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Exclusive Excerpt: Julie C. Dao's Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
Posted by Hayley on September 12, 2017


First drawn to storytelling when she was eight, devouring Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables, and Choose Your Own Adventure books, Julie C. Dao will publish her debut novel, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, next month. Blending East Asian mythology with classic fairy tales, this dazzling YA fantasy features a girl grappling with her own darkness, a demanding god, and a callous magic fueled by eating the hearts of men. Dao shares an exclusive excerpt with Goodreads.


There was another room on that upper level, one of which they never spoke. It had once stored valuable tools: vats for cooking dyes, bamboo dowels for drying fabric, and boxes of needles, thread, and scissors. Guma had once made a bitter remark that her parents must be rolling in their graves now that she had turned it into a sanctuary for her unspeakable craft.


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Not so very long ago, the Hou family had been tailors of rare and cunning skill with clients from across the continent of Feng Lu. Desert dwellers journeyed endless miles, bearing cobweb-thin silks to be woven into veils against the sun. Hunters brought furs down from the mountains for hoods and cloaks, telling tales of beasts the flatland folk had only heard of through legend.

Fanciful stories spread of how the Hou tailors would stitch in luck and goodwill if one paid well; underpay, and they took revenge by weaving in an impossible-to-satisfy itch, a harelip for one's firstborn, or a jealous husband. Guma's parents coyly courted these rumors, which brought in money for feasts and music lessons for their daughters, but took care to dismiss the gossip when asked directly. It would not do to own up to such abilities, not when family members had been executed for less in the past. A streak of magic had plagued the Hou blood for centuries, one that only recent generations had managed to suppress through willpower and discipline.

"Hypocrites," Guma sneered whenever she spoke of her parents, "denying the very gift that brought them their fame." Where the rest of her family had sought to curb and smother their magic, Guma embraced it with religious fervor.

Now, Xifeng followed her into the room, each of them carrying a tallow candle. It was so small, they barely fit inside together, but Guma had managed to squeeze in all she needed for her secret trade. Dried plants dangled from the ceiling, polluting the air with a venomous odor, and carvings and oddly shaped rocks covered the walls. On a crooked shelf lay a collection of rusted knives and bowls stained with vile fluids. And in the center of this dark den was a blood-spattered table, beneath which Guma had hidden her most treasured possessions.

She spread the contents of a small oak box on the table as Xifeng watched: nineteen rectangles of fine yellow wood, depicting images in burgundy-black ink. They showed emperors and empresses, crowned dragons, barren rice fields, and a monk raising a skull above his head. Xifeng could not read them herself, but she knew they concealed depths of meaning, each layer of truth peeling back to reveal an even more convoluted answer. And the messages shifted again when combined with other cards.

As she studied the images, her aunt limped around the room, lighting more candles and a large pot of incense. With the door closed, the poison-sweet fumes wrapped curls of thick, heady fragrance around her. Xifeng hated the smell, which made her light-headed and prone to strange dreams while awake, but Guma insisted on the incense for every reading. Whether it was because she enjoyed Xifeng's discomfort or needed the scent for her art, she never made clear.

The foreign deck of cards had come to Guma many years ago. Since then, she had given up the traditional wooden sticks preferred by most seers, favoring blood truth. She had taught Xifeng that the spirits of magic were reluctant to release answers without a blood sacrifice first.

Guma shuffled the cards and turned them facedown, reaching for a knife. Seizing Xifeng's left hand, she flipped the palm upward and sliced the base of her index finger. Xifeng did not flinch when the blade bit into her flesh, knowing how Guma detested weakness. The incense seemed to help, blurring the pain as a line of blood spilled randomly across several cards.

Guma turned the bloodied rectangles over with a smile. These were the same six images the spirits selected for Xifeng whenever the cards drank her blood. And drink they did, for the droplets had already begun sinking into their grain.

"I told you," her aunt gloated, tapping the first card, which showed a withered field. Beside it, the second card depicted a steed with a sword embedded in its heart. "The barren rice field means hopelessness, unless paired with the horse as it is here. When the spirit is gone, the body nourishes the empty earth. You are resourceful. You will find a way around hopelessness, and create something out of nothing."

More familiar words. More promises of talent, of a greatness Xifeng longed for desperately but could not find inside her, no matter how hard she looked.

She worried her lip between her teeth, bending over the horse card to hide her doubt from Guma. The point at which the blade entered the steed's body seemed to gleam. She imagined its heart bursting upon impact, the lifeblood spilling from its body, and felt the urge to lower her lips and drink before it was wasted.

Lifeblood, the essence of the heart, contained the most powerful magic in the world. Guma had taught her to revere the heart, for even that of an animal was enough to perform complex spells. Depending on the skill of the wielder, one could summon and communicate with others who knew this forbidden magic, or even cast a glamour over oneself to compel and attract.

Xifeng moved on to the next two cards. One showed a lotus opening beneath the moon, and the other displayed a man with a dagger in his back, shreds of flesh clinging to the blade.

"Fate finds you alluring," Guma said, tapping the lotus, "but do not be fooled. It is you who are its slave. Let no one stand in your way. If they face you, your beauty will entrap them. If they turn away, you will stab them in the back."

A scowl creased Guma's face when she saw the fifth card. On it, a handsome warrior rode into battle with a bloodstained chrysanthemum, a keepsake from his lady. The slope of his shoulders was like Wei's, and Guma pushed the image away without comment. This card was the reason she didn't punish Xifeng more severely for seeing Wei, for it foretold that he would play some important role in Xifeng's life, whether her aunt liked it or not. The bamboo cane stung but did not stop them from meeting in secret, and Guma knew it.

Sacrifice.

The word seemed to echo in the darkness as Xifeng studied the warrior's bloody flower. That was the meaning of this card, Guma had explained once. A relinquishing of something—or someone—dear, as payment for greatness. Xifeng tore her eyes from it, unwilling to think just now about what or whom she might have to lose.

And there it was again: the sixth card, showing the back of a woman's head, uncrowned, the dark spill of her hair like a stain.

"The Empress," Xifeng said.

Guma watched her through narrow eyes as she took in her future. This card reigned above all others; this sliver of wood showed Xifeng's true destiny. This was the greatness for which she would have to pay.


You can read the rest of the story when Forest of a Thousand Lanterns hits bookshelves on October 10.


You're Doing Just Fine: Annie Barrows' Not-So-Secret Message to Young Readers
Posted by Hayley on September 12, 2017



Best known for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which she cowrote with her aunt, Mary Ann Schaffer, and her Ivy and Bean children's books, Annie Barrows tackles young adult fiction for the first time—at the request of her own daughter—in her new book, Nothing. Goodreads asked Barrows to share her thoughts on writing for teens.


You want to know a secret?

All the books I've written for kids are about the same thing. The Ivy and Bean books, my picture book that's coming out next year, and now Nothing, my new YA book—they're all about the same idea, and here it is: You don't need to get better. You're already fine the way you are.

Wait. Don't go. Let me explain. I'm not saying that even if you run over small animals, you're beautiful inside. You're not. I'm not saying that you don't need to learn the multiplication tables because you already have inner wisdom. Learn them.


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What I'm saying—over and over again—is this: Kids are told that they shouldn't get what they want because they make bad decisions. This is not true. This is a scam. Kids don't get what they want because it's not usually what grown-ups want. And grown-ups run the show.

For example, seven-year-old kids generally want to run around more than they want to sit at desks and do spelling worksheets. Their grown-ups want them to learn to spell. So their grown-ups say something along the lines of this: "You're having trouble controlling yourself" or "Now is the time for quiet hands and feet." Sez who? Sez the person who will be most inconvenienced if kids run around the room like maniacs. But notice the way the grown-up's problem is framed: as if the kid were wrong.

Grown-ups should be honest about why kids need to follow orders. It's because it's a problem for the grown-ups if they don't; it's not because they're bad if they don't.

Now, it's one thing to talk this way about seven-year-olds because everyone knows that they will probably die if they are not at least somewhat governed. But what about teens? The whole scaffolding of adult authority gets shaky with regard to teens because what they want is, er, really close to what grown-ups want. How embarrassing. How difficult to condemn teens for wanting love and sex and intoxicants and money and community and meaning and a vacation and—most frightening of all—agency, when those are exactly the same things we want. And, in many cases, have failed to attain or have messed up.

It's incredibly frightening for grown-ups to admit that what teens want is valid. Why? I'm not exactly sure. Maybe it's because it makes us feel bad to see what a hash we've made of those elements in our lives. Maybe it's because we want to protect our teens from sorrow and regret. Or maybe it's just really inconvenient to have to respect another person's wishes after all those years of denying them.

Whatever the reason, we grown-ups cling to old habits. Over and over again, we undercut the validity of teens' desires by questioning (or outright rejecting) their judgment and competence, by reinforcing self-doubt, by demonizing their pleasures, and by cultivating a culture of fear. Teenagers are often portrayed as powerless, shallow, oppressed, hurt, in need of a comeuppance, ignorant, mean, weak, depraved, and confused.

Personally, I think this is utter crap. The teens who are currently in my life and my kitchen are sometimes some of these things. And sometimes they are bright, just, loving, communicative, hopeful, generous, kindhearted, and funny. On occasion they are profoundly irritating, by which I mean they cause me inconvenience.

But they aren't wrong. They're fine.


Annie Barrows' Nothing hit bookshelves on September 5. Add it to your Want to Read shelf here.


Readers' Favorite Quotes from The Catcher in the Rye
Posted by Hayley on September 07, 2017



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

Holden Caulfield gets us…or the us we used to be. The protagonist of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye is an icon, a literary champion of teen rebellion and angst. Many of us first met him in school, as part of our required reading, and we were pleasantly surprised to find a kindred spirit there, a fellow reader, dreamer, and cynic.

With Salinger's own story about to come to the big screen in Rebel in the Rye, we took a look at the most beloved quotes from his classic novel, as selected by Goodreads members. (And check out ten interesting facts about The Catcher in the Rye here!)


1. "What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though."

2. "Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody."



3. "Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry."


4. "I'm quite illiterate, but I read a lot."

5. "Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around—nobody big, I mean—except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be."


6. "I am always saying 'Glad to've met you' to somebody I'm not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though."

7. "I like it when somebody gets excited about something. It's nice."




What's your favorite quote from The Catcher in the Rye? Share it with us in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
Growing Up Into Goodreads
Five Stories of Friendship and Favorite Books Found on Goodreads
Hide a Book with Goodreads

Growing Up Into Goodreads
Posted by Elizabeth on September 05, 2017


Goodreads Turns Ten is sponsored by Audible. Enjoy a free book with your trial.


Earlier this year my oldest daughter started reading. As she brushed back her wispy strands of blond hair and dragged her teeth across her lips in concentration, it occurred to me that I had forgotten those early halting steps: chopping out the pieces of a word; stringing the phonics together like beads on a wire; and then…a sentence…suddenly…a story. How difficult it is to memorize all the permutations of letter sounds until you spit out full words!

I didn't expect to feel so strongly when I watched her face smooth out with comprehension. Emotions came rumbling forward, making me stop for a moment, abandoning my busy life. I just watched her. She had gained entrance into a magical club, and I was seeing the crossing over.

My mind started spinning toward the future. She could now propel her own acquisition of knowledge of the world, going where her passions led her and dropping down into a story that could change her life or give her comfort when the real world bruised. I sat there, sucked into the story, enthralled by my daughter's discovery of Tim and his pal, Al, helping each other when the other was sad.

I started thinking about all the books from childhood that have become hallmarks in my life: Heidi when I was a little girl, instilling in me a desire to help others and admiring her purity and spirit; The Little House on the Prairie books, where I grew a deep appreciation and respect for hard work and perseverance. I remember reading the Childcraft How & Why books and learning that young Native American boys would go out on a voyage when they came of age, returning home to their village after they tested themselves and became confident in their abilities. I vowed to do that, too. High school years were punctuated by books such as The Power of One, and I spent a few years idolizing the protagonist (a young South African boy who boxed), applying his knowledge to my pursuit of ballet and taking comfort in his principles against injustice and bravery as he faced his lonely road. Later in life, in college and beyond, I found more and more books that formed the bricks of my foundation of values.

In a surprising way, reading for me has taken my own life down a deep groove, more profound than I ever expected, often harder than I expected. I was a precocious reader, a writer and a journalist, and then I became cofounder and editor of Goodreads, a tech company all about books: finding them, sharing them, connecting over them, interviewing and collaborating with the makers, the sellers, the coders, the designers, all coming together in a symphony of passion for the object, and allowing our members to be the artists behind the content.

I've joked that I was an accidental entrepreneur. Among the scores of jobs I considered (I kept them in a yellow notepad with lists of pros and cons), bard was high on the list, but I became a journalist because I loved writing and it would sort of pay the bills (for years I tutored girls in high school calculus to support my journalism habit). When my husband came up with the idea for Goodreads and said he needed a cofounder, I thought about it and realized that this was the one exception I would make to the things I'd said I would never do: work with my husband, work in tech, start a business in a field far from my métier as an arts, style, and culture writer.

It was about books. How could I resist? Books matter more than anything. Suddenly I found myself testing features, rewriting copy on the site (after all, our members are literary people, and conjunction errors are unacceptable!), setting up newsletters, training writers to interview authors, doing interviews myself, writing press releases, thinking about the story of Goodreads and the brand that I envisioned for us: a place that was not snobby and not about our own personal tastes, a safe place for all readers to express themselves, share, and get excited about books.


It's been ten years now. Since those fateful days in 2007, we've seen our personal life blossom—three girls joined our family—and our professional lives evolve. We joined Amazon in 2013, which gives us the reach and resources to create even better experiences for our members, and Otis continues his work as CEO and I continue to work as editor in chief. Our team has grown to nearly 150 book lovers in San Francisco, Seattle, Costa Rica, South Africa, New York, and Los Angeles. At Goodreads our employees are both great at what they do and as passionate about reading as we are. But the most amazing thing is that the company has so much more ahead of it. I can't wait to see what it looks like in another ten years.

And we wouldn't have gotten here without the passion, joy, and energy of you, all our fellow readers. Some of my fondest memories are of interacting with members and hearing the stories of serendipity among like-minded readers: the couple who sent us pictures of their book-themed wedding in Oregon (they met on Goodreads); the woman who sent us a heartfelt letter telling us about how the friends she made on the site helped her get through cancer; the book club moderator who was surprised by an author ordering pizza for the group after seeing that they were reading her book on the site!

Things that get big are interesting and an accomplishment, but perhaps it's the editor in me that still cares about the details and the granular. Watching my daughter begin the voyage as a reader, I'm reminded that she is just one new little reader entering the tribe. And yet I can't help but feel she's embarking on her own personal Odyssey, her voyage into the wilderness to prove herself. Oh, what a journey it will be.

Fellow readers, what books have been part of your personal voyage? I would love to know.

—Elizabeth

See complete coverage of the Goodreads Ten-Year Anniversary Celebration, including:
Your Favorite Authors' Top Ten Favorite Books
Ten of Our Top Reviews of All Time
Ten Ways You Know You're a Goodreads Member
Participate in our Hide-a-Book Day on September 18



Five Stories of Friendship and Favorite Books Found on Goodreads
Posted by Hayley on September 05, 2017


Goodreads Turns Ten is sponsored by Audible. Enjoy a free book with your trial.

"Friendship," C.S. Lewis wrote, "is born at the moment when one man says to another, 'What! You, too? I thought that no one but myself…'"

We see a lot of those moments on Goodreads. Here you are not alone in your love of authors and books; here you can find entire groups of readers as caught up in other worlds and other characters as you are.


As Goodreads Turns Ten, we wanted to highlight some amazing stories from our members about finding kindred spirits and rediscovering the joy of reading. Read them below, and, if you have your own story, share it with us in the comments.


International Pen Pals


"Several years ago I connected with a woman from Germany named Carolin on Goodreads. We had read the same book, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and started discussing it. Over many exchanged messages, we found we had a lot in common. And we just kept talking. We became very close. She would mail me surprises from whatever country she was visiting.

When I lost my first son, she was a great comfort to me. We never lost contact. Last year she flew all the way from Poland to Colorado to visit with us! We hung out and had an amazing time.

And it all started over a random book on Goodreads!"
-Leah K.


Guilt Free


"I stumbled into romance books as a guilty pleasure in my late twenties—and I do mean 'guilty.' I would never, ever, on pain of death to my e-reader, have admitted out loud what I liked to read. Instead, desperate for more recommendations but too shy to ask anyone in real life, I found Goodreads.

After meeting hundreds of like-minded readers and authors on the website, I stopped feeling guilty about my books. I even casually sorta-kinda dropped it into conversation with my sister one day to see what would happen. Lo and behold, she was a closet romance fan, too! Intrigued, I asked my mom and...yup! Now we trade recommendations and industry gossip and even go to conventions together. Goodreads for the win!"
-Z-Squared


Happily Ever After


"My brother Hani is getting married to a woman named Hind Al Essa. We all used to live in Saudi Arabia, but Hani and Hind met on Goodreads after bonding over the books of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, their favorite author."
-Hind


Origin Story


"I was always a reader. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother taking me to the library so I could pick out books to read on the weekends. I didn't know a lot of other people who read, so reading was mostly an isolated act for me.

Then, in 2007, I discovered Goodreads. Not only did I immediately join book clubs to connect with readers, I also started shelving and reviewing books. I didn't know it at the time but both of those activities would lead me to where I am now— a creator and moderator of The Next Best Book Club (TNBBC) and a small press book blogger/freelance publicist.

From the moment I created an account here, not a day has gone by where I haven't checked in to the site. Through Goodreads and TNBBC, I've met a seemingly infinite number of amazing readers and authors. I've discovered new and exciting books to read, and I've been able to introduce those books and authors to other readers, too!

I am so thankful for Otis and Elizabeth and the book haven they've created for us. My reading life exploded when I found Goodreads, and I don't know where I'd be today without it."
-Lori


From: Your Favorite Author


"I was engaged to be married in November. For the past few months, he had been keeping a secret that he was not ready to get married and was hoping to change his mind by the time the wedding day came. (Imagine that perfect plot of being left at the altar!) Thankfully, I found out and called off our engagement.

In order to keep myself distracted, I decided to pick up reading again. After a few tries, I found a book that was just daring me to read it—The Fantastic Fable of Peter Able by Natalie Grigson. I was so in love with everything about this book that I decided to message the author on Goodreads. She was like a celebrity to me, so I never actually expected anything to come of my message to her. But then I saw an email pop up on my iPhone! I had to catch my breath for the next five minutes. Natalie replied back…to me!

