Reading Resolutions | Wyatt’s World

The pleasures of reading should always be without strings, but if readers’ advisory (RA) librarians want to add to their to-do lists in 2018, there are some easy yet very useful resolutions to make.

Read Old:

  • Sunshine and Shadow by Sharon & Tom Curtis (Bantam).
    This lovely, tender romance tracing the union of an Amish woman and a Hollywood director is out of print, but it is the kind of book that turns RA librarians into superheroes when they suggest it to the right reader. Such books will help connect you to the history of a genre, unearth treasures readers can still access (in libraries and by buying used), and create fresh read-alikes.

Read New:

  • The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar (HarperCollins).
    Not being released in the United States until September, this debut novel is already making waves in the UK. The Guardian says it “nails the 18th century as convincingly as Francis Spufford in Golden Hill, but with supernatural elements that bring to mind Susannah Clarke and Sarah Perry.” Exploring new voices expands read-alike choices and helps advisors offer fresh reads to patrons who feel they have exhausted what they know.

Read Widely:

  • Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao (Flatiron: Macmillan).
    One of the essential gifts of literature is that it creates empathy, fosters imagination, and instills the vital ability to connect with unfamiliar worlds. This buzzy novel of the lives of two Indian girls is an electric reminder of the value of seeking out books that broaden our worldview.

Read Deeply:

  • Y Is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton (Marian Wood: Putnam).
    The recent death of this prolific writer underscores the importance of reading deeply. Grafton changed the mystery genre, caught millions of readers in the universe of her beloved protagonist Kinsey Millhone, and became a key author for which advisors will for years still seek read-alikes. Becoming well versed in a subgenre, an author’s body of work, or even nonfiction helps advisors develop competence.

Read with Appreciation:

  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Viking).
    The trick to offering rich RA service is to figure out why a reader loved a book. The only way to do that is to read with a grand sense of appreciation. Towles’s novel, which captured readers’ hearts in 2017, shines in its sensibility, silky prose, bright intellect, and carry-you-away story line. Whatever genre sweeps you up in 2018, look for what a reader would love about it.
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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt is LJ's reader's advisory columnist. She writes The Reader's Shelf, RA Crossroads, Book Pulse, and Wyatt's World columns. She is currently revising The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction, 3d ed. (ALA Editions, 2018). Contact her at

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