Professional Media Reviews, May 15, 2012

starred review starRamsdell, Kristin. Romance Fiction: A Guide to the Genre. 2d ed. Libraries Unlimited: ABC-CLIO. (Genreflecting Advisory Series). 2012. 719p. index. ISBN 9781591581772. $55. PRO MEDIA

The primary focus of this work‚ Ramsdell’s third guide on the subject, albeit the second with this exact title‚ is to provide an annotated guide to the many subgenres of romance fiction, with an emphasis on recent popular and/or prolific authors. Ramsdell (librarian emerita, California State Univ., East Bay) begins with an introduction to romance fiction, its history, and its appeal. In Part 2, she covers the literature by genre (e.g., contemporary, mysteries, historical, regency, alternative reality, LGBT, inspirational, ethnic/multicultural, and erotic), with very practical guidance on Advising the Reader and on building a library’s collection in that specific genre. The heart of the book is made up of the brief descriptions of the authors and the annotations of titles in these various subcategories. YA books are not included, with a few exceptions (e.g., Stephenie Meyers of Twilight fame). The third section, Research Aids, includes periodical sources, awards, publishers, and societies. Throughout, Ramsdell cites books that are currently available in print (most also in e-format), but she does not consider e-only titles. There is a wonderful appendix featuring a sample core collection. VERDICT Essential for public librarians overseeing fiction collections, especially when they are without subscriptions to fiction-advisory sources. The go-to book for guidance. Previous editions should be retained. Highly recommended. [Kristin Ramsdell is LJ’s Romance columnist.‚ Ed.] J. Sara Paulk, Wythe-Grayson Regional Lib., Independence, VA

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Margaret Heilbrun About Margaret Heilbrun

Margaret Heilbrun is a former Senior Editor, Library Journal Book Review.