Check Your Shelf

Likable Female Characters

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. Last week at work, I put up my favorite display (horror picks for spooky season), and while I was gathering materials, I found myself on the verge of humming “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” And honestly, Halloween season is like Christmas, in that it comes and goes way too quickly.

Book Riot is 10 years old this month! We’re celebrating with limited edition merch, including a cozy Book Riot hoodie perfect for fall reading.

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

What would it take to disrupt the publishing industry?

New & Upcoming Titles

FOX News Books and HarperCollins have signed a deal to publish six new titles.

London chef Elizabeth Haigh’s cookbook has been withdrawn from publication after plagiarism concerns.

Keke Palmer and Jasmine Guillory collaborated on a short story collection for Amazon Original Stories.

Britney Spears says she’s working on a novel (possibly a ghost mystery?)

Publishers Weekly has a few different articles about upcoming mystery/thriller and true crime titles: Mysteries & Thrillers 2021: Mission Accepted, Mysteries & Thrillers 2021: First Time Offenders, True Crime 2021: What Makes Them Tick?, and True Crime 2021: Once Upon a Crime.

10 new books by Native writers.

New books in translation.

18 new books to get you excited about reading again.

Weekly book picks from Crime Reads, The Millions, New York Times, and USA Today.

5 books you may have missed in September.

October picks from Buzzfeed.

Barnes & Noble has started sharing their favorite books of the year, as well as their favorite SFF books of the year.

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

State of Terror – Louise Penny & Hillary Clinton (LA Times, New York Times, People, USA Today, Washington Post)

Silverview – John le Carré (The Guardian, New York Times, Time, Washington Post)

On Animals – Susan Orlean (LA Times, New York Times, NPR, USA Today)

Oscar Wilde: A Life – Matthew Sturgis (LA Times, New York Times, Washington Post)

Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief – Victoria Chang (New York Times, NPR)

RA/Genre Resources

How to read the Bridgerton books in order.

On the Riot

15 of the best nonfiction books in 2021.

4 new YA novels by Indigenous authors.

Weekly new releases to TBR.

How contemporary fiction humanizes mothers.

Portrait of a likable female character.

The big picture: reading historical fiction during a global pandemic.

An introduction to police procedurals.

Exploring epistolary novels.

All Things Comics

Penguin Classics is teaming up with Marvel to publish special editions of certain Marvel comics.

Jon Kent, son of Clark Kent, comes out as bisexual in DC’s upcoming Superman comic.

The best manga to read right now.

On the Riot

10 middle grade graphic novels to look forward to this fall.

The 2021 Harvey Awards winners have been announced.

An introduction to Latin American comics.

The history of the Peanuts comics.


The October 2021 Earphones Winners have been announced.

23 celebrities who narrated these audiobooks brilliantly.

The best-loved audiobooks featuring full casts.

How are audiobooks keeping reading culture alive?

On the Riot

8 new witchy audiobooks.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


15 of the best Thanksgiving books to read with kids.

23 adult books that make great reading suggestions for teens.

20 slow-burn romances for teens.


17 incredible books by Black LGBTQ+ authors.

The best historical mysteries of the last five years.

Horror recommendations for every mood.

6 haunted house thrillers to read for Halloween.

10 smart and scary books about ghosts.

The 14 best horror novels for reveling in the spooky season.

Masterpieces of 20th century gothic fiction.

5 dark historical gothics to savor this fall.

6 books about crime and colonialism at the US-Mexico border.

5 SFF books with BIPOC chosen ones.

5 great mystery novels set at carnivals or fairs.

On the Riot

21 children’s Halloween books to enjoy this spooky season.

Truly terrifying middle grade books for fearless readers.

YA books dealing with addiction.

20 must-read stories for National Coming Out Day.

14 works of Mexican literature available in English translations.

8 books with love triangles that end in polyamory.

The most influential sci-fi books of all time.

Awesome books about first contact with aliens.

9 familiars/animal companions in literature.

Level Up (Library Reads)

Do you take part in Library Reads, the monthly list of best books selected by librarians only? We’ve made it easy for you to find eligible diverse titles to nominate. Kelly Jensen created a database of upcoming diverse books that anyone can edit, and Nora Rawlins of Early Word is doing the same, as well as including information about series, vendors, and publisher buzz.

Get spooky, y’all. I’ll see you on Friday.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter. Currently reading White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson.

Check Your Shelf

Your Anti-Censorship Tool Kit

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. I know you all are reading this newsletter on Friday, but I’m writing it on a Wednesday and it feels like this week is just never going to end. Also, I’m realizing exactly how fried my brain has been when I noticed that it’s been literally weeks since I’ve picked up a book, and I’m not happy about it.

Also, here’s a newsletter update for you: with so many stories coming out about books being banned or challenged in schools and libraries, I’m creating a new section to keep track. And yes, I am super angry that this is the reality we’re living in.

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

A Pescadero (CA) school library is prioritizing marginalized voices and social justice, but some parents worry that removing “classic” titles is akin to censorship.

The Niles-Maine (IL) Public Library saga continues as the board’s hiring freeze and subsequent staffing shortages are discussed.

Cool Library Updates

The Stratford (ON) Public Library is taking steps to remove colonial language from its catalog.

Worth Reading

This Afghan librarian hopes to reopen a library for women despite the Taliban rule.

Book Adaptations in the News

Sue Grafton’s Alphabet series is getting a TV adaptation, despite the fact that Grafton was adamant during her lifetime about her books never being adapted.

Ovidia Yu’s Chen Su Lin historical mystery series has been optioned for television.

Mike Flanagan is developing a Netflix limited series based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher.

Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray is being developed as a Netflix feature film.

The Silver Linings Playbook gets a Broadway musical adaptation.

Apple renews Foundation for a second season.

Take a peek at the official House of the Dragon teaser trailer.

Here’s the trailer for Cyrano, starring Peter Dinklage.

Banned and Challenged Books

Censorship attempts in Texas, New York, and more (if you’re having trouble keeping up with all of the recent news items).

Here’s another look at the recent fight to ban books.

Southlake, TX schools restrict classroom libraries after receiving backlash over the book This Book Is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell. In response, some educators have blocked off their library shelves with caution tape in protest of the new policy.

The National Coalition Against Censorship objects to the removal of Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez from Lake Travis (TX) school libraries.

Katy (TX) Independent School District pulled the books New Kid and Class Act by Jerry Craft, and canceled the author’s virtual visit after parents complained that the books promoted “critical race theory.”

Spring Branch (TX) Independent School District removed the graphic novel The Breakaways over sexual content, and insists that it’s not because the graphic novel includes a transgender character.

Brevard (FL) school officials have removed the graphic novel Gender Queer from the library.

Campbell County teens called out local commissioners at a recent meeting for their attempts to remove LGBTQ books from the public library.

Fighting the good fight as a school librarian during Banned Books Week.

It’s rare for teachers and librarians to receive complaints about books that feature violence. We need to ask ourselves why.

How to fight book bans and challenges: an anti-censorship tool kit.

Books & Authors in the News

Beloved children’s author Gary Paulsen has passed away at 82.

HarperCollins removes a short story from David Walliams’ book The World’s Worst Children after the story received criticism over “casual racism.”

Uzo Aduba will be the inaugural host for Netflix’s new book club.

Award News

Abdulrazak Gurnah wins the 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Sonia Sanchez wins the $250,000 Gish Prize.

The National Translation Awards shortlist has been announced.

The quiet disappearance of queer stories in Nebraska: The Golden Sower award list draws criticism.

Pop Cultured

9 of the best shows about cults and religious sects.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

The 25 most iconic book covers in history.

On the Riot

How to run a successful manga club in your school or library.

“I work in a library, but I’m not a librarian.”

What are the Library Freedom Project and Abolitionist Library Association?

Environmental kids literature awards from around the world.

How much can you make writing romance?

Portals to the past: the wonderful world of used books.

Book Riot is 10 years old this month, and we’re celebrating with some limited edition merch!

Enjoy the weekend and I’ll catch you next week!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Inform Your Patrons: SAGA’s back!

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. All good things must come to an end, and I am back home from vacation. But it’s always good to come back to my kitties and sleep in my own bed again…my back is grateful to be back in my own bed again, too.

So let’s get to libraries.

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

A look at the upcoming publishing delays.

Melinda French Gates launches Moment of Lift Books with Flatiron.

New & Upcoming Titles

The spring lead title for Zando Publishing is a novel by Steve Almond, co-host of Cheryl Strayed’s Dear Sugar podcast.

We’ve got a bunch of new Star Wars novels coming out.

Josh Malerman announced his next novel, coming Summer of 2022.

Joan Didion’s complete backlist is being re-issued next spring.

The creators of the Netflix show Nailed It! are publishing a cookbook.

A reading list of new books to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

Weekly book picks from Crime Reads, New York Times, and USA Today.

October picks from Bitch, CBC, Entertainment Weekly, Good Morning America, NPR, PopSugar (mysteries/thrillers), Time, and (SF).

Fall picks from LitHub, USA Today, and Washington Post (mysteries/thrillers).

The best books of the year so far from Vulture.

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

Crossroads – Jonathan Franzen (The Atlantic, New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post)

The Storyteller – Dave Grohl (Parade, People, Seattle Times, Washington Post)

Fight Night – Miriam Toews (LA Times, New York Times, NPR, USA Today)

The Lincoln Highway – Amor Towles (LA Times, New York Times, NPR, Washington Post)

I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness – Claire Vaye Watkins (Electric Lit, The Millions, New York Times, NPR)

A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries (2003-2020) – David Sedaris (The Guardian, New York Times, Washington Post)

There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century – Fiona Hill (New York Times, NPR)

My Monticello – Jocelyn Nicole Johnson (LA Times, New York Times)

Reprieve – James Han Mattson (New York Times, NPR)

Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters – Steven Pinker (New York Times, Washington Post)

We Are Not Like Them – Christine Pride & Jo Piazza (Entertainment Weekly, New York Times)

Taste: My Life Through Food – Stanley Tucci (Entertainment Weekly, New York Times)

RA/Genre Resources

Afro-Latino representation in children’s books.

On the Riot

20 must-read adult books by trans and genderqueer authors in 2021.

Weekly new releases to TBR.

15 must-read children’s book releases for October.

8 new YA series to start this fall.

Why you should pick up sci-fi and fantasy books with weird covers.

A love letter to The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones.

All Things Comics

Saga is coming back in January!

How comics responded to our locked-down, anxious COVID lives.

On the Riot

The best comics that Rioters read from July – September 2021.

13 Japanese light novels for genre newbies.


11 of October’s most-anticipated audiobooks.

On the Riot

It’s time to slow down your audiobook speed.

20 awesome audiobooks for kids.

7 audiobooks for Latinx Heritage Month.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


Charming picture books on the value of gratitude.

Hauntingly good ghost stories for tweens.

24 YA books to read after you watch Fear Street.

18 YA books with multiracial main characters.


8 books by, for, and about Muslim women.

14 novels written by Mexican authors.

9 darkly funny reads.

11 true crime tales of the rich and famous.

7 books by women in the spy game.

Your basic witch reading list.

Crime fiction set in claustrophobic communities.

100 novels that shaped our new world.

13 spooky-not-scary books.

11 books about stalkers for fans of You.

On the Riot

10 Halloween board books for babies.

8 children’s books about neurodiversity.

Queer YA horror for spooky season.

20 of the best nonfiction books of the decade.

The best novels set in the publishing world.

Hot-for-teacher romance picks.

Great books featuring female sleuths.

9 of the best LGBTQ thrillers.

Books about the mind in all its splendor.

11 books if you loved HBO’s Lovecraft Country.

Mysteries and thrillers starring musicians.

Level Up (Library Reads)

Do you take part in Library Reads, the monthly list of best books selected by librarians only? We’ve made it easy for you to find eligible diverse titles to nominate. Kelly Jensen created a database of upcoming diverse books that anyone can edit, and Nora Rawlins of Early Word is doing the same, as well as including information about series, vendors, and publisher buzz.

It’s back to work for me…I’ll catch you on Friday.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Children’s Book Challenged Because of Sexy Seahorse Illustrations

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. The UP continues to amaze me with so many gorgeous colors!! We still have a couple days left on our trip, but I’m already making note of the places we didn’t get to see for our next trip out here. Because there will definitely be a next trip!

So let’s talk libraries while I am continuing to enjoy time away from my own library!

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

Campbell County Commissioner Del Shelstad said that the county should stop funding the Campbell County Public Library amidst a large-scale reconsideration of materials campaign from local government officials and community members. Meanwhile, Campbell County librarians face legal intimidation and possible charges for carrying sex education books for kids.

Sexual harassment, intimidation, and violence on the job has worsened during the pandemic, Canadian librarians report.

The Pikes Peak (CO) Library District has had to reduce its hours due to an ongoing staff shortage.

Several Mid-Continent (MO) Public Library board members took to Facebook to complain about a Banned Books Week display, sparking backlash from current and previous employees.

So how about some good news now? Scholastic Book Clubs and James Patterson are teaming up to launch the “United States of Readers” campaign to battle literacy inequity in schools.

Cool Library Updates

New York Public Libraries have officially eliminated late fees.

Rapper Noname opens the Radical Hood Library in Los Angeles.

Worth Reading

Contraband books: What Texas prisons have against Michelle Alexander, Frederick Douglass, and Alice Walker.

School and public libraries continue recovery efforts after storms and fires.

Why every future librarian should take learning cataloging seriously.

Do bookless libraries signal the end of the printed word?

Book Adaptations in the News

Tony winner Matthew Lopez is making his directorial debut with Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue.

Michael B. Jordan’s production company is adapting N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy into a fantasy-action franchise.

Disney+ greenlights a series based on Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel, American Born Chinese.

Jonathan Franzen’s Crossroads is being adapted as a series.

Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga are starring in an upcoming Broadway adaptation of Macbeth.

Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Dispossessed is being turned into a TV series.

Casting updates for Salem’s Lot, Washington Black, and Kindred.

Here’s a first look at Netflix’s adaptation of The Sandman.

Books & Authors in the News

Calls to ban books by Black authors are increasing amid Critical Race Theory debates.

The “Moms for Liberty” group in Tennessee has objected to 31 titles in classrooms and school libraries, including the nonfiction book Sea Horse: The Shyest Fish In The Sea, which apparently has a watercolor illustration of two seahorses that is too sexy for elementary students. (I wish I was kidding.)

The Fairfax County (VA) Public School District has removed two books from high school libraries after community members spoke out against the books at a recent board meeting. The books are Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison and Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, and the community members claim that they contain homoerotic content and depictions of pedophilia.

The book Rosa Parks by Eloise Greenfield was removed, and then returned to Volusia (FL) County School District classrooms.

Stephen Colbert intentionally spoiled Stephanie Grisham’s upcoming tell-all memoir about Trump on air, in the hopes of discouraging people from buying it.

Award News

The National Book Awards finalists have been announced!

The Christy Award shortlists have been announced.

Pop Cultured

A Babylon 5 reboot is in active development as a series for the CW.

The Latinx culture guide: 25 TV shows, documentaries, movies, TED talks, and books to check out for Hispanic Heritage Month.

Here are a few lists of the best horror movies available on streaming services (HBO Max and Netflix, specifically).

On the Riot

Why you should sit on your library board.

A brief history of US Presidential libraries.

The best way to read a hard book.

When books become your parenting community.

How reading changed the way this reader sees morality.

20 easy bookish Halloween costumes for kid and adults.

The strange posthumous journey of Dorothy Parker’s ashes.

Get your limited edition Book Riot 10th anniversary merch before it’s gone!

All right, everyone. I’ll catch you next week!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Gearing Up For Spooky Season

Welcome to Check Your Shelf, where the fall colors in the Upper Peninsula are gobsmackingly gorgeous! Even my sister (who’s not usually a fan of fall) said that traveling up to the UP in October made her realize what all the fuss is about. Eventually, I’ll get around to sharing a few photos on Twitter, but in the meantime, let’s talk about books!

Collection Development Corner

New & Upcoming Titles

Diana Gabaldon has started writing the 10th Outlander book already.

I don’t have a news item for this, but I just learned that Alma Katsu is releasing a new historical horror novel next April called The Fervor, set in a Japanese WWII internment camp, and featuring a potentially demonic disease. SIGN ME UP. ​​

63 new SFF and horror picks to get you into Spooky Season.

Weekly picks from Crime Reads, LitHub, New York Times, and USA Today.

October picks from AV Club, Barnes & Noble, Crime Reads (novels, nonfiction), LitHub (nonfiction), New York Times, NPR, and Washington Post.

The year’s best sci-fi noir (so far).

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

Cloud Cuckoo Land – Anthony Doerr (The Guardian, LA Times, New York Times, New Yorker, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post)

Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence – Anita Hill (Bustle, New York Times, NPR, People, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times)

A Calling For Charlie Barnes – Joshua Ferris (Entertainment Weekly, New York Times, NPR, Washington Post)

Crossroads – Jonathan Franzen (AV Club, BBC, Slate)

Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark – Cassandra Peterson (People, USA Today, Washington Post)

Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why it Matters – Steven Pinker (New York Times, Slate)

Please Don’t Sit On My Bed In Your Outside Clothes – Phoebe Robinson (Shondaland, Washington Post)

RA/Genre Resources

Readalikes for Cloud Cuckoo Land, for all those patrons on the waiting list.

Romance trope alert: odd couples and romance set in the woods.

On the Riot

It’s Book Riot’s 10th anniversary! Pick up some limited edition merch to celebrate with us!

8 stunning debut novels to read this fall.

20 of the best book club books published in 2021.

12 new LGBTQ books that prove Pride isn’t just for June.

Weekly new releases to TBR.

10 October YA new releases to get excited for.

A fill-in-the-blanks template for recommending books.

How to find a romance novel by description.

Reading pathways for Rachel Cusk.

The canon of children’s literature: does it exist? Should it?

In defense of navel-gazing: why we read memoirs and autofiction.

Does romance need more older protagonists?

All Things Comics

Marvel sues to retain control of Avengers characters.

On the Riot

Fall in love with these romance light novels.

A brief history of Jewish superheroes.

10 horror manhwa to give you thrills and chills.


David Tennant and Michael Sheen will narrate the upcoming audio version of Good Omens.

Celebrate your right to listen during Banned Books Week (and all year).

Latinx narrators you should definitely listen to.

AudioFile’s best audiobooks of September.

On the Riot

10 of’s most pre-ordered audiobooks for Fall 2021, part 2. (Part 1 is here if you want a refresher!)

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


14 YA Latinx fantasy books to add to your TBR.

13 YA books that deal with domestic violence.


Must-read mysteries and thrillers by Hispanic authors.

10 books by Latinx authors.

7 Indian women writers you should be reading.

100 contested books to read for Banned Books Week.

All 58 of Reese Witherspoon’s book picks.

8 books to give to all of your friends.

5 books to read after Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang.

5 essential works of climate-forward fiction.

Books in which a house is both setting and character.

8 books that exemplify the rise of the “domestic gothic.”

17 #BookTok reads for Halloween.

A witchy reading list to kick off spooky season.

10 of the strangest sci-fi dystopias.

On the Riot

15 sweetly spooky Halloween books for toddlers.

The best train books for kids.

8 engrossing mysteries about journalists and reporters.

Domestic thrillers to make you look over your shoulder.

16 books with books on the cover.

8 literary horror novels for fans of Shirley Jackson.

Horror comedy books to make you scream AND laugh!

9 great mockumentary books for your TBR.

15 of the best books about mindfulness.

Level Up (Library Reads)

Do you take part in Library Reads, the monthly list of best books selected by librarians only? We’ve made it easy for you to find eligible diverse titles to nominate. Kelly Jensen created a database of upcoming diverse books that anyone can edit, and Nora Rawlins of Early Word is doing the same, as well as including information about series, vendors, and publisher buzz.

Catch you on Friday, friends!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Behold: The Book Blob

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. Holy cow, it’s officially spooky season!! I mean, I feel like September should be considered part of spooky season as well, but once October hits, there’s just no denying the scary. Just make sure to take time on Sunday to recognize Mean Girls Day. (It’s October 3rd.)

And with that, let’s talk about libraries.

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

The US Senate Finance Committee presses publishers on library eBook contracts.

Parents protest the book It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health by Robie Harris at the Cass County Public Library.

A commissioner and a teacher are among the latest to raise concerns about books at the Campbell County (WY) Public Library.

The San Antonio Public Library is going fines-free.

The Obamas officially broke ground on the presidential library being built in Chicago.

Cool Library Updates

Madison public libraries are now lending out eBike passes.

Birdwatching programs help foster community during the pandemic.

Worth Reading

COVID-19 and library late fees.

How to help school boards resist pressure groups.

Here’s a look at a “human library” in Copenhagen that allows you to “check out” other people.

Why your library’s logo might be terrible.

Book Adaptations in the News

All the Light We Cannot See is getting a limited series at Netflix.

Netflix now owns all of Roald Dahl’s stories.

The Last Mrs. Parrish is being turned into a movie.

Clarissa Goenawan’s Rainbirds will be adapted for film.

Let the Right One In will be adapted as a TV series for Showtime.

Amblin Television is developing Kimberly McCreight’s latest novel Friends Like These into a series.

Here’s the trailer for Ethan Coel’s The Tragedy of Macbeth.

Books & Authors in the News

A Texas mom slams the Lake Travis Independent School District Board for allowing the book Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez in school libraries. (Yeah, this is the incident where the woman tells the school board all about her thoughts on anal sex.)

The Central York school board finally votes to rescind its book ban.

Teen Vogue takes a look at the consequences of recent censorship attempts for Banned Books Week.

Oprah picks Richard Powers’ Bewilderment as her latest book club selection.

This year’s MacArthur Genius Grant recipients include Hanif Abdurraqib, Ibram X. Kendi, and Daniel Alarcón.

Jason Reynolds extends his term as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for a third year, the first time this has happened for the position.

Sally Rooney’s latest book, Beautiful World Where Are You, is now the most reviewed book of all time.

Numbers & Trends

Who doesn’t read books in America?

Behold: the book blob. (How the current trend of abstract book covers have come to dominate bookshelves and Instagram.)

Goodreads members’ most read books by genre.

Award News

The Emmy Awards were announced.

The National Book Awards have cancelled its in-person ceremony for 2021.

The 2021 Ignyte Awards have been announced.

The Center for Fiction announces its 2021 First Novel shortlist.

Why we still need the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

NPR is starting a “Book of the Day” podcast.

What was the first banned book in history?

On the Riot

Ditch that book: the importance of weeding in libraries.

5 unexpected items your library can lend you.

Why this reader wants more virtual book stuff after the pandemic.

12 TV shows based on YA books.

How are romance covers made?

20 must-read online literary journals.

An introduction to the book-length essay.

Why is satire difficult for modern readers to understand?

What to do with a loved one’s books when they die.

The next newsletter will be brought to you from the Upper Peninsula, so prepare for lots of photos of pretty trees! See you next week!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Stop Not Judging a Book By Its Cover

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. I spent this afternoon on a boat watching a group of humpback whales flash their fins, and it was SO COOL! I was planning to share my video of a couple humpbacks diving in tandem next to the boat, but Twitter’s not letting me upload. You’ll just have to take my word for it that it was amazing as hell!

And now…books.

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

Amazon and the Big 5 publishers asked a federal court to dismiss the ebook price-fixing lawsuit.

Lena Waithe and Gillian Flynn are starting book imprints with the new indie publishing company, Zando.

Author Sara Gran has launched a new independent publisher, Dreamland Books.

Phoebe Robinson talks about her new book imprint, which launches this month.

The Guardian Review section has closed after almost 20 years.

New & Upcoming Titles

Sonia Sotomayor has a picture book coming out in January 2022 called Just Help!

Chuck Palahniuk is serializing his next novel on Substack.

Here’s a look at Gregory Maguire’s upcoming middle grade novel, Cress Watercress.

Take a peek at Casey McQuiston’s third novel, I Kissed Shara Wheeler.

Preview for Hernan Diaz’s upcoming novel, Trust.

Weekly book picks from Bustle, Crime Reads, New York Times, and USA Today.

September picks from Crime Reads (debuts) and Goodreads (mysteries/thrillers).

October picks from Barnes & Noble (adults, children/teens) and Epic Reads.

Fall picks from AARP, BookBub (romance), Buzzfeed (SFF), Chicago Reader, and LitHub.

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

Bewilderment – Richard Powers (New York Times, NPR, Seattle Times, Washington Post)

Peril – Bob Woodward & Robert Costa (LA Times, NPR, Slate, Washington Post)

Cloud Cuckoo Land – Anthony Doerr (The Guardian, New York Times, Seattle Times)

The Book of Form and Emptiness – Ruth Ozeki (New York Times, USA Today)

The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century – Amia Srinivasan (LA Times, New York Times)

RA/Genre Resources

Readalikes for Peril by Bob Woodward & Robert Costa.

Sally Rooney readalikes.

The dark reality behind cozy mysteries.

The absence of elderly sleuths in detective fiction.

Why noir and science fiction are still a perfect pairing.

On the Riot

Weekly book picks to TBR.

8 new YA fantasy series from your favorite authors.

35 new YA horror novels to devour.

Reading pathways for Rochelle Alers.

How to start reading fiction (when you only read nonfiction).

10 authors like Shirley Jackson.

Why “don’t judge a book by its cover” is bad advice.

All Things Comics

3 new extra-unusual graphic novels.

On the Riot

On being a comics reader vs. being a comics fan.

Horror manga artists to fuel your nightmares.

6 (more) Sherlock Holmes comics.


Audiobooks take off with students during the pandemic.

Hispanic Heritage Month books to listen to on audio.

On the Riot

6 awesome mysteries and thrillers on audio.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


22 YA books to read if your school won’t teach critical race theory.

Historical fantasy YA book recommendations to send you back in time.

Teen books featuring secret societies.


Recommended books for Hispanic Heritage Month from Bustle and OprahDaily.

15 novels by Dominican authors to add to your reading list.

12 books by women that Gabrielle Union is recommending the most.

9 novels starring bisexual+ main characters.

Romance suggestions based on your favorite romantic comedy films.

The 22 best Agatha Christie books, according to Goodreads users.

10 of the best horror books just in time for spooky season.

10 books about ghosts to scare the you-know-what out of you.

12 historical fiction books that will transport you around the world.

10 criminal characters motivated by good intentions.

On the Riot

The best Bible story books for kids.

14 music books for kids to teach and inspire.

10 magical middle grade reads.

The best YA pirate stories.

YA books about fat girls kicking butt.

Books for fans of Gossip Girl.

20 unabashedly bi books for Bi Visibility Day.

16 French books in English translations

9 of the best romance anthologies.

10 delicious coffee shop romances.

The best horror novels of the decade.

8 horror novels about the ocean.

8 more Indigenous horror novels to haunt your shelves.

Level Up (Library Reads)

Do you take part in Library Reads, the monthly list of best books selected by librarians only? We’ve made it easy for you to find eligible diverse titles to nominate. Kelly Jensen created a database of upcoming diverse books that anyone can edit, and Nora Rawlins of Early Word is doing the same, as well as including information about series, vendors, and publisher buzz.

All right friends, I’ll catch you on Friday, by which point I will be preparing for my trip to the Upper Peninsula.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Librarians Are Privacy Warriors

Welcome to Check Your Shelf! I’m bringing this newsletter to you from the middle of Connecticut, where my friend is getting married, and I’ve been helping her tie ribbons on the place setting cards. So let’s talk about libraries now!

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

A group of citizens are pushing for the removal of the Campbell County (WY) Public Library director Terri Lesley after their requests for reconsideration of library materials have been denied.

Hawaii public librarians are being harassed over the state’s new COVID mandate that says all visitors must present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test in order to enter the building.

The Strozier Library at Florida State University reported that nearly 5,000 items have been stolen from its special comic book collection.

Catherine Sheldrick Ross, the renowned readers’s advisory and reading experience expert, has died.

Cool Library Updates

The Arlington Heights (IL) Library opened an 8,000 square foot (yeah, you read that correctly) makerspace.

Worth Reading

This is perhaps not surprising, but the places that are facing the most backlash over critical race theory issues are areas that have diversified significantly over the last 25 years.

The fight against censorship in classrooms intensifies.

Utah librarians talk about 9/11, the Patriot Act, and how they became privacy warriors.

The switch to genrefication.

Book Adaptations in the News

Hillary and Chelsea Clinton’s production company has optioned Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series for film and TV.

Idris Elba is returning as Luther for the upcoming Netflix film.

Casting update for Anansi Boys.

Books & Authors in the News

Instead of filing a formal request for reconsideration with the Leander Independent School Board in Texas, a parent went to the police to have them investigate her challenge towards the book Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison.

Glen Ellyn teacher Lauren Crowe has been reinstated to the classroom after being removed for her LGBTQ-friendly TikTok videos.

These children’s books depicting “joyful, queer stories” are being censored in Hungary and Russia.

N.K. Jemisin made Time’s list of the 100 Most Influential People of 2021!

The National Book Foundation has listed its 5 Under 35 honorees.

A newly discovered Tennessee Williams story is being published for the first time.

11 books that were banned for ridiculous reasons.

Numbers & Trends

A first edition of Frankenstein sold for $1.17 million at auction, which broke the world auction record for a printed work by a woman.

An alleged lock of Emily Dickinson’s hair is selling for $450K, and I have questions.

The top Amazon books across time.

Here are the results of the When in Romance listener survey.

Award News

All of the longlists for the National Book Awards have been announced!

Here are the winners of the 2020 This is Horror Awards.

Joy Williams has been awarded the 2021 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.

Pop Cultured

This is an interesting look at an author who wrote fake letters to the publishing column, “Dear Prudence,” until one got featured on Tucker Carlson’s show.

LeVar Burton talks about his future plans now that Jeopardy! is off the table.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard has started his own book club as a way to connect with fans.

A look back at the last 25 years of Oprah’s Book Club.

50 great literary cameos in terrible early 2000’s movies.

When did the book become a brand?

On the Riot

Building a reading habit in elementary-aged kids.

Agatha Christie in contemporary literature and pop culture.

5 awesome, little-known Goodreads features.

How to start a book podcast.

Stay awesome, friends. Catch you next week!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Everything Your Patrons Ever Wanted To Know About HARLEM SHUFFLE

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. This week marks the beginning of some (COVID-safe) traveling for me, so several of the next newsletters will come to you from exotic locations such as “Massachusetts” and “the Upper Peninsula.” The fall foliage will be giving me all kinds of cozy autumn vibes – can’t wait to fill my phone with photos!

But for the time being, let’s library.

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

New books will be hard to come by for the rest of the year.

Pearson Education filed a lawsuit against the textbook service Chegg for copyright infringement.

Book influencer Zibby Owens is launching her own press, Zibby Books, in January 2023. Her plan is to release 1 book a month, with a focus on fiction and memoir, and a commitment to publishing diverse literary voices.

New & Upcoming Titles

Lerner Publishing Group and Milkweed Editions are collaborating to create a young reader’s version of the book Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

Jhumpa Lahiri has another essay collection coming out next spring, which will focus on her work as a translator.

Martha S. Jones, author of Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All, has signed a four-book deal with Basic Books that will address the history of race, slavery and identity.

Here’s a closer look at Ken Follett’s upcoming espionage thriller, Never.

And here’s a look at Phoebe Robinson’s upcoming book, Please Don’t Sit On My Bed In Your Outside Clothes.

6 new horror novels for tweens to bring on the late-summer scares.

Weekly book picks from Crime Reads, New York Times, and USA Today.

September picks from (horror/genre benders, SFF/H YA).

Fall picks from Autostraddle (queer & feminist titles), Crime Reads, New York Times Book Review, Oprahdaily, Popsugar (Latinx authors), and USA Today.

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

Harlem Shuffle – Colson Whitehead (Crime Reads, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, LA Times, Minnesota Star Tribune, New York Times, NPR, Slate, USA Today, Washington Post)

You Got Anything Stronger? – Gabrielle Union (New York Times, People, Vanity Fair, Washington Post)

Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the MeToo Movement – Tarana Burke (Oprahdaily, People, Salon)

Fuzz – Mary Roach (LitHub, New York Times, NPR)

Apples Never Fall – Liane Moriarty (New York Times, Washington Post)

Bewilderment – Richard Powers (Guardian, New York Times)

RA/Genre Resources

The troubled golden age of trans literature.

The coming “tsunami” of books on race.

Women crime writers talk about women and violence.

The importance of how we write mental illness in fiction.

In defense of unlikeable girls in YA novels.

On the Riot

9 of the best romantic comedy novels of 2021.

8 must-read poetry collections of 2021.

New weekly releases to TBR.

It’s the Twilight renaissance and we’re just living in in it.

Amazon original stories – what they are and why you should read them.

What makes for a great long-running series?

All Things Comics

Penguin Random House is the new distributor for IDW comics.

Hasan Minhaj has been cast as The Riddler in the upcoming Spotify podcast, Batman Unburied.

DC’s Batman Penguin spinoff series is being developed for HBO Max.

On the Riot

New middle grade graphic novels for summer and fall.

16 of the best romance manhwa for every romance reader.

The best places to find light novels.

The best light novel recommendations for new readers.


LeVar Burton and Aja Naomi King are narrating the audio version of Jocelyn Nicole Johnson’s My Monticello.

The best vacation listens for the dwindling days of summer.

6 favorite audiobooks from Well-Read Black Girl’s Glory Edim.

On the Riot

8 audiobooks narrated by Adjoa Andoh.

9 works of epic poetry on audio.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


12 picture books that celebrate fall.

Early chapter books with fierce female characters.

13 must-read YA novels by Latinx authors.

13 YA books set in the American Midwest.

YA fantasy romances to make you swoon.


8 captivating books to read for Hispanic Heritage Month.

11 recent books about Latino life.

8 historical reads for fans of The Alice Network.

10 history books every American needs to read.

4 books to broaden your view of disability.

17 heartbreaking books about love and loss.

11 of the best books based on true stories.

33 books to read if you can’t stop watching Marvel movies.

10 essential Southern Gothic books.

Great books about New York City.

10 crime novels set in the high country of the American West.

5 SF works about sex and technology.

25 best vampire books to read now.

6 cozy mysteries told from a cat’s perspective.

On the Riot

15 nature books for kids.

18 books like Shatter Me to obsess over.

Rock out with these YA books about bands.

12 YA romance titles to make you wish you were a teen again.

The best modern Shakespeare adaptations.

20 must-read space fantasy books.

8 new adult LGBTQ romances to fall for.

20 romance novels to read if you like your books on the steamy side.

10 great horror novels about cannibalism.

8 backlist books by female Pulitzer Prize-winning authors.

Fascinating books about the British Royal Family.

Top leadership books to add to your toolkit.

10 of the best books about Los Angeles.

Level Up (Library Reads)

Do you take part in Library Reads, the monthly list of best books selected by librarians only? We’ve made it easy for you to find eligible diverse titles to nominate. Kelly Jensen created a database of upcoming diverse books that anyone can edit, and Nora Rawlins of Early Word is doing the same, as well as including information about series, vendors, and publisher buzz.

Catch you all on Friday!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

The Two Certainties of Life: Death and Book Bans

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. We have some…erm…interesting news items in this issue, specifically in regards to a board member who claims she received something odd in the mail. I have my doubts, quite frankly, but you can read the article and judge for yourself.

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

The Campbell County Public Library has received 22 challenges to materials over the last two weeks.

The Hawaii State Public Library is requiring proof of vaccination or negative COVID tests for all visitors.

A Craigshead County Jonesboro Public Library board member claimed that she had received a sack of…excrement in the mail after she argued that the library board should first approve titles with sensitive content, such as sexual or romantic attraction, gender theory, and family planning.

Cool Library Updates

How libraries are using Twitch to engage with teens and emerging adults.

A special education teacher created a handmade bookmobile to ride around his Chicago neighborhood.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library receives a $150K grant from the Library of Congress.

Worth Reading

The legacy of 9/11 and how it affected the library world.

Why investing in libraries is a climate justice issue.

Calculating the hidden costs of collecting fines. Plus, why libraries have gone fine-free over the past few years.

When this new mom was struggling, libraries gave her a place to belong.

8 creative ways to use your library card.

Book Adaptations in the News

Stephen Curry is producing an adaptation of Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes for Netflix.

Michael B. Jordan’s production company is teaming with Amazon Studios to adapt Charlie Jane Anders’s novel Victories Greater Than Death.

Mahershala Ali is starring in the adaptation of Leave the World Behind.

Netflix’s adaptation of the Danish crime thriller The Chestnut Man is coming out on September 29th.

Netflix is also adapting Andrea Bartz’s thriller We Were Never Here.

Netflix is also also adapting the Dark Horse comic series Grendel.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh will receive an updated TV adaptation.

The Gossip Girl reboot has been renewed for a second season at HBO.

Why turning books into movies is such a challenge.

Books & Authors in the News

Students protest book bans at the Central York High School, while the school board declines to reverse their ban.

A Glen Ellyn (IL) third grade teacher teacher has been removed from the classroom after she showcased her queer- and activist-themed classroom books on TikTok.

Stephen King and Humble Bundle have teamed up to release a new, unpublished short story, which will be used to raise funds for the ACLU.

Numbers & Trends

The first Spider-Man comic sells for a record $3.6 million at auction.

Award News

Karen Tei Yamashita has been awarded the 2021 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi has won the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction. Here is the shortlist.

The 2021 Booker Prize shortlist is here.

The National Book Award longlists for translated books and young people’s literature have been announced.

The 2021 Kirkus Prize finalists have been announced.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

Do you think eBooks are an abomination?

On the Riot

A history of library hand.

8 TikTok book challenges and trends to join.

Book clubbing during a pandemic. Plus, how to keep the peace at book club.

Creative ways to pick your TBR.

On being a reader: before and after social media.

Raising my standards in books scared me off reading.

Another weekend coming up, folks. Be good to yourselves!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.