Margaret Wilkerson Sexton & Toni Morrison Win NAACP Image Awards; Stoker Awards Final Ballot Announced | Book Pulse

Blindside by James Patterson and James O. Born leads holds this week. The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton and The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison win NAACP Image Awards. The Stoker Awards final ballot is announced. Martin Edwards wins the 2020 Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers’ Association. The Mirror & The Light by Hilary Mantel gets focused attention. R.L. Stine starts a new series.

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Big Books of the Week

Blindside by James Patterson, James O. Born (Little, Brown: Hachette) leads holds this week.

Other titles in demand include:

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson (Crown: Random House)

Coconut Layer Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke (Kensington: Random House)

The Warsaw Protocol by Steve Berry (Minotaur: Macmillan)

Apeirogon by Colum McCann (Random House; LJ starred review)

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore (Flatiron: Macmillan; LJ starred review)

These books and others publishing the week of Feb. 24, 2020, are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet.

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

There are three LibraryReads this week:

The Girl in White Gloves: A Novel of Grace Kelly by Kerri Maher (Berkley: Penguin)

“An interesting, fictional take on the life of one of America’s favorite actresses, Grace Kelly. She struggles to break free from controlling parents and forge her own life. Although she marries her prince, the confinements of her marriage contract assure that she never truly succeeds at happily ever after. For readers who liked The Girls in the Picture (Benjamin) and A Touch of Stardust (Alcott).” —Debbie Lease, Hillsdale Public Library, Hillsdale, NJ

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore (Flatiron: Macmillan; LJ starred review)

"During the New Year countdown, 19-year-old Oona Lockhart faints and wakes up in her 51-year-old body. I can't wait for my bookish friends to read this time-jumping debut novel so we can discuss it. For fans of Audrey Niffenegger, Taylor Jenkins Reid, and Liane Moriarty." —Darla Dykstra, Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence, MO

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“Oona Lockhart has been cursed (or blessed) with a magical wrinkle in time that has her leaping forward and back through the years. Inside she is aging chronologically, but on the outside, Oona is sometimes 51, 30, or 26 years old. A life lived out of order, however, can be just as valid as a life lived forward. Surprising, bittersweet, and filled with love, Oona discovers both the wisdom of age and the spontaneity of youth. Don’t miss out on what is sure to be the most enchanted reading experience of 2020.” —Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson (Crown: Random House)

"Once again Larson's new book is nonfiction that is as hard to put down as the best fiction. The book recounts the early days of Churchill as prime minister when France fell to Germany and the British Empire stood alone against Hitler. For readers who like John M. Barry (The Great Influenza) and David King (Death in the City of Light)." —Celia Morse, Berkley Public Library, Berkley, MI

It too is an Indie Next pick:

“Erik Larson has done it again! With years of impeccable research into diaries, archives, dossiers, biographies, and official British documents, he has presented an intimate and detailed account of Winston Churchill in his first years as prime minister as he dealt with the London Blitz and his own personal and family issues. This is Churchill as few of us can imagine, in his silky pajamas entertaining major dignitaries at his weekend retreat, all the while continuing to reassure the British people during their darkest days that they have what it takes to withstand the German onslaught. The Splendid and the Vile reads like an engrossing novel, with all the fascinating details and facts that Erik Larson can provide.” —Gail Meyer, The Bookstore Plus Music & Art, Lake Placid, NY

There are two additional Indie Next selections:

Apeirogon by Colum McCann (Random House; LJ starred review)

“This is a towering, breathtaking, sweeping work of poetic and technical brilliance. Although much of Apeirogon resides in the current and past state of Israeli-Palestinian relations, the novel demonstrates how each person, each story, in this ultimately small section of the world represents but one point of an infinitely sided shape — how between all of us, even those locked in seemingly irreconcilable conflict, there pulses a vital connectivity, a path to understanding, forgiveness, and compassion.” —Ben Newgard, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

Greenwood by Michael Christie (Hogarth: Random House)

“Trees: They provide shelter, sustenance, and sanctuary for vast numbers of creatures. They create the very air we breathe. And they are under threat. For generations, the Greenwood family lives with, destroys, fights for, and monetizes these gentle giants until their very existence is absorbed into the class system designed and upheld by the one percent. This is a sweeping arboreal saga full of blood, greed, heart, and humanity. Greenwood will fell readers worldwide.” —Bex Petterson, Bloomsbury Books, Ashland, OR

In the Media

People’s Book of the Week is Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin (Celadon: Macmillan). Also getting attention are The Lost Diary of M by Paul Wolfe (Harper) and Everywhere You Don't Belong by Gabriel Bump (Algonquin: Workman). New in Nonfiction are Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies: And Other Rituals to Fix Your Life, from Someone Who's Been There by Tara Schuster (The Dial Press: Random House), Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond by Lydia Denworth (W.W. Norton), and Try to Get Lost: Essays on Travel and Place by Joan Frank (University of New Mexico). The YA pick is Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli, Aisha Saeed (Balzer + Bray: Harper). People “Picks” include Emma and The Call of the Wild. There is a feature on author and candidate Pete Buttigieg, Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future (Liveright: W.W. Norton). Lastly, there is a recipe from Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, Felidia: Recipes from My Flagship Restaurant: A Cookbook (Knopf).


The NYT reviews Supreme Inequality: The Supreme Court’s Fifty-Year Battle for a More Unjust America by Adam Cohen (Penguin; LJ starred review): “makes an important contribution to our understanding of both the Supreme Court and the law of poverty. Cohen is an erudite and savvy observer. Yet for precisely that reason, one wishes he had pointed a clearer path to a less impoverished jurisprudence.” Also, The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward (Ballantine: Random House): “there is real poignancy in this novel, as wounded characters struggle to regain childhood loyalties.”

