TheReadingRoom in Conversation with “The Setup Man” Author T.T. Monday

TT Monday InterviewThere is no set formula to writing a successful novel, but author T.T. Monday might have uncovered a portion of the equation by combining two of America’s favorite pastimes in his novel The Setup Man. Baseball fans and crime fiction aficionados will unite with Monday’s debut novel starring Johnny Adcock, an aging Major League pitcher who moonlights as a private investigator, using both brains and brawn to resolve the unique problems faced by fellow professional athletes. Oversized egos and enormous salaries simply mean more powerful and deadlier predators!

We sat down with T.T. Monday, the pseudonym for writer Nick Taylor, to discuss his transition from historical novelist to crime writer, and creating a truly innovative hero in a genre saturated with doppelgangers.
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Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us about The Setup Man. The book has been out for just over a month now. How has it been received by readers so far?

Most readers have inhaled the book; one guy wrote to thank me (sarcastically) for his lack of productivity at work. I don’t want to take responsibility for anyone’s trouble at work, but I took that as a compliment.

As Nick Taylor you have written two historical novels, The Disagreement and Father Junípero’s Confessor, but The Setup Man represents a gigantic shift in direction for you. Have you always wanted to write a crime novel, and how did your experience writing your other novels aid your writing of this one?

I’d wanted to write a detective novel for a long time but didn’t know how to begin until I hit on the idea of making my detective a professional baseball player. Writing about baseball turned out to be the entry point I needed. As soon as I found the voice of Johnny Adcock, my detective/player, the story began to appear. Because I’d published the two historical novels, I never worried that I wouldn’t finish, even though it was my first attempt in the crime genre.

What are your favorite crime novels, or who are your favorite crime writers?

I just read Cotton Comes to Harlem by Chester Himes (1909-1984), an African-American writer who published eight hard-boiled novels featuring the Harlem police detectives Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones. It’s an unnerving book, a kind of political allegory as well as a detective novel. I found it fascinating on a number of levels. My personal hero, however, is Raymond Chandler.

Where did the character of Johnny Adcock come from? The only comparable protagonist I can think of is Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar, who went from renowned basketball player to sports star representative after a knee injury ended his career – but unlike Myron, Adcock is still playing the game. What I liked most about him was his pragmatism; from the very beginning he’s aware of how lucky he is to be doing what he does for a living and doesn’t take it for granted. For me, that made him immediately likable.

I’ve read the Bolitar books, and I was thinking of him to some extent when I came up with Johnny Adcock. However Adcock’s true origin was a thought experiment where I asked myself what relief pitchers might do in their spare time. Adcock is what’s known as a left-handed specialist, a pitcher who is brought in to face one batter per game. That means he works ten minutes a day, leaving plenty of time for extracurricular activities. I also made Adcock a divorcee so he wouldn’t have a home life. You’re right to observe that he’s a pragmatist. He’s also restless, which means he hates wasting time. All of these factors converge in his avocation, doing these investigations for teammates.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you, who do you support, and who is your favorite all time baseball player? And does Johnny share any of his traits?

I grew up a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and most of my favorite players were Dodgers pitchers, guys like Fernando Valenzuela and Orel Hershiser. I’ve always loved the supporting players, too, especially relief pitchers who seem to kick around forever. I’m thinking of guys like Tim Crews, Jesse Orosco, Guillermo Mota, and Alejandro Peña, whose routine on the mound was so deliberate he was nicknamed “Slow.” I always wanted to be a pitcher, I think because they control the pace of the game.

You balance the whodunit aspects of the plot with insight into the inner-workings of the world of professional baseball, and the constant prospective upheaval faced by players as they approach retirement, are traded, or are required to play in a new role. How did you approach plotting The Setup Man to ensure all of these elements worked in unison?

I’m about the same age as Johnny Adcock, so I tried to put myself in his shoes. For a writer, of course, your mid-thirties isn’t old, but for a professional athlete it’s ancient. I tried to imagine how it would feel to finish your career and still have half your life ahead of you. Barry Bonds talked about this in an interview I read recently. It may be hard to sympathize with someone like Bonds who had so much success in his career, but it’s not so hard when you’re dealing with an average player like Adcock.

Did you do any research into the inner-workings of a baseball team and the mentalities of players? What did this involve?

Not really. I watched a lot of baseball, in person and on TV, and I read a number of baseball-player memoirs (Jim Bouton’s 1970 book Ball Four is probably the most insightful), but for the most part I used my imagination. Now that the book is out I’ve been told by a few broadcasters and former players that it’s pretty accurate.

I’m not a baseball fan – it wasn’t something I grew up with – but I was impressed by how deftly you described the sport. Those familiar with baseball, the true passionate fans, won’t feel like they’re being talked down to in The Setup Man, but nor will newcomers feel overawed by information overload.  I presume this is intentional, so I wonder how you went about trying to find that perfect balance.

My two historical novels presented the same problem: how to marry history and fiction without alienating fans of either one. Ultimately I had to trust my instincts, because as a fan of both baseball and crime fiction (and history and literary fiction), I was able to serve as a stand-in for my readers.

Let’s talk about your writing process. Are you a pen and paper man? Do you prefer the keyboard? And are you a write anywhere, anytime kind of author, or do you have a daily routine?

I have horrible handwriting, so I have always written my books on the computer. These days I’m working at the local public library, because my home office was converted to a baby nursery. I write four days a week. Most writers find that their best work comes in the morning, but I’ve always preferred the hours right before dinner. Not sure why.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?

Thirteen years ago I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.org) for the first time, and I learned the discipline of setting a word goal for each writing session. I still do this when I’m writing first drafts. Nothing summons the muse like knowing you have to hit 500 words before lunch.

What are you reading right now?

I’m halfway through The Bone Church, a debut thriller by Victoria Dougherty. Her protagonist is an athlete, too – a Czech hockey player who outfoxes the Nazis and then the Communists as he tries to escape Czechoslovakia. As a member of the Czechoslovak national team, his fame is a real obstacle; he is always getting recognized. Great material, great voice. I recommend it highly.

Can we expect more from Johnny Adcock in the future? He’s not quite at retirement age yet!

Adcock’s not hanging up the spikes yet. That’s all I can say!

For more on The Setup Man, visit TheReadingRoom or T.T. Monday’s website.

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TheReadingRoom Great Picks for Mother’s Day

Mothers Day blogMother’s Day is the perfect time to give your mom a book. It’s a gift that requires thought and will provide hours of pleasure and entertainment.  Having shaken off those winter blues, and revelled in the delights of Spring, it’s a great time to reflect of why we read and how books can change your life. Apart from offering a great escape, they also offer a peak into other people’s lives that enriches your own. A good book make you cry, fill you with joy and make you laugh,   sometimes all at the same time.

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The Girl Who Saved the KingIf you missed Jonas Jonasson’s bestselling debut novel, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, here is another opportunity to laugh out loud with his latest novel. The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden is another picaresque tale of how one person’s actions can have far-reaching – even global – consequences though not quite the romp through history of his first novel.  And once again Jonasson introduces us to a whole cast of eccentrics: a nerve-damaged American Vietnam deserter, twin brothers who are officially only one person, three careless Chinese girls, an angry young woman, a potato-growing Baroness, as well as the Swedish King and Prime Minister. Quirky and utterly unique, it’s bound to make mom laugh.

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue is another Mom pleaser. If she loves a bit of mystery mixed with history and romance then this is a book she won’t want to put down. Also keep your eye out for Nora Robert’s fast pace The Collector as well.

Astonish MeMaggie Shipstead, author of the widely acclaimed debut novel Seating Arrangements and winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize,  gives us a  compelling glimpse into the passionate, political world of professional ballet and its magnetic hold over two generations in Astonish Me which is every bit as good.

A spellbinding new novel of contraband masterpieces, tragic love, and the unexpected legacies of forgotten crimes, Ayelet Waldman’s Love and Treasure weaves a tale around the fascinating, true history of the Hungarian Gold Train in the Second World War. In 1945 on the outskirts of Salzburg, victorious American soldiers capture a train filled with unspeakable riches. Jack Wiseman is a tough, smart New York Jew, and the lieutenant charged with guarding this treasure—a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets Ilona, a fierce, beautiful Hungarian who has lost everything in the ravages of the Holocaust.  A story of brilliantly drawn characters—a suave and shady art historian, a delusive and infatuated Freudian, a family of singing circus dwarfs fallen into the clutches of Josef Mengele, and desperate lovers facing choices that will tear them apart—Love and Treasure is a sad, funny, richly detailed work that poses hard questions about the value of precious things in a time when life itself has no value, and about the slenderest of chains that can bind us to the grief’s and passions of the past.

ALREADY RELEASED

The GoldfinchThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is a must read.

For young Theo Decker, the loss of his mother catapults him into a world where the boundaries of both love and loss are blurred, where the underbelly of human existence is exposed with all its vulnerabilities, obsessions and illusions. For Theo all that is constant is the love of his mother and the The Goldfinch painted by Carel Fabritius, so entrenched in his life with his mother. Like Fabritius she was killed in an explosion.

It would be impossible here to outline the odyssey on which Theo embarks after her death. Suffice to say it is the reason we read, to explore, to understand and to learn from other’s lives the things we may not have time to know or experience. This book is so beautifully written, that the words fall off the page and into your heart, galloping at such a pace that it’s hard to believe it can be 700 pages.

Lost LakeFrom of New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells comes Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen, a beautiful, haunting story of old loves and new, and the power of the connections.

The first time Eby Pim saw Lost Lake, it was on a picture postcard. Just an old photo and a few words on a small square of heavy stock. That was half a life ago. Now Lost Lake is about to slip into Eby’s past. Her husband George is long passed. Most of her demanding extended family are gone. All that’s left is a once-charming collection of lakeside cabins succumbing to the Southern Georgia heat and damp, and an assortment of faithful misfits drawn back to Lost Lake year after year by their own unspoken dreams and desires.

It’s a lot, but not enough to keep Eby from relinquishing Lost Lake to a developer with cash in hand, and calling this her final summer at the lake. Until one last chance at family knocks on her door.

under the wide and starryFrom Nancy Horan, New York Times bestselling author of Loving Frank, comes her much-anticipated second novel Under the Wide and Starry Sky, which tells the improbable love story of Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his tempestuous American wife, Fanny.

At the age of thirty-five, Fanny van de Grift Osbourne has left her philandering husband in San Francisco to set sail for Belgium—with her three children and nanny in tow—to study art. It is a chance for this adventurous woman to start over, to make a better life for all of them, and to pursue her own desires. Not long after her arrival, however, tragedy strikes, and Fanny and her children repair to a quiet artists’ colony in France where she can recuperate. Emerging from a deep sorrow, she meets a lively Scot, Robert Louis Stevenson, ten years her junior, who falls instantly in love with the earthy, independent, and opinionated “belle Americaine.” The shared life of these two strong-willed individuals unfolds into an adventure as impassioned and unpredictable as any of Stevenson’s own unforgettable tales.

Still LifeStill Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen is another deeply moving and passionate love story from a New York Times Bestselling author. It begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.

 

We would love to hear about the books you’re gifting this Mother’s Day.

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The 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist

Baileys Womens Prize for Fiction - HeaderDonna Tartt’s literary blockbuster The Goldfinch is one of six novels shortlisted for the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, alongside three debut writers, and a previous winner.

A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride | The Guardian review

The Undertaking
by Audrey Magee | The Guardian review

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri | The Guardian review

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | The Guardian review

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent | The Guardian review

The Goldfinch by Donna Tart | The Guardian review

The winner will be announced June 4 2014.

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TheReadingRoom announces 40% off The New York Times print bestsellers

NEW YORK, February 14, 2014 – As part of its ongoing push to redefine the ‘independent bookseller’ space online, one of the fastest growing book-centric social discovery platforms in the world, TheReadingRoom is now offering its members a 40 percent discount on all print versions of The New York Times bestsellers displayed on the site, reinforcing TheReadingRoom’s position as the independent destination for discovering and buying books.

TheReadingRoom combines the power of social networking, carefully curated content, recommendations and featured selections with the ability to buy eBooks and print titles. Readers can discover new authors and titles from people they know and trust without there being a vested interest in either publishing or inventory management. The platform’s combination of both social media tools and curatorial expertise help readers discover new titles. Finding your next book to read can be quite challenging online.  Indeed, locating a trusted provider is equally as important as having access to personal recommendations.  “A combination of both in one platform is doubly powerful,” said Kim Anderson, CEO of TheReadingRoom.   “That’s why TheReadingRoom brings together of the expertise of The New York Times, with the views of people you know and trust, alongside overall ratings from the community.” Fast approaching a million members and growing rapidly, TheReadingRoom is helping fill the void left by the local bookstore.

“Discovery of new titles and authors is an important part of the book lover’s online journey,” said Anderson. “It is a combination of the ability to search, browse, to see what friends are reading, what the critics say, and how the community views a particular title, including the number of bookshelves on which it appears.”

TheReadingRoom allows you to do all the above as well as browse featured bookshelves, award winners,  bestseller lists, members’ bookshelves, along with following members and authors so you don’t miss a thing.

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The Stella Prize 2014 Longlist

The 2014 longlist for Australia’s all-female literary award has been announced. The Stella Prize is in its second year and was established to celebrate women’s contributions to Australian literature.

Stella Prize

Click on each book’s title for more information:

Letter to George Clooney by Debra Adelaide

Moving Among Strangers by Gabrielle Carey

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Night Games by Anna Krien

Mullumbimby by Melissa Lucashenko

The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane

Boy, Lost by Kristina Olsson

The Misogyny Factor by Anne Summers

Madeleine by Helen Trinca

The Swan Book by Alexis Wright

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka by Clare Wright

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

The shortlist will be announced on Thursday March 20, and the winner of the 2014 Stella prize will be awarded in Sydney on Tuesday April 29.

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TheReadingRoom Best of 2013 Awards

In a recent interview with TheReadingRoom, Margaret Atwood said, “We stick labels on things to help us to define them and to arrange them in bookstores, but any good book escapes its labels.” In December last year, TheReadingRoom took a leaf out of Attwood’s book and created a selection of “Best of 2013” reads that defied genre and focused on story, and which also took into account the number of times a book appeared on bookshelves, its average rating, favorable reviews, and of course the buzz it created in social media channels. The result was a list of 30 great books in five categories:

  1. The Most Dazzling Debut
  2. The Most Memorable Love Story
  3. The Ultimate Thriller
  4. The Best YA Novel
  5. The Novel that Most Deserved an Award

TheReadingRoom members then voted on their favorites. See the results below by country or at a global level:

Best Books - All

Congratulations to all the winning authors, and a big thank you to TheReadingRoom community for voting.

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TheReadingRoom Staff 2013 Favorites

TRR Staff Compilation - US

TheReadingRoom staff has compiled a featured bookshelf of TheReadingRoom Staff 2013 Favorites. We all struggled to keep ourselves to three but luckily we all shared some highlights. You can view our staff selections here and find out more about our choices below.

Anna settled on TransAtlantic by Colum McCann, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra, and The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, which was similarly revered by Kim, alongside Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala and Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, declaring it a must read.

Simon, our crime afficionado, celebrated the return of two of his favorite authors: Stephen King’sDoctor Sleep, the sequel to the lauded horror novel The Shining; and the new Rebus novel, The Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin. The graphic novel Polar: Came from the Cold by Victor Santos also made his list.

Meanwhile, Cara was much more eclectic, opting for The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, the critically-acclaimed debut novel Cartwheel by Jennifer Dubois, and Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie. We also made the unamimous decision to include The Goldfinch by Donna Tart as one of the year’s highlights.

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Key trends this Fall for the perfect cookbook

There is no doubt that as our lives get busier and busier, more people are looking for simpler dishes, and the trend for simple but tasty food is one that is here to stay.  However,  one of the key trends over the past few seasons  is that we are also more interested in the stories behind the dishes on our plates – stories seem to be now as important as recipes. We don’t just want to know who cooked it and how it was cooked, but where the food on our plate comes from: how it was grown, where it was grown and most interestingly who grew it. If you are at all interested in storytelling and this kind of story then you are in for a treat this season.  You can start with the Art of the Simple Food II by Alice Waters, the famed chef from Chez Panisse; One Good Dish by David Tannin and the brand new offerings from Nigel SlaterNotes from the Larder.  All three offer simple, home style food, with lots of professional tips but most importantly with great stories that will take you from the garden to the kitchen to the dining table.

For years we have also been in love with celebrity chefs and celebrity restaurants, and although that love is still vibrant, it has undergone a bit of a metamorphosis. We are now not just in love with the unflappable chef who makes everything look simple and totally professionals, but now their brilliance and innovative techniques need to display the sensibilities of home cooking. The current and undisputed hero of this trend is Yotam Ottolenghi.  You cannot go wrong with any of his cookbooks. The other great cookbooks in this category are The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook and Tom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food.

Lastly, we can never have enough of family-food friendly cookbooks with easily accessible ingredients and seasonal menus. These cookbooks definitely appeal to families with children and anyone who wants to eat well on a budget or who is limited for time but is committed to healthy, and delicious meals.   We recommend The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Moosewood Restaurant Favorites and Giada’s Feel Good Food.

Please check out our complete bookshelf of Best Cookbooks of 2013

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TheReadingRoom partners with Bookworld to provide a first class retail solution

TheReadingRoom enters an exclusive retail partnership with Bookworld

TheReadingRoom announced today that it has entered into an exclusive retail partnership with Bookworld in a bid to provide its members with a viable option for those wishing to purchase books at competitive prices and with free shipping.

Launched this week, the retail partnership will extend Bookworld’s discounted Citizen prices to TheReadingRoom members, while also providing free shipping on every order and exclusive deals each month.

TheReadingRoom is one of the fastest growing book-centric social discovery platforms in the world and is focussed on growing its extensive Australian member base.

Until recently TheReadingRoom offered a range of local affiliate retailers to provide an end-to-end solution for its members to discover, share and discuss books. However, members wanted a more integrated offering across the site, with prices and free shipping to match that of offshore competitors.

‘It’s important to provide Australians with a local solution,’ says CEO of TheReadingRoom Kim Anderson, ‘but it had to be competitive in user experience and price. Bookworld could offer that solution and was prepared to work hand in hand with us to integrate solutions. We have a highly engaged audience and often the books they are looking for are published locally, so we will now be in a position to supply them quickly.’

CEO of Bookworld James Webber says ‘Bookworld is delighted to be partnering with TheReadingRoom and is proud to be able to offer their members the largest range of titles of any Australian online retailer, competitive prices and free shipping, all of which provides Australians a real viable alternative to sourcing their books from overseas. Together we put local publishers, authors and readers first and foremost and as such this partnership has great synergies.’

Webber says, ‘TheReadingRoom is a fantastic destination of discovery and recommendation for Australian readers and Bookworld provides a first class retail solution to complement that and ensure their members can acquire their beloved books cheaply and quickly.’

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TheReadingRoom Secures $2.75M in Funding & Opens New York Office

New Funds Will Fuel Firm’s Accelerated Growth in the United States

TheReadingRoom, the leading independent online portal for avid readers to discover new books, today announced that it had successfully completed its latest round of funding, raising $2.75 million through the support of existing shareholders and other private investors.

New York

With this new capital, TheReadingRoom plans to continue to drive membership and implement a range of site enhancements and commercial partnerships. TheReadingRoom also announced that it has relocated its sales and marketing team to the New York City office, including the founder and CEO Kim Anderson, the head of Sales Cara Codemo, and Marketing Director Ben Aronsten. The office is located at 205 Hudson Street, Level 9; New York, NY 10013. TheReadingRoom will retain its offices in London and Sydney.

“We are empowered by our investors’ commitment to our business, as demonstrated by their financial support to fuel our continued growth,” said Kim Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, TheReadingRoom. “The funds raised today will enable us to meet the growing demand for TheReadingRoom to be the online platform of choice for readers to discover new authors, classics and those hidden gems, and importantly to connect with other, like-minded readers. TheReadingRoom can now accelerate its expansion across the United States and North America.”

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Miles Franklin Award 2014 Longlist

Miles Franklin

The Miles Franklin book prize is one of the highest literary honors in Australia, celebrating literature featuring aspects of Australian life.

The 2014 longlist features the work of eleven authors; seven women and four men. You can find out more about each of them, and their work, below:

Tracy FarrThe Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt
Richard FlanaganThe Narrow Road to the Deep North
Ashley HayThe Railwayman’s Wife
Melissa LucashenkoMullumbimby
Fiona McFarlaneThe Night Guest
Nicolas RothwellBelomor
Trevor ShearstonGame
Cory TaylorMy Beautiful Enemy
Tim WintonEyrie
Alexis WrightThe Swan Book
Evie WyldAll the Birds, Singing

The shortlist will be announced on May 15 and the winner on June 26.

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George Saunders wins The Folio Prize 2014

Folio PrizeGeorge Saunders has been announced as the winner of The Folio Prize 2014 for Tenth of December, his most honest, accessible, and moving collection of short stories yet.

The Folio Prize is open to all works of fiction written in English and published in the UK. All genres and all forms of fiction are eligible, and the format of first publication may be print or digital.

The 2014 shortlist featured eight novels. Click on each title for more information:

Red Doc> by Anne Carson
Schroder by Amity Gaige
Last Friends by Jane Gardam
Benediction by Kent Haruf
The Flame Throwers by Rachel Kushner
A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava
Tenth of December by George Saunders

You can read a preview chapter of Tenth of December here.

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The 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist

The 2014 longlist for one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world, the BAILEY’S Women’s Prize for Fiction – previously known as the Orange Prize for Fiction – has been announced. The award celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing, and this year’s longlist features six debut writers as well as two previous winners.

BAILEY'S PrizeClick on each book’s title for more information:

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood

The Dogs of Littlefield by Suzanne Berne

The Shadow of the Crescent Moon by Fatima Bhutto

The Bear by Claire Cameron

Eleven Days by Lea Carpenter

The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Reasons She Goes to the Woods by Deborah Kay Davies

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Undertaking by Audrey Magee

A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride

Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson

Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

All The Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

The winner will be announced on  June 4 2014.

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TheReadingRoom announces 40% off The New York Times print bestsellers

NEW YORK, February 14, 2014 – As part of its ongoing push to redefine the ‘independent bookseller’ space online, one of the fastest growing book-centric social discovery platforms in the world, TheReadingRoom is now offering its members a 40 percent discount on all print versions of The New York Times bestsellers displayed on the site, reinforcing TheReadingRoom’s position as the independent destination for discovering and buying books.

TheReadingRoom combines the power of social networking, carefully curated content, recommendations and featured selections with the ability to buy eBooks and print titles. Readers can discover new authors and titles from people they know and trust without there being a vested interest in either publishing or inventory management. The platform’s combination of both social media tools and curatorial expertise help readers discover new titles. Finding your next book to read can be quite challenging online.  Indeed, locating a trusted provider is equally as important as having access to personal recommendations.  “A combination of both in one platform is doubly powerful,” said Kim Anderson, CEO of TheReadingRoom.   “That’s why TheReadingRoom brings together of the expertise of The New York Times, with the views of people you know and trust, alongside overall ratings from the community.” Fast approaching a million members and growing rapidly, TheReadingRoom is helping fill the void left by the local bookstore.

“Discovery of new titles and authors is an important part of the book lover’s online journey,” said Anderson. “It is a combination of the ability to search, browse, to see what friends are reading, what the critics say, and how the community views a particular title, including the number of bookshelves on which it appears.”

TheReadingRoom allows you to do all the above as well as browse featured bookshelves, award winners,  bestseller lists, members’ bookshelves, along with following members and authors so you don’t miss a thing.

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The Stella Prize 2014 Longlist

The 2014 longlist for Australia’s all-female literary award has been announced. The Stella Prize is in its second year and was established to celebrate women’s contributions to Australian literature.

Stella Prize

Click on each book’s title for more information:

Letter to George Clooney by Debra Adelaide

Moving Among Strangers by Gabrielle Carey

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Night Games by Anna Krien

Mullumbimby by Melissa Lucashenko

The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane

Boy, Lost by Kristina Olsson

The Misogyny Factor by Anne Summers

Madeleine by Helen Trinca

The Swan Book by Alexis Wright

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka by Clare Wright

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

The shortlist will be announced on Thursday March 20, and the winner of the 2014 Stella prize will be awarded in Sydney on Tuesday April 29.

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TheReadingRoom Best of 2013 Awards

In a recent interview with TheReadingRoom, Margaret Atwood said, “We stick labels on things to help us to define them and to arrange them in bookstores, but any good book escapes its labels.” In December last year, TheReadingRoom took a leaf out of Attwood’s book and created a selection of “Best of 2013” reads that defied genre and focused on story, and which also took into account the number of times a book appeared on bookshelves, its average rating, favorable reviews, and of course the buzz it created in social media channels. The result was a list of 30 great books in five categories:

  1. The Most Dazzling Debut
  2. The Most Memorable Love Story
  3. The Ultimate Thriller
  4. The Best YA Novel
  5. The Novel that Most Deserved an Award

TheReadingRoom members then voted on their favorites. See the results below by country or at a global level:

Best Books - All

Congratulations to all the winning authors, and a big thank you to TheReadingRoom community for voting.

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TheReadingRoom Staff 2013 Favorites

TRR Staff Compilation - US

TheReadingRoom staff has compiled a featured bookshelf of TheReadingRoom Staff 2013 Favorites. We all struggled to keep ourselves to three but luckily we all shared some highlights. You can view our staff selections here and find out more about our choices below.

Anna settled on TransAtlantic by Colum McCann, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra, and The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, which was similarly revered by Kim, alongside Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala and Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, declaring it a must read.

Simon, our crime afficionado, celebrated the return of two of his favorite authors: Stephen King’sDoctor Sleep, the sequel to the lauded horror novel The Shining; and the new Rebus novel, The Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin. The graphic novel Polar: Came from the Cold by Victor Santos also made his list.

Meanwhile, Cara was much more eclectic, opting for The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, the critically-acclaimed debut novel Cartwheel by Jennifer Dubois, and Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie. We also made the unamimous decision to include The Goldfinch by Donna Tart as one of the year’s highlights.

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