue our example, I’ve selected the book “Hide and Seek”. On this page, you get all kinds of information about the book, including: when it was published, who the author is, a brief description, the genre, the tone, the writing style, and the recommended reading level. All of this information can help you decide whether or not you want to give this book a try! A little bit further down the page, you will see both NoveList reviews and Goodreads reviews – so you can find out what other people thought after reading that book! On top of all that, on the right-hand side of the page, we see recommended “read- alikes”, AKA similar books that you might want to try.

Book Specifics

Now I want to learn more about the author, Katy Grant. So I will click on her name (it is a link).

We now see a page with all kinds of information about the author, the different books and series she has written, her writing style, etc. A really handy tool appears on the right-hand side of the page: a list of author read-alikes.

Author Specific

As you can see, this is a very powerful database with tons of information! So the next time you have a reader’s advisory question about children’s and teens books, the first place to start your search should be NoveList K-8 Plus!

Give it a try, and let us know how you like it!