Tuesday, August 31, 2010

July 19, 2010 - Is it possible to know too much?

Sorry I've been less-than-punctual with my posts. Last week was actually quite full with Library Camp OTF and a guest appearance at a Library AQ course. I met some absolutely delightful people while I was there, and I hope many of them take the hints I was throwing their way and consider writing some articles or volunteering on some OSLA committees. They would make a great addition to the team.

Many of the participants talked about having their heads spinning or buzzing with an overload of new ideas. When the Library Camp planning team reflected on this year's experience (over half-pints of beer at a nearby pub), we did wonder whether or not we packed the day too fully. I think we were correct to offer as many speakers and sections as we did, because (like with a typical classroom), there are so many different levels and experiences in the group that what is "info overload" to one person might be "old hat" to another (i.e. podcasting - we had some people who had never heard the term, all the way to someone who is an active member of the podcasting community and podcasted his reflections of the camp as it went on!) I think it's okay to turn off your brain and pick one piece to work baby steps towards.

Last night, I had a conversation (via instant messenger) with a friend of mine. We are both avid readers and the topic naturally gravitated to what we were currently reading. I'm on the third book of the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. I've enjoyed it, even though I predicted some of the plot curves and twists. My friend said she read the first book but couldn't get through it, and part of the reason was her background knowledge on the story. It seems that the author used to be a huge figure in the Harry Potter fanfic community, and that the genesis for her book City of Bones came from a fanfic story she wrote but filed off all the identifying features that would tie it to the Harry Potter universe. My friend was bothered by the author's attempts to hide her roots and inspiration. That led me back to my original rumination regarding Library Camp OTF - is it possible to know too much, to have too much information? If I knew before I read the series that the author had already written a version of this story as a Harry Potter fanfic, would I have liked it less? Does knowing things about the author impact my enjoyment of their book? The book and story should be able to stand on its own, but influence is a hard thing to measure, even if you purposefully disregard extraneous information. We'll see as I finish the final book whether the news changes my perceptions. I think I received the information late in my reading of the text, so it may not rock the foundations - but we'll see if I begin to search for similarities.

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