True Grit Author Charles Portis Dies; Susan Fowler's Uber Book Gains Traction; Booklists of New & Key African American Writers| Book Pulse

Whistleblower: My Journey to Silicon Valley and Fight for Justice at Uber by Susan Fowler makes noise. So does Brandon Taylor's Real Life. Reading lists are out for books by African American writers, thrillers and mysteries, and addiction memoirs. Charles Portis, the author of True Grit, has died.

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Collection Checkup: New and Key Author African-American Writers And Other Lists To Note

The BookPage has “Read more books by black authors in 2020.”

Mental Floss has “25 Amazing Books by African-American Writers You Need to Read.”

The Washington Post writes about thrillers and mysteries to help escape reality – or see it in another light.”

The NYT has a piece on addiction memoirs.

The 2020 PROSE Award finalists are announced. These are the awards for scholarly works.


The NYT reviews Whistleblower: My Journey to Silicon Valley and Fight for Justice at Uber by Susan Fowler (Viking: Penguin): “a powerful illustration of the obstacles our society continues to throw up in the paths of ambitious young women, and the ways that institutions still protect and enable badly behaving men.” Also, Little Constructions by Anna Burns (Graywolf Press: Macmillan): “Amid all the absurdity and wicked humor of this novel, Burns has created a complex character study in how violence, paranoia and sexual assault can become normalized in a family, and often remain so. It is a rare novelist who can approach the unspeakable with restorative humor, but Burns has a gift for dismantling and reconstructing things on her own quixotic terms.” Real Life by Brandon Taylor (Riverhead: Penguin): “There is a delicacy in the details of working in a lab full of microbes and pipettes that dances across the pages like the feet of a Cunningham dancer: pure, precise poetry.” Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong (One World: Random House): “The essays wander a variegated terrain of memoir, criticism and polemic, oscillating between smooth proclamations of certainty and twitches of self-doubt.” Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe by Brian Greene (Knopf: Random House): “the ultimate journey, a meditation on how we go on doing what we do, why and how it will end badly, and why it matters anyway.” The Adventurer's Son: A Memoir by Roman Dial (William Morrow: Harper): “the true question, maybe, is what that thrill and reverence, which are after all the core of adventure, are worth. Altogether the book is a complicated ethical read, and thus gripping and unnerving at once.” Operation Chastise: The RAF's Most Brilliant Attack of World War II by Max Hastings (Harper): “His account of the events of May 16-17, 1943, will keep you on the edge of your seat, but his analysis of their causes and consequences is equally deserving of attention.” The Ones We've Been Waiting For: How a New Generation of Leaders Will Transform America by Charlotte Alter (Viking: Penguin): “retraces the careers of 10 elected millennials, weaving their voices together to describe the defining moments that unite this generation, from Sept. 11 to the election of Donald Trump in 2016.” The Lucky Star by William T. Vollmann (Viking: Penguin): “a documentary accounting of life on the margins, riffing on such themes as bigotry, idolatry, gender fluidity, vulnerability, consent, resilience and love.” Living Weapon: Poems by Rowan Ricardo Phillips (FSG: Macmillan): “Such stray pleasures are typical of this often frustrating book.” Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin (Celadon: Macmillan): “hypnotic, delivering acute social commentary on everything from class and race to familial bonds and community, and yet its weblike nature never confuses, or fails to captivate.”

NPR reviews Whistleblower: My Journey to Silicon Valley and Fight for Justice at Uber by Susan Fowler (Viking: Penguin): “The memoir does provide more eyebrow-raising details about just how hostile and chaotic Uber's workplace was. But Fowler is much more interested in unpacking how — and why — she responded by going public.”

The Washington Post reviews The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Little, Brown: Hachette): “Writing a feminist historical novel always involves a delicate tightrope walk between modern ideas and cultural reality. The Mercies succeeds in that walk.” Also, The Resisters by Gish Jen (Knopf; LJ starred review): “The magic of Gish Jen’s latest … is that, amid a dark and cautionary tale, there’s a story also filled with electricity and humor — and baseball. At its heart, the novel is about the act of resistance and its attendant forces of courage and hope.”

Briefly Noted

BuzzFeed has a piece by Brandon Taylor, Real Life (Riverhead: Penguin), entitled “Working In Science Was A Brutal Education. That’s Why I Left.”

Time excerpts Whistleblower: My Journey to Silicon Valley and Fight for Justice at Uber by Susan Fowler (Viking: Penguin).

The Bookseller has a few details about Final Cut by S. J. Watson (Harper), forthcoming in August.

The L.A. Times writes about the difficulties the libraries of Southern California have in finding books in the languages of their patrons. There is a video with the story.

LitHub has “Inside the ‘Vibrant Intellectual Ecosystem’ of Larry McMurtry’s Home Library.” It is an excerpt from Bibliostyle: How We Live at Home with Books by Nina Freudenberger, Sadie Stein, Shade Degges (Clarkson Potter: Random House).

Kirkus has a Q&A with literary agent Kiele Raymond.

The Detroit News has a report on what is happening with Wayne State Press.

Charles Portis, the author of True Grit, has died. USA Today has an obituary. As does the NYT.

Poet Kamau Brathwaite has died. The NYT has an obituary.

Authors on Air

Maaza Mengiste, The Shadow King by (W.W. Norton; LJ starred review), features on The Guardian’s Books podcast. So does Aida Edemariam, The Wife’s Tale (Harper).

PBS NewsHour interviews Craig Fehrman, Author in Chief: The Untold Story of Our Presidents and the Books They Wrote (Avid Reader Press: S. & S.).

The Hollywood Reporter has "77 of the Most Anticipated Movies for the Rest of 2020." A number are adaptations.

PBS Frontline will air Amazon Empire: The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos tonight.

Am Not Okay With This gets a trailer. It is based on Charles Forsman’s graphic novel of the same name. It begins on February 26.

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