The BookBrowse Review

Published January 22, 2020

ISSN: 1930-0018

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In This Edition of
The BookBrowse Review

Highlighting indicates debut books

Editor's Introduction
Hardcovers Paperbacks
First Impressions
Latest Author Interviews
Recommended for Book Clubs
Book Discussions

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Publishing Soon


Historical Fiction

Short Stories/Essays




Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Speculative, Alt. History


History, Science & Current Affairs

Young Adults




News Roundup

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Barnes & Noble and Oprah both pick "American Dirt" for book club
(Jan 22 2020)

Barnes & Noble has chosen American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins as its February national book club selection.

Oprah Winfrey has also chosen American Dirt as her latest book club pick. As quoted by O: The Oprah Magazine, Oprah said, "Like so many of us, I've read newspaper articles and watched television news stories and seen movies about the plight of families looking for a better life. But this story changed the way I see what it means to be a migrant in a whole new way."

Jack Reacher author Lee Child passes writing baton to brother
(Jan 21 2020)

Lee Child (the pen name of James Grant), the author of the best-selling Jack Reacher novels, is handing over the writing duties to his younger brother.

Andrew Grant, aged 51, is already an established author and will write under the pen name Andrew Child.

Child feels that he "ageing out" of being able to produce more of the books, so has decided "to pass the baton to someone who can." He describes his younger sibling as the "best tough-guy writer I have read in years," saying "he's me, fifteen years ago, full of energy and ideas."

Source: BBC News

'American Dirt' sparks conversations about the politics of fiction
(Jan 21 2020)

Cummins’ novel, published Jan 21, about the border crisis has already sparked a cacophony of reactions from writers across the United States. Some have praised her for humanizing the migrant tale, and for sending a timely and important message to the world about the United States’ failing immigration policies. Others have said the book is riddled with stereotypes and clichés, that it’s inaccurate and an act of appropriation... In sum, the book has raised divisive questions about censorship, representation and the politics of fiction, homing in on a single dilemma: Who has the right to tell certain stories?

Christopher Tolkien dies, aged 95
(Jan 17 2020)

Christopher Tolkien, who published the posthumous works of his father J R R Tolkien, has died at the age of 95. The Lord of the Rings writer’s third and youngest son, Tolkien went on to edit or oversee the publication of 24 editions of his father’s works... Aged five, Tolkien started editing, promised tuppence by his father for every mistake her noticed. He typed up manuscripts and drew maps of Middle-earth, branded "my chief critic and collaborator" by his father...

Bill in Missouri raises fears of book banning in public libraries--and prison sentences for librarians who don't comply
(Jan 17 2020)

Free speech and library advocates are sounding the alarm this week over a bill proposed in Missouri that seeks to establish "parental library review boards" as a condition of state funding, with the boards having the power to decide which "age-appropriate" materials can be accessible to minors within the library. Librarians who refuse to comply with the board's decisions would be subject to a fine, and up to a year in prison.

Bookselling 2019 Update: U.K., France & Germany
(Jan 15 2020)

Shelf Awareness reports on the state of independent bookstores in the UK, France and Germany:

In the U.K., the majority of respondents to The Bookseller's Indie Bookshop Christmas Trading Survey saw an increase in sales year on year, with gains between 7% and 30%.

French booksellers continued their upward trajectory in 2019, with turnover increasing by 7% year on year despite the disruptive impact of strikes.

In Germany, "taking into account all main retail channels, turnover rose by 1.4% compared to the previous year."

Jason Reynolds named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature
(Jan 14 2020)

Since the 2014 publication of his first YA novel, When I Was the Greatest, Jason Reynolds has produced 15 books—a bounty that seems even more impressive considering he has also spent hundreds of days each year visiting schools and prisons, and speaking at conferences and conventions. In 2020, he will add a huge new responsibility to his schedule: on Thursday he will be sworn in as the next National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, taking the reins from Jacqueline Woodson, who has served in the post since 2018.

Romance novelist Johanna Lindsey dies, aged 67
(Jan 14 2020)

Bestselling romance novelist Johanna Lindsey, whose debut title, Captive Pride was released in 1977, died in October aged 67 (her family only recently made the news public). She published around 55 novels, selling at least 60 million copies worldwide. Her last novel, Temptation's Darling, was released in July 2019.

New York Public Library’s most checked-out books say a lot about what we read and why
(Jan 13 2020)

The New York Public Library has just released the titles of the 10 most checked-out books in its 125-year history. Bestsellers may offer a snapshot of passing fads, but this remarkable list compiled from more than a century of circulation data is like a literary cardiogram of the nation’s beating heart.

NBCC Awards Finalists Announced
(Jan 13 2020)

The National Book Critics Circle has announced 30 finalists in six categories––autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry––for the annual National Book Critic Circle Awards.

Ram Dass, Proponent of LSD Turned New Age Guru, Dies at 88
(Jan 13 2020)

Baba Ram Dass, who epitomized the 1960s of legend by popularizing psychedelic drugs with Timothy Leary, a fellow Harvard academic, before finding spiritual inspiration in India, died on Sunday at his home on Maui, Hawaii. He was 88.

Having returned from India as a bushy-bearded, barefoot, white-robed guru, Ram Dass, who was born Richard Alpert, became a peripatetic lecturer on New Age possibilities and a popular author of more than a dozen inspirational books.

The first of his books, “Be Here Now” (1971), sold more than two million copies and established him as an exuberant exponent of finding salvation through helping others.

Don Winslow and Stephen King offer $200,000 if White House holds a press briefing
(Jan 10 2020)

Bestselling novelists Stephen King and Don Winslow have offered to donate $200,000 to a children’s hospital if the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, will hold a press conference.

White House press briefings used to be a regular affair, but the last one was held more than 300 days ago, according to CNN, by Grisham’s predecessor in the role, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Source: The Guardian

Words of the Year: A Decade in Review
(Jan 10 2020)

Merriam-Webster have published a summary of their Words of the Year for the 2010s, with each year's top word and a runner-up (in brackets). As a group, they tell us a lot about what was on our minds during the second decade of the 21st century.

2010: Austerity (Shellacking)
2011: Pragmatic (Vitriol)
2012: Socialism + Capitalism (Malarkey)
2013 Science (Cognitive)
2014: Culture (Insidious)
2015: -ism (Marriage)
2016: Surreal (Bigly)
2017: Feminism (Hurricane)
2018: Justice (Laurel)
2019 They (Impeach)

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