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Ask Alicia Keys, George W. Bush, Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman, and Many More Authors a Question!
Posted by Patrick on November 06, 2014 175283

One of the most common questions authors get from their readers is, "What inspired you to write your book?"
But what if the author isn't just a writer, but a Grammy award-winning R&B singer-songwriter?
Or a performer who delivered one of the most-watched TED talks this year?
What if the author is the 43rd President of the United States?
Over the next few weeks, we're looking forward to seeing what you'll ask the likes of Alicia Keys, Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman, George W. Bush, who are all taking questions on Goodreads as part of Ask the Author!
Readers, get ready for in-depth answers that tell you more about their personal lives and their work as writers, as well as, of course, what inspired them to write their books!
She earned five Grammys for her debut album, Songs in A Minor. Now the R&B singer-songwriter is venturing into the world of children's books with a magical fairytale about a young Native American girl from the 17th century.
The 43rd President of the United States has written a biography of the 41st President of the United States... who also happens to be his father, President George H. W. Bush.
You've probably seen Amanda Palmer's now-famous TED Talk about the Art of Asking. She asked for $100,000 and received over $1.2 million via Kickstarter to finance her indie rock album. Her book, The Art of Asking, tackles the challenges of the changing rules of exchange in the 21st century.
Neil Gaiman is the author of numerous bestselling books, including The Sandman comic books, the novel American Gods, and the children's book Coraline. He and Amanda Palmer were married in 2011, and in celebration of the publication of Amanda's new book, The Art of Asking, Gaiman and Palmer will be answering questions in a special Goodreads group.

We've seen some amazing exchanges since we launched the Ask the Author program, and continue to explore and share the many answers that are now on the site. Check out Maggie Stiefvater discussing how to juggle her art and being a parent, Khaled Hosseini on writing as an expat, and what Richelle Mead likes to do for fun.

There are thousands of authors taking questions on Goodreads right now. So jump on in! You can ask authors a question directly from their profile page, and you will receive an email and a notification on Goodreads if your question is answered. Be sure to follow the authors to see all their answers! To see who else is answering questions this month, check out our list of featured authors answering questions.

So, what will you ask your favorite author?

Ask away!
Announcing the Nominees of the 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards! It's Time to Vote!
Posted by Jessica on November 03, 2014 603238

Vote now in the Opening Round! »

All year you've been devouring books and rating them on Goodreads. Some of your favorite authors have released new blockbusters. Some quiet debuts have become smash hits. And now it's all reflected in the nominations for the 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards—the only major book awards decided by readers!

How did we arrive at the 15 different nominees in 20 categories ranging from Fiction to Fantasy to Food & Cookbooks to Young Adult Fiction? Lots and lots of numbers! Instead of relying on experts or judges, we analyzed statistics from the 275 million books added, rated, and reviewed on Goodreads in 2014.

We're so excited to congratulate all of the nominees! There are some epic match-ups in this year's list. In Best Memoir, the riveting true stories range from Esther Earl, the inspiration for teen bestseller The Fault in Our Stars, to North Korean defector Jang Jin-Sung. Mystery & Thriller has heavy hitters, with Stephen King going against "Robert Galbraith" (a.k.a J.K. Rowling). In History & Biography, it's basketball god Michael Jordan versus an unlikely opponent, President Calvin Coolidge. Best Fiction, one of our most-watched categories, is anyone's game, with debut authors like Nadia Hashimi and Mira Jacob ready to take on established masters like Marilynne Robinson, Haruki Murakami, David Mitchell, and Margaret Atwood. And double props to our double nominees, who include Roxane Gay, Gene Luen Yang, and B.J. Novak!

Of course, with hundreds of thousands of books published in 2014, no nominee list could cover everything. We also accept write-in votes during the Opening Round to ensure that you can vote for exactly the book you want!

You have three chances to vote. The Opening Round lasts until November 8. Vote now to make sure your favorite books make it into the Semifinals (November 10 - 15) and Finals (November 17 - 24).

Vote for the best books of 2014! »
What's the "It" Book of 2014?
Posted by Suzanne on October 30, 2014 5246491

In 2013, it was arguably The Goldfinch.

In 2012? Gone Girl, for sure.

"It" books. They're the ones that we pass along, that we hope our friends have read so that we can discuss and debate. Love them or hate them, we can't stop talking about them!

