Reader’s advisory announce 2022 Reading List: Year’s best in genre fiction for adult Readers

CHICAGO—The Reading List Council has announced the 2022 selections of the Reading List, an annual best-of list comprised of eight different fiction genres for adult readers. A shortlist of honor titles, up to 4 per genre was also announced. The list was announced today during the Book & Media Awards Virtual Ceremony.

The 2022 selections are:


“Razorblade Tears” by S. A. Cosby (Flatiron Books)

Husbands Derek and Isaiah were estranged from their fathers, but after the couple is gunned down, ex-cons Ike and Buddy Lee seek personal redemption and bloody justice for their sons in this gritty, vengeance-fueled thriller.

Read-alikes: “Animal” by K’wan; “Winter Counts” by David Heska Wanbli Weiden; No Country for Old Men (film)

Short List
“Bullet Train: A Novel” by Kōtarō Isaka, translated by Sam Malissa (The Overlook Press, an imprint of ABRAMS)
“Never Saw Me Coming” by Vera Kurian (Park Row Books)
“The Push: A Novel” by Ashley Audrain (Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC)
“Red Widow: A Novel” by Alma Katsu (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC)


“A Master of Djinn” by P. Djèlí Clark (A Tordotcom Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates)

In an alternate 1912 Cairo, where the magical and the mundane collide, Agent Fatma el-Sha’arawi teams up with a new partner and seeks help from the djinn as she investigates the massacre of a mysterious cult and races to stop a fake prophet who threatens to reshape the world.

Read-alikes: “City of Brass” by S.A. Chakraborty; “The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday” by Saad Z. Hossain; “Trail of Lightning” by Rebecca Roanhorse

Short List
“Black Water Sister” by Zen Cho (Ace, published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC)
“The Blacktongue Thief” by Christopher Buehlman (A Tor Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates)
“When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain” by Nghi Vo (A Tordotcom Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates)
“The Witch’s Heart” by Genevieve Gornichec (Ace, published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC)

Historical fiction

“The Sweetness of Water” by Nathan Harris (Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.)

Immediately after the Civil War, a grieving white couple and formerly enslaved brothers come together to form an unexpected friendship and vision for working the land. Their small Georgia community is skeptical and even horrified at the arrangement and as the summer unfolds, secrets are revealed with tragic consequences.

Read-alikes: “Conjure Women” by Afia Atakora; “The Prophets” by Robert Jones Jr.; “A Thousand Moons” by Sebastian Barry

Short List
“Daughters of Sparta: A Novel” by Claire Heywood (Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC)
“Leonora in the Morning Light” by Michaela Carter (Avid Reader Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
“The Rose Code: A Novel” by Kate Quinn (William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
“A Tip for the Hangman: A Novel” by Allison Epstein (Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House LLC)


“Nothing But Blackened Teeth” by Cassandra Khaw (A Nightfire Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates)

A wedding party camped in a crumbling Japanese mansion falls prey to their own creeping dread and the encircling yōkai–hungry inhabitants led by a ghostly bride. She was buried alive long, long ago, and she has been lonely.

Read-alikes: “The Ring” by Kōji Suzuki, “Night of the Mannequins” by Stephen Graham Jones; “It Will Just Be Us” by Jo Kaplan

Short List
“The Death of Jane Lawrence: A Novel” by Caitlin Starling (St. Martin’s Press, an imprint of St. Martin’s Publishing Group)
“My Heart is a Chainsaw” by Stephen Graham Jones (Saga Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
“Near the Bone” by Christina Henry (Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC)
“This Thing Between Us: A Novel” by Gus Moreno (MCD x FSG Originals, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


“Arsenic and Adobo” by Mia P. Manansala (Berkley Prime Crime, published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC)

Lila Macapagal reluctantly returns to her hometown to help with her family’s struggling Filipino restaurant, only to have a food critic – her ex-boyfriend – drop dead. A prime suspect, Lila spars with Detective Park while her best friend and nosy aunties help clear her name in this charming, cozy series starter.

