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.
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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!
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.
Sadly, summer is mostly in the rear-view mirror now and while there's still time for barbecues and watermelon, the annual ritual of reading often prescribes light reads for the summer and more "serious" literature for fall.
This doesn't mean that we can't lighten up our reading with picks from the humor and satire pile, or indulge droll and dry wit. After all, laughter is the best prescription. And while the book club selections in this list might not be laugh-out-loud funny, they're sure to bring a smile to your face. If you'd like to, please share your own recommendations by posting at the bottom.
The Cold War might be a thing of the past but the "Red Menace" still rules the West's collective imagination. For those of us who remember the duck-and-cover drills, the race to space and the many subtle and not-so-subtle ways in which world geopolitics permeated everyday lives, a peek behind the Iron Curtain is as fascinating as it is informative. We present here a mix of fiction and nonfiction books specifically about Russia and Russians, both before and after the disintegration of the powerful federation that was the USSR.
This excerpt is from BookBrowse's July 2015 white paper on book clubs. You can download the full research report for free at bookbrowse.com/wp
National surveys confirm that men tend to read less than women. For example, a 2013 Pew Research Center survey of 1000 adults ("A Snapshot of Reading in America in 2013") found that 69% of men read at least one book a year compared to 82% of women. This white paper focuses in on frequent readers, defined as those who read at least one book a month - that is to say, people who read sufficiently to belong to a book club, whether they choose to or not. Even among frequent readers, it will come as no surprise that far fewer men report being in a book club than women.
To explore the topic of men in book clubs in more detail, and to minimize the bias from our own members (who were a minority in the survey but represented a disproportionate percentage of those in book clubs), we conducted a follow up qualitative survey of 130 men to ask about their experience and opinions of book clubs. The great majority of these were not BookBrowse members and 50 had not visited BookBrowse at all, having been randomly selected from a national sample of men aged 35+ who read at least one book a month.