'How to Fail at Flirting' Tops December Library Reads List | Book Pulse

The December Library Reads list is out, and the number one pick is How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams. Barack Obama's memoir, A Promised Land, is out today, and continues to generate substantial buzz. The shortlist for ALA's 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence is out. The CW is at work on the series Wonder Girl, which will feature a Latina lead. Also, Penguin Random House and News Corp, which owns HarperCollins, are leading the bids to purchase Simon & Schuster.

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Release Day for Obama Memoir 

Part one of Barack Obama's memoir, A Promised Land (Crown: Random House), is out today, and it continues to generate buzz.

USA Today provides an overview, and the L.A. Times has a review: "In this surprisingly fast-moving volume, the audacity isn’t in the hopefulness but the acknowledgment of its low ebb." The Guardian also has a review: "A Promised Land delivers amply on the basic expectations of political autobiographies, providing a granular view from the driving seat of power." It earns a B+ from Entertainment Weekly, which writes in its review: "Barack Obama is, really, just a guy. But he's a guy we're all better for knowing, and A Promised Land is a book we'll all be better for reading."

The Atlantic has an extensive interview with the 44th president.

Lit Hub offers its perspective: "If you’re struggling with what to do next, if you wonder about your own political path, reading is as good a place as any to start. And in this case, I think we can all spot a valuable resource when we see one."

Its publication lands during a particularly busy book awards week. Two NYT Books editors talk about how the industry feels positively charged right now.

Obama continues to make the publicity rounds, and will appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live! this Thursday, followed by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert next week. Deadline has details. Also, Publishers Weekly notes his interview with Oprah Winfrey is available for free through Dec. 1 on Apple TV+.

Finally, need a playlist to read the 700+ pages by? The former president has recommendations.


The NYT reviews Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West by Lauren Redniss (Random House): "She pulls from an astonishing variety of sources: oral history, legal opinions, anthropological accounts, corporate news releases and careful, firsthand reporting, which she intersperses with her own vibrant and indelible colored-pencil sketches. The result is virtuosic." A Million Aunties by Alecia McKenzie (Akashic): "...an emotionally resonant ode to adopted families and community resilience…" Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds: Ebola and the Ravages of History by Paul Farmer (FSG: Macmillan): "This history is as powerfully conveyed as it is tragic." The Moth and the Mountain: A True Story of Love, War, and Everest by Ed Caesar (Avid: S. & S.; LJ starred review): "Caesar is a fine writer, but he has not managed to find the art to resurrect a man whose final act is so bereft of context or explanation." Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret by Catherine Coleman Flowers (New Press: Ingram): "It is one woman’s story of how she built power through her advocacy for waste treatment, despite it being an issue that many would prefer to ignore." The Orchard by David Hopen (Ecco: HarperCollins): "Hopen packs in so much that "The Orchard," which began as heightened realism, soon pushes well beyond the point of plausibility." Stillicide by Cynan Jones (Catapult: Ingram): "By highlighting passing moments of connection, "Stillicide" feels more true to life than most science fiction…" This Is Not My Memoir by André Gregory and Todd London (FSG: Macmillan): "A candid personal memoir detailing the long career and life experience of the brilliantly accomplished Gregory…" The Nine Lives of Pakistan: Dispatches from a Precarious State by Declan Walsh: "Walsh’s writing is elegant and expressive. It does what the best foreign correspondence should: transport the reader." The Doll: A Portrait of My Mother by Ismail Kadare (Counterpoint: Ingram): "Readers already familiar with Kadare’s writing will most likely find this delicate work of remembrance rewarding. Those who aren’t may struggle…" South to Freedom: Runaway Slaves to Mexico and the Road to the Civil War by Alice L Baumgartner (Basic: Hachette) and The Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery, and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War by Jonathan Daniel Wells (Bold Type: Hachette; LJ starred review): "Both books are masterfully researched, yet their greatest contribution lies in the radical implications of their respective theses: that 19th-century American politics were shaped as much by Black resistance to enslavement as by the institution of slavery itself." Finally, two "Short List" columns offer brief reviews of four new essay collections; as well as reviews of White Fright: The Sexual Panic at the Heart of America's Racist History by Jane Dailey (Basic: Hachette), White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad (Catapult), and Black Women, Black Love: America's War on African American Marriage by Dianne M Stewart (Seal: Hachette; LJ starred review).

