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24 Memoirs About Unforgettable Moms
Posted by Cybil on May 01, 2018

Goodreads Mother's Day

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"Behind all your stories is always your mother's story.
Because hers is where yours begin."
-Mitch Albom

The bond between a mother and child can be the most emotional and complicated of any relationship, so it's no wonder that moms have inspired some of the most heartfelt and heartrending writing in all of literature. In honor of Mother's Day, we rounded up 24 memoirs about some exceptional and unforgettable women written by their daughters and sons.

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There are also some amazing memoirs written from the mother's point of view. Here's a list of six books about the experience.

What book would you recommend for Mother's Day? Share it with your fellow readers in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
24 Top-Rated Translated Books on Goodreads
What to Read Next? Get Tips From Fellow Bookworms
Infographic: Anatomy of a Prize Winner

May's Poetry Contest Winner: To Laura who Taught me the Physics of Color
Posted by Cybil on May 01, 2018



Every month, Goodreads and the ¡POETRY! group host a poetry contest. It's a great way to discover and support the work of emerging poets. Join the ¡POETRY! group where you can vote to select the winning poem each month from among the finalists. Aspiring poets can also submit a poem for consideration.

Congratulations to Rose Boehm, who is our May winner with this poem:

To Laura who taught me the physics of color

by Rose Boehm

Colors are only the degree
of how much is being rejected.
You shimmered almost white
when you told me you’d be leaving.
White is supposed to reflect all colors
of the visible spectrum of light.

Said you felt drained by my
needs. Called me a black hole.
Said I absorbed, absorbed, absorbed.
I was black, sly, silent, deadly.

With as much honesty I can muster,
I can’t say I received anything from you.
Colors need a sender, and a receiver.
My receptors remained empty.

Like a child I expected rainbows
and refractions. Fata Morganas
and other phenomena.

Colors exist in tangible objects.
Your lips reflect the specific
wavelength of red.

Perhaps you were right.
My black is becoming blacker.
Taking, consuming, increasing absence.
Diminishing all that was.



Author of 'The Pisces' Has Your Bookish Horoscope
Posted by Cybil on April 30, 2018



Melissa Broder's risqué new book, The Pisces, is a fantastical tale mixing merman lust with group therapy. To celebrate the book's release, Broder is recommending books based on each of the astrological signs. See if the stars are aligning for your Want to Read shelf.


ARIES
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I wish that all the Aries dudes I’ve slept with had read this satirical fable about El Hadji, a polygamist businessman, whose sudden impotence leads to his downfall.



TAURUS
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Sensual, luxurious Taureans—especially those with a dark side—will gobble this one up. Also, if you haven’t read Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties yet, it’s unreal.



GEMINI
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There’s a reason why Gemini and Aries are soul signs, and this book of poems by Aries Lasky contains enough fire (and dark water) to shake a heady Gemini off their island of intellect.



CANCER
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For the Cancerian who never quite feels they are at home in the world, always the outsider, this book by Ghanaian author Aidoo is recommended.


LEO
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I’d recommend this brilliant text to anyone in the zodiac, but Leos especially may experience a psychic shift as a result of Lispector’s reframing of what it means to be the center of the universe.


VIRGO
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We Virgos who find our serenity (at least for three minutes) in making order out of chaos need more laughter—and to allow our evil thoughts to flow more freely—and this book has both.


LIBRA
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I don’t know, Libra, but I could just see this happening to you. I’m sorry. But it’s a gorgeous book. Also, if you’ve never read Mary Gaitskill's Bad Behavior what are you even doing?


SCORPIO
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One of my all-time favorites for the sign that can turn longing into a religion. Bonus points for another of my favorite ardent, ravenous tales of obsessive love: Turkish Delight by Jan Wolkers (Tin House English translation).


SAGITTARIUS
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Open-minded Sagittarians (that’s most of you) should relish this strange, sexy tale of a free-spirited woman’s love affair with a (sort of) dog.


CAPRICORN
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This is a favorite book of my favorite Capricorn, and since literary taste by sun sign is likely b.s., there’s just as good of a chance you’ll love this book as any. If you’re feeling more French than English, he’s also really into Colette right now.


AQUARIUS
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Aquarians, you’ve been toting that water for too long. You need to head to fire island, sit back and do some laughing and lusting with a delicious (and very smart) 70s soap opera. That funny, lusty, brilliant soap opera is Larry Kramer’s Faggots.


PISCES
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This gem should resonate with the oceanic—and sometimes dark—Pisces soul, upon which reality is constantly, painfully infringing.



The Books That Hooked Readers on Romance
Posted by Hayley on April 26, 2018

"I no longer believed in the idea of soul mates, or love at first sight," Lisa Kleypas wrote in Blue-Eyed Devil. "But I was beginning to believe that a very few times in your life, if you were lucky, you might meet someone who was exactly right for you."

