New Books

Great Books for Last-Minute Gift Ideas

The holidays are almost upon us, but it’s not too late to pick up a great book or ten for the people on your list (or yourself)! I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites from this year that will hopefully make someone you know happy. And you can hear Rebecca and I discuss some of our favorite nonfiction books of 2016 on this week’s new episode of the All the Books! We talked about awesome books such as Ghostland, The Gene, and Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching.

We’re giving away a $250 Barnes & Noble shopping spree. Go here to enter.


atlas obscuraAtlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton

An amazing, illustrated atlas, filled with thousands of weird and fascinating places and things to see all around the globe! It’s perfect for trivia buffs, history fiends, coffee table book enthusiasts, and travelers. Really, unless they hate fun, pretty much everyone will love this book.

superfun timesThe Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook: Entertaining for Absolutely Every Occasion by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Moskowitz is a goddess of the vegan community, but more than that, these recipes are delicious for everyone. I promise. As someone who eats vegan, I have had my share of awful vegan food. These recipes are delicious!

night skyNight Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong

If you have a poetry lover in your life, you can’t go wrong with Vuong’s powerful poems, which Michiko Kakutani compared to Emily Dickinson and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Everyone should read it.


victoriaVictoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird

The fascinating biography of a young woman who became a queen, the people who helped her, and the people who regretted getting in her way. She was quite an interesting person. Oh and the Victorian era is named after her, nbd.

hidden figuresHidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

Before you see the movie, read the book! It is an amazing story of the brilliant African American women enlisted to help NASA in a time when the country was working to keep them separate from their white counterparts, and how their contributions helped the United States achieve its space goals.

adulthood is a mythAdulthood is a Myth: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen

Andersen hilariously and brilliantly captures why adulting is hard in these cartoons. If you and your friends and your family miss Hyperbole and a Half, this will help.


the association of small bombsThe Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan

A powerful, devastating novel about the effects of terrorism on both the victims and the perpetrators, revolving around the survivor of a bombing. Easily one of the best novels of the year. I’m really looking forward to what Mahajan does next.


the literature bookThe Literature Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) by James Canton

An epic nerdpurr, this book is FULL of images of literature and infographics about books throughout the history of the world. DK is the best at amazing image-filled books.


the sun is also a starThe Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

You don’t have to be a ten to love this wonderful young adult novel about young love and science. This made pretty much every list this year.




born to runBorn to Run by Bruce Springsteen

BROOOOOOOOOOOOCE. In this charming memoir, the Boss spills (almost) everything about what it was like from his humble New Jersey beginnings to becoming one of the most famous musicians in the world.


monstressMonstress Volume 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

A bananapants horror fantasy set in an alternate 1900s Asia where women rule, Monstress is about a teenager who has survived many horrors of war only to discover there is something special about her. Inside her, really. And it is hungry. With the help of unusual friends, she must find out what it is if she is to control it.

dorie's cookiesDorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people rave about Dorie’s cookies. Helpful hint: If you buy someone a cookie cookbook, it greatly increases the chances they will make you cookies.


valiant gentlemenValiant Gentlemen by Sabina Murray

A remarkable story of friendship and betrayal spanning four decades, based on the real-life relationship between Irish patriot Roger Casement and his best friend Herbert Ward.



the geneThe Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Mukherjee takes the history of what we’re made of and makes something of it. It’s completely fascinating and full of “hey, didja know?” information to delight and amaze you.


phoebe and her unicornRazzle Dazzle Unicorn: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson

The adventures of a young girl and her best friend, who happens to be a unicorn. It’s like Calvin and Hobbes for the 21st century! This is the fourth book. You don’t have to read them in order, but I highly recommend reading them all.

you can't touch my hairYou Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson

Robinson, comedian and one half of the wonderful podcast 2 Dope Queens, has written smart, funny essays on race and feminism, and doused them with liberal amounts of pop culture references and a lot of heart. The funniest book I read this year.

ada twistAda Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty (Author), David Roberts (Illustrator)

Ada is curious about science, so she embarks on adventures to learn about all the things she’s interested in, which may lead to more amazing discoveries!

That’s it for me today. Have amazing holidays, kittens!!! And if you want to learn more about books (and see lots of pictures of my cats, Millay and Steinbeck), or tell me about books you’re reading, you can find me on Twitter at MissLiberty, on Instagram at FranzenComesAlive, or Litsy under ‘Liberty’!

Stay rad!



Win LAB GIRL by Hope Jahren

We’re giving away a bunch of our favorite books from 2016. Up for grabs next: three copies of Lab Girl by Hope Jahren.

Here’s what I wrote about it in our Best of 2016 round-up:

Like the plants and trees that Hope Jahren studies, Lab Girl is the story of trying to find purchase. Purchase for a girl then young woman then professor who wants to live a life of science in a world that doesn’t particularly like science, and women scientists in particular. Months after listening to Lab Girl, that is what has stuck with me—Jahren’s will to define a life for herself as a scientist, mother, teacher, friend, and colleague that defies easy categorization or ready-made role. That she has created a meaningful life, insisted on and fought for that life, reminds us that it can be done.

To enter for a chance to win, go here or just click the image below.


Riot Rundown


We’re giving away a $250 Barnes & Noble shopping spree.
Go here to enter.


This Week In Books

The Only List of “Best Books” Lists You Need: This Week in Books

Bit of a light news week as temperatures fall and the holidays turn up. Enjoy some potpourri!

Master List of “Best Books of 2016” Lists

For nine years running now, David Gutowski is aggregating every ‘best of’ list he can find at his beloved site Largehearted Boy. At writing, the list is more than 400 lists strong, with entries ranging from the usual suspects (best fiction, best memoirs, etc.) to the unexpected and esoteric (best historical geology books, for example). The breadth and depth of Gutowski’s collected lists is always stunning, and it serves as a nice reminder that in any given year, even the most voracious of readers only cracks the surface of the available and deserving material.

New Program Offers Croatian Readers 100,000 Free eBooks

A group of government agencies and private donors have partnered with ebook platform Total Boox to create Croatia Reads, a new program built on that offers Croatian residents and tourists alike free unlimited access to the 100,000 bestselling ebooks in the world. Details about how the list was compiled are few, and I would love to know more. This is the first experiment of this size and scope I’ve seen, and if it works, what amazing potential for making more books more available to more people!

NYPL Transforms Former Apartment into Teen Tech Center

In the early twentieth century, many branches of the New York Public Library contained hidden apartments to house custodians charged with shoveling coal to keep the furnaces running overnight. Thirty-two of the current branches once contained these apartments, though only a few remain, and the venerable institution has done all kinds of cool things with them. Most recently, the apartment in the Washington Heights branch was turned into a (now-open) center for after-school activities, media and computer programs, and more for teen patrons. Hard to think of a better way to bring a glorious old building into the present. (And here’s a free idea for the romance writers in the house: an early-20th-century romp between a bookish beauty and a library custodian who invites her up for a closer look at his….shelves.)

Book Riot Reveals 2017 Read Harder Challenge

This update is coming from inside the house! Book Riot has revealed the third annual Read Harder Challenge, created by founding contributor Rachel Manwill. As always, the challenge contains 24 tasks intended to help you expand your reading life and explore new genres, subjects, and perspectives. New this year are six tasks contributed by some of the Riot’s favorite authors, including Roxane Gay, Celeste Ng, and Daniel José Older. If you’re looking for a readerly resolution for the new year, look no further.

We’re giving away a $250 Barnes & Noble shopping spree. Go here to enter.


What's Up in YA

2016 in YA at Book Riot: A Look Back at Our Best

Hey YA Readers!


We’re giving away a $250 gift card to Barnes & Noble for a shopping spree. Go here to enter.  


As the year is winding down, let’s use this issue of “What’s Up in YA?” to look back at some of the most popular posts on Book Riot relating to YA lit this year. Don’t forget to share your favorite 2016 books in this form by Wednesday. The last issue of 2016 for this newsletter will be a round-up of your favorite reads and titles you wish more people would pick up.


Thanks for hanging out & we’ll see you again next week with a round-up of your favorite YA books from 2016.

The Goods

Free Shipping on All US Orders

The clock is about to strike midnight! Today is the last day to get free shipping on all US orders and standard delivery by Christmas Eve. You know what to do. Wrap up your shopping now!


The Stack


Today’s The Stack is sponsored by Playster.

playster_logo_200wPlayster is the world’s first all-in-one entertainment service. It takes care of everything — comics, ebooks, audiobooks, music, movies, TV shows and games — and gives you unlimited access to millions of titles for one flat monthly fee. That’s right! Playster lets you enjoy unlimited comics, audiobooks and ebooks — no restrictions, no credit systems.

The service is accessible through all web browsers, and Playster’s Android and iOS apps, on virtually any device. The offline mode lets you save all of your favorites for on-the-go reading when there’s no Internet access around. Sign up today to get your free 30 day trial!

Riot Rundown


We’re giving away a 12-month Audible membership.
Go here to enter.



Audiobooks!: December 15, 2016

rha-176-snowman-1080px-instaThis week’s Audiobooks! Newsletter is sponsored by

Traveling for the holidays? Make your trip more enjoyable with an audiobook! Plug into a bestseller to catch up on some reading or play a title the whole family can enjoy! Visit for a full free download for your listening pleasure.

Gather ’round, audiobook fans! My plan today was to give you guys a round-up of all the amazing audiobooks that have gotten shout outs on Best of 2016 lists. But then I actually looked at those lists. And I was bored.

One audiobook site wanted me to surrender my email address to see their picks. Another site gave top honors to books by white men in categories where they were up against The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. Uh, what? Soon, the major awards arm of the audiobook industry will announce their finalists, and I’ll again wonder who on earth these picks are supposed to be for. They’re not for me, and they’re not for new fans who are getting jazzed about up-and-coming authors like Malka Older, Kanae Minato, Manuel Gonzales, and so on.

Audiobook publishing has gotten super exciting, and the recent growth curve for audiobooks is BASICALLY indistinguishable from a black diamond ski run. My fingers are crossed that audiobook media will catch up!

2 More Audiobooks For Your TBR

I love finding new-to-me authors at Book Riot Live, and this fall it was Sara Farizan and Tara Clancy. I queued up If You Could Be Mine and The Clancys of Queens faster than you can say “Reginald the Pigeon,” and both made my heart sing and my stomach flip.

If You Could Be Mineif-you-could-be-mine-audio by Sara Farizan is about two young women who’ve been in love since childhood. But they live in Iran, where being a woman who loves another woman is punishable by death. Sex reassignment surgery is perfectly legal, though. Could this be the answer to their predicament? This story has all the ingredients of a great YA book: angst, secret smooching, forbidden love, heartache. But it’s also unexpectedly hilarious! Sara Farizan has the BEST deadpan humor in person, and Negin Farsad brings this out in spades in her narration of the book. Farsad is an Iranian-American comedian, and she just gets Farizan in a way that allows her to wring every last drop of humor from an otherwise heartbreaking story. One of my fave listens this year! <3

clancys-of-queens-audioYou might already know Tara Clancy from her storytelling performances on The Moth. This lady was born to tell stories, and she’s perfected her art in front of the toughest crowds: Irish Catholic bar-goers in Queens (!). Her memoir The Clancys of Queens was born of her desire to read stories about working class women in New York, of which she can still name only one: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. With a boatload of humor and charm, Clancy tells about her childhood growing up between worlds, her parents’ divorce, and coming out to her ex-cop dad as a young adult. Her distinctive Queens accent is its own larger-than-life character, and these stories are just meant to be listened to.

Book Riot’s 25 Best Audiobooks of 2016

the-mothers-audio2016 was such an exciting year for audiobooks! Halfway through the year, we just couldn’t wait and we rounded up our favorites thus far. Now we get to share the rest! Presenting 25 excellent audiobooks in all: from Imbolo Mbue to Hope Jahren, we think there’s a little something here for everyone.

Raise Your Hand If You Want a Free 12-Month Audible Membership!

Young african american man in white shirt listens headphones in a parkMe, me, my hand is raised! Oh wait, Book Riot employees aren’t eligible? FINE. You guys, Book Riot is giving away a 12-month Audible membership! The membership includes one free audiobook per month for a year, discounted member prices on all titles, and access to Audible’s occasional member-only sales. To enter, just sign up for one of our newsletters. Full details here, and the giveaway closes this Sunday December 18 at midnight Eastern… so get to it.

The Goods

Book Mail resend 12/14

  1. Put some books in a box.
  2. Delight!

The new Book Mail box is here, and it’s a glorious books-within-books bonanza. Get two rad reads and an assortment of bookish goodies, plus exclusive original content from one of the authors, for just $60 including shipping. Get one before they’re gone.


In the mood for a different flavor? We held on to some of our past Book Mail dispatches just for the holidays! See their contents and buy one now.