Check Your Shelf

When Is a Book Ban Not a Book Ban?

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. We’ve got snow on the ground in Chicago land. It’s less than an inch, and a lot of it melted today, but the cold weather is definitely here, and no one’s happy about it.

Are you looking for the perfect gift for that bookish special someone in your life this holiday season? Tailored Book Recommendations is here to help! Here at TBR, we pair our customers with a professional book nerd (aka bibliologist) who just gets them. They fill out a survey and then sit back and relax as we pick books just for them. We’ve got three levels — recs-only, paperback, and hardcover — and you can gift a full year or one time, so there are options for every budget! Get all the details at

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

Partisan bickering amongst Pennsylvania legislators has led to a delay in already-approved funds for public libraries.

The New York Public Library is facing significant graffiti cleanup costs following several weeks of protests in the city.

A new bylaw will allow some Montreal libraries to fine and remove patrons with poor personal hygiene. “People will be fined between $350 and $1,000 for a first offense, $2,000 for a second offense, and $3,000 for subsequent violations.” This is absolutely horrendous.

Gaza authorities say that the Gaza Public Library has been destroyed by Israeli strikes.

Cool Library Updates

The Houston Public Library has launched a self-service book kiosk at Hobby Airport.

Book Adaptations in the News

Talia Hibbert’s Ravenwood series has been optioned for TV.

Paul Greengrass is adapting and directing TJ Newman’s Drowning: The Rescue Of Flight 1421 for Warner Brothers.

Censorship News

When is a book ban not a book ban? The rebrand of a national pastime.

Most parents rank librarians as trustworthy in the latest survey from Book Riot and the EveryLibrary Institute.

What is SkyTree Book Fairs? A “new” Scholastic competitor.

In the battle over books, who gets to decide what’s “age-appropriate” in libraries? Who indeed…

Moms for Liberty reported more than $2 million in revenue in 2022.

Across the US, Catholic groups are often behind LGBTQ book banning efforts.

PEN America joins 16 other organizations in filing an amicus brief over the Texas READER Act.

(May be paywalled): Conroe ISD (TX) is modeling its book policy after the controversial policy approved by Katy ISD.

More out of Conroe ISD, and this one is bonkers: This “mystery” 20-year-old woman spoke at a recent board meeting about how her exposure to a “single kiss” in a Scholastic book led to a debilitating addiction to porn, which she cited as a reason for the district to ban Drama, get rid of Scholastic books, and end their participation in the Scholastic book fairs. Turns out that this woman is an employee of Brave Books, which, if you read the previous link about SkyTree Book Fairs, you’d know that there is a strong connection between the two, so there’s a very obvious monetary motivation here to push the district away from Scholastic.

The Alachua County School District (FL) has removed Gender Queer from library shelves, despite questions about the complaint’s validity — there are some who believe that the woman who submitted the challenge is not a legal resident of the county.

Hernando County School Board (FL) removed three of the six books that were recently challenged. They are keeping And Tango Makes Three, The Family Book, and Julian Is a Mermaid, and removing Thirteen Reasons Why, The Handmaid’s Tale, and This Day in June.

Pasco County (FL) residents are demanding that the schools sever ties with the American Library Association because the affiliation goes against their Christian beliefs.

The Rockwell Public Library (NY) has been closed since September when the director and all but one staff member resigned simultaneously in response to public harassment over a drag queen story hour. Three other board members quit, which left the board without a quorum and unable to function. At the board’s most recent meeting, the Sheriff had to be called after the meeting turned violent and punches were thrown.

Heartstopper is being challenged in front of the Ocean City School Board (NJ) because it was available for purchase at a school book fair.

The Fluvana County High School (VA) received two dozen book challenges from a would-be school board candidate back in October, and they’ve finally begun the review process. The problem is that these books were removed from the shelves shortly after receiving the challenges, meaning they’ve been out of circulation for over a month.

Spotsylvania School District (VA) has decided to use Kirk Cameron’s new book fair.

Here is the full 75-title list of books removed by the Hanover School District (VA) — paywall broken courtesy of Kelly Jensen.

What happened after the Yancey County Public Library (NC) put up a Pride display in June. (I’ll summarize — most of the initial comments they got were supportive, but a few bigoted residents and politicians got involved and raised an enormous stink.)

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools’s (NC) superintendent has decided to ban Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) despite the review committee’s decision to keep it. Why even bother having a review committee if you’re just going to override their decisions?

Catawba County Schools (NC) are requiring students to have parental permission in order to borrow Lolita or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

Despite parents’ efforts to get Flamer returned to school library shelves, the Marietta School District (GA) has permanently banned the book

“More than 11,000 Pulaski County (AR) students are unable to access online educational materials through their local public library as a legal precaution, according to school district administrators, in light of the statewide debate over what content children should be able to access in libraries.”

Former Arkansas Senator Jason Rapert has been appointed to the state’s library board by Sarah Huckabee-Sanders. The article doesn’t give much information about his thoughts regarding library policy and governance, but if he was appointed by Huckabee-Sanders, then I think that gives all of us an idea of what he’ll be in favor of.

Conservative issues stall after backlash in St. Charles County (MO), including a proposal to remove a requirement for diverse materials and classroom libraries in the Wentzville School District.

Meanwhile, in St. Charles County, “an internal review committee has determined that the controversial book Bang Like a Porn Star: Sex Tips From the Pros should be removed from the St. Charles City-County Library system — just not right away.” They’re waiting until the holds list clears out. The library CEO said that the book was purchased because “‘it was the only item readily available at the time about sexuality and sexual health for gay men.’” Also worth noting that this book was purchased five years ago, but the controversy is only showing up now.

“New restrictions could be coming to the Rutherford County Library System [TN]. County officials are looking to pass stricter rules on funds provided to their local libraries, along with an age-restrictive checkout policy. The new policy debate comes as the county and city of Murfreesboro have been embroiled in controversy and legal wrangling over what constitutes community decency.”

Maryville High School (TN) will retain The Perks of Being a Wallflower, even after the decision to keep the book was appealed.

The right-wing group “Save My America” is fighting to remove Making a Baby from the children’s section at the Pickaway County Public Library (OH).

The Hamilton East Public Library (IN) has thankfully agreed to end their book review and relocation policy after wasting an inordinate amount of staff time and tax dollars.

A proposed Republican bill in Wisconsin would require libraries to notify parents about the books their kids check out.

A Menomonee Falls School Board (WI) member doesn’t believe the district followed its own book banning policy, and she wants all 33 books put back on the shelves.

This newspaper’s editorial board published a piece criticizing the Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial School District’s (MN) practice of removing challenged books from library shelves before they’ve undergone an official review.

Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Iowa have filed a federal lawsuit to block key provisions of the state’s recent book banning legislation.

Oklahoma Moms for Liberty are continuing to challenge elementary school textbooks — now they claim that the math textbooks contain inappropriate “social-emotional learning concepts.”

Garfield County (CO) commissioners suggest that the library’s refusal to ban books could have consequences. Know what that sounds like? Intimidation and fascism.

A Billings (MT) parent is criticizing the school district for having Assassination Classroom on the library shelves.

The Community Library Network in Idaho discussed a policy modification that would allow the library to evaluate books “in part” rather than in their entirety, which goes against all professional and legal standards for evaluating materials for content. This will give book banners free rein to continue cherry-picking passages from books they don’t like as evidence for why these books should be banned.

The Chino Valley School District (CA) has enacted a book-banning policy that would allow books and teaching materials to be pulled due to “‘sexually obscene’ content, or even political material.”

A quirk in Washington state law may give the Liberty Lake City Council an opportunity to try and have city trustees take over library governance again after the proposal was defeated earlier.

Tracking banned books in Canada.

Books & Authors in the News

A 2017 state law in Arkansas requires academics and writers to sign a pledge that they will not participate in anti-Israel boycotts in order to receive a speaker’s fee for their presentations and engagements. Author Nathan Thrall recently refused.

A group of nonfiction authors have filed a lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI for copyright infringement.

Numbers & Trends

The best-selling books of the week.

The best-selling indie books of the year.

Almost one million children in the UK don’t own a book.

Award News

The 2023 Booker Prize winner has been announced.

