Posted by Hayley Igarashi on April 14, 2015
Before Google, there was the dictionary. Webster's American was first printed on April 14, 1818. For almost two centuries, it has stood as a noble authority on language, reflecting the words we use and noting how we use them.
And some of those words have been invented by authors—who, to be fair, make up things for a living. Shakespeare himself came up with 1,700 "lexical innovations". But for every Bard there are thousands of writers smashing syllables together in vain. Creating words is easy; creating words that last is not.
In honor of Webster’s American Dictionary's 197th birthday, we take a look at some of the words that have made a permanent leap from fiction to dictionary. Can you grok it?
by Charles Dickens
"At every bad attempt at a catch, and every failure to stop the ball, he launched his personal displeasure at the head of the devoted individual in such denunciations as 'Ah, ah!—stupid'—'Now, butter-fingers'—'Muff'— 'Humbug'—and so forth."
Webster's Definition: a clumsy, awkward person
by Lewis Carroll
"'O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' He chortled in his joy."
Webster's Definition: an explosive sound that is a sign of amusement
by William Gibson
“A year here and he still dreamed of cyberspace, hope fading nightly. All the speed he took, all the turns he'd taken and the corners he cut in Night City, and he'd still see the matrix in his dreams..."
Webster's Definition: the online world of computer networks and the Internet
by Robert Heinlein
"He had begun to understand that these others did have greater acquaintance with the stuff of life...a fact not yet grokked but which he had to accept."
Webster's Definition: to understand profoundly and intuitively
by Dr. Seuss
"A Nerkle, a Nerd, and a Seersucker too."
Webster's Definition: a person who behaves awkwardly around other people and usually has unstylish clothes, hair, etc.
by William Shakespeare
"And yet, I warrant, it had upon its brow a bump as big as a young cockerel's stone."
Webster's Definition: an area of skin that is raised because it was hit, injured, etc.
by William Shakespeare
"What hempen homespuns have we swaggering here?"
Webster's Definition: to walk in a very confident way
by J.R.R. Tolkien
"...Tweens as Hobbits called the irresponsible twenties between childhood and the coming of age at thirty-three."
Webster's Definition: a boy or girl who is 11 or 12 years old
by James Joyce
"Three quarks for Muster Mark! Sure he has not got much of a bark and sure any he has it's all beside the mark."
Webster's Definition: any one of several types of very small particles that make up matter
by Jonathan Swift
"Yahoo as I am, it is well known through all Houyhnhnmland, that, by the instructions and example of my illustrious master, I was able in the compass of two years (although I confess with the utmost difficulty) to remove that infernal habit of lying, shuffling, deceiving, and equivocating, so deeply rooted in the very souls of all my species."
Webster's Definition a person who is very rude, loud, or stupid
Discover more to grok and chortle at with Paul Dickson's Authorisms: Words Wrought by Writers. What's your favorite word invented by an author?
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on April 10, 2015
Unfortunately for Tyrion—and for all the characters in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series—the publishing industry in the fantasy land of Westeros leaves a little to be desired. (Unless, of course, you're mostly into historical nonfiction and songs about maidens and/or bears). But what if Game of Thrones characters were on Goodreads today? Which books would they add to their to-read shelves?
Below we've gathered some book recommendation for Tyrion, Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and more. Now it's your turn!
Book Recommendations for Jon Snow—Add your own to our Listopia!
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Have reading suggestions for more Game of Thrones characters? (The Left Hand of Darkness or Flowers in the Attic for Jaime Lannister, perhaps?) Create your own Listopias and share your favorite recommendations in the comments.
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on April 07, 2015
Last week we asked on Facebook and on Twitter: If you could be best friends with any book character, who would it be? Today we've got the top 15 answers, from brainy witches and wizards to quirky detectives and misfit teens.
Did your favorite make the list? If not, tell us who your book best friend is in the comments!
by J.K. Rowling
A know-it-all with a big heart, this Gryffindor is the one you want on your side when facing bad days and/or You-Know-Who.
Honorable Mentions: Luna, Sirius, Snape, Hagrid, Harry, Neville, and practically the entire Weasley family
by L.M. Montgomery
"Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think," Anne-with-an-e, former orphan and eternal daydreamer, decided after intense observation. "It's splendid to find out that there are so many of them in the world." And so many bosom book friends, too.
by George R.R. Martin
He may be largely reviled in Westeros, but Tyrion is the man—or Halfman—you’d want to hang out with in the real world. Devilishly clever, he’s also one of the only bibliophiles in the Seven Kingdoms.
by Louisa May Alcott
If you want an easygoing book best friend, Jo is probably not for you. Willful and hot-tempered, this March sister would challenge you at every turn, but she’d always be there to inspire and motivate.
by Harper Lee
The world would be a better place if we were all friends with this humble champion of human dignity. We need his wisdom: “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
Honorable Mentions: Scout Finch and Boo Radley
by Jane Austen
Even Jane Austen wanted to be buddies with the liveliest and cleverest of the Bennet sisters. “I must confess that I think her as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print,” she boasted of her own creation.
by S.E. Hinton
Sensitive and moody, Ponyboy is the best friend who would ride out life’s ups and downs with you. And together, you could both stay golden.
by Janet Evanovich
Channel your inner crime-fighter with a book friend like Stephanie. She’d encourage you to go outside your comfort zone, especially for pineapple upside-down cake.
