Congrats, Summer Listening Challenge Finishers!

More than 40 independent bookstores participated in our first ever, Summer Listening Challenge.

Each participant was asked to log 20 hours of listening and tell us which bookstore they supported and what activities they did while listening. You can find the summary of results in the graphic below.

From booksellers to toddlers, and meditation to metalsmithing, there is an audiobook for everyone and no limit on the activities that can be accomplished while listening! But more importantly, with each listen through Libro.fm customers supported their local bookstore and their local community. Enough from us, hear what our finishers had to say after listening to more than 1,660 hours of audiobooks.

“I’ve completed my summer listening (I listened to sooo many books) and appreciate your encouragement!” – Sierra, supporter of Powell’s Books

“Thank you so much for offering this audio-focused reading challenge! I’ve always loved audiobooks, and my sons have gotten hooked in the past year.” – Pamela, supporter of Blue Willow Books

“So fun! I felt like a kid again, participating in my local library’s summer reading program!” – Jen, supporter of Vroman’s Bookstore

“Loved listening to books this summer! Thanks for being an amazing company!” – Kadine, supporter of Elliott Bay Book Company

Fighting Goliath

I’m guilty-as-charged when it comes to using a particular large company to help me shop for groceries, get items I need quickly, and consolidate those pesky, mounting, day-to-day chores into one efficient online experience.

As a Seattleite, I’m often the first to experience the new technology that this “Goliath” offers. With a click of a mouse, I can have anything from diapers to lawn chairs delivered to my doorstep within hours. I’m even be able to order groceries on my phone and pick them up at a store – one that resembles a kiosk more than your typical local grocery shop – bagged and ready, seemingly saving me precious amounts of time.

That’s what all this is for, right? Saving time? That’s what Goliath is betting on. Sadly, I actually feel like I have less, not more, time on my hands when I use this company’s services. Buying into Goliath’s culture encourages a frenetic pace of life, a click-now, think-later, mindset that self-perpetuates. This way of living comes with a cost: instead of spending my time shopping in a store, talking to actual people, I find myself head down, eyes glued to a screen, poring over product reviews from strangers. I neglect engaging with those in the community around me.

Having recently moved from back to Seattle from two years abroad in Düsseldorf, Germany (where shopping local isn’t a “thing” its just called “shopping”) I’m constantly looking for ways to recalibrate how I spend my time. I try to walk to the Ballard Fresh Fish Co. for some of my grocery shopping, and maybe I’ll stop for coffee and treats at Cafe Besalu. It’s the same when I want to buy books.

Working for Libro.fm, I have had the privilege of meeting the people who own and run local bookstores (Phinney Books in Seattle and Edmonds Bookshop in Edmonds). I have gotten to listen to their heartfelt book recommendations, ones that go deeper than just how many stars a book should get rated. And each time I get out, make shopping a communal experience, I am reminded how good it makes me feel, how interacting with people who are so passionate about their store, their craft, makes my day (and the world) a bit brighter. If these places, these people, were suddenly gone and replaced with robots or faceless stores where employees were paid on transactions and 3rd party customer service surveys, what would I, and the community around me, lose?

 

There will be the times when we just need something now. But I challenge all of us, the next time we have the urge to push the Goliath button, to take 10 seconds, breath deep, and think about our community and what small, local businesses mean to us and our future.

Top Six Reasons to Buy Audiobooks through Libro.fm

We recognize that book lovers have a choice where they purchase audiobooks. We’ve compiled six reasons why Libro.fm should be at the top of any list.

1 - Indie Stores

#1 / Audiobooks purchased through Libro.fm directly support your local, independent bookstore.
You can now listen to audiobooks while still shopping local. We believe independent bookstores like Seattle’s Elliott Bay Book Company and Boston’s Papercuts J.P. are the heart and soul of our communities, which is why we’re so thrilled to partner with them and more than a hundred other indie stores, including Blue Willow Bookshop, Book Passage, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Village Books, Northshire Bookstore, Tattered Cover Book Store, and WORD Bookstores.

2 - Expert Recommendations

#2 / Expert Recommendations from indie booksellers.
Whether it’s featuring the best of the Indie Next List, staff picks from Books & Books at the studios, or favorite new fiction at Bookshop Santa Cruz, we’ll keep you in the know.

3 - Easy to Listen

#3 / Easy to listen using our free app (iOS or Android)
You’re just a few clicks away from finding your next book club selection among the tens of thousands of audiobooks available on Libro.fm, including The New York Times bestsellers. Download our free app for any iOS or Android device.

4 - Best Audio Quality

#4 / The best audio quality you’ll find anywhere.
Crystal clear. No distractions. Just you and a book by one of the great novelists of our time, read to you in full stereo.

5 - DRM-free

#5 / DRM-free. Listen to your audiobook on any MP3 enabled device.
Say you download the H Is for Hawk audiobook to your computer… shouldn’t you also be able to listen to it on your smartphone? We think so, too.

6 - Independent

#6 / Independently owned and operated by a team of book lovers who believe we should all #chooseindie.


Some places put profits before customers, authors, or their love for books. This means that someone along the line is getting the short end of the stick. We don’t do that. We are independent and community-driven, just like the bookstores we love.


Top-6-Reasons-Compiled

Best of the Bookternet: February 2016

Though it is the shortest month of the year, February was full of exciting bookish news, reviews, and celebrations. Award nominations, Black History Month, book blogger extravaganzas and more dominated our news feed this month. Here are some of the best articles, blog posts, and announcements that were on our radar.


Audies - Wide

Audies Award Finalists

The short list in each of the 2016 Audie Award categories have been announced. Many of the categories have fierce competition, but perhaps none more so than “Best Narration by the Author,” which includes Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, Born with Teeth by Kate Mulgrew, I Must Say by Martin Short, and Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann.

Via Audiofile Magazine


Nebula - Wide

Announcing the 2015 Nebula Award Nominees

Speaking of awards, the shortlist for the Nebula Awards were also announced. The Nebula Awards are for various categories in the realm of science fiction and fantasy, and are chosen by the professional organization Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Best Novel nominees this year include The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie, The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu, and Uprooted by Naomi Novik, among others.

Via Tor.com


Fragile Things - Wide

Instruction in the Event You Find Yourself in a Neil Gaiman Story

What to do if you should wind up in a twisty, fantastical, nothing-is-as-it-seems Neil Gaiman story? The folks at BookRiot offer some neat advice, including “Expect angels, but expect nothing of them. They have their own jobs to do.”

Via BookRiot


Octavia E. Butler - Wide

Read Octavia E. Butler’s Inspiring Message to Herself

Some of sci-fi mastermind Octavia E. Butler’s journals have recently surfaced, including this powerful note, scribbled on the back cover of one. It reads in part: “My novels will go onto the above lists whether publishers push them hard or not, whether I’m paid a high advance or not, whether I ever win another award or not.” Go read the rest and get inspired!

Via Electric Literature


Alison Bechdel - Wide

Alison Bechdel: Top Ten Books

One Grand Books has a tradition of asking famous authors for their ten favorite books. This month, they turned to graphic memoirist Alison Bechdel, who included The Dharma Bums, The Night Watch, and Harriet the Spy, among others.

Via One Grand Books


Books - Wide

Bookstore Sales Had First Gain in Eight Years in 2015

Good news, everyone! Bookstore sales increased 2.5% last year. Remember to #ChooseIndie to help keep the trend going strong.

Via Publisher’s Weekly


Bars - Wide

Welcome to the World of Literary Bars

Next time you’re in the mood for an adult beverage, stop in at one of these bookish bars. Settle down in a leather chair, pull some Hemingway from the shelf and order yourself a mojito.

