For those that need a break from holiday merriment… in favor of grim, WWII drama.
For those that need a break from holiday merriment… in favor of grim, WWII drama.
The voting is done, and Goodreads has announced the winners of their 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards. If you’re not familiar (and didn’t get to vote!), Goodreads releases nominees for the best books of the year in genres like fiction, nonfiction, poetry, romance, sci-fi, YA, and several others. Readers vote, or write-in new nominees, and a second found of finalists is released. Voting continues, and a third round of finalists is released before the big announcement comes in early December. And today is that day!
I’ve included the full list of winners below, but I want to pause and talk about a new category that Goodreads included this year. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Goodreads Choice Awards, they introduced the Best of the Best category, where readers were asked to vote on the ultimate best book from the 170 past winners in the competition. The winner is Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give. She took the top spot at an 8K+ lead over the runner up (All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr). THUG has been a Book Riot favorite, and we’re psyched to see her book chosen from such a large pool of titles.
A couple of other noteworthy wins: Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone won in the Debut Author category. You might remember that Adeyemi’s book was the inaugural pick for Jimmy Fallon’s book club on The Tonight Show. She claimed the top spot at a whopping 35K lead over the runner up. So, she didn’t just win, she really won.
If no one has told you about The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang yet, do yourself a favor, call out of work, and read it today. Hoang’s book won for Romance in a category that boasted a diverse and exciting group of finalists. Lots of buzzy books from this year.
Speaking of diversity, Goodreads showed a bit of improvement in that category. Winners in the 2017 Awards showed 20% books by authors of color (with Angie Thomas’s THUGtaking two of those spots). This year’s awards round out to 29% books by authors of color.
See the complete list of winners below, and then get your book shopping on!
Still Me by JoJo Moyes
The Outsider by Stephen King
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Circe by Madeline Miller
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Vengeful by V.E. Schwab
Elevation by Stephen King
The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
Educated by Tara Westover
The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World by Steve Brusatte
Cravings: Hungry for More by Chrissy Teigen
Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen
The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
The Trials of Apollo: Book Three, The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan
I Am Enough by Grace Byers
I’m a mood reader. What this means is that I read whatever my heart desires at that moment. It could mean running to the library to pick up the next book in a series or reading something that’s been sitting on my shelf for years. It’s very whimsical in my mind, but it does have its drawbacks. One in particular is choosing what to read on vacation.
I could be going on vacation for two days or two weeks, but every time I do I always tend to overpack my books. Sometimes it looks like I have more books than pairs of underwear! But after years of packing books for every mood I’m in, I’ve finally put together some tips you can use to pack all your favorite reads and still have room for your shoes.
USE THAT CARRY-ON OR PERSONAL ITEM SPACE
Whenever I travel, I always pack both a carry-on and a personal item. My carry-on is usually a duffle if I don’t plan on checking luggage and my personal item is always my backpack. With those two, you’re able to fit more books without having to sacrifice the space in your suitcase. I also like to pack a couple of tote bags in my suitcase in case I buy more books on vacation. It’s happened a few times and the tote bags have been a life saver.
PACK WITH INTENTION
If you’re like me, then your vacations may be a lot more fun-packed adventures than just sitting around the pool all day. I know that I want to spend all afternoon sunning on a beach, but my husband loves to walk and explore a new city. If you and your family love to be out and about all day long, then your time with books may be cut shorter. If that’s the case, pack with intention.
Think about whether or not the books you want to bring are actually going to get read. This is a tough one for any reader because we have all the best intentions when packing those books. But sometimes it just takes a little honesty with the way you like to read. You may see that one book is enough to get you through that slog on the plane, but perhaps you will sit by the pool all day.
KNOW YOUR GENRES
This is probably the most important tip for packing. While you may be into a ton of different genres, know which ones you typically find yourself reading on vacation. For me, I can only read contemporary romance. I’ve tried reading epic fantasies and thrillers, but I’m never fully invested in those stories. However, I think it’s the vibe of contemporary romances that make me feel like my brain is taking a vacation.
