Paul Lynch Wins Booker Prize for ‘Prophet Song’ | Book Pulse

Paul Lynch wins the Booker Prize for Prophet Song. The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose leads holds this week. Jenna Bush Hager picks We Must Not Think of Ourselves by Lauren Grodstein (also People’s book of the week) for her book club. Two LibraryReads and five Indie Next picks publish this week. NPR releases Books We Love, NYPL publishes its Best Books of 2023, and NYT announces its 100 notable books of 2023. Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying turns 50. Plus, a new documentary, The ABCs Of Book Banning, explores the impact of book bans in Florida public schools.

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Booker Prize, Book Clubs & Best of 2023 Lists

Paul Lynch wins the Booker Prize for Prophet Song (Atlantic Monthly), becoming the fifth Irish writer to do so. NYT has coverage, as do USA Today, Washington Post, NPR, Irish Times, and The Guardian. At the Booker ceremony, translator Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe addressed the audience about reading in prison and “how illicit books sustained her sense of freedom.”

Jenna Bush Hager picks We Must Not Think of Ourselves by Lauren Grodstein (Algonquin) for her December book club. NYT reviews: “This is a tender, heartbreaking novel that grapples with timeless questions.”

NPR releases Books We Love (formerly Book Concierge), featuring 380+ great 2023 reads. 

NYPL publishes its best books of 2023 lists for children, teens and adults.

NYT announces its 100 notable books of 2023. Tomorrow, NYT will narrow it down to the top 10 picks for the year. 

Big Books of the Week

The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose (Ballantine; LJ starred review) leads holds this week.

Other titles in demand include:

Unnatural Death by Patricia Cornwell (Grand Central)

The Watchmaker’s Hand by Jeffery Deaver (Putnam)

Robert B. Parker’s Broken Trust by Mike Lupica (Putnam)

Endgame: Inside the Royal Family and the Monarchy’s Fight for Survival by Omid Scobie (Dey Street)

These books and others publishing the week of November 27, 2023, are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet.

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

Two LibraryReads and five Indie Next picks publish this week:

The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose (Ballantine; LJ starred review)

“When a famous author dies before he can make an important announcement about his career, Molly can't help but insert herself into the investigation. Molly and her friend Angela work to prove the author was murdered, but solving the case is not easy. Fans of the first book in this series will not be disappointed, and the ending may mean another sequel.”—Cari Dubiel, Twinsburg Public Library, OH

It is also the #1 December Indie Next pick:

“Molly is back with another entertaining mystery to solve at the Regency Grand Hotel. This time, a famous author is under scrutiny, featuring a pack of rabid fans and a peek into Molly’s past. Pour a nice cup of tea and enjoy Molly’s next case!”—Jenny Stroyeck, The Homer Bookstore, Homer, AK

The Kingdom of Sweets: A Novel of the Nutcracker by Erika Johansen (Dutton) is a Hall of Fame pick 

Four additional Indie Next picks publish this week:

Alice Sadie Celine by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright (S. & S.)

“Written in gorgeous prose that dives deeply into each of the three women’s characters and backstories, with a level of suspense that kept me wondering how things would turn out in the end. This novel is unique and surprising. A great read.”—Christine Bell, Roundabout Books, Bend, OR

The Fiction Writer by Jillian Cantor (Park Row)

“Jillian Cantor explores the fiction writers’ storytelling dilemma of writing a story that is fresh and has not been told before. Cantor’s entertaining novel has many twists that keeps you guessing until the very end.”—Connie L. Eaton, Three Sisters Books & Gifts, Shelbyville, IN

Ruined by Sarah Vaughn, ilus. by Sarah Winifred Searle & Niki Smith (First Second)

“This graphic novel reflects so many of the emotions one feels while reading a historical romance novel. We see the blushes, the crooked smirks, and the awkwardness of stilted courtship roles. I love that there were no punches pulled!”—R. Aimee Chipman, The Bluestocking Bookshop, Holland, MI

