Check Your Shelf

1,586 Book Bans in 9 Months

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. As I put together this newsletter, my husband and I are recovering from what we think was food poisoning. Thankfully, the worst of it only lasted 24 hours and I didn’t have it as bad as Blaine did, but yesterday was not great.

So while I try to rehydrate myself, let’s talk about libraries.

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

Blackstone Audio ends its 3 month library embargo on newly published digital titles.

Maryland gives up on its library eBook law.

After losing state funding, Kalispell’s ImagineIF Library (MT) faces a lack of donor confidence.

Multnomah County librarians say that they’re no longer willing to work as de facto security guards.

Cool Library Updates

The Medford Library in Oregon has started offering special morning hours for people experiencing homelessness, where they can get food, hygiene kits, clean socks and outerwear, and time to clean up in the bathrooms.

The Linda Lindas return to the LA Public Library for an NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert.

How to host your own cardboard carnival.

Worth Reading

Activities for National Poetry Month.

Book Adaptations in the News

Tom Hiddleston will be starring in the adaptation of David Grann’s The White Darkness.

Nimona by NB Stevenson is being made into a Netflix movie!

Walker Scobell has been cast as Percy Jackson in the upcoming Disney+ series.

Ragnar Jónasson’s Outside will be adapted as a feature film.

Whoopi Goldberg will play Bird Woman in the upcoming Amazon adaptation of Anansi Boys.

Locke and Key will end with its third season on Netflix.

Casting updates for Truth Be Told, Saint X, and The Lincoln Lawyer.

Hulu released an extended trailer and a premiere date for Conversations With Friends.

Here’s a teaser trailer for Interview With the Vampire.

Banned & Challenged Books

ALA has not offered any meaningful support to librarians dealing with book bans. Here’s a look at their 2022 State of America’s Libraries report, but honestly, if you want a more accurate recap, you’ll be better off checking out this Twitter thread.

PEN America released a statement, a new Index of School Book Bans, and an accompanying report, Banned in the USA, which documents the book bans that have occurred over the last 9 months. They discovered 1,586 book bans in 86 school districts, and 1,154 unique titles being challenged.

What it feels like to be a librarian during an attempt to ban books.

Banning books makes for bad parenting. Well, I’m glad someone said it.

Brooklyn Library is offering access to banned ebooks to teens across the country.

Three Pennsylvania students and one librarian were invited to testify at last week’s banned book hearing in front of Congress. Here are a couple more complete updates.

Ballotpedia’s guide to understanding school board politics.

LGBTQ groups sue Florida over its “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Two books about transgender kids, I Am Jazz and Call Me Max, have been removed from Palm Beach (FL) schools in response to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Polk County (FL) schools decide to keep Nineteen Minutes and Beloved on high school shelves.

The Texas Educational Association has encouraged parental input on library materials.

The National Coalition Against Censorship has issued a statement in response to the removal of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and The Perks of Being a Wallflower from Fredricksburg ISD (TX).

Parents in the Keller ISD (TX) are still upset over “pornogragraphic” books being allowed to stay in the library, and say that the school board isn’t removing enough of them.

Katy ISD (TX) elects to keep Maus and Maus II available in their middle school and high school libraries. ​​

Cherokee County (GA) Board of Education continues to hear from upset parents about “inappropriate books” in school libraries.

Forsyth County (GA) parents are outraged by the presence of Call Me By Your Name and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close on library shelves, and one mom has been banned from board meetings after a particularly noteworthy outburst.

Gender Queer is back on library shelves at Antioch (IL) High School as the board re-evaluates its decision to remove the book.

Here’s an update on the ROWVA (IL) School Board openings, after two board members resigned last month. There are now ELEVEN candidates in the race.

The city of Pella (IA) will not pursue exclusive governmental control of the Pella Public Library, which several citizens have called for after the library refused to remove Gender Queer from library shelves.

Johnson County (IA) librarians share their opposition to book banning.

Arlington Public Library (DC) takes a stand against banning books in schools with their “Wake Up and Read” event.

The Missoula (MT) library board wrote a letter emphasizing their stance against censorship.

This letter to the editor from a Rhode Island parent is alarming, specifically because it outlines their retaliatory efforts that a lot of people are resorting to when the school board/public library refuses to remove the requested materials. ​​

Heather Ann Thompson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising and Its Legacy, has sued the state of New York for its ban on her book being made available to incarcerated people.

Williamson County Schools (TN) temporarily removed access to its digital library on Epic! in response to concerns about the book An ABC of Equality being made available on the app.

Wilson County School Board (TN) elected to keep Eleanor and Park and The Bluest Eye in their high school libraries.

A reading list on CRT and book bans happening in Tennessee schools.

Tennessee students say that CRT laws promote bias in schools and hurt students’ mental health.

The Madison County Library System and the city of Ridgeland (MS) have yet to come to an agreement that would ensure continued funding for the library.

Francis Howell School Board (MO) candidates discuss controversial books and critical race theory ahead of upcoming elections.

Voters cite CRT, book bans, and teacher pay in the Springfield (MO) school board election.

