2021 Round Table Schedule

Check this post for updates on topics and dates for 2021. Meetings are held one Tuesday per month from 10-12 AM EST. For the last year, we have been alternating a traditional benchmark reading and discussion meeting with an “around the table” check-in meeting where we talk about what we’ve been reading, listening to, and watching.

All meetings are open to all and will be held remotely using the free videoconferencing software Jitsi at this link. Registration is not required, but may be accessed through the Massachusetts Library System calendar at the links below. Join our discussion list by sending an email to this address.

January 5, 2021: Around the table chat

February 2, 2021: Around the table chat

March 2, 2021: Graphic Memoirs
Benchmark: They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott, illustrated by Harmony Becker

April 13, 2021: Lady-Centric Thrillers
Benchmark: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

May 4, 2021: Around the table chat

June 1, 2021: Epic Fantasy (handout)
Benchmark: Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

July 6, 2021: Around the table chat

August 3, 2021: Urban Fantasy (handout)
Benchmark: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

September 14, 2021: Paranormal Romance (handout)
Benchmark: Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

October 5, 2021: Around the table chat

November 9, 2021: Historical True Crime
Benchmark: Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green

December 7, 2021: TBD

What We Read, Listened To, and Watched: October 2021


Macmillan Fall Preview today at noon! (https://www.crowdcast.io/e/mac-libs-librarian)

MLA conference in May, we are open to topic suggestions!

South Hadley has a documentary discussion group 

Around the table:


A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev

Virgin River

Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews (there are five, book six out in 2022)

Sebastian St. Cyr historical mysteries (When Gods Die is the second title) by C. S. Harris

The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey

The Ice Lion by Kathleen O’Neil Gear

Timber Creek K-9 mysteries by Margaret Mizushima

Kate Daniels mysteries by Ilona Andrews (first one is Magic Bites

The Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway

A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen

The Equalizer with Queen Latifah

Midnight Mass

American Horror Stories

Books of Blood


Blow Your House Down: A Story of Family, Feminism, and Treason by Gina Frangelo***

Flack on amazon prime

Ted Lasso

Hacks on hbo

Kinsmen series by Ilona Andrews

Fandom Hearts series by Cathy Yardley

Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha

After Dark by Jayne Castle

The Bromance Book Club series by Lyssa Kay Adams

Grady Hendrix! We Sold Our Souls (great on audio)

The Witches by Stacy Schiff

American Sunrise by Joy Harjo (poetry)

Eve by Annie Finch

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Practical Genealogy: 50 Simple Steps to Research Your Diverse Family History by Brian Sheffey

Horror movies! Halloween, Frankenstein, Get Out

South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation by Imani Perry

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

Subpar Parks by Amber Share

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor

The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed Massood

I Have Nothing to Hide by Heidi Boghosian


Born in the U. S. A. by Bruce Springsteen

Sex Education on Netflix

Historic True Crime benchmark:

Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green (gay bar serial killer)

What We Read, Listened To, and Watched: February 2021

Around the table:

Four Hundred Souls by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi


Of Wolves and Men by Barry Lopez

I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf

Cemetery Boys by Aidan Thomas

The Inside Edge by Ashlyn Kane (like the cutting edge)

Inside Edge (nonfiction) behind the scenes of figure skating

Don’t Look For Me by Wendy Walker

Entitled by Kate Manne

Her Body and Other Stories by Carmen Maria Machado

Radical Compassion (audio)

Hidden Valley Road (audio)

My Favorite Thing is Monsters

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

Anne Perry’s William Monk mysteries

Sarah Gailey

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Everything After

Schitt’s Creek

Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

Lady-centric thrillers like Behind Her Eyes and Sometimes I Lie

What We Read, Listened To, and Watched: January 2021

Notes from our January 5, 2021 meeting.

Around the table, what we’ve been reading, watching, and listening to!

