Exotic settings; the story of journeys; engaging characters in unfamiliar surroundings.
Representative authors: Bill Bryson, Tim Cahill, Bruce Chatwin, Marlena De Blasi, Tony Hawks, Pico Iyer, Frances Mayes, Peter Mayle, Jan Morris, Redmond O'Hanlon, Paul Theroux, J. Maarten Troost, David Yeadon
Page-turning pace; thrilling stories; heroic characters.
Representative authors: John Feinstein, Sebastian Junger, Jon Krakauer, Robert Kurson, James McManus, Ben Mezrich, Piers Paul Read
Fast pace; scary stories; psychologically fascinating characters.
Authors: Donnie Brasco, Vincent Bugliosi, Truman Capote, Philip Carlo, Peter Maas, Joe McGinniss, Jack Olsen, Mark Olshaker, Gary Provost, Ann Rule, Harold Schechter, Lawrence Schiller, Joseph Wambaugh
Unique settings; lyrical language and musings; individualistic characters.
Authors: Edward Abbey, Mary Austin, Wendell Berry, Jane Brox, Rachel Carson, Annie Dillard, Gretel Ehrlich, Tim Flannery, Jane Goodall, John Hay, William Least Heat Moon, Aldo Leopold, Barry Lopez, Bill McKibben, Farley Mowat, Michael Pollan, Scott Russell Sanders, Henry David Thoreau, Edward O. Wilson
5. Life Stories: Biographies, Memoirs, Relationships
The characters ARE the story; they also develop through their relationships. Subject is very important here too.
Authors: Oh, thousands.
Biographers: A. Scott Berg, Carl Bernstein, Robert Caro, Ron Chernow, Joseph Ellis, Eleanor Herman, Walter Isaacson, Kitty Kelley, Mark Kriegel, David McCullough, Cokie Roberts, Claire Tomalin, Alison Weir
Memoirists: Alan Alda, Joseph Berger, Anthony Bourdain, Rick Bragg, Augusten Burroughs, Lillian Faderman, James Frey, Atul Gawande, Debra Ginsberg, Homer Hickam, Susanna Kaysen, Haven Kimmel, Anne Lamott, Mary McCarthy, Frank McCourt, Kathleen Norris, Ruth Reichl, David Sedaris, Tobias Wolff
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations!
Relationships: Mitch Albom, Isabel Allende, Augusten Burroughs, Alexandra Fuller, John Grogan, Michael Perry, Bob Tarte, Jeannette Walls
- Discussion: How do titles in nonfiction genres make you feel?
SUBJECTS AND STYLES
Just want to know; new discoveries; clean prose.
Authors: Diane Ackerman, Fritjof Capra, Arthur C. Clarke, Richard Dawkins, Timothy Ferris, Richard Feynman, James Gleick, Stephen J. Gould, Brian Greene, Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, Roger Penrose, Henry Petroski, Richard Preston, Matt Ridley, Oliver Sacks, Carl Sagan, Richard Schweid, Dava Sobel, James Watson, Jonathan Weiner
hiSTORY; obviously memorable characters; distinct research and writing styles.
Authors: Stephen Ambrose, Rick Atkinson, Taylor Branch, Jared Diamond, Joseph Ellis, Doris Kearns Goodwin, David Halberstam, Adam Hochschild, Mark Honigsbaum, Tony Horwitz, David Kennedy, Erik Larson, David McCullough, Nathaniel Philbrick, Simon Schama, Barbara Tuchman, Simon Winchester
Investigated stories and truths; character profiles; skilled prose stylists.
Authors: Mark Bowden, Ted Conover, Joan Didion (essays), Barbara Ehrenreich, Thomas Friedman, Melissa Fay Greene, David Halberstam, Jonathan Harr, Jonathan Kozol, William Langewiesche, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Michael Lewis, Susan Orlean, Kevin Phillips, George Plimpton, Mary Roach, Eric Schlosser, Studs Terkel, Lawrence Wright (also political and business authors)
William Langewiesche: An Author Speaks for Himself
Deeper thoughts; languid pacing; research, synthesis, and analysis.
Authors: Alain de Botton, Jared Diamond, Harry Frankfurt, Daniel Gilbert, Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Jacoby, Naomi Klein, Anne Lamott, Alberto Manguel, Robert Putnam, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Lynne Truss, William Vollmann
10. Information-based works: Self-help, Business, Politics
Are informational but also share genre and style attributes. Are highly dependent on sharing; word-of-mouth; ideology.
Self-help authors: Sylvia Browne, Rhonda Byrne, Stephen Covey, Dale Carnegie, Wayne Dyer, John Gray, Louise Hay, Phil McGraw, Caroline Myss, Joel Osteen, Norman Vincent Peale, Dave Pelzer, Eckhart Tolle (AKA spirit, mind, body books)
Oprah knows how nonfiction works.
