Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Genre Talk

10 Greatest Works of Christian Fiction
10.  Wrinkle in time by Madeleine L'Engle
 9.  Piers Plowman  William Langland
 8.  Canterbury Tales  Geoffrey Chaucer
 7.  Psychomachia  Aurelius Predentius Clemens
 6.  Lion the witch and the wardrobe  C.S. Lewis
 5.  Christmas Carol  Charles Dickens
 4.  Pilgrim's Progress  John bunyan
 3.  Faerie Queene  Edmund Spenser
 2.  Paradise Lost  John Milton
 1.  Divina Commedia  Dante Alighieri

Young Adult and Children's books continue to be popular:
No need to be embarrassed about reading kids’ books…they’re great according to the NY Times

Are Vikings the new vampires?
Despite rampant speculation that Zombies are the new Vampires, this author maintains that Vikings are the new Vampires.  Odd, since the Vikings themselves are not paranormal creatures, but there you are.

Collection Development: Not Ready For Boot Hill
Western literature is not dead yet!  Feeling much better now, thank you!

From Library Journal:  The genre emphasizes  physical setting—the American West (usually anywhere west of the Mississippi River) and in particular the frontier territories of the 19th century. The popular conception of the genre is that of a thriller–cum–romance novel featuring gunslingers with plenty of bullets flying, published chiefly in paperback, and emphasizing reprints from the great pulp writers like Max Brand and Louis L'Amour.

However, the Western Writers of America (WWA), founded in 1953 to promote the genre, also recognizes nonfiction, poetry, journalism, screenwriting, and modern Westerns as subdivisions of Western writing. Its highest awards are reserved for works that qualify as literature by any standard.
Why should libraries continue to collect what some consider to be a dying genre? Although the popularity of traditional Westerns, primarily stories of strong people (usually men) in a savage land, is declining as their longstanding reader base dwindles, there is still life in the old genre. Many contemporary writers use the trappings of the Western as historical fiction to tackle social issues like the injustices done to the American Indian or the nature of vigilantism. Other authors write cross-genre novels that mix the Western with romance, mystery, sf, or Christian fiction to appeal to a broader range of readers

Tech Trends

As much as we talk about the 2010 takeover by mobile, we must bear in mind that it is in its infancy. Much like the early home computers, users are not yet using the mobile devices to their full potential. A recent survey of mobile users found that the top uses of the device were (most to least)

Social networking

Other than Navigation and Search, this is not much different from how we have been using computers for some years now.

And yet you can use mobile to watch television, watch movies, use many productivity tools, for your personal banking and finance, and shopping, shopping, shopping. All of these tools are out there but not yet in high use. As today's kids, the digital natives, mature enough to be entrusted with their own mobile devices, expect some of the less-popular things come into greater use.

TechCrunch has a nice summary of a presentation by Ron Conway about big tech trends.  What I have noticed is that many of these trends are about collecting, using, and disseminating collective wisdom about the places, people, and things around us.

Examples:  Twitter and Facebook. 
People are worrying less about privacy online while wanting financial and other information secure.  Users are sharing more each quarter.  People want to connect.  It also, for better or worse, one of the trends that allows for the creation of "collective wisdom" about any topic.

Real Time -
Examples:  Twitter, Foursquare
Collective wisdom is spread right away.  You can also find out right away just which Starbucks in a one block radius your friends are actually located. 

Location Based Services - Examples:  Gowalla, Foursquare, Yelp.
Using these services a person can use their gps-enabled mobile phone to find out what other businesses are nearby.  You can do a "checkin" to tell your pals where you are and make a mini review. 

This is another trend that spreads "collective wisdom."  If you see a lot of people who have checked in at the closest restaurant and left poor reviews, while you see people who have checked in at another neighborhood restaurant have given it great reviews, you use that collective wisdom and most likely are not going to the closest restaurant.

