Posted by Jessica Donaghy on January 01, 2016
Forget about drinking more water or getting in shape! Our favorite New Year's resolution is definitely this: Read More Books. And we're guessing it's yours, too. Make it easier by creating a reading goal and tracking your progress with the 2016 Reading Challenge on Goodreads!
Will it be one book every other month? Or maybe one book a week? A day? It's up to you! Your goal can be any size. To get started, just choose the number of books you'd like to read this year.
Not sure what to read next? Don't worry! Here are a few ways to build your want-to-read list on Goodreads:
- Recommendations: To get recommendations tailored just for you, rate books you've already read. The more books you rate, the better your recommendations will be!
- Giveaways: Did you know you can enter book giveaways for a chance to win free books?
- Lists: You can also browse the thousands of lists on Listopia—where you'll find categories ranging from classic (Best Books of the 21st Century) to niche (Best Alpha Male Alien Meets Human Heroine Romance).
- Goodreads Choice Award winners: Peruse the results of the recently announced 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards, with winners and runners-up in 20 categories!
And it never hurts to have some social support when working toward a goal, so check out the many Goodreads groups that host reading challenges across every topic, theme, and genre imaginable.
In 2015, Goodreads members pledged to read more than 94 million books! What is your 2016 goal? Tell us in the comments!
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on December 29, 2015
An apple a day allegedly may keep the doctor away, but a quote a day can offer much-needed encouragement and inspiration. That's why we handpick a special quote for Goodreads members every day. (Not subscribed to our Quote of the Day email? Sign up here!) Check out which words of wit and wisdom were the most popular this year.
10. "Books are the carriers of civilization...They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print." Barbara W. Tuchman (Quote of the Day for January 30)
9. "You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore." William Faulkner (Quote of the Day for May 7)
8. "Don't wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel, stride down there and light the bloody thing yourself." Sara Henderson (Quote of the Day for September 15)
7. "We all have our time machines, don't we. Those that take us back are memories...And those that carry us forward, are dreams." H.G. Wells (Quote of the Day for September 21)
6. "Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real." Nora Ephron (Quote of the Day for May 19)
5. "Sleep is good, he said, and books are better." George R.R. Martin (Quote of the Day for August 6)
4. "Book collecting is an obsession, an occupation, a disease, an addiction, a fascination, an absurdity, a fate. It is not a hobby. Those who do it must do it." Jeanette Winterson (Quote of the Day for August 27)
3. "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." Dr. Seuss (Quote of the Day for March 2)
2. "Woke up this morning with a terrific urge to lie in bed all day and read." Raymond Carver (Quote of the Day for May 25)
1. "One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don't throw it away." Stephen Hawking (Quote of the Day for January 8)
Do you have a favorite inspiring book quote? Share it with us in the comments!
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on December 24, 2015
Santa Claus has his work cut out for him this year. We asked on Facebook and Twitter: What fictional book thing do you want for Christmas? Here are your most requested items! (If ol' St. Nick actually does deliver on any of these, please let us know.)
by J.K. Rowling
Who would give it to you: It's a mystery! An owl flew into your house and dropped the cloak off, but didn't stay long enough to let you know what human sent it.
What you could do with it: Manage mischief.
by Douglas Adams
Who would give it to you: Your spacey two-headed brother-in-law.
What you could do with it: Stick it in your ear and finally understand what your distant relatives are saying about you. (It's not great.)
by P.L. Travers
Who would give it to you: Your magical nanny, of course.
What you could do with it: Skip all that terrible Christmas traffic and fly through the sky via umbrella transportation.
by H.G. Wells
Who would give it to you: A cousin whose name you can't remember.
What you could do with it: Travel back in time to buy that forgettable cousin a better present than a Starbucks gift card.
by Gail Carson Levine
Who would give it to you: Your friendly neighborhood fairy.
What you could do with it: Open it up and magically find exactly what you want and need to read waiting for you.
by Dr. Seuss
Who would give it to you: Your mother. Definitely your mother.
What you could do with it: Hop aboard and start your cleaning adventure.
by Jasper Fforde
Who would give it to you: Your great-grandmother, who just happens to look a lot like you.
What you could do with it: Become a kick-ass Literary Detective, investigating literature-related crimes on a fairly reasonably salary.
by Anne McCaffrey
Who would give it to you: Your community Weyrleader.
What you could do with it: Fly through the air on your new dragon friend and save the world from Thread (which is something your Weyrleader has been trying to get you into for ages).
by Terry Pratchett
Who would give it to you: A frumpy wizard who runs through your annual holiday party and shoves the hastily wrapped gift at you.
What you could do with it: Literally trample your enemies.
by C.S. Lewis
Who would give it to you: Your professor.
What you could do with it: First, you'd use it to totally win at hide-and-seek. Then you'd use it to travel to a magical kingdom, overthrow a dictator, and become royalty.
by Oscar Wilde
Who would give it to you: Your first cousin, twice removed, who clearly doesn't know you at all.
What you could do with it: Hang it up in your room and proceed to stop aging while your portrait does it for you.
by J.R.R. Tolkien
Who would give it to you: Crazy Uncle Sauron.
What you could do with it: Use the ring to turn invisible and peek at all your other presents. Rule the world. Possibly go insane.
What fictional book item would you love to find under your Christmas tree? Tell us in the comments!
(Top image credit: Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers book cover.)
Posted by Elizabeth on December 22, 2015
One problem facing libraries in Africa is that they end up with a random assortment of books. Does the average 3rd grader in Ghana really want to read out-of-date Encyclopedia Britannicas and adult whodunits? Ideally, a library should be plum full of age-appropriate and culturally relevant books designed to pique and engage young minds. At Worldreader, rather than gathering and shipping thousands of books to seed a library by hand, they send ereaders, which are able to contain many books and are curated to provide maximum impact. Studies have shown that kids learn best through stories, and also when their emotions are triggered. We want to help kids learn.
Worldreader also had significant technical experience that we felt would boost their ability to execute. In addition, once a product is funded, donors can continue to donate to a school to add more books to those existing donated ereaders.
So, this fall Goodreads choose the St. Mary's Girls Boarding Primary School (the only all-girls public school in the Naorak district of Kenya) for our first fundraising effort. If we could raise $10,000 we would be able to provide the school with 50 ereaders, and each of those would be loaded with 100 books. We launched a month-long campaign and asked our fellow employees, friends, and members of the wonderful Goodreads community to donate. Together we were able to hit that $10,000 goal!
This is what their library looked like before:
Now 300 young women will have access to these 50 ereaders, which contain stories such as The Magic Flyswatter, an East African folktale. The school sent us this image and it made us all feel so good. We wanted to share that feeling with all of you since you are just as responsible!
Thanks everyone for your support! Have a wonderful holidays and New Year. And if you ever want to learn about more ways to help promote literacy and education around the world please take a look at our monthly Do Good feature in our newsletter. We are committed to using the awesome power of Goodreads to make the world a better place!
Elizabeth and Otis
Posted by Suzanne on December 16, 2015
With just over two weeks to go until the end of 2015, it’s time to ask: How was your year in books? Did you read more than last year? What was the longest book you read? Because so many of you love seeing Your Year in Books, we had a great time creating a fun, new design this year. Don’t keep it to yourself! Share it with your friends and spark a conversation about the books you’ve read.
Posted by Maryana Pinchuk on December 15, 2015
UPDATE: Thanks for all the feedback! For those of you who were having issues with blurriness, we have good news: we pushed out an update this afternoon that improves the sharpness of the font for users who were affected. We’re monitoring all the comments and will keep you posted on any further updates. If you’re a frequent visitor to Goodreads, you've probably noticed a few tweaks we’ve made to the fonts and colors on the desktop site today. Our goal with these small-but-important changes was to consolidate and refresh our visual styles and lay the groundwork for some design improvements that we’re planning in the future. What’s different?
Our approach was simple: Improve the usability of the site and give it a cleaner, more modern look, while preserving the familiar feel of Goodreads—a unique home for readers. Let us know what you think!
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on December 12, 2015
Books are undoubtedly awesome, but so are the people who love them. We asked on Facebook and Twitter: What's a benefit of being friends with a book nerd? (Goodreads members are basically experts on the topic, after all.) Check out our favorite answers below!
1. "You know about SO MANY great books. All. The. Time." (@sqq100)
2. "Lots of wonderful late-night talks about books and how fun reading is." (Katie Morrissey)
3. "You can know that they REALLY want to be your friend. Most book nerds don't have time for casual friendships and, generally speaking, would rather be spending their free time with fictional people than real people. If a book nerd wants to spend time with you, that's the greatest compliment you can get." (Faye Lilley)
4. "Free grammar corrections." (@bart_carter)
5. "They don't talk when you're reading. They just pick up their book." (Michelle Vollers)
6. "Help to avoid bad books." (Damian McMillan)
7. "You read books that are outside of your comfort zone. You're no longer stuck in one genre." (@RitaHumola)
8. "Victorian comebacks and random quotations." (@livesingularity)
9. "Every time you visit their house, you have pretty bookshelves to look at!" (@profsslockhart)
10. "You'll have someone to book shop with who won't rush you!" (Diana Rivero)
11. "Unending supply of new words to use in regular conversations." (@iCoder1978)
12. "Always knowing what the movie adaptation left out." (@veragfischer)
13. "They're easy to shop for." (Denise Lacombe)
14. "Book swapping. I love it when this happens: 'I found this on my bookcase and thought you would like it.'" (Lucy Hutchinson)
15. "They understand you." (@AngelaRoquemore)
Are there really only fifteen benefits of being friends with a book nerd? Of course not! Tell us more in the comments.
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on December 05, 2015
Oh, the weather outside may be frightful, but your December reading should be delightful! This week we asked you on Facebook and Twitter: What's your favorite book to read during the holiday season? Today we've got your top answers. How many have you read?
Did your favorite holiday read not make the list? Don't keep it to yourself—share it with us in the comments!
Posted by Jessica Donaghy on November 30, 2015
The votes are in! More than 3 million votes were cast in the 7th annual Goodreads Choice Awards! Readers rallied to support their favorite books, voting for more than 20,000 different books in the Opening Round, and now just one winner in each of 20 categories remains. Congratulations to the best books of the year!
The biggest publishing surprise of 2015, Go Set a Watchman, takes home the top honors in Best Fiction—a testament to the great love readers have for To Kill a Mockingbird's legacy. And the biggest publishing success of 2015, mega-bestseller The Girl on the Train, won Best Mystery & Thriller in a landslide, taking out both Stephen King and J.K. Rowling. Not to be missed, one of 2015's top-rated books, World War II saga The Nightingale, won handily in Best Historical Fiction.
We all must be seeking love, or at least needing to laugh about it, because voters chose Aziz Ansari's dissection of 21st-century dating, Modern Romance, as Best Nonfiction. He's joined by another comedian winner in Best Humor, where Mindy Kaling takes the prize for her essay collection, Why Not Me?. This year's Choice Awards saw a robust crop of books by YouTubers in multiple categories, and voters crowned 23-year-old video star Connor Franta a winner in Best Memoir & Autobiography for his book A Work in Progress. The newcomer earned his stripes alongside long-time reader favorite Erik Larson, who took first place in Best History & Biography for Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania.
Hop on the train! A big thank you from Best Mystery & Thriller winner Paula Hawkins!
Heart in her hands, Best Humor winner Mindy Kaling.
In Best Romance, it took fan favorite Colleen Hoover, author of Confess, to upset 2012 Choice Winner E.L. James. But repeat winners reigned supreme in Best Fantasy and Best Science Fiction, where Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning and Pierce Brown's Golden Son each delivered a win. And after multiple nominations for their respective series, Dean Koontz won for Saint Odd in Best Horror and Brian K. Vaughan earned first place for Saga, Volume 4 in Best Graphic Novels & Comics.
Here's a whole shelf full of gratitude from Best Romance winner Colleen Hoover!
Heartfelt appreciation from Best Science Fiction winner Pierce Brown.
Age is just a number. The winners of the Young Adult and Children's categories all have major crossover appeal. All the Bright Places tops the list in Best Young Adult Fiction; the latest book in the Throne of Glass series, Queen of Shadows, edged out strong competition in Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction; and another Young Adult Fantasy contender, Red Queen, pulled out a win over in Best Debut Goodreads Author. Voters couldn't contain their excitement for Rick Riordan's new series starter The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1), making this year's prize in Best Middle Grade & Children's his fifth consecutive win! And finally The Day the Crayons Came Home keeps everyone smiling as the winner of Best Picture Books.
Best Young Adult Fiction winner Jennifer Niven has a Post-it note with your name on it.
Best Young Adult Fantasy winner Sarah J. Maas poses with her Throne of Glass heroine...or is that her alter ego?
Other winners include Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish for Best Science & Technology, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime for Best Food & Cookbooks, and The Dogs I Have Kissed for Best Poetry.
How many of the winners and runners-up have you read? Check out the full vote breakdown for the top 400 nominees across 20 categories, and start packing your want-to-read list with award-winners!
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on November 30, 2015
Mark Twain was born 180 years ago today! To celebrate the beloved American author's birthday, we've dug up a few surprising, unusual, and definitely true facts about his life. (Twain once wrote, "Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it"—and you, dear Goodreads member, are definitely worthy of the truth).
1. At the peak of his fame, a letter addressed to "Mark Twain, God Knows Where" was actually delivered.
This was not an isolated occurrence. Other successfully delivered letters were addressed to "Mark Twain, Somewhere," "Mark Twain, c/o President Roosevelt. The White House," and "Mark Twain, Somewhere, (Try Satan)."
2. Twain claimed he nearly drowned nine times as a child.
Perhaps someone should've taught young Twain to swim. As a boy, he enjoyed playing in the water—although he evidently had no idea what to do when submerged in it. Kind family members and friends were repeatedly called upon to rescue him.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer might've been written by Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass.
Most people know Mark Twain is the pen name of Samuel Clemens, but did you know about the author's other pseudonyms? He also tried out the pen names W. Epaminondas Adrastus Perkins, Sergeant Fathom, John Snooks, and Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass.
4. He named his cats Famine, Pestilence, Satan, Sin, and Sour Mash.
Twain was a cat person, despite giving such hilariously awful names to his pets. He wrote, "When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction."
5. He once tried his hand at island life.
On assignment for the The Sacramento Union, Twain lived in Hawaii for four months. From surfing ("None but natives ever master the art of surf-bathing") to swimming with naked locals (who all left as soon as he entered the water), he did it all—and then happily returned home.
6. Nikola Tesla and Twain became friends because of a very effective electrical charge.
Few friendships have been forged under more unusual circumstances. Desperate to find a cure for his constipation, Twain visited one of Nikola Tesla's salons, where the scientist conducted some of his more outlandish experiments. One electrical charge and a few x-rays later, Twain was cured. The two men remained friends for the rest of their lives.
While Twain's books were obviously bestsellers in the 19th century, his posthumously published work also struck a chord with readers in the 20th and 21st century. Most recently, the first volume of his autobiography was published in 2010—100 years after Twain's death, as he had wished. (The third and final volume hit shelves this past October.)
8. He predicted his own death.
"I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835," he wrote in 1909. "It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it." A year later, with Halley's Comet visible in the sky, Twain died of a heart attack.
9. Two of his biggest fans were Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner.
No one knows how to dish out glowing praise like an author. Hemingway wrote, "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn…It's the best book we've had." And Faulkner said this of Twain: "The first truly American writer, and all of of us since are his heirs."