Outstanding Reference Sources Award by the American Library Association
This multi-volume 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.
“Although many genre literature encyclopedias are currently available, they tend to address a single genre, such as travel writing or science fiction. 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. Each signed, scholarly article is highly readable and useful for a number of reasons: article content that is rich in succinct critical analysis; inclusion of key names and literary works; and a format that is reassuringly formulaic, consisting of a genre definition, history, themes, reception, discussion of selected key authors and their works, a bibliography, and a list of suggested readings. . . . This title fills a niche: not only does it present a variety of genres, but it also points the user to representative writers and secondary literature in genres that are not as well established or closely studied.”—Patricia Mardeusz, Choice
The purpose of Books and Beyond “is to give an overview of the nature of contemporary American literature by providing the reader with descriptions of genres, major authors in each genre, and other relevant information. This four-volume set achieves this purpose by describing more than seventy areas, from academic fiction to zines, in a way that is both scholarly and accessible. . . . Books and Beyond compiles information about multiple genres in an uncommon way. By giving background information on each area rather than simply listing recommended authors and titles, the editor aims higher than a simple readers’ advisory guide.”—Katy Herrick, Reference and User Services Quarterly