Run Your Week: Big Books, Sure Bets, & Titles Making News | Book Pulse

Big Books for the Week

The Midnight Line: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child (Delacorte Press: Random House) leads this week, delivering, as Reacher often does, a clear knockout when it comes to holds. The Chicago Tribune calls it a “gem” and writes “there’s less violence and stronger emotion…than [in] most Reacher books.”

Other titles that will be in demand:

Every Breath You Take by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke (Simon & Schuster)

Typhoon Fury by Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison (G.P. Putnam’s Sons: Penguin)

The House of Unexpected Sisters: No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon: Random House)

The Shadow District by Arnaldur Indridason (Minotaur Books: Macmillan)

In This Moment by Karen Kingsbury (Howard Books: Simon & Schuster)

Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh (Berkley: Penguin)

The Noel Diary by Richard Paul Evans (Simon & Schuster)

Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner (Little, Brown and Company: Hachette)

The Exile by James Patterson with Alison Joseph (BookShots: Hachette)

A Christmas Return by Anne Perry (Ballantine: Random House)

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter (Crown Archetype: Random House)

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

Four LibraryReads picks publish this week; all are already in high demand (as shown above):

Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh (Berkley: Penguin) (LJ stars)
Someone to Wed is the third in Balogh’s Regency-era Wescott series. Wren has lived her life hiding from society due to a prominent birthmark. Alexander inherits a title and a pile of debts. Wren and Alexander decide to embark on a marriage of convenience as a way to resolve their issues. This is a charming story of two people falling in love and finding their happily ever after, while resolving emotional issues along the way. A well-written story with glimpses of characters from previous books in the series.” —Shayera Tangri, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA

The Midnight Line: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child (Delacorte Press: Random House)
“Jack Reacher is an honorably discharged U.S. Army major who has a strong sense of justice. After the end of a romance, Reacher’s response is to get on a bus and ride it to wherever it is going. At a rest stop along the way, he spots a small West Point class ring in the window of a pawnshop. His gut tells him the soldier who worked hard to achieve it wouldn’t give it up easily. In search of answers, he discovers a drug ring, a disfigured woman, and a couple of murders in a desolate area of Wyoming. Like the other installments in the Reacher series, this is another page turner!”—Valerie Osborne, Bangor Public Library, ME

The Shadow District by Arnaldur Indridason (Minotaur Books: Macmillan) (LJ stars)
“Indridason introduces a new crime series featuring a retired detective. The Shadow District skillfully weaves two mysteries together. In present time, an elderly man’s death, first thought to be due to natural causes, is later revealed as a murder. While unofficially investigating, Konrad discovers a link to a cold case involving the strangulation of a young woman and a surprising connection to Konrad’s own childhood. With nicely tense pacing and a vivid portrayal of life in modern and wartime Iceland, fans of atmospheric investigations will undoubtedly welcome Indridason’s latest offering.” —Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, Huntington Station, NY

Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner (Little, Brown and Company: Hachette)
“Mark and Karen start a seemingly charmed life that becomes even more so with the birth of their gifted daughter Heather. Things take an alarming turn when renovations begin in their building. They have always known how special their daughter is, but will Heather see that there is danger lurking outside the world they have created for her when others become captivated by her gifts? Weiner has an insight into human nature that most of us would rather not admit exists and he takes you down a dark road that you don’t want to travel, but somehow can’t turn back.” —Selena Swink, Lake Public Library, MS

Heather, the Totality is also an Indie Next selection:

“In a landscape of despair, stuck in the logjam of the dull round of work, marriage, and raising a child, other emotions can command so much attention. This beautifully structured, spare study is Chekhovian, noirish, and quietly fraught. The minimal writing style is beautiful, and the tension is so carefully modulated that the aesthetic of rising unease is oddly comforting. But there is dread in the inevitable climax, and a thriller’s tautness to the possible resolutions that steadily arise. A reader’s delight—well-managed prose, excellent plotting, psychological suspense, and insightful character-building make this perfect for a winter night’s reading.”—John Evans, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Santa Monica, CA

There are eight more Indie Next picks for the week:

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter (Grove Press). This is the #1 pick for the month.
“As the floodwaters rise on London, a first-time mother takes her newborn son and flees for higher ground, seeking a safe haven from the environmental collapse and the chaos that will follow it. Luminous and sparse, heartbreaking yet hopeful, The End We Start From is a lyrical rumination on environment, normalcy in the midst of crisis, new motherhood, unavoidable endings, and tentative beginnings. A slim and stunning debut whose echoes will be thunderous.” —Rebecca Speas, One More Page Books, Arlington, VA

Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda (Ecco: HarperCollins)
“A man running naked among the gridlocked cars of an L.A. freeway is the catalyst for this dark tale set in the rough neighborhoods of a decidedly unglamorous Los Angeles. In this version of the city, it’s not only the poor and the powerless who are desperate; even the better-off characters turn out to be broken sinners who crave hope and redemption. The gritty beauty of Pochoda’s writing, whether about cruelty and violence or about love, no matter how desperate, pulled me into the characters’ lives and compelled me to keep reading all night.”—Francesca De Stefano, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

It’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree by A.J. Jacobs (Simon & Schuster)
“For anyone interested in climbing their own family tree, A.J. Jacobs’ It’s All Relative offers a lighthearted crash course into the addictive world of genealogy. Inspired by the record-breaking get-togethers of the Lilly clan and heartened by the theory that we’re all related, Jacobs embarks on a quest to hold the world’s largest family reunion. As Jacobs juggles the mechanics of such a massive undertaking, he interviews well-known researchers in the field, discovers famous ‘cousins,’ and considers some of the ethical issues of diving into an ancestor’s past. An enjoyable introduction to genealogy and the living family tree.”—Molly Gillespie, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter (Crown Archetype: Random House)
“In this fast-paced thriller, successful environmental lawyer Abby Williams is brought back to her small Indiana town for work, where Optimal Plastics, a company that has helped rebuild the town and its economy, is under suspicion for water pollution. While investigating the pollution claims, Abby also becomes obsessed with discovering what happened to a classmate who disappeared 10 years earlier after a scandal that left many unanswered questions—a disappearance that has haunted her for years. In both cases, the search for truth leads Abby down a dark path of corruption and secrets. This is a remarkable debut novel and the must-read thriller of this fall.” —Rebecca Olson, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI

Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone by Juli Berwald
“Reading Spineless made me think of Nabokov’s butterflies: The subject is distant to the extent that it feels almost extraterrestrial, but the author’s passion is contagious. The complexity, the evolution, and the mystery of the organism grows on you, and, suddenly, you’re excited about…well, jellyfish! Spineless gives climate change a story, and with it some much needed empathy.” —Sarah Reif, Kramerbooks, Washington, DC

Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy by Michael Perry (Harper: HarperCollins) (LJ stars)
“Michel de Montaigne may have created the essay form, but Michael Perry has perfected it. Readers will enjoy Perry’s astute meditations on life as he contemplates subjects as diverse as chickens, marriage, and kidney stones. Known for his trademark Midwestern wit and wisdom, Perry will have readers laughing out loud and then commenting on how profound he is. Well done!” —Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN

The Wine Lover’s Daughter: A Memoir by Anne Fadiman (FSG: Macmillan) (LJ stars)
“I loved this memoir! The reader does not need to care about wine or know who Anne Fadiman is or Clifton Fadiman was. This is a book about family and how the differences between us can be one of the many things that actually draw us together. It is also about the life of a man who became a literary critic, editor, and radio host and was also the author’s beloved father. Anne Fadiman is a fine writer with an ability to bring life to a variety of subjects, as has been shown in her previous essays and memoirs. One of the best memoirs to arrive on our scene in quite a while.” —Penny McConnel, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, VT

They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib (from the December list)
“With the depth and versatility of an immensely talented poet and the strong, perceptive wit of a cultural critic, Hanif Abdurraqib shows us his tremendous ability to bend language to his will in this collection of essays. For him, like for many of us, music is an entrance into a larger discussion of our emotions and our collective cultural understanding. Deftly moving from ruminations on Chance the Rapper, Atmosphere, and Future, to Bruce Springsteen, Fall Out Boy, and Johnny Cash, Abdurraqib is able to traverse conversations on black excellence, grief, and hope. This book taught me something fresh about humanity with every turn of the page, and it will stay with me for a long time to come.” —Matt Keliher, SubText Books, St. Paul, MN

The titles listed above and other titles publishing this week are available in a downloadable Excel file.

