"Literary Blackface" Roils B&N, Christine Feehan Leads the Bestsellers Lists, & "Jonathan Strange" Author Reveals Piranesi | Book Pulse

B&N’s plan for Diverse Editions gets called “literary blackface.” Vendetta Road by Christine Feehan leads eight new books onto the bestseller lists. The Witcher helps a new audiobook top that list. Susanna Clarke releases a teaser about Piranesi.

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New Bestsellers

[Links for the week: NYT Hardcover Fiction Best Sellers | NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best Sellers | USA Today Best-Selling Books]








Vendetta Road by Christine Feehan (Berkley: Penguin) holds No. 2 on the USA Today Best-Selling Books list.

When You See Me by Lisa Gardner (Dutton: Penguin) debuts at No. 3 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction Best Sellers list and No. 5 on the USA Today Best-Selling Books list.

Insatiable: Steel Brothers Saga Book 12 by Helen Hardt (Waterhouse Press: S. & S.) lands at No. 7 on the USA Today Best-Selling Books list.

Hunting for a Highlander: Highland Brides by Lynsay Sands (Avon: Harper) closes the USA Today Best-Selling Books list at No. 14.


Why We're Polarized by Ezra Klein (Avid Reader: S. & S.) opens at No. 5 on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best Sellers list.

Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad (Sourcebooks; LJ starred review) takes No. 8 on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best Sellers list.

Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts by Jennie Allen (WaterBrook: Random House) lands at No. 9 on the USA Today Best-Selling Books list.

Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future by Paul Krugman (W.W. Norton) holds No. 13 on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best Sellers list.

There is a new NYT Audio Fiction bestseller for February, The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski, read by Peter Kenny (Hachette Audio). Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know written and read by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown: Hachette) remains at the top of the Nonfiction Audio list.


The NYT reviews Unmaking the Presidency: Donald Trump's War on the World's Most Powerful Office by Susan Hennessey, Benjamin Wittes (FSG: Macmillan): “[it] isn’t just another compendium of insider gossip and bumbling treachery. The authors offer something more sobering, more analytical and, at this point, more revealing.” Also, Code Red: How Progressives and Moderates Can Unite to Save Our Country by E.J. Dionne, Jr. (St. Martin’s Press: Macmillan): “pleads with moderates and progressives to see one another as allies who have far more in common than they might think.”

NPR reviews The Lost Book of Adana Moreau by Michael Zapata (Hanover Square: Harlequin; LJ starred review): “Smart and heart-piercing.”

L.A. Times reviews Weather by Jenny Offill (Knopf): “remarkable and resonant.”

The Washington Post reviews Chanel's Riviera: Glamour, Decadence, and Survival in Peace and War, 1930-1944 by Anne de Courcy (St. Martin’s Press: Macmillan): “entertaining, and it satisfies the need for a peek, at once envious and satisfyingly censorious, at the lifestyles of the rich and famous.”

Book Marks picks five reviews to read for the week.

Briefly Noted

Susanna Clarke releases a teaser about Piranesi (Bloomsbury: Macmillan), which comes out Sept. 15, 2020: “Piranesi is about a man who lives in a House in which an ocean is imprisoned. He explores the House and writes a journal describing what he finds there: the beautiful statues, the vast and echoing halls, the birds that live there,” Clarke tells EW. “He has walked long distances but never yet found an end to the House. His passion for science and data is shared by his one friend — a person he calls the Other who he sees on Tuesdays and Fridays. But what else does the labyrinth contain? Is there in fact another human being somewhere? And if so, what are their intentions? Messages appear on the pavements, forcing Piranesi to begin questioning everything he knows about the world.” There is a trailer too. Entertainment Weekly has the details.

Barnes & Noble will not move forward with its Diverse Editions book covers after critics called it “literary blackface.” The NYT has details as does SLJ. Paste responds with “5 Diverse Retellings of Classic Novels You Need to Read.”

The Millions releases its February Preview.

Shondaland offers “25 Must Read Books For Black History Month.”

Time has “10 Children's Books to Read This Winter, Reviewed By Kids.”

Tor.com picks “23 Retellings of Classic Stories From Science Fiction & Fantasy Authors.” Also, Jo Walton’s January reading list is out.

Book Riot lists “40 Of The Best Feminist Books.”

LitHub considers Oscars for Books, with 2019 nominees.

Entertainment Weekly picks  5 comics for the month.

Claire Vaye Watkins writes about The Awakening by Kate Chopin (Penguin) for the NYT, in an essay taken from her introduction to the new edition.

Shondaland features Noisemakers: 25 Women Who Raised Their Voices & Changed the World - A Graphic Collection from Kazoo by Kazoo Magazine, edited by Erin Bried (Knopf Books for Young Readers).

The Washington Post interviews Dolly Faibyshev, Best in Show: (Dog Photography Book for Dog Lovers, Dog Show Photo Book) (Chronicle Chroma).

The L.A. Times features Luis J. Rodriguez, From Our Land to Our Land: Essays, Journeys, and Imaginings from a Native Xicanx Writer (Seven Stories Press).

The NYT asks Gish Jen, The Resisters (Knopf; LJ starred review), to answer to the “By the Book” questions. The “Inside the List” column considers Ann Napolitano, Dear Edward (The Dial Press: Random House).

The Washington Post appreciates Romance in Marseille by Claude McKay (Penguin).

NYT celebrates Alice Mayhew, inviting authors to describe what it was like to work with the S. & S. editor. LitHub also has a piece, entitled “Working With One of the Greats.”

PEN America will honor Patti Smith with its Literary Service Award.

The Hollywood Reporter reports on DC comics plans for Free Comic Day.

People writes about the forthcoming The Whole Truth: The Reality of It All by Kim Richards of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. It will publish in Feb. 2021.

Emily Books, an imprint of Coffee House Press, has shut down.

Andrea Levy's literary archive goes to the British Museum.

Poet, critic, and historian Edward Kamau Brathwaite has died. LitHub has an obituary.

Authors on Air

USA Today has a list of the past Oscar winners for best picture that were inspired by books.

NPR’s Fresh Air interviews David Quammen, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic (W.W. Norton).

Entertainment Weekly has more on To All the Boys: P.S. I still Love You (here and here too).

There is news about Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which looks like it might be directed by Sam Raimi. Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is headed to the movies but who will make it is the subject of a major deal. Amazon plans an adaptation of Meg Gardiner’s The Dark Corners of the Night. Robert Harris’s The Fear Index is headed to TVAs is Krystal Sutherland’s novel A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares. Arne Dahl’s Watching You is set for TV too. Deadline reports on all.

Julian Fellowes is writing a script for an adaptation of Wind in the Willows. The Hollywood Reporter has details.

The New Yorker has a story on the stage production of My Brilliant Friend.

Pete Buttigieg, Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future (Liveright: W.W. Norton), will be on with Stephen Colbert tonight. He will also be on The View.

Paul Yoon, Run Me to Earth (S. & S.), will be on with Seth Meyers.

Hillary Clinton, The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience (S. & S.), will be on with Ellen.

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Author Image
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 nwyatt@mediasourceinc.com

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