Monday, March 30, 2015

Hanif Kureishi's six favorite books

Hanif Kureishi is a British playwright, novelist, and film writer whose celebrated screenplays include My Beautiful Laundrette. His latest novel is The Last Word.

One of Kureishi's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Psychopathology of Everyday Life by Sigmund Freud

A seminal work of psychology. Freud looks at memory, the loss of it, misremembrances, words, and malapropisms to investigate the mental mechanics of his subjects and their engagement with the quotidian.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 29, 2015

S.J. Watson's six best books

S.J. Watson is the author of Before I Go To Sleep and Second Life.

One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
In My Skin by Kate Holden

A woman’s journey from the Melbourne suburbs to the twin worlds of heroin addiction and the sex industry. Fearless and powerful, it’s an eye-opening book that forces you to question your prejudices.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: In My Skin: A Memoir of Addiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Five of the funniest YA zombie novels

Rachel Paxton-Gillilan is a freelance writer and semi-professional nerd.

At the B & N Teen Blog she tagged five of the funniest YA zombie novels, including:
Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion

Imagine an incredibly funny Romeo and Juliet, but with more brain eating. R is a soulful philosopher trapped in the body of a zombie. His days are spent engaging in traditional zombie hobbies: riding escalators, groaning, and eating brains. But when R eats the brains of a teenage boy and begins hearing his thoughts, things take an unexpected turn, as he falls in love with the boy’s girlfriend. The two star-crossed lovers begin a romance that will transform more than just their lives—it’ll change everything. Bonus: Warm Bodies was turned into an equally charming movie starring the always welcome Nicholas Hoult.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Warm Bodies is among Nick Harkaway's six favorite holiday books and Nicole Hill's seven favorite literary oddballs.

The Page 69 Test: Warm Bodies.

My Book, The Movie: Warm Bodies.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 27, 2015

The top ten treasure hunts in fiction

Jane Alexander is a novelist and short story writer. Her debut novel is The Last Treasure Hunt. One of the author's top ten treasure hunts in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

The first in the Dark Is Rising series that chronicles the battle between the forces of Light and Dark, this family adventure story starts with a hidden door behind which the Drew children discover an ancient document. The document, written in Latin and Early English, points to the existence of a grail and foretells the return of Arthur Pendragon if it is ever brought to light. Cooper is working in darker territory than Blyton, blending Arthurian myth with genuinely unsettling intimations of the evil that she develops more fully in the rest of the series. Her books are deeply embedded in the landscapes and legends of Wales and southern England; here the children must decipher the clues of the Cornish coastline itself – its standing stones and rocky headlands – in their quest to find the grail before it can be claimed by the agents of darkness.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Five of the best books that use amnesia effectively

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 use amnesia effectively, including:
I Am the Cheese, by Robert Cormier

When used poorly, the big mistake made with amnesia is having the character be totally aware of their memory loss—this makes the amnesia the focus. In I Am the Cheese, Adam’s amnesia only becomes obvious as the story grows increasingly disturbing, and the facts stop adding up. One of the most complex and challenging young adult novels ever penned, Cormier’s use of amnesia doesn’t just provide cover for plot trickery, it serves to treat the reader like the proverbial boiling frog, with tension rising by almost-unnoticed increments until the mind-blowing resolution.
Read about the other entries on the list.

I Am the Cheese is among Anthony Horowitz's 6 favorite books for teens.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Eight top YA magical realism books

Sarah Skilton is the author of Bruised, a martial arts drama for young adults; and High and Dry, a hardboiled teen mystery. At the B&N Teen Blog she tagged eight top Young Adult magical realism books, including:
The River King, by Alice Hoffman

In the town of Haddan, Massachusetts, a decades-long rift between wealthy boarding school students and the local townspeople is torn wide open after the drowning murder of Gus Pierce, an outcast student. Policeman Abel Grey, whose actions as a teenager once contributed to the town’s collective grief, is determined to solve the crime. Meanwhile, Gus’s crush and best friend, Carlin Leander, grows ever more despondent as stones, water lilies, sand, and silver fish surface in her room, gifts from the deceased.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Thirty books by women to read during Women’s History Month

One title on Refinery29's list of thirty books by women to read during Women’s History Month:
Dora: a Headcase by Lidia Yuknavitch

What: A novel that centers on 17-year-old Ida, a fictionalized version of Freud's famous case study of "hysterical" bisexual Dora.

