Author Essay Good for Book Clubs

Sophie Kinsella Reveals The Shopaholic’s Favorite Reads

After a long hiatus, everyone’s favorite Shopaholic is back! Sophie Kinsella, the author of the ten titles in the wildly popular Shopaholic series—as well as fourteen other standalone novels—re-introduces fans to hilarious heroine Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) in her latest: “Shopaholic to the Rescue.” Here, we find Becky on a road trip, headed from Hollywood to Las Vegas, determined to locate her missing father. Along for the ride are beloved characters like her best friend Suze, daughter Minnie and husband Luke, her nemesis Alicia and of course, the notorious Derek Smeath. Gutsy as ever, Becky has found a new sense of maturity in her eleventh adventure, though she still—of course—loves to shop. Here, author Sophie Kinsella interviews her main character Becky Bloomwood Brandon about the books she loves to buy. (Psst: Click on the book jacket to shop the Shopaholic’s picks.)

Sophie Kinsella: So, Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood), are you a book lover?

Becky Brandon: Oh I love books! I especially I love bookshops. We have a campaign where I live: ‘Support your local bookshop’, and honestly, I’ve been so supportive of that. The lovely thing about buying books is, you don’t feel guilty at all, however much you spend.

And that’s what I always point out to Luke, when my pile of bedside ‘to read’ books crashes down on the floor. (Which it does quite often.) Before he can even suggest that I tidy them away or don’t buy so many, I just give him a calm, even stare, and I say, ‘Luke, these are books. OK? Books.’

Also, books are amazingly good value for money, in my opinion. Because they give you hours of enjoyment. Hours. I mean, if you compare them to DVDs or film tickets, or theatre tickets, or, practically anything, then they totally win.

(OK, maybe they don’t win against handbags. But they win against everything else.)

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Is Life Too Short to Finish Every Book?

To drop a boring book or soldier on—that is the question.

America is a polarized place. As this election year draws nearer, families, friends and entire neighborhoods are torn apart by discord, as citizens debate hot-button issues like abortion, gun control and whether it’s wrong to put aside an unsatisfying book.

Okay. Maybe the literature question is a bit less fraught, but readers do have strong feelings on the subject. One camp argues that stopping mid-novel might mean missing out: “I’ve read books that I thought had really boring introductions, but completely pulled me in the moment we got past that,” says Kristen Green Seymour of Sarasota, Florida. “I never want to miss out on one of those!” The other side complains of wasted time: “Life is too short to torture yourself with boring literature,” asserts Kate Fried of Washington, DC. Seconds Laura Tremaine of Los Angeles, “My ‘to read’ stack is too big for that nonsense!”

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Bringing History to Life Through Fiction

Author Jillian Cantor describers her process–including Pinterest and whiteboards–for bringing history to life with fiction.

My novel, The Hours Count, is a re-imagining of the years leading up to the Rosenbergs’ arrest and execution, told from the point of view of a fictional neighbor. I first got the idea for the book after I came across the last letter Ethel and Julius Rosenberg wrote to their young sons on the day they were executed. One of the last things they wrote was for their sons to always remember that they were innocent. As I started to research and learn about the details surrounding the case, I came to believe Ethel Rosenberg really was innocent. I read that on the day she was arrested she had left her sons in the care of a neighbor, and though I don’t know who this real neighbor was, I decided to create a fictional neighbor, a young Jewish wife and mother I named Millie Stein.

Enter to Win a Big Box of Audiobooks for the New Listener

Have you always been curious about the world of audiobooks but just don’t know where to start? We’ve teamed up with The Random House Audio team to bring you this special giveaway of 15 of the best audiobooks, guaranteed to hook new listeners. We love audio books because they allow us to enjoy stories for more of the day–while driving, doing dishes, or taking a bath (no more soggy pages!). It can also just be plain magical to hear the words of our favorite books spoken aloud; it brings the characters to life in a whole new way.

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Non-Fiction Giveaway: Lights Out by Ted Koppel

In this tour de force of investigative reporting, Ted Koppel reveals that a major cyberattack on America’s power grid is not only possible but likely, that it would be devastating, and that the United States is shockingly unprepared.

Imagine a blackout lasting not days, but weeks or months. Tens of millions of people over several states are affected. For those without access to a generator, there is no running water, no sewage, no refrigeration or light. Food and medical supplies are dwindling. Devices we rely on have gone dark. Banks no longer function, looting is widespread, and law and order are being tested as never before.

It isn’t just a scenario. A well-designed attack on just one of the nation’s three electric power grids could cripple much of our infrastructure—and in the age of cyber warfare, a laptop has become the only necessary weapon.

With urgency and authority, one of our most renowned journalists examines a threat unique to our time and evaluates potential ways to prepare for a catastrophe that is all but inevitable.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Original Literary Halloween Costumes

Halloween is fast approaching, and book lovers understand the need to cosplay their favorite characters even beyond events like New York or San Francisco Comic Con (and the various other wonderful conventions that happen around the country). And besides, we don’t always want to dress up as comic book or manga (turned movie or anime) heroes. Sometimes we want to go classic or original. And so we present to you here a variety of wonderful costumes choices for you and your friends/family, you and your loved one/BFF, or just you.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

8 Tips for Artfully Displaying Your Books

Emily Henderson is hands down out favorite interior designer. Her website Style Emily Henderson is the ultimate destination for drool-worthy pictures of rooms (and bookshelves) that actually feel achievable. When her new book came out this month, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it to find further inspiration for organizing and decorating our bookshelves. Below, find Emily’s key tips, tricks, and ideas for creating a beautiful book lover’s homestead.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

A Game of Literary Kill, Marry, Shag

I feel like I’ve been preparing for this blog post almost my entire reading life, since the moment I cracked the spine on Little House on The Prairie and contemplated the romantic attributes of Alonzo. (I’d marry him – in case you were wondering…)

Let’s start with one of my most recent reading obsessions; Game of Thrones. This is tricky since half the characters I’ve loved have ended up dead – so have many of the characters I’d kill. And Khal Drago – who I’d shag. But luckily there are seven hundred more character to choose from.