9 Book Characters You Would Want to Take a Road Trip With

by Hayley, September 29, 2017, first appearing on Goodreads Blog

Some of the most unforgettable fictional characters are fine right where they are—in fiction. After all, being fun to read about and being fun to hang out with are two very different things. (Do you want to spend the day with Gollum? Do you really?)

But then there are those characters who already feel like friends, like kindred spirits. With them, we’d endure the ultimate test in any friendship: a vacation. We asked on Facebook and Twitter: What book character would you want to go on a road trip with? Check out some of the top responses below!

HERMIONE
from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

“She travels light, packs the essentials, and would research the heck out of a place before going there.” –Stephanie

 

 

SHERLOCK HOLMES
from the Sherlock Holmes books by Arthur Conan Doyle

“Look, man, whether you’re going with the book Sherlock, Robert Downey Jr., or Benedict Cumberbatch, I’m going to be there.” –Anaya

 

 

FORD PREFECT
from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books by Douglas Adams

“I know this great restaurant at the end of the universe….” –JB

 

 

HARRY BOSCH
from the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly

“He knows stuff, has great taste in music, I would be protected, and he doesn’t talk too much.” –Sherri

 

 

NANCY DREW
from the Nancy Drew books by Carolyn Keene

“We’d have great adventures solving crimes, eating all the time, playing sports, and riding in Nancy’s dreamy convertible!” –Diane

 

 

JO MARCH
from Title by Louisa May Alcott

“It would be a bookish, museum-filled, intense tour with her—and we’re very much alike.” –Emma

 

 

KVOTHE
from The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

“Because he’ll have some insane stories to tell.” –Muhammad

 

 

JAMIE FRASER
from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

“Life is sure to be interesting as that man attracts trouble.” –Tracey

 

 

THE LUGGAGE
from the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett

“Oh shoot. How could I forget the Luggage? Of course that’s the right answer.” –Maria

Advertisements

Topping the Charts: The 15 Best Music Books to Read Now

Music

Photo © Shutterstock

When I was ten years old, I picked up my first musical instrument – the clarinet. And (excuse me while I boast) I was really, really good. From there, I learned to play all variations of woodwind, from the saxophone (alto, tenor, and bari) to bass clarinet and the oboe. I’ll never forget what it felt like to play for the very first time, or the epiphanous moment when I realized I can read notes on a page and translate them into a song. I played in marching band, jazz band, classical band, pits for musicals – you name it, I’ve done it. (I was the epitome of a band geek growing up.) And when I stopped hiding behind a music stand and started to sing, it was the most freeing thing in the entire world.

If you’ve performed before, you know that there’s nothing quite like being in front of an audience. But even those that don’t play can do something powerful: listen. Listen and appreciate the magical melodies and harmonies, and let them mean something to you. Interpretation is what music is all about.

Music is a universal language, and one that is simultaneously beautiful and extraordinary. It transcends boundaries, breaks down walls, and stops time in its tracks, if only for a few minutes. It may not solve problems, but it certainly helps bring people together. The list of books below are a mix of fiction and nonfiction, showcasing musicians and their experiences around the world, the instruments that make it possible, and the emotion that binds it all together.

The cover of the book Swing Time

Swing Time

Zadie Smith

New York Times bestseller, this compelling story captures the essence of a faded childhood friendship between two girls, Tracey and Aimee, who dream of being dancers. Tracey has real talent while Aimee has ideas, and as a result, the two friends diverge on their paths as they enter adulthood. Tracey makes it to the chorus line but struggles with adult life. Aimee travels the world as an assistant to a famous singer, eventually moving to Africa with charitable aspirations. Zadie Smith’s Swing Time takes readers on an unforgettable journey from London to West Africa, where inequality and injustice soar high, and music is a saving grace to all.

The cover of the book Good Vibrations

Good Vibrations

Mike Love with James S. Hirsch

Ever wonder what it was like to be a Beach Boy? In this memoir, Mike Love – founder of The Beach Boys, and the group’s lead singer and lyricist – shares it all. Known as one of the most popular bands in American history, The Beach Boys have a story that needs to be told. From their California roots to their international fame in the 1960s, the band has defied time and continues to be well-known throughout the world by many generations. Love shares his experiences with his readers, holding nothing back as he divulges both the diabolical and the divine aspects of being a Beach Boy.