So we had to find out: What is this year's "It" book?

The best part of being book nerds here at Goodreads is that we have the data to answer these sorts of questions!

We set a few limitations:

  • To account for the fact that interest statistically skews high in the first couple of months after publication, we only looked at books published between January and August.
  • To ensure that we identified the books with the most sustained buzz, we looked at the average number of searches per month.
  • To ensure that we weren't just seeing books that were benefiting from being part of a popular series, we only looked at standalone titles.

From there, we looked at the most-searched books on Goodreads and, after much number crunching, here's the top "It" book candidate for 2014 … so far!


We Were Liars by 2008 National Book Award finalist, E. Lockhart, reminds us a little of Gone Girl (the "It" book for 2012). With an unreliable narrator and a story full of secrets, it's a book that you can only discuss with people who have already read it! Goodreads member, Giselle, describes it as "an incredible, heartbreaking read that really messes with your mind until the very end."






Of course, the year is not yet over and there are several other contenders for the crown!

Fresh off her success with Best Young Adult Fiction in last year's Goodreads Choice Awards, Rainbow Rowell switched to a more adult theme for Landline – a story about a marriage in trouble. Goodreads member, Ariel, says "This was a really different read, and I realized when finishing it that a big part of that is because it is NOT Young Adult. The cover looks it, Rainbow Rowell writes young adult, but this is adult and it shows. It's darker, it's more realistic, and it's less idealistic. And that's not bad at all, but it's sadder. The book started off harsher and the pay off wasn't as extravagant. All of that in mind, this book was wonderful."




According to Anthony Doerr, the title of his book, All the Light We Cannot See, "is a metaphorical suggestion that there are countless invisible stories still buried in World War II." Shortlisted for the 2014 National Book Awards, it follows the lives of a young, blind French girl and a young German soldier. Goodreads member, LeeAnne, says, "This book has the most hauntingly beautiful prose I've ever read. It is brimming with rich details that fill all five senses simultaneously. It is full of beautiful metaphors that paint gorgeous images. I didn't want this book to end, but I couldn't put it down."




Continuing with the theme of lies that runs through several of the other contenders this year, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty somehow manages to make you laugh out loud while dealing with some very serious issues. Goodreads member, Nancy, says "Liane Moriarty has done it again – written a book that kept me up way too late because I couldn't put it down. She has a knack for creating characters who are so believable they could easily be someone you know. Big Little Lies is a story of parents acting badly. It is also a smart and witty story about the real lives of children, teens, friends, husbands, wives, second wives, and exes. … Along the way you discover some of the dangerous little lies that people tell just to be able to face the day."



And, finally, a shout out goes to a book that came out in January but just keeps on going strong in searches on Goodreads:

Being selected as an Oprah's Book Club pick clearly gave The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd a major push early on, but this book has continued to stay in our top searches month after month thanks to a high average rating of 4.23 stars. In some ways, this has the makings of another The Help, which stayed on the bestseller lists for years. Goodreads member, Britany, says "I was not expecting this book to grab my heartstrings and pull the way it did. It was unexpected, fresh, and interesting. I literally read this book in two sittings and wasn't ready for it to end when it did."




Any other contenders? We're so glad you asked. Out of the books published in September, these four are off to an amazing start in searches on Goodreads:



Looking for more ideas? We'll get an even clearer answer about the best books of 2014 with this year's Goodreads Choice Awards. Voting opens on Monday, November 3rd and we're looking forward to seeing which books you loved the most this year!

Which book is the "It" book of 2014 for you and your friends?
Meet Our Updated iOS App!
Posted by Libby on September 24, 2014 214250

This is a major update to our Goodreads iPhone and iPad app’s design and navigation. The apps are now iOS 8-ready, and feature a beautifully redesigned newsfeed and streamlined navigation to help you discover great books and share your reading with friends.



Download the updated app from the iTunes App Store to check out all the new features, and tell us what you think!

For our Android-loving members, we promise that we have not forgotten you! The team is working on an update. We know it’s been a long wait, so thank you for your patience. It’s coming!
Now You Can Preview Books on Goodreads! (U.S. Members)
Posted by Suzanne on August 25, 2014 5246491

Don’t judge a book by its cover…judge it by what’s inside with our new Preview feature, which launches today! With Preview, you can sample the story before committing to the whole book. Now our U.S. members can get a taste of their next amazing read right on the Goodreads website.

