‘The Celebrants’ by Steven Rowley Tops Holds Lists | Book Pulse

Steven Rowley’s The Celebrants leads holds this week. Other titles in demand include new books by Martha Wells, Jo Nesbo, Megan Abbott, and T.J. Newman. The James Tait Black Prize shortlist is announced. ALA’s Freedom to Read Foundation joins publishers and bookstores in a lawsuit over Arkansas SB 81. Three LibraryReads and seven Indie Next picks publish this week. Summer reading previews arrive, including People’s must-read picks for summer. NYT explores the staying power of Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. Plus, The Guardian has a guide for “where to start with Kazuo Ishiguro.”

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Big Books of the Week

The Celebrants by Steven Rowley (Putnam) leads holds this week.

Other titles in demand include:

Witch King by Martha Wells (Tor.com)

Killing Moon by Jo Nesbo, trans by Seán Kinsella (Knopf)

Beware the Woman by Megan Abbott (Putnam)

Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421 by T.J. Newman (Avid Reader/S. & S.; LJ starred review)

These books and others publishing the week of May 29, 2023 are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet.

Summer Books Previews

NYT has a summer reading preview

NPR previews 19 books for summer

The Washington Post highlights 23 books to read this summer.

Vulture recommends 18 new beach reads

Time has 25 books to read for summer

The Millions shares the most anticipated books for June

CrimeReads has “the most anticipated crime fiction of summer 2023.”

USA Today previews 10 summer suspense novels

T&C has “16 Best Royal Romance Novels” to read this summer

Authors Carley Fortune and Kiley Reid share their top summer book picks on GMA

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

Three LibraryReads and seven Indie Next picks publish this week:

The Celebrants by Steven Rowley (Putnam)

“This story of four lifelong friends going through the challenges of middle age will make the reader feel like they know each character intimately by the end. And even when tragic events occur, there is still humor and a lot of heart. Highly recommended for readers looking for a light read with emotional depth.”—Elizabeth I., DeKalb County Public Library System

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“Rowley pulls us in with humor and grace, tackling grief in precious ways. From Berkeley, Big Sur, Puerta Vallarta, and NYC, we become part of a special group of friends. All will be moved by this book and eager to plan their own living funerals.”—Amy Traughber, pages: a bookstore, Manhattan Beach, CA

Witch King by Martha Wells (Tor.com)

“Kai, the eponymous (and erroneously named) Witch King, traverses two timelines as he helps overthrow an empire and then has to deal with the descendants of heroes who live long enough to become villains. A very fun, tightly plotted epic fantasy with spectacular worldbuilding and pacing.”— Veronica Koven-Matasy, Boston Public Library

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“Martha Wells’s specialty is charming antiheroes who triumph with violence and ample dark humor. Witch King centers on a demon prince and a powerful witch as they escape captivity and search for the witch’s missing wife. Highly recommend!”—Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books, Okemos, MI

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer (Balantine)

“In this magical tale, a beloved children’s author announces a tantalizing game: four fans can compete to win the only copy of his new book. All the contestants are intriguing, but readers will root for Lucy, a teacher’s aide desperate to find the money needed to adopt an orphaned boy.”— Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library

Five additional Indie Next picks publish this week:

Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421 by T.J. Newman (Avid Reader/S. & S.; LJ starred review)

“This book should come with its own oxygen mask. Numerous times I had to remind myself to keep breathing as I raced through the heart-pounding pages. No one does suspense like T. J. Newman and Drowning makes this a fact.”—Mary O'Malley, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO

Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs (Morrow; LJ starred review)

“There is magic of all kinds on each page of Ink Blood Sister Scribe: grisly body horror magic; romantic, confectionary fairy tale magic; and the binding, consuming magic of family and what it means to belong. I am still under its spell!”—Sarah Jackson, The Book & Cover, Chattanooga, TN

Chef’s Choice by TJ Alexander (Atria; Emily Bestler Books; LJ starred review)

“The perfect fake dating book does exist, and it is Chef’s Choice. I absolutely loved their banter throughout. This book has the perfect balance of humor and heart.”—Laura Kendall, Second Flight Books, Lafayette, IN

Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea by Rita Chang-Eppig (Bloomsbury)

“A beautiful, meditative, fascinating read. This is exquisitely written and while I knew that the subject would be fascinating, I was still unprepared. Perfect for fans of Four Treasures of the Sky.”—Cari Quartuccio, Shakespeare & Co., New York, NY

Good Night, Irene by Luis Alberto Urrea (Little, Brown)

“In this WWII epic, Luis Alberto Urrea captures the catastrophic scale of war through the eyes of Irene and Dorothy, two Red Cross enlistees. Their spry banter, secrets, and tender care make a story and a friendship you won’t forget.”—Sarah Hollenbeck, Women & Children First, Chicago, IL

In The Media

People spotlights the must-read picks of summer, including fiction: Save What’s Left by Elizabeth Castellano (Anchor), Hedge by Jane Delury (Zibby Books), Farrell Covington and the Limits of Style by Paul Rudnick (Atria), The Five-Star Weekend by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown; LJ starred review), and You Can’t Stay Here Forever by Katherine Lin (Harper).

Nonfiction picks include: The Boy Who Reached for the Stars by Elio Morillo (HarperOne), Laid and Confused: Why We Tolerate Bad Sex and How To Stop by Maria Yagoda (St. Martin’s), Young and Restless: The Girls Who Sparked America’s Revolutions by Mattie Kahn (Viking), Genealogy of a Murder: Four Generations, Three Families, One Fateful Night by Lisa Belkin (Norton), and The 272: The Families Who Were Enslaved and Sold To Build the American Catholic Church by Rachel L. Swarns (Random). 

Mystery & Suspense picks include: Beware the Woman by Megan Abbott (Putnam), Girls and Their Horses by Eliza Jane Brazier (Berkley), Lay Your Body Down by Amy Suiter Clarke (Morrow), All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron; LJ starred review), and Dead Eleven by Jimmy Juliano (Dutton). Picks for Teens and Tweens include: Lying in the Deep by Diana Urban (Razorbill), The Night in Question by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson (Delacorte), Control Freaks by J.E. Thomas (Levine Querido), Imogen, Obviously by Becky Albertalli (Balzer+Bray), and Nigeria Jones by Ibi Zoboi (Balzer + Bray). 

There is a feature on singer Hayley Kiyoko, and her new YA novel, Girls Like Girls (Wednesday Books). Plus, Jeanine Donofrio, Love and Lemons Simple Feel Good Food: 125 Plant-Focused Meals To Enjoy Now or Make Ahead (Avery), shares a recipe. 


NYT reviews The Light at the End of the World by Siddhartha Deb (Soho; LJ starred review): “The hallucinatory quality of his narrative reminded me of William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch, while its apocalyptic trajectory had echoes of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian; Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea by Rita Chang-Eppig (Bloomsbury): “The book should appeal to readers of any age who enjoy young adult fiction and less common historical settings, as well as to those who are unfamiliar with Ching Shih”; The Male Gazed: On Hunks, Heartthrobs, and What Pop Culture Taught Me About (Desiring) Men by Manuel Betancourt (Catapult): “is a smart, refreshing essay collection on the subject, and deals directly and honestly with the paradoxes surrounding the topic of men”; and Kairos by Jenny Erpenbeck, tr. by Michael Hofmann (New Directions): “The first thing to know about Jenny Erpenbeck’s new novel, Kairos, is that it’s a wallow. I was in the mood for one. It’s a cathartic leak of a novel, a beautiful bummer, and the floodgates open early.”

The Washington Post reviews Lady Caroline Lamb: A Free Spirit by Antonia Fraser (Pegasus): “Fraser embeds Lamb in the attitudes and prejudices of her time, while also describing her unquenchable need for attention, and the particular fulfillment she found in her affair with Byron, ‘a situation with immense dramatic possibilities’”; and Chita: A Memoir by Chita Rivera (HarperOne): “At this stage of life, Rivera chose not to write a memoir that channels the power of all her selves. Yet Chita still shares the story of a girl who, despite not being blond and leggy, lit up a previously unimaginable path, making it easier for others to follow.”

Briefly Noted

The James Tait Black Prize shortlist is announced.

ALA’s Freedom to Read Foundation joins publishers and bookstores in a lawsuit over Arkansas SB 81, which “exposes librarians to criminal liability for making allegedly ‘obscene’ books available to minors.”  PW reports. 

Publishing Perspectives reports on PEN America’s efforts to track “Educational Gag Orders.”

S. & S. will distribute Page & Vine titles beginning with Summer 2023. PW reports.

USA Today shares 5 books for the week.

CrimeReads has 10 books for the week.

NYT shares new notable books

Tor highlights 5 SFF road trip stories

Vulture suggests 12 books for fans of HBO’s Succession and recommends 6 new audiobooks

T.J. Newman, Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421 (Avid Reader/S. & S.; LJ starred review), asks: “What if we could be heroes?” at USA Today

NYT explores the staying power of Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (Knopf; LJ starred review). 

The Guardian has a guide for “where to start with Kazuo Ishiguro.”

Authors On Air

Isabel Allende talks about how writing helped her find her voice on CBS Sunday Morning. Her latest novel, The Wind Knows My Name, tr. by Frances Riddle (Ballantine), arrives June 6. 

Victor Luckerson discusses his new bookBuilt from the Fire: The Epic Story of Tulsa’s Greenwood District, America’s Black Wall Street (Random), along with Oklahoma state Rep. Regina Goodwin, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Rita Chang-Eppig Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea (Bloomsbury, and Luis Alberto Urrea, Good Night, Irene (Little, Brown), discuss their books on a double shot of B&N’s Poured Over podcast.


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