Horror Suggestions & Halloween Reads | Book Pulse

More October book picks arrive, as do new Horror suggestions and Halloween reads. The Silence by Don DeLillo is getting rocky reviews while The Perfect Nine: The Epic of Gikuyu and Mumbi by Ngugi wa Thiong'o is getting buzzy.

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Book Picks

Lit Hub picks ten books for October.

Town & Country names the best books of October.

CrimeReads highlights “10 New Books Coming Out This Week.”

Bustle suggests “Scary Books To Cosy Up With For A Halloween In Lockdown.”

Mental Floss offers “11 of Our Favorite Horror Books.”

Tor.com lists “Five Indigenous SFF Authors You Should Be Reading.”

Apartment Therapy features “10 Coffee Table Books That Center and Celebrate Black Art and Artists.”

Amazon has “favorite reads of 2020” from Mariah Carey and Michael J. Fox.

The German Book Prize goes to Anne Weber for Annette, ein Heldinnenepos (Annette, an Epic of a Heroine). Publishing Perspectives reports.

The Writers’ Trust of Canada announce their 2020 finalists.


The NYT reviews The Silence by Don DeLillo (Scribner: S. & S.): “a pristine disaster novel with apocalyptic overtones. It’s a Stephen King novel scored by Philip Glass instead of Chuck Berry.” Also, Kant's Little Prussian Head and Other Reasons Why I Write: An Autobiography in Essays by Claire Messud (W.W. Norton): “Messud isn’t a writer who grabs her subject matter by the throat or pumps her prose full of kinetic energy. She moseys, she circles, she lies in wait. She sighs where others might scream, mists up where others might sob.” Shelter in Place by David Leavitt (Bloomsbury: Macmillan): “Leavitt has claimed John Cheever and Grace Paley as influences, and it shows here: His dissection of the pampered New Yorkers’ reaction to Trump’s election, which they treat as a personal affront, is lethal and also kookily endearing.” The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, translated by Fiona Macintosh and Iona Macintyre (Charco Press): “Shortlisted for the International Booker Prize, “China Iron” showcases a remarkably fresh vision of life on the 19th-century pampas.” Gambling with Armageddon: Nuclear Roulette from Hiroshima to the Cuban Missile Crisis by Martin J. Sherwin (Knopf; LJ starred review): “a well-researched and reasoned analysis of nuclear weapons’ impact from 1945 to 1962 … The book should become the definitive account of its subject.” Bill Maher reviews 150 Glimpses of the Beatles by Craig Brown (FSG: Macmillan; LJ starred review): “Craig Brown just dives right in. No theme, no preamble, just glimpses of the Beatles (although not always of the Beatles themselves), and it’s up to you to put it together. And as with the Beatles’ music itself, I liked it more the more it went along.” A Good Time To Be Born: How Science and Public Health Gave Children a Future by Perri Klass (W.W. Norton; LJ starred review): “an ambitious, elegant meditation on what the doctor-writer Perri Klass describes as one of our greatest human achievements: a reduction in child mortality.” Brave New Home: Our Future in Smarter, Simpler, Happier Housing by Diana Lind (Bold Type: Hachette): “one of those invaluable books that offer a new, revelatory window on familiar problems. Faced with a host of societal challenges — economic inequality, loneliness, housing precarity, environmental degradation — Lind convincingly argues that the single-family home is at least partly to blame.” What Tech Calls Thinking: An Inquiry into the Intellectual Bedrock of Silicon Valley by Adrian Daub (FSG Originals: Macmillan): “There are so many scintillating aperçus in Daub’s book that I gave up underlining." The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again by Robert D. Putnam, with Shaylyn Romney Garrett (S. & S.): “good-hearted and sweeping.” Lastly, there is a dual review of books about Churchill and the Romance column is out.

Rumaan Alam reviews The Perfect Nine: The Epic of Gikuyu and Mumbi by Ngugi wa Thiong'o (The New Press) for The Washington Post, writing it “has the hallmarks of myth: exaggeration, adventure, magic, humor.” The paper also reviews The Silence by Don DeLillo: “The kindest response to Don DeLillo’s new novel, “The Silence,” may be suggested by its title. But this is the author of such modern classics as “White Noise,” “Libra” and “Underworld,” so attention must be paid.” Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld (S. & S.): “captures the output of one of our great comic minds.”

The L.A. Times reviews Snow by John Banville (Hanover Square: Harper): “uses the tools of mystery perfected by his alter ego, Benjamin Black, only to overturn them in fascinating ways.”

USA Today reviews A Lover’s Discourse by Xiaolu Guo (Grove), giving it three stars and asking “Do we feel we belong once we have a sense of place, or does the feeling instead come from our relationships? Xiaolu Guo tackles this and other heady questions.”

NPR reviews Shelter in Place by David Leavitt (Bloomsbury: Macmillan): “comes festooned with blurbs, all of which mention how amazingly funny it is. I never lost my sense of taste with COVID, but I'm beginning to think I may have lost my sense of humor — or, perhaps, my patience with the sort of deliberately, mockably tendentious conversations Shelter in Place is filled with.”

Briefly Noted

People features The Queer Advantage: Conversations with LGBTQ+ Leaders on the Power of Identity by Andrew Gelwicks (Hachette Go). Also, a feature on Rev. Al Sharpton, Rise Up: Confronting a Country at the Crossroads (Hanover Square Press: Harper).

The L.A. Times features Ngugi wa Thiong'o, The Perfect Nine: The Epic of Gikuyu and Mumbi (The New Press).

Entertainment Weekly excerpts Notes From the Bathroom Line: Humor, Art, and Low-grade Panic from 150 of the Funniest Women in Comedy edited by Amy Solomon (Harper Design).

Vanity Fair has much to say about American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic by Andrew Cuomo (Crown: Random House).

Autostraddle showcases Carnal Knowledge: Sex Education You Didn't Get in School by Zoë Ligon, Elizabeth Renstrom (Prestel: Penguin).

USA Today spotlights This Just Speaks to Me: Words to Live By Every Day by Hoda Kotb (G.P. Putnam’s Sons: Penguin).

Shondaland interviews Alix E. Harrow, The Once and Future Witches (Redhook: Hachette; LJ starred review).          

Entertainment Weekly interviews Dylan Farrow, Hush (Wednesday Books: Macmillan).

Salon interviews Maggie Smith, Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change by (Atria/One Signal: S. & S.).

The StarTribune reports on the Twin Cities Book Festival, which is virtual and free to all.

Authors on Air

The BBC/Amazon adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit Of Love will span three seasons. It stars Lily James. Apple TV+’s adaptation of Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent has stopped production after Keira Knightley dropped out due to the pandemic. ABC is adapting Sara Frey’s The Growing Season: How I Built a New Life–and Saved an American Farm (Ballantine, LJ starred review). Season 2 posters are out for The Mandalorian. Deadline reports.

HBO is planning a series about SpaceX, based on Ashlee Vance’s Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. Variety reports.

PBS NewsHour interviews Rick Gates, Wicked Game: An Insider's Story on How Trump Won, Mueller Failed, and America Lost (Post Hill Press: S. & S.).

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