LibraryThing … you don’t know me.

I post about LibraryThing every once in a while, because well, I love the place. It’s not just a way to keep track of my books (3,000+), it’s a place to think about books and research about books and talk about them.

One of the most delightful things is this: every time I get over there (which is not as often as I’d like) there’s some new feature. This is one of those rare cases where the early adopters (of which I was one) provide feedback — and the people running the show actually listen. All the early quibbles have been addressed, and they keep adding on new features.

Once in a while a feature doesn’t work so well. In my case, they’ve got a new thing going where you look up a book — say you’ve heard about Edward Sawtelle — and click on a “will you like it”? button. This only works if you are registered and keep an account there, of course. At any case, it seemed like a good idea to me.

And then I tried it out.

I looked up Lake in the Clouds and here’s what I was told:

Lake in the Clouds:

willyoulikeitThen I looked up The Story of Edward Sawtelle, and here’s the prediction:

Edward Sawtelle:


So you can see that this particular feature is not working for me, as it got both guesses wrong — and in a huge way. I happen to like the novel I wrote, and to really, really dislike Edward Sawtelle.

If you don’t have a LibraryThing account — and they are free — you might want to think about getting one. Even failing that, it’s a huge source of information. If you look at the detail page for any book you get scads. Here is the (partial) page for Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day.

The Given Day

The Given Day

Clicking on the small image will take you to the actual page at LT, where you’ll find links to book details, alternate covers, member reviews, discussions that mention this book, members who own it, and all the different editions (this has been tremendously helpful to me). The author’s name is a link to his author profile page, which includes links to all his published work detail pages.  There is also a tag cloud — contributed by those who have added the book to their libraries — a list of books that are similar, the “will you like it” feature (use with caution), member reviews,  links to bookstores, swap sites and libraries where you’ll find the book, and the most unusual (and very useful) feature: the ‘common knowledge’ section.  This is information contributed by readers that may include a list of the characters, places, the book’s awards, its epigraph, any honors received, the first paragraph, the last paragraph, blurbs, important events in the course of the story, formatted citation for the book (MLA, Chicago, etc)… and the list goes on.

Another really useful feature is this: any series of books can have a ‘series’ page in which the books are listed — in order. If you’ve been scratching your head on where to start with Lynn Viehl’s Star Doc series, this is the place to look.

So there you are. A place not only to find out about books you own or want to read, but to contribute to the pool of knowledge. Because everybody’s a librarian over at Library Thing.

updates: reading and readings, Pajama Girls

All kinds of little bits of information and commentary I’ve been meaning to post:

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be contributing a once-a-month column at Writer Unboxed. Please stop by and say hello. I would like to see some familiar faces over there.

The ‘tell me what happened in 1883’ experiment is going better than I ever imagined. Y’all have dug up some fantastic stuff… more on that when I close the post and do the giveaway drawing.

I just finished reaading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a novel I really liked for a variety of reasons. I’ll post a review soon.

Thank you for all the suggestions on how to resolve the when-is-the-book-coming-out question. I’m going to implement a couple of them and hope they do the trick.

On February 12 I’ll be reading and answering questions at the Burlington Public Library here in northwestern Washington State. If you are nearby, please stop in.  The session starts at 7pm.

[asa book]0425225917[/asa] The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square will be coming out in trade paper on March 3. If you do plan on buying a copy, please consider pre-ordering from your favorite book store or from Amazon. Preorders are one of those factors that really contribute to a book’s success. Pajama Girls needs to do well if I want to write another book.

The puppy mill saga is still ongoing. They’ve now seized more than five hundred dogs from mills owned by one family in two different counties. I offered to foster one or two pups when they get that far. This is a dangerous thing for me to be doing, as I will find it hard to give them up. But I do have experience with small-breed rescue, and I think my two monsters would be a great help at rehabilitating dogs who have been shut up in cages.

In my next post I’m going to talk about The Endless Forest and the publication process.

scary google is also useful

Google To Archive 244 Years Of Newspaper Articles Online.

Newspapers are one of the most valuable resources for a historical novelist, but they are notoriously hard to find. If Google can really put up 244 years of newspaper articles from papers all over the country, those of us obsessed with the past can dance the tarantella in the streets. As will genealogists, and generally nosy people. Like me.

And still: do they have to be everywhere?