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16 of the Hottest Romance Books of Summer
Posted by Hayley on June 19, 2018

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the bookstore. This season's crop of highly anticipated books has something for every reader with love and lust on the mind.

To find our list of must-reads, we took a look at books published from June to August—focusing on anticipation and early reviews, taking into account how many times a book has been added to members' Want to Read shelves and then only selecting books that earned at least a four-star rating. (If you're curious about how to read and rate prepublished books, check out our book giveaways.)

Are you ready for it? Here are the buzziest romances of the season.

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What romance books are you most excited to read this season? Let us know in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
Catch Up Now: These Big Series All Have Books Coming Out in July
The Unputdownable Domestic Suspense Thrillers of 2018
The Most Popular One-Hit Wonder Novels

The Best Books of the Year (So Far)
Posted by Hayley on June 19, 2018

Summer Reading 2018

Summer Reading is sponsored by The Great American Read on PBS.

Here at Goodreads, we spend a lot of time looking forward to the big books on the horizon. However, with the year halfway done, we decided to take a look backward. Which 2018 books have your fellow readers loved the most? We've got the answer.

To find the cream of the publishing crop published from January to June of this year, we focused on the books that have been added the most to Goodreads members' shelves. But we didn't just want what's popular—we wanted the best. So we narrowed down our list to include only books with at least a four-star average rating.

In other words, brace yourselves for some epic book browsing. Don't forget to add the top-rated titles that catch your eye to your Want to Read shelf.


FICTION
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Louisa Clark, the beloved heroine of Me Before You and After You, mixes with New York high society and tries to embrace adventure and romance in this humorous, poignant tale about staying true to yourself.

Check out Moyes' book recommendations here.


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The embodiment of the American dream and the New South, Celestial and Roy have no reason to doubt their bright future. Then disaster strikes, sending Roy to prison for a crime he didn't commit and shaking their relationship to its core.

Discover Jones' book recommendations here.


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In this unforgettable follow-up to Beartown, the citizens of a small town in Sweden rally around their local hockey team, even as a hostile rivalry threatens to destroy friendships, families, and the fragile peace of a volatile community.

Find Backman's book recommendations here.


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From neuroscientist Genova, the author of Still Alice, comes a heartbreaking exploration of redemption. Richard, once an accomplished pianist, now has ALS. With the help of his ex-wife, Karina, he tries to reconcile the past before it's too late.

Read our interview with Genova here.


MYSTERY & THRILLER
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Anna Fox has one lifeline to the real world: her window. Terrified to step outside her home, she spends her days spying on her neighbors—until she witnesses something no one was supposed to see in this chilling Hitchcockian mystery.

Check out our interview with Finn here.


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From the author of The Woman in Cabin 10 and In a Dark, Dark Wood comes a tale of spellbinding menace that sees a struggling tarot card reader lured into a web of intrigue, danger, and betrayal by the promise of a tantalizing fortune.

Find our interview with Ware here.


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When journalist Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But then a discovery during the renovations links the death of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden—and a voice that won't be silenced.


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A series of grisly murders leaves clues pointing to men with airtight alibis, sending detective Ralph Anderson racing to uncover the identity of the real killer in this riveting psychological thriller from the beloved bestselling author.


YOUNG ADULT
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Jude was taken to the treacherous High Court of Faerie as a child, but she doesn't want to escape; she wants to belong. To earn her place, she must defy the king's wickedest son and navigate a deadly civil war.

Read our interview with Black here.


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This West African-inspired fantasy, which has already been optioned for film, introduces readers to Orïsha, where magic once thrived but is now persecuted—and where one young woman has the power to turn the world upside down.

Discover Adeyemi's book recommendations here.


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Step aside, Simon. Here, Leah Burke, the best friend of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda's title character, takes center stage, tackling first love, senior-year angst, her own bisexuality, and a fracturing friend group.

Check out Albertalli's book recommendations here.


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Leigh is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird. Alternating between past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, this is an enchanting debut about the power and magic of family.


NONFICTION
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The sadistic Golden State Killer terrorized California for more than a decade. This masterful true-crime account traces journalist McNamara's obsession with the mysterious and violent predator and features an introduction by Gillian Flynn.


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What does everyone in the modern world need to know? Peterson's answer to this most difficult of questions combines the hard-won truths of ancient tradition with the stunning revelations of cutting-edge scientific research.


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Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. She struggles for self-invention in this universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes.


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Former FBI director Comey shares his never-before-told experiences from some of the highest-stakes situations of his career, exploring what ethical leadership looks like. His journey provides an unprecedented entry into the corridors of power.


HISTORICAL FICTION
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The author of The Nightingale shifts from World War II to Alaska, telling the story of Ernt Allbright, a former POW who returns from the Vietnam War and immediately moves his family to America's last true frontier.

Find our interview with Hannah here.


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Based on a true story, Lale is put to work tattooing his fellow prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp. One of them is a young woman, Gita, who steals his heart at first glance. With his life given new purpose, Lale attempts to use his position for good.


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German dissenter Franka Gerber hides deep in the Black Forest as World War II spreads across Europe, but her solitary existence is interrupted by the discovery of a wounded airman wearing a Luftwaffe uniform. Their tenuous bond becomes as inseparable as it is dangerous.


ROMANCE
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Natalia just wants to get cocky, annoyingly handsome Hunter out of her system. After a couple of flings, first at a wedding and then at a baby shower, she agrees to spend eight weeks with him in New York City—no strings attached.

Check out Keeland's book recommendations here.


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Brilliant math whiz Stella decides to practice dating by hiring an escort in this heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: There's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Read our interview with Hoang here.


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British rock star Alex needs a babysitter, someone who can keep him out of trouble. Enter sweet, responsible Indigo, who is adorably sure she can resist the serial heartbreaker's advances as the two embark on a whirlwind world tour.


FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION
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This is not Odysseus' story. In this reimagining of Homer's Odyssey, the goddess Circe grows up a strange child, finds herself banished to a deserted island, tames wild beasts, and encounters the Minotaur, Daedalus, and Odysseus himself.

Discover Miller's book recommendations here.


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Brown returns to Mars (and beyond) in a new trilogy set shortly after the events of his Red Rising books. This time Darrow grapples with mending a galaxy he helped break as new heroes vie for vengeance and redemption.

Find Brown's essay on shaping our world through stories here.


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Welcome to the Tower of Babel, the greatest marvel in the world. Here, mild-mannered headmaster Thomas searches for his wife in a steampunk world of geniuses and tyrants, navigating madhouses, ballrooms, and burlesque theaters.

Check out our interview with Bancroft here.




The Good, the Bad, and the Puns: How a Bestselling Author Creates Book Title Magic
Posted by Hayley on June 19, 2018

Sarah MacLean is the queen of cheeky book titles. The historical romance author has delighted us with The Rogue Not Taken, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, and A Scot in the Dark. This month she puts an alliterative twist on her playful style with her new series, The Bareknuckle Bastards, which begins with Felicity Faircloth making a deal with the devil in Wicked and the Wallflower. Here MacLean shares how she used her sassy wit to get published, which of her silliest puns never made it to print (A View to a Kilt, Earl Gone Wild, and more!), and why she thinks book titles are magical.



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The title of my first romance novel was never intended to see the light of day.

It was intended to land in the inbox of a handful of romance editors. I hoped the title would catch their eye and give them a chuckle—then they'd read the synopsis of the book and want to take a look. It was supposed to show editors that I love romance novels, that I don’t take myself too seriously, and that my books are rompy, rollicking reads.

It was never supposed to be the actual title of the book. I mean, who names a book Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake? That’s a bananas title.

Imagine my surprise when, weeks after my editor bought the book, I asked her what the title would be, and she said, “What do you mean? It’s the same title.” Oh, my. And then I realized that I was going to have to title the next book in the series the same way. And the one after that. And then silly titles that were super relevant to the story would become my thing, and I’d have to title every book I ever wrote with some kind of cheeky title forever and ever.

Well, that’s what happened. Now the titles come first. Before I ever set pen to paper.

First came the numbers. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake became Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord (London’s most eligible bachelor) became Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart (a scandalous heroine and her crusty duke hero).

And then came The Rules of Scoundrels series: A Rogue By Any Other Name (star-crossed lovers), One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (my most decent hero and the woman who loves him), No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (falling for a pugilist, a boxer), Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover (lady in trousers).

And then the Scandal and Scoundrel series: The Rogue Not Taken (road trip!), A Scot in the Dark (kilts!), and The Day of the Duchess (#imwithher)!

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But for every good title I’ve come up with, boy, there have been bad ones. A lot of wine and a lot of legal pads and lists and lists of absolutely atrocious puns: The Method to My Marquess? A View to a Kilt? All Duchessed Up with No Place to Go? Earl Gone Wild? Full of Hot Laird? Gah!

Thank God for honest editors.

People often ask me what the hardest part of writing is, and I never hesitate to tell the truth. The hardest part is the title. The hardest part is finding the right combination of words to achieve three goals: 1. Tell the reader a story and leave them asking a question. 2. Evoke the tone and temper of the book. 3. Double down on what long-time readers love and simultaneously court new ones.

My new series had a title long before the books did. The Bareknuckle Bastards would focus on a trio of brothers, bastard sons born into the same terrible past, risen into a present that made them scandalous royalty. There was Devil, the smuggler bent on revenge; Beast, the fighter desperate for peace; and the Duke, the one who betrayed them all. The conceit of the series is darker than anything I’ve written before, but even when I go dark, I can’t help but play in the light…and neither can my characters.

Take Devil, for example. A criminal’s criminal, he’s full of vengeance, eager to punish the brother who threatened the lives of the people he loves. And all this seems to be going to plan until ten pages into the book, when he discovers a fascinating, strange, solitary lock picker, who instantly changes everything. Felicity (the lady lock picker in question) consumes him, and suddenly this man, who has spent his whole life with a singular goal, can’t resist lingering in his pursuit—because it means he gets to spend time with his perfect match.

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I’ve written a lot of couples in my day, and none of them have bantered like these two. They loved talking to each other. They loved teasing each other. They loved surprising each other. They loved making each other laugh. Boy, does Devil love making Felicity laugh.

So…what to title this book? How do I show readers that these two are darkness and light, that they are perfect foils and perfect matches? That they fill up each other’s empty spaces? How to distill this story into four simple words and leave readers filled with curiosity?

Wicked and the Wallflower, the first in The Bareknuckle Bastards series.

Close your eyes and imagine the book, the story it might tell, the world it might encompass, the characters who will surely tumble into love as part of it. The future they might have together.

I hope I’ve written that book for you.

But this moment, before you’ve read it, when all you have is four words and your own imagination, when you’re filled with curiosity and hope and a keen sense that this might be really, really good. That’s the power of a title.

And that’s why titles are the most magical bit of all.

Sarah MacLean's Wicked and the Wallflower hits bookshelves on June 19. Add it to you Want to Read shelf here.



Catch Up Now: These Big Series All Have Books Coming Out in July
Posted by Hayley on June 18, 2018

There's nothing like the pain of finishing a book with a cliffhanger…and needing to wait months (if not years) for the next book. Save yourself some misery and jump into a beloved series that has a new installment coming out in July!

To find these series, we rounded up the top July sequels your fellow Goodreads can't wait to read, which we measure by how many times a book has been added to Want to Read shelves. Below, we've featured the first book in each of these series—as well as the first line to give you a taste. Which ones pique your curiosity?


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Genre: YA fantasy
First book: And I Darken
First line: "Vlad Dracul's heavy brow descended like a storm when the doctor informed him that his wife had given birth to a girl."

Bright We Burn, book #3 in the series, hits bookshelves on July 10.


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Genre: Contemporary romance
First book: Truth or Beard
First line: "I pulled into the Green Valley Community Center parking lot and scared the crap out of five senior citizens."

Dr. Strange Beard, book #5 in the series, hits bookshelves on July 30.


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Genre: Fantasy
First book: Age of Myth
First line: "Raithe's first impulse was to pray."

Age of War, book #3 in the series, hits bookshelves on July 3.


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Genre: Science fiction
First book: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
First line: "As she woke up in the pod, she remembered three things."

Record of a Spaceborn Few, book #3 in the series, hits bookshelves on July 26.


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Genre: Humor
First book: Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog
First line: "I'm old enough to remember Ozzie and Harriet, which means that my idea of the nuclear family was born in the 1950s and never quite grew up."

I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses, book #9 in the series, hits bookshelves on July 10.


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Genre: YA science fiction
First book: The Darkest Minds
First line: "When the white noise went off, we were in the garden pulling weeds."

The Darkest Legacy, book #4 in the series, hits bookshelves on July 31.


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Genre: Fantasy
First book: Prudence
First line: "Lady Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama was enjoying her evening exceedingly."

