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World's #1 Blog Platform designed for book bloggers, reviewers, writers - all Book Lovers. Your Reading Life. Redesigned. 

Discover Books and Plan Your Reading with Reading Lists

 

Who doesn’t like reading lists? They are great to discover new titles, plan your reading ahead, and help complete reading challenges. So... don't wait up. Create your reading lists and schedule your reading with your friends' listings.

 

Each BookLikes member can create a reading list, compare books on the list with the titles on the shelf and sign up to a given list. 

 

The new section, Reading Lists, can be found in the main menu just under the Book Catalog. Creating a list is easy as a book search: add your list's title and select books.

 

 

If you like the list, you can check how many books have you already read from the list and sign up to complete it. 

 

 

 

The new Reading List page will show several views: lists added by you, the most recently created lists, lists added by people you follow, and your friends' picks.

 

The list directory will help you to explore trending lists and decide where to start your reading, and what to read to finish up your annual reading challenge

 

 

If you decide to create a private list, the listing will be visible only to you, other members won't be able to look it through or sign up. 

 

 

The following quote from T.S. Eliot is perfect for today:

I love reading another reader’s list of favorites. Even when I find I do not share their tastes or predilections, I am provoked to compare, contrast, and contradict. It is a most healthy exercise, and one altogether fruitful.

 

Author Talks: Lauren B. Davis, Part Two

 

It's time for the second part of the interview with author Lauren B. Davis. Are you ready for great book recommendations, quotes and advice for aspiring writers? Let's get started. 

 

If you missed the first part of the interview, go here: Author Talks: Lauren B. Davis, Part One

 

 

 

You write mainly literary fiction. Do you read books from the same literary genre?

 

I read just about everything.  Literary, memoir, thriller, essays, history, fantasy, poetry, horror – in fact I just finished a marvelous collection of horror short stories called Lake Monsters of North America by Nathan Ballingrud, in which all the monsters are really some psychological aspect of the characters’.  

 

I care not a fig about genre limitations; I care only about great writing.

 

 

Do you read books during your writing process? Do they influence your work?

 

I read masses for research.  Against a Darkening Sky demanded a very long reading list, well over a hundred books.  But apart from that, I don’t ever stop reading.  My Best Beloved laughs at me, since I always have a book by the bathroom sink, to read while brushing my teeth, applying body lotion and drying my hair.  Short stories are excellent bathroom reads.  

 

Does my reading influence my work?  I hope so, since I love reading writers I admire.  

 

 

What are you working on right now?

 

My novel, Against A Darkening Sky, will be out with HarperCollins Canada and ChiZine Publication (US) in April 2015, and so I'm fiddling around with the last bits of that.  

 

All the major editorial work has been done, but there are always last minute things, and the cover and publicity and so forth.  It's an exciting phase, and at the same time utterly psychosis-inducing, while one waits. . . the book is set in 7th century Northumbria and is the story of Wilona, a seeress and healer whose life and way of being in the world are threatened by the coming of Christianity; and Egan, a young monk from Eire whose visions may have brought him to Christ, but whose experience of the sacred puts him at odds with the Roman church.  

 

It's full of magic and mystery, and explores what happens when one’s experience and beliefs clash with those of the people in power.  It was great fun to research, and involve a trip to England that My Best Beloved refers to as The Angle-Saxon Forced March Northwards.  You can read a little bit about it here and here and here and here.  Hard to believe it's really been six years since that trip.  Books take a long time to write.

 

I'm also completing a third draft of another novel, called (for the moment) The Grimoire.  This one's inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen as well as the deaths of my brothers (they both committed suicide, which I've written about here.) I can't say much more about it just yet, as I haven't handed it off to my agent.  But I will say that it involves a woman who is the guardian of a bookstore no one goes into unless they are fated to do so and the name of the bookshop is The Grimoire.  I suspect this mirrors my belief that readers find the stories they're meant to find.

 

I'm also making preliminary notes on another novel, about which I cannot speak.  It's quite dangerous, I find, to talk about a novel until at least the first draft is out.  If I talk about it, it diffuses the energy of the words on the page.  I've watched in horror as a book or two slipped through my careless fingers this way.

 

On top of that, I'm working on two short stories.  I can't talk about them at all, since they are still so unformed. I just got back from the 13th Annual International Short Story Conference in English (the longest name in conferences), and I have a head full of stories all pushing and shoving and trying to get out.

 

 

You run a writers workshop - this sounds like a hard work and a lot of fun. What have You learnt during your workshops?

 

Teaching keeps me connect to craft, and it gives me a community of writers.  Having to explain to an emerging writer why their piece isn’t working forces me to consider the same things about my own work!  

 

And I also enjoy reading books about the craft and preparing the lecture notes – all that contributes to my own development as a writer. Besides, it’s inspiring to see emerging writers improve, to watch their work take shape and mature.  

 

 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

 

If you can NOT write, you should probably do that.  But if you MUST write, then approach it as a concert violist approaches music, or an Olympic athlete sport; in other words, expect to study long and hard and practice long and hard.

 

Don’t be in a big rush to publish. I know it feels urgent, but it’s not. There’s time, and publishing too early, before the work is ready, can be so discouraging you might never publish again. Then who knows what might have been lost because you rushed.  It’ll say it again: study your craft.  Practice.  

 

Focus on the writing, not on the publishing.  Publishing is an entirely different beast than writing.  One writes because it is a way of living, a way of processing experience, of making meaning and, at least in my case, of staying sane.  Publishing is business.  

 

And you must read. I can’t tell you how many students come to me and when I ask them what they’re reading, they tell me they don’t like reading.  They are unlikely to become writers. Read. Read. Read.

 

To be a writer, you must be disciplined.  You must get yourself to the page and you must fill the page with words and do that over and over and over again.  There is no magic ritual to help you with this.  It’s your desire, our self-discipline and perseverance that will make the difference.  

 

Expect to edit, edit, revise, revise, revise, often for years.  If a student tells me they only like writing the first draft and then don’t want to be bothered with a story or novel again, just like the person who doesn’t read, they are unlikely to become writers.

 

Lots of people publish books.  Few people are writers. Being a writer is a point of view, a way of being.  Writing is a practice, like meditation or prayer. You have to keep at it day after day, even when it seems like absolutely nothing good is happening. Perhaps especially then. 

 

 

Are you a book collector or a book giver?

 

Collector and recommender. I want people to buy books. It supports authors and publishers.  

 

 

What books won your heart?

Which titles would you recommend?

 

So many wonderful books out there – here’s a smattering of books that have impressed me in the past year or so…

 

  Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.  A debut novel set in Iceland, about the final days of a woman about to be executed for murder.  Yes, it’s dark, but it’s also beautifully written and psychologically complex, drawing the reader in as an active participant to the moral quandary at the novel’s heart.

 

A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon by Anthony Marra.  Another debut novel that introduces a terrific writer.  The setting here is Chechnya and the moral dilemmas are profound.  The point of view ought not to work – digressing as it does for even the minor characters – but it does work, in part because it makes the book much larger than the narrative itself, almost turning it into a work of philosophy, or theology. Impressive.

 

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy – Although I originally read this a very long time ago, it remains one of my favorite books. Perhaps the greatest depiction of the repercussions of untreated alcoholism and the 'dry drunk' I've ever read.

 

The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative By Thomas King --It should certainly be required reading for anyone who cares about stories, First Nations people, history, religion or politics (and particularly the #IdleNoMore Movement).

 

Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese -- A wonderful book. Subtle, profound, deeply moving and beautifully written. It should be on everyone's reading list. He has a new one coming out in 2014, which I can't wait for, and I've another of his books on my to-read list.  What can I say?  I'm a fan.

 

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating: A True Story by Elisabeth Bailey -- As astonishing as it may sound, reading about seriously ill woman finding companionship with a wild snail who lives next to her sick bed is an experience both profound and moving. It is a meditation on life with the microcosm of a gastropod's life serving as the symbol for the majesty, mystery, tenacity and downright lushness of existence itself. A slim volume which is far greater than the number of its pages, it's a book I will no doubt read again. In truth, I became surprisingly attached to the little snail.

 

My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer by Christian Wiman -- This is an utterly astonishing book -- complex, thoughtful, elegiac, Wiman's book of essays are a profound medication on faith and poetry and the search for meaning. 

 

All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West -- Beautiful book. Just as inspiring and relevant today as when it was first published in 1931. 

 

 

 

 A Lost Lady by Willa Cather -- Cather's perfect novel. Not only a portrait of a disturbing, complicated woman, but also a vivid, haunting evocation of a disappearing vision and way of life.

 

The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin - There's no doubt this book will offend some folks, but that's a pity. What a glorious, earthy, REAL woman Toibin has created in this Mary. She's so much more than the bloodless virgin of myth.

 

The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy -- Every library should include a copy of The Death of Ivan Ilyich, every serious reader should read it, at least once. 

 

 

 

Any favorite quotes?

 

Many, but for now, I’ll stick with two:  

 

 

 

 

Thank you Lauren! It was great. 

 

 

You can find books by Lauren B. Davis on Booklikes:

   

 

Read other talks on BookLikes

Author Talks on BookLikes: 

Literary Inspirations of Rayne Hall

Author Talks: Elizabeth Watasin, Part One

Author Talks: Elizabeth Watasin, Part Two

Author Talks: Ned Hayes, Part One

Author Talks: Ned Hayes, Part Two

Author Talks: John Biggs

Author Talks: Lauren B. Davis, Part One

 

Blog Talks on BookLikes: 

Book Blog Talks: Happy Books, Part One

Book Blog Talks: Happy Books, Part Two

Book Blog Talks: The Happy Booker, Part One

Book Blog Talks: The Happy Booker, Part Two

Author Pages on BookLikes & Announcement

Great news for the readers and authors: Author Pages. They are here. BookLikes is happy to present author pages where you can look through author's books (including different language versions), reviews, meet the readers, and find & follow BookLikes Authors. Plus, more new is coming.

 

Let's get started. To go to author page click author’s name in the book pop up.

 

It's always great to get to know the author you enjoy reading.  The Author Page shows a short author's bio with additional information, like other webpage, and, of course, a list of books.

 

There are also new discovery paths on BookLikes. Author Pages present the titles which were shelved most recently on BookLikes, and readers who recently looked up the books. The discovery boxes can be seen on the right. 

 

You can also easily spot what book genres the author is writing in and find other books from these categories (click the category name to go to BookLikes' Book Catalog).

 

 

 

Author pages of BookLikes Authors also present a link to their blog on BookLikes. You can easily find and follow them to stay up to date with their reading and writing. And we're preparing more special features so don't go far. 

 

 

 

If you wish to see more books by a given author or shelve a book in a different language click see all books on the main Author Page to view all the titles with the language filterBookLikes' author page will present you the books in eight language versions: English, German, Dutch, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian.

 

 

 

The information on the author pages will be updated gradually, and we're in the middle   of works on new options, like new search via author name, and new features for BookLikes Authors so it's definitely worth to stay close :)

 

If you notice that some data should be corrected, let us know at bookfix@booklikes.com.

