Top Long-Running Series to Binge Read (If You Haven’t Already)

There’s nothing quite like delving into a novel when you know you can count on several more volumes to hold your attention. The idea of getting know a character – or characters – over the course of not only multiple novels, but multiple years makes for a unique reading experience. Picking up a new novel in a beloved series is like meeting up with some old friends – there’s a kind of well-worn familiarity that can’t be replicated. Luckily, if you too have the urge to dive into a long-running series, we have a few favorites to get you started.

Bones Never Lie (with bonus novella Swamp Bones) Book Cover PictureBones Never Lie
You likely know Temperance Brennan from the long running TV series, “Bones.” If that is your only exposure to the brilliant forensic anthropologist, do yourself a favor and pick up one of the novels that inspired the series. With eighteen novels and counting, Kathy Reichs has more than proven that she knows her way around a suspenseful plot.Add in an engaging cast of characters and one of the best protagonists in thrillers fiction and you’ve got a recipe for success.

The Cold Dish Book Cover PictureThe Cold Dish
Walt Longmire is one of my favorite fictional detectives; he’s a laconic and tortured cowboy with a stiff moral code and a weathered view of the world around him. Craig Johnson has carved out an interesting niche that combines classic Old West and cowboy tropes with hard-boiled noir. It’s an interesting combination that sets the Longmire Mystery series apart from the wealth of other crime fiction crowding the shelves.

Storm Front Book Cover PictureStorm Front
There’s been real boom in quality urban fantasy the last few years, but Jim Butcher’s wizard-turned-private-investigator will always be my go-to. With Harry Dresden, Butcher puts a fantastical spin on the classic hard-boiled detective mystery. Dresden finds himself caught up in all facets of murder and mayhem in his beloved Chicago — supernatural and otherwise — and his wisecracking, fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants style has kept me entertained across fifteen novels as well as various short stories.

Her Royal Spyness Book Cover PictureHer Royal Spyness
Rhys Bowen’s A Royal Spyness Mystery series is one of my favorites and at twelve novels, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into. Set during the 1930s, the mysteries center around a Lady Georgiana, who is 34th in line for the English throne with a penchant for finding herself in inexplicable situations.

Killing Floor Book Cover PictureKilling Floor
Jack Reacher might just be the most badass, no-nonsense hero in suspense fiction at the moment and Lee Child’s lean and visceral thrillers are truly edge-of-your seat affairs. Reacher is an ex-military policeman turned drifter with a very particular and dangerous sort of skills. He makes his way around the country like a sort of modern-day knight, always finding someone in dire need of his help.

Pietr the Latvian Book Cover PicturePietr the Latvian
When it comes to long-running series, Georges Simenon’s Inspector Maigret is difficult to top. With seventy-five novels featuring the genius Parisian sleuth, there’s plenty of mystery to be enjoyed.Maigret is a dogged and occasionally misanthropic detective who navigates the underbelly of a Paris that seems to be set in a state of perpetual gloom. These tightly woven, densely plotted mysteries are well worth digging into.

The Bone Collector Book Cover PictureThe Bone Collector
Lincoln Rhymes is one of the more interesting characters in recent thriller fiction. He’s an extraordinary forensic scientist and criminologist who also happens to be a quadriplegic with control of only one finger. Rhymes makes his way through the often startling grisly crime scenes with a host of high tech gadgetry. His investigations always prove to be just the sort of high-wire suspense that all-night reading sessions require.

Y is for Yesterday Book Cover PictureY is for Yesterday
It’s hard to top Sue Grafton’s dogged ingenuity. The twenty-five novels in her Kinsey Milhone/Alphabet series are a master class in sustained suspense and clever plotting. Grafton created one of the all-time great literary detectives in Kinsey Milhone — a hard edged and resourceful private investigator who Grafton insisted on thrusting into ever more dangerous situations.

44 Scotland Street Book Cover Picture44 Scotland Street
You likely know the prolific Alexander McCall Smith for his bestselling No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series, and while we most definitely recommend that one as well, 44 Scotland Street is another long-running series that is well worth your time. Set in McCall Smith’s beloved Edinburgh, the series centers on the residents of 44 Scotland Streetand their assorted love triangles, mishaps, mysteries, and various goings-on. And i’s all told with McCall Smith’s characteristic warmth, wit, and keen perception.

