National Book Award Nominees of 2020

The National Book Awards has released the names of its 2020 nominees, including two acclaimed debut novelists: Megha Majumdar and Douglas Stuart, both their fiction novels taking on serious cultural themes.

Majumdar’s A Burning is about a Muslim girl trying to make it out of the slums and is accused of being linked to a terrorist attack on a train, and Stuart’s Shuggie Bain tells of the childhood of a young boy in 1980’s Scotland, growing up in the throws of poverty and drugs.

Image via Amazon



Image via Amazon


Other novelists included on this list include Rumaan Alam for his work Leave the World Behind, and Brit Bennett for the novel that swiftly rose to popularity, The Vanishing Half.

Among the non-fiction authors nominated are Isabel Wilkerson for Caste, Jill Lepore for If Then, Claudio Saunt for Unworthy Republic and Frank B. Wilderson III for Afropessimism, a philosophical memoir and essay about how the Black experience is seen through the lens of slavery. The text Undocumented Americans also brought Karla Cornejo Villavicencio to the list with her honest memoir paired with extensive research into immigration.



The two short story collection nominees include the recently departed, Randall Kenan, for her collection If I Had Wings, and Deesha Philyaw for The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.

The finalists of this list will be revealed on October 6th, and the winners will be announced via a virtual ceremony on November 18th.


Amazon Knows What You’re Reading and How You’re Reading It

In an article by The Guardian, Kari Paul discusses a new discovery she’s made about how Amazon has logged not only what books she’s read on her Amazon Kindle, but the things she’s highlighted, excerpts she’s copied from books into her iPhone’s clipboard, and even looking up definitions of words in the Kindle’s dictionary.  I am probably as shocked as she is.  Paul was only able to discover this, as she starts off in her article:


“When I requested my personal information from Amazon this month under California’s new privacy law, I received mostly what I expected my order history, shipping information, and customer support chat logs.  But tucked into the dozens of files were also two Excel spreadsheets, more than 20,000 lines each, with titles, timestamps and actions detailing my reading habits on the Kindle app on my iPhone.”


image via apple insider


This disturbing revelation, according to Paul, revealed the moments she highlighted excerpts from The Deeper the Water and Uglier the Fish on February 15, or another, Severance, started on November 3 of 2018.  She then states that she made highlights in an excerpt from the third installment of The Diary of Anais Nin on May 21, 2019, or an excerpt from Leslie Jamison’s The Recovering: Intoxication and its Aftermath on August 23, 2018.  Amazon even recorded her changing the color of this excerpt!



You may be asking why Amazon even needs this information from you.  According to their privacy page, they collect things like search or shop for products in their stores, adding or removing items in your cart or placing orders, downloading, streaming, viewing, or using content on your device through their services, providing information in Your Account, and much more.  Amazon says that they use this to personalize your shopping experience and make proper recommendations to you when shopping (this would explain why if you search ‘phone cases’ and then buy one, you suddenly see Amazon recommending you tons of other phone cases “you may like”).


image via mage plaza


Paul states that “Amazon says it does not share what individual customers have highlighted with publishers or anyone else,” according to a spokeswoman.  “The highlights are logged to sync reading progress and actions across devices.”  This seems to make sense, but Amazon is logging almost everything done while reading on a Kindle.  What is all that extra data used for, then?


Paul has an answer through Alastair Mactaggart, someone who advocated for the California Consumer Privacy Act. Mactaggart states that “though Amazon says it is not currently sharing the insights gleaned from reading habits with anyone else, that the company holds on to the data shows it could be used in the future.”



For anyone who reads on a Kindle, this will be worrying for them.  It definitely doesn’t feel good knowing that everything you’re doing on a Kindle is being logged and recorded, all for no good reason. Amazon is just collecting all this data and holding onto it.  Paul quotes Evan Greer, the director at the privacy act group Fight For the Future.  He makes a good point when he says, “There is no reason Amazon or any other company needs to collect that kind of information to provide you with the service, which is simply reading a book.”


This discovery of data collection could be yet another drawback to using technology to read books.  Amazon definitely won’t be tracking what you read and what you mark through a good ol’ paper book.


Featured image via the verge


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Seven Inspiring Home Libraries

Do your elaborate fantasies all center around the ornate home library you’ll someday build? Do you need some inspo? We’ve got your back, because we’ve been thinking about the same thing basically non-stop. It’s our only dream. Here are some good photos to get you hype.

1. Traditional

Traditional Reading Space

Image via Trendir


Do you have a spiral staircase? Someone must. Take advantage by making your home library look like an Austin novel with wood paneling, bare windows, and some varyingly aesthetic antique furniture. Perfect for taking a turn about the room—or the stacks.



2. Modern

Modern Reading Space
Image via The Spruce


Your style more modern? Those chairs look perfect for a long book melt, and the ladder is a great take on classic library design. Plus all your art books will pop against the white shelving. Just be sure not to spill your tea on anything.



3. Minimalist

Minimalist Reading Space
Image via Trendir


Keep it simple and straightforward with shelves and a seating arrangement. The antique, almost industrial windows don’t hurt, adding some sparse flare. This one is easy to achieve, since all you have to do is get rid of most of the furniture.



4. For Two-Story Spaces

Two Story Reading Space
Omage via Luxe Daily


One level simply not enough for your enormous collection? #goals. This walkway looks almost like a fire escape, and between that and the variously glossy greys on the first floor, this whole room evokes a kind of urban elegance, even with trees out the window.



5. For Small Spaces

Small Reading Space
Image via Bustle


Sometimes you’ve not got a huge room to dedicate to your library, but don’t let that slow you down. This reading nook is perfect for compact spaces, taking advantage of storage under the seating, and making the chaise a feature so it hardly matters the ceiling is so low.



6. For Houses

 Reading Space for Houses
Image via Design Sponge


Have a room for your library that you also need to function? This is the perfect blend of library and sitting room, emphasizing comfort, books, and the outdoors, it’s an effective mixed use space that also makes room for what’s important—books.



7. For Apartments

    Apartment Reading Space
Image via Pintrest


You don’t have to have grand windows and big empty spaces to make a modern home library. Even if your apartment is underground, a bunch of soft lights and plush details can make a cozy and stylish reading feature just as well as any other style.



Featured image via Trendir 

Vans Unveils New Harry Potter-Themed Collection!

Exciting news for both Harry Potter fans AND fashion fans! According to Buzz the shoe brand Vans have unveiled a first look at their Harry Potter themed collection of upcoming shoes! The collection will feature shoes named after each of the Hogwarts Houses. Sk8-Hi for Gryffindor, Era for Slytherin, Authentic for Ravenclaw, and Classic Slip-On for Hufflepuff. Each shoe contains colors and details connecting them to their respective classes, with the official crest logo and distinct material. Vans had been building up to this reveal for quite a while, teasing the fanbase with a video on Instagram.



The official release date has yet to be announced, it has been confirmed by Vans that the shoes will be available to both men and women. The shoes will be supplanted by a line of Harry Potter accessories as well. Below, you can see a few of the photos from the line that have been circulating online:


 A pair of yellow shoes sitting side by side

Image Via twitter

A pair of white sneakers sitting side by side

Image Via Twitter

A green pair of sneakers sitting side by side

Image via Twitter 

Gryffindor will be a mix of red and gold, Slytherin will be a snake-like green, Ravenclaw will be its signature blue, and Hufflepuff will be all-black with subtle yellow striping. There is no further information yet but you can follow Vans on their website to see further updates as they come! Until then, we’ll be hyping ourselves to get these and wear them!



Featured Image Via Vans