True Story

Michelle Obama’s Memoir is Finally Here!

Hello hello, nonfiction readers! This week marks the publication of another book that might be the biggest nonfiction release of 2018 – Becoming by Michelle Obama.

Sponsored by Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom by Ariel Burger.

The world remembers Elie Wiesel—Nobel laureate, activist, and author of more than forty books—as a great humanist. He passed away in July of 2016. Now, in Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom, we see him as never before—not only as an extraordinary human being, but as a master teacher. Written by Wiesel’s devoted protégé and friend, Ariel Burger, Witness takes us inside the classroom, where listening and storytelling keep memory alive. Witness provides a front row seat to these lessons in compassion, teaching us that listening to a witness, makes us all witnesses. In this book, Wiesel’s legacy lives on.

According to Barnes and Noble, the former First Lady’s memoir sold more preorders than any other adult title since Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman in 2015. Oprah also selected the book for her next book club pick. On Tuesday, Oprah also helped kick off Obama’s enormous fall book tour in front of a sold-out crowd of 14,000 people in Chicago. Obama also signed books at 57th Street Books, a community bookstore on Chicago’s south side.

“It seems like yesterday that @barackobama and I were taking our girls to @57thstreetbooks store. Today, I was there with a book of my own. Thanks to everyone who braved the cold and stopped by. #IAmBecoming” — From Michelle Obama’s Instagram

I have to say, I am just over-the-moon delighted by this news. I am so happy that the biggest publishing story of this year isn’t going to be our current president (even if one of the major pre-release headlines from Becoming was that Obama criticized Trump for his advocacy of birtherism). I love that we’re finally hearing from Obama after she had to spend so many years holding herself back. It’s just so inspiring. A few other links of note:

That seems like enough for now, although I imagine you’ll see a lot more about the book around Book Riot in the next few weeks – it seems like just about every editor and writer has a copy of this one. Now, let’s round out this newsletter with a few more bookish news stories from the last few weeks:

Last week, Amazon announced their 10 best books of 2018. In the top ten, there were three nonfiction selections – Educated by Tara Westover, Indianapolis by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic, and The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú. I loved Educated, liked The Line Becomes a River, and haven’t read Indianapolis. If you keep going into the top 20, which is how Amazon has it listed on their website, you’ll find four more nonfiction titles, including one of my favorites, Bad Blood by John Carreyrou.

Publishers Weekly also put out their top books of 2018, which is another pretty interesting (and long) list. I like that they don’t pull nonfiction apart too much for that one, it makes for a list that should have something for everyone.

Barack and Michelle Obama have purchased the rights to The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis, the first purchase as part of their development deal with Netflix. The book, which I think I will finally get from the library this week, “follows the chaos and mismanagement that ensued in the departments of Energy, Agriculture and Commerce in the handoff from President Barack Obama to President Donald Trump.” Lewis has had several of his books turned into films – Moneyball, The Big Short, and The Blind Side – so there’s precedent for turning these kinds of data-driven deep dives into compelling movies.

I’m starting to really like B&N Reads monthly nonfiction lists – I appreciate that they pull together new releases and new in paperback titles. This month, they’ve got new history titles, and new memoirs and biographies.

And with that, I’ll sign off by wishing you the happiest of weekends! You can find me on Twitter @kimthedork, and co-hosting the For Real podcast here at Book Riot with questions and comments!