Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships Aug 25

Happy Friday, cyborgs and centaurs! I’m writing this a week in advance as I prepare to go on a 10-day family vacation, so instead of news we’re focusing on reading lists! Today we’ve got a pair of teenage superheroes courtesy of Dreadnought and The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, mythological reads, Italian speculative fiction, and more.

cover of The Dire King by William RitterThis newsletter is sponsored by The Dire King by William Ritter.

In the epic conclusion to the bestselling Jackaby series, the Sherlockian detective of the supernatural and his indispensable assistant, Abigail Rook, face off against their most dangerous, bone-chilling foe ever. calls the series “fast-paced and full of intrigue.” The Dire King is filled with everything fans could hope for: new mythical creatures, page-turning action, surprising plot twists, romance, and an apocalyptic battle that will determine the fate of the world.

While you’re waiting for American Gods to come back, here are some other books based on gods and mythology to keep you occupied. I am delighted to cosign Hot as Hades, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Servant of the Underworld, and The Song of Achilles. (The others I just haven’t read yet — must get on that.)

For the internationally inclined, here’s some speculative fiction translated from Italian. 13th century Sardinia plus demons? DO WANT!

Also international: here’s a list of dystopias from around the world. I’ve read and loved both LoveStar and The Queue, if you’re looking for a starting point!

Why don’t fantasy characters ever get divorced? I hadn’t considered this question until I read this piece (which is odd when you consider that I myself am divorced). It’s a valid point — if we can have grimdark and fantasy noir, can’t we also bust up the “one true love” and “happily ever after” tropes?

We all need a LEGO BB-8.

How about some ebook deals?
– Go old-school: Hercules My Shipmate by Robert Graves, his magical retelling of the story of Jason and the Argonauts, is $1.99.
– Remember Silvia Moreno-Garcia, of “The Craft meets Mexico City meets the 80s” ? She’s got a vampire novel called Certain Dark Things and it’s on sale for $2.99!
– Finally ready to dive into Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy? Six of Crows is $2.99.

Since picking up Miles Morales I’ve been on a teen superhero kick, so that’s what you’re getting today. Sorry not sorry!

Dreadnought (Nemesis #1) by April Daniels

dreadnought by april daniels coverI picked up Dreadnought because of the blurb on the front cover, which reads:

“I didn’t know how much I needed this brave, thrilling book until it rocked my world. Dreadnought is the superhero adventure we all need right now.”―Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky

Having blazed through it in a day and a half, I could not agree more. Dreadnought is the hopeful, funny, sharp, insightful, occasionally devastating superhero story I didn’t know I needed.

Teenager Danny Tozer is hiding behind a mall, painting her toenails, when a superhero crash-lands and dies next to her. She’s hiding because no one can know she’s painting his toenails, and she’s painting her toenails because it’s the only way to express the truth: that Danny is a girl trapped in a male body. As the dying superhero’s mantle is passed on, it remakes Danny’s body. Along with super strength and super speed, Danny also is now finally, visibly, a young woman. It’s everything she’s been dreaming of! She wants nothing more than to use her powers for good and have everyone see her for who she really is.

But that’s not as easy as it should be. Her parents, particularly her emotionally abusive father, are not on board. The superhero organization in town turn out to be a bunch of jerks. Danny’s best friend does not deal with her transition well, to put it mildly. She doesn’t know how to handle her super powers or the varied and conflicting expectations of those who know she has them. And, of course, there’s a cyborg supervillain on the loose.

The action sequences are great; the emotional sequences are even better; the characters climbed right into my heart and brain. And the second book is out! Sovereign, here I come.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by FC Yee

epic crush of genie lo coverMeet Genie Lo. She’s a Type A, hard-working high school student with her eye on the prize: a scholarship to a Top Tier college, then a job with lots of money. She’s got an admissions counselor, her extra curriculars, and a plan, and nothing is going to stand in her way. Except, of course, for this new guy who shows up, claims to be the reincarnation of the Monkey King from Chinese mythology, and tries to convince her that she has to help him fight demons.

This book is incredible amounts of fun. Genie’s a great protagonist, and her journey from disbelief and anger at this intrusion into her life into acceptance of her situation and her powers works on multiple levels. The demon battles are satisfying and well-paced, and Genie’s emotional struggles are believable and appropriately complex. Sun Wukong, the Monkey King and Genie’s irritating-but-also-attractive new crush, brings a trickster sense of humor leavened with the occasional gravitas one might expect from an ancient reincarnated being. Genie’s friends and family add depth both to her character and to the plot itself.

How many ways can I convince you to pick up this book? If you’re looking for great Asian-American representation in YA: pick it up. If you’re looking for an action-packed summer read with a no-nonsense heroine: pick it up. If you’re looking for a mythologically-inspired fantasy story: pick it up. If you’re looking for a reluctantly-romantic love story: pick it up! Seriously, pick it up.

And that’s my story for the day! If you’re interested in more science fiction and fantasy talk, you can catch me and my co-host Sharifah on the SFF Yeah! podcast. For many many more book recommendations you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.

May the odds be ever in your favor,


Win a Stack of Great Comics!


We’re giving away this rad stack of comics from our book mail!

Entries are open internationally and will be accepted until 11:59pm, Tuesday, August 22nd. Winner will be randomly selected.

Go here to enter for a chance to win, or just click the image of the loot below. Good luck!

The Kids Are All Right

Children’s Books To Read After Charlottesville

Hi Kid Lit friends,

I know a lot of us are reeling after the events of Charlottesville. I have been reading news coverage and looking at the disturbing images of white supremacists, Nazis, and white nationalists marching and perpetuating violence and yelling hate, and my instinct is to shield my kids from seeing what’s happening. But I also believe that the more our kids know about the evil in the world, the better they will be able at seeing it and calling it out and fighting for justice when they witness it.

Annotated brings you the story of the world’s most glamorous librarian. Download it for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or your podcast player or choice.

Ashley Bryan is an author I turn to over and over again for the wisdom in his books and gorgeous paintings. His Caldecott Honor book Freedom Over Me is one of the most powerful stories I have ever read about the evils of slavery. The book is based on the Fairchilds Appraisement of the Estate document from July 5, 1828 where eleven slaves are listed for sale with the cows, hogs, and cotton. From that document, Ashley humanizes each slave listed, writing about their daily lives but also of their dreams.

A page from Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan

Ekua Holmes’ illustrations in Out of Wonder by Kwame Alexander are gorgeous and powerful. They are a celebration of life, and when paired with the poetry of Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, and Marjory Wentworth, the effect is stunning. Here are some of the interior pages:


I love Kwame’s exhortation to “Be brave, like a new seed bursting with extraordinary promise.”

When heartbreaking events happen, I always turn to All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee. The illustrations and words tell of an interconnected, diverse world that we all contribute to and engage in. When I read this book to my kids, I cannot help but believe that love and peace and justice will triumph over evil.

The Blessing Cup by Patricia Polacco was the first picture book that made my younger daughter aware of the discrimination and religious persecution of Jewish people. In the story, a young Russian girl living in the early 1900s live in fear of the Czar’s soldiers. Reading this book reminded me that we need to fight for religious and political freedoms every day.

Come With Me (Penguin Random House, 9/5), written by Holly M. McGhee and illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre, is about the immediate aftermath of 9/11. While the news tells over and over about anger and hatred, a little girl finds that her own voice and actions have the power to make the world a better place.

There are thousands of children’s books that speak to courage and love, tolerance and justice. Check out these links for more recommendations:

What else can we do? I’ve been filling up my Little Free Library with books every day so the kids in my neighborhood can have all the access to books they want. Over on Twitter, @veronikellymars is encouraging people to fund classroom literacy projects. Click the tweet below for links to the classrooms needing funding and ongoing updates.

New Releases

I’m so excited about Tuesday because one of my favorite books of the year is coming out! The First Rule of Punk (Viking, 8/22) by Celia C. Pérez is about twelve-year-old Malú, a Mexican-American girl who moves to a new state with her mom (who Malú calls “Super Mexican”). As Malú adjusts to her new school, she works on her zines (which are cleverly inserted into the book itself) and starts a punk band with other school misfits. I loved this book, and I guarantee you will too!

Another title I’ve been waiting to hit the shelves is Kat Greene Comes Clean (Charlesbridge, 8/22), a story about a fifth grader named Kat who lives in New York City and who (like all middle grade kids!) has a lot going on. Not only is she dealing with middle grade drama, but her mom starts getting more and more obsessive with cleaning. This was an honest portrayal of OCD, and a great middle grade title to add to your list.

Ebook Deals

Spy School by Stuart Gibbs is only $1.99 for Kindle! (The fifth book in the Spy School series, Spy School Secret Service, comes out on October 10th!)

