Have a Book Suggestion for November's Country?

November's book comes from a country known in its native language as "Hrvatska." Since most of you don't speak Hrvatski, I assume this likely gives nothing away so a few more hints.

This country gave us the necktie & the Dalmatian breed of dog. It's also known for stunning lakes & waterfalls, soaring mountains & over 1000 islands off its sun-drenched coast.

Looking at the photo included above you may well agree with Alfred Hitchcock who was quoted as saying that this country's seaside town of Zadar has the most beautiful sunset in the world. This country's olive oil has even won awards beating out Italian, Greek, Spanish & Portuguese varieties!

So what country are we adventuring to?

Croatia - A country that's become more well known because of its stunning scenery shown in Game of Thrones. The Croatian city of Dubronik, whose city walls & forts became King’s Landing in the HBO tv series was titled "the pearl of the Adriatic" by Lord Byron, the English poet. Perched above the brilliant blue waters of the Adriatic, it's clear why this gorgeous medieval & beautifully-restored city retains this title even today.

Have Any Book Suggestions?

We'd love to hear suggestions from you! Just let us know by Sat., Oct. 14 11PM ET. (That's NYC time. See this converted to your local time below.)

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

We'll use 2 suggestions from book club members, 2 suggestions from Mia (the book club moderator) & 2 of my suggestions to compile a list of 6 books on which book club members will vote. The most popular book from the list will then be read.

Please note - We're specific in the books read, they must: 

  • Largely occur in the country specified unless the world described is an alternate universe
  • Be written by an author born there who has spent a good portion of their life there
  • Exist in paperback & ebook available on both Amazon & Kindle at least in the US & hopefully elsewhere

Engrossing Reads & Cold/Flu-Busting Drinks

Desperate for some relief from a nasty bug last winter, I crafted the perfect hot toddy to cure my ills & found some engrossing reads to distract me.  So when a fellow booklover named Taylor Lee was sick, I had this info at the ready.  You may want to keep this handy too with cold & flu season almost upon us.

Cold/Flu-Busting Hot Toddy

  • 1 oz ginger liqueur
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 slice of lemon
  • 6 oz hot water
  • 1 TBSP raw honey

Mix the liqueur, lemon juice & hot water together. Then, mix in the honey & top with the 1/2 slice of lemon. (The initial ingredients will help cool down the toddy which preserves the honey's effectiveness.)

Makes 1 serving

The heat, ginger & small amount of alcohol warms you. The steam & spice helps clear your sinuses. The raw honey has antibacterial properties & works as a natural cough suppressant while also soothing your scratchy throat.

Note: Only raw honey has these benefits so buy some raw, real honey that's preferably local to you & not the golden syrup version sold in most stores as that is heated, processed & can even contain corn syrup. (Yuck!)

I usually make a couple of servings of the recipe & keep it warm in a thermos. If I'm having trouble sleeping, I'll sometimes add in a splash of dark rum to a nighttime mug of the hot toddy.

Other Soothing Drinks

It's really important to keep hydrated when you're sick so I also quaff these other soothing drinks as well throughout the day.

  • Ginger tea & ginger ale both made with real ginger to soothe an upset stomach.
  • Chamomile tea to help you sleep.
  • Licorice root tea which is useful to treat throat irritations, upper respiratory tract infections, digestive complaints & coughs. 
  • A cup of hot vegetable broth to boost your immune system. (I like to make my own in a crock pot, but if I'm too ill, I'll buy Imagine Vegetable Broth which won a gold award for its superior taste.)

Note: I am not a doctor. If you're pregnant or suffer from serious problems like kidney disease or high blood pressure, you should first speak to your doctor before ingesting any of the above.

Engrossing Reads

When I'm sick, I need to be swept up into the story immediately & these 3 books do just that from beginning to end. 

"A mindbending, relentlessly surprising thriller.

'Are you happy with your life?' Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”  
 
In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising sci-fi thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of."

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)

 

"Battle Royale, a high-octane thriller about senseless youth violence, is one of Japan's best-selling - and most controversial - novels. As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one "winner" remains. The elimination contest becomes the ultimate in must-see reality television. A Japanese pulp classic available in English for the first time, Battle Royale is a potent allegory of what it means to be young and survive in today's dog-eat-dog world. The first novel by small-town journalist Koushun Takami, it went on to become an even more notorious film by 70-year-old gangster director Kinji Fukusaku."

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)

 

"An extraordinary new thriller of the future from #1 New York Times–bestselling and Pulitzer Prize–winning author John Sandford.
 
The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope—something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate. Spaceships do. Whatever built that ship is at least one hundred years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. A conclusion the Chinese definitely agree with when they find out.
 
The race is on, and an remarkable adventure begins—an epic tale of courage, treachery, resourcefulness, secrets, surprises, and astonishing human and technological discovery, as the members of a hastily thrown-together crew find their strength and wits tested against adversaries both of this earth and beyond. What happens is nothing like you expect—and everything you could want from one of the world’s greatest masters of suspense."

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)

If you're already suffering from a cold or flu, I hope you get well soon!

October's Egyptian Book

Is it the way the glorious past casts shadows over the present? Is it the way the lush Nile gives way to the harsh desert? Is it the light in the eye of the person telling me a story, who has just burst into laughter? The intensity of light, the love of life, the sense of family are just three reasons why I love Egypt of many more.
— Anthony Sattin, Lonely Planet Egypt
 

You voted & choose a wonderful book for us to experience Egypt! Join us as we see through a woman doctor's eyes with an Egyptian autobiography written as fiction. Officially, we'll begin reading the book on October 1st so you have time to get it in advance. You have till the end of October to finish the book before we begin the discussion.

"Rebelling against the constraints of family and society, a young Egyptian woman decides to study medicine, becoming the only woman in a class of men. Her encounters with the other students - as well as with male and female corpses in the autopsy room - intensify her search for identity. She realises that men are not gods, as her mother had taught her, that science cannot explain everything, and that she cannot be satisfied by living a life purely of the mind. After a brief and unhappy marriage, she throws herself into her work, becoming a successful and wealthy doctor. But at the same time, she becomes more aware of the injustice and hypocrisy in society. She comes to find fulfillment, not in isolation, but through her relationship with others. This novel will enhance Dr. Nawal El Saadawi's international reputation as a writer of power and compassion, deeply committed to the rights of Arab women."

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)

Happy reading!

Libraries with Non-resident Borrowing Privileges!

Did you know there are libraries which allow you to borrow from them even if you're not a resident of their city, state or even country

Yep, you can get a library card for eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, music, movies & even online classes from libraries nowhere near you! Some libraries offer these cards for free while others charge an annual fee on a per person or per household basis.

If you then couple your library cards with the free Library Browser Extension, you'll immediately see whether books you're viewing online (e.g., via Amazon, Goodreads, Audible, etc.) are available via the library cards you have.

Just make sure to read the important notes below before you get one of these cards.
 

Important Notes

Do your due diligence! Before signing up for any non-resident library card (even the ones listed below), double-check that:

  • The library card doesn't need to be picked up and/or renewed at the library.
  • eBooks & other downloadable materials can be borrowed with this specific card.
  • eBooks are available in the format you need for the device you use.
  • The online catalog has the books you like & enough to last a year.
  • The length of the wait lists & length of time to borrow books all work for you.
  • You're clear about the fee. (Note: The fees listed for the libraries below are correct as of September 2017, but can change at any time.)
     

If You're in the US: Free Library Cards

"Sister" libraries in your area or your state may offer you free library cards so see if you can snag of one these first.

  • If you already belong to a library, ask them if they have reciprocal borrowing set-up with any other library systems.
     
  • Find out if any libraries in your state offer library cards for those outside of the library's local area, but still inside the state. Try contacting your state library about this or the library systems inside the biggest cities in your state.
     

If You're in the US: Library Cards for a Fee

The following libraries appear to offer non-resident library cards for a fee to anyone in the US without the need to pick up the card at the library:

Florida, Orange County Library System
$75/3 months, $100/6 months or $125/year. Note: To stop spammers, they ask a question on the form about what county OCLS is in. The answer is "Orange" since OCLS stands for Orange County Library System.

Maryland, Enoch Pratt Free Library
$50/year

New York, Brooklyn Public Library
$50/year

New York, Monroe County Library System
$25/year

North Carolina, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
$45/household/year or $35/year for adults 62 years & older

Pennsylvania, Free Library of Philadelphia
$50/year

Texas, Houston Public Library
$20/6 months or $40/year

Virginia, Fairfax County Public Library
$27/year
 

If you're outside the US

I'm thrilled I was able to find 2 library systems that allow people from outside the US the chance to borrow books.

Florida, Orange County Library System
$75/3 months, $100/6 months or $125/year Note: When applying, select the check box next to "Out of Country" to enter in your address & please be aware that they ask a question on the form about what county OCLS is in to stop spammers. The answer is "Orange" since OCLS stands for Orange County Library System.

Pennsylvania, Free Library of Philadelphia
$50/year. Note: This is likely the larger library of the two since it's the 14th biggest library in the US. You can't sign up through their regular online process, but you can contact them via this form requesting a library card noting you live in a different country. They will then send you a way to pay for the card online. 


If you have any libraries to add to this list, please let us know.

Happy reading!

Which Egyptian Book Should We Read?

As a scuba diver who longs to dive the Red Sea, I'm familiar with the political situation in Egypt, but the wannabe Egyptologist in me somehow assumed we'd read novels of Ancient Egypt filled with Pharaohs, pyramids & mummies. I was surprised to find that those stories were mainly written by authors from the US & the UK. And that is what's magical about reading books written by native authors—your perceptions change about the country.

This month, you'll choose among works of literature, a quirky mystery, science fiction & what appears to be an autobiography written as fiction. Special thanks to Aisha Esbhani & Julie Jacobs for their suggestions included in this list!

You can vote until Wed., Sept. 20 11PM ET. (That's NYC time. See this converted to your local time below.)

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

 To participate:

1. Review the books.

2. Then, click here to vote.

We'll publish the anonymous results afterwards so you can get the book in advance.

Book Festivities!

Whether you're an ebook admirer, a paperback lover or a hard cover devotee, Monday, September 18 will be a very bookish day with two different book festivities taking place worldwide. And A World Adventure by Book is joining both bookish events!

Read an eBook Day is OverDrive's celebration of modern storytelling with authors such as James Patterson, Ryan Graudin, Brad Meltzer & Dawn Kurtagich. Share which eBook you’re reading online September 18 using the hashtag #eBookLove to join the conversation & you may even win a Kobo Aura ONE! (If you've never tried an eBook before, it's also the perfect time to discover the joy of digital reading by borrowing an eBook from your local library.)

Hide a Book Day is your chance to spread a love of reading by hiding a new or used book for people to find & read on September 18. We're joining the Book Fairies & GoodReads on this magical day by offering a bookmark designed to celebrate the event which you can download for free right now. 

Remember to tag your posts with #AWorldAdventureByBook & post in the book club so we can see your books & join in on the celebration!

Any Book Suggestions for October's Country?

If you voted on which country we should read in October, then you may already know which area of the world we're reading next. If not, here are a few hints.

It has camels & world class scuba diving (not that I'm obsessed with scuba or anything). During ancient times, fly swatters made from giraffe tails were a popular fashion item in this country & one of its leaders supposedly smeared naked slaves with honey to attract flies away from him!*

Today, the country's official name is Junhuriyah Misr al-Arabiyah, which in English means the Arab Republic of Egypt though Egyptians themselves refer to Egypt as Misr.

Results of the country vote

Crazy COuntry facts

To whet your appetite for October, I give you 5 astonishing Egyptian facts:

1. 150 years ago, Americans & Europeans believed that mummies had healing powers & used ground up mummy powder as medicine for many diseases.*

2. To stay cool & avoid lice, ancient Egyptian men & women shaved their heads & often wore wigs. The rich wore human hair wigs made while the poor wore wigs made from wool or vegetable fiber. The women would top their wig with a cone of a greasy substance that gradually melted giving off a pleasing scent of myrrh.*

Despite its cheesy cover, this series is great & FREE with Prime: http://amzn.to/2wIQoja

Despite its cheesy cover, this series is great & FREE with Prime: http://amzn.to/2wIQoja

3. The "ripper" was the embalmer who made the first cut into the body during the mummification process. Since this was an offense to the body, the rest of the embalmers threw stones at the ripper & chased him away with curses.*

4. In ancient Egypt, every big city supported one favorite god much like people support football teams today.*

5. There is an ancient Egyptian obelisk known as Cleopatra’s Needle which in NYC! Sadly, it has suffered more damage in the 125 years it has stood in Central Park from pollution & weather than in the THOUSANDS of years it stood in Egypt.**

Have Any Egyptian Book Suggestions?

We'd love to hear book suggestions from you. Just let us know by Thurs., Sept. 14 11PM ET. (That's NYC time. See this converted to your local time below.)

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

Please note - We're specific in the books we read, they must: 

  • Largely occur in the country specified unless the world described is an alternate universe
  • Be written by an author born there who has spent a good portion of their life there
  • Exist in paperback & ebook available on both Amazon & Kindle at least in the US & hopefully elsewhere

* Walker, Jane. 100 Things You Should Know about Ancient Egypt. Broomall, PA: Mason Crest Publishers, 2003.

** Briquelet, Kate. (2014 June 14) How Cleopatra’s Needle got to Central Park. The NY Post. Retrieved from http://nypost.com/2014/06/14/how-cleopatras-needle-a-3500-year-old-egyptian-obelisk-got-to-central-park/.

Baring Your Bookish Soul

I came across a post where a woman listed her bookish facts. I loved this idea! However, I realized my own were far more sordid. But I thought it could be cathartic to bare my bookish soul & list them anyway.  I invite you to do the same.

I'll start.

1. When I was a child, I found out I was speed reading. I had no idea I was doing it so it came as quite a shock! But it was also a relief to finally make sense of why kids thought I was lying about the number of books I read in a week.

2. I now refuse to read a series unless it's completed because of my trauma with Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. His series of 14 books published over 23 years ruined me. I would forget all the details & have to re-read each book in the series in order to read the new one when it came out. I gave up 3/4 of the way through the series & can't put myself through that torture again.

3. I despise books that end on an unhappy note. Even if I adored the book up until the ending, a sad final chapter will turn my love into pure, unadulterated loathing.

4. I can read for hours on end & have been known to easily lose a day or even weekend reading. However, I've had people refuse to believe this because I don't fit their view of a bookworm since I'm extroverted & love adventurous activities like scuba diving. 

5. As someone who works in tech, I was absurdly old fashioned in my preference of "real" books over eBooks for many years. But a gift of a Kindle one year has turned me into the biggest eReader proponent.

6. But when I do read a paperback or hardcover, I am one of those monsters who cracks its spine & bends its pages to bookmark my place because I think a well-loved book has more soul.

7. When I was a teenager, one friend lent me his favorite book. I still have this book & will likely never return it. (Hi Jay!)

8. I do not understand the obsession with reading hardcovers. Though they're beautiful, I find them clumsy to read & their jackets always get in the way. I was book-shamed about this as a teenager & because of that began hiding the fact that I always threw away the jackets.

9. I will only read audiobooks that are listed as better than the paper-based versions. Even then, I have been known to return the audiobook because the narrator's voice bugged me or my mind wandered. 

10. When I was in college, another friend lent me a series of books which he adored. I also never returned them. (I'm sorry, Jon!)

11. Repeatedly lifting an ever growing cache of books was the reason my friends refused to help me move ever again. (Their last straw was a move which included 17 large almost-hernia-inducing boxes.) 

Aah, I feel so much better! Now, it's your turn. 

Let's hear your bookish facts as you bare your bookish soul.

Hide a Book Day with Goodreads & The Book Fairies!

Fun Hide a Book stickers on a gifted book

Have you seen the posts of people (like Emma Watson) who plant beloved books for strangers to randomly find & read? Well, we're joining in with Goodreads & The Book Fairies on Hide A Book Day to spread a love of reading & brighten someone's day.

Want to Participate in Hide a Book Day on Sept. 18?

  1. Let us know you'd like to join in.
     
  2. We'll send you a (free) special sticker or bookmark wherever you are in the world.*
     
  3. Pick out one of your favorite books—perhaps a book you read for our book club still in good condition or a newly bought copy of another book. Either way, we suggest an international read. :)
     
  4. On Sept. 18, you'll hide the book along with the sticker/bookmark. You can choose to wrap the book with a ribbon if you'd like. (You can also buy Book Fairies ribbons and other paraphernalia.) Keep the weather in mind for any outdoor locations & remember that the books should be hidden, but not too hidden. You want someone to stumble upon the book without any advance clues.
     
  5. Post a photo of the book in our Facebook group as well as on social media with the hashtags: 
    #HideABookDay #IBelieveInBookFairies #AWorldAdventureByBook

Help spread the joy of books & happy surprises by joining in!

Special thanks to book club member, Stacey Wood who inspired me to do something selfless for someone else as a gift to her on her birthday. Happy birthday, Stacey!


*Open to book club members only. We'll send Book Fairies/Goodreads stickers to the first 11 people who wish to participate. We'll send all others including our international book club members, a special bookmark electronically to download & print out. 

September's Brazilian Book & Something New :o

Some of you noted in our survey that you aren't participating in our monthly read because the book you wanted wasn't chosen. So we're going to try something new.

What's Changing

This month, if you want to read the official book chosen below, great. If not, we urge you to choose one of the other Brazilian books. Mia will be reading the main book. I'll be reading another one. And I know members are excited about some of the others. So read what you want & we'll later have a fun discussion about ALL the Brazilian books!

So What's September's Brazilian Book?

If you like the main book below, read it. If not, choose any of the other Brazilian books below & we'll discuss them all at the end of September.

The main book as chosen by members & being read by Mia:

Genre: Young Adult (Sub-genres: Fiction, Magical Realism)

Amazon: 5 out of 5 (4 ratings)

Goodreads:  3.87 out of 5 (380 ratings) 

Pages: 192

Of note: A 2017 LA Times Book Prize Finalist. A NY Public Library Best Book for Teens. The author was selected to take part in a workshop by Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez himself based on this book's synopsis.

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)


All the other Brazilian books you can choose to read & discuss instead:

Genre:  Science Fiction (Sub-genres: Dystopian, Cultural)

Amazon:  5 out of 5 (3 ratings)

Goodreads:  4.18  out of 5 (182 ratings)

Pages: 374

Of note:  In the tradition of Nineteen Eighty-Four, but written in a strikingly Brazilian way.

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)


Genre:  Urban (Sub-genres: Classic, Historical)

Amazon: 4.2 out of 5 (20 ratings)

Goodreads:  4.17 out of 5 (9,244 ratings)

Pages: 280

Of note: Considered a Brazilian Lord of the Flies. The NY Times called the author "Brazil's most illustrious and venerable novelist."

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)


Genre: Literature (Sub-genres: Urban, Historical)

Amazon: 3.9 out of 5 (20 reviews)

Goodreads: 3.92 out of 5 (1,229 ratings)

Pages: 452

Of note: Became an internationally acclaimed hit film. Novelistic account based upon real events.

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)

 


Genre: Autobiography (Sub-genres: Special Groups, Down Syndrome)

Amazon:  Not rated

Goodreads:  3.74 out of 5 (365 ratings)

Pages: 232

Of note: Won every major Brazilian literary prize. Shortlisted for Dublin's International Literary Award. Won France's Charles Brisset Award. (If you're curious, this is the book I'll be reading. )

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)


Genre: Psychological (Sub-genres: Fiction, Avant-Garde)

Amazon: 3.4 out of 5 (3 ratings)

Goodreads:  3.73 out of 5 (279 ratings)

Pages: 98

Of note: Best Book of 2014 by NPR. The translator won the Susan Sontag Prize for Literary Translation with a section from this book.

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)

We can't wait to hear which Brazilian book you've decided to read & hear your thoughts on how we set up the reading this month!

10 Great International Audiobooks

We're of course fans of global reading, but finding a great international book with a wonderful translator...that's also available as an audiobook with a compelling narrator? That's difficult! 

However, we've managed to compile a list of 10 great international audiobooks below for some happy listening.

 
 

VOTE: Which Book Do You Want to Read From Brazil?

Based upon your feedback, we're going to be trying out some new things over the next few months. (If you haven't yet taken the anonymous 4-question survey on how to make our book club better, please do. Take it & you might win an Amazon gift card!)

In the surveys submitted so far, many of you are appreciative of how we select the country's books. You liked that:

  • We included different genres
  • Members could suggest books
  • The books Mia & I find are often readily available in both ebook & paperback formats to borrow/buy

No system is perfect, but we're glad that the majority of you seem to enjoy our book selections as well as reading books from other countries.

Now onto the vote!

Vote on Which Book to Read in September

A big shout to Kathryn Fox, Caity Greig, & Kaman Maxwell for their suggestions! Since the book club votes from a list of 6 books every month (2 from me, 2 from Mia & 2 from members), we chose which of the member-suggested books would be included via lottery. Click here to view a 1 minute 29 second video & turn up the sound to see which books were suggested & watch the lottery draw as it occurred. 

For September, we have 2 new genres in the list which we've never included before: Psychological & Young Adult. In addition, there are 4 other genres to choose from: Science Fiction, Autobiography, Literature & Urban. 

You can vote until Sun., Aug. 20 11PM ET. (That's NYC time. See this converted to your local time below.)

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

 To participate:

1. Review the books.

2. Then, click here to vote.

We'll publish the anonymous results afterwards so you can get the book in advance.

Silent Reading Parties for Adults

It's called many different names around the country & the world. Regardless of the program title, the intent is the same—to develop fluent readers by providing time during the school day for kids to read quietly for an hour.

But did you know that silent reading parties for adults are a thing as well?

Thought to be invented by Christopher Frizzelle of Seattle 7 or 8 years ago, silent reading parties were created as a way to promote the fun/importance of reading & generally take place monthly. Often held at cozy bars with couches & plenty of other seating, you can grab a drink & read in comfortable silence for an hour or two among fellow book lovers.

BYOB has a different meaning for these events--it's Bring Your Own Book as attendees don’t read the same novel. Most of the time, attendees are not even expected to discuss what they’re reading. It's just pure reading as a community in a shared space. 

These "parties" are perfect for people who like companionable silence while they read. They are also inclusive without being intrusive. You can show up, read & leave without saying a word if you wish. Some events are quiet with only a occasional hushed question or comment.  Some merge the ideas of reading & party with a time for introductions to your fellow readers/their books, an hour of quiet reading & then optional mingling afterwards. A few events even offer a free book swap. Occasionally, people even end up hanging out reading & discussing books all night long.

If a silent reading party appeals to you, look for one in your area on the Silent Book Club site, through an online search (using phrases like silent reading party & silent book club) or via social media. The Silent Book Club also offers tips to help you create a club in your area if none currently exist.

I'm sad to say that though two such silent reading groups exist in NYC where I reside, neither have any new events planned so let me know if attend a silent reading party so I can live vicariously through your bookish self. 

Happy reading!

Book Suggestions for September?

Mia choose September's country to read because she's recently been listening to a lot of this location's music. I love the music too along with this country's passion for soccer (or football as many call it).

Still unsure which country we're talking about? Play the video below for some great background music while you read on. (It's a catchy song from there which translated into English is titled, "The Telephone Rang Again.")

Ooh! Samba, funk, rock & bossa nova merged wonderfully together. Nice choice, Mia! :)

Any guesses as to the country we're adventuring to next month? Well, if you know where samba & bossa nova are from, you've probably guessed correctly. Brazil!

Their main language is Portuguese. It's the largest country in South America covering 3.3 million sq. mi. (8.6 million sq. km) which is around 47% of the continent & it has one of the longest coastlines in the world at 4,655 mi. (7,491 km) long. In addition to music, Brazil is most famous for it's Amazon River, the annual carnival in Rio de Janeiro & seriously huge football/soccer stars like Pele, Ronaldo, & Ronaldinho not to mention their successful World Cup team who has won an astonishing 5 times.

And don't get me started on the food! As this gorgeous cookbook by a Rio de Janeiro native notes, "Brazilian food is an explosion of color and flavor—the mixture of three distinct cultures, Portuguese, African, and native Indian."

Brazilian cheese bread (pão de queijo) is crispy on the outside while soft & chewy on the inside filled with a cheesy tang. Fritters, croquettes & empanadas are deliciously-fried guilty pleasures while dulce de leche cake with a sour cream sorbet makes the perfect Brazilian dessert. 

The very addictive caipirinha made with cachaça, sugar & lime is the national cocktail. 

Brazil will be an amazing country to read & we'd love to hear book suggestions from you. Just let us know by Mon., Aug. 14 11PM ET. (That's NYC time. See this converted to your local time below.)

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

Please note - We're specific in the books we read, they must: 

  • Largely occur in the country specified unless the world described is an alternate universe
  • Be written by an author born there who has spent a good portion of their life there
  • Exist in paperback & ebook available on both Amazon & Kindle at least in the US & hopefully elsewhere

A Fantastic Replacement for OverDrive is Here

Meet Libby.

I adore OverDrive. I've used it to borrow books from my library for years. I listen to borrowed audiobooks on the OverDrive app & borrow ebooks from the app to then read on my Kindle. But there's a new kid in town & her name's Libby. She's looking to replace OverDrive in your heart & on your mobile device/laptop.

You may be surprised to find out that OverDrive is even welcoming her to the world. That's because they're the ones who built her. Yep, they're replacing OverDrive with Libby!

So What's the difference between OverDrive & Libby?

You get all of the same basic functionality you've learned to love with OverDrive, but a far better experience with Libby. Libby has a cleaner user interface & is less confusing. Since she's more streamlined than OverDrive, she's also quicker to use. In addition, you can easily toggle between libraries if you hold cards from multiple institutions & Libby even allows for different cardholders within the same family. She's also pretty d*mn cute! Even the name "Libby" is sweet since it's also short for library.

Like any new product, there is some room for improvement such as more sophisticated formatting options. However, I loved Libby so much that she has replaced OverDrive on my phone & my computer.

Happy reading!

 

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Is It Really a "Fun" Quiz If You Get All the Answers Wrong?

Quiz

I never seem to do well at the literary quizzes. Most of the time, they seem to focus on books I haven't read or details that just didn't seem important enough for me to remember.

Can real people actually remember the opening or closing lines of books?

I swear I'm well read, but I seem prefer books which aren't often hugely popular with my peers. No Jane Austen or Kafka for me. I love Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn & Isaac Asimov!

So it was a huge relief to take a basic literature test & just get a single question wrong.

Do you do well at these literary quizzes? Take this quick quiz & tell me how you did. 

Adventuring by Book to North Korea in August

North Korean flag

It's likely this will be the only way we see North Korea...through the eyes of someone else. 

Our next book was written by someone who has been called "North Korea’s Solzhenitsyn" comparing the author to the Russian Nobel laureate whose writing helped raise global awareness of the Soviet regime's injustices.

The parallels with North Korea are obvious.

The Accusation is thought to be the first fiction published abroad by someone still living in North Korea. In fact, this is the only fiction we found written by a North Korean author period. Smuggled out of the country in 2013, this work of fiction is a dystopian thriller. But the book is no fantasy. It’s the reality for 25 million people living out unparalleled human rights abuses in North Korea today.

"The Accusation is a deeply moving and eye-opening work of fiction that paints a powerful portrait of life under the North Korean regime. Set during the period of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il’s leadership, the seven stories that make up The Accusation give voice to people living under this most bizarre and horrifying of dictatorships. The characters of these compelling stories come from a wide variety of backgrounds, from a young mother living among the elite in Pyongyang whose son misbehaves during a political rally, to a former Communist war hero who is deeply disillusioned with the intrusion of the Party into everything he holds dear, to a husband and father who is denied a travel permit and sneaks onto a train in order to visit his critically ill mother. Written with deep emotion and writing talent, The Accusation is a vivid depiction of life in a closed-off one-party state, and also a hopeful testament to the humanity and rich internal life that persists even in such inhumane conditions."

Note: The author of this book is anonymous, but it's believed that he was born in China. Usually, the author's birth in another country would exclude this book from our list of North Korean suggestions. We made an exception because:

1. This work of fiction is unique & we found no other genres aside from memoirs.
2. The author was born of North Korean parents.
3. It seems likely that the author moved to North Korea as a baby. 

A special thank you to book club member, Aisha Esbhani for the suggestion and Yeonsang Cho, who lives in South Korea, for her impassioned plea to include this important work.

View on Amazon (US) | (UK) | (Canada)

Results of vote

Soothing Music...for Reading?

Soothing music for reading?

A friend of mine swears that playing spa music in the background while she reads helps her delve deeper into her book. That it not only soothes her, but adds some white noise blocking out everything else happening in her house.

I'm not one of those people who can easily listen to music & do other things at the same time. However, I must admit that Pandora's New Age Spa Music station wasn't as distracting as I thought it would be. I don't think I'll be listening to music when I read in the future (sorry, Denise), but it's still fun to try new things.

How about you? Do you listen to music when you read?

VOTE: Which Book Should We Read From North Korea?

Vote here

North Korea has always fascinated me because of it's isolation & the scary articles/photos I've seen about escapees. But inflammatory news articles can be very different from books.

We were only able to find memoirs from North Korea which exactly match our requirements for the types of books we read. However, we made an exception & included a single work of fiction in the list of books. The reasoning as to why is noted in this particular book's description.

A special thank you to book club members, Elke Richelsen & Aisha Esbhani for making North Korean suggestions as well as Yeonsang Cho (who lives in South Korea) for her impassioned plea to include a specific book. I'd also like to give a shout out to gold star member, Ivor Watkins who was kind enough to test a large number of back-end changes on our web site. 

You can vote until Thurs., July 20. To participate:

1. Review the books.

2. Vote by ranking each book in order from most want to read to least want to read.

We'll publish the anonymous results afterwards so you can get the book in advance.

13 More Reasons You'll Love an eReader/Kindle

Your eReader replaces are those heavy books you had to lug around

I've offered 12 reasons you'll love an eReader/Kindle, but below are 13 more which are bound to convince you if haven't yet made up your mind.

1. Book reviews & suggestions available from your device. No need to look them up separately. 

2. More comfortable to hold in your hand than a book.

3. You can loan eBooks out on many eReaders.

4. No lugging around heavy books. Store hundreds on your eReader. 

5. It's one click to add your book to Goodreads.

6. The Kindle & many other eReaders recognize how fast you are reading so at a glance you can understand how long it will take you to finish a chapter or the book. 

7. Depending upon the eReader, you can save special pages throughout the book, make notes & highlight passages...& export these as a simple file for book club. If you ever re-read a book, everything remains available.

8. Some eReaders have a glare-free screen & automatically adjust your screen brightness to your current light condition so your eReader can go from full sunlight to dusk to nighttime with the screen showing the correct brightness for your eyes automatically.

9. With a Kindle & many other eReaders, words you look up in the dictionary are automatically added to a Vocabulary Builder which you can review to reinforce retention. 

10. Your eReader will automatically save your place in the book.

11. Many eReaders also have apps which allow you to pick up where you left off on your eReader & snatch a few minutes of reading on your phone.

12. With some eReaders, you can lookup word definitions, characters, settings, footnotes & many translations without losing your place in the book. 

13. Less clutter around your home. No more books stuffed everywhere or boxes hidden away. Keep only a smattering of special books on your bookshelf & coffee table.

I went from an eBook hater to a huge proponent. Try out an eReader & I'm sure you'll become an instant convert too.

Final note: I cherish my current Kindle Voyager & I loved my previous Kindle Paperwhite. Don't be snookered into the expensive Kindle Oasis. The Paperwhite? Delightful. The Voyage? A bit nicer, but pricier.