PART 1: Thinking about Nonfiction
How does nonfiction differ from fiction?
It's shy (what do I mean by that?)
Nonfiction is not contained by the stacks (Dewey Decimal). Think types; styles; genres and subgenres.
How do nonfiction readers differ from fiction readers?
From Neal Wyatt*: "Reading nonfiction, even highly narrative nonfiction, is a different experience than reading fiction." She calls this the Learning/Experiencing appeal.
From Catherine Sheldrick Ross**: NF readers often read NF and F; exclusive NF readers like the "real'"; readers pick NF when they expect interruptions; they read to be entertained AND "to take something away"; they are avid readers in general
A personal definition: Not so much escapist readers as involvist readers
Part 2: Working with Nonfiction
Databases: The Readers' Advisor Online; NoveList
Nonfiction RA Tips
1. Consider both subject and "mood" cues.
2. Wikipedia everything.
3. Watch for "deal breakers"--this stuff is real.
4. Try to keep up with current events and pop culture.
5. Don't be afraid to mix F and NF, especially on displays and booklists. (Always indicate which titles are NF.)
6. Find a nonfiction RA buddy. (This works as a good general tip, too.)
General RA Tips
1. Commit to the "Kelly Ripa School of Enthusiasm" (when possible)
2. Write down everything you can, re-use it, and don't be afraid to find and use your own "gems."
3. Talk, talk, TALK with other readers. Ask questions like what are you currently reading? How do you decide what to read next? Do you separate reading into "work" and "fun"? Where and when do you do your best reading? (From Brottman, The Solitary Vice.)
4. Support your co-workers so everyone can have a bit of time and energy to devote to RA, material production (and "ownership"), and "preparedness."
Additional Information From Webinar Participants
Question: Are there websites that list books discussed in the media?
Answers: www.freshfiction.com/medias.php (this one suggested by a participant--thank you!)
Publishers' Weekly Online and On-Air, a weekly listing
The NPR, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report links, above
I'll add more if I can find them!
Question: Are there websites that provide information about a book's profanity levels, explicit sexuality, etc.?
Answer: No, short of reading reviews or looking at the actual book, I can't think of a website that provides that information. For titles up to 2010, you can try searching by title in the Reader's Advisor Online free database--we did try to tag titles we added with tags like "Profanity" and "Explicit Sexuality," which would appear on the left side of the results screen IF the title is in the database. I'll keep researching this one too!
Thanks for the great questions!
Brottman, Mikita. The Solitary Vice: Against Reading. CounterPoint: 2008.
**Burgin, Robert, ed. Nonfiction Readers' Advisory. Libraries Unlimited: 2005.
Burgin, Robert. Going Places: A Readers' Guide to Travel Narratives. Libraries Unlimited: 2013.
Cords, Sarah Statz. The Inside Scoop: A Guide to Nonfiction Investigative Writing and Exposes. Libraries Unlimited, 2009.
Cords, Sarah Statz. The Real Story: A Guide to Nonfiction Reading Interests. Libraries Unlimited: 2006.
Drew, Bernard A. 1000 Most Popular Nonfiction Authors. Libraries Unlimited: 2008.
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.
Saricks, Joyce. Readers' Advisory Service in the Public Library. ALA: 2005.
Stoeger, Melissa Bratney. Food Lit: A Guide to Epicurean Nonfiction. Libraries Unlimited: 2013.
*Wyatt, Neal. The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction. ALA: 2007.
Zellers, Jessica. Women's Nonfiction: A Guide to Reading Interests. Libraries Unlimited: 2009.
QUESTIONS? Please email me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.