The Last Love Note by Emma Grey (Zibby)

“I fell in love with the characters in this book. I rooted for all of them. I wanted them to do well. I wanted their love stories to work. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me cringe and scream like a teenager. I loved it.”—Andrea Iriarte, Molly’s Bookstore, Melrose, MA

In the Media

People’s book of the week is We Must Not Think of Ourselves by Lauren Grodstein (Algonquin). Also getting attention are The General and Julia by Jon Clinch (Atria; LJ starred review) and Inheritance by Nora Roberts (St. Martin’s). Also highlighted is Five Days in November: In Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of JFK’s Assassination by Clint Hill & Lisa McCubbin Hill (Gallery). 

The “Picks” section spotlights Netflix’s Leave the World Behind, based on the novel by Rumaan Alam. Mountain House: Studies in Elevated Design by Nina Freudenberger (Clarkson Potter) turns up in the holiday gift guide. Plus, recipes from Samantha Seneviratne, Bake Smart: Sweets and Secrets from My Oven to Yours (Harvest), and Elizabeth Poett, The Ranch Table: Recipes from a Year of Harvests, Celebrations, and Family Dinners on a Historic California Ranch, written with Georgia Freedman (Morrow Cookbooks). 


NYT  reviews Endgame: Inside the Royal Family and the Monarchy’s Fight for Survival by Omid Scobie (Dey Street): “His book presents a critical view of palace machinations and the central players involved, and reflects on whether the monarchy should consider ‘standing back and watching the curtain slowly close’ on a thousand years of British history”; and Magic: The Life of Earvin “Magic” Johnson by Roland Lazenby (Celadon): “The curious thing about this compendious, scrupulously researched biography, so rich in basketball and cultural lore, is that the best parts are not about basketball at all.”

Washington Post reviews The Annual Banquet of the Gravediggers’ Guild by Mathias Énard, tr. by Frank Wynne (New Directions): “It is excessive and exhausting, a Gallic admixture of Philip Roth’s orificial obsessions, Edgar Allan Poe’s penchant for death, Thomas Pynchon’s songs and wordplay, and the shape-shifting and time-folding of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, all with a wink toward Boccaccio’s Decameron”; and Same Bed Different Dreams by Ed Park (Random; LJ starred review): “The prose moves through the material like an Olympic diver slicing into the water, swift and splashless. Its prevailing tone, familiar from Park’s 2008 workplace comedy, Personal Days, is elegant, a little arch, with titrated moments of loveliness.”

Briefly Noted

FoxNews talks with Laurah Norton about her new book, Lay Them to Rest: On the Road with the Cold Case Investigators Who Identify the Nameless (Hachette).

CrimeReads suggests 10 new books for the week

Shondaland has ”10 Books About Protecting Our Oceans from the Climate Crisis.”

Vogue highlights five books that changed writer Ottessa Moshfegh’s life.

Bookriot has 9 books set in the 1980s.

The Guardian recommends 10 comfort reads for a cold day.

Parade suggests the best books to give as gifts.

Vanity Fair has “The Best Short Books to Read in 2023.”

Washington Post covers the best wine books of 2023.

The Guardian asks: “Should we abolish literary genres?

CrimeReads ranks Agatha Christie’s most romantic murder mysteries.

BookRiot advises “what to do when you hate your own book club pick” and how to cure a reading slump.

The Guardian provides a guide on where to start with AS Byatt, who died last week at the age of 87.

Authors on Air

Molly Jong-Fast reflects on the 50th anniversary of her mother Erica Jong's groundbreaking novel Fear of Flying (Berkley), on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday. 

NPR's Morning Edition talks with Oprah and Arthur C. Brooks about their bookBuild the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier (Portfolio), which is now a podcast and a YouTube series.

NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday speaks with director Sheila Nevins about her debut documentary, The ABCs Of Book Banning, about the “impact of book bans in Florida public schools on the kids.”

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