Run Your Week: Big Books, Sure Bets, & Titles Making News | Book Pulse

Big Books for the Week

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin’s) leads holds this week.

Other books that will be in demand include:

Look for Me by Lisa Gardner (Dutton).

Force of Nature by Jane Harper (Flatiron: Macmillan).

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Algonquin: Workman: LJ stars).

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig (Viking: Penguin).

The Deceivers by Alex Berenson (Putnam: Penguin).

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

Ten new titles that have impressed librarians and booksellers publish this week, including the #1 LibraryReads pick, The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin’s).
“Leni and her troubled family embark on a new way of life in Alaska’s wilderness in 1974—hoping this is finally the solution for her troubled POW father. In Alaska, Leni and her family are tested and when change comes to their small community her father’s anger threatens to explode and divide the town. This is a beautifully written novel, descriptive and engaging with well-developed characters and a strong sense of place.” —Alissa Williams, Morton Public Library, Morton, IL

It is also an Indie Next selection:

“Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone is a powerful, compelling story of survival—survival of the natural elements and of the human spirit. It’s 1974, and 13-year-old Leni Allbright lives with her devoted mother, Cora, and abusive father, Ernt, who was a prisoner of war during Vietnam. America is changing after the war, and Ernt thinks their best chance at a fresh start is to move off the grid, to America’s last frontier—Alaska. Grizzlies, wolves, and dropping temperatures are Leni’s worries outside of her family’s cabin, but as Ernt’s battle with his demons rages on, it’s no safer inside. The result is a beautifully descriptive, heart-wrenching adventure.”—Hillary Taylor, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS

Other titles librarians and booksellers agree upon include An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Algonquin: Workman).
“Celestial and Roy are newly married professionals leaning in to a bright future when Roy is convicted of a crime he did not commit. This is not a heroes vs. villains tale with a tidy resolution. It is a complicated, messy, moving, and thought-provoking story about love, family, and the wide-reaching effects of incarceration. Book clubs get ready!”
—Jennifer Alexander, St. Louis County Library, St. Louis, MO

“Tayari Jones comes in fierce with An American Marriage. Delving into the lives of the newly married Roy and Celestial, this is a novel that pulls no punches from beginning to end. I won’t ruin the surprise, but they’re hit with a harrowing event that will define not only their relationship, but each of their lives, forever. Writing with an intensity and pace worthy of Donna Tartt, Jones yanks us into her characters’ lives with a grip that never lets up. I cannot wait to put this in people’s hands!”—Angela Maria Spring, Duende District Bookstore, Washington, DC

Force of Nature by Jane Harper (Flatiron: Macmillan)
“When Detective Falk learns that an informant went missing during a corporate team-building exercise in the bush, he realizes that she tried to call him in the middle of the night. Harper once again creates a compelling, fast-paced, and atmospheric mystery set in a remote wilderness area of Australia. Perfect for fans of Nevada Barr and Paul Doiron. Highly recommended.”—Vicki Nesting, St.Charles Parish Library, Destrehan, LA

“A company team-building weekend in the thick Australian bush goes awry when the women’s team gets lost. Hidden feelings between team members complicate their mission to get back to the camp. When four of the five return, they each have a different story about what happened to Alice. After his debut in The Dry, Aaron Falk returns to solve this mystery and resolve some personal issues, but this time we have wet, cold wind creating the most miserable conditions imaginable for those who are lost, hungry, and quickly becoming suspicious of each other. The complicated plot, edge-of-your-seat suspense, and vivid description of the rugged Giralang Ranges will keep you breathless.”—Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig (Viking: Penguin)
“Even though there is something extraordinary about Tom Hazard and his aging process, the problems and insights he experiences as he goes through life are universal. Love, memory, and time play tricks on us all as this novel illustrates so exquisitely. This is an engaging, sweeping love story with all the elements of a great historical/time travel novel. For fans of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After Life.”—Mary Coe, Fairfield Woods Branch Library, Fairfield, CT

“Both incredibly poignant and unceasingly charming, How To Stop Time is the story of a man who has an abundance of time and a scarcity of love. Tom Hazard ages very slowly, so slowly that nothing feels new to him as memories from the past crowd every moment of his present. He has also discovered that time without the people we love loses all meaning. Matt Haig takes us from Shakespeare’s London to the Roaring Twenties in Paris, from conquering the new world with Captain Cook to present-day Los Angeles. Scenes both familiar and exotic thrum with life, but the real magic is in how he makes us believe in this 439-year-old man who is only now learning how to live.”—Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Also selected this month by LibraryReads are:

Tarnished City by Vic James (Del Rey: Random House)
Tarnished City, a contemporary fantasy with a healthy dose of world-building, is just as disturbing as its predecessor, Gilded Cage. I couldn’t resist diving deeper into the dark world of Equals and Slaves. James has pushed the characters in new ways, which makes the story riveting, intense, dark, and completely entrancing.”—Monicah Fraterna, La Porte Public Library, La Porte, IN

As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner (Berkley: Penguin: LJ stars)
“Beautifully written, heartbreaking story of four women in Philadelphia in 1918 during the Spanish Flu. I loved this book, as I have other books by Meissner and would highly recommend to anyone who loves historical fiction.”—Cathy Branciforte, Ramsey Free Public Library, Ramsey, NJ

Four additional Indie Next picks arrive this week as well, including their #1 pick of the month, The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches From the Border by Francisco Cantú (Riverhead Books)
“Cantú personalizes the U.S.-Mexican border and all of its complexity in a way I’ve never seen. His writing is beautiful, with haunting and detailed descriptions of the desert, the immigrants, the cartels, and his own fears about violence and identity confusion. The criminalization of searching for a better life and the dehumanization of the process is looked at from several angles, and his journalistic approach does not make judgments, but clearly tells the facts. A great new writer to follow.”—Pat Marsello, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell (Knopf: Random House)
“Maggie O’Farrell’s memoir left me breathless and heart-sore. There were times I literally had a fist to my own heart in sympathy. The encounters told according to each limb or organ is a genius device; it is as though each distinct part of her body had its own voice and wanted my sole attention. Even the spaces of years between each event were full of meaning and nuance. This is one of the most mesmerizing memoirs I have ever read. The breadth and scope of Maggie’s 17 brushes with death left me gasping for air, and her strong voice is indelible: There is no victim here, and life is to be treasured but not treated too delicately.”—Maeve Noonan, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY

Only Killers and Thieves by Paul Howarth (Harper)
“An unforgettable first line propels this debut novel about two brothers on the Australian frontier who are drawn into a world of conflict and revenge that tests their beliefs and morals to the ultimate degree. The age-old conflict between settlers and indigenous people is played out on the southern continent much as it was in the American West and Russian East. As the brothers become deeply embroiled, they enter a savage and unforgiving landscape, both physically and culturally, and it becomes the ultimate test of their growth and humanity. This is a work that is as unrelenting as the world it describes and will long linger with the reader.”—Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot (Counterpoint)
“In a time of memoirs that help a reader understand vulnerability and the experience of facing down fear, Terese Marie Mailhot’s cathartic, moving Heart Berries is one of the bravest and most fearless of such books. Her coming-of-age on a First Nation reservation, Seabird Island in Canada, is particular to that vividly evoked place, but also carries larger, universal lessons for the human spirit and its survival. A necessary book.” —Rick Simonson, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

These books and others publishing the week of Feb. 5, 2018, are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet.

In the Media

Altered Carbon is #2 on People‘s Picks list: “The production design is a knockout.” #9 is the DVD and streaming release of Wonder. The Book of the Week is An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Algonquin: Workman): “a tense, timely love story…packed with brave questions about race and class.” The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley (Delacorte) and Still Me by Jojo Moyes (Pamela Dorman Bks.) also get nods. Entertainment Weekly published a double issue last week; look online for stories such as “5 comics to look out for in February, including a Black Panther history lesson.”

