Monday, January 15, 2018

Examples of Annotations

Here are some examples from years past. You can also look at appendix a in the syllabus to get some guidance. I expect your five annotations to be about as long (or longer if you wish) as these examples. Also, the summary must be written in your own words! Since you are reading the book selected you should have no problem coming up with a summary in your own words. Included at the end is a grading rubric so you know how they will be graded. Feel free to comment if you have any questions!

Week Two

Hello Everyone!

Hope you are having a pleasant start to this semester. Please let me know if you have any questions about the syllabus or assignments. I know there is a lot of reading this week – bear with it, it’s all for a good cause. If you're having trouble finding any of the articles on the syllabus please let me know!

By the end of this week (January 21 at 10pm), I will need from you:

1. Your Blog URL.  So far about half the class has worked ahead. Kudos!

2. The five genres you will be reading and annotating for this class. Annotations will be due in the week they are assigned, and will be turned in on your blog. You do not have to know what books you are reading yet, just what genres. Look over last week's blog post while you're deciding what genres to choose; some weeks we discuss more than one and you probably don't want to have to do two annotations in one week. Email me your selections so I can make a spreadsheet to see who all is covering what genres. Be sure to pick at least one outside your comfort zone!

3. Your reading profile posted to your blog.

I also posted some sample reading profiles in a blog post last week. Shortly, I will post examples of annotations. Feel free on your blog to talk about your personal feelings about the book as well. If you are doing a suspense or a thriller, get reading! Those annotations will be due by the end of Week Three.

As always, let me know if you have any questions! You can reach me through email on canvas or by commenting anywhere on the class blog!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Reading Profile Examples

I know some of you are eager to get started on next week's assignment and I've had a few questions as to what a reading profile looks like. It doesn't have to be formal, but it should summarize what your reading tastes are. You can include favorite books, authors, genres, etc. It's also helpful to explain why you like what you like. Below you'll find two samples of reading profiles. Remember there is no right or wrong way to do it! Include whatever you think is relevant for us to know! I'd like at least two paragraphs. Also, please comment on at least two of your classmate's reading profiles. We don't have discussion boards but I will be keeping track of how often you interact with your classmates. For the comments I'm not looking at length, just content. Share readers' advisory related stories, similar books or interests. If you have further questions please don't hesitate to contact me!


I am an avid reader and my goal for 2018 is to read 120 books (last year I read 102 and the year before that 65!). My favorite genre is literary fiction, classic literature, fantasy, and horror. My least favorite genre is romance, specifically romance that is super cheesy and predictable. Currently, I am reading The Diviners by Libba Bray (for a young adult book club). Speaking of book clubs, I am involved in four, one of which I started with some of my friends from undergrad. Some other tid bits about me, I am a reviewer for Tyndale Press, Waterbrook Press, and The Library Journal (yay for free books!). The staff know me on a first name basis at Half Price Books because I come in so often to buy and sell books. I own around two thousand books (maybe more, I gave up counting). I have a serious book addiction. Here are some lists for your reading pleasure:

* Top 5 books I read in 2017 were:
1. Enchantments - Kathryn Harrison (historical fiction about Rasputin’s daughter – mesmerizing!)
2. A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness (a monster visits a boy as his mom’s cancer worsens – heart wrenching! The movie adaptation is outstanding!)
3. Killing Yourself to Live - Chuck Klosterman (pop culture look at dead rock musicians in the US – really engrossing read!)
4. The Watch - Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya (the conflict in Afghanistan through different perspectives – must read!)
5. American Gods – Neil Gaiman (finding the soul of America through old gods and new – simply stunning!)

* My Top 5 ALL TIME FAVORITE Books/Series:
1. The Stand by Stephen King
2. The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
3. The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin
4. The Hannibal Lector trilogy (prequel not included, it was crap!) by Thomas Harris
5. Welcome to the Monkeyhouse by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.


When I have time to read I usually stick to murder mysteries or medical thrillers. Every once in a blue moon I'll branch out by reading a different genre but I'm comfortable in my rut. I really like cozy mysteries and medieval mysteries because I like trying to figure out who the thief or murderer is. I like it even better when I can't figure it out. I like a good head scratcher!

When I'm looking for something a little more serious (or hardcore) I like authors like Robin Cook or Michael Crichton. Since these authors are a little more intense I usually like to read something light afterwards (like one of my cozy mysteries).

I've also been branching out into audiobooks and they really make the drive to work much more bearable. Some of the older mystery novels don't have good narrators, but most newer audiobooks have fantastic narrators and they really help make the stories that much more thrilling!

My favorite authors in those genres are: Laura Childs, Karen E. Olsen, Joanna Fluke, Miranda James, Robin Cook, and Michael Connely. I'm really hoping this class will help me expand my horizons. Since I have very specific reading tastes I'm hoping to learn more about other genres so that I can recommend them to patrons and maybe find a new favorite.


I've gotten a few questions clarifying what the genres are that you can pick from for next week's assignment. Below are the genres that we will be discussing and annotating this semester. Everyone will be picking five. You do not have to know what books you are reading yet, just what genres. I suggest picking at least one or two that you are NOT familiar with as well as picking one genre that you know and love. All the books read in this class must be adult, the only time you can read a young adult novel is if you select the young adult genre. Also, if you are unsure what genre category your book is, feel free to email me. Sometimes it's hard to tell what genre a book is. For example, is Gone Girl a suspense or thriller? Spoiler, it's in the thriller genre :)

You have until next Sunday to email me what your chosen genres are so you still have plenty of time to think about what to pick. You may want to "space out" your annotations, to even out your work-load this semester. You will be required to post your genre annotation in the week that we discuss that genre (I have included the timeline below). You may not want to over work yourself and pick two genres that we discuss within one week. For example, fantasy AND westerns are discussed in the same week and if you picked both genres you would have two annotations due in one week. If you're cool with that, that is perfectly fine by me, just make sure you're giving yourself ample time to read and annotate your books.

If you have any questions feel free to comment below or email me. 

Suspense (week 3)
Thrillers (week 3)
Adventure  (week 5)
Romantic Suspense  (week 5)
Gentle Reads (week 6)
Horror (week 6)
Romance (week 6)
Mysteries (week 7)
Science Fiction (week 7) 
Women's Lives & Relationships (week 8)
Fantasy (week 11)
Historical Fiction (week 11)
Westerns (week 11)
Literary Fiction (week 12)
Non-fiction (week 12)
New Adult (week 13)
Young Adult (week 13)
Urban Fiction  (week 3)
African American (week 14) 
LGBTQ (week 14)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Welcome to Week One!

Hello Everyone!

I am very excited to get to know you all and get this class going! My name is Erin Cataldi, and I will be teaching this course. I am the teen and adult services librarian at the Clark Pleasant Branch of the Johnson County Public Library as well as the readers' advisory manager of the system. If you're ever in New Whiteland (south of Indianapolis), please feel free to visit me! I'd love to get to meet you in person as well!

This class is fun. We read fun things and generally have great discussions. However it has a lot of reading. If you are interested in doing Readers’ Advisory you likely enjoy reading anyway, but I want to make sure at the beginning that all of you are aware that you will be responsible for readings in the textbook, relevant articles, and reading five novels in different genres throughout the course of this class. If you do not think you will be able to handle this much reading you may want to drop this course. I will expect you to allude to the readings in your weekly prompts.

This week I want you to concentrate on learning a bit about the history of readers’ advisory, reviewing the syllabus, and thinking about what genres you will be interested in learning more about. By the end of Week Two, you will need to tell me what five genres you are interested in reading and annotating for this class. I strongly recommend that you choose at least one genre that you never read, for your own benefit and learning experience, and one genre you are an expert in or that is your favorite, for our benefit and learning experience.

Also by the end of Week Two, you will need to create a blog. Most of our communication in this class will be via blog. I feel this is a more organic way to communicate than Canvas forums, plus you can keep it after you graduate. If you have never created a blog before and need help let me know. I used to let students pick whatever blog site they wanted but it led to some chaos so I am requiring everyone to create a blog using blogger. It is very easy to create and upkeep, and it's free! Once you give me your blog URL, I will post it in the blog roll on this blog. That way you can see all of your classmates’ blogs and easily comment on them, follow them, however you want to keep track – it’s up to you. It has proven a great way to start or add to your social network of librarians. Feel free to use your current blog if you have one (as long as it is in Blogger) – just please label any assignments clearly.

I will expect you to comment on each others’ blogs. Every Sunday evening I will check all blogs and mark down the comments on that week's posts, keeping tallies to make sure everyone is participating. I expect more than one word replies as this will count towards your class participation. At least three well written comments should be written per student, per week. Every week I encourage you to check out other student's blogs as well, don't just comment on the same few, make it a point to visit a few new ones every week, there are a lot of you in this class!

Reading about what other people are reading helps A LOT in readers’ advisory. I know this probably goes unsaid but just in case, there is one ground rule – this is a safe place. No teasing each other – if someone says the only book they have ever loved is a sparkly vampire romance they are to be treated with respect, just as a patron would. The definition of a good book, for the purpose of readers' advisory, is always one that is enjoyed by the reader.

I have posted more detailed assignment descriptions in Canvas resources. Please review them this week and let me know if you have any questions. Please check this blog weekly!

You may ask me questions any way is easy for you – comment on this blog or you can text or email me. Thanks, and I really look forward to getting to know all of you! Happy Monday!