The Washington Post has a dual review of books that prompt the question “What do women authors hope to gain by showing their weaknesses on the page?

NPR reviews Little Constructions by Anna Burns (Graywolf Press: Macmillan): “a bizarre and dark fever dream of a book that asks serious questions (and provides some unsettling answers) about misogyny and violence against women.” Also, Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin (Wednesday Books): “It's an absolutely gorgeous retelling, artistry on every page, Oscar-worthy if it were a film … This revenge fantasy is as brutal as it is beautiful. Everyone is horrible to everyone.”

Vox reviews Something That May Shock and Discredit You by Daniel Mallory Ortberg (Atria: S. & S.): “a funny, gentle, thoughtful exploration — of how Ortberg sees the world, and how transitioning affected the lens through which he sees it … feels like coming into contact with a restless and smart mind of profound and specific hyperfixations. It’s a joy.”


The NAACP Image Awards are announced. The Outstanding Literary Work is The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (Counterpoint; LJ starred review). In Nonfiction, the winner is The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison (Knopf). The Hollywood Reporter has the whole list, including more book categories.

The Stoker Awards final ballot is announced.

Martin Edwards wins the 2020 Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers’ Association. It is the CWA’s highest honor.

Food52 stops the Piglet cookbook tournament and announces a public vote to decide “What Are Your Favoirte Cookbooks of All Time?

Briefly Noted

The Guardian excerpts The Mirror & The Light by Hilary Mantel (Henry Holt: Macmillan). The paper also has an interview with Mantel and a feature with authors talking about her career.

R.L. Stine is writing a new middle-grade series based on the Garbage Pail Kids. In a three-book deal with Amulet Books: ABRAMS, Stine will start with Welcome to Smellville out on Oct. 2, 2020. Entertainment Weekly has details.

Also forthcoming, the U.S. former Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, has a book deal. HMH will publish the book in Spring 2021. USA Today reports. Cnet has news that the Oscar-winning film Parasite is getting adapted into a graphic novel by Hachette. The NYT writes that the comic The Umbrella Academy is getting a spinoff series, You Look Like Death, arriving in June from Dark Horse Comics.

USA Today picks the books of the week.

Vogue picks its best books of 2020, so far. suggests “5 Must-Read SFF Heist Novels.”

BuzzFeed has “17 Children’s Books With Queer Characters That Deserve Your Attention.”

Bustle has a list of music memoirs to read after watching High Fidelity, also a list of Jane Austen movies to watch after Emma.

O: The Oprah Magazine has a short story by Laura van den Berg, “The Upstairs People.” Also, a list of 22 book club picks.

Salon interviews Amber Tamblyn, Era of Ignition: Coming of Age in a Time of Rage and Revolution (Crown Archetype: Random House).

Electric Lit interviews Daniel Lavery, who has a new book out under his former name Daniel Mallory Ortberg, Something That May Shock and Discredit You (Atria: S. & S.).

People writes about Sinking in the Swamp: How Trump's Minions and Misfits Poisoned Washington by Lachlan Markay, Asawin Suebsaeng (Viking: Penguin) and Aretha Franklin’s strong Anti-Trump feelings.

The Atlantic features Whistleblower: My Journey to Silicon Valley and Fight for Justice at Uber by Susan Fowler (Viking: Penguin).

The NYT has a “5 Things About Your Book” with Edward Achorn, Every Drop of Blood: Hatred and Healing at Lincoln’s Second Inauguration (Atlantic Monthly Press).

The NYT reports on the controversy over Rage Baking: The Transformative Power of Flour, Fury, and Women's Voices by Katherine Alford, Kathy Gunst (Tiller Press: S. & S.) and the exclusion of the performance artist Tangerine Jones.

Myriam Gurba, author and a leading voice in the American Dirt controversy, has been placed on administrative leave and “was escorted from Long Beach Polytechnic High School” writes the L.A. Times. The paper continues that Gurba “in recent days … has turned her attention to brewing allegations of abuse or battery on the part of another Long Beach Poly teacher … She also has raised unconfirmed allegations against a separate teacher at another school.”

NPR has a story titled “Who Should Decide What Books Are Allowed In Prison?

The NYT reports that Holocaust educators are urging Amazon to stop selling Nazi propaganda.

The Detroit News has an update about the Wayne State University Press, the fired staffers are returning.

The Bologna Book Fair is postponed due to the coronavirus. Shelf Awareness has details.

Author and restaurateur B. Smith has died. HuffPost has an obituary.

Children’s author and dance critic Tobi Tobias has died. The NYT has an obituary.

Authors on Air

Jessica Simpson, Open Book: A Memoir (Dey Street Books: Harper), talks with NPR’s Weekend Edition. Also, on NPR’s The Shots, an interview with Lydia Denworth, Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond (W.W. Norton).

CBS Sunday Morning has a feature on Washington’s End: The Final Years and Forgotten Struggle by Jonathan Horn (Scribner: S. & S.). There is also an excerpt.

Marvel’s 2021 shows are set to include Loki, What If…?, Ms. Marvel, and Hawkeye. reports.

Deadline reports that When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, based on the novel by Judith Kerr, has sold U.S. rights. Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge is set for the movies. The Flight Attendant adds Bebe Neuwirth to the HBO Max adaptation of the Chris Bohjalian novel.

Director J.D. Dillard and Luke Cage writer Matt Owens are at work on a Star Wars project. The Hollywood Reporter has a few details. has a bit more.

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