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authors@goodreads: Roxane Gay Answers Readers' Burning Questions
Posted by Cybil on July 13, 2017



Essayist, novelist, columnist, and now memoirist Roxane Gay recently spent some time with us here at Goodreads for an authors@goodreads event where she discussed one of the highest-rated books of summer, her Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. The book describes how a gang rape when she was a child led to her lifelong struggle with her body, and in particular her weight. This brutal and honest memoir was the most popular book of June in any genre with an average rating of 4.5 stars.

Before Hunger, Gay was best known for her best-selling essay collection Bad Feminist, as well as the novel Untamed State, and the short story collection Difficult Women.

While at Goodreads headquarters, she chatted with us about both writing about her weight and how she's been dealing with obtrusive questions about it while on her book tour. The ever candid and charming author didn't just answer our burning questions, she also answered dozens of reader questions sent to the Ask the Author portion of her Goodreads profile as well.

Here are some of our favorites.

Alicia asks: Which do you most prefer: writing fiction or writing non-fiction? Also, do you think that one or the other has played a more significant role in teaching you about yourself or your world?

Roxane Gay: I enjoy writing fiction most because I get to lose myself in the worlds I create. Nonfiction has played a significant role in teaching me about myself and the world because it has helped me find my voice and figure out how best to use it. Nonfiction has also opened my eyes to so much of what we need to do to make the world a better place.


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Lori asks: Do you listen to music when writing or do you prefer quiet? If you do listen to music when writing what/who do you listen to?

Roxane Gay: It all depends. Sometimes I watch TV, other times I listen to music. It's rare that I will write to silence. I listen to all sorts of things, not any one specific genre or piece of music.

Una asks: I agree with you on all the movies and TV you reviewed in Bad Feminist. Good entertainment is a rare commodity these days. What are your favorite TV shows, current and all time?

Roxane Gay: My favorite TV show of all time is Alias. I am currently enjoying Law & Order SVU and Empire.

Makenzie asks: I am passionate about writing on feminist and social justice issues and am curious as to how you stay focused amongst people who criticize so deeply or don't understand. Do you find it difficult to find journals that will publish this type of work?

Roxane Gay: There is a good amount of demand for writing about social justice. I stay focused by remembering what I'm trying to do with my writing—create change. In terms of criticism, I listen to that which will help me become a better writer or thinker.

Jean asks: Do you think that Middle-Eastern Muslim women should be included in Feminism? Most of the white feminists that I've met said it is impossible to include Muslim women in feminism since Islam is a sexist religion.

Roxane Gay: Most of the white feminists you've met are profoundly ignorant. All women must be included in the feminist project. Any feminism that does not include all people who identify as women, is trash.

Libby asks: How are you so gloriously, magically, never-endingly productive?

Roxane Gay: I live in the middle of nowhere, I don't have children, I'm an insomniac, I love writing, I'm motivated, writing is often self-medication.

Byju asks: Roxane, can you explain what you mean by 'writing is often self-medication'?

Roxane Gay: By that I mean I write to soothe myself when I am feeling angry or sad or frustrated. I write instead of, say, drinking to excess or taking drugs.

Alex asks: If you could read one book for the rest of your life, which book would you choose?

Roxane Gay: Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence.


Have a question for Roxane Gay? Send it to her here.


Check out more recent blogs:
7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today
July's Hottest Mysteries & Thrillers
The Best Young Adult Books of July

The Best Young Adult Books of July
Posted by Hayley on July 12, 2017



An eerily charming town torn apart by one girl's disappearance, a "circus-city" full of freaks and illusions, and an alternate New York where one desperate thief turns to time travel for salvation…

Welcome to the world of irresistible young adult fiction! Every month, our team takes a look at what books are being published—and how early readers are responding to them. We use this information to curate a list of soon-to-be-beloved favorites, from contemporary tales set in high school to fantasy epics in realms of magic and mystery.

