Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Vote for One LibraryThing, One Book

One LibraryThing, One Book is kicking off the new year with a referendum! Following considerable discussion, and a concerted staff huddle, we’ve collected a few options for both February’s and March’s One LibraryThing, One Book.

Come rank the titles you’d like to read and discuss with the community!

Winners will be finally set on January 10th, at 10am Eastern.

February 10: Classic Horror

Click to vote | Discussion topic

March 10: Contemporary Fiction

Click to vote | Discussion topic

More Information

Reading will begin as soon as voting closes, and we announce the winners in a blog post.

Discussion for February starts on the 10th at 12 noon Eastern time.

You can read through each (or either) title at their own speed. We will also create continuations of “Introduce Yourself” and “First Impressions” threads. As before, please keep these threads spoiler-free before the discussion officially begins.

Discussion for March starts March 10th at 12 noon Eastern time.

If you’re new to One LibraryThing, One Book, be sure to read through our original blog post.

We had a quite successful first OLOB; almost 100 members joined our discussions about The Circle, and we posted over 1,000 comments collectively. The dystopian novel sparked many topics concerning current online privacy issues and future predictions both good and bad (but mostly bad). We may encounter similar discussion topics, depending on which book is chosen, so keep this in mind when voting. No matter what, I think we’ll end up with some excellent selections!

How the Titles Were Picked

The titles were picked by the LibraryThing team, attempting to take praise and criticism of the last pick into consideration. All the books are widely available in libraries, as paperbacks and in the used market. All are highly regarded and have good ratings—Frankenstein and Dracula somewhat lower, probably because they’re often assigned in schools.

To discuss the selection further, come see the Talk topic here.

Questions? Comments?

As always, general questions/comments about One LibraryThing, One Book, are welcome on this thread.

Happy voting!

Labels: One LibraryThing One Book

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Our Favorite Books from Childhood

Amidst all the year-in-review, and New Year’s resolution posts, I got to waxing nostalgic with the rest of the LT crew about my favorite books as a kid. Surprise surprise, we were all very big readers from young ages, and there were a number of repeats on our individual lists, so I’ve compiled them here.

» Add your childhood favorites to the list!

These six books/series were the most popular among the staff.

And here are a few honorable mentions. While none of his titles were repeated, Roald Dahl popped up three times!

Labels: lists, nostalgia

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Top Five Books of 2013

For the last two years running (2012 and 2011), LT staff members have each compiled a list of their top five reads for the year.

For 2013, we wanted everyone to get in on the fun, so we compiled a list that all of LibraryThing can add to. We’d like to see not just the most read books of 2013, but the best of the best. What were your five favorite reads of 2013?

» List: Top Five Books of 2013 — Add your own.

Continuing this grand tradition, here’s the wordier breakdown of the staff’s favorites, including some honorable (and dishonorable) mentions:


Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler Mike’s suggestion. Wonderful atmosphere.

Eifelheim by Michael Flynn Unexpected story of aliens landing in 14c. Germany, and of misunderstanding and understanding.

Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking by Philippe Coudray First book my son read cover-to-cover.

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis I don’t believe I had read it before. Told it was a dud, but I loved it.

The Circle by Dave Eggers Not the greatest novel qua novel, but it’ll stick with me. And it was enormously validating to have some of my fears put out there.

Tim’s dishonorable mentions for 2013:
Wool by Hugh Howey: I love good science fiction, but most of it is crap. Hot or not, it’s crap…
The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle: Bad “classic” science fiction. Didn’t finish.
Children of God by Mary Doria Russell: I adored The Sparrow. The sequel is a big disappointment. It’s a “negative sequel.” Like the Matrix sequels, it makes the original worse.
The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham: Bad “classic” science fiction.


Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Where’d You Go, Bernadette* by Maria Semple

*Abby would like it noted that she blames The Circle by Dave Eggers for making her put other books on hold, which might have actually been the best this year.


The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Everything Is Perfect When You’re a Liar by Kelly Oxford

Kate’s dishonorable mentions for 2013:
There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron
The Never List by Koethi Zan
Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason
You Are One of Them by Elliott Holt: A 1980s Cold War bildungsroman, complete with spies and mistaken identities?! I was supposed to love this book. I did not love this book.

Chris H.

Rough Passage to London: A Sea Captain’s Tale by Robin Lloyd

The Unincorporated Man by Dani Kollin

The Road to Ubar: Finding the Atlantis of the Sands by Nicholas Capp

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman

The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of Moving Pictures by Edward Ball


The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

The Crown Tower by Michael J. Sullivan

The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

Low Town by Daniel Polansky


Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

The Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture by David Kushner

Chris C.

