New Bestsellers & January Best Lists, Jan. 2, 2020 | Book Pulse

The bestselling audiobooks list for January is out. Booklists continue for the best of 2020, January new titles, and the best of 2019. Reese Witherspoon picks Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid for her January book club. LJ’s 2020 Page-to-Screen calendar is out. The editor-in-chief of Knopf, Sonny Mehta, has died. MC Beaton has died.

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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]

There are no new bestselling books for the week, but the NYT has issued its new monthly lists for January. The No. 1 bestselling Audio Fiction title is The Guardians by John Grisham, read by Michael Beck (Random House 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.

Also, with no new bestsellers, the NYT asks editors and publishers about their accounts of making the bestseller list.


The NYT reviews Uncanny Valley: A Memoir by Anna Wiener (MCD: Macmillan): “extraordinary.” Also, Don't Believe a Word: The Surprising Truth About Language by David Shariatmadari (W.W. Norton): “It’s a brisk and friendly introduction to linguistics, and a synthesis of the field’s recent discoveries.” The Children’s Books column is out, on “Wintertime Treats for Children’s Eyes and Ears.”

The Washington Post reviews Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano (The Dial Press: Random House): “Don’t read this book on a plane. Or if you ever hope to fly again.” Also, The German House by Annette Hess, translated by Elisabeth Lauffer (HarperVia): “In her careful, sad debut novel, Annette Hess asks readers to consider the importance of healing and the necessity of confronting the past, regardless of the bitterness it brings.”

NPR reviews Lost Hills by Lee Goldberg (Thomas & Mercer: Amazon): “not only the first book in what promises to be a superb series — it's also that rare novel in which the formulaic elements of mainstream police procedurals (blood, violence and forensic science) share narrative space with a unique female protagonist. All that, and it's also a love letter to the chaos and diversity of California.”

USA Today reviews The Wives by Tarryn Fisher (Graydon House: Harper), giving it 3 stars and writing that it is a good suggestion for fans of Gone Girl and “constructs not just an original story but an equally original plot twist.”

2020 Picks







The list-making for the best books of 2020 continues:

BBC Culture has a list of “Ten books to read in 2020.”

Elle picks “The 12 Best Books of 2020 So Far.”

The NYT lists “20 Books We’re Watching For in 2020.”

O: The Oprah Magazine suggests “22 Romance Novels That Are Set to Be the Best of 2020.”

Popsugar selects “34 Promising New YA Books to Look Out For in 2020.”

The StarTribune’s Bookmark column has books for 2020 too.

January Reads







On top of the best of 2020 picks still gathering steam, new lists of just January selections are arriving:


BookPage (romance, lifestyles, and book clubs)


Gizmodo (SFF)

Lambda Literary (SF and Fantasy)

The Washington Post      

The Best of 2019

The old year is still kicking in terms of booklists:

The Hollywood Reporter picks the “Best Comics of 2019.”

Jezebel names “The Best Books the Jezebel Staff Read in 2019.”

Popsugar lists its picks for best romance novels of 2019. posts its reviewers picks for the best books of 2019.

Vogue unveils its choices for “The 21 Best Novels of 2019.”

Briefly Noted

Reese Witherspoon picks Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (G.P. Putnam’s Sons: Penguin; LJ starred review) for her January book club.

The Guardian picks Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Anchor: Penguin) as its reading group title for January.

In Costco Connection, influential book buyer Pennie Clark Ianniciello picks The Girls with No Names by Serena Burdick as her January title. It is a new book, in trade paperback (and a library hardcover edition). The buyers pick is The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington by Brad Meltzer (Flatiron: Macmillan).

The Guardian considers the best comics of the decade.

The NYT asks Julia Alvarez, Virginia Kantra, Anna Quindlen, Sonia Sanchez, and Jennifer Weiner to write about how Little Women inspired them.

The Guardian asks Matt Haig, Gina Miller, Cressida Cowell, and more to “give their new year’s reading resolutions.”

Time has an adapted excerpt of Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by BJ Fogg (HMH; LJ starred review).

The L.A. Times writes about the trove of T.S. Eliot letters to confidante Emily Hale, scheduled to be unveiled this week. PBS NewsHour has the story as well.

A number of authors are joining with Greenpeace to “Stand Up for Free Speech and Forests.”

Rebecca Solnit offers a “Letter to a Young Climate Activist on the First Day of the New Decade” on LitHub.

The poet Robert Hass, Summer Snow: New Poems (Ecco: Harper), goes “By the Book” for the NYT.

The NYT publishes the poem “The Far Norway Maples” by Arthur Sze as selected by Naomi Shihab Nye.

Michael Dirda writes “What ‘Henry Huggins’ and ‘Lolita’ can teach us about extremism — and civil discourse” for The Washington Post.

LJ’s infoDocket reports on NYPL’s reading challenge.

The Guardian has a report on the uproar at RWA.

Gizmodo has a list of the works entering public domain this week. The list of books includes The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie, When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne, and A Passage to India by E. M. Forster.

The editor-in-chief of Knopf, Sonny Mehta, has died. The NYT, Entertainment Weekly, and the L.A. Times have obituaries. The NYT also has a story about Mehta, as remembered by the authors he published.

MC Beaton has died. She wrote the Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth series. The Bookseller has an obituary. The Guardian does as well.

Gertrude Himmelfarb has died. The NYT has an obituary.

Barbara Testa has died. She was the librarian who found a critical manuscript of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The NYT has an obituary.

Authors on Air

LJ’s 2020 Page-to-Screen calendar is out.

The NYT features Little Women the film. Writing how “Greta Gerwig adapted a 150-year-old text for our time.

The PBS NewsHour­-NYT January book club pick is Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot (Counterpoint).

PBS NewsHour interviews Susan Choi, Trust Exercise (Henry Holt: Macmillan).

NPR’s Morning Edition has a story on how “Indie booksellers create community to survive the age of Amazon.”

As part of its December book club coverage for Circe by Madeline Miller (Little, Brown: Hachette), PBS NewsHour considers “How artists have depicted Circe’s power through timeand Madeline Miller answers readers’ questions.

Fox News features Napkin Finance: Build Your Wealth in 30 Seconds or Less by Tina Hay (Dey Street Books: Harper).

The AV Club has a list of 24 shows to watch in January, a few have bookish connections. The NYT offers its picks of 50 plus shows to watch this winter. That list too has some adaptations.

Disney+ releases its 2020 season trailer.

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