Saturday, February 13, 2016

Fifteen contemporary YA books that make fabulous valentines

One title on Dahlia Adler's list of fifteen contemporary YA books that make fabulous valentines, as shared on the B & N Teen Blog:
The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions), by Amy Spalding

Jules has got her eyes on the prize this year, and that prize is the position of editor of the school newspaper. She doesn’t have her sights set on Alex, the new guy with an old past—as a boy bander, no less. She’s definitely not looking to fall for him. But most of all, when she does, she definitely doesn’t expect him to join the band of the school’s biggest betrayers, in the form of a rival campus news organization. To Jules, this is an unforgivable act of war, but when it comes down to her pride or her heart, something’s gotta give. Per usual, Spalding’s newest is laugh-out-loud funny with fabulous parents, but I think this may be my very favorite of hers.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 12, 2016

Top ten doomed romances in YA fiction

Catherine Doyle lives in the west of Ireland. She holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a master's degree in English from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Her latest book, Inferno, is the second part of the Blood for Blood series.

For the Guardian she tagged her ten top doomed romances in YA fiction, including:
Katniss and Gale in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

This is a controversial choice, but you can’t root for Katniss and Peeta without also understanding the dissolution of the love (and more importantly, all the potential) she had with her best friend Gale, aka Hot Hemsworth. Perhaps Katniss and Gale would have ended up together had she not been reaped, had she not had to kill a bunch of other people and dismantle her entire problematic society from within. People change, especially teenagers. They drift apart, and the woman that Katniss became was no longer suited to the man that Gale grew into. In the end, Peeta is more than a worthy choice – kind and loyal, and true, but a part of me will always mourn Revolutionary Gale, just a little, every now and then.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Hunger Games also appears on Ryan Britt's list of six of the best Scout Finches -- "headstrong, stalwart, and true" young characters -- from science fiction and fantasy, Natasha Carthew's top ten list of revenge reads, Anna Bradley ten best list of literary quotes in a crisis, Laura Jarratt's top ten list of YA thrillers with sisters, Jeff Somers's top eight list of revolutionary SF/F novels, Tina Connolly's top five list of books where the girl saves the boy, Sarah Alderson's top ten list of feminist icons in children's and teen books, Jonathan Meres's top ten list of books that are so unfair, SF Said's top ten list of unlikely heroes, Rebecca Jane Stokes's top ten list of fictional families you could probably abide during holiday season and top eight list of books perfect for reality TV fiends, Chrissie Gruebel's list of favorite fictional fashion icons, Lucy Christopher's top ten list of literary woods, Robert McCrum's list of the ten best books with teenage narrators, Sophie McKenzie's top ten list of teen thrillers, Gregg Olsen's top ten list of deadly YA books, Annalee Newitz's list of ten great American dystopias, Philip Webb's top ten list of pulse-racing adventure books, Charlie Higson's top ten list of fantasy books for children, and Megan Wasson's list of five fantasy series geared towards teens that adults will love too.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Top ten books for the broken-hearted

Susie Steiner is the author of Missing, Presumed. One of her ten top books for the broken-hearted, as shared at the Guardian:
Solitude by Anthony Storr

Did Beethoven compose great works before snuggling up in happy coupledom? He did not. While the world harps on about relationships being the key to happiness, psychiatrist Storr argues in this very kindly work that we pay far too little attention to some of the other great satisfactions of life – work and creativity. This book is a rallying cry for the irascible, lonely curmudgeons. We have stuff going for us too, says Storr, with much reference to psychoanalytic theory, and the twin human instincts – outward towards attachment yes, but also inward towards self-sufficiency and the kind of contemplation that can only happen when we are alone.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ten of 2016's cleverest novels with great premises

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. One title on Somers's list of ten of 2016's cleverest novels with great premises, as shared at B & N Reads:
Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, by Sunil Yapa

Set during the 1990 Seattle WTO protests, Yapa offers seven characters from both sides of the conflict, telling seven stories and weaving them together in a tense, deeply considered story that breaks hearts and offers insights into the modern world. This is one of those books whose elevator pitch—seven people’s lives intertwine during the protests—is both thrillingly simple and wonderfully deceptive, as the story is much more than the sum of its parts.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Five YA reads for fans of the Wild West

Eric Smith is the author of The Geek’s Guide to Dating and Inked. One of five YA reads for fans of the Wild West that he tagged at the B&N Teen blog:
Under a Painted Sky, by Stacey Lee

A powerful friendship on the open trail is at the heart of Stacey Lee’s beautiful debut novel, with a diverse cast of characters on a heart-wrenching adventure. There’s Samantha, who abandons her dream and flees for her life with a runaway slave, Annamae. Disguised as boys, the two push forward, wrestling with their past as they search for a future. From the romance to the humor to the heart, there’s something for everyone in this debut, and I seriously can’t wait to read more historic YA from Lee. Outrun the Moon is due out in May, and I’d like it right now, please.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Under a Painted Sky is among Nicole Hill's five top historical YA novels about adventurous and independent-minded women, John Hansen's ten must-read YA novels you've probably never heard of, Sarah Skilton's top six YA books featuring cross-cultural friendships, and Dahlia Adler's seven top YA novels about best friendship.

My Book, The Movie: Under a Painted Sky.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 8, 2016

Sebastian Faulks' six favorite books

Sebastian Faulks's novels include Birdsong, Human Traces, Charlotte Gray, and In Where My Heart Used To Beat. One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

Speaking of quirky prose...Conrad's colonial Far East is depicted in inch-thick layers of dark and luscious colors. Jim, the fallen, enigmatic hero, remains fascinating yet unknowable as moral study overlaps with high-seas adventure.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Five top books with unforgettable sisters

Lee Kelly is the author of A Criminal Magic and City of Savages. One of her five favorite books with unforgettable sisters, as shared at
Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Saba lives with her brother Lugh, her little sister Emmi, and her Pa in a post-apocalyptic, sandstorm-plagued wasteland left by the previous “Wrecker” civilization. When Saba’s brother is kidnapped, Saba vows to cross her dangerous world to save him—but she’s forced to take her sister Emmi with her. The setting and plot of this post-apocalyptic tale are Mad Max-level epic: cage fighting, girl-gang revolutionaries and a corrupt, mind-controlling society. But what made this blockbuster story accessible for me was the complicated relationship between Saba and Emmi. At the beginning of the novel, Saba holds Emmi responsible for her mother’s death. But over the course of their quest, Emmi earns Saba’s respect, and their relationship evolves, matures and deepens.
Read about the other books on the list.

Blood Red Road is among Sarah Holding's top ten "cli-fi novels that make you think deeply about the human consequences of climate change."

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Clara Bensen: four books that changed me

Clara Bensen is the author of No Baggage: A Tale of Love and Wandering.

One of four books that changed her, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
Wanderlust: A History of Walking
Rebecca Solnit​

Who knew that putting one foot in front of the other could be unpacked in so many different ways? In Wanderlust, Rebecca Solnit dissects the history of walking, guiding the reader through the politics, philosophy, and science of a movement many of us take for granted. I love when a book reveals a hidden world that's been in front of me the whole time. Wanderlust brings new meaning to even the simplest pedestrian acts.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Gina McKee's six best books

Gina McKee is an English actor and producer, known for In the Loop (2009), Notting Hill (1999) and Atonement (2007). One of her six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
TALES OF THE CITY by Armistead Maupin

I totally devoured this entertaining series.

If my train was held up, I’d think: “Great, another few pages.”

A young woman arrives in San Francisco and you meet the people she gets to know, particularly among the gay community.

I came to London in 1982 and lived in a shared house so I recognised the pattern.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 5, 2016

Five notable books about weird spies

Max Gladstone has been thrown from a horse in Mongolia and nominated for the John W Campbell Best New Writer Award. He is the author of the Craft Sequence of books about undead gods and skeletal law wizards—Full Fathom Five, Three Parts DeadTwo Serpents Rise, and Last First Snow—and one of the authors of the new series The Witch Who Came in From the Cold at Serial Box. One of five books about weird spies that Gladstone tagged at
The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett

The past’s not just another country, it’s a whole damn other world. Dorothy Dunnett’s hero, Francis Crawford of Lymond, spends much of his titular series as a sort of freelance intelligence agent, frequently in Scotland’s service, but often in the service of Scotland’s greater interests regardless of whatever Scotland’s current government might have to say about the subject. Lymond swings between professions—fugitive, mercenary captain, nation-builder—but he’s always a bit of a spy. It’s a stretch including him on this list, but historical fiction taken this seriously has as much world building as any work of fantasy or science fiction—and once you add in the peculiarities of Lymond’s world (the separate order of geniuses to which he and a few select other characters belong, the Dame de Doubtance, etc.), we’re practically in another universe altogether.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Top ten books about cancer

Austin Duffy grew up in Ireland and studied medicine at Trinity College Dublin. He is a practicing medical oncologist at the National Cancer Institute in Washington DC. This Living and Immortal Thing is his first novel. One of the author's ten top books about cancer, as shared at the Guardian:
Sabbath’s Theater by Philip Roth

One of the books where the illness is confined to a devastating side role. Although you could say the themes of Roth’s book – bodily cravings, pushed to their limit – are part of the same spectrum, the other end of it maybe. I had just moved to New York to begin a hospital fellowship when I read the part where Drenka, Mickey Sabbath’s lover, lies in the final stages of ovarian cancer. I remember well the terrible stillness in which I sat for minutes, the book closed in front of me, stunned by Roth’s highly specific language, the best depiction of a cancer patient I have ever read, before getting up and crossing First Avenue to go to clinic.
Read about the other books on the list.

Sabbath's Theater is among Sam Lipsyte's five favorite humorous yet weighty novels, Ben Schrank's top six books on love, betrayal, and creative people who behave badly, Edward Docx's top ten deranged characters, and Howard Jacobson's five best novels on failure.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The ten best books set in the American West

Callan Wink's new story collection is Dog Run Moon. A fly-fishing guide on the Yellowstone River, he is the recipient of an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship and a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University.

One of Wink'ss ten best books set in the American West, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

Disparaging Cormac McCarthy seems somewhat fashionable these days amongst urbane MFA and lit-crit intelligentsia but this novel still knocks me over every time I read it. In fact, I have read it at least once a year for the past ten or so and it is still as unrelentingly grim and powerful as the first time I picked it up. Comparisons to Moby-Dick are common and, I think, justified.
Read about the other books on the list.

Blood Meridian is one authority's pick for the Great Texas novel; it is among Simon Sebag Montefiore's six favorite books, Richard Kadrey's five books about awful, awful people, Jason Sizemore's top five books that will entertain and drop you into the depths of despair, Robert Allison's top ten novels of desert war, Alexandra Silverman's top fourteen wrathful stories, James Franco's six favorite books, Philipp Meyer's five best books that explain America, Peter Murphy's top ten literary preachers, David Vann's six favorite books, Robert Olmstead's six favorite books, Michael Crummey's top ten literary feuds, Philip Connors's top ten wilderness books, six books that made a difference to Kazuo Ishiguro, Clive Sinclair's top 10 westerns, Maile Meloy's six best books, and David Foster Wallace's five direly underappreciated post-1960 U.S. novels. It appears on the New York Times list of the best American fiction of the last 25 years and among the top ten works of literature according to Stephen King.

--Marshal Zeringue