Read with Jenna Book Club Picks Safiya Sinclair’s ‘How To Say Babylon’ | Book Pulse

Safiya Sinclair’s How To Say Babylon: A Memoir is the latest Read with Jenna book club pick. Shortlists are announced for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the Cundill History Prize. Plus, interviews with Mary Beard, Jill Duggar, and Melissa Lozada-Oliva.

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Awards & Book News






Safiya Sinclair’s How To Say Babylon: A Memoir (S. & S.) is the latest pick for Jenna Bush Hager’s Today show book clubKirkus covers the news.

The shortlist is announced for the Center for Fiction First Novel PrizeFamily Lore by Elizabeth Acevedo (Ecco), Lookout by Christine Byl (Deep Vellum/A Strange Object), Pay as You Go by Eskor David Johnson (McSweeney’s), Moonrise over New Jessup by Jamila Minnicks (Algonquin; LJ starred review), Night Wherever We Go by Tracey Rose Peyton (Ecco), We Are a Haunting by Tyriek White (Astra House), and Y/N by Esther Yi (Astra House). Kirkus and Publishers Weekly have coverage.

The shortlist is announced for the Cundill History PrizeThe Huxleys: An Intimate History of Evolution by Alison Bashford (Univ. of Chicago), Red Memory: The Afterlives of China’s Cultural Revolution by Tania Branigan (Norton), The Declassification Engine: What History Reveals About America’s Top Secrets by Matthew Connelly (Pantheon), The Perfection of Nature: Animals, Breeding, and Race in the Renaissance by Mackenzie Cooley (Univ. of Chicago), Queens of a Fallen World: The Lost Women of Augustine’s Confessions by Kate Cooper (Basic), Dust on the Throne: The Search for Buddhism in India by Douglas Ober (Stanford Univ.), Charged: A History of Batteries and Lessons for a Clean Energy Future by James Morton Turner (Univ. of Washington), and The Madman in the White House: Sigmund Freud, Ambassador Bullitt, and the Lost Psychobiography of Woodrow Wilson by Patrick Weil (Harvard Univ.). Shelf Awareness has the news.

Page to Screen

September 30

Poison, based on the short story by Roald Dahl. Netflix. Reviews | No trailer

October 4

Sullivan’s Crossing, based on the romance series by Robyn Carr. CW. No reviews | Trailer


NYT reviews How To Say Babylon: A Memoir by Safiya Sinclair (S. & S.): “Sinclair’s breathless, scorching memoir of a girlhood spent becoming the perfect Rasta daughter and an adolescence spent becoming one of Jamaica’s most promising young poets. For its sheer lusciousness of prose, the book’s a banquet”; The MANIAC by Benjamín Labatut (Penguin Pr.; LJ starred review): “Beyond its mid-20th-century viewfinder, though, it quickly becomes clear that what The MANIAC is really trying to get a lock on is our current age of digital-informational mastery and subjection”; audiobook of the week Gone Tonight by Sarah Pekkanen (Macmillan Audio); and new biographies by Scott Shane, Deborah E. Lipstadt, Douglas Brunt, and Sung-Yoon Lee.

Washington Post reviews Love in a Time of Hate: Art and Passion in the Shadow of War by Florian Illies, tr. by Simon Pare (Riverhead): “What could have been a superficial catalogue of salacious gossip, tawdry rumors and grubby encounters turns out to be an enthralling and insightful cultural history”; and After the Nazis: The Story of Culture in West Germany by Michael H. Kater (Yale Univ.): “While Kater rightly extols the artists and intellectuals who…‘helped Germany to defeat the spirit of Nazism’…his book’s last chapter sounds a more disturbing note.”

LitHub selects “5 Book Reviews You Need to Read This Week,” plus the best-reviewed fiction and nonfiction of September.

Briefly Noted

Tyler Austin Harper writes a critique of Ibram X. Kendi’s books in the Washington Post: “Ibram X. Kendi’s fall is a cautionary tale—so was his rise.”

Satirist Dawn Powell, who died in 1965, was buried in a potter’s field in the Bronx. “Now some of her admirers are thinking about how to commemorate her,” reports NYT.

AI Detection Startups Say Amazon Could Flag AI Books. It Doesn’t,” writes Wired.

HipLatina speaks with Melissa Lozada-Oliva, author of Candelaria (Astra House).

The Guardian talks to Mary Beard, author of Emperor of Rome: Ruling the Ancient Roman World (Liveright: Norton).

LA Times interviews Jill Duggar, author of Counting the Cost: A Memoir (Gallery).

Washington Post gets a tour through the personal library of Jennifer Egan, author of The Candy House (Scribner; LJ starred review), while Lauren Groff, The Vaster Wilds (Riverhead), answers The Guardian’s “The Books of My Life” questionnaire.

NYT publishes images from Jim Goldberg’s photobook Coming and Going (Mack Bks.).

EW shares details from The History of Sketch Comedy: A Journey Through the Art and Craft of Humor by Keegan-Michael Key and Elle Key (Chronicle) and has an excerpt from Tessa Bailey’s Wreck the Halls (Avon).

NYT profiles Mike Bridenstine’s The Perfect Amount of Wrong: The Rise of Alt Comedy on Chicago’s North Side (The History Pr.).

LA Times discusses Julia Fox’s forthcoming memoir Down the Drain (S. & S.).

The Guardian explains where to start with J.M. Coetzee.

NYT lists “9 New Books We Recommend This Week,” six paperbacks to read this week, and the week’s newly published books.

The Guardian shares the books that writers and readers enjoyed in September.

Vulture recommends nine great audiobooks to listen to this month.

Kirkus highlights reissues of older books.

CrimeReads suggests “5 novels about war that bear re/reading” and “6 creepy novels featuring murder houses.” shares “5 Books Featuring an Unlikely Alliance with Ghosts.”

NYPL’s blog has a banned-books reading list and explains how to read their first Teen Banned Book Club titleLJ shares more details about NYPL’s Books for All campaign and book club.

LitHub recommends the best audiobooks of September

Authors on Air

NPR’s Fresh Air talks to Kashmir Hill, author of Your Face Belongs to Us: A Secretive Startup’s Quest To End Privacy as We Know It (Random; LJ starred review).

LitHub’s Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast interviews Brooklyn Public Library’s collections manager Leigh Hurwitz about book bansSo Many Damn Books interviews Mona Awad, author of Rouge (S. & S./Marysue Rucci); The Maris Review interviews Aparna Nancherla, author of Unreliable Narrator: Me, Myself, and Impostor Syndrome (Viking); and Beyond the Page: The Best of the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference features a conversation between Anne Applebaum, Robert Kagan, and Evan Osnos.

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