Six Nonfiction Books to Read With Your Book Club

Truth may be stranger than fiction, but that is not all. It is also, at times, more harrowing, more exhilarating, and more remarkable than fiction too. We've gathered six nonfiction titles that evoke all of those feelings and so many more.

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Debut Novels for Book Clubs in 2019

Let us help you get the new year off to a great start by introducing you to five dynamic authors and their debut novels, all of which are recommended for book club discussion.

Historical fiction aficionados should check out Rebellion by Molly Patterson, set in 19th and 20th century China, and rural America. Also, The Floating World by C. Morgan Babst about Hurricane Katrina and the complicated history of New Orleans.

If your group is looking for a change from discussing "literary fiction," then how about mixing things up with a thriller? We recommend Alice Feeney's Sometimes I Lie about a woman paralyzed in a hospital with no idea how or why she got there, and Rhiannon Navin's Only Child about a six year-old boy dealing with the aftermath of a school shooting that killed nineteen of his schoolmates.

And finally, if your group enjoys chewing over contemporary stories while exploring foreign parts, we recommend Sadness is a White Bird by Moriel Rothman Zecher, a novel about family and loyalty, Israel and Palestine, and friendships that cross these lines.

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Reader Reviews You Can Trust

Today, we look back on the incredible selection of books our members have reviewed for our early-reader program, First Impressions during 2018 - 39 titles in total.

Reader reviews abound on the web, but it's difficult to know which to trust, especially when there are businesses who will arrange for glowing reviews to be posted for a fee, and other reviews may be written by family and friends.

BookBrowse's First Impressions program offers you a source of trustworthy reader reviews because only BookBrowse members can post reviews. Members indicate which books they're interested in but cannot prioritize, and copies are assigned by BookBrowse's algorithms. So, while it's conceivable that somebody connected to the book might be assigned a copy, the chances of there being enough people to influence the overall consensus is effectively non-existent.

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The 2018 BookBrowse Award Winners

Dear BookBrowsers

It's that best of time again! The time when we stand still for a minute, turn back around and take a look at what has unfolded over the course of the year. It feels like the blink of an eye, doesn't it? From January until now? Don't you wish you could somehow slow it down?

There's a theory about time passing called the perceptual theory of time which offers that it seems to speed up as we get older because we continually evolve our perception of the world. Specifically (according to psychologist Robert Ornstein), our sense of the speed of time is determined by how much information our minds are absorbing. The more we take in, the slower time seems to pass. This is why children tend to sigh and exclaim Aren't we there YET? over and over again. They are taking in so many details that they perceive the ticking of time as endless. So how do we adults reclaim some of that leisurely pace?

One way is by reading really good books that engage our minds with dynamic story-lines, empathetic characters and fascinating details. Reading a book demands that we sit still and focus because there is so much rich information inside its pages.

And here we are in December. Turned and gazing back at the year. We're sure you've read a bunch of great books over the last 11 months, but if you missed some, if you want to slow down time in this last month of the year, then we suggest you take a look at our best of list.

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Six Debut Novels About Families for Book Clubs

From ancient Rome to 20th century Middle East to contemporary USA, these debut novels will inspire lively conversation about family from vastly different angles. The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, The Confusion of Languages and George and Lizzie take a close look at marriage and parenthood; Salt Houses takes us into a Palestinian family caught between present and past, displacement and home; Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine focuses on how to open your heart to create family; and Feast of Sorrow shows how disregarding family can ultimately destroy you. While all six books are quite different from one another, they are all reminders that the foundations of life are relationships--and family, whether the one you're born into or the one you make, is the most critical relationship of all.

Please add your own recommendations if you wish.

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Six Books for Adults that Spark Empathy

Empathy seems to have taken a bit of a hit recently. There's rarely a week when blatant hate or some form of intolerance isn't at the forefront of the news; and there can be few of us who haven't felt the need to disconnect from the media at times unable to take anymore. It would seem we could do with more empathy in our lives. With this in mind, here are six books for adults that have helped me see empathy – and its importance. Books can't solve everything but perhaps reading can be one kind of spark to creating more kindness in our world.

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