Friday, January 30, 2015

Nine action-packed books more entertaining than any movie

One title from Kirkus's list of nine action-packed books more entertaining than any movie:
by Katie Dale

Sometimes lying is the only way to get to the truth for one teen in this British thriller.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Little White Lies.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The top 10 books about returning from war

Phil Klay is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. In 2014 his short story collection Redeployment was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor Prize and won the National Book Award for Fiction.

One of his top ten books about returning from war, as shared at the Guardian:
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

This savagely funny book satirises the empty rituals and political theatre that determine so much of our response to returned veterans. The main character, brought from Iraq with his squad to take part in a football halftime show, looks around him and thinks, “There’s something harsh in his fellow Americans, avid, ecstatic, a burning that comes of the deepest need. That’s his sense of it, they all need something from him, this pack of half-rich lawyers, dentists, soccer moms, and corporate VPs, they’re all gnashing for a piece of a barely grown grunt making $14,800 a year.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fourteen novels about Muslim life that open up worlds for their audiences

At BuzzFeed, Ahmed Ali Akbar tagged 14 novels about Muslim life that open up worlds for their audiences, including:
Secret Son by Laila Lalami — Morocco

What it’s all about: A young man dreams of a missing father and escape from the slums of Casablanca.

Why you should read it: It gives you perspective on the appeal and role of religious parties among the poor.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Secret Son.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ten top books for reluctant and dyslexic readers

Tom Palmer is a UK-based writer of fiction for children.

At the Guardian he tagged ten top books for reluctant and dyslexic readers, including:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

I think the Wimpy Kid books have had a huge impact on engaging children to read. They are written in a chunked-up diary style. Lots illustrations that aren’t that far off what we could draw ourselves. Funny. Modern. Almost comic book style. These books tear down many of the barriers that put children off reading. And ultra-confident readers love them just as much as struggling readers. Ask a hall full of 120 kids who has read Wimpy Kid and 110 hands will go up. With smiling faces on the end of them.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is among Rebecca Westcott's top ten diary books, Jeremy Strong's top ten funniest fictional families, and Adam Lancaster's top ten "library" books.

Also see Sally Gardner's top ten books for children with dyslexia.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 26, 2015

Six top books about literal and metaphorical monsters

Seth Grahame-Smith is the author of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter and, more recently, The Last American Vampire.

For The Week magazine he tagged his six favorite books about literal and metaphorical monsters, including:
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

No book frightened me more as a boy, because it told a chilling truth: Our parents can't protect us from the evils of the world. A haunting, beautiful tale everyone should read while they're young and then reread when they're withered, old, and full of regret.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Something Wicked This Way Comes is one of Adrian Scarborough's six favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ten must-reads for Liane Moriarty fans

Liane Moriarty is the Australian author of six internationally best-selling novels, including Three Wishes, The Last Anniversary, What Alice Forgot, The Hypnotist's Love Story and the number 1 New York Times bestsellers, The Husband's Secret and Big Little Lies.

At B & N Reads Rebecca Jane Stokes tagged ten books for readers who read and loved Moriarty's books, including:
The Emperor’s Children, by Claire Messud

This novel is almost like the aughts’ answer to [Mary] McCarthy’s [The Group]. It follows three friends who are turning thirty and how they’re making it (or not) while trying to forge lives for themselves in New York City. Messud’s writing is beautiful and cutting.
Learn about the other books on the list.

The Emperor’s Children is on Porochista Khakpour's top ten list of novels about 9/11, Jimmy So's list of five novels that deal with 9/11 in significant if oblique ways, Rachel Syme's list of the ten most attractive men in literature, the (London) Times' list of the 100 best books of the last decade, and the New York Times' list of the 10 best books of 2006.

See: Liane Moriarty's 3 favorite books of 2014.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Five top YA horror novels

One title on Dahlia Adler's list of five top Young Adult horror novels, as shared on The Barnes & Noble Book Blog:
The Girl From the Well, by Rin Chupeco

Japanese folklore meets literary horror in Chupeco’s chilling debut, following a ghostly girl who avenges murdered children. The central living, breathing human in this story is Tarquin, a mysteriously tattooed boy with literal demons who befriends the spectral Okiku. Rife with poetic language, beautiful Japanese imagery, plenty of cultural references, and the occasional incident of gore, this is horror with something for everyone.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 23, 2015

Five inspiring books on mental health

Sarah Rayner is the British author of five novels and one non-fiction book, Making Friends with Anxiety.

For the Picador Blog she tagged five inspiring books on mental health, including:
The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz

Distilling decades of therapeutic work into a slim volume that reads like a collection of short stories, Grosz offers an intriguing insight into contemporary psychoanalysis. A married father-of-four announces that he is thinking of coming out, aged 71, while a woman who has just celebrated her 50th birthday realises a sexy dream that bothered her was about her son. Anger, self-delusion, lying, being stuck – Grosz even shows how boredom is worth thinking about. He draws not just on his patients, but literature too – Scrooge reveals how we can't live a life without loss, a Herman Melville character illustrates how ‘we all have a cheering voice that says "let us start now, right away" and an opposing, negative voice that responds "I would prefer not to."’

