Posted by Jessica on April 01, 2014
"A girl without a father can never have too many brothers, yet Abigail Branscombe often found her three elder brothers to be quite vexing."
—Opening line of Mirth and Mischief by Jane Austen
It is with great excitement and a weighty sense of responsibility that we make today's announcement: Goodreads has acquired and will release a previously unpublished work by Jane Austen. The full-length novel, titled Mirth and Mischief, will be made available to all readers in fall of 2014. We could not be more thrilled to introduce the world to Abigail Branscombe, an irrepressible heroine to join the ranks of Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse, whose story of love, and yes, mischief will delight and perhaps shock Austen fans worldwide.
Our unlikely communion with Jane Austen began in August of 2013, when we moved our growing team to our new headquarters in San Francisco. Eager to fill our empty shelves with books, we purchased a large lot of volumes from an estate sale in nearby Napa Valley. Wedged between two aging folios, we found a full manuscript prefaced by a cover letter from Henry Austen, Jane's elder brother who acted as her literary agent, to London publisher Benjamin Crosby.
We have used the last seven months to consult with historians, Austen scholars, and legal counsel to verify the authenticity of the manuscript. We used every test at our disposal—including radiocarbon dating of the manuscript and verification of Henry Austen's signature. As the manuscript continued to pass each test, we could scarcely believe what we had stumbled on! After a rigorous textual comparison of the manuscript to Austen's known works, forensic linguists at the University of Oxford have confirmed the authorship as belonging to none other than Jane Austen.
Set in Derbyshire (Pride and Prejudice fans will remember this county as the home of Mr. Darcy's estate, Pemberley), Mirth and Mischief begins at Wicksfield Park, the home of 18-year-old Abigail, the youngest child and only daughter of the Branscombe family. Her parents died when she was in her infancy, and Abigail has grown up under the care of her three dashing older brothers. Henry, the indulgent eldest, runs the estate while Edward and George spend most of their time in the county's ballrooms and hunting fields. Headstrong young Abigail reads more and rides faster than any of her brothers, but soon finds that those skills may not work to her advantage when it comes to the sport of finding a husband—until she meets the intriguing and difficult Colonel John Durrant. Austen herself had six brothers, and this story is a touching homage to her favorite brother, Henry, who was instrumental in her publishing career.
We are in the final stages of preparing the novel for publication. Once completed, the priceless manuscript, despite its unlikely journey across the Atlantic to San Francisco, will be sent home to England and donated to the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, a leading force in Austen scholarship.
We cannot wait for Abigail Branscombe to take her place in the pantheon of Jane Austen heroines. Can you? In the meantime, add the book to your to-read shelf!
Posted by Jessica on March 12, 2014
Here at Goodreads, we've ordered some Guinness for our kegerator and learned two essential phrases in preparation for St. Patrick's Day:
- Éirinn go Brách! ("Ireland Forever!"—usually anglicized as "Erin go Bragh.")
- Sláinte! (A drink to good health—pronounced "slan-che.")
If your Irish vocab stops there, you're not alone. Irish, aka Gaeilge or Irish Gaelic (not to be confused with Scottish Gaelic!), is one of the world's dying languages. Recent estimates put the number of speakers who use it daily as low as 80,000, out of 4.5 million people living in Ireland. However, Irish is still taught in schools and a devoted population still lives in Irish-speaking regions, called the Gaeltacht, which are spread across the west coast of the island country. Irish speakers have a grand tradition of storytelling and general gift of the gab—or craic (pronounced "crack").