Via Paste Magazine


Get Info - Wide

Get Information

Unless you’ve taken a vow of internet abstinence, you’ve undoubtedly heard all about Beyoncé’s new song and video “Formation.” Whether you’re tired of all of the think pieces or on your thousandth view of the video, this excellent post from independent bookstore The Strand sheds a bookish light on the song.

Via The Strand


Girl - Wide

The ‘Girl’ in the Title: More than a Marketing Trend

What’s up with titles like, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl, and The Girl on the Train? Is it just a coincidence, or is it all about marketing the book? NPR examines the trend.

Via NPR


Blogger - Wide

Book Blogger Day 2: Interviews

Book Blogger Appreciation Week was this month, in which we all take a moment to thank bloggers, who supply endless bookish resources. One of the traditions of BBAW is the blogger interview, in which bloggers interview each other. It is a great way to find out about the world of blogging and pick up a few more titles for your to-be-read list.

Via Estella’s Society


All throughout the month, we’ve been tweeting recommendations for Black History Month. In March, we’ll do the same for Women’s History Month. Make sure to follow us at @librofm to hear all of our suggestions!

The Bookseller Chronicles: Village Books

Between Seattle and the Canadian border, is a small town called Bellingham, a town which wears more than one hat: home of Western Washington University, fishing boats, tourists, and a deep community. In that town is a an old bookstore with rambling aisles and passionate booksellers. Village Books.

Village Books is a cornerstone of the local community, loved by all of its elements. Most people in town have a memory of it, and many have worked there. They put out a quarterly paper with all the latest book news, host reading events, and partner with the local community college to host writing classes.

I recently sat down with cofounder Chuck Robinson to learn more about the store.

[Judy Oldfield] Tell me briefly, your background with the store.

[Chuck Robinson] My wife and I founded the store in 1980. June of 1980. So we just celebrated our 35th anniversary this last year.

[JO] Congratulations.

[CR] Thank you. We’d both been in education . . . back in Illinois. We took what was essentially a one-year leave of absence, with the original intent to go back to our jobs back there, because we both liked what we were doing. But by the time we went through the process of getting ready for being away a year—we bought an older motor home and remodeled it, and sold most of what we owned, it was a real values clarification for us. We started asking ourselves questions like, well, do we really want to live here? We sold a house so we had a chunk of money. We had our retirement from teaching, even though we hadn’t been doing it for that long (we were 10 years in education at that point). So we thought maybe we’d strike out and do something different.

In the course of our travels, we discovered the Northwest. We loved it, and decided that we’d settle somewhere out between Santa Rosa California, I think was the farthest south, and up to the border. We had a list of criteria, and [Bellingham] met most of it. The size of the town, the fact that it had to have a college or university, had to be a place—by the time we decided we were going to have a bookstore (that came pretty early in the process)—a bookstore could be successful. I think we moved here in February of 1980 and opened the store in June. And it’s been a long ride since there.

[JO] Being in a college town, and a bit of a tourist place too, do you see a lot of seasonal changes around the store?

[CR] Well, you know it’s interesting that being in a college town, students at the college have never been a huge part of our business. I think because that’s probably in part because aside from the things that they have to read for class, I don’t think students are buying lots and lots of books. They do hang out at bookstores and we get students, there’s no doubt about it, but we are probably more influenced by the faculty and staff at the university. So the seasonality of that is summers, we probably lose some of those people, but that’s when we pick up the tourists.

[JO] Do you stock differently, based on that? Because university faculty is important.

[CR] The faculty at the university doesn’t seem to be looking here for academic sorts of things as much as they are for things everyone else here in town are. It’s a pretty highly educated town. A number of things have happened here. Back in the late ‘60s and ‘70s this was kind of the bounceback town from the border. There were a lot of people who weren’t happy with the Vietnam War that ended up in Bellingham. The other piece that has happened is that there are a lot of people who came here for school and stayed for whatever reason, and aren’t necessarily doing what they went to school for. A lot of the fishermen who fish in Alaska went to college up here. The first thought many people would have is that fishermen were blue-collar workers so to speak, and I guess it’s a blue-collar job, but they are very highly paid in a good fishing year and they stock up on books before they go to fish. And it’s things everybody else would read.

Our stock in trade, the biggest-selling section of our store, is fiction. I would hesitate to call it literary fiction but I would describe it as good writing. It’s everything from people who are good storytellers to the very best writers in the world. That’s probably the biggest influence the college has had. Who stays. The faculty that’s here.

[JO] Are there certain books you find yourself recommending over and over again?

[CR] Oh sure. I’ve often said that no one should live in the Northwest without having read the book The Good Rain by Timothy Egan. It’s so descriptive of place, for one thing. He goes back and looks at Winthrop’s travels through the Northwest. And Winthrop asks the question in his book, “Will the landscape shape the people or will the people shape the landscape?” So Tim goes back about 100 years later to do sort or the same circuit, trying to answer that question, what happened? Did the landscape shape the people or did the people shape the landscape, and you get some of both. But it’s just a beautifully written book.

I’m a big fan of Ivan Doig. I think This House of Sky was one of the greatest memoirs ever written. So I find myself repeatedly recommending those sorts of things.

[JO] What’s on your to-be-read list?

[CR] Right now I’m reading a book called Persian Fire, which is about Iran and it’s long, long history.

I just recently finished one of Jo Nesbo’s novels that’s not out yet, an Advanced Reading Copy.

[JO] What keeps you coming back to the store every day, after more than three decades?

[CR] The stairway? Oh, I love the interaction with the people. I love the challenge of the business aspect of it. I don’t come from business, but I think I have a real entrepreneurial edge about me. I like some of the challenges of it.

We have a very talented group of people here who are part of our leadership team, who work with the two of us, and who are likely to be—we hope, if everything works out—to be the continuation of the ownership of the business.

[JO] Do you have any crazy stories that you’d like to share?

[CR] Well, let’s see. Tom Robbins has appeared for every book of his since we opened the store. He did do one appearance with backup singers. He wrote about it in a book called My Bookstore. Different authors wrote about their favorite bookstore, and Tom wrote about our store, about the time he came and brought his backup singers. Which was a fun thing.

One of the most surprising things for us has been the authors we’ve met over the years. When we got into the business, we had no notion that we would meet, and in some cases become pretty good friends with people who were famous. Tom Robbins is a friend; Ivan Doig was a friend. . . . And then in my capacity working with the booksellers association, I’ve met four U.S. presidents, Margaret Thatcher, a whole bunch of people. Which has been surprising and exciting.

I remember reading in the paper one time someone asked Tom Hanks, “You know, we always hear the negative side of celebrity. In that you go out to dinner and get bothered by everybody. But there must be a positive side.” And Tom Hanks said, “Yes, I’ve met two presidents.” I read that and I thought, “Wow, I’ve met four presidents and I don’t get bothered by anyone at dinner besides my friends!”

[JO] Bill Clinton was just at Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle.

[CR] Yeah, I saw Tracy’s post that he was in there. The interesting thing is that should either of the leading Democratic nominees be the next president, I’ve met both of them too.

[JO] As a former teacher, are there certain books that you’d recommend for parents whose kid is a reluctant reader?

[CR] If you’re particularly talking about teenage boys, they’ve always been kind of that difficult [age group] in that boys find a lot of distractions. It’s not so cool to read, that sort of thing. There are some books that are often thought of as adult books that I think teen guys could get into. One fairly recent one is The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown’s book. Because, you know, not only does it have that sort of sports element to it and something that I think grabs you in the eyes. I mean, as you are reading towards the end, you’re going “They’re gonna lose! They’re gonna lose!” and you know damn well they don’t lose, but it’s written in such a way that it pulls you along.

I don’t think that young kids get introduced to some [books] like White Fang, Call of the Wild, that I think they would find pretty enticing.

Some of the Jon Krakauer books, Into the Wild, Into Thin Air—either one—those true adventure [stories] grab the imagination.

There are reluctant teenaged girls who aren’t reading, but that area seems to be covered a whole lot better.


Know a favorite independent bookstore you want us to feature? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @librofm

Best of the Bookternet: January 2016

By all accounts, 2016 is off to a great start. This month has been chock-full of interesting articles, exciting news, and passionate advice. Here are some of our favorite essays, blog posts, and lists since the first of the year.


British

Why the British Tell Better Children’s Stories

The Atlantic makes a case for imagination and fantasy over morality in children’s lit. What do you say? Huck Finn or Narnia?

Via The Atlantic


YA

The Time My Grown-Up Novel Was Marketed as Young Adult

Speaking of children’s literature and genre, Lit Hub digs deeper into how these labels affect marketing and ultimately, sales. Kate Axelrod explains the complications that lead to mislabeling her book.

Via Lit Hub


Gene Luen Yang
Photo: First Second Books

The War Over Comic Books Is Nearly Over, and Kids Are Winning

Like audiobooks, graphic novels (AKA comic books) have recently risen in popularity and received critical acclaim. In fact, Gene Luen Yang, author of American Born Chinese was named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

Via NPR


Shakespeare

Infographic: Analyzing Shakespeare’s Characters

Not interested in YA? All right then, this one is for you. This infographic explores the relationships between characters in Shakespeare’s tragedies.

Via Electric Literature


Neil Gaiman
Photo: Huffington Post

The Gaiman List

Author (and fantastic narrator!) Neil Gaiman makes a case for his favorite audiobooks, including Bleak House, Bag of Bones, and, of course, The Art of Asking.

Via HarperCollins


Leech

Author Amy Tan “Thrilled” By Bloodsucking Leech Named in Her Honor

A new species of leech, Chtonobdella tanae, has been named for author Amy Tan. Leeches feature prominently in her book, Saving Fish from Drowning, and she is reported to be tickled by the homage.

Via Gizmodo


Classic-Characters

Classic Characters You May Not Remember from Children’s Literature

OK, OK, one last kid-lit article. Check out this satirical post on TheToast.net, rounding up characters such as Sarah who lives in Heidi’s shadow and Mary Poppins’s creepy sister.

Via The Toast


Politcs-Prose

Going Places

Did you know that Washington, D.C. bookstore Politics & Prose double as travel agents? For years they’ve been curating travel in France. This year, they’re expanding to Tuscany, Cuba, and more.

Via Politics & Prose


PW

Finalists Named for 2016 PW Bookstore of the Year

More great indie bookstore news! Publisher’s Weekly has released their finalists for bookstore and sales rep of the year. Bookstore nominees include Village Books, Greenlight Bookstore, and more fantastic indies.

Via Publisher’s Weekly


Hard-Truths

25 More Hard Truths About Writing and Publishing

Attention writers! Zeroes author Chuck Wendig dishes out the facts about writing, publishing, and marketing books. Most surprising? Just how much influence your Twitter following does or does not have in selling books.

Via TerribleMinds.com


Sign up for our newsletter to receive more bookish news!

Best of the Bookternet: December 2015

It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of the book-related Internet, sucking up hours reading reviews, bookish news, and memes. But that takes away time from reading and listening to great books! So we’ve curated a list of the best of the bookternet this month, saving you time. Enjoy!


authors-we-lost

Authors We Lost in 2015

We lost many beloved authors in 2015, including Terry Pratchett, Jackie Collins, and Henning Mankell. CBC Books pays tribute.

