Skip Navigation ALA Home Contact Us Sitemap Support ALA Join ALA Login
Libraries & YouEducation & CareersAwards & ScholarshipsOur AssociationIssues & Advocacy
Professional ToolsEventsProducts & PublicationsNews
Opens new window to print this page

Contact: Donavan Vicha

ALA News Release
For Immediate Release
January 26, 2003

2003 Notable Books for Adults announced

The Notable Books Council of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has compiled its 2003 list of outstanding books for the general reader. These titles have been selected for their significant contribution to the expansion of knowledge and for the pleasure they can provide to adult readers. This is “The List for America’s Readers:”


  • Auster, Paul, “Book of Illusions,” Holt, ISBN 0-8050-5408-1.
  • Cisneros, Sandra, “Caramelo,” Random (Knopf), ISBN 0-679-43554-9.
  • Doerr, Anthony, “The Shell Collector,” Scribner, ISBN 0-7432-1274-6.
  • Labiner, Norah, “Miniatures,” Coffee House Press, ISBN 1-56689-136-1.
  • Lustig, Arnost, “Lovely Green Eyes,” Arcade, ISBN 1-55970-629-5.
  • McEwan, Ian, “Atonement,” Random (Doubleday), ISBN 0-835-50395-4.
  • McGahern, John, “By the Lake,” Random (Knopf), ISBN 0-679-41914-4.
  • Merullo, Roland, “In Revere in Those Days,” Random (Crown), ISBN 0-609-61-32-5.
  • Mistry, Rohinton, “Family Matters,” Random (Knopf), ISBN 0-375-40373-6.
  • Oe, Kenzaburo, “Rouse Up, O Young Men of the New Age,” Grove, ISBN 0-8021-1710-4.
  • Shteyngart, Gary, “The Russian Debutante’s Handbook,” Penguin/Putnam, ISBN 1-57322-213-5.
  • Slouka, Mark, “God’s Fool,” Random (Knopf), ISBN 0-375-40216-0.


  • Babel, Isaac, “Complete Works,” Norton, 0-393-04846-2.
  • Berger, John, “Selected Essays,” Random (Pantheon), ISBN 0-375-42156-4.
  • Campbell, Greg, “Blood Diamonds: Tracing the Deadly Path of the World’s Most Precious Stones,” HarperCollins (Westview), ISBN 0-8133-3939-1.
  • Caro, Robert A., “Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson,” Random (Knopf), ISBN 0-394-52836-0.
  • Gawande, Atul, “Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science,” Holt, ISBN 0-8050-6319-6.
  • Gordon, Robert, “Can’t Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters,” Little, Brown, ISBN 0-316-32849-9.
  • Morris, Edmund, “Theodore Rex,” Random, ISBN 0-394-55509-0.
  • Preston, Diana, “Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy,” Walker, ISBN 0-8027-1375-0.
  • Stiles, T. J., “Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War,” Random (Knopf), ISBN 0-375-40583-6.
  • Stille, Alexander, “The Future of the Past,” FSG, ISBN 0-374-15977-7.
  • Wilson, Edward O., “The Future of Life,” Random (Knopf), ISBN 0-679-45078-5.


  • Dugan, Alan, “Poems Seven: New and Complete Poetry,” Seven Stories Press, ISBN 1-58322-265-0.
  • Hall, Donald, “The Painted Bed,” Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-618-18789-8.
  • Tretheway, Natasha, “Bellocq’s Ophelia,” Graywolf Press, ISBN 1-55597-359-0.

This list will be available on the Notable Books Web page at the RUSA/ALA Web site and in a camera-ready kit from ALA. The Notable Books list will be included in ALA's Guide to Best Reading in 2003. This kit contains all the reading lists from ALA, for children through adult readers, and has camera-ready brochures and bookmarks for each list. The kit will be available after June 1. Call ALA Order Fulfillment, 1-800-545-2433, press 7 to order. The kit is $29.95.

Since 1944, the goal of the Notable Books Council has been to make available to the nation's readers a list of 26 very good, very readable, and at times very important fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books for the adult reader. The Council consists of members selected from the membership of RUSA /CODES (Collection Development and Evaluation Section).


50 E. Huron Chicago, IL 60611 Call Us Toll Free 1-800-545-2433

©2005 American Library Association. Copyright Statement
View our Privacy Policy. For questions or comments about the Web site, complete the Feedback Form.
FAQ   Member and Customer Service   Events Calendar
The Notable Books Council of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has compiled its 2003 list of outstanding books for the general reader.