Run Your Week: Big Books, Sure Bets, & Titles Making News, Jan. 27, 2020 | Book Pulse

When You See Me by Lisa Gardner leads holds this week. The RUSA/CODES book awards (The Reading List, Notable Books, The Listen List, and more) were announced last night as were the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. Michelle Obama wins the Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for Becoming. Reports of a draft version of John Bolton’s book make the NYT. Kobe Bryant, basketball star and author, has died.

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Big Books of the Week

When You See Me by Lisa Gardner (Dutton: Penguin) leads holds this week.

Other titles in demand include:

Vendetta Road by Christine Feehan (Berkley: Penguin)

Into the Fire: An Orphan X Novel Gregg Hurwitz (Minotaur: Macmillan; LJ starred review)

Highfire by Eoin Colfer (Harper Perennial)

When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald (Gallery/Scout Press: S. & S.)

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest 

There are two LibraryReads picks for the week. Both are also Indie Next selections:

When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald (Gallery/Scout Press: S. & S.)

“A beautifully written novel about a young woman—and unabashed Viking enthusiast—born with fetal alcohol syndrome. Zelda feels not quite ‘normal,’ but as she discovers through her quests, who really is? Perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and The Silver Linings Playbook.” —Kat Neal, Tulsa Library, Tulsa, OK

“I could not put this book down. Readers rarely have the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of someone with a disability and experience their lives in a meaningful way. We rarely see people with Down syndrome or fetal alcohol syndrome depicted as truly feeling, flesh-and-blood people who experience love, lust, heartbreak, and disappointment, who face challenges as they strive for their dream. Zelda is my new hero! She is undaunted and unflappable as she grapples with her dreams and life experiences. Your journey with her will be all too brief, but it is one that will stay with you long after you read the last page.” —Rebecca Gottberg, Rediscovered Books, Boise, ID

Highfire by Eoin Colfer (Harper Perennial)

“Vern, a dragon living in the Louisiana swamps, may be the last of his kind, so he tries to remain unnoticed. When teenage Squib stumbles on Vern’s hideout, he ends up working for him and keeping his secret. A fantasy with suspense, humor, and danger and a heartfelt story about family and friendship. For readers who enjoyed Anansi Boys (Neil Gaiman) and Bad Monkey (Carl Hiaasen).” —Carolynn Waites, Manvel Library, Manvel, TX

Highfire hooked me from the first pages. Vern, a grumpy dragon languishing in the Louisiana swamps, believes he’s the last of his species. Squib, a 15-year-old boy, is just trying to stay out of trouble and earn some money doing odd jobs. The intersection of these two one-of-a-kind characters sucks you in like a whirlpool. I loved reading about the absurd circumstances they found themselves in. This book has all the earmarks of a great hand-seller for the dead of winter, when we all need something new!” —Patricia Worth, River Reader Books, Lexington, MO

There are two more Indie Next picks for the week:

Run Me to Earth by Paul Yoon (S. & S.)

 “This is Paul Yoon’s best work yet. While this is also his most chaotic book, the power of his writing can still be found in the quiet moments, in gestures toward reconciliation, forgiveness, or at least resolution. This novel is stunning in its rendering of our capacity for both savagery and tenderness. Yoon is one of our great masters, and Run Me to Earth is a masterwork.” —Joseph Nieves, Changing Hands, Tempe, AZ

Cartier's Hope by M. J. Rose (Atria: S. & S.)

“It’s New York in 1910 — the Gilded Age — when the rich were very rich and romantic stories about big, luscious gemstones were the talk of evening parties and afternoon teas. Once again, Rose takes us behind the scenes for a look at the decadence, greed, and notoriety that comes with her historical era of choice. In Cartier’s Hope, reporter Vera Garland investigates famous jeweler Pierre Cartier, whom she suspects manipulated the value of the famous Hope Diamond. As usual, no one writes this kind of historical fiction like M.J. Rose. Oooh, this one’s delicious!” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

These books and others publishing the week of Jan. 27, 2020 are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet.

