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10 blankets to curl up under with a book

Since we know you love reading on a comfy couch, we bet these lovely bookish blankets will come in handy. Curl up, grab a book and create your own 24/7 cozy reading nook. Which one would be your pick for a reading night?

 

Feel free to post books of your choice that would make a perfect match for these blankets :)

 

1. Library Book Shelves Throw Blanket

For those who love showing the book spines of the book series.

 

Try it with Red Queen series:

Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard Glass Sword (Red Queen) - Victoria Aveyard King's Cage (Red Queen) - Victoria Aveyard  

         

 

2. Big Books, Pajamas,Quiet, Wine Blue Throw Blanket

For those who love saying a weekend statement loud and clear.

 

Let's read these big books under it:

Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell  The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas  Jane Eyre - Q.D. Leavis,Charlotte Brontë  

          

 

3. Bibliobules Definite Fleece Blanket

For those who read too much. Wait, what?!?

 

More books to read underneath:

All the Birds in the Sky - Charlie Jane Anders The Light Between Oceans: A Novel - M.L. Stedman The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, Book 4) - Maggie Stiefvater

        

 

4. Mermaid tail blanket

For those who'd like to feel a little bit of magic.

 

This one calls for the siren stories:

Siren - Tricia Rayburn Of Poseidon - Anna Banks Elegy - Amanda Hocking

           

 

5. Sleeved blanket

For those who love reading in bed. And in gloves...

 

These gloves are perfect for the crime stories:

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd: A Flavia de Luce Novel - Alan Bradley The Trespasser: A Novel - Tana French Fool Me Once - Harlan Coben

         

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6. Bedtime stories blanket

For those whose TBR pile has just ended. That really happens?

 

Let's read 2017 releases under  it:

Carve the Mark - Veronica Roth The Winds of Winter - George R.R. Martin Caraval - Stephanie G. Garber

         

 

7. Arm-knitted throw blanket

For all those who love romantic books and huge cozy blankets.

 

Some lovely stories ready to be read:

The Help - Kathryn Stockett Me Before You - Jojo Moyes The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

        

 

8. Personalized love story blanket

For those who love reading in a duet.

 

Let's get emotional with those letters:

Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald - F. Scott Fitzgerald,Zelda Fitzgerald,Jackson R. Bryer,Cathy W. Barks Jane Austen's Letters - Deirdre Le Faye,Jane Austen 84, Charing Cross Road - Helene Hanff

         

 

9. Grande punto blanket.

For those who love grande punto. Looks so chic, stylish and comfy!

 

Let's stay classy with these books:

Fifty Dresses That Changed the World - Design Museum,Michael Czerwinski Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution - Caroline Weber Royal Style: A History of Aristocratic Fashion Icons - Luise Wackerl

         

 

10. Book baby blanket.

For those who plan on passing a book love gene to their children.

 

Literary bites for big and small book lovers:

Charlotte's Web - E.B. White,Garth Williams,Rosemary Wells The Cat in the Hat - Dr. Seuss A Little Princess and the Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

         

 

P.S. The headline photo is a Read a book blanket

Book Love Story: Why I love writing books

 

It's all about love during the Valentine's Week. So far we've read about book love from the reader's perspective but let's change that with the last story in our project. It's high time to look at the storytelling from the writer's point of view. We've invited author Ned Hayes to present his book love story.

 

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A guest post by Ned Hayes

 

 

Storytelling as a Calling: A Book Love blog post

 

by Ned Hayes



          Storytelling is a calling: we manufacture meaning out of events through the act of storymaking. After all, the human experience doesn’t really make sense on a day to day basis. Story is a fabric laid transparent over the bumps and bricks of random occurrence, a map showing the past and the future. It is as if we weave a web of story, from inside ourselves, like a spider, and live in it, and call it world.

         I believe that story is in fact all powerful in our lives. To be truly human is to tell stories. Without stories – without that rhythm of beginning, middle, and end, without that hopefulness of meaning being given by seeing the pattern of a story – I believe that we become less than human. I believe that storytelling is what makes us human. We are homo storytelli or homo sinificans, the storytelling creature.

         This idea of the importance of storytelling was first brought to my attention by the wonderful little book The Dark Interval: towards a theology of story, by John Dominic Crossan. The critic Frank Kermode also wrote a book called The Genesis of Secrecy: on the interpretation of narrative that made an early impact on me. And finally, Annie Dillard’s book Living by Fiction also influenced my ideas about what was possible in fiction.

 

The Dark Interval: Towards a Theology of Story - John Dominic Crossan The Genesis of Secrecy: On the Interpretation of Narrative (Chas Eliot Norton Lecture) - Frank Kermode Living by Fiction - Annie Dillard

 

          Today, I write stories because they give me a way to make sense of the world. The world is a complex place, so I don’t restrict myself to one genre or one style. I’ve now written three novels that have ranged across the spectrum of storytelling, from mystery to historical fiction to young adult literary fiction.

 

The Eagle Tree - Ned Hayes Sinful Folk - Ned Hayes,Nikki McClure Coeur d'Alene Waters Preview - Ned Hayes  

 

          In telling stories, I can also help others to also make sense of this often-confusing and often frustrating world as well. The web I weave can be of use to many people. I’ve discovered this to be true most recently through talking to readers of my bestselling novel The Eagle Tree. In this novel, a young boy on the autistic spectrum wrestles to bring together his disintegrating family as he strives to climb an old growth tree. He is trying to make sense of his reality, and in this poignant and difficult story, he finds a great meaning and purpose for his life.

          I thought The Eagle Tree  was a unique and unusual story. Yet what I’ve been happily surprised by is that many readers have written me to tell me that I successfully captured part of their story of life on the autistic spectrum. They have said to me that I have “told their story” or that my story “helped to show that my son’s life makes sense.” I’ve also been told by other readers that the difficulty of interacting with a family member who has development or neurological differences are described with authenticity and with compassion. They found meaning this book as well. My small words helped to give hope to their experience and made their stories matter. The Eagle Tree  is a story that brought meaning to their lives.

        Yet along with authenticity, there’s one other duty that novelists have: Entertainment.

          “The first duty of the novelist is to entertain,” says Donna Tart, the bestselling author of the smash hit The Goldfinch and The Secret History. “It is a moral duty. People who read your books are sick, sad, traveling, in the hospital waiting room while someone is dying.”

 

The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt The Secret History - Donna Tartt The Little Friend - Donna Tartt

 

          Entertainment = storytelling as a moral duty. We have the deep and meaningful charge to write something that’s entertaining. We are not allowed to tell a boring or meaningless story. Our stories must be interesting, must be inventive, must – in the end – be entertaining to our readers.

          Entertainment sometimes gets a bad rap. People think it’s a waste of time. Yet entertainment need not be shallow. Storytelling as entertainment doesn’t need to be meaningless. We don’t have to create something false like The Transformers – because a story like The Hunger Games  or 1984  is equally entertaining, yet contains deeper truths and gives insight along with its momentum. Entertainment means delivering a tale that can lift us out of our present reality and give us a vision of something beyond our mundane reality. A good story tells the truth, and carries us along on a tide of hope and insight.

          This is why I like to read fantasy, horror and science-fiction. These genres don’t hide their attempts to entertain: these types of books wear their badges of entertainment on their sleeves, plain for all to see. Even the covers of these books communicate their intent, with their spaceships and unicorns and fantastic sorceries. Some of my favorite fantastical and horrific stories include John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Garth Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy, The Ritual  by Adam Nevill, and Tim Power’s The Stress of Her Regard.

 

Paradise Lost - John Leonard,John Milton The Ritual - Adam Nevill The Stress of Her Regard - Tim Powers

 

          In the science-fiction realm, I also have special favorites. Some of the stories I admire the most in these areas include The Sheep Look Up, by John Brunner, Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler, and Downbelow Station  by C.J. Cherryh and of course, many books by Ursula Le Guin, most notably The Left Hand of Darkness.

 

The Sheep Look Up - John Brunner Parable of the Sower - Octavia E. Butler Downbelow Station - C.J. Cherryh The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin

 

          All the books I’ve named above provide wonderful entertainment while providing deeper insight. Yet the charge we bear to entertain goes beyond the simple affectations of fantasy and spaceships. As storytellers, we have a moral charge to give our readers a removal from the world, an escape hatch into a new way of thinking. Even literary fiction must entertain – it must deliver some insight and tale that lifts the quotidian events of our lives into a higher mythical and hyper-realistic realm. The story must move us.

          I found this truth brought home to me when I wrote my second novel Sinful Folk. The famous literary agent Jenny Bent read the first draft and told me “This is beautiful writing, but there’s not enough real storytelling here.” So over the course of one year after I received Ms. Bent’s feedback, I rewrote the entire book to bring my characters from just a land of beautiful (yet un-entertaining) prose into a story that was worth the telling. To learn how to tell an entertaining piece of historical fantasy, I went back and re-read some of the masters of historical fiction, especially those who wrote about the medieval period.

          The books that most influenced my approach to historical storytelling included Morality Play by Barry Unsworth, Ella March Chase’s The Virgin Queen's Daughter, Brenda Vantrease’s The Illuminator, Kathryn Le Veque’s The Warrior Poet  and Karen Maitland’s The Owl Killers.

 

Morality Play - Barry Unsworth The Virgin Queen's Daughter - Ella March Chase The Illuminator - Brenda Rickman Vantrease

The Warrior Poet - Kathryn Le Veque The Owl Killers - Karen Maitland

 

          The story that I re-wrote as the novel Sinful Folk  was finally published. It had become a heartfelt and harrowing tale that moved my main character – a fourteenth century woman – from a place of peril and heartbreak through great danger until she achieved the heights of power and privilege. My character changed over the course of the novel, transforming from fearful subterfuge into a driven, motivated heroine who conquered the High Court of England. I changed the book into a real story. And when Sinful Folk was finally published, it was described by New York Times bestselling author Brenda Vantrease herself as a “A pilgrim tale worthy of Chaucer, delivered by a master storyteller” and received starred reviews in BookList, BookNote and many other publications.

          In fact, all of the authors I list above -- whose work I read as inspiration – ended up endorsing the novel Sinful Folk (with the exception of Barry Unsworth, who had unfortunately passed away just before I published my novel).

 

          I think this love of authentic tales that entertain goes back to my childhood, when I found myself alone much of the time. And alone with only a good book to read. So books became my companions and my friends. Donna Tartt points out that “Books are written by the alone for the alone.” C.S. Lewis said “I read to know that I am not alone.” This is true of every reader. We read to connect with other human perspectives, to know those voices and embrace those souls. We also read to be accompanied by other voices in our solitary trek through time.

          When I was a child, the books that brought me companionship included Mischief in Fez by Eleanor Hoffman, Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea Trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings  and finally, a story I’ve re-read many times – the deep and meaningful Watership Down, by Richard Adams.

 

Mischief in Fez - Eleanor Hoffmann,Fritz Eichenberg A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien Watership Down - Richard Adams

 

         Hoffman’s work brought me into other worlds, and showed me possibilities beyond my ken. Le Guin demonstrated the power of brevity in telling a fascinating tale, while Tolkien showed that fantasy could tell deeper truths, even while being tremendously entertaining. Adams continues to show me – every time I read him – that deep and powerful stories lie all around us, even in the lives of rabbits and seagulls, and that all we have to do is pay attention. The web of story surrounds us: all we have to do is open our eyes. Today, the tales told in these stories still resound in my dreams, and still are echoed in the books I write today.