After the Derby School District (KS) removed The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian from a list of approved classroom materials, a former member of the Derby City Council asked the district to review and remove the Bible from its approved classroom materials as well, in an effort to highlight the consequences of censorship. She cited references to murder, masturbation, genocide, incest, and other “mature topics.” The Board refused to remove it, but other committee members have questioned the decision to remove The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian.

One mom in Broomfield, Colorado is upset over Gender Queer and Lawn Boy being available to high school students, even though Gender Queer isn’t held at any of the district school libraries.

Monte Vista School District ( CO) unanimously approved the use of The Hate U Give in its high school curriculum after a parent complained.

Montgomery High School (NJ) heard complaints against The 57 Bus and Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir being made available to teenagers.

Librarians and parents weigh in on the Hempfield Area School District’s (PA) library book policies.

The Hudson City School Board (OH) is preparing to vote on whether or not Gender Queer can be returned to the school library.

The impact of censorship is discussed at an online event at the Bexley Public Library (OH).

It’s Okay to Be a Unicorn is under fire in the Buckeye Valley School District (OH).

Speak up for school librarians in Ohio.

The Burke County Public School Board of Education (NC) heard proposals on centralizing the district’s material selection and giving an additional set of reviews on purchased materials.

Protestors accuse the Wake County (NC) school system of promoting pornography in their schools.

Warren County High School (VA) principal Kenneth Knesh said that a parent contacted the school administration and asked them to pull a book from the shelves for the parent to review, which the administration did. Once the parent is finished looking at the book, he says that the book will be returned to the library, but in the meantime, students don’t have access to the book because someone outside of the school requested that it be pulled.

These kids’ authors are telling the stories of trans youth. Book bans won’t stop them.

Nikole Hannah-Jones calls the wave of book bans an inevitable backlash to the racial protests of 2020.

Republicans are now moving to defund libraries.

A book list for teens who refuse to be told what they can’t read.

Books & Authors in the News

Here are all of the April 2022 book club picks.

Jack Higgins, author of The Eagle Has Landed, has died at 92.

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

Numbers & Trends

Millennial and Gen Z nostalgia is bringing back book sales, indie bookstores, and Barnes & Noble.

5 of the biggest upcoming publishing trends from the London Book Fair.

A rare first edition of The Great Gatsby lists at $360,000.

Award News

The 2022 Whiting Award winners have been announced.

The 2022 International Booker Prize and Hugo Award shortlists have been announced.

YALSA’s Teen Top 10 nominees for 2022 have been announced.

On the Riot

6 databases offered by public libraries to know and try.

The history of bookmobiles.

Why this reader deleted their Goodreads TBR, and why they recommend you should too.

Please start reading books for what they are.

The most boring book opinions.

This reader learned more about science from books than they ever did in their college science classes.

Take an anti-burnout reading vacation.

How video games helped this reader fall back in love with reading. (Wow, I wish that was how it worked for me. Video games are keeping me from reading right now.)

black and white cat resting its head on a person's feet

Remember Gilbert’s resting head portrait from the last newsletter? Well, here’s Dini’s version. Those are my feet he’s resting on, and he stayed that way just long enough for Blaine to take the picture.

It’s the weekend, thank goodness. I’m going to be pretty careful about where we get takeout from for awhile…hopefully all of your culinary adventures will be satisfying and not illness-inducing.

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Swords and Spaceships

Read These Hugo Award Novel Nominees

Happy Friday, shipmates! It’s Alex, here with a closer look at the Hugo finalists for the novel category this year, and some links to take you into the weekend. I hope that y’all have had a great week that’s been as relaxing as it can be, and you’ve been able to read some good books in the meantime! Have a great weekend, and stay safe out there, space pirates. I will see you on Tuesday.

Let’s make the world a better place, together. Here’s somewhere to start: NDN Collective and Jane’s Due Process

News and Views

Netflix saved Nimona!

Artificial Intelligence in Fiction, Fact, and Our Dreams of the Future

The 1,800-Year-Old History of Science Fiction Explained

I Cooked From ‘Jurassic World: The Official Cookbook’ and Relived the Movies

Being a Better Writer: Embracing Conflict in All Its Forms

Canadian author Emily St. John Mandel on creative recklessness, time travel and her favourite science fiction novels

Doctor Who Could Have Been a Much Darker Sci-Fi Show

On Book Riot

The Future Is Not Edible: The Future of Food According to Sci-Fi

Oh Yes, It’s Ladies Fight: 10 Fiery F/F Enemies to Lovers Fantasy Books

How the Code of Chivalry of Medieval Knights Still Influences SFF Today

Afrofuturism: Its Origins, Present, and Future

This week’s SFF Yeah! podcast is about romps

This month you can enter to win $250 at Barnes and Noble, a Kindle Paperwhite, and $100 at

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

Free Association Friday

The Hugo finalists were announced last week, to much excitement. (At least if you’re me!) The novel and novella categories are so ridiculously good this year that I want to take some time to spotlight them in their entirety. I’m just jazzed about all of these books! We’ll talk about the novels this week and the novellas next week. I’ve also had the privilege of reading most of these already–what about you?