Another awesome ebook deal: $2.99 for Mary Poppins!


Right now I’m reading Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds (a great upper middle grade/YA read after the Charlottesville events). Tell me what you’re reading! I’m on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or send me an email at Have a great week!

Until next time,

Izzy and our newest cat family member Nala wholeheartedly recommend The First Rule of Punk!

*If this e-mail was forwarded to you, follow this link to subscribe to “The Kids Are All Right” newsletter and other fabulous Book Riot newsletters for your own customized e-mail delivery. Thank you!*








Book Radar

GOOD OMENS, THE FIFTH SEASON, and More Exciting Adaptation News!

Happy Monday, you glorious book nerds. Hope you had a great weekend and read lots of great books! Be excellent to each other. – xoxo, Liberty

Sponsored by GONE TO DUST by Matt Goldman

A brutal crime. The ultimate cover-up. How do you solve a murder with no useable evidence?

A woman has been found murdered in her bedroom, her body covered with the dust from hundreds of emptied vacuum cleaner bags, all potential DNA evidence obscured by the calculating killer.

Praised by Lee Child as “a perfect blend of light touch and dark story,” and Harlan Coben as “Irreverent and insightful…sure to become a fan favorite,” Gone to Dust is the debut private eye murder mystery you don’t want to miss.

Start Reading Gone to Dust today!

Deals, Reals, and Squeals!

cover of The Changeling by Victor LaValleThe My Cousin Vinny sequel is coming to the big…book?

The Changeling by Victor LaValle to become a television series!

The sequel to Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’ has been announced: it’s Puddin’! And speaking of Dumplin’, Odeya Rush has joined the cast of the film version.

Sanaa Lathan cast as lead in Netflix’s adaptation of best-selling novel Nappily Ever After.

Bryan Fuller teased a Hannibal revival on Twitter.

Michael Sheen, David Tennant to star in Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens.

N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season to be developed as a TV series!

the beast is an animalRidley Scott will produce the film version of The Beast is an Animal.

St. Vincent to direct female-led film adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Amazon Studios and Warner Bros. teaming up a film version of The Goldfinch.

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware is going to be a movie.

Channing Tatum will produce and star in Bloodlines, based on the upcoming book from author Melissa Del Bosque.

Cover Reveals

Here’s the cover for Reaper at the Gates, the next book in Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember In The Ashes series. (April 10, 2018)

Cover for the new Meg Wolitzer novel, The Female Persuasion, coming next year! (April 3, 2018)

Here’s the first look at Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews. (May 8, 2018)

And here’s the cover for Laura Sebastian’s Ash Princess. (April 24, 2018)

Book Riot Recommends

At Book Riot, I work on the New Books! email, the All the Books! podcast about new releases, and the Book Riot Insiders New Release Index. I am very fortunate to get to read a lot of upcoming titles, and I’m delighted to share a couple with you each week!

phoebe and her unicornPhoebe and Her Unicorn in the Magic Storm by Dana Simpson (Oct. 17, Andrews McMeel Publishing): Phoebe and Marigold Heavenly Nostrils are back in their sixth book, but instead of a collection of comics, this one is a graphic novel! Phoebe and Marigold must discover what is causing the town’s crazy weather and depleting the magic supply. This one has a lot more of Sam, and of Phoebe’s nemesis, Dakota (and her troll minions.) As always, it’s super charming and fun. You don’t have to have read the other books to follow this one (but omg you should!)

where the past beginsWhere the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir by Amy Tan (Oct. 17, Ecco): Love the novels of Amy Tan? Then you’ll love to read about her childhood and influences. Love reading books where writers discuss their craft? Then you’ll love learning about Tan’s process and how she brings memory into her work. She’s a wonderful writer, and it’s a delight to have a work of nonfiction from her. It’s a win for everyone, really.

And This is Funny…

Game of Thrones joke + cat picture = perfection.


Win a Prize Pack of Audiobooks!


Whether they’re cleaning out their backpacks, finishing their chores, or simply lounging, just about any time is a great time for kids to turn on an audiobook and get ahead in their reading.

We have a Penguin Random House Audio prize pack to give away, which includes: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Pearl by John Steinbeck, and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.

