Riot Rundown


Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by Seconds Acts by Teri Emory.

An unshakeable rapport among three women takes root in a college dorm in the 1960s. At midlife, they find themselves re-examining choices and compromises they have made over the years. Sustained by their abiding friendship, the three women move to relinquish past regrets and make peace with present circumstances in order to flourish in the second acts of their lives.

Today In Books

Dee Rees to Direct Joan Didion Novel Adaptation: Today in Books

Dee Rees Will Direct An Adaptation Of Joan Didion’s The Last Thing He Wanted

Director Dee Rees will adapt Joan Didion’s political thriller, The Last Thing He Wanted, for film. Rees garnered attention at the Sundance Film Festival as the director of Mudbound, a film based on the book by Hillary Jordan, which recently sold to Netflix for $12.5 million. Didion’s novel is about a Washington Post reporter who quits her job to take up work as an arms dealer for covert government forces. Didion has been all over the news lately–most recently due to the announcement of her documentary coming to Netflix next month.

The First Annihilation Trailer Is Out

Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation is being adapted for film, and today we got the first teaser trailer. The story follows a female scientist (played by Natalie Portman) leading an expedition of three more women into strange terrain. The cast includes Gina Rodriguez and Tessa Thompson. Based on the trailer, the film looks like it’s going to be perfectly tense and full of thrills, which I’m here for (expect all the creepy flora and fauna). But take a look and judge for yourself.

PeopleTV Premiers A New Bookish Show

PeopleTV aired the first episode of a new show called Shelf Life, which is being advertised as a place where viewers can find out about buzzy upcoming books, hear from authors, and chat about book culture. The show is hosted by Oprah’s Book Club and special projects producer Jill Adams. The premier focused on must-read books for the fall curated by People and Entertainment Weekly book editors, and interviews with authors including Ruth Ware (The Lying Game).

Thank you to Provenance by Ann Leckie for sponsoring today’s newsletter.

provenanceFollowing her record-breaking debut, award winner Ann Leckie, returns with a new novel of power, theft, privilege and birthright.

A power-driven young woman has one chance to secure the status she craves and regain priceless lost artifacts prized by her people. She must free their thief from a prison planet from which no one has ever returned.

Ingray and her charge return to her home and find their planet in political turmoil, at the heart of an escalating interstellar conflict. They must make a new plan to salvage her future, her family, and her world, before they are lost to her for good.


Our Biggest Giveaway Ever: Win a $500 Barnes & Noble Shopping Spree!


Here it is. The biggest giveaway we’ve ever done. Imagine strolling into your local B&N with 500 big ones to blow. Or settling in with a cup of tea and your laptop and filling an online shopping cart with…well whatever you want. Big fall novels. Non-fiction winter reads. Gifts for whomever you are shopping for. That’s what a $500 gift card to Barnes & Noble can do. 

Thanks to Bookperk, we’ll be randomly drawing one winner to shop to their book-loving heart’s content.

Entries will be open until November 21st, 2017 at 11:59pm Eastern. Open to US residents. Winner will be randomly selected via entered email and will have 72 hours to respond before a new winner is selected.

(Also, we have another nice giveaway you might like running through September 30th: win a $250 Amazon gift card. Enter here for that one). 

Ok, that’s it for the formalities. I hope you win. Yes you. Click here to enter, or just click the photo below. Good luck!


Behind the Scenes with Audiobook Narrators

Happy Thursday, audiophiles!

Given how much I talk and write about audiobooks, it occurred to me that I haven’t given much thought into audiobook production. Instead of doing a round-up of audiobooks, as I usually do, I thought I would hunt down a bunch of different interviews with audiobook narrators and take a behind the scenes look at how some of the audiobooks we all know and love get made (cue The Room Where It Happens). We all intuitively know that being a good audiobook narrator requires a certain something, and it’s interesting to read how different narrators approach that.

Sponsored by Rakuten Kobo Inc.

Calling all listeners—audiobooks are now available from Kobo. Find all your eBooks and audiobooks together in the FREE Kobo App for iOS and Android. Save with a subscription for the best deal on audiobooks—your first 30 days are FREE.

