What do you read next?

By Alice Alford, Reference Librarian

Books! Books! So many books to read. Last year over 65,000 books were published in the United States, and at least 8,000 of them were fiction.

How do readers navigate their way through this maze of books? AWhat Do I Read Next?@ is the reference source that I consider to be the definitive road map to fiction. It is published annually, and the current edition contains approximately 1,300 entries published in 1999, and covers the following categories or genres of fiction: fantasy; horror; romance; western; mystery; and science fiction.

The first section of AWhat Do I Read Next?@ is divided into genres, and authors of each genre are listed alphabetically, along with the title of their most recent book. Each entry includes a plot summary, as well as other titles by the author. There is also a list of similar books by other authors that the patron might like to read.

The second part of AWhat Do I Read Next?@ is composed of eight indexes : genre; author; title; series; character name; time period; geographic setting; and major character description. These indexes form the most important part of the book and are invaluable in helping the reader locate the kinds of books she or he enjoys.

The library=s web site, www.hampton.lib.nh.us, under the reference heading also provides links to online guides to fiction. My favorite is ABookBrowser@. Although not as inclusive or extensive as AWhat Do I Read Next?@, this guide is current, containing lists of newly published books, forthcoming books, and reviews. It also offers author information which includes author web sites, author pseudonyms, and interviews.

Readers, when in doubt about what to read next, or you cannot remember an author=s name or the title of a book come to the library and examine AWhat Do I Read Next?@, or log on to the library=s web site to use the online guides to fiction.