Today In Books

KINDRED Pilot Based on Octavia Butler Novel Announces Cast: Today in Books

Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga to Star in Macbeth on Broadway

Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga are starring in an upcoming production of the Shakespearian tragedy Macbeth on Broadway. Craig is returning to Broadway for the first time since 2013’s Betrayal to play the titular role. Negga is making her Broadway debut as Lady Macbeth. The new production is directed by Sam Gold and is scheduled to begin performances on March 29, 2022, ahead of opening night on April 28 at Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre. Gold has staged several Shakesperian plays, including Hamlet, starring Oscar Isaac, and Othello, also starring Craig. A press release announcing the show promises “this thrilling new production will capture the passion and ferocity of Shakespeare’s most haunting text like never before.” Tickets will go on sale on October 8th.

Kindred Pilot Based on Octavia Butler Novel Announces Cast

FX has announced the cast for its upcoming pilot, adapting of Octavia E. Butler’s influential novel Kindred. FX had previously announced that newcomer Mallori Johnson would be starring in the show. Now, joining her are Micah Stock, Ryan Kwanten, Gayle Rankin, Austin Smith, Antoinette Crowe-Legacy and David Alexander Kaplan. Character descriptions are still under wraps as of right now. Kindred is a project from writer Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Watchmen), Courtney Lee-Mitchell (The Reluctant Fundamentalist), Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures (Black Swan, The Wrestler), Joe Weisberg (The Americans), and Joel Fields (Fosse/Verdon). 

Semicolon Bookstore Reopens This Saturday in New Wicker Park Storefront

Semicolon Bookstore, the popular Black-woman-owned bookshop, is reopening its door this Saturday at 1714 W. Division Street in Chicago. The new storefront is a space that’s four times larger than its previous space in River West. Owner Danielle Mullen says the new space “means we have four times the books, and it just feels good, it feels free, it feels open, and that’s what we’re going for. It also feels very homey. You walk in and you just want to sit down, and that’s also what we’re going for.” The new space also includes a children’s room, art gallery, and coffee shop. Semicolon Bookstore will be open Tuesday through Sunday every week. Exact hours are still to be determined.

20 Easy Bookish Halloween Costumes for Kids and Adults

Halloween is on the horizon, at long last! If you’re still scrambling to think of a costume, here are 20 easy bookish Halloween costumes for kids and adults.

Swords and Spaceships

A Grab Bag of Monsters

Happy Friday, shipmates! It’s Alex, and I’m here to sing to you that It’s the most wonderful time of the year~~ And by that, I mean it’s October! Spooky Halloween everyone! To celebrate this change over to the best month when it’s no longer stinking hot and we start getting winter squash and candy corn, I made a traditional Halloween mushroom and spinach quiche. (We are pretending that’s a thing, right?) And for you, I’ve got you some spoopy (not a misspelling) books, some links, and a few deals to check out. Stay safe out there, space pirates, and I’ll see you on Tuesday!

From today (October 1) through Sunday night, October 3, Book Riot will be matching donations to Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas up to $2,500. See here for details.

Let’s make the world a better place, together. Here’s somewhere to start: and

News and Views

BABYLON 5 IS BEING REBOOTED BY JMS THIS IS NOT A DRILL THIS IS NOT A DRILL and the man himself did a Twitter thread to talk a little bit more of where this all is headed…

Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Lavie Tidhar talk about their picks for best sword and sorcery books

Indie speculative fiction roundup for September

Victoria Strauss shares her thoughts on #DisneyMustPay

File770 has collected the public’s choices for best covers in the 2021 self-published science fiction competition

Finding the mystery in epic fantasy

Why noir and science fiction are still a perfect pairing

Interview with Zen Cho

Q&A with Polish science fiction author Jacek Dukaj

Five superpowers that just aren’t as fun as they sound

Netflix acquires Roald Dahl story company, plans extensive universe

Astronomers spotted a fireball on Jupiter

SFF eBook Deals

Parade: A Folktale by Hiromi Kawakami, translated by Allison Markin Powell for $1.99

Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis for $2.99

From a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion for $1.99

On Book Riot

From today (October 1) through Sunday night, October 3, Book Riot will be matching donations to Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas up to $2,500. See here for details.

This week’s SFF Yeah! is about cerebral speculative reads.

Are you laughing or screaming? Horror comedy books will make you do both

A brief history of Jewish superheroes

How reading changed the way I see morality

Free Association Friday

It’s October! OH YEAH!!! The best month of the year. And this year, we’re gonna go all in on monsters. I’ve got weeks planned out for some traditional faves like vampires and zombies, but this week, we’re doing the grab bag. Books with lots of monsters, with monsters we don’t get to see a whole bunch, all sorts of good stuff.

Cover of Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

In a post-apocalyptic world, the Diné have walled themselves off in their former reservation and become reborn as a nation. Their gods walk the land again–but so do monsters. Maggie Hoskie is a professional monster hunter with a difficult past and a lot of complicated relationships… and she’s caught the attention of the gods to boot. To find a missing girl, she has to enlist the help of an unconventional medicine man… and they both end up getting more than they bargained for.

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht

A monster that cannot die stalks the ruined, festering, abandoned city of Elendhaven, sent on tasks by his frail master. The monster’s ultimate goal is revenge on all those who have wronged his city, no matter what he will destroy along his path.

Cover of No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull

No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull

Laina gets tragic news one October morning: Boston police have shot and killed her brother. But soon, this horror reveals something far stranger: monsters are real. And they’re coming out of the shadows now, looking for safety. This shift in the social fabric of the world leads to strife and protests. But the one question no one seems to be asking as society reshapes itself is: what has frightened the monsters so badly that they came out of the dark?

Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

Nita’s mother is a monster hunter who makes most of her money by selling the parts of the things she captures on the internet–parts that are dissected out by Nita herself from still-living monsters. Nita, however, draws the line at cutting up a scared teenaged boy, no matter what her mom says he is. No good deed goes unpunished, however; when she saves him, she gets sold in his place, since she’s a bit of a monster, too.

Cover of Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland

Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland

Zephyr is a Harpy, which means she’s a half-god and should be a an extremely competent assassin… but instead she’d rather watch tv. She sucks at magic anyway. But then her sister is murdered, and Zephyr is forced to use a forbidden power to keep herself alive, which means she’s now on the run from her own people as well as the would-be assassin. What she’s running toward might be even worse–a destiny she’d rather not fulfill.

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham

Four friend from the rez made a big mistake one night, committing a fundamental sin as hunters that gets them in trouble with local police and elders. It’s ire they can escape by simply leaving. But they’ve angered something far worse as well, something that has no trouble following them no matter how far they run from the reservation.

See you, space pirates. If you’d like to know more about my secret plans to dominate the seas and skies, you can catch me over at my personal site.

Unusual Suspects

Helena Bonham Carter to Return for ‘Enola Holmes 2’

Hi mystery fans! Let’s slide into fall with more mystery news, links, books, adaptations to watch, and ebook deals!

From Book Riot and Around The Internet

Tell Me Your Secret cover image

8 Engrossing Mysteries and Thrillers About Journalists and Reporters

Tune in as Nusrah and Katie talk about reads that took them on a twisty, turn-y journey on the latest Read or Dead!

This week on the Handsell, Amanda recommends Slippery Creatures by KJ Charles.

8 Stunning Debut Novels to Read This Fall

An Acclaimed Mystery Novel Is Coming to ‘Masterpiece’

Winter Counts cover image

High Plains Book Awards winner: ‘Winter Counts’ by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

‘No Time To Die’ World Premiere Kicks Off at London’s Royal Albert Hall

Liane Moriarty’s New Novel Is a Family Saga and a Mystery

Netflix spills its top-10 shows and movies by hours watched for the first time

Author Sara Gran Launches Dreamland Books

Read the first chapter of this fall’s buzziest legal thriller, All Her Little Secrets

Velvet Was the Night Book Cover

Must-Read Mysteries & Thrillers by Hispanic Authors

Exclusive: ‘The Lost Symbol’ featurette unlocks the mysteries inside Peacock’s ‘Da Vinci Code’ prequel

Channel 4’s Murder Island is set to air next month which will see eight people split into four groups of two solve a fake murder set up by Scottish author Ian Rankin.

Toni Braxton will star in movie series adaptation as an ex-con turned amateur sleuth who investigates a series of murders at her book club. (You can start reading the series below in ebook deals!)

cover image Dept H.

Netflix’s ‘Dept. H’ Movie Adaptation Moving Forward With ‘Paradise Hills’ Director Alice Waddington

Helena Bonham Carter to Return for ‘Enola Holmes 2’

HBO Max and Cartoon Network Announce First-Ever Scoobtober Lineup

Giveaway: Win a Copy of HIGH STAKES by Iris Johansen!

Giveaway: Win a Copy of THE HAWTHORNE LEGACY by Jennifer Lynn Barnes!

Watch Now

The Chestnut Man on Netflix: If you like Nordic Noir, thrillers, police procedurals and fictional serial killers this new series, adapted from Søren Sveistrup’s same titled novel, is right up your alley. Watch the trailer here.

Recent Interests That May Also Interest You + My Reading Life

An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed cover image

Reading: An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed by Helene Tursten/ The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova / Sword Stone Table: Old Legends, New Voices edited by Swapna Krishna, Jenn Northington

Streaming: The new season of Bob’s Burgers has started!

Laughing: welcome to the new york public library

Helping: Book Riot Will Match Your Donations to Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas

Upcoming: Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell series will have a book 8 and 9!

Kindle Deals

The Fallen Angels Book Club cover image

The Fallen Angels Book Club (A Hollis Morgan Mystery #1) by R. Franklin James

If you like reading the book first for an adaptation comes out, this series will be a series of films starring Toni Braxton and you can start the first book for $2.99!

A Decline in Prophets cover image

A Decline in Prophets (Rowland Sinclair WWII Mysteries Book 2) by Sulari Gentill

If you’re looking for a delightful historical mystery with a wealthy Australian artist as the sleuth, pick this up for $4.95! (Review)

A Double Life by Flynn Berry cover image

A Double Life by Flynn Berry

If you’re looking for a character driven mystery on the search for innocent or monster, pick this one up for $1.99! (Review)

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming 2021 releases. Check out this Unusual Suspects Pinterest board and get Tailored Book Recommendations!

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

If a mystery fan forwarded this newsletter to you and you’d like your very own, you can sign up here.

Check Your Shelf

Behold: The Book Blob

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. Holy cow, it’s officially spooky season!! I mean, I feel like September should be considered part of spooky season as well, but once October hits, there’s just no denying the scary. Just make sure to take time on Sunday to recognize Mean Girls Day. (It’s October 3rd.)

And with that, let’s talk about libraries.

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

The US Senate Finance Committee presses publishers on library eBook contracts.

Parents protest the book It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health by Robie Harris at the Cass County Public Library.

A commissioner and a teacher are among the latest to raise concerns about books at the Campbell County (WY) Public Library.

The San Antonio Public Library is going fines-free.

The Obamas officially broke ground on the presidential library being built in Chicago.

Cool Library Updates

Madison public libraries are now lending out eBike passes.

Birdwatching programs help foster community during the pandemic.

Worth Reading

COVID-19 and library late fees.

How to help school boards resist pressure groups.

Here’s a look at a “human library” in Copenhagen that allows you to “check out” other people.

Why your library’s logo might be terrible.

Book Adaptations in the News

All the Light We Cannot See is getting a limited series at Netflix.

Netflix now owns all of Roald Dahl’s stories.

The Last Mrs. Parrish is being turned into a movie.

Clarissa Goenawan’s Rainbirds will be adapted for film.

Let the Right One In will be adapted as a TV series for Showtime.

Amblin Television is developing Kimberly McCreight’s latest novel Friends Like These into a series.

Here’s the trailer for Ethan Coel’s The Tragedy of Macbeth.

Books & Authors in the News

A Texas mom slams the Lake Travis Independent School District Board for allowing the book Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez in school libraries. (Yeah, this is the incident where the woman tells the school board all about her thoughts on anal sex.)

The Central York school board finally votes to rescind its book ban.

Teen Vogue takes a look at the consequences of recent censorship attempts for Banned Books Week.

Oprah picks Richard Powers’ Bewilderment as her latest book club selection.

This year’s MacArthur Genius Grant recipients include Hanif Abdurraqib, Ibram X. Kendi, and Daniel Alarcón.

Jason Reynolds extends his term as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for a third year, the first time this has happened for the position.

Sally Rooney’s latest book, Beautiful World Where Are You, is now the most reviewed book of all time.

Numbers & Trends

Who doesn’t read books in America?

Behold: the book blob. (How the current trend of abstract book covers have come to dominate bookshelves and Instagram.)

Goodreads members’ most read books by genre.

Award News

The Emmy Awards were announced.

The National Book Awards have cancelled its in-person ceremony for 2021.

The 2021 Ignyte Awards have been announced.

The Center for Fiction announces its 2021 First Novel shortlist.

Why we still need the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

NPR is starting a “Book of the Day” podcast.

What was the first banned book in history?

On the Riot

Ditch that book: the importance of weeding in libraries.

5 unexpected items your library can lend you.

Why this reader wants more virtual book stuff after the pandemic.

12 TV shows based on YA books.

How are romance covers made?

20 must-read online literary journals.

An introduction to the book-length essay.

Why is satire difficult for modern readers to understand?

What to do with a loved one’s books when they die.

The next newsletter will be brought to you from the Upper Peninsula, so prepare for lots of photos of pretty trees! See you next week!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Read This Book

Read This Book: When Things Get Dark edited by Ellen Datlow

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that I think you absolutely must read. The books will vary across genre and age category to include new releases, backlist titles, and classics. If you’re ready to explode your TBR, buckle up!

It’s officially the start of October, and as Anne Shirley once said, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” Me too, Anne. It’s my favorite month, full of crisp orange leaves and toasty sweaters and pumpkin everything…and also things that go bump in the night! Today’s recommendation is for readers who love Shirley Jackson and the delicious and unexpected thrills her work brings!

cover of When Things Get Dark

When Things Get Dark edited by Ellen Datlow

The premise of this anthology is simple: Ellen Datlow asked a variety of writers to come up with a short story that’s inspired by Shirley Jackson’s work. No retellings or twists on her original stories, but just each writer’s own spin on some of the themes, elements, and motifs that make up a classic Shirley Jackson story. Which, to be frank, is quite a recognizable vibe. The writers include Josh Malerman, Carmen Maria Machado, Paul Tremblay, Richard Kadrey, Stephen Graham Jones, Elizabeth Hand, Kelly Link, Cassandra Khaw, Benjamin Percy, Seanan McGuire, and more.

The result is an anthology that is readable and varied. Anthologies can be hit or miss for me, but I thought this one was pretty consistently solid, with some stand-out stories that I know will haunt me for a long time, and some that I will want to revisit each spooky season. The various ways that the authors chose to interpret Shirley Jackson’s sensibilities is really fun. Some have a delightful mid-century nostalgia to them. Some are just eerie enough that you know something uncanny is going on, but it’s hard to put your finger on exactly what. Some have that dreamy, slightly philosophical air to them that both intrigues and unsettles. My favorites include “For Sale by Owner” by Elizabeth Hand, which is an unconventional haunted house story. “Hag” by Benjamin Percy had me convinced that it’s never wise to visit an island in the off-season. “Refinery Road” by Stephen Graham Jones had a twist that made me re-read the story as soon as I’d finished. “Special Meal” by Josh Malerman reminded me of “The Lottery” in a way no story ever has, while also being its own delightful, dark thing. And I am forever and always going to read anything Kelly Link writes, so her closing story, “Skinder’s Veil” was everything I hoped it’d be and more, with beautiful language and a beautiful full circle plot.

