My rut is still with me these days, but less bothersome than before. A few items have popped up on Twittter and my Google reader that have provoked some actual thought and distracted me from my pity party of winter blues. So join me as I ponder the library universe.
My Genre Issues with Fiction
Both Holly and I have been working on assembling titles for lists on read-a-likes as well as trying to stay ahead in order to speak intelligently about new titles. This always sparks our long standing discussion on genres. How do we as librarians decide what is and is not a particular genre? The next part of that discussion is what does the PUBLIC use as a definition of a particular genre? I am sometimes frustrated by the genre labels. Do the labels we assign hinder or help patrons? (Yes, I have had a well-meaning patron come up to me and say: "Library X has this John Grisham book in the mystery section and here it is in the general fiction section. Is this a mistake?")
In my perfect library, I am not sure I would have books separated by genre at all. Of course in my perfect library there would be enough librarians to provide perfect library reader advisory so no patron would feel the least bit frustrated. My takeaway from this discussion (and I never tire of it especially with other librarians) is understanding what our first impressions do for us as reader. Think about this when looking at everything from where something is shelved to what the cover art indicates.
Fiction Deal Breakers
One of my new favorite sites, Book Riot (@bookriot on Twitter), just posted an article on the Friday Forum: What Won't You Believe. This article just resonated with me and I started thinking about all the times I put down a book because they said something that didn't match up, make sense or simply got some easily checked facts wrong. I am remembering a particular piece of fiction that had a character in New York call her brother in Grand Rapids, Michigan. No big deal. Except that the author went on about her inconvenience at him being on Central Standard Time. (Grand Rapids is on Eastern time, same as New York). This tirade went on for about two paragraphs. I was cringing the whole time and could not get beyond this mistake. I might have been able to pull through if the narrative or characters had been compelling, but I couldn't manage. (Note to authors: just check on all the little details. Call the city you are writing about and get those details. On my reference desk I will happily verify pronunciations/spellings, discuss the cities and local culture.)
It isn't just the fiction writers either. Reference librarians from Metro Detroit would have happily explained to Steve Perry and Journey about the geographic faux pas about "South Detroit" in Don't Stop Believing.
So, what are your reading "deal breakers"?