The booksellers have spoken. In fact, they may have sung. Singer and songwriter Paul McCartney’s book “The Lyrics” is Barnes & Nobles Book of the Year for 2021.
McCartney gave the love back. “I’m very honored to receive this recognition. My team and I are extremely proud of ‘The Lyrics’ and it means so much to us that you like it as much as we do,” McCartney said in a statement to the bookseller. “Thank you to all the fantastic team at Barnes & Nobel for helping to launch the book.”
Starting in 2019, Barnes & Nobles’ books of the year will be nominated by bookstores across the country and then narrowed down to eight titles by a selection committee. The booksellers then vote on the eight titles for this year’s favorite.
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“‘The Lyrics’ is an extraordinary book. It is stunningly beautiful and a masterpiece in book design,” said Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt. “Through exploring his songs with the poet Paul Muldoon, Paul McCartney has created a fascinating insight into his life and creative genius. No wonder the booksellers of Barnes & Noble have paid tribute to this magnificent and deeply original book. “
The set in two volumes is taken from a 50-hour conversation recorded over five years with Muldoon, which shapes the transcripts into a loose narrative about 154 of the artist’s songs.
According to a bookseller, Michele L. from New York, “The ‘Lyrics’ is as if Paul McCartney took all the pieces of paper where he wrote down little ideas and then put the dots together for each of us to see how something as simple as “A piece of paper can be the best music of any generation. It’s something I will pour over for years to come. It’s a gift to me, but it would be a great gift for any Beatles fan.”
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Here’s what Barnes & Noble bookstores have to say about the finalists for this year’s book.
“1619 project,“by Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times Magazine
“This extraordinary book is a great way to talk to all the kids about our full American history while finding a way to celebrate the black heritage. It’s beautiful, poetic and something that can be read by anyone.” –Allyson G., New York, NY
“Cloud Cuckoo Land,“by Anthony Doerr
“A beautifully written, beautiful epic that easily becomes one of my favorites of the year. An ancient manuscript, the story of a man longing to reach the imaginary paradise of the title, connects the novel’s many threads, from 15th-century Constantinople to present-day Ohio, to a spaceship escaping a ravaged earth in the future. It’s a hard to describe genre-bending novel that I’m sure will become a book club. Absolutely loved it! –Karen F., Coral Springs, Fla .;
“Crying in H Mart,” by Michelle Zauner
“Crying in H Mart is a clear-eyed marvel of a book about grief and food and life in a complicated family. The prose is sublime and this is a book you can enjoy ”-Miwa M., Los Angeles, California.
“Pizza Czar: Recipes and know-how from a world-traveling pizza chef,” by Anthony Falco
“What makes this pizza cookbook special is Falco’s understanding of a wide range of ingredients, which he learned about and experimented with from his many travels around the world. It’s a great book and a great resource for any chef. “-Edward A., Portland, Ore.
“The sentence,” by Louise Erdrich
“A book that is complex, charming and current. With unforgettable characters woven into a story centered on real-life events in 2020, this book feels like the perfect time capsule to illuminate an explosive year.” –Kat C., Brooklyn, NY
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“Together,” by Luke Adam Hawker
“Together takes a philosophical look at the events of 2020 and is a celebration of love, camaraderie and kindness. With astonishing works of art and sparse, beautiful prose, Together hits all the emotions, and can be the book we all need to find hope and heal “-John S., Champaign, Ill.
“Under the Whispering Door,” by TJ Klune
“In a year of tumult outside and inside, this book breaks the crazy shell of hardship we carry, forcing us to confront the vulnerability of hope. Accessible, funny, tear-jerking and compelling, TJ Klune surpasses his previous work here by a significant step. ” –Scott H., Portage, Mich.
Starring: Kim Willis