The Hugo Awards Were a Mess, and Other News For Librarians

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. My library is still open, and we’re still plugging along, offering public hours 12 hours a week and curbside services an additional 12 hours each week without too many issues (knock on wood). I wish the same could be said for all libraries, but I know that’s not the case, so please accept some virtual hugs if you’d like them.

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

Cool Library Updates

Worth Reading

Book Adaptations in the News

Books & Authors in the News

Numbers & Trends

Award News

Pop Cultured

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

On the Riot

Take a breath and take care of yourselves, folks. I’ll see you next week. (I still have not moved from my new couch.)

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Swords and Spaceships for August 7: New Zealand Writers

Happy Friday, shipmates! It’s Alex, and today I want to talk to you about some awesome fiction from New Zealand, so I’ll keep this short. Stay safe and steady as she goes!

A silly thing to start your Friday: I made a Twitter quiz (the polls are no longer running but you can see the answers) called “Protoss or IKEA furniture?

Looking for non-book things you can do to help?

News and Views

C.L. Polk made a minigame to introduce you to the world of Midnight Bargain. Also, the covers of Kingston Cycle books say Bi Pride!

Mary Robinette Kowal has made transcripts of all the Hugo winner speeches.

Don’t threaten me with a good time, clipping.

New Connie Willis novella coming from Subterranean Press!

The man whose science fiction keeps turning into our shitty cyberpunk reality

The Huntington Library has created a $50,000 Octavia Butler Fellowship.

Wow, I hadn’t even had a chance to tell you about the whole Flashing Swords 6 thing.  WHEW. Well, it’s been resolved.

On Book Riot

5 YA fantasies with feisty princesses

8 of the best YA books set in post-apocalyptic cities

Free Association Friday: New Zealand Writers

I don’t want to take a deep dive into the WorldCon New Zealand post mortem; I shared plenty of links last newsletter about one of the big issues. But one big failure of WorldCon that deserves to be mentioned is that it was supposed to be the chance for New Zealand writers to meet a wider international audience. Note the supposed to be part. It was an utter failure at that, from the lack of New Zealand-centered (both Māori and Pākehā) programming, to the absolute shit show that was the Sir Julius Vogel Awards. If you’re wondering what the SJVs were and how that was a failure, Casey Lucas, one of the winners, explains.

The tl;dr is that these writers deserve so much better, and their books more than deserve to be seen. So let’s get to it, shall we?

The SJV winner for Best Novel is one of the books I mentioned last week, the ACAB and very queer The Dawnhounds by Sashca Stronach. It shared the nomination with:

The Blacksmith by Barbara Howe, a fantasy where the riddle ‘How is the king like a blacksmith?’ might be the salvation of a hunted man accused of murder.

Into the Ashes by Lee Murray – The Kāhui Tupua, the great mountain warriors of New Zealand’s central plateau awaken, causing earthquakes and eruptions; an NZDF sergeant and his squad are sent in to evacuate civilians, but they’re quickly cut off.

The Prince of Secrets by AJ Lancaster – Look, all you need is the tagline: “Well-bred women should not be seen kissing their butlers. Even when the butler in question is secretly a fae prince.”

Solar Federation by S.E. Mulholland – An engineer and a healer of the land each have their own idea on how to save the ailing planet, but they’re unaware of darker forces in the shadows that will happily kill them both to achieve their own destructive goals.

The winner of Best Youth Novel is The Clockill and the Thiefa swashbuckling tale of sky pirates and traitors. The main character, Sin, is desperately trying to defeat the Clockill before his poisoned blood kills him. It shared the nomination with:

Tyrelia by S.R. Manssen – Fourteen-year-old Freya must quest deep into the land of Tyrelia, in order to find the Ancient One and save her family, trapped in the Golden City by a merciless tyrant.

Ringlet and the Day the Oceans Stopped by Felicity Williams – When the tides suddenly stop, an eleven-year-old mergirl must save the oceans from this deadly stagnation—while a monster tries to stop her.

Dragon Rift: Riders of Fire by Eileen Mueller – Ezaara’s secret lover, the dragon master Roberto, is captured, and the ruling council refuses to rescue him. She must take matters into her own hands if she wants to save both Roberto and the Dragons’ Realm.

Light in My Blood by Jean Gilbert and William Dresden – Earth is separated by a wall from the realm of Nön, a place ruled by a dark creature that would love to capture any human it can, for in Nön humans have immense power. But humans might also be the key to this evil’s defeat…

Definitely also check out the winner for Best Collected Work, Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy (Volume I) edited by Marie Hodgkinson.

You can see the full award list here, including links to all the short stories, novelettes, and novellas.

