The Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction recognizes the best fiction and nonfiction books published in the previous year. The winners are selected by a committee of seven distinguished library professionals and chaired by Nancy Pearl (who has her own action figure!).
Last week, winners were announced at the annual American Library Association conference. They receive $5000 and finalists receive $1500 from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Here they are for your reading pleasure:
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
In the wake of his nefarious father’s abandonment, Theo, a smart, 13-year-old Manhattanite, is extremely close to his vivacious mother—until an act of terrorism catapults him into a dizzying world bereft of gravity, certainty, or love. Tartt writes from Theo’s point of view with fierce exactitude and magnetic emotion.
The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin
This masterful study examines the complex relationship between two presidents, Roosevelt and Taft, who played major roles in the Progressive movement of the early twentieth century. Acclaimed historian Goodwin offers a superb re-creation of a period when many politicians, journalists, and citizens of differing political affiliations viewed government as a force for public good.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
To the women in the hair-braiding salon, Ifemelu seems to have everything a Nigerian immigrant in America could desire, but the culture shock, hardships, and racism she’s endured have left her feeling like she has “cement in her soul.” Americanah is a courageous novel of independence, integrity, community, and love.
Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat
In interlocking stories moving back and forth in time, Danticat weaves a beautifully rendered portrait of longing in the small fishing town of Ville Rose in Haiti. The stories flow seamlessly one into another and are distinguished by Danticat’s luminous prose.
On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History by Nicholas A. Basbanes
Combining crisp technical explanations with vivid historical and contemporary profiles, Basbanes unfolds the two-thousand-year story of paper, revealing in the process that paper is nothing less than an embodiment of humanity.
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink
As the floodwaters rose after Hurricane Katrina, patients, staff, and families who sheltered in New Orleans’ Memorial Hospital faced a crisis far worse than the storm itself. Fink’s breathtaking account of the storm and what happened at Memorial offers a fascinating look at how people behave in times of crisis.
(Summaries obtained from Booklist)