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How Goodreads Members First Fell in Love with Reading
Posted by Hayley on September 22, 2017



This post is brought to you by Rebel in the Rye, in select theaters September 8.

We like to say we're lifelong readers, but the truth is we were all nonreaders once. And even after we learned to sound out words, the love of books came later—with a particular story or a friend or family member who showed us the way.

In partnership with Rebel in the Rye, the new biographical drama about the life of The Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger, we asked our followers on Facebook and Twitter to tell us who inspired their love of reading. Read some of our favorite responses below and then share your own story with us in the comments.


1. "My father. He read to me every night before bed and made it a treat. If I was good that day, we would read two books. When I was three, he told me that if I read an entire book to him, cover to cover, he would take me out and buy me $100 worth of books." -Hannah

2. "My mother. She read voraciously. She believed that when you die, your soul and spirit stay for a while…so you would have time to read. She asked that she be buried with her favorite book, To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. I put it in her hands in her casket." -Joan

3. "My BFF during our sophomore year in high school. She thought I needed a new hobby. After reading Laurell K. Hamilton's Guilty Pleasures, I traded my boy hobby for a book hobby." -Jeanny

4. "My aunt. I remember the day she took us to the library, got The Little Mermaid out, and read it to us in the backyard on a gorgeous day. She also had a wonderful bookcase at home. She rocked." -Sandra

5. "My best friend, Else. I have always loved the idea of reading, but I never got into it. Else and I were 'only' online friends through a game. I did know she loved to read, so I suggested a book to her. After that we started to talk a lot, and I started to read for real. Now I can't imagine a world without books or a life without her." -Sussie

6. "I come from a family of readers—my mum, my grandmother, my aunts, my cousins… They all read truck-loads of books. How could I not?" -Au

7. "My sixth grade teacher. She read The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler during the last half hour of every school day." -Jolanta

8. "My parents. I can remember going to the library and to the book fair with them at a very young age. No matter how many books I picked out, I never heard the word "no"—and we didn't have a lot of money. But books and reading were that important. One of the best legacies my parents left me…the love of reading." -Patti

9. "My uncle. He was always reading and always seemed to know something about any topic that came up in conversation. At the time, being a young boy, I thought he was the smartest man in the world, and I wanted to be just like him. I still consult with him regularly." -Cody

10. "My first grade teacher in 1965. She put me in the "middle reading group," and when I protested—nothing average in my plans—she told me that if I worked hard, she would move me up. I was soon reading ahead to learn what Sally, Spot, Dick, and Jane were doing. I have never stopped reading and sharing that love with my friends, my daughters, and my students." -Pam

11. "The children's librarian at the Fall River Public Library. Every Saturday I would walk the two or three miles to see her—and she knew me, recognized me, and recommended good books. She even allowed me to exceed the allowed number of books to be taken out at one time!" -Paul

12. "My father. He was an avid reader, but he became very sick when I was young, so I didn't get to spend that much time with him. No one else in my family liked reading, so I didn't initially take to it.

Then when I was eleven, my teacher introduced me to the joys of reading. She gave me Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass as a present. I think she saw that I was a bit of an outsider and thought I would enjoy a book about a fellow day dreamer that didn't follow the rules. She was right. It was the first book I can truly say I fell in love with.

Now that I am older reading lets me connect with my dad, even though he is no longer around. I love finding his old books and reading them. It's my way of having a part of him all to myself." -Judy


How did you fall in love with books? Share your story with us in the comments!

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Exclusive: A Sneak Peek at the 10th Anniversary Edition of The Name of the Wind
Posted by Hayley on September 21, 2017

"My name is Kvothe… You may have heard of me."

Ten years after the publication of The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss' hero Kvothe—the Arcane, the Bloodless, the Kingkiller—is well on his way to becoming as legendary in our world as he is in his own. While readers await the final installment of his story, a television and film adaptation of the entire Kingkiller Chronicle is currently on its way from Lionsgate and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

To mark the anniversary of this beloved fantasy epic, a deluxe edition arrives next month, featuring a brand-new cover, never-before-seen illustrations by artist Dan Dos Santos, a pronunciation guide, and more. Rothfuss shares the edition's Author's Note exclusively with Goodreads as well as an updated world map by artist Nathan Taylor.




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First and foremost, this is the best, cleanest version of the text we have. We fixed a few mistakes we've discovered over the years. Though I've resisted the urge to go back in and fiddle with the language except for just a few words here and there for the sake of clarity. And a few more that I tucked in to add clues about the eighth Chandrian, Devi's real name, and Auri's backstory.

No. Wait. I'm sorry. I shouldn't joke about that. Don't waste your time digging through the text and comparing the changes. All of that was a lie.

Secondarily, we have illustrations by the marvelous Dan Dos Santos. New maps by friend and frequent artistic collaborator Nate Taylor, who has also graciously agreed to provide illustrations in the supplementary materials here at the end of the book.

What materials are those, you might ask? Well, for those of you who want to go deep, deep down the obsessive, geeky rabbit-hole of my worldbuilding, we have appendices which provide information about the history of the world, the calendar, and my multifarious currency systems.

There's a pronunciation guide, too. For those of you who are into that sort of thing….

* * *

One of the best things about my new life is getting to know the people who have read and enjoyed my books. Back when I daydreamed of being published, it never occurred to me that the community of readers that sprang up around my books would be so amazing. So wonderful and kind.

I started a blog, and tens of thousands of you showed up to read the little stories I wrote there. You have made beautiful fan art, sent me sweet letters and gifts. You show up when I attend conventions, podcasts, or play video games on Twitch.

I ran a photo contest and y'all stunned me with your creativity and enthusiasm. When I teamed up with a game designer to create the rules for Tak, you showed up on Kickstarter to help us produce it.

And when I started a charity, you proved how generous geeks could be. Through our online store (The Tinker's Packs) and various fundraisers, y'all have helped Worldbuilders raise more than $8,000,000 to help make the world a better place. Have I said thank you yet?

Even if I haven't said it yet, I hope you know that I've been thinking it.

Thank you.

—Patrick Rothfuss





The 10th Anniversary Edition of The Name of the Wind hits bookshelves on October 3. Add it to your Want to Read shelf here.

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The Best Young Adult Books of September
Posted by Hayley on September 20, 2017



A time-travel heist on the RMS Titanic, an all-out revolution at a Texas high school, and a kingdom of snow on the brink of a magical war…

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 the suburbs to fantasy epics in realms of mystery and mischief.

For September, we've got two buzzy debuts, plus a heartbreaking LGBT romance from the author of More Happy Than Not. 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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They Both Die at the End
by Adam Silvera

After getting the dreaded call from Death-Cast (a company that knows the day every person will die), strangers Mateo and Rufus meet up for a final adventure.



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If There's No Tomorrow
by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Lena's perfect senior year is falling apart. Barely coping with guilt over a night gone wrong, she tentatively turns to Sebastian, her childhood best friend.



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Girls Made of Snow and Glass (DEBUT)
by Melissa Bashardoust

A princess created from snow and a stepmother with a glass heart fight for power and peace in this dark and imaginative retelling of the Snow White fairy tale.



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Moxie
by Jennifer Mathieu

Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment, Vivian starts a feminist zine—and then an all-out "girl revolution"—at her Texas high school.



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Invictus
by Ryan Graudin

Time flies when you're plundering history! After flunking his final time-travel exam, Farway goes rogue and joins a dangerous heist on the sinking RMS Titanic.



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Black Bird of the Gallows (DEBUT)
by Meg Kassel

As an epic battle between good and evil takes over her town, Angie realizes the brooding athlete she's falling for may just be the harbinger of death.





Plus we've got fan Q&As with Warcross author Marie Lu and One Dark Throne author Kendare Blake as well as an exclusive excerpt from Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, one of the hottest debuts coming out in October.

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!


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History as Written by the Victorias: Tessa Dare on Love in a Bygone Era
Posted by Hayley on September 19, 2017



A former librarian and lifelong book lover, Tessa Dare is a bestselling author and the two-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award. Her new book, The Duchess Deal, sweeps readers away to Regency-era England, where fiery Emma Gladstone accepts a truly bizarre marriage proposal from the brooding Duke of Ashbury. Goodreads asked Dare to share her thoughts on the timeless appeal of historical romance.


Like many romance readers, I fell in love with the genre when I was a teenager. I cut my teeth on Jane Austen and Julie Garwood—and went on to devour every long-ago-and-somewhere-else romance novel my suburban public library had to offer. Somewhere along the way, my notions of romance became inextricably linked with corsets and carriages, kilts and cravats. Historical romance was not only my jam, but my conserves and blancmange, too.


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Historical romance perches on the fulcrum between the "once upon a time" of fairy tales and the struggles of a modern age. Picking up one of my favorite Julia Quinn, Loretta Chase, or Laura Kinsale novels offers just enough fantasy that I feel transported to another place and time while also including characters and relationships that resonate as real.

In a historical romance, chivalry is not only not lost—it's practically a profession! Love letters are written with quill and ink, while modern romances are negotiated in emojis. And the clothes! Oh, the clothes. All those buttons and laces and petticoats. Historical romance is, in a word, swoon-y.

But my absolute favorite thing about historical romance isn't the swoons. It's the subversiveness.

Romance is largely written by women, for women—and it puts women at the center of the story. When I think back to my beginnings as a romance reader, my high school curriculum was The Scarlet Letter, Madame Bovary, and Hamlet. Masterworks of literature, all three, but the women don't fare well. It came as a profound relief to stumble upon these novels in which the heroines pursued goals, fell in love, and took ownership of their sexuality—without being shunned, drowned, or poisoned with handfuls of arsenic for it! What a revelation.

A happy, fulfilled woman shouldn't be an elusive unicorn wandering the dense thickets of historical fiction. They say history is written by the victors? Well, historical romance lets the Victorias have their say. Women in all eras have worked, loved, resisted, persisted, and survived…to live happily ever after.

That's what I love to write and read, and it's what I personally intend to do, with all regards to Ophelia.


Tessa Dare's The Duchess Deal hit bookshelves on August 22. Add it to your Want to Read shelf here.

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The Season's Big Book-to-Screen Adaptations
Posted by Cybil on September 21, 2017



You all know how this works: An adaptation hits the movies or TV, and suddenly everyone is talking about it. But, my fellow readers, we know that you should always read the book first. With that (and your Want to Read shelf) in mind, here are some of the major adaptations headed to the big and small screens through the end of the year.

What can you expect? How about FBI agents hunting serial killers, a man surviving the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, a new Margaret Atwood series on Netflix, and a star-studded Murder on the Orient Express?

Check out the list below. Which ones are you most excited about? And which books do you still need to catch up on?


SEPTEMBER

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Stronger
September 22

Bostonian Jeff Bauman was cheering on his girlfriend at the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the 2013 bombing attacks occurred. His memoir recounts the aftermath of his ordeal. The movie version of the book stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, and Miranda Richardson.




OCTOBER

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Blade Runner 2049
October 6

The story is based on Philip K. Dick's classic sci-fi novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (and a sequel to the classic movie, which is now 30 years old). A young blade runner (Ryan Gosling) discovers a secret that leads him to a former blade runner (Harrison Ford, who reprises his role as Rick Deckard).




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The Mountain Between Us
October 6

Charles Martin's story of two strangers who survive a plane crash together in the mountains and their struggle to survive stars Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, and Dermot Mulroney.



