Amazon Is Tracking Your Reading, and PBS/New York Times and Belletrist Pick February Titles | Book Pulse

Belletrist and PBS/New York Times pick February titles. More lists for the month arrive. Amazon is tracking your reading. Patti Smith helps save the day.

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Reading Choices







Belletrist’s February book pick is We Wish You Luck by Caroline Zancan (Riverhead: Penguin).

PBS News Hour selects American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment by Shane Bauer (Penguin) as its February book club title and posts discussion questions.

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction announces its 2020 shortlist.

LitHub suggests “10 new books you should read this week.”

Bustle picks 22 books for the month and suggests 9 books to read during Black History Month.

Paste gathers the 10 best YA novels of February.

Prepub Alert digs into nonfiction and features Barbara Hoffert’s picks.

Book Riot has “5 Of The Most Anticipated Books From Asian Authors in 2020.”

CBC showcases “Six Canadian writers of black heritage to watch in 2020.”


The NYT reviews The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood by Sam Wasson (Flatiron Books: Macmillan; LJ starred review): “a work of exquisite precision. It’s about much more than a movie. It’s about the glorious lost Hollywood in which that 1974 movie was born.” Also, Half Broke: A Memoir by Ginger Gaffney (W.W. Norton): “you can’t help wanting Gaffney to stay with the horses, with her truly transcendent writing about them and their world.” The Children’s Books column is out: “In Hollywood, Stories About People of Color Are Still Rare. These Y.A. Fantasy Novels Pick Up the Slack.”

The Washington Post reviews The King at the Edge of the World by Arthur Phillips (Ballantine: Random House; LJ starred review): “a terrifically engaging teacher, and he’s devised the perfect guide.”

NPR’s Maureen Corrigan reviews The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia (Hachette) on Fresh Air, saying it has “contemplative power.” NPR also has a review of Sports Is Hell by Ben Passmore (Koyama Press): “a uniquely approachable political artist.” Also, The Resisters by Gish Jen (Knopf; LJ starred review): “inventive but muddled.”

USA Today reviews The Regrets by Amy Bonnaffons (Little, Brown: Hachette), giving it three stars and calling it a “It’s a high concept she grounds with insightful, sometimes painfully accurate observations about dating, skewering a particular brand of millennial dirtbag boyfriend while tenderly examining the heart of a woman who falls for him.” Also, Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah (William Morrow: Harper), giving it two stars and headlining it is “a not-so-perfect mystery."

Briefly Noted

The NYT features Jenny Offill, Weather (Knopf).         

Bitch Media features What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel (Sourcebooks).

Datebook spotlights Little Gods by Meng Jin (Custom House: Harper). announces the next Seanan McGuire Wayward Children book, Across the Green Grass Fields, due out January 2021.

People showcases the forthcoming Your Second Act: Inspiring Stories of Reinvention by Patricia Heaton (S. & S.), out May 5, 2020.

io9 previews Shadow Fall (Star Wars): An Alphabet Squadron Novel by Alexander Freed (Del Rey: Random House) coming out in June.

The NYT spotlights Romance in Marseille by Claude McKay (Penguin).

Electric Lit interviews Danez Smith, Homie: Poems (Graywolf: Macmillan).

Book Marks interviews Sophie Mackintosh, The Water Cure (Doubleday: Random House).

Time runs an adapted excerpt of Seduction: A History From the Enlightenment to the Present by Clement Knox (Pegasus). Also, an excerpt of Dressed for a Dance in the Snow: Women's Voices from the Gulag by Monika Zgustova, translated by Julie Jones (Other Press) and a feature on You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington by Alexis Coe (Viking: Penguin; LJ starred review).

Mental Floss features a new app that narrates Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales in 14th century English.

Amazon is tracking your reading in great detail. The Guardian reports.

Patti Smith is helping a bookshop in Oregon by sending a box of signed copies of her works after the theft of rare volumes. The owner of the shop says “I’m thinking of them as kindness copies.” The Guardian has details.

The L.A. Library is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of a long lost sculpture. The L.A. Times has coverage.

Alice Mayhew has died. Dr. Leonard Shengold has died. The NYT has obituaries.

Authors on Air

NPR’s Fresh Air interviews Eilene Zimmerman, Smacked: A Story of White-Collar Ambition, Addiction, and Tragedy (Random House).

Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead is set for TV. Jack Carr’s The Terminal List is also headed to TV, with Chris Pratt to star. The Mandalorian, season two, will run in October. Falcon and the Winter Soldier will air in August and WandaVision will begin in December. Deadline has details.

Kate DiCamillo’s The Magician’s Elephant is headed to London as a musical by the Royal Shakespeare Company. The StarTribune reports.

Entertainment Weekly has a photo shoot of the To All the Boys: P.S. I still Love You stars as well as a feature story. Bustle has a story about Jenny Han’s writing process.

Jessica Simpson, Open Book: A Memoir (Dey Street Books: Harper), will be on The View.

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Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt is LJ’s readers’ advisory columnist, contributing The Reader’s Shelf, Book Pulse, and Wyatt’s World columns. She is the coauthor of The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction, 3d ed. (ALA Editions, 2019). Contact her at

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