This Week In Books

Millennials Most Frequent Users of Public Libraries: This Week in Books

Because We Cool Like That

America’s Millennials are more likely to have visited a public library in the past year than any other adult generation, says a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data. Results showed that 53% of Millennials (ages 18-35) say they used a library or bookmobile in the previous year. Whereas 45% of Gen Xers, 43% of Baby Boomers, and 36% of those in the Silent Generation used those same resources. The discrepancy could be the result of changes to the public library system, computer and internet usage, and literacy programs. I know I couldn’t survive without library ebooks and audiobooks on my phone, so I found it interesting that use of public library mobile apps is less common across all generations.

Sorry, No Cumberbatch as Dracula Promises Here

The writers and producers of the BBC’s Sherlock are reuniting to develop a new take on the horror classic Dracula. Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat will write the series, and Sue Vertue’s Hartswood Films will produce. But it’ll be a minute before we learn anything about casting, and honestly that’s the news we’re all waiting to hear. Dracula as a character is ideal for adaptation, and I personally loved Coppola’s film take (because Gary Oldman; let’s try to forget about Keanu), so I am not upset by this news. I’ll be tuning in to find out how they modernize the story. Will Dracula discover Tinder?

Broadway Gets Dystopian With Orwell’s Classic

This isn’t Into the Woods or Hedwig and the Angry Inch. This is totalitarianism and Big Brother. This is George Orwell’s 1984 on Broadway. The play, starring Olivia Wilde among other actors, opened this past Friday and was not what you might call a lighthearted production. There is a reason Orwell’s dystopian novel reached No. 1 status on Amazon recently. I’m not sure I’d be able to handle it myself, but a stage production sounds like the perfect platform for rumination.

DREAD NATION Looks Awesome. The End.

Justina Ireland’s forthcoming novel Dread Nation (April 2018) is about zombies, racism, and kick-ass black and Native girls trained in the art of combat. And the cover reveal is so real. You have to see it for yourself.

Thanks to Smoke by Dan Vyleta, new in paperback, for sponsoring this week’s newsletter.

In an alternate Victorian England those who are wicked are marked by smoke. The aristocracy are clean, proof of their virtue and right to rule, while the lower classes are drenched in sin and soot. Readers of the Harry Potter series and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell are sure to be mesmerized by Dan Vyleta’s thrilling blend of historical fiction and fantasy, as three young friends scratch the surface of the grown-up world to discover startling wonders—and dangerous secrets.

This Week In Books

Reading Changes Deep Regions of the Brain: This Week in Books

Learning to Read as an Adult Changes Deep Regions of the Brain

In a new study, researchers discovered that reading activates brain structures deeper than the cerebral cortex. They had expected to replicate previous findings that changes are limited to the cortex, but brain scans of the study’s participants surprised the researchers. The scans were taken before and after a six-month training where these participants–mostly women from India in their thirties who couldn’t read a single word–reached a first-grade level of reading. The study revealed that reading affects deep brain structures that help the visual cortex filter important information from the flood of visual input. And this discovery shed new light on a possible cause of dyslexia. Super interesting!

Maps Reveal the Hidden Structures of “Choose Your Own Adventure” Books

Remember “Choose Your Own Adventure” books and inexorable attempts to trample the magic by attempting to cheat your way to a desirable outcome? Well, Chooseco has trampled the magic for us! Okay, the visual maps of the hidden structures are actually pretty neat. The company, founded by one of the series’ original authors, is republishing new editions of the 80s/90s books, including the maps as an additional feature.

Tracy K. Smith is the New U.S. Poet Laureate

Tracy K. Smith, the author of The Body’s Question, Duende, and Life on Mars, which won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, is the country’s new poet laureate! And the first poet laureate appointed by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. Smith gets an office in the Library of Congress, a travel budget, and a stipend. Most importantly, Smith gets, as she said, “time and space and support for the freedom to create.” As a candidate, Smith appealed to Hayden due to the poet’s interest in visiting rural areas to talk about poetry, which aligns with Hayden’s goal to make the library accessible and relatable. Applause all around.

