The Pulitzer Prizes | Book Pulse

The Pulitzer Prizes are announced and the reviews for James Comey continue to roll in. Susan Orlean's next book will be about the 1986 Los Angeles Public Library fire and W.W. Norton begins a new imprint for young readers.

The Pulitzer Prizes

Andrew Sean Greer has won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel Less (Lee Boudreaux Books: Hachette; LJ starred review). The committee calls it “a generous book, musical in its prose and expansive in its structure and range, about growing older and the essential nature of love.”

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser (Metropolitan Books: LJ starred reviews) wins for Biography: “A deeply researched and elegantly written portrait of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House on the Prairie series, that describes how Wilder transformed her family’s story of poverty, failure and struggle into an uplifting tale of self-reliance, familial love and perseverance.”

James Forman Jr. wins the General Nonfiction category for Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux): “An examination of the historical roots of contemporary criminal justice in the U.S., based on vast experience and deep knowledge of the legal system, and its often-devastating consequences for citizens and communities of color.”

Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 by Frank Bidart (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) wins Poetry: “A volume of unyielding ambition and remarkable scope that mixes long dramatic poems with short elliptical lyrics, building on classical mythology and reinventing forms of desires that defy societal norms.”

Taking the History prize is The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea by Jack E. Davis (Liveright/W.W. Norton; LJ starred review): “An important environmental history of the Gulf of Mexico that brings crucial attention to Earth’s 10th-largest body of water, one of the planet’s most diverse and productive marine ecosystems.”

Greer, Davis, Forman, and Fraser are all now soaring up Amazon’s sales rankings. The full list of winners, and the finalists, is online.


Entertainment Weekly reviews A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership by James Comey (Flatiron: Macmillan), giving it a B-, headlining that it is “a little disingenuous,” and writing his “scathing arguments against Trump could hardly be more compelling, and Loyalty is infinitely more credible than Michael Wolff’s gossipy best-seller. But the point remains: Not even a fundamentally decent, morally upright former FBI Director could resist the appeal of a little Trump gaslighting.”

Related, LitHub gathers a number of other reviews and The Hollywood Reporter writes about interest from Hollywood in turning it into a movie or miniseries. Comey will be on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert tonight. The book goes on sale today.

The NYT reviews Wade in the Water: Poems by Tracy K. Smith (Graywolf Press: Macmillan) and Brown: Poems by Kevin Young (Knopf) in a joint review, calling them “scorching, sophisticated” work. Also Maker of Patterns: An Autobiography Through Letters by Freeman Dyson (Liveright: W.W. Norton): “This volume should make any reader pine for a deep memoir.”

Ron Charles, writing for The Washington Post, says of The Only Story by Julian Barnes (Knopf) that it is a “slim, grim” novel … If Flaubert reimagined Cougar Town.” He also chimes in about Andrew Sean Greer’s Less, calling it “Very funny. Laugh-till-you-can’t-breathe funny … it’s an unabashed comic novel, a descendant of the great Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis.”

USA Today reviews Macbeth by Jo Nesbø (Hogarth: Random), not liking it: “if I had to pick one novel never to read again, it would be this one, a mammoth, self-satisfied, simple-minded wildebeest, creeping its petty pace across nearly 500 endless pages toward conclusions that are never in doubt.” West Winging It: An Un-presidential Memoir by Pat Cunnane (Gallery: S. & S.) fares better.

Briefly Noted

Susan Orlean’s next book will be about the 1986 Los Angeles Public Library fire, The Library Book (S. & S.) will publish in October.

The shortlist for the Walter Scott Prize is out.

Vogue interviews Ramie Targoff, Renaissance Woman: The Life of Vittoria Colonna (FSG).

The Guardian interviews Ayòbámi AdébáyòStay with Me (Knopf).

The paper also features Lisa Halliday, Asymmetry (S. & S.: LJ starred review) on their podcast.

Margaret Atwood is in Vanity Fair and on NYT Time Talks series, discussing The Handmaid’s Tale season two.

Vulture lists “The 100 Pages That Shaped Comics.”

Town & Country names “16 Books to Read This Summer.”

Entertainment Weekly has “11 recent novels that powerfully tackle gun violence.”

Bitchmedia gathers “Five YA Novels That Tackle Sexual Assault.”

Author Sofija Stefanovic picks “11 Books About Outsiders, Weirdos, and Underdogs.”

Electric Lit features Circe by Madeline Miller (Little, Brown).

The NYT has more on the drama surrounding the making of To Kill a Mockingbird for Broadway.

The NYT reports on Short Edition, the short story vending machine that is in a few libraries across the country.

W.W. Norton is creating a new imprint, Norton Young Readers. It will be headed by Simon Boughton, formerly Senior Vice-President and Publishing Director, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. Via a press release, Norton says it “will expand its mission to offer ‘Books That Live’—enduring works of nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and anthologies, and now even picture books and series—to a notably younger set of discerning readers than before.”

Two new works for middle-grade readers: Entertainment Weekly reports that James Patterson is beginning a new series called “Genius.” EW has the cover and an excerpt from the first novel, Max Einstein: The Genius Experiment by James Patterson, Chris Grabenstein. Illustrated by Beverly Johnson (jimmy patterson: Hachette). Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs have teamed up on The Deep Dark (Bloomsbury Children’s Books: Macmillan). EW has its cover and an excerpt too.

Authors on Air

NPR covers James Comey in an interview on Morning Edition, (they also post the full transcript) and have even more on Fresh Air, in a two-part conversation that continues today.

NPR’s Fresh Air interviews Lawrence Wright, God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State (Knopf; LJ starred review) and All Things Considered features Notes from a Public Typewriter edited by Michael Gustafson and Oliver Uberti (Grand Central: Hachette).

Two cookbooks get notable attention: At Home with Natalie: Simple Recipes for Healthy Living from My Family’s Kitchen to Yours by Natalie Morales (HMH) gets a big boost from her multiple appearances on Today while CBS This Morning sends Eat a Little Better: Great Flavor, Good Health, Better World by Sam Kass (Clarkson Potter) soaring.

In adaptation news three comics are making their way to screens. The American Way comics are going to be adapted into a movie as is the DC series The Kitchen. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang (First Second: Macmillan; SLJ starred review) sells feature rights.

As for movies, I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes (Atria/Emily Bestler Books: S. & S.; LJ starred review) is getting adapted as is Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton (Random House Books for Young Readers). Whatever Makes You Happy by William Sutcliffe (Bloomsbury) is headed to Netflix.

Andrew Morton, Meghan: A Hollywood Princess (Grand Central: Hachette), will be on The View today. Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, My American Dream: A Life of Love, Family, and Food (Knopf), will be on The Talk.

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