Posted by Jessica on June 26, 2014
Sometimes a single event can alter the fate of millions. One hundred years ago this week, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, incited a diplomatic catastrophe in Europe. Just one month later, tensions would escalate into the First World War. To commemorate, we've chosen 20 pivotal moments from the last century, some inspiring and some disturbing, and paired each with a top-reviewed novel. If you're eager for more, also check out the links to Goodreads Listopias—book lists compiled by our members—beside each event.
What other moments have changed history? And what are the best books for further reading? Tell us in the comments!
by Erich Maria Remarque
"Hailed as the best war novel ever, and it's easy to see why. World War I is described in such vivid non-glory that you are sucked into the story straight away and stay there for the next 200 pages." —Martine
More reading: 20 Riveting World War I Reads & Books on the Great War
by Marge Piercy
"How women lived and tried to fight for their rights in New York City. Some of the fascinating characters include: Victoria Woodhull, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony." —Lauren
More reading: Early Feminists & Women's Suffrage
by Lauren Belfer
"During World War II the need for this miracle drug became as important as any weapon...this is historical fiction at its best." —Zohar
More reading: Medicine and Literature
by Salman Rushdie
"If any novel could even come close to portraying India's vast cultural identity; that novel would be Midnight's Children...Rushdie can definitely conjure magic with his words." —Shayantani
More reading: Books About Gandhi: A Great Soul & Books About the Indian Subcontinental Partition
by Art Spiegelman
"An incredible, transcendent comic story. You can feel the life in each page. All it took to create the most human Holocaust story ever told was to remove the humans altogether." —Aaron
More reading: Holocaust Books & World War II Fiction
by Masuji Ibuse
"A stunning novel about the aftereffects—physical, social, emotional—of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima on the lives of those who lived there. Unsentimental and profoundly moving." —Leslie
More reading: Remember Hiroshima & Books About Nuclear Apocalypse
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
"It is a story of war, love, ideals, compromise, loyalty, betrayal, and the culture of Africa...dramatic and haunting, a book you will not soon forget." —JoAnn
More reading: African Fiction & Books About Colonialism
by Sue Kaufman
"A book about a woman who has begun to go stir crazy, has anxiety, and wants to explore her sexuality...if you're a woman this is the kind of book that will make you think about your life." —Virginia
More reading: Counter-Culture of the 1960s & Best Feminist Fiction
by Ernest J. Gaines
"A modern masterpiece on the topics of race and social justice in America, an overarching story of black experience from the Civil War to Civil Rights, seen primarily through the experience of one woman." —Sean
More reading: Civil Rights Reading List & Best Black Historical Fiction
by James Ellroy
"Playing loose and free with near-historical events and breathing twisted life into near-mythic figures—the Kennedys, Jimmy Hoffa, Castro, J. Edgar Hoover, Howard Hughes, the Mob, et al—Ellroy takes off on a joy ride of a novel." —Jeff
More reading: Best Books About the Kennedy Family
by Andy Weir
"Mark Watney is left behind on Mars when his crew mates believe he is dead...this was an edge of your seat, nail biting, hand wringing, can't turn the pages fast enough book." —Susan
More reading: Astronauts and Space Travelers
by William Gibson
"A mind-bender of a read...it was ahead of its time. It coined the term 'cyberspace,' long before the Internet and other virtual technologies were integrated into everyday life...[and] inspired a generation of technophiles." —K.D.
