Today In Books

How Writers Spend Thanksgiving: Today in Books

How Writers Spend Thanksgiving

The New York Times asked nine writers how they spend their Thanksgivings. Russian journalist and recent National Book Award winner opens her home to LGBTQ refugees fleeing persecution in their home countries. Viet Thanh Nguyen talks about his hardworking Vietnamese parents attempts at the annual American ritual. Eliot Ackerman, author and Marine, talks about Thanksgiving, Kennedy, and divisiveness.


Zadie Smith Dishes on Her New Novel

Beloved UK author Zadie Smith has a new novel coming, and she’s tackling a new genre: historical fiction. The book is called The Fraud, takes place in the mid-19th century in North West London. As always, we await new offerings from Smith with much anticipation.


First Look at the Discovery of Witches TV Show

Deborah Harkness has released the first images from filming of the Discovery of Witches TV series (more in the link above) on Facebook.

We’re giving away $500 to spend at the bookstore of your choice! Click here to enter.


Sponsored by The Graphic Canon of Crime & Mystery, edited by Russ Kick from Seven Stories Press.

From James M. Cain to Stephen King, from Sophocles to the Marquis de Sade to Iceberg Slim, here are stunning and sometimes macabre visualizations of some of the greatest crime and mystery stories of all time. Rick Geary brings his crisp style to Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment; C. Frakes resurrects the forgotten novella “Talma Gordon,” the first mystery written by an African American. Crime finds new life in these graphic renditions of The Arabian Nights, the Bible, James Joyce’s Dubliners, Patricia Highsmith, and leading mystery writers of today like Jo Nesbø. Crime and mystery have never been so brilliantly reimagined.

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The Next Agatha Christie Adaptation: Today in Books

The Next Agatha Christie Adaptation

Is Death on the Nile. Twentieth Century Fox is currently working on the Murder on the Orient Express follow-up. The Orient Express screenwriter will return to work on Death on the Nile, and while Kenneth Branagh has yet to be signed he’s expected to return as director and starring as detective Hercule Poirot. Murder on the Orient Express made $50 million domestically and $100 million internationally.

Anthony Scaramucci Couldn’t Sell White House Memoir

After shopping versions of his book to major publishers over the summer, former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci has given up on plans for a political memoir. An anonymous source at a major publishing house told Business Insider that the 35-page proposal draft they saw was “not good.” Scaramucci’s titles included “Inside Out” and “I Did It My Way.”

LeVar Burton And LaVar Ball Are Not The Same Person

Some Twitter users mistook LeVar Burton for LaVar Ball and sent the Reading Rainbow host angry tweets about “his son.” Ball is the father of UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball who was caught shoplifting with teammates in China. LaVar Ball is under fire for saying some stuff about Trump’s involvement in his son’s release from police custody. This has nothing to do with bookish icon LeVar Burton, but here we are. Burton pointed to a tweet calling him “a has been actor with a thief for a son.” “One of many sleights I am having to endure these days,” Burton tweeted. “Thanks!”

Sponsored by Wednesday Books, publishers of Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson.

Jennifer E. Smith meets The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy in this deliciously nerdy sequel to The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, inspired this time by The Importance of Being Earnest.

Elliot Gabaroche is packing up her determination, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and going to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. It’s going to be an epic summer.

Not Now, Not Ever is a “witty, romantic, and exuberantly geeky.” —Jenn Bennett, author of The Anatomical Shape of a Heart

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Author Zinzi Clemmons Calls Out Lena Dunham for Racism: Today in Books

Zinzi Clemmons Leaves Lenny Letter, Citing Lena Dunham’s Racism

The What We Lose author left Lena Dunham’s online publication Lenny Letter after Dunham issued a statement in support of Murray Miller who was accused of sexual assault by actress Aurora Perrineau. In a statement of her own, Clemmons wrote, “For all you writers who are outraged about what she did, I encourage you to do the same. Especially women of color.” Clemmons, who has known Dunham since their college days, announced her exit on Twitter, where she discussed the “hipster racism” and gaslighting she witnessed from Dunham and her circle. The full statement is worth a read.

Watership Down Author’s Amazing Library, Up For Auction

The personal library of Watership Down author Richard Adams is going up for auction. And it turns out his collection includes some incredible treasures. Among the thousands of books crowding his shelves, you can find a rare copy of the Shakespeare Second Folio of 1632 (valued around $53,000 to $80,000), Boswell’s Life of Johnson, a Bible that once belonged to Charles II, and a bunch of first editions by 19th-century English novelists including Jane Austen, George Eliot, and Charles Dickens. The library goes up for auction on December 14, so if you have tons of money you don’t know what to do with here’s your chance to walk away with some seriously valuable books.

