Check Your Shelf

Recommend Some Maternity Leave Noir

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. It’s snowing again. Please make it stahhhhhhp!!

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

Baen’s Bar, the private forum run by SFF publishing company Baen’s Books, has been put on hiatus for allegedly being used to advocate for extremist political violence. (TW for political violence and racist commentary)

Literary agent Brooks Sherman leaves his agency and is dropped by a number of prominent authors, including Angie Thomas, following allegations of unprofessional conduct.

In not unsurprising news, fake Amazon reviews are apparently being sold in bulk.

Rick Riordan Presents moves into YA territory with Daniel José Older.

We Need Diverse Books partners with Penguin Random House to launch the Black Creatives Fund initiative.

Latinx in Publishing launches two new fellowships.

New & Upcoming Titles

Benjamin Alire Saenz announces a sequel to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

Sally from A Nightmare Before Christmas gets the YA novel treatment from Shea Ernshaw.

US Navy Admiral William McRaven is adapting Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…and Maybe the World into a children’s book called Make Your Bed With Skipper the Seal.

Actress Evanna Lynch is publishing a memoir on September 14th.

Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey (aka Pam and Angela from The Office) are publishing a book next year called Office BFFs: Tales of The Office From Two Best Friends Who Were There.

Here’s a preview of Amor Towles’ next novel, The Lincoln Highway, which comes out in October.

Recent and forthcoming dark academia thrillers.

25 new books written by women of color coming out this year.

24 YA books coming out before spring that you’ll want to pick up ASAP.

11 anticipated YA books by trans/nonbinary authors.

Every book you’ll want to read in 2021.

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

5 books you may have missed in January.

February book picks from BookPage (SFF) and Crime Reads (international crime fiction).

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

No One is Talking About This – Patricia Lockwood (The Atlantic, New York Times, NPR, USA Today)

True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee – Abraham Riesman (LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post)

Vibrate Higher: A Rap Story – Talib Kweli (USA Today, Washington Post)

RA/Genre Resources

I can’t believe people are still questioning if romance novels are “real books.”

Black romance authors who center Black love and joy on the page.

Crime Reads has a panel discussion with espionage authors Lara Prescott, Lauren Wilkinson, Rosalie Knecht, and Tracy O’Neill.

Where to start with Toni Morrison’s books.

Here’s a new crime subgenre for you: maternity leave noir.

On the Riot

25 must-read 2021 picture books for your child’s bookshelves.

5 recent essay collections you won’t want to miss.

20+ of the best book newsletters for readers.

Reading pathways for Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.

All Things Comics

Cypress Hill are telling their story in a graphic novel.

First look at V.E. Schwab’s new superhero comic, ExtraOrdinary.

On the Riot

DC’s Infinite Frontier is still a boy’s club.

Recent and upcoming nonfiction comic releases.

10 of the best fantasy comics fit to print.


AudioFile launches a new podcast called Audiobook Break, which presents an individual audiobook chapter by chapter.

Best audiobooks in February.

6 romance audiobooks with a second chance at love.

Can there be too many narrators for an audiobook?

On the Riot

AudioFile SYNC is bringing more free audiobooks to teens this summer.

How to choose audiobooks with varying versions, narrators, and content.

5 of the best audiobooks about food and cuisine.

7 audiobooks for times when being an adult is too much.

Audiobooks to make your chores more interesting.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book List


Children’s books that feature characters with disabilities.

Picture books that make great gifts for adults.

21 YA books set abroad that will let you live vicariously.

25 YA romance novels to read after watching To All the Boys: Always and Forever.

YA books to read if food is your love language.


Anti-racism reading list for children and adults.

Angie Thomas and Henry Louis Gates Jr. recommend books for Black History Month.

25 notable books by Black Canadian authors.

The best books about Billie Holiday.

18 epic fantasy books starring magical Black leads.

7 books to read for President’s Day.

8 books featuring big queer families, found and otherwise.

10 Australian women writers you should be reading.

48 romance recommendations by trope.

A belated Galentine’s Day reading list.

8 mesmerizing gothic books to read this winter.

On taking kink seriously: a reading list.

Fall in love with some of SFF’s hottest royals.

On the Riot

10 children’s books about snow.

11 books about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

21 Chinese history books by #OwnVoices authors.

5 shorter novels from around the world.

50 must-read love stories.

9 books that were made to be reread.

12 great workplace fantasy novels to maintain a magical outlook.

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.

Waaake me up…when this winter ends…

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter. Currently reading The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond.

Check Your Shelf

How to Start a Stick Library

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. They say that the temperature is supposed to creep above freezing in Chicagoland next week. I hope the same can be said for all of you down in Texas. As rough as Chicago winters can be, we’ve mostly been able to get through them with power and running water.

Let’s jump right in.

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

The NAACP is working to remove a mural inside the Cabarrus County Public Library, which depicts a a Confederate flag and images symbolizing slavery.

Here are the Big 5 publishers’ digital content terms for libraries in 2021.

Cool Library Updates

East Lansing Public Library is doing a diversity audit of its collections.

This diverse Little Free Libraries project has reached all 50 states.

Check out the 2021 Summer Scares horror winners!

The Over the Rainbow Book List has been posted.

This Saskatoon family created a stick library for neighborhood dogs.

Worth Reading

The health hazards of librarianship.

From librarians to barbers: “Our jobs are essential, but we are not.”

Report update on BIPOC library workers, low morale, and COVID-19.