More reading: Best of Cyberpunk & Essential Computer History
by Bei Dao
"Bei Dao shows you how living in China during the Cultural Revolution suppressed everyone: intellectuals, artists, thieves...all are bound together by fear, love, and pain." —Fazal
More reading: China's Best Banned Books & China's Cultural Revolution
by Shahriar Mandanipour
"A darkly comic and profoundly touching story that weaves an intricate tale of love between the constraints of contemporary Iranian government and the cultural relationships between men and women." —Candice
More reading: Books About Iran
by John le Carré
"There may be good guys and bad guys in the Cold War, but everyone is gray in the dark...read le Carré for a more literary thriller where spies actually act like spies, and believable human beings, and everyone is a little bit dirty." —David
More reading: Books About Berlin & The Former East Germany
by Zakes Mda
"The parallel story of colonized South Africa of 150 years ago and post-apartheid South Africa...this is a book that you will devour because it's so well written, and yet it will stay with you." —Steph
More reading: Best South African Reads & Nelson Mandela Reading List
by Julie Anne Peters
"[Teen] Nick is the product of Erin and Jo, a lesbian couple...Peters crafts strong characters and creates universal messages of love and family in this beautiful novel." —Reyn
More reading: Best LGBTQIA Literature & Books for Teens with LGBT Parents
by Jonathan Safran Foer
"This is a book for anyone who has lost a loved one. This is a book for anyone who has survived a disaster. This is a book for optimists and pessimists and those in-between; in short, for everyone." —Eileen
More reading: 9/11 Related Books
by Margaret Atwood
"Set in a future where genetic engineering rules the world...a deeply philosophical book that raises numerous questions: Is there such a thing as a 'perfect human'?" —Tatiana
More reading: Genetics in Science Fiction & Genetics for Non-Scientists
by Alaa Al Aswany
"A tale that is as much about loss of innocence and coming of age in a world marred by corruption and poverty as it is about the forces that fuel the fires of revolution." —Amina
More reading: Best Middle East Fiction & Arab Spring
Posted by Jessica on June 23, 2014
Sure, health care and a 401K are nice, but what do Goodreads employees really want? Books! Every two months, everyone on the Goodreads team gets to choose a book to order. Here's our latest haul, photographed in the Land of the Wild Things, one of our bookishly themed conference rooms. Do you see any treasures in these stacks?
Posted by jade on June 17, 2014
World War I reshaped nations, toppled empires, made heroes, and showed us just how brutal and bloodthirsty the modern world could be. It also inspired an outpouring of literature. From the very first week of battle, soldiers and civilians alike wrote reams of poetry. Later, the shell-shocked fields of France would echo in the Dead Marshes of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth. And from the trenches emerged one of the most admired war novels of all time, Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front. As we approach the 100th anniversary of the war, we've gathered together 20 of Goodreads members' favorite WWI books—ten classics and ten contemporary takes.
by Erich Maria Remarque
Quiet and powerful. This essential war novel tells the story of Paul Bäumer, a German soldier persuaded to enlist—along with all of his classmates—by an idealistic teacher. Life on the front is violent, bewildering, and sometimes boring, but Paul finds that he no longer understands life at home, either.
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by W. Somerset Maugham
These short stories starring a gentleman spy are based on Maugham himself. The writer worked for the British Secret Intelligence Service during the war, with postings in Switzerland and Russia. Ashenden was inspiration for a far more famous British spy: James Bond.
by Frederic Manning
Published anonymously, Manning's masterful novel about the ordinary lives of soldiers received high praise from his famous contemporaries. Hemingway called it, "the finest and noblest book of men at war," and T.E. Lawrence (a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia) declared it, "the book of books."
by Vera Brittain
This heartbreaking memoir is an elegy to a lost generation. Filled with patriotic fervor, Brittain left her studies at Oxford to nurse the wounded in England, Malta, and France. Being surrounded by death and losing both her brother and her fiancé opened her eyes to the futility of war.
by L.M. Montgomery
Written soon after the end of the war, this last of the Anne of Green Gables books shows what life was like for women on the home front in Canada. Fifteen-year-old Rilla is the baby of the family, left at Ingleside as her brothers go off to fight. Montgomery's writing is full of detail about daily life during the war.
by Robert Graves
Graves served as an officer in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, alongside fellow writer Siegfried Sassoon. This memoir is a grim yet darkly humorous sketch of his war experiences as well as his early years in London.
by Ernest Hemingway
The tragic love story of Lieutenant Henry, an American ambulance driver on the Italian front, and Catherine Barkley, a beautiful English nurse, is based on Hemingway's own wartime experience and showcases his trademark prose stylings.
by Ernest Jünger
Unlike many of his literary contemporaries, Jünger was an adventurer who respected the craft of war. After this memoir of his time as a German soldier became a bestseller, he quietly opposed the Nazi regime and spent most of WWII in Occupied Paris, socializing with Picasso and other artists.
by Siegfried Sassoon
This novel is really a thinly veiled memoir of Sassoon's time as an almost suicidally brave British soldier. He was awarded the Military Cross for his exploits and was much admired by his fellow soldiers. Among them was Robert Graves, who appears in this book as "David Cromlech."
by Dalton Trumbo
This gut-punch of a book is told from the perspective of a young soldier who gradually comes to realize that he has lost all of his limbs as well as eyes, ears, and tongue—but not his mental capacity. Trumbo was later blacklisted from Hollywood thanks to his refusal to testify before Congress about fellow Communist Party members.
by Sebastian Faulks
One of the most popular books in the U.K., this novel tells the story of soldier Stephen Wraysford, whose passion for life is not quelled by the loss of a great love or the terror of his assignment—to tunnel under No Man's Land. Two generations later, his diary is found by his granddaughter, who uses it to decode her own past.
by Scott Westerfeld
This steampunk alternate history of WWI for middle-grade and YA readers presents an extraordinary universe accompanied by gorgeous illustrations. In Westerfeld's world, there is a war between the Clankers, who want to advance their military might through machinery, and the Darwinists, who have harnessed the power of nature to create machines that are actually alive.
by Jacqueline Winspear
In this psychological study of the aftereffects of war masquerading as a cozy mystery, the titular Maisie Dobbs has set up her own detective agency and investigates a case that brings her back to her wartime experiences as a nurse. The first book was such a hit that Winspear continued the series, which now contains 11 volumes.
by Pat Barker
A British neurologist treats shell-shocked soldiers, including Siegfried Sassoon, and wrestles with the complex moralities of wartime. Other literary figures make appearances, including Robert Graves and fellow poet Wilfred Owen. Barker was influenced by her grandfather's experiences in WWI and relied on first-person narratives to shape her story.
by Joseph Boyden
Two young Ojibwa-Cree men fight together as snipers for the Canadian Army. One returns, minus a leg and addicted to morphine. This powerful novel traces his journey home, accompanied by his aunt, a medicine woman. It is inspired by the story of Francis Pegahmagabow, a Ojibwa man who was the most effective sniper of WWI.
by Ken Follett
From the coal mines of Wales to the palaces of Russia, this sweeping novel follows the fates of five interconnected families through WWI and the Russian Revolution. Incredibly well-researched, this narrative could almost stand in for a history book.
by Michael Morpurgo
A children's book that can bring adults to tears, War Horse is narrated by Joey, a bay-red foal who is sold into service, tearing him apart from Albert, the farmer's son who is his true friend. As Joey weathers the mud and noise of the war, he still holds onto hope for a reunion. Also an excellent movie and play.
by Max Brooks and Caanan White (illustrator)
This graphic novel chronicles the 369th infantry regiment, an all-black unit known as the Harlem Hellfighters. None of them were ever taken prisoner, and they never lost a foot of ground, but they still faced enormous discrimination at home. Brooks (World War Z) celebrates the heroism of these soldiers while exploring the irony of fighting for the freedom of a country that denies yours.
by Jojo Moyes
A painting connects two women—one waiting for her husband in an occupied French village during WWI, the other a young widow in present-day London. Beautifully constructed and plotted, Moyes' story illuminates the difficult choices that we make, in war and in love.
by Louis de Bernières
This is the tale of a small village in southwestern Anatolia, where Turkish Muslims and Greek Christians have coexisted for centuries. But the world is changing. De Bernières chonicles the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Battle of Gallipoli, the Armenian genocide, and the rise of modern Turkey in this dense epic.
Is your favorite book on the list?
Posted by Patrick on May 21, 2014
If you could ask Margaret Atwood, Khaled Hosseini, or James Patterson anything, what would it be? Maybe you want to know their writing inspiration, what they read as a guilty pleasure, or you have a burning question about one of their bestsellers. Now's your chance because these three are among the 54 major authors who are helping us launch an exciting new program on Goodreads—Ask the Author!
Ask the Author allows readers to ask questions and get answers from their favorite authors. At Goodreads, we believe the relationship between authors and readers is very special. Authors tell stories and create worlds that spark the imaginations of their readers. Now readers can deepen that connection by asking questions about the new worlds, ideas, and people they've discovered in books.
Starting today, you can submit your questions directly to any of the 54 authors participating in the Ask the Author launch. (Full list below!) If an author answers your question you'll be notified, and every answer will be shared on the author's page so that other readers can enjoy them, too. In the coming weeks, all of the 100,000+ authors in the Goodreads Author program will be able to opt in to the feature. (To check whether an author is participating, visit his or her author profile and look for the "Ask the Author" section.)
