A blog about writing and self publishing

The Big Four, Diverse Comics, and Dr. Fauci’s Bookshelf: This Week in Book News

Hello, happy Friday, and happy second night of Hanukah to those celebrating! We hope everyone continues to stay safe, healthy, and, as winter looms closer, continues to stay warm. We are in our second week of the 2020 Cover Contest; make sure to get your votes in for your favourite Mystery/Thriller cover to send them to the finals! We are also gearing up for our next Live Q&A: this one will be with the KWL Europe Team! If you have any questions about reaching the European market,  publishing translations, or Kobo in general, be sure to tune in on December 17th at 11am EST!


The criticism over the Big Five potentially becoming the Big Four hasn’t let up, and a big question has been what does PRH’s acquisition of Simon and Schuster mean for diversity in publishing? Spoiler: it’s not looking great.

Commentary: The latest publishing mega-merger might kill off small presses – and literary diversity

When it was announced last week that Bertelsmann, the parent company of Penguin Random House (PRH), the largest book publisher in the U.S., was going to acquire the third largest, Simon & Schuster (S&S), to form a mega-press (PRHS&S?), the outcry was swift and plentiful.

Speaking of PRH, Penguin Random House Canada is dividing the Knopf Random House imprint into two separate entities (Knopf and Random House).

PRH Canada Divides Knopf and Random House

Penguin Random House Canada has announced that it is splitting the Knopf Random House Canada publishing group into two different imprints: Knopf Canada and Random House Canada. Each imprint will operate independently. The change will be effective as of January 2021, at which point the company will have seven divisions: Doubleday Canada, Penguin Canada, McClelland & Stewart, Young Readers, Appetite, Knopf Canada, and Random House Canada.


Pulitzer prize winning novelist Alison Lurie has passed away at age 94.

Alison Lurie obituary

Few writers have shown such a commitment to their characters as the US novelist Alison Lurie, who has died aged 94. Her 11 works of domestic and academic black comedy are peopled with an interconnecting cast, who move from the sidelines to centre stage, often reassessed and redeemed on second appearance, sometimes transferred from childhood to adulthood.


Canada Reads has announced the dates of the 2021 debate.

Canada Reads 2021 is coming | CBC Books

Canada Reads Ali Hassan will host the 20th edition of the great Canadian book debate, which will take place March 8-11, 2021. Canada Reads is getting ready to celebrate its 20th season. Ali Hassan will return to host the 2021 edition of the great Canadian book debate, which will take place March 8-11.

The winners of the Goodreads Readers Choice Awards have been announced!

Silvia Moreno-Garcia & Margaret Atwood win 2020 Goodreads Readers Choice Awards | CBC Books

Books The Goodreads Readers Choice Awards are given out in 20 categories across several genres and are voted on by readers. More than five million votes were cast in 2020. Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Margaret Atwood were among the 2020 Goodreads Readers Choice Award winners.

The winners of the 2020 Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards have been announced.

2020 Children’s and Teen Choice Book Award Winners Announced

Every Child a Reader, the charitable arm of the Children’s Book Council, has revealed the winners and honorees of its 13th annual Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards-the only national book awards selected exclusively by young readers. The seven finalists in each of the categories were chosen by children from different regions of the U.S., with supervision by the International Literacy Association.


Some comic book news: Marvel is creating an anthology featuring Indigenous characters written by Indigenous writers.

Marvel’s newest collaboration features Indigenous voices writing Indigenous characters | CBC Radio

In celebration of Native American Heritage Month in the U.S., Marvel Comics commissioned an anthology of stories featuring legacy Indigenous characters. Rebecca Roanhorse, a Black and Ohkay Owingeh science fiction and fantasy author, contributed an Echo story to Marvel’s Voices: Indigenous Voices #1 along with Tongva artist Weshoyot Alvitre.

DC Comics has announced that the next Batman will a Black man named Tim Fox (son of Lucius Fox).

New Batman will be black, DC Comics announces

The next hero to don Batman’s cowl will be a black man, named Timothy Fox, DC Comics has revealed. The identity of the new Batman, estranged son of Bruce Wayne’s business manager Lucius Fox, was announced by the comics publisher on Thursday.


The Scotiabank Giller Prize will be launching a monthly book club covering the 2020 longlist.

Scotiabank Giller Prize to launch monthly book club featuring 2020 longlist | CBC Books

Books Each title will be featured for two to four weeks and readers will be encouraged to read along together. The Giller Prize also announced an event series for 5 Canadian schools through First Book Canada. The Scotiabank Giller Prize is launching a monthly book club.


The Bad Sex in Fiction Awards, which “celebrates” bad sex in literary novels, have been cancelled for 2020 with the judges saying, “the public has been subjected to too many bad things this year to justify exposing it to bad sex as well.”

Bad sex award cancelled as public exposed to ‘too many bad things in 2020’

Novelists who have strayed into the more intimate realms in their recent writing will have breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday after the Literary Review announced it had cancelled this year’s Bad sex in fiction awards.

In response to the cancellation of the Bad Sex Awards, The Guardian has created a list of the sexiest moments in literature that aren’t sex scenes.

The sexiest moments in literature that aren’t sex scenes

riting about sex is notoriously difficult: it is irrefutable that anatomical details combined with straining prose will always produce absurdity. But with this year’s Bad sex in fiction award cancelled, let’s make 2020 the year we celebrate the sexiest moments in literature – with absolutely no sex in them.


Great news for fans of the adaptation of The Queen’s Gambit: writer-director Scott Frank and star Anya Taylor-Joy are teaming up again for an adaptation of Laughter in the Dark.

‘The Queen’s Gambit’ star Anya Taylor-Joy and co-creator Scott Frank reuniting for new project

‘The Queen’s Gambit’ co-creator Scott Frank is developing an adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel ‘Laughter in the Dark’ with star Anya Taylor-Joy. Frank also has plans for a TV series based on Sam Spade, the detective played by Humphrey Bogart in 1941’s The Maltese Falcon.

A fun game during the beginning of the pandemic was investigating the bookshelves of celebrities as we pivoted to interviews being held at home. Lucky for us, the New York Times has investigated once more.

What’s Fauci Reading? We Take Another Look at Celebrity Bookshelves

This year is finally coming to an end, so here is one last peek at the books behind Chris Rock, Jeff Bezos, Jemele Hill, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and more. As 2020 winds down and we look back at our pandemic year, it’s possible, through the murk of loneliness and illness, to see the few bright spots that existed for people who love books.

I’m not usually one for long exposition before recipes in a food blog, but this piece on cooking a meal to honour James Baldwin is the one and only exception.

Cooking with James Baldwin – The Paris Review

Please join Valerie Stivers and Hank Zona for a virtual wine tasting on Friday, December 18, at 6 P.M. on The Paris Review ‘s Instagram account. For more details, visit our events page, or scroll down to the bottom of the article.

Dating during a pandemic is definitely not an easy task, but it’s a little less painful when you consider how much it’s like living in a Jane Austen novel (although now that winter is upon us, I hope no one falls in the lake like Mr. Darcy in that scene).

How Dating During a Pandemic Is Like Being in a Jane Austen Novel

Clever planning is involved, and courtship includes many brisk walks.

As I said last week, the “Best of 2020” lists are plentiful this time of year, and this week we have contributions from:
Literary Hub
CrimeReads
Entertainment Weekly
Vanity Fair
And last but not least, Lit Hub’s Best Adaptations of 2020.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Staff Pick
Laura, Author Engagement Specialist

Grown is a well-written but heavy read, as it touches on many difficult topics. This mystery is a work of fiction with a ripped from the headlines twist that readers may recognize.  It follows Enchanted Jones, a young singer who gets caught up in the limelight of R&B singer Korey Fields after meeting him at an audition. But soon she’s caught up in the hidden secrets of Korey’s dark side. One night, Enchanted wakes up with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night. Who killed Korey Fields?  Jackson uses the book to challenge opinions of what makes a teen “grown”, and force us to consider how young women, especially young Black women, are treated by their peers and people in the media.”

Grown ebook by Tiffany D Jackson – Rakuten Kobo

Read “Grown” by Tiffany D Jackson available from Rakuten Kobo. An instant New York Times bestseller! “Grown exposes the underbelly of a tough conversation, providing a searing examina…

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