Related: A Booker judge admits that it’s nearly impossible to read ALL the books.

1700 Canadian writers are asking the Scotiabank Giller Prize to drop charges against a group of pro-Palestinian protestors who disrupted the recent awards ceremony.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

In the age of AI, Merriam-Webster’s word of the year is “authentic.”

Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange, was also a composer, and now a newly-discovered string quartet composition from Burgess will have a premiere.

On the Riot

10 reading volunteer opportunities.

What to do when you hate your own book club pick.

How to cure a reading slump.

A beginner’s guide to Tolkien studies and commentary.

A dive into pop culture cookbooks.

two black cats laying back-to-back on an unmade bed

Nothing but brotherly love in the Horner household! Look at these snurgly boys!!

Okay, friends. I’m going to grab a warm pair of slippers and hiss at the freezing temperatures outside. I hope you have warmer weather or at least can tolerate cold weather better than me. See you on Tuesday!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Swords, Smooches, and Whimsigoth

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. Since I put these newsletters together based on stuff from the previous week, this issue is pretty short. But never fear — we’ll be back up to full speed next week!

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

Publishers Weekly posted their industry salary survey for 2023.

Thoughts on how to diversify the publishing industry.

New & Upcoming Titles

Here’s the cover reveal for Laura Hankin’s One Star Romance, which was inspired by the time she had to walk down the aisle at a friend’s wedding with a guy who had given her book a 1-star review on Goodreads.

Best books of the year from Kirkus (nonfiction), New York Public Library, New York Times, NPR.

December YA picks from Epic Reads.

RA/Genre Resources

Black romance authors and editors share their passion for love stories.

An interview with Nora Roberts about her impact on romance publishing.

The mainstreaming of historical fiction.

Tess Gerritsen’s neighbors are retired spies, so she wrote about it.

On the Riot

Authors with their own publishing imprints (and what books to read from them).

The best queer books of the year.

Queer YA from 2023 you may have missed

The best books you’ve never heard of, fall 2023 edition.

The best book covers of 2023.

The best new weekly releases to TBR.

The best and worst tropes in murder mysteries.

The very grungiest of sci-fi.

9 whimsigoth books to charm your bookshelf.

All Things Comics

On the Riot

The best graphic novels by speculative fiction authors.

The best manga inspired by mythology.


On the Riot

Project Gutenberg produced 5,000 AI audiobooks, but how do they sound?

Indulge your inner book nerd and join a community of like-minded readers looking to expand their knowledge and their TBR. Subscribe to The Deep Dive, where Book Riot’s editorial staff draws from their collective expertise to bring you compelling stories, informed takes, tips, hacks, and more. Find out why the bestseller list is broken, analyze some anticipated books, and explore the great wide world of books and publishing. Get a free subscription for weekly content delivered to your inbox, or upgrade to paid-for bonus content and community features.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


The best books by Kate DiCamillo.


10 books to read if you loved Lessons in Chemistry.

6 books that may change how you think about mental illness.

The best cozy crime to read.

On the Riot

8 astronomically great books about space and astrophysics.

Swords and smooches: 8 high fantasy romance novels.

20 of the best books on AI to stay current with industry trends.

9 horror books with romance at the heart.

8 of the best reverse harem books.

20 must-read dark fairy tales.

10 romance books like Part of Your World.

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 has a guide to discovering upcoming diverse books, and Nora Rawlins of Early Word has created a database of upcoming diverse titles to nominate as well that includes information about series, vendors, and publisher buzz.

a black and white cat peeking out from an overturned Amazon box

The holiday shopping has begun, and Dini is having a blast with all of the new boxes to inspect!

All right, friends. Have a good, fast week, and I’ll see you on Friday!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Where Are the Book Sanctuaries?

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. As I am writing this newsletter before Thanksgiving, I’d like to give a few library-related things I’m thankful for. I’m thankful to have a fantastic new director who is committed to not only solving problems in an expedient manner but also fighting to give our entire staff proper pay after decades of being listed as one of the lowest-paying libraries in the area. I’m thankful that I was given an opportunity earlier this month to share my unfiltered concerns about pay and staffing with the entire library board and that we seem to be moving toward positive changes. I’m thankful that we have a community of people who are proactive about supporting our staff and our library. We had people send wonderful letters of support during Banned Books Week, and a couple people sought out our director to thank her personally for speaking out about the importance of intellectual freedom and the library being a welcoming place for the LGBTQ+ community.

There has been a tremendous amount of stress and change at my library in this last year, but I believe we’re fighting toward a positive future, and we’re working to fix the systemic problems that have led us to this point. (And I’m thankful that I am no longer the interim director!)

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

NYC Mayor Eric Adams announces budget cuts to all public library systems in the city, meaning that most libraries will need to end their Sunday library hours.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Free Library has resumed Saturday hours at some branches.

The British Library confirmed that it was the target of a recent ransomware attack.

Cool Library Updates

How book nerds and a dancing accountant made the library cool. (This is about the Milwaukee Public Library.)

Worth Reading

More Americans report getting their news from TikTok.

Stories of solo librarianship.

Book Adaptations in the News

Netflix is finalizing the details for Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia.

Shadow and Bone has been canceled after two seasons with Netflix, and the Six of Crows spinoff has been canceled.

Censorship News

School and public librarians describe on-the-job harassment.

Where are the book sanctuaries?

These are the right-wing ideologues taking over Texas school boards.

Texas is pushing some textbook publishers to remove or alter material that portrays the fossil fuel industry in a negative light.

(Paywalled) Hillsborough County (FL) removed a Little Free Library with a rainbow on the side because people threw a hissy fit. I would also like to point out that the book banners’ line about “kids can still get these books elsewhere” is bullshit because here was a way for kids to find access to books outside of their school library, and now it’s been removed.

Hernando County School District (FL) will decide the fate of six challenged books. “All six have been challenged in other parts of the state and the country, though staff members of Moms for Liberty have said in the past that they are not seeking to ban books but remove students’ access to them in the schools. They still can get the books in question at Amazon, bookstores, and public libraries, Moms for Liberty officials said.” See the above news item from Hillsborough County, and say with me now…This. Is. Bullshit.

Though Santa Rosa (FL) book ban clashes continue, few parents are actually limiting their children’s access to library books.

Plant High School (FL) will retain Blankets, following the recommendation from the reconsideration panel. Way to Plant, Ann! (High fives to anyone who got that Arrested Development reference.)

Schools in Freehold, New Jersey, removed digital access to the book Flor Fights Back, a children’s book about the Stonewall Riots. Parents complained about the LGBTQ+ content, and the superintendent had it removed without forming a reconsideration committee.

The Pine-Richland School District (PA) has opted to continue with their current book policy until the next school board takes over. Unfortunately, the next board has three new trustees who made removing books an explicit part of their campaigns.

The Quarryville Public Library (PA) saw a large crowd of attendees at its first board meeting since the township cut its annual $1000 donation to the library over the presence of LGBTQ materials. This is also the same library where Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir pledged to cover the $1000 donation because of the importance of having LGBTQ books accessible to the community. From the article: “‘We’re simply collecting them,’ [district consultant Ed] Miller said after the meeting. ‘When we collect them, we’re acknowledging that there are individuals in those communities who have an interest in that topic.’”

Spotsylvania County (VA) school board is holding off on implementing a new policy that would essentially remove books whenever a parent complained. However, signs point to the incoming board being unlikely to move the policy further.

Johnston County Board of Education (NC) has officially banned all materials on gender identity from the district’s elementary schools.

A new proposal that would give the South Carolina Board of Education control over the materials held in individual school libraries is gaining momentum.

The superintendent of the Cobb County School District (GA) has asked the Georgia General Assembly to consider developing a book rating system akin to movie ratings to determine what’s appropriate to have on library shelves.

The Alabama Public Library Service Board voted unanimously to delay a vote to disassociate from ALA.

Three members of the Prattville Library Board (AL) have left their positions amidst a large number of book challenges.

Patty Hector, the Saline County (AR) library director who was fired earlier this year after the county judge was given power over library matters, is now running for a position on that same court.

“Journalists Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, authors of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book His Name Is George Floyd, are still unclear why they were told they couldn’t read from their book or talk about systemic racism to a room full of high school students in Memphis.” The school district has denied that any restrictions were placed on the authors.

