Genre = Reality Level + Time Focus + Emotion + Format

Speed-dating with books is a great way to expose people to new works or genres. I’ve used variations on the exercise — ever since I heard about “The Reading Game” produced by Carel Press in the UK and bought a copy years ago. Their paper “map” asks students to record their preferences at any one GENRE station, based on best COVER, BLURB, or OPENING LINES.

Since then I’ve done a lot more thinking about the basic elements of genre.

Isn’t it true to say that all content falls on a “reality” continuum?? And what if you then add in a TIME element? And then an emoji?? Last but not least, there’s FORMAT.

Genre will always be a human categorization exercise, but I like to think I’ve nailed its components.

Philip Williams, my colleague down in Elementary @ NIST, calls these kinds of rapid-exposure sessions “book tastings” — and I love his wolf graphic (inspired by Molly Bang’s “Picture This”) — so I now use that in my slides.