Okay, this is a thing that drives me literally bananas, in the modern sense of literally that actually means figuratively, because GAAAAH.
Not a Self Help Book by Yi Shun Lai, here listed as one of Book Riot’s summer picks from small presses, is totally working the Bridget Jones’s Diary vibe. It is fun and fresh and it is fiction that would make for a fun movie starring hot Asian and Asian American actors who we don’t get to see on the screen enough (or ever) because GAAAH.
Read its description in the library catalog:
Asian & Asian American Studies. Marty Wu, compulsive reader of advice manuals, would love to come across as a poised young advertising professional. Instead she trips over her own feet and blurts out inappropriate comments…
NSHB is also listed with the academic-sounding first line in the Amazon record. What are the librarians or whoever thinking???? “Asian & Asian American Studies”? I did some checking and found that most libraries that purchased it are academic libraries. Only a couple public libraries. Not a Self-Help Book is so totally NOT an academic book.
Granted not every library can buy every book, but I have to wonder if that initial line with the word “studies” in it made potential PL collection selectors think, hey this sounds academic. In fact, the New York Public Library has a copy, which is available for use in library, in the General Research room. Um, huh?
This is a book to read on the beach, or on their phone during their commute, or curled up with a glass of wine, or somewhere that is 100% not an academic library. Bridget Jones’s Diary doesn’t have a description that starts “English and England Studies.”
These things matter. Readers looking for their next read scan the first line of a book’s description; running into academic language on that first line will have them drop it before they even get to the actual description of Marty Wu and her zany life. (Library patrons, many libraries will let you suggest a purchase.) Public libraries will skip this book precisely because it sounds like “an academic specialty niche book with narrow appeal.” Which–did I already say this?–NONONONOPE.
Anyway. Maybe I am alone on this. Maybe I’m wrong. But I am super-annoyed that a book with extremely wide potential appeal is described as if it’s an ethnographic study.