6 Novels to Take Your Book Group Across the Globe

6 books to take your book group across the globe

No matter where we are in the world, books offer us a way of traveling to locations different from our own. Below, we bring you a list of relatively recent novels available in paperback that can help your book club explore and contemplate locales all over the globe, from remote wilderness to bustling cities.

Half of the books feature journeys by water or by air, while the others dive deep into the intricate details of specific places. Two of them, The Paris Hours and The Devil and the Dark Water, will even allow your group to travel through time to bygone eras, in the City of Light and on the high seas respectively.


Authors Who Switched Languages

Jhumpa Lahiri wrote her novel Whereabouts in Italian, a language she learned in adulthood, and later translated it into English. Many authors have at some time made the decision to become exophonic (to write in a language other than one's native tongue), whether for personal, artistic, practical or political reasons.

The author who is possibly best known for doing this is Irish writer Samuel Beckett, who famously adopted French in order to write "sans style" (without style). While he eventually returned to English, some of his most famous works were originally composed in French, including the play En attendant Godot (Waiting for Godot) and the trilogy of novels beginning with Molloy.


Fresh Debut Fiction for Your Book Group

fiction debuts for book clubs

While happening upon a brilliant debut work of fiction is an exhilarating experience, it can be difficult to track down the best new books by emerging authors. It can also be challenging to decide which titles will be good choices for your book club without prior knowledge of the writers. So, here is a list of five spectacular debuts that have either recently been released in paperback or will be soon, and that we recommend for book club discussion.

Aside from all being debuts, all five offer unique perspectives on history or current events, spanning from the American Old West to 20th-century northern Vietnam to a fictional near-future. We're pleased to bring you these fresh and exciting literary voices and have reading guides for each to help ensure that your discussion experience goes smoothly.


How to Have a Productive Book Club Discussion About Race

how to have a productive book club discussion about race

Over the past year, BookBrowse has been contacted many times by book club members asking for advice on how their group should approach discussing potentially sensitive topics, particularly relating to racial issues. While race is not the only topic that can be a challenge to discuss, it has been top of mind for many groups over the past year. In fact, in our October 2020 survey of more than 3,000 book club members, we found that 58% of US respondents said their book group had discussed racial issues during the year. And, of course, discussions are not just taking place in book clubs; according to a Pew survey published in June 2020, almost 70% of Americans said they had talked with family and friends about race and racial equality during the previous month.

With this in mind, here are some resources that BookBrowse's editorial team recommends to help these discussions be productive. Each takes a slightly different perspective, so one may resonate with you more than another.


Book Clubs' All-Time Favorite Authors

Book Clubs All-Time Favorite Authors

Last year, we asked book club members to vote for their favorite book club books of all time. Despite the survey question stating that we could only accept individual book titles, a number of people wrote in responses such as "anything by xxx." So, this year, alongside asking book clubbers to name their favorite 2020 books, we also asked them to name their all-time favorite book club authors. This is what they told us:


The Most Popular Book Club Books of 2020

The Most Popular Book Club Books of 2020

Last year, we asked book club members to share with us the books they had most enjoyed reading and discussing in all the years they have been in book groups. In addition to sharing their all-time favorite books overall, they also told us about their favorite mysteries and thrillers and favorite nonfiction titles. In addition, we asked them to tell us which books they had most enjoyed reading and discussing in 2019.

Now, I am pleased to bring you the results from our recent survey to reveal book club members' 2020 favorites.

By any standard, 2020 was an unusual year, with about a quarter of US book clubs not meeting at all once the pandemic started (according to our Book Clubs in Lockdown research report). Because those in groups that had only met for two to three months at the start of the year had a very limited number of titles to select a favorite from, and because they had not had a chance to discuss the more recently published books (which therefore put these titles at a disadvantage) we only asked respondents whose groups had met for the majority of 2020 to name their favorite titles.

This is what they told us:


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