Thursday, June 19, 2014

"Book Your Trip" -- NPR's Summer Reading List

Photo from Article

I've only recently started keeping track of NPR's book news.  I know that they annually put out a summer reading list.  This year they took a different track and organized their lists into modes of transportation, as opposed to genre.  You can read the full introductory article here.

The idea came from a previous article that looked for a common thread in a variety of books.  By organizing the summer reading lists around modes of transportation, readers are introduced to a variety of books of all genres and for all ages.  For instance in the car list, both Go Dogs, Go and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas appear and on the trains list, both The Little Engine that Could and Anna Karenina appear.  The tagline for the series is that they have lists on "literary travel by train, plane, car, bike, boat, foot, city transit, horse, balloon, rocketship, time machine and even giant peach."

One of the things that stood out to me as I was reading the list was that their emphasis was on discovery, introducing readers to books that may not have heard of or thought about reading before.  By linking the books to something readers do know about or are interested in, they might read something new and different.  Naturally, these lists are not even close to being exhaustive.  And they were going for variety, so some well-known books had to get cut from the final list.

Reader advisory is something that I really didn't get interested in until the very end of my library school time.  As in, I became interested in April, then I graduated in May.  The place I went is having a class on reader advisory this summer, but I was unable to take it (stupid graduation!).  I also got the opportunity to meet Nancy Pearl at a talk she gave in Tulsa in April (which led to my interest in reader advisory).  To me, at the core of this is that some people don't like reading because they haven't been introduced to the right book.  So when you learn how to recommend books based on a person's interests and situation, you are providing a much better service than simply handing off your favorite book to an unsuspecting victim.  I've been practicing this in the past few years--just because I love a book doesn't mean my dad or Zach (my usual "Here, read this!" victims) are going to like it, so I hold some books back.

Naturally, with these mass summer reading lists, you can't be specific to every single person who looks for the list...but you can try to be general and hopefully get someone's attention by linking a couple of books together.

Personally, I find this to be an interesting and great way to organize a book list.  Mostly for the variety factor.  But not everyone would agree.

What do you think about this kind of organization?


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I think this is a delightful way to organize lists. :)

  3. I think this would be a fun way to organize reads. I don't think I'm going to initially organize my reads around this theme, but, at the end of the summer, I'm going to try to fit the books that I have read into the different transportation categories.

    You mentioned Anna Karenina ……… my goodness, those Russians always include trains! :-)

  4. It is a smart way to think about books. Just because you love something doesn't mean someone else will. I constantly want to throw books at my boyfriend to have him read them so I can discuss them more in-depth with him but he loves non-fiction and I read mostly fiction so it can be tough.

  5. This type of subject organizing seems to match the way some libraries are re-organizing their shelves, as in that they are doing away dewey classification and shelving books according to genres. Also this type of list is going to be great for the reader that wants to take that particular subject a mile deep in one particular subject (rather than the reader who prefers the mile wide method by covering LOTS of subjects).

  6. I think this is a really fun way to do it, but I was actually more drawn to the Best Books of 2013 list. It's got some great ones on there -- some I've read, lots I haven't, and some I've never heard of that sound awesome. Thanks for sharing the links!

  7. think it works for people who follow lists. I've never been much of a
    "reading list" person because the books recommended don't really interest
    me and I have so many books I know I will like and want to read that
    reading an unproved genre doesn't attract me. I will read the list, tut
    tut; file the knowledge away, but not search them out. That's me. I know
    people that have to read the latest popular book and keep up with what's
    new and highly rated. I'm not one of those.

    So back to your question. I think that this might work. I do not give books
    as gifts. My husband and I have received so many books from well meaning
    family that we don't read. They know we like mysteries, I've told them that
    their dad only reads mysteries and espionage type novels and they continue
    to give him "chick" (nothing wrong with chick lit) but come on he won't
    read them. I receive romance stuff, well a C. Coulter romance every now and
    then is okay, but again I won't buy them. I'm a library person, I read so
    much and don't re-read that owning books would mean buying a new house just
    to hold them.

    Whew! You caught me on a chatty day.

  8. For me, I think it's a cool way of organizing a reading list. But I guess what I keep in mind when doing book recommendations is that not everyone is going to like the books that I suggest so being general is a good thing.

  9. Any chance you would like to take part in my new meme Mythology Monday? The first one starts today and I would love to have you on board! :) -TheReadingRose

  10. I really love this way of organizing a book list! It would be interesting to try to make a list out of the books I've already read. I also really agree that some people that hate reading just haven't been introduced to the right book. A lot of teenagers are forced to read in English classes and they take that material and wonder how anyone could enjoy reading. But give them something different and they might love it! Although there are still people that just don't read. And that's perfectly fine. :)

  11. That class sounds really interesting!!! Our local library had a bingo sheet for the adult reading program - awarding stamps (and entries into a drawing) for certain books. Reading a classic, something scary, something at the bottom of your reading pile, etc. Very very cool! Something like the list you mentioned - getting people to read outside their normal genre!


Related Posts with Thumbnails