If you adored Me Before You as much as we did, you’re going to love this news: Variety reports that Universal Pictures has optioned the rights for a film adaptation of bestselling author Jojo Moyes’s upcoming book, The Giver of Stars. Here’s what we know so far about The Giver of Stars movie.
Set during the Great Depression and based on real events, The Giver of Stars centers on five women who become the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky, a group that travels to deliver books as part of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s mission to bring reading to the masses. Along their travels, the women discover friendship, love, independence, and adventure. The book will be published on October 8, 2019.
Ol Parker is set to both adapt the novel into a screenplay and direct The Giver of Stars film. Parker and Universal have previously worked together on the movie Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Alison Owen and Debra Hayward, who worked on the film version of Me Before You, will produce The Giver of Stars film as well. Although it has not yet been released, readers are highly anticipating this new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jojo Moyes. Actress Emilia Clarkewrites, “Jojo’s work never fails to bring a smile to my face with her honesty, humor and empathy about what it is to be human.”
With Jojo Moyes being such an incredibly popular author, expectations are high that this new film will be a success. The Me Before You movie, starring Sam Claflin as well as Emilia Clarke, made more than $200 million across the globe.
While you wait for The Giver of Stars to hit bookshelves this fall — not to mention more details to unfold about this exciting film adaptation! — check out these other incredible reads from Jojo Moyes.
If you’ve been eagerly awaiting this year’s film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott‘s beloved Little Women, you won’t want to miss these photos just released in an exclusive first look on Vanity Fair. Directed by Greta Gerwig, the production promises to be one of the year’s biggest literary films, with an amazing cast, including Meryl Streep, Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, and Laura Dern. Take a look at these gorgeous pictures from the Little Women movie below!
Little Women tells the story of four sisters who grow up in Boston around the hardships of the Civil War. Oscar-nominated director Greta Gerwig has always been inspired by the story. “When you live through a book, it almost becomes the landscape of your inner life,” she told Vanity Fair. “It becomes part of you, in a profound way.” Saoirse Ronan, too, recognized elements of her childhood in Alcott’s book. In the story, the March sisters — Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy — performed plays to entertain themselves, something Ronan often forced her friends to do when they were younger.
Ronan, who worked with Gerwig on the movie Lady Bird, will play the part of Jo March in the production, with Timothée Chalamet (also from Lady Bird) as her best friend, Laurie. Since working together on Lady Bird, the two have become good friends in real life, even joking about their roles in both films: “I loved that in Lady Bird, he was the one that broke my heart, but I got to break his heart in Little Women,” said Ronan.
Beyond Ronan and Chalamet, the rest of the cast is equally star-studded. Actress Emma Watson plays oldest sister Meg, who begins working as a governess to help support her family. Little Women also boasts the impressive talents of Laura Dern as the girls’ mother Marmee and Meryl Streep as their wealthy, uppity Aunt Josephine.
Gerwig conducted extensive research to ensure the film would be as realistic as possible. Filmed in Massachusetts, where the book was set, the Little Women movie even features the schoolhouse where Alcott’s father actually taught. “The physical place really reminds you of the story you’re trying to tell,” said Ronan.
If you’re as excited about this adaptation as we are, you can view other images from the set on Vanity Fair. Little Women is set to hit theaters on December 25.
Read these other classic Louisa May Alcott stories while you wait for the movie!
If you’re looking for your next fantasy read, and you’re short on time or you’re afraid of committing to an entire series, never fear: We’ve put together this list of the best standalone fantasy books. From classic novels to new releases, there’s plenty of magic, demons, dragons, goblins, witches, and other delights to satisfy any fantasy fan! Check out our list of the best standalone fantasy books below, along with our recommendation.
Filled with courtly intrigue and lush, complex worldbuilding, this novel follows half-goblin prince Maia, an unwilling heir doing his best to keep his head above water — and attached to his shoulders. If you enjoy reading about political machinations but don’t have the energy to pick up George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, this debut novel from Katharine Addison might be for you.
This classic standalone from beloved fantasy author Neil Gaiman is a rollicking adventure that is one part fairy tale, one part fable, and one part swashbuckling adventure. Gaiman has other standalones, but we recommend this one because it manages to evoke classic Grimm fairy tales while still being unmistakably Gaiman. It’s also fairly short, which is a plus if you’re looking for a low-commitment read!
A nod to classic fairy tales, folklore, and Lewis Carroll, this New York Times bestseller took the young adult fantasy world by storm. No matter your age, Albert’s debut is a thrilling coming-of-age fantasy that blends the urban jungle of New York City with the cruel supernatural realm of the Hinterland.
In case it wasn’t already obvious, we have a soft spot for fairy tales and particularly for fairy tale retellings. This Nebula and Hugo Award finalist is a captivating take on the Rumplestiltskin story. Novik’s storytelling and character development is exceptional, and her heroines are bold, brash, and fierce. It’s worth noting that Uprooted, also by Novik, is a standalone as well!
This Hugo and Nebula Award–winning novel will resonate with anyone who fell in love with libraries at a young age, or anyone who devoured science fiction and fantasy as both an escape and a coping mechanism. Protagonist Mori is young and well-intentioned, but never in a Mary Sue way, and the book does an admirable job of balancing whimsy and magic with trauma and loss.
Oyeyemi has a few standalone fairy tale retellings, but her latest novel reworks the Hansel and Gretel story and makes the strangeness of the tale even stranger — lending it a dreamlike logic and a sense of humor. It’s not the easiest plot to follow, but Oyeyemi’s writing is so deliciously intriguing that we followed its twists and turns to the final page. And yes, you will want to eat gingerbread when you’re finished.
Murder, magic, and mystery collide in this brilliant, highly anticipated debut from Sarah Gailey. P.I. Ivy is more than a little bitter that she’s been relegated to investigating infidelities while her sister, Tabitha, is teaching at a prestigious school for magic. But when a suspicious death brings their worlds together, the results are devastating. The book’s premise might seem cute at first, but let us assure you: This is a harrowing ride, and it will hit close to home for anyone who’s felt a surge of sibling rivalry.
The legend of Baba Yaga is already full of juicy, bizarre imagery (A house on chicken’s legs? A witch who rides in a mortar?) — now imagine if you transposed that story into a Brooklyn neighborhood! That’s just what Sarah Porter does in this book, with riotous success. Porter preserves everything fans of the original myth remember but adds her own unmistakable dose of grit, and her Vassa is not the timid child of the original story — she has a biting wit and a blunt courage that will have readers cheering her on. With endorsements from Kendare Blake (Three Dark Crowns) and Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone), this one is unmissable.
Recently optioned as a TV series for HBO, this standalone from Nnedi Okorafor tells the powerful, gut-wrenching story of Onyesonwu, a woman struggling to understand her origins and her own magical power — before her enemies finish her off. The subject matter can be difficult, so proceed with caution. But we’re highly recommending this book because it’s unlike any other fantasy book we’ve ever read, and the writing is phenomenal and evocative.
Love an unreliable narrator? Us too. How about werewolves? We thought so. This book is lush, complex, and unforgettable. Das manages to evoke the timelessness of myth while still making a point about modern loneliness. The writing is surreal and unsettling, and it completely drew us in. We devoured this story, and we hope you will too.
Sybel is a powerful sorceress who prefers life in isolation, surrounded only by her menagerie of powerful, magical beasts: Cyrin the boar, Gyld the dragon, Gules the Lyon, a falcon named Ter, and Moriah, a giant feline. But her solitude is shattered when a child is left on her doorstep, and soon she must confront the world outside her walls, whether she wants to or not. McKillip artfully spins a story of love, ownership, manipulation, revenge, and loss. If historical fantasy and Arthurian legend are in your wheelhouse, you’ll be captivated by this read.
Reading comics can often be an investment, which is why we’re always on the lookout for solid, standalone graphic novels. A National Book Award finalist, Nimona was initially published as a webcomic on Tumblr. Stevenson’s warm and beautifully rendered drawings perfectly match her story, which follows shapeshifter sidekick Nimona and her boss, the villainous Lord Ballister Blackheart. It starts out a little cutesy and whimsical yet manages to keep those elements while also being a story about justice, love, and what it means to be a hero — or a monster. We highly recommend this one for fans of The Princess Bride and Adventure Time.
Set in the Regency era, this novel is an unforgettable tour de force of historical fantasy. Magic has been gone from England for centuries — until a reclusive magician works wonders on the stone figures of York Cathedral… If you love classic authors like Austen and Dickens, aren’t afraid of a high page count, and love a good footnote, you have found the right book!
We’re here to recommend this standalone on the strength of its worldbuilding alone. Borrowing scraps from steampunk and urban fantasy, this book has a surprise lurking on every page, along with incredible creatures and stunningly detailed descriptions — you might even need to break out the dictionary once or twice.
This Newbery Medal Winner is a treat for fantasy fans young and old alike. Though she is a princess, Aerin is an outcast who is shunned by her own father’s court. But when she discovers the formula for a substance that can repel dragon flame, her discovery inadvertently leads her into adventure. Fiercely feminist and unpretentious in its telling, The Hero and the Crown is one of McKinley’s best-loved works, and it’s a companion to her book The Blue Sword, which can also be read as a standalone.
Two superstars of the fantasy genre combine their bewitching powers for a witty, rollicking romp. When divine intervention leads to a mishap, an angel and a demon must join forces to find the Antichrist and possibly even prevent the end of the world. Recently adapted as a miniseries starring Michael Sheen and David Tennant, this is one rollercoaster of a book — so brace yourself.