If you're a romance reader, you're used to meeting the right (fictional) person for you—again and again and again. It's easy to become insatiable when presented with a smörgåsbord of sexy singles. Bad boys with hearts of gold, Navy SEALs with some time off, a vampire, a duke, a neighbor with a dog… They're an irresistible bunch.

But like every love affair, it begins with a spark. We asked romance fans on Facebook and Twitter: What love story hooked you on the genre? We've rounded up some of the top answers below. Add what catches your eye to your Want to Read shelves.


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Are you a romance reader? Tell us the books that made you fall for the genre in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
Lisa Jewell Digs Into Mystery's Missing Persons Cases
12 Audiobooks to Listen To If You're Obsessed With Victorian Dramas
7 Buzzy Books Hitting Shelves This Week

12 Audiobooks to Listen to if You're Obsessed with Victorian Dramas
Posted by Marie on April 25, 2018



This post is brought to you by Audible.

From the Bronte sisters to Oscar Wilde, the deeply passionate spirit of the Victorian era was embodied in its most iconic writers. It's why we see these beloved classics adapted again and again—for the screen, for the stage, and of course, for "the ears" in radio and audiobook format.

For this roundup, we focused on titles that were published during Queen Victoria's reign from 1837 to 1901. This is why we've excluded the work of Jane Austen, an author whose books largely take place during the Regency era. To put this in historical context, Jane Austen is 37 years older than the prolific Victorian legend, Charles Dickens.

From there, we narrowed down our list to include highly rated titles with at least a minimum of 3.7 stars on Goodreads and 4 stars on Audible. Make sure to add what catches your eye to your Want to Read shelf, and don't forget to tell us what your favorite Victorian listens are in the comments.

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What's your favorite Victorian classic audiobook? Let us know in the comments!

For more inspiration, check out the Goodreads' audiobooks page, brought to you by Audible.

Check out more recent blogs:
Lisa Jewell Digs Into Mystery's Missing Persons Cases
24 Top-Rated Translated Books on Goodreads
What to Read Next? Get Tips From Fellow Bookworms

(Top image credit: BBC's Jane Eyre Mini-Series)
7 Buzzy Books Hitting Shelves Today
Posted by Hayley on April 24, 2018

Need another excuse to go to the bookstore this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases.

To create our list, we focused on the top books Goodreads members can't wait to read, which we measure by how many times a book has been added to Want to Read shelves. All these highly anticipated titles are now available! Which ones catch your eye?


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You should read this book if you like: YA fiction, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, bisexual heroines, senior-year angst, girl bands, fighting for friendship

Check out Albertalli's book recommendations here.


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You should read this book if you like: Thrillers, missing-persons cases, charismatic suitors who are probably too good to be true, devastating secrets, doppelgängers

Read Jewell's take on the mystery genre's 'missing persons' obsession.


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You should read this book if you like: Nonfiction, true crime adventure, the "natural history heist of the century," explorations of obsession, birds



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You should read this book if you like: Fiction, short story collections, Prep, upending assumptions about class and gender roles, characters who make questionable decisions


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You should read this book if you like: YA fantasy, Vikings, ancient rivalries and ruthless clans, falling for the handsome enemy, tough female warriors

Check out our interview with Young here.


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You should read this book if you like: Autobiographies, riveting accounts of survival and endurance, Rwanda, the power of stories, facing the true costs of war



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You should read this book if you like: Contemporary romance, cooking competitions, the Fusion series, chefs in love, getting out of the kitchen (if you can't stand the heat)


What are you looking forward to reading? Let's talk books in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
24 Top-Rated Translated Books on Goodreads
What to Read Next? Get Tips From Fellow Bookworms
Infographic: Anatomy of a Prize Winner

Lisa Jewell Digs Into Mystery's Missing Persons Cases
Posted by Cybil on April 24, 2018

Lisa Jewell's new mystery Then She Was Gone begins a decade after a teenage daughter disappears without a trace. That's when the missing girl's mother meets a charming single father whose young child seems…familiar. Jewell digs into the mystery genre's missing persons troupe to unearth some hidden reads for you!



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Two of the most fecund subjects to write about are dead bodies (Who did it? Why? How?) and missing people (Where have they gone? And most importantly, why?).

Someone is recorded as missing in the UK once every two minutes. That’s an average of 835 police reports every single day. From a writer’s perspective, that’s 835 stories every single day. And that’s just the UK.

