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Bookish Goods

Bookish Good of the Week: February 25, 2024

Book Cover Prints

Book Cover Prints  by Whoom

These art prints of book covers and authors are gorgeous, and you can choose from a long list. $27+

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Giveaways

022424-FebEACPushes-2024-Giveaway

re teaming up with HTP Books to give away a year subscription to Book of the Month!

Enter here for a chance to win, or click the image below!

Here’s a bit more from our sponsor: HTP Books newsletter celebrates books and popular culture, connecting readers, booksellers, librarians, and book clubs with relevant content and resources.

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Kissing Books

Second Chance Romance in Vegas

Welcome to the Kissing Books newsletter. If you’re a regular reader, I’m glad to see you again. Or, if this is your first time here, I’m glad that you joined us. I’m PN Hinton, and I’ll be your guide through all things romance-related.

2024 is the tenth year of the Read Harder Challenge! Join us as we make our way through 24 tasks meant to expand our reading horizons and diversify our TBRs. To get book recommendations for each task, sign up for the Read Harder newsletter. We’ll also keep you informed about other cool reading challenges, readathons, and more across the bookish internet. If you become a paid subscriber, you get even more recommendations plus community features, where you can connect with a community of passionate, like-minded readers in a cozy and supportive corner of the internet. Sign up today!

I just finished an advanced copy of The Kiss Countdown and just adored it. Amerie and Vincent’s love story sent me over the moon (heh, pun). I can’t wait for this to be out in the world so y’all can share in the joy of it as well. It’s not scheduled to be released until April, but no worries; I’ll be sure to remind y’all when it is available.

Bookish Goods

romancelandia tropes mug

Tropes of Romancelandia Mug by TheBookAndDagger

I just adore this mug that showcases some of Romancelandia’s favorite tropes in beautifully bound books. That, plus the extra tiara and plant, make this a perfect addition for any book dragon’s mug collection, or to be displayed on the shelf along with their books. $30.00

New Releases

cover of The Partner Plot

The Partner Plot by Kristina Forest

After experiencing a very public and embarrassing breakup six months ago, celebrity stylist Violet has decided to focus solely on her career. When she runs into her high school sweetheart, Xavier, on a trip to Vegas, the two decide to hang out for the duration of the trip. When they wake up with rings on their fingers, they realize that they may have taken the celebration a bit too far. Then they realize that this accidental marriage could help their careers, and they decide to go along with the illusion, not expecting feelings that had been dormant for years to suddenly come back to life.

cover of House of Crimson Hearts

House of Crimson Hearts by Ruby Roe

When the trials to find the next heir of the city begin, hunter Red is teamed up with Octavia, the vampire who turned her sister. Even though they have every reason to hate and distrust one another, they must work through their differences in order to win. And when love comes into play, the two women realize they must overcome their distrust of one another as well as come to terms with a secret from their past that could change everything.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

Nowadays, people don’t really know their neighbors all that well. While this is especially and understandably true in apartment settings, since those are designed to have a high turnover rate for renters, I think it’s even true for some people who live in houses.

I mean, sure, there are instances where that community vibe is still there, and people know and look out for one another. But, for the most part, people keep to themselves, and whether it’s good or bad is irrelevant; it’s just one of the truths that is apparent in our society.

That is why I feel the “person next door” romances are still fairly popular. Not only do you get a lovely romance with varying levels of spice, but it reminds us of that time when you could conceivably grow up next to the person or people you’re destined to spend the rest of your life with. And there’s just something about that which warms my heart, hence the theme for today’s recommendations.

cover of The Heartbreaker Next Door

The Heartbreaker Next Door by Rachel A. Smith

For years, Eric has pined for the girl next door, Emily. These feelings are reciprocated; however, having had a front-row seat to all the hearts that Eric has broken over the years, Emily has no desire to join them and has kept him at arm’s length. When a series of events leads to them being roommates in an apartment that, of course, has just one bed, Eric sees this as a chance to prove his feelings for her are real, while Emily is wondering if she should take the leap of fate to possibly find love.

cover of Life's Too Short

Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez

When social media influencer Vanessa finds herself in custody of her half-sister’s daughter, the trajectory of her life changes drastically, and suddenly, she goes from a carefree globetrotter to an instant mom. Help comes in the unexpected form of Adrian, her next-door neighbor. And, after seeing how Adrian helps with her niece in addition to the care he shows his elderly Chihuahua, she finds herself also having to avoid falling in love with him.

The RWA recently announced they were going to be offering a workshop with one of their authors regarding how they use AI to write books. Which is a choice for sure. The information is still available on their site, but the original tweet has since been taken down. But we all know that screenshots are forever.

I’ve previously written about how Johanna Lindsey was one of my entry authors into romance, which is why I was so affected by her passing in late 2019. If you’ve never read her or are looking to jump in, this list is a good place to start.

And that’s all I have for you today! I’ll be back in your inboxes on Thursday with a fresh newsletter. If you’re so inclined, you can also give me a follow over on Instagram under @pns_bookish_world. Until then, happy reading and stay hydrated.

Categories
The Fright Stuff

February Is Going Fast, So Let’s Read Vampire Stories

Hello, scary story-loving friends! It’s Monday, the scariest day of the week. Yes, because we have to get back to work, but mostly because we get to talk about horror books. Let’s see what we have going on this Monday, the last one of February. RIP, February.

2024 is the tenth year of the Read Harder Challenge! Join us as we make our way through 24 tasks meant to expand our reading horizons and diversify our TBRs. To get book recommendations for each task, sign up for the Read Harder newsletter. We’ll also keep you informed about other cool reading challenges, readathons, and more across the bookish internet. If you become a paid subscriber, you get even more recommendations plus community features, where you can connect with a community of passionate, like-minded readers in a cozy and supportive corner of the internet. Sign up today!

Bookish Goods

skeleton cat journal

Personalized Skeleton Cat Journal by ForestNine

These personalized journals have an embossed image of two of my favorite things: a skeleton and a cat. This is available lined or unlined, and in four different colors. $29.

New Releases

Island Witch by Amanda Jayatissa

Island Witch by Amanda Jayatissa

This gothic horror novel is described as Carrie meets The Exorcist. Amara is the daughter of the village Capuwa, or demon priest. Normally, her father is who everyone turns to when anything supernatural happens in the village. But now, something is attacking people in the jungle, and everyone thinks Amara’s father is behind the attacks. As Amara works to clear her father’s name, she also uncovers unsettling truths about her own past.

cover of An Education in Malice by S. T. Gibson; black with illustrations of white flowers, an hourglass, and a book

An Education in Malice by S.T. Gibson

S.T. Gibson, the author of A Dowry of Blood, is back with a reimagining of the classic sapphic vampire story Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu. From the very first day Laura Sheridan enters Saint Perpetua’s College, she finds herself in an intense and surprisingly passionate rivalry with fellow student Carmilla. But rivalry turns into obsession as the two become more deeply entrenched in each other’s lives and that of their strange and darkly mysterious poetry professor, De Lafontaine.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

Book cover of Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

And while we’re on the topic of vampires, here are two vampire-y novels by Black authors. In this sci-fi take on a vampire story, “Ina” are vampire-like creatures who are biologically created rather than supernaturally made. They also co-exist with humans in a symbiotic relationship. The Inas’ existence is explained through science rather than the supernatural here, and through this conceit, Butler explores racism and the fear of racial contamination.

My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due

My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due

This book is the first in Tananarive Due’s African Immortals series. David seems like everything Jessica could want in a husband. He’s smart, attentive, and extremely attractive. But when people close to Jessica begin to die mysterious, violent deaths, David has a shocking confession: he is more than 400 years old. Many years ago, he traded his humanity for immortality.

February is going by so fast, friends! The next time I talk to you, it’ll be March. Wild! In the meantime, you can follow me (and message me) on Instagram at emandhercat. Sweet dreams, horror fans!

Categories
Book Radar

Read an Excerpt from Rebecca Serle’s New Novel and More Book Radar!

Hi, Book Radar Readers!

Friends, it’s Monday, and honestly, last week was a long week, so I hope this week goes better. For everyone! Even if you had a good week last week, I hope your week is better this week. With lots of books, of course. Let’s talk books.

Book Deals and Reveals

cover of When Mimi Went Missing by Suja Sukumar

Here’s a cover reveal and an exclusive excerpt from the upcoming YA novel When Mimi Went Missing by Suja Sukumar. This debut novel is out from Soho Teen this November.

Excited to read the latest from Rebecca Serle, author of One Italian Summer? Here’s an excerpt from Expiration Dates, which hits shelves on March 19.

Matt Haig has sold the rights to his new novel The Life Impossible to Viking. The publisher says the novel is “a story of hope and the life-changing power of a new beginning.” It will be out this September.

Sarah Pinborough has sold North American rights to her gothic thriller We Live Here Now to Flatiron Books. The book will be published in summer 2025.

Natasha Lyonne and Simon Baker have joined the cast of Klara and the Sun, an adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel, directed by Taika Waititi.

Libby has announced their new book awards, along with the finalists. Winners will be announced on March 12th at 7 p.m. EST.

Speaking of awards, here are the finalists for the 2024 Bram Stoker Awards, presented by the Horror Writers Association.

Anything But You, the recent adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, has grossed $189 million globally, making it the second highest-grossing live-action Shakespeare adaptation ever. This movie comes in under Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet, which grossed $300 million when accounting for inflation.

Book Riot Recommends

Hi, welcome to everyone’s favorite segment of Book Radar called Book Riot Recommends. This is where I’ll talk to you about all the books I’m reading, the books I’m loving, and the books I can’t wait to read and love in the near future. I think you’re going to love them too!

2024 is the tenth year of the Read Harder Challenge! Join us as we make our way through 24 tasks meant to expand our reading horizons and diversify our TBRs. To get book recommendations for each task, sign up for the Read Harder newsletter. We’ll also keep you informed about other cool reading challenges, readathons, and more across the bookish internet. If you become a paid subscriber, you get even more recommendations plus community features, where you can connect with a community of passionate, like-minded readers in a cozy and supportive corner of the internet. Sign up today!

Prepare Your Shelves!

james by percival everett book cover

James by Percival Everett (Knopf, March 19)

Okay, it’s almost March, so that means it’s time to start looking forward to March releases. And I’m so excited about this one. Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, have you seen the Academy Award-nominated movie American Fiction? Well, it’s based on the novel Erasure by Percival Everett. And yes, it’s a favorite of mine. So, if you didn’t know it and/or you haven’t read it, I’m going to let you pause and take a second to add it to your TBR. Then come back here when you’re done.

Okay, you did it? Great. Welcome back. Percival Everett has a lot of bangers (23 so far, to be exact), and I always look forward to new releases from this author, but this one sounds especially good.

Everett’s 24th novel is a perceptive and often hilarious retelling of Huckleberry Finn from the perspective of the enslaved Jim. Just as in Mark Twain’s classic novel, this novel follows Jim and Huck Finn’s journey by raft down the Mississippi River. But this version sheds new light on Jim’s character and his fight for agency.

What I’m Reading This Week

the cover of Thornhedge by T Kingfisher

Thorn Hedge by T. Kingfisher

The Book of X by Sarah Rose Etter

Butcher & Blackbird by Brynne Weaver

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Codename: Sailor V by Naoko Takeuchi

Family Family by Laurie Frankel

Quietly Hostile by Samantha Irby

Monday Memes

Jane Austen fans, do y’all relate to this? Because I definitely remember this feeling.

And Here’s A Cat Picture!

ginger cat cuddling

Hey, you know what the best thing about having a cat is? Besides everything?

Cats are so good at knowing when you’re having a bad day and cuddling up and purring on you and making you feel better. Murray is always a velcro cat, but he was especially good at taking care of me this week. I really don’t know how people do life without animals. Y’all are stronger than I am.

Okay then! We’re coming into this week with positive energy, and I’m looking forward to every day of it. I hope you are, too. See you on Thursday, friends.

Emily

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What's Up in YA

Black YA Nonfiction, A Queernormative Dark Fantasy, and More YA Book Talk: February 26, 2024

Hey, YA readers!

I’m so excited to share these books with you this week. I won’t lie: these titles are all sitting somewhere pretty high on my TBR and the faster I write this intro, the faster I can add even more books onto my TBR without get/ting to read them.

2024 is the tenth year of the Read Harder Challenge! Join us as we make our way through 24 tasks meant to expand our reading horizons and diversify our TBRs. To get book recommendations for each task, sign up for the Read Harder newsletter. We’ll also keep you informed about other cool reading challenges, readathons, and more across the bookish internet. If you become a paid subscriber, you get even more recommendations plus community features, where you can connect with a community of passionate, like-minded readers in a cozy and supportive corner of the internet. Sign up today!

Bookish Goods

library lover sticker

Library Love Vinyl Sticker by SprinklesStudio

Slap this library lover sticker that taps the nostalgia button on your favorite water bottle. $4.25.

New Releases

We’ve got a nice array of new YA out today (like my rhyme?). I’m highlighting two in the science fiction and fantasy realm below, but you can grab the entire list here.

daughter of the bone forest book cover

Daughter of the Bone Forest by Jasmine Skye

Rosy is a bone familiar, living in the Bone Forest. Her magic is being able to shift into different animals with exposed bones. She keeps this power hidden, though, as she does not want to be drafted into the Witch King’s army. When Princess Shaw enters the forest and Rosy saves her life, Rosy is given an offer she’s nervous about but also cannot refuse: an opportunity to attend a prestigious school. She knows it’ll help her find a solution to a problem plaguing her grandmother.