Since then, I've been so fortunate to exchange a couple of emails with her. I told her she was the reason my "internal monologue" was something I was no longer ashamed of! And thanks to the encouragement, I started my own book club. Natalie gave me the confidence I needed to open myself back up to literature."
-Elizabeth C.


See complete coverage of the Goodreads Ten-Year Anniversary Celebration, including:
Participate in our Hide-a-Book Day on September 18
The Best Books of the Decade, Chosen by You
Ten of Our Top Reviews of All Time
Ten Ways You Know You're a Goodreads Member



Ten Ways You Know You're a Goodreads Member
Posted by Hayley on September 05, 2017


Goodreads Turns Ten is sponsored by Audible. Enjoy a free book with your trial.

Your Want to Read shelf is out of control. You need to update your reading status. You'd rather be reading your book right now. (Sorry, we'll let you get back to that in a minute!)


You're here on Goodreads because, like us, you love books. And if your love of reading borders on obsession, don't worry—you're definitely not alone. We're all a little obsessed here.

For our Goodreads Ten-Year Anniversary Celebration, we asked you to complete this sentence: You know you're a Goodreads member when…

Your top answers are below. Check them out and then tell us what makes you a Goodreads member in the comments.


1. "Your husband looks at you funny when you give him four out of five stars after he's done mowing the lawn." -Elizabeth


2. "Your Want to Read pile is taller than Mount Everest." -Kate

3. "You obsessively hype up Goodreads to every single person you know. It's like the happiest cult I've been a part of. Anytime someone mentions anything to do with books, I say, 'You know what would help with that? Goodreads.'" -Carolyn

4. "You recommend all your books to your friends and then smile when you see the same book pop up on THEIR to-read lists!" -Allison

5. "You can't start a book without immediately going to the app or website to change the book from 'to read' to 'currently reading.'" -Kristin

6. "You type 'goo' into your browser, and Goodreads comes up before Google." -Alex


7. "Your friends check your Goodreads profile for gift-giving purposes." -Angie

8."You update your reading status before going to bed every night." -Lana

9. "You mentally rate the book while you are reading it, constantly changing the rating based on how impressed you are with the book. 'Three stars. Wow! Four stars at least… Now this brings it down to two… Not bad, four stars again… That was a solid five stars!'" -Vlada

10. "You check your Reading Challenge like it's the stock market." -Tessa


See complete coverage of the Goodreads Ten-Year Anniversary Celebration, including:
Participate in our Hide-a-Book Day on September 18
The Best Books of the Decade, Chosen by You
Ten of Our Top Reviews of All Time
Five Stories of Friendship and Favorite Books Found on Goodreads



Your Favorite Authors' Top Ten Favorite Books
Posted by Cybil on September 05, 2017


Goodreads Turns Ten is sponsored by Audible. Enjoy a free book with your trial.

Here's an interesting question: Name your ten favorite books. Can you do it? How do you make such tough choices? As part of our Goodreads Ten-Year Anniversary Celebration, we asked several of your top authors to share their ten favorite books—no doubt a daunting task for any reader. But they were up for the challenge.

See if you share favorite books with Stephen King, Tana French, Khaled Hosseini, Brit Bennett, Brian K. Vaughan, Ken Follett, Colleen Hoover, Atul Gawande, Sarah J. Maas, Karan Mahajan, Danzy Senna, and Lily King.

And, just for fun, tell us your ten best-loved books in the comments as well!

Stephen King's Top 10 Favorite Books
The "King" of horror and one of the most popular authors on Goodreads isn't one to rest on his laurels. Later this month he's back with Sleeping Beauties, which he wrote with his son Owen King.

Tana French's Top 10 Favorite Books
The Irish mystery writer is known for her keep-you-guessing Dublin Murder Squad series, including In the Woods and The Likeness.

Khaled Hosseini's Top 10 Favorite Books
The author was a practicing doctor when he began writing his first novel, The Kite Runner. His additional books include A Thousand Splendid Suns as well as And the Mountains Echoed.

Brit Bennett's Top 10 Favorite Books
Her 2016 debut novel, The Mothers, put Bennett on the literary map. Her novel was quickly snapped up for a big-screen adaptation by Warner Bros. and actress Kerry Washington.

Brian K. Vaughan's Top 10 Favorite Books
Graphic novelist and Hugo Award-winner Vaughan gained devotees with his Saga, Y: The Last Man series, and, most recently, Paper Girls.

Ken Follett's Top 10 Favorite Books
Follett's The Kingsbridge series began with The Pillars of the Earth. Book three of the series, A Column of Fire, hits bookstores this month.

Colleen Hoover's Top 10 Favorite Books
The author of the Hopeless series, It Ends with Us, and the October new release Without Merit is a reader favorite, winning consecutive Goodreads Choice Awards.

Atul Gawande's Top 10 Favorite Books
The surgeon, public health researcher, and author has written multiple bestselling nonfiction books, including Being Mortal, Complications, and The Checklist Manifesto.

Karan Mahajan's Top 10 Favorite Books
Mahajan's second novel, The Association of Small Bombs, was named one of The New York Times' "10 Best Books of 2016." Now see his ten favorite books.

Danzy Senna's Top 10 Favorite Books
The author of Caucasia has readers talking this summer about her new release, New People.

Sarah J. Maas' Top 10 Favorite Books
Maas is royalty among YA fantasy writers with her A Court of Thorns and Roses and Throne of Glass series (with the latest book, Tower of Dawn, hitting stores this month).

Lily King's Top 10 Favorite Books
The author of Euphoria and Father of the Rain shares some of her all-time-favorite novels.

And a special thank you to the good folks at the iconic and historic City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, here in our hometown of San Francisco, who allowed us to shoot many of these photos with their books and in their lovely bookstore.





See complete coverage of the Goodreads Ten-Year Anniversary Celebration, including:
Participate in our Hide-a-Book Day on September 18
The Best Books of the Decade, Chosen by You
Ten of Our Top Reviews of All Time
Ten Ways You Know You're a Goodreads Member



Ten Audible Classics Narrated by Celebs
Posted by Danny on September 05, 2017


Goodreads Turns Ten is sponsored by Audible. Enjoy a free book with your trial.

What better way to breathe new life into a vintage text than with a modern reading? And what could be more modern than having a celebrity do the narration? From Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal offering their voices to Tolstoy and Fitzgerald, to Rosamund Pike and James Franco tackling Austen and Vonnegut, there's an almost endless array of A-list actors reading the classics.

As part of our Goodreads Turns Ten celebration, we asked Audible's editors to recommend their favorite classic books read by celebs. See their breakdown below and add your favorites to your Want to Listen list.


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Jane Eyre narrated by Thandie Newton
by Charlotte Bronte

The Westworld actress brings her incredible talent and lovely accent to a book she says was "remarkably progressive" for its Victorian time. Charlotte Bronte's heroine is complex, willful, and brave, and we're 100% sure she'd approve of Thandie Newton performing it.


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Anna Karenina narrated by Maggie Gyllenhaal
by Leo Tolstoy

If the idea of tackling Tolstoy's 1,400-page classic gives you pause, don't worry—Maggie Gyllenhaal feels you. "I didn't have any idea when I took this on how intense it would be," she says. Fortunately, it paid off: Her literary prowess and intelligence go a long way toward bringing this classic to life.


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The Great Gatsby narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Meanwhile, Jake Gyllenhaal narrates F. Scott Fitzgerald's Great American Novel. The gleeful, excessive 1920s of wealthy New York comes alive in his reading, and when he says the book's famous and beautiful last line, it's hard to keep tears from springing to the eyes.


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Anne of Green Gables narrated by Rachel McAdams
by L.M. Montgomery

With all of the pluck and charm of its eponymous young hero, Rachel McAdams delivers a spectacular reading of Montgomery's beloved bildungsroman. In moments both funny and bittersweet, McAdams' voice has the same spark that has made Anne a much-loved symbol of individualism and cheer for more than a century.


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Pride and Prejudice narrated by Rosamund Pike
by Jane Austen

The Gone Girl actress played older sister Jane Bennet in the film, but here she plays all the Bennets—as well as Misters Darcy, Wickham, Bingley, and all the rest—like some spectacular one-woman show. Honestly, you'll wonder why she doesn't just narrate all the books. All of them.


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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes narrated by Stephen Fry
by Arthur Conan Doyle

Stephen Fry is reason enough to get into this collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, but we can't decide if that's because of his unparalleled voice or his insightful, intimate, and deeply personal introductions to each book. Either way, the choice to listen is…elementary.


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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland narrated by Scarlett Johansson
by Lewis Carroll

Golden Globe nominee Scarlett Johansson brings a palpable sense of joy and exuberance to her performance of Lewis Carroll's enduring classic. From the White Rabbit and Mad Hatter to the Cheshire Cat and Queen of Hearts, she imbues each madcap character with a distinct voice and personality.


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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer narrated by Nick Offerman
by Mark Twain

Nick Offerman, the beloved Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation, is also a total audiobook aficionado. And a Mark Twain aficionado. So it's only natural that he lends his famously gruff, sarcasm-dripping voice to Tom Sawyer.


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Fahrenheit 451 narrated by Tim Robbins
by Ray Bradbury

Academy Award winner Tim Robbins brings to his narration a significance and power that befits Bradbury's iconic novel. Treasure the paper form of this book, and then experience it in this totally different way.