Building Machine Learning Systems with Python by Willi Richert

A Wizard, a True Star: Todd Rundgren in the Studio by Paul Myers

Machine Learning for Hackers by Drew Conway

Frank: The Voice by James Caplan

Make: Electronics: Learning Through Discovery by Charles Platt


The Rathbones by Janice Clark

Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt

Cypherpunks by Julian Assange

The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

KJ’s honorable mentions for 2013:
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Open City by Teju Cole


The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
This one’s a re-read for me (for sci-fi book club), but it’s also one of my all-time favorites, so it’s going on the list.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
Definitely my most anticipated book of the year, and it did not disappoint. Allie Brosh is a hilarious, insightful genius.

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
This one didn’t change my reading life the way his first novel, The Gone-Away World did, but it’s also excellent.

Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood
I binged on the whole trilogy in about a month, but this was my favorite by far.

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
I absolutely loved The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game, but didn’t think this one quite measured up. Still very good, though.

Loranne’s dishonorable mentions for 2013:
The Circle by Dave Eggers: I really enjoyed doing One LibraryThing, One Book, but when I finally finished this one, I wanted to throw it against a wall. I just did not like it. At all.
Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany: Another selection for sci-fi book club. I just couldn’t get into this one. I didn’t even make it to the halfway point. Kept waiting for things to get interesting/start making sense, and they never did.


Tutte le poesie by Eugenio Montale

Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves

The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol by Nikolai Gogol

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner

The Origin and Goal of History by Karl Jaspers

Matt’s honorable mentions for 2013:
Locomotrix: Selected Poetry and Prose of Amelia Rosselli by Amelia Rosselli
The Professional Chef’s Book of Charcuterie by Tina G. Mueller
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh


Tell us about your favorites for 2013 on Talk, or add your own Top Five to our list!

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

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

December Early Reviewers batch is live!

The December batch of Early Reviewers books is up, and ready for requests! We have 123 titles this month, with a grand total of 3,515 copies available. If you’re a non-fiction fan, or an educator, take note: we’ve got a number of interesting non-fiction and historical titles this month, including a memoir by The New Yorker‘s cartoon editor, Bob Mankoff, as well as a handful of teacher’s guides!

If you’d like a chance to score one of these books, first, make sure to sign up for Early Reviewers! If you’re already signed up, please double check your mailing and email addresses, and make sure they’re up to date.

Once you’ve signed up, request away! The list of available books is here.

The deadline to request copies is Monday, December 30th at 6pm Eastern.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, Israel, Australia, France, Germany, and many more. Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to you, or select your country at the top of the list, to see all books available in your area.

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Random House Prufrock Press Gefen Publishing House
Henry Holt and Company St. Martin’s Press Minotaur Books
Riverhead Books Putnam Books Pintail
Chosen Books Bethany House Medallion Press
Quirk Books Plume Orca Book Publishers
Bunker Hill Publishing William Morrow Crux Publishing
Crown Publishing Greenleaf Book Group Cooperative Ink
O’Reilly Media Bluffer’s Guides Five Rivers Publishing
Sakura Publishing Humanist Press WallpaperScholar.Com
Rippple Books EdgeRunner Publishing Lion Fiction
Archway Publishing JournalStone BookViewCafe
The Permanent Press Capriole Group University Press of New England
Vincere Press Bantam Dell Ballantine Books
Marble City Publishing Dot EDU Recorded Books
Akashic Books Gray & Company, Publishers Bellevue Literary Press
Cleis Press Booktrope Upper Rubber Boot Books
Kerious Pye Series LLC Human Kinetics McFarland

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Happy Hannukah from LibraryThing

Remember to sign up for SantaThing, our “Secret Santa for book lovers.” Sign-up closes 8PM Friday (Nov. 29).

Labels: holiday, santathing, secret santa

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

SantaThing 2013 is Here!

Welcome to the SEVENTH ANNUAL SantaThing!

What’s SantaThing? SantaThing is Secret Santa for LibraryThing members.

Done it before? Sign up is now open!

The idea is simple: You pay into the SantaThing system (choose from $15–$45). You play Santa to a LibraryThing member we pick for you—we try to match up similar members—and you select 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!

You can sign up as many times as you like, for yourself or someone else. If you sign up for someone without a LibraryThing account, make sure to mention what kinds of books they like, so their Secret Santa can choose wisely.

Even if you don’t want to be a Santa, you can help by suggesting books for others.

Important dates:

  • Sign-ups close Friday, November 29 at 8pm Eastern. Saturday morning, we’ll notify you via profile comment who your Santee is, and you can start picking books.
  • Picking closes Thursday, December 5th at 12pm Eastern. As soon as the picking ends, the ordering begins, and we’ll get all the books out to you as soon as we can. There’s no guarantee that we’ll have books to you by December 25th, but we’re going to do our best!