As soon as she’s at Witch Hall, though, Rosy finds herself pulled into Shaw’s world and magnetism. Rosy does not want to get involved in the coming war, but she cannot stop following in what Shaw wants and does.

How does she navigate her desire to keep her head down to help her grandmother with the feelings she cannot shake?

snow globe book cover

Snowglobe by Soyoung Park, translated by Joungmin Lee Comfort

This book sounds so good and I am itching to get to it on my TBR!

Snowglobe is beneath a dome, and it is the only place that is warm anymore. The less fortunate don’t get to live there, and instead, they face the brutal, unrelenting cold every day to get to their jobs, which help supply to power to keep Snowglobe warm. Reprieve comes to them via the 24-hour feed constantly showing the lavish lives being lived inside the dome.

Chobahm’s life is about watching what’s happening in the globe. One of her favorite shows stars Goh Haeri. When Haeri dies and Chobahm is selected to replace her on the show, Chobahm thinks this is the key to a better life.

Except what is happening in the dome is not the dream. Not even close.

This one is pitched as part Squid Game and part Hunger Games. It’s a big title in Korea and is finally being released in English.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Black YA Nonfiction

It is Black History Month, and while it is important to read, share, and talk about Black YA books all year round, it would be a gross oversight not to highlight it this month. YA has certainly improved when it comes to Black voices over the last decade, but there is little question it still is not enough.

This week, let’s look at some of the recent nonfiction written by Black YA authors. I’m sticking to books that came out in hardcover or in their paperback form so far this year (& including some to put on your to-read list as they will hit shelves before the end of the first third of the year). YA nonfiction has historically been the most inclusive of the category, and it has been nice to see this continue.

The below is not comprehensive, but it is pretty darn close!

better than we found it book cover

Better Than We Found It by Frederick Joseph and Porsche Joseph

At the core of this work are questions of care: why do we need to engage in change? How can young people get involved? Through interviews and anecdotes, a wide range of topics are covered in this collection, including gun violence, climate change, Indigenous land theft, Black Lives Matter, and more.

bless the blood book cover

Bless The Blood: A Cancer Memoir by Walela Nehanda

At 23, Walela was diagnosed with blood cancer. Not only was this traumatic from the medical perspective, but it became even more difficult as medical professionals refused to acknowledge Walela by their pronouns and accept their identity.

In essays and poetry, Walela shares their experience with reconnecting to ancestors and inner wisdom through the process. As someone living at the intersections of being Black, fat, queer, nonbinary, and disabled, they offer insight and perspective too rarely given space to be fully seen.

everything i learned about racism i learned in school book cover

Everything I Learned About Racism I Learned in School by Tiffany Jewell

Released this week, Jewell’s next work of nonfiction for young readers explores how Black and Brown students’ lives are impacted by the racism they experience every day simply by going to school.

This book digs into systemic racism through Jewell’s personal lens, but it also brings in a wealth of other voices. The aim is to help empower marginalized students while also validating their educational experiences.

the girl i am, was, and never will be book cover

The Girl I Am, Was, and Never Will Be by Shannon Gibney

This Printz honoree and new-in-paperback is a speculative memoir about Gibney’s life growing up a Black transracial adoptee. The speculative element comes through Gibney developing the fictitious story of Erin Powers, the name her white birth mother gave her prior to adoption. The real-life Gibney lived meets that alternate life in the book, and it helps the two parts of Gibney’s story come together as a whole.

how do i draw these memoirs book cover

How Do I Draw These Memories? by Jonell Joshua (April 16)

This illustrated memoir tells Joshua’s story of growing up with a mentally ill mother and how, even through those tough times, her family came together to ensure she and her brother were cared for in the best way possible.

how the boogeyman became a poet book cover

How The Boogeyman Became a Poet by Tony Keith Jr.

In this memoir in verse, we follow Keith as he grows up dreaming of becoming a poet, writer, and performer. The problem is that he’s been followed by the Boogeyman. It was first coming because of his Blackness. Then it came as Keith began to realize he was gay—something he tried as hard as he could to push away and ignore. The problem was by denying himself his truth, Keith could not step into the life he was truly meant to live.

This sounds like an excellent read for fans of George M. Johnson’s memoirs.

Thanks as always for hanging out. Can you believe it’ll be the last day of February when we see each other again here? Wow.

See you then!

