Jenna Bush Hager Picks 'Good Company' | Book Pulse

The Today show's 'Read with Jenna' book club pick for April is Good Company by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney. James McBride's Deacon King Kong wins inaugural Gotham Prize. The City We Became by N.K Jemisin wins the British Science Fiction Association Award for best novel. Helen Oyeyemi gets attention with her new novel, Peaces. Rachel Kushner is back with a book of essays, and Godzilla vs. Kong is still smashing records. Fonda Lee writes about ARC's and equity. Readers are picking up Hemingway again with six of his novels in the top 20 Amazon Movers and Shakers. Plus, HBO announces "The Iron Anniversary," a month-long celebration in honor of the 10th anniversary of the premiere of A Game of Thrones. 

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Awards & Picks

Jenna Bush Hager selects Good Company by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney (Ecco) as the April Read with Jenna Book Club Pick.

The winners for the 2020 British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) Awards have been announced, with The City We Became by N.K Jemisin (Orbit: Hachette) winning best novel. It's the End of the World: But what are we really afraid of? by Adam Roberts (Elliot & Thompson) wins for nonfiction. Locus has the full list of winners.

James McBride's Deacon King Kong  (Riverhead: Penguin; LJ starred review) wins the inaugural Gotham Prize, "The Gotham Book Prize is awarded once a year to the best book (works of fiction and nonfiction are eligible) published that calendar year that either is about New York City or takes place in New York City."


Entertainment Weekly briefly reviews Good Company by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney (Ecco) giving it a B+, and Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi (Riverhead), which earns an A-.

NPR reviews Why Trust Matters: An Economist's Guide to the Ties That Bind Us by Benjamin Ho (Columbia University Press): “argues the story of the economy — and all of human civilization, really — is the story of how we've evolved to trust larger and larger groups of strangers.”

The NYT reviews Caul Baby by Morgan Jerkins (Harper): "While much of the fantasy in “Caul Baby” can feel opportune and inconsistent, it is nonetheless purposeful." And, The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin (Harper): “This is a novel that lives firmly in the melancholia of the city’s gentrification, hurtling readers through one woman’s desperation to keep her life afloat in a city that’s pushing its working class out, one razed lot at a time.” Also, Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian (Penguin): “It is a story of immigrants reaping their futures from property they have found, which is not theirs — or is it? It is also a story of westward migration: from India to the United States, from the suburban South to the tech-boom Bay Area.” Paradise, Nevada by Dario Diofebi (Bloomsbury): “It somehow unspools like a heist film that is also emulating David Foster Wallace poorly.”  And, Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi (Riverhead): “Oyeyemi is a master of leaps of thought and inference, of shifty velocity, and the story’s long setup has the discombobulating quality of walking through a moving vehicle while carrying a full-to-the-brim cup of very hot tea.”,  The Age of Decadence: A History of Britain: 1880-1914 by Simon Heffer (Pegasus): “A columnist for The Sunday Telegraph as well as a historian, he writes elegantly but punchily, combining seriousness with welcome flashes of waspishness that stop things from getting stuffy.”  Also, The Book of Difficult Fruit: Arguments for the Tart, Tender, and Unruly (with Recipes) by Kate Lebo (Farrar): "brimming with obscure knowledge that’s going to loom over every gin martini I drink for the next decade, and there are fantastic recipes too." Plus, Blow Your House Down: A Story of Family, Feminism, and Treason by Gina Frangello (Counterpoint; LJ starred review): “With the exception of her children, no one escapes the force of Frangello’s fury, which has the effect of rendering her unreliable.”

The Washington Post reviews Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff VanderMeer (MCD: Farrar): “the book digs deeply into themes of individual moral culpability for communal sins.” Also, Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian (Penguin Press): “a work of 24-karat genius. This remarkable debut novel — already chosen by Mindy Kaling for an upcoming TV series — melts down striving immigrant tales, Old West mythology and even madcap thrillers to produce an invaluable new alloy of American literature.” And,  Philip Roth: The Biography by Blake Bailey (Norton): “If nothing else, Bailey’s book is a crucial decoder ring for deciphering the byzantine layers of who became what in Roth’s romans-à-clef.”

In the shortlist, The NYT briefly reviews 3 titles on “The Hazards of American Justice.” Plus, New and Noteworthy for the week.

Briefly Noted

Kaitlyn Greenidge, Libertie (Algonquin) talks with Shondaland about “history, the complicated realities of 19th-century marriage, colorism, and if she’s planning a sequel.”

The LA Times profiles Carribean Fragoza, Eat the Mouth that Feeds You (City Lights).

The NYT spotlights Rachel Kushner, The Hard Crowd: Essays 2000–2020 (Scribner), who “reminds us that she writes as well as any writer alive about the pleasure of a good motor doing what it was designed to do.”  Entertainment Weekly also talks to Kushner, about her greatest fears.  

The LA Times laments “Ken Burns' new Hemingway documentary doesn't give you a reason to read Hemingway.”  But ... six of Ernest Hemingway’s novels are in the top 20 Amazon Movers and Shakers today.

Fonda Lee writes about  ARCs and “author haves vs. have nots” on Twitter.

The NYT features  “Imagining the Timeless Childhood of Beverly Cleary’s Portland.”

ElectricLit interviews Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey Into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred (Bold Type Books) on how she “sees Black history and experience through the lens of physics, and vice versa.” Also, a reading list for “The Best and Worst Codependent Relationships in Literature"

Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Lavie Tidhar discuss the "best — and newest — science fiction and fantasy story collections" at The Washington Post.

EW has “The best comics to read in April.”

LitHub has 18 fresh titles for Tuesday and 5 Audiobooks for Celebrating the Stories of Trailblazing Women.

BookRiot suggests 9 African and Asian Love Stories to Fall For and Books for a Political Education and Liberation.

Authors on Air

On NPR’s Fresh Air, “Singer Brandi Carlile Talks Ambition, Avoidance And Finally Finding Her Place.”

NPR interviews Haruki Murakami, First Person Singular (Knopf) about the strange experiences of life.

NPR’s Morning Edition interviews Sonora Jha, How to Raise a Feminist Son: Motherhood, Masculinity, and the Making of My Family (Sasquatch).

Shondaland talks with Helen Oyeyemi, Peaces, (Riverhead) about “trains, sanity, humor, and the creative pinnacle of Eurovision.”

Godzilla vs. Kong Is a Box Office and HBO Max Hit” writes Variety as they ask: “Will It Shake Up the Future of Moviegoing?” Plus, HBO announces "The Iron Anniversary, a month-long celebration to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the series premiere of “Game of Thrones.”

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