Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Plethora of Genres.

The Romance Readers' Advisory: The Librarian's Guide to Love in the Stacks, by Ann Bouricius. We are having a program next week to celebrate Harlequin's 60th anniversary, so I was reading up on the romance genre. This was the best book in our collection: not too outdated (it was published in 2000, and the stats used were horrendously old-- 1997-- but not too much has changed), although the cover does make it look considerably older; covering plenty of topics related to the genre, but not so many as to not be able to cover them with the depth required; well-written and intelligent-sounding-- it was written by a librarian, after all. It was a good length, although I did ski(m/p) some sections, and informative. A new edition would be a must-have for public library professional collections.

Letters of a Woman Homesteader, by Elinore Pruitt Stewart; read by Kate Fleming. I listened to this in Playaway format, and enjoyed it very much. The letters themselves have been published a number of times, starting in 1914 or thereabouts. They are very interesting and give a very different picture of Western life than we normally imagine. I wonder how much the truth is stretched to tell an interesting story to her correspondent, and how typical her experiences were for the time and region. I enjoyed the reader quite a bit. She did voices for the characters included in the letters, but it was ok for me-- she changed her pitch, but didn't try to do a different voice, and she gave them all accents, but it was appropriate, since they are all settlers from all over the continent and half of Europe. Let me reiterate how much I love Playaways. I get more dishes done. I go for more walks. Yesterday, for the first time ever, I just sat in a chair and listened to a story. It was awesome. Unfortunately, we don't quite have the nonfiction collection I'd like-- there's tons of fiction, but the nonfiction is still mostly self-help titles. I've been promised a few more science ones, though.

 Luv Ya Bunches, by Lauren Myracle. ARC I picked up in Chicago. This was a pretty good story, but too young for my budget line. Ooo! I'll give it away! Leave a comment about why I should mail this to you, and I'll choose one by Friday (8/21). (Please let there be more than two people, please let there be more than two people, please let there be more than two people.) My objections to this book won't make a bit of difference to the readers, I'm sure. The multi-ethnicity of the main characters felt contrived to me, and I'm not sure why the author obviously made such an effort. The only character whose background gets any screen time is Yasaman, who is Muslim. Katie-Rose is half Chinese, Violet is Black, and Camilla is White, but those make absolutely no difference to the story, nor do any of the characters even bring it up. The characters ask Yasaman about her head covering and a little bit about her religion, but it's a very minor part of the story. So it kind of feels like wasted effort on the part of the author. I found only one typo in my ARC-- a random capital in the middle of a sentence, I think-- so well done to the editors, I suppose. I haven't read any of this author's other stuff-- honestly, it didn't look very good-- but this was alright. Hurrah for mostly full sentences. There were a few pop-culture references that will eventually help make the book feel dated, but both Mythbusters and Facebook have been going strong for several years. I was impressed by how the chat sessions felt like a real, integrated part of the story.

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