17:610:585 Reading Interests of Adults
(Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
School of Communication, Information and Library Studies
Department of Library and Information Science) Instructor: Marija Dalbello

Spring2009Syllabus

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course objectives | catalog description | pre-/co-requisites | organization of the course | textbooks | course outline| weekly readings

Course Objectives:

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Catalog Description:
This course focuses on the examination and evaluation of materials for adult library users, with special attention to fiction genres. Use of materials in programming. Emphasis on popular culture and adult literacy.

Pre- and/or Co-Requisite:
This course requires no pre- and/or Co-Requisites.

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Organization of the Course:

Module I - Cultural Production, the Society, and the Consumption of Texts

1. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture
2. The Cultures of Reading, Reading as Social Practice
3. The Structure of Genre
4. Reading Practices and Institutional Contexts
5. Publishers and the Literary Marketplace

Module II - Reading Genres and Genre Readers

1. Mystery/Detective Fiction
2.
Science Fiction, Fantasy
3.
Romances
4. Westerns
5. Horror
6. Christian Reading
7. New Age
8. Comics
9. Tabloids

Module III - Programming and Collection Development

1. The Public Library (Reader's Advisory Services; Genre Guides; Collection Development)
2. Reading Spaces and Reading Communities in Transition

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Texts:
The required texts can be ordered from amazon.com (used). Electronic files of articles will be uploaded to the eCompanion shell as the course progresses.

REQUIRED TEXTS:

Alberto Manguel. 1996. A History of Reading. (Viking)

Arthur Asa Berger. 1992. Popular Culture Genres: Theories and Texts. (Sage)

ADDITIONAL TEXTS:

George Dove. 1997. The Reader and the Detective (Bowling Green State University Press)

Camile Bacon-Smith. 1999. Science Fiction Culture . (University of Pennsylvania Press)

Janice Radway. 1991. Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature . Rev. ed. (University of North Carolina Press)

Jane Tompkins. 1993. West of Everything: The Inner Life of Westerns (Oxford University Press)

Noël Carroll. 1990. The Philosophy of Horror or Paradoxes of the Heart ( Routledge)

Paul Heelas. 1997. The New Age Movement: Religion, Culture and Society in the Age of Postmodernity (Blackwell)

Matthew J. Pustz. 1999. Comic Book Culture: Fanboys and True Believers (University Press of Mississippi)

S. Elizabeth Bird. 1992. For Enquiring Minds: A Cultural Study of Supermarket Tabloids (University of Tennessee Press)

course objectives | catalog description | pre-/co-requisites | organization of the course | textbooks | course outline| weekly readings

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Course Outline:

This outline is based on Wayne Wiegand's course, Reading Interests of Adults, which was offered in Spring 2000 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. School of Library & Information Studies).
     Readings  Assignments / Activities

Week 1 (January 22)

Introduction to the class
Overview of Course and Expectations
   
  Cultural Production, the Society, and the Consumption of Texts    
Week 2 (January 29)

Cultural Theory and Popular Culture

slides (628K)

DISCUSSION
whole class read Storey, Atwood, Barnard, browse NEA Report
Personal Reading Profile due
Identify "Theme" and "Area of Emphasis" for your journal
 Week 3 (February 5)

The Cultures of Reading
Reading as Social Practice

slides (268K)

DISCUSSION
whole class read Manguel, A History of Reading; Kirschenbaum; Wiegand
 
  Week 4 (February 12)

The Structure of Genre; Reading Practices and Institutional Contexts; Reading in the Marketplace: Publishers' Programming

slides (152K)

whole class read Berger, Popular Culture Genres; Garrison; Gorham; Squires
  Reading Genres and Genre Readers    
 Week 5 (February 19)

Mystery/Detective Fiction

slides (188K)

(1) Dove, The Reader and the Detective Story
(2A, 3B)

whole class read Knight & McKnight; Ellis

Statement of intent for the term project (historical analysis of genre) due

Week 6 (February 26)

 Science Fiction, Fantasy

slides (132K)

(2) Bacon-Smith, Science Fiction Culture
(1B. 3A)

whole class read Killheffer; Schollmeyer

Browse
Bonnie's Picks (SF/Fantasy, Graphic Novels) - resource develped by Bonnie Kunzel (NJ State Library)

 Week 7 (March 5)

 

Guest speaker - to be confirmed

browse Nancy Herkness Site

RSHOB Lecture by John Unsworth (at 5 p.m. Alexander Library Teleconference Center)

 Week 8 (March 12)

March 19 - no class (Spring break)

Romances

slides (188K)

 

 

(3) Radway, Reading the Romance
(2B, 1A)

whole class read Andriani; Robbins; Séllei

 

Field Study begins

 

Week 9 (March 26)

 

 Westerns

slides (140K)

 

 

 (1) Tompkins, West of Everything
(2A, 3B)

whole class also watch a Western

 

Term Paper (historical analysis of genre) due

  Week 10 (April 2)

 

 

 

Horror

slides (152K)

