Six Nonfiction Books to Read With Your Book Club

Choosing only a handful of books to read about the Caribbean is like holding a small mound of snow in your palms. You know each snowflake is unique and you also know that you've only touched a fraction of what is falling from the sky. And while you may be hard pressed to find snow on any part of the Caribbean, you can easily discover countless stories about these 7,000 islands, and all of them are different. Still, just as it is magical to hold those few snowflakes, it is also magical to read any of the half dozen books we've culled together here.

And, if you wish to add depth to your Caribbean reading, we suggest Empire's Crossroads by British American historian Carrie Gibson. From Christopher Columbus' first footsteps on the Bahamas through colonialism and into today, it offers a look at the evolution of these islands which is as mesmerizing as the first snowfall of the season.

Please do add your own recommendations at the bottom.

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How to Write a Manifesto

Women & Power by Mary Beard is labeled a manifesto, which comes from the Latin word manifestus, meaning "to manifest, to clearly reveal, or to make real." It is a broad term for a public statement of intent, belief, or a call to action issued by an organization or an individual.

Most nonprofit and political groups have a manifesto of some sort which states their purpose – why they exist and what they hope to accomplish. This allows them to frame the organization's goals succinctly, be able to communicate those aims, and recruit others to the cause. These declarations are also meant to inspire, to share a vision and excite others. For this reason, some corporations are ditching their mission statements – which have a dry static connotation – for the more dynamic manifesto form.

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The Poem That Inspired The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Kristin Hannah's The Great Alone, takes its title from a line in "The Shooting of Dan McGrew", a poem composed by Robert W. Service, whose work inspires the main character throughout the book.

Robert W. Service Robert W. Service (1874-1958), known as "The Bard of the Yukon," was born in Lancashire, England, the son of a banker and an heiress. He was sent to Kilwinning, Scotland at the age of five to live with his paternal grandfather and three unmarried aunts, who spoiled him shamelessly. He's said to have written his first poem there — an improvised grace — at the age of six, much to the delight and astonishment of his relatives.

God bless the cakes and bless the jam;
Bless the cheese and the cold boiled ham:
Bless the scones Aunt Jeannie makes,
And save us all from bellyaches. Amen.

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Books to Read and Watch With Your Book Club

There's no way around it – winter is dark and cold (so cold this year!) and life can feel circular and repetitive, like you're on a hamster wheel. And we're only halfway through...

But books and movies can come to the rescue! Let us help you jump off the wheel and onto pathways filled with all sorts of landscapes and adventures. The memoir, Boy Erased takes you down a path with Gerrard, a gay boy forced to make a choice between going into conversion therapy or losing his family. Another memoir, Beautiful Boy, allows you to walk in the shoes of another young man, Nic, who spirals into a drug addiction and whose father desperately tries to save him.

If you want to journey into fiction, check out The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which centers on Juliet Ashton who is looking for a subject for her next writing project and finds it! Or you could pick Bel Canto which takes you to a party in an unknown South American country that is crashed by a terrorist group. Or Between Shades of Gray, about fifteen-year-old Lina, a Lithuanian girl who is taken, with her family, by Soviet soldiers to a work camp in Siberia, where she struggles to survive.

Read these stunning stories with your book club and then watch them together too. A sure fire way to beat the winter blues!

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Life Lessons from Twelve Philosophers

Philosophy is the ancient love of wisdom, derived from the Greek word philosophia which means just that. Since the 6th century B.C., profound philosophical thinkers from ancient Greece to present day feminists have laid the foundations for modern thinking. The search for meaning in everyday life has been explored by the likes of Socrates, Descartes, and so many others whose names are easily recognized but whose foundational ideas might be more difficult to grasp.

Happily, the auction site Invaluable has created an easily digestible infographic that summarizes the guiding principles of these great philosophers--from Confucius to Simone de Beauvoir.

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Literary Inmates: Famous Books Written in Prison

At BookBrowse, we believe that books are not an end in themselves but a jumping off point to new avenues of thought and discovery. This is why, every time we review one we also explore a related topic. Here is one such "beyond the book" article by Jamie Samson, originally titled "Literary Inmates" and written in conjunction with his review of Denis Johnson's The Largesse of the Sea Maiden:

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