Can we all agree that when it comes to The Princess Bride, the movie is just as good as the book? Whether you agree or not, Goldman’s beloved tale of love and adventure is probably one of the best — if not the best — comic fantasy novels of all time. The novel is both a brilliant fantasy and a successful sendup of the genre, and it’s memorable precisely because it manages to take itself seriously and make fun of itself at the same time. With a colorful cast of characters that range from the fabulously flawed to the marvelously manic, we can’t recommend this book highly enough.
Fans of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods will enjoy this inventive standalone fantasy novel from Scott Hawkins. With influences ranging from the Old Testament to Kipling, the premise, plot, and worldbuilding are stacked with surprises, and the fantastical is effortlessly woven into the mundane. Weird, twisted, and occasionally gory with a cast of characters that will leave you reeling, you won’t want to put this one down.
In this New York Times bestseller, magicians Marco and Celia have been chosen to compete in a bitter competition — and both their lives and their hearts are at stake. Morgenstern’s circus is unlike anything you’ve ever read, conjuring a feast of sights, smells, sounds, and emotions. The characters are complex and the details of the story are so rich (we could practically taste the caramel popcorn) that you’ll be loathe to leave The Night Circus behind.
We’ll probably never get tired of Greek mythology retellings, and this rich reimagining breathes life into the story of an oft-overlooked character from Homer‘s The Odyssey: the witch Circe. After Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, Circe crafts a life for herself in exile — full of defiance against the gods, unexpected visitors, and, of course, magic. This fresh take on an ancient tale is a meditation on womanhood, power, love, and loneliness — and it’s sure to leave readers turning pages late into the night. If you’re looking for more mythology retellings, you should consider following up with Miller’s The Song of Achilles.
If you’re in the mood for a story that weaves fantastical cities, political intrigue, strange magic, and compelling characters, look no further than this debut from one of the genre’s superstars. Elantris follows three people — a prince, a woman caught in a political marriage, and a priest — through the titular city that was once home to the gods as they unearth long-buried secrets that have the power to change everything. Publishers Weekly awarded this book a star and said it best: “Sanderson’s outstanding fantasy debut, refreshingly complete unto itself and free of the usual genre clichés, offers something for everyone: mystery, magic, romance, political wrangling, religious conflict, fights for equality, sharp writing and wonderful, robust characters.”
In a world divided over opinions of dragons, a queen, a mage, and a dragonrider must face ancient foes, forbidden magic, and political intrigue to prevent catastrophe. We love this high-action fantasy, but don’t just take it from us! Bustle says this New York Times bestseller is an “epic feminist fantasy perfect for fans of Game of Thrones” and Laini Taylor has dubbed it her “absolute favorite epic fantasy.”
Paullina Simons is the author of Tully and The Bronze Horseman, as well as 10 other beloved novels, a memoir, a cookbook, and two children’s books. Born in Leningrad, Russia, Paullina immigrated to the United States when she was 10, and now lives in New York with her husband and an alarming number of her once-independent children.
In the End of Forever books, boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy turns the world upside down to find the girl again. My hero is given a second chance at life and love with the help of time travel, but as with all things that are gifted to you, it’s a double-edged sword. Julian and Josephine get a second chance but not a road map. They don’t know what they need to do to change their fate, or even if they can. From this, come all of their joys and sorrows.
After four years had passed, and I was well into my 17th or 18th draft, I allowed myself to read a few books with a time travel element. Some of them were extraordinary. I managed probably 10 novels — by both men and women. Here are five of my favorites, in no particular order, plus a conclusion about Vonnegut.
“There is no such thing as the life you’re supposed to have.”
That’s the premise of this tightly plotted and inventive novel. I love it because it gives a fresh perspective on the dilemma of the butterfly effect inherent in all time travel: That one small change in the past, a fluttering of butterfly wings, has immense implications for the present. In this novel, the consequences are enormous, yes, but not all negative, and they require the protagonist to make impossible choices. The novel is complex, funny, and raises difficult questions to which there are no easy answers. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Crichton’s addition to the time travel genre is smart and propulsively readable. In it, French science students travel back in time to 14th-century France to rescue their professor, and then get trapped there. What follows are the adventures of the young people who have been told certain things about life in medieval France and now must discover the truth for themselves, all the while trying to find a way to get back home. There is a strong thematic similarity to Twain’s Connecticut Yankee. But Timeline is told as only Crichton can tell it, mixing science, medicine, and humor with a lightning fast narrative. Because the story is told from the point of view of the main characters, I became attached to all of them and deeply invested in their fate. Crichton’s own fondness for the middle ages is evident in his astute observations of life in the past. It was entertaining and provocative.
Matheson wrote one of my all-time faves, I Am Legend, and he doesn’t disappoint here in a time travel love story between a modern man and a captivating actress from the 19th century. The novel was made into a wonderful and romantic film called Somewhere in Time. The book is slightly less romantic, but it gives a great three-dimensional perspective of the soul of a man who becomes obsessed with nothing but a photograph, and then falls actually in love with the real woman. We are meant to fall in love, he tells his beautiful girl, who is a skeptic at first, like him. Soon he makes a believer out of her. It’s a heartbreaking story of a doomed but perfect love.
Amy writes beautifully and eloquently, and her latest novel of a young woman grieving for her grandfather deeply resonates. The woman is thrown back in time to 1922 Ireland, where she must assume a new identity to survive. It is an emotional meditation on grief and a lyrical search for meaning in one’s own life.
An amazing and unputdownable alternate take on the American Civil War. Time travelers from South Africa supply Robert E. Lee and his Confederate army with Kalashnikovs to alter the outcome of the war. As a result of the AK-47s, the South wins. And that’s just the beginning! The time travelers have their own ideas about how to run things in post-war United States, and inevitable and brutal conflict follows. Incredible.
“So it goes.” I can’t end without a word about Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece Slaughterhouse-Five, one of the most powerful anti-war novels ever written. In it, Vonnegut uses time travel as a means, not as an end, as a device to get across the other, more important things he wants to tell the reader. Billy Pilgrim, the time traveling narrator, is unreliable, the timeline is non-linear, the plot zigzags wildly between present day and Pilgrim’s various war time experiences, but in its sum, it’s an unforgettable story of how war traumatizes soldiers and profoundly affects the people who come into contact with the damaged souls.
In the End of Forever books, I use time travel to tell my story of lost love and second chances. Time travel is what allows me to explore what it means to love, to have a soulmate, to be a friend, to lose your life, to find your life.
Looking for a way to escape the ordinary? The best sci fi book series give readers a chance to leap forward in time and explore the meaning of life from a new perspective. Whether you prefer hard science or space operas, the science fiction genre is vast and offers plenty of nuance. Unsure where to begin? This list of the best sci fi book series features some of the most venerated and critically acclaimed books ever penned. Whether you’re a long-time lover of the genre or you’re just beginning to explore it, these books can help you take your love of science fiction to a whole other dimension.
Set in a distant future, this Nebula Award–winning series focuses on the tale of a young man who’s family accepts stewardship over the planet Arrakis, which is the only known source of “the spice” — a drug that can enhance mental abilities and extend life. This classic series spans six books in total and is regarded as one of the best sci fi book series ever penned.
This incredible series includes 16 books, five novellas, and a variety of omnibus editions. It’s absolutely massive and can be daunting for beginners, but this Hugo Award–winning saga is worth a deep dive. Melding together elements of old adventure novels — which means these books are rife with plot twists, social intrigue, incredible escapes, and more — this space opera series is engrossing and one of the most impressive ever written.
First collected in 1951, the Foundation series is a seminal work that, at its root, focuses on the rise and fall of future galactic empires. While there’s plenty of futuristic technology and the novels span the whole galaxy, the books themselves are much less space opera-esque than other sci fi classics. Instead, they focus on human society. In 1966, the Foundation trilogy received the Hugo Award for Best All-Time Series, and its appeal has endured ever since.
Set hundreds of years in the future after the colonization of the solar system, the series offers plenty of action within its storytelling. As tensions rise between Earth and Mars, a ship captain and fellow survivors race to figure out why they’ve been attacked — and that’s just the beginning.
She’s the first of her people to ever be offered acceptance to Oomza University, the most illustrious college in the galaxy. Yet Binti’s journey isn’t as easy as it seems. In fact, she quickly learns that knowledge comes at a steep price, and to truly survive it, she’ll need to draw all the strength she can muster.
Each year, the government of Panem sends 12 children to participate in a televised battle to the death. This beloved trilogy — which was later adapted for the big screen — focuses on Katniss Everdeen, who volunteers as Tribute in place of her younger sister and quickly makes history, in more ways than one.
The initial book in the popular series, which started in 1993, sold more than 10 million copies and won the 1994 Newbery Medal. In a society that appears to be utopian, it’s revealed that something much worse exists underneath the surface. Lowry has released three books since the original, each of which focuses on a different protagonist but remains set in the same futuristic, dystopian world.
This series, penned by the award-winning Octavia Butler, details a secret race of telepaths set on rising to power and transforming the world. The books span from Ancient Egypt to the 20th century and raise questions about power, race, gender, and biological engineering.
Considered one of the best sci fi book series ever completed, this wildly popular series by Joe Haldeman depicts an interstellar war between an alien species and man. Influenced by Starship Troopers and Haldeman’s own experiences in Vietnam, this military science fiction series is significant within the genre and a must-read for fans.
Starting with Wool, this post-apocalyptic trilogy by Hugh Howley plunges into a subterranean city underneath the surface of the Earth where humanity clings by a thread. From a sheriff to a mayor and more, characters in the trilogy seek to unravel the mysteries of the Silo and restore hope to humanity along the way.
Ideal for hard science fiction lovers, this trilogy is set against China’s Cultural Revolution. After receiving a signal in space from Earth, an extraterrestrial force plans to invade the planet. As camps form amongst the humans, some work to fight the invasion while others seek to help the alien species take over the world.
This cyberpunk political thriller series is fast-paced and gripping. Older’s debut, Infomocracy, made huge waves when it hit stands in 2016 and The Huffington Post referred to it as “one of the greatest literary debuts in recent history.” If you’re looking for a taut series that deals with election fraud, plus man-made and natural disasters, this is a great selection.
Perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent, this dystopian young adult series is set in a futuristic, darkened version of Los Angeles governed by martial law. When a wanted criminal and a young prodigy cross paths, they soon discover the malicious forces that brought them together.
Set in the near future and focused on a group of time-traveling history students at the University of Oxford, this decorated series includes a total of four books and one novella. Published between 1982 and 2010, each work functions as a standalone book, with two of the installments loosely focused on World War II.
Librarians know a ton about books — and we love learning from them. With this in mind, we’re spotlighting librarians to hear more about their jobs, and of course, their book recommendations! This month we spoke with Todd Burleson of Winnetka, IL. Todd is an international speaker, author of The Green Screen Book of Makerspace Projects, the Hubbard Woods Library Media Specialist, home to the “IDEA Lab,” and the School Library Journal 2016 School Librarian of the Year. He has been described as a both the Willy Wonka of libraries and a renaissance librarian.
What is your favorite part of being a librarian?
My favorite part of being a librarian is getting to know the entire school. Working with all of the teachers and students helps me feel a part of the larger community.
What do you love most about your library?
My favorite part of my library is the beautiful windows that fill the space with natural light.
Why do we need libraries and librarians?
Libraries and librarians are the heart of the school. In an increasingly digital world, librarians are more important than ever. They help students make sense of all the noise and curate their understanding. Librarians help inspire students to explore new ideas and delve deeper into their passions.
How do you use social media as a librarian?
I use Twitter for professional development and as a way to share the work that I am doing with my students. I spend about a half hour a day exploring the work of my colleagues. I am continually inspired, supported, and encouraged by the feedback they give me and the tremendous work being done around the world by librarians.
You’ve been called the Willy Wonka of Librarians. How did you earn that title?
That one always stumps me. I think it comes from my belief that, with a little imagination, a library is a place where anything can be done. Just like the lyrics from the song “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory:
You’ve also helped create the Hubbard Woods IDEA Lab. Can you talk about what inspired the space and how it came together?
The IDEA Lab was a group effort in collaboration with the community, staff, and parents. We spent a great deal of time exploring spaces that were doing similar work and created our own “dream” plan. All of the work to convert our traditional library and old computer lab into a modern IDEA Lab was done by volunteers. It is a space that I am proud of and that I hope continues to inspire students and staff for many years to come!
What are the most under-appreciated genres out there?
I’m a HUGE historical fiction and biography nerd. I think that students often see both as quite boring, but nothing makes history come alive to me like learning about the people who made it. I think books like the Who Was Series have helped.
I have three: I just shared Syd Hoff’s Danny and the Dinosaur with a group of first graders and told them that THIS was the first book I remember believing that “I” was a reader. I read it over and over until I knew it mostly by heart. It still made me laugh when I read it aloud! The second is for readers who are ready for a bit more of a challenge: Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle. This book is a favorite because there are several more in the series for when they are “hooked.” Plus, her Ramona and Henry Huggins books keep readers going for months! The final book is for students who have decided that reading is boring: Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet is a book I have put in the hands of hundreds of students. It’s the perfect mix of danger and suspense.
I mentioned I’m a biography nerd. The last book that surprised me was the book Wright Brothers, Wrong Story by William Elliott Hazelgrove. I’ve read every single biography written about the Wright brothers and have even flown on one of the earliest production aircraft they produced. The book re-framed the narrative that both brothers were equally responsible for the research that lead to the first flight. I didn’t realize that Wilbur was the one who was so passionate about the science of the challenge.
Ann Braden’s The Benefits of Being an Octopus completely took me by surprise. It was a masterpiece. I loved how she blended so many of the contemporary social issues into a story that has moved so many to action. It’s a must read for all educators!
I’m going to be moving from elementary to middle school next year, so I have a HUGE reading list for this summer. I’m going to start with the Illinois State Reading list for the Rebecca Caudill Award. The first book on that list that I am reading is Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi.
It wouldn’t be summer without a few of the best Elin Hilderbrand books accompanying you to the beach! If you’re having trouble choosing which one of these delightful reads you want to devour first, we’ve got you covered. Our list of the best Elin Hilderbrand books gives a definitive ranking of the best ones to check out, complete with why we think they are more than worth the read!
Summerland is a novel that stays with you long after you’ve turned the last page. The magic of summer is overshadowed by the aftermath of a tragic graduation night accident, delivering a story that is poignant and powerful. Over the course of the summer, secrets are revealed that will have a profound affect on the survivors and their parents.
The Beach Club was Elin Hilderbrand’s first novel and is a little different than the books we’ve come to associate with the author. The Nantucket Beach Club is the center of one drama-filled summer, as the manager of the hotel and his staff deal with the intersection of their personal lives and professional issues. Throw in a hurricane, and you have a page-turning tale perfect for the beach!
Published in 2007, Barefoot was Hilderbrand’s first book under a new publishing imprint and set the tone for the books we have come to know and love! Marriage, motherhood, illness, and infidelity mark this tale of three women who visit Nantucket for the summer, looking for peace and clarity as they deal with the complications in their lives. What follows is a beautiful and bittersweet novel.
The first of Hilderbrand’s Nantucket books featuring recurring characters, A Summer Affair tells the story of Claire Danner Crispin, a celebrated glassblower and mother of four young children who agrees to co-chair Nantucket’s Children Summer Gala. But organizing the event means balancing a lot of duties and dealing with different personalities — and it’s not long before Claire is feeling the pressure.
We love The Love Season because it has a unique hook that we don’t often see in novels: The entire story takes place in a single day. Over the course of one August day, the lives of Marguerite Beale, a celebrated chef, and her goddaughter, Renata Knox, are changed forever. Though the history of these two women covers decades, everything converges in a single day on Nantucket Island — and nothing goes as planned.
A remote island is the perfect setting for a delicious story about the fallout following a cancelled wedding. In The Island, Hilderbrand takes us to rustic Tuckernuck Island off the coast of Nantucket, where generations of Birdie Cousins’s family have summered. With no distractions and no contact with the outside world, Birdie, her sister India, and her daughters Chess and Tate, come to terms with their lives, their relationships, and what they want for the future.
One of Hilderbrand’s earlier novels, The Blue Bistro is the perfect romance novel for summer beach reading. Foodies, especially, will love it for the behind-the-scenes look into the fast-paced world of restaurant business. Adrienne Dealey arrives in Nantucket intent on putting her life in Aspen behind her, but things get complicated when she falls for restaurant owner Thatcher Smith.
Another of the Nantucket books, The Castaways is a compelling story of love and loss, friendship and loyalty. The entire island mourns when prominent Nantucket couple Greg and Tess MacAvoy are killed in a boating accident. But as summer heats up, their friends are shocked by new revelations about the couple.
The Rumor is more lighthearted than some of Hilderbrand’s other books, centering on the power of gossip to change lives and damage relationships. Nantucket writer Madeline King has a pile of bills, a looming deadline… and writer’s block. Out of desperation, she gives in to temptation and uses her best friend’s secret affair as fodder for her new novel — and the island’s gossip grapevine goes crazy. This is a delicious, snarky page-turning summer treat!
With 42 couples under her belt, it’s safe to say that Nantucker Dabney Kimball Beech has a natural gift — matchmaking! That is except when it comes to herself… Stuck in an unhappy marriage, Dabney left the notion of love behind years ago, but when her old flame turns up on the island 27 years after leaving, will Dabney finally put her own happiness first? As she struggles to make the right choice, family secrets are revealed and nothing will be the same.
We love novels about sisters, and Hilderbrand delivers a brilliant twin tale with The Identicals! Harper and Tabitha Frost have been estranged for over a decade – but now the two women are switching places in order to salvage their family. Will Harper and Tabitha put their sibling rivalry aside and renew their sisterly bond? Old hurts, new loves, and more than one case of mistaken identity make for a memorable island summer!
Yes, we love Elin Hilderbrand books that are set during the summer, but we can’t resist the winter wonderland she creates in Winter Street! Published in 2014, this is her first Christmas novel and the first of her Winter books — but it’s terrific to read anytime of year. Kelley Quinn is looking forward to having all four of his children home for the holidays… until chaos ensues. You will fall in love with the quirky, complicated Quinn family!
Here’s to Us is Hilderbrand’s irresistible story of three very different women and the one man who brings them together. After Deacon Thorpe’s tragic death, the three women who loved and knew him best gather on Nantucket to say farewell. Laurel Thorpe, Belinda Rowe, and Scarlett Oliver are as different as any women could be, but their weekend together — in the house where they’ve all made memories — reveals that they have more in common than they ever could have imagined.
Winter in Paradise is the heartwarming and poignant first book in Hilderbrand’s new Paradise series. The story centers on Irene Steele, whose life is upended by a phone call informing her of her husband’s death. Along with her sons, Irene heads to the Caribbean island of St. John to unravel the details of her husband’s death and come to terms with her future.
It’s wedding season on Nantucket Island, but things aren’t going as planned. In The Perfect Couple, what should have been a beautiful and stylish wedding turns tragic when a body is discovered in the harbor, and everyone in the wedding party becomes a suspect. With appearances by some beloved characters from The Castaways, A Summer Affair, and Beautiful Day, this is Elin Hilderbrand at her very best!
Hunger Games fans, rejoice! Nearly a decade after penning the finale of The New York Times bestselling The Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins has announced a Hunger Games prequel, set to be released May 19, 2020. The Hunger Games prequel will take place in the years known as the “Dark Days” — Panem’s failed rebellion that lead to the creation of its tyrannical government and vicious televised games.
Of her decision to turn back the clock and visit the uprising that set up Katniss’s cruel world, Collins says:
With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival. The reconstruction period 10 years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days — as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet — provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity.
Since The Hunger Games trilogy, Collins has published one other work. After she revealed that she was working on a new series in 2013, there was never any other information regarding it (until now)! Needless to say, fans are extremely excited to see more from this beloved author — as are publishers. Ellie Berger, President of Scholastic Trade Publishing says of the new project:
Suzanne Collins is a master at combining brilliant storytelling, superb world building, breathtaking suspense, and social commentary. We are absolutely thrilled — as both readers and publishers — to introduce the devoted fans of the series and a new audience to an entirely new perspective on this modern classic.
While the prequel is sure to bring in new fans, devoted fans of The Hunger Games will no doubt be picking up a copy! The series, which has sold over 100 million copies, been translated into over 50 languages, and turned into a billion dollar movie franchise starring Jennifer Lawrence, is a modern cultural icon. And given her astute ability to interweave her novels with impactful messages, there is little doubt that Collins’s upcoming work will not only be entertaining, but also have timely motifs that will leave us thinking long after we turn the last page.
Mary Oliver has become a favorite of poetry readers of all ages for her lyrical, intimate, and sensitive poems, many of which use nature as a lens for exploring the spectrum of human emotions, from love and joy to sorrow and despair. The best Mary Oliver poems remind us to pause and take a breath, revel in our surroundings, and encourage us not to take anything for granted.
The New Yorker called her “one of the most beloved poets of her generation” and whether you’re familiar with her poetry or not, we hope that this list of some of the best Mary Oliver poems will move you — and maybe even inspire you to write your own poetry! Sadly, Oliver passed away in January 2019, but her poems serve as a poignant reminder to be present in every moment, whether it be a joyous occasion or a quiet, somber one.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Why we love this poem: If you’ve ever felt that the world was falling down around you, this poem serves as a soothing reminder to connect with yourself, with nature, and with others around you. Oliver’s image of geese in flight is meant to lift the reader and carry them out of any despair and loneliness that they might be feeling.
Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings
Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?
Why we love this poem: The swan in this poem is a kind of shapeshifter — it can be soft and beautiful like silk or flower petals, or it can be harsh and relentless like snow or a waterfall. The poem reminds us that change is a natural part of life, and the final line is a challenge to the reader: What shape will you take?
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.
Why we love this poem: Sometimes it can be hard to bask in a moment of happiness, especially when you’re convinced that the feeling won’t last. The poem acknowledges this, but it also urges the reader to seize every moment of joy and possibility, and savor it — no matter how small!
You don’t want to hear the story
of my life, and anyway
I don’t want to tell it, I want to listen
to the enormous waterfalls of the sun.
And anyway it’s the same old story – – –
a few people just trying,
one way or another,
Mostly, I want to be kind.
And nobody, of course, is kind,
for a simple reason.
And nobody gets out of it, having to
swim through the fires to stay in
Why we love this poem: This poem is on the longer side, so we’ve only included a snippet, but we encourage you to read it in its entirety! Oliver brilliantly weaves the image of the dogfish into a poem about surviving the past and the harsh realities of the world.
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
Why we love this poem: This poem confronts death head-on with beauty and grace, meeting it not with fear, but with curiosity. The speaker of the poem isn’t paralyzed by a fear of death but sees it as a call to experience everything that life has to offer. The line about being “a bride married to amazement” never fails to move me.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.
Why we love this poem: Oliver often turned to nature in order to meditate on life and mortality. This poem reminds us that grief is a process, and that one step in that process is anticipating the end of sadness. The knowledge that happiness is even possible can be its own form of comfort.
Why we love this poem: In an interview with NPR, Oliver stressed that when it comes to poetry, simplicity is best: “Poetry, to be understood, must be clear… It mustn’t be fancy. I have the feeling that a lot of poets writing now, they sort of tap dance through it. I always feel that whatever isn’t necessary should not be in the poem.” We think this poem is a perfect example of what she meant.
Why we love this poem: When it comes to emotions like grief and sadness, it can often be hard to find the right words to express how you’re feeling. This poem acknowledges the limits of language, but it’s also proof of its power. I’m always in awe of short poems that manage to contain so much.
Why we love this poem: Especially these days, it can feel like there is an endless supply of distractions. Oliver’s poem is a call to pay attention, especially to the things you take for granted. If we pause for a moment, even for something as inconsequential as a few birds singing, we might find unexpected joy.
We can’t think of a better way to honor our dads this Father’s Day than by thanking them for giving us great reads! We asked BookBub team members what books they’re grateful their fathers kept around the house, and got responses full of heart, nostalgia, and, of course, recommendations. Thanks, Dad!
“Easy choice: John Adams by David McCullough. When my dad recommended it I was like ‘sounds boring but I guess I’ll check it out,’ and wow am I happy I did. It’s a detailed and entertaining biography that inspired me to enjoy learning history even more than I had (which was a lot). Also, McCullough’s prose is sooo good that I would stop at certain points to reread sections out of appreciation. Great rec, Dad.” — Francis, Rotational
“My dad had a copy of The Hobbit — it was an old one that had a green cover with mountains on it. He was a big Lord of the Ringsnerd in the 80s, and reading that book when I was really little got me down the path to irredeemable book-nerdiness. I’ve always been amazed by the fantastic linguistic choices Tolkien made when writing the Lord of the Rings, and having that book as a kid made me interested in both fantasy as a whole and in the universe in particular. In middle school, I taught myself how to write in the Elvish script!” — Kielan, Growth
“When I was a kid, my father used to read The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder to my sister and I every night before we went to bed. My family and I grew to love these books so much that we all decided to dress up as the Ingalls family one year for Halloween! It was such a special routine that we had together, and the series helped instill in me a real love of reading.” — Sarah, Design
“My dad has always loved comic books and always had them in the house. While I didn’t read too many of them while I was growing up, I was immersed in the world of superheroes for as long as I can remember. I love how much I love superheroes now and am at any time able to escape into a world of fantasy and magic. But I’ve always loved more than just the fantastical elements, comics have also been a source of wonder and inspiration. Batman is just a man in suit, anyone can be behind the mask and do good in the world.” — Briana, People Operations
“My dad always kept so many cookbooks around the house, including How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. Along with car manuals and the newspaper, cookbooks were his favorite thing to read. He inspired me with his delicious food and ability to craft wonderful meals that brought our family together — and now I love to cook, too!” — Danielle, Content
“My dad always kept The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in the house. I think he probably had about two or three copies lying around at all times. I didn’t read it until I was older; I think I always thought it was such a ‘dad’ book to read. I’m super grateful I read it when I got older because not only has it helped me be a better person both personally and professionally, but it’s also given me more perspective on the lessons my dad’s always tried to teach my brothers and I. I definitely felt closer to him once I read it, and am somehow summoning him throughout my daily life. (Seriously, don’t tell him I said this… I’ll never hear the end of it!)” — Kayin, Business Development
“My dad’s not a big reader, but he loves to collect leather bound editions of classic novels. My mother bought them for him every year, and he never opened one of them! Seriously, they’re all still in their plastic wrap. Instead, he used them to decorate his office, giving the space this whole Victorian-era vibe — mahogany bookcases, leather spines in deep green, red, and navy. Totally fitting given the content inside the novels. And while I’ve always wanted to read the books… I’m totally afraid to unwrap them! Like this really beautiful copy of Great Expectations that I was dying to get my hands on but ultimately ended up buying myself. Go figure.” — Emma, Content
“My dad always has books strewn about the house. There are usually about three books on the stand next to his recliner, a handful on the breakfast table, several next to his bed, and at least three books on the way from Amazon Prime at all times. This habit introduced me to some of my favorite books, including The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen and The Brother’s Karamazov by Dostoyevsky. He often, and only somewhat jokingly, repeated throughout my childhood, “Readers are leaders.” The value and constant presence of books has shaped me significantly, reminding me gently that reading is good for the brain and the soul. I hope to one day leave books around the house for my kids to discover.” — Caleb, Content
“My dad listens to audiobooks while driving, and over the years he’s amassed an impressive digital library. When my husband and I began a cross-country road trip, Dad gave me his password, and suddenly we had the entire Discworld series at our fingertips. I’m pretty confident Terry Pratchett — and, therefore, my dad — is the reason we didn’t kill each other on that trip, and why we’re planning another one soon!” — Ellie, Engineering