New Bestsellers and Reviews of Strong Opinions | Book Pulse


For the second week in a row, and reflecting the end of the publishing year, there are no new adult titles to the bestseller lists this week. The children’s book Dog Man and Cat Kid: From the Creator of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey (Graphix: Scholastic) debuts on the USA Today list at #7.

Briefly Noted

Entertainment Weekly‘s newest romance column is out, looking at questions of identity. The best reviewed of the five titles they cover is Roomies by Christina Lauren (Gallery: S. & S.). EW gives it an A+ and writes it is “completely un-put-down-able.”

The Washington Post has an Outlook review of Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker by A.N. Wilson (Harper), calling it “by far the worst [among] “hundreds of books about Charles Darwin and his science” [the reviewer has read]. Appalling in its sloppy arguments and unrelenting and unwarranted negativity, its most infuriating flaw is its abysmal failure to get the most basic facts right.”

The paper appreciates The Old Farmer’s Almanac (HMH).

The LA Times circles around to Mary Beard’s Women & Power: A Manifesto (Liveright: Norton) with a mix of interview and review.

LitHub reaches #11 on their list of top literary stories of the year: Sylvia Plath in a bikini. The site also runs a list of their 10 most popular stories of the year and the 20 books that deserved more attention than they received in 2017.

The editor notes on Milo Yiannopoulos’s autobiography Dangerous have been made public, part of court documents filed in his lawsuit against Simon & Schuster. They show an editor struggling to insert fact into the manuscript. The Guardian and Vulture have the story.

The Guardian is running a series of short podcasts in which authors select their favorite short stories. The latest features Neil Gaiman’s pick of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Gardener.”

The NYT reports on the closing of the U.S.’s fourth-largest bookstore chain, Book World. In the story, they quote a bookseller’s take on the demise of storefronts: “The age of the physical chain of bookstores is behind us…. You can never save enough money through centralization to be able to compete with Amazon…. Instead, you have to go in the other direction—be so rooted in your community you can turn on a dime.”

The Times also offers group reviews on oceans and waves and diseases and drugs and essays by M. T. Anderson and Calvin Trillin. They review The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir by Maude Julien, translated by Adriana Hunter (Little, Brown), writing it is “at once fascinating, mystifying and distressing.”

A NYT story from last week on sensitivity readers, those who “provide feedback on issues like race, religion, gender, sexuality, chronic illness and physical disabilities” in the writing and editing process, has opened a debate, from authors on Twitter to opinion pieces online. It is not a new story; The Washington Post wrote about it in February of this year as did Slate. It even made NPR.

The paper also tells how the color “Spalding Gray” came to be. It involves a dog and a storyteller.

Authors on Air:
NPR’s Fresh Air re-broadcasts a 2017 interview with John le Carré.

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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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