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“The Gay Penguins Did Not Corrupt Me”

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. I want you all to exude “I’m Speaking” energy into the weekend, next week, the next several weeks, and all the months after that.


Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

Publishers worry as ebooks fly off libraries’ virtual shelves (are we seriously starting up with this tired argument again??).

Multnomah County Library dials back its layoffs, but employees are calling out systemic racism and top-down management.

A former Austin Public Library employee is accused of stealing $1.3 million in printer toner.

Worth Reading

The struggle to diversify library staff.

Libraries could be the next hub for telehealth services.

I’m sharing this for the headline alone: “For Banned Books Week, I read the country’s 10 most challenged books. The gay penguins did not corrupt me.”


Book Adaptations in the News

We’re getting an animated adaptation of Lumberjanes!

The Obama’s production company is teaming up with Doc McStuffins creator Chris Nee to produce an animated series of Ada Twist, Scientist for Netflix.

V.E. Schwab’s new novel The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is getting a film adaptation.

The new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches will skip theaters and go straight to streaming on HBO Max on October 22nd.

Layne Fargo tweeted that her novel They Never Learn is being adapted for TV.

Warner Brothers is pushing back Dune’s release date to late 2021.

Casting updates for Between the World and Me and The Sandman.

Here’s why Hollywood’s been gobbling up book rights during the pandemic.


Books & Authors in the News

A court has ruled that the DoJ’s case against John Bolton’s book can proceed.

A group of lyricists and authors have launched the #45Lies challenge on social media, which is designed to create a rapid-response movement to fact check statements made by Trump.

Why a California school district removed and then quietly reinstated Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret just turned 50!


Numbers & Trends

Out of the top 20 books that have been banned or challenged in the last decade, half of them have featured LGBTQ themes. Perhaps not surprising, but still infuriating.


Award News

The National Book Award finalists have been announced!

Jacqueline Woodson, N.K. Jemisin, and Tressie McMillan Cottom all won 2020 MacArthur Foundation genius grants!

The Center for Fiction just announced the shortlist for its 2020 First Novel Prize.

Akwaeke Emezi said that they will not let their future novels be entered for the Women’s Prize after the prize asked them for information on their sex as defined “by law.”

Shortlists for the National Translation Awards.

The US Selfies awards have added a children’s prize to go along with its adult fiction award.


Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

Browse the world’s strangest (and I do mean STRANGEST) books.

But what do we actually MEAN by a “book?”


On the Riot

4 ways libraries hype books virtually.

5 awesome online educational sites for kids.

This reader doesn’t remember the last time they enjoyed a book.

A brief history of writing styles, from pictures to the modern alphabet.

What would your bookish point total be on The Good Place?


Let’s get through another week together, folks. Remember to reclaim your time, and I’ll catch you on the flipside.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

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Swords and Spaceships for April 10: Hugo Nominees

Happy Friday, shipmates! It’s the most wonderful time of the scifi year–the gathering of the Hugo reading list. It’s Alex, with some news, and some squee to take you into the weekend.

This is literally the best thing I have seen all week. (Also, it’s begging to be an MG fantasy, right?)

News and Views

Essay of the week: In Defense of Needlework

A profile of Michael Moorcock, now at age 80

Paul Weimer’s epic thread of SFF author and book recommendations is still going. He’s hit 271.

I had no idea that among the pre-flight superstitions of cosmonauts, they always watch a movie called The White Sun of the Desert.

Black Girl Nerds interviewed Isis Asare, the owner and founder of the bookstore Sistah Scifi.

This year’s Philip K. Dick award ceremony will be livestreamed.

A lovely short read: Little Free Library by Naomi Kritzer

Still not tired of Patrick Stewart reading sonnets. Here’s Sonnet 18.

Oh wow. Syfy is going to marathon Battlestar Galactica and Xena: Warrior Princess this month.

I missed that April 7 was Leland Melvin Day (technically just in Lynchburg, Virginia, but I think it should be everywhere)

A visual comparison of the tallest mountains in the solar system.

On Book Riot

2020 Hugo Finalists Announced

20 must-read fantasy and sci-fi short story collections

Quiz: Answer fairytale questions to find your next YA fantasy read

You can enter to win a $250 Barnes and Noble gift card

Free Assocation Friday: Hugo Nominees!

ConZealand announced this year’s Hugo Nominees, and the list is AMAZING. So now’s the time to get a jump on your Hugo reading, whether you just want some good books and or if you want to vote, too. Both attending and supporting members of ConZealand can vote in the Hugos; since ConZealand has announced it will be the world’s first all-virtual WorldCon due to the current pandemic, here’s hoping for a massively diverse set of con attendees (and therefore voting members) as well!

