Tina Brown, Joe Biden, & Kevin Young Make Noise | Book Pulse

Titles Getting Attention

Tina Brown is known for her media savvy, so it’s no surprise that her new book is getting focused attention: The New York Times reviews The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983-1992 (Henry Holt: Macmillan), offering both praise and dings, and the Wall Street Journal steps in to offer its appraisal as well. Brown is set for an interview today on CBS This Morning and more buzz will follow.

Also getting plenty of attention is Joe Biden’s Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose (Flatiron: Macmillan). Tom Brokaw reviews for the Washington Post. NPR reviews too. Expect more coverage to come: USA Today will review later this week and Biden will be a guest on PBS’s Newshour. This is after yesterday’s NBC showcase of appearances and his spot on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Kevin Young continues to attract critical attention. Author Jonathan Lethem reviews Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News (Graywolf: Macmillan) for the NYT, calling it an “enthralling and essential new study of our collective American love affair with pernicious and intractable moonshine.” The Chicago Tribune writes it is a “groundbreaking study of spectacles and spectacular falsehoods.”

National Book Awards

The NBAs will be announced tomorrow, in a ceremony starting at 7:20 p.m. (EST). As a countdown to the big moment there are activities today: at 10:30 a.m. (EST) there will be a special Teen Press conference and reading and at 7 p.m. (EST) the National Book Foundation will air readings by the finalists. Both events will stream live.

Briefly Noted

The NYT confirms Radhika Jones is leaving the paper’s book department to become editor in chief of Vanity Fair. Author (and Vanity Fair columnist) James Wolcott reviews Raising Trump by Ivana Trump (Gallery Books: Simon & Schuster) and The Kardashians: An American Drama by Jerry Oppenheimer (St. Martin’s Press: Macmillan). The paper also offers historical books about NYC, and, adding to the bad reviews for the Mad Men creator’s first novel, count the NYT in the “no” column for Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner (Little, Brown: Hachette).

Ron Charles of the Washington Post reviews Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich (Harper: HarperCollins). He is not impressed, writing, “maybe if Future Home weren’t sitting next to Erdrich’s masterpieces, such as The Plague of Doves and The Round House, along with Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, it wouldn’t seem so slack and minor.” USA Today likes it much more, giving it three out of four stars, and describing it as “philosophical yet propulsive.”

Charles is far happier with Improvement by Joan Silber (Counterpoint), headlining his review “Joan Silber Is America’s own Alice Munro — and her new novel shows why.”

Nathan Englander writes about his most recent book, Dinner at the Center of the Earth (Knopf: Random House).

USA Today reviews Artemis by Andy Weir (Crown: Random House), calling it “an action-packed techno-thriller of the first order.”

Sean Penn is writing a novel, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff (Atria Books: Simon & Schuster). USA Today reports it is “a revised and expanded version of an audiobook narrated by Penn that was released in October 2016 under [a] pseudonym.”

Authors on Air:

The Lord of the Rings will become a TV series on Amazon. The Hollywood Reporter writes the “series will be set in Middle-earth and explore new storylines preceding Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. The deal includes a potential additional spinoff series.” Prompted by the news, Entertainment Weekly suggests “Three fantasy novels that would make better TV than Lord of the Rings.”

I Am Elizabeth Smart premieres Nov. 18 on Lifetime. Her new book Where There’s Hope: Healing, Moving Forward, and Never Giving Up (St. Martin’s Press: Macmillan) comes out 3/27/18.

NPR’s Fresh Air featured Gregory Boyle, author of Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship (Simon & Schuster), giving it a big boost. All Things Considered interviewed Kevin Young, Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News (Graywolf: Macmillan). 13.7 Cosmos and Culture reviewed N.J. Enfield’s How We Talk: The Inner Workings of Conversation (Basic Books: Hachette).

LitHub reports Amazon issued an original pilot of Sea Oak, based on a story by George Saunders.

Late Show with Stephen Colbert will feature Tyler Perry, Higher Is Waiting: Passages of Inspiration (Spiegel & Grau: Random House) and John Avlon, Washington’s Farewell: The Founding Father’s Warning to Future Generations (Simon & Schuster).

Late Night with Seth Meyers will host Christian Siriano, Dresses to Dream About (Rizzoli: Random House).

The Tonight Show has Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush’s Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life (Grand Central: Hachette).

Jenifer Lewis was on The View yesterday, giving her book The Mother of Black Hollywood (Amistad: HarperCollins) a big boost.

Karin Tanabe’s novel The Gilded Years (Washington Square Press: Simon & Schuster) will become a movie. Reese Witherspoon is producing.

We’ll Always Have Casablanca: The Legend and Afterlife of Hollywood’s Most Beloved Film by Noah Isenberg (W.W. Norton) gets coverage.

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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.


  1. RK says:

    Looking forward to the National Book Award announcements! I didn’t know The Gilded Years was becoming a movie – can’t wait to see it. Thanks again for these fantastic Book Pulse posts – such a boon to book lovers like myself.

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