Woody Allen Gets a Taker, First Woman Wins Rathbones Folio Prize, Nebula Awards Go Virtual | Book Pulse

Woody Allen’s memoir is suddenly published. Valeria Luiselli wins the Rathbones Folio Prize. Ruchika Tomar wins the PEN/Hemingway Award for best debut novel. The Nebula Awards will go online for this year. Amazon takes nearly a month to deliver a book now. Indies are much faster and offer local delivery. New comics come to a halt. LJ is collecting the innovative ideas libraries are coming up with in the face of the pandemic.

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Woody Allen

Woody Allen’s memoir Apropos of Nothing (ISBN 9781951627348) is suddenly published by Arcade, an imprint of Skyhorse, in a print run of 75,000 copies according to the NYT. The Associated Press broke the news in a long story and coverage has been widespread including the NYT, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, L.A. Times, and Time.

In a statement to the AP, Arcade editor Jeannette Seaver said: “In this strange time, when truth is too often dismissed as 'fake news,' we as publishers prefer to give voice to a respected artist, rather than bow to those determined to silence him."

The book has a new postscript by Allen which reads in part: “Hachette read the book and loved it and despite me being a toxic pariah and menace to society, they vowed to stand firm should things hit the fan … When actual flak did arrive they thoughtfully reassessed their position, concluding that perhaps courage was not the virtue it was cracked up to be and there was a lot to be said for cowering.”

USA Today has excerpts.


Valeria Luiselli wins the Rathbones Folio prize for Lost Children Archive (Knopf). She is the first woman to win the award. The Guardian has the news.

Ruchika Tomar wins the PEN/Hemingway Award for best debut novel for A Prayer for Travelers (Riverhead: Penguin). Also the 2020 PEN America Literary Gala has been moved to Sept. 15.

The James Beard Awards has postponed its nominee announcement previously scheduled for today. No word yet on when the media nominees will be revealed.

The Nebula conference is going online. The Nebula Awards will be announced on May 30 via live stream starting at 8 pm Eastern.


The NYT reviews The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit: Hachette; LJ starred review): “It’s a joyful shout, a reclamation and a call to arms.” Mitch, Please!: How Mitch McConnell Sold Out Kentucky (and America, Too) by Matt Jones, with Chris Tomlin (S. & S.): “This book, at less than half its size, might have been a minor classic.” Also, Then the Fish Swallowed Him by Amir Ahmadi Arian (HarperVia): “a convincing, unnerving read.” Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory by Claudio Saunt (W.W. Norton): “a powerful and lucid account, weaving together events with the people who experienced them up close.” Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner (Hachette; LJ starred review): “sometimes amusing, sometimes appalling, sometimes affecting, sometimes clueless.” Nobody’s Child: A Tragedy, a Trial, and a History of the Insanity Defense by Susan Nordin Vinocour (W.W. Norton): “dismantles troubling legacies in our legal and mental health systems while also illuminating shortcomings in our approach to child protective services, foster care and incarceration — not to mention social ills like racism, poverty, gender and educational inequality.” This Is Chance!: The Shaking of an All-American City, A Voice That Held It Together by Jon Mooallem (Random House): “All due respect to my fellow scribe, a bright and resourceful writer, but I wanted more of Genie Chance and less of her chronicler.” The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio (One World: Random House): “captivating and evocative.” Lastly, there is a dual review of books “Wresting Insight, and Poetry, From Pain” and “New & Noteworthy” column looks at visual books.

The Washington Post reviews The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf: Random House; LJ starred review): “what binds the novel is its focus on the human capacity for self-delusion, particularly with regards to our own innocence.” There is also a video review. USA Today reviews the novel as well, giving it three stars and writing “Settle in and don’t get impatient.” NPR is also on the case, calling it “a masterpiece, just as good — if not better — than its predecessor. It's a stunning look at how people react to disasters, both small and large, and the temptation that some have to give up when faced with tragedy.”

NPR also reviews American Poison: How Racial Hostility Destroyed Our Promise by Eduardo Porter (Knopf): “a devastating, brutally honest, wonderfully researched read. It is also necessary and incredibly timely.”

Coronavirus Reading and RA/Collection Development Resources

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos writes to Amazon staff about changes they have made, essential items they are prioritizing, and says “My own time and thinking is now wholly focused on COVID-19 and on how Amazon can best play its role.”  Books are non-essential and, as shoppers can see from the site, it will now take nearly a month for a book ordered today to arrive as Amazon has shifted away from Prime 2-day delivery for anything they consider non-essential, even if it is in stock and sold and shipped by Amazon. The Verge reports that in France and Italy Amazon users cannot even order non-essential items. Independent bookstores are still shipping books when ordered and some are offering home delivery for locals.

The PRH warehouse in Maryland is deemed an essential business and will remain open. Publishers Marketplace has more details.

Diamond Comics Distributors will no longer accept new issues. That means no new issues of many comics for some time. Entertainment Weekly reports.

Wired has a report on the closing of libraries and what doing so does to communities.

PBS NewsHour has Ann Patchett suggest books to read while staying home. Patchett is also on Read with Jenna’s Instagram site, talking about how to help bookstores.

Rebecca Solnit is reading fairytales every day at 5 pm on Facebook.

Paste offers “An Expert's Guide to Finding and Listening to Amazing Audiobooks While Social Distancing.” The start of the piece walks listeners through the browsing and discovery process. The second part lists libraries as the top location to get audios.

Publishers Weekly reports on how authors are helping each other with a new program named A Mighty Blaze.

The Washington Post offers “fantastical novels to help you escape reality.”

Tor.com has “Five Massive SFF Books to Read While You’re Social-Distancing.”

The Academy of American Poets has started Shelter in Poems. Pick a poem that gives you hope and share it with #ShelterinPoems.

People reports on the celebrity supported Read Together, Be Together campaign to help make reading “a regular and cherished activity.”

Lena Dunham is writing an interactive serial romance novel titled Verified Strangers. It is running on Vogue. Readers will get to vote on key plot points. People covers the story as well, and links to Dunham’s Instagram announcement.

The BBC reports on how indie bookstores around the world are reacting and helping readers. Also, a piece entitled “Why Octavia E. Butler’s novels are so relevant today.”

Vox explores M.F.K. Fisher’s How to Cook a Wolf, writing it “shows us how to take joy in the hardest of times.”

Jill Lepore writes about contagion literature in The New Yorker.

As we work to support each other, and our patrons, through the pandemic, LJ is collecting the innovative ideas libraries are coming up with, even while closed, to ensure they stay connected to their communities. If your library is implementing novel ideas, let us know. We would love to hear about them and share them. Use the comment box below.

Briefly Noted

Book Marks showcases AudioFile’s Best Audiobooks of March.

Electric Lit has Katy Simpson Smith suggest “7 Poetry Collections by Women Rewriting History.”

The Seattle Times book club is returning, online.

Entertainment Weekly features Ernesto Quiñonez, Bodega Dreams (Vintage: Random House).

Fox highlights Shakedown by Newt Gingrich, Pete Earley (Broadside Books: Harper).

CrimeReads has a roundtable discussion on Romantic Christian Suspense.

Albert Uderzo, the creator of Asterix, has died. The Guardian has a report.

Authors on Air

NPR interviews Victoria James, Wine Girl: The Obstacles, Humiliations, and Triumphs of America's Youngest Sommelier (Ecco: Harper).

The Today show features My Sister: How One Sibling's Transition Changed Us Both by Selenis Leyva, Marizol Leyva (Bold Type: Hachette).

Glenn Patterson features on The Guardian Books podcast.

Code Switch interviews John Tateishi, Redress: The Inside Story of the Successful Campaign for Japanese American Reparations (Heyday).

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