'A Memory Called Empire' by Arkady Martine Wins Hugo Award | Book Pulse

The Hugo Awards are announced. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine wins for best novel. The Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book and the Astounding Award for Best New Writer were announced as well. Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer leads holds this week. Pennie Clark Ianniciello picks a much older title, Last Orders by Graham Swift, as her August title. More book picks for August arrive and Chicago will host the 80th World Science Fiction convention.

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The Hugo Awards







The Hugo Awards are announced. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (Tor: Macmillan; LJ starred review) wins for best novel. The Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book and the Astounding Award for Best New Writer were announced as well. Here is the ceremony. Here is the list of finalists. Reaction to the ceremony has exploded online and the CoNZealand Chairs have issued this apology.

Big Books of the Week

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Hachette) leads holds this week.

Other titles in demand include:

The Friendship List by Susan Mallery (HQN: Harper)

The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter (William Morrow: Harper)

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis (Dutton: Penguin)

The Last Mrs. Summers by Rhys Bowen (Berkley: Penguin)

These books and others publishing the week of Aug. 3, 2020, are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet. 

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

There are six books coming out this week on the LibraryReads list, including the No. 1 pick for the month, You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria (Avon: Harper)

"This romance by a RITA award-winning writer is a sizzling hot and fun ode to soap operas. Jasmine, a soap opera actor, and Ashton, a telenovela actor, have been cast on a popular TV show that catapults each of them to stardom. They quickly give in to temptation and indulge in a torrid affair that means more to them than either wants to admit. When the paparazzi expose a shocking secret, Jasmine is forced to reevaluate the trust she put in Ashton, and he must to come to grips with his traumatic past. Firmly rooted in Latinx culture, this novel covers issues of language, colorism, and identity while also managing to be upbeat, entertaining, and super-steamy. Recommended for fans of Take a Hint, Dani Brown, Something To Talk About, and Not the Girl You Marry." —Migdali Jimenez, Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL

It is also an Indie Next selection: “I don’t have enough superlatives to do this book justice. Everything is spot on, from the chemistry between the main characters to the telenovela drama to the meddling but supportive cousins. I love all the Spanish, the backstage glimpses into the making of a TV show (especially the inclusion of the intimacy coordinator), and the way the telenovela tropes, like a secret child, are woven into the grounded romance. Now I just hope Michelle and Ava get their own books soon!” —Cecilia Cackley, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House; LJ starred review)

“A magisterial overview of how caste has been implemented in three different places. This is an important look at how the U.S., Nazi Germany, and India implemented caste and how it affects each country. Don't think that this is a dry academic read; Wilkerson is a genius with words and incorporates her own experiences throughout the book. For readers of Stamped and The New Jim Crow.” —Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA

Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com: Macmillan; LJ starred review)

“This follow-up to Gideon the Ninth is a fantastic gothic mystery, peopled with aristocrats vying to be the Undying Emperor's new Lyctor. Muir switches up the POV, and because Harrow's body and mind are failing her, she's an unreliable narrator. The story moves around in time, so when events from the first book are revisited, the perspective changes. And there's still that looming, unwinnable battle. A rare and beautiful gem for fans of The City We Became and Dune.” —Laura Eckert, Clermont County Public Library, Milford, OH

It is also an Indie Next selection: “Harrow the Ninth is an exceptional second entry in Tamsyn Muir’s Locked Tomb trilogy, which has quickly become a cherished series. The necromancy in this world is given even more room to flex its muscles as an integral part of the story. Muir’s particular gift with language and her deft humor remain on full display. For all of the questions answered and curiosities resolved, I’m left desperate to know where we are headed next in this journey!” —Danielle King, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO

The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter (William Morrow: Harper)

"A brilliantly conceived story about a psychopath that preys on young women and a chance encounter that turns up a connection to another series of unsolved murders years back. A fast-paced, suspenseful thriller for fans of the Kick Lannigan series." —Paul Lane, Palm Beach County Library, West Palm Beach, FL

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis (Dutton: Penguin)

“A glimpse into women's lives in 1913 and 1993, with the narrative centering on the New York Public Library. Davis always places female characters from the past and present in an iconic New York building. This book was especially wonderful as it’s a love letter to librarians.” —Donna Ballard, East Meadow Public Library, East Meadow, NY

