Check Your Shelf

Let’s Ponder the Appeal of Dark Reading

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. My husband informed me today (Sunday) that there are only six Sundays left in the year, and he was just trying to convey the fact that time is passing quickly, but my first thought was “Oh good, the football season is almost over!” Because that’s apparently how I tell time now.

So…books anyone?

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

Beloved NPR books editor Petra Mayer has died.

Covid-19 skeptics and publisher Chelsea Green filed a lawsuit against Elizabeth Warren, claiming that the letter she sent to Amazon about spreading Covid misinformation violates their First Amendment rights.

The Mayo Clinic Press is delving into children’s books.

Best-selling author Anna Todd is teaming with Wattpad Books to launch a new publishing imprint.

“Too late to stand up to Amazon:” Book industry insiders back the Biden administration’s bid to stop a publishing mega-merger.

After 22 years, the Best American Travel Writing anthologies will no longer be published.

New & Upcoming Titles

Nightfire announces another novella from Cassandra Khaw, to be published in May 2023.

Scottie Pippen wrote a memoir, and apparently it takes serious aim at Michael Jordan.

We’re getting a prequel to E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars!

Senator Joe Manchin is reportedly pursuing a book deal. (Because apparently he doesn’t have anything more important to focus on right now…)

Alexis Schaitkin (Saint X) is publishing a new novel next year.

Recent thrillers that grapple with being a Black woman in the workplace.

Weekly book picks from Crime Reads, LitHub, The Millions, New York Times, and USA Today.

November picks from Bitch Media, Crime Reads (international crime fiction), Kirkus, New York Times, and (SFF YA).

Fall picks from Entertainment Weekly (romance) and Seattle Times.

Best books of 2021 from Barnes & Noble, Esquire, Oprah Daily, and Parade (YA).

New romance novels coming out in 2022.

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

The Sentence – Louise Erdrich (Entertainment Weekly, Minnesota Star Tribune, New York Times, NPR, Oprah Daily, USA Today, and Washington Post)

My Body – Emily Ratajkowski (The Atlantic, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, People, USA Today, Vogue, Washington Post)

Will – Will Smith (Entertainment Weekly, New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post)

The Waiting – Keum Suk Gendry-Kim (LA Times, NPR)

On the Riot

3 new YA books about cheerleading.

New weekly releases to TBR.

What are the key elements of a murder mystery?

What does consent look like in romance novels today?

Why should children read dark books?

Why do so many kids read V.C. Andrews?

The treatment of homelessness in contemporary fiction.

Don’t forget to check out Book Riot’s new podcast Adaptation Nation, all about TV and film adaptations of your favorite books!

All Things Comics

Disney+ confirms the WandaVision spinoff, Agatha: House of Harkness.

Orange Marmalade and 9 other must-read school romance manhwa.

LGBTQ spooky season comics.

On the Riot

Delicious comic books about food.

9 comics and manga set in space.

Great YA comics from 2021 you don’t want to miss.


Spotify is getting into the audiobook business.

Pushkin Industries pushes audiobook conventions.’s top 10 best-selling audiobooks of 2021.

6 audiobooks with “symphonic storytelling.”

10 intriguing November audiobook picks.

Audiobooks under three hours for readers with short attention spans.

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

On the Riot

7 more audiobooks for Indigenous Heritage Month.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


10 board books starring babies.

22 YA books to read if your school won’t teach Critical Race Theory.

Prep school YA mysteries.


6 historical fiction books with a magical twist.

14 must-read holiday romances.

5 books about Princess Diana if you’re obsessed with the royals.

7 novels that grapple with illness.

7 novels about only children.

11 diverse histories of America’s wars.

NaNoWriMo books to help you get writing this November.

7 deliciously scary books, recommended by Erik Larson.

On the Riot

8 children’s books about feelings.

20 of the best mystery books you’ve never heard of.

15 books to spark love like The Heart Principle.

Dark mysteries & thrillers to keep you up all night.

9 dark novels in verse.

10 books to read if you enjoyed the Goosebumps series as a kid.

8 dramatic novels about reality TV.

Level Up (Library Reads)

Do you take part in Library Reads, 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.

Catch you on Friday!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

It’s Time To Start Voting in Local Board Elections

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. My excitement this week has come in the form of photos of Lady Gaga at the House of Gucci premiere…have you seen that dress?? I don’t know why they had the cast pose like they’re taking awkward prom photos, but Lady Gaga is KILLING. IT. The world is her runway, and we’re all just bystanders.

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

Librarians help students navigate an age of misinformation, but schools are cutting their numbers.

The Chicago Public Library’s fine-free policy has been found effective after two years.

Cool Library Updates

Attorney Dwayne Betts started the Freedom Reads Project, which aims to put 500 book libraries in prisons across the country. (He also recently received a $600,000 MacArthur Genius Grant to help fund his endeavors!)

A liberal arts alumnus started a pro bono program offering legal assistance in libraries to Connecticut residents.

This is a really interesting look at some of the new initiatives the Brooklyn Public Library has put in place to encourage patrons to bring their books back now that late fees are a thing of the past.

These libraries turned a friendly rivalry into an e-gaming library tournament!

Libraries partner with social justice groups on meals and missions.

More library podcasts are exploring local history.

Worth Reading

Vacancies on the Lafayette Parish Library Board are an opportunity to add to a right-leaning trend.

Former McMaster University librarians bequeath $1.1 million to the library where they met and fell in love.

Book Adaptations in the News

Tracy Clark’s Broken Places is being developed as a series for Sony Pictures Television.

Taika Waititi is directing an adaptation of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1970 graphic novel The Incal.

Philip K. Dick’s novel Vulcan’s Hammer is being adapted for film.

