BookBrowse's Free Twice-Monthly Newsletter

Back Issues | Subscribe
BookBrowse Logo
This Week's Top 10
July 17, 2014
In This Issue
Book Club:
The City, Dean Koontz
Editor's Choice
Free Books to Request
(members only)
Preview: Michelangelo
Beyond The Book
Readalikes: Night Film
Darragh McKeon
Books We Rejected
Quote: Peter Ustinov

We've just opened our latest book club discussion - of The City by Dean Koontz - please do join us!

We go "beyond the book" to explore the trials and tribulations of doing laundry in the 19th century - which, believe me, is a much more fascinating topic than you're probably imagining.

We also suggest readalikes for Marisha Pessl's Night Film, and bring you our opinions of some of the books that our reviewers decided weren't up to scratch for feature on BookBrowse.

All this and much more!

Davina Morgan-Witts, Editor

Gamache Series

1. The BookBrowse Book Club

Please Join Us to Discuss:


The City by Dean Koontz 

Published Jul 2014, 416 pages 
The unforgettable saga of a young man coming of age within a remarkable family, and a shimmering portrait of the world that shaped him, The City is a novel that speaks to everyone, a dazzling realization of the evergreen dreams we all share. Brilliantly illumined by magic dark and light, it's a place where enchantment and malice entwine, courage and honor are found in the most unexpected quarters, and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart. 

Reader Reviews |  Browse the Discussion (includes spoilers)

2. Editor's Choice
Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

Hardcover, June 2014, 256 pages.
BookBrowse Rating: 5/5
Critics' Consensus:  4.8/5 
Buy at Amazon | B&N | Indie

Complicit definitely falls into the genre of psychological thriller; there is never any doubt that Jamie is on the edge of madness. The novel feels like an authentic look at the battle with mental illness; one can see what it might be like to lose one's ability to interpret and make sense of the world.

Although Stephanie Kuehn is a masterful storyteller, I don't think Complicit has quite the same heart and poignancy of her debut novel, Charm & Strange; the winner of the William C. Morris Award for debut young-adult literature. However, this is definitely a compelling and taut tale told in precise and well-wrought language. Any reader, young adult or older, fascinated by the intricacy and mystery of mental illness will be well rewarded.  
(Reviewed by Sarah Tomp)

Read full review | More Editor's Choices |  More reviews by Sarah Tomp

Full access to our reviews & beyond the book articles are for members only. But there are always four free Editor's Choice reviews and beyond the book articles on our homepage. 

3. First Impressions (Members Only)

First Impressions gives BookBrowse members the opportunity to read and review or discuss books. Members who choose to take part receive about 3-4 books a year entirely free of charge. Books are assigned primarily on when somebody last received one, so new members requesting for the first time have priority. These books are available to request up until Sunday July 20.

For reasons of copyright and logistics the publishers who provide the books for First Impressions can only mail to US residents.  

Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera

Hardcover Sept 2, 2014. To read and discuss - discussion opens 9/16

A stunning literary debut of two young women on opposing sides of the devastating Sri Lankan Civil War. Winner of the Commonwealth Book Prize for Asia, longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize. 

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber 

Hardcover Oct 28, 2014. To read and review  

A monumental, genre-defying novel over ten years in the making, Michel Faber's The Book of Strange New Things is a masterwork from a writer in full command of his many talents. 

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth 

Hardcover Sept 23, 2014. To read and review

Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together the stories of Margherita, Selena, and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman. 

Go to First Impressions

Get More!
A lot of BookBrowse's content is available for free but full access is for members. Membership is $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year. See the many membership benefits here! 

4. Publishing Soon

Michelangelo by Miles J. Unger


Simon & Schuster, Jul 22, 2014, 448 pages
Critic's Opinion: 5/5
Buy at Amazon |  B&N |  Indie  
The life of one of the most revolutionary artists in history, told through the story of six of his greatest masterpieces.  

More about this book |  Read Reviews     More Previews 

Members have full access to 80+ previewed books each month; others can view a dozen.   

5. Beyond The Book


Rinse and Repeat: Laundry in the Nineteenth Century 
 Every time we review a book we also go beyond the book to explore a related topic. Here is a recent "beyond the book" backstory for...

Longbourn by Jo Baker    

Paperback June 2014, 352 pages
Buy at Amazon |  B&N | Indie 

In Longbourn, the housemaid Sarah's frustration with the laundry would have been shared by anyone who cleaned clothes during the early 19th century. Our modern process of sorting, dumping into a machine, pouring in soap, and pressing a button is an embarrasingly wonderful diminution of this once complicated and time-intensive process.

Doing the laundry during this period was such a daunting task that even mistresses of households that employed servants often pitched in. The wealthier families were able to employ servants who, like Sarah, focused mainly on laundry duties. For most families without dedicated laundresses, two days a week were set aside for doing laundry. Washing, boiling, and rinsing a standard load of laundry required around 50 gallons of water, which had to be hauled from a convenient water source... continued

6. News

Jul 14 2014. Nadine Gordimer, the South African writer whose literary ambitions led her into the heart of apartheid to create a body of fiction that brought her a Nobel Prize in 1991, died on Monday in Johannesburg. She was 90.

Jul 15 2014.  USA bookstore sales continue their downward trend with May sales 7.5% lower year on year. Comparing the first five months of 2014 to 2013, bookstore sales are down 8.0% compared with a 3.4% rise in the entire retail segment.

Jul 15 2014.  In an appeal filing with the Second Circuit, Apple attorneys pressed their argument that Judge Denise Cote blew it when she found Apple liable for its role in an alleged conspiracy to fix e-book prices, and pleaded for a reversal. Calling the DoJ's e-book price-fixing case an "incoherent attack ... (more) 

7. Readalikes for Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Pessl's beautiful, haunting imagery and vivid writing completely pull you in and you emerge breathless. She makes you lose sight of the trees for the forest - the eerily creepy forest. Already famous for her literary pyrotechnics with her debut, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Pessl showcases her immense talent again. 

If you liked Night Film, try these:


American Dream Machine by Matthew Specktor

Paperback April 2014 


American Dream Machine is the story of two talent agents and their three troubled boys, heirs to Hollywood royalty. It's a sweeping narrative about fathers and sons, the movie business, and the sundry sea changes that have shaped Hollywood and, by extension, American life. 



Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott

Paperback June 2008     


Filled with evocative descriptions of Cambridge, past and present, of seventeenth-century glassmaking, alchemy, the Great Plague, and Newton's scientific innovations, Ghostwalk centers around a real historical mystery that Rebecca Stott has uncovered involving Newton's alchemy.  



The Dart League King by Keith L. Morris

Paperback October 2008

Russell Harmon is the self-proclaimed king of his small-town Idaho dart league, but all is not well in his kingdom. In the midst of the league championship match, the intertwining stories of those gathered at the 411 club reveal Russell's dangerous debt to a local drug dealer, his teammate Tristan Mackey's involvement in the disappearance of a college student, and a love triangle with a former classmate.  forever.



The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez  

Paperback June 2014
Juan Gabriel Vásquez has been hailed not only as one of South America's greatest literary stars, but also as one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation. In this gorgeously wrought, award-winning novel, Vásquez confronts the history of his home country, Colombia. 

8. Author Interview: Darragh McKeon
Darragh McKeon discusses his novel, All That Is Solid Melts into Air, a gripping end-of-empire novel charting the collapse of the Soviet Union through the focalpoint of the Chernobyl disaster.

Read the Interview |  All That Is Solid Melts into Air

9. Blog: Books We Rejected   
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.

For all our readers, but especially any who think that because you only see glowing reviews featured on BookBrowse we've never met a book we don't love, here are a handful of the recently published books that our reviewers felt did not make the grade for BookBrowse recommendation. If you would like to express your own opinion on any of these books, please do write your own review by clicking on the reader reviews link on the book's page.


10. Quote:

Beliefs are what divide people. Doubt unites them - Peter Ustinov

Double Oscar-winner Peter Ustinov, one of Britain's best loved and most respected actors, died in 2004 aged 82.

The son of part-Russian parents, Sir Peter was a novelist, noted public speaker and an ambassador for charity UNICEF. His starring roles include movies such as SpartacusTopkapiDeath on the Nile and Logan's Run, as well as many TV shows including the role of Hercule Poirot in film adaptations of Agatha Christie's novels. 

He was born in London in 1921, and educated at Westminster School in London which he hated and left at 16 years of age, finding quick success on the London stage. During World War II he was batman to actor David Niven and the pair became lifelong friends. 

Fluent in French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish, he could also speak a little Greek and Turkish. He was married three times to Isolde Denham, Suzanne Cloutier and Helene du Lau d'Allemans, and had four children. 

More quotes by Peter Ustinov:

  • If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can't be done.
  • Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.
  • Did you know that every two hours the nations of this world spend as much on armaments as they spend on the children of this world every year?
  • It is our responsibilities, not ourselves, that we should take seriously.
  • Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.
  • People who reach the top of the tree are only those who haven't got the qualifications to detain them at the bottom.
  • To refuse awards is another way of accepting them with more noise than is normal.
  • Contrary to general belief, I do not believe that friends are necessarily the people you like best, they are merely the people who got there first.  

More quotesMore Fun & Games

About Us      


Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.