Editor's blog

Subscribe to Editor's blog feed
BookBrowse Blog: articles with advice, books into movies, book news, gift ideas for book lovers, and more
Updated: 8 min 28 sec ago

Women who Scheme: The Female as Villain in Greek Tragedies and Beyond

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 11:23
The story of Clytemnestra is told in bits and pieces across several play cycles from the Classical period, and before. At the end of the House of Names, the author Colm Tóibín notes that, while the majority of the novel's events are not related to any source material, the overall shape of the narrative and the main characters are taken from The Oresteia by Aeschylus, Electra by Sophocles, Euripides' Electra, Orestes, and Iphigenia at Aulis. Clytemnestra, as well as Electra, make appearances in other plays and art forms throughout history, but are rarely humanized in the way that we see in Tóibín's book. In fact, the way in which House of Names is perhaps most subversive is how Tóibín humanizes these c... [More]
Categories:

What is The Bardo?

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 08:08
Yesterday, George Saunders won the Man Booker Prize for Lincoln in The Bardo. So you might be wondering what the bardo is! Find out in our "beyond the book" article. You can also read our review and browse an excerpt. The word bardo comes from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and means "in-between." It refers to a transitional state when one's awareness of the physical world is suspended. According to Spiritualtravel.org the concept is an "umbrella term which includes the transitional states of birth, death, dream, transmigration or afterlife, meditation, and spiritual luminosity...for the dying individual, the bardo is the period of the afterlife that lies in between two different incarnations." Most of the characters in Lincoln in the Ba... [More]
Categories:

All About Fredrick Backman and His Books

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:22
I've read all of Fredrik Backman's works that have English translations. In fact, I was lucky enough to be one of the first early readers of his debut novel, A Man Called Ove. I realized then that I was witnessing the birth of an amazing talent and, to date, he hasn't ever let me down. Unfortunately, it's tough to find a whole lot out about Backman. A New York Times article notes that before he published Ove, he was a college dropout (where he studied religion), and it took him a while to become the "overnight success" he is today. He was a freelance writer for a Swedish magazine while working "as a forklift driver at a food warehouse, taking night and weekend shifts so that he could write during the day." He's married, has two children, is... [More]
Categories:

Best Books for Book Clubs in 2018

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 12:56

We know. Among the many hundreds upon thousands of books that are published every year, it is difficult to select just a few that will make worthy additions to your book club lineup. So we've done the legwork for you. These fourteen books offer engaging and powerful stories and plenty to discuss. We have included a good mix of fiction and nonfiction and tossed in a mystery and a thriller while while we're at it. After all, variety is the spice of life -- and of any respectable book club. If you've got suggestions to share, please do post at the bottom!
[More]

Categories:

The World's First Cookbook

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 13:38
In Crystal King's Feast of Sorrow, Apicius and his slave, Thrasius, develop their own cookbook. A quick search into Roman history reveals that Marcus Gavius Apicius actually did publish such a book (or rather a series of them), which most historians consider the first cookbook ever written. However, nowhere in the 450-500 recipes in this eponymously titled tome is there a reference to a slave by name. King made this literary leap, jumping to the conclusion that it was highly likely that a slave invented and/or produced recipes for the Apicius household, and not the master himself. The fact that several sources I found note that the language used in these books was more "vulgar" than "classical" Latin would also support this idea – even... [More]
Categories:

23 Movies Based on Books Releasing in Fall 2017 & Winter 2018 (and a further 40+ in development!)

Sun, 09/24/2017 - 09:20

It's time again for our annual look at upcoming movies based on books, so you're in the know and ahead of the crowd - whether you intend to see the films or not! We've corralled 23 films releasing in the next six months, and the books they are based on; and a further 45+ in development. If we've missed any, or you have updated information, please do post at the bottom.
[More]

Categories:

