ALA Chicago 2013 – GenLit and Genre X

GenLit & Genre X: Collections and Programming for 20- and 30-Somethings with  Jennifer Asimakopoulos, Jennifer Czajka and Rebecca Malinowski from Dairen and Oak Park, Ill.

When given an opportunity to debut something new after the library’s 2010 renovation, Jennifer shared the inception of the “GenLit” collection for 18-35 year olds.  She built a collection to “keep teens into the library after adulthood….a collection that supports life goals and interests.”

She considered:

  • Number of cardholders between 20-44
  • How many 20-44 year olds lived in their service area

She consulted and created:

  • May 1 issue of BookList “Best Books for New Adults” by Michael Cart – post high school group of  “emerging adults” who often read Young Adult fiction.
  • Policy stating the emphasis of new collection:
    • Trade paperbacks (fresh and current and less expensive)
    • fiction and nonfiction (all genres, memoirs, travelogues, humor & essays)
    • recreational reading (including some teen novels with crossover appeal)
    • younger protagonists (teens, 20s or 30s) and/or younger author
    • No genre stickers on the small, browsing collection
    • Literary to chick lit, male and female authors, and nonfiction of the Dave Sedaris ilk.
  • Collection Development Help:
    • PW’s paperback bestsellers
    • Popular magazines (Entertainment weekly, People, GQ reading list)
    • Oak Park’s Millenials list (on website
    • YALSA Alex award winners
    • Amazon, Barnes and Noble “phases of life” option for 20s & 30s (fiction subjects > phases of life > 20)
    • Bookstore browsing
    • Maintain with: LJ, Booklist, Forecast magazine for trade paperback releases | YALSA Alex & Printz, BookList’s January issue of editors list of adult books ofr YA and march issue – best fiction for young adults | magazine alerts – volunteer project to review weekly magazines | Senior High Core Collection reference book from 2011 – picked the ones for 11th, 12th and adult recommendations. | Cart’s top 200 adult books for young adults (2013) |

She celebrated:

  • By Dec. 2012, they had 800 titles in GenLit
  • Continue to grow the collection with bestsellers, releases, trade editions, duplicates from YA and adult collection.
  • Most titles published within last 10 years. Meg Cabot for example, started with Heather Wells series and bought backlist of others if popular.
  • Older books would be put up as ‘new’ in the GenLit collection.
  • Turnover Rates – Fiction was 3, Adult services (AV) was 3.8, but for GenLit it was 5.3 in 2011. By 2012, still trending higher than fiction and adult services. Circulation stayed steady, while fiction went down.

Must Have authors:

  • musthaveauthorsAhern, Brown – see photo. Sci Fi/Fantasy doesn’t go out so well, women’s fiction so/so, suspense, mystery, romance, Dexter series, Julian Flynn, Christopher Moore, Gaiman
  • Nonfiction – humor – Sedaris, Lancaster, Handler,
  • Go to gen lit catalog. “genlit” call number at indian
  • Search, sort to newest first.


  • Friends, Budget for $4,000 start up.
  • Move books from regular collections
  • Shop smart – B&T, amazon, etc.
  • Yearly budget at $2,200

Marketing Plan:

  • “20 plus”
  • GenX/Generation = GenLit (interpreted often as general literature)
  • Worked with Tech Services – colored tape over spine label (yellow)
  • Just author last name and “GenLit”
  • Lots of face-out display space on every row, plus end caps. Next to graphic novels. New books in new book section
  • Cross promotion of book club – advertise in the collection
  • 10-15 attendees
  • – other age-appropriate book selections


Genre X – Jennifer and Rebecca give a bit of a recap of their earlier program “Late Nights at the Library: After-Hours Programming for Public Libraries”  More information: Oak Park Public Library > Genre X blog

Starting in the Summer of 2007, efforts were made to reach an underserved audience.

Year One – Book Club in a bar – First step to reach the audience Outside the library.

  • Meet outside library hours – keep it social – Happy Hour book club (meal, drinks paid by those who come) Balance of female and male authors, NF, graphic novels – little bit of everything
  • Occasional classics after the group is established
  • 8-20 at discussions.
  • Add after-hours events
  • gaming, music, hi-low-tech – music, games, food and drink
  • Comic discussion – understand comics and Graphic novels

Appeal Factors:

  • Safe space
  • Four times a year open late (staff intensive)
  • Nostalgia and singles events (spelling bee, dating game)
  • What appeals personally? Make a program out of it.


  • Work with a team to conceive ideas – personality differences
  • Know what else is out in the community. Bars, libraries (don’t duplicate if possible)
  • Promote with custom made posters: Hop on Pop – pop culture trivia night on 80’s, Guitar Hero world tour competition and Spell Yeah! – designed by an artist using “dog whistling” – message is only fully audible to those it is aimed at.
  • Don’t turn anyone away, but include tag line of ’20s and 30’s event’ – other elements appeal to that age range most
  • Blog – Info about books, pop culture content, match a book with a drink example. Drink of the month – to engage the participants


  1. Should you get a guy? Can you do it on your own? Hire an outside presenter with built-in audience. Example: Movie-oke – scene from films with audio out, so people get on state and act out the scene. Expense – staff time v. outside time. What’s the budget?
  2. Hospitality is Key – Party planner, make sure everyone is engaged, mingle with ice breakers. Example, show the most recent picture on their phone and explain where it is and why they took it. Library as a safe space. Encourage connections – chat up the loners and make introductions. Library as match maker… Speed dating events
  3. Failure and Rescue – commencement message (surgeon). Plan in place to catch problem and solve them. “Failure to rescue” – but no one will die in the library.
  4. Check ID – cash bar at many events. Liquor license at the library. Space where they feel special and welcome, like “these are my friends and neighbors.” Audience appeal. Explain tone of the events – invited to come and ‘here’s what it will be like’ boisterous, irreverent, etc.
  5. Strictly restrict age limits on dating events, but spelling bee is 21+
  6. Some programs need registration, others don’t.
  7. Library Love – make them LGTB friendly (but mostly hetero in her community), difficult to get men to show up, require registration, leg work – palm cards at grocery stores – talk it up and bribe friends to show up
  8. Public and staff evaluations – fun event, happy people. Keep a balance with new and repeats. Example, speed dating one year and dating game the next. Spooky spelling bee – dress up the week prior to Halloween
  9. Event ideas: bingo, bookswap, curated art show, vintage video game, homebrew beer swap, prom
  10. Failures: Guitar hero


  • Liquor License – Director wanted it and got a site license through the village. Some can get one-time from municipality. Book clubs in bars. Events when library is closed with limited access/controlled. 1 free drink, 2 for spellers, cost after that. Cheap beer, cheap wine, $2/$3, cocktail and bartender
  • What about married? Partner with children’s services? PJ party below and adult event upstairs. Book swap (white elephant) with side swap of children’s books.
  • Start time is key – after baby is in bed (8:00 pm).
  • 8 after hours events total, 3 for adults, bookswap, 40s/50s pre-retiree events, too. $11,000 programs, $7,000 for teen programming. Tweens in children’s services.
  • Lecture series, music programs during regular hours.
  • Spelling bee is successful and cheap. Fellow staff to be Queen Bee host. First event with after hours bar (PBR made money). 80 people first year, 60 people second year.
  • Stress working with a team.
  • Start with 40s-50s research of programs. Start with the pre-retirees and then see if it builds interest in the 20’s and 30 year olds.
  • Ticketed events? Registration required for singles events

Romance in Rossville

Adrienne has invited me to Rossville to talk about my favorite subject – smutty romance novels – this week as a Valentine’s Day program.  I decided to focus on the 2011 RITA(r) Award winners from the Romance Writers of America.  I have updated these Bookmarks that are available for you to download, edit, re-distribute, whatever…

I would like to thank Lawrence Public Library for providing access to NoveList, which I used extensively to build my book talk and to figure out which of these award winning books are in a series.

We Must Read Our Books In Order.  Seriously.
Try Kent District Library’s What’s Next™: Books in Series database.

For everyone who is without access to NoveList and need to help a patrons with a Reader’s Advisory question…
Try Fantastic Fiction and What Should I Read Next?

For example, if you liked Debbie Macomber’s The Shop on Blossom Street, you might enjoy Susan Wiggs, Sherryl Woods, Carly Phillips or Bridget Asher.

If, like me, you read wonderful smut by Eloisa James, the authors suggested as read-alikes include Julia Quinn, Olivia Parker, Judith Ivory, Laura Kinsale and Elizabeth Hoyt.  There are two new authors on that list that I’m going to check out!

Happy reading and remember, you WANT Romance Readers as Library Patrons — we read voraciously, buy books, enjoy eBooks, like to talk about books and appreciate being able to find books (both hardback and paperback) at the library and in the catalog.

Cult Fiction Drinking the Kool-Aid with Kelly Fann

Celebrate the Book | Cult Ficiton | Kelly Fann, Tonganoxie | Nov. 4, 2011

Kelly wrote an article, “Tapping into the Appeal of Cult Fiction.”  A way to bring teen readers into adult literature.

Cult classics – movies would be Full Metal Jacket, Casablanca, Pulp Fiction…so what are the book equivalents?

Not all cult fiction are fiction works…

  • 1984 (Dystopia)
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Non-fiction)
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Catcher in the Rye
  • Do Androids dream of electric sheep
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • 2001: A space odyssey
  • On the Road Again
  • Brave New World
  • Slaughter House Five
  • Dune
  • Snow crash – Sci Fi cult classic
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • American Psycho (Horror or Thriller)
  • Interview with the Vampire (Horror, not as much violence)
  • Neuromancer (Sci Fi)
  • Fight Club (Subculture) (started with the movie…)
  • Trainspotting (Subculture)
  • A Clockwork Orange (Subculture)
  • Belgariad series by David Eddings (Fantasy)
  • Animal Farm
  • Outsiders (breakout for YA literature) – Teens glommed on to adult books

A concept or status, rather than a genre.

The Appeal:  Groundbreaking | Lurid subjects | Travel themes | Explicit and/or controversial at the time of publication and beyond…

Reprinted, new covers, “Cult Call a Rough Guess at Best” by Jane Sullivan =  “Whatever it is, cult fiction makes the heart beat faster…it speaks to you in a way nothing else does, and you’re convinced you’re the only person who gets it.”

Literary Elements: Alienation | Ego-reinforcement | Behavior modification | Vulnerability

Genre Plurality = Genre Exploration Potential

  • Cult titles belong to another genre or subgenre
    • Isaac Asimov for Science Fiction or David Eddings for Fantasy
  • No dedicated section –
    • Don’t use the word cult in a display, though…
  • Must be familiar with titles and respective genres
    • Why not have multiple copies?

Gateway for Teens:

  • Printz Award winning books show the characteristics of cult fiction readers in the making.
    • 5/6 of these trends are always found in cult books:
    • journeys, angst to self-actualization
    • family relationships
    • romance
    • controversy
    • diversity of story characters
  • Serve as a right of passage
    • “Safely explore all that could be done in life.”
  • Will ‘new’ cult classics find there ways into school?  Will Trainspotting be required reading?
Teen Titles:
  • The Bell Jar by Plath
  • Crash by Ballard
  • The Dice Man by Rhinehart
  • Dune by Herbert
  • Fight Club by Palahniuk
  • Douglas Adams – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • Geek Love by Dunn
  • Magic for Beginners by Link
  • Neuromancer by Gibson
  • Only Forward by Marshall Smith
  • Perfume by Suskind
  • The Pigman by Zindel
  • The Stranger
  • Trainspotting
Once you know the genre…you know what belongs:
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Smith
  • Catch-22 by Heller
  • Chocolate Wars by Cormier
  • A Child Called “It” – Books that are stolen tend to be cult classics.
  • Book / Movie tie ins…
  • Naked Lunch – film does not equal movie.  Same with A Clockwork Orange
  • True Grit – film v. movie
  • On the Road by Karoak – Rough book, rough movie?
  • In Cold Blood – always in print, movies, discussed
  • Harry Potter – the First of a series usually the Cult classic
  • Protagonist-focussed
  • Judy Blume
  • Go Ask Alice
  • Are you There God? It’s Me Margaret
  • Living Dead Girl – “best book I wish I’d never read” – Sad.  Kidnapped, sex slave, dresses her up as a little girl, she’s willing to find a replacement so she can get out.  2009.
  • 13 Reason’s Why – Suicide, leaves tapes, another that may become a cult classic.  2009?
  • When She Woke – 2011.  Already having people come in a ask for it.  Word of Mouth.
  • Stranger in a Strange Land – Heinlen
  • Left hand of Darkness – Ursula LaGuin.  Androgynous species on a different planet.
  • Religion often plays a part in cult fiction title.  The Shack – Father has religious experience at place of daughter’s murder.
  • Towing Jehova by Marlow
  • Murikomi – In the Miso Soup (ultra-violence) or Almost Transparent Blue
  • Battle Royale – Japanese ultra-violence (lead into this from Hunger Games?)
  • The Giver
  • Hunger Games
  • John Dies at the End – written on the Internet. Horror.  Published AFTER a cult.
  • Hunter S. Thompson – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  • Lolita  by Nabokov – Kubric’s Film, too
  • Heroine Diaries
  • Jim Thompson – Grifter, Killer inside me, Population 1280(12AD?)
  • The Ring – Suzuki – The “Stephen King of Japan”
  • Some Stephen King – The Stand or The Dark Tower

Airships and Goggles A Steampunk Primer

Celebrate the Book | Susan Schafer, TSCPL | Steampunk!

Steampunk:  “What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner.”  Sub-genre of speculative fiction set in a Victorian-type setting.  Steam and clockwork technology!


  • The Steam Man of the Prairies – Edison technology $.10 novels
  • Frankenstein, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells – 19th century speculative fiction.  Known techs: steam, clockworks and electricity
  • Michael Moorcock, Ronald Clark, Tim Powers, K. W. Jeter – Cyberpunk.  Negative view of impact of technology.  Enslaves, bad for society and humans.  1967-1987 – “Victorian Fantasies” – term steampunks coined in 1987..
  • William Gibson The Difference Engine – based on Charles Babbage math machine (1821).  Built in 2002.   Conspiracy theorist feel to it, says Kelly Fann (who read it).
New and Not-to-miss Series and Books:
  • Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld – Leviathan, Behemoth, Goliath – Allied powers = Darwinists.  Clankers = Central powers.  Alternate WWI.  YA Literature – teen POV – with adult appeal.
  • Clockwork Century series – Cherie Priest Boneshaker, Clementine, Dreadnought, Ganymede – alt US history with Civil war still going on!    Seattle destroyed by a mining machine that released a poisonous gas, creating Zombies = “rotters.”  Underground society – western type town (think Dodge).  Read the series in order – follow up books based on secondary characters, but there is an overarching story.  Hard to get a copy of Clementine – based on publishers.  Available on Kindle.
  • Mark Hodder Burton & Swinburne (TV writer in the UK) – Spring Heeled Jack and The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man. Light mystery, Victoria dead and Albert King, so the story is of his investigators.  Twist of Sherlock Holmes.  Funny with good characters.  Older young adult and adult audience.
  • Felix Gilman The Half-Made World and Jean-Christophe Valiat Aurorarama – World building – Recommended for adults b/c of the concepts involved.  Fantasy/western/steam punk and magical realism (Gilman’s book).   Valiat’s book feels like you have missed out an a history of the Arctic – Utopian society corrupted.  Slow start – world building, New Venice and its decaying beauty – sets up for last 1/3 of the book and follow ups.  Female characters written as week, says reviewers.
  • Ann and Jeff Vandermeer – Steampunk, Steampunk II, Steampunk Bible  Short stories and good overview of the genre.  Kudo’s to Diane Trinkle at Nortonville – she has the Steampunk Bible in NExpress.
  • Boilerplate by Paul Guinan  | Steampunk Style Jewelry by Jean Campbell | Steampunk: The art of Victorian Futurism
  • Fantasy, Horror, Romance, Detectives, Erotica, Sci Fi and Westerns all have Steampunk sub-genres! Iron Duke, Soulless are two I’ve read.  New Meljean Brooks – Heart of Steel
    • Corsets & Clockwork | Mechanique  | New Amsterdam | clockwork heart | Heart of Veridon | All men of Genius | The Hunter by Theresa Meyers | Phoenix Rising A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel | China M. Perdido Street Station
Music Groups:
  • Abney Park | Clockwork Dolls | Dresden Dolls | Doctor Steel
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea | Around the World in 80 Days | Chitty Chitty Bang Bang | The Golden Compass | League of Extraordinary Gentlemen | Mysterious Island | The Prestige |Sherlock Holmes | Wild Wild West | Van Helsing and the new Three Muskateers (has an airship in it)
TV and Radio:
  • Wild Wild West, Voyagers, Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.
Web sites:
Where do you put these?

Serendipity in the Stacks Great Non-Fiction Finds

Celebrate the Book Reader’s Advisory Workshop | Topeka | Christina Callison and Julie Nelson