The cover of the book Not Dead Yet

Not Dead Yet

Phil Collins

Phil Collins, known for being the drummer and frontman of Genesis prior to a thriving solo career, has sold millions of records over the course of decades, making him a huge icon in the music industry. In this memoir, he documents the highs and lows of his musical journey, from the songs and shows, the hits and the misses, his dynamic love life, reaching the top of the charts, and retiring in 2007. Not Dead Yet is an inside look at Phil Collins – the man many know and love, and also the man not many know at all.

The cover of the book What Is It All but Luminous

What Is It All but Luminous

Art Garfunkel

Art Garfunkel, one half of the extremely famous Simon and Garfunkel, writes about his life before, during, and after topping the pop charts. In What Is It All But Luminous, we travel through his life with him as he recalls his early childhood, meeting Paul Simon in school, beginning the band, and traveling on the road for countless tours. He treks through the highs and lows of his career, and touches on personal life events that aren’t known to most of the public. Garfunkel paints a very real portrait of his lifelong friendship with Simon, shedding new light on the relationship that became one of the most successful music groups of all time.

The cover of the book Otis Redding

Otis Redding

Jonathan Gould

Jonathan Gould’s biography maps out Otis Redding’s life and explores his unparalleled musicianship through groundbreaking research, as never seen before. The portrait of the singer’s background, his upbringing, and his professional career are outlined in this beautiful book with the help of the Redding family. Otis Redding continues to have a strong influence on music today, despite his life being tragically cut short. This book is great for all music lovers out there who want to understand what The King of Soul was really like.

The cover of the book Gone

Gone

Min Kym

In her moving memoir, Gone, Min Kym explores each stage of her life with great speculation and transparency. We trek through Min’s life with her as she relives the highs and lows in her story of love, loss, and, of course, music. As a child prodigy, Min’s adolescent experiences strayed far from the norm, and in her writing, she speaks truthfully about what it was like to grow up feeling isolated, with crushing expectations. As an adult, Min found her soulmate: a 1696 Stradivarius. She felt that every painful experience from her past was worth it because she had found her life’s meaning in the sound and feel of this beautiful instrument – and then it was taken from her, and everything changed.

The cover of the book Testimony

Testimony

Robbie Robertson

This New York Times bestseller tells the story of The Band, a group that changed music history with songs like “The Weight,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” and “Up on Cripple Creek.” Robbie Robertson, the guitarist and principal songwriter in The Band, recalls the journey that led him to becoming a rock legend. Robertson writes about being a musician during the the 1960s and early ’70s, a pivotal time for the music world, when rock and roll was on the rise and talent was around every corner, set against the backdrop of a national celebration of love and freedom.

The cover of the book The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums

The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums

Will Friedwald

Will Friedwald, author of A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers, takes a look at the finest albums in jazz and pop history in this timeless book. The album was the primary format of music from the 1940s until the very recent decline of the CD, and because of that, albums will always be a treasured part of music history. Renowned musicians like Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Judy Garland, along with many others, are captured forever on vinyl, as a piece of musical history frozen in time for everyone to appreciate.

The cover of the book Sticky Fingers

Sticky Fingers

Joe Hagan

Sticky Fingers is the first and only biography of Jann Wenner, the founder of the popular Rolling Stone magazine. Wenner’s story is one of love, devotion, and a passion for rock and roll music that led him to create an iconic magazine that became a powerful influence in the music industry. Through documents, letters, and interviews, Joe Hagan successfully captures the complex life of Jann from the late twentieth century to the digital age, and demonstrates how he reinvented youth culture with Rolling Stone.

The cover of the book Maestros and Their Music

Maestros and Their Music

John Mauceri

A band is nothing without fluidity and togetherness, so how exactly does a group of musicians go about finding cohesion in spite of so many moving parts? In the case of classical music, with a conductor. In Maestros and Their Music, John Mauceri – a celebrated conductor with a longstanding international career – provides a beautifully illustrated look inside the art and craft of conducting. Mauceri explains that conducting is a composition of interpretation and intent, and is a vital part of communicating the emotions of a piece of music to the audience.

The cover of the book Play It Loud

Play It Loud

Brad Tolinski and Alan di Perna; Foreword by Carlos Santana

Not many people think about a time before electric guitars, given how crucial they are to music today. But they weren’t always around, and the history of the electric guitar is a story worth telling. In Play It Loud, music journalists Brad Tolinski and Alan di Perna bring the history of this iconic instrument to life by using twelve guitars as milestones to illustrate the conflict and passion the instruments have inspired. Tolinkski and Perna feature Leo Fender, the man who transformed the guitar into what it is today, along with other key players and builders that made the musical revolution possible with the electric guitar.