Go here to enter for a chance to win, or just click the cover image below:

True Story

Children’s Stories, Corporate Scandals, and Kindle Deals

This week in nonfiction we’ve got a deep dive into children’s stories, a French corporate scandal involving the world’s richest woman, and authors recommending nonfiction to read at the beach. Let’s dive in!

Annotated brings you the story of the world’s most glamorous librarian. Download it for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or your podcast player or choice.

New Books On My Radar

Wild Things by Bruce Handy (August 15 from Simon and Schuster) – Vanity Fair contributing editor Bruce Handy revisits the classics of children’s literature, looking at the backstories of their creators to explore how these books have changed and influenced us over time. I’m especially intrigued by the promise of a close analysis of these stories and the values they help instill in readers.

Bonus Read: Newsday has a good Q&A with Handy about his influences for the book and how he approached putting it together.

Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat by Patricia Williams and Jeannine Amber (August 22 from Dey Street Books) – Comedian Patricia Williams grew up as one of five children of a single mother. Petty crime was common in their home, as were drugs, scams, and sexual abuse. Williams was a mother of two by 15, but managed to use hustle and humor to get ahead. I’m usually a little nervous about redemption memoirs, but I’m curious about this one.

Bonus Listen: Ms. Pat shared her story with Marc Maron on the WTF podcast a couple of years ago.

The Bettencourt Affair by Tom Sancton (August 8 from Dutton) – For the last decade Liliane Bettencourt, the 94-year-old heiress to the L’Oréal fortune, has been embroiled in the “Bettencourt Affair” – a scandal involving corporate history, World War II secrets, and a curious love story between Bettencourt and a French artist. I will always take a second look at a book with this much political and legal drama, so curious!

Bonus Read: NPR has a short review and interview with Tom Sancton on the book, which gives a better summary of the case than I can possibly manage.

Priestdaddy is Coming to the Screen

The Wrap reports that Imagine Television has optioned Patricia Lockwood’s memoir Priestdaddy, about her father, a converted Catholic priest, and the eight months she and her husband spent living back to the rectory with her parents. The project will be a limited series – one of my favorite tv formats – but no news yet on where it might be available to watch.

Nonfiction for the Beach

Although summer is (sadly!) coming to an end, there’s still at least one vacation weekend to fill with great reads. Authors Kevin Flynn, Rebecca Lavoie, and Scaachi Koul put together a great list of nonfiction to read at the beach that includes an interesting mix of true crime, history, memoir, and essays.

Meanwhile, Over At Book Riot…

Ebook Deals to Check Out!

This week I skimmed through the biography and memoir Kindle deals for this month and pulled out a few that I think you might enjoy:

On My Nightstand

I decided to dig into some history this week with Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy (Oct. 10 from Hachette). Even though it’s a World War II history book (something I don’t usually find very exciting), I’m all in for books about the unsung work of professional women. I also really love cryptography and code breaking, even though I definitely don’t have the skills for that particular kind of work. I’m a few chapters in and, so far, I’m really loving it.

As always, suggestions, recommendations, and feedback are always welcome. You can reach me on Twitter @kimthedork or via email at Happy reading!

Riot Rundown


Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by The People at Number 9 by Felicity Everett.

Notes on a Scandal meets The Couple Next Door in this dark and delicious novel about envy, longing, and betrayal in the suburbs. “Have you met them yet, the new couple?” When Gav and Lou move into the house next door, Sara spends days plucking up the courage to say hello. The neighbors are glamorous, chaotic, and just a little eccentric—they make the rest of Sara’s street seem dull. When the hand of friendship is finally extended, Sara is delighted and flattered. Incredibly, Gav and Lou seem to see something in Sara and Neil that they admire, too. In no time at all, the two couples are soulmates—sharing dinners, bottles of red wine, and even childcare—laughing and trading stories and secrets late into the night. And the more time Sara spends with Gav and Lou, the more she longs to make changes in her own life. But those changes come with an unsettling price. Soon, Gav and Lou start asking things they have no right to ask of their neighbors, with shattering consequences for all… Have you met The People at Number 9?


Secrets of Audible Badges, Unlocked!

If you’re an Audible listener, you know the little surge of joy that happens when you’re listening to an audiobook and suddenly there’s a notification that you’ve unlocked a new badge. But those badges are mysterious little buggers and it’s hard to find a description for each badge. Until now! Below, I have outlined each badge and what it takes to get it. (I’ll also pop this in a Book Riot post in the near future for reference). Huge thanks to Shelly Willis on Quora, who answered a question about Audible badges with all of this information (which is really hard to find on the actual Audible site…at least it was for me). So, thank you, Shelly!

