Surveying 2017 Through Books | Book Pulse

The Year in Books

The NYT picks its 10 Best Books of the Year. Fiction choices include The Power by Naomi Alderman (Little, Brown: Hachette). Nonfiction choices include The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World —and Us by Richard O. Prum (Doubleday: Random House).

Slate’s Laura Miller surveys the year in books, offering a lesson on how the bestseller lists work and looking at what books had staying power.

Briefly Noted

Elena Ferrante is working on new projects; not much is known but her publisher announced, “I know she is writing, but at the moment I cannot say anything more.” The Guardian reports the story, adding that the “publishers declined to offer any more details. But the new work is understood to be separate from the screenplay Ferrante is working on for a television series based on the Neapolitan novels, which will air on HBO and the Italian broadcaster RAI.”

The NYT reviews The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine by Lindsey Fitzharris (Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Macmillan), writing “it floats less on narrative momentum than on an armada of curious details. But the story it tells is one of abiding fascination.” They also offer a flow chart for book gift-giving, survey new graphic novels, review Mr. Dickens and His Carol: A Novel of Christmas Past by Samantha Silva (Flatiron Books: Macmillan), and offer roundups of garden/outdoor books and sports books.

Slate reviews A Natural by Ross Raisin (Random House), describing it as “meditative, quietly lyrical.” They also weigh in on The Gourmands’ Way: Six Americans in Paris and the Birth of a New Gastronomy by Justin Spring (FSG: Macmillan).

The LA Times has an interview with Jenifer Lewis, The Mother of Black Hollywood (Amistad: HarperCollins).

Entertainment Weekly is out with its November romance column.

LitHub picks “Five Crime Must-Reads This December.”

Authors on Air:

Henry Louis Gates Jr., 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro (Pantheon: Random House), will be on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah tonight.

As announced this past summer, George R.R. Martin’s Nightflyers is being adapted for TV. He has an update on the project on his blog. Earlier he wrote it is “one of my SF/ horror hybrids…a favorite of mine (especially the longer version that I did for BINARY STARS), and I think the show could have a lot of potential…especially if you like a little horror in your SF.

The film adaptation of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch gets a premier date. It will debut on Oct. 11 2019; it stars Ansel Elgort and Sarah Paulson and is directed by John Crowley.

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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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