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We were thrilled to have not just one but two great science fiction authors grace our hallways in San Francisco for a recent authors@goodreads event: John Scalzi and Cory Doctorow came to talk about their new books—Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire and Doctorow's Walkaway—and answer a few questions from both readers and employees.





Goodreads: Tell us about your new books.



John Scalzi: The basic concept of The Collapsing Empire is that there is this empire…and it collapses. I know right? Spoiler alert! It kind of gives it away right there in the title. [laughter]



Cory Doctorow: Walkaway is an optimistic disaster novel. Disasters are things you get whether you’re an optimistic or pessimist. Doesn’t matter how Pollyanna your outlook is or how well ordered your society is, it’s going to be subject to exogenous shots. You’re going to have belligerent asshole neighbors, or earthquakes, or tsunamis, or mutating microbes, or meteor strikes. What really matters is not whether you have disasters but what happens after them. Does the disaster become a catastrophe? Do people take it as a signal to unleash their bestial nature? Or is it the moment where people rise to the occasion, to see how they can help?











GR: Goodreads member Ale asks, "Has the current political climate (both in U.S. and globally), influenced or inspired any writing?"




Scalzi: This is actually an example of author being completely clueless to the rest of the world while following up on a weird interest of his own.



I was thinking about the age of sail and empire from the 15th to 18th century and how it would have been drastically different if, for example, the jet stream and the major Atlantic Ocean currents had just gone away and what that would mean for Portugal and Spain and the UK.



In the course of the writing there do seem to be a lot of parallels to what’s going on in the world today. People will come up to me at an event and be like, “I just read your book. It’s clearly about oil.” And you’re just like, “OK!” Because after a certain point once the book is out, it’s not just a book you brought up in your own head, it’s a book that exists in a space between your brain and the brain of the reader. What the reader reads into it is not invalid even if it’s not something you were directly on point to.




For me it was just what happens when you have this natural feature of the world or universe that everyone relies on: It could be a river, it could be the forest, and everyone just assumes it going to be there. But then the forest goes away because the climate changes or the river changes its riverbed because it does—the Mississippi does it all the time. What happens then and what happens to those people who think that feature is always going to be there? It wasn’t about modern times, but of course I live in the world and the modern world is going to get into it no matter what.




Doctorow: We assume books are about things and that authors know what those things are, and both of those statements are contestable.




Ray Bradbury went to his grave swearing Fahrenheit 451 was not a novel about censorship, but that it was about the evils of television. And if someone that much smarter than me can be that sure about something that is so manifestly wrong… [laughter]




But that said, I drew my inspiration from a lot of places. The most proximate cause was reading a San Francisco writer, Rebecca Solnit. Her book, A Paradise Built in Hell, is about how kind people are in disasters, how noble and wonderful people are in disasters, and how completely certain the people who hold the reigns of power are that in times of disaster the poor are coming to eat them, and what they do preemptively to stop that from happening and how that gets in the way.




Also, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. It's a wonderful book. I think it’s unfortunate that he took 700 pages to say what he could have said in 100 pages because it intimidated a lot of people. Just read the first 100 pages you’re good! His seminal work on wealth and equality was very, very influential on me.




And then there’s a writer named Bruce Sterling, a science fiction writer and now media critic. He created this movement in the late 90s called the Viridian Greens, the answer to the Austere Greens or the Green Left. Bruce said what you need is a luxurious green, a leisure green, a green that is about the celebration of the material culture. The superiority of material culture that is designed to be beautiful and wonderfully made and to bring you pleasure, but is also designed to gracefully decompose back into the material stream when it’s done.










Read the full interview with Scalzi and Doctorow here.





Check out more recent blogs:

12 Surprising Books to Give to New Grads


Readers Recommend Their Favorite Nonfiction

Goodreads Hack: Scan a Book Cover!


posted by Cybil on May, 22





We were thrilled to have not just one but two great science fiction authors grace our hallways in San Francisco for a recent authors@goodreads event: John Scalzi and Cory Doctorow came to talk about their new books—Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire and Doctorow's Walkaway—and answer a few questions from both readers and employees.





Goodreads: Tell us about your new books.



John Scalzi: The basic concept of The Collapsing Empire is that there is this empire…and it collapses. I know right? Spoiler alert! It kind of gives it away right there in the title. [laughter]



Cory Doctorow: Walkaway is an optimistic disaster novel. Disasters are things you get whether you’re an optimistic or pessimist. Doesn’t matter how Pollyanna your outlook is or how well ordered your society is, it’s going to be subject to exogenous shots. You’re going to have belligerent asshole neighbors, or earthquakes, or tsunamis, or mutating microbes, or meteor strikes. What really matters is not whether you have disasters but what happens after them. Does the disaster become a catastrophe? Do people take it as a signal to unleash their bestial nature? Or is it the moment where people rise to the occasion, to see how they can help?











GR: Goodreads member Ale asks, "Has the current political climate (both in U.S. and globally), influenced or inspired any writing?"




Scalzi: This is actually an example of author being completely clueless to the rest of the world while following up on a weird interest of his own.



I was thinking about the age of sail and empire from the 15th to 18th century and how it would have been drastically different if, for example, the jet stream and the major Atlantic Ocean currents had just gone away and what that would mean for Portugal and Spain and the UK.



In the course of the writing there do seem to be a lot of parallels to what’s going on in the world today. People will come up to me at an event and be like, “I just read your book. It’s clearly about oil.” And you’re just like, “OK!” Because after a certain point once the book is out, it’s not just a book you brought up in your own head, it’s a book that exists in a space between your brain and the brain of the reader. What the reader reads into it is not invalid even if it’s not something you were directly on point to.




For me it was just what happens when you have this natural feature of the world or universe that everyone relies on: It could be a river, it could be the forest, and everyone just assumes it going to be there. But then the forest goes away because the climate changes or the river changes its riverbed because it does—the Mississippi does it all the time. What happens then and what happens to those people who think that feature is always going to be there? It wasn’t about modern times, but of course I live in the world and the modern world is going to get into it no matter what.




Doctorow: We assume books are about things and that authors know what those things are, and both of those statements are contestable.




Ray Bradbury went to his grave swearing Fahrenheit 451 was not a novel about censorship, but that it was about the evils of television. And if someone that much smarter than me can be that sure about something that is so manifestly wrong… [laughter]




But that said, I drew my inspiration from a lot of places. The most proximate cause was reading a San Francisco writer, Rebecca Solnit. Her book, A Paradise Built in Hell, is about how kind people are in disasters, how noble and wonderful people are in disasters, and how completely certain the people who hold the reigns of power are that in times of disaster the poor are coming to eat them, and what they do preemptively to stop that from happening and how that gets in the way.




Also, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. It's a wonderful book. I think it’s unfortunate that he took 700 pages to say what he could have said in 100 pages because it intimidated a lot of people. Just read the first 100 pages you’re good! His seminal work on wealth and equality was very, very influential on me.




And then there’s a writer named Bruce Sterling, a science fiction writer and now media critic. He created this movement in the late 90s called the Viridian Greens, the answer to the Austere Greens or the Green Left. Bruce said what you need is a luxurious green, a leisure green, a green that is about the celebration of the material culture. The superiority of material culture that is designed to be beautiful and wonderfully made and to bring you pleasure, but is also designed to gracefully decompose back into the material stream when it’s done.










Read the full interview with Scalzi and Doctorow here.





Check out more recent blogs:

12 Surprising Books to Give to New Grads


Readers Recommend Their Favorite Nonfiction

Goodreads Hack: Scan a Book Cover!


posted by Cybil on May, 22
Posted: May 22, 2017, 5:42 pm
Let's be honest: Graduates probably don't need another copy of Oh, The Places You'll Go! If you want to educate and entertain the new diploma owner in your life, think beyond Dr. Seuss.



For ideas, we turned to our fantastic followers on Facebook and Twitter, who are always willing to share their book wisdom with us. Check out some of their fun suggestions for unexpected books for grads!







Hyperbole and a Half



The Know-It-All



Walden on Wheels



Cloud Atlas






My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises



The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy



Bossypants



Books for Living






The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*cK



The Magicians



My Man Jeeves



You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)







Don't see your suggestion? Share it with us in the comments!




Check out more recent blogs:

Readers Recommend Their Favorite Nonfiction

Goodreads Hack: Scan a Book Cover!


7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today



posted by Hayley on May, 19
Let's be honest: Graduates probably don't need another copy of Oh, The Places You'll Go! If you want to educate and entertain the new diploma owner in your life, think beyond Dr. Seuss.



For ideas, we turned to our fantastic followers on Facebook and Twitter, who are always willing to share their book wisdom with us. Check out some of their fun suggestions for unexpected books for grads!







Hyperbole and a Half



The Know-It-All



Walden on Wheels



Cloud Atlas






My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises



The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy



Bossypants



Books for Living






The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*cK



The Magicians



My Man Jeeves



You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)







Don't see your suggestion? Share it with us in the comments!




Check out more recent blogs:

Readers Recommend Their Favorite Nonfiction

Goodreads Hack: Scan a Book Cover!


7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today



posted by Hayley on May, 19
Posted: May 19, 2017, 2:39 pm
Need another excuse to go to the bookstore this week? We've got seven! Bulk up your Want to Read shelf with these brand-new standalone titles.




The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir
by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

You should read this book if you like: True crime, murder mysteries that hit close to home, the nature of forgiveness and truth, disturbing secrets

Check out Marzano-Lesnevich's author-to-author interview with Celeste Ng here.




Lilli de Jong
by Janet Benton

You should read this book if you like: Historical fiction, the late 19th century, sagas of perseverance, first-time mothers, Philadelphia




Vanguard
by Jack Campbell

You should read this book if you like: Science fiction, expanding civilization across the stars, uneasy alliances, space pirates




It's Always the Husband
by Michele Campbell

You should read this book if you like: Psychological thrillers, complex relationships between women, really bad college roommates




Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century
by Chuck Klosterman

You should read this book if you like: Essays and articles, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, pop culture and sports, sharp observations, footnotes





Flame in the Mist
by Renee Ahdieh

You should read this book if you like: YA Fantasy, samurai, bandits and runaways, girls going undercover, falling for the (suspected) enemy





How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child
by Sandra Uwiringiyimana

You should read this book if you like: Memoirs, powerful stories of hope, the Democratic Republic of Congo, survival, art and activism




BONUS: The wait is over—check out three of the buzziest sequels coming out today!


Full Wolf Moon
by Lincoln Child

The fifth book in the Jeremy Logan mysteries series
(Start off the series with Deep Storm)





Dating-ish
by Penny Reid

The sixth book in the Knitting in the City contemporary romance series
(Start off the series with Neanderthal Seeks Human)

Check out Reid's book recommendations here.






posted by Hayley on May, 18
Need another excuse to go to the bookstore this week? We've got seven! Bulk up your Want to Read shelf with these brand-new standalone titles.




The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir
by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

You should read this book if you like: True crime, murder mysteries that hit close to home, the nature of forgiveness and truth, disturbing secrets

Check out Marzano-Lesnevich's author-to-author interview with Celeste Ng here.




Lilli de Jong
by Janet Benton

You should read this book if you like: Historical fiction, the late 19th century, sagas of perseverance, first-time mothers, Philadelphia




Vanguard
by Jack Campbell

You should read this book if you like: Science fiction, expanding civilization across the stars, uneasy alliances, space pirates




It's Always the Husband
by Michele Campbell

You should read this book if you like: Psychological thrillers, complex relationships between women, really bad college roommates




Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century
by Chuck Klosterman

You should read this book if you like: Essays and articles, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, pop culture and sports, sharp observations, footnotes





Flame in the Mist
by Renee Ahdieh

You should read this book if you like: YA Fantasy, samurai, bandits and runaways, girls going undercover, falling for the (suspected) enemy





How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child
by Sandra Uwiringiyimana

You should read this book if you like: Memoirs, powerful stories of hope, the Democratic Republic of Congo, survival, art and activism




BONUS: The wait is over—check out three of the buzziest sequels coming out today!


Full Wolf Moon
by Lincoln Child

The fifth book in the Jeremy Logan mysteries series
(Start off the series with Deep Storm)





Dating-ish
by Penny Reid

The sixth book in the Knitting in the City contemporary romance series
(Start off the series with Neanderthal Seeks Human)

Check out Reid's book recommendations here.






posted by Hayley on May, 18
Posted: May 18, 2017, 8:49 pm


From a fascinating memoir, to a thrilling history, to a scientific look at ourselves, we love curling up with a great nonfiction book. Always looking to add more books to our Want to Read shelf, we recently asked fellow readers on our Facebook and Twitter pages to tell us about their favorite nonfiction book they like to recommend, and why. More than 1,300 of you weighed in with great reads. Here are some of the most popular responses.




Let us know some of your favorite nonfiction titles in the comments!




The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls

"It was just so interesting. I never knew people lived like that or would want to. She was so honest, really made me feel the story," wrote Helen Crawford Klatt.




Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Laura Hillenbrand

"It reads like an improbable action thriller, but the hero is a real and remarkable example of the resilience of the human spirit," wrote Steve Doyal.




The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot

"Because the blatant injustice of her receiving no compensation for the harvesting of her cancer cells and the subsequent billions of dollars that flowed from those cells highlighted the greed of the research institutions and the pharmaceutical companies," wrote Christine Vojt.




The Diary of a Young Girl
by Anne Frank

"The fact that she saw so much ugliness and managed to still believe that people, as a whole, are still good is truly inspiring," wrote Barb Cavallaro.




Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
by Susan Cain

"This is a powerful book to help people understand introversion as a positive trait rather than something to be 'fixed' and why we need both extroverts and introverts for the world to function," wrote Julie Jordan Merkel.





Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
by Trevor Noah

"A bitter sweet tale of life from the perspective of a young boy navigating the complex world of post-Apartheid South Africa. It delivers on so many levels and is refreshing to see how another culture and people view the world," wrote IronFlower Zee.





Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
by Erik Larson

"It's about the sinking of the Lusitania. It works back and forth between the ship and the U-boat that sank it. I swear it felt suspenseful even though I knew exactly how it would end," wrote Kristin Powell Strong.





No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II
by Doris Kearns Goodwin

"If you have any interest at all in American history or WWII, you'll love it. It takes the topic of the American homefront during the war and makes it tangible to modern Americans. Every single person I've ever recommended it to has loved it," wrote Dani Massaro.





The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
by Eckhart Tolle

"I've bought this for so many people going through a personal crisis. It grounds me when I'm stressed by circumstances. I keep it close," wrote Jan Bruce .







The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
by Isabel Wilkerson

"Brilliantly researched, well written, touching, provocative, stays with you long after you've read the last chapter. I think it should be required reading for juniors or seniors in high school," wrote Anjie Taylor.





Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
by Mary Roach

"It is the reason I became a nurse. So interesting!!!! It is all about what happens to the body after death," wrote Christy Petersen Holloway.









Check out more recent blogs:

Goodreads Hack: Scan a Book Cover!


7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today


6 Fascinating Friendships Between Famous Authors


posted by Cybil on May, 17


From a fascinating memoir, to a thrilling history, to a scientific look at ourselves, we love curling up with a great nonfiction book. Always looking to add more books to our Want to Read shelf, we recently asked fellow readers on our Facebook and Twitter pages to tell us about their favorite nonfiction book they like to recommend, and why. More than 1,300 of you weighed in with great reads. Here are some of the most popular responses.




Let us know some of your favorite nonfiction titles in the comments!




The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls

"It was just so interesting. I never knew people lived like that or would want to. She was so honest, really made me feel the story," wrote Helen Crawford Klatt.




Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Laura Hillenbrand

"It reads like an improbable action thriller, but the hero is a real and remarkable example of the resilience of the human spirit," wrote Steve Doyal.




The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot

"Because the blatant injustice of her receiving no compensation for the harvesting of her cancer cells and the subsequent billions of dollars that flowed from those cells highlighted the greed of the research institutions and the pharmaceutical companies," wrote Christine Vojt.




The Diary of a Young Girl
by Anne Frank

"The fact that she saw so much ugliness and managed to still believe that people, as a whole, are still good is truly inspiring," wrote Barb Cavallaro.




Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
by Susan Cain

"This is a powerful book to help people understand introversion as a positive trait rather than something to be 'fixed' and why we need both extroverts and introverts for the world to function," wrote Julie Jordan Merkel.





Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
by Trevor Noah

"A bitter sweet tale of life from the perspective of a young boy navigating the complex world of post-Apartheid South Africa. It delivers on so many levels and is refreshing to see how another culture and people view the world," wrote IronFlower Zee.





Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
by Erik Larson

"It's about the sinking of the Lusitania. It works back and forth between the ship and the U-boat that sank it. I swear it felt suspenseful even though I knew exactly how it would end," wrote Kristin Powell Strong.





No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II
by Doris Kearns Goodwin

"If you have any interest at all in American history or WWII, you'll love it. It takes the topic of the American homefront during the war and makes it tangible to modern Americans. Every single person I've ever recommended it to has loved it," wrote Dani Massaro.





The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
by Eckhart Tolle

"I've bought this for so many people going through a personal crisis. It grounds me when I'm stressed by circumstances. I keep it close," wrote Jan Bruce .







The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
by Isabel Wilkerson

"Brilliantly researched, well written, touching, provocative, stays with you long after you've read the last chapter. I think it should be required reading for juniors or seniors in high school," wrote Anjie Taylor.





Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
by Mary Roach

"It is the reason I became a nurse. So interesting!!!! It is all about what happens to the body after death," wrote Christy Petersen Holloway.









Check out more recent blogs:

Goodreads Hack: Scan a Book Cover!


7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today


6 Fascinating Friendships Between Famous Authors


posted by Cybil on May, 17
Posted: May 17, 2017, 6:01 pm
Have you ever been inspired by a friend's book collection and wanted to immediately add a slew of her books to your Want to Read list? Or, maybe you'd like a way to quickly check a book's ratings on Goodreads as you browse through the stacks at your local bookstore or library?




Well, now you only need to point your phone at a book to add it to your Want to Read list, rate it, or see its Goodreads' reviews. Goodreads recently added a fun new feature to our iOS smartphone app: The ability to scan book covers and barcodes. And as a bonus, several of our readers also seem to like the sparking blue dots feature for their selfies!












New to the feature? Here's how to use it:



1) When you tap on the 'scan' icon on the Goodreads app, you'll be taken to a screen that activates your device's camera. If you haven't given the app permission to use the camera, you'll be prompted to do so.



2) If you're using the scanner for the first time, you'll see a message telling you to point the camera at a book cover (or barcode).



3) You will see sparkling blue dots appear on the screen as the scanner attempts to identify the book cover (or barcode). When the book is recognized, a card will appear on the screen with the book cover, title, and the option to shelve the book to your Want to Read shelf or to rate the book.



4) If more than one match is found, a card will appear on the screen with multiple book covers and you'll be asked to choose the correct book.



5) Whether or not you shelve the book, all recognized books will be saved in your 'history' tab. Your scanned 'history' will store up to 100 books.



6) If the book doesn't load after a few scan attempts, it's probably because it hasn't been added to our database yet. In this case, feel free to let our librarians know by contacting them here.



We love the fun our readers are having with this feature! How are you using it?








Cover Scan 2






Cover Scan 2




Check out more recent blogs:

6 Fascinating Friendships Between Famous Authors


10 Favorite Book Moms and Their Words of Wisdom


7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today


posted by Cybil on May, 16
Have you ever been inspired by a friend's book collection and wanted to immediately add a slew of her books to your Want to Read list? Or, maybe you'd like a way to quickly check a book's ratings on Goodreads as you browse through the stacks at your local bookstore or library?




Well, now you only need to point your phone at a book to add it to your Want to Read list, rate it, or see its Goodreads' reviews. Goodreads recently added a fun new feature to our iOS smartphone app: The ability to scan book covers and barcodes. And as a bonus, several of our readers also seem to like the sparking blue dots feature for their selfies!












New to the feature? Here's how to use it:



1) When you tap on the 'scan' icon on the Goodreads app, you'll be taken to a screen that activates your device's camera. If you haven't given the app permission to use the camera, you'll be prompted to do so.



2) If you're using the scanner for the first time, you'll see a message telling you to point the camera at a book cover (or barcode).



3) You will see sparkling blue dots appear on the screen as the scanner attempts to identify the book cover (or barcode). When the book is recognized, a card will appear on the screen with the book cover, title, and the option to shelve the book to your Want to Read shelf or to rate the book.



4) If more than one match is found, a card will appear on the screen with multiple book covers and you'll be asked to choose the correct book.



5) Whether or not you shelve the book, all recognized books will be saved in your 'history' tab. Your scanned 'history' will store up to 100 books.



6) If the book doesn't load after a few scan attempts, it's probably because it hasn't been added to our database yet. In this case, feel free to let our librarians know by contacting them here.



We love the fun our readers are having with this feature! How are you using it?








Cover Scan 2






Cover Scan 2




Check out more recent blogs:

6 Fascinating Friendships Between Famous Authors


10 Favorite Book Moms and Their Words of Wisdom


7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today


posted by Cybil on May, 16
Posted: May 16, 2017, 11:37 pm


Readers can be patient people, but sometimes we want a book that grabs us right from the start—a story that'll have us flipping pages after only a few moments of bookstore browsing or ereader previewing.



We asked on Facebook and Twitter: What's a recently published book (from the last five years) that hooked you from the first page? Check out the books that received the most shout-outs below!







The Woman in Cabin 10



The Stranger in the Woods



The Nightingale



The Girl with All the Gifts






Station Eleven



When Breath Becomes Air



The Upside of Unrequited



Exit West






Lincoln in the Bardo



Dark Matter



Truly Madly Guilty



Hillbilly Elegy







Behind Her Eyes



The Fireman



News of the World



A Brief History of Seven Killings










Mississippi Blood



A Darker Shade of Magic



Underground Railroad




A Court of Mist and Fury









Did the books that hooked you not make the list? Don't keep them to yourself—share the titles with us in the comments!




Check out more recent blogs:

Comedian W. Kamau Bell: The Questions That Changed His Career

7 Great Books Hitting Shelves This Week


Top Mystery & Thriller Writers Tell All ... and Recommend Books




posted by Cybil on May, 12


Readers can be patient people, but sometimes we want a book that grabs us right from the start—a story that'll have us flipping pages after only a few moments of bookstore browsing or ereader previewing.



We asked on Facebook and Twitter: What's a recently published book (from the last five years) that hooked you from the first page? Check out the books that received the most shout-outs below!







The Woman in Cabin 10



The Stranger in the Woods



The Nightingale



The Girl with All the Gifts






Station Eleven



When Breath Becomes Air



The Upside of Unrequited



Exit West






Lincoln in the Bardo



Dark Matter



Truly Madly Guilty



Hillbilly Elegy







Behind Her Eyes



The Fireman



News of the World



A Brief History of Seven Killings










Mississippi Blood



A Darker Shade of Magic



Underground Railroad




A Court of Mist and Fury









Did the books that hooked you not make the list? Don't keep them to yourself—share the titles with us in the comments!




Check out more recent blogs:

Comedian W. Kamau Bell: The Questions That Changed His Career

7 Great Books Hitting Shelves This Week


Top Mystery & Thriller Writers Tell All ... and Recommend Books




posted by Cybil on May, 12
Posted: May 12, 2017, 8:04 pm
Ninety-one years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis encountered each other at an Oxford English faculty meeting. It was not friendship at first sight. "No harm in him," Lewis wrote about his new acquaintance. "Only needs a smack or two."

Of course, it didn't take long for the two to become nearly inseparable. They critiqued each other's early drafts—for Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, and for Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet—and formed their own literary discussion group, The Inklings.

In celebration of their bookish bond, we've taken a look at six other captivating author friendships.


How they met: While working as an editor at Random House, Morrison tried to convince Baldwin to sign a book deal. She failed, but the two became lifelong friends.

Inside their friendship: The two writers admitted the powerful influence the other had on their work, but Morrison put it the most touchingly in her eulogy for Baldwin: "You knew, didn't you? How I relied on your fierce courage to tame wildernesses for me? How strengthened I was by the certainty that came from knowing you would never hurt me? You knew, didn't you, how I loved your love? You knew."


How they met: As a child, Capote went to live with his cousins, who happened to be playmates with Lee. The families lived on the same street in the small town of Monroeville, Alabama.

Inside their friendship: For decades, the big rumor about their friendship was that Capote had either written or heavily edited Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Finally, a letter from Truman to his aunt, dated a year before the novel's publication, settled the matter. He wrote that he had read his friend's book, liked it very much, and thought she was quite talented.




How they met: A literary star after Jane Eyre's publication, Brontë found herself suddenly thrust into intellectual society. Established novelist Gaskell took the shy woman under her wing.

Inside their friendship: ...And then things got a little weird. Gaskell became obsessed with writing a biography of her friend, but Brontë chafed under the attention, complaining to her publisher: "[Gaskell] seems determined that I shall be a sort of invalid. Why may I not be well like other people?" Two years after Brontë's untimely death, Gaskell published The Life of Charlotte Bronte, a highly controversial take on the famous author.


How they met: Working as a journalist, Gaiman interviewed Pratchett in 1985. The two met at a Chinese restaurant.

Inside their friendship: After reading the first 5,000 words of a story Gaiman was calling William the Antichrist, Pratchett called him up to see if they should work on it together. They did, and the result was the hilarious masterpiece Good Omens. "We got on fine," Pratchett mused later. "Hard to say why, but at bottom was a shared delight and amazement at the sheer strangeness of the universe, in stories, in obscure details, in strange old books in unregarded bookshops." (You can read Gaiman's heartfelt tribute to the late writer here.)


How they met: Alcott had connections. Henry David Thoreau and Nathaniel Hawthorne were close with her family, and Emerson was a lifelong friend of her father's.

Inside their friendship: Emerson gave the young writer free rein in his library. She wrote years later, "His kind hand opened to me the riches of Shakespeare, Dante, Goethe and Carlyle, and I gratefully recall the sweet patience with which he led me round the book-lined room."




How they met: Byron and Shelley met through a mutual acquaintance of sorts, Claire Clairmont—Byron's former mistress and Shelley's stepsister. Claire convinced Shelley and her future husband Percy to travel to Switzerland to meet Byron, and the trio instantly connected.

Inside their friendship: What do literary-minded folk do on a stormy night in? They tell ghost stories, of course. On one such evening, Byron challenged Shelley and a group of friends to write their own ghostly tale. Not long after, Shelley woke from a dream/nightmare with the idea for her classic novel Frankenstein.


posted by Hayley on May, 12
Ninety-one years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis encountered each other at an Oxford English faculty meeting. It was not friendship at first sight. "No harm in him," Lewis wrote about his new acquaintance. "Only needs a smack or two."

Of course, it didn't take long for the two to become nearly inseparable. They critiqued each other's early drafts—for Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, and for Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet—and formed their own literary discussion group, The Inklings.

In celebration of their bookish bond, we've taken a look at six other captivating author friendships.


How they met: While working as an editor at Random House, Morrison tried to convince Baldwin to sign a book deal. She failed, but the two became lifelong friends.

Inside their friendship: The two writers admitted the powerful influence the other had on their work, but Morrison put it the most touchingly in her eulogy for Baldwin: "You knew, didn't you? How I relied on your fierce courage to tame wildernesses for me? How strengthened I was by the certainty that came from knowing you would never hurt me? You knew, didn't you, how I loved your love? You knew."


How they met: As a child, Capote went to live with his cousins, who happened to be playmates with Lee. The families lived on the same street in the small town of Monroeville, Alabama.

Inside their friendship: For decades, the big rumor about their friendship was that Capote had either written or heavily edited Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Finally, a letter from Truman to his aunt, dated a year before the novel's publication, settled the matter. He wrote that he had read his friend's book, liked it very much, and thought she was quite talented.




How they met: A literary star after Jane Eyre's publication, Brontë found herself suddenly thrust into intellectual society. Established novelist Gaskell took the shy woman under her wing.

Inside their friendship: ...And then things got a little weird. Gaskell became obsessed with writing a biography of her friend, but Brontë chafed under the attention, complaining to her publisher: "[Gaskell] seems determined that I shall be a sort of invalid. Why may I not be well like other people?" Two years after Brontë's untimely death, Gaskell published The Life of Charlotte Bronte, a highly controversial take on the famous author.


How they met: Working as a journalist, Gaiman interviewed Pratchett in 1985. The two met at a Chinese restaurant.

Inside their friendship: After reading the first 5,000 words of a story Gaiman was calling William the Antichrist, Pratchett called him up to see if they should work on it together. They did, and the result was the hilarious masterpiece Good Omens. "We got on fine," Pratchett mused later. "Hard to say why, but at bottom was a shared delight and amazement at the sheer strangeness of the universe, in stories, in obscure details, in strange old books in unregarded bookshops." (You can read Gaiman's heartfelt tribute to the late writer here.)


How they met: Alcott had connections. Henry David Thoreau and Nathaniel Hawthorne were close with her family, and Emerson was a lifelong friend of her father's.

Inside their friendship: Emerson gave the young writer free rein in his library. She wrote years later, "His kind hand opened to me the riches of Shakespeare, Dante, Goethe and Carlyle, and I gratefully recall the sweet patience with which he led me round the book-lined room."




How they met: Byron and Shelley met through a mutual acquaintance of sorts, Claire Clairmont—Byron's former mistress and Shelley's stepsister. Claire convinced Shelley and her future husband Percy to travel to Switzerland to meet Byron, and the trio instantly connected.

Inside their friendship: What do literary-minded folk do on a stormy night in? They tell ghost stories, of course. On one such evening, Byron challenged Shelley and a group of friends to write their own ghostly tale. Not long after, Shelley woke from a dream/nightmare with the idea for her classic novel Frankenstein.


posted by Hayley on May, 12
Posted: May 12, 2017, 6:52 pm
Mother's Day is traditionally about real moms—and by real, we mean the moms who had to put up with our antics in the real world—but this year, we also wanted to give a shout-out to the moms who helped raise us from the page. Did your favorite book mother make the list?


MARMEE
Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott

Mother of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy
Mom Wisdom: "Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this!"


MOLLY WEASLEY
Harry Potter Series
by J.K. Rowling

Mother of Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, Ron, and Ginny
Mom Wisdom: Beds empty! No note! Car gone—could have crashed—out of my mind with worry—did you care?—never, as long as I've lived—you wait until your father gets home."


MAMA BEAR
The Berenstain Bears Series
by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Mother of Brother Bear, Sister Bear, and Honey Bear
Mom Wisdom: "There's no question about it! The cubs are watching too much TV."


MA INGALLS
Little House on the Prairie
by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Mother to Laura, Mary, Carrie, Charles Jr., Grace, Albert, James, and Cassandra
Mom Wisdom: "We start learning the minute we're born, Laura. And if we're wise, we don't stop until the Lord calls us home."


NANNY OGG
Discworld Series
by Terry Pratchett

Mother to Shawn, Jason, Wayne, Darren, Nev, Shirl, and many more
Mom Wisdom: "Nanny Ogg looked under her bed in case there was a man there. Well, you never knew your luck."


ANGELA MCCOURT
Angela's Ashes
by Frank McCourt

Mother to Frank, Malachy, Oliver, Eugene, and Margaret
Mom Wisdom: "God, I didn't bring ye into the world to be a family of messenger boys."


MRS. BENNETT
Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

Mother to Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia
Mom Wisdom: "Well, my comfort is, I am sure Jane will die of a broken heart, and then he will be sorry for what he has done."


MRS. JOSEPHINE RABBIT
Peter Rabbit Books
by Beatrix Potter

Mother to Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter Rabbit
Mom Wisdom: "Now my dears, you may go into the fields or down into the lane, but don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden. Your father had an accident there. He was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor."


NATALIE PRIOR
Divergent Series
by Veronica Roth

Mother to Tris and Caleb
Mom Wisdom: "You're my daughter. I don't care about the factions. Look what they got us. Human beings as a whole cannot be good for long before the bad creeps back in and poisons us again."


MARILLA CUTHBERT
Anne of Green Gables
by L.M. Montgomery

Adopted mother to Anne
Mom Wisdom: "Good behavior in the first place is more important than theatrical apologies afterwards."


Did we miss your favorite book mom? Then tell us who she is in the comments!


posted by Hayley on May, 11
Mother's Day is traditionally about real moms—and by real, we mean the moms who had to put up with our antics in the real world—but this year, we also wanted to give a shout-out to the moms who helped raise us from the page. Did your favorite book mother make the list?


MARMEE
Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott

Mother of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy
Mom Wisdom: "Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this!"


MOLLY WEASLEY
Harry Potter Series
by J.K. Rowling

Mother of Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, Ron, and Ginny
Mom Wisdom: Beds empty! No note! Car gone—could have crashed—out of my mind with worry—did you care?—never, as long as I've lived—you wait until your father gets home."


MAMA BEAR
The Berenstain Bears Series
by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Mother of Brother Bear, Sister Bear, and Honey Bear
Mom Wisdom: "There's no question about it! The cubs are watching too much TV."


MA INGALLS
Little House on the Prairie
by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Mother to Laura, Mary, Carrie, Charles Jr., Grace, Albert, James, and Cassandra
Mom Wisdom: "We start learning the minute we're born, Laura. And if we're wise, we don't stop until the Lord calls us home."


NANNY OGG
Discworld Series
by Terry Pratchett

Mother to Shawn, Jason, Wayne, Darren, Nev, Shirl, and many more
Mom Wisdom: "Nanny Ogg looked under her bed in case there was a man there. Well, you never knew your luck."


ANGELA MCCOURT
Angela's Ashes
by Frank McCourt

Mother to Frank, Malachy, Oliver, Eugene, and Margaret
Mom Wisdom: "God, I didn't bring ye into the world to be a family of messenger boys."


MRS. BENNETT
Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

Mother to Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia
Mom Wisdom: "Well, my comfort is, I am sure Jane will die of a broken heart, and then he will be sorry for what he has done."


MRS. JOSEPHINE RABBIT
Peter Rabbit Books
by Beatrix Potter

Mother to Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter Rabbit
Mom Wisdom: "Now my dears, you may go into the fields or down into the lane, but don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden. Your father had an accident there. He was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor."


NATALIE PRIOR
Divergent Series
by Veronica Roth

Mother to Tris and Caleb
Mom Wisdom: "You're my daughter. I don't care about the factions. Look what they got us. Human beings as a whole cannot be good for long before the bad creeps back in and poisons us again."


MARILLA CUTHBERT
Anne of Green Gables
by L.M. Montgomery

Adopted mother to Anne
Mom Wisdom: "Good behavior in the first place is more important than theatrical apologies afterwards."


Did we miss your favorite book mom? Then tell us who she is in the comments!


posted by Hayley on May, 11
Posted: May 11, 2017, 8:15 pm



This post is sponsored by Netflix.



Fans of Anne of Green Gables looking for kindred spirits this weekend may find what they're looking for at a local independent bookstore.
In celebration of Netflix's new adaptation of the classic—and in honor of spunky girls everywhere—bookstores across the United States are joining forces with Netflix for a special event this Saturday.






Anne of Green Gables



Anne with an "E", Netflix's latest original series, premieres this Friday. To commemorate the occasion, Netflix and 23 U.S. bookstores are planning special events on Saturday, May 13, from 2 to 5 p.m. Fans can get an Anne with an "E" gift bag, filled with Anne-inspired gifts (one per customer, while supplies last). There will also be fresh flowers and photo ops, perfect for the day before Mother's Day.





Anne of Green Gables by Canadian author L. M. Montgomery was first published in 1908. In the book, Anne Shirley—a red-headed, mischievous orphan—is accidentally adopted by the siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert.
To date, the book has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into at least 36 languages. It's a favorite on Goodreads as well, with more than a half million ratings and an average of 4.22 stars from readers. In fact, Mark Twain once described Anne Shirley as "the dearest and most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice."




Netflix's new incarnation of the spirited Anne Shirley will actually be older than her book counterpart when she comes to live with Marilla and Matthew, but not less spunky on the small screen than she was in the novel.









Here are the participating bookstores:



Booksmith, San Francisco

Chevalier's Books, Los Angeles

Deseret Books, Gilbert, Arizona

Deseret Books, Salt Lake City, Utah

Deseret Books, San Diego, California

Elliott Bay Books, Seattle

Hub City Bookstore Books, Spartenburg, South Carolina

Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Lexington, Kentucky

Kepler's Books, Menlo Park, California

Logos Bookstore, Dallas

Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, New York

Northshire Bookstore, Northshire, Vermont

Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Prairie Lights, Iowa City, Iowa

Rainy Day Books, Fairway, Kansas

Rediscovered Books, Bosie, Idaho

Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Square Books Jr., Oxford, Mississippi

Strand Bookstore, New York, New York

Tattered Cover, Denver

The Montague Bookmill, Montague, Massachusetts

The Odyssey Bookshop, Hadley, Massachusetts

Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Washington






Check out more recent blogs:

7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today


Top Mystery & Thriller Writers Tell All ... and Recommend Books


Readers Share Their Love of Audiobooks




posted by Cybil on May, 10



This post is sponsored by Netflix.



Fans of Anne of Green Gables looking for kindred spirits this weekend may find what they're looking for at a local independent bookstore.
In celebration of Netflix's new adaptation of the classic—and in honor of spunky girls everywhere—bookstores across the United States are joining forces with Netflix for a special event this Saturday.






Anne of Green Gables



Anne with an "E", Netflix's latest original series, premieres this Friday. To commemorate the occasion, Netflix and 23 U.S. bookstores are planning special events on Saturday, May 13, from 2 to 5 p.m. Fans can get an Anne with an "E" gift bag, filled with Anne-inspired gifts (one per customer, while supplies last). There will also be fresh flowers and photo ops, perfect for the day before Mother's Day.





Anne of Green Gables by Canadian author L. M. Montgomery was first published in 1908. In the book, Anne Shirley—a red-headed, mischievous orphan—is accidentally adopted by the siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert.
To date, the book has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into at least 36 languages. It's a favorite on Goodreads as well, with more than a half million ratings and an average of 4.22 stars from readers. In fact, Mark Twain once described Anne Shirley as "the dearest and most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice."




Netflix's new incarnation of the spirited Anne Shirley will actually be older than her book counterpart when she comes to live with Marilla and Matthew, but not less spunky on the small screen than she was in the novel.









