'Leave the World Behind' Is Jenna's October Pick | Book Pulse

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam is the October Read with Jenna pick. The Millions issues its Most Anticipated October preview. Predictions are out for the Nobel prize for literature, which will be announced on Thursday. Reflecting the huge fall book season, more than twenty reviews arrive today.

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The Huge Fall Book Season As Reflected In Reviews







The NYT reviews The Searcher by Tana French (Viking: Penguin; LJ starred review): “not her most accessible but not to be missed. It’s unusually contemplative and visual, as if she literally needed this breath of fresh air.” Also, Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam (Ecco: Harper): “he lobs a prescient accusation: Faced with the end of the world, you wouldn’t do a damn thing.” Magic Lessons: The Prequel to Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman (S. & S.) :"Storytelling is in Hoffman’s bones, and the skill with which she dispenses information and compresses time, so that a year passes in a sentence, so that a tragedy witnessed becomes the propeller for a hundred-page subplot, is (forgive me) bewitching.” Missionaries by Phil Klay (Penguin): “a courageous book: It doesn’t shy away, as so much fiction does, from the real world of local politics, often including real names and events, never making any concessions to a reader’s potential impatience with all things foreign. It never simplifies; it doesn’t even try to streamline the situation.” Cuyahoga by Pete Beatty (Scribner: S. & S.): “revels in fabulizing a region he clearly knows and loves, while the reader is left to stew over the aftermath, over what home and memory and myth carry forth after the fire.” Earthlings by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori (Grove): “Murata’s presentation of alienation as a natural response to the pressures of conformity may not give us much that wasn’t on offer in, say, European existentialist writing of nearly a century ago. The strength of her voice lies in the faux-naïf lens through which she filters her dark view of humankind: We earthlings are sad, truncated bots, shuffling through the world in a dream of confusion.” The Hole by Hiroko Oyamada, translated by David Boyd (New Directions: W.W. Norton): “sparse and frightening.” Mad at the World: A Life of John Steinbeck by William Souder (W.W. Norton): “admiring new biography, believes Steinbeck should get another, sympathetic look.” The Zealot and the Emancipator: John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, and the Struggle for American Freedom by H. W. Brands (Doubleday: Random House): “builds on strengths long evident in Brands’s books, combining expert storytelling with thoughtful interpretation vividly to render major events through the lives of the chief participants.” War: How Conflict Shaped Us by Margaret MacMillan (Random House): “richly eclectic discussion of how culture and society have been molded by warfare throughout history.” Bland Fanatics: Liberals, Race, and Empire by Pankaj Mishra (FSG: Macmillan): “In a lacerating introduction and 16 acidic chapters adapted from articles [previously] published … Mishra artfully pummels liberalism’s Grand Narrative.” Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria (W.W. Norton): “employs a wide lens, drawing on governance, economics and culture. Call it ‘applied history’.” The Blessing and the Curse: The Jewish People and Their Books in the Twentieth Century by Adam Kirsch (W.W Norton; LJ starred review): “Kirsch’s essays are expertly made, each one deftly including just enough historical context, healthy portions of summary and exposition, and the lightest sprinkling of interpretation and evaluation.” The Tangled Web We Weave: Inside The Shadow System That Shapes the Internet by James Ball (Melville House: Random House): “nimble and persuasive.” Eleanor by David Michaelis (S. & S.): “the first major single-volume biography in more than half a century, and a terrific resource for people who aren’t ready to tackle Blanche Wiesen Cook’s heroic three-volume work.” The Lenin Plot: The Unknown Story of America's War Against Russia by Barnes Carr (Pegasus: S. & S.): “entertaining new study … a welcome corrective.” A Peculiar Indifference: The Neglected Toll of Violence on Black America by Elliott Currie (Metropolitan Books: Macmillan): “a smart, timely, deeply disturbing and essential book.” Nothing Like I Imagined (Except for Sometimes) by Mindy Kaling (Audible): “watching, reading and listening to Kaling’s voice is a comforting cure-all, an honest and optimistic antidote to all of life’s woes.” Lastly, a dual review headlined “Does an Intellectual History of the Trump Era Exist? It Does Now.”

The Washington Post reviews Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam (Ecco: Harper): “the perfect title for a book that opens with the promise of utopia and travels as far from that dream as our worst fears might take us. It is the rarest of books: a genuine thriller, a brilliant distillation of our anxious age, and a work of high literary merit that deserves a place among the classics of dystopian literature.” Also, The Searcher by Tana French (Viking: Penguin; LJ starred review): "this hushed suspense tale about thwarted dreams of escape may be her best yet. Like the John Ford film it pays homage to, “The Searcher” is its own kind of masterpiece.” Zero Zone by Scott O'Connor (Counterpoint): “O’Connor has constructed the plot of “Zero Zone” as a kaleidoscope, frequently shattering the chronology of events and remixing the parts. That may sound baffling, but it’s compellingly done — a constant process of filling in context and meaning, solving some mysteries and raising others.”

NPR reviews Undaunted: My Fight Against America's Enemies, At Home and Abroad by John O. Brennan (Celadon: Macmillan): “dishes the gossip and offers strong, detailed, insider accounts of important events, such as how al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was tracked down and how drone strikes were carried out.”

Briefly Noted

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam (Ecco: Harper) is the October Read with Jenna Pick.

The Millions issues its Most Anticipated October Preview.

Entertainment Weekly has fall Romance titles.

Lit Hub picks “20 books that are laced with sinister magic.”

David Wright selects “7 audiobooks by Indigenous authors” for the Seattle Times.

Shondaland suggests “6 New Books That Inspire Activism.”

The Guardian’s The Not the Booker prize celebrates Hello Friend We Missed You by Richard Owain Roberts (Parthian Books).

Predictions for the Nobel prize for literature, which will be announced on Thursday, include Jamaica Kincaid, Anne Carson, Maryse Condé, Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood, and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. The Guardian reports.

Entertainment Weekly spotlights The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey (Andy Cohen Books: Macmillan). Also, a focus on A Bright Ray of Darkness by Ethan Hawke (Knopf), forthcoming in Feb. 2021.

Shondaland interviews Caitlin Moran, More Than a Woman (Harper).

USA Today features Pete Buttigieg and Trust: America's Best Chance (Liveright: W.W. Norton). Also, USA Today picks the 10 best jokes in Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld (S. & S.). Vulture has an excerpt.

The Tattler reports on Battle of Brothers: William and Harry – The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult by Robert Lacey (Harper). Bustle does too.

Tor.com excerpts The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo (Imprint: Macmillan).

The Brooklyn Public Library names Cyrée Jarelle Johnson as their first Poet-In-Residence.

Authors on Air

NPR’s All Things Considered interviews Issac J. Bailey, Why Didn't We Riot?: A Black Man in Trumpland (Other Press).

More book-based films get moved. The Batman moves to March 2020 as Dune takes its October 2021 date. The Flash, Shazam!, and Black Adam all move too. Wonder Woman is still set for this Christmas. Deadline reports on all.

Jerry Seinfeld, Is This Anything? (S. & S.), will be on with Stephen Colbert tonight and Bob Woodward, Rage (S. & S.) , will be on with Seth Meyers.

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