» Go sign up to become a Secret Santa now!

Tweaks this year:

Every year we tweak SantaThing a little. This year we’re happy to have Longfellow Portland’s own Longfellow Books, Powell’s, Book Depository, and Amazon as our booksellers.

At any and all price points, you can choose to have your books picked and sent from Powell’s Books, Longfellow Books, (including national subsidiaries: .uk, .ca, .de, .fr, .it, .es). or Book Depository ships to the most number of countries (see the full list), but they can’t promise your books will arrive before Dec. 25th.

Important note about Amazon: Amazon’s minimum for free shipping jumped up to $35 this year, so, if you want paper copies from Amazon, you will get $5 less in books than you pay—paying $30 will get you $25 worth of books. This does not apply if you select “Amazon Kindle Only,” OR if you go with the $40 or $45 price points, since shipping will be free.

Aside from that, you don’t need to factor in shipping. (Except for Amazon, booksellers have promised to waive that for us.) Unlike some years ago, there’s no profit “cushion” built into this for us, although we expect under-orders to pay for situations where the shipping isn’t free. We do this for fun, not money.

Ebooks are available again this year, but again, only via Amazon, and only for US members. We’re sorry to limit it, but ebooks are complicated in terms of rights and availability outside the US. Ebooks also don’t come with shipping costs, so this is one way to avoid the Amazon shipping issue, without having to go up to $40 or $45.

Go sign up now!

Questions? Ask them in this Talk topic.

Labels: santathing, secret santa

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Little Free Libraries, BookCrossing Zones and more in LibraryThing Local

Short Version:

LibraryThing members have banded together to add all known “Little Libraries,” including Little Free Libraries®, BookCrossing Zones™, the Dutch project “Minibieb” and others to LibraryThing Local, LibraryThing’s index and map of over 87,000 bookstores, libraries and other bookish places. Members have already added 749 of them. A slew of new features supports the project.

Check it out:

SqueakyChu‘s library, The Little Free Library of Twinbrook, in Rockville, MD

Long Version:

A long-time member, SqueakyChu, recently requested that we add Little Free Libraries (LFLs) to LibraryThing Local. Apparently the LFL people have been unable to keep up with all the new libraries, and have fallen months behind. Their own map is also limited compared to LibraryThing’s robust feature set. And having LFLs in LibraryThing Local would allow LibraryThing members to discover them, as well as users of our Readar iPhone app.

If you don’t know, Little Free Libraries is a grassroots movement sweeping the country and the world. “Stewards” build or buy them, set them up somewhere, often in their front yards, and fill them with books. Visitors take and leave books as they wish. BookCrossing, around since 2001(!), is a similar concept, encouraging and tracking the free exchange of books from reader to reader. Books can be released “into the wild” anywhere, but “BookCrossing Zones” (BCZs) are special spaces set up to facilitate this exchange.

We’ve discussed similar efforts before, and approached both organizations for a feed, without success. We’d love to work with either or both, and will (of course) share our data. But we’re not going to wait. We want people to know about these great projects, and all the other informal sharing libraries out there. So we jumped in. Before releasing it, we had our “Board for Extreme Thing Advances” group to work on it, and they added almost 700 venues, and worked out all the conventions we needed.

Little Free Libraries in Connecticut

New features

How do I add venues?

If you’re interested in adding Little Libraries, here are some resources:

Little Free Libraries

  • Members have set up a Wiki Page, recording what states and countries have already been entered, and which haven’t
  • Check out the discussion topic, where members hash out conventions and trade tips

BookCrossing Zones

We’re still figuring out how to find and add all official and unofficial zones. If you’re interested, join the conversation.

Other libraries

“Little Libraries” is for small collections of every type, not just book exchanges. The Dutch projects MiniBieb and Boekspots are closely analogous to Little Free Libraries, so they fit. But, as I’ve written before, cities and towns throughout the world are filled with such collections, from coffee shops to churches, from community centers to advocacy groups. At present we’re focusing on fully “public” venues, but the many types available to choose from means it can all go in, with suitable filters for what you want and what you don’t want.

Come Talk about this project.

Labels: librarything local, local books, member projects, new feature, new features

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Congratulations to Our AllHallowsThing 2013 Winners!

Thanks to everyone who joined in on our first annual AllHallowsThing contest! Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday, and everyone at LT had a lot of fun seeing what you all came up with! The LT staff judges have spoken, and, without further ado, I am proud to present our winners:


Grand Prize

This is one of the most detail-oriented Little Free Libraries I’ve seen. From the creator’s description: “Library” was made of foam core cut and glued together. Shingles were cut from cardboard, door constructed using actual door hardware, then house was painted. The t-shirt inside is a scan of book spines printed onto 2 iron on transfers.” The door even has a magnetic latch!

