‘The True Love Experiment’ by Christina Lauren Tops Holds Lists | Book Pulse

The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren leads library holds this week. The Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Award winners are announced. The 2022 Nebula Awards Winners are announced, including R.F. Kuang for her novel Babel. Kuang’s new novel Yellowface arrives this week with reviews and lots of buzz. Charles E. Stanley Jr. wins the 2023 William E. Colby Military Writers’ Award for Lost Airmen. Entertainment Weekly releases its 2023 Summer Preview, including the 27 best books of the summer. People’s book of the week is The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece by Tom Hanks.

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Big Books of the Week

The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren (Gallery; LJ starred review) leads library holds this week.

Other titles in demand include:

Only the Dead by Jack Carr (Atria/Emily Bestler)

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang (Morrow)

Quietly Hostile: Essays by Samantha Irby (Vintage)

The Guest by Emma Cline (Random)

These books and others publishing the week of May 15, 2023, are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet.

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

Five LibraryReads and four Indie Next picks publish this week. 

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang (Morrow)

“Kuang hits it out of the park with eviscerating observations on the publishing world. She asks astute and provoking questions: Who gets to succeed in publishing? Why can we only have a few writers of color in a publisher’s docket at a time? Who gets to call out these transactions and does cancel culture hold the transgressors responsible? As a biracial reader, this hit home, particularly the way it ends with the question: What is the point of writing the great American novel if you’ve manipulated, exploited, and fetishized people of color to get there? An excellent example of women's work that expresses anger, which is still rarely shown in contemporary fiction.”—Molly Nota, Ada Community Library–Connect Branch

It is also the #1 Indie Next pick:

“Equal parts modern satire, indictment of the publishing industry, and twisted ghost story, R.F. Kuang’s first foray into literary fiction pulls no punches and will have you reading late into the night.”—Abby Bennsky, Old Town Books, Alexandria, VA

The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren (Gallery; LJ starred review)

“Romance author Felicity (Fizzy) Chen is asked by documentary filmmaker Connor Prince to find her ‘Golden Match’ on a reality dating show. Readers will love seeing the dynamic between Fizzy and Connor grow through both their perspectives. Fun and light, this is perfect for Bachelor/Bachelorette fans.”—Rachel Salazar, Pueblo City County Library District

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“This book embodies joy. It will cause side effects such as: pacing the room, squealing with delight, and calling your BFF. I literally vibrated with the need to share my excitement about Fizzy’s story. It’s the cutest thing I’ve ever read.”—Leah Atlee, Bright Side Bookshop, Flagstaff, AZ

Quietly Hostile: Essays by Samantha Irby (Vintage)

“If you haven’t already read Irby: 1) Who are you and how do you live? 2) This is a perfect time to start. Reading her relatable essays feels like hanging out with an older sister who doesn’t sugarcoat the awkward parts of life and helps you recognize you’re not the only one faking your way through adulthood.”— Rebecca Hayes, Highland Park Public Library

Killing Me by Michelle Gagnon (Putnam)

“Amber has very strong opinions about people who fall prey to serial killers and is sure that being savvy and street smart will keep her safe. Until she is taken by a serial killer, and her life becomes a hot mess. This quirky, snarky book reads like Janet Evanovich teamed up with Stephen King.”— Linda Quinn, Fairfield Public Library

The Guest by Emma Cline (Random)

“Alex is coasting through life on the grace and credit card of her older boyfriend for the summer. She can’t return to the city now that her roommates want nothing to do with her, and her friends have all disappeared. There is nothing she won't do, and no one she won't manipulate, to get what she needs: a bit more time. Perfect for fans of The Talented Mr. Ripley.”— Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library

It is also an Indie next pick:

“I love everything from Emma Cline! Delightfully uncomfortable, her writing perfectly balances lethargy and desperation. You’re pushed to the edge of your seat with one hand, while gently pushed back and given a drink with the other.”—Nikki Siclare, Newtonville Books, Newton Centre, MA

One additional Indie Next pick publishes this week:

The Postcard by Anne Berest, tr. by Tina Kover (Europa; LJ starred review)

“This family saga, about a mysterious postcard received decades after WWII, plunges a daughter and her mother into the search for the truth and their roots. I have never read a book so well-written, so engaging, so poignant, so real.”—Marianne Reiner, La Playa Books, San Diego, CA

In The Media

Entertainment Weekly releases its 2023 Summer Preview, including the 27 best books of the summer

People’s book of the week is The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece by Tom Hanks (Knopf). Also getting attention are The Guest by Emma Cline (Random) and Yellowface by R.F. Kuang (Morrow). A “New in Nonfiction” section highlights Quietly Hostile: Essays by Samantha Irby (Vintage), Life B: Overcoming Double Depression by Bethanne Patrick (Counterpoint), and King: A Life by Jonathan Eig (Farrar; LJ starred review). 

There is a profile of Andrew Rannells, Uncle of the Year: & Other Debatable Triumphs (Crown; LJ starred review), and the art of unclehood. Plus, Aaron Franklin, Franklin Smoke: Wood. Fire. Food., written with Jordan Mackay (Ten Speed), shares a recipe.


NPR reviews Yellowface by R.F. Kuang (Morrow): “Kuang’s first foray outside of fantasy is a well-executed, gripping, fast-paced novel about the nuances of the publishing world when an author is desperate enough to do anything for success.” The Washington Post also reviews: “Perhaps Yellowface has demonstrated that our world is simply not load-bearing enough to support a traditional literary satire.”

NYT reviews Close to Home by Michael Magee (Farrar): “A dark but illuminating portrait of Belfast, painted by a man who knows the lads, the bars, the bookstores and back alleys that litter his birthplace.” The Washington Post also reviews: “Magee succeeds in bringing his neighborhood to life for readers and suggests that amid what seems like a never ending struggle, there is always room for hope.”

NYT also reviews Berlin by Bea Setton (Penguin Books): “As a quiet misfit in a foreign place, Daphne hungers for human connection even as she physically deteriorates. A look inside her mind reveals the force of danger thinly veiled behind the romantic glow of youth”Fortune’s Bazaar: The Making of Hong Kong by Vaudine England (Scribner): Fortune’s Bazaar shows that cities are constructed not from zero-sum games and political theory, but from generations of human interactions that defy us-and-them formulas”; and Easily Slip into Another World: A Life in Music by Henry Threadgill and Brent Hayes Edwards (Knopf):  “So good a music memoir, in the serious and obstinate manner of those by Miles Davis and Gil Scott-Heron, that it belongs on a high shelf alongside them.” Plus, there is a paired review of two memoirs that explore Chinese American hunger: Orphan Bachelors by Fae Myenne Ng (Grove) and Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City by Jane Wong (Tin House). 

The Washington Post reviews Life B: Overcoming Double Depression by Bethanne Patrick (Counterpoint): “Although one of Patrick’s gifts to us is her honesty, at times the book felt repetitive and too one-note. But these are small complaints for an author who is brave and who has diligently pursued a better future for herself and her two daughters.”

Briefly Noted

The 2022 Nebula Awards Winners are announced, including R.F. Kuang, for Babel; or, The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution (Harper Voyager).

The Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Award winners are announced

Charles E. Stanley Jr. wins the 2023 William E. Colby Military Writers’ Award for Lost Airmen: The Epic Rescue of WWII U.S. Bomber Crews Stranded Behind Enemy Lines (Regnery History). 

NYT highlights The Postcard by Anne Berest, tr. by Tina Kover (Europa; LJ starred review). The Millions shares an excerpt.

Chasten Buttigieg discusses releasing a YA version of his memoirI Have Something To Tell You (Atria), with People. 

Tor has a preview and cover reveal for Tobias Buckell’s forthcoming book, A Stranger in the Citadel (Tachyon), due out October 17. 

Time shares an excerpt from Body Neutral: A Revolutionary Guide to Overcoming Body Image Issues by Jessi Kneeland (Penguin Life), due out June 6. 

WSJ reports on male romance readers, including baseball star Bryce Harper

LA Times asks: “What happened to all the war vet novelists?”

USA Today shares 5 books for the week.

CrimeReads has 10 new books for the week

Authors On Air

Cassandra Jackson discusses her new book, The Wreck: A Daughter’s Memoir of Becoming a Mother (Viking), with NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday

NPR’s Morning Edition talks with Keyu Jin about her new book, The New China Playbook: Beyond Socialism and Capitalism (Viking). 

Laura Dern and Diane Ladd, Honey, Baby, Mine: A Mother and Daughter Talk Life, Death, Love (and Banana Pudding) (Grand Central), appear on CBS Sunday Morning. Plus, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, The Joy of Politics: Surviving Cancer, a Campaign, a Pandemic, an Insurrection, and Life’s Other Unexpected Curveballs, discusses lessons for Mother’s Day

Abraham Verghese talks about “medicine’s innate connection to storytelling” on the First Draft podcast. Plus, Alison Strayer reflects on  the “oeuvre of Annie Ernaux.”


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