'Homeland Elegies' and 'These Ghosts Are Family' Among American Book Award Winners | Book Pulse

The American Book Awards have been announced. Winners include Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar, These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card, Borderland Apocrypha by Anthony Cody, Desert Notebooks by Ben Ehrenreich, Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong, Dunfords Travels Everywheres by William Melvin Kelley, plus many more. The 2021 Kirkus Prize judges are announced. The 2020 Asimov’s Readers’ Awards Winners are announced. The 2021 Splatterpunk Awards Winners are announced. Benedict Cumberbatch and George Saunders give readings. New Beatles lyrics  will be revealed in Paul McCartney's forthcoming book, The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present. Plus, Belt Publishing founder Anne Trubek, raises money for Afghan refugees.


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The American Book Awards are announced. Winners include Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar (Little, Brown; LJ starred review), These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card (S. & S.), Borderland Apocrypha by Anthony Cody (Omnidawn Press), Desert Notebooks: A Road Map for the End of Time by Ben Ehrenreich (Counterpoint), Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong (One World), Dunfords Travels Everywheres by William Melvin Kelley (Anchor Books), plus many more. The awards “provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community.” USA Today has coverage of the award. Here is a full list of the winners.

The 2021 Kirkus Prize judges are announced. Eighteen finalists for the prize will be revealed on Sept. 13 and winners will be announced at a special ceremony on October 28.

The 2020 Asimov’s Readers’ Awards Winners are announced, including Connie Willis, Kevin J. Anderson & Rick Wilber, Timons Esaias, and Jane Yolen. Locus has details.

The 2021 Splatterpunk Awards Winners are announced, “honoring superior achievement for works published in 2020 in the sub-genres of Splatterpunk and Extreme Horror.” Locus has more on the winners and the ceremony.

The German Book Prize longlist is out. Publishing Perspectives has the story.

Rich Harvey wins the 2021 Munsey Award, presented by PulpFest. Locus has details.


The Washington Post reviews The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers (Harper: HarperCollins): “the kind of book that comes around only once a decade. Yes, at roughly 800 pages, it is, indeed, a mountain to climb, but the journey is engrossing, and the view from the summit will transform your understanding of America.”

Entertainment Weekly reviews Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney (Farrar; LJ starred review), giving it a B: “the book's millennial cri de coeur can also tip into navel-gazing indulgence, heavy with the undergrad fugue of late night dorm-room debates and clove-cigarette smoke.”

NPR reviews Real Estate: A Living Autobiography by Deborah Levy (Bloomsbury): “Like all Levy's books, it is as good on the second read as the first, if not better. Few writers are able to give so much so swiftly. Levy's hospitality on the page is a delight.” And, The Second Rebel by Linden A. Lewis (Gallery): “The Second Rebel does what you want a sequel to do. Here the universe becomes more expansive, more lived-in, thoroughly revealed and deeply mysterious.” 

LA Times reviews The Manningtree Witches by A. K. Blakemore (Catapult): “Blakemore, who also is a published poet, brings both beautifully crafted sentences and a thorough understanding of Hopkins’ theology to her fascinating novel."

The NYT reviews The War for Gloria by Atticus Lish (Knopf): “by and large, a monster — solemn, punishing, kinetic, in easy contact with dark areas of the psyche, and yet heartbreaking in its portrait of a mother and son facing her mortal illness.” And, The Guide by Peter Heller (Knopf; LJ starred review): “Flat dialogue and implausible plot elements doom ‘The Guide’ as a piece of literature, but it’s the perspective that defangs it as a thriller.” And, After the Sun by Jonas Eika, trans. by Sherilyn Nicolette Hellberg (Riverhead): “The stories are not flawless, and the achievements of stylistic originality, the shocks, often come at the expense of heartfelt connection with characters, but honestly, in this case, it’s more than a fair trade-off, to be pierced and thrilled again.” And, Seeing Ghosts by Kat Chow (Grand Central): “the idea that loss of country and loss of loved ones can hook us with similar perpetual sorrow, through storytelling that brings alive both Chow’s mother and father, drawing their characters tenderly but with unflinching honesty.” Also, Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights by Erwin Chemerinsky (Liverlight: Norton;LJ starred review): “Whether the furor unleashed by Black Lives Matter will lead to state and city governments reforming their police departments is yet to be seen, but all lawmakers, in fact all concerned citizens, need to read this book." And, The Chinese Question : The Gold Rushes and Global Politics by Mae Ngai (Norton): “a deep historical study, and a timely re-examination of the persistent Chinese Question in America and elsewhere." Also, Flashes of Creation: George Gamow, Fred Hoyle, and the Great Big Bang Debate by Paul Halpern (Basic Books): “chronicles the rise of Gamow and Hoyle into leaders of mostly opposing views of cosmology, as they disputed whether everything began with a Big Bang billions of years ago.” And, Sexual Justice: Supporting Victims, Ensuring Due Process, and Resisting the Conservative Backlash by Alexandra Brodsky (Metropolitan): “deserves to be read by everyone responsible for building the systems that regulate how people behave toward one another.” Plus, God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning by Meghan O’Gieblyn (Doubleday): “is a hybrid beast, a remarkably erudite work of history, criticism and philosophy, but it is also, crucially, a memoir.”

Briefly Noted

Paul McCartney will reveal unseen Beatles lyrics in his new book, The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present (Liverlight: Norton) The Guardian reports.

People talks with royal biographer Gyles Brandreth about Prince Philip’s longevity, and his new book Philip: The Final Portrait (Mobius).

Entertainment Weekly takes an Irish tour of the “Sally Rooneyverse”, highlighting locations from her novels. 

The NYT looks at the fiction of William Maxwell, and the themes that remain surprisingly modern. 

William Kent Krueger, Lightning Strike (Atria; LJ starred review), writes about the “the storyteller’s promise” at CrimeReads. Amber Garza, Where I Left Her (MIRA) appreciates Sophie Hannah’s thrillers, also at CrimeReads.

LitHub has a flowchart to help decide: “Which Big Fall Book Should You Read?.”

Tordotcom has “Anti-Doorstoppers: 10 Great SFF Novellas and Novelettes.”

“Anne Trubek, founder of Belt Publishing, raised $6,000 for Afghan refugees in one day.”  LitHub has the story.

Authors on Air

NPR’s It’s Been A Minute with Sam Sanders talks with Jonathan Van Ness, about his memoir Over the Top: My Story (HarperOne).

PBS Canvas looks at the project “Write America”, a group of writers hoping to heal a divided America. 

LitHub highlights Benedict Cumberbatch reading Kurt Vonnegut’s advice to the people of 2088 on Letters Live. 

George Saunders reads “The Mom of Bold Action” on The Writer’s Voice: New Fiction from The New Yorker.

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