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.
Each time BookBrowse reviews a book we also go "beyond the book" to explore a related topic. Last week we reviewed A Prison in Malta, the first in a new 16th century mystery series by Phillip DePoy which introduces a sleuth to appeal to mystery, historical fiction and literary aficionados alike, none other than playwright Christopher Marlowe (who, in all likelihood, did do to a fair amount of real-life spying for Queen Elizabeth.)
Going "beyond the book" our reviewer James Broderick eruditely explores the 400-year-old question - did Shakespeare write his plays or were they written by someone else? And was that someone Christopher Marlowe? If you've found the "Shakespeare authorship" question a tad dry, even irrelevant, or perhaps didn't even know there was a question to resolve, be prepared to be happily entertained and intrigued as James, in a mere 700 words, eloquently gets to the gist of a debate that has spawned dozens of books:
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
What compels you to pick up a book? The tightly paced plot? The setting? Excellent writing? All of the above? A good writer knows how to make characters and places shine and to make the story so seamless that you'll hardly ever realize you're being carefully manipulated by a master of the craft.
In this special edition of the best of our interviews from the last year, some of your favorite authors - and ours - share the secrets behind their successful books and the topics they chose to write about.
2015 has been great for books and as we come to the end of the year, we round off our reading with our stamp of approval for a select few books with our annual BookBrowse Awards.
With the holiday season kicking into high gear, we continue our rollout of the most noteworthy books of 2015.
Here, we present the top ten novels, as voted by BookBrowse subscribers like yourself. This, together with the two previously announced lists for non-fiction and young adult books, complete our 2015 BookBrowse Favorites.