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

Sophie Kinsella | Gigi Levangie Grazer | Alice Hoffman | Chris Anderson | Literature at Every Latitude | Trivia | Movers & Shakers | First Reads | Listopia | Events Near You | Poem of the Month

"On the Beach" with Sophie and Gigi

Looking for some vacation reading? We asked two chick-lit authors for some seriously indulgent books. Sophie Kinsella, author of Confessions of a Shopaholic, and Gigi Levangie Grazer, author of The Starter Wife, tell us about their new novels and recommend their favorite books for the seashore, waterfront, or riverside!

Sophie Kinsella, a former financial journalist who penned the bestselling Shopaholic series, leaves credit card debt behind (maybe it's the economy) and turns to a ghost story in her new book, Twenties Girl. Twenty-something Lara is haunted by her great-aunt Sadie, a determined ghost from the roaring '20s. Kinsella shares her summer faves.

Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield
view this book "This is a gem of the 1930s, with one of the most endearing, funny characters in British literature. It's perfect for dipping in and out—you can open it at random and be instantly entertained."

Emma by Jane Austen
view this book "This is one of my favorite books ever, always worth revisiting for Jane Austen's elegant style, comedy, and insight."

Riders by Jilly Cooper
view this book "The ultimate big fat 1980s blockbuster, filled with glamorous characters, horses, intrigue, and much sex in gorgeous Cotswolds locations. It's pure escapism."

The Jeeves and Wooster series by P.G. Wodehouse
view this book "Holidays are all about indulgence, and there's nothing more indulgent than opening one of these books and sinking into the happy, sunlit world of P.G. Wodehouse."

His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
view this book "If anyone has not yet read these stunning fantasy novels, then I'm envious of them. Take them on holiday, put your feet up, and prepare to be unsociable for the rest of the week."

After three books set in balmy Los Angeles, screenwriter, novelist, and Hollywood insider Gigi Levangie Grazer heads east in her new book, Queen Takes King, to reveal what happens when a Manhattan power couple's divorce turns deliciously nasty. Here is Levangie Grazer's not-so-guilty-pleasure reading list.

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
view this book "Whimsical, spare, poetic writing, and a fascinating female character in Holly Golightly. I took this on vacation as a teenager, long before I saw the movie version. I didn't leave my hotel room until I finished this novella."

The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
view this book "When it comes to satire set in New York, this is the granddaddy of them all—plus, the story is carried by an extraordinarily exuberant sense of language."

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
view this book "Helen made it safe for funny women to tell their stories. I remember being on vacation in Maui, and literally every woman on the beach was reading this."

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
view this book "This slim novel may not sound like the perfect summer read—but I love it. This haunting love story between a man and a woman, and a woman and God, is utterly efficient yet beautifully told. Every word is chosen with care."

The BFG by Roald Dahl
view this book "I adore anything I've ever read by Roald Dahl. His imagination is unsurpassed—whether it's his characters or his fanciful use of language. And the illustrations by Quentin Blake are matchless. I'll be reading this to my boys this summer."

Author Interviews—Goodreads Exclusives

Alice Hoffman

With a hint of danger and a whiff of the supernatural, Alice Hoffman's portraits of family life are anything but mundane. Influenced by magic realism and fairy tales, and tethered to emotional human drama, Hoffman is best known for the novels Practical Magic and Here on Earth (an Oprah's Book Club pick). Her new book, The Story Sisters, follows the downward spiral of a charismatic but damaged older sister named Elv, who invents a fantasy world to cope with a childhood trauma. Hoffman talked with Goodreads about inventing the language Arnish for The Story Sisters and why she lets her characters have their own way.

Goodreads: In The Story Sisters, Elv careens into dangerous territory, experimenting with drugs and sex. Throughout this journey, Elv's mother is arguably ineffective. As a parent, do you feel there's a limit to what an adult can do for a child?

