December 2021 Prepub Alert: The Complete List

All the December 2021 Prepub Alerts in one place, plus a central index, a downloadable spreadsheet, and a print-ready PDF of all posts.


The December 2021 Prepub Alert posts are also available as:

An index linking to individual posts

A downloadable spreadsheet of titles

A print-ready PDF of all Prepub Alert posts


Witches, Archivists & Detectives: Mystery

Blanchard, Alice. The Witching Tree: A Natalie Lockhart Novel. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. (Natalie Lockhart, Bk. 3). Dec. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781250783042. $27.99. MYSTERY/POLICE PROCEDURAL

In remote Burning Lake, long known for both its witches and its dangerous accusations thereof, the honored citizen who runs the town’s oldest coven has been murdered, and Det. Natalie Lockhart gets the case. She wishes she hadn’t—she’s still unsettled by two notorious murder cases that involved her family—but it’s clear that some evil presence now pervades the town. Next in a series launched with A Trace of Evil, a Barnes & Noble Best Mystery and New York Times Notable Book; with a 35,000-copy first printing.

Coyle, Cleo. Honey Roasted. Berkley. (Coffeehouse Mystery, Bk. 19). Dec. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9780593197561. $27. MYSTERY/COZY

Anticipating her honeymoon, coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi dreams up her new Honey-Cinnamon Latte, brewed with a nectar derived from the rooftop hives of “Queen” Bea Hastings and extravagantly in demand by chefs hungry for the best. When Bea’s unconscious body is found at the foot of her high rise, Clare quickly dismisses police suspicions of accident or attempted suicide and begins investigating the sharpened-knives world of haute cuisine. Next in the New York Times best-selling series.

Doherty, Paul. Dark Queen Watching. Severn House. Dec. 2021. 224p. ISBN 9781780291383. $28.99. MYSTERY/HISTORICAL

First seen in 2018’s Dark Queen Rising, Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and mother to the future Henry VII, has just been widowed and is left without protectors. When a surprise visitor to her London townhouse is found murdered in a locked room, presaging a series of troubling events, Margaret starts wondering whether her household hides an enemy. From the OBE-winning historical mystery author.

cover of Faye's Observations by GaslightFaye, Lyndsay. Observations by Gaslight: Stories from the World of Sherlock Holmes. Mysterious: Norton. Dec. 2021. NAp. ISBN 9781613162613. $25.95. MYSTERY/SHORT STORIES

Edgar finalist Faye, who launched her career with Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson and continued her Sherlocking tendencies with the popular short story collection The Whole Art of Detection, here offers more short fiction about the great consulting detective. Here’s Irene Adler, helping Sherlock with a case involving a room of stopped grandfather clocks, and the story of how Sherlock came to be friends (of sorts) with Inspector Lestrade.

Fowler, Christopher. London Bridge Is Falling Down: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery. Bantam. (Peculiar Crimes Unit, Bk. 18). Dec. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9780593356210. $28.99. MYSTERY

Here’s another peculiar crime for detectives Arthur Bryant and John May, whose escapades have won their creator the CWA’s Dagger in the Library Award. Ninety-one-year-old Alice Hoffman has died a lonely death in her top-floor flat, evidently a victim of social-services negligence. But our detectives know that Alice was a government security expert who once worked with their unit, and soon they learn that she was helping a diplomat escape the country. In fact, she belonged to a group of women doing below-the-radar serves for the government, and the entire group may be in danger.

Jay, Gerald. The Hanged Man’s Tale: An Inspector Mazarelle Mystery. Nan A. Talese: Doubleday. Dec. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9780385537544. $25.95. MYSTERY

Who doesn’t love a mystery set in the City of Light? This follow-up to the pseudonymous Jay’s well-received The Paris Directive, Paul Mazarelle returns to investigate the hanging of PI Alain Berthaud in the tunnel a Paris canal runs through. Unfortunately, that brings him in contact with Claire Girard, a tabloid journalist whose sleazy stories have often involved tapping cops for inside information.

McCallin, Luke. From a Dark Horizon: A Gregor Reinhardt Novel. Berkley. (Gregor Reinhardt Novel, Bk. 4). Dec. 2021. 528p. ISBN 9780425282922. $28. Downloadable. MYSTERY/HISTORICAL

Set during and directly after World War II, McCallin’s previous mysteries starring stubborn German intelligence officer Gregor Reinhardt (e.g., The Divided City) got good attention. After five years, he’s relaunching the series with a prequel that takes Gregor back to his World War I days as a lieutenant. A bomb has ripped through a meeting of high-up military officers, and one of Gregor’s troopers—dead himself—is blamed, with Gregor held as co-conspirator unless he can prove that the man was innocent.

Morris, Wanda. All Her Little Secrets. Morrow Paperbacks. Nov. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780063082465. pap. $16.99. MYSTERY

An Ivy-educated Black lawyer in Atlanta, Ellice Littlejohn has just stumbled upon the dead body of her wealthy white boss, with whom she had been having an affair. Secrets in her own past, including a younger brother with criminal associations, compel her to turn away instead of calling the police. Then she discovers suspect dealings inside her own company. Corporate attorney Morris offers a debut mystery strong enough to be named the publisher’s Lead Read for the season. With a 150,000-copy first printing.

Pickett, Rex. The Archivist. Blackstone. Nov. 2021. NAp. ISBN 9781538519646. $29.99. MYSTERY

Archivist Nadia Fontaine is found drowned, and Emily Snow is called in by Regents University to finish the job Nadia started: organizing the papers of Pulitzer Prize-winning, Nobel-bruited Raymond West, whose heiress wife is preparing to donate a substantial sum to the university’s library. When Emily discovers sexually charged emails between Nadia and Raymond, she takes a closer look at her predecessor’s death. From the author of Sideways, basis of the Academy Award–winning movie.

Saunders, Kate. The Mystery of the Sorrowful Maiden. Bloomsbury. Dec. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781408866924. $26. MYSTERY

An internationally best-selling adult and Costa Award–winning children’s author, Saunders has done well with her 1850s-set series starring private detective Laetitia Rodd (e.g., Laetitia Rodd and the Case of the Wandering Scholar). Here, Laetitia is approached by a retired actor friend wanting to help the man who rescued him from a terrible fire that took down a theater; his benefactor plans to leave his wife, who will need to secure an adequate settlement. The case is complicated when a burnt body is discovered in the shell of the theater. With a 30,000-copy first printing.

Shelton, Paige. Dark Night: A Mystery. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. (Alaska Wild, Bk. 3). Dec. 2021. ISBN 9781250796271. $26.99. MYSTERY

Since the LJ-starred Thin Ice, Beth Rivers—better known to her fans as thriller author Elizabeth Fairchild—has been hiding out in a remote Alaska town from a kidnapper she escaped. In this third packed adventure, Beth’s mother arrives in town, which is pretty scary because if she can find Beth, what about the kidnapper? Meanwhile, a battered woman also arrives in town, with her abusive husband found dead the next morning, and another thriller writer has been kidnapped in the Lower 48. Is this a nasty trend? With a 30,000-copy first printing.

Spotswood, Stephen. Murder Under Her Skin: A Pentecost and Parker Mystery. Doubleday. (Pentecost & Parker Mystery, Bk. 2). Dec. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9780385547123. $27. lrg. prnt. Downloadable. MYSTERY/HISTORICAL

In his strong debut, 1940s New York–set Fortune Favors the Dead, journalist/playwright Spotswood introduced us to PI Lillian Pentecost and her assistant, Willowjean “Will” Parker. Here, they investigate when the Amazing Tattooed Woman of Hart and Halloway’s Travelling Circus is stabbed in the back. The circus was Will’s home for many years, the victim a friend, and main suspect Valentin Kalishenko the pro who taught Will how to throw a knife. As the case unfolds, they find themselves in a sleepy Southern town full of grudges.

Staub, Wendy Corsi. Prose and Cons. Severn House. Dec. 2021. 224p. ISBN 9780727850164. $28.99. MYSTERY/COZY

Widowed Bella Jordan must contend with young son Max, a possible new relationship, and two feisty cats, all while running a guesthouse. It becomes even more complicated when she gets a bad feeling about one of the guests, the relative of a friend, and acts on her suspicions. Staub claims an RWA Rita Award and three Mary Higgins Clark finalist nods among her honors.


