Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

Hamilton, Carter Win Grammys

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Hamilton, ChernowThe Grammy Awards are not known for celebrating books, but this year’s opening number has its roots in Ron Chernow’s biography Alexander Hamilton (Penguin, 2005), the inspiration for the hip hop musical Hamilton.

As a result, the book rose to #49 on Amazon’s sales rankings. Holds are growing in many libraries.

The cast recording went on to win Best Musical Theater Album, a category that included another musical adapted from a book Fun Home, based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel.

Hamilton‘s composer-lyricist-star Lin-Manuel Miranda accepted the award in rhyme:

This gives Miranda another footnote to add to his book, coming in April, about the musical’s improbable path to success, Hamilton: The Revolution (Hachette/Grand Central Publishing; Hachette Audio and Blackstone Audio)

9781442391055_17ee8The winner for Best Spoken Word Album is A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety by Jimmy Carter (S&S Audio). This is Carter’s second Grammy. He won in 2007 for Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis (S&S Audio).

The other nominees were:

Blood On Snow, Jo Nesbø, narrator, Patti Smith (Random House Audio)

Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, And Assorted HijinksDick Cavett (Macmillan Audio)

Patience And Sarah, by Isabel Miller; narrators, Janis Ian & Jean Smart (Audible/Brilliance)

Yes Please, Amy Poehler (HarperAudio)

Books Rule the Oscar Noms

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

In terms of Oscar nominations, the force is not with Star Wars, which only received nominations in technical categories, but it is with book adaptations. Of the eight nominees for Best Picture, five are based on books, and one other, Spotlight, has a book connection. It is about the Boston Globe‘s Pulitzer Prize winning series of articles, which were released in 2003 in book form, and re-released as a tie-in. UPDATE; There is one more book connection. Although Bridge of Spies is “an original screenplay and not based on any underlying source material,” there are books about the story, including the 1964 memoir by James B. Donovan, played by Tom Hanks in the move, Strangers on a Bridgerepublished last year by S&S/Scribner and Bridge of Spies by Giles Whittell, (PRH/Broadway, 2010)

Oscar Nominees — Adaptations (technical nominations not listed)

Revenant, Tie-in  9781250066626_c95c5

The Revenant – Best Picture, Director (Alejandro G. Iñárritu), Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Supporting Actor (Tom Hardy)

Won Golden Globe Awards for Drama and Best Actor in a Drama on Sunday. The movie has made a best-seller of the book originally released to middling success in 2002  It is currently at #2 NYT Paperback Trade Fiction Best Sellers list.

Tie-in:  The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke (Macmillian/Picador).

Martian tie-in  The Martian Weir

The Martian — Best Picture, Actor (Matt Damon), Adapted Screenplay

Won Golden Globes for Best Musical or Comedy as well as Best Actor, Musical or Comedy (if you are scratching your head over that designation, you are not alone). The paperback is currently #1 on the NYT Paperback Trade Fiction and #2 on the Paperback Mass-Market Fiction Best Sellers lists.

The Martian, Andy Weir, (PRH/Broadway; mass market pbk)

Big Short Te-in  Big Short
The Big Short
— Best Picture, Director (Adam McKay), Supporting Actor (Christian Bale), Adapted Screenplay

Tie-in:  The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, Michael Lewis, (Norton)

Currently at #1 on the NYT Paperback Nonfiction Best Sellers list.


Brooklyn tie-in  9781439148952_33d23

Brooklyn — Best Picture, Actress (Saoirse Ronan), Adapted Screenplay

Tie-in, currently at #3 on NYT Paperback Trade Fiction Best Sellers list:

BrooklynColm Toibin. (S&S/Scribner)

9780316391344_1779d  Room

Room — Best Picture, Director (Lenny Abrahamson), Actress (Brie Larson), Adapted Screenplay

Larson won a Golden Globe for Best Actress, Drama

Tie-ins: Room: A Novel, (Hachette/Back Bay), Mass MarketAudio CD


Carol Tie-in  9780393325997_041ef

Carol — Best Actress (Cate Blanchett), Supporting Actress (Rooney Mara), Adapted Screenplay;  based on Patricia Highsmith’s The Price Of Salt, 1952.