The cover of the book Schubert's Winter Journey

Schubert’s Winter Journey

Ian Bostridge

Completed in the last months of young Schubert’s life, Winterreise (Winter Journey) has come to be considered the single greatest piece of music in the history of Lieder (traditional German songs for voice and piano). Schubert’s Winter Journey is composed of twenty-four short songs that tell an emotional story unparalleled by any composition of its kind. Ian Bostridge explores the world’s most famous and challenging song cycle by a looking at the main themes – literary, historical, psychological – that weave through the twenty-four songs that make up this legendary masterpiece.

The cover of the book Absolutely on Music

Absolutely on Music

Haruki Murakami with Seiji Ozawa

International bestselling writer Haruki Murakami joins forces with Seiji Ozawa, revered former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, for a series of conversations on their shared passion: music. Murakami and Ozawa discuss everything about music, and examine some of their favorite performances while Murakami questions Ozawa about his career conducting orchestras around the world. This book is a thoughtful reflection on the nature of both music and writing, and how they connect to create the most wonderful, moving works of art.

The cover of the book The Music Shop

The Music Shop

Rachel Joyce

It’s 1988. In a run-down suburb stands a music shop that is jam-packed with records of every kind. Frank, the shop’s owner, has been known to always give his customers exactly the piece of music they need. One day, Ilse Brauchmann walks into the music shop and asks Frank to teach her everything he knows. Frank, used to a life of seclusion, is thrown off by this request and wants to say no – but reluctantly agrees. As the two spend more and more time together, old wounds threaten to reopen as the past resurfaces. This novel showcases two people that must tune in to their inner selves to let go of their emotional baggage, and find healing in music and love.

The cover of the book Good Things Happen Slowly

Good Things Happen Slowly

Fred Hersch

Fred Hersch worked for many years as a prodigious pianist for musical icons in the twentieth century, including Art Farmer and Joe Henderson, and in the 1980s he broke tradition with his transformative compositions that defied boundaries, combining classical, pop, and folk music to create a completely new type of jazz. Good Things Happen Slowly is Fred’s story of being a groundbreaking pianist and being the first openly gay, HIV-positive jazz player. Fred takes us through every step of his journey, and tells readers about his two-month-long coma in 2007 that led to the most compelling music of his career.

First—And Foremost | Debut Novels

by , OCTOBER 2, 2017, first appearing in Library Journal

Some debut novels are much anticipated, such as National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree Thomas Pierce’s The Afterlives, Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater, and A.J. Finn’s Frankfurt hit, The Woman in the Window. Others seem to come out of nowhere. Who knew Joseph Cassara’s The House of Impossible Beautieswould be that good, and how did C. Morgan Babst make us feel Hurricane Katrina’s lasting terror in The Floating World? Either way, debut novels are always a surprise, and therein lies their power.

LITERARY HOT SPOTS

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara

Opening in 1980 New York with 16-year-old Angel feeling trapped in her boy body, then weaving together the stories of various trans outsiders whom Angel collects into a family, this exceptional debut was inspired by the House of Xtravaganza, as seen in the documentary Paris Is Burning. “Erotically luscious, lyrically intense, forthrightly in your face, and pitch-perfect in the dialog.”

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

A Nigerian-born Igbo and Tamil writer and artist now living in Brooklyn and Trinidad, Emezi won the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa. Here, she grounds madness, as manifested in main character Ada, in an ancient cosmology that sees god-born selves creeping into human being when the gates between this world and the beyond aren’t properly closed. Readers agree: like nothing you have ever read.

Green by Sam Graham-Felsen

Chief blogger for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, Graham-Felsen investigates ongoing inequality by fictionalizing his experiences as a white boy in a mostly black middle school in Boston. At the same time, he examines the complexities of friendship across a racial and cultural divide. This LJ Editors’ Fall Pick “poignantly captures the tumultuous feelings of adolescence against the historical backdrop of a racially segregated city and country.”

The First Day by Phil Harrison

In this blazing first novel by filmmaker Harrison, Belfast preacher Samuel Orr cannot resist the sins of the flesh, and son Philip’s resentment of half-brother Sam leads to a violent act with long-lasting repercussions. “Harrison’s absorbing debut will surprise readers with its ingenious plot twists and nuanced characters.”

