Reviews & Excerpts of Barack Obama's 'A Promised Land' | Book Pulse

Read excerpts and reviews of A Promised Land by Barack Obama, including an in-depth review by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The former president will also participate in the 2020 Booker Prize ceremony. Barnes & Noble lists its Book of the Year Finalists. Buzzy adaptations releasing this week include The Life Ahead, Alex Rider, and The Personal History of David Copperfield. Buzzy adaptations in the works include modern-day reimaginings of Jane Austen novels and The Island of Dr. Moreau, plus a feature adaptation of Jonathan Lethem's As She Climbed Across the Table that will be directed by Michel Gondry.

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Page to Screen

Nov. 13:

The Life Ahead, based on the book The Life Before Us by Romain Gary. Netflix. Reviews | Trailer

Alex Rider, based on the series by Anthony Horowitz. IMDb TV. Reviews | Trailer

Come Away, which has associated titles. VOD. Reviews | Trailer

Doug Unplugs, based on the series by Dan Yaccarino. Apple TV+. No reviews | Trailer

The Minions of Midas, based on the short story by Jack London. Netflix. No reviews | Trailer

Nov. 16:

His Dark Materials, based on the series by by Philip Pullman. HBO. Reviews | Trailer

All Rise, inspired by Courtroom 302 by Steve Bogira. CBS. Reviews | Trailer

Nov. 17:

Big Sky, based on The Highway by CJ Box. ABC. No reviews | Trailer

The Personal History of David Copperfield, based on the book by Charles Dickens. VOD. Reviews | Trailer


For the NYT, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reviews A Promised Land by Barack Obama (Crown: Random House): "Barack Obama is as fine a writer as they come. It is not merely that this book avoids being ponderous, as might be expected, even forgiven, of a hefty memoir, but that it is nearly always pleasurable to read, sentence by sentence, the prose gorgeous in places, the detail granular and vivid." The NYT also reviews debut YA novels in its "Short List" column. Plus, brief reviews of new crime books: The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown: Hachette), A Galway Epiphany by Ken Bruen (Mysterious: Grove), The Orphan's Guilt by Archer Mayor (Minotaur: Macmillan), and You Will Never Know by S. A. Prentiss (Scarlet: W. W. Norton).

NPR also reviews A Promised Land by Barack Obama (Crown: Random House): "To a remarkable degree, the style of this latest retelling reflects the man we have seen over these years: Orderly, cautious, self-examining — yet eloquent in flashes so vivid that the world was immediately able to share something of his vision."

The L.A. Times reviews Prefecture D: Four Novellas by Hideo Yokoyama (MCD x FSG: Macmillan): "We need to believe in something, Yokoyama insists, whether the order of institutions or the stability of family. And yet there is only so much we can do."

The Washington Post reviews We Have Been Harmonized: Life in China’s Surveillance State by Kai Strittmatter (Custom House: HarperCollins; LJ starred review): "His engrossing, deeply reported and somewhat Orwellian survey of today’s China raises unhappy questions we all have yet to answer." Also, American Contagions: Epidemics and the Law From Smallpox to Covid-19 by John Fabian Witt (Yale): "Witt lays out two different theories about infectious diseases and history: Do diseases drive policy change, or are diseases shaped and pandemics brought into being by existing politics? He concludes that it’s a little of both." War: How Conflict Shaped Us by Margaret MacMillan (Random House): "The book is light on political theory but rich in factual detail; entirely devoid of polemic, yet full of sober analysis." If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future by Jill Lepore (Liveright: W. W. Norton): "Lepore, a Harvard professor and New Yorker writer, unearths decades of archival evidence to support the book’s bold claim that Simulmatics is 'a missing link in the history of technology' that connects World War II-era studies in mass persuasion to the invention of behavioral science in the 1950s and our contemporary dystopia of inescapable algorithms." Hamilton and the Law: Reading Today’s Most Contentious Legal Issues through the Hit Musical edited by Lisa A. Tucker (Cornell): "Aided by a chorus of commentators — lawyers, law professors, former solicitors general, a Marine Corps University professor and a novelist — the book’s 33 essays take Hamilton (the man and the musical) to a new level, at once imaginative and informative."Abe: Abraham Lincoln in His Times David S. Reynolds (Penguin): "By teasing out those connections and contexts, whether in the realms of the frontier, education, religion, law, marriage or politics, Reynolds deepens our understanding of Lincoln’s life." The Archer by Paulo Coelho (Knopf: Random House): "The superficiality of 'The Archer' is exacerbated by its deadening style." Nobody Ever Asked Me about the Girls: Women, Music and Fame by Lisa Robinson (Henry Holt: Macmillan): "...a well-intentioned but slapdash attempt to give equal time to women in popular music."

Mixed reviews from readers on the recent NYT review of Inside Story by Martin Amis (Knopf; LJ starred review).

Book Marks’ "Best Reviewed Books of the Week."

Briefly Noted

Barack Obama will participate in the Booker Prize ceremony next week. Also, the shortlist authors discuss inspirations with The Guardian.

Ted Chiang receives the Imagination in Service to Society Award during the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation's Unleash Imagination 2020 event.

Barnes & Noble has its Book of the Year Finalists up.

PW offers its picks for next week.

Nine new book recommendations from the NYT. lists the new sci-fi and fantasy books out this month.

BookPage also spotlights new SFF books, and also picks new audiobooks.

Ahead of Thanksgiving, Amazon looks at recent books about pie.

The NYT is offering a sneak peak at its 10 Best Books list in an upcoming preview event.

The Atlantic excerpts A Promised Land by Barack Obama (Crown: Random House). CNN has snippets from the 768-page book, as well.

AARP excerpts Last Green Valley by Mark Sullivan (Lake Union: Amazon). It's due out May 2021.

An excerpt of The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner (Ace: Penguin) via

Entertainment Weekly has a cover reveal and excerpt from Dream Girl by Laura Lippman (William Morrow: HarperCollins), due out June 2021.

Elle's new "Shelf Life" column features Rumaan Alam, Leave the World Behind (Ecco: Harper).

The NYT profiles Michael J. Fox, No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality (Flatiron: Macmillan).

Philippa Gregory, Dark Tides (Atria: S. & S.), shares some favorite books with Parade.

The Chicago Tribune interviews Marisel Vera, The Taste of Sugar (Liveright: W. W. Norton).

Emma Cline, Daddy: Stories (Random House), talks about bad guys with Electric Lit.

Wired is running a series of sci-fi short fiction by various authors on the future of work.

Historians believe a 1687 book by Isaac Newton may have circulated more widely than previously suspected. The NYT reports.

The L.A. Times looks at debates over book bans and antiracism curriculum in one California school district.

Authors on Air

Michel Gondry is directing the Amazon adaptation of As She Climbed Across the Table by Jonathan Lethem. Also, Eloise is getting a live-action feature adaptation. The Hollywood Reporter has more.

The CW series Modern Austen will reimagine Jane Auten novels. Another modern-day series adaptation in the works is Moreau, based on The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells. Also, the film adaptation of Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is back in action. AGC Studios has acquired the rights to The Englishman by David Gilman. Deadline has details on all.

Jamie Oliver, 7 Ways: Easy Ideas for Every Day of the Week (Flatiron: Macmillan), will be on with Tamron Hall today.

The Today Show features Kid in the Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Tips for Young Home Cooks by Melissa Clark (Clarkson Potter: Random House).

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