By Keith Rice, September 12, 2018, first appearing on Signature Reads

How To Support A Book or Favorite Author: 6 Easy Tips (Including Many Free Ones!)

I have a new book coming out in October. While I feel I have talked about it nonstop, I still find many people I know or who are familiar with ask me about it and are surprised to learn it’s happening so soon (the book is called Don’t Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start The Conversation about Mental Health and is an anthology that features essays and art about mental health). This is only made more complicated because, as someone who works in a world of books, I’m always working months ahead of time when it comes to reading. But what about when a book is coming out in a couple weeks or hit shelves in the last few days, weeks, or months? I’ve put together a handy little guide to how to support a book or favorite author.

This guide is meant as a way to spread the word about a book you love or you want to get more attention, and all of the tips are pretty easy and straightforward. Some will cost you a little bit of money while others are completely free and will cost little more than a few minutes of your time.

Whatever your investment, here are a few ways for how to support a book or favorite author.6 easy ways to support a book or author you love. how to support a book | book lovers | talking about books | how to talk about books | book reviews | tips and tricks | life hacks

PREORDER THE BOOK

You’ve likely seen authors talk about preordering their book. Preordering is simply placing an order for the book through your favorite retailer before the book is published. Some places guarantee that whatever the lowest price the book comes to between the time of order and publication date is the price you pay, so it doesn’t matter if you want to get it a little cheaper.

Why does preordering matter?

Books that are sold during the first week of a book’s publication show to a publisher there is interest in the title. Those preorders are counted toward first-week sales, so it can give a huge boost to a title when many orders are placed before the book’s publication date.

If there’s interest in a book and it’s shown clearly from the start, the chances of your favorite author getting another book deal increases. It’s also possible that with an increase in preorders through bookstores, more copies of that particular title or that author’s titles may be available in store. More in store placement of books means the chances of the book finding a new readership increase. As much as everyone wishes that every book were in bookstores—independent or chain—it’s simply not the case.

Poke around here to learn a little more about how and why preorders matter.

Cost: The price of the book.

 

REQUEST THE BOOK BE PURCHASED FOR YOUR LIBRARY

Many public libraries have forms either on their website or in person which allow you to recommend books for their collection. If you do a search of the library catalog and notice a new or upcoming title isn’t listed, drop a recommendation.

To make this process as seamless as possible, when you submit the request, make sure to include why. Note the author’s previous books, and include book reviews for the new title if you have them (places like Kirkus Reviews have their reviews online and often, they’re published weeks or months in advance of the book). You might also find it worthwhile to explain that you read the book and loved it and think readers who like a certain genre or similar author might, too.

There’s no guarantee the book will be purchased by the library, but it will show interest to the purchasers. This gets the book on their radars to look up. In my own experience working in libraries, so long as someone wasn’t abusing the system—requesting a ton of titles all the time, requesting their own books, etc.—I tended to purchase all books requested, since I knew they’d be borrowed by at least one person.

Cost: Nothing but a little of your time!

 

BORROW THE BOOK FROM YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY

One of the tools that librarians use when making purchasing decisions is the circulation records of previous titles. This is why every James Patterson book is on standing order; his books circulate very well, and thus are automatically purchased when a new book comes out.

If you love a book or an author and prefer to borrow, rather than buy, books, take the time to get it from the library. The library’s purchase and your borrowing do make a difference to an author or a book.

Although it’s not always guaranteed, if you are able to put a hold request on a book before it’s available, that might help libraries make a decision of whether or not to purchase more than a single copy. Books which are showing a lot of activity, like multiple holds on a single copy, suggest that the popularity and interest is there and the library should consider purchasing another copy or two to fulfill the interest.

You may think that not buying the book and instead relying on the library doesn’t help a book or author. But it does! Libraries make a huge difference for those books and authors.

Cost: Nothing but your time (and maybe overdue fines if you, like me, are terrible about due dates).

 

ATTEND AN AUTHOR’S EVENT

Is your favorite author having an event that’s easy for you to get to? Take the time and go. It’s not always easy to do, but if the means are there, take advantage. A packed audience for an event is a sign to the bookstore that there’s interest in the author—as well as similar authors—and thus, they may have the opportunity to return with future books.

It’s not always necessary to buy the book when you attend an event, though it’s always nice to purchase something when you attend an event. Buy a cup of coffee in the cafe, a cool pair of socks from their sideline items, or even a book that you’ve been meaning to buy. This is not necessary, but it is a nice thank you to the store for hosting the event.

Of course, if you can buy the author’s book, do that. Consider gifting it to a friend or family member if you don’t need it because you’ve already preordered it or because you’ve borrowed it from the library.

Also? Authors love looking at an audience of people there to hear about their work. Your presence is welcome, and know that when you talk with them afterward or ask a question during the Q&A portion of the talk, they’re so thrilled to hear from you. You are why they have the opportunity to be there, and that doesn’t get forgotten.

Authors list their events on their websites, as well as across social media. But you can also keep an eye on local bookstores for their upcoming events and attend those that sound even remotely interesting to you—you may discover a new favorite by simply taking the chance. Plus, it’s fun to get out of the house for an hour or two in the middle of the week if you can.

Cost: Whatever you choose to purchase from the event.

 

LEAVE REVIEWS ON CONSUMER WEBSITES

Have you seen the meme circulating about how, when a book reaches 50 reviews on Amazon, it’s included in more of their promotional materials? If not, take a peek over to the left.

It’s hard to determine if that’s true or not, but I can say from my own book writing experience that once I hit 50 reviews, I definitely saw my book popping up in more of the “You might also like” features other similar books.

If you’ve loved a book, one of the most powerful things you can do is drop a review on consumer sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters, Target, Walmart, and more. These reviews are super helpful for browsers considering a purchase, and even something as simple and straightforward as “This book was excellent, and I would recommend it for people who like books that are (insert genres or styles) or television shows like (name show).” If you write one review, you can copy and paste it across a couple of different sites.

One of the tips I have from doing this is to spend 10 minutes once a month drafting a few reviews of recent reads and then dropping them all at once. This makes it part of a habit, and it’s one that doesn’t require much time.

If you’re feeling really motivated, you can drop reviews on places like Goodreads or your library’s catalog, too. Those help people find a book and consider whether to buy or borrow it.

Cost: A few minutes of your time.

 

RECOMMEND THE BOOK ON SOCIAL MEDIA, YOUR FAVORITE BLOGS, AND TO FRIENDS IN PERSON LOOKING FOR A GOOD BOOK

Do you use social media or keep a blog? Writing about the books or authors you love or sharing short reviews and images really does make a difference. It gets the book on radars of other readers, as well as those who might not generally call themselves readers but like you and are therefore intrigued.

One of the things that’s worth doing is seeing if there’s a hashtag related to the book. Many publishers and authors choose a hashtag for the book, and if it’s not on the book itself, do a quick search to see if there’s a hashtag with the book’s title or the author’s name. When you do something on social media with the book, include those tags. It’ll help your voice be amplified and allow those who find out about the book from you an opportunity to discover more about the book.

Never overlook the power of talking about the book to people you know, too. In the course of a day or week, it’s likely that if people know you’re a reader, you’ll get asked for a good book. Here’s your chance to highlight a recent favorite title or author and spread the word.

The same principles that make consumer reviews powerful are those which make your personal recommendation in your own personal spaces powerful. Maybe even more so, since your name and face mean something to the people who care about you, and your seal of approval for something means just that much more to them (Think about it: you might peruse reviews of a place to get your car fixed for hours, but if your best friend says she loves a certain shop, you are more likely to go to that shop than the one which had 100 five-star reviews).

If writing reviews on your blog or on social media isn’t your jam, think more creatively: share quotes from the book you’ve loved or simply take a picture and share it. Maybe you’d like to connect it to a favorite TV show or song and talk about how and why they remind you of one another. Be as creative as you’d like—every voice matters in getting the word out, and sometimes, it’s those creative, clever things that can have the most power. Perhaps you won’t convince someone to buy the book for themselves, but you might convince them that it’s a book someone they know would love, ultimately leading them to gift it to someone else. That is power.

Cost: Your time!

 

None of these are brilliant suggestions for how to support a book or favorite author, but they’re all tried-and-true strategies. They’re real, tangible ways you as a reader and book lover can do work that makes a powerful and lasting difference.

By , September 

Book-to-Movie Adaptations We Cannot Wait to See

Seeing favorite characters from literature on the big screen never gets old.

Book-to-Movie Adaptations

Image: @kathkarno via Twenty20

Every year a flurry of novels and books make their way to the big screen. While there’s always a degree of trepidation at the thought of a favorite story making the transition to Hollywood, we can’t deny that spark of excitement at the thought of seeing beloved characters come to life on the silver screen. So far, 2019 is shaping up to be brilliant year for adaptations with classic thrillers, quirky romances, and beloved coming-of-age tales making their way to the cinema. Here are several adaptations we’re looking forward to.

The cover of the book The Good ShepherdThe Good Shepherd
C. S. Forester
With a big screen adaptation titled Greyhound from writer and star Tom Hanks due to hit theaters May 8th, this is the perfect time to dive into C.S. Forester’s WWII-era naval thriller. Centering around a U.S. Naval commander’s desperate attempts to escort a convoy of supply ships through German submarine territory, The Good Shepherd is a classic naval warfare novel. And if you want an early peek at Tom Hanks’ writing chops, check out his stellar short story collection, Uncommon Type.

 

The cover of the book Sweetness in the BellySweetness in the Belly
Camilla Gibb
Raised in Morocco after the murder of her parents, Lilly begins teaching the Qur’an to children while on a pilgrimage in Ethiopia. Forced to flee the violence of the Ethiopian Civil War, Lilly enters England as a refugee and begins working to aid fellow immigrants and refugees in finding their families. However, a passionate affair with a young doctor in Ethiopia continues to haunt her. Look for a big screen adaptation of this masterpiece starring Dakota Fanning later this year.

 

The cover of the book Little WomenLittle Women
Louisa May Alcott
The latest star-studded adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott classic will arrive later this year. With Greta Gerwig at the helm and the likes of Meryl Streep, Saorise Ronan, and Emma Watson filling out the cast, it’s already generating plenty of buzz. If you’ve never read the beloved coming-of-age tale of four sisters set against the backdrop of nineteenth century New England–or simply need a refresher–there’s no better time than the present to make your way through it.

 

The cover of the book The Knife of Never Letting GoThe Knife of Never Letting Go
Patrick Ness
The Knife of Never Letting Go is the first volume in Patrick Ness’s groundbreaking Chaos Walking series. Set in a dystopian future, the series follows a boy named Todd in world where a mysterious illness killed off all women, leaving only men behind. On the cusp of adulthood, Todd discovers a horrifying secret and is forced to flee only to discover a completely unexpected creature: a girl. How did she survive and what does the mean for the world Todd knows? Look for this feature length adaptation later this year.

 

The cover of the book All the Bright PlacesAll the Bright Places
Jennifer Niven
This New York Times bestseller is a perfect read for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell. The story centers around Theodore Finch, a death-obsessed teen, and Violet Markey, a grieving young woman who can’t escape her hometown fast enough. It’s an endearing love story of two broken teenagers finding hope and love while they also find themselves.

 

The cover of the book The Aftermath (Movie Tie-In Edition)The Aftermath 
Rhidian Brook
Set against the turmoil of post-War Germany, The Aftermath is a tense and emotional historical thriller. Rachael Morgan has plans to join her husband Lewis, a British colonel tasked with leading the rebuilding efforts in Hamburg. She is shocked to discover that they will be sharing a stately manor house with its former owners–an enigmatic German widower and his daughter. What follows is a complex tale of passion, betrayal, and grief. The adaptation starring Kiera Knightly, Jason Clarke, and Alexander Skarsgard will be coming on March 15th.

 

The cover of the book The IrishmanThe Irishman
Charles Brandt
Originally published as I Heard You Paint Houses, this true crime classic has been a long-time passion project for Martin Scorsese. With a cast that includes Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, odds are it’ll be worth the wait. The Irishman is the story of infamous hitman Frank Sheeran, an enforcer for crime boss Russell Bufalino. With ties to the Mafias, the Teamsters, Jimmy Hoffa, and even the Nixon Adminstration, The Irishman is a must read for true crime fans.

 

The cover of the book The Sun Is Also a Star Movie Tie-in EditionThe Sun Is Also a Star 
Nicola Yoon
Given the success of Everything, Everything, it was only a matter of time before Nicola Yoon’s follow-up bestseller made its way to the big screen. This complex tale of first love follows Natasha and Daniel, two teens struggling under vastly different family pressures with no time for dreams, fate, or love. But when they stumble across each other on a crowded city street, everything changes. Look for The Sun is Also a Star in theaters on May 17th.

 

The cover of the book The Last Thing He WantedThe Last Thing He Wanted
Joan Didion
The Last Thing He Wanted is just another example of the brilliance of Joan Didion. This page-turning literary thriller follows Elena McMahon, a Washington Post reporter who walks off her assignment to cover the 1984 Presidential Campaign to care for her father. However, when she unexpectedly inherits her father’s role as a covert arms dealer for the U.S. government, she’s quickly swept up in a world of spies and ever-present danger. An adaptation starring Anne Hathaway and Ben Affleck is on the way later this year.

 

The cover of the book StargirlStargirl
Jerry Spinelli
Stargirl was an instant classic and an immediate bestseller when it arrived in 2000. The novel tells the story of ‘Stargirl’ Caraway, who arrives at Mica High School after years of homeschooling. While at first her quirks endear her to the student body, they quickly turn on her leaving her shunned and at a cross-roads–does she stay true to herself and conform to the society she’s found herself thrust into? This big screen adaptation will be premiering later this year.

BY , March 15, 2019, first appearing on Read It Forward

Announcing the 2019 Man Booker International Prize Longlist

Honoring the finest works of translated fiction from around the world, the Man Booker International Prize has announced its 2019 longlist. The prize is awarded every year to a single book, translated into English and published in the UK and Ireland. The £50,000 prize is split between the winning author and translator.

MB2018-50th-RGB-No-Year-Logo

The shortlist will be announced April 9th and the winner will be announced May 21st. Next year, the prize will be known as the International Booker Prize, as the sponsorship from the Man Group comes to an end and the prize’s new sponsor Crankstart begins funding.

Bettany Hughes, chair of the judging panel, commented on the list, stating that, ‘This was a year when writers plundered the archive, personal and political. That drive is represented in our longlist, but so too are surreal Chinese train journeys, absurdist approaches to war and suicide, and the traumas of spirit and flesh. We’re thrilled to share 13 books which enrich our idea of what fiction can do.”

This year’s list is dominated by books from small presses. There are also more women than men nominated this year, with the notable return of Olga Tokarczuk who won the award last year—the first Polish writer to win the award—for her novel Flights, translated by Jennifer Croft. This year her book Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, has been nominated.

2019 Man Booker International Prize Longlist

Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi (Arabic / Omani),  translated by Marilyn Booth (Sandstone Press Ltd)

Love In The New Millennium by Can Xue (Chinese / Chinese), translated by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen (Yale University Press)

The Years by Annie Ernaux (French / French), translated by Alison L. Strayer (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

At Dusk by Hwang Sok-yong (Korean / Korean), translated by Sora Kim-Russell (Scribe, UK)

Jokes For The Gunmen by Mazen Maarouf (Arabic / Icelandic and Palestinian), translated by Jonathan Wright (Granta, Portobello Books)

Four Soldiers by Hubert Mingarelli (French / French), translated by Sam Taylor (Granta, Portobello Books)

The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann (German / German), translated by Jen Calleja (Profile Books, Serpent’s Tail)

Mouthful Of Birds by Samanta Schweblin (Spanish / Argentine and Italian), translated by Megan McDowell (Oneworld)

The Faculty Of Dreams by Sara Stridsberg (Swedish / Swedish), translated by Deborah Bragan-Turner (Quercus, MacLehose Press)

Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (Polish / Polish), translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Spanish / Colombian), translated by Anne McLean (Quercus, MacLehose Press)

The Death Of Murat Idrissi by Tommy Wieringa (Dutch / Dutch), translated by Sam Garrett (Scribe, UK)

The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zeran (Spanish / Chilean and Italian), translated by Sophie Hughes (And Other Stories)

By , March 

15 CELEBRITY BOOK CLUBS AND BOOKISH CELEBRITIES TO FOLLOW IN 2019

If you’re struggling to decide what to read next, or can’t join an actual book club, celebrity book clubs just might be what you’re looking for. And they’re growing in popularity. Once this was a field dominated by Oprah (the queen of celebrity book clubs), but more and more famous people are interested in telling us what to read.

Some celebrities have official book clubs you can participate in through Goodreads or Facebook, and some just post what they’re reading on Instagram. Either way, celebrity book clubs are a great source of inspiration for what to read next. I’ve rounded up some of the best actual celebrity book clubs plus bookish celebrities to follow on social.

Great bookish celebrities and celebrity book clubs to follow in 2019. book clubs | bookish celebrities | celebrities who love booksActual Celebrity Book Clubs

Oprah

The original celebrity book club! Oprah’s Book Club was originally a segment on her talk show where she’d pick a book and discuss it with her audience. Oprah’s seal of approval helped many of these books become bestsellers. But after a few controversies (the infamous James Frey incidentJonathan Franzen being annoyed that Oprah was getting women to read his books), Oprah switched to reading a lot of classic novels. I guess dead authors can’t be annoying. These days, Oprah’s Book Club has moved online. Her most recent pick is Michelle Obama’s Becoming.

(By the way, don’t listen to Franzen—Oprah has great taste!)

Reese Witherspoon

Elevating female voices is the stated goal of Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine. Witherspoon announces a new pick each month and you can participate in the discussion on Facebook and Instagram, or just read along at home. Her latest pick is The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory.

Emma Watson

Emma Watson’s feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf, has an active presence on Goodreads. Participants can discuss their reading with one another and take part in all kinds of bookish discussions. This winter, they’re reading The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write, edited by Sabrina Mahfouz. Watson’s club seems to make a real effort to be intersectional, which is great to see.

Emma Roberts

Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss run Belletrist, a book club that also highlights independent bookstores (which is super cool). Before launching the club, Roberts got her start in the book influencing game by posting her latest reads on Instagram. Their January 2019 pick was The Dreamers by Karen Walker Thompson, the latest in a list of (I think) smart picks that showcase compelling nonfiction and buzzy fiction by women.

Sarah Jessica Parker

SJP has her own imprint with Hogarth Press, where she publishes titles that reflect her interests as a reader. She has also partnered with the American Library Association’s Book Club Central to create SJP’s Picks. The most recent SJP pick is Heartland by Sarah Smarsh.

Andrew Luck

NFL star Andrew Luck’s book club offers picks for either “Rookies” (for kids) and “Veterans” (for older readers)—adorable! This month’s choices are Kelly Barnhill’s The Girl Who Drank the Moon and James S.A. Corey’s Leviathan Wakes.

Florence Welch

This is my personal favorite celebrity book club because I want to grow up to be Florence Welch. Yes, the woman behind Florence and the Machine has her own book club! It seems to have grown organically from Florence’s personal love of reading, so it’s less slickly curated than some of the other ones on this list but is not run by Florence herself (though the books are recommended by her). New recommendations are posted to Facebook and Instagram, where anyone can read along and chime in with their thoughts. The most recent picks are two poetry collections by Hera Lindsay Bird called Hera Lindsay Bird and Pamper Me to Hell & Back.

Jimmy Fallon

In June 2018, Fallon launched a Tonight Show summer book club. We’ll see if it happens again this summer, but the first pick was pretty great: Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone.

Felicia Day

Actor and writer Felicia Day, along with Veronica Belmont, Kiala Kazebee and Bonnie Burton, runs the book club Vaginal Fantasy to discuss “romance genre books with strong female lead characters.” I’m here for a romance book club! You can join in the discussion on Goodreads, where they are currently reading Bittenby Kelley Armstrong.

Sarah Michelle Gellar

Everyone’s favorite vampire slayer posts her reads on Facebook and Twitter, usually using the hashtag #SMGbookclub. This book club isn’t as formal as the others here—it seems to be a way for SMG to share what she’s reading with her followers.

Bookish Celebrities

Unfortunately, the world of official celebrity book clubs is pretty white so far. But there are plenty of celebrities of color who share what they’re reading on social, so you can create your own book club by doing a read-along. Here they are!

Shonda Rhimes

We know Rhimes has excellent taste in books because she optioned Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series, which is currently in development (hurry, please?), among a few other literary adaptations she’s producing for Netflix. Rhimes has also expanded into online content with the Shondaland website, which has great books coverage. And she’s also been known to share what she’s reading on Instagram.

Mindy Kaling

Kaling has written two books herself, so we know she likes books…and she often shares her picks on Instagram.

Roxane Gay

Gay is one of our foremost cultural critics and essayists, in addition to being a kickass fiction writer, so you can trust her opinions. She periodically posts lists of recommended books on Medium or her Tumblr, and you can also follow her onGoodreads, where she writes detailed and thoughtful reviews of what she’s reading.

Barack Obama

Ah, remember when we could be confident that the president could read? Obama used to share his yearly book picks during his presidency and has continued the tradition now that he’s no longer in the White House. Follow him on Facebook to see the lists. (And check out Book Riot’s guide to reading like Barack!)

Michelle Obama

Like her husband, Michelle Obama is a reader (and now an author). She’s been known to recommend books in interviewsBook Riot has a list of a few of her past recommendations.

By , February 

10 ENGAGING NOVELS ABOUT WORLD WAR II

I have put together a list of ten engaging fictional books about World War II. These books focus more on the civilians of the war, rather than the soldiers themselves (with some very notable exceptions). This list ranges from YA to adult fiction and even journeys through the world from U.S., Western Europe, and even China. Enjoy!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

There aren’t many books that had me bawling on a bus. This one about a little girl named Liesel who is evacuated to a small German town during WWII. She deals with the horror of the time by stealing books, first a gravedigger’s book, then others. It’s an astonishing book about friendship and resistance in the littlest of ways. The movie was okay—Geoffrey Rush is awesome but the book is definitely better.

 

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

What other book captures the absurdity of war so well? For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of reading it, the book tells the tale of a group of soldiers in WWII, focusing on Captain John Yossarian. But there’s the famous Major Major Major as well. Biting and sardonic, it’s a WWII novel unlike any other.

 

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

Most people know of the book from the movie, but it is well-written and worth checking out. The writing is top-notch while the story hurts. It is the story of four people who come together in an Italian villa in WWII: a Canadian nurse, a Canadian thief, a Sikh British army sapper, and the famous unknown patient. A love story in the chaos of war.

 

Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut

Some people might wonder why I elected to choose a lesser known Vonnegut book in lieu of a more famous one. And that’s because Mother Night is the better book. It is the story of Howard W. Campbell Jr, an American who ends up being a Nazi propagandist in WWII. He’s managed to escape his fate and is living in the U.S. until forces beyond his control pull him out of hiding. A real tour de force.

 

Time’s Arrow by Martin Amis

This classic work by the master Martin Amis is one of the more unusual books you’ll read. It’s the life of a doctor with a dark past leading into the Holocaust but told completely backwards. Well, the dialog quickly becomes legible. But it’s a fascinating piece of fiction that hits you upside of the head.

 

Blackout by Connie Willis

Connie Willis has written several sci-fi/fantasy novels with the basic premise that humans discovered time travel but only historians use it to study the past. There are rules—the system won’t let you change events and can push you forward or backward in time from your intended drop zone. Blackout and its sequel All Cleartake place in the Blitz. A group of historians go back in time to understand the era better but find themselves stuck in London amidst the carnage.

 

When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

While the other books on this list follow the war in the Western front, this one takes place in Shanghai. Christopher Banks is born and raised in Shanghai but when his parents mysteriously disappear, he is sent to England. He returns to China 20 years later as a detective and tries to uncover the fate of his parents…as the Japanese take the city.

 

Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris

This tale focuses largely on the childhood of Framboise Dartigen in occupied France. Told as an old woman, Framboise has returned to the small town where she grew up under a pseudonym due to the hatred for her mother. She recounts her problematic relationship with her mother as a little girl and the terrible decisions she made that she carries. I am particularly fond of books that tackle the issue of collaboration.

 

When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka

Told from five different points of view, this story explores the lives of Japanese Americans forced into internment camps during WWII. Sadly, a story that needs to be repeated and remembered before we make more mistakes today.

 

All the Light We Cannot See by  Anthony Doerr

This 2015 Pulitzer Prize–winning book is about a blind French girl and a German boy in occupied France. Marie-Laurie and her father flee Paris from the Nazis and end up in Saint-Malo while Werner Pfennig discovers a radio and learns the news happening around him and his sister. He learns how to fix and create radios himself. Beautifully written, it’s well worth checking out.

By , September 

How To Read More Than One Book At A Time

Melanie DeFazio/Stocksy

It’s the bookworm dream: being able to cruise through multiple books at the same time. I mean, not literally at the same time. But to be like Rory Gilmore, with a bus book and a lunch book and a book of poems when you’re in a poetry kind of mood and a memoir for when you’re in an introspective space. Just think of how neat and tidy your TBR (to be read) pile would look. But for many of us, the impulse to read more than one book at once is often tempered by the logistics of the whole undertaking. Where do you read your different books? And what? And when? Here’s how to become a multi-book reader, according to Reddit.

 

It’s a simple enough question: how do you read more than one book at a time? “Do you have one with you, one by the bed, one in the living room, or how do you like, juggle which one you read?” asked Reddit Books user Eirixoto. “I just find it interesting, because personally I think I’d be lost if I was reading more than one at a time.” Eirixoto posted the query earlier today, and within a handful of hours, multiple-book-readers have weighed in from across the world. Because perhaps unsurprisingly, you’ve gotta have a game plan.

The practice of reading multiple books at once is a bit, well, divisive. There are those who think it’s a great way to diversify your every day literary fare, who believe it helps maintain interest in the books you’re reading, and lets you storm through way more ~content~. On the other side of the debate are the single-book readers, who hold fast to the idea that if you’re reading more than one tome at a time, you’re unfocused and unable to take full advantage of the inherently immersive nature of a book. There isn’t even an agreed upon term for multi-book readers. There are bibliophiles — lovers of books. There are bibliotaphs — hoarders of books, with the intent of keeping the books out of the hands of others. There’s even a word for people who like to read in bed — librocubicularist. But no succinct way of summing up the act of reading more than one book at at time.

But that doesn’t mean the internet hasn’t tried to come up with a term on their own. I’ve seen “parallel readers” (recently suggested in a Quora forum). “Polynarritivus,” from a Bookstr article last year. And “poly-reader,” from a 2010 NPR piece. But they all get at essentially the same idea: literary multi-taskers. So how do they multi all the tasks? Check out their expert responses below.

 

Trying out a poly-reading regimen can be like trying to incorporate more vegetables into your diet — there’s a huge benefit at the end of the day, but getting that benefit can sometimes taste a little… meh. So reward yourself for reading drier or denser books during the week with “cheat” fiction days during the weekend.

Or A Mood Ring

Reading a variety of books based on your mood — tired and cranky does not a successful reader of heavy non-fiction make — can help you understand your relationship to literature on a greater level. You almost certainly know what to watch when you’re sad after a tough day of class, versus when you’re blissfully vegging out on a Sunday afternoon. Apply the same time of emotional intuition to your reading choices.

Or a Safeguard Against Homogenous Reading Habits

At the heart of reading is the medium’s ability to open and diversify our minds. And while reading one type of fiction, for example, can be appealing — I’ve been known to overload on both food memoirs and paranormal YA romances — it can be limiting, ultimately.

Location, Location, Location

Strategizing not just what you’re reading, but where you’ll be reading it can also help you tear through more works – on more platforms! Why not take advantage of technological advances?

And Think About the Ways The Books Interact

If you’re worried about getting confused with the books, start with two — one fiction, one non-fiction. Make sure they’re not similar. Read them in different places.

And If You’re Never Without A Book, You’re Never Faced With A Book-Less Moment

Beginning slowly, with two very different books, and then moving into more genres and more platforms can help you build a habit. Netflix is a habit. Instagram is a habit. Poly-
reading can be, too.
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