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12 books NPR staffers loved in 2021 that might surprise you
In what has become an annual tradition, NPR's staff and regular book critics bring you a mighty year-end guide of Books We Love . In 2021, you can find more than 360 recommendations ranging from cookbooks to realistic fiction and from graphic novels to tell-all tales.
Here are the Books We Love: 360+ great 2021 reads recommended by NPR
Here are a handful of some of the most interesting staff picks — you may even find some choices that surprise you! — like The Secret History of Home Economics and Fat Chance, Charlie Vega.
We hope you enjoy our full slate of selections — and take some time to browse through for awhile!
Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith
" Build Your House Around My Body begins with the disappearance of a young woman named Winnie, and works its way backwards through time, telling a story of unfinished business and long-delayed revenge. Some of its set pieces are familiar from Hollywood horror movies and Brothers Grimm fairy tales – there's an exorcism and a haunted forest. But because this book is set in Vietnam, the forest is an overgrown rubber tree plantation and the exorcism doesn't have crucifixes or holy water. It's a sprawling novel that tells a ghost story spanning generations, drawing the reader into its supernatural world." — Ari Shapiro , host, All Things Considered
Colorization: One Hundred Years of Black Films in a White World by Wil Haygood
"Billed as 'One Hundred Years of Black Films in a White World,' this fascinating, exhaustively researched and gorgeously written tome delves deep into the background of everything from D.W. Griffith's monstrous silent Birth of a Nation , to teenager Darnella Frazier's video of the murder of George Floyd. If you've ever wondered why you can't see the Sidney Poitier/Dorothy Dandridge Porgy and Bess , or why Spike Lee had to borrow money to fly to Cannes to win Best Young Director for She's Gotta Have It , or why ... nah, I should stop. So many treasures to unearth, you'll want to do it yourself." — Bob Mondello , movie critic, Culture Desk
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
"Michelle Zauner's debut memoir eloquently lays out the complexity and the ongoing grief of losing a parent in your 20s, just as your own life is about to start. Zauner, who heads the indie band Japanese Breakfast, writes about how she turned to Korean food as a way to process her grief when her mother, her only tie to Korean culture, died of cancer. The book, which was first excerpted as viral New Yorker essay in 2018, reflects on how cooking and eating the food that her mom once prepared gives her a way to connect to her identity. As someone who also lost a parent in my 20s, it's hard to convey the loss of identity and confusion that I faced, so I'm so thankful this book exists." — Alyssa Jeong Perry , producer, Code Switch
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
"I'm glad there's a wave of YA books with fat protagonists, but the characters often possess a level of self-confidence that's too good to be true. Crystal Maldonado has created a much-needed believable protagonist with teenage and adult readers. Charlie Vega is a fat, glasses-wearing, biracial Puerto Rican with a diet-pushing mother and a beautiful, athletic best friend. When her classmate Brian pursues a romantic relationship, Charlie is plagued with-self doubt. The book is propelled by conflicts both internal and external. I'm glad this book isn't body-positive escapism, but rather a well-observed story of fat teenage life." — Jessica Reedy , producer/editor, Pop Culture Happy Hour
Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness by Kristen Radtke
"Kristen Radtke looks at the science of loneliness and its presence in American society – and interweaves it with poignant stories from her own life. She dives into its evolutionary purpose while retracing the surprising places where loneliness comes up: in TV laugh tracks, in the much-venerated lone cowboys in American pop culture. All the while, she shares her own brushes with isolation – mourning the end of a TV series, scrolling through her phone in bed, witnessing the death of her grandmother. It's a deeply engaging, masterful work of science and heart, and incredibly timely as the pandemic continues on." — Malaka Gharib , deputy editor, Goats and Soda, author of I Was Their American Dream
Sellout: The Major-Label Feeding Frenzy That Swept Punk, Emo, and Hardcore (1994-2007) by Dan Ozzi
"Let breathe new dawn - this art is dead / No sense of original thought in the mainstream" goes a lyric in the opening track of Against Me!'s first major-label album – one I (wrongly) thought sucked before ever having heard it, simply because it was on a major label. In Sellout , Dan Ozzi examines this intersection among bands trying to make a mark in the world, music labels hoping to make a buck off them and fans feeling betrayed by their idols. Even if you never spent time on punknews.org arguing about the taxonomy of "folk punk," it's a question that exists in every art form: How much is it worth to get paid? — Andrew Limbong , reporter, Culture Desk
Somebody's Daughter by Ashley C. Ford
To love and not forgive.
"Ashley Ford's riveting memoir is an honest, heartbreaking story about her father's incarceration and the resulting family trauma. Her story is about race and family and about how the choices we make, plus those forced upon us, can complicate the trajectory of our lives. Ford writes with a refreshing and riveting candor. As a fellow Hoosier, I found the book particularly compelling because it is not only a coming-of-age Midwestern tale with all the typical concerns about body image and mother-daughter tension, but also a sharp commentary on the harsh realities of growing up as a Black person in Indiana. Ford also gives us an important glimpse of how prison shapes the daughters left behind." — Asma Khalid , White House correspondent, Washington Desk
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
Intimacy is nothing to be ashamed of in helen hoang's powerful new romance.
"Anna Sun is a talented violinist in the Bay Area whose disappointing boyfriend springs a proposal on her: an open relationship. While processing her boyfriend's request and battling a creative block, Anna meets Quan and wonders if he might be the real deal. I love this book because it deals with issues that feel really relevant to today, such as creative burnout, bad boyfriends and neurodivergence, which Helen Hoang explores through these deeply rich and heartfelt characters." — Candice Lim , production assistant, Pop Culture Happy Hour
The Most Fun Thing: Dispatches from a Skateboard Life by Kyle Beachy
"The year 2021 is the year of skateboarding. The "rebel" pursuit was transformed into an Olympic sport. Thrasher magazine, skateboarding's bible, turned 40. And many have picked up skateboards for the first time. So The Most Fun Thing couldn't have come at a better time. Kyle Beachy is a longtime skater and writing professor. His memoir, compiled from essays that span a decade, ponder the meaning of skateboarding. "What percentage of skateboarding, I wonder, is talking about skateboarding?" he writes. "Half, probably. There is such rich joy to be found in these debates without stakes." Even as they "go nowhere, slowly." — Milton Guevara , production assistant, Morning Edition
The Secret History of Home Economics: How Trailblazing Women Harnessed the Power of Home and Changed the Way We Live by Danielle Dreilinger
"The secret's out! Before I read this book, home economics was just a class that I took in junior high with the aptly named Mrs. Housekeeper. But in reading this book, I discovered that in the early 20th century, the field provided jobs for women in the sciences, corporations and government. And despite a flirtation with the eugenics movement, it was an area in which Black women could, and did, make significant contributions. Danielle Dreilinger also makes the case that cooking and managing a budget are invaluable lessons for all children and should still be part of the school curriculum. — Emiko Tamagawa , senior producer, Here & Now
The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel
"I'm among the weirdos who responded to the pandemic by upping my workouts, which made Alison Bechdel's latest graphic novel feel unexpectedly timely. A lifelong fitness freak, who's embraced everything from martial arts to mountaineering, Bechdel applies the same rigor to her analysis of her quest for a mind/body connection, which contains the sort of psychoanalytic layers, self-deprecating charm and ambitious complexities her fans have come to expect." — Neda Ulaby , correspondent, Culture Desk
Want Me: A Sex Writer's Journey Into the Heart of Desire by Tracy Clark-Flory
"As a woman, dating men is kind of exhausting – especially when you consider all of the ways women's understanding of our own sexuality is shaped by the male gaze. In her new memoir, Want Me: A Sex Writer's Journey Into the Heart of Desire, Jezebel writer Tracy Clark-Flory unpacks the different ways women are taught to be passive objects of lust, rather than active participants in sex. Through a combination of personal stories, previous reporting and feminist theory, Clark-Flory decodes the messy yet massively rewarding journey of taking agency over one's pleasure, with or without a partner." — Isabella Gomez Sarmiento , assistant producer, Weekend Edition
To read more recommendations from staff members, you can explore the "Staff Picks" section on the 2021 Books We Love website.
The 100 Must-Read Books of 2021
The fiction, nonfiction and poetry that shifted our perspectives, uncovered essential truths and encouraged us forward Annabel Gutterman, Cady Lang, Arianna Rebolini and Lucas Wittmann
1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows
Acts of desperation, afterparties, aftershocks, all that she carried, all the frequent troubles of our days, america on fire, beautiful world, where are you, the book of form and emptiness, call us what we carry, the chosen and the beautiful, chronicles from the land of the happiest people on earth, cloud cuckoo land, the code breaker, the committed, the copenhagen trilogy, covered with night, crying in h mart, dear senthuran, detransition, baby, empire of pain, everyone knows your mother is a witch, the family roe, the final girl support group, finding the mother tree, four thousand weeks, the free world, great circle, harlem shuffle, hell of a book, how the word is passed, invisible child, the kissing bug, klara and the sun, the life of the mind, the lincoln highway, a little devil in america, the loneliest americans, the love songs of w.e.b. du bois, malibu rising, the man who lived underground, mike nichols: a life, milk blood heat, my darling from the lions, my monticello, my year abroad, no one is talking about this, oh william, on juneteenth, one friday in april, one last stop, orwell's roses, the other black girl, our country friends, a passage north, pilgrim bell, poet warrior, the promise, the prophets, razorblade tears, real estate, the removed, remote control, the rib king, second place, seeing ghosts, somebody's daughter, something new under the sun, the sum of us, the sunflower cast a spell to save us from the void, the sweetness of water, a swim in a pond in the rain, tastes like war, there’s no such thing as an easy job, under a white sky, until proven safe, while we were dating, white magic, who is maud dixon, who they was, who will pay reparations on my soul, you got anything stronger, you're history.
by Ai Weiwei
by Megan Nolan
by Anthony Veasna So
by Nadia Owusu
by Tiya Miles
by Rebecca Donner
by Elizabeth Hinton
by Sally Rooney
by Ruth Ozeki
by Amanda Gorman
by Sunjeev Sahota
by Wole Soyinka
by Anthony Doerr
by Walter Isaacson
by Viet Thanh Nguyen
by Tove Ditlevsen
by Nicole Eustace
by Jonathan Franzen
by Michelle Zauner
by Akwaeke Emezi
by Torrey Peters
by Patrick Radden Keefe
by Rivka Galchen
by Joshua Prager
by Grady Hendrix
by Suzanne Simard
by Oliver Burkeman
by Louis Menand
by Melissa Febos
by Maggie Shipstead
by Colson Whitehead
by Mieko Kawakami
by Jason Mott
by Clint Smith
by Katie Kitamura
by Andrea Elliott
by Daisy Hernández
by Kazuo Ishiguro
by Kaitlyn Greenidge
by Christine Smallwood
by Amor Towles
by Hanif Abdurraqib
by Jay Caspian Kang
by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
by Richard Wright
by Lauren Groff
by Mark Harris
by Dantiel W. Moniz
by Melissa Broder
by Rachel Long
by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
by Chang-rae Lee
by Patricia Lockwood
by Elizabeth Strout
by Annette Gordon-Reed
by Donald Antrim
by Casey McQuiston
by Caleb Azumah Nelson
by Rebecca Solnit
by Zakiya Dalila Harris
by Gary Shteyngart
by Anuk Arudpragasam
by Kaveh Akbar
by Joy Harjo
by Larissa Pham
by Damon Galgut
by Robert Jones, Jr.
by S.A. Cosby
by Deborah Levy
by Brandon Hobson
by Nnedi Okorafor
by Ladee Hubbard
by Chibundu Onuzo
by Rachel Cusk
by Kat Chow
by Kristen Radtke
by John le Carré
by Sarah Ruhl
by Ashley C. Ford
by Alexandra Kleeman
by Rivers Solomon
by Heather McGhee
by Jackie Wang
by Nathan Harris
by George Saunders
by Grace M. Cho
by Percival Everett
by Kikuko Tsumura
by Tarana Burke
by Elizabeth Kolbert
by Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley
by Jasmine Guillory
by Elissa Washuta
by Alexandra Andrews
by Gabriel Krauze
by Jesse McCarthy
by Gabrielle Union
by Lesley Chow
This project is led by Lucy Feldman and Annabel Gutterman, with writing, reporting and additional editing by Eliza Berman, Kelly Conniff, Mariah Espada, Lori Fradkin, Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath, Cady Lang, Nik Popli, Arianna Rebolini, Lucas Wittmann and Julia Zorthian; art and photography editing by Whitney Matewe and Jennifer Prandato; and production by Paulina Cachero and Nadia Suleman.
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The 10 Best Book Reviews of 2020
Adam morgan picks parul sehgal on raven leilani, merve emre on lewis carroll, and more.
The pandemic and the birth of my second daughter prevented me from reading most of the books I wanted to in 2020. But I was able to read vicariously through book critics, whose writing was a true source of comfort and escape for me this year. I’ve long told my students that criticism is literature—a genre of nonfiction that can and should be as insightful, experimental, and compelling as the art it grapples with—and the following critics have beautifully proven my point. The word “best” is always a misnomer, but these are my personal favorite book reviews of 2020.
Nate Marshall on Barack Obama’s A Promised Land ( Chicago Tribune )
A book review rarely leads to a segment on The 11th Hour with Brian Williams , but that’s what happened to Nate Marshall last month. I love how he combines a traditional review with a personal essay—a hybrid form that has become my favorite subgenre of criticism.
“The presidential memoir so often falls flat because it works against the strengths of the memoir form. Rather than take a slice of one’s life to lay bare and come to a revelation about the self or the world, the presidential memoir seeks to take the sum of a life to defend one’s actions. These sorts of memoirs are an attempt maybe not to rewrite history, but to situate history in the most rosy frame. It is by nature defensive and in this book, we see Obama’s primary defensive tool, his prodigious mind and proclivity toward over-considering every detail.”
Merve Emre on Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ( The Point )
I’m a huge fan of writing about books that weren’t just published in the last 10 seconds. And speaking of that hybrid form above, Merve Emre is one of its finest practitioners. This piece made me laugh out loud and changed the way I think about Lewis Carroll.
“I lie awake at night and concentrate on Alice, on why my children have fixated on this book at this particular moment. Part of it must be that I have told them it ‘takes place’ in Oxford, and now Oxford—or more specifically, the college whose grounds grow into our garden—marks the physical limits of their world. Now that we can no longer move about freely, no longer go to new places to see new things, we are trying to find ways to estrange the places and objects that are already familiar to us.”
Parul Sehgal on Raven Leilani’s Luster ( The New York Times Book Review )
Once again, Sehgal remains the best lede writer in the business. I challenge you to read the opening of any Sehgal review and stop there.
“You may know of the hemline theory—the idea that skirt lengths fluctuate with the stock market, rising in boom times and growing longer in recessions. Perhaps publishing has a parallel; call it the blurb theory. The more strained our circumstances, the more manic the publicity machine, the more breathless and orotund the advance praise. Blurbers (and critics) speak with a reverent quiver of this moment, anointing every other book its guide, every second writer its essential voice.”
Constance Grady on Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall ( Vox )
Restoring the legacies of ill-forgotten books is one of our duties as critics. Grady’s take on “the least famous sister in a family of celebrated geniuses” makes a good case for Wildfell Hall’ s place alongside Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre in the Romantic canon.
“[T]he heart of this book is a portrait of a woman surviving and flourishing after abuse, and in that, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall feels unnervingly modern. It is fresh, shocking, and wholly new today, 200 years after the birth of its author.”
Ismail Muhammad on Anna Wiener’s Uncanny Valley ( The Atlantic )
Muhammad is a philosophical critic, so it’s always fun to see him tackle a book with big ideas. Here, he makes an enlightened connection between Wiener’s Silicon Valley memoir and Michael Lewis’s 1989 Wall Street exposé, Liar’s Poker.
“Like Lewis, Wiener found ‘a way out of unhappiness’ by writing her own gimlet-eyed generational portrait that doubles as a cautionary tale of systemic dysfunction. But if her chronicle acquires anything like the must-read status that Lewis’s antic tale of a Princeton art-history major’s stint at Salomon Brothers did, it will be for a different reason. For all her caustic insight and droll portraiture, Wiener is on an earnest quest likely to resonate with a public that has been sleepwalking through tech’s gradual reshaping of society.”
Hermione Hoby on Mieko Kawakami’s Breasts and Eggs ( 4 Columns )
Hoby’s thousand-word review is a great example of a critic reading beyond the book to place it in context.
“When Mieko Kawakami’s Breasts and Eggs was first published in 2008, the then-governor of Tokyo, the ultraconservative Shintaro Ishihara, deemed the novel ‘unpleasant and intolerable.’ I wonder what he objected to? Perhaps he wasn’t into a scene in which the narrator, a struggling writer called Natsuko, pushes a few fingers into her vagina in a spirit of dejected exploration: ‘I . . . tried being rough and being gentle. Nothing worked.’”
Taylor Moore on C Pam Zhang’s How Much Of These Hills Is Gold ( The A.V. Club )
Describing Zhang’s wildly imaginative debut novel is hard, but Moore manages to convey the book’s shape and texture in less than 800 words, along with some critical analysis.
“Despite some characteristics endemic to Wild West narratives (buzzards circling prey, saloons filled with seedy strangers), the world of How Much Of These Hills Is Gold feels wholly original, and Zhang imbues its wide expanse with magical realism. According to local lore, tigers lurk in the shadows, despite having died out ‘decades ago’ with the buffalo. There also exists a profound sense of loss for an exploited land, ‘stripped of its gold, its rivers, its buffalo, its Indians, its tigers, its jackals, its birds and its green and its living.’”
Grace Ebert on Paul Christman’s Midwest Futures ( Chicago Review of Books )
I love how Ebert brings her lived experience as a Midwesterner into this review of Christman’s essay collection. (Disclosure: I founded the Chicago Review of Books five years ago, but handed over the keys in July 2019.)
“I have a deep and genuine love for Wisconsin, for rural supper clubs that always offer a choice between chicken soup or an iceberg lettuce salad, and for driving back, country roads that seemingly are endless. This love, though, is conflicting. How can I sing along to Waylon Jennings, Tanya Tucker, and Merle Haggard knowing that my current political views are in complete opposition to the lyrics I croon with a twang in my voice?”
Michael Schaub on Bryan Washington’s Memorial ( NPR )
How do you review a book you fall in love with? It’s one of the most challenging assignments a critic can tackle. But Schaub is a pro; he falls in love with a few books every year.
“Washington is an enormously gifted author, and his writing—spare, unadorned, but beautiful—reads like the work of a writer who’s been working for decades, not one who has yet to turn 30. Just like Lot, Memorial is a quietly stunning book, a masterpiece that asks us to reflect on what we owe to the people who enter our lives.”
Mesha Maren on Fernanda Melchor’s Hurricane Season ( Southern Review of Books )
Maren opens with an irresistible comparison between Melchor’s irreverent novel and medieval surrealist art. (Another Disclosure: I founded the Southern Review of Books in early 2020.)
“Have you ever wondered what internal monologue might accompany the characters in a Hieronymus Bosch painting? What are the couple copulating upside down in the middle of that pond thinking? Or the man with flowers sprouting from his ass? Or the poor fellow being killed by a fire-breathing creature which is itself impaled upon a knife? I would venture to guess that their voices would sound something like the writing of Mexican novelist Fernanda Melchor.”
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The 24 most popular books of 2021 so far, according to Goodreads members
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- Goodreads is a platform where users rate and review books.
- We rounded up the most popular fiction and nonfiction books published in 2021, based on Goodreads.
- Want more books? Check out the best books of the year, according to Amazon's book editors.
Goodreads is the world's largest platform for readers to rate and review books. You can track the books you want to read, participate in challenges, and get personalized recommendations. Each year, Goodreads also hosts its Readers' Choice Awards in 17 categories — which is currently open for voting .
In the meantime, we've rounded up the 24 most popular fiction and nonfiction books amongst Goodreads reviewers so far this year, chosen for how often they've been added to readers' " Want to Read " shelves. Goodreads eliminated any book below a 3.5-star rating, and each one had to be published in 2021 to be considered.
Whether you're looking for a new release from an adored author or a timely nonfiction read, these books are the 24 most popular amongst Goodreads members in 2021.
The 24 most popular books of 2021, according to Goodreads
"people we meet on vacation" by emily henry.
"People We Meet on Vacation" by Emily Henry, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $9.98
From the author of the 2020 hit "Beach Read" comes another summer favorite of two unlikely friends that vacation together every summer. Alex and Poppy couldn't be more opposite: Alex, a quiet boy with hometown charm, and Poppy, a wanderlust-fueled wild child. After sharing a ride home in college, the two form a friendship, sharing a vacation together every summer for a decade, until two years ago when they ruined everything. Now, Poppy and Alex come together for one more trip to see if they can mend their friendship or if there's really something more between them.
"Malibu Rising" by Taylor Jenkins Reid
"Malibu Rising" by Taylor Jenkins Reid, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $16.80
Taylor Jenkins Reid novels are known for being absolute page-turners, and "Malibu Rising" is no different. This book bounces between an epic, life-changing party over 24 hours and the family history of four famous siblings. Together, they're a fascination to the world, children of the legendary rockstar Mick Riva. They're all looking forward to their annual party for different reasons except Nina, recently abandoned by her husband and resentful of the spotlight. By morning, the house will be up in flames, but before that the party will become completely out of control and the secrets of the family will rise to the surface.
"The Four Winds" by Kristin Hannah
"The Four Winds" by Kristin Hannah, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $14
Kristin Hannah is known for her heartbreaking and exciting historical fiction novels. "The Four Winds" takes place in Texas in 1934 during the Great Depression and an insufferable drought. Elsa must make a choice to stay and fight for the success of her land, her home, and her community or take a chance and head to California in the hopes of a better life. This is a story of the search for the American Dream, one of a painful and shocking journey that is likely to pull tears from many readers. This book was also voted the best book of 2021 by Book of the Month's subscribers.
"The Last Thing He Told Me" by Laura Dave
"The Last Thing He Told Me" by Laura Dave, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $14
Before Owen Michael disappears, he leaves his new wife, Hannah, an ominous note reading "protect her," clearly referring to his teenage daughter, Bailey. As Hannah and Bailey wait for his return, the FBI arrests Owen's boss and shows up to their home, sending the two women on a mission to piece together Owen's past and find out the real reason he disappeared. You can read an interview with the author, Laura Dave, here .
"The Lincoln Highway" by Amor Towles
"The Lincoln Highway" by Amor Towles, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $18.99
In June of 1954, Emmett Watson is 18 and newly released from his one-year service on a work farm, time served for involuntary manslaughter. With his parents gone and their property foreclosed by the bank, Emmett plans to take his eight-year-old brother west for a fresh start, until he discovers that two friends from the work farm in the car that brought him home have very different plans for Emmett's future. This book was also named the best book of 2021 according to Amazon's book editors.
"Project Hail Mary" by Andy Weir
"Project Hail Mary" by Andy Weir, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $14.49
In this fascinating science fiction mystery novel, Ryland Grace wakes up with no memory on a ship deep in space, with two dead crewmates and an impossible mission ahead of him. The sole survivor of a desperate suicide mission, Ryland must conquer an extinction-level threat to Earth in the hopes of saving all of humanity.
"Klara and the Sun" by Kazuo Ishiguro
"Klara and the Sun" by Kazuo Ishiguro, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $16.09
In 2017, Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize in Literature — this is his first novel since the award. Set in the near future, "Klara and the Sun" explores the human condition through Klara, an Artificial Friend. Klara is AI, keenly observational and eerily understanding the depth of human emotion as she watches out the store window and waits for a customer to one day choose her. This book is sweet, gripping, and subtly beautiful, exploring connection, loss, and love in this speculative science fiction read.
"The Push" by Ashley Audrain
"The Push" by Ashley Audrain, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $17
"The Push" is a thriller that demands to be read in a single sitting. Blythe was determined to be the mother she never had — but struggles when her daughter starts to behave differently, possessing a vaguely sinister quality that no one else notices except Blythe. When Blythe's son is born, she has the blissful motherly connection for which she always hoped, until the life she imagined changes in an instant.
"Beautiful World, Where Are You" by Sally Rooney
"Beautiful World, Where Are You" by Sally Rooney, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $16.80
This contemporary story about love, sex, and relationships follows four friends — Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon — who navigate all three topics through philosophical conversations and often-awkward interactions. With its flawed protagonists and complicated relationships, this Sally Rooney novel is a fascinating new release from an author rapidly growing in popularity.
"Apples Never Fall" by Laine Moriarty
"Apples Never Fall" by Laine Moriarty, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $17.39
The Delaneys are an upstanding family in their community, known for their parent's famed tennis academy and the four children with tennis star potential. When their mother, Joy, goes missing after the family's interaction with a stranger, two siblings believe their father must be guilty while the other two plead his innocence. As more and more secrets are uncovered, the siblings begin to see their family history in a much different light.
"Cloud Cuckoo Land" by Anthony Doerr
"Cloud Cuckoo Land" by Anthony Doerr, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $18.57
This novel spans centuries, from a library in an ancient city to a futuristic interstellar ship, as multiple stories center around one ancient book: "Cloud Cuckoo Land." As each character discovers the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so he can find a utopia in the skies, it changes their lives — and their own stories.
"Under the Whispering Door" by T.J. Klune
"Under the Whispering Door" by T.J. Klune, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $23.99
Wallace Prince finally believes he might actually be dead when a reaper collects him from his own funeral and brings him to a quaint coffee shop in the mountains where he meets the owner, Hugo. Realizing he isn't ready to let go of his life, Wallace and Hugo set out to live a lifetime in seven days, before Hugo must help him cross over to the afterlife.
"Crying in H Mart: A Memoir" by Michelle Zauner
"Crying in H Mart: A Memoir" by Michelle Zauner, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $16.16
Michelle Zauner explores growing up Korean American, feeling the high expectations of her mother, and bonding with her grandmother over late-night food in Seoul. As she grows into adulthood, she feels more and more distant from her Korean heritage — until her mother is diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. Forced to reconnect with her identity, Zauner offers the truest look at her most difficult days, portraying every bit of grief and conflict mixed with stunning food descriptions.
"Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know" by Adam Grant
"Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know" by Adam Grant, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $16.75
Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist who studies how people find motivation and meaning. In this book, Grant encourages people to not only learn from being wrong, but explore how it makes us feel. He examines why we're uncomfortable "thinking again," how we can develop greater introspection, and how we can teach others to think again in a way that is often more productive than getting everything right the first time. This book encourages readers to overcome overconfidence and embrace not knowing everything.
"Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted" by Suleika Jaquad
"Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted" by Suleika Jaquad, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $19.73
In a transformative story that grips readers from the first pages, we meet Suleika Jaquad in the summer after graduating from college with a world of opportunities ahead of her. After a swarm of strange itches, inescapable exhaustion, and a flurry of tests, Suleika is diagnosed with leukemia just before her 23rd birthday. After four years in a hospital bed, Suleika finally beats cancer to find a new set of challenges ahead of her: How to live rather than survive. Full of emotional truths, this is a story of heartbreak and triumph from a survivor with a chance to begin again.
"The Anthropocene Reviewed" by John Green
"The Anthropocene Reviewed" by John Green, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $16.80
Though John Green is known for his bestselling and heart-breaking young adult novels, this is his first ever nonfiction work: A collection of personal essays. Adapted and expanded from his podcast, these essays are observations and examinations of the human experience in the current geological age.
"How To Avoid A Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need" by Bill Gates
"How To Avoid A Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need" by Bill Gates, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $15.99
Backed by ten years of research, Bill Gates uses this book to explain why and how we must work towards a goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions. Split into three main parts, Gates describes the environmental fate we currently face, the ways in which technology can function to help us reduce or eliminate our greenhouse gas emissions, and an accessible, well-defined plan by which all individuals, corporations, and governments can abide to reach this goal. This read is urgent and practical, an ambitious plan but one that is optimistic about the future of our environment.
"What Happened To You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing" by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey
"What Happened To You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing" by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $17.38
" What Happened To You? " is a psychological self-help read where Oprah Winfrey and brain and trauma expert Dr. Bruce Perry explore the early experiences that shape our behavioral patterns later in life. Rather than asking "what's wrong with you?," they use personal anecdotes to encourage readers to ask "what happened to you?" and examine our pasts to overcome our personal challenges today.
"Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty" by Patrick Radden Keefe
"Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty" by Patrick Radden Keefe, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $19.50
The Sackler family is one of the richest families in the world, known for their large donations to arts and sciences, with their names engraved on historic institutions from Harvard to the Louvre. The source of the family's fortune was generally a mystery, until one day it was discovered they were responsible for the creation and distribution of OxyContin. Chronicling three generations of the Sackler family, this nonfiction read explores how this infamous family became involved in starting the opioid epidemic.
"The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together" by Heather McGhee
"The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together" by Heather McGhee, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $21.80
Heather McGhee is an economist who explains how racism and white supremacy have negative social and economic effects on white people, too. She uses the concept of "zero-sum" (the idea that progress for some comes at the expense of others) to introduce her own new concept: The Solidarity Dividend, an idea that progress is felt amongst all when people come together across race and achieve what cannot be done alone. Heather uses historical examples and individual stories to explain how racism against minorities has had negative consequences for everyone, and to offer real solutions for a better future.
"The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race" by Walter Isaacson
"The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race" by Walter Isaacson, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $21.49
Inspired by a book her father gave her in the sixth grade about DNA coding, Jennifer Doudna set out to become a scientist and ultimately created CRISPR, a tool that can edit DNA. Now involved in a series of moral challenges and debates, the CRISPR has the potential to change the human race forever with evolution hacking that includes making humans less susceptible to viruses and mental illness, or potentially editing DNA to enhance future humans.
"Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019" edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain
"Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019" edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $12.71
This is a chronological account of 400 years of previously silenced Black history in America. Curated by two historians, this book begins with the arrival of 20 enslaved Ndongo people in 1619 and continues to tell stories of slavery, segregation, and oppression over 80 chapters. There are also celebrations of African art and music, a life-changing collection that concludes with an essay from Alicia Garza on the Black Lives Matter movement.
"Facing the Mountain" by Daniel James Brown
"Facing the Mountain" by Daniel James Brown, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $15
Based on countless hours of interviews and research, " Facing the Mountain " follows four Japanese American families whose sons volunteered for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II as their families faced internment camps and brutal bigotry as American citizens. This story follows both the sons' impossible deployment mission and the trials on US soil as Japanese American immigrants fought against the government for their right to freedom.
"The Light of Days" by Judy Batalion
"The Light of Days" by Judy Batalion, available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $14.73
This nonfiction read highlights the little-known heroism of Jewish women in Poland who transformed Jewish youth groups into resistance forces to fight the Nazi in a variety of covert ways. From building underground bunkers to smuggling weapons, this story of the "ghetto girls" is one of immense bravery during World War II.
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Blog – Posted on Friday, May 01
The best book review sites for enthusiastic readers.
Book lovers, stop us if you’ve heard this one before: you’ve just finished a mind-blowing book and you need to hear some discussion about it. What do you do? Dive straight into the limitless realm of the Internet and search for book review sites, of course.
Or here’s another scenario: you’ve finished reading a novel and now you’re searching for something to fill the void. Maybe you want more of the same, or maybe something completely different to switch things up. You’ll probably also scour the Internet for ratings and trustworthy recommendations.
Fortunately, there are endless review blogs and book review sites that you can peruse. Un fortunately, not every one of them features a wide enough variety to help you. But don’t worry: we’ve got you covered with ten of the best book review sites to satisfy the bookworm in you. If you want to cut to the chase and get a personalized pick for a book review site in 30 seconds, we first recommend taking this quick quiz:
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Find out which review community is best for your style. Takes 30 seconds!
Then read on for the full explanation of all of the best book review sites out there!
It’s impossible not to mention Goodreads when discussing book communities: it’s the Facebook of book reviews — the ultimate social media platform for bibliophiles. If you’ve somehow managed to go this long without stumbling upon this omnipresent site, here’s the run-down: you can use Goodreads to organize, display, and discuss your virtual bookshelf with other users.
Goodreads recommendations are based on your listed interests. You can follow authors and book influencers ranging from Celeste Ng to Bill Gates . This allows you to see all their reviews, which vary from compact one-liners to critical analysis, and watch the new reviews roll in. For a quick verdict, just take a look at the star rating that they give the book.
Also if you like to browse lists, Goodreads compiles the best and most popular books for every genre. There’s also the annual Goodreads’ Choice Awards to celebrate each year’s new releases, where you can cast your vote or peruse the list of contenders to find a new book to read. It’s a site for every kind of reader, with abundant ways to comment and interact.
This is the OG of all online book catalogues and discussion boards — take a look and you’ll see that it’s an oldie but a goodie. Of course, the basic functions of LibraryThing are rather similar to Goodreads: there are millions of books that readers can add to their lists, as well as review with star ratings.
While the interface harks back to the earlier days of the world wide web, LibraryThing has a secret weapon that’ll appeal to all readers, especially modern ones: their Zeitgeist . This page displays the latest crème de la crème of the whole site, from the most popular books to the hottest reviews , which you can also write with the help of a good book review template . Just a glance shows that the readers here know how to read between the lines and wield their words!
So if you’re hoping to read or share some in-depth literary thoughts with fellow sharp-minded users , LibraryThing is the site to browse. (You can even access it without creating an account!)
3. Reedsy Discovery
Now, if you’re searching for some hidden gems to peruse, Reedsy Discovery ’s got your back. While our blog features everything from classics to contemporary hits, Discovery’s specialty is indie publications, many of which are accompanied with succinct comments from experienced reviewers . There’s no better way to broaden your horizon!
Moreover, if casual and creative reviews are more your cup of tea, then rejoice: the burgeoning community of readers on Discovery can leave comments, one-line reviews, and video reviews (calling all Booktubers!) on just about any book. It’s a fun and interactive way to geek out over your favorite reads and discover all the coolest new titles you won’t find anywhere else.
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Though it’s UK-based, this prolific site caters to audiences around the world. LoveReading is strictly a reviewing site, with a base of staff writers and carefully selected contributors, so you know the reviews are top-notch. The staff often give quite personal reading experiences in their reviews, which make their recommendations very endearing, like they’re from a close friend. They even offer you presents — well, if you think of giveaways as presents!
LoveReading covers books from every genre you can think of. They also have weekly, monthly, and yearly list features to keep you up to date with the latest stellar releases, so you’ll never be in want of something to pore over.
5. The Millions
In search of reviews that really dive into the themes, metaphors, and overall executions of interesting and highbrow books? The Millions has got you covered.
Written by a collection of seasoned critics, these reviews are speckled with memorable quotes, elegant analysis, and plentiful comparisons to other works — which means extra reading recommendations for you! If contemporary and literary fictions are your go-tos, then The Millions is the site for all your lit nerd needs.
6. SFBook Reviews
Those who think quantity and quality don’t go hand in hand, you clearly haven’t encountered SFBook Review . The five reviewers on the team here share two common and important goals: firstly, to follow the outpour of new titles in the sci-fi, fantasy, and horror genres every year, and secondly, to give thoughtful reviews to as many of them as possible.
This team knows their SFF niches inside out, so their verdicts are very credible. Still, their reviews are quite friendly and personal — they discuss other related books and share their reading experiences to help you make your own reading choices.
Bookpage features all kinds of genres: from children’s books to nonfiction, from the works of household names to debut authors, and so much more. Their format is neat and straightforward — they bring you the volumes they think are most worthwhile, recommending them to you by summarizing and concisely commenting on the prose, the theme, and the plot of each chosen book.
In addition to this, Bookpage also features author interviews and articles that unearth the deeper themes and purposes of certain books. If you’re a true book lover seeking like-minded literary aficionados, this may be the perfect place for you.
8. Book Riot
Avid readers, you’ve probably stumbled upon Book Riot more times than you can remember. While it’s not a site that individually assesses titles, it has lists for everything — from timeless literary giants to the top books in each genre. What’s more, Book Riot has lots of thinkpieces that dive deep into the way certain titles make readers feel — be it exhilarated, motivated, or enraged — and that’s really all you need to know when deciding to embark on a new reading adventure.
Additionally, if you’d rather listen to discussions and reviews rather than read them, you'll be happy to know that Book Riot has a range of podcasts for you to choose from.
NetGalley is another platform bringing you new and unconventional recommendations. They specialize in connecting authors who are publishing to readers who’d like to preview and put in their two cents. While the database of books available here are not the most expansive, those that are featured are certainly worth your time.
Readers can benefit most from NetGalley via their book recommendation site, Bookish , where the staff reviewers update you with their recent reads and in-depth thoughts on those reads. Along with that, Bookish also has book club kits, equipped with comprehension questions and discussion points, to help readers explore stories mindfully.
While it’s very similar to Goodreads, BookBub focuses more on connecting readers to books that might suit them specifically — which is partly why you’ll see plenty of bargains and deals promoted on the site.
Because of this promotional value, BookBub has quite a strong author community. Diana Gabaldon and Gillian Flynn , for instance, are constantly recommending books on their accounts. So if you’d like to tag along with your favorite author, this is an excellent website to visit. The only drawback of BookBub is that they only have community reviews from users based in the US, and you have to sign up in order to read them.
With these ten sites, you’ll be sure to find your little community of fellow book lovers regardless of what your interests are. Here’s to exciting TBR lists and nourished minds!
If you want to try your hand at reviewing, we’ve got a little guide to help you out ! On the other hand, if you want to plough away at your books, why not consider the Kindle Cloud Reader ?
More posts from across the blog.
Kindle Cloud Reader 101: What It Is and How to Use It
Much has been made of the eBook’s rise this decade. More of them are being published than ever, and the vast majority are sold through Amazon, the dominant player in online book and eBook retailing. From self-published titles to New York Times bestseller...
Cosmic Horror: 15 of the Most CHILLING Titles to Start You Off
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50 Epistolary Novels to Add to Your TBR List
Explore the unique and creative format of epistolary novels with these 50 timeless books that are written as letters and journals.
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Vote For the Best Book
Nov. 24, 2021
In October, editors at the Book Review asked you to help us choose the best book of the past 125 years. We received thousands of nominations — including novels, memoirs and poetry collections — from readers across the world.
We narrowed those submissions down to 25 finalists. It’s a list that reflects the submissions we received, with a few exceptions: Editors decided only one book by a given author could appear on the list, and didn’t count nominations for entire series, only individual books.
Now it’s time to choose a winner! That’s where you come in. Scroll through the list to learn more about each title, including why readers suggested it and how The Times covered it in the past. You can choose up to three, and we’ll announce a winner in December.
- Review and Submit
You haven't chosen any books.
By George Orwell 1949
This dystopian tale, an indictment of censorship, government overreach and civilian complicity, is just as searing and powerful today as it was when it was published. The novel earned a rave in the Book Review: “No other work ... has made us desire freedom more earnestly or loathe tyranny with such fullness.”
When Orwell died the year after “1984” was published, V.S. Pritchett, in an appreciation for the Book Review, called him “the conscience of his generation.”
“It is a timely and still potent book. ... ‘1984’ speaks of authoritarian nationalism, disinformation that still resonates with contemporary politics.”
Mary Rose Kaczorowski, 67, Fort Bragg, Calif.
“The novel depicts the quest for freedom and fulfillment amid the cruelty and oppression of the modern state in an elegantly nuanced way. If the quest can find no external completion, it bursts inward, illuminating self-reflection and consolation.”
Michael Gentry, 59, Columbus, Ohio
“Not only is it excellent literature, its relevance continues to grow and remains almost uncomfortably enduring. It’s impossible to live in today’s world of surveillance, ‘fake news,’ or propaganda without thinking of this novel.”
Aakanksha Saxena, 31, Mumbai, India
All the Light We Cannot See
By Anthony Doerr 2014
Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning meditation on survival, love and what it means to be caught up in a terrible, inexorable tragedy is told through the lives of a blind French girl and a German boy during World War II. “More than a thriller and less than great literature” was the Book Review’s assessment.
Six months after the book’s publication, President Obama was spotted buying a copy in Politics & Prose, a bookstore in Washington.
“As I read the last sentence and closed the book, I had tears in my eyes. Not because the ending was sad, but because I knew I was going to miss Marie-Laure.”
Karen DeStefano, 52, Glen Rock, N.J.
“It encompasses everything the best book should have: beautifully written prose with vivid descriptions of the characters and setting and a plot that intricately and deftly weaves the lives of the main characters. It portrays ... the best and the worst of the human spirit and how they collide.”
Diana Lanzelotte, over 60, Naples, Italy
“The buildup is a good kind of slow burn that keeps the reader hooked. ... The prose is poetic without being over the top, and the story feels real enough to have been told by someone at the end of their lifetime.”
Olivia Starks, 22, Atlanta
By Toni Morrison 1987
A novel about the psychological and physical traumas of slavery — and how a human can bear such terrible weight. The story is centered on Sethe, a formerly enslaved woman driven to make devastating choices while enduring a life of horror, and combines elements of realism and folklore to startling effect. Margaret Atwood wrote in her review, “If there were any doubts about her stature as a pre-eminent American novelist, of her own or any other generation, ‘Beloved’ will put them to rest.”
When “Beloved” did not win a 1987 National Book Award, 48 Black writers and critics wrote a letter of protest to the Book Review that read, in part, “Despite the international stature of Toni Morrison, she has yet to receive the national recognition that her five major works of fiction entirely deserve.” (“Beloved” would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize.)
“When I first read the book I had to keep putting it down, because it was too much, and then picking it back up, because it had to be read. Morrison makes you understand that you have to hear this story, no matter how much it breaks your heart.”
Pennie Ticen, 56, Lexington, Va.
“It is monumental and heartbreaking and revelatory. Toni Morrison gave us a story ‘not to be repeated’ so that we would do exactly that: repeat it in our hearts and minds and hopefully learn from the past so that it does not come about again.”
Sarah Flynn, 35, Ontario
“The novel compels the reader to grapple with issues at once unthinkable and central to humanity. Her characters live on in the imagination long after the completion of the story. Beloved makes one question the double-edged sword of love and hate.”
Les Klein, 74, Los Angeles
“It changed everything. Ms. Morrison gave us her mighty heart and intensely brilliant mind.”
E. Gratch, 62, Ypsilanti, Mich.
By Joseph Heller 1961
Heller’s blackly comic novel about the absurdities of war follows the experiences of John Yossarian, an Air Force bombardier caught up in military bureaucracy. The novel resonated so strongly that its title remains a common idiom to this day. The Book Review was not a fan: “‘Catch-22’ has much passion, comic and fervent, but it gasps for want of craft and sensibility.”
That assessment notwithstanding, the novel became a huge hit. “You’d better have an opinion of ‘Catch-22’ ready if you’re going to hold your own over the cocktails and canapes,” a follow-up article stated.
“It perfectly captures the absurdity of human existence.”
John Anderson, 61, Cheshire, Conn.
“This is the novel that showcases satire as a meaningful genre that can touch the untouchable, critique the government-sanctioned institutions of war and violence, and introduce people to how the everyday can be gravely ridiculous when you take a step back to look again.”
Sylvi Stein, 18, New York, N.Y.
“It was the first book I read that made me consider whether I thought people were good at their core, while also being the first time I ever laughed out loud repeatedly at a book.”
James Roddy, 21, Coleta, Ill.
The Catcher in the Rye
By J.D. Salinger 1951
A classic tale of adolescent angst and alienation, Salinger’s novel follows Holden Caulfield, expelled from his private prep school, as he roams around New York City. Caulfield’s voice — sarcastic, slangy and wistful — became one of the most memorable (and imitated) in American literature. James Stern wrote his review in the protagonist’s voice: “This Salinger, he won’t write no crumby novel. He’s a short story guy.”
Shane Salerno, who wrote and directed a documentary about Salinger, told NPR that the author “was carrying six chapters of ‘Catcher in the Rye’ when he landed on D-Day. That was something that stunned me. He carried these chapters with him almost as a talisman to keep him alive, and he worked on the book throughout the war.”
“You could read it over and over again and still be astonished.”
Anamaria Arriagada, 50, Santiago, Chile
“I have been reading it every year for about 12 years, and it changes when I change, together with me. The profound change that occurs in Holden Caulfield while the world around him also changes leaves a deep trace. It is a real passion: I collect it in all the languages of the world.”
Maria Chiara Morini, 28, Rome, Italy
“It represents one of the most riveting reversals in character profiles ever put on paper. Holden Caulfield goes from tragically sarcastic to beautifully sensitive in record time. Makes me cry every time.”
David Lewis, 61, Philadelphia
“In 1959 I was bored to death by the required classics in high school and college. Holden Caulfield thought and said what many young people wanted to say but were smothered by the dreariness of the times. I am 83 years old and have read hundreds of novels since 1959. None of them were as engrossing.”
Raymond F. Nalewajk, 83, Stratford, Conn.
By E.B. White 1952
After he observed a spider on his farm in Maine, White was inspired to write this simple, sweet tale of barnyard friends, including Wilbur, a charming, bashful, loyal pig; Charlotte, a gray spider “about the size of a gumdrop”; and Templeton, a rat. Eudora Welty, who reviewed the book, wrote that “as a piece of work it is just about perfect, and just about magical in the way it is done.”
“I wrote it for children, and to amuse myself,” White once said.
“Told within the all too brief time of the life cycle of a spider, and with the beautiful economy of language White was so famous for, this book will break your heart and teach you how to be a good friend.”
Pam Allyn, 58, Old Chatham, N.Y.
“‘Charlotte’s Web’ has it all — wry humor, a lilting and radiant evocation of the natural world, a wistful commentary on youth and the passage of time, and a just-below-the-surface parenting manual (truly), all embedded in an honest and heartbreaking tale of friendship, mortality and the power of words.”
Rebecca Daniels, 58, Eugene, Ore.
“A book for all ages with its story of friendship, love, acceptance, loyalty, and the cycle of life. The clear writing conveys deep emotions simply and directly. The story helps readers appreciate the joy and wonder of real friendship.”
Rika Clement, 66, Amherst, Mass.
A Confederacy of Dunces
By John Kennedy Toole 1980
A near-genius slapstick novel featuring an eccentric and unforgettable cast of New Orleans characters, primarily one Ignatius J. Reilly, whose hunt for a job drives the narrative. Published 11 years after the author’s suicide, the novel was saved from obscurity by the author’s mother and the writer Walker Percy. “A masterwork of comedy,” according to the Book Review, “a pungent work of slapstick, satire and intellectual incongruities.”
In 1981, Toole was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize.
“This brilliant work is the funniest book I’ve ever read. I’ve read it countless times and it never fails to cheer me up and make me laugh at the wonderful characters and events that in the life of Ignatius Riley, who ‘graduated smart’ and finally must go to work.”
Mary Sue Donsky, 67, New York, N.Y.
“It is funny yet serious at the same time. ... I know there are so many books to pick from, but when I saw this posting, it is the only book that came to my mind.”
Umar Tosheeb, 37, Milwaukee
“Absolutely so funny! Besides being hilariously funny, it’s well written and the characters are so well developed that it’s a treat to read. The author has a keen knowledge of New Orleans and its population. Great writing.”
Joanna Coogan, 61, Tubac, Ariz.
The Fellowship of the Ring
By J.R.R. Tolkien 1954
This tale of Middle-earth, the first volume in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, helped define not only fantasy as a genre, but also modern storytelling at large. The poet W.H. Auden, who reviewed the novel for The Times, wrote that “no fiction I have read in the last five years has given me more joy.”
In 1955, Tolkien told the paper, a bit tartly, “My work did not ‘evolve’ into a serious work. It started like that.”
“It is an epic battle of good vs. evil which expresses itself in a believable yet imaginary world, complete with poetry, invented languages and magic. Yet, mainly it’s a story of love and its power.”
Linda Adams, 63, Minneola, Fla.
“‘The Lord of the Rings’ is more than a story — it is an entire world that, once one falls into it, it stays with you and becomes part of you forever.”
Christina Dumont, 33, Maine
“Tolkien created a marvelously complex fascinating world but what often gets overlooked is what a powerfully emotional writer he was. There are scenes and passages that bring me to tears every time I read it.”
Ken Coggeshall, 55, Cincinnati
A Fine Balance
By Rohinton Mistry 1996 (originally published in Canada in 1995)
Mistry’s stunning novel considers life in India — and issues of caste, class and religion — during the rule of Indira Gandhi, when four characters from different backgrounds converge in a cramped apartment, eventually becoming a makeshift family. Our reviewer A.G. Mojtabai wrote of the book , “Rohinton Mistry needs no infusions of magical realism to vivify the real. The real world, through his eyes, is quite magical enough.”
After Oprah selected the novel for her book club in 2001, it vaulted to the top of the best-seller lists.
“This book illustrates how the most depraved horrors cannot stifle the basic humanity that we all have within us, which makes us love and laugh. This book is not the balancing of good and evil or justice and injustice. Rather, it is about balancing optimism against despair, love against indifference, joy against hatred.”
Niyati Vyas, 40, Los Angeles
“It is a beautiful, at times painfully sad, story about the human condition. I will never forget devouring this book for the first time with my mouth agape at the exceptional talent of Rohinton Mistry.”
Melissa Collery, 54, New York, N.Y.
“Deeply imaginative, humane story of unlikely friends (Hindu, Parsi, Muslim) set against the backdrop of a modernizing, politically-shifting India. Brilliantly conceived, masterfully executed, and emblematic of widespread innovation among global Anglophone literature.”
Cheryl Foster, 60, Wakefield, R.I.
A Gentleman in Moscow
By Amor Towles 2016
In this story of hardship and resilience, a Russian count is sentenced by a Bolshevik tribunal to a lifetime of house arrest at Moscow’s Metropol, a grand hotel that becomes a world of its own in Towles’s novel. Though the book begins in 1922 and takes place during tumultuous times, its telling is suffused with a Wes Anderson-like sense of whimsy. Our review of the book was largely positive: “Towles is a craftsman … he chooses themes that run deeper than mere sociopolitical commentary: parental duty, friendship, romance, the call of home.”
For years before his first novel, “Rules of Civility,” was published, Towles led a double life: investment banker by day, writer by night.
“When I finished this book, I hugged it to my chest because I loved it so much. It is magical.”
Marci Peace, 47, Greensboro, N.C.
“Because it’s the best book for separating romantics from all the rest.”
Daniel Edward Early, 77, Astoria, Ore.
“The solitude of the setting allows the development of a deep richness of the main character as he seeps into your soul. This book becomes a part of who you are in the most wonderful way. It is a modern day classic.”
Leisa Cleveland, 53, Windsor, Conn.
“It makes me happy.”
Tim Arrowsmith, 57, Sydney, Australia
Gone With the Wind
By Margaret Mitchell 1936
Mitchell’s Civil War-era saga, her only novel, was a blockbuster success that spawned the blockbuster film. The story of the temperamental Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara and her rakish suitor Rhett Butler served up a lot of melodrama. Its treatment of Black characters and its romanticizing of Lost Cause mythology has made it a cultural and political lightning rod since it was first published. The Book Review’s J. Donald Adams pronounced it “one of the most remarkable first novels produced by an American writer.”
On Aug. 5, 1936 — a little over a month after the June 30 publication date — the Book Review announced that “Macmillan believes that an all-time record for the sale of a new fiction title was set last week by Margaret Mitchell’s ‘Gone With the Wind.’ In one day this novel of the South during the Civil War sold 50,000 copies.”
“It has action, historic settings, romance, and gives the reader one perspective on the most devastating war our nation has ever fought. It is emotion-generating fiction.”
Kathleen Dempsey, 79, Pompano Beach, Fla.
“For the exquisite characters, the human rights issues it unravels, the transporting landscapes & setting, for the ending.”
Sofia Kalligeri, 39, Switzerland
“The novel has universal themes that are relevant today: resilience in the face of adversity, race, class, gender, wealth, war, and romantic love.”
Marie Henning, 67, Jensen Beach, Fla.
The Grapes of Wrath
By John Steinbeck 1939
Through the story of the Joad family, Steinbeck addressed a divided and decimated America reeling from the Dust Bowl, the Great Depression and the struggles of the 1930s. He drew on his experience as a journalist covering migrant workers to bring his fictional characters to vivid life. The Book Review was a fan: “It reads as if it had been composed in a flash, ripped off the typewriter and delivered to the public as an ultimatum.”
The novel, which won the Pulitzer in 1940, was a blockbuster best-seller from the get-go.
“You can close your eyes and taste the Oklahoma dust. The characters are some of the most well drawn I’ve ever encountered in any book.”
Joyce Bagley, 66, Plainville, Conn.
“This novel captures the essences of capitalism and the corruption of the American Dream in a brilliant (if disturbing) family saga.”
Fred Seebeck, Charlestown, R.I.
“It demonstrates Steinbeck’s mastery of the language and storytelling while shining light on the plight of America’s less fortunate. I’ve read it many times at different points in my life and taken home something unique each time. It is still relevant today.”
Tucker Kueny, 52, Northampton, Mass.
The Great Gatsby
By F. Scott Fitzgerald 1925
Fitzgerald’s novel about a Midwesterner in the orbit of an enigmatic millionaire on Long Island is a shattering examination of uniquely American yearning. The boozy Jazz Age values that doom these characters may have struck a little close to home: The reading public didn’t much care for the novel when it first appeared. The Book Review was lukewarm, calling it “curious,” but 35 years later, the paper anointed the novel a “classic of 20th-century American fiction.”
In 1937, when Fitzgerald wanted to give copies of his books to Sheilah Graham, “they went from bookstore to bookstore only to be told again and again that there were no copies of any of them in stock.”
“The green light on the distant dock has not changed. In essence the American dream is still illusory and unattainable. Ultimately we will all be floating face down in a pool, a lesser body of water.”
Robert Van Stone, 70, Philadelphia
“I had no idea that literature could contain such wealth. I became an English major and never looked back. I then became an English teacher and subsequently a librarian. ‘The Great Gatsby’ gave me the oars to row forever fulfilled through life.”
Bob Stewart, 70, Cape May Court House, N.J.
“It is America. And should be read every August.”
The Handmaid’s Tale
By Margaret Atwood 1986 (originally published in Canada in 1985)
This dystopian classic imagines a near future in which the United States has become the Republic of Gilead, a theocratic dictatorship that strips women of their rights and conscripts them to bear children. The Book Review was unsparing in its dislike of the book: “The writing of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is undistinguished in a double sense, ordinary if not glaringly so, but also indistinguishable from what one supposes would be Margaret Atwood’s normal way of expressing herself in the circumstances. This is a serious defect, unpardonable maybe for the genre: a future that has no language invented for it lacks a personality. That must be why, collectively, it is powerless to scare.”
“It’s a study of power, and how it operates,” Atwood told The Times, “and how it deforms or shapes the people who are living within that kind of regime.”
“‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ shows what we are capable of if we allow the ends to justify the means and allow ourselves to see any person as less deserving of basic rights. This book forced me to acknowledge the suffering women go through everyday ... Nolites des bastardes carborundum everyone!”
Shawna Harline, 30, Edmonton, Alberta
“It is a book that transcends time — and reflects actual historical events in the creation of a dystopian society. It is an important warning for our present conflicts between democracy and the rise of authoritarianism.”
Lee Hewitt, 68, Boston
“Harrowing, sensitive, prophetic and beautifully crafted.”
Patrick Neville, 68, London, Ontario
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
By J.K. Rowling 1998 (originally published in the U.K. in 1997)
The book that started an industry. This first volume in the Harry Potter series opens with an orphaned boy who discovers not only that he is a wizard, but also that the fate of the wizarding world is on his shoulders. Our reviewer, writing in 1999, praised the book's “wonderful, sly humor” and its “impressively three-dimensional (occasionally four-dimensional!)” characters.
The book became a best-seller right away, and soon impatient American readers were ordering copies of the second volume from Britain, where it had already come out.
“This book contains all the elements of an epic story—heart pounding excitement, fulfilling relationships and humor. It’s an intelligent book that’s still accessible to everyone. It literally made reading cool for kids of all ages and backgrounds. Escapism at its best!”
Stacy Allen, 52, Virginia Beach
“The first book of the famous Harry Potter series deserves its place among the best. It sparked an entire generation of readers, kids and adults alike who weren’t afraid to use their imagination and believe in the magic (literally and figuratively) that the world possesses.”
Parth Shah, 24, New York, N.Y.
“I can think of no other book that touched so many people of all ages, and whose rich world and characters created a lasting and beloved franchise. Though there have been many great books in the past 125 years, the first Harry Potter stands out in the very depths of the people who found love and comfort in its pages.”
Megan Barnard, 24, Los Angeles
By David Foster Wallace 1996
Wallace’s magnum opus — which tops 1,000 pages — is filled with postmodern pyrotechnics. It’s set in a future America where the years are named for commercial products, and the many subjects it covers include tennis, addiction, political terrorism and a movie rumored to be so entertaining that viewers watch it on a loop until they die. Jay McInerney, reviewing the novel for the Book Review, called it “alternately tedious and effulgent.”
When Michael Pietsch, then an editor at Little, Brown, read the first 200 pages, he told Wallace’s agent, “I want to do this book more than I want to breathe.”
“Mindblowingly good. Challenging, earnest, complex, and human. The most rewarding book I’ve ever read.”
Greg Schneider-Bateman, 42, Saint Paul, Minn.
“‘Infinite Jest’ packs more humor, pathos, humanity, and upward redemption than any book I’ve read. The experience of reading it for the first time remains the literary dragon I’ve chased for the past fourteen years.”
Dave Laird, 39, Victoria, British Columbia
“‘Infinite Jest’ translates addiction into a direct literary experience for the reader. It illuminates a sneaky aspect of contemporary human existence that we may be too immersed in to otherwise notice.”
James O’Boyle, 39, Kingston, N.Y.
To Kill a Mockingbird
By Harper Lee 1960
This canonical coming-of-age novel, loosely based on Lee’s childhood in Alabama, is told through the eyes of young Scout Finch. The story of her father, Atticus, a lawyer defending an African American man, illuminates issues of racial inequality and injustice in the Deep South. It earned a rave in the Book Review: “Harper Lee writes with gentle affection, rich humor and deep understanding of small-town family life in Alabama.”
The book — which won the Pulitzer — has sold more than 40 million copies.
“There are probably nonfiction books that could do a more thorough job of educating children (and adults) about our sordid history of racism, but Harper Lee probably accomplished more than any historian could — engaging young readers and sending them on a quest for truth that would last a lifetime.”
Marie Jordan, 59, Chicago
“Most public school kids read this book around age 15 or 16. That is a very impressionable age, and the complete injustice for Tom Robinson lights a fire in bellies, that may have not been there before.”
Julia Wright, 46, Louisville, Ky.
“The use of a child narrator strips back all of the bigotry, biases, constructed complications and excuses that a knowledge of society, economics and politics thrusts upon adults. Seen through the clarity of a child’s view of life we see that we adults are the real problem.”
Jim McCafferty, 62, Broxburn, Scotland
“A book that makes its readers better people deserves the award. Lovely language, finely tuned humanity and sense of place, comedy, point of view...courage is the subtext and we all could use more in our lives.”
Carmen Munnelly, 56, San Diego
A Little Life
By Hanya Yanagihara 2015
At the core of this gutting novel about four male college friends is a heart-wrenching question: Can a person ever recover from unspeakable trauma? The story focuses most intensely on Jude, a lawyer who has suffered a string of horrific events. “How does someone go from years of suffering and shame to live out the rest of a life? This is the question Hanya Yanagihara, author of ‘People in the Trees,’ takes on in her second novel,” Carol Anshaw wrote in her review.
“My hope was always that the experience of reading this book would mirror my experience of writing it,” Yanagihara said in an interview. “I wanted it to feel like quicksand, like entering a landscape that literally swallows you and then spits you up somewhere else.”
“I have never read a book in which the main characters, four friends, become my friends. They exist, they are in my world to this day. And Jude. I celebrate your life.”
Maureen Muldaur, 66, Agoura Hills, Calif.
“Never has a novel so delicately described the sensitive nuances of male feelings, hetero and homosexual experiences, and generally the love males can have for one another. It’s heartwrenching, sweet, gripping, unexpected all at once.”
Zoe Marans, 32, Los Angeles
“‘A Little Life’ makes you feel every feeling. Love, hatred, heartbreak, agony, longing. It is ugly and beautiful, full of peaks and valleys formed by the unimaginable trauma of Jude St. Francis’s life. The novel is magically timeless.”
Molly Thibault, 26, New Hampshire
By Vladimir Nabokov 1958 (originally published in France in 1955)
In this brilliant, deeply disturbing fictional memoir of a pedophile, originally published in France in 1955, Humbert Humbert recounts his obsession with Lolita, his 12-year-old stepdaughter. The novel might continue to divide readers over its sensitive subject matter, but there’s wider agreement over Nabokov’s dazzling prose style. “‘Lolita’ is one of those occasional books,” Elizabeth Janeway wrote in the Book Review, “which arrive swishing behind them a long tail of opinion and reputation which can knock the unwary reader off his feet.”
In the first Olympia edition of the novel, the Book Review noted, Nabokov, “having no means of measuring nymphets, guessed at the dimensions of Lolita.” These “turned out to be the measurements of a welterweight boxer.”
“‘Lolita’ is the foremost literary triumph of the 20th century. Prose perfected. Never before (or since) has a novel so shocked readers with its beauty, genius, and depravity. It’s still controversial today. It’s still a masterpiece.”
Sam Bertini, 22, New York, N.Y.
“The writing simply gets more intoxicating as the story gets progressively more sickening. The juxtaposition of the prose’s indescribable beauty against the horrors that simmer beneath the surface makes this novel nonpareil.”
Liam McGraw, 19, Hoboken, N.J.
“When I first read it (age 13), it was merely dirty. Upon many subsequent readings (age adult), it was a wonder of description and wordplay, wicked humor, and beautiful pathos. In short, it was love at first read, at second read, at ever and ever read.”
Lynda Bertram, 72, Fort Worth
By Larry McMurtry 1985
In McMurtry’s sprawling, affectionate, larger-than-life adventure tale, two aging cowboys embark on an epic trail drive from Texas to Montana. “I’m a critic of the myth of the cowboy,” McMurtry once said. “And since it’s a part of my heritage I feel it’s a legitimate task to criticize it.” The Book Review was on the fence about the book, finally deciding, “For now, for the Great Cowboy Novel, ‘Lonesome Dove’ will do.”
The book started out as a script called “Streets of Laredo” that McMurtry wrote with Peter Bogdanovich. The movie never materialized, though, and McMurtry riffed on the material for “Lonesome Dove.”
“It contains all of the elements required by literary snoots to be a good novel, yet it does so without all of the pretension to which literary snoots tend to gravitate. One can immerse oneself in it, live it, feel it, enjoy it and mourn when it’s over.”
Mike Long, 68, Bozeman, Mont.
“In my opinion, it’s ‘the Great American Novel.’ It’s sweeping in scope and captures the spirit of American expansion, using the West in the 1880s as its backdrop. McMurtry, who sometimes strayed into lazy repetition in some of his novels, is at the peak of his literary powers here.”
Emily Hedrick, 73, North Charleston, S.C.
“Because you spend hours wondering, ‘How can I be so fascinated about a cow drive in the Old West?’ and it is well written.”
Dianne Berry, 83, West Des Moines, Iowa
One Hundred Years of Solitude
By Gabriel García Márquez U.S. publication 1970 (originally published in 1967)
The surreal, colorful saga of the Buendía family, braided with the tale of the mythical town of Macondo, unfolds over a century of Latin American history. This cornerstone of the magical realism genre sold millions of copies and made García Márquez an international star. It was hailed in the Book Review as “a novel so filled with humor, rich detail and startling distortion that it brings to mind the best of Faulkner and Günter Grass.”
A year before it was published in the U.S., The Times reported that the novel had already caused a “literary furor in Latin America and Europe.”
“It laid bare the psychoscape of a people long overlooked by other corners of the world, an experience uniquely shared by every other colonized land. It brought to life myths, unspoken truths and the unreadable pulse of time and history with the heaviness of unrestrained detail.”
Rizowana Hussaini, 29, Guwahati, India
“I have read the book in both English and Spanish, and while the writing is transcendent, people often forget the brilliance of its plot, characters, setting — the ever-devolving time-circle of it, like the universe approaching entropy, only to expand and fill and love again.”
Shalvi Jaxay Shah, 27, Ahmedabad, India
“The brutality of the conquest and its after effects are still being felt today by our people. ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ shows our sorrow, joy, fragmentation, resiliency.”
Elsa Mantilla, 68, Washington, D.C.
By Richard Powers 2018
Though it features many people, the real stars of Powers’s novel are trees and the remarkable ways in which they communicate and endure. A spectacular celebration of nature, as well as a climate-change warning, this novel is nothing less than a tree’s-eye view of our planet. Our reviewer, Barbara Kingsolver, loved it. “Even if you’ve never given a thought to the pulp and timber industries, by this book’s last page you will probably wish you weren’t reading it on the macerated, acid-bleached flesh of its protagonists,” she wrote. “That’s what a story can do.”
Powers told The Times’s Ezra Klein, “When you stumble across an 1,100 or 1,200-year-old tree that’s as wide as a house and as tall as a football field, it puts a different context on your dinner table conversations with humans who are trying to escape death.”
“This book touches the heart, the soul and the conscience of anyone who cares about where we are headed — the natural world and humanity and gives us both heartbreak and hope. It is a masterpiece for the time and place we are at in the universe.”
Kelley Culmer, 58, Buffalo
“Each sentence is beautifully crafted with dense research. Scientific knowledge woven into a complex but riveting story. It is a book that requires a lot from the reader yet is so generous with the rewards.”
Connie Carter, 64, Washington D.C.
“No other book comes close to conveying the destruction wrought upon nature by humanity while simultaneously capturing the hope and idealism of the aforementioned species. Dare I say that this is a Romantic book for our contemporary, pre-apocalyptic times?”
Brenda Lee, 32, Brooklyn, N.Y.
A Prayer for Owen Meany
By John Irving 1989
Love, loss and what it means to have — or not have — faith are explored in Irving’s bighearted novel about lifelong friends John Wheelwright and Owen Meany. Owen, one of the most distinctive characters of Irving’s career, is a small boy with a “wrecked voice” who believes he is an instrument of God. Alfred Kazin, in his review, complained that Irving’s vision did not “translate convincingly as fiction. It is just pushed at us enthusiastically.”
“I’ve read about myself that I am not to be taken seriously because I am a shameless entertainer, a crowd pleaser,” Irving told The Times soon after the review ran. “You bet I am.”
“It encapsulates how human memory works (faultily), how spirituality and religion differ, how society and friendship can both buoy you up and let you down, how life can be both deadly seriously and laugh-out-loud funny, and it does this all while having the most satisfying ending I’ve ever read.”
Navarra Good, 52, Alberta
“I feel a sense of wonderment and joy every time I have read and reread the book (which is at least a dozen times). I think I can mentally visualize the world he created in this story better than any other book.”
Jon Gibson, 58, West Hartford, Conn.
“I sobbed on a bus when I read the last page. I mean sobbed. Tears ran down my cheeks and I couldn’t stop crying for a while.”
Saralyn Fosnight, 81, Chicago
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
By Betty Smith 1943
A plainspoken, heart-rending coming-of-age novel that captures a young girl’s desire to survive — and find beauty in — the Brooklyn tenement where she lives. The book drew on Smith’s own experience in the early 20th century as a child of first-generation immigrants in the Williamsburg neighborhood of the borough. “This is … a stringing together of memory’s beads and the workmanship is extraordinarily good,” the Book Review declared.
A 20-year-old Marine wrote to Smith after he read the novel: “I just wanted you to understand that despite my youth I have seen a little bit of suffering. ... I can’t explain the emotional reaction that took place, I only know that it happened and that this heart of mine turned over and became alive again.”
“An aspirational tale that never forgets that not everyone who wants more can see their dreams come true, a moving and heartbreaking family story without sentiment or saccharine, romantic and clear-eyed and intimate and sweeping all at once. And if that hasn’t sold you, go back and re-read that Christmas tree scene.”
Annie Frisbie, 48, Queens, N.Y.
“I stole the copy I have now from my high school, and it’s been all over the world with me. Just seeing it on the shelf reminds me of who I am. Its physical presence, and the story itself, transcend age and time.”
Mary Jo Andow, 37, New Brunswick
“My grandmother gave it to me when I was 9 and told me it would educate me throughout the years. I read it once per year and each time it tells me something different. An eternal book.”
Leacy Burke, 32, Washington D.C.
By James Joyce 1922 (originally serialized 1918-1920)
Joyce’s brilliant, wildly experimental novel follows Leopold Bloom over one day in Dublin: June 16, 1904. A masterpiece of modernism, the book (and its inventive structure and linguistic flights) have been an inexhaustible source of pleasure and study for nearly a century. Though “Ulysses” is now regarded as a masterpiece, the Book Review’s critic vacillated between admiration and annoyance in his review: “The average intelligent reader will glean little or nothing from it ... save bewilderment and a sense of disgust.”
Two years later, the Book Review printed a recollection of Joyce by a college chum, who wrote that “he was tall and slender then, with a Dantesque face and steely blue eyes. His costume as I see him now in my mind’s eye included a peaked cap and tennis shoes more or less white. He used to swing along the street carrying an ash-plant in his hand for a cane.”
“‘Ulysses’ remains the great game changer of the 20th century and reverberates to this day. The book works in tandem with Einstein’s theory of relativity and Picasso’s Cubist paintings of the time. It’s the light that illuminated and ushered in the era of modern literature.”
Bernie Langs, 64, Gillette, N.J.
“There is a profound, utterly moving, evocation of human lives and human relations — a father who has lost a son, a wife who loves her husband. It is almost infinitely generous, in the compassionate honesty with which it offers these characters to the reader.”
Robin Durie, 56, Exeter, U.K.
“It made modern literature possible. He put in what all the other writers had been forced to leave out, and as a result changed literature forever. To paraphrase Cocteau, there is fiction before and after a Joyce as there is painting before and after Picasso.”
Tom Moran, 61, New York, N.Y.
More in Books
40 Books Everyone Should Read: Must Read Books of All Time
Must-read books: There are so many out there – so don’t waste your time on average books!
Still, it can take time to find books worth reading. That’s why we’ve compiled this epic must-read book list to make your life easier . It features 40 top books to read in popular categories, such as fiction, business, personal development, travel, and more.
So, if you’re wondering, “what book should I read next?” we’ve got you covered. This list is jam-packed with great books to read!
Now, let’s get into it. Just use the contents to jump to the section you’re most interested in, or start scrolling.
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Classic Novels to Read
1. 1984 by george orwell.
1984 tells the futuristic story of a dystopian, totalitarian world where free will and love are forbidden. Although the year 1984 has long since passed, the prophecy of a society controlled by fear and lies is arguably more relevant now than ever.
2. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Tolkien’s fantasy epic is one of the top must-read books out there. Set in Middle Earth – a world full of hobbits, elves, orcs, goblins, and wizards – The Lord of the Rings will take you on an unbelievable adventure.
3. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner is a moving story of an unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant. Set in Afghanistan during a time of tragedy and destruction, this unforgettable novel will have you hooked from start to finish.
4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
This global bestseller took the world by storm. So, if you haven’t read J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, now may be the time. Join Harry Potter and his schoolmates as this must-read book transports you deep into a world of magic and monsters.
5. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Slaughterhouse-Five is arguably one of the greatest anti-war books ever written. This rich and amusing tale follows the life of Billy Pilgrim as he experiences World War II from a peculiar perspective.
6. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is undoubtedly one of the great books of all time. This renowned fantasy novel is set in Narnia, home to mythical beasts, talking animals, and warring kingdoms. The story follows a group of school children as they become entangled in this incredible world’s fate.
7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the top must-read books of all time. Published in 1960, the story explores life in the Deep South during the early 20th century through the story of a man accused of a terrible crime. It’s poignant, humorous, and gripping.
8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief is a story of bravery, hope, and friendship in a time of Nazi tyranny. Narrated by Death itself, this novel will have you holding your breath for chapters at a time.
9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights is a classic novel published way back in 1847. This harrowing story, set on a lonely English moorland, follows Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff’s struggle with love, betrayal, and revenge. If you love dramatic novels, add this to your must-read book list.
10. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye is the classic coming-of-age story. It follows sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield’s adolescent journey of angst and alienation as he leaves his prep school and moves to New York City.
11. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane Eyre is often considered one of the must-read books of all time. It follows the emotions and experiences of a strong, unbroken woman who continued to grow morally and spiritually despite a troubled childhood and a sexist, repressed Victorian society.
12. Animal Farm by George Orwell
Orwell tells a fairy tale of a revolution against tyranny that ends in even more unjust totalitarianism. The animals on the farm are rife with idealism and desire to create a world of justice, equality, and progress. However, the new regimen attempts to control every aspect of the animals’ lives.
13. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury’s dystopian world shines a light on Western societies’ dependence on the media. The main character’s job is to find and burn any books he can find – until he begins to question everything. Considering the state of current politics and world affairs, this is one of the absolute must-read books in life.
14. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
This is a tale of four sisters with their own very different and very prominent personalities. The novel draws the reader deep into their lives as we get to know each of their flaws, joys, struggles, and fears.
15. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Charlotte’s Web is a great reminder to be kind to all living creatures. This magical story takes place on a farm where a little girl tries to save her piglet from slaughter. Fern, the little girl, enlists the help of her farm friends to execute her clever plan.
16. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
English author Mary Shelley tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a monster and brings it to life. This gripping novel evokes questions about what makes us human and what love and kindness truly mean.
17. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men should be on every must-read book list. Set in the Great Depression, this is a controversial tale of friendship between two migrant workers in California. Filled with hope and tragedy, the two work towards the dream of owning land and pets.
18. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
In Guardians of the Galaxy, Arthur Dent sets off on a hilarious and fantastic adventure across the stars. He learns not to take the universe seriously as he meets all kinds of interesting characters.
19. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is said to be the quintessential novel of the Jazz Age. Set in 1922 amongst unfathomable indulgence and decadence, the novel highlights a man’s struggle to earn the love of the woman he’s obsessed with.
Business and Money Must-Read Books
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20. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Think and Grow Rich is a classic bestseller that has sold millions of copies worldwide. It’s packed full of money-making tips, techniques, and strategies. If you want to improve your mindset around money, this book can potentially change your life completely.
21. Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Rich Dad Poor Dad explains how wealthy people and poorer people think differently. It challenges commonly held beliefs about money and explains how you don’t need to have a high income to become rich.
22. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
If you want to learn how to invest, add this to your list of must-read books. Author Benjamin Graham is considered one of the greatest investment advisors of the twentieth century. In The Intelligent Investor , you’ll learn about Graham’s philosophy of ‘value investing’ and how to develop long-term strategies that are used by the most successful investors in the world.
23. Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio’s investment firm, Bridgewater Associates, has made more money for its clients than any other hedge fund in history. In Principles , Dalio shares everything he’s learned about investing, business, and life over the years.
24. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
In this New York Times bestseller, DR. Robert B. Cialdini reveals the psychology behind influence – and how to apply the principles of persuasion in business and everyday life.
Personal Development Books Everyone Should Read
25. how to win friends and influence people by dale carnegie.
First published in 1936, Dale Carnegie’s classic self-help book has stood the test of time. How to Win Friends and Influence People will teach you straightforward methods to improve your relationships – and as a result, your business and personal lives.
26. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
If you’ve ever tried to change a habit unsuccessfully, this should be one of your must-read books. In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg reveals the empowering nature of how habits are formed and – crucially – how you can change them.
27. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
The Power of Now has sold more than two million copies and has been translated into over 30 languages. This groundbreaking book has the potential to completely revolutionize how you experience life – making life far more joyous and prosperous in the process.
28. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.
Dr. Bessel van der Kolk is one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma – something that virtually everyone experiences to some degree. The Body Keeps the Score unravels the science behind emotional and psychological trauma and offers new paths to recovery.
Science and Technology Books You Must-Read
29. a brief history of time by stephen hawking.
Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time is one of the most famous books in science. It discusses the history of cosmology and its development from Ancient Greece through to the 1980s.
30. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt
If you’re interested in the truth behind controversial social issues, this book should be on your must-read book list. The authors reveal the facts behind issues, such as crime, shopping, and drugs.
31. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism is one of the top must-read books on technology. The author gives us a look at how personal data has become a new form of capital.
32. Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener
Anna Wiener writes about the frantic, self-important, and often delusional work culture in Silicon Valley, and how millennials in tech are consumed by living a productive life. The Uncanny Valley is one of those books everyone should read.
Travel and Adventure Books You Must-Read Before You Die
33. on the road by jack kerouac.
Inspired by Kerouac’s real-life adventures, On the Road tells the tale of two friends searching for meaning and rich experiences on a cross-country road trip.
34. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
In Notes From a Small Island, Bill Bryson shares a hilarious commentary of his jaunt through the United Kingdom – from the center of government at Downing Street, London, to the Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands.
35. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts
Vagabonding is perhaps the only travel guide you’ll ever need. This must-read book provides practical tips on how to travel safely and spontaneously – and the philosophies you’ll need to enjoy the trip of a lifetime.
36. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed thought she’d lost everything at 22. Then, her mother’s passing, family trouble, and divorce drove her to an impulsive decision – to walk more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Wild will inspire you to see your true self-worth and capabilities.
History and Biography Books Worth Reading
37. sapiens: a brief history of humankind by yuval noah harari.
If you’re looking for interesting books to read, Sapiens should be on your list. It details the development of human beings from the earliest stages until now. The author also shows how our current world systems will banish natural selection and adaptation.
38. Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Lists of must-read biographies almost always include this wonderful book. Mandela started writing this autobiography in prison and finished it right before becoming the president of South Africa. This inspiring story provides a glimpse into the end of apartheid and the blatant inequality in the country.
39. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of Their Lost World by Steve Brusatte
Do you find dinosaurs fascinating? If so, this is one of the must-read books on the subject. Steve Brusatte reveals the different dinosaurs that roamed the planet – and the different worlds in which they lived.
40. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
In A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bryson attempts to summarize the history of the Earth. He talks about nearly every aspect of the planet – how it formed, how much it weighs, it’s size, the stages it went through, the dangers inherent to it, and how humans have evolved. If you love science and history, this is a must-read book for you.
What Should I Read Next?
If you’re wondering “what book should I read next,” look no further. In summary, here are 40 must-read books of all time:
- 1984 by George Orwell
- The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki
- The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
- Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
- The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
- The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.
- A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
- Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt
- The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff
- Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac
- Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
- Vagabonding by Rolf Potts
- Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Must-Read Biographies and History Books
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
- Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
- The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of Their Lost World by Steve Brusatte
- A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Have we missed any must-read books? If so, leave a comment below to recommend some top books to read!
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How to Write a Book Review: Awesome Guide
A book review allows students to illustrate the author's intentions of writing the piece, as well as create a criticism of the book — as a whole. In other words, form an opinion of the author's presented ideas. Check out this guide from EssayPro — dissertation writing service to learn how to write a book review successfully.
What Is a Book Review?
You may prosper, “what is a book review?”. Book reviews are commonly assigned students to allow them to show a clear understanding of the novel. And to check if the students have actually read the book. The essay format is highly important for your consideration, take a look at the book review format below.
Book reviews are assigned to allow students to present their own opinion regarding the author’s ideas included in the book or passage. They are a form of literary criticism that analyzes the author’s ideas, writing techniques, and quality. A book analysis is entirely opinion-based, in relevance to the book. They are good practice for those who wish to become editors, due to the fact, editing requires a lot of criticism.
Book Review Template
The book review format includes an introduction, body, and conclusion.
- Describe the book cover and title.
- Include any subtitles at this stage.
- Include the Author’s Name.
- Write a brief description of the novel.
- Briefly introduce the main points of the body in your book review.
- Avoid mentioning any opinions at this time.
- Use about 3 quotations from the author’s novel.
- Summarize the quotations in your own words.
- Mention your own point-of-view of the quotation.
- Remember to keep every point included in its own paragraph.
- In brief, summarize the quotations.
- In brief, summarize the explanations.
- Finish with a concluding sentence.
- This can include your final opinion of the book.
- Star-Rating (Optional).
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How to Write a Book Review: Step-By-Step
Writing a book review is something that can be done with every novel. Book reviews can apply to all novels, no matter the genre. Some genres may be harder than others. On the other hand, the book review format remains the same. Take a look at these step-by-step instructions from our professional writers to learn how to write a book review in-depth.
Step 1: Planning
Create an essay outline which includes all of the main points you wish to summarise in your book analysis. Include information about the characters, details of the plot, and some other important parts of your chosen novel. Reserve a body paragraph for each point you wish to talk about.
Consider these points before writing:
- What is the plot of the book? Understanding the plot enables you to write an effective review.
- Is the plot gripping? Does the plot make you want to continue reading the novel? Did you enjoy the plot? Does it manage to grab a reader’s attention?
- Are the writing techniques used by the author effective? Does the writer imply factors in-between the lines? What are they?
- Are the characters believable? Are the characters logical? Does the book make the characters are real while reading?
- Would you recommend the book to anyone? The most important thing: would you tell others to read this book? Is it good enough? Is it bad?
- What could be better? Keep in mind the quotes that could have been presented better. Criticize the writer.
Step 2: Introduction
Presumably, you have chosen your book. To begin, mention the book title and author’s name. Talk about the cover of the book. Write a thesis statement regarding the fictitious story or non-fictional novel. Which briefly describes the quoted material in the book review.
Step 3: Body
Choose a specific chapter or scenario to summarise. Include about 3 quotes in the body. Create summaries of each quote in your own words. It is also encouraged to include your own point-of-view and the way you interpret the quote. It is highly important to have one quote per paragraph.
Step 4: Conclusion
Write a summary of the summarised quotations and explanations, included in the body paragraphs. After doing so, finish book analysis with a concluding sentence to show the bigger picture of the book. Think to yourself, “Is it worth reading?”, and answer the question in black and white. However, write in-between the lines. Avoid stating “I like/dislike this book.”
Step 5: Rate the Book (Optional)
After writing a book review, you may want to include a rating. Including a star-rating provides further insight into the quality of the book, to your readers. Book reviews with star-ratings can be more effective, compared to those which don’t. Though, this is entirely optional.
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Here is the list of tips for the book review:
- A long introduction can certainly lower one’s grade: keep the beginning short. Readers don’t like to read the long introduction for any essay style.
- It is advisable to write book reviews about fiction: it is not a must. Though, reviewing fiction can be far more effective than writing about a piece of nonfiction
- Avoid Comparing: avoid comparing your chosen novel with other books you have previously read. Doing so can be confusing for the reader.
- Opinion Matters: including your own point-of-view is something that is often encouraged when writing book reviews.
- Refer to Templates: a book review template can help a student get a clearer understanding of the required writing style.
- Don’t be Afraid to Criticize: usually, your own opinion isn’t required for academic papers below Ph.D. level. On the other hand, for book reviews, there’s an exception.
- Use Positivity: include a fair amount of positive comments and criticism.
- Review The Chosen Novel: avoid making things up. Review only what is presented in the chosen book.
- Enjoyed the book? If you loved reading the book, state it. Doing so makes your book analysis more personalized.
Writing a book review is something worth thinking about. Professors commonly assign this form of an assignment to students to enable them to express a grasp of a novel. Following the book review format is highly useful for beginners, as well as reading step-by-step instructions. Writing tips is also useful for people who are new to this essay type. If you need a custom writing , ask Essaypro 'write paper for me' and we'll give you a hand asap!
We also recommend that everyone read the article about essay topics . It will help broaden your horizons in writing a book review as well as other papers.
Book Review Examples
Referring to a book review example is highly useful to those who wish to get a clearer understanding of how to review a book. Take a look at our examples written by our professional writers. Click on the button to open the book review examples and feel free to use them as a reference.
Kenneth Grahame’s ‘The Wind in the Willows’
Kenneth Grahame’s ‘The Wind in the Willows’ is a novel aimed at youngsters. The plot, itself, is not American humor, but that of Great Britain. In terms of sarcasm, and British-related jokes. The novel illustrates a fair mix of the relationships between the human-like animals, and wildlife. The narrative acts as an important milestone in post-Victorian children’s literature.
Dr. John’s ‘Pollution’
Dr. John’s ‘Pollution’ consists of 3 major parts. The first part is all about the polluted ocean. The second being about the pollution of the sky. The third part is an in-depth study of how humans can resolve these issues. The book is a piece of non-fiction that focuses on modern-day pollution ordeals faced by both animals and humans on Planet Earth. It also focuses on climate change, being the result of the global pollution ordeal.
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10 of the Best Goodreads Reviewers to Follow
Ah, good old Goodreads. Here at Book Riot, we’ve looked into its clunky platform , its underrated features , and how it makes money . Yet, the thing that drives me and the other millions of readers to the site daily are Goodreads book reviews. The site is a great way to keep tabs on what your IRL and internet friends are reading, as well gauge what friends and strangers thought of the book you just read. The site is an excellent way to discover smart Goodreads reviewers with excellent tastes, in-depth reviews, and voracious appetites for books.
Like every other social platform, Goodreads has its power users. What to call the reviewers who have thousands of followers and review hundreds of books a year? Influencers? Power reviewers? Hot critics? Whatever you call them, the best Goodreads reviewers are a goldmine for of-the-moment book reviews. I’ve made a list of 10 of the best Goodreads reviewers to turn to for insightful reviews, but there are hundreds more worth following. Consider this a sampling of the interesting and diverse voices that can help inform your reading choices.
How I Picked the Best Goodreads Reviewers
Goodreads has “ Top 99” lists for “most popular reviewers” (i.e., most liked reviews), “most followed reviewers,” and “top reviewers” (most books reviewed), tracked by week, year, or all-time. A number of my picks on the “most popular” reviewer list, but some are more under the radar. My criteria were: reviewers who read a lot of books, read a diverse list, regularly post reviews, and have insightful takes on what they read. All the reviews have at least around 1,000 followers and some have almost 300,000.
Pro Tip: To see how these top Goodreads reviewers’ tastes compare to your own, you can use the “Compare Books” feature (check this explainer here ) to see how your tastes overlap. Also, don’t look at any of these reviewers’ annual reading challenges unless you want to feel like an under-achieving, book-loving sloth.
Here are 10 of the best Goodreads reviewers. Happy reading!
10 Top Goodreads Reviewers
GR World Popularity Rank: #19. Many authors will not rate other writers’ books on Goodreads as part of some professional code. Thankfully for us, the brilliant Roxane Gay brings her insight and critique to reviews of recent releases. Well known for her own books like Hunger , Roxane’s reviews are concise and balanced. A must follow for those into contemporary fiction.
GR World Popularity Rank: #1. Emily May just might be the unofficial Queen of Goodreads. Ranked #1 in the world for most-liked reviews, Emily May is a UK-based reviewer with eclectic tastes, reviewing new releases as well as classics. While some reviewers are popular for their (sometimes very funny) negativity, Emily May’s reviews are thoughtful and fair, and with some depth at around 300+ words per review. May is also active on bookstagram .
Unranked. Monte’s reviews are insightful and funny, covering queer romance, YA and adult fantasy, and bookclub fiction. In a recent review, he compares Maggie Shipstead’s The Great Circle to Twilight . If that’s your jam, follow Monte, and check out his booktube channel too.
GR World Popularity Rank: #5. A reader based in Seattle, Yun reviews a wide range of recent fiction, with detailed takes about her reading experience and some humor thrown in. Also, she has a very fair star rating system. Find her on Goodreads or her blog, Miss Readaroo .
Unranked. Thomas lists his interests as “Reading, Writing, Psychology, Mental Health, Feminism” and his “read” shelf checks out. He brings interesting takes to a wide range of nonfiction, memoir, essays, as well as recent fiction releases. He writes thoughtfully about mental health and underrepresentation of queer people and people of color both in his reviews and in his blog, The Quiet Voice .
Je nny Lawson
GR United States Rank #100. Jenny Lawson, very funny essayist, is also a prolific GR reviewer, particularly of graphic novels. Her reviews are concise and have fewer jokes than you’d expect from the author of Furiously Happy , but she’s fair and consistent.
GR World Popularity Rank: #14. Another UK-based reader, Paromjit reads a massive number of books, mostly new releases. Her current goal counter says 226 for the year. The reviewer strikes a great balance between revealing a glimpse of plot and offering a fresh perspective on the book.
Unranked. Carol. reviews mainly sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery. She sometimes brings the snark, but her reviews are always interesting and full of choice quotes. Unlike a lot of popular reviewers, she says she’s not interested in advanced reader copies. You can find more of her reviews at her blog, book reviews forevermore .
GR World Popularity Rank: #16. The reaction-gif book review is a high art on Goodreads, and Anne does it well. Her tastes are eclectic, ranging from the Spider Man comics to Julia Quinn’s Regency romance. If you need more gifs in your life, follow Anne.
GR World Popularity Rank #57: Emma is popular, scathing at times, and usually pretty witty. Her favorite genre is “literary fiction about horrible women,” but she reads widely. She also reads a ton of advanced reader copies (ARCs) so she’s a good go to for new and upcoming fiction with a literary fit. Emma also has a blog, Emma Reads Too Much .
For more on Goodreads check out The Most Popular Books on Goodreads Right Now.
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What is Your Favorite Book? The Answer to this Interview Question Will Reveal a Lot
Companies invest money and many hours in filling a vacancy. So, it might seem a waste of time for busy hiring teams to ask routine, non-professional questions like, “What is your favorite sport?” Or, they might include the what is your favorite book interview question.
If you have passed the screening and background checks and are in the interview room, you could be lulled into thinking those easy questions are simply ice breakers designed to put you at ease.
That is not always so. Questions about your personal preferences and habits are frequently designed to help the interviewer to gain insight about your attitudes that have a direct bearing on the job.
Take the question about your favorite sport. If the job calls for lots of teamwork and collaboration and you say your favorite sport is fishing or golf, that could be a mismatch. On the other hand, if you claim that you’re very comfortable with independent work, you probably shouldn’t say that heavy team sports like volleyball or basketball are your favorites.
Table of Contents
Why a Job Interview Could Include, “Tell Us About Your Reading Books”
So be on guard for Interview questions about your reading habits. Your responses can be tiebreakers in the competition for well-paying jobs. Many employers value people who read a lot because:
- Reading is the best path to self-improvement.
- Reading is a way of staying intellectually active, empathetic, and maintaining habits of critical thinking.
- Reading habits lead to better on-the-job performance and communication at work.
Likewise, avid readers bring the following benefits to the workplace:
People who read a lot are better writers.
There is more to writing than just grammar. Those who read extensively learn the syntax and cadence of good writing just by seeing it in the examples of good writers.
People who read avidly are well-spoken.
The vocabulary of literature is populated with words that don’t often show up in our oral language. Those who do not read much are rarely exposed to those words and tend to be less well-spoken than the well-read person.
Those who read a lot are emotionally intelligent.
The process of reading involves a pause and reflection. Even if the book wasn’t great, the habitual reader will consider why the book didn’t work well for them. It’s all about self-awareness, an important component of emotional intelligence.
Avid readers tend to be more creative.
The reading experience takes the reader to new horizons and towards exploring new ideas. That, in turn, is the substance of creativity and independent thought, which are valuable commodities on the job.
They are problem solvers.
Problems and challenges are the grist in the mill of both real life and the hypothetical situations conjured by authors. It’s what keeps the engaged reader turning the pages in a high-tension mystery novel. Or, the book could be a new approach to an old problem that sweeps the reader along to the aforementioned new horizons.
Constant readers are goal setters.
The challenge of reading a thick book can serve as both a short- and long-term goal for a reader. Whether the goal is to complete a chapter a day or finish the book before it is due back at the library, those habits of goal setting are directly transferrable to the workplace.
People who read tend to connect better to others.
Again, it’s about empathy and making deeper connections to fictional characters. That deeper connection without a direct effect on the reader’s life is a key to developing interpersonal skills, communications and collaboration at work.
Preparing Your Answers To Interview Questions About Books
Make sure you have read the book.
Obviously, you should choose a book you have read cover to cover. SparkNotes or a cursory review on Amazon might seem like a good shortcut, but you won’t get deep insight by skimming—and you take the risk of being found out if the book you choose happens to be the favorite of the interviewer.
Make some notes.
Before the interview starts, think about the answers to your interview questions about books. Take the time to prepare. Jot down some notes with a quick summary of the book or books of your choice. Include reasons why the book impressed you, what you learned, and how it altered or widened your experience and knowledge of the subject.
What Are Your Reading Habits Interview Questions and Suggested Responses
Question 1: what is your favorite book of all time.
Suggestion: For books to say you’ve read in an interview, choose a book that taught you something you didn’t know. If possible, the book should be related to either your academic field of study, which makes you a valuable asset to the organization.
You could talk about a recent best seller by a popular author, or you could opt for a classic or less-well-known book. Here’s a sample response to “Tell me about your favorite book”:
“My all-time favorite novel is the science-fiction classic “The Mote in God’s Eye’ by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. It’s a classic and came out in 1974, and it is still relevant today. Its basic theme is humankind’s first encounter with alien life. To make a long and fascinating story shorter, the alien society goes through cycles of violence, chaos and breakdown.
“The cycles, which have been going on for centuries, have a simple, but unsolvable cause—over population as the males of their species biologically transform into females and must reproduce or die. They have overpopulated their own planet and as humans make their first contact, the aliens are on the verge of another collapse.
“What was in it for me was the notion that for some problems there are no solutions, and that a problem well stated isn’t always a problem half-solved.”
Question 2: What was the last book you read?
Choose the type of book you want to discuss. The book should be:
Fresh in your memory
Ideally, you have read the book you have read during the past year. If you are choosing one that you read some time ago, get an outline synopsis to refresh your memory.
While you can choose a work of fiction, nonfiction books tend to relate more towards professional development. Going the nonfiction route displays intelligence and maturity, as well as enjoyment of self-improvement and learning outside the work environment.
Related to your career
Self-explanatory. If you’re interviewing for a job as a marketing assistant, you can discuss a book on the most recent trends in social media and omni-channel inbound marketing trends.
If you want to give the employer a sense of who you are and what your outside interests are, choose a book that demonstrates that. If you’re a history buff, for example, describe a biographical book about a historical character you admire.
Teaches a lesson and is educational
Choose a book that is instructional and includes a moral lesson. Explain what you learned and how you can apply that learning to your job.
Referring to the brief notes you wrote about the book, answer the question as follows:
1. Briefly explain the type and genre of the book, starting with the author.
Is the book nonfiction or fiction? If fiction, briefly go over the plot to give the interviewer a frame of reference for what comes next. If nonfiction, say something about the credentials and reputation of the author.
“The last book I read was ‘ Put It In Writing!’ by the late Albert Joseph. It is a ‘how-to’ guide on how to write clearly, quickly, and persuasively. Albert Joseph passed away at the age of 84 in 2013. This book became the gold standard for business writers everywhere.”
2. Describe why you enjoyed the book.
What were the aspects/parts of the book that particularly appealed to you? Again, mention some thought-provoking elements of the book, such as the characters, plot, or theme. Link the foregoing to your own personal philosophy or characteristics.
“ What I liked most about the book was that it was not only an entertaining read, it had the unique value of being a writer’s reference book on the value of clear writing. The book has just what someone like me—a business writer—needs to know.
“ For example, in Part 1, the author outlines his five principles of clear writing. He starts with suggestions about preferring clear, familiar words, keeping sentences shorter and simpler, and a preference for active rather than passive voice.”
3. Describe how your book relates to the job position.
This is an opportunity to connect the dots between your own skills and qualities to what the employer is looking for. If you’ve done your homework and are thoroughly conversant with the job description, you should be able to relate the book to the job.
“I see by the job description that you’re looking for someone who can communicate well in writing. The book has one nifty chapter on ‘New Writing in the Computer Age.’ Its main point is that computers help us write, but we writers have to do the hard part.”
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5 months of advertising in our Featured Book rotator , which is seen by thousands of daily visitors, including agents, publishers, publicists, bloggers, journalists and regular readers.
BONUS: Enter our Award Contest and you can select 2 extra categories for your book to compete in for FREE ($130 value).
Featured Book Rotator
Our Featured Book rotator is on our home page and at the top left of every page on our site that is designated for readers (which means it will appear on 99% of the pages on our site) and rotates randomly through all our Featured Books. When a book cover is clicked, it will take the visitor to the book's Readers' Favorite review page.
It is positioned to attract the attention of our thousands of daily visitors, who are looking to find a good book to read. We are also frequented by agents, publishers, publicists, and journalists who want to view reviews we have done for their authors, to submit new review requests, or to see our newest award-winning authors.
We do not sell this advertising space, it is provided as a perk for purchasing our Express Review and Writing services to help authors promote their book. By not selling the space we keep the number of images down, which provides those in the rotator more screen time.
BOOK REVIEW FEATURES
We only post 4 and 5 star reviews.
We use a standard 5 star rating system and only post reviews we have awarded a 4 or 5-star rating. Our goal is to help authors with positive advertising for their books and to provide insightful reviews to help readers find the perfect book by a new or established author.
If you receive a poor review our reviewer will point out any issues with your story to help you make it better. Once you have revised it, we will be happy to review it again for free. We were the first review company to not post negative reviews and are proud to have been a part of making it an industry standard.
You may use as much or as little of our review as you wish. We write at least 250 words to provide you with plenty of material to pick quotes from. You will have a simple link to your Review Page featuring your book title like this one for actor/comedian and now award-winning author Jim Carrey, https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/how-roland-rolls . This link is not only user friendly, but it dramatically increases the searchability of your book title and review in search engines.
Your review will be posted on our site, KOBO, Google Books, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Your review will be indexed by search engines like Google, which recognizes our reviews and formats them with their starred rating just like reviews from Amazon and Goodreads. You can see an example with David Baldacci's book, Hell's Corner .
Review Page to display your review
Your Review Page will display your book cover and have an Amazon purchase link as well as optional links like to your Book Trailer on YouTube, your Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest pages. You can also add your biography and photo to your review. Our photo upload system will automatically resize your uploaded picture and maintain its aspect ratio so it looks as great as you do.
At the bottom of your Review Page, there is a section where visitors can post their own reviews/comments about your book using our comment system and/or Facebook's comment system. You can also use this section to post all your other reviews for your book so they are all on one central review page.
Your Review Page also includes a Social Networking bar so you and your visitors can post your review to Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as Tweet it or Pin it to Pinterest. These buttons are automatically populated with your book cover and review so when people use the links all your review information is there and ready to be advertised.
Inclusion in the CLCD literature database (some restrictions apply)
The CLCD (Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database) houses the world’s largest collection of professional reviews and awards data for Children’s and YA titles. They are the leading resource for independent information about Children’s and YA titles and are used by countless literary professionals and thousands of institutions ranging from universities and colleges to public and K-12 libraries.
Readers’ Favorite's book reviews and book awards have been accepted into this database, which provides our authors with exposure to thousands of library professionals, educators and students as well as a large number of publishers and book sellers. If you have a Children's or YA book and receive a Readers' Favorite 4 or 5 star review, and your book is available on Amazon (now or in the future), your book and review will be listed in the CLCD database. There is nothing you need to do.
If you win any Readers' Favorite award level in our Annual Book Award Contest, your listing in the CLCD will be automatically updated to display your award, setting your book apart to the countless literary professionals who use the database.
PLEASE NOTE: currently this feature is only available to Children's and YA titles. However, we are working to expand this opportunity to all our genres through other databases. When this happens, all qualifying reviews in our database will be submitted.
NEW - Get more reviews with our Review Exchange and Free Book programs
Our Review Exchange program allows authors to obtain more reviews and exposure by getting a review of their book in exchange for a review of another author’s book.
NEW - Our Free Book program allows authors to obtain more reviews and exposure by proving a regular reader with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review.
Your participation in both programs is enabled by default, but you can disable either of them at any time from your Author’s Area. When enabled, our Review Exchange and/or Free Book button will appear next to your book everywhere on our site, including on your Review Page. The Review Exchange button lets other authors know you will consider reading and providing an honest review of their book in exchange for them doing the same for your book, and the Free Book button will let readers know that you will consider providing them with a free copy of your book in exchange for an honest review.
There is a Contact link on your Review Page whereby authors and readers can send you a message about their interest in either of these programs. You can use this same method to contact other authors about exchanging reviews with them. The Contact link is also available to agents, publishers, publicists, journalists and other visitors who want to contact you. The system allows people to email you without revealing your email address to maintain your privacy.
Give to schools and charities with our Book Donation program
As discussed in our Review Exchange and Book Donation sections, one of the best ways to get new readers and reviews is to giveaway some copies of your book. To that end, we have created the Readers' Favorite Monthly Book Giveaway . If your book is on Kindle you can create a Kindle Gift for your book. When you do, it will generate a Gift Claim Code that you will enter in your Readers' Favorite Author Area. Your book will then show up on our Monthly Book Giveaway page; it's that easy!
Our giveaway receives premium advertising placement on the left side of every page of our site used by visitors and readers. This ensures that it will be seen by the countless readers, authors, agents, publishers and journalists who visit our site, driving quality readers to the Monthly Book Giveaway page and providing you with great advertising for your book!
If they are interested in your book, they will select it as one they would like to win. They can choose as many as they like. At the end of the month we will pick one winner who will get all the books they selected. We will email them your Kindle Gift Claim Code so they can get their free copy of your book, then we will email you so you can submit another Gift Claim Code if you would like to keep your book on the giveaway page.
If your book was not chosen, it will remain on the giveaway page until someone wins it. If readers who were interested in your book do not win, they may still be interested enough to purchase a copy! If someone does win your book, it will count as an Amazon verified purchase and a verified review if they post a review on your Amazon page, which is what we ask them to do.
In addition, you will get a special link that will take people to the Giveaway page and display your book right at the top so they can easily find and select it. This is a great marketing tool to introduce readers to your book while giving them a chance to win a copy.
Although this is a free Readers' Favorite feature, you will still need to purchase a copy of your book from Amazon to give it as a gift. We hope that the advertising you receive from being on the giveaway page, which includes new readers discovering your book, winning a copy, reading it and hopefully reviewing it on Amazon, will be enough compensation to consider this a good way to help promote your book.
You will be able to activate this free feature from your Author Area as soon as your review is complete. Anyone can enter the Monthly Book Giveaway, so if you see books you like you can enter to win as well.
Get help in our Author Forum
Our Author Forum is a community of authors providing support for one another. It is a positive environment where you will find plenty of marketing strategies and advice, as well as tips on honing your craft. It is custom made to be easy to use and features your picture, book cover, and a personal signature with all your posts.
Just as Readers' Favorite does not post negative reviews to maintain a positive atmosphere for authors and readers, we do not allow negative posts about people, services or companies in our Forum. Instead, authors are encouraged to focus on the positive and offer advice on where to go instead of where not to go and what services to use, instead of what not use.
To thank our authors for posting helpful information, we choose 1 author each month who has contributed to the Forum and award them with a prize. Winners can choose a 5 Express Review package ($199 value) or a free entry into our Annual Book Award Contest with up to 4 categories ($284 value). The Author Forum is completely free, like all our Review Features, and you will have access to it as soon as you submit your book for review or enter our Annual Book Award Contest.
Readers' Favorite App
Our Readers’ Favorite app is designed specifically for your readers, and is available for both Apple and Android phones. It allows readers to choose their favorite genres and browse through reviews at their convenience. It will also update every day with new reviews in the genres they specify so they can stay on top of the newest books and latest reviews, which will always appear right at the top of each genre list for their convenience. Our app also has our Monthly Book Giveaway built in so they can browse all the books available to win in the current month’s giveaway.
When your review is completed and posted on our website, it will appear in our app automatically, right at the top of its genre list. And if you add your book to our Monthly Book Giveaway from your Author’s Area, your book will appear in our app for all readers to learn about as they enter to the win the giveaway each month. Your listing in our app will take readers right to your mobile friendly Readers’ Favorite Review Page on our site, where they can read your reviews, learn more about you and your book and even purchase your book from Amazon.
Our app is free to all readers, as is your listing in it. Even when your review moves down from the top of the genre list, readers can still scroll down through the entire genre to find it and all our books, so your book review will be available on our website and in our app forever, completely free of charge.
Press Release about your review or award
Although we do offer a fee based, discounted Press Release service to all our authors who receive a 4 or 5-star review or whom place in our annual contest, we also provide a complete press release for you to use free of charge. It is properly formatted to industry standards and contains all pertinent and required information, including your review or contest placement. You can simply copy the press release and paste it to all your social media sites, website, blog, etc. or you can use it at another press release service of your choice. It is completely free and will be available in your Author Area as soon as your review is complete.
Review announced to 500,000 libraries, bookstores, and schools across America
Each month we announce the reviews we completed that month to 115,000 libraries, 85,000 bookstores and 300,000 schools (elementary through high school) nationwide. We use a white-listed email company that professionally maintains these lists to ensure they are current and accurate. This powerful mailing can not only lead to sales and recognition, but schools and libraries can request donation copies from your Review Page for even more exposure and reviews.
One of the reasons we receive such a good response from this mailing is because we have a Book Donation program that allows these nonprofit organizations to request free books from our authors, which makes our monthly mailing a free resource for great new books! The smaller book stores on our list are always looking for fresh new books to liven up their shelves, and often contact authors about stocking their books. But this mailing doesn’t just help you for the one month you are in it, the email reminds the recipient that most of our authors participate in our Book Donation program and encourages them to look through our website for more books they may be interested in.
Although this service can normally cost hundreds of dollars, we are offering it free of charge with your review. It does not matter which of our review services you use (free or Express), you just need to receive a 4 or 5-star review. Once we have created a Review Page for you on our site you will be scheduled for the following month’s announcement email. There is nothing you need to do or pay, it is all automatic and free.
Due to the large volume of reviews we do each month, it is not possible to list each new book in the email, instead we list the genre your book can be found in. The recipient can use the link to view all the new books in the genres they are interested in. All our genre categories list the newest books first, to make it easier for regular visitors to our site looking for new books. To visit our genre lists, just click any of the genres under the search bar that top of any page on our website.
BOOK REVIEW FAQS
What can be submitted for review.
We review manuscripts, published and unpublished books, eBooks, audiobooks, poetry books, comic books, graphic novels, and short stories. Your work must be complete, written in English, and fit into one of our 150+ genre categories. You can submit a book with AI-generated material, but you must let us know in the Book Description box on our form what portion of your book is AI-generated. Currently we do not accept erotica books that are mostly sex with no substantial plot.
If you receive a review of 4 stars or more and your work is currently available for purchase on Amazon (your book does not need to be on Amazon now to get your review, we just have to wait until it is before we can post your review publicly), we will post your review on our site, KOBO, Google Books, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Your book must currently be on those sites for us to post your review.
You can submit your book to us in the following formats in order of preference: PDF, Kindle (MOBI), Microsoft Word (DOC, DOCX), RTF, and ePUB. If you have a different file format like Open Office or Word Perfect, or you have any trouble attaching your book to our Review Request form, just complete the form without attaching your book and your confirmation email will have instructions on how to easily send us your book file.
Who are your reviewers?
We have over 1,500 reviewers who are as varied as the stories they read. They are not literary experts but regular readers with a passion for reading and helping new and established authors with honest reviews of their work. When you submit the Review Request form below, it is sent to all our reviewers for selection. We do not assign reviews, we provide our reviewers with detailed information about your book so they can choose stories they are interested in.
This process is designed to closely mimic the purchasing process at a bookstore, providing you with a quality, honest and genuine review from exactly the type of person who would have normally purchased your book.
Ratings are given on a 5-star scale:
5 STARS – Excellent: I loved this book. 4 STARS – Good: I enjoyed this book.
If a book receives less than 4 stars no official review is given. Instead, the reviewer will write constructive criticism to let the author know what problems they had with the book and offer any suggestions they may have to improve it. This will be about the size of a regular review and will be sent to the author privately; it will not be posted publicly. We are here to help authors, not hurt them.
Although we as a company do not interfere with what rating a reviewer gives a book, as the rating must be what the reviewer feels is appropriate, we do monitor the average ratings of our reviewers to ensure they are being fair and honest about their ratings to maintain the integrity of our reviews.
When you receive a review from Readers' Favorite, the first line of the review indicates who your reviewer was so you can look them up on our About Us page. Knowing the type of person who provided your review can help you understand the potential demographics of readers who will enjoy your book. This also benefits the reviewer by giving them proper credit and recognition for their work and time.
Because it is critical that reviewers provide quality reviews, we invite you to Review your Reviewer. When your review is complete, you will be able to login to your Author's Area and rate your reviewer on a 5-star scale and provide a short review, just as they did for you. Your feedback is presented to the reviewer to help them improve their skills, the same way book reviews help authors improve theirs. The information is also passed to the Readers' Favorite staff to help us ensure the quality of our reviewers and reviews. If you would like to join the Readers' Favorite Team, please fill out our Reviewer Application .
How long does it take for a review?
By far, most of what we do is provide free book reviews to authors. In fact, we provide hundreds of free reviews each month to authors from all over the world from independent authors to best-sellers and celebrities. However, even with over 1,000 reviewers we are not able to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for free reviews.
Although we cannot guarantee that all books will receive a review, more than half of the books submitted for a free review will receive one within 3 months. Some books are reviewed in less than a week while others are never selected for review. As a company we play no part in the time it takes for a book to receive a review because we do not assign books to reviewers; they select them from a detailed list. Reviewers search through the genres they are interested in, read your description, look at your cover, and can even read a portion of your book to ensure it is something they are interested in reading. We designed this process to mimic that of a book store to ensure you get a reader who represents your core audience.
If you are interested in a guaranteed review, getting your review back more quickly or would like multiple reviews of your book, please look at our Express and Express Package options in the BOOK REVIEW OPTIONS section above.
When a book is submitted to us for review or our contest, all our reviewers/judges will be able to see the book details you provided to help them choose your book, but they must select your book for review/judging before they will have access to your book file. Once your book is selected it is removed from the list and the only people who have access to it from that point on are the reviewer/judge and select admin staff. Once the book file is no longer needed it is deleted from our system.
We have done hundreds of thousands of reviews since we launched in 2009 and are used by all the big publishers and have never had an issue with piracy. All our reviewers are vetted and provide a government-issued ID so we can verify their identity and so we can cooperate with law enforcement should there ever be an issue with an author's book. We also have a litany of systems in place to track and monitor our books to ensure their security.
Generally, authors have nothing to fear when submitting their books to reputable review companies because their books are not of interest to pirates yet. Pirates do not need to work for a review company to steal book files. They can buy the Kindle version of the bestselling book on Amazon and use common DRM cracking software to copy it in 10 minutes or they could simply buy the paperback version and use a standard OCR scanner to scan each page and have a PDF in about an hour.
Using these methods, they can steal and sell James Patterson's new book or all the Harry Potter books, the choices are unlimited. With review companies, almost all the books are unknown or not even publish-ready yet. And it's not about quality, they don’t care how good your book is, they just want something they can sell, which means books that are at the top of Amazon’s sales lists because those are books people are currently talking about and searching for.
However, if you would feel better securing your book file a bit, there are a couple of things you can do: you can add a watermark to your pages, just please be sure it is light enough not to interfere with the reader’s ability to clearly see the text. You can also password protect your PDF, just be sure to provide us with the password in our Book Description box when you submit it to us so the reader can access it.
BOOK REVIEW REQUEST FORM
If your book is on Amazon, please enter your Amazon 10-digit (not 13-digit) ISBN or ASIN number, otherwise leave this box blank. You can find this information in the Product Details section on your Amazon page. Then click the Search Amazon button and we will add your book cover from Amazon to this form for you. PLEASE NOTE: Your book does NOT have to be published or on Amazon to receive a review or enter our contest, and you can update this information at any time.
Please enter the Author Name associated with this book. This can be your legal name or a pen name. This is the name we will use to identify the author of this book.
If you are the agent, publisher, publicist or other representative for this author and would like to be notified when the review for this book is complete, please enter your email address.
Enter your cell phone number to receive a text message when your review is complete. For international authors, please start with the plus sign (+) followed by your country code and your phone number.
Please select the type of book you are submitting: audiobook, children's book, poetry book, short story/novella or collection of short stories, fiction or non-fiction book.
You can upload your book in the following formats listed in order of preference: PDF, Kindle (MOBI), Microsoft Word (DOC, DOCX), LibreOffice (ODT), RTF, and ePUB. To re-upload, click the X and choose a new file.
Please provide an Audible code for a free audiobook copy of your book and the link to redeem the code. If you are requesting multiple reviews you will need to provide multiple codes. You can also provide a Dropbox or Google Drive link to your audiobook files but they must be accessible to anyone with the link and the link must not expire (you can disable the link once your review(s) is complete).
Just like any reader, our Reviewers use the description of your book to determine if they want to read it. The more compelling your description, the faster your book will get reviewed. If you already have a blurb or description of your book on Amazon, you can copy and paste it here or write something new.
Please indicate if your book has explicit language, sexual situations, graphic violence or any other unique qualities. This will ensure you get the right reviewer for your book.
If you are attaching your book cover, you can upload it in the following formats listed in order of preference: JPG, JPEG, GIF and PNG. To re-upload, click the X and choose a new file.
PLEASE NOTE: We are currently experiencing a high volume of Express Review requests. Although most are being completed on time, it may take an extra week or two to complete some Express Review orders. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
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International Booker Prize 2023: our experts review the six shortlisted books
Lecturer in Caribbean Literatures and Cultures, Department of English, University of Bristol
Associate Professor in colonial and post-colonial studies, University of Birmingham
Lecturer in Creative Writing, University of Glasgow
Lecturer in East Asian Studies, School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield
Senior Lecturer, English and American Studies, & Director of the Centre for New Writing, University of Manchester
Lecturer in Anglophone Literatures and Cultures, University of Aberdeen
The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
University of Aberdeen , University of Birmingham , University of Bristol , and University of Sheffield provide funding as founding partners of The Conversation UK.
University of Glasgow and University of Manchester provide funding as members of The Conversation UK.
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From a longlist of 12 , six novels have been shortlisted for the 2023 International Booker Prize. Our academics review the finalists ahead of the announcement of the winner on May 23.
The Gospel According to the New World by Maryse Condé, translated by Richard Philcox
The Gospel According to the New World starts with the birth of a boy in an “overseas department”, “surrounded by water on all sides”. Pascal, a child of mixed heritage, is born and subsequently abandoned on Easter Sunday. Rumours immediately start spreading that he might be the son of God.
What follows is Pascal’s journey to himself. He travels the earth looking for his biological father and grapples with questions about his own purpose – a journey that closely mirrors that of Jesus in the New Testament.
The novel, translated from French to English by Condé’s husband Richard Philcox, is full of wit, humour and allusion.
It engages with questions of belief, philosophy and politics, and brings together a range of captivating characters from across the New World as Pascal grapples with his reputation as a new Messiah. I was unsure of what to expect, but I found Condé’s novel charming and full of heart.
Reviewed by Leighan Renaud
Whale by Cheon Myeong-kwan, translated by Chi-Young Kim
Set largely in the remote village of Pyeongdae, the dreamlike story of Whale is punctuated by satirical references to historical events that mark the seismic social shifts that transformed South Korea into a modern state in the 20th century.
Rather than focus explicitly on these episodes – the Korean War, US occupation and military dictatorships, for instance – Whale tells its grand national narrative on a smaller human scale.
The rags to riches journey of protagonist Geumbok is reminiscent of a Dickensian epic. Her ambition and gradual acquisition of material luxury are indicative of Korea’s shift towards capitalism. Her daughter meanwhile, the mute Chunhui, has a deep spiritual connection with the natural environment and this is used to fondly recall the traditions of the past.
Whale provides an unflinching look at two contrasting portraits of national identity in the era of Korean modernisation – equally valid, yet highly oppositional.
Reviewed by Gemma Ballard
Boulder by Eva Baltasar, translated by Julia Sanches
Boulder is a gripping, discomfiting novel of potent language and uncompromising moral certitude. With a poetic intensity that oscillates between the fiercely carnal and a stark abstraction, Eva Baltasar immerses the reader in the consciousness of her protagonist, “Boulder”. She’s nicknamed, by her girlfriend, after “those large, solitary rocks in southern Patagonia, pieces of world left over after creation, isolated and exposed to every element”.
This is a rich and surprising novel about desire, freedom and domesticity, which follows the merchant ship cook Boulder as she struggles to navigate the new terrain of a settled life with a partner intent on having a child.
In densely metaphorical prose, Baltasar handles romance with an unsentimental boldness. This is a love “that grows like brambles, strangles the furniture, and girds the walls”. Boulder picks apart the piety of motherhood and delivers a heroine whose wildness leaves her always giddily yearning for escape.
Reviewed by Kaye Mitchell
Standing Heavy by GauZ’, translated by Frank Wynne
GauZ’ has penned a razor-like examination of consumerism from the standpoint of a security guard in the Champs-Elysées branch of a famous chain of perfume retailers.
Standing Heavy offers a refreshing and often caustic take on the cultural and economic consequences of an encounter between western consumerism and capitalism and the acute African sense of observation and derision. Using the story and observations of an undocumented Ivorian migrant in Paris, it digs into the rich, complex and often fraught relationship between France and its former African colonies.
With the sharpness of an Ivorian coupé-décalé song, GauZ’ offers evocative glimpses into the life of African migrants in France, from the first generation who could set up their own businesses to the later wave, most of whom have been denied legal immigrant status.
This second generation has to make ends meet through low paid, tedious and racially profiled jobs – such as security guards in shops or emptied factories like the Grand Moulins de Paris in the novel.
Standing Heavy delivers a powerful invitation to reflect upon the multiple meanings of “postcolonial France” and the Franco-African relationship, 60 years after the “end of Empire”.
Reviewed by Berny Sèbe
Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov, translated by Angela Rodel
Gospodinov’s Time Shelter has the power to take our mind to times and places, uncertain that we will find our way back.
It is a philosophical exploration about memory and nostalgia, about forgetting and trying to hold on to our pasts while making sense of our present and future. Above all, it is about time – in its fragments and in its perpetuity. The narrative is so unembellished and laced with scathing humour that it has a jarring effect, further facilitated by uneven segments and breaks – much like our thoughts, some fleeting, some resilient.
The novel has just two characters, the unnamed narrator and their time travelling friend Gustine. This sparsity reflects the aridity of a demented mind. Together, they create rooms for Alzheimer’s patients. Rooms in which a chunk of their familiar time and memory is preserved to provide them with shelter in a rapidly erasing memory world.
Eventually, nostalgia grips Europe and nations hold referendums to return to the comfort of the past. Gospodinov’s deft brewing of European history, utopian ideals and the reality of neurological disorders will continue the conversation on human fragility beyond the pages of the book.
Reviewed by Sukla Chatterjee
Still Born by Guadalupe Nettel, translated by Rosalind Harvey
Part way through Still Born there’s a scene in which a character has a panic attack in a medical scanner: “I think I’m going to explode in here.”
This same sensation animates Rosalind Harvey’s delicate but enthrallingly tense translation of Guadalupe Nettel’s fourth novel: an exploration of maternity, loss and refusal.
Alina and Laura are old friends whose relationship is based on eschewing procreation as the be all and end all. It’s a perspective that gets increasingly complicated through pregnancy, birth, loss, a growing intimacy with the troubled son of a neighbour, unexpected resilience, the “birthing” process of writing a thesis and gradual drifting apart with a mother.
The novel asks challenging questions about care for terminally ill children and substitute motherhood. Laura and Alina’s bond is a constant core. At one point the prospect of the death of a child is described as “so unacceptable that we have chosen not to name it”.
Still Born explores those aspects of motherhood that have often gone untold in uncompromising writing that feels throughout as though it’s being narrated in confidence to a close friend.
Reviewed by Colin Herd
The winner of the International Booker Prize 2023 will be announced May 23 2023.
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The Hot Dog Mixes Everything Wrong About America’s Meat Industry
By Alma Avalle
All products featured on Bon Appétit are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Welcome to Anxious Carnivores , a miniseries about the changing culture around meat consumption. Despite growing pressures to quit meat, many Americans can’t quite do so—but they’re getting weirder and weirder about how they eat it.
As a kid, I’d heard hot dogs were made of everything from pig anuses to pigeon breasts to literal dog meat. The reality isn’t much more appealing: Hot dogs are made by grinding up spare chunks of cow or pig into a paste—too edible to throw away but too unsightly to sell at the grocery store. Then they’re piped into tubes and sold cheap, served at ballgames, cookouts, or other events easily ruined by discussing where hot dogs come from.
Like all meat products, hot dogs are made from dead animals. Specifically, as writer and comedian Jamie Loftus says in her new book, Raw Dog: The Naked Truth About Hot Dogs , “the hot dog’s reputation is for extremely dead animals,” organic material pulverized into an inorganic state to the point where it’s hard to imagine it being alive in the first place. When we joke about the meat industry, hot dogs are a punchline, a catchall for the worst ills of factory farming.
But if you’re fine with eating meat, it’s not worse to eat meat in hot dog shape. A grocery store steak, despite not being mashed into a pulp, is not morally superior to a fast-food hot dog. The two could even come from the same cow. The modern hot dog is merely a microcosm of the entire process of American meat production—the final link in a chain that squeezes livestock and labor for its last drop of value.
Raw Dog , out May 23, follows that entire chain. The book falls somewhere between a send-up and a takedown of America’s favorite sausage. It details a road trip Loftus took in summer of 2021 sampling the country’s most famous dogs, from JJ’s Red Hots in North Carolina to The Varsity in Atlanta to Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island, Brooklyn. She discusses hot dog history: how Polish and German immigrant communities created the hot dog for cheap sustenance and how it rose to prominence during the Great Depression, when the popular Chicago dog was marketed as two meals—a salad and a wiener—for the price of one. That legacy is alive in New York’s famous Gray’s Papaya, where the famous recession special is still on sale: two franks and a drink for seven bucks. Loftus also delights in the horny history of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile or newly named Frankmobile (a shocking number of the 20-somethings behind the wheel end up together ), the sport of competitive hot dog eating, and her complicated, primal crush on its reigning champion Joey Chestnut.
But Raw Dog ’s sillier moments are balanced with a weighty critique of the meatpacking and food service industries woven throughout the book. Loftus begins this investigation in a chapter titled “Here Is How You Make a Hot Dog,” in which she explains exactly that. In a strange way, reading about (or watching , if you’re nasty) this process is kind of marvelous. As Loftus puts it, you’re seeing “garbage being repurposed as mass-appeal food,” and in an industry practically synonymous with excess and pollution, I’m almost happy to see the agriculture sector preventing further waste. The greater issue lies further up the production chain. “The meat being used for hot dogs are scraps,” she writes, “but what’s more important is how the animals whose head meat is being fashioned into factory-certified shapes are treated at the facility that comes before—the slaughterhouse.”
Nothing about how America makes its meat is appetizing. Right now, only two federal laws protect livestock: The 28-Hour Transportation Law of 1873 and the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958. That’s it. Meanwhile, the Trump administration allowed pork plants to lower the number of USDA inspectors stationed inside of them, instead letting slaughterhouses self-inspect and report their own infractions. The outcomes shouldn’t be surprising. “A slaughterhouse pig’s life begins in a gestation crate ,” Loftus writes, “an enclosure with nothing but slats in the floor to drain piss and shit.” Their tails and teeth are often removed to prevent biting and infection before the pigs get crowded into pens, where they live for six months before being sent to the slaughterhouse. Once there, animals are legally required to be killed before processing, but reports of workers butchering animals alive date back to the early 2000s , and violations of the Humane Slaughter Act still occur . It’s also worth noting that these are only the infractions that we know about, especially since slaughterhouses largely police themselves.
Things aren’t much better for the people working in these facilities, according to multiple reports. While the horrors of factory farming have been public secrets for years, the pandemic was a breaking point for many in the meatpacking industry. It was one of the hardest-hit sectors by the disease: ProPublica reported that in the early months of the lockdown, 99% of COVID cases in Waterloo, Iowa, could be traced to a single slaughterhouse in the city. The Associated Press and Wired report that workers in these factories were placed shoulder to shoulder, with insufficient PPE, in factories kept open via a Trump-era executive order signed at the request of the Tyson and Smithfield CEOs . (Tyson told ProPublica, “We worked with the information available to us at the time to help keep our team members safe.”)
The conditions of those workers are often as horrifying as the realities of their jobs. Vox reports declining wages, persistent worker abuse and endangerment, and a stark decline in meatpacking unions over the past half century. Labor advocates have been calling out unreasonable worker injury in the sector—an industry average of two amputations a week — for years. All of this is made worse by so-called “ Ag Gag ” laws, which restrict how and when slaughterhouse employees can report misconduct and animal cruelty or otherwise discuss their working conditions with the public.
The problems with the hot dog don’t stop at the factory door. Loftus’s road trip took place during the Great Resignation, a watershed moment for fast-food workers quitting their jobs. At her first stop in Santa Fe, Loftus encountered a sign explaining that customers could expect slower service because “No one wants to work anymore,” all while food service jobs remained among the most deadly in the country and wages barely kept up with inflation . Because so many hot dog joints are local businesses, unlike multinational fast-food companies, many of the stops on Loftus’s journey were unable to provide benefits to their employees. Small business wages couldn’t compete with unemployment checks, she writes. Meanwhile, “most overworked business owners I spoke with held employees individually accountable for this refusal [to work].” She describes this as a period of “soft protest” against a system that left workers vulnerable, a time when, she argues, mutual aid organizations and community efforts did more to keep people safe than their government or their employers.
Despite all of its criticisms, Raw Dog ’s thesis is that none of these acts of human or animal mistreatment are hot dog problems. They’re capitalism problems. Loftus closes the book with a hopeful look at the hot dog’s future—and perhaps, in turn, the meat industry’s future. One of her last visits is Portland’s Kim Jong Grillin , which, compared to many other stops on the journey, seems nearly utopian. The hot dog is sourced from a local butcher, piled high with radish and pickled mango, and served cleverly on a banh-mi-style baguette, which doesn’t get soggy like a classic American bun. Staggeringly, for all of that, you pay the same $7 as the New York recession special (though you only get one frank and no drink). The restaurant also served free meals to out-of-work food service folks in Portland during COVID’s first wave, an act of community care at odds with the “No one wants to work anymore” philosophy being preached elsewhere.
So much of our food system feels designed to hide where the things we eat come from. But hot dogs are honest. Unlike a filet mignon, hot dogs don’t play coy about the system that produces them. It’s hard to buy one without running into something exploitative. It’s hard to look at one without considering the industrial behemoth that can produce such a thing. This is Raw Dog ’s “naked” truth: If you cut into a hot dog, all you’ll find is more hot dog.
Raw Dog: The Naked Truth About Hot Dogs is available now.
Raw Dog: The Naked Truth About Hot Dogs
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7 sci-fi books that seem to predict the future
Authors may not mean to be prophetic, but some of their books have predicted the future.
Kirillm / Getty Images
Science fiction authors and, by extension, their work are often ahead of their time. Intentional or not, when satirizing or commenting on their society, sci-fi books often make eerily accurate predictions about technological advancements and societal changes that have since become a reality. These are some prescient sci-fi books that accurately predict the future.
"The Minority Report" by Philip K. Dick (1956)
This 1956 novella was turned into a film, 2002's "Minority Report," and TV series. The story takes place in a future where technology helps the police arrest criminals before they ever commit a crime. The book anticipates increased police surveillance and profiling nearly half a century later. Now that we have "algorithms trying to predict people's habits, increased surveillance technology, and even iris and retinal scans," Book Riot said Dick's novella "seems more prescient than ever." Order here .
"Neuromancer" by William Gibson (1984)
Gibson is credited with coining the word cyberspace in his short story "Burning Chrome." He defines it as "widespread, interconnected digital technology," similar to today's internet. He popularized the concept with his first novel, "Neuromancer," which Insider calls a "futuristic crime caper" that follows a hacker and cyber thief who regains the ability to "jack in" to cyberspace with a miracle cure. The cyberpunk novel is regarded as a predecessor for stories like "The Matrix." Gibson's interpretation of an interactive virtual world is reminiscent of augmented reality, like the technology behind AR headsets today. Order here .
"1984" by George Orwell (1949)
This classic dystopian novel is not the first sci-fi book to be called prophetic , but it has arguably been one of the most impactful in the real world. Concepts like Big Brother, doublethink and the thought police were born from Orwell's imagined futuristic society ruled by an oppressive government. The book touches on increasingly relevant themes, such as mass surveillance, censorship and propaganda. Set in a dystopian society nearly four decades after World War II, it serves as a warning of the dangers of totalitarianism. Facial recognition technology, like the kind behind the telescreens Orwell imagines, has been central to contemporary debates about pervasive surveillance. Order here .
"Parable of The Talents" by Octavia Butler (1998)
The speculative fiction books by Octavia Butler experienced a bit of a renaissance in 2016 when several writers pointed out the eerie similarities between the authoritarian presidential candidate in Butler's novel "Parable of The Talents" and former President Donald Trump. The character even uses "Make America great again" as a campaign slogan. The story unfolds in a dystopian California plagued by a drought caused by climate change. In a speech at MIT, Butler said the novel was about was not meant to be prophetic. "This was a cautionary tale, although people have told me it was prophecy." Butler added, "All I have to say to that is: I certainly hope not." In 2020, a resurgence in interest in Butler's "Parable" series landed her on The New York Times bestseller list for the first time . Order here .
"Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson (1992)
Stephenson coined the word metaverse in his 1992 novel, nearly 30 years before Facebook changed its name to Meta in 2021. The characters in "Snow Crash" use virtual reality headsets and a digital world to escape the reality of their bleak surroundings and cramped living conditions. So far, though, the metaverse is struggling to establish itself as the next big thing in tech. Order here .
"A Song for a New Day" by Sarah Pinsker (2019)
Pinsker published her Nebula Award-winning novel about a quarantined world in September 2019, months before the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic . In "Song for a New Day," the world has been on lockdown for decades after a deadly virus is unleashed in a terror attack. People rely on drones to get essentials, and large gatherings like concerts are prohibited. The musician's book "goes beyond eerie prognostication," Piotr Orlov said in Pitchfork . "A Song for a New Day" also allows us to reconsider the apparatus at the heart of contemporary music, weighing its commercial and social principles against the rituals and roles live music has long served," Orlov added. Order here .
"Stand on Zanzibar" by John Brunner (1968)
Brunner predicts several societal shifts and events in his 1968 novel, "Stand on Zanzibar." He introduces a world that's "grappling with overpopulation and widening social divides," Insider stated. It's a problem playing out in real time in countries worldwide . He also wrote about cannabis legalization , satellite television, electric vehicles and widespread mass shootings , particularly in schools. Order here .
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La Chimera review: Josh O’Connor excels in this gritty yet poetic Italian-French-Swiss drama
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Josh O’Connor plays a Brit abroad in La Chimera, an atmospheric Cannes contender set in rural Italy in the 1980s.
He plays Arthur, a cultured man who seems to be down on his luck, just travelling in the suit he’s wearing.
Arthur comes back to the home of his girlfriend, Beniamina. She is mysteriously absent, but her mother (Isabella Rossellini), a retired singer, welcomes him back with open arms.
He catches the attention of an aspiring singer (Carol Duarte) who has been persuaded to work as a maid/assistant in return for the occasional singing lesson.
Rossellini is funny as the forthright, exploitative matriarch, but the focus of the film shifts to other characters with dramatic stories to tell.
It’s a quietly fascinating watch, made all the more intriguing by the fact that you have no idea where it’s going.
Rather than feeling directionless, it feels gripping: writer-director Alice Rohrwacher and her cast create characters to care about, and a vivid sense of time and place.
The Crown star O’Connor is excellent in a role that was apparently adapted to fit him – he’s a quiet drifter who’s clearly experienced loss.
He also claims to have an unusual talent: using a divining rod, he can sense where bodies are buried.
This proves useful to the local criminals, who routinely raid ancient tombs to steal the artefacts buried along with their owners and sell them on the black market.
It’s riveting, and disturbing, watching them at work: we haven’t seen tomb raiding portrayed so believably on screen before (sorry, Indy).
Despite the gritty realism, the film has a poetic, dreamlike quality that often tips into surrealism.
It’s a combination that might sound challenging, but if you run with it, it’s an absorbing watch, and confirms O’Connor as one of Britain’s finest talents.
La Chimera is released on December 6, 2023.
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Willie Nelson goes behind the music in upcoming book
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Willie Nelson fans are about to find out what was really on his mind while writing the hits that made him an icon.
Nelson, who turned 90 this year, is offering a behind-the-scenes look at lyrics from 160 of his favorite songs in a new book — “Energy Follows Thought: The Stories Behind My Songs,” set to release Oct. 31.
Nelson penned the book alongside David Ritz, who also co-wrote his 2015 memoir, “It’s a Long Story: My Life,” and harmonica player Mickey Raphael, who’s toured with Nelson since 1973.
The book will include songs dating back to the 1950s and cover backstories of his earliest efforts — some of which earned him a measly $50 — and his biggest hits. The book will also highlight some of his lesser-known songs, as well as his concept albums, of which he’s released five, including “Red Headed Stranger” and “Phases and Stages.”
At Willie Nelson 90, country, rock and rap stars pay tribute, but Willie and Trigger steal the show
As the country music icon celebrates his 90th birthday at the Hollywood Bowl, stars from Beck to Snoop Dogg to George Strait plumbed 60 years of Nelson classics.
Nelson will also be sharing stories about his beloved guitar Trigger, a Martin N-20 nylon-string acoustic that’s been with him since 1969. He’ll be diving into his family, as well as the Family — his recording and touring group since 1973.
Patsy Cline, Waylon Jennings, Ray Charles, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Dolly Parton and other artists Nelson has collaborated with over the course of his career will also pop up throughout the book, along with never-before-seen photos and ephemera.
The 10 best things we saw at Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday concert
From Beck to Keith Richards to, of course, Willie, the performances at this weekend’s tribute concert ranged from heartbreaking to side-splitting to just plain brilliant.
“Energy Follows Thought” will hit shelves days before the outlaw country musician is inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Nov. 3.
The book’s release will also stretch out the celebration of the “Crazy” singer’s 90th birthday. Festivities were in full force April 29 at the Hollywood Bowl where Kris Kristofferson, Neil Young, Snoop Dogg, Margo Price, Keith Richards and other music legends gathered to pay tribute .
Nelson will also be on the road again, touring until October with his traveling Outlaw Music Festival .
Willie Nelson to headline Outlaw Music Festival’s first L.A. stop on Oct. 21 at the Hollywood Bowl
The Outlaw Music Festival, a revolving consortium of progressive-country and Americana acts topped by Willie Nelson, will reach Los Angeles for the first time this fall with a stop on Oct. 21 at the Hollywood Bowl.
It's a date
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Emily St. Martin is an entertainment reporter on the Fast Break Desk. Before joining the Los Angeles Times, she contributed to the New York Times, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, NBC, Vice, Los Angeles Magazine and the Southern California News Group. She also previously worked at the Hollywood Reporter. In 2022, she won third place for best news feature with the L.A. Press Club. St. Martin has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of La Verne and a master’s in creative nonfiction from UC Riverside.
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Snapfish photo book review: Plenty of artistic freedom for your creations
A snapfish photo book isn’t perfect, but it’s one of the most competitive services out there..
Snapfish is one of the most competitive options when you’re looking for a photo book. With a plethora of great designs and materials to choose from, you can be sure that you’ll be able to create something you truly love. While the photo book builder itself had a few usability issues, the reasonable pricing more than makes up for this.
Plenty of design choices
Great preview functions
Helpful video tutorial
Sluggish image uploading process
Photo book builder can be glitchy
Quality could be better
Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.
- Two-minute review
- Should you buy it?
- How I tested
Snapfish photo book: Two-minute review
If there’s one thing that many of the best photo books have in common, it’s the freedom of choice – and Snapfish certainly meets this standard.
With lots of different designs, shapes, sizes, paper finishes and covers available, there’s an almost infinite number of options available to give you a truly unique final product. I personally found the website to be a little busy and overwhelming, as all of these options are presented all at once, which can make it difficult to discern exactly what you want.
However, I found that the easiest way was to choose the size and shape of the photo book first and then go from there – Snapfish actually provides product photos that show the size of the books against a model, which is a really useful feature for those who aren’t quite sure what size they want.
Unlike its competitor Mixbook , Snapfish’s pricing options are relatively simple. They’re also very reasonable, with an 8 x 11” landscape photo book starting from $39.99 / £28.99, but other smaller books beginning from as little as $12.99 / £9.99.
I found the image uploading process to be a slightly sluggish process. Unlike Mixbook, where you can start to build your photo book as soon as your first photo has been uploaded, you have to wait on Snapfish’s uploading screen until all of your images have been processed. If you’re impatient like I am, this wait is pretty painful – especially if you have a large batch of photos.
Once I’d finally got through onto the photo book builder itself, the process became much smoother. Snapfish provides a useful video tutorial to help you learn how to navigate the builder, but I found that it was self-explanatory and easy enough to figure out myself. One small complaint I had was that there weren’t many cover designs available to choose from – especially when compared to other sites such as Mixbook.
I also found the photo book builder itself to be a little slow. When I was moving photos within their frames, the builder would sometimes freeze before I was done. The frames themselves were also too easily moved, as I accidentally nudged them across the page multiple times. I even had a frame move by simply dragging a photo into it. While you can simply click the layout at the side to put the template back to what it should be, it’s an unnecessary and annoying quirk.
These small frustrations aside, one of my favorite aspects of this photo book builder was that you’re able to scroll up and down your book rather than having to click on the next page. This means that you can easily preview what your book will look like without using an official Preview function. I’m also a fan of the ‘All pages’ function, which gives you a birdseye overview of how the photo book will flow – this helped me to see if I had any accidental duplicates. When I finally went to order my book, I was able to preview it again for a final time, which helped me feel assured that there were no mistakes in my order.
My Snapfish order arrived within a week and the packaging was decent enough – the photo book was housed within a cardboard envelope and covered in shrinkwrap plastic. However, despite the plastic, there was a two-inch scratch on the back of my book. It wasn’t overly noticeable, but it was there.
I found that the cover of the book had been printed quite dark and a lot of the details in the shadows had been lost. However, I thought that the colors were fairly accurate. Inside the book, I thought that both the vibrancy and colors were decently accurate and I had no major complaints.
Should you buy the Snapfish photo book?
Buy it if....
You like loads of choice
Snapfish offers some great design options, including premium material covers such as Linen. This is perfect for those who want a truly special book.
You want a reasonably priced book
If you don’t mind going for a smaller book and missing out on premium design options, Snapfish’s books are very well-priced.
You prefer clear instructions
Snapfish is the only photo book creator tool that I’ve tested that provides a video tutorial to help guide users.
Don't buy it if...
You get easily overwhelmed by choice
While I loved the different design options available, if you’re not familiar with photo books then all of these choices might be a bit overwhelming.
You don’t like waiting for images to upload
I personally found the image uploader to be pretty sluggish, so if this is a dealbreaker for you then you might want to try Mixbook’s relatively snappy uploader.
You want to avoid glitchy product builders
Snapfish’s photo book builder was the hardest to use out of all of the products I tested, simply because it glitched multiple times.
Mimeo photo book
You might not get the bells and whistles of other photo book services, but Mimeo is pleasantly reliable. It's got a better user experience than other photobooks, too..
Mixbook is an almost-perfect all-rounder for those that want a photo book with minimal hassle. Its photo book builder is a little clunky, but it's a solid all-rounder with regular sales and discounts.
How I tested the Snapfish photo book
- I built a photo book on Mimeo’s website using my own photos
- I standardized the tests across different websites by choosing products at a similar price point with similar designs and features
I’ve tested a batch of different websites, including Mimeo, Mixbook, and more. To standardize this process where possible, I chose books that were at a similar price point as I wanted to test the value for money for the user. I also chose similar designs, shapes, and sizes where I could. I used my own photographs for each book, ensuring that I used the same ones for each book.
When I received the Mimeo photo book I made sure to compare it closely with the photo books from the other websites. I checked for image quality and any potential color variations. I also made sure that there was no damage or scuff marks on the cover or the individual pages of the book.
First reviewed May 2023
With over a decade of photographic experience, Louise arms Digital Camera World with a wealth of knowledge on photographic technique and know-how – something she is so adept at that she's delivered workshops for the likes of ITV and Sue Ryder. Before joining the site, her formidable hands-on abilities served her well as features editor for Practical Photography . A freelance photographer in her own right, she is a proud Nikon DSLR shooter.
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It is a fantasy, but the book draws inspiration from the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Rape of Nanking. Crime Fiction Lover reviews Jessica Barry's Freefall, a crime novel: In some crime novels, the wrongdoing hits you between the eyes from page one. With others it's a more subtle process, and that's OK too.
New York Times book critics discuss their favorite books and memorable reading experiences of 2022. Published Dec. 9, 2022 Updated Dec. 12, 2022 Send any friend a story
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The word "best" is always a misnomer, but these are my personal favorite book reviews of 2020. Nate Marshall on Barack Obama's A Promised Land (Chicago Tribune) A book review rarely leads to a segment on The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, but that's what happened to Nate Marshall last month. I love how he combines a traditional review ...
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It's a site for every kind of reader, with abundant ways to comment and interact. 2. LibraryThing. Review styles: star rating, recommendation, community reviews. This is the OG of all online book catalogues and discussion boards — take a look and you'll see that it's an oldie but a goodie. Of course, the basic functions of LibraryThing ...
Readers' Favorite is the fastest growing book review and award contest site on the Internet. We have earned the respect of renowned publishers such as Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the "Best Websites for Authors" and "Honoring Excellence" awards from the Association of Independent Authors.
By J.D. Salinger 1951. A classic tale of adolescent angst and alienation, Salinger's novel follows Holden Caulfield, expelled from his private prep school, as he roams around New York City ...
1. 1984 by George Orwell. 1984 tells the futuristic story of a dystopian, totalitarian world where free will and love are forbidden. Although the year 1984 has long since passed, the prophecy of a society controlled by fear and lies is arguably more relevant now than ever. 2. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.
The book review format includes an introduction, body, and conclusion. Introduction. Describe the book cover and title. Include any subtitles at this stage. Include the Author's Name. Thesis. Write a brief description of the novel. Briefly introduce the main points of the body in your book review.
Either way it's framed, it is a big question. As a novice to this conversation, I would fumble for a moment before talking about the latest book that I loved. Now, I have a more seasoned approach: I have answers prepared. My go-to book is Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. It's a classic, and usually wards off further inquiries.
How I Picked the Best Goodreads Reviewers. Goodreads has "Top 99" lists for "most popular reviewers" (i.e., most liked reviews), "most followed reviewers," and "top reviewers" (most books reviewed), tracked by week, year, or all-time. A number of my picks on the "most popular" reviewer list, but some are more under the radar.
Here's a sample response to "Tell me about your favorite book": "My all-time favorite novel is the science-fiction classic "The Mote in God's Eye' by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. It's a classic and came out in 1974, and it is still relevant today. Its basic theme is humankind's first encounter with alien life.
All book review features are FREE. Review Page with features to get your book noticed. Review listed in the Readers' Favorite app for readers. Review posted to popular websites and search engines. Review announced to 500,000 libraries, bookstores, schools. Donate books with our Book Donation program.
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These books showcase the wizarding world and its workings. J.K. Rowling has been so successful at weaving a picture of this world, that it feels real. Although the series contains seven books, I have a particular favourite. My favourite book from the series is The Goblet of fire. When I started reading the book, it caught my attention instantly.
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