When you work at a library, you see a surprising lot of crappy books. They’re not all bad. At least, I shouldn’t think they are.

I could be an incredible book snob if I wanted to. You may or may not have seen examples of that on this very blog. Especially when one works at a library, one becomes used to judging a book by its cover or jacket summary. We have to skim loads of information in order to help others. Only once in a while do we get to pour ourselves into the very items we recommend.

MercyChallengeRather than turn my nose up on authors who might actually be decent, I should see what they’re about so I can help patrons find books they would actually like! This is why I’m proud to announce my super-challenge:

At the Mercy of My Library (A.K.A. the Mercy Challenge)!

To make sure my choice is completely random, I have a system. (And what good library employee wouldn’t have a system for everything?) Ideally, every row of books would be equally long. In a busy library, this isn’t always the case. The book I choose will be the second from the right on the longest row of each bay. Allow me to demonstrate with this, ahem, professionally illustrated image.


There are currently three rows of general adult fiction equalling forty-five of these bays. I’ll choose one book at random from each bay. This means fourty-five random books! (Yes. I, too, can do math!)

This challenge will start in April and last at least through August.

Exceptions to the rules:
If I end up picking a book that’s not the first in a series, I’ll find the first book on the day I choose these selections. If the first book isn’t in the library, I’ll give myself a break and choose something from the same shelf that interests me.

Because data rocks my socks, here are the data I’ll present for each novel:

Before reading
published: Year of first printing.
special sticker: Most books have no special sticker. Some, however, indicate Romance, Short Stories, Classic, etc. The following genres you won’t see in this challenge because they’re shelved separate from General Fiction: African American Fiction; Fantasy; Horror; Mysteries; Science Fiction; Westerns.
guess the genre: This will be fun.
pre-read impression: A simple sentence judging the cover and the book’s summary.

After reading
Last impression: Who knows?
STARS: My personal four-star system, which is a -1 star rating I use on Goodreads. (To be explained.)

Have a taste of authors I’ve selected so far, last names beginning with A.


Anderson, B. Kent Cold Glory (Nick Journey #1)

year: 2011
special sticker: none
guess the genre: Modern day history drama!
pre-read impression: Old objects, suspense, and cops? I’m in.

Aw, Tash Five Star Billionaire

year: 2013
special sticker: none
guess the genre: Soap opera set in Shanghai? I’ve seen a few actiony films from China that were pretty good, so I’m a little excited for this.
pre-read impression: A small cast of characters might be puppets to a billionaire.



This is going to be an adventure. Here’s to making it through the whole alphabet without needing alcohol!