Friday, May 02, 2008

A Winning Collection

Elizabeth Litchfield, a reader of this blog, has won the 2008 T. Kimball Brooker Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting, awarded by the University of Chicago Library.
The competition is based on the care and judgment by which the student has shaped the collection. Monetary value and number of books are not critical in determining a winning collection. Primary consideration is given to discrimination and judgment in building the collection around the collector's interest.
Elizabeth's essay about her collection is titled "A Library of Love: Challenging the Social Order One Couple (or Threesome?) at a Time" and includes a list of the books in it, and some very interesting observations about a selection of them.

Elizabeth writes that her
work with Resources for Sexual Violence Prevention here on campus has interested me in how romance communities are struggling with questions of sexuality and violence within the framework of the courtship plot. I collect romances that take up themes of sexual violence, either by explicitly challenging paradigms of male power in the intimate realm or by uncritically incorporating partner violence into the courtship. I also seek out romances that challenge heteronormativity or that struggle with incorporating ambiguous sexualities into the courtship plot. These books are windows into how communities of women are struggling with questions of identity and power under the cover of pink typeface and floral covers.
In addition, she includes many "cross-genre works and books of genre fiction that reference the romance. I am always delighted when I find a covert romance hiding in another section of the bookstore, and reading these romances with a curious and critical eye yields fascinating stories."

On her blog Elizabeth adds "The sweetest part of the whole deal? Displaying eight books (including this one) in the Reg for eight weeks." I'm sure Sandra will appreciate the honour.

Congratulations, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth's new blog, Reader, I Married Him, already includes posts discussing masculinity and the problem of chivalry (with reference to Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s It Had To Be You and Robyn Carr’s Virgin River books) and racism in the romance genre.

The photo of Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago is from Wikipedia.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure Sandra will appreciate the honour.

    Sandra is indeed tickled as pink as this blog.

    Congratulations and a big thank you to Elizabeth!