Michelle Obama Launches Storytime | Book Pulse

Walk the Wire by David Baldacci leads holds this week. The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes are announced. Michelle Obama is going to read to kids during the pandemic. The International Booker Prize is postponed as is the San Diego Comic-Con. CNN reports on a new study about what children like in storybooks. Stephen King reads from If It Bleeds. Artemis Fowl will premiere on Disney+ on June 12, rather than opening in theaters. It also gets a new trailer. The publication date of Ottessa Moshfegh’s Death in Her Hands shifts from May to August.

Want to get the latest book news delivered to your inbox each day? Sign up for our daily Book Pulse newsletter.

Big Books of the Week

Walk the Wire by David Baldacci (Grand Central: Hachette) leads holds this week.

Other titles in demand include:

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd (Viking: Penguin; LJ starred review)

If It Bleeds by Stephen King (Scribner: S. & S.)

Dead Land by Sara Paretsky (William Morrow: Harper)

These books and others publishing the week of April 20, 2020, are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet.

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

There are three LibraryReads picks for the month:

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd (Viking: Penguin; LJ starred review)

“Ana is Jesus’s wife and a force in her own right. Monk does not sensationalize her writing about a fictional marriage for Jesus, but rather goes into great historical detail and imagines what it would be like to be a woman in that time. If you have been waiting for a book like The Red Tent for the past 20 years, this is it. Give to fans of Anita Diamant and Marilynne Robinson.“ —Claudia Silk, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT

It is also in the Indie Next List:

“I absolutely could not put this book down. Sue Monk Kidd has written a narrative that not only centers on women who are missing from or largely ignored in scriptural accounts, but it focuses on their voices, stories, and hardships — their everyday lives and bigger-than-everyday longings. As Kidd is writing Ana’s story, Ana herself is writing the stories of women she’s learned about and women she knows. Her determination to give them voices weaves beautifully and reverently with Jesus’ teachings about reaching out to the marginalized and the forgotten.” —Anastacia Compton, Roundabout Books, Bend, OR (May list)

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai (Avon: Harper; LJ starred review)

“When a random guy sits at Katrina's cafe table, a nearby woman shares the exchange on social media with her own interpretation that soon goes viral. Katrina can't care less because she's been crushing on her bodyguard, Jas, for years. Now to save her from the media blitz, Jas needs to hide her away somewhere--maybe his house in Northern California? For fans of The Right Swipe and Christina Lauren.” —Jessica C. Williams, Tiffin-Seneca Public Library, Tiffin, OH

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier (Minotaur: Macmillan)

"This fast-paced thriller opens on the kidnapping of a young boy. More than a year after her son’s disappearance, Marin discovers her husband is having an affair and begins down a path of secrets and betrayal. For readers who enjoyed Lady in the Lake and Lock Every Door." —Mara Bandy Fass, Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL

There are two additional Indie Next choices:

The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen, translated by Don Shaw and Don Bartlett (Biblioasis)

“Never has a novel so utterly simple left me with such deep contemplation. I know Ingrid will linger in the back of my mind for a long while, continuing to grow, discover, and dig into her island with unique grit. Jacobsen has left me tossing in a boat at sea, filled with the determination of the Barrøys to make their tiny Norwegian island more than is possible and, at the same time, torn by nagging questions of what else life might offer.” —Carrie Koepke, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO (April list)

Pretty Things by Janelle Brown (Random)

“Nina Ross is a grifter, just like her mom. She didn’t have a lot growing up, and they were always on the move. Vanessa, heiress of a family fortune, is a famous Instagram influencer. Everyone loves her, but her smile hides a past filled with tragedy. Nina and Vanessa’s lives become intertwined as part of a long con. Pretty Things is excellently written, with an intricate plot full of twists. I loved absolutely everything about this book. I highly recommend it.” —Rebecca Minnock, Murder by the Book, Houston, TX (May list)

In the Media

Entertainment Weekly features Ottessa Moshfegh, Death in Her Hands (Penguin). NOTE: The book has moved from May to August. There is a piece on The Book of V. by Anna Solomon (Henry Holt: Macmillan) and one on Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami (Europa Editions). Susan Choi, Trust Exercise (Henry Holt: Macmillan), features in the “Pop Culture Of My Life” segment.