         Finally, for anyone who is interested in telling a story, it’s important to note that listening to a story is how you become a story-teller yourself.

          I believe that to tell stories, we must read stories. Writers are readers. Therefore, I recommend anyone who wishes to write first become an avid reader. Read a book a month, a book a week, even a book a day. Become a reader, and you will be well equipped to be a writer. And you will never be alone as long as you have books and the tales within them.

 

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And what's your book love story? Join our project, write your story, publish it on your BookLikes blog and tag with why I love tag so we could find it and share it. You can also add the link to your book love stories in the comment section below.

 

Dear BookLikers, writers and readers, thank you so much for participating in this amazing project. Presenting all those stories to You and about You was a fascinating time and we hope that you've enjoyed the book love story week as much as we did.

 

We're looking forward to creating more projects as such -- so, who's in? :)

Book Love Story: Why I love romance books

 

It's all about love during the Valentine's Week. Each day of the Valentine's week will present one book love story with a different genre insight. Today, it's all about romance books. We're happy to welcome Cat's Books: Romance on BookLikes blog. 

 

Watch out for the last Book Love Story on BookLikes blog tomorrow!

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A guest post by Cat's Books: Romance

 

 

I unabashedly love Romance Novels.

 

I love them as at the center of the best ones are optimism, human connection, and feminism. The Happily Ever After promise allows the reader to explore very dark themes at times wit the knowledge that there will be hope and love no matter what. 

 

Because the main stay of romance is the find of a partner, the question of how to build a lasting connection and all the psychological l complexity of that quests shapes every romance. Most every romance is female centered. Female desire and viewpoints control the narrative.  

 

The genre is vast spanning  from science fiction, fantasy, new adult, young adult, contemporary, paranormal, historical, comedy, erotic, and eventing new sub genres all the time. 

 

In Romance, we can see the changing of social norms and the critical effort to see and explore through character and the lens of love hate and discrimination in all its forms while loving the body in all its diversity and sexuality which houses us all. 

 

At its best, the genre leads the way and it has a heck of a lot of fun at the same time. 

 

Here are some great love stories,  you should try.

Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole: Historical Interracial Romance set during the Civll Rights Era

Kulti by Mariana Zapata:   Contemporary Slow Burn Soccer Romance

To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt: Historical  Plain Heroine and with a Hero with PTSD

Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison: Paranormal Dragon Shifter Hero and Thief Heroine

Kulti - Mariana Zapata Let It Shine - Alyssa B. Cole To Seduce a Sinner - Elizabeth Hoyt Dragon Bound - Thea Harrison

 

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Watch out for the last Book Love Story on BookLikes blog tomorrow! If you'd like to join, please do! Write your book love story on your blog and add the link in the comment section below. Make sure to add why I love tag to your post so we could find it and share it. 

Book Love Story: Why I love historical fiction

 

It's all about love during the Valentine's Week. Each day of the Valentine's week will present one book love story with a different genre insight. Today, it's all about historical fiction. We're happy to welcome Susanna from SusannaG - Confessions of a Crazy Cat Lady on BookLikes blog.

 

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A guest post by Susanna from SusannaG - Confessions of a Crazy Cat Lady

 

I love historical fiction. I love it in so many of its forms, from fictionalized biographies of long-dead monarchs, to stories about "normal people" of the past, to historical mysteries, time travel stories, and historical romances.

 

Why do I love historical fiction? I read in order to be taken on a trip to places I would otherwise never visit, and historical fiction is the gateway to the past.  And I love and am interested in the past - I trained as a historian.

 

I confess I can be a bit picky about historical fiction. There is nothing more likely to take me out of the flow of a book I'm enjoying than to run headlong into a "fact" that's wrong.   My next reaction is undoubtedly going to be "well, if they got that wrong, what else did they get wrong that I didn't catch?"  But good historical novel can give you a feel for another time and place in great ways.  You can feel like you've been there yourself.

 

I have been in love with historical fiction ever since I was a child, and my mother gave me Esther Forbes' Johnny Tremain  or Elizabeth Goudge's The Little White Horse.  These books took me on trips to the birth of the American Revolution, and to a remote valley in 1830s England. The stars of these shows were always children, of course, because they were also children's literature.

 

Johnny Tremain - Esther Forbes The Little White Horse - Elizabeth Goudge

 

When I was a little older, she gave me YA novels like A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver, E.L. Konigsburg's fictionalized biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Since YA mostly didn't exist then, she also gave me novels written for adults that she thought I might enjoy. These included, I remember, both Mary Renault's The King Must Die and Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels, which led to trips to ancient Greece and to the battle of Gettysburg.

 

A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver - E.L. Konigsburg The King Must Die - Mary Renault The Killer Angels - Michael Shaara

 

She also gave me novels by Georgette Heyer - my first regency romances - and introduced me to the "Williamsburg novels" of Elswyth Thane.  Heyer has never been out of print, but Thane's novels can be hard to find these days, as they are long out of print.

 

Yes, I have always loved historical fiction.

 

What historical novels might be a good place to start, if you've never read much of the genre before?

 

Well, if you love, for example, contemporary mysteries or romances, you might do well to pick a historical mystery or romance - there are plenty of both.  If you like science fiction, you might try a time travel story.  There are several types of story that are historical fiction mixed with another genre - if you like that other genre, you might want to start there.

 

Or perhaps you can pick a period and place that sounds interesting to you, and start there.  Some settings are more popular than others - if you want to read stories about ancient Rome or Tudor England, you're in great shape.  Other settings may be less popular, but can certainly supply great reads - 1600s Japan is not a common setting (in English, anyway), but is the setting for James Clavell's terrific Shogun.

 

But let me make a few more specific recommendations, of historical novels I adore.  Maybe you will love some of them, too.

 

Gary Corby's books about Nicolaos, the only private investigator in Pericles' Athens, and often featuring his annoying younger brother, Socrates, are a fun read.  They begin with The Pericles Commission.

 

Colleen McCullough's The Masters of Rome series, which starts with The First Man in Rome, tells the tale of the fall of the Roman Republic, from the conflict of Marius and Sulla, through Julius Caesar vs. Pompey, and the tale of Augustus, Mark Antony, and Cleopatra.  Note: McCullough adores Julius Caesar to the point of hero-worship.

 

Shogun: A Novel of Japan - James Clavell The Pericles Commission - Gary Corby The First Man in Rome - Colleen McCullough

 

Robert Graves' I, Claudius and Claudius the God are the purported autobiography of Rome's st-st-stuttering fourth emperor, the Emperor Claudius, who was found cowering behind a curtain after the murder of his nephew, Caligula.  But mostly it's a wonderful tale of murder and mayhem and madness in the imperial family, and most of all, of Augustus' poisonous (in more ways than one) wife, Livia.

 

I, Claudius - Robert Graves Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina - Robert Graves

 

Lindsay Davis' The Course of Honor is the tale of the Emperor Vespasian, and his long love affair with Caenis, a slave in the imperial household.

 

Ellis Peters wrote many tales of Brother Cadfael - I'm not so fond of the first, but the second, One Corpse Too Many, is a great introduction to the series, set in the 1100s in Shrewsbury, England.

 

Maurice Druon's Cursed Kings series, which starts with The Iron King, tells the tale of the fall of France's Capet kings, and the start of the Hundred Years War.

 

Connie Willis' Doomsday Book  is a pair of stories - one of a historian from 2060 Oxford's time machine project, set to research the 1300s, and the other of her colleagues in 2060, who realize that they've accidentally sent her to the wrong time and place - and they aren't sure they can get her back.

 

The Course of Honor - Lindsey Davis One Corpse Too Many (The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael Book 2) - Ellis Peters The Iron King - Maurice Druon Doomsday Book - Connie Willis

 

Anya Seton's Katherine is a fictionalized biography of Katherine Swynford, Geoffrey Chaucer's sister-in-law, and third wife of John of Gaunt.  Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt are the ancestors of the modern British royal family.  A tale of romance, adultery, murder, plague, and rebellion.

 

Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies are the first two volumes of a trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's great minister. These cover the collapse of Henry's marriage to Katherine of Aragon, and the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn. These might be easier to follow if you know the general outline of what happened to the wives of Henry VIII.

 

C.J. Sansom's wonderful Shardlake novels are the best historical mysteries I have ever read.  Matthew Shardlake is a hunchbacked Tudor lawyer, and when we meet him in Dissolution, it's 1537 and he's working for Thomas Cromwell, dissolving monasteries. Cromwell sends him down to investigate a doomed (and frozen) monastery in Sussex.  The previous investigator was murdered there.

 

Katherine - Anya Seton Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel Bring Up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel Dissolution - C.J. Sansom

 

Judith Rock's The Rhetoric of Death  is the first of several fine historical mysteries about Jesuits and the ballet, in the Paris of Louis XIV.

 

Lisa See's Peony in Love is a strange tale from 1600s China, told by an Angry Ghost.

 

Daphne du Maurier's The Glass Blowers is the tale of her own family during the French Revolution.

 

Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell is a strange and lovely mixture of historical fiction about the Napoleonic wars, and fantasy about the return of magic to the land.  Take my advice and don't get involved with The Man With the Thistle-Down Hair, or his seelie court.

 

A.S. Byatt's Possession tells two stories - one of two Victorian poets, and another of the English professors who research them in the 1980s.  There is a great deal of faux Victorian poetry, as well as a fanatical American collector, and a spot of grave robbing.

 

Elswyth Thane's Yankee Stranger tells the story of the American Civil War, through the eyes of the members of two intermarried Virginia families, the Spragues and the Days, and those of Eden Day's fiance, a Yankee reporter.

 

The Rhetoric of Death - Judith Rock Peony in Love - Lisa See Yankee Stranger - Elswyth Thane Possession - A.S. Byatt

 

Geraldine Brooks tells a very different story of the Civil War in March - the story of the father of the sisters in Little Women.  He has a very different war from the accounts he sends home to his wife and daughters.

 

Amy Stewart's Girl Waits with Gun is the tale of New Jersey's first female sheriff's deputy, and how she got the job. 

 

Laurie R. King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice is the first of her dozen or so Mary Russell novels.  In 1915, the teen-aged Mary Russell, disguised as a boy, is wandering the Suffolk downs, and encounters a bad-tempered man hunting bees - his name is Sherlock Holmes.  This book is the story of her apprenticeship in detection, and of their first big case.  If you're picky about Sherlock Holmes, you might want to give this series a pass.

 

R.F. Delderfield's To Serve Them All My Days tells the tale of David Powlett-Jones, a Welsh miner's son, a shattered man invalided out of World War I, who goes to teach history at a Bamfylde, a remote boy's school.

 

March - Geraldine Brooks Girl Waits with Gun - Amy Stewart The Beekeeper's Apprentice - Laurie R. King To Serve Them All My Days - R.F. Delderfield

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Watch out for more Book Love Stories on BookLikes blog this week! If you'd like to join, please do! Write your book love story on your blog and add the link in the comment section below. Make sure to add why I love tag to your post so we could find it and share it. 

Book Love Story: Why I Love Comic Books and Graphic Novels

It's all about love during the Valentine's Week. Each day of the Valentine's week will present one book love story with a different genre insight. Today, it's all about comic books and graphic novels. We're happy to welcome Grimlock ♥ Vision on BookLikes blog. 

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A guest post by Grimlock ♥ Vision

 

I remember was first introduced to comic books by one of my first boyfriends, whom I indulged. It was, by the way, the death of our relationship: he took me the store, and reluctantly handed me She-Hulk I dumped him within a week, hoarding my own stack of X-Men. He probably looked at the comics, looked at me, and asked, ‘But why?’ He underestimated me, and I couldn't abide by that. It killed the relationship, but struck up a life long love of comics. I’ve always loved books as well as movies and TV, so the cinematic flair of the visual aspects combined with storytelling just works for me in comics. 

 

Let me break down the difference between comic books and graphic novels.  Comics are shorter, come out monthly, and are stapled together, and thus have a more magazine like look and feel to them.   Most graphic novels combine issues into a more book-like format with a spine: four to six issues tend to be fairly standard, although I’ve seen both shorter and longer graphic novels as well as original graphic novels. Comics are usually slightly more expensive than their bound counterparts, although if you’re into digital reading, I highly suggest Comixology. You can find many, many sales as well as  a collection of free comics

 

Finally, please let  it be noted: I don’t know everything about comics.  I tend to specialize.  I will get into one character, or writer, or franchise and focus heavily on that.   Marvel was my introduction, it’s been the publisher I’ve been most heavily invested in - emotionally and monetarily - and is my primary love.  

 

I'm going to recommend some comics by publisher. 

 

Marvel: 

 

Wolverine, and the X-Men, were some of my first Marvel hits.  Claremont's runs are always excellent. Morrison’s New X-Men run is superb, relatively newer work.  For classic Wolverine, I’d suggest Weapon X, which tells of how he got the metal in his bones.  Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men is a must read (as is his Doctor Strange.)   If you like your Wolverine a little more girl-powered, try Tom Taylor’s All-New Wolverine, which focuses on Wolverine's clone, Laura Kinney.   

 

X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga - Chris Claremont,John Byrne New X-Men Omnibus - Grant Morrison,Marc Silvestri,Chris Bachalo,John Paul Leon,Frank Quitely,Leinil Francis Yu,Igor Kordey,Ethan Van Sciver,Keron Grant,Tom Derenick,Phil Jimenez Doctor Strange Vol. 1: The Way of the Weird - Jason Aaron,Chris Bachalo All-New Wolverine Vol. 1: The Four Sisters - Tom Taylor,David López

 

I love the All-New Ghost Rider, as seen on Agents of SHIELD.  But I loved him before he hit the small screens, from his first appearance in All-New Ghost Rider.   He was a little more diverse, the car is super hot, and I loved the mastery of how he became the Ghost Rider.  His new series Ghost Rider is a little less impressive to me, but it’s only a couple issues in so I’m giving it more of a chance. 

 

Right now, though, my focuses are on three characters: Black Bolt, the king of the Inhumans, Vision and his daughter Viv, and Deadpool. 

 

I’ll start with Black Bolt. The Inhumans were created when the Kree, aliens looking for living weapons, experimented on a small population of humans.   When they come of age in their society, they’re exposed to the Terrigen mists in a process called Terrigenesis. This brings their latent powers, which are varied, to the fore. Black Bolt was experimented on when he was in the fetus and was born more powerful than the average Inhuman.   I love Black Bolt for a couple reasons. The power that comes from his voice makes it impossible for him to use it at all.  If he speaks, he destroys his home and those he loves, reminding me of the blind seer trope from the Greek myths I loved as a child. Except at one point, he declares war by literally saying that one word.  Everything before him explodes, making a strong statement about the power of words  In addition, the restraint that he shows in training himself not to make a sound even when he sleeps is something that draws me to his character.   

 

Marvel Knights: The Inhumans - Paul Jenkins,Jae Lee  For Black Bolt, I would suggest starting with Paul Jenkins’ Inhumans, then moving right on to Charles Soules’ Inhuman, followed by his dual series All-New Inhumans and Uncanny Inhumans.   Inhumans vs. X-Men is a well thought out crossover, in which characters are paired up perfectly.   If you want to see Black Bolt speak, give the alternate universe Attilan Rising a try.  Three new Inhuman series are slated for this year: Black Bolt, The Royals and Secret Warriors.

 

Vision is a no brainer as he's my sex appeal in the Marvel universe. Vision is a synthezoid, which means is that he has organs, but they are’t organic. Ultron created him to take down the Avengers, and he joined them instead. He can control his density, and become insubstantial enough to walk through things in his way, or let them pass through him, or increase his weight to hit back hard. He’s also portrayed by Paul Bettany  in the new Marvel movies. 

 

Vision has a lot of solid older stories, but I’m going to focus on the ones I love the most: the newer ones. Vision had his own series written by Tom King.  It’s heartbreaking and all too human and one of the best things I’ve read ever.  It sadly only lasted twelve issues, and I reread this as a buddy read whenever the opportunity arises.   As for him as an Avenger, he was in the second series of Uncanny Avengers which I adored. I also loved what was done in All-New, All-Different Avengers, as well in the new Avengers, both written by Mark Waid.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Rage of Ultron, which focused not only on Ultron, but his relationship with his father, Hank Pym, and his son, Vision.  It’s lushly illustrated and I’ve read it twice.

 

Vision Vol. 1: Little Worse Than A Man (Vision (2015-)) - Mike Del Mundo,Gabriel Hernandez Walta,Tom King Uncanny Avengers Vol. 1: Counter-Evolutionary - Daniel Acuña,Rick Remender All-New, All-Different Avengers Vol. 1: The Magnificent Seven - Mark Waid,Adam Kubert,Mahmud Asrar Avengers: Rage of Ultron - Rick Remender,Jerome Opena,Pepe Larraz,Mark Morales

 

Viv, his daughter, is much like both her father and her mother, Virginia.  She shows up in Vision as well as the new Champions series, alongside Ms. Marvel, who is another much beloved character. I highly recommend Champions, not only because I’m interested in both Vision and Viv.   It’s a powerful statement about the modern world, the problems it faces, and the way that they help women being terrorized by Islamic radicals is incredibly empowering - and touching. 

 

Deadpool?   I’m not getting lazy on this.  I’ve just put in a lot of work, and someone called this the most helpful post they’ve ever read about getting into a comic book series, so I feel like I can post this here: Where to Start with Deadpool

 

I’d add that he becomes an Avenger in the third Uncanny Avengers series, which I really enjoyed as well.    

 

Another note: Marvel has Kamala Khan, a Muslim American hero, has a lady Thor, a black Captain America, and has Ta-Nehisi Coates writing The Black Panther and Roxanne Gay co-writing Black Panther: World of Wakanda.  (Coates is her co-author.) Moon Girl is the smartest character in the universe - and a black girl.  They’ve also had transgender characters, a gay marriage, a lesbian couple who raised Miss America - and Miss America is also a lesbian. Prodigy has come out as bisexual.  Angela by Marguerite Bennet featuring the trans woman Sera, are both highly recommended. (So Angela: Asgard’s Assasin, 1602: Witch Hunter Angela, and Angela Queen of Hel.  And of course her work on A-Force, the all-women version of the Avengers.)  Basically?   Marvel is doing a lot for diversity right now, including hiring more diversely. I should note that the woman who writes Ms. Marvel is a convert to the Muslim religion which gives her series a lot of little moments that feel incredibly real.

 

Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal - G. Willow Wilson,Adrian Alphona Thor Volume 1: Goddess of Thunder - Russell Dauterman,Jason Aaron Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1 - Ta-Nehisi Coates,Brian Stelfreeze Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur - Amy Reeder,Brandon Montclare,Natacha Bustos

Angela: Asgard's Assassin Vol. 1: Priceless (Angela: Asgard's Assasin) - Kieron Gillen 1602 Witch Hunter Angela (1602 Witch Hunter/Siege) - Marvel Comics Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous - G. Willow Wilson,Takeshi Miyazawa,Adrian Alphona,Nico Leon,Cliff Chiang

 

 

DC: 

 

So I am a recent DC convert. I’m not going to go over this character by character; I don’t have the kind of knowledge to do that.  I’m going to suggest my favorites and tell you why I love them, but then I’m going to let others, who might be more knowledgable, speak up if they so choose. 

 

Batgirl: 

 

Start with Batgirl from Burnside. She’s strong, smart, and confident, and I love both the writing and the art.  I should also mention  that it’s illustrated by a woman, so I felt that the art itself was more real in that it didn’t put women in impossible poses that would break their backs if they tried actually standing that way. The creative team wasn’t intact for Rebirth and I’m such a fan of them together, I didn’t follow.

 

Batman: Hush: 

 

Love, love, love this series.   The artwork by Jim Lee is superb and the storyline is tense and paranoid and incredibly tight.   

 

Wonder Woman by Perez: 

 

I’ve slacked and haven’t quite finished all the comics I have.   I do love what I read: Wonder Woman is pure of heart, innocent, maybe even a little naive in some ways, but also incredibly strong and even beautiful.   She also looks like she has some weight: she has a little meat on her bones, and that made her more appealing to me, as did the fact that she tried to talk first and fight as a last resort.

 

Preacher: 

 

Wrong in all the right ways and the basis for the new AMC TV show.   It touches upon religion a lot and I can easily see someone thinking of this as blasphemous.  If you're okay with that, violence, drinking, drugs, and just all kinds of wrongness in fiction, though, it's a compelling read that asks a lot of big, hard questions without handing you the reader pat answers. 

 

Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside (The New 52) - Babs Tarr,Brenden Fletcher,Cameron Stewart Batman: Hush - Scott A. Williams,Jeph Loeb,Jim Lee Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Gods and Mortals - Bruce Patterson,Greg Potter,Len Wein,George Pérez Preacher, Book One - Garth Ennis,Steve Dillon

 

The original Suicide Squad:

 

I’m talking John Ostrander.   His wife, Kim Yale, co-penned many stories and they created Oracle after the Killing Joke disabled Barbara Gordon.   It also tapped into the current political clime and made statements about them, as well as giving Amanda Waller a compelling backstory and making her an incredibly strong black woman.

 

I'd also suggest anything Ostrander wrote on Deadshot.   

 

Death in the Family: 

 

The brutal death of Jason Todd, aka Robin, at the hands of the Joker. Brutal and effective, making me feel for a character I’d just come to know.   Another heartbreaking, but worthwhile read. 

 

Rebirth: 

 

The new Rebirth event was lauded, as it spawned so many series that the fans adored. I don’t read that many, but I do read the new Batman by Tom King of Vision fame, Cyborg, the new Suicide Squad, and Blue Beetle. I love them all.   

 

Suicide Squad Vol. 1: Trial by Fire - Luke McDonnell,John Ostrander Batman: A Death in the Family - Mike DeCarlo,Jim Starlin,Jim Aparo Batman #1: Batman Day Special Edition (2016) (Batman (2016-)) - Tom King,David Finch Blue Beetle (2016-) #1 - Keith Giffen,Jr., Romulo Fajardo,Scott Kolins

 

Midnighter/Midnighter and Apollo

 

Midnighter is a pastiche of Batman, with Apollo as the pastiche of Superman, they’re also the ‘World’s Finest Couple.’  Steven Orlando’s take on Midnighter wasn’t just ultra-violent - any incarnation of him should be. It was also full of heart and humor and even warmth. It got cancelled but lived on in Orlando's current Midnighter and Apollo mini-series that I’m also loving.

 

Red Tornado is similar to Vision and I love him. I’ve read a lot of Young Justice with him, as well as The Tornado’s Path, but he’s sorely underused.   I also fell in love with the Trinity of Sin, because I adored The Question’s angst filled backstory, but he hasn’t really been seen since.   

 

Also, DC’s new Dr. Fate is of Egyptian descent, and my sister loves the way they handle the mentally ill in general: put them in an asylum where they try to help them, instead of killing them, or imprisoning them like the Inhumans do with Maximus. (Athough their treatment of mental health in Moon Knight is spectacular and the Scarlet Witch, who has been dealing with trauma and PTSD, was deftly handled.  Same with Jen Walters in Hulk.) They haven’t allowed Batwoman, who is a lesbian, to marry her girlfriend stating that they don’t believe their heroes should be happy.  Red Tornado married his wife and they adopted a child, though, and Superman is currently raising a child with Lois Lane, so I feel that they didn’t think that out completely, though. Still, they have some representation and are getting better about it in general in my opinion.

 

Justice League of America, Vol. 1: The Tornado's Path - Brad Meltzer,Damon Lindelof,Ed Benes Trinity of Sin #1 - J.M. DeMatteis Doctor Fate (2015-) #1 - Paul Levitz,Sonny Liew Moon Knight (2016-) #1 - Greg Smallwood,Jeff Lemire

 

IDW: 

 

I’m going to put this out here: I love IDW for their media franchises. The Buffy series they’ve done - continuing it beyond season seven in comic format - utilizes many screenwriters from the series and is overseen by Joss Whedon himself. Their work on Transformers is just stunning. I mostly read them for tie-ins. They do good work outside of that, too, but nothing that compels me quite as much as the franchise work they do. 

 

Transformers:

 

My favorite series are those written by Roberts, who wrote a fan novel that I also adored.   Furman used to be my favorite Transformers scribe. And this isn’t a slight: his work is fun, exciting and in character. Barber’s Robots in Disguise and Roberts More Than Meets the Eye were just better than Furman's runs. MTMtE in particular is transcendent, tackling sexuality, politics, religion, philosophy, and anything else you can throw at the series.   It does so deftly and with so much humor that it makes me laugh out loud with every single issue.  And again, this is not a slight to Barber, who ended up writing the Doctor Strange/Punisher crossover that I loved. Barber simply isn’t quite Roberts.   Which is daunting: Roberts is nuanced, and foreshadows years ahead. You think a panel is just funny and two years later, you read something that makes you go back and go ‘oh, that’s why that was there.’   

 

Transformers: Maximum Dinobots (Transformers (Idw)) - Simon Furman,Nick Roche,Marcelo Matere Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, Volume 1 - Nick Roche,Alex Milne,James Roberts,John Barber Doctor Strange/Punisher: Magic Bullets Infinite Comic #1 (of 8) - John Barber Transformers: Robots in Disguise Volume 1 (Transformers (Idw)) - John Barber,Andrew Griffith

 

The most frustrating thing about this is that no one takes a Transformers comic seriously. And it very much is, despite the humor and warmth. I was talking about Whirl, who is one of my favorite characters and Jessica wanted to know more about him. I sent her two Whirl heavy issues via Comixology - and got her hooked on both series.   

 

IDW had a crossover event called Revolution that I, full disclosure, hated. It meshed certain series, like Transformers and GI Joe and ROM, and made it so they had what they called a ‘shared universe.’ What this means is they share the same fictional universe now and IDW doesn’t have to come up with convoluted reasons why Transformers are in a GI Joe comic. RiD and MTMtE were cancelled, although Barber is writing Optimus Prime and Roberts is writing Lost Light. I love LL and am less in love with OP. 

 

Buffy: 

 

Astounding. It feels very much like the series and the artwork is some of the best that I’ve seen that is based on real people. There’s also Angel and Faith, that continues with, well, Angel and Faith. It’s also superb, as is there Spike mini-series. 

 

Edward Scissorhands: 

 

This manages to be as adorable, insightful, and odd as the original movie. Just a beautiful, hopeful story that is good for any age!

 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8, Volume 1 - Georges Jeanty,Cliff Richards,Paul Lee,Joss Whedon,Brian K. Vaughan  Edward Scissorhands Volume 1: Parts Unknown - Kate Leth,Drew Rausch  

 

Image: 

 

Motor Crush: 

 

Illegal racing. Hot vehicles. Drawn by the woman who penciled Batgirl from Burnside. It’s a fun series, although I’ve only read the first issue.   

 

Saga: 

 

Expansive Space opera. It has robot families which is a plus to me, but the main draws are the fantastic art and storyline that is about overcoming hatred and war and joining together to form a family. And keeping it together. Very adult, shows sex scenes pretty graphically, and has drug use and the violence that goes along with war and being on the run from both warring parties. Beautiful, hopeful, heartbreaking. Just one of the best comic series out there today.   

 

Spawn: 

 

I fell in love with how dark and gritty this was when it came out, and I feel it got stronger later on. The original issues are still fun, but it takes a bit to find it’s footing.   It lost the plot, and I dropped this series, and then there was a new Spawn, who I’m not as into as Al Simmons. Pretty typical deal with the devil, and then it gets more and more convoluted. I feel that recently a solid storyline came back into play so I’m reading this again. I’d suggest the original issues, anything with Angela - who was later sold off to Marvel after Neil Gaiman won her rights in a lawsuit, the Hellspawn retelling, and anything after Resurrection. Very violent, and deals with abuse, racism, and suicide in just  some of the issues I’ve read.  

 

Black Mask: 

 

I have to include this small press for Kim and Kim, which includes a transgender Kim.   It’s fun, it’s funny, and it’s a positive portrayal of a transgender woman.  Just for the record: Kim’s father insists on calling her ‘him’ and ‘son’, but doesn’t correct his employees when they refer to her by her proper gender. There’s a rift between father and daughter, no doubt because he can’t accept her as she is. But if you don’t want to read that, then steer clear of this. 

 

Saga, Volume 1 - Fiona Staples,Brian K. Vaughan Motor Crush Volume 1 - Brenden Fletcher,Cameron Stewart,Babs Tarr Spawn Origins, Volume 1 - Todd McFarlane Kim & Kim Vol. 1 - Magdalene Visaggio,Eva Cabrera,Claudia Aguirre

 

However, if you’re tempted by futuristic bounty hunters and robot gorillas, then by all means read this. Also, please note that the writer is a trans woman, which is probably why it doesn’t play into a lot of the stereotypes about trans woman. I loved it so much that I bought a small box of Black Mask collector edition covers on sale the next time I was in Newbury because I just trust the press after this one work.

 

 

The most resistance I get to comics is that they aren’t a serious, thought provoking medium.   I’d counter with The Champions - and have in real life - and also by saying that Time listed DC’s Watchmen as one of their best 100 novels. Maus, Art Spiegelman’s two volume masterpiece, went a long way towards legitimizing comics.   It’s a heart wrenching, biographical tale of his father during the Holocaust where all the Nazi’s are portrayed as cats while their victims are mice, thus the name.   A more recent entry is WE3, another heart breaker. This time, Grant Morrison tackles animal testing, and it’s a worthwhile and ultimately hopeful miniseries, but I’ve warned anyone away who can’t deal with cruelty towards animals.  Still, it’s proof of the power of comics, especially when it comes to making a political statement and trying to change the world for the better.  It’s one of the comics I’d start people off with who believe that comics are simply kiddy stories.  

 

The Complete Maus - Art Spiegelman  Watchmen - Alan Moore,Dave Gibbons  

 

I hope this leaves you with something you're interested in.  If not, drop me a line here, on my blog, or DM me and I'll see if I know of anything that might entice you!  If you're just interested in reading reviews of comics, feel free to follow me!

 

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Watch out for more Book Love Stories on BookLikes blog this week! If you'd like to join, please free to write your book love story on your blog and add the link in the comment section below. Make sure to add why I love tag to your post so we could find it and share it. 

Book Love Story: Why I love non-fiction books

 

It's all about love during the Valentine's Week. Each day of the Valentine's week will present one book love story with a different genre insight. Today, it's all about non-fiction. We're happy to welcome Mike from Book Thoughts on BookLikes blog. 

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A guest post by Mike from Book Thoughts

 

There is no excuse for history to ever be boring - no excuse for that!

David McCullough

David McCullough on Why History Matters 

(click to view a video)

 

I am very excited to have a chance to share my passion for reading history with you all. I have had a life-long love of history, and grew up in a house where my father spent all of his free time either reading or talking about history.  I have always been fascinated about the past, and my childhood experience led to what is now a career reading and teaching history.

 

I have taught history at the high school and community college level for 15 years and my love for history has only grown during that time.  Too many adults think back to their history classes when they were in school and remember being bored and having to memorize facts and dates.  History is so much more than that!  To understand where we came from and how the world we live in was created by those who came before us is fascinating.  

 

We often have an arrogant perspective when we look back at the people of the past. We have this idea that we are smarter than them, we know more than they did, we would never possibly have made the same mistakes they made, and therefore why should we waste time reading about them? Nothing could be further from the truth. While it is true we have more technology and more access to information than at any point in human history, we must always try to put ourselves in the shoes of those who came before us and understand that they did not know what was coming next.

 

Like David McCullough talked about in the video above, most importantly to me, history is about people. One of my favorite parts of reading about great historical figures is to learn about the lives they lead before they became famous or before they made their great contribution. I want to know what their childhood was like, what schools they went to and what they studied, their loves gained and lost, and how all of those experiences led to the pinnacle of their lives that make them worthy to be studied and written about. Those stories, those experiences - those are the lessons and examples we can read about and make a part of our own lives. Those in the past experienced the same range of emotions that we experience day to day. They are not stone figures - they laughed, they cried, and they were silly just like most of us.

 

This photo shows a couple from the Victorian era.  It was considered socially awkward to smile in photographs at that time, so most photos we see show very serious people. These photos show two people that were not able to keep their serious faces together.

 

For someone that might be intimated to read a history book, I have a few suggestions. These books read like novels and will introduce you to the real stories of some famous people that you may only know by name. Not only will you learn about their lives, but you will learn about the time and society they lived in. I kept the list focused on famous people rather than events, because for those who are new to reading history, learning about individuals will be a much better introductory experience.

 

John Adams - David McCullough  Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln - Doris Kearns Goodwin  Nicholas and Alexandra - Robert K. Massie 

 

John Adams by David McCullough (Biography of our second President. Also tells one of history’s great love stories of John and Abigail Adams.)

 

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin  (Tells the story of Abraham Lincoln and how he brought together political rivals into his cabinet to help him during the Civil War.)

 

Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie (This book tells two stories - that of the last Czar of Russia and his family, and that of the Russian Revolution.)

 

 The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt - Edmund Morris  Alexander Hamilton - Ron Chernow  

 

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris (Tells the story of Teddy Rosevelt from his birth to his elevation to the Presidency. This is the first book in a trilogy that is some of the best historical writing out there.)

 

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (This book has become very famous in recent years due to the Broadway Musical, but it had been one of my favorites for many years before that.)

 

***Any books by these authors are great reads.

 

I hope I have convinced you to give a history book a try!  I bet you will enjoy it, and you will finish the book wanting to know more.  

 

If you are still not convinced, here is a short video I show my students at the start of each year.  Great tune and hopefully will inspire a desire to read history!

Why Study History - Viva la Vida Video (click)

 

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Watch out for more Book Love Stories on BookLikes blog this week! If you'd like to join, please do! Write your book love story on your blog and add the link in the comment section below. Make sure to add why I love tag to your post so we could find it and share it. 

Book Love Story: Why I love horror books

 

It's all about love during the Valentine's Week. Each day of the Valentine's week will present one book love story with a different genre insight. Today, it's all about horrors. We're happy to welcome Charlene from Char's Horror Corner on BookLikes blog. 

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A guest post by Charlene from Char's Horror Corner

 

Why Horror is My Bloody Valentine

 

My love for horror is great, so when Kate from BookLikes asked me if I would be interested in writing about why, I hopped on the chance!

 

When I was young, there were very few children in my neighborhood, so I spent a lot of my time reading. The Bookmobile would come around once a week and I would check out as many books as I could hold. Back then, (only allowed to check out children's and young adult books), it was Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe and Sir Conan Doyle that tickled my fancy. Poe-especially. I remember reading his story The Black Cat and getting a delicious case of the shivers-and so my love of horror was born!

 

When I got a little older my parents used to bring me to the drive-in theater for horror movie marathons. (For those who don't know, Drive-ins were theaters you attended while in your car. You pulled up to these speaker stands, removed the speaker and hung it on your car window and Voila! Movie sound! These days, I don't go in for horror films as much as I used to-but my love of horror books remains the same. 

 

So, why is that? What is it about horror books that I find appealing? Well, there's the aforementioned "delicious shivers" and I still love to get them.

 

You know-that feeling you get when you're reading a scary book all alone in your house and you hear a noise?

 

That accelerated heartbeat?

 

That little bead of sweat that breaks out on your brow while you're hunting down the cause of that mysterious noise? Yeah, that's one reason for sure. 

 

Another is because horror is often about outsiders. I was not exactly a cool kid in high school. I wasn't exactly a "Carrie" either- but I could identify with her. Not having the "right clothes", not having the "cool" friends, etc... When I first read Carrie, I felt so terrible for her and what she went through. I didn't condone her actions, but I certainly understood them. Since I felt I could relate to outsiders, it stands to reason that I would enjoy reading stories about them. 


Another thing I love about horror is all of its different facets. I think there are more aspects to horror today than ever before. Let's examine some of my favorite aspects and tropes below.

 

The Haunted House:  Here we have one of my favorite horror tropes, (when it's done well), which is the "Haunted House." The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson  is probably the best example of this horror icon.  In this literary tale we follow the story of Eleanor and a small group of others, investigating a house with a reputation. The opening sentences are some of my favorites in all of literature: 

 

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

 

Atmospheric and/or mood driven horror. This is the type of horror that slowly builds over the course of the story, usually creating a sense of tension, (often, with little to no actual blood or gore), that if done right, pays off with a denouement of epic proportions. Michael McDowell's The Elementals is a perfect example of this type of story. The characters are vividly drawn and memorable and as the story unfolds, you can feel the tension settling in around your neck and shoulders.  You can't quite put your finger on why, (at least not until close to that savory ending), but you just KNOW that when "it" arrives, it is NOT going to be good.

 

The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson,Laura Miller The Elementals - Michael Rowe,Michael McDowell The Light at the End - John Skipp,Craig Spector The Books of blood: Clive Barker - Clive Barker

 

Splatterpunk Wikipedia says: "Splatterpunk was a movement within horror fiction in the 1980's distinguished by its graphic, often gory, depiction of violence and 'hyperintensive horror' with no limits." In my opinion, there is room for super gory fun in horror fiction. (My friend here at BookLikes, Grimlock, helped me to better define the Splatterpunk genre and turned me on to some great books, back when we both met on Goodreads, years ago.) These days, I lean more towards the atmospheric type of horror, but Splatterpunk will always hold a special place in my heart. Some great examples would be Skipp and Spector's The Light at the End or The Books of blood by Clive Barker. 

 

Cosmic Horror. Back in the day, (1908 to be exact), William Hope Hodgson wrote a story called The House on the Borderland. Many years later, H.P. Lovecraft would cite this story as one of his biggest influences. Terry Pratchett named it as one of his big influences as well. Why is that? The answer is not totally clear, but one of the reasons might be because the depiction of the cosmos as cold and unfeeling and the depiction of humanity as insignificant –well, those are scary thoughts!  Lovecraft later took this idea and made it his own, with the creation of all kinds of cosmic gods and the cursed elements of mankind that served them. This type of horror is now usually referred to as "Lovecraftian". These days, H. P. Lovecraft is more clearly seen as the racist he was, but the mark he and Hodgson have made upon the horror genre and legions of authors cannot be denied. 

 

Creature Features. These types of stories are some of the most fun that horror has to offer. I like to think of them as the B-movies of the horror genre. They are generally fast paced and feature creatures, (see what I did there?), whose only reason for existence is to kill humans. There is usually not a lot of moralizing, (though some of these do highlight an environmental message), and as such they can be a heck of a lot of fun to read. Some of my favorites include: The Rats by James HerbertClickers by J.F. Gonzalez  and Night Of The Crabs by Guy N. Smith  . 

 

The Collected Fiction, Vol. 2: The House on the Borderland and Other Mysterious Places - William Hope Hodgson,Jason Van Hollander The Rats - James Herbert Clickers - J.F. Gonzalez,Mark Williams   

 

Supernatural Horror and Legends of Horror will be my last word on the subject of horror today. These terms encompass so many types and creatures of horror- it's almost too large of a subject to tackle here. Probably my favorite type of supernatural horror would be the kind that is never fully explained-or might not even exist at all. An AWESOME example of this type of story is The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons. This is a tale where a LOT is left up to the reader's interpretation-(usually these types of books lead to the very best discussions!  The Supernatural aspect can also include stories of ghosts, (or not ghosts as in Henry James' The Turn of the Screw), vampires, (not Twilight vampires though, because those are YA and romance, NOT HORROR), and all sorts of creatures of myth and legend like Werewolves, Wendigos, The Jersey Devil, Bigfoot, Witches,  etc... There is so much quality dark fiction available about all of these subjects, so a horror fan will never find themselves short of great material to read!             

 

The House Next Door - Anne Rivers Siddons The Turn of the Screw and The Aspern Papers - Henry James,Anthony Curtis  


So there you have it! These are just some of the reasons I love horror so much. It appeals to outsiders, insiders and everyone in between. There is often a horror story for every sort of reader, be they full of jump scares, blood and guts or just mysterious things, glimpsed out of the corners of your eyes. Horror can be intelligent and hard to fathom, or it can be stupid, blood and guts. It’s up to you! One thing is sure though, a good horror story is GREAT fun and I hope you have yourself some this year!

 

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Watch out for more Book Love Stories on BookLikes blog this week! If you'd like to join, please do! Write your book love story on your blog and add the link in the comment section below. Make sure to add why I love tag to your post so we could find it and share it. 

Book Love Story: Why I love fantasy books

 

It's all about love during the Valentine's Week. Each day of the Valentine's week will present one book love story with a different genre insight. Today, it's all about fantasy. We're happy to present YouKneeK's story on BookLikes blog.

 

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A guest post by YouKneeK

 

Anybody who has followed me for more than, say, a week could tell you that I love science fiction and fantasy books.  Of those two genres, fantasy is my favorite.  Unlike many fantasy readers who could regale you with tales of their childhood favorites that inspired a lifelong love of fantasy, I didn’t get addicted until my early twenties.  It all started with a computer game called Betrayal at Krondor.  It was a role-playing game in which the text was actually written like a book, and the player feels like a character in that book.  I loved the game and wanted more.  When I learned that it was based on a series of books by some guy named Raymond E. Feist, I decided to try them.  I started reading Magician: Apprentice, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

 

                   

 

Before this discovery, the fantasy genre wasn’t even on my radar.  I associated “fantasy” with some of the books from my childhood, such as The Wizard of Oz, and I didn’t think of it as a genre for adults.  Actually, fantasy is a very diverse genre, with far more types of stories than the “fluffy” ones you might remember from your childhood.  Some of the popular TV shows and movies in recent years, such as Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings, have gone a long way toward proving this to the masses by adapting well-known fantasy books that appeal to adults.  Some fantasy books are very dark and gritty.  Some are full of political intrigue.  Some have twisty plots and mysteries galore.  And yes, some are fluffy and silly.  I think what I enjoy the most about fantasy is that it appeals to my imagination while encompassing a wide range of story types.  How could I get bored with the genre when it has so much variety? 

                               

I particularly love epic fantasy stories in which the author builds a detailed world with many races and a fleshed-out political climate.  I love to immerse myself in a complex world that becomes my world-away-from-the-world for as long as it takes me to read the series.  I especially like it when that world is populated with believable, complex characters.  A fairly recent and complete series (published 2011 – 2016) that hit all the right epic fantasy notes for me was the five-book series The Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham, starting with The Dragon's Path.  It has a diverse set of races, political intrigue, interesting and well-fleshed-out characters (including one of the villains), some enjoyable friendships, and even a little bit of humor.  Be warned, though.  This isn’t a series to try if you just want a quick taste of fantasy. The story has barely even gotten started by the end of the first book.

 

                   

 

If you want to try something with a smaller time commitment, Carol Berg is one of my favorite authors and she tends to write duologies and trilogies.  I’ve loved all three of her series that I’ve read.  They have multiple layers, starting out deceptively simple and growing more complex, and I think they have satisfying endings. They’re also very character-driven.  I’ve become attached to every main character she’s introduced me to, and many of the secondary ones.  Two of her series that I would recommend are the Rai-Kirah trilogy, starting with Transformation (pay no attention to the horrible cover; the book is good, I swear!), and the Lighthouse duology starting with Flesh and Spirit.  If you like audiobooks, I can vouch for the quality of the Rai-Kirah trilogy.  I’m not a good audiobook listener but the narrator, Kevin Stillwell, works well for me. I’m currently enjoying this series for a second time, after reading it in print several years ago, by listening to it during my commute.

 

Although the above books I’ve mentioned all have their dark sides, Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series takes it to a new level and is considered part of the “grimdark” subgenre.  These books are full of characters you’ll probably both hate and love at the same time, and there’s very little long-term happiness to be found.  Despite that, there is quite a bit of humor and it’s hard to avoid getting invested in the story and the characters.  The starting point is usually The Blade Itself, the first book in the original First Law trilogy.

 

If you’re looking for something a little more literary, and perhaps a book that stands alone, I recently read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.  This might be considered part of the “magical realism” subgenre.  It’s set in England in the early 1800’s and it has an interesting mix of real-world history and made-up fantasy, with many fictional footnotes to add an authentic tone to the story.  It has a very slow plot, focusing mainly on the characters, many of whom aren’t very likeable, but it has a subtle humor and a unique writing style.

