Tag: novels

The 10 Best Things Internet Has Given Book Lovers

Happy birthday Internet! Today the Internet turns thirty-years-old. It’s been a long thirty years. In fact, I barely a remember a time before the Internet, but I’m only twenty-two.

 

The world with the word 'internet' in front of it
Image Via India Today

 

In a nutshell, the Internet has done a lot for us. Some good, some bad, but mostly it gave us neutral tools that we, as a collective, outright abused. So thank you, Internet for these 10 things you gave us!

 

10. It’s easier to buy books

 

Can you image going outside of your house and looking for a book, traversing through dark and shady bookstores, digging in trashcans looking for that one book? Well not anymore! Thanks to various sites, and the websites belonging to independent bookstores, we can now just simply type in the name of the book and find the best deal available!

Or, on the flip side, we can spend hours on the internet looking through every book in existence for the book that just catches our eyes.

Support indie bookstores though. For real.

 

A collection of several books on a shelf
Image Via The Big Game Hunting Blog

 

The only issue is having to wait to get the book. No more grabbing the book and leaving. Nope! Our primary mode of buying contains a lot of waiting.

 

9. Easier to sell books

 

A young woman showing an older woman a book
Image Via Sell Back Your Book

 

I got these piles of books and I want to get rid of them. Do I throw them out? Nah, I need some cash to buy some other books, and maybe pay off my student loans. What to do, what to do?

Well, thanks to the internet I can go online and sell the books. Millions of people just like me are looking to buy books and I might have what they’re looking for! And the odds are higher than when before the internet was around, given those millions of people I mentioned before.

 

8. Self-publishing

 

Have you written a book and you can’t just wait for the public to read it? Having trouble finding an agent or publisher? Well, self-publishing might be for you.

 

A clipboard upon which are the words Write, Edit, Design, Publish, Distribute, Market, beside of which are marked checkoxes
Image Via Editage

 

You have more creative control and, according to Editage, “Traditionally published books have a limited shelf life in the bookstore and are periodically removed to make way for newly published books. Self-published books, on the other hand, are always available in online bookstores and can be discovered and purchased months and years after the book is published.”

The cons? The bookstore’s won’t see your book unless you get traditionally published, but at least they will always be in the online store! Plus, you get immediate statistics  on who bought your book.

But be wary: There are a lot of scams out there. As with everywhere on the internet.

 

7. Traditional Publishing

Rows of books
Image Via Publishdrive

There are a lot of working parts to make a book a reality. The writer has to maintain contact with their agent, their cover designer, their editors. All these moving parts, and no easy way to stay in contact.

Not anymore. Thanks to the internet, you can just email all these people.

Haven’t been published but have a ready manuscript? Then you have to pitch your book. Back in the day writers sent out letters:

 

A ballpoint pen on an old letter
Image Via Role Reboot

No longer. Well it’s an option, but why not just email them? It’s quick, easy, and costs nothing.

 

6. E-Readers

A tablet turned on with a book ready to read
Image Via PCMag

 

In 2012 The Pew Research Center found that in February that 21% of adults in America were reading from an e-readers.

And why wouldn’t they? E-readers take up a lot less space than books, you can fit them all on your tablet, and many more books are available at the tip of your finger. As long as your tablet is charged, then you have not only one book for your commute, but an entire library.

Imagine if you had to carry your entire library with you?

A man holding a stack of books
Image Via Dissolve

 

It would only be better if the books actually read themselves to you. Oh wait…

 

5. Audible

You can buy a book and a celebrity will read it to you! It’s like when you were a kid and you had a bedtime story, except this time you’ve never met this person! Plus, all these listenable books are ready with only a touch. You can fit as many as you like in your phone, so no “My house is filled with all these gigantic books” problems.

Now when you go to the gym, you can have earbuds and listen to your books.

 

A woman on the treadmill putting headphones in her ears
Image Via Video Hive

Isn’t that great? And going off the “I’m at the gym working out and I’m reading” motif, you can read and do many other things. Multitasking for the win. Complex has you covered with a top 10 list of books you can listen to while driving.

The Times even found that “[commuters who may not have picked up a paperback since leaving university are increasingly listening to audiobooks on the way to work as it is seen as more relaxing than reading.”

The best part? All these listenable books are ready with only a touch. According to National Public Radio, “Now they’re a $1 billion industry with more than 35,000 titles published in 2013 alone.”

Unless you bought a book and it doesn’t have an audio book. Then you’re stuck to doing things the old fashioned way, like a peasant.

 

4. Podcasts

 

A image of headphones against a blue background
Image Via Wired

 

Why stop at listening to someone reading a book when you can listen to people talk about books. Podcasts have you covered.

Here The Guardian lists ten (Ten!) places where you can listen to your book talk. Reviews, discussions, podcasts have them all.

 

3. Goodreads

 

The Goodreads logo
Image Via Goodreads

 

It’s the largest site for readers. Need to know how far you are in your current book? Goodreads give you a percentage. Need to know how long you’ve been reading Game of Thrones?

All 5 Song of Ice and Fire Books together spelling out "Game of Thrones"
Image Via Juniper Books

 

Goodreads gives you the date you started. Need a book recommendation? Need to see what your friends are reading? Goodreads is the Facebook for book readers. Thank you Internet.

 

2. Fan Fiction

 

The words Fan Fiction written with a ballpoint pen
Image Via FilmFreeway

Now you can share your Harry Potter fan-fiction and you can read other people’s Lord of the Rings fan-fiction. You can flex your creative muscles, to stain those the calves of those sentences, to tighten those wordy hamstrings, training you to become the new generation of writers.

Plus you can change the ending to Game of Thrones if you don’t like it. (You might not like it.)What could be better?

 

  1. The Best Thing Ever

Are you ready?

You sure?

Be warned, this is by far the best thing the Internet has ever given us….

You sure you’re ready?

Okay.

Proceed and feast your eyes upon…

 

 

The Bookstr Logo
Image Via Facebook

Check us out!

5 Amazing 2019 Novels With Lesbian Leads

What’s Women’s History Month if we don’t shine a spotlight on our queer sisters? These books all feature a leading lesbian character, and were released this year. I am happy to say that there are many, but I made a little list of what I think are the most promising reads that you can have in your shelf! Goodreads and Book Riot inspired the selections. Take a look!

 

1. Listen by Kris Bryant

 

Book cover for Listen, featuring music note made of lovehearts

Image Via Amazon

 

Former child music prodigy Lily Croft spends most days in her home office crunching numbers and analyzing data as an actuary. Once she filled concert halls across the world, until the pressure got to be too much and forced her retreat. When her boss hands her a temporary assignment, Lily has to leave the safety of working from home to work with people at an office. She keeps her head down and stays focused, but one night on her way to the train station, she hears music wafting from The Leading Note and the life and feelings she suppressed for over a decade bubble up to the surface.

Lily is inexplicably drawn to Hope D’Marco, Leading Note’s gorgeous and brilliant founder. But falling for Hope and re-exploring her passion for music force Lily to face her past. Will she go back into hiding, or have the courage to confront the consequences of her past and present colliding?

 

2. Thorn by Anna Burke

 

 

Book cover for Thorne, feature a thorned black branch with a heart shaped drop of blood falling from a thorn

Image Via Amazon

 

On a cold day deep in the heart of winter, Rowan’s father returns from an ill-fated hunting trip bearing a single, white rose. The rose is followed by the Huntress, a figure out of legend. Tall, cruel, and achingly beautiful, she brings Rowan back with her to a mountain fastness populated solely by the creatures of the hunt. Rowan, who once scorned the villagers for their superstitions, now finds herself at the heart of a curse with roots as deep as the mountains, ruled by an old magic that is as insidious as the touch of the winter rose.