The Book section features Warhol by Blake Gopnik (Ecco: Harper) and has reviews of Stray: A Memoir by Stephanie Danler (Knopf), giving it a B+: “a raw, often lyrical portrait of pain, loss, and learning to let go.” The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe (Knopf), which gets an A-: “shrewd exploration of all the ways people find to pass on the hurt and anger they’ve been given and a tender, furious ode to the connections that somehow still endure, despite everything.” Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould (Avid Reader: S. & S.), earning a B-: “thematically rich but never quite in tune.” All Adults Here by Emma Straub (Riverhead: Penguin) which gets a B+: “she has the gift of investing what’s derogatively called “domestic fiction” with a kind of wit and heart that only seems easy when it’s done so well.” Lastly, Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls: A Memoir of Women, Addiction, and Love by Nina Renata Aron (Crown: Random House), earning an A-: “told in a rich, intense, hard package - a gritty tribute to the women who stick around too long.”

The is a small piece drawing on Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood by Mark Harris (Penguin) and a recipe from Big Mamma Cucina Popolare: Contemporary Italian Recipes by Big Mamma (Phaidon Press). To cope with the pandemic, EW suggests a selection of “Happy Reads”: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (Back Bay Books: Hachette), Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (Little, Brown: Hachette), We Are Never Meeting in Real Life: Essays by Samantha Irby (Vintage: Random), The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson (Ecco: Harper), Circe by Madeline Miller (Little, Brown: Hachette), Exhalation by Ted Chiang (Knopf; LJ starred review), and  Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (Random). Also, some books for cooped up kids: The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee (text), illustrated by Pascal Campion (Random), Dog Man by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic/Graphix; SLJ starred review), and Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o, illustrated by Vashti Harrison (S. & S.).

On “The Must List” are If It Bleeds by Stephen King (Scribner: S. & S.) as well as a reading guide to King, Normal People by Sally Rooney (Crown: Hogarth; LJ starred review) and the forthcoming adaptation, Drifts by Kate Zambreno (Riverhead: Penguin), and DC’s Stargirl. Jimmy Fallon has his own must list, and on it is City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems, illustrated by Jon J. Muth (Hyperion Books for Children: Hachette). Lastly, there is a piece on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

People’s Book of the Week is The Big Finish by Brooke Fossey (Berkley: Penguin). Also getting attention are Laugh Lines: My Life Helping Funny People Be Funnier by Alan Zweibel (Abrams) and The Ancestor by Danielle Trussoni (William Morrow: Harper). Also, there is another round of “Star Picks”: Maria Bello is reading On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard by Jennifer Pastiloff (Dutton: Penguin). Jamie Lee Curtis is reading the The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne (Hogarth: Random House). Chrissy Metz is reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle (The Dial Press: Random House). On the “Picks” list is Killing Eve.


The Washington Post reviews The Coyotes of Carthage by Steven Wright (Ecco: HarperCollins; LJ starred review): “riveting stuff.” Also, Warhol by Blake Gopnik (Ecco: Harper): “impressive, sweeping biography.” Afropessimism by Frank B. Wilderson III (Liveright: W.W. Norton): “Wilderson’s ambitious book offers its readers two great gifts. First, it strives mightily to make its pessimistic vision plausible …Second, the book depicts a remarkable life, lived with daring and sincerity.” Into the Abyss: A neuropsychiatrist's notes on troubled minds by Anthony David (Oneworld: S. & S.): “absorbing.”

The NYT reviews If It Bleeds by Stephen King (Scribner: S. & S.): “He’s good company in the dark.” Also, A Curious History of Sex by Kate Lister (Unbound): “She’s mostly quite good company on the page. The Crime column is out. Children’s Books considers “From Missing Persons to Mistaken Identities.”

NPR reviews Apsara Engine by Bishakh Som (The Feminist Press at CUNY): “uncanny.” Also, No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram by Sarah Frier (S. & S.): “With each move Instagram makes affecting more than 1 billion of us each month, we'd benefit from looking more closely at how Instagram's choices influence our own. No Filter makes it easy to start paying attention.”

COVID-19 Reading and RA/Collection Development Resources

Michelle Obama is going to read to kids during the pandemic. “Mondays With Michelle” starts today and runs through May 11. USA Today has a report.