Touring the World: Literary Fiction

Byatt, A.S. Medusa’s Ankles: Selected Stories. Knopf. Nov. 2021. 464p. ISBN 9780593321584. $28. Downloadable. SHORT STORIES

Drawing from five previous collections, with a few pieces appearing in book form for the first time, this collection spans more than 30 years’ worth of work from Booker Prize winner Byatt. Settings range from a British candy factory to a Turkish bazaar to a fairytale castle, with characters including a middle-aged client raging at the hairdresser’s and a child who may or may not exist. Just announced; David Mitchell writes the introduction.

Harding, Lisa. Bright Burning Things. HarperVia. Dec. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780063097148. $26.99. LITERARY

Celebrated stage actress Sonya’s career has crashed, along with the glamorous lifestyle it entailed, and she now keeps company constantly with alcohol. As she contemplates her painful childhood and aborted career, the one thing that keeps her reaching for the light is son Tommy—whom she risks losing if she cannot conquer her addiction. Harding’s first U.S. outing follows her debut, Harvesting, a best seller in Ireland that won the Kate O'Brien Award, was short-listed for other awards, and was optioned for film. She’s also an actress, so she should get the theater details right. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

cover of Claire Keegan's Small Things Like TheseKeegan, Claire. Small Things Like These. Grove. Dec. 2021. ISBN 9780802158741. $22. LITERARY

In 1985 small-town Ireland before Christmas, a coal merchant and father of five discovers something shocking while make a routine convent delivery and is forced to confront his own past and his town’s subjugation by the Church. Keegan’s debut story collection, Antarctica, received the inaugural William Trevor Prize, the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, and Los Angeles Times Book of the Year honors, but this is her first novel published in North America. Officially pubbing the last day of November, in time for the big holiday push.

Kim, Juhea. Beasts of a Little Land. Ecco. Dec. 2021. 416p. ISBN 9780063093577. $27.99. LITERARY/SAGA

Kim’s debut sweeps through 20th-century Korean history, from a starving hunter rescuing a young Japanese officer from a tiger attack in 1917 to the sale of little Jade to Miss Silver’s courtesan school by her downtrodden family to Jade’s befriending an orphan boy named JungHo. When the fight for Korean independence arrives, JungHo joins in, and Jade—now an admired performer with a nobleman as a romantic possibility—must make hard choices. Billed as good reading for fans of Min Jin Lee, Lisa See, and Isabel Allende, which recommends it for a crossover audience of literary and pop fiction readers; with a 100,000-copy first printing.

Natsukawa, Sosuke. The Cat Who Saved Books. HarperVia. Dec. 2021. 208p. ISBN 9780063095724. $24.99. LITERARY

A No. 1 best seller in Japan whose physician author won the Shogakukan Fiction Prize for his debut novel, this smart charmer should appeal to readers everywhere. Book-loving high school student Rintaro Natsuki is on the verge of selling the secondhand bookstore he inherited from his grandfather when a talking cat named Tiger appears and demands his help in rescuing misused books from their cruel or oblivious owners. Whether anguishing on a bookshelf, cut up to facilitate speedreading, or victimized by publishing dullards who want only best sellers, these books are reached by different mazes, with the last maze promising to be a special challenge. Multiple foreign rights sales; with a 35,000-copy first printing.

Patel, Neel. Tell Me How To Be. Flatiron: Macmillan. Dec. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781250184979. $26.99. LITERARY

In this follow-up to the NPR best-booked If You See Me, Don't Say Hi, Los Angeles–based songwriter Akash leaves Los Angeles (and the boyfriend he keeps secret from his family) and returns home to Illinois when his widowed mother sells the family home. He plans to pack his things, mourn his father, and mend family ties, but he didn’t anticipate meeting his first romantic interest and falling in love again. With a 75,000-copy first printing; originally scheduled for Dec. 2020.


Replacement Wives & Thrillers

Andrews, Brian & Jeffrey Wilson. W.E.B. Griffin Rogue Asset by Andrews & Wilson. Putnam. Dec. 2021. 432p. ISBN 9780399171215. $28. CD/downloadable. THRILLER

When the secretary of state is kidnapped from his Cairo hotel, President Natalie Cohen decides to revive the Presidential Agent program, calling Charley Castillo out of retirement to help. Charley is directing an agent fondly nicknamed Killer McCoy, and together they head to Egypt and thence to Sudan. U.S. Navy veterans Andrews and Wilson doing Griffin in contemporary mode.

