Biden Appoints Book Ban Coordinator for Dept. of Education | Book Pulse

President Biden is appointing a book ban coordinator for the Department of Education, to make schools aware that book bans can violate federal civil rights laws. Holly Smale’s Cassandra in Reverse is the latest Reese Witherspoon book club pick. Roger Reeves wins the Griffin Poetry Prize for Best Barbarian. Lambda Literary announces Ryka Aoki, Light from Uncommon Stars, and Aaron Hamburger, Hotel Cuba, as the winners of the 2023 Jim Duggins, PhD Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize. The Royal Society of Literature Christopher Bland Prize winner for is Paterson Joseph for The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho.

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Awards and Book Ban News






President Biden is appointing a book ban coordinator for the Department of Education, to “make schools aware that book bans can violate federal civil rights laws,” NPR reports.

Holly Smale’s Cassandra in Reverse (MIRA) is the latest Reese Witherspoon book club pickKirkus reports. Witherspoon announced the news herself in an Instagram video.

Roger Reeves wins the Griffin Poetry Prize for best English-language poetry book for his collection Best Barbarian (Norton; LJ starred review). CBC has the news.

Lambda Literary announces Ryka Aoki, Light from Uncommon Stars (Tor), and Aaron Hamburger, Hotel Cuba (Harper Perennial), as the winners of the 2023 Jim Duggins, PhD Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize. There are also Q&A’s with Aoki and Hamburger.

The Royal Society of Literature Christopher Bland Prize winner is Paterson Joseph for his debut novel The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho (Holt).

There’s a longlist for the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award.

Paramount Global could close its sale of Simon & Schuster by year end, CFO says; Deadline reports.

NYT recommends 24 works of fiction and 14 nonfiction books to read this summer.

Page to Screen






June 9

The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster, based on the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. RLJE Films. Reviews | Trailer

The Crowded Room, based on the true-crime book The Minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes. Apple TV+. Reviews | Trailer

Flamin’ Hot, based on the memoir A Boy, a Burrito and a Cookie: From Janitor to Executive by Richard Montañez. Hulu. Reviews | Trailer

Persian Lessons, based on the 1977 short story “Erfindung einer Sprache” (“Invention of a Language”) by Wolfgang Kohlhaase. Cohen Media Group. Reviews | Trailer

Scarlet, based on the 1923 novel Scarlet Sails by Alexander Grin. Kino Lorber. Reviews | Trailer

This World Can’t Tear Me Down, based on the graphic novels by Zerocalcare. Netflix. Reviews | Trailer

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, based on associated titles. Paramount. Reviews | Trailer

June 13

Falcon Lake, based on the graphic novel A Sister by Bastien Vivès. Distributed by Yellow Veil Pictures. Reviews | Trailer


Washington Post reviews John Feinstein’s Feherty: The Remarkably Funny and Tragic Journey of Golf’s David Feherty (Hachette): “There are occasions when he lets his subject off easy, repeats anecdotes or seems unsure of how to handle his more controversial public comments”; Benji Nate’s Girl Juice (Drawn & Quarterly): “Girl Juice offers a glimpse into the worlds that girls create for themselves, in all their heartfelt absurdities”; Jonny Steinberg’s Winnie and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage (Knopf; LJ starred review): “It is a portrait not just of a marriage but of a nation struggling to cast off its chains”; Peter Brown’s Journeys of the Mind: A Life in History (Princeton Univ.): “I’ve read lots of autobiographies…but none that quite so vividly depicts a life, a deeply enviable life, centered on humanistic research and the reading and writing of scholarly works”; and Naoíse Mac Sweeney’s The West: A New History in Fourteen Lives (Dutton): “For all her broadsides against the concept of Western civilization, Mac Sweeney is adamant her book is not an attack on the West.”

LA Times reviews Sammy Harkham’s graphic novel Blood of the Virgin (Pantheon; LJ starred review): “Grindhouse movies may have fed the very basic urge to witness sex and death. Blood of the Virgin is infinitely more complex, braiding together narratives about love that waxes and wanes, about failure and success, elation and resentment, and, ultimately, what it means to ‘make it’ in a biz that carries the word exploitation in its core”; and Such Kindness by Andre Dubus III (Norton): “In Such Kindness, Andre Dubus III offers Tom as an angry Siddhartha Gautama, the pre-enlightenment Buddha, resentful and grieving all that he has lost and as yet unaware of any path forward.”

SF Chronicle reviews You Can’t Stay Here Forever by Katherine Lin (Harper): “Lin does expert work in painting a very specific picture of white-collar life at a corporate law firm.”

WSJ reviews Jessica Lange: An Adventurer’s Heart by Anthony Uzarowski (Univ. Pr. of Kentucky; LJ starred review): “Although Mr. Uzarowski is appreciative of his subject, he too often writes as though he is just outside of the action.”

LitHub’s BookMarks lists the best-reviewed books of the week.

Briefly Noted

Pat Robertson, a Baptist minister, The 700 Club broadcaster, former presidential candidate, and author of books including The Power of the Holy Spirit in You: Understanding the Miraculous Power of God (Salem), has died at age 93. NYT has an obituary.

“Writers are raising doubts about the veracity” of a biography of playwright Tennessee Williams, James Grissom’s Follies of God: Tennessee Williams and the Women of the Fog, published by Knopf in 2015. The New Yorker and Kirkus have the news.

The Root has “a supersized list of Juneteenth books for the entire family.”

Seattle Times has a trans pride audiobooks list.

BookRiot lists “20 must-read LGBTQ+ crime novels.”

Kirkus issues a list of “10 nonfiction books to broaden your summer reading.”

CrimeReads recommends the best psychological thrillers of June 2023 and “six great thrillers featuring manipulative mom-friends at their best.”

Eisner Award–nominated cartoonist Nicole Goux, author of Pet Peeves (Avery Hill), shares 13 of her favorite horror graphic novels in Gizmodo.

NYPL finds “back of the house culinary memoirs for fans of The Bear.

Bookpage selects “the four best mysteries and thrillers of June 2023” and “the three best romances to read by a pool in June.”

The Amazon Books editors list their best books of June.

NYT recommends 9 books for the week.

Vulture lists “The Best Comedy Books of 2023 (So Far).”

Elle chooses “The Best Memoirs of 2023 (So Far).”

Actor Michael Caine will release his debut thriller, Deadly Game (Mobius: Hachette), later this year, Kirkus and The Guardian report.

Tor Books announces an English translation of Sung-il Kim’s Blood of the Old Kings, to be published in fall 2024.

Elizabeth Gilbert will publish her fourth novel next yearThe Snow Forest (Riverhead), Kirkus announces.

People reports that Patti Davis will publish a book addressed to her parents, Ronald and Nancy ReaganDear Mom and Dad: A Letter About Family, Memory, and the America We Once Knew (Liveright: Norton). There’s also news about a forthcoming memoir from actress Hilarie Burton MorganGrimoire Girl: Creating an Inheritance of Magic and Mischief (HarperOne), and a memoir from Hollywood stuntwoman Kimberly Shannon MurphyGlimmer: A Story of Survival, Hope, and Healing (Harper Wave). has an excerpt from Holly Smale’s Cassandra in Reverse (MIRA).

LitHub has excerpts from Michael Mewshaw’s My Man in Antibes: Getting To Know Graham Greene (David R. Godine); Aisha Abdel Gawad’s Between Two Moons (Doubleday); Greg King’s The Ghost Forest: Racists, Radicals, and Real Estate in the California Redwoods (PublicAffairs); Stephen Abbott’s The Proof Stage: How Theater Reveals the Human Truth of Mathematics (Princeton Univ.); and Samantha Leach’s The Elissas: Three Girls, One Fate, and the Deadly Secrets of Suburbia (Legacy Lit; LJ starred review).

CrimeReads publishes an interview with Ivy Pochoda, Sing Her Down (MCD; LJ starred review), on “women, violence, and the power of crime stories.”

BookPage interviews Martha Wells about why she returned to fantasy with Witch King (

Variety has an interview with costume designer Ruth E. Carter about her book, The Art of Ruth E. Carter: Costuming Black History and the Afrofuture, from Do the Right Thing to Black Panther (Chronicle; LJ starred review).

The Millions interviews Kathryn Ma, The Chinese Groove (Counterpoint), “about Victorian novels, unreliable narrators, and breaking the fourth wall.”

Carlos Fonseca, Austral (Farrar), answers Shelf Awareness’s “Reading With” questionnaire.

Electric Lit has an interview with Helen SchulmanLucky Dogs (Knopf).

Vogue talks to Rebecca May JohnsonSmall Fires: An Epic in the Kitchen (Pushkin).

Kirkus has a profile of Julia Quinn, who “is back to writing Bridgerton novels.”

USA Today explains “how Barbara Kingsolver shaped a Pulitzer Prize–winning novel out of Kentucky roots,” about Demon Copperhead (Harper; LJ starred review).

Poets & Writers profiles Luis Alberto UrreaGood Night, Irene (Little, Brown).

The CrimeReads “My First Thriller” column profiles cardiologist-turned-novelist D.P. Lyle, author of Cultured (Oceanview).

CrimeReads publishes essays by Katharine Schellman, The Last Drop of Hemlock (Minotaur: St. Martin’s); Katharine Beutner, Killingly (Soho Crime); and by Josh Haven, The Siberia Job (Mysterious Pr.).

Authors On Air

S.A. Cosby, All the Sinners Bleed (Flatiron; LJ starred review), is on The Maris Review podcast, talking about “interviewing an FBI agent, making plans, and family relationships.”

Matt Bell, Appleseed (Custom House), is interviewed on the Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast about “living on a political mobius strip.”

The Keen On podcast has on Antony LoewensteinThe Palestine Laboratory: How Israel Exports the Technology of Occupation Around the World (Verso).

Film producer, minister, and author DeVon Franklin talked on radio’s The Breakfast Club about his 2015 book, co-authored with now ex-wife Meagan Good, The Wait: A Powerful Practice for Finding the Love of Your Life and the Life You LoveEssence has coverage of the interview.

William W. Li, author of Eat To Beat Your Diet: Burn Fat, Heal Your Metabolism, and Live Longer (Balance), appears today on Rachael Ray.

Comedian Pope Lonergan’s memoir, I’ll Die After Bingo: The Unlikely Story of My Decade as a Care Home Assistant (Ebury), will be adapted for TVDeadline reports.

Blink49 Studios has partnered with literary agency Transatlantic (which represents the likes of Khaled Hosseini and MG Vassanji) to produce original projects based on Transatlantic’s IP, according to Deadline.

There’s a trailer for the new Yorgos Lanthimos film Poor Things, based on Alasdair Gray’s 1992 novel of the same name. (The book will be reissued in July 2023 by Dalkey Archive Press.) Deadline has the news, as does

There’s a trailer for The Witcher season 3, vol. 1, based on the novels by Andrzej SapkowskiVariety reports.

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