Trump Blocks Stephen King; Enter J.K. Rowling

King was obviously heartbroken when the president blocked him on Twitter. If you follow the author on social media, you undoubtedly know how he feels about the 45th, and it seems King’s scathing remarks had not gone unnoticed by the president. After King announced that he’d been blocked, J.K. Rowling offered to DM the president’s tweets to her fellow best-selling author. I do love a cheeky bookish Twitter story.

Thanks to TarcherPerigee, publisher of Start Where You Are by Meera Lee Patel, for sponsoring this week’s newsletter.

A lushly illustrated, interactive journal featuring beautiful watercolors and inspiring quotes from celebrated writers, artists and visionaries…

The hardest questions are the ones that open doors. Every spread in this book features an inspiring quote from a famous figure paired with an exercise. These exercises–often taking the form of a chart, list or written prompt–are designed to help you apply the lesson within each quote to your life.

There is no right or wrong way to complete this book. If you’re honest with your thoughts, you’ll become privy to various pieces of yourself – some that you know very well, and others that have previously gone unnoticed.

Take your time. Use what you have. Start where you are.

This Week In Books

LEVAR BURTON READS Makes Our Dreams Take Flight: This Week in Books

Take a Look, It’s in a Book, It’s a LeVar Burton Podcast!

Did anyone else notice the Explicit label on LeVar Burton’s new podcast, LeVar Burton Reads? Whatever. All I can say is this: when Mr. Reading Rainbow himself started narrating a snippet of fiction for the bumper episode (a speculative fiction reading, no less–we see you Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge), I got goosebumps. How many times can I click subscribe? The first full episode will appear on iTunes on June 13. Y’all.

Bet You Thought We Were Done With Harper Lee News

We’ll never be done. But iunno…I’m kind of looking forward to reading Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, the graphic novel. Lee’s estate is a-okay with plans for the adaptation, which will be illustrated by Fred Fordham who worked on Philip Pullman’s graphic novel, The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship. I did not, nor do I ever plan to read Go Set a Watchman, but I’m fond of the “put an illustration on it” concept, and likely would only ever have reread TKAM in this format. It’s novel enough…

Down in the Underground, A Land Serene, A Library

I didn’t realize I’d be singing you links today. But here we are. And what deserves the magical treatment of a Labyrinth melody more than a library in an underground forest? It’s difficult to figure out what exactly is being said in the Architect announcement describing the reading and art space in Shanghai’s Onepark Gubei community club, but it sounds like different levels and areas of the space will complement different moods and levels of interactivity (put me on the waiting list for the “leave me alone I’m reading!” room). And, honestly, the gallery speaks for itself.

Ready, Set, Speed Read!

Lifehacker, the site we all lovingly check in with to have our minds blown by tips destined to never be employed in our blithely inefficient lives (just me?), has compiled a list of speed reading apps to help you show books and other readables what’s what. Part of me wants to try these out, but the other part of me is as hesitant as I was that first time I upped my audiobook speed to 1.25x. :hand-wringing:

Thanks to A Dark So Deadly by Stuart MacBride for sponsoring this week’s newsletter.

A gripping standalone thriller from the Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author of the Logan McRae series. DC Callum MacGregor’s career was going pretty well until he covered up a mistake to protect his pregnant crime-scene tech girlfriend. Now, Callum’s stuck on a squad with all the other misfits—the officers no one else wants, but who can’t be fired—never likely to get within reach of a decent case again.  That is, until they accidentally get handed the biggest murder investigation the city of Oldcastle has ever seen. When a mummified body is found in the local garbage dump, the top-brass assume pranksters have stolen it from a museum. But as Callum and his colleagues investigate, it starts to look less like student high-jinx and more like the work of a terrifying serial killer…

This Week In Books

Tiny House Bookstore Serves French Readers: This Week in Books

I Will Never Stop Eating Up Bookish Tiny Houses

Yup. Can’t stop won’t stop, so thank you to French firm La Maison Qui Chemin, for giving us a drool-worthy tiny house bookstore–although those of us who do not live close enough to La librairie itinérante (the traveling bookstore) can only enjoy a virtual experience courtesy of the gallery included in the article. The tiny house bookseller, Jean-Jacques, plans to wander all over France, visiting places that don’t have bookstores. Rioter Kelly Jensen said she realized her dream to bring tiny house bookstores to America, and I fully and selfishly support this idea. Please make it happen, Someone Anyone.

First Chinese Woman to Win Hugo Featured in Audi Commercial

It’s interesting to see a Sci-Fi author in a celebrity role, and I must say, the commercial Hao Jingfang (author of Folding Beijing, translated by the ubiquitous Ken Liu) headlines is visually impressive and plays my Blade Runner and Inception loving heart like a fiddle. It’s nice to see her gaining recognition beyond the book world because she deserves it, and because it will hopefully give her work and other works in translation more global exposure. I’ve also heard rumor that Folding Beijing will be adapted into a film, so look out for it!

All the Hypotheses about the Most Misspelled Words in America

My brain is determined to employ pseudo-psychology to find a correlation between regional culture and each state’s most misspelled word. Quit now, brain. Google released a new spelling map showing each U.S. state’s most Googled word for its spelling. I will never get over that Wisconsin is Wisconsin’s word. The map was released in honor of the 90th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee–I’ve made a date with YouTube to watch it all. Let’s scatter those spelling geniuses across the states on tutoring missions.

And the Award for Coolest Dad Goes To…

Daniel Radosh–not because he’s the Daily Show head writer but because he wrote the perfect letter in response to a request from his son’s school to sign a permission slip allowing his child to read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451…because swearing or whatever. Here’s a tasty snippet of his response to be getting on with: “It’s easy enough to read the book and say, ‘This is crazy. It could never really happen,’ but pretending to present students at the start with what seems like a totally reasonable ‘first step’ is a really immersive way to teach them how insidious censorship can be I’m sure that when the book club is over and the students realize the true intent of this letter they’ll be shocked at how many of them accepted it as an actual permission slip.”

Thanks to, publisher of Not A Sound by Heather Gudenkauf, for sponsoring this week’s newsletter.

When a tragic accident leaves nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she spirals into a depression that ultimately causes her to lose everything that matters—her job, her husband, David, and her stepdaughter, Nora. Now, two years later and with the help of her hearing dog, Stitch, she is finally getting back on her feet. But when she discovers the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by the river, deep in the woods near her cabin, she is plunged into a disturbing mystery that could shatter the carefully reconstructed pieces of her life all over again.

This Week In Books

2 New Sylvia Plath Poems Discovered: This Week in Books

New Sylvia Plath Poems Discovered

In this week’s edition of Old Work By Dead Authors Found in Someone’s Attic (or variations thereof), academics have discovered two poems by Sylvia Plath on old carbon paper “hidden in the back of an old notebook…” The poems are early works, written in 1956 at the start of Plath’s relationship with poet Ted Hughes. The new poems join a handful of newly discovered letters Plath wrote to her psychiatrist, which detail abuse Plath suffered at the hands of Hughes.


Neil Gaiman Will Read You the Cheesecake Factory Menu

Writer and comedian Sara Benincasa asked Neil Gaiman on Twitter if he’d read the entire Cheesecake Factory menu on stage for charity, and he’s agreed to do it if she can raise $500,000. Gaiman has chosen the UNHCR, the United Nation’s refugee agency, to be the recipient of the funds raised. Gaiman’s voice is very nice and the Cheesecake Factory menu is very long, so if this happens I’m very tempted to keep the recording as a soothing thing to fall asleep to at night.


The 2016 Nebula Award Winners!

The winners of the 2016 Nebula Awards from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have been announced! The finalists in the major categories were all excellent, so I was bound to be happy with whoever was chosen by the organization to win. Charlie Jane Anders’s All the Birds in the Sky takes home Best Novel, and Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire wins Best Novella. See the full list of winners here.

Thanks to Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker for sponsoring this week’s newsletter.

Much advice about achievement is logical, earnest… and downright wrong. In Barking Up the Wrong Tree, Eric Barker reveals the extraordinary science behind what actually determines success. You’ll learn:


  •         Why valedictorians rarely become millionaires
  •         How your biggest weakness might be your greatest strength
  •         Lessons about cooperation from gangs, pirates, and serial killers
  •         The Navy SEAL secret to “grit”
  •         How to find work-life balance from Genghis Khan, Albert Einstein, and Spider-Man

By looking at what separates the extremely successful from the rest of us, we learn how to be more like them—and discover why it’s sometimes good that we aren’t.

This Week In Books

Stop Donating THE DA VINCI CODE to Used Bookstores: This Week in Books

Sorry, Dan Brown, you’re not welcome at the Oxfam Shop in Swansea. Oookay, that’s totally not true. I’m sure the shop’s employees and customers would love to meet the man himself, but they ask–they beg–please, stop giving them copies of The Da Vinci Code. The charity shop has been receiving an average of one copy of the book per week, resulting in a dearth of space for other books. The situation grew dire enough that the Oxfam posted a sign asking customers to stop it with the copies. Don’t worry, Oxfam. Next time I’m in the UK, I promise I won’t show up on your doorstep with The Da Vinci Code. But how about this copy of Fifty Shades of Grey?

Whatever your opinion of Amazon, it has undeniably become the online book buying destination. So when the retailer launched Amazon Charts, their first weekly bestseller list, the book world took note. Amazon Charts will include not only their top 20 bestsellers in fiction and nonfiction, but also the 20 most read books in both categories. The list is unconventional with a unique array of features, which you can see for yourself.

Lately, when I read the news I hear a desperate, shell-shocked voice in my head. It mutters, “But that can’t happen…right?” But when I learned about the ceasing of all library services in Oregon’s Douglas County where residents voted down a ballot measure that would have saved their libraries from a funding crisis, that voice went silent. It did happen, it does happen, it will happen when we don’t make libraries a priority; when we don’t stop to consider the important services they provide, and I’m not just talking about books. I hear an ominous voice and it says, “Anything can happen.”

Netflix’s adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, Anne with an E, was released last Friday, and I’ve watched them all. I was ready to curl up into a new version of the cozy story I’d loved so much as a kid (although, truly, Emily of New Moon was my jam), but where’s the cozy at, Netflix? I’m going to watch the next season when it’s out, but I can’t deny HuffPost’s conclusion that the show seems to revel in Anne’s pain. That opening sequence tho.

This week’s newsletter is sponsored by Tender: Stories by Sofia Samatar, published in hardcover and ebook from Small Beer Press.

Sofia Samatar’s first novel won three awards. Now you can dive into twenty of her stories collected for the first time in Tender: Stories. Discover the “Ogres of East Africa” or read a student’s paper on the maybe-urban-legend-maybe-not “Walkdog.” Feel your heart break reading “Selkie Stories Are for Losers” and wonder who if anyone is telling the truth in “An Account of the Land of Witches.” Kirkus Reviews, in a starred review, said “These stories are windows into an impressively deep imagination guided by sensitivity, joyful intellect, and a graceful mastery of language.”

This Week In Books

People Who Read Books Are Nicer: This Week In Books

People Who May or May Not Wear Lab Coats Think We’re Nice

“…According to a new study, reading regularly could make you kinder and more empathetic.” Emphasis mine. Well, are we or aren’t we kinder? Because I already bought the t-shirt. Our friends at Kingston University in London conducted a cheeky study, finding that readers were more likely to act in a socially acceptable manner compared to those who preferred watching television. Readers of drama, romance, experimental, and comedy fiction got extra high fives for positive vibes. I personally suspect that the masterminds behind the study forgot to mention that watching television adaptations also counts.

Adapt This! PBS Announces Little Women Miniseries

Oh, you hadn’t heard? Apparently, we’re not done talking about new adaptations of classics. Netflix got Anne of Green Gables, Hulu got The Handmaid’s Tale, and now PBS and MASTERPIECE have announced they’re teaming up with Colin Callender’s Playground and the BBC for a television adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s timeless tale of sisterhood, Little Women. Casting has yet to be announced, but we do know that the three-part miniseries will sit nicely beside the BBC Special Edition Pride & Prejudice DVD box set.

