2003 Book Sense Book of the Year Finalists Announced

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The American Booksellers Association has announced the finalists for the 2003 Book Sense Book of the Year Awards. The finalists in six categories -- Adult Fiction, Adult Nonfiction, Children's Literature, Children's Illustrated, Rediscovery, and Paperback -- are all Book Sense 76 titles nominated by ABA bookseller members as their handselling favorites. The awards will be announced at the Celebration of Bookselling, on Friday, May 30, during this year's BookExpo America, at the Los Angeles Convention Center in California.

Book Sense Book of the Year ballots will be sent to all ABA bookstore members at the end of March. The tabulation of votes will be handled by KPMG, and the results will be kept secret until the May 30 event.

The finalists, listed in alphabetical order by title in each category, are:


Atonement, by Ian McEwan, Nan Talese/Doubleday
The Crimson Petal and the White, by Michel Faber, Harcourt
Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, Harcourt
The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold, Little, Brown
The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd, Viking


Blue Latitudes, by Tony Horwitz, Holt
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, by Alexandra Fuller, Random House
My Losing Season, by Pat Conroy, Doubleday
Population: 485, by Michael Perry, HarperCollins
Running With Scissors, by Augusten Burroughs, St. Martin's


Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident, by Eoin Colfer, Hyperion
Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, HarperCollins
Hoot, by Carl Hiaasen, Knopf
Summerland, by Michael Chabon, Miramax
The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke, Chicken House/Scholastic


Dear Mrs. LaRue, by Mark Teague, Scholastic
Giggle, Giggle, Quack, by Doreen Cronin; illustrated by Betsy Lewin, Simon & Schuster
The Three Questions, by Jon J. Muth, Scholastic
The Spider & The Fly, by Mary Howitt; illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi, Simon & Schuster
Toot & Puddle: Top of the World, by Holly Hobbie, Little, Brown


Auntie Mame, by Patrick Dennis, Broadway
The Children of Green Knowe, by L. M. Boston, Odyssey/Harcourt
The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, by Chris Fuhrman, University of Georgia Press
Paper Moon, by Joe David Brown, Four Walls Eight Windows
The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake, by Breece D'J Pancake, Back Bay


Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, by Dai Sijie, Anchor
Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett, Perennial
The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint, by Brady Udall, Vintage
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith, Anchor
Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks, Penguin

Commenting on the finalists, ABA President Ann Christophersen said, "This diverse list reflects how Book Sense has continued to grow and gain momentum over the past four years. Now that we have expanded to six categories, this gives us the opportunity to honor even more of the thousands of titles that independent booksellers handsell each day. And, as we enter the next stage of voting to select one book in each category, I think that each one of these books is worthy of being named the Book Sense Book of the Year and deserves the public's attention."

The Book Sense Book of the Year Awards, inaugurated in 2000, have become a much anticipated component of the Book Sense program and have grown from two awards to this year's six. In 2000, the Book Sense Book of the Year Awards were presented in an Adult and a Children's category. In 2001, these categories were split into Adult Fiction, Adult Nonfiction, Children's Illustrated, and Children's Literature. The Rediscovery award, added in 2002, is drawn from a mix of adult and children's backlist or recently reissued books that made the year's Book Sense 76 lists. This year, reflecting the increasing significance of the Book Sense program and independents' role in supporting books of quality, the Paperback award was added. The Paperback category is open to both fiction and nonfiction titles.

All current ABA member bookstores can vote for the Book Sense Book of the Year. The remaining four finalists in each category will be awarded the title of Book Sense Honor Book. All nominated authors and illustrators will be invited to attend the award ceremonies and the Book Sense 76 Lunch, also to be held on Friday, May 30, at BEA.

Ballots will be mailed to all ABA bookstore members at the end of March and must be returned by April 30, 2003. The ballot will also be available online. Watch for details in upcoming issues of BTW.

As in previous years, BTW will detail each of the nominated titles in the weeks to come. The next issue will feature the Adult Fiction nominees.