Books and Beyond [4 volumes]: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of New American Reading

Overview

There's a strong interest in reading for pleasure or self-improvement in America, as shown by the popularity of Harry Potter, and book clubs, including Oprah Winfrey's. Although recent government reports show a decline in recreational reading, the same reports show a strong correlation between interest in reading and academic acheivement. This set provides a snapshot of the current state of popular American literature, including various types and genres. The volume presents alphabetically arranged entries on more...

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Overview

There's a strong interest in reading for pleasure or self-improvement in America, as shown by the popularity of Harry Potter, and book clubs, including Oprah Winfrey's. Although recent government reports show a decline in recreational reading, the same reports show a strong correlation between interest in reading and academic acheivement. This set provides a snapshot of the current state of popular American literature, including various types and genres. The volume presents alphabetically arranged entries on more than 70 diverse literary categories, such as cyberpunk, fantasy literature, flash fiction, GLBTQ literature, graphic novels, manga and anime, and zines. Each entry is written by an expert contributor and provides a definition of the genre, an overview of its history, a look at trends and themes, a discussion of how the literary form engages contemporary issues, a review of the genre's reception, a discussion of authors and works, and suggestions for further reading. Sidebars provide fascinating details, and the set closes with a selected, general bibliography.

Reading in America for pleasure and knowledge continues to be popular, even while other media compete for attention. While students continue to read many of the standard classics, new genres have emerged. These have captured the attention of general readers and are also playing a critical role in the language arts classroom. This book maps the state of popular literature and reading in America today, including the growth of new genres, such as cyberpunk, zines, flash fiction, GLBTQ literature, and other topics.

Each entry is written by an expert contributor and provides a definition of the genre, an overview of its history, a look at trends and themes, a discussion of how the literary form engages contemporary issues, a review of the genre's critical reception, a discussion of authors and works, and suggestions for further reading. Sidebars provide fascinating details, and the set closes with a selected, general bibliography. Students will find this book a valuable guide to what they're reading today and will appreciate its illumination of popular culture and contemporary social issues.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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

Library Journal

Written for high school, college, and university students, this four-volume set addresses the shape and nature of contemporary American literature-focusing on 1980 to the present-in all of its print and postprint 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. Each article provides a definition of the genre, along with information on its history, themes, contexts, issues, reception, and selected authors, and concludes with a bibliography and further reading lists. The genres discussed include academic fiction, various multicultural literature, poetic forms, nonfiction, and more. Commentary on selected titles in each genre not only supplies a healthy dose of literary criticism but also serves as a reader's advisory tool. The comprehensive index covers authors, award types, titles, themes, and genres.
—Sara Rofofsky Marcus

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313337383
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/30/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 1352
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 4.90 (d)

Meet the Author

KENNETH WOMACK is Professor of English and Head of the Division of Arts and Humanities at Penn State Altoona.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction: Reading in America Today

Alphbetical Entries

Contemporary Authors by Genre

Suggestions for Further Reading

About the Editors and Contributors

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