Thursday, August 25, 2011

The earth moves for Miss Information

"I need your help," the woman said. "I need you to find me a book."
Well, she probably said that. Miss Information wasn't really paying attention because there was a bloody earthquake taking place at the exact time the woman started to speak.

The woman, who was about 6 inches away, noticed nothing and carried on with her reader's advisory question as if there were no natural disaster taking place.

After the ground stopped shaking, Miss Information got back to the business of librarianing. Miss Information's heart was pounding. Could have been the earthquake, could have been the question. Miss Information hates reader's advisory. For one thing, she can't figure out where the apostrophe goes in the word "readers". Also, she does not like to tell people what to do. Or read. This is ironic because quite a lot of her current job is doing exactly that.

The woman wanted a mystery. Cool, not only does Miss Information read mysteries, she had recently done a presentation on that very subject. In any case, reader's/readers' advisory is not brain surgery and there is a series of questions to help narrow down the choices. Miss Information asked the first question which is something like: tell me what your favorite mystery book is. And here's where things broke down. The woman had no answer. She didn't know. She could not name a single book she had ever read. In her life. She mostly read bestsellers. She wanted whatever was popular.

Miss Information soldiered on. Well, did the woman like stories about detectives? Women in peril? Did she like violent books? Was she more of a cosy mystery reader? The woman didn't know the answer to any of these questions. She wanted something popular. What was everyone reading?

Well, basically it depends on whether "everyone" likes stories about detectives, women in peril, violent books, or cosy mysteries. Or spies, or cats who solve crimes, or serial killers, or forensic mysteries, or historical mysteries....

Miss Information moved on to the next question--the one for people who aren't being helpful when asked question number one. What movies/tv shows do you like? The woman wouldn't say. She got a little nervous at this point. Was she afraid Miss Information was trying to pick her up? Never fear, Miss Information was just trying to narrow down the huge number of possibilities.

In the end, the woman wouldn't budge (unlike the earth) so Miss Information gave her one book about detectives, one about women in peril, one that was violent and one that was not. She also threw in a forensic mystery for good measure and told the woman to sort it out for herself.

Then she went back to her now non-moving chair and began googling earthquakes.


At 2:16 PM, Blogger Susan said...

I LOVE reader's advisory! But I agree that it helps if the reader in question can narrow it down a bit. Otherwise, they're apt to wind up with what I enjoy, which in the area of mysteries is a cosy.

At 5:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like mystery stories where a character who asks a stupid question is bludgeoned to death.

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