Friday, November 11, 2011

Companionable Reading, volume 1

Do you have a favorite author who has been writing a series for years (or even decades)? Are some of the minor characters and settings starting to seem a bit jumbled in your memory? Are the plot lines and relationships in the stories becoming more complicated as the series progresses?

If so, you might like to look at a reader’s companion. A companion is a volume that contains information about an author’s books and short stories. Companions may contain synopses, character lists or genealogies, maps, essays and sometimes even recipes.

Many contemporary authors, such as those listed below, provide reader’s companions for their own work.

The Outlandish Companion by Diana Gabaldon: for the Outlander series, contains synopses, character lists, related websites, research bibliography and much more.

The Sookie Stackhouse Companion by Charlaine Harris the guide for her Southern Vampire Mystery series, contains a new novella, a map, a fan essay, an extensive glossary, recipes and more.

For Frank Herbert's Dune Series, Herbert along with Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson have  created a volume that contains alternate and deleted chapters and short stories in The Road to Dune.

The Mitford Bedside Companion by Jan Karon contains excerpts, essays, photos, trivia and more to accompany her Mitford Years series.

The Official Nora Roberts Companion by Nora Roberts (aka J D Robb) covers all series, contains essays, photos, synopses and more.

The Stephen King Companion by George Beahm is packed with interviews, essays, inside information, rare photographs, and tantalizing trivia.

Companion books are wonderful if you need to refresh your memory about the work of a certain author or if you would like a list of characters from a long-running series. Many are also just plain entertaining.

Stay tuned for next week to read about Companion Books for deceased authors or written by someone other than the authors themselves.

Leslie and Maryellen @Warrenton

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