Carmel Clay School Board members (IN) clash over proposed updates to the school’s book reconsideration policy.

The Hamilton East Public Library (IN) director is leaving her position, thanks to the Library board’s policy of moving teen books that have been deemed not “age appropriate.” Honestly, so many library employees are simply unable to do their damn jobs with all of this nonsense.

Wisconsin Democrats propose a new state law to help limit book bans. “Under the draft bill, anyone complaining to a school district or public library about books must reside in the school district or community served by the library, submit written statements showing they’ve read the book entirely and detailing the reasons for their complaint, and include signatures of at least 5% of the residents in the school district or the community served by the library.” (Emphasis mine.) I really, really like this last bit because when I was dealing with a book challenge during my first month as interim director last year, the person making the challenge told me that if he had been able to show the contested picture book to everyone in the community, they would have been appalled. Everyone in HIS circle was appalled, but we have a very strong community of library supporters, and if he had had to go around collecting signatures in order to submit his request, I think his efforts would have lost some steam.

A surge of book removal requests is turning Nebraska libraries into cultural battlegrounds.

Plattsmouth Public Schools (NE) reviewed 52 challenged books and voted to remove Triangles by Ellen Hopkins.

Omaha Public Schools will retain All Boys Aren’t Blue and Tricks.

The St. Mary’s Public Library (KS) director talks about how she had to compromise intellectual freedom by removing all of the LGBTQ children’s books in order to renew the library’s lease. This isn’t a position I’d wish on anyone, and I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to face that decision, but I firmly believe that catering to bigots is a very slippery slope, and they won’t hesitate to hold the library’s leasing situation hostage again. How many times will this library have to “compromise?” The decision also communicates that LGBTQ folks aren’t considered a true part of the community and do not have a safe space at that library, so who is the library actually serving? The word “compromise” is doing double duty here because I see a lot of things that are being compromised.

Meanwhile, the St. Marys mayor, who was previously involved in an attempt to ban LGBTQ books from the public library, lost his bid for school board. Womp womp.

“Garfield County [CO] commissioners released a statement on Monday, saying it legally must leave the decision of proposed graphic novel restrictions to the Garfield County Libraries Board of Trustees.”

“A local organization’s request to pull a sexual assault survivor’s memoir from the shelves of Union High School’s [OK] library received a chilly reception from several Union parents at Monday night’s school board meeting.” This is in regard to Lucky by Alice Sebold.

The Moms for Liberty Oklahoma chapter is pushing to remove Scholastic Book Fairs from all Oklahoma schools.

Utah legislators are considering a proposal that would make it easier to ban books.

West Ada School District (ID) initially voted to retain Nowhere Girls, but then the decision was appealed, and the trustees changed their votes.

The ACLU of Alaska, six parents, and two students have filed a lawsuit against the Mat-Su School District for removing 56 books that the plaintiffs say were improperly banned.

Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor provides guidance to librarians regarding “obscene materials,” specifically emphasizing “the responsibility of librarians and educators in ensuring their collections do not violate” local, state, or federal laws and implying that there will be legal consequences for teachers and librarians who do not comply.

Ontario’s Waterloo Catholic District School Board has restricted access to 4 LGBTQ+ books by shelving them in the “Pro” (“Professional”) section. Pro shelves “at board schools are used primarily by teachers, though students will have access to the titles provided they first consult a teacher who will provide them with the “Catholic context” for the titles.”

Books & Authors in the News

Author AS Byatt has died at 87.

Former First Lady and author Rosalynn Carter has died at 96.

Mexican novelist Valeria Luiselli will be the next author to contribute a manuscript to the Future Library, which locks away unpublished manuscripts until 2114.

Over 2000 poets and authors are boycotting the Poetry Foundation, which recently shelved a review of a poetry collection that engages with “anti-Zionist politics.” The magazine wanted to appear neutral in regard to the Israel-Gaza conflict, but a lot of people saw this as the censoring of anti-Zionist Jewish authors.

Numbers & Trends

Lil’ Kim says her memoir’s presales are “surpassing the Bible.”

The best-selling books of the week.

We’re here to enrich your reading life! Get to know the world of books and publishing better with a subscription to The Deep Dive, Book Riot’s staff-written publication delivered directly to your inbox. Find a guide to reading logs and trackers, hear about why the bestseller list is broken, analyze some anticipated books, and more from our familiar in-house experts. Get a free subscription for weekly content delivered to your inbox, or upgrade to paid-for bonus content and community features connecting you to like-minded readers.

Award News

The National Book Award winners have been announced.

What’s so controversial about the National Book Awards?

John Vaillant wins the Baillie Gifford Prize for Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World.

Plus, the Baillie Gifford Prize shows an average 857% gain in unit sales for winning titles.

The Goodreads Choice Awards removed categories for Children’s & Middle Grade, Poetry, and Graphic Novels, and added “Romantasy” as a new category.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

Scrabble’s new tournament list adds words that lexicographers say aren’t actually words at all, and more alarmingly, have reinstated over 100 words that were designated as slurs and removed in 2020. From a top-ranked Scrabble player: “’Nobody was asking to reinstate half of the slurs. Nobody.’”

A book club started discussing Finnegan’s Wake each month in 1995, and they only just now finished.

On the Riot

It’s time for Kindles to natively support EPUB file formats.

How to create an immersive Pride & Prejudice reading experience.

No more computers as magical shortcuts.

When to start reading to babies.

a black cat sitting on an unmade blue and gray comforter

You see an unmade bed, but Gilbert sees a blanket nest. He’s been spending a lot of time sleeping on our bed recently, and I’ve never seen him so happy! He loves blankets and being burritoed and making nests for himself.

All right, friends. I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and that you were able to take a little time off this week! (I have to work on Friday, but I was able to take Wednesday off.) See you next week!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Vibes Like A24

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. So last week, I was trying to come up with Two Truths and a Lie for a staff icebreaker activity, and thanks to some crowdsourcing from my family, I came up with my three statements: 1) I have seen Paul McCartney in concert more times than any other artist, 2) I knew my ABCs forwards and backwards by the time I was 2, and 3) I’ve met the mother of an Olympic gold medalist. (Answer is at the end of the newsletter!)

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

Entangled Publishing had some “frustrating misprint” issues with the first print run of Rebecca Yarros’ highly anticipated Iron Flame, the sequel to Fourth Wing.

Not surprisingly, AI companies are warning that paying for copyrighted data will hurt their bottom line. Meanwhile, writers and publishers weigh in on how to cope with the rise of AI.

New & Upcoming Titles

John le Carré’s son is writing a new George Smiley novel.

The best books of 2023 from Amazon, Harper’s Bazaar, Kirkus (fiction), Time, Vulture, Washington Post (Top 10, fiction, nonfiction, mystery, romance, SFF, poetry)

The 10 best feel-good books of 2023.

Weekly picks from Crime Reads, LitHub, New York Times.

November picks for (YA SFF/horror).

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

Day – Michael Cunningham (LA Times, New York Times, Washington Post)

Art Monsters: Unruly Bodies in Feminist Art – Lauren Elkin (Vogue, Washington Post)

UFO: The Inside Story of the U.S. Government’s Search for Alien Life Here—and Out There – Garrett M. Graff (LA Times, Vanity Fair)

Eyeliner: A Cultural History – Zahra Hankir (New York Times, NPR)

The Money Kings: The Epic Story of the Jewish Immigrants Who Transformed Wall Street and Shaped Modern America – Daniel Schulman (New York Times, Washington Post)

RA/Genre Resources

Why privilege has always been at the heart of the whodunnit.

The African artists driving a cultural renaissance.

Genre juggernaut: measuring romance.

On the Riot

It’s Book Riot’s Best Books of 2023! And the best BIPOC books of 2023!

10 of the best disability books of 2023.

10 of the best Appalachian books of 2023.

20 of the best picture books of the year.

The best new weekly releases to TBR.

Please stop with the sexist “reverse” tropes in romance.

Triggers, trauma, and true crime.

Our fascination with Greek mythology.

All Things Comics

Amazon is merging Comixology with the Kindle app.

The Washington Post selects the 10 best graphic novels of 2023.

