r/books Feb 21 '23

The /r/books Book Club Selection + AMA for April is " Sea of Tranquility" by Emily St. John Mandel


If you are looking for the announcement thread for the previous month, it may be found here.

Hello, all. During the month of April, the sub book club will be reading Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel! Each week, there will be a discussion thread and when we are done, Emily herself will be joining us for an AMA.

From Goodreads (feel free to skip if you prefer to know nothing going into the book as the description contains minor spoilers):

Edwin St. Andrew is eighteen years old when he crosses the Atlantic by steamship, exiled from polite society following an ill-conceived diatribe at a dinner party. He enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and suddenly hears the notes of a violin echoing in an airship terminal--an experience that shocks him to his core.

Two centuries later a famous writer named Olive Llewellyn is on a book tour. She's traveling all over Earth, but her home is the second moon colony, a place of white stone, spired towers, and artificial beauty. Within the text of Olive's best-selling pandemic novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him.

When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.

You may find the dates of, and links to, the discussion threads below in the sticky comment on this post. You are welcome to read at your own pace. Usually it is pretty easy to catch up and you are always welcome to join the discussions a little later. If you would like to view potential content warnings for the book, a reader-created list may be found here.

For those of you that are viewing reddit on the redesigned desktop version you will see an option on this post to 'follow'. If you 'follow' the book club post you will receive a notification when a new post, a discussion thread for book club, is added to the collection.

r/books 18h ago

WeeklyThread Weekly FAQ Thread March 26 2023: What is your favorite quote from a book?


Hello readers and welcome to our Weekly FAQ thread! Our topic this week is: What is your favorite quote from a book? Please post your favorites here.

You can view previous FAQ threads here in our wiki.

Thank you and enjoy!

r/books 14h ago Silver

Red Rising the series. Wow.


What an amazing sci-fi collection, Pierce Brown really brings a universe to life, mixing past Roman ideology to a future where a breed of enhanced humans calling themselves golds have terraformed all planets in the solar system and have created a "utopia" which they call The Society. Organising different job components of what they believe to be an ideal society to a pyramid of colours i.e. gold as the peak of humanity, silvers the business managers, white as religious overseers, black as warrior giants, yellows as doctors, greens as technology experts, orange as mechanics, etc. A red working in the Mars mines finds out his gold leaders have been lying to his entire red brethren about the supposed inhabitability of Mars, forcing them to live out their days working for them underground promising that one day they will be able to inhabit the surface. After much turmoil and tragedy he makes it to the surface and joins an uprising against his gold masters.

Not for the faint of heart (definitely think the books has some sensitive subjects for adult-processing only) but a real page turner. I have just finished the 4th book in the series and I am kinda sad that there is only 1 more after lol.

Tl;dr: First book is much like Hunger Games, thereafter the books expand into a space opera.

Edit 1: Clarified the tl;dr

r/books 21h ago

Best literary dads?


In teaching high school English (American Lit), I have noticed in all the books in the curriculum, characters who are fathers are either morally gray at best (John Proctor in The Crucible, Billy Pilgrim in Slaughter House 5, Jacob Vaark in A Mercy) or outright scumbags (Tom Buchanan in Gatsby, Walt McCandless in Into the Wild).

This got me thinking: who are your favorite literary dads? Hans Huberman from The Book Thief is one who is just so genuinely good-hearted, he has actually inspired me as a father (as much as a fictional character can): endlessly patient, unconditionally loving, and always willing to do the right thing.

r/books 10h ago

Internet Archive Loses Lawsuit Over Ebook Copyright Infringement. Here’s What to Know...


r/books 8h ago

This sub's most popular posts regarding Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist are negative... I loved it!


Just minutes ago I finished reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I loved it. I think I'll read it again soon, but first I'll give it some time to sink in.

Before writing this post, I checked to see what kinds of posts had already been made regarding the book. Most described the book as childish, pointless, a self-help book disguised as fiction, etc. I disagree, and I don't think anyone is necessarily right or wrong.

I'm 25 years old. I'm not religious in any way, but I do find a lot of joy and meaning in nature and the outdoors. That's led me to become a teacher. I love to share my passion with others. But getting here has been a bit of a journey, and I appreciate that Santiago follows the same kind of journey. He finds meaning and joy along his adventures, almost haphazardly, much like I have.

The language is beautiful, and feels natural to the wanderings and musings of a boy on a journey. But does that make it childish? No. The themes can be expanded to describe all manner of people, and I know people of all ages wonder what their purpose in life is, or "Personal Legend", as my version describes.

