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.
Should we be thinking of nonfiction in new ways?
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
Media: Amazon and Powell's, Fresh Fiction, Magazines, NPR, Stephen Colbert and/or The Daily Show, New York Times Book Review, Publishers' Weekly Online and On-Air listings, New York Times Bestsellers and Notables; the review journals (LJ, PW, Booklist, Kirkus)
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."
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 [email protected].