Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Appeal of Reading True Stories

I will be talking about nonfiction readers' advisory next week at the 2013 Reaching Forward Conference. One of the points that I want to make is that true stories have as much appeal as fiction, and like fiction, certain subgenres of true stories have different primary appeals. Story, character, setting, language , and mood are the categories identified by books in the Read On ... Series of books from Libraries Unlimited.

For the attendees of Reaching Forward and for readers who find their way to this page, here are some book suggestions according to appeal categories.


Historical episode

City of Scoundrels: The Twelve Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago by Gary Krist
Guest of Honor: Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and the White House Dinner That Shocked the Nation by Deborah Davis
The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and the 82 Days That Inspired America by Thurston Clarke
The Last Innocent Year: America in 1964 by Jon Margolis
The Day the Revolution Ended: 19 October 1781 by William H. Hallahan


The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story Of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret by Kent Hartman
The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways by Earl Swift
Uranium: War, Energy, and the Rock That Shaped the World by Tom Zoellner
Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories by Simon Winchester



The President is a Sick Man by Matthew Algeo
Branch Rickey by Jimmy Breslin
The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl's Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster by Tim Crothers
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon


The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
The Grace of Silence: A Memoir by Michele Norris
Life Itself: A Memoir by Roger Ebert
Just Kids by Patti Smith
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer


Foreign adventure

A Wedding in Haiti: The Story of a Friendship by Julia Alvarez
Never the Hope Itself: Love and Ghosts in Latin America and Haiti by Gerry Hadden
Instant City by Steve Inskeep
Burma Chronicles by Guy DeLisle
End of the Earth: Voyages to Antarctica by Peter Matthiessen


Nature discovery

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds by Julie Zickefoose
Settled in the Wild: Notes from the Edge of Town by Susan Hand Shetterly
Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story by Dame Daphne Sheldrick

Personal essays

Farther Away by Jonathan Franzen
Off Main Street: Barnstormers, Prophets, & Gatemouth's Gator by Michael Perry
Havanas in Camelot: Personal Essays by William Styron
At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays by Anne Fadiman


True crime

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor by Mark Seal
The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago by Douglas Perry
A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale

I have built a preview slideshow for the Reaching Forward Presentation. It shows a lot of true story books that I like.

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