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Welcome to Today in Books, where we report on literary headlines at the intersection of politics, culture, media, and more.
When TV Critics Stop Being Polite (and Start Getting Real)
When New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum won the Pulitzer in 2016, the committee cited her “television reviews written with an affection that never blunts the shrewdness of her analysis or the easy authority of her writing.” That description holds as true for her Twitter commentary (one of the very few things I miss about the bird app) as for her book-length work, and it is super exciting that her next book will take on reality TV. Cue the Sun comes out in June, and man, I love to see a thoughtful critic take “lowbrow” entertainment seriously and approach it with highbrow analysis. Nussbaum does this better than anybody. Put it in my veins.
Spice Up Your Life
We’re Book Riot, of course we’re going to write a headline that mashes up 90s pop and Dune. With just under a month to go before Dune: Part Two hits the big screen, now would be a weird time to decide to read all the Dune books in order. But people do things, and if thousands of pages of sci-fi is how you wanna spend your February, Adrienne Westenfeld has got you covered. I’m curious: how often do you read the source material before seeing an adaptation?
You’ve seen one apocalypse, you’ve seen ‘em all. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself about the very sad 1/5 score I got on this quiz about the settings of well-known apocalypse novels.
Yes, Virginia, You Can Ban Book Bans.
A new bill introduced in the Virginia state senate would ban book bans by school boards. This literally hits close to home for me, as I’ve watched the school board just one county over (I live in Richmond, VA) imbue itself with the authority to remove books from school libraries, successfully ban 75 titles, and defeat a community-driven ballot initiative to transition to a board elected by citizens rather than appointed by politicians. May Senator Ghazala Hashmi and her colleagues’ efforts succeed. Call your reps, folks.
5 Great Books That Bring the Screen to the Page
As a bonus for paid subscribers, I’m featuring 5 more books about TV and movies to read while you wait for Cue the Sun. Sign up for a paid subscription to Today in Books to get access to this and all bonus content and community features.