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September 2017

Graphic Novel Friday: The Best Comics of September

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This month, it's a super-friends team-up! Editor Adrian Liang and I combine forces to bring you the best of the month, covering the comics spectrum across literary and blockbuster reads.

 

 

 

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Ready to feel old? Bat-nemesis Harley Quinn just celebrated her 25th birthday! While she originally appeared in Batman: The Animated Series as a sidekick/love interest to the Joker, Harley’s popularity quickly grew to earn her appearances across multiple Batman books and eventually into a titular comic series all her own. Plus, she even appeared at cinemas last summer in Suicide Squad, played by Margot Robbie. She’s sometimes a villain, sometimes an anti-hero, and all-the-times an unpredictable, madcap character with a big heart, so long as you stay out of swinging range of her mallet. This celebratory collection features the greatest hits of Harley’s crimes and mistah-meanors by the greatest hits of contributors, including Jim Lee, Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, and many more. Happy Birthday, Harley!
 

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A few years ago, one of my favorite graphic novels was Here by Richard McGuire, where a single room was viewed across decades, homeowners, and life happenings. When Adrian recommended Park Bench to me, a mostly silent graphic novel featuring the narrative of a single park bench and the snippets of lives that come across it, I had a good feeling. The black and white illustrations and sparse text force the reader to closely examine panels, searching for connections between occasional bench visitors and regulars. People affect the bench (a pair of sweethearts carve a memory into it), while the bench affects others (serving as, for example, a dog’s rain respite). There are longer stories in the 330-plus pages, as artist/writer Chabouté is a renowned French graphic novelist, but this is mostly a meditation on relationships, both with each other and everyday objects. As Adrian said, “It’s simple but emotional.” Agreed, it’s a great find.
 

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There’s something afoot in Mark Millar’s recent creative output. Gone are the days of wanton violence and sneering cynicism, and instead—well, wait. The violence and cynicism are still there, rest assured, but he’s softened it a bit to allow for character moments and sentimentality. This blend of new and old Mark Millar is on fully display in the Jupiter's Legacy series, now in its second volume (see Vol. 1 here). The premise is classic Millar: what if the children of heroes grew up to be entitled, elitist snots? And what if they used their powers for their own betterment instead of a greater good? Who would/could stop them? Millar is joined by lauded artist Frank Quitely to tell a larger tale of family, responsibility, and…OK, violence and a dash of cynicism. It’s the best thing he’s written in a period where he is clearly upping his game, and this volume marks a satisfying end (for now).
 

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It’s 2017, so it must be time for another re-imagining of Jane Eyre. Before you roll your eyes like I did when Adrian told me it was a highlight, consider the source of the retelling: Aline Brosh McKenna is the screenwriter behind The Devil Wears Prada and the incredibly clever television series, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, while Ramón K. Pérez is the Eisner Award-winning artist of Jim Henson’s A Tale of Sand, among other must-reads. Jane is a modern take on the classic, where Jane’s dream of leaving her small fishing town for school in New York City becomes a reality, only the move isn’t everything she hopes. As a nanny in NYC, Jane falls for the father of the child in her care, and when she sees what wealth and deception can do to a life, she must make a decision. McKenna imbues Jane with enough private details that she reads as both Brontë’s Jane Eyre and a separate creation; she’s a protagonist readers want to follow. Perez’s artwork is astonishing, as he never shortchanges; he packs a packed subway car full of individual characters, to the point that it feels claustrophobic and rich with personal details and unspoken relationships. It’s a fine combo of creators working together to build something new from something familiar.
 

ABR Readers, what books have your friends recently recommended to you that turned out to be welcome surprises? Say hello in the comments below.

--Alex

Weekend Reading

NaturalistIn this edition, a book to help tame your blood pressure, a tribute to the age of the rock star, and some "new" stories from Kurt Vonnegut.

Adrian Liang: Sometimes it’s good to take a gut-check on what’s really important instead of what’s sending your blood pressure through the roof, so I’m going to continue reading Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Manson is at first abrasively and then, somehow, delightfully profane as he coaches readers on focusing on what’s truly important—like your health—instead of what’s not important—like the brand of shoes you wear. I like getting these bracing slaps upside the head every so often, and now is an excellent time to sort out where I want my mental energy to go. I also can’t wait to get back to Andrew Mayne’s scientific thriller, The Naturalist (Oct 1). Story trumps style as a biology professor gets entangled in a murder investigation, first as a suspect and then as the only one who recognizes that a serial killer, not a grizzly, is responsible for a string of disappearances across Montana. By using his scientific training, he starts uncovering bodies. Lots of bodies. An engrossing mix of science, speculation, and suspense, The Naturalist will suck you in.

Jon Foro: Full disclosure: If you put Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie on a book jacket, I’m going to at least give it a look. So here we have Uncommon People, in which music journalist and author David Hepworth (Never a Dull Moment) correctly declares the age of the rock star dead, but also correctly that the idea of the rock star is alive and well. With that in mind, Hepworth selects 40 iconic musicians whose careers landed  in the years between 1955 and 1995, writing short chapters recreating pivotal moments that contributed to their fame. Little Richard shouts “Awopbopaloobop!” during a break in an otherwise unremarkable recording session; John meets Paul between Quarrymen sets at a “village fete” outside of Liverpool. Sometimes the events initiate downward spirals, as when Jerry Lee Lewis’s 13-year-old cousin-bride introduced herself to a gaggle of British reporters. Whatever the story, each offers a little bit of insight into the personalities preceding the mythology, and the reasons we loved it.

Erin Kodicek: Kurt Vonnegut fans rejoice! A complete volume of his short fiction, including a handful of previously unpublished works, was released on Sept. 26. It's a hefty book, perfect for getting lost in during a rainy weekend, and for Tom Cruise to stand on should he marry a tall person again. Evidently Vonnegut only published a fraction of what he wrote, and there's a story included in this collection that his agent rejected in 1958, famously telling him, "Save it for the collection of your works which will be published someday when you become famous. Which may take a little time."

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Katherine Rundell: Three Books that Made Me a Writer

Katherine Rundell:edited:Photograph by Blair MowatWhen the Amazon Book Review interviewed the writer Katherine Rundell earlier this month, it was clear that this Shakespeare scholar, tight-rope artist, and amateur pilot is as well-read as she is adventurous. Her new novel for young readers, The Explorer, is the exciting, emotional story of four children fighting to survive after their plane crashes in the Amazon rainforest. It’s a tale of bravery and ingenuity that will make you believe, as Rundell does, that “children are capable of great things,” and that “meeting fear head on is what galvanizes the human heart.”

Rundell grew up running around barefoot in Zimbabwe, reading books from the local library, which were often very old indeed. Dated or not, the stories she read then instilled in her the love of literature and pithy, vivid writing that makes her books for children such a delight for readers of any age. We asked Katherine Rundell to tell us a little bit about the books that meant the most to her as a child.

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Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak.
One of the first books I remember loving was Where the Wild Things Are: Sendak had such an intricate and generous understanding of what children want - I drank in that madcap, bold world he builds and wanted more. It taught me what it is to be hungry for books.
 

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Charmed Life, by Diana Wynne Jones.
The writer Diana Wynne Jones is famous in the U.K., but still not as much read as she deserves - she should be even more famous than J.K. Rowling (whose work I also adored). Charmed Life, written in the 1970s, is about a wizard who does not know he is a wizard, sent to live in a castle with an enigmatic man at the head of it (sound familiar?) and it thrilled me; she is so sharply funny, and her books believe in the wit and intelligence of children. She taught me not to underestimate children. 
 

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Journey to the River Sea, by Eve Ibbotson.
Perhaps the book that has most influenced my most recent work is Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson. It's a brilliant adventure and a love letter to the beauty of the Amazon rainforest; when I first read it, I longed to go to the Amazon. Years later, I did, and my own book The Explorer came directly from that journey. 
 

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The Explorer, by Katherine Rundell.
 

A Decade of Change for Vegan Cooking: "Veganomicon 10th Anniversary Edition"

Veganomicon10thAnniv_200Think back a decade to what you might find if you were eating vegan...not much, right?  Today there are vegan bakeries and loads of resources for ingredients and recipes but when Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero wrote Veganomicon they were early pioneers of vegan cooking.  Ten years after writing their seminal cookbook, the two have gone back and updated it with new dishes, color photos, and revisions throughout.

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Veganomicon, Moskowitz and Romero answered a few questions about vegan cuisine and their cookbook, and also share one of Romero's favorite recipes from the book:

 

How has vegan cuisine changed in the ten years since Veganomicon was originally published?

Isa: It's everywhere now. Most people know what quinoa and seitan are, and they even pronounce them correctly. Kale has gone from a garnish at the bottom of a catering tray to the trendiest vegetable in town and come full circle where now it's even passé! There's more availability in supermarkets and restaurants; there are about 87,436 vegan blogs (at last count) and even more Instagram accounts. But we still have a long ways to go. Vegan cuisine is still a niche and not taken totally seriously in the food community, and we are still working hard to change that.

Terry: It’s unreal and completely exciting the reach vegan food has now! It’s not exactly mainstream, but seeing that little “v” next to items on non-vegan restaurants or finding vegan food in big grocery stores is easier than ever. Nearly every food magazine encourages eaters to flirt with making something vegan for dinner. Vegan cheese is no longer a sad factory slab but a whole world of beautiful, artisan-made treasures. And vegan desserts are as common as cupcakes or coconut milk ice cream. It's a great time to discover vegan food.

How long have you known each other and what was the first recipe you created together?

Isa: We've known each other for a little over 20 years. Hmm. We don't really create recipes together per se, we more discuss each other's ideas. The first thing we cooked together was sushi on the first episode of the PPK! 

Terry: As Isa mentioned, we usually develop recipes in our own kitchens, but eerily sync together because we are also psychically linked via vegan cooking.

What is your favorite new recipe from the book?

Isa: I love the Grilled Ranch Salad. Charred lettuce has become a favorite of mine over the past decade. Pair that with fresh ingredients, plus smoky crunchy bacon and cool dressing, and you can do anything.

Terry: I find myself making variations of the Stir-fried Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry on a weeknight all the time: it has the speed of a stir fry with the satisfying comfort of a well-balanced curry loaded with hearty veggies. 

What do you tell people when they say that cooking vegan is hard?

Isa: I think people think cooking is hard in general; I've never had someone say specifically that vegan cooking is hard (believe it or not.) But it's just a matter of, first of all, wanting to cook, and then learning the basics. Start with a one-pot soup and see how satisfying it is! Once you get into the groove and get some practice, dive into a bigger project like lasagna. 

Terry: Vegan cooking is still just cooking, minus the animal products. The great thing about vegan cooking now is that armies of vegan chefs and bloggers and foodies have explored countless ways to make all the food you love at home, now vegan. If there's something you love to make, somebody has a vegan version of it for you to try. Go forth and cook like a vegan, with confidence!

“You’re at a dinner party with Rachel Ray, Guy Fieri, and BBQ master, Steve Raichlen, what one recipe from the book would you make for them?”

Isa: Probably everybody's favorite, Chickpea Cutlets! 

Terry: Agreed on the chickpea cutlets too! And do dress them up with the Mustard Sauce or the Red Wine Sauce!

 


Veganomicon_CauliflowerCurry450HSTIR-FRIED CHICKPEA & CAULIFLOWER CURRY
SERVES 4 / TIME: ABOUT 30 MIN

A chunky, spicy stir-fried curry that’s fast enough for weeknights and has big fresh flavors that no takeout can come close to. This recipe is inspired by the Indian-British jalfrezi curries, using typically Indian seasonings and ingredients with Chinese cooking techniques: what we really have here is a great way to use your favorite vegetables, beans, even tofu in a fast-cooking stir-fry loaded with bold Indian flavors. As this is a “dry” curry, moist but not too soupy, it’s ideal for scooping up with Yogurt Naan Bread (page 338) or basmati rice that’s cool enough to handle.

Make this curry twice, and you’ll be ready to experiment by preparing the following batches with different proteins and vegetables in place of the chickpeas and cauliflower. Seared extra firm tofu in place of chickpeas or eggplant in place of cauliflower will make this feel a little more Chinese, but you can sway it toward a more Indian feel by using pumpkin or okra.

  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, softened
  • 1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds (optional but awesome)
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 to 2 fresh red chiles, minced
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh turmeric, or 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion (1-inch chunks)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes (preferable fire-roasted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

 

Heat about 2 teaspoons of the coconut oil in a wok or large deep skillet over medium-high heat, add the chickpeas, and fry for 3 minutes, or until golden. Add the cauliflower and fry for another 5 minutes, or until it browns a little on the outside. Transfer the chickpea mixture to a bowl and place the remaining 4 teaspoons of coconut oil in the wok.

Heat the wok over high heat and stir in the star anise, cumin seeds, nigella seeds (if you have them), garam masala, minced chile, ginger, turmeric, and garlic and fry for less than a minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Stir in the onion immediately (this will cool down the pan to prevent burning), add the bell pepper, and fry for 2 minutes to soften up the veggies. Stir in the chickpea mixture, add the tomatoes and salt, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes: the cauliflower will release moisture and the vegetables will simmer. The curry is done when the cauliflower is tender but still firm and the curry has thickened; the curry should be a little saucy but not overly soupy like stew.

Turn off the heat, sprinkle with lime juice and cilantro, and serve hot with naan bread!

Variations

REPLACE THE CHICKPEAS with extra-firm tofu sliced into 1/2-inch cubes; make sure
to brown them well before adding vegetables.

REPLACE THE CAULIFLOWER with peeled, seeded, and diced winter squash (butternut,
acorn, Hubbard, etc.); okra, sliced into 1-inch pieces; or Chinese
eggplant, diced into 1-inch cubes.

IF USING WINTER SQUASH, the cooking process may take a little longer and require
a few additional tablespoons of water to help soften up the squash. Just
allow it to simmer to reduce the total liquid volume for a nice thick curry!

 


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Zoe Quinn Faces off Against Online Hate

Crash OverrideIt's been a few years since #gamergate tore into Zoe Quinn's life, with strangers online hoping she'd kill herself and others sending death threats to her family. But it's safe to say that online vitriol has, if anything, increased since then. 

It's easy to suggest, "Well, just stay off the Internet." But as Quinn points out, that's a tough call to make for people whose business is on the Internet, and the actions of online abuse frequently spill out into offline life. 

We spoke with Quinn about her new book, Crash Override, her Gamergate experience, trolling versus abuse, and how individuals can take a clear-eyed look at whether they are unwittingly adding to online bile.

 

 

 


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The Best Biographies & Memoirs of September

Here are a few of our favorite biographies and memoirs for September. See more of our picks, and all of the Best Books of the Month.

BOTM-Coming-SensesAt the tender age of 27, chef and activist Alice Waters opened what ended up being one of America’s most iconic restaurants, Chez Panisse, redefining American cuisine through a stubborn dedication to fresh, local ingredients and willingness to experiment. In Coming to My Senses, Waters traces her life from her stodgy, suburban upbringing to the turbulence of 1960s Berkley and her unlikely rise as a "counterculture cook." Featuring photographs, letters, and recipes, Waters's autobiography is a revealing exploration of her revolutionary culinary point of view, and the determination that enabled the "little French restaurant" to thrive in a time when convenience was king.

 

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Unstoppable: My Life So Far by Maria Sharapova
Between 2004 and 2016, Sharapova, with four Grand Slam titles to her credit, was one of the most successful and popular athletes in the world. All that crashed down around her when the International Tennis Federation handed her a 15-month ban for using a banned substance, one only recently added to their list. Unstoppable, written with the always solid Rich Cohen (The Chicago Cubs: Story of a Curse), is a story of perseverance, spanning Sharapova's Russian childhood to her recent return to the pro circuit. 
 

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Crossings: A Doctor-Soldier's Story by Jon Kerstetter
Following an impoverished childhood the Oneida Reservation in Wisconsin, Kerstetter's training as an emergency physician led him into battlefields Rwanda, Kosovo, and Bosnia, as well as three tours in Iraq, where he took part in identifying the bodies of Saddam Hussein’s sons. But after he returned home, a devastating stroke left him battling severe physical and cognitive disabilities and PTSD. Crossings reads like three autobiographies in one, each tied together by an uncommon fortitude.
 

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The Best of Us: A Memoir by Joyce Maynard
In her late 50s, bestselling author Joyce Maynard married the love of her life. Just over a year later, Jim was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, dying following 19 difficult months of treatment. The Best of Us is both heartbreaking and uplifting, a chronicle of unlikely, unexpected romance and personal tragedy, as well as a meditation on the nature of love.
 

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The Best History Books of September

WarIf it were plausible, I would list all ten of the Best History Books of September in this post. But I'll just cite just two of them, so that you can move on to the full list more quickly. Top to bottom, I don't think I've ever seen a better collection of history books in a single month.

 

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Maybe you've been watching Ken Burns' ten-part documentary series. Maybe you're just interested in a book of rare photographs, guest essays, and firsthand accounts of the Vietnam War. Either way, this book is a standout.
 

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Westad argues that the Cold War made the world what it is today. Reading this fine history, it's difficult to disagree with him. This is one of the best histories ever written on the Cold War.

 

 

 

 

 

And now, go here for the full list.

 

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Behind the Scenes of "The Antlered Ship"

AntleredShip200The Antlered Ship is a Best Children's Book of September and one of my favorites this year. Dashka Slater's story, illustrated by Terry Fan and Eric Fan, is a fantastic match-up of talent which is immediately evident when you turn the pages of this beautiful book about friendship and the joy of discovering life's next adventure.

The first Dashka Slater picture book I fell in love with was Dangerously Ever After about a danger-loving princess, which my daughter and I read on repeat when it came out in 2012; and earlier this year Slater's French snail, Escargot, won me over with his humor and shiny wit.

As for The Fan Brothers--the picture book they wrote and illustrated last year, The Night Gardener, was our pick for the Best Picture Book of 2016, and I'm convinced is a classic in the making...  In The Antlered Ship every page is truly a work of art.

We asked the brothers if they had any sketches we could share with our readers, to show their process of translating Slater's story and characters into the breath-taking result of the finished book. 

Below are some before-and-after illustrations, each with captions written by The Fan Brothers, explaining how they worked on this story.  I didn't think it possible but seeing the iterations they went through and the thinking behind the images, has made me appreciate their work even more...

*click illustrations to view larger image


Some early sketches of The Antlered Ship. We were trying to find a way to illustrate the mechanism that lowered the bow of the ship. Not an easy task when it's an imaginary ship!

IMAGE-1_SM

 

More early concepts for the ship. The details of the ship changed significantly, but the mood we were trying to evoke was evident early on.

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We had a tough time illustrating the complex antler forms of the bow from side-view, so we ended up constructing a rough bow from clay to use as visual reference.

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  IMAGE3_B_SM

 


In the beginning we weren't certain how anthropomorphic the characters were going to look and played around with a lot of different ideas, including the characters in full costume. The lower image is an early concept for Marco the fox rendered in more of a cartoony style. We ended up going with a more realistic style for the finals.

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This top spread is from the first dummy (it went through many more revisions) with the pirates as human characters. We eventually changed them to animal pirates as you can see in the final image below it. There was nothing in the text to suggest that the pirates were animals, but we decided that it made sense and liked the idea of the story being set in an alternate world of sorts, populated entirely by animals.

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This is another example of how drastically images can change as the book develops. We loved the drama of this night scene from an early dummy, but the final ended up being set during the day for continuity reasons.

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This is the opening spread showing the difference between an early version and the final.

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Some more “before and after” from the first dummy to the final.

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Prizes: What's the Point?

23546759_sThis is the season of literary awards, and the lists of finalists have been rolling in, one after the other, from the Man Booker Prize to the National Book Awards, which currently has ten books in each of three categories: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The Man Booker list is now down to six novels, and three of those are by American writers – George Saunders for Lincoln in the Bardo, Paul Auster for 4 3 2 1, and Emily Fridlund for History of Wolves, her first novel.

Some critics, like the Washington Post’s Ron Charles, bemoan the Booker’s decision, in 2014, to open the prize to all novelists writing in English. “For any serious reader of fiction in this country,” Charles wrote in the Post, “the Americanization of the Booker Prize is a lost opportunity to learn about great books that haven’t already been widely heralded.” He called for a “literary Brexit” – to return the British prize to the Brits.

Charles reads more than almost anyone in the U.S., because that’s the nature of his job. He knows the big American books that came out this year like the back of his hand. But do the rest of us? A year is a long time when it comes to book publishing, and though the press pays a lot of attention to big books when they're first published, those books fall out of the conversation pretty fast unless they're nominated for prizes, or better yet, win them.

Take Emily Fridlund’s History of Wolves. It came out the first week of January, 2017, and if you didn’t read it right after it was published, you might well have forgotten about it until the Man Booker Committee named it as one of its top 6  -- not least because the book's snowbound, rural setting was perfect for cold weather reading but not so great for the beach.

Well, the list is a reminder of how excellent a book that is — and you’ve still got time to read it before the Man Booker judges announce their final decision on October 17. You can’t say the same for one of the non-American books on the list, Elmet, by Fiona Mozley, which won't be published in the United States until December. That's another reason to be grateful that American novels are on the list—we can read them now.

Prizes are important, for all sorts of reasons, though the benefits are not quite as clear as you'd expect. They boost book sales, but according to an article in Forbes last year, that rise doesn’t extend across all genres -- poetry, for instance, doesn’t seem to benefit much from a big win. Prizes attract new readers, but a 2014 study showed that winners can count on receiving lots of negative reviews once they've won the award, because prizes encourage people to read books they wouldn't normally choose.

Some effects are unambiguously positive. Prizes give much-needed affirmation to writers who spend most of their time alone, wrestling with sentences. Increased visibility and status helps those writers sell future books, get better teaching jobs, and promote their work at more festivals and bookshops. That's all valuable -- but the greatest beneficiaries are, without doubt, the readers. We’re the ones who lose the most when a fantastic book falls from view too soon.  

I missed reading Emily Fridlund’s book when it came out last winter, but now that the weather is cooling, I’m back in the mood for an intense story set in the icy hinterlands of Minnesota. If the Man Booker judges hadn’t chosen it for their shortlist, it might not be on my bedside table now. It doesn't matter to me, at this point, whether it wins a prize or doesn't. I’m just grateful to be reminded that I meant to read it all along.

 Photo madllen / 123RF Stock Photo


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The Most Anticipated Romances of Fall

Most anticipated romances of fallSipping hot cider by the fire while curled up with one of your favorite authors—present, at least, in book form—is a dreamy way to spend the cooler and darker months of the year.

Here are the romance novels we can't wait to spend some quality time with, from historical to paranormal, and from contemporary to suspense.

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Year One by Nora RobertsIt is a truth universally acknowledged that Nora Roberts can excel at anything she turns her pen to, so I'm enormously thrilled to read Year One, a post-apocalyptic tale in which technology fails and magic bursts forth, upending the world as we know it. As the cover copy ominously says, "The end has come. The beginning comes next." It's hard to say how much the force of love drives the plot, but I'm willing to happily put myself in Roberts' hands and find out. (December 5)
 

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Roomies by Christina Lauren - Readers of the Amazon Book Review know of my depthless love for the writing duo Christina Lauren and, most recently, their Hollywood-set standalone Dating You Hating You. Roomies takes place among the glitter and grit of New York's Broadway scene and turns on one of my favorite romance tropes, the marriage of convenience. It's a hard trope to pull off in modern-set stories, but I have faith in Christina Lauren's powers to not only convince but make me laugh all the way through. (December 5)
 

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Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber - Debbie Macomber brings the holiday spirit to her latest contemporary story of finding love when you least expect it...and in this case, where you least expect it, which is an online dating site. Merry Knight's family creates a dating profile for her, and she reluctantly gives it a go. But will the one man who seems so perfect for her online be a good match in real life? (October 3)
 

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Cowboy Up by Harper Sloan - Sloan's third Coming Home book puts eldest Davis brother Clayton briefly in the arms of bookstore owner Caroline during a one-night stand, but it's an encounter that lingers for both of them. Sloan's the master of wrung-tight emotions and characters who overcome tough experiences, and I expect she'll deliver another moving, masterful story of being brave enough to embrace love. (December 19)
 

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The Lullaby Girl by Loreth Anne White - I chose White's In the Barren Ground as the best romance of 2016, and if you haven't read it yet, get it now. For her upcoming The Lullaby Girl, I'm aquiver with anticipation—and, yes, a bit of trepidation, because White's suspenseful stories have a way of creeping deep into your bones and making you stare at the ceiling, thinking about her characters and the crimes they encounter, long past when you should be deep in REM sleep. A cold case jerks detective Angie Pallorino out of her growing despair at being stuck on desk duty but has the potential to unravel her career completely, as the toxic past reaches into the present. (November 14)  
 

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Wilde in Love by Eloisa James - James launches a new series set in the Georgian era with a globetrotting adventurer who meets his match in the funny but restrained Miss Willa Ffynche. James can be counted on for lively, sometimes hilarious conversational exchanges between her hero and heroine, and I'm also intrigued by the cover, which brings back memories of Colin Firth coming out of the lake in BBC's Pride and Prejudice
 

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Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis - Colbie Albright escapes to San Francisco for a two-week break, but the last thing she expects is to fall fast for local guy Spencer Baldwin. But neither is looking for forever...until forever comes looking for them. (September 26 - available now)
 

If you can't wait and need more romance novels STAT, check out our recommendations for the best romances of the month.

 


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