Here are the participating bookstores:



Booksmith, San Francisco

Chevalier's Books, Los Angeles

Deseret Books, Gilbert, Arizona

Deseret Books, Salt Lake City, Utah

Deseret Books, San Diego, California

Elliott Bay Books, Seattle

Hub City Bookstore Books, Spartenburg, South Carolina

Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Lexington, Kentucky

Kepler's Books, Menlo Park, California

Logos Bookstore, Dallas

Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, New York

Northshire Bookstore, Northshire, Vermont

Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Prairie Lights, Iowa City, Iowa

Rainy Day Books, Fairway, Kansas

Rediscovered Books, Bosie, Idaho

Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Square Books Jr., Oxford, Mississippi

Strand Bookstore, New York, New York

Tattered Cover, Denver

The Montague Bookmill, Montague, Massachusetts

The Odyssey Bookshop, Hadley, Massachusetts

Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Washington






Check out more recent blogs:

7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today


Top Mystery & Thriller Writers Tell All ... and Recommend Books


Readers Share Their Love of Audiobooks




posted by Cybil on May, 10
Posted: May 10, 2017, 7:05 pm





W. Kamau Bell is a comedian and host of the Emmy-nominated CNN docuseries 'United Shades of America.' Kamau may be best known for his FX comedy series, 'Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.' His new book The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4-, African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian debuted this month. Here he shares the questions he asked himself that changed his life:





In 2007, I was at a dead end, and took a break from my standup career. No going onstage. No writing. No booking gigs (not that the world was pounding my door down for my services). The one thing I did do was spend a lot of time feeling like a failure. College dropout turned stand-up dropout. I was living in the Sunset District of San Francisco. The Sunset is the neighborhood that gets the crazy-thick depression fog that San Francisco is known for. This was perfect for my mood. I was living in a two-bedroom apartment with two other dudes. But this time at least I wasn't living in the living room…






I was fired up to get back onstage, but I didn't know how to relate to the audience what I wanted them to understand. And then a question popped into my head:



What would you do if you were famous?



Well, that would be easy. I would just perform in front of an audience who loved me. And they would be patient and listen and already be invested. A second question:



Well, what EXACTLY would that look like?



Well, thanks for asking, voice in my head! I'd be in a theater where people paid to see me. And I'd have a screen onstage so I could show them the specific things I was talking about, so the jokes would have context and make sense. Sort of like my version of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart but about racism and starring me.



Another question:



Then just do that.



Umm...that's not a question.



I don't care. Just do it. Rent a theater. Find a screen. Get a projector for the screen. Figure out how to make the technical side work even though that's not your area. And just do it.



OK.



And I did.



Four months later, I debuted my solo show: The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour. Not the shortest title in showbiz history but very effective. It got my name out there for the first time in San Francisco. And it was a funny title so people would get that it was a comedy. And it referenced The Bell Curve, a thick, supposedly scholarly book that featured a chapter about how Blacks and Latinos are genetically incapable of learning at the rate of Whites and Asians. And that meant that the title of my show also contained a dog whistle to the Black-ademics, militants, and their allies who I wanted in the audience but who I knew were never coming to the comedy club.



So by November 2007, we had done the show twice. We were doing it once a month at the Shelton Theater on Sutter Street. I say "we" because, as should-be president Hillary Clinton wrote, "It takes a village." A whole gang of people volunteered to help me put the Bell Curve together….



And the show has been going for more than ten years now.



W. Kamau Bell's latest book is The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4-, African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian.




Check out more recent blogs:

7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today


Top Mystery & Thriller Writers Tell All ... and Recommend Books


Readers Share Their Love of Audiobooks



posted by Cybil on May, 09





W. Kamau Bell is a comedian and host of the Emmy-nominated CNN docuseries 'United Shades of America.' Kamau may be best known for his FX comedy series, 'Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.' His new book The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4-, African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian debuted this month. Here he shares the questions he asked himself that changed his life:





In 2007, I was at a dead end, and took a break from my standup career. No going onstage. No writing. No booking gigs (not that the world was pounding my door down for my services). The one thing I did do was spend a lot of time feeling like a failure. College dropout turned stand-up dropout. I was living in the Sunset District of San Francisco. The Sunset is the neighborhood that gets the crazy-thick depression fog that San Francisco is known for. This was perfect for my mood. I was living in a two-bedroom apartment with two other dudes. But this time at least I wasn't living in the living room…






I was fired up to get back onstage, but I didn't know how to relate to the audience what I wanted them to understand. And then a question popped into my head:



What would you do if you were famous?



Well, that would be easy. I would just perform in front of an audience who loved me. And they would be patient and listen and already be invested. A second question:



Well, what EXACTLY would that look like?



Well, thanks for asking, voice in my head! I'd be in a theater where people paid to see me. And I'd have a screen onstage so I could show them the specific things I was talking about, so the jokes would have context and make sense. Sort of like my version of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart but about racism and starring me.



Another question:



Then just do that.



Umm...that's not a question.



I don't care. Just do it. Rent a theater. Find a screen. Get a projector for the screen. Figure out how to make the technical side work even though that's not your area. And just do it.



OK.



And I did.



Four months later, I debuted my solo show: The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour. Not the shortest title in showbiz history but very effective. It got my name out there for the first time in San Francisco. And it was a funny title so people would get that it was a comedy. And it referenced The Bell Curve, a thick, supposedly scholarly book that featured a chapter about how Blacks and Latinos are genetically incapable of learning at the rate of Whites and Asians. And that meant that the title of my show also contained a dog whistle to the Black-ademics, militants, and their allies who I wanted in the audience but who I knew were never coming to the comedy club.



So by November 2007, we had done the show twice. We were doing it once a month at the Shelton Theater on Sutter Street. I say "we" because, as should-be president Hillary Clinton wrote, "It takes a village." A whole gang of people volunteered to help me put the Bell Curve together….



And the show has been going for more than ten years now.



W. Kamau Bell's latest book is The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4-, African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian.




Check out more recent blogs:

7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today


Top Mystery & Thriller Writers Tell All ... and Recommend Books


Readers Share Their Love of Audiobooks



posted by Cybil on May, 09
Posted: May 10, 2017, 4:02 am