Books That Didn't Make the Grade

BookBrowse is a guide to exceptional books. As such, we only feature those that our reviewers hand on heart believe to be best in class. Because the books we select go through a rigorous selection process before we even assign them for review, the majority do make the grade - but some, despite good reviews elsewhere, just don't resonate with our reviewers' and get turned down. In these cases we usually post a short review on the book's page on BookBrowse but do not feature it as a lead book.

So, just in case you were thinking that because we only feature positive reviews we've never met a book we don't love, here are some of the 2015 books that our reviewers felt did not make the grade for BookBrowse recommendation. Perhaps you disagree with some of the opinions, perhaps you agree - either way, we encourage you to write your own review by clicking on the reader reviews link from the individual book's page.


Ten Paperbacks for Fall 2015

Does it strike you as odd that while the majority of books sold are paperbacks, most websites and almost all newspapers and magazines devote their coverage to books in hardcover?

It did to me when I started BookBrowse 17 years ago next month, which is why from the beginning we've made sure to give coverage to books in both hardcover and paperback.

Even if you read ebooks it's still good to know when the paperback releases as that usually coincides with a price drop on the electronic version. Book club members should also keep an eye on paperback release dates as by the time the paperback comes out (usually 6-12 months after the hardcover) there are a wealth of buying and borrowing options to suit all members of the club.

In fact, even if you borrow from the library it can come in handy to be reminded of paperback publication dates, as the mad dash to request a limited supply of library copies when a book first releases usually dies down after a few months, so seeing a book is out in paperback can prompt to you put in a request at a time when many fewer are ahead of you in the line to read.


A Dozen Nonfiction Books for Fall 2015

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.


Ten of the Best Fall 2015 Mysteries Set in Exotic Locations

At BookBrowse, we love mysteries, and we love traveling to interesting new places between the pages of good books. Put the two together and you get this month's special edition of BookBrowse Highlights: ten recently published or soon to publish mysteries set in far flung locations including China, Kenya, India, France, Bosnia, South Korea, Israel, Italy and Australia. Whether you like your mysteries cozy or hard-boiled, classic or thrilling, we've got you covered!


A Dozen of The Best Books Publishing in Fall 2015

As a true book lover you know: summer is all very well for an occasional guilty pleasure and a whole pile of page-turners to tote to the beach but the real serious lifting -- both literally and metaphorically -- in terms of reading comes with the turn of the leaves in fall.

This season we have many heavy hitters from darlings of the literary fiction world such as Margaret Atwood and Jonathan Franzen, and also remarkable work from newer talent to keep an eye out for. Here are a dozen we have our sights trained on. Feel free to add your recommendations for upcoming fall releases as well.


Go Set a Watchman Resonates With Me

Go Set a WatchmanI pre-ordered Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee some time ago. It arrived Tuesday evening. I read it yesterday, in one sitting. I've also read many, many reviews and commentaries. Here are my Thursday morning thoughts:

Although GSaW was actually written before To Kill a Mockingbird most reviewers have spoken about it as a sequel since it deals with events that occur decades later. They seem to feel betrayed by the fact that the Atticus Finch they had so revered is shown to be a racist. I'm really puzzled by this reaction. Style and point of view aside I would expect that readers -- people I hold in the highest esteem and who, because they are readers after all -- would be among the first to understand the concepts of cognitive dissonance and character complexity.


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