New A Wrinkle In Time Trailer

We were just talking about how great the poster for the new A Wrinkle in Time adaptation looks, and now we get a good, long look at the film thanks to a new trailer. Ava DuVernay, the film’s director, released the trailer on her Twitter feed yesterday, and fans have been low-key screaming about how epic it looks ever since.

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Delve into the scientific terms and theories at the core of the Peabody-winning, cult favourite show. With exclusive insights from the show’s co-creator Graeme Manson and science consultant Cosima Herter, The Science of Orphan Black takes you behind the scenes of the Dyad Institute and inside Neolution. Casey Griffin and Nina Nesseth decode the mysteries of Orphan Black — from the history of cloning, epigenetics, synthetic biology, chimerism, the real diseases on which the clone disease is based, and the transhumanist philosophies of Neolution, to what happens when a projectile pencil is shot through a person’s eye and into their brain.

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LOTR of Chinese Literature Finally Gets Translated: Today in Books

Epic Trilogy Of Chinese Literature Gets A Translation

Though Louis Cha’s writing has been compared to J.R.R. Tolkien’s in scope and imagination, many English-speaking readers are unaware of his work because it hasn’t been translated. Writing under the pen name Jin Yong, Cha has published celebrated wuxia (martial-arts related) fiction, including the Condor Trilogy, a 1957 epic series that’s being compared to The Lord of the Rings. Translators have cited the difficulty of translating the work as the reason behind the lack of Cha translations, but now the trilogy will be translated into 12 books in English. The first volume of the first book, A Hero Born, is translated by Anna Holmwood and scheduled for a February 2018 publication date.

The New A Wrinkle In Time Poster Is Gorgeous

Have you seen it have you seen it? The movie poster for the upcoming A Wrinkle in Time adaption is out and gives us a look at the cast, including the celestials. It’s beautiful–check it out. Ava DuVernay‘s adaptation of Madeline L’Engle’s novel follows Meg Murry, played by Storm Reid, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin as they journey into alternate dimensions to bring home their father. Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, and Reese Witherspoon will star as the three celestials in the film, which hits movie theaters March 2018.

Liz Phair Signs Two-Book Deal

Did you used to rock out and/or get moody to Liz Phair in the 90s? Did you wonder about her life, and where she got inspiration for the lyrics that deftly spoke to your angst? You might have a chance to find out. Phair signed a two-book deal with Random house. The first is a memoir of Phair’s “experiences with fame, heartbreak, motherhood, and everything in between,” and will be entitled Horror Stories. Once it’s out, you can dig up those scratched CDs and tap into some 90s nostalgia.

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FANTASTIC BEASTS Sequel Cast Photo Reveal: Today in Books

Fantastic Beasts Sequel Cast Photo Reveal

We got a photo reveal! Warner Bros. also revealed the sequel’s official title–Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. The first cast photo gives us a look at Jude Law as young Dumbledore and Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald. See the full cast, a close-up of Law and Depp, and even a moving picture because why not? Unless you’d rather be surprised, you can find newly released plot details after the photos in the Entertainment Weekly piece.

Google Doodle Honors Chinua Achebe

Google honored Chinua Achebe with a Google Doodle today, on what would have been the author’s 87th birthday. Achebe passed away in 2013, leaving behind an enduring literary legacy. Published in 50 languages, his 1958 novel Things Fall Apart follows a Nigerian village chief negatively impacted by British colonialism and Christian missionaries. Achebe won the 2007 Man Booker International Prize for fiction.

George Clooney Will Star In And Direct Catch-22 TV Series

George Clooney will star in and direct a six-episode series based on Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. The 1961 novel is set during World War II, and follows the life of Captain John Yossarian, a bombardier. Clooney will play Colonel Cathcart, Yossarian’s commander and enemy. The series will tentatively start shooting early 2018.

Thank you to The Nothing by Hanif Kureishi for sponsoring today’s newsletter.

From the author of The Buddha of Suburbia comes his new book, a novella of passion, revenge, and deception. Waldo, a fêted filmmaker, is confined by old age and ill health to his London apartment. Frail and frustrated, he is cared for by his lovely younger wife, Zee. But when he suspects that Zee is beginning an affair with Eddie, “more than an acquaintance and less than a friend for over thirty years,” Waldo is pressed to action: determined to expose the couple, he sets himself first to prove his suspicions correct – and then to enact his revenge.