In honor of the day we've picked some of the top-rated Irish language works on Goodreads. And don't worry—they are all readily available in English, too.
by Brian Merriman
Trade in your bawdy limericks for Irish literature's favorite work of comic poetry. It's got a wandering poet, a fairy queen, and an epic battle of the sexes that argues the case for both wanton promiscuity and pure celibacy. Goodreads member Bruce calls it "rollicking and ribald" and adds "plot description is entirely inadequate to convey the cleverness and roistering wit of the poetry." Read the full poem in English here.
by Tomás Ó Criomhthain
No longer inhabited, Great Blasket Island was formerly Ireland's westernmost community, teetering on the edge of the unforgiving Atlantic Ocean. The island remains famous for its writerly output, including this 1929 autobiography about eking out an existence in the isolated and harsh environment. Goodreads member Anna says, "Sometimes a book is written for a distinct purpose, as this one was, but another evolves, a great beauty unfolding. The Islandman is such a tale, regaling [us with] a unique history while capturing one small moment, never to return."
by Flann O'Brien (aka Myles na gCopaleen, aka Brian O'Nolan)
Being poor is a competitive sport in Irish lore, and this sharp satire of the quintessentially Irish "poorer than poor" memoir tells the tale of one Bonaparte O'Coonassa, who lives in abject poverty in the fictional village of Corkadoragha, where it's always raining and there's nothing to eat but potatoes. Goodreads member Geoff calls it "not a rib-tickler or a knee-slapper but a whole body- and soul-shaker. Books like this make you glad to be a human being, alive and well and of unsound mind."
by Pádraic Ó Conaire
Particularly prolific before his death at age 46, Ó Conaire wrote hundreds of short stories and dozens of books and was a central figure in the Gaelic revival, a resurgence of interest in the Irish language at the end of the 19th century. His best-known novel, Exile, tells the audacious story of a double amputee who must join the circus to make a living.
by Brendan Behan
Caught with explosives at age 16, IRA volunteer Behan spent the remainder of his teen years in British prison and immortalized his experience in the classic memoir, Borstal Boy. He soon became as infamous for his carousing as for his writing, which included fiction, poetry, and several plays. Goodreads member Everett says, "Filled with lyric and song, The Hostage is more like a musical than a drama...it's poignant and funny and has that famed Irish wit and black humor backing it up."
by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill
Read the Irish and English texts side by side in this poetry collection about mermaids who come to live on land, translated by Paul Muldoon (poet and poetry editor for The New Yorker). A folklore lover, Ní Dhomhnaill is considered one of Ireland's best living poets. Goodreads member Rachel calls her work "beautiful, haunting, strongly feminist."
Along with your pint of Guinness, what famed Irish writers will warm up your insides this St. Patrick's Day? Tell us in the comments!
Posted by Suzanne on March 09, 2014
“We want Goodreads on the original Kindle Paperwhite, too!" was the cri du coeur in November when we first launched Goodreads on the new Kindle Paperwhite. For all of you who asked, your time is now!
Starting today, Goodreads on Kindle is available on both models of Kindle Paperwhite in the United States, Canada, and Australia. This is part of our ongoing commitment to bring Goodreads to you on all your favorite devices.
Goodreads on Kindle will be made available in a free and automatic over-the-air upgrade to the first generation Kindle Paperwhite in the coming weeks. How will you know when you have it? You’ll see the Goodreads “g” on the top right-hand side of the menu bar.
What can you do now that you have Goodreads on Kindle?
- See what your Goodreads friends are reading
- Share your favorite passages on Goodreads from inside the book
- Rate books
- See your want-to-read, currently reading, and read shelves
- Add your Amazon book purchases to your Goodreads shelves, all without putting down your Kindle Paperwhite!
We Know You Have Questions
Will you be introducing Goodreads on Kindle to members in other countries?
We currently offer Goodreads on Kindle only in the United States, Canada, and Australia (on all models of Kindle Paperwhite and also on the new Kindle Fires). We don’t have anything more to announce at this moment, but our goal is to provide the Goodreads on Kindle experience to as many of our members as possible.
In the meantime, you can also use Goodreads on our iPhone/iPad app or our Android app, available from the Amazon Appstore for Android or from here.
Will you be introducing Goodreads on Kindle to the older Kindle devices with keyboards?
We don’t have any concrete plans to share about this right now, but see our answer to the question above.