Daniel Wyeman has narrated Peter James’ Roy Grace novels since 2013 and won Narrator of the Year at the Audiobook Production Awards in 2016. He did an interview with PanMacmillan this summer for #LoveAudio Week and described how he prepares for recording. First, he reads the text aloud with a pen in hand, so he can mark how the dialogue is supposed to be read, because the author often doesn’t make that clear until after the dialogue. Wyeman says, “Many authors only describe the character who spoke and how, after they have delivered their speech e.g., ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ Alison shouted. Prepping like this means my reading can be more fluid.”

Physically engaging with the text doesn’t end there, Wyeman says, “I also mark-up inflection, intonation and pacing to help convey the drama of the story. I make lists of all the characters and note down what the author says about each character to help me imagine their voices, and then I record their voice so that I can keep it consistent over the course of the book.” Kinda makes you want to see the hard copy of the books your favorite narrators use when they’re recording, doesn’t it?

Once that’s done, Wyeman sits down with the producer and/or the author and goes through any questions he has about how something should be read, or the plot or storyline. He also talks about eating and drinking on a regular schedule when he’s recording to prevent any strange stomach noises that might disrupt the recording. On a personal note, I would give my right arm to hear a collection of Unfortunately Timed Farts Audiobook Narration Bloopers.

Not all narrators prepare the same way, however (#notallnarrators?), as this interview with Emma Galvin, narrator of the Divergent Trilogy among other titles demonstrates. She says, “I’m not a big technical prepper. I read the book as much as possible and just try and get deeper into the story, what the tone is, who the characters are, and I mark up big shifts in story, etc. But when I go in to actually record, I just work from a clean copy. It feels like a nice fresh start, like I’m discovering this world for the first time as I read.”

Galvin also talks about fighting various gassy urges during recording, so it must be something all the great narrators grapple with (everybody burps!). She says, “I happen to be a big belcher, especially when I’m talking a lot, so I usually just warn whomever I’m working with, and I also have a foul mouth, I think, compared to most people. But this one director/engineer I worked with, Mark Kondracki (great guy), put together a compilation of all of my burping and cursing during a book. It was pretty amazing. I think he called it his “Ode to Emma Galvin.” So that says a lot about me…” What is says about Emma Galvin, of course, is that I want to be best friends with her.

Here’s another interesting tidbit I came across while reading all these narrator interviews. Joel Leslie, narrator of many audiobooks, including the Skyler Foxe books, gives authors a one page character sheet to fill out. He says, “I ask [the author] to tell me for each character their Hollywood dream casting (vocally), age, level of education, who they are related to or from the same region as (You might accidentally miss that on page 264 you learn someone is someone’s sister and they grew up in the same town and you’ve been voicing them from totally different regions). I also ask them what kind of animal the character would be…knowing an author thinks of someone as a bear or a snake or an owl or a basset hound really helps me find the voice. Weirdly, for me, the minor characters with a couple of lines are the ones that are the toughest sometimes.”

New Release of the Week (publisher description in quotes)

Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur

I cannot freaking wait to listen to this audiobook. Aside from the fact that she spells her name the wrong way (it’s Katie, Katy, OK?) I love Katy Tur. I’m an avid MSNBC viewer and it was really interesting (and depressing) to see the kind of vitriol and harassment Tur received from Trump and his supporters during the 2016 election. It was so bad, in fact, that “following one rally, during which Trump launched a personal attack against her, the Secret Service had to accompany Tur to her car. But Katy was not alone. Millions of Americans watched in disbelief as Trump ordered Tur to ‘be quiet’ during one of his many press conferences and called her ‘disgraceful’, ‘third-rate’, ‘not nice’, and ‘Little Katy.’ Unbelievable is an unprecedented eyewitness account of the 2016 election from an intelligent, dedicated journalist at the center of it – a thoughtful historical record that offers eye-opening insights and details on our political process, the media, and the mercurial 45th president of the United States.”

