Greetings to all interested in providing quality readers' advisory services in your libraries.  The readers' advisory group is intended as a tool for communicating best practices, sharing readers' advisory tools, programs, difficult "stumper" questions and the like.  Recently, a PubSig member posted a question regarding recent "rebel" literature similar to Hunter S. Thompson's or Jack Kerouac's work.  This is an example of the kind of question we might put to our members here. 


enders game 'pornographic'

Hi all,

A report turned up on the Guardian (UK) website about a South Carolina middle school teacher getting into trouble for reading Orson Scott Card's novel along with extracts from  Agatha Christie's Curtain: Poirot's last case and The Devi's Paintbox by Victoria McKernan, to the class. The link below gives the details:


suggestion for sylvia carlyle

For your bright 14 year old liking mysteries I would try Andrew Klavan's Homelander series (natural follow-on from muchamore) - also Patrick Ness Chaos Walking Trilogy, Pullman (if he hasn't already read it) - Maximum Ride series by James Patterson and John Marsden's tomorrow series. If he's read Pratchett he likes fantasy too so suggest Paolini's Eragon series, Chris D'Lacy and maybe Ranger's Apprentice series also.

reading suggestion for bright 14 year old boy

I'm the anonymous who suggested The book of lost things (I didn't actually want to be anonymous but that's how it posted. I'm Karen Craig, Readers Services Team Leader at Auckland Libraries.) I just realised that I spelled John Connolly's name wrong in my post - Connelly instead of Connolly. I hate it when librarians spell authors' names wrong! In the meantime I thought of two other great "unusual mysteries" (ie not formulaic genre) with boys as protagonists that he might like: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (correct spelling) and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

14 year old boy continued

Since you thought he'd be open to other genres and you mentioned classics, couldn't help but think of His Dark Materials series (we could now call it a modern classic).  As storyline is such an important component of mysteries and it's one of the best things about the Pullman books, perhaps it's worth a try.

reading suggestion for bright 14 year old boy

Thank you for this. I have put it on my list of suggestions for him. Actually your description made me want to read it too; it's been on my 'to read' list forever.

Reading suggestion for bright 14 year old boy

Even though it's late (I had to wait for my password to arrive!) I can't resist contributing one more suggestion. The way you describe this boy as "bright" and "a reader" and "He likes mysteries but is open to other things" makes me think you should offer him something a bit different. I recommend "The book of lost things" by the Irish mystery/thriller author John Connelly. The protagonist is a 12 year old boy and it's partly a mystery, with a definite dark and weird component (which kids love), but just as much whimsical fantasy, along with some very funny parts. John Connelly came to our library a couple of years ago on tour for "The Whisperers". He was amazing - full of life and a great storyteller. Have a look and if the reading age seems too advanced, he also writes fiction specifically for teens ("Hell's bells").

mysteries for 14 year old boy

Thanks for all the contributions - they are very helpful. He has read the Pratchett and I think Charlie Higgson, but the rest are probably new authors for him.


Re mysteries to read

What about the Special Operations series by Craig Simpson - set in Norway during WW II.  And then there's Gordon Korman, Louis Sachar and why not the Des Hunt books?

A colleague has just

A colleague has just suggested Matthew Reilly, Charlies Higson, Harry Edge and Chris Morphew of the Pheonix files to add to my previous post that I didn't sign.

April Stevenson Content Specialist (Adult Fiction)

Hutt City Libraries

Have you thought of Terry

Have you thought of Terry Pratchett. Although a more of a fantasy series, titles like "Guards Guards", "Men at Arms" and "Feet of Clay" are a kind of satire of the classic detective/crime genre. If he is already familiar with some of these authors he might find them funny.

Would this customer be open

Would this customer be open to adventure type titles? It was a long time ago but around this age I can remember devouring Jack Higgins, Desmond Bagley and Alistair McLean types as I moved on from reading the Agatha Christie collection. I still love Jack Higgins who has the added bonus of being someone who is still alive and publishing. Just thought what about Dick Francis and his ilke at least there is a backlist there if he likes them.

14 year old wants suggestions for mysteries to read

Hi all,

One of my regular patrons is a 14 year old boy, bright and a reader; likes mysteries. He's read muchamore, horowitz, patterson etc, but also reads all sorts of other things. I suggested some classics such as Sherlock Holmes but his sister's reading those, so he wanted something different. He was open to SF/Fantasy, so off the top of my head suggested the miles vorkosigan series. Other possibles that I thought of: Tony Hillerman, maybe Reginald Hill, C J Sansom. Any suggestions gratefully received.


You are so right Jane. I have been getting BookSmack for sometime and find it an excellent way to stay abreast of new titles.

BookSmack - Library Journal

If you haven't looked at LJ's BookSmack, it's one way to stay current with titles and authors.  New feature "The Digital Shift" will focus on all things "e-related."  Have found the Books for Dudes feature by Douglas Lord quite useful for books that have appeal for teen and adult men -- and the guy's funny, too.

Big Thrill webzine - news about thrillers

Library Journal recently sent out an email about this.  Thought it might be of interest and you can see it on this website:  http://thrillerwriters.org/

Literary Reads bookmark

Hi and thanks Jane, agreed there is a want/need out there we want to fill. We have a Literary bookmark that does not appear to have moved greatly in the past 10 months so it is time to update it and hopefully excite some readers to explore titles that have either escaped their attention or may expand their reading.

I may take the tack of featuring some recent award winners and a few we thought to be runner up e.g.  Finkler Question and Room from the past Booker.

I still wonder if putting "Literary" in the heading repells possible readers than it draws?

Library Journal webcast - Mysteries for 2011

On Thursday, March 3, from 12-1 EST, Library Journal is hosting a webcast featuring representatives from publishing houses.  They'll be discussing forthcoming mysteries.  You can register from the LJ website, and can watch the webcast at your leisure (not necessary to be there live).

Literary Reads bookmark

Hi, April.  While I agree that readers of literary fiction probably are fairly self-sufficient and more likely to base their reading selections on reviews rather than popularity, I still think a literary fiction bookmark is a good idea.  Book discussion groups often look for "meatier" reads and your bookmark would provide such titles.  At Kapiti Coast District Libraries, we have an Award-Winning Fiction brochure with Booker Prize, National Book Award, Costa and the like winners, and we re-stock the brochure fairly regularly.  This suggests that readers do look for this kind of guidance.  Winners and shortlisted titles for such prizes might provide one source for your literary reads bookmark.  

Library Journal Webcast - Mysteries for 2011

Thursday, March 3, from 12-1 EST, LJ is hosting a webcast with some interesting speakers from U.S. publishing houses.  You can register from the Library Journal website.  

Literary Reads bookmark

While I agree that literary fiction readers are fairly self-sufficient and base much of their reading on reviews rather than popularity, a literary fiction bookmark sounds like a good idea to me.  At Kapiti Coast District Libraries we have an Award-Winning fiction brochure which lists Booker Prize, National Book Award, Costa winners, etc.  We seem to replenish the stock fairly often which suggests to me that readers do appreciate guidance in this area.  To find current content for your bookmark, you could look at shortlists for some of these prizes.  Book discussion groups often want somewhat "meatier" books to discuss, too, so again having such a bookmark sounds like a very good idea.

Literary Reads Bookmark

Hi all. At Hutt Citty Libraries we have a series of RA Bookmarks covering and expanding to assist avid readers with there next satisfying read. Currently they cover some lists as diverse as Urban fantasy, Food in literature and Biography. What I would like comment on is Literary reads. The content we have for this at the moment needs updating and I am wondering if we are reaching the intended market. Any thoughts on this? Are Literary readers like to use this resources? It is my personal feeling that those wanting Literary reads are reasonalby self sufficient and review readers. So if that is the case and we still want something that shows we encourage and can assist readers of Literary fiction then what do you suggest we put into print on our bookmark format?

Many thanks


Rebel literature

The realm of rebel literature has changed as society has. F&L in Las Vegas was less a rebellion and more of a swan-song to the 1960's which Hunter Thomspon saw being destroyed by outside forces (such as politics and his most hated Richard Nixon). However Thompson himself is a rebel in all aspects.

I think Chuck Palahniuk is a good one but even more contempory would be "Lights out in Wonderland" by DBC Pierre. Some have said that protagonist is a Holden Caufield of the 2000's.

I might also add that as far as I am aware, all rebel literature had a kernal of truth and the protagonist was usually tracing a journey of discontent travelled by the author. Ken Kesey's experiences with LSD and working  in a mental institution brought us Cuckoo's Nest, Hunter Thompson lived his stories and On the Road was the true story of the authors travels around America. Burroughs wrote of his addictions and the other beat generation writers were experimenting not only with writing but with creating a new society free from the constraints of the button down 1950's.

I think new age rebels again will be the ones writing from personal experience. Someone like P.J O'Rouke is a good, though dated, example


Get Into Reading

Get into Reading sounds like a wonderful programme.  At Kapiti Coast District Libraries we have a Tea and Tales programme monthly where the public is invited to come and listen to a variety of readers.  It's a great programme and is well attended but is not interactive in the way Get into Reading is.  Reminds me a bit of the Philosophy Cafe concept where a topic is announced for the session, sometimes controversial, and attendees discuss and debate.  

A Great Idea

This is a very welcome initiative and like Sylvia I hope this group can "rev up" and gain momentum.

Dunedin Public Libraries has put all its frontline staff through the "Rewarding Reading" training programme, and some good initiatives have come out of that, but readers advisory is an on-going practice, so a forum of shared ideas, etc will be a great support.

Get into Reading

Can anyone tell me if New Zealand has a programme to foster reading similar to the UK's Get into Reading programme? http://thereader.org.uk/get-into-reading/

It looks as if the UK organisation, The Reader Organisation, is independent of public libraries but works closely with them. I would be interested to know if we have anything like this in New Zealand.


Get into Reading

Can any list members tell me if New Zealand has a programme to foster reading along the lines of the UK's Get into Reading programme? see  http://thereader.org.uk/get-into-reading/ 

It looks as if the UK programme is independent of public libraries but works closely with them. I would be interested to know if there is anything similar here.



Hi Jane,

This is so great. I hope we get this group reving up in no time.


Rebel literature

The question was posted on PubSig a bit before Christmas, I think.  In any case, the questioner was wanting contemporary rebel literature in the vein of Jack Kerouac's On the Road or Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.  I had thought of Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club, though it isn't so contemporary (1996) and while edgy might not qualify as "rebel" so didn't post a reply.  What would you suggest?

Rebel literature

Hi Jane,

I am very well read in the rebel literature department! What was the question asked?

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