In addition to reviewing books, BookBrowse goes "beyond the book" to explore interesting aspects relating to each book we feature. Here is a "Beyond the Book" feature for The Blessings by Elise Juska...
The Blessings is a novel, but it's also a portrait an ensemble in which assorted members of three generations reveal various complexities and challenges. Here is a handful of other books that also offer multi-generational stories about family.
BookBrowse trawls through tens of thousands of books and book reviews each year in order to shortlist the most notable 80-100 publishing each month. Then we gather together all available reviews for each book so our members know about the best and most interesting books well ahead of the crowd.
Below you will find highlights from our list of best books publishing in June 2014.
This is not so much a blog entry as it is a plea on behalf of people in desperate need of escape. As a book critic for several publications I receive, on average, eight-to-twelve books every month. It goes without exaggeration that books have a tendency to pile up. Stacks in every nook and corner of our small home quickly escalate from evidence of a moderate reader to hoarder status. A couple of decades ago when I first started reviewing books I simply gave them to friends or - forgive me - tossed the not-so-great ones into the recycling bin. Occasionally an editor would send me the first edition of a book that I had reviewed pre-publication, and I started donating these to my local library. I still do this, but for some reason I get sent fewer follow up first editions these days.
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.
So you're an author, and your book is out there in the world. You've sweated and agonized and copy edited and re-read; in short, you've done everything you could to make sure your book is the best thing you can write at that moment. You wait nervously for its release. Will it sell? Will people like it? And then the reviews start to appear. Maybe it's a positive review (yeah!); maybe it's negative (ouch!), but the reviewer takes the time to explain what it is they didn't like about the book in a clear and fair way (still ouch, but okay, I get it, no book is for everyone).
The other day I learned that an author I like has a new book coming out. Of course I was interested and planned to pre-order the book. I also wanted to read any pre-publication reviews to see what the pros think about it, whether they feel it lives up to the author's previous high bar. I also wanted to learn a bit more about the story - but not too much.