Author Zellers maintains that women’s nonfiction is an overlooked area of literature and so has created her own definition: “a reading interest that comprises titles that speak to women’s experiences.” She acknowledges that selections can be drawn from every Dewey category and does not limit potential candidates to works written by women or intended solely for a female audience. Citing frustration when searching for titles that met her personal criteria when using typical search methodologies, she has identified and evaluated more than 600 titles, concentrating on books that are intended to be read for pleasure and that reflect her admittedly feminist slant. Entries are grouped according to eight thematic chapters. Three address traditional genres: “Women’s History,” “Adventure and Travel,” and “Life Stories: Biography, Autobiography, and Memoirs.” The other five cover “Personal Growth”; “Health, Wellness, and Beauty”; “Feminism and Activism”; “Women at Work”; and “Women and Society.” Each chapter is broken down into numerous subtopics. Each chapter also features a user-friendly “Consider Starting With . . .” list of proven crowd-pleasing titles with broad appeal, as well as a list of compatible fiction read-alikes. Individual entries include complete bibliographic information and one-paragraph annotations that address not only traditional elements (setting, characters, time, place, etc.) but also important readers’-advisory descriptors such as tone, style, and pace. This brief annotation is followed by a subject listing of areas of interest and type of writing (anthology, how-to, quick read, etc.). Each selection finishes with a “Now Try” recommendation for at least one additional nonfiction read-alike. Indexing is by title/author and by subject. The annotations are engaging, insightful, often witty, and occasionally irreverent. Part of the Real Stories series (previous guides covered investigative reporting and biography), this accessible and unique readers’-advisory and collection development resource is recommended for public and academic libraries. --Kathleen McBroom
"This book would find a welcome place in public libraries as well as universities."
"The annotations are engaging, insightful, often witty, and occasionally irreverent. Part of the Real Stories series (previous guides covered investigative reporting and biography), this accessible and unique readers' advisory and collection development resource is recommended for public and academic libraries."
"Zellers (electronic resources, Williamsburg Regional Library, Virginia) offers a practical guide for librarians, booksellers, and general readers. While nonfiction, all the listed works contain narratives, either in book-length form or as a collection of mini-narratives, which are meant to be read for pleasure. The 632 titles are arranged alphabetically by author name within eight thematic sections — biography, autobiography, and memoirs; personal growth; health, wellness, and beauty; women's history; adventure and travel; feminism and activism; women at work; women and society — each further subdivided into subgenres. All entries include the author's name, the book title, publisher, publication date, number of pages, and ISBN, followed by a brief annotation highlighting key aspects of the text. Hundreds of additional titles are incorporated throughout as suggested nonfiction and fiction read-alikes for further reading. Indexed by title/author and subject."
Reference & Research Book News
"Women's Nonfiction fills a gap in the 'reader's advisory' literature. It will serve librarians well as an all-purpose referral tool when their own knowledge fails them in certain areas, such as finance, food, self-help, how-to, work-life balance, sports, sexual discrimination, relationships, and roller derby - to name a few."
"Librarians will find this a useful reference tool, but anyone interested in books by and about women will enjoy perusing Zellers' guide."