Book Radar

Tom Hanks To Star in a Man Called Ove, and More

It’s Monday! Time for another round of “Eeeeeee, I can’t wait for that!” I have a few cool book-related bits to share. Hope you’re reading something marvelous! Enjoy your week, and be excellent to each other. – xoxo, Liberty

P.S. – Have you checked out our newest podcast, Recommended? Each episode features two really interesting people talking about a book that they love! Check out Samantha Irby and Robin Sloan in Episode 1. Because who doesn’t need more book recommendations???

Sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

It’s five days before Christmas, and the Vanderbeeker children should be dreaming about sugar plums and presents. But when their curmudgeonly landlord mysteriously refuses to renew their lease, the five siblings must find a way to change his mind before New Year’s. But as every well-intentioned plan goes comically awry, their shenanigans only exasperate their landlord more. What the Vanderbeekers need now is a Christmas miracle.

Funny, heartfelt, and as lively as any street in Harlem, this modern classic in the making is about the connections we make and the unexpected turns life can take.

Deals, Reals, and Squeals!

a man called oveTom Hanks to star in and produce A Man Called Ove film adaptation.

Angela Robinson will direct an adaptation of Strangers in Paradise.

Taika Waititi will direct the Akira reboot.

Zak Olkewicz will adapt Wesley Chu’s Time Salvager.

Jessica Williams is writing and starring in a new Showtime comedy about a science fiction writer!

Finn Wolfhard, “Weird Al,” John Stamos to recreate Willy Wonka live. (Yes, you read that right.)

Hank Green will publish his first novel next year.

The Bill Clinton/James Patterson collaboration will be a Showtime series.

The film of The Ritual by Adam Nevill has been bought by Netflix.

watchmenThe Kill the Minotaur comic is coming to the big screen.

HBO has given a Watchmen series the greenlight, with Damon Lindelof attached.

Charlie Brooker will expand Black Mirror into a three-book series.

And Kat Howard has a new two-book deal! *Muppet arms*

Cover Reveals

Here’s I Was Anastasia from Ariel Lawhorn. (I love an animated cover reveal.) (Doubleday, March 20, 2018)

And The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell. It’s the UK cover, and it’s sooooo pretty. (Two Roads, November 2.)

Hollywood Reporter has the first peek at Chicago, David Mamet’s new novel. (Custom House, Feb. 27, 2018)

Sneak Peeks!

peter rabbitNeil Gaiman keeps tweeting out peeks at Good Omens. I think he’s as excited as we are.

The first trailer for the new Peter Rabbit film.

Here’s the first look at David Harbour as Hellboy.

It must be a day that ends in ‘y’: There’s another Stephen King adaptation headed our way. Check out the trailer for 1922.

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!

jade cityJade City by Fonda Lee (Orbit, November 7)

I don’t know if I can do much better than the blurb for this book, which described it as “an epic saga reminiscent of The Godfather with magic and kungfu.” But I can add “OMG this book is such fun!” The Green Bone warriors use jade to enhance their magic, but a powerful new drug appears in the city that allows anyone to use jade, and throws the balance of power into chaos.

three daughters of eveThree Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak (Bloomsbury USA, December 5)

When Peri’s handbag is snatched as she makes her way to a party, a photograph of three women falls out – a reminder of the painful past she has tried to forget. As Peri continues on to the party, her head is filled with memories of a time when she traveled from Istanbul to the Oxford University, and the profound effect that time had on her. This is a stunning book by Turkey’s most acclaimed novelist, a timely novel about faith and love both in the past and the present.

And this is funny.

Sarah MacLean has Moonstruck feels.

Today In Books

THE HOBBIT One-Ups Stephen King: Today in Books

The Hobbit Turns 80

Look, Stephen King, we know you turned 70 today–we see you. But guess what? The Hobbit has you beat by a whole decade, so step aside for a moment. It seems contrary to wish a book a good one by dredging up its old reviews, but that’s what we’re doing I guess. It’s not so bad. C.S. Lewis called J.R.R. Tolkien’s tale a classic-in-the-making. Okay, Stephen King. You can have a slice of cake too. Here’s what your local paper and neighbors had to say about you on your birthday.

Tom Hanks To Star In And Produce A Man Called Ove

That’s right. Uncle Hanks is all in on the adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s international best-seller. The book, originally written in Swedish, is about a solitary curmudgeon whose life is changed by the young family that moves in down the block. But is Hanks too lovable to play Carl Fredricksen–er, Ove? I intend to find out. Rita Wilson (Hank’s wife) and Fredrik Wikstrom Nicastro, who produced the Swedish adaptation, are also on board to produce.