Will COVID end the all-day academic librarian interview?

Tarnished legacies: presidential libraries grapple with the histories of their subjects.

6 ways to support your local library during Library Lovers Month.

Book Adaptations in the News

Well, let’s just start with this: how the streaming-driven proliferation of content has led to an explosion of book-to-screen deals.

The showrunners behind Game of Thrones are adapting Richard Powers’ The Overstory for Netflix.

The Three Musketeers gets a fresh film remake starring Eva Green and Oliver Jackson-Cohen, officially making this one of the best-looking casts of all time.

The Wizard of Oz is getting a reboot.

New Pictures is adapting The Haunting of Alma Fielding by Kate Summerscale as a TV series.

Gail Mancuso will direct the feature adaptation of The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez.

Namina Forna’s new YA fantasy novel, The Gilded Ones, is already slated for adaptation and Forna will be writing the script.

Joe Hill’s novella Voluntary Committal is getting a TV adaptation.

Netflix is adapting the Redwall books into multiple animated movies and a TV series.

Minhal Baig is adapting Samanta Schweblin’s short story collection A Mouthful of Birds.

Andrew Sean Greer will help adapt The Man Who Ate Too Much – James Birdsall’s recent biography on James Beard.

Claire Danes has been cast in the lead role of The Essex Serpent.

Casting update for Bridgerton Season 2.

Books & Authors in the News

Diverse books are on hold in a Utah school district.

Best-selling science fiction author James Gunn has died at 97.

Sarah Weinman becomes the new crime fiction columnist at the New York Times.

Numbers & Trends

See how libraries are meeting ebook demand for the New York Times bestseller list with this visualization. (The original visualization is here.)

Award News

The 2021 PEN America Literary Award finalists have been announced.

Jessica Au wins the inaugural Novel Prize for her book Cold Enough for Snow, which will be published internationally in 2022.

The Southern Book Prize winners have been announced.

The second annual Ripped Bodice Awards for Excellence in Romantic Fiction are announced.

Pop Cultured

Gina Carano has been removed from The Mandalorian and all future Star Wars projects for her recent social media posts.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

Check out the We Read Too app developed by Kaya Thomas, which makes books written by Black authors more accessible for readers of all ages.

Simon & Schuster is teaming up with McBride Sisters, the largest Black-owned wine business in the country, to launch the Black Girl Magic Wine and Book Club.

On the Riot

Archives, archivists, and dealing with the Trump presidency.

What is the Little Free Library Unbound digital event series?

5 readers advisory books for librarians.

Where are the board books featuring disabled people?

Post-publication corrections: how and why.

In praise of mediocre books.

An ode to the emergency book.

Bundle up, stay warm, and stay moisturized. (My hands are soaking up my most hardcore lotion like its going out of style, and I STILL feel like a lizard.) Catch you on Tuesday.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Black History Month and Valentine’s Day Reading Recs

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. Before we jump in, I have a correction from last Friday’s newsletter. A few readers correctly pointed out that I had mistakenly said that Walter Mosley wrote Deacon King Kong. James McBride is the correct author of Deacon King Kong, and I think my brain was in Walter Mosley mode because Nusrah and I had talked about his latest book the day before while recording Read or Dead. So I apologize for that mistake, and I give a nod of thanks to the readers who pointed it out.

So, let’s jump into today’s newsletter.

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

Harlequin introduces a larger mass market paperback format.

How getting canceled on social media can derail a book deal (perhaps a better headline would be: How Actions Have Consequences)

Indie bookstores embrace e-commerce – and it pays off.

New & Upcoming Titles

Elizabeth Warren has a picture book called Pinkie Promises coming out this fall.

Romance author Rebekah Weatherspoon is writing her first YA novel.

Ken Follett has a new book slated for November 2021.

Danny Trejo has a memoir coming out in July called Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood.

Esteemed dancer Misty Copeland has a middle grade novel coming out in November called Black Ballerinas.

Publishers Weekly’s most anticipated children’s and YA books for Spring 2021.

10 recent teen reads for Black History Month.

10 Latine-authored books to read in 2021.

Weekly book picks from Booklist Reader, Bustle, Buzzfeed, Crime Reads, The Millions, New York Times, Shelf Awareness, and USA Today.

February book picks from AV Club, Crime Reads (psychological thrillers), Kirkus Reviews, The Millions (poetry), (horror/genre bending fiction), and Town and Country.

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

My Year Abroad – Chang Rae Lee (The Atlantic, New York Times, New Yorker)

We Run the Tides – Vendela Vida (LA Times, New York Times, NPR)

Wild Rain – Beverly Jenkins (New York Times, NPR)

No One Is Talking About This – Patricia Lockwood (LA Times, Washington Post)

RA/Genre Resources

The creation, innovation, and evolution of early anti-racism writing.

On the Riot

Reducing the environmental toll of paper in the publishing industry

2021 trend alert: fake dating books galore!

Judging a book cover by its color.

What is documentary poetry? 5 contemporary works to get you started.

All Things Comics

Milestone Media, the African American–owned publisher that created the Black superhero comics universe, will relaunch its publishing program later this month.

Expect to see a lot of Afrofuturism comics and graphic novels this year.

The best comics to read this February.

On the Riot

Spring 2021 comics preview.

5 queer graphic novels and memoirs coming out in 2021.

Some of the best witchy characters in comics.

What Rioters miss most about comic book conventions.


Roxane Gay has written and recorded a Scribd original audiobook about her experiences writing from trauma with the release of her memoir Hunger.

Audible editors talk about the audiobooks that changed their lives.

Audiobooks about love, unbidden. Plus, 9 audiobook love stories for Valentine’s Day.

Romantic suspense for Valentine’s Day.

On the Riot

5 of the best YA audiobooks.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


Books and activities to celebrate Black History Month.

11 YA mysteries and thrillers you need to read if you loved We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.

15 YA nonfiction books you need to be reading.

21 awesomely fluffy YA novels.

YA novels that take place over the course of 24 hours.


What to read when you want to celebrate Black History Month.

10 must-read Black History Month book recommendations.

11 nonfiction books by women authors to read for Black History Month.

Memoirs that spotlight Black lives.

Fantastic fiction by African American authors.

6 great Africanfuturist sci-fi books.

31 Black-authored cookbooks everyone should have in their kitchen.

Chinese cookbooks to help you ring in the Lunar New Year.

5 best rom-com novels for Valentine’s Day.

Romance novel suggestions for Valentine’s Day.

50 best historical fiction books of all time.

Sylvain Neuvel shares 10 of his favorite alternate histories.

SFF books that feature royals.

6 crime novels about women on the run.

On the Riot

8 OwnVoices children’s books about Black history.

Chinese New Year books for children.

20 must-read funny kids books.

25 must-read sports books for kids.

6 Caribbean children’s and YA book authors.

15 cute LGBTQ books to lift your spirits.

4 swoonworthy YA romances for Valentine’s Day.

15 nonfiction Black History books to read this month.

7 books for fans of This is Us.

25 of the best Kindle Unlimited romance novels in 2021 you can read right now.

5 dystopian novels about the economy and work culture.

9 books about life during COVID-19.

16 of the best self-love books.

5 compelling memoirs written by doctors.

4 poetry collections that break the mold.

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.

It’s so mind-numbingly cold outside. Hopefully I’ll unthaw by Friday.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter. Currently listening to The Lost Man by Jane Harper.

Check Your Shelf

The Return of the Book Vending Machines

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. Let’s jump right in – this newsletter is packed.

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

ALA and United for Libraries urge the Lafayette Library Board to reinstate its canceled program on voting rights.

Library associations and workers advocate for early vaccine priority. Related, Chicago library workers want to receive the COVID vaccine, even though they’re not prioritized under Illinois’ Phase 1B vaccine rollout.

The RUSA/CODES Book and Media Awards have been announced.

The Obama Presidential Center and Library breaks ground in Jackson Park, Chicago later this year.

Cool Library Updates

NYPL has launched the Woodson Project to honor Black History Month.

The Kansas City Public Library announced four mobile device labs that will be taken to community events.

Picture book history comes to life in Kent State’s Reinberger Children’s Library Center.

This teenager has helped launch seed libraries in every state!

There’s a new podcast about library workers out, called librarypunk.

The Medina County Library is hosting a free online event with Jason Reynolds on February 24th – you can register here!

Worth Reading

Martha S. Jones, author of Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality For All, responds to the Lafayette Parish Library’s refusal to host a discussion of her book.

Lizard people in the library: or, what’s missing from information literacy efforts.

How to create a social media policy for your library.

Meet the Jewish librarian who spied on New York Nazis in the 1930’s.

Book Adaptations in the News

The Obama’s production company has landed six new projects at Netflix, including an adaptation of Exit West by Mohsin Hamid.

There’s currently a bidding war underway for the adaptation rights for T.J. Newman’s forthcoming thriller, Falling.

Geraldine Brooks’ novel Caleb’s Crossing is getting an adaptation.

Stephen Chbosky is adapting the film adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen.

Gabrielle Zevin is writing the adaptation of her upcoming novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow for Paramount.

A series adaptation of Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore is in the works.

We may be getting an adaptation of Camille DeAngelis’ novel Bones and All.

Jenny Han is turning The Summer I Turned Pretty into a series at Amazon.

Noah Baumbach, Adam Driver, and Greta Gerwig team up to adapt Don DeLillo’s White Noise for Netflix.

Fox is producing a CIA drama based on Alma Katsu’s upcoming book, Red Widow.

Paramount is fighting to remake Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Hoo boy, we’ve got a lot of casting updates: Where the Crawdads Sing, Stay Close (with Eddie Izzard!!), I Know What You Did Last Summer, and The Power.

Here’s the first trailer for Moxie.

Books & Authors in the News

I missed this one from last week: historical fiction author Sharon Kay Penman has died at age 75.

Michelle Obama interviews Amanda Gorman, and this is just too much fabulousness for one article to handle! Also, if you want to rewatch Amanda Gorman’s performance from the Super Bowl, you can do that here.

The Senate Conservatives Fund has spent nearly $65,000 on Josh Hawley’s not-yet-published book.

Naomi Wolf’s controversial Outrages: Sex, Censorship, and the Criminalization of Love is garnering more criticism with its newly revised edition.

The DoJ has dropped a lawsuit against Stephanie Winston Wolkoff for her book Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship With the First Lady.

Mariah Carey’s sister Alison is suing her over stories included in Carey’s recent memoir.

Stephen King’s foundation is helping a group of elementary school students publish their pandemic-inspired books.

George R.R. Martin says that he wrote “hundreds and hundreds” of pages of The Winds of Winter in 2020, but says there are still hundred of pages more to write.

