Giveaway: Prize Pack of What We’re Reading

This week, we’re hosting a special giveaway: Enter to win the books that Team Read It Forward is reading (and loving) right now!

Similar to the staff picks at a bookstore, these seven books represent our varied tastes. There’s a healthy mix of genres as well as new titles and old favorites. The one thing these books all have in common? They’re amazing reads. Good luck!

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

For Neil Gaiman fans: Eleanor by Jason Gurley

“Jason Gurley is the kind of storyteller that makes you excited to sit down and spend a day reading.” —Ted Kosmatka, author of Prophet of Bones

Eleanor and Esmerelda are identical twins with a secret language all their own, inseparable until a terrible accident claims Esme’s life. Eleanor’s family is left in tatters: her mother retreats inward, seeking comfort in bottles; her father reluctantly abandons ship. Eleanor is forced to grow up more quickly than a child should, and becomes the target of her mother’s growing rage.

Years pass, and Eleanor’s painful reality begins to unravel in strange ways. The first time it happens, she walks through a school doorway, and finds herself in a cornfield, beneath wide blue skies. When she stumbles back into her own world, time has flown by without her. Again and again, against her will, she falls out of her world and into other, stranger ones, leaving behind empty rooms and worried loved ones.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Our Favorite Bookish Tweets

With the rise of social media, and especially Twitter, reading has become even more performative. We use hashtags like #amreading, #FridayReads and #BookNerdConfessions to talk about our own habits, and start movements with #ReadWomen2014 and #WeNeedDiverseBooks. The new weekly chat on Thursdays with librarians (#AskALibrarian) has filled our TBR piles to overflowing. Furthermore, Twitter brings us closer to our favorite authors and famous readers. We’re always retweeting and favoriting the bon mots from literary heavyweights, clever cultural commentators, and even fellow readers who attain brief fame when they hit a book-related nerve.

Here we’ve rounded up 42 of our favorite bookish tweets that made us laugh, nod furiously in agreement and click *retweet.*

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

The Best Literary Decor Ever

All of us know that true book lovers love to be surrounded by books. But sometimes, when money is tight and you can’t buy more books, or you’ve run out of shelf-space, or your apartment is small, or your roommates are seriously weird and don’t let you keep books anywhere but in your room… well, if any of that is true, you still need to figure out a way to have books around you in some form or another. So here at Read It Forward, we’ve gathered some of the best DIY or buy decor for your enthusiastically bookish personal space.

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Enter to Win New Fiction from Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn’s Edgar Award-winning homage to the classic ghost story, published for the first time as a standalone.

A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Are People Judging You By Your Book’s Cover?

When my mother and father met—early in their respective college careers—my father had established a gimmick for picking up girls, or at least for projecting a cool, intellectual image (which, to be fair, he owned): He carried around a copy of Martin Buber’s “I And Thou.” (His method proved effective, if my parents’ long marriage is any indicator.)

Years later, when I was in college, I was intrigued by my eventual boyfriend’s passion for Albert Camus’ “The Stranger.” (That may have been a red flag, come to think of it.) And, still later, my now husband captivated me by dissecting “The Iliad” (which he still does from time to time).

These days, perhaps a Philip Roth book, rare graphic novel or Jonathan Safran Foer haggadah would serve the same purpose. (So might the right esoteric concert t-shirt and limited-edition sneakers.) Clearly, regardless of the decade, a book has the power to endow its readers with qualities of intellectual rigor and even sense of humor. When we expose a book on our desk at work, throughout our subway commute or even during dinner discussions, we are conscious of its power to define and categorize us in other peoples’ eyes. For better or worse.

It’s not that we pretend to appreciate books that, in fact, we have not. Rather, there are books we are proud to have read and absorbed (don’t get me started on Italo Calvino’s “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler”), and books we only buy while wearing sunglasses and read under the cover of night or on an innocuous e-reader (see: my Jude Deveraux stash).

I, for one, am a hi-lo reader, for lack of a better term. Just as my wardrobe is equal parts Isabel Marant and TopShop (well, I wish), and my TV viewing ranges from “The Good Wife” to “Survivor,” I tend to alternate between genre fiction like mysteries and more critically-acclaimed “highbrow” reads. Even the books I write seem to straddle the commercial and literary. It makes sense: Juxtaposition is the nature of our entire culture these days. And I’m not sure one has more merit than another.

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Thriller Giveaway: Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz

From #1 bestselling author Dean Koontz—the must-read thriller of the year, for readers of dark psychological suspense and modern classics of mystery and adventure.

Ashley Bell is the must-read thriller of the year, for readers of dark psychological suspense and modern classics of mystery and adventure.

The girl who said no to death.

Bibi Blair is a fierce, funny, dauntless young woman—whose doctor says she has one year to live. She replies, “We’ll see.”

Her sudden recovery astonishes medical science. An enigmatic woman convinces Bibi that she escaped death so that she can save someone else. Someone named Ashley Bell. But save her from what, from whom? And who is Ashley Bell? Where is she? Bibi’s obsession with finding Ashley sends her on the run from threats both mystical and worldly, including a rich and charismatic cult leader with terrifying ambitions. Here is an eloquent, riveting, brilliantly paced story with an exhilarating heroine and a twisting, ingenious plot filled with staggering surprises. Ashley Bell is a new milestone in literary suspense from the long-acclaimed master.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Ink on Books: A Few of Our Favorite Literary Tattoos

Books tattoo themselves on our hearts—but these special tributes are inked into the skin, lasting reminders of their hold on us.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Pete Townshend’s “Tattoo,” a sweet, goofy song about self-definition from “The Who Sell Out” (1967). The chorus is especially fun:

“Welcome to my life, tattoo!
We’ve a long time together, me and you.
I expect I’ll regret you, but the skin graft man won’t get you;
You’ll be there when I die.

I also have a soft spot (probably the back of my neck, where I expect to get something David-Foster-Wallace-related someday) for literary tattoos; nothing says “that story stuck with me” quite like sticking yourself with a story. Meet 10 folks who have done just that—and tell us in the comments what your ideal ink about ink would be!