Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Nonfiction Reader's Advisory

Nonfiction Readers' AdvisoryNonfiction Readers' Advisory by Robert Burgin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Every reference librarian should recognize the value of suggesting nonfiction to patrons. Ultimately, the fiction/nonfiction divide, useful though it might be, is still an artificial one.

The essays in this book discuss everything from theory to practice, including sources for finding books worth recommending, the reading habits of avid readers, and multicultural nonfiction. I suggest reading with an eye to expanding your personal to-read list as well: I must have added dozens of titles that piqued my curiosity. I'll be a nonfiction reader yet!

I especially enjoyed the chapter on nonfiction for school libraries. I myself only started enjoying nonfiction as an adult after I read two excellent books: Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit and Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, both books that showed me the power of nonfiction storytelling. I did read nonfiction as a kid, but mostly when I was curious about a topic (sharks, 19th century clipper ships, books on etymology and language - you'd be amazed at what kids will pick up when given the chance). And I'll never forget those trusty DK Eyewitness books with their densely packed pages of text and pictures.

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