Numbers & Trends

Following news of her death, Cicely Tyson’s memoir hit number 1 on Amazon and ran out of available copies.

Have you noticed this recent cover design trend?

Award News

LeVar Burton has been named the inaugural PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion.

The 2021 PEN America Literary Awards finalists were announced.

Deacon King Kong by Walter Mosely and Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs win the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction.

The 2021 Dublin Literary Award longlist is out.

The Ontario Library Association has announced the finalists for the 2021 Evergreen Award.

Pop Cultured

Samantha Irby is one of the writers working on the Sex and the City reboot.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

This Indiana-based organization advocating against gun violence has started its own book club.

This D.C.-based book club met over Zoom to discuss Obama’s recent memoir, and welcomed a VERY surprising guest!

The Book Gifting Project hopes to donate at least 50 books written by African American authors to school-age kids in Lafayette, LA this month.

The return of the book vending machines!

You can rent out this Philadelphia bookstore for a COVID-friendly date night.

Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine book club is now an app.

On the Riot

It takes a village: How school librarians support virtual learning.

Academic libraries aren’t just for writing papers.

Library stickers for library lovers.

10 ways to promote children’s literacy at home.

Back-talking the tone police: Book people are not your enemy.

Judging a book cover by its color.

The best places to find cheap books online.

The history of the bookworm.

The revelations of rereading.

Whew, you made it! Stay warm, and keep those hands moisturized this weekend. See you on Tuesday!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

More New Releases Than You Can Shake a Frozen Stick At

Welcome to Check Your Shelf, where the temperature in the Chicago area is below zero, and everything is iced over and miserable. Let’s jump into books because the weather just has me feeling depressed.

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

Norton Young Readers has teamed up with Accord Literary to bring African authors and stories to the US.

The unbearable whiteness of publishing, revisited.

New & Upcoming Titles

Jhumpa Lahiri has a new book coming out after almost a decade.

Sujata Massey has a new book in the Perveen Mistry series called The Bombay Prince coming out this summer!!

And Angie Kim has a second book coming out!!

Hunter Biden is releasing a memoir about his struggles with addiction.

Michelle Obama is releasing a new edition of Becoming for young readers.

Brandon Taylor announces his next book.

Nicola Yoon’s third book will be coming out this summer.

New book recommendations for Black History Month from Crime Reads, Entertainment Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today.

Weekly book picks from Booklist Reader, Bustle, Buzzfeed, Crime Reads, The Millions, Shelf Awareness, and USA Today.

February book picks from Barnes & Noble, Bookmarks (SFF), Crime Reads, Entertainment Weekly, Good Morning America, io9 (SFF), Lambda Literary, LitHub, The Millions (general, poetry), O: Oprah Magazine, PopSugar (general, mystery/thriller, romance, YA), Shondaland, Time, (fantasy, science fiction, SFF YA), and Washington Post.

10 best debut novelists of 2021.

58 Canadian fiction novels coming out in spring 2021.

Writers to watch this spring.

Must-read books this spring by Black authors.

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

Mike Nichols: A Life – Mark Harris (NPR, USA Today, Vogue)

Milk Fed – Melissa Broder (Entertainment Weekly, New York Times)

The Removed – Brandon Hobson (LA Times, USA Today)

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House – Cherie Jones (New York Times, Washington Post)

My Year Abroad – Chang-rae Lee (LA Times, New York Times)

City of a Thousand Gates – Rebecca Sacks (New York Times, Washington Post)

The Ratline: The Exalted Life and Mysterious Death of a Nazi Fugitive – Philippe Sands (LA Times, New York Times)

RA/Genre Resources

The 2020 Locus Recommended Reading List is out!

On the Riot

New books by debut authors.

12 great February 2021 YA releases to read.

14 new holiday romance novel releases for the post-holiday blues.

An introduction to the wuxia genre.

All Things Comics

A Wakanda Disney+ series is in development, with Ryan Coogler at the helm.

On the Riot

Anime soundtracks to enjoy with your comics.

Audiophilia has a really, REALLY solid list of audiobooks by Black authors for you to peruse.

February Earphone Award winners are announced.

Celebrity memoir audiobooks that are read by the author.

Weezer wrote a song about Audible. That’s it. That’s the headline.

On the Riot

6 great audiobooks in translation.

6 under 6: Short audiobooks that enhance the reading experience.

Great YA nonfiction on audio.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


10 books about love for growing readers.

44 YA books you need to read for Black History Month.

14 YA books turning 10 in 2021 that you should read.

11 of the best (and worst) brotherly bonds in YA.

19 YA books about fat acceptance.


25 books by Black Authors for all ages to add to your reading list.

Ibram X. Kendi’s recommended books to read for Black History Month.

Mysteries by Black women to check out.

An Amanda Gorman-inspired poetry reading list.

15 essential titles about climate change.

11 thrillers set in toxic workplaces.

34 books to cozy up with by a fire.

10 spy novels with women protagonists.

6 books to understand what revolution looks like.

Fantasy heroines that fight systemic oppression.

On the Riot

9 books about mindfulness for kids.

Fearless and fantastic adventure books for kids.

#OwnVoices Black history YA books.

Native and Indigenous YA nonfiction for your TBR.

4 YA books that got this reader through their bipolar disorder.

50 of the best Kindle Unlimited books you can read in 2021.

Community focused mysteries.

15 funny romance novels for your TBR.

5 nonfiction books from 2020 that challenge mainstream queer narratives.

10 books like The Vanishing Half.

6 books to check out if you loved Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell.

14 nonfiction titles for every romance.

12 female friendship books for Galentine’s Day.

8 fake dating romance novels.

15 popular Indigenous books from 2020.

8 great queer science fiction books.

13 polar fantasy books to transport you this winter.

9 modern novels about the quarter-life crisis.

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.

Bundle up, and don’t go outside if at all possible. Catch you on Friday.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter. Currently reading Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found by Gilbert King.

Check Your Shelf

Library Workers Need the COVID Vaccine

Welcome to Check Your Shelf, where we’re about to get another 3-5 inches of snow in the Chicago area. But one of the few upsides of the pandemic is that I have very few opportunities to drive in the snow, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

ALA announced that the 2021 Annual Conference this summer will again be virtual.

A look at libraries that are serving as COVID-19 vaccination sites. It sounds like some libraries are making sure their staff gets higher vaccination priority, and I sincerely hope this is the case for every library acting as a vaccination site. (I’m sure it’s not. But I can still sincerely hope.)

Related: Chicago Public Library workers wonder why they’re not listed in a higher priority category for COVID-19 vaccines. Yeah, I’m wondering that too.

The Jackson County (IN) Public Library faces a lawsuit after they permanently banned a patron for sharing an anti-Trump poem.

The Lafayette Parish library director resigned suddenly after a conflict over voter rights programming, and a Louisiana state senator calls the library’s decision to halt a voting rights discussion “incomprehensible.” Plus, what’s the “other side” here? A clash over voting rights history in a Louisiana library.

Worth Reading

Police in libraries: what the cop-free library movement wants.

Resources for serving diverse populations.

The deep impact of author visits.

Check out this Turkish library that looks like a bookshelf!

Book Adaptations in the News

Amy Adams is adapting Anna North’s recent feminist western, Outlawed.

Netflix is turning Molly Ostertag’s LGBTQ+ YA graphic novel The Witch Boy into an animated movie musical.

The forthcoming book The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon has been optioned for a series by Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton’s new production company.

Robin Wasserman’s recent novel Mother Daughter Widow Wife has been optioned for a limited series.

Min Jin Lee is adapting her book Free Food for Millionaires as a Netflix series.

A series adaptation of All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai is coming to Peacock.

MGM picks up rights to The Antisocial Network by Ben Mezrich, which is only in the book proposal stage, and focuses on the GameStop/Wall Street fiasco from just a couple weeks ago.

After adapting Aravind Adiga’s White Tiger, Ramin Bahrani will direct and produce an adaptation of Adiga’s Amnesty for Netflix.

The Netflix adaptation of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is scheduled for April 23rd.

Nora Roberts fans have criticized the casting of Alyssa Milano in the upcoming adaptation of Brazen Virtue, but Nora Roberts isn’t having any of it.

There’s going to be ANOTHER Game of Thrones prequel at HBO.

Casting update for Sandman.

New trailer for The Underground Railroad.

Books & Authors in the News

Actress Cicely Tyson dies at 96, just days after her memoir was released.

Visalia, California residents call out “ignorance” after a man petitions to remove the book A Different Mirror for Young People: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki from a high school reading list.

A Texas high school parent is attempting to remove the book Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi from the school’s reading list.

Amanda Gorman is going to be the first poet to ever perform at the Super Bowl.

Books are back in the White House, and one of them is by Angie Thomas.

Numbers & Trends

Titles focusing on women’s empowerment are getting sales boosts.

Award News

Here are the finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

The 2020 National Jewish Book Award winners have been announced.

The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey wins the 2020 Costa Book of the Year award.

The longlist for the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is out.

The Writers’ Trust of Canada has renamed its annual fiction award in honor of Margaret Atwood and her late partner Graeme Gibson.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

The Conscious Kid has partnered with Pottery Barn to curate book bundles for kids centered around BIPOC authors.

Merriam-Webster added 520 new words to the dictionary, including “silver fox,” which now makes me want to make a display of all the titles we have at the library featuring my favorite silver foxes.

One of Dante’s descendants is working to overturn the poet’s corruption conviction from 1302.

On the Riot

10 tidbits about libraries for visually impaired and print disabled people.

Learn about The Free Black Women’s Library.

Tips and tricks on building your library collection.

These are the top romance novels on Amazon.

How to cancel Kindle Unlimited.

An A-to-Z guide to the parts of a book.

How this parent uses books to teach their children about their other country.

How this writer scrapbooked their way through mental illness.

How to organize your bookshelves to fit your living space.

I’m going to stay out of the snow this weekend. Stay warm, wherever you are!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Ergodic Fiction and Godpunk

Welcome to Check Your Shelf, where I am currently hibernating from the 6-10″ of cement-like snow that Mother Nature dropped on Chicagoland this weekend. I went outside earlier to clear off my car, and it was like trying to brush wet clay from the windshield. Future Katie had better appreciate the favor that Past Katie did for her…

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

Author’s Guild asks the Department of Justice to stop the Penguin Random House acquisition of Simon & Schuster.

Semicolon Bookstore in Chicago launches National Black Literacy Day on February 14th.

Thoughts on the future of conservative publishing.

The history and future of progressive bookselling.

New & Upcoming Titles

Michael Lewis has a new book coming out about how to prevent a viral outbreak worse than COVID-19. You know…some light, relaxing reading.

Due to overwhelming demand, Amanda Gorman’s three books are getting a one million print run EACH.

