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Nine Standout Books of 2014...So Far!
Posted by Jade on August 06, 2014

It's August, which means there's still time to fit in some summer reading! We took a look at the books that are topping Goodreads Want-to-Read charts and garnering 4.0-and-above average ratings to compile our list of the top tomes published this year in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Young Adult—three per category. These mighty nine offer up everything from tales of Wall Street excess to adventures with sexy, sarcastic demon hunters to the struggle of two women bound by history. The best part? They'll stay with you long after summer is over.

Have you been following our annual Goodreads Choice Awards? It's too soon to say for sure, but these favorites could be contenders! Which books are you hoping to see on the list of 2014 nominees this November? Tell us in the comments!


The Invention of Wings
by Sue Monk Kidd
(Goodreads Author)
Connie says, "When Sarah Grimke turned 11 years old in 1803, she was given [an enslaved girl named] Hetty (called 'Handful') as a birthday present…the book follows Sarah and Handful for 35 years through alternating chapters. By mixing fact and fiction, the author has created a moving story about the cruelty of slavery and the resilience of both the slaves and the abolitionists."

All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr
(Goodreads Author)
Angela says, "Parallel stories are told in alternating chapters of Marie Laure, a teenage French girl who has been blind since the age of six, and Werner, an intelligent, perceptive and sensitive German orphan who learns to fix radios and becomes noticed by the German army. Each of their stories will move you in their own right, but especially when their paths cross." Jenny adds, "I died a thousand times while reading this book. It is mysterious, heart-breaking, and just brilliantly beautiful. It deserves all the stars."

The Martian
by Andy Weir
(Goodreads Author)
Mike (the Paladin) says, "The story of Mark Watney, how he gets stranded on Mars, how he survives or doesn't, is frankly fantastic. You want a suspenseful thriller, it's here. You want hard science fiction, it's here. You want a character-driven story, you got it. You want a plot-driven story, you got that, too…Mr. Weir…I don't know how you'll follow this one up, but I for one will be watching for your next novel."


Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
by Michael Lewis

Mal Warwick says, "Flash Boys tells the tale of the arcane and long-secret phenomenon known as high-frequency trading (HFT). The book reads like a thriller, showcasing the author's legendary writing talent. Like the best fiction, it's centered on people, not abstract processes or institutions, and the prose sings."

This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl
by Esther Earl

Mason Deaver says, "I know The Fault In Our Stars was dedicated and inspired by her, so I jumped at the chance to read this book. Let me tell you that you will not find a more heart-warming, tear-jerking story…this book gave me so much insight not only into the life of Esther, but also the life of someone living with cancer, someone who did not become her disease and instead chose to spend her unknown amount of time with friends and family."

Capital in the Twenty-First Century
by Thomas Piketty, translated by Arthur Goldhammer
(Goodreads Author)
Marvin King says, "Holy smokes, this was a tour de force of political economy and economic history. Piketty explains why a tax on capital is so much preferable than taxes on income, the need for global cooperation and why inequality in America will only get worse unless policymakers address higher education affordability, tax policies, especially on inheritance, and minimum wage laws. A brutally long read, yet well worth the effort."


City of Heavenly Fire
by Cassandra Clare
(Goodreads Author)
Aiman says, "Important note: Reading this book will surely evoke fits of of despair, but also fan-girling. Tread with caution…Cassandra Clare deserves a standing ovation for the beautiful world she has created, a tale not only of Shadowhunters and magical creatures, but [also] one of friendship, family, blood, pain, and loss. She brings new and extraordinary meaning to these ordinary words and binds them into something completely bedazzling."

The One
by Kiera Cass
(Goodreads Author)
Ilana says, "When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants."

Hollow City
by Ransom Riggs

Jon says, "Hollow City does an excellent job of creating a captivating, magical world and accompanying the plot with finely selected vintage photos…[it] is incredibly fast-paced with an interesting story that fans of Miss Peregrine's will absolutely love. With plenty of unexpected twists, Hollow City is quite frankly one of the best sequels I've read to date and it definitely surpasses its predecessor."

20 Moments that Changed History: A Reading List
Posted by Jessica Donaghy 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!