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The National Book Awards Winners Are: Today in Books

And The National Book Awards Go To…

The National Book Foundation announced the National Book Award winners tonight. Without further ado, the winners are…

Fiction: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Nonfiction: The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen

Poetry: Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 by Frank Bidart

Young People’s Literature: Far from the Tree by Robin Benway

The Foundation also honored Richard Robinson, Chairman, President & CEO of Scholastic, who was introduced onstage by President Bill Clinton, and Annie Proulx, introduced by Anne Hathaway.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Son Resigns As Director Of Tolkien Estate

On the cusp of Amazon and Warner Bros.’ Lord of the Rings series adaptation news, we learned that J.R.R. Tolkien’s son resigned as director of the author’s estate. Christopher Tolkien, the 93-year-old scholar of his father’s work, kept a firm grip on the estate’s property rights and reportedly hated Warner Bros.’ Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. Tolkien Estate recently settled a dispute over the use of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movie characters in slot machines and video games, but now that Christopher Tolkien is out of the picture we may be seeing more of those characters and Tolkien adaptation news.

Authors Write Letters Of Solidarity To Imprisoned Colleagues

Neil Gaiman, Ai Weiwei, Kamila Shamsie, Madeleine Thien, and a whole host of international artists and writers have written letters of solidarity and hope to imprisoned writers around the world. The event marks PEN International’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer, which calls on governments around the world to stop silencing writers. On this day, PEN highlights the cases of five persecuted writers. You can read about the cases, and more about Day of the Imprisoned Writer here.

Thank you to The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty for sponsoring today’s newsletter.

As a con woman in the streets of 18th-century Cairo, Nahri does not believe in magic. She relies on her wits and her healing talents to survive. But when she accidentally summons a sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior during one of her cons, she’s forced to question everything she believes. He tells her that across the hot, windswept sands of the Middle East lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass – home of six djinn tribes, and simmering with old resentments threatening Nahri’s ancestral home. There’s a reason they say to be careful what you wish for…

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CA Will Be First to Use LGBT-inclusive Textbooks: Today in Books

CA Will Be First To Use LGBT-inclusive Textbooks

California will become the first U.S. state to use LGBT-inclusive history textbooks in primary schools. The California State Board of Education approved 10 textbooks for kindergarten through eighth-grade, and rejected two. The two rejected books didn’t meet the state’s 2011 FAIR Education Act, which requires that schools teach about historical figures who were LGBT or who had disabilities. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which published the two rejected textbooks, didn’t address the sexual orientations of historical figures who were, or were widely speculated to have been LGBT. The publisher told the commission that while LGBT people are “central to both United States history and culture,” they felt that “the terms lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer are contemporary terms that may not map well on past lives and experiences.”

The Handmaid’s Tale Returns To Hulu In April

Brace yourselves. Hulu announced that The Handmaid’s Tale will return for a second season in April, and Glamour gave us a first look at the season 2 teaser. The adaptation based on Margaret Atwood’s classic dystopian novel earned Hulu its first outstanding series Emmy. Also on the Hulu horizon, an adaption of Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer-winning 9/11 exposé, The Looming Tower, will premiere as a 10-episode limited series on February 28.

The Most Popular Kindle Books Of All Time

Mashable published a list of the most popular Kindle books of all time, according to new data pulled from Amazon Charts. Kindle sales in fiction and nonfiction determined popularity. The chart toppers include E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games in fiction, and in nonfiction Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and Cheryl Strayed’s Wild are listed. Mashable noted that the top 10 in fiction star female protagonists, and nine out of 10 were written by women (John Green was the sole male author on that list).

Today’s newsletter is sponsored by Home Sweet Home by April Smith, new in paperback from Vintage Books.

This riveting epic drama follows the Kusek family from New York City to America’s heartland, where their dream life turns into a nightmare, as they are caught up in the panic of McCarthyism, a smear campaign, a sensational trial, and, ultimately, murder. From the widely praised author of the FBI Special Agent Ana Grey series and A Star for Mrs. Blake.

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DC Comics Editor Fired Following Sexual Harassment Claims: Today in Books

DC Comics Editor Fired Following Sexual Harassment Claims

DC Comics fired longtime editor Eddie Berganza after BuzzFeed News reported on years of sexual harassment allegations made against him. BuzzFeed published the accounts of female employees at DC Comics who alleged that Berganza tried to forcibly kiss or grope them, and wrote about how he was promoted despite multi-employee complaints about his behavior to Human Resources. He was later demoted to group editor after another woman said he kissed her without her consent. One day after the BuzzFeed News report was published, DC announced that the company was suspending Berganza and launching an investigation; he was fired two days later. Berganza’s DC Comics career spanned 25 years.

