The Reading List
Established in 2007 by the CODES section of RUSA, The Reading List seeks to highlight outstanding genre fiction that merit special attention by general adult readers and the librarians who work with them.
The Council, which consists of twelve librarians who are experts in readers’ advisory and collection development, selects one book from each of eight different categories. The eight genres currently included in the council’s considerations are adrenaline titles (suspense, thrillers, and action adventure), fantasy, historical fiction, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction, and women’s fiction. However, the Council is constructed in such a way to be adaptable to new genres and changes in contemporary reading interest.
The Council announces the eight winning titles at the RUSA Book and Media Awards Reception at ALA Midwinter Meeting in January each year. A short list of honor titles (up to four per genre) is also announced. All selected titles are published on the RUSA Web site following the event.
Members interested in serving on The Reading List Council should read about serving on the Council.
The 2014 List
“Red Sparrow” by Jason Matthews (Scribner, 9781476706122)
This modern spy novel pits two covert operatives against each other in an intricate cat-and-mouse game. As Dominika and Nathaniel ply their tradecraft, they navigate the moral ambiguities of a post-Cold War world where no one is as they seem and betrayal is business as usual.
“Night Soldiers” by Alan Furst
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” by John le Carré
“Skinner” by Charlie Huston
Adrenaline Short List
“The Caretaker” by A.X. Ahmad. (Minotaur Books, 9781250016843)
“Ghostman” by Roger Hobbs. (Alfred A. Knopf, 9780307959966)
“Lexicon” by Max Barry. (The Penguin Press, 9781594205385)
“Lost” by S.J. Bolton. (Minotaur Books, 9781250028563)
“Vicious” by V.E.Schwab (Tor Books, 9780765335340)
A friendly rivalry turns vicious when college friends Victor and Eli obtain super-human powers and use them for very different purposes. This dark paranormal fantasy, a riveting tale of vengeance and redemption, proves that extraordinary powers don’t necessarily make superheroes.
“Invincible” by Robert Kirkman
“Ex-heroes” by Peter Clines
“Steelheart” by Brandon Sanderson
Fantasy Short List
“The Necromancer’s House” by Christopher Buehlman (Ace Hardcover, 9780425256657)
“A Natural History of Dragons” by Marie Brennan (Tor Books, 9780765331960)
“American Elsewhere” by Robert Bennett Jackson (Orbit, 9780316200202)
“The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel” by Helene Wecker (Harper, 9780062110831)
“The Outcasts” by Kathleen Kent (Little Brown and Company, 9780316206129)
Love, morality and greed collide in this Reconstruction Era western. A whore without a heart of gold, Lucinda escapes from a Forth Worth brothel to begin a new life — and a new con. She and her lover are bound to cross paths with Texas Ranger Nate, who is chasing stone-cold killer McGill. Both Nate and Lucinda are unforgettable characters, driven by the need to survive.
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
True Grit by Charles Portis
3:10 from Yuma (film, Lionsgate Films, 2007)
Historical Short List
“The Abominable: A Novel” by Dan Simmons. (Little Brown and Company, 9780316198837)
“Longbourn” by Jo Baker (Alfred A. Knopf, 9780385351232)
“Out of the Black Land” by Kerry Greenwood, (Poisoned Pen Press, 9781464200380)
“The Thicket” by Joe R. Lansdale (Mulholland Books, 9780316188456)
“Last Days” by Adam Nevill (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250018182)
Deep in debt, documentary filmmaker Kyle Freeman reluctantly accepts the financial backing of an enigmatic self-help guru to make a movie about infamous cult The Temple of the Last Days. Unique, atmospheric and deeply disturbing, Nevill delivers a visceral horror experience that will haunt readers long after they put the book down.
