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Announcing the Winners of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards!
Posted by Jessica Donaghy on November 30, 2015

The votes are in! More than 3 million votes were cast in the 7th annual Goodreads Choice Awards! Readers rallied to support their favorite books, voting for more than 20,000 different books in the Opening Round, and now just one winner in each of 20 categories remains. Congratulations to the best books of the year!

View the champions & runners-up in 20 categories »

The biggest publishing surprise of 2015, Go Set a Watchman, takes home the top honors in Best Fiction—a testament to the great love readers have for To Kill a Mockingbird's legacy. And the biggest publishing success of 2015, mega-bestseller The Girl on the Train, won Best Mystery & Thriller in a landslide, taking out both Stephen King and J.K. Rowling. Not to be missed, one of 2015's top-rated books, World War II saga The Nightingale, won handily in Best Historical Fiction.

We all must be seeking love, or at least needing to laugh about it, because voters chose Aziz Ansari's dissection of 21st-century dating, Modern Romance, as Best Nonfiction. He's joined by another comedian winner in Best Humor, where Mindy Kaling takes the prize for her essay collection, Why Not Me?. This year's Choice Awards saw a robust crop of books by YouTubers in multiple categories, and voters crowned 23-year-old video star Connor Franta a winner in Best Memoir & Autobiography for his book A Work in Progress. The newcomer earned his stripes alongside long-time reader favorite Erik Larson, who took first place in Best History & Biography for Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania.

Hop on the train! A big thank you from Best Mystery & Thriller winner Paula Hawkins!

Heart in her hands, Best Humor winner Mindy Kaling.

In Best Romance, it took fan favorite Colleen Hoover, author of Confess, to upset 2012 Choice Winner E.L. James. But repeat winners reigned supreme in Best Fantasy and Best Science Fiction, where Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning and Pierce Brown's Golden Son each delivered a win. And after multiple nominations for their respective series, Dean Koontz won for Saint Odd in Best Horror and Brian K. Vaughan earned first place for Saga, Volume 4 in Best Graphic Novels & Comics.

Here's a whole shelf full of gratitude from Best Romance winner Colleen Hoover!

Heartfelt appreciation from Best Science Fiction winner Pierce Brown.

Age is just a number. The winners of the Young Adult and Children's categories all have major crossover appeal. All the Bright Places tops the list in Best Young Adult Fiction; the latest book in the Throne of Glass series, Queen of Shadows, edged out strong competition in Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction; and another Young Adult Fantasy contender, Red Queen, pulled out a win over in Best Debut Goodreads Author. Voters couldn't contain their excitement for Rick Riordan's new series starter The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1), making this year's prize in Best Middle Grade & Children's his fifth consecutive win! And finally The Day the Crayons Came Home keeps everyone smiling as the winner of Best Picture Books.

Best Young Adult Fiction winner Jennifer Niven has a Post-it note with your name on it.

Best Young Adult Fantasy winner Sarah J. Maas poses with her Throne of Glass heroine...or is that her alter ego?

Rick Riordan's dog Speedy is pretty excited about The Sword of Summer winning Best Children's.

Other winners include Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish for Best Science & Technology, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime for Best Food & Cookbooks, and The Dogs I Have Kissed for Best Poetry.

How many of the winners and runners-up have you read? Check out the full vote breakdown for the top 400 nominees across 20 categories, and start packing your want-to-read list with award-winners!

Congratulations to our winners! »

9 Little Known Facts About Mark Twain
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on November 30, 2015

Mark Twain was born 180 years ago today! To celebrate the beloved American author's birthday, we've dug up a few surprising, unusual, and definitely true facts about his life. (Twain once wrote, "Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it"—and you, dear Goodreads member, are definitely worthy of the truth).

1. At the peak of his fame, a letter addressed to "Mark Twain, God Knows Where" was actually delivered.
This was not an isolated occurrence. Other successfully delivered letters were addressed to "Mark Twain, Somewhere," "Mark Twain, c/o President Roosevelt. The White House," and "Mark Twain, Somewhere, (Try Satan)."

2. Twain claimed he nearly drowned nine times as a child.
Perhaps someone should've taught young Twain to swim. As a boy, he enjoyed playing in the water—although he evidently had no idea what to do when submerged in it. Kind family members and friends were repeatedly called upon to rescue him.

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3. In another world, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer might've been written by Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass.
Most people know Mark Twain is the pen name of Samuel Clemens, but did you know about the author's other pseudonyms? He also tried out the pen names W. Epaminondas Adrastus Perkins, Sergeant Fathom, John Snooks, and Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass.

4. He named his cats Famine, Pestilence, Satan, Sin, and Sour Mash.
Twain was a cat person, despite giving such hilariously awful names to his pets. He wrote, "When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction."

5. He once tried his hand at island life.
On assignment for the The Sacramento Union, Twain lived in Hawaii for four months. From surfing ("None but natives ever master the art of surf-bathing") to swimming with naked locals (who all left as soon as he entered the water), he did it all—and then happily returned home.

6. Nikola Tesla and Twain became friends because of a very effective electrical charge.
Few friendships have been forged under more unusual circumstances. Desperate to find a cure for his constipation, Twain visited one of Nikola Tesla's salons, where the scientist conducted some of his more outlandish experiments. One electrical charge and a few x-rays later, Twain was cured. The two men remained friends for the rest of their lives.

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7. He is one of the only authors who has had new bestselling books published in three different centuries.
While Twain's books were obviously bestsellers in the 19th century, his posthumously published work also struck a chord with readers in the 20th and 21st century. Most recently, the first volume of his autobiography was published in 2010—100 years after Twain's death, as he had wished. (The third and final volume hit shelves this past October.)

8. He predicted his own death.
"I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835," he wrote in 1909. "It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it." A year later, with Halley's Comet visible in the sky, Twain died of a heart attack.

9. Two of his biggest fans were Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner.
No one knows how to dish out glowing praise like an author. Hemingway wrote, "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn…It's the best book we've had." And Faulkner said this of Twain: "The first truly American writer, and all of of us since are his heirs."

10 Book Families You Wish You Could Invite to Thanksgiving Dinner
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on November 26, 2015

Last week we asked on Facebook and Twitter: If you could invite any fictional family to your Thanksgiving dinner this year, who would you choose? Today we've got your top answers.

(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!

6 Reasons You Need to Visit Atlantis Books in Santorini
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on November 21, 2015

Calling all traveling bibliophiles! A book lover's paradise awaits in the idyllic seaside town of Oia, Santorini. Bursting with charm, music, pet hair, and stacks and stacks of irresistible reading material, Atlantis Books deserves a place on your bookish bucket list.

Reason #1: It's inside one of Santorini's iconic whitewashed houses.
This place is already a quirky architectural wonderland—and then you add books? From the cozy terraces to the low walls lined with blue shelves, this is what bookstore dreams are made of.

Reason #2: The staff embraces pets and "pre-loved" books.

Rent a cat, bring your dog, adopt a previously loved book…. You can do it all at Atlantis Books. The store feels like home, and chances are, you'll never want to leave.

Reason #3: The bookstore was founded by a group of passionate book lovers, a cat, a dog, and a van named Danny.
In 2002, Oliver and Craig fell in love with Santorini, but noticed something strange: Where were the bookstores? Encouraged by a bottle of wine, they came up with the idea for Atlantis Books. Some friends joined their noble cause, they borrowed Danny the van for book-hauling purposes, and the rest is history! (It's debatable how much the dog and cat helped, but they were there.)

Reason #4: They host festivals and concerts.

Atlantis Books knows its patrons are fans of more than just good books—they also like good food, good movies, and good music. Besides their annual Caldera Arts and Literature Festival, the store also open its doors to food festivals, film festivals, and concerts.

Reason #5: The shelves are stocked with current bestsellers, rare first editions, and English-language books about Greek culture and history.
Whether you want to study up on your surroundings or pick up an irresistible gift for the literary lover in your life (it's okay if that literary lover is yourself), you'll find it all at Atlantis Books.

Reason #6: They hold sunset readings on their ocean-view terrace.

Picture it: You're sitting down, feet up, perhaps a glass of wine in your hand. The sky is bright with golden light, and in the distance, you hear waves lapping at the shore. Then someone starts reading you a story.

If that's not paradise, we don't know what is.

What other places are on your bookish bucket list? Let us know in the comments!
Last Chance to Vote—Final Round of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards Starts Now!
Posted by Jessica Donaghy on November 16, 2015

Announcing the 2015 finalists! »

Drum roll, please! The Final Round of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards has begun! Thousands of books jockeyed for position in the Opening and Semifinal Rounds, and now your votes have narrowed the field to just 10 finalists in 20 categories. It's not over yet, so be sure to vote in the Final Round to boost your favorites to the top of the podium!

Congrats to our finalists! Many underdog authors have cause to rejoice today. Debut authors Sara Nović and Sejal Badani have made the cut in Best Fiction, and self-published authors like Tarryn Fisher in Best Mystery & Thriller and Elle Kennedy in Best Romance are holding their own in crowded fields. On the nonfiction side, it continues to be the year of the YouTubers, with Connor Franta and Joey Graceffa in Best Memoir & Autobiography, Shane Dawson and Tyler Oakley in Best Humor, and more. Of course, with so many worthy books in the running, slashing the field in half cuts deep! We had some surprise upsets that eliminated bestsellers, including Jonathan Franzen striking out in Best Fiction, Philippa Gregory falling short in Best Historical Fiction, Mary Oliver missing the mark in Best Poetry, and Hugh Howey just outside of the top 10 in Best Science Fiction.

Who will get your Final Round vote? Choose wisely!

The Final Round polls close November 23, and winners will be announced December 1. Don't miss this last chance to vote for the best books of 2015!

Vote now! »
20 Problems Only Book Lovers Understand
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on November 13, 2015

Last week we asked on Facebook and Twitter: What's a problem only book lovers understand? We got over 1,000 amazing responses! So even if non-book lovers don't get your struggle, remember—you're among friends here.

1. "The urge to buy books even though you still have too many books to read at home." (Rie VdWarth)

2. "Feeling sad for people who don't really exist." (Kimberly Moniz)


4. "Getting interrupted when you are on the last few pages of a book." (Sobe Daya)

5. "The book hangover. When a good book finishes but you can't start a new one because you're still too immersed in the last book to move on." (Meagan Lewis)

6. "Wanting every book in a library section but knowing it is impossible to read all of them." (Richard Azia)

7. "Waiting so long for a sequel that you forget what happened in the first book." (Jessica Luong)

8. "When you're lying in bed and it's all cold in your room—and the hand holding the book freezes to death, even though the rest of you is warm under the blankets." (Alina Marie Swan)

9. "Finishing a book and having to wait a whole year to read the next in the series." (Sarah Scanion)

10. "Trying to keep the book dry while reading in the bath." (Patricia Boland)

11. "Ordering a book online and getting the book with the movie cover. A book with a movie cover just doesn't feel the same." (Anna RN)

12. "Not being able to read and eat lunch at the same time because you don't have a third arm." (Bernadette)

13. "When someone borrows your book and doesn't return it for ages!" (Pallavi B)

14. "Deciding. Which. Book. To. Read. First." (Monique Balsamo)

15. "Getting to a 'can't stop reading' spot in the book and it's 3:00am." (Joan Chesley)

16. "When you have a book with you, but it's not the one you wanted to read right then." (Virginia Osborne)

17. "Being forced to stop reading by other obligations, but choosing to ignore those obligations. Then getting in trouble." (Feel Like Fangirling)

18. "Packing for a trip and never being able to bring enough books." (Erika Gallion)

19. "Having a book fall on your face because you're reading on your back while holding the book up." (Manuel Cedillo)

20. And the ultimate book lovers' dilemma: "So many books, so little time." (Navy Reading)

Have another bibliophile-specific problem? Share it with your fellow Goodreads members in the comments! Chances are you'll find someone (or many someones) who feel your book pain.

