'We like to think of ourselves as the traveler's local bookstore, meaning that we want to be rooted in and representative of our individual communities, with stores that are familiar and welcoming, while also offering content reflecting global perspectives and the thrill of discovery,' said Sara Hinckley, Senior Vice President of Books at Hudson. 'I am proud of the way our 'Best of 2021' participants and selection showcase those values.'
Earning the top spot as Hudson's 2021 Book of the Year with the most individual recommendations is Crying in H Mart, the powerful and poetic debut by Michelle Zauner, songwriter and lead vocalist of Japanese Breakfast. The plainspoken yet lyrical memoir speaks of growing up Korean American, finding one's identity, dealing with grief and loss, and the power of food and family.
'Crying in H Mart is a loving tribute to Zauner's Korean American upbringing, love of Korean food, and most importantly, the bond with her exacting Korean mother who passed away from cancer,' said Cathy Connell, National Book Operations Manager at Hudson. 'It's a wonderful and heartbreaking mother-daughter story.'
This year's 'Best of 2021' selections - spanning a variety of categories and boasting an assortment of accolades - can be found in Hudson stores across North America, with the list available in its entirety at HudsonBooksellers.com or as an audiobook collection.
Hudson invites all readers to share their recommendations for Book of the Year by using #HudsonBOTY on Twitter and Instagram.
Some notable recommended books from the 'Best of 2021' list include:
A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib
'When I read Hanif Abdurraqib, I find myself constantly wanting to share passages and ideas with friends. With artful and passionate prose, poetry, and thought on topics both timeless and timely, personal and communal, Hanif Abdurraqib has quickly become one of my favorite writers, and it feels as if he might just be getting started.'
--- Sara Hinckley, Senior Vice President of Books, Hudson
Three Girls from Bronzeville by Dawn Turner
'Three Girls from Bronzeville is a profound, vividly written, and unforgettable true story of three promising young black girls who grew up in the same neighborhood in Chicago in the 1970s, and how their lives took wildly different turns. It's a riveting narrative with the surprising plot twists of a novel. The journeys of Dawn, her sister Kim, and best friend Debra are full of heartbreak, loss, and even murder, but also fierce love, humor, and beauty against the odds. It's a personal story, yet a story of America too. Who gets second chances and who doesn't? Why do some kids succeed while others fall off the path? As our country reckons with race, class, and opportunity, stories like Dawn Turner's offer us nuanced answers-and above all, Three Girls from Bronzeville offers us hope.'
--- Paula Amendolara, Director of National Accounts, Simon and Schuster
A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders
"This is a charming "master class" in how to read and enjoy fiction, but it's more entertaining and informative than that sounds. Saunders - a master craftsman in short fiction himself - takes us through some classic Russian short stories, pulling us behind the curtain of how they work and what each scene does, not just what they say. It rekindled my love of short stories, jump-started my reading after a lull, and made me smile or even laugh more than any other book in the last few years."
--- Pete Mulvihill, Co-Owner, Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA
The Antisocial Network by Ben Mezrich
'Ben Mezrich is the king of explaining complex industries using stories that you won't want to stop reading. This time, Ben weaves the tale of GameStop, high-frequency trading, Reddit, and the biggest companies in the financial industry. It is David vs. Goliath if David is a guy in his basement, Goliath is short selling hedge funds, and the slingshot is a Reddit board made up of normal people looking for community during a pandemic. This is the perfect book to get lost in on your next flight.'
--- Justin Hennequant, Director of Books, Hudson
Exhalation by Ted Chiang
'A book of short stories whose common link seems to be somewhere between science fiction of a magical sort and the unanswered questions that come with technological progress. Savor each of these pieces. No binge reading is allowed here, or you might miss something, as many are the treasures to be found between these covers. A story about what our world would be like if the existence of God were scientifically demonstrated? You have it. One with virtual reality worlds? It is there. And so many other pearls, including the wisdom that only a man who has traveled to the future and made it back could impart to us. Go find it, it's here in these pages - and so much, much more.'
--- Jordi Martin-Consuegra, Chief Executive Officer, Hudson
Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So
'In the wake of So's tragic passing, this book feels like a minor miracle for the way it serves as a living record of his inimitable mind. Queer, biting, hilarious, and tender, the stories here - focused on the lives of Cambodian-American immigrants - consider the ongoingness of history and trauma as they stand in relation to young people who are equally concerned with sex, comedy, and getting stoned. Easily one of my favorite reads of the year, and one I will keep nearby always.'
--- Scott Broker, Bookseller, Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, CA
The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo and Sophie Blackall
'The Beatryce Prophecy is the definition of a modern classic. You turn the pages realizing that people will be moved by Kate DiCamillo's words and Sophie Blackall's drawings for generations to come. Brave Beatryce, fierce Answelica, and gentle Brother Edik are indelible characters. Buy it in hardback and keep it forever.'
--- Ann Patchett, International Bestselling Author and Co-Owner, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN
Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby
'Blacktop Wasteland was one of my favorite thrillers of 2020, so I couldn't wait to dig into S. A. Cosby's second book, Razorblade Tears. I was not disappointed! Cosby writes rural noir like no one else - relatable, flawed characters, a great sense of place, and a storyline that packs a mean punch. This is a kick-ass thriller with race, revenge, family, and friendship driving the dark and often violent narrative. If you require nice neat endings or are uncomfortable with good people doing some really bad things to protect their loved ones, this is not the book for you. Otherwise, dive in and enjoy!'
--- Adrian Newell, Book Buyer, Warwick's Bookstore, La Jolla, CA