(2) Carroll, Philosophy of Horror
(1B, 3A)

whole class read handouts

 

  Week 11 (April 9)

 

 

Christian Reading

 

read one fiction book sold in a religious bookstore (Christian, etc.)

whole class read Fisher; Hilliard; Gutjahr

 

RSHOB Lecture by Gallen Brokaw at Alexander Library Pane Room

 Week 12 (April 16)

 

 New Age

slides (136K)

 

 

(3) Heelas, The New Age Movement

read one book fitting this category

whole class read What to Look for in the Next Millennium

Week 13 (April 23)

 

Comics

slides (1.1 MB)

 

 

(1) Pustz, Comic Book Culture

Groups 2 and 3 read three comic books

 

whole class read Wolk

 

Term paper (field study of readers) due

  Week 14 (April 30)

Tabloids

 

 

whole class read Bird, For Enquiring Minds

also read one tabloid sold at a grocery or convenience store (vary your selections)

Hand in reading journals

Week 15 (May 7)

Conclusion
Reader's Advisory Services; Genre Guides
Reading Spaces and Reading Communities in Transition (the Library, the Bookstore, and the Online Alternatives)
Conclusion

whole class browse Pearl, Now Read This; Tixier Genreflecting

Additional class activities:

Bookstore Blitz: Field trip to local bookstores (NYC) - date will be determined in mid-semester. Midtown Comics, Christian Bookstore, Partners & Crime, Oscar Wilde Bookstore AND/OR attend two lectures in the RSHOB Spring 2008-2009 series. For those who wish to explore the bookstores on their own, for guidelines for observation click here.

Explanation of codes:
1, 2 and 3 are student groups whose interest fall into a specific area of emphasis (to be assigned in the second week of class)
A= literature in a specific genre area published to 2000; B = literature in a specific genre area published from 2000-present

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course objectives | catalog description | pre-/co-requisites | organization of the course | textbooks | course outline| weekly readings

Weekly Reading Schedule:

Week 2

Atwood, Margaret. 2003. "A Book Lover's Tale: A Literary Life Raft on Iran's Fundamentalist Sea," Amnesty Now (Fall): 4-7, 26.

Anne Barnard. 2008. From the Streets to the Libraries, New York Times, October 23.

National Endowment for the Arts. 2007. To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence. Research Report #47 (http://www.nea.gov/research/ToRead.pdf)

John Storey. 1998. An Introduction to Cultural Theory and Popular Culture. (University of Georgia Press) (selections)

Week 3

Matthew Kirschenbaum. 2007. "How Reading Is Being Reimagined," The Chronicle of Higher Education 54, issue 15 (Dec. 7): B20 (http://chronicle.com/temp/reprint.php?id=fgprwfnh32l7d3thj18vh3jz79k9f6fw)

Alberto Manguel. 1996. A History of Reading. (Viking)

Wayne Wiegand. 1997. " Misreading LIS Education," Library Journal (June 15, 1997): 36-38

Week 4

Arthur Asa Berger. 1992. Popular Culture Genres: Theories and Texts. (Sage)

Dee Garrison, Dee. 1979. Apostles of Culture: The Public Librarian and American Society, 1876-1920 . (Libraries Unlimited) (Ch. 5: The Shift in Attitudes Toward Popular Fiction, pp. 88-101)

Sarah Gorham. 2007. "Undefinable," PW 254, no. 33 (Aug. 20): 74

(optional) Brendan Luyt. 2001. "Regulating Readers: The Social Origins of the Readers' Advisor in the United States," Library Quarterly 71 (4:2001): 443-67.

Claire Squires. 2007. Marketing Literature: The Making of Contemporary Writing in Britain . (Palgrave) (selections)

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Week 5-14

Mystery/Detective Fiction

George Dove. 1997. The Reader and the Detective. (Bowling Green State University Press)

Leane M. Ellis. 2007. "Genre Book Discussions," Public Libraries 46, no. 2 (March/April 2007): 24-26

Deborah Knight, and George McKnight. 1997. "The Case of the Disappearing Enigma," Philosophy and Literature 21.1 

SF/Fantasy

Camile Bacon-Smith. 1999. Science Fiction Culture. (University of Pennsylvania Press)

Robert K.J. Killheffer. 1997. "Fantasy Charts New Realms," PW (June 16): 34-40.

Shawn Schollmeyer. 2007. "Apocalypse Now? Summer Ecothrillers," Library Journal 132, no. 11 (June 15): 113.

Romances

Lynn Andriani. 2007. "Love for Sale," PW . 254, no. 22 (May 28): 30-32

Janice Radway. 1991. Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature . Rev. ed. (University of North Carolina Press)

Sarah J. Robbins. 2007. "Textually Promiscuous," PW 254, no. 46 (Nov. 19): 23-24, 26-28.

