Reading list from my RA class

I recently finished teaching the course Readers’ Advisory Services to library science graduate students at St. Catherine University. I have no idea if I’ll teach the course again, but it was such a good opportunity and I loved interacting with future librarians. I really had a blast planning for the class and teaching it, even if it added a lot to my work load. And what librarian doesn’t love talking about books?

For you non-librarians, readers’ advisory is what we librarians do when we suggest fiction and nonfiction titles to you. We listen to the types of things you like and suggest readalikes you may enjoy. Readers’ advisory also includes promoting books and reading through indirect means, like book displays, book lists, book clubs, promotion on social media, author events, other book-related events, etc.

In the course, we looked at many different genres of books, we read a lot of books, and we did some fun things to showcase indirect readers’ advisory. I had an author speaker come in and we did some other events in the classroom, like a murder mystery and Ready Player One Jeopardy.

But since a big part of the course was students reading books in all different genres to further expand what they know about those genres, my friends have been asking me for my reading list for a long time now. You’ll find the list below, but please know:

  • Your favorite book may not be on the list and you may think it should’ve been. I know this. I’ve heard it. Your book is probably fabulous, but I read a lot of books trying to find the ones I thought might be best for the class, and I went back and forth for months before the list was finalized. I wanted books that represented the genre in certain ways, that were semi-popular (sometimes really popular) or had popular authors, that represented both male and female authors, that were diverse so we weren’t just reading a bunch of white authors/characters, and that were fairly recent (except with graphic novels).
  • I do not love every book on this list. I certainly love a bunch of them, but I also included books that I loathed but that represented good things about the genre. So that’s why you’ll see Code Name Verity on the list which I’ve been very vocal about hating. (I’m also well aware that I am in the minority on that. I don’t understand why you loved it just as much as you don’t understand why I hated it.)

With those caveats being said, here ya go. (And no, the students didn’t have to read ALL these books. I wouldn’t have made it out alive if I made them do that.)

Literary Fiction

  • Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Historical Fiction

  • The Night Birds by Thomas Maltman
  • Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
  • Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
  • A Good American by Alex George
  • The Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison

Science Fiction/Fantasy

  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey
  • The Killing Moon by N. K. Jemisin
  • Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
  • Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
  • Blackout by Connie Willis

Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

  • Trickster’s Point by William Kent Krueger
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
  • Stay Close by Harlan Coben
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • Kill Shot by Vince Flynn
  • Catch Me by Lisa Gardner

Romance/Women’s Lives/Gentle Reads

  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  • Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale
  • The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larson
  • Ada’s Rules: A Sexy, Skinny Novel by Alice Randall
  • The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart
  • Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

Young Adult / Adult Crossover

  • I Am J by Cris Beam
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Graphic Novel

  • The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
  • The Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone
  • Watchmen by Alan Moore
  • The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  • American Vampire Volume 1 by Scott Snyder & Stephen King

Nonfiction

  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo
  • Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield
  • Let’s Pretend this Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang

The students gave reports and read books in other genres that we didn’t cover as a whole class, so the class did hear about more genres than just what is listed here.

Happy reading!

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4 thoughts on “Reading list from my RA class

  1. I am ashamed to confess that I have only read three of the books on your list. And I hated one of them. Oh, well.

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