I highly recommend picking up this book if you’d like to wade into some unsettling, creepy, but not necessarily hardcore horror stories for the month! I imagine these will be perfect stories to read right before bed on a cold, dark October night!

Happy reading!

Find me on Book Riot, the Insiders Read Harder podcast, All the Books, and Twitter. If someone forwarded this newsletter to you, click here to subscribe.

True Story

Nonfiction for Hispanic Heritage Month

Happiest of Fridays, nonfiction friends! We are in Minnesota’s beautiful, brief season of “second summer,” which means I’m wearing hooded sweatshirts with sandals and trying to soak up the fact that we still have a few hours of sunlight after work.

This week I’d like to share some recent books to help recognize Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated September 15 – October 15 each year. Although the name of the month is problematic, it’s still a good excuse to celebrate nonfiction by Latinx authors and storytellers. Here are a few recent-ish gems:

book cover an african american and latinx history of the united stats by paul ortiz

An African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz

This book offers a revolutionary history of the contributions African American, Latinx, and Indigenous people have made to the history of the United States. By looking at history through those stories, the book “transforms US history into one of the working class organizing against imperialism.” This book is part of Beacon Press’s amazing Revisionist History series, which I just love.  

Ordinary Girls: A Memoir by Jaquira Díaz

Jaquira Díaz grew up in housing projects in both Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, trying to balance her family’s disintegration (and her mother’s schizophrenia) with the connections she felt with her friends. Her story explores sexuality, mental illness, sexual assault within the context of trying to understand Puerto Rico’s colonial history and one girl’s place in it. This one is really beautiful!

book cover the hispanic republican by geraldo cadava

The Hispanic Republican: The Shaping of an American Political Identity, from Nixon to Trump by Gerardo Cadava

When it comes to politics and political prognostication, it can be easy to lump entire groups of people into a single type or voting bloc. In this book, a Northwestern University professor explores how some Hispanic Americans have impacted national politics since the 1960s, particularly after being courted by Republicans during the Cold War. He also looks at how different cultural identities within the Latino community affect voting patterns.

book cover undocumented by dan-el padilla peralta

Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League by Dan-El Padilla Peralta

Dan-El Padilla Peralta came to the United States with his family, seeking medical care for his mother. When their visas ran out, his father returned to Santo Domingo while Peralta and his mother remained in New York City. This memoir is about his experiences growing up homeless, getting a boost into private school, and navigating his dual life between Harlem and Manhattan as an undocumented immigrant.

Finding Latinx: In Search of the Voices Redefining Latino Identity by Paola Ramos

One of my favorite nonfiction storytelling techniques is heading out on a road trip to gather stories from people around the county as a way of exploring big and complicated questions. In this book, journalist Paola Ramos sets out to understand how people define the term “Latinx” – particularly those who have been overlooked when we think about Latinos more generally. It’s a big group, and the stories she gathers are very moving. 

Weekend Reading

I’ve felt overwhelmed and scattered lately, which reminded me of a book that’s been on my TBR for a couple of years – How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell. The book is about how to live in a world where “technology is designed to buy and sell our attention,” and our worth is determined by how productive we are. Odell argues that we need to protect our attention as our most valuable resource and connects this way of being with larger and more radical forms of political action. I am here for all of that.

