NEW YORK (AP) — A decade after seemingly wrapping up "The Hunger Games," Suzanne Collins is bringing readers back to Panem. A prequel, set 64 years before the beginning of her multimillion-selling trilogy, is coming next year.

  • Chris La Tray for the Missoulian

Pete Fromm’s new novel, “A Job You Mostly Won’t Know How to Do,” is just out on Counterpoint Books. It’s the story of a young man named Taz living with the death of his wife, Marnie, who dies in childbirth. Faced with raising a daughter alone in a house the couple were restoring together, Taz has to find a way to survive. It’s a heartbreaking story, yet finds a way to uplift by showing how communities, and circles of friends, rally around each other in times of deepest trial.

  • ANDREW DALTON Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Devoted "Game of Thrones" fans who've watched and re-watched all 73 episodes of the HBO series, and read and reread all 4,000 pages of the books by George R.R. Martin, will at long last get the ending they've craved with the series' eighth and final season that starts Sunday.

  • By Kate Silver, Chicago Tribune

No matter how you slice it - or spread it, shred it or cube it - Wisconsin cheese is worth a road trip. Whether goat, sheep or cow; whether swathed in wax, riddled with holes or dotted with cranberries, the Dairy State takes its wheels and bricks seriously. As it should. Wisconsin produces around 26 percent of the nation's cheese, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 2018, ...

  • by Rob Thomas

Wisel’s first book of short stories, “Driving in Cars With Homeless Men,” has won the prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize, which includes a $15,000 cash prize and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press.

From fantasy and sci-fi, romance, and historical novels to biographies, mysteries, and thrillers, the year’s best books explore both everyday personal issues — loss, grief, friendship drama, school, and family life — and timely topics like war, racism, and religious prejudice. Check out our picks for fiction and nonfiction, from middle-grade chapter books to edgy young adult novels, to find great reads for tweens and teens.

From an elephant-filled counting book, to a crazy detective romp with a monkey private eye chasing down clues, to poignant reflections on the immigrant experience, to a STEM-friendly early reader about a budding engineer, the best kids’ books of 2018 will draw in readers age 2 to 6 with eye-catching illustrations and compelling stories. They’re perfect for read-alouds and can boost kids already on their way to independent reading.

  • By HILLEL ITALIE, AP National Writer

The publishing world made headlines in 2018, and not always by design. A wave of best-sellers offered damaging accounts of Donald Trump's White House, a million-selling memoir by Michelle Obama had readers longing for the previous administration and a political thriller by former President B…

The Canadian author didn't need to publish any new fiction to make news in 2018. "The Handmaid's Tale," released more than 30 years ago and dramatized in an acclaimed Hulu series, continued to rank with George Orwell's "1984" as a defining dystopian text for the current time. Questions from readers about the imagined country of Gilead, a brutal patriarchy that didn't seem very fictional, were so persistent that Atwood finally changed her mind about writing a sequel and announced that "The Testaments" would come out in 2019.

Within eight days last spring, two of the country's most celebrated writers died, Tom Wolfe and Philip Roth. But 2018 also was a year for welcoming new voices. Tara Westover's "Educated," a memoir about growing up in an isolated Mormon home, was a best-seller admired by everyone from book critics to former President Barack Obama. Tommy Orange's novel "There There" was widely acclaimed and the rare work of literary fiction over the past year to succeed commercially. Other notable debuts included Jamel Brinkley's story collection "A Lucky Man" and Lisa Halliday's novel "Asymmetry," which included a character based on a real-life former lover — Philip Roth.

The million-selling collaboration between Clinton and James Patterson was the novel of the summer, and launched a very different conversation from what the authors had intended. "The President is Missing," a near-apocalyptic thriller, is a cautionary tale about preventing cyberattacks. But the book also included a chapter about a president facing impeachment — an experience Clinton is uniquely qualified to draw upon — and Clinton responded defensively to questions about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. "This was litigated 20 years ago," Clinton told NBC's Craig Melvin. The most notable thing about his answers, wrote New York magazine's Rebecca Traister, was that "Clinton seemed to be shocked that he would be asked about his behavior in light of #MeToo."

