RBG's Literary Legacy; Bookish Emmys | Book Pulse

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult leads library holds this week. Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh is People’s “Book of the Week.” Entertainment Weekly issues its Fall Book Special. Ruth Bader Ginsburg leaves a legacy of titles she has penned and others have written about her. The NYT profiles Madeline McIntosh, the U.S. chief executive of Penguin Random House. The National Book Award longlist, of 50 titles, is now complete. Watchmen leads a short list of book-based Emmy winners.

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Big Books of the Week

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult (Ballantine: Random House) leads holds this week.

Other titles in demand include:

The Coast-to-Coast Murders by James Patterson, with J. D. Barker (Little, Brown: Hachette)

Next to Last Stand: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson (Viking: Penguin; LJ starred review)

These books and others publishing the week of Sept. 20, 2020, are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet.

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

Three LibraryReads selections publish this week:

Well Played by Jen DeLuca (Berkley: Penguin)

“Upon hearing of Simon and Emily’s engagement, best friend Stacey is jolted into reevaluating her own life. Stacey reaches out to her old Ren Faire flame, Dex, but accidentally connects with Daniel, Dex’s cousin. When their friendly messages turn into something more, Stacey is faced with a surprise upon learning of the identity of her online paramour. For readers who enjoyed 99 Percent Mine (Thorne).” —Morgan Malyn, Clermont County Public Library, Cincinnati, OH

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult (Ballantine: Random House)

“This deeply felt story oscillates between past and present in the life of Dawn McDowell, a death doula and former Egyptologist. Rich with metaphor and fascinating Egyptology, the novel benefits from being told solely from Dawn’s point of view, pulling readers deep into her world.” —Cari Dubiel, Twinsburg Public Library, Twinsburg, OH

Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey (Avon: Harper; LJ starred review)

“The third entry in the Hot and Hammered series brings back supporting characters Bethany and Wes for their own steamy enemies-to-lovers romance set in the world of HGTV-style renovation. The book also is notable for its positive portrayal of Bethany’s struggles against anxiety.” —Bethany Dietrich, Bastrop Public Library, Bastrop, TX

Four Indie Next picks also arrive this week:

Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots (William Morrow: Harper; LJ starred review)

Hench is absolutely terrific! Walschots has found a fresh, original, feminist angle on the tropes of superheroes and supervillains in this smart, lively novel. Anna is barely subsisting from temp job to temp job — even supervillains need someone to do their data entry — when she becomes collateral damage in a superhero’s intervention. Injured and jobless, she fights back by collecting data on the negative effects caused by superheroes. As Anna’s research goes viral, she’s tapped for a new job with the supervillain, giving her an opportunity to use her skills to fight back against the so-called forces of good. Very highly recommended!” —Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books, Okemos, MI

Here We Are by Graham Swift (Knopf)

Here We Are is a beautiful evocation of love, memory, and magic. With mesmerizing prose, Swift tells the tale of Jack, Ronnie, and Evie, who form a bond in the summer of 1959 when they work together at a variety show in Brighton, England. Ronnie hires Evie to be part of his magic act, and the two soon fall in love. Jack, the show’s master of ceremonies, is Ronnie’s best friend but he knows little about Ronnie’s childhood experiences during the war. Fifty years later, Evie is looking back at their lives and what happened during the summer that changed everything. This quiet, compact novel soars with the grace and poignant feeling of Swift’s masterful writing.” —Lori Feathers, Interabang Books, Dallas, TX

Dancing with the Octopus: A Memoir of a Crime by Debora Harding (Bloomsbury: Macmillan)

“Debora Harding pulls off a new kind of memoir here and keeps you continually on the hook. Written in short chapters, Harding describes growing up in the 1970s with a tough-love mother and a father she absolutely adores. Come along as the author sorts out her mother’s abuse and her father’s willful compliance, centering it all around a horrific random crime perpetrated against her at the age of 14. Seriously thought-provoking, beautifully written, and redemptive. If you like memoirs, this one is fantastic.” —Peggy Mulqueen, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh (Gallery: S. & S.; LJ starred review)