Best Novel

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders – January is a tidally-locked planet, one side forever in frozen night and the other in burning daylight. Two cities cling to life in the tiny livable zones of the planet–and Sophie, a failed revolutionary, is exiled (it sounds nicer than a death sentence) from one of them.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – Gideon is ready to be done with a life of servitude that’s bound to be followed by an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. Unfortunately, her escape is foiled by her childhood nemesis, a necromancer who needs Gideon’s sword–and everything that comes with it–if she wants to save her house and become immortal.

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley – In the war between Earth and Mars, soldiers get turned into light for fast transport. Some of them come back wrong. Some of them come back different. And some of them start remembering things that can’t possibly have happened in their propoganda-ruled world.

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine – Mahit is sent on what should be her dream assignment, to be ambassador to the Teixcalaanli Empire, whose culture she has always deeply loved. The problem is that her predecessor, whose memories she should have access to for help, is only an out-of-date copy, and the real man was murdered… and that’s only the start of the galaxy-shaking conspiracies.

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire – Roger and Dodger are twins, separated at birth for nefarious alchemical purposes. They’re not quite gods, but they might be something far more dangerous. The fate of the world rests on their shoulders–and their choices.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – January feels like just another part of the collection, living in a mansion populated with artifacts by her eccentric guardian. Then she finds a book, and each page may be a portal to an different, impossible world…

Best Novella

Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom (from Exhalation by Ted Chiang – The Prism allows its users to glimpse alternate universes and talk to alternate versions of themselves, which calls into question morality and the reality of choice.

the deep by rivers solomon cover imageThe Deep by Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson & Jonathan Snipes – Yetu holds the memories of her people, the water-breathing descendents of enslaved African women who were thrown overboard during their cruel abduction. Overwhelmed, she flees from her people and her responsibilities… and tries to find a new way for them all to live.

The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark – A simple case of a haunted tram car is taken up by the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities in early 20th century Cairo. It leads two agents to ever more dangerous secrets that threaten their city.

In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire – A serious girl who would rather study than be a house wife finds a magical door into a realm of logic, riddles, and lies. Not wanting to be returned home, she cuts a bargain at the Goblin Market–and those never go well.

a slightly pixelated red cardinal is mirrored by a blue bird with a white stomach; both are against a light blue backgroundThis Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone – Two enemy agents in the midst of a war across time begin a correspondence that becomes deeper and more dangerous for them… and could change both past and future for their respective peoples.

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers – Exploration crews in the 22nd century travel outward knowing that everyone they leave behind will age while they remain in stasis. They remain in contact with Earth, watching the culture shift… until one day Earth stops talking.


See you, space pirates. You can find all of the books recommended in this newsletter on a handy Goodreads shelf. If you’d like to know more about my secret plans to dominate the seas and skies, you can catch me over at my personal site.

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We’re giving away 5 copies of Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan!

Enter here for a chance to win, or click the cover image below!

Here’s what its all about;

In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost. Lei is known as the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?

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We’re giving away 25 advanced reader copies of Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin to 25 lucky Riot Readers!

Go here to enter for a chance to win, or just click the cover image below!

Here’s what it is all about:

Hailed as a “marvel of a book” and “brilliant and unflinching,” Alexis Schaitkin’s stunning debut, Saint X, is a haunting portrait of grief, obsession, and the bond between two sisters never truly given the chance to know one another. Years after her sister went missing from the tropical island paradise Saint X, Claire runs into one of her sister’s murder suspects in New York and learn that the reverberations of her family’s tragedy stretch farther than she ever could have guessed.

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Today’s The Stack is sponsored by John Wick.

When a young John Wick embarks upon an epic vendetta, he comes up against a strange, powerful community of assassins and must learn how to master the rules that guide their lethal business. What are the Three Bills? Who is Calamity? And why is John Wick seeking vengeance?

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Is this a Veronica Mars Trailer or an Eye Cream Ad?: Today in Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by our $100 Amazon gift card giveaway! Enter here.


Is this a Veronica Mars Trailer or an Eye Cream Ad?

People of the Marshmalloverse, prepare thyselves: we have a premiere date for the Veronica Mars reboot! Hulu will premiere the eight episode series revival on July 26th and has gifted us with a teaser. I’m so pumped after watching that trailer, and super tryna get the deets on that Kristen Bell skincare routine. Has she aged at all??!?

No I’ll Blow YOUR House down, Mr. Wolf

A school in Barcelona has nixed some 200 classic children’s books from its library, citing toxicity in their portrayal of gender roles as the reason for the pull. I’ll be the first to admit feeling seven kinds of ick when I think about the awful messages in faves like Sleeping Beauty. Nothing says consent like an unconscious makeout sesh! This feels like a huge step in the right direction.

A Book A Day Equals 300K

You already know that reading aloud to the kiddos is a good thing; there’s the bonding, the entertainment, the early introduction to literacy for their tiny spongey brains. Well here are some actual numbers for you on the benefits: it turns out a kindergartener who is read one book a day knows almost 300,000 more words than one whose parents don’t read to them. That’s a lot of words!