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“Genre fiction tends to be the Rodney Dangerfield of literature,” writes Diana Tixier Herald in the sixth edition of Genreflecting: A Guide to Popular Reading Tastes. “These books get no respect.” But this is changing, as the art and science of reader’s-advisory service evolve. The notion of genre has expanded, and standard genre groups now include ever finer slices of subgenres, making genre searches more challenging. Whether you’re looking for books to suggest to a reader who loves paranormal romance or a list of recent titles to beef up your historical-mystery collection, Booklist Online can be a powerful tool.
Using Browse Reviews
To look for genre fiction at the broadest level on the Booklist Online home page, you can use the (technical term alert) Booklist Taxonomy—the slider menu under the Browse Reviews button. Click on Adult Books to open the menu, and then scroll down to Fiction, where you’ll find categories for Crime Fiction, Graphic Novels, Historical Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Westerns. We’ve subdivided several of the larger categories. Crime Fiction, for example, is divided into Mystery, Spy/Espionage, and Thriller/Suspense. This is an additional layer of genre that you won’t find in the print Booklist. If it’s children’s books you’re looking for, you can open the Books for Youth portion of the menu, scroll down to Fiction, and find a number of genres, including Action/Adventure, Romance, and Scary Stories. For fans of audiobooks, we’ve also provided genre tags for our Media reviews. Using Browse Reviews to look for genre fiction will get you some supersized results lists, but date limiters help make results more manageable—“Last 60 days” is the default, but you can also choose 15 days, 30 days, 90 days, or 180 days. For the brave searcher, there’s also an “All Dates” option.
Using Advanced Search
If you want to look for genres that don’t appear in Browse Reviews, or if you want to structure your search using filters other than date, Advanced Search is the way to go. Keyword in Subject, which is one of the “Search On” fields at the top of the Advanced Search page, is based on Library of Congress subject headings, including the headings for genre and form. This means you can search for such subgenres as Regency romance. You don’t have to know the exact LC heading; just entering Regency will do the trick. You can limit your search to Adult Books, or Fiction, or starred reviews, or a variety of other filters and combinations of filters. Keyword in Subject is also a good way to search for nonfiction genres. You could enter biography, for example, and use that search in combination with the Booklist Taxonomy to find biographies of musicians, or writers, or other particular groups.
If you still can’t find the genre you’re looking for, try Keyword in Review. Chick lit isn’t an LC genre heading, but a Keywod in Review search for “chick lit” OR “chick-lit” will get you a good group of results. Or try combining a Keyword in Review search for paranormal with the Booklist Taxonomy category Adult Romance. Keyword in Review is a great way to zero in on titles in some of the more elusive subgenres.
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