The New York Times Picks 'The 10 Best Books of 2020' | Book Pulse

The New York Times lists its top 10 books of the year. Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code by Ruha Benjamin wins the Brooklyn Public Library 2020 Nonfiction Prize and On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong wins the 2020 Fiction & Poetry Prize. Charlaine Harris and Jeffery Deaver are the 2021 Mystery Writers of America Grand Masters, and Malice Domestic receives the 2020 Raven Award. In forthcoming book news, 2021 will see Better, Not Bitter: Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice by Yusef Salaam and Beyond Order: 12 More Rules For Life by Jordan Peterson. Also, there's a video game treasure hunt for Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline.

Want to get the latest book news delivered to your inbox each day? Sign up for our daily Book Pulse newsletter.

Awards, Best-Of Lists, and Buzzy Books

Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code by Ruha Benjamin (Polity; LJ starred review) wins the Brooklyn Public Library 2020 Nonfiction Prize. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (Penguin Press; LJ starred review) wins the 2020 Fiction & Poetry Prize. See all the finalists here.

Charlaine Harris and Jeffery Deaver are the 2021 Mystery Writers of America (MWA) Grand Masters, and Malice Domestic is the 2020 Raven Award recipient. The 75th Annual Edgar Awards Ceremony takes place April 29, 2021.

The NYT lists "The 10 Best Books of 2020." 

The BBC also selects its best of the year, as does BookPage.

Wired picks the year's best cookbooks.

Shelf Awareness picks the best children's and YA books of 2020.

The Millions lists the best new releases of the week.

Bustle recommends new books out this week.

Lit Hub has "12 new books to get from your local bookstore today."

Book Marks features this month's "Best Reviewed Books in History and Politics."

"New & Noteworthy Poetry" from the NYT.

BuzzFeed has 15 mysteries/thrillers to look out for next year.

Debbie Macomber picks her favorite books of the year for Amazon.

Reviews

NPR reviews Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future by Pope Francis (S. & S.): "While dispensing homespun counsel, Francis does not hold back from provocative statements, especially concerning the way people and governments have reacted to the pandemic."

The NYT reviews The Last American Aristocrat: The Brilliant Life and Improbable Education of Henry Adams by David S. Brown (Scribner: S. & S.; LJ starred review): "It’s a tribute to Brown’s talent as a biographer that he enables the reader to feel empathy for a man who expressed so little for anyone else." Also, A Question of Freedom: The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War by William G. Thomas (Yale): "It’s a rich, roiling history that Thomas recounts with eloquence and skill." The Freezer Door by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (Semiotext(e): MIT): "There is much to love here." The "Graphic Content" column looks at two recent graphic novels: Breakwater by Katriona Chapman (Avery Hill) and Lon Chaney Speaks by Pat Dorian (Pantheon: Random House). One "Shortlist" column focuses on queer novels: The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar (Atria: S. & S.; LJ starred review), You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat (Catapult), and A Country for Dying by Abdellah Taïa (Seven Stories). Another "Shortlist" column takes a telescope to three recent books: The Human Cosmos: Civilization and the Stars by Jo Marchant (Dutton: Penguin), The Secret Lives of Planets: Order, Chaos, and Uniqueness in the Solar System by Paul Murdin (Pegasus: S. & S.), and Meteorite: How Stones from Outer Space Made Our World by Tim Gregory (Basic: Hachette). 

The Washington Post reviews The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar (Atria: S. & S.; LJ starred review): "'The Thirty Names of Night' is a multifaceted jewel of a novel and each facet is brilliant in its own way." Also, The Freezer Door by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (Semiotext(e): MIT): "...this book brims with slippery sentences that reach their truths like rivers finding the sea. With an intellect that supersedes social boundaries through sheer insistence, Sycamore chronicles the paradox of inhabiting a fluid life in a rigid world."

Briefly Noted

Yusef Salaam, one of the five teens falsely imprisoned for an assault on a jogger in Central Park in 1989, will publish a memoir next year. Better, Not Bitter: Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice (Grand Central: Hachette) is due out in May. The Associated Press has details.

Psychologist and YouTuber Jordan Peterson announced his new book, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules For Life (Penguin), due out Mar. 2, 2021.

The new series Blade Runner: Origins (Titan Comics), set 10 years before the time in the 1982 film, will be out Feb. 24, 2021. The Hollywood Reporter reports.

The launch of Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline (Ballantine: Random House) will coincide with a treasure hunt tied to the book that will take place in the Roblox platform. Deadline has the news.

Tor.com excerpts What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo (FSG: Macmillan), due out Feb. 2, 2021.

io9 has an excerpt from Rabbits by Terry Miles (Del Rey: Random House), which based on his podcast.

The Associate Press offers some previews of the forthcoming Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future by Pope Francis (S. & S.).

Rumaan Alam, Leave the World Behind (Ecco: Harper) tells Esquire about his writing process. The interview runs along with a piece of his fiction.

Smithsonian Magazine talks to Dr. Paul Koudounaris, A Cat's Tale: A Journey Through Feline History (Henry Holt: Macmillan), about his Cindy Sherman-esque cat portraits.

Lit Hub interviews Peter Blackstock, the Grove Atlantic editor behind two back-to-back Booker Prize winners, among other celebrated books.

Caroline Kim talks with The Rumpus about The Prince of Mournful Thoughts and Other Stories (Univ. of Pittsburgh).

Shondaland interviews Marc Lamont Hill, We Still Here: Pandemic, Policing, Protest, and Possibility (Haymarket).

Mark Twain's Thanksgiving menu, via Lit Hub.

Book Riot offers ideas on "How To Find LGBTQ New Releases."

The Guardian asks: "Why is Trump unnamed in so many books?"

Authors on Air

Kwame Alexander talks to NPR's Morning Edition about why he wrote the poems in Light for the World to See: A Thousand Words on Race and Hope (HMH): "I used my words to scream, to shout, to sort of lift up my voice to shine a little light for the world."

Catherine Coleman Flowers, Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret (New Press: Ingram), discusses the challenges of adequate sanitation in rural America on NPR's Fresh Air.

Erin Brockovich, Superman's Not Coming: Our National Water Crisis and What We the People Can Do About It (Pantheon: Random House), appears on the Keen On podcast.

See a preview for The Library That Dolly Built, a forthcoming doc about Dolly Parton's efforts to distribute free books to kids.

The NYT reviews Hillbilly Elegy, and The Hollywood Reporter digs into Between the World and Me.

Joe Scarborough, Saving Freedom: Truman, the Cold War, and the Fight for Western Civilization (Harper), will be on The Today Show, and then The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon this evening.

Michael J. Fox, No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality (Flatiron: Macmillan), is on The View today.

Barack Obama, A Promised Land (Crown: Random House), will talk with Stephen Colbert on tonight's Late Show.

Want to get the latest book news delivered to your inbox each day? Sign up for our daily Book Pulse newsletter.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?

We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?