(Top image credit: Illustration by Quentin Blake for Roald Dahl's Matilda.)
Semifinals Have Begun! Second Chance to Vote in the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards!
Posted by Jessica Donaghy on November 09, 2015

Semifinal Round now open for voting! »

The readers have spoken! Goodreads members cast more than 1 million votes in the Opening Round of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards. And many of those voters took advantage of the opportunity to write in a candidate, casting votes for a whopping 20,000 different books! Our number-crunching elves tabulated the results, and now we've added the top five write-ins in each category as official nominees, bringing the total number of nominees to 400 across 20 categories. Congrats to all the semifinalists!

Some formidable contenders have entered the ranks in Best Fiction, with Harper Lee, Jojo Moyes, and Jonathan Franzen each earning a write-in slot. We've also got some interesting characters playing against type, such as childhood favorite Judy Blume in Best Historical Fiction for her adult novel, In the Unlikely Event, and Kazuo Ishiguro in Best Fantasy for his quest novel, The Buried Giant. New media stars such as Issa Rae and duo Dan and Phil have deepened the already stacked competition in Best Humor, and it's now a rock-star battle over in Best Memoir, with Patti Smith vs. Kim Gordon. Finally, heavyweights such as Richelle Mead and Ransom Riggs have nabbed nominations in Best Young Adult Fantasy.

Who gets your vote? And with all this fresh blood in the running...will you change your allegiances? It's anyone's game!

The Semifinal Round closes November 15, and then only the top 10 books in each category will advance to the Final Round, which kicks off November 17!

Vote for the best books of 2015! »
Time to Vote! Announcing the Nominees of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards!
Posted by Jessica Donaghy on November 02, 2015

Vote now in the Opening Round! »

Bust out your black-tie finery, because we're unfurling the red carpet for the nominees of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards! All year long, you've added your reviews to Goodreads, sharing the work of favorite authors and raving about newly discovered gems, and now we've funneled all that reading excitement into our list of Opening Round nominees!

We analyzed statistics from the hundreds of millions of books added, rated, and reviewed on Goodreads this year to select 15 worthy nominees in 20 categories, including Best Fiction, Best Fantasy, Best Memoir, and Best Young Adult Fiction. And we also accept write-in votes during the Opening Round so you can vote for exactly the book you want!

A huge congratulations to all of our nominees! Who will you be rooting for? We've got some interesting match-ups to keep an eye on this year. Newcomer bestseller The Girl on the Train is up against books from perennial favorites like Stephen King and David Baldacci in Best Mystery & Thriller. E.L. James's Fifty Shades follow-up Grey is facing some heated competition in Best Romance from Sylvia Day and Colleen Hoover. Best Historical Fiction is packed with strong contenders, including Kristin Hannah, Kate Atkinson, Paula McLain, and Alice Hoffman. Can Internet darling Felicia Day take down TV darling Mindy Kaling in Best Humor? How will Aziz Ansari fare against Ta-Nehisi Coates in Best Nonfiction? And how on earth will readers pick a winner in Best Young Adult Fantasy, where the ranks are stacked with Sarah J. Maas, Victoria Aveyard, Leigh Bardugo, and more?

Our 300 Opening Round nominees have a combined average rating of 4.17 and have been added on Goodreads more than 6.2 million times. Fun fact: We have five different author nominees named Robert, but one of them is a nom de plume (guess who!). And the record-holding author name this year is Sara(h), with 10 nominations!

You have three chances to vote. The Opening Round lasts until November 8. Vote now to make sure your favorite books make it into the Semifinals (November 10 - 15) and Finals (November 17 - 23).

Finally, as a special bonus, this year you can tell the world you voted with our shiny new "I Voted" banner. Just click the Facebook or Twitter icons after you vote to share your pick and this image.

Vote for the best books of 2015! »
When the End is Near: Remember the Ghoul Time of Horror Week!
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on October 30, 2015

We've been having a spooktacular time during Horror Week here at Goodreads. We shared two-sentence horror stories, exclusive book excerpts from upcoming horror books, and 13 chilling tomes to get you in the Halloween spirit. Plus, some of the greatest horror writers—Justin Cronin, Lois Duncan, R.L. Stine, Kendare Blake, and Clive Barker—carved out some time to answer questions from readers all week.

Alan Moore has been silent. Until now.

Click here to see all 75 answers from Alan Moore, whose book, Jerusalem, will be published by Liveright in Fall 2016.

But that's not all! Find out who will be joining the undead in a zombie apocalypse (watch out for Rhiannon Frater!), and whose house to hit up for Halloween. (Hint: Full size candy bars at Scott Hawkins' house!) Also, finally an answer to this essential question: What is up with that duck in Christopher Golden's picture?

More great responses from horror writers below! We witch you a Happy Halloween!

What was your favorite part of Horror Week? Share with us in the comments below!
15 Two-Sentence Horror Stories That Will Give You Nightmares
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on October 29, 2015

Hungry for bite-sized tales of terror? Come right in! We're serving up 15 blood-curling two-sentence horror stories, all taken from your submissions on Facebook, Twitter, and our blog. And there's an especially gruesome treat: Stephen King's own submission. (Because did you really think Stephen King, author of some of the scariest books in human history, could participate in something like this and not make our top 15?)

1. "The faces that stare back at me from the kitchen window don't scare me. It's the blood on their clothes that have me worried." (Michele Holguin Barchuk)

2. "I heard heavy snoring so I turned to nudge my partner, remembering in time that he died last year." (Tracy Shephard)

3. "When she got the text saying, "You die tonight," she replied asking, "Who is this?" She heard a message alert outside her bedroom door." (Kathryn West)

4. "I have a body of a supermodel. It's in the fridge." (Petina)

5."I had a dream I was stabbed to death in my bed at 2:45am, and the clock was the last thing I saw before the knife. I awoke screaming, and glanced at the clock to see it was 2:44am—and the bedroom door was opening." (James Holmes)

6."When the long winter came, Mom promised us we'd never go hungry. We never asked where she got so much meat." (Nyssa 23)

7."My mum said God always listens to little children. If I collect enough of their tongues, maybe he'll listen to me as well." (Ibrahim)

8."He stood in front of me, menacing red eyes gleaming in the dark of the night. He lifted my book above his head and TORE IT APART." (Storm Arashi)

9."As I washed my face, a voice cautioned, "Watch your back." Startled, I looked up into the mirror to see my reflection pointing behind me." (Karin Pike)

10."I love the sound of her voice. Too bad it's muffled by six feet of earth." (Christopher Provost)

11."A disembodied voice echoed out of the darkness, raspy and low. 'Student loans.'" (Alisia Strautins)

12."She had a roast on the table despite the empty shelves at all the markets. They could always have other children. " (Brendan)

13."I woke up with a picture of myself sleeping on my phone. I live alone." (Lisa Kuik)

14. "Five years after Timmy's sister drowned, he found her standing in his closet. Her eyes were full of water." (Stephen King)

15."There's no more coffee or chocolate. Oh, your Kindle broke, too." (Malina Bennett Vasquez)

If you missed out on spooking us silly earlier this week, have no fear! Get inspired by our favorite two-sentence horror stories and then submit your own in the comments. And be sure to keep up with the rest of our Horror Week festivities here.

(Top image credit: Book cover for Ashfall by Mike Mullin)
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