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Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday Discussion: What's Your Favorite Frame?

I am back from a 2 week vacation where I saw my baby sister get married in New England and visited my home state of New Jersey.  This got me thinking about the fact that since moving from Jersey to the Midwest, I will read anything-- fiction or nonfiction, any genre-- as long as it has New Jersey in it.

When I teach my students to write their Reader Profiles, I mention this reading quirk to them. I ask them to think about their reading habits. In the RA biz we call these special interest areas, "Frames."  "What special frames do you enjoy?" is the question I make them consider.

Most students look at me blankly at first, but once they go home to write their up their reader profiles they find they too have special frames which they will read about in any type of book. It is great exercise to make them think about their own reading habits, which can then make them more sensitive to addressing future patrons' habits. Until you force yourself to think about it, these likes and dislikes usually stay hidden in your subconscious. My goal is to make them "Super RA Librarians," and this is an important component tot heir training.

Here are some examples from students and friends of frames they love: Faberge Eggs, Tudor England, and I once had a student who would read any pink covered book. There are actual readers out there that will reading everything and anything that have these frames. You can click here to see some past student's reader profiles for more examples.

For me, other frames I greatly enjoy besides NJ are books with circuses, books that are set on college campuses, books with a Civil War background but which do not focus on the battles, and books with baseball in them. I will read any type of book in which these subjects appear and 9 times out of 10, will love it; even if it is a genre or type of book I normally hate. These special frames in and of themselves give me great enjoyment.

It is also important to note that some people's favorite frames are the same frame which another reader will avoid at all costs. For example, while I will read anything with a circus in it my colleague Joyce Saricks avoids circuses in her books at all costs. I also have patrons who love British Mysteries and others who refuse to read them. Literally, they refuse, even if I know they would love the book; they will not read British mysteries...period.

So today, let me know: What special frames do you like to have show up in your books? Also, what frames do you avoid at all costs? Today is the day to own up to your reading quirks.

And remember, you can use this link to follow past Monday Discussions.

3 comments:

Jackie, BPL Youth Services said...

Love this one, Becky!

It's the cover that usually draws me in (I know, I know, I shouldn't judge a book by its cover)...but I can't help it! I love dark, foreboding covers, full of mystery and intrigue, i.e. castles on a hill, with gloomy clouds hovering above it. On the other hand, covers with no color, just black and white, bore me to tears. In defense of covers, I have been forced to read some books with dull jackets that were fantastic! Ha! The joke was on me!

I will also read anything with a historical event, dragons, baseball, wizards, or any book based on a fairy tale. In addition, I will read any award winning book. Oh! What the heck! I'll read anything if someone recommends it!

Kathy, BPL RA said...

I feel that I actually go through phases. For instance there was a period (of about two years) where I read tons of Holocaust fiction and non-fiction. I also devoured memoirs in essay format for a time. I still like both of these but wouldn't say that I will read ANYTHING because it was either of these. The one frame that I come back to again and again is family dysfunction novels like "The Corrections" by Jonathan Franzen or more recently "The Believers" by Zoe Heller or "The Great Perhaps" by Joe Meno. Throw a child/teen perspective into this mix and I will be smitten. Sometimes I wonder what this says about me but more often than not, I just try not to think about it.

Laurie said...

This was a really interesting post. One of my regular patrons won't read any book written in the first-person, even if otherwise it's right up her alley (serial killers). If a book has to do with India or Indian-Americans, I tend to want to read it. I'm not a very visual person, so I pretty much ignore book cover design, I think, but if a reviewer praises an author's use of wordplay in a fiction book, that makes me want to pick it up.