Reese Witherspoon’s New Book Club Pick | Book Pulse

Book Clubs

Reese Witherspoon picks Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown (Random House) as her newest book club pick.

Briefly Noted

Jennifer Szalai, the new daily reviewer for the NYT, looks at two books on the political landscape: Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic by David Frum (Harper) and How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt (Crown). On Frum’s book she writes “The book seems to have been written in haste, a patchwork of bits and pieces from his Atlantic columns, additional examples of Trumpian malfeasance, and new ways of expressing old outrage.” Of Levitsky and Ziblatt’s efforts she says, “our current moment is so fraught that How Democracies Die is never dull, even if the writing can be.”

The Guardian reviews How Democracies Die as well, calling it an “excellent book, which manages to be scholarly and readable, alarming and level-headed.” Levitsky and Ziblatt’s book is soaring up the Amazon sales charts but is behind one more new book on a similar topic, It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America by David Cay Johnston (S. & S.).

Michael Dirda of The Washington Post considers Gnomon by Nick Harkaway (Knopf), writing “Despite the richness of its invention and virtuosic tricksiness, Gnomon is probably a bit too long. Still, it means to dazzle and it does, while also raising serious questions about identity, privacy, human rights and the just society.”

Entertainment Weekly reports that the Versace family is continuing their complaints against American Crime Story. The family has issued a second statement that reads in part: “Of all the possible portrayals of [Gianni Versace’s] life and legacy, it is sad and reprehensible that the producers have chosen to present the distorted and bogus version created by Maureen Orth.” Orth is the author of Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History (Bantam: Random House). The show begins Jan. 17 on FX.

LitHub offers the first half of their “Most Anticipated Crime, Mystery, And Thriller Titles of 2018” list; it covers through June and highlights a few beyond.

In Fire and Fury news today, the Associated Press reports that 29,000 copies have sold in its first weekend, placing it “at No. 1 on The New York Times’ hardcover nonfiction list in the edition that runs on Jan. 21.” (It is also #1 on the USA Today list, released this morning). That count does not include orders that have yet to be shipped, so the figure will grow over the coming weeks. Taking a different approach, The Guardian asks why the cover is so ugly and, building off that story, they link to an older one about how design is credited with helping to save print books. Vox offers a primer on the factors that must be calculated when picking a print run.

Authors on Air: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, co-author of Becoming Kareem: Growing Up on and off the Court (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: SLJ stars), will be on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah tonight.

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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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