We asked international bestselling author Dan Brown a question of our own about his thoughts on Ask the Author. His answer: "One of the most rewarding things about being an author is hearing from readers. I love engaging in dialogue with them, and I'm excited to have a brand-new way to stay truly connected with my fans. I'm looking forward to discussing writing, secret codes, ancient mysteries, and anything else that comes up with the Goodreads community. Then, of course, I will need to get back to writing because the most common reader question I get seems to be: 'When is the next book coming, Dan?'"
Of course, fellow readers are an endless source of book knowledge, too! So, we're also starting to roll out Reader Q&A over the coming weeks to provide our passionate, opinionated, and curious community with another way to connect over the love of books.
Reader Q&A for The Goldfinch
Reader Q&A for The Power of Habit
Reader Q&A for Night Film
Once Reader Q&A is activated for you, you'll find a new Reader Q&A section on every book page, just below your friends' reviews. When other readers start responding to a question, Goodreads members can click "like" on the answers they find most interesting, and the best ones will rise to the top.
To try out Reader Q&A, go to the book page for your favorite book or a book you've just read and submit a question for the Goodreads community. You can also look for questions to answer! If Reader Q&A is not yet showing for you, it will be coming shortly!
We'll be opening up Ask the Author to all Goodreads Authors in the coming weeks, but right now you can ask a question of any of the following authors:
| Isabel Allende |
Author of The House of Spirits
| Margaret Atwood |
Author of The Handmaid's Tale
| Dan Brown |
Author of The Da Vinci Code
| Deepak Chopra |
Author of The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
| Khaled Hosseini |
Author of The Kite Runner
| James Patterson |
Author of Kiss the Girls
| Michael Cunningham |
Author of The Hours
| Kristin Hannah
Author of Firefly Lane
| James McBride |
Author of The Color of Water
| Liane Moriarty
Author of What Alice Forgot
| Jojo Moyes |
Author of Me Before You
| B.J. Novak
Author of One More Thing
| Robin Sloan |
Author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
| Jeff VanderMeer |
Author of Annihilation
| Ayelet Waldman |
Author of Red Hook Road
| Jesmyn Ward |
Author of Salvage the Bones
| Mark Bittman |
Author of How to Cook Everything
| Geoff Dyer |
Author of Another Great Day at Sea
| Tim Ferriss |
Author of The 4-Hour Work Week
| Daniel Goleman |
Author of Emotional Intelligence
| Arianna Huffington |
Author of Third World America
| Anne Lamott |
Author of Bird by Bird
| Frances Mayes |
Author of Under the Tuscan Sun
| Michael Pollan
Author of The Omnivore's Dilemma
| Gretchen Rubin |
Author of The Happiness Project
| Laurie Halse Anderson |
Author of Speak
| Holly Black |
Author of Tithe
| Sarah Dessen |
Author of Just Listen
| Rebecca Donovan
Author of Reasons to Breathe
| Susan Ee |
Author of Angelfall
| Gayle Forman |
Author of If I Stay
| Jeff Kinney |
Author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid
| E. Lockhart |
Author of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks
| David Baldacci |
Author of Absolute Power
| Joseph Finder |
Author of Paranoia
| Douglas Preston |
Author of Relic
| S.J. Watson |
Author of Before I Go to Sleep
| Bella Andre |
Author of The Look of Love
| Kresley Cole |
Author of A Hunger Like No Other
| Sylvia Day |
Author of Reflected in You
| Barbara Freethy
Author of Just the Way You Are
| Christina Lauren |
Author of Beautiful Bastard
| Kevin J. Anderson |
Author of Jedi Search
| Jim Butcher |
Author of Storm Front
| Warren Ellis
Author of Transmetropolitan, Vol. 1
| Lev Grossman
Author of The Magicians
| Laurell K. Hamilton |
Author of Guilty Pleasures
| Brian Herbert
Author of The Butlerian Jihad
| Hugh Howey |
Author of Wool
| Sherrilyn Kenyon
Author of Styxx
| Bob Mayer |
Author of Lost Girls
| Richelle Mead |
Author of Vampire Academy
| John Scalzi |
Author of Old Man's War
| Michael J. Sullivan |
Author of Theft of Swords
Is your favorite author missing from the list above? Let us know which author you'd like to ask a question of in the comments below and we'll pass on the message!
