More Book Clubs Make News | Book Pulse

Book clubs continue to make news this week, Astronaut Scott Kelly credits reading for his success, and Lin-Manuel Miranda signs on for the adaptation of Philip Pullman’s "His Dark Materials" series.



Book Clubs Break Big

Entertainment Weekly considers how “celebrity book clubs are changing the literary world for good,” focusing on the literary blog Belletrist (run by Emma Roberts) and Reese Witherspoon’s production company Hello Sunshine.

Belletrist’s March pick is Ben Dolnick’s The Ghost Notebooks (Pantheon). As we posted on Wednesday, Hello Sunshine picks Balli Kaur Jaswal’s Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows (Morrow) this month.

The Guardian selects Orhan Pamuk’s Snow (Vintage) as their March reading group pick.

Book Riot is starting a feminist book club, the debut selection is Anne Helen Petersen’s Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman (Plume: Penguin).


The NYT reviews What Are We Doing Here? Essays by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar), writing “’Complexity’ and ‘mystery’ are the magnetic poles Robinson navigates by, primary sources the water she swims in, ‘reductionism’ the recurring object of her contempt.” Also reviewed, The Friend by Sigrid Nunez (Riverhead): “Nunez’s prose itself comforts us. Her confident and direct style uplifts.” Dara Horn’s Eternal Life   (Norton; LJ starred review) is described as “captivating,” and Joshua B. Freeman’s Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World (Norton) as “thoroughly researched history [that] makes us question our own accumulation of the stuff in front of us.” Finally, the paper looks at crossover YA novels and considers two books that address kids and screen time.

The Washington Post reviews Lars Kepler’s The Sandman (Knopf), a “grisly parcel of Scandinavian noir, a thriller so blood-soaked it leaves you asking the question, what’s up with those Swedes?” Also, Luis Alberto Urrea’s The House of Broken Angels (Little, Brown): “a big, sprawling, messy, sexy, raucous house party of a book.” Of Mark Sarvas’s Memento Park (Farrar: LJ starred review), the paper writes that while it is “full of cunningly prepared surprises, it is also a fundamentally thoughtful and meditative story.” Aminatta Forna’s Happiness (Atlantic Monthly) receives the headline: “An exquisite novel about how chance and love connect us.”

Briefly Noted

Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump by Michael Isikoff and David Corn (Twelve: Hachette) is the newest Trump book to take off after an excerpt runs ahead of publication, this time in Mother Jones. The book comes out next week and is currently climbing high on Amazon.

Astronaut Scott Kelly credits reading for his success, saying that Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff turned him from a “bad student to a NASA astronaut.” The book is soaring as a result.

The April LibraryReads list is out, headed by Madeline Miller’s Circe  (Little, Brown: LJ starred review).

The Guardian looks at the new wave of interest for Korean thrillers.

Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon offer RA help with “Six Outstanding Standalone Fantasy Novels.”

Sloane Crosley suggests what to read in March for Vanity Fair.

The NYT profiles Wendell Steavenson, Paris Metro (Norton).

The NYT also profiles publisher Farrar upon the news that Mitzi Angel, currently heading Faber & Faber, who “will join FSG as its new publisher and senior vice president.”

Entertainment Weekly interviews Jhumpa Lahiri, Trick by Domenico Starnone, translated by Jhumpa Lahiri (Europa Edition).

The L.A. Times interviews Mallory Ortberg, author of The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror (Holt: Macmillan).

Time excerpts Christina Dalcher’s Vox (Berkley) and Janice Kaplan and Barnaby Marsh’s How Luck Happens: Using the Science of Luck to Transform Work, Love, and Life (Dutton).

More literary NYT “Overlooked” obits are up, including those for Sylvia Plath, Qui Jin, and Nella Larsen.

Authors on Air

The adaptation of Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” series picks up some big names: Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) will direct the eight-part series and Lin-Manuel Miranda has joined the cast, reports Deadline Hollywood.

Former U.S. president Barack Obama, in negotiations with Netflix, may get his own streaming show. The NYT reports, “In one possible show idea, Mr. Obama could moderate conversations on topics that dominated his presidency—health care, voting rights, immigration, foreign policy, climate change.”

Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style by Shantrelle P. Lewis (Aperture) may be adapted into a docuseries about fashion, headed by Viola Davis’s production company.

NPR’s Morning Edition talks with Martin Dempsey, coauthor, with Ori Brafman, about Radical Inclusion: What the Post-9/11 World Should Have Taught Us About Leadership (Missionday).

The Valiant comic book series is headed to the movies, with Vin Diesel to star.

The Handmaid’s Tale gets another teaser for Season 2, starting up again on April 25.

The Grinch gets a trailer. The movie comes out November 9.

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