There is something horribly compelling about the black hole left when someone disappears. No body to weep over, no coffin to lower, no grave stone to lay flowers upon. Just a terrible, yawning expanse of desperate nothing. An empty crib still rocking metaphorically in the backdraft of a child’s disappearance. A spot on the pavement where a friend stood the last time you saw them, where they said, "Goodbye, see you soon." The dip in the pillow where your wife last rested her head as she talked to you about dinner plans for that night, and then never came home. These are the places, the moments that the people left behind return to over and over looking for the thing that was said or was not said, looking for the reason, the answer, the key.

No one disappears without a reason. There is always a story. They have been murdered, they have been kidnapped, they have lost their memory, they have thrown themselves from a cliff, they are hiding from some peril, or they have simply shrugged off the shackles of an existence they didn’t like and wandered away to find one they like better.

The art of the missing person novel is in uncovering that story, retracing those steps, unpeeling the onion, layer by tantalizing layer to get to the absolute truth.

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It’s hard to find examples of missing person novels in the classics cannon. But one of the most extraordinary examples of an early psychological thriller—or, as they were known in Victorian times, "sensation novels"—is The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins. Here the protagonist, a young, soulful art teacher called Walter, meets the missing person in the first chapter—the eponymous woman dressed in white—but doesn’t realize the significance until later on when he comes upon a woman in the north of England who bears a striking similarity to her. An extraordinarily well-rounded cast of characters tells the shocking tale.

Sometimes life imitates art and never was this truer than the time that Agatha Christie disappeared for eleven days, later being found in a hotel in Harrogate, Yorkshire with no idea of why or how. Agatha Christie and the Eleven Missing Days by Jared Cade describes the author’s painstaking detective work as he sets about uncovering the truth about her mysterious disappearance. It’s a fascinating look at her life through the tiny clues that reveal both facets of her inner self and the truth about her missing eleven days.

Another bone-chilling real-life story of a missing person is that of a young British woman called Lucie Blackman who disappeared off the streets of Tokyo in 2010, her fate unknown until nearly eighteen months later. People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry is a dark, shocking and exquisitely written account of Lucie’s story and of the aftermath of her body finally being found.

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In 2012 (Six years ago! Surely not!) Gone Girl was published. Gillian Flynn took the missing person novel, threw it onto a potter’s wheel and made something completely different out of it. Is she missing? Is she dead? Was she murdered? The answer of course being none of the above. But the public’s appetite was well and truly whetted and Gone Girl was followed—and continues to be followed—by a slew of edge-of-your-seat dramas about people disappearing; missing daughters (The Girl In The Red Coat by Kate Hamer), missing sons (The Missing by C.L. Taylor), missing teenagers (Daughter by Jane Shemilt) missing husbands (Vanished by Tim Weaver), missing wives (The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti), missing sisters (Sister by Rosamund Lupton), and missing parents (Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh).

One of the biggest of the post-Gone Girl thrillers has to be The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. Here a tiny baby is the vanished one; Cora, taken from her cot in the night as her parents dine next door with their neighbors. It’s the kind of book that can’t be read in chunks, but must be inhaled in vast swathes as you yearn to find out what has happened to their baby.

I Am Missing by Tim Weaver, a little like my previous novel, I Found You, looks at being missing from the perspective of the missing person. Here, as in my own novel, a man is found on a beach with no memory of who he is or how he got there. But unlike my novel, in which the mystery is unpicked by a kindly local mum, here we are in the hands of David Raker, a specialist in missing persons. But even he, a veteran of eight Tim Weaver novels finds things to baffle and astound in the unfurling of this missing person’s extraordinary story.

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And then there is Baby Doll by Hollie Overton. A little like the amazing Room by Emma Donoghue, this is the story of what happens in the aftermath of a disappearance. Lily was missing. Locked in a room since she was sixteen years old, abused and violated by her captor. She has carried and raised a child. And now she is free. How easy is it to recommence a life that has had the pause button pressed on it for six years? You’ve changed. The people you left behind have changed. The world you left behind is the same but unrecognizable. The freedom you craved has served you up yet another batch of problems.

And this was the conundrum I encountered whilst writing my current novel, Then She Was Gone. I’d reached the end not knowing if my missing girl should reappear or stay missing. I couldn’t decide which fate was worse for Ellie Mack. I wrote it one way and then my editor read it and told me to write it the other way. Both endings equally sad, but only one felt right.

But there is complete closure and that is the absolute key to the missing person novel; whether the missing person is found dead or alive, back home or a thousand miles away, the reader must know what happened to them; the explanation for their disappearance must be full and comprehensive.

Because no one ever disappears without a reason.


24 Top-Rated Translated Books on Goodreads
Posted by Marie on April 23, 2018

Today we're shining a spotlight on some of the top-rated translated books on Goodreads. Doing so not only promotes the universal joy of reading, but also allows us to cross borders and honor different voices from around the globe.

