Friday Folio: March 24, 2023

Goooood morning! Time for some news!

First, an update on this year’s Book 8 of 52: No Place to Go by Lezlie Lowe. I said at the time that I was reading it for work. That story (with an interview with Lowe) is now out: “Why Are Public Restrooms Still So Rare?” for The New York Times. I really tried to work in how Elizabeth Taylor played a role in ending paid toilets at airports, which I read about in Book 3 of 52: Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit and Glamour of an Icon by Kate Andersen Brower. Alas! (that part was also excerpted in The Washington Post).

Attempts to ban books have doubled. BIG FUCKING SIGH. Via The New York Times.

Speaking of, Publisher’s Weekly has a fascinating story of what feminist book stores are doing right now given [waves hands].

They also covered how the war in Ukraine has affecting publishing there.

I missed the news that the Trans Rights Book Readathon happened this week. Doesn’t mean we still can’t buy books! Buzzfeed has 16 suggestions.

And let’s end with a bizarre one: the publishing employee who stole 1,000 manuscripts, including from big name authors […]

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Friday Folio: March 17, 2023

Some personal news! My new ebook, Notes from a Hired Pen: Freelance Writing for Laid-Off Journalists (and Those Who Want to Quit) is now out! Hooray! It’s usually $10 but discounted to $7 for the launch.

Oprah’s Book Club turns 100! Well, has chosen it’s 100th book.

Toni Morrison is now on a stamp!

I know some people are mad about Leigh Bardugo getting a reported eight-figure book deal. But she’s popular, her book sell, so…what? I’m way more annoyed about people who become famous for being dicks immediately signing a book contract. Remember “Princeton Mom?”

I did not know book vending machines were a thing! Now I do. And you do too.

Expect to see this on the blog in the future: Chita Rivera has a new book out next month. I hope she reads the audiobook!



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Friday Folio: March 10, 2023

Friday! Let’s hit it!

Handling rare books? No cotton gloves please! Via The New York Times.

There’s almost too much book banning news to cover. This New Yorker piece looks at how banning books isn’t protecting children (and yes I read a lot of books on the most banned list as a child and teenager, usually in class because my school taught them for the same reasons other folks want to ban them. Glad they did!)

Like Terry Pratchett? Twenty of his early stories are set to be republished this year.

HarperCollins and Hachette are offering voluntary service packages, per Publisher’s Weekly. Sigh.

Do you read more than one book at once? I try to only be reading one book and listening to one book at a time. Tor takes on the topic.

And in a bit of self-serving news, my new ebook, Freelancing for Laid Off Journalists (and Those Who Want to Quit) is almost live! I’ll be announcing its release here.

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Friday Folio: March 3, 2023

Friday. Yay!

McSweeney’s has a taken on the whole editing of Roald Dahl’s books thing: “Fuck You, You Fat-Headed Roald Dahl-Censoring Fuckers.”

It also appears already purchased ebooks versions of Dahl’s work are being “updated.” So I refer you back to the link above.

The Washington Post published this homage to encyclopedias. I’m learning Italian right now and despite taking the courses online and having instant translation available through the interwebs, I still bought an Italian and English dictionary. Physical media has its advantages, including but not limited to a publisher can’t go alter something you already bought (yes I am bothered by the Dahl thing!)

In Esquire, Chris Pine recommends 15 books he thinks everyone should read. Who am I to argue with my second favorite Chris?

Let’s giggle with Smart Bitches, Trashy Romances on some cover snark.

And in closing: I saw this tweet asking if your parents monitored your reading. My answer: no. The only pushback I got was when, as a teenager, I picked up The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings by Edgar Allen Poe from the dearly departed Hideaway Books in Avalon, N.J. One parent asked if that was maybe a little dark […]

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Friday Folio: February 24, 2023

Good afternoon! Sorry I’m late, but I had a very long, complicated piece due this morning (that has to do with two books I’ve reviewed on the blog this year!), but I’m here now. So let’s hop to it.

Being away the week of Valentine’s Day meant I list a lot of neat stuff, like this: and article about the clinch, an iconic romance image. Via Hazlitt.

HarperCollins’ union workers are back on the job.

I’m sure most of you love libraries. Lots of people do — myself included. The New York Times did a round up of warm, fuzzy library feelings. (where I do affiliate links) is going to start selling ebooks, and its first book, per Publisher’s Weekly.

And let’s end with a bizarre story: first, Penguin said they were “updating” Roald Dah’s books to be less offensive. Then the backlash was so huge, and they’re going to print both the new and original version. I wish I had something pithier to say than “it’s dumb to try to cover up missteps of the past,” but I’m tired.

