Special Topics- Time Travel in Fiction

My special topics paper focused on historical fiction with time travel as a sub-genre. We are seeing time travel in fiction more and more in contemporary times.Many say that the genre popularized with H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine in 1895. Not only are we seeing the genre in literature, but other types of media as well such as games and film. The literature is also inspiring adapted screenplays. For example, Outlander has its own television series and Michael Crichton’s Timeline was made into a motion picture. The popular video game Assassins’ Creed has been made into novels, graphic novels, and an online mini-series. These adaptations and other forms of media ,rather than just literature, make it evident that this sub-genre is very popular.

There are also several ways that libraries can promote this sub-genre. Brochures, displays, and programs,such as book club, can encourage patrons to try the genre out. I thought a time line such as the one below would make for a nice display. You could display the bookcovers with the time period in which the novel is set in. 

I also found that authors and readers alike find the genre fascinating and enjoyable. Author Connie Willis stated in an interview that, “You can change history or not change history, you can go as an observer, you can go where you actually become part of the past and help fulfill history, it’s pretty limitless.”

Overall, it was fun looking into this sub-genre. I did not realize how much work of fiction was out there that used time travel as a theme. This assignment also influenced me to start the Outlander series!

Thanks for reading!

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In the mood for a good suspense/thriller?

Promise Not To Tell

By Jennifer Mcmahon

Recently read this one for a book club and I can honestly say this one kept my attention more than any other book I have read lately. This suspense/thriller/ even some paranormal/ was a good read.

Forty-one-year-old school nurse Kate Cypher has returned home to rural Vermont to care for her mother who’s afflicted with Alzheimer’s. On the night she arrives, a young girl is murdered—a horrific crime that eerily mirrors another from Kate’s childhood. Three decades earlier, her dirt-poor friend Del—shunned and derided by classmates as “Potato Girl”—was brutally slain. Del’s killer was never found, while the victim has since achieved immortality in local legends and ghost stories. Now, as this new murder investigation draws Kate irresistibly in, her past and present collide in terrifying, unexpected ways. Because nothing is quite what it seems . . . and the grim specters of her youth are far from forgotten. (Amazon.com)

Prompt #4

After going through this week’s readings I felt like the Fake Memoirs caught the better part of my attention. After going through some of these I could not help but think to myself, “Why?” Is it for the fame? The money? I guess some people just need more attention than others.

For Example, Margaret Seltzer’s “Love and Consequences: A Memoir of Hope and Survival” was a gripping memoir about a young Margaret Jones (pseudonym for Seltzer)  who grew up in violent South Los Angeles and was part of gang. (The Bloods) She stated that she was half white, half Native American. To quickly summarize, she stated she was involved with drugs, had an overworked grandmother, two brothers who were in a gang, and two sisters who were crackheads. All of this and the stories that go along with it were proven to be false.

After Seltzer confessed that the story was false her publishers were then focused on. The publishers said they had no way of knowing she was lying considering the lengths she took to make sure her story could be backed up.“The fact is that the author went to extraordinary lengths: she provided people who acted as her foster siblings. There was a professor who vouched for her work, and a writer who had written about her that seemed to corroborate her story.” He added that Ms. Seltzer had signed a contract in which she had legally promised to tell the truth. “The one thing we wish,” Mr. Kloske said, “is that the author had told us the truth.” (Rich, 2008) After hearing what Seltzer went through to make her story seem real, I was pretty amazed. It wouldn’t be to difficult to come up with a compelling or inspirational story, but going through all the trouble to back her story up with evidence is crazy.

When the story was found to be fictitious, Riverhead Books, the unit of Penguin Group USA that released the book recalled 19,000 copies and refunded buyers. I also saw a report that at some point retailers like Amazon took the books off their shelves too, but presently I am seeing the book being offered on Amazon.

I would have to imagine that the publishers follow some type of protocol to make sure these type of issues don’t happen, but in this case I feel like it was next to impossible.

Good NY Times article with more info:  http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/05/books/05fake.html?_r=0

Motoko, Rich. (2008) Tracking the Fallout of (Another) Literary Fraud. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/05/books/05fake.html?_r=0.

Prompt #3

Promoting the Horror Genre

There are a variety of ways that horror novels can be promoted within libraries. It depends how much work you want to put into it but I think a mixture of good looking displays and some passive programming would prove to be effective. I found the following displays to be “eye catching”, and would consider creating something like these.

Undead and well read. Zombie library display.  This is literally bloody awesome -- would never go in my school, but I absolutely love this!!: I Read Dead People. Now THAT's an eye-grabbing paraphrase, even without the skeletons!:

With these displays I would use popular and well-known horror novels as well as movies and audio books.

As far as programs go, I think it would be fun to create some type of bingo sheet that lists different horror novels and authors. So one square could on the sheet could be “Read a Stephen King Novel”. The program could run for about six weeks around October and once they complete a bingo they could win a prize or a book. You could also list horror movies or different Halloween programs that the library is offering on the bingo sheet.

