LITERARY CHARACTERS WHO ARE PROBABLY (DEFINITELY) IN JAIL FOR MURDER

In Mindy Kaling’s recent chat with Variety about what The Office characters were up to in 2019, she revealed there was some part of her who believed that Kelly Kapoor might be in jail for murdering Ryan. This got several Rioters discussing which literary characters we definitely believe are now in jail (or hiding from the authorities, at least). Here are their stories.

THE MARCH FAMILY
Look, basically any of the March sisters could be murderers. Jo and Amy seem like givens, but even Beth had a streak in her, accidentally killing her bird and harboring secrets from her other sisters. The most guilty in this clan is clearly Aunt March, but she is secretly a government spy (or possibly a hitman) and has never actually been accused or caught doing anything untoward because she is too prepared and too clever.

VERUCA SALT
Possibly the brattiest child in the history of all of children’s literature, Veruca is quarantined on an island she was sent to after murdering her father for not winning the lawsuit against the chocolate factory after she was booted out and deemed a “bad nut.” There is a team trained not to succumb to her psychological manipulation as she serves her time far, far away from civilization.

Veruca Salt and her parents Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie still

NICK CARRAWAY
He’s creepy, he’s self-righteous, and he is most definitely a closet serial killer. (Don’t @ me.)

RABBIT FROM WINNIE-THE-POOH
Rabbit is like that passive-aggressive coworker you can’t believe is leaving notes around the kitchen about how to correctly stack the napkins. He acknowledges that he believes the other Hundred Acre Woods residents are fluff (but he has brains), and he takes charge of all group events, even if people don’t want him to and politely suggest why he shouldn’t be in charge. Hateful toward newcomers and anyone who doesn’t follow his instructions, Rabbit is in Hundred Acre Prison for public destruction and murdering his neighbor after he discovers his garden has been mowed against his wishes.

HOLDEN CAULFIELD
I don’t even think this one needs an explanation, but this whiny, self-involved, complaining young male surely makes this list for a number of reasons, probably for “accidentally” killing someone, then proclaiming it was in his best interest and that society is out to get him.

KAREN BREWER
The oft-forgotten younger stepsister of Kristy in the Babysitters’ Club series, Karen always infuriated me. I think she was supposed to be fun, but her formal-speaking, smart-mouthed, calculating self surely has some conniving secrets as an adult. She likely got away from the authorities and is now living under an assumed identity in the tropics.

EDWARD ROCHESTER
Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorites, but that doesn’t mean this shining example of a brooding man in literature isn’t basically the worst human ever. I mean, the actual plot of the actual book already has him keeping his wife up in the attic until she wastes away. I’d like to think that Jane eventually realizes this, turns him in, and she and his wife go off on their merry way, traveling the world and living the #vanlife Instagram obsession. Just ignore how the story actually goes. Rochester is the worst, and we all know it.

Edward Rochester and Jane Eyre movie still

GOLDILOCKS
Another character who is, in her actual story, basically is already committing these crimes is Goldilocks. She’s definitely in jail for breaking and entering, truly believing she could waltz into the bears’ home and use their resources and consume their food with no repercussions because she was a pretty, white, blonde girl. She was eventually caught after the bear community rallied together and proved how destructive she was to their homes and property, and was probably stopped before it escalated too far (hopefully) into murdering someone for their possessions.

We know there are way too many smart and calculating literary characters out there—who do you think is definitely in jail for murder?

By CASSIE GUTMAN, February 8, 2019, first appearing on BOOK RIOT
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Books We Wish We Could Read Again for the First Time

As book lovers and bibliophiles, we’ve all experienced that momentary pang of jealousy when introducing someone to a great novel or book and realizing they’re going to have that singular joy of experiencing it for the first time. While revisiting a beloved tome has its own appeal, discovering a truly amazing story for the first time is exhilarating, surprising, and magical in a way that just can’t be replicated. Whether it’s because of shocking twists, powerful writing, or stunning originality, there’s nothing quite like reading a great book for the first time.

1

Gone Girl

When a thriller is as deliciously twisted and as intricately woven as Gone Girl, there’s nothing quite like the experience of reading it for the first time. While Dark Places and Sharp Objects (Flynn’s earlier efforts) certainly had their share of surprising twists, there’s just something about the gut punch realization of what is actually going on in Gone Girl. It’s a thriller experience that only comes around once.

Gone Girl Book Cover Picture

 

2

Hell’s Angels

If you’ve ever read Hunter S. Thompson, you know there’s nothing quite like the first time you stumble into his raucous, brutally honest, damn-the-torpedoes world. Thompson had an electrifying grasp of the written word — he was a bare-knuckle brawler who careened through language and grammar with gleeful abandon. More importantly, he was a no-holds-barred journalist who dove into subjects with both feet, dissecting the world around with vicious precision. Reading Thompson is a shock to the system that can really only be experienced fully the first time around.

Hell's Angels Book Cover Picture

 

3

Everything I Never Told You

Celeste Ng’s 2014 debut, Everything I Never Told You, is at once devastating and breathtaking. The family at its heart is as faulted and fallible as humanness can be. As Ng brings us along through the unfolding of their greatest tragedy, slowly revealing the events that led up to it, you’ll have to remind yourself to exhale.

Everything I Never Told You Book Cover Picture

 

4

Perdido Street Station

The first time you pick up a China Mieville book, it becomes immediately clear that you’ve found your way into something entirely new. Mieville’s brand of fiction is difficult to pin down; part horror, a little literary, with speculative sci-fi thrown in, it is wholly and breathtakingly original. Perdido Street Station takes readers through a macabre metropolis beneath the bones of a long-dead beast. I’s populated with humans and monsters of every imaginable stripe. It’s a hallucinatory, steam-punk fever dream — Charles Dickens by way of Frank Herbert and Philip K. Dick. And the sheer weight of the originality hits hardest on that first read through.

Perdido Street Station Book Cover Picture

 

5

Atonement

The powerful emotion and sensuality of Ian McEwan’s writing is an extraordinary thing the first time you experience it. For me, Atonement may be the zenith of his considerable skill and while it’s well worth multiple reads, nothing compares to the devastation that comes with working through the novel’s final pages for the first time.

Atonement Book Cover Picture

 

6

Cat’s Cradle

There are few writers who can claim to have redefined the art of storytelling. Kurt Vonnegut is one of those select few. Cat’s Cradle is both audaciously irreverent and extraordinarily intelligent.

Cat's Cradle Book Cover Picture

 

7

Americanah

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2013 novel, Americanah, introduces two characters who will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. Ifemelu and Obinze part ways in their youth. After falling in love in Nigeria, Ifemelu heads to America while Obinze leaves for London. Their lives could not be more different, but their bond remains. Americanah is a modern love story — and an unputdownable novel.

Americanah Book Cover Picture

 

8

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

While great comedy will always give you a laugh, it’s funniest the first time around. The Hitchhiker’s Guide is wholly original and raucously off-kilter. The first time you read it, the humor comes fast, but rarely from the direction you’d expect, and while there will be plenty of enjoyment during the second, third, and fourth reads, those surprise belly laughs that sprang out of nowhere only come around on that first read.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 25th Anniversary Edition Book Cover Picture

 

9

The Secret History

Donna Tartt’s debut novel, 1992’s The Secret History, combines some of our favorite things: psychological suspense, a college campus, and a cast of too-smart-for-their-own-good young adults. It’s the kind of novel you’ll stay up late to finish — wishing all the while that you had the willpower to make it last longer.

The Secret History Book Cover Picture

 

10

The Sparrow

Mary Doria Russell’s first novel, 1997’s The Sparrow, addressed an oft-written-about subject: First interactions with extraterrestrial life. A linguist priest and his team secretly travel to the planet Rakhat to set up their studies of this alternate civilization, also inadvertently setting the stage for an unearthly sequence of events.

The Sparrow Book Cover Picture

 

11

Push

 

Sapphire’s 1996 novel, Push, introduced readers to sixteen-year-old Precious Jones. Told from Precious’s point of view, in her voice, all odds are stacked against her — save for one way out. The experience of reading Push is unlike any other reading experience you’re likely to have, and though it will devastate you, it will also inspire you. It is, truly, a literary work of art.

Push Book Cover Picture

By Keith Rice, August 20, 2018, first appearing on Signature Reads

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

Works of Nonfiction to Rival Any Great Thriller Novel

Who doesn’t love a good thriller? Whether a tale of murder and mayhem, a page-turning whodunit, dangerous family secrets, or a bit of good old fashioned espionage – there’s nothing quite like a great page-turner. Occasionally, however, life can prove stranger – and more thrilling – than fiction. Some of the best thrillers just happen to lurk in the pages of the nonfiction world. What better way to change up your usual suspenseful binge than to dive into the pages of a larger-than-life, stranger-than-fiction tale? Here are a few of our favorites.

In Cold Blood Book Cover PictureIn Cold Blood
Truman Capote’s true crime masterpiece is a classic for good reason. It is largely credited with igniting the trend of narrative nonfiction, particularly in true crime, and is lifted by Capote’s skillful storytelling. What truly makes In Cold Blood such a compulsive thriller, however, is Capote’s clear fascination with murderer Perry Smith.

Five Days at Memorial Book Cover PictureFive Days at Memorial
Pulitzer Prize winner Sheri Fink spent six years investigating precisely what went on in a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and the desperate bid for survival amid the chaos within. Following the devastation of the hurricane, hospital power failed, temperatures soared, and floodwaters rose. Caregivers were forced to determine the order of patients for evacuation. Months later, several faced charges of injecting patients with drugs to speed their deaths. With Five Days at Memorial, Sheri Fink reconstructs the events with haunting precision.

The Looming Tower (Movie Tie-in) Book Cover PictureThe Looming Tower 
With a narrative spanning five decades, The Looming Tower breaks down the rise of Al-Qaeda and the disturbing failures in U.S. Intelligence in the lead-up to the 9/11 attacks. Lawrence Wright earned a Pulitzer Prize for his work and it remains the most in-depth account of the myriad events that led to the most deadly terrorist attack ever perpetrated on U.S. soil. It is the definitive history.

Thunderstruck Book Cover PictureThunderstruck
Set against the backdrops of Edwardian London and the coasts of Cornwall, Cape Cod, and Nova Scotia, Erik Larson interweaves the tales of two men — one is creator of a revolutionary means of wireless communication, the other nearly commits the perfect murder. How their stories intersect is a tragic tale of love and betrayal and a suspenseful chase across the North Atlantic. Thunderstruck is Erik Larson at his best.

The Skies Belong to Us Book Cover PictureThe Skies Belong to Us
In an America torn apart by the Vietnam War and the demise of ’60s idealism, airplane hijackings were astonishingly routine. Over a five-year period starting in 1968, the desperate and disillusioned seized commercial jets nearly once a week, using guns, bombs, and jars of acid. Their criminal exploits mesmerized the country, never more so than when shattered Army veteran Roger Holder and mischievous party girl Cathy Kerkow managred to comandeer Western Airlines Flight 701 and flee across an ocean with a half-million dollars in ransom—a heist that remains the longest-distance hijacking in American history.

The Girls of Murder City Book Cover PictureThe Girls of Murder City
With a thrilling, fast-paced narrative, award-winning journalist Douglas Perry vividly captures the sensationalized circus atmosphere that gave rise to the concept of the celebrity criminal- and gave Chicago its most famous story. The Girls of Murder Cityrecounts two scandalous, sex-fueled murder cases and how an intrepid “girl reporter” named Maurine Watkins turned the beautiful, media-savvy suspects-“Stylish Belva” and “Beautiful Beulah”-into the talk of the town.

My Dark Places Book Cover PictureMy Dark Places
In 1958 Jean Ellroy was murdered, her body dumped on a roadway in a seedy L.A. suburb.  Her killer was never found, and the police dismissed her as a casualty of a cheap Saturday night. James Ellroy was ten when his mother died, and he spent the next thirty-six years running from her ghost and attempting to exorcize it through crime fiction. In My Dark Places, our most uncompromising crime writer tells what happened when he teamed up with a brilliant homicide cop to investigate a murder that everyone else had forgotten–and reclaim the mother he had despised, desired, but never dared to love. What ensues is a epic of loss, fixation, and redemption, a memoir that is also a history of the American way of violence.

Killers of the Flower Moon Book Cover PictureKillers of the Flower Moon
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. One of her relatives was shot. Another was poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more Osage were dying under mysterious circumstances, and many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered.

The Brothers Book Cover PictureThe Brothers
On April 15, 2013, two homemade bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston marathon, killing three people and wounding more than 264 others. In the ensuing manhunt, Tamerlan Tsarnaev died, and his younger brother, Dzhokhar, was captured and brought to trial. Yet even after the guilty verdict and the death sentence, what we didn’t know was why. Why did the American Dream go so wrong for two immigrants? How did such a nightmare come to pass?

The Wicked Boy Book Cover PictureThe Wicked Boy
In the summer of 1895, Robert Coombes (age 13) and his brother Nattie (age 12) were seen spending lavishly around the docklands of East London — for ten days in July, they ate out at coffee houses and took trips to the seaside and the theater. The boys told neighbors they had been left home alone while their mother visited family in Liverpool, but their aunt was suspicious. When she eventually forced the brothers to open the house to her, she found the badly decomposed body of their mother in a bedroom upstairs. Robert and Nattie were arrested for matricide and sent for trial at the Old Bailey. With riveting detail and rich atmosphere, Kate Summerscale recreates this terrible crime and its aftermath, uncovering an extraordinary story of man’s capacity to overcome the past.

By Keith Rice, August 17, 2018, first appearing on Signature Reads

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