Comey Has Landed | Book Pulse

Comey Has Landed

The efforts to keep James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership (Flatiron: Macmillan) book under warps until its sell date next Tuesday have broken down. Yesterday the book exploded through the political world, excerpted on websites and on Twitter and, by the end of the evening, being read aloud on cable TV. The NYT even got their review up. Former daily reviewer Michiko Kakutani calls it “absorbing” and “very persuasive” with “some near-cinematic accounts” and “sharp sketches of key players in three presidential administrations…. The central themes that Comey returns to throughout this impassioned book are the toxic consequences of lying; and the corrosive effects of choosing loyalty to an individual over truth and the rule of law.”

Coverage has been widespread. NPR has a list of “5 Insights” from the book, Time has a feature, The Washington Post has a report, as does the L.A. Times.

Holds are running 6:1 across many systems we checked.

Comey is also the subject of the paper’s By the Book column. He recommends Red Sparrow (Scribner: S. &S.; LJ starred review) and Palace of Treason (Scribner: S. &S.; LJ starred review) both by Jason Matthews, saying they “nail the world of intelligence and counterintelligence.”


The NYT offers three books to help make “Sense of the Syrian Civil War,” appreciates Margery Sharp, and Jessica Valenti marks the end of Our Bodies, Ourselves (as we posted last week, it is ceasing publication). The crime column is out and the Shortlist asks, “How Endangered Is American Democracy?” The paper also gathers books on anthropology. Sergio García Sánchez wonderfully reimagines Pinocchio. There are multiple new reviews, including Lars Kepler’s The Sandman (Knopf): it “sends us off to dreamland with a nightmare that can make us happy.” Ben Dolnick’s The Ghost Notebooks (Pantheon) is “a well-crafted ghost story” and his “ambitions go beyond run-of-the-mill thrills and chills.” Summer Hours at the Robbers Library by Sue Halpern (Harper Perennial) “pays off in sheer plotting… feels artfully balanced between the reality of loss and a carefully guarded hope for renewal.”

NPR reviews Macbeth by Jo Nesbø (Hogarth: Random), writing “Nesbø has adhered to his contract, delivering a book that plays off of Shakespeare’s work but succeeds as his own. Will readers love it or hate it? That depends on why they read it. Shakespeare buffs may want to keep the book at arm’s length, while Nesbø followers will devour it in one sitting, despite the 500-page length.”

Entertainment Weekly gives Nafissa Thompson-Spires’s Heads of the Colored People: Stories (Atria/37 INK: S. & S.) a B+, writing, “Every once in a while a book comes around that fills a need—that communicates ideas so effectively and humanely its social value leaps off the page. Heads, the debut of Nafissa Thompson-Spires, is such a book.”

Time reviews The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison (Little, Brown), calling it “profound.”


The shortlist for the Man Booker International Prize has been announced.

The Guardian quotes the chair of judges, Lisa Appignanesi, as saying, “the 2018 shortlist was only united in diversity. There are books with very strong narrative, books with lyrical atmosphere as their forefront, and books with a real density of metaphysical preoccupation. These six were definitely the best, in terms of the energy of the narrative and their formal exhilaration.’”

The Best Translated Book Awards longlist is also announced.

Alexis Wright wins the Stella Prize for Tracker (Giramondo Publishing).

Briefly Noted

The May LibraryReads list is out, with Furyborn by Claire Legrand (Sourcebooks Fire) the #1 pick of the month.

The NYT looks at the harm Brexit could bring to Britain’s publishing industry (and how it might help the U.S. industry).

The head of the Swedish Academy is forced out in the wake of the Nobel Prize for Literature scandal.

Time interviews George R.R. Martin.

The HuffPost interviews Meg Wolitzer, as does Vulture.

Bustle profiles Patrice Caldwell, founder of the organization People of Color in Publishing.

The L.A.Times features Glory Edim and the Well-Read Black Girl Writers’ Conference and Festival.

Dianca London writes about reclaiming the personal and authorial complexities of black women and women of color.

The L.A. Times interviews Lawrence Wright, God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State (Knopf; LJ starred review).

The Washington Post reports on Sally Kohn’s new book, The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity (Algonquin: Workman), which is enmeshed in a controversy that caught fire on social media.

Crime fiction is now the UK’s bestselling genre. Author Sophie Hannah is gleeful and appreciative.

Phil Klay, Redeployment (Penguin; LJ starred review), has a new essay in the Atlantic.

We’re Going to be Friends by Jack White, illustrated by Elinor Blake (Third Man Bks.) is soaring on Amazon. White will feature on Saturday Night Live tomorrow.

Chef and author René Redzepi posts about his forthcoming cookbook, The Noma Guide to Fermentation (Foundations of Flavor) (Artisan: Workman). It is skyrocketing on Amazon.

The Hollywood Reporter writes about elder abuse and Stan Lee. The NYT has the story too.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s remains have been found in a wine cellar.

In YA and children’s news, David Yoon’s debut novel, Frankly in Love, was the subject of “an intense bidding war between 10 publishing houses,” reports Entertainment Weekly. Penguin Young Readers won and plans to publish the book in Fall 2019. Scott Westerfeld will publish four new books set in the world of Uglies. The first will be Impostors, publishing September 2018. Entertainment Weekly has an excerpt, the cover, and a trailer. The L.A. Times features Roshani Chokshi, Aru Shah and the End of Time (A Pandava Novel: Bk. 1) (Rick Riordan Presents: Hachette; SLJ starred review), part of Rick Riordan’s new imprint.

Authors on Air

Sweetbitter, based on the novel of the same name by Stephanie Danler (Knopf), will premiere a the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

The Hollywood Reporter offers an early forecast for the Emmys; it is full of book-based shows.

NPR’s Fresh Air interviews Matthew Desmond, who wrote Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (Crown; LJ starred review). He is now working on a database that measures and tracks eviction.

PBS NewsHour interviews Nicole Dennis-Benn, Here Comes the Sun (Liveright: Norton).

Deadline Hollywood reports that The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay (William Morrow: Harper; LJ starred review) is headed to the movies and Allison Pearson’s How Hard Can It Be? (St. Martin’s; LJ starred review) is headed to TV. Briarpatch, the Ross Tom Edgar winning novel (St. Martin’s Griffin), just got a pilot order from USA Network. They are also doing a spinoff of the Bourne series, Treadstone, and have given a pilot order to Dare Me, based on Megan Abbott’s novel of the same name (Reagan Arthur Bks.: Hachette).

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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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