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.”

***

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

Stephen King’s Reading List For Writers

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“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/

The Sleeping Beauty Fairy Tale | Interesting Literature

I found this very interesting, being a ‘child of Disney’ I only knew half of this fairystory, and believed Sleeping Beauty’s tale came to an end upon waking and falling in love with the Prince – and they all lived happily ever after – but apparently not! The tale goes on and a whole new saga unfolds with the Queen Mother and her children.

Read this and see how much of the story (which version) you know and love from your childhood:

‘Sleeping Beauty’ is, depending on which version of the story you read, called Sleeping Beauty, Talia, Little Briar Rose, Rosamond, or Aurora. This is because, like many other classic fairy tales, the tale of Sleeping Beauty exists in numerous versions, each of which is subtly – or, in some cases, quite strikingly – different from the others. In the Italian version published in the Pentamerone, an Italian collection of fairy tales published in 1634, the heroine is named Talia. Charles Perrault, in his version published later in the century, calls her the Sleeping Beauty. The Brothers Grimm call her Dornröschen or ‘Little Briar Rose’, which is sometimes adapted as ‘Rosamond’. In the Disney film, the adult heroine is named Aurora. For the purposes of clarity here, we’re going to call her ‘Sleeping Beauty’ or ‘the princess’.

Nevertheless, the overall plot of these different versions of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ remains broadly the same, so it might not prove entirely impossible to offer a short plot summary. A king is protective of his beautiful daughter, the princess. An evil fairy curses the princess, pronouncing that she will die when she is pricked by a spindle. However, a good fairy manages to intervene so that the prophecy is softened: the princess will not die if she is pricked with a spindle, but she will fall unconscious for a hundred years. The king bans flax and spinning equipment from his palace, so as to protect his daughter from such a fate. 

However, around fifteen or sixteen years later, when the king and queen were away from the palace, the princess was exploring many rooms when she came upon an old woman with a spindle, who knew nothing about the spinning ban. The princess asked if she could have a go, and the old woman let her – you can guess what happened next. The princess pricked her finger on the spindle, and dropped down unconscious. The old woman fetched help, and everyone tried to revive the princess, but to no avail. So there was nothing for it but to let the princess sleep for a hundred years. The good fairy cast a spell that essentially protected the princess in the palace, with trees grown up around the building and all of the princess’s servants, attendants, and pets made to sleep for a hundred years too.

After the century had elapsed, another king (of a different royal family) sits on the throne. His son, the prince, heard tales of the palace where the princess slept, and became interested in what he’d find if he ventured there. So he cut a path through to the palace and at length came upon the sleeping form of the princess, falling to his knees at the sight of her beauty.

His timing couldn’t have been better. For at that moment, the hundred years came to an end and the spell was lifted; the princess woke, and seeing the prince she fell in love with him, and they talked a great deal (well, after all, the princess had missed out on a hundred years of news). The whole of the palace then woke up – the servants and animals that had been put under the spell by the good fairy – and the prince and princess lived happily together, having two children, a daughter and a son whom they called Morning and Day respectively.

The prince returned to his parents, the King and Queen, but said nothing about the princess whom he had fallen in love with, because the Queen was part ogress and there were rumours that she had ‘ogreish’ tendencies – in other words, she wanted to eat people. The prince married Sleeping Beauty in private, without his parents’ knowledge.

A couple of years later, the King died and his son, the prince, became King, and brought his wife publicly to the court. But shortly after this he had to go to war with the emperor of a neighbouring country. In his absence, his mother, the Queen Mother, sent away Sleeping Beauty to the country, and sent the cook to kill Morning, the young daughter of the King and Sleeping Beauty, and cook her so that the Queen Mother could eat her with a nice sauce. But the cook was a kind man, who instead slaughtered a lamb and dished it up for the Queen Mother to eat. (She couldn’t tell that it was Lamb and not Little Girl that she was eating.) Meanwhile, the cook sent away Morning to be kept safe by his wife in their chambers in the palace.

But the Queen Mother was soon hungry again, and wanted to have Day for her dinner this time. Once again, the cook sent away the little boy and served up a young kid or baby goat for the Queen Mother to feast upon instead. But the Queen Mother’s appetite was insatiable, and next she wanted to eat the Queen, Sleeping Beauty, herself. The cook despaired of being able to deceive the Queen Mother a third time, so he went up to Sleeping Beauty’s chambers with the intention of slitting her throat. When the Queen saw him, she told him to kill her, so she might join her children, whom she feared dead. The cook told her that her children were alive and well and of how he had tricked the ogreish Queen Mother, and he took her to where his wife was looking after the Queen’s children. Then the cook dished up a hind for the Queen Mother to eat, thinking it was Sleeping Beauty.

But soon after this, the evil Queen Mother heard Sleeping Beauty and her children in the palace, where they were concealed, and she realised she had been tricked! She set about plotting her revenge, ordering that a huge tub be placed in the courtyard and filled with vipers and venomous toads and other dangerous creatures, so that Sleeping Beauty, Morning, Day, the cook, his wife, and his maid, might be thrown in there the next day, and suffer a horrible death. Next day, the prisoners were brought out for the sentence to be carried out – but just as they were about to be thrown into the tub, the King returned, and, angry that her plan had been foiled, the ogreish Queen Mother threw herself in the tub and was killed by the snakes and toads. The King was reunited with Sleeping Beauty and his children, and they all lived happily ever after.

This summary of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ is based on the tale that the Opies include in their The Classic Fairy Tales; there are some minor differences between the various versions of the tale, which has been told by Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm, among others. Indeed, the only reason the Brothers Grimm didn’t throw out ‘Sleeping Beauty’ from their catalogue of fairy tales for being too French was the tale’s suggestive affinities with the myth of Brynhild in the Völsunga saga, which was the inspiration for Wagner’s Ring Cycle among other things. (Brynhild was imprisoned in a remote castle behind a wall of shields and doomed to sleep there in a ring of flames until a man comes along, and rescues and marries her.)

It was Charles Perrault, however, who first made the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty famous, when he included it in his landmark 1697 collection of fairy stories. Yet as we remarked at the beginning of our summary and analysis of this, one of the most famous of all fairy tales, the basic story predates Perrault, and a similar version can be found in the 1630 Pentamerone. Yet even by this stage, the story of Sleeping Beauty was a few centuries old: one of the stories in the anonymous fourteenth-century prose romance Perceforest features a princess named Zellandine who, like Sleeping Beauty after her, is cursed to end up being pricked by a spindle, an accident which prompts her to fall asleep until – you’ve guessed it – a dashing prince, in this case a chap named Troylus, arrives to wake her up. (Unfortunately, this important medieval collection of tales remains criminally out of print and in need of a good translation/edition: Oxford University Press or Penguin, please commission one!)

‘Sleeping Beauty’ features many of the common tropes of classic fairy tales: the beautiful princess, the evil stepmother figure (the evil Queen Mother), the handsome prince, the good fairy, and the patterning of three (the Queen Mother’s planned meals of Morning, Day, and Sleeping Beauty respectively). Throw in a palace and a bit of suspended animation, not to mention a cunning servant (that enterprising and kindly cook) and you have all of the ingredients of a classic.

Via A Summary and Analysis of the Sleeping Beauty Fairy Tale — Interesting Literature

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

The Weird Things Librarians Find In Books

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As readers, we have all flipped through books for various reasons. Maybe you like that new book smell, or maybe, you are a librarian and flipping through books is an everyday process. When it comes to collection development, we must constantly assess our library’s collection and make important decisions about properly weeding material to keep our collections current. The last thing you need is to house a book highlighting MS-DOS when most computers are running Windows 10. That’s a disservice to patrons and it just shows a lack of respect for the profession (I have known some of these lazy librarians).

While flipping through thousands of books over the years, librarian’s have found some very weird things hidden in between the pages. Some of the things found have not been shockers but others have been weird. Before you ask: yes, condoms have been found inside books. Don’t people use wallets and purses anymore? Anyway, here are some librarian insights of the weirdest things they have found inside books. They range from the not too weird to complete NSFW moments:

“I once opened a book and found a tin can lid inside. I did not want to cut myself so I walked the book over to the trash can and slid the lid off the book to dispose of it. I thought it was some kind of brujeria (witchcraft)!”

“One time I found $100 in 20s. It was quite a large amount of money to be hidden in a book. I located the patron who last checked out the book and after some questioning, I verified he was indeed the one who left the $100 behind.”

“As I was going through book donations, I noticed one book had a large amount of papers sticking out of it. I pulled the papers out and after reading through some of them, I quickly realized they were either sexual letters written to a woman or someone was working on some serious erotica for a future book. The details were pretty graphic so I had to toss them in the trash pretty quickly.”

“A patron returned some damaged books in our book drop once. The books had been chewed on by a dog and as I was flipping through the pages to verify the extent of the damage, hairs (possibly pubic, possibly from the dog) fell out of the book onto my lap. I just about puked on myself. I ran to the bathroom to wash my hands about 10 times before I felt like I got the nastiness off of me.”

“One time I opened a donated book and there was a letter in there from a woman to a family thanking them for helping her learn to play music. The letter was very old so I decided to research the name of the woman who wrote the letter. It turns out she became a famous musician! I thought it was the coolest thing. I am tempted to reach out to her to let her know I found her letter.”

“A coworker and I were checking in books at the circulation desk when we noticed one book looked odd. The pages were spaced apart in a weird way. Upon further inspection, we noticed there was hair taped to multiple pages throughout the book. It was gross and creepy so we decided to discard that book right then and there.”

“All I can say is I have found unmentionables that include condoms (wrapped and unwrapped), tampons and other nasty things.”

I have to say that finding weird and nasty things inside books is not an every day occurrence for librarians but it does happen. I admit that I have multiple hand sanitizers in my desk drawer and I use them often if handling library books. I mean, I don’t know where some of those books have been! What are some weird things you have found in books?

***

Via: https://bookriot.com/2017/08/15/things-librarians-find-in-books/

Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds | The Guardian

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An interesting article – I wonder if it still rings true?

Book review website Goodreads has uncovered a sharp gender divide in reading preferences, with analysis of 40,000 of its members finding that they leaned almost entirely towards selecting books by writers of their own sex.

2014 has been dubbed “the year of reading women” after a campaign by the author Joanna Walsh took off in January, but Goodreads’ data showed that male authors accounted for 90% of men’s 50 most-read titles this year. Before female writers rush to find a new male pseudonym, however, the converse is also true: according to Goodreads, “of the 50 books published in 2014 that were most read by women, 45 are by women, and five are by men”. And one of those men was Robert Galbraith, or JK Rowling.

“Ultimately, when it comes to the most popular 2014 books on Goodreads we are still sticking to our own sex,” says the reading website, as it laid out its investigation into the reading habits of 40,000 of its most active readers in 2014: 20,000 men and 20,000 women.

The analysis also found that in the first year of publication, 80% of a female author’s audience will be women, compared to 50% of a male author’s audience. But while women appear more open to reading books by both male and female authors, they like books by women more – and so do men. “On average, women rated books by women 4 out of 5 and books by men 3.8 out of 5. Surprise! Men like women authors more, too – on average men rated books by women 3.9 out of 5 and books by men 3.8 out of five,” said Goodreads.

Goodreads was prompted to perform its survey after “the #readwomen movement inspired us to take a closer look at where readers fall along gender lines”, it said in a blog laying out the results. #readwomen was kicked off by Walsh at the start of the year, asking readers to expand their literary horizons in the wake of statistics from US women in the arts organisation Vida showing a vast imbalance in the numbers of women reviewed and reviewing in today’s literary press. Walsh said yesterday that, while it was difficult to collect statistics on how many people are reading women writers, “response to #readwomen2014 on Twitter has been enthusiastic, with both men and women, including many ‘professional’ readers (ie reviewers and book bloggers) pledging to expand their reading lists in some self-defined way, whether it’s investigating a new sector of women’s writing (for me, this year, it’s been women in translation), reading 50%, or 100% women writers this year”.

Elizabeth Khuri Chandler, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Goodreads, said that Goodreads’ aim in sharing the data “was to stimulate conversation and self-reflection” and “to create a space for some friendly conversation about the subject”.

“It’s been fascinating to see our members discussing the male author/female author ratio of their own reading. For the most part, people are saying that they don’t set out to read a male author or a female author. It’s all about the book. But when they look at their reading lists, some of them are realising that maybe they might want to deliberately explore some different authors,” she said.

According to Goodreads’ data, men and women read the same number of books in 2014 if books from all publishing years are considered, but women read two times as many books published in 2014 as men.

“There is a caveat to the data we shared,” said Khuri Chandler. “We focused on men and women who are already active readers. So, we can’t say that the data covers all men and women. For our two groups, we learned that the men and women read the same amount of books. We did find, though, that with these active readers, the men did tend to gravitate to reading more male authors. But they did read some female authors too – it wasn’t all male authors. Also, it seems that our group of active male readers read books from a broader range of publishing dates than our group of active female readers. The female readers had more of a preference for the books published in 2014.”

Khuri Chandler added that, looking at the comments from readers about the Goodreads data, “some men said they felt they read more male authors because of the type of books they like to read. They thought that more male authors tended to write in the genres or about the topics that interest them than female authors. We also noticed that most people were unaware of the gender breakdown of the book they were reading. It certainly seems like an untapped area to explore.”

The five most-read books by women that men were reading this year, according to Goodreads, were City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare, We Were Liars by E Lockhart, Cress by Marissa Meyer, The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, and Four by Veronica Roth – a mix of young adult novels, dystopias, and Zevin’s homage to bookshops. The most popular titles by male authors among female readers, meanwhile, were Hollow City by Ransom Riggs and The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan, both young adult titles, Anthony Doerr’s historical novel All the Light We Cannot See, Stephen King’s thriller Mr Mercedes – and The Silkworm, by the not-so-male Galbraith.

Walsh repeated a much passed-around quote, in which AM Homes cited another standout woman writer: “As Grace Paley once said to me, ‘Women have always done men the favour of reading their work and men have not returned the favour.”’ This didn’t, at first, seem to be borne out by Goodreads’ infographic, which showed women and men choosing books by their own sex as their favourites, said Walsh.

But she added: “It’s worth bearing in mind that the Vida statistics concentrate on literary fiction, and non-fiction, in which a bias towards books and reviews by men is clear in some publications, whereas the top Goodreads books include many crime, young adult and other titles less likely to be reviewed in the publications Vida covers.”

Via: https://amp.theguardian.com/books/readers-prefer-authors-own-sex

14 Thoughts You Have When Someone Tries To Talk To You While You’re Reading

talk whilst reading

Everyone has a few pet peeves: someone chewing with his or her mouth open, talking on the phone on public transport, letting the dishes pile up in the sink for weeks. But for a book-lover, there’s no greater pet peeve than someone attempting to talk to you while you’re reading. It’s like yanking headphones out of someones ears, or deciding to discuss your drama in the middle of a midnight showing of a brand new movie. In other words: it’s rude.

Sure, someone reading a book may not look like they’re doing all that much. You might think: She’s just sitting there, and she’s just holding a book in her hand — what’s the big deal? What you can’t see is that person’s mind sucked into a completely different world, full of characters and suspenseful plots and so much more. It’s sort of the worst thing to be sucked back out for a conversation that nine times out of ten can wait, at least for a few minutes while I finish up the chapter.

Granted, I understand there are some conversations that can’t wait. I’m a reasonable person, but at the same time, I like my book time. If you take public transport, read while you’re on lunch break, or have a few roommates who don’t grasp the idea of “quiet time”, then you’ve definitely had these 14 thoughts when someone tires to talk to you while in the middle of a really, really good book:

1. “Can you not?”

2. “I wonder if he’ll stop talking to me if I raise the book higher?”

3. “I should’ve put headphones on.”

4. “Did this person forget the whole ‘reading means quiet time’ lesson in Primary School?”

5. “I bet you’re the type of person to talk in a movie theater, too.”

6. “I wonder what would happen if I just respond to this conversation with only the dialogue from this book…?”

7. “Is it rude if I ask him to stop talking? Does this make me a horrible person? Am I the worst listener in the world?” (Technically 3 thoughts, but hey.)

8. “How many shrugs does it take for you to get the hint I’m not interested?”

9. “What did I do to deserve this?”

10. “Pretend to care, pretend to care…”

11. “Nope, I just can’t.”

12. “I’m going to invest in Audio Books from now on.”

13. “I think he’s finally taken the hint — Victory!”

14. “Now I can’t find the sentence where I left off…”

Hopefully this gave you a giggle, and anyone reading it will realise in future not to interrupt – or maybe you can ‘accidentally’ leave it somewhere said person can read this – hint hint!

***

Via: https://www.bustle.com/articles/169329-14-thoughts-you-have-when-someone-tries-to-talk-to-you-while-youre-reading