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Books and Beyond [4 volumes]: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of New American Reading Hardcover – October 30, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0313337383 ISBN-10: 0313337381

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Greenwood has published an encyclopedia that is designed to help librarians, general readers, and students understand contemporary American literature. Its 75 entries give a broad overview of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, and comics since 1980. Each entry includes a definition of the genre, history, recent trends and prevailing themes, context and related issues, critical and popular reception, selected authors, a bibliography, and suggestions for further reading. The set also includes lists of contemporary authors by genre and a comprehensive index. Besides analyzing the standard fiction genres, the encyclopedia covers the growth of such genres as Cyberpunk, Graphic novels, Flash fiction, and Transrealist fiction. For nonfiction, there are essays on “Historical Writing” and “True Crime Literature,” among others. There are also entries for poetry genres such as Ecopoetry and other topics, such as Film adaptations of books. Within each essay, the contributors connect their topics to movies, radio, the Internet, and American popular culture. Numerous sidebars give interesting lists, trivia, and quotations to engage the reader’s interest. The essays range in quality from outstanding to just fair. Those on newer genres such as Chick lit and Zines are complete and quite informative. Entries on Arab American literature and Beat poetry also give an outstanding overview. Autobiography and memoir, on the other hand, has a very short overview of the genre’s history and sums up the trends in the area in just a few sentences. There is a great deal of duplication among the entries. For example, Suspense fiction covers legal thrillers in great detail, yet there is a separate essay on Legal thrillers. Adventure fiction spends most of its time discussing nonfiction travel literature, while there is another entry for Travel literature. Adventure fiction explains the elements of the genre very well but does not discuss the important authors.  Books and Beyond does an outstanding job of explaining the new fiction genres, nonfiction, and poetry. Although anyone seeking to understand the traditional fiction genres would get more information from Genreflecting (6th ed., 2005) or any of the Libraries Unlimited Genreflecting Advisory Series titles, it could be useful for librarians, as well as for students, because of the variety of literatures it covers. Recommended for public and academic libraries. Also available as an e-book. --Merle Jacob

Review

• More than 80 alphabetically arranged entries summarize the state of popular literature in America today.

• Sidebars provide lists, trivia, and quotations to engage student interest and connect literary works to contemporary concerns.

• Entries help students learn the characteristics of different genres.

• Bibliographies suggest works for further reading and encourage student research.



"Written for high school, college, and university students, these four-volume set addresses the shape and nature of contemporary American literature –focusing on 1980 to the present - in all of its print and post print formats. Womack (English, Penn State, Altoona), who has published widely on 20th-century literary and popular culture, brings together the writings of 64 international scholars on over 70 literary genres.' "

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Library Journal



"Recommended for the very large high school library and above, where scholarly critical information is needed."

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Teacher Librarian



"This four-volume encyclopedia includes over 70 types of genre literature, from the well established, e.g., historical fiction, to the more recent and emerging genres, e.g., chick lit, zines, and graphic novels. While the focus is on popular American literature, contributors discuss writers from other countries when they are significant in a particular genre… Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers; general readers."

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Choice



". . . this set is unique in its scope and treatment of the contemporary American literary scene and will prove to be an invaluable supplement to standard references sources on American literature. It is highly recommended for academic and large public libraries."

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ARBA



"Greenwood has published an encyclopedia that is designed to help librarians, general readers, and students

understand contemporary American literature. Its 75 entries give a broad overview of fiction, nonfiction,

poetry, drama, and comics since 1980. Each entry includes a definition of the genre, history, recent trends

and prevailing themes, context and related issues, critical and popular reception, selected authors, a

bibliography, and suggestions for further reading. The set also includes lists of contemporary authors by

genre and a comprehensive index. …Books and Beyond does an outstanding job of explaining the new fiction genres, nonfiction, and poetry. Although anyone seeking to understand the traditional fiction genres would get more information from Genreflecting (6th ed., 2005) or any of the Libraries Unlimited Genreflecting Advisory Series titles, it could be useful for librarians, as well as for students, because of the variety of literatures it covers. Recommended for public and academic libraries."

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Booklist



"This four-volume set for general readers and high school and college students contains chapters on genres or areas in contemporary American literature, arranged alphabetically. Each chapter includes a historical overview of the development of the genre, a definition, and discussion and brief analyses of works, with the most emphasis on those published by major authors from 1980 to the present. Chapters also discuss major trends and themes in the genre, contexts and issues, and reception, including criticism, film adaptations, and relationships to popular culture. Chapters include children's literature, genres of fiction, humor, poetry, travel writing, Native American literature, memoir, chick lit, Christian fiction, literary journalism, magical realism, true crime, comic books, ecopoetry, GLBTQ literature, graphic novels, manga and anime, and zines."

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Reference & Research Book News



"Whether you're charged with selecting new books in an unfamiliar literary genre for a collection or just want to add new titles to your leisure reading list, you'll want to consult Books and Beyond . . . a definite must for your reference shelf."

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Catholic Library World



"This encyclopedia is appropriate for public, high school, and college libraries that have strong interest in literary research or genre fiction."

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Reference & User Services Quarterly



"The substantial essays will serve to introduce audiences in both academic and public libraries to a fascinating array of current writing."

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Lawrence Looks at Books


More About the Author

Kenneth Womack is the author of three novels, John Doe No. 2 and the Dreamland Motel (2010), which earned ForeWord Reviews' Bronze Award for Literary Fiction, The Restaurant at the End of the World (2012), which won the Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards for Regional Fiction, and Playing the Angel (2013). Womack is also the author or editor of numerous works of nonfiction, including Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles (2007). He is Professor of English & Integrative Arts at Penn State University's Altoona College, where he also serves as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

kennethwomack.com

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