Book Lists That Should Exist

Vivienne Woodward


Vivienne Woodward lives in Philly and works as the events coordinator for an indie bookstore. She can often be found drinking too much coffee in the sunny spot on her couch and over-identifying with fictional characters. She enjoys collecting hobbies, dancing to radio pop, and rearranging the book stacks on her side tables.

Lists have become one of the major formats through which we consume information on the internet. And why not? Lists are easy to read; they have lots of white space, plenty of bolded headlines, and often, pictures! Here at Book Riot we publish lots of helpful book lists, for a wide variety of readers, featuring a wide variety of voices and genres. If you haven’t used our lists to make lists of your own, I highly recommend you do so. You can often find exactly what you’re looking for. 7 of the Best Books to Read in the Hospital (And 2 To Avoid), 4 Feminist Books By Indian Writers That Are Redefining Myths, 6 Books Reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn Movies are some of our recent lists, just to give you an idea of the range. One that I wrote recently is about which books to pair with the cereal you are eating.

In crafting any good book list, there are a couple of questions you have to ask yourself. Is this list silly or serious? (Cereal versus feminist Indian writers.) Is this list utilitarian or is it for taste? (Books for the hospital versus books for Audrey Hepburn fans.) Is this list going to reach an audience of people who will think, “FINALLY! Someone who understands me!”? I personally think the examples I provided above do the trick—lots of people go to the hospital, eat cereal, and love Audrey Hepburn. The list of feminist books by Indian writers is about discovery, another thing people look for in a good list. There is nothing better than discovering a list of books that align with what you need, or want, in life and literature.

But I can’t help but think that not every single person has access to the list they are looking for. Science is getting close, but we haven’t yet discovered them all. To keep us on the right track, I have a few ideas for book lists that I have yet to see and which I think would be important contributions to the list canon. Here they are, spanning the spectrum of utility, discovery, and taste (in list format, for convenience):

14 Books To Help You Process Your Upsetting 23andMe Results

9 Books to Read If The Only Books You’ve Ever Read Are People Magazine Captions

13 Books to Read If The Only Responses You’re Getting to Job Applications Are From Automated Systems (I, Robot????)

19 Books To Read If You’re Grieving the Death of Your Succulent

3 Books to Read If You Think The Onion is Real News

Ebooks To Add to Your Kindle If You Get Horny on Public Buses

24 Books to Read If The Only SNL Sketches You Watch Are Weekend Update

Books To Read Aloud to Your Kid If Your Kid is Abraham Lincoln Reincarnate (Lincoln in the Bardo would be the perfect combination of his family history and beyond-the-grave paranormal!!)


4 Books You Will Love If You Have Combination Skin

Audio Books You’ll Love If You Miss the Sound of Old-Fashioned, Hand-Crank Pencil Sharpeners

300 Celebrity Memoirs That Wouldn’t Exist Without the Magic of Ghostwriters

Books For Everyone Who Has Ever Loved a Discontinued Ice Cream Flavor

Audiobooks You Can Fall Asleep To Without Missing Much

17 Books to Read If You Love Romantic Comedies Where It Looks Like the Couple Won’t Get Back Together But In The Very End They Get Back Together

Kids Books You Should Go Back And Read If You’re An Adult Who Still Can’t Empathize

Kids Books You Should Go Back And Read If You’re An Adult Who Still Can’t Share

This is far from a comprehensive list, but it is a start. What book lists do you wish existed?