LJ’s Top Ten Picks and Genre Bests | Book Pulse

Best Books of the Year

LJ has announced its picks of the Top Ten Books of 2017. The list is not ranked but in the introduction, Liz French writes, “[If] there is a ‘winner among winners,’ it would be Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire (Riverhead), for which every editor voted.”

“In a work as epic and searing as its inspiration, Antigone, Shamsie links headstrong but devout Aneeka with Eamonn, son of a secularized Muslim high in the British government, as she struggles to save a twin brother who has followed in the footsteps of their deceased jihadi father. Few books have articulated so successfully and so provocatively the position of Muslims in the West, and Shamsie’s burnished prose leads to an explosive, heartrending finale.” (Xpress Reviews 8/4/17) – Barbara Hoffert

LJ also announced their list of Best Genre Fiction. Among the picks is An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon (Akashic Books).

“Life on the generation ship Matilda is difficult for the laborers who work the fields and live on the lower decks. Aster’s brilliant mind grants her opportunities but also brings her to the attention of the ship’s brutal new leader. A beautiful and harrowing debut.” (LJ 9/15/17) – Megan M. McArdle and Kristi Chadwick

Check back early next week for the reveal of the top picks in nonfiction, poetry & literature, graphic novels, and SELF-e titles.

Briefly Noted

Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill (Doubleday Canada) wins the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

USA Today reviews Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics by Lawrence O’Donnell (Penguin), giving it 3.5 out of 4 stars and saying O’Donnell “writes with an assurance and steady sense of pace that makes much of this seem new.” The paper also reviews P.D. James’s posthumous short story collection Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales (Knopf: Random House). It earns 3 out of 4 stars: “James’ skills at complicating the genre are never more apparent than here, where every victim is not always worthy of our sympathy, and not every murderer deserves our scorn.”

The NYT reviews Ramp Hollow: The Ordeal of Appalachia by Steven Stoll (Hill and Wang: Macmillan), writing the “book is a powerful and outrage-making if somewhat academic analysis of the forces that have made West Virginia one of the sorriest places — statistically, at any rate — to live in America … gravid and well made.” They also take another look at Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich (Harper: HarperCollins) in a review by author Ruth Franklin (Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life). She calls it “fascinating if not entirely satisfying” and writes “the urgency of this novel’s subject matter goes a long way to compensate for its flaws.”

Novelist Louis Bayard (Lucky Strikes) reviews Hank and Jim: The Fifty-Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart by Scott Eyman (Simon & Schuster) for The Washington Post, writing it is a “smart, generous chronicle.” The paper also considers Brolliology: A History of the Umbrella in Life and Literature by Marion Rankine (Melville House).

The Chicago Tribune interviews Pete Souza, author of Obama: An Intimate Portrait: The Historic Presidency in Photographs by Pete Souza (Little, Brown: Hachette).

A new version of Virgil’s The Aeneid is out, translated by David Ferry (University of Chicago Press). The New York Review of Books calls it “a marvel.” Looking for more classics? Not only is there a new version of The Odyssey by Homer; translated by Emily Wilson (W.W. Norton), but a new version of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, 75th Anniversary Illustrated Edition with art by‎ Jim Tierney (Black Dog & Leventhal: Hachette).

The Los Angeles Review of Books interviews Ursula K. Le Guin.

HuffPost speculates on J.D. Vance running for office.

Literary Hub explores how writers organize their bookshelves.

Authors on Air: 

NPR’s The Salt offers the perfect Thanksgiving book, The Bad Food Bible: How and Why to Eat Sinfully by Aaron Carroll (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Giving his book a huge push, NPR’s Fresh Air interviews Jake Bernstein, author of Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite (Henry Holt: Macmillan). The show also reviews The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World by Maya Jasanoff (Penguin), calling it “terrific.” The NYT reviews as well, writing that it is “fascinating” and that Conrad “comes alive in Jasanoff’s masterful study. The Dawn Watch will become a creative companion to all students of his work.”

The Watchmen goes to HBO, headed by The Leftovers creator.

Murder on the Orient Express gets a sequelDeath on the Nile.

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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt is LJ's reader's advisory columnist. She writes The Reader's Shelf, RA Crossroads, Book Pulse, and Wyatt's World columns. She is currently revising The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction, 3d ed. (ALA Editions, 2018). Contact her at nwyatt@mediasourceinc.com.

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