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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.
5 Famous Books Saved from the Dumpster
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on June 05, 2015

The road to publication is paved with headaches, heartaches, and crumpled up balls of paper. No one knows this more than the following authors. Their work went on to achieve worldwide acclaim, but in the beginning, it took an unlikely—and often unsung—literary hero to save their manuscripts from obscurity.

Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at the big books that barely made it to the shelf.

Stephen King's Carrie

Bad Beginnings: In 1973, King and his wife Tabitha lived in a trailer. Struggling to make ends meet, he began writing a story about a teen outcast named Carrie White. The process, however, was not an easy one; compounded by the fact that King was modeling his main character on two girls he knew in high school who had both died at an early age. Eventually, he gave up. "I couldn't see wasting two weeks, maybe even a month, creating a novella I didn't like and wouldn't be able to sell. So I threw it away," King wrote in his memoir, On Writing.

To the Rescue... Tabitha! She fished the pages out of the trash and set them right back in front of her husband. "You've got something there," she told him—and she was right. Carrie sold over a million copies in its first year. Since then it's been adapted for film, television, and Broadway.



Bad Beginnings: Almost a decade after the publication of his classic and controversial novel, Nabokov admitted Lolita was a "difficult book" to write. Perhaps this was an understatement. At one point during the novel's creation, Nabokov set a fire in his backyard and fed his entire draft to the flames.

To the Rescue... Vera, Nabokov's wife! A Cornell student witnessed her running out of the house to pluck as many pages as she could out of the fire. Was Nabokov suitably grateful for this act of literary heroism? We'll let a snippet from one of his love letters to Vera answer that question: "How can I explain to you, my happiness, my golden wonderful happiness, how much I am all yours—with all my memories, poems, outbursts, inner whirlwinds? Or explain that I cannot write a word without hearing how you will pronounce it?"


Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl

Bad Beginnings: Anne wrote her diary while she was hiding in an annex from the Nazis during World War II. The sweet, hopeful, and haunting account was abandoned when, on August 4, 1944, she and her family were apprehended and transported to concentration camps.

To the Rescue... Miep Gies. The Dutch woman, a loyal friend of Anne's family, snatched the diary out of the ransacked annex and kept it safe in her desk drawer. She returned the diary to Anne's father, the family's only known survivor, who submitted it for publication in 1946.


John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces

Bad Beginnings: Toole took the numerous rejections of A Confederacy of Dunces hard. He toiled on re-working it for years, writing to his editor, "Something of my soul is in the thing. I can't let it rot without trying." After eventually giving up on the novel ever getting published, Toole committed suicide on March 26, 1969. He was 31 years old.

To the Rescue... Toole's mother, Thelma. Two years after her son's death, she found a smeared carbon copy of the manuscript in Toole's old room. The novel would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981.



Bad Beginnings: It's hard to imagine Lee's beloved novel absent from our bookshelves—and Scout and Atticus and Boo Radley absent from our hearts—but in the late 1950s, publication did not seem likely. The author later admitted to readers she found the writing process so frustrating that at one point she lost hope and threw the entire manuscript out the window and into a pile of snow.

To the Rescue... Lee's agent! He reportedly demanded she retrieve and finish the manuscript. The tough love worked. To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960. It became an instant sensation and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction the following year.


24 Upcoming Books You Should Add to Your To-Read Shelf Right Now
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on June 02, 2015

Your to-read shelf likely defies the laws of physics at this point, but brace yourself: More incredible books are on the way later in 2015. How will you decide what's worth your time?

Last week we went to BookExpo America, the biggest annual book conference in the United States, to ask industry insiders what upcoming titles they can't stop talking about. Think of this round-up as a very special kind of bookstore, where all the shelves are packed with only the buzziest books. So make room on your to-read shelf, and start counting down the days until these books get published!

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What upcoming book are you most excited to add to your shelf? Let us know in the comments!
21 Ways You Know You're a Goodreads Member
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on May 30, 2015



Your family and friends have noticed. Once upon a time, your love of books may have been confined to the page, but these days, you just can't keep it in—and why should you? It’s way more fun to geek out about books on Goodreads.

Last week we asked you to complete this sentence: You know you're a Goodreads member when... Today we've got your top answers! Anything sound familiar, bookworms?


1. You press "g" in your web browser, and instead of Google, the first option in autofill is always Goodreads. (Raphaela Pappa)

2. Your husband looks at you funny when you give him 4 out of 5 stars after he's done mowing the lawn. (Elizabeth)

3. You get a rush when your next to-read book is in your hands. (Shannon Ireland)

4. You walk through the library with your phone out, comparing the physical shelves to your "to-read" shelf. (Valerie Martillini)

5. You ask people if they are on Goodreads before asking if they are on Facebook or Twitter. (Amy Vandefifer)

6. For every one book you read, five more are added to your stack. (Rhonda Ruff)

7. You spend more time updating your reading status and reading other updates and reviews than actually reading. (Cora Linn)

8. When you don't need a bookmark—you just check your Goodreads progress. (Rebecca Randolph)

9. You spend a whole evening scanning your bookshelf contents with your phone so your real books match your 'read' list. (Gael Hewitt)

10. The minute you turn the final page, you immediately open Goodreads to log it as read and give it some stars. So satisfying! (Janna Katz).

11. You recommend all your books to your friends and then smile when you see the same book pop up on THEIR to-read lists! (Allison Moody Woods)

12. Your reading challenge starts to resemble Hal 9000 because you are so far behind on it. (Eoin Brady)

13. Your friends check your Goodreads profile for gift-giving purposes. (Angie Lisle)

14. You hear a good quote and immediately hope it's on Goodreads so you can add it to your collection. (Vanade)

15. You buy books only after reading your friends' reviews. (Carole Peterson Bishop)

16. You check your Goodreads more than your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. (Avery Amsterdam Stuckey)

17. You tend to skip books with less than a 3.7 review on Goodreads. (Kathryn Asinobi Fertal)

18. You obsess over your shelves and how you want them to be so you change them over and over and over. (Lynn Price)

19. You get a rush using the Scan Barcode feature on your Goodreads App. (Jake Christensen)

20. You make sure you turn your sound off on your phone so nobody hears the chime of you scanning books in the library or bookstore. (James Cantu)

21. You know your to-read shelf will take longer to get through than you will possibly live! But that's okay! (Shelly Tracy Gilliland)


What makes YOU a Goodreads member?
10 Little Known Facts About Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on May 22, 2015


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born 156 years ago today! To celebrate the beloved author's birthday, we've gathered a few surprising, but true* facts about the Sherlock Holmes creator.

1. He compared Sherlock Holmes—arguably his greatest creation—to pâté de foie gras.
...And Doyle really hated pâté de foie gras. He told a friend, "I have had such an overdose of [Holmes] that I feel towards him as I do towards pâté de foie gras, of which I once ate too much, so that the name of it gives me a sickly feeling to this day."

2. We live in a world with Doyle's fiction because no one wanted him as their doctor.
If at first you don't succeed at being a doctor, become a world-famous novelist! After getting his medical degree from the University of Edinburgh Medical School and serving as a ship's surgeon, Doyle opened his own practice in Southsea. Hardly any patients came, so he began writing fiction in his free time.

3. Doyle and Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie were on the same cricket team.
The team was called the Allah-Akabarries, a combination of Barrie's name and an Arabic phrase meaning, "May the Lord help us." The two men met at university and remained lifelong friends.

4. He once bought a car without ever having driven one.
Best way to learn, right? Doyle was one of Britain's early prominent motorists, and he quickly took to the emerging form of transport, entering an international road competition in 1911.

5. He spent a million dollars trying to convince the world that fairies were real.
Not only did Doyle believe fairies existed, he worked pretty tirelessly to make other people believe too. His million went to promoting the authenticity of the infamous Cottingley Fairy photographs—a hoax, if you're a skeptic, and not a true believer like Doyle—and he later wrote a book called The Coming of the Fairies.

6. His knighthood was not for his fiction.
King Edward VII knighted him in recognition of his nonfiction pamphlet defending British actions in South Africa during the Boer War.

7. He was an amateur detective.
When he wasn't writing about Sherlock Holmes (or fairies), Doyle tried his hand at solving crime using what he called the "Holmes method." In The Curious Case of Oscar Slater, an actual case that occurred in the real world, he uncovered new evidence and recalled witnesses—though Scottish authorities were not especially keen on any of his theories.

8. Doyle and Harry Houdini had a falling out over mediums.
Their friendship showed cracks early on, when Doyle, ever the believer in all things mystical and other-worldly, insisted his illusionist pal had the "divine" gift of dematerialization. By the time the skeptical Houdini began debunking mediums on stage, their kinship had vanished—or dematerialized.

9. If you want to do as Doyle wished, remember him for his psychic work—not that detective guy.
Ten of his sixty books were about spiritualism, and as he got older, Doyle repeatedly expressed that his psychic work should be his greatest legacy. (Why? See earlier pâté de foie gras story.)

10. His last words were whispered to his wife: "You are wonderful."
Doyle died peacefully at his home at Windlesham Manor on July 7, 1930. His wife of 23 years, Jean Elizabeth Leckie, was by his side.


*Rest assured, we eliminated the impossible and took what remained, so no matter how improbable, we know this must be the truth.