The Washington Post reviews the month's best new audiobooksThe Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett and read by John Lee (Penguin Audio): "The huge novel, rich in historical detail, hums along irresistibly on alternating currents of outrage and retribution, trial and triumph, hatred and love." Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart and read by Angus King (Dreamscape): "Based in the author’s life, the novel, for all its grimness and woe, is the most accomplished, moving book I have listened to — or read — all year." His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie and read by Soneela Nankani (Workman Audio): "...powerful story."

Briefly Noted

The December Library Reads list is out. The number one pick is How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams (Berkley: Penguin).

The shortlist for ALA's 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence is out.

Libro.fm lists its "Top 10 Audiobooks of 2020."

The Millions lists notable books released today.

Bustle picks the best books out this week.

The Washington Post recommends five recent books about the royal family for fans of The Crown.

Electric Lit has "7 Highly-Anticipated Books to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Feminist Press."

Author of The Baby-Sitters Club series, Ann M. Martin shares her favorite books of the year with Amazon.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab (Tor: Macmillan; LJ starred review) is BuzzFeed Book Club's December pick.

Patton Oswalt will write the first issue of the new comic series Black Hammer: Visions (Dark Horse). Entertainment Weekly reports. 

Marvel will deliver another three Black Panther comic books starting Feb. 2021, by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuña and with Ryan Bodenheim. The Hollywood Reporter has more.

The Last Dangerous Visions, a sci-fi anthology collected by Harlan Ellison nearly 50 years ago, may be published soon. The Guardian has details. 

Tor.com excerpts Reconstruction by Alaya Dawn Johnson (Small Beer: Ingram). It's due out Jan. 5, 2021.

io9 has the cover and an excerpt from Into the Light by David Weber and Chris Kennedy (Tor: Macmillan), due out Jan. 21, 2021.

The L.A. Times shares some takeaways from No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality by Michael J. Fox (Flatiron: Macmillan), while USA Today has an interview with Fox.

The CBC profiles Kyle Charles, an artist behind Marvel's Voice: Indigenous Voices issue.

Entertainment Weekly speaks with Christa Parravani about Loved and Wanted: A Memoir of Choice, Children, and Womanhood (Henry Holt: Macmillan).

Chili sauce, a beautiful mug, and other things Bryan Washington "Can’t Live Without" are in The Strategist.

Phillip Lopate, editor of The Glorious American Essay: One Hundred Essays from Colonial Times to the Present (Pantheon: Random House; LJ starred review), discusses the future of essays with Lit Hub.

Chloe Gong, These Violent Delights (Margaret K. McElderry: S. & S.), talks about her take on Romeo & Juliet with Shondaland.

CNN interviews Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, The Undocumented Americans: A Homecoming (One World: Random House).

Megan Hunter, The Harpy (Grove Press), shares her favorite "Books about Women Transformed" with Book Marks

Emily J. H. Contois, Diners, Dudes, and Diets: How Gender and Power Collide in Food Media and Culture (Univ. of NC), talks to Salon about the marketing of yogurt and more.

Jessica Gross discusses Hysteria (Unnamed: Ingram) with Electric Lit.

Raven Leilani, Douglas Stuart, and the other Center for Fiction First Novel Prize finalists talk to Lit Hub about the first books that impacted their lives.

Thomas Nelson is publishing classics like Emma with new covers for its Spring collection. Mental Floss has details.

The British Library is providing free online access to about 40,000 historical maps.

New York's Poets House, whose library includes more than 70,000 volumes, has suspended operations through at least late 2021.

Penguin Random House and News Corp, which owns HarperCollins, are leading the bids to purchase Simon & Schuster. The NYT has details. 

Authors on Air 

The Long Call by Ann Cleeves is getting a four-part adaptationThe CW is at work on the series Wonder Girl, which has associated titles, and which will feature a Latina lead. Also, The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix, due out July 2021, will be adapted into a series. Julian Meiojas is adapting his own series of illustrated novelas, DNA, for Genre Films and Amazon Studios. A deal has been struck to adapt Adele Parks' Just My Luck, and Lies Lies Lies. A Frankenstein TV series is in the worksDeadline reports on all. 

Lynne Ramsay will direct the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. The Hollywood Reporter has details.

Henry Finder, co-editor of The Fragile Earth: Writing from The New Yorker on Climate Change (Ecco: HarperCollins), appears on the Keen On podcast.

Dolly Parton, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics (Chronicle), is featured on the Today Show.

Michael J. Fox, No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality (Flatiron: Macmillan), is on The View today. 

Jamie Oliver, 7 Ways: Easy Ideas for Every Day of the Week (Flatiron: Macmillan), will be on with Drew Barrymore today.

Rachel Bloom, I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are (Grand Central: Hachette), appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers tonight.

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