Run Your Week: Big Books, Sure Bets, & Titles Making News, Apr. 1, 2019 | Book Pulse

The A List by J.A. Jance leads holds this week. Ten new library and booksellers picks hit the shelves. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones wins the NAACP Image Award for Fiction. NOS4A2 gets a trailer.

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Big Books of the Week

The A List by J.A. Jance (Gallery Books: S. & S.) leads holds this week by a landslide.

Other tiles in demand include:

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb (HMH)

Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl (Random House; LJ starred review)

The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty by  Susan Page (Twelve: Hachette)

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

Three LibraryReads picks publish this week, all are also Indie Next selections:

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves (St. Martin's Press: Macmillan)

“A college romance with an odd, quiet girl fades when she fails to follow him to New York after graduation as promised. Ten years later, a chance meeting in Chicago reunites them. An interesting story giving insight into the world of a high functioning autistic adult. For readers who enjoyedThe Rosie Project.” — Virginia Holsten, Vinton Public Library, Vinton, IA

The Girl He Used to Know is a charming, engaging, and uplifting love story told from the perspective of Annika, who from childhood has struggled to fit in, and Jonathan, who is facing his own life challenges. I found myself rooting for these two characters throughout the novel, from their initial introduction at a college chess club meeting to experiencing the inescapable horror of the 9/11 attacks. This book is a must-read in that it celebrates differences in a realistic and believable way.” —Jann Griffiths, BookSmart, Morgan Hill, CA

Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl (Random House; LJ starred review)

“Reichl’s captivating story about leaving her job as a New York Times restaurant critic to become Editor in Chief of Gourmet magazine. Her writing is as luscious as the food she critiques. For fans ofKitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and My Life in France by Julia Child. — Katelyn Boyer, Fergus Falls Public Library, Fergus Falls, MN

“In her new memoir, trendsetting food writer and editor Ruth Reichl writes lovingly of the full-blast creativity of her 10 years as editor-in-chief of Gourmet. By book’s end, you’ll miss the storied and groundbreaking magazine, but you’ll be grateful she shared the tale of how its outstanding roster of writers, photographers, designers, and cooks transformed how we look at food. Reichl takes readers behind the scenes as chefs became rock stars, as writers like David Foster Wallace reshaped food writing, and as she fought to save the magazine she adored. A beloved writer with an enviable career, Reichl reminds us that although things may change, simple, honest pleasures — like a perfect plum — endure and make life rich.” —Mary Vermillion, Village Books, Bellingham, WA

Women Talking by Miriam Toews (Bloomsbury: Macmillan)

“In a modern-day Mennonite community, eight women surreptitiously gather in a barn to decide their future after learning the truth behind two years of sexual assaults committed by neighbors and family members. Their circuitous, swooping two-day conversation touches on faith, autonomy, duty, anger, and their hopes for their lives and those of their children in this compelling and haunting read. For fans of Lauren Groff.” — Andrea Gough, The Seattle Public Library, Seattle, WA

Women Talking is an eloquent exploration of how a group mind coalesces — as a kind of vision that comes in fits and starts, arguments and digression — to finally arrive at a decision. Or, read another way, it’s a compelling examination of the opposing voices in our own heads as we wrestle with impossible choices between the known and the unknown. What’s most compelling about Toews’ novel is its lack of sensationalism and how it shows real people struggling through the aftermath of devastating violence. Grounded in a religious culture where suffering and obedience are an expectation, these women grapple with uneasy answers to what’s best for themselves and their children. Women Talking is the quiet, startling story of coming to terms with how, or if, we save ourselves.” —Steve Mitchell, Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC

There are 10 additional Indie Next choices, including the No. 1 pick for April:

I Miss You When I Blink: Essays by Mary Laura Philpott (Atria: S. & S.)

