The Best Reviewed Books of Early 2020, Nan A. Talese Announces Retirement, and More

by Staff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

The editors at Book Marks unveil the twenty best reviewed books of the first half of the year. At the top of the list are Cleanness by Garth Greenwell, Weather by Jenny Offill, and The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel. “Despite the unceasing nightmare that has been 2020, magnificent literature still abounds,” write the editors.

After more than sixty years in publishing, Nan A. Talese has announced she will retire at the end of 2020. A renowned editor and publisher, Talese worked at Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Houghton Mifflin before founding her eponymous imprint at Doubleday in 1990. “Nan’s brilliance, generosity of spirit, and editorial expertise have changed the bookselling world at large. We will all miss working with her immensely,” said Madeline McIntosh, CEO of Penguin Random House. (Publishers Weekly

Comedian and writer Phoebe Robinson is partnering with Plume to launch her own imprint: Tiny Reparations Books. According to a statement released by Penguin Random House, Tiny Reparations will publish literary fiction and nonfiction and seek to “highlight and amplify unique and diverse voices.” (Vulture)  

Simon & Schuster held a virtual memorial service yesterday afternoon for former CEO Carolyn Reidy. During the ceremony, Jonathan Karp, who recently assumed the role of CEO at the company, announced that Simon & Schuster will establish scholarships to four different publishing programs in honor of Reidy, focusing on students from underrepresented groups in publishing. (Publishers Weekly)

“One day I realized I couldn’t remember my phone number, another that I couldn’t remember my brother’s middle name. But the most stubborn fact seemed to be that I had forgotten how to read.” Patricia Lockwood recalls her intense and drawn-out experience of COVID-19. (London Review of Books)

“My mother used to buy me any and every book with the word ‘Sarah’ in the title.” Sarah M. Broom features in the latest installment of the New York Times By the Book series. 

Carmen Maria Machado writes about adopting her beloved dog, Rosie. “She looked—there’s no other word for it—miscellaneous. A miscellaneous old lady who belonged with us.” (Argos & Artemis)