For July, we've got two buzzy debuts for you, plus a novel told entirely in poetic verse. Add the books that catch your eye to your Want to Read shelf and let us know what you're reading and recommending in the comments.


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Daughter of the Burning City (DEBUT)
by Amanda Foody

The Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery, is probably not the most appropriate place for Sorina, but it's her home. When an impossible crime shatters her world, she descends down a dangerous rabbit hole to save her family.



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What to Say Next
by Julie Buxbaum

Lunchtime at Mapleview High is all about sitting with the right crowd. Unless you're David, who sits alone every day. That all changes when Kit, struggling with a recent tragedy, abandons her popular friends to see what the quiet boy has to say.



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Little Monsters
by Kara Thomas

New girl Kacey's charmed life in Broken Falls takes a drastic turn the night fellow student Bailey disappears. As the town turns to Kacey for answers, she realizes she can't trust anyone, not even her stepfamily or friends.



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Words on Bathroom Walls (DEBUT)
by Julia Walton

The people Adam sees aren't always there. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, he uses a miracle drug to help him stay focused and hide his symptoms from his crush, Maya. Then the drug starts to fail, leaving Adam to grapple with his secret alone.



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The Last Magician
by Lisa Maxwell

Magic is all but extinct. To save her fellow Mageus, the few men and women who have an affinity for magic, trained thief Esta travels back in time to 1902 to steal an ancient book from an enigmatic figure known only as the Magician.



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Solo
by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess

Juggling his father's ruin with his mother's absence, his forbidden love for a girl with his family's darkest secret, 17-year-old Blake travels the globe to find meaning and truth in this bewitching novel told in poetic verse.





Plus we've got a fan Q&A with Lucky in Love author Kasie West and recommendations from Ameriie, the editor of Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy which features short stories from Victoria Schwab, Renee Ahdieh, Marissa Meyer, and more!

What recent YA book would you recommend? Share it with us in the comments!

Did you know we have a monthly YA newsletter? Click here to sign up!


Check out more recent blogs:
7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today
July's Hottest Mysteries & Thrillers
14 Favorite Book Sidekicks to Celebrate on Dr. Watson's Birthday

7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today
Posted by Hayley on July 11, 2017

Need another excuse to go to the bookstore this week? We've got seven! Bulk up your Want to Read shelf with these brand-new standalone titles.


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Final Girls
by Riley Sager

You should read this book if you like: Thrillers, slasher flicks, plucky survivors, relentless killers, baking blogs, shocking plot twists



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Goodbye, Vitamin
by Rachel Khong

You should read this book if you like: Contemporary fiction, buzzy debuts, warm and engaging humor, Los Angeles, poignant family dramas



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When the English Fall
by David Williams

You should read this book if you like: Dystopian fiction, apocalyptic catastrophe, Amish communities, moral dilemmas, unlikely heroes


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American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land
by Monica Hesse

You should read this book if you like: True crime, volunteer firefighters and vigilante groups, investigative journalism, unexpected love stories


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Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy
edited by Ameriie

You should read this book if you like: YA fantasy, misunderstood villains, fairy tale retellings, short stories from Victoria Schwab, Marissa Meyer, and more

Check out Ameriie's book recommendations here.


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Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, A student, and a Life-Changing Friendship
by Michelle Kuo

You should read this book if you like: Autobiographies, life-changing teachers, the power of literature, powerful friendship, coming-of-age stories



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Meddling Kids
by Edgar Cantero

You should read this book if you like: Horror, grown-up teenage detectives, childhood nightmares, monsters, and ghosts, plucky dog sidekicks


BONUS: The wait is over—check out three of the buzziest sequels coming out today!

