The 7th edition of Genreflecting: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests was published by ABC-CLIO in late April. It can be considered a standard reference work for readers' advisory work in general and for discovering the appeal of fiction and nonfiction genres and individual books within them. I was pleased to be asked to write the historical fiction chapter (this was my project for the past two summers). My Historical Fiction II book was published in 2009, and this new chapter supplements it by discussing new titles and trends in historicals. Many other genres are likewise covered, of course, from crime, thrillers, and westerns to mainstream fiction, fantasy, horror, and nonfiction as well as other popular interests like urban fiction and graphic novels. Cynthia Orr and Diana Tixier Herald are the editors. Find more at the publisher's website.
A new batch of historical fiction reviews went online at the Historical Novel Society website on May 1st, both mainstream/small press and indie titles. There are over 300 in all. Have fun browsing!
Also in the Historical Novels Review's May issue, and available for all to view: Bethany Latham's insightful cover story on trends and preferences in historical fiction cover art, which has quotes from both publishers and readers on this perennially fascinating subject. Guess which types of covers stood out the most. Also online is "The Ghosts of Wartime Past," my interview with Simone St. James about An Inquiry Into Love and Death, her newest 1920s-era Gothic novel.
Finally, while you're over at the HNS website, don't forget to check out the spring issue of The Historian, the journal of the Historical Association (UK), which is entirely about historical fiction. It's online in full, complete with articles by Lindsey Davis on "true history," coverage of Downton Abbey, cover designs for children's historicals, and HNS founder/publisher Richard Lee's perspective on the British market for historical fiction.
Several months back, blog reader Tracy Whittington dropped me a note about her new book, Claiming Your History, which is a guide to the many ways people can incorporate their love for history into their daily lives. (This site is mentioned in it; I agree that reading historical fiction is a good way to do so!) I downloaded a copy and thought it was a wonderfully creative source for ideas on how you can form deeper connections with your past, from creating genealogies and oral histories to preserving heirlooms and learning more about your ancestors' language and religion. Tracy includes stories about her own family in it – she has tried out many of the suggestions she provides – and relevant web links. For those interested, it's available on Kindle ($3.99), and you can read the table of contents via Amazon.
I'm just finishing up a marathon reviewing session (three books in three weeks!) and am slowly returning to the real world. Next up on the blog, this Thursday, will be an interview with Anne Easter Smith about her new Wars of the Roses epic, Royal Mistress, which was released today.