Archive for August, 2023

Tuesday, August 29th, 2023

LibraryThing Birthday Sale & Treasure Hunt!

It’s LibraryThing’s 18th Birthday! We’re kicking off the celebration with a sale on everything in the LibraryThing Store through the month of September, and we’re hosting a special Birthday Treasure Hunt!

Sale. Enjoy major discounts on everything in the LibraryThing Store including CueCat scanners and barcode labels for the classroom, laptop stickers, gorgeous LibraryThing and TinyCat enamel pins, and more!

The sale opens today, August 29, on LibraryThing’s birthday, and runs through the month of September.

Treasure Hunt. We’ve scattered a mint of birthday candles around the site, and it’s up to you to try and find them all.

  • Decipher the clues and visit the corresponding LibraryThing pages to find a birthday candle. Each clue points to a specific page on the LibraryThing site. Remember, they are not necessarily work pages!
  • If there’s a birthday candle on a page, you’ll see a banner at the top of the page.
  • You have just two weeks to find all the birthday candles (until 11:59pm EDT, Tuesday September 12th).
  • Come brag about your mint of birthday candles (and get hints) on Talk.

Win prizes:

  • Any member who finds at least two birthday candles will be
    awarded a birthday cake badge. Badge ().
  • Members who find all 12 birthday candles will be entered into a drawing for one of five LibraryThing (or TinyCat) coaster sets and stickers. We’ll announce winners at the end of the hunt.

Labels: birthday, events, treasure hunt

Friday, August 18th, 2023

TinyCat’s August Library of the Month: The Monell Chemical Senses Center Library

TinyCat’s Library of the Month is all about the senses of taste and smell: introducing the Monell Chemical Senses Center Library! Associate Member and Chair of the Library Committee Danielle Reed, Ph.D., was kind enough to field my questions about the fascinating work their library assists with:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”? 

Our library supports a non-profit research institution called the Monell Chemical Senses Center. To unpack what our name means, Monell refers to the family that contributed to our institution’s founding and continues to support us through the Monell Foundation. The ‘chemical senses’ part of our name refers to taste and smell, which allow us to sense chemicals in our environment, on our tongue (taste) and noses (smell). We are a Center because we are the only institution in the world devoted solely to studying taste and smell. Our mission is basic research, which you can learn when you open a textbook, and clinical research, which has immediate practical benefits, such as testing a new way to treat smell loss. Our mission is important because while taste and smell do not get the same attention as vision and hearing, the loss of these senses with COVID-19 made many people more aware of their value. Many people regain these senses as they recover, but some people have not. 

What relevant timing for your work. Can you tell us some other interesting things about how your library supports the community?

We are a ‘subject library’ meaning that we only have material relevant to taste and smell, and we have early “hard to find” journals like Chemical Senses and technical reports from industrial groups like the Sugar Foundation. We also have dissertations from people who were among the first scientists to work at Monell, as well as books and conference proceedings. We even have a small cache of children’s books focusing on taste and smell. 

We are an appointment-only library, and while I care about books, I am not a trained librarian – but I know enough to help the scholars who want to come and work in our library and get professional help with cataloging. I am especially proud that I helped Nadia Berenstein ( find materials for her dissertation about flavor and flavor chemistry.

How very cool! Do you have any particular favorite items in your collection?

My favorite item in our collection is a book called Genetics of Perception and Communication, about why and how individuals differ in their taste and smell perception. Members of a species, from bacteria to humans, use chemicals to communicate, e.g., bacteria secrete chemicals called quorum-sensing molecules to let other bacteria know it is safe to expand and grow (or not), mice communicate their health and sexual status in their urine, and humans use chemicals in many ways to communicate, either consciously or unconsciously. This book has chapters written by scientists who are experts in their area, and it covers species from invertebrates, mice, rats, and humans. I love it because it is a rare book on an underappreciated topic. 

Your library clearly hosts a rich array of resources around taste and smell. Is there a particular challenge that your library experiences?

One challenge for our library is to keep our mission focused on taste and smell and ensure that we have a comprehensive collection but don’t amass books that are not directly in our topic area. We get many book donations, especially from retiring scientists, and while many books are a fit for our subject site, many are tangential. Another challenge is figuring out what to do with these just-miss books and where to donate them so that they do the maximum good for scholars and others interested in them. 

What’s your favorite thing about TinyCat, and what’s something you’d love to see implemented/developed?

Our favorite thing about TinyCat is that it does the job we need at a price point we can afford, and we would love to see it expand to do archive cataloging. We are preserving documents of enduring value, especially those from our creation and early history, and TinyCat does not have archive features, e.g., Omeka.

