'The Ballerinas' by Rachel Kapelke-Dale Tops Holds Lists | Book Pulse

The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale leads holds this week. Eight Library Reads and ten Indie Next picks publish this week. People's book of the week is Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding. LJThe Guardian, and more publish best books lists. Sex Cult Nun: Breaking Away from the Children of God, a Wild, Radical Religious Cult by Faith Jones gets reviewed and coverage. Plus, interviews arrive with Amanda Gorman, Kelly Conway, Sergio del Molino, Candace Bushnell, and Kati Marton.

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Big Books of the Week

The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale (St. Martin’s) leads holds this week.

Other titles in demand include:

The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths (Mariner)

Call Us What We Carry: Poems by Amanda Gorman (Viking)

Murder Under Her Skin: A Pentecost and Parker Mystery by Stephen Spotswood (Doubleday)

A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw (Atria)

These books and others publishing the week of December 6th, 2021 are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet.

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

Eight Library Reads and ten Indie Next selections publish this week:

The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale (St. Martin’s) 

“Delphine is returning to Paris to choreograph her own ballet. Here she meets up with her lifelong friends and fellow dancers Margaux and Lindsay. This absorbing and thrilling character-driven novel explores the world of ballet and its mysteries and secrets. Give to fans of Luster, Trust Exercise, and My Dark Vanessa.”—Terri Smith, Cornelia Library, Mt. Airy, GA

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“Female friendship and betrayal set against the intriguing milieu of ballet — where ambition is set against a ticking clock. The Ballerinas is a glittering story with compelling characters and an unexpected yet satisfactory twist.”—Jann Griffiths, BookSmart, Morgan Hill, CA

True Crime Story by Joseph Knox (Sourcebooks Landmark)

“What happened to Zoe Nolan? She walked out of her dorm room and hasn’t been seen since. Knox weaves together interviews, emails, and police reports into an immersive missing persons case that will leave readers gasping for breath up until the last page. For fans of The Word Is Murder and the Six Stories series.”—Carol Ann Tack, Merrick Library, Merrick, NY

It is also an Indie Next pick:

True Crime Story is a riveting work of fiction that reads like a guilty pleasure tabloid. When a struggling writer delves into a mystery, she finds all involved have something to hide. A great twisty thriller where nothing is as it seems.”—Mary O’Malley, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO

Murder Under Her Skin: A Pentecost and Parker Mystery by Stephen Spotswood (Doubleday)

“These fun throwback hard- boiled mysteries feature two female sleuths in the post- war 1940s--Lillian Pentecost, an unorthodox Brooklyn detective, and her unlikely partner, circus runaway Will Parker. Their second case involves a murder at Will’s former circus, and is perfect for readers of Rex Stout and Agatha Christie.”—Patti Cheney, Pima County Public Library, Tucson, AZ

It is also an Indie Next pick:

Murder Under Her Skin will light a fire under eager fans of Pentecost and Parker. Filled with snappy dialogue, clever plot, and richly imagined characters — readers will clamor for the next installment. It is cracking good fun!”—Pamela Klinger-Horn, Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, MN

A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw (Atria)

“Travis has a gift: when he touches something, he experiences the memories associated with it. His path to find a missing author leads him to a remote commune. Then he too disappears. When one of the residents of that commune finds his truck years later, he realizes that the darkness they fled may already be in Pastoral. For fans of Saint X and The Girls.”—Deborah Smith, Weber County Library, Roy, UT

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“This twisty thriller gave me similar vibes to The Village and absolutely kept me on my toes! Shea Ernshaw really hit it out of the park with this brilliant adult debut.”—Kassie Weeks, The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL

The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa, tr. by Louise Heal Kawai (HarperVia)

“A used bookstore, a grieving teen with an appreciation of reading, and a talking cat! What more could you ask of a fantasy? Throw in a mission to free lost and damaged books and a bit of readers' advisory, and you have a thoughtful exploration of the truths behind the pleasures of reading. For fans of author Roselle Lim and The Little Paris Bookshop.”—Lucy Lockley, St. Charles City-County Library, St. Peters, MO

It is also an Indie Next pick:

The Cat Who Saved Books is a love letter to book lovers, championing the emotional impact that stories have in the hearts and lives of readers. Tiger adds a bonus charming and Ghibli-esque aesthetic to this thoughtful, tender novel.”—Andrew King, Secret Garden Bookshop, Seattle, WA

Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding (HarperVia; LJ starred review)

“A searing portrait of addiction and recovery, told in the voice of Sonya, a former actress, raging alcoholic, and mother to four-year-old Tommy. When she almost sets the house on fire, her father forces her to rehab, if not for her sake, then for Tommy's. Sonya travels the difficult road to reintegrate into society and reclaim her beloved son. For fans of Shuggie Bain and All Fall Down. ”—Lisa Burris, Bear Public Library, Bear, DE

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“Wow, what a ride. Written from the warped perspective of an alcohol-addicted mother, this book was hard to put down. The writing is genuine and charming, the characters unique within their own individual skins. I absolutely loved it.”—Tracey Bowes, Pressed, Erie, PA

Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim (Ecco)

“Hauntingly tragic and beautifully tender, the story of Jade Ahn is interwoven with the fate of Korea in the early 20th century. Jade is apprenticed to a courtesan at a young age, and her friendships there form an unbreakable bond that leads them through multiple tragedies and loves. Recommended for fans of Min Jin Lee and Amy Tan.”—Joy Matteson, Downers Grove Public Library, Downers Grove, IL

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“Encompassing 40+ years of Korea’s fight for independence from colonial powers, this book tore my heart out in the best way, and somehow — in the way that only great books can — pieced it back together fuller and more whole than when I began.”—Amanda Hurley, Tombolo Books, St. Petersburg, FL

The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths (Mariner)

"When retired theater impresario Bert is fatally poisoned in 1960s England, his wife—the prime suspect—hires the detective duo of former police woman Emma Holmes and Sam Collins to investigate. Griffiths is always excellent at plotting and character development, and this sixth Brighton mystery is no exception. Give this to fans of Louise Penny."—Linda Tilden, Mount Laurel Public Library, Mount Laurel Township, NJ

Three additional Indie Next picks arrive this week:

Where You Come From by Sasa Stanisic, tr. by Damion Searls (Tin House)

“One of Germany’s most important living writers, Stanišic writes of the experience of growing up in the former Yugoslavia, fusing choose-your-own-adventure, multigenerational conflict, and biting witticisms against fascists.”—Spencer Ruchti, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

Sea State : A Memoir by Tabitha Lasley (Ecco)

“At its heart, this is a story about men whose lives are filled with toxic masculinity in a world without women — on oil rigs off Scotland. But it’s also a story of a woman looking for her place in the world who goes there to write about the men.”—Scott Lange, The Bookman, Grand Haven, MI

The Churchill Sisters : The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine's Daughters by Dr. Rachel Trethewey (St. Martin’s)

“A meticulously researched biography of the daughters of one of the greatest statesmen of the 20th century. I greatly enjoyed learning about each of his children and their relationships with their father and their mother, Clementine.”—Sarah Danforth, Towne Book Center & Café, Collegeville, PA

In the Media

The People "Picks" book of the week is Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding (HarperVia; LJ starred review). Also getting attention are The Postmistress of Paris by Meg Waite Clayton (Harper; LJ starred review), Sea State: A Memoir by Tabitha Lasley (Ecco), and Vivian Maier Developed: The Untold Story of the Photographer Nanny by Ann Marks (Atria). A “Star Picks” section highlights I Take My Coffee Black: Reflections on Tupac, Musical Theater, Faith, and Being Black in America by Tyler Merritt (Worthy Books: Hachette), The Overstory by Richard Powers (Norton), and The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz (Celadon).

The “Picks” section highlights The Power of the Dog on Netflix, based on the book by Thomas Savage. Also, Hawkeye, with assoc. titles on Disney+, and Benedetta, based on the book, Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy by Judith C. Brown (Oxford Univ. Pr.).

The cover feature highlights the work of icon Dolly Parton, author of the forthcoming Run, Rose, Run, written with James Patterson (Little, Brown, & Co.), and creator of The Imagination Library. There is also a feature on Stephen Sondheim, and an interview with Sharon Gless, Apparently There Were Complaints (S. & S), about her 50 years on stage and screen. The Year-End Special Edition remembers those lost in 2021, including Cicely Tyson, whose memoir, Just as I Am (HarperCollins), came out this year. Plus, Nadiya Hussain, Nadiya Bakes (Clarkson Potter), shares a recipe. 



