19 YA Books Everyone Should Read 

YA-novels

I saw this article on BuzzFeed, which asked members of the BuzzFeed Community for the young adult novels they’d recommend to anyone, regardless of their age. I really loved it, as I’ve never thought of myself as a YA reader, but there are a number of suggestions here that I’m really interested in picking up. Here’s what they said…

1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

“It’s a beautifully, tragically relevant book for young adults and adults alike. Unarmed, 16-year-old Khalil is fatally shot by a police officer, and his friend Starr, who is with him at the time, deals with the aftermath and the struggles of feeling like a second-class citizen her own country. It’s very engaging, and when I finished the book, I felt that I had learned something important.”

2. I’ll Give You The Sun and The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

“Her books are so beautifully written, I couldn’t pick between the two. Her characters are relatable she deals with topics like grief, sexuality, family, and coming to terms with who you are. Read her books. You will not regret it. I wish she would write more!”

3. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

“It affected me emotionally more than any other book has in years. It’s beautifully quirky, with life lessons that are both nostalgic and currently relevant. I recommend it to everyone that asks me for a book recommendation.”

4. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

“It’s about a Latino boy who doesn’t know his place in the world and discovers it in a truly beautiful way. As an LGBT Latinx teen it meant the world to me when I read it and changed a lot in my world. It helped in accepting who I was and I fell in love with its beautiful characters.”

5. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

” I’ve read it annually since I was 14, which is about 12 years now. It’s a beautiful, slightly eerie story set in the early 20th century about a girl who craves and seeks a career and education, despite familial and societal pressure to become a wife and caretaker, against the backdrop of a real-life murder. It’s as poignant as ever, definitely changed my life, and set me on a path of self-care and feminism.”

6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

“It’s about a young Native American boy who deals with health issues due to being born with hydrocephaly, and is a budding comic book artist. He ends up going to a high school in the wealthier part of his town where he is the only Native American (besides the school mascot). It’s mostly about him overcoming his struggles. Heads up: There’s mentions of alcohol, drugs, death, and slurs.”

7. The His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman

“The main character, Lyra, is charming, and the adventures are captivating. The books ask a lot of philosophical questions about the nature of the universe and of ourselves. It’s good reading for any age, and I get more out of it every time I re-read the series.”

8. Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes

“It was one of my favourite YA books growing up, and still is to this day. It covers love, death, friendship, and does so in an eloquent way that doesn’t feel like the rehashing of the same story you read in every other book.”

9. Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

“It tackles the issue of being transgender in middle school and finally accepting who you really are. Some people accepted Grayson, some didn’t.”

10. The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater

“It’s a beautiful series about the way age, socioeconomics, gender, race, and a world of other factors complicate the relationships we have with the people we love. It mixes fantasy and historical fiction with some hints of horror to tell the story of four teenagers on a quest to find the tomb of an ancient Welsh King. They have to work with psychics and a magical forest and ghosts and cars, it’s just amazing. It lifts my heart no matter how many times I read it.”

11. The Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

“It’s amazingly well written and it’s a one-off, so you don’t have to worry about a whole series. It follows a genderfluid person named Riley and their struggles being genderfluid and having anxiety. The book is immensely captivating – I’m not going to lie, it made me cry. I’ve read it through 3 times in the year and a half it’s been out and it’s gotten better each time.”

12. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

“It should be required reading in life. I’ve read it for myself and with students several times and the story itself has moved me to tears, but it truly is a wonder to see the empathy the kids learned from the novel. An absolute must read.”

13. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

“Hands down my favourite book ever. It’s one of those books that straddles that strange line between modern YA and what we think is children’s literature. The writing is simple enough a younger reader can understand and, other than swearing and content that generally comes with the setting of WWII Germany, it’s fine for some younger readers.”

14. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

“A story about a rich and distinguished family and a group of four friends who spend their summer at a private island where everything is not what it seems to be. Full of complex characters and mystery, that will suck you in from the first page. Both the adults and the teenagers are struggling with darkness within their own selves. The ending will definitely shock you and keep you wondering why you didn’t figure things out sooner. A must read.”

15. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

“The premise may seem corny at first, but the excellent characterisation and lovely prose will pull you in. It grapples with some very deep and intense themes, and creates a fantasy world that manages to feel both familiar and truly unique.”

16. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Beauty Queens is the answer to that ‘Lord of the Flies but with women’ movie – it was one of the first super-intersectional feminist novels I read in high school, and it holds up.”

17. Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

“World War II historical fiction written with astounding poignancy and poetry. This is a pair of books that will never leave my bookshelf.”

18. Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

“I finally got around to reading these recently and now I won’t stop talking about them to anyone who’ll listen. You’ll love Six of Crows for its fast-paced plot, but more so for its characters – the representation in these novels is seriously incredible, and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy despite the fact that it’s about a band of criminals. The only bad thing about these books is that there’s only two of them.”

19. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

“A beautiful, completely gut-wrenching story about three friends in a small town looking toward their futures and how they will both escape their past and stay in touch in the future. I love this book so damn much.”

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Via: https://www.buzzfeed.com/eleanorbate/young-adult-at-heart

Stephen King’s Reading List For Writers

Stephen-Kings-Everything-You-Need-to-Know-About-Writing-Successfully-in-Ten-Minutes

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools)
to write. Simple as that.” 

― Stephen King

In the afterword to his acclaimed guide On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King shares the following reading list of 96 books, covering a diverse range of fiction and non-fiction titles.

Accompanying the list is this explanation:

These are the best books I’ve read over the last three or four years, the period during which I wrote The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Hearts in Atlantis, On Writing, and the as-yet-unpublished From a Buick Eight. In some way or other, I suspect each book in the list had an influence on the books I wrote.

As you scan this list, please remember that I’m not Oprah and this isn’t my book club. These are the ones that worked for me, that’s all. But you could do worse, and a good many of these might show you some new ways of doing your work. Even if they don’t, they’re apt to entertain you. They certainly entertained me.

  1. Peter Abrahams, A Perfect Crime
  2. Peter Abrahams, Lights Out
  3. Peter Abrahams, Pressure Drop
  4. Peter Abrahams,Revolution #9
  5. James Agee, A Death in the Family
  6. Kirsten Bakis, Lives of the Monster Dogs
  7. Pat Barker, Regeneration
  8. Pat Barker, The Eye in the Door
  9. Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
  10. Richard Bausch, In the Night Season
  11. Peter Blauner, The Intruder
  12. Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
  13. T. Coraghessan Boyle, The Tortilla Curtain
  14. Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods
  15. Christopher Buckley, Thank You for Smoking
  16. Raymond Carver, Where I’m Calling From
  17. Michael Chabon, Werewolves in Their Youth
  18. Windsor Chorlton, Latitude Zero
  19. Michael Connelly, The Poet
  20. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Free eBook – Gutenberg / Kindle)
  21. K.C. Constantine, Family Values
  22. Don DeLillo, Underworld
  23. Nelson DeMille, Cathedral
  24. Nelson DeMille, The Gold Coast
  25. Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (Free eBook – Gutenberg / Kindle)
  26. Stephen Dobyns, Common Carnage
  27. Stephen Dobyns, The Church of Dead Girls
  28. Roddy Doyle, The Woman Who Walked into Doors
  29. Stanely Elkin, The Dick Gibson Show
  30. William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
  31. Alex Garland, The Beach
  32. Elizabeth George, Deception on His Mind
  33. Tess Gerritsen, Gravity
  34. William Golding, Lord of the Flies
  35. Muriel Gray, Furnace
  36. Graham Greene, A Gun for Sale (aka This Gun for Hire)
  37. Graham Greene, Our Man in Havana
  38. David Halberstam, The Fifties
  39. Pete Hamill, Why Sinatra Matters
  40. Thomas Harris, Hannibal
  41. Kent Haruf, Plainsong
  42. Peter Hoeg, Smilla’s Sense of Snow
  43. Stephen Hunter, Dirty White Boys
  44. David Ignatius, A Firing Offense
  45. John Irving, A Widow for One Year
  46. Graham Joyce, The Tooth Fairy
  47. Alan Judd, The Devil’s Own Work
  48. Roger Kahn, Good Enough to Dream
  49. Mary Karr,  The Liars’ Club
  50. Jack Ketchum, Right to Life
  51. Tabitha King, Survivor
  52. Tabitha King, The Sky in the Water
  53. Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
  54. Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air
  55. Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
  56. Bernard Lefkowitz, Our Guys
  57. Bentley Little,  The Ignored
  58. Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories
  59. W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence (Free eBook – Gutenberg)
  60. Cormac McCarthy, Cities of the Plain
  61. Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
  62. Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes
  63. Alice McDermott, Charming Billy
  64. Jack McDevitt, Ancient Shores
  65. Ian McEwan, Enduring Love
  66. Ian McEwan, The Cement Garden
  67. Larry McMurtry, Dead Man’s Walk
  68. Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, Zeke and Ned
  69. Walter M. Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz
  70. Joyce Carol Oates, Zombie
  71. Tim O’Brien, In the Lake of the Woods
  72. Stewart O’Nan, The Speed Queen
  73. Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
  74. Richard North Patterson, No Safe Place
  75. Richard Price, Freedomland
  76. Annie Proulx, Close Range: Wyoming Stories
  77. Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
  78. Anna Quindlen, One True Thing
  79. Ruth Rendell, A Sight for Sore Eyes
  80. Frank M. Robinson, Waiting
  81. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  82. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban
  83. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  84. Richard Russo, Mohawk
  85. John Burnham Schwartz, Reservation Road
  86. Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
  87. Irwin Shaw, The Young Lions
  88. Richard Slotkin, The Crater
  89. Dinitia Smith, The Illusionist
  90. Scott Spencer, Men in Black
  91. Wallace Stegner, Joe Hill
  92. Donna Tartt, The Secret History
  93. Anne Tyler, A Patchwork Planet
  94. Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus
  95. Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited
  96. Donald Westlake, The Ax