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin (St. Martin’s: Macmillan)

“The author has expertly woven the stories of two crimes that occurred in a small town 25 years apart. Rachel, an investigative podcast reporter, is covering the trial of a young man accused of the latest crime. While there, she is pulled into the past by the earlier victim’s sister, Hannah, who has been haunted by it for a very long time. For fans of Then She Was Gone and Sometimes I Lie." —Debbie Lease, Hillsdale Public Library, Hillsdale, NJ

There are nine additional Indie Next picks coming out this week, including the No. I pick for the month, Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy (Flatiron: Macmillan; LJ starred review)

“Imagine a world where almost all the animals have disappeared. Imagine a love strong enough to believe it can make a difference. In a fragile, near-future world, author Charlotte McConaghy gives us Franny Stone, a character as wild and broken as the few remaining Arctic terns she is determined to follow on what will most likely be their last migration. Franny’s quest is as epic as Captain Ahab’s, and while it leaves much destruction in its wake, it is ultimately a quest toward life. Migrations is a book so beautiful it will leave you breathless. Breathless with cold despair, and breathless with pulsating life and hope. This is a truly stunning debut.” —Lisa Swayze, Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca, NY

Luster by Raven Leilani (FSG: Macmillan)

Luster centers on Edie, a young black woman working in New York publishing and barely making rent each month, who finds herself navigating a suburban white couple’s open marriage. This novel is filled with unexpected turns taken at breakneck speeds. It seamlessly examines the plight of millennials living under capitalism along with the complications of intimacy and race, all while finding both the humor and profound sadness in those things. This is a multifaceted and brilliant book, as well as an extraordinary debut from Raven Leilani.” —Billy Butler, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (Riverhead: Penguin; LJ starred review)

“I am staggered by the immersive, fluid, irresistible prose Emezi has perfected in their third novel, The Death of Vivek Oji. This tale follows the captivating, curious Vivek through the aftermath of his mysterious death, while simultaneously examining the people and relationships closest to him. Vivek, his cousin Osita, and a distant third-person narrator lead the reader through a grounded, lively picture of Nigeria, family and friendship bonds stretched to their breaking points, and the passing of this unique, complex young boy. Through addictive, multifaceted characters and a simply beautiful story, Emezi inspects masculinity, otherness, and love. This is one of the most magical, compelling, exciting, thought-provoking, and important books of our time.” —Margy Adams, Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, OH

True Story by Kate Reed Petty (Viking: Penguin)

“A brilliant mind-bender of a novel that uses different methods of storytelling to illustrate how storytelling creates different versions of truth (if truth even exists) and reality. Are we the stories we tell ourselves? Or do we become the stories that are told about us? This is the question True Story asks as it peels away layer after layer of the narrative. Part fever dream, part timely comment on sexual assault, and part psychological thriller, True Story will keep you turning pages and guessing until the genius, puzzle-completing ending. I LOVED this book!” —Debra Ginsberg, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Santa Monica, CA

Universe of Two by Stephen P. Kiernan (William Morrow: Harper)

“Many people were involved in the creation of the atomic bomb in the mid-1940s, and Charles Fisk was one of them. Like many of those developmental scientists and engineers, Fisk remained deeply troubled and forever changed by the outcome of his efforts. This finely crafted love story—and a love story it is—weaves a well-researched history of the shrouded creation of the atomic bomb with the blossoming love of two people. Kiernan’s work exposes a terrifying truth and renders a valuable education while pulling the reader into a fast-paced narrative of love and loss.” —Renee Reiner, Phoenix Books Essex, Essex Junction, VT

The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi (Holt: Macmillan)

“For an avid mystery reader, this book is deeply satisfying. Short stories are picked apart by a young editor and an older author who are looking for a mathematical standard to the classic detective novel. Each story depicts a variation of victim, killer, and detective, and contains clues to yet another mystery involving the author. Puzzles bloom within puzzles, and the final reveal...well, no spoilers from me, but it was unexpected in the best way!” —Liesl Freudenstein, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO

The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-eun, translatd by Lizzie Buehler (Counterpoint)

“This book is about every sort of disaster that can happen: ecological, economic, social, moral, and even the unexpected. When Yona, a designer of ‘disaster tours’ for a travel company, is forced to go on a business trip to a remote island, she gets caught up with making a disaster of her own. This book brilliantly peels back the layers of ecotourism, capitalism, and all the ways we are complicit in creating catastrophes. A shocking, thought-provoking book that’s also a great read.” —Dan Schwartz, Changing Hands, Phoenix, AZ

The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals by Becky Mandelbaum (S. & S.)