Bridgerton (Netflix)
The Farmer’s Daughter Bakes
The Love Study by Kris Ripper
A Christmas Exchange (Lifetime)
Jingle Jangle (Netflix)
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
Gentleman Jack
How to Fly (in Ten Thousand Easy Lessons) by Barbara Kingsolver
The Autobiography of Charles Darwin (1958, edited by Nora Barlow)
Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe
Wild Mountain Thyme starring Emily Blunt (Ireland!)
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath
A Lover’s Discourse by Xiaolu Guo
Enola Holmes
In Search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way Novel by Stéphane Heuet (graphic novel)
Anne Perry’s Inspector Monk series
My Brilliant Friend (HBO)
Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon
Keeping Christmas by John Grisham
The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
The Low Low Woods by Carmen Maria Machado
Ace Atkins’s Quinn Colson series
Dani by Kareem Ahmed (graphic novel)
Mary Balogh’s Simply series
City of Gold by Will Hobb
What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
Under a Painted Sky
Polar Express
The Expanse
A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir
Fahrenheit 451 (TV movie)
The Stand (CBS)
The Alignment Problem by Brian Christian
Artificial Intelligence 3.0
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver (Amory Ames series #2)
Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon (middle grade)
The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher
When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole
Sylvie’s Love (Prime)
Dickinson (AppleTV)
American Horror Story: Apocalypse
Paddington & Paddington 2
How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole
Winter Moon by Lauran Paine
Keith McCafferty’s Sean Stranahan mysteries (outdoorsy)

What We Read, Listened To, and Watched: May 2020

During our regular check-ins, all participants share what they have been reading, listening to, and watching. Here are the notes from our May 5, 2020 meeting.

Perfectly Adequate by Jewel E. Ann (romance)
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (and its sequels)
Belle Revolte by Linsey Miller (fantasy, trading places)
Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu (graphic novel hockey romance)
Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver (first in a mystery series, 1920s lady sleuth)
The Lighthouse Library Mysteries by Eva Gates (cozy mysteries)
Trust Exercise by Susan Choi (uncomfortable)
The Gray Man Series by Mark Greaney (like Vince Flynn and Brad Thor)
The Nightingale (movie by director of The Babadook)
Wheelin’ on Beale by Louis Cantor (about the first all black radio station in the US, WDIA)
Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital by David M. Oshinsky (nonfiction)
Map of Bones by James Rollins (thriller)
Becoming by Michelle Obama (memoir)
What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton (memoir)
The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin
Jemisin and Gaiman in conversation: https://fishercenter.bard.edu/events/gaiman-jemisin/ The Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman on Hoopla (use action mode)
Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro (short stories centered on music)
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai (sequel: Girl Gone Viral)
Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory (and all her others)
Hardcore History (podcast by Dan Carlin)
Blueprint to Armageddon (six part series)
Netflix nature shows: Our Planet, Night on Earth
Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
Dungeons and Dragons with young people, Rolled & Told
One Day at a Time (TV)
Schitt’s Creek (TV)
The Empty Bowl (podcast) very soothing, about cereal
The Adventure Zone (podcast)
Murder shows: Criminal Minds, Dexter, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, Body of Proof, Numb3rs
Bunny by Mona Awad
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
The Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch (on audio)
Modern Love (podcast)
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (movie)
96 Miles by J. L. Esplin (like Hatchet)
Anya and the Dragon by Sofiya Pasternack
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
Rachel’s on her library’s FaceBook page cooking!
National Theater’s production of Frankenstein starring Benedict Cumberbatch is available online through May 7
Other Words From Home by Jasmine Varga

Give yourself and those around you a break! Try a different format than you usually enjoy to see if that engages your brain! Maybe graphic novels? Listen to podcasts! Try music, or audiobooks! Binge watch a TV series! We approve and encourage all consumption of story!

2019-2020 Round Table Schedule!

Stand alone topics

Save these dates!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019, 9:45 am to Noon
Literary Fiction
MLS Northampton
Benchmarks (choose one):
Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg
Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson

Tuesday, November 19, 2019, 9:45 am to Noon
South Hadley Public Library
Benchmarks (choose one):
My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Beijing Payback by Daniel Nieh

Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 9:45 am to Noon
Women’s Fiction
Springfield Central Library
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 10 am to Noon
Jitsi conference platform
Casual Book Chat
Around the Table
What we’ve been: reading, watching, listening

Tuesday, May 5, 2020, 10 am to Noon
Jitsi conference platform
Casual Book Chat
Around the Table
What we’ve been: reading, watching, listening

Tuesday, June 2, 2020, 9:45 am to Noon
Nonfiction: Travel
Jitsi conference platform
Benchmark : Here, There, Elsewhere by William Least Heat-Moon

December 2020:
Genre Blends
Jitsi conference platform
Benchmark: Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith

2018-2019 Round Table Schedule

Teen/YA arc, bracketed by Graphic Novels and Narrative Nonfiction!

