Run Your Week: Big Books, Sure Bets, & Titles Making News, Dec. 30, 2019 | Book Pulse

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid leads holds this week, and leads all the buzz. Barack Obama names his favorite books of 2019; it is a multi-day project and spans not just books but music and films, too. The Romance Writers of America is unraveling after the fallout over its treatment of Courtney Milan. In adaptation news, there will be a second season of The Mandalorian and Netflix's You seems to be everywhere.

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Big Books of the Week

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (G.P. Putnam’s Sons: Penguin; LJ starred review) leads holds this week.

Other titles in demand include:

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher (Graydon House: Harper)

Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison (MIRA: Harper)

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by BJ Fogg (HMH; LJ starred review)

The Playground by Jane Shemilt (William Morrow Paperbacks)

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

Four LibraryReads choices publish this week, including the No. 1 pick for the month, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (G.P. Putnam’s Sons: Penguin; LJ starred review). It is also No. 1 on the Indie Next list:

“Full of nuanced characters and a very current plot about race and privilege, Such a Fun Age will keep you slightly off-balance and questioning how you would react. Emira is a character that you’ll love for her feistiness and strength of character. Perfect for fans of Americanah, Red at the Bone, and An American Marriage.” —Linda Quinn, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT

“When I attempted to write a review for Such a Fun Age, I was at a loss for words. How could I encapsulate how Kiley Reid’s startling debut perfectly captured what it means to be a woman? The societal pressure, the self-doubt, the perseverance, the constant comparison — all of it was perfectly represented through Reid’s two wonderfully flawed and captivating leads. Follow Emira and Alix, two women on seemingly incongruous paths who find themselves searching for purpose and an authentic sense of self. Such a Fun Age tackles complex issues — race, gender, economic status, and the intersection of them all — yet remains accessible. You will not want to put this book down; when you do, you’ll be itching to pick it back up again.” —Gennifer Eccles, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison (MIRA: Harper)

“Sinister and atmospheric, this page-turner elevates the thriller genre with descriptive writing and well-drawn characters. Ash arrives at the Goode School with secrets of her own. Following an honor code is difficult enough (no lies allowed), but throw in secret societies and overly privileged students, and the scene is set for murder. For readers who liked The Secret History and Watching You.” —Douglas Beatty, Baltimore County Public Library, Baltimore, MD

Husband Material by Emily Belden (Graydon House: Harper)

“Charlotte, a young widow, is thrown for a loop when her husband’s ashes appear at her door. As a coder for social media influencers, she develops an app to help find a mate but uses it to keep potential dates away. And then a secret from her husband’s past threatens to destroy the tenuous ties of friendship and love she has found. A fun read for fans of Kristan Higgins and Sophie Kinsella. —Suzanne Christensen, Spanish Fork Public Library, Spanish Fork, UT

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher (Graydon House: Harper)

"Fisher has a knack for telling you a story where there’s no anticipating the twists and turns, and The Wives was no exception. A psychological thriller so immersive that I consumed it in a single sitting. For fans of The Wife Between Us and The Silent Wife. —Brie Hopkins, Newport Public Library, Newport, RI

These books and others publishing the week of Dec. 30, 2019 are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet

In the Media

People’s “Book of the Week” is Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (G.P. Putnam’s Sons: Penguin; LJ starred review). Also getting attention are Shatner by Michael Seth Starr (Applause) and The Playground by Jane Shemilt (William Morrow Paperbacks). People also asks stars what they are reading. Matthew Rhys picks In the Distance by Hernan Diaz (Coffee House; LJ starred review), Olivia Culpo names The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle (New World Library), and Justin Hartley says it is The Grand Prix Saboteurs by Joe Saward (Morienval Press). On the “Picks” list is Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Dare Me, and Victoria Pedretti from You. There is also a focus on TV in 2020. Bookish connections mentioned include Star Trek: Picard, High Fidelity, Little Fires Everywhere, and Briarpatch.


NPR reviews Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (G.P. Putnam’s Sons: Penguin; LJ starred review): “the wonder of Such a Fun Age is that it is also a page-turner with beautifully drawn characters and a riveting plot.”

On a related note, the NYT interviews Kiley Reid, Such a Fun Age (G.P. Putnam’s Sons: Penguin; LJ starred review).

So does The Guardian.

Elle does too.

Briefly Noted

Barack Obama names his favorite books of 2019 (click the next arrow for the full list). It is a multi-day project and spans not just books but music and films too.

The NYT surveys the year in books.

The Atlantic picks its list of the best books of the year.

Popsugar names the best romance novels of the year.

USA Today picks its books for the week.

LitHub posts part three of “The Booksellers’ Year in Reading.”

Time has a list of 12 books to read in January.

The Guardian previews the fiction and nonfiction of 2020. It is a UK list, but a good number of the titles mentioned already have US publishers and dates.

Paste considers the most anticipated YA novels of 2020.

Wired writes about “The 20 Best Books of a Decade That Unmade Genre Fiction.”

The Millions has a list of the “Ten Must-Read Crime Books Set in the American West.”

Entertainment Weekly has a brief teaser preview of book 3 in the You cycle by Caroline Kepnes.

LJ begins the RA column #LibrarianRecs.

USA Today reports on the unraveling of the Romance Writers of America, centered on the fallout over its treatment of Courtney Milan after she tweeted about the racism in a 1999 book by a fellow RWA member.

The NYT reports on how Star Wars is memorializing Riley Howell, who died a hero during the shooting at UNC Charlotte. Also, the paper has a report on how China is blocking US books as part of the trade war. There is a look at what 2030 might be like, with several authors offering their takes. Also, in its how people spend their Sundays feature, the paper follows a librarian, Ruth Rodriguez, who works at the Francis Martin Library in the West Bronx. Lastly, the NYT reports that archaeologist have “unearthed the remains of a 4,000-year-old 'Book of Two Ways' — a guide to the Egyptian underworld, and the earliest copy of the first illustrated book.”

Mel Magazine writes “How Barnes & Noble Became The ‘Good Guys’.”

Alasdair Gray has died. The Guardian has an obituary.

Neal R. Peirce has died. The NYT has an obituary.

Authors on Air

As part of its special series “Picture This,” NPR showcases the making of Chicken of the Sea by Viet Thanh Nguyen, illustrated by Thi Bui (McSweeney's Publishing). Also, NPR features Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal (Roaring Brook Press: Macmillan; SLJ starred review). Lastly, there is coverage of the stage production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, including highlighting Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: The Journey: Behind the Scenes of the Award-Winning Stage Production by Harry Potter Theatrical Productions, Jody Revenson (Arthur A. Levine Books: Scholastic).

Entertainment Weekly looks at the changes between season 2 of You and the book it is based upon.

io9 writes about the forthcoming Netflix’s series Ragnarok.

Deadline reports that there will be a second installment of The Mandalorian, coming in the fall of 2020. Also, a celebration of The Shawshank Redemption adaptation.

Happy Holidays. Book Pulse will return on Jan. 2.

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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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