I can’t see the “g” on my screen. What’s happening?
Goodreads on Kindle will be coming in a free and automatic over-the-air upgrade to the first model of Kindle Paperwhite over the coming weeks. If you can’t wait that long, you can manually download the software and transfer the update to your device via a USB cable. You can find instructions for that here.
Also, don’t forget to reboot once you have the upgrade!
Well, I like what I can do with Goodreads on Kindle Paperwhite so far, but I have some suggestions…
We love to hear feedback! This is our first version, and we’ll be building on this to keep improving the experience. Let us know what you’d like to see in future updates in the comments below.
Posted by jade on February 13, 2014
Ah, love! It takes so many different forms. Are you engaged in a forbidden affair? Tormented by unrequited love? Totally content in your bromance? In honor of Valentine's Day, we present a handy flowchart that will help you find your literary love counterpart. Read the corresponding book for some relationship insight!
So, what's your love story?
Posted by Patrick on January 29, 2014
Join us today at 2pm ET/11am PT for a live video chat with bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen. We'll be discussing her new book Lost Lake, as well as her previous work and her life as an author. We'll also be giving away some free books during the chat. Don't miss it!
To watch a recording of the chat, click here.
Posted by Patrick on January 14, 2014
Huzzah! This week we are reaching 100,000 authors in the Goodreads Author Program! When we started offering verified author pages five years ago, we never dreamed that one day our members would have the opportunity to interact with some of their favorite writers like Khaled Hosseini, Neil Gaiman, Amy Tan, Helen Fielding, James Patterson, Cassandra Clare, Rick Riordan, Jodi Picoult, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, John Grisham, Nicholas Sparks, L.J. Smith, David Baldacci and many, many more. You'd think we'd get used to working with authors, but we still get awestruck when someone on our To-Read list joins the site!
To celebrate, we're releasing a Goodreads author badge that will appear on all verified author pages. Members can now immediately identify when an author is part of the Goodreads community, and can interact with them via a Goodreads chat, a comment on their blog or status update, or by following their reviews.
Many authors keep their pages updated with news of upcoming books and, because all writers are also readers, they also share their reading lists—another great opportunity to discover new books on Goodreads! For instance, Rick Riordan includes This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel in his list of 44 "Favorites", along with Dune by Frank Herbert; L.J. Smith appears to be a huge Agatha Christie fan with over 50 books of hers shelved; and Khaled Hosseini gave Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain 5 stars. Members can browse authors' bookshelves to find out which titles they have in common, and discover which books inspired their favorite writers.
The Goodreads Author Program also gives debut and self-published authors an excellent forum to connect with potential readers. Colleen Hoover credits the Goodreads community with helping propel her debut novel Slammed onto the bestseller lists, and hundreds of new authors take advantage of our free giveaway program to get books into the hands of would-be readers each month.
Know an author who is not yet part of the Goodreads community? Invite them to join!
Posted by Jessica on January 13, 2014
Goodreads members have already pledged to read more than 14 million books in 2014! What will you pledge? And most importantly, what will you be reading? As we turn the page on another year and plan our New Year's Resolutions, it's the perfect time to raise your reading ambitions. Set a goal with the 2014 Reading Challenge, and Goodreads will help you make it to the final chapter!
It's easy: Set a goal and track your progress throughout the year with the 2014 Reading Challenge. It doesn't matter how lofty or practical your target is, only that it's well-suited to you. Maybe a book every other month is the right pace, or maybe you're reading a book a week or more!
We always believe reading is best when shared. So if you're looking for some reading buddies, meander through the Goodreads groups section to find groups of every size, shape, and reading flavor—including groups dedicated to reading challenges. There's the Nothing but Reading Challenges group to super-charge your 2014 reading plan or the nobly adventurous group, 52 Weeks, 52 Books. You'll also find unique challenges in many of our genre groups, such as the 50 State Mystery Challenge in the Mystery, Crime & Thriller Group, the India Challenge in the History Book Club, and even weekly themed challenges in the Crazy for Young Adult Books group (this week's theme is in honor of National Hat Day)!
Still stumped for what to read? A few more suggestions: Take a look at your personalized recommendations, get lost in the oodles of book lists on Listopia, cross your fingers and enter a book giveaway, and check out the recently selected winners and runners-up of the Goodreads Choice Awards! And don't forget to challenge your friends to set their own reading goals for 2014. As they finish books, you'll see their reading lists displayed on the 2014 Reading Challenge page.
Our ever-growing reading challenge is now in its fourth year, and we're breaking open some bubbly in anticipation of what 2014 will bring! What is your reading goal? Tell us in the comments!
Posted by Elizabeth on December 31, 2013
It's been another great year for Goodreads. Not only did we nearly double in size from 13 million members to 25 million members, 294 million books were added, 28 million trivia questions were answered, and lots of interesting authors joined our community of passionate readers. In celebration, we've together our annual infographic of big milestones for 2013. What was the most popular book of 2013? What was the most popular quote? How many pages were read? Our year-in-review infographic has all this and more!
Wishing you all a wonderful 2014—filled with lots of new books to discover and devour!
[Updated infographic to show correct number of 20 billion pages read in 2013]
Posted by jade on December 22, 2013
Words to live by. Words to laugh by. Words that make us see the world anew. Quotes are one of the most popular features on Goodreads. In 2013, members added 246,273 new quotes on the site, but which ones really resonated?
First up: the most popular quote from a book published in 2013! As a site for passionate readers, it makes sense that this one was also book-themed:
"Life is a book and there are a thousand pages I have not yet read."
Clare was also the most-quoted author this year. Members liked her quotes 316,495 times! Who else topped the quote charts in 2013? It looks like you also went crazy for the words of John Green, J.K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, and Nicholas Sparks.
In total, quotes were liked more than 10 million times on Goodreads this year. Here are the three quotes that received the highest number of likes in 2013:
The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling
Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
Can't get enough great quotes? Sign up for our Quote of the Day feature! Each day we email a carefully selected quote to subscribers, along with a bit of info on the writer being quoted. (Did you know that Pippi Longstocking was named by author Astrid Lindgren's seven-year-old daughter? Or that Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes was once enslaved by Algerian pirates?) To receive the email, go to the Quote of the Day page and click on the subscribe button.
Here are your top three favorite Quote of the Day selections on Facebook in 2013:
"The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."
"I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn."
"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."
Edgar Allan Poe
This year we also launched a Young Adult newsletter—take a look at the December issue—which includes a monthly illustrated quote. Two of those became our most popular illustrated quotes on Facebook in 2013:
The Minpins, Roald Dahl
"Merlin's Song," Ralph Waldo Emerson
And we can't resist sharing another one of our favorites!
What was your favorite quote of 2013? Is there a quote that you will try to live by in 2014? Share in the comments!
Posted by Suzanne on December 19, 2013
You've been reading all year long. Devouring books on vacation or during your commute, sneaking a chapter during lunch breaks, and staying up way too late reading just one more page...it's been a delicious year of words, words, words!
Now that we’re nearing the end of 2013, we thought it would be fun to take a look at your year in books. Check out a visual representation of your reading year and reexperience everything you learned and felt over the past 12 months!
Is your 2013 list missing some books? Don't worry! You can add the date you read a book to any book review. Click on the “Edit Review” link next to your rating/review and you’ll find the “Date I finished this book” option there.
Want to Learn More About What You Read in 2013?
Unlike Oliver Twist, there is more for you! When you add your books to Goodreads, it populates your own personalized stats page. Want to know how many pages you read? What was the longest book you read this year? Which books got your highest ratings? To see how your year of reading shaped up, head over to your stats page here.
Did your stats surprise you? Are there other fun facts you would like to see included in your stats page? Tell us in the comments!