Preview is easy to use. You’ll find the "Open Preview" button on the book page of any of the millions of titles that have a Kindle edition.



Click on the “Open Preview” button and a sample of the book will open up inside Goodreads, using the Kindle Cloud Reader. If you like what you see, you can add the title to your Goodreads “Want to Read” shelf. If you’re ready to buy, there’s a link to purchase it on Amazon, or you can use the links on the book page to other online retailers.

Preview is only available on the Goodreads.com website for members in the U.S. (You will need to be using Goodreads on your computer/laptop. It is not yet accessible in other countries, via mobile web, or our apps.)

Want to check out our new Preview feature? Read samples of our Best Books of August, a list of the best books of the month that Goodreads members are reading and loving.

Happy Previewing!


Nine Standout Books of 2014...So Far!
Posted by jade on August 06, 2014 225

It's August, which means there's still time to fit in some summer reading! We took a look at the books that are topping Goodreads Want-to-Read charts and garnering 4.0-and-above average ratings to compile our list of the top tomes published this year in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Young Adult—three per category. These mighty nine offer up everything from tales of Wall Street excess to adventures with sexy, sarcastic demon hunters to the struggle of two women bound by history. The best part? They'll stay with you long after summer is over.

Have you been following our annual Goodreads Choice Awards? It's too soon to say for sure, but these favorites could be contenders! Which books are you hoping to see on the list of 2014 nominees this November? Tell us in the comments!

FICTION



The Invention of Wings
by Sue Monk Kidd
(Goodreads Author)
Connie says, "When Sarah Grimke turned 11 years old in 1803, she was given [an enslaved girl named] Hetty (called 'Handful') as a birthday present…the book follows Sarah and Handful for 35 years through alternating chapters. By mixing fact and fiction, the author has created a moving story about the cruelty of slavery and the resilience of both the slaves and the abolitionists."

All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr
(Goodreads Author)
Angela says, "Parallel stories are told in alternating chapters of Marie Laure, a teenage French girl who has been blind since the age of six, and Werner, an intelligent, perceptive and sensitive German orphan who learns to fix radios and becomes noticed by the German army. Each of their stories will move you in their own right, but especially when their paths cross." Jenny adds, "I died a thousand times while reading this book. It is mysterious, heart-breaking, and just brilliantly beautiful. It deserves all the stars."

The Martian
by Andy Weir
(Goodreads Author)
Mike (the Paladin) says, "The story of Mark Watney, how he gets stranded on Mars, how he survives or doesn't, is frankly fantastic. You want a suspenseful thriller, it's here. You want hard science fiction, it's here. You want a character-driven story, you got it. You want a plot-driven story, you got that, too…Mr. Weir…I don't know how you'll follow this one up, but I for one will be watching for your next novel."



NONFICTION



Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
by Michael Lewis

Mal Warwick says, "Flash Boys tells the tale of the arcane and long-secret phenomenon known as high-frequency trading (HFT). The book reads like a thriller, showcasing the author's legendary writing talent. Like the best fiction, it's centered on people, not abstract processes or institutions, and the prose sings."

This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl
by Esther Earl

Mason Deaver says, "I know The Fault In Our Stars was dedicated and inspired by her, so I jumped at the chance to read this book. Let me tell you that you will not find a more heart-warming, tear-jerking story…this book gave me so much insight not only into the life of Esther, but also the life of someone living with cancer, someone who did not become her disease and instead chose to spend her unknown amount of time with friends and family."

Capital in the Twenty-First Century
by Thomas Piketty, translated by Arthur Goldhammer
(Goodreads Author)
Marvin King says, "Holy smokes, this was a tour de force of political economy and economic history. Piketty explains why a tax on capital is so much preferable than taxes on income, the need for global cooperation and why inequality in America will only get worse unless policymakers address higher education affordability, tax policies, especially on inheritance, and minimum wage laws. A brutally long read, yet well worth the effort."



YOUNG ADULT



City of Heavenly Fire
by Cassandra Clare
(Goodreads Author)
Aiman says, "Important note: Reading this book will surely evoke fits of of despair, but also fan-girling. Tread with caution…Cassandra Clare deserves a standing ovation for the beautiful world she has created, a tale not only of Shadowhunters and magical creatures, but [also] one of friendship, family, blood, pain, and loss. She brings new and extraordinary meaning to these ordinary words and binds them into something completely bedazzling."