Business authors: Ken Blanchard, Marcus Buckingham, Jim Collins, Jim Cramer, Peter Drucker, Robert Kiyosaki, Patrick Lencioni, Suze Orman, Donald Trump
Political authors: Pat Buchanan, Jack Cafferty, Ann Coulter, Lou Dobbs, Al Franken, Michael Moore, Bill O'Reilly, Keith Olbermann
Story, Setting, Character, Language, Subject, Pacing
From Joyce Saricks: Pacing, Characterization, Story Line, Frame (setting, tone, atmosphere), Style
MOOD AND TONE
Light, Serious, Philosophical, Humorous
Violence, Explicit Sexuality, Violence, Subject
- Small Group Activity: Book Bonanza!
- Welcome back: RA Speed Dating!
Why do people read nonfiction?
From Catherine Sheldrick Ross's article "Reading Nonfiction for Pleasure":
Based on 194 reader surveys, Ross found that many readers:
read both nonfiction and fiction;
interests in subjects can often trump the distinction between fiction and nonfiction;
readers who read NF exclusively like that it is "real";
NF reading is easier when planning to be interrupted;
there is a difference between reading for pleasure and reading "to take something away";
story is very important;
serendipitous discovery is still very important.
Who reads nonfiction?
From Beth Luey's article "Who Reads Nonfiction," in Spring 1998 Publishing Research Quarterly:
Sales figures suggest that bestselling novels generally sell two to ten times better than bestselling serious nonfiction.
Also looked at magazine subscriptions, numbers in hundred thousands;
Found that surveyed NF readers were often avid readers; 75% also reported reading fiction and 72% of respondents reported reading books in four to eight different subject areas;
They are also discerning readers; 75% usually finish books but will stop reading if they get bored, have learned all they wanted, or find errors or poor writing;
87% report reading and sometimes re-reading nonfiction.
Pull and Push RA
The Interview vs. Marketing
Fiction and Nonfiction Connections
Subjects; authors who write both; similar styles or story-driven narratives; reading to learn something.
Anatomy of an obsession:
Even new music! And picture books!
- Group Activity: Back to the Books for Fiction Clues
Read your collection;
Compile your own list of sure bets;
Listen to NPR, talk radio, and watch The Daily Show/The Colbert Report;
Read books about nonfiction;
Find an RA buddy (doesn't have to be in your own library).
RA 2.0 is the art of using digital tools not only to share information with and advise readers on finding the right book for the right mood, but to collaborate with both colleagues and patrons/readers to create, enhance, and use old and new readers' resources and forums; RA 2.0 helps us create community and address the social aspects of reading by going to where the readers are, as well as inviting them into our organizing, reviewing, and publicizing processes.
Advisors' Input (with profuse thanks to participants from Ohio public libraries, 5/14/08):
Workshop participants were asked to list three words that books in each nonfiction genre brought to mind. The following are what they listed.
Travel-adventure; cover (good design); Italy.
Adventure-guy stories; survival against nature; movies (tie-ins).
True Crime-author appeal; quick reads; fall from grace.
Environmental-old hippies; environmentalists; desert; 1960s; polemic.
Biography-timely subjects; women's stories.Memoir-evocative; cultural divide; importance of "voice."
Relationships-Humor; bright tone; author writes both fiction and nonfiction (Nicholas Sparks).
Science-subject matter; provocative title words; good covers.
Investigative-City stories; immersion; anti-establishment; humor.
Making Sense-social history; viral marketing; metaphor.
Self-Help, Informational-can be Oprah books; digestible; new subjects.
I also wanted to share with the Ohio librarians (but we ran out of time!) a list of questions listed in Brottman's book (The Solitary Vice, below), that all readers should ask themselves and keep in mind when talking with other readers:
1. What book are you currently reading?
2. How do you decide what book to read next?
3. Do you always finish books? How long do you read before quitting?
4. Do you separate reading into "work" and "fun"?
5. Do you re-read books you love? How often?
6. Can you read books in noisy places?
7. Can books make you laugh out loud? Cry?
8. Where do you buy books?
9. Do you use bookmarks? Dog-ear? Take notes?
10. How quickly do you read?
11. Where and when do your best reading?
Websites and Blogs:
Nonfiction Resources Wiki (Maureen O'Connor)
RA2.0 Wiki (Diana Tixier Herald, et al.)
RUSA CODES Narrative Nonfiction Lists
Brottman, Mikita. The Solitary Vice: Against Reading. Counterpoint: 2008.
Burgin, Robert, ed. Nonfiction Readers' Advisory. Libraries Unlimited, 2005.
Cords, Sarah Statz, edited by Robert Burgin. The Real Story: A Guide to Nonfiction Reading Interests. Libraries Unlimited: 2006.
Drew, Bernard A. 1000 Most Popular Nonfiction Authors. Libraries Unlimited: 2008.
Saricks, Joyce. Readers' Advisory Service in the Public Library. ALA: 2005.
Wyatt, Neal. The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction. ALA: 2007.