Oprah Picks Abraham Verghese’s ‘The Covenant of Water’ for Book Club | Book Pulse

May Book Club picks arrive: The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese (Oprah), Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? by Crystal Smith (Reese Witherspoon), Chain Gang All Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Read with Jenna), The Nigerwife by Vanessa Walters (GMA), and The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry (B&N). The Reading the West Book Awards announces its shortlist. The Tony Award nominees are announced. Variety reports on the WGA strike. LibraryReads and LJ offer read-alikes for The 23rd Midnight by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro (Little, Brown). Plus, Taika Waititi is in talks to direct an adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun.

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May Book Club Picks

Oprah picks The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese (Grove; LJ starred review) for her book club. LA Times calls it “an essential, even healing feat of imagination, a whole world to get lost in.”  The Washington Post says: "Oprah chose well." NYT also reviews: “Verghese has a gift for suspense, and his easy relationship to language draws you through the narrative so effortlessly that you hardly realize you are plowing through decade upon decade and page upon page.”

Reese Witherspoon selects Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? by Crystal Smith (Paul Holt).

Jenna Bush Hager picks Chain Gang All Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Pantheon).

GMA selects The Nigerwife by Vanessa Walters (Atria).

B&N selects The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry (Atria).

The Good Houskeeping book club pick is The Last Animal by Ramona Ausubel (Riverhead). 

Awards & News

The 33rd Annual Reading the West Book Awards announces its shortlist.  

The 2023 Tomorrow Prize Finalists and Green Feather Winner are announced. 

The 2023 Kurd Laßwitz Preis winners are announced

The Tony Award nominees are announced. PBS Canvas has the story. 

The winners of the 39th annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards for the Writers & Illustrators of the Future Contests are out. The event is on YouTube.

Variety reports on the WGA strike and shares a list of TV shows and movies affected, including Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens, and the Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon.

Publishing Perspectives provides analysis on the latest Circana report (formerly NPD book scan).

Publishers Lunch reported that the owner of TikTok might have plans to launch a publishing company.

Dreamscape Media launches a new sci-fi and fantasy division, Dreamscape Lore, focusing on exemplary sci-fi and fantasy audiobooks


The Washington Post reviews The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece by Tom Hanks, illus. by R. Sikoryak (Knopf): “This is most definitely not a novel about the magic of filmmaking; it’s a novel about the hard work of filmmaking. Indeed, any belief in magic — along with genius and destiny — is pretty well shredded by the end.”The Cat's Meow: How Cats Evolved from the Savanna to Your Sofa by Jonathan B. Losos (Viking): “is a readable and informed exploration of the wildcat that lurks within Fluffy.”Bruno Schulz: An Artist, a Murder, and the Hijacking of History by Benjamin Balint (Norton): "Balint is more interested in the great writer’s enslavement and the aftermath of his death than in the vast majority of his life, including those years in which Schulz composed all of his published work."The Collaborators: Three Stories of Deception and Survival in World War II by Ian Buruma (Penguin Pr.): "Buruma...does a deep dive into three fabulists connected only by the fact that they were prodigious liars — and collaborators with enemy forces as war rolled over their nations."

NYT shares a paired review of Becoming the Ex-Wife: The Unconventional Life and Forgotten Writings of Ursula Parrott by Marsha Gordon (Univ. of California Pr.), and Ex-Wife by Ursula Parrott (McNally Editions): “The other thing that glows in Ex-Wife, and the biography of its author, is New York City: the lights, the fights, the freedoms, constraints and terrible costs.”

NPR reviews Shy by Max Porter (Graywolf): "Without giving away too much, I can say that amid its clanging 90s soundtrack Shy, too, works toward a note of harmonious hope which I, for one, welcomed. "

Tor reviews Drinking from Graveyard Wells: Stories by Yvette Lisa Ndlovu (Univ. Pr. of Kentucky): "is a carefully constructed microcosm of soul and choice, rage and ache and love and legacy. While this writing is urgent, it also encourages you to take your time with this collection. Sit with it, savor. Because it will sit with you."

Briefly Noted

LibraryReads and Library Journal offer read-alikes for The 23rd Midnight by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro (Little, Brown), the top holds title of the week. 

LJ's Barbara Hoffert has new prepub alerts  in thrillers, literary fiction, and current issues

Steve Martin talks with USA Today about his tour with Martin Short and his new audiobook, So Many Steves: Afternoons with Steve Martin (Pushkin). 

The Millions chats with Sammy Harkham about the release of his new graphic novel, Blood of the Virgin (Pantheon). 

Chris Jackson, Charles III: A King and His Queen (Rizzoli), talks with FoxDigital about photographing King Charles and his beloved Aston Martin.  

The Washington Post has a book lover’s guide to the coronation

Steven Tyler's lawyer claims that Tyler's memoir cannot be used against him in sexual assault casePeople reports.  

USA Today shares revelations from Minka Kelly’s new memoirTell Me Everything (Henry Holt & Co.). 

The Washington Post profiles master of suspense Dean Koontz. 

LA Times writes how Katie Porter’s appearance at the Book Festival for I Swear: Politics Is Messier Than My Minivan (Crown), is part of her Senate campaign. 

Tor has a cover reveal for H. A. Clarke's forthcoming novel, The Feast Makers (Erewhon), due out in March 2024. 

Time suggests 11 books for May

CrimeReads lists the best new fiction for May. 

Vulture shares "The Best Books of 2023 (So Far)."

The Guardian shares the top 10 books about being poor in America

Authors On Air

NPR’s All Things Considered talks with Meghan Trainor about her new pregnancy bookDear Future Mama: A TMI Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, and Motherhood from Your Bestie (Harper Horizon).

OprahDaily shares podcast episodes to accompany the complete Oprah Book Club catalog

Taika Waititi is in talks to direct an adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun. LitHub reports.

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