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Good Fiction Guide

Rogers, Jane
Publisher:  Oxford University Press
Year Published:  2005  
Pages:  520pp   Price:  $22.95   ISBN:  0-19-280647-5

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Jane Rogers is a professor of writing at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK. She has written seven novels and many TV dramatizations. This book was first published in 2001; this second edition is in paperback. The first 140 pages cover 34 subject overviews in four pages each, with top books indicated by a different contributor. For example, Aritha van Herk writes on "Canada" (actually, just English Canada). Her 12 top authors include Montgomery, Laurence, Cohen, Engel, Findley, Atwood, Ondaatje, et al. Thus, 1120 authors are covered throughout the book, with about 4000 books being cited. With the update, 74 new authors are sourced and other new titles have been added. The solid contributors - 76 of them - are all writers. This highly selective guide even includes some personal details about the authors' lives, mainly life dates and anniversaries. Some examples of subject groupings: Adventure, Classics, Family Saga, Science Fiction. Topics include Childhood, Crime, and The Sea. Regions include Africa, Australia, and Caribbean. At the end of each section there is a list of the top titles that is covered by the essays. Prize winners are listed in a separate section, but only for three prizes in the UK and the Pulitzer. This reference work concludes with an index.

* Audience or interest level: inquisitive readers, libraries.
* Some interesting facts: This fiction guide covers popular and genre fiction as well as classics and contemporary fiction, plus foreign language writers in translation.
* What I don't like about this resource (its shortcomings): puny prize winner selection. It could have included Commonwealth prizes.
* What I do like about this resource (its positives): Of the first edition, the Globe and Mail reviewer said: "A splendid book for browsing, argument-starting, and must-read lists".

Quality-to-Price Ratio: 92

[Review by Dean Tudor]

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