Thursday, December 15, 2011

I've been thinking about genre fiction. Pull it out in separate shelving? Cover library book spines with little heart and spy glass and vampire fang stickers? Use tagging on Teen Scene to point readers in the right direction? Beyond those mechanics, there's the stuff I didn't get in library school, much of which seems to have to do with using expressions like "appeal factors" and "pacing." 

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.

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