Novel Book Ideas-A Page for Book Lovers

Keeping a Reader’s Journal

I received this lovely reader’s journal from one of my daughters this Mother’s Day! This particular journal comes from In addition to reader’s journals they offer several other gift items on the same theme. If you are looking for a place to record your reading, this may be just the thing for you. This is an excellent journal for anyone who is in a book club or anyone who wants to make notes about the books and the characters while they read. It also has places to record inspirations and ideas.

If you just want a quick and convenient way to keep track of what you’ve read; have I got an app for you! The Watseka Public Library uses the Beanstack tracker app for all of our reading challenges, but anyone can add it to their phone for free. This is a great way to keep a list of books that you have read. You do not need to enroll in a challenge to keep track of your books. All you need to do is scan the ISBN barcode on the back of any book to record your reading! There are a couple of screenshots below. I generally don’t record my minutes, instead I usually use the “quick log as complete” option. If you have children who need to record minutes for school; the app has a timer and will record minutes!

November is National Novel Writing Month also known as NaNoWriMo for short.

I have participated five times now! That is hard to imagine.  Last year was the first year I made it to the goal of 50,000 words in thirty days. I managed 32,606 words in 2011 and that felt really good. But actually finishing 50,000 made me feel like I had broken an invisible barrier. I have spent many hours in 2020 editing my novel from last year. I must admit that towards the end of the writing process I found it very hard to kill off one of my characters and wrote a rather trite ‘Hallmark ending’  I’m still struggling with the fix for that.

So here it is NaNoWriMo 2020.  I guarantee that we all have tales to tell this year! Although I must confess I don’t know what I will write this year.

I know that November is a difficult month to write. Between Thanksgiving and the lead up to Christmas, it seems that moments to write are hard to come by.  This year we are staying home for Thanksgiving, not meeting with family, and doing our best to stay healthy. BONUS! More time to write!

So, if you have always dreamed of writing a novel (or memoir or a nonfiction book-if you are a rebel), I encourage you to join the fun! Here is the link to sign Up:

My handle is darcyw  on the NaNoWriMo if you are looking for writing buddies.

This year the library is also participating in the Young Writers Program for writer’s 18 and under. K-12 students can sign up with the link below. (and wouldn’t writing a whole novel look good on a college application!)


You can download our full #NaNoPrep 101 Workshop as a printable PDF, or share a smaller exercise like our Pre-NaNoWriMo checklist, these four exercises to develop a plot idea, or these character questionnaires! (Find more on our NaNo Prep page.)

Mystery Thriller or Suspense?

Do you need a little intrigue in your life?

A Mystery is described as a puzzle, whereas a thriller is about the dynamic between the good guy and the bad guy and suspense is all about the timing, suspense keeps you up all night wondering what will happen next!

For more about the difference in genres I recommend the following article, Mystery, Thriller, or Suspense: Does the label Matter? By Stacy Woodson

This summer I picked up a couple of really good mysteries that interweave plots from the past with plots of the present day!  These are some of the best mysteries because, after all, no secret ever stays buried forever, does it?

The Clockmaker’s Daughter, and The Lake House both by author Kate Morten are excellent reads.  Secrets and puzzles and intrigue abound.   You can read more about the author and her books by clicking the link below:



I just finished reading the YA Truly Devious mystery trilogy by Maureen Johnson. Actually I just finished listening to the audio version, which you can access with your library card on the Libby App! The narrator is outstanding!  We have the books in the library or you can use the Libby App to read them on your phone, tablet, or e-reader  (there is additional info about Libby below, or bring in your device and we can set you up). These mysteries take place at Ellingham Academy  in the mountains of Vermont. Seventeen year-old Stevie hopes to crack the 80 year old cold case involving the school’s founder and finds herself caught up in a present day mystery at the school as well!  Read more about it on the author’s website:

Need to know more about Libby? 

I must say, I was VERY skeptical about E-reading.  I love books! I love libraries, I love book stores, I even love books about books and libraries and bookstores. The first time I walked into a bookstore and saw them selling an E-Reader, I thought, “what are you doing? You are destroying the very medium that you are selling.”

In the years since, many things have brought me around to giving it a try. 

With Libby you can use your library card to borrow digital print and audio materials.

Here are some of the PROS of using the app

  1. 24/7 access. Did you ever finish a book on Saturday afternoon and realize you have nothing good to read until the library opens on Monday?  With Libby you can borrow a book at any time of the day or night (you are VERY welcome, insomniacs).
  2. Font size matters! Digital content can be adjusted to whatever font size works for you.  No more hunting for “cheaters” or wishing that book was available in large print!
  3. Contrast.  One of my biggest objections to digital content was eye strain.  I felt that I spent way too much time looking at screens.  You can adjust the color of the page and the brightness of the screen to best suit your needs and preferences.
  4. Convenience.  If you have ever found yourself  sitting in a waiting room with nothing to read except an ancient copy of Better Homes and Gardens, fear not, you can borrow a book from the library while you wait.
  5. Reading in the dark.  This is my personal favorite!  I can sit on my porch in the evening or read in bed without having to turn on a light.
  6. Audiobooks.  Your library card also gives you access to audiobooks that can be downloaded directly to your smartphone.  I listen with my phone through the bluetooth in my car.  It’s great for long trips.

Getting started with the Libby app

The free Libby app is the easiest way to get started with digital books, audiobooks, and magazines from your public library. Libby is available for Android, iOS, Windows 10, some Chromebooks, and in your browser at


  • If you have a device that’s not compatible with Libby, you can use the OverDrive app to borrow and enjoy digital titles instead.
  • If you belong to a school, you may be able to use our new Sora app to borrow ebooks and audiobooks instead.

See Libby in action

Use the this link to visit the Overdrive website and scroll down to “Watch the Libby video”

Watch the Libby video

Get started with Libby


Install the Libby app from your device’s app store.

Or, visit in your Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge browser.


In Libby, follow the prompts to find your library and sign in with a valid library card.


Browse your library’s collection and borrow a title.


Borrowed titles appear under Shelf > Loans and download to the app automatically when you’re connected to Wi-Fi, so you can read them when you’re offline.

From your Loans, you can:

  • Tap Read With… to choose where you’d like to read the book (Kindle or Libby), then finish sending to Kindle (U.S. libraries only) or start reading in Libby.
  • Tap Open Audiobook or Open Magazine to start reading or listening to that title.
  • Tap Manage Loan to see options like Renew and Return.

If you need more help with Libby, please visit Libby Help. Happy reading!

Cataloging your home Library

Is your home library out of control?

Do you wonder what books you already have?

Do you have a wish list of books?

There’s an App for that! 

If you are looking for a fast and easy way to catalogue your books, Libib is exactly what you need! 

Libib works with your smart phone to catalogue books. Simply scan the ISBN barcode on the back of books to add the item to your list. You can also log in to access the list through your computer. Best of all you can catalogue up to 5000 items and maintain up to 100 libraries for FREE!

Although, I am a “book” lady, this app can also be used for cataloguing movies, music, and video games.

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