In the Media

Entertainment Weekly features the new James Bond film, No Time to Die, as its cover story. “The Must List” highlights Doctor Who, James Taylor's Audible only Break Shot: My First 21 Years: An Audio Memoir, The Magicians, The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood by Sam Wasson (Flatiron Books: Macmillan; LJ starred review), All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace (Imprint: Macmillan) and, AJ and the Queen.

Fiction reviews cover The Gimmicks by Chris McCormick (Harper), which gets an A-. Weather by Jenny Offill (Knopf) and The Resisters by Gish Jen (Knopf, LJ starred review) do as well. Getting a range of Bs are The Regrets by Amy Bonnaffons (Little, Brown: Hachette), which earns a B-, Real Life by Brandon Taylor (Riverhead: Penguin), which picks up a B+, Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin (Celadon: Macmillan) getting a  B+, and The Cactus League by Emily Nemens (FSG: Macmillan; LJ starred review) landing the B+ too. There is also a list of the “The 5 Best Baseball Novels Ever" and an interview with Laura Linney, focused on her multifaceted work on My Name is Lucy Barton, including the new audiobook. Recipes come from Bobby at Home: Fearless Flavors from My Kitchen: A Cookbook by Bobby Flay, Stephanie Banyas, Sally Jackson (Clarkson Potter: Random House), Outlander Kitchen: To the New World and Back Again: The Second Official Outlander Companion Cookbook by Theresa Carle-Sanders (Delacorte: Random House), and Just the Good Stuff: 100+ Guilt-Free Recipes to Satisfy All Your Cravings: A Cookbook by Rachel Mansfield (Clarkson Potter: Random House).

The Winter TV preview covers Star Trek: Picard, Katy Keene, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, High Fidelity, Outlander, Briarpatch, and Locke & Key. In more adaptation coverage, there are reports on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Legacies, and Birds of Prey. Dolittle gets a C+ review.

Stories in the issue that have already appeared online include excerpts of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel) by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press), the beyond borders joint review of Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo (Harper) and American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (Flatiron: Macmillan; LJ starred review) under the heading “Two new books tackle the border crisis with urgency (and not without controversy),” and the feature on Charles Yu, Interior Chinatown (Pantheon: Random House).

People’s Book of the Week is American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (Flatiron: Macmillan; LJ starred review), also getting notice are A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende (Ballantine: Random House) and When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald (Gallery/Scout Press: S. & S.). New in paperback are Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie Land (Hachette), Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro (Anchor: Random House), and The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin (William Morrow Paperbacks: Harper). People’s “Picks” include The Goop Lab, starring author Gwyneth Paltrow, Miracle Workers, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and Shrill. The cover story is on Jessica Simpson, Open Book: A Memoir (Dey Street Books: Harper).








The RUSA/CODES book awards were announced last night at ALA Midwinter. Here are the winners for Notable Books, The Reading List, The Listen List, The Sophie Brody Medal, The CODES List: Cookbooks, The Dartmouth Medal, and Outstanding Reference Sources.

The winners of The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were announced as well. RUSA and Booklist are the ALA co-sponsors of the award.

Michelle Obama wins the Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for Becoming (Random House Audio). The Hollywood Reporter has the complete list of winners.

The Association of Jewish Libraries announces the AJL Jewish Fiction Award winner.

Greta Gerwig wins the USC Libraries Scripter Award for best adaptations for Little Women while Phoebe Waller-Bridge wins in the TV category for Fleabag, based on her one-woman play. Deadline has details.

The Canada Reads shortlist is out.


NPR reviews Processed Cheese by Stephen Wright (Little, Brown: Hachette): “it's Wright at his best … In a fairer ⁠— or at least weirder ⁠— literary world, Stephen Wright would be as famous as Thomas Pynchon or Don DeLillo.” Also, A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende (Ballantine: Random House): “don't be fooled into thinking this story is a history text cloaked as a novel … A Long Petal of the Sea is a love story for these times.”

The NYT reviews Stateway's Garden: Stories by Jasmon Drain (Random House): “The stories fit almost like pieces of a puzzle [so that] the stories that follow have a richer energy; the characters, with the benefit of greater context, feel more nuanced.”

USA Today reviews The Truants by Kate Weinberg (G.P. Putnam's Son: Penguin), giving it 3.5 stars and writing it is “a novel worth skipping class for, and Weinberg’s writing marks the arrival of a sure talent.” 