The International Booker Prize is postponed. The Guardian reports.

San Diego Comic-Con is cancelled for 2020. Deadline reports.

Readercon 31 has been cancelled. Tor.com reports.

PBS NewsHour reports on the struggle of Powell's bookstore to stay afloat.

Poet Carol Ann Duffy launches the poetry project “Write Where We Are Now” to bear witness to the pandemic. The Guardian reports.

Rick Bragg tells the L.A. Times how he is doing as he self-isolates in Alabama -with his mom, a very good dog, a great many cats, and some donkeys.

PopSugar offers “27 Exciting Debut Authors You Can Support During the Shutdowns.”

Electric Lit gathers “7 Books About Living Paycheck to Paycheck.”

Geoff Dyer offers “funny books” to read in dark times. The Guardian has the list.

The NYT asks “What Are Your Favorite Pandemic Reads?” with the idea of sharing the suggestions. There are also reading suggestions (which we have already linked to) from Times staff and famous authors.

The last chapter is out for Lena Dunham’s Verified Strangers.

LitHub considers how writers survived the Great Depression.

Briefly Noted

The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes are announced. Ben Lerner wins the Fiction category for The Topeka School (FSG: Macmillan); Marlon James wins Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction for Black Leopard, Red Wolf (Riverhead: Penguin; LJ starred review). The full list of winners is online, along with the finalists.

The longlist is out for the Comedy Women in Print Prize. The Bookseller has details.

USA Today picks five books for the week.

Loanstars announces the May list.

Books Are Magic bookstore offers “New and Upcoming Books from Asian and Asian American Writers.”

The NYT has books about climate change.

Wine Enthusiast has “Author-Approved Book and Wine Pairings.”

CNN reports on a new study about what children like in storybooks.

O: The Oprah Magazine runs a story from Kristen Arnett, Mostly Dead Things (Tin House).

Francis Spufford wrote an 8th Narnia novel, but it is not for sale. Slate writes about it in glowing terms.

Daily Beast has updated news about the Michael Cohen book about Trump that has been in the works for some time and has yet to be sold.

The Folio Society has a new edition of Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle. Gizmodo has images and a report.

Shondaland writes “Louise Erdrich’s The Night Watchman is a Stellar Return.”

BitchMedia interviews Samantha Irby, Wow, No Thank You: Essays (Vintage: Random House; LJ starred review).

The Atlantic features Robert Stone, including Child of Light: A Biography of Robert Stone by Madison Smartt Bell (Doubleday).

USA Today showcases Madeleine Albright, Hell and Other Destinations: A 21st-Century Memoir (Harper; LJ starred review).

The Guardian interviews Naoise Dolan, Exciting Times (Ecco: Harper). Also, an interview with Garth Greenwell, Cleanness (FSG: Macmillan).

The NYT interviews Eva Holland, Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear (Experiment: Workman).

Vox’s Book Club enters week 2 of its focus on The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit: Hachette; LJ starred review).

The Guardian considers The Women’s prize at 25, asking authors what it is like to win.

The NYT considers literary correspondence.

Peter Beard has died. The NYT reports.

Authors on Air

Stephen King reads from If It Bleeds (Scribner: S. & S.).

NPR interviews David Daley, Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy (Liveright: W.W. Norton). Also, an interview with Tom Gauld, Department of Mind-Blowing Theories (Drawn and Quarterly: Macmillan). All Things Considered interviews Kent Garrett, The Last Negroes at Harvard: The Class of 1963 and the 18 Young Men Who Changed Harvard Forever (HMH; LJ starred review), also on the show, an interview with Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life (S. & S.) and one with Betsey Johnson, Betsey (Viking: Penguin). Weekend Edition Saturday interviews Sopan Deb, Missed Translations: Meeting the Immigrant Parents Who Raised Me (Dey St: Harper; LJ starred reviews).

Artemis Fowl will premiere on Disney+ on June 12, rather than opening in theaters as planned. It also gets a new trailer. Dan and Sam by Mark Watson and Oliver Harud is getting adapted for the big screen. Deadline reports.

People has a piece on Netflix’s adaptation Unorthodox.

Want to get the latest book news delivered to your inbox each day? Sign up for our daily Book Pulse newsletter.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month