Start a Series! 12 Books That’ll Get You Hooked

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Before we spent the weekend watching the entire season of “House of Cards,” the original form of binge-entertainment was, of course, the book series. So go ahead and get your fill. The only thing you’ll have to feel guilty about is all that popcorn you’re still planning to eat. image

1. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

Anyone with a morbid streak will appreciate the cynical and sarcastic narration of Lemony Snicket. With amusing word play that breaks the fourth wall and broadens our vocabulary, this not-necessarily “made for children” compilation is what it would look like if Tim Burton and JK Rowling had a kid.

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2. Spurious by Lars Iyer

The friendship between narrator Lars Iyer and the “slightly more successful” W. is like an unrelenting gale: fierce. The two British philosophers find themselves on a meandering journey for enlightenment (and to escape Iyer’s moldy house), looking for less irksome literary types and better gin. Also, for that pesky thing called the meaning of life.

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3. He Died With His Eyes Open by Derek Raymond

Margaret Thatcher’s London and the Department of Unexplained Deaths; no, this is not the next Harry Potter, but Derek Raymond’s original English noir suite, The Factory Series. To figure out “who done it” Detective Sergeant has nothing to go off of except the middle-aged, alcoholic victim’s cassette tape diaries. In the process Sergeant becomes obsessed with the man’s life and his love, the vixen Barbara.

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4. The Star Diaries by Stanislaw Lem

Written by the author of Solaris, and relayed with typical dry, Eastern European humor, the Ijon Tichy Series is science fiction at its best. References to theory, history, religion, strange civilizations, and past and future selves make this philosophical collection worth time-capsuling.

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5. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

Oh my days! The neighbor’s horse has a broken leg? The cow across the field needs help birthing her calf? These are the sort of everyday troubles a young English veterinarian runs into on the rural Yorkshire countryside in 1930. But with a light C.S. Lewis-esque touch, Herriot’s memoirs turn mundane moments into miracles.

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6. New Moan: A Parody by Stephfordy Mayo

Tired of the zombie romance hype and just really feel like punching a tweenage vampire in the face? We got you. Smite (and lampoon) away with this truly genius parody of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. 

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7. Blind Switch by John McEvoy

One-time amateur boxer and former ad man Jack Doyle, finds himself fired, divorced, and caught up in the criminal horse racing racket. (Think thoroughbred incapacitation, Tonya Harding style.) When the FBI gets a hold of Doyle, he’s forced to work for the other side.

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8. A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Elementary, my dear readers, is leafing through Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s string of criminal cases. Follow this violin-playing, pipe-smoking, thriller-obsessed sociopath and his bumbling narrator Watson through the streets of London. It’s the best thing before sliced bread, or Benedict Cumberbatch.

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9. Happy Birthday, Turk! by Jakob Arjouni

Run-ins with prostitutes, heroin dealers, and crooked cops are just the beginning of hard-drinking, Turkish immigrant Detective Kemal’s problems. Set in Frankfurt, Germany, and written when the author was only 19, The Kayankaya Series is a surprisingly funny crime set with a xenophobic twist.

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10. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll’s 150-year-old beloved children’s classic sparks surprising;y adult debates. Like, does Alice’s ingestion of tonics and mushrooms refer to drug use? Did Charles Dodgson have a thing for little girls? Decide for yourself with a more critical read-around of the timeless text and its comparably influential sequel.

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11. A Quest of Heroes by Morgan Rice

14-year-old Thorgrin, hated by his family, escapes his walled in life to become a part of the King’s legion. Running into even more disfavor, Thorgrin tries to figure out where he belongs while simultaneously discovering he possesses mysterious powers. Live vicariously through this coming of age story filled with forbidden love, sorcery, and the fight against evil.

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12. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

The good in this world is always worth fighting for, and the book is always better than the movie: two proverbs to keep in mind when you begin your journey with Frodo and the Dark Lord’s precious ring.

Read “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” in One Sitting. We’re Serious.

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Not everyone was born a speed reader. Just ask us how long it took to read Ulysses. (Actually, don’t, but we were savoring that one.) In case you want to learn to polish off a full book in an afternoon, we’ve got just the thing for you.

Today, we’re excited to announce that we’re hosting the first ever in-copyright book on SpritzThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, a RosettaBooks’ bestseller, is one you’ve probably been meaning to read (or read again). And now there’s no excuse. Spritz, a speed reading tool, allows you to read this book faster than ever before. How fast? We were hoping you’d ask.

7 things that take longer than reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People on Spritz:

  • Flying from New York to Bermuda

  • Making a successful batch of s’more cookies

  • Getting to inbox zero

  • Jogging the perimeter of Manhattan

  • Watching the Lord of the Rings

  • Getting Happy by Pharrell out of your head (and sorry, now you probably have it stuck in your head)

  • Reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People the old-fashioned digital way

Become a put-together, efficient, productive person in a single afternoon! No pressure or anything. Start reading now and see what you think at oysterbooks.com/spritz.

What other books on Oyster are perfect for reading with Spritz? Share your suggestions @oyster or hello@oysterbooks.com (or just say hello!). And whether you like reading fast or slow, give Oyster a try (if you haven’t already). Unlimited books, just $9.95 per month. 

6 Very Don, Pete, Peggy, Roger, Joan & Betty Books

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If you’re already jonesing for next week’s episode of “Mad Men,” we’ve got you covered. Here are six books that best match the antics of Don, Peggy, Roger, Joan, Pete, and Betty, from the bedroom to the boardroom. Sit back, pour yourself something stiff, and dig in. (Upstanding morals not guaranteed.)

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14 Books That Reveal the Secrets of Crooks, Tricksters, & Con Men

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This is the latest in our regular series featuring some of our favorites on Oyster. And if you’re not on Oyster yet, join today and get a free month to read these books (and thousands upon thousands of others).

Go behind the smoke and mirrors of scammers, gangsters, gamblers, and magicians, and learn the tricks of the trade. This is Oyster’s Guide to Being Good at Being Bad.

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Recently Added for 3/25/14: Books Speak

Books speak. We read. And sometimes, we learn that things are not always what they seem. Often the foundations around us that once appeared so solid are cracked with corruption, misinformation, and avarice.

We are grateful for the rebellious books in our library that refuse to let things go unsaid. Allan Brandt’s Pulitzer Prize winning work The Cigarette Century, details how the role of smoking has influenced Americans’ lives (and deaths) more than any other product. Journalist Liza Featherstone investigates Wal-Mart’s discrimination towards their female employees in Selling Women Short. And Anthony Lewis’ Freedom for the Thought That We Hate biographizes the First Amendment and the choices, judges, and defendants who maintain our nation’s free-speech in politics, art, and expression.

We laud unruly books, their voices, and you for choosing to read them. And we equip you with these recently added titles. Dig in! 

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Spotlight: Land, Air, & Sea

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This is the latest in our regular series featuring some of our favorites on Oyster. And if you’re not on Oyster yet, join today and get a free month to read these books (and thousands upon thousands of others).

For our first ever guest-curated set, Oyster welcomes Will Roseman, Executive Director at the Explorers Club here in New York City. Sip a Johnnie Walker Gold Route from the safety of your own home or from your mountain-perched tent as you peruse his list of must-read bold and ballsy books on exploration.

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Thousands More Titles from Perseus Books Group, Now on Oyster

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We can always count on Perseus Books Group to bring us the best in cutting-edge, award-winning, high quality non-fiction. And today, we’re pleased to let you know that Perseus has added several thousand more books to Oyster. This expanded partnership includes titles from Perseus’ fantastic imprints: Basic Books, Basic Civitas, Da Capo, Lifelong Books, Seal Press, Vanguard Press, Westview Press, PublicAffairs, Nation Books, Weinstein Books, and The Daily Beast.

At Oyster, we’re continuing to add great partners (and new books) to our library each week—with much more to come!

But enough from us. There are books to be read. Here’s a set of new gems that you can add to your reading list, share with a friend, or dive into right now:

Enjoy!

Spotlight: Publishing Moguls & Masters

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This is the latest in our regular series featuring some of our favorites on Oyster. And if you’re not on Oyster yet, join today and get a free month to read these books (and thousands upon thousands of others).

It’s been said that publishing is a near impossible industry to conquer. Here’s a list of literary stars who managed not to be chewed up and spat out—with stories sure to impress (and maybe intimidate) anyone out there with similar ambitions.

 

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Recently Added for 3/4/14: Happy Everything

Happy National Reading Month! Happy National Grammar Day! Happy Tuesday! Happy Fat Tuesday! Happy Mardi Gras! Happy! (and this happy, too) While we know the world is not always a joyous place, we’ve still got to keep our chins up and focus on things good and decent.

Books certainly help in that regard. Whether made more motivated by an autobiography of a great person, more intelligent from a thought-provoking scientific book, or more empathetic from a particularly poignant novel, reading enlarges our world and deepens our minds. It also makes us happy.

We could go on and on about our love of literature, but we’ll spare you the speech and show you some of the newest additions to our library:

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Enjoy!