World War I begins with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
All Quiet on the Western Front
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

American women get the right to vote, joining the worldwide women's suffrage movement
Sex Wars
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

Penicillin discovered
A Fierce Radiance
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

Mahatma Gandhi leads the Salt March in India in nonviolent protest of British rule
Midnight's Children
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

Russian forces liberate the first Nazi concentration camp at Majdanek in Poland
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

Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Black Rain
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

During the "Year of Africa," 17 African nations declare independence from colonial rule
Half of a Yellow Sun
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

FDA approves birth control pills and kicks off the sexual revolution
Diary of a Mad Housewife
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

Martin Luther King, Jr. declares "I have a dream" during the March on Washington
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
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

American president John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas
American Tabloid
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

Apollo 11 lands the first humans on the moon
The Martian
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

"Fathers of the Internet" Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn propose TCP/IP technology, making the Internet we know today possible
by William Gibson
"A mind-bender of a 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

The death of Mao Zedong ushers in a new period in Chinese politics
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

The Iranian Revolution makes Ayatollah Khomeini the country's Supreme Leader
Censoring an Iranian Love Story
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

Fall of the Berlin Wall
The Spy Who Came In from the Cold
by John le Carré
"There may be good guys and bad guys in the Cold War, but everyone is gray in the 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

Nelson Mandela elected president of South Africa in the first post-Apartheid democratic election
The Heart of Redness
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

The Netherlands passes the world's first bill legalizing same-sex marriage
Between Mom and Jo
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

9/11 terrorist attacks
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
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

Completion of the Human Genome Project
Oryx and Crake
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

Beginning of the Arab Spring
The Yacoubian Building
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

What We're Reading at Goodreads: June Book Perk
Posted by Jessica Donaghy 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?

20 Riveting World War I Reads
Posted by Jade on June 16, 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.


All Quiet on the Western Front (1928)
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.

We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces.
-Erich Maria Remarque
Like quote »

Ashenden: Or the British Agent (1927)
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.

Her Privates We (1929)
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."

Testament of Youth (1933)
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.

How fortunate we were who still had hope I did not then realise; I could not know how soon the time would come when we should have no more hope, and yet be unable to die.
-Vera Brittain

Rilla of Ingleside (1921)
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.

Goodbye to All That (1929)
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.

A Farewell to Arms (1929)
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.

If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
-Ernest Hemingway

Storm of Steel (1920)
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.

Memoirs of an Infantry Officer (1930)
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."

Johnny Got His Gun (1939)
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.

Now I lay me down to sleep my bombproof cellars good and deep but if I'm killed before I wake remember god it's for your sake amen.
-Dalton Trumbo


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.

The function of music is to liberate in the soul those feelings which normally we keep locked up in the heart.
-Sebastian Faulks

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.

Maisie Dobbs
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.

Somehow if she'd know the worst parts, she couldn't have gone on being a haven for him…Men said they didn't tell their women about France because they didn't want to worry them. but it was more than that. He needed her ignorance to hide in. Yet, at the same time, he wanted to know and be known as deeply as possible. And the two desires were irreconcilable.
-Pat Barker

Three Day Road
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.

Fall of Giants
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.

War Horse
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.

This one isn't just any old horse. There's a nobility in his eye, a regal serenity about him. Does he not personify all that men try to be and never can be?
-Michael Morpurgo

The Harlem Hellfighters
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.

The Girl You Left Behind
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.

Birds Without Wings
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.

Beauty is precious, you see, and the more beautiful something is, the more precious it is; and the more precious it is the more it hurts us that it will fade away; and the more we are hurt by beauty, the more we love the world.
-Louis de Bernières

Is your favorite book on the list?
Launching Today: Goodreads Q&A! Ask Your Favorite Author or Fellow Readers Questions on Goodreads!
Posted by Patrick Brown 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?'"

Reader Q&A

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!

U.K. Members Can Now Add Their Amazon Book Purchases to Goodreads!
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:

Add Your Amazon Books

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!
Fifty Great Books to Read With Kids
Posted by Jade on April 26, 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!