Via CBC Books


Veronica Roth
Photo © Alex Washburn/WIRED

About That Next Book

Veronica Roth, author of the mega-bestselling Divergent series, gives us a glimpse of her next series: a space opera already getting Star Wars comparisons. Plus, cute dog gifs!

Via The Art of Not Writing


Celeste Ng
Photo © Kevin Day Photography

Author Recommendations from Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You author Celeste Ng discusses some of her favorite coffee table books. Subjects range from portraits to food to letters.

Via Penguin Blog


Pandering
Photo © Heike Steiweg

Whom do You Write for? “Pandering” Essay Sparks a Debate

In case you missed it, in November, author Claire Vaye Watkins wrote a long essay for Tin House about writing for male approval. A Wide range of responses ensued, notably from Jamaican author and Man Booker prize-winner Marlon James. NPR brought them together to discuss the essay, and gender and race in publishing.

Via NPR


Powells

Thank You, From a Bookseller

James Patterson was at it again this year—no, not writing books, though he did that too—giving out bonuses to booksellers. He donated $250,000 independent bookstore employees, including Kevin Sampsell of Powell’s in Portland, OR, who is forever grateful.

Via Powell’s Books


Emma

Actually, Emma Is the Best Jane Austen Novel

A close look at Jane Austen’s Emma upon the 200th anniversary of its publishing, as well as the rich bitches we love to hate in literature and real life.

Via Literary Hub


Atwood

Margaret Atwood Is Writing a Superhero Comic Book

Author of realist and science fiction (and plenty in between) Margaret Atwood is working on a three-volume series of graphic novels. Origins-wise, the hero’s genetics are accidentally enhanced à la Spiderman, but knowing Atwood, this won’t be just a rehash of tropes.

Via Electric Lit


Emoji

Oxford Dictionaries Chose an Emoji as Word of the Year and Yet the Sky Still Hangs Above Our Heads

It will be hard to translate the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year into audiobooks. They chose an emoji.

Via The Stranger


New Books

Top Ten 2016 Debut Novels We’re Looking Forward to

What books have you excited to ring in 2016? Book bloggers, who are often the best resources for bookish news and reviews, weigh in.

Via Broke and Bookish


Make sure to sign up for our newsletter for more bookish news!

What I Learned from Anthony Doerr

Depending on what study you go by, Seattle is the first or second most literate city in America. This is thanks in part to the number of wonderful independent bookstores and civic organizations who bring authors to read.

Last week, Elliott Bay Books partnered with Seattle Arts & Lectures to bring Anthony Doerr to speak. I attended and live-tweeted the lecture. Doerr, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, titled his talk, “Some Thoughts on Artistic Failure in 6 Parts.” Here are some of the highlights:

1.

Doerr once spent all day reworking one paragraph of All the Light We Cannot See. He researched each detail of the paragraph and thought about each sentence, only to cut it down to one small sentence.

2.

It can sometimes be more desirable to fail. That is to say, failure helps artists to play and explore the mysteries of life. If we are so hung up on success, we don’t take risks. Doerr quoted Ray Bradbury, saying “You only fail if you stop writing.” More broadly, we could apply this to any artistic or business endeavor. I was reminded of our first Book of the Month, Mindset, which says much of the same thing.

3.

Getting the facts right is so important to Doerr because he doesn’t want to lose a reader, or break their concentration on the story. He’ll take whole afternoons to make sure he has a word right in order to create a totally immersive experience.

4.

Doerr says he doesn’t have a satisfying answer for why he chose to make Marie-Laure blind in All the Light We Cannot See. Partly it is because his office is near a center for blind people in Boise, Idaho. But it is also because it was a challenge to write using other senses besides sight.

If you have the chance to see Anthony Doerr speak, jump on it! Until then, pick up All the Light We Cannot See!


Did you miss our live-tweeting on twitter? Make sure you are following us!

