How many times have you taken note of fleeting details in a book you’re reading? I know when I read The Girl who Played with Fire, I found myself chuckling every time Billy’s Pan Pizza was mentioned, and simply laughed out loud at the details of Liz Salander’s IKEA furnishings—at one point, I thought I was reading the IKEA catalog, instead (and I’m not the only one – there are websites devoted to her apartment).
But really, don’t you find yourself enjoying a book even more when one of the characters mentions a song or a band you like? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what other books make the same pop culture references? That’s the idea behind Small Demons. The site aims to be a compendium of various references to music, movies, people, places, and objects found in books.
This is all quirky and fun, and I can imagine that I’ll start using this much the same way I race to IMDB.com after every movie I see, to find similar movies, figure out bits of trivia, and so forth. But what’s the practical use, especially for librarians?
First off, I can see this being a really fun tool for displays. How many times do you come up empty-handed when it’s your turn to make that display? It gets boring trying to tie in with “National Whatever Month,” so how about a display of books where all of the characters are from a certain city? Or where a particular band is mentioned? Or even where characters drink the same cocktail? The possibilities are endless.
This could also enhance a book discussion, just some more details from a book that people might have missed, or to make connections to similar books.
Booklist blogger Neil Hollands had a very good point on how this site could be used: “For students who need context that many adults already have or anyone who is pop culture deprived, I would imagine this site might also help with their comprehension of the book.” Absolutely!
I don’t know that it’s really useful for leading a reader to their next book, but I wouldn’t discount the idea completely. At the very least, it’s an interesting starting point to find a new book, and as more and more titles are added, who knows what cross-referencing possibilities will come up.
The site is currently in beta, and you can sign up for an account here. Once registered, users can view lists and contribute books. This is a site that any book lover needs to keep on their watch list.