'Luster' and 'Stakes Is High' Win 2020 Kirkus Prize | Book Pulse

Luster by Raven Leilani, Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream by Mychal Denzel Smith, and I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James, win the 2020 Kirkus Prize. Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May tops the December Indie Next List. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books & Media is up for sale. Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff VanderMeer, due out April 2021, will be adapted as a series for Netflix.

Want to get the latest book news delivered to your inbox each day? Sign up for our daily Book Pulse newsletter.

Awards News

Luster by Raven Leilani (FSG: Macmillan), Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream by Mychal Denzel Smith (Bold Type Books: Hachette), and I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James (Nancy Paulsen Books: Penguin), win the Kirkus Prize. See video interviews with all the finalists, and the 2019 winners.

Jason Reynolds will host the 71st National Book Awards. The ceremony takes place online Nov. 18.

Page to Screen

Nov. 6:

Let Him Go, based on the book by Larry Watson. Theatrical Release. Reviews | Trailer

The German Lesson, based on the book by Siegfried Lenz. VOD. Reviews | Trailer

The Informer, based on Three Seconds by Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström. VOD. Reviews | Trailer

Nov. 7:

Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Sweater, based on the book by Debbie Johnson. Hallmark. No reviews | Trailer

Nov. 10:

Dash & Lily, based on Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. Netflix. No reviews | Trailer

Out Stealing Horses, based on the book by Per Petterson. VOD. Reviews | Trailer

Nov. 11:

The Liberator, based on the book by Alex Kershaw. Netflix. No reviews | Trailer


NPR reviews The Book Collectors: A Band of Syrian Rebels and the Stories That Carried Them Through a War by Delphine Minoui (FSG: Macmillan): "The Book Collectors is about hope and connection against unspeakable violence, deprivation, and tragedy. It is a meaningful addition to the literary subgenre that covers books and libraries."

Entertainment Weekly reviews several holiday romances. In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren (Gallery Books: S. & S.) earns an A: "a romantic explosion of holiday joy that will have readers drunk on its feel-good vibes quicker than a cup of eggnog." Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade (Avon: Harper; LJ starred review) earns a B+: "perhaps a bit rough around the edges, but a true gem in the end." Love Is a Rogue by Lenora Bell (Avon: Harper) earns an A-: "this novel understands and celebrates books and the readers who love them." Sweet on You by Carla de Guzman (Harlequin) earns a B+: "mouthwatering in more ways than one, a holiday escape as fluffy and sinful as a Christmas pastry."

The NYT reviews One Life by Megan Rapinoe (Penguin): "her memoir, 'One Life,' tracks the arc of her political awakening at least as much as it follows the path of her sports career." Also, The Mystery of Charles Dickens by A.N. Wilson (Harper; LJ starred review): "This all constitutes a brave and moving tribute to the genius of Charles Dickens, but surely it functions here more as therapy for A. N. Wilson than as revelation about his book’s ostensible subject."

The Washington Post reviews White Ivy by Susie Yang (S. & S.; LJ starred review): "Even in the absence of more incisive social commentary, 'White Ivy' is still a highly entertaining, well-plotted character study...." Also, To Be a Man: Stories by Nicole Krauss (Harper): "Reading her can feel like talking all night with a brilliant friend." Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life by Christie Tate (Avid Reader Press: S. & S): "It’s titillating and sometimes shocking to read the specifics of what these upscale and once-uptight men and women discuss, but is it more than that?" The Short Life And Curious Death of Free Speech in America by Ellis Cose (Amistad: HarperCollins): "Readers will find much with which to agree, disagree and consider in these pages." Notre-Dame: The Soul of France by Agnès Poirier (Oneworld: S. & S.): "The book does not pretend to be a work of investigative journalism. It does not break new ground in examining the absence of adequate fire-protection systems in the cathedral or the theories about the causes of the blaze." First Principles: What America’s Founders Learned From the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country by Thomas E. Ricks (Harper; LJ starred review): "The book is a critical study of the allegories Americans have lived by for more than two centuries, and how they continue to both enlighten and steer us wrong." Eleanor by David Michaelis (S. & S.): "an excellent single-volume biography of America’s greatest first lady." Vanguard How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All by Martha S. Jones (Basic: Hachette): "an important and timely volume on courageous Black women who shaped history." The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X by Les Payne, Tamara Payne (Liveright: W. W. Norton; LJ starred review): "While fascinating and essential, [this] is thus less a formal portrait and more an impressionist mosaic made up of the strongest fragments of Payne's reporting."

USA Today also reviews White Ivy by Susie Yang (S. & S.; LJ starred review), giving it four stars and saying: "It keeps readers on their toes the entire way." Also, We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper (Grand Central: Hachette), which earns 3.5 stars: "an engrossing, monumental work."

Book Mark picks "The Best Reviewed Books of the Week."

Briefly Noted

The December Indie Next List has arrived. Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May (Riverhead: Penguin) is the top pick.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt may sell Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books & Media as "as part of its restructuring efforts aimed at accelerating its transition from a print-based publisher to a 'pure-play learning technology company.'" Publishers Weekly reports.

Gregory Cowles, the NYT Senior Editor of Books, recommends 9 new releases.

Lambda Literary rounds up "November’s Most Anticipated LGBTQ Books."

BookPage looks at newly released romances.

The Hollywood Reporter excerpts Monsters by Barry Windsor-Smith (Fantagraphics: W. W. Norton; LJ starred review).

Vanity Fair excerpts Alright, Alright, Alright: The Oral History of Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused by Melissa Maerz (Harper).

Entertainment Weekly has an excerpt of Steve McQueen: In His Own Words by Marshall Terrill (Dalton Watson).

The New Yorker looks at The Debt Project: 99 Portraits Across America by Brittany M. Powell (Graphic Arts: Ingram).

Bitch Media interviews Ruby Hamad, White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by (Catapult).

Talia Lavin talks with Guernica about Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy (Hachette).

Rumaan Alam, Leave the World Behind (Ecco: Harper), discusses his influences with The Guardian.

Greg Mania interviews Bryan Washington, Memorial (Riverhead: Penguin), for BOMB Magazine. Washington is also profiled by The Millions.

Christina Tosi, Milk Bar: Kids Only (Clarkson Potter: Crown), dishes on favorite recipes with Shondaland.

Autostraddle interviews Isabella Rotman, A Quick and Easy Guide to Consent (Limerence).

The L.A. Times profiles Jonathan Lethem, The Arrest (Ecco: Harper).

Ian Nathan speaks with Entertainment Weekly about Ridley Scott: A Retrospective (Palazzo).

As part of its Festival of Books, the L.A. Times has "Black authors on Black Lives Matter, anti-racism and staying true to your writing."

Penguin Random House is extending temporary licensing agreements on e-books and digital audio for libraries through March 31, 2021. Publishers Weekly reports.

Authors on Air

Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff VanderMeer (MCD: Macmillan), due out April 2021, will be adapted as a series for Netflix. Entertainment Weekly has details, and a cover reveal.

A miniseries adaptation of Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh is in the works at the BBC. Deadline reports.

Jack Goldsmith discusses After Trump: Reconstructing The Presidency on NPR's Fresh Air.

Matthew McConaughey, Greenlights (Crown: Random House), is on The Tamron Hall Show today.

Want to get the latest book news delivered to your inbox each day? Sign up for our daily Book Pulse newsletter.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing