Run Your Week: Big Books, Sure Bets, & Titles Making News, Nov. 4, 2019 | Book Pulse

Wrecking Ball (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 14) by Jeff Kinney leads holds this week. The World Fantasy Awards are announced. The winners of the 2019 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books are out. The finalists for the Southern Book Prize are announced. Reese Witherspoon picks Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes for her November book club title while Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson is the November pick for Read with Jenna.

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Big Books of the Week

Wrecking Ball (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 14) by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books: Abrams) leads holds this week

Other titles in demand include:

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday: Random House; LJ starred review)

Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry by Mary Higgins Clark (S. & S.)

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell (Atria: S. & S.; LJ starred review)

The Toll by Neal Shusterman (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; SLJ starred review)

Final Option by Clive Cussler, Boyd Morrison (G.P. Putnam's Sons: Penguin)

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

Librarians and booksellers overlap six times in November, starting with the LibraryReads top pick, The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday: Random House; LJ starred review), which is also high on the Indie Next list for November:

“A moving labyrinth of a story, ever changing and evolving. What begins as a mysterious thread in a book, an opportunity taken or missed and the consequences of the choice, evolves into a story similar to a choose-your-own adventure tale or a mystical video game experience. For fans of Neil Gaiman, Susanna Clark, and Lev Grossman.”—Cynde Suite, Bartow County Library, Cartersville, GA

“Rarely is a book such an absolute feast—for the senses, for the intellect, and, above all, for the soul. Morgenstern dazzles in her latest novel, an intricately wrought tale populated by lovers, mystery, and sumptuous magic. The Starless Sea is an ode to book lovers everywhere, reanimating the excitement as well as the pure possibility felt when reading books like Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings for the first time. I am reminded of the famous C.S. Lewis quote, ‘One day, you’ll be old enough to read fairytales again.’ When that day comes, The Starless Sea will be waiting for you.” —Laura Graveline, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams (Berkley: Penguin)

“Thea gave up everything when she became Gavin’s wife, and has been faking more than just her happiness. When the marriage is headed for divorce, Gavin’s friends bring him into their secret book club to help him win his wife back. For readers who like romance with a little humor, and fans of Curtis Sittenfeld and Jennifer Crusie.”—Melissa McNeill, Montgomery County Memorial Library System, Conroe, TX

“In just a few short years, Gavin and Thea have gone from starry-eyed young lovers to married with twins. Gavin is at the top of his career in baseball, but Thea is feeling like she’s lost who she is—there is definitely trouble in paradise, and Thea wants out! But Gavin’s teammates invite him to join a book club that just might reignite that spark the couple once had. Can reading romance novels teach Gavin how to win back his wife? I absolutely love the concept of this novel. The writing was fun and light, yet maintained depth and value. I could relate to Thea as a wife and mother and still rooted for Gavin.” —Miranda Atkins, A Little Bookish, Ooltewah, TN

The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes (Gallery/Saga Press: S. & S.; LJ starred review)

“An incredibly interesting reimagining of what happened to the slaves that got thrown off the ships while crossing the ocean. For fans of She Would Be King by Wayetu Moore and The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates.” —Kelli Ponce, Mesquite Public Library, Mesquite, TX 

“Solomon is perfectly suited to expand the concept of a civilization of merfolk whose origins were born in the violence of pregnant African women sent to the depths from the vessels of white slave traders. The Deep focuses on Yetu, whose role as historian is to be individually burdened with six centuries of memories of all the wajinru (merfolk), and the consequences when she abdicates her responsibility. With shades of Hans Christian Andersen, Ursula Le Guin, and Lois Lowry, plus inimitable explorations of difficult social interrelationships, Solomon’s short tome is, indeed, a deep read.” —Maryelizabeth Yturralde, Creating Conversations, Redondo Beach, CA

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (Avon: Harper)