That’s a lot of recommendations. How many on this list have you read? If you’re anything like me, you’ve got an even bigger TBR pile now – best get cracking!

Via: http://www.aerogrammestudio.com/2014/03/04/stephen-kings-reading-list-for-writers/

Top 10 Plot Twists In Fiction | The Guardian 

Gone Girl Film Shot

The word “twist” exerts a strange power over crime fiction addicts like me. Publishers know this all too well, which is why the promise of a twist is often used to advertise books that don’t have twists at all. “You’ll never see the breathtaking twist coming!” screams the press release. Well, no, you won’t, because it doesn’t exist. And so many people think a brilliant resolution is the same thing as a twist. It isn’t. Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express offers the most impressive puzzle solution in all of detective fiction. But, however ingenious and surprising, it’s not a twist ending.

So what is a bona fide twist? In my view, it has to be something that overturns or negates an already drawn conclusion or a firmly entrenched and reasonable assumption (Orient Express overturns an unreasonable assumption on the part of the reader, which is why I wouldn’t call it a twist).

Writing a twist isn’t an exact science, but part of what makes the brilliant ones so attractive in fiction is that feeling of having everything you thought you knew reversed, inverted or demolished; the fictional equivalent of being on a rollercoaster that suddenly turns upside down, leaving everything looking and feeling very different for the rest of the ride. And the new picture created by the shake-up of the twist has to be one that makes sense and is not risible. For example, if you find out at the end of the novel that the murderer is not the person whose fingerprints were on the knife, but rather his long-dead second cousin who developed marvellous fingerprint-forging technology unknown to science or the reader – that’s not a twist, it’s a travesty.

It’s going to be very hard to do this without spoilers, but I will try. In my opinion, these are 10 excellent examples of novels with genuine twists:

1. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
A moving, complex moral-dilemma story about a girl who takes her family to court in order to win the right to refuse a life-saving bone marrow transplant to her dying sister. What’s great about the twist is that you were neither waiting nor hoping for it – the story feels totally satisfying and complete without it – and yet when it arrives, you realise that there was a carefully and subtly carved space all throughout the novel for that perfect twist to fit into.

2. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
A psychological suspense classic about a woman who marries a man she adores, only to discover that he, his home and his staff are apparently still obsessed by his far more charismatic first wife, to whom our heroine fears she can never measure up. Without revealing anything that’s gone before to be a lie, the twist changes the meaning of everything we’ve seen so far and provides the novel with an exemplary and memorable resolution.

