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Graphic Novels & Other Nonfiction Genres: Home

English 1000

Identifying Types of Nonfiction

There are several genres of nonfiction which will be useful for Essay 3:

  • Biography - the story of someone's life
  • Autobiography - the story of one's own life
  • Memoir - an essay/story of reminiscences
  • Journal / Diary - a record (usually daily) of one's life
  • Letters/Correspondence - letters/messages sent to others
  • Travelogues - records of one's travels
    • Source (of most terms): Turco, Lewis. The Book of Literary Terms . Hanover, NH: 1999.


Finding a Book in the MU Libraries

All of the above forms of nonfiction may be found in the MU Libraries. We are also part of a state-wide library network, so if MU doesn't have it, chances are one of our partners will. The trick to finding the books is to know how to search the MERLIN library catalog.

Here are some suggestions:

"Subject" search on :

  • Letters
  • Personal narratives
  • Travelers' writings
  • Travel Correspondence

The terms can be limited by using the following terms in the title or subject: Holocaust, Jewish, Iran, World War II, etc.

Finding Books

  1. Go to MERLIN.
  2. Set the field search to "Subject (LC)" rather than "Keyword."
  3. In the text box, enter your term, e.g. personal narratives .
  4. To limit to personal narratives from a particular time or place, select "Limit/Sort Search". At the bottom where the screen says "Words in the AUTHOR", click the down arrow and select either "Words in the TITLE" or "Words in the SUBJECT HEADING" and add your term, e.g. Iran . Click "Submit".

Other Resources

  • The Real Story: A Guide to Nonfiction Reading Interests . REF Z711.55 .C67 2006
  • Bearing witness : a resource guide to literature, poetry, art, music, and videos by Holocaust victims and survivors . D804.3 .R67 2002
  • Encyclopedia of Holocaust Literature REF PN56 .H55 E53 2002

To look up individual books and articles you find using these reference books, use the "Find a Specific Book" and "Find a Specific Article or Journal" links from the MU Libraries homepage.

Finding an Article on Your Topic

If you want to research the forms of nonfiction listed at the top or want to find criticism about a particular work, you can use one of the databases. There are several you should consider:

  • LION: Literature Online
  • MLA International Bibliography
  • Historical Abstracts
  • America: History & Life
  • Academic Search Premier (use this one for reviews of recent books)

All may be accessed via the MU Libraries homepage. Select "Database Title Contains " from the drop-down menu in the left sidebar and type the database name into the search box.

Citation Guides

The MLA style manual is shelved behind Ellis Library's Reference Desk on the south side of the first floor. We also have a link list to style manuals online.

Subject Librarian

Anne Barker's picture
Anne Barker
164 Ellis Library


Lania Knight