You can already catalog custom media using LibraryThing’s existing fields—putting the name of an item or artifact in the “Title” field, adding tags or reviews as needed, etc.—and you can organize them under the “Media” field. See our blog post on cataloging custom materials for more information on this process. That said, we can certainly discuss anything further that you’d like to see! I appreciate the feedback.

Want to learn more about the Monell Chemical Senses Center?

Visit their website at, and explore their full TinyCat collection here.

To read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Wednesday, August 9th, 2023

An Interview with Joanne Elliott

LibraryThing is pleased to sit down this month with Joanne Elliott, an American-born author who has spent most of her adult life in Belfast, Hong Kong and on Inishbofin, a small island off the west coast of Ireland. The founder of the Kellett School, now the British International School in Hong Kong, she is the author of two books on childhood diabetes, as well as numerous short stories published in British, Irish and South African magazines, has written radio programs for RTE (Irish National Radio), and for seven years ran a local newspaper on Inishbofin. She has also taught at all levels, from preschool to university. Now, at the age of eighty-eight, her novel Love in the Shadow of Mao—the second she has written, but the first to see print—has been published by the London-based Austin Macauley Publishers.

You have said elsewhere that the idea for the story in Love in the Shadow of Mao came to you in 1978, while you and your husband were returning to Hong Kong after a tour of mainland China. Forty-six years later, your book is finally published. Did you work on it throughout this entire period, did you leave and return to it—what does the writing process look like, over the timespan of a few decades? What were the challenges of working on your story for this long, and did it have benefits as well?

The story was in my mind for many years after we left Hong Kong but I did not start writing it as my life was busy, crammed with other writing projects like the island newspaper, The Inishbofin Inquirer, which I started and edited for seven years. I am not an organized writer, have little discipline and tend to throw myself in projects, work frantically at them and then lay them aside for others.

You have described your book as a story of living in two worlds, something which would apply to many of your characters. You yourself might also be said to live in more than one world, marrying across national lines, and settling (multiple times) far from your childhood home. Would you say there was anything autobiographical in your story? What does it mean to live in two worlds, for you and for your characters?

As you say, I also lived in two worlds. Even though I left New York behind almost seventy years ago, when I need to know which way is East or West I imagine myself standing on the corner of 57th Street and 5th Avenue. Then I know where I am.

Some of my characters and incidents are fleeting impressions over many years. When I lived in Arizona in the 50s I once saw a television interview with Hope Cooke, a girl who married a king from a little Himalayan country. The expression on her face struck me and the first note I made for the novel was the line “Julia was hiding.” Actually it was “Rachel was hiding.” I later changed her name because the Chinese have trouble pronouncing the letter “r.” The description of Jen Chiman came from a young oriental man I saw in a church I was visiting in Scotland when I was in Hawthornden Castle in a writer’s retreat working on the China book. Until I saw him, I had little idea how Jen looked. As soon as I saw him in a pew across from me I knew that he was Jen. My daughter who developed diabetes at age eight was, of course, a large biographical element for the character Catherine Lee. At the corner of our street in New York was a Chinese laundry. I never knew the people who owned it but certainly the background was Catherine’s. A man I once danced with at Columbia University’s International House was the image of Ben, recalled some 50 years later. (Warning. Don’t mix with writers. They use everything.)

As you say, I and also my characters lived in two worlds. Perhaps it gives us insight or tolerance and broadens our perspective. It also prevents us from fitting in completely. We are always on the outside looking in.

Your book is set during China’s Cultural Revolution, a time of great upheaval and terrible hardship for many. How much research was needed for the historical and cultural background of your story? What were some of the most fascinating things you learned, and what were the most tragic?

My only real glimpse of the Cultural Revolution was a tour of China taken in 1978. We waited 2 years for permission and saw mostly what we were permitted to see. Occasionally, we caught a glimpse of the truth, a dirty blood spattered jacket on a doctor when visiting the medical building of a commune. A sign saying “We Will Liberate Hong Kong” quickly whisked out of sight. The restaurant Catherine is taken to by Sung in the book is one where we had a feast on the last night of the tour. Since then I have spoken to many people who have toured China. They are all amazed at my stories. Things have changed so spectacularly.

Most of my knowledge of the period is from books, histories, biographies, novels. I have read several hundred of them, starting from Pearl Buck which I devoured as a teenager. I have always been fascinated by the Orient. I spent three years in Japan in the 70s as well as three years in Hong Kong. When I was a child I insisted on eating with chop sticks and cooked minute rice for myself.

The most tragic thing, when researching the Cultural Revolution, was to see how ideals of fairness and decency are impotent against the realities of power and human greed.

Your book is also a story of love. What does your story say about love, especially in difficult times? Does love conquer all?

