Friday, October 31, 2014

The ten best ghost stories

Lauren Oliver's latest novel is Rooms.

One of the author's ten favorite ghost stories, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
Ghost Story by Peter Straub

Stephen King himself is a great fan of this layered horror novel, which uses ghost stories as a central device. A group of friends gather to tell each other terrifying tales…but one of them happens to be all too true. Bonus for its use of a lesser known and especially terrifying kind of spirit.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see: Sandra Greaqves's top ten ghost stories, Rebecca Armstrong's ten best ghost stories, the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five top books of ghost stories, Kate Mosse's top 10 ghost stories, Peter Washington's top ten ghost stories, and Brad Leithauser's five best ghost stories.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten vampire books

Lauren Owen studied English Literature at St. Hilda's College, Oxford, before completing an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where she received the 2009 Curtis Brown prize for the best fiction dissertation. The Quick is her first novel.

One of her top ten vampire books, as shared at the Guardian:
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (2005)

Vampire books often deal with the pleasures of reading and research – and from the 20th century onwards, one of the works most frequently referenced is Dracula. There is an element of competitiveness which often creeps into some post-Dracula Draculas – undue emphasis spent on claiming a new insight into the vampire and mythos – but Kostova pays homage to Dracula, while providing a fresh interpretation of the myth. What she achieves is an intriguing, intelligent consideration of both Stoker’s story and the historical Dracula.
Read about another entry on the list.

Also see the ten best vampire novels ever, the top ten vampires in fiction and popular culture, ten vampire stories more romantic than "Twilight", Kevin Jackson's top 10 vampire novels, and Lisa Tuttle's critic's chart of top vampire books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Top ten imaginary friends in fiction

A.F. Harrold is an English poet. He writes and performs for adults and children, in cabaret and in schools, in bars and in basements, in fields and indoors. His books include Fizzlebert Stump and the Bearded Boy. One of the author's top ten imaginary friends in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
Bunbury, from Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest

Imaginary friends are there to take the heat for us. They can be blamed for the accidents we have. ‘I didn’t break the vase, Mum, it was Rudger,’ for example. Algernon Moncrieff’s non-existent invalid friend Bunbury serves the same function, allowing him to get out of dull social affairs. Invalid friends in the country do this. We should all have one.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five great southern gothic YA novels

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Dahlia Adler tagged five great southern gothic Young Adult novels, including:
Sweet Unrest, by Lisa Maxwell

New Orleans. Voodoo. History. Romance. Murder. Maxwell’s debut has all those southern Gothic elements, wrapped up in the absorbing, compelling story of a girl who dreams of her past life and the guy who’s still living in it. With narration in both the antebellum past and the present, Sweet Unrest beautifully contrasts culture and race relations against the backdrop of one of the favorite cities of the south, for a read I didn’t want to put down until I’d finished every last word.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Twelve high-quality horror books for sleepless nights

At KQED Rick Kleffel tagged twelve high-quality horror books for sleepless nights, including:
We Are Here
by Michael Marshall
Mulholland Books

Who are all those strangers on the street? How can they be here with us and yet not be known to us? We’re surrounded by the human race, and in theory, that should mean we always have company and comfort. Michael Marshall begs to differ, and We Are Here has at its core a vision of humans separated from themselves, each of us torn asunder and unable to know it. But Marshall tells his story with a skill that creates an almost unbearable amount of philosophical tension, in essence, an existential stalker myth.

We first meet David, a writer whose novel is about to be published and who is somehow at loose ends. On his way home from a meeting, a man steps up to him and whispers, “Remember me.” Kristina and John are trying to help a friend of Kristina’s who believes herself to be the victim of a stalker, if only it were that simple. Marshall is a master at crafting the surreal into suspense. He also manages to come up with an original idea, almost unthinkable in a sea of vampire sequels. One of his previous novels, The Intruders, has been made into a TV series for BBC America. Watch at your own risk.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ten chilling children’s books to read on Halloween

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Dell Villa tagged ten new chilling children’s books to read on Halloween, including:
Little Boo, by Stephen Wunderll and Tim Zeltner (Illustrator)

The leaves are falling, the wind is blowing, and one little pumpkin seed wants to change right along with the season: he wants to be scary! With evocative prose matched by captivating illustrations, Little Boo features an impatient little pumpkin seed who’s in a hurry to grow up. Not only is this seed an engaging character for readers of all ages, but his heartwarming tale reminds us how hard it can be to wait: an important lesson for all seasons.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten new thought-provoking nonfiction books

At TimeOut New York Tiffany Gibert tagged ten new thought-provoking nonfiction books, including:
On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss

From the myth of Achilles and the scourge of malaria to Dracula and DDT, Biss brilliantly expands a straightforward question—to vaccinate or not to vaccinate—into a multilayered investigation of fear and perception. You’ll never think of a simple shot the same way again.
Read about the other books on the list.