But the real joy of this book is that all this is done with such a light touch. The language of psychotherapy can be off-putting to those not familiar with it – I should know, as my father, Eric Rayner, was a psychoanalyst so when I was growing up our home was full of shrinks talking shop and I couldn’t understand much of what they said. The Examined Life avoids jargon and to have made complex theories accessible to a mainstream audience is a fine achievement.
Read about the other books on the list.

Also see: Eight great YA novels involving characters who struggle with mental illness and Five best novels that focus on mental disorders.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven of the best recent books that give an honest account of war

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and We Are Not Good People from Pocket/Gallery. He has published over thirty short stories as well.

At B & N Reads Somers tagged seven of the best recent books that give an honest account of war, including:
Redeployment, by Phil Klay

War is a complex machine with a lot of players, from elite SEALs and snipers to everyday soldiers facing impossible emotional challenges. These men and women must deal with incredible, absurd requirements in the theater of war and then, somehow, adjust to life back at home. In this short story collection, which won the 2014 National Book Award, Klay tells the stories of solders fighting battles, managing corpses, and trying to build countries. The unifying trait is the powerful emotional impact of each story.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Top ten novels about lost friendships

Chris Killen is the author of the novels The Bird Room and In Real Life.

At the Guardian he tagged a top ten list of novels about lost friendships, including:
Traveling Sprinkler by Nicholson Baker

Poor old Paul Chowder. Over the course of The Anthologist and this, its sequel, I’ve kind of come to regard the gentle, hapless poet-narrator of these novels as a personal friend due to the sheer warmth and confessional intimacy with which he addresses me. And in this novel, Paul spends the majority of his time missing and yearning for his friend (and ex) Roz.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The 21st century’s 12 greatest novels

BBC Culture polled several dozen book critics and asked each to name the best novels published in English since 1 January 2000. The critics named 156 novels in all. One title from among the top twelve:
3. Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall (2009)

Mantel’s boldly reimagined saga of 16th Century Europe, told from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell (with Henry VIII as a supporting character), won the Man Booker and National Book Critics Circle awards, was adapted to the stage and has been filmed as a new BBC miniseries. “The brilliance of retelling an oft-told tale is beautifully illustrated in Mantel's flawless examination of power through the rise of Thomas Cromwell,” notes critic Karen R Long. Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times book editor and co-host of Well Read TV, writes: “I have never felt so completely catapulted into a character’s mind, not to mention a long ago and far away place.” Mantel’s sequel, Bring in the Bodies, also gathered votes.
Read about the other books on the list.

Wolf Hall made Ester Bloom's ten list of books for fans of the television series House of Cards, Rachel Cantor's list of the ten worst jobs in books, Kathryn Williams's reading list on pride, the Barnes & Noble Review's list of books on baby-watching in Great Britain, Julie Buntin's top ten list of literary kids with deadbeat and/or absent dads, Hermione Norris's 6 best books list, John Mullan's list of ten of the best cardinals in literature, the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five books on dangerous minds and Lev Grossman's list of the top ten fiction books of 2009, and is one of Geraldine Brooks's favorite works of historical fiction; Matt Beynon Rees called it "[s]imply the best historical novel for many, many years."

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Five books that are the first in their respective genres

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and We Are Not Good People from Pocket/Gallery. He has published over thirty short stories as well.

At B & N Reads Somers tagged five books that are arguably the first in their respective genres. The book that marks the start of the YA novel:
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

It seems strange today, but the concept of “childhood” as a separate and distinct period of life is pretty recent. Of course, the odds of surviving childhood have greatly improved only pretty recently, too, so it does make sense. While a lot of novels are floated as the first book intended for a young audience, Alcott’s Little Women (1868) is the earliest one to have all the features: A focus on youthful characters and their struggles, a story that presents an idyllic starting point that becomes complicated by adult concerns, and a realistic approach to the concerns of youth. It’s easy to see the seeds of the whole genre in this wonderful book.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Little Women also appears among Kate Kellaway's ten best Christmases in literature, Bea Davenport's top ten books about hair, nine notable unsung literary heroines, Sophie McKenzie's top ten mothers in children's books, John Dugdale's ten notable fictional works on winter sports, Melissa Albert's five favorite YA books that might make one cry, Anjelica Huston's seven favorite coming-of-age books, Bidisha's ten top books about women, Katherine Rundell's top ten descriptions of food in fiction, Gwyneth Rees's ten top books about siblings, Maya Angelou's 6 favorite books, Tim Lewis's ten best Christmas lunches in literature, and on the Observer's list of the ten best fictional mothers, Eleanor Birne's top ten list of books on motherhood, Erin Blakemore's list of five gutsy heroines to channel on an off day, Kate Saunders' critic's chart of mothers and daughters in literature, and ZoĆ« Heller's list of five memorable portraits of sisters. It is a book that disappointed Geraldine Brooks on re-reading.

--Marshal Zeringue