NYPL Librarians Choose the Best Books of 2020 | Book Pulse

New York Public Library selects their favorite books of the year. Nominations for 2021 Grammy Awards include audiobooks narrated by Rachel Maddow, Ronan Farrow, and Meryl Streep. The Costa Book Awards shortlist is out. A Promised Land by Barack Obama breaks sales records for presidential memoirs. The new series The Flight Attendant and an updated Black Beauty debut this week. Plus, adaptations of Dinner at the Center of the Earth by Nathan Englander and Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith are in the works.

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Page to Screen

Nov. 26:

The Flight Attendant, based on the book by Chris Bohjalian. HBO Max. Reviews | Trailer

Nov. 27:

Black Beauty, based on the book by Anna Sewell. Disney+. Reviews | Trailer

Virgin River, based on the books by Robyn Carr. Netflix. No reviews | Trailer

Dec. 1:

Angela's Christmas Wish, based on characters by Frank McCourt. Netflix. No reviews | Trailer

100% Wolf, based on the book by Jayne Lyons. VOD. Reviews | Trailer

Dec. 3:

Chico Bon Bon and the Very Berry Holiday, based on the series by Chris Monroe. Netflix. No reviews | Trailer


The Washington Post reviews Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life by John Gray (FSG: Macmillan): "Cat lovers will enjoy the celebration of feline mythos, from the cat gods of ancient Egypt to purring contemporary domestics, while hardcore Gray fans will be reassured by the usual references to immortality cults, Hobbes, the gulags and so on." Also, Porochista Khakpour reviews No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality by Michael J. Fox (Flatiron: Macmillan): "This a book you really hear whether you have the audiobook or not."

The NYT reviews Saving Freedom: Truman, the Cold War, and the Fight for Western Civilization by Joe Scarborough (Harper): "'Saving Freedom' does not uncover many new historical facts — Scarborough rightly drops the names of books he leveraged for his own — but its rediscovery of the politicians’ role in the Cold War comes at just the right time."

USA Today reviews The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar (Atria: S. & S.; LJ starred review), which earns 2.5 stars: "[It] reminds us that the stories of queer people are stories of survival that span generations."

Briefly Noted

Rachel Maddow, Ronan Farrow, and Meryl Streep are among the Grammy nominees for Best Spoken Word Album, which includes audiobooks.

The Costa Book Awards shortlist is out. The Guardian speaks with some of the finalists.

New York Public Library picks its favorite books of the year for adults, teens, and kids

Time chooses "The 10 Best YA and Children's Books of 2020."

Book Riot lists "15 of the best post-apocalyptic books" of the year.

BookPage picks the best sci-fi and fantasy books of the year.

Amazon lists the best history books of the month.

Book Marks rounds up the best reviewed books of the month in science, tech, and nature, as well as memoirs and biographies

Booklist Reader has the best books out this week.

Shelf Awareness looks at new releases out next week.

The NYT picks "7 New Books to Watch For in December."

Barbara Hoffert has new Prepub Alert columns in LJ.

Misty Copeland, Bunheads (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers: Penguin; SLJ starred review), shares her favorite books of the year with Amazon.

The Associated Press reports A Promised Land by Barack Obama (Crown: Random House) sold 1.7 million copies in North America in the past week, breaking records for presidential memoirs. Also, Obama announced that high school students and staff at Chicago Public Schools have access to free copies of the book. He's also receiving the PEN America Voice of Influence Award at the organization's upcoming gala.

Vice reports that Penguin Random House Canada staffers have lodged complaints over the forthcoming book Beyond Order: 12 More Rules For Life by controversial psychologist Jordan Peterson.

Audible has reversed its exchange policy, which deducts royalties from authors and narrators, after pushback. The Bookseller has details.

Jake Tapper discusses The Devil May Dance (Little, Brown: Hachette) with Entertainment Weekly. It's due out May 11, 2021.

Bustle has an excerpt of A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir (Razorbill: Penguin). 

"I know I can’t change everyone, but I don’t let that stop me from trying to change anyone," says Emmanuel Acho, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man (Flatiron, An Oprah Book: Macmillan), in conversation with Ijeoma Oluo, Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America (Seal: Hachette: LJ starred review), in the L.A. Times.

Rebecca Kuang talks about the inspirations for The Burning God (Harper Voyager) with NPR.

The Guardian profiles Rachel Bloom, I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are (Grand Central: Hachette). 

Cecily von Ziegesar discusses Cobble Hill (Atria: S. & S.) and what she's been reading with Parade.

Amazon has a Q&A with Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things (Flatiron: Macmillan).

The Christian Science Monitor interviews N. Scott Momaday, Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land (Harper).

Mark Powdal discusses the challenges of illustrating The Tale of Niggun by Elie Wiesel (Schocken: Random House) with Lit Hub.

Melissa Michal interviews Cherie Dimaline, Empire of Wild (William Morrow: Harper) for Electric Lit.

Elle's "Shelf Life" column features Jacqueline Woodson.

"I think young people have enough teachers in their lives," Jason Reynolds tells The Washington Post. "My job is to be the cool uncle."

Afia Atakora, Amy Jo Burns, Frances Cha, Rebecca Dinerstein, Téa Obreht, and Julia Phillips write pieces on gratitude for Elle.

The Washington Post describes The World Almanac and Book of Facts as "surprisingly soothing." The 2021 edition is out Dec. 1.

"During the summer of 2020, I spent countless hours helping irate customers cancel their orders of popular anti-racism books," Katherine Morgan writes at Lit Hub.

Authors on Air

Showtime is looking to adapt Dinner at the Center of the Earth by Nathan Englander (Knopf: Penguin) as a series from the producers of Homeland. Netflix is working on a feature adaptation of Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith (Atria: S. & S.). Deadline reports.

Douglas Stuart discusses and reads from Shuggie Bain (Grove; LJ starred review) on the Literary Salon podcast.

NPR's Goats and Soda looks at the origins of Welcome To The New World by Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan (Metropolitan: Macmillan). 

Joe Scarborough, Saving Freedom: Truman, the Cold War, and the Fight for Western Civilization (Harper), is on The View today.

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