Emma Donoghue's 'The Pull of the Stars' & Maggie O'Farrell's 'Hamnet' Are This Week's Top Titles | Book Pulse

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell and The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue win the week, as both get buzzy coverage. The NYT writes “If you want to sell books during a pandemic, it turns out that one of the best places to do it is within easy reach of eggs, milk and diapers.” A new literary magazine, INQUE, is in the works and is already set to feature work by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, Ben Lerner, Catherine Lacey, Ben Okri, Ocean Vuong, Jonathan Lethem and more. The Atlantic writes about “The False Promise of Anti-racism Books.” Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz is headed to PBS Masterpiece.

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Midweek Reading Lists

Lit Hub suggests “15 new books to add to your TBR pile.”

Electric Lit gathers “9 Translated Graphic Novels About Inequality.”

Book Riot has “15 Fabulous Books About Drag.”

CrimeReads offers “The Binge-Read: 10 Iconic Crime Fiction Series of the 1970s.” Also, “The Evolution of Dennis Lehane.”

The 2020 Goldie Awards are announced from the Golden Crown Literary Society.


The Washington Post reviews The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown: Hachette): [from] “dark materials, Donoghue has fashioned a tale of heroism that reads like a thriller, complete with gripping action sequences, mortal menaces and triumphs all the more exhilarating for being rare and hard-fought.” Also, Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell (Knopf): “told with the urgency of a whispered prayer — or curse.” The Answer Is . . . : Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek (S. & S.): “The behind-the-scenes intel is fun, especially for longtime fans of the show. But the rare insights into Trebek’s personal life are far more revealing.”

The L.A. Times reviews Must I Go by Yiyun Li (Random House): “Li delves into the ways our narratives bury the dead. Lilia Liska, traumatized, stubborn, conflicted, smart and deeply loving despite her best efforts to the contrary, is a kind of Scheherazade wooing herself to forgetfulness, trying to put to rest the memory of a man whose unacknowledged child died too soon, so that she can cherish the memory of that child by herself.” Also, Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell (Knopf): “beautiful.” Also, The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown: Hachette): “She wrote a book about a 100-year-old flu that feels completely current, down to the same frustrations and tensions and hopes and dangers. And she did it without even knowing just how relevant it would be - how well and frighteningly her own reimagining of a historical catastrophe would square with our actual living experience of its modern sequel.”

The NYT reviews The Indomitable Florence Finch: The Untold Story of a War Widow Turned Resistance Fighter and Savior of American POWs by Robert J Mrazek (Hachette): “a treasure, an eminently readable tribute to the wartime heroism of one brave woman and the astonishing endurance of one determined man.” How You Say It: Why You Talk the Way You Do—And What It Says About You by Katherine D. Kinzler (HMH): “makes a crisp but comprehensive case, while dropping us in on what sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic research teaches, that although our distaste for ways of speaking that differ from ours is baked into us, true civilization requires that we work against it as much as possible.”

Briefly Noted

Lit Hub has an “In Context” column about Maggie O'Farrell, Hamnet (Knopf).

Slate publishes Alison Bechdel’s introduction to the new Stuck Rubber Baby 25th Anniversary Edition by Howard Cruse (First Second: Macmillan).

Vulture showcases Remain in Love: Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Tina by Chris Frantz (St. Martin’s Macmillan).

Slate features Intimations: Six Essays by Zadie Smith (Penguin).

The NYT features Bill Buford, Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking (Knopf; LJ starred review).

John Scalzi and Mary Robinette Kowal talk about SF, writing, and much more on Tor.com.

Entertainment Weekly interviews Samantha Downing, He Started It (Berkley: Penguin).

Electric Lit interviews Lauren Beukes, Afterland (Muholland Books: Hachette).

Salon interviews Shayla Lawson, This Is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope (Harper Perennial; LJ starred review).

Bitch Media has an interview with Leslie Kern, Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World (Verso: Random House).

HuffPost interviews Nicholson Baker, Baseless: My Search for Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act (Penguin).

The Atlantic writes about “The False Promise of Anti-racism Books.”

Bitch Media writes “Trauma or Tragedy: Disability Representation in Children’s Books Has a Long Way to Go.”

Author Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race (Bloomsbury Circus: Macmillan; LJ starred review), and actress Emma Watson are embarking on a “project to reimagine” [London’s] tube map, by renaming all 270 stops after the women and non-binary people who have shaped the history of each pocket of the capital.” The effort is modeled after Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro (Univ. California), which did similar work with NYC. The Guardian reports.

Author Robert Zaretsky writes in The Washington PostThe author of Robinson Crusoe was the Anthony Fauci of his age.”

The NYT writes “If you want to sell books during a pandemic, it turns out that one of the best places to do it is within easy reach of eggs, milk and diapers.”

A new literary magazine is in the works, INQUE. It will publish once a year for ten years and feature work by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, Joyce Carol Oates, Ben Lerner, Catherine Lacey, Ben Okri, and Ocean Vuong. Jonathan Lethem is planning a novel to run over its course, with one chapter out a year. The Bookseller reports.

Following up on the earlier Guardian report, author Mark Dawson has now lost his top 10 placement on the UK Sunday Times bestseller list.

Authors on Air

Where The Crawdads Sing gets its director, Olivia Newman. The CW is adapting Stephen King’s short story “The Revelations of ‘Becka Paulson.” PBS Masterpiece will co-produce the adaptation of Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz. Deadline reports.

Digital Spy has an interview with Neil Gaiman about the odds of making more Good Omens.

PBS NewsHour has “How mental health struggles wrote Ernest Hemingway’s final chapter.”

NPR’s Shots interviews Barbara Andraka-Christou, The Opioid Fix: America's Addiction Crisis and the Solution They Don't Want You to Have (John Hopkins).

Bustle offers “20 Reimaginings Of Classic Myths & Legends To Read After Cursed.”

HBO Max plans a TV version of sleep stories. Some of the readers include Idris Elba, Nicole Kidman, and Zoë Kravitz. The Wrap reports.

Mary Trump, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man (S. & S.), will be on with Stephen Colbert tonight.

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