Torn between her family loyalties, her guilty relief at escaping her betrothal to the charming but arrogant Avery Lockland, and her complicated feelings for the Huntress, Rowan must find a way to break the curse before it destroys everything she loves. There is only one problem―if she can find a way to lift the curse, she will have to return to the life she left behind. And the only thing more unbearable than endless winter is facing a lifetime of springs without the Huntress.

 

3. Willa & Hesper by Amy Feltman

 

Book cover for Willa and Hesper featuring pastel colored watercolor painting of two girls in collared shirts with a citrus fruit hanging from a branch

Image via Amazon

 

Willa’s darkness enters Hesper’s light late one night in Brooklyn. Theirs is a whirlwind romance until Willa starts to know Hesper too well, to crawl into her hidden spaces, and Hesper shuts her out. She runs, following her fractured family back to her grandfather’s hometown of Tbilisi, Georgia, looking for the origin story that he is no longer able to tell. But once in Tbilisi, cracks appear in her grandfather’s history- and a massive flood is heading toward Georgia, threatening any hope for repair.

Meanwhile, heartbroken Willa is so desperate to leave New York that she joins a group trip for Jewish twentysomethings to visit Holocaust sites in Germany and Poland, hoping to override her emotional state. When it proves to be more fraught than home, she must come to terms with her past-the ancestral past, her romantic past, and the past that can lead her forward.

 

4. The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

 

Book cover for The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali featuring the title set vertically down the body of a girl wearing black and looking sideways out of the picture, against a green background

Image Via Amazon

 

Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali has always been fascinated by the universe around her and the laws of physics that keep everything in order. But her life at home isn’t so absolute.

Unable to come out to her conservative Muslim parents, she keeps that part of her identity hidden. And that means keeping her girlfriend, Ariana, a secret from them too. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life at home and a fresh start at Caltech in the fall. But when Rukhsana’s mom catches her and Ariana together, her future begins to collapse around her.

Devastated and confused, Rukhsana’s parents whisk her off to stay with their extended family in Bangladesh where, along with the loving arms of her grandmother and cousins, she is met with a world of arranged marriages, religious tradition, and intolerance. Fortunately, Rukhsana finds allies along the way and, through reading her grandmother’s old diary, finds the courage to take control of her future and fight for her love.

A gritty novel that doesn’t shy away from the darkest corners of ourselves, The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali provides a timely and achingly honest portrait of what it’s like to grow up feeling unwelcome in your own culture and proves that love, above all else, has the power to change the world.

 

5. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel: A Modern Retelling of Little Women by Rey Terciero & Bre Indigo

 

Book cover for Meg, Jo Beth and Amy, featuring a polaroid of the four characters sitting on stairs

Image Via Amazon

 

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are having a really tough year: Not only is their father overseas with the military and their working overtime to make ends meet, but each girl is struggling with her own unique problems. Whether it’s school woes, health issues, boy troubles, or simply feeling lost, the March sisters all need the same thing: support from each other. By coming together–and sharing lots of laughs and tears–these four young women find the courage to discover who they truly are as individuals…and as a family.

Meg is the eldest March. She has a taste for the finer things in life–especially when it comes to clothes and parties–and dreams of marrying rich and leaving her five-floor walk-up apartment behind.

Jo pushes her siblings to be true to themselves, yet feels like no one will accept her for who she truly is. Her passion for writing gives her an outlet to feel worthy in the eyes of her friends and family.

Beth is the timid sister with a voice begging to be heard. Guitar in hand, her courage inspires her siblings to seize the day and not take life for granted.

Amy may be the baby of the family, but she has the biggest personality. Though she loves to fight with her sisters, her tough exterior protects a vulnerable heart that worries about her family’s future.

 

Featured Images Via Amazon

New Star Wars Comic Books and Novels to Tie-In With Incredible Theme Park

Disneyland’s new Star Wars themed attraction, Galaxy’s Edge, is coming next year. But unlike most themed areas in amusement parks, this one ties directly into the Star Wars canon. In anticipation for the opening, Disney is releasing new tie-in material to help explain the backstory of this new attraction.

 

This includes the new novel Black Spire which is written by Delilah S. Dawson, the same author of the movie tie-in novel Phasma. It will tell the story of how General Leia dispatched a top spy to the planet of Batuu (a location in the park) in search of Resistance fighters.

 

The cover for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Black Spire.

Image Via StarWars.com

Two more novels are also on their way. A Crash Of Fate will be a young adult novel about two friends separated at a young are only to reunite on Batuu as two vastly different people. Star Wars: Myths and Fables will be a collection of stories centered around various areas in the Star Wars galaxies, with two directly tying into Galaxy’s Edge.

 

The cover for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge A Crash of Fate.

The cover for Star Wars: Myths and Fables

Images Via StarWars.com

 

A five-issue comic book miniseries will also debut this April titled Galaxy’s Edge and will follow a series of smugglers and merchants around Batuu and other edges of the galaxy.

 

Does this make you more excited for the upcoming park?

 

 

Featured Image Via Nerdist

rainbow books

5 Most Frequently Banned LGBT+ Classics

October is LGBTQIA+ History Month, which means it’s time to celebrate the stories so many writers and individuals have been (and sometimes still are) unable to tell. These five novels have persisted through ruthless bans and censorship efforts to fill our hearts and our bookcases.

 

It’s important to note that this list does not address the full history of LGBTQIA+ literature. Virginia Woolf‘s Mrs. Dalloway, published as far back as 1925, features a bisexual protagonist who reflects on her relationships with men and a young female flame—  of course, Woolf does not call her bisexual. It’s perhaps for that reason that this book has been controversial more for its inclusion of mental illness than for its bisexual elements. Another of Woolf’s works, Orlando, features a protagonist whose gender abruptly changes halfway through the novel. This book also faced little controversy—  perhaps the public saw this change in gender as more of a metaphor than a nuanced commentary on gender identity. The term ‘transgender’ as we know it did not exist before the 1960s, though gender-nonconforming individuals were definitely present.

 

 

Rainbow LGBT+ Book

Image via tabletmag.com

 

 

1. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

 

One of the most famous writers of all time, decadent intellectual Oscar Wilde reminds us of his wit, charisma, and tragic imprisonment. A notoriously well-dressed and charming member of the era’s wealthy intelligentsia, Wilde suffered a terrible decline at the end of his lifetime. Two years of hard labor and imprisonment laid waste to his health, psyche, and bank account. Destitute at the time of his death, Wilde himself said: “I can write, but have lost the joy of writing.” His crime? Homosexuality. Wilde was the subject of two sodomy trials in 1895, and he died at the age of forty-six— only three years after the end of his sentence. The courts used Wilde’s own works as evidence to convict him. Though the novel’s homoerotic passages contributed to its author’s imprisonment, The Picture of Dorian Gray remains a crucial part of Wilde’s enduring legacy.

 

'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde

Image via penguinrandomhouse.com

 

The novel focuses on young, attractive aristocrat Dorian Gray, whose soul is trapped within a portrait. As Gray sinks further into decadence and cruelty, he remains outwardly unchanged… but the new, visceral ugliness in the portrait shows what Gray has become. The Picture of Dorian Gray faced heavy criticism in its time. Contemporary newspapers called it “heavy with… the odours of moral and spiritual putrefaction.” In 1891, Wilde revised the original publication for its formal book released, removing the more homoerotic chapters. Fortunately, after over 120 years, the uncensored original text is now available to the public. As one of the original edits was the removal of the word ‘mistress,’ it seems Wilde’s intent was to present Gray as bisexual.

 

 

2. Maurice (1971)

 

Best known for his novel A Passage to India, E.M. Forster secretly wrote this novel depicting a loving homosexual relationship. As he feared the controversy his work may face, particularly as a gay man himself, he kept the work hidden with specific instructions that it must only receive posthumous publication. Attitudes at the time were so negative that Forster concealed his own desires for many years, not acting on his homosexuality until the age of twenty-seven. Though he wrote the work from 1913-1914 as a much younger man, the public did not read it until after his death. Famously, his final comment on the manuscript reads: “Publishable. But worth it?”

 

'Maurice' by E.M. Forster

Image via amazon.com

 

Maurice is a groundbreaking work beyond its gay elements, featuring working class characters and situations that other historical gay writers, including Oscar Wilde, did not address. More importantly, it also gives gay characters happy endings. The ‘Bury Your Gays‘ trope, a phenomenon in which authors often kill LGBTQIA+ characters (or shower them with endless misfortune) is sadly commonplace in historic and contemporary works of fiction. This pessimistic viewpoint suggests that to be LGBTQIA+ is only ever awful, that these characters and people don’t get happy endings. Forster, conversely, regards homosexual love as one of the deepest forms of connection— as opposed to relationships with the motive of procreation, homosexuality’s “only purpose is love, so it can result in a spiritual union between two people.”

 

3. Giovanni’s Room  (1976)

 

James Baldwin‘s impressive novel about an American man’s overseas affair with another man (Parisian bartender Giovanni) almost didn’t exist. When Baldwin himself arrived arrived in Paris in 1948 with no more than $41 to his name, he sought refuge from the bigotry of the United States, a place where he felt his writing came second to his race. Baldwin’s agent would eventually confirm these fears, telling him to burn the manuscript over fears that his sexuality would further alienate his audience.

 

'Giovanni's Room' by James Baldwin

Image via amazon.com

 

Baldwin’s novel explores themes of alienation reminiscent of Nella Larsen‘s Passingthe Harlem Renaissance story of a black protagonist with a lighter skin color that enables her to ‘pass’ as a white person. Giovanni’s Room also comments upon the eternal catch-22 of marginalized identities— concealing them may, at times, be safer… but it can also be infinitely damaging. The novel stands the test of time as a complex portrait of homosexuality and bisexuality.

 

4. The Color Purple (1982)

 

Alice Walker‘s renowned epistolary novel is the winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the first black woman to ever do so. Walker’s novel unfolds in the format of letters written to God, starting with violent subject matter and ending in redemption. It is also one of the most banned books in the U.S. today. While some of the controversy has to do with violence and explicitness, much criticism also surrounds the open depiction of protagonist Celie’s lesbian feelings— particularly, the openly sexual description of Celie’s attraction to women. The film adaptation even participates in the novel’s censorship, limiting expression of Celie’s true sexual identity

 

'The Color Purple' by Alice Walker

Image via amazon.co.uk

 

The depiction of Celie’s sexual identity is unambiguous; Walker writes that Celie and lover Shug “kiss and kiss til [they] can hardly kiss no more.” (And no, it doesn’t stop there.) It’s a queer story, but it’s also so much more. Protagonist Celie is an illiterate black woman, pregnant at 14-years-old—  not the kind of character canonized literature typically includes. The novel boldly depicts the transformative power of love, showing how love can make the powerless powerful in the end. While the novel has ranked on the Top 100 Banned & Challenged Books List, Walker’s story remains a powerful tale of underrepresented characters.

 

 

5. Middlesex (2002)

 

It’s difficult to imagine that a ‘historic classic’ could have been published within our own century. But up until this unique moment in time, both intersex and transgender stories have not been a part of the literary canon. When it comes to published books, they’ve hardly existed at all— despite the millions of people who live these stories daily. Jeffrey Eugenides‘ novel, winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, brought explorations of gender identity into public eye and onto bookshelves around the world. Texas prisons have banned the book due to its supposedly controversial subject matter.

 

'Middlesex' by Jeffrey Eugenides

Image via amazon.com

 

Intersex protagonist Cal’s parents raised him to be a girl. When he discovers his male genetics, he comes to embrace what he feels is his true identity. Eugenides’ bildungsroman is a novel of uncertain dichotomies (male and female, Greek and American, nature and nurture, present and future) and the nebulous space between two binary opposites. The novel opens: “I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.” These words address the oft-unheard voices of those throughout the world whose gender identities may not always correspond with their bodies.

 

Rainbow LGBT+ Books

Image via queenslibrary.org

 

It’s incredibly important to note that this list does not address the full spectrum of LGBTQIA+ identities. Some identities, including pansexuality, asexuality, nonbinary genders, and many more, are only recently entering a larger public consciousness. As such, there are few overt depictions of such identities in classic works of literature. Likely, that will change in time. Maybe you will even be the one to change it.

 

Featured Image Via tabletmag.com

love medicine

5 Beautifully Rich Books by Native American Authors

The Native American people have such a rich culture, and have contributed so much to the world despite having everything taken from them, treating the land and its other inhabitants with respect. 

 

I studied the various tribes and their art while in school and their spirituality was as strong as their culture. Traditions, lineage, and customs make up the core of Native American beliefs. Here are some beautiful reads by Native American authors.

 

 

 

Native American authors

Image Via Amazon

Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.



Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

 
 
2. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich

 

Native American authors

 Image Via Amazon

The first book in Louise Erdrich’s Native American series, which also includes The Beet Queen, Tracks, and The Bingo Palace, Love Medicine tells the story of two families–the Kashpaws and the Lamartines.Now resequenced by the author with the addition of never-before-published chapters, this is a publishing event equivalent to the presentation of a new and definitive text. Written in Erdrich’s uniquely poetic, powerful style, Love Medicine springs to raging life: a multigenerational portrait of new truths and secrets whose time has come, of strong men and women caught in an unforgettable drama of anger, desire, and the healing power that is Love Medicine. Discover the writer whom Philp Roth called “the most interesting new American novelist to have appeared in years” all over again.

 

3. If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth

 

Native American authors

 Image Via Amazon

Lewis “Shoe” Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he’s not used to is white people being nice to him — people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual passion for music, especially the Beatles, Lewis has to lie more and more to hide the reality of his family’s poverty from George. He also has to deal with the vicious Evan Reininger, who makes Lewis the special target of his wrath. But when everyone else is on Evan’s side, how can he be defeated? And if George finds out the truth about Lewis’s home — will he still be his friend?

 
 
4. House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday

 

Native American authors

 Image Via Amazon

A young Native American, Abel has come home from war to find himself caught between two worlds. The first is the world of his father’s, wedding him to the rhythm of the seasons, the harsh beauty of the land, and the ancient rites and traditions of his people. But the other world—modern, industrial America—pulls at Abel, demanding his loyalty, trying to claim his soul, and goading him into a destructive, compulsive cycle of depravity and disgust.

 

5. Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

 

Native American authors

Image Via Amazon

 

Set in Canada and the battlefields of France and Belgium, Three-Day Road is a mesmerizing novel told through the eyes of Niska—a Canadian Oji-Cree woman living off the land who is the last of a line of healers and diviners—and her nephew Xavier.

At the urging of his friend Elijah, a Cree boy raised in reserve schools, Xavier joins the war effort. Shipped off to Europe when they are nineteen, the boys are marginalized from the Canadian soldiers not only by their native appearance but also by the fine marksmanship that years of hunting in the bush has taught them. Both become snipers renowned for their uncanny accuracy. But while Xavier struggles to understand the purpose of the war and to come to terms with his conscience for the many lives he has ended, Elijah becomes obsessed with killing, taking great risks to become the most accomplished sniper in the army. Eventually the harrowing and bloody truth of war takes its toll on the two friends in different, profound ways. Intertwined with this account is the story of Niska, who herself has borne witness to a lifetime of death—the death of her people.

In part inspired by the legend of Francis Pegahmagabow, the great Indian sniper of World War I, Three-Day Road is an impeccably researched and beautifully written story that offers a searing reminder about the cost of war.

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Pioneer Press. Synopses Via Amazon