Liz Cheney’s ‘Oath and Honor’ Tops Holds Lists | Book Pulse

Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning by Liz Cheney leads holds this week. Thirteen LibraryReads and 12 Indie Next picks publish this week, including Hall of Fame pick and People book of the week The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon. December’s Costco Connection features a new paperback edition of Never Lie by Freida McFadden. Audiofile announces the December 2023 Earphones Award Winners. Longlists for the Wingate Prize and the Joyce Carol Oates Prize are announced. “Rizz” is named Oxford’s Word of the Year. Plus, more best of the year lists, including LJ’s Best Books of 2023.

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 Big Books of the Week

Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning by Liz Cheney (Little, Brown) leads holds this week. Cheney was interviewed today on NPR’s Morning Edition as well as CBS Sunday Morning.

Other titles in demand include:

Prophet Song by Paul Lynch (Atlantic Monthly)

The Gentleman’s Gambit by Evie Dunmore (Berkley)

The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon (Doubleday)

The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism by Tim Alberta (Harper)

These books and others publishing the week of December 4, 2023, are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet.

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

Thirteen LibraryReads and 12 Indie Next picks publish this week:

Hall of Fame pick The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon (Doubleday) is also an Indie Next pick:

“Based on the life of Martha Ballard, an 18th-century midwife in Maine, The Frozen River is mesmerizing. Martha is brilliant and strong in a period when women were lucky to read. Throw in a murder mystery with vivid characters? Heaven.”—Mary Hembree, House of Books, Kent, CT

Hall of Fame picks also include: Technically Yours by Denise Williams (Berkley; LJ starred review); The Gentleman’s Gambit by Evie Dunmore (Berkley); and The Engagement Party by Darby Kane (Morrow Paperbacks). The Bonus pick is Perfect Little Lives by Amber Brown & Danielle Brown (Graydon House). 

Notable Nonfiction pick Airplane Mode: An Irreverent History of Travel by Shahnaz Habib (Catapult) is also an Indie Next pick:

“A thought-provoking read about the origins of travel and how it intersects with class, race and colonialism. Habib interweaves her life experience with her own migration and travel. This is subtitled as irreverent—it’s anything but.”—Audrey I-Wei Huang, Belmont Books, Belmont, MA

This Spells Love by Kate Robb (Dial; LJ starred review)

“Gemma just broke up with her ex, so her aunt, sister, and best friend Dax help her perform a love cleanse. Suddenly, she wakes up in another timeline where Dax doesn’t know who she is! Though now she has her own store, she wants to get back to her own reality. Or can she have Dax here as something more than a friend? Readers of Lana Harper’s ‘Witches of Thistle Grove’ series will love this.”— Jessica C. Williams, Cleveland Public Library, OH

Rebecca, Not Becky by Christine Platt & Catherine Wigginton Greene (Amistad)

“Two mothers—one Black, one white–form an uneasy relationship when their daughters become friends at their ‘progressive’ private school. A must-read for those wanting contemporary fiction that addresses important issues but maintains a brisk plot and relatable characters. Book clubs looking for something both funny and compelling should definitely consider this one.”—Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, VA

The Other Mothers by Katherine Faulkner (Gallery)

“Choose your friends wisely! Tasha needs to jump start her journalism career, so when a nanny turns up dead in a neighboring community, she begins to investigate. She enrolls her son in school and becomes friendly with the other mothers. Exploring class and motherhood, this clever, twisty plot alternates between the nanny’s past and Tasha’s present narration of events.”—Jayme Oldham, Highland Park Public Library, IL

It is also an Indie Next pick:

The Other Mothers was a wonderful exploration into imposter syndrome and what it’s like trying to fit in, but also how quickly it happens when you don’t even realize you’re trying to do it. I loved Sophie’s POV as well. Very well written!”—Amy Williams, As The Page Turns, Travelers Rest, SC

The Fake Mate by Lana Ferguson (Berkley)

“This paranormal rom-com follows two wolf shifters living in the human world, navigating the immense amount of shifter stereotypes to survive in the cutthroat world of medicine. Ferguson takes an interesting approach, creating a world where shifters are known—and for the most part, accepted—in society. Mack and Noah circle each other through the novel, fighting the pull of nature and attempting to navigate a relationship that is both fake and real.”—Zoe Sucu, East Kingston Public Library, NH

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“Expect fake dating, wolf shifters, spice galore, true love, and workplace romance! It’s not only spicy, but it also has fantastic banter and lots of hilarious plot points, while wonderfully explaining the lore of the Omegaverse world.”—Olivia Determan, Books Around the Corner, Gresham, OR

The Curse of Penryth Hall by Jess Armstrong (Minotaur; LJ starred review)

“Unconventional American heiress Ruby is living in Exeter, where she runs a bookstore. Sent to deliver a box of rare and dangerous books, she ends up getting involved in a murder, an ancient curse, and the possibility that witches really do exist. The story is revealed slowly, giving readers a chance to guess the who and why. The possibility of the supernatural lingers like fog along the Cornish coast: with a view that's sometimes clear and other times, otherworldly.”—Janet Makoujy, New City Library, NY

The Couple in the Photo by Helen Cooper (Putnam)

“Lucy’s perfect life crumbles when she sees a photo of her best friend on a romantic vacation with someone who isn’t his wife. When she tells her husband, he tells her she must be mistaken and to leave it alone. Soon, the woman Lucy saw in the photo is found dead, making Lucy wonder if it’s all in her head or if her husband is keeping something from her. Readers will be sucked into this well-written, fast-paced, twisty tale.”—Sarrah Knight, Newton Public Library, IA

Raiders of the Lost Heart by Jo Segura (Berkley; LJ starred review)

“Dr. Corrie’s professional dream has come true: she’s been invited on an archaeological dig to uncover an Aztec mystery. But there’s one big catch. Her longtime rival, Dr. Ford, is the lead on the expedition. As they become better acquainted, their animosity transforms into an undeniable attraction—that is, until the truth behind Ford's motivations comes to light. Will they be able to find their happily ever after? This thrilling and steamy debut will appeal to fans of adventurous romances.”—Migdalia Jimenez, Chicago Public Library, IL

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“The tension between Corrie and Ford is hotter than the jungle heat in this adventurous romance, set in Mexico on an archaeological dig. Witness the extreme circumstances that push these rivals to share their true feelings for each other.”—Jamie Southern, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

Seven additional Indie Next picks publish this week:

Meet the Benedettos by Katie Cotugno (Harper Perennial)

“Simply scrumptious. Meet the Benedettos has the same captivating, fast-paced nature as everything Cotugno’s written. The characters were great, and the romantic chemistry palpable. I was intoxicated by this novel; I loved it so, so much.”—Mallory Melton, BookPeople, Austin, TX

Mercy by Sara Cate (Sourcebooks Casablanca)

“This book brought me to tears in the most amazing way. It was sexy, emotional, healing all in one. I have devoured this series like no other and have never felt so seen as I have with Sara Cate’s writing.”—Amanda Anderson, The Last Chapter Book Shop, Chicago, IL

The Wildest Sun by Asha Lemmie (Dutton)

“Asha Lemmie grants us a new look into her creativity with a novel about a woman who embarks on a mission to find her father: Ernest Hemingway. A homage to the dreams we hold dear; This is a book of adventure, expectations, love and hope. Enjoy!”—Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, WA

The End of the World Is a Cul de Sac: Stories by Louise Kennedy (Riverhead)

“Kennedy displays why she was able to make her name, writing with a delicateness that articulates a great love for these characters as they weave through domestic peril. Her ability to fit complex characters into a short window is remarkable.”—Richard Dixon, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC

Welcome Home, Stranger by Kate Christensen (Harper)

“Rachel lives an independent life. When her mom dies back home in Maine, Rachel’s return opens up wounds that she might finally be able to examine and heal. Complex, insightful and real, this moving story of lifelong relationships is resonant.”—Beth Mynhier, Lake Forest Book Store, Lake Forest, IL

Yours for the Taking by Gabrielle Korn (St. Martin’s)

“With multiple narrators with diverse backgrounds and ideas, this book kept me guessing. This story is all about how different decisions one makes (as well as society), no matter the intention, can negatively harm what follows.”—McKenna Moran, Anderson’s Bookshops, Naperville, IL

Second Chances in New Port Stephen by TJ Alexander (Atria/Emily Bestler; LJ starred review)

“I can't stop talking about Second Chances in New Port Stephen! Such a beautiful, fun love story, and the ways queerness and transness are just simply accepted are so important. There is so much packed into this sweet romance—it’s a miracle!”—Lisa Swayze, Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca, NY


In the Media

People’s book of the week is The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon (Doubleday). Also getting attention are Gilded Youth: A History of Growing Up in the Royal Family, from the Plantagenets to the Cambridges by Tom Quinn (Pegasus), Flores and Miss Paula by Melissa Rivero (Ecco: HarperCollins). A “New in Nonfiction” section highlights Lead Sister: The Story of Karen Carpenter by Lucy O’Brien (Rowman & Littlefield; LJ starred review), Listen: On Music, Sound and Us by Michel Faber (Hanover Square: Harlequin), and Nick Drake: The Life by Richard Morton Jack (Hachette). 