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Slaughterhouse-Five narrated by James Franco
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Between acting and writing and adapting classic novels for film, James Franco has established himself as something of an artistic jack-of-all-trades. He reads Vonnegut's classic satire about war with an appropriate world-weariness, refreshing a book that deserves to be appreciated by new generations.




See complete coverage of the Goodreads Ten-Year Anniversary Celebration, including:
Participate in our Hide-a-Book Day on September 18
The Best Books of the Decade, Chosen by You
Ten of Our Top Reviews of All Time
Ten Ways You Know You're a Goodreads Member


Want to give these classics a listen? Then sign up for a free Audible trial and you'll get two a book to get you started and you can cancel at any time.

Ten of Our Top Reviews of All Time!
Posted by Danny on September 05, 2017


Goodreads Turns Ten is sponsored by Audible. Enjoy a free book with your trial.

In the last year, Goodreads surpassed two major milestones—65 million members joined the site, and, coincidentally, these readers have written 65 million book reviews.

With so many people and so much chatter, it's no surprise that some books got you talking—and more riled up—than others. In honor of our anniversary, we thought we'd round up some of the most commented and liked reviews. Some are glowing, a few are scathing, but almost all are outright hilarious. So, for fun, let's take a look at a few highlights from the book reviews you loved most…



1) The site's most popular review (with 19,010 likes) is Katrina Passic Lumsden's take on Fifty Shades of Gray. Katrina has some strong feelings about the first book in this bestselling series and she uses a bevy of GIFS to her comedic advantage. Our favorite part? The word count included at the end of her review. As Katrina notes, the phrase "inner goddess" was referenced 58 times in the book.

      Word Count:
      "Oh My" - 79
      "Crap" - 101
      "Jeez" - 82
      "Holy (shit/fuck/crap/hell/cow/moses)" - 172
      "Whoa" - 13
      "Gasp" - 34
      "Gasps" - 11
      "Sharp Intake of Breath" - 4
      "Murmur" - 68
      "Murmurs" - 139
      "Whisper" - 96
      "Whispers" - 103
      "Mutter" - 28
      "Mutters" - 23
      "Fifty" - 16
      "Lip" - 71
      "Inner goddess" - 58
      "Subconscious" - 82




2) The second-most popular review (with 15,979 likes) comes from the author of the book itself. Confused by the amount of people who rated his as-yet-released book Doors of Stone, Patrick Rothfuss offers up an explanation…

"Time travelers love my books.

This is strangely reassuring, as it lets me know that, eventually, I do finish my revisions, and the book turns out good enough so that I still have a following out there in the big ball of wibbly-wobbly…timey-wimey…stuff that I like to think of as the future.

I would also like to say, future readers, that I appreciate your taking time to read and review my books. It's really flattering knowing that even with time-travel technology at your disposal, you'd rather read my stuff and mention it here on Goodreads, rather than, say, hunt dinosaurs, get drunk with da Vinci, or pants Hitler."




3) In the third most beloved review, liked by 6,613 readers, Joe writes a very-abbreviated synopsis of Twilight

First 200 pages:
"I like you, Edward!"
"You shouldn't! I'm dangerous!"
"I like you, Edward!"
"But I'm dangerous!"

Next 50 pages:
"I'm a vampire!"
"I like you, Edward!"
"But I'm a vampire! I'm dangerous!"
"I like you, Edward!"

Next 100 pages:
"I like you, Edward!"
"You smell good, Bella. I'm dangerous!"
"I like you, Edward!"
"Damn, you smell good."
"I like you, Edward!"
"Also, I glow in sunlight."

Next 50 pages:
A. VAMPIRE. BASEBALL. GAME.
(I wish I was kidding)

Last 100 pages:
"Help me, Edward! I'm being chased!"
"I'll save you!"
"Help me, Edward! I'm scared!"
"I'll save you!"
"Oh, Edward!"
"You smell good."




4) Tamara's review of The Book Thief also proved to be quite popular over the years...

"I give this 5 stars, BUT there is a disclaimer: If you want a fast read, this book is not for you. If you only like happy endings this book is not for you. If you don't like experimental fiction, this book is not for you.

If you love to read and if you love to care about the characters you read about and if you love to eat words like they're ice cream and if you love to have your heart broken and mended on the same page, this book is for you."




5) Another popular review from an author came from Marie Lu who offered this explanation for giving her book, Legend, a five-star review.

"Well, it's mine…so, er…yeah, a little biased. :) Shameless. I know, I know!"




6) Holly offered these words of wisdom for anyone who may have avoided reading Outlander based on her initial review

"A special note to those who say my review stopped them from reading this book: No no no! Read it! I actually reread the whole series last summer and enjoyed it immensely. Just read it for what it is: ludicrous, well-written, humorous, delicious TRASH. Just don't expect it to be the most brilliant novel ever written and you'll be fine."