Tie-in: Carol, Patricia Highsmith, (Norton)

Publisher Norton has created a clever recommendation web site, Choose Your Highsmith, which also features a video of several authors, including Alison Bechdel, expressing their enthusiasm for Highsmith.


45 Years — Best Actress Charlotte Rampling

The movie is based on is in the lead story in the collection, In Another Country, (Biblioasis, June, 2015).

Jobs Trade Pbk  Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs — Best Supporting Actress (Kate Winslet), Actor (Michael Fassbender)

Winslet won a Golden Globe for Supporting Actress.

No tie-in, but the book was released in trade paperback around the time of the movie, (with the younger Jobs on the cover):

Steve JobsWalter Isaacson, (Simon & Schuster)

Danish Girl Tie-in  9780140298482_581f7

The Danish Girl — Best Supporting Actress (Alicia Vikander), Actor (Eddie Redmayne)

Tie-in: The Danish Girl, David Ebershoff, (PRH/Penguin)

TRUMBO tie-in  Trumbo

Trumbo — Best Actor (Bryan Cranston)

Trumbo (Movie Tie-In Edition), Bruce Cook, (Hachette/Grand Central)

Spotlight tie-in   Betrayal

Spotlight — Best Director (Tom McCarthy), Actor (Mark Ruffalo), Supporting Actress (Rachel McAdams), Best Original Screenplay

About the Boston Globe‘s  Pulitzer Prize winning series . The articles were later published in book form in 2003 and re-released as a tie-in:

Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church : The findings of the investigation that inspired the major motion picture Spotlight, The Investigative Staff of the Boston Globe, (Hachette/Back Bay)

THE BOOK OF ARON wins the Sophie Brody Medal

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

9781101874318_45db5Among the awards announced at the ALA Midwinter Conference is the prestigious Sophie Brody Medal, given for outstanding achievement in Jewish literature.

Jim Shepard’s novel The Book of Aron (PRH/Knopf; OverDrive Sample) is this year’s winner. In praising the book the committee says,

“This book is an eloquent blend of fiction and non-fiction that recounts the story of the Warsaw Ghetto through the unvarnished voice of a child.  Shepard’s narrator, Aron, gives a chilling and realistic depiction of the progressive deterioration of his world.  Shepard weaves Aron’s voice with that of Dr. Janusz Korczak, a heroic historical figure dedicated to the welfare of the Jewish children in his charge. This is a haunting story of the Holocaust.”

Further details and the list of the four selected honor books can be found in the RUSA/CODES press release.

2016’s Genre Bests

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

serveimageThe ever-popular RUSA/CODES Reading List for the best genre books was announced during the ALA Midwinter meeting last week in Boston.

The titles are chosen from eight genres covering “adrenaline (suspense, thrillers, and action adventure), fantasy, historical fiction, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction, and women’s fiction.”

The winners, with annotations by the committee, are:


9780062429056_0a514Pretty Girls, Karin Slaughter (HarperCollins/Morrow; OverDrive Sample)

“Three sisters are driven apart in the aftermath of one’s disappearance. When a violent crime occurs new fears arise and relationships shift again. Long term effects of family grief are exploited by the compulsions of a psychopath. Brutal and disturbing, this is ultimately a story of love and empowerment.”



Uprooted, Naomi Novik (RH/Del Rey; OverDrive Sample)

“In this enchanted old-world fable, villagers threatened by a blighted magical wood allow the resident wizard to take one daughter into servitude for ten years. When he chooses klutzy Agnieszka, she faces an unexpected future and confronts the dangers of a wider political world and the roots of magical corruption.”

Historical Fiction:

9780062364838_a4cd3Crooked Heart, Lissa Evans (Harper; OverDrive Sample)

“Raised by his eccentric ex-suffragette godmother to be a free-thinker, young Noel is thrown into chaos when the London Blitz forces him into the home of a scam artist loyal only to her layabout son. Thrust together, the two oddballs are forced to find a way through the wartime landscape 


9781476782638_d985eThe Fifth House of the Heart, Ben Tripp (S&S/Gallery; OverDrive Sample)

“Flamboyant antiques dealer Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang made his fortune by accidentally killing a vampire with a horde of treasure. To protect the only person he loves, his niece, he’s forced to return to old Europe to assemble an eccentric team of vampire hunters in this gory, witty caper.”


