Trending Books: October 23 – 29

We know our last post of “Horror Novels Through The Ages” was a little intense, but that’s why we’re back with this week’s list of top trending books!

There are no scary clowns, haunted houses, or demonized children, but there are laughs, romance, and best of all—food!

First on the list is Grace Helbig’s Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be a Grown-up. Being an adult isn’t easy—so let this charming comedian guide you through everything from surviving a breakup to curing a hangover. Hilarious and heartwarming, discover Helbig’s past adventures and the lessons contained in them.

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In Food: A Love Story, stand-up comedian and author Jim Gaffigan will let you know exactly what he thinks on all things culinary(ish), such as why he thinks coconut water was invented to get people to stop drinking coconut water, and “choking on bacon is like getting murdered by your lover.” Flip through pages of McDonalds, Cinnabon, and Hot Pockets in this hilarious ode to all things tasty.

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Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle is a satirical commentary on modern man and his madness. First published in 1963, it explores issues of technology, science, and religion while satirizing the arms race. Get lost in one of Vonnegut’s best works—an apocalyptic tale of this planet’s fate.

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Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think? Visit here for the full list of top trending books!

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Horror Novels Throughout The Ages

Halloween is fast approaching, and what better way to celebrate the year’s spookiest holiday than reading some of the greatest horror novels of all time?

Sit back, relax (or not), and let us take you on a journey throughout the ages to reacquaint you with the scariest novels from the last few decades.

1800’s

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818)

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One of the most powerful novels of the Gothic period, Frankenstein explores scientific exploration and religion. You’ll be awed by Victor Frankenstein and his abandonment of morality and social convention as he creates a living monstrosity from old body parts. Murder and guilt play a huge part in this tale of a man trying to play God, making this an exciting read no matter what time period you’re in.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897)

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Considered THE vampire novel of all time, it follows the character of the vampire Count Dracula and his attempt to move from Transylvania to England to find new blood and spread the undead curse. Join Professor Abraham Van Helsing and his group of helpers as they attempt to bring down the bloodsucking mythical being.

Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw (1898)

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Combine psychological horror, ghosts, and madness in this “perfect” ghost story novella. Follow a young governess as she cares for a man’s nephew and niece after the death of their parents, and try to unravel the dark secret of the country house, Bly.

1900’s

Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House (1959)

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A finalist for the National Book Award and regarded as one of the best literary ghost stories published during the twentieth century, the novel is about Hill House, an eighty-year-old mansion, and four main characters who have experienced paranormal events in the past. After renting the house for the summer, the four experience unseen spirits and terrifying sounds that they are either real—or the product of their imaginations.

William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist (1971)

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Inspired by a 1949 case of demonic possession and exorcism, The Exorcist centers around the possession of twelve-year-old Regan MacNeil, the daughter of a famous actress. Look out for poltergeist-like disturbances, violence, and diabolical personalities. If you’ve watched the movie (who can forget the terrifying head twist?), you should be warned: The book is much scarier.

Stephen King’s It (1986)

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Remember that horrifying clown that is the stuff of life ruining nightmares? Yes, well—he’s from Stephen King’s novel, It. You’d have to have nerves and sweat ducts of steel to withstand the story of seven children as they are terrorized by a creature that takes the form of the fears and phobias of its victims. “It” usually appears in the form of a clown in order to attack its prey of choice—young children—and is truly one of literature’s most terrifying monsters.

2000’s

Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves (2000)

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The format and structure of this novel may be unconventional, comprised mostly of footnotes and articles, but that is what adds horror to the story. Picture a normal family of four, coming back from a trip to realize a change in their home. Doors begin to inexplicably sprout where blank walls used to be, and long hallways to nowhere are continually formed on the daily. After some research, it is discovered that the internal measurements of the house are somehow larger than the external measurements—creepy, right? Don’t miss out on this tale of psychological horror, madness, and utter claustrophobia.

Brian Keene’s The Rising

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Winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel in 2003, The Rising is the first book in a series of zombie-themed horror novels that starts off in the aftermath of a particle accelerator experiment. Keep in mind that these aren’t your average zombies, though—animals and even insects are infected by the plague.

Joe Hill’s The Heart-Shaped Box (2007)

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It’s not surprising that Joe Hill, the son of horror master Stephen King, would churn out a terrifying bestseller and critically acclaimed horror novel. This creepy tale—about a musician who buys a dead man’s suit and is subsequently possessed and haunted—is the perfect contemporary horror novel for fans of spine-tingling thrills and chills.

We hope you enjoyed the list we put together! If you’ve read any of them, let us know what you think, and as always, we’re happy to hear recommendations from our readers.

Tweets About Nicholas Sparks’ “The Best Of Me”

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We hope you have that box of tissues ready, because based on the Tweets we found regarding Nicholas Sparks’ novel and recently turned movie, The Best of Me, you’re going to seriously need it.

The Best of Me carries all of the hallmarks of Nicholas Sparks’ (usually predictable) plots: lower class guy, upper class girl, love blossoms, and obstacles ensue—the whole shebang—but there is no denying that the tale of Dawson Cole and Amanda Collier is irresistibly charming.

After meeting and falling in love during their teens, Dawson and Amanda are separated and reunited two decades later, only to find that perhaps their love has never faded, despite the different directions their lives have pushed them in.

So it’s no huge surprise that the word, “cry,” cropped up the most by far. Warning: If you don’t want to be seen weeping in the middle of class, a date, the train station, or whatever—tread lightly.

Amazing,” also came up a ridiculous amount of times:

And let’s not forget the all important heart ( <3) emoticon:

As you can see, sometimes all three (“cry,” “amazing,” AND “ <3”) intersect!

So although we thought the novel and film to be a little cheesy, others seem to disagree.

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Have you read the book or seen the movie? Let us know if you agree or disagree with the majority of Tweeters!

Senator John McCain’s Book Recommendations

John McCain may be the senior United States Senator and a former presidential nominee in the 2008 United States presidential election, but did you know that he has fantastic taste in books as well?

Last week we mentioned how McCain was one of the most influential recommenders via Twitter when it came to Richard Flanagan’s Booker prize-winning novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Followed by almost 2 million people, McCain’s tweet (below) was read by many and contributed significantly to the novel’s twittersphere buzz.

With this in mind, we decided to extract other book recommendations that McCain has tweeted about:

First is Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, a true story revolving around a WWII flier named Louis Zamperini, whose US bomber crashes into the Pacific Ocean during one fateful May afternoon in 1943. On a decrepit raft, and facing a journey through the endless ocean, starvation, sharks, and the enemy, Zamperini’s fate rests on whether he can pull through with his strength of will.

Next on McCain’s list is Robert K. Massie’s Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, a masterpiece of narrative biography relaying the extraordinary story of a young German princess who ultimately becomes one of history’s most captivating and powerful women. Flit through the pages, in between the words, and let the vividness of the details engulf you—from her correspondences with Frederick the Great and Marie Antoinette, to stories about Catherine’s family, friends, generals, lovers and enemies.

Continue to travel back in time with One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson, and relive the glorious season when signature events of the twentieth century happened, including when Charles Lindbergh became the first man to continuously cross the Atlantic by plane nonstop. Meanwhile, Babe Ruth was cementing his status as a baseball giant with a home run record, and the first true “talking picture,” by Al Jolson— The Jazz Singer—was filmed and forever changed the motion picture industry.

From political books to suspense novels, you are in for a treat with John McCain’s recommendations—Click here for BookVibe’s full list of his favorites!

Are Movies Boosting Book Reads, Or the Other Way Around?

The news that Gone Girl is once again at the top of the box office is a surprise to absolutely no one. The tale of the missing wife has even stumped out Dracula himself, as well as a creepy, murderous doll by the name of Annabelle (and it’s Halloween month, people!). This made us wonder whether audiences read Gone Girl and then saw the movie, or if the film boosted book reads.

Putting our detective glasses on, we decided to do a little analyzing and pulled out some data from Twitter.

We sampled 8600 Twitter users who have tweeted about both the Gone Girl movie and book. Of those folks, we found that over 60% (around 6000 people) tweeted about the book first while the remaining 2600 mentioned the movie first.

And for each of those audiences we were able to identify how fans then tweeted about the other medium. For example, over 1000 book-first users then tweeted about wanting to watch the movie, showing “Intent to Watch,” and over 200 movie-first users then tweeted that they “Recommend” the book-version. You can view the breakdown of tweets in the graph below:

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So although the book-first group is currently larger, it will eventually become eclipsed by mentions from moviegoers who have seen the film first— driving us to the conclusion that film adaptations of books have the ability to influence people to read!

