Author Archive

Wednesday, February 14th, 2024

Come Join the 2024 Valentine Hunt!

It’s February 14th, and that means the return of our annual Valentine Hunt!

We’ve scattered a collection of hearts around the site, and it’s up to you to try and find them all.

  • Decipher the clues and visit the corresponding LibraryThing pages to find a heart. Each clue points to a specific page right here on LibraryThing. Remember, they are not necessarily work pages!
  • If there’s a heart on a page, you’ll see a banner at the top of the page.
  • You have a little more than two weeks to find all the hearts (until 11:59pm EST, Thursday February 29th).
  • Come brag about your collection of hearts (and get hints) on Talk.

Win prizes:

  • Any member who finds at least two hearts will be
    awarded a heart badge Badge ().
  • Members who find all 14 hearts will be entered into a drawing for some LibraryThing (or TinyCat) swag. We’ll announce winners at the end of the hunt.

P.S. Thanks to conceptDawg for the cardinal illustration!

Labels: treasure hunt

Monday, February 5th, 2024

Author Interview: Kristin Hannah

LibraryThing is pleased to sit down this month with bestselling author Kristin Hannah, who has had twenty-four novels published from 1991 through 2021. Trained as a lawyer, she practiced law in Seattle for a time before devoting herself to writing full time. Her best-selling book, The Nightingale (2015) has sold more than 4.5 million copies globally, and has been translated into 45 languages, while her 2008 Firefly Lane was adapted in a popular 2021 Netflix series of the same name. Hannah’s twenty-fifth novel, The Women, which chronicles the lives of women coming of age during the 1960s, is due out from Macmillan this month.

Your new book follows the story of a young woman who joins the Army Nurse Corps, and follows her brother to Vietnam. How did the story first come to you? Did it start with the character of Frankie, or was it the idea of a woman living through these events that came first?

This is actually a book I have wanted to write for more than twenty years. I grew up during the Vietnam era, and even though I was in elementary school, the war cast a huge shadow across my life. A very close girlfriend’s father was a pilot who served and was shot down and was Missing In Action. In those days, we wore silver prisoner of war bracelets that commemorated a missing serviceman. The idea was to wear the bracelet until he came home. Well, my friend’s father never did come home and I wore that bracelet for years, and was reminded of him and his service and war each day. I was a young teenager when the war ended, and I remembered how the veterans were treated when they returned home after their service. It was a shameful time in America and that, too, cast a long shadow. For years, I wanted to write about the turbulence and chaos and division of the times, but it wasn’t until the pandemic, when I was on lockdown in Seattle, confined to my home essentially, and watching our nurses and doctors serving on the front lines of the pandemic, becoming exhausted amid the political division of the time that it all came together for me. That’s when I knew I was ready to write about the women who served in the war and were forgotten at home.

The 1960s was a time of great change and social upheaval, and has been written about extensively, as has the war. What does The Women bring to the table? Do you feel it offers a new perspective, and if so, why is that important?

Honestly, for years and years, the Vietnam War was kind of a taboo subject. The American mood seemed to be that when the war finally ended, no one wanted to talk about it, so I actually think there are a lot of stories out there that need to be told. I hope The Women will encourage other stories. And yes, the novel adds an important element to the war narrative—its the story of the women who served and how they dealt with that service when they came home. It’s about their lost and forgotten service. The nurses who served in Vietnam were tough, resilient, courageous. Their story is one to be remembered.

Tell us a little bit about your process, writing the book. Did you have to do a great deal of research? What are some of the most interesting things you learned about the period? Was there anything you found particularly difficult to write about?

I love doing a deep, deep dive into a time and place, and certainly this time in America and in Vietnam were a daunting task to try and understand. That’s one of the reasons that I focused on my character of Frankie McGrath; I was able to tell a big, epic story in a very intimate way. The most difficult part of this book, in the writing, was the fear I felt that veterans of the war would be reading it, and the seriousness of my ambition to do right by them, to tell their story in an honest, accurate, and unflinching way. I am proud to say that the word of mouth on the book from Vietnam veterans has been the highlight of my long career. I am so proud to shine a light on their service.

Your story centers female friendship, even as it depicts characters whose wartime experiences are suppressed and disregarded, in part because they are women. What is it about this tension, between the private and public lives of women, that makes for such a powerful story?

We are lucky to be living in a time when forgotten and marginalized stories are being celebrated. I think when it comes to women’s stories, it’s just important to put us back in the historical narrative. All too often our service and courage and grit have been overlooked by the people who wrote the history books and taught the classes. I want to ensure that the women coming of age now, and their daughters and sons, will know and appreciate the importance of women’s roles in history. And yes, The Women definitely is a novel that highlights female friendship. For years, we have seen and read about men’s friendships that are forged in the fire of battle, and women are no different. So many women keep up those friendships, lean on them, for the whole of their lives, and I love to show that. The beating heart of The Women, for all it’s wartime drama and peacetime conflict, is really the friendship of the female combat vets.

Tell us about your library. What’s on your own shelves?

Like any book lover, my house is crowded with books on shelves. They are everywhere! I have fiction shelves and non fiction shelves galore. But I do have some enduring favorites that I always recommend: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón; One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez; The Witching Hour by Anne Rice; and The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy.

What have you been reading lately, and what would you recommend to other readers?

Well, at the moment, I am trying to come up with a new idea, which is surprisingly difficult to do. Following The Women will not be easy. My favorite recent reads are: The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, All the Colors of the Dark, Demon Copperhead, and The Good Left Undone. Also, there are several Vietnam nurse memoirs that I read in researching The Women that I think are amazing: Healing Wounds: A Vietnam War Combat Nurse’s 10-Year Fight to Win Women a Place of Honor in Washington, D.C. by Diane Carlson Evans; American Daughter Gone to War: On the Front Lines With an Army Nurse in Vietnam by Winnie Smith; and Home Before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam by Linda Van Devanter.

Labels: author interview, interview

Thursday, February 1st, 2024

February 2024 Early Reviewers Batch Is Live!

Win free books from the February 2024 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 180 books this month, and a grand total of 3,427 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

» Request books here!

The deadline to request a copy is Monday, February 26th at 6PM EST.

Eligibility: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Slovenia and more. Make sure to check the message on each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

The Road Before UsThe Swan HarpThe Girl Who Planted TreesFlight of the Wild SwanThe Hebrew TeacherOpposite IdenticalsThe Poppy FieldThe Seafarer's SecretRebel SkiesThe Heavy Bag: One Girl’s Journey Through GriefAlt SagasViewfinderHow to Help a Hare and Protect a Polar Bear: 50 Simple Things YOU Can Do for Our Planet!So You Wanna Run a Country?The Song of Sourwood MountainUnforgivenThe Encyclopedia of Rootical Folklore: Plant Tales from Africa and the DiasporaCultures of Growth: How the New Science of Mindset Can Transform Individuals, Teams, and OrganizationsSugar SandsBlood TornEmily PostsSwimming into TroubleThe Roads We FollowNight Falls on Predicament AvenueThese Tangled ThreadsJoyce Carol Oates: Letters to a BiographerLincoln's Angel: The Rebecca Pomroy StoryKids' Big Questions about Heaven, the Bible, and Other Really Important Stuff: 101 Things You Want to KnowThe Taekwonderoos: Rescue at Rattling RidgeA Dry Heat: Collected StoriesMoulded By MadnessThe East WindHoliday ShiftersIt Was Her New York: True Stories & SnapshotsGrief Is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating LossUrgent Calls from Distant Places: An Emergency Doctor's Notes about Life and Death on the Frontiers of East AfricaThe Family that Finds UsOnce a Homecoming QueenSeventy-Seven and Counting: The Somewhat Gay Life of BrianFrom Ice to SandStars Beyond RealmsThe Secret of the Sweet Treats KingdomThe First MurderBlack Confetti: My Bipolar MarriageNancy Bess Had a DressRe: Apotheosis - GenesisMattie, Milo, and Me: A MemoirFootball Refereeing in Scotland: A History of its Organisation and Development 1873-2023Affirmation AlchemyBookbound and Other StoriesFord Mustang Restoration: 1964-1/2-1973The Bloodstained KeyButterflies in the StormChildren of TomorrowThe Last PantheonDrive Or Be DrivenIn Excess of DarkKosaThe Demon of Devil's CavernFather ForgivenessMad Mothers: A Memoir of Postpartum Psychosis, Abuse, and RecoveryA Garden Called HomeProfessor Goose Debunks the Three Little PigsThe Destiny Book: Rediscovering the Mother of SpiritualityStonechat: PoemsLost SoulsLearning to SwimIndia's Road to Transformation: Why Leadership MattersGRE Reading Comprehension: Detailed Solutions to 325 Questions [Seventh Edition]The Aziola's Cry: A Novel of the ShelleysThe Prisoner of AcreiPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max: The Complete Photography GuideWhat Happens in MontanaMeditations for the Superhuman MageWitch's Creed: Jesus ProjectTrue Crime Trivia 2: Test Your Knowledge of Serial Killers, Cults, Cold Cases, Mysteries, Organized Crimes & More with 300 Chilling & Fascinating Quiz QuestionsDragon ClassThrough the Veneer of TimeWhat is the Bible?: Understand Its History, Find Personal Meaning, and Connect With Its AuthorAstral Alignment: ApocalypseJohnny Lycan & The Last WitchfinderA Black and Solemn SilenceYour Soufflé Must DieOff SeasonThe J.E.D.I. Leader's Playbook: The Insider's Guide to Eradicating Injustices, Eliminating Inequities, Expanding Diversity, and Enhancing InclusionMy Best Friend, MartyA Curse of Scales & FeathersKatie & Danny in Fairyland with GrandmaSecond ShotL' Air du Temps (1985)The Woodland StrangerThe Woodland StrangerReclaiming Your Roots: A Self-Healer's Guide to Ancestral Healing Through Transformational Spiritual PracticesStill AliveThe Pig Patrol: Adventure in SpaceThirty-Eight Days of RainBreaking Bad Patterns: 60 Ways to Free Yourself from a Life Stuck on RepeatThe EdgeDrawn to MurderBeneath the Gods' TreePrice of VengeanceSwing Strong: Golfing Fitness for SeniorsA Vengeful RealmHow We Became Intergalactic SuperheroesThe Courage to Leave: A Memoir of Escaping and Moving Forward From Spiritual AbuseThe Kelsey Outrage: The Crime of the CenturyTraveling in Wonder: A Travel Photographer's Tales of WanderlustHow Did Christianity Begin?: Hallucinations? Fabrications? Myths? Resurrection?: A Look at the EvidenceYou Are HereReflections: Echoes & WhispersThe UnravellingChildren of the CrossMental Exercises for Dogs: Unlocking Behavior SolutionsLet Them TrembleThe Adventures of the Flash Gang: Episode Two: Treasonous TycoonGrandma's Gone With GodThe Assays of AtaAll Of Us AloneJoey's Road TripThe Christmas HedgehogDecode Connect Dominate: The Unstoppable Guide to Read People Like a Book, Overcame Shyness, Crack the Code of How To Talk To Anyone, Use Psychology and Body Language to Decipher People’s IntentionsThe Further Travels and Surprising Adventures of Baron MunchausenHorse Girl: A Journey HomeTarnished PilgrimFinal Video GameTalk With the Moon: Silence Between StarsNavudaan: Revolution of ChangeJourney of SoulsLocked in SilenceBranding Your Practice: A Comprehensive Guide to Building a Strong Brand in Health & WellnessRearranged: An Opera Singer's Facial Cancer and Life TransposedBottles in the Basement: Surviving an Alcoholic: A MemoirAlignment: An Unlikely Road to BethlehemThe Gambler's GameLife in the Childfree LaneNo Matter How FarThe Worlds Behind Her EyelidsThe Worlds Behind Her EyelidsShelby’s Season of SurpriseThe Reluctant UndertakerPlease DO NOT GO to BogotáFreedom: The Case For Open BordersTwisted FateMushroom CloudAylunFinding Designated Ground ZeroArmageddonPersonal Finance for Teens Simplified: 7 Easy-to-Learn Strategies for Conquering Debt, Understanding the Value of Money, and Achieving Financial IndependenceMy Trip to the Hair SalonTransitThe Bloodstained KeyLies and LoveThe SurfacingA Simple Tale of Ink and BindingsA Simple Tale of Ink and BindingsPerilous ShoresFeraldThree Volleys to LoveTexture of Silence: An Illustrated Collection of Prose PoetryIn Helping HandsForest Living: In Central FloridaBeyond the Family Tree: Advanced Tools & Techniques for the Genealogical ExplorerAncestry Standards for Data Integrity: Getting History Right the First TimeSoftware Tools for Genealogy: Digital Tools for Tracing Family HistoryThe Balance Point: Charting America's Fiscal RenaissanceMale Chauvinism: Tripping on Male DominancePrayer in Time of WarWhite WhaleThe Badge And The GunThe Book of Arcane SecretsTime Is HeartlessCruel ProvocationsThe Sapien EmpireBlaze Union and the Puddin' Head SchoolsMaya and Waggers: I Have to Scoop What?Murder Under Redwood MoonA Perfectly Good Fantasy: A MemoirA Perfectly Good Fantasy: A MemoirAlien View: Where Science and Technology Meet Human BehaviorForest Living: In Central Florida

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Akashic Books Beaches and Trails Publishing Beaufort Books
Bellevue Literary Press Bethany House BHC Press
Cardinal Rule Press CarTech Books Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC
Circling Rivers DarkLit Press Egret Lake Books
Exploding Head Fiction Gnome Road Publishing Grand Canyon Press
Great Plains Press Greenleaf Book Group Hawkwood Books
Heritage Books History Through Fiction Identity Publications
Legacy Books Press New Vessel Press NewCon Press
Nosy Crow US Perch & Pen Books PublishNation
Revell Rootstock Publishing Scorched Earth Press
Simon & Schuster TouchPoint Press Tundra Books
Type Eighteen Books University of Texas Press Vibrant Publishers

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2024

Janaury 2024 Early Reviewers Batch Is Live!

Win free books from the January 2024 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 151 books this month, and a grand total of 3,109 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

» Request books here!

The deadline to request a copy is Thursday, January 25th at 6PM EST.

Eligibility: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Tunisia, Switzerland, Sweden, South Africa and more. Make sure to check the message on each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Someone Is Always WatchingShe'll Be the Sky: Poems by Women and GirlsThe Elusive Truth of Lily TempleSuper Friends!Every Bunny Is a Yoga BunnyUnder a Neon SunThe Bloodstained KeyThe Everlasting RoadThe Pancake ProblemAtlantis SplittingThis Book Will Make You an ArtistTrash: A Poor White JourneyFlannery OConnor's Why Do the Heathen Rage: A Behind-The-Scenes Look at a Work in ProgressUtopiaThe Pollutant SpeaksRouxHappy Healthy Wealthy and Wise: A Daily Companion Guide for Ordinary People Who Want Extraordinary LivesA Vision in CrimsonImmortal SecretsDoes Anyone See My Pain?: For Teenagers Dealing with Anxiety and DepressionUnexpected Weather EventsUlfhildrThe Sun Stone & The Hybrid PrinceUntil the Stars FallQuestions for Kids Travel Edition: Icebreakers and Conversation Starters for Road Trips, Family Travel, Camping, School Breaks, and MoreSugar SandsLove Across the Stars: PoemsThe Bloodstained KeyShared BloodHe Seemed Normal...A Noble SchemeIf the Boot FitsSet in StoneA Love DiscoveredAmerican Imam: From Pop Stardom to Prison AbolitionSea SmilesA Dangerous Country: An American ElegyWould You Rather? Book for Kids 8-12: 350 Challenging Questions, Silly Scenarios, and Hilarious SituationsPerilous ShoresOur Savage HeartElephants in BloomThe Phoenix and the AntNanolandLoose of Earth: A MemoirIce MusicLatencyStones on the Pathway: Writings During Times of UncertaintyMy Vietnam, Your Vietnam: A Father Flees. A Daughter Returns. A Dual MemoirRock Bottom RomanceBarbed-Wire, Barricades & Miss BeckerMum, Why Bother With Jesus?The Word Effect: 7 Simple Words to Create Your Most Beautiful LifeChronic Grace: Prayer, Saints & Thorns That StayWhen The Lights Turn To GreenAsterism: PoemsThree Hearts Stitched: Poems about AdoptionJenny's Life With Encephalitis3 Little Words: Daily Diary SeriesDescending Into DarknessThe Devil's TapestryTrondheimCustom Car Painting on a BudgetNightMARE CrushI Have To Let You GoThe Dark WitchData Analytics Essentials You Always Wanted to KnowPersonal Finance Essentials You Always Wanted to KnowWriting Impressive College EssaysThe Road, To Ruin, And BackFeral NightThe Twilight QueenSecondhand SpacemanLeonor: The Story of a Lost ChildhoodInside Harare Alcatraz and Other Short StoriesInside Harare Alcatraz and Other Short StoriesShelby and the Back-to-School BluesPerestroika: An Eye for an Eye, a Tooth for a ToothMeditations For The Superhuman MageAll Body Bags and No KnickersHope: Live in the Surety of the UnseenOn Mr. Darcy's SofaThe Badge And The GunFeraldBreath of Venus: A Tale of SurvivalGuide to Financial Freedom: Discover Money Skills for Teens to Retire Early, Tax Strategies, Budgeting, and Rich HabitsTime Traveling to 1974: Celebrating a Special YearEarly AdopterPrincess OhletherbeThe Forbidden Chef's Love AppetiteLouie the Lynx and Ryan the LionTime Traveling to 1954: Celebrating a Special YearTime Traveling to 1964: Celebrating a Special YearReversal!Jericho Caine, Vampire Slayer: Love, Lust, and BloodWitch’s Creed: Jesus ProjectTrivia Book of Wow: Wonderfully Weird Facts & Whatnot. For the Seriously CuriousESPionage: Regime ChangeThe Fairy of the Enchanted LakePhantom UltraLiam and Ellie: A Brother's Quest to Find His SisterQuestions for Kids Travel Edition: Icebreakers and Conversation Starters for Road Trips, Family Travel, Camping, School Breaks, and MoreHighland BeautyStardust Over the SekrLost and FoundTexture of Silence: An Illustrated Collection of Prose PoetryThe Enemy Within: Why We Black Americans Must Confront OurselvesUntil Our Lungs Give Out: Conversations on Race, Justice, and the FutureFirefaxUnleash Transformational Leadership: Unlock Your Potential to Empower & Inspire Your Organization and Create a Culture of SuccessVegan Keto Cookbook: Quick and Easy Ketogenic Meal PlansThe Big Book of Sudoku Puzzles: Easy to MediumLegacy of the Third WayHarold Heard Butt CakeMidnight ClimaxTitan's TearsPowerful Social Skills for Teens: Overcome Self-Doubt and Social Anxiety to Build Meaningful Friendships, Talk to Anyone, and Date with ConfidenceInto the FireThe Runaway Adventurous CrewThe Climate Misinformation Crisis: How to Move Past the Mistruths to a Smarter Energy FutureAlignment Archive: Guardians of TheiaAstral Alignment: AtlantisChildren of HeavenJudBlaze Union and the Puddin' Head SchoolsSecrets of Castle RowleyA Mirror for The Blind: Reflections of a Digital SeoulReal Men Don't Do Therapy: A Portrait of a Beautiful DisasterStick Taps: An Ode to Hockey's Heartbeats and HeroesTwo Players, One Family: How Gaming Unites UsToxic Feminism: Understanding the Root CausesToxic Misandry: A Deep Dive into DiscriminationFrom Dad Bods to Ab Gods: The Hilarious Truth About Male Beautification in the Age of InstagramThe Green Beer Diaries: St. Patrick, Leprechauns, and a Whole Lot of HopsThe Toadacious Tales of the MeadowLondon LabyrinthsThe PikeEquinoxKiller Dead, Victim AliveAt What Cost?Vegan Air Fryer Cookbook: 50 Quick and Easy Plant-Based Air Fryer RecipesFrank's Bloody BooksHistorical Christianity: The Ancient Communal FaithDouble Down on Your Genius: Own Your Gifts, Align Your Actions, and Flourish in Your CallingHistorical Christianity: The Ancient Communal FaithWar BondsJericho Caine, Vampire Slayer: Love, Lust, and BloodIntro to Indie Publishing: A Newbie-Friendly Guide to the Independent Book Development ProcessI Am Your Connection: Love Poems for Your BelovedBeneath the Gods' TreeMaya and Waggers : I Have to Scoop What?Eve's Apple

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Absolute Love Publishing Akashic Books Alazar Press
Beaches and Trails Publishing Bee Orchid Press Bellevue Literary Press
Bethany House BHC Press Brazos Press
Broadleaf Books CarTech Books Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC
City Owl Press Egret Lake Books Gnashing Teeth Publishing
Gnome Road Publishing Gorilla House HB Publishing House
NeoParadoxa NewCon Press Nosy Crow US
PublishNation Revell Three Rooms Press
Tundra Books University of Texas Press Vibrant Publishers

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Tuesday, December 19th, 2023

Publisher Interview: Eye of Newt Books

Eye of Newt Books logo

LibraryThing is pleased to present our inaugural Independent Publisher interview, hopefully the first of a series. We sat down this month with Neil Christopher, one of the publishers of Eye of Newt Books, an independent Canadian press based in Toronto whose small but impressive catalog features works that pair imaginative fiction and folklore with beautiful and striking artwork. An educator, author and filmmaker who taught for many years in the Arctic, Christopher was one of the founders of Nunavut-based Inhabit Media, an Inuit-owned publishing house that specializes in content featuring traditional Inuit mythology and knowledge. He is himself the author of a number of collections of Inuit tales, from Arctic Giants to The Dreaded Ogress of the Tundra: Fantastic Beings from Inuit Myths and Legends.

How did Eye of Newt Books get started? Whose idea was it, how did it all come together, and what is your vision, going forward?

We have been working in publishing in the Canadian Arctic for almost 20 years, and during that time we met many amazing authors and illustrators that sometimes didn’t fit into our Arctic publishing initiative. As well, there were many stories and projects we wanted to do that didn’t fit into the Arctic publishing work. So, we wanted to start a Toronto-based publishing company that could work with these incredible writers and artists and could realize some of these projects.

Danny** was the one who came up with the name, and we worked together to clarify Eye of Newt’s vision. Basically, we want to make quirky books that might not have a home elsewhere. We want to make books for kids that we would have enjoyed; and we want to make books for adults that we want to read.

**Co-founder of Eye of Newt Books, Danny Christopher is Neil Christopher’s brother, and is also an author and illustrator.

Many of your books—Bestiarium Greenlandica (Denmark), Museum of Hidden Beings (Iceland), Hausgeister (Germany), Welsh Monsters & Mythical Beasts (Wales)—were originally published elsewhere, and often in different languages. How did you discover these books, and their authors and artists? What do you look for, when it comes to adding a book to your catalog?

In our work with Inhabit Media, we often come across books from other countries that we want to version in English and make available to the North American market. Most of these books are about folklore or mythology. We are interested in preserving and promoting authentic traditional lore from other countries. Both Danny and I loved that growing up, and now we get to bring it to a new generation of readers.

Now we often receive submissions from other publishers. It didn’t take long for us to get known, and we are always getting amazing book projects submitted to us for English versioning or licensing for our market.

Both Inhabit Media and Eye of Newt strongly feature works of folklore and mythology. Are you particularly drawn to such tales? What makes them important, and why do you think both of the publishing houses you helped to found are centered around them?

That’s a great question! When we started Inhabit Media, we saw that children in Nunavut were not aware of their own cultural stories. Correcting this situation was one of Inhabit Media’s early missions. Through that work, we saw that traditional stories and lore were being lost or forgotten all over the world. Myth and legends were always something both Danny and I loved growing up, so creating books that help gather and protect authentic representations of myths and legends from around the world is important to us. We love new quirky stories, but we don’t want to forget the old stories and ancient magic.

The books in the Eye of Newt catalog are visually striking, with artwork in a diverse range of styles and media. Are the illustrations as important as the text, and if so, why? What are some of your favorite illustrations, from your catalog, and what is it about them that speaks to you?

For Eye of Newt the artwork and illustrations are just as important as the text. Both Danny and I have other work in publishing and filmmaking. Eye of Newt started as a side project, which quickly grew into something larger. Because of this limited time, we are very selective of the book projects we take on. We are really proud of the list of books we have created, and we intend to keep our standards high to only bring unique and beautiful books to our readers.

Some of my own favourite illustrations are from Iris Compiet’s Faeries of the Faultlines and Kamila Mlynarczyk’s I Can Be Myself When Everyone I Know Is Dead… They are starkly different, but I have a soft spot for prolific creators who really pour their heart and soul into their work and create a lot of it.

Are you still involved in Inhabit Media, and if so, how do you balance your work there with your work at Eye of Newt?

Yes. Both Danny and I are still very active owners of Inhabit Media. Eye of Newt was a passion project for both of us and continues to be so. I am sure finding balance for any business owner is a challenging task, and we certainly find it challenging. Eye of Newt has a talented and committed staff team that are moving projects forward when we are away. A lot of the Eye of Newt work for Danny and I happens at night and on weekends. Danny and I also said that Eye of Newt would be our retirement project, it just got started a bit early and now we are playing catch up all the time.

What can we look forward to in the future, from Eye of Newt, and from you?

Our success with our early books has opened doors with many amazing creators from around the world. We are really excited about the books we have lined up. One area to watch for is the fun and unusual children’s books we will be launching in the next few years. This year we released Kyle Beaudette’s The Garden Witch which is a loose folklore retelling with an aesthetic (and naughtiness!) we enjoy. We always wanted to have children’s books as a major part of our list, and our early books slanted more towards mythology and fantasy. Now, we are looping back to children’s books to help round off our list.

Tell us about your own personal library. What’s on your shelves?

If you had a look at my library, you would easily see where some of our inspirations come from. Faeries by Froud and Lee, Gnomes by Huygen and Poortvliet, etc. and tons of strange and fun children’s books. Just like Eye of Newt, you will see books that are beautifully illustrated. As well, both Danny and I collect very old books. A lot of that collection focuses on folktales, history, witchcraft, and shamanism.

What have you been reading lately, and what would you recommend to other readers?

I have been leaning back into my older books lately. Two books I have been enjoying this month are Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin and The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island by Weta Workshop. Two books I consider classics. The World of Kong is very hard to find, as it is out of print, but well worth the hunt!

Labels: interview, publishers

Monday, December 18th, 2023

Come Join the 2023 Roundup Hunt!

The year is drawing to a close, and we’re hosting a special 2023 Roundup Hunt!

This hunt is meant to highlight developments in the bookish world and on the LibraryThing site over the course of this past year.

We’ve scattered a skyful of fireworks around the site, and it’s up to you to try and find them all.

  • Decipher the clues and visit the corresponding LibraryThing pages to find some fireworks. Each clue points to a specific page on LibraryThing. Remember, they are not necessarily work pages!
  • If there’s some fireworks on a page, you’ll see a banner at the top of the page.
  • You have just three weeks to find all the fireworks (until 11:59pm EDT, Monday January 8th).
  • Come brag about your skyful of fireworks (and get hints) on Talk.

Win prizes:

  • Any member who finds at least two fireworks will be
    awarded a fireworks Badge ().
  • Members who find all 12 fireworks will be entered into a drawing for one of five LibraryThing (or TinyCat) prizes. We’ll announce winners at the end of the hunt.

P.S. Thanks to conceptDawg for the Kingfisher illustration! The Belted Kingfisher is the 2023 Bird of the Year.

Labels: treasure hunt

Friday, December 8th, 2023

Top Five Books of 2023

 
2023 is almost over, and that means it’s time for LibraryThing staff to share our Top Five Books of the Year. You can see past years’ lists HERE.

We’re always interested in what our members are reading and enjoying, so we invite you to add your favorite books read in 2023 to our December List of the Month, and to join the discussion over in Talk

>> List: Top Five Books of 2023

Note: This is about what you read in 2023, not just books published in 2023.

Without further ado, here are our staff favorites!

 


Abby

cover image for Babel cover image for Glassworks cover image for Hello Beautiful cover image for Happiness Falls cover image for I Have Some Questions for You

Babel, or, The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F. Kuang. Okay so I haven’t even finished this, but this post will be live by the time I do, and I know it belongs at the top of my top five. Victorian England. Oxford. Magic. Empire and colonialism. Language and translation. It is beautiful and brilliant.

Glassworks by Olivia Wolfgang-Smith. Four generations of messy humans connected in a variety of ways, each failing to understand those who came before them. Gorgeous prose.

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano. Do you like to be emotionally gutted by words? I do. Read this.

Happiness Falls by Angie Kim. Is it a mystery? A literary family drama? An exploration into language and cognition and philosophy? D, all of the above?

I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai. An interesting and unexpected take on a mystery/thriller.

I read a lot of really great books this year, so I want to also give honorable mentions to these (Pick 5, you said? Is this cheating? I don’t care!): Tom Lake by Ann Patchett, Congratulations, The Best Is Over! by R. Eric Thomas, The Fragile Threads of Power by V.E. Schwab, The Stolen Coast by Dwyer Murphy, Yellowface by R.F. Kuang, Vigil Harbor by Julia Glass, Lavender House by Lev AC Rosen, Hang the Moon by Jeannette Walls, Sam by Allegra Goodman, and They’re Going to Love You by Meg Howrey.

Tim

cover image for Exhalation cover image for Why We Did It cover image for Romney: A Reckoning cover image for The Alignment Problem cover image for Sid Meier's Memoir

Exhalation by Ted Chiang. Ted Chiang is that rare coming-together of a fine writer, a fine storyteller and someone who invents and then works through legitimately interesting science-fiction ideas. I loved his Stories of Your Life and Others, which included the story which became the movie Arrival. The stories in Exhalation are of the same quality. I particularly enjoyed The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate, which melds time travel and the narrative conventions of the Arabian Nights, and Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom, which imagines limited communication between branches of a many-worlds universe.

Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell by Tim Miller and Romney: A Reckoning by McKay Coppins. Why We Did It and Romney: A Reckoning both deal with the descent of the Republican party from what seemed a “normal” center-right party to the moral, ideological and policy train-wreck-dumpster-fire of the present day. How did it happen? How did so many normal politicians and staff go along with it? Who ignored the rot that turned into Trumpism and why? Who’s responsible? And what, if anything, can be done about it? Why We Did It is the personal and political memoir of a Republican operative—a gay man who became a “hitman for homophobes”—but finally left, disgusted. Romney: A Reckoning is a more straightforward political biography, reaching back to Romney’s early days, but focused on the last few years. It answers the question how one of the most ideologically “flexible” Republicans became an inflexible opponent of Trump and everything he did to the GOP. Romney gave Cobbins free reign over his emails and personal journals, and as many interviews as he wanted, and the anecdotes and quotes he came back with are solid gold.

The Alignment Problem: Machine Learning and Human Values by Brian Christian. I read a ton about AI this year, especially the problems with it. The Alignment Problem is by far the best, explaining the technologies better and deeper than the others, and going into the problems without being hyperbolic or alarmist. The whole OpenAI debacle sent me to reread Cade Metz’ Genius Makers: The Mavericks Who Brought AI to Google, Facebook, and the World, which remains the best narrative of the deep-learning book, until Metz writes the story of OpenAI.

Sid Meier’s Memoir!: A Life in Computer Games by Sid Meier. I love well-done biographies of businesses, such as Steven Levy’s Facebook: The Inside Story, In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives or Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer that Changed Everything. This year I also read Jason Schreier’s excellent Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made, which recounts the stories of key games and the companies that made them. Sid Meier’s book is like those, but told from the perspective of the amiable, somewhat doofus-y programmer who made them. Also, the Sid Meier games are basically the games of my childhood. I played most of them, and have (deep in my brain) nuggets of trivia only Meier’s book could have found for me again. Not a book for everyone, but a book for me.

Honorable mention goes to: The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter by Joseph Henrich. Henrich makes a compelling case that the key human capacity is our capacity to learn. It really belongs in my top five, but I didn’t have much interesting to say about it.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells. I enjoyed this first of the Murderbot Diaries. Wells took an interesting idea and a compelling, original narrator and wrote a fine tale. I wish it were longer and I won’t forget it. I even started the second, and then I asked myself “Do I really want seven more helpings of this?” I did not. This says more about me and my dislike of series, franchises, reboots and other episodic and immortal intellectual properties than it does about the book.

Kate

cover image for I Have Some Questions for You

Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll. This fictionalized account of women who encountered Ted Bundy and the aftermath of their encounters, was so much more than I expected from Knoll. I spend a fair amount of time thinking about the true crime fascination our society has and this novel brilliantly focuses on the victims rather than the perpetrator.

A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney. I didn’t think anything would make me cry more/harder than When Breath Becomes Air and, well, I was wrong. Delaney’s memoir of the loss of his two year-old son is devastating. But it’s also beautiful, and funny, and hopeful.

You Could Make This Place Beautiful: A Memoir by Maggie Smith. Is there anything Maggie Smith can’t make beautiful? This is a gorgeous memoir on divorce and rebuilding.

My Last Innocent Year by Daisy Alpert Florin. I devoured this book! This is some of the best coming-of-age writing I’ve ever read, but it’s by no means a commonplace story.

I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai. What Abby said. This certainly wasn’t what I was expecting, and I’m definitely not mad about it.

Lucy

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. This book was so much fun to read. The kind of book that you simultaneously want to read as fast as possible and read slowly so it never ends!

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. I love a great, long book. Despite a lot of this book being about war, which is usually not my favorite thing, Stephenson’s prose made it a joy to read!

Fairy Tale by Stephen King. I love my Stephen King books. A Stephen King book about a boy and his dog on an adventure is something I cannot resist.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. So many things in this book were familiar to me, having grown up in the 80s/90s and enjoying video games and online role-playing games. It’s always fun to read a book where you can relate to the experiences of the characters.

The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen. One of my daughter’s SantaThing books from 2022, this picture book is so much fun. It has great rhythm, beautiful artwork, and even a page with hidden animals that my daughter always loves to look at!

Kristi

The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub. It’s been many years since my last Stephen King read, but it was like riding a bike: a hero, a journey with scary thrills, and a happy ending. I hear they’re making a series out of this—produced by the Duffer Brothers (that’s right, Stranger Things)—and cannot wait to see it.

How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community by Mia Birdsong. A thoughtful and intentional exploration of the modern ways we (in America) build and maintain community, and how some groups in particular are laying foundations. Mia’s storytelling made me reflect about how much awesome, transformative value real community can hold through the most challenging of times. I consider this a strong read for the average American, as modern families embark on the rising challenges of everyday life.

Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese. If you’ve ever heard of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, this is the fictional story of the woman behind the main character of that book, Hester Prynne. Woven into the fabric of 19th-century Salem, Massachusetts stands Isobel Gamble, a talented seamstress and embroiderer from Scotland, looking to make a life for herself in America. She arrives in Salem about 125 years after the Witch Trials, and is forced to consider her own lineage as she walks the tightrope of status and reputation in Salem society. Isobel goes through many trials and tribulations as she seeks to define love, freedom, and strength: many of those qualities that, if bared too much, garnered a woman to be labeled as a witch herself. I loved the depth of character and history in this tale. Will definitely look out for more of Albanese’s work.

Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains by Kerri Arsenault. Everything is poisoned, paper mills are toxic waste factories, the government is lying (either outright or by omission) to us. Some people like reading tragic fiction, I apparently gravitate towards the real thing. I found this to be a depressing but necessary read, especially being a Mainer. Now please excuse me while I go and Google dioxin…

Bodies Are Cool by Tyler Feder. My annual nod to my son Finn’s collection this year. This is a great book for parents of curious young minds looking to supplement an honest exploration of all the different types of bodies that exist, and how each one has its own special gift.

