Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Fifteen books to read about the abortion debate

At The Oprah Magazine Michelle Darrisaw tagged fifteen books to read about the abortion debate. One title on the list:
A Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates

In Joyce Carol Oates's novel, fiction mirrors reality. An abortionist doctor is shot by an evangelical Christian, marking a series of similar murders committed between 1993 and 2015. Oates offering orchestrates a story from the point of view of both the killer and the victim's daughter, so readers get an inside perspective from two people on opposite sides of the abortion debate.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Six new books to honor the 50th anniversary of Stonewall

At the B&N Reads blog Ross Johnson tagged six new books to honor the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, including:
The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets, by Gayle E. Pitman

For the 50th anniversary of Pride comes this new middle grade-level book about the Stonewall uprising, presenting the history of LGBTQ+ rights in the lead-up to, and in the aftermath of the riots, offering valuable background on the organizing that occurred in the wake of June 28. Pitman includes new interviews with witnesses, including a woman who was only ten at the time, but its clever format makes this unique: each chapter focuses on a particular object, from physical artifacts like a police sergeant’s bullhorn or the Stonewall Inn’s busted jukebox; to a slightly less tangible items such as a photographs, news articles, and maps. It’s a neat way to structure the story for young readers, providing an engaging view of the people and places of Stonewall.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 20, 2019

Six epic fantasy series for fans of "Game of Thrones"

Emily Temple is a senior editor at Lit Hub. Her first novel, The Lightness, will be published by William Morrow in 2020. At LitHub she tagged six epic fantasy series for fans of Game of Thrones, including:
Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel’s Legacy

“The best political intrigue in fantasy,” one very knowledgable friend said to me recently of this trilogy of trilogies. “PLUS BDSM sex. What else do you want really?” What else do you want indeed!
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see Ross Johnson's twenty-five epic fantasies for fans of Game of Thrones.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top books on the Red Scare

David Maraniss is a New York Times best-selling author, fellow of the Society of American Historians, and visiting distinguished professor at Vanderbilt University. He has been affiliated with the Washington Post for more than forty years as an editor and writer, and twice won Pulitzer Prizes at the newspaper. In 1993 he received the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for his coverage of Bill Clinton, and in 2007 he was part of a team that won a Pulitzer for coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting. He was also a Pulitzer finalist three other times, including for one of his books, They Marched Into Sunlight. He has won many other major writing awards, including the George Polk Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Prize, the Anthony Lukas Book Prize, and the Frankfurt eBook Award.

A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father is his twelfth book.

At The Week magazine Maraniss shared his six favorite books on the Red Scare, including:
Spain in Our Hearts by Adam Hochschild (2016).

Hochschild offers a vivid and heartbreaking history that evokes the idealism and violence of the Spanish Civil War through stories of American volunteers and journalists. This largely forgotten war is essential to understanding the ideological struggles that played out during World War II and the Red Scare. Read Hochschild's account in tandem with George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Seven thrillers to make you wonder if your best friend is a murderer

S. R. Masters is originally from the West Midlands in the UK. His debut novel is a coming-of-age murder mystery, The Killer You Know, about a group of childhood friends returning home for a reunion only to discover the friend that joked about being a serial killer when he grew up might actually have become one.

At CrimeReads Masters tagged seven thrillers that capture some of the darker aspects of tight-knit friendship groups. One title on the list:
It, by Stephen King

King’s “final exam on horror” finds a group of friends returning home to fight their literal and figurative childhood monsters. It’s a book I read every few years and always find new things to admire. That is partly due to the dual timeline, which give the book the uncanny knack of managing to speak to you no matter what age you read it. It is also due to one of the central characters being the town itself, which allows for lots of small but incredibly well fleshed-out subplots about the supporting cast. Plenty has been written elsewhere about this book, but two lesser known and sinister parts don’t involve a shape-shifting clown at all, and are really self-contained murder mysteries. One features the death of young Dorsey Corcoran, and the other involves Bowers Gang member Patrick Hockstetter. I don’t want to spoil anything, but this sort of detail is why the novel endures, and shows early flexing of the crime-writing muscles King would later develop in books like Joyland and The Outsider.
Read about the other entries on the list.

It is among Jeff Somers's ten top SFF stories lousy with giant spiders.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Seven books that show real working-class life

Kerry Hudson was born in Aberdeen. Her first novel, Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma was published in 2012 by Chatto & Windus (Penguin Random House) and was the winner of the Scottish First Book Award while also being shortlisted for the Southbank Sky Arts Literature Award, Guardian First Book Award, Green Carnation Prize, Author’s Club First Novel Prize and the Polari First Book Award. Hudson’s second novel, Thirst, was published in 2014 by Chatto & Windus and won France’s most prestigious award for foreign fiction the Prix Femina Étranger. It was also shortlisted for the European Premio Strega in Italy. Her books are also available in the US (Penguin), France (Editions Philippe Rey), Italy (Minimum Fax) and Turkey.

Huson's new book is a work of nonfiction: Lowborn: Growing Up, Getting Away and Returning to Britain’s Poorest Towns.

At the Guardian the author tagged seven books that show real working-class life, including:
It always feels to me like a way of putting us in our place when people call working-class writing miserable, or gritty, or urban – the same accusation is rarely made when authors from other backgrounds write about heartache, hardship or conflict. Simon Kövesi examines and challenges the expectation of miserabilism in James Kelman, his study of the Scottish novelist. The “quotidian world” evoked by Kelman’s work, Kövesi argues, can instead be seen as “groundbreaking, influential and liberating”. Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown trilogy also explodes that expectation. His novels are full of rib-cracking, tar-black humour as they follow the trials and triumphs of the Rabbitte family.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Commitments is among Marjorie Kehe's ten best books about Ireland, four books that changed Maureen McCarthy, Dorian Lynskey's ten best fictional musicians, and Tiffany Murray's top ten rock'n'roll novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 17, 2019

Fifty top thrillers by women

Recently the Sunday Times (London) picked its one hundred favorite crime and spy novels published since 1945. Only titles were by women. In response, the Guardian "asked some of the UK’s best female crime writers for further suggestions, just to get us up to 50 and even the scales." One title from the list:
Little Face by Sophie Hannah

Hannah’s thriller debut is about a young mother who becomes convinced that, after spending two hours away from her baby, the infant is not hers.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Little Face.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Top ten books about Sudan

Jamal Mahjoub has been writing for longer than he cares to remember. His novels cover subjects as diverse as Sudan’s history and strife, heliocentricity, and explorations of identity. He has won the Prix de l’astrolabe in France, the NH Mario Vargas LLosa award in Spain, and the Guardian African Short Story prize.

Mahjoub was born in London and spent his formative years in Khartoum, Sudan. Since then he has settled in a number of cities, including London, Aarhus, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. His fiction and nonfiction have been critically acclaimed and widely translated. He has published six crime novels featuring private investigator Makana, using the pen name Parker Bilal.

His A Line in the River: Khartoum, City of Memory is the result of ten years writing and research. It documents the author’s return to the country where he grew up, exploring past and present in the light of Sudan’s dreams of independence, and ending with the 2011 break up of what was the largest country in Africa.

At the Guardian Mahjoub tagged ten top books about Sudan, including:
Bakhita by Veronique Olmi

This novel reimagines the remarkable true story of Josephine Bakhita. Forced into slavery as a child in the late 19th century, Bakhita was later beatified in Rome to become one of Africa’s first Catholic saints. Olmi’s novel, originally written in French, was shortlisted for a number of prizes in France, including the prestigious Goncourt.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The six most memorable bad dates in literature

Wendy Walker is the author of the national and international bestseller All is Not Forgotten and Emma In The Night. Her latest work is The Night Before. At CrimeReads she enlisted some writer friends to come up with their favorite stories of love gone wrong. Liv Constantine's pick:
Looking for Mr. Goodbar, by Judith Rossner

Lynne Constantine’s pick is the 1975 #1 New York Times Bestseller, which would later become a blockbuster film. Inspired by real events, the novel follows a young woman in New York City who is murdered by a man she picks up in a single’s bar – the dating app equivalent of the time. Theresa Dunn has been tormented by love ever since a devastating break-up with a college professor. She turns to the single’s scene to fill the void, eventually juggling two very different men. One presents a chance at a traditional, albeit mundane, relationship. The other is volatile, but exciting. In the end, she rejects both and returns to her favorite spot, Mr. Goodbar, to continue her search for “the one.” It’s there she meets the man who will kill her in her own bed. This cautionary tale examines the inherent dangers of intimacy with strangers, and how the search for love can overpower reason.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Six top books about war

Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient won the Booker Prize in 1992 and the Golden Man Booker in 2018; Anil’s Ghost won the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, the Giller Prize, and the Prix Médicis. His latest novel is Warlight.

At The Week magazine Ondaatje tagged six favorite books about war, including:
A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr (1980)

Two men, emotionally damaged, return to a small English town after the First World War. The central character is hired to restore a church mural, and as the plot unfolds and the ancient mural becomes visible, the two men's stories become profoundly interconnected.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 13, 2019

Nine books that destroy New York City as we know it

At LitHub Emily Temple tagged nine books that destroy New York City as we know it, including:
Colson Whitehead, Zone One

You know how to really destroy a city? Mix in some zombies, naturally. In this novel, downtown Manhattan has been dubbed Zone One, and while most of the zombies have been cleaned out by the Marines, the deeply mediocre Mark Spitz is part of the cleanup crew eliminating stragglers—so that the city can be inhabited by the living again.
Read about the other books on the list.

Zone One is among Ceridwen Christensen's six top zombie novels and Corey J. White's five top books about the collapse of New York City.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Five of the best books on sporting outliers

Alex Hutchinson is the author of Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance. He writes about the science of endurance and fitness for Outside (where he's a contributing editor and author of the Sweat Science column), The Globe and Mail (where he writes the Jockology column), and Canadian Running magazine.

At the Guardian Hutchinson tagged five of the best books that explore sex, gender and the nature-nurture debate, including:
For all its flaws...sport is often in the vanguard of social struggle and change, from Jackie Robinson to Colin Kaepernick. In his award-winning novel The Illegal, Lawrence Hill follows the saga of Keita Ali, an elite marathon runner fleeing from impoverished Zantoroland to prosperous Freedom State. As so often in fiction and reality, sport becomes a metaphor for and a reflection of Ali’s struggles in life. And there’s a political subtext: how do you balance the rights of the few with the rights of the many? In the wake of all the [Caster] Semenya coverage it’s a question that should sound hauntingly familiar.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue