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What are you reading this summer? Goodreads can help!
Posted by Jessica Donaghy on June 08, 2011

It's time to fortify your summer to-read list for the delicious leisure-filled months to come. Are you in the mood for an escapist thriller, a beachy romance, or maybe some classic lit? We asked Goodreads members to tell us, What's the book you can't wait to read this summer? More than 800 readers have voted on the Listopia so far, and here are the top 10!

See the full list of more than 600 books and counting...
And vote for your own picks! »

Browse the full list, and you'll find that it is highly diverse—just like the Goodreads membership—brimming with exciting new fiction, plenty of young-adult adventure, and some hard-hitting nonfiction. Although there is a predominance of recently published books, classics have a respectable showing. Many of us know what it's like to have an "aspirational" to-read list populated with serious literature. You know you should read it, you even want to read it, but you're just never in the mood. (It's tough to pick up Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time when Tina Fey's Bossypants is close at hand). Well, summer is the perfect time for these titles. Goodreads members are voting for tried-and-true books like Anna Karenina, East of Eden, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Other members have set aside time to tackle larger opuses like The Lord of the Rings and even the most notoriously challenging read of all, Ulysses.

Here are some interesting titles on the list that caught our eye.

A Dance with Dragons (Song of Ice and Fire, #5)
by George R.R. Martin
Topping the list is the latest in the epic fantasy series that inspired HBO's adaptation A Game of Thrones. Hollywood influence certainly spills into the book world. Three books-into-movies are all high up on the list: recently released Water for Elephants, soon-to-be released The Help, and eagerly anticipated The Hunger Games.

The Sisters Brothers
by Patrick deWitt
Set during the 1850s gold rush, this gritty yet darkly comic western follows the quirky misadventures of two notoriously vicious guns-for-hire. Goodreads Author Joshua Mohr says, "This book is flat-out good times. Sarcastic, drunk, murderous cowboys...sign me up! yourself a favor and just read it."

In the Garden of Beasts
by Erik Larson (Goodreads Author)
Reading Larson's new book about Adolf Hitler's first year as chancellor of Germany is fascinating and frustrating. Fascinating because you read eyewitness accounts of how Hitler rose to power and began to abuse power right under the world's nose. And frustrating because you want to reach through the page and shake sense into everyone involved.

State of Wonder
by Ann Patchett
Ardent reader reviews place this new Patchett novel on par with her acclaimed Bel Canto. Pharmaceutical researcher Marina Singh is dispatched to the Brazilian rainforest. Enduring the jungle's many dangers, she searches for an elusive Amazon tribe and a top-secret fertility drug that could enable women to conceive indefinitely.

by Tina Fey
In a crowded market of celebrity books, Fey's irreverent memoir is refreshing and entertaining. Glowing reader reviews have bumped Bossypants up to be the #2 most-added book of 2011 so far. Goodreads members especially recommend this as an audio book (read by Fey herself).

Before I Go to Sleep
by S.J. Watson (Goodreads Author)
This absorbing psychological thriller is narrated by a woman with amnesia. It's getting compared to the film Memento, but the tone and rhythm are completely different. The sense of dread builds slowly. Ordinary moments become ominous: a missing photograph or a reminder note on the kitchen bulletin board.

Don't Breathe a Word
by Jennifer McMahon (Goodreads Author
Realistic mystery and dark fantasy intersect in this creepy page-turner. A 12-year-old girl who believes in the King of the Fairies goes missing one summer night. A great pick for those seeking something intense. Beadyjan says it has "multiple twists and turns, lies and promises and secrets...sometimes wondering if the Grimmest of fairy tales can come true."

Lost in Shangri-La
by Mitchell Zuckoff (Goodreads Author)
In May 1945, an American plane crash-landed in an isolated New Guinea valley, marooning a badly injured trio of GIs in the jungle. This harrowing work of nonfiction follows the survivors as they face Japanese snipers, gangrene, and a group of head-hunting local tribesmen. Kristin calls it "a true-life adventure story full of incredible heroism, personal sacrifice, and determination."

by Lauren Oliver (Goodreads Author)
The winner of the 2010 Goodreads Choice Award for Young Adult Fiction returns with an eerie story of an alternate United States in which love is a curable disease that must be eradicated. Erica says, "There are not many books that can speak to you the way Delirium does. Books that tug at your heartstrings and make you believe in the impossible."

