Sally Rooney's 'Beautiful World, Where Are You' Tops Holds Lists | Book Pulse

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney leads holds and coverage this week, including a 4-star review from USA Today. The British Academy Book Prize announces its 2021 shortlist, including Cal Flyn, Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Mahmood Mamdani, and Sujit Sivasundaram. Four Library Reads and twelve Indie Next selections publish this week. People's book of the week is Matrix by Lauren Groff, which also gets reviewed. Interviews arrive with Maggie Nelson, Hayley Mills, Michaela Coel, Qian Julie Wang, and Ashley M. Jones. Plus, John Birmingham’s alternate WWII history trilogy, Axis of Time, is being adapted for TV.

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Sally Rooney's "Novel of the Moment"

Sally Rooney’s third book, Beautiful World, Where Are You (Farrar; LJ starred review), publishes this week, with The Guardian calling it the "Novel of the moment."

USA Today reviews, giving it 4 out of 4 stars: “Rooney is masterful at finding profound meaning in the quotidian, in ramping up the tension and heightening the stakes in the most microscopic of interactions.”  The NYT also reviews, calling it: “Rooney’s best novel yet. Funny and smart, full of sex and love and people doing their best to connect.”  AvClub agrees

In reference to the rise of Sally Rooney, The San Francisco Chronicle implores us to “separate the facts of writers’ lives from their fiction.”

Time considers “Sally Rooney and the Millenial Novel.”  And, Vulture has “Sally Rooney in the Struggle.”

Big Books of the Week

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney (Farrar; LJ starred review) leads holds this week.

Other titles in demand include:

Forgotten in Death by J. D. Robb (St. Martin’s)

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell (Atria)

Matrix by Lauren Groff (Riverhead)

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney (Flatiron)

These books and others publishing the week of September 6th, 2021 are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet.

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

There are four Library Reads and twelve Indie Next selections publishing this week:

Portrait of a Scotsman (A League of Extraordinary Women, Bk. 3) by Evie Dunmore (Berkley; LJ starred review)

"A forced marriage, an assumed affair, and a trip north to Scotland bring about multiple revelations between Hattie, a radical bluestocking, and Lucian, a self-made Scotsman. In this open-door romance, they learn to define what is important to both their emotional and sexual relationship. Dunmore does an incredible job of weaving in political and historical issues."—Sarah Milner, Charleston County Public Library, Charleston, SC

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun (Atria)

“Charlie signed up for the reality dating show to rebrand his image. Little did he know he would fall for his producer, Dev. Can Dev and Charlie create the picture-perfect romance on screen, or will their behind-the-scenes romance derail both of their career plans? For fans of reality romance, One To Watch, and Something to Talk About.”—Kari Bingham-Gutierrez, Olathe Public Library, Olathe, KS

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“While Dev believes in fairytale romances, Charlie most certainly does not. That doesn’t stop the two of them from stumbling into their own romantic comedy that will leave you absolutely charmed.”—Lauren Homza, Rediscovered Books, Boise, ID

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian (Park Row: Harlequin)

“A trio of psychopaths attending a Washington D.C. college take part in a study to see if they can be taught to live productively. When a murderer targets campus, they need to work together to determine if they’re among the hunted. This is a jaw- dropping, read-in-one-sitting thriller. For readers of Gillian Flynn and Caroline Kepnes.”—Douglas Beatty, Baltimore County Public Library, Baltimore, MD

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“This stunning psychological suspense novel will have you reading well into the night. That ending! Fans of Gillian Flynn and Caroline Kepnes will love this intense book.”—William Carl, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA

No Gods, No Monsters (The Convergence Saga, Bk. 1) by Cadwell Turnbull (Blackstone; LJ starred review)

“As creatures from myth and legend reveal themselves to be real, we’re reminded that people often are the actual monsters. Turnbull’s prose is gorgeous and lush, using contemporary fantasy as a lens to examine real-world oppression and injustice. For fans of Victor LaValle, Tade Thompson and Marlon James.”—Carol Ann Tack, Merrick Library, Merrick, N.Y.

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“Cadwell Turnbull weaves fantasy with current events to reveal how difficult it is to hold onto your humanity when society denies your existence or, worse, systematically erases you.”—Nicole A. Johnson, Baltimore Read Aloud, Baltimore, MD

Nine additional Indie Next picks publish this week:

Matrix by Lauren Groff (Riverhead) #1 Pick

“Lauren Groff has created an incredibly powerful portrait of the compelling Marie de France, banished to 12th-century England to live in a failing abbey. I fell in love with Marie and the sisters she lives with.”—Rosanna Nissen, Barrett Bookstore, Darien, CT

The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Cordova (Atria)

“This story sparkles and enchants! It’s a rich and layered multigeneration saga featuring strong women and a mystery veiled in magical realism that will tease and feed your imagination.”—Grace Rajendran, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

 On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint by Maggie Nelson (Graywolf Press)

“I have long anticipated Maggie Nelson’s newest work and On Freedom does not disappoint. Who doesn’t want to know her thoughts on art, sex, drugs, and climate?”—Dartricia Rollins, Charis Books & More, Atlanta, GA

Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang (Doubleday)

“In this brutally honest coming-of-age memoir, Qian Julie Wang comes to terms with the deprivations and struggles of her undocumented Chinese upbringing in New York City in the 1990s.”—Kayleen Rohrer, InkLink Books, East Troy, WI

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell (Atria)

“Lisa Jewell is indeed a master of suspense with The Night She Disappeared. Multiple timelines add to the suspense as the characters’ lives began to interweave and the story builds to an unexpected climax.”—Eileen McGervey, One More Page Books, Arlington, VA

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney (Farrar; LJ starred review)

“Another incredible story! The characters are vibrant and familiar, and the intimate moments are uniquely painted. It’s as if a close friend is confessing their life to you and you are seeing yourself in it.”—Katie Kenney, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

Fault Lines by Emily Itami (Custom House: HarperCollins)

“Emily Itami has given us an incredibly engaging, hilarious, and relatable narrator in Mizuki as she navigates the fault lines in her marriage, in her past, and within herself.”—Danielle Raub, Itinerant Literate Books, Charleston, SC

Hao: Stories by Ye Chun (Catapult)

“A wonderful collection of short stories that span the Chinese and Chinese American diaspora through time and place. These women, strong yet powerless, find their own meaning of hao (good).”—Audrey Huang, Belmont Books, Belmont, MA

The Archer by Shruti Swamy (Algonquin)

“The Archer is the story of a young Indian woman who longs to be a classical dancer — to feel that rhythm, to have that as her life focus — yet is continually buffeted by her choices and those made for her.”—Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA

In the Media

The People "Picks" book of the week is Matrix by Lauren Groff (Riverhead). Also getting attention are Coming Undone by Terri White (Canongate Books), and Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney (Farrar; LJ starred review).

A “New in Paperback" section highlights What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez (Riverhead), She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs by Sarah Smarsh (Scribner), and Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America; Essays by R. Eric Thomas (Ballantine).


USA Today reviews Happy Hour by Marlowe Granados (Verso Fiction), giving it 3 out of 4 stars: “a satisfying exploration of what it is to navigate and know yourself in your 20s today.” Also, On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint by Maggie Nelson (Graywolf Press), giving it 2.5 out of 4 stars: “if you approach it in a Nelson-esque spirit, with an open, curious mind, you may stumble at times over the dense language and academic theory, but you’ll also find lots to keep you engaged – provocative ideas, thinkers you’ve never heard of and a vast encyclopedia of cultural references, from the teachings of Buddhist nun Pema Chodron to the Allman Brothers’ ‘Ramblin’ Man’.” The NYT also reviews: “if we understand freedom, above all, through our opposition to bondage, we can learn a great deal, as her book shows, from carefully cataloging and challenging the many ways of being unfree.”

The Washington Post reviews Forever Young: A Memoir by Hayley Mills (Grand Central): “an affectionate but clear-eyed memoir of an unusual career that began at 12, swelled to global proportions during puberty and then, in young adulthood, dwindled into something quieter.” And, Edge Case by YZ Chin (Ecco): “a touching, introspective story about identity, belonging and the effects of long-term transience on both the heart and soul.” And, The Moment by Andrea Constand (Viking): “That desire to be believed is a central concept underlying Constand’s book, a memoir and detailed retelling of the Cosby trials, but also an attempt to urge changes in laws, such as statutes of limitation, that make it harder for accusers to seek justice.” Plus, more reviews from the weekend. 

