Before I attach the list, just a quick comment. These awards are among the only designations we have for "the best" in many of these genres. Specifically, the Adrenaline and Women's Fiction genres are key here. This is also a public library friendly list. All public libraries should own the winners and the short-listed titles; so check your catalogs against this list.
Also, the committee goes out of their way to write appeal based annotations for the winning titles. While, these are very helpful to you as you assist leisure readers, they are also a great training tool on how to write an appeal based (as opposed to plot based) annotation. Check out their great readalike options too.
So now, here are the winners:
SAN DIEGO —The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has announced its selection for the 2011 Reading List.
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.
The winning titles were selected by the Reading List Council, whose members include Jacqueline Sasaki, chair, Ann Arbor District Library; Alicia Ahlvers, Kansas City Public Library; Jennifer Baker, Seattle Public Library; Cheryl Bryan, Massachusetts Library System, Waltham, Mass.; Craig Clark, formerly with Cuyahoga County Public Library; Kathleen Collins, University of Washington Libraries, Seattle; Megan McArdle, Berkeley Public Library; Joyce Saricks, Downers Grove, Ill.; Sharron Smith, vice-chair, Kitchener Public Library; Kimberly Wells, Denton Public Library; Neal Wyatt, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va. And Alan Ziebarth, Chicago, Ill.
The 2011 winners are:
The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer, Minotaur Books (9780312622879)
Burned-out spy Milo Weaver confronts layers of deceit as his career collides with his desire to reclaim his family and his humanity. The labyrinthine intrigues enhance a building atmosphere of paranoia in this dark and emotionally-charged classic espionage thriller.
“The Quiet American” by Graham Greene
“The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” by John Le Carré
“Night Soldiers” by Alan Furst
“Caught” by Harlan Coben, E. P. Dutton (9780525951582)
“Crashers” by Dana Haynes, Minotaur (9780312599881)
“Deep Shadow” by Randy Wayne White, Putnam Pub. Group (9780399156267)
“They’re Watching” by Gregg Hurwitz, St. Martin’s (9780312534905)
Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay, Roc (9780451463302)
Haunted by the ghosts of fallen warriors, Shen Tai is forced into the political machinations of the Emperor’s court when he receives a rare and valuable gift. Lyrical language and complex characterization draw readers into this elaborately unfolding epic set in a fantasy world that richly re-imagines 8th century Tang Dynasty China,
“Black Ships” by Jo Graham
“Genghis: Birth of an Empire” by Conn Iggulden
“The Moon and the Sun” by Vonda N. McIntyre
“Finch” by Jeff VanderMeer, Underland Press (9780980226010)
“The Half-Made World” by Felix Gilman, Tor Books (9780765325525)
“The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” by N.K. Jemisin, Orbit (9780316043915)
“Nights of Villjamur” by Mark Charan Newton, Spectra (9780345520845)
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer, Alfred A. Knopf (9781400041169)
In this sweeping yet intimate portrait of a Hungarian Jewish family in Europe, two lovers become enmeshed in the turmoil of the Holocaust. With gorgeous prose and an exquisite evocation of Paris and Budapest, Orringer writes movingly of their strength and the bittersweet power of hope and love.
“Corelli’s Mandolin” by Louis De Bernieres
“The Piano Teacher” by Janice Y. K. Lee
“A Thread of Grace” by Mary Doria Russell
“A Battle Won” by S. Thomas Russell, Putnam (9780399156892)
“A Fierce Radiance” by Lauren Belfer, HarperCollins (9780061252518)
“The Golden Mean” by Annabel Lyon, Alfred A. Knopf (9780307593993)
“The Rebellion of Jane Clarke” by Sally Gunning, Morrow (9780061782145)
The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin, Doubleday (9780385533430)
Guilt ridden Nicholas Close retreats to his family home in Australia after the tragic death of his wife, only to encounter an ancient malevolence lurking in the nearby woods. Childhood nightmares and fairytale motifs combine in this emotionally powerful tale of implacable evil. Arachnophobes beware!
“It” by Stephen King
“Faerie Tale: A Novel of Terror and Fantasy” by Raymond Feist
“Dark Hollow” by Brian Keene
“The Caretaker of Lorne Field” by David Zeltserman, Overlook (9781590203033)
“The Frenzy Way” by Gregory Lamberson, Medallion Press (9781605421070)
“Horns” by Joe Hill, William Morrow (9780061147951)
“So Cold the River” by Michael Koryta, Little Brown (9780316053648)
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny, Minotaur (9780312377045)
Troubled by past mistakes, Chief Inspector Gamache, in his sixth outing, retreats to snowy and insular Quebec City where he becomes embroiled in intertwining investigations both old and new. Penny expertly delivers a layered story that is haunting, moody, and exquisitely drawn.
“A Test of Wills” by Charles Todd
“Haunted Ground” by Erin Hart
“In the Bleak Midwinter” by Julia Spencer-Fleming
“Faithful Place” by Tana French, Viking (9780670021871)
“The Taken” by Inger Ash Wolfe, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (9780151013531)
“Think of a Number” by John Verdon, Crown (9780307588920)
“Vermilion Drift” by William Kent Krueger, Simon & Schuster (9781439153840)
A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh, Vanguard Press (9781593155544)
A lady is ruined. A merchant’s son is trapped. Class differences loom large in this charming and playful take on the arranged marriage. Balogh’s Regency gem, where nothing is quite as it seems, is filled with affection and wit.
“Faro’s Daughter” by Georgette Heyer
“In for a Penny” by Rose Lerner
“The Viscount Who Loved Me” by Julia Quinn
“Barely a Lady” by Eileen Dreyer, Hachette (Forever) (9780446542081)
“The Forbidden Rose” by Joanna Bourne, Berkley (9780425235614
“The Iron Duke” by Meljean Brook, Berkley (9780425236673)
“Something About You” by Julie James, Berkley Sensation (9780425233382)
The Dervish House by Ian McDonald, Pyr (9781616142049)
A terrorist bomb sets off a chain of events that, over the next five days, entangles the lives of six characters. McDonald brilliantly imagines a world in which the ultramodern exists side-by-side with the ancient, and he blends science and mysticism to embody the contradiction that is Istanbul in 2027.
“Pattern Recognition” by William Gibson
“When Gravity Fails” by George Alec Effinger
“The Windup Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi
“Ark” by Stephen Baxter, ROC (9780451463319)
“Blonde Bombshell” by Tom Holt, Hachette (9780316086998)
“Darkship Thieves” by Sarah Hoyt, Baen (9781439133170)
“The Lifecycle of Software Objects” by Ted Chiang, Subterranean Press (9781596063174)
Solomon’s Oak by Jo-Ann Mapson, Bloomsbury (9781608193301)
Recently widowed Glory Solomon collects stray animals and damaged souls. Facing bankruptcy, she creates a new life catering themed weddings. This deeply felt yet unsentimental novel explores grief, healing, and second chances.
“Shelter Me” by Juliette Fay
“The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch” by Marsha Moyer
“The Blessings of the Animals” by Katrina Kittle
“The Girl Who Chased the Moon” by Sarah Addison Allen, Bantam (9780553807219)
“The Language of Sand” by Ellen Block, Bantam Books (9780440245759)
“The Love Goddess’ Cooking School” by Melissa Senate, Gallery (9781439107232)
“Vintage Affair” by Isabel Wolff, Bantam (9780553807837)