RUSA readers advisory experts compile readalikes for this year’s Andrew Carnegie Medals shortlist finalists

This year our readers advisory experts on the Notable Books Council, of RUSA’s Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES), have compiled a list of readalikes for this year’s Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction shortlist finalists
Scroll down to view similar titles for the Fiction and Nonfiction finalists. 

2014 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction shortlist:

 Carngie Nonfiction Finalists 2014

The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, By Doris Kearns Goodwin. Published by Simon & Schuster.

This masterful study examines the complex relationship between two presidents, Roosevelt and Taft, who played major roles in the Progressive movement of the early twentieth century. Acclaimed historian Goodwin offers a superb re-creation of a period when many politicians, journalists, and citizens of differing political affiliations viewed government as a force for public good.

Suggested readalikes:

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s research results are consistently educational and entertaining. Her other works on Abraham Lincoln, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and the Kennedys are companion works.Also suggested is the series, The Years of Lyndon Johnson, by Robert A Caro. These are, in chronological order, Path to Power, Means of Ascent, Master of the Senate, and Passage of Power
River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey, and Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and The Murder of a President, by Candace Millard
Lives and experiences of U.S. presidents are bound to make history and affect the events of their time. We embrace these stories that bring these men into living focus. Millard does just this with Theodore Roosevelt’s 1914 trip down the Amazon River, and with James A. Garfield’s dark horse candidacy, and his fatal meeting with Charles Guiteau, the madman who shot him.
Personal History, by Katharine Graham
For those as interested in the role of journalism in politics, one cannot forget the history of Katharine Graham and The Washington Post.
All the Presidents Men, by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
In a case where there was no overt cooperation between politicians and journalists, this is the story investigation into government, the Watergate affair, for the sake of the public’s right to know.
Truman, by David McCullough
Another biographer of consistent quality, McCullough’s Trumanis a study of character in a time of brutal politics.

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, By Sheri Fink. Published by Crown Publishers, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.

As the floodwaters rose after Hurricane Katrina, patients, staff, and families who sheltered in New Orleans’ Memorial Hospital faced a crisis far worse than the storm itself. Fink’s breathtaking account of the storm and what happened at Memorial offers a fascinating look at how people behave in times of crisis.

Suggested Readalikes: 

Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers 
Post Katrina New Orleans is a topic, a state of heroism and geography that has cultivated many stories of danger, decisions, and death.

Trapped Under the Sea: One engineering marvel, five men, and a disaster ten miles into the darkness, by Neil Swidey
The Boston Deer Island Waste Treatment Plant tunnel construction is a story of death on the job, failed emergency back-ups, disaster and survival.

Into Thin Air: A personal account of the Mount Everest Disaster, by Jon Krakauer
Adreneline fueled story of survival in inhospitable situation and human bravery and error.

Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The path to a better way of death, by Katy Butler
Life and death decisions had to be made at Memorial Hospital in an emergency situation. How does one make those decisions when considering quality of life, intervention, and who gets to decide about the end, in the end.

War Hospital: A True Story of Surgery and Survival, by Sheri Fink
The author confronts other situations where doctors make moral decisions in wartime Bosnia-Herzegovina.

On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History, By Nicholas A. Basbanes. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

Combining crisp technical explanations with vivid historical and contemporary profiles, Basbanes unfolds the two-thousand-year story of paper, revealing in the process that paper is nothing less than an embodiment of humanity.

Suggested readalikes
The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood, by James Gleick
Information science and theory are discussed by way of the medium, from cave drawings to the internet. A huge tome that conveys the sense that after reading one knows all there is to know about the topic.
Salt: A World History, by Mark Kurlansky 
Salt, a “divine substance” is an ingredient that shaped civilization from pre-historic China to today’s Birdseye frozen food.
The Case for Books: Past, Present, Future, by Robert Darnton
One cannot read about paper without further considering the fate of the book. Will it survive Google and its ilk?

2014 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence
Fiction shortlist:

 Carngie Fiction Finalists 2014

Americanah, By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

To the women in the hair-braiding salon, Ifemelu seems to have everything a Nigerian immigrant in America could desire, but the culture shock, hardships, and racism she’s endured have left her feeling like she has “cement in her soul.” Americanah is a courageous novel of independence, integrity, community, and love.

