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October 2016

Citizen Reading: 31 October 2016

A weekly selection of reading and book news, sometimes with completely inappropriate commentary.

Oh, thank heavens, Bob Dylan WILL accept the $900,000 Nobel Prize money.

Happy Halloween! Scholastic has issued a list of its Halloween reads. (They call it a list of "not-too-scary" books.) Also: Seven spooky books with settings you can actually visit.

2017 Andrew Carnegie Medals: Shortlist.

J.K. Rowling's "Cormoran Strike" BBC adaptation will be shown on HBO.

Sherlock, Season 4: Premiere date announced.

Zelda Fitzgerald to be played by Jennifer Lawrence. I don't know. I weary of Jennifer Lawrence and I still think her casting in "The Silver Linings Playbook" (when the character in the book was closer to her 40s than her 20s) was wrong, all wrong. I know that's Hollywood's (and culture's) fault, not hers, but still.

Abrams will launch a new nonfiction imprint. Huh, they're going to focus on "text-driven narrative nonfiction." That's refreshingly not specific.

The Booker Prize has been won by an American.

Stephen King has written a children's book.

13 great plays for readers. You know, this is a really interesting list. And I don't read many plays (although I read more plays than poetry). There's quite a few on this list I'd like to peruse.

Publisher's Weekly has already named its Best Books of 2016. Sigh. I don't really have the energy for all the "Best of..." lists yet.


New York Times: a new book about Alfred Hitchcock; the "untold story of Bram Stoker"; a taxonomy of monsters; a history of the asylum.

Book list: "the most interesting men and women in the world."


Neil Gaiman is a grandpa!

Friday Book Lists: 28 October 2016

A round-up of the week's bookish lists from your friend and mine, the Internet.

IndieBound bestsellers the week of Oct. 27

The Independent (UK): 11 best new novels

Barnes and Noble: The best books that scarred us for life. How I LOVED The Dollhouse Murders. Any time I see it mentioned I feel like I have to go read it all over again. (I feel that way about The Westing Game too.)

Nine new books to read for a historical Halloween

New York Times: New True Crime books for fall. Oh my LORD, why aren't there 48 hours in each day (you know, 24 hours to do the living, 24 hours just for reading?)? I want to read ALL of these books.

Red Online (UK): Books for little feminists

Booklist: Top 10 Art Books 2016, Top 10 Art Books for Youth 2016

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Now THIS is more like it: Mama Tried, by Emily Flake.

Remember a few weeks ago, when I was going on and on about how I'd love to see a parenting book whose author actually shared some of the gory details of childbirth? All I can say after reading Emily Flake's Mama Tried: Dispatches from the Seamy Underbelly of Modern Parenting, is HUZZAH!

Now THIS is what I'm talking about:

Mama tried"Just like in the movies, I was in the back of a cab making little hoo-hoo-hoo sounds and trying to assure the driver I would not have a baby in his car, though I couldn't guarantee I wouldn't crap all over it. Luckily for everyone concerned, the hospital was only a mile away; when I got out of the cab I was holding my belly and bellowing like a sow. I was put in a wheelchair and whisked into an examination room, where I stroked the wall very, very gently and waited for a real doctor (they'd sent in a med student to take my family history; I was impolite to him). A real doctor showed up, took a look at my lady parts, and took out a walkie-talkie. 'Clear a labor room,' she said into it. 'Wait, am I in labor??' I asked. 'You,' she said, clearly biting off the words 'you idiot,' 'are having a baby RIGHT NOW.' She said this because I was 9.5 centimeters dilated. That promise I made to the cabbie could very easily have been false, and I would have had the New Yorkiest of all possible birth stories to tell.

Only one thing saved the cab's upholstery: the baby was coming face-up. This is not nearly as worrisome as a butt-or feet-first baby, nor as awful as that thing where their head gets jammed to the side and they're somehow coming...neck-first? Yikes--but it does make the whole process a bit more difficult. There was an awful lot of pushing. I moaned piteously for ice...

But: back to my face-up baby, stuck in the canal. After a couple of hours we had all had it with the pushing; I asked if maybe they didn't have one of those vacuum thingies handy? They did. Three contractions, a Hoovering, and a big doctor squeezing down on my belly later, out came the baby. The placenta was less eager to make its debut; the cord snapped, and my OB--a...brisk woman--reached on up there with her hand to pluck it out of me. She regarded it quizzically: 'That's a really raggedy old-looking placenta,' she said." (pp. 86-88.)

Well, fucking hell and thank YOU, Emily Flake, THIS is what I'm looking for in a birth narrative, complete with not knowing when you should go to the hospital, birth not quite going the way you thought, doctor-being-a-dickhead moments. AMEN. And of course there's a reason I responded to this story with every fiber of my being...


When my second CRjr made his way onto the scene it played out much the same way: I dilated nicely and everyone at the hospital thought he would be popping out shortly after we arrived. Of course that is not what happened. I tried to dilate to the full 10 centimeters for many hours, and then pushed for several hours, before which a nurse actually said to me, "Huh, I hope he's not coming face-up, that can be..." and then she trailed off as she saw me looking at her, "...uncomfortable."

Of course he was coming face-up.

To make a long story short, because you, unlike me, may not be into gory birth stories, the littlest CRjr also made his appearance thanks to one of those "vacuum thingies." But, and here's the part you really may not need to know, I still have some physical issues from the experience. So for the last three years, no kidding, I have been beating myself up, thinking if I had just stayed home a little longer, I could have dilated further, birth could have gone faster, and maybe I could have avoided some problems...

But God bless Emily Flake, now I know that even if I'd arrived at that damn hospital at the full 10 centimeters things may not have gone any better. And I cannot tell you the good that this does for my soul. So maybe that's what I'm looking for in these birth narratives: solidarity with what women go through, and what they come back from.


Have I also mentioned that this book is hilarious? Not only is it a quick read, it's illustrated, and Flake's pictures and their captions are really the best parts of the book. Just imagine her pictures and captions for her description of the third trimester: "The Dampening." (Horrifying but hilarious.) At one point the author also asked her sister, a postpartum nurse and lactation consultant, who her least favorite patients were. Her sister's reply? "'Oh, you know, older, professional moms who read too many parenting websites.'" (p. 37.) In other words, patients just like the author. God love modern parenting.

It's a great book. Get it for any new (or newish) mom you know, who doesn't mind a bit of swearing, off-color humor, and a good gory birth story. (Or, even if you don't get this one, consider Let's Panic about Babies!, another hilarious, truthful book about parenting.)

Citizen Reading: 24 October 2016

A weekly selection of reading and book news, sometimes with completely inappropriate commentary.

Janitor-turned-author Thom Jones, has died, at age 71.

Malala Yousafzai (author of I Am Malala and Nobel Peace Prize Winner) has landed a picture book deal.

OOooohhh....a new illustrated edition of Jane Austen's Persuasion.

Trade book sales were up in May.

"Grit returns to young adult books." This explains why I am not reading much YA these days, I suppose. I am worn out from all the grit in my nonfiction reading.

I have zero interest in comics, zero interest in superheroes, zero interest in Alan Moore--but in case you're looking to get familiar with his work, here's a handy list of 16 of his "greatest stories."

Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar to be published as an ebook. Without the actual holes where the caterpillar ate through? That's just no fun.

A better model for book search and discovery. Yeah, yeah, we can accomplish everything with better search. I've heard it all before.

So you heard that Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature? I didn't much care about that either way, but to me, this seems like kind of a dick move on his part.

William Hill Sports Book Award (UK): Shortlist.

Snore: November 2016 LibraryReads list.

New J.R.R. Tolkien story to be published, 100 years after it was written.