Posted by Suzanne on May 12, 2014
Good news for our U.K. members! Over the next few weeks, Goodreads will be rolling out the Add Your Amazon Books feature in the U.K.. Now our British members will be able to add books purchased on Amazon – both print and Kindle books – to their Goodreads shelves!
We introduced our new Add Your Amazon Books feature for members in the U.S., Canada and Australia last month to rave reviews!
This new feature will roll out gradually to all of our U.K. members in the coming weeks, but, if you are in the U.K., you can also get early access by clicking this link:
How do you know if you have the feature? Take a look at the Tools list on the left hand side of the My Books page. You’ll see the Add Amazon Book Purchases link, as well as a small announcement at the top of the page. (See screenshot below.) See it? Great! In just two simple steps, you can add your Amazon books!:
1. Click on either link.
2. Sign into your Amazon account.
From there, you’ll then see your Amazon book purchases. You can go through and rate each book and select the appropriate shelf for it. We give you full control over which books to add so you can avoid adding any books bought as gifts. Any book not rated or added to a shelf will not be added to Goodreads.
How many books did you end up adding? Were there any books that you’d forgotten about? Let us know in the comments!
Posted by jade on April 28, 2014
"Again! Again!" If you've ever read a book to a child, you've heard that demand. It turns out that the little ones know what's good for them. Children whose families read together enter kindergarten with measurably stronger language skills, which makes them more likely to succeed throughout their school years. One of our favorite nonprofits, Reach Out and Read, delivers early literacy intervention to 4 million children and their families annually via pediatricians in exam rooms nationwide. During checkups, doctors hand out free books for children to take home and keep, in effect prescribing reading aloud.
In honor of Reach Out and Read's 25th anniversary, we've asked them to share a recommended book for each year that they've been in existence. And we're supplementing their already stellar picks with our own list of Goodreads members' top-rated books for each year! You can also vote for your own favorites on Goodreads Listopia!
|Reach Out and Read||Goodreads|
The Three Billy Goats Gruff |
by Paul Galdone
| Chicka Chicka Boom Boom |
by Bill Martin Jr. & John Archambault
|Caldecott award-winning illustrator Paul Galdone's fairytales are a treasure. The rich language and repetitive phrases help develop language skills, while the story encourages children to face their fears, even if you're the littlest billy goat of all.||Goodreads member Krista says, "This was the first book I heard my children 'read' to themselves. The easy rhythm of the words following through the alphabet is very memorable and just plain fun to say."|
What's your child's favorite bedtime book? Tell us in the comments or add it to this list!
Posted by Suzanne on April 16, 2014
Our members have been asking for a long time for a quick way to add their Amazon book purchases to their Goodreads shelves. So, we’ve come up with a new way to help: Today, we’re starting to roll out an Add Your Amazon Books feature! You can now add books you’ve purchased on Amazon – both print and Kindle books – to your Goodreads shelves. This will be available in the next few weeks to members in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
Why add your Amazon purchases?
- Building out your bookshelves means that more of your friends will know about your favorite books.
- More books added to your Goodreads shelves means better recommendations to help you find more great books to read. The super-smart algorithm powering our recommendations engine analyzes the books you rate to come up with the best book suggestions for your unique reading tastes.
- Do you remember every book you’ve read? This is a quick way to add more of those elusive books from your past to your Goodreads shelves—as well as books you’ve bought and are planning to read. Never forget a book again!
How do you know if you have the feature? You’ll see the Add Amazon Book Purchases link in the Tools list on the left hand side of the My Books page (and a small announcement at the top of the page). Click on either link and you’ll be asked to sign in to your Amazon account. You’ll then see your Amazon book purchases. You can go through and rate each book and select the appropriate shelf for it. We give you full control over which books to add so you can avoid adding any books bought as gifts. Any book not rated or added to a shelf will not be added to Goodreads.
Can’t wait to get started? If you are in the U.S., Canada, or Australia, you can get early access to the Add Your Amazon Books option by clicking this link:
It's fun to scroll through years and years of book purchases. You just might come across a book you loved but then forgot--it’s like seeing a long-lost friend!
Members in the U.S., Canada, and Australia can also use the Add Your Amazon Books option on Goodreads on Kindle Paperwhite (first and second generation devices) and the new Kindle Fires.
Let us know what you think about the Add Your Amazon Books feature. Did you rediscover any forgotten books?
Posted by Jessica on April 01, 2014
"A girl without a father can never have too many brothers, yet Abigail Branscombe often found her three elder brothers to be quite vexing."
—Opening line of Mirth and Mischief by Jane Austen
It is with great excitement and a weighty sense of responsibility that we make today's announcement: Goodreads has acquired and will release a previously unpublished work by Jane Austen. The full-length novel, titled Mirth and Mischief, will be made available to all readers in fall of 2014. We could not be more thrilled to introduce the world to Abigail Branscombe, an irrepressible heroine to join the ranks of Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse, whose story of love, and yes, mischief will delight and perhaps shock Austen fans worldwide.
Our unlikely communion with Jane Austen began in August of 2013, when we moved our growing team to our new headquarters in San Francisco. Eager to fill our empty shelves with books, we purchased a large lot of volumes from an estate sale in nearby Napa Valley. Wedged between two aging folios, we found a full manuscript prefaced by a cover letter from Henry Austen, Jane's elder brother who acted as her literary agent, to London publisher Benjamin Crosby.
We have used the last seven months to consult with historians, Austen scholars, and legal counsel to verify the authenticity of the manuscript. We used every test at our disposal—including radiocarbon dating of the manuscript and verification of Henry Austen's signature. As the manuscript continued to pass each test, we could scarcely believe what we had stumbled on! After a rigorous textual comparison of the manuscript to Austen's known works, forensic linguists at the University of Oxford have confirmed the authorship as belonging to none other than Jane Austen.
Set in Derbyshire (Pride and Prejudice fans will remember this county as the home of Mr. Darcy's estate, Pemberley), Mirth and Mischief begins at Wicksfield Park, the home of 18-year-old Abigail, the youngest child and only daughter of the Branscombe family. Her parents died when she was in her infancy, and Abigail has grown up under the care of her three dashing older brothers. Henry, the indulgent eldest, runs the estate while Edward and George spend most of their time in the county's ballrooms and hunting fields. Headstrong young Abigail reads more and rides faster than any of her brothers, but soon finds that those skills may not work to her advantage when it comes to the sport of finding a husband—until she meets the intriguing and difficult Colonel John Durrant. Austen herself had six brothers, and this story is a touching homage to her favorite brother, Henry, who was instrumental in her publishing career.
We are in the final stages of preparing the novel for publication. Once completed, the priceless manuscript, despite its unlikely journey across the Atlantic to San Francisco, will be sent home to England and donated to the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, a leading force in Austen scholarship.
We cannot wait for Abigail Branscombe to take her place in the pantheon of Jane Austen heroines. Can you? In the meantime, add the book to your to-read shelf!
Posted by Jessica on March 12, 2014
Here at Goodreads, we've ordered some Guinness for our kegerator and learned two essential phrases in preparation for St. Patrick's Day:
- Éirinn go Brách! ("Ireland Forever!"—usually anglicized as "Erin go Bragh.")
- Sláinte! (A drink to good health—pronounced "slan-che.")
If your Irish vocab stops there, you're not alone. Irish, aka Gaeilge or Irish Gaelic (not to be confused with Scottish Gaelic!), is one of the world's dying languages. Recent estimates put the number of speakers who use it daily as low as 80,000, out of 4.5 million people living in Ireland. However, Irish is still taught in schools and a devoted population still lives in Irish-speaking regions, called the Gaeltacht, which are spread across the west coast of the island country. Irish speakers have a grand tradition of storytelling and general gift of the gab—or craic (pronounced "crack").
In honor of the day we've picked some of the top-rated Irish language works on Goodreads. And don't worry—they are all readily available in English, too.
by Brian Merriman
Trade in your bawdy limericks for Irish literature's favorite work of comic poetry. It's got a wandering poet, a fairy queen, and an epic battle of the sexes that argues the case for both wanton promiscuity and pure celibacy. Goodreads member Bruce calls it "rollicking and ribald" and adds "plot description is entirely inadequate to convey the cleverness and roistering wit of the poetry." Read the full poem in English here.
