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Golden State Goodies: 8 Exceptional Books Set in California for Book Clubs

Dear BookBrowsers,

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.

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A Spot of Britain: 10 Books Set In Britain Recommended for Book Clubs

Dear BookBrowsers,

We hear you: We miss Downton Abbey too. We miss the tightly knit story, the characters, the costumes, the accents and most of all -- the setting. Fret not. At BookBrowse, we have compiled our own special list of books that take you back to Britain, to the land of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. After all armchair travel, especially with a great book, is as close to the real thing as it can get. Even better, it's much less expensive. These cherry-picked recommendations will pair perfectly with a spot of tea or even the house's best curry (curry usually tops surveys of Britain's favorite dishes) to give you or your book club that extra dash of British panache.

Each recommendation is backed by an excerpt, a reading guide, a range of media reviews and, for a limited time access to BookBrowse's full reviews and beyond the book articles.

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On Their Own Terms: Stories of Strong Women

One of the many great things about books is that they reflect the human experience back at us in so many kaleidoscopic ways. There are times we learn about new people and places and at others, seek validation in a story, to see maybe a bit of ourselves mirrored back at us.

This is one of the drivers for creating a list of books featuring real-life women who led life on their own terms. Each and every one of these gems serves to remind us just how much women can -- and have -- achieved over the years. What's more each woman's circumstance will provide ample fodder for your next book club meeting. We hope you  -- guys included -- see the best of your own selves reflected in these capable heroines.

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Book Club Books about Immigrants & Refugees

Dear BookBrowsers,

Refugees and immigrants have long been the backbone of societies around the world, and their struggles have been rich fodder for books long before their plight (once again) occupied center stage in geopolitics. Whether it's the European refugee crisis or the United States deciding to deport many who came here as part of the 2014 South American unaccompanied minors influx, or the vitriol spewed by politicians rooted in fear, the complexities of the issue refuse to lend themselves to easy sound bites. These are discussions worth having, book club or not, especially given that they could not be more a timely reflection of the headlines around the world.

For a limited time you can read our full reviews and "beyond the book" articles for all these books for free.

All books also available in ebook & hardcover

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Best Books for Book Clubs in 2016

Dear BookBrowser,

Choosing books for book club is no easy feat. You have to pick a challenging book worthy of discussion, yet something that members will enjoy reading.

Here we present the cream of the crop for early 2016. A dozen books all rated 5-stars by our reviewers which publish in paperback between September 2015 and February 2016 (and are already available in hardcover and ebook).

I hope you find many gems for your upcoming book club meetings!

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Short Stories for Book Clubs

Dear BookBrowsers,

Short stories remind me of the commercial for Almond Joy. Yes, sometimes you feel like a novel...sometimes you don't. An intricately crafted short story is a window into a fully developed world in a bite-sized nugget. When you're crunched for time they're also a quick escape and a great introduction to a writer's work.

The right sort of short stories can also be great for book clubs, particularly at busy times of the year. Pick a story, maybe two or three, and you've got an easy month of reading, capped by an engaging discussion.

Here are our recommendations for short story collections, with a reading guide for each, for when you crave that perfect treat. Pairing with chocolate is entirely optional.

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