The movie "Footloose" is now a children's book. Can you believe the soundtrack to "Footloose" was the first album I ever bought? As an actual ALBUM? God, I'm old. (In my defense: this was the first and only record I ever bought--by the time I was spending all my petty cash on music I had moved on to cassette tapes, baby.) Can you blame me? Look at how cute Kevin Bacon is. Hell, look at how cute the 1980s are!

AWESOME: "Fifty Shades of Muppets" trailer.

Trailer: HBO's "Big Little Lies" (based on the Liane Moriarty novel).

The only Barnes & Noble in the Bronx is closing. You've got to love Melville House. This is my favorite line: "so unless the shadowy cabal of real estate developers that I assume runs shit in this city decide to ramp up their plans to gentrify the Bronx, I doubt we’ll be seeing a stable return of the chain anytime soon."


New York Times: a look at Future Sex;a new biography of Ulysses S. Grant; a book about how and why we talk to ourselves; how two black brothers became sick of being "unwilling sideshow stars"; on a couple who helped shape America's nuclear war policy; saving nature, for the joy of it (here's another good review of this book); a new biography of Karl Marx.

Truly spooky nonfiction reads for Halloween.

Poet Mary Oliver is publishing a new book of autobiographical essays.


Consult your lawyer before you sell that signed Neil Gaiman collectible.

Friday Book Lists: 21 October 2016

A round-up of the week's bookish lists from your friend and mine, the Internet.

IndieBound: bestselling books the week of Oct. 21

4 audiobooks for fall

Amazon: 100 books for a lifetime of cooking

November LibraryReads on audio

Just looking at this list is giving me nightmares, much less reading the books on it. Creepy clown books

Poetry and picture books for little ghosts and goblins

Ten great reads for "wannabe Love Warriors" (I'm not a big fan of Glennon Doyle Melton, myself, but thought this might be a handy list for any librarians who have to tell their patrons that there's a waiting list for Love Warrior)

I was massively disappointed by Tracy Kidder's "A Truck Full of Money."

And that hurts me to say, because I am a huge Tracy Kidder fan.

In this nonfiction outing, Kidder provides a long-form character profile of Paul English, perhaps best known for selling his travel/search business to Priceline for 1.8 billion dollars. This of course made him, and his partners and investors, a "truck full of money." So what happens, English and Kidder seem to be asking, when someone makes a huge amount of money, when that may or may not have been their goal all along?

Well, apparently the answer to the question "what do you do with a lot of money?" is, nothing terribly interesting. At least, that is, if you are Paul English. I slogged through this whole book, and my only real question throughout was, why did Kidder think Paul English was interesting enough to sustain an entire book-long investigation?

So what did Paul English do? Well, he helped his partners and other longtime collaborators make enough money to make themselves secure. There's something to be said for that. And he gave a lot of money to charitable causes, but none of them terribly interesting or terribly personally strongly felt (to learn how to go about his philanthropy, he tried to learn from an older wealthy Bostonian who he viewed as a mentor and a friend, eventually giving money to many of the same causes as his mentor). There's definitely something to be said for that. And he started a new company, and spent money to try and help others achieve their company-starting dreams.

But in the end, a character profile needs, frankly, to be about a CHARACTER. Paul English is many things. Very, very smart. No one is arguing that. Very resilient. He grew up in a large family and worked a lot of jobs (including some that were less than legal), and he has struggled for many years with a diagnosis of both bipolar and hypomania, meaning he has tried to figure out how to live well while on medications. Not easy. But a character? I thought the most telling segment of the book, if one of the most boring, was the lengthy section on English's venture after selling Kayak: a company called Blade, basically meant to be an incubator for other tech businesses. Kidder details English's obsession with making his company and headquarters a nightclub (of all things) as well, called Blade at Night:

"You might have wondered if his plans for Blade's office were merely reproductions of his adolescence, the creation of a venue for his idea of fun, but he had a commercial rationale for Blade-by-night, which he put in a document addressed to is, to Billo and Schwenk [two of his longtime work partners]:

Blade will run monthly meetup parties, invite-only, for selected members of Boston's innovation scene. Our goal is to make these parties one of the best places for engineers and designers and artists to meet...

[He also taught at MIT during this time, and knew a group of four MIT computer science graduates who had already sold a software company.] Paul had lunch with them one afternoon to catch up on their latest enterprise. First, though, he had to tell them his own news, his plans for the Blade office.

He was just getting started--'And it turns into a nightclub at night,' he was saying--when, in unison, all four young engineers burst out laughing.

'And you just unplug the desk from the wall. Probably in thirty minutes thirty desks will disappear.'

'That sounds awesome!" cried the young woman of the group.

'And when I put my hand on the puck, the Grey Goose and Kahlua will light up...'

Softly, pensively, as if to himself, one of the young men said, 'I want to hang out at this nightclub.'" (pp. 185-186.)

And this is when he was nearly fifty. Ye Gods. When all the "finest minds" of our generation (so-called) can come up with after making tons of money is to incubate new software companies and give them a place to drink after hours, well, that is just not terribly interesting. Perhaps even more telling is the spec sheet for the "Blade truck," which takes up nearly two pages of the book and includes items like "under-car purple lights for effect when parked in our alley at night, maybe color changing to the music. :)" (p. 188.)

Give this one a miss. There's a million better computer/technology books to read (including Kidder's own The Soul of a New Machine, which, though outdated, is still way more fascinating than this book) and there's certainly better character portraits out there (including Kidder's own Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World).

Citizen Reading: 17 October 2016

A weekly selection of reading and book news, sometimes with completely inappropriate commentary.

A review of "the first social media photo-sharing app exclusively for book lovers," Litsy. I have no way to use apps, but they also seem to be getting a bit too specific for my tastes.

"Four life lessons I learned from reading The Girl On the Train": I enjoyed this article 100 times more than I enjoyed the book.

Booklist: Spotlight on first novels.

How curation is helping drive discovery. I got all sorts of giggles out of this article. A whole article to get around to the point that "personalized curation" might be the way to go when making your culture consumption choices. maybe talking to other humans you know and like to see what they're reading, watching, and listening to?

A book reviewer's bill of rights. Amen! I particularly enjoyed this rule: "The right to like a book by an author who is a shithead" (and particularly that the shithead they use for the example is Jonathan Franzen). Tee hee.

20 reasons why you should read literary magazines. Again, Amen! I've always kind of wondered why public libraries don't collect literary magazines more. I mean, really. I know it's not the popular thing to say these days but maybe they could buy just a few fewer copies of James Patterson, and pick up a literary magazine subscription instead?

Amazon now launching its stores?

Agatha Christie lives on in movies, forty years after her death.

NetGalley has acquired I never really know how to comment on these app/book recommendation website/publishing acquisitions stories. Mainly I just can't keep up with them all.

J.K. Rowling says the Fantastic Beasts movies will last for five installments.

What do you think about Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature?

Six new literary horror collections.

Literary maps for Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens.

Svetlana Alexievich, writer of the superlative Voices from Chernobyl, has been shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize (formerly the Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction).

An interview with Nicholas Carr (I'm in the middle of his new book, Utopia Is Creepy).



Learning American history through its ghost stories.

Jeffrey Kluger will write a book about the Apollo 8 space mission.

An author gives you his choice for Worst. President. Ever.

New York Times: three excellent books on long-term investing; a new biography of Hitler; a review of Tracy Kidder's new book about Paul English; Two new books about the Suez Crisis in 1956.

Oh god, more nonfiction from James Patterson.

New memoirs from "the poor white."


Neil Gaiman announces a new picture book!

Friday Book Lists: 14 October 2016

A round-up of the week's bookish lists from your friend and mine, the Internet.

IndieBound: Bestselling books the week of Oct. 13

36 novels about time travel.

