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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Resource Reminder, Reminder: All Readers for SEX and Violence

Today I am reposting a resource reminder from 2016 because I still get regular questions about this resource and/or questions about how to assess sex and violence levels in a book before you suggest it AND how to assess how much sex and violence you patron has handled in the past. All Readers does both, it just isn't a very pretty site; very useful but also the definition of a hot mess.

Before you read on I also wanted to add this reminder-- as you will see below, don't believe your readers who tell you they don't like a lot of violence and that James Patterson is their favorite author. These readers are lying to you. Read on to see proof.


Resource Reminder: All Readers for SEX and VIOLENCE

I often take for granted that just because I know that I mention something in many of my programs AND it is linked on my popular 10 Rules of Basic RA page that everyone is aware of it. But based on the questions I have received in my email recently, I am quite wrong to do this.

So today I want to point you all to my favorite resource for frank and easy to use info on SEX and VIOLENCE-- All Readers.

Let me begin with this warning, however. All Readers is a messy and imperfect site. I never use it except for this one reason-- SEX and VIOLENCE. Again, let me stress I am NOT recommending you use their reviews, only the box at the very bottom of each entry that is titled, “Chapter analysis.”

Why do I love this resource so much? Again, I need to say it-- SEX and VIOLENCE. How much does the reader in front of you want? Where is their tipping point? And most importantly, how do you bring up this sensitive [but necessary] RA question with a compete stranger?

The answer to all of these questions is All Readers.

Let me show you with a couple of examples.

It is not going out on a limb to say that James Patterson is one of the most popular authors in terms of library checkouts. I often had patrons come in and say, I don’t like too much violence in my suspense. Okay, I would say, who is your favorite author then? Answer: James Patterson.

Now, in case you don’t know, Patterson’s books are VERY VIOLENT, more violent than average. They have always been violent and have only gotten more so over the years.

Look at the Chapter Analysis entry for one of Patterson’s earliest books in All Readers if you don’t believe me:

As you can clearly see, the patron who says they don’t like violence but loves Patterson, is not giving you the information you need to help him or her. This is not malicious. It is just that for this particular reader, Patterson is not violent because it is not too violent for him or her. It is all relative and highly specific to the patron in front of you at that moment.

Whenever someone brings up a book that you know has some kind of violence, it is important to see if All Readers has an entry so you can get an impartial picture of the violence found between the covers.

But SEX, that is even harder to talk about at the service desk.  Complicating matters is the fact that there are many Romance authors who have been very popular in our libraries for years, but whose level of heat we were not as intimately [pun intended] aware of pre- 50 Shades of Grey. Here is a great example.  Below you can see the EXACT same Susan Elizabeth Philips’ book, but on the left is the pre-50 Shades cover and on the right is the post-50 Shades cover:

Again, this is the SAME book. Before 50 Shades of Grey came out, you would not have thought twice about handing this very mainstream title to any reader. Look at that sweet cover.  Well, I hate to break it to all of you, but the cover on the right is a MUCH BETTER representation of the content.

If you had gone to the All Readers entry for the book, you would have seen this:

Now, I am probably more willing to talk about sex and violence with a patron than most of you, but even I don’t want to ask a patron, “How are you with Weiner talk?”

But thankfully, I don’t have to. Rather, I ask those looking for romance titles about a favorite book, look it up in All Readers and then I can get a better sense of exactly what type of romance they are looking for-- all without making you or the patron uncomfortable.

One final note, I wrote this post because I am often asked, “what’s that sex and violence resource again?” So if there is something you remember me mentioning on the blog or when I presented for you but you just can’t recall it, leave a comment or contact me. I am sure you aren’t the only one. I can do more of these posts as you want them.

Now get out there and search for SEX and VIOLENCE with confidence. [A statement I never pictured myself saying when I became a librarian, by the way.]

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