Today I’m happy to be part of the blog tour for Super Pop!: Pop Culture Top Ten Lists to Help You Win at Trivia, Survive in the Wild, and Make It Through the Holidays, out now from Zest Books. I had forgotten how much I liked books like this. Sometimes it’s good to have a book around that isn’t a narrative but instead is fun to pick up and put down and pick up again. And obviously by the title of my blog, pop culture is one of my favorite things, because it’s media. And I just took a pop culture class as my final (eep!) class for my MSLIS. So it’s perfect and fitting and fantastic.
I feel like approaching the reading of this book from a librarian’s perspective is the best thing, since that’s probably how I will look at it. It’s like a reference book that’s not boring and that’s up to date, and it’s like reader’s advisory the Hannah way, since it has themes like “Adopt a more outlandish childhood” and “Stop being such a philistine.” Win! If you’re a librarian and you do reader’s advisory, likely you want to purchase this book. Or if you like pop culture, and you do, because you’re a human living in the developed world reading this blog. No excuses.
Top 10 Things About This Book That Are Relevant to You, I Hope (In No Particular Order)
- “I am convinced that pop culture can lead to a more fulfilling existence.” That’s right, Daniel Harmon! I am in complete agreement with this statement. I don’t care how much you think you only like opera and fine art and how much you think pop culture is a waste of time – nearly everything is pop culture because everything is culture. That’s sociology, folks! And if you don’t consume pop culture regularly, you probably have a hard time participating in conversations with people, and human connection is kind of essential to a happy existence.
- Daniel Harmon is the editorial director at Zest Books, which I understand to mean that his job is to be steeped in pop culture in order to shape a publisher that contributes to it, and that sounds awesome.
- …but he is also a librarian at heart. See: page 11, where he points out that it’s hard to find really interesting top 10 lists that aren’t seasonally published and that don’t have the same old stuff in them all the time. So he put this together so that you have access to all types of themes all year round. Handy dandy reference guide, see? Keep it at your desk.
- There are illustrations at the beginning of each list, and that just makes everything more fun.
- Lists are inter-disciplinary and from lots of times and places. Because as a librarian, and as a human who necessarily has many varied interests, I appreciate when people point out that if you like something, you might like something unexpected that you didn’t realize was similar, because it looked like Jane Austen.
- Did I mention he’s totally a librarian at heart? There is an appendix of ten top 10 books that aren’t his own, and there is an index, so you can check your hipster cred (or his) by looking for all of your favorite things to see if they’re in the book.
- Criticism: while he points out that growing up, he was mostly exposed to those “white and dead,” the lists are still rather dudely and white. So keep that in mind while reading. But I give him major points for the wide time span and genre span of everything in general.
- Some of my personal favorite things are included throughout the book, like the song “Time To Say Goodbye (Con Te Partiro)” and Alison Bechdel’s uncanny, ridiculously impressive and amazing Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.
- Harmon is not scared to put the most recent versions of media things that have been re-done a lot. I think this is both good and bad, but I commend his bravery for doing so, as I think a lot of people would have a problem with seeing the phrase “Star Trek” followed by “J.J. Abrams” and not whoever originally created it. But I think it’s good, especially for me as an about-to-be-school-librarian, to have access to the most recent versions of things for people who are a little scared of old things (that’s stupid, but to each his/her own) or who are trying to understand where they might have heard of or seen these things before. Because obviously they’ll still be able to get to the older, original stuff, too.
- It’s a book that will always be helpful and useful and fun. The end.
Enjoy Super Pop! And speaking of that, if you would like the chance to enjoy it for free, you can enter a contest to do so. Just click over to the rafflecopter here.