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Mindhunter (Netflix)
October 13

David Fincher (of House of Cards fame) returns with his second Netflix show, which follows an FBI agent (played by Jonathan Groff) who develops crime-profiling techniques by interviewing serial killers. Be sure to read the true-crime story that inspired the show.



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The Foreigner
October 13

The film is based on Stephen Leather's thriller The Chinaman, in which a businessman with a secret past seeks justice when his daughter is killed. It stars Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, and Michael McElhatton.




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The Snowman
October 20

From the international bestseller by Jo Nesbø, detective Harry Hole investigates the mysterious disappearance of a woman. The movie stars Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, and Val Kilmer.




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Wonderstruck
October 20

Based on the novel from Brian Selznick, the film features a young boy in the 1970s and a girl in the 1920s who seek the same mysterious connection. The movie stars Oakes Fegley, Julianne Moore, and Michelle Williams.




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Same Kind of Different as Me
October 20

International art dealer Ron Hall befriends a homeless man to save his marriage in this movie adapted from the book of the same name. It stars Renée Zellweger, Jon Voight, and Djimon Hounsou.



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Thank You for Your Service
October 27

Based on David Finkel's nonfiction account of a group of American soldiers serving in Baghdad and their hard homecomings, the movie stars Haley Bennett, Miles Teller, and Keisha Castle-Hughes.




NOVEMBER

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Alias Grace (Netflix)
November 3

Margaret Atwood's story is about a poor, young Irish domestic servant in Canada who, along with the stable hand, is imprisoned for the brutal murders of their employer and his housekeeper in 1843. The TV series stars Sarah Gadon, Edward Holcroft, and Zachary Levi.



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Murder on the Orient Express
November 10

This Agatha Christie classic murder mystery, which follows detective Hercule Poirot's investigation of a wealthy American's death aboard the Orient Express, stars Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley.



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Wonder
November 17

Based on the adored book by R.J. Palacio, Wonder is a heartwarming story of a young boy with a facial deformity who works to convince his new classmates that he's one of them. It stars Room's Jacob Tremblay, Owen Wilson, and Julia Roberts.



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Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool
November 17

The story is based on the memoir by Peter Turner, a man who cares for his aging former flame, who is also a movie star. It stars Jamie Bell, Annette Bening, and Julie Walters.



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Call Me By Your Name
November 24

Based on André Aciman's book of the same name, this coming-of-age story is about a romance between a teen boy and his parent's summer guest. The movie stars Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, and Michael Stuhlbarg.



DECEMBER

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The Disaster Artist
December 8

This is the true story behind one of the worst movies ever made. It's based on Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell's account of the making of The Room and stars Alison Brie, Zac Efron, and James Franco.



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Ferdinand
December 15

The animated adaptation of the children's classic—about a bull who would rather sit and smell flowers than fight—features the voices of Kate McKinnon, David Tennant, and Bobby Cannavale.



TBD in 2017

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Watership Down (Netflix)
TBD

The BBC is partnering with Netflix on this new animated miniseries based on the beloved Richard Adams classic. It stars James McAvoy, John Boyega, and Ben Kingsley.





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Hide a Book Day: Highlights from Around the World
Posted by Hayley on September 18, 2017



Hide a Book Day is finally here! As part of our Ten-Year Anniversary Celebration, Goodreads is teaming up with The Book Fairies to hide books for people to find, read, and pass on.


Once you hide your book, take a picture and share it with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtags #goodreadsturns10, #hideabookday, and #ibelieveinbookfairies—and don't forget to let us know where you are. From the United States to Thailand, from South Africa to Australia, help us spread Hide a Book Day all over the world! Check out where your fellow Goodreads members and Book Fairies have hidden books so far:



We'll be updating this post throughout the day with your best photos!


The Book Fairies at Underground Books spread their dictionary wings.


The Library of Shadows wants to get checked out.


Goodreads cofounder Elizabeth hides her books at a foggy San Francisco landmark.


The Liars' Club lurks in the wild.


A copy of Nicholas Sparks' Two by Two left by…Nicholas Sparks!


The Almost Animals looks for a good home in Bath.


The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay swims with the fishes in Cape Town.


The Fire This Time waits for the right caller.


Annihilation attempts to blend in.


Good Omens sees a great reader in its future.


Sylvia Day gets sneaky while hiding her own books.


The City Baker's Guide to Country Living in a city bakery.



Where are you hiding your books? Tell us in the comments!

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(Top image credit: Underground Books)
An Inside Look at 40 Years of Rock n' Roll
Posted by Cybil on September 20, 2017




"I want the reader at the end of this book to feel like they've just spent a year on the road with Zeppelin with one day off, then six months with Guns 'n' Roses, with one day off and then five years with Bruce Springsteen. Exhilarated and exhausted."
—Neal Preston.



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Neal Preston, one of rock n' roll's greatest photographers, is releasing a no-holds-barred look into his 40-year career chronicling the biggest names in music in the upcoming Neal Preston: Exhilarated and Exhausted.

Preston was the official tour photographer for Led Zeppelin, Queen, Bruce Springsteen, and The Who. He's also extensively shot The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, and many more. Over the years, these images have been showcased in magazines, newspapers, books, TV shows, films, and documentaries.

The book begins with a forward from his close friend, writer and film director Cameron Crowe (whose movie Almost Famous was based on his time at Rolling Stone). Crowe met Preston in 1972 at a Humble Pie concert:


"Together we were kids who hopped from circus to circus. Our shared fandom for the music and the artists we loved was infectious, I think, and I'm sure that was one of the reasons we often got access others didn't. Rolling Stone noticed too, and as I got more and more assignments, Neal and I honed our work mode into a joyous blizzard of experiencing shows and documenting it all for the precious few publications that then featured musicians like the ones we loved. Jackson Browne, Deep Purple, Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, The Eagles…soon I had a shoulder-bag like Neal's. Mine was filled with notebooks and interview cassettes. I'm not sure those early stories would have had the same fire if we hadn't seen the sunrise together, recapping our exploits, and pouring over who we'd met, and all we'd witnessed earlier in the evening. We had a nickname for ourselves—Team City.

Sometimes I feel like it's been one long, constantly surprising Team City assignment. Neal Preston has made a magnificent career, and more importantly a life out of the passion that lives in every frame he shoots. The artists themselves—from Zeppelin to Springsteen to Freddie Mercury to Ronnie Van Zant to Stevie Nicks and far beyond—have always sparked not just to his enormous skills but to his personality.

Within minutes, it seems, his subjects feel Neal's deep knowledge of the music, his grand sense of humor and his love of every cable, and every crew member that makes a tour happen. Artifices drop. Candor reigns. Jimmy Page tells Neal he's interested in him capturing the "power, romance, mystery and the Hammer of the Gods" in the photos. I write it. It becomes a phrase that rockets around the world.

Marvin Gaye, in his last major photo session, sees a compatriot in the adventure, he leans forward and tells Neal with a wink, "just make me look good for the ladies." Of course he does, but more importantly—the magical sense of community with Neal is right there in Marvin's soft stare."

Stevie Nicks
Elton John
Peter Frampton
The Who


Top image, Bob Marley. All images and the above excerpt © Neal Preston: Exhilarated and Exhausted, published by Reel Art Press 2017.



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Exclusive: Larry McMurtry on the Last of the Cowboys
Posted by Cybil on September 19, 2017



While Larry McMurtry is largely known by younger generations for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Lonesome Dove, it is his first three novels—Horseman, Pass By, Leaving Cheyenne, and The Last Picture Show—that brought him to national prominence and boldly injected realism into American literature. This trilogy, Thalia, is being re-released for the first time this month along with the following new introduction by the author, which was given exclusively to Goodreads to excerpt:



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Life and art alike are filled with accidents. The big one in my career was the discovery, by chance, of William Butler Yeats, the great Irish poet, and his famous epigraph:

Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!


Had I not stumbled upon those words, I have often wondered whether I would have written Horseman, Pass By. It was, for me, the key that turned the starter to my journey as a writer. I went home to Archer City in 1958, the summer after I graduated from North Texas State University in Denton, Texas, to cowboy on my father's ranch while I wrote the book.

I had little previous experience in writing fiction, but I jumped right into Horseman. The novel grew out of a short story I had written in the only creative writing class I attended while at North Texas State, which was about the decline and death of a famous Panhandle cattleman. It was probably my first intimation of Charles Goodnight, the great Panhandle cattleman himself. My father's own family produced nine cattlemen, who were sprinkled all over the Texas Panhandle. In all, I did five drafts, written at a five-pages-a-day pace. Once my fluency was established, I occasionally doubled that pace, but the five-pages-a-day is the one that has served me throughout most of my writing life. I finished Horseman about a week before I left Archer City for Houston, Texas, where I was about to enroll at Rice University as a graduate student in English.

Looking back, I realize that completing Horseman, Pass By marked the end of my direct contact with the myth of the cowboy—or at least, the myth carried throughout their lives by the cowboys I knew. My father was one of those cowboys. I myself have carried that myth through more than forty books. I didn't know where the completion of that first novel might lead, but I did know, once I finished it, that my life was to be spent with words.

Leaving Cheyenne, written a few years after my first novel, is, in my estimation, a vast improvement over the occasionally pleasing lyricism of Horseman, Pass By. At the very least, I like to feel that in Leaving Cheyenne, I had matured as a writer. It tells the bittersweet story of a longtime love triangle among a rancher, his cowboy, and an appealing countrywoman who loves them both. It might be generous to call it my American version of Jules et Jim, Francois Truffaut's lively masterpiece that tells the same story in French.

The Last Picture Show, the third book contained in this Thalia trilogy and originally published in 1966, was written while I was teaching freshman English at Rice University in Houston. It was written in order to teach myself how to write fiction in the third person. I wrote it in the first person and then painstakingly translated it into third person. The Last Picture Show is mostly known by the brilliant movie (written mostly by me and Polly Platt) directed by Peter Bogdanovich. Polly, Peter's wife at the time, had read the novel, loved it, and then pestered her husband to read it and consider adapting it into a film. She had multiple roles on the movie, including production design, makeup, and helping Peter find its brilliant cast. Polly and I remained close long after the film ended and up to her death in 2011.

The novel takes place in a small town in 1950s Texas I called Thalia, much like the small town where I grew up, but that small town might live anywhere within the vastness of this great United States. The movie house in Archer City burned down in the 1950s, when the population was less than two thousand people—the same census number today. The closing of the picture show in a place already isolated from the outside world would undoubtedly intensify, both intellectually and emotionally, that sense of isolation.

After World War II, much of America began an exodus from the small towns to the cities. And so the myth of the cowboy grew purer, because there were so few actual cowboys to dispel it. While writing these three novels, it was clear to me that I was witnessing the dying of a way of life, too—the rural, pastoral way of life. And in many of the books that I've produced, it has taken thousands of words to attend, as best I could, to the passing of the cowboy as well: the myth of my country, and of my people, too.

—Larry McMurtry

The above excerpt was reprinted from Thalia by Larry McMurtry © 2017 by Larry McMurtry. Used with permission of the publisher, Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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Exclusive Excerpt: Colleen Hoover's Without Merit
Posted by Hayley on September 15, 2017


A new Colleen Hoover novel is a big deal around here. The bestselling author's last two books, It Ends with Us and Confess, both took home the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance. Her latest, Without Merit, hits bookshelves next month (just in time to be eligible for this year's Choice awards). The powerful tale about a young woman who bares her darkest secrets to her seemingly happy loved ones is drawing comparisons to the works of Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes. Hoover shares an exclusive excerpt with Goodreads.


I can't think of a single instance where I've been looked at like he's looking at me right now. Like I fascinate him. I know we don't know each other at all and whatever this connection is between us will probably be ruined the moment we have our first real conversation. He'll probably be a douchebag or he'll think I'm weird and then it'll get awkward and we'll be more happy to go our separate ways. That's how my interactions with guys usually go. But right now in this moment, knowing nothing about him other than the intensity in his expression, it allows me to imagine he's perfect. I pretend he's smart and respectful and funny and artistic. Because he would be all those things if he were the perfect guy. I'm content with imagining he possesses these qualities for as long as he's going to stand here in front of me.


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He takes a step closer to me and it suddenly feels like I've swallowed his heart because I have all these extra beats in my chest. His eyes drop to my mouth and I'm certain he's about to kiss me. I hope he is. Which is odd because I've literally only spoken a couple of sentences to him but I want him to kiss me while I'm imagining him to be perfect, because that means his kiss would probably be perfect, too.

His fingers feather up my wrist but it feels more like he has both fists clasped tightly around my lungs. My chills chase his fingers up my arm until his hand is resting against my neck.

I don't know how I'm still standing with the unreliable legs I seem to have right now. My head is tilted back and his mouth is inches from mine, as if he's hesitating. He smiles and whispers, "You bury me."

I have no idea what those words mean, but I like them. And I like how his lips connect softly with mine right after he finishes saying whatever it was he just said. And I was right. It's perfect. So perfect, it feels like the old days in the movies when the male lead would press his hand against the woman's back and she would curve her body backward against the pressure of his kiss like the letter C while he pulls her against him. It's just like that.

He's pulling me to him when his tongue slides across my lips. And just like in the movies, my arms are dangling at my sides until I realize how much I want to be in this with him and finally begin to kiss him back. He tastes like mint ice cream and it's perfect because this moment ranks high on my scale of favorites, right up there with dessert. This is almost comical—this stranger, kissing me as if it were the last thing left on his bucket list. It makes me wonder what compelled him to do this.

Both of his hands move to hold my face now, like we have nowhere else to be today. He's not in a hurry with his kiss and he definitely doesn't care who sees this because we're in the middle of the town square and two people have already honked at us. I wrap one of my arms around his neck and decide I'll just let him continue for as long as he wants because I don't have anywhere to be right now. Even if I did, I'd cancel my plans in exchange for this.

Right when one of his hands slides through my hair, the water splashes beneath my feet. I squeal a little because it's unexpected. He laughs, but he doesn't stop kissing me. Now we're being soaked because my foot isn't covering the spout all the way, but neither of us cares. It just adds to the ridiculousness of this kiss. The ringtone on his phone adds even more ridiculousness to the moment because of course we'd be interrupted right now. Of course. It was way too perfect.

He pulls back and the look in his eye is somehow satiated and starving at the same time. He pulls his phone out of his pocket and looks down at it. "Did you lose your phone or is this a joke?"

I shrug because I have no idea which part of this he thinks might be a joke. Me allowing him to kiss me? Someone calling him in the middle of said kiss? He laughs a little as he presses the phone against his ear. "Hello?"

The smile leaves his expression and now he just looks confused. "Who is this?" He waits a couple of seconds and then pulls the phone away from his ear and looks down at it. Then he looks up at me. "Seriously. Is this a prank?"

I don't know if he's talking to me or the person on the phone, so I shrug again. He puts the phone to his ear and takes a step away from me. "Who is this?" he repeats. He laughs nervously and grips the back of his neck. "But...you're standing right in front of me."

I can feel the color drain from my face at that sentence. All the color in my body—in this ridiculous moment with this random guy—pools at my feet, leaving me feeling like the second-rate carbon copy of Honor Voss. My twin sister. The girl who is obviously on the other end of that phone call.

I cover my face with my hand and turn around, grabbing my shoes and my sack. I hope I can put as much distance between us as possible before he figures out that the girl he just kissed isn't Honor.

I can't believe this is happening. I just kissed my sister's boyfriend.


You can read the rest of the story when Without Merit hits bookshelves on October 3.


September's Hottest Books
Posted by Cybil on September 14, 2017



Every month, Goodreads editors comb through our data to find which of the latest new releases are resonating with readers. In September, we have some beloved authors returning to the bookstores, with new novels from writers including Celeste Ng, Jesmyn Ward, Salman Rushdie, Stephen King, and Ann Leckie. They'll take readers from drama in 1990s Shaker Heights, Ohio, to interstellar intrigue far, far away.

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


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Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng

Two years after her hit debut, Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng's sophomore novel, Little Fires Everywhere explores an ugly custody battle that shatters life in an Ohio town.
[Read our exclusive interview with Ng]



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Sing, Unburied, Sing
by Jesmyn Ward

The author of Salvage the Bones explores both history and the supernatural in Sing, Unburied, Sing, where Mississippi's past and present collide as a desperate mother takes her kids on a road trip to meet their ex-con father.
[Read our exclusive interview with Ward]



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Sourdough
by Robin Sloan

Lois Clary is a talented young programmer from Michigan who finds her way to San Francisco and into the weird world of food that waits there. Lois' life is a swirl of tech company workaholics, food, microbes…and a possibly sentient sourdough starter. You know, the usual.
[Check out Sloan's Favorite San Francisco Books]



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Provenance
by Ann Leckie

Leckie is following up on the success of her Hugo-winning novel Ancillary Justice with her new sci-fi book, Provenance, about a young woman caught in an interstellar conflict as she makes a desperate bid to recover lost artifacts prized by her people.
[Check out Leckie's Favorite Sci-Fi Women Protagonists]



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Fever
by Deon Meyer

The South African writer has garnered fans worldwide with his bestselling Benny Griessel books. Now he uses his expertise as a thriller author to bring a dose of suspense to this post-apocalyptic novel that follows a father and son who have survived a deadly virus known as "the Fever."
[Check out Meyer's Favorite Post-apocalyptic Novels]



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The Golden House
by Salman Rushdie

During the Obama-era, a real estate tycoon's family rises to power in this novel that fuses pop culture and politics. Betsey says, "Open the book and trust that Rushdie will take you on an explosive, monumental, and impossible-to-forget journey."



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The Ninth Hour
by Alice McDermott

In 20th-century Catholic Brooklyn, a man's suicide shakes the life of his widow and daughter as well as the nuns who care for them. Yukari says, "It's an exquisite novel that portrays Catholic Brooklyn in the early 20th century. I loved the nuns McDermott introduced to us. They make you care about them and ultimately our lives."



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Sleeping Beauties
by Stephen King and Owen King

Men are left on their own as a strange sickness plunges the world's women into a deep un-waking sleep in this novel from the father and son writing duo. Joshua says, "Stephen King doesn't disappoint. This first-time collaboration with Owen King, his son, is absolutely delicious."




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They Both Die at the End
by Adam Silvera

In this YA novel, two strangers get a call from Death-Cast: They're going to die today. Luckily for those looking for an End Day friend, there's an app for that. Destiny says, "This was my first ever Adam Silvera book, and I'd been warned by so many people to prepare myself for ALL OF THE FEELS, but nobody could have really made me understand just how fast and hard I would fall in love with Adam's writing voice."




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The Best of Us
by Joyce Maynard

In this memoir, Maynard meets the love of her life while in her fifties, and then has to face the challenge of his sudden illness. Laurel-Rain says, "As I reached the final page, tears flowed as I took in the beauty of a love discovered later in life, a love that lasted just a few years but turned out to be a forever love.




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The Last Castle
by Denise Kiernan

History and architecture buffs will love reading about one of America's grandest homes—the Vanderbilt family's Biltmore. Stephanie says, "Visits to the Biltmore always provoke awe. The beauty and grandeur are stunning! Now we have a fascinating story of the people who had the vision to develop this lovely place."



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