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Must-Read Titles from the Massachusetts Book Awards Announced!

What are the Mass Book Awards?

“The Massachusetts Book Awards highlight the work of our vital contemporary writing community and encourage readers to do some “close reading” of those imaginative works created by the authors among us.

Throughout the award year, we develop a list of “Must Reads” in each of four award categories—fiction, nonfiction, poetry & children’s/young adult literature—that have been written by Massachusetts writers or about Massachusetts themes. We also publish an annual MassBook Census of Massachusetts books. In addition, we name and promote an award winner in each of the categories.”

This year I was lucky enough to be asked to be one of the judges on the poetry committee! It was a huge commitment of time, but well worth finding the six books listed below.

Below is the announcement of the six must-reads announced by Sharon Shaloo, Executive Director, Massachusetts Center for the book.

The Judges have selected six works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s/young adult literature published in 2013 that will “bring writers and readers together in libraries for meaningful conversation.”


In Fiction:

Along the Watchtowerby David Litwack (Double Dragon)

The Celestials by Karen Shepard (Tin House)

The Hanging Judge by Michael Ponsor (Open Road Media)

News from Heaven by Jennifer Haigh (Harper)

Together Tea by Marjan Kamali (Ecco)

Vatican Waltz by Roland Merullo (Crown)


In Nonfiction:

Book of Ages by Jill Lepore (Knopf)

A Fort of Nine Towers by Qais Akbar Omar (FSG)

Breach of Trust by Andrew Bacevich (Metropolitan)

The Last Train to Zona Verde by Paul Theroux (HMH)

Margaret Fuller by Megan Marshall (HMH)

Miss Anne in Harlem by Carla Kaplan (Harper)


In Poetry:

Belmont by Stephen Burt (Graywolf)

Boy Singing to Cattle by Mark D. Hart (Pearl Editions)

Frost in the Low Areas by Karen Skolfield (Zone 3 Press )

Grass Whistle by Amy Dryansky (Salmon)

Inside the Splintered Wood by Myles Gordon (Tebot Bach )

Strange Borderlands by Ben Berman (Able Muse)


In Children’s/Young Adult Literature:

The Extra by Kathryn Lasky (Candlewick)

White Fur Flying by Patricia MacLachlan (McElderry/S&S)

Journey by Aaron Becker (Candlewick)

Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstrup (Candlewick)

The First Drawing by Mordicai Gerstein (Little, Brown BYR)

A Place for Turtles by Melissa Stewart (Peachtree)


Thanks to the Awards Committee and Judges for 2014:

MassBook Awards Committee: Laurie Cavanaugh, Cindy Erle, James R. Kelly, N. Janeen Resnick, Peter Thornell

MassBook Judges 2014: Victoria Biancolo, Candace Curran, Amy Dorsheimer, Allyson Dowds, Jill Erickson, Patricia E. Feeley, Caitlin Kelley, Michael Moran, Stu Parsons, Christine Sharbrough, Amy Short, Renee Wheeler

MassBook Awards Partners & Sponsors:  Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, Massachusetts Library Association, Massachusetts State Library, Simmons College GSLIS

The Center will message and email publishers and authors this week!  Stay tuned as the award winners in each category will be announced during the Massachusetts Library Association conference in early May. 

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