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Find more The Reading List
Established in 2007 by the CODES section of RUSA, the Reading List Council, consisting of librarians who are experts in readers’ advisory and collection development, selects an annual list of outstanding genre fiction. This inaugural list is made up of one title in eight different categories: Adrenaline (encompassing thrillers, suspense, and action/adventure); Fantasy; Historical Fiction; Horror; Mystery; Romance; Science Fiction; and Women’s Fiction. All titles were published in 2007.
The Second Objective. By Mark Frost. Hyperion, $24.95 (9781401302221).
This evocative World War II espionage thriller deftly mixs a well-realized cast and an expertly crafted plot that hurdles toward a white-knuckle climax. With defeat near, the Nazis send a secret brigade to infiltrate the advancing Allies. Among them is an elite unit, led by a charismatic, ruthless SS officer with a top-secret second objective. Readers may also enjoy Ken Follett’s Eye of the Needle, Martin Cruz Smith’s December 6, and Jeffrey Deaver’s Garden of Beasts.
The Name of the Wind. By Patrick Rothfuss. DAW, $24.95 (9780756404079).
This engrossing debut fantasy, the first in a projected trilogy, introduces readers to Kvothe—a hero in his own time. Living incognito as an innkeeper, he is tracked down by a chronicler who convinces him to narrate his own story—and what a story it is! Magic, music, revenge, and a drug-addled dragon fuel this saga for the ages. Readers may also enjoy Mercedes Lackey’s Bardic Voices series, George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, and David Eddings’ Belgariad.
The Religion. By Tim Willocks. Farrar/Sarah Crichton, $26 (9780374248659).
Kidnapped as a boy and reared as a Muslim warrior, Mattias Tannhauser, now a smuggler, is seduced by the lure of women and war in this action-filled romp that blends horrific violence, madcap adventure, and great storytelling. Willocks delivers a strong narrative punch and solid, addictive writing in an intricately detailed and historically rich novel set against the backdrop of the 1565 siege of Malta. Readers may also enjoy Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles, David Ball’s Ironfire, and Jean-Christophe Rufin’s Abyssinian.
The Heart-Shaped Box. By Joe Hill. Morrow, $24.95 (9780061147937).
Retired heavy-metal superstar Judas Coyne collects obscure, macabre objects, but the ghost he buys over the Internet turns out to be very real, very mad, and out for revenge. A menacing atmosphere and sinister characters produce a fabulous mix of creepy thrills and look-behind-you, leave-the-light-on chills. Hill turns a simple ghost story into a cinematic nightmare ride that blends Gothic references with a razor-sharp sensibility. Readers may also enjoy Stephen King’s “The Mist,” Peter Straub’s Mr. X, and Dan Simmons’ Summer of Night.
Mistress of the Art of Death. By Ariana Franklin. Putnam, $25.95 (9780399154140).
This smartly paced mystery skillfully blends historical details, entertaining characters, and horrific murders. With a serial killer loose in twelfth-century Cambridge, King Henry II decides he must summon a Master of the Art of Death—and gets a mistress instead. This gripping debut combines forensic detail, religious fervor, and a great sense of place with just a touch of romance. Readers may also enjoy Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadafel series, Caroline Roe’s Chronicles of Isaac of Girona, and Peter Tremayne’s Sister Fidelma mysteries.
Natural Born Charmer. By Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Morrow, $24.95 (9780060734572).
A swaggering football star and a sassy itinerant artist spar with each other and discover how to forge a family in this sweetly charming novel filled with humor, snappy dialogue, and fabulous scenes. Phillips’ pitch-perfect story embodies the contemporary romance genre and offers a superb cast of characters, a richly detailed world, and a story line that will please longtime romance readers and new fans alike. Readers may also enjoy Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me, Jayne Ann Krentz’s Trust Me, and Nora Roberts’ Born in Fire.
In War Times. By Kathleen Ann Goonan. Tor, $25.95 (9780765313553).
In this captivating alternate-history tale, a young army engineer is given a mysterious device by a gypsy physicist on the eve of Pearl Harbor. If used successfully, this device could end mankind’s penchant for war and violence. To preserve a peaceful time stream, the engineer must alter an epochal event of the twentieth century. Goonan flavors her multiverse with rich details concerning jazz, quantum physics, and history. Readers may also enjoy Rudy Rucker’s Mathematicians in Love, Stephen Baxter’s Time Ships, and Joe Haldeman’s Accidental Time Machine.
Garden Spells. By Sarah Addison Allen. Bantam, $20 (9780553805482).
Claire Waverly’s world is turned upside down when her wayward sister returns home with a young daughter in tow, and a sexy college professor moves in next door. Adding to the spot-on rendering of sibling rivalry and small-town dynamics are the stories of first loves and second chances; lovable, quirky characters; culinary alchemy; and the magic of place. An enchanting debut. Readers may also enjoy Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic, Joanne Harris’ Chocolat, and Rebecca Wells’ Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
The Reading List Council, 2007–08, committee members: Katie Dunneback, Southeastern Library Services; Arlene Griffin, Jackson Madison County (TN) Library; Mirja Johanson, Perrot (CT) Memorial Library; Lucy Lockley, St. Charles (MO) City-County Library District; Robert Renwick, Brooklyn Public Library; Joyce Saricks; Jacqueline Sasaki, Ann Arbor (MI) Public Library; Tapley Trudell, San Antonio (TX) Public Library; Neal Wyatt, chair; Alan Ziebarth, Chicago Public Library.
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