Wattpad's most popular Valentine's Day reading searches are a strange lesson in modern romance

Wattpad’s most popular Valentine’s Day reading searches are a strange lesson in modern romance

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It’s Valentine’s Day and we hope you are celebrating with your one true love — a great book, of course!

Whether you’re single or celebrating the holiday with your swiped-right boo thang, we hope you take the time to cozy up with a great story.

To help put a literary perspective on Valentine’s Day, Wattpad, an online community of readers and writers, combed through its database to figure out what each U.S. state most desired in the weeks preceding the holiday, based on the 30 most popular search terms in the ‘romance’ category during the Jan. 1 through Jan. 30 time period. Read more…

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Wattpad’s most popular Valentine’s Day reading searches are a strange lesson in modern romance

The book that brings magic to the 20th century's darkest hour

The book that brings magic to the 20th century’s darkest hour

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The line between the magical and the real seems particularly thin when you’re a child — even when you happen to live in one of the most dangerous places in the world

This truth is beautifully portrayed in the debut novel from Gavriel Savit, Anna and the Swallow Man.

The novel is set in Poland in 1939, where 7-year-old protagonist Anna is left to wander her hometown of Kraków after her professor father is taken by the Nazis, leaving her vulnerable to a newly war-torn world

That’s where Anna encounters an enigmatic figure she dubs the Swallow Man, who becomes her protector as they walk across Poland and Eastern Europe with one goal in mind: Survival. Savit imparts his characters with an uncanny gift for language, and the descriptions of their surroundings are poetic and desolate in equal measure Read more…

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The book that brings magic to the 20th century’s darkest hour

Amazon Echo now lets Alexa read Kindle books to you

Amazon Echo now lets Alexa read Kindle books to you

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In addition to serving as your connection to Amazon’s vast inventory of products, Amazon Echo can now also read your Kindle books to you

And unlike Amazon’s service Audible, which provides audiobooks for a monthly fee, the book reading service from Amazon Echo is free of charge

Called Kindle Books by Alexa, the service allows the robotic voice of Alexa to read any book in your Kindle ebook library. According to an Amazon update note, the service uses the “same text-to-speech technology used for Wikipedia articles.”

That means you won’t get the same kind of color and drama you’d expect from a book on Audible, but as a free service, it’s likely to be pretty popular with some non-Audible users Read more…

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Amazon Echo now lets Alexa read Kindle books to you

This bizarre medieval manuscript has never been deciphered

This bizarre medieval manuscript has never been deciphered

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Image: Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library/Yale University Library

Named for Polish book dealer Wilfrid Voynich, who acquired it in 1912, the Voynich manuscript is a mystery that has remained unsolved for centuries

The manuscript is a 6×9-inch codex of bound calfskin vellum, which has been carbon-dated to the early decades of the 15th century, and is believed to have come from northern Italy. It holds approximately 240 pages, some which fold out, though it is believed that some pages are missing.

The content of the manuscript is truly baffling, though. It is written in a completely unknown script, and illuminated throughout with illustrations of seemingly fantastical plants. Estimates of how many individual characters compose the script vary from 15 to 40 Read more…

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This bizarre medieval manuscript has never been deciphered

The book covers of some of the earliest lesbian erotica

The book covers of some of the earliest lesbian erotica

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c. 1955

Image: Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library/Yale University Library

“Pulp” magazines and novels were so named for the cheap wood pulp paper they were printed on, in contrast to more expensive “slick” magazines

Selling for as little as $0.35, pulp novels were usually exploitative genre works, with lurid cover art and tales of adventure, crime, murder, mayhem and sex.

Within this range of titillating subjects was the subgenre of lesbian erotica. Even during times when discussion of LGBTQ issues was considered taboo, readers eagerly consumed steamy stories of forbidden, “unnatural” temptations. Read more…

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The book covers of some of the earliest lesbian erotica

7 stages of grief 'Game of Thrones' fans are feeling, thanks to the 'Winters of Winter' delay

7 stages of grief ‘Game of Thrones’ fans are feeling, thanks to the ‘Winters of Winter’ delay

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A Lannister always pays his debts…but apparently, George R.R. Martin doesn’t. At least, not in a timely fashion.

In a 1,800-word blog post published over New Year’s weekend, Martin announced that he missed his New Year’s Eve deadline for completing The Winds of Winter, the 6th installment in A Song of Ice and Fire series.

“THE WINDS OF WINTER is not finished,’ writes Martin. “Believe me, it gave me no pleasure to type those words. You’re disappointed, and you’re not alone.”

Some fans are reacting with shows of support. But others have just one question: WHAT GIVES, GEORGE?! Read more…

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7 stages of grief ‘Game of Thrones’ fans are feeling, thanks to the ‘Winters of Winter’ delay

George R.R. Martin finds fan support for unfinished book 'astonishing'

George R.R. Martin finds fan support for unfinished book ‘astonishing’

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Early in 2016, George R.R. Martin bluntly told fans that his highly-anticipated sixth Song of Ice and Fire novel, The Winds of Winter, is “not finished” — meaning that for the first time this year, HBO’s TV adaptation Game of Thrones may spoil what’s giong to happen in the books

In the past, Martin has been nothing if not a perfect target for the passionate and borderline aggressive fervor of fans. Even so, his LiveJournal post about The Winds of Winter has been met largely with empathy from readers. Whoever gave Game of Thrones fans a reputation for clawing at a creator until he folds may have completely misunderstood this fandom. Read more…

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George R.R. Martin finds fan support for unfinished book ‘astonishing’

'Game of Thrones' author George R.R. Martin is just too busy to finish his latest book

‘Game of Thrones’ author George R.R. Martin is just too busy to finish his latest book

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Blame Jon Snow.

Maybe it’s because of that nephew’s wedding, or maybe it’s because of distractions from other projects. But whatever the case, Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin wants you to know that his latest novel The Winds of Winter is — still — not finished, and he penned all his reasons in a remorseful 1,800-word blog post on Saturday.

That means Martin has missed yet another key deadline (the original deadline was on Halloween) that would have allowed for his latest novel to be published prior to HBO airing the sixth season of Game of Thrones in April. So, put shortly, the captivating, blood-drenched fantasy drama will air prior to its source material being available on bookshelves. Read more…

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‘Game of Thrones’ author George R.R. Martin is just too busy to finish his latest book