Non-fiction

The Agatha Awards – 2019 Books

 

The winners of the Agatha Awards for 2019 Books (named for Agatha Christie) have been announced. The nominated books were first published in the United States by a living author between January 1 and December 31, 2019. Normally, the nominated titles would be voted upon by the attendees at the annual Malice Domestic conference for mystery and crime writers/fans in early May, 2020. But, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the conference was cancelled. The Malice Board  determined the voting protocol, with the winners announced on May 2, 2020.

The Agatha Awards recognize the “traditional mystery,” meaning that there is no graphic sex and no excessive violence in the writing. Thrillers or hard-boiled detectives cannot be found here, but instead, picture Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot at work.

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners! (indicated in red)  🙂

 

Best Contemporary Novel (6 titles this year)
“Fatal Cajun Festival” by Ellen Byron
The Long Call” by Ann Cleeves
“Fair Game” by Annette Dashofy
“The Missing Ones” by Edwin Hill
“A Better Man” by Louise Penny
“The Murder List” by Hank Philippi Ryan

Best First Mystery Novel
“A Dream of Death” by Connie Berry
One Night Gone” by Tara Laskowski
“Murder Once Removed” by S. C. Perkins
“When It’s Time for Leaving” by Ang Pompano
“Staging for Murder” by Grace Topping

Best Historical Mystery
“Love and Death Among the Cheetahs” by Rhys Bowen
“Murder Knocks Twice” by Susanna Calkins
“The Pearl Dagger” by L. A. Chandlar
Charity’s Burden” by Edith Maxwell
“The Naming Game” by Gabriel Valjan

Best Nonfiction
“Frederic Dannay, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and the Art of the Detective Short Story” by Laird R. Blackwell
“Blonde Rattlesnake: Burmah Adams, Tom White, and the 1933 Crime Spree that Terrified Los Angeles” by Julia Bricklin
“Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee” by Casey Cep
“The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women” by Mo Moulton
“The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper” by Hallie Rubenhold

Best Children/Young Adult
“Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers” by Shauna Holyoak
“Two Can Keep a Secret” by Karen MacManus
“The Last Crystal” by Frances Schoonmaker
“Top Marks for Murder (A Most Unladylike Mystery)”
by Robin Stevens
“Jada Sly, Artist and Spy” by Sherri Winston

Best Short Story (links are highlighted)
Grist for the Mill” by Kaye George in A Murder of Crows (Darkhouse Books)
Alex’s Choice” by Barb Goffman in Crime Travel (Wildside Press)
The Blue Ribbon” by Cynthia Kuhn in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
The Last Word” by Shawn Reilly Simmons, Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
Better Days” by Art Taylor in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine


Happy Reading!

 

 

 

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“New York Times Best Fiction and Nonfiction of 2019”

 

It’s always interesting to see which books the Book Review editors choose for their “Best of…” lists for the year. The titles are sometimes bestsellers, sometimes from debut or international writers, but more importantly, the NYT Book Review editors have fallen in love with the story (or the writing) and ta-da! the book makes the list.

 

Check out their Best of Fiction and Nonfiction choices from 2019. Listed in alphabetical order by author, click on the book titles to read their reviews.

 

Fiction:

 

Night Boat to Tangier” by Kevin Barry

 

Exhalation” by Ted Chiang

 

The Topeka School” by Ben Lerner

 

 

 

Lost Children Archive” by Valeria Luiselli

 

 

Disappearing Earth” by Julia Phillips

 

Nonfiction:

 

The Yellow House” by Sarah M. Broom

 

The Club” by Leo Damrosch

 

Midnight in Chernobyl” by Adam Higginbotham

 

 

 

 

 

Say Nothing” by Patrick Radden Keefe

 

 

 

No Visible Bruises” by Rachel Louise Snyder

 

Have you read any of the titles? Please let us know what you thought in the comments below.

 

 

 

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National Book Awards – 2019

 

The prestigious National Book Awards2019 for last year's books were bestowed in New York City on November 20, 2019. There were 25 finalists – five each in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People's Literature.

 

Take a look at the finalists and winners (indicated in red) and click on the titles to learn more about the books:
 

FINALISTS FOR FICTION:

 

FINALISTS FOR NONFICTION:

 

FINALISTS FOR POETRY:

 

FINALISTS FOR TRANSLATED LITERATURE: 

 

FINALISTS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE:

 

Congratulations to all!!!

 

 

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Barnes & Noble booksellers choose 8 Best of Year Finalists

 

Barnes and Noble did a survey of booksellers at its brick and mortar stores, asking which books they enjoyed selling the most during the year. Here’s the list of the eight top nominees. In December, the booksellers chose among the finalists for the B&N Book of the Year. It's highlighted in red.
 

Click on the titles to learn more about the books.

 

"The Testaments (Barnes & Noble Book Club Edition)"  by Margaret Atwood

 

 

"The Food of Sichuan"  by Fuchsia Dunlop

 

 

"Mythos: (Ancient Greek Mythology Book for Adults, Modern Telling of Classical Greek Myths Book)"  by Stephen Fry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse"  by Charlie Mackesy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The Silent Patient"  by Alex Michaelides
 

 

"Olive, Again"  by Elizabeth Strout

 

 

"No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference"  by Greta Thunberg

 

 

"The Nickel Boys (Barnes & Noble Book Club Edition)"  by Colson Whitehead

 

 

What do you think of the list? Which one(s) did you read? Let us know in the comments below.  🙂

 

 

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Macavity Awards-2019

 

Each year the members of Mystery Readers International nominate their favorite mysteries in five categories from the previous year for the Macavity Awards. The winners of this coveted award were announced at the end of October, 2019, at the Bouchercon convention in Dallas, Texas.
 

Mystery Readers International, Mystery Readers Journal, and the Macavity Awards, were created by Anthony Award winner, Janet Rudolph.

 

The winning titles are indicated in red.
 

Best Novel:

  • Lou Berney: November Road
  • Alison Gaylin: If I Die Tonight
  • Jane Harper: The Lost Man
  • Jennifer Hillier: Jar of Hearts
  • Naomi Hirahara: Hiroshima Boy
  • Lisa Unger: Under My Skin
     

Best First Novel:

  • Oyinkan Braithwaite: My Sister, the Serial Killer
  • John Copenhaver: Dodging and Burning
  • Delia Owens: Where the Crawdads Sing
  • Catherine Steadman: Something in the Water
  • C.J. Tudor: The Chalk Man
     

Best Nonfiction:

  • Laird R. Blackwell: The Metaphysical Mysteries of G.K. Chesterton: A Critical Study of the Father Brown Stories and Other Detective Fiction
  • Margalit Fox: Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World’s Most Famous Detective Writer
  • Leslie S. Klinger: Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s
  • Michelle McNamara: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
  • Laura Thompson: Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life
  • Sarah Weinman: The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World
     

Best Short Story: (Click on titles in red for links to the stories)

  • Craig Faustus Buck:Race to Judgment” (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Nov/Dec 2018)
  • Leslie Budewitz:All God’s Sparrows” (Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, May/Jun 2018)
  • Barb Goffman:Bug Appétit” (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Nov/Dec 2018)
  • Barry Lancet: “Three-Star Sushi” (Down & Out: The Magazine, Vol.1, No. 3)
  • Gigi Pandian: “The Cambodian Curse” (The Cambodian Curse and Other Stories)
  • Art Taylor:English 398: Fiction Workshop” (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Jul/Aug 2018)
     

Sue Feder Memorial Award for Best Historical Mystery:

  • Dianne Freeman: A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder
  • Elsa Hart: City of Ink
  • Laurie R. King: Island of the Mad
  • Sujata Massey: The Widows of Malabar Hill
  • Ann Parker: A Dying Note
  • Charles Todd: A Forgotten Place
     

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!   🙂

 

 

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Take Something Different to the Beach

 

Every once in a while, we should stretch our reading horizons and try something completely different. Just for fun. You may think that straying out of your tried and true and thoroughly enjoyed genre is a bad idea, but here is a batch of books that may change your mind. Go ahead. Take a peek.  🙂

 

Adventure/Sci-Fi

 

 

James Rollins writes the exceptional Sigma Force adventure series, which incorporates archeology, historical events, science, a bit of technology, and always a dash of romance. Rollins’ research is so thorough and his writing so skilled that the readers often wonder which parts are true and which are a figment of his incredible imagination. He always includes sections in the books to answer the questions that might arise. Spanning 50,000 years, “The Bone Labyrinth” focuses on the discovery of a subterranean Catholic chapel holding the bones of a Neanderthal woman, as well as revealing a brutal attack on a primate research center. The Sigma Force teams are tasked with finding a connection between the two, taking them to three continents, while being tested as never before by unexpected enemies. The action never stops, with twists and turns until the very last page in this search for the explanations of human intelligence development. “The Bone Labyrinth” is the 11th full length book in the Sigma Force Series, with #14, “Crucible,” out this year.

 

Amish Fiction

 

Laura Bradford writes the wonderful, bestselling Amish Mysteries. “Just Plain Murder” is the sixth installment, with “A Killer Carol” due out in September. In “Just Plain Murder,” Claire Weatherly and Jakob Fisher grow closer and Jakob’s relationship with the family that shunned him shows signs of warming a bit. Jakob’s mentor and retired police chief, Russ Granger, has returned to town, but soon Claire must help Jakob solve the mystery of Russ’ death and so much more. Shocking secrets and lies are uncovered and long-standing relationships are questioned in this marvelous entry in the series. Read them all.
 

 

Christian Fiction

 

 

Terri Blackstock writes entertaining fiction that has wowed her fans for decades. The If I Run Series finishes with book #3, “If I Live.” Casey Cox is still running for her life after being wrongfully indicted for murder. She teams with the investigator on her case to help find the real killers, with consequences for each of them. Blackstock creates a sense of urgency that will keep you spellbound with surprises throughout.

 


 

Non-Fiction

 

 

Gretchen Rubin’s “Happiness Project” is an uplifting way to look at your life and change it for the better. If you’re not happy with the way things are going and want to make some adjustments, this book is for you. Ms. Rubin talks about her own life and how she came to believe that she could be happier. She took a year to experiment with advice given by experts and came up with some ideas of her own, including strategies for each month of the year. It’s a personal plan that can easily be applied to anyone willing to ‘be more present’ in their own life.
 

 

Thriller

 

Internationally bestselling author, Jamie Freveletti, writes the multi-award winning Emma Caldridge Series. Emma Caldridge is a brilliant biochemist who enjoys extreme distance running. She uses both skills while undertaking missions around the world that would reduce the ordinary person to a puddle of fear and mumbling. In “Blood Run,” Caldridge is tasked with delivering vaccines to villages in Africa, but the big pharma CEO accompanying her and providing the financial and logistical support for the operation, is holding out on her. They find themselves in the middle of a war zone between brutal African factions with no way out except through even more dangerous territory. If that weren’t enough, an extra challenge involves an international terrorist who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal, complete with a target on Emma’s back. This pulse-pounding story will keep you turning the pages and wondering how in the world Caldridge will make it out alive.

 

Happy reading!  🙂

 

 

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2019 Anthony Awards

 

The 2019 Anthony Awards were handed out at The World Mystery Convention (usually referred to as Bouchercon) on November 2, 2019. Bouchercon is an annual conference named after Anthony Boucher, a mystery author and critic who helped found the Mystery Writers of America. This event honors various segments of the mystery and crime fiction community.
 

The nominees for the 2019 Anthony Awards were chosen by attendees at the 2018 convention, as well as early registrants for the 2019 event. The recognized works were published during 2018 and the finalists were voted upon by the 2019 Bouchercon attendees.

 

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners (indicated in red)! (Links included to highlighted short story titles.)
 

BEST NOVEL

  • Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
  • November Road by Lou Berney
  • Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
  • Sunburn by Laura Lippman
  • Blackout by Alex Segura


BEST FIRST NOVEL

  • My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
  • Broken Places by Tracy Clark
  • Dodging and Burning by John Copenhaver
  • What Doesn’t Kill You by Aimee Hix
  • Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin


BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL

  • Hollywood Ending by Kellye Garrett
  • If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin
  • Hiroshima Boy by Naomi Hirahara
  • Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day
  • A Stone’s Throw by James W. Ziskin


BEST SHORT STORY

  • The Grass Beneath My Feet” by S.A. Cosby, in Tough
  • Bug Appétit” by Barb Goffman, in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
  • “Cold Beer No Flies” by Greg Herren, in Florida Happens
  • English 398: Fiction Workshop” by Art Taylor, in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
  • The Best Laid Plans” by Holly West, in Florida Happens


BEST CRITICAL OR NONFICTION WORK

  • Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession by Alice Bolin
  • Mastering Plot Twists: How To Use Suspense, Targeted Storytelling Strategies, and Structure To Captivate Your Readers by Jane K. Cleland
  • Pulp According to David Goodis by Jay A. Gertzman
  • Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s by Leslie S. Klinger
  •  I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
  • The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman


Have fun reading them all!

 

 

 

 

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