Harper's Bazaar: 16 books you need to read in November. I'll be getting Victoria the Queen, natch. 8 drinks from books that will warm you up

Parade Magazine: The best books to read on fall vacation

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Ten kids' books that celebrate fall

Really? This woman was "not pretty enough"?

If you'd asked me before I read her biography, who is Helen Gurley Brown?, about the only thing I would have been able to tell you was that I thought she was connected to the magazine Cosmopolitan in some way.

And that is correct. Now that I have read her biography, Not Pretty Enough: The Unlikely Triumph of Helen Gurley Brown (by Gerri Hirshey), I know that she was editor-in-chief of that magazine for more than thirty years, from 1965 to 1997. I further know that she published her bestselling book Sex and the Single Girl in 1962, when she was forty years old.

And now I know a good deal many other things about her, both tangible and intangible. I only got this book from the library because it got a lot of press attention this summer; I've never been interested in Brown at all.* I learned she had a really tough childhood, in which her father died when she was only ten years old, and in which she had a close but difficult relationship with her mother. I learned she worked a lot of crappy jobs as she tried to earn enough of a living to lift herself and her family (including a sister who suffered from polio and required medical care and help) out of poverty. I learned how she entered into a late(ish) marriage with David Brown, and how the two of them shared both a professional and working bond as well as a loving one. I learned she could be a difficult woman; an extremely driven woman; a painfully frugal woman (even when she had way more than enough money); a stubborn woman.

In short I learned that Helen Gurley Brown was a lot more interesting person than I ever would have thought, if I'd continued only to think of her in terms of her Cosmopolitan legacy. I found it rather hard to put this biography down (although I think I liked the subject matter better than the biographer's writing style), and you know? I kind of ended up liking old Helen.

One of my favorite stories from the book was one about how Nora Ephron interviewed and wrote about her for Esquire:

"Nora Ephron's Esquire article was titled 'If You're a Little Mouseburger, Come with Me. I was a Mouseburger and I Will Help You,' and it stands as the smartest comic/simpatico distillation of HGB's maddening complexities to date...Ephron was a seasoned journalist by then, but she was not prepared for HGB's insistent candor. Helen gave Ephron the name and phone number of a married ad executive she had an affair with during her single years. Ephron interviewed the man, who was still married and was perplexed that Helene would identify him. She judged it too awkward to use in the article.

'I can't believe you gave me his name,'" Ephron told Helen later.

'Oh. Well. Yes.'

Unbidden, Helene also announced to a startled Ephron that she was very good in bed and she liked sex, very much. Ephron served it all up with both glee and deadpan reserve; she had the canny and humane instinct to merely quote Helen at length, and meticulously..." (p. 322.)

I kind of got a kick that she named the married man, and that he was "perplexed" by that. I'll bet!

This is a big and a comprehensive biography, and for the most part it's very readable. But sometimes I found Hirshey's voice a bit overwhelming, as when she told this story about Beverly Johnson's cover shoot:

"And for the models? Beverly Johnson would like to explain how her first Cosmopolitan cover made her a woman. No lie. Listen." (p. 340.) So then the story goes on that the head of Johnson's modeling agency didn't think Cosmo was a good career move, and then you have this: "Johnson, a skinny, brainy African American girl from Buffalo, New York, politely but resolutely got up in Mrs. Ford's business. 'Why not?'" (p. 341.)

"No lie. Listen."? A bit familiar, that. Also: "got up in Mrs. Ford's business"? I don't know. That's all just a bit more casual than I really want my biography writing to be.

But overall? A good story and a singular woman. It's worth a read, if you've got the time (it's nearly 500 pages long, although it's got quite a few pages of notes and index.)

(Oh, and regarding the title of this post? Evidently the title of the book is how Brown thought of herself. Really? She seemed quite attractive; she had a good head for business and advertising; by her own account she loved sex. If this woman isn't "pretty enough" none of the rest of us stand a chance.)

