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25 Short Books to Help You Meet Your 2016 Reading Challenge Goal
Posted by Cybil on December 05, 2016



Panic may be setting in for those of us racing toward the end of our 2016 Reading Challenge and falling a little short. Thankfully, there’s no need to fear or fail. Here's a quick sampling of some fantastic speedy reads—all under 200 pages long. From the classics, to romance, to fantasy, there's a bit of something for everyone.

Do you know other books you can easily polish off before the new year? Leave the title and your recommendation in the comments.


The Grownup by Gillian Flynn
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The author who brought us Gone Girl and Dark Places brings back the chills and thrills with her take on modern gothic horror with this Edgar-Award winner for best short story. (64 pages).


Shine by Jodi Picoult
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One of our most popular authors, Picoult introduces the characters from 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards Fiction Finalist Small Great Things in this prequel. Need more convincing? This great story is snacksized. (42 pages).


Witness to a Trial by John Grisham
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Another prequel and another quick read, this time from the king of legal thrillers, John Grisham. In this slim yet action-packed story, he sets up all of the conspiracies, corruption and murder to come in The Whistler. (36 pages).


Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies by J.K. Rowling
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This collection of J.K. Rowling's writing originally appeared on Pottermore.com. Here it's collected with exclusive new content that reveals more details from the wizarding world of Harry Potter. (71 pages).


Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
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Running into an old friend sparks memories from the 1970s for August, transporting her to a Brooklyn that was a place where she and her girls believed they were beautiful, talented, and brilliant. (192 pages).


We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
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The queen of gothic horror brings us this tale of murder that one Goodreads reviewer summed up as "bizarre, strange, haunting, sinister, disturbing, twisted, foreboding, suffocatingly claustrophobic, leaving you with the ever-growing sense of unease." (160 pages).


Heartburn by Nora Ephron
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Ephron writes the ultimate 'he did me wrong and made a serious mistake because I'm about to write a novel about how horrible he is' book. Based on the collapse of her second marriage, Ephron shows she's not one to mess with—in her usual hilarious and witty fashion, of course. (179 pages).


The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
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A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, this book galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. (106 pages).


The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
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Finally get this tale of an old Cuban fisherman and his battle against a giant marlin off your Want to Read List this December. (132 pages).


A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
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Bah! Humbug! First published in 1843, you've probably seen many movie and TV versions of this Dickens Christmas tale. Now, just in time for the holidays, read the original story. (144 pages).


Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli
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In these essays, Italian theoretical physicist Rovelli guides readers through the most transformative physics breakthroughs of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It's smart and fascinating. (96 pages).


The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
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Acclaimed by critics and taught in many a high school and university, this series of vignettes tells the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago. (110 pages).


A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean
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“The world is full of bastards, the number increasing rapidly the further one gets from Missoula, Montana.” In Maclean's autobiographical novella, he looks back at his family's complicated history, especially that between two brothers. (168 pages).


Sula by Toni Morrison
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This short book from Morrison, who won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature, follows the lives of two heroines from their small-town childhoods to their divergent paths as adults. (192 pages).


Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
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"Men explain things to me, still. And no man has ever apologized for explaining, wrongly, things that I know and they don't." This smart and scathing essay will have you nodding your head in agreement throughout, especially if you belong to the female half of the population. (168 pages).


The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante
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An Italian national bestseller for almost a year straight, this novel about an abandoned wife is a great introduction to the beloved author of the Neapolitan novels. (188 pages).


We the Animals by Justin Torres
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A blistering debut novel about three brothers and their parents reinvents the coming-of-age story in a way that will leave you feeling like you've just had a punch in the gut. (128 pages).


Every Beat of My Heart by Bella Andrew
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How about a little romance? This double-wedding novella is a winner with our legions of romance fans. Plus, it's a great introduction to the steamy Sullivan family. (79 pages).


The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas
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Readers of the Young Adult Fantasy genre are simply crazy for Maas. This novella is bound to get you hooked on her Throne of Glass series. (70 pages).