“Mary Laura Philpott writes about today’s American woman in her marvelously frank and witty book of essays, I Miss You When I Blink. Women of all ages will nod their heads when reading about the decision to have babies (or not), the pitfalls of volunteering, the difficulty of getting a cat out from under the bed, the reward of crossing things off ‘the list,’ the challenge of finding time for relaxation, and, above all, the acceleration of time as we age. Philpott shares pivotal moments from her life in such a relatable way that, through both laughter and tears, readers will exclaim, ‘Yes, yes, this is ME!’ Don’t miss this gem!” —Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen by Mary Norris (W.W. Norton)

“What a pleasure to again spend a few hours with Mary Norris. The author of Between You & Me is back with a second book, and this time her subject is all things Greek — the language, the people, the mythology, and the culture. Greek to Me recounts Norris’ experiences learning Greek and traveling the country while putting her new skills to the test. As in her first book, Norris is excellent company, spinning tales and charming readers. Blending memoir, history, and travel, all topped off with heaps of wordy nerdiness, Greek to Me is a joy to read.” —David Enyeart, Common Good Books, St. Paul, MN

Lights All Night Long by Lydia Fitzpatrick (Penguin)

“The courage of youth and the beauty of faith are crystallized in this story of love, loss, and acceptance. Ilya and his older brother, Vladimir, may have been thick as thieves, but while Ilya’s high marks in school offered him a way out of their depressing Russian town, Vladimir’s path has led to more illicit activities. Now, as Ilya navigates his new life in Louisiana, he is determined to save his brother, who is accused of murder back in Russia. Lydia Fitzpatrick’s stunning debut brings these vastly different cultures to life and imbues every scene with empathy and understanding. A brilliant and thrilling novel that shouldn’t be missed!” —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

The Light Years: A Memoir by Chris Rush (FSG: Macmillan)

“Rush’s memoir depicts the wild, drug-filled days of his youth with such luminous prose it feels as though we’re with him, careening from one adventure to another. That this book exists is proof that Rush makes it through every situation he encounters, and he brings such generosity to those who were alongside him that it’s impossible not to care about him or his family and loved ones. The Light Years offers a perfect glimpse into the counterculture of the ’60s and ’70s, and that time came alive for me through his writing. A perfect pick for those who lived through that time and those who wish they could.” —Katie Orphan, The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, CA

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb (HMH)

“I was thinking maybe I should talk to someone, and then there was this book. Gottlieb has written a compassionate and entertaining memoir from both sides of the couch, so to speak. She tells the stories of four patients whose lives the reader comes to care deeply about while she herself goes into therapy. Physician, heal thyself? No. Human being, be honest with thyself and do something really difficult. Gottlieb is as fine a writer as she is a storyteller. I was sad our sessions had to end.” —Stan Hynds, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY

The Editor by Steven Rowley (G.P. Putnam's Sons: Penguin)

“Steven Rowley’s new novel is exactly the balm I needed in today’s climate. Focusing on a young writer who discovers that his editor is none other than Jackie Kennedy Onassis, the book explores both romantic and familial relationships in a humorous and touching manner. Although the writing is wickedly barbed and the zingers fly at the speed of a 1940s rom-com, The Editor is so much more. There is real heart in the writing as well as real love between the characters. It’s a true delight and the kind of book people who loved Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine or Less will truly enjoy. Just be prepared with a box of tissues and your favorite cocktail (Jackie would suggest daiquiris).” —William Carl, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees by Meredith May (Park Row: Harper)

“I loved this perfect memoir so much that I read it twice and already know that it will be one of my favorites of the year. Meredith May learns to withstand pain, loss, and grief through the lessons her beloved grandfather teaches her. After her mother moves the family away from her father and shuts down emotionally, Grandpa shows May and her brother love, patience, and understanding using honeybees as an example of how to survive and thrive in a confusing world. I cannot wait to put this moving, emotionally compelling memoir into many hands this spring!” —Diane Grumhaus, Lake Forest Book Store, Lake Forest, IL

Brute: Poems by Emily Skaja (Graywolf Press: Macmillan)

“How can the end of a relationship feel like anything but a gaping wound? Visceral, angry, and honest, Brute will show you how. This is a journey to the heart of loss and back out again, stronger, fiercer. These highly propulsive poems tell a story, but much more than recalling a simple breakup, Emily Skaja explores gender, sexuality, and the strength and wildness in femininity and womanhood. Her poems will slice you open to your very soul and then stitch you back together, and you will thank her for it.” —Erin Ball, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

Stay Up with Hugo Best by Erin Somers (Scribner: S. & S.)

“In her sharply imagined, comedic novel, Somers tackles with effortless finesse the #MeToo issue of sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry. When 29-year-old June Bloom accepts an invitation from comedian Hugo Best, her childhood idol (and recent boss), to spend a long holiday weekend at his country mansion, she finds herself privy to the messy complexities of his personal life. Refusing any facile judgements or conclusions, Stay Up With Hugo Best explores the complexities of people and relationships, and the many shades of gray that make us all human. A fantastic, thoroughly enjoyable debut!” —Michaela Carter, Peregrine Book Company, Prescott, AZ

Lost and Wanted by Nell Freudenberger (Knopf)

“Helen is a successful physicist and a single mother, but when her best friend, Charlie, dies, she must confront the limitations of love and science and learn how far each force can be stretched and where they might overlap. As in her previous novel, The Newlyweds, Freudenberger writes with understated authority about grief, motherhood, and coming to terms with the decisions you make throughout your life. Everyone in Helen’s orbit is touched by Charlie’s death, and their grief is as mysterious as the scientific questions Helen grapples with in her work. This is a powerfully beautiful novel.” —Tyler Goodson, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

These books and others publishing the week of April 1, 2019, are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet, along with Entertainment Weekly's new and notable books. 

In the Media

Entertainment Weekly opens book coverage with a look at the short story collections Sing to It: New Stories by Amy Hempel (Scribner: S. & S.) and Lot: Stories by Bryan Washington (Riverhead: Penguin). There is also a feature on memoirs, highlighting The Salt Path: A Memoir by Raynor Winn (Penguin), Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls: A Memoir by T Kira Madden (Bloomsbury: Macmillan), and The Light Years: A Memoir by Chris Rush (FSG: Macmillan). In a side bar are How to Be Loved: A Memoir of Lifesaving Friendship by Eva Hagberg Fisher (HMH), Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro (Knopf), Jimmy Neurosis: A Memoir by James Oseland (Ecco: Harper), Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie Land (Hachette), and The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After by Julie Yip-Williams (Random House). My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing (Berkley: Penguin) gets a B+ review. EW thinks Lost and Wanted by Nell Freudenberger (Knopf) would make a great movie. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina leads EW's "The Must List." Shazam! makes the list as well, along with Stay Up with Hugo Best by Erin Somers (Scribner: S. & S.), and The Editor by Steven Rowley (G.P. Putnam's Sons: Penguin). EW has features on Pet Sematary, one of the stars of Hellboy, and on Andrew Rannells, Too Much Is Not Enough: A Memoir of Fumbling Toward Adulthood (Crown Archetype: Random House). There is a spring preview of stage productions, including a story on Beauty and the Beast. In movie reviews Dumbo gets a B- and The Chaperone a C.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed (HMH) by Lori Gottlieb is People's "Book of the Week." Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam (The Dial Press: Random House) and The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick (Park Row: Harper; LJ starred review) make "The Best New Books" list. In "New in audiobooks" are Atomic Marriage by Curtis Sittenfeld, read by Diane Lane (Audible), Save Me the Plums written and read by Ruth Reichl (Random House), and The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See, read by Jennifer Lim (S. & S. Audio). The "Self-help pick!" is The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals (Includes Refrigerator Labels) by Clea Shearer, Joanna Teplin (Clarkson Potter: Random House). "People Picks" include Dumbo and Mrs. Wilson. People covers Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of "The View" by Ramin Setoodeh (Thomas Dunne: Macmillan) and has a feature on author Joanna Gaines. In the food section is a recipe by Ella Mills Woodward, Deliciously Ella The Plant-Based Cookbook: 100 Simple Vegan Recipes to Make Every Day Delicious (Scribner: S. & S.) and one by Hannah Bronfman, Do What Feels Good: Recipes, Remedies, and Routines to Treat Your Body Right (Harper Wave). People ends with a short interview with author America Ferrera.


The NYT reviews Lost and Wanted by Nell Freudenberger (Knopf): "The effect is beautiful."

The Washington Post reviews The Chief: The Life and Turbulent Times of Chief Justice John Roberts by Joan Biskupic (Basic Books: Hachette): "offers an extraordinarily insightful, thoughtful and accessible analysis of Roberts’s personal life, professional career, judicial experience and approach to constitutional interpretation. It is essential reading for anyone who truly wants to understand this pivotal moment in Supreme Court history." Also, Putin's World: Russia Against the West and with the Rest by Angela Stent (Twelve: Hachette): "She argues for strong pushback against Russian aggression combined with a proactive quest for areas of common interest, such as counterterrorism or arms control and nonproliferation."

