Thursday, February 12, 2009


Welcome to the LPL Book Blog, a source for book recommendations from library staff and, hopefully, library patrons like you. Ideally, a blog gives everyone an opportunity to join the discussion, and if anything invites discussion, it’s books. To comment on our book suggestions or add your own, click on the “Comments” link following each post.

To kick things off, so to speak, here are a few blog-related recommendations:

For the uninitiated, Sarah Boxer’s article on blogs for the New York Review of Books is a good introduction blogs and provides an extensive reading list of books about blogs.

There are around 15 million active blogs. Boxers own book, Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks from the Wild Web, anthologizes 27 of them, providing a sampler of some of the best the web has to offer.

The eye-opening Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq collects the blog entries of a young Iraqi woman written during the first year of American occupation, presenting an underrepresented view of the war in Iraq in a voice that is fervent, frustrated, and darkly comic. Later posts are collected in Baghdad Burning 2. Read reviews and a summary here. The blog is no longer updated.

Julie Powell became a minor celebrity in 2004 when she detailed, on her blog, her quest to conquer all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She reworked many of her posts into the bitingly funny but endearing memoir Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living. Read reviews and a summary here. Julie Powell still keeps a blog at

Based on the award-winning blog of the same name, Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip: Confessions of a Cynical Waiter distills a Manhattan waiter’s humorous, if admittedly cynical, take on life as a waiter and the insights the job provides into the human psyche. Read reviews and a summary here. The blog can be found at

Links: Genre Fiction

Information on books, authors, bestselling historical fiction, and more.
Large database of titles divided by time period. Features annotations and links to reviews.


Dark Echo Horror
Includes features, book reviews and author interviews, with links to other web sites and publishers.

Horror Writers Association
Home of the Bram Stoker Award for Horror, with lists of nominees and winners, as well as a "“best of” list featuring many classic titles.


Christian Fiction Review
Large collection of reviews that can be browsed by author and title.

The Christy Awards
Awarded for the best in Christian fiction, in various categories.

Library Journal – Christin Fiction Reviews
Short reviews of new and upcoming titles.


Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind
A giant and well-respected blog featuring mystery reviews and other resources.

Library Journal – Mystery Reviews
Short reviews of new and upcoming titles.

A new list of mystery reccomendations every month.

The Mystery Reader
Mystery news and book reviews for a variety of sub-genres.

Stop, You’re Killing Me!
An award-winning, cross-referenced bibliography of mystery fiction. Includes over 30,000 titles.


All About Romance
For those who read and love romance novels, featuring news, reviews and many theme and author read-alike lists.

Library Journal – Romance Reviews
Short reviews of new and upcoming titles.

A new list of romance reccomendations every month.

The Romance Reader
Recent news, book reviews and author interviews, as well as features and book lists.

Science Fiction/Fantasy

Center for the Study of Science Fiction - University of Kansas
Affiliated with the KU English Department. Provides SF news, reviews, commentary, links to area sci-fi author homepages and much more. Click on “A Basic SF Library” for core reading; scroll down for links to more recommended book lists.

Library Journal – Science Fiction and Fantasy Reviews
Short reviews of new and upcoming titles.

Locus Online
Includes book news and reviews, the Locus Index to Science Fiction and extensive links.

Science Fiction and Fantasy
A new list of science fiction reccomendations every month.


Saddlebums Western Review
Book reviews and author interviews.

Western Writers Association
Home of the Spur Award for writing about the West, with lists of Western authors and titles.

Book Group Resources

Book Club in a Bag Service
Do you and your fellow book clubbers scramble each month to find enough copies of the selected book? Is it your turn to lead the discussion and you don’t know where to start? Lawrence Public Library has made things a whole lot easier with our Book Club in a Bag Service! Visit the LPL web site to learn more.

Online Resources
Hundreds of free book discussion guides organized by title, author, and genre.

Book Discussion Guide Database
Excerpts, reviews, summaries, discussion questions, and links to library's catalog.

Oprah’s Book Club
Past and current selections, discussion guides, author interviews, and more.

Reading Group Choices
Diverse selection of guides; many topics and genres. Also, tips for starting a book group.

Reading Group Guides
Another great site for recommendations, guides of all kinds and start-up information.

What Are You Reading?
Share reading lists and recommendations with other book clubs.

Online Book Club and Discussion Group
A service provided by the Friends of the Lawrence Public Library. Receive book excerpts in your email; join the online discussion group to discuss this week's readings. Learn more and sign up.

Print Resources at the Library
Lawrence Public Library has many books with information on getting a group started, suggested titles, reading guides, and even menu suggestions for a variety of interests. Click on titles to view and reserve the books in the Library's catalog.

Book Cover The Book Group Book: A thoughtful guide to forming and enjoying a stimulating book discussion group
A collection of lively essays and reading lists from book clubs around the country on a variety of topics, such as why they formed, how they choose books and lead discussions. A good read in itself.
Book Cover The Mother-Daughter Book Club
Start-up tips, suggested reading and selected discussion guides; suggestions for related activities such as crafts or field trips.
Book Cover A Year of Reading: A Month-by-Month Guide to Classics and Crowd-Pleasers for You and Your Book Group
Organized around the calendar year; each month has a theme and five suggested reading choices, each title includes book and author information, discussion questions and similar titles list.
Book Cover The Book Club Cookbook: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors
Offers reading suggestions, each with a brief synopsis, discussion of foods in the book, a few recipes, and profile of a book club that recommends the title.
Book Cover The Go On Girl! Book Club Guide for Reading Groups
Focuses on African American literature, with suggested reading, information on history of African American book clubs, tips for getting started.
Book Cover The Reading Group Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Start Your Own Book Club
Offers tips for organizing and preparing for a book group and reading lists, including from diverse book groups around the country (some annotated). Also, a section on food, including when and what to serve, with a few recipes.
Book Cover Good Books Lately: The One-Stop resource for Book Groups and Other Greedy Readers
Discusses the history of book clubs and offers lots of suggested reading, web sites and resources for reading guides, and tips for troubleshooting and facilitating good discussions.
Book Cover Read 'Em Their Writes: A Handbook for mystery and crime fiction book discussions
The first book club guide devoted to mysteries. Contains background information and sample questions for 100 mystery titles, as well as book club themes and tips.
Book Cover Recipe for a Book Club: A Monthly Guide for Hosting Your Own Reading Group: Menus & Recipes, Featured Authors, Suggested Reading, and Topical Questions
Twelve months of suggested book club themes and menus, each featuring a recommended title, short list of other similar titles, recipes, brief author information and discussion questions.
Book Cover What To Read: The Essential Guide for Reading Group Members and Other Book Lovers
Annotated book lists on a variety of themes/subjects, fiction and nonfiction, plus tips on how to organize a book discussion group.
Book Cover The New York Public Library Guide to Reading Groups
Start-up tips, general suggestions for leading discussions, and more than 35 annotated book lists for suggested reading.