Five Norse-inspired graphic novels and comics.

On the Riot

Stories so nice, they told them twice: 8 comics based on classic books.

8 quietly reflective graphic novels.

Why comic books are like soap operas, or how this Rioter learned to love continuity.


Audible has a bunch of curated Best of 2023 lists for all of your audio-listening needs.

On the Riot

The best-selling audiobooks of 2023.

We’re here to enrich your reading life! Get to know the world of books and publishing better with a subscription to The Deep Dive, Book Riot’s staff-written publication delivered directly to your inbox. Find a guide to reading logs and trackers, hear about why the bestseller list is broken, analyze some anticipated books, and more from our familiar in-house experts. Get a free subscription for weekly content delivered to your inbox, or upgrade to paid-for bonus content and community features connecting you to like-minded readers.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


17 YA books with vibes similar to A24 movies.

YA books about being one of the only BIPOC students in a mostly white school.


Books for fans of The Crown.

40 books to understand Palestine.

Thrillers featuring natural disasters.

7 therapists recommend books that will make your relationship stronger.

7 novels about characters driven by cravings.

On the Riot

Picture books that tell the truth about the first Thanksgiving.

19 books by Native writers for kids of all ages.

YA books about cooking and baking.

8 absurdist fiction books.

Lighthearted murder mysteries for the faint of heart.

10 insta-love romance books that prove love at first sight is real.

The threat is in these book titles.

8 books about psychological safety.

Scary stories in small towns and big cities.

11 Palestinian fiction reads.

10 poetry books about mental health.

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 has a guide to discovering upcoming diverse books, and Nora Rawlins of Early Word has created a database of upcoming diverse titles to nominate as well that includes information about series, vendors, and publisher buzz.

a black and white cat half-laying on a person's lap

Why does Dini look like he’s hanging onto a piece of Titanic wreckage for dear life?

Okay, friends, you made it to the end. And the lie from the beginning of the newsletter was…1. I’ve seen Paul McCartney 3x in concert, but the top award goes to Mumford & Sons (6 times!), and I’m very much hoping to make it 7 next year if they’ll just announce a tour already! But yes, I knew my ABC’s forwards AND backwards by the time I was 2 (still do!), and I met the mother of Evan Lysacek, the 2010 US Olympic gold medalist in men’s figure skating, at a wedding. (My MIL introduced us.) Sadly, Evan Lysacek was not at the wedding, but his mother was very nice and she said she was going to tell him she met one of his fans!

Peace out, everyone, and if you celebrate, I hope you have a peaceful Thanksgiving.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Queer in a Time of Book Banning

Welcome to Check Your Shelf, where it has been a WEEK. To put it bluntly, we’ve been in crisis mode at work for a long time, and on Tuesday, one of my fellow managers and I had an opportunity to address the library trustees about the impact this staffing crisis has had on the employees, and we didn’t pull any punches. There is a lot of change happening, and a lot more change still to come, but I think our statements had a positive impact.

Indulge your inner book nerd and join a community of like-minded readers looking to expand their knowledge and their TBR. Subscribe to The Deep Dive, where Book Riot’s editorial staff draws from their collective expertise to bring you compelling stories, informed takes, tips, hacks, and more. Find out why the bestseller list is broken, analyze some anticipated books, and explore the great wide world of books and publishing. Get a free subscription for weekly content delivered to your inbox, or upgrade to paid-for bonus content and community features.

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

Leslie Burger has been appointed the Interim Executive Director of ALA, following Tracie D. Hall’s departure earlier this year.

Worth Reading

Here’s what students miss out on when their schools don’t have librarians.

Sacred space: why libraries are essential to incarcerated writers.

Why we need public libraries now more than ever.

7 surprising ways the public library can save you money.

Book Adaptations in the News

It’s not a book adaptation, but Michael Connelly’s Wonderland Murders and the Secret History of Hollywood podcast is getting a docuseries adaptation at MGM+.

What’s going on with Enola Holmes, season 3.

Season 2 of House of the Dragon will premiere early next summer.

Censorship News

Kelly Jensen talks about having her own book banned in retaliation for her reporting on censorship issues.

Queer in a time of book banning: a library worker’s story.

How much does the book banning crusade cost American taxpayers?

Kirk Cameron launches his own book fair in response to Scholastic, saying that his program will provide children’s books without pornography. The link is from Fox News, although I typically try not to link to them.

Censorship in prisons is part of slavery’s legacy.

Innocence, here and abroad: taboos about what can and can’t be shown in picture books around the world.

Librarians who have been fired due to their refusal to ban books are turning to the EEOC for assistance.

Book bans and the librarians who won’t be hushed.

Election updates: Election Night 2023 library wrap-up; Liberal and moderate candidates take control of school boards in contentious races across the US; Republicans suffer crushing defeat in “transgender battle;” Moms for Liberty-backed school board candidates overwhelmingly lose in elections.

Booksellers and publishers urge the appeals court to uphold the block on the contentious Texas book rating legislation.

P!nk and PEN America have teamed up to give away 2,000 banned books at her Florida concerts.

This Florida high school librarian explains how the ongoing fight against censorship drove her to quit a job that she loved.

Steve Martin has a snappy comeback for the Collier County Public School district (FL) for banning his novel, Shopgirl, which is cute, I guess, but Collier County schools have removed 313 books from their school libraries, and that’s not getting nearly as much attention.

Students in New Haven, Connecticut, rally for the right to read.

Five new candidates were elected to the Pine-Richland School District (PA), and four of them are in support of book bans.

Inside the knock-down, drag-out fight over the soul of a Pennsylvania school district (Central Bucks).

(Paywalled): Carroll County School District’s (MD) assistant superintendent reverses a committee’s decision to retain five challenged titles.

(Paywalled): The Lexington-Richmond Five School District (SC) will retain A Court of Mist and Fury.

Parents in Marietta, Georgia, are fighting to get Flamer back on school library shelves.

Farmington School District (AR) will keep Kingdom of Ash.

Boyle County Schools (KY) removed over 100 library books in response to their interpretation of a new state law restricting how human sexuality is taught or mentioned in the classroom. However, the law didn’t actually apply to library materials, and now the district has to put the books back on the shelves.

The Okemos School District (MI) has canceled their planned Scholastic Book Fairs this fall over Scholastic’s initial plan to segregate “diverse” books in a separate collection. “We will revisit the use of Scholastic Book Fairs when they share their new plan.”

Iowa’s proposed rules on banning books in schools are out. Here’s what to know.

A Fresno County (CA) supervisor introduces a proposal that would give parents more control over the books in the children’s section at the library. “He made it clear the legislation would not ban any of the books, it would just remove them from the children’s section.” THAT’S STILL CENSORSHIP!

(Paywalled): 18 LGBTQ+ books were challenged at Helix Character School in Oregon, but all will remain on the shelves.

“Dozens, if not hundreds, of library boards throughout America have faced growing scrutiny in recent years and become embroiled in censorship debates. Seemingly overnight, people in cities throughout the country have tried to ban certain books in the name of protecting children. Others have argued book bans are un-American and an infringement on freedom of speech.” This is about city council drama in Liberty Lake (WA) that stems from an attempt to get Gender Queer removed from the library last year, but I am so damn sick of news outlets giving the “both sides” treatment to censorship issues.

Sitka High School (AK) students introduce a resolution to their school board in strong opposition to book banning.

Books & Authors in the News

A judge has dismissed part of the AI copyright lawsuit filed by a group of authors.

All Seasons Press sues Mark Meadows over alleged lies in his memoir, The Chief’s Chief.

Numbers & Trends

Has it ever been harder to make a living as an author?

10 books trending on TikTok right now.

The best-selling books of the week.

Award News

Two sponsors withdrew from the National Book Awards ceremony after learning that some of the authors involved were planning to make a political statement about the Israel-Gaza conflict. This was the official update/response from the National Book Awards.

Barnes & Noble has named The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store as their 2023 Book of the Year.

ALA has announced the finalists for the 2024 Andrew Carnegie Medals.

Voting for the Goodreads Choice Awards has opened up.

Pop Cultured

25 of the best serial killer shows for you to stream immediately.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

What this parent reads to their child when the world is on fire.

