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Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Discussion: Books You Love to Hate

On of the most important things I try to teach my students is that while this job is great-- you get to talk about books all day-- you also have to remember that when you are doing so, you are always on stage.

Everything you say about any book while working in the library is deemed as an expert opinion, even if it is just your own personal opinion.  We have to be very careful not to trash any book, no matter how much we or even the patron in front of us hated it.

While you may be talking to a patron or a fellow staff member, remember other people in the building are listening in too.  What if they hear you trashing their favorite author? I know what will happen.  That patron will never ask you (or possibly anyone at your desk) for help in finding a book to read.  You have just alienated a patron who may then go tell everyone in town how rude you are, and you have no idea what happened.

The only way for us to match every patron with the book that is right for them is to not be negative about any book...EVER.  You should shift the focus away from why you personally did not like a book and move toward who would like it and why.  For more on this please see my review of Fay by clicking here.

However, this does not mean that we RAs do not have books we despise.  We do.  So today, I ask for you to get it all out.  Unload all the negativity here, so that you don't unload it on a patron.  We all need time to vent.  But I ask for one small favor in advance; please tell me why you hate these books so much.

I will begin.  For me the books I am most upset with have very little to do with the text, but rather they are books and authors who cause problems with me for my patrons or in how I work with patrons.

Let me explain.  First on my "hate" list is James Patterson.  This one is easy.  He annoys me because:
  1. He publishes too many books each year and they are not cheap. Since he is so popular we need multiple copies of each title. Soon Patterson will get his own budget line. I am not joking.
  2. He writes with different authors and patrons get crabby about how his style is so different depending on who he co-wrote the book with. Of course it is, these books are written by different people.  Mr. Patterson, just stop the charade and give them their names back to become authors in their own right.
  3. His picture is way too big on the back of his books, and he looks too smug. Okay, that reason is petty, but it still irks me.
Second on my "hate" list is any book that is bigger than itself.  What do I mean by this? Let's take The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown as an example.  This book kept me busy for three full years: placing holds, adding copies, finding readalikes, buying readalikes, making lists, etc...  All of this work, and now, years later, no one cares anymore.  Please note, this happens once every few years with a book, this title is just one of many examples.  The point is, I "hate" these books because they hijack the department.  Everything we do revolves around this one title and takes a huge portion of our time.  And that is time that is being taken away from other great books.

Third and last on my list are authors who use pseudonyms and then publish a single series under 3 different pseudonyms.  I am looking at you Jayne Ann Krentz! She has series where book one is written by Krentz, book two by Quick, and book three by Jayne Castle, but they are all her!  This would be fine except we file books here at the library by author's last name and not everyone knows these three names all equal one person.  So the series is filed in KRE, QUI, and CAS.  Thanks Ms. Krentz. For more on this click here for a past Monday Discussion on Pet Peeves.

Okay, so there is my venting.  For today's Monday Discussion, share yours.  And no holing back people.  This is your chance!

Click here for the Monday Discussion archive.


Kathy BPL RA said...

I second James Patterson for all the reasons you mentioned and I am REALLY tired of hearing him referred to as a genius. I mean come on. Stephenie Meyer also incurs my wrath. I read "Twilight" and not only didn't like it but thought it delivered a terrible message to young girls. Finally, any series that is continued posthumously - especially when it is under a different author's name. They cause confusion across the board. I think a series should die with its author, I mean really do we not have enough aspiring, competent writers to fill the void?

Alissa W said...

I totally agree with your comments re: patterson, although I'm curious about the separate budget line.

Your comments about the Da Vinci Code made me think of The Help because I am currently doing the same thing with that book, except since I think it's fabulous I don't resent it that much. Thoughts?

Cari said...

Ohhhh, I hate Patterson so much!!! Thanks for posting this!

Jennifer said...

Thank you! Re: Quick/Krentz/Castle. Absolutely on target. And I appreciate the reminder to remain positive about any author in public.

Mike said...


Heed my warning for your own
sake! William Faulkner's The
Bear was a rambling, boring,
incomprehensible piece of, uh,
'literature', which if it had
been used as a torture device
at Guantanamo Bay we would have
found out where Bin Laden was
hiding years ago!!!