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Monday, March 12, 2007

Adventures in book shopping

I usually hit up my local Borders and Barnes & Noble bookstores every few weeks. More often than not, I usually go directly to my favorite section: the music section. There's always something new worth checking out along with older books I've been meaning to check out. I didn't know there was a new 656-page bio on Nirvana by Everett True until I saw it on a shelf over the weekend. However, my quests to find books about culture (be it pop culture, sociology, et al) have yielded some rather odd results.

A couple years ago, I heard about Alissa Quart's Branded: the Buying and Selling of Teenagers. Described as a No Logo-like look at how Generation Y is marketed to, I thought it would be filed in the same location that No Logo is filed under: culture studies. I looked around one Borders in particular to find it and had to go to the last resort: I asked a clerk to look it up in the store's database. To my surprise, Branded was filed in the Parenting/General Education section. In other words, it was mixed in with all sorts of books dealing with school bullies, cheating on tests and how to deal with other growing pains. Um, what? I can understand how a book like this could be filed in this section, but this isn't some guide to raising children.

What makes this filing even more puzzling is this is the same section that Ross Haenfler's Straight Edge: Clean-Living Youth, Hardcore Punk, and Social Change is filed under. I have yet to read this book, but based on its description, it doesn't sound like something for the Parenting section.

So that leads me to my curiosity: where would a book like Everybody Hurts fall under? It's a humorous look at emo culture circa 2006, so would it be under humor, culture studies or music? I'm not sure, but I wonder why I wonder about this when it's so easy to just buy this online and be done with it? The answer is simple: I like to peek at what I'm about to buy. Product descriptions and user reviews give a better light, but they aren't the same as holding a copy and judging for myself.

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