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Friday Folio: February 17, 2023

Hello from Jekyll Island, Ga. (photo from my pre-dawn run)! I’m getting ready to pack things up and head back North, but the news never stops.

The podcast Maintenance Phase (which I LOVE) did an episode on Elizabeth Taylor’s diet book. That book is…not great. She was a complicated lady, which is why if you want to know more about her (good and bad, including how relentless people were about her weight), I suggest checking out Book 3 of 2023, Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit & Glamour of an Icon by Kate Anderson Brower.

I cited some stats about diversity on thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in reviewing Book 7 of 2023, The Unlikely Thru-Hiker by Derick Lugo (it’s bad). So I want to say congrats to Crystal Gail Welcome, who became the first known Black woman to thru-hike the 1,500-mile Florida Trail.

The HarperCollins strike is over. Vox has an explainer.

A theater company in St. Petersburg, Fla. has opened a banned book library.

Happy late Valentine’s Day: Paste has an interesting piece Katee Roobert, who writes erotica (and the piece is also about erotica as a genre within romance in general).

I missed he first bit of Faleena Hopkins […]

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Friday Folio: February 10, 2023

Let’s start with the good news today, via NPR: there’s a tentative contract agreement at HarperCollins!

The New York Times took a trip to Hobart, an eight-bookstore town in the Catskills. I stopped here in June 2020, on a hiking trip I took to just…get out (once strict lock down was over, of course). I was drawn by the hiking but this was still neat! In one store, where I was the only patron, the owner stepped outside to eat his lunch so I could browse without a mask on. Weird times.

I really need to get back to cross stitching. Then I could do this book shelf pattern as I read through the year, as recently featured on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. is taking over sales for, per Publisher’s Weekly.

What are your book pet peeves? The Washington Post rounds up common irritations. I agree with the part about italicizing passages. No thanks!

Bosch, the TV adaptation of Michael Connelly’s Bosch books (which I’ve covered on this blog) is getting a spin off. Rene Ballard is newish to the books, so this is a little surprising, though it might be portend of Bosch […]

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Friday Folio: February 3, 2023

To start! is celebrating Black History Month by offering a 20%  discount off select titles. Use code BLACKHISTORY at checkout. If you’re looking for a Black-owned bookstore to support through your shopping at, how about Ida’s Bookshop in Collingswood, N.J.?

This is wild: the New York Times got an interview with the romance writer who faked her own death. Maybe writing “let the fun begin” to announced you’re back (???) was not the best route to take.

Here are the finalists for the 2023 National Book Critics Circle Awards.

Salman Rushdie has a new book coming out, but he said he won’t be doing public appearances to support it. I can’t blame Rushdie. He lost sight in one eye and still can’t use one of his hands after being brutally attacked while giving a talk last summer.

I am as horrified as most of you probably are about books being removed from Florida classrooms and school libraries. Andrea Phillips, a Florida teacher, wrote a piece for The Independent about it, and what it means (nothing good).

But let’s end on a positive note: A guy in Germany bought a book about Top Gun online. […]

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Friday Folio: January 27, 2023

I’m trying out a new feature on the blog, where I wrap up some book world news on Fridays. We’ll see if this works!  So here’s some news.

Spare by Prince Harry has become the fastest selling non-fiction book of all time, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. I imagine I’ll read it at some point, probably listen to the audiobook version as I did with other royal-related books, including Book 26 of 2022, The Palace Papers by Tina Brown. I’ve read bits of gossip just like most of us have, but I want to see it all in context.

What’s going to happen to book twitter if/when Twitter implodes? Sophie Vershbow, writing for Esquire, is on the case.

HarperCollins and its striking workers are entering mediation, thank goodness.

The New York Times wrote about Hilderbabes, fans of author Elin Hilderbrand, by covering a retreat for/with the author in Nantucket. And of course, people made fun of it despite these kinds of fan travel opportunities exist everywhere, from the Sex and the City buses to Jane Austen pilgrimages. I even looked at a tour for Murdoch Mysteries and one of the AcornTV […]

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Update on Books 37 and 51

Hello readers! As promised, I have updates on books I previous read on the blog but didn’t say too much about because I would be discussing them further for work.

Book 37 of 52: Streets of Gold: America’s Untold Story of Immigrant Success by Ran Abramitzky and Leah Boustan: I interviewed Boustan for Princeton Alumni Weekly. I also found this letter written in response to the article, which you may find interesting as well.

Book 51 of 52: The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian. I spoke about this romance novel for the podcast Book Fight! We had a great chat!

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