Abigail

Below the Root by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, illustrated by Alton Raible The first book in Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s classic Green Sky Trilogy, originally published in 1975, Below the Root is an immensely engaging and deeply moving work of fantasy/science fiction for young readers, one which explores the legacy of violence in a future society that has done everything it can to rid itself of this curse. I love pretty much everything about the book, from the world building to the vocabulary and the way it is introduced, the emotional depth of the characters to the story itself. As if all of this weren’t enough, this book is also greatly improved by the gorgeous artwork of illustrator Alton Raible. Although written in the 1970s, and a product of its time in many ways, in other ways the story here feels oddly current, particularly when it comes to the way in which the goal of avoiding or mitigating harm is used as an excuse for suppression. To offer such wonderful storytelling, and to have such powerful social and intellectual relevance, almost fifty years after its publication, speaks to this book’s staying power, and to its brilliance.

Anna Witch by Madeleine Edmondson, illustrated by William Pène du Bois. From beginning to end, I found Anna Witch a positive delight. It was so lovely, in both storytelling and illustration, that I felt I needed to own a copy of my own, and have now added it to my personal library. So many of the little details here, from the physical characteristics of witches in author Madeleine Edmondson’s world to the fact that they always use names that are palindromes, added to my reading enjoyment. The story itself was also engaging, addressing a number of common childhood themes—young people learning at their own pace, children both needing their parents and needing distance from them—in a magical way. The artwork from Newbery medalist and two-time Caldecott honoree William Pène du Bois was every bit as appealing as the story, capturing both the magical charm of the story and characters, and the emotional pitch of each scene.

The Black Riders by Violet Needham, illustrated by Anne Bullen. The first of Violet Needham’s eight-book Stormy Petrel series, The Black Riders is a marvelous Ruritanian romance for younger readers. First published in 1939, it has become something of a cult classic since, offering a rousing adventure story that is also beautifully written, and that features a wonderful cast of characters. I appreciated the fact that, while there are clear factions in the story, and while the young hero cleaves strongly to his side, the opposition is not depicted as evil, and neither is their leader. Indeed, while in some ways the story here is quite naive, in other ways, it is a very sophisticated book, addressing complex moral questions in an intelligent way, and never talking down to its young audience. Needham is considered a master of Ruritanian tales for children, and I look forward to reading more of her work in this vein.

The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman. My list of Top Five books for 2022 included The Thursday Murder Club—the first entry in Richard Osman’s mystery series of the same name—and I commented at the time that one of the strengths of the story was the wonderful cast of characters, who truly came alive on the page. In the course of 2023, I have read the second and third in the series, The Man Who Died Twice and The Bullet That Missed, and found that this was also the case with these books. I am not yet done with The Last Devil to Die, but suspect that it is going to be my favorite of the lot, owing in no small part to my love for the characters. As someone who cares for an elderly loved one with dementia, I was deeply moved by the author’s sensitive depiction of a loving couple whose marriage is being affected by Alzheimers. If Osman found it as heartbreaking to write those scenes as I found it to read them, it is no wonder he has announced that he is taking a break from the series.

Saved by the Boats: The Heroic Sea Evacuation of September 11 by Julie Gassman, illustrated by Steve Moors. The story of the maritime evacuation of lower Manhattan on September 11th, 2001, in which some 150 vessels and 600 sailors—many of them civilian volunteers—helped to rescue more than 500,000 people trapped on the island, ferrying them away to safety, is told in this immensely poignant picture book. The story, written by Julie Gassman, who herself escaped Manhattan on that day thanks to the maritime evacuation, is simple but powerful, and I found myself tearing up, while reading it. The artwork from Steve Moors, in muted grayish tones that are sometimes relieved by a bright blue, didn’t speak to me at first, but eventually felt just right for the story, capturing the contrast between the gray dust that coated everything and everyone that day, and the sparkling blue of that September sky. My mother escaped Manhattan on 9/11, thanks to the maritime evacuation, so this story had personal significance for me. It has also been of comfort, since the October 7th terror attacks in Israel, and the more recent spate of praise for Osama Bin Laden’s “Letter to America” on social media, to recall this story of good people stepping up in terrible times, and to remind myself that while there are those who respond to the evil of terrorism with celebration or justification, there are others whose response is to rush to help their fellow human beings.

Molly

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Apocalypse fiction is a genre I tend to really enjoy, and this book was such a treat. It’s very character driven, and I was intrigued by how the storylines entangled throughout the book.

Fungirl by Elizabeth Pich. Fungirl is messy and vulgar and hilarious. Pich’s art style is so whimsical and cute. I don’t think I have ever laughed so much while reading a book.

Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi. Peaces caught my eye because I love magical realism, and Oyeyemi’s wonderful prose and surreal story did not disappoint. It’s set on a majestic old train with an unknown destination. The characters are quirky and mysterious and queer, and there are two cute and rambunctious pet mongooses. I adored this book.

All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks. I’m actually still in the middle of reading this one, but I feel like I have already gotten so much out of all the wisdom in it. I really appreciate hooks’ definition of love and her thought provoking look at love in our culture and relationships. This is a book I will be thinking about for a long time after I’ve finished reading it.

The Chromatic Fantasy by H. A. This is such a delightful graphic novel! The art is absolutely gorgeous and H.A. is an incredible visual storyteller. The characters are funny and charming and it was such a joy to watch their romance and adventures unfold in such a beautifully illustrated story.

Lauren

That’s it!

Come record your own Top Five Books of 2023 on our December List of the Month, and join the discussion over in Talk.

Labels: top five

Friday, December 1st, 2023

December 2023 Early Reviewers Batch Is Live!

Win free books from the December 2023 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 144 books this month, and a grand total of 2,949 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

» Request books here!

The deadline to request a copy is Tuesday, December 26th at 6PM EST.

Eligibility: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan and more. Make sure to check the message on each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Never Fall AgainThe Lady with the Dark HairA Full Net: Fishing Stories from Maine and BeyondOf Starlight and MidnightThe Hampton House MysterySand and SecretsPsalms of My People: A Story of Black Liberation As Told Through Hip-HopBlack Women, Ivory Tower: Revealing the Lies of White Supremacy in American EducationDesires of the Heart: The Evolution of an American PsychiatristA Lady's Guide to Marvels and MisadventureOne Wrong MoveWhile the City SleepsChasing the HorizonPermaculture Gardening for the Absolute Beginner: Follow Nature's Map to Grow Your Own Organic Food with ConfidenceHeavy OceansPolyphemusThe Four Relationship Styles: How Attachment Theory Can Help You in Your Search for Lasting LoveIn Search of the Lambs and Other StoriesPlaces To Visit On The Way BackCaptive of the Stolen EmpireMet by MoonlightExplosive ChemistryNot to ScaleCambion's RiseBond CrushedThe Fast and the FuriesUn penique en mi bolsillo: Un libro para niños sobre el uso del dineroA Village Boy's Global Journey: A Story of Defiance, Self Discovery and TriumphMistletoe MagicFanny Fitzpatrick and the Brother ProblemMen Don't Owe Women MoneyThe Red WheelbarrowWomen Who Hate WomenTribuneThe Trade Detective Investigating How to Day Trade for a LivingThe Trade Detective Investigating How to Make Money Online and Live WealthyAmy the Elf Sorceress and Her FriendsSouth of Sepharad: The 1492 Jewish Expulsion from SpainA Call from Hell: The True Story of Larry Gene Bell a Small-Town Monster and the Crime that Shook the NationHow to Swap LS & LT Engines into Chevy & GMC Trucks: 1960-1998Over the Influence: Why Social Media Is Toxic for Women and Girls - and How We Can Take It BackServices Marketing Essentials You Always Wanted to KnowMacroeconomics Essentials You Always Wanted to KnowSocial Media Marketing Essentials You Always Wanted to KnowMountain Offerings: PoemsChildren of Steel: Short Fiction from Our Historic Steel Mill TownsTales from the DarksideThe Fragile Blue Dot: Stories from Our Imperiled BiospherePushing Back the DesertI'm Not AfraidDangerous Lovers: A MemoirSwanna in LoveThe ReservoirAccustomed to the DarkReturn to AlkademahClassic Short Stories by Trailblazing WomenThe Other MurderDead GirlThe Scream: Poems from the Outside and from Within, 2013-2023Tokyo Outdoors: 45 Walks, Hikes and Cycling Routes to Explore the City Like a LocalTokyo Outdoors: 45 Walks, Hikes and Cycling Routes to Explore the City Like a LocalEmo Reality: The Biography of Teenage Borderline Personality DisorderPosey's Problem: A Pony TaleWithout the ThunderDestinyThe Instructor's Guide to Accessible and Equitable Course Design: A Roadmap to Barrier-Free Teaching and LearningA Good Rush of BloodRed VelvetThe Time GeneTeaching with Heart: Lessons Learned in a ClassroomA Deadly GameThe Forest Demands Its DueDu Good: The Journey BeginsThe Devils' CrucibleThe Flirtatious CoupleThe Difficult Life of a Little Brown HoundMother Nature Nursery RhymesTwisted NeurosThe Intended SoulHow to Write a Book: Taking the Plunge into Non-Fiction and Conquering Your New Writer Fears and DoubtsShelby's Horse-Filled SummerAll Of Us AloneThe Art of Job Hunting: A Dramedy in VerseThe Price of RevengeBlood in the Water: An Account of Workplace BullyingReflections: Echoes & WhispersChildren of the CrossThe Teenage Guide to Success: The TICK TOCK Formula for Life, Relationships and CareersUnbound 2: A Threat OnboardingVespertine DreamsRise of the CultOOPS, POOPS: Hysterical Potty Training Stories and MoreSend in the Tort Lawyer$—A Legal FarceAlong the Cobbled PathSecrets of Castle RowleySmokoPrisoner of Consequence: Escape the Ripple of Effect and Rediscover Your Natural State of JoyAll Old People Must Die: The Last GenerationHarold Heard Butt CakeRun Away to MarsReasonableWalking the White Horses: Wiltshire's White Horse Trail on FootShelby and the Back-to-School BluesPrincess Rouran and the Book of the LivingConfronting Power and Chaos: The Uncharted Kaleidoscope of My LifeThe TwinsMore Than TrumpAlice on a Friday NightThe Revival You Want. The Revival You Need!: The Astonishing Account of the Hebrides Revival and the Strategies We Can ImplementKiller Dead, Victim AliveBy Hook or By CrookForgotten SecretHeading NorthMy Mary: A Story of One Barnardo Home ChildSharks Are Our FriendsDecember: The Spicy TaleUnleash Transformational Leadership: Unlock Your Potential to Empower & Inspire Your Organization and Create a Culture of SuccessA Clove NecklaceThe Ebon KnightRivers and CreaksTheo's Missing LullabyPassion Without Tension?Sun & ShadowForever HumanMale Chauvinism: Tripping on Male DominanceTwilight Twists: Boomers' Belly Laughs & BeyondFrom Man Caves to Man-Buns: Your Unofficial Guide to Understanding the SpeciesFrank's Bloody BooksRoots and Branches: Your Starter Guide to Becoming a Family History DetectiveBeyond the Family Tree: Advanced Tools & Techniques for the Genealogical ExplorerSoftware Tools for Genealogy: Digital Tools for Tracing Family HistoryAncestry Standards for Data Integrity: Getting History Right the First TimePiglet to Bacon: Unmasking Male ChauvinismTimeless Treasures: A Voyage Through European BeadscapesEquinoxHunter to Hunted: Surviving Hitler's Wolf Packs: Diaries of a Merchant Navy Radio Officer, 1939-45Analyzing the PrescottsThe Birthday of EternityDeath Pulls the StringsThe Self-Love Proclamation: Affirmations That Nurture Confidence and Self-WorthGrasslandsHow To Recognize a Soulmate: Your Guide to Soul Level AlignmentThe ContraptionThe Human Trial

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Akashic Books Alcove Press All We Need Publishing
Anaphora Literary Press Baker Books Beaches and Trails Publishing
Bethany House BHC Press Broadleaf Books
CarTech Books Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC City Owl Press
DarkLit Press GladEye Press HB Publishing House
History Through Fiction Islandport Press Kakkle Publications
Lighted Lake Press Liz Fe Lifestyle NeoParadoxa
Petra Books PublishNation Purple Diamond Press
Revell Rootstock Publishing Somewhat Grumpy Press
True Crime Seven Vibrant Publishers Wise Media Group

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Thursday, November 9th, 2023

An Interview with Liam Graham

LibraryThing is pleased to sit down this month with economist, philosopher and physicist Liam Graham, an active member on our site—find him at thalassa_thalassa—since 2012. After earning a BA in Theoretical Physics at Cambridge and an MA in Social and Political Thought at the University of Warwick, he completed a PhD in Economics at Birkbeck College, London, going on to spend most of the next fifteen years teaching in the economics department of University College London. Leaving academia in 2018, he has returned to his first love, attempting to answer a question that has been with him since his teenage years: do we need more than physics to understand the world? His research in this area has resulted in the publication of his debut book, Molecular Storms: The Physics of Stars, Cells and the Origin of Life, released this month by Springer International.

OK, let’s start at the beginning. No, not the Big Bang, the beginning of your book! What exactly is a molecular storm, and how can an understanding of how it works aid us in considering larger questions about the nature of time, and our place in the universe?

This story starts right down at the bottom, where the small molecules that make up gases and liquids are in constant motion. To larger objects, this motion is a ferocious bombardment made up of trillions of impacts per second. Scaled up to human dimensions, it would be like a 40,000km/h wind blowing from constantly changing directions. This is the molecular storm. It drives pretty much everything that happens at a molecular level: chemical reactions; flows from hot to cold; winds blowing from high pressure to low pressure; the vortex in your bathtub; what goes on in living cells and hence what goes on inside you.

To understand the wider implications, let’s take a system where the storm isn’t important. To do so, we need to step out of our everyday experience, which is a sign in itself of how dominant the storm is. So tune your ear to the music of the spheres and picture planets orbiting a star. Now, if someone played you a video of the solar system, you wouldn’t be able to tell whether it was running forwards or backwards. In either direction, you would see the planets calmly pursuing their elliptical orbits. In other words, you wouldn’t be able to tell whether the film showed past moving toward future or future to past. In this idealised world, there is no arrow of time.

Then turn to a system driven by the storm, such as a gas expanding as a tap is opened or our old friend Humpty Dumpty. If you saw a video of these, you could immediately tell whether it was running backwards or forwards. Gases do not spontaneously contract and pour themselves into a tap. The molecules that make up the ground do not conspire in their movements to make Humpty Dumpty leap up and put himself together again. The arrow of time is a result of the molecular storm.

The study of the molecular storm is called thermodynamics. Everyone I spoke to, whether specialists or non-specialists, said this term is so intimidating that I should keep it off the cover of the book. I took the advice, but one of my aims is to show that in fact thermodynamics is by far the most useful part of physics.

There is some discussion on how many laws of thermodynamics there are, but the poet Allen Ginsberg summarised three of them as “you can’t win, you always lose, you can’t leave the game” (though he apparently lifted this from earlier sources). The second law says that disorder always increases: “you always lose”. It was described by one eminent physicist as the supreme law of nature and it can seem like the organising principle of the universe. But the second law itself is a result of the molecular storm.

Let’s turn to humanity’s place in nature. If you throw a pair of dice for long enough, you’ll see every possible outcome. In the same way, the endless bombardment of the storm constantly shakes systems up and so drives them to explore the possibilities open to them. For reasons that are poorly understood, this seems to mean that systems settle into states which dissipate energy at faster and faster rates. Stars dissipate energy faster than the dust clouds from which they formed. Planets dissipate energy faster than stars. Life is the most recent of these states. A back of the envelope calculation shows that per kilogram a human dissipates 7000 times as much energy as the sun. The one-kilogram laptop I am using to write this dissipates 30 times more energy than a kilogram of me.

This suggests a radically materialist meaning of life. While we talk of evolution and survival of the fittest, progress and technological development, free will or consciousness, these are all just metaphors. The underlying process is simply a random search – driven by the storm – for systems which dissipate energy at faster rates. We are its latest product. If you find this bleak, read Sartre and you’ll see that instead it is liberating.

In the introduction to your book you discuss randomness on the molecular level, and the way in which molecular movement seeks patterns and creates what is, to the human eye, order. Is this contradictory? How can randomness create order?

To start off, we’ve got to be careful with the terminology. Our intuitive ideas of order are, like our intuitive ideas about everything, poor approximations to the physics. The formal concept is entropy, but I can’t go into that in depth here. Instead, I’ll carry on using “order” and “disorder”, but in scare quotes.

The second law tells us you can create “order” in one system as long as you create more “disorder” elsewhere. It’s not so much “you always lose” but “the universe always loses; you can win at its expense”. How does this happen, how does randomness create “order”? The key point is that the storm drives systems to explore the possibilities open to them. Sometimes the system will stumble over an “ordered” structure which is stable. Let’s look at some examples.

Soon after the Big Bang, the universe was a roughly uniform cloud of radiation and particles. This looks to a human eye like a state of maximum “disorder”. Yet now the universe is full of “order” everywhere from galaxies to stars to solar systems to planets to the myriad of structures on planetary surfaces (including you). The change from initial to current state is driven by the molecular storm, along with much interesting physics along the way. However, the move from “disorder’ to “order” is only apparent. Gravity – which our intuition is definitely not built to understand – means that clumped matter is actually more “disordered” than diffuse matter. The “disorder” of the universe as a whole has constantly increased since its beginning.

As another example, let’s think about how evolution might kick off. Take a bunch of chemicals being constantly driven by the storm to explore different reactions. If one of these reactions gives a molecule that can reproduce itself, it will come to dominate the mix as it outcompetes other reactions. Then another storm-driven random change might lead to a molecule that reproduces faster, more reliably or using a wider range of components and this will outcompete the original one. More random changes will lead to further improvements. The rest, as they say, is history. Random changes driven by the storm lead ultimately to life.

Finally, remember the story of Sisyphus doomed to forever push a boulder up a hill (I’ve borrowed this analogy from Life’s Ratchet: How Molecular Machines Extract Order from Chaos by Peter M. Hoffmann, also on LibraryThing as yapete). If we reduced him to a small enough scale, the molecular storm would push his nano-boulder sometimes up and sometimes down the hill. All Sisyphus then has to do is to wait until there is a random push upwards and slip a wedge under the boulder to stop it rolling back. Then he waits until another impact pushes the boulder upwards and again moves the wedge. If he continues doing this, the boulder will roll up the hill powered by the storm. All Sisyphus has to do is select the impacts that push the boulder upwards – most of the physical effort is taken out of his punishment. Directional, “ordered” motion is driven by random impacts. It turns out that some of the most important processes in living cells rely on an analogous method of selecting fluctuations from the storm.