Competence, book #3 in the series, hits bookshelves on July 17.


What big sequels are you looking forward to? Come talk books with us in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
The Most Popular One-Hit Wonder Novels
Sarah Jessica Parker’s Next Big Challenge? Book Publishing
The Hottest YA Books of Summer

Announcing the Winner of the Summer Vacation Story Contest
Posted by Cybil on June 15, 2018

Congratulations to Chastity Chavez, a student at Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School in Dallas, Texas. She's the winner of the Hotel Transylvania Summer Vacation Story Contest, which was open to high school students in the United States. Read her winning short story below.


My feet avoid the large ant piles along the grassy nature path. Each step reaches a steeper point upon the hill, and I reach the top of it after a few more steps. It is not the same.

My eyes travel to the edge of the field; gray barbwire attempts to separate nature from human construction. Moments later, my mother joins me in viewing the scenery in front of us.

“I know you wanted to go to Durango for summer vacation," she says while placing an arm around me. Instead of responding, I stay silent and enjoy the sound of crickets and birds. A breeze follows the silence.

Meanwhile, I shut my eyes and feel the cool wind collide with my skin. Suddenly, the ground beneath me shifts into a flat surface. Voices echo all around me, sounds ranging from children’s cries to adult laughter. What in the world is going on? I open my eyes to come across white walls brown benches in rows.

“Come over here, Camila! The ceiling looks amazing from here!” I pull away from my mother’s embrace and turn around. My uncle frantically waves underneath a brass chandelier, although his smile expresses his desire to stay in the building all day. Confused, I walk towards his direction all while avoiding collisions with eager visitors. After what seems like hours, I meet my uncle whose chin points up towards the ceiling. I look up and view intricate golden shapes bordered by elaborate designs, all forming a harmonious ‘X’.

“Where are we?” As soon as I finished my question, my uncle lowers his head and furrows his eyebrows. “I already told you! We’re at the Cathedral Basilica. Do I have to remind you we’re in Mexico?” He shakes his head and laughs. We’re in Durango? We were just standing on a hill in Dallas, Texas not too long ago. “Come on! There is a lot more to see!” With that, we continue my eventful summer vacation.

I adjust the canvas under my left arm, nearly dropping it down the beige cobblestone stairs. My uncle laughs. “We should have bought a lighter canvas. We are almost at the top.” A few more minutes pass until we reach the destination. Beyond a short cobblestone wall is the entire city. Cars are parked along narrow streets, and buildings differ from aged white to subtle yellow. Large trees find their ways between tight knit spaces, releasing a dose of peace in a crowded city. Durango is everything I imagined. It beats any beach or amusement park I would have visited during a summer vacation.

“I finished setting up the easels and paint.” Immediately, I turn around and walk towards the set up with my easel. My uncle settles my canvas into place, and we stand with a paintbrush in one hand and a paint palette in the other. “You are finally doing what you dreamed of as a child. Now painting should not be mechanical or forced. Instead, imagine yourself walking through the streets of the city you see in front of you. When you walk forward, do you feel anxious? Are you lost? Or do you feel a sense of comfort? The emotions you have when you place yourself in a scene determine the painting you create. Close your eyes and explore the city.”

I do as my uncle says and visualize Durango. Just as I reach the end of the road, the ground beneath me shifts. There are no buzzes or conversations surrounding. All that is there is silence. When I open my eyes, I smile.

Deep in the heart of Durango is where I lived my best summer vacation.


The Unputdownable Domestic Suspense Thrillers of 2018
Posted by Marie on June 14, 2018

This Year's Must-Read Domestic Suspense Thrillers

Sponsored by Scout Press.

The danger is always close to home in domestic suspense thrillers. Here, the narrators are unreliable, the terrors are psychological, and the settings are as familiar to us as our own backyards. Yet the unique hallmark of this subgenre is the suspect: They could be your spouse, your neighbor, or even your own children. They amplify the chill factor because they force us to question just how well we know our loved ones.

Now that we're halfway through 2018, we decided to take a look at the year's current and upcoming domestic suspense thrillers. To create this list, we rounded up books that best represent the subgenre's characteristics and only included titles with a 3.7 star rating or above. Make sure to add what catches your eye to your Want to Read shelf and share your own recommendations in the comments!

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What domestic suspense thrillers are you most excited to read? Tell us in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
The Most Popular One-Hit Wonder Novels
Sarah Jessica Parker’s Next Big Challenge? Book Publishing
The Hottest YA Books of Summer

The Most Popular One-Hit Wonder Novels
Posted by Hayley on June 13, 2018

Some of the most beloved novels ever written marked the beginning and end of a literary career. Today we're rounding up the most popular of these one-hit wonders.

For this list, we defined a one-hit wonder as the only well-known novel published by an author (which means they could have gone on to publish short story collections, works of nonfiction, or poetry and still be included in this roundup). Then we narrowed it down to the books that have been added the most to Goodreads members' shelves.

Take a look and add what piques your interest to your Want to Read shelves. Which ones have you read?

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What's your favorite one-hit wonder? Let's talk books in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today
Sarah Jessica Parker’s Next Big Challenge? Book Publishing
The Hottest YA Books of Summer

7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today
Posted by Hayley on June 12, 2018

Need another excuse to go to the bookstore this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day.

To create our list, we focused on the top books Goodreads members can't wait to read, which we measure by how many times a book has been added to Want to Read shelves. All these highly anticipated titles are now available! Which ones catch your eye?


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You should read this book if you like: Thrillers, cabins in the woods, bears, avoiding Mexican drug cartels, risky plans, the beauty and danger of the wilderness

Check out our interview with McLaughlin here.


You should read this book if you like: Literary fiction, powerful family dramas, what it means to be an American and a Muslim today, weddings, musings on love and belonging

This is the debut novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new literary imprint, SJP for Hogarth. Read our interview with Parker here.


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You should read this book if you like: YA fantasy, the Ember Quartet series, ancient power and looming madness, unexpected heroes, stopping the spread of evil

Find Tahir's book recommendations here.


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You should read this book if you like: Nonfiction, astrophysics and astrobiology, technologically advanced alien civilizations, NASA, surviving climate change

Discover Frank's book recommendations here.


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You should read this book if you like: Psychological thrillers, dark secrets and twisted relationships, seemingly perfect lives, Ireland, houses with grisly pasts, big plot twists



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You should read this book if you like: Autobiographies, wildly dysfunctional families, understanding mental illness, the joys and challenges of helping people celebrate who they are



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You should read this book if you like: Fantasy, Kushiel's Dart, exiled gods, the art of war, epic journeys, fulfilling your destiny (even if it kills you)




Sarah Jessica Parker’s Next Big Challenge? Book Publishing
Posted by Cybil on June 11, 2018

kids summer reading picks


Actress Sarah Jessica Parker may be best known for her roles on HBO’s Sex and the City and Divorce as well as for being a fashion icon, but she’s also an avid reader and an outspoken advocate for public libraries. Now, she’s taking her love for books a step further with her own literary imprint, SJP for Hogarth, where she’s editorial director. Her imprint’s first book publishes this month, the debut novel A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza.

Parker talked to Goodreads about her love of literary fiction, her imprint’s first novel, and why she’ll only take a selfie with a fan if there’s a library donation involved.

You can also follow Parker on Goodreads for all the latest books that inspire her.


Goodreads: Congratulations on your new imprint. Why did you decide to enter the publishing world as editorial director for SJP for Hogarth?

Sarah Jessica Parker: It wasn’t something that I pondered, ever, in life. It wouldn’t have occurred to me. It all started four years ago when I was invited to a lunch that turned out to be a room of powerful women, leaders of industry. At the end of it, a woman introduced herself to me as Molly Stern [SVP and publisher of Crown and Hogarth], and she was with the author Gillian Flynn. When Flynn’s Gone Girl came out, I had been photographed walking around the streets of New York with it, so they were just saying hello.

Very quickly in the conversation, Molly shared with me that she was about to publish Herman Koch’s The Dinner, and I had been trying for months to get my hands on that book. And it was already out in the U.K. and in Europe, and there was a huge amount of interest around it. And then there was the book’s publisher standing in front of me, and she said she would send it to me.

She sent me this parcel of books. And among those books was a yet-to-be-published book called A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. And for some reason, that was the book I chose to read first, before The Dinner. I started reading that book, and I was gobsmacked. I couldn’t believe that I was reading a debut novel. I remember emailing Molly and saying, “I’ve never done this before, and I don’t know what I could possibly offer, but I think this might be one of the most important books by a new American author that I’ve read, and I am a reader. If there’s anything I can do to support this book, if I can be helpful, I want to talk about this book.” So we hatched this plan, and I did some interviews to talk about the book and the author.