Belle, Kimberly. My Darling Husband. Park Row: Harlequin. Dec. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9780778312116. $28.99; pap. ISBN 9780778311560. $16.99. CD. THRILLERS/PSYCHOLOGICAL

Successful restauranteurs Jade and Cam Lasky have a shock when Jade is confronted at home by a masked intruder who promises not to harm the children if she forks over $734,296. Called at work, Cam will have a hard time delivering that bizarrely precise amount given their sliced-thin margins, while Jade gets a feeling that she knows the intruder. From the author of Dear Wife and Marriage Lies, both optioned for film; with a 100,000-copy paperback and 10,000-copy hardcover first printing.

Ernshaw, Shea. A History of Wild Places. Atria. Dec. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9781982164805. $27. THRILLERS/SUSPENSE

Famed for his ability to locate people who have vanished, Travis Wren traces missing children’s author Maggie St. James to Pastoral, a community so secluded that people think it no longer exists. He promptly vanishes himself, his abandoned truck found years later by a member of the community, and the community’s corrosive secrets start emerging. From the author of the New York Times best-selling The Wicked Deep; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

cover of Kane's The Replacement WifeKane, Darby. The Replacement Wife. Morrow. Dec. 2021. 416p. ISBN 9780063119680. $27.99; Morrow Paperbacks. ISBN 9780063117808. $16.99. THRILLER/DOMESTIC

With one dead wife and one missing fiancée, brother-in-law Josh looks like a murderer to Elisa Wright, who's worried about both the fiancée (a good friend) and the well-being of the woman Josh is now dating. But even as incriminating evidence piles up, Elisa recalls a terrible incident from her past and wonders if she’s simply losing her mind. From the author of the internationally best-selling Pretty Little Wife, a LibraryReads pick; with a 100,000-copy paperback and 30,000-copy hardcover first printing.

Woods, Stuart. Untitled. Putnam. Dec. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780593331729. $28. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable. THRILLER

The indefatigable Woods is back—look for Class Act in August and Foul Play in October—and he is giving Stone Barrington a 60th outing. No plot details, as usual, but fans keep clamoring.


Albom, Cornwell & More Pop Fiction

cover of Albom's The Stranger in the LifeboatAlbom, Mitch. The Stranger in the Lifeboat. Harper. Nov. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9780062888341. $23.99. lrg. prnt. CD. VISIONARY

Adrift for three days after a shipboard explosion and running low on food and water, nine people on a raft pull a floundering man on board, with one proclaiming, “Thank the Lord we found you.” “I am the Lord,” responds the rescued man, launching the mega-best-selling Albom’s newest excursion into spiritual questions. The story is pieced together a year later from a notebook found on an empty raft that’s drifted ashore on the island of Montserrat. With a one-million-copy first printing.

Cornwell, Bernard. Sharpe’s Assassin. Harper. Nov. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780062563262. $27.99. lrg. prnt. CD. HISTORICAL

Richard Sharpe is back—and in someone’s sights, if the title is any indication. No plot details yet, but the series featuring the roguish Sharpe has sold 20 million copies worldwide and spawned a successful TV series. With a 40,000-copy first printing.

Imrie, Celia. Orphans of the Storm. Bloomsbury. Dec. 2021. 416p. ISBN 9781635577884. $27. HISTORICAL

Olivier Award–winning actress Imrie, author of several novels that have been British best sellers, returns with the story of young mother Marcela, frantic to find the children kidnapped by her nasty, soon-to-be ex-husband, Michael. Alas, Michael has taken them to London, then boarded the Titanic, which is heading toward its meeting with an iceberg. With a 40,000-copy first printing.

Kapelke-Dale, Rachel. The Ballerinas. St. Martin’s. Dec. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781250274236. $27.99. WOMEN

Delphine, Lindsay, and Margaux danced together at the Paris Opera Ballet until Delphine departed for St. Petersburg for a brighter career, carrying with her a secret that could hurt her two friends. After 14 years, she’s back to choreograph, hoping to repair her frayed bond with Lindsay and Margaux but surprised to learn how much her old world has changed. With a 250,000-copy first printing.

Kelly, Julia. The Last Dance of the Debutante. Gallery: S. & S. Dec. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781982171636. $27. CD. HISTORICAL

It’s 1958, the last year when debutantes are to be presented at court, and Lily Nichols makes her tradition-minded mother happy by temporarily putting aside dreams of university. Instead, she joins the gloved-and-gowned young women planning to drop a last curtsey to Queen Elizabeth II. Along the way she meets icy-cool Leana Hartford and career-minded Katherine Norman and learns a secret that could destroy her family. From the internationally best-selling author of The Light Over London; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

Pellegrino, Amanda. Smile and Look Pretty. Park Row: Harlequin. Dec. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9780778311126. pap. $16.99. CD. WOMEN

Pellegrino’s debut stars four overworked, underpaid young women in the media and entertainment industries who start an anonymous blog about their experiences, calling themselves the Aggressive One, the Bossy One, the Bitchy One, and the Emotional One. The blog goes viral, and they must wrestle with the consequences. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Ramisetti, Kirthana. Dava Shastri’s Last Day. Grand Central. Nov. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9781538703861. $28. Downloadable. WOMEN

At age 70, phenomenally wealthy Dava Shastri learns she has brain cancer and summons her four children to her private island to explain that she will be releasing news of her death prematurely so she can enjoy reading the obituaries. But instead of the glowing praise she expected about her philanthropic works, the obituaries reveal some awful secrets, and she must come to terms with what she has done. From former entertainment reporter Ramisetti; with a 60,000-copy first printing.


Spotlight: Louise Erdrich’s “The Sentence”

cover of Erdrich's The SentenceErdrich, Louise. The Sentence. Harper. Nov. 2021. 416p. ISBN 9780062671127. $28.99. LITERARY

Opening on All Souls’ Day 2019 and closing on All Souls’ Day 2020, thus embracing a year of pandemic and protest, this latest novel from National Book Award winner Erdrich chronicles the experiences of an Ojibwe woman named Tookie who works at an independent bookstore in Minneapolis after her release from prison. Her life changes when the ghost of a recently deceased customer begins haunting the bookstore, pushing her and Ojibwe colleague Asema toward painful personal revelations with deep historical resonance. Meanwhile, Tookie launches a complicated relationship with Pollux, the tribal police officer who had arrested her years previously and has always cared about her. With a 150,000-copy first printing.



Three Key History Titles

cover of Borman's Crown & SceptreBorman, Tracy. Crown & Sceptre: A New History of the British Monarchy, from William the Conqueror to Elizabeth II. Atlantic Monthly. Dec. 2021. NAp. ISBN 9780802159106. $32. HISTORY

England’s joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces and Chief Executive of the Heritage Education Trust and the author of numerous books on British history, Borman here tells Britain’s story through its 41 kings and queens: “shining examples of royal power and majesty alongside a rogue’s gallery of weak, lazy, or evil monarchs.” Interestingly, few were through-and-through English, the throne having been claimed by the Norman French, the Welsh-born Tudors, the Scottish Stuarts, and the Hanoverians and their German successors.

Gabriele, Matthew & David M. Perry. The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe. Harper. Dec. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780062980892. $29.99. HISTORY

“Medieval Europe”—the very phrase conjures up images of gloom, superstition, and brutal warfare. Gabriele, a professor of medieval studies and chair of the Department of Religion & Culture at Virginia Tech, joins forces with freelancer Perry to deliver a popular history revealing a more complex world, characterized by greater intercultural linking than we have imagined and progress in the arts—think of those rose windows, composer Guillaume de Machaut, and Dante. Focusing on Europe but with excursions to Africa and Asia; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

Tate, Tim. Agent Sniper: The Cold War Super Agent and the Ruthless Head of the CIA Who Despised Him. St. Martin’s. Dec. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781250274663. $29.99. HISTORY

In the late 1950s, Michal Goleniewski, a Polish lieutenant colonel who ranked high in his country’s espionage service, smuggled more than 5,000 top-secret Soviet bloc intelligence and military documents, plus 160 rolls of microfilm, to the West. When he defected in 1961, he went on to expose more than 1,600 Soviet bloc agents operating undercover in the West. Yet he was finally cut lose by the U.S. government because of apparent mental instability. A multi-award-winning documentary filmmaker, investigative journalist, and history book author (Hitler’s Forgotten Children), Tate tells the full story. With a 40,000-copy first printing.


