Reese Witherspoon Picks 'Infinite Country' by Patricia Engel for March Book Club | Book Pulse

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel is getting a lot of buzz—it's Reese Witherspoon's Book Club selection for March, gets a good review in The Washington Post, and she's profiled in Esquire and appears on the Reading Women podcast. For its book club, Good Morning America picks Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. In awards news, the five finalists for the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction have been announced, finalists for the 41st annual L.A. Times Book Prizes are out, and more. Action Bronson has a new book, F*ck It, I’ll Start Tomorrow: A True Story, coming in April. Sister Souljah shares why she waited 22 years to write Life After Death as a follow-up to The Coldest Winter Ever. Plus, Disney's 20th Television picked up the rights to We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker, which debuted this week.

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Book Clubs and Book Lists

Reese Witherspoon's Book Club selection for March is Infinite Country by Patricia Engel (Avid Reader: S. & S.).

The Good Morning America Book Club announced Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf: Random House; LJ starred review) as its March pick.

BookPage recommends nonfiction books that celebrate Women’s History Month and have good talking points for book clubs.

The 2021 mystery preview is up from LJ

PopSugar offers "A Running List of the Best Books of 2021."

Lit Hub has "17 new books to look forward to."

The Washington Post suggests "10 books to read in March."

Shondaland recommends "The 5 Best Books for March."

Town & Country rounds up "20 New Books This Week For You To Add To Your Reading List."

Barbara Hoffert has new Prepub Alert columns in LJ.

Awards and Honors

The five finalists for the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction have been announced: The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw (West Virginia Univ.), Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear by Matthew Salesses (Little A: Amazon), The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe (Knopf: Random House), Mother Daughter Widow Wife by Robin Wasserman (Scribner: S. & S.), and Scattered Lights by Steve Wiegenstein (Cornerpost). The virtual celebration to honor the authors and announce a winner takes place May 10.

Finalists for the 41st annual L.A. Times Book Prizes are out, with winners to be announced at a virtual ceremony on April 16. The winners of three special categories were also announced: Leslie Marmon Silko receives the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement, the 2020 Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose goes to Mayflies by Andrew O’Hagan (McClelland & Stewart: Random House), and the Innovator's Award goes to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation.

The 2021 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, which honors an unpublished novel manuscript "that addresses issues of social justice and the impact of culture and politics on human relationships," goes to Hydrangeas of New Jessup by Jamila Minnicks Gleason. The 12 winners of the PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers are also out.

Edna O'Brien will be named commander of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France’s highest cultural distinction. The Guardian has details. 


NPR reviews Hooked: Food, Free Will, and How the Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions by Michael Moss (Random House): "...does it make sense to talk about addiction to processed foods as one would about addition to tobacco or heroin? Moss says yes." Also, Machinehood by S.B. Divya (Gallery/Saga: S. & S.): "...[it] achieves what the very best science fiction aspires to — it establishes our future by making it relatable, plausible, and infinitely strange at the same time."

The Washington Post reviews Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf: Random House; LJ starred review): "Ishiguro brings to this poignant subgenre a uniquely elegant style and flawless control of dramatic pacing." Also, Tom Stoppard: A Life by Hermione Lee (Knopf: Random House; LJ starred review): "The key test of an artist’s biography is how well it handles the art, and Lee gets good marks here." Infinite Country by Patricia Engel (Avid Reader: S. & S.): "At its best, Engel’s novel interrogates the idea of American exceptionalism, though the term never appears in the book."

The NYT reviews Later by Stephen King (Hard Case Crime: Random House): "The result is something of a genre hybrid: part detective tale, part thriller, with a horror story filling in the seams." Also, Khalil by Yasmina Khadra and translated by John Cullen (Nan A. Talese: Random House): "This novel is both timely and, sadly, timeless." Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes (Crown: Random House): "Given how the American political system currently works, the granular politicking ably recounted in 'Lucky' is a necessity — but what becomes unintentionally clear is how wasteful so much of it is." Who is Maud Dixon? (Little, Brown: Hachette): "Is it possible that what we have here is a portrait of a snake biding its time, considering how to disable its next meal while slowly digesting the one it’s already eaten?" Plus, brief reviews of recent audiobooks.

Briefly Noted

Citing safety concerns around COVID and limited financial resources, the organizers of Comic-Con announced it will again be held virtually in 2021 and also limited to three days, taking place July 23-25.

Action Bronson announced his new book F*ck It, I’ll Start Tomorrow: A True Story (Abrams Image) on Instagram. It's due out April 20.

Read an essay in the NYT by actress Emily Mortimer, excerpted from Lolita in the Afterlife: On Beauty, Risk, and Reckoning with the Most Indelible and Shocking Novel of the Twentieth Century, edited by Jenny Minton Quigley (Vintage: Random House; LJ starred review), which is due out March 16.

