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Today In Books

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME Wins Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar: Today in Books for March 4th, 2018

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by The Vale by Brian D. Anderson.


James Ivory Wins Oscar for Call Me By Your Name Screenplay

Tonight, James Ivory won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his script for Call Me By Your Name. The movie was based on the novel by the same name by Andre Aciman which was published in 2007. James Ivory, a legendary master especially of literary adaptations, became the oldest Oscar winner ever at 80 years of age.

 

First Trailer for Mary Poppins Returns

We got our first trailer yesterday for this Fall’s Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The allusive trailer shows the patched-up kite and iconic 17 Cherry Tree Lane from the original film, though precious little else, save from a couple of shots of Miranda and a young boy trying to fly the kite in a storm. Marry Poppins Returns arrives in theaters Christmas day.

 

Idaho School District Removes Looking for Alaska from All Middle School Libraries

Following a complaint from one parent, the West Ada School District in Idaho pulled all copies of John Green’s Looking for Alaska from its middle school library shelves. West Ada District Chief Communication Officer Eric Exline said that the complaint centered on “description of pornography, there’s smoking, and the book ends with a kind of question about a possible suicide.”

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Riot Rundown TestRiotRundown

030418-HazelWood-Riot-Rundown

Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by Flatiron Books.

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get.

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Giveaways

Win a Copy of FORCE OF NATURE by Jane Harper!

 

We have 10 copies of Force of Nature by Jane Harper to give away to 10 Riot readers!

Here’s what it’s all about:

When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.

But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods.

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

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Today In Books

LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE TV Series: Today in Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by Everything is Horrible and Wonderful by Stephanie Wittels Wachs.


Little Fires Everywhere TV Series

Celeste Ng’s bestselling novel Little Fires Everywhere is getting a television series adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. Witherspoon’s company, Hello Sunshine, secured the rights to the book shortly after its publication, and the series is currently undergoing a bidding war among multiple premium cable and streaming networks. Ng will produce the adaptation of her story about the events surrounding the adoption of a Chinese baby, and that divide a wealthy suburb.

Barnes & Noble Will Open 5 Prototype Stores

After a disappointing third quarter in sales, B&N announced the opening of five smaller, book-focused prototype stores. With music and DVD offerings scaled back, the prototypes will be around 12,000 square feet smaller than their typical stores. The chain also plans to tie the physical stores closer to BN.com. Customers will be able to purchase books online, and pick up the title at their local store within an hour.

Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Telling Will Get Big-Screen Adaptation

Le Guin was working on the adaptation with producers before she passed away in January. The Telling is a science fiction novel following Sutty Dass who learns more about herself and the old religion of an alien civilization after leaving war-torn earth. The film will be written and directed by Leena Pendharkar (20 Weeks, Raspberry Magic), and a theatrical release is planned for 2019.

 

And don’t forget to head over to our Instagram account to enter to win $500 of Penguin Clothbound classics!

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The Kids Are All Right

Children’s Pig Books, Esther the Wonder Pig, New Releases, and More!

Hello friends!

National Pig Day (yes, that is a real day!) was this past Thursday, and what better way to celebrate than with a list of awesome pig books?

You know I had no choice but to begin this list with Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, pictures by Garth Williams. Who doesn’t love Wilbur? Charlotte’s Web was one of the first chapter books I read to my kids when they were young, and my daughter could recite the whole first chapter by heart at age five because she listened to the audiobook every night before bed for months. I adore this story of friendship, love, and sacrifice.


Sponsored by Class of 2K18 Books

Building your 2018 reading list? Class of 2K18 Books are 20 debuts you need to read in 2018! From titles starred by Booklist and Kirkus, to an ABA Indies Introduce Pick, our Middle Grade and Young Adult books have one thing in common—they’re fearless. Representing an array of genres, including fantasies, contemporaries, mysteries and thrillers, Class of 2K18 Books will inspire readers to face their fears and become fearless themselves. Visit our website to learn more about our titles and fill your reading list with fearless fiction!


If you love Charlotte’s Web, you have to read Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White. It is a gorgeously written and illustrated book by Newbery Honor winner Melissa Sweet. (Take a peek into her studio here!). Sweet takes you through the life of one of the most well known and enduring authors in children’s literature, including his inspiration for Charlotte’s Web and his other children’s books. Beautiful collages, maps, and mementos display his life in a brilliant way.

For those of you who are looking for a more modern pig hero, you must meet Esther the Wonder Pig! She is a media sensation and has collected millions on followers on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. A new picture book comes out this Tuesday, called The True Adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig by Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter, and Caprice Crane, illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld. Check out this YouTube video that her owners, Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter, created for this newsletter:

Want to know more about The True Adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig? Of course you do! Here’s the synopsis: When Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter adopted what they thought was a mini pig named Esther, they had no idea that she would turn out to be not-so-mini after all. When her new family saw just how big and wonderful Esther really was, they fell in love—and their lives changed forever. The whole family moved from a small apartment to a big farm, where Esther and her animal friends could live happily (and get into a little less mischief). Eventually, that farm would become the Happily Esther After animal sanctuary, home to rescued animals of all kinds.

Speaking of rescued pigs, The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City by Jodi Kendall is a sweet middle grade story about a rescued piglet who joins the very crowded Shilling family in their small city apartment. The minute Josie holds Hamlet, she feels an instant connection. But there’s no room for Hamlet in the crowded Shilling household. And whoever heard of keeping a pig in the city? So it’s up to Josie to find her a forever home.

And finally, a picture book. Piggy: Let’s Be Friends by Trevor Lai is a cute story about a bespectacled pig who loves reading books, having tea parties, and most of all, making new friends! One day he sees a little mole across his garden. Before Piggy can get to know him, the mole hides underground. Miles the mole loves reading books and baking cakes, and he would love to have a friend! But the world above makes him so nervous . . . Can Piggy find a way to help Miles out of his shell?

 

New Releases!

All of these books release this Tuesday! The book descriptions are from Goodreads, but for some books I am going to add some commentary in italics and a ❤ if I particularly loved a title.

Picture Book New Releases

❤ Llamaphones by Janik Coat (Abrams Appleseed)

Janik Coat’s much-anticipated follow-up to Hippopposites and Rhymoceros, features witty words that sound the same but are spelled differently—and have different meanings. Like the other books in the series, this one features surprising novelties, including a touch-and-feel element, making homophones an easy and fun concept to learn.

Note from Karina: I loved this board book so much! Who knew llamas could look so adorable while teaching homophones?

❤ Up in the Leaves: The True Story of the Central Park Treehouses by Shira Boss, illustrated by Jamey Christoph (Sterling Children’s Books)

This charming picture book tells the true story of Bob Redman, a child growing up in New York City. Tired of the noise, the people, and the rushing around, Bob took shelter in the natural beauty of Central Park—where he covertly built a series of amazing treehouses, starting with a simple platform and growing more and more elaborate over time. He played cat-and-mouse with the park workers, who kept tearing down his houses, until he was finally caught. But his story ends with a happy surprise . . .

Note from Karina: I love most books about New York City, and this one was no exception. I never knew about this true story of the treehouse builder of Central Park, and I loved the idea of someone mysteriously putting up tree houses without using any nails to damage the trees.

❤ Who Was That? by Olivier Tallec (Chronicle Books)

This fresh, visually sophisticated follow-up to Who Done It? and Who What Where? tackles the topic of memory, as each page asks the reader to remember a detail about the characters featured on the page before. With die-cuts, clever folds, and imaginative illustrations, this book requires the sharpest readers’ keen attention! The call to action on every page makes this a wonderful lap read or read-aloud, and kids of all ages will love the memory games.

Note from Karina: This book is clever, beautifully illustrated, and sure to keep the most astute readers on their toes. I loved it.

❤ Gloria’s Voice: The Story of Gloria Steinem – Feminist, Activist, Leader by Aura Lewis (Sterling Children’s Books)

Using gorgeous watercolor illustrations, this biography of Gloria Steinem introduces young readers to the leader of the women’s liberation movement. Following her from childhood through her political awakening and beyond, Gloria’s Voice explains Steinem’s motivations and beliefs, as well as the obstacles she faced in fighting for women’s rights.

Note from Karina: The cover image does not do this book justice! The fun and colorful illustrations are a joy to look at and explore.

❤ A Bear Sat On My Porch Today by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Rilla Alexander (Chronicle Books)

What to do if a rather insistent bear squats on your porch today? Followed in short order by a shaggy squirrel, a spraying skunk, a playful possum, and a bevy of forest critters large and small? This hilarious cumulative tale of reluctant hospitality and generous inclusivity will leave readers chanting, “OKAY. OKAY! YOU CAN STAY.” But watch out! That porch is starting to sway…

Note from Karina: I thought this story was a timely message about hospitality and friendship. Jane Yolen’s fun prose matched perfectly with Rilla Alexander’s hip, bold illustrations.

There’s a Tiger in the Garden by Lizzy Stewart (HMH Books for Young Readers)

When Grandma says she’s seen a tiger in the garden, Nora doesn’t believe her. She’s too old to play Grandma’s silly games! Everyone knows that tigers live in jungles, not gardens. So even when Nora sees dragonflies as big as birds, and plants that try to eat her toy giraffe, and a polar bear that likes fishing, she knows there’s absolutely, DEFINITELY no way there could be a tiger in the garden… could there?

I Am Famous by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie, pictures by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff (Albert Whitman & Company)

Kiely knows she is famous! The paparazzi (her parents) follow her every move, documenting with cameras. It’s exhausting being famous, but someone has to do it! She even gets to perform a big song at her grandfather’s birthday. When she messes it up, she’s worried she’s lost her audience forever, but it turns out that no one is as loyal as her fans who love her.

 

Middle Grade New Releases

❤ The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani (Penguin Random House)

It’s 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders. Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn’t know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it’s too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can’t imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together.

Note from Karina: Wow, this book. First of all, isn’t that cover breathtaking? I was thrilled to see the hardcover had end papers with a gorgeous map of Nisha’s journey from Pakistan to India. I learned a lot about India’s partition, which was brought to life through twelve-year-old Nisha’s journal entries. This story stayed with me long after I read it.

❤ Knockout by K.A. Holt (Chronicle Books)

Levi just wants to be treated like a typical kid. As a baby, he had a serious disease that caused him respiratory issues. He’s fine now, but his mom and overprotective brother still think of him as damaged, and his schoolmates see him as the same class clown he’s always been. He feels stuck. So when his dad—divorced from his mom—suggests he take up boxing, he falls in love with the sport. And when he finds out about a school with a killer boxing team and a free-study curriculum, it feels like he’s found a ticket to a new Levi. But how can he tell his mom about boxing? And how can he convince his family to set him free?

Note from Karina: This book was terrific. I enjoyed Levi’s story and found this to be an excellent and compelling novel in verse. It made me want to read House Arrest, the book that tells Levi’s older brother’s story.

❤ The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller (Random House Children’s Books)

How do you grow a miracle?
For the record, this is not the question Mr. Neely is looking for when he says everyone in class must answer an important question using the scientific process. But Natalie’s botanist mother is suffering from depression, so this is The Question that’s important to Natalie. When Mr. Neely suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie has hope.
Eggs are breakable. Hope is not.
Natalie has a secret plan for the prize money. She’s going to fly her mother to see the Cobalt Blue Orchids–flowers that survive against impossible odds. The magical flowers are sure to inspire her mother to love life again. As Natalie prepares for the competition, she will discover that talking about problems is like taking a plant out of a dark cupboard and giving it light.

Note from Karina: A lovely, heartbreaking book about a girl with a mother suffering from depression. We need more books like this.

P.S. I Miss You by Jen Petro-Roy (Feiwel & Friends)

Evie is heartbroken when her strict Catholic parents send her pregnant sister, Cilla, away to stay with a distant great-aunt. All Evie wants is for her older sister to come back. Forbidden from speaking to Cilla, Evie secretly sends her letters. Evie writes about her family, torn apart and hurting. She writes about her life, empty without Cilla. And she writes about the new girl in school, June, who becomes her friend, and then maybe more than a friend. Evie could really use some advice from Cilla. But Cilla isn’t writing back, and it’s time for Evie to take matters into her own hands.

Wizardmatch by Lauren Magaziner (Dial Books for Young Readers)

Twelve-year-old Lennie Mercado loves magic. She practices her invisibility powers all the time (she can now stay invisible for fifteen seconds!), and she dreams of the day that she can visit her grandfather, the Prime Wizard de Pomporromp, at his magical estate. Now Lennie has her chance. Poppop has decided to retire, and his grandchildren are coming from all over to compete in Wizardmatch. The winner inherits his title, his castle, and every single one of his unlimited magical powers. The losers get nothing. Lennie is desperate to win, but when Poppop creates a new rule to quelch any sibling rivalry, her thoughts turn from winning Wizardmatch to sabotaging it…even if it means betraying her family.

Midnight in the Piazza by Tiffany Parks (HarperCollins)

Beatrice Archer may love history, and Rome may be chock-full of it, but that doesn’t mean she wants to move there! Too bad Beatrice’s father got a job as the head of the history department at the American Academy in Rome—now, Beatrice has no choice but to get used to the idea. When she arrives in Rome she explores her new city as much as she can, but it isn’t until she hears talk of a strange neighborhood legend that Beatrice perks up. A centuries-old unsolved mystery about the beautiful turtle fountain outside her window? Sounds like fun!

So many excellent books, so little time! Here are three I’ve really enjoyed this past week. Front Desk by Kelly Yang (Arthur A. Levine Books, 5/29) is a middle grade book inspired by the author’s own childhood. Mia Tang’s parents, immigrants from China, take the job as motel managers at the Calivista Motel, and the owner Mr. Yao is cruel and stingy. Mia works the front desk to help out her parents, and through a mix of humor, bravery, and intelligence, she sets out to help her family in every way she knows how. This one has already received two starred reviews, so keep an eye out for it!

Aquarium by Cynthia Alonso (Chronicle Books, 4/3) is a beautifully illustrated wordless book filled with magical ocean scenes. I loved every spread and look forward to taking more time with each illustration.

The Not-So-Boring Letters of Private Nobody by Matthew Landis had me laughing out loud in every chapter. Twelve-year-old Oliver Prichard is obsessed with the Civil War, so when the last assignment of seventh-grade history is a project on the Civil War, Oliver is over the moon–until he’s partnered with Ella Berry, the slacker girl with the messy hair who does nothing but stare out the window. And when Oliver finds out they have to research a random soldier named Private Raymond Stone who didn’t even fight in any battles before dying of some boring disease, Oliver knows he’s doomed. I read this book in one sitting!

 

Around the web…

Check out the bestselling kids books from 2017 (via Publisher’s Weekly)

Authors Mobilize Children’s Book Community to March on March 24 (via Publisher’s Weekly)

My Kid Has the Worst Taste in Literature (via Book Riot)

 

Finally, Book Riot has another awesome giveaway! Head over to our Instagram account to enter to win $500 of Penguin Clothbound classics! Contest ends March 13th.

I’d love to know what you are reading this week! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at karina@bookriot.com.

Until next week,
Karina

Izzy wants to show off the many new releases coming out this Tuesday!

 

*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!*

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Today In Books

Neil Gaiman Announces New SANDMAN Comics: Today in Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by I Stop Somewhere by TE Carter.


Neil Gaiman Announces New Sandman Comics

DC Comics is launching a Sandman Universe line of four new comic series. Gaiman will oversee the books and plot out The Sandman Universe #1, but it will be written by new creative teams. The writers attached to the project include Nalo Hopkinson, Kat Howard, Si Spurrier, and Dan Watters. The Sandman Universe launches this August with a one-shot special. Click here for more on what’s to come, and an interview with Neil Gaiman.

Sherman Alexie Acknowledges Sexual Misconduct Allegations

An update on the Sherman Alexie story where multiple people made allegations of sexual harassment against the author: Alexie issued a statement. In it, he said, “There are women telling the truth about my behavior and I have no recollection of physically or verbally threatening anybody or their careers.” Of author Litsa Dremousis’ involvement in the reports of his abuse–she wrote that she’d known about the allegations against him for months–Alexie said she was spreading rumors, and that they had had an affair that ended in 2015. Dremousis says she and NPR have been interviewing women, on the record, about Alexie’s abuses.

BBC Developing Discworld Miniseries

BBC Studios is developing a six-part series based on Terry Pratchett’s epic Discworld series. Deadline reported rumors of Simon Allen, who has written series including Strike Back and The Musketeers, writing the series. The working title of the Discworld adaptation is The Watch, and it’s being co-produced with Narrativia, founded by Pratchett, and now run by his daughter Rhianna and his former business manager Rob Wilkins.

 

And don’t forget to head over to our Instagram account to enter to win $500 of Penguin Clothbound classics!

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Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships Feb 2

Happy Friday, friends! Today we’re talking After the Flare and the Call of Crows series, plus Fahrenheit 451, Octavia Butler, fantasy comics, and more.


This newsletter is sponsored by The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller.

In an alternate history where only women are strong enough to practice a dangerous art of magic and science, a uniquely talented young man goes where none has gone before. Joining the ranks of powerful, flying women, he takes to the sky to fight prejudice, injustice, and the men seeking to destroy their world.