Light from Uncommon Stars book cover

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Shizuka made a literal deal with the devil to escape damnation. The price? She has to convince seven of her fellow violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. She’s managed to swindle sixth, but in her pursuit of the final soul, she runs into complications she could have never imagined: a retried starship captain who she can’t help but love and a runaway with a wild talent who all too quickly feels like family.

Cover of A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine

A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine

The sequel to A Memory Called Empire sees Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass leaving the heart of the Teixcalaanli empire to go to the edge of space, where an alien species that no one knows how to communicate with has begun slaughtering Teixcalaanli colonies. Together, they must figure out how to talk to a species whose language quite literally makes them ill… and also how to talk to each other.

Cover of A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark

A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark

Fatma is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities in 1912 Cairo, and she’s already prevented the destruction of the universe once. Now she’s called on to investigate a mysterious murder, one committed by someone who claims to be the famous al-Jahiz, who pierced the veil between magical and mundane realms 40 years ago, now returned to judge the world for its societal sins.

the cover of The Galaxy, and the Ground Within

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers

The planet Gora doesn’t have anything going for it–not even an atmosphere–but it is relatively close to a lot of other, more popular worlds, which makes it basically the truck stop of the galaxy. The Five-Hop One-Top is one truck stop on the planet of truck stops, but when a freak accident halts all traffic through the planet, three strangers find it to be their new, temporary home.

She Who Became the Sun Book Cover

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

When a bandit attack leaves an eighth-born son destined for greatness and his second-born sister destined for nothing orphaned, it’s another trick of fate that the son dies. The daughter takes on her brother’s name, Zhu, and in an attempt to escape her own fate, enters a monastery masquerading as a male novice. But when the monastery, too, is destroyed, Zhu must fully take her brother’s fate of greatness and make it her own.

cover of Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Ryland Grace doesn’t remember who he is or why he’s hurtling through space, having just woken up with two corpses for company. This is a problem, since he’s actually the only survivor of a last-ditch attempt to save humanity, and if he doesn’t complete his mission, that’s curtains for us all. He’s got to figure out who he is and what he’s doing and fast, without help… or maybe there is someone out there for him.

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

Kid Lit Giveaways


We’re giving away three copies of If I Were a Park Ranger by Catherine Stier to three lucky Riot readers!

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

If you were a national park ranger, you’d spend every day in one of the most treasured places in America. You’d have an amazing job protecting animals, the environment, and our country’s natural and historical heritage, from the wilds of Denali to the Statue of Liberty!



Book Riot is teaming up with Work in Progress to giveaway $100 to! Simply fill out the form and subscribe to the Work in Progress newsletter for a chance to win!

Here’s a little more about our sponsor: A weekly literary fiction newsletter with a compendium of original works, exclusive excerpts, and interviews with authors from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Kissing Books

Music Sets the Mood

Hey y’all, welcome to the Kissing Books newsletter. I hope your spirit is doing well today. I’m PN Hinton, your guide through the roller coaster of a ride that the world of romance can be. If this is your first time reading this newsletter, I’m glad that you’re here. If you’re a regular reader, welcome back; it’s always good to see you. 

Last Saturday, I went to watch my nephew’s baseball game in the nice spring weather. When I got home that night, I found a tan line from where my bracelet was. Y’all…the sun was that present and it’s just the beginning of April. If this is an indicator of how the summer heat will be, I will likely be staying indoors for most of it. 

I finished I’ll Come Back for You, which I highly recommend for a ‘horro-romance’ fix. I’m still reading Dating Dr. Dil and started an arc of Queerly Beloved by Book Riot’s own Susie Dumond. 

Quick note before we proceed. It was brought to my attention that while Marie Kondo stated that owning a max of 30 books was her preference, it was not intended to be a hard-set rule for others. Apologies for my misunderstanding on that!

Romance Reflection

Today I want to talk about how important music is when it comes to romances, especially the love scenes. True, this is mainly for movies, but I’ve noticed books in the last few years include playlists. Usually it is what the author was listening to when writing a particular scene in that chapter or illustrates the feeling the characters were going through at that point in the plot. 

And I dig it. Writing is a not an easy task, despite what people may think. Sometimes, you need inspiration to get into the mindset for the scene that is currently being written; so, it helps to have something extra to get the creative juices flowing. Music has always been, very integral to any kind of storytelling, even romances.

Take for instance the movie oft forgotten Boys & Girls, which was essentially When Harry Met Sally for a younger audience. When the two main characters finally hook up, Tyrese’s Lately is playing in the background. And that is for sure one of my go-to songs I think of when I think of slow dancing in all its various forms. 

I myself have a go-to song I will use for inspiration if I ever get back to writing romances: Billy Ocean’s Love Zone. It is a song that embedded itself in my brain as a young’un and I can’t remove it now, even if I wanted to. Which I don’t. 

Book Riot Romance

If you’re a huge fan of sports in your romances, here is a list of some books to check out.

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

Around the Web in Romance

Looking for some new beginnings romances? Check out some of the ones listed here.

I agree with those who have felt conflicted at seeing this type of display. On the one hand, yay for displaying romances. On the other one, the sign is a bit dismissive. A lot of the books featured there deal with heavy topics so to call them cheesy is more than a bit disingenuous.

Another Bridgerton quiz to find out which character you’re the most and least likely compatible with. I got Will and Edwina respectively, which honestly, tracks.


One thing I really liked about I’ll Come Back for You is the strong sibling relationship that was present throughout the book. It was clear that Whitney and Helen cared deeply about one another to the point they were willing to open up a business again. And they way they looked out for each other when the ghosting got real was amazing.

Between that and the fact that National Sibling Day was this past week, I decided to focus on book series that were about siblings. Please note that I’m going to be recommending the whole series as opposed to individual books and just give a general overview of them and the titles in the series. 

cover of Brown Sisters trilogy

The Brown Sisters trilogy by Talia Hibbert

Starting with this one since it recently took Romancelandia by storm. This series by romance darling Talia Hibbert involves the Brown sisters Chloe, Dani, and Eve and them finding their happily ever afters. What I particularly love about this series is that the sisters often get together for a chat session and this is featured in the books. They are also staunch supporters of one another but also aren’t afraid to tell each other the truth, even when they don’t want to hear it.

Series includes Get a Life, Chloe Brown, Take a Hint, Dani Brown, and Act Your Age, Eve Brown.

cover of The Brothers Synn

The Brothers Synn by Victoria Light

This series of books is about a trio of brothers who are also ex-military and the men who they fall in love with. Since the heroes are ex-military, you can expect more action than typical in these book,s but since they’re romances there will be an HEA. 

Series includes In His Sights, Not His Man, and Under His Watch.

cover of The Wright Brothers collection

The Wright Brothers by Christina C. Jones 

These books feature the Wright brothers and the various challenges they face in life and in love. As with most series like this, each one focuses on a different brother’s romance but they are also unique and feature different settings and tropes with their respective characters. 

Series includes Getting Schooled, Pulling Doubles, Bending the Rules, and Christmas with the Wrights.

And that is all I have for you today. I hope that your weekend is restful and relaxing since I hope to be doing that myself. I’ll be back Monday with a fresh newsletter. In the meantime, I can be found posting on Twitter under the handle @PScribe801. Happy reading!

Book Radar

Secret Identities, Kissing in Towers and Caves, Creepy Stuff, and More Book Radar!

Dear Book Friends,

It’s that near-the-end-of-the-week check-in time. How are we doing? Despite the fact that I’ve been absolutely swamped with work this week, I have finished a bunch of books and am feeling good about my reading life. In other words. Y’all. The slump is over.

Phew. Anyway, I hope you’re doing well, and I can’t wait to share all this book stuff for you. Truly, so much is going on. So let’s dive in!

💙 Emily

Book Deals and Reveals

Manda Collins’ Ladies Most Scandalous series continues with A Spinster’s Guide to Danger and Dukes, and here is the cover reveal! What can we expect from this novel? Collins promises “secret identities, kissing in towers AND CAVES, creepy stuff, & lots of fun.” A Spinster’s Guide to Danger and Dukes comes out on November 8th.

Here’s another exciting cover reveal: Orbit Books has shared the cover of N.K. Jemisin’s The World We Make, the second book in The Great Cities duology. Jemisin’s new book will be out on November 1st.

It’s official. We’re getting into 2023 cover reveals now. Here’s the cover reveal for Christopher Golden’s upcoming novel All Hallows, which hits shelves on January 24th, 2023.

Sandhya Menon has announced more details about her second adult rom com novel The Sizzle Paradox, which will be published under her adult romance pen name Lily Menon. This one’s out on June 14th.

And yes, even more romance news! Here’s the cover reveal for Do You Take This Man by Denise Williams. Enemies with benefits? Check. Unsanctioned aquarium fun? Yep, you got it. You can preorder this book now, and it’s out from Penguin Random House on September 6th.

Walker Scobell has landed the title role in Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Disney+’s series adaptation of author Rick Riordan’s best-selling novels.

AMC has released the first teaser trailer of the upcoming series adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire

Apple has given a straight-to-series order for The White Darkness, which is based on the nonfiction book by David Grann and will star Tom Hiddleston.

DC and WEBTOON have announced a new trio of titles that will be joining the platform later this yearVixen: NYCRed Hood: Outlaws, and Zatanna & The Ripper.

Penguin Classics is launching a Little Clothbound Classics series, which will start publishing this August. 

Netflix is adapting Nimona by ND Stevenson into a movie.

The banning of Persepolis has now inspired its own graphic nonfiction book.

Check out the exclusive cover reveal of Deanna Raybourn’s Killers of a Certain Age and read an excerpt from this action-packed thriller!

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

Book Riot Recommends

I’m a Contributing Editor at Book Riot, I write the Today in Books newsletter, and I’m a Bibliologist for Book Riot’s Tailored Book Recommendations subscription service. I also have a PhD in English, so I’m basically a doctor of books. Books are my life, in other words, so in this section of the newsletter, let me share with you some upcoming books I’m super excited about. And I think you will be too!

Can’t Wait for This One

ghost eaters book cover

Ghost Eaters by Clay McLeod Chapman

I know I just shared the cover reveal of this one last week, but what can I say? I’m really excited about this one, and I couldn’t wait to tell you all more about it. Also, yes, the cover is terrifying and I love getting to stare at it again. I hope you’re loving that too.

First, a little personal reflection. Horror has always been one of my favorite genres. When I was 10 years old, Stephen King was my introduction into real adult novels, and I felt so cool. As I got older, I became fascinated by horror and the way it examines our relationship to death unlike any other genre. Yes, of course, death is a big topic in a lot of literature, but in my humble opinion, no one looks death straight in its terrifying face the way horror does. This is what draws me to horror now in my old age (lol jk… but also not lol jk), as I start to reflect on my mortality, and even scarier, the mortality of those I love and care about.

And yes, I do have a point, and I’m getting to it, because Chapman’s Ghost Eaters is a brilliant reflection not just on death, but specifically on the horrors of grief. Because honestly, grief is scarier than death in a lot of ways. And grief can be a lot harder to accept. This book gets that.

Erin and Silas have been in a tumultuous, on-again, off-again relationship for years. Erin knows that Silas is reckless and that her relationship with him is toxic, so she decides to end things with once and for all. But then she learns that Silas has died of an overdose, and what’s more, apparently Silas had discovered a drug that would allow him to see the dead. Erin doesn’t believe in ghosts, but in her grief and guilt for abandoning Silas, she agrees to a pill-popping “séance” to ease her pain. Unfortunately for Erin, it appears as if the drug is real, and once she attempts to step into the real world, her visions of the dead refuse to let her go. Are the bloody and brutal images she sees all around her the effects of some powerful drug? Or is something more sinister at play?

Words of Literary Wisdom

“I loved that the complexities of my emotions were understood by authors writing hundreds of years ago, I loved looking at their texts and trying to understand what they were aiming to do, to pull my own meaning from them, to point out what others didn’t see or notice—the repetition of blue imagery, the recapitulation of motifs of separation. I was good at that.”

Vladimir by Julia May Jonas

Q1 Reading Wrap Up, Anyone?

So I know this section of the newsletter is normally dedicated to everything that’s going on in the book community, and yeah, we’re going to get back to that. But I’ve been watching and listening and reading a lot of people’s Q1 reading wrap-ups, now that we’re deep into April.

So yeah, that means that somehow the first quarter of the year is over. And again, I find myself asking… How? Literally how? But all that aside, I thought since I enjoy looking at other people’s quarterly wrap-ups, you might be interested in hearing a bit about mine.

In Q1 (January, February, March) of 2022, I read 26 books, which puts me on track to finish 100 books this year (my personal goal). I would have read more, but as I’ve said, I was in the middle of a major reading slump throughout most of March.

I don’t want to spend too much time harping on my least favorite books of the quarter. Even though I know some people want the tea, I figure we should keep this newsletter positive! My favorite books from my Q1 reading were: Wahala by Nikki May, My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones, and Razorblade Tears by SA Cosby. Although I read a lot of 2022 releases, oddly enough only one of those three faves is a 2022 release. Also, despite the fact that I read across several genres, all three of those books are giving thriller vibes. Why am I like this?

What are my goals for Q2? Obviously, to read more books. And maybe read more good books in a wider variety of genres, now that I’m examining my favorites. Do you have any specific goals for Q2? Let me know! And if you have a Q2 wrap up video or blog post or something, please share!

What I’m Watching This Weekend

This is cheating, because I’ve already watched this, but if you haven’t seen Everything, Everywhere, All At Once yet, GO NOW! And then please hit me up so we can talk about it because i have so many feelings. I laughed. I cried. I have a new favorite movie of 2022 (so far).

And Here’s A Cat Picture!

shocked calico cat

Here’s Cersei rolling around on a rug. She loves showing off all her beautiful calico spots. Isn’t she beautiful, even when she’s making her weird, shocked face?

Cersei is wishing you a good weekend with lots of reading and downtime and rest and relaxation, because isn’t that what we all deserve? (if you think you don’t, trust me… you do!)

Talk soon!

💙 Emily

Today In Books

Orbit Books Reveals Cover for N.K. Jemisin’s THE WORLD WE MAKE: Today in Books

Marvel’s IRONHEART Finds Its Directors

Marvel’s Disney+ series Ironheart has hired Sam Bailey and Angela Barnes as directors. Bailey will direct episodes one through three, while Barnes will helm the back half, episodes four to six. Additionally, Ryan Coogler has joined the project as executive producer alongside Chinaka Hodge, Zinzi Coogler, Sev Ohanian, Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Brad Winderbaum, and Zoie Nagelhout. Ironheart will star Dominique Thorne, who plays Riri Williams. Riri is a brilliant teenage inventor who builds her own version of the Iron Man suit in an MIT dorm.

Dey Street Buys Gucci Guru Alessandro Michele’s Fashion Philosophy Book

Alessandro Michele, the creative director of Gucci, has sold a currently untitled book of “fashion philosophy” to Harper Collins imprint Dey Street. The book, set to be published in spring 2023, was written with Paris philosophy professor Emanuele Coccia, author of The Life of Plants. Dey Street said in a statement that Michele’s book will “show how traditionally distinct forms of creativity and intellectual pursuit—fashion and philosophy—are inextricably intertwined.”

