Dear NYT BR; What’s Happening?

For the second time in two months, a potential bestseller appears on the cover of the Book Review; this Sunday’s issue gives the cover treatment to Stephen King’s Under the Dome. It is, however, difficult to decipher whether the reviewer likes the book. While King’s “continued and slightly frenzied commerce with his muse has been one of the more enthralling spectacles in American literature,” his prose is “not all smooth sailing. Given King’s extraordinary career-long dominance, we might expect him at this point to be stylistically complete, turning perfect sentences, as breezily at home in his idiom as P. G. Wodehouse.” (P.G. Wodehouse? Really?)

But, wait, there’s even more potential bestseller coverage. King’s unwitting cohort in the WalMart/Amazon/Target price wars, The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, is also reviewed (“breathtaking”) as well as a book that appears on the nonfiction list for the first time this week, at #15, William Shawcross’s The Queen Mother (“more a document replete with data than a book designed to entertain”). Even more surprising, the #13 NF bestseller, My Life Outside the Ring, by Hulk Hogan is also reviewed; he “can be a lively, breezy narrator,” but “his compulsive confessing feels more like an effort to pre-empt the Us Weeklys and TMZs of the world than an authentic attempt at soul-searching.”

Adding to a string of acclaim for BEA librarian favorite,  Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Kate Christensen (Trouble) declares that she “loved” Rhoda Jantzen’s book.

This issue also features children’s books, including the Best Illustrated Childrens Books of 2009, plus reviews of several childrens and YA titles:

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