Omer Friedlander Wins AJL Jewish Fiction Award | Book Pulse

There are awards announcements for the 2023 AJL Jewish Fiction Award, with Omer Friedlander winning for his book, The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land; also honored are Rachel Barenbaum for Atomic Anna and GennaRose Nethercott for Thistlefoot. Beginning their debuts on the best-seller lists are The Cabinet of Dr. Leng by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, How To Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix, Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes by Stephen A. Smith, and Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom by Ilyon Woo. There are author interviews with George McCalman, Frank Vogl, Jeff Guinn, Sam Lipsyte, and Kevin Maloney.

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Awards & Buzzy Book News

Omer Friedlander wins the 2023 AJL Jewish Fiction Award for The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land (Random House). Also honored are Rachel Barenbaum’s Atomic Anna (Grand Central) and GennaRose Nethercott’s Thistlefoot (Anchor; LJ starred review).

CrimeReads shares “25 Historical Crime, Mystery, and Horror Novels to Look Forward to in 2023.”

Lit Hub has book lists for brightening “dark January days" and “reading for the reclusive.”

NYT recommends some recently published books.

An independent publisher, Great Place Books, announces its launch via Lit Hub

Florida teachers can face felonies for not banning books, Lit Hub reports.

Fox News expresses concern over the human-life voice behind Apple’s AI-narrated audiobooks.

Novelist Paul La Farge has died at 52. NYT has more on his life and work.

New Title Bestsellers

Links for the week: NYT Hardcover Fiction Best-Sellers | NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best-Sellers


The Cabinet of Dr. Leng, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Grand Central), opens at No. 2 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction Best-Sellers list.

How To Sell a Haunted House, by Grady Hendrix (Berkley; LJ starred review), debuts at No. 5 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction Best-Sellers list.

The Shards, by Bret Easton Ellis (Knopf), sparkles at No. 12 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction Best-Sellers list.


Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes, by Stephen A. Smith (Gallery/13A), hits No. 5 on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best-Sellers list.

Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom, by Ilyon Woo (S. & S.; LJ starred review), begins at No. 7 on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best-Sellers list.

Rough Sleepers: Dr. Jim O’Connell’s Urgent Mission To Bring Healing to Homeless People, by Tracy Kidder (Random), wakes up to No. 9 on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best-Sellers list.


The Washington Post reviews I Saw Death Coming: A History of Terror and Survival in the War Against Reconstruction, by Kidada E. Williams (Bloomsbury; LJ starred review): “an unflinching and deeply compassionate account of what Black people accomplished, lost and fought for in resisting the war on freedom. It is about what it meant not just to live through, but live with, the violence and its traumatic effects on individuals, families and communities”; Roe: The History of a National Obsession by Mary Ziegler (Yale): “A book that focuses on one opinion without waiting for the language announcing, and denouncing, its reversal is hobbled from the start”;  City Under One Roof by Iris Yamashita (Berkley; LJ starred review): “Dramatizes both the comforts and the risks of living in an insular community. By story’s end, most readers will probably agree that Point Mettier was a good place to visit, but few of us would ever want to live there;” The Aftermath: The Last Days of the Baby Boom and the Future of Power in America by Philip Bump (Viking): “A deep and complicated interrogation of his subject, often challenging his own assumptions, with detailed forecasts of what could lie ahead—all illustrated with charts and visuals to drive a huge amount of data home;” and Three Roads Back: How Emerson, Thoreau, and William James Responded to the Greatest Losses of Their Lives by Robert D. Richardson (Princeton Univ.): “Richardson, who, as a college student, mourned the death of his 17-year-old brother from leukemia, narrates each ordeal with sympathy and compassion. His portrayal of their journeys from raw vulnerability to the reawakening to life’s possibilities invites us inside their souls, and speaks to our own.”

NYT shares four short reviews of romance novels as “small-town affairs”: Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn (Kensington, LJ starred review); Sorry, Bro by Taleen Voskuni (Berkley); Midnight Duet by Jen Comfort (Montlake); and Chick Magnet by Emma Barry (Montlake). 

Locus Magazine reviews Singer Distance, by Ethan Chatagnier (Tin House): “A wondrous reading experience, a thoughtful and provocative encounter with liter­ary artistry that is to be savored.” reviews The Keeper’s Six, by Kate Elliott (Tor: Macmillan): “Mixes its quest story with family reunification, its entertaining team of misfits with an ongoing argument on law, loyalty, and justice. It’s four parts a portal-story puzzle to five parts a meditation on power and labour, personhood and parenthood, and the long slow work of building a fairer, more just world one small act at a time.”

Book Marks has “5 Books Reviews You Need to Read This Week.”

Briefly Noted

NYT explores Salman Rushie’s soon-to-be-released novel Victory City (Random House).

R.F. Kuang, Babel (Harper Voyager), speaks to NYT’s “Inside the Best-Seller List” about using her work to “raise questions that bother her.”

NPR speaks to Oliver James, a popular BookTok user about using “self-help books to help him manage his PTSD and OCD.”

NYT delves into the work of Nigerian British writer Ben Okri, whose newest novel, The Last Gift of the Master Artists (Apollo), will be released in July 2023.

Patricia Engel, author of The Faraway World: Stories (Avid Reader: S. & S.), answers NYT’s “By the Book” questionnaire.

Lit Hub profiles “famous” ghostwriter J.R. Moehringer, co-author of Prince Harry’s new memoir, Spare (Random House). gives a first look at Mammoths at the Gates by Nghi Vo ( Macmillan). Also, an excerpt of Rubicon by J. S. Dewes (Tor). 

Authors on Air

George McCalman discusses “honoring the iconic and the unseen” in his book Illustrated Black History: Honoring the Iconic and Unseen (HarperOne) with the Keen On podcast. Also, Frank Vogl talks about the “American bankers and politicians enabling dirty money around the world” as detailed in his book, The Enablers: How the West Supports Kleptocrats and Corruption, Endangering our Democracy (Rowman & Littlefield).

Jeff Guinn, author of Waco: David Koresh, the Branch Davidians and a Legacy of Rage (S. & S.), revisits the 1993 catastrophe that led to the deaths of more than 80 people in an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air.

Sam Lipsyte, No One Left To Come Looking for You (S. & S.), talks about “the revelation that if you realize nobody cares, then you can do the thing that makes you happy,” in conversation on the Thresholds podcast.

The Otherppl podcast chats with Kevin Maloney, author of The Red-Headed Pilgrim (Two Dollar Radio: Ingram), on “how to be a funny writer even if your wife’s funnier than you.”

CrimeReads explores the “enduring appeal of the teen detective” both in print and on-screen.

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