Read On...Biography

Reading Lists for Every Taste

by Rick Roche


Biographies are a perennial favorite among library users, and interest in these narrative nonfiction titles continues to grow. To meet the demand for direct and indirect readers' advisory, busy librarians need an up-to-date reference book to assist readers seeking real-life stories about people.

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March 2012

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 163
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Reference and Information Services and Tools/Readers' Advisory and Leisure Reading
  Reference and Information Services and Tools/Arts and Humanities Literature Reference Tools
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Categorizing hundreds of popular biographies according to their primary appeal—character, story, setting, language, and mood—and organizing them into thematic lists, this guide will help readers' advisors more effectively recommend titles.

Read On...Biography: Reading Lists for Every Taste is that essential go-to readers' advisory guide, filling a gap in the growing readers' advisory literature with information about 450 biography titles, most published within the last decade, but also including some classic titles as well.

The book focuses on life stories written in the third person, with subjects ranging from individuals who lived in ancient times to the present-day, hailed from myriad nations, and gained fame in diverse fields. The contents are organized in order to facilitate identification of read-alikes and easy selection of titles according to appeal features such as character, story, language, setting, and mood. Written specifically with librarians and their patrons in mind, this readers' advisory title will be invaluable in public, high school, and college libraries.


  • A chronology of the history of the biography genre
  • Brief reviews of over 450 high interest biographies


  • Presents more than 50 ready-made thematic booklists for displays and readers' advisory
  • Provides concise reading advice for biography readers
Series Description

Read On Series

The Read On series offers readers and readers' advisors an alternative approach for finding and recommending books. These guides, based on genres and reading interests, describe hundreds of popular fiction and nonfiction titles—not according to subgenres or themes, but according to their underlying appeal features, and under topics and themes that cannot be found in the library catalog (e.g., feisty females, quick reads, forgotten heroes). Each guide has four sections based on standard appeal features (character, setting, story, and language) along with a fifth section on mood. Selection of titles is based on the best, most popular, and most current reading within the scope of the book, with 350–500 titles covered in each guide. The unconventional reading lists can be used to identify read-alikes rooted in shared appeal features or in the specific characteristics on which the lists are based.
Author Info

Rick Roche is head of the Adult Services Department at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library, Western Springs, IL. A graduate of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Texas, Austin, he has worked at libraries in Texas, Missouri, and Illinois. His published works include Real Lives Revealed: A Guide to Reading Interests in Biography and science book reviews for Booklist. Roche comments on books, movies, and technology at libraries at his website,



"This attractively bound bibliography has an annotated listing of about 450 biographies published within the last decade as part of the Read On Series published by Libraries Unlimited. . . . Although this easy- and pleasant-to-use bibliography is meant primarily for public or school libraries, anyone interested in the field of current biography will enjoy perusing this book to discover new books for his personal reading pleasure."—ARBA

"Bottom line: Recommended if you need to update your collection, as these are quite readable, available, attractive, and relatively recent publications."—Teacher Librarian

"Another winner in the excellent Read On Series, this volume is the perfect complement to Rosalind Reisner’s Read On . . . Life Stories (2011) and is an essential purchase for public libraries."—Booklist, Starred Review

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