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Kim Wilkins, Beth Driscoll, and Lisa Fletcher. Genre Worlds: Popular Fiction and Twenty-First-Century Book Culture.

In 2017, I reviewed Jeremy Rosen’s exploration of genre and late 20th/21st century publishing in Minor Characters Have Their Day for SHARP News. So it seems only fitting that 5 years later I have the opportunity to review Genre Worlds: Popular Fiction and Twenty-First-Century Book Culture by Kim Wilkins, Beth Driscoll, and Lisa Fletcher. Genre Worlds is a more expansive examination of genre in popular fiction than the work of Rosen and many others, and provides an important framework for the study of genre fiction. Genre Worlds follows an organizational structure that addresses the theory of genre worlds, relationship to the publishing industry, transnational and transmedia genre worlds, community and creativity, genre sociality (online and in-person), the texts themselves, concluding with genre worlds and change.

Penguin Book Vending Machines

I’ve had a long-held interest in Penguin’s infamous Penguincubator, and bookshops more generally, and saw an opportunity to combine both for a couple of conference papers this year.  And then – on the 24th March, my inbox and social media feeds started to light up.  A new Penguin books vending machine had been installed at Exeter railway station, and people were extremely excited.  And I mean, extremely excited.  Suddenly, I was trying to process all the pictures being posted, comments logged, and articles written: I wanted to use the research to highlight some of the challenges of pursuing bookselling histories, but I hadn’t anticipated this would become such a timely tie-in with what Penguin were doing. 

Simone Murray, The Digital Literary Sphere

Simone Murray’s The Digital Literary Sphere has a set of ambitious and interrelated objectives. The book proposes to understand digital writing as the product of an industry that is also becoming digital, touching on the ways that the digital sphere creates its own conceptualizations of authorship, marketing, book reviewing and reading. The Digital Literary Sphere additionally features a rationale for thinking of “the digital’s significance for literary culture” (1) via some of the methods and concerns of book history, media studies, and a specific aspect of electronic literary studies. Along the way, Murray considers, and for the most part discards, other ways of understanding digital writing, including literary studies more generally, the Digital Humanities, cultural studies, approaches making use of Bourdieu’s conception of the literary field, and literary sociology. ☛ ☞