The Reading List’s Most Recent Selections

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 CODES Awards Reception. 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.

Authors or publishers interested in having their book considered for The Reading List should review the selection criteria and the submission guidelines.

The 2010 List

Adrenaline

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child, Delacorte Press, 9780385340571
Lone wolf Jack Reacher takes on terrorism and Homeland Security as he stumbles onto the tail end of an Al Qaeda sting. Crossing politics, police departments, and an alphabet soup of federal agencies, Reacher cleans house. The non-stop tension, atmosphere of menace, and Reacher’ matter-of-fact narration create an immediate and believable thriller.

Read-Alikes

The John Rain series by Barry Eisler
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
Below Zero by C. J. Box

Short List

Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell, Little, Brown, 9780316032223
The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner, Bantam, 9780553807233
Shatter by Michael Robotham, Doubleday, 9780385517911
The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer, Minotaur, 9780312369729

Fantasy

Lamentation by Ken Scholes, Tor, 9780765321275
When the city of Windwir is destroyed by an ancient weapon, tribes of the Named Lands flock to the desolation to battle an unknown foe. Elegiac in tone this compelling High Fantasy introduces readers to a complex new world.

Read-Alikes

Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Wizards First Rule by Terry Goodkind
Acacia. Book One, The War With the Mein by David Anthony Durham

Short List

Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V. S. Redick, Del Rey, 9780345508836
Turn Coat by Jim Butcher, Roc, 9780451462565
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson, Tom Doherty, 9780765320308
The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett, Del Rey, 9780345503800

Historical Fiction

Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell, Harper, 9780061578915
Vividly recreating the pageantry and violence of the 1400s, Cornwell takes readers into the heart of the soldiering class in this intimate retelling of the Battle of Agincourt. With a brisk pace and brilliant evocation of everyday life, he details the brutality of war and the lives of the men who fought.

Read-Alikes

The Templar Trilogy by Jack Whyte
The Religion by Tim Willocks
Gates of Fire by Stephen Pressfield

Short List

Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran, Crown, 9780307409126
Etta by Gerald Kolpan, Ballantine, 9780345503688
Grace Hammer by Sara Stockbridge, W. W. Norton, 9780393067187
The Owl Killers by Karen Maitland, Delacorte Press, 9780385341707

Horror

Last Days by Brian Evenson, Underland Press, 9780980226003
In this deeply disturbing novel, the Brotherhood of Mutilation, a cult which gains wisdom through amputation, kidnaps a maimed detective and forces him to investigate the murder of a cult leader. Through spare language, a noir sensibility, and macabre humor, Evenson crafts a compulsively readable nightmare which asks, “How do you know the moment when you cease to be human?”

Read-Alikes

Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott
Misery by Stephen King
Crash by J. G. Ballard

Short List

The House of Lost Souls by F. G. Cottam, St. Martin’s Press, 9780312544324
The Little Stranger by Sara Waters, Riverhead Press, 9781594488801
The S’ance by John Harwood, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780151012039
The Unseen by Alexandra Sokoloff, St. Martin’s Press, 9780312384708

Mystery

A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn, Atria, 9781416586203
During the early years of Apartheid Detective Emmanuel Cooper straddles the racial divide while investigating the murder a small town police captain. Set against the cinematic backdrop of the harsh South African landscape, Cooper’s inquiries uncover a web of secrets and lies. The spare prose and the intricate plot belie the novel’s emotional impact.

Read-Alikes

A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley
Salamander Cotton by James McClure
Heat of the Sun, Distributed by PBS

Short List

The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny, St. Martin’s Press, 9780312377038
The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson, Viking, 9780670020874
Dog On It by Spencer Quinn, Atria, 9781416585831
Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, Delacorte Press, 9780385342308

Romance

What Happens in London by Julia Quinn, Avon, 9780061491887
Lady Olivia Bevelstoke and Sir Harry Valentine’s unconventional courtship begins when she is caught spying on him. Endearingly quirky characters, a windowsill romance, and laugh-out-loud scenes make this witty and charming story the perfect Regency romp.

Read-Alikes

Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare
The Winning Hand by Nora Roberts
Love Letters from a Duke by Elizabeth Boyle

Short List

Chemistry for Beginners by Anthony Strong, Simon & Schuster, 9781439108475
Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare, Ballantine, 9780345506863
The Temptation of the Night Jasmine by Lauren Willig, Dutton, 9780525950967
Vision in White by Nora Roberts, Berkley, 9780425227510

Science Fiction

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, Night Shade Books, 9781597801577
Bacigalupi constructs a sobering and nuanced of future Bangkok teetering on the edge of disaster. In this inhospitable environment, a disparate group of characters calculates how to survive. The novel’s gritty tone, provocative story line, and sympathetic characters evoke a world that is frightening real.

Read-Alikes

Distraction by Bruce Sterling
Brasyl by Ian McDonald
Accelerando by Charles Stross

Short List

The Empress of Mars by Kage Baker, Tor, 9780765318909
Flood by Stephen Baxter, Penguin, 9780451462718
The Quiet War by Paul J. McAuley, Pyr, 9781591017810
Steal across the Skies by Nancy Kress, Tor, 9780765319869

 

Women’s Fiction

Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani, Harper, 9780061257056
Thirty-something Valentine Roncalli seeks her future in the family’s exclusive hand-crafted wedding shoe company while juggling work and romance. Trigiani vividly captures both New York and Italy and infuses this novel with humor, warmth, and hope.

Read-Alikes

Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner
Bread Alone by Judith Ryan Hendricks
Greetings from Somewhere Else by Monica McInerney

Short List

After You by Julie Buxbaum, Dial Press, 9780385341240
The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil, Hyperion, 9781401340803
Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas, St. Martin’s Press, 9780312385187
Shelter Me by Juliet Fay, Avon, 9780061673399