Ling Ma Wins the Story Prize for ‘Bliss Montage’ | Book Pulse

Ling Ma has won the Story Prize for Bliss Montage. Other awards announcements include the New York Public Library’s 36th annual Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism and the V S Pritchett Short Story Prize shortlist. Conversations delve into the experiences and processes of authors such as Richard Mirabella, Elizabeth McKenzie, Vibhuti Jain Jenny Jackson, Nazli Koca, Nita Prose, Gina Frangello, and Ghaith Abdul-Ahad. There is adaptation news for Leigh Bardugo’s “Six of Crows” book series. 

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Awards & Buzzy Book News

Ling Ma wins the Story Prize for her story collection, Bliss Montage (Farrar; LJ starred review).

The New York Public Library has announced finalists for the 36th annual Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism.

The V S Pritchett Short Story Prize shortlist is announced. The Bookseller has details.

John Jakes, author of The Kent Family Chronicles, has died at 90. Publisher Lunch reports.

The Atlantic features an article on librarians and the effect of book challenges on them.

Texas Education Officials Want to Rewrite Climate Science in State Textbooks.” Gizmodo has more.

USA Today updates reporting on book bans.

Book Riot delves into “The History of the Bury Your Gays Trope.”

NYT details a defense of the exclamation point

Page to Screen

March 17th:

The Magician's Elephant, based on the book by Kate DiCamillo. Netflix. Reviews | Trailer

Shazam! Fury of the Gods, with assoc. titles. Warner Bros. Reviews | Trailer

Dom, based on the novel by Tony Bellotto. Prime. No Reviews | Trailer

March 19th:

Lucky Hank, based on the book Straight Man by Richard Russo. AMC. Reviews | Trailer

Sanditon, based on an unfinished manuscript by Jane Austen. PBS. Reviews | Trailer

March 20th:

The Larkins, based on the book The Darling Buds of May by H.E. Bates. Acorn TV. Reviews | Trailer

March 23rd:

The Night Agent, based on the book by Matthew Quirk. Netflix. Reviews | Trailer


The Washington Post reviews White Cat, Black Dog by Kelly Link (Random): “Link’s permutations do retain palpable atmospheric similarities to their originals, marked by the same flatness of character and affect that characterize traditional fairy tales, and similarly bloody plots. Link intensifies her versions by making the stories wilder and setting them in mundane, contemporary situations”; Empress of the Nile: The Daredevil Archaeologist Who Saved Egypt's Ancient Temples from Destruction by Lynne Olson (Random): “Tells her story well, embedding it in the history of modern Egyptian archaeology, though at times it does approach the hagiographic. This lack of shading can grow tiresome”; The Transcendent Brain: Spirituality in the Age of Science by Alan Lightman (Pantheon): “Thoroughly researched, well-written but ultimately unsatisfying book, [Lightman] maps out a materialist’s view of personhood that is consistent with our experiences of the transcendent”; and The Edge of the Plain: How Borders Make and Break Our World by James Crawford (Norton; LJ starred review): “It takes an extraordinary kind of humility to write a book about one of the most salient political issues of our time without advancing a single argument. In all their diversity and complexity, borders deserve the eloquent treatment Crawford gives them.”

NPR reviews Heart Sutra, by Yan Lianke, tr. by Carlos Rojas (Grove): “A warm-hearted, if not gentle, satire that skewers religious institutions without mocking faith itself. Yan treats the deities of China's major religions—Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, and both Protestant and Catholic Christianity—as quiet, omnipresent participants in the novel's events, which range from slapstick comedy to shocking violence.” Also, two short reviews on “novels to cure your winter blahs”: Heartburn by Nora Ephron (Vintage) and Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson (Pamela Dorman).

Locus Magazine reviews The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill ( “Barnhill has a keen eye for the disturbing subtexts of a familiar tale, and a distinctive talent for making that tale her own, in this case through a shrewd combina­tion of near-future SF, economic stress, family dynamics, and pure magic.” reviews Meru by S.B. Divya (47North: Amazon): “The definition of epic sci-fi, and it’s also a story that is different from what we’ve seen before in that subgenre. It’s a worthy read for fans of that space (pun intended, sorry), but perhaps especially worth a read for those who have warily eyed books in that category in the past.”

