At the Library / Nina Wright: Don’t know what to read next? Several lists can help

At the Library / Nina Wright: Don’t know what to read next? Several lists can help


I love books and reading — probably not surprising, since I chose to become a librarian! I remember fondly some of the great books I got as Christmas gifts. When I was about 10 years old, I received the complete boxed set of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie” series. I had actually already read these books, but I read them all over again and I can still picture that boxed set that I cherished.

Another year for Christmas, I was given Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” which quickly became one of my favorite books, and possibly is what led to my lifelong love of books about time travel.

I just Googled this book and found an interesting article that mentioned that the book’s author had already published six books when she wrote this one in the early 1960s. Despite her record as a published author, this book almost never went into print.

Eventually it was purchased by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, although the publisher had serious misgivings. Before publication, it was sent to an outside reader, who called it the worst book they had ever read. One of the editors called it “distinctly odd,” but it WAS published and became an instant hit, both with readers and critics. It won the Newbery Medal in 1963. This very prestigious honor is given to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children each year.

Sometimes when wondering what to read next, looking at lists of books that have been honored with awards such as the Newbery Medal can be a great way to find your next read. The Newbery Medal is exclusively for children’s books, but there are plenty of other lists for adults or teens.

We have some of them right on our library catalog. Visit the catalog for all Rhode Island public libraries (, and right on the main page you will see a link to “Featured Lists.” These lists include the New York Times Bestseller List, Pulitzer Prize Winners, Teen Book Award winners, Time Magazine’s 100 Best Nonfiction Titles, and a fun one, Fiction Set in Rhode Island.

Another great way to get ideas for your next book these days comes thanks to the Internet. If you have an author you love, try searching for author readalikes. So if you love Anne Tyler or Jonathan Franzen, for example, do a search for them, including the phrase “author readalike.” You will get a list of authors who have a similar writing style to theirs. It’s a great way to find something new. And, if you love reading, isn’t that the most exciting feeling? Stumbling upon a new author you love and knowing all their books are out there for you to tackle ... it’s like Christmas, anytime!

Top Books

1. “Sycamore Row” by John Grisham

2. “Cross my Heart” by James Patterson

3. “King and Maxwell” by David Baldacci

4. “Takedown Twenty” by Janet Evanovich

5. “W is for Wasted” by Sue Grafton

6. “The Husband’s Secret” by Liane Moriarty

7. “The Gods of Guilt” by Michael Connelly

8. “Gone” by James Patterson

9. “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt

10. “Dust” by Patricia Cornwell

Top Videos

1. “Game of Thrones, Season 3”

2. “Despicable Me 2”

3. “The Heat”

4. “Homeland, Season 2”

5. “Red 2”

6. “Man of Steel”

7. “White House Down”

8. “The Way, Way Back”

9. “Monsters University”

10. “2 Guns”

Top Billing

MONDAY — 6:30 p.m., the Pawcatuck Valley Coin Club will be here, speaking on how to buy precious metals. Have you wanted to buy gold or silver and not known how?

This is your chance to learn.

TUESDAY — 1 p.m., the weekly movie will be shown!

TUESDAY EVENING — 6 p.m., the weekly Chess Club meets. All ages and experience levels are welcome; 6 p.m., the Meditation Group meets. Anyone is welcome to stop in and enjoy meditating with others, or learn more about how to do it.

WEDNESDAY — 6 p.m., Westerly native Valerie Marchand will speak about her new book, “The Water is a Blessing.” It discusses how the author almost drowned at the age of 8, and since then, she has experienced vivid dreams, premonitions and visitations by loved ones who have passed on. She will have copies of her book on hand.

Nina Wright is the reference librarian at the Westerly Public Library.

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