All of these examples create “order” at the expense of “disorder” elsewhere: as a star forms, it increases disorder in the surrounding cloud of dust; as chemical evolution starts, disorder is increased in the environment and Sisyphus increases disorder via the information processing necessary to work out when to move the ratchet. These processes – and everything driven by the storm – hasten the universe towards its final state of maximum “disorder”.

In your career as an economist, your focus has been on macroeconomics, and the mathematical study of complex systems. What insights has your economic work provided in the scientific field, and vice versa?

The main thing I learnt is how fundamentally different the two fields are. A basic requirement for science is the possibility of repeated experiments. We can let an apple drop from a tree again and again. To understand its motion, we can vary its weight, the wind speed or the density of the air. We can even make an “apple” of antimatter and see whether it falls up or down.

Macroeconomics is very different. There is effectively no possibility of experiments. I’d have loved to be able to phone up a friend at the Bank of England and ask them to hike interest rates to 20% to create an almighty recession and help calibrate my model. Thankfully, I couldn’t. But even if I could, it wouldn’t tell me much since the structure of the economy and the policy framework are constantly changing. The same change in policy might have a very different effect 20 years ago or 20 years hence. This means that natural experiments are not much use either: the high inflation of the 1970s has little directly to tell us about the high inflation of today. Macroeconomists are faced with a sequence of one-offs rather than the repeated experiments which are a precondition for scientific
knowledge.

What’s worse is that macroeconomic data is extremely limited. There’s not even a century of good quality data and it is often only measured once every quarter, giving at most 400 data points. By contrast, in 2018 the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva generated over a thousand trillion data points. It’s hard to do good science with small datasets.

But that’s not all. Atoms just go about doing their atomic thing governed by laws unchanging across time or space. But the economy is made up of the decisions of people. And people change the way they make decision depending on what’s happening in the economy. So the one-off nature of the economy penetrates to the heart of the decisions which constitutes it. This is a fascinating area which I started to work on before deciding it was far too difficult.

Your book attempts to answer some deep and longstanding philosophical questions, questions that humanity has grappled with for ages, using physics. Are there philosophical questions science can’t answer, and if so, what are they?

Scientific explanations are only descriptions of the world. If you take a child’s approach of responding “Why?” to every answer, at some point a scientist will have to say, “I don’t know” or “If it wasn’t this way, there’d be no possibility of creatures with the capacity to ask why”. From then on, metaphysics takes over.

Philosophy gets left with the unanswerable questions. For the last few hundred years, science has been reducing the scope of such questions, but some will always remain. Why is there something rather than nothing? Why this set of elementary particles? Why four forces? Why these values for the fundamental constants? Physics particularly struggles with these questions because there is no possibility of repeated experiments. As far as we are concerned, the universe is a one-off and will remain so. Even if our universe is one of many, we are unlikely ever to be able to observe the others. Of course, it may be that the answers to some of these questions will drop out of the maths of some future theory. But then you would still be left with the fascinating question of why maths describes the physical world.

As a long-time LibraryThing member—profile page: thalassa_thalassa—tell us a little bit about how you use the site, and what you particularly enjoy about it.

Rarely a day goes by when I don’t visit the site several times. I use it to organise my library and my research with an ever-growing set of tags. When I finish a book I record the date straight away and usually write a few sentences with my impressions (if I didn’t, I’d forget what I read last week). Deciding what to read next is a constant challenge and I have a long wishlist and another tangle of tags to help. For the past decade or so, I’ve bought mostly ebooks and I use LibraryThing to keep track of them. I dream of (and one day might write) an extension which would allow me to click on a title in LibraryThing and open the ebook from the cloud.

I love glancing through other people’s libraries. From time to time, I message users to ask them for recommendations and this has led to some fascinating exchanges. And I do like all the data, though I’ve stopped looking at the author-by-gender chart as it is going to take me decades to make the balance more reasonable.

Intellectually, the most intense year of my life was my MSc in Philosophy. Imagine spending a year working through the Western philosophical tradition from Plato to the 20th century, reading a couple of texts a week, in discussion with a passionate and engaged teacher. This teacher was the philosopher Gillian Rose. I created her Legacy Library on LibraryThing as an act of remembrance and my book is dedicated to her.

Tell us about your library. What’s on your own shelves?

It’s a bit of a mix, really, reflecting the ebbs and flows of my interests over the years. Reading literary fiction is necessary for my sanity and I’m not averse to the odd scifi novel from time to time, though I get unreasonably annoyed when an author plays fast and loose with the science. The thing that never ceases to delight me is the way novels come along and do something entirely, erm, novel. This doesn’t happen often but when it does I treasure it. From the last couple of decades I’d list The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq; A Girl’s Story by Annie Ernaux, Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman; Phone by Will Self; Orfeo by Richard Powers and Cher Connard by Virginie Despentes.

What have you been reading lately, and what would you recommend to other readers?

Over the past few months, I’ve been reading mainly physics while preparing the proposal for my second book. In between, novels I’ve particularly enjoyed are An Impossible Love by Christine Angot; My Husband by Maud Ventura and The Course of Love by Alain de Boton. I’m also re-reading Zola’s 20 volume Rougon-Macquart series, in order this time. There’s nothing quite like the gritty realism of his depictions of 19th century life; Dickens is prissy by comparison. And the plots are often so gripping that I find myself skipping descriptive passages to get back to the action. My favourites so far are L’Assommoir and The Bright Side of Life. It was all going well but now, with 6 still to go, I’m a bit bogged down. It may take the right kick from the molecular storm to get me going again.

Labels: author interview, interview

Monday, November 6th, 2023

SantaThing 2023: Bookish Secret Santa!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the Seventeenth Annual SantaThing is here at last!

This year we’re once again focusing on indie bookstores. You can still order Kindle ebooks, we have Kenny’s and Blackwell’s for international orders, and also stores local to Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.
» SIGN UP FOR SANTATHING NOW!

What is SantaThing?

SantaThing is “Secret Santa” for LibraryThing and Litsy members.

How it Works

You pay $15–$50 and pick your favorite bookseller. We match you with a participant, and you play Santa by selecting books for them. Another Santa does the same for you, in secret. LibraryThing does the ordering, and you get the joy of giving AND receiving books!

SantaThing is a joint effort between LibraryThing and Litsy. When signing up, you can opt to give and receive from members of only one community or the other, or either.

Sign up once or thrice, for yourself or someone else.

Even if you don’t want to be a Santa, you can help by suggesting books for others. Click on an existing SantaThing profile to leave a suggestion.

Every year, LibraryThing members give generously to each other through SantaThing. If you’d like to donate an entry, or want to participate, but it’s just not in the budget this year, be sure to check out our Donations Thread here, run once again by our fantastic volunteer member, mellymel1713278.

Important Dates

Sign-ups close MONDAY, November 27th at 12pm EST. By the next day, we’ll notify you via profile comment who your Santee is, and you can start picking books.

You’ll then have a week to pick your books, until MONDAY, December 4th at 12pm EST (16:00 GMT). As soon as the picking ends, the ordering begins, and we’ll get all the books out to you as soon as we can.

» Go sign up to become a Secret Santa now!

Supporting Indie Bookstores

To support indie bookstores we’re teaming up with independent bookstores from around the country to deliver your SantaThing picks, including BookPeople in Austin, TX, Longfellow Books in Portland, ME, and Powell’s Books in Portland, OR.

And after last year’s success, we’re bringing back the following foreign retail partners: Readings for our Australian participants, Time Out Books for the Kiwi participants, and Kennys for our Irish friends.

And since Book Depository has closed, this year we’re offering international deliveries through Kennys and Blackwell’s.

Kindle options are available to all members, regardless of location. To receive Kindle ebooks, your Kindle must be registered on Amazon.com (not .co.uk, .ca, etc.). See more information about all the stores.

Shipping

Some of our booksellers are able to offer free shipping, and some are not. Depending on your bookseller of choice, you may receive $6 less in books, to cover shipping costs. You can find details about shipping costs and holiday ordering deadlines for each of our booksellers here on the SantaThing Help page.
» Go sign up now!

Questions? Comments?

This is our SEVENTEENTH year of SantaThing. See the SantaThing Help page further details and FAQ.
Feel free to ask your questions over on this Talk topic, or you can contact Kate directly at kate@librarything.com.
Happy SantaThinging!

Labels: santathing, Uncategorized

Wednesday, November 1st, 2023

November 2023 Early Reviewers Batch Is Live!

Win free books from the November 2023 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 207 books this month, and a grand total of 4,309 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

» Request books here!

The deadline to request a copy is Monday, November 27th at 6PM EST.

Eligibility: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Croatia, Poland and more. Make sure to check the message on each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

The Irish MatchmakerThe Seafarer's SecretTime Travel for Fun and ProphetWe're Going Home: A True Story of Life and DeathThe Spirituality of Dreaming: Unlocking the Wisdom of Our Sleeping SelvesSouth of Sepharad: The 1492 Jewish Expulsion from SpainGreen Mountain AcademyMr. Jimmy from Around the WaySpit and PolishI'm Going to Be a PrincessFatal WitnessSunrise and the Real WorldJust up the Road: A Year Discovering People, Places, and What Comes Next in the Pine Tree StateOf Starlight and MidnightBilly and the Giant AdventureThe Denim Diaries: A MemoirDracula Beyond Stoker Issue 3: The Bloofer LadyPut It on Record: A Memoir-ArchiveGreensideMy Big Fantastic FamilyTributaries: Essays from Woods and WatersThe Plantastic CookbookTrue Crime Trivia 2: Test Your Knowledge of Serial Killers, Cults, Cold Cases, Mysteries, Organized Crimes & More with 300 Chilling & Fascinating Quiz QuestionsA Change in Destiny: Dark ChoicesSuper Natural Family International Cookbook: A Healthy and Playful Global Recipe CollectionDonut Feel Bad About Being SadLittle Things, Complex MattersHouse of Fat Man: Rules in the Golden TriangleEverything Starts from Prayer: Mother Teresa's Meditations on Spiritual Life for People of All FaithsEmbers in the London SkyThe Road To Second ChanceThe Judas Tree - Book 1Champions of the FoxJosie, Johnnie and Rosie and the Ocean Rescue!Sound Switch WonderThe Splish-Splash Puddle Dance!Notes from the Porch: Tiny True Stories to Make You Feel Better about the WorldThe Hampton House MysteryMurtaghThe Ultimate True Crime Trivia Book: A Compilation of Fascinating Facts & Disturbing Details About Infamous Serial Killers, Mysteries, Cold Cases & Everything In BetweenThe Music: New and Selected Poems, 1973-2023Tender HeadedAn Artist Among the Wind Horses of MongoliaMusic Head: A Memoir of PurposeSnapshots of a Life: EssaysPainting the Grand Homes of California's Central ValleyThe Gift Sensitivity: The Extraordinary Power of Emotional Engagement in Life and WorkSpark and TetherHeavy OceansDrag Racing's Rebels: How the AHRA Changed Quarter-Mile CompetitionThe Spartan ChroniclesOur Global Lingua Franca: An Educator’s Guide to Spreading English Where EFL Doesn’t WorkESPionage: Regime ChangeThe Infinite Loop / El Lazo InfinitoPrincess Rouran and the Dragon Chariot of 10,000 SagesChocolate & Wine Cookbook & Party Guide: Your Complete Guide To Chocolate Delights, Decorations, and DestinationsThe Greatest ThingA Change of ReignBlood of GodsThe Foxhole Victory TourUp from Dust: Martha's StoryA Season of HarvestCold ThreatSecrets, Lies and Seagull Cries: Wath Mill AllotmentsLost SoulsTrue or False Mazes: HalloweenTrue or False Mazes: Two Exits - Only One Exit Is RealLeaving Bacon Behind: A How-to Guide to Jewish ConversionCrushThe Christmas DilemmaiPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max: The Complete Photography GuideHollowPolyphemusThe Gardens of ByzantiumThe Wrong Way HomeTrue Crime Trivia 2: Test Your Knowledge of Serial Killers, Cults, Cold Cases, Mysteries, Organized Crimes & More with 300 Chilling & Fascinating Quiz QuestionsThe Butterfly That Learnt to FlyBeautiful Little FuriesThe King's FeatherNo More Happy Endings: Eight Short StoriesThe Pied Pipers Be BraveKevin Wilks and the Mirror of SoulsSolarpunk CreaturesSchool Improvement Planning Made Easy: An AI Guide for School Leaders and Subject LeadersThe Trade Detective Investigating How to Make Money Online and Live WealthyStrange and Twisted ThingsHow to DanceHollywood HustleBad Girls Break BridgesPractice Tests for the Digital SAT (2024)Digital SAT Reading and Writing Practice Questions (2024)Digital SAT Math Practice Questions (2024)It Hurts Every TimeIn Search of the Lambs and Other StoriesAtom Bomb BabyRise and Shine Little Man: Memories of a Seaside ChildhoodBoxes of Time: StoriesThe Trade Detective Investigating How to Day Trade For A LivingPaper & FeathersSelf-Help Simplified!: Insights on Maximizing the Benefits of Self-Help BooksNights RainbowThe Philistine SolutionA Prisoner's LoveThe Chinitz Zion Haggadah: How to Teach the Love of Israel at Your Seder: A Traditional Haggadah with Modern InterpretationThe Condor's RiddleCrude DeceptionEverything Slows Down: My Hidden Life with Depression: How I Survived, What I LearnedUncertain LuckHave It AllCurtains on A Christmas CarolClassic Short Stories by Trailblazing WomenPacific StateHow to Find A Job: 30 Day PlanMindfireThe Wall Pilates Workout Book For Women: 28 Day Challenge Exercises For Weight Loss, Better Posture, Flexibility, Strength, and BalanceThe Morgan Film: A JFK Assassination StoryGrasslandsThe Scream: Poems from the Outside and from Within, 2013-2023Dragon ClassWalking the White Horses: Wiltshire's White Horse Trail on FootDouble Dead MagicProvidencePlanetary Civilization: Why capitalism will never be sustainableShattered RemnantsChallenge AccceptedThe Eternal ExperimentsThe Lazarus KeyFoxholesThe Sea Something...Whispers of the PastThe Journeyer and the Pilgrimage for the Origin of MagicAlice Ravenwood and the Tomb of Saint GeorgeThe Painter's LegacyA Mirror for The Blind: Reflections of a Digital SeoulThe Long NightThat DayMicro Authority: How to Accelerate Your Distinction in a Croweded Market in the Era of SpeedSun & ShadowSeed of VexSpiked: Here's to RevengeSun of the Father: A Story of Awakening to the Light WithinBeware the GrumbleForever HumanInside Harare Alcatraz and Other Short StoriesDark LatitudeThe Harder They FallFifteen Minutes: Bamboozled in BuffaloHow To Recognize a Soulmate: Your Guide to Soul Level AlignmentHunter to Hunted: Surviving Hitler's Wolf Packs: Diaries of a Merchant Navy Radio Officer, 1939-45Song of SpheresShelby and the First RideShelby's Horse-Filled SummerFigures Crossing the Field Towards the GroupStick Taps: An Ode to Hockey's Heartbeats and HeroesTwo Players, One Family: How Gaming Unites UsThe Balance Point: Charting America's Fiscal RenaissancePiglet to Bacon: Unmasking Male ChauvinismToxic Feminism: Understanding the Root CausesToxic Misandry: A Deep Dive into DiscriminationTimeless Treasures: A Voyage Through European BeadscapesFrom Dad Bods to Ab Gods: The Hilarious Truth About Male Beautification in the Age of InstagramChristmas CupidTwilight Twists: Boomers' Belly Laughs & BeyondThe Green Beer Diaries: St. Patrick, Leprechauns, and a Whole Lot of HopsThe Toadacious Tales of the MeadowRoots and Branches: Your Starter Guide to Becoming a Family History DetectiveLondon LabyrinthsFrom Man Caves to Man-Buns: Your Unofficial Guide to Understanding the SpeciesClucked: A Quirky Nautical Tale of Adventure, Misadventure, and Justice ServedDublin City MorgueTrust the TerrierA Clove NecklaceHow to Write a Book: Taking the Plunge into Non-Fiction and Conquering Your New Writer Fears and DoubtsBlackie’s Surprise VisitWild Bolts ElectricEnchanted by the Enigmatic DukePersonal Finance for Teens Simplified: 7 Easy-to-Learn Strategies for Conquering Debt, Understanding the Value of Money, and Achieving Financial IndependenceSuccess Planning for High Schooler: Guiding Towards Bright FutureEmo Reality: The Biography of Teenage Borderline Personality DisorderThe Fae ConspiracyThe Fae ConflictAnalyzing the PrescottsIn the Shadow of the LuminariesThe GamblerThe Liar100 Walls to Be Broken: How to Break the Limits of Your Mind and Your HeartFlourishing Love: A Secular Guide to Lasting Intimate RelationshipsCosmic Egg IncMarlenhBlood for Pearls: The First American GenocideI Have To Let You GoThe Frightful Tales of Louis & LovelyO'shaughnessy Investigations, Inc: The Cases Nobody WantedRivers and CreaksThe Ebon KnightStardust Over the SekrEnglish Grammar: A Self-Study Reference and Practice Book for Intermediate Learners of English with AnswersToo Little, Too Late?Our Global Lingua Franca: An Educator’s Guide to Spreading English Where EFL Doesn’t WorkChildren of HeavenThe Self-Love Proclamation: Self-Love Affirmations That Nurture Confidence and Self-WorthChasing the Sun: A Complete Guide to Spiritual AwakeningTossed in Time: Steering by the Christian Seasons (Expanded Edition)Secrets Gnaw at the FleshTwelve Past MidnightSorceress for HirePerestroika: An Eye for an Eye, a Tooth for a Tooth

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Akashic Books Alcove Press Aquarius Press
Beaufort Books Best Day Books For Young Readers Bethany House
Beyond Class Books BHC Press Brain Lag
Broadleaf Books CarTech Books City Owl Press
Consortium Book Sales and Distribution Crooked Lane Books DarkLit Press
DBS Press Gefen Publishing House Gilded Orange Books
Hawkwood Books History Through Fiction Islandport Press
Kakkle Publications Lerner Publishing Group Lighted Lake Press
Mirror World Publishing Nosy Crow US Perch & Pen Books
Personville Press Petra Books PublishNation
Real Nice Books Revell Revenant Creative Studio
Rootstock Publishing Secant Publishing Somewhat Grumpy Press
True Crime Seven Tundra Books Useful Publishing
Vibrant Publishers Wise Media Group World Weaver Press
ZMT Books

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Tuesday, October 17th, 2023

Come Join the 2023 Halloween Hunt!

It’s October, and that means the return of our annual Halloween Hunt!

We’ve scattered a troupe of jack-o-lanterns around the site, and it’s up to you to try and find them all.

  • Decipher the clues and visit the corresponding LibraryThing pages to find a jack-o-lantern. Each clue points to a specific page on LibraryThing. Remember, they are not necessarily work pages!
  • If there’s a jack-o-lantern on a page, you’ll see a banner at the top of the page.
  • You have just two weeks to find all the jack-o-lanterns (until 11:59pm EDT, Tuesday October 31st).
  • Come brag about your troupe of jack-o-lanterns (and get hints) on Talk.

Win prizes:

  • Any member who finds at least two jack-o-lanterns will be
    awarded a jack-o-lantern Badge ().
  • Members who find all 12 jack-o-lanterns will be entered into a drawing for one of five LibraryThing (or TinyCat) prizes. We’ll announce winners at the end of the hunt.

P.S. Thanks to conceptDawg for the ghostly flamingo illustration!

Labels: halloween, treasure hunt

Monday, October 16th, 2023

Welcome Ganawa!

LibraryThing is pleased to welcome Ganawa (LibraryThing: Ganawa, Litsy: ganawa) to the team, as our new Systems Administrator!

With a wealth of I.T. experience, Ganawa will be working behind the scenes as our systems administrator/reliability engineer, in order to ensure that all of our sites and products—LibraryThing.com, TinyCat, Syndetics Unbound, and Talpa.ai—run smoothly.

Say hello on the Welcome Ganawa Talk topic.

About Ganawa:

Ganawa was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He has a B.S. in Computer Science from Oklahoma State University and an MBA from the University of Dallas. He has worked in various I.T. roles, supporting companies large and small in multiple positions, from support to engineering.

Ganawa lives in the rural suburbs outside of Dallas with his wife Lauren, his two sons Joel and Miles, and his three dogs Sammi, Sawyer, and Sophie. He enjoys binge-watching old T.V. shows with his wife, staying involved in his local community, spending time outdoors with a very active toddler, and dabbling with technology in his home lab.

Favorite Books:

The Power of Who: You Already Know Everyone You Need to Know by Bob Beaudine
Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy by Francis Fukuyama
The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama
All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror by Stephen Kinzer

LibraryThing Member: Ganawa
Litsy Member: ganawa

Labels: employees

Friday, October 13th, 2023

Welcome Molly!

LibraryThing is pleased to welcome Molly (LibraryThing: mice_elf, Litsy: mollyp) to the team, as our Junior Librarian and Developer!

A library person who loves working with people and computers, she will be working across the LibraryThing.com site, providing technical support to our members, working on bugs and development projects, and helping out with social media. She gets to keep the $1000 book bounty, and is excited to spend it at the Brookline Booksmith.

Say hello on the Welcome Molly Talk topic.

About Molly
Molly was born in upstate New York and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. She attended the University of Vermont, where she completed a BA in Anthropology and enjoyed lots of outdoor adventures and local produce. She discovered her passion for library technology while completing her MLIS at Simmons University in Boston. Molly worked at the Boston Architectural College Library before joining LibraryThing and has a soft spot for architectural history and glossy design magazines.

Molly lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her sister. She loves to spend her time cooking, playing guitar, running, biking, rock climbing, birding, and knitting.

Favorite Authors: Alison Bechdel, Haruki Murakami, Gabriel García Márquez and Mary Oliver

LibraryThing Member: mice_elf
Litsy Member: mollyp

Labels: employees

Thursday, October 12th, 2023

An Interview with Rebecca Renner

LibraryThing is pleased to sit down this month with author and journalist Rebecca Renner, a National Geographic contributor whose work has also appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Outside Magazine, Tin House, The Paris Review, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and others. A former high school English teacher, she earned an MFA in fiction writing from Stetson University, but will make her book debut next month with Gator Country: Deception, Danger, and Alligators in the Everglades, a nonfiction look at the world of Florida alligator poaching to be published by Flatiron Books.

Set in the Florida Everglades, Gator Country follows the exploits of a Florida Fish and Wildlife officer, as he goes undercover to infiltrate the world of alligator poachers. How did you discover this story and what drew you to it? Did you meet Jeff Babauta first, or did you come across him in the course of researching the broader topic?

The first time I heard the story of Operation Alligator Thief, it came to me as a rumor from one of my high school students. He and I had already been talking about poaching, storytelling, and thornier questions like, “Who owns nature? Is it right for anyone to make that claim?” When this student told me about Operation Alligator Thief, the rumors had blown some facts of the case out of proportion while entirely underplaying others. He described the undercover officer as a shapeshifter who had created a fake alligator farm to catch poachers, like a trap out of a movie. In other words, it all sounded too bizarre to be true. Yet, as Floridians, my student and I knew better: here, the truth is often stranger than fiction.

Wanting to know what really happened, we asked around about the story, but neither of us could find a trace of the officer behind it all. He had disappeared before the sting began, and no one without inside information could find him. In my journalism career, I’ve found that challenges, rather than discouraging me, compel me to try harder, to look deeper. So no matter how many challenges I faced with this story, I could never quite let it go. A few years later, after I had quit teaching to write full-time, a former intelligence operative helped me track Jeff down, and I talked to him on the phone several times before he opened up enough to really tell me his story. It’s almost funny to look back on the days when Jeff didn’t trust me yet, because now he’ll text me out of the blue like it’s no big deal—because it isn’t! That’s fresh in my mind, because he texted me right before I sat down to do this interview.

What makes the Everglades such a special place, and what role does this ecosystem play in your story? If you were writing a tourism brochure for the region, what would you say to emphasize its appeal?

There’s a category of natural landscape that elicits such an automatic reaction of awe that it feels like there’s something more primordial at work than merely a reaction to our own smallness in comparison to their magnitude. Think the Grand Canyon or the magnificent redwoods of the Pacific Northwest. A subcategory of these awe-inspiring landscapes are the ones that don’t really translate to the internet, that pictures seldom do justice, the ones you have to see to believe. The Everglades is one of these places to the point where you can tell when someone has been to the Everglades and taken time to sit and witness them. People who haven’t think that the Everglades are just a swamp or just an infinite landscape of grass and not much else. But people who have experienced the Everglades speak of them with reverence. They are one of nature’s cathedrals, home to myriad ecosystems as varied as the freshwater sloughs and marl prairies you might picture when you think of the Everglades, to hardwood hammocks and cypress domes bristling with orchids and head-high ferns like something out of Jurassic Park. And that’s just the beginning.

The ecosystems in which the story plays out serve as more than backdrops. Among many things, they reminded me of what we have to lose when we choose consumerism over the wellbeing of the planet and of ourselves. In my own part of the narrative, my experience in the landscape of the Everglades led me to an epiphany about the ecosystems I grew up in a little north of there in Central Florida. Similarly, the landscape acted as motivation for Jeff. Many people act like saving nature is a lost cause, and I think part of that is because they don’t spend enough time in nature to realize it’s still there. So there are several scenes in the book when Jeff is standing in awe of the natural world around him, and that helps him remember why he’s doing the difficult things he has to do to complete his mission: If we lose nature, we don’t just lose a habitat. We don’t just lose a playground. We lose a part of ourselves.

In this same vein, I got really lucky with the guy, John Pirhalla, who is the main narrator of the audiobook for Gator Country. While I was still writing the book, I was pulling to do the narration myself. In the past, narrators haven’t done my long-form journalism justice. They have missed not only the appropriate cadence of my words, but I have also felt like the heart in my descriptions has disappeared. I was adamant about not letting that happen with Gator Country, and I didn’t have high hopes for a narrator until I listened to John’s audition. I was mesmerized. I listened to several minutes of that recording, on the edge of my seat, as if I didn’t know exactly what was about to happen. He had the cadence of my words right. He pronounced even the weirdest place names correctly. But most of all, it was the sense of awe that came through in his voice that gripped me and didn’t let me go. I was not surprised, when I finally talked to John on the phone, to hear that he had paddled the Everglades Wilderness Waterway, that he and his wife are avid birders. The Everglades had caught hold of his heart, just like they had for me, just like they had for Jeff. The Everglades has a kind of magnetism: once you fall in love with the glades, it’s part of you forever. You will be drawn back to the place and to the other people who have fallen in love, too.

Alligators (and other crocodilians!) often have a strange fascination for us—part fear, part attraction. Why are they an important species, and are there things people get wrong about them? What is the most interesting thing you learned about them, in the course of your research?

Most people already know or at least aren’t surprised by the fact that alligators are apex predators. But most animals play multiple roles in their ecosystems. Alligators are no exception. They are also ecosystem engineers, meaning that the ways they modify the ecosystem for their own use also benefit other creatures. The holes they dig can become dens or nests for smaller animals. Even by digging and sliding in the mud, alligators can distribute nutrients to surrounding plants, benefitting stationary flora and helping whole ecosystems to thrive. By the same measure, they’re a keystone species. Their nesting activity helps create peat, a carbon sink, among other things. They may even be a sentinel species, animals who indicate the wellbeing of a habitat (and its safety for humans), as their populations are so sensitive to the effects of temperature and sea-level rise. I’m constantly learning new things about alligators, and I wrote a book about them, so it’s safe to say that most people don’t realize how important they are to their ecosystems.

But the most important thing most people seem to get wrong about alligators is how intelligent they are and the depth and breadth of emotion they seem to express. While researching this book, I have seen alligators forge bonds with humans that go so far beyond what you would expect. To me, alligators are fascinating in part because they are so mysterious. For many of us, our cultures have conditioned us to see alligators as terrifying beasts, mythic monsters made mundane by modernity. (Bonus points for accidental alliteration!) But they’re neither. They’re cousins to birds, and perhaps just as intelligent. The largest alligators alive today could be 60 to 70 years old, meaning that they have survived since their species was considered endangered. There is still so much we don’t know about them. Yet the more we learn, the more we understand about their ecosystems and our world as a whole.

That’s a big difference from the animal that’s a subject of zany memes. However, I’ve also learned that we can’t discount the impact of those memes. And I’m not just saying that because the guy who runs the Gators Daily twitter account helped me research part of this book. Recent studies have shown that memes about “unappealing” species positively impact the awareness of and engagement with conservation efforts concerning those species. So I guess the takeaway here is, if you love something, make it a meme? Or in my case, a book that is sometimes funny. That’s one last thing I learned while writing this book: Alligators sure do make humans act silly.

Although the natural world is a key element of your book, the human interaction with that world is also an essential part of the story. One reviewer noted that your book offers an exploration of the ”blurry lines” between poachers and conservationists. What are some of your takeaways, when it comes to the human story of alligator poaching? Were there things you learned which surprised you, or which you found particularly interesting or moving?

I went into this book with a view of poachers that I quickly found did not align with reality. When I pictured poachers, I thought of big game hunters gunning down endangered rhinos. But it turns out that’s not what the typical poacher looks like, and hurting nature is seldom their motivation. While big-game poaching and larger organized smuggling rings do exist and are a big problem, most poachers are either the bottom rungs of larger operations or not part of an organization at all, and they’re breaking the law on accident (more common than I thought, for sure) or to make ends meet using the skills they know best. They know more about nature than most people, and they might even engage in wilderness upkeep activities that they might not even realize fall under the umbrella of conservation. This is true of one of the “mysteries” I investigated down in the Everglades, so I won’t spoil it for you by getting specific. Let’s just say even I was shocked when I came to this particular realization.

When it comes to the human story of alligator conservation, I realized that when outsiders talk about poaching, the poachers often become scapegoats for problems that have affected them rather than ones they’ve created. Habitat loss at the hands of construction—of housing developments, of commercial areas, and even of roadways—has had far more impact on alligator populations than poaching ever could. Some people get mad when I say this, thinking I’m defending crime. The reality is that I’m a stickler for the truth. The raw numbers, the statistics here, are what made me come to this conclusion. In fact, the statistics challenged the beliefs I held when I started researching this story. I’m not even a hunter. I’m just a perennial questioner of authority.

This realization has made me question my perspective and the previous conclusions I’ve read about conservation that I’ve assumed to be true. Now, whenever I see someone blaming hunting as the reason for the downturn of a species, I question it. Sometimes hunting is indeed to blame, but it’s seldom the whole story. Even in the case of the American bison, which many of us have been taught were slaughtered by colonialist powers (which is true), the downturn of the species also happened in part because of bovine diseases that jumped from cattle introduced to the plains by American ranchers. Knowing the whole story doesn’t excuse our impact on nature, and in the cases of the bison and the alligator, the cultures that depend upon those animals. Instead, I believe that when we reveal these nuances, we can gain a new understanding of who controlled the original narrative, why they blamed who they blamed, and what they had to gain from that. It might be different for every animal, but I see some similarities. In the case of the American alligator, deflecting blame for their downturn onto illegal hunting meant that other activities that put pressure on the species, namely construction, could continue unchecked. People who paved, drove through, and lived in the alligator’s habitat would have someone else to blame while being able to ignore their own impact on nature, and the even greater influence wielded by powers such as corporations who benefitted from nature’s destruction.

You are a prolific journalist, publishing numerous shorter pieces in National Geographic and many other publications. Gator Country is your first book-length work to be released. Were there challenges, or things you particularly enjoyed about writing a longer work, compared to some of your shorter pieces?

This is silly, but one of the best (and worst!) things about shorter-form journalism is the more-or-less instant feedback you get on it, first from your editor then from your readers. I’ve had several stories go viral, and that has been scary and exciting, but I think it also conditioned me to want instant praise (or criticism) for my work. The more I think about this, the more I feel like that desire for instant feedback may not be for praise but for human interaction.

Writing, no matter the genre, is a solitary endeavor. As a very young writer, I wrote novels and posted chapters on the internet for friends to read. My best friends in high school, who I thank in my acknowledgements, were avid readers of my work long before it was any good. Writing has always been my main form of self expression and the way I interacted with the world. So, in writing something longer, I had to find a way to keep going without the instant feedback that comes with shorter publication cycles. Luckily, my editor and my agent stepped into these roles so I wouldn’t feel like I was writing into the void. I’m truly indebted to them for that, especially because I wrote this book during the pandemic when all of us were feeling isolated. Needless to say, I’m trying to be more social now, but I’m having the opposite problem. I’ve gotten too used to being alone.

Tell us about your library. What’s on your own shelves?

My shelves are extremely varied. I started off my writing life as a fiction writer. I wrote my first book, a fantasy novel, when I was 15; and no, it’s never going to see the light of day. I always wanted to be a novelist, and I’d written five (I think?) in my teens and 20s I won’t even show to my agent. That doesn’t include a fantasy novel that I’ve written and scrapped several times. I started writing it when I was 19, and now that I’m finally a good enough writer to do it justice, it has almost a decade and a half of world building and just as many years of devouring fantasy novels. These have been as varied as classics like the works of C.S. Lewis and Ursula K. Le Guin, to sci-fi’s golden age heroes like Ray Bradbury, Douglas Adams, and Philip K. Dick, to modern superstars like Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Naomi Novik, and Leigh Bardugo. I could go on and on and on.

Another big part of my library is, of course, nonfiction. When I was a teenager, I thought nonfiction was boring. Then I discovered narrative nonfiction. The very first narrative nonfiction book that I read—the one that made me realize that nonfiction could be just as engrossing and exciting as fiction—was The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum. As I got older, I read a lot of narrative nonfiction as research for fiction. Before I knew it, I was devouring just as much nonfiction as I was fantasy. There’s a special place in my heart reserved for narrative nonfiction books about nature. It wasn’t until after college that I read one of my absolute favorites, Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. My dad had just died, and I was stuck in my home town and working a dead-end job, down and out in paradise, as I like to say. I remember reading how Outside Magazine had sent him to write the story that would become that book, and I thought, That’s the life I want to live. That’s what I want to do. Six years later, Outside Magazine sent me to the Everglades, and about a year after that, I sold Gator Country. Between those two bookends, I read so much narrative nonfiction. Two of my favorite authors whose work I read in that time are David Grann and Susan Orlean, so I was blown away that my publisher (without me saying so!) chose to compare my book to their work. I guess when you’re a writer, you are what you read.

I also like to read literary fiction, thrillers, classics, and… okay, pretty much everything. But for a while, right after college, I made myself a course of study that I would call the Art of Suspense. I read Time’s best 100 thriller and mystery books of all time and I tried to figure out the best things each of those books did and how I could use those techniques in my own writing. Some of my favorites from that were Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.

What have you been reading lately, and what would you recommend to other readers?

I’m one of those weird people who reads 50 books at once. Here’s a random smattering of stuff I’m either currently reading or that I’ve just finished.

I’m considering writing a book about dolphins, so I’m digging into that topic, and I’ve run into a problem: Susan Casey already wrote the perfect dolphin book, Voices in the Ocean. Honestly, this is the best kind of problem to have, because now I get to enjoy that book.

I’m also trying to figure out comps for my fantasy book, so my agent and I are doing kind of a buddy read of Babel by R.F. Kuang. While the plot isn’t much like my book, it does share a certain vibe, and the writing is spectacular. I know I’m late to the party on this one, but I definitely recommend it.

A book that I want to read that I think would pair well with Gator Country is Crossings by Ben Goldfarb. I don’t explicitly talk about road construction’s impact on wildlife in Gator Country, but that’s just fine, because Ben has it covered from every possible angle.

Okay, one last one. I’m late to this one, too, but SPQR by Mary Beard. Apparently, I’m not the only one who constantly thinks about the Roman Empire. But the thing I come back to again and again—which SPQR hasn’t mentioned yet—are the insulae, which were essentially ancient apartment buildings. They don’t sound great. They were especially prone to fire and collapse, and I wonder more frequently than I think is normal what it was like to live in one. So I’m looking forward to reading Beard’s new book, Emperor of Rome, even though it probably won’t talk about insulae.

Labels: author interview, interview

Monday, October 2nd, 2023

October 2023 Early Reviewers Batch Is Live!

Win free books from the October 2023 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 191 books this month, and a grand total of 3,535 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

» Request books here!

The deadline to request a copy is Wednesday, October 25th at 6PM EDT.

Eligibility: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, France, Ireland, Germany, Japan and more. Make sure to check the message on each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Second-Chance Horses: True Stories of the Horses We Rescue and the Horses Who Rescue UsDino Doo Dah: Dino Rhymes for Modern TimesThe Seamstress of AcadieThe Three Little MittensAlis the AviatorPluto Rocket: Joe Pidge Flips a LidThe Tragically Hip ABCThe Doors Unhinged: Jim Morrison's Legacy Goes on TrialArthi's BommaThe Last ImmortalThe First InvasionUnderstanding Basic Electricity: A Non-Technical Introduction for EveryoneSky of Ashes, Land of DreamsThe Godhead ComplexDouble TakeThe Divine Proverb of StreuselA Dugout to PeaceSound Switch WonderWe Are Shadows: An Irish Ghost StoryThe Seaside CorpseFreddie the FlyerHow to Decorate a Christmas TreeThe Only Way to Make BreadA Winter by the SeaCalling on the MatchmakerGreyhowlerEast Jerusalem NoirWest Jerusalem NoirWeave Me a Crooked BasketLittle Red ShadowThe Haunting of BlackwaterWhen They BeckonInfernoFerren and the AngelMy Life As a Prayer: A Multifaith MemoirWild Grace: PoemsAmerica's Best Ideas: My National Parks JournalPilgrims of the Upper WorldThe PalisadesLottery of SecretsThe Adventures of Tommy BonesFatal EncounterA Loss Mum's Journal...BalaclavaThe First Christmas NightFirst Words of ChristmasA Blacksmithing Primer: A Course in Basic and Intermediate BlacksmithingDown the Treacle WellCloud RunnerSelected Verse of Émile Nelligan: Québec’s Great Lyric PoetBoxes of Time: StoriesCamaro Concept Cars: Developing Chevrolet's Pony CarThe Chinitz Zion Haggadah: How to Teach the Love of Israel at Your Seder(IN)SIGHTS: Thirty Years of Peacemaking in the Olso ProcessTales from a Teaching Life: Vignettes in VerseNative Knowings: Wisdom Keys for One and AllCrow Dark DawnDaylight ComesVéronique's MoonPersonal Finance Essentials You Always Wanted to Know-2023Marketing Management Essentials You Always Wanted to Know (Third Edition)Writing Impressive College Essays (2023)With God We BurnDE-173Destiny of Daring: Never ForgetAnne DaresCatfish RollingPine Island VisitorsThe Portal KeeperScaredy Squirrel Gets FestiveSeekers of the FoxThe Little Books of the Little BrontësSupply Jane and Fifo Fix the FlowThe World at His FeetElephant of Sadness, Butterfly of JoyMardi Gras in New OrleansThe Old Gods EndureThe Presidents Did What, Again?EmberHow to Spot a FakeMad DashMad DashBad Luck in LoveDreaming Myself into Old Age: One Woman's Search for MeaningThe Stark Beauty of Last ThingsThe Paladin Chronicles IThe Taste Bud Diet: Harness the Power of Taste to Lose Weight Safely and Keep It Off PermanentlyThe Nowhere RoomOur Global Lingua Franca: An Educator’s Guide to Spreading English Where EFL Doesn’t WorkThe Strongest HeartSword of AudanteiThrough the Summerlands: A Celtic and Catholic Spiritual JourneySmuggler's GuiltThe Prism SocietyJourneys of the Lost: The Saga of CaneEat So What! The Science of Fat-Soluble VitaminsMarlenhBe as Happy as Your Dog: 16 Dog-Tested Ways to Be Happier Using Pawsitive PsychologyLauren in the LimelightAll Body Bags and No KnickersThe Gift of Sensitivity: Extraordinary Power of Emotional Engagement in Life and WorkBeach of the DeadFoxholesAnimals: An Adult Coloring Book with Lions, Dogs, Horses, Elephants, Owls, Cats, and Many More!Who to BelieveMan-KillerKing of the Mountains: The Remarkable Story of Giuseppe Musolino, Italy's Most Famous OutlawThe Prism SocietyThe Committee Will Kill You NowA Bright SummerThe Taste Bud Diet: Harness the Power of Taste to Lose Weight Safely and Keep It Off PermanentlyThe Naga Outcast's Unwanted MateHonorFlourishing Love: A Secular Guide to Lasting Intimate RelationshipsRaven RockFrom Worrier to Warrior: Tools and Techniques for Overcoming Overthinking and Living ConfidentlyClarity of SightChallenge AcceptedThe Rainbow of Life: Soothing, Comforting, Clever and Funny End-of-Life Inspirations for Family, Friends and CaregiversThe Rainbow of Life: Soothing, Comforting, Clever and Funny End-of-Life Inspirations for Family, Friends & CaregiversArtistic Yogi: Journey of a ChangemakerThe Fateful CurseChatGPT Cheat Sheet2024… Your Year of More: Plan Your Goals and Invest Your EffortsA Forest AdventureMagic by Any Other NameThe Billionaires' ClubTetherlessGaspard, dix ans, voyageur du temps.StarlightSacred WitcheryThe PlanetwalkerShelby and the First RideBlood in the Water: An Account of Workplace BullyingNon-Fiction for Newbies: How to Write a Factual Book and Actually Kind of Enjoy ItDid I Really Mean to Buy a Horse? What to Do When Your Horse Is Acting Like a Monster, and When (and How) to Call for HelpThe Last HorsemanMac: The Wind Beneath My WingsThe Last Flame RiderFive Lords of DuskDeathless RepublicDeath Maze Deluxe EditionHelipads in HeavenHow to Find a Job: 30 Day PlanAccidental Immortal: Lost in Another WorldVeil of DoubtA Heart Made of Tissue PaperInto the MarrowLittle Things, Complex MattersLost Present: A Christmas Short StoryThe Lost Souls of GuayaquilStrange And Twisted ThingsIn the Shadow of the LuminariesThe Red CitadelTo Hunt a Holy ManIridesceStrength Training for Seniors: Rewrite Your Fitness Journey Using Simple and Effective Exercises That Help You Improve Balance, Build Confidence and Boost EnergyThe Volunteer's SuspicionChronically in Christ: A Devotional for Those with Chronic IllnessThe Thief and the HistorianPhil, The KillerDancing MountainWords with My Father: A Bipolar Journey Through Turbulent TimesAngel Girl AwakeningThe Strategist Code: The Timeless System of the Titans of Strategy: How the Heroes of History Exploited the Code to Conquer & Command the World: Napoleon's 16-Factor Framework for Strategic MasteryThe Path of OneCatsitter's CurseHalf a Cup of Sand and SkyClose Encounters in King Edmund's CourtThe Monster Within: A True Story of Bloodthirst, Brutality and Barbaric EvilO'Shaughnessy Investigations, Inc: The Cases Nobody WantedFamiliars and FoesTaking the Alpha KingLoopholeThe Eye of KseraVegan Snack Cookbook: Quick and Easy; Tasty, Fun, and YummyI, AIAt What Cost?Pick An Airport...! Entertaining and Insightful Stories of a World-Weary PhysiotherapistFive WishesHalf a Cup of Sand and SkyAssault on the Spider Necromancer's Lair Deluxe EditionRise of the YBelonging SeasonMy Miles And MeThe Big Book of Sudoku Puzzles: Absolute Beginner to EasyCandy Cane Cookie CrushAugust: The Spicy TaleThe Burning QuestionSummary and Journal: American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert OppenheimerTesting the Prisoner

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Akashic Books Akashic Media Enterprises Artisan Ideas
Bethany House BHC Press CarTech Books
Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC City Owl Press Consortium Book Sales and Distribution
Doo Dah Publishing Entrada Publishing eSpec Books
Gefen Publishing House Gilded Orange Books Hawkwood Books
IFWG Publishing International Lerner Publishing Group Marina Publishing Group
Personville Press Petra Books Pioneer Publishing
PublishNation Quiet Thunder Publishing Revell
Rippple Books Slippery Fish Press Soul*Sparks
Susan Schadt Press Tundra Books Tuxtails Publishing, LLC
Type Eighteen Books Underland Press University of Nevada Press
University of New Orleans Press Useful Publishing Vibrant Publishers
WorthyKids Yali Books

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Tuesday, September 19th, 2023

Welcome Lauren!

LibraryThing is pleased to welcome Lauren (LibraryThing Lauren-at-LT, Litsy Lauren-at-LibraryThing) to the team, as our newest librarian and developer!

Lauren comes to LibraryThing with over ten years of experience working in libraries and technology. Her technical background includes Java and Python programming, test engineering, web and graphic design, and UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience). Lauren learned about the Developer position on INALJ.com, so she gets to keep the “Finder’s Fee” of $1,000 in books!

Say hello on the Welcome Lauren Talk topic.

About Lauren
After earning her MLIS from Kent State University in 2016, Lauren began her career in librarianship as a Youth Services Librarian. Since then, she has had the joy of working as a School Media Specialist in the K–12 system, and an Academic Librarian.

In 2022, Lauren decided to pursue her longtime interest in coding, and completed technical training to become a Software Development Engineer in Test. She will be working on LibraryThing.com, as well as our library products, Syndetics Unbound, Talpa.ai, and TinyCat.

Lauren lives with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, yoga, and painting.

Favorite Authors: C.S. Lewis, J. Kenji López-Alt, Stuart Turton, and Mo Willems
Favorite Illustrators: Lorena Alvarez, Zachariah OHora, Vera Brosgol, and Dan Santat

LibraryThing Member: Lauren-at-LT
Litsy Member: Lauren-at-LibraryThing

Labels: employees

Monday, September 11th, 2023

An Interview with Jarret Keene

LibraryThing is pleased to sit down this month with author Jarret Keene, who is an assistant professor in the Department of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he teaches American literature and the graphic novel. His publications range across a number of genres, from his rock band biography, The Killers: Destiny Is Calling Me, to his travel guide, The Underground Guide to Las Vegas. He has co-edited a number of short story collections, including Las Vegas Noir and Dead Neon: Tales of Near-Future Las Vegas. His latest offering, Hammer of the Dogs, is a dystopian adventure set in an apocalyptic Las Vegas, and was published earlier this month by the University of Nevada Press.

Hammer of the Dogs has been compared by reviewers to such works as The Hunger Games and Divergent—both very popular works of dystopian fiction. Were these books an influence on your story? What were some other influences?

Yes, of course The Hunger Games and Divergent were an influence on Hammer of the Dogs: the books are so fun! But I went back into the past to study the darker, violent influences on these books: Koushon Takami’s Battle Royale, Stephen King’s The Long Walk, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, Frank Herbert’s Dune, Jack Kirby’s X-Men comics. The best dystopian YA stories tend to explore an intriguing premise: savage yet gifted kids under extreme pressure from corrupt government forces, forced to fight each other and survive lethal threats. Hammer of the Dogs picks up the conceit and cranks it to eleven, with the protagonist, Lash, armed to the teeth and ready to smash the world in order to save her friends and rescue her father.

Dystopian fiction has become increasingly popular in the last twenty years, within the wider world of speculative fiction. Why is that? Is it simply a reflection of our growing concern for the future of humanity and the world around us? What’s significant about this genre of storytelling, and what does it allow the writer to do, that they couldn’t otherwise?

In our teens, we realize that adult life is dystopian. Today the internet and social media amplify the anxiety of youth with “likes” and “comments.” Now young people run a terrifying gauntlet: tech inundation, college debt, unaffordable housing, COVID lockdowns, endless vaccines, school shootings. The reflection is crystal-clear, and the dystopian YA genre allows us to explore the full range of nightmares, and to give solutions if we’re interested. That’s why the genre continues to grow in popularity. Lash’s solution in Hammer of the Dogs is to pick up the deadly tech and refashion her environment. Passivity isn’t an option. Anyhow, it’s fun to wreck and rebuild. As long as you know how to rebuild.

Las Vegas features prominently in your work, both fiction and nonfiction, and is the setting for Hammer of the Dogs. What role, if any, does the city setting, and the wider Nevada landscape, play in your story? What made you choose the Luxor Hotel as the headquarters for Lash’s school? Are there other Las Vegas and Nevada landmarks that make an appearance in the book?

Las Vegas is a sinful, eyeball-seducing playground. Nevada is a frightening military playground. Yet the desert and mountains are gorgeous. Few realize this, and I wanted Hammer of the Dogs to depict Las Vegas in an unfamiliar way, as a site of desert warfare and twisted entertainment. But Las Vegas is also a blank slate of promise. Las Vegas has been this way since its inception, with the media and government masking its true potential. The book’s hero, Lash, eventually sees the city’s mask, and rips it away. So Las Vegas, plus the surrounding valley, is a character all its own. I chose Luxor, because I used to work there in the communications department. For years, I wrote employee newsletters in the bottom of a pyramid, spotlighting sous chefs and Cirque due Soleil acrobats and guest room attendants. Everything I describe in Hammer of the Dogs, from the employee dining commons to the Luxor Sky Beam, is how I experienced it. It was a world within a world, and we competed with other hotel-casinos on the Las Vegas Strip in fundraising efforts, in physical competitions (including hot dog-eating contests), and we were subject to brainwashing by corporate management and the unions alike. It was easy to extrapolate and imagine gangs of teenagers housed in each hotel/casino—Bellagio, CityCenter, Mandalay Bay, Excalibur—plotting to kill all rivals using drone technology. I use everything in Las Vegas—Boulder City, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas Speedway, Fremont Street Experience, the gypsum mines, The Shops at Crystals—as a background against which Lash wages war.

In your work as an educator you explore and teach about the graphic novel format. How has this impacted your writing? Would you say that your storytelling style is a very visual one, or that you have particular images in mind, when writing? What came first, when you were writing this book: ideas, words, characters, images?

Teaching the graphic novel inspires my writing, which is highly visual. I wrote Hammer of the Dogs as a “movie tie-in novel,” the kind that used to be abundant in the 1980s. Every fun sci-fi/fantasy movie (Krull, Tron, The Last Starfighter) back then had a novelization for sale at the mall bookstore. I “saw” the story unfold before I wrote down a word, which helped me accelerate the pacing and maintain the headlong momentum. So Hammer of the Dogs is, in essence, one revved-up cinematic set piece after another, until the very end where I intentionally let the story go off the rails. Lash isn’t patient. She wants to search and destroy, and I did my best to remove the boring parts so that Lash shines and sheds copious amounts of bad-guy blood. She wanted to fall in love with a bad boy, so I helped her with that as well. Lash made this book adventure-packed, fun, easy to write. So yes, images and ideas always arrived first—then character, then words.

As an educator, you work with younger adults, and your novel is aimed at that demographic (among others). What is important, when telling a story for this audience? Does awareness of the audience change how you write?

I wrote Hammer of the Dogs for a younger audience, sure, but I layered in Easter eggs for Gen Ex-ers and Boomers to savor. There’s a nod to postwar popular culture in every page, from Jack Schafer’s Shane to The Empire Strikes Back to Alice Cooper’s Constrictor. There’s a LOT of references to ’80s hard rock and glam metal, with Lash blasting her dad’s music on his old Walkman whenever she needs to get psyched for battle. I think it’s important to NOT condescend to readers by only presenting one generation’s cultural references. Young people are curious, old people are curious. People are curious to learn about pop culture from every era. So I believe it’s important to satisfy a young reader’s curiosity and take them places they’ve never even considered. I also wanted to take young readers on a mythic journey with Lash. That’s the awareness I brought to every sentence in Hammer of the Dogs: I want younger readers, older readers, any and all readers to be swept up in the momentum of Lash’s adventure. I didn’t change the way I write exactly, but I certainly laser-focused on what makes for full-throttle storytelling.

Tell us about your library. What’s on your own shelves?

If you visit my LibraryThing page, you’ll see my favorite books. But my office shelves are loaded with Jack Kirby-rendered comic books, books about Greek and Roman myths and ancient and classical warfare, and various versions and translations of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Because I teach American literature and world literature, I have so many favorites, including Stephen Crane’s The Black Riders and Other Lines, Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ The Yearling, Isabel Allende’s Zorro, to name a few. I love the classics, but I get a lot of pleasure from reading comics.

What have you been reading lately, and what would you recommend to other readers?

I recently finished reading and highly recommend the following, especially if you have a taste for alternative, non-corporate literature and writing:

Stephen B. Armstrong’s rock history I Want You Around: The Ramones and the Making of Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (Backbeat, 2023)

Bernard Schopen’s Drowning in the Desert: A Nevada Noir Novel (University of Nevada Press, 2023)

Justin Chin’s poetry collection Burden of Ashes (Manic D Press, 2023)

Chris Mullen’s six-book YA Western series Rowdy (Wise Wolf Books, 2022-2023)

Ryan G. Van Cleave’s YA nonfiction book The Witness Trees: Historic Moments and the Trees Who Watched Them Happen (Bushel & Peck Books, 2023)

Labels: author interview, interview

Friday, September 1st, 2023

September 2023 Early Reviewers Batch Is Live!

Win free books from the September 2023 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 208 books this month, and a grand total of 4,215 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

» Request books here!

The deadline to request a copy is Monday, September 25th at 6PM EDT.