In the tradition of Lev Grossman and Deborah Harkness, Tom Miller writes with unrivaled imagination, ambition, and humor. The Philosopher’s Flight is both a fantastical reimagining of American history and a beautifully composed coming-of-age tale for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.


Having trouble keeping track of what SF/F books are being adapted? Me too. But Tor.com is keeping track for us. This list, it is long!

Speaking of adaptations, have you watched the trailer for Fahrenheit 451 yet? Michael B. Jordan is metaphorically and almost literally fire in this.

Speaking again of adaptations, I was initially doubtful about anyone adapting Ursula Le Guin’s The Telling but then I saw Rekha Sharma’s name and now I am FULL SPEED AHEAD excited.

The anniversary of Octavia Butler’s death was on February 24, and I love this post of facts about her. Fans will recognize some of her jobs as the inspiration for certain moments in her book (potato-chip sorter shows up in Kindred, for example!).

Need some more fantasy comics in your life? There are titles on this list that I hadn’t heard of, which is always delightful.

Cheap ebook alert! The Reluctant Queen (sequel to The Queen of Blood) by Sarah Beth Durst is only $2.99 from Kindle, and I really loved it. You could read the series out of order if you were feeling really eager, but I do recommend the first one as well.

And don’t forget, we’re running an Instagram giveawayand you could win $500 worth of the (gorgeous) Penguin Clothbound classics.

Today in reviews, we’ve got Afrofuturism and a way more diverse take on Norse mythology.

After the Flare by Deji Olukotun

After the FlareFriends, you should probably read Nigerians in Space first. In fact I am almost positive that you should do that, even though I did not. But I am here to tell you that if, like me, your library is taking forever to get a copy of the first book for unknowable reasons but After the Flare is easily available to you, you should definitely read it.

A huge solar flare has hit the Earth and wiped out technology in most of Europe, North America, and Asia — and there’s an astronaut stranded on the international space station. The newly formed Nigerian Space Program is determined to get her back, and Kwesi Brackett, former NASA employee, is lucky enough to find himself a head engineer in the program. But between political shenanigans and resource issues, he’s struggling to to make his deadlines. Then some workers discover an ancient artifact on site, triggering a chain of supernatural occurrences. On top of it all, Boko Haram is on its way to take over the program’s perceived riches.

Olukotun is exploring so many things in this novel — colorism, the space race, the vagaries of love, the fall of current First World powers, religion and politics, and of course the supernatural occurrences mentioned (but no spoilers here). The ending of this book has me craving another installment; I sincerely hope there is more coming, and in the meantime I impatiently await my hold on Nigerians in Space.

The Call of Crows series by Shelly Laurenston

The UnleashingSit back and get ready for the premise of this paranormal romance series: the Norse gods have warriors on Earth, who act on their behalf — which includes warring with other clans and finding stuff the gods keep losing (why DO they lose so many godly artifacts??). Most of the gods pick the descendants of their original worshippers — so, largely white and blonde. But the goddess Skuld finds her warrior Crows from the descendants of the women that the Vikings enslaved, and their motto is “Let rage be your guide.” What you end up with is a diverse, kick-ass group of women who are very ready to wreak vengeance — and have wings and talons to get the job done.

The UndoingThe books follow three different Crows: Kera, Jace, and Erin. Do not make me pick between them, I love all my romance heroines equally! But, of course, for different reasons. Kera, heroine of The Unleashing (Book 1), is a military veteran with a pitbull, and she could not be more surprised than when Skuld shows up to give her a second chance at life. Adjusting to the riotous lifestyle of the Crows, however, is something else. And then there’s this pesky goddess who wants to destroy everyone, and a big beefy Viking hero named Vig to fall in love with. Kera’s love of her pitbull and her clipboard made my pet-owning, organizer-loving heart sing, and Kera’s trip to Valhalla is one of my all-time favorite romance plot points.

The UnyieldingThen there’s Jace, heroine of The Undoing, who just wants to be left alone THANK YOU VERY MUCH. A survivor of a cult, she’s got a lot of baggage that people just don’t understand. When Ski Erikson hires her to translate some ancient texts, it turns out she might find someone who gets her — and who she can fight ancient evil with.

And then there’s Erin, heroine of The Unyielding, who is a tormentor of one and all throughout the series. She’s the hugest jerk to everyone, but it’s just — if you ask her — because they take themselves too seriously! She swears! Her adventures with hero Stieg add a ton of world-building to the series, as well as hilarity.

