Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ensemble Women's Fiction

When I do workshops on women's fiction, I always discuss the kinds of books that make up the genre. One of the most popular is "Ensemble Fiction." I recently wrote about it in the March 15, 2015 issue of Booklist, take a look to learn more and to get some GREAT reading suggestions.

Core Collection: Ensemble Women’s Fiction.
By Rebecca Vnuk.

First published March 15, 2015 (Booklist).

When it comes to women’s fiction, one of the tricky things about offering read-alikes is that because it’s such a broad reading interest, the appeal of one title might not translate to another title. It can be helpful to break down different types of women’s fiction into subcategories. The top three that always come to my mind are ensemble fiction (featuring groups of women), chick lit (the younger crowd), and issue-driven novels (think any Oprah Book Club title).

The category with the widest appeal is ensemble fiction. These stories feature a cast of characters—there may or may not be one main character—all sharing starring roles. Readers enjoy these ensemble stories because they can easily find a character within the group that they identify with, or they can see their friends in one character or another. As a devoted reader of the genre, I can attest that when I read women’s fiction, I want to see myself or the people I know on the pages of these books—and if not that, then a character leading the life I’d like to have!

In the past 10 years or so, there has been a huge influx of women’s fiction books with large casts of characters—books about sisters, books about college friends, books about reading groups, books about coworkers (I’m waiting patiently for the book about librarians . . .).

To read more, and get the annotated list, head to the feature, "Core Collection: Ensemble Women's Fiction" on Booklist Online!

Booklist's Top Ten Women's Fiction

Once again, I've contributed lists to the March 15 issue of Booklist, honoring women's fiction. Don't forget to check out the companion article, "Core Collection: Ensemble Women's Fiction," for some of my favorite titles from this very popular subset of women's fiction.

The top 10 women’s fiction from the last 12 months (reviewed in Booklist between March 15, 2014, and March 1, 2015) cover the spectrum, from lighthearted chick lit to heavy issues and even a few with a touch of magic. One of the main appeal factors of this category is that sense of recognition the target audience—yes, women—gets from identifying with the heroines, and these novels deliver something for just about anyone.

The titles are listed below; for the complete annotations, head to the feature on Booklist Online!

All Fall Down. By Jennifer Weiner. 2014. Atria, $26.99 (9781451617788).

Big Little Lies. By Liane Moriarty. 2014. Putnam/Amy Einhorn, $26.95 (9780399167065).

First Frost. By Sarah Addison Allen. 2015. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (9781250019837).

The Geometry of Love. By Jessica Levine. 2014. She Writes, paper, $16.95 (9781938314629).

Housewitch. By Katie Schickel. 2015. Forge, $24.99 (9780765377302).

Landline. By Rainbow Rowell. 2014. St. Martin’s, $24.99 (9781250049377).

One Plus One. By Jojo Moyes. 2014. Viking/Pamela Dorman, $27.95 (9780525426585).

The Precious One. By Marisa de los Santos. Mar. 2015. Morrow, $25.99 (9780061670893).

Skinny Bitch Gets Hitched. By Kim Barnouin. 2014. Gallery, $23.99 (9781476708881).

The Story Hour. By Thrity Umrigar. 2014. Harper, $25.99 (9780062259301).