Only Killers and Thieves by Paul Howarth

In 1880s Australia, adolescent siblings whose parents have been slaughtered and sister left for dead, presumably by a resentful Aboriginal stockman recently let go, join with an unscrupulous landowner in a violent search for revenge. This visceral yet elegantly written work is the publisher’s “Lead Read” for the season.

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

With London sunk beneath the flood­waters, a woman escapes north with her baby in this fable-like, delicately told dystopic tale. “The story may seem familiar…but debut novelist Hunter’s spare prose and luminous writing give it a fresh immediacy.” A big hit at the London Book Fair and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection.

Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee

Spun from an award-winning short story that originally appeared in the Missouri Review, this debut features two Chinese American sisters, steady Miranda and the volatile Lucia, who starts hearing voices after their mother dies and loses all direction despite Miranda’s best efforts to help. “A visceral portrayal of sister love and its limits.”

Dark Chapter by Winnie M. Li

In Ireland on a weekend break from her London job, Taiwanese American Vivian is enjoying a solitary walk when she is attacked and raped by an emotionally damaged Irish boy. “What is striking about this acclaimed first novel…is that not only is it based on an incident in the author’s life, but the facility with which Li is able to intertwine the life stories of Vivian and Johnny, giving each substance and depth.”

The Boat Runner by Devin Murphy

In a moving coming-of-age story set during World War II, a Dutch boy and his family face impossible choices. Do they cooperate with the invading Germans? Or engage in risky sabotage? And what happens when the Allies bomb the local factory because it supplies the German army? This Discover Great New Writers Pick is “an effectively detailed, morally complex book that will appeal to all readers of historical fiction.”

The Afterlives by Thomas Pierce

A National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree who won high praise for his debut story collection, Hall of Small Mammals, Pierce tells the story of a man who dies briefly of a heart attack at age 30 and, after reviving, worries that he saw no hint of an afterlife. That sends him and his wife on a journey both thoughtfully and absorbingly written.

SMALL-PRESS GEMS

The Floating World by C. Morgan Babst

When older daughter Cora refuses to abandon New Orleans as Hurricane ­Katrina sweeps in, Joe Boisdoré, an artist descended from a freed slave, and his white, upper-crust wife, Dr. Tess Eshleman, must leave without her. “A richly written, soak-in-it kind of book; now you’ll know what it was like to have survived Katrina.”

This Is How It Begins by Joan Dempsey

Still tough at 85, art professor and ­Holocaust survivor Ludka Zeilonka wrestles with a new problem: her grandson Tommy has been fired, along with other gay high school teachers, after being accused of silencing Christian students. “Current events have only made this gripping story more relevant.”

In the Distance by Hernan Diaz

Associate director of the Hispanic Institute at Columbia University, Diaz challenges the conventions of writing fiction about the American West. In the 1840s, young Swedish immigrant Håkan Söderström boards the wrong ship in New York, ends up in San Francisco, and must travel east to find his brother. “Resonant historical fiction with a contemporary feel.”

Black Rock White City A.S. Patric

A Sarajevo-based Serb who fled unimaginable horrors with wife Suzana, Jovan now works as a janitor in a Melbourne hospital, where he’s forced to wash away increasingly disturbing graffiti that seems directed at him; he’s obliterating and cleansing terms like obliteration and ethnic cleansing. A Miles Franklin Literary Award winner; “Patric’s images will remain indelibly and affectingly in readers’ minds.”

A Loving, Faithful Animal by Josephine Rowe

In 1990 Australia, Ru’s increasingly disturbed Vietnam vet father disappears, and more troubles cascade down as her mother languishes in the past and her wild sister seeks escape. This debut from an Elizabeth Jolley Prize winner is “one of the smarter, most lyrically written stories you’ll read about a fracturing family.”

BIG THRILLS

Ember by Brock Adams

In this postapocalyptic thriller, winner of the South Carolina First Novel Prize, the sun is cooling, people desperate to survive clump in little enclaves, and armed militant rebels look to take over what’s left of the government. For those “who enjoy dystopian worlds, quick pacing, sympathetic if flawed protagonists, and compelling prose.”

The Blind by A.F. Brady

Routinely assigned the toughest cases at her elite psychiatric institution in Manhattan, psychologist Sam James is the only staff member willing to deal with seemingly normal new patient Richard. Working with him sends Sam down her own dark path. “A fast-paced, riveting psychological chiller; brilliant character study and superior writing make this an outstanding debut.”