NPR reviews The Other Americans by Laila Lalami (Pantheon: Random House): "You're in the hands of a maestra of literary fiction." Also, Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody, Joanne Rendell (Simon Pulse: S. & S.): "It zips along from one plot twist to the next, drawing inspiration from Les Mis without being married to its characters, story, or true depth." Guestbook: Ghost Stories by Leanne Shapton (Riverhead: Penguin): "reading it feels akin to walking through an art exhibit, each piece linked in ways that are ineffable but clear." Lost and Wanted by Nell Freudenberger (Knopf): "an undoubtedly brainy book. But Freudenberger's outstanding achievement is that it is also a moving story about down-to-earth issues like grief and loneliness." (Note, the review also covers "fi-sci, as opposed to sci-fi" novels).

The L.A. Times reviews Sing to It: New Stories by Amy Hempel (Scribner: S. & S.): "has the cool courage not to go too far, to build a world, stab at it a few times, let it bleed and then she’s done."

Briefly Noted

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Algonquin: Workman; LJ starred review) wins the NAACP Image Award for Fiction. All the winners are here (scroll down). The media winners for film and TV were also announced; some award book adaptations.

USA Today picks books for the week.

The Chicago Tribune selects "10 books to read in April." Paste looks back to "The 10 Best Books of March 2019."

The NYT Children's Books column is up.

Entertainment Weekly's March Romance column is out.

The StarTribune has "More cherry books for a reluctant spring."

The Washington Post notes that Michelle Obama is going to outsell her husband's currently published book total.

Electric Lit offers "8 Horror Novels that are Based on Real Historical Events."

Shondaland makes a list of "Muslim Women Authors Every Person Should Know."

Electric Lit suggests "Black Women Novelists You Should Be Reading."

LJ has a collection development feature on LGBTQ History.

The Washington Post writes about I Miss You When I Blink: Essays by Mary Laura Philpott (Atria: S. & S.). Philpott herself has a piece in the NYT.

The NYT  "Inside The List" column focuses on the breakout success of Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Putnam: Penguin).

Entertainment Weekly interviews Stephen King about Pet Sematary.

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

LitHub interviews Maria Gainza, Optic Nerve (Catapult).

NPR interviews Alex Dehgan, The Snow Leopard Project: And Other Adventures in Warzone Conservation (PublicAffairs: Hachette).

The NYT features Bret Easton Ellis, White (Knopf).

Electric Lit interviews Lilliam Rivera, The Education of Margot Sanchez (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers).

The NYT interviews Robert A. Caro.

NPR interviews Arthur C. Brooks, Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt (Broadside: Harper).

Grub Street has Nathan Englander talk about food, and his week.

Entertainment Weekly talks with the co-publishers of DC Comics, who have thoughts on Batman's 80th birthday.

In forthcoming book news, the L.A. Times reports that Candace Bushnell is co-writing a YA book with Katie Cotugno called Rules for Being a Girl. It will publish from Harper in April 2020.

Vulture covers Colson Whitehead at the Conference of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs.

The Atlantic, Bustle, and Vox consider Slaughterhouse-Five.

The L.A. Times goes on a literary road trip around Big Sur.

Paste picks the best book covers of March.

The NYT gathers its favorite literary hoaxes.

The Washington Post writes about how books are now the new "it" accessory.

Authors on Air

NOS4A2 gets a trailer.

Pennyworth, the Batman prequel, also has a trailer.

Vanity Fair has a short report on re-recorded footage from un-aired Game of Thrones promos.

Deadline Hollywood reports that Swamp Thing will debut on May 31, on the DC Universe streaming service. Also, Donald Ray Pollock’s second book, The Heavenly Table, has sold film and TV rights.

Anne With an E wins at the Canadian Screen Awards. The Hollywood Reporter has details.

NPR interviews Miriam Toews, Women Talking (Bloomsbury: Macmillan). Also, an interview with Janet Napolitano, How Safe Are We?: Homeland Security Since 9/11 (PublicAffairs: Hachette).

The NYT Book Review podcast centers on Preet Bharara, Doing Justice: A Prosecutor's Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law (Knopf).

Karamo Brown, Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope (Gallery Books: S. & S.), will be on with Stephen Colbert.

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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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