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Because of Lila
by Abbi Glines

The second book in the Sea Breeze Meets Rosemary Beach contemporary romance series
(Start off the series with Like a Memory)



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The Delirium Brief
by Charles Stross

The eighth book in the Laundry Files science fiction series
(Start off the series with The Atrocity Files)



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Ash and Quill
by Rachel Caine

The third book in The Great Library YA fantasy series
(Start off the series with Ink and Bone)





What are you reading this week? Let's talk books in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
July's Hottest Mysteries & Thrillers
14 Favorite Book Sidekicks to Celebrate on Dr. Watson's Birthday
July's Best Books of the Month

July's Hottest Mysteries & Thrillers
Posted by Cybil on July 10, 2017

This July, readers are clamoring for a good thriller. A quick glance at the month's most popular books shows that the mystery & thriller genre is dominating both what you're reading…and what you want to read.

Here are this month's eight hottest new mysteries and thrillers according to Goodreads' readers. For this list, we looked at the data including both early reader reviews and the new releases most added to Want to Read lists.

From Rachel Caine's Stillhouse Lake (this first book in a new series has a 4.13 reader rating and has been added 29,500 times to Want to Read shelves), to the followup to B.A. Paris' Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown (with a 4.10 average rating and 38,000 adds to Want to Read lists), you'll find a twisty tale great for the beach or for reading far past your bedtime.

Add your favorite suggestions to your Want to Read list. And tell us what mysteries and thrillers you'd recommend this month.

Final Girls
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The Breakdown
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The Late Show
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Stillhouse Lake
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Fierce Kingdom
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My Sister's Bones
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The Secrets She Keeps
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Watch Me Disappear
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Share your mystery and thriller recommendations in the comments! And read our exclusive interviews with B.A. Paris and Michael Connelly on their new novels.

Check out more recent blogs:
The Year's Best Audiobooks
July's Best Books of the Month
14 Favorite Book Sidekicks to Celebrate on Dr. Watson's Birthday


12 Book Adaptations Readers Love
Posted by Hayley on July 19, 2017



Not all book adaptations are created equal. As readers, we've learned to deal with some seriously misguided disappointments, the kind of flops that give the books they're based on a bad name. ("Don't judge the book by its movie!" we beg our friends as we push our copy into their hesitant hands.)

But gems do exist, and the thrill of seeing a beloved book adapted faithfully is intoxicating. Every medium of storytelling brings something different to the table—and while we're obviously partial to books—we're also big fans of both the small screen and the big screen.

This month we asked you on Facebook and Twitter to tell us your absolute favorite book-to-film or book-to-TV adaptation. Your top answers are below!


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Pride and Prejudice (1995 TV mini-series)
based on Jane Austen's timeless romance





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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001 movie)
based on J.R.R. Tolkien's epic fantasy series





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Anne of Green Gables (1985 TV mini-series)
based on L.M. Montgomery's beloved children's series





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The Godfather (1972 movie)
based on Mario Puzo's crime family classic





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The Handmaid's Tale (2017 TV series)
based on Margaret Atwood's dystopian thriller





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To Kill a Mockingbird (1962 movie)
based on Harper Lee's powerful coming-of-age tale





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Holes (2003 movie)
based on Louis Sachar's unforgettable children's book





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Game of Thrones (2011-present TV show)
based on George R.R. Martin's groundbreaking fantasy series





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North & South (2004 TV mini-series)
based on Elizabeth Gaskell's moving historical romance





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Princess Bride (1987 movie)
based on William Goldman's treasured fantasy adventure





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Gone with the Wind (1939 movie)
based on Margaret Mitchell's sweeping historical epic





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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001 movie)
based on J.K. Rowling's magical series






What's your favorite television show or movie based on a book? Share it with us in the comments! And check out our guide to beloved adaptations here.



(Top image credit: Game of Thrones)

14 Favorite Book Sidekicks to Celebrate on Dr. Watson's Birthday
Posted by Hayley on July 07, 2017



Is there any hero as under-appreciated as the noble sidekick? Providing sturdy emotional support, comic relief, and brain power, some so-called assistants and companions seem just as qualified, if not more qualified, than the main characters they so fearlessly follow. (We're looking at you, Samwise and Hermione.)

Today is the birthday of one of literature's most beloved and long-suffering sidekicks, Dr. John Watson. A war veteran as well as an accomplished writer and detective, Watson gives Sherlock Holmes much-needed backup and friendship, all while enduring less-than-complimentary observations about his character. "You have a grand gift for silence, Watson," Sherlock says at one point. "It makes you quite invaluable as a companion."

To celebrate the good doctor's birthday, we asked you on Facebook and Twitter to share your favorite book sidekicks. Check out some of the most popular answers below and add your own in the comments!


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Dr. John Watson
from Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes books

Sherlock's friend, roommate, biographer, crime-solving partner, and on-hand physician


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Ron and Hermione
from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books

Harry's fellow Gryffindors, friends, partners in managing mischief, frequent rescuers (mostly Hermione), and family


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Grace
from Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books

Precious Ramotswe' secretary-turned-detective, confidant, business partner, and friend


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Sevro
from Pierce Brown's Red Rising books

Darrow's loyal follower, protector, leader of the Howlers, bawdy comic relief, and brother in arms


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Bess and George
from Carolyn Keene's Nancy Drew books

Nancy's best friends, classmates, crime-solving companions, and feisty support in bad situations (mostly George)


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Reepicheep
from C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia

Caspian's faithful soldier, leader of his Talking Mice, fellow adventurer, and preventer of calamities


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Lula
from Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books

Stephanie's clerk-turned-partner, outrageous comic relief, FTA (Failure to Appear) expert, and gun-toting backup


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Jenks
from Kim Harrison's The Hollows books

Rachel Morgan's pixie pal, partner at Vampiric Charms, electronics expert, and protector


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Hastings
from Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot books

Poirot's assistant in murder investigations, scrupulous friend, chronicler, and occasional "muscle"


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Grover
from Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians books

Percy's satyr best friend, guide to Camp Half-Blood, quest companion, and psychic-connection sharer


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Windsor Horne Lockwood III
from Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar books

Bolitar's billionaire buddy, fellow taekwondo enthusiast, morally ambiguous sounding board, and defender


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Samwise Gamgee
from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings books

Frodo Baggins' gardener, brave companion, protector, encourager, chef, and provider of piggyback rides



Did we miss your favorite book sidekicks? Share them with us in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
The Year's Best Audiobooks
July's Best Books of the Month
7 Great Books Hitting Shelves This Week

(Top image credit: Sherlock l Canva)

7 Great Books Hitting Shelves This Week
Posted by Hayley on July 04, 2017

Need another excuse to go to the bookstore this week? We've got seven! Bulk up your Want to Read shelf with these brand-new standalone titles.


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The Reason You're Alive
by Matthew Quick

You should read this book if you like: Fiction, poignant character studies, The Silver Linings Playbook, family sagas, looking for the good in people

Check out Quick's book recommendations here.


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Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook
by Christina Henry

You should read this book if you like: Fantasy retellings, Peter Pan, horror, misunderstood villains, pirates and monsters, deadly games



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Don't Close Your Eyes
by Holly Seddon

You should read this book if you like: Psychological thrillers, twin sisters, spying on your neighbors, inner demons, shocking twists and turns


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Woolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive One of History's Most Iconic Extinct Creatures
by Ben Mezrich

You should read this book if you like: Nonfiction, thrilling scientific endeavors, woolly mammoths, Jurassic Park, genetics and cloning


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After Anatevka: A Novel Inspired by Fiddler on the Roof
by Alexandra Silber

You should read this book if you like: Historical fiction, Fiddler on the Roof, epic love stories, Siberia, political turmoil, unofficial sequels


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The Disappearances
by Emily Bain Murphy

You should read this book if you like: YA fiction, fantastical mysteries, small towns with big secrets, literary clues to untangle, strange mothers



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Together, Closer: The Art and Science of Intimacy in Friendship, Love, and Family
by Giovanni Frazzetto

You should read this book if you like: Nonfiction, the intricacies of human behavior, mixing storytelling and science, understanding relationships


BONUS: The wait is over—check out three of the buzziest sequels coming out today!

