I love a good heist, and this is better than most. Set in the lush universe popularized by Shadow and Bone, this follow up stands on its own legs, and is a great entry to the series. Meet the Dregs, a bunch of street urchin weirdos with just the right skills to pull off an impossible heist in the heart of a hostile state. The characters are so real that you feel you could bump into them on the street, the plot is meticulously executed, and the magic is both grounded and vibrant. It’ll be your new fave.
Revolution, dictatorships, secret identities, and a magic system so brutal and so inescapable it shakes the very ground on which the world is built. All the threats feel close, pressing. The characters are multidimensional, living, complex. This is a deeply alarming pair of novels, but despite the dark plot points, the writing is light and compulsively readable. These are entertaining books, and frequently very funny. If you like seeing sense prevail, and survival against dire odds, dive into this truly original world.
Everyone likes an adaptation, and sometimes the best adaptations are underground. Here are seven picks from YouTube, perfect for marathoning, all based on classic novels and set in the modern era. No matter whether you’re a fan of Jane Austin, William Shakespeare, or Charlotte Bronte, there’s something for every classic book lover. Watch away!
If you like Much Ado About Nothing, get ready for Nothing Much to Do, an adaptation from New Zealand in vlog format, this time set at Messina High. All the accusations, the threats, and a few serenades on ukulele, this modern adaptation has all the humor and hatred you love, while also featuring a plastic flamingo. A must watch.
Fans of Jane Eyre will appreciate the tragedy and measured pace of Autobiography of Jane Eyre. Filmed as a video diary, this series follows nursing student Jane as she leaves school, becomes a governess, and falls for the master of the house. Covering all the original beats of the story with inventiveness and heart, it has all the Gothic appeal of the original. Plus Adele is cute.
A classic, and for good reason. Thorough plotting, well paced character development, and silly costumes make this series compulsively watchable. Elizabeth is very much herself, lovable, judgmental, caring—Jane is sweet and decisive, Kitty is an actual cat, and Lydia is gleeful and wild. Set in California, Lizzie is a grad student with no interest in marriage—much to her mother’s chagrin.
Seriously, this web series is good. I’m not joking. You might say I’m Earnest, but honestly, who isn’t? Oscar Wilde’s classic is reimagined probably exactly as he would have wanted it—with everyone confused and overdressed. At just fifty episodes, it’s an excellent binge watch, and relatable, at least if you’ve ever wondered how to propose to someone you’ve given a false name.
In this adaptation, Emma runs a PR firm with her brother-in-law, George Knightly. Some great parties, some terrible decisions, and outrageous confidence make this a fun and lighthearted series, despite any low moments. Fans of Austin will be thrilled, and if you’re not yet obsessed, you will be.
If you can’t wait to return to Green Gables—or visit for the first time—Green Gables Fables is a delightful and heartwarming take on the classic story. Never discouraged, Anne’s passion and creativity make this series sing, and even at one-hundred-fifty episodes (the longest on this list), it seems too short.
This adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy may have slightly less murder, but it has just as much tragedy as the original. The clash between two warring fraternities reaches new heights. Even with a lower mortality rate, this is still a tear jerker, so be warned. It’s also the shortest series on this list, with only twenty-one episodes.
It only makes sense that HBO would feature a powerhouse vocalist like Florence Welch on the closing credits of its second episode. The song that was premiered was called, “Jenny of Oldstones.” By the end of the episode, Daniel Portman, who plays Podrick Payne began singing Welch’s song, and then it slowly transitioned to the credits, and to Florence’s goddess voice.
In an interview, Florence spoke about how she loves how the idea of enemies banding together to fight a greater problem mimics what must happen in our society regarding the climate crisis, and chatted about what went in to creating the song.
“They just had a simple, stripped back, lilting melody. The notes of it sounded like a Celtic folk song to me. I thought it was really beautiful. I love the idea of dancing with ghosts and never wanting to leave. That totally makes sense to me. I feel like I do that every night on stage.
I worked with Thomas Bartlett on “High as Hope,” and he’s a piano genius. He helped formulate the chords, and then I kind of added my choir, my hellish soprano. We just tried to keep within the “Game of Thrones” world, to retain the ghostliness of it.”
Interestingly enough, the Game of Thrones producers originally wanted Florence to sing “The Rains of Castamere.” Welch turned it down at the time, but Benioff and Weiss never let go of the idea.
“We’ve always been huge fans of Florence’s music,” they said in a joint statement. “So the opportunity to hear her otherworldly voice on our show was always at the forefront of our minds. We’re still pleasantly shocked that she agreed to sing ‘Jenny of Oldstones,’ and we’re in love with the result.”
April is coming to an end, and Earth day is today so much like our dear Earth won’t stop turning, out books recommendations won’t stop coming. Our picks of the week will help you enjoy this spring weather in a heavenly fashion as you relax with some of the hottest releases of the moment!
What do the three books we are presenting have one thing in common: nuance and complex storytelling in the realm of women, and female empowerment. Sounds exciting, right? Hopefully these books will be the perfect ones for you to enjoy a picnic with, to curl up with or, in the case of our Coffee Shop Read, to go out with.
So, without further ado, here are Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!
One evening, eight Mennonite women climb into a hay loft to conduct a secret meeting. For the past two years, each of these women, and more than a hundred other girls in their colony, has been repeatedly violated in the night by demons coming to punish them for their sins. Now that the women have learned they were in fact drugged and attacked by a group of men from their own community, they are determined to protect themselves and their daughters from future harm.
While the men of the colony are off in the city, attempting to raise enough money to bail out the rapists and bring them home, these women―all illiterate, without any knowledge of the world outside their community and unable even to speak the language of the country they live in―have very little time to make a choice: Should they stay in the only world they’ve ever known or should they dare to escape?
Based on real events and told through the “minutes” of the women’s all-female symposium, Toews’s masterful novel uses wry, politically engaged humor to relate this tale of women claiming their own power to decide.
Besides the rave reviews from The New York Times, The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, and Margaret Atwood herself who said that much of Women Talking “could be out [the world ] of The Handmaid’s Tale,” its themes of shedding light of the oppression of women—in an enlighting and poetic writing style will keep your eyes glued on the page! This is Miriam Towes’ sixth novel, (the same amount of novels as the great, Jane Austen!) And as prolific as she is, Towes’ writing is artistic, and poetic, her characters resonating with readers all over the world. Women Talkingis an absolute must-read, and Towes’ hypnotic prose makes it all the more worthwhile.
Magpie Lewis started writing in her yellow notebook the day after her family self-destructed. The day her father ruined her mother’s life. The day Eryn, Magpie’s sister, skipped town and left her to fend for herself. The day of Brandon Phipp’s party.
Now Magpie is called a slut in the hallways of her high school, her former best friend won’t speak to her, and she spends her lunch period with a group of misfits who’ve all been as socially exiled as she has. And so, feeling trapped and forgotten, Magpie retreats to her notebook, dreaming up a magical place called Near.
Near is perfect – a place where her father never cheated, her mother never drank, and Magpie’s own life never derailed so suddenly. She imagines Near so completely, so fully, that she writes it into existence, right in her own backyard. At first, Near is a peaceful escape, but soon it becomes something darker, somewhere nightmares lurk and hidden truths come to light. Soon it becomes a place where Magpie can do anything she wants…even get her revenge.
You Must Not Miss is an intoxicating, twisted tale of magic, menace, and the monsters that live inside us all.
Katerina Leno’sYou Must Not Miss is a brilliantly suspenseful story that explores themes of friendship, family, feminism and revenge, as well as fantasy. When she conjures up a world of her own called, Near, a place that was meant as an escape, Magpie’s dreams turn into a nightmare. Through Leno shows us that women are more nuanced than just being ‘polite,’ thanks to her creation of Magpie Lewis. Magpie experiences trauma of being bullied in her high school and turns that pain into a weapon. It is always refreshing to see women in fiction taking control of their out-of-control situation. This is the perfect book to fly through on your commute, or in your favorite coffee shop, as it will keep you absorbed right to the end.
In the wake of the apocalypse, Flora has come of age in a highly gendered post-plague society where females have become a precious, coveted, hunted, and endangered commodity. But Flora does not participate in the economy that trades in bodies. An anathema in a world that prizes procreation above all else, she is an outsider everywhere she goes, including the thriving all-female city of Shy.
Now navigating a blighted landscape, Flora, her friends, and a sullen young slave she adopts as her own child leave their oppressive pasts behind to find their place in the world. They seek refuge aboard a ship where gender is fluid, where the dynamic is uneasy, and where rumors flow of a bold new reproductive strategy.
When the promise of a miraculous hope for humanity’s future tears Flora’s makeshift family asunder, she must choose: protect the safe haven she’s built or risk everything to defy oppression, whatever its provenance.
This novel will rock your world, with the amazing world contained within its pages. It is the final installment of Elison’s Road to Nowhere trilogy, and is told from the perspective of Flora, a transwoman raised as a sex slave. Kirkus Reviews notes that the books “tells her story from essentially two points of view: as an old woman writing her autobiography after many years of residence on Bambritch (Bainbridge) Island near Settle (Seattle) as an invasion looms; and as a younger woman continuing the plot from The Book of Etta (2017), sprinkled with memories of her difficult childhood and adolescence.”
A feminist dystopia unlike the others, Ellison explores themes of feminism, LGBTQ+ people’s rights, women’s rights, the commodification and governmental control of women’s bodies through the lens of expertly crafted dystopia, and a brilliant protagonist in Flora. Meg Elison is a talent, and this book is proof of that, no doubt about it! Elison, an LGBTQ+ writer and essayist and was a long-time columnist and editor for the award-winning Daily Californian at Berkeley, who lists Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Oscar Wilde, Stephen King among her many influences. Publishers Weekly and Booklist have praised the book, along with Kirkus Reviews who called it “A thoughtful extrapolation of contemporary gender and sexuality issues in need of wider discussion and understanding.”
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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:
No longer. Well it’s an option, but why not just email them? It’s quick, easy, and costs nothing.
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?
It would only be better if the books actually read themselves to you. Oh wait…
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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?
The Best Thing Ever
Are you ready?
Be warned, this is by far the best thing the Internet has ever given us….