Costa Award Winners | Book Pulse

Costa Book Awards

The category winners of the Costa Book Awards have been announced. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Pamela Dorman: Penguin) wins the First Novel Award. The book was a breakthrough both in the UK and the U.S. It was a #1 Library Reads pick, LJ named it a Notable Book of 2017, and Reese Witherspoon included it as one of her “Great Book Alert!” titles. Deadline Hollywood reported back in May that Witherspoon is attached to the film adaptation and sees the novel as “a potential star vehicle for her.” The judges were concise when explaining why they picked the novel as the winner: “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fantastic. The end!”

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (Catapult; LJ stars) wins the Novel Award. McGregor flies a bit under the popular radar in the U.S. but he is a fixture on the Booker Prize longlist, has won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and is highly regarded in literary circles; James Wood writes about him in The New Yorker and George Sanders interviews him for The Paris Review. The Costa judges called Reservoir 13 “Hypnotic, compelling and original—this stunning novel simply blew us away.”

The full list of winners is online. The Costa Book of the Year will be announced on January 30.

Briefly Noted

NPR’s Fresh Air features Joseph Jebelli, giving a big boost to his book In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s (Little, Brown).

The NYT summarizes the heated reaction by the friends, family, and foundation of Richard Avedon to Avedon: Something Personal by Norma Stevens and Steven M.L. Aronson. They are calling on the publisher to withdraw the work. As the paper puts it “Spiegel & Grau says it will do no such thing.”

Also in the NYT, Parul Sehgal reviews Neon in Daylight by Hermione Hoby (Catapult), calling it “a radiant first novel…there’s an eerie electricity in the air. The novel is set in New York in 2012, in the waning days of summer. Hurricane Sandy is about to unleash itself on the city. Everyone seems to be losing his or her head.” The paper also features two reviews by author Henry Marsh on books about anesthesiology.

The Washington Post‘s chief book critic Ron Charles reviews This Could Hurt by Jillian Medoff (Harper; LJ stars), saying “If you hate office life, you’ll love—and laugh at—this novel.” The paper also reviews Wild Beauty: New and Selected Poems by Ntozake Shange (Atria/37 INK: S. & S.), writing, “No poet since Langston Hughes has insisted so forcefully on black people’s right to simply be.”

USA Today looks at German parenting with a review of Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children by Sara Zaske (Picador: Macmillan; LJ stars).

Authors on Air

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah turns its attention back to author interviews. Dan Harris, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book (Spiegel & Grau), is on tonight.

A new trailer is out for Fifty Shades Freed, the final movie in the trilogy. The trailer is already trending on YouTube. The film premieres on Feb. 9.

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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt is LJ's reader's advisory columnist. She writes The Reader's Shelf, RA Crossroads, Book Pulse, and Wyatt's World columns. She is currently revising The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction, 3d ed. (ALA Editions, 2018). Contact her at

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