 

Neil Gaiman is a well-known fantasy author who has written several standalone fantasy books set in the modern-day world. Neverwhere, set in modern-day London and featuring a mysterious underground world populated by forgotten people, is one of his better-known works.  Gaiman also has some anthologies that may appeal to those who enjoy the short story format.

 

                   

 

I couldn’t possibly write an all-inclusive post about fantasy books; my post would be so long that it might break the Internet. There are subgenres I didn’t discuss because I’m less familiar with them, and there are many great fantasy authors that I love but didn’t mention, because I had to stop somewhere.  I hope other fantasy lovers will comment on this post to talk about some of their favorites or maybe, if you’re feeling ambitious, you could write your own blog post and link to it in the comments. Thanks for reading!

 

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Watch out for more Book Love Stories on BookLikes blog this week! If you'd like to join, please do! Write your book love story on your blog and add the link in the comment section below. Make sure to add why I love tag to your post so we could find it and share it. 

15 Valentine's Day gifts for your beloved book lover

 

 

Books are the best gifts for book lovers regardless of the occasion. It is nice, though, to give or receive an interesting companion, an intriguing detail, a special piece along with the book, of course. Today we've prepared this set of gifts for your No 1 book lover.

 

And starting from Monday watch out for a special Valentine's week book love story project with great bookish pieces written by BookLikes bloggers :)

 

1. Peacock Paper Heart Stud Earrings ->

"These heart stud earrings feature tiny, delicate folds that create a soft shaped heart full of love to go around, perfect for a gift."

 

 

 

2. Message in a Bottle Necklace ->

"Message in a Bottle Necklace with a beautiful love poem ~ this handmade pendant is a token of heartfelt love."

 

 

 

3. Paper read and gold hearts necklace->

"This origami hearts necklace is perfect for the heart lover. With three hearts folded from red and gold washi paper it will add love to your outfit."

 

 

 

4. Literary brooch ->

"This lovely little handmade brooch is just perfect for the person in your life who has a passion for books and literacy."

 

 

 

5. Temporary tattoos for book lovers, set of two->

Not sure if a tattoo is your cup of tea? Give it a try with this temporary set of literary tattoos, the set of two matching tattoos is a perfect Valentine's evening project.

 

 

6. Origami paper roses ->

"An abandoned book (usually collected from charity shops) will get a second chance to create dreams for the one you love."

 

 

 

7. You and Me artwork ->

"This artwork is made from paper hearts cut from a range of lovely vintage sheet music and romantic poems. The hearts have been layered and stitched into chains with a single red heart nestled in amongst them. The heart is printed with the words, 'You and Me' but can also be personalised."

 

 

 

8. Personalized location map print ->

"Make a beautiful print of anywhere you choose-- for example: a place you've lived, where you got married, your favourite destination... The world is your oyster!"

 

 

 

9. Cat notebook ->

"This fab A6 cat notebook is a perfect little gift for that crazy cat lady you know or makes a lovely treat for yourself!"

 

 

 

10. Cinder by Marissa Meyer inspired T-shirt ->

12. Personalized Kindle Case ->

"Each case is fully lined and wadded, with an elastic loop and button fastening at the top. Ensuring that your kindle or tablet will be safe and secure.Available in 3 colour ways. Choose from stone linen, pink cotton or blue cotton."

 

 

 

 13. Wuthering Heights bookmark ->

"This bookmark is completely hand made and handwritten. It features a quotation from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: "Whatever our souls are made of his and mine are the same", hand-calligraphed in permanent and waterproof purple ink on lilac cardboard. The bookmark is decorated with small leaves and red flowers."

 

 

 

 14. Glasses case from Which glasses are which ->

"Makes a brilliant gift for anyone who mislays their specs, especially bookworms and crossword puzzlers"

 

 

 

15. Romantic bookmarks with quotes ->

Beautiful bookmarks are always the best gifts and when they present the romantic quotes they become the best Valentine's present.

 

 

What are your perfect Valentine's gift ideas?

 

How to start a book blog

 

 

No matter whether you're a regular BookLikes visitor or a newbie, we hope you'll find these tips useful in your blogging adventure. Here's how to set up your book blog and make your first steps in the blogging community.

 

We're happy to see newcomers to BookLikes, the BookLikes team says warm and loud Welcome, welcome! :)

 

7 tips how to start a book blog

 

1. Choose your blogging platform and register. If you're reading this on your Dashboard, we're more than happy to see that you've chosen BookLikes as one of your blogging companion.

 

2. Think of a catchy blog name. Make the blog title work for you and your content, it should be compatible with the reviews and texts as well as your personality. 

 

3. Meet the bloggers. The blogging community is huge and very diversified. You can follow everyone but you can get in touch with those who are your favorites and to whom you look up. Make them your inspirations.

 

4. Make your place comfy and stylish. Your page should be your showroom. A lot depends on your computer knowledge but if your tech skills aren't your assets, don't worry. Use the free templates and remember that what really matters is the content, show your masterclass in reviewing and content writing.

 

5. Add a personal touch. There is a real person behind each blogging page and a blog project and readers like to know who is backstage. Take a minute to create About me and Contact page where you can add a couple of details about yourself, your reading habits, books you love and your reviewing policy.

 

6. It's all about networking. Make sure to add your social profiles links and other pages you're sharing your pieces on. We would also suggest creating a separate e-mail address to make it easier for the blogging community and writers to reach you.

 

7. Write. Write. Write. And have fun.

 

BookLikes tips on staring a book blog

 

1. BookLikes is a webpage which combines features of a blogging platform and a book cataloging site. Our aim was to create a place where creating a personal webpage with a book blog and a virtual bookshelf will be easy for everyone and won't take longer than several clicks. The intro tutorial guides you around the crucial BookLikes' features and helps to make your first steps in the book blogging community.

 

 

To take advantage of all BookLikes features make sure to open a welcome e-mail from the BookLikes team with a verification code. Once your BL account is verified, BookLikes is all yours :)

 

2. On BookLikes, the blog name and the username are two different things.

Your username is the nick you're choosing when registering, it will be part of your www address, e.g. yourusername.booklikes.com. You can change it anytime but keep in mind that the www address of your BookLikes webpage will be changed along with the username.

 

The blog name (the blog title), on the other hand, is a name you're giving to your blog page. If you won't create a separate title for your blog page, it will automatically present your username as your blog title so it's worth to add it as soon as you register, either during the intro tutorial steps or in Settings/blog.

 

Both the username and the blog name can be changed any time.

You can change the username in the general Settings (main menu->Settings), whereas the blog name can be altered in Settings/blog (main menu->Settings->Blog).

 

 

3. Once you're all set, go and say hi to the BookLikes community. The intro tutorial gives you the opportunity to follow several bloggers but if you missed that point or want to check out other blogs, please use the Explore page where you can search bloggers by their reading preferences and popularity. The moment you start following a given blog you'll see the blogger's reviews and bookshelf updates on your Dashboard.

 

 

Visit the Book catalog page to know what the community is reading, shelving and reviewing. Click the book cover to be moved to a book page where you can view the community reviews which lead to separate blogs that you can follow.

 

 

Once your Dashboard is boosting with your fellow bloggers activities, start a reading challenge -- a great way to show your reading life step by step, book by book.

 

Also, make sure to say hello in the discussion groups where you can count on BookLikes team help and the community tips and tricks.

 

4. Customizing your BookLikes webpage is a painless process also for those not too tech savvy. To customize the webpage go to Settings/blog and click the Customize button. You will be moved to the customization tab, where you can choose a design template for your book blog (choose Themes to view free and paid blog templates).

 

 

Click Done or Customize to add more personal touch. Remember to Save all the changes and see how it looks on your webpage live.

 

 

If you feel good with your coding abilities you can also edit HTML or upload a template of your own design.

 

5. To add additional pages, like About me or Contact, go to Settings/Pages and create a page where you can add more information about yourself and your blog.

 

 

6. Adding your social profiles is another gateway for your readers to find and reach you. Make sure to add your actual social profile links in the customization tab (see point 4), they will be automatically added on your webpage. Tick social network buttons to make it easier to share your content, the Facebook like, Twitter, G+1 and Pin buttons will be added to each of your blog post.

 

 

7. And now the real work starts. Read, write, meet, share, comment, stay active and enthusiastic. Show your energy and spread the book love. Write great book reviews. Make your text stand out, be honest and never stop writing about reading.

 

Your book blog is your place now. A perfect place to be.

 

 

And remember that the blogging community is made of awesome people. If you have any doubts or questions, ask your fellow bloggers. We're sure they will be more than happy to give you a helping hand.

 

As always, you can also mail the BookLikes team with any concerns. We'll do all to help and support :)

18 books to watch for in February 2017

 

There's no better way to survive the winter evenings than picking up new books. Here's a collection of February releases worth your attention. What are your bookish picks for this month?

 

Swimming Lessons - Claire Fuller Swimming Lessons - Claire Fuller  

Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan. Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid.

 

King's Cage (Red Queen) - Victoria Aveyard King's Cage (Red Queen) - Victoria Aveyard 

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl's spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion? Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother's web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner. As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare's heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back. When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down. 

 

A Separation - Katie Kitamura A Separation - Katie Kitamura  

A young woman has agreed with her faithless husband: it's time for them to separate. For the moment it's a private matter, a secret between the two of them. As she begins her new life, she gets word that Christopher has gone missing in a remote region in the rugged south of Greece; she reluctantly agrees to go look for him, still keeping their split to herself. In her heart, she's not even sure if she wants to find him. As her search comes to a shocking breaking point, she discovers she understands less than she thought she did about her relationship and the man she used to love. A searing, suspenseful story of intimacy and infidelity, A Separation lays bare what divides us from the inner lives of others. With exquisitely cool precision, Katie Kitamura propels us into the experience of a woman on edge, with a fiercely mesmerizing story to tell.

 

Pachinko - Min Jin Lee Pachinko - Min Jin Lee  

Profoundly moving and gracefully told, PACHINKO follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them. Betrayed by her wealthy lover, Sunja finds unexpected salvation when a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and bring her to Japan to start a new life. So begins a sweeping saga of exceptional people in exile from a homeland they never knew and caught in the indifferent arc of history. In Japan, Sunja's family members endure harsh discrimination, catastrophes, and poverty, yet they also encounter great joy as they pursue their passions and rise to meet the challenges this new home presents. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, they are bound together by deep roots as their family faces enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.

 

Wintersong - S. Jae-Jones Wintersong - S. Jae-Jones  

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell. All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns. But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above.

 

Universal Harvester - John Darnielle Universal Harvester - John Darnielle  

Jeremy works at the Video Hut in Nevada, Iowa. It’s a small town in the center of the state—the first a in Nevada pronounced ay. This is the late 1990s, and even if the Hollywood Video in Ames poses an existential threat to Video Hut, there are still regular customers, a rush in the late afternoon. It’s good enough for Jeremy: it’s a job, quiet and predictable, and it gets him out of the house, where he lives with his dad and where they both try to avoid missing Mom, who died six years ago in a car wreck. But when a local schoolteacher comes in to return her copy of Targets—an old movie, starring Boris Karloff, one Jeremy himself had ordered for the store—she has an odd complaint: “There’s something on it,” she says, but doesn’t elaborate. Two days later, a different customer returns a different tape, a new release, and says it’s not defective, exactly, but altered: “There’s another movie on this tape.” Jeremy doesn’t want to be curious, but he brings the movies home to take a look. And, indeed, in the middle of each movie, the screen blinks dark for a moment and the movie is replaced by a few minutes of jagged, poorly lit home video.