Visit here if you’ve yet to read Gillian Flynn’s bestseller on media, marriage, and dishonesty.

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The Narrow Road to Victory!

Congratulations are in order for Richard Flanagan, winner of the coveted Man Booker prize for his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North!

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We’d like to say we’re surprised that the first Man Booker prize to allow American nominees was won by an Australian, but because of our ability to monitor the volume and sentiment of tweets in recent weeks, we’ve predicted this a week ago!

Although Flanagan won because of his “magnificent novel of love and war,” he wasn’t the favorite to win—in fact, just a couple hours before the announcement of the winner was made, news outlets were betting on Neel Mukherjee as the victor.

With all that’s said and done, we are thrilled with the decision and hope that you will join us for more interesting predictions in the coming weeks.

Next stop: the National Book Award!

2014 National Book Award Tweets

What an awards season this has been! Hot on the heels of the report that Patrick Modiano was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, tomorrow the finalists for the National Book Awards will be announced.

The awards, which were established in 1936 by the American Booksellers Association, are currently given to one book (author) annually in each of four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature.

Each category consists of hundreds of books, whittled down to ten, and now to five. Here at BookVibe, we were able to pull out the most notable and interesting tweets regarding some of the books – check them out below!

Fiction

Wolf in White Van – John Darnielle

All the Light We Cannot SeeAnthony Doerr

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

Redeployment – Phil Klay

Orfeo – Richard Powers

Nonfiction

The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks – Walter Isaacson

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

Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh – John Lahr

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

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

Poetry

Citizen: An American Lyric – Claudia Rankine

This Blue – Maureen N. McLane

Faithful and Virtuous Night – Louise Gluck

The Road to Emmaus – Spencer Reece

Gabriel: A Poem – Edward Hirsch

Young Literature

The Impossible Knife of Memory – Laurie Halse Anderson

Noggin – John Corey Whaley

100 Sideways Miles – Andrew Smith

Brown Girl Dreaming – Jacqueline Woodson

Revolution: The Sixties Trilogy, Book Two – Deborah Wiles

Have you ready any of these books? If so, what did you think? Visit here for a complete list of the National Book Awards 2014 Longlist.

And The Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Goes To…

Quelle merveilleuse surprise! Felicitations are in order for Patrick Modiano, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature—one of the world’s greatest literary honors— “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation”.

Born in the suburbs of Paris and considered the “Marcel Proust of Our Time,” Modiano’s most notable work is Missing Person, a novel about a detective who loses his memory and sets out to find it.

A big name in France but relatively unknown in the U.S., Modiano’s books are usually small in length and feature variations of the same theme of memory loss and identity.

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Modiano is the 15th French writer of this prestigious award. Below is a list of past French winners, along with some of their most notable works.

1901: Sully Prudhomme – Stances et Poèmes (165)

1904: Frederic Mistral – Mireille (1859)

1915: Romain Rolland – Jean-Cristophe (1903-1912)

1921: Anatole France – The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard (1881)

1927: Henri Bergson – Time & Free Will (1889)

1937: Roger Martin du Grad – The Thibaults (1922-1929)

1947: Andre Gide – Unless The Seed Dies (1924)

1952: Francois Mauriac – Therese Desqueyroux (1927)

1957: Albert Camus – The Stranger (1942)

1960: Saint-John Perse – Nocturne (1973)

1964: Jean-Paul Sartre – The Age Of Reason (1945)

1985: Claude Simon – Les Géorgiques (1981)

2000: Gao Xingjian – Soul Mountain (1990)

2008: J.M.G. Le Clezio – The African (2004)

Bigfoot, Vampires, & Werebears: Weird & Whacky Books

October may be a month that is known for the horrific and scary, but what about the weird and whacky? That’s right—move over, Stephen King and R.L. Stine, today we’re going to uncover a list of some of the strangest books that have been getting buzz on Twitter this past year (but hey—to each his own!)

As if the concept of Bigfoot—a cryptic ape-like creature that roams forests—isn’t odd enough, Simon Okill’s Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again catapults the mystic creature into a whole new realm of “what?” Get thrown into Beaver Falls, a town that is ruled by The Elders—Swedish-looking blond aliens from the planet Abba (?!) —who have genetically altered Duane Dexter into the Phantom Bigfoot to look after his tribe.

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In Danielle DeVor’s Tail of the Devil, Mathias is a homeless teenager who is captured and transformed into a vampire because he is the reincarnate of an ancient vampire king. Cool, right? Not according to Mathias, who loathes his blood-sucking captors’ rules, which include using napkins and no swearing (seriously?). Initially, Mathias’ mindset is No thanks, I’d rather be homeless—until he realizes that there is an evil queen who won’t rest until he is dead.

contentShape shifters seem to be all the rage, as is evidenced by Sheryl Seal’s Beyond Bridalveil Fall (Dwellers of Ahwahnee) and W.H. Vega’s UnBEARable: A Russet Falls Novel. The first novel stars a girl named Oria, who, whilst on a trip to Yosemite National Park, discovers that she is the Golden Queen of the Ahwahneechee tribe with a soul mate named Grey Wolf. The second introduces Gabby, a bear-hating hiker who just happens to love a sexy park ranger named Zane, who coincidentally turns out to be a werebear shapeshifter that is sent to protect her because—surprise, surprise—Gabby possesses royal blood that bear clans are hungry for.

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Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think? Visit here for a complete list of BookVibe’s “weird” selections and let us know if you have any more suggestions!

The Man Booker Prize 2014: Predictions for the Winner

For the first time, the Man Booker Prize for Fiction has been opened up to the whole English speaking world—which means that choosing the winner will be a more difficult task than ever. With the shortlist announced—six great books by authors from Britain, the United States, and Australia—the competition is fierce.

We decided to look at specific signals that our unique technology can detect on Twitter to predict a winner—read on to discover who we think will emerge victorious!

First up is Joshua Ferris’ To Rise At A Decent Hour, a tale about a contradictory man whose life is turned upside down when he is impersonated online. Ferris first won critical acclaim with his debut novel, Then We Came to the End, when it became a finalist for the National Book Award and won the PEN/Hemingway Award. With a glowing literary reputation, Ferris’ following book, The Unnamed, was largely hyped up, but failed to impress audiences because of its depressing topic matter. Four years later, Ferris has struck back with an impressive vengeance—this time employing the humor that critics loved so much.

The next American author on the list is Karen Joy Fowler with We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, a story revolving around the daughter of a psychology professor with a chimpanzee “sister.” Fowler is certainly a strong pick because of her gift for snappy diction and a loyal fan base that has formed since the debut of her wildly successful book, The Jane Austen Book Club (which was also made into a film) as well.

Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North depicts the horrors experienced by Allied soldiers that were forced to build a railway between Thailand and Burma under horrific conditions. Considered to be “the finest Australian novelist of his generation” by The Economist, each of Flanagan’s novels has received praise and numerous awards, marking him as one of the strongest competitors.

Take a journey through different characters’ heads with Neel Mukherjee’s aptly named, The Lives Of Others. An ambitious story of political and familial tension in West Bengal, the novel revolves around six members of an upper middle class Bengali family in Calcutta during the late Sixties. Although Mukherjee is considered “new,” he has won the Crosswood Book Award—an Indian book prize—and has recently been a hot topic on Twitter discussions.

Falling in love has never yielded such danger than in Howard Jacobson’s J, a tale that is set in the future where a world considers its past dangerous. Jacobson is no stranger to the Man Booker Prize—his novel, The Finkler Question, won the award in 2010—perhaps he can follow in the footsteps of Hilary Mantel, JM Coetzee, and Peter Carey, and win the prize twice.

Reading Ali Smith’s How to Be Both is like diving into a wildly colorful painting—the book features two interconnected stories that almost read like poetry. The lives of a girl named George and another named Francesco, along with their struggles with sexuality are mapped and plotted out in an unconventional fictional form. Smith’s third shortlisting for the Man Booker prize, her innovative use of scattered chronology and poetry-like writing has seen How to Be Both emerge as the bookies’* favourite.

After some analyzing, we’ve decided to cast our vote for Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North. We based our decision on the high volume of tweets the novel has been receiving compared to the others, with critics and celebrities alike blowing up the Twittersphere with mentions and praise.

Guess we’ll find out on October 14th!

But enough about what we think—what are your thoughts on who the winner might be, and why?

*A bookie is short for bookmaker – the place you go to place bets on sports and other events.