Oprah Picks "The Water Dancer," Sept. 24, 2019 | Book Pulse

Oprah picks The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates as her newest book club title, the first book to feature in her new venture with Apple. The National Book Foundation names its 5 Under 35 authors. Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller continues to get impressive, and impressed, coverage, and Bobby at Home: Fearless Flavors from My Kitchen: A Cookbook by Bobby Flay gets buzz.

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The Water Dancer is Oprah's Newest Book Club Pick

Oprah picks The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (One World; LJ starred review) as her newest book club title. She says “It is one of the best books I’ve ever read in my entire life, right up there in the Top 5.”

Oprah announced the pick on CBS This Morning with Coates at her side. There are two videos.

She will interview Coates on her new Apple TV+ show on Nov. 1. This pick launches her new book club community with Apple. Entertainment Weekly has more on that (here too). Bustle also has details.

O: The Oprah Magazine has a number of stories including an introduction to the novel, an excerpt, a look at the book’s inspirations, a list of all the books by Coates, and a list of all the books picked by Oprah in the past.

Coates will be on The View today and on with Stephen Colbert tonight.

Related, BuzzFeed writes about how celebrity book clubs drive sales.


The NYT reviews The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (One World; LJ starred review): “the novel’s few weaknesses are offset by its enormous strengths.” Also, Know My Name: A Memoir (LJ starred review) by Chanel Miller (Viking: Penguin): “a writer who dived down into the darkness, pulled herself up and out and laid her story on the sand, still dripping, with its sharp edges intact.” The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (Harper): “a pleasure.” Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith (Knopf; LJ starred review): “At her best, her prose reads like Smith verbally riffing between songs onstage with her guitarist pal Lenny Kaye, burning up nights with rock poetry.” We Stand Divided: The Rift Between American Jews and Israel by Daniel Gordis (Ecco: Harper): “In the concept of the ethnic democracy, Gordis lays out a bracing idea that ought to make us reassess knee-jerk impositions of American values on Israel.” The Enigma of Clarence Thomas by Corey Robin (Metropolitan Books: Macmillan): “one of the marvels of Robin’s razor-sharp book is how carefully he marshals his evidence.” A Polar Affair: Antarctica's Forgotten Hero and the Secret Love Lives of Penguins by Lloyd Spencer Davis (Pegasus: W.W. Norton): “Not only does he offer readers an insightful and bawdy primer on the breeding habits of … penguins, he offers an absorbing history of his own Antarctic fieldwork and a glimpse into the private lives of Levick and several important polar explorers of the era.”

Entertainment Weekly reviews Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson (Riverhead), giving it an A- and calling it “sublime.”

USA Today reviews The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (Harper), giving it a perfect four stars and writing it is “deeply moving.”

The Washington Post also reviews The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (One World; LJ starred review): “a budding superhero discovering the dimensions of his power within the confines of a historical novel that critiques the function of racial oppression.”

Briefly Noted

The National Book Foundation names its 5 Under 35 Authors. Vulture has more on each winner. LitHub has a list of all the winners thus far.

The Dark Dark: Stories by Samantha Hunt (FSG Originals: Macmillan) wins the 2019 SFC Literary Prize.

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez (Harry N. Abrams) wins the Royal Society science book prize. The Guardian has details.

LitHub has an internal poll about “Best of the Decade: What Books Will We Still Be Reading in 10 Years?” The Guardian asks readers to pick the best books since 2000.

Tor.com gathers “All the New Fantasy Books Coming out in October.”

Barbara Hoffert picks books for April 2020 in "Prepub Alert."

Bustle picks the “7 Best Books On Sexual Health.”

Alan Lightman, Three Flames (Counterpoint), suggests “Five Great Magical Realist Novels” for Book Marks.

Entertainment Weekly excerpts The Living Dead by George A. Romero, Daniel Kraus (Tor Books: Macmillan).

Tor.com excerpts Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery edited by Rachel Autumn Deering Christopher Golden, et al. (Titan Books: Random House).

The Washington Post showcases Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller (Viking: Penguin). Also, a focus on Patti Smith, Year of the Monkey (Knopf; LJ starred review).

People also has a feature on Chanel Miller, Know My Name: A Memoir (Viking: Penguin). So too does The Cut.

Vice features Naomi Klein, On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal (S. & S.; LJ starred review).

USA Today highlights Demi Moore’s revelations in Inside Out: A Memoir (Harper). People does as well.

The NYT writes about Renia's Diary: A Holocaust Journal by Renia Spiegel (St. Martin’s Press: Macmillan).

Entertainment Weekly focuses on Liz Phair’s Horror Stories: A Memoir (Random House).

Paste spotlights The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe by Angela Kelly (Harper).

The Atlantic has a piece on books and climate change, featuring Erosion: Essays of Undoing by Terry Tempest Williams (Sarah Crichton Books: Macmillan) and Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie (Penguin).

Vogue features How to Cure a Ghost by Fariha Róisín, illustrated by Monica Ramos (Abrams Image).

The Guardian interviews Hilary Mantel, after the paper named her book the best book of the 21st century. Also, an interview with Annaleese Jochems, Baby (Scribe US).

Entertainment Weekly interviews John Carpenter as the filmmaker turns his hand to writing comics with The Joker: Year of the Villain (DC). EW has excerpts from the comic too.

Electric Lit interviews Leslie Jamison, Make It Scream, Make It Burn: Essays (Little, Brown: Hachette).

Publishing Perspectives digs into the Audible lawsuit, with explanations and questions.

Tor.com has a series about maps and Fantasy (parts two and three).

EarlyWord’s YA/MG Galley Chat is today.

Ron Charles writes about censorship in The Washington Post.

Anne Rice’s dolls will feature in a new special museum in Pennsylvania. USA Today reports.

Poet A. Alvarez has died. The NYT has an obituary.

Authors on Air

NPR interviews Chanel Miller, Know My Name: A Memoir (Viking: Penguin). NPR’s Fresh Air interviews Sara and Tegan Quin, High School (S. & S.). NPR’s The Salt interviews Lenore Newman, Lost Feast: Culinary Extinction and the Future of Food (ECW Press).

The Today show featured Bobby at Home: Fearless Flavors from My Kitchen: A Cookbook by Bobby Flay, Stephanie Banyas, Sally Jackson (Clarkson Potter: Random House) yesterday. The book makes the NYT "Frontburner" column today. Sales are soaring.

Tor.com looks at the fall TV season and its SFF shows. Some of which are book related.

Fox News features Exonerated: The Failed Takedown of President Donald Trump by the Swamp by Dan Bongino (Post Hill Press: S. & S.).

Deadline reports that Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline will star in the adaptation of The Good House by Ann Leary. Charles Pellegrino’s Dust has been optioned for the movies. Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult, the musical adaptation, will get an Off Broadway show.

The Hollywood Reporter has news that Meryl Streep will headline an ensemble cast for a new audiobook production of Charlotte's Web from Listening Library.

Demi Moore, Inside Out: A Memoir (Harper), will be on with Ellen DeGeneres today and with Jimmy Fallon tonight.

Whoopi Goldberg, The Unqualified Hostess: I do it my way so you can too! (Rizzoli), will be on with Stephen Colbert tonight.

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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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