The Darkest Fire by Gena Showalter
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Once you consume this read, it may kindle your interest in the entire Lords of the Underworld series. Ok, I'm done with the puns now. (66 pages).


The Pearl by John Steinbeck
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This classic based on a Mexican folk tale explores the secrets of man’s nature, greed, and the possibilities of love. (96 pages).


Animal Farm by George Orwell
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"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." A satire on the Soviet Communist system that you've probably pretended to have read at some point in your life. (97 pages).


The Giver by Lois Lowry
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If you didn't read this in middle school, and you didn't see the movie, you can now see why more than a million Goodreads readers give this book 4+ stars. (180 pages).


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
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This is someone you know's favorite book, guaranteed. This novel has enchanted readers around the globe with its message of the transforming power of dreams and the importance of listening to your heart. (197 pages).


The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz
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One of Oprah's favorite books and a self-help classic, Ruiz based his guide on ancient Toltec wisdom. The Four Agreements are: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don't Take Anything Personally, Don't Make Assumptions, and Always Do Your Best. (168 pages).




Goodreads Gift Guide: Ultimate Friends & Family Guide
Posted by Cybil on December 02, 2016



Books are the perfect gift, if you choose wisely. But let's face it, finding just the right book for everyone on your holiday list can be tricky.

Luckily, we've found some gems that will delight everyone from your biography-loving dad to your business school sister. All of these books were published this year and are highly rated by Goodreads readers to help you navigate your holiday shopping.

If you have a great suggestion for finicky friends and family, please leave your suggestions in the comments.

Books for the Past Life Obsessives:
The Romanovs: 1613-1918
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Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars
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Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X
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Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life
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Books for the Those Who Appreciate the Scientific Method:
The Genius of Birds
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I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us
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Algorithms to Live By
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The Gene: An Intimate history
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Books for the True Romantics:
It Ends With Us
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Because of Miss Bridgerton
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Stuck-Up Suit
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The Obsession
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Books for the Amateur Sleuth:
IQ
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Blood on the Tracks
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Under the Midnight Sun
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Woman in Cabin 10
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Books for the Out of This World:
Dark Matter
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Sleeping Giants
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The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
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Version Control
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Books for Strivers and Self-Improvers:
Grit
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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
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Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
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Peak
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Books for the People Who Need to Get Away:
The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World
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Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
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Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe
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Far Afield: Rare Food Encounters from Around the World
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Books for the People Who Feed Us:
Appetites: A Cookbook
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Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat
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Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South
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Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
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Need more ideas? Check out our full Goodreads Gift Guide!

Luvvie Ajayi's Books for Friends Who Need to Do Better
Posted by Cybil on December 01, 2016



Luvvie Ajayi is an award-winning writer, pop culture critic, and professional troublemaker who thrives at the intersection of comedy, technology, and activism.

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Her book I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual is a Goodreads Choice Awards finalist for humor and it debuted No. 5 on the New York Times best-seller list.

She's also earned legions of fans through her blog Awesomely Luvvie, because she says what you're thinking but what you dare not say because you have a filter and a job to protect. In our minds, that makes her a perfect person to turn to for buying books for our friends.

Below are the five books she recommends:


The Color Purple by Alice Walker
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"Before the movie was the book, and Alice Walker's story about sisters named Celie and Nettie stays on my heart. From their painful beginnings to the power of sisterhood that carried them through. This is a classic, and I always go back to it."


Sula by Toni Morrison
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"This is one of my favorite books ever, and it's about a woman of the same name. She's a chaos bringer and everywhere she goes, bad news good along with her. But Sula has a purpose."


The Broke Diaries by Angela Nissel
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"This is the first book I ever read that made me laugh out loud in public. It's the struggles of a college student so broke that one day, she finds A grit (not GRITS) in her cupboard. This book inspired me to be a humorist."


Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie
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"In this book, I felt like I was reading my story. As someone who was born and bred in Nigeria, I completely connected to the story of Ifemelu, and her migration to the United States. It's a beautiful love story wrapped in apt cultural analysis."


Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
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"I got on a flight and cracked this book open and was finished when I landed in my destination. There is courage required to be willing to fail, just by saying yes to the things that scare us the most. This book is packed with vulnerability and gives so much heart."



Need more ideas? Check out our full Goodreads Gift Guide!

Sarah Cooper's Favorite Books for Coworkers
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on November 30, 2016



It’s estimated that we spend 75% of our waking lives in meetings, holding 11 million of them daily. Even worse, about 3/6ths of those meetings really could have been an e-mail. OK, fine. Maybe it just feels that way.


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As a user experience designer for companies like Google and Yahoo, Sarah Cooper discovered the real point of meetings: to look smart in front of your coworkers.

In her debut book that hilariously skewers office life, 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings, comedian Cooper shares all the ways you can look like a CEO with little to no effort at all. Tricks like “ask everyone to take a step back,” and “pace around the room” are interwoven with more nitty gritty advice, like 23 meaningless diagrams to draw on the whiteboard, and what to do with your face. It’s the perfect gift for anyone plagued with this painful corporate ritual.

Here the author and creator of the satirical blog TheCooperReview.com offers her own take on the books that make the best coworker gifts:


Do You Talk Funny? by David Nihill
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"You always remember the presentations that make you laugh, but it’s not always easy to be funny in a business setting. In this book, David Nihill demystifies the art of being funny and informative."


The Circle by Dave Eggers
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"A must read for anyone that works in tech. It tells the story of an all-knowing, all-seeing social network that feels a lot less like science fiction and a lot more like something that’s already happening."


Disrupted by Dan Lyons
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"If Silicon Valley met The Real World, you’d get something like Disrupted (but with better writing). Dan Lyons tells a drama-filled tale of his experience in the tech bubble and the dirt is juicy."


Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon
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"This magical little book is for anyone who doesn’t think they’re creative. It will teach you how to turn your admiration for art into your own artistic expression, by identifying what inspires you and using it create something of your own."


Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
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"Allie Brosh’s iconic drawings are undoubtedly familiar to us all, but the combination of expressive characters and vivid writing bring her stories to life. This book proves that the simplest presentations are often the most engaging."



Need more ideas? Check out our full Goodreads Gift Guide!
What's New This Week: 7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on November 29, 2016

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.


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Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between
by Lauren Graham

You should read this book if you like: Essay collections, Gilmore Girls, down-to-earth humor, stories of life and love, behind-the-scenes scoops



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by Warren Ellis

You should read this book if you like: Techno-thrillers, conspiracies, terrifying glimpses into the near future, Oregon, asylums



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Girls in the Moon
by Janet McNally

You should read this book if you like: YA contemporary fiction, family secrets, ex-rock stars and indie-rock darlings, bittersweet romance



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Searching for John Hughes: Or Everything I Thought I Needed to Know About Life I Learned from Watching '80s Movies
by Jason Diamond

You should read this book if you like: Memoirs, The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, growing up, big dreams and big failures, humor



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When All the Girls Have Gone
by Jayne Ann Krentz

You should read this book if you like: Romantic suspense, shadowy pasts, mysterious disappearances, Seattle, rugged private investigators


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Ody-C: Cycle One
by Matt Fraction and Christian Ward

You should read this book if you like: Graphic novels, Greek mythology, "psychedelic, gender-broke science-fiction epics," vibrant art


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The Whole Town's Talking
by Fannie Flagg

You should read this book if you like: Fiction, small towns, wit and whimsy, light mystery, stories that span generations, suspicious cemeteries


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

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The Fate of the Tearling
by Erika Johansen

The conclusion to the Tearling epic fantasy trilogy
(Start off the series with The Queen of the Tearling)

See Johansen's five favorite child protagonists here!


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Duke of Pleasure
by Elizabeth Hoyt

The eleventh book in the Maiden Lane historical romance series
(Start off the series with Wicked Intentions)

Check out the books that inspired Hoyt here!