The love that survives in my book is, of course, the love of Julia for the child, Ping. All other loves, no matter how strong, are dominated by circumstance. Jen was generous in his love because he had been given so much by Lily. I think we are all able to love if we have been in receipt of it.

You’re eighty-eight years young, and have published your first novel. What’s next? Are you working on a second novel, and will it also be a work of historical fiction?

I have been working on an autobiography which is at the moment an amalgam of all the stories I have written over the years. I found, to my amazement that I could follow my life in my own fiction. I wonder what that says about me!

Tell us about your library. What’s on your own shelves?

My library is the heart of me. I remember as soon as I learned to read my favorite game was playing “library,” arranging my mother’s books, making little cards for each one and giving them numbers. I often recall the day we moved to a different neighborhood and my mother leaving the unpacking and the care of my baby brother to her sister so that she and I could find the local library. When I was about twelve my uncle died and left me his collection of classics from the Greeks and Romans through to Emerson and Thoreau. My father built two large bookshelves to house them and they have followed me around the world. I wouldn’t be myself without them. Since then I have added hundreds of novels, plays and poetry. In my study I have housed history, philosophy and religion, the stairs are lined with shelves of fiction, A to Z starting at the top. In the living room are floor to ceiling biography, autobiography, music and art. The China collection takes up a good deal of the space.

What have you been reading lately, and what would you recommend to other readers?

At he moment, I am reading a fascinating novel by Amy Tan called Saving Fish from Drowning. Yesterday I bought a paperback of Any Human Heart by William Boyd. I had already read this on kindle but I wanted it on my shelves because I will enjoy it again when I can turn the pages. I’m afraid I am out of sync with all this technology and I fear very much for our civilization if reading continues to go out of style.

Labels: author interview, interview

Tuesday, August 1st, 2023

August 2023 Early Reviewers Batch Is Live!

Win free books from the August 2023 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 166 books this month, and a grand total of 3,250 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

» Request books here!

The deadline to request a copy is Friday, August 25th at 6PM EDT.

Eligibility: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to Canada, the UK, the US, Australia, Ireland, Spain, New Zealand, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and more. Make sure to check the message on each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

