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  • Brian Boone 3:00 pm on 2019/04/15 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , dan brown, , greatest of all time, h. rider haggerd, harry potter and the sorcerer's stone, , , , she: a history of adventure, , , ,   

    How Many of These 10 Bestselling Novels of All Time Have You Read? 

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    I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me, but approximately more than eight kajillion books have been published since Gutenberg invented the printing the press lo, those many years ago, and most if not all are currently available for purchase and/or download on this very website. Not every single one can be a bestseller, of course, because funds are limited and we just can’t spend every last cent on books, the way we would in a perfect world. The following books are bestsellers, the stories that have engaged and delighted and enchanted so many people, generation after generation, that they sit atop the list of the most-read and most purchased books ever. How many of these important titles have you read?

    A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
    Charles Dickens created A Christmas Carol, solidifying many holiday tropes, and novels like David Copperfield serve as historical accounts of Industrial Age London, but he also wrote blockbuster novels, such as this, his most epic and ambitious work, set around the time of the French Revolution in England and France. (It was, you know, “the best of times” as well as “the worst of times.”)

    The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
    Tolkien’s epic, wildly imaginative but somehow deeply familiar story of good vs. evil and the powers of friendship and duty created an elaborate mythology, an entire world, and even languages. It’s essentially the first (and probably greatest) full-on fantasy novel, and without it there would be no Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, or Dungeons & Dragons.

    The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    This novel has often been marketed to children because it’s easy to read, boasts unforgettable illustrations, and is short. But it’s really a book for everyone because it is so profoundly moving, this tale of a painfully sensitive and often lonely space traveler wise beyond his years, and the crashed, Saint-Exupéry-like pilot to whom he relates his adventures.

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
    It’s a clever and alluring premise for sure—a modern-day Dickensian orphan finds out he’s got magical powers (and blood, and a destiny), and he’s off to attend boarding school at an institution just for wizards and witches. But who would have thought it would be become a publishing and pop cultural phenomenon never before seen and probably never again. Probably the hundreds of millions who bought the first, world-establishing book, which revels in Rowling’s hundreds of ingenious details about the Wizarding World.

    And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
    There are a lot of pioneers on this list who still hold the record for the bestselling book in the genre they created. Mystery novels are big business, and they’re so much fun, trying to figure out “whodunit” before the genius detective in the pages does…or after they do, if the book is especially well-crafted. Mystery novels still follow rules laid out by the early masters of the form: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Agatha Christie. Herein, eight individuals are invited to a small island off the coast of England for various reasons…and that’s when the murders begin.

    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
    It’s kind of hard to believe that this was written by a guy who, in his parallel life in 1800s England, was a minister and math professor (under his real name Charles Dodgson). It’s just about the zaniest, most psychedelic tale ever told, generated from Carroll telling imaginative stories to the young daughter of a family friend named Alice. The White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter—the whole madcap gang is here.

    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis
    This extremely engrossing and inventive tale, the opener of Lewis’s beloved series, sends a quartet of kids displaced by World War II through a bureau and into the magical world of Narnia, where they encounter centaurs, heroic lions, evil witches, biblical allegory, and some very costly Turkish Delight.

    She: A History of Adventure, by H. Rider Haggard
    Probably the least famous and least read today of the books on this list, She: A History of Adventure is a phenomenally popular book from the 19th century that didn’t itself endure, but which influenced scores of successors. A daring adventurer boasts of his journeys to a forgotten kingdom (or “lost world”) in the heart of Africa, where he and his loyal ward Leo come upon a tribe ruled by a fascinating, possibly supernatural queen.

    The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
    From the years of 2003 to 2007, was there anybody not on the beach, the subway, on an airplane, or in the park reading this fast-paced popcorn thriller about master symbologist and mystery solver Robert Langdon uncovering secret societies and the earth-shattering truths hidden in famous works of art?

    The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
    Salinger did the literary equivalent of a mic drop. He published one of the most widely read and analyzed cult novels of all time (everyone seems to go through a Catcher in the Rye phase in high school and college, particularly frustrated, artsy guys), and, as if to prove he wasn’t one of the “phonies” so hated by world-exploring Holden Caulfield in the book, he then went into seclusion, never to publish anything again. What a way to go out.

    How many of these bestsellers have you read?

    The post How Many of These 10 Bestselling Novels of All Time Have You Read? appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • BN Editors 3:00 pm on 2017/11/22 Permalink
    Tags: dan brown, enemy of the state, , gift guide, , , owen king, ruth wareorigin, , , the lying game, the rooster bar,   

    Gift Guide: Up All Night Reads for the Thriller Obsessed 

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    Diving into a gritty thriller and losing yourself in a page-turning story is an inordinately satisfying experience. This holiday season, why not give the gift of sleepless nights—the kind the receiver will actually thank you for? Some of our favorite big name authors (from Dan Brown to John Grisham!) have long-awaited brand new books out, and there’s something for every thriller fan. See the complete list in our Holiday Gift Guide for more ideas for your thrill-seeking friends and family.

    The Rooster Bar, by John Grisham
    Grisham proves he’s still got his finger on the pulse in his newest, telling the story of idealistic but broke law students Mark, Todd, and Zola, who mortgage their future in the form of student loans to attend a third-tier law school. In their third year, the trio realizes they’ve been victims of the Great Law School Scam: the graduates of their school rarely pass the bar and almost never get jobs—and the school’s owner also owns the bank that wrote the paper on their loans. Naturally, smart nearly-lawyers go for the only option they have available: revenge. It’s going to take planning and risks (like dropping out before earning your degree) but it’s the only option if you want a little justice—and the result is an Ocean’s 11 for the LSAT crowd.

    Origin, by Dan Brown
    Brown returns to his most successful character with an all-new Robert Langdon adventure, this time centered in Spain and focusing on more modern art. Langdon starts off the book as the guest of former student-turned-billionaire Edmond Kirsch, who is staging a provocative presentation at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and hinting at the answers to two of the fundamental questions of human existence. Naturally, things go very, very wrong, and Langdon soon finds himself fleeing to Barcelona with museum director Ambra Vidal and working desperately to discover a password Kirsch left behind that will unlock all of the billionaire’s secrets. Their opponent, however, seems to be all-knowing, and firmly rooted in the Spanish royal palace—but there’s no one on Earth more equipped to deal with codes and symbols than Robert Langdon.

    Sleeping Beauties, by Stephen King and Owen King
    King and his son Owen team up for a book with a timely, terrifying premise: what if, in the very near future, most of the women in the world simply went to sleep and didn’t wake up? Covered in cocoon-like white membranes, the women become feral attackers if disturbed. the Kings being Kings, they set the action in a depressed Appalachian town whose main employer is a women’s prison. Men, left to their own devices, don’t react well, and society begins to unravel even as the question of what’s happening with the female half of the population lingers. One woman named Evie who appears immune, and might be a savior—or some sort of demon come to supervise the downfall of man. Filled with smart social commentary and larger-than-life characters, this is a top-notch collaboration from the biggest family name in the business..

    The Lying Game, by Ruth Ware
    Four women—Isa, Kate, Thea, and Fatima—spent their boarding school years at Salten House, sneaking away to hang with Kate’s art teacher father and her dreamy brother and play the Lying Game, a challenge to get people to believe the most outlandish stories they could dream up. It all ends in tragedy, and 20 years later, new mum Isa receives a note from Kate that sends her off on a train and back to the village of Salten, where she meets the rest of the old gang. It seems a bone has been found in the marshes nearby, and the women know all about its origins—and the discovery of a body means all of their lives, and the lies they’re built on, could come apart.

    Enemy of the State, by Kyle Mills
    The 16th Mitch Rapp novel (and third by Mills since Vince Flynn’s passing) finds Rapp enlisted by the president to clean up a growing mess in Saudi Arabia, as rival factions of the royal family and the government fund terrorists and plot against one anther, sowing chaos and supporting ISIS. Rapp employs his usual steady professionalism, assembling the sort of team you can rely on to carry out the high-level maneuvers required—including his lover, Claudia Gould, his former enemy Grisha Azarov, and former army sniper turned drug runner Kent Black. The seemingly impossible mission requires a clever plan, but as usual, readers can rest assured Rapp has one.

    Shop our Holiday Gift Guide, with prefect gifts for everyone on your list!

    The post Gift Guide: Up All Night Reads for the Thriller Obsessed appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 8:11 pm on 2015/06/09 Permalink
    Tags: , dan brown, , the highest office, the president's shadow,   

    Brad Meltzer’s The President’s Shadow is This Summer’s The Da Vinci Code 

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    The phenomenal success of books like The Da Vinci Code proves that readers everywhere love seeing events, people, and concepts we read about in school brought to thrilling life and connected to our modern day. Brad Meltzer’s Culper Ring series has the same bones as The Da Vinci Code—riddles and conspiracies hidden in plain sight, a love of history, and a wildly re-imagined backstory to some of the world’s most famous items and events. But Meltzer brings a level of sophistication to his Culper Ring series that enhances their impact and makes for novels that satisfy as thrillers, as conspiracy tales, and as character studies. Meltzer continues his winning streak with The President’s Shadow, the third in his Culper Ring series about an ancient organization founded by George Washington to protect the presidency—and once again he finds the perfect balance between historic puzzles, tense thriller setpieces, and surprising character interactions.

    The History is Solid
    Meltzer does his research and writes historical thrillers that are rooted in reality. The Culper Ring that Meltzer’s hero archivist Beecher White is a member of really did exist, and really was founded by George Washington, and many of the events and objects that factor into the story are similarly real or based on reality. This is important because Meltzer doesn’t hold back on his plotting—The President’s Shadow involves severed arms, a top-secret military experiment, a secret guild of assassins founded by none other than John Wilkes Booth, and the return of Nico, the insane man who believes it’s his destiny to be the fifth successful presidential assassin in American history. The rock-solid, fact-checkable foundation anchors a plot that seems poised to boil over into chaos at any time.

    The Human Touch
    While The President’s Shadow can be read cold without having read the first two books, it definitely helps if you understand the history between these characters. That’s because, unlike in historical thrillers that focus too much on the puzzles and historical details to the detriment of the characters, Meltzer offers us flesh-and-blood people who have emotional reactions to events and each other, who lie and betray each other, and who stand up for each other. Beecher White’s semi-antagonistic relationship with President Orson Wallace is a great example: White suspects Wallace of a terrible crime committed in his youth, but he also saved Wallace’s life, and the mutual distrust between the leader of the free world and a man dedicated to protecting the office, if not the individual, gives the story a powerful sense of depth.

    The Pacing is Spot-On
    Where a lot of historical thrillers in the vein of The Da Vinci Code rocket along a story that simply pushes the protagonists from discovery to discovery, Meltzer is more patient. The President’s Shadow opens with a stunning image: the First Lady of the United States, engaged in some therapeutic gardening on the White House grounds, discovers a severed arm clutching a totem that links directly to her husbands semi-nemesis Beecher White—but then Meltzer takes his time unveiling the rest of the story, giving us the history of Beecher’s father and his mysterious death (somehow linked to the severed arm) and of several other characters, each pursuing, it seems, a separate thread.

    Masterful Misdirection
    One of Meltzer’s great talents is lulling the reader into a false sense of security and comprehension. As you read The President’s Shadow there are several moments during which the solution to the riddles seem obvious—but as you soon realize, you’re being set up. The true solution to the mystery of the buried arms, the true motivation of every player, and the identity of the ultimate antagonist are surprising—but delightful, because they fit perfectly with the clues, just not in the way you may have expected. When twists comes out of nowhere, they’re frustrating. When they are supported by evidence in the story, they’re thrilling.

    The Final Reveal
    Without giving anything away, you’ll want to read to the last page of The President’s Shadow for the final twist that puts a wholly different spin on the rest of the book. It’s not a cheap surprise; it’s something that bubbles under all of the Culper Ring novels. It’s pretty shocking, and it’s also pretty genius. While other historical thrillers keep their thrills and puzzles securely in the past, Meltzer does them all one better, realizing that all conspiracies and puzzles have to be created in the present before they can become history.

    Shop All Fiction >
  • Chrissie Gruebel 5:00 pm on 2014/07/23 Permalink
    Tags: anita diamond, , brokeback mountain, certain girls, dan brown, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , middlesex, rick yanked, , susan cain, , the fifth wave, , , , white fang   

    A Definitive List of Books for All Vacation Occasions 

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    The City and The City

    It’s already July 23, and we need to have a talk: Have you taken a summer vacation yet? Seriously…have you? For real, Americans are notorious for this gross oversight. Yes, sure—we don’t get enough vacation days in general, but if you’re not taking the ones you DO have, then we don’t have a leg to stand on collectively as a society. I mean, we all want to be like Europe, right, where they get approximately 200 days off per year (just an estimate)? So in order to accomplish this task, we all need to work together to stop working (for at least a week, that is).

    To help, here’s a list of vacations AND the books you should bring to each. So go forth! Pack a suitcase full of books and travel-sized shampoos! Live a life of temporary leisure, you won’t regret it! Europe: we’re coming for you:

    Camping, Mountains, Wilderness
    You + nature + books + maybe animals(?) = never a bad idea, and always a great idea. Whether you’re in the mood to check out from civilization, or simply find yourself wrapped up in nature’s loving arms, we’ve got a few titles on our list to remind you not to get too big for those Eddie Bauer britches—plus a few that’ll warm your heart and make you laugh. Still…leave room for a map. And a compass. And a tent. Let’s not be too cavalier where bears are concerned, okay?

    As long as no one gets Legionnaire’s Disease, cruises are basically floating barges of people in surf shorts Wang Chung-ing it 24/7. Morning buffets, alcohol, several pools, afternoon buffets, karaoke, volleyball, evening buffets, pineapples, off-off-Broadway-quality entertainment, midnight buffets. What more could a human want, really? (Enough lifeboats for everyone, if we’ve learned anything from Titanic—but besides that, LITERALLY nothing, because there’s a really high chance you’ll be allowed to wear a captain’s hat.) Bookwise? Anything goes.

    Historical/Cultural Trip
    Whew! If these walls, columns, churches, city squares, statues, monuments, battlefields, paintings, quilts, broken bells, buildings, gargoyles, fountains, parks, murals, sculptures, ruins, theaters, old wooden ships, lighthouses, walled cities, medieval castles, and artifacts could talk, right? The world’s got stories to tell! Which is crazy. These books will get you in the mood to explore, uncover some ancient mysteries, and maybe make a few stories of your own.

    Every city has a vibe all its own. Cities are like little pockets of magic where everyone dresses really cool and you’ve got all the culture and history you could possibly want right at your fingertips (and all the culture and history you never knew you wanted). Plus, in the summertime most cities smell like hot garbage, which is special.

    Beach Town
    Some of these novels are set at the beach, some merely mention the beach (maybe?), and others are flashy pieces of glitter that have basically nothing to do with the beach. Surprise! It doesn’t matter. A good beach read only requires an engrossing plot that hooks you immediately, because what do we want? To devour a story while sitting under an umbrella and drinking the rosé we’re hiding in our travel coffee mug. And when do we want it? Now.

    Solo Travels
    We’ve already covered the fact that eating out solo is basically the best thing that can happen to a book lover, but going on a trip solo? With no one else’s clipboard of fun to follow? You’ll be reading in bed, at dinner, on a bench, under the moonlight, in a box, with a fox, here, there, everywhere. Bring eight books with you. Bring ten. You’re on a solo vacation—you’re not there to make friends.

    This is a time for self-reflection, meditation, and getting the knots rubbed out of your shoulders by a trained professional. Wrap up your hair. Eat fresh fruit. Drink green tea. Breathe. Dance like no one’s watching. You get the drift. This collection of books will help you get into the right mindset to find yourself if you’re lost; and if you’re not lost, then it’ll be the right thing to read while you’re getting your feet massaged or your dead skin cells scraped off.

    Adventure (outback, safari, joining the circus, etc.)
    So you wanna live in a treehouse for a few days? DO IT. You have the heart of a lion! This portion of the list runs the gamut from taking down a government conspiracy to swimming with alligators, so you can take your pick of which adventure you’d like to accompany you on your adventure. We’ll be over here, reading quietly in a non-dangerous place.

    Road Trip
    As long as you’re not the driver and you don’t get carsick, you can put away a million books while you’re on the open road. Just be sure to look out the window every once in a while to take in the glorious scenery, and to maybe keep your eyes peeled for a Sonic. Plus, you can pretend to be a moody teenager who has big plans (BIG ONES), if only you could get away from your stupid family.

    Home alone? You’ll wanna laugh. Or cry. Mostly laugh. But maybe cry a little while you look at yourself in the mirror? That’s something some of us might do when we’re alone. No big deal or anything. In any case, you’ll be free to feel all the feelings you wanna feel because you’ll be all wrapped in your enduring solitude. Enjoy your vacation from other people!

    What are you packing to read during your next vacation?

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