What are some upcoming trends for the next year?
While I hate to admit it, I am absolutely terrible at predicting trends, be it publishing, fashion, music, or what have you. I like to think I know what the trends should be, but rarely does my opinion make it to the trendsetters. However, the trend I hope for in 2016? Science fiction coming back with a vengeance. The Martian by Andy Weir saw smashing success in print in 2011, and again in 2015 with the motion picture, and I cannot help but think The Martian’s blockbuster status drummed up renewed interest in NASA and the space program…and science fiction as a genre. Other wins that lead me to this prediction include Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle getting picked up in Amazon.com’s series adaptation and the SyFy channel jumping on Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke and The Expanse novel series by James S.A. Corey. Watching and reading tastes align so closely that this could be a burgeoning trend. A few titles I look forward to in 2016 include All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (io9’s editor-in-chief), Sylvain Neuvel’s Sleeping Giants, and The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I enjoy books that meld different structures together to provide unique reading experiences. House of Leaves set me on this path with Mark Z. Danielewski’s unique typography layout and secondary story in the footnotes. Then J.J. Abrams [and Doug Dorst] came out with S., which, I’ll admit, pained me greatly as a cataloger but made me fall in love as a reader. Poetry has long since taken up the torch for ergodic writing, but fiction seems a newcomer to the game, and I thoroughly enjoy reading books that require me to put forth a bit more effort to understand and draw my own conclusion and analysis. Plus, they’re just gorgeous pieces of art. Similarly, I find myself intrigued with the mashup of different literary writing styles. This year, it was H is for Hawk, in which Helen Macdonald pieces together a memoir made up of inner dialogue, a bit of instruction-manual language, and a critical interpretation of a hawk-training guide.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
As a horror junkie (or maven, depending on who you ask), I am pretty over the whole zombie craze. It’s everywhere, from movies and television to video games and benefit events, which makes it appear a bit mundane in horror novels. Besides, the classics are classics for good reason: they are amazing zombie novels and flicks and pretty hard to top.
What’s unique about your corner of the publishing world (libraries)?
Public libraries remain the stronghold for showcasing physical materials and putting them in the hands of readers of all ages, levels, and interests. Libraries offer publishers a physical space with a built-in readership, and these libraries love to build displays, provide programs with authors, give freebies, and offer advice on what to read, listen to, or watch next. We want our patrons to read widely and voraciously and talk to us and to others about reading, and we do all of this without trying to turn a profit. This impartiality is a perfect match for publishers, which I feel could be improved. Librarians are the book experts, and people come to us for all things books and authors. Who better to pair up with to let the world know about a new author or title?
Anything else you’d like to add?
Lawrence Public Library’s Readers’ Services offered all staff a 2016 New Year’s resolution: take up Book Riot’s 2016 Read Harder Challenge. The buzz that this simple idea generated among staff has been incredible. Everyone is talking about it, suggesting titles for certain challenges, discussing the difficulty of meeting others, and setting up side challenges with one another. Librarians are competitive. We love to read, but we love to read more than our colleagues. We’re energized, we’re ready, and we’re going to have a darn good time in 2016.
Kelly Fann is the collection development and cataloging coordinator for Lawrence Public Library and president of the Kansas Library Association. She holds master’s degrees in library science from Emporia State University and public administration from the University of Kansas. Currently, Kelly reviews audiobooks and adult fiction for Booklist magazine and serves on Booklist’s advisory board. She has published articles in Reference & User Services Quarterly and Library Journal and book chapters in Libraries Unlimited’s Genreflecting: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests (2013) and Crossover Readers’ Advisory (2016).