I also thought a Horror trivia night could be fun too. Patrons could gather into teams and answer questions about scary movies and books. We might was well throw in some apple cider too!

Incorporating this integrated advisory allows us to provide services to users that include all different formats and media while staying focused around a genre. In this case the horror genre.

THANKS FOR READING!

 

Annotation 2- Romantic Suspense/Thriller

9736930

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

Synopsis: Every single day Christine wakes up in an unfamiliar bed next to an unfamiliar man. She looks in the mirror and sees an unfamiliar face. She comes to find out that her memories are wiped clean every single time that she sleeps. Her husband, Ben, is obligated to explain Christine’s life story to her every morning.  This is all because of a mysterious accident that gave Christine amnesia two decades ago.Every day, Christine must begin again the reconstruction of her past. And the closer she gets to the truth, the more unbelievable it seems.

Appeals: This story is compelling as there are twists, turns, and surprises that frequently occur. Author, S.J. Watson, also incorporates romantic feel to the suspense story which can make it more enjoyable to some readers. There is also a sense of major character development with Christine as the story goes on. The feelings that Christine has for others and her lack of memory that we see in this story makes for a compelling romantic suspense novel.

Genre: Romantic Suspense-Psychological Thriller

Publication Date: June 14th, 2011

Pages: 360

Characteristics:

  • Trust is a major theme seen throughout the story.
  • The book is read through Christine’s point of view. Much of the story is divided into days that are written in her journal that she uses to help her memory.
  • There is a limited amount of major characters. This aspect helps the reader better understand Christine’s situation.
  • The story and the characters feel very realistic. In the Author’s Note in the back of the book, the author says the story was inspired in part by actual amnesiac patients.

Read-a-Likes:

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante
  • Room by Emma Donoghue
  • Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
  • Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
  • Best Kept Secrets by Sandra Brown

 

 

Prompt #2

REVIEWS

After going through a variety of different book review publications this last week or so, it has become evident that there are apparent differences in these publications. As Erin stated on her blog, there are websites and publications out there that only post positive reviews of books. There are also publications that only choose to post reviews based on format. After going through several publications and thinking about this issue it becomes evident that this negligence can become a problem for libraries’ collection development. I personally have helped the library I work at with collection development on several instances and there are some sections or genres that are tougher to choose than others. This inattention to reliable and unbiased reviews makes this job even tougher. The librarian then needs to take more time in considering what materials to choose and looking at other publication.

After look at the two reviews on The Billionaire’s First Christmas by Holly Rayner I think it is pretty evident which one is more reliable and better done. The Amazon review tells you almost next to nothing besides the customer’s brief opinion and a summary that barely makes sense. This review is definitely not reliable and if I was a librarian and had to make the choice to buy this book or not based on this review I certainly would not. The blog review is more informative and obviously looks more professional. I would not say it is the most reliable review considering the post was from someone who just got a bunch of e-books for free, but if I had to choose between the two, the blog is more reliable than the Amazon review, although, I would probably think twice before purchasing this book for the collection. Also, after looking at the two reviews I do not see anything that would make this novel be considered a romantic suspense. It seems that the main plot has no suspenseful aspects at all.

After reading the reviews on Angela’s Ashes I feel like they would definitely make me want to add this book to my collection. The four reviews all spoke highly of the novel and were also well written. If I was in charge of collection development I would have also liked to see that the School Library Journal recommends the book to all ages. I also discovered by looking at some other professional publications that this book won the Pulitzer Prize. Knowing this fact would probably make my decision to put this book in the collection rather quick and easy.

I do not think it is fair to a certain point that one type of book gets reviewed a great deal while others get little to no coverage, but it is understandable. Obviously if better known authors come out with a book it is going to be review more than a new author’s debut novel. When you look at the other side of this, it is very possible that this debut novel could be 10 times better than the well-known author’s book. It is a great possibility that these novels that are reviewed to death and talked about by many are going to be requested by patrons. This is undoubtedly going to affect the library’s collection. I think it is unfortunate that some websites only post positive reviews. It almost feels like the publisher is paying off these sites in order for the book to get over. This may not be the case, but I think readers should be able to know how people really feel about books they have read. I have made some decisions with our library’s collection development. We have a list of authors whose work is on standing order so their material will be purchased no matter what. For other materials, we do use reviews to make decisions amongst many other variables that come into play.

THANKS FOR READING!

Kirkus Review

The Tenderness of Wolves

By: Stef Penney

315340

Off the North Shore of the Georgian Bay in Ontario, Canada sits a small quiet town known as Dove River. Despite the frigid winters, this 19th century farming community has enjoyed the comfort of tranquility until a middle aged wife of a farmer discovers the body of French fur trapper, Laurent Jammet, scalped and throat slit.

