The American Library Association announced its shortlist for the prestigious Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. Cosponsored by Booklist and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), the awards are drawn from Booklist Editors’ Choice and RUSA Notable Books and made possible by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
The nonfiction shortlist includes Nicholas A. Basbanes’s On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand Year History (Knopf), an overview of paper’s evolution and tremendous impact that was proclaimed a best book by Mother Jones, Bloomberg News, and Kirkus Reviews; Sheri Fink’s Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital (Crown), the Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter’s wrenching account of life-and-death decisions post-Katrina, winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as an LJ Best Book and one of the New York Times’s Ten Best Books of the Year; and Doris Kearns Goodwin’s The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism (S. & S.), a New York Times Notable Book and Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book, among other honors.
The fiction shortlist led off with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah (Knopf), a tale of a Nigerian immigrant experiencing culture shock in America that also won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was one of the New York Times’s Ten Best Books of the Year; Edwidge Danticat’s Claire of the Sea Light (Knopf), a novel featuring affecting interlinked stories that was an LJ Best Book; and Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch (Little, Brown), also one of the New York Times’s Ten Best Books of the Year and a richly embellished coming-of-age story that received significant review coverage.
Established in 2012 on the occasion of the Carnegie Corporation centennial, the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction honor the best works written for adults in the previous year and aim to help librarians select topnotch materials for their libraries. The shortlist and eventual winners are chosen by an annually appointed committee that includes a chair (Nancy Pearl, 2012–14), three Booklist editors or contributors, and three former members of the RUSA CODES Notable Books Council. The winners will be announced at a medal presentation event at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas in June, with each winning author receiving $5,000 and the four finalists receiving $1,500 each.