2021 Kirkus Prize Finalists Announced; Liane Moriarty's 'Apples Never Fall' Tops Holds Lists | Book Pulse

Kirkus announces the finalists for the eighth annual Kirkus Prize. Karen Tei Yamashita is awarded the National Book Foundation Medal. Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty leads holds this week. Three Library Reads and six Indie Next picks publish this week. People releases its “Must Reads for Fall” highlighting titles from Colson Whitehead, Lily King, Liane Moriarty, Amor Towles, Anthony Doerr, Dawn Turner, Ann Pachett, Laurence Leamer, Qian Julie Wang, Tove Alsterdal, Richard Osman, Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rachel Howzell Hall, and a posthumous work by John le Carré.  Jennifer Grey has a forthcoming memoir, Out of the Corner, due in May 2022. Dorothy Carvello’s Anything for a Hit: An A&R Woman's Story of Surviving the Music Industry  will be adapted into a new docuseries.

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Awards News







Kirkus announces finalists for the 2021 Kirkus Prize in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, and young readers’ literature. Winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony via the Austin Public Library in Austin, Texas on Thursday, October 28.

Karen Tei Yamashita is awarded the National Book Foundation Medal.

Big Books of the Week

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty (Henry Holt) leads holds this week.

Other titles in demand include: 

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday; LJ starred review)

Enemy at the Gates by Vince Flynn and Kyle Mills (Atria: Emily Bestler)

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood (Berkley; LJ starred review)

Fuzz by Mary Roach (Norton; LJ starred review)

These books and others publishing the week of September 13th, 2021 are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet.

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

There are three Library Reads and six Indie Next picks coming out this week:

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday; LJ starred review)

“Read if you want a brilliantly plotted heist novel set in 1960s New York. The Harlem setting with its creeping gentrification is a significant part of the story. For readers who enjoyed Deacon King Kong and Black Bottom Saints.”—Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“A love letter to 1960s Harlem that’s also a heist novel, a family saga, and so much more. Colson Whitehead proves once again that he’s always at the top of his game!”—Alyssa Raymond, Copper Dog Books, Beverly, MA

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood (Berkley; LJ starred review)

“Stanford scientists Olive and Adam begin fake- dating out of mutual convenience, but their relationship causes all sorts of issues on campus. Readers will grow to root for this brainy duo in neuroscientist Hazelwood’s romcom debut. For readers of The Kiss Quotient and The Rosie Project."—Cari Dubiel, Twinsburg Public Library, Twinsburg, OH

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“If, like me, your catnip is the taciturn, brainy, hot hero who is secretly a big squishy marshmallow at heart, look no further than this awesome debut!”—Angela Trigg, The Haunted Book Shop, Mobile, AL

Fuzz by Mary Roach (Norton; LJ starred review)

“Roach once again proves that she is one of the best pop science writers out there. From door knobs to divine intervention, with some lasers and effigies thrown in for fun, she chronicles the push and pull of the human/wildlife struggle for co-existence. You will laugh, you will likely cry, and you'll never look at Indian elephants quite the same way. For fans of Bill Bryson and Sarah Vowell.”—Marianne Kruppa, Indianapolis Public Library, Indianapolis, IN

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“Human encounters with wildlife are increasing as land development shrinks wildlife habitat. Roach recounts dangerous engagements, some head-shaking practices, and plenty of laugh-out-loud turf wars.”—Kay Wosewick, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

Three additional Indie Next titles publish this week:

Dare to Know by James Kennedy (Quirk)

“A company can tell you with 100% accuracy when you are going to die. But what happens when you live beyond your expiration date? As you read Dare to Know, your sense of reality will melt away.”—Bob Lingle, Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, Lakewood, NY

Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff (St. Martin’s)

“In the vein of The Name of the Wind, a vampire hunter recounts his life to his executioner. This epic dystopian fantasy is dark and seductive. The violence! The expletives! The smut! What’s not to love?”—Leah Atlee, Bright Side Bookshop, Flagstaff, AZ

Graceland, At Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache From the American South by Margaret Renkl (Milkweed)

“Margaret Renkl’s essays alternate between balm for the soul and outrage at the world with all of its injustices. She makes me think and see things in a different light, and for that I’m eternally grateful.”—Jayne Rowsam, Mystery to Me, Madison, WI

In the Media

People’s “Must Reads for Fall” highlights forthcoming fiction: Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday; LJ starred review), Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King (Grove; LJ starred review), Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty (Henry Holt), The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (Viking), and Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr (Scribner; LJ starred review). Nonfiction picks include: Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Uniquely American Memoir of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood by Dawn Turner (S. & S.; LJ starred review), These Precious Days by Ann Pachett (Harper), Capote's Women : A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era by Laurence Leamer (Putnam), Smile: The Story of a Face by Sarah Ruhl (S. & S.) and Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang (Doubleday). Rounding out recommendations are mysteries and thrillers: We Know You Remember by Tove Alsterdal (HarperCollins), The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman (Pamela Dorman: Viking), State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton (S. & S.: St. Martin’s), These Toxic Things by Rachel Howzell Hall (Thomas & Mercer), and Silverview by John le Carré (Viking).  People online has a slideshow of the picks.  The “Picks” section highlights Showtime’s American Rust, based on the book by Philipp Meyer. Plus, Scott Conant, Peace, Love, and Pasta : Simple and Elegant Recipes from a Chef's Home Kitchen (Abrams), shares a recipe.


The NYT reviews Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty (Henry Holt): “Moriarty once again shows her mastery with the inner working of women of a certain age — their acuity, experience and ugly thoughts.” And, I Was Never the First Lady by Wendy Guerra (HarperVia): “Guerra’s own unpredictable book is haunting and complicated, linguistically beautiful yet labyrinthine. It builds a world of living ghosts and opens a chasm of aching as much for the things that are present as for those that have disappeared.”

NPR reviews The All-Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw (Erewhon; LJ starred review): “is a gory, gloriously punk, queer heist story set in an unsettling and cold universe. It delivers thrills and questions.” And, We Wrote In Symbols: Love and Lust By Arab Women Writers, edited by Selma Dabbagh (Saqi): “What ‘We Wrote in Symbols’ captures most strongly is the richness and depth of erotic writing in the Arabic literary tradition, and the incredible diversity and range of its female voices. If this eye-opening collection also helps shatter some assumptions about gender and sexuality in the Arab world, it is all the more welcome.”  Plus, The War for Gloria by Atticus Lish (Knopf): “The book opens a disturbing window into a teenager's losing battle to save his mother, our broken healthcare system, the power that humans have to inflict harm on one another, and one boy's efforts to save not only his mother, but himself.”

The Washington Post reviews The Double Mother by Michel Bussi, translated by Sam Taylor (World Noir): “Bussi is one of those thriller writers who heighten suspense by shifting from one character’s viewpoint to another with calculated aplomb. Fortunately, he draws his characters so well that we don’t mind being wrenched away from Malone in crisis, say, to Marianne in consternation.”

USA Today reviews Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday; LJ starred review), giving it 3 out of 4 stars: "the story flies when it focuses on Carney’s split personality. He’s both an engrossing character and a compelling allegory for the ways a city – and country – are divided yet interlaced, both 'separate and connected by tracks'."

The Guardian reviews Bewilderment by Richard Powers (Norton; LJ starred review): “Bewilderment channels both the cosmic sublime and that of the vast American outdoors, resting confidently in a lineage with Thoreau and Whitman, Dillard and Kerouac.” And, Matrix by Lauren Groff (Riverhead): “a highly distinctive novel of great vigour and boldness. From mystical visions that may or may not be divine, to the earthy business of abbey pigs, diseases and account books, Groff does it all with purpose and panache.”

Briefly Noted

People interviews Jennifer Grey about her forthcoming memoir, Out of the Corner (Ballantine), due in May 2022.

Slate has an interview with Colson Whitehead on moving from heavy historical fiction to a heist in his new book Harlem Shuffle (Doubleday; LJ starred review).

Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 reflects on 9/11 and “how it forever changed us,” at Oprahdaily.

Salon talks with CNN reporter Peter BergenThe Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden (S.&S.). 

NYT has a Q&A with Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, Savage Tongues (Mariner Books).

NYT explores “The Nuns of Fiction: Experts in Affliction and Awe,” in books by Alice McDermott, Lauren Groff, and Don DeLillo.

NYT asks “Why Use a Dictionary in the Age of Internet Search?”

Stephen King's new short story "Red Screen," about a confrontation with a “deranged plumber,” is a Humble Bundle exclusive. The Verge reports. 

AUPresses promotes its ‘Books for Understanding’ resource for the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Publishing Perspectives has more.  

USA Today picks five books for the week.

CrimeReads suggests 10 books out this week.

Tor highlights “horror and genre-bending books arriving in September.”

Oprahdaily has “30 Best Fall Books of 2021 to Cuddle Up With.”

Bustle has "10 History Books Every American Needs To Read" and  "17 Truly Heartbreaking Books About Love & Loss."

Town & Country has "The 11 Best Books Based on True Stories."

Authors on Air

NPR’s Code Switch podcast interviews Bethany C. Morrow about So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix (Feiwel & Friends).

NPR’s Morning Edition talks with Colson Whitehead about his new novel, Harlem Shuffle (Doubleday; LJ starred review). 

NPR’s Fresh Air Weekend considers Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney (Farrar; LJ starred review) and Poet Warrior by Joy Harjo (Norton; LJ starred review). 

CBS Sunday Morning talks with Chris Wallace about Countdown bin Laden: The Untold Story of the 247-Day Hunt to Bring the Mastermind of 9/11 to Justice  (Avid Reader: S. & S.).

Dorothy Carvello’s Anything for a Hit: An A&R Woman's Story of Surviving the Music Industry (Chicago Review Pr.) will be adapted into a new docuseriesDeadline reports.

The Queen's Gambit, based on the book by Walter Tevis won nine awards at the Creative Arts EmmysTheHollywood Reporter has details.

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