To create this list, we focused on books that were originally published in another language before they were released in English. From there, we narrowed down our list to only include titles with a four-star rating from readers. This list is by no means exhaustive, so make sure to mention your favorite translated books in the comments. Don't forget to add what catches your eye to your Want to Read shelf.


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What are some of your favorite translated books? Let us know in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
Infographic: Anatomy of a Prize Winner
What to Read Next? Get Tips From Fellow Bookworms
The Top 10 Most Popular Books About Books on Goodreads

What to Read Next? Get Tips From Fellow Bookworms
Posted by Marie on April 19, 2018



For a bibliophile, there's nothing harder than deciding what to read next. Some of us have a system, while others follow their heart. So we asked our followers on Twitter and Facebook to share their tips and tricks and made a list of the most popular comments. Which ones resonate with you?


1. "Lately, I've been using the random sort feature on my Goodreads Want to Read list and letting that pick for me. So far, I'm having a lot of fun with it!" says Quailing.

2. "I always go with gut instinct at the end of a book. How do I feel? What emotions do I need to feed or balance? I used to make lists and try to stick with the lists, but I ended up not liking the books as much that way," says Cindy.

3. "I start reading three or so books and see which one I fancy reading most. Sometimes, I can't decide so end up reading multiple books at the same time," says Bill.

4. "I have a jar filled with the titles of all of my unread books. I give it a shake, pick out five, then pick out one from that five, and that's the book I'll read," says Zara.

5. "Oh, it's really easy. It's a three-step process: 1) I search my library for a book I really want to read. 2) I lay on the floor and cry as I realize three lives wouldn't be enough to finish them all. 3) I force myself to pick one wondering if I made the right choice," says Peppe.

6. "I try to follow this rule: One light read that keeps me turning the pages (thrillers, Grisham, Baldacci), and then a slower fiction that makes me ponder (Murakami, Kundera, etc.). I call this pattern 'one short-term' after 'one long-term' ride," says Eva.

7. "If it’s fiction, I read more works by that author. Or if it’s a one-off, I ease into the same genre or time period by a different author. I dislike jumping around. I get literary indigestion! But if I have to change gears it helps to read nonfiction in between—a good buffer," says Haworth.

8. "Actually, this decision is always the hardest for me. Sometimes, a book has such an impact that it takes some time for me to digest before I can start something new. And then, after a while, I am so annoyed that I can‘t decide what to read next that I simply take the next book that crosses my way," says Stephanie.

9. "I am reading myself through our library alphabetically. Right now, I'm at 'D' as in 'Douglas.' This makes me read all kinds of authors and genres that I would otherwise not know about or maybe not even choose. Pretty exciting," says Susanne.

10. "I stare at my bookshelves many times over many days until something grabs my attention. Sometimes, before a book I already own grabs me, I go to a bookstore and buy/start reading something new," says Lauren.




Infographic: Anatomy of a Prize Winner
Posted by Elizabeth on April 19, 2018

Ah, the nuts and bolts of a prizewinning book. Who writes these victorious books? Are they men or women? Whose stories are being told? Who is reading them? And what books are the best of the bunch if you want a great read?

At Goodreads, we have long been interested in the subject of professional opinion versus user-generated opinion, so this year we thought it was high time to revisit the anatomy of a prizewinning book.

We learned that male authors win more often than female authors, and novels centered on a woman’s journey don’t win major literary prizes as often as stories about men or featuring multiple protagonists. Men tend to win more and write about men's stories more. In fact, an in-depth analysis of book data on Goodreads found that only 18 percent of 95 prizewinning books from 2000 to 2017 featured a woman as the standalone main character.

Together with the analytics team, engineers, and designers, we looked at a random sample size of 40,000 active members on the site (20,000 men and 20,000 women) and examined 95 prizewinning books from 2000 to 2017. These books won the following prizes: PEN/Faulkner Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, The Man Booker Prizes, and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Awards.

The results support a very interesting 2015 study by author and researcher Nicola Griffith. It’s also been two years since Griffith’s post, so we looked to see if there were any new trends in the data.

In 2016 and 2017 the ten works included in our research mainly followed the same pattern as the one Griffith saw, with more male authors winning, and more books with a lead male protagonist winning. Even this week, the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was awarded to Andrew Sean Greer for Less: A Novel, which according to our site is an enjoyable read, but still a book by a man about a man. Interestingly, there was one book in the past two years that bucked the trend entirely, The Underground Railroad, which featured a female protagonist and was written by a male author (Colson Whitehead).

So, please enjoy this infographic! We’ll let you debate all the glorious questions that come forth. Why do stories about men get more conventional endorsement? Interesting counterpoint: The Pacific Standard points out that among best-selling authors, men and women are represented equally. What surprises you? What doesn’t?

Happy reading!
Elizabeth

P.S. For more fun reading data, check out our earlier infographic Sex and Reading!