Hachette Cancels Woody Allen Memoir; Oprah Puts Herself, American Dirt On Trial & Drops My Dark Vanessa | Book Pulse

The Oprah Book Club TV show about American Dirt puts Oprah herself "on trial." News breaks that Oprah dropped My Dark Vanessa because she was spooked over its own controversy. Time unveils its 100 Women of the Year project, many are authors. Hachette Book Group employees walked out yesterday in protest of the publication of the Woody Allen memoir; today the company announced they were dropping the book. There is much adaptation news, including Charile and the Chocolate Factory and Exit West. There is plenty of Page to Screen news, too.

Want to get the latest book news delivered to your inbox each day? Sign up for our daily Book Pulse newsletter.

This story was updated on 3/6/20 at 4:10pm.

Oprah "On Trial"

Oprah Winfrey, embroiled in the controversy over American Dirt, dropped My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (William Morrow: Harper; LJ starred review) as her March book club pick due to its short lived online controversy. USA Today writes that Winfrey told the AP last month that she did not want to ‘wade’ again into controversies that took away attention from the books themselves.” 

The author and publisher knew it was to be the March pick last October and they moved the release date from January to March for the book club’s schedule. Vulture has more details.

As to the current Oprah controversary, USA Today writes that the Apple+ show now out puts “the book, author Jeanine Cummins and Winfrey herself on trial.”

Oprah said “This has taken up a lot of my energy, a lot of her (Cummins') energy, and it's taken away my attention from why people want to read books." Oprah also said that she was “guilty of not looking for Latinx writers.” The story is widely reported in the L.A. Times and The Guardian too and USA Today has an update based on the airing of the show.

Briefly Noted

The NYT picks 11 books for the week.

Paste names the “The 10 Best Young Adult Books of March.”

CrimeReads selects “5 Psychological Thrillers You Need to Read This Month.”

The April Indie Next list is out. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf: Random House; LJ starred review) is the No. 1 pick.

The finalists for the Joyce Carol Oates Prize are announced.

Time unveils its 100 Women of the Year project, a chance to go back and spotlight women who were overlooked with 89 new Time covers (11 times a woman was selected as person of the year and those covers remain). The project covers 1920 through today. Virginia Woolf makes the list as does Toni Morrison. Hillary Clinton, J.K. Rowling, Oprah, Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai, Rachel Carson, Greta Thunberg, Gloria Steinem and Bell Hooks are among the authors who do too.

Michael J. Fox is writing a new book, No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality (Macmillan, November 17, 2020). People has details. Also, a new book is on the way from Colin Quinn, Overstated: A Coast-to-Coast Roast of the Fifty States (St. Martin’s: Macmillan). People writes to expect it before the 2020 election.

Electric Lit interviews Emily Nemens, The Cactus League (FSG: Macmillan; LJ starred review).

The Guardian features Sadie Jones, The Snakes (Harper).

Tor.com’s articles on Queering SF turn to comics.

The NYT celebrates Robin as Batman’s sidekick turns 80. Also, an appreciation of “How Poetry Shakes UP the National Desk’s Morning Meetings.”

After Hachette Book Group employees staged a walkout in protest of the publication of Woody Allen's memoir yesterday, the company announced today that they are canceling the book.

The Panorama Project will “spearhead a consumer survey measuring immersive media consumption and buying behaviors across platforms and formats including analog and digital books, film, TV, and gaming.” Also, be on the lookout for a report and toolkit identifying best practices for author events. LJ has details.

Author Zara S. Steiner has died. The NYT has an obituary.

Page to Screen

March 6:

Hillary, a documentary about the author, presidential candidate, former first lady, and Secretary of State. Hulu. Reviews | Trailer

Spenser Confidential, based on Robert B. Parker's Wonderland by Ace Atkins (G.P. Putnam's Sons: Random House). Netflix. Reviews | Trailer

The Burnt Orange Heresy, based on The Burnt Orange Heresy by Charles Willeford (The Overlook Press: ABRAMS). Theatrical release. Reviews | Trailer

First Cow, based on The Half-Life by Jonathan Raymond (Bloomsbury). Theatrical release. Reviews | Trailer

Escape from Pretoria, based on Inside Out: Escape from Pretoria Central Prison by Tim Jenkin (Jacana Media). Theatrical release. Reviews | Trailer

The Protector, based on Karakalem ve Bir Delikanlının Tuhaf Hikayesi' by Nilüfer İpek Gökdel (Dex Kitap). Netflix. No reviews | Trailer

Twin Murders: The Silence of the White City, based on El silencio de la ciudad blanca by Eva Garcia Sáenz (Vintage Espanol). Netflix. Reviews | Trailer

Zero, Zero, Zero based on ZeroZeroZero: Look at Cocaine and All You See Is Powder. Look Through Cocaine and You See the World by Roberto Saviano (Penguin). Amazon. Reviews (scroll down) | Trailer


Entertainment Weekly reviews My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (William Morrow: Harper; LJ starred review), giving it a B+ and writing that “Russell spools out her fractured narrative like a sort of feverish memory play.”

The Washington Post reviews The Rock Blaster by Henning Mankell, translated by George Goulding (Vintage: Random House). It is Mankell’s first novel, now out in the US five years after the famous author’s death. The Post writes "the book shows a gifted storyteller at the start of an illustrious career.

Book Marks gathers “The Best Reviewed Books of the Week.”

Authors on Air

The Russo brothers, Michelle and Barack Obama’s Higher Ground Productions, and Netflix are adapting Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West. Ava DuVernay is adapting the Wings of Fire books by Tui T. Sutherland for TV. Testament by David Morrell is headed to the movies. Billy Porter talks about playing a genderless Fairy Godmother in the new Cinderella film. The film Greyhound, starring Tom Hanks and based on a C.S. Forester novel, is moved to June and a trailer is out. Philipp Meyer’s American Rust is set for Showtime. A number of Scott Galloway’s books are getting adapted. Erin Benzakein, the author of the Floret flower books, is getting a show with Magnolia, the Chip and Joanna Gaines network. There is a trailer. The Network launches on Oct. 4. Deadline reports on all.

Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit and Thor) will direct two new adaptations of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for Netflix. One focuses on the story from the books, the other spins off a tale about the Oompa-Loompas. Entertainment Weekly has details.

Amazon options Rebecca Roanhorse’s short story “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™” Publishers Weekly has details.

NPR considers The Booksellers documentary. The NYT also has a feature. In the NYT as well is a story about the adaptation of The Plot Against America.

PBS NewsHour has discussion questions for Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro (Anchor: Random House).

The Today show features Napkin Finance: Build Your Wealth in 30 Seconds or Less by Tina Hay (Dey Street Books: Harper).

Carrie Underwood, Find Your Path: Honor Your Body, Fuel Your Soul, and Get Strong with the Fit52 Life (Dey Street Books: Harper), will be on with Jimmy Fallon tonight.

I Know This Much Is True gets a trailer. The HBO adaptation arrives on April 27.

Want to get the latest book news delivered to your inbox each day? Sign up for our daily Book Pulse newsletter.

Author Image
Neal Wyatt


Neal Wyatt is LJ’s readers’ advisory columnist, contributing The Reader’s Shelf, Book Pulse, and Wyatt’s World columns. She is the coauthor of The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction, 3d ed. (ALA Editions, 2019). Contact her at nwyatt@mediasourceinc.com

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month