Cover image for The readers' advisory guide to historical fiction
The readers' advisory guide to historical fiction
Baker, Jennifer S., 1953- , author.
Publication Information:
Chicago : ALA Editions, an imprint of the American Library Association, 2015.
Physical Description:
xvi, 335 pages ; 23 cm.
A wall of portraits, a hall of doors -- Talking with historical fiction readers -- Historical fiction by time period -- Historical fiction by place -- Biographical historical fiction -- Historical fiction by subject -- Culture, ethnicity, religion and gender in historical fiction -- Historical fiction and other genres -- Expanding readers' advisory services -- Keeping current, staying relevant -- How to read a novel in just minutes / Literary historical fiction and classics for book groups -- Form-based readers' advisory : a list of libraries
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Z711.5 .B27 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Whether it's set in ancient Egypt, Feudal Japan, the Victorian Age, or Civil War-era America, historical fiction places readers squarely at the center of fascinating times and places, making it one of the most popular genres in contemporary publishing. The definitive resource for librarians and other book professionals, this guide Provides an overview of historical fiction's roots, highlighting foundational classics, as well as covering the latest and most popular authors and titles Explores the genre in terms of its scope, style, and appeal Includes lists of recommendations, with a compendium of print and web-based resources Offers marketing tips for getting the word out to readers. Emphasizing an appreciation of historical fiction in its many forms and focusing on what fans enjoy, this guide provides a fresh take on a durable genre.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Historical fiction lends itself to organization by time period (or wife of Henry VIII), but this thoughtful guide will help librarians find the right reading suggestions by appeal factor as well. Baker, a readers'-advisory librarian at Seattle Public Library, provides an overview of the genre and its standout authors and surveys about 500 books in chapters subdivided by era, subject, place, and person. For each key title, widely chosen from classic and newer titles, she suggests two or three read-alikes, describing each choice in terms of character, pace, and other appeal factors. An overview of online RA services and useful blogs and websites round out the annotations. Indexes by appeal factor as well as title and author will make the volume easy to use with readers. A thorough, practical mix of reading suggestions and RA advice, this book is recommended for public libraries.--Burcher, Charlotte Copyright 2015 Booklist

Library Journal Review

In this guide to historical fiction, readers' advisory (RA) librarian Baker includes the requisite topics we expect in such a work by identifying the standard historical fiction titles and discussing the basic appeal factors of the genre. The author also offers advice for assisting patrons searching for novels in this category. The majority of the book covers representative titles of various subgenres, identifying elements of interest of each title. Individual chapters divide historical fiction by time period, geography, biographical characters, topics, and specific cultural aspects. There are also sections on blended historical fiction or fictionalized history. As is often the case, some of the gems are found in the final chapters and appendixes. Tips for keeping current, developing a reading plan, and speed reading a novel will be particularly useful to RA novices. Baker rounds out the volume by suggesting works for book groups and discussing form-based RA. A bibliography of all titles listed and an appeal/subject index are especially helpful. VERDICT Although not as hefty as Sarah L. Johnson's Historical Fiction II, this volume strikes the perfect balance of thoroughness and accessibility. RA enthusiasts will be thrilled to add this book to their arsenal.-Lydia Olszak, Bosler Memorial Lib., Carlisle, PA (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The latest book in the "ALA Readers' Advisory Series" is primarily aimed at librarians with collection-development and public-service responsibilities. In her approach, Baker (Seattle Public Library) takes the book beyond similar reference resources, such as Johnson's Historical Fiction II: A Guide to the Genre (CH, Nov'09, 47-1185), by including "reader appeal" as a category in the entries she writes about individual works. These entries are concise and informative, with suggestions for further reading for fans of individual authors and series. As such, this book also functions as a primer on readers' advisory services, helping librarians understand its scope and practice. To be an effective readers' advisor, one must not only be a reader but maintain an awareness of genre, trends, and resources for keeping current. Librarians will find this book most informative, but it may have an off-label use by scholars of historical fiction as a resource to identify and classify titles of interest for research and teaching. Summing Up: Recommended. Researchers, faculty, and librarians. --Laura R. Braunstein, Dartmouth College