3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Not all superb twists need to come at the end. There’s a twist in the middle of this classic novel that takes it to another level of passion, intrigue and excitement. There are hints before the big reveal, but not even the most imaginative reader would dare to imagine the truth. Twists in the middles of stories rather than at their ends tend to say: “And what do we all think now?” rather than, “So THIS is what we’re supposed to think!” – and this one does that brilliantly.

4. Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson
An unputdownable novel about a woman who loses her memory every night as she sleeps, and wakes each next morning remembering nothing. The author expertly leads the reader to assume that there is a binary choice in terms of who and what to suspect, and then reveals at the last moment that there is a third and even more terrifying possibility…

5. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
You can tell when a twist is brilliant, because copycats spring up all over. The twist at the end of Lionel Shriver’s masterpiece about a school shooting and a difficult mother-son relationship is one that literally takes your breath away. I’ve read two novels since that have copied and pasted Shriver’s twist as if it hadn’t been done before (or perhaps they simply hadn’t read Kevin!). Either way, neither of the copycats used the twist with Shriver’s panache.

6. Innocent Blood by PD James
I know I don’t have to choose a No 1 – this is, after all, a top 10 – but this novel contains my favourite twist in all of crime fiction. Halfway through this story of an adopted young woman determined to trace her biological parents, there is a twist that made me leap up off my sun-lounger and yell at random holiday makers that they needed to read this book urgently. I won’t say any more – just, please, read it.

7. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
This novel about a US Marshal trapped on an island, trying to find an escaped murderer in a sanatorium, has a twist of such audacity, I’m not sure I’d have dared, but I’m very glad Lehane did. It’s so bold and all-encompassing, it’s perfect.

8. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
This brilliant thriller contains a meta-twist, devised and inflicted by a central character within the novel rather than by the author herself. It’s a middle-twist rather than an end-twist, and the character responsible spends much of the novel afterward boasting about it. It works exceptionally well.

9. The Secret House of Death by Ruth Rendell
A brilliant crime novel by one of the UK’s finest crime writers, in which the murder itself is the twist. You won’t understand what I mean by that – so you must read the book! The last line, which underscores how profoundly the reader has been fooled, sent a shiver down my spine.

10. Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris
I’m not sure all readers would recognise that this is a twist-based story, but it is. It twists our expectations of the entire psychological thriller genre. The novel begins as a portrait of a marriage in which the wife seems to be a little nervous around her husband… What could possibly be going on? Is he abusive? Does she have a guilty secret? I liked this novel from the start, but a few chapters in, one of the main characters provides information that’s so startling, it shakes up all of the reader’s expectations about the genre they think they’re reading, making the rest of the story all the more exciting.

So there you have it – I hope these have whetted your appetite. If you haven’t yet read them, add them to your TBR pile immediately! Happy reading 🙂

Via: https://amp.theguardian.com/books/2017/aug/16/top-10-twists-in-fiction

5 Books You Should Read If You Want To Write

5-books-you-should-read-to-write

You have no doubt heard it said over and over again, in order to write, you need to read. Probably the most famous person who says this is Stephen King. And to be fair, if Stephen says it’s true, who am I to argue. The following are 5 top books you should read if you want to write. There are of course many, many others, but these are a good place to start:

1. ON WRITING BY STEPHEN KING

This is a fantastic book on writing. I love Stephen King, and in this book he describes his personal writing process as well as making suggestions for other writers. King is careful to focus mainly on his own journey and not offer blanket statements about writing which may not work for everyone. I really enjoyed the anecdotes and no-nonsense approach to what it takes to be a writer.

2. READING LIKE A WRITER BY FRANCINE PROSE

The premise of this book is firmly founded on the mantra: in order to write, you need to read. Read anything and everything you can get your hands on. Reading the writing of a wide variety of authors allows you to be exposed to different voices, different perspectives, and different ideas. When I was younger, I read nonstop and I’m grateful for the time I put in to each and every one of those books because they taught me how to tell stories.

Prose breaks down her book, Reading Like A Writer, into chapters devoted to different literary devices such as paragraphs, narration, character, dialogue, etc. and offers different excerpts in order for you to read closely and pay attention to what the author is trying to do in his or her work. It’s more of a guidebook than a narration on personal experience, but equally important in order to learn how to focus on all of the different aspects of writing.

3. THE ART OF SPIRITUAL WRITING BY VINITA HAMPTON WRIGHT

I like this book because it is a) short (161 pages) and b) speaks of the importance of authenticity in writing. It is important to share experience and talk about things that are uncomfortable because it’s a way of connecting with others.

Hampton Wright takes her decades of experience as both an editor and an author and lays out a writing manual that describes the best way to write from the heart and inspire other people. It contains both technical writing information as well as advice about what she terms “spiritual writing”.

4. BIRD BY BIRD BY ANNE LAMOTT

This is another great book that contains both suggestions and experiences similar to that of King in On Writing. What I like about it is that it’s even more no-nonsense than King’s book and also goes out of the way to dispel a lot of myths that people have concerning the writing and publishing process.

Be warned, this book does not sugar coats things, which is important in managing expectations. Many people operate under misconceptions that could ultimately harm them if they are seriously trying to make a living as a writer. Lamott is funny, but real, and it’s a quick and entertaining read.

5. WINNING THE STORY WARS BY JONAH SACHS

This book not only appeals to writers, but also marketers and business owners. Sachs writes under the conception that those who tell the best stories will “rule the future”. What he means by that is that in a sea of advertisements, personal stories, social media, and other brand messages, it’s hard for a person or company to get their story out. Writing in a way that breaks through that wall will help your message and your brand gain traction.

Sachs relies on examples from mythology, psychology, the history of advertising, and even biology to push for a revolution of story telling. He offers advice on how to get your story out above the crowd and make others take notice. Along with academia and personal anecdotes, it’s a great book to inspire you to do more with your writing. It’s also a great read for bloggers who are aiming at strengthening their own personal brand and breaking through the noise of millions of other existing blogs.

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Happy reading! 🙂

15 Books With Plot Twists You Never Saw Coming

plot twists you never saw coming

If you participated in Mystery & Thriller Week on Goodreads earlier this year, then you probably used the opportunity to crack open at least a few of those mind-bending, spine-tingling reads in your TBR pile. But with the week only running May 1 through May 7 (due to the fact that, you know, weeks are only seven days long) you may not have had quite enough time to get your fill of creepy, shocking, heart-pounding books with plot twists you never saw coming. (I barely made a dent in my own TBR pile, TBH.)

The good news is, you don’t have to stop reading great thrillers just because the Goodreads’ Mystery & Thriller Week is over. If you’re the kind of bookworm who loves her shelves stacked high with one shocking plot twist after another, then maybe every week is Mystery & Thriller Week in your reading life. Or maybe you used the opportunity to spark a new love of mysteries and thrillers — in which case you’re probably going to need some book recommendations, am I right? From classics like Henry James to contemporaries like Paula Hawkins, there are plenty of thrillers on this list that’ll shake up your reading life. And, if you like your plot twists a little less terrifying, there are also a few non-thrillers that will leave you just as floored.

Here are 15 novels with plot twists you never saw coming:

1. ‘Big Little Lies’ by Liane Moriarty

Even if you missed the HBO mini-series Big Little Lies, it’s not too late to check out Liane Moriarty’s New York Times bestselling novel from which the show was adapted. (And even if you did, there are some big differences between the novel and the show that are definitely worth checking out.) For those who don’t know, Big Little Lies tells the story of a group of mothers who are all wrestling different demons — some psychological, others pulled directly from the real world, and a few that fall under both categories, and they’re not always honest about it; often lying to each other and themselves. Somehow this novel will manage to both amuse and disturb you, often on the very same page. And it will definitely surprise you.

2. ‘Everything, Everything’ by Nicola Yoon

Another New York Times bestseller, this YA novel will surprise — and maybe even infuriate you — with its ending. (And if you haven’t seen the film yet, definitely read the book first.) Everything, Everything introduces readers to 17-year-old Madeline, a girl who has never left her house. She is, as she describes, allergic to the whole world. But when the tall, dark, and handsome teen Olly moves into next door, Madeline finally discovers something — or rather someone — she is willing to risk stepping outside for. But not everyone is going to be happy about it.

3. ‘Water for Elephants’ by Sara Gruen

Don’t let the performance of the circus distract you — Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants has some surprising twists you’ll want to watch out for. In this Depression-era novel, penniless college drop out Jacob Jankowski hops a freight train in the middle of the night, and joins the circus; the Flying Squadron of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, to be exact. But the most spectacular show on earth isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be, and behind the scenes things like sex and alcohol, violence and betrayal abound. And, everyone isn’t who they seem to be — or, at least, they’re not who they are for the reasons you might expect.

4. ‘People Who Knew Me’ by Kim Hooper

On September 11, 2001, Emily Morris’s entire life is transformed — pregnant and prepared to leave her husband for the man she’s been having an affair with, Emily instead uses the national disaster to take on a new identity, leaving New York City and the mistakes she made there behind. Fast forward 13 years, and Emily is raising a teenage daughter and battling a terminal illness — one that leaves her wondering if she can re-imagine her life, and more importantly the life of her 13-year-old daughter, once more. Maybe other readers predicted the ending of People Who Knew Me, but I definitely didn’t.

5. ‘Into the Water’ by Paula Hawkins

I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Into the Water is filled with more twists and turns than any book I’ve recently read — and once you think you’re starting to figure it out, author Paula Hawkins will surprise you again. This novel, from the bestselling author of The Girl on the Train, takes readers to a small, storied town, where a teenage girl and a single mother are found drowned in the nearby river — a river that has seen a disturbing number of drownings of women before. Suddenly, long-buried local mysteries rise to the surface, and there are a few people in the community who can’t let that happen.

6. ‘The Queen of the Night’ by Alexander Chee

A lengthy read, Alexander Chee’s The Queen of the Night is not, IMO, a book to be missed. Blending historical fiction with a mystery thriller, The Queen of the Night takes readers back to the historic Paris Opera, where the legendary soprano Lilliet Berne has just been given the role of a lifetime — one that will define her legacy in the opera forever. But as she begins to perform her part, she realizes the opera is based on a dark and secret part of her own past, which, if revealed, could certainly ruin her life. The thing that terrifies Lilliet even more than the opera itself is who could have committed her secrets to performance in the first place — and that’s the question that will keep you guessing as well.

7. ‘The Turn of the Screw’ by Henry James

Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw is a classic Gothic horror, telling the story of a governess who moves into an English estate to care for two children, only to have her sanity compromised by supernatural happenings and evil phantoms — phantoms that her two charges already seem eerily well familiar with. Or, was the well-meaning governess insane to begin with? If you haven’t read this classic yet, definitely check it out.

8. ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn

The way I see it, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl did (at least) two important things for the thriller genre: it made thrillers appealing for people who never read thrillers, and it turned the violent male/victimized female formula of the genre entirely on its head. And I’m glad for that. If you haven’t read this one yet, you should. When Nick Dunne’s wife Amy disappears before their fifth wedding anniversary, suspicion immediately falls on Nick — who, let’s face it, isn’t awesome. And his lies make him look even worse. But the plot twist Flynn has in store might actually make you shout out loud from surprise, or throw the book across the room. Really.

9. ‘Waking Lions’ by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen

Set in the novelist’s native Israel, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen’s Waking Lions begins with a murder — the hit-and-run of an undocumented Eritrean immigrant by Israeli doctor Eitan Green. Eitan, speeding down a rural road late at night, slams into Asum and after a quick inspection of the immigrant’s body, decides to flee the scene. Except he’s left some evidence behind — evidence that Asum’s wife, Sirkit, will use to blackmail the doctor into operating a free, nighttime health clinic for Israel’s undocumented immigrants and refugees. In Waking Lions, the bad guys are the good guys, the victims are the perpetrators, and the ending is definitely not what you’ll expect.