9780062292438_8dbf8The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney (Harper/William Morrow; OverDrive Sample)

“Cold cases cast a twenty-five year shadow of grief and guilt on the lives of two survivors of traumatic teenage crimes. New leads and new cases bring them back to Oklahoma City as past and present intersect in this poignant and compelling story of lives forever changed by random violence.”



Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl (HQN; OverDrive Sample)

“Sassy relationship advice columnist Veronica overcomes her commitment anxiety and gains confidence with the help of mountain-climbing librarian Gabe. Steamy romance evolves into a strong relationship as they scale a mountain of family conflicts and share secrets against a majestic Jackson Hole backdrop.”

Science Fiction:


Golden Son, Pierce Brown (RH/Del Rey; OverDrive Sample)

“Insurgent Darrow inveigled his way into high Gold society in 2014’s Red Rising. In this dramatic, high octane follow-up, conflicting loyalties and his own ambitions lure Darrow into an untenable web of deceptions. Bolstered by new alliances, Darrow battles to overthrow corrupt lunar leadership and bring freedom to Mars.”


Women’s Fiction:

Re Jane by Patricia Park (Penguin/Pamela Dorman Books; OverDrive Sample)

“Anxious to escape the strict upbringing of her uncle’s Flushing grocery, Korean-American Jane accepts an au pair position in the pretentious household of two Brooklyn academics and their adopted Chinese daughter. Park has created a bright comic story of falling in love, finding strength, and living on one’s own terms.”

The RUSA press release also gives more fodder for readers advisors, with the four short-listed titles per category.

RUSA/CODES Audiobook Winners

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

ListenListThe titles selected for The Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration were announced at the ALA Midwinter meeting in Boston this past weekend.

The Listen List picks audiobook titles based on the appeal of their narration and offers a juried list of 12 notable suggestions along with listen-alike pairings, a particular boon for RA librarians.

Below are the winners and listen-alikes. Annotations can be found on the RUSA/CODES press release.

y648All Involved by Ryan Gattis. Narrated by Anthony Rey Perez, Marisol Ramirez, Jim Cooper, Adam Lazarre-White, and James Chen (HarperAudio).


Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Narrated by Ta-Nehisi Coates. (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg. Narrated by Rebecca Lowman, Tristan Morris, and Bronson Pinchot. (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).

Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh. Narrated by Reg Rogers, Sudhir Venkatesh, and Stephen J. Dubner. (HarperAudio).

9781427258090_5f831All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer. Narrated by Ari Fliakos and Juliana Francis Kelly (Macmillan Audio).


The Dinner by Herman Koch. Narrated by Clive Mantle. (Blackstone Audio).

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Narrated by Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne. (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).

A Perfect Spy by John le Carré. Narrated by Michael Jayston. (Penguin Audio).

1494509091_66a38And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander. Narrated by Kate Reading (Recorded Books/Tantor Media).


The Anatomist’s Wife by Anna Lee Huber. Narrated by Heather Wilds. (Recorded Books/Tantor Media).

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, or On the Segregation of the Queen by Laurie R. King. Narrated by Jenny Sterlin (Recorded Books).

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. Narrated by Rita Barrington. (Blackstone Audio).

9780553551624_0259dDead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. Narrated by Scott Brick (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).


Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing. Narrated by Simon Prebble. (Blackstone Audio).

The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman. Narrated by John Lee. (Recorded Books/Tantor Media).

A Night to Remember: The Classic Account of the Final Hours of the Titanic by Walter Lord. Narrated by Martin Jarvis. (Blackstone Audio).

DraculaDracula by Bram Stoker. Narrated by David Horovitch, Jamie Parker, Joseph Kloska, Alison Pettitt, and cast (Naxos AudioBooks).


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Narrated by Daniel Philpott, Chris Larkin, Roger May, and Jonathan Oliver. (Naxos AudioBooks).

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Narrated by Justine Eyre and Paul Michael. (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Narrated by Martin Jarvis. (Blackstone Audio).

bhsj-square-240H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald. Narrated by Helen MacDonald (Blackstone Audio).


Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert. Narrated by Elizabeth Gilbert. (Books on Tape/Penguin Audio).

