We’re giving away five copies of Blade of Secrets by Tricia Levenseller to five lucky Riot readers!

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

Eighteen-year-old Ziva prefers metal to people. She spends her days in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her, using her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power. Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims’ secrets. Joined by a distractingly handsome mercenary and a young scholar with extensive knowledge of the world’s known magics, Ziva and her sister set out on a quest to keep the sword safe until they can find a worthy wielder or a way to destroy it entirely.

Today In Books

SG5 is the New Japanese Girl Group Inspired by SAILOR MOON: Today in Books

RuPaul Children’s Book Pulled from Colchester, CT Library Shelves

Who is RuPaul?, a children’s biography about RuPaul has been temporarily pulled from the shelves of the Cragin Memorial Library in Colchester, Connecticut after a single parent complaint. Colchester First Selectman Andreas Bisbikos posted on his Facebook page that the book “contains sexually provocative drawings in which the parent found offensive. The book in question was immediately removed from circulation.” The decision has been met with backlash from much of the community. The library’s director Kate Byroade called the move “the exact definition of censorship,” and Colchester resident Lauren Kelly Talanian urged Bisbikos to “leave it to the professional librarians.”

SG5 is the New Japanese Girl Group Inspired by Sailor Moon

SG5 is a new Japanese girl group created in collaboration with the Sailor Moon franchise, and they’re set to make their U.S. debut in an upcoming Los Angeles appearance. Short for “Sailor Guardians 5,” SG5 is described as an “intergalactic pop supergroup that protects the universe from evil, injustice and negativity.” The group is comprised of five members, SAYAKA, RURI, RUI, MIYUU, and KAEDE, who are all J-Pop veterans. RUI made her initial debut with the group iScream in 2021, and the other four members debuted in the girl group Happiness in 2011. The group will make their first U.S. appearance at the Anime Expo in Los Angeles on July 1.

Neil Gaiman Defends Color-Blind Casting for Netflix Adaptation of The Sandman

Speaking with Total Film, Neil Gaiman has once again spoken out in support of the casting decisions made for the upcoming Netflix adaptation of his graphic novel The Sandman. Gaiman said, “We did color-blind casting, because why wouldn’t you? The comics establish that the characters look like whatever we want them to look like.” The Sandman is scheduled to debut on Netflix on August 5.

Virginia Politicians Sue Oni Press and Maya Kobabe Over Gender Queer

Attorney Tim Anderson has filed a lawsuit against Oni Press, publisher of Gender Queer, as well as author Maia Kobabe.

Check Your Shelf

Proud Boys and Libraries Do Not Mix

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. On top of everything else going on in the world, I suddenly found my Twitter feed full of reactions to Nancy Pearl’s comments at ALA. If you somehow missed what happened, she made this statement on a panel about book banning and censorship: “What did I not want to add in the collection? Personally, I did not want to add Holocaust-denying books. That was offensive to me. Did I think we needed them? Sad to say, yes.” I don’t have a ton of articles to link to, as most of the discourse is happening on Twitter, but needless to say it’s a mess, especially because Jason Reynolds, who was also on the panel, received a disproportionate amount of negative attention for Nancy Pearl’s remarks. I will link to articles as I see them, because I think this controversy is highly representative of the old guard’s desire to cling to this outdated, inaccurate, and harmful notion of libraries as neutral. As always, LIBRARIES. AREN’T. NEUTRAL.

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

ALA released a statement condemning threats of violence in libraries. No commitments, no actionable steps, just another crew member on the Titanic writing a strongly-worded letter to the iceberg.

Due to COVID-related staffing shortages, the Seattle Public Library will be temporarily reducing its hours.

Cool Library Updates

The Boise Library has hired its first mental-health coordinator.

NYPL opens a “virtual branch” on Instagram and launches a reading recommendation project using augmented reality technology.

Book Adaptations in the News

Lionsgate scores film adaptation rights for Kayvion Lewis’ upcoming YA novel, Thieves Gambit.

Kate Winslet is executive producing and starring in the HBO limited series adaptation of Trust by Hernan Diaz.

