Coronavirus Shutters Book Fairs; Reese Witherspoon & Jenna Bush Hager's Book Club Picks | Book Pulse

Fears over the coronavirus shut down the Paris Book Fair and the London Fair is looking iffy as U.S. publishers pull out. Long Range by C. J. Box leads holds this week. Reese Witherspoon and Jenna Bush Hager name their picks for March: The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward makes the cut for Witherspoon while Hager selects Writers & Lovers by Lily King. PBS News Hour and the NYT pick Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro as their March book club title. The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich and Deacon King Kong by James McBride also get buzz.

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Coronavirus and Publishing

The Washington Post looks at coronavirus and SF fiction.

Author Annalee Newitz has a piece in the NYT: “How to Be a Smart Coronavirus Prepper.”

Due to the virus, U.S. publishers are pulling out of the London Book Fair and the Paris Book Fair (Livre Paris) has been cancelled. The Bookseller reports.

On an optimistic note, The PEN World Voices Fest 2020, held in May, announces its author lineup. Vulture reports.

Big Books of the Week

Long Range by C. J. Box (G.P. Putnam’s Sons: Penguin) leads holds this week.

Other titles in demand include:

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich (Harper; LJ starred review)

The Numbers Game by Danielle Steel (Delacorte Press: Random House)

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen (St. Martin’s Press: Macmillan)

Trace Elements: A Comissario Guido Brunetti Mystery by Donna Leon (Atlantic Monthly Press)

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas (Bloomsbury: Macmillan)

These books and others publishing the week of March 2, 2020, are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet.

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

There are two LibraryReads choices for the week:

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver (Ballantine Books: Random House)

"A beautifully written exploration of heartbreak and grief, that takes place over the course of 18 months after Lydia loses her fiancé Freddie in a tragic accident. For fans of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan." —Ashley Giangregorgio, Virginia Beach Public Library, Virginia Beach, VA

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson (William Morrow: Harper)

"Malcolm writes a blog post about eight crime novels featuring “perfect” murders. Years later, an FBI agent tells him a killer is mimicking the books on his list. In an homage to classic mysteries, Swanson creates an artful tale of murder.” —Amy Whitfield, Cary Regional Library, Cary NC

It is also an Indie Next selection:

“Malcolm Kershaw is an unassuming bookseller who once wrote a list of the eight most perfect literary murders. He is surprised when the FBI shows up at his door and explains that someone is using this list and recreating the murders. With perfect pacing and shocking twists, this is a murder mystery with a classic feel that will leave you questioning how well you can know anyone. It will also add eight more books to your to-be-read pile as you will immediately need to read all the books on the perfect murder list!” —Carrie Deming, The Dog Eared Book, Palmyra, NY

There are seven addition Indie Next picks for the week:

Writers & Lovers by Lily King (Grove Press; LJ starred review)

“Casey lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, waits tables, worries about her debt, and falls for the wrong man and the right one. She dreams, she grieves, and she worries about her health. In spite of it all, she manages to finish her novel. Lily King’s assured, closely observed story is a loving portrait of Casey and the writing life. I don’t think there’s a single unnecessary word in the whole thing. Writers & Lovers is a joy to read, a gift from a writer at the top of her game.” —David Enyeart, Next Chapter Booksellers, St. Paul, MN

Docile by K.M. Szpara ( Macmillan)

“People will often refer to a book as one that’s ‘unlike anything they’ve ever read before,’ but for maybe the first time in my reading life, I can honestly say that about K.M. Szpara’s Docile. This erotic speculative science fiction novel takes place in a frighteningly plausible future where people become ‘dociles’ — essentially indentured slaves working off debt — and explores themes of consent, capitalism, and the abuse cycle. A visceral reading experience that will challenge, confront, titillate, and disgust, Docile feels like a book we will be talking about for decades.” —Caleb Masters, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

This Town Sleeps by Dennis E. Staples (Counterpoint)

This Town Sleeps, set on an Ojibwe reservation in northern Minnesota, is not an elegiac or idyllic work but rather a direct, unblinking, poetic novel that draws the reader inexorably into the gray areas of the hearts of those in this story. A queer coming-of-age story bound up in a town mystery, this tale of Marion Lafournier, a young gay Ojibwe man, is a compelling debut. Dennis E. Staples is an author whose voice and storytelling will be appreciated in so many ways for years to come.” —Christine Havens, BookPeople, Austin, TX

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry (Pantheon: Random House)

“This is such a fun romp! It has everything you could possibly want in a book: field hockey, witches, and ’80s bangs that have literally taken on a life of their own. Set in Salem in the 1980s, we follow a group of high school field hockey players as they struggle with their new dark powers and attempt to end their losing streak. One of the strangest, most satisfying books I have read in a long time!” —Hillary Smith, Copperfield’s Books, Calistoga, CA