–Kelly Jensen

Categories
The Kids Are All Right

Indigenous, Queer KidLit, And More!

Happy Sunday, kidlit friends. I’m sure I’m not the only one devastated and heartbroken at the death of nonbinary Choctaw teen Nex Benedict after they were attacked by students at school. While events are still unclear as of the time I’m writing this newsletter, what is sure is that the rampant LGBTQ+ legislation and book banning has caused an increase in LGBTQ+ hate crimes. It is imperative that queer kidlit be available to kids, not only for queer kids to be able to see themselves (which is vital), but so all kids can see LGBTQ+ folks as human beings. This should not have happened. Below, I review four children’s books by and about Indigenous queer folk. May Nex rest in power. My heart goes out to their family and friends.

2024 is the tenth year of the Read Harder Challenge! Join us as we make our way through 24 tasks meant to expand our reading horizons and diversify our TBRs. To get book recommendations for each task, sign up for the Read Harder newsletter. We’ll also keep you informed about other cool reading challenges, readathons, and more across the bookish internet. If you become a paid subscriber, you get even more recommendations plus community features, where you can connect with a community of passionate, like-minded readers in a cozy and supportive corner of the internet. Sign up today!

Bookish Goods

Every Child Matters Print by StephLittleBird

Every Child Matters Print by StephLittleBird

This lovely print is by an Indigenous, Two-Spirit artist. It would be perfect to hang beside a children’s bookshelf full of inclusive books. $25

New Releases

Cover of What's New, Daniel? by Micha Archer

What’s New, Daniel? by Micha Archer

The third Daniel picture book in Archer’s nature-themed series is a lovely spring read. Daniel is at the park with his grandfather when his grandfather asks, “What’s new, Daniel?” Daniel decides to find out and explores everything around him, finding many new things to tell his grandfather about, from a sun-heated rock to recently hatched ducklings. Archer’s trademark vibrant collages are gorgeous as always, and I just love Daniel’s simple joy in nature.

Cover of Bumps in the Night by Amalie Howard

Bumps in the Night by Amalie Howard

This super fun middle grade horror is based on Trinidadian folklore. After almost 13-year-old Rika vandalizes her middle school with her art, her father and stepmom send her from Colorado to live with her maternal grandmother in Trinidad for the summer. Rika absolutely does not want to go; however, she does want to find a way to locate her mom, who she hasn’t heard from in years, and her grandmother’s house might hold some of her mother’s secrets. While there, she discovers her grandmother is a witch and also has many dark secrets.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

There aren’t that many Indigenous queer kidlit, and I hope to read more in the future. If you know of any that you love not listed here, feel free to email me the titles at the email listed at the end of the newsletter.

Cover of 47,000 Beads by Koja Adeyoha and Angel Adeyoha, illustrated by Holly McGillis

47,000 Beads by Koja Adeyoha and Angel Adeyoha, illustrated by Holly McGillis

I first heard of this picture book after Book Riot contributor Laura Sackton reviewed it on her kidlit Instagram. Peyton, who is Lakota, doesn’t want to attend a powwow and dance. Her Auntie Eyota realizes why —because Peyton doesn’t want to wear a dress — and calls on their Indigenous community to help craft Peyton the perfect outfit for the powwow. This is an affirming, community-driven picture book with lovely illustrations.

Cover of Kapaemahu by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, and Joe Wilson, illustrated by Daniel Sousa

Kapaemahu by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, and Joe Wilson, illustrated by Daniel Sousa

I’ve reviewed this picture book on here before, but it can never be reviewed too often. It’s a retelling of an Indigenous Hawaiian legend about how four Mahu — individuals of dual male and female spirit — brought healing powers to Hawaii. When the four arrive from Tahiti, they are welcomed and teach the people their healing arts and cures. When they leave, the Hawaiians erect four stones to commemorate them. The stones were forgotten until the 1960s. This picture book is bilingual and written in both English and Ōlelo Niʻihau.

Cover of Rabbit Chase by Elizabeth LaPensée, illustrated by KC Oster

Rabbit Chase by Elizabeth LaPensée, illustrated by KC Oster, Anishinaabe translation by Aarin Dokum

This middle grade graphic novel retells Alice in Wonderland from an Anishinaabe perspective. Aimée, a nonbinary Anishinaabe tween, is going on a field trip with her school for a water ceremony. She has been relentlessly bullied for being queer, and she mentally escapes by playing video games on her phone. She’s so engrossed in her phone that she wanders away from the group and into the spirit world, where she must help a white rabbit defeat a land-hungry queen. This engaging and inventive graphic novel addresses land rights, pronouns, queer identity, Anishinaabe storytelling, and more.