Former San Francisco Chronicle reporter Lizzie Johnson is partnering with Jamie Lee Curtis’ production company to develop Johnson’s book, Paradise: One Town’s Struggle to Survive an American Wildfire, for film.

Jason Schwartzman joins the cast of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Paula Hawkins’ novella, Blind Spot, gets picked up for a TV adaptation.

Here’s the official trailer for Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between.

And here’s the teaser trailer for On the Come Up.

The 10 best TV crime dramas that were adapted from books.

Banned & Challenged Books

A look at the long line of hatred and intimidation of queer people in schools and libraries just within the last MONTH.

This is an older article, but one worth revisiting: how faith-based, right-wing money is waging war through book challenges.

Dixfield (ME) school district elects to keep Gender Queer on high school shelves.

Gorham (ME) educators defend controversial posters and books about sexuality.

The Smithtown Library on Long Island has reversed its decision to remove all Pride-related displays from the children’s sections. Meanwhile, Governor Kathy Hochul is planning to investigate the libraries that removed the LGBTQ displays in the first place.

Parents are complaining about a RuPaul biography geared towards children at the Cragin Memorial Library in Colchester, CT.

A divided Pennsylvania Senate panel advances two bills limiting sexual content in public schools. (Pennsylvania people, call your representatives.)

The Council Rock (PA) School Board elects to include The Giver and In the Time of the Butterflies in next year’s curriculum, despite opposition from several board members.

A Maryland librarian is being charged with hate crimes after admitting to vandalizing two libraries in Prince George’s County last week. He spray painted the word “Groomer” across the front entrances of both libraries.

The Central Rappahannock Regional Library (VA) board is holding a special meeting to discuss concerns over content displayed on the library system’s mobile app.

The Roanoke (VA) County School Board unanimously approved a new media review policy which requires multiple librarians to read and meet to discuss which books belong in school libraries. In other words, this is a tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars and staff time/expertise.

Lawyers say that the “defective” Virginia obscenity claims should be tossed. However, a pair of Virginia politicians have now sued Maia Kobabe and Oni-Loin Forge over Gender Queer, saying that the graphic memoir violates Virginia’s obscenity laws.

“I felt very unsafe.” Parents speak out after the Proud Boys show up at a Pride Story Time at the Pine Valley Library in Wilmington, NC.

And not surprisingly, officials and advocates are offering differing versions of what happened when the Proud Boys disrupted the event.

Wilkes County (NC) School admins have decided to end the school’s participation in the Battle of the Books program, likely from local criticism about the books included on the elementary and middle school reading lists.

The CatholicVote “Hide the Pride” movement takes credit for the disappearance of Columbia (SC)’s library Pride display and subsequent threatening letter to library staff.

A Walker County (GA) mother addresses the school board over “vulgar” books, except her kids are currently homeschooled and don’t actually attend that school district.

The Frisco ISD (TX) is changing two policies regarding library book objections. Particularly noteworthy is their use of the Texas Penal Code’s definition of “obscenity,” instead of looking at a contested passage within the context of the book as a whole, which means that even one paragraph may be enough to deem a book “obscene,” according to Daniel Stockton, the Executive Director of Government and Legal Affairs.

A conservative pastor is the latest appointee to the Lafayette (LA) Parish Library Board.

Pride Month displays at the Mandeville library in Louisiana draw complaints from patrons.

A Hillsborough County (FL) school board candidate defends book bans and CRT attacks, despite offering little evidence for either.

A secret Moms for Liberty audio recording captures threatening rhetoric targeting a school librarian in Arkansas.

The Madison County (TN) “culture war” is a fight worth having.

A StoryWalk book (It’s Okay to Be a Unicorn) was removed by an unknown citizen in DeWitt, Iowa.

The Oconomowoc Area School District (WI) is involved in a dispute and potential lawsuit over several books related to sex and gender, including It’s Perfectly Normal and The 57 Bus.

The threat of GOP-led book bans looms over the 2022 Wisconsin elections.

The St. Joseph County Public Library (IN) released a statement regarding the Proud Boys disrupting a Rainbow Storytime event on Monday.

Independence, Missouri removes the book Cats vs. Robots from elementary school libraries because it includes a non-binary character.

Nixa (MO) high school students write about how censorship of books fosters ignorance. The paper also elected to grant the students anonymity to protect them from retaliation.

A Forest Hills (OH) school board meeting ends with a resolution against critical race theory.

The Portsmouth (OH) Public Library board hears public comments about their so-called “controversial” Pride display, and is now seeking legal counsel about how to proceed.

The 22 books that the Nampa (ID) School Board voted to remove last month will continue to remain in storage until the board comes up with a more formal book challenging process.

Some Montana State Library commissioners are concerned because the new logo’s color scheme is “too LGBTQ,” which means that it contains the colors red, yellow, green, and blue. I am reminded of a patron at my last library who had used a permanent marker to cover the entire front of his library card because the colors were “too gay.” THEY ARE COLORS. THEY ARE THE RESULT OF DIFFERENT WAVELENGTHS OF LIGHT HITTING THE CONES IN OUR EYES AND THESE SIGNALS BEING INTERPRETED BY OUR BRAINS. THERE IS NO SECRET AGENDA HERE.

Payson (AZ) Town Councilor Jim Ferris suggested that the town drop out of the library district and lose hundreds of thousands in funding, all so the library didn’t have to carry the book Sex is a Funny Word. When questioned further, Ferris admitted he hadn’t actually read the book he so strongly objected to.

How Milken Community Schools (CA) “marginalized a marginalized voice.”

Drag Queen Vanilla Meringue skips the Drag Queen Story Time at the Berkeley (CA) Public Library due to safety concerns.

A Canadian librarian responded to threats against her Drag Queen Story Hour by adding a second event. THIS is what I want to see more libraries doing!

Canadian libraries in general are being hit by a wave of hate, threats, and right-wing groups protesting all-age drag events.

Drag story hour hosts, under attack, dig in their heels. (I dislike this headline because “dig in their heels” suggests unwarranted stubbornness, but the article looks at the ways in which queer people have been under increased attack during Pride Month festivities at schools and libraries.)

Related: drag queens are not the ones sexualizing Drag Story Hour.

And yet, some lawmakers are looking to crack down on parents who bring their children to drag shows, even suggesting the termination of parental rights in some cases.

Consultants and activists share meaningful ways employers can help their workers with the recent wave of anti-LGBTQ bills and hate crimes.

Books & Authors in the News

Essential reading: literary voices respond to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.

Authors are protesting Amazon’s eBook policy that allows users to read and return titles.

Philip Pullman leads an outcry after Sheffield Hallam University withdraws its English Literature degree.

The troubling legacy of the Lolita story, 60 years on.

Numbers & Trends

Post-Roe, publishers scramble to meet the political moment.

Have we reached peak celebrity memoir?

We may finally have reached the saturation point for tell-all books from Trump aides.

Best-selling self help books and the missing women phenomenon.

TikTok and Barnes & Noble have teamed up for the #BookTokChallenge.

Award News

Congrats to the 2022 Locus Award winners!

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

Taylor Swift debuts her folksy soundtrack song for Where the Crawdads Sing.

The Strand now has its own in-house coffee shop.

On the Riot

The subversive verse of Shel Silverstein.

How to start a BookTok.

How does Goodreads make money? (Hint: it’s your personal data.)

What the heck is Twitterature?

How reading changed for this Rioter after their ADHD diagnosis.

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

close up of a black and white cat looking out a window

Here is Dini looking sassy and regal as he surveys his kingdom, and says “Hi” to his kitty friends who live in the apartment across from us.

I have a longer-than-usual weekend coming up, because Tuesday is my birthday and I always treat myself to a couple days off. But not surprisingly I’m feeling far from festive this year…so for Independence Day, I’m going to contact my reps, make a donation, and wear my “Nevertheless She Persisted” t-shirt. I hope the world doesn’t get drastically worse between now and then.

Peace out, y’all.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Swords and Spaceships

Angry Feminist? We’ve Got Your Reading Here!

Happy Friday! It sure has been a week, hasn’t it? It’s Alex, and I’ve got some new releases for you to check out, and a couple angry feminist reads to carry you into this long weekend. I hope you have some barbecue and SAFE fireworks in your future (if you’re in the US, at least) and I hope you get to spend it with people you love. Stay safe and fire-free out there, shipmates, and I’ll see you on Tuesday.

Let’s make the world a better place, together. Here’s somewhere to start: NDN Collective and Jane’s Due Process.

Bookish Goods

No Admittance Except On Party Business sign

“No Admittance Unless on Party Business” sign by IndustriArtEngraving

A wonderful interpretation of Bilbo’s classic sign from Lord of the Rings, which I think would look very cute hanging on anyone’s wall. $40

New Releases

Cover of The Dream Runners by Shveta Thakrar

The Dream Runners by Shveta Thakrar

Tanvi was kidnapped and made into a dream runner for the realm of Nagalok seven years ago. With no memories or emotions, she and the other runners collect mortal dreams for the naga court’s entertainment. But when Tanvi suddenly recovers some of her memories during a dream harvest gone wrong, she turns to the only person she can think of in Nagalok: Venakt, the dreamsmith. But together, what they begin to figure out a terrifying truth that may turn dreams to nightmares.

Cover of Drunk on All Your Strange New Worlds by Eddie Robson

Drunk on All Your Strange New Worlds by Eddie Robson

The Logi are telepathic aliens who maintain a diplomatic presence on Earth. Lydia, a woman with few qualifications and fewer talents, works as the translator for the Logi cultural attaché, interpreting his thoughts into English. But when something terrible happens to the Logi, she finds herself in the middle of a locked room mystery that she is also deeply unqualified to handle… but she’d better figure it out if she wants to avoid jail.

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

Riot Recommendations

As we head into the holiday weekend, I’m feeling both angry and feminist, so how about a couple of books appropriate to that mood?

cover of The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

This entire series is brilliant and heartbreaking an so, so rightfully angry about the state of the world. On an Earth where “fifth seasons” are created by life-destroying geological disasters, those who have the power to control stone should be heroes… but instead they are feared, used, and controlled. A woman with these skills, hiding in plain sight, weaves together the story of past and present as she pursues her daughter, kidnapped by her husband after he murdered their son.

Cover of The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Power by Naomi Alderman

In a world that seems just like our own, a strange thing happens: one day, women spontaneously develop the ability to deliver massive electrical shocks with a touch, ones that can cause agony or even death. What they do with this new power is up to each woman, but… it certainly doesn’t go well for the patriarchy.

See you, space pirates. 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.

Unusual Suspects

The Best True Crime Dramas of 2022 Ranked

Hi mystery fans! I’ve found writing these intros increasingly more difficult since 2016 in that it’s hard to be jokey with all the very real and dangerous things happening, including watching our democracy be dismantled. But as more time gets added onto us living in this hellscape, it also seems more and more important to find your moments of escape in order to recharge. So in Friday’s send, I’m going to at least include the things that helped get me through the week. My current TV escapes are Gordita Chronicles (hilarious) on HBO Max and Ms. Marvel (awesome!) on Disney+. I donated once again to ARC Southeast. And I made, and inhaled, the purple plum torte (with peaches and blueberries) twice. Yes, twice. It’s delicious. As for escaping into the mystery world: I’ve got new releases, backlist legal adjacent reads, and some news and roundups for you.

enamel bookmark of a Black woman from behind in a swimsuit and hat holding a book

Black girl magic bookmark by MelaninMagicKits

Perfect summer bookmark. $18

New Releases

cover image for Take No Names

Take No Names by Daniel Nieh

This is labeled as a standalone, but is a continuation with the character from Beijing Payback. Victor Li is a wanted man who has taken on a job of breaking into storage units that belong to recently deported people. That’s where he finds a rare gem that to him can change his life with its value. But this is a crime book, so really he’s about to find a lot of trouble.

book cover Rogues by patrick radden keefe

Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks by Patrick Radden Keefe

Patrick Radden Keefe has two fantastic true crime books: Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland and Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty. Now he’s put out a collection of his writings, 12 articles previously published in The New Yorker, that tell a range of crime stories. We start with The Jefferson Bottles–which I have renamed The 1% Are Insufferable–which takes a look at rare wine, collectors, and the elaborate con of selling Thomas Jefferson’s wine bottles. There are stories on international arms brokers, a sister who lives in hiding after testifying against her brother, financial scams, an unsolved plane bombing, mass shooting, El Chapo and more. The stories will take you around the world and into very different criminal activity. It’s a great collection you can pick up and put down easily depending on your reading mood and that allows you to bounce around depending on the crime you’re interested in. Also great if you like reading books that will have you playing the “Hey, did you know?” game. Bonus: the audiobook is read by the author.

Looking for more new releases? Check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

This week I have two books adjacent to legal thrillers.

Book Cover for All her little secrets by wanda morris, red-tinted photo close up of a Black woman wearing sunglasses

All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris

While this book isn’t focused on a legal case, it has a corporate lawyer lead and is full of corporate intrigue. It’s also a great read for fans of past and present chapters–which I love. Ellice Littlejohn already has a lot on her plate, including putting the woman who raised her in a home and worrying about her brother, when she walks into work and finds a partner dead by apparent suicide. Rather than calling it in, she leaves and lets someone else find him, opening the door for her to become the prime suspect as the firm she works for decides to promote her. Everything quickly is spiraling out of control and she needs to figure out what is happening…

(TW main case questioned as suicide/ alcoholic parent/ dementia/ teen sexual assault recounted, not graphic/ child abuse/ brief mention partner abuse/ fatshaming)

The Appeal cover image

The Appeal by Janice Hallett

This follows an actual case but in a very clever and unique way–the format is different from what you’re used to. It’s the kind of book where going into it knowing nothing or as little as possible is the funnest way, but I know some readers want to know as much as possible so I’m splitting this review first with the bare bones and then with more info.

We start with law students being given case files of a real case to go through. All of the files are email exchanges and text messages between a group of people who overlap being in a play together and working at a hospital. You are provided with all the information to “play along” and solve the case.

Law students are given evidence from a real trial to go through which consists of email exchanges and text messages. There is a community play being put together by a wealthy family known for this and the toddler granddaughter has just been diagnosed with cancer. Quickly the community comes together to help raise a large sum of money to try and get her experimental drugs from America which have not yet been approved in the UK. We get to know all the characters involved through their messages to each other: from the play being cast, organized, practiced and performed, to the fundraising efforts that go into full effect. The students are tasked with reading everything in order to help with an appeal in the hopes that they will spot what was missed in the original murder trial. As the students are prompted to solve certain things, you as the reader also get to play detective/lawyer and try to answer the questions.

This book had me longing for the days that we used to have full conversations over email and I loved how much you could get to know the characters solely through their digital correspondence. There’s the busy body who emails one person one thing and then has a slightly different story in a different email exchange; the married couple trying to settle into a new place after working with a group like Doctors without Borders; the oncologist awaiting the money for the drugs ordered; the family trying to raise the money; and the woman in charge of all the fundraising. I was completely sucked into everyone’s life and rather impressed with how well this book works even though it’s all just digital correspondence. If you’re looking for a page-turner that is formatted differently from other books, and want to participate in the puzzle solving, pick this one up.

(TW child cancer/ past child deaths from illness/ pregnancy complications/ addiction/ mentions sexual assaults, not graphic)

News and Roundups

Judges For the ‘Sisters in Crime Pride Award’ Talk LGBTQIA+ Issues in Crime Publishing

Cult Classics: 32 Fascinating Books About Cults

From The Staircase to The Dropout, the Best True Crime Dramas of 2022 Ranked

The best new books of June 2022

Murder, mystery and the mafia: Audible hit uses 1980’s Providence to tell thrilling story

How Does Goodreads Make Money?

‘Only Murders in the Building’ Is Even Better in Its Second Season

True Detective Season 4: Kali Reis to Help Jodie Foster Solve Alaska Mystery

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming 2022 releases. Check out this Unusual Suspects Pinterest board and get Tailored Book Recommendations!

Until next time, keep investigating! In the meantime, come talk books with me on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, 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.

Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a 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’s pick is the adult debut of much-loved fantasy author, Holly Black! You might know her as the co-creator of The Spiderwick Chronicles, the author of The Cruel Prince or The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, or the author of the Newbery Honor book Doll Bones! She’s a talented and dynamic speculative writer whose stories sometimes toe the line of horror, and her newest book is excellent!

cover of book of night by holly black; dark green with illustration in the middle of a sliver of a moon at night

Book of Night by Holly Black

Charlie Hall is in her late twenties, and she’s spent most of her life as a thief and con artist in a world where people can manipulate their own shadows for power and status. But not anymore—after a job went wrong, she’s decided she’s on the straight and narrow path, working as a bartender and trying to see her sister through college. But then one last job reels her back into her former life, and this time she walks right into the center of a dangerous struggle for a legendary grimoire that a local billionaire is desperate to get his hands on. And unfortunately for Charlie, it turns out this mess is about to get personal, so there’s no walking away from it.

If you’re a devoted Holly Black reader, this novel (with a confirmed sequel!) is probably best described as an edgier, slightly more grown up novel that’s reminiscent of her Curseworkers series—it’s got an organized crime element, family secrets, heists, dangerous magic, and plenty of plot twists. If you’re new to Holly Black, hopefully that all sounds good to you! I really enjoyed Charlie, a character who’s never really gotten a fair start in life and grew up manipulated into conning more powerful shadow magic users in order to get ahead. We meet her at a point in her life when she’s realized the danger in her previous actions, and is trying to live a different life—but it’s incredibly hard when the world seems to be against you. You can’t help but sympathize with Charlie for her rather simple desire for a job that pays the bills, a boyfriend who is steady and kind, and a sister who is happy with going to college. Of course, nothing is that simple and Charlie realizes she’s going to have to face the darkness head on if she’s going to even survive.

I’ll be real—I didn’t 100% understand the magic system in this world, and there were many scenes where I just went with it. Luckily, Black makes it easy to do because her writing and her characters are so engaging, and I think it’s the more grounded, real-world struggles of trying to live a good life in a complicated and not-so-kind world that made the conflict so intriguing. And of course, there are some truly excellent twists in this story (some I saw coming, others I didn’t) and a brilliant heist climax that made my head spin (in a good way!), and all of that was really fun. This book is one of my favorites of Black’s work, and it’s perfect for fans of Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo!

Happy reading!

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

Find me on Book Riot, Hey YA, All the Books, and Twitter. If someone forwarded this newsletter to you, click here to subscribe.

True Story

Some Books About Swimming

Happy weekend, nonfiction lovers! As you are reading this, I am officially off the clock for a week of vacation from my day job. It’s largely a staycation, so I am hoping I can spend most of it with my face in a good book. It’s been way, way too long since I went off the clock for an extended period of time, and I have been feeling it hard. I hope you are also finding ways to step back and care for yourself right now!

Bookish Goods

watercolor painting of a green pickle sitting in a chair in front of a bookshelf

Whimsical Pickle Reading a Book by SprocketandLloyd

I am consistently delighted by all the cute, printable art you can find on Etsy. This image of a pickle reading a book in front of a lovely shelf full of books made me smile this week – I hope it does the same for you. $11+

New Releases

book cover the future is degrowth

The Future is Degrowth: A Guide to a World Beyond Capitalism by Matthias Schmelzer, Andrea Vetter, and Aaron Vansintjan

There’s a lot in the description of this book that I’m not sure I will explain correctly, but I am going to try! This book offers a counter-history to general ideas about economic growth, arguing that “the ideology of growth conceals the rising inequalities and ecological descriptions associated with capitalism.” The authors go on to argue that there needs to be a vision for the economy that goes beyond growth, which is unsustainable. Instead, they suggest ideas to try and democratize the economy or think of economics in new ways. I think I would learn a lot from this one!

book cover shifting currents by karen eva carr

Shifting Currents: A World History of Swimming by Karen Eva Carr

Like the subtitle indicates, this book is a history of swimming. It begins with the tension that came about when “non-swimming northerners” met swimmers from Africa and Southeast Asia. Initially, swimming seemed like an activity connected to the uncanny, an example of sin or witchcraft. Swimming was used as an excuse to enslave people, and a way to try and claim power themselves. Karen Eva Carr uses this initial power dynamic to show how contemporary swimming still sexualizes women and marginalizes people of color, among other complicated dynamics. I’m so intrigued by this one! 

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

Riot Recommendations

I grew up going “up North” every weekend to my family’s lakeside cabin, so spending time on the water is one of my favorite activities. Inspired by summer and one of this week’s new releases, here are a couple great books about swimming:

book cover why we swim by bonnie tsui

Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui

I am not alone in being drawn to the water. Humans swim all over the world, from Arctic waters all the way to tropical locales. In this book, swimmer Bonnie Tsui travels the globe to tell stories of how swimming has changed and connected people. She visits a swim club in Baghdad, samurai swimmers in Japan, and several other locations to try and understand what about the water is so important to people. This book is a very soothing read, if you need something calm and quiet in the middle of your summer craziness.

book coer swim by lynn sherr

Swim: Why We Love the Water by Lynn Sherr

This book is another ode to swimming, this time looking more deeply at the history and biology of why we love the water. She explores how swimming has shifted from a solitary to social activity, as well as things like the history of buoyancy and the science behind how we evolved to swim. While less contemporary, this book also has many of the same chill, low-key vibes as other swimming books in this edition.

For more nonfiction reads, head over to the podcast service of your choice and download For Real, which I co-host with my dear friend Alice. If you have any questions/comments/book suggestions, you can find me on social media @kimthedork or send an email to Happy weekend!



We’re giving away three copies of In the Beautiful Country by Jane Kuo to three lucky Riot readers!

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

Anna can’t wait to move to the beautiful country—the Chinese name for America. Although she’s only ever known life in Taiwan, she can’t help but brag about it to her family and friends.

But the beautiful country isn’t anything like Anna pictured. Her family can only afford a cramped apartment, she’s bullied at school, and she struggles to understand a new language. On top of that, the restaurant that her parents poured their savings into is barely staying afloat. The version of America that Anna is experiencing is nothing like she imagined. Can she make the beautiful country her home?

The Stack

Celebrate Captain America’s Birthday in Style!

Next Monday is July 4, and you know what that means: it’s Captain America’s birthday! Be sure to honor him by being a good person and standing up for others — after you read this newsletter, that is!

Bookish Goods

A pale hand holds on a keychain with a drawing of Captain America's butt and the text "America's Ass"

America’s Ass Keychain by MichelleKathrynD

For when your keys need that extra sexy touch. There’s a sticker available too! $7.50

New Releases

Ms. Marvel Beyond the Limit cover

Ms. Marvel: Beyond the Limit by Samira Ahmed and Andres Genolet

This trade paperback edition of Beyond the Limit pits our heroine against her own interdimensional doppelgänger. If you’ve been enjoying the Ms. Marvel series on Disney+, you won’t want to miss this adventure!

Teen Titans Go! Undead cover

Teen Titans Go!: Undead?! by Michael Northrup and Erich Owen

A strange illness is plaguing the citizens of Jump City: they’re all obsessed with shopping at the mall and eating brains! Can even the Teen Titans figure out what is happening and put a stop to it before they, too, start hanging out at the mall for no good reason? Teen Titans Go!: Undead?! is a raucous all-ages comic that is sure to please fans of the cartoon.

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

Riot Recommendations

Today’s Riot Rec theme is: banned comics! American Independence Day is the perfect time to remember the vital importance of protecting freedom of speech, and how much banning books costs us all. For more banned and challenged comics, see this list from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Gender Queer cover

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

One of the more “notorious” banned comics, this award-winning memoir explores the author’s journey to coming out as asexual and nonbinary. Eir story provides hope and inspiration to young queer people and is a critical point of reference for non-queer readers.

book cover persepolis by marijane satrapi

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis is one of the most celebrated comics ever written, and with very good reason. Satrapi’s distinctive art style and frank storytelling bring her intense childhood in Iran and confusing young adulthood in Europe to life. It was later made into an Oscar-nominated animated film. The book is often challenged based on its supposedly violent and profane content.

Slightly blurry author photo of a Havanese puppy sleeping with her nose on a copy of "Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon"

As a reward for making it through the week, please enjoy this first-ever bookish photo of my puppy Poppy, who chose to use one of my Nancy Drew PC games as a pillow! Aw!


Kissing Books

Tote Bags, Begrudging Partners, and Friends to Lovers

We’ve almost made it through another week friends and, after the catastrophe that was last Friday, that’s a feat in and of itself. In these dark and challenging times, It is hard to find the light sometimes. And, even though there are tough times ahead, it is important to take time to take a moment and just enjoy the things, whether it’s picking up a book, losing yourself in a videogame for a few hours, or enjoying a nice cold adult beverage. Big hugs to everyone hurting right now.

I’m not sure about y’all but, as always, reading is still my consistent silent partner. So, in currently reading news, I have From Bad to Cursed, Chef’s Kiss, and The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina on my shelf.

Bookish Goods

Picture of Trope Book Bag

Romance Reader Bookish Tote Bag by TheBookishCollective

I love this acrostic-inspired bag that matches some of romance’s popular tropes with a descriptive word that I know most of us resonate with. You can use it over and over again for the multiple trips to the library or bookstore, or just a day to the beach to read the books that you borrow or buy from said places. Sounds like winning all around to me. $16

New Releases

cover of The Bluestocking Beds Her Bride

The Bluestocking Beds Her Bride by Fenna Edgewood

Fleur is a woman who is determined to have her revenge on the man she believes is responsible for her family’s downfall. Lady Julia is a happy spinster who advocates for the less fortunate, ignoring the rumors that abound the ton about her preference of bed partners. When the two happen to meet, their destinies and their lifelong goals become entwined, leaving them with hope for their futures, possibly together.

cover of American Royalty

American Royalty by Tracey Livesay

When professor and Prince Jameson is tasked by the Queen to put on a concert in her husband’s memory, he resents being called in to take away attention from her unruly children and hires a singer known as ‘Duchess’. Too late, he realizes that Duchess is rapper, which is not the music that the Queen had in mind. But Duchess is also trying to get some good PR generated for her, so the two decide to make the best of this situation, while trying to ignore the attraction that is building between them.

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

Riot Recommendations

Since I’ve done enemies to lovers before, I decided that for today’s recommendations, the theme would be the friends to lovers variety. Personally, I am a big fan of this trope and always have been. I blame movies like When Harry Met Sally and not-so-much-guilty-pleasure Boys & Girls. Because honestly in this day and age, as long as it’s legal and moral, enjoy what you do because our current world is a hellscape.

Getting back on track, here are my recommendations for some friends to lovers books to add to your TBR.

cover of Bedding Lord Ned

Bedding Lord Ned by Sally MacKenzie

I’ve talked about this series before in the past and I still maintain that if you’re looking for some light historical reads with a bananas premise, it’s right up that alley. This one is about oldest son Ned, who has been a widower of four years and is looking to change that. Right when he decides this, his childhood friend Ellie—who has carried a torch for Ned for years—decides she give up the ghost and look to other suitors. Of course you know that they will end up together but the journey there, which also includes a red panty-stealing cat, is a hilarious romp.

cover of How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days

How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days by K.M. Jackson

This was one of my first reads of the year and I strongly feel that not enough people are talking about it. Is it a bananapants premise? Sure; but I mean, a lot of books out there have even zanier ones. Plus, I love the slow build between True and Lu, plus the descriptions of the various places and people they met. Because there is a lot of name dropping done here: who gets dropped? Well you have to read it to find out.

Apparently I knew a lot more about 90’s rom-coms than I thought which is nice to know. Take this quiz to find out where you rank.

Here is a round-up of some of the more popular romances that feature a celebrity

And if you’re looking for some reads that will make you want to fan yourself from more than the summer heat, check this list out.

And that’s all I have for you today. I’ll be back in your inboxes on Monday and in the meantime you can always give me a follow over on Twitter under @PScribe801. Until next time.
— PN Hinton