Celebrate Independent Bookstore Day on April 29th and Get Free Audiobooks

In honor of the third annual Independent Bookstore Day, visitors to select independent bookstores this April 29th will have the opportunity to download five complimentary digital audiobooks from Libro.fm, plus two incredible samplers! Titles include #1 Indie Next Pick, The Women in the Castle (Harper Audio) by Jessica Shattuck and David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (Hachette Audio). How do you participate? Easy. Show up at any of our 450 participating independent bookstores nationwide on April 29th, and be sure to create your Libro.fm account now so you can get updates as the event draws closer.

“I rely on local bookstores (at home and on vacation) to provide not only access to books but also community — story hours, fun children’s sections to visit on rainy days, interesting readings and panels to get me, and everyone else who attends, to think about the wider world than the one right under our noses. I feel that independent bookstores are really the purveyors and gardeners of the life of the mind.”
—Jessica Shattuck, author of  The Women in the Castle

Set in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to Germany’s high society, The Women in the Castle is a propulsive, affecting, and ultimately redemptive novel chronicling the lives of three widows whose fates collide in the aftermath of World War II. Listen to a sample below:

 

My all-time favorite David Foster Wallace essay is A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (Hachette Audio). DFW takes listeners on a 4-hour cruise in the Caribbean that is memorable for its wit and keen observations about the cruising industry. Listen to the sample below:

 

“Independent bookstores are my first stops in any new city, a quick check of the pulse in any literary community. They are ports in the storm, passageways to magical lands, escape hatches out of bad moods. Even when I don’t think I need a book, because the stack beside my bed is teetering toward the ceiling, I always need a bookstore. And then I usually need a book, too.”

—Emma Straub, 2017 Author Ambassador and author of Modern Lovers

We are also excited to give away a Penguin Random House Audio sampler, featuring some of the most popular independent bookstore bestsellers:


Prior to starting Libro.fm, I published Brain Rules by John Medina (Pear Press), a book that covers 12 ways our brains work. Dr. Medina’s fascinating stories and infectious sense of humor breathe life into the science. Listen to a sample from the first chapter on exercise:

And for the kids in your life 8-12 years old, check out these audiobooks from Scholastic:

Shadow House #1: The Gathering by Dan Poblocki (Scholastic)

 

Tombquest #1: Book of the Dead by Michael Northrop (Scholastic)

 

You will also get the Hachette Audio Story Sampler for Bookstore Day 2017, including:

  • Dentists Without Borders written and read by David Sedaris

Plus shorter listens for the whole family:

Welcome to Night Vale: Vinyl Edition

Lastly, an exclusive Bookstore Day offer. Based on the tremendously popular podcast of the same name, Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor explores the mysterious, interconnecting plights of a PTA mom and pawn shop owner in Night Vale, a small town in the American Southwest where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all just a part of everyday life. Beautifully packaged with “flypaper” sleeve, the purple vinyl also includes a full-length digital download of the audiobook performed by Cecil Baldwin, Dylan Marron, Retta, Thérèse Plummer, and Dan Bittner. Exclusively available on Bookstore Day for $24.95 (audiobook is complimentary).


Independent Bookstore Day is a one-day national party.

Since every store is unique and independent, every party is different. But in addition to authors, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids’ events, art tables, readings, barbecues, contests, and other fun stuff, there are exclusive books and literary items available only at Indie stores on that day. Join the party: stop by your favorite indie bookstore on April 29th, chat with the booksellers, buy some books, and get your five free audiobooks plus two samplers!

“Consumers control the marketplace by deciding where to spend their money. If what a bookstore offers matters to you, then shop at a bookstore. If you feel that the experience of reading a book is valuable, then read the book. This is how we change the world: we grab hold of it. We change ourselves.”
—Ann Patchett, bestselling author of Commonwealth and co-owner of Parnassus Books

7 Books for a Stimulating Book Club Discussion

I was recently talking to some friends who are in wine clubs (read: book clubs) about the books that make the best book club picks. People’s tastes in books are all different, but that’s OK; each person’s pick doesn’t have cater to everyone. Rather, the best selections generate a lively debate, either because their controversy provokes discussion, their topic sheds light on a part of the world or lifestyle unknown to us, or their prose is layered with meaning and everyone’s individual views enrich the conversation.

