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


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Back to Basics With Classic Novels

Classics can be an intimidating genre.

But audiobooks bring classics to life in new and interesting ways. They add nuance and spirit to the prose, agenda and voice to the characters, and reawaken these stories to be enjoyed yet again. If you  want to name-drop George Orwell, Alexandre Dumas, Jane Austen, Aldous Huxley, or Victor Hugo and know what you’re talking about, this is a great place to start!

To make it even easier for you to get started, we’ve discounted these books for the month of August!


Animal-Farm

Animal Farm

By George Orwell

Animal Farm by George Orwell (published in 1945) exposes the dangers of Stalinism. By using an allegory of animals attempting to self-govern on a farm, Animal Farm demonstrates how greed and power turn humans into animals, perpetuating systems of oppression that only benefit the few who run them.


Brave-New-World

Brave New World

By Aldous Huxley

Lenina and Bernard live in a nightmarish socialist utopia of sorts. The Brave New World in which they preside is home to a whole host of unprecedented horrors which serve as a warning for the future and a meditation on the present. Written by Aldous Huxley in 1932 and still applicable to this day.


[vimeo 132466274 w=500 h=280]

The Count of Monte Cristo

By Alexandre Dumas

Edmond Dantes is on the verge of having everything he ever dreamed of: The woman of his dreams, command of his own ship, and a close childhood friend as his second-hand man. But when he is framed by his best friend and sent to an isolated prison island—the Chateau D’Ife—for fourteen years and without explanation, all he can think of is revenge. The Count of Monte Cristo is a riveting classic.


Emma

Emma

By Jane Austen

The eponymous Emma continually promotes her own ability to play matchmaker, though most of her efforts to set people up go terribly, terribly wrong. Satirical and tender all at once, Emma is one of Jane Austen’s most-loved novels and inspired the 90’s hit movie, Clueless.


Les-Mis

Les Misérables

By Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo’s beautiful and tragic story of Jean Valjean’s reentry into society and reinvention of his self after years of incarceration takes us on a journey of love and desperation that the world cannot forget. With self-sacrifice and immense spirit, Valjean works to protect Collette, Fantine’s daughter, to try to attone for a past he cannot change. Set against the backdrop of the 1832 June Rebellion in Paris, Les Misérable is a French masterpiece.


For more ideas, visit or classics section!

The 6 Best Fathers in Literature

Most people will tell you that they have the best dad in the world. I’m no exception. I really do think I had the best dad. The only way he could have been surpassed is in fiction, and even then I’m not so sure.

Here are some of my and the Libro team’s favorite fathers in literature. From supportive side characters to crime-solving heroes, these dads love their kids and will do anything for them.

And a very happy Father’s Day to all of the real-life dads out there!


Pride-Prejudice

Mr. Bennet

Pride & Prejudice

While Mrs. Bennet tut-tuts over her daughters’ marriage prospects, Mr. Bennet is as calm and refreshing as cool breeze. He believes in Elizabeth like nobody else in the family does and understands that there’s more to life than finding a rich husband. When Elizabeth refuses to marry Mr. Collins, he says, “An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.”



Gilead

John Ames

Gilead

Gilead opens with a letter from John Ames to his young son. In it, he explains he’s dying, gives a bit of explanation about his life, but most of all, his letter is steeped in his love for his son. Ames is old and dying, and more than anything else he regrets that he won’t be there for his son. Throughout the book he recounts his life, as well as the lives of his own father and grandfather. Of all the books on this list, this is the best choice for a thoughtful Father’s Day gift.


The-Eye-of-the-World

Tam Al’Thor

Wheel of Time series

It’s difficult to talk about a character in such a long series without giving away too many spoilers. But I can say that Rand, the hero of the books, could never have endured or grown the way he did without the stability and good influence of his father. Tam teaches Rand to enter the void, a meditative state, focusing his energy and powers. He’s pretty handy with a sword too.



Whered-You-Go-Bernadette

Elgin Branch

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Elgin Branch might start off disengaged with his family, and way too into his job at Microsoft, but throughout Where’d You Go, Bernadette, he comes to realize that his daughter, Bee, is more important to him than anything else. Like any good parent, he wants what is best for her, but just what that is might not be what he originally planned.


Alex-Cross

Alex Cross

Alex Cross series

When he’s not out solving crime, Alex Cross can be found in his basement teaching his kids how to box. Though he wants to make the world a better, safer place, he’s happiest out slurping icecream cones with his family. But Alex’s lifestyle often places those he loves in danger. It’s what makes kidnapping in Cross My Heart such a heart-poundingly good thriller.



To-Kill-a-Mockingbird

Atticus Finch

To Kill a Mockingbird

Atticus Finch believes in truth and justice, and tries to instill these ideals in his children. But he’s also a tender-hearted man, and realizes that his children are young. He doesn’t talk down to them, but tries to explain the world to them in ways that they can understand. Atticus tells them, “You might hear some ugly talk about it at school, but do one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t you let ’em get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change.” It’s just one of the many pieces of his advice we could all use.


What father figures have we missed? Let us know in the comments.

#WomenWriteFunny: 9 Female Authors Who Kill It

Recently, #WomenWriteFunny was trending on Twitter. I was feeling a bit tired, looking at the tweets. It’s 2015 and we are still having a discussion about whether or not women are funny (note: they are). But then a few days later when the whole Libro team was together, we started talking about our favorite commediennes. Tina Fey! Amy Poehler! Maria Semple! Nothing brings one back to life like talking about books with friends.

The next day I relistened to Roxane Gay’s discussion of Bridesmaids from Bad Feminist, turned on some Amanda Palmer, and compiled this list. Maybe you won’t like everyone on this list, but there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all humor. That’s what makes this list so great. Someone is bound to tickle your fancy.


Amy Poehler

When talking about women who write funny, Amy Poehler springs instantly to mind. But we daresay that the audiobook of Yes, Please is even funnier than the written work. Give the clip above a listen, where Poehler brings on a guest to read her memoir and reluctantly agrees to read it herself, as only she can.


Unvisited tombstones, unread diaries, and erased video game high-score rankings are three of the most potent symbols of mankind’s pathetic and fruitless attempts at immortality. Not to be negative.”

Sarah Silverman / The Bedwetter

Sarah Silverman

The description page of The Bedwetter gives potential readers a little quiz to make sure that before picking up this audiobook, listeners aren’t, say, offended by “instructing  one’s grandmother to place baked goods in her rectal cavity” or “Stripping naked in public—eleven times in a row.” Silverman, as ever, pushes boundaries to great effect.


And no, not all of the men whizzed in cups. But four or five of them out of twenty did, so the men have to own that one. Anytime there’s a bad female stand-up somewhere, some dickhead Interblogger will deduce that ‘women aren’t funny.’ Using that math, I can state that: Male comedy writers piss in cups.”

Tina Fey / Bossypants

Tina Fey

Picking a favorite from this list is hard, but I have a feeling Tina Fey is probably most people’s go-to funny lady. She is at times witty, at others wacky, and always comes off as genuinely herself. Certainly she draws from her own life, which despite superstar status, is surprisingly relatable to people everywhere. Just see the above quote from Bossypants.


Maria Semple

Semple’s wit is positively scathing—in the best way possible. As Seattleites, the Libro team laughed out loud to Where’d You Go, Bernadette’s critique of our five-way intersections, craftsman homes, and blackberry vines. While some parts are specific to Seattle, she also captures hypervigilant parenting, tech obsessions, and other universal truths of modern life. If an L.A. setting is more your thing, check out This One Is Mine.


. . . I still believe that above all things physical, it is more important to be beautiful on the inside—to have a big heart and an open mind and a spectacular spleen. (Actually, most people’s insides are disgusting. Even pretty people have very unattractive insides. Have you ever seen those surgery shows on Discovery? Not Pretty.)”

Ellen DeGeneres / Seriously . . . I’m Kidding

Ellen DeGeneres

Of all the contemporary women we thought of when making this list, Ellen has been not only around the longest, but also has been the most consistently hilarious. The mere fact that we can just say “Ellen” and you know who we’re talking about says something. In Seriously . . . I’m Kidding, she comes off as effortlessly funny as she does on her show.


That ‘Girl Power’ has been the sole rival to the word feminism in the last 50 years is a cause for much sorrow on the behalf of women. After all, P. Diddy has had four different names and he’s just one man.”

Caitlin Moran / How to Be a Woman

Caitlin Moran

Described as the British Tina Fey, Caitlin Moran has been killing it on the other side of the pond for more than two decades. How to Be a Woman is part self-deprecating memoir, part biting social commentary. How to Build a Girl is a fictional book, though based in part on Moran’s own life, about a teenaged girl who writes music reviews for magazine, described as “The Bell Jar written by Rizzo from Grease”.


Lisa Scottoline & Francesca Serritella

Two people as funny as Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella in one family is a rare thing indeed. This mother-daughter duo slay in their co-written books of essays, Have a Nice Guilt Trip and Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim, as they bring their particular humor to everyday things such as jury duty and the Mission Impossible franchise.


I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your knowing any.”

Jane Austen / Pride & Prejudice

Jane Austen

The original woman writing funny. From the first lines of Pride & Prejudice, in which Austen lambasts marriage, to the burning lines of Northanger Abbey in which she lampoons posh vacationers in Bath, England, she is always poised with the perfect banter, description, or character. And yes, her characters’ romances all turn out for the best in the end, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t get a few good jabs in at polite society along the way.


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