Excerpt Good for Book Clubs

The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass

Read It Forward is thrilled to share this exclusive excerpt of The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass, the first book in a new series by Jim Butcher, the bestselling author of The Dresden Files and the Codex Alera novels.


Spire Albion, Habble Morning, House Lancaster

“Gwendolyn Margaret Elizabeth Lancaster,” said Mother in a firm, cross voice, “you will cease this nonsense at once.”

“Now, Mother,” Gwendolyn replied absently, “we have discussed the matter at length upon multiple occasions.” She frowned down at the gauntlet upon her left hand and rotated her wrist slightly. “The number three strap is too tight, Sarah. The crystal is digging into my palm.”

“Just a moment, miss.” Sarah bent nearer the gauntlet’s fastenings, eyeing them over the rims of her spectacles. She made a series of quick, deft adjustments and asked, “Is that better?”

Gwendolyn tried the motion again and smiled. “Excellent. Thank you, Sarah.”

“Of course, miss,” Sarah said. She began to smile but glanced aside at Mother and schooled her expression into soberly appropriate diffidence.

“There has been no discussion,” Mother said, folding her arms. “Discussion implies discourse. You have simply pretended I wasn’t in the room when I broached the subject.”

Gwendolyn turned to smile sweetly. “Mother, we can have this conversation again if you wish, but I have not altered my intentions in the least. I will not attend Lady Hadshaw’s Finishing Academy.”

“I would be more than pleased to see you enter the Etheric Engineering Academy along with—”

“Oh!” Gwendolyn said, rolling her eyes. “I’ve been working with those systems in the testing shop since I could walk, and I’m quite sure I will go mad if I have to endure two years’ worth of introductory courses.”

Mother shook her head. “Gwendolyn, you cannot possibly think that—”

“Enough,” Gwendolyn said. “I will enter the Spirearch’s Guard. I will take the oath. I will spend a year in the Service.” She turned to regard her reflection in the long mirror, adjusted her skirts marginally, and straightened the lapels of her short bolero jacket. “Honestly, other daughters of the high Houses take the oath. I cannot imagine why you’re making such a fuss.”

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

The Best Reading Positions for Every Genre

Everyone’s got his or her favorite reading position: propped up in bed, perched in an overstuffed armchair, or sprawled out on the floor. But here at Read It Forward, we’ve done some extensive research into the best physical way to read each genre: from nail-biting page-turners that demand absolute stillness to sweeping romances where you can stretch out like a years-long love affair, each of these poses has as much personality as the book it’s meant to be paired with. Here’s our illustrated guide to the best reading positions for every genre. Find your favorite reading position, share it on social media and encourage your bookworm friends to find theirs!

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Books You Love That No One Else Has Read

David Jaher’s debut “The Witch of Lime Street” is a well-researched work of historical nonfiction that looks at the Spiritualist movement in the 1920s, when those who lost loved ones in the first World War began clamoring for contact with them in the spirit world. Mediums and seances came into fashion and the supernatural threaten to usurp science. In 1924, a psychically-gifted Boston woman named Margery (dubbed “The Witch of Lime Street” by reporters) became the focus of the Spiritualist movement, when she was urged by her number one supporter “Sherlock Holmes” author Sir Conan Doyle to enter a contest that would prove the authenticity of claims that contact with the spirit world was achievable. Famous escape artist Harry Houdini was a judge of the contest and was determined to discredit Margery the medium—placing the two at odds with one another at this fascinating intersection in history. Jaher’s tale is page-turning and eye-opening and addresses the question that both Houdini and Margery were pondering nearly a century ago: What happens to us after we die?

We asked author David Jaher to share with us the books he has read and loved that no one else has read. Enjoy his picks and let us know in the comments what books you’ve loved that haven’t gotten the attention they deserve.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

The Book That Changed My Life

Like your first sip of alcohol, or the first time your heart is broken, you don’t forget the first book that made you feel differently—that changed you as a person from the moment you opened the front cover.

For me, it happened when I was twelve. I purposefully walked over to the alphabetically-organized wooden shelves at my elementary school’s library, careful not to smudge the name I had scribbled across the back of my hand in blue ink—an author’s name I had only learned about that morning from a friend who urged me to read her book. Sharon Creech. Fearing someone else had beaten me to the punch, I scanned the shelves of books covered in library-mandated plastic, and there I found Walk Two Moons right in front of me. I grabbed it like it was a forbidden artifact in an Indiana Jones movie and stared at the cover.

I don’t recall why I was so compelled to pick it up or what exactly my friend had said that had made it so intriguing to me (it was 16 years ago after all), but I immediately sequestered myself away from the rest of my classmates in the Encyclopedia section of the library and opened it. On the page before the table of contents was a quote, centered on the page and written in the tiniest italic font:

“Don’t judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.”

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

RIF’s Favorite Reads of September

  We know the drill. You want to stay current, but with so many books being published every month, it’s hard to know which titles are worth purchasing from your local bookstore, downloading on your eReader, or waiting for at the library. Read It Forward to the rescue! We’ve collected twelve of our favorite books—a healthy…

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Download Free Pages from Two Gorgeous Adult Coloring Books

In today’s hectic world, we are faced with constant stressors—bad traffic, pinging email and bills, bills, bills. Remember what it was like to get lost in the detailed, contemplative pages of a favorite coloring book—when the only thing you had to worry about was staying inside the lines?

Coloring not only helps you tap into your creative side, studies have shown that the practice can help you de-stress and unwind and that the repetitive back and forth motion of the crayon is practically meditative. Fans of grown-up coloring have come to the hobby from alongside their kids at the kitchen table, while on vacation, or as a way to cope with their jobs. Coloring clubs and parties are springing up all over the country, and books are flying off the shelves. Some fans, once they’ve filled one book with pigment, are already clamoring for the next in the series.

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Enter to Win City on Fire

New York City, 1976. Meet Regan and William Hamilton-Sweeney, estranged heirs to one of the city’s great fortunes; Keith and Mercer, the men who, for better or worse, love them; Charlie and Samantha, two suburban teenagers seduced by downtown’s punk scene; an obsessive magazine reporter and his idealistic neighbor—and the detective trying to figure out what any of them have to do with a shooting in Central Park on New Year’s Eve.

The mystery, as it reverberates through families, friendships, and the corridors of power, will open up even the loneliest-seeming corners of the crowded city. And when the blackout of July 13, 1977, plunges this world into darkness, each of these lives will be changed forever.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

The Best Quotes About Reading

What word nerd hasn’t underlined a favorite passage, or taken the time to copy a favorite quote into a journal? Readers adore quotes that eloquently describe the human condition. And the best quotes for readers are often ones about reading, because…uh, we love it. Here are thirteen quotes about reading that will inspire you to pick up a book right away.