Bethanne Patrick is the AARP's new book blogger. (Courtesy of Mark Thiessen/National Geographic) Bethanne Patrick is AARP’s new book blogger. (Courtesy of Mark Thiessen/National Geographic)

AARP launched a new book blog called “Now Read This!” on its Web site today. Bethanne Patrick, an Arlington-based writer, has been hired to file a new column every week.

Her objective, she said by e-mail, is to “give readers a regular peek into what’s new, best and most buzzed about in the book world.” She’ll have the freedom to review books, write about publishing trends, cover book events and offer suggestions about book-related gifts and gadgets.

The Washington-based nonprofit organization for people 50 and over boasts 37 million members, which could give book recommendations on its Web site tremendous influence.

Patrick is AARP’s only regular book blogger, but its Web site also maintains the “Pageturners Book Club.” And the bimonthly AARP magazine publishes book-related stories.

AARP features editor Allan Fallow said, “The purpose of this new blog is simple: to direct’s visitors to worthwhile books in an era of rampant review inflation.”

Patrick, the founder of #FridayReads on Twitter, launched AOL’s Books Channel in 2004. She has also blogged for Publishers Weekly and was once the moderator for Barnes & Noble’s online book club.

Fallow said he hired Patrick because “nobody knows more about books, writers and the publishing industry. Trust me, you do not want to find yourself playing a round of ‘Have You Read?’ or ‘Do You Know?’ with this woman!”

In honor of the season, Patrick’s first post is about what she calls “three swoon-worthy Valentine’s Day reads”:

  • “Frances and Bernard” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), a debut novel by Carlene Bauer, who earned an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University.
  • “A Week in Winter” (Knopf), a novel by the popular Irish writer Maeve Binchy, who died last year.
  • “Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them” (Norton), by cultural historian Betsy Prioleau.