 

We Are Okay - Nina LaCour We Are Okay - Nina LaCour  

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart. An intimate whisper that packs an indelible punch, We Are Okay is Nina LaCour at her finest. This gorgeously crafted and achingly honest portrayal of grief will leave you urgent to reach across any distance to reconnect with the people you love.

 

All Our Wrong Todays: A Novel - Elan Mastai All Our Wrong Todays: A Novel - Elan Mastai  

You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we’d have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren’s 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed...because it wasn’t necessary. Except Tom just can’t seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that’s before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland. But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and—maybe, just maybe—his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality?

 

Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman  

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki―son of a giant―blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

 

Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life - Yiyun Li Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life - Yiyun Li  

Yiyun Li grew up in China and has spent her adult life as an immigrant in a country not her own. She has been a scientist, an author, a mother, a daughter—and through it all she has been sustained by a profound connection with the writers and books she loves. From William Trevor and Katherine Mansfield to Søren Kierkegaard and Philip Larkin, Dear Friend is a journey through the deepest themes that bind these writers together. Interweaving personal experiences with a wide-ranging homage to her most cherished literary influences, Yiyun Li confronts the two most essential questions of her identity: Why write? And why live?

 

The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes Novel) - Brittany Cavallaro The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes Novel) - Brittany Cavallaro  

In the second brilliant, action-packed book in the Charlotte Holmes trilogy, Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are in a chase across Europe to untangle a web of shocking truths about the Holmes and Moriarty families. Jamie and Charlotte are looking for a winter break reprieve in Sussex after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But nothing about their time off is proving simple, including Holmes and Watson’s growing feelings for each other. When Charlotte’s beloved Uncle Leander goes missing from the Holmes estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring—the game is afoot once again, and Charlotte throws herself into a search for answers. So begins a dangerous race through the gritty underground scene in Berlin and glittering art houses in Prague, where Holmes and Watson discover that this complicated case might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.

 

Lincoln in the Bardo - George Saunders Lincoln in the Bardo - George Saunders  

February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body. From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying.

 

The Education of Margot Sanchez - Lilliam Rivera The Education of Margot Sanchez - Lilliam Rivera  

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts. With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal… Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

 

Darling, I'm Going to Charlie: A Memoir - Maryse Wolinski Darling, I'm Going to Charlie: A Memoir - Maryse Wolinski  

An elegant, deeply felt memoir from Maryse Wolinski—journalist and widow of the late cartoonist Georges Wolinski, who died in the terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo—that is both a beautiful tribute to her late husband and a rallying call to action. “Darling, I’m going to Charlie.” These were the last words that prolific satirical cartoonist Georges Wolinski said to his wife, Maryse, as he left for work. Two hours later, terrorists barged into the Paris offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, fatally shooting him and eleven others

 

The Impossible Fortress - Jason Rekulak The Impossible Fortress - Jason Rekulak  

Until May 1987, fourteen-year-old Billy Marvin of Wetbridge, New Jersey, is a nerd, but a decidedly happy nerd. Afternoons are spent with his buddies, watching copious amounts of television, gorging on Pop-Tarts, debating who would win in a brawl (Rocky Balboa or Freddy Krueger? Bruce Springsteen or Billy Joel? Magnum P.I. Or T.J. Hooker?), and programming video games on his Commodore 64 late into the night. Then Playboy magazine publishes photos of Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White, Billy meets expert programmer Mary Zelinsky, and everything changes. A love letter to the 1980s, to the dawn of the computer age, and to adolescence—a time when anything feels possible—The Impossible Fortress will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you remember in exquisite detail what it feels like to love something—or someone—for the very first time.

 

Divided We Stand: The Battle Over Women's Rights and Family Values That Polarized American Politics - Marjorie J. Spruill Divided We Stand: The Battle Over Women's Rights and Family Values That Polarized American Politics - Marjorie J. Spruill  

Although much has been written about the role that social issues have played in politics, little attention has been given to the historical impact of women activists on both sides. DIVIDED WE STAND reveals how the battle between feminists and their conservative challengers divided the nation as Democrats continued to support women's rights and Republicans cast themselves as the party of family values. The women's rights movement and the conservative women's movement have irrevocably affected the course of modern American history. We cannot fully understand the present without appreciating the events leading up to Houston and thereafter.

 

To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death - Mark O'ConnellTo Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death - Mark O'Connell  

Transhumanism is a movement pushing the limits of our biology—our senses, intelligence, and lifespans—in the hopes that, with technology, we can become something better, something other, than ourselves. For decades, transhumanism has been quietly exerting its influence, but in the last few years it has achieved critical mass, finding support among Silicon Valley billionaires and some of the world’s biggest businesses. Where is our obsession with technology leading us? What does the rise of AI mean not only for our offices and homes, but for our humanity? Could the technologies we create to help us eventually bring us to harm?  Addressing these questions and more, O'Connell presents a thoughtful, provocative, often hilarious look at a growing movement.
 

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce - Morgan Parker There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce - Morgan Parker  

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé uses political and pop-cultural references as a framework to explore 21st century black American womanhood and its complexities: performance, depression, isolation, exoticism, racism, femininity, and politics. The poems weave between personal narrative and pop-cultural criticism, examining and confronting modern media, consumption, feminism, and Blackness. This collection explores femininity and race in the contemporary American political climate, folding in references from jazz standards, visual art, personal family history, and Hip Hop. The voice of this book is a multifarious one: writing and rewriting bodies, stories, and histories of the past, as well as uttering and bearing witness to the truth of the present, and actively probing toward a new self, an actualized self. This is a book at the intersections of mythology and sorrow, of vulnerability and posturing, of desire and disgust, of tragedy and excellence.

 

January wrap-ups!

One month checked, eleven still to go. How did you do in the first month of your 2017 reading challenge? Have a look at BookLikes bloggers January bookish results. Our 2017 TBR pile is growing up high ;)

 

Click the blog headings to visit the blogs, and click the book covers to go to a book page where you can +Post and +Shelf the titles. 

 

Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books - Nick Hornby Shadows Linger - Glen Cook Dark Visions - Conversations With The Masters of the Horror Film - Stanley Wiater Dark Entries - Robert Aickman

Okay, I read six books in January, half of them re-reads. Not my best month, but oh well.

1. Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books - Nick Hornby   ***** My only five-star this month, and a rerun. I love Hornby's non-fiction, so a collection of his book criticism for Believer magazine is perfect for me, and seeing him struggle with the magazine's "acid-free" policy is hilarious (I couldn't do it, myself, as you'll see shortly). Plus, a loot of great recommendations, albeit in a more mainstream vein than my usual tastes. Still, any book that got me into reading Sarah Vowell is aces... read more

 

 

The Crown's Game - Evelyn Skye Traitor to the Throne - Alwyn Hamilton Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy) by Taylor, Laini (2012) Paperback - Laini Taylor Rebel of the Sands - Alwyn Hamilton

I read a total of 9 books in January. Not too bad! Most of the books I read were absolutely amazing/enjoyable. Two of them did not really keep my interest, but I still manage to finish them (and they got 3 stars because I feel like these books could be enjoyed by other people... read more

 

 

Darktown: A Novel - Thomas Mullen Defending Jacob - William Landay Killing Floor - Lee Child

So this past month was a good reading month. I read from a TBR so as to not waste time looking for my next read and donated three bags of books to betterworldsbooks. I read ten books in total. I DNF'd quite  a few- returning them to the library or donating them. It felt good to move things along reading wise... read more

 

 

Apprentice in Death - J.D. Robb Wave - Sonali Deraniyagala March: Book Two - Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, John Robert Lewis Lowcountry Bordello - Susan M. Boyer

Started the Romance Bingo and Pop Sugar Reading Challenges this month. Participated in Bout of Books cycle 18. Participated in #24in48 read-a--thon.

Library Love challenge is going great; thinking I should have gone for the top level (50+ books), but may stay at the current level (36+ books) for now. I also got in 11 hours of volunteer time at the library, despite a constantly changing school schedule that saw my son out of school more than in school... read more

 

 

Sense and Sensibility - Manga - Jane Austen Manga Classics: Great Expectations - Morpheus Studios, Nokman Poon, Charles Dickens, Crystal Chan Quidditch im Wandel der Zeiten - J.K. Rowling, Klaus Fritz Forget Me Always - Sara Wolf

5 books. Not that bad. I was hoping for more but you can't always get what you want. I'm still very proud... read more

 

 

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space RaceLock and KeySaving GraceThe Truth About Forever

I read and reviewed 26 books this month. I guess I have to give props to whatever cold thing kicked my butt this past weekend and the fact that due to real world events I have been pretty much throwing myself into books... read more

 

 

Allegiance of Honor (Psy/Changelings) - Nalini Singh Assorted Fantasies - Joel Puga White Rabbit Society Part One - Brendan Detzner Slave to Sensation - Nalini Singh

So I will admit, for me, I have started this year out slow. Only 3 new books and one re-read. I do re-read the Psy/Changeling series alot though, I just cannot seem to get enough of that fantastic world Nalini has created. However I think for February I am going to aim for 5 new books... read more

 

Click to view more of January wrap-ups by BookLikes bloggers. If you're not included in the list, let us know and we'll add you up :)

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Bloggers write: Why I created Bookish Box Swaps

It's time for Bloggers write section! One thing we love more than books and bookish gadgets is a bookish gift box full of personalized goodies. Here's a step by step instruction how to create one:

 

1. Read the following piece

2. Join Bookish Box Swaps on BookLikes

3. Meet other book lovers

4. Prepare fancy gadgets

5. Send a box with a smile

 

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A guest post by Jessica from Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile:

 

So you’re wondering about Bookish Box Swaps, and what they are? Well friends, let me take you on a quick trip into a world filled with boxes of goodies. A world where that fluttery feeling of filling boxes with things you know someone else will love, comes more than once a year. If there’s one thing we bookish people know, it’s that books can soothe the soul. This is exactly why I created the Bookish Box Swaps group.

 

The idea behind it all is simple. Our group chooses the next swap we want to do, a minimum spending requirement is set, a list of fun themed items is created, and the rest is all up to the swappers! We do a quick poll at the beginning, before people are paired up, to give the swappers a glimpse at the people behind the emails. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the people you interact with on a daily basis, and see what you have in common! Each swap is unique, and a brand new chance to meet someone new.

 

As an example, our “Cozy Up Swap” at the end of 2016 was about all things comforting and warm. The rules called for a book, a warm drink, something edible, something handmade, and a card. I was absolutely floored by the types of boxes that were curated by our members. There were so many thoughtful, handpicked, handmade items. It’s a lot of fun to watch the pictures roll in, as the swappers receive their packages. The amount of love thrown around is infectious.

 

              

 

Have I given you enough of a reason to join us yet? We would love to have you! You can find us here: http://booklikes.com/groups/show/746/bookish-box-swaps. Keep in mind that our swaps aren’t mandatory, and all our members are welcome to participate whenever they can!

 

My hope for this group was always that it would foster more of the bookish love we all already have, and bring people closer together. It seems to be doing just that! When the world looks bleak, at least we have this little piece of kindness and light to hold onto.

