The Notable Books List is an annual best-of list comprised of twenty-six titles written for adult readers, published in the U.S., and includes fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Books are selected by an American Library Association committee. Salina Public Library’s collection includes these titles, all hyperlinked to our catalog for your convenience below.
- “Waiting for Eden” by Elliot Ackerman. A psychological drama about an Iraq War veteran who hovers between life and death while his wife agonizes over her choices.
- “Friday Black” by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. Characters in a darkly satirical future confront race in America in this provocative collection of short stories.
- “Washington Black” by Esi Edugyan. The eponymous protagonist escapes slavery and embarks on an adventure through the Victorian world as a fugitive, artist and scientist.
- “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones. A young, black couple struggles to stay connected when the husband is sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit in this complex domestic drama.
- “The Mars Room” by Rachel Kushner. At the start of two consecutive life sentences, a young mother reflects on her life while navigating incarceration.
- “The Great Believers” by Rebecca Makkai. A book of friendship and love in the face of tragedy and loss during the early years of the AIDS crisis in Chicago and the impact years later.
- “Warlight” by Michael Ondaatje. A man seeks to understand why he and his sister were left in the care of a mysterious figure they call the Moth in post World War II England.
- “There There” by Tommy Orange. A gritty depiction of the lives of urban Native Americans that converge at a Powwow in Oakland, Calif.
- “The Overstory” by Richard Powers. A profound meditation on the connection between humankind and trees and the often invisible impact each has on the other.
- “The House of Broken Angels: a Novel” by Luis Alberto Urrea. In this vivid and heartwarming portrait, a Mexican-American family celebrates the lives of their patriarch and his mother over a weekend in their San Diego home.
- “Don’t Skip out on Me” by Willy Vlautin. A ranch hand who yearns to be a boxer, the people who love him and the land that holds them.
- “High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing” by Ben Austen. An insightful and robust history of the politics, policies and personal stories of city planning and urban renewal.
- “American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment” by Shane Bauer. An investigative journalist undergoes training as a guard at a private correctional facility and reveals the harsh living and working conditions for inmates and staff.
- “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom” by David W. Blight. An engrossing biography of the abolitionist, author and orator.
- “Rush: Revolution, Madness, and the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father” by Stephen Fried. The comprehensive biography of a lesser known statesman and his contributions to medicine and politics in the newly formed United States.
- “Call Me American: A Memoir” by Abdi Nor Iftin. A Somali man recounts a childhood marked by constant violence and hunger, and his adjustment to life as a refugee in the United States.
- “The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century” by Kirk Wallace Johnson. An ornithological robbery shines light on fixation, beauty and the niche hobby that led an unlikely culprit to risk it all.
- “Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found” by Gilbert King. A hard-hitting reporter exposes the story of a developmentally challenged youth falsely accused of rape in Florida during the Jim Crow era.
- “Heavy: An American Memoir” by Kiese Laymon. A son’s complicated relationship with his mother is laid bare in this unflinching look at a life full of adversity and love.
- “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America” by Beth Macy. A deep dive into the dark and consuming opioid epidemic centering on the predatory practices of Purdue Pharma and the devastating effects on communities.
- “The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life” by David Quammen. A chronicle of recent discoveries that changed our understanding of evolution, the scientists who made them and the implications for the future.
- “Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore” by Elizabeth Rush. An evocative account of how changing sea levels impact coastal communities.
- “Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover. A girl raised by Mormon survivalists in rural Idaho must choose between higher education and family ties.
- “If They Come for Us: Poems” by Fatimah Asghar. A Pakistani Muslim American woman longs for her parents and grieves the effects of the India-Pakistan Partition with a fresh, inventive voice.
- “American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin” by Terrance Hayes. An electrifying collection ranging in subject from Dr. Who to black male hysteria.
- “The Carrying: Poems” by Ada Limón. An elegant and vulnerable expression of the aching beauty of an imperfect world.
For more information about the American Library Association notable book list and archived lists please visit https://rusaupdate.org/awards/notable-books-list/