Current Issues 

cover of Bourla's MoonshotBourla, Albert. Moonshot: Inside Pfizer’s Nine-Month Race To Make the Impossible Possible. HarperBusiness. Mar. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9780063210790. $29.99. BUSINESS/PHARMACEUTICALS

The chair and CEO of Pfizer, Bourla goes behind the scenes to chronicle the creation of his company’s COVID-19 vaccine, a process that under normal circumstances might have taken years. He credits the company’s values—courage, excellence, equity, and joy—for making it happen. He also delves into his own background as a veterinarian, a Greek immigrant, and the child of Holocaust survivors; note that proceeds from the book will go to UNICEF and a Holocaust museum. With a 200,000-copy first printing; just moved to March 2022.

Headlee, Celeste. Speaking of Race: Why Everybody Needs To Talk About Racism—and How To Do It. Harper Wave. Nov. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9780063098152. $27.99. SELF-HELP/COMMUNICATION SKILLS

A cohost of the PBS weekly series Retro Report, Celeste Headlee identifies as a light-skinned Black Jew and says she has always wanted to talk proactively about race. She has found some of those discussions disappointing, however, because people seem to want to talk only from their own perspective. Here she aims to give us the tools to fearlessly discuss race issues across a range of perspectives, developing the empathy we need. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Messenger, Tony. Profit and Punishment: How America Criminalizes the Poor in the Name of Justice. St. Martin’s. Dec. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9781250274649. $28.99. CD. SOCIAL SCIENCE

Debtor’s prison: it sounds Dickensian, but the contemporary equivalent is destroying many poor families. St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Messenger, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his series on debtors' prisons in Missouri, focuses on three single mothers in Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Carolina to reveal the damage done when state and local governments bolster failing budgets by levying fines and fees and forming partnership with for-profit companies that make money from those incarcerated for minor crimes. With a 60,000-copy first printing.


Cooking & Culture: Final Titles for Fall

cover of Sen's TastemakersBarrymore, Drew, with Pilar Valdes. Rebel Homemaker: Food, Family, Life. Dutton. Nov. 2021. 240p. ISBN 9780593184103. $30. Downloadable. HEALTHY LIVING

Beranbaum, Rose Levy. The Cookie Bible. Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2021. 448p. ISBN 9780358353997. $35. BAKING

Bittman, Mark & Kerri Conan. Bittman Bread: No-Knead Whole-Grain Baking for Every Day. Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9780358539339. $35. BAKING

Oliver, Jamie. Together: Memorable Meals, Made Easy [American Measurements]. Flatiron: Macmillan. Nov. 2021. 360p. ISBN 9781250821799. $35.

Sen, Mayukh. Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America. Norton. Nov. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781324004516. $26.95. BIOGRAPHY/CULINARY

Terry, Bryant, ed. Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora [A Cookbook]. 4 Color: Random. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781984859723. $40.

With more than three dozen recipes and a dozen personal stories, Barrymore’s Rebel Homemaker offers inspiration and ideas drawn from her hour-long daytime talk show, which premiered in fall 2020 and returns in fall 2021. The award-winning author ofThe Cake Bible, Beranbaum now offers The Cookie Bible, with treats from Caramel Surprise Snickerdoodles to Brownie Doughnuts (40,000 copy first printing). In Bittman & Conan’s Bittman Bread: No-Knead Whole Grain Baking for Every Day, a culinary star shows us an easy new way to make luscious, healthy, let-your-teeth-tear-into-them baked goods (40,000 copy first printing). Together, from superstar chef Oliver (his estimated TV audience reach is 67 million viewers across 182 territories), offers 130 get-together recipes that cut down on kitchen time so that cooks can spend more with guests. The James Beard Award–winning Sen’s Taste Makers profiles groundbreaking chefs who have revolutionized the American food scene, from Mexico-born Elena Zelayeta; to Norma Shirley, who champions Jamaican cuisine; to Marcella Hazan, the diva of Italian cooking. In Black Food, James Beard Award–winning chef Bryant Terry reveals the depth of Black culinary creativity and the breadth of the African diaspora by compiling recipes, essays, artwork, and poetry from more than 100 Black cultural figures.


