Finalists for 2015 Maine Readers' Choice Award Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 14, 2015 Contact: Valerie Osborne (207) 947-8336

The Maine Readers’ Choice Award selection committee has announced the three finalists for the 2015 Maine Readers’ Choice Award. The committee, which is comprised of 22 librarians, booksellers, literacy advocates, reviewers and writers, has selected the following from an initial field of more than 120 works of fiction:

  • Redeployment by Phil Klay (The Penguin Press);
  • Euphoria by Lily King (Atlantic Monthly Press); and
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Scribner.)

Joshua Bodwell, Executive Director of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, had this to say about one of the finalists: “"Oh. My. God. Those words came to mind repeatedly as I read Redeployment, Phil Klay’s debut short story collection of thematically linked tales of soldiers at war, soldiers waiting for war, and soldiers attempting to come home from war. The first story in the book—the title story—opens with this three-word punch in the gut: ‘We shot dogs.’ If we’re lucky, each year we read books that would be exceptional no matter when we read them but which pack an extra wallop because of the time at which we’re reading them. Redeployment is this sort of book, a book of our times. If not the best short story collection of 2014, it may be the most important. After being named a 5 Under 35 honoree by the National Book Foundation, Klay won the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction."

"I started out listening to this book on my walk one morning, but ended my day with reading it in bed because I needed to know what happened. I needed to know today. Euphoria is a story about three anthropologists and the odd love triangle they have created. It was very sensual, intelligent, and sad. It's a quick read, but truly a very good one," said Holly Williams, Pittsfield Public Library committee member.

“Among the hundreds of WWII-based fiction and non-fiction works out there, All the Light We Cannot See stands out from the crowd,” said Aimee Turner of Portland. “This is an incredibly memorable, moving novel, with characters I've come to care deeply about - children with specific vulnerabilities (and capabilities), and the incredible, but surprisingly believable, sequence of events that bring their lives together. Frankly, I'm looking forward to re-reading it simply to enjoy it again.”

“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: www.mainereaderschoiceaward.org.

Books reviewed by the Maine Readers’ Choice Award Committee came from recommendations from librarians, patron recommendations 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. Previous winners include A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash (2013) and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (2014).

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 annoyed with the indecisiveness of this revered group of judges. A group of us decided why not create our own award and from there came the birth of the MRCA.”

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.
Maine author and committee member Monica Wood said, "I loved being on the committee. I found books I wouldn't have encountered on my own, and there is nothing sweeter than the company of bibliophiles."

Kara Kugelmeyer, Product Strategy Manager at Thorndike Press and committee member said, “The MRCA is a great way to bring together all sorts of supporters of leisure reading while promoting fantastic books. But most important it allows Maine readers to vote for a book that has touched them in some meaningful way.”

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 (947-8336).