Talia Hibbert just signed a three book deal for a series of contemporary Jane Austen-inspired rom-coms.

There’s a new Enola Holmes book coming out, called Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche.

Tarana Burke, the activist who started the #MeToo movement, has a book of essays coming out in April that she’s co-edited with Brené Brown.

Malcolm Gladwell has a new book coming out in April, and Liane Moriarty has a new book coming out in September.

SNL cast member Cecily Strong has a memoir coming out in August.

Seth Rogan’s first book, Yearbook, comes out on May 11 and his mother provided a statement for the press release.

Danielle Steel has six new books coming out this year, which isn’t quite up to Jimmy P.’s publication levels, but it’s getting there.

Weekly book picks from Bustle, BuzzFeed, Crime Reads, LitHub, The Millions, New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Shelf Awareness, and USA Today.

Debut crime novels and international crime novels to read in January.

February book picks from Barnes & Noble (adult & children’s), Bustle, Epic Reads (YA), and New York Times.

Library Journal presents 300 (!!!) titles to watch in 2021.

The buzziest fiction of winter and spring.

Highly anticipated romantic comedies.

40 YA fantasy novels coming out in 2021.

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

Let Me Tell You What I Mean – Joan Didion (New York Times, NPR, USA Today)

We Came, We Saw, We Left: A Family Gap Year – Charles Wheelan (LA Times, New York Times)

The Swallowed Man – Edward Carey (New York Times, Washington Post)

Just As I Am – Cicely Tyson (Washington Post)

RA/Genre Resources

The Melanin Library is a new resource to help you find new books by Black authors for all ages!

A new generation discovers the joys of the cozy mystery.

On the Riot

The best YA nonfiction books coming out this year.

Exciting queer women, bisexual, and lesbian books coming out in early 2021.

7 poets like Amanda Gorman to watch.

Books like House of Leaves: an introduction to ergodic fiction.

A beginner’s guide to godpunk.

Mystery writers who write in other genres.

10 ways to find books to read.

7 more reading challenges to diversify your reading in 2021.

All Things Comics

Mayim Bialik teams up with DC Comics to release an educational YA book called Flash Facts.

On the Riot

5 comic and animation-themed cookbooks.

How 20-year-old manga helps this reader get through the day.


Spotify launches an audiobook program with 9 classic titles. And if you’re wondering how you listen to audiobooks on Spotify, here’s a guide.

18 audiobooks to preorder before spring.

The audiobook version of Four Hundred Souls (edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain) has 87 different narrators, including Dion Graham, Phylicia Rashad, Leslie Odom Jr., Bahni Turpin, Robin Miles, and more. EIGHTY. SEVEN.

Families in mystery audiobooks: the good and the REALLY bad.

5 audiobook essay collections.

On the Riot

6 of the best audiobooks narrated by Prentice Onayemi.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


14 YA apocalyptic and dystopian novels to lose yourself in.

16 YA books on love.

18 must-ready YA SFF books with LGBTQ characters.


20 books to ring in Joe Biden’s presidency.

5 contemporary Black poets you should be familiar with.

22 books that helped this writer write the story of their transition.

8 books about mothers separated from their daughters.

10 books about children fending for themselves.

Books that present “the new Western.”

18 of the sweetest books to give as Valentine’s Day gifts.

5 dark SFF books to make you laugh out loud.

15 Canadian books about mental health.

On the Riot

Best found family YA books.

YA novels set in the 1970’s.

15 of the best YA thriller books.

15 of the best feminist mystery novels.

The best humorous scifi books out there.

15 books recommended by celebrities in 2021.

9 of the best Japanese history books.

4 awesome backlist mysteries.

6 books on caste to read after Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste.

5 history books with diverse perspectives.

15 of the best books by female comedians.

Best detective novels to keep you up at night.

8 story collections inspired by novels.

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.

See everyone on Friday, assuming Chicago doesn’t get another 10 inches of snow in the meantime. Stay warm!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

The Mysterious Case of the Library’s Baked Potatoes

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. I don’t have much newsworthy stuff from my own life to update you all on, so here’s Dini showing off his belly. Can’t tell if he’s relaxed or not…

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

The Mellon Foundation announces that it will fund diversity programs at the Library of Congress.

YALSA announces its 2021 list of Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.

The Wayland Free Public Library has been finding random baked potatoes left out on its front lawn. And yes, I am considering this 100% newsworthy.

Cool Library Updates

The Brooklyn Public Library announces its Black American Library Card Project, which will solicit artwork for a limited-edition library card that will celebrate the culture and contributions of Black Americans.

Book bundles reimagine the public library browsing experience. (Can confirm – my library’s Take 10 service has been enormously popular since we started it 6 months ago.)

Check out these Little Free Libraries in Los Angeles that look like replicas of US government buildings!

Worth Reading

Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democratic senator from Vermont, has appeared in five Batman movies (including The Dark Knight!) and he’s donated all of the money he’s made from his film appearances to his hometown public library – more than $150,000 in total!

Will there be a Trump Presidential Library?

5 things this writer misses about the library.

Book Adaptations in the News

Alex Marzano-Lesnevich’s true crime memoir The Fact of a Body is being adapted by HBO. This is going to undoubtedly be some heavy watching. (TW for child abuse, sexual abuse)

Salma Hayek is developing an adaptation of Elizabeth Wetmore’s Valentine for HBO.

The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver is getting a series adaptation.

TNT is planning a series adaptation of The Whistler by John Grisham.

Casting update for Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz.

Bridgerton has already been renewed for a second season on Netflix.

Queen Sugar also gets renewed for an additional season.

First look at Netflix’s adaptation of Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough.

Here’s the trailer for Kristin Hannah’s Firefly Lane.

Books & Authors in the News

After being assigned Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None on their summer reading list and then learning about the racist history of the book, these eighth grade twins are now pushing for a change in IL legislation that would require all reading lists to be approved at the district level, to make sure that future reading assignments are free of historical inaccuracy or racial bias.

The Hungarian government has ordered the publisher of the LGBTQ fairytale anthology Wonderland is for Everyone to put a disclaimer on the book that the behavior described in the book is “inconsistent with traditional gender roles.”

Stacey Abrams writes Black women into history.

After learning that a young fan planned to read a passage from one of his books at his bar mitzvah, Kwame Alexander surprised the boy at his home.

The public domain is responsible for transforming The Great Gatsby into The Great Gritty.

Numbers & Trends

Not surprisingly, books about political upheaval, including On Tyranny and 1984, are selling well.

Also not surprisingly, books by and about Joe Biden are also selling well.

Award News

The Edgar Award nominations are here!

Here’s a roundup of all the 2021 Youth Media Awards announced at ALA Midwinter.

The Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards have been announced.

The Walter Dean Myers Awards have also been announced.

The Gotham Book Prize announces the finalists for its first $50,000 award.

2021 Philip K. Dick Award nominees are out.

Nominations for the 2021 Left Coast Crime Lefty Awards have been announced.

Pop Cultured

Cloris Leachman (or as I best know her, Frau Blucher) has passed away at 94.

Netflix’s new French crime series, Lupin, is set to reach an even larger crowd than Bridgerton.

There’s a far off release date of March 17, 2023 for Wonka, a prequel based on the Roald Dahl books.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

This book club is working to get its entire town vaccinated against COVID.

Here’s a new way to think about book discovery: this bookstore categorizes and shelves its books by emotions.

Why should we read unfinished novels?

On the Riot

School libraries and their fight against fake news.

Banned, censored, and burned books: there’s a museum for that!

Here are some book club questions to use for Daisy Jones and the Six.

20 ways to read more in 2021 when you just don’t care anymore.

The history of the Scripps Spelling Bee. For the record, I used to be a spelling bee kid (never at this level, but I was school champ a couple years in a row), and the anxiety from those competitions still gives me heart palpitations.

What to know about getting rare books appraised.

You made it to the end of the newsletter, and the end of the week! Treat yourselves to something nice this weekend, and stay moisturized!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Get to Know Amanda Gorman

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. I started my day today by seeing a ginormous spider hanging over my nightstand. When I turned my head to yell for my husband, the spider somehow disappeared, and we still haven’t found it……we may have to nuke our apartment from orbit now.

Let’s talk about books to distract me from the monstrous spider that may still be lurking around my bed. *shudder*

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

Josh Hawley finds a new publisher for his book after Simon & Schuster dropped him. Conveniently, Simon & Schuster also manages the distribution for Regnery Publishing (Hawley’s new publisher), so…take all this with a large grain of salt.

In addition to Connecticut’s investigation, there’s a class-action lawsuit issued against Amazon for colluding with the Big 5 publishers to inflate ebook prices.

Publishers need more Black translator friends.

“Black bookstore” is more than just a label.

New & Upcoming Titles

A first look at Anthony Doerr’s new book, Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Thirteen-year-old Brayden Harrington who befriended Joe Biden over their shared stutter, will have a children’s book coming out this summer called Brayden Speaks Up.

Inauguration poet Amanda Gorman’s upcoming books shoot to the top of the Amazon best-seller list. Also, make sure to check out our introduction to Amanda Gorman and her work!

CNN’s Don Lemon announces his next book: This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism.

Kelley Armstrong announces an upcoming time-traveling mystery series.

Weekly book picks from Booklist Reader, Bustle, Buzz Feed, Crime Reads, The Millions, New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Shelf Awareness, and USA Today.

January picks from Crime Reads (true crime), Pop Sugar (romance), and (horror/genre-bending books).

Most anticipated books of 2021 from Advocate (LGTBQ), Amazon (cookbooks), Book Page, Bustle (debuts), Buzz Feed (YA SFF), Esquire, io9 (SFF), and Wired.

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine – Janice P. Nimura (New York Times, NPR, USA Today)

Let Me Tell You What I Mean – Joan Didion (Entertainment Weekly, LA Times)

The Rib King – Ladee Hubbard (LA Times, Washington Post)

Yellow Wife – Sadeqa Johnson (NPR)

Concrete Rose – Angie Thomas (Washington Post)

RA/Genre Resources

Why are so many romance novels set during the Regency period?

On the Riot

15 cozy mysteries coming out in the first half of 2021.

10 propulsive books that everyone will be talking about in 2021.

New romance novels you might have missed in 2020.

10 of the buzziest books from 2020 to catch up on.

5 ways to find the best book recommendations.

Looking for a great middle grade book? Try #BookMatch.

Reading pathways for Laini Taylor.

All Things Comics

DC is launching a crossover Batman and Scooby Doo Mysteries comic book.

Netflix is adapting the YA graphic novel Heartstopper by Alice Oseman.

On the Riot

5 new & upcoming graphic novels.

4 of the best comics about politics.

