Have you ever read such a good book that you immediately wanted more of the same thing? Maybe not the exact same book, but in the absence of a sequel, something similar in style, tone, characterization, or setting.
More likely it was a combination of those factors that made you love it so much, but you’re not sure how to go about finding that perfect “read-alike,” so you look on Amazon, or Goodreads if your nerd quotient is high, but you just can’t find the right match. Well, look no further, because my favorite Library database is here to save the day, and its name… drumroll please… is NoveList Plus:
In its own words, “NoveList Plus is a comprehensive readers' advisory resource for fiction and nonfiction. With an intuitive interface and extensive proprietary content, NoveList Plus answers the question: What should I read next?” Not only is it very good at answering this question, it’s good at producing several more, because once you realize that you enjoy character-driven stories with intricate plotlines and darkly humorous tones, with bonus points for stylistically complex writing, NoveList will send you down a rabbit-hole of literary personalization. So, if you want the complete opposite experience of picking a book by its cover (although NoveList’s appealing design allows for that as well), start searching!
The easiest way to find a read-alike in NoveList is to search for the title of the book you loved and skim the suggestions on the right once you open the title description page. Hovering over a suggested book’s cover image pops up its description as well as its similarities to your starting title. Or, you can select any of the read-alike options (author, title, or series) from your initial results to go straight to a printable list of suggestions. Once you’re at the book description page, scroll down to see a list of “appeal factors” that describe genre, writing style, subject, tone, and themes in an a la carte menu of reading options. It’s a build-your-own book buffet! Even better, because someone else did all the work of writing and researching for you.
Now that I got you to read those last three paragraphs, here’s a video that describes this process much more clearly.
But what if you don’t have a particular book that you’re jonesing for, and just want to browse your favorite genre, or branch off it a bit? Whether you are a fan of mysteries, fantasy, or romance***, NoveList will help you find the perfect book to suit your mood. The “browse by” genre dropdown at the top of the home page takes you straight to a list of genres, sub-genres, micro-genres, and sub-micro-genres (kidding about those last two - kind of), so you can really drill down into genre wonderland. Or, check out the menu on the left side of the page for some shortcuts. Let’s say you like science fiction: have you tried alternative histories, space opera, military SF, dystopian SF, or science fantasy? Or maybe you prefer traveling in time instead of space. Historical fiction includes books set in medieval times, the Victorian and Edwardian eras, WWII, the Roaring Twenties, and much, much, more. If, like 90% of the adult population, you enjoy suspenseful thrillers, check out spy fiction, psychological fiction, legal thrillers, or medical thrillers. Or, if you’d rather read about real people and places, NoveList covers narrative nonfiction as well, complete with read-alikes. For the younger crowd, use the audience age limiters, or try Novelist K-8 instead. There really is something for everybody!
To further explore this entertaining and eminently useful resource, open the “Tutorials” tab on the right side of the Library’s website and select NoveList Plus, or click over to NoveList in the Digital Library and peruse the “How do I?” dropdown menu. However you use it, if you enjoy reading, I guarantee that NoveList will help you find more great reads, or at the very least, help you learn more about why you like what you do, so you can know what to look fostyle="padding: 10px;"r the next time you’re searching, and more easily explain it to Library staff who are eager to help you. And if your perfect read isn’t in our collection, just fill out a request form.
Let the literary matchmaking begin!
*** For a mashup of all three, try "Magic for Liars" by Sarah Gailey:
Vanessa Velez, Collection Development Librarian