2nd Place

This one has a special place in my heart, as I loved Tomie dePaola when I was a kid (I still have a signed bookmark I got from him when I was 8), and Strega Nona was one of my favorite stories. She even has the magic pot!

3rd Place

a-squared’s little sister is wearing a wand, tutu, and wings all made out of recycle Scholastic book order forms! I love the creativity. And I hope the book fairy will stop by my house soon, because, let’s face it, I clearly don’t have enough books.

3rd Place, Too – It’s a Tie!

LaurenMeigs is the spitting image of one of recent literature’s most self-possessed heroines. She describes her inspiration best: “Salander is one of the coolest, strongest, craziest chicks that I’ve ever come across between the pages of a book. I bought the temporary dragon tattoo online, but my fabulously talented artist neighbor (and fellow librarian) drew the wasp tattoo freehand on my neck.”


Grand Prize

Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s iconic monster, this pumpkin is truly the stuff of nightmares. Sylak told us that the wings were made of Savoy cabbage leaves, and there are total of 386 individual suckers on those tentacles. Yipes! Matt agrees: “A carnivore’s worst nightmare.”

2nd Place

I’d love to know what book(s) were used in the construction! The light dusting of orange paint is great—you can still read the text on the pages.

2nd Place Again

Another tie! “Daringly stacked!” Matt says, and I agree. These are all impressively detailed! While the owl’s eyes are probably my favorite part, I love that there’s even a pea green boat that the owl and pussycat are riding in. Excellent work!

3rd Place

We’ve taken to calling this one the “Econ Pumpkin” around the office, and it brought out Matt’s inner humanities major: “the best use of an Econ textbook I’ve ever seen.” Very inventive!

Honorable Mentions

I’d also like to give a personal shout-out to flor_de_margarida’s too clever by half Invisible Man, and walkingapocrypha’s Mad Hatter. I know that kitty! As a long-time Pride & Prejudice fan, I particularly appreciated the “& Zombies” edition group costume. Well done, everyone.

To all our contestants, thanks so much for joining in! You all did a fabulous job, and I hope to see more spectacular stuff from you next year!

To our winners, look for a profile comment from me shortly with instructions for claiming your prizes!

Labels: AllHallowsThing, contests

Monday, November 4th, 2013

November Early Reviewers batch is up!

The November 2013 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 136 titles this month, with a grand total of 3,650 copies to give out. For those of you who, like me, aren’t ready to accept that Halloween is over, we’re not quite up to our brains in zombies, but Undead or Zombies Don’t Surrender might be just what you need.

If you’d like a chance to score one of these books, first, make sure to sign up for Early Reviewers! If you’re already signed up, please double check your mailing and email addresses, and make sure they’re up to date.

Then request away! The list of available books is here:

The deadline to request a copy is Monday, November 25th at 6PM Eastern.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, Israel, Australia, France, and many more. Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Taylor Trade Publishing Prufrock Press Palgrave Macmillan
Henry Holt and Company Quirk Books Bantam
JournalStone Random House Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
Pants On Fire Press Seventh Rainbow Publishing Riverhead Books
Putnam Books Bluffer’s Guides Gray & Company, Publishers
Kurodahan Press February Books Gefen Publishing House
Bethany House Chosen Books Five Rivers Publishing
Pale Fire Press Leisure Time Press Multnomah Books
Cleis Press O’Reilly Media BookViewCafe
Information Today, Inc. The Permanent Press Crown Publishing
Akashic Books Marble City Publishing CarTech Books
Rippple Books The Plough Publishing House Oceanview Publishing
Minotaur Books Human Kinetics ArbeitenZeit Media
Recorded Books Medallion Press Rovira i Virgili University Press
Apex Publications WriteLife, LLC Seawall Books
HalMarx Publishing Candlewick Press Spiegel & Grau
Plume Fog Ink Obesity Resources, LLC
Welcome Books Gotham Books Hunter House
Circumspect Press William Morrow Bunker Hill Publishing
Algonquin Books Booktrope Lion Fiction
Bantam Dell EdgeRunner Publishing Galaxy Audio
Galaxy Press

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Special The Circle giveaway for UK members

Happy Halloween, everyone! I promise only treats, and no tricks today. As One LibraryThing, One Book continues to grow, I’m already halfway through the book, and we’ve got some great discussions going.

I have exciting news for UK members interested in joining us. Penguin UK has offered us 10 copies to give away to members located in the UK! Click here for your chance to score one. Please note, since this is a special give away, time is short, and we’ll be closing the giveaway for requests on Sunday, November 3rd at 6pm Eastern.

Labels: One LibraryThing One Book