No New Bestsellers But Plenty of Books | Book Pulse


Reflecting the end of the publishing year, there are no new titles to the bestseller lists this week.

Book Clubs

Oprah will announce her new book club pick on February 6. Here is what we know so far: ISBN 9781616208776; publisher Algonquin Books. Start your informed guessing now.

Briefly Noted

The longlists for the 2018 PEN America Literary Awards are out. The finalists for the multiple awards will be announced in January, with the winners announced on Feb. 20.

The NYT clears its decks with a number of reviews, including Crimes of the Father by Thomas Keneally (Atria Books: S&S) about the abuses of the Catholic Church. Randy Boyagoda writes, “The heroism and villainy … is suspenseful, if predictable.” Faring much better, the paper also reviews Furnishing Eternity: A Father, a Son, a Coffin, and a Measure of Life by David Giffels (Scribner: S. & S.), writing it is “a book that is tender, witty and, like the woodworking it describes, painstakingly and subtly wrought.” Also earning praise is Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia by Michael Shermer (Henry Holt and Co.: Macmillan), which the paper calls “fascinating.” Of The Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah: Fear and Love in the Modern Middle East by Adam Valen Levinson (W.W. Norton), the paper says “he gives you a tour of the Middle East that you won’t see on CNN or read about on TripAdvisor.” Two books on faith get reviewed as well, both also called “fascinating”: The Exodus by Richard Elliott Friedman (HarperOne: HarperCollins) and The Great Shift: Encountering God in Biblical Times by James L. Kugel (HMH). The paper’s “The Shortlist” column takes on beer, wine, and coffee and the “Egos” column offers five great memoirs.

The Washington Post reviews Gold Dust Woman: The Biography of Stevie Nicks by Stephen Davis (St. Martin’s Press: Macmillan), asking if Davis “actually likes his subject. For every description of Nicks’s ‘golden presence,’ there’s many more that are condescending and sexist.”

Entertainment Weekly names its “Entertainers of the Year.” Included in the mix are the Big Little Lies adaptation and Stephen King. The magazine also picks “The 8 best graphic novels of 2017,” including The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui (Harry N. Abrams; LJ stars), calling it “Timely and poignant.”

LitHub names their ” 64 Best Book Covers of 2017,” Owen Egerton’s Hollow, designed by Matt Dorfman (Soft Skull Press), tops the list.

Also on LitHub, they start their countdown of the biggest literary news stories of the year. Beginning with #50, which is Emma Straub opening a bookstore, Books Are Magic. It turns out the shop’s tote bags are something of a thing.

USA Today names their best food and beverage books. Signature names the best TV and film adaptations of the year. They also list “8 Must-Reads by Latinx Women Writers.”

The LA Times tours literary homes and circles back to American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession In the West by Nate Blakeslee (Crown: Random House), writing “Blakeslee has written a book that is as much about what fueled the Sagebrush Rebellion and the so-called civil disobedience of the Bundy family as it is about wildlife.”

Vanity Fair peeks into the New Year with books “already being reworked for the big screen,” although many are in very early (and perhaps iffy) stages.

NPR celebrates the 25th anniversary of David Sedaris reading his “Santaland Diaries.” A longer version is also available via This American Life.

Book Pulse will return on December 27th.

Happy Holidays!

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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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