The Washington Post reviews The Missing American by Kwei Quartey (Soho Crime: Random House): “In addition to being suspenseful [it is] wonderfully atmospheric.” Also, Wilmington's Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy by David Zucchino (Atlantic Monthly Press): “punctures the myths surrounding the insurrection and provides a dynamic and detailed account of the lives of perpetrators and victims.” Imperfect Union: How Jessie and John Fremont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil War by Steve Inskeep (Penguin): “his journalist’s eye for detail and nuance serves his readers well.” Migrating to Prison: America’s Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants by César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández (The New Press, LJ starred review): “García Hernández is right about these things. But his book is still disappointing. It’s too pedestrian for a moral exhortation. It’s a song for the choir that reads like a memo, stating with flat affect how America has lost its way.” Dangerous Melodies: Classical Music in America from the Great War through the Cold War by Jonathan Rosenberg (W.W. Norton): “This is not only valuable and fair-minded history but an unceasingly engaging series of tales.”

Briefly Noted

USA Today picks its books of the week. One of the titles listed, A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler (St. Martin's Press: Macmillan; LJ starred review), does not publish until March 10.

The Guardian names its 10 best debut novels of the year.

Reports of a draft version of John Bolton’s book make the NYT. The paper writes there is an “explosive account” of the Ukraine affair and that “The White House could use the pre-publication review process, which has no set time frame, to delay or even kill the book’s publication or omit key passages.” The Room Where It Happened; A White House Memoir is due out on March 17. Time also has a report.

There are at least eighteen new books out about the immigrant experience that are not American Dirt writes Bustle. The Texas Observer has a list of 17 books to read instead. The NYT has more on the fallout over American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (Flatiron: Macmillan; LJ starred review), which the paper notes “seemed poised to become one of this year’s biggest, buzziest books.” Jennifer Givhan, Trinity Sight (Blackstone), writes about cultural appropriation and the publishing industry.

Elijah Cummings’s book, We're Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy by Elijah Cummings, with an afterword by Maya Rockeymoore Cummings (Harper), will publish this summer. USA Today has details.

The NYT reports on Roxane Gay’s adaptation of her “The Sacrifice of Darkness” short story into a comic. Also, a piece on the adaptation of Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao as a Spanish-language play.

The NYT reports on the uproar over the forthcoming comic “Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew!

n+1 has a report on the publishing industry in the 2010s.

Time has a piece by David Colmer, the English translator of Last Stop Auschwitz: My Story of Survival from within the Camp by Eliazar de Wind (Grand Central: Hachette; LJ starred review).

Terese Marie Mailhot annotates a passage of Heart Berries: A Memoir (Counterpoint) for PBS NewsHour.

Electric Lit interviews Meng Jin, Little Gods (Custom House: Harper).

Salon interviews Emma Copley Eisenberg, The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia (Hachette).

The Washington Post interviews Shannon Hale Diana: Princess of the Amazons (DC Comics).

The Cut features Vivian Gornick, Unfinished Business : Notes of a Chronic Re-reader (FSG: Macmillan; LJ starred review).

Town & Country names seven women to watch, including author Alexis Coe, You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington (Viking: Penguin; LJ starred review).

Electric Lit reports on a forthcoming book with a dust jacket infused with the smell of bubblegum, asking what other books might smell like.

Book Mark’s Secrets of the Librarians features Karina Hagelin.

Kobe Bryant, basketball star and author, has died. The NYT has a report.

Authors on Air

NPR interviews Tochi Onyebuchi, Riot Baby (

CBS Sunday Morning features Raffi.

Deadline reports Walter Mosley’s The Man In My Basement is set for the movies with Mosley writing the script. An adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is The Night is headed to Hulu. Oscar-winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis will direct Disney’s live-action remake of Pinocchio.

Netflix has optioned Hanna Jameson's The Last. The Bookseller reports.

Charles Yu, Interior Chinatown (Pantheon: Random House), will be on The Daily Show tonight.

The Undoing, HBO’s new series based on Jean Hanff Korelitz’s You Should Have Known, gets a trailer. It debuts in May. 

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