A reading list for readers looking to broaden their horizons

Are you a reader who would like to explore some new genres, but don’t know where to start? Fret not, librarians have got you covered. At the American Library Association Midwinter conference in January, a number of different committees met to discuss and honor books published in 2019. There was the Notable Books List, honoring literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry; the Listen List, highlighting outstanding audiobooks; the Sophie Brody Medal, for achievement in Jewish Literature; the Stonewall Book Award for LGBTQIA+ books; and many more. But today I want to talk about The Reading List, which highlights outstanding genre fiction across eight genres: Adrenaline (thrillers, adventure stories), Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Relationship Fiction, Romance, and Science Fiction.

While each genre has a winner, it also has a four-title shortlist. Among those five books are a range of what a reader can find in the genre, different types of stories for different readers, with hopes that everyone from a diehard fan to a new reader can find a title of interest. Check out the list, below, or in our catalog.


The Passengers by John Marrs
After their driverless cars are hacked, eight passengers have two and a half hours to live. One will be set free based on the votes of a captive jury and the will of the world’s social media population – but each has secrets that could condemn them.

Short List:
The Chain by Adrian McKinty ♦ Cold Storage by David Koepp ♦ Conviction by Denise Mina ♦ Lock Every Door by Riley Sager


Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
In Jazz Age Mexico Cassiopeia’s dull life takes an adventurous and life-changing turn when she must help a Mayan death god vanquish his brother and regain his throne in the underworld.

Short List:
Middlegame by Seanan McGuire ♦ Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo ♦ The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons ♦ Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

Historical Fiction

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
During the Cold War, the CIA trains a new generation of female spies in an attempt to smuggle Boris Pasternak’s censored novel, Doctor Zhivago, back into the U.S.S.R. while Pasternak’s mistress deals with the fallout

Short List:
City of Flickering Light by Juliette Fay ♦ The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins ♦ The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning ♦ Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati


The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher
Brimming with spookiness, paranoia, and a single-minded bloodhound, this devilishly wicked tale of folkloric horror set in the woods of North Carolina is inspired by Arthur Machen’s “The White People.”

Short List:
The Devil Aspect by Craig Russell ♦ The Homecoming by Andrew Pyper ♦ The Toll by Cherie Priest ♦ Violet by Scott Thomas


The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair
In post-World War II London, Iris Sparks (perhaps a wartime spy) and Gwendolyn Bainbridge (a society widow) have teamed up to matchmake singles with The Right Sort Marriage Bureau. When one client is accused of murdering another, Iris and Gwendolyn decide the police have the wrong man and start investigating.

Short List:
The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup ♦ Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey ♦ Paper Son by S.J. Rozan ♦ The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan


When You Read This by Mary Adkins
After her death at 33 from an aggressive lung cancer, Iris leaves behind a blog that connects her boss and sister.  Told through blog entries, emails and texts, this tender, uplifting, and at times amusing story shows each working through their grief and discovering an unexpected connection.

Short List:
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes ♦ Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams ♦ Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane ♦ The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal


The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
Tiffy needs a place to live and Leon works nights, so they come to an unusual arrangement: sharing an apartment (and a bed!) but never seeing each other. Communicating via post-it note, they begin to rely on each other in ways they never imagined.

Short List:
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang ♦ Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long ♦ The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite ♦ Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

Science Fiction

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
In this conspiracy-filled novel, a determined ambassador desperately tries to survive her new diplomatic assignment while investigating the murder of her predecessor on a planet with rules she doesn’t understand.

Short List:
Finder by Suzanne Palmer ♦ The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz ♦ Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir ♦ To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

~ posted by Andrea G.

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