NPR reviews Sex Cult Nun: Breaking Away from the Children of God, a Wild, Radical Religious Cult by Faith Jones (Morrow; LJ starred review): “she's translated her approach to personal survival into a message she seems to think everyone could benefit from, a bootstrap message of personal responsibility above all.” The Washington Post also reviews: “this memoir has left me questioning humanity in some of the same ways as first-person accounts of the Holocaust. It is engrossing and well-crafted; it is shocking and at times, salacious; it is also seriously important.”

NYT reviews The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed (Knopf): “This is a hit-and-miss novel, but Mohamed is a big talent, and she’s only getting started.” And, The Anomaly by Hervé Le Tellier, trans. by Adriana Hunter (Other Pr.:PRH): “his writing, well served by Adriana Hunter’s graceful translation from the French, is nimble and versatile. And it’s impossible not to feel tenderness toward the bewildered characters, with their valiant efforts to make sense of the unfathomable and to rewrite their stories according to the new reality.”

The Washington Post reviews The Sinner and the Saint: Dostoevsky and the Gentleman Murderer Who Inspired a Masterpiece by Kevin Birmingham (Penguin Pr.): “is gripping, even for those who have not read Crime and Punishment for years or, indeed, have never even skimmed it. Birmingham provides just enough of Dostoevsky’s plot to make the novel intelligible without feeling the need to spend pages on deadening summary (so often a failing in books about books).” And, The Power of Geography: Ten Maps That Reveal the Future of Our World by Tim Marshall (Scribner): “Marshall is right to urge us to keep the land and seas in mind even in a world of cyberconflict and frictionless flows of capital. But what sets out to be an effort to define fixed and unchangeable rules for international conflict ends up revealing how chaotic and unpredictable our world really is."

Briefly Noted

LJ releases its Best Books of 2021 feature, including 144 resonant reads across 15 categories. The Guardian also publishes its best books of 2021 list, as chosen by guest authors Damon Galgut, Lauren Groff, Colm Toibin, Kazuo Ishiguro, S.A. Cosby, and more. NYT shares the best thrillers of 2021. NPR’s Weekend Edition shares NPR's favorite romance books of 2021, and favorite scary reads of 2021.

Tme has an interview with Amanda Gorman, Call Us What We Carry: Poems (Viking), “about her writing process, her choice to incorporate a personal moment of pain in her work and the most valuable lesson she’s learned from her unprecedented year.” Oprah Daily also has a feature on Gorman’s latest book.

FoxNews talks with Kelly Conway about her forthcoming book, My Dad's Funnier than Your Dad: Growing Up with Tim Conway in the Funniest House in America (Lyons Pr: National Book Network), due out December 30th. 

Salon talks with Sergio del Molino about his book, Skin, trans. by Thomas Bunstead (Polity: Wiley), and “how skin conditions shape our relationship with the world.”

Alison Stine, Trashlands (MIRA), provides commentary on “Alice Sebold's Lucky and the problem with memoirs with happy endings” at SalonSlate also gives the memoir a rereading

George Saunders, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life (Random), launches a writing class on Substack called Story ClubLitHub has details.  

The Millions continues its “Year of Reading” feature with Morgan Talty, Ed Simon, Adam O’Fallon Price, and Jocelyn Nicole Johnson.

FoxNews’s religion correspondent, Lauren Green shares her contribution to All American Christmas by Rachel Campos-Duffy and Sean Duffy (Broadside: HarperCollins).

The Atlantic’s “Books Briefing” considers how clothes shape the novel. 

USA Today picks five books for the week.

CrimeReads suggests 10 books out this week.

The Washington Post recommends the best audiobooks of the month.

CrimeReads suggests cozy Christmas mysteries.

Tordotcom recommends “15 SFF Books That Deserve Their Own Soundtracks”, 5 books on interstellar travel, and author Jo Walton’s reading list

Vulture has reading, watching, and listening suggestions for a post Get Back binge.

Authors On Air

Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell talks about her next chapter with CBS Sunday Morning

NPR’s Book of the Day discusses The Chancellor: The Remarkable Odyssey of Angela Merkel (S. & S.), with author Kati Marton.

Michael J. Fox, whose paperback edition of No Time Like the Future : An Optimist Considers Mortality (Flatiron), arrives this week, visits Seth Myers tonight. Chrissy Teigen, Cravings: All Together: Recipes to Love: A Cookbook, written with Adeena Sussman (Clarkson Potter), visits with Ellen tomorrow. 

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