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Musician and producer Michael Nesmith has died. He rose to fame initially as a member of The Monkees, but went on to have a long and influential career in music, television and movie production. Nesmith died of heart failure on Friday at his home in Carmel Valley, Calif. He was 78.

NPR's Books We Love, formerly the Book Concierge, has a new name and 360+ new titles handpicked by NPR staff and trusted critics. Find nine years of Concierge recommendations all in one place – that's more than 2,800 great reads.

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Updated September 17, 2021 at 10:15 AM ET

The longlists for the National Book Awards are here — 40 titles, representing a broad range of new voices, previous nominees, debuts and book-world veterans.

You can click on the links below to jump to the individual lists, and we've included links to some great reviews and interviews with the nominated authors.

Chuck Close's face made him famous — his face on canvas, that is. Gigantic, up close and personal, his black and white 1968 Big Self-Portrait leaves nothing to the imagination. You can see every spike of stubble, every wisp of uncombed hair, every curl of smoke from his cigarette.

Way back in the dawn of time — by which I mean 2011 — we ran our original science fiction and fantasy poll and came up with a list of 100 favorite science fiction and fantasy books.

August can sometimes be a dull stretch when it comes to publishing — but not this year. Here are six books we're particularly looking forward to next month.

The streets around San Diego's convention center are empty — no zombies are shambling through the streets and no impromptu campsites have sprung up in the massive line outside Hall H (where all the best panels are), because there are no lines this year. For the second year in a row, San Diego Comic-Con has gone online only.

July is crammed full of great books — here are five we're particularly psyched for.

Graham Norton may be known mostly as a talk-show host, but he's also an accomplished writer with two memoirs and three novels under his belt.

Here they come, by shuttle pod and dragonback and all manner of fantastic means (okay, but mostly by email and conference call) — our esteemed expert judges for this year's summer poll!

Ten years is a long time! In 10 light-years, you could get from Earth to a whole new solar system, Epsilon Eridani. And in the past 10 years, science fiction and fantasy have undergone a revolution — new voices, new perspectives and new stories, bright as stars in the night sky.

Jessamyn Teoh is at a crossroads: When we meet her, the central character in Zen Cho's new Black Water Sister, she's newly graduated, unemployed, and bound by a need to support her parents, who moved back their home in Malaysia after their American dream turned sour.

And of course, strange things can happen at a crossroads. Stuck living with her family in the city of Penang, hiding her sexuality and aimlessly hunting for jobs, Jess starts to hear a voice in her head. It's Ah Ma, the dead, estranged grandmother she never knew.

In a virtual ceremony tonight, Louise Erdrich was named the winner of this year's Aspen Words Literary Prize, for her novel The Night Watchman. The $35,000 prize goes to a work that "illuminates a vital contemporary issue and demonstrates the transformative power of literature on thought and culture."

The winners of this year's Whiting Awards have been announced; the $50,000 prize is aimed at allowing emerging writers to focus full-time on their work — or to branch off in new directions.

"Each of these winners has a rare literary gift," Whiting Director of Literary Programs Courtney Hodell says via email. "Our hope is that the Whiting Award will offer encouragement and support as they continue to dig deep into their art to nurture the work that sings it."

Leigh Bardugo's new Rule of Wolves opens with a little vignette of terror: A winged monster attacking a rural farm. But readers of her Grishaverse books will know this isn't just any monster — it's the king himself, Nikolai of Ravka.

The stories in Haruki Murakami's new collection, First Person Singular, have a sort of fractal nature — you're reading a story by a middle-aged Japanese man in which a middle-aged Japanese man is telling you a story (and sometimes that story involves him telling other stories). You get drawn into the spiral, and soon you're in that strange world where many of his stories exist, a place full of his favorite things (jazz, baseball, the Beatles, though surprisingly few cats this time) and yet unmistakably odd, existing at a slight, unexplained angle to reality.

Author and Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro has explored multiple settings over the course of his career, from the English country house in 1989's The Remains of the Day to the dystopian future of 2005's Never Let Me Go. But no matter where he sets his stories, they're always deeply felt and deeply human.

Three novels and two story collections — selected from a longlist of 15 — remain in contention for this year's Aspen Words Literary Prize.

The $35,000 prize honors fiction that "illuminates vital contemporary issues," and this year's finalists span the globe, covering everything from Native American land ownership questions to the intersections of Blackness and queerness to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Past Golden Globe winners Sarah Jessica Parker and Taraji P. Henson kicked off the announcement of this year's nominees, in a livestream simulcast by the Today show.

Netflix led the pack with 22 nominations for motion pictures and 20 for TV; Mank garnered the most movie nominations with 6, and The Crown matched that on the TV side with 6 nominations of its own.

Last fall, former President Barack Obama told Stephen Colbert that he was "shocked" Dolly Parton hadn't gotten a Presidential Medal of Freedom during his time in office. "That was a screwup," he said. "I think I assumed she had already got one."

When I found out about The Ex Talk, I absolutely had to read it (even though, as a rule, I don't love contemporary romances) because it's set at a Pacific Northwest public radio station. Office rivals Shay and Dominic — she's a veteran producer, he's a cocky J-school grad who won't shut up about his master's degree — end up having to pose as exes to host a new dating and relationships show for their struggling station. Naturally, they fall for each other.

The morning after her powerful performance of "The Hill We Climb" at the inauguration of President Biden, poet Amanda Gorman hit another high point: She took the top two slots on Amazon's bestseller list — for titles that won't be out until the fall.

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