From that, Molly and I started a book club to read yet-to-be published books to support writers, independent booksellers, and, in my case, to support libraries. We were very involved as a book club for about three years. Toward the end of the third year, Molly and the publishing team at Crown came to me and asked if I would consider starting an imprint.

Goodreads: What was your reaction?

SJP: I immediately said, “No, I can’t, I don’t have those skills. I have too much respect for everybody who does that. Especially, as an avid reader, I’d just feel like I’d have no business.” And they just kept talking to me, and they said, “We disagree, we think you can do this…You love books and you love talking about them, and basically this is another way to support books and writers.”

So, they convinced me. And at a certain point, I just asked if my imprint could be within the Hogarth imprint because I love Hogarth and its history [Hogarth was founded by author Virginia Woolf and her husband, Leonard]. I particularly love literary fiction, which I think is a unique genre. And it’s a very specific way of talking about books and looking at books.

Goodreads: What are you looking for in the books you’ll publish? How often will we see a title from you?

SJP: I think at most it will be four a year. Literary fiction deserves caretaking, and the kind of stories and authors I’m looking for tend to be more global voices about unknown places, cultures, faiths. People whose stories feel foreign in a very compelling and intriguing way. And I think each one of those books deserves real guardianship. The idea of having time to do right by each author who is allowing me the opportunity to be part of that process is really important to me.

I think also because as I am unknown in the world of publishing, it’s not every author who’s willing to take a chance with me. There are all sorts of imprints and houses of publishing that are storied, historic, and legendary, and have all sorts of experience that especially a new author can rely upon. And there are—I’m imagining—legitimate reservations about handing over a book that they’ve spent six, eight, ten years working on to an unknown. So, given that I am assuming that is going to be the case, I can’t promise that I’m going to publish more than that.

It takes time to find submissions that feel right for my imprint…And so this allows me to really examine each choice. So that’s the plan. We have three titles as acquisitions thus far, all of which are really exciting. And certainly, if I use A Constellation of Vital Phenomena as my gold standard, and I do, they all really fit that criteria. They’re all from wonderfully diverse authors—two are women, one’s a man.

Goodreads: Why did you choose A Place for Us as your premiere publication?

SJP: Why not? I feel like, “How lucky am I?” I was barely into the manuscript when I felt this was a really, really special story. By the time I received Fatima’s manuscript, it was in March, and we had been looking for manuscripts since September. So, we’d been reading, really reading. And this book was immediately, apparently special to all of us, not just to me. We were all just undone by what we were experiencing as readers. I just assumed that we wouldn’t get it, I just thought we would never get this, because we all knew. There was activity around that manuscript, you could feel it.

What’s been so exciting is as the advance reader copies have gone out, readers’ reactions to the book have been so enthusiastic. People have embraced the story. A friend of mine yesterday, whom I gave the book to, he texted me and said, “You have to call me, I have to talk to you about this book.” And he said, “I’ve never read a book about a Muslim family in America.” This is a book about an American family, in lots of ways, in all its plurality. But it’s also a book about faith and what it means to be loyal and to honor those you love while also wanting very much to find your own way in the world.

How do you maintain those parts of your faith, your obligation to those you love, and still be an independently thinking person? It’s about love and family, and also about our country. It happens to be a very timely book. How we see each other, what we project onto one another—even within your own family—when faith is playing such an important role. There are so many wonderful examples of how we don’t know each other, even when we are blood.

[Read debut author Fatima Farheen Mirza's notes & highlights for a behind-the-scenes look at her novel]

Goodreads: A Place for Us comes out on June 12. When can readers expect your second publication?

SJP: That’s the only other one I can mention yet. I can’t mention the third! The second one is a Claire Adam book. It’s really beautiful. It’s called Golden Child [the book will go on sale in January 2019]. She’s a gifted writer from the U.K., and it’s about a family in Trinidad and Tobago.

Goodreads: You also serve as Honorary Chair of The American Library Association’s Book Club Central and have made four selections so far: No One Is Coming to Save Us, Stay with Me, Exit West, and Anatomy of a Miracle. What goes into a great book club pick?

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SJP: That’s so personal because what you see in a book club is how many people disagree. There’s nothing better than that conversation. Anytime something is unfamiliar to the group, to me, is worthy of everyone’s time.