Learn more about On Immunity: An Inoculation.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 27, 2014

Top ten songs in teen novels

At the Guardian, Ema O'Connor tagged ten "of the most rockin’ songs mentioned in the most rockin’ books," including:
“Living for the City” by Stevie Wonder in Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Nick and Nora may have different views on life, love, and the best way to get around New York City, but they have equally awesome taste in music. Told from alternating points of view, this quirky romance keeps readers amused and excited. Though every song in the book is worth a listen, this one is the perfect soundtrack to Nick and Nora’s wild adventures around downtown Manhattan.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist is among Jeff Somers's five must-reads aimed at kids that people of all ages will enjoy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Gillian Anderson's six favorite books

Gillian Anderson is an award-winning film, television, and theatre actress whose credits include the roles of Special Agent Dana Scully in FOX Television's long-running and critically-acclaimed drama series, The X-Files, ill-fated socialite Lily Bart in Terence Davies' masterpiece The House of Mirth (2000), and Lady Dedlock in the very successful BBC production of Charles Dickens' Bleak House.

Her first novel, with Jeff Rovin, is the science fiction thriller A Vision of Fire.

One of Anderson's six favorite books, as shared with The Week magazine:
A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

This is a novel about the interconnected lives of many people, but Sasha, a record executive's passionate and sticky-fingered personal assistant, always struck me as the main character. She views the objects she steals as collectively expressing "the raw, warped core of her life," and it's heartbreaking. No wonder this novel won a Pulitzer.
Read about the other books on the list.

A Visit From the Goon Squad is one of Julie Christie's seven favorite books.

Learn about the books that made a difference to Gillian Anderson.

--Marshal Zeringue

Four urban fantasy series you should be reading

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Ella Cosmo tagged four urban fantasy series you should be reading, including:
Downside Ghosts series, by Stacia Kane

An urban fantasy with a dystopian edge, the Downside Ghosts series chronicles the misadventures of Chess Putnam, a tattooed ghost debunker for the Church of Real Truth, a vast government-like entity that presides over a world where the dead have come back to life. The Church has sworn to protect the living from the risen dead and provides monetary reimbursement to any person truly haunted by a spirit. As a debunker for the Church, Chess investigates whether someone is truly being bothered by things that go bump in the night or just trying to get some of that sweet, sweet Church money. In addition to struggling to survive her job and a world populated by tortured spirits and hardbitten city inhabitants, Chess battles with a drug addiction that she just barely manages to control and a tendency to fall for completely unsuitable men. This series is dark, like really really dark. But the series, and Chess, are worth it. Kane is a nuanced writer who gives even the most morally ambivalent characters real depth and emotion, and Chess has a biting sense of humor that provides levity at truly unexpected moments.
Learn about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bob Odenkirk's six favorite books

Actor, director, and comedy sketch writer Bob Odenkirk was a prominent co-star on AMC's Breaking Bad. His new book of comic essays is A Load of Hooey.

One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Swing Hammer Swing! by Jeff Torrington

After reading an energetic, positive review buried deep within The New York Times one day, I bought this Glasgow-set first novel and was thrilled by the writing: Swing Hammer Swing! is funny, clever, and bleak as hell. I wrote Torrington a fan letter, the only one I've ever written. Never received a reply. No hard feelings.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 24, 2014

Eight scary stories for the Halloween season

At Time Out New York Tiffany Gibert tagged eight scary stories for the Halloween season, including:
Horrorstör: A Novel by Grady Hendrix

While Hendrix’s book at first seems like a spoof, when three Orsk (coughIKEAcough) store employees work a dusk-till-dawn shift to investigate some strange happenings, the novel digs up deeper psychological issues of trust and the desperation to survive.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue