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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Teaching with Fiction

A repository of fiction titles for teaching across disciplines.


This is a crowd-sourced collection of fiction titles suggested by John Jay faculty for teaching non-literature subjects as an alternative or in addition to course textbooks and other scholarly resources. The guide was established in the Fall of 2018, spearheaded by Prof. Robin Kempf of the Public Management department and Prof. Kathleen Collins of the Library.

Your suggested additions are welcome! Please provide a title and a one or two-line description focusing on its relevance to the discipline at hand. The most useful suggestions are those that you have used in teaching yourself, but if it is a title that you are considering using, please only submit titles that you have read to completion. Send title, author, description and associated discipline(s) to Prof. Kathleen Collins at

For an introduction and ideas about using fiction in your teaching, see this bibliography and Prof. Kempf's slides from August 2018 Faculty Development Day. Below you'll find additional tips on finding relevant fiction to use in your teaching.



Curated bibliographies

Johnson County (KS) Community College's Billington Library maintains this extensive guide (select Literature). 

 See list for bibliographies in specific disciplines.

Do you know of others? Let us know! Send a message to

Library Resources A union catalog of libraries around the world. Select advanced search, then Content: Fiction and search by key word or subject.

Gale Literary Sources Library database. Search by key word or subject. Reviews and critical essays will address relevant texts and related themes with more depth and nuance than a bookseller or library catalog.

Novels for Students: An electronic serial reference resource issuing multiple volumes per year, from 1998 - present. Provides critical overviews of novels from various cultures and time periods. Includes discussions of plot, characters, themes and structure as well as the work's cultural and historical significance. Contains theme/subject index in each volume. Search title in OneSearch to access.

Book Review Digest Plus: Search for keywords and limit to, for example, book reviews in Document Type.

Book Review Index: Search book reviews via keywords.

Search other literature databases on the library web site.

Internet Sources

Recommendations via online booksellers and social media:

Goodreads: A "social catalog" of books and reading community. Search the Listopia feature by Browse > Lists, then use keywords. 

Amazon: See "Customers who bought this item also bought..." suggestions

Google: Search, for example, "novels about forensic psychology."

Wikipedia: Select Contents on left side, then Categories on the main page menu, then type "fiction by topic" in Category search.