Finalists for Maine Readers’ Choice Award Announced

Bangor - The Maine Readers’ Choice Award selection committee has announced the four finalists for the 2014 Maine Readers’ Choice Award. The committee, which is comprised of 20 librarians, booksellers, literacy advocates, reviewers and writers, has selected the following from an initial field of more than 140 works of fiction:

  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Little, Brown and Company);
  • Benediction by Kent Haruf (Vintage)
  • The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (Harper Perennial); and
  • TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (Random House.)

“Although the novels differ widely in subject and style, each features remarkably strong characters who were shaped by their time and place in history,” said Mamie Anthoine Ney, Director of the Auburn Public Library. “These are books that any Maine reading enthusiast should consider adding to their summer reading lists.”

The selection of the Maine Readers’ Choice Award winner is now in the hands of fiction lovers throughout the state of Maine. During the first two weeks of September, readers will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite book at public libraries throughout the state or on the Maine Readers’ Choice Award website:

Books reviewed by the Maine Readers’ Choice Award Committee came from recommendations from librarians, patrons and booksellers throughout the state of Maine. Many of the titles selected have appeared on a wide variety of “best” books lists this year as well. That list was pared down through a blind voting process by members of the Committee.

In order to be considered, the books must have been published in the United States in the previous year, appeal to a wide audience and be judged by the Committee to be notable works of exceptional quality. Revised editions, updates of previously published works, series or trilogies are not eligible for consideration.

The Maine Readers’ Choice Award was officially established in 2013 by the Maine State Library and the Maine Library Association with the aim of increasing awareness and reading of adult literary fiction. The launch also came on the heels of a controversial decision regarding one of the literary world’s top prizes for fiction.

“In 2012 the Pulitzer Prize committee did not award a Fiction Prize,” says Valerie Osborne, Committee Chair and Consultant, Northeastern Maine Library District. “Members of the library community, booksellers, publishers, authors and avid readers were outraged with the indecisiveness of this esteemed group of judges. We set out to do it better.”

Members of the Maine Readers’ Choice Award Committee are tasked with an enormous amount of reading and participate in a series of decision making sessions throughout the year to determine the finalists. Despite the heavy workload, they approach the job with enthusiasm.

Sally Leahey, Assistant Library Director at the McArthur Public Library in Biddeford said about her work on this committee, "What committee could be more fun to serve on than a bunch of fellow reading addicts who are all reading the very best fiction of the year!"

Aimee Turner of Portland said, “I have been so delighted to be a member of this committee. Although I am not a “book professional,” per se, I have a lifelong and deep love of books, and I’ve been involved on a volunteer level with my local library for some time. I’m so pleased to be invited as a bit of a representative of one of the many ordinary Mainers for whom books bring tremendous joy to our lives.”

The final award winner will be announced this fall.

For further information regarding the award and for all media inquiries, please contact Valerie Osborne at Bangor Public Library (207) 947-8336.