'Life's Too Short' by Abby Jimenez Tops Holds Lists | Book Pulse

Life's Too Short by Abby Jimenez tops the holds lists this week. The 2021 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award Winners have been announced, including Deacon King Kong by James McBride. Eight LibraryReads picks arrive this week along with five Indie Next selections. People picks Red Island House by Andrea Lee as its book of the week.  Jenny Lawson gets 4 stars from USA Today. Philip Roth: The Biography gets reviewed. Haruki Murakami's First Person Singular comes out this week. Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman earn SAG awards for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Plus, Pennie's final pick before retiring, Remember by Lisa Genova, is in April's Costco Connection.

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The 2021 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award Winners have been announced, including Deacon King Kong by James McBride (Riverhead: Penguin; LJ starred review) for fiction.  Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir by Natasha Trethewey (Ecco: Harper; LJ starred review) and Tacky's Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War by Vincent Brown (Belknap Harvard) for non-fiction. Obit by Victoria Chang (Copper Canyon) takes the prize in poetry. Samuel R. Delany receives the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Big Books of the Week

Life's Too Short by Abby Jimenez (Forever: Hachette) leads holds this week.

Other titles in demand include:

The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos by Judy Batalion (Morrow)

The Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War II by Madeline Martin (Hanover Square Press)

Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson (Holt: Macmillan)

The Bookstore on the Beach by Brenda Novak (MIRA)

To Love and To Loathe by Martha Waters (Atria)

Animal Instinct: A K Team Novel by David Rosenfelt (Minotaur)

These books and others publishing the week of March April 5th, 2021 are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet.

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

Eight LibraryReads selections arrive this week, including the top pick of the month: The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan (Berkley):

“Having built the Shameless platform to teach people how to find their own pleasure, Naomi wants to take that sex positivity to a lecture circuit, but no one will hire her. Enter Ethan, a young, handsome rabbi with a struggling synagogue. A seminar series on modern intimacy seems like a good way to build a sense of community and attract a younger congregation. What happens is their own lesson in intimacy, as two people passionate about their work and trying to make the world a better place sizzle with chemistry. Give to fans of The Roommate, The Kiss Quotient, and Meet Cute.”—Hebah Amin-Headley, Johnson County Public Library, Overland Park, KS

Mother May I by Joshilyn Jackson (William Morrow)

“Bree is a suburban mom with a lot on her plate. Her life changes when her baby is kidnapped and she has to complete a series of tasks to get her child back. This is the perfect kind of psychological thriller, a scorching page-turner featuring a rocking plot and intense character development.”—Cari Dubiel, Twinsburg Public Library, Twinsburg, OH

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“I’m a huge Joshilyn Jackson fan, and she’s written another fast-paced, exhilarating read with Mother May I. This domestic thriller is comparable to a roller coaster, taking you to dramatic, earth-shaking highs before dropping your heart into your stomach on the lows. I quickly devoured this book but didn’t miss its poignant, timely message. Powerful, smart, thrilling — a new favorite.”—Beth Mynhier, Lake Forest Book Store, Lake Forest, IL

Life's Too Short by Abby Jimenez (Forever: Hachette)

“Jimenez hits it out of the park again. She combines real-world issues with the get-the-girl, lose-the-girl dynamics of a romance. In this case, Adrian has a good chance of losing Vanessa to ALS. They both have multiple family issues including a hoarding father, an abandoning parent, a sister with addiction issues, and a baby niece that needs attention. Give to fans of Mia Sosa and Josie Silver.” —Maggie Holmes, Richards Memorial Library, North Attleboro, MA

You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes (Random House)

"In this, the third installment in the "You" series, Joe Goldberg moves to the cozy island of Bainbridge in the outskirts of Seattle and sets his sights on the town librarian, who becomes his new obsession. For fans of Behind Her Eyes and The Silent Patient.” —Joann Im, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA

Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson (Holt: Macmillan)

“Lawson is a hot mess of depression and anxiety. She is also funny as hell. In this book she lays herself open. She celebrates all those awkward and difficult parts of herself and invites you to celebrate your own. She will make you laugh until you cry, and then she wraps up the episode with some profound truth that catches you unaware. For readers who like David Sedaris and Ali Wong.”—Beth Morrill, Canton Public Library, Canton, CT