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery. Narrated by Sy Montgomery. (Recorded Books/HighBridge Audio).

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. Narrated by Bernadette Dunne. (Books on Tape/Random House Audio)

y6481The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. Narrated by Davina Porter (HarperAudio).


A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Narrated by Roy Dotrice. (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin. Narrated by Casaundra Freeman. (Brilliance Audio.)

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan. Narrated by Kate Reading. (Macmillan Audio).

9780553551402The Jaguar’s Children by John Vaillant. Narrated by Ozzie Rodriguez and David H. Lawrence XVII (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).


Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Héctor Tobar. Narrated by Henry Leyva.(Recorded Books).

The Devil’s Highway: A True Story by Luis Alberto Urrea. Narrated by Luis Alberto Urrea. (Hachette Audio).

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. Narrated by Jonathan Davis. (Brilliance Audio).

9780553551013The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza. Narrated by Katherine Kellgren (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).


The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. Narrated by Bernadette Dunne. (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby. Narrated by Emma Fielding. (Books on Tape/Penguin Audio).

The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. Narrated by Amy McFadden. (Dreamscape Media).

9781622316342_fb5adThe Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter. Narrated by Alex Wyndham (Recorded Books/HighBridge Audio).


The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters. Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat. (Recorded Books).

The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel by Anthony Horowitz. Narrated by Derek Jacobi. (Blackstone Audio/Hachette Audio).

The Perfect Murder by H.R.F. Keating. Narrated by Frederick Davidson. (Blackstone Audio).

1494504766_96d42‘Til the Well Runs Dry by Lauren Francis-Sharma. Narrated by Ron Butler and Bahni Turpin (Recorded Books/Tantor Media).


Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Narrated by Adjoa Andoh. (Recorded Books).

Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique. Narrated by Cherise Boothe, Korey Jackson, Rachel Leslie, and Myra Lucretia Taylor. (Recorded Books).

Unburnable by Marie-Elena John. Narrated by Robin Miles. (Recorded Books).

y6483True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa by Michael Finkel. Narrated by Rich Orlow (HarperAudio).


Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson. Narrated by Scott Brick. (Books on Tape/Random House Audio).

Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation by Dean Jobb. Narrated by Peter Berkrot. (Recorded Books/HighBridge Audio).

Out of Orange by Cleary Wolters. Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat. (Blackstone Audio/HarperAudio).

ALA Youth Media Awards Sell Books

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

The books that rose the highest on Amazon sales rankings since yesterday’s announcement of the ALA Youth Media Awards are the Newbery and Caldecott Medalists.

9780399257742_291dbFinding Winnie

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, Lindsay Mattick and  Sophie Blackall– the Caldecott Medalist rose to #37  from #3,766.

Last Stop on Market Street, Matt De La Peña, Christian Robinson, (Penguin/Putnam) — Not only is this the Newbery Medalist, it is also one of the three Caldecott Honor Books as well as a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book. It rose to #48 from #7,857 and is liste as “temporarily out of stock” on Amazon as well as on wholesaler sites.

Winners Blackall and De La Peña were interviewed last night on NPR’s All Things Considered:

Two other titles also received bumps:


Waiting, Kevn Henkes, (HarperCollins/Greenwillow) — A Caldecott and a Geisel Honor Book, it rose to #201 from #494.

The War that Saved My Life, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, (Penguin/Dial)  — A Newbery Honor Book, as well as a co-winner of  the Schneider Family Book Award for Middle-School. In addition, the Listening Library audio won the Odyssey Award Medal. It rose to  #367 from #5,122. The author was featured in our Penguin Young Readers program (read the live chat with the author here).

Download our spreadsheet with full biblio. information on all the awards — ALA Youth Media Awards, 2016

Newbery/Caldecott, Printz and Youth Media Awards

Monday, January 11th, 2016



Read the press release with all the medalists and honor books. UPDATE:  Download our spreadsheet with full biblio. information — ALA Youth Media Awards, 2016


Coretta Scott King Illustrator  Award:  Rita Williams-Garcia for Gone Crazy in Alabama , (HarperCollins/Amistad)

Coretta Scott King Author AwardTrombone Shorty, illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Troy Andrews, (Abrams)

Michael L. Printz AwardBone Gap, Laura Ruby, (HarperCollins Balzer + Bray)