For more nonfiction reads, head over to the podcast service of your choice and download For Real, which I co-host with my dear friend Alice. If you have any questions/comments/book suggestions, you can find me on social media @kimthedork. Happy weekend! 

Kissing Books

Hello October!

Welcome to the Kissing Books newsletter y’all. I’m P.N. Hinton, your guide to the world of romance novels. I hope your spirit is doing well today. Whether it’s a backlist, new release, or an under the radar delight, I aim to help you find a book or two that you can get lost in. If you’re new to the Kissing Books newsletter, welcome and enjoy your stay. If you’re a long-time reader, welcome back; it’s good to see you again.

We are firmly into fall and the last fourth of the year. While I’m excited for this, it also comes with a bit of self-preparation since we are moving into the busy time of the year. I never really realized until I got older that starting in October there is a holiday every month for the rest of the year (yes Halloween is a holiday, I will accept no arguments on this). Which means that it can get super busy. Even with all that, make sure you’re taking time to take care of yourself and make time for yourself. It’s the airplane rule y’all; you can’t help others if you yourself can’t breathe.

One thing bringing me joy this week is getting back into the K-drama Romance is a Bonus Book.

Romance Reflection

I know there has been an ongoing division in Romancelandia about the preference for illustrated covers versus ones with real people. Regardless of which side of that division a person is in, it seems they are firmly in that camp. Now, personally, I don’t have a preference either way, although I have stated I don’t like a mixture of the two. Whichever one you’re on, commit to it. 

That said, I have discovered a cover trend I don’t like; the partially hidden face. This is specific towards the covers with real models, since I found the illustrated one for Something to Talk About delightful. I like seeing people’s faces. I don’t like seeing just the chin, or the hard profile, or even the lack of features in animated ones. Nine times out of ten, I imagine that person in my own mind anyways so the cover model doesn’t factor in at all. But, I still want to see a full face. If you’re going to put a face there, go all the way. 

Another, more minor annoyance, is when the cover model doesn’t match up with the description. There were multiple instances in Beverly Jenkins’s Night Song where it talks about Chase’s impressive mustache; but on the cover for the  book version I have, he is noticeably mustache-less. Very disappointing. 

Around the Web in Romance

If you like romance and have been wanting to dip your toe into manga, then check out some of these recommendations.

According to various hashtags floating around Twitter, ‘tis the season…FOR MONSTER ROMANCE!! I know that the scandal involving this previously planned anthology put things on pause for these romances. But the “Play” button has been pressed and there are more of these coming out. A few that I have seen floating around on my sphere of Twitter are No Getting Ogre You by M.L. Eliza, Turning On by Ali Williams, and Flesh and Stone by Emily Hemenway. If I’ve learned one thing…it’s that there are a lot more monsters out there than I knew. 

On a serious note, if any of these strike your fancy, be sure to purchase and support the authors. A lot of established and potential authors got screwed in that nonsense and (most) stayed cordial about it. So, if you can help support those who stayed graceful, please do. 

I know that I’m late to the game but I started following Girl, Have You Read and I’m here for all the Black romance recs and announcements. Because I will always boost that type of romance. 

Speaking of Black romance, The Ripped Bodice has quite the impressive line up planned for the release of Rebekah Weatherspoon’s A Thorn in the Saddle. Be sure to sign up if you can!

I’m doing my part to help boost the signal for this anthology because, again, I feel there is a huge dearth in Sapphic romances.

I’m in this Tweet and I feel both seen and attacked.

And while not strictly romance related, that video of non-crazy Florida man catching an alligator not only warmed my heart but gave me a bit of the vapors.