by Tomás Ó Criomhthain
No longer inhabited, Great Blasket Island was formerly Ireland's westernmost community, teetering on the edge of the unforgiving Atlantic Ocean. The island remains famous for its writerly output, including this 1929 autobiography about eking out an existence in the isolated and harsh environment. Goodreads member Anna says, "Sometimes a book is written for a distinct purpose, as this one was, but another evolves, a great beauty unfolding. The Islandman is such a tale, regaling [us with] a unique history while capturing one small moment, never to return."
by Flann O'Brien (aka Myles na gCopaleen, aka Brian O'Nolan)
Being poor is a competitive sport in Irish lore, and this sharp satire of the quintessentially Irish "poorer than poor" memoir tells the tale of one Bonaparte O'Coonassa, who lives in abject poverty in the fictional village of Corkadoragha, where it's always raining and there's nothing to eat but potatoes. Goodreads member Geoff calls it "not a rib-tickler or a knee-slapper but a whole body- and soul-shaker. Books like this make you glad to be a human being, alive and well and of unsound mind."
by Pádraic Ó Conaire
Particularly prolific before his death at age 46, Ó Conaire wrote hundreds of short stories and dozens of books and was a central figure in the Gaelic revival, a resurgence of interest in the Irish language at the end of the 19th century. His best-known novel, Exile, tells the audacious story of a double amputee who must join the circus to make a living.
by Brendan Behan
Caught with explosives at age 16, IRA volunteer Behan spent the remainder of his teen years in British prison and immortalized his experience in the classic memoir, Borstal Boy. He soon became as infamous for his carousing as for his writing, which included fiction, poetry, and several plays. Goodreads member Everett says, "Filled with lyric and song, The Hostage is more like a musical than a drama...it's poignant and funny and has that famed Irish wit and black humor backing it up."
by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill
Read the Irish and English texts side by side in this poetry collection about mermaids who come to live on land, translated by Paul Muldoon (poet and poetry editor for The New Yorker). A folklore lover, Ní Dhomhnaill is considered one of Ireland's best living poets. Goodreads member Rachel calls her work "beautiful, haunting, strongly feminist."
Along with your pint of Guinness, what famed Irish writers will warm up your insides this St. Patrick's Day? Tell us in the comments!
Posted by Suzanne on March 10, 2014
“We want Goodreads on the original Kindle Paperwhite, too!" was the cri du coeur in November when we first launched Goodreads on the new Kindle Paperwhite. For all of you who asked, your time is now!
Starting today, Goodreads on Kindle is available on both models of Kindle Paperwhite in the United States, Canada, and Australia. This is part of our ongoing commitment to bring Goodreads to you on all your favorite devices.
Goodreads on Kindle will be made available in a free and automatic over-the-air upgrade to the first generation Kindle Paperwhite in the coming weeks. How will you know when you have it? You’ll see the Goodreads “g” on the top right-hand side of the menu bar.
What can you do now that you have Goodreads on Kindle?
- See what your Goodreads friends are reading
- Share your favorite passages on Goodreads from inside the book
- Rate books
- See your want-to-read, currently reading, and read shelves
- Add your Amazon book purchases to your Goodreads shelves, all without putting down your Kindle Paperwhite!
We Know You Have Questions
Will you be introducing Goodreads on Kindle to members in other countries?
We currently offer Goodreads on Kindle only in the United States, Canada, and Australia (on all models of Kindle Paperwhite and also on the new Kindle Fires). We don’t have anything more to announce at this moment, but our goal is to provide the Goodreads on Kindle experience to as many of our members as possible.
In the meantime, you can also use Goodreads on our iPhone/iPad app or our Android app, available from the Amazon Appstore for Android or from here.
Will you be introducing Goodreads on Kindle to the older Kindle devices with keyboards?
We don’t have any concrete plans to share about this right now, but see our answer to the question above.
I can’t see the “g” on my screen. What’s happening?
Goodreads on Kindle will be coming in a free and automatic over-the-air upgrade to the first model of Kindle Paperwhite over the coming weeks. If you can’t wait that long, you can manually download the software and transfer the update to your device via a USB cable. You can find instructions for that here.
Also, don’t forget to reboot once you have the upgrade!
Well, I like what I can do with Goodreads on Kindle Paperwhite so far, but I have some suggestions…
We love to hear feedback! This is our first version, and we’ll be building on this to keep improving the experience. Let us know what you’d like to see in future updates in the comments below.