I kept a big file of photocopies, thinking someone might challenge me along the way – an editor , copyeditor , or reader - to show that the historical facts I had used were true.
No one ever did.
But now novelists are more often using bibliographies, probably for the same reason I kept my file – to show that they did their research.
In an article in the NY Times published a few months ago, some critics and authors found it off-putting or even vain.
“It’s a trend that is running out of control,” said Sebastian Faulks, the author of “Birdsong” and “Charlotte Gray,” in a telephone interview from London. “Lots of writers use them as a way of showing off, saying, ‘Look how hard I’ve worked, look how clever I am, look at all these books I’ve read.’ It’s a plea to be taken seriously.”
I don’t think it’s a bad idea. Sometimes when I read a novel I want to know more about the facts its purporting to make fiction out of. What do you think?