Odyssey AwardThe War That Saved My Life, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Jayne Entwistle, (Listening Library)

Pura Belpré Award, Illustration: Drum Dream Girl, Margarita Engle, Rafael López, (HMH)

Pura Belpré Award, Text: Enchanted Air, Margarita Engle, Edel Rodriguez, (S&S/Atheneum)

Arbuthnot Lecture: Jacqueline Woodson

Batcheldor Award: The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy, Beatrice Alemagna, (Beatrice Alemagna)

Sibert AwardFunny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras, Duncan Tonatiuh, (Abrams)

Laura Ingalls Wilder Award: Jerry Pinkney

Geisel AwardDon’t throw it to Mo!, David A. Adler, Sam Ricks, (Penguin Young Readers)

Caldecott MedalFinding Winnie, Lindsay Mattick, Sophie Blackall, (Hachette/ Little, Brown)

Caldecott Honors:

Trombone Shorty, Troy Andrews, Bryan Collier (Abrams)

Waiting, Kevn Henkes, (HarperCollins/Greenwillow)

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, Carole Boston Weatherford, Ekua Holmes, (Candlewick)

Last Stop on Market Street, Matt De La Peña, Christian Robinson, (Penguin/Putnam)

Newbery MedalLast Stop on Market Street, Matt De La Peña, Christian Robinson, (Penguin/Putnam)

Newbery Honors:

The War That Saved My Life, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Jayne Entwistle, (Penguin/Dial)

Roller Girl, Victoria Jamieson, (Penguin/Dial)

Echo, Pam Muñoz Ryan, (Scholastic)

National Book Awards Coverage

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Last night’s National Book Awards ceremony was filled with speeches giving generous praise to other writers. It lacked the challenges to the establishment offered last year by Ursula LeGuin (including a jab at her publisher for their ebook pricing to libraries). Happily, it also lacked the painful moment of casual racism by last year’s host (but why do hosts feel compelled to make fun of the proceedings, as did Andy Horowitz this year, who opened the evening by remarking that most people would say of the Awards’ sponsor, “What the fuck is the National Book Foundation?”).

The day-after reporting stresses the surprise win in fiction as well as diversity of authors.

9780812993547_85eb49780812997477_f06dd While most stories focus on Ta-Nehisi Coates’s expected honor in nonfiction for Between the World and Me (PRH/Spiegel & Grau), almost all highlight Adam Johnson’s less expected win for fiction with his short story collection Fortune Smiles: Stories (PRH/Random House).

Reporters such as Meredith Blake of the LA Times writes,

In a completely surprising outcome, Adam Johnson claimed the award for fiction with his short story collection, Fortune Smiles. Johnson, who beat out such favorites as Hanya Yanagihara for A Little Life and Lauren Groff for Fates and Furies, appeared as stunned as anyone by the victory. “I told my wife and my kids, ‘Don’t come across America because this is not going to happen,’” said Johnson, who teaches at Stanford.

Johnson is no stranger to awards, however, having won a Pulitzer in 2013 for  The Orphan Master’s Son.

The second major theme of the reporting is the diversity of authors. Bustle offers this take:

In a world when we still (still!) have to call out award committees for having largely white, male longlists and shortlists, it was positively thrilling to see three out of the four awards handed out to black writers. Not only that, but the winners tackled issues like mental illness, racism in modern America, and the black female experience through history.

In summing up the night of bookish celebration, many reports quoted Don DeLillo’s acceptance speech for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters medal (basically, the National Book Foundation’s lifetime achievement award), in which he proclaimed, “Here, I’m not the writer at all, I’m the grateful reader.”

Below is a sample of the reporting. For those who have more of the NBA titles in their TBR piles than not, the VOX story is a particularly good resource, providing a librarian-friendly summary of  every nominee’s story line, appeal, and highlights.

National Book Awards, Live Stream

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

And the winners are:

Young People’s Literature:
Neal Shusterman, Challenger Deep (HarperCollins/HarperTeen)

Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus (PRH/Knopf)

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (PRH/Spiegel & Grau)

Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles: Stories (PRH/Random House)

National Book Awards, Tonight

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015


Dress in your best and join the National Book Awards this evening, via live stream.

