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Fictional Books, And Where To Put Them IRL

   January 18th, 2011

Sterling's Good book coverLast month, the Huffington Post linked to a story on Flavorwire about books that originally started as an element of a fictional story, but then were later published as a real book.

I know that sounds a little confusing, but I did recognize most of them*. For the most part, books like this are fiction, and libraries shelve them as such. As the article mentioned though, television shows have also spawned real-life books - Richard Castle's books, from Castle.

However, one of these books recently(ish) caused a bit of a debate in my library - Roger Sterling's character from Mad Men wrote a book titled Sterling's Gold: Wit & Wisdom of an Ad Man. The points of the debate were these:

  • Since this book is "by" a fictional character, should it be shelved as fiction?
  • Since it is about the character that wrote it, should it be in autobiography/biography?
  • Since the topic is business advice written by a successful businessman, should this be shelved with the business books?
  • Since this is derived from a television show, should it be shelved in the television section?
  • Since it is humorous, should it be shelved in the humor section?

We ultimately chose the last option, and shelved it at 818.6 (which was also the C-I-P suggestion). According to WorldCat, that seemed to be the most common Dewey number, but not the only one:

  • Hamilton/Wenham (MA) Public Library: 659.10207
  • Greenwich (CT) Library: 659.1
  • Syosset (NY) Public Library: 817.54
  • New York Public Library: 818.5402
  • Cuyahoga County (OH) Public Library: 818.602
  • Greene County (OH) Public Library: 791.457
  • Anderson (IN) Public Library: 817

And those were just the libraries on the first few WorldCat results pages that were using Dewey.

But you know, within this genre, I'd actually like for Dewey to write his own book.

 


*My favorite book-within-a-book is the Books of Bokonon, from Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. It never fully made it to real book status, but it has come close.




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3 Responses to “Fictional Books, And Where To Put Them IRL”

  1. Twitter Trackbacks for Swiss Army Librarian » Fictional Books, And Where To Put Them IRL :: Brian Herzog [swissarmylibrarian.net] on Topsy.com Says:

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  2. Cari Says:

    I probably would have put it in 818.6 too. Maybe 791, but certainly not 659.

    I have the Castle books cuttered under Cas. My inner cataloger screams at me, but I think the patrons can find them easier that way. Sometimes it’s not all about following the rules!

  3. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Cari: I agree, either humor or television. And I think I do agree with Richard Castle’s books under Fic/Castle – that’s where people expect them to be. And it’s basically a pen name, so there is precedent.