NBA Goes International, Staunch Prize Backlash, and Authors on Air | Book Pulse


The National Book Foundation announces the National Book Award for Translated Literature, adding a fifth category to the prestigious awards. In announcing the expansion, the foundation joins a number of others awarding international fiction and nonfiction including the Man Booker International Prize, several PEN awards, and the Nobel Prize in Literature. The inaugural winner will be named this year at the fall NBA gala.

The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in the Business of Death, Decay, and Disaster by Sarah Krasnostein (St. Martin’s) sweeps the 2018 Victorian Premier’s literary awards, reports The Guardian, “taking the $100,000 Victorian prize for literature and the $25,000 category prize for nonfiction.”

Sophie Hannah adds to the backlash towards the Staunch prize, the new thriller award announced last week.

The Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour releases its longlist.

Monthly Picks






A number of reading lists mark the start of the month, including those by LitHub, Signature, POPSUGAR, and Amazon.

Book Club

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (Random) is the next PBS NewsHour-New York Times book club pick. The club begins with an interview with Grann and posts a photo of President Calvin Coolidge with four Osage Indians taken in front of the White House in 1925.

The Now Read This club wrapped up its first selection, Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner: S. & S.), last night with an interview with author Jesmyn Ward:

Briefly Noted

Roxane Gay interviews Morgan JerkinsThis Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America (Harper Perennial).

NYT reviews Rise and Kill First by Ronen Bergman (Random): “an exceptional work, a humane book about an incendiary subject.” Also reviewed is Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Steve Coll (Penguin), calling it “engrossing” and writing it is “a book of surpassing excellence that is almost certainly destined for irrelevance. The topic is important, the treatment compelling, the conclusions persuasive. Just don’t expect anything to change as a consequence.” The paper also writes about The Afterlives by Thomas Pierce (Riverhead; LJ stars), calling it a “warm and inventive debut,” and To Fight Against This Age: On Fascism and Humanism by Rob Riemen (W.W. Norton), writing “Riemen’s book is admirable in many ways, but it is an unusually hermetic example of the thinking that led so many Europeans to believe in the first place that it was possible, necessary and desirable to produce a civilization in which citizens are expected to look down on the love that has always defined citizenship—the love of one’s own.”

Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance by Mark Whitaker (S. & S.) gets four stars in USA Today: “There’s something close to enchantment to be found in the stories Whitaker unpacks piece by piece, name by glittering name. Black excellence, black talent and black achievement were of such incandescence in Pittsburgh for most of the late century’s first half that one imagines them piercing through the thickest mesh of soot and smog draping the city during its coal-and-steel heyday.” The paper also features Bringing Columbia Home: The Untold Story of a Lost Space Shuttle and Her Crew by Michael D. Leinbach and Jonathan H. Ward (Arcade: Skyhorse).

The Washington Post looks at literary history with The Country House Library by Mark Purcell (Yale Univ.; LJ stars), remarking that “The greatest collector of the age was the 2nd Earl Spencer, a forebear of Princess Diana, who needed five libraries in his home at Althorp House to contain his books.” Michael Dirda appreciates Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians (Penguin).

Entertainment Weekly posts their Romance column, featuring “five January releases [that] explore the evolution of connections that arise out of obligation (mail-order brides), unavoidable proximity (falling for your new boss), long-standing rivalry, and second chances when you butt up against a life you thought you left behind.”

On the heels of Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech about Time’s Up and #MeToo, she has removed the contributions of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons from her book The Wisdom of Sundays (Flatiron), reports the NYT. New editions arriving this month will not include Simmons, who has been accused of rape.

Medieval manuscripts go online.

Authors on Air:

Black Panther is “outpacing all superhero movies” in terms of advance ticket sales, reports Variety. Vanity Fair says the early reviews are “ecstatic.”

Ronen Bergman, Rise and Kill First (Random), was on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday. Elizabeth Catte, What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia (Belt), was on All Things Considered.

Sofia Coppola talks about the making of The Virgin Suicides.

The Ology books are set to become a “live-action family franchise universe” for Paramount, reports Deadline Hollywood. Gork, The Teenage Dragon by Gabe Hudson (Knopf) might be headed to a small screen.

Rose McGowan will be on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah tonight.

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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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