RISKY READING: 5 DANGEROUS BOOKS WITHIN BOOKS

It may be common knowledge that reading is dangerous. There’s a reason so many exceptional works of writing end up on banned books lists. Plus, novels like 1984Fahrenheit 451, or The Handmaid’s Tale remind us of how crucial the written word is for obtaining power. However, did you ever consider how dangerous the act of reading could actually be? Earlier this summer, a group of researchers at the University of Southern Denmark uncovered a killer fact about three Renaissance-era manuscripts from their library: the manuscripts were all coated in toxic green arsenic. Well, the paint used to apply the arsenic was green, but the color sure does lend to its fright value.

The poisonous outerwear was most likely intended as an insect repellent (or so they say). Still, it got me thinking about the risky road of reading made more hazardous by tomes with a questionable character. Specifically, those fictional books we find in literature that bring the protagonist no small amount of danger. The most notorious of such books would undoubtedly be the Necronomicon, H.P. Lovecraft’s infamous fictional grimoire of black magic. Having never ventured deeply into Lovecraft territory myself, I’m more interested in books I’ve encountered in my own reading. So, I’ve compiled a list of the most dangerous fictional books within books I can attest to (and a few honorable mentions thrown in as well).

Promo art of Tom Riddle's DiaryTOM RIDDLE’S DIARY FROM HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS, BY J.K. ROWLING
Hogwarts is chock full of sinister reading material, thanks to the school library’s Restricted Section. The students also have to keep their wits (and fingers) around their course books, like The Monster Book of Monsters (thanks so much, Hagrid). However, it’s Riddle’s diary that threatens the actual livelihood of any who dare to write in it. Just ask Ginny Weasley, who strangled a bunch of roosters under Voldemort’s spell, and that was the least of her problems.

THE GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS FROM “THE GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS,” BY JORGE LUIS BORGES
This short story by the incomparable Argentinian author features a indecipherable novel, until a Chinese spy for Germany in World War II pays a visit to a professor. I’ve read this story so many times, and I come away feeling something different every time. But I am sure I wouldn’t want the novel-turned-time-labyrinth to exist. It would frighten me to the core to imagine a life where all possibilities exist, especially those where a friend-or-foe arrives to shoot me.

discovery of witches coverASHMOLE 782 FROM A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, BY DEBORAH HARKNESS
What could possibly be more dangerous than a book that literally sets off all fantastical factions to hunt you down? Sure, it’s my dream to research at Oxford’s Bodleian Library, and even more so to discover hidden treasures. But if Ashmole 782 did exist, and a world-altering alchemical manuscript rested beneath its pages, I would prefer not to know about it. Let the witches, daemons, and vampires circle around someone else.

ANY ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT IN THE EYRE AFFAIR, BY JASPER FFORDE
What fun when a book can become a portal. The opportunities that await! But then you go and choose Jane Eyre as your focus. And then bring Rochester to life. And then mishaps occur that alter the course of the book and any book that gets chosen as a portal…The conundrums are limitless in this novel, but using original manuscripts to capture or even kill people within sure does make them hazardous books. It makes you reconsider the allure of jumping into book worlds.

THE LIBRARY FROM THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY, BY GENEVIEVE COGMAN
You might consider every single book dangerous here, because the way the titular library acquires books is nothing but treacherous. This novel and ensuing series depicts librarians with (much deserved) tangible power and impressive skills at espionage. Instead of jumping into the worlds of books, the librarians have to access alternate universes—from magical to mundane—to retrieve alternate versions of books that reside within. The kind of conflict that librarians must venture into day after day (rich with thievery, dragons, vampires, and toppling super villain plots) is enough to make one’s bones tremble.
HONORABLE MENTIONS:
I have an on-again-off-again relationship with The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Every time I start to read it, I am either pulled away or distracted from it. So I have not yet completed this book, but it still deserves a mention. Whenever holding a book puts you in danger of the forces trying to destroy it, well, it doesn’t get more dangerous than that. But also, Zafón’s depiction of post-war Barcelona is lyrical and riveting (from what I’ve read, at least).

The Unwritten by Mike Carey (also known as M.R. Carey, of The Girl with all the Gifts acclaim) also needs mentioning. The comic book series truly captures the horror of fiction coming to life, where a book series actually affects the life and livelihood of the protagonist of the series. Most likely because the fantasy books within the comic series may have actually been about him, literally. I haven’t yet read these, but I’m intrigued enough to want to see the Tommy Taylor fantasy series.

By , August 
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6 MEMORABLE MEALS FROM NOVELS

Plenty of novels are good at making you hungry or inspiring you to cook. Sometimes lavish food details are stuffed throughout a book. Other times they contain specific food scenes that are hard to forget. Here are a few strange and remarkable fictional meals.

OREO BY FRAN ROSS
As befits its name, Oreo is food-obsessed. And one character in this dazzling and madcap satire of race relations is a comically over-the-top gourmet cook. Author Fran Ross devotes five full pages in the middle of the book to a nine-course menu, with six choices for each course. The abundance of dishes and cuisines (plus the assortment of fonts for the menu) is stupefying. For soups, for instance, there are: mtori, stracciatella, New England clam chowder, matzo-ball soup, Hühner Suppe, awase miso, yen-wo-t’ ang, canja, petite marmite, and rassolnik, to be washed down with Amontillado and Madeira.

Menu from Fran Ross' OreoThe effects of this meal resound far beyond the kitchen. “Five people in the neighborhood went insane from the bouquets that wafted to them from Louise’s kitchen. The tongues of two men macerated in the overload from their salivary glands. Three men and a woman had to be chained up by their families when they began gnawing at a quincaillerie of substances that wiser heads have found to be inedible. These substances—which blind chance had put within the compass of snatchability of the unfortunate four—ranged from butterfly nuts to galoshes, with a catalog of intervening items that good taste precludes mention of here.”

As with the rest of Oreo, this meal is delightfully extra.

 

A RIVER OF STARS BY VANESSA HUA
The parts of A River of Stars set in San Francisco’s Chinatown are chock-full of food. A whimsical idea plants the seed for the main character, undocumented Chinese immigrant Scarlett, to ultimately run a thriving street food business. One Thanksgiving, she and her neighbors combine the offerings from a food bank and their own mishmash resourcefulness to create a unique Chinese American Thanksgiving dinner. “In the kitchen, the turkeys had been hacked in half to fit in the oven, and glazed in honey and vinegar, the crispy skin glittering. The spaghetti was boiled, then stir-fried with the canned vegetables into an enormous pan of chow mein; canned fruit cocktail was ladled upon luminous almond jelly, and the tomato sauce was thinned into a hot and sour soup.”

It’s during this meal that Scarlett invents the hanbaobao. This is a play on a hamburger that is dubbed a Chinese slider. It’s simple but effective: “Neighbors brought out their jarred condiments to add flavor to the turkey: red chili, mouth-numbing peppercorn, black bean, plum, and soy sauces. Scarlett spread plum sauce on an American roll, layered dark meat and sprinkled chopped scallions, and served it to Daisy.”

 

REDWALL BY BRIAN JACQUES
Am I the only person who read the medieval-esque kids’ fantasy series Redwall more for the meals than for the battles? The feast scenes are gratuitous but charming, making it unsurprising that Redwall spawned a cookbook. (But I’m still a bit disturbed by the image of mice banding together to catch and then consume a fish.)

These banquets are important for setting a scene of convivial, generous peacefulness—a gentleness that’s bound to be fractured by whatever villainous woodland creature is about to intrude. The original Jubilee feast features such delicacies as acorn crunch, devilled barley pearls in acorn purée, and peach and elderberry brandy.

 

FLAVOR BY JOSEPH KEATINGE, WOOK JIN CLARK TAMRA BONVILLAIN, ARIANA MAHER, AND ALI BOUZARI
The comic series Flavor could do for crepes what Chocolat did for, well, you know. It’s a candy-colored fantasy about people who take food seriously, though the comic itself is light. Particularly memorable is an early sequence in a grand arena, where a plucky upstart battles a hulking cheftestant in a cooking battle over crêpes suzette. Readers will come away knowing how to make crepes.

Crepes Battle from Flavor Comic

 

WATER MUSIC BY T.C. BOYLE
Water Music is endlessly entertaining. It follows a vainglorious Scottish explorer, the real-life Mungo Park, on his quest to chart the course of West Africa’s Niger River around the turn of the 19th century. The book is full of memorable eating scenes, from the trade deals of cannibals to a renowned beauty who eats and eats to maintain her attractive corpulence.

