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Blog Bytes

by Kristopher Zgorski

It will come as a surprise to no one that the National Public Radio (NPR) website ( is a great place to find information on a wide variety of books. Readers will find a collection of book reviews of single titles, along with some reviews that group books together under artificial topics such as Summer Reads, Translations, or Black Feminism. NPR has a core group of excellent book reviewers like Maureen Corrigan and Gabino Iglesias as well as occasional guest reviewers who always provide great insights. Some of the books will have been covered on the Fresh Air radio portion of NPR as well. In addition, the NPR author interviews are always worth checking out, even if the book itself may not be of particular interest. Perhaps my favorite part of the website is the polls that are taken which result in gathered information from the larger reading community who listen to NPR and thus provide a good view of the collective consciousness at any given moment.

Murder in Common ( is a Toronto-based crime-fiction blog created by writer June Lorraine Roberts. This blog covers all aspects of our community, but has a focus on debut and midlist writers from all over the world. As the subhead on the title banner states, June is most definitely passionate about crime-fiction books. While June’s reviews are on the shorter side, they do give enough information about each novel’s plot and a clear indication of what her feelings about the work are to make them useful for readers looking to discover new writers to try. Murder in Common has been up and running since April of 2021—in the midst of the pandemic—and averages about four book reviews a month.

Over on YouTube you can find The Beachbum Bookworm ( channel/UCDn4HCNJgGVMDJodfQ7ZVsQ). Tiffany is the woman behind this very fun series of videos that focus on cozy mysteries and romance. Once you get a taste of Tiffany’s enthusiasm, you will make stopping in to watch her videos a common occurrence. Her monthly rundowns of what books are being released in the cozy genre are so useful, and readers are bound to discover something they might have otherwise overlooked.

The last choice this month is again an unusual one. Amoeba Music has a YouTube channel most famous for their “What’s In My Bag?” videos ( In this feature, music artists from all different genres discuss things that inspire them. Of course, that often means books, so it can be fun to watch to see what your favorite bands or solo artists like to read to help get their creative juices flowing. Just as an example, in one video Katie Crutchfield (of the band Waxahatchee) discusses Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, which is a classic work about tapping into your inner creativity—regardless of what discipline you might be working in. Of course, given the source, it is also a wonderful way to discover new music.

Copyright © 2022 Kristopher Zgorski

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