6 Books That Help You Talk About Death and End-of-Life Care

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 16:04
Healthcare is a global hot-button issue and recent political discussions in the United States have brought the topic front and center in the national dialog. A whole slew of books have looked at the complex issues surrounding mortality and care: when to intervene, when to not, what does quality of life mean, and the importance of a life well lived without prolonging suffering. The ones we feature in this blog will give you plenty of food for thought, and angles to discuss if you're part of a book club. The topic of health might often be weighty but how better to address it than with your friends and family as part of a broader life discussion and through the accessible avenue of books! [More]
Categories:

A Van Gogh Reading List

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 11:32
Deborah Heiligman's young adult biography Vincent and Theo draws on the hundreds of letters that passed between the Van Gogh brothers. There are various editions of Vincent's letters, including a 2009 version endorsed by the Van Gogh Museum that contains all Van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo. The letters between Theo and his wife, Johanna, are also available in translation as Brief Happiness (1999), and Jo left a short memoir of Vincent.

Here are four more books, not limited to the young adult genre, that allow for further reflection and/or speculation about Vincent van Gogh's career and character. [More]
Categories:

Shakespeare in Books and Film

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 11:25
According to Guinness World Records, William Shakespeare is the world's best-selling playwright, with in excess of four billion copies of his plays and poetry making it to press over the centuries. He is also history's most filmed author; his works have been adapted into 420 feature film and TV-movie versions (Hamlet alone has been performed on screen 79 times). While his plays are timeless works of art, some people find them challenging due to the Elizabethan prose. Over the years many attempts have been made to adapt the plays into a format that contemporary audiences might find more accessible (some resulting in a more faithful interpretation than others). The past 25 years in particular have seen a rise in the productio...
Categories:

Beyond the Book: Traditional Cambodian Music

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 19:25
Traditional Cambodian music plays a key role in Music of the Ghosts. Hearing it triggers memories for both of the story's main characters, and three hand-made instruments—a single-stringed lute, an oboe, and a drum—set the plot in motion.

Music and Buddhism have a strong connection; music is sometimes seen as a ceremonial offering to the Buddha. An estimated 95% of Cambodians are Buddhist today, and the roots of Buddhism date back to the 5th century. Over that long history, Buddhist songs have been adapted for use in ceremonies such as weddings and funerals, playing an integral role in common cultural practices.
[More]
Categories:

7 Books on The Civil War for Book Clubs

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 13:00
Historical fiction lovers have it good: they can travel to distant places and times, and learn by immersion. The American Civil War is one piece of history that is filled with treats for fans of the form -- high drama, hazy battle lines between good and bad, black and white; and the sights and sounds of a nascent America still struggling to forge its identity. There are plenty of good books in this category, March by Geraldine Brooks and Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier being two classics. Here are some others worth checking out. Please fee free to add your own suggestions at the bottom. The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers Hardcover Jan 2017; Paperback Nov 2...
Categories:

Page-Turners to Pack - and to Discuss in Your Book Club!

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 17:15
Dear BookBrowsers,

It's a booklover's midsummer dream: to spend a whole day at the beach or in your backyard hammock, reading. Summer's necessary indulgences include chugging through a fast-paced novel or two, so we have included an entire lineup of gripping books that you simply won't be able to put down. Even better, they make for great discussion and come with reading guides, so you can be confident recommending them to your book club as well. Make sure to pack a couple of these in your beach bag. After all, every lazy day deserves page-turning action! [More]
Categories:

5 Ways Librarians Can Tell Patrons About Library Resources

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 11:23
Your library works hard to procure the very best resources possible. But do your patrons utilize them? Do they even know what's available? Here are five suggestions for ways to connect your patrons to all the information, education and entertainment that your library provides, with a particular eye to the electronic resources available through your website: Highlight one or two different resources each month and feature them in the library, on the website and in newsletters so that patrons get used to checking for (and using) different resources each month. Use this regular feature as a way to continuously remind patrons of all of the other resources you have. Add a footnote that hints at the range of resources available, ...
Categories: