Alias Grace Premieres | Book Pulse


Alias Grace, based on the novel by Margaret Atwood, begins streaming on Netflix this Friday.

Early reviews are very strong. The Washington Post says it is “quietly mesmerizing” while The Hollywood Reporter calls it “a twisty tale of murder and transgressive femininity.”

A tie-in edition came out in September. As we noted last week, the NYT has already run a feature.

Briefly Noted

Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop by Marc Myers (Grove Press) got a huge boost from Hoda Kotb on the Today Show when she named it as her “favorite thing.”

The NYT rounds up crime novels while author J. Robert Lennon reviews Smile by Roddy Doyle (Viking: Penguin), writing it “is something of a departure for Doyle—it’s the closest thing he’s written to a psychological thriller—but it nevertheless showcases his well-loved facility for character and dialogue. His ear and eye are peerless.”

Jacqueline Woodson signed a two-book deal with Riverhead. Publication dates and topics were not released. Entertainment Weekly has a brief interview about the deal, including a list of what Woodson is currently reading.

David Lagercrantz talks about the Millennium books and why he is stopping with three.

Peter Wohlleben, who broke onto the scene with his remarkable and intriguing The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate, has a new title forthcoming in November, The Inner Life of Animals: Love, Grief, and Compassion—Surprising Observations of a Hidden World (Greystone Books). Like his book on trees, The Guardian reports that The Inner Life is already a bestseller in Germany, although their own review is not glowing and LJ’s reviewer suggests looking elsewhere.

Matt Taibbi’s I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street (Spiegel & Grau: Random House ) gets a four-star review in USA Today. Gene Seymour says it offers “a potent, shattering blow in summing up what happened on that Staten Island corner three summers ago.” NPR also reviews.

Author Marie Lu reviews Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere (Penguin), calling it a “masterpiece” and writing that it is one of a handful of books from which she emerges “with the structure of my mind permanently rearranged, with a definition of myself that is distinctly different from the one that used to exist.”

NPR’s Maureen Corrigan reviews Tom Hank’s Uncommon Type: Some Stories (Knopf: Random House) and Matthew Weiner’s Heather, The Totality (Little, Brown and Company: Hachette).

The L.A. Times reports on the PEN Center USA awards. The paper also has an interview with Naomi Alderman, author of The Power (Little, Brown and Company: Hachette).

The Chicago Tribune has a list of three sports books.

Authors on Air: Chris Matthews will start the day on Morning Joe and end his night on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He is promoting his new book Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit (Simon & Schuster). Also on Morning Joe, Scott Adams talks about his new book Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter (Portfolio: Penguin). Tonight, Todd Barry, Thank You for Coming to Hattiesburg: One Comedian’s Tour of Not-Quite-the-Biggest Cities in the World (Gallery: Simon & Schuster), will be on Late Night with Seth Meyers; Gretchen Carlson, Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back (Center Street: Hachette), will be on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah; and Iliza Shlesinger, Girl Logic: The Genius and the Absurdity (Hachette), is set for The Late Late Show with James Corden.

SELF-eLearn More
SELF-e is an innovative collaboration between Library Journal and BiblioBoard® that enables authors and libraries to work together and expose notable self-published ebooks to voracious readers looking to discover something new. Finally, a simple and effective way to catalog and provide access to ebooks by local authors and build a community around indie writing!
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


  1. RK says:

    Excited about the Jacqueline Woodson news. Also, I am LOVING these Book Pulse posts. Thanks so much for making this a daily feature.

    • Neal says:

      Hi RK,

      Thanks for writing. So glad to hear Book Pulse is useful to you. I am happy to know more Woodson is on the way too.


  2. Hey, Neal;

    These columns just keep getting better and better. What a range of info. in this one. Thanks so much.

    For those interested in learning more about the NYT’s mystery reviewer, Marilyn Stasio, mentioned in today’s column, the podcast THIS IS CRIMINAL interviewed her in September — . She reads at least part of EVERY book she receives. Amazing.

    • Neal says:

      Hi Nora,

      Thanks so much for pointing people to THIS IS CRIMINAL. I am going to go listen. I want to know how far she gets before she stops – and what makes her stop.


  3. Karl Helicher says:

    Terrific columns, Neal!! All the fun of being a librarian while being retired.

    • Neal says:

      Hi Karl,

      I am very happy to hear Book Pulse is part of your retirement reading. I hope it helps grow your TBR pile.


  4. Brita says:

    Somehow missed the new Early Wood-esque incarnation of Book Pulse until today. I’m THRILLED to have found it! Thank you, Neal!

    I heard Marilyn Stasio on the New York Times Book Review podcast last week. She’s very funny. I particularly loved her comment that one book “really rang my bells.”

    • Neal says:

      Hi Brita,

      Thanks! And thanks for sharing more about Marilyn Stasio. That podcast is at the top of my weekend plans.


    • Scott Condon says:

      Hi Neal,
      Thanks for starting Book Pulse! I was a daily visitor at EarlyWord (thank you too, Nora, for all the years of service!) and am sure to be a regular here.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  4. Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media, per our Terms of Use.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind