drumroll We asked you, our readers, what you wanted to see on the site and we heard you loud and clear. We are pleased to announce that AAR’s Special Title Listings are being dusted off and re-worked and we would love to get more reader input in how you would like to see the list managed. For those who have lobbied successfully for this change we know you are excited, and for those of you who have not visited the Special Title Listings, we invite you to head on over there and take a look around.

The Special Title Listings were started in 1996 and are organized differently than by genre, setting, or grade alone. After all, when browsing a bookshelf for a great new read, the simple classification of “historical romance” or “category romance” is not enough information for a reader to decide to pick up the book. There are certain themes or issues that draw readers in whether it’s the need to laugh (Favorite Funnies) or cry (Two-Hanky Read), to meet a new hero who is gentle and kind (Beta Heroes) or a couple that can’t stand to be in the same room together (Best Enemies) but just can’t turn away. And then there are the times when we want to read a romance set in an unusual setting such as Egypt or China (Special Settings). These lists have been invaluable for those readers who know what they are looking for and for those who aren’t sure but who have an idea that a book with characters who have been imprisoned might be just the ticket.

The lists are not part of the blog, and so we had to do some technical work behind the scens, but we are now ready to start updating some lists each month. None of us have been directly involved with updating the Special Title Listings before, so we’re going to take it a bit slowly at first. We don’t know how many book suggestions you all will have, so we’re starting off slowly and opening four lists for updating on Tuesday September 4th. More lists will be open in future months. This new endeavor will be a labor of love and your help is needed in making some key decisions.

First and foremost, we would like you to list up to ten of the current categories that you would like to see updated first, in numbered order of your preference, in the comments section below. We’ll review all of your suggestions and announce the categories that will be open and have a link to a submission form on this blog on Tuesday, September 4. We’ll use the remaining suggestions, in your priority order, for subsequent months. Second, we would like your suggestions for new categories you might like to see. If you are happy with the listings as they are, no problem, butif you want new listings but aren’t worried about priority of updating we still want to hear from you. We want to update your favorite existing categories first, but we would also like to start thinking about some potentially popular new categories. At some point over the next few months, we may ask you to vote on your favorite potential new categories.

Finally, several of you have indicated that if a book in a Special Title Listing was reviewed at AAR you would like to see the grade assigned as well as a link to the review. We thought this was a wonderful idea, but wondered how much time it would require. Adding a grade isn’t too time-consuming and we plan to add the grades as we revised the lists, but adding in all of those links is time-prohibitive for us.

We look forward to your responses and are excited to be teaming up with you to update the Special Title Listings.

– Cindy Smith, Rike Horstmann, and LinnieGayl Kimmel