But Still They SingJunk Science and the American Criminal Justice SystemBreak up with What Broke You: How God Redeems and Rewrites Your StoryA Darker Shade of Noir: New Stories of Body Horror by Women WritersThe Last ElectionLittle Pumpkin, Where's Your Light?Hammer of the DogsThe Bodies Keep Coming: Dispatches from a Black Trauma Surgeon on Racism, Violence, and How We HealWe Survived the End of the World: Lessons from Native America on Apocalypse and HopeSugar BirdsSnakes in the ClassGoddess: 50 Goddesses, Spirits, Saints, and Other Female Figures Who Have Shaped BeliefThe Wind in the WillowsLove You Snow MuchLovesick BlossomsThe Big Bang and Other Farts: A Blast Through the PastWhose Poo?How Cats Say I Love YouAmerican Idolatry: How Christian Nationalism Betrays the Gospel and Threatens the ChurchWhat We Remember Will Be Saved: A Story of Refugees and the Things They CarryNeed Blind AmbitionA Reason to RunTraitor CometWelcome to MonstervilleThe Bodyguard Unit: Edith Garrud, Women's Suffrage, and JujitsuRubiconsGrowing God's Way: 365 Daily Devos for GirlsGrowing God's Way: 365 Daily Devos for BoysVulgarian RhapsodyThe Unvarnished Gary Phillips: A Mondo Pulp CollectionThe Stone ChildDon't Want to Be Your MonsterUnleashed: Poems and DrawingsGrease Monkeys: The Heart and Soul of DieselpunkThe Ballot and the Bible: How Scripture Has Been Used and Abused in American Politics and Where We Go from HereSolomon's PondThe Lost Boys of Barlowe TheaterMarshaling Her HeartJulia Monroe Begins AgainThe Devil's MountainThe African RosciusWar of SuccessionRoland Leong Ash Like VengeanceThe CageGibbous MoonCalifornia DreamingThe Bridge on Beer RiverFerren and the AngelLivingskyThe Lives Between UsThis Pact Is Not OursA Peek Under the Hood: Heroin, Hope, and Operation Tune-UpOf White AshesTorat Ahava - Loving Torah (Boxed Set)Putting God First: Jewish Humanism after HeideggerThe Celtic DeceptionNorth PacificThe Aliens Will Come To Georgia First: StoriesAmazing Mom: A Practical Guide for Moms with Babies 0 - 12 MonthsThe Pursuit of Joy: A Greek Philosophers’ Guide to Finding HappinessThe Anxiety Solution: 61 Practical Tools for Managing Stress and WorriesRewriting Your Story: Harnessing the Power of Positive AffirmationsI'm 39 Now: My Anxiety and Autism JourneyAnastasia To The RescueThe HutenghastThe Story of Virna BabineauxThe Time GeneLilithGhostlightPine Island HomeSharon, Lois and Bram's Peanut Butter and JellyAlmond, Quartz, and FinchBlack Joy Unbound: An AnthologyA Tale of Five BalloonsIn a CaveDreamageddon & Other StoriesDay of the TentacleRe: Apotheosis - AftermathAll In! The Atlantic Standup Paddle Crossing — 83 Days Alone At SeaTrue Crime Storytime Volume 7: 12 Disturbing True Crime Stories to Keep You Up All NightIn the Beginnings: Discovering the Two Worldviews Hidden Within Genesis 1-11Shadows and SageCrimson MelodiesRain Falling on EmbersTime Management Essentials You Always Wanted to KnowBusiness Law Essentials You Always Wanted to KnowThe Lioness and the Rat QueenThe Ones They TookStrange AttractorsUmbilicalIn the Lair of LegendsReturn to AlkademahThe Stroke Recovery Activity WorkbookLess ThanRide into RomanceBrighton AcademyFlames of EaderSketching RebellionThe Undulating ShadowsOne of Us Is GoneDid I Really Mean to Buy a Horse: What to Do When Your Horse Is Acting Like a Monster, and When (and How) to Call for HelpThe First UnicornThe Mire WitchThe Vanquisher of Kings IJackson Haines: The Skating KingExtinguishing ShadowsThe Last Man: A Novel of the 1927 Santa Claus Bank RobberyThe Dangers of Being Brave & TrueStraight up Tarot: Dating EditionStraight up Tarot: Single Parent EditionIf That Was Lunch, We've Had ItMindfirePeople Person: How to Talk to Anyone, Improve Social Awkwardness, and Communicate with Ease and ConfidenceThe Pen Thief and the Division of DestinyPapercuts: The Art of Self-DelusionThe Lord of Mist and MeadThe IcehouseArgren BlueI Am Changing Careers: Questions to Guide A Job SeekerThe Core of RageGodhunterOCELLICON: Future VisionsThe ABC's of Alzheimer's/Dementia CaregivingSpots in Your Love FeastsBeyond the Gloaming PassRahiEugene J. McGillicuddy's Alien Detective AgencyPoetry From the Porch & Other Writings: Pathway Through a PandemicDown a Bad RoadQuantum ReactionStone SoupFinancial Literacy for Young Adults Simplified: Discover How to Manage, Save, and Invest Money to Build a Secure & Independent FutureA Simple Tale of Water and WeepingBlood and WonderSee You LaterDeath's ReckoningHouse AretoliOlawuMaddie's GhostHer Dangerous Journey HomeBelle and Chloe: Reflections in the MirrorTo the StarsGameschooling on a Budget: Learning Through Games Without Spending a FortuneThe Last Movie StarThe Goodbye KidsTea Time With TollyThe Vitruvian MaskSevered RootsKing: An 8-Session Study of MarkDiscover the Power of Your Iphone 14: A Comprehensive Guide for Users of All Levels-Simplifying Technology for a Better Experience with Large Print and IllustrationsThe Keeper's ApprenticeNon-Fiction for Newbies: How to Write a Factual Book and Actually Kind of Enjoy ItHow to Feel Better... Realistically (UK Edition)Belle's RuinLife Scenarios and What To Do About Them (UK Edition)Bond and SongA Donnybrook AffairHope Verdad Presents: Short Stories for ThinersPaper ForestsThe Legend of Rachel PetersenCry Big Bad WolfK.I.S.S. Parenting: Beginners Guide for New Parents - What Really Matters with a New BabyBiting Thorns Off RosesThe Immortals ChronicleOut in the Dark: a queer road to mental health

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Akashic Books Alcove Press Beaufort Books
Bethany House BLF Press Boss Fight Books
Brazos Press Broadleaf Books Bronzewood Books
CarTech Books Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC City Owl Press
eSpec Books Gefen Publishing House Gnome Road Publishing
Hawkwood Books IFWG Publishing International Imbrifex Books
Legacy Books Press Lerner Publishing Group Mamaya
Mint Editions New Wind Publishing NewCon Press
Nosy Crow US Platypus Media PublishNation
Revell Rootstock Publishing Three Rooms Press
Tiny Fox Press Tiny Ghost Press True Crime Seven
Tundra Books Tyndale House Publishers University of Nevada Press
University of North Georgia Press Unsolicited Press Vesuvian Books
Vibrant Publishers Wise Media Group WorthyKids

Labels: early reviewers, LTER