You should also check out this excellent Twitter thread, or this likewise excellent Twitter thread, or this third-times-an-excellent Twitter thread for story, book, and author recommendations. Also do not forget Whiti Hereaka’s excellent thread of Māori writers (or her novel Legacy).

I also recommend checking out the offerings of Paper Road Press, which you can get outside of New Zealand in ebook and sometimes paperback. Start with The Stone Wētā by Octavia Cade if you want a climate thriller or No Man’s Land by A.J. Fitzwater if you want historical fantasy. (A.J. also gave us The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper, which is the adventures of a lesbian capybara who is also a pirate.)

See you, space pirates. You can find all of the books recommended in this newsletter on a handy Goodreads shelf. If you’d like to know more about my secret plans to dominate the seas and skies, you can catch me over at my personal site.

Reconsidering The Case Of The Crime Genre

Hello mystery fans! I rounded up great giveaways, AH-mazing news, interesting things to read to murder your TBR, and Kindle ebook deals for books further in the series which rarely ever get put on sale!

From Book Riot And Around The Internet

In AMAZING giveaway: We’re giving away 100 audio downloads of When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole to 100 lucky Riot readers! 

In AMAZING news: Megan Abbott has a new novel coming in 2021 (EEP!) and it’s already been sold to be a TV series (Double EEP!). All her books focus on some kind of obsession, or intense field, and this time we get ballet. It is an understatement to say I can’t wait to read this one.


In MORE amazing news: Aya de León (Uptown Thief) has a new novel releasing in December about a spy: A Spy in the Struggle! And look at that cover! This is what I’m reading this weekend, because my greedy little hands got an egalley.

Rincey and Katie get excited about adaptations of The Shining Girls and Magpie Murders, and talk about mystery books by Black authors that they’ve recently picked up on the latest Read or Dead!

QUIZ: What Dark Crime Book Should You Read Next?

a madness of sunshine cover image10 Small-Town Thrillers to Read This Summer

8 Thrillers Told From Multiple Points of View

Reconsidering The Case Of The Crime Genre: a chat with S.A. Cosby, Rachel Howzell Hall, and Walter Mosley.

Sisters in Crime announced the 2020 Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award-winner! All the congrats!

Featured Trailer: THE NOTHING MAN by Catherine Ryan Howard

Win a 1-year subscription to Kindle Unlimited!

Enter to Win $50 to Your Favorite Independent Bookstore!

Watch Now: 20 Murder Mystery Movies That Will Awaken Your Inner Sleuth

Kindle Deals

If you’re making your way through Detective Elouise Norton’s series (you should!) the fourth book is on sale: City of Saviors by Rachel Howzell Hall is $2.99!

And DITTO for Veronica Speedwell: A Dangerous Collaboration (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery Book 4) by Deanna Raybourn is $1.99! (This series is the escape you need right now!)

Every time I see this one I’m going to put it here and tell y’all again to go read it: The 57 The 57 Bus cover imageBus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater is $2.99!

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See 2020 upcoming releases and 2021. An Unusual Suspects Pinterest board. Get Tailored Book Recommendations!

Until next time, keep investigating! In the meantime, come talk books with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

If a mystery fan forwarded this newsletter to you and you’d like your very own you can sign up here.

Mulan On Disney+ For A Price: Today In Books

Mulan On Disney+ For A Price

If you’ve been anticipating getting to watch Mulan, it will be skipping a theatrical debut because of COVID-19, and heading straight to streaming in many places. On Disney+ to be exact. But not for free. Starting September 4th Disney+ customers in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and many Western European countries can pay $29.99. In places where Disney+ is not available, cinemas will be offered the film. “We are looking at Mulan as one-off as opposed to saying there is some new business windowing model that we are looking at.”

Captain Marvel 2 Found Its Director

The sequel film to Captain Marvel, which stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, has found its director: Nia DaCosta, the director for the Candyman horror film reimagining. DaCosta’s directing on the CM film, currently scheduled for a July 8, 2022 release, makes her the first Black woman to direct a Marvel Studios picture.

Authors For Black Voices Auction

Authors for Black Voices is a silent auction created by authors and publishing professionals in order to raise money for ten selected nonprofits that are working against racism in education, literacy, and publishing. There are excellent items up for auction, from hand-annotated copies of Jessica Knoll’s Luckiest Girl Alive and Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror, exclusive galleys, and services like Random House copy chief Benjamin Dreyer’s copyediting services.

There Are Many Reasons We Need The USPS–Here Are 8 Bookish Ones

So many elements of the bookish ecosystem depend on the USPS; here are eight reasons why booklovers should be concerned with its preservation.