Briefly Noted

The LA Times has stopped Jacket Copy, their book blog. The paper says that through their website’s redesign that they “no longer need to have one place for book news and chronological postings,” instead the content will be in their Books section.

The NYT profiles Lisa Halliday, whose novel Asymmetry (S. & S.: LJ stars) is “being embraced as a virtuosic and daring literary debut” and which, at least in part, fictionalizes a romance Halliday had with Philip Roth. The paper surveys the “flourishing” book trade in Afghanistan and rounds up romance, liking A Princess in Theory: Reluctant Royals by Alyssa Cole (Avon: HarperCollins: LJ stars) most of all. The paper also reviews The Heart Is a Shifting Sea: Love and Marriage in Mumbai by Elizabeth Flock (Harper), calling it “a sober portrait of middle-class yearning—an earnest inquiry into what it is one might reasonably dream of finding in marriage.” The Book Review Podcast talks with Rose McGowan and begins a new feature, “Critical Mass” where the paper’s staff book critics, Dwight Garner, Parul Sehgal and Jennifer Szalai, have a wide-ranging conversation jumping off the books they have reviewed recently.

The Washington Post has an early review of Down the River unto the Sea by Walter Mosley (Mulholland Books: Hachette), heaping praise upon it and calling it “as gorgeous a novel as anything he’s ever written.” Of Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Steve Coll (Penguin), they write it is “one of the most unrelentingly bleak assessments of U.S. policy of recent years, and it shows, regrettably, that American errors have accumulated beyond recovery.” The paper also reviews A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History by Jeanne Theoharis (Beacon Press: LJ stars), finding problems but writing its “systematic debunking is a useful antidote to sentimental narratives that are, as she persuasively argues, all too smug, all too easy, all too lacking.” The Gambler: How Penniless Dropout Kirk Kerkorian Became the Greatest Deal Maker in Capitalist History by William C. Rempel (Dey Street: HarperCollins) gets a review by author Leigh Gallagher, who  says that despite some flaws the book is “gripping and fast-moving, with short chapters and plenty of suspense…the reporting and the level of detail are astounding…painting a well-rounded, riveting picture of a figure the world does not know very well, but should.”

NPR reviews Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan (Atria/Emily Bestler Books: LJ stars), writing it “cleverly and cleanly undercuts some of the queasy hallmarks of its genre.” The site also reviews The Burial Society by Nina Sadowsky (Ballantine), writing “Sadowsky knows how to get readers turning pages.”

The Guardian profiles Hilton Als. The NYT interviews Emily Chang, Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley (Portfolio: Penguin).

PBS looks at the renaissance of feminist poetry.

Authors on Air:

All Things Considered interviews Jeanne Theoharis, A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History (Beacon Press: LJ stars), Weekend Edition Saturday interviews Tim Kreider, I Wrote This Book Because I Love You: Essays (S. & S.) and interviews Tamora Pierce, Tempests and Slaughter (Random House Books for Young Readers), Weekend Edition Sunday interviews Christopher Potter, The Earth Gazers: On Seeing Ourselves (Pegasus Books: W.W. Norton).

Phoebe Robinson, You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain (Plume: Penguin), will be on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah tonight.

Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race (Seal: Hachette: LJ stars), will be on The Opposition with Jordan Klepper.

Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, and Spencer Stone, The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes (PublicAffairs: Hachette), will be on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Willem Dafoe and Edward Norton will star in Motherless Brooklyn, based on the novel of the same name by Jonathan Lethem.

The Bookshop wins the Spanish Film Academy Goya Award. It is based on the novel of the same name by Penelope Fitzgerald.

The Super Bowl brought forth a number of new trailers for films and TV shows based on (or related to) books:

Red Sparrow

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Avengers: Infinity War

Castle Rock

Jack Ryan

Solo: A Star Wars Story

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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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