Suggested readalikes

On Beauty, by Zadie Smith 
Another title exploring color, culture and country with attention to domestic issues and written in literary voice.

Petropolis, by Anya Ulinich 
A Jewish-Siberian immigration story explores class from an outsider point of view, much like Adichie’s Nigerian-American perspective.

Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese
In this story of family and diaspora, the politics of Ethiopia and the experiences of its expats in America are explored.

What Is the What, by Dave Eggers
A “lost boy of Sudan” is a darker story, but told with humor and humanity, in another tale of sub-continent and new world.

Brick Lane, by Monica Ali (KP)
Bangladeshi sisters in London make different choices about relationships and culture.

The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz
This exploration of immigrant experience takes a whole different approach as Diaz describes the coming of age of a Dominican boy in New Jersey.

Claire of the Sea Light, By Edwidge Danticat. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

In interlocking stories moving back and forth in time, Danticat weaves a beautifully rendered portrait of longing in the small fishing town of Ville Rose in Haiti. The stories flow seamlessly one into another and are distinguished by Danticat’s luminous prose.

Suggested readalikes:
Mister Pip, by Lloyd Jones
Coming of age on a tropical island is an obvious shared similarity, including a strong sense of place and strong characters in the face of adversity.
Brother, I’m Dying, by Edwidge Danticat 
Haiti is as much a character as Danticat’s father and brother in this, her personal memoir.
The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography, by Sidney Poitier 
The Bahamas, “a place of purity” provide a visual backdrop to Poitier’s boyhood stories.

Salvage the Bones, by Jessmyn Ward

If we care about the future of powerless young girls we’ll want to take care of Esch in Bois Sauvage, Mississippi before and after the hurricane hits.Rainbow Troops, by Andrea Hirata
Growing up in a poor village in Indonesia, Ikal writes of the importance of the school and the struggles of the teachers who made the world a larger place for him.

The Goldfinch, By Donna Tartt. Published by Little, Brown & Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

In the wake of his nefarious father’s abandonment, Theo, a smart, 13-year-old Manhattanite, is extremely close to his vivacious mother—until an act of terrorism catapults him into a dizzying world bereft of gravity, certainty, or love. Tartt writes from Theo’s point of view with fierce exactitude and magnetic emotion.
Suggested readalikes:
Theft, by Peter Carey
Butcher Bones is a painter who is taking care of his brother in the Australian outback. Mixed-up, made-up family, art, and displacement are themes in both these books.
The Hour I First Believed, by Wally Lamb
As with Theo, life seems to really begin after a horrific experience, in this case, the Columbine shootings in Littleton, Colorado. Travel is wide and the past is explored.
The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards, by Kristopher Jansma
Just as Theo travels the world to unexpected places, our unnamed narrator  is tossed, or tosses himself, from a narrow life left in an airport, into a very large world that he tries to navigate as a writer.
Maya’s Notebook, by Isabelle Allende
Another world travel theme takes Maya’s coming of age story from California, to Las Vegas, and finally to the southern coast of Chile.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer 
A story of disaster, a father dies in the World Trade Center bombing, a young boy searches for meaning and redemption.
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RUSA’s ALA Annual Conference Highlights!

REGISTER for ALA Annual Conference NOW!

RUSA’s ALA Annual Conference Highlights:

  • RUSA Preconferences, Friday, June 27, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Business, Genealogy and Reference, all at their best!
  • RUSA 101, Friday, June 27, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. New to RUSA? Interested in joining? Want to connect with other RUSA members at the start of conference? RUSA 101 is the place to be! We’ll raffle off some awesome items, too.
  • RUSA President’s Program,Saturday, June 28, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. A thoughtful debate.
  • RUSA Programs, Saturday, June 28, 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Reference services and technology at its best!
  • Andrew Carnegie Medals, RUSA Awards and Literary Tastes, Awards, Awards and more Awards!

RUSA Preconferences

Preconference advanced registration ends June 20th!

How Business Librarians Support Entrepreneurs

This full-day workshop will address common information needs of entrepreneurs, including locating information about their market, industry, competitors and customers for both “Main Street” and technology start-ups, and which free or premium resources to use.

