A blog about writing and self publishing

Fundraising, New Simone De Beauvoir, and Celebrity Bookshelves: This Week in Book News

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood

I can’t believe May is already here! It seems like April just flew by. Although I think we can all agree that during social isolation, time does start to feel meaningless. Regardless, warmer weather and sunshine is definitely welcome, even if we do have to enjoy it from inside our social distancing bubble. Tara has just discovered that her wifi reaches her backyard hammock so you’d better believe she’s ready for warmer weather!

Now for the book news from this week:


A couple of weeks ago we shared that comic book creators were holding an online auction to help support comic books stores during the pandemic – that auction has come to a close and over $400,000 was raised!

Online Auction to Aid Comic-Book Shops Raises Over $430,000

Comic-book creators contributed their work, and buyers made their bids on Twitter, to help employees and businesses upended by the coronavirus.

Bookshop has successfully raised one million dollars for independent bookstores!

Bookshop hits $1 million raised for independent bookstores.

It’s hard to believe that Bookshop, the online retailer that shares a percentage of each purchase with independent bookstores, a platform that today officially reached an incredible milestone-$1 million raised to support struggling booksellers all across the country-was supposed to be in beta until the fall.

Independent publishers are launching a #ReadIndie campaign on social media in hopes to get more support during this time.

PW, Independent Publishers Launch #ReadIndie Campaign

Organized in response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Publishers Weekly is joining with a group of independent publishers, organizations, and trade magazines to launch #ReadIndie, an online campaign designed to highlight the range, importance, and distinctive character of the indie publishing community.

While many writers find themselves struggling financially, a petition has begun circling online asking the Poetry Foundation for financial support.

Petition Asking Poetry Foundation for Millions Gains Support

Calls for literary organizations and individuals flush with money to support individuals suffering lost jobs and income from the coronavirus crisis are growing. A new one is a Change.org petitio n which has garnered nearly 1,500 signatures asking the Poetry Foundation to dip into its deep pockets-it holds in excess of $250 million in assets-to support poets and independent publishers who are struggling economically because of the pandemic.


In response to the pandemic, the UK has fast-tracked it’s removal of VAT on eBooks.

VAT scrapped on E-publications

move will potentially slash the cost of e-books and newspapers making reading more accessible as people stay at home newspapers to receive up to £35 million additional government advertising revenue as part of coronavirus communications campaign Plans to scrap VAT on e-books and e-newspapers have been significantly fast-tracked in a boost to readers and publishers during the coronavirus outbreak, the Chancellor announced today.

And in response to the removal of VAT, Amazon is changing their eBook prices.

Amazon to cut price of its ebooks to reflect removal of VAT

Amazon has confirmed it will cut the price of its Kindle ebooks from Friday, after the government announced it would bring forward plans to stop charging VAT on online publications because of the pandemic. The decision to remove the 20% VAT charged on online news subscriptions and books will bring them in line with their physical equivalents, which have always been zero-rated.


As some parts of America begin to reopen, independent bookstores are trying to figure out what the future of bookselling looks like.

Two Used Book Chains Start to Reopen

As bookstores begin to slowly reopen across some parts of the U.S., Shane Gottwals has some advice to share. “I would emphasize that anyone talking to employees about returning to work first emphasize the health, safety, and concerns of those employees first and foremost, before any financial considerations,” he said.


The Guardian has released an excerpt from the upcoming Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Hunger Games prequel: exclusive extract from The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – audio

In this opening chapter of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the forthcoming prequel to the bestselling Hunger Games trilogy, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow – the future president of Panem – prepares to attend the reaping ceremony, where the competitors (“tributes”) who will fight in the 10th annual Hunger Games will be chosen.

Michael J. Fox will be releasing a new memoir, set to be released this fall

Michael J. Fox reflects on time and mortality in new memoir to be released in November 2020 | CBC Books

Books In No Time Like the Future, Fox will share personal stories and insights about illness and health, aging, the strength of family and friends and how outlook on time can affect the way we approach mortality. Canadian-American actor and advocate Michael J. Fox is releasing a memoir entitled No Time Like the Future.

Emma Donoghue, author of Room, is set to release a new novel this summer about a pandemic.

Room author Emma Donoghue to release new novel about a pandemic in July 2020 | CBC Books

The Pull of the Stars, set in a war and disease-ravaged Ireland during the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak, tells the story of three women – a nurse, a doctor and an activist – working on the front lines of the pandemic.

A novel by Simone de Beauvior, which was once thought to be too intimate, is set to be published for the first time this year.

Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘too intimate’ novel to be published after 75 years

A novel by Simone de Beauvoir that was deemed too intimate to release in her lifetime will be published for the first time later this year. The French writer and feminist’s Les inséparables tells the story of the “passionate and tragic” friendship she had as a young girl with Elisabeth “Zaza” Lacoin, who died of encephalitis at the age of 21.

Michelle Obama’s book tour for her memoir, Becoming, has been made into a documentary for Netflix.

Michelle Obama’s book tour documented for Becoming film | CBC News

Michelle Obama’s tour to promote her best-selling 2018 memoir Becoming has been turned into a documentary film for Netflix. Becoming, a behind-the-scenes look at the former first lady’s 34-city tour, will be released on May 6, Obama and Netflix said in a statement on Monday.


Joy Harjo has been named the US Poet Laureate for a second term.

Joy Harjo Is Named U.S. Poet Laureate for a Second Term

Harjo, 68, has dedicated her career to making Native people and their stories visible, exploring tribal histories, spirituality and feminist issues in nine collections of poetry. For her most recent book, ” An American Sunrise,” she traveled to the site where her ancestors were forcibly removed in the 1800s as a way to draw a spiritual connection with them.

The Triangle Awards, which recognize excellence in LGBTQ+ literature, have announced their 2020 winners.

Téa Mutonji and Kai Cheng Thom among winners of 2020 Publishing Triangle Awards for LGBTQ literature | CBC Books

Books The two Canadians were among seven winners for their books Shut Up You’re Pretty and I Hope We Choose Love. The awards, each worth $1,000, annually honour the best in LGBTQ literature. Canadian writers Téa Mutonji and Kai Cheng Thom are among the seven winners of the 2020 Publishing Triangle Awards, with their books Shut Up You’re Pretty and I Hope We Choose Love , respectively.


If you’re hoping to use some of your social isolation time working on your craft, writer Omar Mouallem has launched “Pandemic Universty”, which offers writing classes across many genres and styles for a minimal fee.

Pandemic University is a series of online writing courses you can take right now | CBC Books

Books Courses include mastering conflict and tension with Ayelet Tsabari, writing a proposal with Michael Hingston, writing true crime with Katherine Laidlaw, writing personal essays with Hadiya Roderique and more. Omar Mouallem is an award-winning feature writer, journalist, documentary filmmaker and co-author of Inside the Inferno, a firsthand account of battling the Fort McMurray wildfire.

Or maybe you’re just starting to write, in which case you should check out this NPR piece on how to write a book.

If You’ve Always Wanted To Write A Book, Here’s How

Everyone has a book in them. Everyone also has a crummy inner voice telling them it’s never going to happen. This episode will help shut down those distracting voices and get you started writing a book. After all, all it takes to be a “real writer” is to do some writing.

And if you need a reminder that you can write about literally anything, here’s a wonderful interview with the creator of Taco Bell Quarterly (yes, you read that right).

The editor of Taco Bell Quarterly explains how to make art out of a fast food brand

Move over, Paris Review. The hot new literary mag on the scene is Taco Bell Quarterly, a magazine in which every single piece of writing is inspired by Taco Bell.


Lastly, I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but can we judge a celebrity by their bookshelf? As interviews move into the virtual space, many celebreties are choosing to use their bookshelves as backgrounds, and The New York Times has broken them all down for us.

What Do Famous People’s Bookshelves Reveal?

In quarantine, people are inadvertently exposing their reading habits – embarrassing, surprising and impressive. Bibliophiles do not approach bookshelves lightly. A stranger’s collection is to us a window to their soul. We peruse with judgment, sometimes admiration and occasionally repulsion (Ayn Rand?!).

Have a wonderful first weekend of May, everyone!


Staff Pick and Social Distancing Update

Rachel, Author Engagement Intern
I’ve been finding it challenging to find new, creative ways to exercise in the confines of my apartment. Luckily, my dog has been willing to help me out.

workouts-mp4

No Description

I recently finished listening to the audiobook for Cameron Esposito’s Save Yourself and whatever the audio equivilant of “couldn’t put it down” is, that was me with this book. It is laugh out loud funny, incredibly honest, and I cannot recommend it enough.

Save Yourself audiobook by Cameron Esposito – Rakuten Kobo

Listen to “Save Yourself” by Cameron Esposito available from Rakuten Kobo. Narrated by Cameron Esposito. Start a free 30-day trial today and get your first audiobook free. This “hilarious and honest” bestselling memoir from a rising comedy star tackles issues of gender, sexuality, feminism, and the

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