Orbit Books Reveals Cover for N.K. Jemisin’s The World We Make

Earlier this week, Orbit Books shared the cover reveal for N.K. Jemisin’s The World We Make, the second book in The Great Cities duology. The cover design is by Lauren Panepinto, who has also worked on the covers for many other N.K. Jemisin titles. The World We Make is available for preorder now and will be out on November 1st.

What Books Belong in the Queer YA Canon?

What queer YA books should be included in the YA canon? Here are a few ideas.

Our Queerest Shelves

Which Books Belong in the Queer YA Canon?

Another day, another book ban. Did you hear the one about the author who was told not to read the book It’s Okay To Be a Unicorn! because a parent complained there was a rainbow on it? I’ll admit, after years of covering this, my eyes are starting to glaze over when I see a new, more ridiculous book ban or educational gag order. After all the work queer people and people of color have done over the years to move the needle just an inch forward, it’s depressing to see this massive backslide. But apathy is just what they want for us, so it’s time to dig deep and keep fighting for inclusive education and access to diverse books. We can’t let these right-wing “parent rights” groups take away all the progress that’s been made.

And while I’m on the topic, might I recommend donating to EveryLibrary? They’ve been fighting for libraries and against censorship throughout this tidal wave of book bans, and they’re building networks of support across the country to keep the fight going and prevent future censorship. For more information, check out the post for the matching campaign we did for them in 2021.

The Unique Relationship Between Queer Media and Spoilers

Something happened in the finale to Killing Eve. You know what’s funny? I would bet a majority of you reading this already know what it is, even if you have never watched an episode, just from that sentence. (If you don’t and you don’t want to know, maybe skip this part of the newsletter, because it will be implied. I won’t discuss it directly, though.)

Queer media has a special relationship to spoilers. For a brief moment on the queer bookternet, there was a debate about whether mentioning a character’s orientation or gender identity in a review counted as a spoiler. Pretty quickly, it was summarily declared that no, that’s not a spoiler. Even if the character doesn’t come out until 3/4 of the way through the book, you’re still within your rights to talk about it as a queer book and name the specific representation included. As a queer bookish community, we have rejected the idea of queer identity as plot twist.

(Spoilers for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The 100 ahead!)

Before I started watching Buffy proper (I had seen episodes here and there as a kid, but I didn’t sit down to watch it from beginning to end until college), I knew Tara died. I couldn’t tell you where I learned it, but it was an event that permeated the sapphic consciousness. Similarly, I knew almost the moment Lexa was killed on The 100 — in a depressingly parallel way to Tara — despite not watching the show and not seeking the information out.

I was glad for these spoilers. While most media outlets would see a backlash to spoiling a TV show in the title of an article, those responses were rare in these cases. That’s because many queer people only want to pick up a book or start a TV show with queer characters if they know those characters are okay in the end.

When Lexa died, Autostraddle put together a list of the hundreds of dead sapphic characters on TV from 1976 to the present. They determined that bi women and lesbian characters were exponentially more likely to be killed off than straight characters.

This phenomena (dubbed “Bury Your Gays”) isn’t isolated to TV. In the days of lesbian pulp fiction (mostly the 1950s-60s), there were hundreds of books about lesbians — but to get past the censors, they had to have an unhappy ending, so it didn’t seem like the books were condoning homosexuality. Some popular strategies were killing a character off, having a character magically become straight again, institutionalizing one, etc, etc.

This is the foundation from which we consume queer media. Although it’s improved a lot in recent years, most of us are still all full up on stories that imply that being queer leads to a tragic end. For queer people just coming out or who live in a hostile environment, queer media is usually a way to escape, and getting hit with the death of a character you relate to when you were looking for something affirming and comforting can be devastating.

This is why spoilers take on a different meaning when it comes to queer media. Most people who write about queer media online have a sense of responsibility to their readers, an obligation to warn them about media that may be harmful. This overrides any concerns about spoiling a TV show or book.

When I watched Buffy, I was braced for Tara’s death. (I was not prepared for her to temporarily lose her connection to reality, a deep fear of my own, so that sent me into a tailspin.) I’m grateful that it was spoiled for me, because as I empathized with this character and saw my queer identity reflected in her, I also some defenses put up. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to see her happiness snuffed out by a stray bullet if I hadn’t seen it coming.

So, if you ever wonder why a queer review site or blog spoils a major character’s death, that’s why. We rely on each other to alert us to stories that could reopen old wounds. It may be that you don’t need those kinds of warnings, but as long as some of us do, I’ll always be on that side of the spoiler line when in comes to tragic queer media.

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

All the Links Fit to Click

Book Riot Censorship Posts

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

The Romantic Agenda Book Cover

The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann (Asexual Romance)

You might remember Claire Kann for her asexual YA romance Let’s Talk About Love or one of her other queer YA books, but this is her first foray until adult romance! The Romantic Agenda also has an asexual main character, Joy. Joy is in love with her best friend, Malcolm, but he’s interested in Summer. In order to get his attention, she starts fake dating Fox, Summer’s ex, while they’re all on a summer vacation together. But maybe Fox is what she’s been looking for this whole time…

cover of different kinds of fruit by kyle lukoff

Different Kinds of Fruit by Kyle Lukoff (Non-binary Love Interest, Trans Parent Middle Grade Contemporary)

When Annabelle meets the new kid at school, Bailey, she’s immediately smitten with them. What she isn’t expecting is for her dad to say that him and Bailey have something in common: they’re both trans. Soon, Annabelle realizes her community isn’t accepting as she thought — and she’s determined to make it somewhere that her dad and her new friend (and crush) can feel like they belong. Along the way, she realizes that strict categories like boy and girl or fruit and vegetable aren’t as meaningful as they first appeared.

the cover of You Know, Sex

You Know, Sex: Bodies, Gender, Puberty, and Other Things by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth (Queer- and Trans-Inclusive Middle Grade Nonfiction)

This is the third in a series of LGBTQ-inclusive sex ed and puberty books for kids, starting with What Makes a Baby and Sex Is a Funny Word. This volume is aimed at ages 10 and up, and it covers changing bodies, consent, pornography, trauma, boundaries, and everything else young adults are curious about when it comes to sex and puberty. Both the text and illustrations are inclusive of all bodies, including trans and intersex people, disabled people, and people of color. It’s sex ed from a social justice lens. Get it before it’s banned! (lolsob)

Violets by Kyung-Sook Shin, translated by Anton Hur (Sapphic Fiction)

Boy Overboard by Miski Harris (M/M Romance)

the cover of Violets by Kyung-Sook Shin

No Rings Attached by Rachel Lacey (F/F Romance)

The Language of Roses by Heather Rose Jones (Queer Beauty and the Beast Retelling)

Chef’s Kiss by Jarrett Melendez, Danica Brine, Hank Jones, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Gay M/M Graphic Novel)

Blaine for the Win by Robbie Couch (Gay YA Contemporary)

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee (Trans M/M YA Contemporary) (Paperback Rerelease)

the cover of Love That Story

Boys of The Beast by Monica Zepeda (Gay YA Contemporary)

Survive the Dome by Kosoko Jackson, narrated by Kevin R. Free (M/M YA Dystopia) (Audiobook Rerelease)

The Young Activist’s Dictionary of Social Justice by duopress labs and Ryse Tottingham, illustrated by Andy Passchier (Children’s Nonfiction)

Love That Story: Observations from a Gorgeously Queer Life
by Jonathan Van Ness (Non-Binary Memoir)

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my bi and lesbian book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!


What's Up in YA

NIMONA to Netflix and More of Your YA Book News and New Books: April 14, 2022

Hey YA Readers!

No fancy introduction this week: let’s just dive right into this week’s book news and new books.

YA Book News

New YA Books

Please note that with supply chain issues, paper supply challenges, and the pandemic more broadly, publication dates are changing at a pace I can’t keep up with. Some release dates may be pushed back. If a book catches your attention, the smartest thing to do right now is to preorder it or request it from your library. It’ll be a fun surprise when it arrives.


An Arrow to the Moon book cover

An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan

Blaine for the Win by Robbie Couch

Ebonwild by Crystal Smith (series)

Gone Dark by Amanda Panitch

Ready for Launch by Scott Kelly (nonfiction)

So Much for Love by Sophie Lambda

The Well by Jake Wyatt, illustrated by Choo

This May End Badly by Samantha Markum

We Have a Dream by Mya-Rose Craig, illustrated by Sabrena Khadija (nonfiction)

Year On Fire by Julie Buxbaum

You Should Have Seen This Coming by Shani Michelle


Flamefall book cover

Flamefall by Rosaria Munda (series)

Gilded Serpent by Danielle L. Jensen (series)

Running by Natalia Sylvester

The Sky Blues by Robbie Couch

The Stepping Off Place by Cameron Kelly Rosenblum

Sunkissed by Kasie West

This Will Be Funny Someday by Katie Henry

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

YA at Book Riot

Image of a black pennant shaped sticker. It has white text reading "emotional support book," with a small sketch of white books.

Do you have a stack of emotional support books? You might like this vinyl sticker to honor those hard-working tomes. $4. (Note: We utilize Etsy to highlight the work of small businesses and independent artists. This week, numerous shops are participating in a strike for better terms from Etsy. Click here to read more about their efforts.)

As always, thanks for hanging out. We’ll see you on Saturday for the best YA ebook deals around.

Until then, happy reading!

— Kelly Jensen, @heykellyjensen on Instagram.


Springtime Audiobooks!

Hello Audiophiles! Here in the American South, we are experiencing a full-on pollenagedan, where everyone’s car is covered in a fine layer of yellow dust—it’s even in the Corgis’ floof! So I’ve been spending a bit of time inside hiding from the golden onslaught. 

I finished Vol 5 of He Who Fights with Monsters. After I finished it, I felt INCREDIBLY tempted to restart the whole series! Ugh! And how am I supposed to wait until June for Vol 6? #AudiobookNerdProblems

In the spring, I always get the urge to relisten to my favorite fantasy-related novels. I recently bought the entire Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynne Jones, which is perfect on audiobook. It has that wonderful, fantastical, small-town English vibe. Jones possesses the unique ability to make incredibly complex stories seem very straightforward. But once you scratch the surface, you realize how complicated her stories truly are!

A photo of Dylan, the red and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi, sitting on a porch chair and smiling at the camera.
Spring is Dylan’s favorite season!

Recent Listens

A graphic of the cover of Aru Shah and Nectar of Immortality by Roshani Chokshi

Aru Shah and Nectar of Immortality by Roshani Chokshi

For the last several years, I’ve looked forward to spring when the latest Aru Shah book will come out and I can savor each new adventure. Aru is a reincarnation of one of the Pandava brothers from Hindu mythology. As she goes on her different adventures, she meets the reincarnations of the other four Pandava brothers, but this time around, they are all girls. Aru and her soul sisters are tasked with defeating The Sleeper, a malicious enemy determined to find the Nectar of Immortality, and end/rule the world.

I don’t want to spoil the fifth book for you, but let’s just say the book’s ending is incredibly satisfying. There’s something special about listening to this series with the same narrator all the way through, which is how I prefer to listen to my series. Keeping the same narrator with the same series (particularly a series from the same character’s perspective) helps the books sound cohesive and the characters’ voices remain the same, like you are returning to visit old friends. In this case, Soneela Nankani is with you every step of the way. The first Aru book, Aru Shah and the End of Time, was the first time that I remember truly falling in love with Nankani’s narration. She has this way of capturing the protagonist’s narrative voice that really grabs my attention.

For the longest time, I wasn’t sure I’d be ready to say goodbye to Aru and her sisters. I loved everything about Aru, her nerdy references and truly clumsy moments. With every book, I watched her learn and grow older. It was almost like I was a silent 6th sister in her adventures. From what I’ve seen online, middle graders felt the same. To me, that is the most important: kids in the target audience should be able to connect and relate to the story.

Narrated by Soneela Nankani

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

New Releases!

A graphic of the cover of The Candy House by Jennifer Egan

The Candy House by Jennifer Egan

Visit from the Goon Squad received much acclaim when it came out several years ago. Now Jennifer Egan is back with a companion novel, which you can read on its own or as a follow up to Goon Squad. BUT The Candy House received the royal treatment, audiobook wise, and is narrated by a full cast. Ah! Can’t wait!

Narrated by a Full Cast

A graphic of the cover of Time Is a Mother by Ocean Vuong

Time Is a Mother by Ocean Vuong

I just finished listening to Ocean Vuong narrate his latest poetry collection on audio. Ugh, it’s so incredibly beautiful, and there’s nothing like listening to a poet narrate his work. Time Is a Mother was written after Vuong’s mother passed away, and it’s full of longing for the person he loved most.

Narrated by Ocean Vuong (On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong)

A graphic of the cover of An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X. R. Pan

An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X. R. Pan

I ADORED The Astonishing Color of After, so I’ve been waiting SO LONG to listen to this one. An Arrow to the Moon is Romeo and Juliet meets Chinese mythology, which is 100% in my wheelhouse.

Narrated by Natalie Naudus, Shawn K. Jain, and David Shih (Atomic Anna by Rachel Barenbaum, Golden Boys by Phil Stamper, and No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai)

A graphic of the cover of Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life: A Memoir by Delia Ephron

Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life: A Memoir by Delia Ephron

This heartrending memoir follows Delia Ephron after the death of both her sister and her husband. She meets a new romantic interest, but is shortly thereafter diagnosed with cancer. Full of heart from someone facing the complex reality of life, Left on Tenth is a beautiful memoir.

Narrated by Delia Ephron

A graphic of the cover of Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett

Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett

I loved Annie Hartnett’s debut novel, Rabbit Cake, so I’ve been waiting on Unlikely Animals for years. But it’s well worth it! Emma Starling is a med student who’s faced with caring for her father while he’s experiencing a deteriorating brain disease.

Narrated by Mark Bramhall and Kirby Heyborne (Nine Lives by Peter Swanson and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn)

A graphic of the cover of Things They Lost by Okwiri Oduor

Things They Lost by Okwiri Oduor

This novel follows Ayosa, a wandering spirit who feels incredibly alone. But when she meets someone new, she finds herself caught between the world of the living and her own. Full of the complex contradictions that is life, Things They Lost is sure to tug on your heartstrings.

Narrated by Christel Mutombo

Around the Web

Celebrate National Poetry Month (and the Oral Tradition) with These 6 Audiobooks” (Paste) – I love poetry on audiobook! Here are some great recommendations.

Barnes & Noble is finally offering an audiobook service” (Engadget) – This news has been EVERYWHERE! Barnes and Noble has finally decided to enter the audiobook market. But who would leave their already established libraries to move to B&N’s service? Definitely tell me your thoughts on this!

That’s it for this week! You can find me over on my substack Winchester Ave or over on Instagram @kdwinchester. As always, feel free to drop me a line at For even MORE audiobook content, you can find my articles over on Book Riot.

Happy listening, bookish friends!

~ Kendra