10. ‘The Circle’ by Dave Eggers

Man has always had a complicated relationship with machines — but that relationship is getting a whole lot creepier of late. Written like 1984-meets-The Fountainhead for the social media generation, Dave Eggers’ The Circle will take you behind the scenes of one of the world’s most powerful tech companies — one that monitors your every move, where secrets, privacy, and unplugging are automatically suspect. What’s so shocking about The Circle isn’t the ending (with its strong echoes of Winston and Julia) but rather how familiar some of the disturbing happenings in The Circle will start to sound.

11. ‘Second Life’ by S.J. Watson

Another novel that will make you re-think your relationship with the internet forever, S.J. Watson’s psychological thriller, Second Life, tells the story of a fairly unremarkable wife and mother whose entire life is turned upside-down after her sister is murdered. According to Julia, the police aren’t doing everything to find Kate’s killer, and so she takes matters into her own hands. Suddenly, Julia finds herself immersed in her sister’s secret world of online dating and cybersex, and quickly begins to succumb to a hidden, and potentially deadly, digital “second” life of her own.

12. ‘The Westing Game’ by Ellen Raskin

Featuring a surprising plot for a YA/Middle Grade novel, Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game just might have been your very first mystery thriller. In The Westing Game, sixteen characters are thrown together to play a series of games hosted by a dead millionaire — and lifelong lover of games himself. Samuel Westing’s will is filled with games, tricks, and mysteries, all leading his heirs to their share of his estate… and although all are somewhat eccentric in their own rights, one might actually be a murderer.

13. ‘Before the Fall’ by Noah Hawley

Alternating between the past and the present, Noah Hawley’s novel, Before the Fall, tells the story of a terrible (and unlikely?) boating accident. When an entire boat of people traveling from Martha’s Vineyard to New York one summer evening disappears into the thick fog off the coast, only two survivors surface: an unknown painter and a four-year-old boy who seems to have lost his entire family. But was the disappearance really an accident? As past and present begin to collide, and theories abound, the possibility that this was really a planned conspiracy becomes increasingly likely — and disturbing.

14. ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini

Young Afghan boys Amir and Hassan might feel like they’re best friends, but the ethnic and tribal tensions that permeate every aspect of Afghan society say otherwise. Amir is the son of a wealthy Pashtun merchant and Hassan, of the Hazara caste, is technically his servant. But Baba Amir’s father, loves both boys as sons; often exhibiting a soft spot for Hassan, while critiquing Amir. This fear of disappointing his father causes Amir to betray his lifelong friend, threatening their relationship with more than just the dynamics of Afghan politics. And once Amir betrays Hassan, unforgivably, he discovers — through one surprising twist after another — that the rest of his life risks being defined by this betrayal.

15. ‘We Were Liars’ by E. Lockhart

The winner of several awards for books for young writers, E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars introduces you to Cadence Sinclair, a teen suffering from amnesia who is struggling to remember the accident that led to her injury, trusts no one, and is questioning everything — including her cousins and best friends, the “Liars.” Written in choppy, nontraditional prose, We Were Liars will take you through Cadence’s internal journey, into the darkest depths of her mind, leaving you wondering whether she is the victim of a terrible violence or an unreliable narrator. All is revealed in the end.

Via: https://www.bustle.com/p/15-books-with-plot-twists-you-never-saw-coming-56286

Book Review: The Lonely Hearts Hotel | Heather O’Neill

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A detailed review by Naomi Frisby of The Lonely Hearts Hotel written by Heather O’Neill, which has been long-listed for the Baileys Prize – warning this review does contain spoilers, and by the sounds of the reactions of the Baileys Prize shadow panel, it’s a Marmite book – you will either love it or hate it.

Read more here and decide what you think: https://thewritesofwoman.wordpress.com/the-lonely-hearts-hotel-heather-oneill

9 Writers on the Books that Inspired Them

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There are books that stay with you during important times in your life. A great book can get you through a bad breakup or a bad high school (though, that actually might take a whole series).

The authors behind your favorite books were drawn to literature and writing by their own literary all-stars, and besides gaining comfort and pleasure, they’ve found and honed the skills utilized in their own novels.

These nine authors received their all-important titles from family and friends, during their childhoods and while dealing with the milestones of adulthood, and each owes a debt to those inspirational writers. See them here: http://mashable.com/books-that-inspired-writers