Cover of The Flicker by H.E. Edgmon

The Flicker by H.E. Edgmon, releases in September 2024

I have not had a chance to read Edgmon’s middle grade debut yet, since it releases in September, but I’m excited to! I loved his YA fantasy Witch King series. The Flicker is about two step-siblings and their toddler half-sibling in an apocalypse, braving the Appalachian mountains on their own to find their Seminole grandmother. Edgmon is queer, and their other books have had queer characters in them, so I’m hoping this one does, too.

Daffodils, the kids are all right

One of the first signs of spring for me is when the wild daffodils begin blooming along trails in a nearby park. Last weekend, the forest was alive with spots of bright yellow. I hope everyone finds some yellow in their week.

If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, Twitter @AReaderlyMom, Bluesky @AReaderlyMom.bsky.social, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is kingsbury.margaret@gmail.com.

All the best,

Margaret

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Giveaways

022324-FebEACPushes-2024-Giveaway

We’re partnering with Bookperk to give away a $100 gift card to Bookshop.org!

Enter here for a chance to win, or click the image below!

Here’s a bit more from our partner: Bookperk is the place for readers! Fantastic deals, exclusive giveaways, bookish finds & more — delivered daily for free.

Categories
True Story

Nature Writing Perfect for Spring

I love nature writing. There’s just something about the way a writer can describe the natural world with such detail that you can see it perfectly in your mind’s eye. Whether I’m learning something new about otters or how trees talk to one another, there’s always something new to discover. So today, I’ll be featuring a couple nature books, one frontlist and one backlist. But first, bookish goods!

2024 is the tenth year of the Read Harder Challenge! Join us as we make our way through 24 tasks meant to expand our reading horizons and diversify our TBRs. To get book recommendations for each task, sign up for the Read Harder newsletter. We’ll also keep you informed about other cool reading challenges, readathons, and more across the bookish internet. If you become a paid subscriber, you get even more recommendations plus community features, where you can connect with a community of passionate, like-minded readers in a cozy and supportive corner of the internet. Sign up today!

Bookish Goods

a photo of a wooden triangle that is built to hold a book open.

Nightstand Book Holder by ColwoodCraft 

I have started to see these cute wooden bookholders everywhere! I love the ones like this that have space for your glasses or pens, etc. $45

New Releases

a graphic of the cover of Otter Country: An Unexpected Adventure in the Natural World by Miriam Darlington

Otter Country: An Unexpected Adventure in the Natural World by Miriam Darlington

For our first nature-related book, Otter Country, explores the world of wild otters across the UK. Miriam Darlington writes about her experience trekking across the wetland in search of this adorable, one-of-a-kind creature.

a graphic of the cover of Latinoland: A Portrait of America's Largest and Least Understood Minority by Marie Arana

Latinoland: A Portrait of America’s Largest and Least Understood Minority by Marie Arana

Marie Arana presents her research about this racially and culturally diverse demographic of the United States. She gives readers a detailed portrait of the largest minority in America.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

a graphic of the cover of This American Ex-wife: How I Ended My Marriage and Started My Life by Lyz Lenz

This American Ex-wife: How I Ended My Marriage and Started My Life by Lyz Lenz

Lyz Lenz grew up in a conservative evangelical family and believed that if she did everything that she was told a “good” woman should do — stay “pure” until marriage, get married and obey her husband, have kids, etc. —that everything would work out for the best. But that’s not how her life went. Lenz writes how she was intensely unhappy in her marriage, and she stayed for all the wrong reasons. But once she got divorced and started life as a single mom, she found freedom. As Lenz tells us her story, she also includes research on divorce in America, asking why it is that 70% of divorces are instigated by women? And why are women pushed to get married in the first place? Lenz also launched a podcast to promote the book, which will give you a preview of the many different ideas that she presents in it.

a graphic of the cover of Two Trees Make a Forest

Two Trees Make a Forest: Travels Among Taiwan’s Mountains and Coasts in Search of My Family’s Past by Jessica J. Lee

And for our backlist nature writing title, we’re exploring the landscape of Taiwan. Jessica J. Lee’s mother immigrated from Taiwan to Canada, but Lee grew up knowing little about her mother’s family or their past. In her memoir, Lee travels back to Taiwan to learn more about how her mother’s family fled mainland China for Taiwan. Lee blends nature writing about the island along with her investigation into Taiwan’s history. She describes the unique animals and plant species that call the island their home. By researching her grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ lives, she learns more about her own origin story, better understanding herself along the way.

a photo of Gwen, a black and white Cardigan Welsh Corgi, sitting on a dark green cushion.

