History, as they say, repeats itself. At times like this when the news around the world looks pretty grim, it can be enlightening, perhaps even reassuring, to revisit historical events that have unfolded across the centuries to remind ourselves that we've been through similar struggles before -- and, on the whole, emerged stronger after many trials by fire.
Historical fiction offers book lovers special joys: travel to a different time and place and the liberties novels can take to create compelling characters and stories while still maintaining the broad scaffolding and accuracy of the event and period.
With the US presidential elections weighing on many of our minds, these book club recommendations provide snapshots into seven different times in America's history. There are stories to enjoy, lessons to be learned, and plenty to discuss in each. All books are available in multiple formats including paperback and ebook and have a discussion guide available on BookBrowse. And for a limited time you can also read our reviews and "beyond the book" articles in full.
Each time BookBrowse reviews a book we also go "beyond the book" to explore a related topic. Here is a recommended reading list of 10 epistolary novels - that is to say books written in the form of letters or journal entries - which we wrote to support our review of Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey:
Epistolary novels are not new Bram Stoker's Dracula, for example, was published in 1879, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein even earlier, in 1818. The form, which is not limited to letters, (nor to horror novels!) also includes journal entries, newspaper clippings, emails, and other forms of correspondence. Perhaps its appeal lies in its inherent hush-hush nature: the main character seems to share a secret with the reader, something meant for his or her own eyes, or one other beloved's eyes. The reader feels lucky to be included in the communication. Whatever the reason, the epistolary novel continues to be written, and enjoyed. Iona Grey's debut novel, Letters to the Lost, is one such novel. Here are 10 others. It is not an exhaustive list, by any means, but a good place to begin investigating this intriguing form.
A few months ago we published part one of our Best 2016 Book Club Books. Here is part two. All ten novels received 5-star reviews from our reviewers and have reading guides; and all are recently or soon to publish in paperback (and are also available in hardcover and ebook.) And, for a limited time, all the related reviews and beyond the book articles are available for free.
Summer used to feel like a slow time in the publishing calendar, at least for those of us who look for substance in our reading. But not any more. This summer is awash with excellent books, among the most notable of which are our Ten BookBrowse Buzz Novels for Summer 2016, half of them debuts. Read about them below!
It's almost summertime which means more time spent outdoors, rooted in the natural world. If you're lucky enough to own a gardening patch, you know how therapeutic an exercise it can be to smell the lavender and work the soil to get the tomatoes going. These book club selections borrow on the botanical delights of the season and deliver much to enjoy with the turn of every leaf. We hope you dig them as much as we do!
An Indian friend once recently described California as "America's America." What she was getting at was that if the United States for a long time was considered the shining beacon of democracy, then California was at the very epicenter of all that's great about the country. California Cool is a real currency and the diverse demographics of the Golden State complemented by its absolutely breathtaking geography mean plenty of rewarding material for talented authors to explore - and for book clubs to enjoy - as these selections amply illustrate. Each recommendation is backed by an excerpt and reading guide, and for a limited time, you can also read our full length reviews and "beyond the book" articles.