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12 Beautiful Quotes of Hope and Inspiration from Helen Keller
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on June 27, 2015



June 27, 1880: On this day, Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama. She was a happy and confident baby, precociously starting to talk at 6 months.

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"Then, in the dreary month of February," Keller wrote in her autobiography, The Story of My Life, "came the illness which closed my eyes and ears and plunged me into the unconsciousness of a newborn." Her family doctor called it "brain fever." (Modern experts believe the illness was likely scarlet fever or meningitis.) The fever finally passed, but when it did, she was left, at 18 months old, permanently deaf and blind.

In the face of such adversity, Keller persevered, earning a bachelor of arts degree at the age of 24—the first deaf-blind person ever to do so—and going on to become an author, lecturer, and political activist. Read on for words of wisdom and encouragement from one of the most inspiring women in history.


1."I wonder what becomes of lost opportunities? Perhaps our guardian angel gathers them up as we drop them, and will give them back to us in the beautiful sometime when we have grown wiser, and learned how to use them rightly."

2. "One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar."

3. "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all."

4. "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."

5. "When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us."

6."Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it."

7. "Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows."

8. "Never bend your head. Hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye."

9. "What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us."

10. "I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light."

11. "Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content."

12. "Literature is my Utopia."


6 Reasons to Add the Bodleian Library to Your Book Bucket List
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on June 23, 2015



If "books are a uniquely portable magic," then libraries must be one of the most magical places on earth (and librarians must be magicians). Oxford University's Bodleian Library certainly looks the part. This historical institution—and part-time Hogwarts stand-in—is a must-see for any traveling book worm. If it isn't on your book bucket list already, we think we can change your mind.


Reason #1: It has over 11 million printed items.
Not to shame your local library, but we're betting your usual book haunts can't quite compare to Bodleian's veritable army of tomes. Among the 11 million items to browse are a rare copy of Shakespeare's First Folio, unbound and unrestored, along with the largest collection of pre-1500 printed books in any university library in the world.

Reason #2: This is what it looks like on the outside.

Be still our bookish hearts. The image above is of Radcliffe Camera, which serves as a reading room for the Bodleian (because the Bodleian is so massive that architectural wonders like this are used as a "room").

Reason #3: Its history goes back to the fourteenth century.
While the Bodleian Library officially opened to scholars in the seventeenth century, the collection truly began with Thomas Cobham, Bishop of Worcester, in 1320. At the time, all of the books were chained to the wall to prevent theft. With generous contributions from Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, and Thomas Bodley, the library was refitted and re-opened under the name Bodleian Library on November 8, 1602.

Reason #4: You may have seen your favorite fictional wizards here on the big screen.

Duke Humphrey's library, the oldest reading room in the Bodleian, was used as the filming location for the Hogwarts Library in the Harry Potter films. And, in case you were wondering, The Bodleian staff is "experienced in working with both small and large scale filming projects." Other film credits include The Golden Compass, Brideshead Revisited, and The Madness of King George III.

Reason #5: It has a pretty sweet nickname.
Just call it "Bodley" or the "the Bod," and you'll fit right in with the rest of the Oxford students. (Well, maybe not, but it's worth a try.)

Reason #6: Oscar Wilde, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and more browsed its shelves.

Some of the greats have found inspiration here. Including the above writers, five kings, 40 Nobel Prize winners, and 26 prime ministers (and counting!) have all studied at the Bodleian.


Know of any other magical places for our book bucket list? Let us know in the comments!
Words of Wisdom from Your Favorite Fictional Book Dads
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on June 20, 2015

Book dads don't have it easy. After all, it's never just about raising kids—there are always criminals to apprehend, apocalypses to avoid, and winters to plan for! So this Father's Day, let's remember to appreciate the dads who did it all from the page.

Last week we asked on Facebook and Twitter: Who's your favorite book dad? Today we've got your top answers! Did your pick make the list?

CARSON DREW
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The Double Jinx Mystery
by Carolyn Keene


Dad Wisdom: "Nancy, you're not the only one who gets hunches."


THE MAN
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The Road
by Cormac McCarthy


Dad Wisdom: "You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget."


ATTICUS FINCH
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To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee


Dad Wisdom: "Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."


SAMUEL VIMES
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Where's My Cow?
by Terry Pratchett


Dad Wisdom: "If you lose your cow, you should report this to the Watch under Demonic & Farmyard Animals (Lost) Act of 1804. They will swing into action with keenness and speed. Your cow will be found. If it has been impersonating other animals, it may be arrested."


HARRY BOSCH
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The Black Echo
by Michael Connelly


Dad Wisdom: "Everybody counts or nobody counts."


MR. BENNET
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Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen


Dad Wisdom: "Next to being married, a girl likes to be crossed a little in love now and then. It is something to think of, and it gives her a sort of distinction among her companions. When is your turn to come?"


NED STARK
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A Game of Thrones
by George R.R. Martin


Dad Wisdom: "If you would take a man's life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die."


MATTHEW CUTHBERT
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Anne of Green Gables
by L.M. Montgomery


Dad Wisdom: "Don't you think you'd better [apologize] and have it over? It'll have to be done sooner or later, you know...Do it right off, I say, and have it over."


MR. WEASLEY
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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J.K. Rowling


Dad Wisdom: "Haven't I taught you anything? What have I always told you? Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain."


CALVIN'S DAD
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The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
by Bill Watterson


Dad Wisdom: "Numb toes build character."


Did we miss your favorite book dad? Then tell us who he is in the comments!

10 Book Characters You Wish You Could Fall for in Real Life
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on June 18, 2015

Last week we asked on Facebook and on Twitter: Who's your one true book love? Today we've got your top answers! Did your literary crush make the list?

CAPTAIN WENTWORTH
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Persuasian
by Jane Austen

Potential First Date: A stroll around Bath while chatting about faithfulness, briefly interrupted by a concussed woman in need of aid. (It'll be a big bonding moment for the two of you.)


KVOTHE
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The Name of the Wind
by Patrick Rothfuss

Potential First Date: Drinks and a show at The Eolian, a surprise showdown with the Chandrian, and a demonstration of wind summoning—if the night's going well.


KATNISS EVERDEEN
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The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

Potential First Date: An illegal hunting trip—BYOB (bring your own bow)—and a late afternoon revolution. Your chance of a second date will be as high as your chance of survival.


RADCLIFFE EMERSON
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Crocodile on the Sandbank
by Elizabeth Peters

Potential First Date: An excavation of a cursed Egyptian burial site followed by a most inconvenient (but oddly romantic) run-in with a suspected mummy.


JO MARCH
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Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott

Potential First Date: A matinee at the local community theater, a lesson in German, and a rather tempestuous writing workshop that both of you will immediately regret.


JAMIE FRASER
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Outlander
by Diana Gabaldon

Potential First Date: A midnight horseback ride across the moors, redcoats in pursuit, of course. Afterwards, whoever's less injured can tend the other's wounds by the fire.


GILBERT BLYTHE
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Anne of Green Gables
by L.M. Montgomery

Potential First Date: An almost disastrous boating misadventure on the river, followed by a relaxing picnic with all the food you can eat and all the books you can read.


SEVERUS SNAPE
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
by J.K. Rowling

Potential First Date: A candlelit private lesson in Hogwart's Potions Classroom where, after some dangerous experimentation, the two of you will invent a new curse.


JACE WAYLAND
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City of Bones
by Cassandra Clare

Potential First Date: A quiet dinner downtown followed by a late-night bash at the Pandemonium Club. Your sizzling chemistry will be somewhat derailed by a demon hunt, but some things have to take priority.


MR. DARCY
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Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

Potential First Date: It'll begin at the Meryton ball—where fleeting eye contact and awkward conversation will rule the dance floor—before culminating, as these things do, with confessions of mutual admiration outside in the rain.


If your one true book love didn't make the list, tell us who he or she is in the comments!

4 Famous Writers Who Used Romantic Rejection as Literary Inspiration
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on June 16, 2015

"Let no one who loves be called altogether unhappy," J.M. Barrie once wrote. "Even love unreturned has its rainbow."

Some rainbows linger longer than others. When the following writers saw their love denied, they channeled their heartache into their work. From a mild act of literary revenge to heavenly closure, here are four unforgettable stories inspired by unrequited love.


Dante Alighieri


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The True Story: Dante was nine years old when he first saw Beatrice Portinari, the young daughter of a prominent Florentine banker. "From that time forward, love fully ruled my soul," Dante recalled later. Unfortunately, while loved ruled his soul, it didn't rule his reality. The two spoke once, nine years after their first meeting, and then were both married off to other people. Dante remained besotted with Beatrice, even after she died at the age of 24.