Book Riot Audiobook Posts You May Have Missed:


Rioter Rebecca interviews Audie Award winning narrator Michael Levine about everything from audiobook narrator salaries to how to become an audiobook narrator.


A selection of thrilling and addictive missing person mysteries that are as wonderful in audiobook format as they are in print.


As they won’t take time away from the game, World of Warcraft audiobooks can be an excellent solution to get some reading in while gaming. Rah Carter tells you what you need to know to get started.

Feel free to get in touch any time, for any reason! I’m on Twitter at msmacb and/or you can reach me by email at I’m always looking for suggestions or ideas for the newsletter, questions you’d like me to address, or hearing about whatever it is you’re listening to and loving.

Until next week,

~Katie (not Katy)

Today In Books

IT Will Return in 2019: Today in Books

Pennywise Returns In 2019

Send in the clowns. Stephen King’s IT will return to theaters for a sequel on September 6, 2019. I don’t think anyone’s surprised what with the success of the first, which became the top-grossing horror film of all time domestically. The upcoming release will continue the story with the kids returning to Derry as adults. And guess who’s been waiting all smiles and balloons? The kids from the first film will likely return for flashbacks, but the director has yet to be confirmed.

Author Junot Díaz Calls For Help For Puerto Rico

The author of The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao called for help for hurricane-battered Puerto Rico. The American territory suffered terrible losses, including lives and resources, from Hurricane Maria. Díaz delivered his remarks at a Massachusetts fundraiser. A native of the Dominican Republic, the author said people need to unite to help Puerto Rico heal in the wake of devastation. If you’re looking for a way to help, check out this effort from Restless Books.

The Book Of Mormon Becomes The Most Expensive Manuscript Ever Sold

The manuscript, previously in the possession of the Community of Christ, was sold to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for $35m. According to the Community of Christ who announced the sale price, it’s the highest ever paid for a manuscript. In second place is Bill Gates’s $30.8m purchase of Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester. Although, Mark James of the antiquarian booksellers Bernard Quaritch made a good point when he said “$31m in 1994 would be worth much more now.” The LDS plans to display the manuscripts to the public in the coming months, and the Community of Christ will retain the rights to publish and protect the copyrights of its editions of the Book of Mormon.

Thank you to The Blind by A.F. Brady, published by Park Row Books, for sponsoring today’s newsletter.

An addictive psychological suspense debut about a woman who goes so far off the deep end, she might never make it back up…

As the best psychologist at Typhlos, Manhattan’s most challenging psychiatric institution, Sam James believes if she can’t save herself, she’ll save someone else. This savior complex serves her well in helping patients battle their inner demons. When a mysterious patient is admitted, Sam is determined to unlock his secrets and his psyche, but his twisted past leads to some terrifying discoveries about her own life. And so the mind games begin.

What's Up in YA

Decorate Your House With Harry Potter Decor and More YA Book Talk

Hey YA Readers:

It’s time to bulk up your TBR and your brain about all things young adult lit.

“What’s Up in YA?” is sponsored by Madness by Zac Brewer from Epic Reads.

Brooke has gotten so good at pretending to be fine that they’re letting her leave inpatient therapy. Now this time, when she’s ready to end her life, there won’t be anyone around to stop her. Then Brooke meets Derek, the only person who really gets what Brooke is going through, because he’s going through it too. But when Derek’s feelings for her intensify, Brooke must accept that the relationship bringing out the best in her might be bringing out the worst in Derek—and Derek at his worst could be capable of real darkness.

Happy October! Let’s catch up on the last month of YA book talk around Book Riot.


If you didn’t know, now you will: we have launched a YA podcast, Hey YA! It’s hosted by me, Kelly Jensen, as well as YA experthusiast Eric Smith. The first episode is live and full of discussion about what, exactly, YA books are, our hot takes on the all-female remake of Lord of the Flies, and tons of books you’ll want for your fall TBR. Hey YA is biweekly, and episode two will drop Wednesday, October 4. Subscribe through your favorite podcast listening service, and feel free to hit us up with things you’d love to hear us talk about at

Thanks for reading this week, and we’ll see you back here next week with a fun interview with a rising star of YA lit (and someone who has a book that you’ll want to be reading as soon as humanly possible!).

