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!
Recently we asked BookBrowse's subscribers to rate their favorite books of the year. Many thousands of votes were cast. Here, in no particular order, are the Top 5 Nonfiction Books for 2015.
Next week we'll announce the top Young Adult books; then the top Fiction Books; and finally, in early December, the 2015 Award Winners.
'Tis the season — for movies. The holidays are a time for heavy-hitting blockbusters and films of all stripes.
As avid readers, we're almost always partial toward books over movies. After all, we know they get to the heart of things much better than movies do. But if your trip to the matinee involves revisiting your favorite novel through the big screen (even if it is to shake your head disapprovingly at everything the movie got wrong), we run down a list of potential nominees, some already released and the rest to show soon. So visit the concession stand, pick up that bucket of popcorn and you're good to go.
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.
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.
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.