Anjelica Rufus-Barnes | Reviewer of the Year 2023

Anjelica Rufus-Barnes consistently conveys with concision and clarity all that our readers want to know about titles.

Anjelica Rufus-Barnes excels at all her assignments, and we give her plenty. She impressed us when she delivered a conversation starter/social justice collection development piece that featured reviews for 10 books—both fiction and nonfiction—in record speed without skimping on the details. Since then, she’s written reviews for my sections, plus performing arts and audiobooks too. She consistently conveys with concision and clarity all that our readers want to know about titles. Anjelica is a reference librarian at Prospect Heights Public Library District, Prospect Heights, IL. Communication is her superpower.

"Vidish Athavale gives a master class in narration in Kapoor’s (A Bad Character) electrifying saga about the corruption of power…. It helps that Kapoor’s novel, the first in a trilogy, is beyond outstanding with its tale of greed, violence, and discontent. Adding Athavale’s narration to this book is like hitting the jackpot. An essential purchase for all libraries." From Anjelica’s review of Deepti Kapoor’s Age of Vice, narrated by Vidish Athavale 

When did you start reviewing for LJ?

June 2022.

What are your favorite kinds of books to review?

I’m mostly drawn to pop culture books in which I either learn something new or get to reminisce about something old. I also enjoy contemporary fiction and romance audiobooks where I feel like I’m in the story.

What do you find most rewarding about the reviewing process?

Reading something that I may not have otherwise read and writing my thoughts about it.

Can you share three books that you have enjoyed reviewing for LJ?

There were so many that I enjoyed! Three that come to mind: Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor, narrated by Vidish Athavale: I love it when narrators enhance already-good stories; Yellowface by R.F. Kuang: June, the main character, was so [ridiculous] that I started talking back to the book; and This Is Christmas, Song by Song by Annie Zaleski: I’m a sucker for little known facts.

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