The NYT reviews The War for Gloria by Atticus Lish (Knopf): “Lish has not only created a work of enduring art, he has distinguished himself as one of our finest writers.”  And, Happy Hour by Marlowe Granados (Verso Fiction): “Confident, charismatic and alive to the pleasure of observation, the voice Granados conjures in ‘Happy Hour’ is a testament to the power of charm on the page.” Also, Fault Lines by Emily Itami (Custom House: HarperCollins): “What is the cost of a mother’s desire? In her debut novel,… Itami explores this question with wit and poignancy.” And, Faraway by Lo Yi-Chin (Columbia Univ.): “makes for an uneven debut. It can feel frustratingly like an unedited diary; it’s not uncommon to find a long disquisition on the relative prices of fruit.” Also, Brothers on Three: A True Story of Family, Resistance, and Hope on a Reservation in Montana by Abe Streep (Celadon; LJ starred review): “an immersive portrait of a small tribal town where shared history runs deep, opportunity feels elusive, and basketball is a visceral expression of collective pride, hope and grit” And, Say It Loud!: On Race, Law, History, and Culture by Randall Kennedy (Pantheon): “He assumes progress will be gradual and, one senses, relatively undramatic. And in this, as in almost everything about his views on race in America, Kennedy is both resolutely temperate and probably right.” Plus, more reviews from NYT

NPR reviews Matrix by Lauren Groff (Riverhead): “an inspiring novel that truly demonstrates the power women wield, regardless of the era. It has sisterhood, love, war, sex — and many graphic deaths, all entangled in a once-forgotten abbey in the English countryside.” Also, No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull (Blackstone; LJ starred review): “the strangest, most haunting thing about No Gods, No Monsters — the thing that's buried deep, deep in the heart of this difficult book and speaks loudest to this moment and our reality — is the idea that most people, most of the time, will gladly claim that monsters and magic are not in fact real even when they see them with their own eyes.” Plus, Into the Forest: A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph, and Love by Rebecca Frankel  (St. Martin’s; LJ starred review): "Frankel skillfully retells this complex story in a gripping narrative that reads like a page turning thriller novel."

Briefly Noted

The British Academy Book Prize announces its 2021 shortlist, including Cal Flyn, Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Mahmood Mamdani, and Sujit Sivasundaram. Publishing Perspectives has more.

“Audible to sponsor Women's Prize Discoveries programme.” The Bookseller reports.

Locus has news from Readercon 2021.

Shondaland has a Q&A with Qian Julie Wang about her memoir, Beautiful Country (Doubleday).

Vogue interviews Michaela Coel about her new memoir, Misfits: A Personal Manifesto (Henry Holt), and “the power of being a misfit.”

The Rumpus talks with Ashley M. Jones about her new collection, Reparations Now! (Hub City Press).

LA Times has an interview with Maggie Nelson, On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint (Graywolf Press).

LA Times talks with Hayley Mills, Forever Young: A Memoir (Grand Central), about how she “survived kid stardom, bulimia and losing her Disney money.” People also highlights Mills’ new memoir.

NYT’s Group Text suggests Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang (Doubleday) for book clubs.

The BBC takes a look at “The 100-year-old fiction that predicted today.”

Popsugar has “14 Books to Help You Slow Down and Cheer Up.”

The CBC has "The most exciting Canadian books coming out in fall 2021."

Salon writes about “reframing female anger in psychological thrillers.”

USA Today picks five books for the week.

CrimeReads suggests 10 books out this week.

ElectricLit has “8 Memoirs of Women Hiking in the Wilderness" and “7 Funny Novels About the Internal Politics of Working at a Newspaper.”

BookRiot lists “7 Audiobooks for Science September."

LA Times considers books about 9/11

Tor has “Ten Standalone Fantasy Novels to Combat Series Fatigue.”

Authors on Air

Michaela Coel talks with NPR’s It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders about her new book, Misfits: A Personal Manifesto (Henry Holt).

Vanity Fair talks to the cast of Impeachment: An American Crime Story, based on the book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President by Jeffrey Toobin (Random House), who made the case for “reconsidering the way we treated Monica Lewinsky, Linda Tripp, and Paula Jones.”

John Birmingham’s alternate WWII history trilogy, Axis of Time, is being adapted for TV. Deadline has the story.


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