It also contains a recipe for a baked camel. This is a sort of desert turducken, with eggs stuffed into carp, which are stuffed into big birds, which are stuffed into sheep, which are then stuffed into the camel. This recipe is bound to come in handy for most readers.

BAKED CAMEL (STUFFED)

Serves 400

500 dates
200 plover eggs
20 two-pound carp
4 bustards, cleaned and plucked
2 sheep
1 large camel
Seasonings

Dig trench. Reduce inferno to hot coals, three feet in depth. Separately hard-cook eggs. Scale carp and stuff with shelled eggs and dates. Season bustards and stuff with stuffed carp. Stuff stuffed bustards into sheep and stuffed sheep into camel. Singe camel. Then wrap in leaves of doum palm and bury in pit. Bake two days. Serve with rice.

 

 

THE SLEEPWALKER’S GUIDE TO DANCING BY MIRA JACOB
Chronicling the lives of an Indian diasporic family, The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is full of dosas, idlis, and other South Indian dishes. Food oozes out of its pages, and carries many meanings. For one character, it’s a talent and a source of respect: “Like plumage that expanded to rainbow an otherwise unremarkable bird, Kamala’s ability to transform raw ingredients into sumptuous meals brought her the kind of love her personality on its own might have repelled.”

And as shown by one 13-dish meal, in honor of a family member with cancer, worrying about what to cook and eat is a way to express concern about a loved one, when it’s hard to articulate that in words. Those are some powerful samosas.

 

BONUS
But my most noteworthy fictional meal comes not from a novel, but from a short story. The last eating scene in Stephen King’s “Survivor Type,” plus the cumulative effect of all the others, is an image I wish I could shake. Best not to read it over a meal.

By , January 2

11 Delightfully Delicious Book-Themed Restaurants

If you’ve ever wanted to try Butterbeer or meet a friend for a Jane Austen–inspired high tea, we recommend checking out these delightfully delicious book themed restaurants. Each place on this list features bookish elements in both design and menu, from dishes named after characters to foods actually described in your favorite books. These dining establishments are perfect for readers who have been tempted by literary cookbooks in the past, but aren’t quite confident enough to make these dishes themselves!

1. The Jane Austen Tea Room in Essendon, Melbourne, Australia

As one of the world’s most beloved authors, it’s no wonder that Jane Austen has an entire restaurant dedicated to her novels. This tea room, situated in Melbourne, Australia, offers an elegant high tea with sandwiches and sweets as well as dishes like “Mrs. Bennet’s Raisin Toast,” named for Elizabeth’s meddling mother in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Just looking to grab dessert? No problem! The menu also offers a nice little selection for Emma fans with “Lady Emma Woodhouse’s Desserts and Treats.” Charming and sophisticated, you’ll feel like you’re having tea with Mr. Darcy!

2. Hogsmeade in Orlando, Florida, USA

This one is a little tricky as you can only get access with a ticket to Universal Studios’s Islands of Adventure, but if you’re headed to the theme park anyway, then Hogsmeade is definitely worth your time! Detailed and elaborate, Universal’s Hogsmeade is designed to look like the village in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. It includes all kinds of treats sure to please the wizard in your life. You can swing by Hog’s Head for a Butterbeer or stop at the Three Broomsticks for a feast. (There’s also a Three Broomsticks at Universal Studios’s Hollywood location.)

3. The Lovecraft Bar in Portland, Oregon, USA

The Lovecraft Bar might be named after famed science fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft, but general horror fans will also get a kick out of this spooky spot! The bar and nightclub embraces the macabre, drawing inspiration from classic books and movies. It’s definitely not a sit-down place, but the bar’s got a great bizarre-o vibe. It also features some fun cocktails like “Los Vampiros” and the “Sleepy Hollow” (named after Washington Irving‘s iconic short story of the same name).

4. Alice in a Labyrinth in Tokyo, Japan

This restaurant, inspired by Lewis Caroll‘s Alice in Wonderland, is perhaps one of the most visually stunning places on our list. The decor is incredibly lush, complete with teacup booths and playing card tables. The hostess is even dressed like the Mad Hatter! While Alice in a Labyrinth does charge an entry fee just for going inside, we think it’s worth it for the decor alone!

5. Wilde Bar & Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois, USA

If you’re looking for more of a library feel, we recommend this Irish pub. Not only is the restaurant named after Oscar Wilde, but the layout is also designed to give guests the sense of sitting by the fireplace in a comfortable library. The menus feature select quotes from the maestro himself and there is a portrait of Wilde framed above the fireplace.

6. KonyvBar & Restaurant in Budapest, Hungary

The KonvyBar & Restaurant boasts some lovely bookshelves, but stopping in for a bite does require some planning ahead of time. The menu here is designed around a different book each week. Previous themes include Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireThe Pillars of the Earth, and The Jungle Book. To find out the title of the book currently featured, visit the restaurant’s website.

7. Action Burger in Brooklyn, New York, USA

There’s plenty to do at Brooklyn’s comic book-themed restaurant and bar, where you can eat like a “hero” or a “villain.” Board games are available for visitors to rent, plus the bar has videogames set up near the tables and a number of impressive pinball machines.

8. Gulliver’s Restaurant in Irvine, California, USA

Established in 1970, Gulliver’s Restaurant is set up to feel much older. The interior is styled to mirror 18th-century England, the time period in which Jonathan Swift first published Gulliver’s Travels. The dishes are quintessentially British too, with “Gulliver’s Prime Cut” slow-roasted beef, Yorkshire Pudding, and a scrumptious English trifle complete with berries and Devonshire cream. Cozy and classic, Gulliver’s is definitely one to check out if you’re in the area!

9. Onegin Restaurant in New York, New York, USA

Decorated in the spirit of 19th-century elegance, Onegin is a culinary tribute to Alexander Pushkin. In fact, the name of the restaurant comes from the novel, Eugene Onegin. The Russian cuisine here is served in a setting reminiscent of old St. Petersburg. With such a rich design and decadent menus, Onegin is perhaps the fanciest establishment on our list.

10. The Shire in Killarney, Ireland

The Shire is a cool visit for anyone who loves J.R.R. Tolkein. This Lord of the Ringsinspired pub features live music every Sunday and drinks named after some of Tolkein’s most popular characters. The Shire has a fun Middle Earth vibe — the passageway to the bar area is even a hobbit hole!  If you need a place to stay nearby, you can check into The Sugan Hostel located within the pub.

11. The Westeros in New Dehli, India

Ever since HBO adapted George R.R. Martin‘s Song of Ice and Fire series for the small screen, it’s hard to find someone who isn’t obsessed with Game of Thrones. Finding a Game of Thrones eatery, however, is another matter. Fortunately, there’s The Westeros in New Dehli. The walls are adorned with all kinds of Game of Thrones paraphernalia, including the Iron Throne, and the bar even hosts viewing parties!

By Emily Verona

We Asked, You Answered: Is Listening to Audiobooks ‘Reading’?

In recent years, more and more bibliophiles are turning to audiobooks as a way to discover new stories (and re-discover old favorites). We know that books can be experienced in many different ways … But as their popularity grows, there’s still the occasional debate as to whether listening to audiobooks can be considered the same as “reading.”

Goodreads.com turned to its followers on Facebook and Twitter for their opinions and received a wide array of responses on how audiobooks have expanded their horizons. Which ones resonate with you? Let us know in the comments!

1. “I do consider it reading. Reading isn’t just about looking at the words on the page or hearing words as they’re being read. It’s about processing, imagining, and understanding. Science has shown those processes are similar whether reading with your eyes, your ears, or your fingers,” says Buddy.

2. “If you strictly base it on the technical definition of reading, they’re certainly not the same. They’re different language skills. But I think the whole point of both is the consumption of literature. That’s why it doesn’t matter if you read [a book] or listened to it,” says Calvin.

3. “1000% counts as reading. You’re still absorbing the material, just in a different format. And let’s not forget that [they are] extremely helpful, if not completely necessary, for the visually impaired!” says Michal.

4. “I don’t consider it reading, although I understand why some people need audiobooks and prefer them. I think reading an actual book is just a totally different experience then listening to one,” says Jessica.

5. “Audiobooks are great for those those looking to experience a book while walking or exercising, or those with vision problems. But that’s called listening. Reading is with your eyes. Not better. Just different,” says Jeanne.

6. “Yes, I consider it reading. I’m still dedicating time to the story and following along. I’ve ‘re-read’ a couple of books this way and actually picked up on new details I hadn’t before. It was exciting for me,” says Belinda.

7. “I like to listen to audiobooks when I’m hiking or driving long distances. I used to think it was ‘cheating,’ but listening to a story is just an alternative form of enjoying a book,” says Andrea.

8. “They don’t provide the exact same experience, but they both provide incredible stories. I think the coolest part is how audiobooks have modernized the human tradition of telling stories out loud with the spoken word,” says Nick.

9. “By one definition, audiobooks aren’t reading. But by the definition of reading as ‘interpretation,’ I think it fits,” says Raygina.

10. “In the same way that Braille is still ‘reading’ even though it technically does not involve visual processing of written information, audiobooks involve construction of visual interpretations of the information conveyed through symbolic language. Essentially, reading.” says Josh.

By Marie, August 17, 2018, first appearing on Goodreads Blog

6 BOOKS LIKE BIRD BOX THAT WILL CREEP YOU OUT

I have always loved horror. The poorly-written mass market paperbacks I pulled from my father’s shelves. The B-horror flicks I watched in dark basements. The books and movies that suggested that true horror lived within everyday people.

But lately, I’ve been particularly transfixed by horror that focuses on feelings of claustrophobia and unseen menace. As a grownass adult whose day-to-day fears revolve around being trapped by the consequences of my terrible decisions (schedule shift; career move; poor spending choice; ill-advised parenting tactic), this seems apt. And perhaps no book has embodied these fears as perfectly as Josh Malerman’s Bird Box.

When I first read Bird Box, a work of literary horror that has since been adapted (and quite well) by Netflix, it was just a few months before my daughter was born, a life change that would shrink my world, leave me feeling at times constricted. Even four years later, she is so needy it often seems as if she’s trying to crawl back inside my body. So when I read Malerman’s book, there was something in me that connected to the story.

For those who haven’t read the book or seen the Netflix adaptation, here’s the gist: An unseen menace causes people to become violent and suicidal. After a time, it is determined that victims go crazy when they look upon these creatures. As a result, survivors remain in boarded-up houses, with papered-up windows. They go on supply runs with blindfolds over their eyes. Their world shrinks and, in this miniaturized life they are forced to live, they don’t even know what it is they fear.They don’t know what their monster looks like.

It’s a delicious mix of claustrophobia, blindness, and a fear of the unknown. Are there other books like Bird Box? Which ones bring that same brand of terror?

6 books like BIRD BOX to creep you the heck out. book lists | scary books | creepy books | horror books | books like BIRD BOX

THE BEST BOOKS LIKE BIRD BOX

The Mist by Stephen King - 6 Books Like Bird BoxTHE MIST BY STEPHEN KING
Let me just get this one out of the way. King has a number of titles beneath his belt in which the main protagonist finds himself trapped in an untenable situation. The one that reminds me most of what went down in Bird Box is The Mist, a novella about a small town enveloped by a strange mist, in which terrible creatures seem to be skulking about. Most of the action takes place in a supermarket in which a number of townspeople find themselves trapped. As these people, thrust together by circumstance, grapple with what’s going on—and what they should do next—tensions explode. Will anyone make it out alive?

 

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah - 6 Books Like Bird BoxTHE GREAT ALONE BY KRISTIN HANNAH
When I received an ARC of this book in the mail, I was unfamiliar with Hannah’s work. I had no clue she was a New York Times bestselling author with approximately eleventy-billion published novels on her résumé. But I was immediately bewitched by this story of this coming-of-age story in which a small family moves to the wilds of Alaska in order to start anew. Unfortunately, there’s no leaving behind the inner demons of the family’s patriarch, a former POW. In this book-length fight for survival, the barren landscape isn’t the most dangerous thing the young protagonist needs to fear. This isn’t a horror novel, but it is horrifying.

 

Blindness by Jose Saramago - 6 Books Like Bird BoxBLINDNESS BY JOSÉ SARAMAGO
Where in Bird Box, characters were forced to blindfold themselves when outside so as to avoid glimpsing the thing that drove others mad, Saramago’s book is about literal blindness. A city is hit by an epidemic of blindness. Those afflicted are confined to an empty mental hospital, but the conditions there are brutal. Meanwhile, one woman who has miraculously retained her sight struggles to guide a group of strangers through this terrible new wilderness, made even more terrible by how it has empowered others to embrace the worst in themselves.

 

Cover of Blind DescentBLIND DESCENT BY JAMES M. TABOR
Before Bird Box, I lost my shit over The Descent (the British horror film; not the book by Jeff Long upon which it is very loosely based). When I saw the film, I spent the entire one-hour-40-minute run time gasping for air as a group of female spelunkers—trapped in an uncharted, underground cave system—fought and strained to find a way out. There were monsters and jump scares in the film. But what was most terrifying was, again that sense of claustrophobia. Which is why Blind Descent, a work of narrative nonfiction on two scientist-explorers who find themselves trapped within the depths of massive cave systems, freaks me out so much.

 

Hye-young-Pyun The Hole | 2017 Shirley Jackson Awards | Book RiotTHE HOLE BY HYE-YOUNG PYUN
A man wakes up from a coma after causing a car accident that takes his wife’s life and leaves him paralyzed and badly disfigured. He is left in the care of his mother-in-law, who is bereft at the loss of her only child. Confined to his bed and neglected by his reluctant and resentful caretaker, he is left only with memories of his troubled marriage. “Yellow Wallpaper” much?

 

The Devil in Silver by Victoe LaValle - 6 Books Like Bird BoxTHE DEVIL IN SILVER BY VICTOR LAVALLE
And then there’s the book that first introduced me to LaValle’s work. In it, a group of inmates at a mental institution find themselves picked off one by one by a terrifying creature with the body of an old man and the head of a bison. But is the creature real, or just the result of group delusion? This book tackles many tough topics, among them the question of how and why our fears manifest.

By , February 

FINDING THE RIGHT TIME FOR THE CLASSICS

Every book has the right time and place in one’s life; this is a belief I have always firmly held on to. I grew up in a household of readers, where books were always present and loved, and spent hours pouring over anthologies of fairytales—from the Brothers Grimm through Pushkin to the Arabian Nights and beyond—and children’s classics. I fell asleep to my father reading fairy tales and Bulgarian children’s books full of humor and misadventure. As I got older, mom and I would spend weekends at Barnes and Noble, reading and sipping hot beverages. No matter how many books I have read (and still read), however, there is one category I somehow managed to stay away from: the Classics, or, the Western Canon.

classic audiobooksAs a teenager, works like Pride and Prejudice were mostly known to me from the little screen and word of mouth. If anyone asked if I had read Oliver Twist, I smiled and answered in the affirmative, despite only having watched the musical.

Then, in the summer after my high school graduation, I decided to dabble a little bit. It was 2012. Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris had recently come out, and I was obsessed with the Lost Generation. I had read Hemingway’s short stories in Senior Year and loved them; the follow-up was The Great Gatsby. I am not sure why I chose it, exactly (the 2013 Baz Luhrmann movie was not even advertised yet at that point). I suppose it just seemed slim and nonthreatening enough. In retrospect, I could not have chosen a better book.

The day I graduated, a freak storm hit my hometown. As a result, we did not have power for several days. In June, in Virginia, that means drinking a lot of water, taking multiple cold showers, and fanning yourself incessantly with a paper fan. But, coincidentally, I was having the same experience as Nick Caraway. His constant complaints about the heat and humidity of New York in the summer of 1922 resonated. Here it was, the connection I needed with this book! I read it at lightning speed. The Great Gatsby had found me at the right juncture of my life, and so it was easy and really pleasurable to read it.

This is just one example of reading a book at what felt like the right time—a phenomenon that is probably familiar to any reader, and one that I continue to experience. But if the Gatsby incident taught me something, it is that there is not a particular time in life when one should read the literary canon. Many will encounter these famous titles through their high school English and college literature classes, but just because they are a part of the curriculum, it does not mean that this is the point in an individual’s life these works are specifically designated for.

Most recently, over the holiday season, I read Little Women, which was described to me as the perfect holiday read. When the right time arrives, I dive into these books with enthusiasm. In the end, it does not matter how old or at what stage of your life one is (nor, for that matter, how many Classics one reads). What should matter is the joy of the experience—an experience which takes place at just the right moment in the reader’s life—and the joy of sharing and discussing these works of literature with others (judgement-free!).

By , February 

12 Things Readers Really Want Nonreaders to Know

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

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

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

2. “Opening a beer when you get home will reward you for an hour. Opening a book when you get home will reward you for life.” –Douglass

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. “Reading to me is like unconditional love. I always feel like I’m home when I read a book.” –Susan

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

 

By Hayley, August 10, 2018, first appearing on Goodreads Blog