Author Archive

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

Welcome Finnegan

Welcome to Finnegan Marcus de Bree, the newest LibraryThing baby! Finnegan was born on April 11 (5lbs 10 oz, 20.5 inches) to Kristi de Bree and her husband Chris.

Finnegan

You can see all past LibraryThing baby announcements here, going back 13 years to the birth of Tim’s son Liam!

Labels: LibraryThing babies

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

Top Five Books of 2018

Every year we make a list of the top five books every LT staff member has read this year. You can see past years’ lists here.

We also like seeing your favorite reads, so we compiled a list that all of LibraryThing can add to. We’re interested in not just the most read books of 2018, but the best of the best. What were your top five for this year? Note: books on this list weren’t necessarily published in 2018—these are the best we’ve read this year, regardless of publication date.

» List: Top Five Books of 2018—Add your own!

Without further ado, here are our staff favorites!


Abby

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. If you want to feel gutted by excellent literature, this is the book for you.

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney. I love this book, this flaneuse, this love letter to New York, with its exquisite prose and heartbreaking history of one strong woman. I love this cover. And I love Lillian Boxfish. “The structure of the city is the structure of a dream. And me, I have been a long time drifting.”

All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir by Nicole Chung. Phenomenal. Incredibly poignant memoir about adoption, family, race, and just being a human.

Who Is Vera Kelly? by Rosalie Knecht. This is the queer lady spy novel of my dreams.

The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel by Mary Robinette Kowal. In an alternate history where a meteorite strikes DC in 1952, bringing on the kind of climate change that could make earth uninhabitable, Elma is a mathematician and former WWII pilot who becomes involved in the space program. I cannot even begin to say how much I loved this book.

Honorable mentions
Honorable mention to the Rivers of London series which I discovered and then devoured this year.


Loranne

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon. Really great sci-fi that prods at the legacy of the transatlantic slave trade and what a history of oppression does to people, set in space. The protagonist, Aster, is unlike any other I’ve read. Manages to feel very personal, while taking aim at the entire society Solomon has built here. Everyone should read it.

The Wanderers by Meg Howrey. Sci-fi but with lots of feelings. About a team prepping for a mission to mars, and how that impacts them and their families. Made me want to call my mom a lot.

Circe by Madeline Miller. Fans of Miller’s equally excellent previous work (The Song of Achilles) will come for the beautiful writing; everyone should stay for the righteous wrath of a witch scorned.

The Quick by Lauren Owen. This book keeps changing what it is: first it’s a Secret Garden-style childhood mope, then it’s a Young Man off to The City to Seek His Fortune, then oh wait, it’s a love story! And that’s all before the vampires show up and things get really interesting.

The Wicked + the Divine. A comic I’ve been reading for the last five years that’s drawing to a close. Great writing, great art. Every 90 years, 12 gods (from different pantheons) are reincarnated as young people—this time around, they’re pop star archetypes: Lucifer/David Bowie, Inanna/Prince, Amaterasu/Florence Welch, and so on. Mythology nerds will enjoy.

Loranne’s… mentions?

The Power by Naomi Alderman. I had such high hopes for this one, having heard rave reviews: women everywhere develop the power to electrocute via their hands. It was ultimately a disappointment: great writing, cool premise, but completely glosses over even the existence of trans/non-binary folks. What’s worse than ignoring people who don’t fit the strict gender binary: there’s a total fakeout—could have explored that character and had it be very interesting, but discarded them instead.

Crosstalk by Connie Willis. A book club read I just couldn’t get through. Maybe if you’re not into social media, don’t write a “romance” that hinges on it? Reminded me of The Circle (and that’s not a good thing).


Tim

Three Stones Make a Wall: The Story of Archaeology by Eric H. Cline. I started out disliking this book, whose early chapters go over much of the ground of Gods, Graves, Scholars, but not as entertainingly. It grew on me, and won my heart when it profiled an archaeologist (George Bass) I worked with once upon a time. It may not be perfect, but it’s so far as I know it’s a unique thing—an comprehensive, accessible, scholarly overview of world archaeology. Cat, meet catnip.

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Story of English by John McWhorter. I love McWhorter. I just love him. That is all.

The Winged Watchman by Hilda Van Stockum. A children’s book I listened to with Liam and Lisa. It’s something of a lost classic—a story of a rural Dutch family during the German occupation that is both exciting and, in the end, true to the pervasive horror and occasional mercies of the period.

In the Land of a Thousand Gods: A History of Asia Minor in the Ancient World by Christian Marek. I’m still working my way through this, a nearly 1,000-page summary of Anatolian history. No doubt it would be dry to some. As someone whose deepest historical and archaeological interests coincide perfectly with the topic, it is quite the opposite. The parts I know already read like rereading an old love letter, and the parts that are new to me make my hair stand on end.

Vatican I: The Council and the Making of the Ultramontane Church by John W. O’Malley. John O’Malley, SJ is best known for his work on the early Jesuits (see my 2017 top-five list). In recent years he’s taken up the ecumenical councils, including a rather good basic lecture series, a history of Trent, and a history of Vatican II (on my 2011 top-five list). His history of Vatican I is similarly good, and oddly appropriate to the moment. This is all my attempt to make up for having attended Georgetown when O’Malley was teaching, not taking any of his class and indeed being completely ignorant of who he was.

Dishonorable mention

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. In my 2014 list I gave Engines of God a dishonorable mention, writing “Why do I bother reading science fiction?” In 2013 I wrote “I love good science fiction, but most of it is crap,” and proceeded to disparage Wool, The Black Cloud, Children of God, and The Midwich Cuckoos. The year before, I said the same of The Kraken Wakes. In recent years Annihilation and The Maze Runner got the stick. I think you can see where I’m going with this one. Certainly, the idea of The Three-Body Problem is clever, but Cixin, Wyndham, McDevitt and the rest: that’s not enough.


Kate

Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnston. I’ve read a great number of recovery memoirs (voyeurism? curiosity? something in between?), but this addition to the genre stands alone, at least for me. While Johnston shares pieces of her story and journey to sobriety, she also incorporates the results of years of research on the subject of women and drinking. I spent half the time reading this book with my jaw unhinged, my mouth hanging open in disbelief, and the other half reading statistics and other data aloud to my husband. I don’t think I’ve highlighted a book this much since graduate school.

The Incendiaries: A Novel by R.O. Kwon. I first heard this book mentioned on the Forever35 podcast by Doree Shafrir as “cults + North Korea + The Secret History,” which was all I needed to hear. I read The Incendiaries in a single sitting, which is definitely a testament to its excellence as I have two kids under four years old. Honestly, it exceeded expectations.

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life: Essays by Samantha Irby. Samantha Irby is a delight, y’all. I have *never* laughed so hard reading a book. Like, snort-laughing, gasping-for-air-crying. But beware that this book is essays isn’t all laughs: Irby is just as adept at discussing the difficulties of life, of which she’s had more than her fair share.

Educated by Tara Westover. Westover’s memoir of growing up in a survivalist, Mormon family and making her way to Cambridge for a PhD is as shocking as it is impressive. Although her strength, tenacity, and intelligence are laudable, I was perhaps most impressed by how delicately and respectfully she portrayed her family—even those who have obviously done her wrong.

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith. My personal favorite Cormoran Strike novel. I’m a fan of Galbraith/Rowling and I couldn’t put this one down. As my father-in-law put it upon finishing the lengthy novel: “No wonder it took her so long!”


KJ

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio. A murder mystery/campus novel/Shakespeare homage, this gem isn’t for everybody, but if you like even one of those genres, give it a try. Familiarity with Shakespearean tragedies helpful.

Less by Andrew Sean Greer. This Pulitzer winner is a deceptively small novel about a mid-career gay novelist on a scrimped together round-the-world trip. In addition to its hilarious, beautiful language, I loved how it delicately demonstrates the monumental changes travel can engender in a person.

Salt Fat Acid Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat. If I ever become even a halfway decent home cook, it will be because of Samin. Also, there’s a really great Netflix series and the illustrations are gorgeous.

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee. This collection of essays by one of my favorite authors covers everything from Chee’s rose garden in Brooklyn, his time as waiter for the ultra-rich, and his activism in San Francisco amid the AIDS crisis in the 80s. Come for the solid lessons on craft, stay for the illustration of a fully-lived life.

Circe by Madeline Miller. Miller made a splash with her debut novel Song of Achilles, an adaptation of The Iliad through the lens of the love of Achilles and Patroclus. Now, she tackles The Odyssey through the eyes of the witch Circe in a moving, righteously angry, and emotionally loaded interrogation of women’s place in Ancient Greece, and now.

Honorable mentions

The oeuvre of James Rollins I’ve spent most of this year on the road, and Rollins’ action thrillers made planes and buses and ferries pass more quickly. Think Dan Brown morphed with Michael Creighton with some Indiana Jones for good measure.

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. What Abby said, above. Only didn’t make my top five because it’s in hers.


Chris C.

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived by Adam Rutherford.

Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.

The Cello Suites by Eric Siblin.

Breakfast with Socrates by Robert Rowland Smith.


Kristi

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. A compact, powerful message that must be read, broadcast, and the lessons heavily applied to the world. Read. This. Book.

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. I devoured this book. The characters had depth, the stories blended together seamlessly, a page-turning plot structure…very well done.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. I was a little skeptical of how Gaiman would make retellings of Norse mythology interesting…silly me. A delightful little collection.

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. Great read. I loved the mundane observations Lahiri’s characters added to the overall theme of each short story. Definitely gave me more knowledge and insight into a culture I needed to learn more about—I’ll surely be looking for more.

Winter of the Gods by Jordanna Max Brodsky. Another fun read in the Olympus Bound trilogy, a modern NYC crime series intertwined with Greek mythology. The shortcomings I’ve found in this series, for me (the endings that drag on a bit and the characters that aren’t as well-developed as I’d like), are saved well enough by the good research Brodsky puts into her writing.


Kirsten

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. Narrated by the author, this novel told in verse is at once a very easy read and an incredibly powerful one. I bought the hardcover after finishing the audiobook because like a book of poetry but unlike most novels, I really wanted to be able to mark it up and revisit certain passages.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. I’m not much for zombies, but I’m very glad I made the exception for this one. For fans of Gail Carriger, Mackenzi Lee, and NK Jemisin, and anyone who enjoys a rollicking, fast-moving historical reimagining with whip-smart characters. Justina Ireland also gives real good Twitter.

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. As with much of my reading this year, I didn’t know anything about this beyond reading a brief summary before listening to it (Scribd is proving quite excellent for book roulette), and I was blown away. It was intense, and also beautiful, empowering, heartbreaking, infuriating, and inspiring. It’s one that has stayed with me and which I think of often.

The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty. This author-narrated audiobook was both a joy to listen to, and a sobering recollection of one Black man’s ancestors and the lives they endured. In the afterword, Twitty acknowledges that the book is a complete mishmash of genres: he is apologetic about it, however, while I find it to be one of the book’s greatest strengths. Part culinary memoir, part history lesson, part spiritual journey, all heart.

How Long ‘til Black Future Month? by NK Jemisin. Nothing like a surprise December title to shake up the annual top 5. This short story collection exceeded any expectations I might have had if I’d known it was coming before the day it was actually released. The variety in themes, landscapes, and characters’ experiences and demographics is incredibly refreshing in a genre that can often feel like authors are revisiting past successes or giving their take on a story that’s been told time and time again. The audiobook was top-notch, and I’ll be seeking out a couple of the narrators so I can stalk their work forever. The first and last stories in particular were fascinating and exquisitely performed.

Honorable mentions

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I’ve been told for years that I should read this, and to everyone who said so, you were right.

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi. Mafi’s lyrical prose and Bronson Pinchot’s narration are a perfect match.

Dishonorable mentions

Julie & Julia. This books has EVERYTHING: slurs against mental illness, disparaging terms for folks with disabilities, fatphobia… hard pass, thanks. Just… wow.

The Essex Serpent. I bailed on this one despite high hopes because of the increasingly icky-feeling use of an autistic-coded character as a plot device.


Chris H.

Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari.

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor.

The Mechanic’s Tale by Steve Matchett.

More?

Tell us about your favorites for 2018 on Talk, or add your own Top Five to our list!

Labels: holiday, lists, reading, recommendations, top five

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Welcome Josephine

IMG_3574

Welcome to Josephine Grey Krieger, the newest LibraryThing baby. Joey was born on December 29th, 2016—6lbs, 14oz—to our very own Kate Krieger, her husband Adam, and big brother Alex. Joey is already whiling away her days reading, and strangely enough, Kate has perhaps less time for books.

Labels: LibraryThing babies

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

Introducing TinyCat: The OPAC for Tiny Libraries

tc_wordmark_lt_700

Today we’re happy to announce the official launch of TinyCat, the online catalog solution for tiny libraries. In other words, YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

Check it out here! https://www.librarycat.org


What’s this all about? Religious institutions, community centers, small schools and other “tiny” libraries (up to 20,000 items) have used LibraryThing to catalog their collections for years. TinyCat gives them an attractive and powerful library catalog, with easy-to-use circulation and patron-account features.

  • Simple. TinyCat is simple and clean. Faceted searching adds power.
  • Mobile. TinyCat looks and works great on every device and platform.
  • Professional. Robust circulation and patron log-in features, and a “Simple Circulation” option for classroom libraries.
  • Flexible. Import and export MARC records.
  • Secure. HTTPS always.
  • Enhanced. Enhanced with optional professional and user reviews, recommendations, and more.

TC_blog

See TinyCat in action. Folio, a member-supported library and cultural center in the heart of Seattle, uses TinyCat. Check it out here.

Try it out. Already have a LibraryThing account? You can see your LibraryThing collection on TinyCat by starting here.

Find out more, including Frequently Asked Questions, pricing, and how to get started at https://www.librarycat.org.

Let us know what you think on Talk, or email tinycat@librarything.com. Join the TinyCat discussion Group on LibraryThing here: http://www.librarything.com/groups/tinycat.

Visit us at PLA. Stop by booth #437 at PLA in Denver this week to meet Tim and get an in-person demo of TinyCat!

Labels: small libraries, TinyCat

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Welcome Alexander!

image1
Welcome to LibraryThing’s second baby of 2015, Alexander Stephen Krieger (Alex, or Sasha if you’re feeling fancy)! Alexander was born on March 9th—6lbs 5oz—to LibraryThing for Libraries’ Kate Krieger and her husband Adam.

Baby Alex is honored to share his birthday with Tim’s son Liam!

Labels: LibraryThing babies

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Welcome Kirsten

We’re delighted to welcome Kirsten Griffith to the LibraryThing team! Kirsten will be working with Abby, Kate, and KJ in providing technical and customer support for our LibraryThing for Libraries products. She’ll be working from the LibraryThing HQ in Portland.*

Kirsten is a longtime LibraryThing member (member GlitterFemme), and an avid reader and book collector. She was born in Massachusetts and lived in Virginia and Puerto Rico before landing in Maine, where she has spent most of her adult life. She lived in San Francisco from 2007–2010 and did her best to clean out the Bay Area’s many independent booksellers, requiring an upgrade from a 10′ box truck to 16′ when she moved from California to Maine.

Kirsten lives with her 16-year-old brother who is a computer and video game aficionado, and their two very spoiled cats. She studies belly dance and ballet, rides a metallic purple beach cruiser, and enjoys trying to make complicated dishes in her tiny, ill-equipped kitchen.

Her favorite authors include Roald Dahl, Brandon Mull, Mercedes Lackey, and Sarah Waters.

You can follow Kirsten on Twitter at @Glitter_Fem.


*For the longest time we were a completely virtual company. We now have enough employees in town to justify the occasional pizza or—today—donuts from The Holy Donut. Progress!

Labels: employees, LTFL

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Meet up in New Orleans / Get in free to ALA exhibits

Photo by chuckyeager, released under
CC-Attribution 2.0 Generic (see on Flickr).

Cafe Du Monde meet up
We’re having a LibraryThing meet up in New Orleans! Tim and I will be around for the ALA Annual Conference, and LT member benitastrnad is coordinating a meet up.*

So, anyone who will be in New Orleans, LA for the ALA Conference, or who live in the area, can meet-up at the Cafe Du Monde on Jackson Square from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, June 25, 2011. This is a buy your own beignets and coffee event where we can gather to meet and talk about books, reading, and LibraryThing.

The Cafe Du Monde is a short distance from the New Orleans convention center by trolley or a short walk to Jackson Square from most of the main convention hotels. The Cafe Du Monde is a NOLA French Market tradition since 1862, famous for it’s chicory laced coffee and a Cajun pastry called beignets. Come join us!

Free “exhibits-only” pass to ALA
Since we’re exhibiting at ALA this year, we also have some free badges to give out. They’re exhibit-only, so you can’t get into the sessions, but it’ll let you in to walk around the exhibits, snag some free ARCs, and, of course, stop by the LibraryThing booth (booth 827) to meet Tim and Abby.

Just click here and it’ll walk you through the registration process.


*many thanks to her, since not only do I not know the area at all, I’m a little crazy getting prepared for ALA!

Labels: ALA, librarything for libraries, meet up, new orleans

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Welcome Kate!

Welcome Kate McAngus (LT member katemcangus), who’s filling the job we posted a few months ago.

Kate is going to be working primarily on LibraryThing for Libraries—doing customer and technical support, and generally making sure Abby doesn’t go crazy.

Kate’s a librarian, with a Masters of Library and Information Science from Simmons College.* She also has a Masters in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Virginia.

She likes reading, running, yoga, dogs, Russian, breakfast tacos (the only thing Texas has on Massachusetts). Ironically, she’s a vegetarian with the last name McAngus. Kate hails from Austin, Texas and says y’all a lot. Favorite authors include, but are not limited to, Vladimir Nabokov, Eudora Welty, and Tana French.


*Bringing our total number of card-carrying librarians up to… four! (Abby, Chris C, Jeremy, and Kate)

Labels: employees, librarything for libraries

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Free books! December Early Reviewer batch is up

The December 2010 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 64 books this month, and a grand total of 1,255 copies to give out.

First, make sure to sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing address and make sure it’s correct.

Then request away! The list of available books is here:
http://www.librarything.com/er/list

The deadline to request a copy is Monday, January 3rd at 6PM EST. (Since we’re starting later in the month, we’re not closing the batch until after the holidays).

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Ballantine Books Bell Bridge Books W.W. Norton
HarperCollins Childrens Books B&H Publishing Group WaterBrook Press
Canongate Books Kensington Publishing Dafina
Signet William Morrow Human Kinetics
Henry Holt and Company Pook Press The Permanent Press
Taylor Trade Publishing QED Press Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
Hachette Book Group Strawberry Books Nolo
Demos Medical Publishing Random House Tundra Books
Two Harbors Press BookViewCafe Putnam Books
Faber and Faber Orca Book Publishers Clerisy Press
Menasha Ridge Press DiaMedica Gefen Publishing House
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Hunter House Maine Misadventures

Labels: early reviewers

Monday, November 29th, 2010

SantaThing – sign up ends TODAY!

Have you signed up for SantaThing yet? You have until tonight (Monday, November 29th) at 8pm Eastern time. Less than 12 hours! Go now.

Sign up here. (Go to the page, and then click to pay with PayPal first, then go back to the sign up page, fill in your PayPal receipt ID and the rest of the info!) *

Tonight we’ll get busy with our fancy matching algorithms and give everyone a “Santee” (note, you’re not likely to be picking books for the person who’s picking for you–it’s not a straight back and forth thing).  Then tomorrow (or Wednesday, if it ends up taking longer) we’ll let you all know who to pick for, and the virtual book shopping can begin!

More info on the SantaThing page, or ask questions here.

*Remember, to participate you must have an address in one of the countries listed here.

Labels: santathing, secret santa