25 Years of Children's Books
Reach Out and Read Goodreads
The Three Billy Goats Gruff
by Paul Galdone
4.10 stars

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
by Bill Martin Jr. & John Archambault
4.15 stars

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 Do You Do with a Kangaroo?
by Mercer Mayer
4.07 stars

Oh, the Places You'll Go!
by Dr. Seuss
4.32 stars

Mercer Mayer's tale is a perfect chance for adults to engage a child in the story by asking: "What would you do if you came across an ever-growing crowd of rambunctious critters?" This technique, called "dialogic reading," is a great way to encourage children to solve problems and use their imaginations. Goodreads member Tatiana says, "While subbing this afternoon, I had the privilege of reading [this] to the smart 2nd grade class. They've read it before; it's one of their favorites. The narrative offers inspiring rhymes on graduating into real life and the struggles and triumphs that await you there."
Brave Irene
by William Steig
4.15 stars

If You Give a Moose a Muffin
by Laura Joffe Numeroff
4.15 stars

Can Irene save the day during a storm? This is a wonderful tale of resilience with a delightful character—a great book to share with a child in need of a boost of courage. Goodreads member Austin G says, "Children will love reading about the entertaining adventures of the young boy and his new moose friend....the story teaches children the importance of friendship, creativity, and responsibility."
Good-Night, Owl!
by Pat Hutchins
4.07 stars

The Rainbow Fish
by Marcus Pfister
4.11 stars

Owl just wants to sleep, but new animals keep arriving at his tree. Will Owl ever get to sleep? This is a cumulative tale, where naming the animals is a fun game as you get your child ready to go to bed, just like Owl. Goodreads member Hannah Edwards says, "The Rainbow Fish is about a fish that is different from the others; he has shiny scales and no one else does. After refusing and being 'selfish,' the rainbow fish eventually ends up sharing his scales with the other fish and makes friends with them, which creates happiness within."
by Kevin Henkes
4.29 stars

by Janell Cannon
4.21 stars

This is the story of a little girl with an extraordinary name she loves, until others start to tease her. The kind words and actions of a teacher give Chrysanthemum and her classmates a new perspective. This book teaches children about the power of words to hurt and heal, and how one person can make things right. Goodreads member Linda says, "Sweet story about a young bat who loses her mother after they are attacked by an owl and is subsequently adopted by a family of birds. It delightfully demonstrates how diverse creatures can coexist. The illustrations are lovely and luminescent."
Noisy Nora
by Rosemary Wells
4.00 stars

Guess How Much I Love You
by Sam McBratney & Anita Jeram
4.34 stars

How noisy can one child be?! Nora can be quite noisy, but it's when she is quiet that her absence is noticed. This is a terrific book to reassure every child that, noisy or quiet, he is loved. Goodreads member Megan Carr says, "Two hares discuss how much they love each other using the world around them to measure....The art is simple, the words are simple yet meaningful, and it is just the sweetest story to read to a little one at bedtime (or anytime)!"
Time for Bed
by Mem Fox
4.13 stars

Officer Buckle & Gloria
by Peggy Rathmann
4.13 stars

Gentle watercolors and repetitive rhymes make this collection of animal babies and their parents settling down for the night a perfect way to ease children into sleep at the end of a busy day. Goodreads member Kym Machovina says, "The way Officer Buckle's dog, Gloria, steals the show is funny and captivating....I highly recommend this book for its message of resolving hurt feelings and misunderstandings, the importance of teamwork, forgiveness and safety, safety, safety."
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge
by Mem Fox
4.41 stars

Falling Up
by Shel Silverstein
4.31 stars

One little boy with a great big name, one elderly lady with a long name, and one wonderful friendship until Miss Nancy starts to forget. It is Wilfrid who helps bring back Miss Nancy's memories in this loving story about friendship and a kindness that has no boundaries. Goodreads member Ashlyn says, "I chose this book because I love reading riddle, joke, and poem books and making it funny puts the cherry on top....This book is not all fun and games. Sometimes you have to 'read the pictures' to understand the poem."
Mouse Paint
by Ellen Stoll Walsh
4.12 stars

The Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
by Simms Taback
4.16 stars

Learning about colors and how to create new colors is fun in this adventure of smart mice using paint to evade the cat. Goodreads member Typhani says, "This cleverly illustrated version of an old folk favorite will delight children. Each page is full of details and humorous asides, from the names of different types of birds, to a recipe for spider soup, to the rhyming asides from the spectating animals."
I Went Walking
by Sue Williams
3.90 stars

A Bad Case of Stripes
by David Shannon
4.21 stars

As a child goes walking in this vibrantly illustrated book, he is joined by a succession of animals. Each animal is only partially shown, offering readers the chance to guess which creature might next be following the little boy. Goodreads member Typhani says, "[This] lighthearted fantasy...explores the impact of peer pressure and social conformity on the young protagonist Camilla Cream, a lima bean enthusiast who doesn't want to be teased for her passion."
Babyfaces: Smile!
by Roberta Grobel Intrater
4.00 stars

Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type
by Doreen Cronin
4.20 stars

Babies love to look at other babies, and this collection of full-page photos of cheerful tots is a perfect first board book to share with your baby. Goodreads member Laima says, "The drawings are funny and the story is outrageous. What young child doesn't like funny animal stories?! I'm not surprised that this book earned a Caldecott Honor."
by Nicola Smee
3.94 stars

by Ian Falconer
4.14 stars

Come along for the ride in this happy board book of a growing list of riders on a patient horse. Goodreads member Gregory Beard says, "As picture books go, you can't do much better than the thoroughly charming Olivia. The young pig is sure to endear herself to you with her winning personality and excess of sass."
Over in the Meadow
by Ezra Jack Keats
4.13 stars

The Three Pigs
by David Wiesner
4.13 stars

This classic rhyme by Olive Wadsworth is matched by Keats' timeless artwork. The rich vocabulary, rhyming, and repetition help children develop their language skills as they enjoy what goes on over in the meadow. Goodreads member Jean says, "Wiesner's retelling of the story with a very creative twist, coupled with the beautiful artwork, make this book a must-have for a good children's collection."
Hush! A Thai Lullaby
by Minfong Ho
3.87 stars

Bear Snores On
by Karma Wilson
4.22 stars

Rich illustrations fill this simple story of a mother trying to shush the creatures—from lizards to elephants—so that her baby can sleep. Amid the growing number of animals in need of shushing, it turns out that it is the mother who needs to sleep. Goodreads member Jean says, "During the harsh moments of winter, several small creatures discover the warm cave of a hibernating bear....This is a fun look at winter's cooped-up days, at cooperative survival, and diverse friendships."
by Jez Alborough
4.07 stars

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
by Mo Willems
4.29 stars

Bobo just wants a hug but no one seems to understand him. It's not until he reaches his mother that Bobo get what he needs. Children can follow the story by looking at the expression on Bobo's face. Hug provides a great opportunity for you and your child to talk about what he would do to help Bobo. Goodreads member Lacey Ellison says, "A picture storybook about a persistent pigeon who constantly begs, pleads, whines, and yells in an attempt to get the reader to allow him to drive the bus while the bus driver is out."
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes...
by Annie Kubler
3.61 stars

Kitten's First Full Moon
by Kevin Henkes
4.05 stars

Roly-poly toddlers play this familiar game of naming body parts in this playful board book that will have young readers mimicking the actions on the pages. It's fun from head to toe! Goodreads member Sunhi says, "This is an adorably illustrated and sweet story of a kitten that just wants the bowl of milk sitting in the sky...if your child is also obsessed with the moon, it might be a nice break from Goodnight Moon."
Owl Babies
by Martin Waddell
4.17 stars

Llama Llama Red Pajama
by Anna Dewdney
4.25 stars

Where's mommy? When's mommy coming back? Children (and parents) undergoing separation anxiety can empathize with the three little owl babies fretting over their mother's whereabouts. Mommy, of course, returns to her relieved and delighted babies. Goodreads member Ale says, "One of the best bedtime stories to read to a little one. It lets us know that being afraid of going to bed and not having your mommy there with you is OK. It's how we handle the situation—that's what counts."
How I Became a Pirate
by Melinda Long
4.04 stars

by Victoria Kann & Elizabeth Kann
4.01 stars

Jeremy Jacob joins Braid Beard's merry band of pirates and cheerfully embraces a life with no bedtimes, table manners, or tiresome rules, but then he realizes that pirates don't get tucked into bed or have bedtime stories read. Goodreads member Alli says, "This book is not only pink, it is hilarious and filled with amazing pictures inside. [It] is obviously [geared] toward girls because of all the pink, but the little catch with her little brother is a very creative and interesting way to intertwine boys into the pink book."
Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too?
by Eric Carle
3.88 stars

Henry's Freedom Box
by Ellen Levine
4.41 stars

Of course a kangaroo has a mother, too—just like you! Animal babies and their mothers are featured for you and your baby to name and match together. And the other thing about the kangaroo's mother? She loves him just like your mother loves you! Goodreads member Alli says, "I loved how Ellen Levine made this story extremely dramatic and breathtaking...I was really moved by Henry's loss of his family...and I was so amazed at how Henry escaped slavery by mailing himself in a box to freedom because that idea sounded so ingenious and risky."
Lola at the Library
by Anna McQuinn
3.90 stars