— Kelly Jensen, @veronikellymars

Unusual Suspects

True Crime Memoirs, Miss Fisher’s Movie Gets Pushback, and More

Hello fellow mystery fans! Have you heard of this awesome story about Wanda Steward? She was illiterate in her mid-forties but thanks to a Philadelphia nonprofit she learned to read and then wrote a children’s book which was read by Idris Elba for #ProjectLiteracy’s bedtime story.

Sponsored by The Darkness Within by Lisa Stone

No-one is born evil…are they? A lorry crashes on a dark wet road. In the wake of the tragedy, a dying man receives another chance at life – but does he really deserve it? And if he lives, will those around him wish he hadn’t? When critically ill Jacob Wilson has a heart transplant, his behavior becomes very strange. His worried parents and girlfriend try their best to understand his sudden mood swings, but as things worsen, they begin to live in terror of what they might find in their son’s bedroom next – and as Jacob’s personality morphs, so too do the lives of those around him… The Darkness Within is a spellbinding crime novel with a dark heart.

Another Great, Yet Heartbreaking, Memoir True Crime: (Trigger Warning: Rape/ Suicidal Thoughts)

After the Eclipse: A Mother’s Murder, a Daughter’s Search by Sarah Perry: While I can’t imagine how they find the strength to write about the tragedies that altered their lives, I find I prefer the true crime memoirs written by survivors or relatives over true crime written by strangers gazing in. They tend to focus more on the actual humans affected over the actual crime and perpetrator, reminding us that people are more than the tragedy. In After the Eclipse Sarah Perry not only recounts the night her mother was murdered in the room next to hers when she was twelve, but also her mother Crystal’s life. The book is written in chapters that alternate between Crystal’s life before and up to her murder, and Sarah’s life after her mother’s murder. Then in 2005, years after the crime, Sarah gets the call that they solved the crime and the book ends with Sarah’s experience with the trial and finally speaking to Crystal’s family and friends about the past. It’s heartbreaking to not only see Crystal’s young life cut short and the effect on her daughter, but also Sarah’s struggle afterwards being passed around homes and the police never quite believing her that she didn’t know who murdered her mother. Sarah’s look at how slut shaming, sexism, and misogyny puts women’s lives in danger makes this an especially worthwhile read.

Links Worth a Click:

Rioter S.W. Sondheimer had an amazing chat with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. (And he has a lot of book/comic recommendations!)

Also on Book Riot: 8 Great Missing Person Mysteries on Audio

and Google Search Now Checks Your Local Library for Ebooks.

According to Rolling Stone: Ten True Crime Shows to Watch this Fall

Lifetime’s straight-to-series psychological thriller drama You (An adaptation of Caroline Kepnes’ novel) has cast Hari Nef in a recurring role.

Kenneth Branagh, director and star of the upcoming adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, has also recorded an audiobook of Agatha Christie’s classic novel. You can hear an extract here.

Widower Patton Oswalt tweeted that Michelle McNamara’s true crime book, which she was working on when she died, will be published in February 2018. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is based on the Golden State Killer and has an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterward by Patton Oswalt.

The Miss Fisher movie Kickstarter is a thing and it was funded in 2 days. There is also pushback from Australia: Why we’re not supporting the “Miss Fisher” the Movie Kickstarter.

Former President Bill Clinton and James Patterson sold the rights to The President Is Missing to Showtime to be adapted into a TV series.

Page-turner to Curl Up With This Fall:

Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben: I could not remember for the life of me if I’d read Coben before (which is not a statement about his writing, but about my terrible memory pre-Goodreads) so I picked this one up and honestly inhaled it. If you need to disconnect and to read a quick-ish page-turner, this one worked for me. You have a detective who has never been able to let go of his past: his brother’s death and his high school girlfriend’s disappearance. Then his ex-girlfriend’s prints show up at a murder scene. (I just realized that sounds a bit similar to his TV show The Five.) I’ll be honest I had to read through more stereotypical gender stuff than I personally care for but this was also a rare mystery/thriller that treated mental illness with kindness which was really appreciated. You get a mystery, a dash of romance, a bit of a thriller with a twist!