Read This Book: Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby

Welcome to Read This Book, a weekly newsletter where I recommend one book that I think you absolutely must read. The books will vary across genre and age category to include new releases, backlist titles, and classics. If you’re ready to explode your TBR, buckle up!

This week, I’ve got an AMAZING thriller that you absolutely, positively must read–Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Crosby.

This novel follows Beauregard, aka Bug, a family man and business owner doing his best to provide for his wife, two young sons, and teenage daughter that he had when he was a teenager himself. But now his garage is struggling, he’s short on rent, and his elderly mother is about to be evicted from her nursing home. He needs cash, and fast. So he decides to return to a job that he left long ago–driving getaway cars. He’s the best driver on the East coast, and he decides one job should bail him out. But when that job goes sideways and the consequences invade his personal life, it’ll take everything Bug has to jut survive.

First off, I love this book because it portrays rural America in such a way that you know it’s written from the inside. Yes, rural tropes and stereotypes do exist in this novel, but they’re interwoven with so many rich details about life, race, class, and family that you know the author is speaking from a place of authority.

Bug is a fantastic character. He is a loving and supportive father who wants to keep his kids away from his troubles, and he’s struggling to deal with the emotional fallout of his own father leaving him at a young age. Everything he does is for his family, and the reader is rooting for him, even if Bug’s actions aren’t exactly legal–you understand where he’s coming from and you want him to succeed. He’s smart and savvy, and the heists, car chase sequences, and action scenes are flawlessly written–perfect if you like Jason Bourne-level action and twists. At the same time, Cosby never neglects to take into account the emotional toll that this life has on Bug and his family, and how a childhood marred by violence has consequences even decades later. That emotional exploration of how struggling to get by affects your quality of life and affects your outlook on life is what makes this book so good, and so memorable. Cosby just leapt on my auto-buy author list!

Bonus: I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Adam Lazarre-White, which is most excellent! I highly recommend it if you like fast-paced audiobooks.

Happy reading!

Find me on Book Riot, the Insiders Read Harder podcast, All the Books, and Twitter.

If someone forwarded this newsletter to you, click here to subscribe.

I Got Your Cookbooks, Right Here

Confession: I do not really cook. I’m juuust starting to. But I’ve been getting more and more interested in cookbooks because they seem to be much more of a ~journey~ than they used to be. I grew up with things like 30 Recipes to Achieve That Beach Body and it’s basically like, “drink a lot of aspartame” (remember the ’90s?). Now, cookbooks are like, here is the cook, look how neat they are, here are their beautiful photos, here is how easy this very healthy recipe is to make, maybe there’s some light journaling involved. So appealing.

So here’re come cookbooks!

Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. Okay, remember all that stuff I said about how easy something is to make? That’s not the case here. But when I stayed in London for a week (remember travel?), there was an Ottolenghi RIGHT BY my Airbnb and they had amazing food and a line regularly out the door. So this is all vegetarian recipes and has stuff like crusted pumpkin wedges with sour cream, two-potato vindaloo and lemon and goat cheese ravioli. Sure, it has an entire section on eggplants, but I’ll forgive it (p.s. eggplant is gross).

Chetna’s Healthy Indian by Chetna Makan. I love Indian food, but if you order it, it gets super-expensive so quickly! So I’m psyched by the idea of making my own. Especially from a cookbook by a Great British Bake-Off alum. She also has a vegetarian version if you don’t need the chicken/fish sections of this. This has recipes like cumin paneer salad, sweet potato yogurt curry, and chicken seekh kebabs (I do not eat chicken, but these sound really good).

Bean by Bean by Crescent Dragonwagon. Okay. So. My excellent friend and fellow Rioter Jesse recommends this on her 12 of the Best Cookbooks for Quarantine Cooking and Prep list. And sure, it sounds made-up. But it is NOT. And if you want to know the origin of the author’s name as I did, please check out This compendium of bean knowledge highlights concepts like Bean Basics, Cool Beans (these are salads), and Hummus, Where the Heart Is. I am ordering it right now.

I am definitely doing a Cookbooks Part II in the near future, because these DID BUT SCRATCH THE SURFACE. Or did but rip open the bean pod. So. Look forward to that.

As always, you can find me on social media @itsalicetime and co-hosting the nonfiction For Real podcast with Kim here at Book Riot. Until next time, enjoy those facts, fellow nerds.




We have copies of Lobizona by Romina Garber to give away to five lucky Riot readers!

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

Here’s what it’s all about:

In Lobizona, bestselling author Romina Garber weaves together Argentine folklore and what it means to be illegal “in a timely tale of identity and adventure that every teenager should read” (Tomi Adeyemi, bestselling author of Children of Blood and Bone).