Jessica Williams Will Play A Sci-Fi Writer In Her Comedy Series

Jessica Williams, you’re so fun and hilarious, and I cannot wait to watch this show. Williams will write and star in a new Showtime comedy series where she plays an aspiring science fiction writer in Brooklyn. I wonder if she’s getting the inside scoop from N.K. Jemisin. Or if sci-fi writers will cameo on the show! If we can’t enjoy ourselves at the intersection where comedy and geekery meet, I don’t need to know you.

Thank you to Rakuten Kobo Inc. for sponsoring today’s newsletter.

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.

True Story

National Book Awards, WHAT HAPPENED Sets Records, and New Nonfiction

Last week, the National Book Foundation announced the longlisted titles for the National Book Awards in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people’s literature. I have to admit, I had mixed feelings about the nonfiction list, which you can see in the photo below and the link to the NBA site.

The Book of Separation by Tova Mirvis published in hardcover and ebook from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Born and raised in a tight-knit Orthodox Jewish family, Tova Mirvis committed herself to observing the rules and rituals prescribed by this way of life. She married a man from within the fold and began a family. But at age forty, Tova decides to leave her husband and her faith. This is a memoir about what it means to free the part of yourself that has been suppressed, even if it means walking away from the only life you’ve ever known. Honest and courageous, Tova shows us how she learns to silence her fears on her own path to happiness.

Intellectually, I can see that it’s a list that makes a strong statement about our current political climate. There are several books on the history of race relations in the United States, two on the rise of the evangelical wing of the Republican Party, and three others on issues that have been in the news lately (totalitarianism in Russia, fake news, and progressive activism). I appreciate that the judges for the long list made a statement about what the world is like right now.

Emotionally, it left me a little disappointed. There’s room in great nonfiction to read for fun, or to read about the strange and quirky things that make up the world around us. This list doesn’t have any memoirs or books on science, for example, which are two areas where I know there’s great writing. I can’t help wishing we had space in our awards lists for some of that.

As a different example of an awards list, last week Kirkus Reviews also announced their finalists for the Kirkus Prize. That list has almost no political books on it, and instead includes some natural history, science history, and memoirs. I don’t know if a list that leans away from our current climate is better or worse, it’s just different.

I’m curious what you all think on this issue, and what we might see as the rest of the major awards for the year get announced. I wrote about this a bit more about the NBA list specifically over at Book Riot, if you care to think about it further, and if you’re into videos, Rincey talked a little about her book award list wishes on the site this week too.

What Happened Breaks Sales Records

Speaking of political books… Simon and Schuster, the publisher of Hillary Clinton’s memoir What Happened, told the Associated Press that the book has sold more than 300,000 copies in the first week of sales. According to BookScan, the hardcover sales of 168,000 copies is the highest opening for a nonfiction book since Mark Owen’s 2012 memoir, No Easy Day, which sold 250,000 copies. Sales of the ebook and audiobook editions have also been record-setting for the publisher. Looks like people cared what she had to say, after all.

Book Riot Launches Recommended!

In case you haven’t heard, Book Riot recently launched a new podcast, Recommended. In each episode, interesting people talk about books that matter to them. The first three episodes have each featured a writer of nonfiction – Samantha Irby (author of the essay collection We Are Never Meeting in Real Life), Tara Clancy (author of the memoir The Clancy’s of Queens), and Annalee Newitz (a tech and science writer who wrote about extinction in Scatter, Adapt, and Remember). You can find out more about Recommended and subscribe at this link.

New Releases on My Radar

Koh-i-Noor: The History of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond by William Dalrymple and Anita Anand – My history reading leans toward the very specific. I’m not likely to pick up a book on the broad history of south and central Asia, but I’m all in for an account of “greed, conquest, murder, torture, colonialism, and appropriation” told through the history of a diamond.

Backlist Bump: I’ve heard excellent things about Anand’s 2015 book on Sophia Duleep Singh, titled Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary.

Thanks, Obama by David Litt – The buzz on the Book Riot backchannel for this book, a “hopey, changey” look at the Obama White House, has been universally good. I’m saving it for when I really need a shot of optimistic nostalgia.

Bonus Read: Litt had a funny excerpt in Politico Magazine about how he managed to upset the entire country of Kenya in a speech.