Those Bookish Clintons

First, we hear that former POTUS Bill Clinton is writing a book with James Patterson. The suspense novel, The President is Missing, will be published jointly by Alfred A. Knopf and Little, Brown and Company in June 2018. Then, we get the news that Hillary Clinton will appear at BookExpo in New York City on the evening of June 1 (what’s that line going to look like?). Go on with your bookish selves, Clintons.

Dapper Tot Reads A Cool Million

Not only do you have to read about Britt David Magnet Academy kindergartner Breyden Suragh to celebrate the fact that he read a million words during the school year; you also have to visit the page to witness his epic-cool fashion sense. Someone get this child a book bow-tie! Six-year-old Breyden and his accomplished peers received celebrity treatment as part of his school’s “millionaire bash” for kids who reached that million-word mark. The reader and his school gained viral attention thanks to his uncle who gave his nephew a shoutout on Twitter. We applaud you, Breyden and crew.

This week’s newsletter is sponsored by The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen by Hope Nicholson, published by Quirk Books.

Think comic books can’t feature strong female protagonists? Think again! In The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen you’ll meet the most fascinating exemplars of the powerful, compelling, entertaining, and heroic female characters who’ve populated comic books from the very beginning. With vintage art, publication details, a decade-by-decade survey of industry trends and women’s roles in comics, and spotlights on iconic favorites like Wonder Woman and Ms. Marvel, The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen proves that not only do strong female protagonists belong in comics, they’ve always been there.

This Week In Books

The “Cursed Child” Comes To America: This Week In Books

The U.S Debut of “The Cursed Child” (Refresh Screen. Refresh Screen.)

I predict an internet apocalypse this fall when tickets for the Broadway production of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” go on sale. The tea leaves at the bottom of this morning’s cuppa spoke of much wailing and gnashing of teeth as the ticket status switches from on sale to sold out (in the span of a half-second). Those Potterheads who sacrifice their firstborns for a golden ticket will finally have an opportunity to see the award-winning production’s U.S. debut at New York City’s Lyric Theatre in April 2018. Look out for the cast list in the coming months!

Let’s Hear It For Barbershop Books!

The National Book Foundation announced Barbershop Books’ 2017 Innovations in Reading Prize win. And oh how this community-based literacy program deserves that $10,000 prize. Working to help young black boys identify as readers, Barbershop Books has partnered with more than 50 barbershops across 20 cities in 12 different states to provide books to these underserved readers. The program makes books black boys want to read accessible in a place they visit regularly. I don’t know about you, but I was in dire need of that warm, fuzzy moment.

Librarians Call Out Little Free Libraries

A couple of Canadian librarians made a case against Little Free Libraries in a recent article for the Journal of Radical Librarianship, showing that Little Free Libraries predominantly appear in medium- to high-income Toronto neighborhoods. The pair critique these book exchanges as vehicles for virtue signaling by homeowners who aren’t necessarily working to water book deserts by planting them in affluent, educated neighborhoods. They also express anxieties over library budget cuts in Toronto and whether Little Libraries are growing at the expense of the public library system. Take it with a grain of salt–their study isn’t all-encompassing, but it’s an interesting conversation.

An Inviting First Look At Murder On The Orient Express

Entertainment Weekly presented a first look at the upcoming film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express and the photos have done little to convince me that I do not, in fact, want to hitch a ride on this train. I’ll say no more–judge for yourself.

This week’s newsletter is sponsored by Woman No. 17: A Novel by Edan Lepucki.

High in the Hollywood Hills, writer Lady Daniels has taken a break from her husband. Left alone with her children, she’s going to need a hand taking care of her young son. In response to a Craigslist ad, S arrives, a magnetic young artist who will live in the guest house, care for Lady’s toddler, Devin, and keep a watchful eye on her teenage son, Seth. But in the heat of the summer, S’s connection to Seth takes a disturbing, and possibly destructive, turn. Darkly comic, twisty and tense, this mesmerizing new from Edan Lepucki novel defies expectation.