Need To Know by Karen Cleveland

Counterintelligence analyst Vivian Miller has a talent for discovering the leaders of Russian sleeper cells in the United States, but a secret dossier of deep-cover agents brings her whole life crashing down. “This suspenseful espionage tale is a rousing Act 2 to the excitement of TV’s The Americans and the novels of Chris ­Pavone.”

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

A big Frankfurt title, buzzing even before BookExpo last spring, sold to 35 countries, and in development as a Fox film, this white-knuckler is one of the most talked-about debuts of the season. Finn’s woman at the window peers out of her New York apartment and sees something she shouldn’t, and the result “lives up to its hype, stand[ing] out in a crowded genre.” An LJ Editors’ Fall Pick.

White Bodies by Jane Robins

Callie may be unusually obsessive about glimmering, popular twin sister Tilda, but she has good reason to worry about Tilda’s new boyfriend Felix. “After a slow beginning, this debut by a British journalist…offers a suspenseful and twisty foray into the world of obsessive love that suspense junkies should not miss.”

IT’S A MYSTERY

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

Bad move, Sherlock, turning down the case of that needy young woman. Now Mrs. Hudson and Dr. Watson’s wife, Mary, have joined forces to help her and have ended up with a fun new mystery short-listed for the 2016 CWA Dagger Awards. This work “captures the atmosphere and feeling of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes stories while shining a spotlight on his overlooked female characters.”

Heaven’s Crooked Finger by Hank Early

Earl Marcus wants to forget a childhood riven by the excesses of his father’s fundamentalist church, but not so fast. He’s just received a photo of his father, presumably long dead but looking hale and hearty. “This gritty and riveting debut combines elements of a classic Southern gothic tale, enhanced by distinct pacing, a redolent sense of place, and striking characters.”

Dark Traces by Martin Steyn

A member of Cape Town’s Violent Crimes Unit, South African Police Warrant Officer Jan Magson goes after a nasty serial killer while mourning his wife’s death. “A damaged but determined detective is matched against a bold and intelligent killer in this captivating debut thriller.”

Lost Luggage by Wendall Thomas

Having worked hard at her family’s travel agency, Cyd Redondo is thrilled to win a trip to Tanzania, but things don’t go as planned—and lost luggage, jailed clients, and animal smugglers aren’t even the half of it. Now she’s the main suspect in a murder. “Thomas makes a rollicking debut.”

POPULAR FICTION

The Trick by Emanuel Bergmann

After World War I, rabbi’s son Moshe Goldenhirsch runs away from home and becomes a magician, performing as the Great Zabbatini. How his story connects with that of 11-year-old Max Cohn, trying to avert his parents’ divorce in 21st-century California, is “a magic trick of its own. Bergmann’s ability to create appealing, well-drawn characters and tell a gripping story is impressive.” An LJ Editors’ Fall Pick.

The Last Man in Europe by Dennis Glover

In a tumble-down farmhouse on one of Scotland’s far-flung islands, George Orwell battles illness to pen his masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four. “This engrossing, timely, and finely detailed first novel about the creation of a 20th-century literary masterpiece is a must-read for lovers of history, literature, or politics.”

The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

Having escaped a crumbling marriage, librarian Hanna Casey is home on Ireland’s southwestern coast, driving a book­mobile and leading the fight against developers who want to consolidate services and close the local library. “An appealing novel…. There are plenty of good discussion points about the nature of community for book clubs and thoughtful readers.”

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

Luckily for the Birch family, they’re getting to spend Christmas together for the first time in years. Unluckily for them, they’re forced together for seven days, quarantined because daughter Olivia is back from volunteering in Liberia. This “satisfyingly alternative holiday read” is an LJ Editors’ Fall Pick and the No. 1 ­LibraryReads pick for October.

Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance by Bill McKibben

Famed environmental activist ­McKibben steps into fiction with a work starring 72-year-old Vern Barclay, who broadcasts a subversive message via Radio Free Vermont: Vermont should secede from the United States and operate under a free local economy. “McKibben’s…spirited and thought-provoking modern fable will have readers grappling with the ethical questions of how and when resistance is necessary.”

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

After a gunman ranged through their school, killing 19 people, six-year-old Zach retreats into his own special hideaway and uses his imagination to heal. One of the publisher’s biggest books of the spring—the voice immediately distinctive and riveting.

Virtually Perfect by Paige Roberts

Her cooking show, monthly magazine column, and cookbook deal all out the window, Lizzie Glass becomes personal chef to the über-wealthy Silvesters at their summer home on the Jersey Shore. “Roberts’s spot-on debut novel delves into the virtually perfect façade of an internally imperfect family.”

Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner

In the world of Manhattan’s one percent, a husband and wife frantically compete for their daughter’s attention even as a threatening young man steps in view. Weiner, the driving force behind Mad Men, delivers “a razor-sharp, fast-paced dark look at the class divide.”

Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson

Wolfson’s autobiographical debut features Willow, a child of divorce caught between her rigid father and a mother named Rosie who’s warm and loving and suddenly dangerously crazy. From a star on the San Francisco storytelling circuit; a big hit at BookExpo and a Publishers Lunch Buzz Book.

White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht

Of Korean heritage, Bracht boldly faces the ugly truth of the Japanese military’s forcing 200,000 Korean women into sexual slavery during World War II. Big buzz.

Song of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik

Darznik follows The Good Daughter, her New York Times best-selling memoir, with a portrait of poet Forugh ­Farrokzhad, sometimes called Iran’s ­Sylvia Plath.

On the Horizon

Peculiar Ground by Lucy Hughes-Hallet

Winner of Samuel Johnson and Costa Biography honors, Hughes-Hallett got rave UK reviews for this novel, which chronicles a great house named ­Wychwood from the 17th century ­onward.

Heart Spring Mountain by Robin MacArthur

Following the PEN New England Book Award–winning story collection Half Wild, this soberingly relevant work features a young woman looking for her estranged mother after Tropical Storm Irene devastates ­Vermont.

Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro

Quatro’s story collection, I Want To Show You More, won multiple honors; this full-length fiction features Maggie, married with children, who is drawn as if mesmerized to a wild affair with poet James.

The Invention of Ana by Mikkel Rosengard

In this Danish award winner, an aspiring writer fresh from Copenhagen meets a performance artist in Brooklyn who claims that she can time travel.

The Last Wolf by Maria Vale

Runty Silver Nilsdottir determines to make a place for herself with the Great North Pack by fighting for a wounded man who seeks the pack’s protection. The publisher wants a trilogy.

SF/FANTASTICAL

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

In 1700s Cairo, street hustler Nahri cons people with her tricks but rejects the idea that magic really exists until she manages to summon up a dark and wily djinn warrior who takes her to the magnificent City of Brass. An LJ Fantasy Debut Pick. “With a swiftly moving plot, richly drawn characters, and a beautifully constructed world…this lyrical historical fantasy…brings to vivid life the ancient mythological traditions of an Islamic world unfamiliar to most American ­readers.”

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

Solomon’s dystopian fantasy stars quietly rebellious Aster, whose family has lived for generations in the hold of the creaky HSS Matilda, putatively carrying the last of humanity to a Promised Land. “Harrowing and beautiful, this is sf at its best…. The fully rounded characters bring ­nuance and genuine pathos to this amazing debut.”

The Black Tides of Heaven & The Red Threads of Fortune by JY Yang

In this debut novel doubleheader, the Protector has sent her six-year-old twins ­Mokoya and Akeha to the Grand Monastery to satisfy a debt, but when ­Mokoya develops prophetic tendencies, she’s essentially recalled, and the twins spin down different paths. “While published simultaneously, each volume can be read separately…together, they make an impressive, fresh debut steeped in Chinese culture.”

Learn Your Library Resources – Libby (by OverDrive)

12 TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF LIBBY

by , S 

Readers around the world have fallen in love with our new app Libby. The new interface, simple one-tap experience and all-in-one shelf have made finding your next great read easier and faster than ever. Libby is designed to enable our developers to continuously improve existing features and add new ones, which means there is always something new to discover in the app. Here are our favorite things you can do in Libby that you might not have known about:

Libby

Adjust the playback speed 

Switching between common playback speeds is as easy as tapping small clock icon at the top of the screen when you’re listening to an audiobook. These include standard breakdowns between 1-2 times normal playback speed. You can also adjust the playback speed by tapping and holding the clock icon and then dragging it down the screen with your finger until you find your preferred speed. Speed listeners will be excited to know that you can go all the way to 3 times normal listening speed.

Displaying book progress

Did you know you can see exactly how long you have left in the chapter you’re reading, how many pages you have left in the book and even what percentage complete with the book you’re currently at? In the reader, you’ll see your total book progress by default. Tap the page number label (above the timeline) once to show the pages left in the current chapter. Tap the label again to show your total book progress as a percentage. The same can be done with audiobooks. Tap the [Time] Left label (above the timeline) cycle through different time displays: total time elapsed in the audiobook, time left in current chapter, and total progress as a percentage.

Peek at the Page Count

You can also quickly see what page your on (and out of how many total) by swiping up and holding the screen while in reading mode. The chapter you’re on and page counts will appear. Simply remove your finger from the screen to have it disappear.

Tapping underlined texts

There are lots of great options available in Libby that you can find by tapping any text underlined with dots in the app. For example, tapping the underlined links on your Loans page will let you filter your loans (to books, audiobooks, or all loans) and sort the page (by due date, date added, or alphabetically by title or author).

Tagging titles

Tags help you organize titles you’ve read, want to read, loved, or hated. They’re for your personal use (and not shared with your library or OverDrive). You can add as many tags to each title as you like.

Tap Tag on a title’s details page and select one from the list. Create your own tags (including emoji tags) by tapping plus sign.

Find all your tags on the Tags screen of your Shelf. From there, you can tap a tag to view it, rename it, delete it, or untag titles.

Reversible Jackets

Once you borrow or place a hold on a title, it’ll be easy to spot in search results. The cover image will flip to the right side.

Also Available As

If your library has a title as both a book and an audiobook, you’ll find a handy link on its details page that will take you to the other format. This is a great tool for readers who enjoy both eBooks and audiobooks or those who don’t mind which format they use and just want the first available.

Also available as...

Sample any book in the collection in one tap

Perhaps my favorite thing in Libby is the ability to sample any title with just one tap. Simply tap the jacket cover of a book you’re curious about and hit “Read Sample”. This will allow you to read up to 10% of any book in the library collection whether there are available copies or not. This provides a similar experience to browsing the physical library and reading a few pages before deciding to borrow a book or not. You can sample titles even if you don’t have a library card which makes this a perfect marketing tool to show potential new users about your digital library.

Wait List information

Readers can get a full understanding of how long the wait may be for a certain title before and after they place a hold on an unavailable title. By clicking on the small dots on the hold, you can view the approximate wait time, your place in line, how many copies are being used, if any copies have been added and how many people are waiting per copy of the title. This helps you determine whether or not to place something else on hold, or to borrow another title while you wait.

Changing your reading settings

Want to change the size or style of your phone? Prefer reading in night mode or sepia tone? Want to enlarge your font or use our OpenDyslexic font? In the reader, go to the menu > Reading Settings and you’ll be able to adjust any and all text options you like.

Sorting and filtering your searches

To set sort and filter preferences for all searches and title lists:

  • Tap the plus sign to update preferences like availability, language, and audience. Then, tap Apply Preferences.

To sort and filter a specific search or title list, you can:

  • Tap the format and genre links above your results.
  • Tap Refine above the first result, then choose Sort by or any of the other refinements.
  • Tap the plus sign to search within results.

You can also do an advanced search by tapping the more button at the top of your library page. This will provide search options including series, pre-release titles, date added and even Read-alongs.

Change Libby’s Appearance 

You can change Libby’s appearance simply by tapping anywhere her icon shows up. Simply tap and select your preferred appearance!

Interested in learning more tips about Libby? Be to check the Tips & Secrets button in the right navigation menu frequently to see what’s new with Libby.

Passport to the Future: 11 Education Quotes to Inspire Endless Learning

Education

Photo © Shutterstock

Who doesn’t love a good quote? For more like this, check out our quotations archive.

You think you’re having a rough time processing this year’s events? Think about all the teachers out there who’ve been called back into duty this fall, tasked with keeping our nation’s youth on track amid all this craziness.

How does one even begin to broach subjects like history or social studies in a world that’s currently at war over which version of history will prevail? Now’s the time to reach out to the educators you know — including the ones who taught you, once upon a time — and find out what kind of support they might need in the months to come. (If nothing else, send wine!)

In the meantime, here are a few education quotes to remind us what constitutes proper learning, in hopes that even those civilians among us will recognize opportunities to keep growing and evolving, and help others do the same.

Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 1961
“The word “education” comes from the root e from ex, out, and duco, I lead. It means a leading out. To me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil’s soul.”

Audre Lorde, “An Interview: Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich,” 1981
“The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.”

C.S. Lewis, “Men Without Chests,” 1943
“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”

Virginia Woolf, Monday or Tuesday, 1921
“Once she knows how to read there’s only one thing you can teach her to believe in and that is herself.”

Jim Henson, It’s Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider, 2005
“[Kids] don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”

Malcolm X, speaking to Organization of Afro-American Unity, 1964
“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”

Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook, 1962
“Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: ‘You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson, 2010 interview
“We spend the first year of a child’s life teaching it to walk and talk and the rest of its life to shut up and sit down. There’s something wrong there.”

James Baldwin, “A Talk to Teachers,” 1963
“One of the paradoxes of education was that precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience, you must find yourself at war with your society. It is your responsibility to change society if you think of yourself as an educated person.”

Agatha Christie, An Autobiography, 1977
“I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays and have things arranged for them that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas.”

Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, 1862
“Teach the ignorant as much as you can; society is culpable in not providing a free education for all and it must answer for the night which it produces. If the soul is left in darkness sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.”

Best Sellers: November Update

Here’s what people have been reading (or at least buying) lately.

NYT Combined Print & E-Book Best Sellers List

  1. THE ROOSTER BAR by John Grisham (NEW)

Rooster BarMark, Todd, and Zola came to law school to change the world, to make it a better place. But now, as third-year students, these close friends realize they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a third-tier, for-profit law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specializing in student loans, the three know they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam. But maybe there’s a way out. Maybe there’s a way to escape their crushing debt, expose the bank and the scam, and make a few bucks in the process. But to do so, they would first have to quit school. And leaving law school a few short months before graduation would be completely crazy, right?

  1. ORIGIN by Dan Brown
  2. QUICK & DIRTY by Stuart Woods (NEW)
  3. DEEP FREEZE by John Sandford
  4. LEOPARD’S BLOOD by Christine Feehan (NEW)
  5. THE SUN AND HER FLOWERS by Rupi Kaur
  6. MILK AND HONEY by Rupi Kaur
  7. MIND GAME by Iris Johansen (NEW)
  8. A COLUMN OF FIRE by Ken Follett
  9. IT by Stephen King

 

 

Why Books and Reading Are More Important Than Ever

When I can’t stand to look at one more hateful tweet from the president, I read a book.

When I turn on the television to hear the news and all I hear is people shouting and talking over one another, I read a book.

When I realize that I have 1,200 unread emails, I read a book.

When the apartment is a mess and friends are on their way over, I read a book.

You get the point. When I’m stressed, I grab a book. I also read when I’m not stressed. I like to read. And that’s a good thing because I work in publishing and I write books. You can’t (or shouldn’t) do either unless you like to read them.

When it’s a beautiful day, I read in the park.

When it’s raining, I read under the covers.

When I’m on a plane, I read on the plane.

When the plane is stuck on the tarmac, I have more time to read on the plane.

In Books for Living, my most recent book, I described the ways books have guided me throughout my life. On the last page, I wrote that books remain one of the few defenses we have against narrowness, domination, and mind control. But only if we read them – and then only if we spring into action based on what we’ve learned and discovered. Books can’t do anything by themselves. They need us.

Today we need to read more than ever. And we need to act now more than ever.

If you are reading this essay, you aren’t reading a book. At least, not this very second. But you’re probably a book reader or you wouldn’t have found your way here or clicked on the shared link that brought these words to your attention. And there’s the rub. I’m writing a piece about the importance of books for an audience already sold on the concept. And it’s taking you (and me) away from them.

So I want you to stop reading this (so I can stop writing it). Go read The Burning Girl by Claire Messud, a haunting novel about friendship. Go read Less by Andrew Sean Greer, one of the funniest books I’ve read in years – but also a book that had me sobbing at the end (happy tears). Go read Glass Houses by Louise Penny; this new novel is a masterwork that shook me with its exploration of justice, retribution, guilt, and honor. Go read Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson, a book of breathtaking urgency.

As for me, I’m going to read Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn, a first novel set in Jamaica; it just won the Lambda Literary Award and all my friends who have read it are obsessed. And I’m going to read Walter Stahr’s Stanton: Lincoln’s War Secretary; Stahr’s biography of William Henry Seward consumed me three summers back. And An Odyssey: A Father, A Son, and an Epic by Daniel Mendelsohn. It looks right up my alley. And The Leavers, a novel by Lisa Ko; Ann Patchett loved it, so I’m pretty sure I will too. And then I don’t know what’s next. But I have many ideas. So many books, so little time.

Seriously. Go. I’ve got books to read. You do, too. And in the immortal words of June Carter Cash: Time’s A Wastin’.

Editor’s Note:

Will Schwalbe has worked in publishing; digital media, as the founder and CEO of Cookstr.com, and as a journalist, writing for various publications, including The New York Times and the South China Morning Post. His latest book, Books for Living, explores the power of books to shape our lives in an era of constant connectivity.