2010 was predicted and has become the year of mobile.  Mobile devices go with  you to give you the information you want right at that moment.  Mobile lets you get realtime information using location-based services and social networking.  It lets you socially share information, location-based or not, realtime. If other trends are about gathering collective wisdom, mobile is about accessing and disseminating it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Humorous, the Epic, and the Awesome

There may be something to the theory that they will be part of the next genre-bending type of novel!

Jesse Petersen has a quiz up: How Long Would Your Relationship Survive in the Zombie Apocalypse?

Even Libraries are now taking precautions against Zombies

(picture description:  Sign showing an anonymous library's summer hours.  They are closed on saturdays and sundays for the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!)

Forget Overdue Fines!via Oddly Specific - Funny Signs by Cheezburger Network on 7/24/10

The Librarian's Guide to Etiquette is, as always, the definitive resource for ways to handle any awkward situation that you might encounter at the library.

Librarians should routinely participate in team-building games with their library colleagues to increase morale around the workplace. Some suggestions:
  • Play "Pin the Security Tape on the Hateful Patron"
  • Give one another "Date Due"-stamp tattoos
  • Do "trust falls" from the Circulation Desk
  • Host a book truck demolition derby
  • Play Dodge-Book (i.e., throwing books at one another)

Conversation, Making via A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette by J on 8/3/10

Librarians should limit themselves to one "cat story" per day to avoid the risk of becoming a bore around the library workplace. Also, once you are home, limit yourself to one "library story" per day to avoid becoming a bore to your cat.

The Epic:

Kansas City Library's Epic Parking Garage (sorry, lost source)
(picture description:  Kansas City Public Library has a new parking garage.  The exterior is made to look like books in what I believe is an oxford-style binding.  While the titles are difficult to read, Charlotte's Web and the Invisible Man are clearly seen.  Sadly, I can not tell if they are in alphabetical order.)
The Awesome:

How Libraries Ensure Ongoing Freedom in America
If there is one moment at the start of our country that probably ensured our ongoing freedom more than any other it was when Ben Franklin talked everyone else into building and opening libraries to the masses. Books were too expensive for most people in those days and therefore a lot of information was being held by a small number of people.

A system of libraries across the newly found America was his solution to making sure the ideal of democracy was kept alive for generations to come. He set the tone by not requiring that libraries leave out other ideas, and in particular political views, therefore making it possible for people to form their own opinions.

There have even been studies in recent years that show a correlation between an active and healthy library and a lower crime rate in a neighborhood.

Libraries are still a place that are completely open to the interpretation of the warm body holding the library card and the books they check out. We can choose to learn more about history or sink into a thriller or just read about a celebrity we admire. There’s no one asking us why we picked that book and so no judgment and we are free to gather a little more information and even be entertained for a little while.

However, libraries still hold two very important things that neither Google nor a Kindle will ever be able to offer us.

The first is that libraries give everyone regardless of income the chance to participate and learn to their heart’s content. No computer or internet service required. The second is they provide the anonymity to do it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Genre Talk

The Onion predicts the next big thing…minotaurs are the new vampires

Amish inspirationals grow in popularity

New genre: the hyphenate, by Joyce Saricks
Recently, a member of  RUSA's reading list group facetiously wondered if hyphenated genres should be included on the list.  Saricks notes that librarians have noticed this all along.  Cross-over genres are the new thing.

While many genres have stayed the same for decades, it is true that genre keeps shifting focus.  One year one type is popular, the next year another.  Michael Chabon, a wonderful storyteller who consistently and elegantly blends elements from several genres in his novels, alludes to this process in “Trickster in a Suit of Lights: Thoughts on the Modern Short Story.  He argues that the best writers play with rules and conventions, and that’s how genres change, grow, and stay fresh.
The vampire guy talks about real life vampires

Are zombies the new vampires?
Sarah Statz Cords writes:  a good number of new horror books feature zombies. Of course, in terms of sheer output, vampire books are still walloping all competition.  She wonders if it was started by the popular spoof Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?  She also noted that one of the first articles that wondered about this was an article by Time magazine in April 2009