A history of Ángela Ruiz Robles and her Mechanical Encyclopedia, which people consider to be a precursor to the modern ereader.

On the Riot

What’s new in the world of reading research?

How to create a Fellowship of the Traveling Book.

This Rioter is trying desperately to read anything that’s not a book.

a closeup photo of a black and white cat sticking its tongue out

No words, just vibes.

Well, that’s all I have for today, friends. I’m going to take a nap and hopefully wake up a bit more refreshed next week. See you on Tuesday!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

What’s the Future of Books?

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. We have our annual staff in-service coming up on Friday, and we’re doing Two Truths and a Lie for our obligatory icebreaker activity. As I was trying to come up with mine, I realized that I talk a lot and have already given away most of my interesting factoids! (Did you know that I have a Beatles-themed tattoo that I got in Liverpool on my honeymoon? Or that I’m related to Rutherford B. Hayes on my mom’s side of the family? Or that I saw Cubs legend Ryne Sandberg on my lunch break a few months ago? My coworkers do!)

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

The Wall Street Journal has dropped its bestseller lists.

The Authors Guild has called on the US Copyright Office to require consent and compensation for AI training.

What happens to illustrators when robots can draw robots?

How TikTok has transformed romance publishing.

What’s the future of books?

New & Upcoming Titles

Stephen King has a new story collection coming in May, and it includes a prequel to Cujo! Entertainment Weekly has an exclusive excerpt from that story.

HarperCollins has signed a global deal for the next book from Pope Francis.

There’s a new sci-fi trilogy coming from writing duo James S.A. Corey.

Kensington Books has acquired world rights to TikTok star Harley Laroux’s debut novel, Her Soul to Take.

Here are the highlights from Barbra Streisand’s 970-page memoir if you don’t have the time to read the whole thing.

Publishers Weekly has a roundup of all the November 2023 book club picks.

The New York Times and the NYPL have selected the best-illustrated children’s books of 2023.

The best novels of 2023, according to Oprah Daily.

The best new celebrity memoirs of 2023 (so far).

Weekly book picks from Crime Reads, LitHub.

November picks from (fantasy).

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

My Name is Barbra – Barbra Streisand (Entertainment Weekly, LA Times, New York Times, NPR, People, Time, USA Today)

The Future – Naomi Alderman (LA Times, New York Times, Washington Post)

Class: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hunger, and Higher Education – Stephanie Land (New York Times, Seattle Times, Shondaland)

Correction: Parole, Prison, and the Possibility of Change – Ben Austen (New York Times, Washington Post)

Again and Again – Jonathan Evison (New York Times, Washington Post)

Pretty Boys are Poisonous – Megan Fox (Entertainment Weekly, People)

RA/Genre Resources

How Rebecca Yarros’ novels became a romantasy BookTok phenomenon.

Oprah Daily looks at Jesmyn Ward’s body of work.

We Need Diverse Books launches a new website dedicated to Indigenous children’s literature/

The Ripped Bodice and Free Period Press have teamed up to create a checklist of 50 romance novels to help you explore the genre. You can purchase a print copy of the list, or you can explore all of the titles here for free.

This reader has had enough of “Sad Bad Girl” novels and sensationalized trauma, but they want complex stories about women.

On the Riot

The 10 best indie publishing companies to follow to find your next read.

Is ghostwriting ruining literature?

42 new winter holiday romances to read before 2023 ends.

The best new weekly releases to TBR.

14 new November book club picks.

The impact of The Hunger Games, 15 years since its publication.

All Things Comics

Here’s a first look at Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

On the Riot

13 new manga releases for November.

9 manga and graphic novels for fans of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow.

Middle grade cozy fantasy comics and graphic novels.


Spotify makes audiobooks available to their Premium subscribers.

Here are the November 2023 Earphones Award winners.

On the Riot

10 audiobooks for Nonfiction November.

Indulge your inner book nerd and join a community of like-minded readers looking to expand their knowledge and their TBR. Subscribe to The Deep Dive, where Book Riot’s editorial staff draws from their collective expertise to bring you compelling stories, informed takes, tips, hacks, and more. Find out why the bestseller list is broken, analyze some anticipated books, and explore the great wide world of books and publishing. Get a free subscription for weekly content delivered to your inbox, or upgrade to paid-for bonus content and community features.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


Barnes & Noble lists 11 of their favorite picture books.

16 YA fantasy mysteries to cozy up with.


6 great mystery novels set in hotels.

15 books to read after you finish Class by Stephanie Land.

5 SFF novels about autocrats and absolute power.

Wilderness thrillers featuring fearless women.

5 big nonfiction books from small presses.

8 books that explain how the world works.

Must-read romances for fans of Emily Henry.

Scottish detective series to read right now.

10 spy novels that will sneak up on you.

On the Riot

8 delightful Diwali books for kids to explore.

Picture books for shy kids.

12 Indigenous memoirs for Nonfiction November and Indigenous Peoples’ Month.

The best books about finding yourself.

Just kiss already! 8 oblivious-to-lovers romances.

10 heartwrenching relationship-in-crisis romance novels.

The best high fantasy books for magical escapes.

Cozy fantasy books about books.

The best LGBTQ-inclusive relationship books.

13 queer mermaid books.

10 books like Killers of the Flower Moon.

The 20 most influential mystery novels of the last 10 years.

8 fantastic Doctor Who books to get ready for the 60th anniversary specials.

12 thrilling heist 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 has a guide to discovering upcoming diverse books, and Nora Rawlins of Early Word has created a database of upcoming diverse titles to nominate as well that includes information about series, vendors, and publisher buzz.

black and white cat stretched out next to a person's leg with its front paws pulled up to its chin

Dini was extra snuggly last week, and he really piled on the cute by pulling his paws up to his chin! When he gets like this, I resign myself to the fact that he’ll probably stay there for at least an hour.

Okie dokie, I’ll be back on Friday! Have a good week!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Moms for Liberty Lose Big at the Polls

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. I’m injecting some much-needed humor into my evenings by re-watching the TV version of What We Do In the Shadows. For those of you who’ve seen it, the episode in Season 2 where the vampires are trying to avoid the email curse from Bloody Mary always gives me strong “patron computer assistance” vibes.

Power up your reading life with thoughtful writing on books and publishing, courtesy of The Deep Dive. Over at our Substack publication, you’ll find timely stories, informed takes, and useful advice from our in-house experts. We’re here to share our expertise and perspective, drawing from our backgrounds as booksellers, librarians, educators, authors, editors, and publishing professionals. Find out why the bestseller list is broken, analyze some anticipated books, and then get a free subscription for weekly content delivered to your inbox. You can also upgrade to paid-for bonus content and community features connecting you to like-minded readers.

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

The Nashville Public Library is considering its interim director for the permanent position.

Worth Reading

(Paywalled): LibraryTok flips the script on public libraries and their relevance to Gen Z.

Book Adaptations in the News

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is getting a series adaptation with Amazon.

AMC picks up Nautilus, a reimagining of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

A24 is developing the TikTok-famous self-published Magnolia Parks novels into a TV series.

Censorship News

Most people don’t know how librarians select collection materials, so what do they think of book bans?

Here’s some news to make you smile: Parental rights activists, especially Moms for Liberty, lost big in their elections Tuesday night.

Two wins for public libraries this week at the polls.

The public library trustees in Graham, Texas, are arguing over what to do about the book We Need to Talk About Vaginas: An IMPORTANT Book About Vulvas, Periods, Puberty and Sex!, which, as we’ve mentioned before, is written by a reproductive endocrinologist and geared towards 11-14 year old readers. But again, it’s the adults who are making puberty a controversial and sexual topic.

A Tyler (TX) resident wrote a letter to the editor in response to a previous letter encouraging people to oppose book bans, which she said had “misleading information.” “I don’t know if this it [sic] due to blissful ignorance, naivety or is intentionally meant to give out bad information.” There’s someone in this conversation suffering from “blissful ignorance,” but I don’t think it was the person calling for an opposition to book bans…

Public libraries ponder Florida’s rule against the American Library Association.

LaBelle (FL) City Commissioner Hugo Vargas expressed displeasure with the public library’s Banned Books Week display. When he was told that middle school children could check certain books out with parental permission, he said, “‘There are people who don’t pay attention to what their children are doing.’” So, none of this is really about parental rights…it’s about the ability of one specific group of parents to impose their beliefs on an entire community.

