Sunday, December 7, 2008

Did the canon fire its last shot? The demise of the Western Fiction genre

Does anyone read Zane Grey anymore? And who is writing in that genre? "Western Fiction" seems to have gone pretty much to Boot Hill, a very few notable movies excepted. Although there are the usual disparities in definition (Wiki and the well-known literary website Economic Expert, for example), the horses, trail-dust, and other commonalities are independent of the location.

Notably though, in Australia they should have been called "Easterns" or possibly "Northerns"; a Western here would involve a hell of a lot of water. (Western Australians should now feel free to write to your local newspaper editors and complain about bias and Geographism.)

To be honest, I didn't see any evidence in the library of The Western crawling away to die alone in a remote desert cave. The sad truth hit me during a scrap-booking expedition to find a background for an equestrian-themed page. There wasn't one piece of horsey wrapping paper to be had in any of the major retailers or dime stores; not one birthday card, not so much as a set of kids' stickers.

When did kids stop being obsessed with horses? Now that I think about it, even the Animal Stories shelves have accumulated more than the average amount of dust. Maybe it's just me, having grounded my youth around The Loan Ranger, Zorro, and later in life Bonanza and other things with horses in it, but now I wonder if the problems of contemporary youth have a foundation in a lack of equine contact and/or interest? As Will Rogers is credited with saying "The best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse".

More cheap ideas: Library Seating

Now here's another great idea from the MAKEZINE blog. Not only do you get more furniture for no additional cost, but you recycle without having to go through the tortures of wondering whether or not traditional recycling consumes more energy and materials than just creating new materials.

There seems to be many great ideas out there in cyberspace for re-birthing old library junk (including culls and weeds) for other purposes.

If you've got a spare moment or 30, check out the Instructables website. There's also information on the Inverted Book Shelf (see right), which would be a great gag for libraries on the next April Fool's Day. Mind you, to do this to a whole library is just asking for a whole lot of extra work, if not something a tad more serious in the disciplinary area.