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Stock Up Your Shelves and Alert the Book Clubs – Reviews of the Third Annual Carnegie Medals Award Winners

by on September 11, 2014

For the third year, awards and accolades have been given by the American Library Association to two writers for their contribution to the literary world.  “The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, funded through a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.   The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt received the medal for fiction, and The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin received the medal for nonfiction.” (Morales 2014)  The awards focus on adult literature that was published in the last year in the United States.  They often serve as a guide for the general public and voracious reader in selecting new material. They reflect the opinions of celebrated experts in the library profession, with Nancy Pearl—librarian, action figure inspiration and NPR commentator—serving as chair of this year’s awards’ selection committee.

Fiction

Ubiquitous.  Omnipresent.  These are just a few of the words that I would use to describe Donna Tartt’s latest novel The Goldfinch.   My library ordered this novel in November of 2013, and it has basically been checked out ever since.  Everyone that has returned it has exalted its praises on high.  One patron told me it was the best book she ever read.  I recently read Tartt’s first novel, “The Secret History” and was quite impressed, and cannot wait to get my hands on “The Goldfinch,” which tells the story of a first person narration account of a thirteen year old boy living in Manhattan who deals with tragic loss that involves the Metropolitan Museum of Art and its painting The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius.

Non-fiction

Goodwin’s The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism visits the intense working relationship between the two presidents.  Goodwin shows how both Taft and Roosevelt played a large role in the Progressive movement of the early twentieth century.  The book examines a time period when many citizens viewed the government as working for the public good. Goodwin is an acclaimed historian, and with this book she examines the friendship, and then the enmity, of two presidents who played major roles in that movement.

Other finalists

Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction finalists each received $1,500. Fiction finalists included Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Claire of the Sea Light  by Edwidge Danticat,  Nonfiction finalists included On Paper: The Everything of Its Two -Thousand Year History by Nicholas A. Basbanes, and Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink.  Check out these titles for future recommendations to your library patrons and for future book club admissions.

Works Cited

Morales, Macey. ALA. July 01, 2014. http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2014/06/goldfinch-bully-pulpit-win-2014-andrew-carnegie-medals-excellence-fiction-and (accessed July 20, 2014).


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