“Two Florida members of the right-wing Moms for Liberty group called police on a pair of school librarians over a book in a bestselling young adult fantasy series.” This is in Santa Rosa County, and the book is Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Truly, I don’t know if they genuinely believe that these books are pornographic or if they’re just that committed to the party line.

An update from last week’s news item: “With no comment at all from board members, the Hernando County [FL] School Board on Oct. 24 unanimously approved the removal of the books “It’s So Amazing” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”

Dover School Board (NH) unanimously rejected an effort to remove Boy Toy from the school library.

(Paywalled): “A Downington [PA] school board candidate pretended to be the ‘Society for College Medicine’ to challenge books.” I am so ticked this article is paywalled.

A Pennsylvania public library had funding cut because of LGBTQ+ books, and then Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir stepped in.

(Paywalled): Catawba County (NC) parents have options for restricting student access to books.

The Moore County (NC) Board of Education has tabled a vote on 9 challenged books until their December meeting.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) voted to remove A Court of Frost and Starlight, saying it was too mature for high school students and “lacked educational value.”

(Paywalled): Horry County (SC) school district voted to ban an LGBTQ+ history book for kids, as well as limit access to titles by Toni Morrison and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

More on the recent decision made by the Alabama Public Library Service to sever ties with the American Library Association. It’s definitely due to pressure from funding cuts, but this quote from a member of Read Freely Alabama really hits the nail on the head: “’As much as we have empathy for the situation she found herself in, we do wish we had some stronger leadership,’ Hayden said.” Librarians and Read Freely Alabama react to the recent APLS memo, and an Alabama librarian wrote to the Alabama Library Association, saying that residents “have been betrayed by the very professionals meant to protect their rights.”

An interview with the recently fired Saline County (AR) Library Director, who was fired after refusing to relocate three challenged items. Namely, she regrets nothing. “‘I would rather be fired for supporting the First Amendment than sued for violating it.’” This is real leadership.

“Starting Jan. 1, 2024, the Rutherford County Library System [TN] will implement a new library card policy that will make it harder for minors to check out books not meant for their age group.”

Citizens for Ashland Library [OH] Accountability have distributed a flyer urging residents to vote no against the library levy. “‘It’s time to inform the library that the voices of concerned citizens who feel strongly about protecting childhood innocence and local accountability matter. Vote no on Nov. 7.’” (But it was all for naught…voters approved the library levy by almost 2,000 votes!)

Voters pass the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library tax levy. This isn’t directly related to censorship, but at this point, library levy elections all feel related.

A Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. (IN) school board member has suggested that the school libraries start labeling “controversial” books in the collection. “The policy defines a controversial issue as ‘a topic on which opposing points of view have been promulgated by responsible opinion and/or likely to arouse both support and opposition in the community,’” which, of course, would be a perfectly objective and reasonable metric to use. /s

The question of book banning continues in the Kenosha School District (WI).

Before running for a spot on her school board, West Des Moines (IA) resident Teri Patrick joined a group of people two years ago, calling for the school district to be investigated for distributing child pornography.

The Wyoming Department of Education has released guidance for school districts looking to revise their library book policies.

The Campbell County Public Library (WY) has appointed a new director after unceremoniously firing the previous director earlier in the year for not removing a set of challenged books from the collection. However, the new director has also had experience dealing with book challenges, and earlier this year, he refused to remove LGBTQ books from the children’s collection at his last library. So…we’ll see how this plays out.

Garfield County (CO) residents rallied against the controversial American Birthright social studies standards being implemented in the school district…and won.

Escondido Union School District (CA) just removed Looking For Alaska and This Book is Gay after a parent complained.

Elk Grove Unified School District Trustees Anthony Perez and Carmine Forcina continue to push for censorship in the school libraries.

Students at Mat-Su Career and Tech High School in Wasilla, Alaska, walked out in protest of a recent slate of school board decisions, including book bans.

The history and rise of book bans in Ireland.

Books & Authors in the News

LitHub wrote an open letter to the 92nd Street Y in New York City about its decision to cancel its event with Viet Thanh Nguyen, apparently because of Nguyen’s criticisms of Israel.

A number of Jewish authors have signed an open letter pushing back on the belief that criticism of Israel is antisemitic.

Rupi Kaur declined an invitation to the White House for a Diwali event, citing the administration’s “support of the current atrocities against Palestinians.”

An academic researcher has uncovered a new body of work that they believe was written by Louisa May Alcott using a pseudonym.

Stephen King gives a tour of his personal library.

Numbers & Trends

Britney Spears’ memoir has already sold over 1 million copies!

A new study from the National Endowment for the Arts shows a “worrying” drop in reading participation amongst adults.

The best-selling books of the week.

ALA has released a report on how Gen Z and Millennials use their public libraries and identify through media use.

Award News

Barnes & Noble has released its finalists for the 2023 Book of the Year.

The 2023 Ignyte Awards winners have been announced.

The 2023 Diverse Book Award winners have been announced.

Here’s the shortlist for the 2023 Waterstones Book of the Year awards.

What 35 years of data can tell us about the National Book Awards.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

A love letter to the paperback.

On the Riot

The 16 books most commonly stolen from high school libraries.

The bookish life of boygenius.

a black and white cat and a black cat peeking over the edge of a basket

I spy with my little eye two kitty goobers in a basket!

All right, friends. Let’s recharge this weekend. I’ll be back on Tuesday!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Monster Romance and Mesopunk

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. I realized that I have a special kind of girl math when it comes to Daylight Savings Time, although honestly, it works for any gender. So we set the clocks back last weekend, which means that we’re only a month and a half away from the shortest day of the year. By the time we reach December 21st, the days start getting longer! Huzzah! And yes, I really do use this logic to get me through the winter.

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

The Simon & Schuster sale to KKR has officially been completed.

Amazon has filed a lawsuit against 20 individuals who have scammed artists by falsely claiming an affiliation with Amazon Publishing and Kindle Direct Publishing.

Unionized workers at Scholastic staged a one-day walkout over wages.

Goodreads has asked its users to help combat “review bombing.”

Do writers really need to get on BookTok?

On translating Infinite Jest into Farsi.

New & Upcoming Titles

Paul Tremblay shared a teaser video for his upcoming novel, Horror Movie, which comes out in June!

5 new YA ghost stories to haunt you.

9 new books to keep you up on Halloween.

The New York Times recommends four new romance novels.

The most popular romance novels of 2023.

New paranormal romances to bewitch you.

Barnes & Noble have short lists of 2023 releases for fans of literary fiction, high school whodunnits, nonfiction about nature, deep reads, romantasy, showstopping picture books, books in translation, cocktail recipes, nonfiction about the 1%, and family sagas.

Weekly book picks from Crime Reads, LitHub, New York Times.

November picks from AARP, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kirkus, LA Times, LitHub (SFF), New York Times, Time, Town & Country, Washington Post.

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

The Reformatory – Tananarive Due (NPR, USA Today, Washington Post)

The Vulnerables – Sigrid Nunez (Datebook, New York Times, Washington Post)

Baumgartner – Paul Auster (Guardian, LA Times)

Fierce Ambition: The Life and Legend of War Correspondent Maggie Higgins – Jennet Conant (New York Times, Washington Post)

Blood Sex Magic: Everyday Magic for the Modern Mystic – Bri Luna (LA Times, Shondaland)

RA/Genre Resources

How podcasts are helping books reach larger audiences.

On the Riot

8 new and upcoming cookbooks to inspire your fall cooking.

New books in translation for fall 2023.

The best new weekly releases to TBR.

November picks for mystery/thrillers, SFF, romance, horror, nonfiction, YA, children’s.

The Horror Writers Association and partners announce their 2024 Summer Scares spokesperson, timeline, and more!

10 authors like Elin Hilderbrand.

Where to get started with monster romance.

The uprising of mesopunk books.

The joys of reading author catalogs in publication order.

In defense of didactic literature.

An exploration of all the writing cults in fiction.

All Things Comics

An original Spider-Man comic book in good condition may be sold for $35K.

