A previously unreleased book by Zora Neale Hurston will be published in 2018.
Entitled Barracoon: The Story of the Last Slave, the book will tell the true story of the last known survivor of the slave trade. Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama in 1931 to interview Cudjo Lewis. She spent more than three months at Plateau, speaking to Lewis about his life and experiences, including his memories of Africa, of the Middle passage, and his life as a slave until the Civil War. The book is based on those interviews.
According to the Harper Collins website, “Barracoon brilliantly illuminates the tragedy of slavery and one life forever defined by it. Offering insight into the pernicious legacy that continues to haunt us all, black and white, this poignant and powerful work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.” Barracoon will not only be another work by the brilliant Zora Neale Hurston, but will be an invaluable insight into the harrowing experiences of a former slave, whose story has not been told with this kind of depth.
It’s more important than ever that we look back to America’s history of slavery through the experiences of a black man who had lived through it. The fact that we’re getting his story through the perspective of a black woman who was often overlooked during her time is also significant. Hurston has always told stories of blackness, bravely and boldly, and was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance. The fact that now, after her death, we are getting yet more of her brilliant work is a cause for celebration. As a huge fan of Hurston, I am beyond excited by this news.
Barracoon is listed for release on May 8, 2018. If by some chance you haven’t yet had the chance to read Hurston’s work, that should you give you plenty of time to read up! We even have a handy reading pathway to introduce you to her works.
Smash the patriarchy this holiday season with great gifts for your favorite females from Running Press. Give the gifts of confidence, creativity, humor, magic, and self-care with books for every woman in your life:
Barkskins by Annie Proulx for $3.99. Get it here or just click the cover image below:
To All the Boyfriends I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han for $2.99. Get it here or just click the cover image below:
Norweigan by Night by Derek B. Miller for $2.99. Get it here or just click the cover image below:
Previous daily deals that are still active (as of this writing at least). Get ’em while they’re hot.
Going After Caccatio by Tim O’Brien for $1.99.
Broken Harbor by Tana French for $1.99.
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown for $1.99.
The Devourers by Indra Das for $1.99.
The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman for $2.99.
Chasing the Sun by Paula McLain for $2.99.
Jade City by Fonda Lee for $2.99.
This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell for $2.99.
Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson for $1.99.
Transatlantic by Colum McCann for $1.99.
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell for $1.99.
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler for $2.99.
Drown by Junot Diaz for $1.99.
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanigihara for $4.99.
Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman for $3.99.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Luis Zafon for $1.99.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo for $1.99.
The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies for $2.99.
We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge for $1.99.
River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey for $3.99.
The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida for $2.99.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo for $2.99.
Infomocracy by Malka Older for $2.99.
Start Here: Read Your Way Into 25 Amazing Authors for $0.99.
A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan for $3.99.
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd for $1.99.
Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman for $1.99.
Bitch Planet, Vol 1 for $3.99.
Monstress, Vol 1 by Liu & Takeda for $3.99
Paper Girls, Vol 1. by Vaughn, Chiang, & Wilson for $3.99.
The Wicked + The Divine Volume 1 for $3.99
The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin for $9.99
The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith for $0.99
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for $4.99
Mumblecore darling and acclaimed actor Greta Gerwig has just released her directorial debut to universal praise. The Sacramento-set story concerns Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) and her senior year at a Catholic high school. The film is one of the most original films to be released this year, so we put together a reading list that will deepen your next viewing, when you drag your parents to see it.
One of the themes in Lady Bird is how romantic love can fail to provide a sense of validation. Gerwig wanted to tell a coming-of-age story for women where male affection is not the central goal of growth. In the same regard, Louisa May Alcott’s first novel approaches a similar conclusion: that men are not necessary accessories to the female inner self. Like Lady Bird, the protagonist, Sylvia Yule, bounces between two suitors who fail in every capacity to provide maturity or emotional satisfaction.
One of the most magnificent aspects of the film was the ability to dip into the private turmoil of every character. In just a few frames, Gerwig hinted at the depth and richness of everyone in the film. In the same manner, The Jane Austen Book Club takes plunges into the members of a Sacramento book club to examine their ambitions, desires, and failures with incredible empathy and drama.
Gerwig was intent to film something in her hometown of Sacramento, to provide an artistic defense of the city. The production is akin to Eve Babitz’s semi-memoir where she opens with a bold artistic retort to east coast critics who thought California was a vapid place. She fills the city with stories of the creatives, ingénues, and heartbreaks that created a Hollywood of vivid sentimentality. While Lady Bird learned to love her city, Eve begins with an overwhelming affection for her California.