But patience and faith in the future have been my best tools to find joy in my life, and I think that's basically what the story describes. I really appreciated The Alchemist, and I look forward to contemplating its themes and reading it again.

r/books 1d ago Ally

The Diary of Anne Frank


I know i read this in school but it must not have impacted me, as I didn't remember much. Re visiting this as an adult... is effing heartbreaking.

It hurts so much to think of how despite everything this bright young girl was going through, knowing the horrific future that she eventually did succumb to, still remained much more optimistic than any adult ever would have.

"In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again."
That was a month before her and her family were taken away.

Breaks my goddamn heart.

r/books 1h ago

I read the book "Ugly Love" by Coleen Hoover


The book was an absolute disaster! I swear it's right up there with the worst book by that author that I've ever read. There were three things that totally sucked about it. First off, it was like every page was oozing with sexism and gender stereotypes. Secondly, the main character had zero self-respect. I get that it might have been part of the plot, but seriously, she let Miles walk all over her and crush her feelings into a million pieces. It was beyond pathetic. Even when she tried to be sassy, she never followed through with any real actions. But the worst thing about this book was how twisted the story was. The main conflict was all about Miles and his tragic backstory and how he couldn't love again. So why the heck did the story try to make it all about Tate? She was supposed to be the main character, but instead, she was just a doormat for Miles to stomp all over while he sorted out his own problems. And then the author tries to sell it as a book about a couple having a purely sexual relationship? That's just messed up. The whole thing was manipulative and gave off some seriously gross messages to young people who might read it.

r/books 5h ago

Cancelled books?


So I want to ask a question are there any cancelled books not cancelled as in Twitter. But cancelled as in books planned but never released, books made but never got to see the light of day, books concepts that never went anywhere or cancelled series, are there any cause I kept hearing cancelled tv shows, video games and cartoons but never cancelled books.

r/books 15h ago

What’s a book that unsettled you? How did it do that?


How did it make you feel and do you still feel that way? For me it was 13 reasons why back in middle school. I remember the last couple of tapes striking a cord with me especially cause that was the first time I was introduced to what SA is. Looking back it pales in comparison to other things I’ve read but honestly it’s still one of my favorite books. So how about y’all?

r/books 14h ago

The Chaos Machine by Max Fisher


This is the most important book about current events that I’ve ever read. A non-fiction work of investigative and explanatory journalism exploring how social media companies exploit some of the weak spots in our brains for money, resulting in devastating effects to individuals and entire societies.

Our hardwired tendency to focus on fear, hate, outrage, and in-group vs. out-group conflict, which has served to help us survive as long as we’ve been Homo Sapien, is being monetized by the likes of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, and just about all forms of social media to keep us looking at their platforms and therefore the ads placed there.

The algorithms deployed by these companies, perhaps most significantly Facebook and YouTube, not only display outrage-inducing content to keep you hooked, but also shepherd users step-by-step into some of the most extreme content they have, effectively radicalizing hundreds of millions of people.

The results range from isolated incidents of violence, riots and even genocide, to the erosion of democracy and civil society in general.

Everyone should read this.

r/books 49m ago

How do I find out who knows what they are talking about?


This is related to factual, scientific books discussing topics such as nutrition, fitness, psychology etc. regarding many of these topics there are a million books with a 100 thousand opinions. What would you suggest is the most efficient way to finding the most credible sources on these subjects? I suppose books that are super popular and have received very positive critical receptions would be suited best, if they have reached a large audience they have also reached many other experts on said topic and if the book has then received positive reviews that means a large amount of these experts seem to agree with the theses of the book. So my question rephrase/simplified would maybe be, how do I find these books? How do I find (for example) the top 3 nutrition related-books that have received overwhelmingly positive feedback and sort of reached high popularity. Is there some kind of "easy" way of getting there? Like some sort of ranking for books of certain topics?

r/books 3h ago

No books have excited me lately


I just finished Daisy Jones and the Six, and last month I finished Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (which I liked better), and I finally finished American Gods in January.

All three of these books were good. But none of them excited me. I listened to them and kept checking to see how much time I had left lol.

I usually love and am gripped by most of the books I read, but lately I seem to have a dry spell. They’re not bad. But man, I want something that makes me excited to read, something I’ll just devour. Maybe I’ll just start re-reading my favorites again lol.

r/books 1d ago

At 83, The Handmaid's Tale author Margaret Atwood shows no signs of slowing down


r/books 18h ago

"Hello Beautiful" by Ann Napolitano


Just finished this book. I knew I was going to read it even before it was named Oprah's 100 book club selection. What a beautiful book. I feel like a better person and father for having read this book. You really feel like these characters are a part of your family by the end. I highly recommend this book. So beautiful.

r/books 17h ago

Sula, by Toni Morrison


I notice this book hasn't been reviewed by itself, or at least, there was nothing specific to it in the first 10 or so results of my r/books search. So here goes nothing!

I was very impressed. It had been so long since I first read it that I had forgotten almost everything about it. I think what impressed me the most, though, is that Morrison seems to have the same facility Dostoevsky had, of creating innumerable distinct and distinctive characters, while at the same time doing something Dostoevsky never did, neither enumerating nor abandoning the essential insanities of any of her characters. It's been so long since I've read any Dostoevsky that I can't be more specific; but I remember one of his most impressive strengths was the ability to create an endless number of really unique characters. Morrison does that too, and more realistically and more impactfully (is impactfully a word? lol).

Morrison speaks, in her author's foreword of the edition I read, of her desire to show four different types of woman as though they were "the" four most basic choices women had, in her world. I hope she wouldn't disagree with that interpretation (I've returned the book to the library, so I can't retrieve her actual words right now.) But the way she works with each "type" makes it perfectly clear that she sees how multiplicitous and chaotic each so called type is. How multiplicitous and chaotic people are.

It did bother me that her favorite character, Sula herself, was pretty clearly either sociopathic or psychopathic, depending on how you interpret her motivations. (And, I guess, depending on how you understand those words. Sociopaths (I googled it) are hot-headed, and don't consider the consequences to others; psychopaths plan everything they do out, and don't consider the consequences to others.) I can't argue that such a character shouldn't be an author's favorite; but it's disturbing nonetheless. Well, I have my own insanities, as do we all.

But I love the way Morrison handles her different characters, as though every one of them overflows with an endless multiplicity of perspectives, with no thought at all for whether any of the perspectives conflict or conform with any of the other perspectives. This is, I think an essential characteristic of people (and possibly animals too), and one we maybe don't appreciate as we should. Morrison certainly makes it an attractive quality. It's part of what makes her characters lovable.

I won't be reading the book again any time soon; it didn't strike me as one of those, like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or Lord of the Flies, that have lessons for us all that are apparently eternal (because we never learn them lol). But I would certainly recommend that anyone read it at least once. If I hadn't forgotten it so completely myself, in the last thirty years, I would say it's unforgettable.

r/books 48m ago

Dracula is one of the best books i have ever read


Once it switches over to “Letter from Miss Mina Murray to Miss Lucy Westerna” is the most soul sucking writing ever. The book builds up to such an exciting point then it gets reduced down to some pathetic women love letter. My only complaint on the entire book. I think on my next read i will completely skip that chapter all together.

r/books 15h ago

What are the least shelved books you've read these last years?


While I appreciate Reddit's enthusiasm for Project Hail Mary and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I'd love to discover some other works that get less publicity.

On Goodreads, you can find the least shelved book that you have read at this page: https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/YEAR/ (where YEAR is the specific year you want to see).

Here are my least shelved books for the last few years:

The Hunting Gun - Yasushi Inoue A poet writes a poem published in a hunting magazine. It's about a melancholic hunter he saw in the forest once. Later he receives a letter from a guy who believes he is the melancholic hunter from the poem. He wants to explain why he looked so melancholic. In order to do that he includes three letters which he received from his niece, his wife and his wife's cousin.

Numero Deux - David Foenkinos 1999, they are auditioning for the kid who will play Harry Potter. There are two kids left. The novel is about the kid who was not selected and how this event ruined his life. This book was my introduction to Foenkinos who is kinda famous in France. I found it terrible. The idea is good but the execution did not live up to expectations. The writing is mediocre and the plot is unintentionally silly.

Et on tuera tous les affreux - Boris Vian Do not remember this one very well. I would recommend L'écume des jours instead, which is his most famous work.

Life for sale - Yukio Mishima This is a weird one. It's nothing like other works by Mishima. A salaryman fails his suicide. When he leaves the hospital, he puts an ad in a newspaper 'Life for sale. Use me as you wish. I am a twenty-seven-year-old male. Discretion guaranteed. Will cause no bother at all.' I read it four years ago and I don't remember that well but I remember it was fun. I am pretty sure there are spies and a vampire at some point.

The Music of Chance - Paul Auster Two men on a roadtrip. They play a game of poker against two rich eccentrics. They lose everything. They are forced to build a wall to pay off their debt.

r/books 7h ago

Authors whose writings stayed with you years later


I’d be interested to read about authors we loved when we were younger that stay with us to this day. Not the “classic” authors we’ve all heard of, rather the author you read for pleasure not because it was required reading in English lit.

I’ll start with three…

Nevil Shute I started reading his books in the 70s because he was my grampa’s favorite writer. Shute died in 1960 so obviously his books are from another era.

My favorites are The Trustee From The Tool Room which I found to be a story of how a seemingly small and little life has a worldwide influence. I recently reread it and still came to tears from the sheer beauty of the prose and the story. I love this book.

Also A Town Life Alice which is story of love and loss and hope. Again his prose is like reading poetry in the form of an enthralling story. The mini series was quite good.

Others I would mention are On The Beach, No Highway (movie was lovely), The Chequer Board and so many others.

Next would be Rumer Godden.
In This House of Brede spoke to my heart when I was in high school. I don’t even know how many times I have re-read it. The movie does it no justice at all. Warning it takes place in a cloistered convent before Vatican II so the setting may be somewhat foreign to most people. It’s the story of a woman who gives up her high powered career to seek a life of contemplation in a cloister, which was not easy. I think the underlying themes remain relevant. And Godden can do prose to make your heart soar. She written other books of equal beauty worth looking at. The Greenage Summer, The Peacock Spring, Episode of The Sparrows to name a few.

E F Benson The Mapp and Lucia books

These books are so deliciously wickedly funny without a single reliance on cheap innuendo.

Lastly Thorne Smith (not to be confused with the singer)

His books take place in the 20s and 30s and they are hilarious. Topper and Night Life of The Gods are my two favorites.

Okay who would you like to tell me about?

r/books 2h ago

Neil Gaiman's "Smoke and Mirrors".


Just tonight I've finished a collection by one of the best writers of fiction: Neil Gaiman's "Smoke and Mirrors". Neil Gaiman began life as a journalist and would slowly begin to write his own fiction in the eighties, and also comics too, and before long in the late eighties and the nineties he would become a household name. And this collection of short stories and prose is the fourth one.

I have always heard his name get thrown around but I've never read any of the works until I've picked this collection, and also others, from Barnes & Noble. When I finally got to it and started reading it I was quite impressed!

This collection contains a mix of short stories, novellas and of course the prose poems. The way Gaiman writes is very intriguing to me. The stories themselves are strange to the least but they are very good. At times they can be poignant, funny and even haunting.

My picks from this collection are "Chivalry", "The Price", "Troll Bridge", "The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories" and "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar".

r/books 4h ago

The Evolution of Desire by David M. Buss


Here is what I learned. There is always an exception and I didn't include marriage things because I won't get married.

  • why women are choosier:
    • “Men produce millions of sperm, which are replenished at a rate of roughly 12 million per hour. Women produce a fixed and unreplenishable lifetime supply of approximately 1 to 2 million ova. Of these follicles, most die. Only 400 ova mature to the point where they are capable of being fertilized “
      • “This alone means female reproductive opportunities are limited: at most a given female can expect to reproduce a handful of times in her life. A given male, by contrast, can expect at most to reproduce as many times as available fertile females are willing to have sex”
  • what women want for long-term mates:
  1. resources for them and their kids, such as men’s status, finance, and education
  2. 3.5 yrs older than them because older men are more emotionally stable and reliable, and have much more resource
  3. personality traits that are likely to bring men higher status and sustained resources (such as ambition, industriousness)
  4. having similarities such as personality traits and political views
  5. physical prowess, such as being tall and athletic because of good health, and physical protection, and because men with physical prowess tend to have more resources and high status.
  6. commitment because a man who is committed to his partner provide his help and his energy to a partner only
  7. men being surrounded by beautiful women because it makes men more attractive to women and it signals to have high status
  • why younger men and older men get together: both older women and younger men lack bargaining power in the mating market
  • what men want for long-term mates:
  1. A woman with a high reproductive capacity
    1. “obvious and observable cues were youth and health”
  • “a fact of fertility that women’s reproductive capacity declines steadily with increasing age after the mid-twenties. “
  • “youthful physical appearances, such as symmetrical composite faces, full lips, clear skin, smooth skin, clear eyes, lustrous hair, and good muscle tone, and features of behavior, such as a bouncy, youthful gait, an animated facial expression, and a high energy level.”
  1. A beautiful women because it signals status to same-sex competitors to other potential mates
  2. sexual fidelity(but men want several sex partners lol)
  • what men do to attract women
  1. exaggerating their prestige at work etc
  2. derogate and make fun of a rival
  3. telling women their rivals are poor, have no money, lack ambition
  4. showing generosity with resources
  5. showing potential for having resources by exhibiting studiousness or describing ambitious goals
  6. revealing kindness and commitment
  7. exaggerating how many women love him
  • what women do to attract men
  1. enhancing physical attractiveness along youthful and healthful lines, such as flushed cheeks and high color and wearing body-shaping undergarments
  2. making fun of a rival’s appearance
  3. flirtation which includes touching, revealing clothing(”Men found women in tight-fitting and revealing clothing more attractive than fully clothed women as dating partners and sex partners, but not as marriage partners “)
  4. “omen sometimes act submissive, helpless, and less intelligent than they are to attract short-term mates”
  • what men do to secure mates
    • “Men may insult their appearance to lower women’s perception of their desirability, thereby securing a more favorable power balance within the relationship”
  • what women do to secure mates
    • enhancing appearance

