Best Books for Book Clubs in 2020

Looking to start 2020 off right with some excellent book club selections? We're here to help. There are options for readers of all tastes and interests on this list, from historical fiction to novels examining social issues, to nonfiction investigative reporting. Many of these books involve complex female characters, from Madeline Miller's Circe to the Korean seafood divers in Lisa See's The Island of Sea Women. Both Alan Brennert's Daughter of Molokai'i and Myla Goldberg's Feast Your Eyes examine mother-daughter relationships, though the authors approach their subject from vastly different angles. Sarah Bird's Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen is a fictionalized version of the life of an American heroine with grit and heart in equal measures.

All of these books received 5-star ratings from BookBrowse and are coming out in paperback in the first three months of 2020, and all but one has a reading guide. So if your New Year's resolution is to be more prepared (or if this was your resolution last year, but you never got around to it), take this opportunity to start planning ahead for a great year of lively book club discussions!



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The First (and Last) Lines of Iconic Books

The first line of a book is a written invitation addressed to the reader. If the reader likes the invitation, they read on. If they don't like it, they close the book and read something else. Finding the best combination of words for that first line can take a while. Some authors devote months of time to develop the opening line of their book. Stephen King, for example, recently revealed that he has spent months, even years, crafting his opening sentences.

Though finding the perfect first line is crucial, formulating the closing sentence is arguably as important. While first lines set the tone for the story, the last sentence brings the book to a close and leaves readers with a lasting impression. Invaluable created this visual that details the opening and closing lines from famous novels. Have you looked at the first and last lines of your favorite reads?

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Publishers Weekly Soapbox

Back in May, Publishers WeeklyPublishers Weekly published an article I wrote about BookBrowse's Inner Lives of Book Clubs report, and I've just realized that I totally forgot to post about it in our blog!

So, better late than never, here's a snippet with a link to read it in full...

The Inner Lives of Book Clubs
New research offers insights on the dynamics of book clubs

DavinaFor 20 years BookBrowse has been providing reading recommendations to book clubs and readers in general through its website and newsletters, so we at BookBrowse know that the perception many have of book clubs--as primarily social groups with minimal serious discussion--isn't accurate, but until recently we didn't have the hard data to prove it.

Last year we set out to look beyond the who, what, and where of book clubs, and to instead explore their group dynamics. For example: What do people want from their groups? What motivates them to join in the first place, and why do they stay? What do they look for in the books they read? In the process, we conducted two surveys of more than 5,000 book club members, plus 500 people who read regularly but had never been in a book club. In February, we published our report, titled "The Inner Lives of Book Clubs"--the results of the first survey to get to the heart of the book club experience.

So, what did we learn? ... Continue reading at Publishers Weekly

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The Inner Lives of Book Clubs