Solutions and Other Problems made me laugh out loud — like, deep belly laughter, which has been noticeably absent in my life for several months (for obvious global pandemic reasons). It also sometimes sucked the air straight out of my chest with its poignancy. And then two pages later, it had me laughing again. Brosh has a way of making the art of being human feel normal and magical and confusing and all-too-clear. I think this book might be exactly what people need right now — maybe even especially right now.” —Brittany Wallace, Trident Booksellers & Café, Boston, MA

In the Media

Entertainment Weekly’s “Fall Book Special” highlights Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath by Heather Clark (Knopf), Dearly: New Poems by Margaret Atwood (Ecco: Harper), The Silence by Don DeLillo (Scribner: S. & S.), Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey (Crown: Random House), No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality by Michael J. Fox (Flatiron: Macmillan), The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey (Andy Cohen Books: Macmillan), The Searcher by Tana French (Viking: Penguin; LJ starred review), and Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth, illustrated by Sara Lautman (William Morrow: Harper). Additionally, there are fifteen more picks in EW’s “Fabulous Fall Reads” list (see spreadsheet here).

In the issue as well, the already online interview with Alice Hoffman, Magic Lessons: The Prequel to Practical Magic (S. & S.) and the one with David Sedaris, The Best of Me (Little, Brown: Hachette). New interviews focus on Rumaan Alam, Leave the World Behind (Ecco: Harper) and Jerry Seinfeld, Is This Anything? (S. & S.). There is also a conversation between Anne Helen Petersen, Can't Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation (HMH) and Nicole Krauss, To Be a Man: Stories (Harper).

“The Must List” includes Hush by Dylan Farrow (Wednesday Books: Macmillan) and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon (Random House), which is getting adapted by Showtime. In addition to the books, the list includes more adaptations including The Undoing, The Glorias (which is based on My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem), and Unpregnant (based on the novel by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan). The already online excerpt of Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon: Game of Thrones and the Official Untold Story of the Epic Series by James Hibberd (Dutton: Penguin) makes the issue too. The Fall TV preview covers the book/comic related The Mandalorian, Ratched, The Walking Dead: The World Beyond, The Comey Rule, The Good Lord Bird, Monsterland, The Right Stuff, Helstrom, The Haunting of Bly Manor, The Spanish Princess, and Star Trek: Discovery. EW ends book coverage with an interview with Ayesha Curry, The Full Plate: Flavor-Filled, Easy Recipes for Families with No Time and a Lot to Do (Voracious: Hachette).

People’s “Book of the Week” is Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh (Gallery: S. & S.; LJ starred review). Also getting attention are Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (Mulholland Books: Hachette) and Dear Ann by Bobbie Ann Mason (Harper). New in Nonfiction covers A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son by Michael Ian Black (Algonquin: Workman), Modern Madness: An Owner's Manual by Terri Cheney (Hachette Go), and The Little Book of Life Skills: Deal with Dinner, Manage Your Email, Make a Graceful Exit, and 152 Other Expert Tricks by Erin Zammett Ruddy (Grand Central: Hachette). On the “Picks” list are Ratched, Unpregnant, The Devil All the Time, Nomadland, and Concrete Cowboy. There is a feature on Willie Nelson, Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of the Family Band by Willie Nelson & others (Random House; LJ starred review) and one on the Get Organized With the Home Edit stars Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, who wrote the Home Edit books (Clarkson Potter: Random House). Lastly, there is a recipe from Eating Out Loud: Bold Middle Eastern Flavors for All Day, Every Day: A Cookbook by Eden Grinshpan (Clarkson Potter: Penguin).


NPR reviews Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury USA: Macmillan; LJ starred review): “limns a magic far more intrinsic than the kind commanded through spells; a magic that is seemingly part of the fabric of the universe and as powerful as a cosmic engine — yet fragile nonetheless.” Also, The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah (William Morrow: Harper): "masterful and multi-layered puzzle ... adding a new dimension to a much-loved series." Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera (Bloomsbury YA: Macmillan): “wraps its deeper musings in a languid summer romance between two earnest teens whose charisma ensures that the reader will keep walking forward through the story.” Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World by H. R. McMaster (Harper): “In the end, McMaster sees his former boss not as a monster but as merely the latest of several disappointing occupants of the Oval Office who have failed to meet what he considers its demands.”

The NYT's “The Shortlist” covers “Young Adult Dystopian Fiction That Feels Pretty Real" There is also a look at “8 Picture Books About Ordinary Kids’ Everyday Activism.”

The Washington Post reviews Losers: Dispatches from the Other Side of the Scoreboard edited by Mary Pilon and Louisa Thomas (Penguin): “As in any collection, these stories can be very uneven.” Also, All About the Story: News, Power, Politics, and the Washington Post by Leonard Downie Jr (PublicAffars: Hachette): “could be characterized as a series of war stories best enjoyed by journalists, past and present. This would be a disservice to history lovers who will relish his behind-the-scenes narratives of some of the world’s biggest stories.” Horse Crazy: The Story of a Woman and a World in Love with an Animal by Sarah Maslin Nir (S. & S.): “The pounding pulse of the book is the author’s determination to share the deep love that animates life for a horse enthusiast.” Henry Kissinger and American Power: A Political Biography by Thomas A. Schwartz (Hill and Wang: Macmillan; LJ starred review): “very fine political biography.” The Socrates Express: In Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers by Eric Weiner (Avid Reader: S. & S.): “delightful.”

Briefly Noted

An author as well as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Ruth Bader Ginsburg leaves a legacy of titles she has penned and others have written about her. Here are some suggestions: USA Today, the NYT, the NYPL.

The NYT profiles Madeline McIntosh, the U.S. chief executive of Penguin Random House, in a piece that talks about the pandemic, the sales surge this year, the supply chain, the focus on blockbuster books, the decline of the midlist, and more. It is an important read for CD and RA librarians and includes this: “The result is an algorithmic marketplace that serves up mostly the hits, driving a cycle so self-fulfilling it’s nearly tautological: Best sellers sell the best because they are best sellers.”

The Fiction longlist for the National Book Awards has been announced. The full list of all fifty titles across the four categories is at the bottom of the NYT's coveage.

USA Today names five books for the week.

Entertainment Weekly picks the 30 books of the fall.

The StarTribune has suggestions for fall reading as well.

Lit Hub posts “The Ultimate Fall 2020 Books Preview," the gathering of fall books by top mentions on lists. Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam (Ecco: Harper) makes the most.

Vulture names the “The Best Books of the Year (So Far).”

BuzzFeed highlights the week’s virtual book events.

Salon writes about “Comfort reading for the pandemic age.”

Slate considers “Why So Many Readers Are Turning to Octavia Butler’s Apocalypse Fiction Right Now.”

Shelf Awareness has a report on James Daunt and B&N.

Entertainment Weekly reports that “In January, DC Universe will transform into DC Universe Infinite … a premium digital comic book service.”

Time excerpts Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria (W.W. Norton).

The Atlantic highlights Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation by Andrew Weissmann (Random House).

ABC7 reports on the Black Literary Collective.

Stephen F. Cohen has died. The NYT has an obituary.

Authors on Air

The Emmys were presented on Sunday. Book-based winners include Watchmen, I Know This Much Is True, and The Morning Show. The NYT has a full report.

NPR interviews Terri Cheney, Modern Madness: An Owner's Manual (Hachette Go).

NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday interviews Bishop Michael Curry, Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times (Avery: Penguin).

Sylvain Neuvel’s novella The Test is headed to the movies with John Boyega and Payman Maadi to star. Tor.com reports.

Publishers Perspectives features Deutsche Welle, an international site addressing contemporary fiction.

H. R. McMaster, Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World (Harper), will be on with Stephen Colbert tonight.

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