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."
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on November 26, 2015
Last week we asked on Facebook and Twitter: If you could invite any fictional family to your Thanksgiving dinner this year, who would you choose? Today we've got your top answers.
(Note: Due to murderous wizards, colorful weddings, and illnesses, not all the family members mentioned below survive their respective books. But this is your dream Thanksgiving, right? And in your dream Thanksgiving, everyone lives.)
by C.S. Lewis
Who's coming to dinner: Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy
What they're bringing: Turkish Delight (only one piece per person!) and tea
by Harper Lee
Who's coming to dinner: Atticus, Jem, Scout, Calpurnia, and a very brief appearance by Boo Radley
What they're bringing: Lane Cake and dewberry tarts
by J.K. Rowling
Who's coming to dinner: Arthur, Molly, William, Charles, Percy, Fred, George, Ron, and Ginny
What they're bringing: Meatballs and Ton-Tongue Toffee
by Louisa May Alcott
Who's coming to dinner: Marmee, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy
What they're bringing: Over-boiled asparagus (thanks, Jo!) and sticky currant jelly (thanks, Meg!)
by George R.R. Martin
Who's coming to dinner: Ned, Catelyn, Robb, Jon, Sansa, Arya, Bran, Rickon, and a litter of Direwolf pups
What they're bringing: Uncooked meat and sour cherries
by H.E. Bates
Who's coming to dinner: Pop, Ma, Mariette, Montgomery, Zinnia, Petunia, and Primrose
What they're bringing:A big picnic basket full of strawberries, bacon, and roasted pork
by J.R.R. Tolkien
Who's coming to dinner: Bilbo and Frodo—plus various hobbits and dwarves who heard there was a party nearby
What they're bringing: Cold cuts, pickles, mushrooms, carrots, and lembas
by Jane Austen
Who's coming to dinner: Mr. Bennet, Mrs. Bennet, Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia
What they're bringing: Rout cake and creamy fricassees
by Janet Evanovich
Who's coming to dinner: Stephanie, her parents, Grandma Mazur, Bob, and Rex
What they're bringing: A box of jelly doughnuts and pineapple upside-down cake
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on November 21, 2015
Calling all traveling bibliophiles! A book lover's paradise awaits in the idyllic seaside town of Oia, Santorini. Bursting with charm, music, pet hair, and stacks and stacks of irresistible reading material, Atlantis Books deserves a place on your bookish bucket list.
Reason #1: It's inside one of Santorini's iconic whitewashed houses.
This place is already a quirky architectural wonderland—and then you add books? From the cozy terraces to the low walls lined with blue shelves, this is what bookstore dreams are made of.
Reason #2: The staff embraces pets and "pre-loved" books.
Rent a cat, bring your dog, adopt a previously loved book…. You can do it all at Atlantis Books. The store feels like home, and chances are, you'll never want to leave.
Reason #3: The bookstore was founded by a group of passionate book lovers, a cat, a dog, and a van named Danny.
In 2002, Oliver and Craig fell in love with Santorini, but noticed something strange: Where were the bookstores? Encouraged by a bottle of wine, they came up with the idea for Atlantis Books. Some friends joined their noble cause, they borrowed Danny the van for book-hauling purposes, and the rest is history! (It's debatable how much the dog and cat helped, but they were there.)
Reason #4: They host festivals and concerts.
Atlantis Books knows its patrons are fans of more than just good books—they also like good food, good movies, and good music. Besides their annual Caldera Arts and Literature Festival, the store also open its doors to food festivals, film festivals, and concerts.
Reason #5: The shelves are stocked with current bestsellers, rare first editions, and English-language books about Greek culture and history.
Whether you want to study up on your surroundings or pick up an irresistible gift for the literary lover in your life (it's okay if that literary lover is yourself), you'll find it all at Atlantis Books.
Reason #6: They hold sunset readings on their ocean-view terrace.
Picture it: You're sitting down, feet up, perhaps a glass of wine in your hand. The sky is bright with golden light, and in the distance, you hear waves lapping at the shore. Then someone starts reading you a story.
If that's not paradise, we don't know what is.
What other places are on your bookish bucket list? Let us know in the comments!
Posted by Jessica Donaghy on November 16, 2015
Announcing the 2015 finalists! »
Drum roll, please! The Final Round of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards has begun! Thousands of books jockeyed for position in the Opening and Semifinal Rounds, and now your votes have narrowed the field to just 10 finalists in 20 categories. It's not over yet, so be sure to vote in the Final Round to boost your favorites to the top of the podium!
Congrats to our finalists! Many underdog authors have cause to rejoice today. Debut authors Sara Nović and Sejal Badani have made the cut in Best Fiction, and self-published authors like Tarryn Fisher in Best Mystery & Thriller and Elle Kennedy in Best Romance are holding their own in crowded fields. On the nonfiction side, it continues to be the year of the YouTubers, with Connor Franta and Joey Graceffa in Best Memoir & Autobiography, Shane Dawson and Tyler Oakley in Best Humor, and more. Of course, with so many worthy books in the running, slashing the field in half cuts deep! We had some surprise upsets that eliminated bestsellers, including Jonathan Franzen striking out in Best Fiction, Philippa Gregory falling short in Best Historical Fiction, Mary Oliver missing the mark in Best Poetry, and Hugh Howey just outside of the top 10 in Best Science Fiction.
Who will get your Final Round vote? Choose wisely!
The Final Round polls close November 23, and winners will be announced December 1. Don't miss this last chance to vote for the best books of 2015!Vote now! »
Posted by Hayley Igarashi on November 13, 2015
Last week we asked on Facebook and Twitter: What's a problem only book lovers understand? We got over 1,000 amazing responses! So even if non-book lovers don't get your struggle, remember—you're among friends here.
1. "The urge to buy books even though you still have too many books to read at home." (Rie VdWarth)
2. "Feeling sad for people who don't really exist." (Kimberly Moniz)
3. "RUNNING OUT OF SHELF SPACE!!!" (Kim)
4. "Getting interrupted when you are on the last few pages of a book." (Sobe Daya)
5. "The book hangover. When a good book finishes but you can't start a new one because you're still too immersed in the last book to move on." (Meagan Lewis)
6. "Wanting every book in a library section but knowing it is impossible to read all of them." (Richard Azia)
7. "Waiting so long for a sequel that you forget what happened in the first book." (Jessica Luong)
8. "When you're lying in bed and it's all cold in your room—and the hand holding the book freezes to death, even though the rest of you is warm under the blankets." (Alina Marie Swan)
9. "Finishing a book and having to wait a whole year to read the next in the series." (Sarah Scanion)
10. "Trying to keep the book dry while reading in the bath." (Patricia Boland)
11. "Ordering a book online and getting the book with the movie cover. A book with a movie cover just doesn't feel the same." (Anna RN)
12. "Not being able to read and eat lunch at the same time because you don't have a third arm." (Bernadette)
13. "When someone borrows your book and doesn't return it for ages!" (Pallavi B)
14. "Deciding. Which. Book. To. Read. First." (Monique Balsamo)
15. "Getting to a 'can't stop reading' spot in the book and it's 3:00am." (Joan Chesley)
16. "When you have a book with you, but it's not the one you wanted to read right then." (Virginia Osborne)
17. "Being forced to stop reading by other obligations, but choosing to ignore those obligations. Then getting in trouble." (Feel Like Fangirling)
18. "Packing for a trip and never being able to bring enough books." (Erika Gallion)
19. "Having a book fall on your face because you're reading on your back while holding the book up." (Manuel Cedillo)
20. And the ultimate book lovers' dilemma: "So many books, so little time." (Navy Reading)
Have another bibliophile-specific problem? Share it with your fellow Goodreads members in the comments! Chances are you'll find someone (or many someones) who feel your book pain.
(Top image credit: Illustration by Quentin Blake for Roald Dahl's Matilda.)