Welcome to Today in Books, where we report on literary headlines at the intersection of politics, culture, media, and more.
And the Nominees Are…
Award season rolls on with the recently revealed longlist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The ten nominees range from commercial hits (Emma Cline’s The Guest) to critical darlings (Catherine Lacey’s Biography of X) to the unicorn that manages to be both exceedingly popular and exceedingly good (James McBride’s Heaven & Earth Grocery Store). I’d love to see McBride take home the trophy—and the $15,000 prize money—and continue his run of overdue recognition. I’d also like to know what the National Book Foundation thinks of PEN’s claim that this is “the most prestigious annual peer-juried literary prize in America.”
It’s an Adaptation Nation, and We’re All Living in It
A new trailer touting Apple TV+’s 2024 lineup includes more than a few page-to-screen projects.
Among the adaptations featured are:
- Masters of the Air, airing now, based on the book by Donald L. Miller
- Manhunt, a 7-episode limited series about the search for Lincoln’s killer, based on the Edgar Award-winning book by James L. Swanson, out March 15.
- Franklin, starring Michael Douglas as Benjamin Franklin, based on Stacy Schiff’s A Great Improvisation. Coming April 12.
- The Big Door Prize, season 2, coming April 24. Based on the novel by M.O. Walsh.
- Dark Matter, based on the novel by Blake Crouch. Coming May 8 with what sounds like some pretty significant changes.
- Land of Women, helmed by Eva Longoria, based on the Spanish-language novel by Sandra Barneda. Coming this summer, date TBA.
- Lady of the Lake, a Natalie Portman vehicle based on Laura Lippman’s novel Lady in the Lake, date TBA.
The Kids Are All Right
TikTok may be melting their brains, but it’s also driving Gen-Z to read A LOT, and when they do, they’re reaching for physical books. They’re reaching for “hot girl books.” They’re reaching for “sad girl books.” They’re continuing the time-honored tradition of trying to brand reading as sexy. And you know what? When a 22-year-old supermodel launches her book club by selecting a complex work of literary fiction written by a poet, I can’t be mad about any of it.
Why Do We Even Read?
In the final installment of a series of six pieces about how the public perceives libraries, Kelly Jensen explores the connections between algorithms and book banning.