New Releases & Deals

Here are some of the new releases we have to look forward to this week!

cover of Knot my Type

Knot My Type by Evie Mitchell

Moon Spell by Christina Lee* 

A Curse of Nightshade by Amber Lynn Natusch

A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli 

With Every Breath by Natasha D. Frazier

Admissible Affair by Adrian J. Smith

*note: this is book two in a series so you may want to pick up the first one as well, Moon Flower

And here are some deals I found while perusing the interwebs. As always, these are the prices that were showing as of the writing of the newsletter.

cover of Night Hawk by Beverly Jenkins

Love at the Fall Festival by Belle Bailey ($0.99)

Follow Your Heart by Brenda Jackson ($1.99) 

Twice Baked by Andrew Grey ($0.99)

The Dixon Brother Trilogy by Anna Durand ($0.99)

Night Hawk by Beverly Jenkins ($1.99)

Worth the Wait by Jae ($0.99)

That’s it for today. I hope that your Monday treats you well and that you take the rest of this week by storm. I’ll see y’all Thursday and until then you can give me a follow over on Twitter under @PScribe801. Until then!

Riot Rundown


The Stack


Our Queerest Shelves

To All the Queer Books I’ll Never Read

Remember how last week I said I’d be home alone this month, because my partner was visiting family? Well, you know what they say: man plans, the pandemic laughs. New Brunswick declared a state of emergency because of rising infection levels from the Delta variant, so they had to cancel. I’m glad to have him home, but it is really disappointing that he won’t be able to see his family. I can’t believe we’re almost 2 years into the pandemic and still can’t reliably plan a week in advance!

Because the pandemic is on my mind, I wanted to highlight an organization that helped provide LGBTQ+ folks with support during this time. Prism Foundation is a “grassroots philanthropic organization that provides funds and leverages resources to empower the Asian & Pacific Islander LGBTQ+ community.” They gave out $10,000 in Covid-19 Relief Funds to individuals ($100 each) and organizations ($500 each) in 2020 and they continue to provide scholarships and grants. You can find out more on their website and you can also donate to help support them.

To All the Queer Books I’ll Never Read

When I started the Lesbrary more than a decade ago, I gave it the subtitle “The humble quest to read everything lesbian.” It was tongue in cheek even at the time, but I really was trying to read everything with a lesbian or bi woman main character. I would make lists of every sapphic (though I wasn’t using that term at the time) book I’d ever heard of. I’d scour used bookstores looking for that Bella Books, Bold Strokes Books, or Cleis Press logo on the spine. The moment I heard there was a queer woman main character in a book, it was on my TBR. I also promised to read every sapphic ebook that was sent my way — and review it, too. I was dazzled by the idea of free queer books.

Part of this was naivety: I was at the beginning of my queer book reader journey, and I didn’t realize how much had come before me. I didn’t know about the lesbian literary community in 1920s Paris or 1950s lesbian pulp or the lesbian utopia sci fi of the 70s. There was already far more out there than I could read in my lifetime.

The other side, though, was that there really were fewer queer books being published. They were out there, and there was a handful of titles getting put out by the big publishers every year, but they were so few that I could easily read every queer YA book that came out, for example. I could keep up — at least with mainstream publisher’s output of queer books.

Very quickly, I became overwhelmed with the amount of ebooks I was being sent for review. I needed to put some sort of standards in place, especially after reviewing some truly terribly edited books. (“He wrapped a towel around his waste” has a very different meaning than they were going for.) So I stopped reading every ebook I was sent for review, instead only reading the ones I found personally interesting, that also matched the genres and tropes I like. I did the same thing with my physical TBR, reluctantly letting go of the cheesy 80s lesbian romances that I was never going to really enjoy.

And that worked, for a little while. I read the queer books I was excited about and left the rest. But now… Now my dresser overflows with my “immediate” TBR, and that’s just the physical books I’ve been sent for review. My library holds list gets maxed out. My ereader bursts at the seams with eARCs.

I read around 100 books a year, which sounds like a lot, until you start keeping track of all the books coming out every week (in addition to this newsletter, I also do the All the Books podcast and Book Riot’s weekly new releases YouTube videos). I just need to read more, I think. I just need to stop watching TV and start reading! If only I could sneak in some more pages, I could keep up!

Alas, it can’t happen. For one, I love zoning out and watching TV — no shame. Also, even if it was 200 books a year, I’d still have to make choices. There are just too many good queer books out there. There are classics I haven’t read and new releases in every genres coming out every week. I have to accept it: I can’t read all the queer books, even just the ones I’m interested it.

To all the queer books I’ll never read: I’m sorry. I know that if I had read you first — because the publisher mailed me a hardcover instead of an eARC, or because the library had an audiobook version, or just because I liked the cover better — I would have raved about you. It’s not your fault. I hope you find your way into other readers’ hands who will love you.

I can’t say I’m sorry that so many queer books are being published now, but I am sorry that I can’t champion every amazing title out there. I can only hope the afterlife involves a comfy chair and a very large library.

All the Links Fit to Click

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

Unfortunately, this week’s releases are disproportionately by white authors. Do better, publishing. We’re far overdue for more queer books by authors of color.

cover of Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki (Sapphic, Trans Side Character Science Fiction)

Shizuka made a deal with the devil, but she is so close to wriggling out of the consequences. She has to convince 7 other violinists to make their own Faustian bargains and she’ll be clear. When she bumps into Katrina, a young trans runaway with a talent for playing violin, she’s convinced the 7th spot is secure. There’s just one problem: Lan Tran, who is the swoon-worthy interstellar refugee owner of a donut shop. The three women grow close, and Shizuka has to choose between her new found family and the curse hanging over her head. This is a perfect fit for fans of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet!

Cover of Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo, featuring a human hand underwater wrapped in weeds reaching for a skeleton hand wrapped in weeds

Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo (Queer Gothic Horror)

The Secret History meets Fast and the Furious. Need I say more? Just in case, here it is: Andrew and Eddie grew up closer than brothers. When Eddie left for university, it was with the understanding Andrew would follow months later. But just before he was supposed to arrive, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide. As Andrew searches for answers, he falls into Eddie’s life of backstabbing academia and nights of “hot boys, fast cars, and hard drugs.” Oh, and one more problem: he’s being haunted by a ravenous phantom.

This is a queer Southern Gothic with dark academia elements that also examines toxic masculinity and the pervasive white supremacy in academia.

MENAFTER10 by Casey Hamilton (Gay Fiction)

The Pursued and the Pursuing by AJ Odasso (M/M Retelling)

MENAFTER10 cover

The Body on the Bed by Leonard Krishtalka (Sapphic Mystery)

Sailor Proof by Annabeth Albert (M/M Romance)

Royal Fling by Rhys Everly (M/M Romance)

The Lights on Knockbridge Lane by Roan Parrish (M/M Christmas Romance)

Wake of the Phoenix by Chelsea Harper (M/M Fantasy)

Activation Degradation by Marina J. Lostetter (Bisexual M/M, Intersex Side Character Science Fiction Thriller)

Before We Disappear by Shaun David Hutchinson (M/M YA Historical Fantasy)

Before We Disappear cover

Sisters of Shadow by Katherine Livesey (Sapphic YA Fantasy)

Dark Rise by by C. S. Pacat (M/M YA Fantasy)

Some Faraway Place (A Bright Sessions Novel) by Lauren Shippen (F/F YA Fantasy)

Stars in Their Eyes by Jessica Walton & Aśka (YA Graphic Novel)

Ciel in All Directions by Sophie Labelle (Non-Binary Middle Grade Graphic Novel)

Evelyn Hooker and the Fairy Project by Gayle E. Pitman (LGBTQ Children’s Nonfiction)

Cuíer by Caio Fernando Abreu, Sarah Coolidge, et al (Queer Poetry)

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at the Lesbrary, on Twitter @danikaellis, and you can check out my Book Riot posts. You can also hear me on All the Books on the first Tuesday of the month, and I post weekly New Releases videos on the Book Riot Youtube channel. You can bet I sneak in as many queer titles as I can.

Happy reading!