“The Grin of the Dark” by Ramsey Campbell
“House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski
“Paranormal Activity” (film, Paramount Pictures, 2009)
Horror Short List
“Apocalypse Cow” by Michael Logan (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250032867)
“The Daylight Gate” by Jeanette Winterson (Grove Press, 9780802121639)
“Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King (Scribner, 9781476727653)
“Red Moon” by Benjamin Percy (Grand Central Publishing, 9781455501663)
“Murder as a Fine Art” by David Morrell (Mulholland Books, 9780316216791)
London, 1854: The Artist of Death ritualistically recreates the sensational Ratcliffe murders inspired by the writings of the notorious opium addict Thomas De Quincey. In this fast-paced mystery, filled with colorful characters and authentic period detail, Scotland Yard detectives, along with De Quincey and his daughter must find the Artist of Death before he executes another macabre masterpiece.
“The Bedlam Detective” by Stephen Gallagher
“The Maul and the Pear Tree: the Ratcliffe Highway Murders, 1811” by P.D. James and T.A. Critchley
“From Hell” by Alan Moore
Mystery Short List
“Alex” by Pierre Lemaitre (The MacLehose Press, 9781623650001)
“The Beggar’s Opera” by Peggy Blair (Pintail: The Penguin Press, 9780143186427)
“How the Light Gets In: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel” by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books, 9780312655471)
“Seven for a Secret” by Lyndsay Faye (Amy Einhorn Books, 9780399158384)
“Any Duchess Will Do” by Tessa Dare (Avon, 9780062240125)
Desperate for grandchildren, the Duchess of Halford strikes a bargain with her only son, Griff: pick a woman–any woman. If she can transform her son’s choice into duchess material, he must marry the girl. Griff picks the least likely candidate in bluestocking barmaid Pauline, only to quickly realize he has no idea who he is dealing with. A humorous and clever historical romance with engaging characters you won’t soon forget.
This Rake of Mine by Elizabeth Boyle
The Lady Most Willing by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway
Then Comes Seduction by Mary Balogh
Romance Short List
“Autumn Bride” by Anne Gracie (Berkley Books, 9780425259252)
“The Heiress Effect” by Courtney Milan (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 9781490994710)
“One Good Earl Deserves a Lover: The Second Rule of Scoundrels” by Sarah MacLean (Avon, 9780062068538)
“The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion (Simon & Schuster, 9781476729084)
“Love Minus Eighty” by Will MacIntosh (Orbit Books, 9780316217781)
Cryogenics adds a darkly humorous twist on dating, love, and relationships in the twenty-second century. This multi-perspective story provides a thought-provoking and poignant social commentary on power dynamics, gender, class, and the ethical issues surrounding life after life-after-death.
“Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance” by Lois McMaster Bujold
“The Curiosity: A Novel” by Stephen Kiernan
“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (film, Universal Studios, 2004)
Science Fiction Short List
“Abaddon’s Gate” by James SA Corey (Orbit Books, 9780316129077)
“Great North Road” by Peter F. Hamilton (Ballantine Books, 9780345526663)
“Tales of Majipoor” by Robert Silverberg (ROC Trade, 9780451464989)
“Wool” by Hugh Howey (Simon & Schuster, 9781476735115)
“Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes (Pamela Dorman Books, 9780670026609)
Unemployed 26-year-old Louisa takes the only job she can find: as a “care assistant” to 35-year-old quadriplegic Will. When Louisa discovers the depth of Will’s unhappiness, she embarks on a mission to convince him that life is worth living and in the process begins to think about her own future. This bittersweet, quirky novel recounts an unlikely friendship while grappling with complex issues in a realistic and sensitive manner.
“The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving: A Novel” by Jonathan Evison
“Talk Before Sleep: A Novel” by Elizabeth Berg
“You’re Not You: A Novel” by Michelle Wildgen
Women’s Fiction Short List
“The Husband’s Secret” by Liane Moriarty (Amy Einhorn Books, 9780399159343)
“Necessary Lies” by Diane Chamberlain (St. Martin’s Press, 9781250010698)
“Reconstructing Amelia” by Kimberly McCreight (HarperCollins, 9780062225436)
“The Storyteller” by Jodi Picoult (Emily Bestler Books, 9781439102763)