The Fictional Story: After her early death, a character named Beatrice becomes one of the blessed in Heaven in Dante's Divine Comedy. She aids the narrator's journey through Hell in Inferno, steps in as guide in Purgatorio, and leads Dante (quite literally) to God in Paradiso.




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The True Story: In 1842, Brontë stayed with Professor Constantin Heger and his wife in Brussels. She was there to study languages, but she left infatuated with the married man. Two years later, she began writing the professor love letters: "Out of the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaketh and truly I find it difficult to be cheerful so long as I think I shall never see you more." Heger tore the letters up and threw them in the garbage. (We only know the contents of those letters today because Heger's wife fished them out and sewed them back together.)

The Fictional Story: Lucy Snowe, Brontë's heroine in Villette, falls for a Belgian teacher—but it's strongly suggested he dies in a shipwreck by the end of the novel. And then there's Jane Eyre, who does find her happy ending, even after falling for a man with a crazy wife in his attic.


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


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The True Story:: It's a tale as old as time. Boy meets girl. Girl gets engaged to boy's older friend. Boy somewhat begrudgingly buys the wedding rings. For Goethe, the girl was always Charlotte Buff. She married his good friend Johann Christian Kestner, a distinguished art collector and diplomat.

The Fictional Story: In The Sorrows of Young Werther, Goethe let himself vent, unraveling a loosely autobiographical tale about a man tormented by his unrequited love for an engaged woman named Lotte. While the novel catapulted Goethe to fame, his literary counterpart did not fare so well. Young Werther ends up shooting himself in the head.


Charles Schulz


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The True Story: After courting Donna Mae Johnson, his petite, red-haired coworker, for months, Schulz worked up the nerve to propose. She rejected him—and married his rival shortly after. "I can think of no more emotionally damaging loss than to be turned down by someone whom you love very much," Schulz said of the whole ordeal. "A person who not only turns you down, but almost immediately will marry the victor. What a bitter blow that is."

The Fictional Story: Schulz had Johnson; Charlie Brown has the Little Red-Haired Girl. The hapless Peanuts protagonist is hopelessly in love with the largely unseen character, forever working up the nerve to talk to her.



Still in the mood for one-sided love? Then check out these books on Listopia: Popular Unrequited Love Books.

9 Inspiring Quotes from Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on June 12, 2015



June 12, 1942: On this day, Anne Frank received a diary for her thirteenth birthday. "I hope I will be able to confide everything to you," she wrote in her new diary. "I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support."


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When the German occupation of Amsterdam forced her family into hiding, the diary became her main confidant. Nearly two years after she entered the secret annex, Anne heard a special radio report announcing that diaries would be gathered after the war as a record of the Dutch people's experiences. Eager to be included—"just imagine how interesting it would be if I were to publish a novel!"—Anne carefully revised portions of her diary.

After Anne and her family were captured, Miep Gies, a loyal friend, saved the diary and kept it safe until the war ended. She returned it to Anne's father, the only surviving member of the family, who successfully published it in 1947. Read on for incredible words of comfort and support from The Diary of a Young Girl.


1. "I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn."

2. "Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness."

3. "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."

4. "In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit."

5. "I don't want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I've never met. I want to go on living even after death."

6. "I don't think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that remains."

7. "Where there's hope, there's life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again."

8. "Because paper has more patience than people."

9. "It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart."


20 Books You Loved, But Everyone You Know Hated
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on June 10, 2015

Your high school English class couldn't stand it. Your book club gave up halfway through. Even your Goodreads friends are posting one-star reviews. But you know what? Who cares! Sometimes it's better—and more fun—to read to the beat of your own drum.

Last week we asked on Facebook and Twitter: What's a book you loved, but everyone you know hated? Today we've got your top answers! Did your favorite "unlikable" book make the list?

I Capture the Castle
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I Manxmouse
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The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
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The Iliad
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Emma
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The Wind in the Willows
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The Sword in the Stone
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The Enchanted Castle
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Surprised by some of the books included? Let us know your thoughts in the comments! And keep reading against the crowd on Listopia: Best Unpopular Books and Hated Books.
Get a Goodreads Email Signature!
Posted by Maryana Pinchuk on June 10, 2015

"When you broadcast your book reading voluntarily, it creates moments of fascinating serendipity."



Ever wish you could give more people—beyond just your friends on Goodreads—a glimpse of your favorite books so they can see what stories are currently making you laugh, cry, or bang your head in frustration?

For years, many Goodreads staff members have been doing just that by manually updating their email signatures to show the books they're currently reading. We wanted to showcase that sentiment and hopefully entice more people to come join us in the world's largest community of engaged readers. So, during a recent Hack Day, engineers at Goodreads took a stab at automating this process to make it into a simple, live-updating widget, and we loved the result. We thought that some of you might like to do the same thing, so today we're sharing our widget with you!

Now, any Goodreads member with a public profile can set their email signature to show the cover of the book they've marked as "currently reading."



People who receive your emails will always see the cover of the latest book you're reading, based on the book you most recently added to your Currently Reading shelf. You can find instructions to set up your email signature on your Edit profile page.

We love using this feature in the office to get a glimpse into what our coworkers are reading, and we hope this creates new moments of connection for you, too!

Add Your Email Signature Now!

10 Little Known Facts About 1984
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on June 08, 2015


George Orwell's 1984 was published 66 years ago today. To mark the occasion (and/or placate Big Brother), we've gathered a few surprising facts about the landmark dystopian novel.

1. An Italian translation exists in which the clocks strike "uno" instead of thirteen.
According to rumor (spurred on by novelist Anthony Burgess), a translation existed that changed the novel's infamous first line—"It was a bright, cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen"—because, according to the translator, "Italian clocks don't go up to thirteen."

2. 1984 could've been written by P.S. Burton, Kenneth Miles, or H. Lewis Allways.
Or at least that's what the book covers would have said. In truth, George Orwell was the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair. Blair selected his pseudonym from a short list that included the above names.

3. Orwell almost called his novel The Last Man in Europe.
In a letter to his literary agent, he wrote, "I have not definitely decided on the title. I am inclined to call it either Nineteen Eighty-Four or The Last Man in Europe, but I might just possibly think of something else in the next week or two."

4. "2 + 2 = 5" was a real slogan of the Communist Party.
A harrowing example of false dogma in 1984, "2 + 2 = 5" really did make sense to someone in the real world—and that someone was Joseph Stalin (or more specifically his propagandist, Iakov Guminer). Two years after launching a five-year economic plan, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union announced that the plan would be completed a year early. In their campaign's own words, "2 + 2 = 5: Arithmetic of a counter-plan plus the enthusiasm of the workers."

5. Orwell finished writing his novel while severely ill.
It began as a peaceful writing retreat at a friend's remote Scottish farmhouse, and it ended, quite miserably, at a sanatorium. A week before Christmas in 1947, Orwell was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with tuberculosis. While he managed to finish his manuscript, his condition only worsened in the following years.

6. Before there was 1984's Thought Crime, there was Japan's Kempeitai.
Orwell based his Thought Crime motif on the Imperial Japanese Army's military police arm. Operating from 1881 to 1945, this secretive police force had the power to arrest people for "unpatriotic" thoughts.

7. Room 101 was real—and Orwell lived through it.
Of course, instead of a torture room filled with nightmares, the room Orwell had to sit in was an office at the BBC Broadcasting House. He worked here during his stint as a propagandist, and you can see how his Room 101 probably looked here.

8. Orwell modeled the character of Julia on his second wife, Sonia Brownell.
Sonia was an assistant at a literary magazine, and Julia was "the girl from the fiction department." Unfortunately, Orwell and Sonia's love was as doomed as Julia and Winston's—Orwell died 14 weeks after the two were married.

9. An asteroid discovered in 1984 was named after Orwell.
On July 31, 1984, astronomer Antonin Mrkos discovered an asteroid at the Czech observatory in Klet. As befitting a small rocky body hurtling through space and identified by humans in the year 1984, it was designated 11020 Orwell.

10. Big Brother was watching Orwell while he wrote 1984.
Thanks to a research trip in 1936 that included a stay at an apartment "arranged by the local Communist party," the government put Orwell on a special watch list. He was kept under tight surveillance for more than 12 years, but our favorite snippet from the reports is this incriminating observation: "Dresses in a bohemian fashion."


Think Big Brother is watching you? Then this doubleplusgood Listopia is probably for you: Popular Dystopian Books.
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