The Second Stacks: Life Stories (Deerfield Public Library, 4/27)
Please note: additions in red text reflect suggestions made by attendees. Thanks, all!
Part 1: Biography
Has anyone read a biography lately? Why?
Why do people like biographies?
- The appeal of Character and Story
- "Definitive" account or "truth"
- Predictable format
- New perspective
What types of biographies are there?
- By subject: Political, Historical, Science, Creative (Literary), Sports, Change-Makers and Activists, Professional, Business
- By style: Buddy Bio (Collective), Scholarly, Inspirational, Hagiography, Celebrity/Tell-all/Unauthorized, Unsavory (or of unsavory characters; True Crime, etc.), Graphic Novels
Discussion with examples (see bibliography at end)
Tips for Biography RA
- Try to determine reader's non-subject interests (long or short, scholarly or popular)
- Know your collection and system
- Wikipedia EVERYTHING
- Track current events; TV and radio commentary (try freshfiction.com)
- Throw bios in wherever you can and don't be afraid to mine the YA and kids' shelves
Part 2: Memoir
What memoirs have you heard of lately? How?
Why do people like memoirs?
- The appeal factors of Character and Voice/Language
- Stories that are much less predictable and don't follow the birth/life/death track
- Highly discussable and popular in the culture/great book club appeal
- Deceptively "easy" to read (and write?)
- Quick pacing
- Salacious, "inside" details
- relatability/shared experiences
- read like fiction
- similar to reality TV--which is still very popular!
- "bandwagon" books--titles that are popular with a lot of readers, and gather word-of-mouth momentum
What types of Memoirs are there?
- Again, subject: Adversity, Work, Culture Clash, Relationships
- Style: Coming of Age, Humorous, Year in the Life, Gentle/Heartwarming, Graphic Novels
Tips for Memoir RA
- Think outside subject and consider voice: bitter, inspirational, irreverent, etc.
- Watch pop culture: all about word of mouth and discussability (Eat Pray Love, anyone?)
- Make connections outside memoir: first-person fiction, word-of-mouth titles, essays, humor, relationships NF, etc.
- Use the book blurbs!
Tips for Both
- Watch for deal breakers; especially important here (subject, profanity, explicit violence or sexuality--these are REAL stories, after all).
- Write down everything
- Find an RA buddy/buddies
- Find your own "gems"
- Suggest audiobooks/different formats
- Have fun!
Cords, Sarah Statz. The Real Story: A Guide to Nonfiction Reading Interests. Libraries Unlimited: 2006.
O'Connor, Maureen. Forthcoming title on Memoirs, Libraries Unlimited, 2011.
Pearl, Nancy. Book Lust. Sasquatch Books. 2003. (And Book Lust to Go, 2010.)
Reisner, Rosalind. Read On Life Stories: Reading Lists for Every Taste. Libraries Unlimited, 2009.
Roche, Rick. Real Lives Revealed: A Guide to Reading Interests in Biography. Libraries Unlimited: 2009.
Wyatt, Neal. The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction. ALA Editions, 2007.
Yagoda, Ben. Memoir: A History. Riverhead Books, 2009.
Bookslut Blog, http://www.bookslut.com/blog/
Citizen Reader: http://www.citizenreader.com/
Daily Beast: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsmaker/book-beast/
Early Word: http://www.earlyword.com
Getting to Know the Presidents (presidential bio essay): http://www.themillions.com/2011/02/getting-to-know-the-presidents-the-presidential-biography-project.html
Huffington Post Book Page: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/books/
Past as Prologue Nonfiction Blogs list: http://prologuebooks.wordpress.com/great-non-fiction-blogs/
Sophisticated Dorkiness: http://www.sophisticateddorkiness.com/
Bunting, Josiah, III. Ulysses S. Grant (The American Presidents series). 2004.
Flood, Charles Bracelen. Grant and Sherman: The Friendship that Won the Civil War. 2005.
Mosier, John. Grant: A Biography (Great Generals series). 2006.
Smith, Jean Edward. Grant. 2001.
Kriegel, Mark. Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich. 2007.
Kriegel, Mark. Namath: A Biography. 2004.
Hamill, Pete. Why Sinatra Matters. 1998.
Kelley, Kitty. His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra. 1986.
Lahr, John. Sinatra: The Artist and the Man. 1997.
Santopietro, Tom. Sinatra in Hollywood. 2008.
Sinatra, Tina. My Father's Daughter: A Memoir. 2000.
Gillespie, Hollis. Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch: Tales from a Bad Neighborhood. 2004.
Grogan, John. Marley & Me. 2005.
Athill, Diana. Somewhere Towards the End. 2008.
Didion, Joan. The Year of Magical Thinking. 2005.
Kington, Miles. How Shall I Tell the Dog? And Other Final Musings. 2008.
Lancaster, Jen. Bitter Is the New Black. 2006.
Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood. 2003.