When I enter a book on my Goodreads account, I use the review space not so much for reviews but for quick reactions, or a little color commentary. A while back I was singing the praises of one particular and highly awesome audiobook (by Richard Peck) and then very much lamenting the fact that most adults probably would not discover this treasure unless a child was involved. Too bad because, as we book-pushers know, the pleasure of reading transcends format, genre, and intended audience and can take many forms.
Who is ready and willing to read outside of their prescribed book market? Teachers, librarians, writers, booksellers, and those in the publishing industry. But what about Harry Potter you say? And of course, we now have The Hunger Games (at present, you can spot anyone from age 9 to 90 carrying that book). Does this mean that the wider world has begun to cast off the shackles preventing them from exploring the wonders of fiction designated for youth? I’m not ready to declare victory just yet. I realize that as a librarian, I am so immersed in my YA book evaluation, purchasing, face-out shelving, book clubs, blogging, and book talking that I’m slightly in danger of losing perspective on the world outside of book-centric circles. The real world: where high school teachers only deign to recommend and assign classics, where people have no idea what YA stands for, and where people assume they know what teen lit is all about and that it’s not for them. I’m happily in my librarian bubble where I get to interact on a daily-basis with all sorts of fabulous library users and excited teens who know exactly what I’m talking about.
Thus, I require evidence of the mainstream media and pop culture variety to really believe that the tides are turning. Sure, sure, The Hunger Games movie situation is good proof, but it’s just one book, and does one phenomenally successful book lead to wider readership of any kind? I think it does. I refer to it as the Harry Potter Effect. So here, in no particular order, are some further tidbits of the evolution-in-process, the building of consensus, if you will, that if it’s a good book people will read it, no matter the label.