For immediate release | January 27, 2013

RUSA’s 2013 Reading List announced: Librarian’s top picks in adrenaline, mystery, romance, sci-fi, women’s fiction and other genres

SEATTLE — The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has unveiled its top picks, short lists and read-alikes for the 2013 Reading List, which include titles such as “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn, “Bring up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel, “Firelight by Kristin Callihan and “Caliban’s War” by James S. A. Corey.

The Reading List annually recognizes the best books in eight genres: adrenaline (including suspense, thriller and adventure), fantasy, historical fiction, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction and women’s fiction. This year’s list includes novels that will please die-hard fans, as well as introduce new readers to the pleasures of genre fiction. Librarians can use the lists as resources for reader recommendations and collection development at their own libraries, or to build their personal to-be-read lists. The 2013 winners are:


“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn (Crown, 9780307588364) It’s her fifth wedding anniversary: where’s Amy? Assumptions are dangerous in this chilling psychological thriller. The dark and twisty plot, unbearable levels of tension, and merciless pacing will rivet readers.


“The Talented Mr. Ripley” by Patricia Highsmith

“Defending Jacob” by William Landay

“Before I Go to Sleep” by SJ Watson

Short List

“The Fear Artist” by Timothy Hallinan (Soho Crime, 9781616951122)

“Into The Darkest Corner” by Elizabeth Haynes (HarperCollins, 9780062197252)

“The Survivor” by Gregg Hurwitz (St. Martin’s Press, 9780312625511)

“The Inquisitor” by Mark Allen Smith (Henry Holt, 9780805094268)


“The Rook” by Daniel O’Malley (Little, Brown, 9780316098793) When Myfanwy wakes up with no memory, surrounded by corpses, she must immediately impersonate herself in order to unravel the conspiracy at the heart of a secret supernatural intelligence agency. This offbeat debut combines the fast pacing and suspense of a thriller with the gritty, detailed world-building of urban fantasy.


“The Domino Men” by Jonathan Barnes

“The Eyre Affair” by Jasper Fforde

“The Demi-Monde: Winter” by Rod Rees

Short List

“The Troupe” by Robert Jackson Bennett (Orbit, 9780316187527)

“The Steel Seraglio” by Mike Carey, Linda Carey, and Louise Carey (ChiZine, 9781926851532)

“The Killing Moon” by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit, 9780316187282)

“Alif the Unseen” by G. Willow Wilson (Grove, 9780802120205)


“Bring Up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel (Henry Holt, 9780805090031) Ambitious royal advisor Thomas Cromwell is at the pinnacle of his power and uses it to subtly engineer the downfall of his enemies, including the Queen, Anne Boleyn, and her inner circle. This intricately plotted character study presents a fresh perspective on the ever popular Tudor Court.


“A Man for All Seasons” by Robert Bolt

“I, Claudius” by Robert Graves

“Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Murder of Lord Darnley” by Alison Weir

Short List

“Sarah Thornhill” by Kate Grenville (Grove, 9780802120243)

“The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller (Ecco, 9780062060617)

“Sutton” by J.R. Moehringer (Hyperion, 9781401323141)

“The Cove” by Ron Rash (Ecco, 9780061804199)


“The Ritual” by Adam Nevill
(St. Martin’s, 9780312641849) In the remote forests of Sweden, the friendship between four men disintegrates when they wander off the hiking trail and find themselves stalked by an unseen and increasingly violent menace. “Blair Witch” meets black metal in this dark and suspenseful horror novel.


“Neverland” by Douglas Clegg

“Deliverance” by James Dickey

“The Ruins” by Scott Smith

Short List

“Breed” by Chase Novak (Mullholland Books, 9780316198561)

“The Haunting of Maddy Clare” by Simone St. James (New American Library, 9780451235688)

“This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously Dude, Don’t Touch It” by David Wong (St. Martin’s Press, 9780312546342)

“The Return Man” by V. M. Zito (Orbit, 9780316218283)


“The Gods of Gotham” by Lyndsay Faye (Putnam, 9780399158377) The discovery of a mass grave of child prostitutes spurs “copper star” Timothy Wilde to hunt a killer through the seamy underbelly of 1840s New York City. Colorful period slang enlivens this carefully researched story about the dawn of modern policing.


“The Alienist” by Caleb Carr

“The Yard” by Alex Grecian

“Gangs of New York” (film, Miramax, 2002)

Short List

“Don’t Ever Get Old” by Daniel Friedman (Minotaur, 9780312606930)

“Trickster’s Point” by William Kent Krueger (Atria Books, 9781451645675)

“The Chalk Girl” by Carol O’Connell (Putnam, 9780399157745)

“The Beautiful Mystery” by Louise Penny (Minotaur, 9780312655464)


“Firelight” by Kristen Callihan
(Grand Central, 9781455508594) Bartered as a bride to the masked nobleman Benjamin Archer, Miranda Ellis – a woman with a supernatural secret – becomes his only defender when he is accused of a series of murders. This is a dark and smoldering Victorian paranormal where love redeems two complex and damaged characters.


“The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie” by Jennifer Ashley

“When Beauty Tamed the Beast" by Eloisa James

“Second Sight” by Amanda Quick

Short List

“The Black Hawk” by Joanna Bourne (Berkley, 9780425244531)

“At Your Pleasure” by Meredith Duran (Pocket Star, 9781451606959)

“A Lady Awakened” by Cecilia Grant (Bantam, 9780553593839)

“Lucky in Love” by Jill Shalvis (Forever, 9781455503728)


War” by James S. A. Corey (Orbit, 9780316129060) One wants control; one wants vindication; one wants his daughter back; and one wants revenge (and maybe a new suit). The shifting points of view of these four distinctive characters, an electrifying pace, and the threat of an evolving alien protomolecule propel readers through this grand space adventure.


“Hellhole” by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

“Gardens of the Sun” by Paul McAuley

“The Ghost Brigades” by John Scalzi

Short List

“The Hydrogen Sonata” by Iain M. Banks (Orbit, 9780316212373)

“11/22/63” by Stephen King (Scribner, 9781451627282)

“After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall” by Nancy Kress (Tachyon, 9781616960650)

“Exogene” by T.C. McCarthy (Orbit, 9780316128155)


“The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns” by Margaret Dilloway (Putnam, 9780399157752) Galilee Garner’s carefully managed routine of teaching, rose breeding, and kidney dialysis is disrupted when her teenage niece moves in. Readers will root for the growth of this prickly character as she discovers the importance of cultivating human connections.


“The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

“Olive Kitteridge” by Elizabeth Strout

“As Good as it Gets” (film, Columbia Tristar, 1997)

Short List

“Wife 22” by Melanie Gideon (Ballantine, 9780345527950)

“A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty” by Joshilyn Jackson (Grand Central, 9780446582353)

“I’ve Got Your Number” by Sophie Kinsella (Dial Press, 9780385342063)

“The Secret Keeper” by Kate Morton (Atria Books, 9781439152805)

The winners were selected by the The Reading List Council: Megan McArdle, chair, Berkeley Public Library; Alicia Ahlvers, Kansas City Public Library; Stephanie Chase, Seattle Public Library; Craig Clark; Kathleen Collins, University of Washington; Vicki Nesting, St. Charles Parish Library; Gillian Speace, Novelist; Valerie Taylor, Great Falls Library; Kimberly Wells, Denton (Texas) Public Library; Jody Wurl, Hennepin County Library; and Michelle Young, Hawaii State Public Library System.

The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Not a member, but interested in discounted registration rates on conference, preconferences and other events? Join, renew or add RUSA to your ALA membership at Learn more about the association at


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