Spotlight: Ann Patchett’s “These Precious Days”

cover of Ann Patchett's Three Precious DaysPatchett, Ann. These Precious Days: Essays. Harper. Nov. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780063092785. $26.99. LITERARY ESSAYS

In this essay collection, the New York Times best-selling Pulitzer Prize finalist Patchett reveals the pleasures of the unexpected, looking at her own life to illuminate ours. The title essay, for instance, relates how reading an early galley of actor Tom Hanks’s story collection led to a meaningful friendship with his assistant, while “My Three Fathers” maps Patchett’s complex interactions with her biological father and the two other fathers she acquired along the way, showing what each has contributed to her life. Elsewhere, she ranges from the particular charms of Kate DiCamillo’s children’s books and Charles Schulz’s Snoopy, to memories of Paris and the joys of knitting. With a 150,000-copy first printing.


Work, Self & Facing Conflict: Self-Help

cover of Fairchild's The Ballerina MindsetDaley-Ward, Yrsa. The How: Notes on the Great Work of Meeting Yourself. Penguin. ISBN 9780143135609. pap. $17. SELF-HELP

Fairchild, Megan. The Ballerina Mindset: How To Protect Your Mental Health While Striving for Excellence. Penguin Life. Dec. 2021. 176p. ISBN 9780143136040. pap. $17. Downloadable. SELF-HELP

Fideler, David. Breakfast with Seneca: A Stoic Guide to the Art of Living. Norton. Dec. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9780393531664. $26.95. PHILOSOPHY

Lewis, Dr. Jacqui. Fierce Love: A Bold Path to a Better Life and a Better World. Harmony: Crown. Nov. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780593233863. $27. lrg. prnt. Downloadable. SELF-HELP

Price, Catherine. The Power of Fun: How To Feel Alive Again. Dial. Dec. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9780593241400. $27. Downloadable. SELF-HELP

Powers, Kirsten. Saving Grace: Speak Your Truth, Stay Centered, and Learn To Coexist with People Who Drive You Nuts. Convergent: Crown. Dec. 2021. 224p. ISBN 9780593238233. $27. Downloadable. SOCIAL SCIENCE

Rodsky, Eve. Find Your Unicorn Space: Reclaim Your Creative Life in a Too-Busy World. Putnam. Dec. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780593328019. $27. Downloadable. SELF-HELP

Warzel, Charlie & Anne Helen Petersen. Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working from Home. Knopf. Dec. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9780593320099. $27. lrg. prnt. Downloadable. SELF-HELP

Of Jamaican and Nigerian heritage and a resident of both London and Brooklyn, PEN Ackerley Prize—winning poet Daley-Ward explains how we can become our own best and truest selves in The How. A principal dancer at the New York City Ballet who starred on Broadway in On the Town, plus a podcast host, MBA student, and mother of three, Fairchild explains The Ballerina Mindset that lets her do it all with apparent ease. In parlous times. Stoic philosophy is suddenly trending, and Fideler’s Breakfast with Seneca provides an accessible overview. The first woman and first Black minister at the progressive Collegiate Church in Manhattan, which dates from 1628, Lewis shows how we can cope with today’s divisive culture by discussing her own reckoning with racism, her interracial marriage, nine daily spiritual practices that have sustained her, and the importance of Fierce Love. In The Power of Fun, award-winning science journalist Price argues that treating fun as an important part of your life—and she doesn’t mean binge-watch your favorite TV shows—will make you happier and more productive. In Saving Grace, Powers leans on her experiences as a CNN senior political analyst and USA TODAY columnist to explain how we can maintain mental well-being without deserting our own convictions during conflict-ridden times. Author of the New York Times best-seller and Reese’s Book Club pick Fair Play, Rodsky urges women to rethink their priorities and claim essential healing time for themselves in Find Your Unicorn Space. Having left their New York desk jobs and moved to Montana, leading culture journalists Warzel and Petersen see today’s pandemic-driven work-at-home situation as a cobbled-together compromise and explain how we can create true Out of Office work schedules benefiting both workers and employers.


