National Book Awards & Milton's Shakespeare, Sept. 17, 2019 | Book Pulse

The longlists for the 2019 National Book Awards arrive this week. The list for Young People’s Literature was announced yesterday, Translated Literature goes up today.  Scholars think they have found Milton’s copy of Shakespeare’s first folio, with Milton’s notes, edits, and suggestions. Battle at Big Rock, a new Jurassic short film, is out; it takes place a year after Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

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The National Book Awards

The longlists for the 2019 National Book Awards are arriving all week. They will be posted on The New Yorker (but often after Book Pulse goes live). The list for Young People’s Literature is here. Translated Literature goes up today. Poetry will be announced on Wednesday, followed by Nonfiction on Thursday, and Fiction on Friday. The finalists are announced across all categories on Oct. 8. Winners will be announced on Nov. 20.


The NYT reviews Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry (Doubleday: Random House; LJ starred review): “such a deft and generous writer.” Also, Lampedusa by Steven Price (FSG: Macmillan): “excels where it counts most: inside Lampedusa’s head. The prose is superbly controlled, richly textured, brimming with wise and lyrical insights that make it a worthy heir to its mighty predecessor.” Coventry: Essays by Rachel Cusk (FSG): “The voice is more expansive than in her memoirs, imbued with an authority that is all the more powerful because it is diffuse and flexible, aware of its limited perspective and willing to be measured against those of others.” Call Upon the Water by Stella Tillyard (Atria: S. & S.): “sometimes lovely, sometimes infuriating.” Guts by Raina Telgemeier (Graphix): “captures with remarkable concision and accuracy, and without ever going outside of 10-year-old Raina’s perspective, some of the theoretical concepts and applied techniques that underlie treatment of anxiety. But what will reverberate in the trembling psyches of anxious kids is the recognition that they are not alone in their suffering.” “The Shortlist” focuses on books “Confronting Grief, Mental Illness and Marginalization, in Verse.” There is a dual review on books about the Green New Deal. Coverage also turns to visual books of note.

Entertainment Weekly reviews The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (One World; LJ starred review), giving it a B+ and calling it “a magical, gorgeously evocative achievement.”

The Washington Post reviews Bloomland by John Englehardt (Dzanc Books): “juxtaposes the proximate with the predator, intermingling their perspectives until the flickering becomes a bloody tapestry of our beleaguered nation.” Also, Kopp Sisters on the March by Amy Stewart (HMH; LJ starred review): “gripping and satisfying.”

NPR reviews Wildhood: The Epic Journey from Adolescence to Adulthood in Humans and Other Animals by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, Kathryn Bowers (Scribner: S. & S.): “Despite … problems, there's fascinating material in Wildhood backed up with copious notes from the authors' reading of the scientific literature. The structure of the book is appealing. Each of the four main sections is centered on one concept and one individual animal.”

Briefly Noted

The Guardian reports that scholars think they have found Milton’s copy of Shakespeare’s first folio, with Milton’s notes, edits, and suggestions. It is being hailed as “one of the most important literary discoveries of modern times.”

The shortlist is out for the FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year award.

The finalists for the Kirkus Prize are announced today. The press release should be posted here once the annoucement is made.

The Far Side promises “Uncommon, unreal, and (soon-to-be) unfrozen. A new online era of The Far Side is coming!” The Guardian has details, so does the NYT.

Esquire names “The Best Books of 2019 (So Far).”

Barbara Hoffert updates Prepub Alert through March 2020.

Book Riot suggests “Fall YA Books To Add To Your TBR.”

USA Today picks five books for the week.

The October LibraryReads list is out. The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson (Doubleday: Random House) leads the picks.

BuzzFeed picks “Eight New Books By Latinx Writers You’ve Got To Read.”

LitHub gets Brad Gooch, Rumi: Unseen Poems (Everyman’s Library: Random House), to suggest “Five Great Books of Spiritual Poetry.”

