What To Make of Heather, the Totality | Book Pulse

The debut novel by the creator of Mad Men is drawing conflicting critical opinion. Janet Maslin leaves no doubt about her take on the newest Lee Child novel.

Review Round Up

The conflicting, sometimes struggling reviews of Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner (Little, Brown and Company: Hachette) continue to mount.

Slate reviewer Laura Miller weighs in, writing “What is Weiner up to? Am I kidding myself in trying to read more into this book than meets the eye? I finished Heather, the Totality as most of us finished watching Mad Men: scratching my head.”

Meanwhile, The Guardian makes it their Book of the Day. The A.V. Club calls it “perplexingly bad” and RT Book Reviews gives it four stars. Yesterday, we noted the differing takes in USA Today and Entertainment Weekly. Literary Hub‘s Book Marks offers a running tally of the critic’s takes.

Briefly Noted

Janet Maslin reviews The Midnight Line: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child (Delacorte Press: Random House) for the NYT. Under the headline “A Gentler Jack Reacher Emerges,” Maslin writes it will be remembered in his sea of titles as “the one that breaks your heart…. The last chapters have more emotional heft than anything Child has written before.”

The style section of the NYT runs a feature on Jaron Lanier, author of Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality (Henry Holt: Macmillan). Columnist Maureen Dowd opens by writing, “Jaron Lanier is the most unusual person I’ve ever met. And I’ve met a lot of unusual people.”

The NYT and The Washington Post offer differing takes on Murder on the Orient Express. The NYT is lukewarm on the film while the Post‘s Michael Dirda explains the enduring appeal of the novel.

The NYT also offers a list of books to “Read in the Face of Trauma,” a roundup of titles on war and conflict, and both the paper and NPR review Keeping On Keeping On by Alan Bennett (FSG: Macmillan).

The LA Times reports the NBAs will be streamed on Facebook Live, starting at 7:20 p.m. EST, 4:20 p.m. PST. The presentation will include prerecorded segments of the finalists reading their work.

What are Book Fairies? The Seattle Times explains.

The Chicago Tribune reports on the search for audio-only titles in response to the rise of podcasts.

The Guardian has a special on graphic novels, including a piece in which Zadie Smith talks about why she loves them.

Authors on Air:

John le Carré’s The Little Drummer Girl (Penguin) is coming to AMC.

Apple wins a bidding war for a streaming series about morning news shows to star Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. It will draw, in part, from Brian Stelter’s Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV (Grand Central: Hachette).

Van Jones, Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together (Ballantine: Random House), will be on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah tonight. The San Francisco Chronicle has an interview.

Martha Raddatz, The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family (Berkley: Penguin), will be on The View today.

Anthony DeCurtis, Lou Reed: A Life (Little, Brown: Hachette), featured on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, giving it a strong push.

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