The Real Story

The Real Story : A Guide to Nonfiction Reading Interests

3.76 (13 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?


Nine of the best-selling books of all time are nonfiction, and countless readers turn to nonfiction when reading for pleasure today. Yet little has been done to classify nonfiction titles according to reading tastes. This is especially true in the library, where subject arrangements geared to information-seeking and scholarly research ignore the important characteristics and appeal features that readers seek out when reading for pleasure. It's no surprise, then, that in recent years, nonfiction readers' advisory has become one of the hottest topics with readers' advisors. This groundbreaking guide offers readers and professionals who work with them a much-needed road map to the vast and previously uncharted (in terms of RA) terrain of recreational nonfiction. After defining the genre (often also referred to as creative nonfiction, verite, or true stories), and discussing its unique characteristics and appeals, the author classifies and describes more than 500 titles popular with nonfiction readers-everything from true adventure, true crime, and travel narratives to investigative nonfiction, environmental writing, and life stories. Focus is on the best titles published within the last decade, with key classics and benchmark titles also cited. Chapters are subdivided into subgenres and popular themes. For each title you'll find a short list of nonfiction read-alikes.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 496 pages
  • 180.34 x 262.13 x 36.07mm | 1,165.73g
  • Englewood, United States
  • English
  • Annotated
  • Annotated edition
  • 1591582830
  • 9781591582830
  • 2,138,964

Table of contents

Foreword by Robert Burgin Introduction Nonfiction Genres True Adventure Definition, Appeal, Organization THE SUBGENRES Survival and Disaster Stories Sports Adventures Cons and Card Games War Stories Intrigue and Espionage Historical and Exploration Adventure Consider Starting With... Fiction Read-alikes; Further Reading; References List Travel Definition, Appeal, Organization THE SUBGENRES Armchair Travel Foreign Places and Exotic Locales Adventures Journey Narratives The Expatriate Life Travel Humor Literary Travel Consider Starting With... Fiction Read-alikes; Further Reading; References List True Crime Definition, Appeal, Organization THE SUBGENRES Committing Crimes True Horror: Violent Crimes and Criminals Murder Where You Live: Family and Lover Crimes Wise Guys: Mafia Crime Murder's Not the Only Crime Horrific Historical Crimes Street and Prison Life Investigating Crimes Police Procedurals Unsolved Mysteries Courtroom Dramas Consider Starting With... Fiction Read-alikes; Further Reading; References List Environmental Writing Definition Appeal, Organization THE SUBGENRES Natural Places Reflective Environmental Stories Back to the Land Potitical Animal Stories Consider Starting With... Fiction Read-alikes; Further Readings: References List Nonfiction Subject Interests Science and Math Definition, Apeal, Organization THE SUBGENRES Deep Science (Story and Subject Matter) Investigative Science Adventures in Science Micro-science History of Science History of Medicine Scintists and Science Enthusiasts Literary Science Consider Starting With... Fiction Read-alikes; Further Readings; References List History Definition, Appeal, Organization THE SUBGENRES Defining Times History's Darkest Hours Human Cruelties Natural Disasters and Disease Epidemics The Settings of History Micro-histories Ideal of History New Perspectives Secret Histories Immersion History Epic History Historical Biography: Caught in History's Web Individual Stories Group Stories Consider Starting With... Fiction Read-alikes; Further Readings; References List Biography Definition, Appeal, Organization THE SUBGENRES American Presidents and Other Political Leaders Problem Solvers and Experimenters: Science Biography The Creative Life; Artists, Entertainers, and Writers Sports Biographies Outstanding In Their Fields: Professional Biographies Change-makers and Activists Historical Biography Better Together;"Buddy" and Group Bios Guilty Pleasures: Celebrities and Superstars Consider Starting with... Fiction Read-alikes: Further Readings References List Memoirs and Autobiography Definition,s Appeal, Oganization Memoirs THE SUBGENRES Coming of Age Self Discovery:Explrations in Identity Overcoming Adversity The Immigrant Experience Multicultural Experiences Working Life Memoirs Foodie Memoir Humorous Memoir Autobiography Fiction Read-alikes; Further Readings; References List Relationships Definition, Appeal, Organization THE SUBGENRES All in the Family Challenging Family Stories Gentle Family Reads All You Need is Love With a Little Help from my Friends Community Life Consider Starting With... Fiction Read-alikes; Further Reading Investigative Writing Definition, Appeal, Organization THE SUBGENRES in-depth Reporting Immersion Journalism Exposes Character Profiles: The People Are the Story Political Reporting Business Reporting Consider Starting With... Fiction Read-alikes; Further Readings; References List Making Sense Definition, Appeal, Organization THE SUBGENRES of Ourselves and Each Other Of Our Culture and Society Of Our Surroundings Of Our Histories Consider Starting With... Fiction Read-alikes; References List Appendixes Nonfiction Book Awards Internet Resources Political Pundits Overview Spirituality Writers Overview
show more

Review quote

"[T]his is an outstanding work that has taken on the monumental task of bringing some order and understanding to the area of popular nonfiction titles. It has raised the bar to an extremely high level for any other author planning on writing about nonfiction readers' advisory. A must read for any librarian who recommends popular reading titles, it belongs at the reference and readers' advisory desks of most libraries." - Booklist, Starred Review "The Real Story is a unique handbook that helps readers' advisors recommend nonfiction titles to library patrons based on their preferred genre, subject, or writing style....While nonfiction's increased popularity is part of a larger media trend toward films based on true stories, documentaries, and reality shows, Cords encourages mixing fiction and nonfiction advisory because readers may enjoy both nonfiction and fiction on the same topic....The Real Story distinguishes itself by being the only non-fiction readers' advisory (RA) book that includes annotated recommended titles, explains each genre's development and appeal, and suggests related fiction titles....Reading The Real Story is an enjoyable learning experience. Knowing the appeal of nonfiction genres, subjects, and styles will help reference librarians immensely and will help their readers discover how exciting well-written nonfiction can be." - Reference & User Services Quarterly "The real story about the book, The Real Story, is that there is not another guide like it available. At a time when there is so much competition for customers, libraries must provide value-added services, like readers' advisory, to remain relevant in their communities....It is a must have guide for all library collections." - Collection Management "Despite the current popularity of nonfiction with patrons and reading groups, it's all too easy to draw a blank when a borrower asks, What do I read next? Cords, a Madison PL librarian who teaches Reading Interests of Adults at the SLIS, University of Wisconsin, Madison, provides a lifeline to those looking to go beyond fiction in providing readers' advisory services. By dividing her book into a broad spectrum of nonfiction classifications, from travel, crime, and history to life stories, investigative writing, and science and math, Cords effectively breaks down the whole genre into manageable chunks. Her elaboration of each niche goes a long way to explaining nonfiction's appeal and how it differs as well as parallels fiction appeal `actors....Cords's tone is friendly and engaging, offering exactly the kind of help you would hope for from a colleague. Her excellent introduction to nonfiction reader interests will be valued for answering reader queries as well as professional development. Recommended for all public libraries." - Library Journal
show more

About Sarah Statz Cords

Sarah Statz Cords works at the reference and circulation desks at Madison Public Library, Alicia Ashman Branch, Wisconsin and teaches Reading Interests of Adults at the School of Library and Information Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is also a book reviewer for, as well as the creator of, a Web site devoted to nonfiction book reviews and booklists. She previously worked as a Reference and Instruction academic librarian at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and she is the author of Public Speaking Handbook for Librarians and Information Professionals (2003).

Robert Burgin is Professor at North Carolina Central University's School of Library and Information Sciences. He has published numerous articles, is editor of Nonfiction Readers' Advisory (Libraries Unlimited, 2004) and co-editor of The Readers' Advisor's Companion (Libraries Unlimited, 2002). He is currently Vice-President/President-Elect of the North Carolina Library Association.
show more

Rating details

13 ratings
3.76 out of 5 stars
5 23% (3)
4 38% (5)
3 31% (4)
2 8% (1)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X