Take, for instance, Stay with Me. That book is about political climate, a story of culture, a story of men’s and women’s roles. How women look at each other, how they value each other. I think that’s a great conversation, because we all have opinions about how others should behave or how we see ourselves in those stories.

And I don’t mind at all being alone either in my affection or my disappointment in a book. So, we’ve been trying to pick books that provoke conversation, that also cultivate more curiosity about others. There are a million stories, but they’re really important for us to learn and to hear and to know and to try to be inside someone else’s experience. We try to pick books that allow that, whether it’s taking place in the deep South in this country or in Lagos or in an unidentified country. I just think all of those books have been wonderful for conversations.

Goodreads: Why did you decide to get involved in supporting public libraries?

SJP: I love libraries. We use them all the time in this house. We all have library cards. I check books out probably two or three times a month. I grew up with the library. We couldn’t afford to buy books growing up. That was not even an option. I didn’t even know that was an option to buy a book. I grew up going to a library at least once a week, never mind in school.

Libraries serve a very necessary function in communities. I think we have to remember libraries are shelter for people in this country, libraries are a warm place in the winter and a cool, refreshing place in the summer. They are access to computers people don’t have at home. They are a safe place. They are the gateway to knowledge.

Not everybody has a person in their life that shows them a book or says, “I feel like this is a story you might really connect with.” You know, a book can change a life. It can make you feel connected, it can make you feel not alone, it can transport you from something you don’t want to be thinking about. And a lot of people in this country don’t get to just go to bookstores and buy books.

I also think librarians are very special people and they love their work. They are stewards, and they are playing very important roles in lots of people’s lives of all ages and backgrounds. And those doors are open to everyone! It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from. You don’t have to be a documented person. You can walk into that library, and you have a place to study, to learn, to feel safe, to feel warm, to find quiet. And I just think we have to support our libraries because they are necessary in a community.

You know, the only way I’ll do a selfie is if people give me money for United for Libraries.

Goodreads: Is that right?

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SJP: That is exactly right. It started almost a year ago. After we left the American Library Association’s convention in Chicago. We were at the airport…and a bunch of people were coming up and asking for selfies. And I’m terrible at selfies. I’ve never taken one in my entire life. I can’t take them. I feel like an idiot. And I’m not good at it.

I said, You know what, I’ll give you a picture if you give me money for United for Libraries. So, people started doing it! Sometimes I’m able to send $800 a month, sometimes it’s less, it depends how much I’m out on the streets. But I do not take a picture unless you give me a donation for libraries. I don’t care if it’s a quarter. And it’s the best thing in the world, because people are like, “What’s UFL?” You’re telling people about our libraries, and they are seriously underfunded. So, I love doing that.

Goodreads: What are you currently reading, and what are you recommending to your friends?

SJP: Well, a lot of those books are on my Goodreads profile page! Let’s see…On Tyranny, which everyone should read. I’m really excited about Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation. I haven’t read Pachinko yet, which I’m embarrassed to tell you. I’ve been moving through the Philip Roth canon, which has been mind-bending for me. I just read Swing Time, and I loved it. I also just read Play It as It Lays, which I thought was incredible. It's one of those early Joan Didion books. Absolutely fantastic. Recently, I read for real, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour by J.D. Salinger. I think that was required reading in ninth or tenth grade. It’s one of the most dense books. The first half is more of a narrative, and then the second half is really challenging. You have to really stick with it.

There’s a wonderful book by Lebonese-born journalist Rania Abouzeid, who has been covering Syria for years. She wrote No Turning Back: Life, Loss, and Hope in Wartime Syria about her experience covering Syria, and it’s really devastating…I just think it’s a really great book. It’s not a pleasant story, but any time we have an opportunity to better understand that conflict and the devastation, I think we’re better for it.

I also want to remind people that A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is incredible.

Goodreads: What would be your definition of success for your literary imprint?

SJP: First of all, for it to be understood, for people to know my intentions. And honestly, to continue to have the same kind of opportunities I’m having with authors. I feel so privileged to be part of this process for the three authors I currently have. I think they’re all really gifted, very special, and important voices. And I mean to do right by them and to be deserving of the role I get to play in their professional lives. To have more of the same would just be a thrill.

I’m not an overly ambitious person in terms of “I want to have a book empire!” I just want to offer to readers, and press into readers’ hands, books that I think are not just important but exciting. Books that make you feel different when you finish them and books you wish you could start all over again for the first time. Books that stay with you.

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The Hottest YA Books of Summer
Posted by Marie on June 09, 2018

The Hottest YA Books of Summer

Young adult fans have a lot to look forward to this summer. With swoon-worthy standalones like Sadie and The Fragile Ordinary and series conclusions including Bright We Burn and Wildcard, it's sure to be an unforgettable season of our most feisty rebels, royals, and heroes.

For this list, we took a look at the top YA books publishing between June 21 and September 22. From there, we measured the anticipation of each title by looking at how many times it's been added to our members' Want to Read shelves.

To make sure we're only serving up the best of the best, we narrowed down our list to books with a rating of at least 3.9 stars or above by early reviewers. You can always share your YA recommendations in the comments and make sure to shelve what catches your eye!



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Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre is reimagined as a young ghost hunter embarking on her most chilling adventure yet in the latest book of The Lady Janies series.

Check out our interview here.

Release date: June 26


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Unlike her name, Comet Caldwell prefers blending in to blazing across the sky. Unfortunately, this shy student becomes the center of her school's attention when she's partnered with bad boy Tobias King on a class assignment.

Release date: June 26



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The conclusion to The Conqueror's Saga sees "the girl prince" Lada Dracul at the height of her power, but her iron will can only go so far. To secure her claim on Wallachia's throne, she'll sacrifice anything—including those she loves.

Release date: July 10


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It's been three years since Dario Heyward freed himself from his father, the infamous horror director of the iconic Moldavia Studios. But a mysterious invitation from Dario's brother lures him back to a twisted world full of real and imagined terrors.

Release date: July 24



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Everyone knows the story: The little mermaid strikes a cruel bargain with a sea witch for a chance at happily ever after. Here, debut author Sarah Henning lends a voice to one of Hans Christian Andersen's most iconic fairy-tale villains.

Release date: July 31


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Serina Tessaro was groomed to be a Grace, the submissive concubine of the heir to the throne. Her rebellious sister, Nomi, was trained to be her handmaiden. But their destinies are forever changed when the heir chooses Nomi instead.

Release date: July 31



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Zu Kimura battles fear and prejudice against her fellow Psi kids in this epic installment of The Darkest Minds series. When the interim government accuses her of a horrific crime, Zu must fight to stay alive once again.

Release date: July 31


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Monica's sister was the last cheerleader to die in a murder spree that left Sunnybrook reeling. Five years later, Sunnybrook High wants to honor the squad's lost lives. But their remembrance unearths secrets that begin to unravel Monica's world.

Release date: July 31


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DC Comic’s most notorious thief, Selina Kyle, reinvents herself as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees in this thrilling take from the author of the Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Release date: August 7


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A game of cat-and-mouse is played between Kazi, a legendary former street thief, and Jase, the new leader of an outlaw dynasty. Bound by danger and intrigue, they slowly begin to realize that neither of them are what they seem.

Release date: August 7


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In the final book of The Thousandth Floor series, author Katharine McGee takes us back to the 22nd-century supertower one last time. Here, every floor has a story to tell, a secret to keep, and a scandal to bury.

Release date: August 28


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All Caledonia Styx has left is her ship, thanks to the warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets. When one of the Bullets defects and asks to join her all-girl crew, Caledonia doesn't know if she should trust him or throw him overboard.

Release date: August 28


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Amani dreams of adventure beyond her isolated moon. When the brutal Vathek empire kidnaps her, she discovers that she looks identical to the regime's cruel princess. Now the chance to live the life she always wanted is within her grasp.

Release date: August 28


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A botched police investigation leads Sadie to hit the road and bring her sister's killer to justice. Captivated by Sadie's story, radio personality West McCray starts a podcast that covers his attempt to track her down before she enacts her revenge.

Release date: September 4



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When Emika Chen discovers the dark truth behind the Neurolink algorithm in the Warcross Championships, she barely escapes with her life. Her sole chance at survival lies with Zero and his ruthless crew. But their protection comes at a price.

Release date: September 18


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Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Creswell take on their most gruesome case yet while aboard the RMS Erturia. As freakish murders claim the ship's passengers, the two partners must piece together the clues before another victim is slain.

Release date: September 18



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