Rachel Kapelke-Dale's 'The Ballerinas' Tops December LibraryReads and Loan Stars Lists | Book Pulse

Rachel Kapelke-Dale's debut novel, The Ballerinas, gathers buzz as the #1 pick for both LibraryReads and Loan Stars. Matt Haig wins the W H Smith’s Author of the Year 2021 award. Emily Stewart wins the Helen Anne Bell Poetry Bequest Award. ALA welcomes the removal of “Aliens” and “Illegal aliens” as subject headings. Sweden's Storytel buys audiobooks.com and Spotify acquires audiobook distributor FindawayTime writes about librarians dealing with increased book banning efforts. Star-studded recordings of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series are on the way.

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Buzzy Books, Awards, & News

The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale (St. Martin’s) gets buzz as the #1 pick for both the December LibraryReads and Loan Stars lists. The debut novel (which is also an IndieNext pick) publishes December 7th. 

Matt Haig wins the W H Smith’s Author of the Year 2021 award. The Bookseller has details.

Emily Stewart wins the Helen Anne Bell Poetry Bequest AwardBooks+Publishing has the news.

ALA welcomes the removal of “Aliens” and “Illegal aliens” as subject headings, LJ reports. Publishers Weekly and LitHub also cover the story. 

In acquisitions news, Sweden's Storytel Buys audiobooks.comPW reports. And, Spotify Acquires Audiobook Distributor Findaway, LJ reports.


NYT reviews Medusa's Ankles: Selected Stories by A. S. Byatt (Knopf): “The reason to buy this book — well, to borrow it — is for the title story. It’s about Susannah, a translator in late middle age, who has won an award and needs to appear on television.” And, Termination Shock by Neal Stephenson (Morrow): "manages to pull off a rare trick, at once wildly imaginative and grounded, and readers who go in for this world-building will likely leave with a heightened concern for all the ways in which we are actively making the planet inhospitable.”  Also, A Little Hope by Ethan Joella (Scribner): “Joella impressively balances a cast of thoroughly realized personalities grappling with momentous events — deaths, but also weddings, breakups and births.”  And, The Greek Revolution: 1821 and the Making of Modern Europe by Mark Mazower (Penguin Pr.): “This thick book is a long journey, rich with social history and the luminaries of the age. It is hard to imagine it being surpassed any time soon as the definitive English-language account of the Greek Revolution.”  And, Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America by Mayukh Sen (Norton; LJ starred review). Also, A Splendid Intelligence: The Life of Elizabeth Hardwick by Cathy Curtis (Norton): “I finished this book with a strong sense of Hardwick’s resolve and intelligence. Hardwick, who hated biographies, might have approved.”  Plus, The Sinner and the Saint: Dostoevsky and the Gentleman Murderer Who Inspired a Masterpiece by Kevin Birmingham (Penguin Pr.): “What is new is the way Birmingham has alchemized scholarship into a magisterially immersive, novelistic account of the author’s life.” Lastly, short reviews of new, international bildungsromans. 

NPR reviews Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show by Jonathan Karl (Dutton): “Enough of this material is new, or renewed in Karl's retelling, that it can all be compelling to read once again – even for those who have read more Trump books than they can count on their fingers”

The LA Times reviews Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19 by Matt Ridley and Alina Chan (Harper): “Viral is a laboratory-perfect example of how not to write about a scientific issue. The authors rely less on the scientists doing the painstaking work to unearth the virus' origin than on self-described sleuths who broadcast their dubious claims, sometimes anonymously, on social media. In the end, Chan and Ridley spotlight all the shortcomings of the hypothesis they set out to defend.”

The Washington Post reviews The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak (Bloomsbury): "As an author, she’s that rare alchemist who can mix grains of tragedy and delight without diminishing the savor of either. The results may sometimes feel surreal, but this technique allows her to capture the impossibly strange events of real life." And, The Making of Incarnation by Tom McCarthy (Knopf): “a novel of motion rather than emotion; imagine an even chillier J.G. Ballard. But that’s not a criticism — this excursion into what McCarthy might call the ‘source-code’ of behavior is a rich and fascinating exercise in observation.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reviews These Precious Days by Ann Pachett (Harper): "gathers together revised versions of published essays and a few new ones, turning her extraordinary powers as a writer to the lovely, unremarkable business of day-to-day living — walking the dog, cleaning out the closets, cooking a Thanksgiving turkey, caring for a dying friend."

Briefly Noted

The San Fransisco Chronicle talks with Claire Oshetsky about her new book, Chouette (Ecco).

New star-studded recordings of Terry Pratchett's Discworld are forthcoming from Penguin Random HouseThe Guardian reports that 40 Discworld audiobooks will be produced over the next two years, including narration from Bill Nighy, who will read footnotes.  

Time has a story about librarians grappling with an increase in book banning efforts.

Vox offers a guide to the 2021 National Book Award finalists.

Bustle suggests 8 must-reads for the week. 

NPR highlights celebrity memoirs out this fall.

The NYT shares “hyper-specific” recommendations for book lovers in your life. 

Book Page shares the best fiction from 2021.

CrimeReads shares an annotated excerpt of “The Bloomingdale Story,” from Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks 1941–1995 (Liveright; LJ starred review).

The Millions celebrates “new release day” with a brief look at new, notable titles for the week.

Thomas Perry, The Left-Handed Twin: A Jane Whitefield Novel (Mysterious Pr.), writes about learning to live with mistakes in his books at CrimeReads. Plus, CrimeReads shares a list of Christmas murder mysteries.

Wilbur Smith has died. Deadline has an obituary.

Authors On Air

NPR’s Fresh Air discusses Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Uniquely American Memoir of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood with author Dawn Turner (S. & S.; LJ starred review), and how how racism and violence impacted her memoir. 

NPR’s Book of the Day highlights SJ Sindu’s Blue-Skinned Gods (Soho Press), and how the novel “was an attempt to better understand her own family's urge to believe.”

NPR's Its Been A Minute With Sam Sanders talks to Rax King, Tacky: Love Letters to the Worst Culture We Have to Offerabout finding joy in 'tacky' culture. 

Dwyane Wade, Dwyane (Morrow), visits The Daily Show tomorrow.  

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Correction Notice: The title of Dwyane Wade's new memoir, Dwyane (Morrow), was originally misspelled in this post. We apologize for the error.



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