A Good, Important, Crime Novel: (Trigger Warning: Rape)

Dark Chapter by Winnie M. Li: This is a crime novel that follows two characters before, during, and after a rape. Vivian is an American filmmaker working in London who loves to hike and Johnny is an Irish teen whose family are travelers living in a caravan. It is not written in the puzzle solving mystery fashion but rather as a crime novel that explores how a boy can become a rapist and how a woman’s life is changed. Watching Vivian navigate through friends not knowing how to help, dealing with the 72 hour window for PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) emergency HIV prevention medication, all the interviews, police procedures, witness stand, and rape culture’s effect on a boy made this a sometimes difficult read, but ultimately an important one. Hopefully it will lead to more dialogue that not only helps victims but places more emphasis on not raising boys to be rapist.

Recent Paperback Releases:

IQ by Joe Ide (Great new series with the sequel coming out in October which is excellent.)

Different Class by Joanne Harris (Literary Crime)

Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23) by Janet Evanovich

The Sleeping Beauty Killer by Alafair Burke and Marry Higgins Clark

The Lost Woman (Louise Rick series) by Sarah Blaedel (My review)

A Perilous Undertaking (Veronica Speedwell #2) by Deanna Raybourn (Delightful historical feminist mystery– my review)

The Lost Boy by Camilla Läckberg (For fans of dark Scandinavian mystery/thrillers)

The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life by John Le Carre´ (How can the memoir of a man who was a spy and then became a best-selling author of spy novels not be great?!)

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. And if you like to put a pin in things here’s an Unusual Suspects board.

Until next time, keep investigating! And in the meantime come talk books with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canaves.




We’re giving away a year’s worth of great books in translation!

Have you met Open Letter? They’re the University of Rochester’s literary arm, doing the good work of publishing excellent international literature translated into English. They produce ten books a year, and also run the annual Best Translated Book Award (for which I have been a judge). Famously, only 3% of books published in the US every year are books in translation (and less than half of those are by women)—Open Letter is here to help change that number and to give us all damn fine books to read from the world over. And we’re giving away a year-long subscription to their press!

Entries are open worldwide and will be accepted until 11:59pm, Sunday, October 1st. Winner will be randomly selected.

Go here to enter, or just click on the image below. Good luck!

The Stack


Today’s The Stack is sponsored by TAPROOT and ROAR Comics.

A Haunting Love Story

Blue is having a hard time moving on. He’s in love with his best friend, Hamal. But Blue’s also dead. Luckily, Hamal can see ghosts, leaving Blue free to haunt him to his heart’s content. But something eerie is happening in town, leaving the local afterlife unsettled. When Blue realizes Hamal’s strange ability may put him in danger, Blue has to find a way to protect him, even if it means… leaving him.

An Original Graphic Novel from Roar Comics!
Written & Illustrated by: Keezy Young

On Sale September 26 wherever great books are sold!

Riot Rundown


Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by ACHILLES Book One of the Deep Sky Saga, by Greg Boose, from Diversion Books.

Stay up all night with this “action-packed…survivalist series starter” in the vein of The 100 with “a compelling cast of supporting characters that keeps the pages moving.” (Booklist)

In the year 2221, humans have colonized an Earth-like planet called Thetis. After a tragic accident kills dozens of teenage colonists, Thetis’ leaders are desperate to repopulate. So, Earth sends 177 new homesteaders across the universe in the Mayflower 2. For Jonah Lincoln, an orphaned teen, this is a chance to reinvent himself, to be strong and independent and brave, the way he never could be on Earth. But their ship crash lands, killing half the passengers, and leaving the rest stranded on a moon, Achilles. When all the adult survivors suddenly disappear, leaving the teenage recruits to fend for themselves, Jonah worries for their fate, especially since it appears Achilles isn’t as uninhabited as they were lead to believe.