Starred Review

My Black Country: A Journey Through Country Music's Black Past, Present, and Future

by Alice Randall

Songwriter, author, professor, and Black music historian Alice Randall spotlights the Black history of country music in her urgent, engaging memoir, My Black Country. Randall (Black Bottom Saints) celebrates the often-erased Black musicians who shaped the genre, including the "First Family of Black Country": Lil Hardin Armstrong, DeFord Bailey, Charley Pride, Herb Jeffries, and Ray Charles. Randall traces their collective influence and weaves together country music's Black history with her own story. Born

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The Titanic Survivors Book Club

by Timothy Schaffert

Serendipity can yield unpredictable alliances, as is the case with the people who didn't board the Titanic--the central figures of The Titanic Survivors Book Club, Timothy Schaffert's opulent work of historical fiction. A year after the ocean liner sank, 26-year-old Yorick--his father was a vaudevillian who "fancied himself a Shakespearean actor"--is the owner of a Paris bookshop purchased with an inheritance. One morning, he finds outside the shop a bottle that contains an invitation to a saloon, where he

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Sashiko's Stitches

by Sanae Ishida

Author, artist, and designer Sanae Ishida melds her literary talents (Little Kunoichi) with her sewing prowess (Sewing Love) to create the exquisitely empowering picture book Sashiko's Stitches.

Sashiko is overwhelmed by "so many feelings" that sometimes all she can do is cry. Her mother embraces the girl, then reminds her about the origins of her name. Sashiko goes back "many, many hundreds of years" to when families of hardworking Japanese fishermen mended their damaged clothing using "tiny little stitches."

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Rough Trade

by Katrina Carrasco

Katrina Carrasco (The Best Bad Things) blends deeply researched historical fiction with riveting queer adventure in Rough Trade, the spectacular second installment of her episodic crime series about the undeniably charming antihero Alma Rosales.

It's the summer of 1888, and Alma's crew is working the Tacoma docks of Washington Territory. Their cover story is that they're stevedores, but smuggling opium is their real trade.

In the months that follow a drug bust on their ship, several new players wander

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The Juneteenth Cookbook: Recipes and Activities for Kids and Families to Celebrate

by Alliah L. Agostini, illus. by Sawyer Cloud

Black U.S. history is dynamically showcased through food, drink, crafts, games, and music playlists in The Juneteenth Cookbook, author Alliah L. Agostini and illustrator Sawyer Cloud's thematic sequel to their picture book The Juneteenth Story. Co-author and recipe developer chef Taffy Elrod brings 20 years of experience in the food industry to this celebratory and accessible cookbook for children.

Each section--Drinks, Appetizers, Mains, Sides, and Desserts--features three or four recipes based on "historically

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The Day Tripper

by James Goodhand

It takes tremendous skill to transform a sci-fi trope into an emotional tear-jerker, which James Goodhand (Last Lesson) does in The Day Tripper. In 1995, 20-year-old Londoner Alex Dean spends his days with his wonderful new girlfriend, drinking and smoking and getting ready to take his place at Cambridge. But when Blake Benfield, a bully from his childhood, confronts him, Alex decides for once to choose fight over flight. Blake completely batters Alex and throws him into the Thames. When Alex wakes up next,

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Emma Full of Wonders

by Elisha Cooper

How is Emma, a dog, full of "wonders"? By literally being full of puppies! In the blindsidingly moving Emma Full of Wonders, Elisha Cooper (Train; 8: An Animal Alphabet) offers a picture-book tour through a dog's experience of pregnancy and puppy birth, although the fact that Emma is expecting may come as a big, beautiful surprise to readers.

An omniscient narrator introduces Emma, "a large dog/ with many small dreams." These "dreams" take the form of a clutch of fantasy puppies who float above Emma's head

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Welcome

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For Readers: Every Friday, discover the 25 best books published that week as selected by our industry insiders. Sign up now.

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Learn more about Shelf Awareness.

Shelf Discovery

Off the Air

by Christina Estes

A television journalist's investigation into the murder of a controversial radio host uncovers a plethora of suspects in this spirited debut.

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The Limits

by Nell Freudenberger

Nell Freudenberger's fourth novel explores the delicate, fraught relationships among a group of characters during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Otherworldly

by F.T. Lukens

A skeptic and a supernatural being strike a deal to serve their own needs only to wind up on a path to love in this endearing, cozy paranormal romance.

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How to End a Love Story

by Yulin Kuang

Screenwriter Yulin Kuang's character-driven debut romance is perfect for fans of Emily Henry and Abby Jimenez: sizzling, funny, heart-wrenching and emotionally intelligent.

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Diavola

by Jennifer Thorne

Diavola, featuring a rich family behaving badly on vacation, is a sinister horror novel with gothic claustrophobia.

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The Audacity

by Ryan Chapman

A company exposed as a fraud, a musician married to the woman who perpetrated it, and yacht-owning types thinking they can change the world are the targets in Ryan Chapman's aptly named The Audacity.

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The Sweet Blue Distance

by Sara Donati

Sara Donati brings readers another immersive historical novel, which follows nurse-midwife Carrie Ballentyne as she travels across the country to build a new life in Santa Fe.

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Rainbow Black

by Maggie Thrash

Combining queer romance, murder mystery, and courtroom drama, Rainbow Black is a velveteen nightmare of the 1990s Satanic Panic and the lengths one girl will go to fight for justice and freedom.

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Nosy Neighbors

by Freya Sampson

Freya Sampson's charming third novel centers on neighbors who reluctantly band together to protest being evicted and find unexpected healing in the process.

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Headshot

by Rita Bullwinkel

Rita Bullwinkel's impressive debut novel explores eight women boxers whose journeys to the ring are mentally and physically passionate, vulnerable, and inspiring.

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Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: A Short Walk Through a Wide World by Douglas Westerbeke

Media Heat

Monday, April 15, 2024

Good Morning America: Alexa von Tobel, author of Money Matters: A Guide to Saving, Spending, and Everything in Between (Rebel Girls, $12.99, 9798889640301).

Also on GMA: Salman Rushdie, author of Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder (Random House, $28, 9780593730249).

Today Show: Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781982108663).

Also on Today: Emma Straub and Susan Straub, authors of Gaga Mistake Day (Rocky Pond Books, $18.99, 9780593529461).

Drew Barrymore Show: Valerie Bertinelli, author of Indulge: Delicious and Decadent Dishes to Enjoy and Share (Harvest, $35, 9780063244726).

Jennifer Hudson Show: Jason Tartick, author of Talk Money to Me: The 8 Essential Financial Questions to Discuss With Your Partner (HarperCollins, $29.99, 9781400226900).

Thursday, April 11, 2024

CBS Mornings: Rae Wynn-Grant, author of Wild Life: Finding My Purpose in an Untamed World (Zando, $28, 9781638930402).

Good Morning America: Ali Rosen, author of 15 Minute Meals: Truly Quick Recipes that Don’t Taste like Shortcuts (Mango, $34.99, 9781684812578).

Also on GMA: Alice Randall, author of My Black Country: A Journey Through Country Music's Black Past, Present, and Future (Atria/Black Privilege Publishing, $28.99, 9781668018408).

Drew Barrymore Show: Sara Jane Ho, author of Mind Your Manners: How to Be Your Best Self in Any Situation (Hachette Go, $29.49, 9780306832833).

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Fresh Air: Rachel Lance, author of Chamber Divers: The Untold Story of the D-Day Scientists Who Changed Special Operations Forever (Dutton, $32, 9780593184936).

The View: Lauren Wesley Wilson, author of What Do You Need?: How Women of Color Can Take Ownership of Their Careers to Accelerate Their Path to Success (Hay House, $25.99, 9781401974893).

Good Morning America: Leigh Bardugo, author of The Familiar: A Novel (Flatiron, $29.99, 9781250884251).

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Fresh Air: Amanda Montell, author of The Age of Magical Overthinking: Notes on Modern Irrationality (Atria/One Signal, $28.99, 9781668007976).
 
CBS Mornings: Sharon Malone, author of Grown Woman Talk: Your Guide to Getting and Staying Healthy (Crown, $30, 9780593593868).

Also on CBS Mornings: Maren Morris and Karina Argow, authors of Addie Ant Goes on an Adventure (Chronicle Chroma, $18.99, 9781797228914).

Good Morning America: Simone Gorrindo, author of The Wives: A Memoir (Gallery/Scout Press, $29.99, 9781982178499).

Today Show: Hilton Carter, author of The Propagation Handbook: A Guide to Propagating Houseplants (CICO Books, $30, 9781800653108).

Also on Today: Anne Lamott, author of Somehow: Thoughts on Love (Riverhead, $22, 9780593714416).

The View: Russ Tamblyn, author of Dancing on the Edge: A Journey of Living, Loving, and Tumbling through Hollywood (Blackstone Publishing, $28.99, 9798212273312).

Monday, April 8, 2024

Watch What Happens Live: Rebel Wilson, author of Rebel Rising: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781668007204).

Drew Barrymore Show: Anita Yokota, author of Home Therapy: Interior Design for Increasing Happiness, Boosting Confidence, and Creating Calm (Clarkson Potter, $35, 9780593233238).
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