But knowing what genres you tend to lean towards while on vacay will help to make the choices on what to pack easier. After all, there’s no bigger guilt than the guilt of bringing a Stephen King novel and not reading it.
INVEST IN AN EREADER
After the many years of traveling I’ve done for work, I invested in a Kindle. A Kindle or ereader is probably the easiest way to keep a library of books on you while you’re on the go. You can also download different apps to your phone with minimal monthly fees to get whatever books you need right to your device.
And if you’re a traveler for work or you go on a ton of fabulous vacations, then this might be the best option for you. The best part is that it may connect with your local library so you can download more books without having to pay extra. So whether I’m in the mood for a little romance or stressed enough to read a thriller, I’ll always have something on me no matter where I am.
Last year, I completed an epic road trip with my kids. And while I think the trip was a complete success (I even returned with the same three kids—didn’t lose a single one along the way), there was one thing I forgot: a collection of the best family audiobooks. *groan*
We drove 2500 km (1500 miles) from Sydney to Townsville (Australia). And then we drove back again. All with three kids: 10 yo, 7 yo, and 3 yo. It was a nightmare trying to find something to appease all three at the same time. We were pretty lucky with how we broke up the trip but it made me realise how hard it is to find books, and audiobooks at that, to keep all passengers happy at the same time.
Luckily, 2018 has had some pretty good offerings and I am feeling a little more confident in managing our medium-level road trips over the next few months. So here are some of the best family audiobooks, listed in order of ‘listening time’. Mainly because I lost count of how many times we had to stay in the car to listen to another 30-minutes just to finish the chapter.
SHE PERSISTED AROUND THE WORLD BY CHELSEA CLINTON; READ BY CHELSEA CLINTON
She Persisted Around the World is the shortest of all my recommendations here. It’s the type of audiobook perfect for breaking up the bigger books suggested below. It is also a lovely book for the younger kids. Even the audiobook itself is broken up into the neat bite-size enjoyment, with 13 short stories of women from all around the world. Each story has a quick introduction for the woman and her dream. Then we learn how someone said no…then she persisted. Each story provides an opportunity to be inspired by how they overcome their adversity. I especially like the singing between each story. Again, it is really short but very enjoyable.
THE UNICORN RESCUE SOCIETY: BOOK 1 – THE CREATURE OF THE PINES BY ADAM GIDWITZ, NARRATED BY JANUARY LAVOY
Length: 2 hours 12mins
From the enthusiastic voice (with great pacing) to the short, engaging chapters, this is a great audiobook that is entertaining for all. You may have to keep track of how often you laugh out loud, at the risk of laughing over the next joke! New kid at school starts the first day with a field trip and trips into the Unicorn Rescue Society. Think of it as a younger kids version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
A FAIRY NIGHT’S DREAM: OR THE HORN OF THE OBERON BY KATHARINE ELISE CHAPMAN AND SAMANTHA V HUTTON, NARRATED BY T. W. ASHWORTH
Length: 3 hours 3 minutes
For any Shakespeare fans, particularly those who love A Midsummer’s Night Dream. This story was first published in 1900 and has only been made into an audiobook this year. The language of this is as dreamy and romantic and mystical as the source material itself. Aimed at the older kids who appreciate the flowery prose, A Fairy Night’s Dreamextends upon the realm of Puck and Oberon and takes us on a gorgeous adventure of magic, mirth, and mischief.
THE BOY WHO GREW DRAGONS BY ANDY SHEPHERD, NARRATED BY EWAN GODDARD
Length: 3 hours 8 minutes
If you are traveling anywhere that has dragon fruit, you MUST read this book! The kids will love it—both the book and the fruit. While the real-life dragon fruit gives you a bright red tongue (like a dragon), the other dragon fruit hatches dragons! Or at least that’s how Tomas tells the story. The dragons are adorable, the relationship between the kids and the dragons is adorable, and the pacing for the storytelling is also adorable.
LUMBERJANES: THE GOOD EGG BY MARIKO TAMAKI, NARRATED BY AMANDA LEIGH COBB
Length: 3 hours 22 minutes
I’ll be honest: I love Lumberjanes as a comic book. So the idea of listening to any Lumberjanes as an audiobook just seems…weird. And yet it works. Lumberjanes: The Good Egg is the third installment in the series and personally, I think it is the best. If you are not familiar with the Lumberjanes series, then you are better off starting at the beginning. However, for an audiobook, I think this one is the best. It really captures the diversity of the characters while bringing a really strong Gooniesfeel. We’re talking high-stakes adventures with a taste of supernatural. And while it is a very fun book, it will also bring out some great conversation about friendship.
DRAGONS IN A BAG BY ZETTA ELLIOTT, NARRATED BY RON BUTLER AND ZETTA ELLIOTT
Length: 3 hours 25 minutes
This book slowly sucks you in, with its typical urban environment and its typical family dealing with your typical real-life problems. And then you meet Ma. Ma is a witch. Ma has baby dragons. And Ma needs Jaxon’s help finding a new home for them. Sounds easy but that wouldn’t be good storytelling, wouldn’t it? If you’re driving from one city to the next, this is a great story for opening your eyes to a new urban adventure; pesky squirrels are an added bonus.
THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY GHOST BY DAVID O’CONNELL, NARRATED BY ANGUS KING
Length: 3 hours 31 minutes
A sweet and fun book for kids (but like any good candy, it appeals to all ages). A young boy suddenly inherits a very well-known confectionery company from his great uncle. However, the factory isn’t simply handed to him. Oh no, Archie can only claim the reward after he completes The Quest. There is plenty of adventure and plenty of magic, with an extra handful and vivid imagery gained from the storytelling. This one is moderately short and sweet but I hear there are more books coming in the series.
LULU THE BROADWAY MOUSE BY JENNA GAVIGAN, NARRATED BY JENNA GAVIGAN
Length: 3 hours 51 Minutes
Dream big, little mouse. That is the moral of this beautiful and sweet story. It is the perfect audiobook for gazing out the window and dreaming of all the possibilities. A lot of detail and research has been given to the theatre environment and it really comes across in the storytelling. As we follow Lulu and her adventures to the big stage, it is hard not to feel invested in her dreams and friendships. Be prepared for some thoughtful silence afterward.
LUCKY LUNA BY DIANA LOPEZ, NARRATED BY FRANKIE CORZO
Length: 3 hours 53 minutes
Is your road trip to visit family? You may empathise with Luna—she loves her family but there are simply too many of them. Lucky Luna is a coming of age book, managing family relationships with personal growth. I especially love the cultural and language elements; having spent many holidays driving long distances to visit my Maltese family, I could totally relate to this book. Wish I had this audiobook when I was 11 years old.
SWING BY KWAME ALEXANDER AND MARY RAND HESS, NARRATED BY KWAME ALEXANDER
Length: 4 hours 8 minutes
This book is gorgeous. Swing is aimed at the older kids, focused on the lives of 17-year-old Noah and his best friend Walk (aka Swing). All they want is to make the baseball team, get the girl, and be cool. The rhythm of Alexander’s voice swings through the source material with compelling emotion. He has all the desperation of the characters wrapped up in hope and innocence. This is the audiobook that captures your family’s attention and encourages you to think.
SMOKE AND MIRRORS BY K.D. HALBROOK, NARRATED BY KATIE SCHORR
Length: 5 hours 6 minutes
It’s always good to have a wide selection of books to choose from; you never know what mood you are going to be in. If the mood is a little more sombre, Smoke and Mirrors may help bring some perspective. While the story has plenty of mystery and magic involved, it is essentially about two siblings coming together to find their parents. The wistful storytelling takes nothing away from the emotional undergrowth. However, it is a beautiful story and one that will rest with you over the long drive.
THE CHILDREN OF CASTLE ROCK BY NATASHA FARRANT, NARRATED BY ANGELA NESS
Length: 5 hours 8 minutes
Imagine a voice with the lilting loveliness of Scotland, sharing a story of boarding school adventures and mayhem. The opening paragraph is filled with that exact feeling. If you like Enid Blyton’s books, you are going to love sharing this with your family. The main character has her own personal burdens to bear but the nostalgia of the storytelling leads to admiration for the characters rather than pity. Let me know if you listen to this while road-tripping around Scotland.
HELLO, UNIVERSE BY ERIN ENTRADA KELLY; NARRATED BY RAMON DE OCAMPO AND AMIELYNN ABELLERA
Length: 5 hours 17 mins
When you’re looking for some quiet, low-key entertainment, just say Hello, Universe. It is a strong friendship novel with a brilliant team of characters who are diverse in their nature without making diversity The Thing in the book. Instead, friendship is The Thing, and it is done so well. Four kids are brought together after a bullying attack ends with one of them down a well. There is a bit of drama and a dash of adventure but more important is the tight plot development and management, which holds your attention right to the end. No day-dreaming out the window and worrying about how many chapters you have missed. You won’t miss a thing here.
THE GIRL, THE CAT, AND THE NAVIGATOR BY MATILDA WOODS, NARRATED BY STEPHANIE FOXLEY
Length: 5 hours 22 minutes
Road trips are adventures, to be savoured and enjoyed! What better way to do that than with a book about stowing away on a ship in search of grand adventures!! The Girl is Oona, who wants to explore and does not want to ‘settle down’. The Cat is Barnacles the ship cat, with wisdom to entertain. The Navigator is Haroyld, who is sweet, kind, and clever. It is easy to be caught up in the fairytale-esque storytelling, as we follow Oona’s journey to find the mythical Nardoo. Amazing world-creating…Read: Good for everybody but the driver. *sigh*
THE VANDERBEEKERS AND THE HIDDEN GARDEN: BOOK 2 BY KARINA YAN GLASER, NARRATED ROBIN MILES
Length: 5 hours 32 minutes
Ever since I found this series from fellow Book Rioter Karina Yan Glaser, I have been raving about it to everyone. It is the sweetest storytelling with the most entertaining family (and considering what I have in my home, that is something). If you haven’t been introduced to the Vanderbeekers, then you are probably better off checking out the first book in the series. Personally, I really like this second book. The plot progresses just as fast as the first, and the characters jump out at you even more! Do not be afraid to hit pause and talk about a few ideas. The Vanderbeekers are desperately trying to build a garden to help a neighbour, and this is sure to provoke some deep consideration. And once you’re done, check out our quiz to see which Vanderbeek sibling you would be! (P.S. I’m book-loving, peace-keeping Oliver. No surprise there!)
THE MAGIC MISFITS: THE SECOND STORY BY NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, NARRATED BY NEIL PATRICK HARRIS AND CHRISTINA HENDRICKS
Length: 5 hours 33 minutes
Yes, it is a ‘Book 2’ but it is a really good Book 2!! And it is very different to book 1—okay, there are some elements that carry over but none of that stops this book from being a really pleasurable read during a long road trip! This book is focused on Leila, the adopted daughter of Dante Vernon and his husband. Filled with puzzles and riddles and some magic tricks at the end, Hendricks and Harris balance the role of narrator and encourage you to dive into their storytelling.
COCO: A STORY ABOUT MUSIC, SHOES, AND FAMILY BY DIANA LOPEZ, NARRATED BY FRANKIE CORZO
Length: 5 hours 36 minutes
If you loved the movie, then you will adore the retelling of the story within this novel. There is enough original content to ensure you are not just revisiting the movie but expanding on the rich and vibrant world. If you close your eyes, you can imagine yourself immersed in the family celebrations, with all their love and character. You don’t have to see the movie to enjoy the book; both of them will have you hugging your family at the next pit-stop.
BLENDED BY SHARON M. DRAPER, NARRATED BY SHARON M. DRAPER
Length: 5 hours 42 minutes
Blended is an easy-listening book with some much deeper thought-provoking elements. Draper’s voice carries both elegance and enthusiasm, complimenting the dreamy hope of the 11-year-old protagonist. Her pace is lovely with the patience of the characters. It is comforting as the book delves into serious issues: divorce, separation, race, and police.
MERCI SUAREZ CHANGES GEARS BY MEG MEDINA, NARRATED BY FRANKIE CORZO
Length: 7 hours 9 minutes
Another great book to help prepare for the family onslaught behind most family road trips. Merci Suarez, our main star, is facing a lot of change in her life. Merci’s story invites us into her multi-generational family, including her Abuelo who is showing early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease. This is a great story about balancing the personal needs of your own identity with the love and responsibility of being in a family. A good book if you are preparing for any heavy-going family issues at your destination.
TILLY AND THE BOOKWANDERERS: BOOK 1 BY ANNA JAMES, NARRATED BY AYSHA KALA
Length: 7 hours 18 minutes
Just listening to this audiobook can transport you to a whole other literary world…and isn’t that what audiobooks should be doing on long road trips? I am so jealous of Tilly and her ability to travel amongst the novels in her grandparents’ London bookshop. This is the ultimate adventure through Anne of Green Gables, Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, and so many more literary classics. It is sweet and charming, and definitely written for all of the bookworms out there!
HAVE SWORD, WILL TRAVEL: BOOK 1 BY GARTH NIX AND SEAN WILLIAMS, NARRATED BY OLIVER HEMBROUGH
Length: 7 hours 44 minutes
If you’re looking for an easy-going fantasy story with plenty of wit and charming characters, then load up this audiobook and prepare yourself for a talking sword. While aimed at the younger kids, the rest of the family will have a little chuckle (especially with some well-placed dad/mum-jokes). The story is supposed to be about Odo and Eleanor, and their magical quest to save their kingdom…but let’s be honest—the talking sword is the star of the show.
ONE WISH BY MICHELLE HARRISON, NARRATED BY NICKY DISS
Length: 8 hours 35 minutes
One Wish is the prequel to Harrison’s Thirteen Treasures series. Consider this a taster of a whole new series to discover. This a slightly darker and mysterious story about fairies. Less Tinkerbell and more Labyrinth and the faeries that bite. There is still plenty of magic but the strength of the storytelling lies in the choice Tanya makes to use her one wish. It’s a great introduction to the world of the fey and one that can be spread over many legs of your trip.
BATMAN: NIGHTWALKER BY MARIE LU, NARRATED BY WILL DAMRON
Length: 8 hours 39 minutes
I honestly cannot remember if I heard him say “I’m Batman.” I was too caught up in the story itself! Okay, so this story is less about Batman and more about Bruce Wayne; specifically, 18-year-old Bruce Wayne who is doing community service cleaning up at Arkham Asylum (as believable as any other DC story arc, so just go with it). If you have any DC fans in the family, then you will enjoy this perspective on Bruce’s character.
PEASPROUT CHEN, FUTURE LEGEND OF SKATE AND SWORD BY HENRY LIEN, NARRATED BY NANCY WU
Length: 9 hours 8 minutes
Nancy Wu is the perfect narrator for this book; her voice really captures the fierce dreamy nature of Peasprout Chen, student of the legendary wu liu—martial arts figure skating. There are plenty of moments where you will want to close your eyes to picture the flying kung fu across the glistening ice; please refrain if you are the person holding the steering wheel. Instead, enjoy the excitement and the adventure as politics bleeds into the special academy. This is a great book to listen to as a family; to laugh and gasp and splutter the “WHAT?!?”
THE CRUEL PRINCE: THE FOLK OF THE AIR (BOOK 1) BY HOLLY BLACK, NARRATED BY CAITLIN KELLY
Length: 12 hours 36 minutes
This one is for the fantastical and mystical fans of faeries. It is a little slow to start but it doesn’t take long to enthrall you in the subterfuge and world building politics of the fae. Definitely for the older kids as it delves into some pretty dark issues, starting with the overwhelming sensation of everything. Every sensual experience is described in great details; from the taste of faerie fruit to the feel of rich fabrics, and the smell of every room you step into. The intrigue as the mortals battle for survival will have you sitting in the car long after you have reached your destination. Definitely one to listen to with your older kids.
Incredible news in the book world this week: Author Margaret Atwood announced there will be a sequel to her novel The Handmaid’s Tale! Titled The Testaments, The Handmaid’s Talesequel is the book many fans of her classic dystopian novel have been eagerly awaiting.
Atwood announced The Handmaid’s Tale sequel on Twitter:
“Yes indeed to those who asked: I’m writing a sequel to The Handmaids Tale. The Testaments is set 15 years after Offred’s final scene and is narrated by three female characters. It will be published in September 2019.”
In her announcement tweet, Atwood also added this short video, with its simple text and background static adding to the ominous feel of The Handmaid’s Tale, and perhaps its coming sequel. “Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book,” the video reads. “Well, almost everything!” Atwood then adds, “The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.”
A New York Times bestseller, The Handmaid’s Tale was first published in 1985 and earned huge critical praise. The book is set in the near future under a regime called Gilead. The oppressive government forces the few fertile women into the role of handmaids: women who are enslaved for their ability to reproduce. The story is told through the eyes of Offred, who is a handmaid. Although the identity of the sequel’s three female narrators hasn’t been announced, there is speculation that one of the narrators will be Offred, and a second may be one of the wives of Gilead.
Hulu adapted The Handmaid’s Tale into an Emmy award-winning series in 2017, and the second season aired in spring 2018. Atwood was careful to clarify on her website that The Handmaid’s Tale book sequel “is not connected to the television adaptation.” Though fans of the series can only hope that the new story will be adapted, too!
In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale and the upcoming The Testaments, Margaret Atwood has written over 40 books of fiction, poetry, and essays. The Testaments hits shelves on September 10, 2019, and we look forward to bringing you more details about this exciting sequel as its release date nears!
Check out Atwood’s other books below:
Movie: Mary Queen of Scots
When it comes out: December 7
What the book is about: She was crowned Queen of Scotland at nine months of age, and Queen of France at sixteen years; at eighteen she ascended the throne that was her birthright and began ruling one of the most fractious courts in Europe, riven by religious conflict and personal lust for power. She rode out at the head of an army in both victory and defeat; saw her second husband assassinated, and married his murderer. At twenty-five she entered captivity at the hands of her rival queen, from which only death would release her.
Movie: Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle
When it comes out: December 7
What the book is about: The collected stories of Mowgli, the fabled wild boy who was raised by wolves, taught by a panther, befriended by a bear and had many great adventures in and around the jungles of India.
Movie: Schindler’s List: Remastered
When it comes out: December 7
What the book is about: In the shadow of Auschwitz, a flamboyant German industrialist grew into a living legend to the Jews of Cracow. He was a womanizer, a heavy drinker, and a bon viveur, but to them he became a savior. This is the extraordinary story of Oskar Schindler, who risked his life to protect Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland and who was transformed by the war into a man with a mission, a compassionate angel of mercy.
When it comes out: December 7
What the book is about: Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.
Movie: Mortal Engines
When it comes out: December 14
What the book is about: “It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.”
Welcome to a post-apocalyptic world where communities exist only as crews of giant, predatory vehicle-cities, criss-crossing the decimated landscapes of Earth.
Movie: The Mule
When it comes out: December 14
What the book is about: A 90-year-old horticulturist and WWII veteran is caught transporting $3 million worth of cocaine through Michigan for a Mexican drug cartel.
Movie: Mary Poppins Returns
When it comes out: December 19
What the book is about: Pulled down from the clouds at the end of a kite string, Mary Poppins is back. In Mary’s care, the Banks children meet the King of the Castle and the Dirty Rascal, visit the upside-down world of Mr. Turvy and his bride, Miss Topsy, and spend a breathless afternoon above the park, dangling from a clutch of balloons.
Movie: Bird Box
When it comes out: December 21
What the book is about: Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from. Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?
Movie: Holmes & Watson
When it comes out: December 25
What the book is about: “It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
Sherlock Holmes, scourge of criminals everywhere, whether they be lurking in London’s foggy backstreets or plotting behind the walls of an idyllic country mansion, and his faithful colleague Dr Watson solve twelve breathtaking and perplexing mysteries.
If you’ve been paying any attention, you know that Netflix is creating some of the most marathon-worthy original content these days. But once you’ve watched all available episodes of your favorite Netflix show, you can find yourself in a sad slump. What to do now? It’s too soon to start a new series, but you’re not ready to leave your cozy couch cocoon. Lucky for you, we’re here with eight book recommendations based on your favorite Netflix shows! These book and Netflix original series pairings are sure to help you end those last episode blues.
If you enjoy the balance of dark magic and teen drama in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, you’ll love Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova. Much like Sabrina, teenage bruja Alex has a complicated relationship with her family legacy of magic. When she tries to rid herself of her powers at her Deathday celebration, her spell backfires and her whole family disappears. She must team up with Nova, a brujo she doesn’t trust, to save her family and redeem herself.
If you’re a fan of badass private eye/superhero Jessica Jones, you’ll definitely appreciate badass mercenary/math genius Cas Russell from S.L. Huang’s Zero Sum Game. The author is a weapons expert and professional stuntwoman with a math degree from MIT. She’s used her expertise to create Cas, a protagonist who can calculate the trajectory of bullets and use her knowledge of physics to jump off of roofs and through windows. When she encounters a secret organization experimenting with mind control, her mastery of numbers gets more complicated. Much like Jessica Jones, Cas faces a lot of ethical questions when her skills, her job, and enemies that can control minds clash.
If you like the experimental sci-fi feel of Black Mirror, you should check out the captivating short story collection Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. Adjei-Brenyah examines the everyday racism black people face by putting his characters in heightened, surreal situations. In one story, a young actor struggles with his role in an augmented reality that allows players to hunt “terrorists” or “intruders.” In another, a mall store employee must survive an apocalyptic zombie-like Black Friday sale. These and other haunting tales serve as social commentary in a way fans of Black Mirror will love.
For fans of the absurd and hilarious Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Mr. & Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel is the perfect fit. Socialite and former beauty queen Maxine is climbing the social ranks in Palm Spring in 1969. That is, until her husband leaves her for his significantly younger secretary and she has a public meltdown. She decides that winning the Mr. & Mrs. American Pie contest is the only way to save her image. But first, she has to find a makeshift family she can sell to the judges as her own. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, led by an outrageous cast of characters and a plucky protagonist who will always find a way.
If you love the razor-sharp social commentary of Dear White People, read Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper. This essay collection is an astute and captivating examination of modern racism, respectability politics, and Black womanhood. Much like Samantha in Dear White People, Brittney Cooper has chosen to use her anger to fight racism and sexism in a powerful, thought-provoking way.
Love the life advice and feel-goodiness of Queer Eye? Then you’re sure to enjoy the charming stories, thoughtful guidance, and beautiful pictures in GuRu, a new book from legendary drag queen RuPaul. Mama Ru is full of memorable one liners and tips for mindfulness. GuRu has a little bit of everything to provide perspective for the mind, body, and spirit. It will leave you feeling joyful and refreshed, much like Queer Eye’s Fab Five.
Fans of Orange is the New Black, a dramedy set in a New York women’s prison, should check out The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner, a novel set in a California women’s prison. When single mother and former stripper Romy kills a man who stalked her, she’s sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. Upon her arrival in prison, she meets a variety of inmates with their own stories to tell. It’s a look at the harsh realities of incarceration and a flawed justice system told through many perspectives. The diversity of voices and experiences will appeal to Orange is the New Black viewers.
If you’re obsessed with the late-in-life romances and quirky relationships in Grace and Frankie, you’re bound to adore Bingo Love, a comic by Tee Franklin, Jenn St-Onge, Joy San, and Cardinal Rae. Hazel and Mari fell in love at first sight at church bingo in 1963, but they were forced apart by their families and society. When they meet again decades later, they decide to give their love a chance. It’s heartwarming and sincere, much like the love and friendships in Grace and Frankie.