These books are so fun, occasionally very silly, and enormously heartfelt. I can’t think when I laughed so much while also celebrating the power of righteous anger, especially in regard to women. If you need a palate cleanser that will also gear you up and get you going, get these immediately.

And that’s a wrap! You can find all of the books recommended in this newsletter on a handy Goodreads shelf. 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.

Rock on, rockstars,
Jenn

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True Story

Memoirs from Michelle Obama and Dessa!

Hello and happy March! As you are reading this newsletter I am sitting by the pool in Mexico, hopefully with a margarita and a book in hand. I don’t know what book — I’ve been so indecisive about what to pack — but hopefully it is good!

Upcoming Books News!

I wouldn’t normally lead off a newsletter with announcements about upcoming books, but there have been three of them in the last few weeks that all made me cheer a little bit.


Sponsored by Everything is Horrible and Wonderful by Stephanie Wittels Wachs

One phone call. That’s all it took to change Stephanie Wittels Wachs’ life forever. Her brother Harris, a star in the comedy world known for his work on shows like Parks and Recreation, had died of a heroin overdose.

In beautiful, unsentimental, and surprisingly funny prose, Stephanie Wittels Wachs alternates between her brother’s struggle with addiction, and the first year after his death, in all its emotional devastation. This compelling portrait of a comedic genius and a profound exploration of the love between siblings is A Year of Magical Thinking for a new generation of readers. It will make you laugh, cry, and wonder if that possum on the fence is really your brother’s spirit animal.


First up, Michelle Obama’s memoir is coming this November! The First Lady of my heart announced the book, Becoming, on Twitter, and said writing the book has been a “deeply personal experience. I talk about my roots and how a girl from the South Side found her voice.” The book will hit shelves on November 13.

Second, Doris Kearns Goodwin will have a new book out in September, Leadership, that will “remind readers that career politicians can become great presidents.” The book will focus on four presidents that she’s already written about – Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Franklin Roosevelt.

Finally, Dessa, a Minneapolis-based rapper/singer, will publish a book of essays. My Own Devices will feature “true stories from the road on music, science and senseless love.” I was lucky enough to see Dessa speak at a podcast recording here in the Twin Cities, and I can affirm that she’s an excellent storyteller. Can’t wait!

New Books!

The last Tuesday of February was a big one for exciting nonfiction, with six books that were on my radar. So many books, so little time…

Eat the Apple by Matt Young – “A daring, twisted, and darkly hilarious story of American youth and masculinity in an age of continuous war.” Young joined the Marine Corps as an 18-year-old, and chronicles his experience through three deployments in Iraq through a “kaleidoscopic array of literary forms.”

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara – This is a posthumously published book about one journalists’ search for a notorious California serial rapist who committed 50 sexual assaults over more than a decade. It’s gotten a lot of buzz because of McNarama’s famous husband, Patton Oswalt, but early buzz is that the book stands on its own.

Don’t Call Me Princess by Peggy Orenstein – This is the first collection of essays from the author of two other great books on girls and culture (Girls and Sex and Cinderella Ate My Daughter). These essays are drawn from her body of writing, and includes a new introduction and personal reflection on each essay.

Invisible by Michele Lent Hirsch – This book looks at a story that hasn’t been told much, about young women navigating serious health issues during the prime of their lives. The book, anchored by Lent Hirsch’s personal experience, also explores how health issues can amplify the other pressures women face at work and in life.

Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker – This book got some buzz earlier this year when Bill Gates declared it his new favorite book of all time. Following up on his previous writing, Pinker makes a case for “reason, science, humanism and progress” in a time when the world feels like it’s falling apart.

There Are No Dead Here by Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno – This is another big picture book told through particular stories, this time a look at the rise of paramilitary groups in Colombia through three ordinary Colombians, an activist, a journalist, and an investigator.

Adaptation News!

Red alert for the next best news ever! Lupita Nyong’o has signed on to star in the film adaptation of Trevor Noah’s memoir Born a Crime. Nyong’o will play Noah’s mom, Patricia, who was an important figure in his early years before tragedy struck the family.

This one doesn’t come from a book, but it sounds super fun. Tessa Thompson will play Doris Payne, a woman “who gained notoriety for her luxury jewelry heists from stores around the world.” Payne was the subject of a documentary in 2013, The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne.

And that’s all for this week. As always, find me on Twitter @kimthedork, and happy reading! – Kim

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Riot Rundown TestRiotRundown

030118-ForceOfNature-Riot-Rundown

Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by Flatiron Books.

When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.

But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods.