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Goodreads Gift Guide: Addictive Series for Teens
Posted by Cybil on November 22, 2016



Unless you’re an avid follower of young adult literature, gift shopping for the book-loving teen in your life can be tough.

How do you select the dystopian series guaranteed to hook your Hunger Games-reading niece, nephew, or godchild? And where do you start when trying to find reads perfect for the Harry Potter or Twilight fan you know?

Worry no more.

We’ve compiled three lists of titles likely to appeal to readers of different genres and fans of a few very popular series. And, by the way, you can also use this guide to select a new series for teens who liked the movies these books are based on. In addition, we also asked New York Times-bestselling author David Levithan to suggest some of his favorite LGBT Young Adult books to give as gifts.

See, teens aren't so terrible to buy for!


If your teen loved Hunger Games and Divergent, try these series…
An Ember in the Ashes
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Matched
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Maze Runner
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The Uglies
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Delirium
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The Queen of the Tearling
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The Selection
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Lorien Legacies
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If your teen loved Harry Potter, try these series….
Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
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The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel
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Graveling Realm
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Six of Crows
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Gemma Doyle
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Bartimaeus Sequence
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Abhorsen
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His Dark Materials
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If your teen loved Twilight, try these series…
The Mortal Instruments
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The Immortals
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Wicked Lovely
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The Raven Cycle
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Paranormalcy
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The Lunar Chronicles
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House of Night
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Blue Bloods
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Need more ideas? Check out our full Goodreads Gift Guide!

Goodreads Gift Guide: David Levithan's Young Adult LGBT Picks
Posted by Cybil on November 22, 2016




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This holiday season, Goodreads asked New York Times bestselling author David Levithan to suggest some of his favorite LGBT Young Adult books to give as gifts.

In 2003, Levithan ushered in what Vice called the "a golden age of gay young adult (YA) fiction" with his debut novel Boy Meets Boy. In a review of the novel at the time, Booklist said: "In its blithe acceptance and celebration of human differences, this is arguably the most important gay novel since Annie on My Mind and seems to represent a revolution in the publishing of gay-themed books for adolescents."

The love story has gone on to inspire a new generation of LGBT Young Adult authors. And Levithan has continued to enthrall readers with books including Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and Every Day, among many others. His latest book You Know Me Well with co-author Nina LaCour chronicles the friendship between a gay boy and a lesbian girl.


George by Alex Gino
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An amazing middle-grade novel about being who you are, even if the world initially sees you as the wrong gender. I edited this book and it's one of the great loves of my career.


Rapture Practice: A True Story About Growing Up Gay in an Evangelical Family by Aaron Hartzler and Christian Robinson
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There aren't enough YA memoirs about coming of age queer, but Aaron's deftly talks about the collision course of growing up religious and growing up gay.


Proxy by Alex London
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Because not all LGBT+ YA fiction has to be realistic—this is a kickass sci-if thriller with a queer protagonist.


Empress of the World by Sara Ryan
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A classic worth revisiting about two girls falling in love.


The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
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A fantasy novel that's heartbreakingly real and inspiringly strong in drawing its queer protagonist.


Need more ideas? Check out our full Goodreads Gift Guide!

Sebastian Junger's Thanksgiving Message on the Power of Homecomings
Posted by Cybil on November 18, 2016



As Americans look forward to Thanksgiving, Goodreads asked author Sebastian Junger to share his reflections on the power of homecoming, unity, and belonging. It's a topic the Perfect Storm author and war journalist closely examines in his new book Tribe, which discusses the importance of community and the struggle veterans experience when returning from war.

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As Robert Frost famously wrote, "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."

The implication is that the bonds of family transcend even deeply entrenched hostility. You may loathe your older brother or your crazy aunt, but when they show up on your doorstep, they get to come inside.

One of the reasons that many soldiers — and even civilians — find themselves missing war is that any existential threat forces people to treat those around them like family. Humans evolved to survive in small, mobile groups of forty or fifty people — exactly the size of a platoon — and we clearly respond to those circumstances in extremely positive ways.

Time and time again in history, civilians have forged incredibly strong bonds in the face of wars and earthquakes and floods and gone on to miss those heady times of cooperation.

"We would really have all gone down to the beaches with broken bottles"one English woman remembered of the public's determination to fight the Germans. That kind of moral certainty feels deeply good to our Stone Age selves.

Today the United States is in an awkward and confusing moment in her history. On the one hand we are a relatively safe, stable society where civilians don't need to go down to the beaches with broken bottles to fight an enemy. On the other hand, people suffer a very real and poignant loss of unity when their lives are not at stake.

The horrific infighting and disrespect that we see now at the highest levels of government would stop immediately if we faced a tragedy like Pearl Harbor or 9/11. For a while, at least, Americans would experience the intoxication of feeling like one big family.

There are others ways to experience commitment to your country, however. Recently I met an old man who was sitting in a wheelchair with the stump of his right leg wrapped in bandages. He was struggling to get into the passenger side of his car, and I offered to help him. He said that this was a new situation for him and he was still figuring it out."You seem very brave about it,"I said, and to my surprise he looked at me like I was the biggest fool he'd met all week.

"Brave?"he said."There are young men missing both legs. Don't call me brave."

That man was clearly putting the welfare of other people ahead of his own. Not only is that good for his country (imagine if we all did that) but he was also buffering himself from his own very real suffering.

Psychologists know that when you put others first, you experience your own pain far less intensely. In its ideal form that's how family works, but a nation can work that way as well.

When you sit down with your family this Thanksgiving, think about the man in that wheelchair and what he can teach us about belonging to a wealthy nation that has divided its people and its government in deeply terrifying ways.

Sebastian Junger's latest book is Tribe. And add more of Junger's books to your Want to Read list here.

24 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Kids
Posted by Cybil on November 18, 2016



Books are great gifts for all the children in your life. But sometimes it can be hard to know what books are age appropriate, highly rated, and not already a favorite.

So, we've compiled this handy guide of books organized by reader age that were published this year and have at least a 4-star rating from Goodreads readers.

In addition, we've also turned to children's book author Brendan Wenzel, whose picture book They All Saw a Cat is a 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist, to tell us what books he'll be gifting this year.


Picture Books for Kids Between the Ages of 3 and 5:
Ada Twist, Scientist
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Marvelous Cornelius
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What Do You Do With a Problem?
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We Found a Hat
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Are We There Yet?
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A Child of Books
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the Thank You Book
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Nobody Likes a Goblin
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Great Books for Kids Between the Ages of 5 and 9:
Ghost
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Save Me a Seat
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Fish in a Tree
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Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White
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The Wild Robot
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Wolf Hollow
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Dog Man
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Gertie's Leap to Greatness
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Books for Kids Between the Ages of 9 and 13:
Into the Dark
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The Secret Horses of Briar Hill
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Furthermore
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Finding Perfect
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If the Magic Fits
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A Guide to the Other Side
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The Apprentice's Quest
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The Hidden Oracle
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Need more ideas? Check out our full Goodreads Gift Guide!

Goodreads Gift Guide: Brendan Wenzel's Picture Book Picks
Posted by Cybil on November 18, 2016



Goodreads asked children's book author Brendan Wenzel, whose book They All Saw a Cat is a 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards finalist, to tell us what picture books he'll be giving as presents this year and why. He's got some great suggestions for those of you looking to buy a book for a young child this holiday. And check out our full kids' gift guide:

Selecting the right picture book is always tough, and in a year like 2016, when great book after great book has landed on the shelves, it's particularly daunting.


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My plan this holiday season will be to share books that I think the kids in my life will be able to get lost in and explore for many hours, and that will reveal themselves in unexpected and wonderful ways with each re-reading; books that will provide opportunities to see the world with fresh eyes, broach new subjects, and raise interesting questions.

Above all, I'll be looking for books that not only cultivate wonder and curiosity, but function as a time-capsule for all those feelings that become harder to access as we get older. I want a book for the long haul: Something that twenty years from now someone will dust off an think, "I remember this book. I loved this book, and I still love this book." Here are a few fantastic recent titles that I think will stand the test of time.


The Storyteller by Evan Turk
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Arguably one of the most innovative illustrators in recent years, Evan Turk doubles down with an equally brilliant text in The Storyteller. The book, set in Morocco, tells the story of a young boy who returns again and again to visit a local storyteller and drink in tales of the past. The book's kaleidoscopic illustrations simmer with story in every mark, and provide countless secret corners and alleyways where readers will find new things to enjoy every time they pick it up.


Little Penguins by Cynthia Rylant and Christian Robinson
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I have never been a huge fan of cold weather, but Cynthia Rylant's Little Penguins made me wish I was bundling up for a day outside in the snow. Rylant's sparse text dances perfectly with Christian Robinson's evocative imagery, and I found myself once again marveling at what a perfectly formed world Robinson creates with his brilliant economy of form and dynamic design. This book will make both children and adults long for winter.