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Wired
by Julie Garwood

The thirteenth book in the Buchanan-Renard romantic suspense series
(Start off the series with Heartbreaker)



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Coming Up for Air
by Miranda Kenneally

The next book in the Hundred Oaks YA contemporary series
(Start off the series with Catching Jordan)



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Everything We Left Behind
by Kerry Lonsdale

The second book in the Everything We Keep mystery series
(Start off the series with Everything We Keep)





What are you reading this week? Let's talk books in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
July's Poetry Contest Winner: If the Sky Speaks of Anything
12 Things Readers Really Want Nonreaders to Know
Readers’ Favorite Books of 2017…So Far

July's Best Books of the Month
Posted by Cybil on July 05, 2017



Every month, Goodreads editors comb through our data to find which of the latest new releases are resonating with readers. Then we select the fiction and nonfiction that meet the bar of 'best of the month.' For July, we're highlighting a creepy thriller, a heartfelt debut about a young woman caring for her ailing father, and a memoir that serves as a love letter to both teaching and reading.

You can read more about July's new releases, exclusive author interviews with B.A. Paris (who has the month's most-anticipated book with The Breakdown) and Michael Connelly (who is kicking off a new series with The Late Show), plus book recommendations from your favorite writers here.

Be sure to add the books that spark your interest to your Want to Read shelf.


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Final Girls
by Riley Sager

In this thriller that reads like a scary movie, three survivors of separate mass killings—dubbed “The Final Girls” by the gore-obsessed media—find themselves in danger.



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Goodbye, Vitamin
by Rachel Khong

A young sonogram technician quits her job to take care of her father who has Alzheimer’s. Sounds depressing? Well, get ready for a sparkling and heartfelt comedic debut.



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The Life She Was Given
by Ellen Marie Wiseman

Set in the lurid world of a Depression-era traveling circus and coming full circle in the 1950s, this novel unravels long-held family secrets (literally kept in the attic).




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Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship
by Michelle Kuo

This is a memoir of a friendship between a young teacher and her gifted student, jailed for murder in the Mississippi Delta. In turn, this is also a love letter to literature.




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Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler
by Bruce Henderson

In 1942, the U.S. Army formed elite groups of German-born Jews to interrogate German POWs and help win WWII. This history tells the tale of these “Ritchie Boys.”




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Daughter of the Burning City
by Amanda Foody

This YA fantasy takes readers to the infamous Gomorrah Festival, where all dreams and desires are catered to. There a young illusion worker finds her creations may be mortal.





The 'Best Books of the Month' list debuts each month in our general newsletter. Missing out on our general, romance, or young adult newsletters? Be sure to sign up.

Check out more recent blogs:
July's Poetry Contest Winner: If the Sky Speaks of Anything
12 Things Readers Really Want Nonreaders to Know
Readers’ Favorite Books of 2017…So Far

12 Things Readers Really Want Nonreaders to Know
Posted by Hayley on June 30, 2017



Every reader has friends or family members who just don't get it. "Why do you read so much?" they might ask, staring at your overflowing bookshelves or your Reading Challenge on Goodreads. "I haven't read an entire book in years."

Oh, those poor, unfortunate souls… Haven't they heard about the very real scientific benefits of reading—like stress reduction and improved sleep? We asked our followers on Facebook and Twitter to share one thing about the comfort, joy, and importance of reading they wish nonreaders could understand. Check out some of our favorite responses below!


