Have you visited the Blender lately? Although I haven’t been adding new content to the blog in many moons, I have been adding new titles to the blender now and again. Recently I finally made a big push to update the blender, adding over 90 titles. These titles range across all genres, and include older titles and titles published since my last big update about a year ago. I have also been making a push to include more diversity in selections included in the blender. This was no hardship, as there are fantastic books by authors of color and from the LGBT community that tell stories that skillfully blend genres. I’ve also added some additional YA blends, although the focus of the blender remains adult titles. And one other things I’ve tried to do is cast my net beyond the big five publishers, showcasing some small presses and indie author. There’s a lot farther I could go with promoting diverse books, and I know it. But I’ll keep trying.
Now that the Blender database is getting close to 1000 titles, I also hope to add some Top Ten lists to the results (and this space) so that folks don’t get overwhelmed when they get close to 100 titles for the more popular blends.
So I hope you keep blending away and enjoy some of the new content. Here are just a favorites and notable books from the most recent update:
Did you know that at the turn of the last century, the US government considered importing hippos as a source of food? True fact. And this whackadoodle but true fact is the germ that grew into an alternative history novella set around 1890 where ranchers raise hippos like cattle, while riding the more intelligent breeds like horses. Quite a visual! Winslow Houndstooth is putting together a crew for a job that involves hippo wrangling and revenge. The story combines alternate history, magic, non-binary romance, and–my favorite–a caper plot. This was a lot of fun, and those wanting to read it and the sequel novella can get them both in the single volume (with some additional stories) titled American Hippo.
Apologies up front how long it has been since the blender last got an update. I had a hell of a year last year, and had to focus on my work and my health. I hope to be much better going forward about making regular updates to the blender, to make sure that not only do new titles get added but I continue to add older titles that exemplify interesting blends.
Since the last update, I have added over 200 titles, mostly published in 2015 and 2016. Here are some of my favorite titles among those newly added to the database. The bulk of what I tend to add seems to trend toward science fiction and fantasy blends. One reason for this bias is that I read those genres for review, and just come across the blends most often. But I also think some of the most interest blends are happening in the speculative fiction genres. These are genres that just naturally like to take narrative risks. But there are plenty of blends of all genres that are new to the blender. (more…)
As part of a presentation I’m doing for the Biennial National Conference of Librarians Serving Blind and Physically Handicapped Individuals, I have gathered together some of my favorite online RA sources. I thought I would share them here.
Keeping track of what you read:
- What’s new to NLS
- Bestseller Lists
- In the news
- Coming to Theaters (or TV screens):
Dog days of summer might mean days by the pool, or if the heat index is over 100 where you are it might mean days in the air conditioning. Either way, you’ll be looking for some books to read. Here are August’s genre blending titles to seek out and enjoy. Some things I am especially excited about? A not-new-but-new-to-Americans Murakami release of his first two short novels Wind/Pinball; Magic Shifts, a new entry in one of my all-time favorite urban fantasy series by Ilona Andrews; a new book about death from the always reliably amusing Christopher Moore called Secondhand Souls; The Veil, the series opener for a new urban fantasy set in New Orleans from Chloe Neill; and the charmingly quirky The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks. What are you looking forward to?
Genrify readers, I apologize most sincerely for the dearth of new content here over the last couple of weeks. Moving cross-country and starting a new job took a little more out of me than I expected. But I hope to get back to regular postings next week.
Thanks for your patience!
The blending trend of mixing and matching elements from different genres to tell a story is not limited to novels. Visual media are often the perfect way to tell a blended story, and while TV and movies get a lot of attention, comic book and graphic novels have been genre-blending for a long time.
The storytelling technique of comics really blends the best of the written and visual worlds, allowing the creators to (literally) illustrate scenes that a novelist can only describe. But you still get to keep some of that imaginative work that happens when you read novels – filling in the details in your head that are only inked on the page with soundtracks and special effects and how the character sounds in your head. It also is a format that allows you to proceed at your own pace, lingering over panels and pages that catch your fancy, whipping through scenes that somehow manage to convey movement and action through pen and ink.
The turn of the calendar, another year of blending goodness to look forward to. If you are looking for new books that don’t conform neatly to the big genre categories, but mix elements from multiple genres, I’ve got some picks for you. January doesn’t traditionally yield a bumper crop of new books, but there’s always something coming out. Genres are listed in my best estimation as to the order of prominence to the story. For example, if the first genre listed is SF, that is probably the first audience for the book. What are you most looking foward to?
I completed my first full year as a professional reviewer recently, having started with Library Journal as their columnist for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror with the January 2014 issue. Deadlines being what they are, I actually completed that first column in early December 2013. So one year of actual paid reviewing! Mind you, the pay isn’t very good… But a seemingly endless supply of free books is a pretty nice perk of the gig.
Some stats (more…)
Like many reviewers and bloggers, I read the article from author Kathleen Hale in The Guardian with the perspective of fascinated revulsion (The Digital Reader is just one place you can get some background on this mess). Although she had a few sympathetic authors on her side, most readers of the piece were chilled by the thought that an author might go to such lengths to confront someone who had negatively reviewed her work. I saw many book bloggers around the web had done a blogging blackout as a statement in support of all book bloggers who need to be able to state their own opinions of a book in their own space and not be stalked by crazypants authors. I read today about the SF blogger reviewer Requires Only That You Hate (again, there are plenty of roundups of this situation, but the tl;dr is that she is a blogger – and apparent some-time troll under another name – who is getting called out for the extreme and hateful rhetoric of her reviews, especially now since she is gaining success as a short story writing under yet another name). The whole bizarre situation made me think. It made me think about the act of reviewing.