The RUSA Reading List selections of the year’s best fiction in 8 genres, were announced at ALA Midwinter. Several titles have already received acclaim from librarians, such as the mystery selection, Murder at the Brightwell, by Ashley Weaver, (Minotaur/Macmillan), a LibraryReads pick in October.
The Science Fiction selection is The Martian by Andy Weir (RH/Crown), which also won an Alex this year and was a Feb. 2014 LibraryReads pick. It is currently being adapted as a movie, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara, Jessica Chasten and Kirstend Wiig, scheduled for release this November.
Jo Walton, generally considered a fantasy and science fiction writer (she won both a Nebula and a Hugo in 2011 for her book Among Others) was selected in the Women’s Fiction category for My Real Children, (Macmillan/Tor). About a woman living two parallel lives, Lev Grossman, reviewing it in PW said, “My Real Children has as much in common with an Alice Munro story as it does with, say, Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle. It explores issues of choice and chance and destiny and responsibility with the narrative tools that only science fiction affords, but it’s also a deeply poignant, richly imagined book about women’s lives in 20th- and 21st-century England, and, in a broader sense, about the lives of all those who are pushed to the margins of history.”
For valuable readers advisory hooks, be sure to check the list for the readalikes (and watchalikes) for each pick. In the case of My Real Children, they are:
Life After Life, Kate Atkinson, (Hachette/Little, Brown)
Sliding Doors (Miramax Films, 1998, dir. Peter Howitt)
The Time Travelers Wife, Audrey Niffenegger (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Also released, the RUSA Notables selection of 26 titles in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Many have already appeared on the dozens of best books lists for the year, including the one that was on nearly every list, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, (S&S/Scribner). The other top favorite, Marilynne Robinson’s Lila, however, did not make the RUSA cut.
The committee also managed to find some gems that have not appeared on other lists.
The Enchanted, Rene Denfield, (Harper) —
“Death row inmates await escape through execution in this weirdly gorgeous tale.”
The Crane Wife, by Patrick Ness, (Penguin) —
“A thoughtful exposition of love, in all its endless varieties.”
Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection in Medieval Paris, Eric Jager (Hachette/Little, Brown) —
“Political intrigue that starts with a murder and ends with a throne.”