Read more    Add to my schedule

History Genealogy
This all-day preconference addresses issues of importance to library staff and administration when serving or partnering with genealogical patrons, volunteer, scholars, or educators. Read more

This preconference is a free event, but you must register, please fill out the form here:

Reference Interview
Learn why people do not ask for what they really want, find out about the psychological barriers to asking for help, and discover how to work with your users so that they are willing to come back again with future questions. Read more   Add to my schedule

Exclusively RUSA

RUSA 101Free to all conference registrants
Network, Get Oriented, Get Involved

Whether you’re new to RUSA or a longtime member looking for an opportunity to connect with other members and ways to get involved and spend an hour with us before heading off to the opening of the exhibit floor. Refreshments and raffle prizes!
Read more  Add to my schedule
RUSA President’s ProgramFree to all conference registrants

Our Values, Ourselves: Examining Our Values and What Others Value about Us 

Are our own values and self-perceptions interfering with providing services that our patron communities both need and want?
Read more  Add to my schedule

Noteworthy and Valuable RUSA Programming – Free to all conference registrants


Turning Books into a Cool New Tool: RA Marketing in the Age of Maker Spaces

Maker spaces and 3D printers are hip and libraries are using them to ensure that they remain relevant and are perceived as keeping up with the latest trends. One of the trends that has not received much attention, however, is the fact that books are still our brand and reading is the main reason citizens view the library as valuable and continue to support it. Read more. Add to my schedule.

Adding Value in Your Community

Smart Investing @your library: Learn how financial literacy programs are increasing libraries social capital. Read more Add to my schedule

 Code4ILL: How to Grow Your Own Innovation for Resource Sharing

Emerging technologies in ILL and Document Delivery now permit an unprecedented amount of scripting and coding development in libraries, but as resource sharing librarians we’ve only taken advantage of this opportunity in isolated pockets. Read more Add to my schedule

New Directions for Data Visualization in Library Public Services

A wide array of new instructional technologies has joined an increased understanding of the diversity of learning styles to foment new forms of teaching and information sharing. Data visualization is increasingly used in higher education and libraries to organize information, or provide new and innovative ways of disseminating data and learning objective. Read more Add to my schedule

Finding Dead People: Genealogy and Local History Resources for the ILL Practitioner

This program will provide a brief overview of core tools of genealogical research including census records, county histories, family books, and local newspapers. Read more Add to my schedule


 20th Annual Reference Research Forum

The Reference Research Forum continues to be one of the most popular and valuable programs during the ALA Annual Conference, where attendees can learn about notable projects conducted in the broad area of reference services such as user behavior, electronic services, reference effectiveness and assessment, and organizational structure and personnel.Read more Add to my schedule

The Nevada Test Site Project: Bringing Primary Resources to Researchers

The Nevada Test Site Oral History Project, developed at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Library, is a project dedicated to those ‘affiliated with and affected by’ the ‘nuclear proving ground’ in Nevada. Read more  Add to my schedule


Mad Men: The Business of Advertising
Many companies spend millions on advertising their brands and products, yet data can be hard to find. Specialized sources, available at many large libraries, focus on these statistics. The information they contain can be used by business students, researchers, or the general public. Read more Add to my schedule

Labor Solidarity in a “Right-to-Work” State
The rich labor history of Las Vegas will serve as the setting to understand the impact “right-to-work” laws have on the workforce.

Read more  Add to my schedule

Awards, Authors, Adult Literature & Appreciation! 

Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, Dessert and drinks reception. Join speaker, Karin Slaughter and Committee Chair, Nancy Pearl for the announcement and presentation of the third Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, ALA’s only single-book awards for adult trade fiction and nonfiction. The two winners from the shortlist of six will be announced. Cosponsored by Booklist and RUSA. Caesars Palace, Rooms Octavius 01-04. Read more  Purchase tickets here!    Add to my conference schedule

RUSA Awards Reception and Volunteer Appreciation Party, Hang out with RUSA colleagues and celebrate this year’s award winners at the RUSA Reception and Volunteer Appreciation Party. 
Read more Free to all conference registrants!  Add to my conference schedule

Literary Tastes: Celebrating the Best Reading of the Year, RUSA will host three award-winning authors — Christopher Buehlman, Daniel J. Brown, Tessa Dare and V.E. Schwab — A conference tradition that features authors from RUSA’s literary awards. Read more Free to all conference registrants!   Add to my conference schedule  #literarytastes

Make Sure To Check Your Conference Scheduler Prior To All Events, Due To Last Minute Updates. 