This Week In Books

Is The Handmaid’s Tale a Feminist Show? (Yes): This Week in Books

The Handmaid’s Tale is Feminist, Obviously

At the Tribeca Film Festival, star of Hulu’s Handmaid’s Tale adaptation Elisabeth Moss said the show was “not a feminist story, it’s a human story, because women’s rights are human rights.” The comment irked think piece writers everywhere, as the book and adaptation are very obviously about feminism and reproductive rights. She’s since walked backed her comments, saying “I wanted to say ― and I’ll just say it right here, right now ― OBVIOUSLY, all caps, it is a feminist work. It is a feminist show,” and Margaret Atwood herself has weighed in as well.

You’re Not a Bad Book Person If You Can’t Get Into Book Clubs

I love my book club, probably because there isn’t a book industry person in it at all and it’s refreshing to talk about books with people who have no stake in any aspect of the conversation outside of their love for reading, but book clubs aren’t for everyone. If you’ve found yourself trying and failing to start/join/successfully attend/at all care about the book club scene, you are not alone! Go forth and read in solitary splendor.

Good News Corner

PHRYNE FISHER IS GETTING A MOVIE TRILOGY, REPEAT, PHRYNE FISHER IS GETTING A MOVIE TRILOGY. The excellent TV show Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (based on the Kerry Greenwood books) follow the crime-solving shenanigans of Phryne, a wealthy woman in 1920s Australia who carries a gold-plated gun and refuses to get married. I will watch all these movies until the end of time, forever and ever amen.

Also, Tahereh Mafi is returning to the Shatter Me universe with three new books in the series! Inspired by a recent re-read of the books in preparation for an adaptation, Mafi realized she has more places to take the characters. A+ will read.

This week’s newsletter is sponsored by TarcherPerigee, publisher of Adult-ish by Cristina Vanko and Adulthood for Beginners by Andy Boyle.

Ready for #RealLife?

Whether you’re a newly minted “adult” navigating your first job and paying rent for the first time—or are just about to graduate and join the “sophisticates” in the real world, Adult-ish and Adulthood for Beginners provide the tools and advice for Millennials seeking to ease the transition from dorm room to cubicle life.

Adult-ish, an illustrated, interactive journal encouraging self-reflection, is a celebration (and keepsake) of your first years as an “adult.”

Adulthood for Beginners is the hilarious—yet useful—guide for avoiding years of awkwardness, mistakes, bad dates and more that older Millennials and Gen Xers wish they’d had when they were younger.

This Week In Books

HBO to Make New Adaptation of Fahrenheit 451: This Week in Books

It Was a Pleasure to Burn

Dystopian novels are having a moment, and it looks like The Handmaid’s Tale is not going to be the only classic of the genre to be re-adapted for the big screen. HBO announced this week that it will produce a new feature-length version of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Michael B. Jordan will star as the fireman Guy Montag, with Michael Shannon playing his boss, Beatty. As a big fan of Bradbury, Jordan, and Shannon, I couldn’t be more excited. I only wish the subject matter didn’t feel so timely.

So Many Books, So Little Time (Literally)

A new study of 2,000 adults in the UK commissioned to mark World Book Night reveals that 67% would like to read more, but 48% “admit” (interesting word choice, there) they are too busy to read. Rather than wondering how much time these oh-so-busy folks spend on Facebook and TV, I’ll move right along to the survey’s more interesting finding: 26% of respondents say they would read more if they got recommendations from someone they know. The algorithms haven’t won it all, friends! (And perhaps we at the good ship Book Riot should step up our UK awareness efforts?)

Now for Something Completely Different

In what is hands-down the weirdest publishing-related headline in recent memory, the band Insane Clown Posse are being sued for allegedly plagiarizing a poem. And not just any poem. A poem originally published in A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul. More questions than answers to be found in this story. I don’t even know.

Bonus unexpected combo: here’s Ludacris rapping a Llama Llama book.

Until next time, happy reading.


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