The Polar Bear by Jenni Desmond
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A truly unique and beautiful book, The Polar Bear tells the story of a young girl who falls asleep while reading…well…The Polar Bear. What follows is a beautifully rendered, playfully meta tale that lands somewhere between a wonderful dream sequence and a natural history of one of the planet's most iconic large mammals. In this book, Jenni Desmond has not only brilliantly created an exiting way to celebrate a marvelous creature, but also perfectly captured the awe and magic that the natural world can make a child feel.


The Journey by Francesca Sanna
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Set in an unspecified place and time, The Journey tells the story of a young girl and her family who must flee their home in 'a city close to the sea' to escape a war. Filled with exquisite graphic illustrations depicting both the hardships of the families journey and the fantastical world of the main characters imagination, this book will captivate readers. Despite engaging with difficult subject matter, Sanna has managed to create a book that I imagine children will want to return to again and again.


We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen
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Klassen adds to a long run of near perfect picture books with this beautiful tale of two tortoises and a single hat. After spending thirty-two pages in this story's stunning western landscape, I had laughed, sighed, and maybe even left behind a very appropriate cowboy tear or two.



Need more ideas? Check out our full Goodreads Gift Guide!

Goodreads Gift Guide: Phoebe Robinson's Pop Culture Picks
Posted by Cybil on November 16, 2016



As a talent, Phoebe Robinson is a quadruple threat: stand-up comedian, writer, podcast star and actress.


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Her You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have To Explain is a 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards humor finalist. She hosts two podcasts—2 Dope Queens and Sooo Many White Guys—as well as consultants on the TV show Broad City. Did I mention she's also a huge movie buff and has a serious love of pop culture that ranges from Sex and the City to Moesha?

So, obviously we wanted to ask her what pop culture books she gives as gifts. And, of course, she didn't disappoint. Steal her great gift ideas and make your holiday a bit easier.
Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin_Manuel Miranda
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"I mean, obviously this makes the cut. It's one of the greatest musicals of all time and I was lucky enough to see it. But what makes this book so special is that it pulls back the curtain and allows to reader to see that this one-of-a-kind show isn't just because of genius, even though that is a huge part of it, it reveals just how much love and hard work went into making something this brilliant. Extremely aspirational."


Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
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"One my favorite writers and thinkers out there not only because she is wickedly talented, but because she has a mastery of mixing highbrow and lowbrow into the perfect cocktail of "made ya think"/"holy moly, that was funny." Furthermore, she is a reminder of the complexity that lives within each woman, each woman of color, and each feminist. She is not a monolith and thank goodness because this book would not exist otherwise."


Misty Copeland: Power and Grace by Richard Corman
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"I absolutely love this coffee table book. It goes without saying how important she is in pop culture and in diversifying the dance world, but what no one must forget is that she is damn good at her job and she's an athlete. This is one of my favorite books to marvel at because Misty shows us what we are physical capable of."


Art for Obama: Designing the Campaign for Change by Shepard Fairey
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"We can all agree that the art played a key role in Obama's run for President in 2008, so it's wonderful to see it all compiled in one place. It seems that we often forget about the importance of visual and how it can shape, comment, and reflect on society. This book is a wonderful reminder and artifact of a time that it was exhilarating to be alive."


Sick in the Head: Conversations about Life and Comedy by Judd Apatow
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"This is a really great compilation of interviews that Judd Apatow has done over the years. I really enjoy reading comedians like Chris Rock and Mark Maron and Sandra Bernhard being candid when being funny is not the main goal. This book makes you think and feel and any chance you get to spend time reading the brilliance that Mike Nichols spews is time well spent."



Need more ideas? Check out our full Goodreads Gift Guide!

32 Books for the Pop Culture Fanatics in Your Life
Posted by Cybil on November 16, 2016



Everyone has them on their holiday shopping list: The pop culture addict, the music aficionado, the TV junkie, the podcast expert, the movie buff. Don't worry. We got you. We've rounded up a slew (technically speaking) of great book recommendations to solve your holiday dilemmas.

As an added degree of difficulty, we only included books that were published this year. We figured pop culture changes quickly and we wanted to be sure to give you suggestions your friends and family might not already have on their bookshelves.

In addition, we've also turned to the multi-talented comedian and author Phoebe Robinson to tell us what pop culture books she'll be giving this holiday. Check out her ideas here.

For the Music Aficionado:
On Bowie
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Born to Run
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Your Favorite Band is Killing Me
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Bear: The Life and Times of Augustus Owsley Stanley III
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Hip Hop Raised Me
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Kill 'Em and Leave
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Flyboy2
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Tranny
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For the TV Junkie:
The Platinum Age
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Golden Girls Forever
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Sherlock: The Essential Arthur Conan Doyle Adventures
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Seinfeldia
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The Secret History of Twin Peaks
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TV (The Book)
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A Life in Parts
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The Magnolia Story
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For the Movie Buff:
Into the Dark
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Fantastic Beasts
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The Caped Crusade
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The Movie Book
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The Princess Diarist
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Tippi
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Wes Anderson Collection
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Turner Classic Movies: The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies
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For the Podcast Connoisseur:
StarTalk
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Mostly Void, Partially Stars
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You Can't Touch My Hair
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Adnan's Story
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For the Pop Culture Expert:
The Must List: Ranking the Best in 25 Years of Pop Culture
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But What If We're Wrong?
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I'm Your Biggest Fan
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Powerhouse
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Need more ideas? Check out our full Goodreads Gift Guide!

This Is It: The Final Round of the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards Starts Now!
Posted by Cybil on November 14, 2016

Announcing the 2016 finalists »

It’s all come down to this, the final battle for the best books of the year.

Or, as we like to call it: The Final Round of the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards!

In the first two rounds of this year's Choice Awards, you cast 2.1 million votes (which also included your 30,000 write-in nominations). Those votes have been tallied and now we’ve narrowed down the field from 20 to ten favorites in each of the 20 genres.

Speaking of write-in nominations, your additions of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run in memoir and Small Great Things from Jodi Picoult in fiction made the final cut.

Also of note, four of the fiction category's ten finalists are debut authors: Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney (The Nest), Emma Cline (The Girls), Steven Rowley (Lily and the Octopus), and Bryn Greenwood (All the Ugly and Wonderful Things).

The Final Round polls close November 27, and winners will be announced December 6. So, don't squander your last chance to vote!

OK, fellow readers, let’s do this! Vote now! »
A Veterans Day Reading List
Posted by Cybil on November 10, 2016



"The US Military is us. There is no truer representation of a country than the people that it sends into the field to fight for it. The people who wear our uniform and carry our rifles into combat are our kids, and our job is to support them, because they're protecting us."
Tom Clancy, bestselling author.


Today is Veterans Day in the United States, our national day to honor and thank America's veterans and active-duty service members. To commemorate the day, here’s a reading list that portrays the plight of modern-day American soldiers.


War
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Band of Brothers
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Black Hawk Down
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Generation Kill
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The Things They Carried
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Lone Survivor
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American Sniper
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We Were Soldiers Once
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Matterhorn
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The Good Soldiers
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Flags of Our Fathers
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No Easy Day
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For more suggestions, see this additional list of military accounts and recommend your favorites.
(Image credit: Book cover for The Things They Carried.)

Stephenie Meyer Embraces Her Inner Jason Bourne Fangirl
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on November 10, 2016


You probably know author Stephenie Meyer from the wildly popular Twilight series (and the blockbuster movies that followed), but you might not know that this publishing powerhouse is a serious fan of Jason Bourne.

Yep, that Jason Bourne; Robert Ludlum's amnesic supersolider that you may have also seen in a few films. In fact, she was so inspired by the spy that she delved into fan fiction for her new thriller, The Chemist. Goodreads got Meyer to spill all her secrets about this obsession:

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"My best friend/business partner and I were obsessed with The Bourne Legacy in the see-it-in-the-theater-five-times, make-matching-necklaces way obsessed. (I used to keep my inner fangirl strictly in check out of some misplaced sense of decorum, but being part of the Twilight fandom showed me what I was missing. I've been a lot more open to embracing that inner fangirl since.)

I'd always loved Jason Bourne, but adding in the sci-fi element of the supersoldier is what pushed me over the edge into obsession.

My sister-in-obsession's birthday was approaching, and I thought I would surprise her with her own tailor-made resolution to the story. For the first (and only, so far) time in my life, I wrote fan fiction.

It was super fun, and also pressure-free, because I knew that it could never be published. But another part of the fun was writing something fast-paced and full of manhunts, bullets, and assassinations.

When I was done, I found myself craving another similar outlet. I unearthed the notes I'd made back in 2010 and found some things I really liked. I got to work on the story, and it flowed quickly. I love that kind of writing, when the story just pulls you along with it."