Alice Hoffman: Some readers are frustrated with her—almost hostile—and I don't get it. I think it is very easy to blame the parent. Part of what the story is about is that siblings can grow up in the same house and live in the same room and experience similar traumas, and still be so different. Also, parents and children live in separate worlds. To think that you know what your child's life is like, or what your mother's life is like—no matter how close you are—you can never really know. And now I've been on both sides, and I know that this is true both ways. I think she's a good mother. I think she's an overwhelmed mother. She doesn't get what's going on because she doesn't want to, because it's so tragic and sad to think that your child has experienced something horrible and you couldn't protect them. But I see her as a very good mother.

Read the full interview »

Chris Anderson

Chris Anderson's latest opus has made waves throughout the blogosphere, and not just because his book is "free." Despite accusations of plagiarism of Wikipedia content—which Anderson apologizes for and says opens up an important discussion about attribution—the thesis of his new book could be a game changer. In Free: The Future of a Radical Price, Anderson argues that digital businesses have much to gain by offering free products in a novel way. The former physicist and current editor-in-chief of Wired magazine has a track record of Internet forecasting. His first book, The Long Tail, encouraged Web entrepreneurs to focus on niche markets. Goodreads founder Otis Chandler talked shop with Anderson and learned why there is hope for the book industry.

Otis Chandler: Your new book, Free, is available for free, right?

Chris Anderson: Absolutely—21st century free is about digital products, which have no cost or no marginal costs of production, and that can be really free. Most people can get it for free on the hopes that some will buy the "superior form" that they pay for.

So what does that mean for my book? Well, you've got the physical book ("atoms" version), which is the hardcover and softcover. You also have the digital book ("bits" version), which is the audio book, the e-book, the Web book, and PDF. Our plan is to give away the "bits" version of Free for free in any way possible—in order to sell the "atoms" version. By spreading the book as far and wide as possible, so the maximum number of people can sample it, experience it, and hear about it, we hope some of them will want what we believe is the superior form of the book. The classic hardcover will be $26.95. (Enter to win a copy!)

Read the full interview »

Literature at Every Latitude

Looking for something outside the Western canon? Great stories know no borders. Each month Goodreads brings you a new recommendation from a different country!

Tehran, Iran:
35° 41' N
51° 25' E
Censoring an Iranian Love Story
by Shahriar Mandanipour, translated by Sara Khalili

Originally written in Farsi but unpublished in Iran, Censoring an Iranian Love Story cleverly pairs a clandestine love story with an artistic rebellion. Mandanipour's protagonist, a novelist, decides to write a book about secret lovers whose romance begins in a Tehran library. The novelist's book fills with crossed-out phrases and other literary conceits as he attempts to appease the censors at the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Goodreads member Anna says, "While the novel is certainly frustrated, it's also funny, sweet, and deeply concerned with the role of the artist in society." View book »

The Never-Ending Book Quiz

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

Featured Trivia Question

Wuthering Heights was written by which Brontë sister?

Play the never-ending book quiz »

Movers & Shakers

There are plenty of books to get heated about this summer. Comics fans are abuzz that Neil Gaiman has finally released Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? Thriller readers can now get their hands on Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Played with Fire. Chick-lit lovers can indulge in Jennifer Weiner's Best Friends Forever, and Nora Roberts has another steamy romance, Black Hills. Here are some other noteworthy titles that have been racing up our most popular charts this month.

Something Missing by Matthew Dicks (Goodreads author)
view this book Martin, an obsessive-compulsive thief, prides himself on his invisible touch—he never burgles more than he needs and only takes what will go unnoticed. But when he decides to play guardian angel for his unwitting "clients," his orderly life begins to unwind. Diane says, "This book had me laughing out loud on the subway (getting me some strange looks, even for NYC). It's suspenseful and funny...and charming in a To Catch a Thief way."

The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine
view this book Sold into slavery by her father, teenage Batuk is a Mumbai prostitute who sublimates the horror of each day by writing in her diary. Inspired by the author's own medical research conducted in India, M.D. Levine is donating all U.S. proceeds to the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Lavonda says, "[Batuk's] imagination, beauty and good commonsense made this story bearable...she succeeds where others would have failed."

Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal by Julie Metz
view this book Following the abrupt death of her husband, Julie Metz learns that he had been unfaithful to her throughout their 12-year marriage. In this extremely personal account of a not-so-perfect life, Metz decides to confront the women who slept with her husband. Sara says, "I devoured this book with ravenous pleasure. Metz's brutally honest writing about the veneers of married life is insightful and unnerving."

Some Things That Meant the World to Me
by Joshua Mohr (Goodreads author)
view this book A quirky look at how a man named Rhonda copes with the demons of childhood abuse by stepping through a trapdoor at the bottom of a dumpster. Chris says, "Part confessional, part Murakami-esque journey into the bizarre...When one of the main character's best friends is his inner child (in the flesh), you know you're in for something different."

Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog (Goodreads author)
view this book A young-adult fantasy sure to titillate Twilight lovers. Just in time for her Sweet Sixteen birthday party, Morgan learns that her boyfriend Cam is a fairy, and a fairy king to boot. Determined not to lose him, she plots to keep him in her human world. Saundra calls it "an utterly unique and unexpected take on faery lore and urban fantasy." And Mandy says, "This one will keep you glued to the pages and guessing until the very end."

First Reads—win prerelease books from Goodreads!

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

Find Great Books on Listopia!

Books that Made You Cry!

Best Manfiction

On Listopia, you tell us what's good. Goodreads members already create and vote on lists like After Harry Potter, Best Nonfiction About Music, and even Excellent Space Opera. It's also the perfect place to find the next great book to read, browse thousands of books categorized in every way imaginable, and spread the love by voting for your favorites.

Goodreads Poetry Contest!

Want your words to reach 2 million people? Goodreads and the ¡ POETRY ! group have partnered to host an ongoing poetry contest. Each month the winning poem will appear in our newsletter. Join the ¡ POETRY ! group to vote each month to pick a winner from among the finalists. You can also submit a poem for consideration. Here is our July winner!

The Rape of Lake Michigan
by Donna R. Pecore

Lake Michigan curls groan when the sun nudges her as Dawn approaches. She said to herself, "Is it that time already" She stretches and the docks creak, aching under her pressure.

The Sky looks down upon her with lust, as the sun turns her body of water into a blushing pink. He sends a message with the Wind, tells her how lovely she looks in the A.M. light and then proceeds to tell the lake how much he wants to sock it to her.

The Lake is aghast at his boldness; she is jarred awake at his crudeness, raises a huge wave in defiance. It is like giving him the middle finger, she thinks.

The Sky hears her thoughts and blows tender kisses and caresses her waves, tells her "I just couldn't help myself; your awesome beauty overwhelms me. The peaks and valleys of your waves tempt me, the froth of your waves entices me, and the constant changing marine blues, seaweed greens, and gunboat grays cause me to go out of my mind with hunger for you.

The Lake enjoys his praise of her so much, she raises one eye open and responds to him, "The Wind brings your sweet message, but there is no hope for us, we are two of different elements. I see no future for our union."

The Sky does not take no for an answer. He whips up some cumulonimbus clouds and becomes dark and threatening, working into a supercell.

Lake Michigan remains mute.

This only angers Sky to the utmost, taking the clouds to new highs, he rails and then lets loose with a bombardment of golf ball size hail, frozen hard as nails. The Wind screams of Sky's passion. The dark angry Sky proclaims, as the hail penetrates the quiet Lake, "Love hurts, don't it baby?" while he gets his way with her.

I turn to my dog, Apache, and say, "Damn it, stop that, I want to sleep," as he licks my face. He stops and sits on my head. "Alright-alright I will let you out. God I am sore all over," I groan. "Did you beat me up last night while I slept? I feel like the girl in the dunking pond who got hit by a hundred baseballs before she got dunked."

I let Apache back in (it's cold outside, in the low teens and he is done quickly, not a stupid mutt,) and decide to nuzzle the covers a little longer, falling quickly back to nod land.

The Lake responds to this cold attack with a frozen face, with not a word to Sky. Lake thanks god it is winter as she turns to Ice. He melts for her. Healing her liquid heart.

Read more poetry »

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Jessica, Elizabeth, and the Goodreads Team

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