Here are a few books that everyone agreed created a lively atmosphere in any book club and go well with a malbec. Not every book was universally loved, but each had something to offer.


I Am Malala

by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

Not even the bullet of a Taliban member’s gun could stop Malala Yousafzai from completing her education. Determined to fulfill her dreams, and with the encouragement of her parents, she fought for the right to go to school in the Swat Valley, Pakistan. She has since become the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Why it makes a great book club pick: So often we watch the news, and see faceless violence, statistics, and fear. This book demonstrates the complexity of life in a war-torn country.


A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., edited by Clayborne Carson, and Kris Shepard

Twelve of Dr. King’s most famous, most moving, most thought-provoking speeches are gathered here, and bonus material includes commentaries by theologians and leaders. While the book is great, the audio edition includes the original recordings, and narration from the likes of Rosa Parks, Yolanda King, Ambassador George McGovern, and Senator Edward Kennedy.

Why it makes a great book club pick: King’s speeches, like his work, don’t just cover racial inequality, but social and economic inequality too. Everyone will leave with difficult thoughts, but it’s hard not to feel hopeful after listening to Dr. King.

And for fun, watch Dr. King tell a joke on The Tonight Show.


Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

by David Foster Wallace

At moments licentious, at others tender hearted, and often both, the bulk of these short stories revolve around DFW’s imaginings of men’s relationships with and ideas about women. These meticulously crafted stories are like a trip through the labyrinth of David Foster Wallace’s brain. If you aren’t familiar with him, take a minute to read one of my favorite DFW pieces on Roger Federer in The New York Times: Federer as Religious Experience.

Why it makes a great book club pick: Much shorter and more digestible than Infinite Jest, this collection still oozes postmodernist longing while managing to be uproariously funny.


Have a Nice Guilt Trip

by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella

Dozens of pithy stories make up this fourth collection by mother-and-daughter team Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella. Tackling everything from jury duty, to dog-grooming, to the benefits of central air, nothing is too ridiculous, too taboo, or too mundane for these ladies.

Why it makes a great book club book: Laugh-out-loud funny, everyone will have a different favorite. The best jokes and anecdotes will be flying all night.


Killing Lincoln

by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

Love him or hate him, there’s no denying Bill O’Reilly’s presence on our cultural map. Here we meet him on neutral ground, discussing the assassination of President Lincoln. More like a fast-paced thriller than historical treatise, this book captures the imagination.

Why it makes a good book club pick: No doubt about it, this book is riveting. The conversation might stop there, but it also might go deeper, into the responsibility an author has to fact-check every small detail versus the author’s commitment to entertain, or whether or not the author has a broader agenda outside the narrative.


The Heretic’s Daughter

by Kathleen Kent

Kathleen Kent, a tenth-generation-descendant of the figures in this story, recounts the horrors of the Salem witch trials. This sweeping family saga, told through the eyes of a ten-year-old girl, brings new life to an oft-told American tale.

Why it makes a good book club pick: With prose that’s gritty yet luscious, it’s easy to mark this one as the best book-club books you’ll read this year. But the dynamic characters and attention to detail are what will really hold the conversation.


The Betrayers

by David Bezmogis

Part high literature, part political thriller, The Betrayers covers one pivotal day in the life of Israeli politician Baruch Kotler. When he fails to back down over the policies regarding the West Bank, his political enemies expose his affair, forcing him to flee to Yalta, where he runs into the man who sent him to the Gulag 40 years ago.

Why it makes a good book club pick: Baruch Kotler’s staunch principles are the stuff book club discussions feast upon. Everyone will be asking “Do you think he should have?” and “Why wouldn’t they?” and “Were you surprised when?”


Have a favorite book from your book club? Leave a suggestion or link to your review in the comments below.