Read It Forward

Take a tour of the fictional the city of Bulikov with this beautiful interactive map – created by artist John Petersen for Robert Jackson Bennett’s novel City of Stairs.

One of the great pleasures of reading is that every reader “creates” a different book. We all bring different experiences to the page, and so we’re free to imagine these fictional worlds with characters and settings only we can see.

So it’s a real treat when an artist brings a book to life in a way that feels true. Illustrator John Petersen does just that with the city of Bulikov, the mind-bending setting of Robert Jackson Bennett’s novel City of Stairsa sci-fi novel for people who usually don’t read sci-fi.

Celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, September 21-27, 2014.

Since 1990, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has received reports of more than 18,000 attempts to remove materials in schools and libraries for content deemed by some as inappropriate, controversial or even dangerous.

Here’s a fact that never ceases to amaze us: To Kill a Mockingbird – consistently named one of the “best books of all time” by your fellow RIFers – is one of the most challenged books in history.

For married people on Facebook, their spouse is the most assimilated member of their network an astounding 75 percent of the time.

“Highly assimilated couples function – the two people together – as the bond between otherwise unconnected cliques,” writes Christian Rudder, author of Dataclysm.

“They are the special glue in a given spread of dots, and furthermore, they’re a glue like epoxy: it takes both ingredients to make the thing hold together.”

A monumental, genre-defying novel over ten years in the making – from Michel Faber, author of the international bestseller The Crimson Petal and the White.

It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC.

His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter’s teachings—his Bible is their “book of strange new things.”

Dive into an excerpt of the engrossing biography of the longest-reigning female pharaoh in Ancient Egypt and the story of her audacious rise to power.

Hatshepsut successfully negotiated a path from the royal nursery to the very pinnacle of authority, and her reign saw one of Ancient Egypt’s most prolific building periods. Scholars have long speculated as to why her monuments were destroyed within a few decades of her death, all but erasing evidence of her unprecedented rule. Constructing a rich narrative history using the artifacts that remain, noted Egyptologist Kara Cooney offers a remarkable interpretation of how Hatshepsut rapidly but methodically consolidated power—and why she fell from public favor just as quickly.

A haunting memoir of teaching English to the sons of North Korea’s ruling class during the last six months of Kim Jong-il’s reign.

“Terrifying and sublime, Without You, There Is No Us is a stealth account of heartbreak. Suki Kim, brilliant author of The Interpreter, penetrates the soul of her divided country of origin, bearing witness to generations of maimed lives and arrested identities. This look inside totalitarian North Korea is like no other.” —Jayne Anne Phillips, author of Lark and Termite and Quiet Dell