Kittens! Welcome to another Monday edition of “OOO BOOKS.” I am your host, Surly Jackson, and today I’ll be sharing book news, cat pictures, puns, and a rave review of another 2021 title that I think you MUST mark down on your TBRs.
I myself am building a stack of reads for the week to the ceiling, in an effort to find calm this upcoming week, no matter what happens tomorrow. If you find that you can’t read right now, please remember that it is perfectly normal. Everyone reacts differently to situations.
And remember that whatever you are doing or watching or reading this week, I am sending you love and hugs. Please be safe, and remember to wear a mask and wash your hands. And please be mindful of others. It takes no effort to be kind. I’ll see you again on Thursday. – xoxo, Liberty
Here’s Monday’s trivia question: Which author once took a job as a potato chip inspector because the shift hours enabled her to write early in the morning? (Scroll to the bottom for the answer.)
Deals, Reals, and Squeals!
Mindy Kaling will star in HBO Max’s adaptation of Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner.
Netflix has renewed The Baby-Sitter’s Club for a second season.
Here’s the first look at Samantha Downing’s next novel, For Your Own Good.
Look at this gorgeous cover reveal for the paperback edition of The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia!
Chanté Adams will star with Michael B. Jordan in Denzel Washington’s Journal for Jordan, based on Dana Canedy’s 2008 memoir.
Kristin Scott Thomas will narrate Rachel Cusk’s Outline trilogy.
Here’s the cover reveal for Edie Richter is Not Alone by Rebecca Handler, coming next year from Unnamed Press.
Cheryl Strayed has brought back Dear Sugar.
Rachel Keller joins Ansel Elgort and Ken Watanabe in HBO Max’s upcoming drama series Tokyo Vice, based on Jake Adelstein’s nonfiction book of the same name.
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 learn about a lot of upcoming titles, and I’m delighted to share a couple with you each week so you can add them to your TBR! (It will now be books I loved on Mondays and books I’m excited to read on Thursdays. YAY, BOOKS!)
Loved, loved, loved:
The Rib King by Ladee Hubbard (Amistad, January 19, 2021)
I mentioned this book a few weeks ago in the New Books! newsletter, but I simply must talk about it more. It’s an absolute work of smoldering genius, and it has hooked its incendiary fingers right into my brain!
The Rib King takes place in two parts in the early 20th century.The first part is about the in-fighting and worries of the African American staff at the prestigious home of a once-affluent white family. As the staff in charge try to come up with ways to stretch what little they have as the family’s fortune slips away, there is fighting over recent changes to the staff. August Sitwell has worked for the Barclays since he was a young orphan, and has recently been moved from gardener to butler, much to the chagrin of the recently-fired butler who taught Sitwell everything he knows. And while attempting to oversee preparations for a dinner for a visitor who might help pull the Barclays out of financial ruin, Sitwell also watches after the three young men who work on the grounds, and who find themselves in multiple dangerous situations when white supremacists terrorize the town.
And the second section is set ten years later, after a horrific crime at the home. It details the life of one of the former maids, Jennie, as she attempts to grow her own beauty care business, but keeps finding her dealings overshadowed by her time at the home. Jennie wants to branch out from her hair salon and start selling her homemade skin care cream in stores. But the return of the “Rib King” to town draws her back into the terrible business from a decade before, while she is inadvertently and unwillingly swept up in illegal dealings and fighting between gangs.
I cannot decide which section I enjoyed more! It was such an exciting juxtaposition. The further I got in the second section, the more I saw the genius of the first as well. The first section is a bit Downton Abbey, with all the staff drama, and the second reminded me a lot of Deadwood—my favorite show—despite being set in the 20th century. Hubbard highlights the racism and sexism of the time period in a brilliantly layered, original story. It’s such a powerful novel that I immediately read it again because I didn’t want to lose that feeling it gave my brain. And you heard it here first: This is my guess for the National Book Award for Fiction in 2021!
While you’re waiting for this one to come out, I HIGHLY recommend checking out Hubbard’s first novel, The Talented Ribkins.
What I’m reading this week.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
First Person Singular: Stories by Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (translator)
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch by Rivka Galchen
The Souvenir Museum: Stories by Elizabeth McCracken
Pun of the week:
I found a rock which measured 1760 yards in length. It must be some kind of milestone.
And this is funny:
Oh, look, it’s the (scary) story of my life.
Here are a few things I enjoy that I thought you might like as well:
And here’s a cat picture!
*Chandler voice* Could Farrokh be any more relaxed?
Trivia answer: Octavia Butler.
You made it to the bottom! Thanks for reading! – xo, L