J.K. Rowling Bolsters Aspiring Writer

When a frustrated aspiring writer sent a sorrowful tweet into the void where one imagines tweets from random people to J.K. Rowling exist, something miraculous happened: the author responded. Not only did she respond, she did so with encouragement. “I want to write like @jk_rowling or @StephenKing but it’s too hard for me. I’m demotivated. I’ll never finish my book,” tweeted the writer. In response, Rowling advised, “Write like you,” and told her to finish the book. What a perfect story for NaNoWriMo season.

Wonder Woman 2 Gets Earlier Release Date

Happy news for Wonder Woman fans impatient for the second film: Wonder Woman 2 will be released November 1, 2019, a month and half earlier than originally announced. Patty Jenkins will direct and Gal Gadot will reprise her role as Wonder Woman. If that’s still too long a wait, you can catch Diana Prince at the theater in Justice League this weekend.

Thanks to Unbound Worlds for sponsoring today’s newsletter.

Build your library with a collection of classic science fiction and fantasy novels from Unbound Worlds! Fall is in full swing, and it’s the perfect time to cozy up with some classics. Unbound Worlds is giving away thirty-two books from timeless sci-fi and fantasy authors like Philip K. Dick, T.H. White, Anne McCaffrey, and Samuel R. Delaney, plus some bookish swag from Out of Print! Enter for a chance to win.

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#MeToo Says Half of Book Industry Members Surveyed: Today in Books

#MeToo Says Half Of Book Industry Professionals Surveyed

More than half of the almost 400 respondents surveyed on sexual harassment within the book industry said they have experienced harassment. The Bookseller conducted the trade survey and reported on the results. The 54% of women and 34% of men who stated they had suffered abuse are spread throughout the industry. They include booksellers, agents, authors, and event organizers. The experiences ranged from crude or demeaning language used about women in the workplace to rape. The Bookseller also reported that harassment was often carried out by more senior or high-status male professionals, and that “the targets are often young, in junior roles, new in the workplace or working freelance.”

Edwidge Danticat Wins 2018 Neustadt International Prize for Literature

World Literature Today announced that Edwidge Danticat is the 25th laureate of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. Danticat will be awarded $50,000 as a winner of the Prize, which recognizes outstanding literary merit in literature worldwide. Of the Breath, Eyes, Memory author, Neustadt Prize panel juror Achy Obejas said in her nominating statement that Danticat’s work “addresses how the specter of history haunts the unresolved present” and undermines the future unless people find a way to redeem it.

Ellen Page Will Star In The Umbrella Academy

Ellen Page will play Vanya in Netflix’s series adaptation of The Umbrella Academy. The graphic novels, written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá, follow the estranged members of a dysfunctional family of superheroes. In the series, Vanya is the black sheep of the family–the only one without superpowers. Gerard Way will serve as co-executive producer on the show, which is set for a 2018 premier.

We’re giving away $500 to spend at the bookstore of your choice! Click here, or on the image below to enter:

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Coloring Books For Adults Benefit Mental Health: Today in Books

Coloring Books For Adults Benefit Mental Health

New Zealand researchers have found that there are mental health benefits for adults coloring-in at least 10 minutes a day. These benefits include reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. The researchers say they began the project to see if coloring in would live up to they hype. While questions still need to be answered about how or why the activity is effective, the results show definite mental health gains.

All 8 Harry Potter Films Are Coming To HBO

The Wizarding World is coming to HBO on New Year’s Day. On January 1, all eight Harry Potter titles will air on HBO. This will be the first time that all nine films, including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will air unedited and without commercial interruptions on a television network. You can start the new year by watching the entire series from start to finish–the marathon begins January 1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT and ends in the early morning of January 2.

Uber Whistleblower Gets Book Deal

Susan Fowler is releasing a book about her experiences with harassment and discrimination. Fowler’s viral accounts of harassment led to the ousting of Uber’s CEO and 20 other employees. Her book will reveal what it’s like to be a female, entry-level employee in Silicon Valley, and will offer advice to women in similarly challenging work environments.

Thank you to Unbound Worlds for sponsoring today’s newsletter.

Build your library with a collection of classic science fiction and fantasy novels from Unbound Worlds! Fall is in full swing, and it’s the perfect time to cozy up with some classics. Unbound Worlds is giving away thirty-two books from timeless sci-fi and fantasy authors like Philip K. Dick, T.H. White, Anne McCaffrey, and Samuel R. Delaney, plus some bookish swag from Out of Print! Enter for a chance to win.