BANGOR — The Maine Readers’ Choice Award selection committee has announced the three finalists for the inaugural Maine Readers’ Choice Award. The committee, composed of 20 librarians, booksellers, literacy advocates, reviewers and writers, selected the following from an initial field of more than 40 works of fiction:
• “A Land More Kind than Home” by Wiley Cash.
• “The Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers.
• “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn.
Committee members are:
Valerie Osborne, committee chairwoman and consultant, Northeastern Maine Library District; Andi Jackson-Darling, Maine Library Association president, Falmouth Public Library, Falmouth; Tricia Gordon, Mt. Ararat High School Library, Topsham; Kara Kugelmeyer, Thorndike Press/Gale/Cengage Learning, Waterville; Mamie Anthoine Ney, Maine State Library, Southern Maine Library District, Portland; Christopher Bowe, Longfellow Books, Portland; Debbie Taylor. Sherman’s Books and Stationery, Bar Harbor; Jan Coates, Island Readers & Writers, Mount Desert; Kathleen Kramer, Harrison Village Library, Harrison; Kenny Brechner, DDG Booksellers, Farmington; William D. Bushnell, book reviewer, Harpswell; Sally Leahey, McArthur Library, Biddeford; Joseph Hessert, ARDOR Literary Magazine, Gray; Tina Branco, South Thomaston Public Library, book reviewer, @Tutu’s Two Cents, South Thomaston; Thomas Cashman Avila, freelance writer, Bangor; Nina Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook; Holly Williams, Pittsfield Public Library, Pittsfield; Charlie Campo, Maine Library Commission, Hampden; Debbie Averill, Maine Library Commission, Orono; and Renee DesRoberts, McArthur Library, Biddeford.
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.
In order to be considered, books must be 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 were not eligible for consideration.
“Last year the Pulitzer Prize committee did not award a Fiction Prize,” said Valerie Osborne, committee chairwoman and consultant, Northeastern Maine Library District based at Bangor Public Library. “Members of the library community, booksellers, publishers, authors and avid readers were outraged with the indecisiveness of this prestigious group of judges. It was out of this frustration that the Maine Readers’ Choice Award was born.”
Recommendations for the Maine Readers’ Choice Awards’ initial long list of more than 40 works of fiction came from a variety of “best” books lists. In future years recommendations will come from library and bookseller communities throughout the state of Maine. That list was pared down through a blind voting process by members of the committee.
“Our inaugural finalists perfectly express what we were looking for in an award winner,” says committee member Mamie Anthoine Ney, consultant, Southern Maine Library District. “’The Yellow Birds’ and ‘A Land More Kind than Home’ are both debut novels that tell touching stories of young people deeply impacted by a war — either on foreign soil or in a rural backyard. ‘Gone Girl’ is one of those psychological suspense novels that draws you in and leaves your reeling. These books will definitely not disappoint.”
The selection of the first Maine Readers’ Choice Award winner is now in the hands of readers and fiction lovers throughout the state of Maine. Readers can vote online at mainereaderschoiceaward.org and at public libraries throughout the state in September.