Monday, March 15, 2010

Librarian Romance

I was reading through my google reader over the weekend when I came across Alea's In My Mailbox post. She got a crazy amount of books this week including a ton of romance novels since she's been on a romance kick. (I'm so proud!) I scrolled through her book list and I came across this:

What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss (the tag line says "she's got a secret that's long overdue")

The plot of the book says: (From Amazon)-Is Rachel Robinson the only one on campus who doesn't know who Devin Freedman is? No big deal except that the bad-boy rock star gets a kick out of Rachel's refusal to worship at his feet. And that seems to have provoked his undivided attention. Devin, the guy who gave new meaning to the phrase "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll." Devin, the guy who somehow becomes wedged between her and the past she's kept hidden for years.

It's up to this librarian to find out firsthand just how "bad" he really is. Because her secret—and her growing feelings for a man who claims he's bent on redemption—depend on his turning out to be as good as he seems. Which is really, really good.

I have to admit I'm amused and annoyed at the same time. I'm amused at the idea of a librarian romance novel, but I'm annoyed because of the stereotype on the cover. This book is being published March 16, 2010, yet the librarian on the cover has a terrible outfit that looks like a business woman meets Little House on the Prairie. And she has a bun in her hair-seriously?? I have to say I'm surprised they didn't top it off with glasses on the tip of her nose.

The book got me thinking about librarian's in fiction. There are good representations of librarians and there are bad. I'm a nerd and I get excited when I'm reading a book and the characters go to the library or talk to a librarian. But what bugs me is when contemporary novels fail to acknowledge changes in library's and librarians-especially in YA novels.

I may be biased, but I think YA librarians are pretty cool librarians. Yes, I know there are still librarians who fit the sterotype-there probably always will be, but there are a lot of us who don't-especially in the YA world. We encourage teens to have fun in the library, attend programs, and talk in the library. I never "shush" my teens! So I get annoyed when I read a YA novel where the librarian is giving evil eyes to teens and telling them to "shush!" Is that really how the YA authors I'm trying to promote to my teens and fight so hard for see my profession?

I found a review for What the Librarian Did on a blog called Dear Author and reviewer Jane writes

"...It opened with the heroine and librarian, Rachel Robinson, tending the university library. If she’s a stereotypical librarian, I wouldn’t know. I’m not even sure what the librarian stereotypes are. But if funny, smart mouthed, kind, with a love for vintage clothes are typical librarians, I need to hang out with them more."

Her comments about the book give me hope and I feel like Ms. Bliss has done a good job of not falling into the librarian sterotype trap-although her cover sadly does. I hope that other authors take note and start to write about fun cool librarians too.

So, do you have a favorite fictional librarian-good or bad?

18 comments:

  1. I know I've read a couple of YA novels with awesome librarians, but I can't remember the titles right now.

    As for What the Librarian Did, I actually just received my copy a couple of days ago, though I haven't read it yet. Super Librarian Wendy reviewed it at The Good, The Bad, and The Unread, if you're looking for a romance reading librarian's take on it.

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  2. Go librarians! I still want to be a librarian when I grow up, alas, I'm a teacher and mommy instead, but someday...The only librarians coming to mind right now in YA for me are from Beautiful Creatures (she was awesome), and The Fallen. I love seeing stories with good strong librarians (and teachers).
    P.S. I'm so jealous that you're a YA librarian. Small town-our library is in the k-12 school with 1 librarian :)

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  3. The cover stinks but the description sounds interesting. I read a great novel featuring a librarian last year called Breach of Trust by DiAnn Mills but that librarian was also a former CIA agent. It is a suspense novel that received a great review in Booklist. A few years ago I read a romance novel featuring the Mafia and a librarian but I can't remember how she was portrayed or what it was called.

    Is there a list anywhere of books featuring librarians?

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  4. Trisha-Thanks for the review link-I'll check it out.

    Jessie-I love the librarian in Beautiful Creatures (still need to read Fallen). I love strong cool teachers in books too. I hope you get to be a librarian someday!

    Christina-I'll look around for a list of books with librarians-that would make a great booklist! (And I'll check those books out-they sound great!)

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  5. Charlaine Harris wrote a series prior to the "Sookie Stackhouse" series which featured a librarian named Aurora Teagarden. The first of the series is "Real Murders."

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  6. Hahah yay! I agree though, her look is very very not right for 2010. I try and ignore it because some books have the most horrible covers!

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  7. Melissa-I saw the Aurora Teagarden books come up in my library catalog-they look great! I really enjoy Charlainne Harris.

    Alea-I know, from the reviews the book looks fun, but the cover is terrible!

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  8. I don't dress particularly like a librarian, or any kind of authority figure, for that matter! It's so funny to sse people try to decide who is in charge. Invariably they gravitate toward the one (whoever it happens to be) with "power clothes" on. I like being able to go under the radar, so to speak...

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  9. Elizabeth-That's awesome! I don't think I dress like a librarian either-although my husband says I have a couple outfits that are my teacher/librarian clothes. :)

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  10. I'm thinking of the librarian in the Harry Potter books. In the sixth book she just about has a coronary when she sees the writing in the Half-Blood Prince's book. It makes me laugh every time.

    My husband is a librarian, so we enjoy finding librarian stereotypes and chuckling at them (especially in movies).

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  11. Alyce-that scene makes me laugh too. There was a documentary made a couple of years ago called Hollywood Librarian that talked about sterotypes of librarians in the media.

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  12. You know she probably undoes the bun and shakes her hair so it falls provocatively around her shoulders!

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  13. This book sounds hilarious - I just requested it from my library system. :) I particularly enjoy Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians - what fun Sanderson has with stereotypes in that one!

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  14. When I saw the cover, I thought it was a book from several decades ago. That is dreadful! I don't dress like that and I haven't seen any other librarians I know dress like that either.

    Ooh, I'd love to make (or see) a list of books with librarian characters...

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  15. Lenore-Yep, I'm sure she does the "transform into sexy librarian" thing! Don't librarians always do that?:) haha

    Natalie-I loved the way Alcatraz Vs. The Evil Librarians played with librarian sterotypes-it's hilarious!

    Melissa-I'm working on a list-I'll try to post one soon!

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  16. I was totally turned of by Aurora Teagarden (even though I love other Charlene Harris books). She came off as a prissy know it all who lacked common sense.

    My favorite librarian is Chess from The Demon's Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow. She is tough, smart, a little bossy and funny just like most of the librarians I work with.

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  17. Ooo, definitely have to mention China Mieville's librarians in Un Lun Dun. The Extreme Librarians - "Bookaneers", who go roped together into perilous sections of the Wordhoard Pit in quest of obscure and rare titles.

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  18. TLA has an interesting fundraider going on right now that should abuse those with stereotypical librarian notions:
    http://www.txla.org/temp/tattoo.html
    Check it out!

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