WTF is Up with ACOTAR?

Welcome to Today in Books, where we report on literary headlines at the intersection of politics, culture, media, and more.

I go away for a week and we get both a new online bookstore from RuPaul (didn’t have that one on my publishing bingo card) and a new publishing startup from some industry heavy hitters! If you’re in catch-up mode too, don’t miss Jeff’s Q & A with Authors Equity CEO Madeline McIntosh.

And it’s Tuesday, so you know I’m picking the It Books of the week at the end of this email. Meet you there.

Longlist for the International Booker Prize Revealed

The International Booker Prize, which celebrates “the best novels and short story collections from around the world that have been translated into English and published in the UK and/or Ireland,” has revealed this year’s crop of longlist titles. The 13 titles represent ten languages, and South American writers come in hot with 30% (four) of the slots. If, like me, literature in translation is a consistent weakness in your reading life, you’ll appreciate that the Foundation published some of the judges’ comments about the books, a very helpful way to familiarize ourselves and pick a few to explore. The shortlist will be announced April 9, followed by a ceremony for the winner on May 21. A prize of £50,000 will go to the winning title to be split evenly between the writer and translator. 

A Literary Guide to La La Land

Movies based on books had a great night at Sunday’s Academy Awards thanks to the sweeping success of Oppenheimer(7 trophies), a strong showing by Poor Things (4), and a few surprises courtesy of The Zone of Interest and American Fiction. (I am once again asking you to please read Erasure.) If the intersection of books and the big screen is your jam, you’ll dig these seven books that explain how Hollywood really works. I can vouch for Oscar Wars and Finding Me, both excellent on audio, and I’ll be putting You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again on my list right quick.

ACOTAR 101

Bless Anne Helen Petersen for delivering the deep dive into A Court of Thorns and Roses I’ve been waiting for. 

No matter what you think of the subject matter, or the genre, or the writing style — when a bunch of people feel so strongly not just about the book, but the experience of reading the book….it’s worth consideration. As in: even if you think you’re not into a series that’s been derisively dubbed “fairy porn,” maybe there’s something happening there.

This is one viral book trend I’m sitting out—reader, know thyself—but I wholeheartedly second the emotion that understanding what’s going on with a pop culture phenomenon can help us understand bigger things about our culture and communities. Here’s the podcast episode she refers to as well.

8 New LGBTQ Middle Grade Books

These are great for readers of all ages.


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