The L.A. Times talks with Sister Souljah about Life After Death (Atria/Emily Bestler: S. & S.) and why she waited 22 years to write this follow-up to The Coldest Winter Ever.

Patricia Engel discusses Infinite Country (Avid Reader: S. & S.) with Esquire, and shares influential books in the Shelf Awareness "Reading With…" column.

Hari Ziyad, Black Boy Out of Time: A Memoir (Little A: Amazon), recommends "8 Great Books About Black Boyhood" at Lit Hub

Anne Lamott, Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage (Riverhead: Random House), answers "Five Questions" from Lit Hub.

With the release of the 17-pound, 570-page book Julian Schnabel from Taschen, The Hollywood Reporter interviews the artist/director.

Eliot Higgins discusses We Are Bellingcat: Global Crime, Online Sleuths, and the Bold Future of News (Bloomsbury: Macmillan) with Time.

Shondaland speaks with Forsyth Harmon about Justine (Tin House: W. W. Norton). And at Lit Hub, she suggests a reading list featuring "Obsessive Female Relationships."

"I wanted to think about what it’s like to have a dream for your family and to have that disrupted by violence," says Naima Coster of What's Mine and Yours (Grand Central: Hachette) in an interview with Bitch Media. She also does a Q&A with Amazon.

The Rumpus Poetry Book Club talks with poet Erin Belieu about Come-Hither Honeycomb (Copper Canyon).

Elle profiles Namina Forna, The Gilded Ones(Delacorte: Random House).

Marcia Butler, Oslo, Maine (Central Avenue), is in conversation with Richard Russo at The Millions.

Noé Álvarez, Spirit Run: A 6,000-Mile Marathon Through North America’s Stolen Land (Catapult: Penguin), does the Book Marks "Questionnaire."

Brit Bennett writes about the 1929 novel Passing by Nella Larsen for the T Magazine Book Club.

Mary H.K. Choi discusses Yolk (S. & S. Books for Young Readers) with Shondaland. The site also has an interview with Luvvie Ajayi Jones, Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual (Penguin Life).

Kazuo Ishiguro, Klara and the Sun (Knopf: Random House; LJ starred review), shares thoughts on four of his other books at Entertainment Weekly.

Smithsonian Magazine has renderings of H.C. Andersen's House, a sprawling space to honor the fairy tale writer that's opening in his Denmark hometown this summer, which its creative director describes as "an existential museum."

Pearson issued new editorial guidelines to ensure its materials include “meaningful representation" of underrepresented groups. The Bookseller looks into the initiative.

The Ripped Bodice bookstore's fifth annual state of diversity in romance survey finds a "sluggish and inconsistent commitment by publishers to publishing more romance books by authors of color." Publishers Weekly has a report.

The decision by Dr. Seuss Enterprises to stop publishing six titles because of their racist and insensitive imagery boosted sales of those and other Dr. Suess books on Amazon and eBay. Deadline has the news.

Author Lawrence Otis Graham has died. The Washington Post has an obituary.

Authors on Air 

Disney's 20th Television picked up the rights to We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker (Henry Holt: Macmillan), which debuted this week. The Hollywood Reporter has details.

The forthcoming War Arts Saga trilogy by Wesley Chu, due out beginning in 2022, will be adapted for TV. Claire Scanlon is directing the film adaptation of The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder. Ed Harris will direct, and Robert Duvall and Garret Hedlund will star in, the adaptation of The Ploughmen by Kim Zupan. Deadline has news on all. 

Gugu Mbatha-Raw and David Oyelowo will star in the limited series adaptation for HBO Max of The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney. Entertainment Weekly has more info.

Tess Taylor, Rift Zone (Red Hen; LJ starred review), discusses the solace of poetry on PBS NewsHour's Canvas.

Tin House's Between the Covers podcast speaks with Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Committed (Grove).

Darby Fox, Rethinking Your Teenager (Oxford), discusses the "the moral and biological state of teenagers" on the Keen On podcast.

The Reading Women podcast features Patricia Engel, Infinite Country (Avid Reader: S. & S.).

NPR's Fresh Air interviews Eliot Higgins, We Are Bellingcat: Global Crime, Online Sleuths, and the Bold Future of News (Bloomsbury: Macmillan).

Stephen King, Later (Hard Case Crime: Random House), is on The Drew Barrymore Show today.

The Today Show features Parent Like It Matters by Janice Johnson Dias (Ballantine: Random House; LJ starred review) and Limitless by Mallory Weggemann with Tiffany Yecke Brooks (Thomas Nelson: HarperCollins Christian).

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