UPDATE: The site now says that live stream will begin at 7:40 p.m.

Yesterday, Jacqueline Woodson hosted the National Book Award Teen Press Conference (livestream, below, Woodson begins speaking at time stamp 16:35)

And at another event last night the finalists in all categories read from their books.

There’s been little speculation in the press on which books will win. We have to look to the U.K. for a look at the odds on the fiction and nonfiction categories. In a story today, The Guardian asks,”how obscure can the judges go?

The Washington Post examines the finalists in poetry and in Young People’s Literature.

Poetry Reigns Over The December Indie Next List

Monday, November 9th, 2015

9780544555600_bf0b5The Selected Poems of Donald Hall (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) tops the December Indie Next list, the first time a book of poetry has led the list.

Hall, former US Poet Laureate, is one of the most beloved and respected poets writing today. This collection spans over seven decades of writing.

Katharine Nevins, of MainStreet BookEnds of Warner, Warner, NH says:

“This is a gift of honesty, intimacy, and the pure genius that is Donald Hall, as he hand-picks what he considers to be the best of his poetry from more than 70 years of published works. From this former U.S. Poet Laureate comes one essential volume of his works, where ‘Ox-Cart Man’ sits alongside ‘Kicking the Leaves’ and ‘Without.’ As he is no longer writing poetry, this ‘concise gathering of my life’s work’ is the perfect introduction to Hall’s literary contributions, as well as closure for his many ardent followers.”

December is traditionally a slow time for publishing as booksellers are up to their ears managing holiday sales. Perhaps as a consequence, just over half of the Indie Next December list features November titles including Umberto Eco’s Numero Zero, Mitch Albom’s The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, Carly Simon’s memoir Boys in the Trees, and Michael Cunningham and Yuko Shimizu’s A Wild Swan: And Other Tales.

9780143128250_9f966Others on the list pubbing in December are paperback originals, including A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton (Penguin; Blackstone Audio), also our most recent Penguin Debut Authors Pick.

Sandi Torkildson, of A Room of One’s Own bookstore in Madison, WI says:

“An intimate look at the devastating effect of the bombing of Nagasaki on one family, this is a story of love — parental and sexual, selfless and selfish, and, in the end, healing. Amaterasu Takahashi opens the door of her home in the U.S. to a badly scarred man claiming to be her grandson, who supposedly perished along with her daughter during the bombing nearly 40 years earlier. The man carries a cache of letters that forces Ama to confront her past and the love affair that tore her apart from her daughter.”

There is not a LibraryReads list in December. Instead librarians will celebrate the full year of reading with a “Favorite of Favorites” list to be issued on Dec. 1.

Librarian picks published in December 2015 will appear together with the January 2016 picks on the January LibraryReads list.

Slate’s Audio Book Club Struggles with A LITTLE LIFE

Monday, November 9th, 2015

9780385539258_d6a46The November Slate book club is an intense conversation regarding Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life (RH/Doubleday; OverDrive Sample).

Laura Bennett, Andrew Kahn, Dan Kois, and Katy Waldman, all of Slate, gathered to talk about Hanya Yanagihara’s novel just a few weeks before she discovers if the book wins the National Book Award (to be announced Nov.18).

In what might be the best expression of the group’s reaction, one of the panelists said she has never had as complicated a relationship with a novel, finding it both riveting and deeply unpleasant, a book she could not stop reading even as she found herself emotionally manipulated at every turn.

Another National Book Award finalist, Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff, will be the subject of the December discussion.

Andrew Carnegie Medal Shortlist

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

The finalists for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction have been announced.

The three fiction picks are:

9780802123459_c9bef 9781101874318_45db5 9780385539258_d6a46






The Sympathizer
by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press; OverDrive Sample)

The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard (PRH/Knopf; OverDrive Sample)

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (PRH/Doubleday; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample)

The three nonfiction picks are:

9780802124739_85113 9780316247740_e81d9 9780385350662_dcee8






H is for Hawk
by Helen Macdonald (Grove Press; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Hold Still by Sally Mann (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio and Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample)

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf (PRH/Knopf; HighBridge audio; OverDrive Sample)

The titles are selected by a committee consisting of members of the Reference and User Services Association of ALA and staff from Booklist magazine. The winners will be announced during the ALA Midwinter meeting along with the Notable Book List, The Reading List, The Listen List, the Dartmouth Medal, the Sophie Brody Medal, and other RUSA book awards.