7) Oriana had nothing but amazing things to say about Donna Tartt's Goldfinch

"So listen. Look. I am a READER, right? I mean, I read all the time, everywhere, every day, a book a week. But most of the time the book I'm reading is a dull throb beneath my fingers, a soft hum behind my eyes, a lovely way to spend a bit of time in between things as I meander through my life. You know? It's something I adore, but softly, passively, and often forgetfully—very nice while it's happening, but flitting away quickly after I'm on to the next.

And then sometimes there is a book that is more like a red hot fucking coal, a thrum nearly audible whenever I'm close to it, a magnetic pull that stops me doing anything else and zings me back so strongly that I just want to bury myself in its tinnitus at all times—five minutes in line a the bank, two minutes in the elevator, thirty seconds while my coffee date checks her email—gorging myself with sentences and paragraphs until the whole world recedes and shrivels into flat black-and-white nothing.

This, this, this is one of those books. It's a book that bracingly reaffirms my faith in literature, making me endlessly astonished by its power and poise and brilliance. I know I am constantly chided for hyperbole, but this is truly one of the greatest books I've ever read."




8) Jennie Menke had a decidedly different take on The Goldfinch

"To anyone wondering if they should still read this book, since reviewers are so divided (eg you either LOVE it or HATE it): by all means, YES. Read it! But: if you find you are hating it within 100 pages, just put it down and walk away. Because it won't ever get better for you (Really. do as I say and not as I do: Put. It. Down.). For those who LOVE this book: Good for you! I am truly happy for you. There is nothing better than a book you love!"




9) YA author Veronica Roth had a one-word review for John Green's The Fault in Our Stars
"Fantastic."




10) Finally, Jon offers up a single photo for his review of To Kill a Mockingbird







See complete coverage of the Goodreads Ten-Year Anniversary Celebration, including:
The Best Books of the Decade, Chosen by You
Your Favorite Authors' Top Ten Favorite Books
Ten Ways You Know You're a Goodreads Member
Participate in our Hide-a-Book Day on September 18



The Most Popular Books of the Decade—Chosen by You
Posted by Danny on September 05, 2017


Goodreads Turns Ten is sponsored by Audible. Enjoy a free book with your trial.

We're celebrating our tenth anniversary at Goodreads, but our annual Choice Awards are just a few years younger. It all started in 2009, when the inaugural awards launched to honor our readers' favorite books of the year.

And though the awards have changed a bit over time—for instance, we've added categories like Humor, Poetry, and Historical Fiction—your love for books has never waned. In fact, just last year more than 3.5 million votes were cast across all 20 categories.

The best books of the year are chosen by you, the readers, and the Top 20 titles fight it out for the top prize. You have eternal favorites (Rick Riordan has won a record-breaking six times), but debut authors have a chance, too (Alwyn Hamilton won last year for Rebel of the Sands).

Before we begin this year's ninth annual Goodreads Choice Awards in November, look back at all your favorite books from yesteryear, shelve a few you may have missed, and share your favorites in the comments.

Fiction
Truly Madly Guilty
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Go Set a Watchman
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Landline
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And the Mountains Echoed
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The Casual Vacancy
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1Q84
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Room
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The Help
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Nonfiction
Hamilton
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Modern Romance
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The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories
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The Autistic Brain
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Quiet
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The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth
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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
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Columbine
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Mysteries & Thrillers
End of Watch
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The Girl on the Train
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Mr. Mercedes
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Inferno
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Gone Girl
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Smokin' Seventeen
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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
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The Girl Who Played with Fire
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Fantasy
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two
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Trigger Warning
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The Book of Life
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane
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The Wind Through the Keyhole
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A Dance with Dragons
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Towers of Midnight
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Dead and Gone
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Science Fiction
Morning Star
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Golden Son
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The Martian
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MaddAddam
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The Long Earth
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11/22/63
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Feed
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Leviathan
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Young Adult Fiction
Salt to the Sea
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All the Bright Places
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We Were Liars
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Eleanor & Park
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The Fault in Our Stars
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Where She Went
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Before I Fall
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long for the Ride
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Romance
It Ends with Us
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Confess
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Written in My Own Heart's Blood
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Lover at Last
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Fifty Shades Freed
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Lover Unleashed
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Lover Mine
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An Echo in the Bone
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See complete coverage of the Goodreads Ten-Year Anniversary Celebration, including:
Your Favorite Authors' Top Ten Favorite Books
Ten of Our Top Reviews of All Time
Ten Ways You Know You're a Goodreads Member
Participate in our Hide-a-Book Day on September 18