A Busy Long Weekend for Indie Booksellers, NPR Shares Annual Reading Guide, and More

by Staff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

Shelf Awareness recaps a busy long weekend of holiday sales and festivities within the bookselling and reading communities. Independent bookstores celebrated Black Friday and the Indies First campaign, while the New York Public Library advertised a satirical “deal”: “free books with a library card.”

Last week NPR published its annual end-of-year book guide. Previously known as the NPR Book Concierge, the guide has been rebranded as Books We Love and this year features over 360 titles. In the announcement, acting chief culture editor Beth Donovan included a note of remembrance for books editor Petra Mayer, who died earlier this month: “Petra was one of the original architects of this project, and she was thrilled with the new name and the 2021 collection of titles. We’re proud to present them to you today in her honor.”

Deesha Philyaw writes in praise of Daddy Was a Number Runner by Louise Meriwether and the author’s representation of Black girlhood. “We are worthy, I hear Meriwether say, and the whole truth of our lives, our dreams, and our struggles, are worthy of a book. We are worthy of protection, care, love, and tenderness.” (Paris Review Daily)

“Ten years after the Arab Spring, Egyptian writers continue to navigate a perilous political landscape.” Talya Zax considers the state of Egyptian fiction in the wake of the Arab Spring. (Literary Hub)

To determine the best book cover of the year, Electric Literature has created a bracket of thirty-two contenders and is soliciting votes via Instagram and Twitter.

“I wonder if Wilde knew the lasting impact he’d have on others. Did he die thinking he was a failure? In the end, does it even matter how the world perceives you?” Raj Tawney describes how the life and works of Oscar Wilde helped him develop the confidence to pursue writing. (Chicago Review of Books)

“I think bookstores are haunted in different ways. I feel this way when I’m in the presence of a lot of books, a sense of a crowded consciousness.” Louise Erdrich talks to the New York Times about her latest novel, The Sentence.

“What better way to escape from—or face up to—troubles past and future than with books?” To help readers close out the year, the Los Angeles Times highlights six books forthcoming in December.