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Here's our monthly newsletter from Goodreads—giving you the latest and greatest in our quest to connect people through reading!

What Page Are You On? | Anne Rice | Movers & Shakers | Philippa Gregory | Trivia | Anita Shreve | First Reads | Listopia | Events Near You | New Features | Poem of the Month

What Page Are You On?

Alice falls down the rabbit hole on page 2, Romeo doesn't meet Juliet until page 57, and Madame Bovary finally succumbs to temptation on page 189. What page are you on? Goodreads just made it easier to track and share your reading progress — just log the page number you're on and tell your friends what you think! You can also use this micro-blog to share brilliant margin notes and even find out who is the fastest reader in your book club. Don't stop there — synch up with your Twitter or Facebook accounts! Simply add the book to your currently-reading shelf and enter page updates on the homepage.

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10 Questions for Anne Rice — Goodreads Exclusive

In 2004, Anne Rice shocked her fan base with an unexpected plot twist. After 20 bestsellers, the pre-Stephenie Meyer Queen of the Vampires announced that she would never again write about the supernatural characters of her popular series, the Vampire Chronicles, and that all of her future work would be dedicated to her newfound religious faith. This abrupt change stunned and even angered many readers. Some had followed Rice's work from the first creepy moment of Interview With the Vampire, when Louis begged Lestat, "Kill me." In her new memoir, Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession, Rice describes her spiritual journey and the price it exacts. She spoke with Goodreads about her continued allegiance to her previous work and what she's writing next.

Goodreads: Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession is your first nonfiction book and your first memoir. What motivated you to write autobiographically at this stage of your career?

Anne Rice: The memoir was almost a response to requests. I had received hundreds of emails asking me to tell the story of my conversion in detail. Also, I felt a strong impulse to describe the church of my childhood in the '40s and '50s, which many people today know nothing about. I wanted to present one person's journey to Christ, and I thought it was a unique journey. The memoir poured out in a spontaneous way. I had pondered these matters for a very long time.

GR: Was it difficult to transition from fiction writing to autobiography?

AR: I found it very hard to write an autobiography. I am naturally a fiction writer, and visiting memories was painful for me. In fiction I do something with those memories to exorcise the pain, but in the memoir I was trying to report, and it was difficult.

GR: You have become known for your ability to craft complex psychology for otherworldly characters, such as vampires or witches. Why do you think you are drawn to the supernatural world for storytelling?

AR: The supernatural world has always been more real to me than the real world. I feel a great surge of energy when I acknowledge that there is a world beyond this one. In my early novels I made up stories about forces that I sensed. Now I write about faith in something in which I completely believe.

GR: You've been adamant about not repudiating your past work, despite your present shift in focus. Please share with us why characters like Lestat, Louis, or the Mayfair witches remain important to you.

AR: My old novels and characters were sincerely created and deeply felt, and also I think these novels and characters are complex and these novels mirror a pathway to Christ. I think they retain tremendous value for readers, especially young readers who may not be willing to pick up a book about Christianity. There is a moral compass in these novels, and the grief for a lost faith, and the search for redemption — these are the main themes. I remain a believer in them, though they are partial and flawed. They have some sort of power because of their sincerity and because of their depth.

Read the full interview »

Movers & Shakers

Goodreads can tell you what's hot! These books have been racing up our most popular charts in the last month.

A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz
Shortlisted for the 2008 Booker Prize, Toltz's debut novel opens mysteriously in prison, where Jasper reminisces about the madcap adventures he shared with his eccentric philosopher father and legendary outlaw uncle. Goodreads member Amanda says the book "starts good and stays good for 500 pages and three continents, is laugh-out-loud funny throughout, and contains so many beautiful passages (the kind where you go, 'Yes, that's so true!'). I already want to read it again, which to me is one of the signals of great art." And Kevin dubs it "The Great Australian Novel."

Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou
Although she never had a daughter of her own, Maya Angelou, the acclaimed author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, shares her wisdom with the daughters of the world in a collection of short autobiographical stories. Goodreads member Tracy says, "Reading this book was like meeting a new friend. When she shares her life stories — be they embarrassing, heart-wrenching or triumphant — you will truly know her." And Tamara sums it up: "Reading Maya Angelou is like getting a big hug on a bad day."

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Mix together Lord of the Flies and The Giver with a dollop of reality television and you get Collins' dystopia for young adult readers. Set in the future after the deterioration of order as we know it, 16-year-old Katniss must kill or be killed as a contestant in the Hunger Games, a nationally televised death match for children that the diabolical government uses to wield power over its citizens. Karin says, "Heartpounding action runs throughout the entire book. You'll be holding on to the edge of your seat until you find out who survives."

The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
Social observer and This American Life commentator Vowell takes us back to 17th-century New England to dissect the Puritan mind and explain how prudishness still has a hold on the American psyche. James lauds Vowell's "dry sense of humor and impressive ability to start at the Massachusetts Bay Colony and arrive at Abu Ghraib," and Gail says, "I liked American history in school, but if Sarah Vowell had written the textbook I'd still be sitting at my desk waiting for more."

Indignation by Philip Roth
Pulitzer Prize-winner Roth tells a coming-of-age story about a college sophomore who leaves home to escape his overprotective father and ventures onto the battlefields of the Korean War. Nathaniel says, "Roth is quite the architect in constructing this novel; everything is neatly placed where it most belongs in the story, although we may not realize this until reading the final pages." And Corny sums it up: "This slim volume packs a wallop."

"In Bed" with Philippa Gregory

Philippa Gregory transforms the stuff of dusty history books into bona fide page-turners. An expert on the House of Tudor, Gregory brings the dramatic lives and loves of historic women like Anne Boleyn, Katherine of Aragon, and Elizabeth I to modern readers who, in turn, devour her bestselling books, including The Other Boleyn Girl and The Queen's Fool. Now Mary, Queen of Scots comes alive in her new book, The Other Queen. We asked the Kenyan-born, Britain-bred writer what she likes to read before tucking in.

Persuasion by Jane Austen
"Not her best-known work, but her most subtle and thoughtful. The romantic tension is terrific, and the great author is working out whether a woman should allow herself to be conventional and persuaded, or follow her own opinion."

Middlemarch by George Eliot
"The great English novel, I don't know if there is one better. It is the multilayered story of an English town in the middle of the coming of the railways throughout England. The female characters are wonderfully drawn and the range of people enthralling."

The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir
"My favorite historian of the Tudor period and other times. Weir manages to encompass all the detail with such a pace that you can read this almost like a novel."

History Play: The Lives and Afterlife of Christopher Marlowe by Rodney Bolt
"I love this playful reading of the Shakespearean works looking for evidence that the author was Christopher Marlowe — not dead as one had thought but run away ultimately to the Sugar Islands. It is irresistible, if more creative than historical."

The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch
"Perhaps her greatest work, certainly my favorite. It tells the story of a man settling to retirement by the sea but haunted by his past and his desire to re-create his childhood happiness. It is a novel of great depth and beauty."

The Never-Ending Book Quiz

Think you have a mind like a steel trap? Play the The Never-Ending Book Quiz and see how you stack up against your friends!

Featured Trivia Question

Famous first line: "It was a dark and stormy night." Which book?
Play the never-ending book quiz »

Interview with Anita Shreve — Goodreads Exclusive

When New England native Anita Shreve impulsively quit her job as a high school teacher mid-semester to pursue her dream as a writer, she couldn't have known that 25 years later she'd be penning bestsellers. With no guarantee of success, she persevered through decades of hard work: writing short fiction (winning an O. Henry prize in 1976), working as a journalist in Kenya, freelancing for The New York Times Magazine, teaching creative writing, publishing her first novel in 1989, and then finally getting a game-changing phone call from Oprah in 1999. Since Oprah chose The Pilot's Wife for her book club, Shreve's books, including Light on Snow and The Weight of Water, have topped the bestseller lists. Shreve talked with Goodreads about her new book, Testimony, and the luxury of writing in her bathrobe.

Goodreads: In Testimony, an underage sex scandal creates turmoil in a tight-knit private school community. Some Goodreads members have drawn parallels to the Duke lacrosse scandal, but your characters are younger. Where did the first kernel of an idea come from?

Anita Shreve: There were many of these scandals at the time. Some made the news, some didn't. But the subject was much in the air. I first began thinking about the risks of (very) underage drinking. Usually, it's a single risky or careless moment with catastrophic consequences that intrigues me.

GR: Private schools have a uniquely New England flavor. What intrigues you about this setting?

AS: I attended and taught in public schools, but two of our five children attended private schools. A private school in a small town is a great arena in which to set a novel in that it's a relatively closed society.

GR: The book is told from the perspectives of both young and adult characters. Is it more challenging to write a child character than an adult character?

AS: Not actually. It seemed to me that the children's voices came as easily as the adults'. The trick is to hear the speech patterns.

Read the full interview »

First Reads — win prerelease books from Goodreads!

Do you want to be the next Bill Gates or John Lennon? Malcolm Gladwell, acclaimed author of The Tipping Point and Blink, is back with his next landmark idea grounded in social psychology. His new book, Outliers: The Story of Success, examines how certain people reach unusual levels of achievement. Be the first to read it! »

Be the first to read new books! Goodreads has tons of prerelease books and reading-themed goodies available for our members. All you have to do is sign up and cross your fingers! View all prerelease books on First Reads »

Find Great Books on Listopia!

Best for Book Clubs

Best Children's Books

On Listopia, you tell us what's good. Goodreads members already create and vote on lists like the Books That Make You Laugh, Best Poetry Books, and even Best Book Cover Art. It's also the perfect place to find the next great book to read; browse thousands of books categorized in every way imaginable and spread the love by voting for your favorites.

New Features

We love hearing your suggestions! Tell us what you would like to see happen on Goodreads by visiting the Goodreads Feedback Group. Here are some of our latest additions.

Find the best book prices!
Does the global financial crisis have you down? Goodreads just made book buying so much smarter and cheaper. Now you can find the best price for a book with one click! Search for any title and then click "compare prices" on that book's page. We are working hard to help you find new, used, and collectible editions of the books you want. You can also prioritize your preferred booksellers!

Customize your Goodreads preferences
We're all about customization. You want your profile synched with Facebook? Done. Paired with Twitter? Done. Receive friend update emails once a week? You got it. Now you can find all the tools you need in one central location: my account! Manage preferences for your book widgets, privacy settings, Facebook, Twitter, friend update emails, and more.

Poem of the Month

Octopus in the Freezer by Lee Ann

What could you possibly have been dreaming of
as you slumbered coiled there, tentacles
furled about your large soft brow, bashful
and pink, ruminating in the back corner
beneath an arched shelf of antelope ribs —
snugged between headless-bodied broods
of sage grouse, the icy bright pillows
of Shur-Fine lima beans and the buttered
currency of carrot medallions? What were
you thinking down there in my parents'
basement, blue blood's pulse stilled to a wiry
tangle of navy ribbon, the syncopated bongo
drum thump and thrum of your three hearts
on break between sets and resting silent
on the stage? By what unlikelihood
were you frozen solid in this tightly wound
pose, like a multi-limbed Hindu goddess
in lotus position, riding the plains by freight
truck to Sakura Square in Denver, where
my mother admired the brawny circumference
of your arms, the snow-white firmness
of your inner flesh, the rubbery erect grip
of your suction cups? And what were the odds
that you'd be packed in dry ice by the ojii-san
behind the counter, tucked into our avocado-
green Igloo ice cooler and driven home
across the state line to Wyoming? You remain
frozen in time in my parents' freezer — totemic,
statuesque, infinite and apocryphal — even though
you've been eaten many times over, one arm
at a time, sliced thin into cross-sectioned slivers
for sushi on birthdays and holidays. As a child,
I used to think the dull muffled thud and clunk
of the furnace firing into life at night was the sound
of your head bumping up against the freezer lid,
the cold grate and clash of meats shifting,
scraping against one another in the wake
of your thrashing tentacles' lash and whip. Read the full poem »

Read more poetry »

With love,

Jessica, Elizabeth, and the Goodreads Team

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