I have been playing around with what a readers' advisory reference book (or database) entry should include. I have been trying to find a way to include appeal factors, such as story elements, tone, and writing style. Here is a sample for your examination. Comments and recommendations are encouraged.
Macmillan, Margaret. Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World. Random House, 2007. 404 pp. ISBN: 9781400061273
Richard Nixon took great risks when he went to
Story elements: Adventure, Episode/Slice of life, Enemies, Success story
Writing Style: Narrative, Journalistic
Features: Bibliography, Index, Maps, Photographs, Notes in back
Now try: The big band-influenced opera Nixon in China by John Adams and Alice Goodman, which focuses on Nixon and Mao, their wives, and their deputies, Henry Kissinger and Zhou Enlai. For background read The Kissinger transcripts: the top secret talks with
This form resembles the entries in Real Story: A Guide to Nonfiction Reading Interests by Sarah Statz Cords. The idea of appeal factors comes from Readers' Advisory Service in the Public Library by Joyce G. Saricks. I did not include a line for pacing because I have not found an objective way of measuring it. I am also a little uncertain about the terms I use for writing style. The books may all turn out to be narrative.
If you have an opinion on whether this is a useful form for a readers' advisory tool, let me know.