Four Key Arts Titles

cover of Gottlieb's GarboAucoin, Matthew. The Impossible Art: Adventures in Opera. Farrar. Dec. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780374175382. $28. OPERA

Duchin, Peter & Patricia Beard. Face the Music: A Memoir. Doubleday. Dec. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780385545877. $26.95. Downloadable. MUSIC

Gless, Sharon. Apparently There Were Complaints: A Memoir. S. & S. Dec. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781501125959. $27. TV

Gottlieb, Robert. Garbo: Her Life, Her Films. Farrar. Dec. 2021. 464p. ISBN 9780374298357. $40. FILM

A composer, conductor, and pianist, MacArthur Fellow Aucoin helps us better understand opera—The Impossible Art—by chronicling the creation of his opera Eurydice from its beginnings to its premiere at New York's Metropolitan Opera. Son of celebrated bandleader Eddy Duchin and a famed bandleader himself, Duchin decided after enduring both a stroke and a case of COVID-19 to Face the Music and relate not just his glamorous life but the sorrow of never getting to know his busy father and the mother who died when he was six days old. Two-time Emmy Award winner Gless recounts her five decades in Hollywood in Apparently There Were Complaints (75,000-copy first printing). Former Knopf and New Yorker editor Gottlieb’s Garbo offers not just a biography of the iconic movie star but a study of her far-reaching impact on film and culture (25,000-copy first printing).


Remembrance & Moving Forward: Memoir

cover of Lasley's Sea StateLasley, Tabitha. Sea State: A Memoir. Ecco. Dec. 2021. 176p. ISBN 9780063030831. $27.99. MEMOIR

Roberts, Steven V. Cokie: A Life Well Lived. Harper. Nov. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9780062851475. $27.99. lrg. prnt. MEMOIR

Shazier, Ryan & Larry Platt. Walking Miracle: How Faith, Positive Thinking, and Passion for Football Brought Me Back from Paralysis…and Helped Me Find Purpose. Grand Central. Nov. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781538706251. $28. MEMOIR

Silva, Obed. The Death of My Father the Pope: A Memoir. MCD: Farrar. Dec. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780374539160. $27. MEMOIR

Thomas, Scarlett. 41-Love: A Memoir. Counterpoint. Dec. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9781640094765. $27. MEMOIR

Walker, Imani J. A Calm Chaos. Amistad: HarperCollins. Dec. 2021. 208p. ISBN 9780062959775. $25.99. CD. MEMOIR

Liberated of both job and relationship, journalist Lasley moved from London to Aberdeen and, as she relates in Sea State, worked on an oil rig—the better to understand how men behave with no women around and to witness masculine culture suddenly in crisis (50,000-copy first printing). In Cokie, Roberts recalls distinguished journalist Cokie Roberts, his wife of 53 years (150,000-copy first printing). A two-time All Pro Linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Shazier suffered a spinal-cord injury during a game and had to learn to walk again before he could finally dance with his wife at their wedding—a Walking Miracle that required the perseverance and strength he now applies to his post-game life (50,000-copy first printing). Having immigrated to the United States as a toddler, been paralyzed owing to gunshot as a gang member, and become an English professor after earning a master’s degree in medieval literature, Silva addresses The Death of My Father the Pope, recalling a man who was an abusive alcoholic (originally scheduled for August; 30,000-copy first printing). As beloved British novelist Thomas relates in 41-Love, at age 41 she was healthier than ever and happily ensconced with a partner yet faced painful obstacles—the death of loved ones, the realization that she would never have children—that compelled her to return to an early love of her life: tennis. In A Calm Chaos, Walker, the psychiatrist on Bravo’s Married to Medicine series and one of Essence’s “Woke 100,” relates life with a distant, addicted father, her own struggles with depression, and the later-in-life realization that her immigrant grandmother was bipolar, all contributing to her commitment to work with people who are mentally ill in inner cities (40,000-copy first printing).

The December 2021 Prepub Alert Index


Witches, Archivists & Detectives: Mystery 

Touring the World: Literary Fiction

Replacement Wives & Thrillers

Albom, Cornwell & More Pop Fiction

Louise Erdrich’s “The Sentence”


Three Key History Titles

Current Issues

Cooking & Culture: Final Titles for Fall

Ann Patchett’s “These Precious Days”

Work, Self & Facing Conflict: Self-Help

Four Key Arts Titles

Remembrance & Moving Forward: Memoir

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The December 2021 Prepub Alert is also available as:

A downloadable spreadsheet of titles

A print-ready PDF of all Prepub Alert posts


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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Book Review; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president of the National Book Critics Circle, to which she has just been reelected.

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