Sponsored by Penguin Random House Audio

Help your children keep up with their reading by listening to audiobooks.  Visit for suggested listens and for a free audiobook download of MY FATHER’s DRAGON!

I’ll admit, I didn’t even know about Audible badges until someone mentioned them during the Book Riot Insiders Audiobooks chat. But as soon as I knew they existed, I wanted them all (well done, Audible marketing, well done).

If you have an Audible account, you can see which badges you have by going to the “me” tab under “more” on the bottom of your Audible app. (I don’t think you can see which badges you have by viewing your Audible account on a regular web browser, I’m pretty sure you have to use the app, but correct me if I’m wrong and I’ll mea culpa all over the next newsletter).

There are 15 total badges; within each category, you can obtain the Silver, Gold, and Diamond levels. There are cute little poems that sort of sound like Harry Potter spells when you click on each badge you DON’T have. If you click on a badge you do have, it just tells you what you did to earn that badge.

Without further ado….


This one is all about bookmarks. The more bookmarks you place in your Audible books, the higher level you’ll attain.

  • Silver: 10 Bookmarks
  • Gold: 40 Bookmarks
  • Diamond: 125 Bookmarks





Social Butterfly

The more you share your Audible achievements with your social media followers, the higher you’ll go with this badge.

  • Silver: shared 5x
  • Gold: shared 25x
  • Diamond: shared 100x

Audible Obsessed (Daily Dipper)

  • Silver: Listening every day for 7 days
  • Gold: Listening every day for 30 days
  • Diamond: Listening every day for 90 days

Weekend Warrior

  • Silver: 5 hours in one weekend
  • Gold: 10 hours in one weekend
  • Diamond: 24 hours in one weekend

Repeat Listener

  • Silver: same audio book 3x
  • Gold: same audio book 10x
  • Diamond: same audio book 20x

All Nighter (Night Owl)

  • Silver: listen to 4 hrs at night
  • Gold: listen to 6 hrs at night
  • Diamond: listen to 8 hrs at night


  • Silver: listening 16 hours straight
  • Gold: listening 18 hours straight
  • Diamond: listening 24 hours straight


  • Silver: look at your stats 50x
  • Gold: look at your stats 200x
  • Diamond: look at your stats 500x

High Noon

  • Silver: 2 hrs during lunchtime
  • Gold: 3 hrs during lunchtime
  • Diamond: 4 hrs during lunchtime

The Closer

  • Silver: 1 complete book start to finish
  • Gold: 5 complete books start to finish
  • Diamond: 10 books start to finish

7 day stretch

  • Silver: Completed 7 books in a single week
  • Gold: Completed 15 books in a single week
  • Diamond: Completed 50 books in a single week


  • Silver: 10 unfinished books in your library
  • Gold: 20 unfinished books in your library
  • Diamond: 75 unfinished books in your library

The Stack

  • Silver: having 50 books in your library
  • Gold: having 200 books in your library
  • Diamond: having 500 books in your library

Mount Everest

  • Silver: completing a title that is 30 hours long
  • Gold: completing a title that is 60 hours long
  • Diamond: completing a title that is 78 hours long

These last two are a little confusing. I don’t have either of them so here’s what the poems say for each:

Nibbler: “Entertain several books, though none of them stay, we’ll be calling you Nibbler by the end of the day.”

Dabbler: “Nobody says your library’s diminished; it’s teeming with books! (just a few of them finished.)”

I think think Nibbler badge used to be called the Undecider. If so, here’s the criteria for the Nibbler and Dabbler badges:

Undecider (Nibbler)

  • Silver listen to 3 different titles in one day
  • Gold: listen to 15 different titles in one day
  • Diamond: listen to 40 different titles in one day

The Dabbler:

  • Silver: listening to parts of 3 different titles in one day
  • Gold: listening to parts of 15 different titles in one day
  • Diamond: listening to parts of 40 different titles in one day

New Release of the Week:

Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson (narrated by Fajer Al-Kaisi)

It took Eden Robinson (author of Monkey Beach) eight years to write Son of a Trickster–-a surprising outcome for a piece that began as a 10 page short story. A trickster in her Haisla (Indigenous British Columbia) culture is a mythologised figure, also called a Wee’git.” This mythological figure, Robinson explains, is used to teach children  “about protocol, or nuyum. But he teaches people this protocol by breaking all the rules.”

Son of a Trickster, as the title suggests, focuses on the teenage son of Trickster, Jared. Jared is kind of a slacker–-he smokes too much pot and drinks too much. His mom is busy dealing with her own substance abuse and mental health issues and his dad can’t be relied on to pay the bills. Still, Jared’s doing his best to keep things together for himself and his family. But with a grandmother who says he isn’t human, ravens who speak to him, and his blackouts, keeping things together is a pretty tall order.

Links for Your Ears!

Jane Austen thanks busy readers for ‘finally listening’ in audiobook campaign for Audible

I mean, some of us a) read Austen in print and/or b) listened to non-Audible audiobooks of Austen’s work but okay, I hear ya, Audible. (PUNZ!)

Why Tor Books’ first podcast drama Steal the Stars should steal your attention

Audio dramas like Welcome to NightVale aren’t exactly audiobooks but they come pretty close. If you’re looking for something to scratch the audiobook itch, Arts Technica suggests Tor’s new podcast drama.

HarperCollins is Experiencing a Huge Demand for Audiobooks

More good news for audiobooks! Not surprising at this point, but it’s always good to hear.  

Hope that’s helpful, audiobook fans! As always, you can find me on Twitter @msmacb.

Until next week,


In The Club

In The Club Aug 23

Welcome back to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read. Let’s dive in.

Promo image for Book Riot Insiders

This newsletter is sponsored by Book Riot Insiders.

Join your fellow book nerds at Book Riot Insiders and get a sweet store deal, exclusive content, the magical New Releases Index, and more!

Open for debate: Is “up lit” a thing? Should we make it a thing? Somewhat related: here are 100 Books About Happiness.

Starting a book club that doesn’t suck: some tips. Rebecca breaks down book clubs into their components and considers everything from how to choose books to how to make sure your group is as accessible as possible. Thorough and helpful!

Squeeze one last round of summer reading in: The National Book Foundation asked some authors to share their own summer picks, and the range of recommendations is large and awesome.

Keeping up with the Booker: the longlist has been released! There are several Book Riot favorites on here (Exit West; Home Fire; Lincoln in the Bardo; Underground Railroad) all of which would make for excellent discussion material.

Want to try a romance but don’t know where to start? Historical romances are some of the most popular and accessible in the romance world. The other major players are contemporary — think Sleepless In Seattle — and paranormal — think vampires. Some romances blend genres, but these are where most folks start. And if historical sounds good to you, we’ve got a list of Georgian, Regency, and Victorian romances that might fit the bill!

You’re a rocker, you rock out: Have we got a reading list for you. Rachel lists seven biographies and memoirs about rock’n’roll musicians and groups that would pair nicely with a dance party, should your group need a more interactive approach!

Spotlight: Web Adaptations of Classics

In case you hadn’t noticed, YouTube is overflowing with modern adaptations of classic literature. You can easily fall down a Google rabbithole if you’re interested, but to save you some time I’ve rounded some up! And because the episodes are so short, it’s easy enough to add a few to any discussion of a classic work. Side note, if anyone out there is looking for an idea I would die for a modern adaptation of One Hundred Years of Solitude and/or Their Eyes Were Watching God!

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, adapting Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Carmilla, adapting Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu
Middlemarch: The Series, adapting Middlemarch by George Eliot
Frankenstein, MD, adapting Frankestein by Mary Shelley
Nothing Much To Do, adapting Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
Emma Approved, adapting Emma by Jane Austen
Green Gables Fables, adapting Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
All For One, adapting The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
In Earnest, adapting The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde


And that’s a wrap: Happy discussing! If you’re interested in science fiction and fantasy talk, you can catch me and my co-host Sharifah on the SFF Yeah! podcast. For many many more book recommendations (including the occasional book club question!) you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.

Your fellow booknerd,

More Resources: 
– Our Book Group In A Box guide
– List your group on the Book Group Resources page


Behind The Scenes pt 1 August

It is mid-August, which means it is time for a new deal and another peak behind the scenes! Our Art Director Scott Borchert sat down with Jenn to talk about what exactly it looks like to be in the design trenches for Book Riot. But first, your exclusive Insiders deal of the month:

Get $25 off any purchase of $100 or more, using code BIGDEALINSIDE!

collage of items from the Book Riot store including a Read Or Die hoodie, a But First Books tshirt, some socks, and a tote


Jenn: I heard a rumor that your cat has appeared in more than one Book Riot campaign. Care to confirm?

Scott: The rumor is true. My cat, Danzig, has been my best friend since I found him in the bushes 14 years ago. We have been through a heck of a lot over the years, but it does not change one cold, hard truth: my cat is a freeloader. One day I sat down with him and tried to explain to him the concept of money; how all the things that he enjoys in life, furminators, refrigerated cat food, the couch he sleeps on, are not free and that I have to pay money for them. We came to an understanding that he was going to do more to pitch in and the resulting agreement was that I could use his likeness to promote goods and products for Book Riot and he could continue to do what he does best: sleep and be awesome.

promotions that include Scott's cat

Jenn: Give us an idea of what your day-to-day is like. Is there such a thing as a normal day in the design world?

Scott: No, not really. And I guess that is what I like most about what I do. There is very little redundancy from day to day as far as design is concerned at least. But most days start out something like this: I hop on the Q train at 57th/7th Avenue and head towards Downtown Brooklyn. I can usually squeeze in about a half hour of reading there. The office is a shared workspace type deal, that I share with our web developer Alex. An obscene amount of coffee is made and consumed whilst checking through Slack and catching up on any emails. Then it is on to Asana, the task management system that we use here at Book Riot to dole out tasks to one another. Let’s see what’s on the docket today…

a screenshot of Scott's to do list for the day: QA Search Results scrolling bug; Logo Concept; finalize Behind the Scenes interview; Aug-Sept Insiders store deal; $20 tees, free pouch OOP promo creative; Creative for All the Backlist; September Insiders Creative; Social images for Recommended; resize tote-pouch creative from OOP

Jenn: What’s your all-time favorite book?

Scott: Sort of inspired by this post on Book Riot, I was looking for something daunting to read on my phone during my commutes. I didn’t really know anything about Don Quixote other than 1. It’s long and 2. It’s old. I figured that this would make for a slog of a read, full of difficult, antiquated prose and that it would defeat me within a single train ride. I was wrong. I was hooked from the beginning and subsequently found myself laughing out loud during my commute. I didn’t, however, read the whole thing on my phone, so I guess it did defeat me in that regard. I think there is something to be said for the distance something has to travel between your original expectation and where it winds up to become an all-time favorite.

Jenn: What’s been the hardest design project you’ve worked on for Book Riot, and why?

Scott: Probably the New Release Index. We had never tackled something like that before and it was a pretty monumental undertaking for myself and Alex. There were so many decisions that had to be made on such a micro level to try create a seamless and intuitive user experience. You also learn with projects like this that just because you think you have come up with an elegant design solution, it is not always feasible from a programmatic standpoint. So there is give and take and constantly trying to find a middle ground that everyone is comfortable with. That was the hardest project based on size and scope, but there are other, smaller projects that can be challenging as well. Design is a funny thing and you can’t control where or when creativity or inspiration will hit you. There are projects where I know instantly what direction I want to take something, and others where I am flailing around helplessly in Photoshop for hours on end trying to make pieces fit together. I much prefer the former.

Jenn: Related, do you have an all-time favorite?

Scott: Book Riot Live – The Sequel. I thought the direction that we took achieved what I had set out to do, which was marry the excitement and energy of the event and that of NYC while staying playful and fun. It’s challenging but rewarding to take a concept and see it across so many different mediums, whether it’s a website, banner ads, t-shirts, posters, to an actual frickin’ giant custom neon sign. Who knew that you could get so much mileage out a pigeon wearing a bowler hat? Speaking of which, if anyone is interested giving a home to said neon sign, you can drop me a line here. It’s been living under my bed in my apartment since BRL and it’s looking for a new home.

Jenn: You work on everything from logo designs for podcasts, to site layout, to ad campaigns, to font choices for social images, to t-shirt and merchandise designs (and I’m probably missing some things in there). Is the design process different for each thing, or are there some things that are the same no matter what the end product is?

Scott: The process for each is pretty unique. Each has its own set of guidelines and limitations that must be adhered to. Creating a design for a t-shirt and designing a website are entirely different ends with different intended results. But there are common threads that tie all of them together. The way I try to look at it is like this: Book Riot is a company. It has a unique set of values and principles at its core that make it what it is. So long as in everything that I do, I can look at and see that it points back to those principles in some way, then I know that I am on the right track.