National Book Awards Shortlist

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015


Winnowed down from longlists of ten titles in each category, The National Book Awards shortlists were announced today on NPR’s Morning Edition.

After her loss last night at the Booker Awards, Hanya Yanagihara sails through to the next round of the NBAs. Lauren Groff, whose book Fates and Furies is the current NPR Morning Edition Book Club pick, also makes the shortlist.

In what many may see as a surprise based on his earlier reception, Bill Clegg did not make the cut to the shortlist with Did You Ever Have a Family.

NPR book experts, providing color commentary on the announcements, highlighted Angela Flournoy’s The Turner House, saying it is a “lovely, lovely book” that picks up on many of the themes in the entire fiction list as it is a domestic drama dealing with financial insecurity, children and parents, and grieving.

In nonfiction there were few surprises as the big names and buzzy books made the second round. NPR commentators remarked that Ta-Nehisi Coates’s best seller, Between the World and Me is a book notable for its “tone of implacable, fatalistic dread.” They also called attention to the two memoirs, written with grace and skill by non-memoirists, photographer Sally Mann and poet Tracy K. Smith.

Poetry also saw many of the big names make the shortlist although one of the few household-name poets of recent years, Jane Hirshfield, did not. NPR’s book experts especially liked Ada Limón’s Bright Dead Things, calling it “a beautiful collection” and saying the lyrical and emotional poems lure one to read them aloud.

The Young People’s Literature list is called the “antidote to Frozen” by the NPR experts. They highlighted Nimona in particular, praising it as a “beautiful, goofy, charming graphic novel” that explores how we talk about girls and women and offers a grand mix of wistfulness and sadness that marks the best of YA literature.

The full shortlists are below. Winners will be announced on Nov. 18th.


Information on the longlist titles here.

Karen E. Bender, Refund: Stories (Counterpoint Press, dist. by Perseus/PGW)

Angela Flournoy, The Turner House (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies (Penguin/Riverhead)

Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles: Stories (Random House)

Hanya Yanagihara,  A Little Life (RH/Doubleday)


Information on the longlist titles here.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (RH/Spiegel & Grau)

Sally Mann, Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs (Hachette/Little, Brown)

Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness (S&S/Atria; S&S Audio)

Carla Power, If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran (Macmillan/Holt)

Tracy K. Smith, Ordinary Light: A Memoir (RH/ Knopf; Recorded Books)

Marlon James Wins the
Booker Prize

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

[Note: we’ve made several additions to this story since we first posted it last night]

In the second year that American writers were eligible for the Booker, two made the shortlist, but ultimately did not win. The winner, however, lives in the U.S. and his books were originally published by U.S. publishing houses.

The9781594486005_04fae winner is the first Jamaican writer to win the award, Marlon James for A Brief History of Seven Killings (Penguin/Riverhead; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample, 2014; released in trade paperback, Sept. 8, 2015). He lives in Minneapolis and teaches at Macalester College in St. Paul.

In his remarks, James said he was shaped by reading previous Booker winners and noted that ten years ago he nearly gave up on writing, thanking Johnny Temple at independent publisher Akashic Books in Brooklyn for publishing his debut, John Crow’s Devil, (9781936070107). He also thanked his editors at the Riverhead imprint of Penguin U.S. (see him give his acceptance speech here — the second video).

A Brief History of Seven Killings, published last year in the US, appeared on many of the year’s best books lists and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

James is scheduled to appear on Monday at Minneapolis bookstore Magers & Quinn. He is also scheduled for appearances at Hennepin County Public Library at the end of the month.

In March, he was interviewed on Late Night with  Seth Meyers:

Reviews — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street JournalNYT Sunday Book Review.

The Guardian calls the winning novel “an epic, uncompromising novel not for the faint of heart. It brims with shocking gang violence, swearing, graphic sex, drug crime but also, said the judges, a lot of laughs.”

UPDATE: The Booker Bump strikes again. By Wed. morning, Oct. 14, A Brief History of Seven Killings rose to #20 on Amazon sales rankings in paperback and #137 in hardcover.