Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association, reviews books, audiobooks, videos, and internet databases for public and school librarians. Our 8,000 reviews each year cover everything from literary fiction for adults to gardening books for kids—we try to include everything that a medium-sized public library would need to have on the shelves for its patrons. Each print issue of the magazine includes a themed spotlight, such as our May 1 Mystery Showcase.
We try to do right by every genre, of course, but publisher Bill Ott and I are both huge mystery fans, and so we possibly do a little bit better by crime fiction. And, hey, mysteries are second only to romance in terms of readership, so why not? A few years ago I had the bright idea of declaring May to be Mystery Month, during which we would complement the rich offerings from the print issue with a wealth of Booklist Online–exclusive extras. We’re midway through this year’s Mystery Month and so far it’s the best yet. We kicked things off early with a webinar, The Murderous Month of May, then announced the May 1 print issue with our e-newsletter, REaD ALERT, which included free links to our selection of “The Year’s Best Crime Novels” and a whole lot more. Another e-newsletter, Booklist Online Exclusives, included reviews and features that we couldn’t quite fit in the magazine.
This is sounding kind of list-y, and I apologize. Frankly, we’re publishing so much stuff that the only way I can get my head around it is to just put it all down. But what I really love about Mystery Month is the way I can pursue offbeat things that interest me whether or not we have room for them in print. I’m writing an ongoing series about trends in crime fiction, for example (see “From beyond the Grave: Dead Authors, Living Series”); I got to interview Ariel S. Winter, author of the fantastic debut novel The Twenty-Year Death; and I had a blast with the offbeat list “Read-alikes: Baked Burglars, Hippie Detectives, and Slacker Sleuths.” There is much, much more beyond that . . .
Our many bloggers have been busy, too, publishing everything from hilarious Q&As with Chelsea Cain to the basics of Harry Bosch to profiles of other must-read mystery publications. (If you follow that link, you’re going to end up more or less back where you started!) We’re sharing all of this on our Facebook page and on Twitter (hashtagged #mysterymonth). Finally, if you want a humorous—and completely fictional—look inside the offices of Booklist, here’s a link to a piece I did four years ago, “Reading Is My Business.”
It’s great to be here at Mystery Fanfare, and I hope that you’ll take a look at what we’ve got going on over at Booklist Online. I’d love to hear from you on Twitter, Facebook, in blog comments, or by good, old-fashioned e-mail.
Happy Mystery Month!