A Visit from the Goon Squad
by Jennifer Egan (Goodreads Author)
This year's Pulitzer Prize-winner is the inaugural choice for the launch of the Goodreads Book Club, now live! Thousands have already signed on for the Goon Squad Challenge, so join today and step into an international community of readers all sharing their reactions to this enjoyable, thought-provoking book.

So many great books to read, so you better get started! What's the book you can't wait to read this summer?

Goodreads Book Club Launch Party
Posted by Jessica Donaghy on June 02, 2011

The Goodreads Book Club got off to a rollicking start last week in New York City. Hundreds of people lined up around the block outside nonprofit bookstore Housing Works for our sold-out event. (All ticket and concession proceeds went to the organization's work to end HIV/AIDS and homelessness.) We want to thank everyone for coming and making it such an energetic, book-loving night!

Pulitzer Prize-winner and Goodreads Author Jennifer Egan was on hand to read an excerpt from the first chapter of A Visit from the Goon Squad, the inaugural choice for the Goodreads Book Club. Infectious punk band (and book lovers) Care Bears on Fire then took the stage to play a set that would have certainly raised Goon Squad character Bennie Salazar's blood pressure.

For those that missed the launch party, there's still plenty to come this summer with the Goodreads Book Club. Watch the welcome video from Jennifer Egan, join the chapter discussions already underway, take the Goon Squad challenge, and start brainstorming your creative submission for the Slideshow Story Contest. Jennifer Egan will also be back later this summer for a live chat with readers. You'll find all this happening on the Goodreads Book Club page!

Check out more photos from the event on Facebook!
Readers Also Enjoyed...
Posted by Brian on May 27, 2011

Goodreads is a wonderful community of readers who help each other find great books to read. So far, it's been primarily though seeing each each other's bookshelves, reviews and by directly recommending books to one another.

But we're also hard at work at finding ways to use everyone's ratings, reviews and other data we have about our books to make great personalized recommendations.

We've released the first step in that direction! On the book page we're now showing books that many users who read the book you're looking at also enjoyed. In the right column on the book page, you may see Readers Also Enjoyed (note that not all books will have them if we don't have enough data for them). Also note that there are arrow links near the top for paging through the books for quicker access:

We're working on making these suggestions even better, so continue to check back on your favorite books. We'll soon be using these books to give you personalized recommendations for the books that you've enjoyed, so stay tuned!
Announcing Barcode Scanner in the Goodreads Android app!
Posted by Ettore Pasquini on May 27, 2011

By far, the most common suggestion for our Android app was the addition of a barcode scanner. We definitely heard you, and so here it is! Version 1.5 of the Goodreads app features a full-fledged, easy-to-use barcode scanner.

For all you voracious readers with hundreds of books on your shelves, we have made it especially easy to scan many books in batches and later organize them on your Goodreads shelves. A scan history is maintained inside the app, allowing you to pick and choose which books should go on what shelves. Power scanners will also enjoy the auto-shelving feature, which lets you scan your books and automatically add them to a given shelf.

We have also covered the "bookstore scenario." Say you are in your favorite bookstore looking for your next read and want to quickly check the Goodreads reviews for the book you're holding in your hands. Simply take out your phone and tap on the "Scan a Book" button. After you scan the barcode, a page with reviews and full book info (including access to other bookstores prices) will be immediately shown. Pretty handy, isn't it?

So there you have it. Now head over to the Android Marketplace and install (or update) the Goodreads app. Happy scanning!

Introducing the Goodreads Book Club
Posted by Patrick Brown on May 25, 2011

This summer, we'd like to challenge you to read Jennifer Egan's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Visit from the Goon Squad with us!

Today, we're unveiling the Goodreads Book Club. This is a total book immersion experience: It includes a challenge, a writing contest, a live chat with author, and more. It's our fervent belief that reading leads to the sharing of ideas and personal and societal growth. It's also fun. Our goal is to show all of the various ways people can interact with a book and, hopefully, with each other. And we think this book club is just the way to do it.

Take the Goon Squad Challenge with us this summer! Read the book, take a quiz, and more, including chatting live with author Jennifer Egan. Participate in chapter-by-chapter discussions of the book. This is your chance to really dig into A Visit from the Goon Squad. What was your favorite chapter? Who were your favorite characters? What did you think of the slideshow chapter?

Speaking of that slideshow chapter, we're challenging you to write a story using the slideshow presentation program of your choice. Enter your story, and you could win a Barnes & Noble Nook Color or a Kobo eReader! Vote for your favorite entries as part of the challenge.

To kick off the book club, check out this video greeting and interview from Jennifer Egan!

Click here to join the club and take the challenge!
Ebooks on the rise in 2011: Goodreads data supports Amazons recent statement
Posted by Otis Chandler on May 22, 2011

Amazon released a big milestone on thursday by saying:

We decided to see if we could mine our own data and find a similar trend. After analyzing 19 million books people have marked as finished on Goodreads over the past three years and the 22 thousand books members currently mark as as finished each day, we found some pretty explosive looking ebook growth:

Ebooks read on Goodreads from 2008 - 2011

The number of people who are reading ebooks in 2011 went up 163% over last year, and 36% up over the 4 months prior to 2011. This kind of growth is exciting and disruptive, and signifies that the publishing industry, which hasn't really changed in hundreds of years, is changing rapidly right before our eyes.

We should note that the numbers in the graph are probably actually higher, as not all members pay close attention to the format they catalog, and the hardcover edition is often the default. The trend however, is pretty clear.

Our data may confirm Amazon's trend report, but there are a few caveats that are important to keep in mind before we start declaring print is dead. Book readers buy books in all kinds of places, not just on Amazon. Recent news shows that the major publishers are seeing about 20% of their sales from ebooks. Recent internal surveys we have run show that people are still buying plenty of books from local bookstores and borrowing lots of books from the library.

Let's look at the Amazon data versus Goodreads data from one other perspective. As you know, at Goodreads we are more concerned with what people are reading rather than what people are buying. As such, we analyzed our database for the top read ebooks of 2011:

It's telling to note that two of the top 10 most read ebooks on Goodreads in 2011 have an explicit connection to Amazon. The Hangman's Daughter, ranked fourth on the list, was published as part of Amazon Crossing, the e-retailers publishing imprint that specializes in repackaging popular titles from other countries and translating them. The ninth book on our list, Fate, is by Amanda Hocking. Hocking is a self-published author who until recently only sold her books online through the Kindle and other online stores. Earlier this year she made news when she revealed that she made over a million dollars last year.

Based on our data, Amazon's statement, and other industry analysis, we think authors should look closely next time they open a fortune cookie. Perhaps it will say; There are ebooks in your future, and profits on the horizon.

Coming Soon: The Goodreads Book Club
Posted by Patrick Brown on May 09, 2011

This summer, Goodreads will take the book club experience to the next level.

On May 25, we're unveiling a new project -- the Goodreads Book Club. In celebration of our 5 millionth member, we'd like to ask you to read a book with us in June and July--along with hundreds of thousands of Goodreads members worldwide. This won't be like any book club you've ever been a part of before. Take a challenge, join chapter-by-chapter discussions of the book, watch as your friends read the book and post their comments, ask the author a question, and more. The Goodreads Book Club is a total book immersion experience, and it will culminate with a live chat with the author. Stay tuned for a special Goodreads Book Club section of the site, launching at the end of May. Let's take one book and dig in at the same time. It's our fervent belief that reading leads to the sharing of ideas and personal and societal growth. It's also fun. Our goal is to show all of the various ways people can interact with a book and, hopefully, with each other. As Oprah exits the book club stage, we enter.

For our first book club pick, we've chosen Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad. Several months ago we noticed something interesting about A Visit from the Goon Squad on our site. Although the numbers of readers were not huge, the reviews were glowing, delightful, passionate. Our members were on fire about this book. Curious, every single member of the Goodreads staff sat down and read it. And simply put, we loved the book and suspected it would appeal to a broad audience. Then came the outside accolades: Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and upcoming HBO series. Ultimately, we felt that this a timely book, one that is uniquely suited to a platform like Goodreads. And of course we really, really enjoyed reading it. We think you will too.

Here's what some of the Goodreads team thought of Goon Squad:

Tricia: "I've read that fiction is ethical in that it reminds us of the subjectivity of our experience and that it is one of the few art forms in which we can temporarily experience another person's consciousness. If that's true, then Egan's Goon Squad does that and more. The "more" being an experience of palpable interconnectivity and dependence on other people, however minor they may seem in someone's story. This book made me feel old and young, naive and wise, but most of all, like I didn't know how it was going to end. And like life, that's the funnest part."

Elizabeth: "It's a story about derailment in a way, trailing the strings of people's lives as then spin out of control and wind up where they least expect, a web of broken ambition and futile desires. It's a little edgy and certainly hip, and the writing is very, very effective."

Patrick: "The "goon" in the title of this book is time. It opens with a quote from Proust, the poet laureate of memory, about how we cannot recapture the people we were in past the places where we were those people, but rather that those people exist within us, always. And that, it seems to me, is more or less the book, in a nutshell. But, oh, how it gets there. How the story unfolds -- stories, really -- is breathtaking. This the best book I've read this year."

Louise: "You know how sometimes you'll notice something, like the shoes a stranger is wearing, or a purse across the room and it'll remind you of something and you'll end up staring into space, lost in that memory? A Visit From the Goon Squad is kind of like that. The funny thing is, I've never worn safety pins in my clothes, I've never had some 40 year old guy do coke off my bare butt, and I've never dived into a polluted river, but A Visit From the Goon Squad made me nostalgic for those events."

To kickoff the Goodreads Book Club, we are throwing a party at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York. We are thrilled to have Jennifer Egan read from her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The punk band Care Bears on Fire will perform live, and there will be party favors, surprises, and more. Admission is a $10 donation to Housing Works Bookstore Cafe. All proceeds will go to helping them fight to end AIDS and homelessness. For more information on the party, or to purchase a ticket, click here.
Live Video Chat with Aimee Bender -- Happening Now!
Posted by Patrick Brown on May 03, 2011

Click here to chat with bestselling author Aimee Bender about her newest book The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.

Watch now!
Announcing the Goodreads Android App!
Posted by Jessica Donaghy on May 02, 2011

Download the Goodreads Android app now! »

We heard you! Due to overwhelming popular demand, we've developed a new app for all you Android aficionados out there. Wander through the stacks of your local library or peruse the shelves of your favorite bookstore while simultaneously browsing Goodreads reviews. The next time you are deciding what to read, your to-read list will be handy. We're excited to make Goodreads more mobile and easier to access, and we will continue to add fun features for Android fans!

This initial version of the Android app offers:

  • Check updates from your friends and those you follow
  • Read friend reviews and community reviews of any book
  • Manage your bookshelves
  • Search our catalog of more than 8 million books
  • View your profile and browse your shelves
  • Find book recommendations from friends and other readers

If you own an Android device, we hope that you will give the Goodreads app a whirl. We welcome feedback, so please rate and review the app! (For iPhone users, we have an app for you too!)

Get the Android app today! »

The New Discussions Tab
Posted by Louise on April 27, 2011

Did you notice something new on your Goodreads homepage? We got rid of the 'groups' tab and replaced it with a 'discussions' tab. In that tab, you'll see recently updated groups you're in as well as topics about books you've read.

The change is to promote more discussions about books since we're all crazy about books here.

For members who are only interested in group topics, or only in book topics, there's a filter at the top right (below the 'discussions' tab) that will show only one, the other, or both.

The topics about books is still being worked on, so in the meantime, members may see topics about books they've read long, long ago.