1. "Best therapy money can buy…or borrow for free with a library card. Reading helps me sleep, helps me forget about the day, and helps me relax in general." -Sarah

2. "Opening a beer when you get home will reward you for an hour. Opening a book when you get home will reward you for life." -Douglass

3. "Reading teaches you empathy, and it really gives you a chance to examine all the grey areas of life. You get to think about and see things from other perspectives—it's awesome!" -Nyeisha

4. "I feel like I have friends all over the world, through space and time, who I can visit whenever I need a break from my own life." -Kat

5. "Books are better than the movie. There is so much going on in the minds of the characters that movies can't show. To really understand the movie characters you love, read the book." -Linda

6. "The smells of books, whether they're new and old, are enjoyable and pair well with tea or coffee. People who are loathe to read are missing out on smell-o-vision." -Ian

7. "It's one of the ultimate escapes. You can forget where you are and who you are. There have been times I've gone to Middle-earth and Hogwarts and Narnia in my head just to survive… Everyone should have that blessed escape." -Ruby

8. "The more I read the easier it is to express what I am thinking or feeling. Thanks to books, I have the words." -Melanie

9. "You will always have friends. Real life doesn't always hand you the right people. But a book is the perfect place to find your people whenever you need them." -Gillian

10. "Don't give up on reading just because you tried one or two books that didn't do it for you. Keep trying, and I'm sure you will find your niche or genre. When you do, you'll be so glad you did!" -Wes

11. "Reading to me is like unconditional love. I always feel like I'm home when I read a book." -Susan

12. "Used correctly, a book can transport the reader on an instant mental vacation with no jet lag, TSA, or dysentery!" -Todd


Tell us how you share your love of books with nonreaders in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
Readers' Favorite Books of 2017…So Far
Goodreads Hack: Your Guide to Book Giveaways
7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today

(Top image credit: The Princess Bride)
July's Poetry Contest Winner: If the Sky Speaks of Anything
Posted by Cybil on July 03, 2017



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 Amanda Arbuckle, who is our July winner with this poem:

If the Sky Speaks of Anything

by Amanda Arbuckle

If the sky speaks of anything
It speaks of rain
An anxious whispering of the wind
The dark clouded brow of sky
A chance raindrop before its time
Surely, these are auguries if anything is.

Thunder reverberates overhead
Through the backyard
Through my soul
My actions are a tumult of hurry
Feed the dogs
Bring them in
Stow the lawn chair cushions inside a weather-proof bin
Watch for the wind
Preparations before the rain.

I did not know for sure it would rain
It was a guess, a conjecture
Instinct told me more than the weatherman could
And when it came, there was no mistaking it
That glorious onslaught against the window panes
Rain like the patter of children's feet
Like soldiers' drums
Like lovers' voices, rising and falling through the dark.
Thunder like a parent's voice, low and reproving
Welcoming even if it heralded lightening.

I was glad.
Sometimes, there is something oddly comforting in a storm
But then again, I watched from the inside, not from within the torrent
Perhaps it is no different than letting yourself fall into a reverie
Letting it take full control
Castles crumble to dust
And are rebuilt in a day
Dragons are faced
Villains confronted
Friends lost and gained
And even a thunderstorm can be braved.

Imagination, such a fascinating place to visit
I wouldn't live there though
I'd never completely abandon this world for that other
Or venture out now into that storm

What storm?
Gone.
As brief as a memory of a dream
Bells from the neighboring church
Fill the newfound silence
The sun glistens on newly bedecked leaves
Strung with raindrops as with pearl necklaces.

When it is my time to leave the world behind
I want to exit as this rain has
Quietly
Leaving splendor and beauty behind
Perhaps regretfully
But knowing each thing has its place and time.

Sun and rain cannot exist long together
One must acquiesce, eventually
They are not enemies though
Rivals perhaps
But there is no bitterness between them
The sun and rain are perhaps not so unlike life and death
Life submits to death
Death gives way to life
Can there be life without death
Or death without life?
Can one truly live if one never dies?

Though it's sunny here
It's raining somewhere
And the sun speaks promises of another life


Read More Poetry

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Goodreads Hack: Your Guide to Book Giveaways
7 Great Books Hitting Shelves This Week
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