Author Archive: Neil Hollands

Neil Hollands is an Adult Services Librarian at Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia, where he specializes in readers’ advisory and collection development. He is the author of Read On . . . Fantasy Fiction (2007) and Fellowship in a Ring: a Guide for Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Groups (2009).

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Going through a Stage: 13 Great Plays for Readers

Going through a Stage: 13 Great Plays for Readers

As I noted in the November entry of my column, Every Book Its Reader, the theater section of most libraries is a neglected source of fast-reading, conflict- and character-driven titles. Many readers encountered Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Miller, and Tennessee Williams in school (or through productions, or filmed adaptations), but there’s a world of theater […]

All the Best Books Compilation: Narrative Nonfiction

All the Best Books Compilation: Narrative Nonfiction

There are three more categories to review as we look at the All the Best Books Compilation, a resource that compiles the results of 172 different authoritative awards and best-of-the-year selections to find the books from 2014 that were mentioned most often. A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the best books of the year […]

All the Best Books Compilation: Biographies and Memoirs

All the Best Books Compilation: Biographies and Memoirs

It’s time to highlight another category of the best books of 2014, as measured by the ABBC, which compiles all of the honors bestowed on books by 172 different authoritative sources. Today, we’ll count down the nine most frequently praised biographies and memoirs. Tied for eighth place is Andrew Roberts’ Napoleon. Roberts set out to […]

All the Best Books Compilation: Short Stories

All the Best Books Compilation: Short Stories

Coverage of the top books of last year, as measured by the number of times a book was mentioned as a best book of the year or nominated for an award, continues today as I turn toward short stories. I’ll highlight the top five collections, then list some of the other books that came close. In […]

All the Best Books Compilation: Historical Novels

All the Best Books Compilation: Historical Novels

In previous posts, I’ve introduced the All the Best Books Compilation, and highlighted the top crime and thriller novels that it identified for 2014. Let’s continue coverage by looking at which books were most often mentioned as a best book of the year in the historical fiction category. I’ll count down the top nine, those that […]

All the Best Books Compilation: Crime and Thrillers, Part Two

All the Best Books Compilation: Crime and Thrillers, Part Two

Having previously counted down the 10th through 4th spots on the list of 2014 crime novels and thrillers most often mentioned as “best of the year,” I’ll move without further ado to the top four books from the 2014 ABBC (All the Best Books Compilation):   Download the full ABBC2014.   In fourth place with 11 best-of-the-year mentions is […]

All the Best Books Compilation: Crime and Thrillers, Part One

All the Best Books Compilation: Crime and Thrillers, Part One

In honor of Mystery Month, let’s look at the top 10 crime novels and thrillers of last year, as counted by the ABBC (All the Best Books Compilation). The ABBC looked at 172 sources—including Booklist, the RUSA Reading List Awards, and genre-specific sources such as the Edgar Awards, the Left Coast Crime Awards, and Crimespree Magazine—to see which […]

All the Best Books Compilation: The Final Word on the Best of 2014

All the Best Books Compilation: The Final Word on the Best of 2014

Beginning last November, you saw dozens of lists claiming to identify the best books of 2014. But when you think about it, that’s a big claim. Had the writer of the article read a sizable fraction of the books published in that year? Not likely. And even if the list is compiled by multiple reviewers, […]

Ghosh and Golly: All Asea over Sea of Poppies

Ghosh and Golly: All Asea over Sea of Poppies

It’s just like Gilligan’s Island, but the passengers are indentured servants and the tour is longer than three hours. Imagine if Eliza Bennett went to India with her parents and got orphaned there. This is 12 Years a Slave meets Eat, Pray, Love. I’m lying, and rather despicably. It’s more like one of the darker […]

Posted in: Book Groups
Is Your Book Group Stuck in a One-Book Rut? Try a Multiple-Book Discussion

Is Your Book Group Stuck in a One-Book Rut? Try a Multiple-Book Discussion

One book or many? It’s a question I debate with my colleague Andrew Smith, who leads one-book discussion groups at Williamsburg Library. I prefer themed book groups that bring multiple books to the table for each meeting. Ultimately, either solution can be effective. Sue Dittmar, a wonderful librarian from St. Charles City-County Library District in […]

Posted in: Book Groups, Libraries