Thursday, January 18, 2007
Biography and memoir
A genuinely innocent (and hopefully uncontroversial) question today - concerning the organisation of biography and memoir on the shelf. Should it be by subject or author? And is there a hard and fast rule? Some examples should give you an idea of the problem we face: The Invisible Woman, Samuel Pepys and Jane Austen are all by Claire Tomalin - so we've placed them all together under 'T' (we have Tomalin fans who look for other biographies). However, there are two John Betjeman autobiographies by Bevis Hillier and AN Wilson - currently placed side-by-side under 'B', but does Hillier deserve his own section? So...some challenges: "A Woman In Berlin" by anonymous, but with an introduction by Anthony Beevor - A, B or W? Or next to "Berlin" in the history section? "Bruce Chatwin" by Nicholas Shakespeare - C or S "Gilbert White" by Richard Mabey - W or M Alistair Cooke by Nick Clarke allows us to fudge the issue of course... Any suggestions gratefully received.