This unlikely incident in 1867 at Dove River throws the community into turmoil and many of the residents take it to themselves to find out who the killer may be. Some think it is Indians, while others question members of the community.  Author Stef Penney introduces us to many different characters that all have a variety of personalities. This aspect of the story keeps you on your toes as the reader has to keep track of these primary and supporting characters. As we gain better insight into whom all of these characters are we are taken on a suspenseful journey finding out who the killer might be as well as unraveling some of life’s issues with other characters that one might see in late 19th century Canada. The reader stays entwined with the story as there are several subplots that are taking place. The majority of the story is told from the first person account of Mrs. Ross, who is the middle aged woman who first found the fur trappers body. These accounts alternate with other sections that concern the Hudson Bay Company who are there to investigate, Mr. and Mrs. Ross’s child, and other search parties who are looking for the killer. Penney does a wonderful job describing the Canadian landscape while joining these characters who are searching for the killer and others who may need finding within the Canadian wilderness.

In her debut novel, Scottish author Stef Penney tells us a suspenseful yet pleasant story about a compelling group of people within a community who try to locate a perpetrator that has committed an unheard of act of violence. These people also deal with compelling issues within their own lives.  Penney does a wonderful job developing the characters and keeping readers wanting to know what happens next in The Tenderness of Wolves.

Publication Date: July 10th 2007

Publisher: Simon and Shuster

384 Pages

 

Secret Shopper Experience

I am happy to say that this assignment was an enjoyable experience. First off, it is always fun to see different libraries that you have never been in before. Secondly, it is satisfying to witness a librarian who is passionate about their job and enjoys helping patrons.

I entered a small rural public library that serves a population of about 5,000 people. The building was not very big as it was easy to locate the reference desk. Before i walked in the door i decided I wanted to ask somewhat of an open ended reference question. I asked, “Is there any good books you can recommend?” She replied by asking a series of questions including what was the last book you read? and what are some authors you like? After telling her i liked Dan Brown it was evident she knew what to look for. We used the library’s catalog, Good Reads, and Novelist to find the book I eventually said I was interested in. I chose the first book in James Rollins’s Sigma Force series Sandstorm.

The whole experience was enjoyable. I could see that the librarian loved what she was doing. She told me before i left that she was willing to show me how to navigate the resources we used next time i came back which really made it evident that she enjoyed helping patrons.

How I Find Books To Read

When looking for books to read, I use a variety of sources. On many occasions I just browse the shelves and look for a title or cover that jumps out at me. I also have my list of favorite authors or a series that I follow. I also enjoy using GoodReads. This tool gives you the ability to find almost anything to your liking. I have been hearing many good things about Novelist but unfortunately my public library does not have it.

Prompt #1

  1. I am looking for a book by Laurell K. Hamilton. I just read the third book in the Anita Blake series and I can’t figure out which one comes next!——–The fourth book in the Anita Blake Series is The Lunatic Cafe. (I used KDL What’s Next Database that was created by the Kent District Library. This database is our “go to” when it comes to finding books in a series.
  2. What have I read recently? Well, I just finished this great book by Barbara Kingsolver, Prodigal Summer. I really liked the way it was written, you know, the way she used language. I wouldn’t mind something a bit faster paced though.——— I would suggest Anthill by Edward Wilson. This story is inspirational and involves ecological issues like Prodigal Summer. This story also seems to be fast paced. I would also suggest Kingsolver’s Bean Trees. This is a story of love, friendship, and  the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places. ( I used Kingsolver’s official website and Bookbrowse.com to find these suggestions. I first used Reader’s Advisor Online but could not find Kingsolver in the list of authors.)
  3. I like reading books set in different countries. I just read one set in China, could you help me find one set in Japan? No, not modern – historical. I like it when the author describes it so much it feels like I was there!—–I would suggest the novel Shogun by James Clavell. This book is part of a series called The Asian Saga. Shogun is the first novel in this series and takes place in feudal Japan during the year 1600. ( I used Reader’s Advisory Online to find this book. I used the search terms Historical Fiction-Asia-Japan. I then used Google to see the time period the story takes place in.
  4. I read this great mystery by Elizabeth George called Well-Schooled in Murder and I loved it. Then my dentist said that if I liked mysteries I would probably like John Sandford, but boy was he creepy I couldn’t finish it! Do you have any suggestions?——–I would suggest trying Reginald Hill. He is a contemporary crime writer from the U.K. His series called Dalziel and Pascoe is critically acclaimed  and the stories do not seem to be as intense (creepy) as John Sanford. ( I used Goodreads to find this author. I then searched authors similar to Elizabeth George and found Reginald Hill.)
  5. My husband has really gotten into zombies lately. He’s already read The Walking Dead and World War Z, is there anything else you can recommend?————-In recent years there has been a massive rise in the popularity of zombie movies and novels. If he enjoyed the Walking Dead and World War Z, I would have to suggest trying out The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. This book is the first in a series of the same name. This post-apocalyptic zombie novel is geared towards young adults but promises for the same thrill as World War Z or The Walking Dead. I would also suggest Zone One by Colson Whitehead. This book definitely has the same feel as The Walking Dead. (I used GoodReads to find this novel. I looked up Popular Zombie Novels and was presented with a massive list of novels to choose from.)