Novelist Lily King kicks off our special series of episodes on the Best Books of 2021.
Every autumn Kirkus’ editors begin the difficult process of determining which titles—out of thousands—will be named the 100 Best Books in fiction, nonfiction, picture books, middle grade, and YA. In support of that good work, we’re extending our Best Books coverage at the Fully Booked podcast this year: three special episodes, each highlighting a Best Book author and the Kirkus editor who picked it for our list.
On our first Best Books episode, Lily King discusses Five Tuesdays in Winter (Grove, Nov. 9), one of Kirkus’ Best Fiction Books of 2021. Here’s a bit from our starred review:“The first collection of stories from an acclaimed novelist. King, who won the inaugural Kirkus Prize for Fiction for Euphoria (2014), can make you fall in love with a character fast, especially the smart, vulnerable, often painfully self-conscious adolescent protagonists featured in several of the 10 stories collected here, half previously published, half new.…Full of insights and pleasures.”
King and host Megan Labrise start with an in-depth discussion of “Creature,” the collection’s opening story; what it takes to write adolescent characters well; writing about writers; the element of surprise in long- and short-form fiction; how to pronounce “Dordogne”; money and class, and how station informs worldview; the “epigraphics” (small drawings) at the beginning of each story; and much more.
Then fiction editor Laurie Muchnick joins Megan to talk titles, trends, and whether 2021 was a good year for fiction.
The Souvenir Museum by Elizabeth McCracken (Ecco/HarperCollins)
Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor (Riverhead)
Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Bombshell by Sarah MacLean (Avon/HarperCollins)
Harrow by Joy Williams (Knopf)
Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson (Scribner)
How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue (Random House)
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (St. Martin's Griffin)
The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers (Harper/HarperCollins)
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Vlogentia: A Tale Of Second World by William Somers
You Be You by Richard Brehm
Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.