Why: Because Ida takes back the term "hysterical," and because we need more out-there portrayals of femininity in popular culture — for Women's History Month and every other. “I want to create new girl myths,” Yuknavitch said of her writing. Let's have lots more where this came from.
Learn about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 23, 2015

The ten best nature books

Tim Dee is the author of Four Fields and The Running Sky. One of his ten best nature books, as shared at the Guardian:
Silent Spring
Rachel Carson, 1962

At the other end of the savagely exploitative century from Melville came a book that woke up the world, or at least spoke loud and clear to its sleepwalking citizens. Carson’s account (she was a research biologist) of the devastating impact of the accumulation of insecticides up food chains and into ecosystems was angry and brilliant. What had blithely been thought of as the balance of nature was seen to be increasingly skewed. Here was an early but decisive news bulletin from the anthropocene – the world where just one species was calling the shots and with disastrous effect.
Read about the other books on the list.

Silent Spring made a list of the best books on global warming at the Guardian in 2009. It is among Gill Lewis's ten top birds in books and John Kerry's five top books about progressivism.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Fifty great novels about madness

At Flavorwire, Emily Temple tagged fifty of the best novels about madness.  One title on the list:
Remainder, Tom McCarthy

In this strange and cerebral novel, an unnamed man receives an enormous settlement after being involved in an accident that “involved something falling from the sky.” But as he recovers, he is struck by a sense of inauthenticity. “Ever since learning to move again,” he says, “I’d felt that all my acts were duplicates, unnatural, acquired.” So, in order to achieve some sort of grasp on truth, he uses his new wealth to obsessively create re-enactments of scenes he either remembers or has imagined, from the utterly banal to the extreme, replaying them over and over again. It’s a kind of madness no one has ever seen before.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Remainder.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Eight YA novels that adults also should read

At the Guardian children’s literature expert Daniel Hahn recommended eight YA novels that adults also should read, including:
Revolver: Marcus Sedgwick

Sedgwick has written across the age ranges, from children to adults, but it is his dark and atmospheric YA-branded work that best shows off what he can do. In Revolver, all his skill is com­pacted into something small and potent, controlled and devastating. As it begins, 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle, in 1910, 15-year-old Sig discovers his father’s corpse; but how did he die? The arrival of a threatening stranger forces Sig to investigate his parents’ past and confronts him with big quest­ions about his own future. Set over just a couple of days, Sedgwick’s spare, crisply written narrative flips between the past and recent present, but the ten­sion never disappears, and as he creates this most hostile of environ­ments, it’s impossible not to be drawn in.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 20, 2015

Five duelists you should never challenge

Sebastien de Castell is the author of the novels Traitor’s Blade and its sequel Knight’s Shadow. At Tor.com he tagged five duelists one should never challenge, including:
Adela de Otero—The Fencing Master by Arturo Pérez-Reverte

When fencing master Don Jaime Astarloa meets the enigmatic Adela de Otero, he is initially insulted by her request that he teach her his secret “two hundred Escudo” thrust—an attack for which there is no defence. His resistance gives way when he sees how skilled Adela can be with the blade and so he begins to teach her his techniques. But Adela has her own secrets, including the true reason why she is so determined to master the unstoppable thrust—secrets which will draw Don Jaime into a dangerous game of intrigue and murder. Arturo Pérez-Reverte brilliantly intertwines an exploration of the philosophical underpinnings of our fascination with the sword with a complex and engaging mystery.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Top ten war memoirs

One of Andrew Sharples' top ten war memoirs, as shared at the Guardian:
Bravo Two Zero by Andy McNab

Bravo Two Zero was probably the first war memoir I ever read and my introduction to the world of special forces. I devoured it in a single sitting, captivated by the sheer toughness of these SAS men who seemed then, as they do now, positively superhuman. It made me feel I was there, right in the middle of a desperate firefight and then, later, caged in a dank prison cell, waiting to be tortured. The story is brutal but as a teenager, I wanted nothing more than to be tested in the same way as McNab and his comrades.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see: Anthony Swofford's five best list of books about war by authors who served.

--Marshal Zeringue