If you’ve seen the poster for Lady Bird, you can already tell how a bright pastel palette comes to define the look of the film. The artist Wayne Thiebaud was the immediate influence to the film’s colouring. He transformed the beauty of Northern California into everyday objects (cakes mostly) and Gerwig did the same, even making a thrift store shine like a painting. This book is one of the most encompassing of his career and has the largest selection of his works in print.
In the same manner of Eve Babitz, Joan Didion also validated the intellectual geography of Sacramento. As Lady Bird begins to realize the class constraints of her world, she develops a new critical lens towards her hometown just as she’s leaving it. Didion went through a similar transition in examining her California as an artistic idealisation of Americana. When Gerwig found out she shared a hometown with the essayist, she described it as “spiritually seismic.” That might explain why she opens her film with a Didion quote.
Dundy’s novel is one of the most whirlwind coming-of-age stories to be published. Why it hasn’t displaced Catcher in the Rye as the go-to American wayward youth novel confuses every reader but give it time. The pink haired heroine shares many of the same impulses as Lady Bird and the novel comes at the recommendation of the director herself.
Though Rodriguez’s memoir deals explicitly with the minority experience in America, there are shared themes between his book and Gerwig’s film: ambitious educational goals, Catholic school upbringing, the artistic restlessness of egotistical teens. The traumas Rodriguez later faces are vastly different from Lady Bird’s, but the echoes are there. And one of Gerwig’s beliefs is the ability to connect seemingly disparate stories by the ability to empathize. As she said in a 2015 interview: “…I think that humans have such a huge capacity for empathy, and it’s so weirdly underused in the cycle of building people up and tearing them down, but anything that taps into a sense of all of our brokenness is elevating, even though it feels like it’s showing something dark.”
(Honorable mentions to The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States for their hilarious placements in Lady Bird.)
A couple of years ago I went back to university, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. As somebody who loves her subject in a stand me on a soapbox and I’ll talk to you for hours about the intricate details of it until you’re bored and then I’ll talk about it a bit more sort of way, the idea of spending her days surrounded by books was always going to be a win.
But it hasn’t been easy.
There have been days when I’ve looked at books and wanted to never read again. Here are my top five tips on how to manage your reading life as a graduate student (when all you want to do is sleep, question your life choices, stare into the abyss, sit in a darkened room, etc., etc. ….)
You are as important as your research. And, because we’re all friends here, I’m going to let you into a secret. You are more important than your research, because your research is nothing without you. Your perspective, your slant, your voice matters. So be good to yourself. Take a deep breath and step away from the desk.
If you have to take a book with you to assuage your guilt, take something clean and sharp and wonderful. Something like If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho should do the trick.
Buy nice things
Here’s my other secret for you. Life as a postgraduate means you are now officially allowed to buy nice stationary. It’s a rule. Admittedly it’s not a legally binding rule but if anyone asks, I gave you permission. And the reason I give you permission is that you will now annotate like a wizard with your shiny new stationary. It is proven.
Highlight. Take notes. Trust yourself. Treat yourself. Start with some planning inspiration here, and then head off to the shops. And make sure you actually go outside. Don’t do this one online.
If you study Chemistry, read a crime book. If you work in English literature, pick up a travel book. As a grad student, particularly in the humanities, you will be trained in analysing everything you come across. That’s great—lord, it’s the best thing—but your brain needs time away so that it can come back stronger.
So read something unexpected. I spend my days surrounded by children’s books. I just finished Reveal by Chris Heath, a biography of Robbie Williams (and it was kind of great).
Give yourself a helping hand, and turn to the experts in your sector. As somebody who’s both experienced the stress of academia, and supported others through that as a professional librarian, I have a lot of time for books that give you their knowledge and don’t make you fight for them.
I made a rare real life purchase for Karen Kelsky’s practical and honest The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide to Turning Your Ph.D Into A Job. I also would recommend Patrick Dunleavy’s realistic and accessible Authoring a Ph.D, Stella Cottrell’s The Study Skills Handbook. and the wickedly sharp humour of Piled Higher And Deeper by Jorge Cham.
Seriously. If you’re getting wound up, a little bit fraught, can’t sit there without going “I want to go to sleep” or “I haven’t seen a real person for a week but still have 3451 articles left to read.” Stop. Accept this internet hug from me. Allow me to tell you that you’ll do this. Allow me to tell you that you’re amazing. Allow me to tell you that you’ve got this.
I believe in you.
A lot of wonderful Canadian books won awards this year! I know that sometimes Canadian lit flies under the radar for U.S. and UK readers and those from other countries, but we’re up here making great books. In my (biased) opinion as a Canadian bookseller and editor, the world needs to know. So please enjoy this guide to award-winning Canadian books from 2017.
Awards aren’t the only measure of whether or not a book is worth reading, of course, and all too often award shortlists suffer from the same lack of diversity that appears across mainstream publishing. But awards can be a helpful entry point for those looking to get started with a whole country’s body of literature. This list is not exhaustive. We love awarding books with prizes in Canada, but this post would be way too long if I tried to get them all in.
(If you notice a pattern in the award names below, yes, many Canadian literary awards are sponsored by corporations.)
The Giller, awarded to a Canadian novel or book of short stories published in English (including translations), is often referred to as Canada’s most prestigious literary prize. Check out this Book Riot post about this year’s awards for more about its history.
The 2017 winner was Michael Redhill’s Bellevue Square, a literary thriller about a woman who sees her doppelgänger and becomes consumed by the need to find her. Redhill shared that before he won the $100,000 award, he had $411 in his bank account—a story that shows why awards do matter to authors. Giller Prize winners also see a big sales bump, more so than other literary prize winners in Canada, which has become known as “the Giller effect.”
Check out the full list of finalists on the Giller website.
The GGs are a group of awards that (in their own words) “recognize great Canadian books” across a number of categories. I’ve listed the English winners here, but you can visit the GG website for a full list of nominees as well as the French nominees and winners.
Young People’s Literature—Text winner: Cherie Dimaline, The Marrow Thieves (pictured). Set in a futuristic world destroyed by global warming, The Marrow Thieves explores a society that has lost the ability to dream, leading to widespread madness—and the struggle that ensues when people realize that Indigenous people can still dream, and the cure lies in their marrow.
Young People’s Literature—Illustrated Books winner: David A. Robertson and Julie Flett (illustrator), When We Were Alone
Fiction winner: Joel Thomas Hynes, We’ll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night
Poetry winner: Richard Harrison, On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood
Drama winner: Hiro Kanagawa, Indian Arm
Non-Fiction winner: Graeme Wood, The Way of the Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State
Translation winner: Oana Avasilichioaei for her translation of Readopolis (Lectodôme) by Bertrand Laverdure
Like the Giller, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize recognizes the best novel or short story collection. Many years, there is a lot of overlap between these two awards, but this year the two shortlists were entirely different. The 2017 winner was David Chariandy’s Brother, a novel that follows two sons of Trinidadian immigrants, Michael and Francis, as they come of age in an East End Toronto housing complex in the 1990s.
The full list of finalists can be found on the Rogers Writers’ Trust website.
This prize is awarded to the best Canadian work of literary non-fiction. Ross King’s Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies was this year’s winner. King tells the story behind Monet’s famous water lily paintings, inspired by his Giverny garden and painted just as World War One, illness, and the deaths of his wife and son were leading some to assume that Monet had retired. The other 2017 nominees are listed on the prize’s website.
The 2018 Taylor Prize shortlist was just announced, so make sure to check that out, too.
Given to a debut novel, this award often recognizes early-career writers or those who fly under the radar of traditional awards buzz. This year’s shortlist was excellent and worth checking out in full. The winner was Katherena Vermette’s The Break, a novel set in Winnipeg that follows a group of interconnected characters as they live through and deal with an act of shocking violence witnessed by a young Métis mother, Stella, from her kitchen. Vermette is also an award-winning poet, which shows in her assured and image-laden language.
Canadians are funny! Some of our most popular exports are our comedians (Mike Myers, Catherine O’Hara, Dan Aykroyd, the list is endless), so it’s no surprise that we have an award recognizing the best in Canadian humour writing. The award is named after Stephen Leacock, a Canadian writer best known for Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. The 2017 longlist is available online. The winner was Gary Barwin’s Yiddish for Pirates, a novel about a young Jewish boy who joins a ship’s crew and meets a parrot that becomes his constant companion. The story begins in 1492 and Moishe lives through the expulsion of Jews from Spain, a voyage to the Caribbean, and piracy, all in the company of an opinionated bird.
There’s lots of wonderful Canadian children’s literature, so of course we have awards for that, too! The TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award celebrates books created for young people aged one to 12. This year’s shortlist was, again, a collection of beautiful books. The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk, written and illustrated by Jan Thornhill was the winner. This non-fiction picture book is about the flightless bird that was once common in the North Atlantic and how it died out after humans began hunting it.
And finally, the Vicky Metcalf Award, named after a Canadian librarian.
This award recognizes an author’s entire body of work and contribution to literature for young people, so it’s a little different from the others I’ve listed here. This year, the award went to Ruby Slipperjack, an Anishinabe (Ojibwe) writer whose books include Dear Canada: These Are My Words, Dog Tracks, and Weesquachak. Slipperjack is a member of the Eabametoong First Nation and attended residential school as a child. Her most recent book, Dear Canada: These Are My Words (pictured), is drawn from that childhood experience.
Want more Canadian books? Check out this list of 100 must-read Canadian books and this list of books by Canadian Indigenous authors!
Scrolling up and down Amazon wish lists for prisons is so frustrating. Not only are so many people imprisoned all across America but they also don’t have basic items while they’re there. The long book wish lists also show that even though they want to read, their access to books is limited. It’s nice that imprisoned people can request books through different programs, but the numbers on these lists (like “need 100, have 34”) show that their intellectual desires are not being fulfilled. I wanted to collect a few of these lists here to call attention to these important, imprisoned readers.
The Liberation Library is the first prison wish list I ever saw. This volunteer based group services imprisoned youth in Illinois. Their list includes a lot of Ashley & Jaquavis novels, Nayyirah Waheed’s poetry collection Salt, some Stephen King, and a lot of James Patterson books.
The Prison Book Program has been donating books to imprisoned readers since 1972. They’re located in Quincy, Massachusetts. Their list includes a number of how-to books, like ones on succeeding outside of prison, job-hunting guides, drawing, working out, auto repair, dealing with addiction, and crocheting. It also includes parenting rights books, crossword puzzles, dictionaries, and books on imprisonment (like Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow). Books like Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me and Chinelo Okparanta’s Under the Udala Tree are also on there.
The Brooklyn Defender Services is a group that provides affordable legal assistance to imprisoned people. In addition to a long list of clothing items that people need on Riker’s Island, they’ve also started a list for adolescent clients, which includes magazines and a Sister Souljah book.
Especially with all of the holiday shopping going on this time of year, I hope that the daily lives of imprisoned people get more conscious attention.
Everyone knows that the next best thing after book mail is bookish snail mail. Book Riot has rounded up a great list of literary stationery for all of your mailing needs, but we’re back with more bookish notecards and sets! So grab a pen and some stamps and get ready to send all your friends some book recommendations!
My favorite stationery find in recent years is the Card Catalog: 30 Notecards from the Library of Congress set! The notecards are facsimiles of actual cards for classics! Nerd out over the old-timey handwriting and typewriter printing! And the cute little box that, let’s be real, is probably the closest thing you can afford to an actual card catalog.
Check out these reading pun cards, for your bookish boo:
The stationery world is your oyster if you love Jane! Jane Austen Note Cards Pride and Prejudice:
These Literary Stationery William Shakespeare notecards are really gorgeous!
Stay gold with this beautiful card!
For fans of Dylan Thomas, check out the Dylan Odyssey Notecards!
Go all out with these sets! So fancy!
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Newt Scamander Deluxe Stationery Set
Wax Seal Set, with Literary Postcards
Get it personalized! Notecards, notepad, and writing paper can all be personalized with your name!
For when you need to decline an invite:
Prose Before Bros:
Readers gonna read:
For your second favorite addiction:
So, who wants to be pen pals?
Rioters, we all know why December is the most magical time of the year: it’s when finals are over and us poor college students get a month off before tackling yet another grueling semester. I’ve celebrated my temporary freedom by letting my geek flag fly and trying to unwind and catch up with some of my favorite nerdiest reads.
This newest addition to the Dungeons and Dragons canon introduces the reader/player to new rules, story options, spells, feats, subclasses, and more. I actually received this through a book exchange among Book Riot contributors, and I literally screamed when I opened the package (Thanks, Erin!). I haven’t gotten to read all of it yet, but I am beyond excited at all the new traps, environments, subclasses, and spells I can throw at my players.
I feel like I fudged this section a little because when I’m trying to wind down after a trying semester, I turn to fan fiction and manga. There’s something so soothing about the two of them, and getting to read other people’s interpretations of some of my favorite worlds is a treat.
This delightful shounen manga follows Izuku Midoriya, one of only 20% of people born without a Quirk (aka, a superpower). However, through grit, determination, and the aid of the greatest hero of all, All Might, he gains acceptance into the U.A. High School for future heroes. After I found myself reading fanfics about Eijirou Kirishima and Katsuki Bakugou, two of the main characters from the series, I decided to refresh myself on the series. I’m on approximately chapter 153 now.
This fanfic imagines the My Hero Academia cast in an alternate universe where Bakugou is a celebrated actor and Kirishima is the guitarist in an up and coming band. The two are forced to date when a paparazzi photo accidentally outs Bakugou, but the relationship because more real as time goes on. I absolutely love this fic and have read it twice this week. It’s so good.
Another alternate universe fanfic. In this one, Kirishima moves to a seaside town to help take care of his grandmother after a fall. He serendipitously meets Bakugou, an artist in residence, and the two strike up an unlikely friendship that leads to a fraught love affair. It is mushy and makes me twitterpated.
This fanfic takes place in the My Hero Academia universe, covering events from approximately chapter 90 through the present. It chronicles Bakugou’s (Katsuki) slow acknowledgement of his friendship with Kirishima and how they could have more. Knowing the manga is a plus but not strictly necessary. It finished this week, and I may have stayed up to 1:00am to finish it. I just love decent asexual representation.
This fantastic graphic novel series follows star-crossed (almost literally) lovers Alana and Marko as they flee the authorities who would apprehend them and steal or kill their newborn daughter Hazel. Even though I’ve had the newest volume for months, I haven’t read it. This seems like the perfect time to re-read and catch up in anticipation of the newest volume coming out in January!
This rebranding of Ms. Marvel follows Kamala Khan, an ordinary girl from Jersey City who suddenly finds herself with superpowers and the moral imperative to fight crime and right wrongs, even if it means worrying her family and confronting her own weaknesses. I am actually three volumes behind on this, and I’m so mad at myself. Ms. Marvel is an absolute gem, and Kamala is a wonderful protagonist. I can’t wait to catch up!
So what about you, Rioters? What’s your reading week been like?
1. Preorder one book per month (or every other month or every third month) for the new year. Enjoy the surprise of the gift you purchased for yourself when it arrives.
2. Pick a series of books from childhood you’ve always meant to read or want to revisit. Prioritize that reading experience.
3. Buy or make a new bookmark. You can also print yourself a new one, if you’d like.
4. Choose a new planner and set it up with not just your calendar, but also a to-be-read list and a read list. Get creative!
5. Treat yourself to a new tote bag for lugging your hauls to and from the public library.
6. Don’t have a library card? Get one from your local library or, if you don’t have a local library, find out how much it costs to become part of a library nearby. Often, the price breaks down to less than the cost of a single hardcover book per month.
7. Take yourself on a scavenger hunt at your local library.
8. Choose a literary cause and do something actionable toward it once a month.
9. Find a reading-adjacent hobby and throw yourself into it.
10. Schedule a monthly date with yourself wherein you spend an hour or two at a local coffee shop (or similar hangout you enjoy) with a book. Be protective of that time.
11. Subscribe to a bookish TinyLetter or two.
12. Organize your bookshelves. This might mean getting rid of some books. Perhaps this is an opportunity to look into local organizations which take book donations (see #8).
13. Start a book club with friends, family, or coworkers. Rotate book selections to ensure good, juicy discussion around a host of different types of books.
14. If you take a annual vacation, see if you can plot around hitting up a cool bookstore on your trip. If you don’t vacation, poke around and find a new-to-you bookstore within a reasonable distance for you to visit one day. Maybe you could pair this with #10.
15. Remind yourself that reading is for fun and if you’re feeling pressure about your TBR, about that reading challenge, about your number of books read, about anything—you aren’t a quitter if you decide to let those things go and follow your own needs right when you need to.
This List List is sponsored by Ever the Brave by Erin Summerill.
The stakes are higher than ever in the sequel to the romantic fantasy adventure Ever the Hunted, as Britta struggles to protect her kingdom and her heart. After saving King Aodren with her newfound Channeler powers, Britta only wants to live a peaceful life in her childhood home. Unfortunately, saving the King has created a tether between them she cannot sever, no matter how much she’d like to, and now he’s insisting on making her a noble lady. If Britta cannot find a way to harness her new magical ability, her life—as well as her country—may be lost.
at Mashable, 25 Books and Stationery Items to Gift Your Nerdy Bookworm Friends
at OZY, What Teenagers Are Reading Around the World
at Signature, 10 Books To Help Us Face Mortality
at Unbound Worlds, Gifts for the Geek: Our Holiday Book Picks
at Bustle, 23 Authors You Should Follow On Instagram For A Writing Life BTS
at Hachette, The Perfect Gift for Every Book Lover on Your List
at PBS, 10 Black Authors Everyone Should Read
at The Guardian, Top 10 Books About Growing Old
at Riffle, Funusual Craft Books for Cat Lovers
at BuzzFeed, 17 Delightful Children’s Books Even Childless People Will Love
at TODAY, 8 Books That Will Make a Great Last-Minute Gift
at FADER, 14 Really Great Books to Read Over the Holidays