Reese Witherspoon chose The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward as her March book club pick.
The Today Show’s Read with Jenna pick is Writers & Lovers by Lily King.
The Good Morning America book club picked In Five Years by Rebecca Serle.
The March Pennie’s Pick at Costco is Lost Boy Found by Kirsten Alexander.
The PBS NewsHour-The New York Times Now Read This book club chose Dani Shapiro‘s Inheritance.
Barnes & Noble has started announcing their four Books of the Month titles online, in timely fashion:
Normal People, by Sally Rooney
Chesapeake Requiem, by Earl Swift
The Hunting Party, by Lucy Foley
The Bookwanderers, by Anna James
Amazon also named the Lily King novel as their Spotlight Pick, with Kate Elizabeth Russell‘s My Dark Vanessa as their Featured Debut. As previously announced, Russell’s novel is also the No. 1 pick for the Indie Next and Library Reads lists — but it will not be the next Oprah’s Book Club selection. That had been the plan and the publication date was moved from January to March to accommodate but it was recently confirmed to PL that Oprah ultimately decided not to move forward in designating the title. (Russell was originally scheduled for an Oprah’s Book Club panel at the Palm Beach Book Festival later in March but withdrew from the show. Jeanine Cummins had also once been scheduled for that panel, which has been repositioned as an O Magazine panel with original guest Liz Moore and Kiley Reid.)
Following some questions about the book online, Russell shared that the novel, about the psychosexual manipulation of a 15-year-old girl by her middle-aged English teacher, was “inspired by my own experiences as a teenager.” The book has been widely praised in advance, and was sold for seven figures in a two-book deal, with strong licensing around the world. A William Morrow spokesperson tells us “retailer support remains strong” and “we can’t wait for readers to discover this incredible book for themselves.”
Despite the big expectations, unlike the launch for AMERICAN DIRT, Morrow only has three author events listed for Russell. The spokesperson explained, “It’s often our strategy when it comes to debuts – even those that are as anticipated as MY DARK VANESSA – that we wait until the paperback reprint, when there is an established fan base, to send an author out more widely.” Russell is doing plenty of media, however, and recently told Marie Claire: “The conversation got really personal and really intense really quickly, as can happen on social media, especially on Twitter. And it became apparent that my presence was not going to be helpful for the conversation and certainly not helpful for my own mental health. So I just removed myself from the situation and let it play out for a bit.
“In terms of what the larger conversation was about: writers’ experiences of having their work submitted to Big Publishing—it’s a really intimidating and opaque process for writers. So I really support being open and transparent about how that process played out for each of us individually.” (She says it took her five months, and 66 queries, to get representation — ultimately with Hillary Jacobson at ICM.)
As for Amazon’s picks, the list also includes Kawai Strong Washburn’s Sharks in the Time of Saviors, excerpted in our Buzz Books Spring/Summer 2020 sampler and available for download now. The rest of the picks:
The Mirror & the Light, by Hilary Mantel
Yellow Bird, by Sierra Crane Murdoch
Deacon King Kong, by James McBride
Greenwood, by Michael Christie
The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich
A Good Neighborhood, by Therese Anne Fowler
The City We Became, by N.K. Jamison
In Five Years, by Rebecca Serle
Wine Girl, by Victoria James