Bob Woodward, a brand name for inside White House politics, seemed to withdraw during the Obama years. His two works on Obama, "The Price of Politics" and "The Last of the President's Men," made little impact compared to such early blockbusters as the Watergate-era "All the President's Men." And his only book during Obama's second term was a return to the Nixon years: "The Last of the President's Men," about Alexander Butterfield, the White House aide who revealed to the world that Nixon had a taping system in the Oval Office. But Trump is a singular muse for political writers and with "Fear: Inside the Trump White House," Woodward was fully back in the present. "Fear," Woodward's hottest seller in years, read like a more sober version of "Fire and Fury," another tale of an uncontrollable chief executive and a staff that tries both to contain and encourage him. Trump's verdict: "The Woodward book is a Joke."

The initial headlines were about Trump, whom Michelle Obama vowed she would never forgive for promoting the "birther" lie that her husband was born in Kenya. But Obama's book quickly became among the best-selling political memoirs ever. Reviewers cited the qualities which millions had admired her for — the warmth and humor of her courtship with the future president, her candor in describing their marital struggles and efforts to have children and the care and insight into how Michelle LaVaughn Robinson — a self-described "girl of the South Side" of Chicago — adapted to being the country's first black first lady.

It landed in early January and quickly had the country talking and Trump threatening to sue (a way to boost sales that ranks with an Oprah Winfrey endorsement). Michael Wolff's tale of backbiting and chaos in the Trump administration wasn't so much a revelation, as a confirmation of what millions had suspected. Reporters questioned some of his facts but the book had at least one real consequence: Former senior advisor Steve Bannon, who didn't deny speaking with the author and criticizing both the president and Donald Trump Jr., was forced out as executive chairman of the far-right Breitbart News. His old boss called him "Sloppy Steve."

It began in January with a comments thread on the website of School Library Journal: Stories of widespread harassment by some prominent writers for children and young adults, with the alleged harassers first unnamed, then named. Within weeks "Maze Runner" author James Dashner had been dropped by his publisher and "13 Reasons Why" novelist Jay Asher by his agent. Sherman Alexie, whom the American Library Association had just awarded a Carnegie Medal for his memoir "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me," declined the prize. And Daniel Handler of "Lemony Snicket" fame withdrew as commencement speaker at Wesleyan University. His replacement was well known to the #MeToo movement: Anita Hill, the woman who testified in 1991 that Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had repeatedly harassed her. "Speaking out, despite the hardship," Hill told the students, "can be self-liberating and can empower others."

In a spirit of anger, admiration and curiosity, readers wanted to know why James Comey re-opened the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails less than two weeks before Election Day and what he and Trump had said to each other before Trump fired him in May 2017, just four months into his administration. "This president," Comey wrote, "is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values." Only in the Trump era could a memoir by a former FBI director, one little known to the general public before 2016, sell hundreds of thousands of copies. And only in the Trump era would a sitting president refer to a former FBI director as an "untruthful slimeball."

  • JIM McKEE For the Lincoln Journal Star

Oscar Micheaux, though often noted as a Nebraska author, may have owned land in Nebraska and definitely had books printed in Nebraska but never actually lived in Nebraska.

If you’re one of those families that insist their kids read the book before seeing the movie, there’s some serious page-turning in your future. And if you’re happy just to be able to go to the movies for some kid- and teen-friendly fare, you’re in luck, too. From the timely, thought-provoking high school drama “The Hate U Give” to a classic like “Mary Poppins,” kids’ books and young adult novels are getting the Hollywood treatment. And now that movie trailers, sneak peeks, and behind-the-scenes footage hit the internet months in advance of films’ releases, kids’ excitement for big-screen adaptations of their favorite books starts early.

  • SAMARA KALK DERBY skalk@madison.com

In her new book, the Bay Area author compares the brevity of life to free theater in the park: “glorious and tedious; full of wonder and often hard to understand.”