  • 703: How I lost a quarter ton and gained a life by Nancy Makin (in NExpress) –
    • Obesity lead to a downward spiral.  Her son wrote the forward to her book – he feared he would find her dead.  How would I present her body with dignity to the paramedics?  Internet saved her by expanding her world.  Then she started to lose weight and became an inspiration!
  • In the sanctuary of outcasts by Neil White (in NExpress)
    • Transformation – Goes to prison for bank fraud, but Neil sees it as an opportunity to make plans…but given an opportunity to make true change after he meets Hanson’s disease patience (lepers) at Carville.
  • Clara’s war: One girl’s story of survival by Clara Kramer (in NExpress)
    • Hiding in a house with her family during WWII. Clara’s mother asked her to keep a diary. This book is based on her diary.  Unforgettable images.
  • Where’s my wand? One boy’s magical triumph over alienation and shag carpeting by Eric Poole (in NExpress)
    • Eric’s job to rake the shag.  Crazy cleaning mother. Misfit kid.  Took inspiration from his favorite show, Bewitched.  Charming memoir…
  • Rhinestone sisterhood: A journey through small-town America, one tiara at a time by David Valdes Greenwood (NOT in NExpress)
    • Little Girl’s in Louisiana dream of being Frog Queen or Tamale Queen.  Not to be confused with glitz pageants…the judges look for passionate, intelligent girls.  Promote the town or industry!  Frog, Fur, Cotton and Cattle queens followed throughout the process.
  • Fannie’s last supper: Re-creating one amazing meal from Fannie Farmer’s 1896 cookbook by Christopher Kimball (NOT in NExpress)
    • 12 course Christmas meal from 1896 in obsessive detail.  Even cook on a restored wood stove.  Mock-turtle soup with stock made out of calf’s head…but no idea how to do it!
  • Triumvirate: Mckim, Mead & White: Art, architecture, scandal and class in America’s gilded age by Mosette Broderick (NOT in NExpress)
    • Big book.  New wealth – built homes for Asters, Boston Public Library, and built the first Roman arch in this country.  White was a murder victim = trial of the century.  This story included, along with the architects and the clients.  Buildings are built for and by people, so infused with these stories.
  • The sugar king of Havana: The rise and fall of Julio Lobo, Cuba’s last tycoon by John Paul Rathbone (NOT in NExpress)
    • Julio richest man in Cubo when Castro came to power. Given a choice -stay and join the revolution or leave with one suitcase in hand.  Tells the story of both Cuba and Lobo.  Author’s mother was friends with Lobo’s daughter, adding an expatriate’s perspective.
  • The unbreakable child: A story about forgiving the unforgivable by Kim Richardson (NOT in NExpress)
    • Read-alike for A Child Called It.  Tortured by the Catholic Sister’s of Charity – the wicked Nuns.  Orphanage of hell.  New dormatories = a new circle of hell.  When Kim got older, she was part of a suit against the Sister’s of Charity.  Testament from a survivor.
  • Devil’s rooming house: The true story of America’s deadliest female serial killer by M. William Phelps (in NExpress)
    • 1910-1916 series of murders at a rooming house for older, dying folks.  Arsenic.  Amy gave cause of death…and it was never poisoning.  Reported noted the abnormally high death rate and investigated.  Took until 1916 to charge her.  64 suspicious deaths, but sure she murdered no fewer than 4, including 2 husbands.
  • Zero at the bone: The playboy, the prostitute, and the murder of Bobby Greenlease by John Heidenry (in NExpress)
    • True-crime from KC in 1953.  Little boy kidnapped and murdered.  Carl Austin Hall, washed up playboy.  Bonny, alcoholic and prostitute who likes expensive clothes.  Kidnap Bobby and murder him…asked for $600,000 ($10 million today).  Huge case, but it’s a sad comedy of errors – adds to the disturbing tone.
  • The tin ticket: The heroic journey of Australia’s convict women by Deborah Swiss (NOT in NExpress)
    • Women could work in the mills, become prostitutes, or thieves.  The women exiled to Australia for stealing a few spoons or petty theft.  New Gate prison to the ships to the prison in Australia.  They were needed in Australia, so treated a bit better but still victimized.  Story of the founding mothers of a country.
  • Breath: A lifetime in the rhythm of an iron lunch by Martha Mason (NOT in NExpress)
    • 1948 – 11 years old and surrounded by polio – struck her older brother and killed him and struck the girl.  Confined to an 800 lb iron lung for the rest of her life.  “Make the most of every day and try to find some good in it.”  Martha with her mother’s help graduated from both HS and college and became a writer.  “Life is an adventure worth getting up for every morning.”
Narrative works – they are gripping, they have thrills and excitement of fiction but are all true.

Librarian of the Year – Nancy Pearl

Celebrate the Book Reader’s Advisory Workshop | Topeka, KS | Friday, November 4, 2011 | Keynote: Nancy Pearl

What does the phrase Reader’s Advisory mean and does it accurately represent what we are doing?

No. Nancy doesn’t feel it describes that interaction to find “that next good book.”  Rather, it’s a collaboration between you and the person looking for what they should read next.  You can make connections based on the conversation – you are helping, not advising.  It’s a mutually beneficial conversation!

Helping someone find that next good book is one of the most exciting and helpful things we can do in a library!

Suggestion: Keep lists of books on hand and literally write the last 3 books you read on your hand!

Reference v. RA?  In Reference there is one right answer.  No such luck with RA – there’s an infinite number of right answers.  The right answer depends on the person – are they happy, sad, angry, poor, rich, old, young – there is no One Book Fits All.

OMG – Terry Pratchett kissed Nancy’s hand and her husband doesn’t like Disc World….sad.  (I’m listening to Good Omens right now…laugh, laugh, laugh.)

Customer Service – If a person comes into the library feels t hey were heard and responded too, then they report that as a positive experience (regardless of the answer).  SMILE, dammit.  How hard is that?  Be a librarian if you ENJOY working WITH People…not because you love to read.  Building those relationships is vitally important.  RA is simply a way to build those relationships, too.

Mood impacts your thoughts and feelings about a book.  Books need to synch with the ‘inner you.”

Library as Educational Institution?  Are we there to personally move a person from the worst books to the best books?  NO!!

  • Good book = Any book that you liked 
  • Bad book = Any book that you didn’t enjoy

The Library’s educational function works well with RA – not by moving them towards knowledge (Harlequin to Pride and Prejudice), but realizing that READING helps us become better people.  The Library encourages reading, therefore fulfills our educational mission.  Exposed to new ways of thinkin, being, living, and new places, people, and times.

Nancy believes – Broaden and Deepen a person’s engagement with the World of Literature.  False distinction between Fiction and Non-fiction.  “Many books that we once thought were Non-fiction have magically turned out not to be true.”  James Frye, Memoirists – their version of the truth…

When people walk into a library or bookstore, they immediately go to the section that has brought them the most happiness (Paperback romance section at Lawrence Public).  Once there, they don’t move more than 3-4 steps in either direction!   Our job – Get them to Move Around!  

Insert story: Western reader didn’t have a new book to read, so the staff took him to the 970’s and put a Lewis and Clark book in his hand.  The patron’s response? “Why didn’t anyone show me these books before?”  Don’t Overlook Non-Fiction!

Schindler’s Ark by Keneally – Won the Man Booker prize in the UK for fiction, but in the USA it was published as Non-Fiction.  Original publication was written as a Novel!

Breaking Clean by Judy Blunt – writes about her decision to leave her husband and become a writer.  Scene with her Father-in-Law and an Ax…NEVER happened.  So do we move it to fiction for that one scene?

Usuala LaGuin – “On Despising Genres” article – Book awards don’t go to genre writers, but does that do readers a disservice by ‘ghettoizing’ some authors?  Neal Wyatt

Virtual Displays:

  • People you ought to meet – Biographies
  • Places you ought to go – Have each book click to the Catalog to place hold!
  • Use technology to your advantage

Find books to recommend that are NOT bestsellers or NOT by best-selling authors, so you can actually pull a book off the shelf to hand the patron.

You do not have to LIKE every book you suggest and you should be able to suggest a book without the patron knowing if you have even read the book, let alone like it.  Kaite Stover is GREAT at this.  I’m jealous.

Shoulda Been a Great RA Experience:  Want a Regency book without sex.  Gave her Georgette Heyer – The Grand Sophie – patron brought it back – why did you say there is no sex in this book? Are you kidding, there is sex on every page?  Really?  Example:  “She had easy intercourse with Military gentlemen.”  Nancy told her that the use of language has changed since this woman was writing.  “ejaculate means ‘said’.”

Conversations leads to Relationships, not just between you and the patron but between the patron and the Library!

Additional Paranormal Romance Authors

So, I did my best to share Paranormal Romance and Paranormal romance, and towards the end, I opened up the floor to suggestions, which I will share:

We need help identifying this J. R. Ward read-alike –
The heroes represent the Elements – the primary book is about Wind and he must find his mate or he (or she?) will die.  Sounds good – what is it?
Found it! It’s a Soul-mate romance story Jacob (Nightwalkers #1) by Jacquelyn Frank

Fang-tastic Fiction Blog – GREAT RESOURCE

Horror Readers’ Advisory by Kelly Fann

Paranormal Companion – YA Versions

Paranormal Fiction for Teens – Jenny Ellis and Beth Atwater

Vampires – Nosfaratu versus Salvatore Brothers

Zombies – Night of the Living Dead v. Lovable Zombies and traditional Scary Zombies (Rot & Ruin)

Fairies & Pixies – Tinkerbelle versus Tithe, Need and Wicked Lovely (scary

Werewolves (and other Were animals) – Wolfman verus Team Jacob (and Friends) and transition years (Teen wolf of the 80s versus the new MTV series)

Witches & Sorcerers – Wicked Witch versus Mean girls, smart girls, and the woefully misunderstood girls

Ancient Mythology – Clash of the Titans versus Courageous and talented, but oh so human themselves (Lightning Thief, Goddess Test, Touch of Frost)

The “Victims” – Fall in the woods versus YA non-victims

Slayers – VanHelsing versus Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Vampire Academy (Rose)

Demons and Banshees – Legends Tim Curry versus Demon’s Lexicon, Soul Enchilada and My Soul to Take

Angels – Cheribs versus Halo(?) – missed some of these…

Grim Reapers – Death versus Hold me Closer Necromancer and Reaper by Rachel Vincent

And Just Plain Strange – Angelfire, Fury, evermore, Paranormalcy, SMoke and Bone

Dystopian?  Water-borne?  What else?  Beth gave us a great 3-page, full-color handout.  I’ll see if I can share it.

Beth’s Paranormal YA Handout

Book Trailers with Jenny (I will find these on YouTube and share…I promise) 

Zombie, Steampunk Romance – Dearly, Departed by Lisa Habel

Die for Me – by Amy Plum.  Kate meets not-so-normal boy in Paris.  Zombies or Gods – which would be more appealing to a young girl?  Had to come up with her own monster – Revenants (spirit that comes back after death).

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton (from Lawrence, KS) – Watch it

Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell – the American Idol of teen writing – read. write. vote.