Honorable Mentions: Grandma Mazur and Lula
by J.R.R. Tolkien
Everyone could use a pipe-smoking wizard pal who shows up unannounced with promises of adventure and burglary (but only from dragons who deserve it).
Honorable Mention: Samwise Gamgee and Aragorn
by Anne Rice
If you want to be book best friends with a blood-sucking vampire, it's your funeral—er, prerogative. “The Brat Prince” would take you on wild, lavish escapades before possibly turning you into a vampire.
by Stephen Chbosky
Feeling misunderstood? Charlie understands. The quiet and creative teen would take time to get to know the real you. He’d also give you some pretty spot-on presents.
by Sue Grafton
Independent and street-smart, Kinsey is the book best friend for tough gals (and guys) who love solving mysteries and biting into a peanut butter and pickle sandwich.
by Suzanne Collins
Having trouble with a totalitarian government, poverty, or getting your side braids plaited just right? As your book best friend, Katniss would ensure the odds are ever in your favor. (And if they're not, she'll "adjust" the odds with her trusty bow and arrow.)
by Diana Gabaldon
So everyone who picked Jamie wants a strictly platonic book friendship, right? Okay, good. That's what we thought.
Honorable Mention: Claire Fraser
by Arthur Conan Doyle
Watson may be Sherlock's best friend in the novels (and in the TV shows and in the movies), but in book friendship land, anything is possible. But be prepared for the consulting detective's mercilessly unfiltered opinions on everything and everyone.
Check out more books featuring irresistible friendships with these Listopias: Best Friendship Books and Books Where Best Friends Fall in Love.
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on April 03, 2015
Everyone’s read it, or at least everyone says they've read it. You have every intention of reading it, too, but somehow Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall hasn’t moved off your to-read shelf. But have no fear; the BBC is here! This Sunday, the six-part series following Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in Henry VIII’s court premieres on PBS.
So, to read or to watch? It’s certainly not a new dilemma, especially in the word of British TV adaptations. We’re equally in love with the book and the television version of The Forsyte Saga, and reading P.G. Wodehouse isn’t complete without watching Stephen Fry’s Jeeves and Hugh Laurie’s Wooster.
These, of course, are just the tip of the British drama iceberg. Check out some more should-read books that we're glad were adapted for the small screen.
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Discover more to watch and read with these book-to-screen Listopias: Popular Books Made into TV Shows and Books That Are Becoming TV Shows and Movies. What television adaptation is your favorite?
Posted by Otis Chandler on April 01, 2015
Have you ever fallen in love with someone's Favorites shelf? Or felt a flicker of kinship over the fact that you both have the same books on your To-Read list? Literary lonely hearts, you're in luck! Goodreads is pleased to announce the release of KINDLR, an exciting new dating app exclusively for Goodreads members.
Like everything else we do at Goodreads, KINDLR was a passion project from start to finish. Several members of the Goodreads team are single and dating in San Francisco, and they were getting a little too familiar with profile photos of girls in fake mustaches and guys cradling baby tigers or dancing shirtless at Burning Man. "We realized that we'd need to either change our lifestyles, or change the way that we date," says Project Manager Andreas Ernst.
Are you ready to change the way that you date?
With the red-hot new Goodreads dating app, KINDLR, your love matches are based on your book choices. Once you download the app, which is currently available on all Android and iOS devices, you will be matched with other book lovers in your area with the help of our proprietary algorithm that has already helped connect millions of Goodreads members with their next great book.
You will be shown a potential match and, based on their bookshelves, you can swipe right on the heart icon to indicate your interest, or swipe left on the 'x' icon to move on to the next person. If you are both interested, you will be connected within the KINDLR app and shown a photo of your potential library-mate. You also have the ability to message one another.
Tips: Tap on a shelf name to scroll through the books on that shelf. The icons at the top right of the bookshelves box are another way to get some insight on a potential love. For example, Davy F. has 182 books shelved, 33 books in common with Jocelyn, and a 42% book match percentage.
KINDLR is currently stoking bookish flames in three beta cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. Do you want KINDLR to come to your city? Tell us where! Which book would make you think that you'd found your literary soulmate? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Posted by Libby on March 31, 2015
Android app lovers – we heard you! We’ve just released a major update to our Android app’s design. The app now features an easy-to-use navigation that puts your favorite features at your fingertips, and a cleaner design to help you discover great books and share your reading with friends.
Now you can immediately discover new books your friends are reading, and still check your shelves on the go with just one tap. We’ve also included a fun new touch, a literary quote on the home screen while the app opens.
Download the updated app from the Google Play Store or Amazon App Store and tell us what you think!
Posted by jade on March 25, 2015
Just ten more days before the return of Outlander, the gorgeously epic TV adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s time-travel romance. To get you through the last of #Droughtlander, aka the long dry spell between the first and second halves of season one in the U.S., we’ve uncovered the five most popular quotes from the Outlander book series on Goodreads—accompanied by shots of two of the hottest Celts ever to don—and doff—period dress. (Jamie and Claire, may every night be your wedding night!)
Want more Outlander quotes? Find them here!
Which one’s your favorite? Or do you have another Outlander quote you love? Tell us in the comments below!
Posted by Jessica Donaghy on March 16, 2015
Planning to "drown the shamrock" at your St. Paddy's celebration? This year, get a little creative! We've compiled a list of more delicious alternatives to that gross green beer, with one wee caveat—these special drinks and cocktails are all fictional!
You can find fan-concocted recipes for many of these literary libations. We've linked some below. Please share your own favorites! Which drink do you most wish were real? Share your best recipe guesses in the comments!
by P.G. Wodehouse
It's still green! Bertie Wooster himself declares of this Wodehousian version of a Caribbean rum swizzle,"...if ever I marry and have a son, Green Swizzle Wooster is the name that will go down in the register." Some sources report that Wodehouse did not invent this himself, but no doubt he had his own twist.
by Douglas Adams
Dubbed "the alcoholic equivalent of a mugging" and "the best drink in existence," a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster should be consumed with caution: Drinking one is "like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick." Adams helpfully provided a recipe, but you might have trouble finding all of the ingredients (Fallian marsh gas, the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger...).
by Scott Lynch
With hints of pear and radishes, this unusual drink is finished by plunging a red-hot poker into the liquid. Locke describes "when the cold burn of the ginger scald hit his lips (limning every tiny crack with stinging heat, and outlining every crevice between teeth and gums in exquisite pain...)" Yum! Goodreads Author and food blogger Chelsea Monroe-Cassel offers an excellent recipe, complete with hot-poker handling instructions!
by Kurt Vonnegut
A darker take on a green drink, as befitting Kurt Vonnegut. "He wanted me to give him a drink on account of the world was coming to an end. So I mixed him an 'End of the World Delight.' I gave him about a half-pint of crème de menthe in a hollowed-out pineapple, with whipped cream and a cherry on top."
by J.K. Rowling
Allegedly slightly alcoholic, this wizarding favorite can be served hot or cold, and J.K. Rowling says, "I imagine it to taste a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch." For the launch of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park, Chef Steven Jayson spent three years perfecting an official butterbeer recipe, which is unfortunately classified!
by Terry Pratchett
Raise a glass full of Discworld apple-based moonshine in memory of Sir Terry Pratchett. "A lot of stories are told about scumble, and how it is made out on the damp marshes, according to ancient recipes passed down rather unsteadily from father to son. It's not true about the rats, or the snakes' heads, or the lead shot. The one about the dead sheep is a complete fabrication. We can lay to rest all the variants of the one about the trouser button. But the one about not letting it come into contact with metal is absolutely true..." You can try some fan recipes here and here, or even buy an officially licensed version!
by Frank Herbert
If you're not up for dodging monster sandworms to harvest spice, the most coveted substance in Herbert's universe, you'll have to learn how to brew your own cinnamon-infused ale, a "fermented substance called 'spice beer,' potent and pungent with a strong cinnamon bite at the back of his throat. [Keedair] found the drink exhilarating and ordered a second" (from The Butlerian Jihad).
by Stephen King
Perhaps a close cousin of Pratchett's scumble, this apple beer is the drink of choice in Stephen King's Mid-World. Lots of homebrewing fans have tried their versions, ranging from hard apple cider to dark malt, including this one with full video instructions!
Posted by jade on March 14, 2015
Pop quiz! Question: Why is today the best Pi Day in a century? Answer: Because it's 3/14/15, the first day since March 14, 1915 that represents pi to four decimals! (Of course that only applies to countries that are Middle-endian, i.e., that follow the mm/dd/yy format.)
In honor of this most irrational and transcendental of numbers, we've compiled a list of popular books with 3.14 ratings on Goodreads. We'll be celebrating Pi Day by contemplating the infinite corners of a giant cherry pie, listening to the digits of pi being recited aloud by a lovely computer lady, and reading one of the auspiciously rated books on this list!*
How will you celebrate? Tell us in the comments!
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*All books had a rating of 3.14 at publication, but ratings are subject to change.
Posted by Jessica Donaghy on March 10, 2015
Lemony Snicket wisely tells us, "Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” Luckily, the Goodreads office is overflowing with books. In fact, it's so jam-packed we have an internal team of volunteer "librarians" who help keep our shelves organized. And we add to the stacks every two months, when everyone on the Goodreads team gets to choose a book to order. Here's our latest stash!
You can also peruse the full list of titles on Listopia! What will you be reading next?