Reset by Ellen Pao – In 2015, Ellen Pao sued a Silicon Valley venture capital firm for workplace discrimination and retaliation. Although Pao eventually lost the suit, it helped open up a conversation about discrimination and sexism in the tech industry, and her fight for change as CEO of reddit and through the nonprofit Project Include.

Bonus Read: I liked this take on the book from Wired, suggesting Reset is the next logical read in business books after Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In.

And that’s it for this week. Let me know what you look for in your book awards lists, along with any other comments or feedback on Twitter and Instagram at @kimthedork or via email at Happy reading!

Giveaways Uncategorized

Win a Stack of 12 Great Books to Fill Your Nightstand!


The last episode of Season 1 of Book Riot’s podcast series, Annotated, was released last week. We’ve been pitching it as a sort of This American Life…but for books–it’s a scripted audio-documentary series about book related topics ranging from The World’s Most Glamorous Librarian to Why Do So Many People Care About The Oxford Comma? Basically, if you like either books or podcasts, you’re going to like it.

You can subscribe to Annotated in Apple PodcastsGoogle Play, or in your podcast player of choice.

Hachette was our amazing sponsor for Season 1, and they are giving away three stack of 12 great books to commemorate the season.

You can go here for a chance to win, or just click the image below that shows what books are included in the giveaway. Good luck!

Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships Sept 22

Happy Friday, astronauts and alchemists! This week’s reviews include Null States and Jane, Unlimited, and we’ve got some noteworthy SF/F YA, mind control, music, and more.

Retrograde by Peter CawdronThis week’s newsletter is sponsored by Retrograde by Peter Cawdron.

The international team at the Mars Endeavour colony is prepared for every eventuality except one—what happens when disaster strikes Earth?

Mankind has long dreamed of reaching out to live on other planets, and with the establishment of the Mars Endeavour colony, that dream has become reality. The fledgling colony consists of 120 scientists, astronauts, medical staff, and engineers. Buried deep underground, they’re protected from the harsh radiation that sterilizes the surface of the planet. The colony is prepared for every eventuality except one—what happens when disaster strikes Earth?

You might have heard us gushing on SFF Yeah about Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death getting an HBO adaptation, and there’s now a writer attached to the project: Selwyn Seyfu Hinds. He doesn’t have a lot of writing credits screen-wise, but he’s worked in comics and authored and co-authored a couple books (including one called Gunshots In My Cook-Up: Bits and Bites from a Hip-Hop Caribbean Life, which I now need to get my hands on).

For your Fall TBR, Unbound Worlds has a list of 12 SFF YA titles to watch out for, several of which are on the stack next to my desk. So much to read!

The ultimate bad hair day is when your hair is SUPERNATURAL AND MAYBE ALSO EVIL. Which is what these books all have in common. Note to self, stop complaining about fly-aways.

Mind control: not so sci-fi anymore. (Although note to this guy: “making phonetic sounds” with your hands is called sign language.)

Genre up your Friday playlist: here are 13 songs that reference sf/f! Now you know: Iron Maiden are Dune fans, and Chance the Rapper loves Harry Potter.

For our reviews this week, we’ve got policy-punk sci-fi and a multi-verse adventure that otherwise refuses to be categorized.

Null States (Centenal Cycle #2) by Malka Older 

cover of Null States by Malka OlderI didn’t know what to expect out of this sequel for Infomocracy, so it was easy to be surprised. In this case, the surprise was a good one!

It’s been almost two years since the election debacle, and Information mostly has things settled. But what should be a simple assignment in shepherding a government into micro-democracy puts one of our characters, Roz, squarely in the middle of an assassination and strange local tensions, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Mishima is back (#TeamMishima!), and she’s just as kick-ass as ever. With major governments threatening to secede from the system, she has to go undercover to find out how serious these threats are. There are several other POV characters as well and they’re great, but Roz and Mishima absolutely steal the show.

Older has pulled off an excellent Book Two. Not only does it build on the events of the first, but it adds nuance and asks further questions about the world in which our characters live, questions that readers might already have been asking themselves. What does it look like when a country doesn’t participate in micro-democracy? How does war work? But it never feels like a thought exercise or an infodump; the dangers, consequences, and emotions surrounding these questions are present, real, and compelling. It also really showcases Older’s own knowledge; she worked in Darfur in humanitarian aid, and that experience alongside her research into multi-government disaster response is put to good use. All that being said, I would highly discourage picking this up without having read Infomocracy first — the grounding is essential, and you won’t have half as much fun following the characters. On the other hand, I hope this recap sells you on the series. For my money, the Centenal Cycle is one of the smartest and most interesting new sci-fi series on the scene.

Jane, Unlimited by Kristen Cashore

cover of Jane, Unlimited by Kristin CashoreAsk three readers about this novel, and you’ll get five different answers as to what kind of a book it is and what it’s about. (I speak from actual experience on this, and it was one of the most entertaining and surprising book-related group-texts of my life.) But perhaps that’s not a surprise, given that it’s a genre-jumping, multi-verse exploring work.

Our titular heroine Jane is a college drop-out grieving the recent death of her aunt, adrift in life, until she runs into her former tutor Kiran. Kiran’s family is rich, has their own island mansion, and is planning a gala, and Jane is invited along. Since she has pretty much nothing else going for her, she heads to the island — and that’s where the hijinks ensue.

It starts out feeling like a Gothic novel — unpleasant servants, careless and oddball rich people, an orphan making her way through high society, things and people going bump in the night. And then you get about 100 pages in and things take a very sharp turn, and continue taking them for the rest of the book. Some chapters double down on the horror; others are more light-hearted; some are decidedly more fantasy; still others call to mind spy thrillers and Bond movies. There is a lot going on, is what I’m saying.

I’m a huge fan of Cashore’s Graceling series, and this is nothing like those. Not in style, not in structure, not in content. If what you’re looking for is more of that, I suggest you recalibrate your expectations. I also highly recommend you pick this up. This is a book that truly feels as though it has something for every reader in it, and is a TON of fun to talk about — once the other people have read it. Until then, I will continue waving my hands around and yelling, “Read this!”

And that’s a wrap! 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.

Never give up, never surrender,

The Stack


Today’s The Stack is sponsored by Gallery 13.

With his masterful illustration style, bestselling French creator-storyteller Chabouté (Alone, Moby-Dick) explores community through a common, often ignored object: the park bench. Chabouté’s mastery of the visual medium turns this simple object into a thought-provoking and gorgeously wrought meditation on time, desire, and the life of communities all across the planet. This could be a bench in my hometown or yours—the people in this little drama are very much those we already recognize.

Riot Rundown


Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by Audiobooks and Pear Press.

Just released in audiobook, from the popular New York Times bestselling author of Brain Rules, John Medina’s Brain Rules for Aging Well (hardcover release is October 3rd) shares how you can make the most of the years you have left through fascinating stories of how to remain vital, happy and sharp. Written and narrated with an infectious sense of humor, Medina breathes life into the science and delivers a book destined to be a classic on aging. Enjoy this free audiobook through for a limited time.

The Goods

Always Be Closing

Time to do the last-chance dance! Today is the last day to preorder your limited-edition Always Be Closing tee. Don’t miss out.

Today In Books

THE ART OF FIELDING Author Faces Copyright Suit: Today in Books

The Art of Fielding Author Sued Over Copyright Infringement

Charles Green, a former college baseball player, is suing best-selling The Art of Fielding author Chad Harbach. Green alleges that Harbach copied many elements of his manuscript, Bucky’s 9th, including “the specific climax and denouement.” According to Green, the screenplay, which was later reworked into a novel, was shared widely among publishing and entertainment professionals, which is when he believes Harbach had the opportunity to pounce. Only time and an expensive lawsuit will tell.

Clinton’s Memoir Sees Highest Nonfiction Opening In 5 Years

Hillary Clinton’s memoir What Happened sold 300,000 copies, and the book’s hardcover sales made it the highest opening for a nonfiction release in five years. Divisive as the book may seem, based on the rating incident where Amazon had to bulk remove polarizing (mostly negative) reviews from reviewers who were not verified purchasers, readers are buying up those copies. Sales exceeded first week numbers for her 2014 book Hard Choices.

Racist Trolls Will Never Stop Whining About Black Hermione

Racist trolls lost their lids when illustrator Anoosha Syed posted a depiction of Hermione Granger as a black girl. Syed pointed out that the books never stated Hermione or Harry’s race (Harry was depicted with a darker skin tone, and trolls took offense to that as well), and that she can draw WTF she wants. Syed drew the characters as she imagined them. She was shocked by the backlash, but the artistic community and people who heard about the attacks showed up to support her online.

Thank you to The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr for sponsoring today’s newsletter.

Robyn Carr has crafted a beautifully woven story about the complexities of family dynamics and the value of strong female relationships.

For the Hempsteads summers were idyllic at the family house on Lake Waseka. The lake was a magical place, a haven where they were happy and carefree. Until the summer that changed everything.