In the Media

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter (Crown Archetype: Random House) is #4 on Entertainment Weekly’s “The Must List.” The magazine also has a short interview with the Jessica Jones star turned author. #5 on the list is Obama: An Intimate Portrait: The Historic Presidency in Photographs by Pete Souza (Little, Brown and Company: Hachette). #10 is a suggestion to watch Alias Grace.

Entertainment Weekly also runs a cover story on the film adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. In their Books section, they highlight Endangered by Tim Flach (Abrams) and run a story on how romance novelists are reacting to the political times. The magazine also features YA author Jason Reynolds, calling him “A Writer We Love.”

Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda (Ecco: HarperCollins) is People‘s Book of the Week. The magazine calls it “incandescent.” Also featured are Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner (Little, Brown and Company: Hachette) and Bonfire by Krysten Ritter (Crown Archetype: Random House).

The magazine also runs a three-page story on Jenifer Lewis, mentioning her book, The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir (Amistad: HarperCollins); has a short feature on Lena Dunham’s Lenny Imprint, highlighting Courage Is Contagious: And Other Reasons To Be Grateful for Michelle Obama edited by Nick Haramis (Lenny: Random House); and offers recipes from two new cookbooks: Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating by Gail Simmons with Mindy Fox (Grand Central Life & Style: Hachette) and Valerie’s Home Cooking: More than 100 Delicious Recipes To Share with Friends and Family by Valerie Bertinelli (Oxmoor House: Time Inc.).

Briefly Noted

The NYT features Amanda Gorman, “the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate.” (More on the honor here).

The NYT issues its Holiday Gift Guide—book choices include Chris Ware’s Monograph (Rizzoli: Random House).

Crime author Linda Fairstein pays tribute to Nancy Drew.

The Wall Street Journal reviews You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody) by Alec Baldwin and Kurt Andersen (Penguin) and Adults in the Room: My Battle with the European and American Deep Establishment by Yanis Varoufakis (FSG: Macmillan), of the latter writing it “offers a gripping account of those chaotic days, when the eurozone appeared as if it might shatter…Even in his own book he appears as a hapless academic cursed by prodigious knowledge and limited wisdom. No wonder it all went so terribly wrong.”

USA Today runs down its buzzy books of the week and the Los Angeles Times has a list of “Fascinating new nonfiction.”

NPR reviews In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s by Joseph Jebelli (Little, Brown and Company: Hachette), calling it a “Sensitive, humanizing, and poetic…provides a masterful overview of the disease.”

Roxane Gay announces her next project, editing an essay collection titled Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture (Harper Perennial: HarperCollins). It publishes May 1, 2018.

The December Indie Next List is out and more lists of what to read this month released as well, including those by LitHub, io9, Chicago Review of Books, and Bustle. VOX‘s multimedia list (with plenty of previews) includes books and adaptations.

Authors on Air: NPR’s Weekend Edition (Saturday and Sunday) interviewed Krysten Ritter, author of Bonfire (Crown Archetype: Random House); Anne Fadiman, author of The Wine Lover’s Daughter: A Memoir (FSG: Macmillan); and A.J. Jacobs, author of It’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree (Simon & Schuster).

Donna Brazile, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House (Hachette), was on This Week on Sunday and will be on The View this Tuesday.

CBS Sunday Morning featured Murder on the Orient Express, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jann Wenner (the subject of Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine by Joe Hagan (Knopf: Random House)), and Art Garfunkel, who has a memoir out: What Is It All but Luminous: Notes from an Underground Man (Knopf: Random House).

Tig Notaro will be on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah tonight. Musician and poet Jhené Aiko will be on Late Night with Seth Meyers. Her book 2Fish (Ulysses Press) comes out in mid December. Lawrence O’Donnell will be on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

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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

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