January is the time of year when all the “Best Books” lists for the prior year come out. They are useful to catch up on the best books you missed. But, it’s overwhelming. The New York Times, NPR, the Washington Post, Publisher’s Weekly, etc. all publish lists. What to do? The only list you need is The Ultimate List. Compiled by Literary Hub’s Emily Temple, it lists the books that appeared the most often on 52 lists from 37 sources. While she acknowledges she might have missed some lists, I think it’s safe to say the most important books of the year appear here.
Deadline Hollywood reports that Fox 2000 has picked up the film rights for Delia Owens’ popular Where the Crawdads Sing. Reese Witherspoon will produce the adaptation. Set mid-20th century, this suspenseful novel follows the life of Kya, who is raised and lives as an adult, in isolation in the wild marshes of North Carolina. Known as the “marsh girl,” Kya is implicated in a local murder. Owens’ evocative writing brings to life this wild, but beautiful, location and character. Fans of Karen Dionne’s The Marsh King’s Daughter and the nonfiction Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover will enjoy this title.
After a decade, Katherine Howe has written a sequel to her sleeper hit, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. It’s called The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs and will publish in May. It’s perfect for readers who enjoy history with a touch of the supernatural. Colson Whitehead, author of the Pulitzer-prize winning The Underground Railroad, is publishing a new novel in July. It’s called The Nickel Boys and is about the brutal Arthur G. Dozier Reform School which operated in Florida until 2011. It closed after allegations of systemic long-term abuse became public.
Variety reports that the play adaptation by Aaron Sorkin of To Kill a Mockingbird has officially become the highest single-week grossing American play in Broadway history. Happy reading!