Speaking Volumes: NextReads offers monthly advice

Special to the HeraldJuly 21, 2013 

If you use websites like www.goodreads.com, www.overbooked.com and www.bookpage.com to find reading suggestions, you should also check out NextReads, an email newsletter service available on the Manatee County Public Library's website. You don't need a library card to access it, although you will need a library card to reserve any titles.

NextReads offers monthly (and some bi-monthly) newsletters on nearly two dozen different fiction and nonfiction categories that are delivered right to your inbox. To get started, go to the library's website: www.mymanatee.org/library. Scroll down and click on the NextReads link to see your choices of newsletters. You can preview them before deciding which you would be interested in receiving by clicking on the name of the newsletter. Create your account by entering your name and your email address and password.

Whether you select "Armchair Travel," "Biography and Memoir," "Fiction A to Z," "Horror," "Kid's Books," "Thrillers and Suspense" or any of the other 17 newsletters, you'll find summaries of new and recent releases as well older books along with related reading suggestions and a photo of each book's cover.

Once you've found some books you would like to read, just click on "Check Library Catalog" to the right of each title to link directly to our online catalog. Using your library card barcode and 4-digit PIN, you can reserve the title to be held for you at the branch of your choice.

Some recent titles from the June NextReads newsletters:

Mentioned in the Fiction A to Z newsletter, Deb Caletti's "He's Gone" begins when Seattle suburbanite Dani Keller wakes up to find her husband missing. They'd argued the night before after returning late from a party and she doesn't remember much else, but as days pass with no contact, her emotions begin to run the gamut from irritation to worry to outright panic. Has he left her? Did she kill him? She has no idea, and in the course of finding out, she is forced to confront the cracks in their relationship and her own personal flaws.

If you grew up in the N.Y. metro area prior to the 1970s, New Jersey's Palisades Amusement Park may ring a bell.

The Historical Fiction newsletter highlights Alan Brennert's "Palisades Park," a richly detailed family saga that spans the years from the Great Depression through the Vietnam era, all set against the backdrop of the iconic American attraction that closed in 1971.

The first book in a planned trilogy, "The Caretaker" by A. X. Ahmad is mentioned in the Thrillers and Suspense newsletter.

In this political thriller, Ranjit Singh, a disgraced Indian Army captain, finds himself acting as a caretaker for a senator's island home during a brutally cold winter on Martha's Vineyard. What appears to be a routine break-in is anything but and he soon finds himself pursued, along with a beautiful senator's wife, from Cape Cod to the India-Pakistani border.

Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. Access the library online at www.mymanatee.org/library.html. Fran Barba is a reference librarian in the Manatee County Public Library System.

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