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Thursday, December 4, 2014

ARRT Crime Fiction Genre Study Day

Today we are meeting at Glenview Public Library to discuss espionage and forensic thrillers.  You can use the link to see the assignment.

I am finishing my prep for our 2pm meeting right now, and have been having way too much fun getting lost in the exotic and dangerous world of spies and delving into the gore and science of forensic anthropology.  I normally do not read these titles on my own, but I have to say, they have been among my favorite of the subgenres in the genre study so far.

One of the things we discuss in the meetings [which are open only to members of ARRT as are the detailed notes of the discussion] is the appeal of these subgenres.  What type of reader will most enjoy these books.  We have 25-30 people in attendance at each meeting, so we have many real life examples to share with each other.  I love this part of the discussion because most of us are experienced readers’ advisory librarians; we know of these authors.  But, we don’t often get a chance to share patron interaction stories, successes and failures in particular.  I learn so much by hearing from my colleagues on working with these authors and genres with readers.

In preparing to share my own experiences with espionage and forensic thrillers, one of the things I noticed with my patrons is that there is a pretty even split between women and men with these subgenres.  That was definitely not the case when we discussed cozy mysteries. But with espionage and forensic, I find that no matter the sex of the author, these books appeal to both men and women fairly equally.  That is rare in my experience.

Also both subgenres are extremely influenced by their popularity in visual mediums. Thrillers in general are very cinematic and often used for film and TV, but the current popularity of these two specific subgenres is particularly tied to their popularity on the screen.

So that’s a tease of what we will talk about later today.  I also give an overview of the subgenres and information about the specific authors that were assigned to start off the more specific discussion. But as I said, you must be a member to attend or receive the password to the notes.

That being said, I encourage anyone out there to use our assignments to create their own genre study, but please just credit ARRT.  Although I am the official leader of the 2 year genre study, it is a group effort with a team of 4 of us organizing and administering the meetings.  Plus we have the support and assistance from the entire Steering Committee.

I also just posted the next assignment for February 2015 at the Berwyn Public Library. It is the first meeting of year 2! We will be finishing up thrillers with a discussion of the subgenres of adventure, crime/caper, and supernatural.

If you are interested in having me come talk to your group about how to organize and run a genre study of your own, drop me a line, leave a comment, or tweet at me [@RAforAll].

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