Welcome to Check Your Shelf! This is your guide to help librarians like you up your game when it comes to doing your job (& rocking it).
“Check Your Shelf” is sponsored by Vertical, Inc.
Where did Sherlock Holmes go during his famous disappearance between his death at Reichenbach Falls and reappearance in Baker Street, three years later? God of mystery Keisuke Matsuoka contends that it was in the Far East—in Japan, to be exact. In 1891, Nicholas Alexandrovich, the Tsarevich of Russia, was traveling in a fragile Meiji-era Japan on an official tour when he was almost assassinated. The Otsu Incident, as this came to be known, led to fear of an international incident, perhaps even a declaration of war from Russia. In steps Sherlock Holmes—on the run from the British police and presumed to be dead. Together with Hirobumi Ito, the first Prime Minister of Japan, the two unlikely allies immerse themselves in a knotted tangle of politics, deceit, and great powers. In this deftly researched and immersive novel, based on real historical events, the great Sherlock Holmes stakes his flag in modern history in the turbulent early years of a rising Japan buffeted by the winds of change.
Libraries & Librarians
- Smart Bitches, Trashy Books are looking for new romance reviewers!
- (TW gun violence) Patron threatened to shoot up the Penn Library in Harrison City, PA in retaliation for late fees. Although the patron said he was joking (WTF dude), police found an unlicensed firearm in his car nearby.
- Kelly Clark’s push for better library security got the attention of the local news.
- Library of Congress publishes a new digital collection of classic children’s books from over 100 years ago.
- North Dakota legislators just voted to build a Theodore Roosevelt presidential library.
- Geneva Bible stolen from Carnegie Library (PA) has been recovered in the Netherlands.
- Project Dustbunny aims to find out, among other things, whether or not Shakespeare’s DNA is hiding in the Folger Library’s Vault. It’s unlikely that they’ll find anything, but I’m just saying that we better not read a future article about how scholars have created a tourist attraction with cloned versions of Shakespeare. IT WILL NOT END WELL.
Cool Library Updates
- NYPL creates dialogue-driven programming with its Community Conversations.
- Boston-area library has a program for aspiring DJs.
- Kent District Library (MI) will be the first library in the country to introduce MagnusCards, a new initiative to assist people with cognitive special needs.
- How to host a Bob Ross painting party.
- British Library has a new exhibition that traces the evolution of writing.
- A look at the racist, classist, and sexist biases in library call numbers and subject headings.
- Archivists race to digitize slavery records before the history is lost.
- How this teacher librarian brought students and teachers back into a recently re-opened school library.
- Experts say storytime can help children recover from trauma.
- How to make your next library project beautiful.
- Book selection is not a politician’s job.
- Worth reading if your school does the 40 book challenge, and all the ways it can go horribly wrong.
- When RA training and diversity training meet.
Book Adaptations in the News
- The film adaptation of Walter Dean Myers’ YA novel, Monster has been acquired, and will be released under the name All Rise.
- ‘Salem’s Lot gets its third adaptation, this time produced by James Wan, who you may know from NOPE-fest films such as Saw, The Conjuring, and Insidious.
- Did you know there was a video-game adaptation of World War Z released recently? Well, apparently it sold 1,000,000+ copies in the first week.
- Trailers for Catch-22 and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, starring Taissa Farmiga.
- Outlander is coming to Netflix in May.
- (TW: suicide) Teen suicide spiked after the debut of 13 Reasons Why on Netflix.
- Laura Linney is returning to Broadway in the adaptation of My Name is Lucy Barton.
- Sarah Silverman’s memoir, The Bedwetter is getting a musical adaptation.
Collection Development Corner
New & Upcoming Titles
- Earlier in the year, Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao was pulled from its publication schedule after a significant social media controversy, but is now slated for a November publication.
- Tegan & Sara are writing a memoir.
- We have a title & a tentative release date for the next book in Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation series!
- An update on the final book in the Diviners series by Libba Bray.
- Unnamed Press is publishing a science fiction anthology in October.
- You’ll want to put The Imaginary Corpse by Tyler Hayes on your reading list ASAP, just based on the plot synopsis: “A dinosaur detective in the land of unwanted ideas battles trauma, anxiety, and the first serial killer of imaginary friends.”
- Bookmarks: Best-reviewed books of the week.
- USA Today: Books of the week.
- O Magazine picks 10 April books you won’t be able to put down and 4 of the buzziest new reads you should have on your radar this month.
- Entertainment Weekly: 25 new paperbacks to check out this spring.
- Best international crime fiction for April.
- Barnes & Noble gives some key May titles for mysteries, thrillers, history & current affairs, and biographies & memoirs.
- May title updates from LA Times, Washington Post, Tor.com (fantasy), Book Riot (fantasy), EpicReads (YA), and Goodreads (romance).
What Your Patrons Are Hearing About
- Machines Like Me – Ian McEwan (Washington Post, New Yorker, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, LA Times).
- The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World – Melinda Gates (NPR, Shondaland, LA Times, Time).
- When We Left Cuba – Chanel Cleeton (Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post).
- Southern Lady Code – Helen Ellis (NPR, O Magazine).
- Miracle Creek – Angie Kim (Washington Post, Elle)
RA & Genre Resources
- The state of the mystery genre: a roundtable discussion amongst Edgar Award winners about the biggest issues that the genre faces. There are some good points here, but tbh, I’d really have liked to see more discussion about how the mystery world is super white.
- The hipster-mystery. The hipstery? Can we please call it something else?
- Starter guide to locked-room mysteries.
- Inclusivity in romance novels.
- Refinery29 has been covering YA novels all month, and here’s a roundup of all their news items.
Books & Authors in the News
- #copypastecris isn’t going anywhere – Nora Roberts sues the Brazilian author for multiple counts of plagiarism.
- A lost sequel to A Clockwork Orange has been discovered.
- Imani Kendi, author of the award-winning book Stamped From the Beginning: A Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, is launching the first National Antiracist Book Festival.
- Ron Chernow was the keynote speaker at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Numbers & Trends
- Why independent bookstores are flourishing in the age of Amazon.
- Winners for the Edgar Awards, Triangle Awards, and the James Beard Media Awards.
- Joy Harjo wins the Jackson Poetry Prize.
- Hoda Barakat wins the International Prize for Arabic Fiction for The Night Mail, and is just the second woman to win the award.
- Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist announced.
- Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi wins the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
- American Academy of Arts and Letters is awarding Toni Morrison a well-deserved gold medal for her lifetime achievement in fiction.
- Tupac’s estate celebrates National Poetry Month with a fan competition.
- There’s going to be a Britney Spears-inspired musical, Once Upon a One More Time, and if you can’t get to the musical, there’s going to be a movie as well!
- The Tolkien estate is not a fan of the upcoming biopic.
- 10 things to do on Sunday if you don’t watch Game of Thrones.
All Things Comics
- There’s a new Stan Lee project coming out, and it introduces a new superhero universe.
- Avengers: Endgame has broken a LOT of records. And here’s a list of comics to read after watching the movie.
- More Baby-sitters Club graphic novels!
- Cool bookish places: Squishface Comic Studio, Melbourne.
- Freddie Mercury re-imagined as comic book heroes.
- Will Eisner Comic Industry Award nominees.
- Why comics make great history books.
- Graphic novels & comics about animals.
- First-person graphic memoirs for younger readers and teens.
- Half of all Americans over the age of 12 have listened to the audiobook in the last year.
- Baby-sitter’s Club AUDIOBOOKS!
- Hear JRR Tolkien read from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit in these vintage recordings.
- Best podcasts for children’s books.
- It’s past Alien Day (4/26), but here are 20 xenomorphic books to read all year long! Also, Audible is adapting William Gibson’s unfilmed Alien script!
- How to score free audiobooks this summer.
- Why narrating an audiobook is a LOT harder than you think.
Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists
- 23 children’s books about emotions for kids with big feelings.
- Social activism books for kids.
- 5 kidlit books for gamers.
- National Student Poets choose 5 books every high schooler should read.
- YA Shakespeare retellings.
- Woke SFF for teens.
- 10 books about girls who code.
- 10 LGBTQ+ characters in crime fiction.
- Crime fiction’s new favorite private eyes.
- 10 sibling thrillers.
- 50 how-to books.
- Best narrative nonfiction books for non-nonfiction readers.
- Foodie books to add to your TBR.
- 11 nonfiction serial killer reads.
- Books about smartphones & the consequences of constant connection.
- Reading pathway for Beverly Jenkins.
- 5 novels with interracial love.
- Must-read black poets.
- 6 books about the gender pay gap.
- Books that perfectly illustrate why women stay silent.
- 13 adorable amigurumi books.
Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous
- Help send 1000 books by authors of color to Milwaukee Public Schools.
- How sexism & machismo shaped the Iowa Writers Workshop.
- White nationalists interrupted an author event at Politics & Prose in Washington DC, and just……ugh.
- Noëlle Santos opens the only indie general-interest bookstore in the Bronx. Bonus: it doubles as a wine bar! (I want to go to there.)
- Should writers write what they don’t know?
- On the benefits of quitting your Goodreads challenge.
- Vans + Harry Potter = GIMME NOW. Also, new Harry Potter Legos!
- Trivial Pursuit: Shakespeare edition.
Level Up (Library Reads)
Do you take part in LibraryReads, the monthly list of best books selected by librarians only? We’ve made it easy for you to find eligible diverse titles to nominate. Kelly Jensen created a database of upcoming diverse books that anyone can edit, and Nora Rawlins of Early Word is doing the same, as well as including information about series, vendors, and publisher buzz.
Thanks for hanging out and I’ll see you again next week!