 

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If you've missed the previous "Bloggers write" post here's a link to catch up with the BookLikes Librarian's tips & tricks on editing and adding books on BookLikes ->

We know your reading habits

Reading is a personal thing but some reading habits are common for all book lovers. We're happy to present some findings based on the recent reading habit tag Q&A.

 

BookLikes bloggers love reading on a comfy couch under a soft blanket but this pattern doesn't stop them from reading any place. A cup of tea or coffee is a perfect companion for a bookish night. Some books, though, require a big glass of red wine or a chocolate bar, a big spoon of ice cream or simply any kind of a sweet treat.

 

BookLikes bloggers tend to be polygamist readers who like to shift between formats and genres. Similar freedom takes place when replacing a missing bookmark with anything nearby, like ribbons, receipts, tickets, boarding passes and random pieces of paper.

 

Many readers choose music to enhance the book atmosphere but a large group of book lovers cannot stand any kind of distraction, including their own voice. The silent reading isn't required when reading to kids or immersing into vivid poetry pieces.

 

Book bloggers agree that books are important personal objects and need special attention. Spine barking is justified for paperbacks and library editions which already have this intense reading trace. Note taking is reserved for textbooks.

 

Skipping pages is hardly understandable, whereas peeking ahead is a sign of curiosity and book praise.

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If you haven't participated in our tag fun game, we'll be more than happy to welcome you. Copy the following questions and share your reading habits on your blog. Please remember to add a reading habit tag to your post:

 

1. Do you have a certain place in your home for reading?

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

3. Can you  just stop reading or do you have to stop read after a chapter / certain number of pages?

4. Do you eat or drink while read?

5. Multitasking: music or TV while reading?

6. One book at a time or several at once?

7. Reading at home or everywhere?

8. Reading out loud or silently in your head?

9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

10. Barking the spine or keeping it like new?

11. Do you write in your books?

 

If you're curious how your fellow bloggers answered, here's a list of BookLikes bloggers reading habits posts.

read more »

Bloggers write: BookLikes Librarian's tips & tricks on editing and adding books on BookLikes

We've decided to start up a brand new section on BookLikes blog where we invite our bloggers to write about important and interesting BookLikes initiatives and other bookish topics. We have a huge pleasure to welcome Jenn from Murder by Death, one of the BookLikes Librarian, who would like to share some tips and tricks concerning editing the book catalog on BookLikes. It's a must read, boys and girls :-)

 

P.S. If you haven't visited Murder by Death's How to BookLikes group yet, you need to catch up, just click here.

 ***

 

Guest post by Jenn from Murder by Death:

 

 

Help!  I can’t find my book on BookLikes!

Trying to add new books (or new-to-you) to your shelves but can’t find them in BookLikes?  Here’s what to do to find them, add them or edit them.

 

First try searching… again.

 

Like all databases of any size, BookLikes periodically indexes it’s book database.  To paraphrase Wikipedia, indexes are used to quickly locate data without having to search every row in a database every time a search is done.  An index is a copy of selected data from a database that can be searched very efficiently, but the actual process of creating that copy, or index, is no small thing; especially for large databases, so it’s only done periodically.  What does any of that mean to us?  It means that if a book you’re looking for has been added after the last indexing, it might not come up in a title search.

 

So, if your search yields “No books found!” when you search by title, try searching again using the ISBN.  8 out of 10 times, you’ll find the book you’re looking for. The bonus of using the ISBN (ASIN works too!) is that if it isn’t in the BookLikes database, BL will automatically query its affiliate partners, e.g. Amazon, and if they have it, BookLikes uses the information to add the book record to the database. Easy peasy, right?

 

Adding a new book

 

But what if you’ve tried searching by ISBN and you still have no book love from the database?  Then you can - and should! - add a new book.  Any BookLikes member can add a new book to the database by using either the “Add a new book” button in the search results, or by clicking “Add a new book” on any author’s page (“Add New Edition” is only used when you’re adding a new edition of an already existing work/title).

 

 

When you click the button to add a new book, you’ll go to the add new book page. Upload the book cover (or check the box for “There’s no cover yet”), and fill in the blanks: title, author, series, etc.  Please fill in as many of the fields as you can; everyone appreciates a complete book record. :)

 

Please note:  the Author field and the Series field are both search fields. When filling these in, wait a moment before hitting tab or return: you’ll see the spinning wheel and then a list of author or series names to choose from.  Select the correct name from that list.  If it’s a new series, hitting return will add it.

 

New books are sent to the librarian’s queue for checking, so remember these important tips - the librarians will thank you and think good thoughts about you!

 

1. Please include the ISBN/ASIN for all new books you add. These are almost always found on the publisher’s page, library page, Amazon’s page, and about half the time, the author’s website. You might have to search around a bit, but they’re there. Either ISBN 10 or 13 will do; both is great if your feeling completist.  For kindles and audible editions, the ASIN is both on the Amazon (or Audible) page and in the Amazon link to the book page.   Books without an ISBN or ASIN will either be merged with book records that do, or will be changed to match a new edition with an ISBN. That might mean a different format or cover than you wanted for that record.  

 

So now you’re asking “What if the book I’m adding doesn’t have an ISBN or and ASIN? What then?” Excellent question. If you’re adding a book older than the ISBN system (pre 1970’s, approximately), or if you’re adding a short story from an author’s website, or a self published piece that the author did not obtain an ISBN for, then check the box for “No ISBN/ASIN” and make sure you include a valid source link that librarians can use to verify the information. Valid sources include the publisher, the author’s website and worldcat.org.  

 

2. Please keep in mind that there are only two types of books that need an ASIN: kindles and audible audiobooks. If you are adding any other format (paperback, hardcover, ebook, etc.) please do not add an ASIN.  If you’re an author adding your books to BL, add a new edition for each format: one for ebook with an ISBN, one for kindle with an ASIN, etc.

 

There are a few more tips for adding books that make everyone happy, but these are the two biggies. For a more complete list, or to ask questions, see this thread: http://booklikes.com/thread/2822/dos-and-don-ts-for-adding-new-books

 

 

Handy tip for Amazon and BookDepository users - with a caveat:

You can add books to BL directly from the Amazon or BookDepository websites AND get them on the right shelf at the same time. BookLikes offers a handy little widget-thing called “Shelve It!” and you can find it on your BL bookshelves. In the upper(ish) right area of your book shelves you’ll see a small black book icon. Drag that to your browser’s bookmark bar, and the next time you’re on Amazon or BD and see a book you want to shelve, click that button and voila!

 

 

PLEASE NOTE:  The Shelve It function is currently part of the BookLikes coding review, so if you try to use it right now, your results may vary.  Amazon and BookDepository have changed their website functionality and this widget needs to be adjusted accordingly.  If the widget doesn’t work for you now, at least you know about for the future!  ;)

 

Editing book records

 

So what if you find your book, but it’s missing the cover, or series information or it’s marked as a Young Adult and it most certainly IS NOT YA?  Edit that record!  Fix it and help BookLikes towards perfection!  

 

Hyperbole aside, BookLikes allows anyone to edit a record to fix incorrect data for that edition. There are two ways to do this: either via the “edit” button, which allows you to make the edits yourself, or the “report” button which allows you to notify the librarians of the issues so they can fix it for you.  Both of these are on every book edition page.

 

 

Good things to know and remember:

 

1. If you do the edits yourself, you won’t see your changes instantly; your edits go into the librarian queue and can be rejected if they don’t meet the BL guidelines.  Currently there’s no communication method in place between librarians and users submitting edits, so if you don’t see your edits in, say, 48 hours, (it can be longer - they’re volunteers!) one or more of them likely got rejected.

 

2. If you’re changing the cover, either via edit or report, include a source link that verifies that edition has that cover.  Because cover wars are not an urban myth, and as a rule, librarians are picky.  Rejections happen without a valid source link.

 

3. DO NOT CHANGE or REMOVE AN ISBN.  Just don’t do it!  It almost never ends well; gnashing of teeth and rejection will almost surely be the result.  If you can’t find your edition, add it.  Don’t change someone else’s to suit yours.  There are RARE cases when an ISBN is invalid - it happens but not often.  When you know the ISBN is wrong, then do let BL know - use the report button and the comments box to explain why you think the ISBN is invalid.  Also: BookLikes does not remove out-of-print editions.  If it ever existed and had an ISBN, it stays and keeps the information that was valid for that edition at the time it was released (i.e. covers and titles and author pseudonyms).

 

4. If you see records that have both an ISBN and ASIN, and are listed as a “Kindle Edition” (note the uppercase K and the word “Edition”), this is a quirk of the imports and until it can be fixed, librarians need to split those records apart to form the correct ebook and kindle editions.  If you want to let the librarians know about the ones you come across, use the Report button and choose “other” from the pull down menu and include a request to split them in the comments field.

 

Those are the highlights, if you want more details about how to edit like a BL pro, you can find more, or ask questions on this thread:

http://booklikes.com/thread/2823/dos-and-don-ts-for-editing-books

Here come gadgets for BookLikes bloggers!

The bookish gadgets make us really happy. Not regular happy, we mean crazy joyful. Our heart rate increases, the blood pressure rises, the cheeks blush, both of our hand shake and lip corners lift up into a smile. A very big smile. Our reaction was the same when we teamed up with Mikołaj Adamczyk, the 3D designer and artist from Clonova, who decided to expand his portfolio with the collection of bookish gadgets. Yep, you heard us right, THE BOOKISH GADGETS! So, who's interested? :D

 

What's 3D printing anyway?

3D printing uses a printer to create three-dimensional objects in comparison to a regular printer where are only two dimensions: the front of the page and the back. 3D printing adds a volume to these two.

3D printed object are created by adding or depositing layers of material. Plastic is the most commonly used but you can print with number of materials including steel, silver or gold, basically anything that can be melted or put back together in layers. The technology is developing super fast and it's already possible to print buildings or eatable books. How cool is that!

 

But let's get back to the bookish stuff :) Our brainstorms resulted in the three projects listed below but worry not, more are coming! As always, we're curious of your opinion. How do you like them? Do you consider them useful? Would you like to ... get one of these? :) It's the very beginning of the 3D projects so we'd like to ask: if you had an opportunity to print yourself a 3D bookish gadget what would it be?

 

Please let us know in the comment section below.  We do plan on some surprises so stay tuned :-)

 

1. Cat a Stopper is a handy hand-free way to keep your books open. This book page holder and a bookmark is great to hold a book or a magazine wide open for easier viewing, it's also perfect for reading while standing or lying. A helpful gadget for all multitask readers who read many books at once (academic research) or prefers big format and hard cover books. Helps you keep your place while studying, enjoying a cup of coffee or taking an Instagram shot. Awesome for cookbooks, it will keep your books clean and spotless.

2. A transparent scrap page / note taking bookmark

This will help you stay organized and keep your books in a perfect condition, no more dog ears! Thanks to this note taking page you can highlight the passage you find essential and add all necessary notes. Perfect for students, analytic readers, quote lovers.

3. DIY Bookshelf

There are never too many books, only not enough bookshelves in the book lover's life. Here's a ready to go plan to create a shelf of your own design.

Can't wait to hear what you think of those! Add your comments and ideas for more bookish gadgets in the comment section below.