That’s it for this week! You can find me over on my substack Winchester Ave, over on Instagram @kdwinchester, on TikTok @kendrawinchester, or on my podcast Read Appalachia. As always, feel free to drop me a line at kendra.d.winchester@gmail.com. For even MORE bookish content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy reading, Friends!

~ Kendra

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Check Your Shelf

Book Bans On the Rise in Canada

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. The downside of going on vacation last weekend meant that I had to wait until today (Wednesday) to watch the season finale for True Detective: Night Season, and OMG, it was so good!! I wish it had been a longer season, and I still have plenty of questions, but I am just all about those creepy cold weather vibes!!

2024 is the tenth year of the Read Harder Challenge! Join us as we make our way through 24 tasks meant to expand our reading horizons and diversify our TBRs. To get book recommendations for each task, sign up for the Read Harder newsletter. We’ll also keep you informed about other cool reading challenges, readathons, and more across the bookish internet. If you become a paid subscriber, you get even more recommendations plus community features, where you can connect with a community of passionate, like-minded readers in a cozy and supportive corner of the internet. Sign up today!

Libraries & Librarians

Cool Library Updates

San Francisco wants to offer free drug recovery books at its public libraries.

Worth Reading

Libraries are on the front lines of America’s problems.

Book Adaptations in the News

Anyone But You has set the record for the highest-grossing live-action Shakespeare adaptation.

Apparently, Hulu hasn’t scrapped the Court of Thorns and Roses adaptation?

Curtis Sittenfeld’s Romantic Comedy has been acquired by New Line and Hello Sunshine.

There’s going to be a musical adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada, with Vanessa Williams as Miranda Priestly and Elton John doing an original score.

Trailer for The Sympathizer.

30 hot books headed to the screen.

Censorship News

Targeting demographic data to skew reality.

Book ban battles and reading wars: public libraries and the science of reading.

Unite Against Book Bans now offers a free book resume resource for libraries and schools facing book challenges.

Stop picking on public libraries. For real.

The wave of new bills targeting libraries is a threat to our democracy.

For the people who continue to insist that books have ratings like movies: have you stopped to consider how impossibly time-consuming this endeavor would be?

Ripley’s announced that it will give free copies of its annual Believe It or Not books to Florida residents. This is in response to Escambia County schools flagging several Ripley books for potential removal.

“Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday came out in support of a proposal to limit book bans in schools—the direct result of his own stupid policies. In a press conference, DeSantis tried to claim that accusations that he has enabled book bans in the state of Florida are ‘a fraud’ and ‘a big hoax.’ He blamed ‘activists’ on both the left and right for ‘hijacking’ the process of banning books, accusing them of submitting book challenges solely to create a media narrative.”

The Alachua County School Board (FL) voted to keep Melissa in the elementary school library.

A former North Fort Myers High School (FL) teacher says that he resigned earlier this year after he came back from Christmas break to find that nearly all of the 600+ books in his classroom library had been pulled for review.

Hillsborough County Public Libraries (FL) have implemented a new type of age-restricted library card.

The New Hampshire House voted down a bill that would have prevented schools from carrying books that included sexual content and nudity, and would have made it easier for parents to flag and challenge books they don’t agree with.

New Jersey’s recently introduced legislation, which would standardize library book challenges and protect library workers from harassment, is getting pushback from conservatives.

The West Virginia House has passed a bill that removes critical protections for public and school librarians from criminal prosecution if a minor encounters content that some consider to be obscene. The bill moves to the Senate next. And not surprisingly, museums and libraries are not happy.

Maryland introduces its own Freedom to Read Act.

Maryland House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones has formally released her “decency agenda,” which focuses on protecting controversial books and diverse materials in libraries, among other anti-disinformation and anti-discrimination acts.

Catawba County Schools (NC) were set to discuss the fate of l8r g8r and The Carnival at Bray, but the complainant withdrew her appeal.

A member of Moms for Liberty is upset that Iredell-Statesville Schools (NC) are partnering with the local public libraries to increase student access to materials, saying that children will be able to access inappropriate books under this new arrangement.

“The South Carolina State Board of Education has passed a new regulation aimed at determining the suitability of books for school libraries,” giving the Board final authority on which books can be offered to students.

The woman who challenged 155 books in Dorchester District 2 (SC) does not have a student in the district.

The Georgia Senate considers controls on school libraries and criminal charges for librarians.