*In fact, the few times I ever read a Cosmo magazine, mainly in high school, I found it boring and actually not as titillating as its cover headlines always seemed to promise.

Citizen Reading: 10 October 2016

Novelist Gloria Naylor has died.

Amazon's latest Prime perk: free ebooks and other reading material. They call the program, imaginatively enough, "Prime Reading."

Sweet Valley High is getting a graphic-novel adaptation. Jessica and Liz Wakefield in graphic novel form! When I slept over at a friend's house in junior high, I literally got up earlier so I could plow my way through her collection of Sweet Valley Highs...good times, good times. When I think of how I wasted my brain's plasticity as a teenager...sigh.

Repurposing newspaper dispensers to become Little Free Libraries.

A lot of people cry foul (our own dear Jenny from Reading the End among them) at the naming of Elena Ferrante.

National Book Award: Finalists.

I find everything about this article gross. Really, dude, you need Google to step up and delve into more of your personal information and email conversations just so it can get better at SUGGESTING BOOKS TO YOU? For Christ's sake, why is everyone having such problems with book "discoverability"? I can't move without tripping over books I want to read. Even if I'm not going to the library or to the bookstore I still sometimes come home with books I want to read. I'm not even sure how that happens. Doesn't this guy have any friends who read that he can converse with once in a while? I am annoyed that we all think computers and algorithms can and should be picking our reading for us.

Nonfiction movie news: The Professor and the Madman closer to screen.

Novelist Arundhati Roy is publishing a new novel, twenty years after her last hit. Good for you, Arundhati Roy. I weary of people pounding out a lackluster novel every year. (Oh, and while I'm taking shots at Nicholas Sparks, let me just say, men, stop coloring your hair. It looks ridiculous.)

Hogarth publishing house's new editorial director: Sarah Jessica Parker.


Oh, my God, an article by Joyce Carol Oates in which she reviews the new biography about Shirley Jackson and two of Jackson's own books. I am about to keel over with joy. Although I am actually linking to the story without having read it--I'm tired tonight and I am going to save this article for a little treat during my daylight hours, when I will hopefully be able to concentrate on it, even if I have to give the kids a video to watch while I read it. Screen time = Mommy's Special Reading about Shirley Jackson Time.

OOOoooohhh...a new biography about E.B. White!

Oooh, again, a book titled Messy, about how "imperfections can make us more creative." If only you could see my disgusting messy house right now. I must be the most creative person on earth!

Wow...Bruce Springsteen's memoir has already sold more than 100,000 copies.

Now scholars are writing books about binge-watching TV. I totally need to be a scholar.

Love author David McCullough? You can expect a new book from 2019.

Trayvon Martin's parents have a book deal for nonfiction titled Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin.

There's a sequel to essay collection The Bitch In the House, and it's titled The Bitch Is Back. I must have it. (See? That's book discoverability. Not so hard.)


Neil Gaiman's American Gods comes to comic-book form.

Friday Book Lists: 7 October 2016

A round-up of the week's bookish lists from your friend and mine, the Internet.

Indiebound: Bestselling books the week of Oct. 6

Reader's guide to this fall's big book awards

Amazon: Ten best books of October

Cultured Vultures: Most Anticipated Books of October

"Vice-presidential reads" Best books of 2016 (so far)

Christian Science Monitor: 12 really good new sports books

Rivka Galchen's Little Labors.

As previously noted, since having kids I've gone gaga for parenting books.

What's really scary--to me, at least--is that, of the parenting books, I read, I only post about a few of them, which means I am reading way too many parenting books, both of the self-help and memoir/essay varieties. I can't say I really enjoy a ton of them, but yet I keep reading them.

Little laborsSo when I saw that novelist Rivka Galchen had published a little memoir/essay collection titled Little Labors, I thought, well, I'm going to have to read that too. It's definitely one of the more "literary" examples of the genre; here's how The New Republic reviewed it: "Everything one could possibly need is dispensed via dense, tiny, mysterious pellets--a fortified shot of literary enrichment we didn't even know we needed, but that now feels vital and enthralling."

