2020 Agate Round-Up: News, Reviews, and More

This September, Kori Rumore Finley and Marianne Mather spoke with Rick Kogan on WGN Radio, an independent radio station in Chicago, to discuss their book about the four women who inspired the musical Chicago. “Reading He Had It Coming is akin to browsing a well-staged and carefully curated museum exhibit,” asserted the Washington Independent Review of Books, while Third Coast Review, a Chicago arts and culture website, lauded the book as “A taut yet comprehensive document of true crime(s) that manages to be as flashy and fantastic as the musical that appropriated and even subsumed them.” According to Sound Commentary, an audiobook review website, He Had It Coming “forces a critical, and well-timed, scrutiny of stories like Chicago, and should be included in the canon of other modern re-analyses of women’s stories.”

The Midwest Book Review praised RuPaul: In His Own Words as “an impressive collection of quotes,” calling the book “essential reading for the legions of RuPaul fans.” Baltimore Outloud, an independent publication for LGBTQ communities of the mid-Atlantic region, featured the book on their 2020 Pride All Summer Long reading list: “The imminently quotable superstar has something to say for almost every occasion.”

Publishers Weekly included Lindsay Navama’s Hungry for Harbor Country in their round-up of new 2020 cookbooks that double as travel guides, noting that the “homey cookbook contains recipes, many of them gluten- and dairy-free, from the area’s renowned restaurants and shops.” WGN Midday, an independent Chicago TV station, broadcast a cooking demonstration of Navama’s Pepita Pesto Zoodle Noodle Salad. Meanwhile, Midwest Living recommended the cookbook for all seasons, featuring it in a list of editor picks for the summer as well as a December countdown to 2021.

The Chicago Tribune celebrated the release of the second edition of their book, The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Bears, a beautiful and detail-rich collection of Chicago Bears history.

The New York Times eagerly anticipated the paperback release of State: A Team, a Triumph, a Transformation, praising the team’s first coach as the “most engaging character.” Author Melissa Isaacson discussed her memoir on On the NBA Beat, a podcast dedicated to the National Basketball Association’s most important stories.

Readers on Goodreads were enthusiastic about Richard Branson: In His Own Words. “I enjoyed every bit of it,” raved one reviewer.

Booklist celebrated Amy Zitelman’s The Tahini Table in a starred review, setting off a volley of praise from culinary and literary sources alike. Publishers Weekly praised the cookbook as “a cheerful, user-friendly, and never pretentious ode to tahini,” and food writer Nigella Lawson agreed, declaring it “a treasure trove for tahini-lovers.” “The photos in the book beautifully showcase the recipes,” wrote Library Journal in another starred review. The cookbook also drew praise from Forbes, Food & Wine, The Splendid Table, and Shelf Awareness, the latter proclaiming it “a mind-opening and mouth-opening-w
ide experience.”

The Knoxville News Sentinel, a daily newspaper serving Knoxville, Tennessee, featured a selection of favorite quotes from Dolly Parton: In Her Own Words. “Her one-liners, self-deprecating jokes and encouraging advice mean everything to the world,” they declared.

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