Thanks for reading

r/books 1d ago

Why does it seem so hard to START reading these days


I think this might be a generational thing—me growing up with a phone and YouTube maybe. But I love the feeling I have when I am reading and I like learning and being absorbed in a book. However. A book is a slow burn (which logically I love, but motivation wise not so much) and I can just go on my phone to learn things from video essays or what have you, and I get faster knowledge. Now I appreciate a video essay and I appreciate that I have access to so much knowledge on the internet but I also just want to read a book. I want to have my own interpretation, put in the effort to read the whole book and work for the knowledge as well. And I love doing it! I just can never sit down to start. It’s always starting that I can’t do, and sometimes I read the same part over again and don’t absorb it and it takes me a super long time to read especially when I am trying hard to pay attention. I want to read so badly yet for some reason my brain seems to be like “no you don’t!” Anyone else feel like this and have some advice :) I want to love reading so much that I always want to do it! Because I do feel that way while im reading but yeah. It seems impossible to start.

r/books 7h ago

Why are American book covers typically ugly in comparison to everywhere else?


Sometimes I'll be browsing ebay for used books I can't find at my local shops. I notice that European covers, for example, tend to look really nice in comparison to the garish American versions. What the hell is that about? Do publisher's think Americans won't buy the book if the cover isn't adorned with primary colors and a dozen glowing reviews?

r/books 5h ago

Websites or apps for tracking specific authors' releases?


I've found over time that there are a few current authors where I've enjoyed every book they've written. I'll read their entire output to date, and then eagerly wait for their next release. But, it's time-consuming and error-prone to periodically query Amazon a local bookseller for every author I'm looking for.

Are there any websites or Android/iOS apps where I can set up an account and then track specific authors, getting notifications when a new book comes out from one of my authors? Is there perhaps one of the "track the books I've read" sites or apps that can do this?

r/books 18h ago

I just finished The Winners by Fredrik Backman and I am just weeping on the couch. That author is so talented.


I think I've read all of his books now but I really think this one is my favorite. I love the way he developed these characters. He manages to tell the story of imperfect people and weaves together something beautiful. By the end of Us Against You I adored Benji, I found myself like Maya just rooting for him to live a good life. The boy with the wild eyes and big heart. Then there was Bobo, the oaf with the biggest heart. When he first spoke with Johnny in the garage I had to pause and absorbe how beautiful his proclamation of love was, without even saying that word. Wise beyond his years.

During the actual final event I was led to believe that other people were shot too. I thought mumble was dead and then he casually just said he continued to play hockey. Do you think mumble should have told his story? Would they have forgiven him eventually?

I'd love to hear everyone else's take on this series. It's so interesting how the people around you can bring out the best or the worst in you.

r/books 1h ago

Regarding recent book changes


There's so much coverage regarding books that are being altered for sensitivity.

Does anyone here have actual sources that people asked for this?

Maybe you can link me to timed trendy tweets? Petitions? Social media outrage? Timely research papers claiming altering text is better for readers (or for profit)

Please do not include sensitivity readers. That's a job they get paid for by utilizing their trauma.

Articles tend to sweep information under the rug regarding an actual audience asking for this.

I want information before I react to anything.

r/books 16h ago

Book series that are similar though doesn't seem like it at first.


The Ranger's Apprentice/Brotherband Chronicles to Redwall. This is because these two book series are the same genre of little to no magic fantasy and for the same reading age, as well as the same positive messages and role models. Most people recommend Warrior Cats to Redwall readers even though there isn't a lot of common ground between them other than being animal stories. As for books similar to Redwall most would go for Mouseguard since it has the same sort of goodbeast vs vermin. Like Redwall, The Ranger's Apprentice uses medieval Europe as a source material and have many characters who love food, although the food description certainly isn't as descriptive. Also like Redwall, The Ranger's Apprentice can become violent with blood, with multiple notable family-unfriendly villain deaths.