Buzz Builds for Marilynne Robinson’s 'Jack' & Anne Helen Petersen’s 'Can't Even' | Book Pulse

Jack by Marilynne Robinson gets a sharp look, while Anne Helen Petersen, Can't Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation gets focused attention. Ibram X. Kendi's next book will be Four Hundred Souls A Community History of African America, 1619-2019, cowritten with Keisha N. Blain. Sam McBratney, author of Guess How Much I Love You, has died. There are more reading suggestions for books on and by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, booklists for Spanish-speaking writers of SFF, and essential titles by Iranian writers.

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Jack by Marilynne Robinson (FSG: Macmillan; LJ starred review) gets a sharp look. The Washington Post calls it “ferociously restrained.” The NYT wrtes: “to open her other novels, including this one, is largely to enter a remote, airless, life-denying, vaguely pretentious and mostly humorless universe, where it is always Sunday morning and never Saturday night, where the same bespoke arguments about religious feeling are rehashed, where a lonely reader enters, sniffs the penitential air and asks: Who died?.”

Anne Helen Petersen, Can't Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation (HMH), gets focused attention too, with a long excerpt in BuzzFeed and interviews with Amazon and PBS NewsHour.

Four Hundred Souls A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain will publish from PRH on 2/2/21.

Sam McBratney, author of Guess How Much I Love You, has died. USA Today has an obituary.


The Washington Post reviews The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett (Viking: Penguin): “His re-creation of the period — the hazards, the harsh physical realities, the competing influences of politics and religion — is detailed and convincing, providing a solid underpinning to the later installments of the Kingsbridge series.” Also, Jack by Marilynne Robinson (FSG: Macmillan; LJ starred review): “ferociously restrained.”

The NYT reviews Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots (William Morrow: Harper; LJ starred review): “[a] witty and inventive first novel.” Also, Here We Are by Graham Swift (Knopf): “Swift’s closing account of a mundane world momentarily pierced by a shaft of numinous mystery is magnificent.” Our Bodies, Their Battlefields: War Through the Lives of Women by Christina Lamb (Scribner: S. & S.): “she hands rape survivors a microphone they are seldom given.” Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation by Andrew Weissmann (Random House): “Weissmann’s portrait of his boss is admiring, affectionate and utterly devastating.” Divided We Fall: America's Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation by David French (St. Martin’s: Macmillan): “A conservative evangelical Christian who has lived and worked among secular liberals, French understands better than most that coexistence with people of radically different backgrounds and beliefs is not only possible but necessary.” The Folly and the Glory: America, Russia, and Political Warfare 1945–2020 by Tim Weiner (Henry Holt: Macmillan): “provides a sweeping, lively survey of the worldwide competition between the Soviet Union (and later, Russia) and the United States since the end of World War II.” God-Level Knowledge Darts: Life Lessons from the Bronx by Desus & Mero (Random House): “prove[s] that they have never really been just anyone.”

Briefly Noted

The NYT has 8 books to honor the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The Washington Post writes “Spanish-speaking writers are producing ambitious science fiction and fantasy. Let these books be your introduction.”

The Margins has “100 Essential Books by Iranian Writers: An Introduction & Nonfiction.”

In forthcoming book news, actor Kristoffer Polaha (Wonder Woman 1984, Jurassic World: Dominion) is writing a five-book romance novel series with co-author Anna Gomez. People writes that “the first in the Hawaii-based series, Moments Like This, will be released on Feb. 2, 2021, by Rosewind Books.” Also, The Bachelor star Ben Higgins has a book on the way, Alone in Plain Sight: Searching for Connection When You're Seen but Not Known (Thomas Nelson: Harper). People has that news too.

Shondaland considers “Why Political Memoirs Are So Popular Right Now.” Also, “Indie Romance Books Are Big Business, But Why Aren't We Hearing About It?” and “The Ever-Growing World of Audiobooks.” All are part of a new series the site is running titled “On Books.”

The NYT excerpts Welcome to the New World by Jake Halpern, illustrated by Michael Sloan (Metropolitan Books: Macmillan).

USA Today features Ayesha Curry, The Full Plate: Flavor-Filled, Easy Recipes for Families with No Time and a Lot to Do (Voracious: Hachette).

Wired features Susanna Clarke, Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury USA: Macmillan; LJ starred review).

Entertainment Weekly interviews V. E. Schwab, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (Tor: Macmillan; LJ starred review).

The CBC interviews Louise Penny, All the Devils Are Here (Minotaur: St. Martin’s: Macmillan; LJ starred review).

The Guardian interviews Rhianna Pratchett, who has written a debut, part of the UK’s Fighting Fantasy books.

Autostraddle interviews Zaina Arafat, You Exist Too Much (Catapult).

Electric Lit interviews Angela Chen, Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex (Beacon Press).

The Guardian has “Not the Booker Prize” reading centered on Akin by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown: Hachette).

CNN reports “Edward Snowden agrees to give up more than $5 million from book and speeches” as the Justice Department works to “claw back” proceeds and hold “former employees accountable for unauthorized leaks.”

National Geographic explores libraries and the pandemic.

Authors on Air

NPR’s All Things Considered interviews Colin Quinn, Overstated: A Coast-to-Coast Roast of the 50 States (St. Martin's Press: Macmillan). NPR also has an interview with H. R. McMaster, Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World (Harper).

Tom Cooper’s Florida Man is headed to TV with Joel Edgerton set to star and executive produce. Jennifer E. Smith’s Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between is headed to the movies with Jordan Fisher to star. Peacock will be the new home of Mr. Mercedes, based on Stephen King’s novel. Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library gets optioned for the movies. Deadline reports.

The Today show features We're Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy by Elijah Cummings and James Dale (Harper; LJ starred review).

WandaVision gets a trailer. It airs on Disney+. No debut date has been set. has some of the backstory.

A trailer is out for Big Sky. It is based on The Highway by C.J. Box and airs on ABC on Nov. 17. 

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