The “Picks” section spotlights Eileen, based on the book by Ottessa Moshfegh, and Netflix’s American Symphony, which features musician Jon Batiste and his wife Suleika Jaouad, author of the memoir Between Two Kingdoms (Random; LJ starred review).

There is a feature on former prison inmate Oliver James who is inspiring others by teaching himself to read on TikTok. Also featured are Lynn Goldsmith’s new photo book, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band (Taschen), which retails at $750 as a limited edition, and Vanderpump Rules’ Ariana Madix and her new book, Single AF Cocktails: Drinks for Bad B*tches (Clarkson Potter).

December’s Costco Connection is out, featuring Never Lie by Freida McFadden (Poisoned Pen), whose paperback edition comes out this week. 


Washington Post reviews Broken Code: Inside Facebook and the Fight To Expose Its Harmful Secrets by Jeff Horwitz (Doubleday): It’s a smartly reported investigation into the messy internal machinations of one of the world’s most important and least understood companies. Horwitz emerges with the company’s dirty secrets but no pat conclusions. That’s left to the reader, who might decide that all of this has to go”; and A History of Fake Things on the Internet by Walter Scheirer (Stanford Univ.): “Ultimately, A History of Fake Things on the Internet is not only a history of (some) fake things on the internet but also a history of early internet culture, a history of early photography and much more.”

NYT reviews Becoming Ella Fitzgerald: The Jazz Singer Who Transformed American Song by Judith Tick (Norton): “Tick clearly reveres Fitzgerald’s music, but her prose is buttoned-up. She can’t quite transmit her enthusiasms or make her distinctions stick”; The Happy Couple by Naoise Dolan (Ecco): “Naoise Dolan’s second novel, The Happy Couple, is a study not of love or romance but of the motivating force of self-delusion”; Welcome Home, Stranger by Kate Christensen (Harper): “Christensen also does a skillful job of animating difficult family relationships while avoiding a conventional arc of forgiveness”; and Most Delicious Poison: The Story of Nature’s Toxins—From Spices to Vices by Noah Whiteman (Little, Brown Spark): “In its exploration of the brain’s mesolimbic reward system that taunted his father, the book serves as a love letter to a man whose addictions made him a poisonous parent during what Whitehead calls a ‘long struggle with nature’s toxins.’”

Briefly Noted

LJ reveals its best books of 2023 in 15 categories.

The Guardian names the best politics books of 2023 and the best graphic novels of 2023

The Economist shares its best books of the year

Smithsonian names its best books of 2023

LitHub highlights December’s best SFF books.

NYT names its best romance, sci-fi/fantasy, and thrillers of the year. 

Audiofile announces the December 2023 Earphones Award Winners.

The Wingate Prize longlist is announced

The Joyce Carol Oates Prize longlist is announced

NYT reports on the newly established Inside Literary Prize, for which prison inmates form the jury

T&C suggests 25 winter books

Washington Post and Esquire recommend books to give. 

LA Times highlights Anthony Veasna So’s posthumous Songs on Endless Repeat: Essays and Outtakes (Ecco), which contains “shards of So’s unfinished novel.”

FoxNews shares “5 quick-read romance books for when you're in the mood for a page-turning love story.”

CrimeReads suggests 10 new books for the week

NYT has “5 Books to Read About Sandra Day O’Connor.”

Washington Post declares “It’s time to read Claire Keegan.”

“Rizz” is Oxford’s Word of the Year. NYT has the story.

NYT remembers Tim Dorsey, author of the “Serge Storms” series, who died last week at the age of 62.

John Nichols, Author of The Milagro Beanfield War, Dies at 83.” NYT has an obituary. NPR also has a remembrance.

Authors on Air

Narrator Dion Graham joins the Behind the Mic podcast to discuss his narration of King: A Life Jonathan Eig (Farrar; LJ starred review), and one of AudioFile’s 2023 Best Biography & Memoir Audiobooks.

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