Explorations, serious and not, have caught my eye, too; the most recent is Adam Gopnik's piece in The New Yorker, "The Dragons Egg" (December 5, 2011, p. 86). He explores high fantasy, with just a few titles as touchstones: The Lord of the Rings, The Once and Future King, Eragon, and he throws in Twilight as a contrast. The appeal factors of high fantasy include "cool parts" and complicated mythologies; "gratification comes from the kid's ability to master the symbols and myths of the saga, as with those eighty-level video games, rather than from the simple absorption of narrative." Meanwhile, "the genius of the narrative [of Twilight] lies in how nearly the familiar experiences are turned into occult ones. . . . [t]he tedious normalcy of the 'Twilight' books is what gives them their shiver. . . ."
I want to keep processing tidbits on genre fiction, so I'd better make myself a blogger label.