 For More Exclusively RUSA ALA Annual Conference Information.  

What’s Happening in Philly!

Dear RUSA Members,

The Midwinter conference will be in Philadelphia this year and I hope those of you who will be there will take time to visit with us at the RUSA Membership Social. It will be held Saturday, January 25, from 5:30pm – 7pm at the Sheraton, Liberty Ballroom B. Join us to mingle, meet the RUSA board members, committee chairs, and volunteer leaders, and have a little bit of fun. We’ll have a raffle and, new this year, a trivia contest! Great prizes and refreshments will be available so be sure to come and bring your friends and colleagues – all members and visitors are welcome!

One other event that is always of interest to all RUSA members and book lovers is the Book & Media reception taking place Sunday, January 26, 2014 at the Sheraton, Liberty Ballroom A, from 5:00pm to 6:30pm. We’ll unveil the winners of The Reading List, Notable Books (which help form the long list for the Andrew Carnegie Medals of Excellence for Fiction and Nonfiction) and Listen List selections, as well as the winners of the Dartmouth Medal for reference, the Sophie Brody Medal for Jewish literature, the Zora Neale Hurston Award for achievement in promoting African-American literature, the Louis Shores Award for book reviewing and many more. All ALA Midwinter Meeting participants are invited to this celebration on-site in Philadelphia. Thanks go to our event sponsor NoveList and the publishers for  donating their books to our committees. If you can’t attend, you will be able to track the announcements on Twitter with the hashtag #literarytastes. Don’t miss this wonderful event. We hope to see you there!

This year, RUSA is co-sponsoring a Midwinter Institute with ASCLA (the Association for Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies) on creating and designing online courses – advance registration ends January 15, 2014 so now is the time to register:

Designing Online Courses for Significant Learning Experiences
January 24, 8:00am-4:00pm

If you’re a trainer, instructor or teacher don’t miss attending this valuable workshop co-sponsored by ASCLA and RUSA, and presented by international consultant Dr. Stewart Ross on the most effective practices designing and teaching online courses. More information is here. REGISTRATION RATES: ASCLA and RUSA members, $279; ALA members, $299; non-ALA members, $349; Student/Retired members of ALA, $229. Event Code: ASC3. Register now!

In addition, the RUSA board will meet twice in Philadelphia; please feel free to join us as our honored guests. The meetings will be held:

Board of Directors I (RUSA)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Board of Directors I (RUSA) 1:30-3:30

Pennsylvania Convention Center – 118 A

Board of Directors II (RUSA)

Monday, January 27, 2014

2:00pm to 4:00pm

Pennsylvania Convention Center – 115 B

RUSA Town Hall: All RUSA members are invited to share comments, suggestions and concerns with the RUSA Board at the beginning of RUSA Board Meeting I, Saturday, January 25, 2014 – 1:30pm – 3:30pm, Pennsylvania Convention Center – 118 A. For those who want to participate virtually, the following chat rooms are available and will be monitored by board members (these chat rooms will be public; anyone may read the posts, but you will have to login to Connect to post messages):

Chat Room 1:
Chat Room 2:
Chat Room 3:
Chat Room 4:
Landing page for all chat rooms:   

Specific Questions for Discussion:

  • What issues in reference and user services are you facing? 
  • How can RUSA as an organization help you address these issues? 
  • How can RUSA be changed to better meet these needs

Please join us – we want to hear from you!

It has been wonderful to work with all the RUSA members this past year. We have so many wonderful things to offer to members such as service on our book award committees, our beloved Literary Tastes and Book & Media Awards events, guidelines for reference and user services and our online educational sessions among others. We couldn’t have done any of this without the invaluable advice and assistance of our member leaders and volunteers. I want to thank every RUSA member for all their dedicated work and loyalty in helping to make our division successful; it’s a pleasure and a privilege to serve you! Best Wishes for a happy new year!

Susan Hornung

 Executive Director, ASCLA/RUSA