The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals is a story of struggle, relationships, understanding, and forgiveness. When a daughter is compelled to return to the home she ran from years earlier, she must confront the truth about why she left and whether all fences can be mended. Becky Mandelbaum weaves together all of the threads of this story until it becomes a beautiful tapestry.” —Mary O’Malley, Anderson’s Bookshop, La Grange, IL

The Fixed Stars by Molly Wizenberg (Abrams; LJ starred review)

“I have enjoyed Molly Wizenberg’s writing for years, and this book was no exception. I loved the mix of science and research with confessional truth-telling about longing and identity. As a mother of two small children, I clung to this story of discovery. And as a human, I cherished Wizenberg’s exploration of the realization that our stories are never done being written. This book was a balm for my soul.” —Sarah Fischer, Downbound Books, Cincinnati, OH (from the May list).

In the Media

People’s "Book of the Week" is Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir by Natasha Trethewey (Ecco: Harper; LJ starred review). Also getting attention are Hieroglyphics by Jill McCorkle (Algonquin: Workman) and The Lives of Edie Pritchard by Larry Watson (Algonquin: Workman). "New in Nonfiction" include Intimations: Six Essays by Zadie Smith (Penguin), You Look So Much Better in Person: True Stories of Absurdity and Success by Al Roker (Hachette Go), and Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit, and Obsession, edited by Sarah Weinman (Ecco: Harper; LJ starred review). In more book news, there is a feature on Sarah Maslin Nir, Horse Crazy: The Story of a Woman and a World in Love with an Animal (S. & S.). Making the “Pick” list are Cursed and The Umbrella Academy. There are stories about the deaths of authors Regis Philbin and Olivia De Havilland. The recipe for the week comes from Magnolia Table, Volume 2: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by Joanna Gaines (William Morrow).


The NYT reviews In the Valley: Stories and a Novella Based on Serena by Ron Rash (Doubleday: Random House): “he’s one of the best living American writers, and his laconic understatement is much more powerful than excess. There’s nothing rash about Rash.” Also, Wandering in Strange Lands: A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots by Morgan Jerkins (Harper): “Jerkins makes plain that denying space for Black identities in history is itself a legacy as American as its original sins of racism and enslavement. By exploring the truth of that past with such integrity, this memoir enriches our future.” Unconditional: The Japanese Surrender in World War II by Marc Gallicchio (Oxford Univ.): “a sharp reminder of the power, imperfection and politicization of historical narrative — and of the way debates can continue long after history’s witnesses have left the stage. There is a dual review of books about “Why the Working Class Votes Against Its Economic Interests.” The “Crime” column is out. Also, a quartet of children's book reviews: Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland (Simon Pulse: S. & S.): “In a world where we are so often dividing ourselves into us and them, this book feels like a kind of magic, too, celebrating all beliefs, ethnicities and unknowns.” The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert (Disney-Hyperion): “deft at making the political feel truly personal.” Dress Coded by Carrie Firestone (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers: Penguin; SLJ starred review): “this novel, while brutal in its honesty, is also quite funny and full of hope.” The Brave by James Bird (Feiwel & Friends: Macmillan; SLJ starred review): “I want better books for my Ojibwe/Seneca children to read: books that add to the stock of available reality, that incorporate our Native lives in a way that informs those lives and makes them larger. “The Brave” does none of those things.”