Read-alikes: “A Deadly Inside Scoop” by Abby Collette; “Death by Dumpling” by Vivien Chen; “Mimi Lee Gets a Clue” by Jennifer Chow

Short List
“Grave Reservations: A Novel” by Cherie Priest (Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
“The Jigsaw Man: A Novel” by Nadine Matheson (Hanover Square Press)
“Sleep Well, My Lady” by Kwei Quartey (Soho Press, Inc.)
“Under Color of Law” by Aaron Philip Clark (Thomas & Mercer)

Relationship fiction

“The Guncle: A Novel” by Steven Rowley (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC)

Patrick, a former sitcom star sequestered in Palm Springs, temporarily takes in his young niece and nephew after their mother’s death. Over the summer Gay Uncle (Guncle) Patrick is drawn out of his self-imposed isolation as he and the kids cope with their grief in this exuberant, witty, heartwarming story.

Read-alikes: “The House in the Cerulean Sea” by T.J. Klune; “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer; “The Reminders” by Val Emmich 

Short List
“Dial A for Aunties” by Jesse Q. Sutanto (Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC)
“The Reading List: A Novel” by Sara Nisha Adams (William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
“Sorrow and Bliss: A Novel” by Meg Mason (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
“The Summer Seekers” by Sarah Morgan (HQN)


“One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston (St. Martin’s Griffin, an imprint of St. Martin’s Publishing Group)

Recently arrived in New York, August Landry is mesmerized by her impossibly cool fellow Q train rider Jane Su. With Jane stuck out of time and unable to leave the train, August resurrects old skills to uncover the truth and save Jane in this sweet and sexy timeslip romance.

Read-alikes: Oona out of Order by Margarita Montimore; Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur, Palm Springs (film)

Short List
“The Charm Offensive: A Novel” by Alison Cochrun (Atria Paperback, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
“The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes” by Xio Axelrod (Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks)
“People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry (A Jove Book, published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC)
“For the Love of April French” by Penny Aimes (Carina Press)

Science fiction

“A Psalm for the Wild-Built” by Becky Chambers (A Tordotcom Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates)

In a post-collapse utopia, nomadic tea monk Dex spends their days visiting small villages providing respite from everyday life. Encountering the first robot anyone has seen since robots left human society, the two journey together. This gentle, tender story examines the roots of personal dissatisfaction and the joys of community.

Read-alikes: The Iron Giant (film); “This is How You Lose the Time War” by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone; “Silver in the Wood” by Emily Tesh

Short List
“Day Zero: A Novel” by C. Robert Cargill (Harper Voyager, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)“Project Hail Mary: A Novel” by Andy Weir (Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC)“One Day All This Will Be Yours” by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Solaris, an imprint of Rebellion Publishing Ltd)“Unity” by Elly Bangs (Tachyon Publications LLC)

The winners were selected by the Reading List Council whose members include fourteen expert readers’ advisory and collection development librarians. The eight genres currently included in the Council’s considerations are adrenaline, fantasy, historical fiction, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction, and relationship fiction. However, the Council is adaptable to new genres and changes in contemporary reading interest.

The Council consists of Halle Eisenman, NoveList, chair; Erin Boyington, Institutional Library Development, Colorado State Library; Ann Cox, Ingram Content Group; Amy Dittmeier, Blue Island Public Library; Michele Drovdahl, King County Library System; Andrea Gough, Seattle Public Library; Stephanie Handy, Library of Congress; Marlene Harris, Reading Reality LLC; Sarah Jaffa, Kitsap Regional Library; Liz Kirchoff, Barrington Area Library; Kara Krekeler, University City Public Library; Teresa May, Durham County Public Library (retired); Katy Schorling, Colorado State Penitentiary; Karin Suni, Free Library of Philadelphia.

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), 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. Learn more at