The One
by Kiera Cass
(Goodreads Author)
Ilana says, "When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants."

Hollow City
by Ransom Riggs

Jon says, "Hollow City does an excellent job of creating a captivating, magical world and accompanying the plot with finely selected vintage photos…[it] is incredibly fast-paced with an interesting story that fans of Miss Peregrine's will absolutely love. With plenty of unexpected twists, Hollow City is quite frankly one of the best sequels I've read to date and it definitely surpasses its predecessor."


20 Moments that Changed History: A Reading List
Posted by Jessica on June 26, 2014 603238

Sometimes a single event can alter the fate of millions. One hundred years ago this week, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, incited a diplomatic catastrophe in Europe. Just one month later, tensions would escalate into the First World War. To commemorate, we've chosen 20 pivotal moments from the last century, some inspiring and some disturbing, and paired each with a top-reviewed novel. If you're eager for more, also check out the links to Goodreads Listopias—book lists compiled by our members—beside each event.

What other moments have changed history? And what are the best books for further reading? Tell us in the comments!

1914
World War I begins with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
All Quiet on the Western Front
by Erich Maria Remarque
"Hailed as the best war novel ever, and it's easy to see why. World War I is described in such vivid non-glory that you are sucked into the story straight away and stay there for the next 200 pages." —Martine

More reading: 20 Riveting World War I Reads & Books on the Great War



1920
American women get the right to vote, joining the worldwide women's suffrage movement
Sex Wars
by Marge Piercy
"How women lived and tried to fight for their rights in New York City. Some of the fascinating characters include: Victoria Woodhull, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony." —Lauren

More reading: Early Feminists & Women's Suffrage



1928
Penicillin discovered
A Fierce Radiance
by Lauren Belfer
"During World War II the need for this miracle drug became as important as any weapon...this is historical fiction at its best." —Zohar

More reading: Medicine and Literature



1930
Mahatma Gandhi leads the Salt March in India in nonviolent protest of British rule
Midnight's Children
by Salman Rushdie
"If any novel could even come close to portraying India's vast cultural identity; that novel would be Midnight's Children...Rushdie can definitely conjure magic with his words." —Shayantani

More reading: Books About Gandhi: A Great Soul & Books About the Indian Subcontinental Partition



1944
Russian forces liberate the first Nazi concentration camp at Majdanek in Poland
Maus
by Art Spiegelman
"An incredible, transcendent comic story. You can feel the life in each page. All it took to create the most human Holocaust story ever told was to remove the humans altogether." —Aaron

More reading: Holocaust Books & World War II Fiction



1945
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Black Rain
by Masuji Ibuse
"A stunning novel about the aftereffects—physical, social, emotional—of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima on the lives of those who lived there. Unsentimental and profoundly moving." —Leslie

More reading: Remember Hiroshima & Books About Nuclear Apocalypse



1960
During the "Year of Africa," 17 African nations declare independence from colonial rule
Half of a Yellow Sun
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
"It is a story of war, love, ideals, compromise, loyalty, betrayal, and the culture of Africa...dramatic and haunting, a book you will not soon forget." —JoAnn

More reading: African Fiction & Books About Colonialism



1960
FDA approves birth control pills and kicks off the sexual revolution
Diary of a Mad Housewife
by Sue Kaufman
"A book about a woman who has begun to go stir crazy, has anxiety, and wants to explore her sexuality...if you're a woman this is the kind of book that will make you think about your life." —Virginia

More reading: Counter-Culture of the 1960s & Best Feminist Fiction



1963
Martin Luther King, Jr. declares "I have a dream" during the March on Washington
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
by Ernest J. Gaines
"A modern masterpiece on the topics of race and social justice in America, an overarching story of black experience from the Civil War to Civil Rights, seen primarily through the experience of one woman." —Sean

More reading: Civil Rights Reading List & Best Black Historical Fiction



1963
American president John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas
American Tabloid
by James Ellroy
"Playing loose and free with near-historical events and breathing twisted life into near-mythic figures—the Kennedys, Jimmy Hoffa, Castro, J. Edgar Hoover, Howard Hughes, the Mob, et al—Ellroy takes off on a joy ride of a novel." —Jeff

More reading: Best Books About the Kennedy Family



1969
Apollo 11 lands the first humans on the moon
The Martian
by Andy Weir
"Mark Watney is left behind on Mars when his crew mates believe he is dead...this was an edge of your seat, nail biting, hand wringing, can't turn the pages fast enough book." —Susan

More reading: Astronauts and Space Travelers



1974
"Fathers of the Internet" Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn propose TCP/IP technology, making the Internet we know today possible
Neuromancer
by William Gibson
"A mind-bender of a read...it was ahead of its time. It coined the term 'cyberspace,' long before the Internet and other virtual technologies were integrated into everyday life...[and] inspired a generation of technophiles." —K.D.

More reading: Best of Cyberpunk & Essential Computer History



1976
The death of Mao Zedong ushers in a new period in Chinese politics
Waves
by Bei Dao
"Bei Dao shows you how living in China during the Cultural Revolution suppressed everyone: intellectuals, artists, thieves...all are bound together by fear, love, and pain." —Fazal

More reading: China's Best Banned Books & China's Cultural Revolution



1979
The Iranian Revolution makes Ayatollah Khomeini the country's Supreme Leader
Censoring an Iranian Love Story
by Shahriar Mandanipour
"A darkly comic and profoundly touching story that weaves an intricate tale of love between the constraints of contemporary Iranian government and the cultural relationships between men and women." —Candice

More reading: Books About Iran



1989
Fall of the Berlin Wall
The Spy Who Came In from the Cold
by John le Carré
"There may be good guys and bad guys in the Cold War, but everyone is gray in the dark...read le Carré for a more literary thriller where spies actually act like spies, and believable human beings, and everyone is a little bit dirty." —David

More reading: Books About Berlin & The Former East Germany



1994
Nelson Mandela elected president of South Africa in the first post-Apartheid democratic election
The Heart of Redness
by Zakes Mda
"The parallel story of colonized South Africa of 150 years ago and post-apartheid South Africa...this is a book that you will devour because it's so well written, and yet it will stay with you." —Steph

More reading: Best South African Reads & Nelson Mandela Reading List



2000
The Netherlands passes the world's first bill legalizing same-sex marriage
Between Mom and Jo
by Julie Anne Peters
"[Teen] Nick is the product of Erin and Jo, a lesbian couple...Peters crafts strong characters and creates universal messages of love and family in this beautiful novel." —Reyn

More reading: Best LGBTQIA Literature & Books for Teens with LGBT Parents



2001
9/11 terrorist attacks
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
by Jonathan Safran Foer
"This is a book for anyone who has lost a loved one. This is a book for anyone who has survived a disaster. This is a book for optimists and pessimists and those in-between; in short, for everyone." —Eileen

More reading: 9/11 Related Books



2003
Completion of the Human Genome Project
Oryx and Crake
by Margaret Atwood
"Set in a future where genetic engineering rules the world...a deeply philosophical book that raises numerous questions: Is there such a thing as a 'perfect human'?" —Tatiana

More reading: Genetics in Science Fiction & Genetics for Non-Scientists



2010
Beginning of the Arab Spring
The Yacoubian Building
by Alaa Al Aswany
"A tale that is as much about loss of innocence and coming of age in a world marred by corruption and poverty as it is about the forces that fuel the fires of revolution." —Amina

More reading: Best Middle East Fiction & Arab Spring




What We're Reading at Goodreads: June Book Perk
Posted by Jessica on June 23, 2014 603238

Sure, health care and a 401K are nice, but what do Goodreads employees really want? Books! Every two months, everyone on the Goodreads team gets to choose a book to order. Here's our latest haul, photographed in the Land of the Wild Things, one of our bookishly themed conference rooms. Do you see any treasures in these stacks?




20 Riveting World War I Reads
Posted by jade on June 16, 2014 225

World War I reshaped nations, toppled empires, made heroes, and showed us just how brutal and bloodthirsty the modern world could be. It also inspired an outpouring of literature. From the very first week of battle, soldiers and civilians alike wrote reams of poetry. Later, the shell-shocked fields of France would echo in the Dead Marshes of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth. And from the trenches emerged one of the most admired war novels of all time, Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front. As we approach the 100th anniversary of the war, we've gathered together 20 of Goodreads members' favorite WWI books—ten classics and ten contemporary takes.


CLASSIC

All Quiet on the Western Front (1928)
by Erich Maria Remarque

Quiet and powerful. This essential war novel tells the story of Paul Bäumer, a German soldier persuaded to enlist—along with all of his classmates—by an idealistic teacher. Life on the front is violent, bewildering, and sometimes boring, but Paul finds that he no longer understands life at home, either.



We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces.
-Erich Maria Remarque
Like quote »


Ashenden: Or the British Agent (1927)
by W. Somerset Maugham

These short stories starring a gentleman spy are based on Maugham himself. The writer worked for the British Secret Intelligence Service during the war, with postings in Switzerland and Russia. Ashenden was inspiration for a far more famous British spy: James Bond.


Her Privates We (1929)
by Frederic Manning

Published anonymously, Manning's masterful novel about the ordinary lives of soldiers received high praise from his famous contemporaries. Hemingway called it, "the finest and noblest book of men at war," and T.E. Lawrence (a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia) declared it, "the book of books."


Testament of Youth (1933)
by Vera Brittain

This heartbreaking memoir is an elegy to a lost generation. Filled with patriotic fervor, Brittain left her studies at Oxford to nurse the wounded in England, Malta, and France. Being surrounded by death and losing both her brother and her fiancé opened her eyes to the futility of war.



How fortunate we were who still had hope I did not then realise; I could not know how soon the time would come when we should have no more hope, and yet be unable to die.
-Vera Brittain


Rilla of Ingleside (1921)
by L.M. Montgomery

Written soon after the end of the war, this last of the Anne of Green Gables books shows what life was like for women on the home front in Canada. Fifteen-year-old Rilla is the baby of the family, left at Ingleside as her brothers go off to fight. Montgomery's writing is full of detail about daily life during the war.


Goodbye to All That (1929)
by Robert Graves

Graves served as an officer in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, alongside fellow writer Siegfried Sassoon. This memoir is a grim yet darkly humorous sketch of his war experiences as well as his early years in London.


A Farewell to Arms (1929)
by Ernest Hemingway

The tragic love story of Lieutenant Henry, an American ambulance driver on the Italian front, and Catherine Barkley, a beautiful English nurse, is based on Hemingway's own wartime experience and showcases his trademark prose stylings.


If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
-Ernest Hemingway


Storm of Steel (1920)
by Ernest Jünger

Unlike many of his literary contemporaries, Jünger was an adventurer who respected the craft of war. After this memoir of his time as a German soldier became a bestseller, he quietly opposed the Nazi regime and spent most of WWII in Occupied Paris, socializing with Picasso and other artists.


Memoirs of an Infantry Officer (1930)
by Siegfried Sassoon

This novel is really a thinly veiled memoir of Sassoon's time as an almost suicidally brave British soldier. He was awarded the Military Cross for his exploits and was much admired by his fellow soldiers. Among them was Robert Graves, who appears in this book as "David Cromlech."


Johnny Got His Gun (1939)
by Dalton Trumbo

This gut-punch of a book is told from the perspective of a young soldier who gradually comes to realize that he has lost all of his limbs as well as eyes, ears, and tongue—but not his mental capacity. Trumbo was later blacklisted from Hollywood thanks to his refusal to testify before Congress about fellow Communist Party members.


Now I lay me down to sleep my bombproof cellars good and deep but if I'm killed before I wake remember god it's for your sake amen.
-Dalton Trumbo




CONTEMPORARY

Birdsong
by Sebastian Faulks

One of the most popular books in the U.K., this novel tells the story of soldier Stephen Wraysford, whose passion for life is not quelled by the loss of a great love or the terror of his assignment—to tunnel under No Man's Land. Two generations later, his diary is found by his granddaughter, who uses it to decode her own past.


The function of music is to liberate in the soul those feelings which normally we keep locked up in the heart.
-Sebastian Faulks


Leviathan
by Scott Westerfeld

This steampunk alternate history of WWI for middle-grade and YA readers presents an extraordinary universe accompanied by gorgeous illustrations. In Westerfeld's world, there is a war between the Clankers, who want to advance their military might through machinery, and the Darwinists, who have harnessed the power of nature to create machines that are actually alive.


Maisie Dobbs
by Jacqueline Winspear

In this psychological study of the aftereffects of war masquerading as a cozy mystery, the titular Maisie Dobbs has set up her own detective agency and investigates a case that brings her back to her wartime experiences as a nurse. The first book was such a hit that Winspear continued the series, which now contains 11 volumes.


Regeneration
by Pat Barker

A British neurologist treats shell-shocked soldiers, including Siegfried Sassoon, and wrestles with the complex moralities of wartime. Other literary figures make appearances, including Robert Graves and fellow poet Wilfred Owen. Barker was influenced by her grandfather's experiences in WWI and relied on first-person narratives to shape her story.


Somehow if she'd know the worst parts, she couldn't have gone on being a haven for him…Men said they didn't tell their women about France because they didn't want to worry them. but it was more than that. He needed her ignorance to hide in. Yet, at the same time, he wanted to know and be known as deeply as possible. And the two desires were irreconcilable.
-Pat Barker


Three Day Road
by Joseph Boyden

Two young Ojibwa-Cree men fight together as snipers for the Canadian Army. One returns, minus a leg and addicted to morphine. This powerful novel traces his journey home, accompanied by his aunt, a medicine woman. It is inspired by the story of Francis Pegahmagabow, a Ojibwa man who was the most effective sniper of WWI.


Fall of Giants
by Ken Follett

From the coal mines of Wales to the palaces of Russia, this sweeping novel follows the fates of five interconnected families through WWI and the Russian Revolution. Incredibly well-researched, this narrative could almost stand in for a history book.


War Horse
by Michael Morpurgo

A children's book that can bring adults to tears, War Horse is narrated by Joey, a bay-red foal who is sold into service, tearing him apart from Albert, the farmer's son who is his true friend. As Joey weathers the mud and noise of the war, he still holds onto hope for a reunion. Also an excellent movie and play.


This one isn't just any old horse. There's a nobility in his eye, a regal serenity about him. Does he not personify all that men try to be and never can be?
-Michael Morpurgo


The Harlem Hellfighters
by Max Brooks and Caanan White (illustrator)

This graphic novel chronicles the 369th infantry regiment, an all-black unit known as the Harlem Hellfighters. None of them were ever taken prisoner, and they never lost a foot of ground, but they still faced enormous discrimination at home. Brooks (World War Z) celebrates the heroism of these soldiers while exploring the irony of fighting for the freedom of a country that denies yours.


The Girl You Left Behind
by Jojo Moyes

A painting connects two women—one waiting for her husband in an occupied French village during WWI, the other a young widow in present-day London. Beautifully constructed and plotted, Moyes' story illuminates the difficult choices that we make, in war and in love.


Birds Without Wings
by Louis de Bernières

This is the tale of a small village in southwestern Anatolia, where Turkish Muslims and Greek Christians have coexisted for centuries. But the world is changing. De Bernières chonicles the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Battle of Gallipoli, the Armenian genocide, and the rise of modern Turkey in this dense epic.


Beauty is precious, you see, and the more beautiful something is, the more precious it is; and the more precious it is the more it hurts us that it will fade away; and the more we are hurt by beauty, the more we love the world.
-Louis de Bernières



Is your favorite book on the list?
Launching Today: Goodreads Q&A! Ask Your Favorite Author or Fellow Readers Questions on Goodreads!
Posted by Patrick on May 21, 2014 175283



If you could ask Margaret Atwood, Khaled Hosseini, or James Patterson anything, what would it be? Maybe you want to know their writing inspiration, what they read as a guilty pleasure, or you have a burning question about one of their bestsellers. Now's your chance because these three are among the 54 major authors who are helping us launch an exciting new program on Goodreads—Ask the Author!

Ask the Author allows readers to ask questions and get answers from their favorite authors. At Goodreads, we believe the relationship between authors and readers is very special. Authors tell stories and create worlds that spark the imaginations of their readers. Now readers can deepen that connection by asking questions about the new worlds, ideas, and people they've discovered in books.

Starting today, you can submit your questions directly to any of the 54 authors participating in the Ask the Author launch. (Full list below!) If an author answers your question you'll be notified, and every answer will be shared on the author's page so that other readers can enjoy them, too. In the coming weeks, all of the 100,000+ authors in the Goodreads Author program will be able to opt in to the feature. (To check whether an author is participating, visit his or her author profile and look for the "Ask the Author" section.)

We asked international bestselling author Dan Brown a question of our own about his thoughts on Ask the Author. His answer: "One of the most rewarding things about being an author is hearing from readers. I love engaging in dialogue with them, and I'm excited to have a brand-new way to stay truly connected with my fans. I'm looking forward to discussing writing, secret codes, ancient mysteries, and anything else that comes up with the Goodreads community. Then, of course, I will need to get back to writing because the most common reader question I get seems to be: 'When is the next book coming, Dan?'"

Reader Q&A

Of course, fellow readers are an endless source of book knowledge, too! So, we're also starting to roll out Reader Q&A over the coming weeks to provide our passionate, opinionated, and curious community with another way to connect over the love of books.

Reader Q&A for The Goldfinch


Reader Q&A for The Power of Habit


Reader Q&A for Night Film


Once Reader Q&A is activated for you, you'll find a new Reader Q&A section on every book page, just below your friends' reviews. When other readers start responding to a question, Goodreads members can click "like" on the answers they find most interesting, and the best ones will rise to the top.

To try out Reader Q&A, go to the book page for your favorite book or a book you've just read and submit a question for the Goodreads community. You can also look for questions to answer! If Reader Q&A is not yet showing for you, it will be coming shortly!

We'll be opening up Ask the Author to all Goodreads Authors in the coming weeks, but right now you can ask a question of any of the following authors:

INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLERS
Isabel Allende
Author of The House of Spirits
Margaret Atwood
Author of The Handmaid's Tale
Dan Brown
Author of The Da Vinci Code
Deepak Chopra
Author of The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
Khaled Hosseini
Author of The Kite Runner
James Patterson
Author of Kiss the Girls
FICTION
Michael Cunningham
Author of The Hours
Kristin Hannah
Author of Firefly Lane
James McBride
Author of The Color of Water
Liane Moriarty
Author of What Alice Forgot
Jojo Moyes
Author of Me Before You
B.J. Novak
Author of One More Thing
Robin Sloan
Author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Jeff VanderMeer
Author of Annihilation
Ayelet Waldman
Author of Red Hook Road
Jesmyn Ward
Author of Salvage the Bones
NONFICTION
Mark Bittman
Author of How to Cook Everything
Geoff Dyer
Author of Another Great Day at Sea
Tim Ferriss
Author of The 4-Hour Work Week
Daniel Goleman
Author of Emotional Intelligence
Arianna Huffington
Author of Third World America
Anne Lamott
Author of Bird by Bird
Frances Mayes
Author of Under the Tuscan Sun
Michael Pollan
Author of The Omnivore's Dilemma
Gretchen Rubin
Author of The Happiness Project
YOUNG ADULT & CHILDREN'S
Laurie Halse Anderson
Author of Speak
Holly Black
Author of Tithe
Sarah Dessen
Author of Just Listen
Rebecca Donovan
Author of Reasons to Breathe
Susan Ee
Author of Angelfall
Gayle Forman
Author of If I Stay
Jeff Kinney
Author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid
E. Lockhart
Author of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks
MYSTERY & THRILLERS
David Baldacci
Author of Absolute Power
Joseph Finder
Author of Paranoia
Douglas Preston
Author of Relic
S.J. Watson
Author of Before I Go to Sleep
ROMANCE
Bella Andre
Author of The Look of Love
Kresley Cole
Author of A Hunger Like No Other
Sylvia Day
Author of Reflected in You
Barbara Freethy
Author of Just the Way You Are
Christina Lauren
Author of Beautiful Bastard
FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION
Kevin J. Anderson
Author of Jedi Search
Jim Butcher
Author of Storm Front
Warren Ellis
Author of Transmetropolitan, Vol. 1
Lev Grossman
Author of The Magicians
Laurell K. Hamilton
Author of Guilty Pleasures
Brian Herbert
Author of The Butlerian Jihad
Hugh Howey
Author of Wool
Sherrilyn Kenyon
Author of Styxx
Bob Mayer
Author of Lost Girls
Richelle Mead
Author of Vampire Academy
John Scalzi
Author of Old Man's War
Michael J. Sullivan
Author of Theft of Swords

Is your favorite author missing from the list above? Let us know which author you'd like to ask a question of in the comments below and we'll pass on the message!