Friday, June 11, 2010

Historical Fiction II: A Guide to the Genre by Sarah L. Johnson

When I was offered a Library's Unlimited readers' advisory title of my choice as a thank you for writing about the Public Library Association Conference in Portland for Reader's Advisor Online Blog, I asked for a copy of Historical Fiction II: A Guide to the Genre by Sarah L. Johnson. I am glad I did. It was a good choice, as it is filled with recent titles and much advice about selecting reading in an apparently very hot genre. We are adding it to our reading advice center. I hope some of our readers take it home and come back to the library with their reading lists. I'm sure we will have to do a lot of ILL, for there are more titles in this book than most libraries could ever hope to own.

How many titles, you ask? In her introduction, Johnson says that there are 3,800 titles published between 1995 and 2008 mentioned in the book. Most of the main entries are for historical fiction titles published between 2004 and 2008. Looking through the chapters and checking the indexes, it appears that the coverage of history is quite wide. The possibilities of matching novels to real history books in paired readings (using other sources to find the nonfiction) is almost endless. Someone who is inclined could devote the rest of his or her life to reading the titles reviewed in Historical Fiction II.

As you might guess from the title, Historical Fiction II is a sequel to Historical Fiction: A Guide to the Genre, published in 2005. It might be the largest of the volumes in the Genreflecting Advisory Series. I was quite surprised by its size. Will another be coming in four or five years? I hope Johnson gets a vacation.

Johnson, Sarah L. Historical Fiction II: A Guide to the Genre. Libraries Unlimited, 2009. 738p. ISBN 9781591586241.

1 comment:

Margaret D. said...

This is a very useful book for anyone interested in historical fiction! My review at gives some additional information about its organization and content. I also like the author's blog at Reading the Past, because she often reviews out-of-print historical novels that are hard to find good information about elsewhere.