Ostensibly the book is about babies and books. But the books in question are something a somewhat avant-garde novelist would read and comment upon, like Sei Shonagon's The Pillow Book. This is not a book where the author dishes about giving birth and then blabs about all the celebrity memoirs she's reading and what they're making her think about. (And really, weirdly, female comedian memoirs did make me think about gender issues and culture, a lot.) That's the sort of book I would write, low-culture boob that I am. Galchen's is more, what's the word I'm looking for...removed? Here's the first chapter, in its entirety:

"Children's books. Books for young children rarely feature children. They feature animals, or monsters, or, occasionally, children behaving like animals or monsters. Books for adults almost invariably feature adults." (p. 3.)

Well, okay. True enough. But nothing here was as gritty in a motherhood way (read: not violent, but definitely sometimes gory), which is still kind of what I'm searching for in one of these memoirs. You know what I really want to read? I want to read a book of essays in which women share all the details of their birth experiences. Really. I think it would be instructive. Horrifying, but instructive, and perhaps even beautiful. Come on. People write roughly a million horrible war memoirs every year--why is that bloody subject okay, but birth is not?

Anyway. Here's another bit from Galchen's book, just to give you the flavor:

"My life with the very young human resembles those romantic comedies in which two people who don't speak the same language still somehow fall in love. Like say, that movie I saw on an airplane with the wide-eyed Brazilian woman and the doofy American man who end up together, despite not being able to communicate via words...Yes, it was like those comedies, only without the upsetting gender dynamic of the effectively mute female. Though with the same believability. And arguably the dynamic might still be considered upsetting." (p. 31.)

It was okay. But if anyone's got any suggestions for me about that gory book about motherhood, please do let me know.*

*I think this is why I love Rachel Cusk. She's been more honest than anyone else I've seen about what goes on in the immediate aftermath of having a baby, and in marriage.

Citizen Reading: 3 October 2016

A weekly selection of reading and book news, sometimes with completely inappropriate commentary.

Trending now in nonfiction: time travel.

Novels about the misery of work. Can I get an amen from the choir!

Reading is popping up in crime sentencing. (And you can see why: this infographic clearly outlines the value of reading).

Who knew? Reese Witherspoon is turning into a force behind popular books and their movie adaptations.

Booklist: Spotlight on series nonfiction and food.

Trailer: Anne of Green Gables (the new one). Okay, I'm intrigued by the casting choice of Martin Sheen as Matthew Cuthbert. Still and all, it's going to be VERY HARD to top the original (or the original Gilbert Blythe).

New Adult Romance: An introduction.

Have they finally figured out who Elena Ferrante really is? Here's my question: why does everyone care so much?

National Medal of Arts winner: Sandra Cisneros.

2017 will bring...more Dan Brown! Thank goodness. How I've missed Dan Brown. (Although compared to James Patterson and his insta-books that at this point he surely must just be excreting from his pores...or somewhere...Dan Brown's works look like lovingly crafted works of literary artistry.)

Lonely Planet to launch a new food imprint.

Okay, have you seen this AWESOME CONTEST? Go forth and enter right now!

"Lusty Librarian Romance."

Students still prefer textbooks in print.

Okay, you know what? Algorithms do not know everything, people, and they certainly can't tell you what's going to be a bestseller.

Love Bookshelves of Doom? Then you're probably going to enjoy The Backlist too!


In the New York Times: new nonfiction about the power struggle at Ground Zero; Games people play; and Shirley Jackson.

A new Iraq War memoir.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, another book on how to design a perfect life. Where's the book titled, Oh, Just Give Up Already and Try to Enjoy the Shit Life You Have, You're Too Tired to Do Anything Else Anyway? I'd BUY that book.


BBC Radio 4 to adapt Neil Gaiman's Stardust.