Books About the Pandemic; Jenny Offill's "Weather" Addresses Widespread Anxiety About Climate Change | Book Pulse

Reading about Coronavirus. Weather by Jenny Offill gets critical acclaim, addressing widespread anxiety about climate change. The Splatterpunk Award nominees are announced. More spring book picks arrrive. Outlander debuts on the 16th. A Manual for Cleaning Women is getting adapted and will star Tilda Swinton.

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Pandemic Reading

NPR’s All Things Considered talks with Chuck Wendig, Wanderers (Del Rey: Random House; LJ starred review) about fictional pandemics and real-world survival.

Omnivoracious has a list of “Books for those concerned about Coronovirus.”

LJ offers "What Public Libraries Need To Know About the Coronavirus."




The NYT reviews Amnesty by Aravind Adiga (Scribner: S. & S.; LJ starred review): “bracing … has a lot to say about the desire to be seen.” Also, The Women in Black by Madeleine St John (Scribner: S. & S.): “a deceptively smart comic gem.” In the Land of Men: A Memoir by Adrienne Miller (Ecco: Harper): "deftly brings to life the free-spending and freewheeling glossy magazine culture of the time.” This Brilliant Darkness: A Book of Strangers by Jeff Sharlet (W. W. Norton; LJ starred review): "gorgeous.” The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird by Joshua Hammer (S. & S.): “gripping … With the instinct of a hunter himself, Hammer tracks Lendrum’s nefarious career, structuring the story with elegant precision.” Eden Mine by S. M. Hulse (FSG: Macmillan): “perfectly captures not only the landscape of the American West, but also what it feels like to survive in a town that is dying.” The King at the Edge of the World by Arthur Phillips (Ballantine: Random House; LJ starred review): “Simply writing for the reader’s pleasure seems to be increasingly rare these days, and to pick up a book like “The King at the Edge of the World,” which contains teasing philosophical and theological ideas within an unapologetic entertainment, is a small mercy for which much gratitude is due.” The Recipe for Revolution by Carolyn Chute (Grove Press): “Carolyn Chute’s epic project is to make all of us, finally, see.” The Escape Artist by Helen Fremont (Gallery: S. & S.): “Graceful, gracious and, with the exception of a few vamping detours, an engrossing tour through a dense, if troubling, landscape.” Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann (Pantheon: Random House): “Profoundly enchanting but never sentimental.” The Resisters by Gish Jen (Knopf; LJ starred review): “intricately imagined novel is ostensibly set in the near future, though it sometimes reads less like prophecy and more like present-day journalism.” Something That May Shock and Discredit You by Daniel Mallory Ortberg (Atria: S. & S.): “At last, we have the work of transgender bathos we didn’t know we needed, but very much do.” Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Grove; LJ starred review): “He’s lovely, Douglas Stuart, fierce and loving and lovely. He shows us lots of monstrous behavior, but not a single monster — only damage. If he has a sharp eye for brokenness, he is even keener on the inextinguishable flicker of love that remains.” Ready or Not: Preparing Our Kids to Thrive in an Uncertain and Rapidly Changing World by Madeline Levine, PhD (Harper): “offers eye-opening stats and welcome wisdom to parents raising children in an increasingly unpredictable world. If this book finds its way to those who most need it, surely we will all benefit.” Chanel's Riviera: Glamour, Decadence, and Survival in Peace and War, 1930-1944 by Anne de Courcy (St. Martin’s Press: Macmillan): “The awkward juxtaposition of the Riviera’s high-society decadence and the gruesome atrocities of the war is difficult to reconcile.” There are dual reviews of Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights by Gretchen Sorin (Liveright: W. W. Norton) and Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America by Candacy Taylor (Abrams; LJ starred review) as well as for As Needed for Pain: A Memoir of Addiction by Dan Peres (Harper) and Smacked: A Story of White-Collar Ambition, Addiction, and Tragedy by Eilene Zimmerman (Random House) and for Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity by Peggy Orenstein  (Harper) and Decoding Boys: New Science Behind the Subtle Art of Raising Sons by Cara Natterson (Ballantine: Random House). Lastly, there is a round-up of new audiobooks.

Both NPR and USA Today review Weather by Jenny Offill (Knopf). NPR calls it “darkly funny and urgent … fueled by a growing preoccupation with the scary prospect of a doomed earth.” USA Today gives it four stars and calls it “brilliant.”

The Washington Post reviews The Last Day by Andrew Hunter Murray (Dutton: Penguin): “Murray has so thoroughly thought through the ramifications of his conceit and conjured up such a dramatic plot and stellar cast of characters that he might have set a new standard for such tales.”

Briefly Noted

Town & Country names its six best books for the month.

Book Riot lists 100 spring releases.

The Splatterpunk Award nominees are announced. Locus has the list. has a story about the “Season of the Witch: The Rise of Queer Magic in YA SFF.”

Popsugar suggests “5 Books That Teach Your Kids About Amazing Black Women in History.”

The NYT runs its "Group Text" column, about book clubs. This time on Indelicacy by Amina Cain (FSG: Macmillan).

The L.A. Times excerpts Luis J. Rodriguez’s From Our Land to Our Land: Essays, Journeys, and Imaginings from a Native Xicanx Writer (Seven Stories Press). features This Train Is Being Held by Ismée Williams (Amulet Books: ABRAMS).

Tina Brown is writing a book on the Royal Family called The Palace Papers. She tells the NYT: “I’m actually doing a new book about the royals, a follow-up to “The Diana Chronicles.” I agreed to do it in the summer before all this craziness ... It’s what has happened since Diana. It turns out: quite a lot.”

Entertainment Weekly interviews Alexis Schaitkin, Saint X (Celadon: Macmillan).

The Lit Hub Author Questionnaire is out for February.

Author Joyce Maynard writes an essay about ice skating for the NYT.

London’s East End is getting a mural to honor the victims of Jack the Ripper. Author Hallie Rubenhold, winner of the Baillie Gifford prize for The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper (HMH), is behind the project.

The NYT interviews  author Gabriel Matzneff in “A Pedophile Writer Is on Trial. So Is the French Elite.”

Authors on Air

Outlander, season five, debuts Sunday. O: The Oprah Magazine and Town & Country are all in.

Pedro Almodóvar is adapting A Manual for Cleaning Women with Tilda Swinton to star. IndieWire reports.

PBS News Hour talks with Shane Bauer, American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment (Penguin).

NPR’s Fresh Air interviews with Michael Pollan. His newest is the audiobook Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World (Audible Original).

Entertainment Weekly talks with Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez about “their thoughts on the new Netflix adaptation” of Locke & Key.

Sophie Hannah, Perfect Little Children (William Morrow: Harper), features on The Guardian’s Books podcast.

AMC Premiere (its ad-free service) will air the BBC’s The War of the Worlds. Deadline has details, along with more adaptation news on works for Europe and Asia, but not yet the U.S.

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