Melissa Ragsdale is a writer, comedian, and professional book nerd. Born and raised in Austin, TX, she received her B.A. in English from the University of Texas. You can usually find her with her nose stuck in a book.

This Kids' Book Has A Message That Has Completely Reshaped My Adult Life

When I was in the eighth grade, I read Neal Shusterman's The Schwa Was Here for the first time, and it quickly became one of my favorite books. But little did I know that the lessons I learned from The Schwa Was Here would reach me far into…
By Melissa Ragsdale

15 Writing Prompts To Help You Get A Kick Start On That Book You're Writing

Going back to school as a kid always began with a brand new binder, an exciting new classroom, and the classic writing assignment: "What did you do over summer vacation?" Seriously, how many times have you written that essay over the course of your…
By Melissa Ragsdale

15 Audiobooks Narrated By The Author — Including Barack Obama And Tiffany Haddish

There's something incredibly magical about hearing an author read their own work. If you love listening to audiobooks, you know that some of the best audiobooks are the ones that are narrated by the author. Don't get me wrong, voice actors do some…
By Melissa Ragsdale

Tell Us Your Favorite '80s Movie & We'll Tell You Which Book To Read Next

I wasn't even born until the '90s, but somehow I still have a serious case of nostalgia for the '80s. Between the kind-of-terrible hair and the retro clothes and all the teen anguish, the movies of the '80s were filled with a certain energy that is…
By Melissa Ragsdale

11 New Books You Can Definitely Finish Before Summer Is Over

The end of summer is fast approaching — insert a collective groan here. These warmer months have been a dream for summer book reading, and I don't know about you, but I'm definitely not ready for it to end. Luckily, you have most of August and all…
By Melissa Ragsdale

Here's Why Keeping Your Old Journals Can Actually Be Super Useful If You're A Writer

There's a drawer in my childhood bedroom that's so stuffed with my old journals and diaries that it won't close. Whenever I leave the house, I consider my journal as much a necessity as my wallet, and I always carry one with me. As I use my…
By Melissa Ragsdale

A New Harry Potter Audiobook Is Coming Out & It’s Narrated By A 'Game of Thrones' Star

As a diehard Harry Potter fan, I'm always thirsty for any new details I can get about the Potterverse. So I'm obviously head-over-Hippogriffs excited about the news that the Harry Potter: A History of Magic audiobook is coming out on October 4th.…
By Melissa Ragsdale

Why You Actually Should Try To Read The Books Your Friends Recommend To You

The cutest thing happened to me last week: A guy I went on a date with texted me a picture of a library book. I had recommended the book to him on our date, and he had checked it out. I liked this dude a lot already, but after I saw that picture, I…
By Melissa Ragsdale

I Read This Book After Living In NYC For Years — & It Made Me Nostalgic For A City I Never Knew

A legendary rocker, artist, poet, and memoirist, Patti Smith has truly lived a life defined by art. In her first memoir, Just Kids, Smith transports readers to New York City during the late '60s and '70s, a time in which the city was a haven for…
By Melissa Ragsdale

This One Poem Changed The Way I Write Forever — And It's About Tacos

I was 15 years old and sitting in high school creative writing class when I first heard Naomi Shihab Nye read her poem "Valentine for Ernest Mann." My teacher played us a video (yes, on an actual VHS) of her reading the poem at a book festival, and…
By Melissa Ragsdale

How To Decide Which Thriller To Read Next — Based On Your Favorite Classic

Summer is the perfect time to find a new thriller novel to devour. With so many fantastic books hitting the shelves this year, it can be tough to decide to decide where to start. (Which is a great problem to have!) Fortunately, your favorite classic…
By Melissa Ragsdale

If You've Ever Fallen For A Friend, You Need To Read These 7 Books

More likely than not, you know what it feels like to have a crush on a friend. Maybe you thought inconvenient romantic feelings would stop making appearances after high school, but, well, you were wrong. Luckily, there are plenty of books about best…
By Melissa Ragsdale

The Important Lesson I Learned Reviewing Books For A Living

"I have a dream job: I get paid to read books," I frequently say when I meet someone new. It's true, getting to work with books is a strange and wonderful adventure. But I certainly did not start my career the same reader that I am today. In the…
By Melissa Ragsdale

11 New Books To Read When You Just Want To Stay Inside With The A/C

Summer may be sweet, it may be sizzling, it certainly is extremely sweaty. In an ideal world, you're outdoors enjoying 70 degree temperatures and glistening not sweating. But in reality, you're probably drenched in sweat and eager to get inside so…
By Melissa Ragsdale

This "True Crime" Podcast Is Based On A YA Novel & It's Unlike Anything You've Heard Before

"It begins, as so many stories do, with a dead girl," or so says West McCray in the introduction of The Girls, a brand new podcast adapted from Courtney Summers's forthcoming YA novel, Sadie, which comes out on Sept. 4. That's right, this is a whole…
By Melissa Ragsdale

The 14 Best Fiction Books Of August Include A 'Handmaid's Tale' For 2018

It's August, and the great new fiction books are rolling in with the humidity and late-summer thunderstorms. You're going to want to take advantage of these last few weeks of summer outdoor reading by picking up some excellent new releases over the…
By Melissa Ragsdale

This Powerful Novel Is About Two Girls Growing Up In The Time Of Pablo Escobar

In her debut novel, Fruit of the Drunken Tree, author Ingrid Rojas Contreras transports readers to Colombia in the late '80s and '90s, a period marked by extreme violence and political turmoil. A power struggle between the government, paramilitary…
By Melissa Ragsdale

Why 'The Darkest Minds' Is The Book (And Movie) Teens Need To Embrace Their Power

When a generation of kids develops superpowers, the government embarks on a massive campaign to detain them and suppress their powers — so begins The Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken. If you think that sounds eerily prescient, you're…
By Melissa Ragsdale

This One Thing You Should Never Do At An Author Event Unless You Want Everyone To Hate You

I have attended hundreds of readings and literary events, both as an observer and as a coordinator. I absolutely love attending readers, and every event has been fruitful in its own way. Yet, there is one thing that happens more often than it…
By Melissa Ragsdale

Reading True Crime Makes Me Feel Less Anxious — For A Good Reason

"I'm about to have a meltdown in this coffee shop," I text my best friend. I'm sitting by myself at my neighborhood cafe, and I'm starting to feel seriously anxious. I can feel tears welling up behind my eyes and my breath feels trapped inside my…
By Melissa Ragsdale