(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reference librarian Bridges (Univ. of Vermont Lib., Burlington) has compiled a unique list of lesser-known novels by American authors whose work reflects "the widest possible breadth of American writing." Unlike other such lists, including those from Nancy Pearl's "Book Lust" series (Sasquatch, 2003, 2005, 2007), this collection includes novels written during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries (up to 1997). Bridges takes a broad definition of "American," in some cases including authors of other nationalities who lived and wrote in the United States and in others American authors living and working abroad. Each entry is approximately two pages long and includes a two- to five-sentence snippet from the book, a synopsis, Bridges's critical commentary, a brief biography of the author, a list of other works by the author, and recommendations for further reading. Entries are labeled by genre, but no explanation or definition of the genres used is given (e.g., what is the difference between military fiction and war stories?). BOTTOM LINE Although this work more closely resembles the 2006 Facts On File Companion to the American Novel (edited by Abby Werlock), it contains far fewer entries. It is a good reference companion to books like Ian Ousby's almost three-decades-old but still-in-print A Reader's Guide to Fifty American Novels, which covers more traditional American novels. A useful addition to public and undergraduate library collections.-Sarah Sutton, Texas A&M Univ. Lib., Corpus Christi (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.