The biggest show on Netflix right now is based on a comic that you can’t buy.

How this artist helped transform Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend into a graphic novel.

On the Riot

Why do kids love Garfield so much?

6 tentacle manga to thrill and titillate.

Power up your reading life with thoughtful writing on books and publishing, courtesy of The Deep Dive. Over at our Substack publication, you’ll find timely stories, informed takes, and useful advice from our in-house experts. We’re here to share our expertise and perspective, drawing from our backgrounds as booksellers, librarians, educators, authors, editors, and publishing professionals. Find out why the bestseller list is broken, analyze some anticipated books, and then get a free subscription for weekly content delivered to your inbox. You can also upgrade to paid-for bonus content and community features connecting you to like-minded readers.


Kindle Direct Publishing will beta test AI-narrated audiobooks.

How publishers pair celebrity narrators with audiobooks.

November audio picks from AudioFile and Vulture.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


Books that kids love and recommend.

Kids’ books about Día de los Muertos.

11 YA books with dual timelines that you’ll absolutely love.

Epic Reads has released their 2023 holiday gift guide, along with more extensive gift guides for coming-of-age books, SFF, mystery/thriller/horror, and romance.


Books for Native American Heritage Month.

Barack Obama shares his reading list for learning about the rise of artificial intelligence.

13 eerily good books to read for Halloween and beyond.

7 spooky short story collections by Latina writers.

Scary-ass books by Black authors.

18 nonfiction books for fans of Madonna, memoirs, or cultural histories.

TikTok wants you to read these 34 books ASAP.

Modern African books based on mythology.

10 horror romance books to send shivers down your spine.

10 intense psychological thrillers that will mess with your head.

6 endlessly fun page-turners recommended by Janet Evanovich.

On the Riot

20 funny picture books for kids to erupt in giggles.

Children’s books that will keep the Halloween spirit alive all year long.

8 fantasy novels where the characters reincarnate.

Influential BIPOC authors you may not have heard of.

Stop, you’re killing me! 21 must-read serial killer thrillers.

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 has a guide to discovering upcoming diverse books, and Nora Rawlins of Early Word has created a database of upcoming diverse titles to nominate as well that includes information about series, vendors, and publisher buzz.

a black and white cat loafing in a large cat bed

Blaine accidentally left a super-plush robe out on the couch, so Dini obviously decided it was his. In order to rescue the robe, Blaine proposed a trade and relocated the cat bed, so now Dini has a new favorite spot.

All right, friends, I’ll be back on Friday.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

School Board Candidates Endorsed by Moms for Liberty

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. I’m trying to put this newsletter together without interruption, but Gilbert’s sitting next to me on the couch and doing his best to lick a hole through the nearest throw pillow. I can’t tell if he’s actually trying to lick the pillow, or if he just thinks he’s licking his foot, but I have to keep reaching over to redirect him. He’s always been a pillow-licker though…

We’re here to enrich your reading life! Get to know the world of books and publishing better with a subscription to The Deep Dive, Book Riot’s staff-written publication delivered directly to your inbox. Find a guide to reading logs and trackers, hear about why the bestseller list is broken, analyze some anticipated books, and more from our familiar in-house experts. Get a free subscription for weekly content delivered to your inbox, or upgrade to paid-for bonus content and community features connecting you to like-minded readers.

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

Philadelphia students navigate school without access to school libraries.

Publishers look to make edits to Massachusetts’ eBook access bill.

Cool Library Updates

The San Francisco Public Library launched a new free music streaming service that spotlights local musicians.

The British Library is making the entire collection of Geoffrey Chaucer’s manuscripts available in digital format. ​​

Worth Reading

Digitizing books can spur demand for physical copies.

Book Adaptations in the News

Amazon is developing a series adaptation of The Fourth Wing.

Multiple buyers have already placed bids for the adaptation rights to Britney Spears’ memoir.

Taron Egerton will star in a film adaptation of Jordan Harper’s She Rides Shotgun.

Here’s the trailer for Stamped From the Beginning.

Censorship News

Here’s a list of every school board candidate endorsed by Moms for Liberty in several states.

They may not be the most targeted books, but they’re still banned.

Ending censorship applies to prison too.

A new study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and George Mason University found that banning a book in one state often led to circulation increases for that book in states that did not ban it.

This is how you can protect your local library. (Come for the public library support, and stay for the awesome professional resource that is Ask a Manager!)

The Art of War and Amy Schumer’s memoir are among the many books banned in U.S. prisons. Here’s why.

School librarians from across the nation speak about mounting pressures.

Conroe ISD (TX) is on the verge of implementing a book ban that mirrors the new policy recently approved at Katy ISD.

The Abilene City Council (TX) approved a “controversial” statue design for the Adamson-Spalding Storybook Garden. The controversy? The statue depicts the two main characters from Itty Bitty Kitty Corn, a picture book about a kitten who dresses like its unicorn friend, which residents say is an encouragement of the “transgender lifestyle.” Yes, grown adults who seemingly have families, drive cars, and pay bills are upset about a kitten and a unicorn from a children’s picture book.

Florida joins the list of conservative states severing ties with the American Library Association.

The Tampa Bay Times covered the recent American Association of School Librarians conference, including the Right to Read rally, which was held indoors due to safety concerns.

Miami-Dade (FL) students now need a parent’s permission to attend the school book fair.

“Thirty-thousand children could face new restrictions on what they can borrow from Hillsborough County libraries [FL] under expanded parental controls to begin early next year.”

The Volusia County School District (FL) has put the Bible back on the shelves after it was challenged for “sexually explicit content.”

Hernando County Schools (FL) have recommended that It’s So Amazing: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families and The Perks of Being a Wallflower be removed from school libraries after a local member of Moms for Liberty challenged the titles. From a MfL member quoted in the article: “Moms for Liberty is not in the business of banning books…For the parents who want their children to have access to age inappropriate material, they can visit the county libraries, Amazon, eBay and other stores.” Sure, let’s just forget the fact that Moms for Liberty are targeting public libraries just as much as school libraries and that many families can’t afford to purchase books for their children anyway.

The Woolwich Central School board (ME) unanimously rejected a request from a parent to remove It’s Perfectly Normal, saying it was too sexual for students. Again, I point out that if adults consider books about puberty too sexual, that says way more about them than it does about the library that carries the book.

Southington High School (CT) parents are upset about their children having to read Native Son in English classes.

The East Hampton City Council (MA) has issued a resolution to oppose book bans and other attempts to limit information at the public library.

A bigoted pastor has found himself on the receiving end of a one-year ban from Clyde-Savannah Central School District property (NY) for his conduct at a recent board meeting, so he gets a non-critical write-up in the local paper about his collaboration with Moms for Liberty.

The Pennsylvania Senate has passed its “explicit content” legislation despite heated debate over whether or not the legislation supports book bans. The bill now heads to the Democratic-majority House.

The courts have sided with a Pennsylvania parent, who won an open records lawsuit against the Pennridge School District, which he contends has been secretly banning books and having staff check out contentious books to keep them off the shelves during the review process.

Nazareth Area School Board (PA) will decide soon whether or not to ban Push.

“A handful of community members in the Pine-Richland School District [PA] pleaded with school directors Monday evening to remove books from school libraries they deemed to be sexually explicit and obscene.” Words matter, and using words like “pleaded” to describe these demands is not a good choice.

(Paywalled): Catawba County Schools (NC) have read 24 contested titles, but the challenges aren’t over.

Anatomy of a communication mess: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (NC) banned Banned Books Week activities, then reversed the ban on Banned Books Week. However, they did decide to keep Nineteen Minutes and Sold in the school libraries, so yay?

South Carolina state superintendent Ellen Weaver wants the state, not local school districts, to control which books and educational materials are purchased for school libraries. So much for small government, amirite? (Semi-paywalled – I had to answer three questions to get 48 hours of free access to this article.)

Moms for Liberty is upset that the Horry County School District (SC) only restricted access to Monday’s Not Coming, and didn’t remove the book entirely from the library.

Greenville County Library Board (SC) slightly loosens its draconian display policy, but only slightly. From the article: “‘We seem to be the only ones that we can find that has gone to this particular level of policy,’ said trustee William Pinkston.” You’re so close to getting it, Trustee Pinkston! So close!

“The Lexington-Richland 5 school board [SC] voted Monday to deny a request that committee members get a three-week extension to finish its review of the book,” so it’s possible that some committee members may vote on a recommendation for the book without having read it in its entirety.

Berkeley County School District (SC) will provide recommendations for 10 of the 93 books that were challenged by a single parent.

Alabama State Library director Nancy Pack has caved to the governor’s demands and ended the state’s ALA membership.

Alabama libraries battle extremists. Will lawmakers do the same?

Residents at a recent Athens-Limestone County Library (AL) board meeting called for the library to rewrite its policies regarding sexual content in library materials.

The Cullman Library Board (AL) has declined to move three challenged LGBTQ+ titles.

The Arkansas Library Association’s president declined an invitation to a legislative hearing, as the ArLA is participating in a lawsuit against the state. In response, an Arkansas State senator has said that the state will withhold funding from the ArLA, except the ArLA doesn’t receive state funding and never has. Will these people learn to at least research their threats before making them?

The Iberia Parish School District (LA) has removed Gender Queer for review and possibly two additional LGBTQ+ titles? It’s hard to tell from the article. But a parent challenged all three titles in an email titled “Library Scavenger Hunt,” and wrote, “‘I’m sure many other parent (sic) will find this unacceptable. We are not only making it accessible to MINORS but now rewarding/promoting it with this sick scavenger hunt…This is absolutely unacceptable.’” It’s unclear what they mean by “library scavenger hunt” though.

The St. Tammany (LA) library board rescinded a policy that segregated over 150 challenged titles that were pending review.

The Daviess County Public Library (KY) moved three books from the Young Adult to the Adult section, but the director says the decision had nothing to do with the recent “audit” made by the Daviess County Citizens for Decency.

A local Michigan group called Parents and Taxpayers Against Pornography in Rockford Public Schools filed a lawsuit against the district for having books with sexual content in school libraries, but the lawsuit has been dismissed.

Kenosha Unified School District (WI) has removed four books this year: This Book is Gay, Gender Queer, Let’s Talk About It, and All Boys Aren’t Blue.

District 300 has reversed its decision to cancel Hampshire High School’s (IL) spring musical production of The Prom.

A group of parents and students led a silent protest at a recent Cheyenne School Board (WY) meeting against a proposed policy that would require parents to opt-in to give their students access to specific titles. The current policy allows parents to opt-out if they want to restrict access.

Garfield County Libraries (CO) hosted a Freedom to Read rally in response to a patron who wanted several manga titles to either be separated from the rest of the collection or removed altogether.

The Will Rogers Public Library Board (OK) has decided to retain My Footprints.

The Salt Lake City Tribune has created a database of titles banned in Utah.

The Chino Valley School Board (CA) continues to debate a potential policy change that would allow books with “sexually graphic content” to be removed from school libraries.

Visalia Unified Board of Education (CA) heard from several disgruntled residents who were upset that the school chose not to ban 13 challenged titles.

Books & Authors in the News

The Taylor and Travis fan fiction that’s tearing TikTok apart.

In other Taylor Swift/TikTok news, there’s a theory bouncing around that Taylor Swift is the person behind the pseudonym Elly Conway, whose espionage novel is coming out in January and has already been snagged for a movie adaptation. However, Vanity Fair investigated and concluded that T. Swift is not Elly Conway.

Stephen King wrote an op-ed for the New York Times on gun control after the deadly mass shooting in Maine last week.

Mario Vargas Llosa says that his latest novel will be his last.

George R.R. Martin is still working on Winds of Winter.

Numbers & Trends

What are the book-owning and book-reading habits of Americans?

The bestselling books of the week.

Award News

The 2023 World Fantasy Award winners have been announced.

The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters is the winner of the 2023 Barnes & Noble Discover Prize.

Pop Cultured

The 10 best detective movies of all time, ranked.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

The long legacy of book clubs.

On the Riot

The best eReaders of 2023.

What works in book clubs and what doesn’t.

Why does Frankenstein endure in pop culture?

a black and white cat looking upside down at the camera

Dini’s figured out that he’s doubly cute when he looks at us upside down like this! Don’t you just want to give him all the scritches and kisses??

All right, friends, it’s the weekend! I’ll see you on Tuesday!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Check Your Shelf

Literary It-Girls

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. As always, Halloween season has sped by faster than I’d like. I know I can read horror novels and watch scary movies all year, but there’s something special when the entire month is dedicated to all things dark, demented, and disturbing. Now all of the streaming horror movie collections are going to be replaced by movies with cozy Thanksgiving vibes, but I’m not ready to let go of the spooky stuff just yet!

Don’t forget, whether you’re looking for romance, creepy reads, modern classics, or escapist reads, TBR can help you find the perfect books for your fall reading, with options curated to your specific reading tastes.

Collection Development Corner

Publishing News

The makings of a literary it-girl.

New & Upcoming Titles

Publisher’s Weekly has released their list of the Best Books of the Year!

Tor has acquired three more novels from Seanan McGuire to continue and complete the Alchemical Journeys series.

Chuck Tingle has a new book coming out in July 2024.

Tom Selleck is publishing a memoir, which will be released in May 2024.

20 recent SFF books that will blow your mind.

19 new historical romances to make you swoon.

40 Canadian books to read this fall.

The best new fantasy and historical fiction of the year.

Weekly book picks from Crime Reads, LitHub, New York Times.

The best debut crime novels of October.

Barnes & Noble’s November/December picks for adults, teens, and children.

November picks from Epic Reads.

What Your Patrons Are Hearing About

Opposable Thumbs: How Siskel & Ebert Changed Movies Forever – Matt Singer (LA Times, New York Times, Washington Post)

The Woman in Me – Britney Spears (New York Times, USA Today, Variety)

Organ Meats – K-Ming Chang (New York Times, Shondaland)

The Reformatory – Tananarive Due (LA Times, New York Times)

Ours Was the Shining Future: The Story of the American Dream – David Leonhardt (New York Times, Washington Post)

Julia – Sandra Newman (New York Times, Washington Post)

America Fantastica – Tim O’Brien (Esquire, New York Times)

Let Us Descend – Jesmyn Ward (Guardian, NPR)

RA/Genre Resources

A roundtable discussion on Indigenous horror.

On the Riot

10 great nonfiction books from 2023 that you might have missed.

Recent BIPOC horror and thrillers to give you goosebumps.

The best new weekly releases to TBR.

The social significance of ghost stories.

All Things Comics

On the Riot

Yes, graphic novels can (and do!) win literary awards!

What are poetry comics?

8 witchy graphic novels to spellbind you.


Michelle Obama will narrate the digital audio version of Where the Wild Things Are.

Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists


15 dark forest YA books that will keep you up all night in the best way.


Romance novels featuring protagonists with disabilities.

6 books to get you started with Black horror.

5 indie mysteries that really rock.

34 Halloween books to get you in a spooky mood.

Book suggestions for an evening of spooky reading.

Thrilling retellings of classic horror and gothic tales.

The books that explain California.

16 spooky novellas by women and nonbinary authors.

15 of the best fall books for a cozy season.

On the Riot

9 of the best autumn read-aloud picture books.

YA authors who have made their mark with poetry, too.

9 epic sci-fi books set on generation ships.

20 of TikTok’s favorite nonfiction books.

Fantasy books with a classic magic system.

8 titles to satisfy your pop culture cravings.

20 must-read historical fiction books set in France.

8 of the best English-language and US debuts.

Genre-blending horror novels you need to read.

10 of the best queer books on Kindle Unlimited in 2023.

24 African poets you need to read.

9 books about cities to read for World Cities Day.

8 cozy books for autumn reading.

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 has a guide to discovering upcoming diverse books, and Nora Rawlins of Early Word has created a database of upcoming diverse titles to nominate as well that includes information about series, vendors, and publisher buzz.

a black and white cat hiding its face with its paws while stretched out in a person's lap

Dini absolutely conked out in my lap the other night, all stretched out like a 13-pound sausage link. Every time he does this, I resign myself to the fact that I’ll get nothing done while he’s in my lap…but he’s too cute to move!

All right, friends. Have a safe and scary Halloween! I’ll be back on Friday.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.