ALA's Notable Books Council announces 2005 top picks

Contact: Donavan Vicha


For Immediate Release

January 18, 2005

ALA's Notable Books Council announces 2005 top picks

BOSTON - The Notable Books Council of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division American Library Association (ALA), today released its 2005 list of outstanding books for the general reader. The titles are selected for their significant contribution to the expansion of knowledge and for the pleasure they can provide to adult readers.

Since 1944, the goal of the Notable Books Council has been to make available to the nation's readers a list of 25 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's Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES).

This is "The List for America's Readers:"


  • Barnes, Julian, "The Lemon Table: Stories." Knopf (ISBN: 1-4000-4214-3).
  • Christensen, Lars Saabye, "The Half Brother." Arcade Publishing (ISBN: 1-5597-0715-1).
  • de Bernieres, Louis, "Birds Without Wings." Knopf (ISBN: 1-4000-4341-7).
  • Dybek, Stuart, "I Sailed with Magellan." Farrar, Straus and Giroux (ISBN: 0-3741-7407-5).
  • Khadra, Yasmina, "The Swallows of Kabul." Nan A. Talese (ISBN: 0-3855-1001-2).
  • Mda, Zakes, "The Madonna of Excelsior." Farrar, Straus and Giroux (ISBN: 0-3742-0008-4).
  • Mitchell, David, "Cloud Atlas." Random House (ISBN: 0-3755-0725-6).
  • Munro, Alice, "Runaway: Stories." Knopf (ISBN: 1-4000-4281-X).
  • Niemi, Mikael, "Popular Music from Vittula." Seven Stories Press (ISBN: 1-5832-2523-4).
  • Roth, Philip, "The Plot Against America." Houghton Mifflin (ISBN: 0-6185-0928-3).
  • Wolff, Tobias. "Old School." Knopf (ISBN: 0-3754-0146-6)


  • Chernow, Ron, "Alexander Hamilton." Penguin Books (ISBN: 1-5942-0009-2).
  • Ehrlich, Paul R. and Anne H., "One With Nineveh: Politics, Consumption, and the Human

    Future." Island Press (ISBN: 1-5596-3879-6).
  • Fischer, David Hackett, "Washington's Crossing (Pivotal Moments in American History)."

    Oxford University Press (ISBN: 0-1951-7034-2).
  • Henig, Robin Marantz, "Pandora's Baby : How the First Test Tube Babies Sparked the

    Reproductive Revolution." Houghton Mifflin (ISBN: 0-6182-2415-7).
  • Hersh, Seymour M. "Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib." HarperCollins

    (ISBN: 0-0601-9591-6).
  • Hughes, Robert, "Goya." Knopf (ISBN: 0-3945-8028-1).
  • Kurlansky, Mark, "1968 : The Year That Rocked the World." Ballantine Books (ISBN: 0-3454-5581-9).
  • Lansky, Aaron, "Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of A Man Who Rescued A Million Yiddish Books." Algonquin Books (ISBN: 1-5651-2429-4).
  • Moats, David, "Civil Wars: A Battle for Gay Marriage." Harcourt (ISBN: 0-1510-1017-X).
  • National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, "The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States." W.W. Norton (ISBN: 0-3933-2671-3).
  • Philbrick, Nathaniel, "Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842." Viking Books (ISBN: 0-6700-3231-X).
  • Sokolove, Michael, "The Ticket Out : Darryl Strawberry and the Boys of Crenshaw." Simon & Schuster (ISBN: 0-7432-2673-9).
  • Vine, Phyllis, "One Man's Castle: Clarence Darrow in Defense of the American Dream." Amistad (ISBN: 0-0662-1415-7).


  • Giovanni, Nikki, "The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni : 1968-1998." William Morrow (ISBN: 0-0605-4133-4).
  • Kooser, Ted, "Delights & Shadows." Copper Canyon Press (ISBN: 1-5565-9201-9)

This list will be available on the Notable Books Web page on 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 2005. 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.

Members of this year's committee are: Andrea C. Japzon (chair), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Mary Hegle Drewes, University of North Dakota Chester Fritz Library; Iva M. Freeman, Kendall College; Gloria Gehrman, Eugene Public Library; Steven Jablonski, Skokie Public Library; Helene Lafrance, Santa Clara University Orradre Library; Kathleen de la Peña McCook, University of South Florida; Charlene R. Rue, Brooklyn Public Library; Scott H. Silverman, Bryn Mawr College; Sara Maxine Taffae, State Library of Louisiana; Miriam Tuliao, Long Beach Public Library; and Sarah Barbara Watstein, Virginia Commonwealth University; with Brad Hooper, Booklist.