Jezebel reviews Paris: The Memoir by Paris Hilton (Dey Street): “Lets you see the curtain, but not peek behind it. We’re left wondering how much time she’s spent back there herself.”

Autostraddle reviews The Daughters of Izdihar by Hadeer Elsbai (Harper Voyager): “Not only full of awesome water-bending, fire-bending, earth-bending action; it’s a feminist dynamic I’ve never seen before”; and Running by Lindsey Freeman (Duke Univ.): “Running is a sport which can so easily be nothing more than a body moving through space. It can be an activity we think idly on and forget, but what Freeman creates in the pages of this handbook is an opening to a conversation about it being something so much more than that.” 

Book Marks lists “The Best Reviewed Books of the Week.”

Briefly Noted

Richard Mirabella chats about the inspiration behind his book, Brother & Sister Enter the Forest (Catapult), with The Rumpus

The Millions talks to author Elizabeth McKenzie, The Dog of the North (Penguin Pr.), about “men both pushy and kind, the function of absent characters in fiction, and writing about repression.”

Shondaland has two author interviews featuring: Jenny Jackson on exploring “wealth and class with humor” in Pineapple Street by (Pamela Dorman); and Vibhuti Jain discussing “writing the book she wishes she’d had when she was younger” in her debut, Our Best Intentions (Morrow).

Nazli Koca examines “who has the privilege of living as an artist” in a conversation with Electric Lit and in her book, The Applicant (Grove; LJ starred review).

Nita Prose shares her writing process for her best-selling book, The Maid (Ballantine; LJ starred review), with CrimeReads

NYT profiles Abdelrahman ElGendy, a hopeful memoirist aiming to record the abuses of prison life as a teenager in Egypt.

Artist Didier William considers and depicts the 76th pages of “this season’s new books” for the New York Times Magazine. has a cover reveal for The Jinn-Bot of Shantiport, by Samit Basu (Tor). 

Entertainment Weekly gives a first look at James Corden bandleader Reggie Watts’ memoir debut, Great Falls, MT: Fast Times, Post-Punk Weirdos, and a Tale of Coming Home Again

Moira Macdonald of the Washington Post recommends “some atmospheric thrillers.”

Actor Molly Parker suggests “3 books that have had a lasting impact on her life” on CBC Books. Also, Keegan Connor Tracy lists “7 books that expanded her worldview.” shares “Five Stories About Precocious Young Wizards.”

CrimeReads lists “5 Pyschological Thrillers to Read This Month.”

Book Riot provides a plethora of reading lists including: “40 of the Best Dystopian Novels,” “20 Must-Read Historical Fiction Books Set in China,” “11 Books Recommended by Colleen Hoover,” and “10 of the Best Comedy Manga and Manhwa.”

NYT makes 9 new book recommendations.

Authors on Air

The Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast talks to Ghaith Abdul-Ahad about his book A Stranger in Your Own City: Travels in the Middle East’s Long War (Knopf) and on “Iraqi perspectives on the war and what Western media missed.”

Jenny Jackson, Pineapple Street (Pamela Dorman), explains what it’s like to be “on the other side of the editorial process” as a writer on The Maris Review podcast.

Gina Frangello, author of Blow Your House Down: A Story of Family, Feminism, and Treason (Counterpoint; LJ starred review), embraces and encourages “the editorial omniscient” in an interview on the Otherppl podcast.

Lit Hub gives “a brief history of Charles Dickens on screen.” Also, Kate DiCamillo details what it was like to see her book The Magician's Elephant (Candlewick) adapted for the silver screen.

Leigh Bardugo’s “Six of Crows” book series may get its own television adaption, according to

Roxanne Coady and Bill Goldstein make book recommendations on the Just the Right Book podcast.

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