Splat the Cat
by Rob Scotton
4.08 stars

What is Lola's favorite day? It's the day each week when Lola and her mother visit the library. There are story hours and books galore to choose and take home to read. Share this cozy story about the joys of sharing books with the preschooler in your life. Goodreads member Jean Brodahl says, "Amazing illustrations that just pop off the page, the cat's hair is amazing, and the story is excellent! Such a great book for kids starting school...we will read it at the beginning of school every year now, I'm sure! "
Bunny My Honey
by Anita Jeram
4.01 stars

The Lion and the Mouse
by Jerry Pinkney
4.24 stars

A tender story of a lost little bunny being sought (and found) by his mother. Look for the delightful details in the illustrations, such as the mother's ears sticking up in the grass or the bunny's face peeking out from among the ferns. This is a great book to read to a child in need of a little reassurance. Goodreads member Jackie "the Librarian" says, "This is a really wonderful wordless telling of the Aesop's fable, with the lion and the mouse both depicted with real character and humor. I love Jerry Pinkney's watercolors, and the way he populates his pictures not just with the title characters, but a delightful assortment of animals from the African Serengeti of Tanzania and Kenya."
by Kristine O'Connell George
3.57 stars

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes
by Eric Litwin
4.42 stars

This charmingly illustrated board book celebrates books! See what a book can mean to a young child as he takes his favorite book with him everywhere. You'll recognize scenes from your own home in this joyous story of a boy and his book. Goodreads member Ellary says, "It's hard to tell if it's Pete's glass-is-half-full outlook on life or Mama's rendition of "I Love My White Shoes" to the tune of "La Cucaracha," but Pete's amusingly messy journey with his once-white shoes is a heartwarming story not to be missed."
Eating the Rainbow: A Colorful Food Book
by Rena D. Grossman
4.21 stars

I Want My Hat Back
by Jon Klassen
4.37 stars

Good eating habits start early. In this board book filled with colorful photos of children enjoying a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, readers will find a great introduction to healthy eating. Goodreads member Maciek says, "I am happy to report that I Want My Hat Back is a total hoot and I had a blast reading, especially because it had a delicious twist ending which I did not expect and which is likely to amuse (and surprise) both the big and the small."
Lullaby Moon
by Rosie Reeve
4.12 stars

Extra Yarn
by Mac Barnett
4.04 stars

Follow mother mouse and her baby through their day until it is time to say good night. The illustrations in this book are filled with cozy moments perfect for you and your baby to end your busy day together. This is a good story for teaching children the sequence of events and that we all must rest. Goodreads member Kevin J. Doyle says, "A young girl finds a box of yarn that just never seems to run out. She knits lovely sweaters for herself, her friends, her dog, her friend's dog, the buildings in her town, the cars in her town, the trees in her town, and more and more."
Little Owl's Night
by Divya Srinivasan
3.82 stars

The Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Daywalt
4.41 stars

Do you live with a night owl who struggles with the idea of having to go to bed? Little Owl enjoys his life in the woods at night alongside his friends, as insects hum and frogs croak, but he wonders what happens during the daytime while he sleeps. Through this book, children will enjoy learning about what happens after dark when they are tucked into bed. Goodreads member Dani says, "The creative premise, the charming illustrations, the hilarious individual letters from the crayons-on-strike all served to make this gamble from the library a book we're now buying for our favorites shelf."

What's your child's favorite bedtime book? Tell us in the comments or add it to this list!
Easily Add Books You Purchased from Amazon to Your Goodreads Shelves! (Available for members in the U.S., Canada, and Australia)
Posted by Suzanne on April 15, 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:

Add Your Amazon Books

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?
New Discovery: Goodreads to Publish Lost Jane Austen Novel
Posted by Jessica Donaghy 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!

Raise Your Glass to These St. Paddy's Day Reads
Posted by Jessica Donaghy 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.

Cúirt An Mheán Oíche, The Midnight Court
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.

An t-Oileánach, The Islandman
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."

An Béal Bocht, The Poor Mouth: A Bad Story about the Hard Life
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."

Deoraíocht, Exile
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.

An Giall, The Hostage
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's poignant and funny and has that famed Irish wit and black humor backing it up."

The Fifty Minute Mermaid
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!