Casting update for Daisy Jones and the Six and Wicked.

Banned & Challenged Books

In September 2021, ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom recorded 60% more challenges than in September 2020.

The book This Is Your Time by Ruby Bridges has been pulled from Spring Branch ISD (TX) as the statewide book investigation gets underway.

Keller ISD (TX) removes Gender Queer from the library after a parent raises concerns about the graphic sexual imagery.

Texas schools have been asked to investigate their libraries. Will they? And do they have to?

Texas governor Greg Abbott tells state agencies to develop standards to block books with “overtly sexual” content in schools.

How parents and bookstore owners are fighting Texas lawmakers’ attempts to ban books in schools.

An analysis of all 850 books that Texas lawmaker Matt Krause wants to ban.

A modern book burning: LGBTQ-themed books are removed from North Kanas City, Liberty schools. (The books in question are Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson.)

Gender Queer has been pulled from Olympic High (WA) shelves, but a parent wants the school prosecuted over the book.

North Kingstown (RI) parents clash with the school board over Gender Queer.

Kenai Peninsula (AK) teachers protest against the alleged censorship of books with LGBTQ themes.

But in slightly better Kenai Peninsula news, a library fundraiser raised over $15K, which was launched in response to the City Council’s decision to delay approval of a library grant in light of community concerns about “controversial” titles.

North Hunterdon and Voorhees (NJ) students speak out against the call to ban “obscene” books. Meanwhile, the school district neglected to appoint any librarians to the committee in charge of reviewing several challenged LGBTQ+ books.

Henrico County Public Schools (VA) removed the book Out of Darkness from high school libraries after a parent complained.

The Spotsylvania School Board (VA) orders libraries to remove “sexually explicit” books from the shelves.

Gender Queer has been removed from Orange (FL) libraries after parents complained.

Parents bring the “unacceptable” book The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas to the DuBois (PA) school board’s attention.

Parents in Washington County, Utah, are trying to remove several books from school libraries, including The Hate U Give, Out of Darkness, This One Summer, and Melissa.

Everyone should read the books Virginia Beach might ban, and discuss censorship.

A Kansas school district has removed 29 books from circulation in school libraries for review.

The woman who wanted Beloved banned from schools is right about one thing.

If you couldn’t tell already, it’s time to start voting in your local school board elections.

How to support libraries in times of increased censorship. (And here’s another article with ideas.)

What books are being targeted in school libraries?

“We are at the book-banning stage of authoritarianism:” Mehdi Hasan sheds light on new GOP censorship campaigns.

Queer kids need queer stories.

A new report showcases the wide damage of educational gag orders.

Books & Authors in the News

Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk is being investigated again in Turkey over his books Nights of Plague.

Israeli bookstores pull Sally Rooney’s books after she refused to allow an Israeli publisher to translate her new book into Hebrew.

Twitter man complains about winning the Bad Sex Award, claiming it was because he’s a man and the world of fiction is stacked against men. (In actuality, it’s because the passage in question is objectively bad.)

Numbers & Trends

A new report shows that the number of minority ethnic characters in UK children’s books has nearly quadrupled in the last four years!

It’s time to let these publishing trends die.

Award News

Damon Galgut’s The Promise wins the 2021 Booker Prize.

Omar El Akkad wins the $100K Scotiabank Giller Prize for What Strange Paradise.

Senegal’s Mohamed Mbougar Sarr wins the Prix Goncourt Prize.

The 2021 World Fantasy Awards have been announced.

The National Book Critics Circle is launching a new prize for translated literature.

Mercedes Lackey has been named the 38th SFWA Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master.

ALA announces the finalists for the 2022 Carnegie Medals.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

Check out this underwater bookstore in Chengdu, China!

On the Riot

The most popular in-demand books in US libraries: August – October 2021.

An overview of poet laureates in the US.

A Scribd review: is this book service worth it?

Love You Forever: sweet or creepy?

15 hacks for organizing books and bookshelves.

Did you make it through? Gold star for you! I’ll see you on Tuesday.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

Check Your Shelf

November Picks and Reckoning With True Crime

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. The country has been cast into a seemingly endless darkness, and I’m preparing to go into semi-hibernation. Yep, Daylight Savings Time has ended, and once again I’m wondering WHY we continue with this antiquated tradition. But at least I can console myself with the fact that the days will start getting longer after December 21st, so I’ll start counting down to that.

But in the meantime, let’s talk books.

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

There’s been a LOT of coverage of the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Penguin Random House’s acquisition of Simon & Schuster: The Guardian, Library Journal, New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

Plus, who got these amazing book deals that the Justice Department alluded to, anyway?

Follett sells Baker & Taylor to a private investment company.

How bookstores are adjusting to supply chain problems.

New & Upcoming Titles

Thriller author and James Bond aficionado Kim Sherwood is expanding the 007 universe with a new series.

R.L. Stine has a collection of short stories for young readers coming out, called Stinetinglers.

Paul Newman’s memoir is going to be published in 2022, 14 years after the actor’s death.

Neil Young (yeah, that Neil Young) has written a science fiction novel.

A look at Brian Cox’s forthcoming memoir, Putting the Rabbit in the Hat.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s novel Signal to Noise is getting a reissue with corrections and a new cover.

Here’s a first look at Lisa Taddeo’s first short story collection.

The Washington Post shared its holiday gift guide.

9 authors pick their must-read fall thrillers.

Indie speculative fiction for October 2021.

M/M romance picks for October.

Weekly book picks from Crime Reads, LitHub, The Millions, New York Times, and USA Today.

October picks from Vanity Fair.

November picks from Barnes & Noble (includes some December picks too!), Crime Reads, Entertainment Weekly, Good Morning America, Goodreads, LA Times, Lambda Literary, The Millions, New York Times, Time, (fantasy, horror/genre-blending novels), and Washington Post.

Best books of the year (so far).

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

Our Country Friends – Gary Shteyngart (LA Times, New York Times, Slate, USA Today, Washington Post)

You Can’t Be Serious – Kal Penn (New York Times, People, Shondaland, USA Today)

Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds – Huma Abedin (New York Times, NPR, Washington Post)

New York, My Village – Uwem Akpan (New York Times, Washington Post)

Five Tuesdays in Winter – Lily King (Entertainment Weekly, NPR)

My Body – Emily Ratajkowski (New York Times, Seattle Times)

Still Life – Sarah Winman (Entertainment Weekly, New York Times)

RA/Genre Resources

How to read the Outlander books in order.

On the Riot

New YA retellings to fall into.

The best recent and upcoming Indigenous stories to TBR.

Weekly book picks to TBR.

12 must-read November children’s book releases.

New YA releases for November to TBR.

Why this reader loves book recommendation newsletters.

Navigating winter holiday picture books when you have an interfaith family.

What this reader learned from reading a short story a day for a month.

How to pick children’s books about gender.

A personal reckoning with true crime as a genre.

All Things Comics

Image Comics staff launches an effort to unionize.

Police rush to protect comic book artists after threats over a bisexual Superman from fans rose to credible levels.

Mariko Tamaki debuts a new LGBTQ+ graphic novel imprint.

Publishers Weekly’s list of the Best Comics of the Year.

The best comics of October 2021.

On the Riot

YA comics and graphic novels releasing October – December, 2021.

10 informative and delightfully queer nonfiction comics.

8 delicious foodie manga to read over the holidays.


The November 2021 Earphone Awards have been posted.

6 new Asian and Pacific Islander romance audiobooks.

8 of the best celebrity memoir audiobooks narrated by the authors.

AI comes to audiobooks.

The best narrators, the best listening speeds, and why we like audiobooks to begin with.

When listening to a book is better than reading it.

On the Riot

6 buzzy audiobooks for awards season.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


11 picture books to celebrate Thanksgiving.

The best Christmas books for kids & young adults.

13 YA books where the heroine saves herself.

18 YA mysteries & thrillers perfect for true crime fans.

11 YA books with more than one love story.


252 (!!) books by Native and Indigenous writers to read.

Every Booker Prize winner of the 21st century.

11 romantic suspense novels to make you swoon.

13 uplifting second-chance romances to warm your heart.

14 books for the fashion lover on your list.

Masterful mysteries set in the midwest.

The 27 best true crime books that every person should read.

The 10 best psychological thriller novels.

6 crime novels with father/daughter relationships.

6 atmospheric horror novels recommended by Grady Hendrix

7 novels by, or about, folk musicians.

10 books about alienated women in their 20’s.

5 SFF books where magic has a steep cost.

On the Riot

9 Indigenous and Native American picture books to read right now.

9 of the best books by Native Alaskans and Hawaiians.

Books to make you feel less helpless about the climate emergency.

8 books that feature Dia de Muertos.

17 swoon-worthy Indian romance books.

20 must-read genre-blending romances.

10 books if you loved Squid Game.

Books about the rural queer experience.

8 great satiric novels.

8 spooky books of Gothic horror and magic.

Level Up (Library Reads)

Do you take part in Library Reads, 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.

Time for me to pull on a sweater and dust off the weighted blanket…I’ll see you on Friday when I emerge from my den.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Plants Are People Too

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. The annual debate of “When is it socially acceptable to put up holiday decorations?” rages on, and I beg of everyone, please can we just wait until after Thanksgiving?? Maybe I’m just a Scrooge, but I like to have a little breathing room between holidays. That, and the fact that our Christmas tree takes up a disproportionate amount of space in our apartment.

Anyway, let’s move on to libraries. And once again, this newsletter is depressingly full of banned & challenged books updates.

Libraries & Librarians

Cool Library Updates

The Toms River Library (NJ) just unveiled a brand new sensory space room for patrons with autism, developmental disabilities, and sensory processing disorders.

San Mateo libraries are expanding their Book-a-Bike program, which allows patrons to check out bicycles and accessories, including helmets, bike locks, GoPros, and mini first aid kits.

First graders in Bristol, TN got library books delivered to them by librarians on horseback!

Worth Reading

A conflict of values: how to prevent clashes between trustees and librarianship tenets.

New research proves what we already knew: museums and libraries create healthier and more equitable communities.

Book Adaptations in the News

Stacey Abrams’ book Never Tell is being redeveloped at CBS.

Billy Porter is directing the adaptation of Lev Rosen’s YA novel, Camp.

Kristen Stewart will direct an adaptation of Lidia Yuknavitch’s memoir The Chronology of Water.

Andrew McCarthy is directing a documentary based on his recent memoir, Brat: An 80’s Story.

Hulu is adapting Stephen King’s short story “The Boogeyman” for film.

The film adaptation of Wicked has hit a delay, and production won’t start until June 2022.

Here’s the first trailer for Station Eleven.

Don’t forget to check out our new podcast Adaptation Nation, all about TV and film adaptations of your favorite books!

Banned & Challenged Books

Texas state rep Matt Krause has initiated an investigation into Texas school district content, and has asked school officials to confirm which of the 850 (!!) titles they have in their schools, how many copies they have, and how much money they spent on the titles.

The Austin ISD is electing not to respond to Krause’s request.

Meanwhile, Texas governor Greg Abbott decries school library books with “pornographic or obscene material.”

This Iowa school board candidate wants to share the name of every kid who checks out pro-LGBTQ books.

The Campbell County Public Library Board voted to keep the book This Book is Gay in the teen section.

Prosecutors will not charge Campbell County library employees for making sex education and LGBTQ books available to children in the library.

The approval of a library grant in Kenai, AK has been postponed after the city council requested to preview book purchases.

Ken Raymond, the chairman of the Forsyth County Republican Party (NC) recommended that parents who are concerned about teachers using “pornographic reading material” in the classroom should call the police.

Tom Hooker, a trustee on the Byron Township Board of Trustees (MI) called for the removal of the graphic novel, Check, Please, from library shelves.

The Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library (AK) released a list of books that it was moving from the children’s section to the Parent/Teacher section, which will be located near the Children’s Department service desk.

Parents in the North Penn School District protested the graphic novel Gender Queer at a recent school board meeting.

The Georgetown Township (MI) superintendent has been asked to review any material in the public library that is not age-appropriate.

Waukee Northwest High School administrators have removed several books from the school library after parents protested. These books include All Boys Aren’t Blue, Lawn Boy, and Gender Queer.

A dispute over Beloved in the Virginia governor’s race is making Toni Morrison’s book a best-seller.

Roseburg High School (OR) has received a challenge to Rupi Kaur’s poetry collection Milk and Honey.

15 books at Lindbergh High School (MO) are being challenged.

An Ontario school board is reviewing every book in its 121 school libraries to remove titles that don’t fit with their stated equity goals. However, some trustees are concerned about the lack of an evaluation framework, and are worried that the process will turn into a book banning “done under cover of human rights and equity.”

This Book is Gay is being challenged at the Lafayette Parish Public Library for containing “pornography.”

What should the library do with an objectionable book?

There is a consistency to the debate over book censorship: distress about change.

Three K-12 teachers weigh in on the consequences of critical race theory bans.

Banning Toni Morrison’s books doesn’t protect kids. It just sanitizes racism.

10 of the most banned and challenged books of the last decade.

Books & Authors in the News

The Justice Department sues to block the PRH acquisition of Simon & Schuster.

Did you follow the “Art Friend” controversy from that piece in the New York Times last month? Grub Street, Boston’s largest nonprofit writing organization, is taking steps to address community concerns following the publication of the article.

Why every generation rediscovers Stephen King.

Numbers & Trends

TikTok is fueling a “reading renaissance” as well as an increased sale of physical books.

Is Amazon changing the novel?

Why is everyone reading about trees?

Related: a look at the recent run of best-sellers that promise that plants are people too.

Award News

The 2021 Kirkus Prize winners have been announced.

Barnes & Noble names their third annual Book of the Year finalists.

Pop Cultured

9 shows to watch if you miss Monk.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

MTV Books relaunches with My Life: Growing Up Asian in America.

“Vax” is the Oxford Languages 2021 Word of the Year.

On the Riot

Being a librarian: expectations vs. reality.

How to make interlibrary loan really work for you.

Little Free Library etiquette.

The most haunted bookstores and libraries around the world.

Some bookish good news, because dammit, we need it.

Why aren’t there picture books for adults?

You know what they say…every library should have at least one book to piss off Texas officials. Keep fighting the good fight, everyone. I’ll see you next week.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Horror Resources For All the Scaredy Cats

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. Halloween has come and gone, but it will always be spooky season in my heart. I just keep reminding myself that there will always be plenty of fictional horrors to distract me from real life horrors, like COVID and meetings that should have been emails.

So let’s talk about collections.

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

Simon & Schuster announces a multi-book publishing program with Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar. The program will focus on stories that center Black women, and will feature titles for every age.

PRH shares its statistics on diversifying the workforce.

New & Upcoming Titles

Emma Straub’s next novel, This Time Tomorrow, will hit shelves in May 2022.

Matthew Perry is writing an autobiography.

Alex Gino debuts a new official title and cover for their groundbreaking trans middle grade novel previously known as George. It will now officially be titled Melissa.

Riverhead will publish three books by Nobel Prize winner Abdulrazak Gurnah.

Sourcebooks is republishing Gertrude Beasley’s 1925 memoir, My First Thirty Years, after the book was banned for obscenity shortly after its publication.

Selma Blair is releasing her memoir, Mean Baby, in April 2022.

Robert Dugoni signs a four-book deal with Thomas & Mercer.

Grady Hendrix announced the title of his next horror novel for 2022.

Here’s a first look at Bloodmarked, the sequel to Tracy Deonn’s Legendborn.

The New York Times will be announcing its 10 Best Books of 2021 with a virtual event only available to subscribers initially.

Publishers Weekly announces its Best of 2021: Children’s & YA titles.

10 new books getting major award buzz.

The best new rom-coms to get us through the rest of 2021.

44 short new books to crush your next reading challenge.

Weekly book picks from Bustle, Crime Reads, LitHub, New York Times, and USA Today.

October picks from Crime Reads (debuts, international crime fiction).

November picks from AV Club, Epic Reads, Gizmodo (SFF), New York Times, NPR, and Pop Sugar (mysteries/thrillers, romance).

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

Going There – Katie Couric (LA Times, NPR, Washington Post)

Baggage: Tales From a Fully Packed Life – Alan Cumming (New York Times, Time, Washington Post)

Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane – Paul Auster (LA Times, New York Times)

The Chancellor: The Remarkable Odyssey of Angela Merkel – Kati Morton (New York Times, USA Today)

RA/Genre Resources

The charm of the paranormal cozy.

How to manage your ever-expanding TBR stack.

Why we need Goosebumps more than ever.

Horror in the age of COVID.

Where to start with the horror fiction of Ramsey Campbell.

The enduring appeal of Dune as an adolescent power fantasy.

On the Riot

The best books you’ve never heard of (Fall 2021).

3 new YA vampire books.

The most anticipated weekly new releases.

Why this reader is tired of queer booklists without context.

What murder mysteries get wrong about the law.

Reading pathway for Stephen Graham Jones.

Tips for reading horror when you’re a scaredy cat.

The rise of middle grade and YA Black horror.

Are we in the middle of a gothic horror boom?

Why do kids love Stephen King?

Why do readers avoid horror?

A guide to Japanese poetry forms.

All Things Comics

10 DC comics that take a more lighthearted approach to Halloween.

On the Riot

Horror webcomics to read on Halloween (or all year long)!

10 comics about witches and other dark magical creatures.

Where to buy manga.


The best creepy audiobooks to listen to at night.

New scary Halloween listenings for kids and teens.

On the Riot

We need to stop asking the question, “Do audiobooks count as reading?”

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


14 YA books with Indigenous representation.

24 standalone YA novels you can read in one sitting.


5 books that reveal the human cost of war.

8 books by Chicano authors.

Books to celebrate Native American Heritage Month.

16 amazing books with dynamic asexual characters.

9 diverse books with bisexual+ main characters.

5 books for people who crave more vampires.

Horror novels for a chilling Halloween.

12 of the scariest books you’ll ever read.

5 works of cosmic horror.

13 great Canadian books to read on Halloween.

13 spooky-but-not-scary stories.

17 horror comedies to make you shriek with laughter.

13 sexy horror novels to add to your TBR pile ASAP.

9 books with literary witches and warlocks.

On the Riot

The best Greek mythology books for kids.

Jewish YA books: more than the Holocaust.

The most underrated YA books of the pandemic.

The best LGBTQ books that aren’t YA.

15 LGBTQ haunted horror novels.

12 great horror novel/movie pairings. (This is honestly one of my favorite ways to match someone up with a horror novel.)

8 feel-good horror novels (and yes, that is totally a thing!).

8 of the best Japanese horror reads.

8 books that mix love and murder.

12 interracial romances between characters of color.

15 WLW romance books like One Last Stop.

10 spooky romance novels.

The best dark fantasy books to enchant your life.

11 enchanting books for fans of Miyazaki Films.

9 books about coming of age in the 90’s.

Don’t forget to check out our new podcast Adaptation Nation, all about TV and film adaptations of your favorite books!

Level Up (Library Reads)

Do you take part in Library Reads, 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.

Hope you all got your spooky fix this weekend! I’ll see you all on Friday.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Let the Library Add Spice To Your Life!

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. I feel like my face is slowly morphing into a Grumpy Cat-like expression behind my mask, and by the time the mask mandate finally ends, my face will just be stuck that way. I don’t know if it helps or hurts to know that virtually every employed person is going through the same troubles (overworked, understaffed, and underpaid), but boy has it been a week. I feel like I say that every week, but it’s true.

Be forewarned that the Banned & Challenged Books section is depressingly long this week. So, here we go…

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

Penguin Random House has extended its temporary eBook and digital audio terms for libraries through March 31, 2022.

Campbell County commissioners are no longer allowing comments about the public library during their meetings.

A Drag Queen Story Time protester who has tried to shrink the mission of the Lafayette Parish Library System was elected to lead the library board for the next year.

Cool Library Updates

This library offers monthly spice kits for patrons to check out!

The Kent District Library (MI) is launching its own local music streaming platform.

Worth Reading

Librarians to the defense: Groups form to fight a conservative-led attack on libraries’ efforts to promote social justice.

Book Adaptations in the News

Tessa Thompson’s production company is adapting Raven Leilani’s Luster for HBO.

Casting update for Uglies and The House of the Spirits.

What to know about Dune before seeing the movie. (I like to say that I know just enough about Dune to send the most irritating memes to my husband!)

Also, mark your calendars for 2023 when the Dune sequel hits theaters!

The rise and fall of YA dystopian adaptation franchises.

13 book-to-screen adaptation changes that authors loved, and 14 that they absolutely loathed.

Banned & Challenged Books

Media refuses to give the title of a book pulled from the New Kent Middle School (VA) library “to ensure no other student could get to it.” However, recent footage from a board meeting revealed that the book was The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo.

Floyd County Schools (KY) kill a $600,000 curriculum after a parent complained about the descriptions of “white faces” used in a book about Ruby Bridges, and said that the curriculum was teaching “critical race theory.”

A Cass County (MO) public library said that they will not be taking the book It’s Perfectly Normal off of the shelves.

Katy ISD schools have put New Kid by Jerry Craft back on library shelves after determining that the book does not contain any objectionable content. Meanwhile, a petition organizer says that the school district caved to pressure by returning the book to shelves.

North Kingstown High School (RI) elects to keep Gender Queer on the shelves despite pressure from parents.

The Bloomington Public Library (IL) says that they’ll use more scrutiny in selecting the titles highlighted in a monthly display area, after a parent complained that their child selected a graphic novel from the display that was not age-appropriate.

Why some North Hunterdon (NJ) parents want certain LGBTQ books removed from the school library.

Tennessee librarians speak out against a Chattanooga school board member’s attempt to ban books.

A GOP candidate for Virginia governor airs a new ad featuring a parent who wanted to remove Beloved by Toni Morrison from the schools because it gave her teenage son nightmares.

“Critical race theory” is the new Satanic panic in right-wing politics.

Saudi readers finally get to read banned books.

Books & Authors in the News

Award-winning children’s illustrator Jerry Pinkney dies at 81.

The mental health charity This Is My Brave declines a donation from Jamie Lynn Spears’s upcoming book, Things I Should Have Said.

The lawsuit against Jennifer Bickel Cook’s recent book about Mary Kay could pose lasting problems for company whistleblowers.

Numbers & Trends

Books about trauma have been especially popular during the pandemic, but are they really what we need to be reading right now?

Pop Cultured

10 Latinx horror films that will give you chills.

On the Riot

You should be taking advantage of your library’s website!

Book Riot has a new podcast about movie and TV adaptations!

A rare fragment from Shakespeare’s first folio is on the auction block.

Goodreads and the curious case of the wrong genres.

Why this reader stopped rereading their problematic favorite books.

Mid-book crisis: what to do when you lose interest halfway through a book.

Last chance to get limited edition Book Riot merch! Once October ends, it disappears.

Let’s all do something nice for ourselves this weekend, okay? Catch you next week!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Smooches and Scares

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. After a very, very lengthy warm spell that lasted until late last week, I think the Chicago area has finally jumped into fall. And while I do enjoy fall weather, I’m not particularly enthused about the colder weather slowly heading our way. Ugh. Even this year, when it seemed like the warm temperatures hung around for way longer than usual, it never feels like it lasts long enough.

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

Authors pull out of the Frankfurt Book Fair over the presence of far-right groups.

The Daily Wire has launched a conservative publishing imprint.

Translators fight for credit on their own book covers.

Will supply chain issues affect the books you want? Depends on what you’re reading.

There could be a book shortage this holiday season, but it’s not as bad as you think.

And if you’re looking for a way to keep track of changing pub dates, PW has a list that they will be updating over the coming weeks.

New & Upcoming Titles

Tiffany Haddish lands a three-book deal with HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is coming out with a new book series that will feature “leading writers on the legacy of Black figures.”

Daniel Abraham, one half of the James S.A. Corey writing duo, has a new epic fantasy series coming out in February.

Stephen Graham Jones is writing a sequel to My Heart is a Chainsaw.

Rainbow Rowell wrote a short story follow-up to Fangirl.

Publishers Weekly released their Best Books of the Year list.

22 deliciously dark new horror novels that you’ll love.

13 scariest books of 2021.

36 recent and upcoming YA debuts to discover.

13 upcoming YA books by Latinx authors to preorder.

17 new historical fiction books you’ll want to read this fall.

17 inspiring LGBTQ novels released in 2021.

Weekly book picks from Crime Reads and USA Today.

Top 10 picks: September 2021.

October’s best psychological thrillers.

Barnes & Noble’s most anticipated reads for November and December for adults and kids/teens.

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

Orwell’s Roses – Rebecca Solnit (The Guardian, LA Times, New York Times, NPR, Washington Post)

Unprotected – Billy Porter (Good Morning America, New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post)

Oh William! – Elizabeth Strout (LA Times, New York Times, NPR, Washington Post)

Colorization: One Hundred Years of Black Film in a White World – Wil Haygood (New York Times, Washington Post)

Music is History – Questlove (New York Times, Washington Post)

RA/Genre Resources

How to recommend a book.

Tananarive Due talks about the modern Black horror landscape.

R.L. Stine talks about making horror work for younger readers.

Why body horror is such an evocative tool in storytelling. (TW for ableism and miscarriage)

Readalikes for your patrons who loved Squid Game.

On the Riot

Great new nonfiction in translation.

10 must-read new sci-fi books for the fall.

New dark, witchy YA books.

New weekly releases to TBR.

Let’s talk folk horror and appropriation.

It’s Black Speculative Fiction Month, so let’s talk hoodoo.

Craving fictional horror to avoid real horror. (It me.)

Partition literature: what it is, and where to start.

All Things Comics

Comic book stores have had a lot of issues with recent deliveries from PRH where the comics are in unsellable condition.

DC is developing a Milestone animated movie based on classic Black superhero comics characters.

Here’s the trailer for The Batman, if you haven’t already seen it a half dozen times.

On the Riot

Graphic novels and graphic nonfiction about stuff you should care about.

11 biographies about comic book creators.

20 must-read queer webcomics.

Get your smooches and scares with these horror romance manga.


Creepy mystery audiobooks to set the Halloween mood.

5 audiobooks to catch up on the 2021 Pulitzer winners and finalists.

The best audiobooks of October 2021.

On the Riot

8 audiobooks for fall-loving foodies.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


The best Hanukkah and Kwanzaa books for kids.

Middle grade books for fans of Jason Reynolds.

13 pulse-pounding YA survival stories.

11 YA books to read if you’re obsessing over the new Dune adaptation.

26 YA horror novels guaranteed to keep you up at night.


The 30 most popular true crime books of the past five years.

21 spooky, page-turning mysteries that will keep you guessing until the very end.

15 more mystery series that will keep you guessing.

Mysteries that take place in bookstores.

Crime novels set on or around Halloween.

The best literary blood-suckers since Dracula.

8 books about living in Los Angeles.

14 cozy romantic reads.

10 horror novels for crime fiction fans.

Halloween-perfect story collections.

15 Christmas books for adults to get you in the holiday spirit.

On the Riot

15 of the best Indian mythology books for children.

Children’s books about Africa.

15 enchanting books about witches for kids.

9 empowering middle grade feminist fantasy books.

The best YA cozy mysteries for fall.

20 of the best friends-to-lovers fantasy books.

15 atmospheric horror novels to get you in a spooky mood.

10 Tudor fiction titles to step up your historical fiction game.

Fantasy novels with little-to-no romance.

Workplace romances to make you swoon.

15 of the best royal romance novels.

17+ essential books for yoga teachers.

Last call for Book Riot’s limited edition merch! It’s only around for our 10 year birthday month, so once October is up, these cozy hoodies, shirts, and tote bags will disappear.

Level Up (Library Reads)

Do you take part in Library Reads, 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.

That’s it for me. I’m off to bundle up in my coziest sweater and curse my library’s HVAC system, which never seems to run at the proper temperature. See you all on Friday!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? To Get To the Library On the Other Side!

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. I don’t know if it’s the time of year, but October always seems to be the time when I just hit a mental wall when it comes to work, and this year is no different. Of course, there’s also the fact that we’re dealing with staff shortages and COVID and all kinds of major difficulties, but that just means that I’m hitting the mental wall HARD. Whatever self-care practices you all have, now’s the time to start using them while we try to figure out the economic and structural inequalities of our workplaces…

But I digress.

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

Singer and artist Solange debuts a free library of rare books by Black authors.

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the Haubstadt Public Library!

Cool Library Updates

The Madison (WI) Public Library launches a Native American Storyteller-in-Residence program.

The Dallas Public Library expands library access to all teachers and students in the city.

Worth Reading

Library Journal’s State of Academic Libraries survey report has been posted.

Book Adaptations in the News

A Tales of the Walking Dead anthology series has been picked up by AMC for Summer 2022.

Netflix is moving forward with a To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before spinoff.

Dash & Lily has been canceled after one season.

Netflix has already renewed You for a fourth season.

Casting update for Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

Banned & Challenged Books

An administrator in the Carroll Independent School District (TX) advised teachers that if they have a book about the Holocaust in their classrooms, they need to provide students access to a book that provides an “opposing” perspective. Yes, seriously.

Virginia Beach School Board members are fighting to remove four books from the school curriculum due to their “pornographic nature:The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison, A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines, and Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe.

The Craighead County (AR) Jonesboro Public Library board did not remove three challenged titles from the children’s section: It’s Perfectly Normal, Gender Queer, and Later Gator.

Bayfield Middle School in Colorado has been accused of banning the YA novel Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

A Hamilton County school board member is concerned about how some books made it into the school system.

“Domestic terrorists” challenge books in Texas, Indiana, Maine, and more.

No dinosaurs, bikinis, or Harry Potter: the silent censorship of Dutch school books.

Books & Authors in the News

Former Secretary of State and author Colin Powell has died at 84.

Mary Kay Inc. files a lawsuit against Jennifer Bickel Cook, the long-time personal administrative assistant to Mary Kay Ash and the author of the new book, Pass It On: What I Learned from Mary Kay Ash.

Award News

The Planeta Prize awarded its €1m prize to Spanish thriller writer Carmen Mola, which turned out to be a pseudonym for three male authors.

The 2021 T.S. Eliot Prize shortlist has been announced.

The longlists for the Andrew Carnegie Medals in Fiction and Nonfiction have been announced.

A new Ursula K. LeGuin Prize for Fiction has been announced. The winner will receive a $25,000 cash prize given to a single book-length work of “imaginative fiction.”

Pop Cultured

What makes John Carpenter’s The Thing so effing scary? (Not going to lie, this is one of my absolute favorite horror movies of all time!)

On the Riot

A librarian’s perspective on e-lending.

Women’s work, women’s words: feminist library history.

Why a typo-ridden Psalm book fetched $14.2 million at auction.

How to swap your phone time for reading time.

Launching a book during the pandemic.

The ideal way to introduce your children to Star Wars.

Don’t miss Book Riot’s 10th anniversary merch! Only available in October.

Well, that’s it for me, folks. Take a breather this weekend, and I’ll see you all on Tuesday!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter. Currently listening to Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna.

Check Your Shelf

Likable Female Characters

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. Last week at work, I put up my favorite display (horror picks for spooky season), and while I was gathering materials, I found myself on the verge of humming “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” And honestly, Halloween season is like Christmas, in that it comes and goes way too quickly.

Book Riot is 10 years old this month! We’re celebrating with limited edition merch, including a cozy Book Riot hoodie perfect for fall reading.

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

What would it take to disrupt the publishing industry?

New & Upcoming Titles

FOX News Books and HarperCollins have signed a deal to publish six new titles.

London chef Elizabeth Haigh’s cookbook has been withdrawn from publication after plagiarism concerns.

Keke Palmer and Jasmine Guillory collaborated on a short story collection for Amazon Original Stories.

Britney Spears says she’s working on a novel (possibly a ghost mystery?)

Publishers Weekly has a few different articles about upcoming mystery/thriller and true crime titles: Mysteries & Thrillers 2021: Mission Accepted, Mysteries & Thrillers 2021: First Time Offenders, True Crime 2021: What Makes Them Tick?, and True Crime 2021: Once Upon a Crime.

10 new books by Native writers.

New books in translation.

18 new books to get you excited about reading again.

Weekly book picks from Crime Reads, The Millions, New York Times, and USA Today.

5 books you may have missed in September.

October picks from Buzzfeed.

Barnes & Noble has started sharing their favorite books of the year, as well as their favorite SFF books of the year.

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

State of Terror – Louise Penny & Hillary Clinton (LA Times, New York Times, People, USA Today, Washington Post)

Silverview – John le Carré (The Guardian, New York Times, Time, Washington Post)

On Animals – Susan Orlean (LA Times, New York Times, NPR, USA Today)

Oscar Wilde: A Life – Matthew Sturgis (LA Times, New York Times, Washington Post)

Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief – Victoria Chang (New York Times, NPR)

RA/Genre Resources

How to read the Bridgerton books in order.

On the Riot

15 of the best nonfiction books in 2021.

4 new YA novels by Indigenous authors.

Weekly new releases to TBR.

How contemporary fiction humanizes mothers.

Portrait of a likable female character.

The big picture: reading historical fiction during a global pandemic.

An introduction to police procedurals.

Exploring epistolary novels.

All Things Comics

Penguin Classics is teaming up with Marvel to publish special editions of certain Marvel comics.

Jon Kent, son of Clark Kent, comes out as bisexual in DC’s upcoming Superman comic.

The best manga to read right now.

On the Riot

10 middle grade graphic novels to look forward to this fall.

The 2021 Harvey Awards winners have been announced.

An introduction to Latin American comics.

The history of the Peanuts comics.


The October 2021 Earphones Winners have been announced.

23 celebrities who narrated these audiobooks brilliantly.

The best-loved audiobooks featuring full casts.

How are audiobooks keeping reading culture alive?

On the Riot

8 new witchy audiobooks.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


15 of the best Thanksgiving books to read with kids.

23 adult books that make great reading suggestions for teens.

20 slow-burn romances for teens.


17 incredible books by Black LGBTQ+ authors.

The best historical mysteries of the last five years.

Horror recommendations for every mood.

6 haunted house thrillers to read for Halloween.

10 smart and scary books about ghosts.

The 14 best horror novels for reveling in the spooky season.

Masterpieces of 20th century gothic fiction.

5 dark historical gothics to savor this fall.

6 books about crime and colonialism at the US-Mexico border.

5 SFF books with BIPOC chosen ones.

5 great mystery novels set at carnivals or fairs.

On the Riot

21 children’s Halloween books to enjoy this spooky season.

Truly terrifying middle grade books for fearless readers.

YA books dealing with addiction.

20 must-read stories for National Coming Out Day.

14 works of Mexican literature available in English translations.

8 books with love triangles that end in polyamory.

The most influential sci-fi books of all time.

Awesome books about first contact with aliens.

9 familiars/animal companions in literature.

Level Up (Library Reads)

Do you take part in Library Reads, 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.

Get spooky, y’all. I’ll see you on Friday.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter. Currently reading White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson.

Check Your Shelf

Your Anti-Censorship Tool Kit

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. I know you all are reading this newsletter on Friday, but I’m writing it on a Wednesday and it feels like this week is just never going to end. Also, I’m realizing exactly how fried my brain has been when I noticed that it’s been literally weeks since I’ve picked up a book, and I’m not happy about it.

Also, here’s a newsletter update for you: with so many stories coming out about books being banned or challenged in schools and libraries, I’m creating a new section to keep track. And yes, I am super angry that this is the reality we’re living in.

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

A Pescadero (CA) school library is prioritizing marginalized voices and social justice, but some parents worry that removing “classic” titles is akin to censorship.

The Niles-Maine (IL) Public Library saga continues as the board’s hiring freeze and subsequent staffing shortages are discussed.

Cool Library Updates

The Stratford (ON) Public Library is taking steps to remove colonial language from its catalog.

Worth Reading

This Afghan librarian hopes to reopen a library for women despite the Taliban rule.

Book Adaptations in the News

Sue Grafton’s Alphabet series is getting a TV adaptation, despite the fact that Grafton was adamant during her lifetime about her books never being adapted.

Ovidia Yu’s Chen Su Lin historical mystery series has been optioned for television.

Mike Flanagan is developing a Netflix limited series based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher.

Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray is being developed as a Netflix feature film.

The Silver Linings Playbook gets a Broadway musical adaptation.

Apple renews Foundation for a second season.

Take a peek at the official House of the Dragon teaser trailer.

Here’s the trailer for Cyrano, starring Peter Dinklage.

Banned and Challenged Books

Censorship attempts in Texas, New York, and more (if you’re having trouble keeping up with all of the recent news items).

Here’s another look at the recent fight to ban books.

Southlake, TX schools restrict classroom libraries after receiving backlash over the book This Book Is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell. In response, some educators have blocked off their library shelves with caution tape in protest of the new policy.

The National Coalition Against Censorship objects to the removal of Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez from Lake Travis (TX) school libraries.

Katy (TX) Independent School District pulled the books New Kid and Class Act by Jerry Craft, and canceled the author’s virtual visit after parents complained that the books promoted “critical race theory.”

Spring Branch (TX) Independent School District removed the graphic novel The Breakaways over sexual content, and insists that it’s not because the graphic novel includes a transgender character.

Brevard (FL) school officials have removed the graphic novel Gender Queer from the library.

Campbell County teens called out local commissioners at a recent meeting for their attempts to remove LGBTQ books from the public library.

Fighting the good fight as a school librarian during Banned Books Week.

It’s rare for teachers and librarians to receive complaints about books that feature violence. We need to ask ourselves why.

How to fight book bans and challenges: an anti-censorship tool kit.

Books & Authors in the News

Beloved children’s author Gary Paulsen has passed away at 82.

HarperCollins removes a short story from David Walliams’ book The World’s Worst Children after the story received criticism over “casual racism.”

Uzo Aduba will be the inaugural host for Netflix’s new book club.

Award News

Abdulrazak Gurnah wins the 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Sonia Sanchez wins the $250,000 Gish Prize.

The National Translation Awards shortlist has been announced.

The quiet disappearance of queer stories in Nebraska: The Golden Sower award list draws criticism.

Pop Cultured

9 of the best shows about cults and religious sects.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

The 25 most iconic book covers in history.

On the Riot

How to run a successful manga club in your school or library.

“I work in a library, but I’m not a librarian.”

What are the Library Freedom Project and Abolitionist Library Association?

Environmental kids literature awards from around the world.

How much can you make writing romance?

Portals to the past: the wonderful world of used books.

Book Riot is 10 years old this month, and we’re celebrating with some limited edition merch!

Enjoy the weekend and I’ll catch you next week!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.