Happy Friday, writers, and welcome to December! We did it! We’ve almost made it through 2021. We hope all our American authors had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend last week and that everyone is gearing up for the beginning of winter.

Our 2021 Indie Cover Contest with voting on the best Romance cover of the year wrapping up today. Be sure to get your vote in to send your favourite to the final and get ready to vote for the best mystery/thriller cover next week!

Now let’s take a look at what’s been happening in publishing news.

Book ban attempts in American libraries continue to be on the rise.

US libraries report spike in organised attempts to ban books in schools

From calls in Virginia to burn “sexually explicit” books in a school library to a wave of challenges to titles by authors ranging from Toni Morrison to Alison Bechdel, the American Library Association is charting an unprecedented rise in attempts to ban books in libraries – many of which it believes are fuelled by organised conservative campaigns.

However, a school district in Mississippi is actually returning two books to libraries.

Missouri school returning LGBTQ books to shelves

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas City, Missouri school district will return two LGBTQ-themed books to high school shelves Monday following outcry. The North Kansas City School District said it’s returning “All Boys Aren’t Blue” and “Fun Home,” according to a copy of a letter to families provided to The Associated Press by a spokeswoman, who said it was sent Friday.

Santa Monica Press is launching a line of books for teens in 2022.

Santa Monica Press Enters YA Market

An independent publisher of nonfiction titles for adults for more than a quarter century, Santa Monica Press will launch a line of books for teens next February. Publisher Jeffrey Goldman, a Los Angeles native who founded Santa Monica Press in 1994, was motivated to make the foray into YA by his decade of experience as a board member, board chair, and classroom volunteer with the nonprofit literacy organization Words Alive.

Alice Sebold’s memoir has been pulled by her publisher.

Alice Sebold has now apologized to Anthony Broadwater, and her publisher has pulled her memoir.

Alice Sebold has released an apology to Anthony Broadwater, who served 16 years in prison and spent 24 more years on the sex offender registry after being convicted of her rape in 1981.

Award winning author Bernadine Evaristo will be the next president of the Royal Society of Literature.

Bernardine Evaristo has been named president of the Royal Society of Literature.

Bernardine Evaristo, Booker-winning author of Girl, Woman, Other, has been named the next president of the Royal Society of Literature. Evaristo will take over from Marina Warner at the end of this year, becoming the second female president-and the first writer of color-in the 200 years since the society was founded.

The arts world lost a legend last week when Stephen Sondheim passed away at 91.

The Measureless Influence of Stephen Sondheim

What if Stephen Sondheim had never written a word, or a note of music, after his thirtieth birthday? What if, grief-stricken at the death of his mentor Oscar Hammerstein II in 1960, the young composer had simply decided that he had done his part for musical theater and was ready to try something new?

The Diagram Prize has awarded the oddest book title of 2021.

Is Superman Circumcised? wins oddest book title of the year award

Is Superman Circumcised?, a study of the superhero’s Jewish influences, has resoundingly won the competition to be named “oddest book title of the year”. The Diagram prize, which is run by The Bookseller magazine and voted for by the public, pitted six titles against each other this year, from Curves for the Mathematically Curious to Hats: A Very Unnatural History.

Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu is writing a picture book about sports and mental health.

Tennis star Bianca Andreescu publishing picture book about sports, mental health and furry friends | CBC Books

Tennis star Bianca Andreescu publishing picture book about sports, mental health and furry friends | CBC Books Loaded Books Bianca Andreescu’s debut picture book, Bibi’s Got Game, will be published on May 31, 2022. Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu is publishing her first picture book, Bibi’s Got Game, on May 31, 2022.

Danny Devito is returning to the Penguin, this time as a writer of the iconic DC villain.

Danny DeVito on why he returned to the Penguin for new Batman comic ‘Gotham City Villains’

The actor reveals he was initially “a little bit hesitant about doing the comic,” and also expresses his excitement to see his former costar Colin Farrell take over the role. There’s not a lot that Danny DeVito hasn’t done in his decades-long acting career.

If you’re looking to up your marketing game by using TikTok, Bookbub has created a list of authors to follow for ideas.

21 Authors on TikTok to Follow for Book Promo Ideas (& LOLs)

TikTok can be a great place for authors to both promote their books and build community – the app has nearly 100 million monthly active users in the United States alone, and it boasts a burgeoning community of readers, dubbed BookTok. The BookTok hashtag currently stands at 12.2 billion views, with videos featuring books old and new.

Ted Lasso has captured the hearts of viewers since debuting last year and this piece looks at how the heartwarming series uses books to reveal more about its characters.

Ted Lasso Sure Loves Books, Doesn’t He?

As bibliophiles we’re frequently struck by books, a bit stunned by their presence in a modern world loud with the clatter of smartphones and the suffocating omnipresence of social media. We’re the sort of oddballs who peer at what strangers are reading on the subway or in cafes.

As a notorious completionist when it comes to books, putting books down unfinished has been a hard lesson for me to learn.

Life’s Too Short to Finish Books You Don’t Like

I recently lunched with a dear friend and fellow voracious reader on her 94th birthday. We had both absolutely adored Bess Kalb’s memoir, No One Will Tell You This But Me, and discussed it over baked goods, but we felt similarly lukewarm about a forthcoming royal biography.

This time of year is always full of lists of books to gift over the holidays, but a list of book recs by authors is definitely my favourite type of list. Let us know your favourite books to gift in the comments!

44 Writers on Their Favorite Books to Give as Presents

With the holidays right around the corner and the looming supply chain issues, we thought it might be time to pull together a bookish gift guide. And who better to advise you on the best books to present to loved ones than some of our favorite writers?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Staff Pick

Laura, Author Engagement Specialist

“The Mistletoe Motive is the perfect holiday romance. It includes one of my favorite tropes, enemies to lovers and it takes place at the cutest indie bookshop! One of my favorite parts of the story was the autism and demi-sexual representation Chloe included in the story through the heroine, Gabby. I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a cozy romance this holiday season.”

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