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“Lawson speaks to all of us who are weird, wacky, and unafraid (but, really, often afraid) to share our quirks with the world. Some chapters of this book moved me deeply, where it felt as though she was narrating my own life. Other chapters made me ugly laugh, the type that turns strangers’ heads in public. I’m so happy I was given the opportunity to start 2021 with this book. It set the bar high for hope in the year to come, and for the books that will be read.”—Jasmin Brooks, The Bookery Manchester, Manchester, NH

The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon (Gallery)

“The waters of Bradenburg Springs are said to have miraculous curative properties, but rumor has it that the healing always comes with a price. When Jax's sister drowns in a pool filled with the spring’s water, she must discover the truth behind the legends. This is a great, creepy supernatural thriller.”—Mara Bandy Fass, Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL

The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin (Harper)

"Lynette is trying to buy the family home from her landlord as housing prices rise around her. At the last moment, her mother says she will not cosign for the loan and Lynette does not qualify on her own. In a last-ditch effort, Lynette sets off on an odyssey of collecting old debts and a miniature crime spree. For readers who like Raymond Chandler, John Banville, and Elmore Leonard.” —Mary Robinson, Vernon Area Public Library, Lincolnshire, IL

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“The Night Always Comes is urgent. For two days and two nights, Lynette’s future rests on a tightly plotted race through the gentrified and changing districts of Portland as she tries to secure what she believes to be a better life for herself and for her mother and brother. Willy Vlautin writes with honesty and generosity about people who are just a step ahead of disaster. He makes us care for lives that are singularly defined by the challenge of earning a living wage while navigating the circumstances of society, family, and self. Vlautin is a necessary writer for our times.”—Christine Kelly, Sundance Bookstore, Reno, NV

To Love and To Loathe by Martha Waters (Atria)

"This enemies-to-lovers Regency romance takes Diana, Lady Templeton, and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham, from engaging in a no-strings- attached affair to their happily ever after. For readers who love Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Jennifer Crusie (contemporary, but witty dialogue and hilarious hijinks.)” —Kathleen Fais, New York Public Library, New York, NY

There are five additional titles on the Indie Next list coming out this week:

Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian (Penguin Press)

“Gold as a drug. Gold as a metaphor for the glittering hopes and burdens new immigrants put on their children’s shoulders. Gold as the thread weaving history, memory, and imagination, a meditation on how the past blends into the present. Gold as the object of an improbable heist. There is so much in this book, but it is first and foremost an extraordinarily good yarn, the story of two generations of American-Indian immigrants trying to become Americanized while clinging to a fetishized, culturally commodified India. There is love, drugs, alchemy, and stories about the gold rush, both the forty-niners and the new gold diggers of the tech bubble. It’s fun and fast-paced, except when you stop short for a sentence so evocative you want to dwell on it. A seriously good book by a seriously talented writer.”—Françoise Brodsky, Shakespeare & Co., New York, NY

Northern Spy by Flynn Berry (Viking)

“This emotionally rich espionage story set in present-day Ireland looks at a country divided, the invisibility of motherhood, and the bonds of family that can supersede all else. It is the story of two sisters, one a paramedic and one a BBC news service employee. When one sister is apparently part of an IRA attack, the other refuses to believe it and sets out to prove her sister’s innocence. I read this in one sitting — compelling is not a strong enough adjective for this thrilling novel!”—Mary Lee Delafield, Warwick’s, La Jolla, CA

The Elephant of Belfast by S. Kirk Walsh (Counterpoint)

“The Elephant of Belfast is a gem of historical fiction involving a young female zookeeper and an elephant during the Belfast bombings in 1941. The beautiful writing weaves an intricate balance between themes of loss, identity, and resilience during a difficult time. A wonderful book for those who need an element of surprise and who believe the love between animals and humans can make us whole.”—Kathy Detwiler, Buttonwood Books and Toys, Cohasset, MA

Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story; Remaking a Life from Scratch by Erin French (Celadon; LJ Starred Review)

“A memoir that grabs you from the beginning and immediately has you rooting hard for a scrappy, young, genius chef-to-be as she overcomes some pretty serious challenges along the way to owning one of the most sought-out restaurants in New England.”—Michael Herrmann, Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, NH

Astrid Sees All by Natalie Standiford (Atria Books)

“Astrid Sees All is the novel for everyone who has ever moved to a new city to reinvent themselves —and hit some bumps along the way. In a love letter to the East Village of Manhattan, the neighborhood’s grit, glamor, and romance feels palpable. The reader never stops rooting for these complex and compelling characters, despite their many missteps. What I wouldn’t give to party with Phoebe and her friends for a night at Plutonium!”—Erin Neary, Book Club, New York, NY

In The Media

The People "Picks" book of the week is Red Island House by Andrea Lee (Scribner: S. & S.) Also getting attention are Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia (Flatiron) and The Beauty of Living Twice by Sharon Stone (Knopf). A "New in Paperback" section highlights Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight (Harper Paperbacks), and Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler (Vintage). “Picks from the Past” features the reissued novels of Laurie Colwin including Goodbye Without Leaving (Harper Perennial), and Happy All the Time (Vintage). The "Picks" section also features Concrete Cowboy, based on the book Ghetto Cowboy by Greg Neri and Godzilla vs. Kong on HBO Max, with associated titles.

There is a feature exploring the relationship between Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret, highlighting Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters by Andrew Morton (Grand Central) and a profile of  Jenny Lawson, Broken (in the best possible way) (Holt: Macmillan). Finally, Chefs Sheldon Simeon, Cook Real Hawai’i (Clarkson Potter), and Julia Turshen, Simply Julia: 110 Easy Recipes for Healthy Comfort Food (Harper Wave) share recipes.


NPR reviews First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami (Knopf): “The book, while emblematic of his short work in particular, doesn't break new ground like his recent novels, 1Q84 and Killing Commendatore, but it's an enjoyable read that goes down easily.”

USA Today reviews Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson (Holt: Macmillan), giving it 4 out of 4 stars: “it is Lawson's humor, candor and finely honed writing that is the gold that unites this collection of 37 pieces into one exceptional work.”  Also,  Philip Roth: The Biography by Blake Bailey (Norton), giving it 3 out of 4 stars: “It’s a well-researched and engrossing book, but at times a frustratingly narrow one, despite its heft.”

The LA Times reviews Paradise, Nevada by Dario Diofebi (Bloomsbury): “Trick by trick and hand after hand, Diofebi proves a gifted young maximalist.” And, Philip Roth: The Biography by Blake Bailey (Norton): “It is only thanks to Bailey, in other words, that I closed this book and wondered how long it would take to get the rotten flavor of this man out of my mouth.”

The NYT reviews 4 crime novels, including LibraryReads selection, You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes (Random House).

Briefly Noted

USA Today picks five books for the week.

CrimeReads suggests 10 books out this week.

Oprah Daily picks “12 of the Best Books by Writers of the Asian Diaspora”

The Guardian explores the best female friendships in books.

BookRiot suggests needed LatinX Adaptations to Netflix, and has 9 Horror Short Story Collections.

In April's Costco Connection, Pennie Clark Ianniciello picks Remember by Lisa Genova (Harmony). The Buyer’s Pick is Eternal by Lisa Scottoline (Putnam; LJ Starred Review). Shelf Awareness reports that Pennie Clark Ianniciello has retired from Costco.

USA Today interviews Brandi Carlile, Broken Horses (Crown) about her “new memoir, LGBTQ parenting and her 'gay pen-pal father figure' Elton John.”

Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Committed (Grove), reflects on the rise of anti-Asian violence, at The Guardian. Also, Salman Rushdie considers Midnight’s Children 40 years later.

Entertainment Weekly interviews Clay McLeod Chapman about his new horror novel, Whisper Down the Lane (Quirk).

Readers share “The top audiobooks of the last year” with The Washington Post.

NYT profiles Paula McLain, When the Stars Go Dark (Ballantine) and looks at the works of Gary Panter, including newly reissued Jimbo: Adventures in Paradise (New York Review Comics). Plus, "5 Books to Celebrate Baseball’s Return."

Oprah Daily has an interview with Dawnie Walton, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev (37 Ink: Atria; LJ Starred Review). 

“Phillip Lopate Considers America’s Post-WWII Essay Boom” at LitHub.

Giancarlo DiTrapano, Founder of Tyrant Books, Dies at 47, Publisher’s Weekly reports.

Authors on Air

Variety has a complete list of SAG Award Winners, including Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, based on the play by August Wilson.

On NPR’s Morning Edition, Hunter Biden, Beautiful Things: A Memoir (Gallery: S. & S.), says “Family Never Gave Up On Him.” Biden is also featured on CBS Sunday Morning. 

Senator Tammy Duckworth Every Day Is a Gift (Twelve; LJ Starred Review), is on with Stephen Colbert tonight.

Carl Zimmer Life’s Edge (Dutton; LJ Starred Review) and Paulina Bren, The Barbizon: The Hotel That Set Women Free (S. & S.; LJ Starred Review) talk about their books on the NYT Book Review Podcast.

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