Today's Topic



Reading Lists

Natalia J. Garland

Summer days are here and that means it's time for me to choose my vacation reading. There are many reading lists on the internet, and I pulled together a few that caught my attention. I have organized them into categories of social work and psychology, substance abuse, gambling, parenting, fiction, history, and college bound.

Social Work and Psychology

The Counseling Services at the State University of New York at Geneseo provides a Self-Help Lending Library. This list of books covers several areas from alcoholism to stress reduction. Most of the books were published in the 1980's and 1990's, but some have become standards for professionals.

The Counseling Services at Hobart and William Smith Colleges also provides a list of Recommended Self-Help Books, different from the one mentioned in the above paragraph. This list is little more updated with current publications.

The Counseling and Testing Center at the University of Idaho provides a Self-Help Library. This one differs in that it offers sections on depression, communication skills, and career exploration.

Some of the teachers at Stanford University got together and created a Suggested Reading in Psychology list. Each teacher involved in the project gives a short list of books which they personally recommend.

The Pam Pohly Associates website provides an extensive list of Behavioral Health, Social Work & Psychiatry Management Books. This is a useful list for therapists and supervisors who need information on insurance, ethics, and private practice guidelines.

The American Library Association has a list of social science books in their YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) section. The books found here are not typically M.S.W. required readings, but might be helpful in understanding the subject from another viewpoint.

The School Library Journal provides a Body Image reading list for middle and high school students. This list includes both fiction and non-fiction.

Powell's bookstores offers an extensive listing of Psychology books. This webpage is neatly arranged with sections on New Arrivals, Top Ten, and an alphabetical topic list. Since I am accustomed to Barnes & Noble and Amazon, I found Powell's to be a welcomed additional resource.

Substance Abuse

The journal, Janus Head, 2003 Winter Special Issue, provides the Interdisciplinary Studies in Addiction: A Reading List. Most of the listed books deal with the history of addiction and the impact of addiction on culture.

The website,, provides the Science Reading List. Their list contains books on the genetics and physiological aspects of addiction. There are also sections on women, youth, nicotine addiction, the Twelve Steps, and more.

Powell's bookstores offers a webpage book listing on Addiction and Recovery. Included is a useful section on Professional Reference. The Powell's website could be used to read the book reviews and also to make book purchases: there are numerous books for $7.00 or less.


The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling provides a Suggested Reading List. The list is 7 pages in PDF form.

For Kids

The Teaching Values website provides a list of Recommended Children's Books that teach values. The books are listed according to values such as courage, optimism, compassion, determination, generosity, kindness, and perseverence.

The Children's Booklist website offers Reading Lists which include annual updates (archives are available back to 1998). Parents might be interested to know there are selections from science and social studies.


The University of California, Berkeley, offers a unique website on Golden Gate Mysteries. Over 1,250 mystery, detective, and crime fiction books are listed. Each story involves the city of San Francisco.


Robert Dallek has selected what he considers the five best presidential biographies in his list, Hail to the Chiefs. He has selected from a range of both old and current publications.

NPR and a Seattle librarian, Nancy Pearl, offer a list on The Best in Political Fiction. This list also contains both old and current books.

The We Shall Overcome website provides a Histories of the Civil Rights Movement reading list. It includes histories, autobiographies and biographies, and a special list for young people.

College Bound

If you plan to start college in September, you might want to double check your reading accomplishments. Or, if you graduated years ago, you might want to update your personal library. I found a nicely organized College Bound Reading List at the Chico High School website. It covers American Literature and World Literature, as well as other subjects. There are also some useful educational links.

For the purpose of comparison, and just to take a trip down memory lane, I enjoyed The Wisconsin Council of English Teachers presentation on a 1962 Reading List for College-Bound Students. For better or worse, some books are no longer required and newer publications have been added since 1962. (This list has been reprinted and posted on the web by Ernie Seckinger

That's more than enough reading to keep me busy for several summers! Please note that I do not endorse any of the above lists or their sponsors. This essay has been posted for informational purposes only. (Written 06/19/06)

[Broken links were last repaired on 11/02/09.]

Until we meet again..............stay sane.

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Copyright 2006 Natalia J. Garland