Eligibility: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to Canada, the UK, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, Denmark, Finland, France and more. Make sure to check the message on each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Coyote StoriesThe Story of Your Home: A Room-By-Room Guide to Designing with Purpose and PersonalityCrowned with Glory: How Proclaiming the Truth of Black Dignity Has Shaped American HistoryThe Andromeda's CrewGeneration AnnihilationWith a Blighted TouchA Dugout to PeaceThe Last ImmortalHer Secret HopeThe Warsaw SistersCharlie Chaplin vs. America: When Art, Sex, and Politics CollidedKnowing YouTo Spark a MatchRocky Mountain PromiseThis Passing HourGlass HouseEverything You Know About Dinosaurs Is Wrong!Time to Move South for WinterTransported: 50 Vehicles That Changed the WorldWe're Going on a Present HuntSanta Claus and the Three BearsA History of the World in 25 CitiesJust a Minor Threat: The Minor Threat Photographs of Glen E. FriedmanSummer of Hamn: Hollowpointlessness Aiding Mass NihilismCrimson WhisperRe: Apotheosis - MetamorphosisTales from a Teaching Life: Vignettes in VerseNative Knowings: Wisdom Keys for One and AllHow to Negotiate with Oracle: Proven Strategies to Help You Maximise Value and Minimise CostsBoobs of Steel - Decoding the AmazonYpHiTime MachinePoker, Politics & Presidents: How Card Playing and Other Games Impacted the Presidency—From George Washington to Joe BidenGhostly Demarcations: New Poems & The Pandemic PapersJust How EmptyDark Feminine: poetry, prose & the in-betweenThe Last Flight Out: New and Selected PoemsNovemberFlash Gardens and Other Short Fiction: Volume OneFlash Gardens and Other Short Fiction: Volume TwoTroubling the Water: The Urgent Work of Radical BelongingFalling from DisgraceFalling from DisgraceChasing Giants: In Search of the World's Largest Freshwater FishDrowning in the DesertBinky's Protectors: Bk II REVELATIONSA Tale of Five Balloons(IN)SIGHTS: Thirty Years of Peacemaking in the Olso ProcessRestaurant Review Travel Guide: Columbus, OH: We Review the Best Restaurants in the CityThe Toxic Female Gaze: Cue the 'Mean Girls' ReferencesThe Problem with the Male GazeWonder Woman 84's Mistaken Message to WomenSolomon's Pond18194 days in the life of a pigmanBoleyn TimeStorm ChaserThe Darkest StarsEarth Magic & Hot WaterCrown of Salt and BoneThe Order of the BansheeSummoned by DragonsDirty Leeds: Don Revie & the Art of WarLet There Be Light - Genesis: The Simple Meaning of the TextThe Prophets of Gentilly TerraceAlmond, Quartz, and FinchThree Adult LivesPocket Full of PoseysWalking on Divided PathsSudoku Stonkers 2When Light Breaks Through: A Salem Witch Trials StoryGemma & LucasUS Security Issues and World War IThe GlasshouseAnything But Yes: A Novel of Anna Del Monte, Jewish Citizen of Rome, 1749The Ones They TookDim Sum PalaceHans Christian Andersen Lives Next DoorHouse of Ash and BoneThe Relaxsaurus Bedtime Meditation Stories for Kids: A Collection of Calming Dinosaur Stories with Positive Affirmations to Help Children Fall Asleep with Beautiful DreamsHow to Give Your Cat a Bath: In Five Easy StepsMama's Sleeping ScarfThe SheBladefoot: ApocalypseHow to Negotiate with Microsoft: Proven Strategies to Help You Maximise Value and Minimise CostsNarwhal and Jelly: Super Pod Party Pack!PloofPrincesses Versus DinosaursThe Manor House GovernessMacroeconomics Essentials You Always Wanted to KnowServices Marketing Essentials You Always Wanted to KnowOrdinary People - Or Are They?The Ruffled OwlThe Abundant Life: Practical Theology for Abundant LivingA Mother's Gift: Ten Little ToesI Love You GoogolTen Little FingersSignaturesOne of Us Is GoneThe First UnicornA Footnote to PlatoI Am Changing Careers: Questions to Guide A Job SeekerThe Vanquisher of Kings IA Residue of HopePlease DO NOT Go To LondonPlease DO NOT Go To ParisBittersweet BreadcrumbsWe Used to Be Different: A Collection of Stories and MiniaturesPlease DO NOT Go To BangkokThe Road to MorescoPainting the Grand Homes of California's Central ValleyFar OutA Measure of RhymeThe PalisadesDeath DateKeyholeQueens of MoiraiPersonal DemonsEARTH MOVERS: Determined Kids Battle Evil AliensThe Other Side of the Looking-GlassEmbers in the WindThe Import SlotThe Prophet's Mother TrilogyBuried By SunsetMushroom CloudThe Pirate's Curse: Brigands of the Compass RosePlant-Based Meal PrepRiders in DisguiseJackson Haines: The Skating KingRebecca Reznik Reboots the UniverseBill's BytesJourneys of the Lost: The Saga of CaneConfronting Power and Chaos: The Uncharted Kaleidoscope of My LifeIn River CardinalThe Universal Rejuvenation Program and The Laws of Metabolic EfficiencyOf Light and NightmaresDressing for DreamtimeFirefaxPledgeAwakenedFaraway and Forever: More StoriesCubicle to Corner Office: The Ultimate Survival Guide to Your First Job!Eddie's WarA Heart Made of Tissue PaperMore Than TrumpThe Dayhiker's Guide to the National Parks: 280 Trails, All 63 ParksCoralee - A Mermaid's TaleA Counterfeit of DeathThe Air LoungeThe Road to MorescoSisters of the SoulThe Blizzard's SecretsWords with My Father: A Bipolar Journey Through Turbulent TimesKindle Paperwhite User Guide 2023: The Perfect Kindle Paperwhite Manual for Beginners, Seniors, and New Kindle UsersSwapThe Book of Annie: Humor, Heart, and Chutzpah from an Accidental InfluencerThe Hand of God: From Oppenheimer to Hypersonics - A Crash Course on Nuclear Weapons and Humankind's Most Dangerous GameOpen for Interpretation: A Doctor's Journey into AstrologyWar Angel: Korea 1950You Are Not Alone—Understanding And Working Through Postpartum Depression: A Common Condition So Often MisunderstoodThe Well-Mannered Horse: Developing an Ideal Equine BuddyAnywhere for YouHarmonic DissonanceWars of the New Humanity: Collection OneThe Yawning GapThe Pike BoysThe Thief and the HistorianOverthinking Override: An Eight-Step Guide to Master Your Mind, Conquer Stress, and Break Free From AnxietyInconvenienceA Good Rush of BloodPlayin' Possum: My Memories of George JonesThe Mechanics of Changing the World: Political Architecture to Roll Back State & Corporate PowerThe Morgan Film: A JFK Assassination StorySolving the Climate Crisis: A Community Guide to Solving the Biggest Problem on the PlanetOcellicon: Future VisionsStrong in LoveCinders to DustQuantum Reaction8 Essential Steps to Inspire Others & Build A Thriving Workforce: The Servant Leadership AdvantageRide into RomanceEugene J. McGillicuddy's Alien Detective AgencyA Love Story: Ten Sturdy FingersFlames of EaderLiving SecretsThe Dangers of Being Brave & TrueThis Kind Goes Not Except by Fasting and Prayer: Breaking the Invincible Chains Blocking Your BlessingsShadow Work for Women: A Comprehensive Workbook for Self-Discovery, Emotional Healing, and Personal GrowthSacrificial Lamb ClubStrength Training for Seniors: Rewrite Your Fitness Journey Using Simple and Effective Exercises That Help You Improve Balance, Build Confidence and Boost EnergyAbby's FireKisses Don't LieThe Pen Thief and the Division of DestinyBiting Thorns Off RosesBelle and Chloe: Reflections in the MirrorI, AIPoetry for PupsCasting Out Demons for Fun and ProfitPeople Person: How to Talk to Anyone, Improve Social Awkwardness, and Communicate with Ease and ConfidenceThe Repurposed SpyWord PetalsWorkbook: The Silva Mind Control Method: The Revolutionary Program by the Founder of the World’s Most Famous Mind Control CourseThe Stroke Recovery Activity WorkBookThe Stroke Recovery Activity WorkBookFall Word Search Large Print for Adults & Seniors: 100+ Autumn Word Puzzles to Stimulate Your Brain and Reduce Stress AnywhereFall Word Search Large Print for Adults & Seniors: 100+ Autumn Word Puzzles to Stimulate Your Brain and Reduce Stress AnywhereWinter Word Search Large Print for Adults & Seniors: 100+ Autumn Word Puzzles to Stimulate Your Brain and Reduce Stress AnywhereHalf a Cup of Sand and SkyWinter Word Search Large Print for Adults & Seniors: 100+ Autumn Word Puzzles to Stimulate Your Brain and Reduce Stress AnywhereFrom Worrier to Warrior: Tools and Techniques for Overcoming Overthinking and Living Confidently

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

01Publishing Akashic Books Alcove Press
Anaphora Literary Press Beaufort Books Bethany House
BHC Press Bricktop Hill Books Broadleaf Books
Cardinal Rule Press Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC City Owl Press
Consortium Book Sales and Distribution Cynren Press FTL Publications
Gefen Publishing House Greenleaf Book Group Hawkwood Books
Legacy Books Press Liz Fe Lifestyle Mint Editions
NeoParadoxa New Wind Publishing NewCon Press
Nosy Crow US PublishNation Revell
Sea Vision Publishing Simon & Schuster Soul*Sparks
Tiny Fox Press Tundra Books Underland Press
University of Nevada Press University of New Orleans Press University of North Georgia Press
Useful Publishing Vibrant Publishers Wise Media Group

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Tuesday, August 29th, 2023

LibraryThing Birthday Sale & Treasure Hunt!

It’s LibraryThing’s 18th Birthday! We’re kicking off the celebration with a sale on everything in the LibraryThing Store through the month of September, and we’re hosting a special Birthday Treasure Hunt!

Sale. Enjoy major discounts on everything in the LibraryThing Store including CueCat scanners and barcode labels for the classroom, laptop stickers, gorgeous LibraryThing and TinyCat enamel pins, and more!

The sale opens today, August 29, on LibraryThing’s birthday, and runs through the month of September.

Treasure Hunt. We’ve scattered a mint of birthday candles around the site, and it’s up to you to try and find them all.

  • Decipher the clues and visit the corresponding LibraryThing pages to find a birthday candle. Each clue points to a specific page on the LibraryThing site. Remember, they are not necessarily work pages!
  • If there’s a birthday candle on a page, you’ll see a banner at the top of the page.
  • You have just two weeks to find all the birthday candles (until 11:59pm EDT, Tuesday September 12th).
  • Come brag about your mint of birthday candles (and get hints) on Talk.

Win prizes:

  • Any member who finds at least two birthday candles will be
    awarded a birthday cake badge. Badge ().
  • Members who find all 12 birthday candles will be entered into a drawing for one of five LibraryThing (or TinyCat) coaster sets and stickers. We’ll announce winners at the end of the hunt.

Labels: birthday, events, treasure hunt

Wednesday, August 9th, 2023

An Interview with Joanne Elliott

LibraryThing is pleased to sit down this month with Joanne Elliott, an American-born author who has spent most of her adult life in Belfast, Hong Kong and on Inishbofin, a small island off the west coast of Ireland. The founder of the Kellett School, now the British International School in Hong Kong, she is the author of two books on childhood diabetes, as well as numerous short stories published in British, Irish and South African magazines, has written radio programs for RTE (Irish National Radio), and for seven years ran a local newspaper on Inishbofin. She has also taught at all levels, from preschool to university. Now, at the age of eighty-eight, her novel Love in the Shadow of Mao—the second she has written, but the first to see print—has been published by the London-based Austin Macauley Publishers.

You have said elsewhere that the idea for the story in Love in the Shadow of Mao came to you in 1978, while you and your husband were returning to Hong Kong after a tour of mainland China. Forty-six years later, your book is finally published. Did you work on it throughout this entire period, did you leave and return to it—what does the writing process look like, over the timespan of a few decades? What were the challenges of working on your story for this long, and did it have benefits as well?

The story was in my mind for many years after we left Hong Kong but I did not start writing it as my life was busy, crammed with other writing projects like the island newspaper, The Inishbofin Inquirer, which I started and edited for seven years. I am not an organized writer, have little discipline and tend to throw myself in projects, work frantically at them and then lay them aside for others.

You have described your book as a story of living in two worlds, something which would apply to many of your characters. You yourself might also be said to live in more than one world, marrying across national lines, and settling (multiple times) far from your childhood home. Would you say there was anything autobiographical in your story? What does it mean to live in two worlds, for you and for your characters?

As you say, I also lived in two worlds. Even though I left New York behind almost seventy years ago, when I need to know which way is East or West I imagine myself standing on the corner of 57th Street and 5th Avenue. Then I know where I am.

Some of my characters and incidents are fleeting impressions over many years. When I lived in Arizona in the 50s I once saw a television interview with Hope Cooke, a girl who married a king from a little Himalayan country. The expression on her face struck me and the first note I made for the novel was the line “Julia was hiding.” Actually it was “Rachel was hiding.” I later changed her name because the Chinese have trouble pronouncing the letter “r.” The description of Jen Chiman came from a young oriental man I saw in a church I was visiting in Scotland when I was in Hawthornden Castle in a writer’s retreat working on the China book. Until I saw him, I had little idea how Jen looked. As soon as I saw him in a pew across from me I knew that he was Jen. My daughter who developed diabetes at age eight was, of course, a large biographical element for the character Catherine Lee. At the corner of our street in New York was a Chinese laundry. I never knew the people who owned it but certainly the background was Catherine’s. A man I once danced with at Columbia University’s International House was the image of Ben, recalled some 50 years later. (Warning. Don’t mix with writers. They use everything.)

As you say, I and also my characters lived in two worlds. Perhaps it gives us insight or tolerance and broadens our perspective. It also prevents us from fitting in completely. We are always on the outside looking in.

Your book is set during China’s Cultural Revolution, a time of great upheaval and terrible hardship for many. How much research was needed for the historical and cultural background of your story? What were some of the most fascinating things you learned, and what were the most tragic?

My only real glimpse of the Cultural Revolution was a tour of China taken in 1978. We waited 2 years for permission and saw mostly what we were permitted to see. Occasionally, we caught a glimpse of the truth, a dirty blood spattered jacket on a doctor when visiting the medical building of a commune. A sign saying “We Will Liberate Hong Kong” quickly whisked out of sight. The restaurant Catherine is taken to by Sung in the book is one where we had a feast on the last night of the tour. Since then I have spoken to many people who have toured China. They are all amazed at my stories. Things have changed so spectacularly.

Most of my knowledge of the period is from books, histories, biographies, novels. I have read several hundred of them, starting from Pearl Buck which I devoured as a teenager. I have always been fascinated by the Orient. I spent three years in Japan in the 70s as well as three years in Hong Kong. When I was a child I insisted on eating with chop sticks and cooked minute rice for myself.

The most tragic thing, when researching the Cultural Revolution, was to see how ideals of fairness and decency are impotent against the realities of power and human greed.

Your book is also a story of love. What does your story say about love, especially in difficult times? Does love conquer all?

The love that survives in my book is, of course, the love of Julia for the child, Ping. All other loves, no matter how strong, are dominated by circumstance. Jen was generous in his love because he had been given so much by Lily. I think we are all able to love if we have been in receipt of it.

You’re eighty-eight years young, and have published your first novel. What’s next? Are you working on a second novel, and will it also be a work of historical fiction?

I have been working on an autobiography which is at the moment an amalgam of all the stories I have written over the years. I found, to my amazement that I could follow my life in my own fiction. I wonder what that says about me!

Tell us about your library. What’s on your own shelves?

My library is the heart of me. I remember as soon as I learned to read my favorite game was playing “library,” arranging my mother’s books, making little cards for each one and giving them numbers. I often recall the day we moved to a different neighborhood and my mother leaving the unpacking and the care of my baby brother to her sister so that she and I could find the local library. When I was about twelve my uncle died and left me his collection of classics from the Greeks and Romans through to Emerson and Thoreau. My father built two large bookshelves to house them and they have followed me around the world. I wouldn’t be myself without them. Since then I have added hundreds of novels, plays and poetry. In my study I have housed history, philosophy and religion, the stairs are lined with shelves of fiction, A to Z starting at the top. In the living room are floor to ceiling biography, autobiography, music and art. The China collection takes up a good deal of the space.

What have you been reading lately, and what would you recommend to other readers?

At he moment, I am reading a fascinating novel by Amy Tan called Saving Fish from Drowning. Yesterday I bought a paperback of Any Human Heart by William Boyd. I had already read this on kindle but I wanted it on my shelves because I will enjoy it again when I can turn the pages. I’m afraid I am out of sync with all this technology and I fear very much for our civilization if reading continues to go out of style.

Labels: author interview, interview

Tuesday, August 1st, 2023

August 2023 Early Reviewers Batch Is Live!

Win free books from the August 2023 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 166 books this month, and a grand total of 3,250 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

» Request books here!

The deadline to request a copy is Friday, August 25th at 6PM EDT.

