Black Friday: Books To Look Out For

After you’ve had your fill of delicious Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pie, prepare yourself for the event of the year—Black Friday!

We know there are a ton of things to buy, but if you happen to spy any of these books, don’t hesitate to make a purchase—critically acclaimed and recommended by celebrities, they will make great holiday gifts.

I Must Say: My Life As A Humble Comedy Legend Martin Short

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Comedian Martin Short tells the tale of how a showbiz-obsessed boy from Canada transformed himself into one of Hollywood’s favorite funnymen.

MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial FreedomTony Robbins

Tony Robbins has coached and inspired more than 50 million people from over 100 countries. Now, in his first book in two decades—he teaches you how to secure financial freedom for yourself and your family.

Beware of PityStefan Zweig

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In 1913 a young lieutenant discovers the dangers of pity—he had no idea the girl was lame when he asked her to dance. His ensuing courtship relieves his guilt but gives her a dangerous glimmer of hope.

Yes Please Amy Poehler

Comedian Amy Poehler offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex, love, friendship and parenthood in her highly anticipated first book.

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club: A NovelGenevieve Valentine

Gorgeous and bewitching, this novel is a twist on the fairytale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses as flappers during the Roaring Twenties in Manhattan.

The Art of CaptaincyMike Brearley

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Journey alongside Brearley, one of England’s finest cricket captains, as he considers his role on the field and the impact that sporting success can have on other parts of our lives.

Thanksgiving Romances & Mysteries

This season, weave a little romance and intrigue into your Thanksgiving. Experience love blossoming over a pecan pie, a mysterious disappearance, tipsy turkeys, and more with our list of Thanksgiving romance and mystery novels.

ThanksgivingJanet Evanovich

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Bunnies are usually fluffy balls of adorableness—except when they are gnawing on your clothes. When Megan Murphy discovers a floppy-eared rabbit chewing on the hem of her skirt, she intends to give its careless owner a piece of her mind. What she doesn’t expect is that the owner in question, Dr. Patrick Hunter, is too good-looking to stay mad at for long. Before the two know it, they engage in a breathless romance that has them playing house together and making Thanksgiving dinner for their families.

How to Bake the Perfect Pecan PieGina Henning

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Lauren Hauser is home for the holidays and this year, she is tasked with preparing her grandmother’s famous pecan pie. There’s only one problem—Lauren can’t cook to save her life. Whereas her sister would win Star Baker every week, and her mom at least knows a sieve from a spatula, Lauren’s bakes have always been more dangerous than delicious. Still, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without the pecan pie—which is why Lauren finds herself looking for pecans on Thanksgiving Eve, when she stumbles upon a gorgeous stranger laden down with bags of (surprise, surprise) pecans!

Thanksgiving in Connecticut May McGoldrick

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Talented photographer Paige Colman has stayed away from the seaside Connecticut village of Stonington ever since a viral YouTube video capturing her in the buff was released. Now, four years later, Paige decides that it’s time to return—especially since her eighty-six year old grandmother is throwing the mother of all Thanksgivings to celebrate her recent marriage to younger man, Ed Fenwick. But when Paige arrives and comes face-to-face with hometown god and former flame, Stanley Fenwick (grandson of the groom), Paige must now protect her heart as well as retain her sanity.

The Trouble With Turkeys Kathi Daley

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All Zoe wants is a peaceful vacation before Thanksgiving arrives—but when she agrees to help her friend Jeremy with his temporary job at a turkey farm, everything starts to go downhill. From a dead miser to tipsy turkeys and an eclectic cast of edacious heirs, this is one Thanksgiving that Zoe will never forget.

The Thanksgiving Day Murder Lee Harris

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When Natalie Gordon goes to buy a balloon at the Thanksgiving Day Parade and disappears, her desperate husband pleads with ex-nun Christine Bennett to help with the case. What Christine uncovers is that not only are Natalie’s present whereabouts a mystery, but so is her past—even her husband seems to know very little about her. With nothing but a cardboard box of Natalie’s belongings—a few books, keys, some cosmetics—to go off of, Christina engages in one of her most dangerous assignments yet.

Blackberry Pie MurderJoanne Fluke

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Hannah Swensen only has one goal in mind, and that is to focus on her bakery. Unfortunately, life is never really quiet for Hannah—after all, her mother’s wedding is a little over a month away and she is in charge of the planning. Yet when Hannah thinks that her biggest challenge will be whether buttercream or fondant should be used for the wedding cake, she accidentally hits a stranger with her cookie truck on her way to run some errands.

When an autopsy is performed, it is revealed that the mystery man, with a shirt covered in stains from blackberry pie, would have died even if Hannah hadn’t hit him. Now, to clear her name, Hannah will have to follow a trail of pie crumbs to track down exactly what happened.

We hope that you enjoyed our list of Thanksgiving romances and mysteries! What are some of your favorite holiday books? 

Top Trending Food + Wine : November 24 – 30

Thanksgiving is all about hanging out with your family and being thankful—but let’s be honest, food plays a huge part, too. So since we’re suckers for anything and everything that’s delicious, let us present to you this week’s list of Top Trending food and wine books.

Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck by Thug Kitchen

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As the title encourages, you should eat like you give a hoot—especially during the holidays! Started from Thug Kitchen’s wildly popular website to inspire others to eat more vegetables, this book features well over a hundred unique recipes that will delight and surprise your taste buds. From Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos to Pumpkin Chili and Grilled Peach Salsa, eating healthy has never been this much fun. Oh, and in case you haven’t already noticed— Thug Kitchen is known for its distinctive voice, so expect some laughs along the way.

Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook is no laughing matter—it’s the real deal. When you see your guests’ looks of utter delight as they sink their teeth into a dazzling variety of vegetarian dishes, you will know why.

An award-winning chef and considered one of the world’s most beloved culinary talents, Ottolenghi is renowned for his unique cooking method that emphasizes spices and bold favors. With more than 150 recipes—including luscious desserts ranging from cakes to flan—Plenty More is a must-have for both vegetarians and omnivores.

Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home by Nigella Lawson

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Whether you’re dealing with a vegetarian, meat-eater, or super picky dinner guest, have no fear—Nigella Lawson has all of your culinary bases covered. Informative and engaging, Lawson offers everything from super-fast exotic recipes for the weekday rush, to leisurely slow-cook dishes for weekends and special occasions. Cook up something for a group of hungry teenagers, or rustle up a quick meal for friends—you’ll always be prepared with recipes such as Asian Braised Beef Shank, Clams with Chorizo, and Guinness Gingerbread Cookies. Gorgeously illustrated, this lively narrative is well on its way to becoming a twenty-first century classic for all lovers of food.

Eating Wildly: Foraging For Life, Love and the Perfect Meal by Ava Chin

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Forget the classic term for “forager”—in Eating Wildly, Chin takes you through the process of “urban foraging,” the new frontier of searching for ingredients. Eat better, healthier, and more sustainably, no matter where you live with this touching memoir about foraging for food in New York City.

Is your stomach grumbling yet? Share some of your favorite cookbooks and click here to check out the rest of this week’s Top Trending list!

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Congrats, 2014 National Book Award Winners!

Congratulations are in order for the winners of the National Book Awards!

We stuck our neck out last week and were a hair’s breadth from predicting two of the winners. Today we’ve been looking back at our data and wondering what signals we missed that would have allowed us to make a correct prediction.

When it came down to it, the race was extremely close: Evan OsnosAge of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, Faith in the New China won out against John Lahr’s Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh. We had Tennessee Williams ahead thanks to the large number of recent tweets referencing the book (nearly ten times as many as Age of Ambition). However, the eventual winner amassed the most tweets over the course of the year and, crucially, these tweets had extremely high sentiment.

We also plumped for John Corey Whaley’s Noggin in the Young Person category as it had a very strong week on Twitter ahead of the awards and had out-performed the competition over the entire year. Brown Girl Dreaming’s surge to victory, from second in our prediction, may have been foreseeable – it did gather twice as many predictions as Noggin in the month following the announcement of the finalists – a good sign that it had strong momentum.

We’ll take all this on board and tweak our technology so that next time, we’ll be spot on. In the meantime, check out the rest of the National Book Award Winners and learn more about the judges! If you’ve read any of the novels, sound off and let us know what you think—do you agree or disagree with the verdicts?

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Spotlight: Judges from the National Book Awards

The National Book Award winners were announced yesterday and we were excited to highlight two of the eventual winners in our piece last week (even if our overall prediction was a fraction off). We were interested in the judges’ decisions and decided to do a little snooping on what else they’d been reading…

With 15 judges (five for each category), we randomly handpicked five and cast a spotlight on their works.

Poetry

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In a world where technology rules, moments of human ecstasy become fleeting and rare. The poems of Eileen Myles’ Snowflake / different streets are vivid and effortlessly gorgeous, much like Louise Gluck’s Faithful and Virtuous Night. Both poets forgo any mentionings of electronics, rather focusing on transforming everyday happenings into dream-like and fantastical events.

Eileen Myles is an expert at poetry and prose. With several books out—including The Importance of Being Iceland, and Inferno— if anyone is qualified to be a judge for poetry, it’s Eileen.

Young People’s Literature

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Sharon M. Draper’s Out of My Mind features a heroine named Melody who is smart as a whip and possesses a photographic memory—however, she cannot walk or talk due to her cerebral palsy. Get to know a brilliant mind that will change forever the way others looks at anyone with a disability.

Perhaps a connection was established between Draper and Jacqueline Woodson, author of Brown Girl Dreaming— both of their novels feature young protagonists who struggle to find their place in the world, despite obstacles such as skin color and disabilities.

Sharon M. Draper is a professional educator and successful writer of over thirty award-winning books for children and teachers, including Copper Sun, winner of the 2007 Coretta Scott King Award. She currently serves as a literary ambassador to the children of Africa and China.

Fiction

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Geraldine Brooks’ March is a lushly written story about an absent father. Follow March as he leaves his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War, and dive headfirst into another time, where March’s experiences will not only alter his marriage, but his beliefs as well.

While March is focused on a soldier going off to war, Phil Klay’s Redployment is about a soldier who returns. Perhaps Brooks felt an affinity towards the first-time novelist- -Klay was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who served in Iraq, and Brooks was a foreign correspondent who covered crises in the Middle East.

Geraldine Brooks won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel, March. A former foreign correspondent, she started off writing nonfiction before making the transition to novels.

Non-Fiction

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Tom Reiss’ The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life may not be a work of fantasy—this bestseller tells the true story of a Jew who transformed himself into a Muslim prince in Nazi Germany—but at times it’s hard to tell. Get wrapped up in the life of Lev Nussimbaum, who escaped the Russian Revolution only to be known as “Essad Bey”—celebrated author, adventurer, and real-life Indiana Jones, but with a dangerous secret.

Evan Osnos’ Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China delves deeply into the lives of ordinary and powerful people who are remaking their lives as the country is changing, as does The Orientalist.

Tom Reiss has been featured in The New Yorker and The New York Times. His most recent novel, The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo, won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize, and his books have been translated into over 25 languages.


Have you read any of these books? Are you as excited as we are to find out who the recipients are for the National Book Awards? Let us know, and check out the full list of judges here.

Top Trending Romance Books: November 19 – 25

This season, the scent of love is in the air! The weather might be getting chillier and the skies significantly darker, but you can warm the cockles of your heart by checking out this week’s Top Trending romance novels.

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We were speaking of the cold before, but the main character of Brighton Walsh’s Caged in Winter will chill you to the bone. Beautiful Winter Jacobsen doesn’t need anybody’s help (especially a man’s) and is determined to get by on her own. With exactly seventy-six days left until her college graduation, all she has to do is keep it together for that long, and then she can escape. Winter can’t afford any distractions, but everything changes when sexy aspiring chef Cade Maxwell enters the picture.

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Some people may not want any distractions, but the star of Paulo Coelho’s Adultery is absolutely craving them to take her away from her monotonous life. Picture this: a woman in her thirties who is leading the “perfect life” (happy marriage, children, and a career), realizes that she is missing some passion in her life. Cue the handsome politician who used to be her boyfriend, and you’ve got a recipe for a mind-blowing and deliciously scandalous story.

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Scandalous doesn’t even cut it with Jessica HawkinsNight Fever. Lola’s heart belongs to Johnny—she’d sell her soul to the devil if it meant helping him. But when Beau Olivier, who is irresistible and insanely rich, makes Lola a proposition, she falters—he would have her, at the price of betraying Johnny, for one night. Lola knows that she should say no, but when desire rears it’s ugly head, all bets are off.

Did any of these romantic and steamy books tantalize you? Visit here for a full list of the week’s Top Trending romance novels.

Story Hour With Vikram Chandra

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On Thursday night BookVibe had the fabulous opportunity to attend a reading from Vikram Chandra—author of the highly acclaimed novels Red Earth and Pouring Rain, Love and Longing in Bombay, and Sacred Gamesat UC Berkeley’s “Story Hour.”

With honors including the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia), the Crossword Prize, and the Salon Book Award, Chandra is a noted novelist who also teaches creative writing at UC Berkeley with his wife, Melanie Abrams. When we heard that he was coming out with his first non-fiction novel, Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty, we were beside ourselves with excitement.

But when we read the synopsis—“Chandra delineates the intricacy and beauty of code, illuminating links between programming and literature in bedazzling elucidations of Sanskrit, aesthetics, linguistics, and Hindu, Tantric, and Buddhist beliefs”—our first thought was:

What?

How is programming fundamentally linked with literature? How can we ascribe beauty to the craft of writing code? The topic is such a departure from Chandra’s other works that we were thrown off.

But we had high hopes and heard great things about the book, and judging by the turnout at UC Berkeley’s Morrison Library (the room was packed), others did too.

While people were buzzing about excitedly and students greeted each other with notebooks in hand, Chandra’s wife, Melanie, quietly approached the podium. She cleared her throat into the microphone and admitted, with a bashful smile on her lips, “I forgot I had to host, and I’m not ready. But I’m here to introduce Vikram Chandra—a great husband, yaddy yadda, and lover of Coca-Cola…”

The audience laughed as Chandra stepped forward to say his thanks. The moment he spoke, the room subsided into a dead silence.

“I’ve always had an obsessive interest in computers…”

And then it began.

He talked about his early life and his passion for programming, but how writing ultimately won out—and how after years of studying both crafts, he realized that “hackers and artists are among the two most alike.” Chandra stated that people who construct language for machines may not seem very creative, but the opposite is true—that aesthetics play an important role in programming, and can be beautiful, even if functioning in the realm of logic.

Chandra went on to discuss how computational thinking is grounded in philosophy, mathematics, and linguistics. He capitalized on Sanskrit, and a grammarian named Panini, who created a 2,500-year-old text called Ashtadhyayi—which consists of 3,959 Sanskrit grammar rules—and demonstrated a few to the audience in the form of poems and graphs.

This Sanskrit “generator,” influenced Ferdinand de Saussure and others, and “modern linguistic theory, in its turn, became the seedbed for high-level computer languages.”

Throughout the reading, Chandra spoke with a quiet confidence and often gesticulated with his hands, demonstrating his enthusiasm for both literature and technology. We could tell that he wanted his audience to understand, but because the reading was limited to an hour, there was not much time to go into detail—especially with such a layered topic.

However, Chandra made the best of the sixty minutes, and said just enough for us to be thoroughly intrigued.

“You all seem dazed,” laughed Chandra, as he finished his talk.

There was an enthusiastic round of applause, and only two members of the crowd were brave enough to ask questions.

We got in line to purchase a few copies of Geek Sublime, and (shamelessly) asked Chandra to pose for a couple of photos. After all, the man is a hero in our eyes—he possesses a unique gift for mastering literature as well as technology, the two things BookVibe stands for.

  photo 5(He wasn’t ready, but we were!) photo 4(The great Vikram Chandra holds the audience in raptured silence)

photo 1(As you can see, our BookVibe correspondent was very excited)

Book Suggestions From the #NBAward Finalists

After making our predictions for the winners of the National Book Awards, we decided to cast a spotlight on two of our handpicked victors— Emily St. John Mandel and John Corey Whaley, nominees for the Fiction and Young People’s Literature categories—and used our BookVibe magic to see what they’re reading.

Suggested by Emily:

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The Vacationers by Emma Straub is pretty relatable—it’s a story about a dysfunctional family. For the Posts, a trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is supposed to be a relaxing break from their lives in Manhattan. However, over the course of the vacation, secrets are unearthed, childhood rivalries resurface, and old emotional wounds are brought to life.

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Junot DiazThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is, for lack of a better word, hilarious—and astoundingly touching. It centers around Oscar, a sweet and overweight nerd who dreams of finding true love. He never gets what he wants, and blames it on a curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations. Discover the human capacity to risk it all in the name of love and have a blast in the process.

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2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino is about three lost souls who are searching for love, music and hope on the streets of Philadelphia. Follow the stories of a rebellious nine-year-old singer, a lovelorn fifth grade teacher, and a desperate club owner, as their lives intersect in the funniest and most magical ways.

Suggested by John:

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Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles is a luminous tale about Julia and how she and her family struggle to adapt after the rotation of the earth changes. The days and nights are longer, gravity is affected, and the state of nature is in disarray. Navigate the hardships of growing up in an altered world with Julia as she faces obstacles such as the vulnerability of first love.

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Stephen King’s The Shining is terrifying, but what else is new? Follow Jack Torrance as he takes on a new job at the Overlook Hotel. At first elated to have found job that allows him time for his writing, Jack soon finds that the hotel is anything but the idyllic place he thought it was—and only Danny Torrance, a gifted five-year-old, notices.

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Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle is a dazzling sequel to Better Nate Than Ever. Equipped with a one-way ticket to New York City, theater geek Nate is determined to make a splash at rehearsals for E.T.: The Broadway Musical. However, Broadway isn’t what it seems—full of diva child stars and hostile understudies, Nate must work harder than ever for a chance to see his name in lights.

Have you read any of these novels? If so, what did you think? Don’t forget to check out our predictions for the National Book Awards and voice your opinions.

Can We Make It Twice In a Row?

Fresh from our successful prediction of the Booker Prize last month, we now turn our attention to the USA’s pre-eminent literary award – the National Book Awards. It’s certainly a close-run thing but we think we’ve spotted a winner in each of the Fiction, Non-Fiction and Young Adult categories (apologies to the Poetry finalists – there simply weren’t enough tweets on these books to allow us to make a prediction). Read on to find out what we think will triumph, and why.

We use our one-of-a-kind technology to detect Twitter discussions around the 5 finalists in each category. We look at how each book has been building momentum on Twitter, the size of the audience that has seen tweets about a particular book and the level of support that tweeters are lending to each title.

Interestingly, the race was very close between two books in each category and we were forced to use very subtle signals to pick a victor in each case.

Fiction

An Unnecessary Woman – Rabih Alameddine

All the Light We Cannot SeeAnthony Doerr

RedploymentPhil Klay

Station ElevenEmily St. John Mandel

Lila Marilynne Robinson

Anthony Doerr VS Emily St. John Mandel

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Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See is about a blind French girl and a German boy who meet in occupied France during the devastation of World War II. Instead of focusing on the war, Doerr takes on a nuanced focus on his characters’ life choices, transforming this novel into a mezmerising mosaic of character portraits.

Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven is a post-apocalyptic tale about a group of traveling performers who roam from town to town to entertain the public after a flu epidemic wipes out most of humanity. With a glitteringly beautiful use of language, Mandel has created a page-turner that will stay with you long after the book’s end.

Verdict: Both novels have surpassed the others in terms of mentions by far, and it is Mandel’s book that has generated the most electrifying buzz over many months. Although Doerr might be the initial go-to bet because of an overwhelmingly positive response from critics, the numbers don’t lie–– and that, coupled with strong public sentiment, makes us think that Station Eleven will emerge as victor.

Non-Fiction

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? – Roz Chast

No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes – Anand Gopal

Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh – John Lahr

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China – Evan Osnos

The Meaning of Human Existence – Edward O. Wilson

John Lahr VS Evan Osnos

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John Lahr’s Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh gives readers intimate access to the mind of one of the greatest American playwrights in history. The creator of A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Lahr captures Williams’ failures and successes so accurately and vividly that readers can’t help but weep and triumph along with the man who reshaped theater.

Evan OsnosAge of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China, catapults the reader into the middle of modern-day China during a moment of profound transformation. Osnos utilizes great literary verve to take the audience through China’s history of political, economic, and cultural upheaval––and in the process, creates moving portraits of the everyday Chinese people we know so little about.

Verdict: The race is close, but in the end, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh wins out. The novel, has enjoyed wide publicity on Twitter from an army of influential tweeters and has been consistently mentioned for months, with many users declaring their avid support.

Young People’s Literature

Threatened – Eliot Schrefer

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights – Steve Sheinkin

Noggin – John Corey Whaley

Revolution: The Sixties Trilogy, Book Two – Deborah Wiles

Brown Girl DreamingJacqueline Woodson

John Corey Whaley VS Jacqueline Woodson

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John Corey Whaley’s Noggin relates how confusing it is to be a teenager with a unique plot device. When 16-year old Travis Coates was dying of leukemia, he allowed his head to be “chopped off and shoved into a freezer.” Due to amazing medical advances, Travis wakes up five years later to find his head on somebody else’s body, and what follows during his adjustment period is exciting and unconventional, highlighting Whaley’s truly ingenious plot.

In Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson presents an unforgettable story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. In a collection of moving poems, Woodson shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960’s and 70’s, and makes her tale relatable—every emotionally charged line offers a glimpse into a child’s soul.

Verdict: Woodsen’s novel has inspired a storm of recent tweets, but Whaley’s Noggin has been casting spells on users for quite some time and could be viewed as ‘The People’s Choice’. In addition, it connects with its target reader base of young adults more strongly and succeeds in engaging young readers from all backgrounds.

We may have our predictions, but we’ll find out the winners November 19th!

What are your thoughts on who the winners might be, and why?

Trending Books: November 11 – 17

We know it’s been a busy month—if you’re prepping and writing for NaNoWriMo, there isn’t exactly time for you to fight crime or embark on exciting adventures— but don’t fret.

BookVibe is here to help you by presenting our newest list of Top Trending books—this week’s selections are rife with exhilaration and intrigue, so you can dive into the pages and take a break from real life (for at least for a little while).

If you ever feel like your daily schedule is getting a little monotonous and you’d like to spice things up, then pick up Charles Bukowski’s Pulp.

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Bukowski’s last novel, Pulp certainly does not disappoint—you are thrown into a world of sex, madness, and death within the first chapter. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Follow Nick Belane, a down on his luck private eye, as he stumbles upon the case(s) of the century. From tracking down a long-dead French novelist, to dealing with a husband who suspects his wife of cheating, searching for something known as the “Red Sparrow,” and assisting a mortician with finding a body-snatching alien, you will laugh out loud and thrill at the bizarreness of it all.

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Speaking of bizarre, people have some pretty crazy pets out there—but a hawk? Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk (winner of the 2014 Non-Fiction Samuel Johnson Prize) is a heartbreaking and hilarious account of her time raising Mabel, a fierce and deadly hawk. After the death of her father, Macdonald finds that she can relate to the vicious goshawk’s anger, and attempts to project herself “in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her.”

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While you’re wondering whether a wild hawk can be fully tamed, just know that the Greek gods in Rick Riordan’s series The Heroes of Olympus can’t be. From Hera and Zeus, to Juno, Medusa and Neptune, Riordan brings mythology to life in the most exciting way possible. This week, Book Five: The Blood of Olympus, is one of the most mentioned books on Twitter, so be sure to check out the preceding novels before delving into a fantasy world of epic proportions.

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On the topic of epic, Luigi Serafini’s Codex Seraphinianus is mind blowing—to say the least. An artist, architect, and industrial designer, Serafini spent thirty months creating an illustrated encyclopedia of an imaginary world. The book is approximately 360 pages long, features strange and beautiful artwork, and is written in an unintelligible alphabet. Created for the information age and the world of computer science, this book’s meaning has been debated over for years—but whether you understand it or not, Codex Seraphinianus is undeniably a work of unparalleled art.

Enjoyed this week’s trending announcement? Tell your friends! And don’t miss the full list of this week’s Top Trending books!