Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Notable Books: The 2013 Selection of Titles

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Notable Books: The 2013 Selection of Titles

Article excerpt

The Notable Books Council, a group of readers' advisory experts within the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association, has announced its selections for the 2013 Notable Books List.

Since 1944, the goal of the Notable Books Council has been to make available to the nation's readers a list of twenty-five or twenty-six very good, very readable, and at times very important fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books for the adult reader. A book may be selected for inclusion on the Notable Books List if it possesses exceptional literary merit, expands the horizons of human knowledge, makes a specialized body of knowledge accessible to the nonspecialist, has the potential to contribute significantly to the solution of a contemporary problem, or presents a unique concept.

This year's list was selected from titles published between December 1, 2011, and November 30, 2012.


Diaz, Junot. This is How You Lose Her. Riverhead. (ISBN 978-1-5944-8736-1).

Yunior, a smooth-talking Dominican, explores the complexity of love, fidelity, and cultural identity in these inventive, uncompromising stories.

Edugyan, Esi. Half-Blood Blues. Picador. (ISBN 978-1-2500-1270-8).

Two aging African-American musicians return to Berlin to find their friend, a jazz trumpeter, arrested in Nazi-occupied France.

Eggers, Dave. A Hologram for the King. McSweeney's. (ISBN 978-1-9363-6574-6).

In a nod to Godot, an American salesman is in Saudi Arabia to close a deal which may salvage his way of life.

Erdrich, Louise. The Round House. Harper. (ISBN 978-0-0620-6524-7).

On the Ojibwe reservation, Oop hunts for his mother's attacker and learns that law does not always provide justice.

Ford, Richard. Canada. Ecco. (ISBN 978-0-0616-9204-8).

The twin teenage children of once upstanding citizens who rob a bank are left to fend for themselves. The murders come later, in Saskatchewan.

Fountain, Ben. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.. Ecco. (ISBN 978-0-0608-8559-5).

The Bravo Squad was caught live on camera in a firefight. Now temporarily stateside, they are being exploited in a hyped-up victory tour.

Heller, Peter. The Dog Stars. Knopf. (ISBN 978-0-3079-5994-2).

A man, his dog, his airplane, and a will to survive in post-apocalyptic Colorado.

Johnson, Adam. The Orphan Master's Son. Random House. (ISBN 978-0-8129-9279-3).

In a surreal sortie to a world of fabricated reality, Pak Jun Do is forced to become many people by the North Korean government.

Joyce, Rachel. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Random House. (ISBN 978-0-8129-9329-5).

Delivering a letter to a dying friend becomes a five-hundred-mile journey of reflection and redemption.

Lam, Vincent. The Headmaster's Wager. Hogarth. (ISBN 978-0-3079-8646-7).

What happens when you are blind to the realities of war? Percival, a Chinese expatriate in Vietnam, makes bad bets with tragic consequences.

Tropper, Jonathan. One Last Thing Before I Go. Dutton. (ISBN 978-0-5259-5236-7).

No one can understand how Silver has made such a mess of his life. Can he fix it before the clock runs out?

Watkins, Claire Vaye. Battleborn. Riverhead. (ISBN 978-1-5944-8825-2).

The aching beauty of Nevada from the mid-1800s to the present is depicted in these nuanced and elegant stories.


Boo, Katherine. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. …

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