Paranormal Mysteries or Killing the Undead

Kaite Stover for MALA/MARRT – Oct. 20, 2011

  • There are sub-genres to this sub-genre.  Kaite reads mystery, not romance.  No “wham bam thank you wolf-man”.  Cross over many genres – this is a subjective genre to the reader.  “Bleed over” is common.  It’s all about the Marketing strategy.
  • Must believe in Fantasy – how much are you willing to invest.
  • Elements of Mystery:  focus on investigator | solve a crime; answer a puzzle | Series and Frame | Mood, Scope and Pacing.
  • Look for an interesting place for the characters to live, relate and meet.  The setting as character.
  • Series allows the author to explore myth, folklore, and expanded stories.
  • Detectives – men, women and other – professional or amateur, public or private, ‘hard boiled’ v. cozy or ‘soft boiled’ (cozy means all killing happens off-stage, so low-gore). Magic is usually scary and hard boiled.  Evil, dangerous nature of the magic – why the detective is scared.  Other as not-detective.
  • Some main characters are Trouble magnets, not detectives.
  • Women are guarded, the men are the soft-hearted ones.  Female detectives have red hair.
  • Own, Read Suggest:  Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita is a PI) | Joanne Walker by C.E. Murphy | Harry Dresden by Jim Butcher and Rachel Morgan by Kim Harrison
  • Magic Kills – Plots involve dead bodies, undead bodies and “the exhilaration of annihilation” – rampaging creatures/gods/goddesses (serial killer plot) and Magic as a dangerous tool
  • Sookie Stackhouse – Charlaine Harris | Kevin Hearne Atticus O’Sullivan, Iron Druid | Felix Gomez by Mario Acevedo | John Taylor, The Nightside by Simon Green
  • Luke Daniels narrates Hearne series – listen to it.  The Wolfhound has it’s own voice…
  • FRAME – Cloud of Pixie Dust
    • Magic is the most important part of the frame
    • Magic should touch all elements of the mystery
    • Propels the plot, impacts how the characters interact with each other.
    • Define how character interacts with their environment, helps set tone
    • International lore taught through Urban Fantasy – included in the stories (arcane details)
    • Speedy, lively pacing.
  • Interesting Frames: WeatherWarden by Rachel Caine | Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey (Dark, graveyard humor) | Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger (Steampunk, witty word play) | Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews (Anita-Blake read alike)
  • Abnormal but not Paranormal: Cat mysteries, Magical Cats by Sofie Kelly and (Cozy paranormal cat series) Dulcie Schwartz by Clea Simon
  • New Demons – Alex Craft by Kalayna Price | October Daye Seana McGuire | Blood Singer by Cat Adams | Morris & Chastain Supernatural Investigations by Justin Gustainis
  • Kaite’s Handout: – All books shown, first book in series and resource list
  • “As heard in the workshop” List  —
    • Cozy – Granny Apples mysteries – she can see/hear ghosts.  Ghost of grandma helps solve mysteries and there is romance.  Aunt Demity has a ghost, too.  Discussion – Kaite will find these and add them to the handout.  Joe Gray mysteries – cat talks – Murphy is author.  Durenda Jones – funny character voices.  First Grave on the Right (good audiobooks).  Cat and Bones – Jeanine Frost – Fantasy and romance.  Nancy Gideon – picked up b/c of cover.  New Orleans police woman / Max Shape-shifter…
  • Caine is OK with being in Fantasy.

What is Paranormal Romance and why should I care?

What is Paranormal Romance and why should I care?  One would think that is a simple enough question, it’s a sub-genre of romance with paranormal elements (like vampires) and it’s incredibly popular with readers.  But…the more I read about the genre and within the genre, the more I realized that a lot of paranormal romance isn’t romance…at least not what we traditionally think of as romance.

In a short 30 minute presentation, I need to cover:

Paranormal Romance (Keep scrolling to get to the presentation)

  • Is it Romance? If it isn’t Romance, then what is it?
  • What do your patrons want when they ask for it?
  • What do we need to know about it to help them?
  • Who do we need to have in the collection?

For readers like me, who came at PR from the Romance genre, we have certain expectations…

According to the end-all, be-all of Romance, the Romance Writers of America say:

  • Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending.
    • A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around two individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.
    • An Emotionally-Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.
  • The sub-genre of Paranormal Romance is:
    • Romance novels in which the future, a fantasy world, or paranormal happenings are an integral part of the plot.
  • Just so you understand about Romance readers – In 2010, Romance generated $1.358 billion, estimated to go up to $1.368 in 2011.  Romance Market share compared to other genres – $1.358 billion v. $759 million (Inspirational) v. $682 million (Mystery) v. $559 million (Sci-Fi/Fantasy) v. $455 million classic literary Fiction (Romance Literature Statistics)

Paula Guran’s “What is “Paranormal Romance”?” Intro chapter to the anthology Best New Paranormal Romance helps clarify Paranormal ‘r’omance versus Paranormal ‘R’omance.  She actually helps us understand what it isn’t…

  • “To be paranormal a romance needs to involve the supernatural – magic, the occult, ghosts, shapechangers like werewolves, psychic powers, superhuman abilities, travel through time, fantastic or legendary creatures (vampires, fairies, gods and goddesses, angels, demons, and the like), a fantasy world or alternative-Earth or -reality setting, relationships that continue to exist over eras and eons, etc–or have futuristic or science-fiction element.” (p.7)
  • Guran differentiates between traditional Romance (happily ever after for the hero/heroine) and paranormal ‘romance’ which does not follow the ‘rules’ of the genre.
  • First big hit for Paranormal Romance was probably Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series – won the 1991 RWA Best Romance award for a new “Futuristic/Fantasy/Paranormal” category.
  • Here is where it gets confusing:
    • Readers, reviewers and booksellers call books by Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison, Christine Feehan, Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Lynsay Sands ‘paranormal romance’ while most of these authors write Fantasy or Mystery.
    • Who writes Romance? Guran says the Nielsen Bookscan identifed these three: Feehan, Sands and Kenyon…That’s it! (p.9)
  • So…”many of the most popular paranormal romance novels are not Romances, yet they are often marketed as “paranormal-romance-the-subgenre-of-Romance.” (p.10)
  • “Further, although some paranormal romance readers prefer Romance, not all of the do.  Some do not read Romance at all.
  • Note to self–be sure to ask if a person wants a Romance or a romantic fantasy story…
  • So, she helps me identify:
    • paranormal but not Romance: Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Underworld series, L.A. Banks’s Vampire Huntress series, MaryJanice Davidson’s Undead books, Laurell K. Hamilton’s series, Kim Harrison’s Hollow series, and Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Series
    • More info about lead characters, courtesy of ottothefangirl:Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Series, (only 1-9, mind you), by Laurell K. Hamilton | Rachel Morgan, The Hallows Series, by Kim Harrison | Mercy Thompson Series, by Patricia Briggs | Otherworld Series, by Kelley Armstrong | Sookie Stackhouse, Southern Vampire Series, by Charlaine Harris | Kitty Norville Series, by Carrie Vaughn | Anna Latham, Alpha and Omega Series, by Patricia Briggs | Meredith Gentry Series, by Laurell K. Hamilton (at least the first bunch) | Betsy Taylor, Undead Series, by Mary Janice Davidson
    • Romance authors who write paranormal: Amanda Ashley, Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle, Nora Roberts/J.D Robb, Lynsay Sands, Mary Jo Putney, Christin Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Maggie Shayne.  She calls those last 3 “a rather dark shade of Romance.”
    • Guran has a theory about the popularity of paranormal romance – “Adventure–books like [Laurell K.] Hamilton’s were fantasy adventure stories for women.
      • Anita Blake = Conan the Barbarian (p. 14)

Thankfully, Library Journal helps to clarify – I think a lot of this stuff is “Contemporary Urban Fantasy”

This is what your patrons are looking for when they request “urban fantasy.” Common characteristics include tough female protagonists (often with supernatural powers or superhuman strength), stronger distinctions between good and evil, grittier urban landscapes, first-person narration, and sexual tension, often between the female protagonist and a male character who toes the line between good and evil. A pioneer in this subgenre is Laurell K. Hamilton, whose “Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter” novels were among the first to play on these themes.
From: Donohue, Nanette Wargo (1 June 2008). “Collection Development “Urban Fantasy”: The City Fantastic”Library Journal.

In the Intro to Fang-tastic Fiction by Patricia O’Brien Mathews, she has some definitions and clarifications of her own:

  • “Where are they shelved?  Whether you search online, at a bookstore, or in a library, you will find no consensus as to where paranormal fiction titles are shelved.”  (Kelly just made her own stickers and created a new section at Tonganoxie.)

  • “According to Tim Holman, head of the science fiction and fantasy publisher Orbin, the rise of urban fantasy has been ‘the biggest category shift within the sci-fi/fantasy market in the last ten years in the U.S.'” – In July 20o9, 28 of the top 50 fantasy best sellers in the US were Urban Fantasy titles.
  • PR are often series – “Read them in series order–not in random order.”
    • When sharing authors/series info with readers, give them the FIRST book in the series.
    • Many of these books will not be comprehensible if read in random order.”  It’s called World Building for a reason…it needs to be built over time.  Much plot and character development is in the early titles, too.
  • Main Characters:  Human,  Walking Dead (zombies and vamps), Weres (shape changers and werewolves), Representatives from Heaven and Hell (Angels, demons, mythic gods/goddesses), and the Fae (fairies, elves, ghosts, ghouls). (p. 6)
  • Plots: corruption, religious fanatics, demonic invasions, mad scientists, government kindnapping, and “an ancient evil is reborn and must be stopped.” (p. 6)
  • Plot Types: Soul-mate romances (deeper), urban fantasy, chick lit (humor), cozy mysteries (PG-rated), historical series.
  • If you have this book to guide you, you can find a read-alike by asking
    • Do you want romance or urban fiction? Vamps or shifters? Is humor important? Sensuality? Violence?”  Then find a series to match.