This year, we will lead with Graphic Novels (a FORMAT, not a genre!), move into a Teen/YA arc, and wrap up with Narrative Nonfiction.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018, 9:45 am to Noon
Graphic Novels
MLS Northampton
Benchmarks (pick 2):
My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris
Black Panther: World of Wakanda by Roxane Gay with Ta-Nehisi Coates
All Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (both volumes)

DATE CHANGE Tuesday, December 4, 2018, 9:45 am to Noon
Teen/YA Speculative Fiction
Wilbraham Public Library
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Tuesday, February 5, 2019, 9:45 am to Noon
Teen/YA Relationships
LOCATION CHANGE South Hadley Public Library
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Tuesday, April 2, 2019, 9:45 am to Noon
Teen/YA Realistic Fiction
Hatfield Public Library
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Tuesday, June 4, 2019, 9:45 am to Noon
Narrative Nonfiction
Jones Library, Amherst
The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú
Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick

2017-2018 Genre Study Schedule

Diverse Fiction 

This year, we are taking a page from the Southeastern MA RART, we are looking at different fiction genres through the lens of diversity.

September 19, 2017, 9:45 am to Noon
Diversity in Fantasy
MLS Northampton
Benchmark: The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

December 5, 2017, 9:45 am to Noon
Diversity in Romance
Hatfield Public Library
Benchmarks: An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole; A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

February 6, 2018, 9:45 am to Noon
Diversity in Mystery
MLS Northampton
Benchmark: Detective Elouise Norton books by Rachel Howzell Hall

April 3, 2018, 9:45 am to Noon
Diversity in Science Fiction
Griswold Memorial Library, Colrain
Benchmarks: An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon; The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin

June 5, 2018, 9:45 am to Noon
Diversity in Historical Fiction
Jones Library, Amherst
Benchmark: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

About Us and Welcome!

Advising readers on their next book is one of the most intimidating and exhilarating aspects of library work. Helping readers with their reading needs builds an ongoing and treasured relationship between library staff and their users. Readers’ Advisory (RA) is a skill that grows over time and with practice.

Meeting every other month, the Readers Advisory Round Table – West (RART-W) participants read from one genre—and then discuss the appeal of that genre emphasizing the building of a skill set of appeal categories and familiarity of genre particulars. Participants read the same benchmark title plus a second title of their choice within the genre. The Round Table began covering a different genre every meeting allowing each of the participants to be introduced to the discipline of reading for appeal as well as an initiation to broad genre categories. We are now reading genre arcs in a series of 3 meetings. Everyone participating will be able to share analysis of titles and authors in unfamiliar genres that will stretch their capacity as Readers’ Advisors.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion statement: RART-W encourages all library staff to use leisure reading as a way to connect with the community, with a particular focus on reaching the underserved and promoting “own voices” authors. Throughout our discussions we will explore ways in which library staff can provide services, collections, and programming that puts EDI concerns at the forefront. Examples include but are not limited to, delivering the same information in different formats, advice on how to diversify your displays, and ways to include more staff voices in basic RA service [more voices leads to more equitable, diverse, and inclusive offerings]. Library staff attending RART-W must be interested in allowing all staff [not just professional and/or public service staff] to participate in serving all populations, not just the ones most represented by staff or as identified in a local census.

New members are always welcome! No previous experience required!

To subscribe to the discussion list send email to rart-w+subscribe@googlegroups.com

The Discussion Leaders are: Alene Moroni, Forbes Library, Northampton (amoroni@forbeslibrary.org) and Jan Resnick (njrezz@comcast.net). RART-W is modeled on the Readers Advisory Round Table conducted by Leane Ellis in the northeast section of the Commonwealth.

2016-2017 Genre Study Schedule

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 9:45 – Noon
Location: Pelham Library
Genre: Urban Fiction
Benchmark: The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah.

Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016 9:45 – Noon
Location: Massachusetts Library System – Northampton
Genre: Historical Fiction – Prehistory to Tudor (1485)
Benchmark: Pompeii by Robert Harris.

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 9:45 – Noon
Location: Jones Library
Genre: Historical Fiction – Tudor to World War II
Benchmark: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.
Fill out and bring your Reader Profile — great practice to put your reading preferences into words.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 9:45 – Noon
Location: South Hadley Public Library
Genre: Historical Biofiction vs. Biography
Benchmark: Choose 2 of your own titles, on the same person.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 9:45 – Noon
Location: Hatfield Public Library
Genre: Alternate History
Benchmark: His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik