‘Banished’ Words of 2021 Are All About COVID-19

You’ve probably heard these phrases, whether it was on a zoom call, a commercial, or a speech:  “We’re all in this together,” “These are challenging times,” and of course, the ever-popular “we’re living in unprecedented times.”

Chances are, you’re sick of hearing them—Lake Superior State University of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan sure is. That’s why all their banished words are all about COVID-19.



Their banished word list is the top ten words/phrases overused to the point of cliche and uselessness. Some of the words include COVID-19 itself (along with Coronavirus, Rona, and other iterations), social distancing, unprecedented, and the phrase ‘in these uncertain times’ (and its various other phrasings). “It should surprise no one that this year’s list was dominated by words and terms related to COVID-19,” says LSSU’s executive director of marketing and communications Peter Szmarty in a statement about the list. “We’re all in this together by banishing expressions like ‘we’re all in this together.'”


Coronavirus dominated everything in 2020. Image via wsj.com


People with the name Karen will also be pleased to know that ‘Karen’, used as a moniker for entitled suburban women, is also on the list.



Rounding out the list is the word “sus,” short for suspicious, which gained popularity from the video game Among Us, and “I Know, Right?” as the nominators felt it was nonsensical; you’re asking a question that you already know the answer to.

Hopefully, we’ll never have to use any of these words ever again.


Featured image via cnn.com

Author Spotlight: Dylan Farrow

This fall has brought us countless new reads, one of the newest being Hush by Dylan Farrow. Hush follows seventeen year old Shae who has wanted nothing, but a quiet life. After living with the secret of a disease that took the life of her brother, Shae has known nothing but a life of fear. Once her mother is murdered she is forced to face the secrets that she has kept at bay before they destroy her. If you are looking for a read that is full of fantasy with a strong female main character, then Hush is for you.

I was lucky enough to get to ask author Dylan Farrow a few questions about her new release!

image via St. Martins press

For readers interested in reading Hush, what four words would you use to describe this book?

Magic, secrets, journey, and language.

As a writer do you enjoy writing more about a enemies-to-lovers trope or a friends-to-lovers trope? As a reader, which do you prefer to read about?

I am a sucker for enemies-to-lovers. The stakes, the drama… I just love it. I haven’t written much about that theme in-depth yet, but it’s something I would love to explore in the future.


What character did you have the most fun with writing about/getting to develop? Which character did you find the hardest to write about/develop?

Kennan was by far the most fun to create. One of my favorite things about writing for her was how she calls Shae out on her BS. I really enjoyed writing a strong female character who already knows she kicks butt and doesn’t apologize for it.

The hardest character to write for was probably Cathal. He’s a character with a lot of secrets so it was sometimes a challenge walking that line between keeping his cards close to his chest and allowing enough information to slip out to keep the story going.


Hush has a little bit of everything, you did a brilliant job at incorporating fantasy, romance, mystery, and action all into one book. Did you always know that you wanted all these elements in your book or was it something that came together as you wrote?

Those are some of my favorite elements in storytelling, so it was probably inevitable that they worked their way in. Overall, I try and put the needs of the plot and characters first, so if something doesn’t work, I try to be objective and just axe it. I’m glad it all wound up resonating together in the end.


You weave together a very complex and alluring world within Hush, what was that hardest part about developing it?

Bringing the world of Montane together was a challenge. It looked very different in its earliest versions. I wanted it to contain elements of strife from the real world, but not too much, and sometimes that was a tricky balancing act. One of my favorite things about this genre is worldbuilding, so it was a fun challenge for me.


Which character do you find yourself relating to the most?

I relate to them all a little, but perhaps a tiny bit more to Shae’s mother. I started writing Hush as a new mom, so I think that experience really brought me closer to that particular character.


Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?

Yes and no. I went through a period where although I loved writing more than anything, I didn’t have the self confidence that I could follow through with making it my career. After a certain point of trying a few different jobs and never feeling completely satisfied with them, I figured I might as well try writing, since it makes me so happy. I’m very fortunate that it all worked out!


What are some books/authors that have inspired you to write?

The Earthsea series, His Dark Materials, and Lord of the Rings had a huge impact on my desire to write, and especially piqued my interest in fantasy. I was also hugely inspired by a number of excellent video games.


Finally, I must say the ending of Hush did leave me on the edge of my seat. I must ask/hope is there going to be a second and perhaps third book?

Hush is a duology! I’m currently writing the second and final book in the series. I don’t want to give away too much this early on, but Shae and her friends are in for an epic, wild ride!

You can get your hands on a copy of Hush now!

feature image via st. martins press and USA today

‘Americanah’ Not Moving Forward After Lupita Nyong’o’s Departure

The limited series Americanah, based on the novel of the same name by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, will no longer be going forward due to Lupita Nyong’o leaving the project.



Although this was a longtime project of Nyong’o’s, the oscar winner had to drop out due to scheduling issues.

The adaptation was slated for a ten-episode, straight-to series order on HBO Max last year. It had already been fully cast, but the outbreak of Coronavirus shut production down in March. These delays had jumbled the schedules of the stars involved, eventually leading to Nyong’o dropping out. Nyong’o was also going to produce while Black Panther co-star, Danai Gurira.


                                                                                                                                Image courtesy of deadline.com


Americanah tells the story of Ifemelu (who Lupita Nyong’o was set to star as), a confident and beautiful young woman from Nigeria who falls in love with a classmate named Obinze. To escape their military ruled country, they each turn to the west. Ifemelu goes to study in America and, while academically successful, grapples with race and identity for the first time. Obinze wants to reunite with her but, post 9/11, the United States are closed off to him. Instead, he is forced to pursue an undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, Nigeria is now democratically led and the two return. When they finally reunite, their passion is rekindled.

Uzo Aduba, Corey Hawkins, Zackary Momoh, and Tireni Oyenusi were also set to star in the adaptation.

 Featured Image courtesy of deadline.com via hbo


‘Walking Dead’ Producer Still Wants Rick Grimes Movies

Fans of The Walking Dead who miss the cop turned zombie killer Rick Grimes need not worry – producer Scott Gimple is still hopeful for three movies concerning the protagonist.

“We live in a world where everything is changing moment to moment,” Gimple tells Insider when asked if it would still be a trio of movies,” that said [it’s] still a theatrical movie, still hoping to be a trilogy.”


After it was announced that Rick (played by Andrew Lincoln) would be leaving the show, the movies were shortly announced. There hasn’t been much information on the project since then. With the announcement of season 11 being the final season, AMC implied a single film already in production. Both Andrew Lincoln and show creator Robert Kirkman are both heavily involved in the project. AMC has yet to say anything else.

One thing is for sure, though; everyone is dead set on this project.

Featured image vie The Hollywood Reporter


We’re back with #bookstagrammer of the week, featuring @bookbookowl! She’s one half of a small business, a fan of bright colors and rainbow shelves, and an avid reviewer!



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jen | Perth, Australia ???????? (@bookbookowl) on Aug 2, 2020 at 2:29am PDT

Why did you start your Bookstagram?

I’d become a first time mum 9 months before and I really wanted some sort of hobby project to keep me connected with a community online.  The typical ‘mum blogs’ don’t interest me, so I decided I’d make an instagram account for my real passion – books.  I had no idea the bookstagram community was so big and fell in love with it immediately. 

Where are you from?

I’m from Perth, Western Australia!


What do you want your Instagram to bring to the world?

I really enjoy bringing attention to books people might not have discovered otherwise.  There are so many book releases that it’s easy for great books to fly under the radar.  I also just try to bring a bit of happiness to people, with a rainbow of colours and fun discussions!

Fun Fact about you?

I have a flock of ducks at home.  Our head Drake’s name is Duck Norris and he has graced my bookstagram photos all of once (he disgraced himself on my favourite jeans and hasn’t been allowed back yet).


Favorite Bookstagrammers?

I have made some incredible bookstagrammer friends, some of them I count among my very best friends.  They include @readthewriteact @sam_the_fangirl_ and @bookishbiologist , who all have incredible accounts!  I also adore @paperfury and @xenatine , who both inspired me when I started my rainbow account.

Favorite Books and Authors?

It’s so hard for me to pick favourites!  I can barely pick a favourite in each genre. Some of my favourites though are The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvator, the Scythe series by Neal Schusterman, Jurassic Park and pretty much anything written by Jay Kristoff!  


Fictional Crush?

I think it would have to be Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses.  I especially like his amusing banter.  I’m too far past strictly brooding bad boys, they need to be a little bit fun!

TBR List?

My TBR list consists of over 300 books on my shelves I haven’t read!  I read around 15-20 books a month and I don’t think I’ll ever catch up.  A couple on my immediate “read this month” list are Rage and Ruin by Jennifer L Armentrout, The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum and Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust.

image via @bookbookowl

What’s Your Special Approach to Content?

Basically, I try to balance featuring new books I receive from publishers with people’s old favourites.  I also run monthly photo challenges and try to participate in them myself as well.  

Aesthetic / Instagram page theme?

RAINBOW.  All the colour! I’m far from a beige lover and enjoy splashing as much colour about as possible.


How often do you post?

I post twice a day, every day.

What does your Bookstagram mean to you?

It’s really one of the biggest things in my life right now!  The friendships I have made, the relationships I’ve formed with publishers and other businesses, they’re absolutely invaluable to me.  It’s also a tie in to the businesses I now run (my bookmark business and a book tour business I own with @readthewriteact, called @readthebooktours)

image via @bookbookowl

Favorite Bookstore?

Unfortunately, I don’t have many bookstores near me.  The closest one is QBD books and they are a 45 minute drive away.  We also have a real lack of hardcover books in Australia, which is my preferred format, so I usually buy most of my books online at Book Depository.  

Who would you have supply you with a lifetime of books?

Jay Kristoff.  Hands down. He can make me laugh, cry and yell (sometimes at him with those cliffhanger endings) all in the same book.  I’d never be bored.


Author to take a selfie with?

Still Jay Kristoff

Favorite book cover?

Oooh that’s a hard one!  I have so many!  I do absolutely adore the UK Nevernight by Jay Kristoff covers and the cover for The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton!

image via @bookbookowl

Book you have claimed to have read that you didn’t?

I don’t think I’ve ever done that, to be honest.  I don’t believe in ‘reader shaming’ or certain books being ‘required reading’ like I hear people say of some classic books.  If I like the sound of a book, I’ll read it.  If I don’t, I won’t, and I don’t see the point in pretending I have read one I haven’t. 

When did you know you had made it as a Bookstagrammer?

I think it was the first time a publisher approached me and asked if I’d like to be added to their book review copy list.  I remember I had 5,000 followers, but I didn’t feel like I had really been noticed until that happened and I suddenly thought “Wait, I think I’m a real bookstagrammer!”)


Favorite fandoms?

Nevernight, Scythe and Six of Crows

Advice for aspiring Bookstagrammers?

Set out to make friends, not just followers.  Talk to people in DM’s, comment on other bookstagrammer’s posts, reply to comments on your own posts, join in monthly photo challenges.  Don’t play the ‘follow then unfollow to get noticed’ game.  No-one likes that and you’re likely to be noticed for the wrong reasons.  It’s ok whether you’re on bookstagram to just casually drop in or you want to grow to be a large account.   But, if you do want to build a large following, you’ll only get there through commitment.  The people you see with a large amount of followers spend a lot of time and effort on their accounts.  

Featured image via @BookBookOwl