I started the *Recommended* and *Best New Books* categories to make things easier for readers and book buyers to find out which titles I think are worth spending their time and money on.

I’m a school librarian (or Library/Media Specialist if you’re feeling 21st Century) and I find these sorts of guides helpful when purchasing books for the schools where I work. School Library Journal has the starred review, so I have my much less authoritative clone.

It seems like lately I’ve been Recommending and Best New Booking quite a few titles so I wanted to reiterate how I decide to put a book into one of these categories. I also wanted to make it clear that I don’t just slap these monikers on any old thing that shows up in my mailbox. I thought this might help.

I begin by stoking a fire. After it’s roaring, I place my antique metal *Recommended* brand on the flames and wait 20 minutes. Then I turn on my tattoo machine (what, you don’t have one?).

If I intend on buying the book I’m reviewing to put in one of the libraries where I work, it gets branded “R” as recommended.


After the pain and swelling has subsided, and if I feel a Recommended book has something special that makes it stand above the rest, I tattoo it a *Best New Book*.


The whole process is permanent and very traumatizing.

To review, both *Recommended* and *Best New Books* are titles that I like enough to purchase (and by I, I mean “I, with the help of my school library budget”), so if you like my taste, you can be rest assured that I’m putting my (and by “my” I mean “my school district’s”) money where my mouth is.

(To Image: ‘Pages of a book