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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Dewey Know How to Run a Book Group? We Do! 350-400, Part 2
By January 20, 2015 0 Comments Read More →

Dewey Know How to Run a Book Group? We Do! 350-400, Part 2

Last week I shared some of the reading suggestions from the 350–400 range of the Dewey system that members of the Williamsburg Regional Library staff group brought to a recent meeting. This is the second part of those selections. Annmarie from Outreach is always looking for books that will entertain her senior service population, and […]

Posted in: Book Groups
Dewey Know How to Run a Book Group? We Do! 350-400, Part 1
By January 13, 2015 1 Comments Read More →

Dewey Know How to Run a Book Group? We Do! 350-400, Part 1

The staff book group at Williamsburg Regional Library has been having a great time reading our way through the collection. In alternating months, we read fiction by an author whose surname begins with a selected letter (next month is G), and nonfiction from a different Dewey range. Each reader selects a title or two and […]

Posted in: Book Groups, Book Lists
Tsardust: The Tragic and Romantic Appeal of the Romanovs
By December 16, 2014 1 Comments Read More →

Tsardust: The Tragic and Romantic Appeal of the Romanovs

What is it about certain historical figures or eras that draw so much of our attention as readers? If one were to take a shelf of typical historical fiction and remove the books about the Tudors, it would probably shrink by half. Remove the books about Hitler, Victoria, Napoleon, the French revolution, and the American […]

Posted in: Book Groups, Book Lists
Drama in Levittown: An Inspirational Theater Story from the Suburbs
By December 4, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

Drama in Levittown: An Inspirational Theater Story from the Suburbs

When one individual really cares, amazing things can happen in the most unlikely places. That’s one of the great messages in Michael Sokolove’s Drama High: The Incredible True Story of a Brilliant Teacher, a Struggling Town, and the Magic of Theater (2013). Unless you live there, you probably don’t know Levittown, Pennsylvania. It’s not even […]

Posted in: Book Groups
Humiliation Can Be Good for a Book Group
By November 18, 2014 2 Comments Read More →

Humiliation Can Be Good for a Book Group

David Lodge’s classic campus comedy, Changing Places (1975), introduced a game called Humiliation, which readers have been playing to their red-faced delight ever since. Players get together in a group and confess the canonical works that they have failed to read, scoring a point for each other person who has read it. In Lodge’s book, in which […]

Posted in: Book Groups
A Book-Group Discussion Where Everyone Reads a Different Book? Blame It on Paris
By November 5, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

A Book-Group Discussion Where Everyone Reads a Different Book? Blame It on Paris

When I travel, I like to take books with me that are set in my destination. Reading Ian Rankin mysteries in Edinburgh, and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1994) in Savannah, made those trips more memorable, bringing to life locations that otherwise might not have signified much. But when faced with the plethora of choices […]

Posted in: Book Groups
Return to Oz for a Fantastic Book-Group Theme
By October 28, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

Return to Oz for a Fantastic Book-Group Theme

My fantasy and science fiction group discussed the theme of “Fantasy before Tolkien” last week, and I decided to use the opportunity to go somewhere I hadn’t been in over thirty years: Frank Baum’s Oz. More than any other series of books, these titles are connected to my development as a reader. I remember loving them, […]

For Bold Book Groups: A Gritty, Historical Country Noir
By October 20, 2014 1 Comments Read More →

For Bold Book Groups: A Gritty, Historical Country Noir

When a novel begins with a grandmotherly type passing the family tradition of drowning puppies in the river on to her beloved adopted son, you know it’s going to be dark. That’s the start of Tom Franklin’s 2003 masterpiece, Hell at the Breech. It’s a gritty historical work of country noir, a fictionalization of turn-of-the-nineteenth-century […]

Posted in: Book Groups
How Swede It Is: The Origins of Scandinavian Noir
By October 16, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

How Swede It Is: The Origins of Scandinavian Noir

If you’re like me, your awareness of the Scandinavian Noir phenomenon probably began with Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy that started with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2008). But that flood of great Scandinavian crime writers that have found their way onto American bookshelves didn’t really begin with Larsson, or even Henning Mankell. It began with […]

Posted in: Book Groups
You’ll Hum Along

You’ll Hum Along

When I was writing my first book, Read on Fantasy Fiction (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), I underestimated the impact that urban fantasy would have on the market. Although fantasy fiction in a contemporary setting had always been around, and a few trailblazers like Charles de Lint had already found success with it, the formula for urban fantasy […]

Posted in: Book Groups