10 Mangatubers you should be watching.


YALSA posts its 2021 list of Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults.

This audiobook app will tell unheard African stories.

11 funny audiobooks to lighten the dreary mood this winter.

On the Riot

Audiobook apps for bilingual readers and language learners.

5 must-listen short story collections on audio.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


10 interactive stories for hands-on kids.

10 YA books that put the #MeToo conversation front and center.

17 YA books featuring Black teens.

YA books guaranteed to make you LOL.


10 best political books of 2020 by Black women.

Self-help books by Latinx authors.

The literature of children who raise themselves and demand justice.

10 climate change novels about endangered and extinct species.

10 snowbound thrillers to read this winter.

6 books that straddle the line between “honest” and “too honest.”

6 stories for fans of Australian gothic.

On the Riot

20 informative & inspiring plant books for kids.

Book Riot readers pick the best YA books of 2020.

Read Harder: a book with a beloved pet that DOESN’T die, and a book that demystifies a common mental illness.

14 adult fairy tales for the young at heart.

A battle guide to the top 20 military fantasy books.

16 books that Reddit thinks will be classics. (Honestly, I’d argue that a lot of these books are already classics!)

10 books about sex work by sex workers.

5 historical spy thrillers based (in part) on real events.

Best books about dysfunctional families.

10 female assassin books about death, justice, and survival.

7 books about the history of tea.

15 uplifting book club books to make you smile.

14 books about dark academia.

Most commonly-assigned books in US colleges.

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.

May no one encounter any large insects or arachnids this week. See everyone on Friday.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter. Currently reading Whisper Network by Chandler Baker.

Check Your Shelf

I’d Like a Double Bacon Cheeseburger With a Side of Maya Angelou

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. WE MADE IT. The inauguration proceeded normally, and there was joy, laughter, the best types of historical moments, Lady Gaga, and an unbelievable poetry reading. I wore pearls, a blazer, and my Nevertheless, She Persisted t-shirt to work from home today, and yes, I may have busted out my last mini bottle of prosecco at 11 in the morning so that I could toast my TV and weep into my glass. To paraphrase something I’ve seen on social media a LOT this week, I am overjoyed that the last four years are over, and saddened that the last four years happened at all.

It’s a new day, and a new administration. Let’s library.

One small note: Some of you may have received Tuesday’s newsletter on Thursday instead. No change is being made to the schedule, it was just a bloop!

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

A member of the New Orleans Public Library Board of Directors accused the library director of spreading misinformation about a recent attempt to significantly cut library funding.

The Big 10 libraries commit to managing their separate collections as a single collection, allowing individual libraries to focus on more distinctive collections and services.

BiblioBoard and Publishers Weekly‘s BookLife launch a new library ebook program for self-published authors.

YALSA names the 2021 Best Fiction for Young Adults.

These were the top ebook checkouts from the Austin Public Library in 2020.

Cool Library Updates

The Boston Public Library announces its new Repairing America initiative.

Bearded dragons make great library pets! (I agree! I’m not a big fan of reptiles, but here are a couple photos of me with my previous library’s resident dragon, Lizzie.)

Worth Reading

Are anti-racism book challenges on the rise?

Book Adaptations in the News

Netflix and Ibram X. Kendi are teaming up to adapt his anti-racism books.

The creators of You are adapting another Caroline Kepnes novel for TV.

Tessa Thompson’s new production company is producing an adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death?

Amazon Studios is adapting Rachel Givney’s novel Jane in Love for film.

Keegan-Michael Key is starring in the upcoming adaptation of Stephen Mack Jones’ August Snow PI series.

The adaptation of Jennifer Mathieu’s YA novel Moxie is hitting Netflix on March 3rd.

Here’s the trailer for To All the Boys: Always and Forever, which will be the final film in the To All the Boys trilogy on Netflix. The Kissing Booth will also finish up on Netflix this year.

Trailer for Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries.

Books & Authors in the News

David Weber is out of the hospital after being treated for COVID.

Numbers & Trends

Self-improvement books did very well at the beginning of the year.

This Tintin comic book art breaks auction record for most expensive comic book art at $3.1 million dollars.

Award News

PEN International awards the 2021 Award for Freedom of Expression to Tsitsi Dangarembga’s This Mournable Body.

Sisters in Crime unveil a new award for emerging LGBTQIA+ crime writers.

Pop Cultured

No Time to Die is moving its release date again from Easter weekend to sometime in the fall of this year.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

The Epilogue Kitchen in Salem, Oregon allows customers to add anti-racist books to their takeout orders.

The Brooklyn Book Bodega looks to fill Brooklyn with “100 book homes.”

Maya Angelou is the latest addition to the Barbie line of Inspiring Women dolls. Take a look at this doll, because it is GORGEOUS!

Ursula K. LeGuin gets her own postage stamp in 2021.

James Baldwin’s record collection is now a massive 478-track Spotify playlist!

On the Riot

I lost my dream job: keeping library vibes alive in hard times.

What alternatives are there to Goodreads?

What’s a radical bookstore?

How to handle fictional character deaths with kids. (Honestly, I think a lot of us adult readers could use some tips too…)

Alright, friends. The work is far from over, but please take a moment to let some of the weight from the last four years roll off your shoulders this weekend. I’ll leave you with the Mumford & Sons song I quoted on my sign at the Women’s March four years ago: “Didn’t they say that only love would win in the end?” Breathe, hydrate, and moisturize. And I’ll see you next week!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.