“Chloe is doing all she can to avoid being defined by her illness. Redford is a talented artist who was verbally abused by his former girlfriend. Smart and snarky, they find ways to help each other face their challenges. Snappy dialogue, dynamic characters, and a realistic story make this a good choice for fans of Alyssa Cole and Jasmine Guillory.”—Paula Pergament, Lincolnwood Public Library, Lincolnwood, IL

Get a Life, Chloe Brown is such a wonderful, inclusive, body-positive, fun, moving, and steamy book, the kind of novel I want to shove into every person’s hand who says they don’t read romance. Chloe Brown is a plus-size black British woman with chronic illness who is confident, sharp, sarcastic, brilliant, and adorable as hell—and, to my great relief, totally comfortable and happy with her looks and her size. After being temporarily knocked down by her illness, Chloe decides to reclaim her life, so she makes a to-do list: ride a motorcycle, have meaningless sex, go camping, etc. It was such an absolute treat to read a novel about a plus-size woman with a disability having amazing, mind-blowing sex and loving her life. I truly cannot say enough wonderful things about this book, so instead I will just force everyone I know to read it.” —Elissa Sweet, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

Little Weirds by Jenny Slate (Little, Brown: Hachette)

“Weirdly delightful and beyond compare. Essays that provide a look into the comedian’s brain. For fans of Miranda July.” —Jesica Sweedler DeHart, Neill Public Library, Pullman, WA

Little Weirds, a collection of essays by actress and comedian Jenny Slate, is pure magic—a joyous, thoughtful, and deeply gorgeous peek into the soul of an extremely bright and unique individual. Jenny’s mastery of the English language, the way she arranges words to tell a story, the vulnerability with which she does it, and the purity of her heart is so astounding at times that reading a paragraph once or twice is simply not enough. Little Weirds cuts deeply into what it means to be a woman here on this earth. It is about friendship and growth and learning to love ourselves in all of our tender and wild strangeness.” —Jenna Schenk, BookTowne, Manasquan, NJ

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell (Atria: S. & S.; LJ starred review)

“Gothic and creepy, this is the tale of an aging London mansion taken over by a strong-willed con artist happy to prey on the minds of the eccentric family living there. I look forward to each Lisa Jewell release and The Family Upstairs does not disappoint.”—Linda Quinn, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT

“Just having children does not make you a parent, and that truth is apparent in the pages of this book. A wealthy family in London seems to have everything—a great home, private schools, mentions in the press—but it is somehow not enough. Once you open the door to the unknown, can it really ever be closed? The influence of the charismatic egotist is told with flawless accuracy and stark images. In these situations, the children suffer the most; they are powerless and easy prey. This book details an unfolding family crisis where abuse can take many forms. Hard to put down and with several huge twists, The Family Upstairs will satisfy even the most discriminating fan. Lisa Jewell has exceeded all expectations!” —Jackie Willey, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

There are two additional LibraryReads selections:

We Met in December by Rosie Curtis (William Morrow Paperbacks: Harper)

“A lovely charmer of a book. Jess follows her dream and moves to London and rents a room in a big Notting HIll house with one rule – no dating your flatmates. For fans of One Day (even mentioned in the book), Four Weddings and One Day in December.” —Stephanie Chase, Hillsboro Public Library, Hillsboro, OR

The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West (Hachette)

“Lindy West takes on rape culture, climate change, Hollywood and toxic masculinity among other topics. It’s funny, relatable and on-point. For fans of Rebecca Solnit and Roxane Gay.”—Shari Suarez, Genesee Districy Library, Goodrich, MI

There are six additional Indie Next selections, including their top pick, In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf Press: Macmillan):

“Welcome to the Dream House in this daring new kind of memoir that defies boundaries and boldly discards the conventions of genre. Inside, Carmen Maria Machado bares her soul in all of its pain and beauty, offering an intimate and profoundly vulnerable look at her own life, love, and sexuality. Machado has a gift for exposing the raw nerves and small miracles lurking beneath the surface of our daily lives. Her words move with a strange kind of urgency, surreal and yet true, like late-night phone calls when the rest of the world is asleep. I didn’t feel like I was reading a book so much as observing a person’s innermost thoughts. In the Dream House is a unique and extraordinary book.” —Jason Foose, Changing Hands, Tempe, AZ

On Swift Horses by Shannon Pufahl (Riverhead: Penguin)

“This densely atmospheric debut sinks its hooks deep into post-war America’s tender underbelly, exposing the homophobia and bigotry beneath a nation’s renewed spirit of hope and opportunity. Muriel and Julius are restless outsiders, siblings-in-law who share a passion for gambling as well as their more furtive passion. Both are trying to make their own opportunities to find love and happiness—a gamble that one will unexpectedly win and one will just as unexpectedly lose. An immersive and rewarding first novel.” —Karen Brissette, Shakespeare & Co., New York, NY

The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (Counterpoint)

“Set in 1855, 1924, and 2017, this story features Ava, a modern single mother and divorcee who, down on her luck, moves in as a caretaker for her grandmother, whose lingering racism becomes more pronounced as her mind begins to fail. Also told is the story of Ava’s grandmother’s great-grandmother, Josephine, who is a slave as a child and later in life the widowed owner of a 300-acre farm. Ava and Josephine both have the ability to ‘revision,’ seeing into others’ souls and guiding them to a different place. Sexton does a beautiful job of developing her characters while accurately describing the racism that is never far away no matter the time period. This story is loving and devastating in the best way.” —Todd Miller, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI

The Crying Book by Heather Christle (Catapult)

“To be a writer is to be both in constant awe and in constant envy of other writers. Heather Christle is no exception. She is a writer to whom a world of poets look for playful imagery and careful affect. The Crying Book is not billed as poetry, but it’s not prose—it’s something very deeply embedded between genres. There are no line breaks, but there is lyricism and a poetic philosophy of the intimate relationship between things: tears, grief, war, motherhood, friendship, partnership, science, history. The literary world has already likened it to Maggie Nelson’s Bluets, but Christle’s work seems to me more delicate, as though each turn of a tear-soaked page allows readers the permission, as Christle puts it, to be held. And to be held by a book is, I think, exactly what a reader craves.” —Lauren Korn, Fact & Fiction Downtown, Missoula, MT

The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness by Susannah Cahalan (Grand Central: Hachette; LJ starred review)

“Susannah Cahalan, the bestselling author of Brain on Fire, is back with another riveting true story of madness and the mental health system. In the 1970s, Dr. David Rosenhan convinced seven sane people to join him in committing themselves to mental hospitals as patients and trying to get out on their own. What begins as an inspiring and daring story of experimentation darkens and twists as Cahalan closes in on a story shrouded in mystery—who were these seven ‘pseudopatients’ in Rosenhan’s groundbreaking study, and what really happened to them? The Great Pretender is not-to-be-missed narrative nonfiction.” —Megan Bell, Underground Books, Carrollton, GA

The Accomplice by Joseph Kanon (Atria: S. & S.)

“Joseph Kanon has produced his best effort yet, bringing us along on a mission to the Buenos Aires of 1962 to hunt down a reputedly deceased Nazi concentration camp doctor. With the backdrop of the earlier elaborate capture of Eichmann, this one is a homemade operation reluctantly carried out by the nephew of a camp survivor (the eponymous accomplice) and involving the CIA and Mossad. The Accomplice explores the life of a socialite in Buenos Aires, the conflicting emotions of the target’s daughter and the reluctant spy, the limits of familial loyalty and of trust, and the danger of playing all sides. Emotional zigs and zags leave the reader spellbound as the cat and mouse game closes in on the capture of a detestable unrepentant Nazi.” —Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

These books and others publishing the week of Nov. 4, 2019, are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet

In the Media

People’s “Book of the Week” is Do You Mind If I Cancel?: (Things That Still Annoy Me) by Gary Janetti ( Flatiron Books: Macmillan). Also getting attention are Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson (Ecco: Harper) and Find Me by André Aciman (FSG; LJ starred review). “New in Nonfiction” covers Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years by Julie Andrews (Hachette; LJ starred review), No Stopping Us Now: The Adventures of Older Women in American History by Gail Collins (Little, Brown: Hachette), and Blood: A Memoir by Allison Moorer (Da Capo Press: Hachette). The “Self-Help Pick” is The School of Life: An Emotional Education by The School of Life (The School of Life). In the food section, recipes from Rachael Ray 50: Memories and Meals from a Sweet and Savory Life: A Cookbook by Rachael Ray (Ballantine Books: Random House), Bobby at Home: Fearless Flavors from My Kitchen: A Cookbook by Bobby Flay, Stephanie Banyas, Sally Jackson (Clarkson Potter: Random House), and When Pies Fly: Handmade Pastries from Strudels to Stromboli, Empanadas to Knishes by Cathy Barrow (Grand Central: Hachette). On the “Pick’s List” are The Morning Show, The Irishman, His Dark Materials, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, and Looking for Alaska actress Kristine Froseth.


NPR reviews The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday: Random House; LJ starred review): “What did work for me, deeply and wholesomely and movingly, was the whole affect of the book, its warmth, its helpless love of storytelling and beautiful, polished fables. It's a book that's a pleasure to dwell in … It's a lot bigger from the inside.” Also, Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson (Ecco: Harper): “it's the sweetness of this novel that will melt you, even when it ventures dangerously close to flaming schmaltz, and despite its somewhat predictable (but still satisfying) ending.” On the Backs of Tortoises: Darwin, the Galapagos, and the Fate of an Evolutionary Eden by Elizabeth Hennessy (Yale): “beginning with a gripping history and then delving deeper — the world of the Galapagos becomes more complicated as we go.”

The NYT reviews Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (Grove Press, Black Cat): “a big, busy novel with a large root system.” Also, Out Loud by Mark Morris (Penguin): “direct, brash, flippant, charming, impenetrably self-assured. And funny.” To Begin the World Over Again: How the American Revolution Devastated the Globe by Matthew Lockwood (Yale): “creates a new iteration of exceptionalism that claims the Revolution was not only America’s foundational moment, but the whole world’s.”

The Washington Post reviews Out Loud by Mark Morris (Penguin): “As Morris takes us inside his creative process and his adventures — and shows us the courage of an artist who perseveres — there’s a great deal of light in these pages.”

Briefly Noted

The World Fantasy Awards are announced. Witchmark by C.L. Polk wins for best novel. has the full list of winners and nominees.

The NYT reports on the winners of the 2019 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books.

The Guardian writes about “Why the books we read as children are the ones that shape our psyche.”

The finalists are out for the Southern Book Prize.

Reese Witherspoon picks Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes (Pamela Dorman Books: Penguin; LJ starred review) for her November book club title.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson (Ecco: Harper) is the November pick for Read with Jenna.

USA Today suggests five books for the week.

The Millions offers its Most Anticipated books for November.

The BBC picks ten books for November.

io9 selects SFF for November. Also, in forthcoming book news, Charlie Jane Anders has a new book coming in 2021, Even Greater Mistakes (Tor Books).

LitHub chooses “5 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books to Watch For in November.”

Entertainment Weekly runs its Romance column, featuring novels about second chances.

CrimeReads gathers “8 of the Most Genuinely Terrifying Novels Ever Written.”

The NYT prints a feature story on “the Great Japanese-American Novel” highlighting No-No Boy by John Okada, translated by Karen Tei Yamashita (Penguin).

USA Today excerpts Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family by Mitch Albom (Harper). Sales jumped.

Entertainment Weekly offers a brief look at Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (Swoon Reads: Macmillan).

The NYT has a feature on Funk, along with an essay by Nate Sloan, Switched On Pop: How Popular Music Works, and Why it Matters (Oxford). Also, the paper spotlights Susannah Cahalan, The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness (Grand Central: Hachette; LJ starred review).

BuzzFeed showcases Carmen Maria Machado, In the Dream House: A Memoir (Graywolf Press: Macmillan).

NPR spotlights Limitless Africans by Mikael Owunna (FotoEvidence).

Shondaland interviews Karine Jean-Pierre, Moving Forward: A Story of Hope, Hard Work, and the Promise of America (Hanover Square Press: Harper).

The Guardian interviews Ben Lerner, The Topeka School (FSG: Macmillan).

The NYT has an interview with Andrew Marantz, Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation (Viking: Penguin).

The L.A. Times has a Q&A with Rene Denfeld, The Butterfly Girl (Harper).

Paste has a video interview of André Aciman and Michael Stuhlbarg discussing Find Me, which Stuhlbarg reads for the audio edition.

Library of America will publish “a definitive collected edition” of Joan Didion’s work. reports.

Zora asks “Why Hasn’t Harriet Wilson, the First Black Female Novelist, Been Given Her Due?.”

LitHub goes “Inside France’s Fall Publishing Frenzy, aka ‘Oscar Season For Books.”

The Harry Potter house from “Godric's Hollow” is on Airbnb. The Thrillist reports.

CityLab writes “How Helsinki Built ‘Book Heaven’.”

NPR reports on Macmillan’s restriction of e-book lending in libraries.

Victoria Braithwaite has died. The NYT has an obituary.

Authors on Air

NPR interviews Carmen Maria Machado, In the Dream House: A Memoir (Graywolf Press: Macmillan). Also, an interview with Reginald Dwayne Betts, Felon: Poems (W.W. Norton).

Vanity Fair features the Normal People adaptation.

Entertainment Weekly looks at Tom Holland in the adaptation of Nico Walker’s Cherry.

CBS Sunday Morning features Mo Rocca, Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving (S. & S.), and writers of obituaries. Rocca’s sales soared.

The Verge explores “How Blade Runner got its name.”

PBS NewsHour features Christopher Ingraham, If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now: Why We Traded the Commuting Life for a Little House on the Prairie (Harper). Also, an interview with George Takei. The interview is about Star Trek and why it did not feature a gay character, but Takei has also recently written They Called Us Enemy (Top Shelf Productions: Random House).

Deadline reports on the first look image from HBO’s Perry Mason. A movie about the 8-year old homeless child who became a chees prodigy after escaping from terrorism in Nigeria is in the works. Harper has three books on the story coming this spring. A sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will premeire on April 8, 2022. Ant-Man 3 is in the works. Starz is adapting Alexa Martin’s Intercepted. There is cast news. Tamora Pierce’s Tortall Universe series is getting adapted for TV. Deadline has an interview with one of the power’s behind the His Dark Materials adaptation, with news about further seasons.

The Today show featured The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek by Rhett McLaughlin, Link Neal (Crown: Random House). Also, Tim McGraw, Grit & Grace: Train the Mind, Train the Body, Own Your Life (Harper Wave), Karine Jean-Pierre, Moving Forward: A Story of Hope, Hard Work, and the Promise of America (Hanover Square Press: Harper), and Around the World in 60 Seconds: The Nas Daily Journey—1,000 Days. 64 Countries. 1 Beautiful Planet by Nuseir Yassin, Bruce Kluger (Harper One).

Gloria Steinem, The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off!: A Lifetime of Quotes (Random House) and Questlove, Mixtape Potluck Cookbook: A Dinner Party for Friends, Their Recipes, and the Songs They Inspire (Abrams Image), will be on with Seth Meyers tonight. Colson Whitehead, The Nickel Boys (Doubleday: Random House), will be on The Daily Show. Sen. Sherrod Brown, Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America (FSG: Macmillan) and Tim McGraw, Grit & Grace: Train the Mind, Train the Body, Own Your Life (Harper Wave) will be on with Stephen Colbert.

Jumanji: The Next Level gets a trailer.

The Witcher gets a trailer.

The New Pope gets a teaser trailer.

The Grudge gets a trailer (there are associated novels and comics).

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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

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