Deacon King Kong by James McBride (Riverhead: Penguin; LJ starred review)

Deacon King Kong is a quintessential New York story. Set in the Brooklyn projects in 1969, a perpetually inebriated deacon called Sportcoat aims a gun at the neighborhood’s main drug dealer in the public plaza and pulls the trigger. Incredibly well-constructed and hilarious at times, McBride’s story entwines a number of storylines that are kickstarted by this central event. The local Italian gangster, the veteran cop, the meddling churchgoers, and the drug pushers all have their own agendas, hopes, and dreams that are affected. And though Sportcoat doesn’t remember his actions and is always under the influence of gut-rot moonshine, I couldn’t help but root for him as I was reading this. His delightful ineptitude and absence of clarity made this book impossible for me to put down. If you’ve never read McBride before, this is a great introduction.” —Stuart McCommon, Novel., Memphis, TN

Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn (MCD: Macmillan; LJ starred review)

Sharks in the Time of Saviors is one of the best pieces of contemporary fiction I’ve had the pleasure to read. The fact that the book takes place in Hawaii makes it even more special. The author provides the reader with a unique ‘chicken skin’ experience. The book captures contemporary Hawaii’s history over the past 20+ years, including the socioeconomics of race and being Hawaiian, income disparity, housing issues, family issues, and the diaspora that affects so many families in Hawaii who are unable or unwilling to deal with the cost of living. Truly a master work of art.” —Benjamin “Buddy” Bess, Da Shop: Books & Curiosities, Honolulu, HI

Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman (Ecco: Harper)

“Told with humor, wit, and wisdom, Laura Zigman’s novel explores the unexpected trials of middle age. We follow Judy Vogel, who is rebounding from the recent deaths of her parents, struggling with writer’s block, juggling financial issues, coping with a failing marriage, and raising an adolescent son. When she comes across her son’s old baby sling, she starts to wear the family dog as a unique form of support. This thought-provoking novel is full of heart, hope, and the strength to move forward.” —Maxwell Gregory, Lake Forest Book Store, Lake Forest, IL

In the Media

People’s “Book of the Week” is Lily King’s Writers & Lovers (Grove; LJ starred review). Also getting attention are Greenwood by Michael Christie (Hogarth: Random House; LJ starred review) and Where You're All Going by Joan Frank (Sarabande Books). The "New in Paperback" feature highlights Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope by Karamo Brown (Gallery: S. & S.), Normal People by Sally Rooney (Hogarth: Random House), and Courting Mr. Lincoln by Louis Bayard (Algonquin: Workman). People’s “Picks” include RuPaul’s Drag Race, Hillary, Wendy, and The Invisible Man. There is a remembrance of B. Smith. The recipe section features a dish by Alison Roman, Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over (Clarkson Potter: Random House).


NPR reviews The Resisters by Gish Jen (Knopf; LJ starred review): “this inspired vision of how Americans bought into the sedating fantasy of less stress, less thinking and boundless leisure time hits close to the bone. But, with her characteristic generosity and restrained optimism, Jen doesn't scold or despair.” Also, Strung Out: One Last Hit and Other Lies That Nearly Killed Me by Erin Khar (Park Row: Harlequin): “One of the strengths of the book is Khar's frank discussion of her relapses, the profound difficulty of those experiences and their utter mundanity.” Finna by Nino Cipri ( Macmillan; LJ starred review): “I tore through this book in knuckle-biting delight … There's a cinematic clarity to its movements, a deft pace to the action, and moments of needle-sharp insight that left me breathless.” Scratched: A Memoir of Perfectionism by Elizabeth Tallent (Harper): “Tallent's juxtaposition of style and structure with subject matter is her memoir's big victory. It's also refreshing to read.”

Jeff VanderMeer reviews Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown (Pantheon: Random House) for The NYT: “Although the lacerating humor … never skips a beat, what makes the novel so compelling is its strong commitment to characterization.” Also in the paper a review by Junot Díaz of Deacon King Kong by James McBride (Riverhead: Penguin; LJ starred review) under the headline “a Supercharged Urban Farce Lit Up by Thunderbolts of Rage.” Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker (Balzer + Bray: Harper): “captivating … this heartfelt imaginative adventure shines a light on the rich inner resources children still have access to, and thunderingly trumpets the need for silence, space and solitude so that creativity can bloom.” Cub by Cynthia L. Copeland (Algonquin Young Readers): “offers a road map  … proposing to the awkward and the ambitious that they are not, in fact, hostage to the merciless social sorting that can happen within the confines of middle school. Look outward, this delightful book advises. A great big world is waiting.” The paper also has three “Story Times” title round-ups on graphic novels for kids, graphic nonfiction for kids, and YA historical novels.

The Washington Post reviews You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington by Alexis Coe (Viking: Penguin; LJ starred review) (Viking: Penguin; LJ starred review): “brisk and uncommonly brief ... showcases both heroics and shortcomings … [a] delicious bite.” Also, The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success by Ross Douthat (Avid Reader: S. & S.): “serious, honest book … If [it] is a good book rather than a really good or great one, it is perhaps because it’s too tight, too sane, too controlled.” Facebook: The Inside Story by Steven Levy (Blue Rider Press: Penguin): “feels under-theorized. His deft observations don’t stretch far enough to make monumental conclusions.” The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson (Crown: Random House): “Larson, sadly, falls for the old propaganda, rendering this a rather old-fashioned book.” Author in Chief: The Untold Story of Our Presidents and the Books They Wrote by Craig Fehrman (Avid Reader Press: S. & S.): “offers a breezy, anecdote-rich account of the memoirs and autobiographies that have helped candidates running for office.” The Girl in the Photograph: The True Story of a Native American Child, Lost and Found in America by Byron L. Dorgan (Thomas Dunne: Macmillan): “If the book is a reminder of all our nation’s misdeeds against the country’s original inhabitants, it is also a call to action.”

The L.A. Times reviews Writers & Lovers by Lily King (Grove Press; LJ starred review): “a classic bildungsroman for struggling artists everywhere.”

USA Today reviews The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich (Harper; LJ starred review), giving it 3.5 stars and writing “In powerfully spare and elegant prose, Erdrich depicts deeply relatable characters who may be poor but are richly connected to family, community and the Earth.”

Briefly Noted

USA Today has picks for the week.

Time picks the best books of March. So does Popsugar. LitHub also has a list. So too does Amazon.

io9 has the seasons new Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books.

Reese Witherspoon picks The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward (Ballantine: Random House) as her March book club title. The Read with Jenna pick is Writers & Lovers by Lily King (Grove Press; LJ starred review)

Vulture has “Helen McCrory’s 10 Favorite Books.”

The Millions offers “Wrestling in Recent Fiction.”

Entertainment Weekly’s print feature “Acclaimed Millennial Authors [who] Are Changing The Genre With More Diverse And Politically Charged Narratives,” which focused on Tomi Adeyemi, Adalyn Grace, Hafsah Faizal, and Ryan La Sala, is now online.

The Guardian writes about how Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport went from 1,000 pages to a 45-hour audiobook.

Entertainment Weekly reports that the forthcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker comic will include “both extended and deleted scenes not shown in the film.”

The Guardian features Jan Morris, who has a new book out in the UK, Thinking Again. Also, an interview with illustrator Quentin Blake. James Ellroy has a piece for the paper's “How I wrote” column.

Gizmodo interviews Jeff VanderMeer. He has a new book coming out this summer, A Peculiar Peril (FSG: Macmillan).

Time showcases The Power Notebooks by Katie Roiphe (Free Press: S. & S.).

The NYT features Taking Time: Conversations Across a Creative Community by Azzedine Alaïa (Rizzoli).

Town & Country spotlights House of Trelawney by Hannah Rothschild (Knopf; LJ starred review).

The Atlantic highlights Diane Keaton’s Brother & Sister: A Memoir (Knopf).

People has a story about Broken Faith: Inside the Word of Faith Fellowship, One of America's Most Dangerous Cults by Mitch Weiss and Holbrook Mohr (Hanover Square: Harper).

In book deal news, Zakiya Dalila Harris’s The Other Black Girl, “a satirical debut novel about race and authenticity in the workplace,” has sold to Atria in “a seven-figure deal, with 15 imprints making offers.” The Bookseller has details.

The Guardian has a piece about book controversies.

Author and scholar Mary Beard is blocked by the UK government from serving as a trustee of the British Museum for her “pro- European views.” The Museum is working around that and naming her anyway. The Guardian reports.

Booklist is partnering “with the American Writers Museum in Chicago to bring readers exclusive content from the My America: Immigrant and Refugee Writers Today exhibit.”

LitHub picks the best book jackets of February.

Mental Floss has a chart of literary insults.

Authors on Air

PBS News Hour and the NYT pick Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro (Anchor: Random House) as their March book club title.

NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday interviews Louise Erdrich, The Night Watchman (Harper; LJ starred review). Also, the same show interviews James McBride, Deacon King Kong (Riverhead: Penguin; LJ starred review).

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class (Metropolitan Books: Macmillan), will be on with Jimmy Kimmel.

Deadline reports that My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing (Berkley: Penguin) is headed to Amazon Studios with Nicole Kidman’s Blossom Films. Also, The BBC is adapting You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood.

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