After an accidental drowning turned the lake house into a site of tragedy and grief, it was closed up. But one woman is determined to draw her family together again, and the only way that can happen is to return to the lake and face the truth.


Back-to-School Audiobooks

Hey there, audiobook lovers!

I love summer as much as the next gal but early fall always inspires a little school-related nostalgia. This year it’s particularly intense, as I just visited my alma mater (Oberlin College! woo woo!!) for the first time since my graduation ten years ago. I wandered through Tappan Square, browsed books and school supplies at the Oberlin College Bookstore, and felt very, very old. So this week, we’ve got a list of books set at college or boarding school. These are just a few of my favorites but if you’ve got additional suggestions, hit me up on Twitter and tell me what to read (or listen to!) next.

Sponsored by OverDrive

Meet Libby, a new app built with love for readers to discover and enjoy eBooks and audiobooks from your library. Created by OverDrive and inspired by library users, Libby was designed to get people reading as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Libby is a one-tap reading app for your library who is a good friend always ready to go to the library with you. One-tap to borrow, one-tap to read, and one-tap to return to your library or bookshelf to begin your next great book.

Back-to-School Audiobooks

Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

This is one of my favorite books in the whole world and has inspired many a boarding school-themed booklist in my day. It’s not just the boarding school that makes this book special, though– it’s the kickass protagonist Frankie Landau-Banks. During the summer between her Freshman and Sophomore years of high school, Frankie went from awkward duckling to super hot swan. Which is silly to even think about, she knows, because she’s still the same old Frankie. When dreamy senior Matthew Livingston takes notice of the new Frankie, however, Ms. L-B begins to see the perks of her new image.

Except. Except even though Matthew is her boyfriend now, he’s not being totally honest with her. Because Matthew Livingston is part of a long-heralded secret society at Alabaster Prep, The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds. An all-male secret society. Barred from the club because of her gender and kept on the sidelines of Matthew’s world, Frankie decides to take matters into her own hands. And Alabaster Prep will never be the same.

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

Lee Fiora is the only student at the prestigious Ault School in Massachusetts from South Bend, Indiana, and she’s very aware of that fact. Now a senior, Lee understands how to navigate the school, though she never quite feels like she fits in. “Ultimately, Lee’s experiences–complicated relationships with teachers; intense friendships with other girls; an all-consuming preoccupation with a classmate who is less than a boyfriend and more than a crush; conflicts with her parents, from whom Lee feels increasingly distant, coalesce into a singular portrait of the painful and thrilling adolescence universal to us all.”

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

If you’re looking for a book about the halcyon days of youth, this ain’t it. Tartt’s first novel is dark, disturbing, and so very good. A group of students is selected by an enigmatic professor to be in his private Classics tutorial. The small cadre become absorbed with both the material and the professor. Their obsession has them teetering on the edge of sanity with lethal results.


Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

As a child, Kathy–now thirty-one years old–lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special–and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.”

Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

I can’t wait to get my hands on this one as two fellow rioters have raved about it (the audiobook specifically!). “Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet-star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever.”

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

On Beauty is the story of an interracial family living in the university town of Wellington, Massachusetts, whose misadventures in the culture wars-on both sides of the Atlantic-serve to skewer everything from family life to political correctness to the combustive collision between the personal and the political.”


New Release of the Week

Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years by David Litt

I’m not going to lie to you guys, when I saw this, a noise came out of my mouth that sounded like… a semi-aroused squawk? I’m not sure. I just know I got very excited and also wanted to cry. President Obama’s longtime speechwriter, David Litt, recounts his time writing for the forty-fourth president. “With a humorist’s eye for detail, he describes what it’s like to accidentally trigger an international incident or nearly set a president’s hair aflame…With nearly a decade of stories to tell, Litt makes clear that politics is completely, hopelessly absurd…In telling his own story, Litt sheds fresh light on his former boss’ legacy. And he argues that, despite the current political climate, the politics championed by Barack Obama will outlive the presidency of Donald Trump.”

If you like audiobooks, you’ll love Annotated!

It’s an audio-documentary series telling stories about books, reading, and language.

Links for your ears:

Hillary in My Head

Slate Magazine

Yeah, I know, I’m shoving my politics down your throat, I’m sorry, but I really do agree with this Slate review of HRC’s What Happened.

Why Audiobooks are the new Netflix

British GQ

I thought this was going to be snarky or something (because I’m a jerk, I guess?) but this is actually a really lovely, (informative!) endorsement of audiobooks.

If there are themes/topics/ideas you’d like to see me cover in this newsletter, please hit me up anytime on twitter or at

Until next week,