Author Stephen Hawking Has Died | Book Pulse

Stephen Hawking has died, Mallory Ortberg's The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror continues to get buzz, and Markus Zusak announces his next book.

Stephen Hawking, A Writer of Science

Stephen Hawking has died, age 76. Among many other things, he was the best-selling author of A Brief History of Time (Bantam: Random House) and a number of other titles. So important is A Brief History that The Guardian lists it as No. 6 on their list of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time. The New York Times, The Guardian, Entertainment Weekly, and The Washington Post have remembrances. His books introduced readers to the pleasures to be had in struggling through hard science and helped build the genre of popular science writing.


The NYT gathers three books on women’s health and reviews It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America by David Cay Johnston (S. & S.), “an amalgam of advocacy and forensic accounting [that offers] an unsatisfying rehash.”

The Washington Post calls Trick by Domenico Starnone, translated by Jhumpa Lahiri (Europa Edition) “superb … [a] layered, alternately witty and melancholy story.”

USA Today reviews Shobha Rao’s Girls Burn Brighter (Flatiron: Macmillan: LJ starred review): “The plot unfolds briskly … But the story is told in an operatic key that sacrifices plausibility. The bad characters are monstrous. The girls are angelic. The misogyny is unrelenting.”

NPR considers The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg (Holt: Macmillan), calling it a book of “sharpest delights.” NPR’s Maureen Corrigan reviews Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life by Laura Thompson (W.W. Norton: Pegasus: LJ starred review) and Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer (Harper). Of the first she says “No other biography of Christie that I’ve read so powerfully summons up the atmosphere of Christie’s own writing.” She calls the second “un-put-down-able.”

Briefly Noted

Markus Zusak, the author of The Book Thief, has a new book forthcoming, Bridge of Clay (Random House, Oct. 9, 2018). He tells the NYT that it was a hard novel to create: “I could write this book until I die and it still won’t be the way I want it. But I think now it’s got the right heart and I think once you’ve got that then you’ve got an obligation to yourself to see it through and you hope people will find that in it.” He might not have to worry about that too much, it is already zooming up the Amazon sales charts.

The NYT takes readers to Florence, following the footsteps of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning.

Entertainment Weekly interviews Mallory Ortberg, author of The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror (Holt: Macmillan).

Electric Lit interviews Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, editor of Go Home!: Twenty-Four Journeys from the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and the Feminist Press (The Feminist Press at CUNY).

The NYT profiles Alan Hollinghurst.

Jon Meacham considers Barbara W. Tuchman’s literary legacy.

Leslie Jamison pens an essay about writing and recovery.

Caroline Fraser, author of Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder (Metropolitan Books: LJ starred reviews), responds to ALA’s decision to reconsider the name of the Wilder Award.

Time features History Teaches Us to Resist: How Progressive Movements Have Succeeded in Challenging Times by Mary Frances Berry (Beacon Press).

Bustle counts “11 New Memoirs Everyone Will Be Talking About This Spring.”

Electric Lit has a piece by M.R. Carey (The Girl with All the Gifts) Orbit: Hachette) on the history of apocalyptic stories.

Crimson Romance (S. & S.) has shut down, only shortly after being named the publisher with the most diverse list of authors by The Ripped Bodice.

More independent bookstores are opening (in the UK too). Although Amazon is opening more brick and mortar branches.

Authors on Air

Michael Isikoff and David Corn, Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump (Twelve: Hachette) were on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday.

NPR’s All Things Considered interviews Alan Hollinghurst, The Sparsholt Affair (Knopf; LJ starred review).

The film Love, Simon gets review attention.

Krysten Ritter, Bonfire (Crown Archetype: Random House), will be on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah tonight.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald gets a trailer, it is currently the #1 trending post on YouTube.

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