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Was a memorialĀ  for a playwright the seed of the French Revolution over 100 years later?

Sandra Gulland on 17th-century French theater, and a moving people's protest against authority.



Five years ago I went to Paris to research the life of Mademoiselle Claude des Oeillets. It was going to be a challenge, I knew. Claude--or Claudette, as I think of her--was a two-bit-player-turned-lady's maid, and she had lived over 250 years ago. As it is, there is often little in the historical records about the serving classes.

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Famous Literary Spats

At BookBrowse, we don't just review books, we go 'beyond the book' to explore interesting aspects relating to each book we feature. Here is a "Beyond the Book" feature for The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma about famous literary spats...


When famous figures spar, their words become part of the public record, particularly when those quarreling are popular writers.

Ernest HemingwayErnest Hemingway, for example, was notorious for his antagonistic relationship with many of his contemporaries. While once close, he had a disagreement with his mentor Gertrude Stein over their differing opinions of Sherwood Anderson's works. As the friendship deteriorated, Stein published an unflattering portrait of Hemingway in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. Hemingway countered with A Moveable Feast, in which he criticized Stein's writing for its use of "repetitions that a more conscientious and less lazy writer would have put in the waste basket."

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Crossing the Borders Between Young Adult, New Adult and Adult Books

The True Tale of The Monster Billy DeanAt BookBrowse, we don't just review books, we go 'beyond the book' to explore interesting aspects relating to each book we feature. Here is a recent "Beyond the Book" feature for The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean by David Almond:


The True Tale Of The Monster Billy Dean, first published in the UK in 2011 by Penguin's adult imprint, Viking, was reviewed as David Almond's debut for adults, but it was simultaneously released as a young adult novel by Puffin, another Penguin imprint. It is one of a growing number of books that straddles the borderlands of adult, young-adult, and middle-grade fiction while the adult audience for YA and MG literature continues to grow.

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Your Brain on Literature

Reading quiet, literary fiction, like Someone, nudges us towards contemplation and self-examination. But according to a recent study conducted at the New School for Social Research in New York, it may do even more. This much-publicized study, "Reading Literary Fiction Improves Theory of Mind," concludes that reading literary fiction can better the ability to "read" the thoughts and feelings of others. The researchers, Ph.D candidate David Comer Kidd; and professor of psychology, Emanuele Castano; suggest that this is achieved by an increase in empathy and the ability to recognize and share the feelings of others.

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The Wonderful World of Fictional Settings

At BookBrowse, we don't just review books, we go 'beyond the book' to explore interesting aspects relating to each book we feature. Here is a recent "Beyond the Book" feature for Enon by Paul Harding:

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Quercus Publishing Branches Out by Poornima Apte

If Steig Larsson was one of your essential beach reads a few summers ago, you have the guys at Quercus Publishing to thank. Since exploring what's new in books is one of our favorite things to do at BookBrowse, our ears perked up when we discovered that this nimble UK publishing company is now making waves stateside.

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