Nóra Séllei. 2006. "Bridget Jones and Hungarian Chick Lit." In Chick Lit: The New Woman's Fiction , pp. 173-188. Ed. Susanne Ferriss and Mallory Young (Routledge)

Westerns

Jane Tompkins. 1993. West of Everything: The Inner Life of Westerns. (Oxford University Press)

Horror

Noël Carroll. 1990. The Philosophy of Horror or Paradoxes of the Heart. (Routledge)

Christian Reading

Allan Fisher. 1998. "Evangelical-Christian Publishing: Where It's Been and Where It's Going," Publishing Research Quarterly 14 (Fall): 3-11.

Juli Cragg Hilliard. 2007. "It's a Fantasy," PW 254, no. 21 (May 21): S10.

Paul C. Gutjahr. 2002. "No Longer Left Behind: Amazon.com, Reader-Response, and the Changing Fortunes of the Christian Novel in America," Book History 5: 209-236.

New Age

Paul Heelas. 1997. The New Age Movement. (Blackwell)

"What to Look for in the Next Millenium," PW (June 14, 1999): 32-42.

Comics

Matthew J. Pustz. 1999. Comic Book Culture: Fanboys and True Believers. (University Press of Mississippi)

Douglas Wolk. 2004. Graphic Novel Sales Rise Despite Shelf Space Squeeze. PW (Dec. 20, 2004)  

Tabloids

S. Elizabeth Bird. 1992. For Enquiring Minds: A Cultural Study of Supermarket Tabloids. (University of Tennessee Press)

Week 15

Justine Alsop. 2007. "Bridget Jones Meets Mr. Darcy: Challenges of Contemporary Fiction," The Journal of Academic Librarianship 33 (September 2007): 581-585.  

Diana Tixier Herald. 2006. Genreflecting: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests. Ed. By Wayne Wiegand. 6th ed. (Libraries Unlimited)

Nancy Pearl. 2000. Now Read This: A Guide to Mainstream Fiction, 1978-1998. (Libraries Unlimited)

Nancy Pearl. 2002. Now Read This II: A Guide to Mainstream Fiction, 1990-2001. (Libraries Unlimited)

 

Additional Titles of Interest:

Fonsecca, Anthony J, and Pulliam, June Michele. 2002.   Hooked on Horror: A Guide to Reading Interests in Horror Fiction . 2 nd ed. (Libraries Unlimited)

Fonsecca, Anthony J, and Pulliam, June Michele. 2009.   Hooked on Horror III: A Guide to Reading Interests in Horror Fiction . (Libraries Unlimited)

Frolund, Tina. 2006. Genrefied Classics: A Guide to Reading Interests in Classic Literature . (Libraries Unlimited)

Gannon, Michael. 2004. B lood, Bedlam, Bullets, and Badguys: A Reader's Guide to Adventure/Suspense Fiction. (Libraries Unlimited)

Greenberg, Gerald S. 1996. Tabloid Journalism: An Annotated Bibliography of English-Language Sources. (Greenwood)

Heising, Willete L. 1996. Detective Women 2: A Reader's Guide and Checklist for Mystery Series Written by Women (Purple Moon Press)

Herald, Diana Tixier. 1995. Fluent in Fantasy: A Guide to Reading Interests (Libraries Unlimited)

Herald, Diana Tixier, and Bonnie Kunzel. 2007. Fluent in Fantasy: The Next Generation (Libraries Unlimited)

Herald, Diana Tixier. 2006. Genreflecting: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests . Ed. Wayne Wiegand. 6th ed. (Libraries Unlimited)

Herald, Diana Tixier, and Bonnie Kunzel. 2002. Strictly Science Fiction: A Guide to Reading Interests . (Libraries Unlimited)  

Hoffman, Frank. American Popular Culture: A Guide to the Reference Literature (Libraries Unlimited)

Hollands, Neil. 2007. Read on . . . Fantasy Fiction: Reading Lists for Every Taste (Libraries Unlimited)

Johnson, Sarah. 2005. Historical Fiction: A Guide to the Genre. (Libraries Unlimited)

Mort, John. 2006. Read the High Country: A Guide to Western Books and Films . (Libraries Unlimited)

Niebuhr, Gary Warren. 2003. Make Mine a Mystery: A Reader's Guide to Mystery and Detective Fiction . (Libraries Unlimited)

Pawuk, Michael. 2006. Graphic Novels: A Genre Guide to Comic Books, Manga, and More . (Libraries Unlimited)

Pearl. Nancy. 2000. Now Read This: A Guide to Mainstream Fiction, 1978-1998 (Libraries Unlimited)

Pearl, Nancy. 2002. Now Read This II: A Guide to Mainstream Fiction, 1990-2001 (Libraries Unlimited)

Ross, Catherine Sheldrick, Lynne McKechnie, Paulette M. Rothbauer. 2005. Reading Matters: What the Research Reveals about Reading, Libraries, and Community . (Libraries Unlimited)

Swanson, Jean and Dean, James. 1998. Killer Books: A Reader's Guide to Exploring the Popular World of Mystery and Suspense (Berkeley Prime Crime)

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Marija Dalbello
Last revised January 20, 2009
comments to: dalbello at scils.rutgers.edu