Adaptations Make News, May 15, 2019 | Book Pulse

Issa Rae has optioned Tayari Jones's Silver Sparrow, and The Good Lord Bird by James McBride is headed to Showtime. The showrunners behind Game of Thrones move to Star Wars. Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips gets glowing reviews.

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

Adapting Stories

O Magazine reports Issa Rae has optioned Tayari Jones's Silver Sparrow with plans for a movie.

Deadline Hollywood writes that The Good Lord Bird by James McBride is headed to Showtime.

In timely news, the next Star Wars installment will be directed by Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Deadline reports, as does The Hollywood Reporter.

As Hollywood stars become superstars in the literary world, Deadline has a story on Nicole Kidman's book adaptation roster, including The Expatriates, based on Janice Y.K. Lee’s book.

Even more adaptation news from DeadlineEmma Thompson might star in Disney’s live-action Cruella, a spin-off of the book-based 101 Dalmatians and Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park has sold film rights.


The NYT reviews Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips (Knopf; LJ starred review): "superb ... nearly flawless." Also, Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif (Grove Press, Black Cat): "The book behaves like a grieving person." In audiobook reviews the paper considers The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump written and read by Andrew G. McCabe (Macmillan Audio): "McCabe is a nuts-and-bolts narrator; he speaks in an earnest monotone, clear but unchanging." Also, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, read by Colin Farrell (Audible Studios): "delivered with admirable coolness and restraint." The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, read by Rainn Wilson (Listening Library: Random House): "more effortful than effervescent — less Swift or Carroll or Baum than third-rate Marx Brothers." Finally, the paper circles back to Lot: Stories by Bryan Washington (Riverhead: Penguin) and a review by Luis Alberto Urrea who calls the collection "audacious."

The Washington Post reviews Lanny by Max Porter (Graywolf Press: Macmillan; LJ starred review): "a narrative that deliberately edges up to — but artfully avoids and then upends — the well-trod conventions of a thriller." Also, The Murmur of Bees by Sofía Segovia, translated by Simon Bruni (Amazon Crossing): "enchanting ... announces a writer whose absorbing yet accessible prose and gift for sprinkling the mystical into a deeply human narrative is sure to draw comparisons to Latin American greats, such as Isabel Allende."

NPR reviews Nothing's Bad Luck: The Lives of Warren Zevon by C. M. Kushins (Da Capo Press: Hachette): "a superb biography of mysterious and brilliant singer/songwriter." Also, Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell (Knopf): "brilliant ... stunning, and showcases the author at her best and most bizarre."

USA Today reviews Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips (Knopf; LJ starred review), giving it 3.5 stars and writing "It has the makings of a lurid thriller, but first-time novelist Julia Phillips ... does something more sophisticated than that and turns her unshakable debut into a meditation on the lives of women in a far-flung corner of the world, spanning generations and ethnicities."

Briefly Noted

The Wilbur Smith Adventure Prize shortlist is announced. The Bookseller has details.

Here is the full list of the British Book of the Year Awards.

Barnes & Noble picks The Guest Book by Sarah Blake (Flatiron Books: Macmillan) as its May Book Club title. features "Forthcoming (Queer) Novels Starring (Queer) Women."

The Washington Post spotlights novels featuring AI.

Vogue features Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (St. Martin's Griffin: Macmillan).

Entertainment Weekly showcases Patricia Cornwell's forthcoming Quantum (Thomas & Mercer).

Paste spotlights The Hot Young Widows Club: Lessons on Survival from the Front Lines of Grief by Nora McInerny (S. & S./TED).

John Paul Stevens, The Making of a Justice: Reflections on My First 94 Years (Little, Brown: Hachette), writes about "The Supreme Court's Worst Decision of My Tenure" for The Atlantic.

HuffPost interviews Eve Ensler, The Apology (Bloomsbury: Macmillan; LJ starred review).

Salon interviews Nick Hornby, State of the Union: A Marriage in Ten Parts (Riverhead: Penguin).

Bustle excerpts The Other F Word: A Celebration of the Fat & Fierce edited by Angie Manfredi (Amulet: Abrams).

The Globe And Mail reports on the ways authors use Wattpad to figure out "what clicks with fiction readers."

The Guardian writes that Sontag: Her Life and Work by Benjamin Moser (Ecco: Harper) "claim[s] that [she] was the true author of her first husband Philip Rieff’s seminal work Freud: The Mind of the Moralist."

Authors on Air

NPR interviews Jayson Greene, Once More We Saw Stars: A Memoir (Knopf; LJ starred review) (O Magazine has the playlist that helped him cope with grief). Also getting interviews are Harriet Shawcross, Unspeakable: The Things We Cannot Say (Canongate Books) and Howard Stern, Howard Stern Comes Again (S. & S.). (USA Today has an interview as well).

Jared Diamond, Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis (Little, Brown: Hachette), features on PBS NewsHour.

Howard Stern, Howard Stern Comes Again (S. & S.), will be on with Jimmy Fallon tonight. Henry Winkler, of the Hank and Alien Superstar books, will be on with James Corden. Craig Ferguson, Riding the Elephant: A Memoir of Altercations, Humiliations, Hallucinations, and Observations (Blue Rider Press: Penguin), will be on The View.

The Hollywood Reporter lists the MTV Movie & TV Award nominations. Many are book-based.

Variety reports that Disney now controls all of Hulu.

Stumptown gets a trailer.

Batwoman gets a trailer.

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

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.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing