Let NoveList be your personal librarian

features@beaufortgazette.comFebruary 10, 2013 

Do you have a love affair with books? Is there an absence in your heart when you finish the last page of a beloved novel? Many of us suffer similarly. Unfortunately, we can't create more pages to extend your favorite book, but Beaufort County libraries can offer NoveList, an online resource that helps users find their next book based on criteria from a book they love.

To begin, all you need is your library card.

If you loved the book, "Gone with the Wind" and wanted to read something similar, NoveList would identify the subjects that make "Gone With the Wind," so, well, "Gone With the Wind," with key themes such as "strong, Southern women," "Civil War," "books to movies," and "historical fiction." If you love books about strong, Southern women, but not about war, you could narrow your results to suggest only "books to movies" or "historical fiction." NoveList might then recommend Kathryn Stockett's "The Help," or Sue Monk Kidd's "The Secret Life of Bees." Both books that feature strong, female characters and were made into movies, but they do not feature war.

Lovers of nonfiction can rejoice, as NoveList isn't limited to fiction novels. Readers will find bundles of recommendations to keep their bedside table full on topics such as food writing, adventure stories, biographies, memoirs, spirituality, sports and true crime. Readers can, of course, narrow those categories further, if by chance they were looking for survival stories, but not those that take place in cold climates or feature maritime disasters.

An incredibly helpful feature of NoveList is its book discussion guides. Hundreds of guides can be found. Detailed summaries, author biographies and discussion questions make this feature alone worth a visit to NoveList. Book clubs are popular in Beaufort County, and oftentimes library staff are approached for help with book clubs. Our librarians habitually use NoveList for our own book clubs and to assist customers with their own area book clubs.

Parents, if you have a reluctant reader, or even a budding book lover, NoveList helps by displaying the Lexile scores of books. If your child is reading at the 400 Lexile range, NoveList displays book options within this range and includes the book cover, a summary, reviews from reputable sources, theme, whether it belongs to a series -- basically everything you would need to know about a book. Users can filter book results by author gender, nationality and cultural identity, or whether the book is an award winner.

Browsing NoveList is quite fun. You'll stumble upon dozens of book awards for all ages and topics, including the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Caldecott Medal, the Coretta Scott King Awards, the Pulitzer Prizes and even -- for horror novel lovers -- annual winners of the Bram Stoker Awards.

Let NoveList be the cure-all for your book withdrawal. Our librarians are, of course, fans of NoveList and would be happy to show you around this handy resource. Beaufort County library cardholders can access NoveList from home, by visiting the library's website at www.beaufortcountylibrary.org/booklovers. Click on "NoveList," and you will be prompted for a username and password. A librarian will gladly share the password with you, so by all means call, visit, text, email or chat us a request for more information, and we'll gladly comply.

Traci Cox is information services coordinator at the Beaufort Branch of the Beaufort County Library System, at 311 Scott St., Beaufort.

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