Entertainment Weekly excerpts Drag: The Complete Story by Simon Doonan (Laurence King: Chronicle).

io9 has a brief excerpt of Network Effect: A Murderbot Novel by Martha Wells (

Paste features The Outlaw Ocean Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier by Ian Urbina (Knopf).

Entertainment Weekly interviews Rob Hart, The Warehouse (Crown: Random House; LJ starred review).

Slate interviews Andy Martin, With Child: Lee Child and the Readers of Jack Reacher (Polity: Wiley).

LitHub interviews Kevin Barry, Night Boat to Tangier (Doubleday: Random House; LJ starred review), and Imani Perry, Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry (Beacon Press; LJ starred review), and also, Wayétu Moore, She Would Be King (Graywolf: Macmillan).

The Washington Post features Attica Locke, Heaven, My Home (Mulholland Books: Hachette).

The NYT features artist Peter McGough, I've Seen the Future and I'm Not Going: The Art Scene and Downtown New York in the 1980s (Pantheon: Random House).

The Guardian has an essay by author Benjamin Moser, Sontag: Her Life and Work (Ecco).

The NYPL has a reading guide to Zora Neale Hurston.

A bookstore in the UK puts the Booker prize winner sticker on Atwood's The Testaments, nearly a month ahead of the judges meeting and the winner announcement on Oct. 14. The Guardian has details.

Vanity Fair and Vulture consider the details and story behind The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation by Robin Pogrebin, Kate Kelly (Portfolio).

Chris Rock is writing an essay collection, due out next year. It will come from Celadon: Macmillan and be titled My First Black Boyfriend.

Locus summarizes the Audible caption controversy.

Crime Reads writes “How Agatha Christie and her Golden Age cohorts came back into fashion, and why that's reviving the traditional mystery.”

Longreads has a piece about fan fiction, and reports it is now about elected leaders.

The New Yorker wonders if “American Readers Ever Catch on to Marie-Claire Blais?

Highclere Castle hits Airbnb, but, as Town&Country reports, only for one night.

Some of author Anthony Bourdain’s estate is getting auctioned. Eater has the story. Also, a story about kitchen collections (tools and pans) for loan from libraries.

"Amy Einhorn has been named president and publisher of Macmillan Publishing's Henry Holt division." Shelf Awareness has details.

An image of a taco used as a bookmark goes viral. HuffPost has details, as does Vice, with a larger report.

Authors on Air

Jacqueline Woodson, Red at the Bone (Riverhead), delivered a TED talk about reading last April.

NPR’s Fresh Air features an interview with Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation (Portfolio).

NPR interviews Amitav Ghosh, Gun Island (FSG: Macmillan).

PBS NewsHour features Lilly Singh, How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life (Ballantine) as her show, A Little Late with Lilly Singh, begins. More coverage here.

CBS Sunday Morning features Irwin Winkler, A Life in Movies: Stories from 50 years in Hollywood (Abrams), and offers an excerpt.

The Hollywood Reporter has news that the Kingkiller Chronicle, based on the Pat Rothfuss books, will not air on Showtime.

Deadline reports that The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux is set for Apple. It will star Justin Theroux, Paul’s nephew. Also at Apple, Shantaram, based on Gregory David Roberts’s novel. Richard Abate’s Survive is getting adapted, to star Sophie Turner and Corey Hawkins. Thomas Perry’s The Old Man is headed to FX. Firefly Lane, based on the novel by Kristin Hannah, is getting in gear at NetflixTokyo Vice is set for HBO Max and is based on the book by Jake Adelstein. There is a report on the “big return” of The Twilight Zone. Lastly, an interview with Caitlin Moran.

Battle at Big Rock, a new Jurassic short film, is out; it takes place a year after Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

The Secret Garden gets a trailer.

Senator Cory Booker, United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good (Ballantine: Penguin), will be on with Jimmy Kimmel tonight. Senator Elizabeth Warren, This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class (Picador: Macmillan) will be on with Stephen Colbert.

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