12 March 2013

A Novel Approach: The reading cure?

Pop Culture Pirate pointed me to a new service in which, for $125, a librarian will consult with you for 45 minutes and then provide you with a reading list addressing your problems. "At a crossroads? Get insight from great literature on life's big moments" -- and for an extra $250 they will even mail you one book a month from that reading list. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that I would stumble across this on my birthday in a year when I would be facing massive changes & uncertainty in my own life. Just one of those things that happens that can't possibly be related!

What I would love to see from this website is a list of testimonials from satisfied customers affirming that the choices made for them were marvelously helpful and significantly obscure, enough that they wouldn't come across those books otherwise. Since the fun is in the hunt to some extent for me, they have to be way-out-there, or if only out-there, books I need a nudge on in order to get going. To take an extreme example, I don't want to open it up and see that I have to read ANGELS AND DEMONS again. (If it says I have to go to Rome again though, I will start packing my bags yesterday. No wait, I will just wear what I have on and see you at the airport. Bye!)


jess s said...

I hope the new year brings you a lot of adventure and opportunity. Happy birthday! I am going to suggest that my local library start offering this service to help balance their budget.

Ellen said...

Thank you!

It could be argued that libraries should offer recommendations for free, but if it were a budget measure I would gladly pay some small sum for a personalized rec. Bigger libraries could enlist local writers and auction off their advice, even.

jess s said...

My librarians do offer such recommendations for free, both in person and online. They do a quarterly or monthly 'Your Next Great Read' project on their facebook, where you list the last three or five books you loved and they recommend something for you. They have yet to recommend anything I have ever read or heard of, which is pretty impressive.

They should connect it to a fundraising thing somehow, but it would probably have to be sliding scale or voluntary bc they would never want to say, "No, I won't give you a great read unless you pay me."

I started a conversation about it with some of my lirbarian friends, and it quickly devolved into how underpaid they are, though, so I'll shelve the idea for now.

Ellen said...

Your librarians sound super helpful! Usually when I grab my reserve books I'm in a hurry so I don't have time to stop and pick the brains of mine.

But yes, we wouldn't want to dissuade them from doing it as part of their jobs.

I see this recommender service as some kind of walk-up stand, like Lucy in "Peanuts," at a larger fundraising activity like a silent auction or community open house. Or at a book or literary festival.

jess s said...

I love the idea of the "recommender" booth at a literary event. Some people really have a knack for it and it is useful.

I hang out with several of my librarians outside of the library, so usually I stop to say hi as if I ran into a friend at their place of employment. They make fun of me for being one of the "in and out" patrons. I am definitely not at a browser stage in my life. The hardest person to pick books for is Krista, so I like to get their opinions. The facebook recommendations are the best because I can do it on my own schedule, though. I really love the library. (sigh of contentment)