 

 

Announcement:

 

Get ready for Monday reading! On Monday BookLikes will be down for maintenance for several hours. Don't worry and don't go far. We'll be back packed with new energy and ready for new book adventures.

Author Talks: Lauren B. Davis, Part One

 

Please welcome author Lauren B. Davis in BookLikes' Author Talks. 

 

Lauren talks about her writing process and the book inspirations, she reveals when she grabs an e-reader and when she prefers a paper book. She also invites us to her reading & writing spots, and speaks about book love in French.

 

Lauren B. Davis is an author of The Empty Room, Our Daily Bread, The Radiant City  & The Stubborn Season. You can find her on BookLikes, where she confess I read as if my sanity depended upon it.. . . oh, wait, it does! 

Find and follow her BookLikes blog here: LAUREN B. DAVIS

 

 

Have you always dreamt of becoming a writer? How did it all start? 

 

 

The only thing I’ve ever wanted to be was a writer, and it’s the only thing I’m even reasonably good at.  I wrote as a child, wrote APPALLING poetry in my teens and twenties, which was wisely rejected by the best literary magazines and tried to write fiction in my early thirties.  Then my writing stalled when I finished up my career as an alcoholic.  

 

Once I got sober in my late thirties I started writing pieces that were actually publishable.  I published a collection of short stories first, and have published six other books (soon to be seven in April, 2015), since then.



 

What books and writers inspired you to become a full-time writer?

 

 

Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, which is perhaps the greatest depiction of the repercussions of untreated alcoholism and the 'dry drunk' I've ever read; James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, with all its moral desperation and linguistic pyrotechnics (okay, I now recognize some of that as being the product of too much booze, but the center still holds), and Gabrielle Roy’s The Tin Flute, which explores poverty, love, war, and Montreal, with enormous emotional impact, but without sentimentality…among hundreds of others.

 

      

 


Now you live in the U.S. but you were born in Canada, and spend over a decade in France. How did this influence your life and your writing?

 

Well, new experiences always inform one’s writing, as do new cultures and perspectives.

 

I suspect I went to France thinking my views of the world were fairly well-formed and solid, yet I had my beliefs challenged nearly every day.  Why did I believe the things I did?  Why did I not know other things?  The gaps in my education, in my world-view, became apparent and made me look around me more, made me explore the world with a more observant eye, which is crucial for a writer.

 

I also got sober the second year we moved to France, after spending the first year at the bottom of a bottle, not writing much of anything.  Getting sober changed everything – for the better – including my writing.  I’m quite sure not only would I not be writing today (and certainly not publishing) if I hadn’t gotten sober, I probably wouldn’t be alive.  

 

 

Your most recent work is titled The Empty Room. We can read on your website: I also frequently question what might have happened to me had I not stopped drinking. Writing this novel must have been challenging. Can you tell our readers more about the writing process?

 

Actually, it was the least challenging book to write of all my books. It is partly autobiographical, although much of it is pure fiction, so it took no research.  

 

The overwhelming emotion during writing was one of gratitude.  I was so close to ending up where Colleen, the protagonist of the novel, ended up – in that terrible, hollow place of craving and loneliness and self-loathing.

 

 

The titles of your books sound very symbolic. How do you pick the titles for your novels?  

 

I suppose they are. I choose titles from poems, as I did for The Stubborn Season, a novel about the tyranny of living with someone with mental illness, set in the 1930s, which comes from T.S. Eliot’s poem, The Song of Simeon; or from some other work, as with The Radiant City, the ironic title of my second novel, set in Paris, which refers to Corbusier’s unrealized vision of the ideal city.  

 

     

 

Our Daily Bread is again ironic, pointing to the religious intolerance that led to the shunning of the main characters.

 

The Empty Room references what we alcoholics in recovery call “the God-shaped hole” in the center of the alcoholic’s soul.  My new novel, coming out in April 2015, is called Against a Darkening Sky.  It’s set in the 7th century in Northumbria, England. The title comes directly out of the text, and is a symbol for the forces, both cultural and religious, gathering against a woman who serves the old gods of the wild wood.

 

 

 

How do you say “I love books” in French?

 

J'aime les livres et c'est vrai dans n'importe quelle langue.



What are you reading right now?

 

The Summer House, a trilogy by Alice Thomas Ellis; Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas, Teaching Will by Mel Rayne, and The Good Lord Bird by James McBride.

 

        

 

 

Paper books or e-books? Why?

 

Depends on what sort of book, and where I am.  Paper if it’s short stories – for some reason I can’t read short stories or essays on an e-reader.  I do read a lot on an e-reader, and exclusively if I’m traveling, but I find if I really LOVE a book, I then buy a paper copy for my bookshelves.  

 

I don’t retain the total sense of a book unless I have the actual object for some reason, so if a book is important to me, I often end of buying it twice.  Sort of a bookseller’s dream reader.  Snort.  

 

 

What's your favorite writing and reading spot?

(our readers would love to see some photos ;-) )


With dog, fire, cup of tea and Best Beloved is best.  Here’s are some photos, taken by My Best Beloved, which is why he’s not in any of them.  

 

My library and office

 

Another view of the office, with Bailey (the Rescuepoo) and my most recent novel.

(He reads, of course.)

 

Bailey in a living room reading nook.

 

And at a cabin in Vermont.

 

 

The second part of the interview will be full of book recommendations from Lauren. You can't miss it!  

 

You can find books by Lauren B. Davis on BookLikes:

   

 

 

Read other talks on BookLikes

Author Talks on BookLikes:  

Literary Inspirations of Rayne Hall

Author Talks: Elizabeth Watasin, Part One

Author Talks: Elizabeth Watasin, Part Two

Author Talks: Ned Hayes, Part One

Author Talks: Ned Hayes, Part Two

Author Talks: John Biggs

Author Talks: Lauren B. Davis, Part One

 

Blog Talks on BookLikes: 

Book Blog Talks: Happy Books, Part One

Book Blog Talks: Happy Books, Part Two

Book Blog Talks: The Happy Booker, Part One

Book Blog Talks: The Happy Booker, Part Two

Connecting the Dots - Book Categories on Book Pages & Free Ebooks

 

We’re connecting the dots and creating the book bonds. Now you can easily find new books from your favorite literary genre.

 

No more blind book dates with free ebooks. BookLikes’ recent release Free ebooks in the Daily Deals section has just received a list of categories. You can search the Kindle ebooks via literary genres and pick those which match your reading preference. 

 



The book pages has also received the information about the literary genres.
Thanks to the new list with book categories you can find other titles from the literary genre that you enjoy. 

 

 

 

When you click on the book category you'll be moved to the Book Catalog where you can discover new releases, most recent reviews and popular books from the chosen genre. 

 

 

 

Tips

 

  • Reading tastes the best when you can share it with others. To find your friend on BookLikes, connect your social media in the Friends tab. You can also search BookLikes community with an email, blog name and username. 

 

  • BookLikes is open for Authors! If you have already requested the Official Author's Profile during the registration process, we'll get back to you with information for BookLikes Authors as soon as possible. 

 

If you didn't request the Author's Official Profile and you're an author on BookLikes, let us know at authors@booklikes.com, we have author features for you, including a verified badge and free promotional opportunities :-)

13 Book Inspired Holiday Destinations

Summer is still on! Where are you traveling now? If you haven't got a clue, these 13 books will show you the way. Plus, they will be a great companion of your summer reading. Let's start an adventure!

 

 

Bolivia

 

Bolivia is named after Simón Bolívar, a leader in the Spanish American wars of independence. The original name was Republic of Bolívar. Some days later, congressman Manuel Martín Cruz proposed: "If from Romulus comes Rome, then from Bolívar comes Bolivia" (Spanish: Si de Rómulo Roma, de Bolívar Bolivia). The name was approved by the Republic on 3 October 1825.[12] In 2009, a new constitution changed the country's name to the Plurinational State of Bolivia in recognition of the multi-ethnic nature of the country. (via

 

Gurglings of a Putrid Stream

The Lost World is a delight -- exciting, witty and humorous, and, best of all, gloriously romantic, a tale from a time when its fantastic premise still seemed almost plausible. The irony, of course, is that it carries with it the particular bane of this sort of romance: science and the belief of man's inherent superiority over nature... read more

 

 

Bear Mountain State Park, USA

 

The park opened June 1913. Steamboats alone brought more than 22,000 passengers to the park that year. Camping at Hessian Lake (and later at Lake Stahahe) was immensely popular; the average stay was eight days and was a favorite for Boy Scouts. By 1914 it was estimated that more than a million people a year were coming to the park. (via)

 

JasonKoivu:

The characters of Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's On the Road are 20th Century equivalents of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer: boys having joyous American adventures. Sal and Dean trip (in more ways than one) back and forth from the east coast to the west, and down south even as far as Mexico, always looking to get their kicks. It's a free-flowing good time perfectly delivered in Kerouac's jazzy beat style... read more

 

 

Verona, Italy

 

Because of the value and importance of its many historical buildings, Verona has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Verona preserved many ancient Roman monuments, no longer in use, in the early Middle Ages, but much of this and much of its early medieval edifices were destroyed or heavily damaged by the earthquake of 3 January 1117, which led to a massive Romanesque rebuilding. (via)

 

sunsetxcocktail:

"A book that makes you cry" 

First thing that comes to me is Romeo & Juliet, no matter what the version, movie or original play, its one that gets me every time. The romance, (even though its technically Shakespearean insta-love) is dreamy,  and the connection is epic... read more

 

 

Ko Phi Phi Leh, Thailand

 

Koh Phi Phi Ley is the second largest island of the archipelago, the largest one being Ko Phi Phi Don. The island consists of a ring of steep limestone hills surrounding 2 shallow bays, the Maya Bay and Loh Samah. Maya Bay is popular for diving, and has become even more popular after the 2000 movie The Beach was filmed there. According to the Lonely Planet's Thailand guidebook, the 2004 tsunami dramatically improved the look of Maya Bay. This was due to the fact that the high waves had cleaned up the beach and removed all the landscaping the Fox production team had added. (via)

 

Bookivorous:

A young traveller in Thailand receives a map  in a backpackers' hostel from a man who kills himself later that night. Richard decides to use the map to find the mysterious beach the man told him about and takes a young French couple with him. But getting to the beach is only the beginning of a story which quickly descends into betrayal and murder... read more

 

 

Romania

 

Romania has a unique culture, which is the product of its geography and of its distinct historical evolution. Like Romanians themselves, it is fundamentally defined as the meeting point of three regions: Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans, but cannot be truly included in any of them. (via)

 

Grumpy Guy's Musings:

Sparkling lovesick tormented emo type, monster killing machines type, and everything in between - this is the book which is solely responsible for most of them. It is loosely based on the characters of Vlad the Impaler, who is now much better known as Dracula the Vampire... read more

 

 

Long Island, USA

 

Long Island has historically been a center for fishing and seafood. This legacy continues in the Blue Point oyster, a now ubiquitous variety that was originally harvested on the Great South Bay and was the favorite oyster of Queen Victoria. Clams are also a popular food and clam digging a popular recreational pursuit, with Manhattan clam chowder reputed to have Long Island origins. (via)

 

Crash My Book Party:

The Great Gatsby is a book you get something different out every time you read it. You get a different perspective or a different understanding, or even a different way of viewing the world, either Gatsby's world or your own. The Great Gatsby is just one of those books I will never tire of reading... read more

 

 

Istanbul to London 

 

On June 5, 1883, the first Express d'Orient left Paris for Vienna. Vienna remained the terminus until October 4, 1883. The train was officially renamed Orient Express in 1891. The original route, which first ran on October 4, 1883, was from Paris, Gare de l'Est, to  Giurgiu in Romania via Munich and Vienna. At Giurgiu, passengers were ferried across the Danube to Ruse, Bulgaria, to pick up another train to Varna. They then completed their journey to Istanbul (then called Constantinople) by ferry. In 1885, another route began operations, this time reaching Istanbul via rail from Vienna to Belgrade and Niš, carriage to Plovdiv and rail again to Istanbul. (via)

 

 

Books, hockey, and a bucketful of snark:

Hey, I grew up in a small English village, so anywhere with more than two shops and a bus-stop was considered exotic, and meant that just about every book I read took me to places far beyond my village boundaries. But though it was small, my village had a library, and I must have borrowed every single one of Agatha Christie's novels... read more

 

 

Spinalonga, Crete

 

According to Venetian documents, the name of the island originated in the Greek expression στην Ελούντα stin Elounda (meaning "to Elounda"). The Venetians could not understand the expression so they familiarized it using their own language, and called it spina "thorn" lunga "long", an expression that was also maintained by the locals. The Venetians were inspired for this expression by the name of an island near Venice called by the same name and which is known today as the island of Giudecca. (via)

 

Book Love:

This book reminded me a lot of "Moloka'i" by Alan Brennert and in some ways I liked it better! There were more characters and relationships, which led to more diverseness. For those of you who were astounded to read about what transpired to those who had leprosy in Hawaii, this book is just as astonishing though the setting is the Greek Isles... read more

 

 

The Congo River, Africa

 

The Congo River in the past also known as the Zaire River) is a river in Africa and the world's deepest river with measured depths in excess of 220 m (720 ft). It is the second largest river in the world by volume of water discharged. (via)

 

Elizabeth:

The opening of the dusky scene of a worn ship at rest on the Thames, the images of the Roman soldiers stationed out at the edge of the Empire, staring into the dark night, waiting for attack, and longing for home. I'm struggling with this. The writing is so wonderful. That first set of images -- but then the story is told again, like the Romans, the story of one man going out to the edge of the empire, into the unknown, and expecting attack at any moment... read more

 

 

La Mancha, Spain

Miguel de Cervantes gave international fame to this land and its windmills when he wrote his novel Don Quixote de La Mancha. Cervantes was making fun of this region, using a pun; a "mancha" was also a stain, as on one's honor, and thus a hilariously inappropriate homeland for a dignified knight-errant. (via)

 

Ironic Contradictions:

Don Quixote is undoubtedly a masterpiece, for it is full of so many wonderful literary techniques as well as one of those works of fiction which have survived for centuries. Yet, despite being centuries old, Don Quixote feels fresh and modern, despite being a work that rambles and ambles on Don Quixote feels shorter than it is in passages and longer than it is in others. It is a great book, because we have said that it is a great book, and fascinatingly it is this power in naming something, in calling it out into the open, that is the main point of discussion within Miguel De Cervantes work of fiction... read more

 

 

The Mamanuca Islands

 

The Mamanuca Islands of Fiji are a volcanic archipelago lying to the west of Nadi and to the south of the Yasawa Islands. The group, a popular tourist destination, consists of about 20 islands, but about seven of these are covered by the Pacific Ocean at high tide. The Mamanuca Islands, just off the coast of Denarau offer crystal clear waters, palm fringed sandy beaches and live coral reefs. (via)

 

LITERARY EXPLORATION ON BOOKLIKES:

When Robinson Crusoe gets shipwrecked on an island, everything changes for him. Now stuck on the island of despair, Crusoe has to learn how to survive. Daniel Defoe’s classic survival novel has been the inspiration for many stories to come. Most people know the story so I won’t go into too much detail summarizing the book... read more

 

 

Saint Petersburg, Russia 

 

There are hundreds of smaller bridges in Saint Petersburg spanning across numerous canals and distributaries of the Neva, some of the most important of which are the Moika, Fontanka, Griboyedov Canal, Obvodny Canal, Karpovkaand Smolenka. Due to the intricate web of canals, Saint Petersburg is often called Venice of the North. The rivers and canals in the city centre are lined with granite embankments. (via)

 

Bookstooge's Reviews On the Road:

I can easily see someone giving this a 2star rating, as it is rambling and about a young, selfish man who murders an old woman just to prove that he can. But the reasons I gave it a 5star are the following: 

1) Excellent writing. Even translated, Dostoyevsky's genius shines through. Descriptions of places, of humans, of human reaction to external and internal stimuli... read more

 

 

Haworth, Yorkshire, UK

 

Haworth railway station is part of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, an authentic preserved steam railway. The 43 miles (69 km) long Brontë Way leads past Lower Laithe Reservoir, Stanbury to the Brontë waterfalls, the Brontë Bridge and the Brontë Stone Chair in which (it is said) the sisters took turns to sit and write their first stories. It then leads out of the valley and up on the moors to Ponden Hall (reputedly Thrushcross Grange in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights) and Top Withens, a desolate ruin which was reputedly the setting for the farmstead Wuthering Heights. (via)

 

PEACE☮lOVE♥BOOKS:

Let's face it, there are plenty of classics I want to read and this list could go on and on but I wanted to list the top 10 I most want to read! I don't read classics as often as I'd like to but I did make a goal to at least read 5 classics this year!... read more

 

 

And what are your dream holiday spots? 

 

 

Source of infographics: Cheapflights

New Book Releases and Free Ebooks

 

It’s time to hit the bookish road with the brand new books. We’re opening new book discover paths on BookLikes: new book releases and free ebooks.

Warning: this can lead to a TBR pile out of control syndrome :-)

 

 

The Book Catalog page received a new book folder with new book releases in 2014. You can look them up using the book category list on the left and shelve new titles published in 2014. 

 

 

 

The second path is even more exciting. The Daily Deals page got a new tab, called Free ebooks. We present here a huge bunch of free Kindle ebooks so get ready for an intensive book hunt! The page is updated daily.

 

 

Happy shelving!

Author Talks: John Biggs

 
 

We're happy to introduce the next guest in BookLikes' Author Talks.

 

John Biggs author of the YA novel Mytro agreed to talk to us about his recently published novel, he reveals how a journalist becomes a writer, and how to use crowdfunding to publish a book. 

   

You can meet and follow John Biggs on BookLikes where he shares his reading and writing passion on blog: John Biggs

 

Plus: you can win Mytro on BookLikes. Read on to know more. 

 

 

 

You’re a busy man, a tech enthusiast, a full­-time journalist, writer at TechCrunch, speaker, blogger, and now a writer. What inspired you to start writing a fiction novel? 
 
I love writing and I love sharing my writing. Journalism is a sprint, but a long fiction book is a marathon. Both have their benefits but, as I get older, I feel the marathon is more rewarding. So I'm trying my hardest to train, write, and build a body of work of which I can be proud.
 
 
Is it difficult for a journalist to become an author of a fiction? 
 
I don't know. I think so. I think the fact that I wrote 10,105 posts on TechCrunch over the past few years is good practice. I've been writing a few thousand words a day for years. It's great experience and it helps with my discipline. It's exhausting, though, and wouldn't recommend it unless you really love to write.
 
 
Recently, you’ve published your first YA novel Mytro. How did the idea of Mytro appear in your head? 
 
I was traveling in Spain a few years ago and we were in the Retiro Park. It's a   beautiful old park on a set of rolling hills surrounded by beautiful old homes (at least that's how I remember it.) We were walking there and passed by a statue of a falling - or fallen - angel. I read the inscription and it turns out it was the only statue of Lucifer ever commissioned for public viewing.
 
It was a chilling sight and I imagined what would be under the statue - a cave, a doorway, a subway station? Suddenly, the name Mytro popped into my head and I fell in love with the idea.
 
It took years for the whole thing to truly gel but once it did all the pieces fell into place.
 
 
Tell us something about Mytro. Why Young Adult? Are action and adventure your fav subjects for your novels?
 
I wanted to give something to my kids. I've been writing for adults - tech nerds, really - for a almost 15 years. Now I wanted to write something for the coolest readers in my life - my eight year old, my five year old, and my two year old. So they, and the rest of the world, got Mytro.
 
 
You’ve decided to try crowdfunding for Mytro. The book is out so we know it went well. Can you tell our readers more about the process and the outcome. 
 
I was very lucky. I had good friends at Indiegogo and lots of great readers on TechCrunch. They helped push the funding way past my goal. I also learned how to lay out and publish my own ebooks and paperbacks. That was a hard job.
 
Building a book is amazingly messy and frustrating. But it can be done. I also learned that schedules slip and I feel bad that a lot of my readers are waiting for the 3D printed trains I promised. They'll be getting them soon! I swear!
 
 
Would you recommend publishing books with crowdfunding? What are the pros and cons? 
 
I would, if you have an audience. If you don't you'll probably be disappointed.
 
I think, in order, you should first get really good at writing. Then try to find an agent. If you don't like the publishing world, do it yourself on Kindle, and finally crowdfund once you're popular. 
 
Crowdfunding is a very powerful engine but there's nothing like seeing your donations come up zero at the end of the day.
 
 
In your opinion, is crowdfunding the future of the publishing, an answer / complement to self-­publishing? 
 
It's a complement. It's not quite the future unless we're talking about paper books and especially artistic or difficult books that require resources. I could see, for example, crowdfunding a very complex book about history or politics as well as a detailed autobiography. I could also see crowdfunding a travel book.
 
Why do publishers pay advances? To cover expenses. That's why, if you don't get a good advance, you can lose money writing a book. It's awful.
 
 
Can you reveal to our readers what are you working on right now?  
 
I'm working on a New York fantasy called More Gods Than Men and a mystery about a Polish tailor called The Tailor of Optimist Street. When I'm done with those, I have to finish the Mytro trilogy.
 
 
Can you tell us something about your writing process? 
 
I sit down and I write. I try to write at least 1,000 words of fiction a day, sometimes more. There is no secret to it. You make the time and you do it.
 
It's like asking how a marathon runner trains - she doesn't, she just runs every day, without fail, and knows that if she stops she'll suffer for it. 
 
 
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 
 
Always be writing. Get your stuff out there. Put it on a blog. Don't get confused by social media. Social media is useless. It doesn't help you sell anything nor does it help you gain a following. I've had people with a million Twitter followers mention me on the Internet and it got me absolutely zero in return. Gain a following on a site frequented by nice people and write for them. Then write a book. Then publish that book. Rinse. Repeat.
 
Use Scrivener to write. It's an app for long-form writers. It helps immensely when you're building a story.
 
Also keep a file of "sparks." Have it always available, anywhere you are. You can even use a notebook for this, if you like paper. But the key is to always have it with you. This is the place to jot down notes for future projects. You'll soon discover that there are hundreds of things floating in your head that could be great books. 
 
 
 
 
What are you reading right now?
 
Under the Skin by Michel Faber. 
 
 
What books won your heart?
Which titles would you recommend? 
 
I like a lot of books. My favorite book is probably Catcher In The Rye and I really liked American Gods by Neil Gaiman.
 
For a long time I couldn't read fiction so I read a lot of non-fiction. I really like histories, especially the Story of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant. It's a sprawling series of histories and I listen to them while I run. They are so full of amazing stories and explanations that I've been grabbing the best ones in a text file for later research.
    
 
Paper books or e­books? Why? 
 
E-books. I don't like carrying paper books anymore. They're nice to hold and smell and touch, but reading them is a pain.
 
 
Any favorite quotes?
 
I like Neil Gaiman's.
 
1. Write
2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
 
There are five more rules - you can find them yourself - but those are the most important ones.
 
Also try to be happy and try to be kind. The world gives you stories when you are.
 
(pic source: Brain Pickings)
 
 
What's your favorite writing and reading spot?
(our readers would love to see some photos ;-) ) 

Anywhere my computer is. I have a nice attic space at home in Brooklyn where I can stand and walk on a treadmill but I travel so much that I'm rarely there in the summer. And I tend to read on planes or in bed.
 
This is my space right now in Warsaw. It is an absolute mess, which is just how I like it! 
 
 
 
Thank you, John. It was a real pleasure. 
 
And here's a candy from John Biggs to BookLikes bloggers: Mytro Giveaway! You can't miss it! Enter to win:
 
 
 
You can find books by John Biggs on BookLikes:
        
 

 

Read other talks on BookLikes

Author Talks on BookLikes: 

Literary Inspirations of Rayne Hall

Author Talks: Elizabeth Watasin, Part One

Author Talks: Elizabeth Watasin, Part Two

Author Talks: Ned Hayes, Part One

Author Talks: Ned Hayes, Part Two

 

Blog Talks on BookLikes: 

Book Blog Talks: Happy Books, Part One

Book Blog Talks: Happy Books, Part Two

Book Blog Talks: The Happy Booker, Part One

Book Blog Talks: The Happy Booker, Part Two

New Ways to Explore Books on BookLikes

 

Now you can discover books that people on BookLikes are talking about, reviewing and shelving. The BookLikes Book Catalog is open!

 

 

The entrance to the Book Catalog is in the main menu, just under the Explore. Our new page presents recent book activities and bookshelf updates of BookLikes Community and your friends.

 

Explore books

 

 

We’ve listed several discovery paths which include the most recent updates in the following areas:

 

  • recently added reviews
  • new books added to your bookshelves
  • most popular and looked up books
  • top wish-listed titles
  • what’s on your currently reading shelves right now
  • the highest rated books by people you follow

 

Explore books

 

 

 

You can look the books up in the particular categories listed on the left, to view more categories, click see more

 

Book Catalog

 


The next steps include adding new book discovery paths, like presenting all book lists in a given category, new releases, and more.

 

Let us know in the comments below what kind of discovery paths would you like to follow :-)

Add Re-Read Dates to Your Books on BookLikes

 

It’s time to re-read some books! Now you can add as many read dates to your books as your wish. What’s more, your BookLikes Reading Challenge will include the re-read titles, and your reading history will be presented on a book page and on your shelf. 

 

 

Read dates can be added in +Shelf advanced and in your shelf table view.

 

 

 

To add more dates, click add a new date, insert the started and finished reading dates and Save.

 

 

 

The book on your Shelf will receive a re-read icon. Once you press it, you’ll see all your dates, you can easily update them and add new ones. 

 

 

 

You can view your reading history in the Shelf table view and on the book page. The books with multiple read dates will be also counted to your BookLikes Reading Challenge. 

 

 

 

P.S. The following card seems to be perfect for today's release :) Let's do it!

Write a Book Review from Your BookLikes Shelf

 

When it’s time for a book review start writing it from your Shelf! We’ve added a shortcut for writing the book review in your Shelf table view.

 

Now when you click add review in the My Review column in the table view you’ll see all writing post options.

 

Bookshelf Table View

 

 

When you choose a post type, you’ll be moved to a writing box; the book cover and your rating stars will be attached. This will help you to plan and manage your book reviews on your BookLikes webpage. 

 

Write a book review

 

 

Updates

 

Following your request we've updated the book popup on Dashboard. Now the book window will be visible once you click on the book cover; this update will be visible both on your computers, and the mobile devices. 

 Add a book to your bookshelf

 

 

This will help you to add a book to your bookshelf (+Shelf, advanced options) and write a post (+Post), you can also go straight to a book page where you can view community reviews and bloggers who have already shelved the book. 

 

Book page

 

 

 

photo source: via

How to Write a Review With a Book From Your Bookshelf

A search from your bookshelf option is back. Now while writing a post you can easily find a book from your shelf and attach it to your review, and any other kind of a post. 

 

Choose a post template: text, photo, quote, link, url, and go to a writing box. Use a search box, and write a book title or author. If you want to check whether a given title is on your Shelf, press Search o my shelf on the right.

 

In the search on my shelf option, use a book title OR author's name to find a shelved book. 

 

If the title is on your shelf, you'll be given a book edition straight from your shelf as a search result. The green marker on the left indicates that this book edition is on your shelf. 

 

 

Click the book and start writing :) The book review will be attached to the edition on your shelf, and the link to your review will be added to your shelf table view. You can attach 10 books to a single post.

 

Tips

 

You can also write a post straight from your Shelf. Hover over the book cover, click +Post and choose a post type. 

 

New Ways to Reach Books and the BookLikes Team

 

We've prepared three updates today. And all of them consider books. Firstly, we've added a new way to display the book window with +Shelf and +Post options. Secondly, you can go to a book page from two places. Finally, you can easily reach the BookLikes team and send us a book info report. 

 

 

1. To add a book to your bookshelf, hover over the book cover. 

 

 

Once you hover mouse over the image, the book window with all shelving options will appear:

 

If you still don't see a book window when you hover over the cover, please refresh the page or clear your cache memory.

 

 

2. Now you can go to a book page from two spots:

 

  1. book window - click Book page in a book window;
  2. by clicking the book cover -- when you click the cover (on Dashboard, your Shelf, Blog) you'll be moved to a book page of this edition.

 

 

 

3. This leads us to the final update: the book info report visible on BookLikes' book pages.

 

 

The Book Info Report button will allow you to reach our team and inform us what information should be updated on the book page. 

 

 

 

If you notice that a book needs to be fixed or updated, please click Report, choose one of the possible options and send it to us. You can also add additional information in the comment box, e.g. a link to other editions (if the book needs to be combined). We'll sort out all the issues.

 

 

 

photo source: via

Advanced Shelving on the Book Pages and How to Change the Book Edition on your Shelf

Shelf

 

The +Shelf button has received the Advanced option with all the shelving possibilities. You can also change the editions of your titles on your Shelf. 

 

All book windows have received a new look and advanced shelving options. To view all the options, click +Shelf and select Advanced at the bottom.

 

add to bookshelf

 

Then you'll be able to use all available options for the particular status: Read (reading dates and rating stars), Currently Reading (reading dates and progress), Planning to Read.

 

You can also edit/add shelves and new reading statuses, and add a private note. Additionally, you can shelve the book on a wishlist, as a favorite and private (the book will be visible only to you). Remember to Save all the changes. 

 

add to bookshelf

 

Updates

 

If you notice that there is a wrong edition on your Shelf, you can change it. Go to the Goodies Edition Change tab where you'll see a list of your books.

 

The entrance to Edition Change tool is on the Goodies page and on the Shelf Settings page.

 

bookshelf settings

 

Use a search box to find a desirable title, click Change, write the title and select the book.

 

book editions

 

 

Once you select the title, you'll see available editions. Choose a desirable book edition. When you accept the change the book will be updated on your Shelf and in your posts and reviews.

 

book editions

 

The Edition Change tool works only for books on your Shelf.

 

 

If you want to add a new book to your bookshelf, use the upper search box and add a book via book window or a book page. To search other editions, use ISBN or go to Other Editions page on the books page. 

 

book editions

 

If you notice that a book needs to be fixed, updated or combined, please do let us know at a special book fix email: bookfix@booklikes.com 

New on Book Pages: Community Reviews and Who Shelved the Book

Book Reviews

New things have just popped up on the BookLikes book pages. Now you can look through BookLikes Community reviews and discover who has added the book to the bookshelf. 

 

To view the reviews, please go to a Book Page and click Community Reviews headline. 

 

 

 

Then you'll be moved to the BL Community Review page where you can sort the book reviews by the publish date, the rating stars, the popularity, and the language. 

 

Book Reviews

 

 

When you go back to the Book Page, you'll see a new box on the right. It's titled On shelves and presents the BookLikes bloggers who have shelved the book. Click the box's heading to see all people who read, are currently reading or are planning to read this title. It's also a great way to discover other bloggers and meet the readers with a similar reading taste. 

 

Book on shelves

 

Updates & Tips

 

- We've updated the sort by author option on your shelves. The sorting works by last name of the first author. 

 

- We're working now on tools which will help you to switch a book on your shelf to a desirable edition. The works on the book moderators features are also in progress. Thank you for your patience and contribution, and sorry for any book troubles.

 

We're open 24/7 and ready to help you out with all kinds of issue. If you notice that a book needs to be fixed or combined, please do let us know at a special book fix mail: bookfix@booklikes.com

 

You can also use the Need help box on the left (we receive and answer to all the messages), or leave a note is the discussion room: Database Errors

 

Please address all the messages concerning the book database to the email  bookfix@booklikes.com or choose one of the other mentioned places. It will help us a lot. Thank you. 

 

You can also contact our Team with any general questions and suggestions at contact@booklikes.com

Happy Friday the 13th! Meet Good Luck Black Cats

It's Friday the 13th! Again! It's perfect time to remind you good luck black cats :)

 

Whether you believe in Friday 13th bad luck or not, we wish you all the best and all the luck. Btw, we think the superstition about the bad luck black cats was made up by the white cats' gang. Just look at those pics!

 

Stamp your feet via Lenore on BookLikes 

 

Reading lesson via Lenore on BookLikes 

 

The Sleepyhead via Tina Sandevska on BookLikes

 

Smart one via

 

Just sitting via 

 

 

and sitting via

 

and still sitting via

 

Come, sit by via

 

Mark Twain’s vintage cat Bambino via

 

Lucky 13 via

 

Comma cat via Tina Sandevska on BookLikes 

 

 

And if you wish to read some cat books have a look at the collection of several reads featuring cats found by Kagama -The Literaturevixen.

 

        

 

Happy Friday the 13th and good luck! ;-)

 

P.S. Watch out! Zombie kittens are waiting. 

furry zombies via Musings of NerdyNatasha on BookLikes 

 

 

Originally posted on BookLikes Blog: December 13, 2013, updated June 13, 2014.