NPR reviews I Hold a Wolf by the Ears: Stories by Laura van den Berg (FSG: Macmillan): “The stories in Laura van den Berg's I Hold a Wolf by the Ears are exquisite. They're tiny, uncanny morsels about broken women and mysterious things that possess a literary umami that falls somewhere between horror, literary fiction, mystery, drama, and social critique.” Also, Must I Go by Yiyun Li (Random House): “affirms the complex bonds of divergent characters who learn to navigate through loss. The novel also serves as a literary equivalent of Schrödinger's cat.” True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of Donald Trump by Jeffrey Toobin (Doubleday: Random House): “its highest function is as a condensation of the best evidence against the presidency and character of Donald Trump, a summation offered up much as a prosecutor would do in seeking to sway a jury.” NPR also has a joint review of “3 Translated Novels To Transport You.”

USA Today reviews Luster by Raven Leilani (FSG), giving it 3.5 stars and calling it a “vibrant, spiky debut novel.” Also, Wandering in Strange Lands: A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots by Morgan Jerkins (Harper), giving it 3.5 stars as well and writing “Jerkins speaks truth to power.” Life of a Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy by Edward Ball (FSG: Macmillan), giving it 2 stars, writing it “comes off as forced and unsatisfying.”

Briefly Noted

Best book picks for August arrive from AmazonDen of Geek | io9 | Lambda Literary | Time | Town & Country | Tor.com

USA Today picks books for the week. The paper also offers a list of “10 Summer Reads You Won’t Want To Miss.”

CrimeReads has a list of ten books for the week.

In Costco Connection, Pennie Clark Ianniciello picks a much older title, Last Orders by Graham Swift (Vintage: Random House), proving a new book to a reader is new no matter when it was published. The Buyer’s pick is Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Adventure by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books: Abrams).

The Washington Post gathers “Five new thrillers and mysteries that are perfect for the beach — or the bunker.” Also, “Need to laugh out loud? These hilarious romance novels will do the trick.”

The Guardian has “Now you're talking! The best audiobooks, chosen by writers.”

The Lily writes “Miss travel? Here are 7 literary journeys to take.”

The winners of The Diverse Book Awards are announced. Locus has the list.

The Atlantic showcases Gayl Jones, Eva's Man (Beacon Press: Random House), in a piece entitled “The Best American Novelist Whose Name You May Not Know.” Also, a piece about Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir by Natasha Trethewey (Ecco: Harper; LJ starred review).

Sarah Maslin Nir, Horse Crazy: The Story of a Woman and a World in Love with an Animal (S. & S.), has a piece in the NYT: “To Break a Horse, and a Woman.”

The NYT interviews Stephenie Meyer, Midnight Sun (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Hachette).

Town & Country interviews cartoonist and director Marjane Satrapi, Radioactive.

Jezebel interviews Sarah Weinman, Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit, and Obsession, (Ecco: Harper; LJ starred review).

Erin Morgenstern, The Starless Sea (Doubleday: Random House; LJ starred review), answers the Book Marks Questionnaire.

Chicago will host the 80th World Science Fiction Convention. Tor.com reports.

USA Today has a piece on “How trans 'Harry Potter' fans are grappling with J.K. Rowling's legacy after her transphobic comments,” including from author Kacen Callender, Felix Ever After (Balzer + Bray: Harper; SLJ starred review). There is also news that a poster advertisement in support of Rowling has been removed from an Edinburgh railway station due to its “political nature.” The Independent reports.

Poet Lucille Clifton’s home is set to become a site to support young artists. The National Endowment for the Arts has the story.

Jason Reynolds’s offers a house tour in the September print issue of HGTV Magazine. The image-rich article is not yet online.

The Horror Writers Association’s Librarians’ Day 2020 moves online, and is free. RA for All has details of the Nov. event. The Brooklyn Book Festival also moves online. It takes place starting September 28. The author line-up thus far is extensive.

James Silberman, noted editor of authors such as James Baldwin, Marilyn French, and Hunter S. Thompson, has died. The NYT reports.

Authors on Air

PBS NewsHour picks Beijing Payback by Daniel Nieh (Ecco: Harper) as its August book club title, in partnership with the NYT.

NPR’s Life Kit interviews Elizabeth Segran, The Rocket Years: How Your Twenties Launch the Rest of Your Life (Harper).

The NYT reports on Jesse Eisenberg’s Audible Original, When You Finish Saving the World. A film adaptation with Julianne Moore is also in the works.

HuffPost features the screen version of I’Il Be Gone in the Dark.

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