Eligibility: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to Canada, the UK, the US, Australia, Ireland, Spain, New Zealand, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and more. Make sure to check the message on each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

But Still They SingJunk Science and the American Criminal Justice SystemBreak up with What Broke You: How God Redeems and Rewrites Your StoryA Darker Shade of Noir: New Stories of Body Horror by Women WritersThe Last ElectionLittle Pumpkin, Where's Your Light?Hammer of the DogsThe Bodies Keep Coming: Dispatches from a Black Trauma Surgeon on Racism, Violence, and How We HealWe Survived the End of the World: Lessons from Native America on Apocalypse and HopeSugar BirdsSnakes in the ClassGoddess: 50 Goddesses, Spirits, Saints, and Other Female Figures Who Have Shaped BeliefThe Wind in the WillowsLove You Snow MuchLovesick BlossomsThe Big Bang and Other Farts: A Blast Through the PastWhose Poo?How Cats Say I Love YouAmerican Idolatry: How Christian Nationalism Betrays the Gospel and Threatens the ChurchWhat We Remember Will Be Saved: A Story of Refugees and the Things They CarryNeed Blind AmbitionA Reason to RunTraitor CometWelcome to MonstervilleThe Bodyguard Unit: Edith Garrud, Women's Suffrage, and JujitsuRubiconsGrowing God's Way: 365 Daily Devos for GirlsGrowing God's Way: 365 Daily Devos for BoysVulgarian RhapsodyThe Unvarnished Gary Phillips: A Mondo Pulp CollectionThe Stone ChildDon't Want to Be Your MonsterUnleashed: Poems and DrawingsGrease Monkeys: The Heart and Soul of DieselpunkThe Ballot and the Bible: How Scripture Has Been Used and Abused in American Politics and Where We Go from HereSolomon's PondThe Lost Boys of Barlowe TheaterMarshaling Her HeartJulia Monroe Begins AgainThe Devil's MountainThe African RosciusWar of SuccessionRoland Leong Ash Like VengeanceThe CageGibbous MoonCalifornia DreamingThe Bridge on Beer RiverFerren and the AngelLivingskyThe Lives Between UsThis Pact Is Not OursA Peek Under the Hood: Heroin, Hope, and Operation Tune-UpOf White AshesTorat Ahava - Loving Torah (Boxed Set)Putting God First: Jewish Humanism after HeideggerThe Celtic DeceptionNorth PacificThe Aliens Will Come To Georgia First: StoriesAmazing Mom: A Practical Guide for Moms with Babies 0 - 12 MonthsThe Pursuit of Joy: A Greek Philosophers’ Guide to Finding HappinessThe Anxiety Solution: 61 Practical Tools for Managing Stress and WorriesRewriting Your Story: Harnessing the Power of Positive AffirmationsI'm 39 Now: My Anxiety and Autism JourneyAnastasia To The RescueThe HutenghastThe Story of Virna BabineauxThe Time GeneLilithGhostlightPine Island HomeSharon, Lois and Bram's Peanut Butter and JellyAlmond, Quartz, and FinchBlack Joy Unbound: An AnthologyA Tale of Five BalloonsIn a CaveDreamageddon & Other StoriesDay of the TentacleRe: Apotheosis - AftermathAll In! The Atlantic Standup Paddle Crossing — 83 Days Alone At SeaTrue Crime Storytime Volume 7: 12 Disturbing True Crime Stories to Keep You Up All NightIn the Beginnings: Discovering the Two Worldviews Hidden Within Genesis 1-11Shadows and SageCrimson MelodiesRain Falling on EmbersTime Management Essentials You Always Wanted to KnowBusiness Law Essentials You Always Wanted to KnowThe Lioness and the Rat QueenThe Ones They TookStrange AttractorsUmbilicalIn the Lair of LegendsReturn to AlkademahThe Stroke Recovery Activity WorkbookLess ThanRide into RomanceBrighton AcademyFlames of EaderSketching RebellionThe Undulating ShadowsOne of Us Is GoneDid I Really Mean to Buy a Horse: What to Do When Your Horse Is Acting Like a Monster, and When (and How) to Call for HelpThe First UnicornThe Mire WitchThe Vanquisher of Kings IJackson Haines: The Skating KingExtinguishing ShadowsThe Last Man: A Novel of the 1927 Santa Claus Bank RobberyThe Dangers of Being Brave & TrueStraight up Tarot: Dating EditionStraight up Tarot: Single Parent EditionIf That Was Lunch, We've Had ItMindfirePeople Person: How to Talk to Anyone, Improve Social Awkwardness, and Communicate with Ease and ConfidenceThe Pen Thief and the Division of DestinyPapercuts: The Art of Self-DelusionThe Lord of Mist and MeadThe IcehouseArgren BlueI Am Changing Careers: Questions to Guide A Job SeekerThe Core of RageGodhunterOCELLICON: Future VisionsThe ABC's of Alzheimer's/Dementia CaregivingSpots in Your Love FeastsBeyond the Gloaming PassRahiEugene J. McGillicuddy's Alien Detective AgencyPoetry From the Porch & Other Writings: Pathway Through a PandemicDown a Bad RoadQuantum ReactionStone SoupFinancial Literacy for Young Adults Simplified: Discover How to Manage, Save, and Invest Money to Build a Secure & Independent FutureA Simple Tale of Water and WeepingBlood and WonderSee You LaterDeath's ReckoningHouse AretoliOlawuMaddie's GhostHer Dangerous Journey HomeBelle and Chloe: Reflections in the MirrorTo the StarsGameschooling on a Budget: Learning Through Games Without Spending a FortuneThe Last Movie StarThe Goodbye KidsTea Time With TollyThe Vitruvian MaskSevered RootsKing: An 8-Session Study of MarkDiscover the Power of Your Iphone 14: A Comprehensive Guide for Users of All Levels-Simplifying Technology for a Better Experience with Large Print and IllustrationsThe Keeper's ApprenticeNon-Fiction for Newbies: How to Write a Factual Book and Actually Kind of Enjoy ItHow to Feel Better... Realistically (UK Edition)Belle's RuinLife Scenarios and What To Do About Them (UK Edition)Bond and SongA Donnybrook AffairHope Verdad Presents: Short Stories for ThinersPaper ForestsThe Legend of Rachel PetersenCry Big Bad WolfK.I.S.S. Parenting: Beginners Guide for New Parents - What Really Matters with a New BabyBiting Thorns Off RosesThe Immortals ChronicleOut in the Dark: a queer road to mental health

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Akashic Books Alcove Press Beaufort Books
Bethany House BLF Press Boss Fight Books
Brazos Press Broadleaf Books Bronzewood Books
CarTech Books Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC City Owl Press
eSpec Books Gefen Publishing House Gnome Road Publishing
Hawkwood Books IFWG Publishing International Imbrifex Books
Legacy Books Press Lerner Publishing Group Mamaya
Mint Editions New Wind Publishing NewCon Press
Nosy Crow US Platypus Media PublishNation
Revell Rootstock Publishing Three Rooms Press
Tiny Fox Press Tiny Ghost Press True Crime Seven
Tundra Books Tyndale House Publishers University of Nevada Press
University of North Georgia Press Unsolicited Press Vesuvian Books
Vibrant Publishers Wise Media Group WorthyKids

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Wednesday, July 19th, 2023

An Interview with Sandra A. Miller

LibraryThing is pleased to sit down this month with Sandra A. Miller, an essayist and feature writer, whose 2019 memoir, Trove, chronicled her parallel searches for worldly treasure—$10,000 in coins buried somewhere in New York City—and a deeper sense of meaning, an answer to the sense of longing that was consuming her, despite an ostensibly happy and successful life. Miller’s debut novel, Wednesdays at One, released by Zibby Books earlier this month, is a work of literary suspense that follows the story of a clinical psychologist who is haunted by the mistakes of his past, as brought to light by a mysterious unscheduled client who begins to appear at his office every Wednesday afternoon.

Where did the idea for Wednesdays at One begin? Did the story idea come first, or did the characters?

The seed for the idea was planted twenty-seven years ago when my husband, who is a clinical psychologist, was stalked by one of his clients. She would come to our house and listen to our conversations through open windows, then bring that information into their therapy sessions. Without going into the details of what turned into a four-year nightmare for my family, I started thinking about what it would be like if a psychologist with a dark past had a client come into his office knowing something reprehensible that he’d done. I was interested in the idea of that role reversal–a vulnerable therapist and a client in the power seat. The idea stayed with me for decades in which I made a few attempts to tell the story from the female client’s perspective. It wasn’t until I got the voice of Dr. Gregory Weber—the guilty psychologist–in my head that the story really took shape.

The therapeutic process, and the relationship between therapists and patients, is a narrative element used in many stories, including your own. Why is that? Does it bring something important to your book, something that wouldn’t otherwise be possible, that the protagonist is a psychologist?

The therapy dynamic involves the exchange of deeply personal information that often no one else is privy to except the people in that room. There are clear parameters to protect the client who is disclosing that information, leaving room for trouble if the therapist steps outside of the professional boundaries and does anything even vaguely untoward or inappropriate. In Wednesdays at One, Dr. Gregory Weber does not maintain his professional demeanor, and that makes for a compelling and dramatic story. There most certainly wouldn’t be the same high stakes if Gregory worked in another profession—one that didn’t hold him to the highest of moral standards.

Your protagonist is described as having an enviable life, in many ways, but is afflicted by a secret sense of unease and dissatisfaction. This contrast between the outward and inward life is similar to the one explored in your memoir. Would you say that Trove was an influence on some of the themes of your story?

Absolutely. Several of the themes in Trove—Catholic guilt, classism, family dysfunction, and the conflict between our inner and outer lives—have reappeared in Wednesdays at One in a fictional form. Those were the most prominent themes of my childhood, and now I’ve explored them in my novel. In fact, I’m not sure I’ll ever be completely finished with these themes, because they offer rich opportunities to create tension between characters and deepen the plot. Another key subject in Trove was my father’s illness and death—something which my protagonist Gregory must deal with in the novel. As a creative writing teacher, I tell my students they may find that they have a key story or theme that will find its way into all of their work. Losing my father when I was nineteen is that subject for me. It shows up, if only subtly, in nearly everything I write.

Your essays and articles have appeared in hundreds of magazines and journals, and you have a memoir under your belt as well, but this is your first novel. Did your writing process differ with this book, when compared to your other work, and if so, how?

I recently realized that I wasn’t able to write a novel when I was raising my two young children, because I didn’t have the space required to build a complex fictional world—not when my real family needed so much of my energy and attention. In those years, I had far more success with creative nonfiction inspired by personal stories from my own life. I could easily write about my son’s debilitating eczema, my mother’s protracted illness, my beloved sister’s five year battle with cancer (she’s fine now). Those stories poured out of me, and I could find plenty of markets to publish my writing. But in the pandemic summer of 2020, with both of my children independent, this novel came to me like a download, and I had the mental and emotional space to write it. I wrote 1000 words a day for three months and by the end of the summer, the novel was complete. It felt like a gift. Or maybe the story was building inside me, waiting for the right moment to emerge.

What was your favorite part about writing Wednesdays at One? Was there anything about the process you didn’t particularly like?

The writing process for this book was magical. In thirty years as a creative writer, I never experienced anything like it. I enjoyed writing all of the characters, which made them a delight to interact with on the page. I guess the hard part happened when I started getting feedback from my beta readers and had to go in and make some changes to the characters I’d gotten to know and care about as they were.

Tell us about your library. What’s on your own shelves?

I read pretty widely, but my weakness is for rich, emotional family dramas with some dark turns. Glancing at my shelves I see many books by Elizabeth Strout, John Irving, Annie Ernaux, and Jumpa Lahiri. I also read a fair amount of memoirs, as long as they have a strong narrative arc, such as Barbarian Days by William Finnegan or the heartbreaking, Know My Name by Chanel Miller.

What have you been reading lately, and what would you recommend to other readers?

I’m really enjoying Long Bright River by Liz Moore and just finished listening to Viola Davis’s memoir Finding Me, which is one of my favorite audiobooks. Don’t miss that one.

With Milan Kundera’s recent death, I was reminded of how much I loved all of his books, most of which I read in my MFA program. But The Unbearable Lightness of Being is one of my favorite novels, and it taught me so much about structure and point of view. It’s a great book for readers to enjoy and writers to learn from.

Labels: author interview, interview

Monday, July 3rd, 2023

July 2023 Early Reviewers Batch Is Live!

Win free books from the July 2023 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 148 books this month, and a grand total of 2,714 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

» Request books here!

The deadline to request a copy is Tuesday, July 25th at 6PM EDT.

Eligibility: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, the UK, Canada, Switzerland, Cyprus, Denmark, Israel, Austria, New Zealand, Sweden and more. Make sure to check the message on each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

On Moonberry LakeThe Cook's Book: Recipes for Keeps & Essential Techniques to Master Everyday CookingAgainst the WindA Super Scary NarwhalloweenJust East of NowhereLean on Me: A Children's Picture BookRavage & SonThe US Constitution in 5 MinutesWho Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?Megabat MegastarThe Map ColoristCleveland NoirTranscendentPresident Garfield: From Radical to UnifierThe Woman They Wanted: Shattering the Illusion of the Good Christian WifeAppalachian SongDouble O Stephen and the Ghostly RealmSuper Family!A Sin OfferingLost and FoundRace to KrakatoaBest of British Science Fiction 2022Illusions of Camelot: A MemoirThe School of HomerJane Austen Had a Life! A Guide to Jane Austen's JuveniliaAll's Fair in Love and ChristmasThe Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and MagicGrimm Machinations: More Steampunk Faerie TalesThe Legacy of Longdale ManorMaking the Low Notes: A Life in MusicThe Girl Who Was Too Much And Not EnoughOBD-I and OBD-II: A Complete Guide to Diagnosis, Repair and Emissions ComplianceMissed CueBash and Lucy Say, The UnseenIndigo Hours: Healing HaikuCamaro Special Editions: 1967-Present: Includes Pace Cars, Dealer Specials, Factory Models, COPOs, and MoreResearch Randy and Grandma's Half-eaten Pie of DespairPractical Life Skills for Young Adults: Everything a Teen Should Know to Live Independently and Thrive in the Real World with Confidence; Cooking, Health, Manage Money, Relationships, and More!You Make It Feel Like ChristmasThe HeirloomThe Secrets BeneathMy Goodbye GirlThe River Runs SouthThe Cry of Dry BonesThe Exorcist and the Demon HunterA Ray of HopeThe Wind Blows in Sleeping GrassCourage in the People's House: Nine Trailblazing Representatives Who Shaped AmericaWitchy Way to MurderMy PianoTango Red Riding HoodIzzy Hoffman Is Not a WitchAugust Wilson: A LifeFinal LullabyQueen MargaretAunt Claire's SecretBeasts of LondonHouse AretoliMinesweeperRestaurant Review Travel Guide: Columbus, OH: We Review the Best Restaurants in the CityeJunkyReturning the BonesThe Art Of Gratitude: Cultivating A Thankful HeartWord: An 11-Session Study of MatthewChatGPT Profits: The Blueprint to Becoming a Millionaire Using Artificial IntelligenceThe Secret Map of the Fairy KingdomFirebrandTroubled By LoveA Footnote to PlatoDeficientGeneration AnnihilationWith a Blighted TouchSalt on the Midnight FireThe Stories We Cannot TellA Deathly Irish SecretSevered RootsThe Last GenerationNo Small ChangeThe Blizzard's SecretsThe Murder of Angela Mischelle Lawless: An Honest Sheriff and the Exoneration of an Innocent ManThe Problem with the Male GazeThe Cry of Dry BonesNew HorizonsChaos and CrownsTwelve Past MidnightGrowing Connected: Living for LoveFirebrandFire ScarsMac: The Wind Beneath My WingsThe Taking of the First LadyThe Andromeda's CrewThe Ranch: An Adult Erotica Novel EpicThe 5-Day Job Search: Proven Strategies to Answering Tough Interview Questions & Getting Multiple Job OffersLicense To DieBlu RainPaRappa the RapperThe Vitruvian MaskThe Abduction of Adrienne BergDivine InterventionThe DisappearedThe Lazarus StoneRe: Apotheosis - AftermathRe: Apotheosis - MetamorphosisAlphaThe Toxic Female Gaze: Cue the 'Mean Girls' ReferencesWonder Woman 84's Mistaken Message to WomenGenerational PaymentThe Exile's PromiseThe Invisible BrightGravity Gone: The Stone MysteryTransformer KitBare MetalEuphoriaBond and SongDigital SAT Reading and Writing Practice Questions (2023)Entrepreneurship Essentials You Always Wanted to KnowLearning AnewDiscover the Power of Your Iphone 14: A Comprehensive Guide for Users of All Levels-Simplifying Technology for a Better Experience with Large Print and IllustrationsAll That Glitters: The Dark Side of Winning the LotteriesBlood in the HollerLess ThanFalse Summit: The Truth Is Hard to Face...The WishMurder So FoulSketching RebellionEveryone is Batsh*t Crazy: How to Overcome Adversity and Achieve Success in LifeAll the Parts of Your SoulTea Time With TollyA Measure of RhymeTick TuesdayKillianThe Secret HumankindAutodriveDalton Kane and the Greens5 Nocturnes: Opus 2NemesisBlaze of AngerA Change Would Do You BetterOut Of Darkness Comes: The First ThreatYou Are Not Alone—Understanding And Working Through Postpartum Depression: A Common Condition So Often MisunderstoodThe Core of RageThe Yawning GapSeeking Hearts: Love, Lust and the Secrets in the AshesSilver LiesLevel Up!: Your Strategy Guide to the Game of InvestingMermaid for DangerK.I.S.S. Parenting: Beginners Guide for New Parents

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Akashic Books Alcove Press Bandwagon Press
Beaufort Books Bellevue Literary Press Bethany House
BHC Press Boss Fight Books Broadleaf Books
CarTech Books Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC City Owl Press
Equinox Publishing Ltd. eSpec Books Fawkes Press
Gnome Road Publishing Islandport Press Legacy Books Press
Liz Fe Lifestyle NewCon Press Open Books Press
PublishNation Revell Rootstock Publishing
Sea Vision Publishing Simon & Schuster Somewhat Grumpy Press
Tundra Books Tuxtails Publishing, LLC Tyndale House Publishers
University of Nevada Press Vesuvian Books Vibrant Publishers
WorthyKids

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Friday, June 16th, 2023

Come Join the 2023 Pride Month Treasure Hunt!

It’s June, and that means that our annual Pride Month Treasure Hunt is back!

We’ve scattered a shower of rainbows around the site, and it’s up to you to try and find them all.

  • Decipher the clues and visit the corresponding LibraryThing pages to find a rainbow. Each clue points to a specific page right here on LibraryThing. Remember, they are not necessarily work pages!
  • If there’s a rainbow on a page, you’ll see a banner at the top of the page.
  • You have just two weeks to find all the rainbows (until 11:59pm EDT, Friday June 30th).
  • Come brag about your shower of rainbows (and get hints) on Talk.

Win prizes:

  • Any member who finds at least two rainbows will be
    awarded a rainbow badge. Badge ().
  • Members who find all 11 rainbows will be entered into a drawing for one of five LibraryThing (or TinyCat) coaster sets and stickers. We’ll announce winners at the end of the hunt.

P.S. Thanks to conceptDawg for the illustration, which is a riff on the European bee-eater.

ConceptDawg has made all of our treasure hunt graphics in the last couple of years. We like them, and hope you do, too!

Labels: events, treasure hunt