Ann Patchett’s Twisting, Turning Life and Books

Ann Patchett’s books twist and turn, snaking through crises and into catharsis. Her own life is perhaps not as dramatic, but still full of adventure. Maybe not the kind that involves hostage situations or the Amazon rain forest, but of a literary variety.

And it’s part of why I like her so much. She’s honed her skill, sentence after sentence, writing for magazines including Seventeen, Gourmet, and the New York Times, while living in her hometown of Nashville. When the last independent bookstore in Nashville closed, she and her friend Karen Hayes opened Parnassus Books. As she says, she didn’t want to live in a city without a bookstore. Who can blame her?

She has written many books, all with something special to offer. State of Wonder is mysterious and organic. It’s why it’s our Book of the Month. Bel Canto won both the PEN/Faulkner prize and Orange Prize for Fiction, and for good reason. But if you want to get to know more about Ann and her life, check out This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, her book of essays.

Bel-Canto

Bel Canto

Themes of beauty, love, and duress intermingle during a hostage crisis at a South American party in Bel Canto. The books tension and characters grab you, turning everything you thought you had figured out upside down.

State of Wonder

Patchett returns to South America in State of Wonder, as Dr. Mirina Singh tracks down her old mentor in the rain forest. Its setting oozes beauty and death; its characters fierce and fragile.

This-Is-the-Story-of-a-Happy-Marriage

This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage

New and old essays are together for the first time in This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage. From willing herself over a six-foot wall to opening a bookstore, to working on relationships to perfecting her craft, Patchett examines her remarkable life.

Run

Run

An accident and a snowstorm disrupt lives in Run. Spanning only 24 hours, this is an emotional roller coaster that will leave you wanting more.

The-Magicians-Assistant

The Magician’s Assistant

A magician’s widow tracks down secrets about her late husband’s family, taking her on a cross-country odyssey. The Magician’s Assistant is a book of beautiful sentences and harrowing loss.

The-Patron-Saint-of-Liars

The Patron Saint of Liars

Rose travels to St. Elizabeth’s, with the intention of giving up her baby once it is born. Moving and complicated, The Patron Saint of Liars is more than it first appears and unforgettable once completed.


State of Wonder is our book of the month! Get it today and let us know what you think.

Book of the Month: State of Wonder

We here at Libro love bringing you a Book of the Month each month. We’ve had nonfiction books about psychology, health, science, and music. We’ve included fiction taking place in Seattle and the Italian coast. Each book has a unique experience, something to offer the listener—to enrich your life. Our October book is no exception.

This month’s book is another work of fiction, this time set deep in the Amazon rain forest: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.

State of Wonder follows Dr. Marina Singh, a pharmacologist, on her quest to retrieve her old mentor, Dr. Swenson, from the Amazon. But Dr. Swenson is hiding more than just the malaria research she’s been working on.

Marina must battle poisonous snakes, showers of arrows, and her own body in her mission to bring back Dr. Swenson and her research. Marina’s job and love life are intertwined and therefore both are on the line, but perhaps more importantly, she wants to impress her old teacher, who doesn’t even remember her.

In the end she has many decisions to face, none of them easy.

The intricacy of Patchett’s characters are matched by her prose. Patchett’s description of the Amazon is compelling. It’s an overwhelming world of beauty and pestilence, chaos and natural order. She writes of the rain:

“Every drop of rain hit the ground with such force it bounced back up again, giving the earth the appearance of something boiling.”

State of Wonder - 3

It’s these lush sentences that really bring the world to life, and lift listeners out of the dreariness of autumn in North America.

Patchett has taken many literary influences, added the rain forest and medical research and come up with a tale that is at times thrilling and at others deeply moving. It’s a compelling listen.

I’m especially pleased to pick this book not just because it’s great—though it is—but because Patchett is also the co-owner of Parnassus Books, an independent bookstore in Nashville, TN. As an author and bookstore owner, she’s an advocate of independent bookstores everywhere.


State of Wonder is our Book of the Month. Follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the conversation!