Georgia weighs the loss of LIS accreditation in their discussions of breaking with ALA.

Georgia educators have filed a federal sex discrimination lawsuit against the Cobb County School District, which fired 5th-grade gifted specialist Katie Rinderle last year after she read My Shadow is Purple to her class.

The Alabama Senate has approved a bill that makes it easier to remove library board members.

The Dothan Houston County Library System (AL) has made it easier to ban books and will also create a “limited access” category for certain books, which will move them behind the circulation desk and allow people 19 or older to access them. Yes, 19 or older. Eighteen-year-olds are out of luck. And adults across the board will have limited access even though they are of an “appropriate” age. What an absolutely ridiculous policy.

“LGBTQ members and activist groups are frustrated about a Petal alderman’s request to ban 11 children’s books from the Petal Library [MS].”

“In August 2023, Daviess County Citizens for Decency says they discovered over 200 books they felt contained age-inappropriate and pornographic materials. The Daviess County Library says conducting an audit to address those concerns cost them around $35,000.” Yes, it’s an incredible waste of library funds and taxpayer dollars, but that’s the point here — conservatives are trying to overwhelm libraries and make their larger case against having public, tax-funded institutions.

A new proposal calls for tax-funded libraries in Kenosha County (WI) to create “secure, adult-only” sections. WTF, Kenosha? I know I shouldn’t take stuff like this personally, but I grew up within spitting distance of Kenosha, and this makes me very sad.

After threats of lawsuits, the St. Louis Park Public Schools (MN) will allow families to opt out of their children reading books with LGBTQ+ characters. I hear about these cases, and I wonder where this trajectory leads — when children are able to opt out of reading about LGBTQ+ characters, how do they function as adults who can’t opt out of interacting with LGBTQ+ people in their day-to-day lives?

Kansas legislators want school library books rated for “appropriateness.”

Edmond Public Schools (OK) petition the Oklahoma Supreme Court to intervene in the many book removal demands from the Oklahoma Department of Education.

“The overwhelming majority of testifiers at a public hearing Monday opposed SB 1289, many of whom argued it was unnecessary and potentially burdensome for some libraries and school districts.” And yet the legislation has moved forward in Idaho. Why bother having public hearings in the first place?

Utah is close to passing the bill that “calls for the removal of school library books from collections statewide if three school districts or two school districts and five charter schools determine the materials are pornographic or indecent.”

The people who wanted to ban Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) in Las Cruces Public Schools (NM) will have a second opportunity to challenge the book.

A proposed ban on banning books in Oregon sparks controversy.

The Mat-Su School Board (AK) has recommended that multiple books be removed from school libraries. 19 books have been reviewed (including It Ends With Us, which the review committee said meets the “local standards of ‘criminal indecency’”), and 38 books are left to be reviewed. Needless to say, we can probably expect more books to be banned here.

Calls to ban books are on the rise in Canada. So is the opposition to any bans.

Montreal’s Jewish Public Library removed and then returned Élise Gravel’s children’s books to the shelves after the author criticized Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

The Ottawa Public Library denied seven formal challenges to remove items last year.

A number of Pride-themed books were returned to the Calgary Public Library (Alberta) with significant damage, and the police’s Hate Crime Prevention team is now investigating.

Books & Authors in the News

“A federal judge in California this week dismissed four of six claims made by authors in a now consolidated lawsuit alleging that Open AI infringes their copyrights. But the court gave the authors a month to amend their complaint, and the suit’s core claim of direct infringement—which Open AI did not seek to dismiss—remains active.”

Numbers & Trends

Sales for Matthew Perry’s memoir have doubled since the actor passed away.

The best-selling books of the week.

Award News

The National Book Awards have expanded their eligibility to include non-US citizens.

Here’s an update on the ongoing controversy surrounding the Hugo Awards.

The finalists for the L.A. Times Book Prize have been announced.

The winners of the 2024 Southern Book Prize have been announced.

The longlist for the first-ever Women’s Prize for Nonfiction has been announced.

Pop Cultured

15 thrilling movies where (spoiler alert!) the mystery doesn’t get solved.

11 shows like True Detective to watch after you finish Season 4.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

Yes, we’re a week past Valentine’s Day, but these bleak Cormac McCarthy Valentine’s Day candy hearts are something else!

On the Riot

Why you should read more books that are just “okay.”

a tabby cat glaring at the camera

Today’s guest kitty is my parents’ cat, Penny, who was rudely awoken from her nap. My mom texted me this photo with the caption, “If looks could kill…”

All right, friends. February is chugging along, and I’ll see you all next week!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.