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Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis
by Anne Rice

The twelfth book in The Vampire Chronicles paranormal fantasy series
(Start off the series with Interview with the Vampire)




What are you reading this week? Let's talk books in the comments!


Goodreads Gift Guide
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on November 25, 2016


'Tis the season of gift giving! Whether you're shopping for toddlers, teens, or TV-obsessed family members, we've got your back. Just browse our Goodreads Gift Guide below! Then tell us what books you want this holiday season in the comments.


















What books will you be buying this holiday season? Let's talk books in the comments!

10 Book Families You Wish You Could Invite to Thanksgiving Dinner
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on November 24, 2016



We asked on Facebook and Twitter: If you could invite any fictional family to your Thanksgiving dinner, who would you choose? We've got your top answers below!

(Note: Due to murderous wizards, colorful weddings, and illnesses, not all the family members mentioned below survive their respective books. But this is your dream Thanksgiving, right? And in your dream Thanksgiving, everyone lives.)


The Pevensie Family
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The Chronicles of Narnia
by C.S. Lewis

Who's coming to dinner: Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy
What they're bringing: Turkish Delight (only one piece per person!) and tea


The Finch Family
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To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee

Who's coming to dinner: Atticus, Jem, Scout, Calpurnia, and a very brief appearance by Boo Radley
What they're bringing: Lane Cake and dewberry tarts


The Weasley Family
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
by J.K. Rowling

Who's coming to dinner: Arthur, Molly, William, Charles, Percy, Fred, George, Ron, and Ginny
What they're bringing: Meatballs and Ton-Tongue Toffee


The March Family
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Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott

Who's coming to dinner: Marmee, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy
What they're bringing: Over-boiled asparagus (thanks, Jo!) and sticky currant jelly (thanks, Meg!)


The Stark Family
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A Game of Thrones
by George R.R. Martin

Who's coming to dinner: Ned, Catelyn, Robb, Jon, Sansa, Arya, Bran, Rickon, and a litter of Direwolf pups
What they're bringing: Uncooked meat and sour cherries


The Larkin Family
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Darling Buds Of May
by H.E. Bates

Who's coming to dinner: Pop, Ma, Mariette, Montgomery, Zinnia, Petunia, and Primrose
What they're bringing:A big picnic basket full of strawberries, bacon, and roasted pork


The Baggins Family
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The Lord of the Rings
by J.R.R. Tolkien

Who's coming to dinner: Bilbo and Frodo—plus various hobbits and dwarves who heard there was a party nearby
What they're bringing: Cold cuts, pickles, mushrooms, carrots, and lembas


The Bennet Family
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Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

Who's coming to dinner: Mr. Bennet, Mrs. Bennet, Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia
What they're bringing: Rout cake and creamy fricassees


The Plum Family
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One for the Money
by Janet Evanovich

Who's coming to dinner: Stephanie, her parents, Grandma Mazur, Bob, and Rex
What they're bringing: A box of jelly doughnuts and pineapple upside-down cake


The Cuthbert Family
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Anne of Green Gables
by L.M. Montgomery

Who's coming to dinner: Marilla, Matthew, and Anne Shirley
What they're bringing: Plum puffs and raspberry cordial



Which family would you want to invite over for Thanksgiving? And what do you think they would bring? Tell us in the comments!

What's New This Week: 7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on November 22, 2016

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.


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The Princess Diarist
by Carrie Fisher

You should read this book if you like: Nonfiction, Star Wars, memoirs, handwritten notebooks, Han Solo, quirky outsiders and outer-space royalty

Read our interview with Fisher here!


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Moonglow
by Michael Chabon

You should read this book if you like: Literary fiction, existential adventure, tales of love and madness, family secrets, deathbed confessions

Read our interview with Chabon here!


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Scythe
by Neal Shusterman

You should read this book if you like: Young adult dystopian fiction, science fiction, duels to the death, the Grim Reaper, reluctant heroes



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The Daily Show: An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents Staff and Guests
by Chris Smith

You should read this book if you like: Nonfiction, The Daily Show, satire, behind-the scenes gags, politics and the politics of television


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He Sees You When He's Creepin': Tales of Krampus
Anthology edited by Kate Wolford

You should read this book if you like: Fantasy, the darker side of Christmas, the cloven-hoofed and curly-horned companion of St. Nick


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Out of Bounds
by Lauren Blakely

You should read this book if you like: Contemporary romance, hunky football stars, secret trysts, mixing business with pleasure


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Victoria
by Daisy Goodwin

You should read this book if you like: Historical fiction, young royals, 19th century European history, determined heroines, political love triangles



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

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Trouble Makes a Comeback
by Stephanie Tromly

The second book in Trouble YA mystery series
(Start off the series with Trouble Is a Friend of Mine)


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The Operator
by Kim Harrison

The second book in The Peri Reed Chronicles urban fantasy series
(Start off the series with The Drafter)


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Storm Cell
by Brendan DuBois

The tenth book in the Lewis Cole mystery series
(Start off the series with Dead Sand)


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The Darkest Torment
by Gena Showalter

The twelfth book in the Lords of the Underworld paranormal romance series
(Start off the series with The Darkest Night)



What are you reading this week? Let's talk books in the comments!


Michael Chabon on Families of Choice and His Influences
Posted by Cybil on November 26, 2016




The beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon whose works include The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Wonder Boys, and Telegraph Avenue, is back with his highly anticipated "speculative memoir," Moonglow.

Goodreads talked to Chabon about his new novel, his writing style, and his influences. You can read the interview in its entirety here.


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GR: Goodreads user Vickie asks, "Do you see a common idea or truth that connects your works?"

MC: I think there are a lot of sort of fairly common motifs or themes in my work. A lot about relationships between fathers and sons, a lot about other relationships between men, whether they are creative partners like Kavalier and Clay, or comrades, colleagues, detectives, like in the Yiddish Policeman's Union, or swords for hire, like in Gentlemen of the Road, or lovers like in The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, or best friends, as in Wonder Boys, and in Telegraph Avenue they are both best friends and business partners.

Also, families of choice versus families of origin. People making their own families [and] rejecting, or having lost, their families of birth. Identity, inventing yourself, ways of inventing yourself or finding yourself…the quest of redefining yourself, the power of imagination…Jewish identity, Jewish history and themes…the Second World War, the Holocaust.

GR: What books or authors would you say are your greatest influences?


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MC: The really important, strong influences happened early. Some of my earliest, more important, influences [ranged] from Edgar Allen Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ursula K. Le Guin, fiction and fantasy writers, too; at the other end of things, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Cheever, Barry Hannah, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Vladimir Nabokov.

A lot of it was about being affected by the literary style of the writer. Being affected very strongly and then trying to imitate that writer. And learning by imitation I really do think is the single best way to learn how to write. Just by frankly, freely, and openly imitating the writing of writers who get you going. The writing that gets you going, that gets you excited. Passion and enthusiasm come and go and influences fade…what you're left with is how to put sentences together from imitating a writer who is really good at knowing how to do that. After a while, that issue of being overly influenced fades away.

What's left for me is enthusiasm. There are writers whose books I will still pick up—even Edgar Allen Poe, or Barry Hannah, or some more recent writer like David Mitchell, even if I've read the book before, just to read a page or two and kind of bring back to me the excitement of their prose. Like The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, I love that book so much. I don't think I write like Michael Ondaatje at all, but I can sort of prime the pump for myself of writing by just picking up that book and reading any paragraph or two. I want to make something that makes someone as excited to read as me reading that. It's so reliable. It's become less about influence and more about enthusiasm.

GR: What are you reading now?

MC: I just finished reading Zadie Smith's forthcoming novel, Swing Time, which is just wonderful. She's such an amazing writer. And I love that book so much.

Read our entire interview with Michael Chabon. You can also add more of his novels to your Want to Read list.

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