Oprah Picks An American Marriage | Book Pulse

Oprah Picks

Oprah picks An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Algonquin: Workman: LJ stars) for her Book Club pick. She announced the choice on CBS This Morning, saying, “it is intriguing. It’s a love story that also has a huge layer of suspense. And it’s also so current and so really now that I could not put it down and I’ve already passed it on to lots of my friends.”

Jones featured on the show in an interview in which host Gayle King (Oprah’s best friend) said that it takes “months and months” for Oprah to find a book she likes.

Jones says she found the inspiration for the characters at the heart of the novel while shopping at a mall. She saw a couple arguing, the woman dressed to the nines and the man looking like he “had a hard day…a hard life.” The woman told him, “Roy, you know you wouldn’t have waited for me for seven years.”

CBS This Morning has posted reader’s guide questions and the O site has a Q&A with Oprah and Jones.

Briefly Noted

The NYT reviews The Friend by Sigrid Nunez (Riverhead: Penguin), calling it “dry, allusive and charming … mournful and resonant. It sheds rosin, like the bow of a cello” and Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro (Grove Press), calling it “fantastic.” The paper also reviews books on sex toys.

Entertainment Weekly gives Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton (Berkley: Penguin: LJ stars) an A-, saying “Cleeton writes with a crisp interiority, building swift bonds between the reader and both heroines … Her details of Havana … leap off the page … Her world breathes with all the color and complexity of the people and places of which she writes so lovingly.”

USA Today reviews three titles, including Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith (Penguin): it “brims with a wide-ranging enthusiasm.” Rhiannon Navin’s debut Only Child (Knopf: Random: LJ stars), calling the story of the aftermath of a school mass shooting “a careful examination” and “well-rendered.” And lastly, All the Women in My Family Sing: Women Write the World: Essays on Equality, Justice, and Freedom edited by Deborah Santana (Nothing But The Truth), writing that it “carries the voices of indigenous Americans as well as those of the global diaspora that many believe is America’s glory … a vivid ode to American identity in all its shades.”

30 British publishers are drafting a letter urging the Man Booker prize to stop including American authors, writing the U.S. inclusion leads to a “homogenised literary future,” reports The Guardian. The letter has yet to be sent but The Man Booker Foundation has replied anyway, saying “The judges … are charged with finding the best novel of the year, in their opinion, written in English. The trustees believe that this mission cannot be constrained or compromised by national boundaries.”

Entertainment Weekly interviews Joseph Cassara, The House of Impossible Beauties (Ecco: HarperCollins).

Sloane Crosley offers her reading list for February in Vanity Fair, leading with The Friend by Sigrid Nunez (Riverhead: Penguin).

Elena Ferrante writes about keeping a diary and telling the truth.

PEN America has announced that Edmund White is the 2018 winner of the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction. The PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature goes to Edna O’Brien. Poet Kamau Brathwaite wins the PEN/ Voelcker Award and Barbara Harshav wins the PEN/ Manheim Medal for Translation. These career achievement awards are given in advance of the February 20 announcement of the PEN America literary awards.

Authors on Air:

NPR’s Fresh Air features I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell (Knopf: Random House) and reviews This Is What Happened by Mick Herron (Soho Crime) and Babylon Berlin: Book 1 of the Gereon Rath Mystery Series by Volker Kutscher, translated by Niall Sellar (Picador: Macmillan).

NPR’s Morning Edition interviews Thomas Pierce, The Afterlives (Riverhead; LJ stars).

Amazon is developing a new series based on Robert E. Howard’s Conan books.

Today features White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing by Gail Lukasik (Skyhorse), sending it soaring on Amazon.

Masterpiece PBS issues a new trailer for Little Women:

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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.

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