Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Top ten books set in New England

Ann Leary's new novel is The Children.

One of her ten favorite books set in New England, as shared at B&N Reads:
On Beauty, by Zadie Smith

Another great book with a college as its setting—this one loosely based on Harvard University. One could do a long list of great books set on New England campuses, there are many. On Beauty would be at the top of my list. I love this book.
Read about the other books on the list.

On Beauty is among Tolani Osan's ten top books that "illuminate how disparate cultures can reveal the mystery and beauty in each other and make us aware of the hardships, dreams, and hidden scars of those we share space with."

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 30, 2016

Five YA books for readers burnt out on love

Sona Charaipotra is a New York City-based writer and editor with more than a decade’s worth of experience in print and online media. For the BN Teen Blog she tagged five YA books to read when you're burnt out on love, including:
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks, by E. Lockhart

Frankie could just play the girlfriend. After all, her boyfriend’s hot, and a senior. But when he joins a secret all-male society at their fancy boarding school, she refuses to take “no girls allowed” for an answer. And thus an all-out prank war ensues, instigated by budding criminal mastermind Frankie, who refuses to be mere arm candy even for big man on campus Matthew Livingston. In this book, the girl ditches the dude and demands to be noticed for her smarts and her heart.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is among Sabrina Rojas Weiss's ten favorite boarding school novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Adam Phillips's six favorite books

Adam Phillips is a British psychotherapist and essayist. His latest book is Unforbidden Pleasures. One of the author's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Purity and Danger by Mary Douglas

Here is a remarkable book from a time — the mid-1960s — when anthropologists had the most interesting ideas about how to live and how not to talk about other people. It may be impossible to recover from her claim that dirt is "matter out of order." She makes it abundantly clear how much terror is created by the will to purification.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Harlan Coben's six best books

Harlan Coben's latest novel is Fool Me Once.

One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
PORTNOY’S COMPLAINT by Philip Roth

Roth is my favourite writer. We are both Jewish New Jersey boys and no other writer has spoken to me quite as well about that background. This is basically a coming-of-age story and caused a storm when it was published. It’s wild, erotic, hysterical and life-affirming.
Read about the other books on the list.

Portnoy's Complaint is among Jeff Somers's five worst mothers in literary history, Jay Rayner's six best books, Oren Smilansky's very funny books, David Denby's six favorite books, and Matthew Pearl's top ten books inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Six books that help share the meaning of Memorial Day

Lindsey Lewis Smithson has her MFA from UC Riverside’s Palm Desert Low Residency MFA. She has served as the Poetry Editor and the Managing Editor for The Coachella Review, in addition to having read for The Pacific Review and The Whistling Fire. At the BN Kids blog she tagged six kids' books that help share the meaning of Memorial Day, including:
The Civil War: An Interactive History Adventure, by Matt Doeden

Since the idea of Memorial Day began during the Civil War, it makes sense to pick up some books set during the same time period. A unique choose-your-own-adventure format puts middle grade readers right in the middle of the battles, from Gettysburg to Chancellorsville; few things bring home the reality of a situation like being asked to make tough choices yourself, plus there is a lot of room for rereading and new discoveries in Doeden’s book. Another great Civil War choice for middle grade readers is The Last Brother: A Civil War Tale, where readers follow 11 year old bugle player Gabe into the The Battle at Gettysburg as he tries to protect his older brother and make sense of the fighting. (Ages 8-12)
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 27, 2016

Five top books that recycle historical legends

Kiersten White is the New York Times bestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy; the dark thrillers Mind Games and Perfect Lies; The Chaos of Stars; Illusions of Fate; and the forthcoming And I Darken. At Tor.com she tagged her "five favorite books that use European history or historical legends as a background for asking timeless questions about life, love, and the reality of magic," including:
The Once and Future King by T. H. White

As the basis for this brilliant novel, White uses the legends of King Arthur and Camelot. What could have been merely a retelling becomes something so much larger as he uses those tales to explore kingdoms, wars, politics, love, loyalty, and the transient, unobtainable notion of goodness. As we follow Arthur from child to man to king, we grow with him and carry the weight of all that knowledge and all those choices, too. Though not the original, White’s Camelot (not a silly place at all) feels far truer than any other version.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Sword in the Stone is on Andrew Norris's top ten list of favorite characters that offer a helping hand to their heroes, Jessamy Taylor's list of the ten top castles in fiction, John Dougherty's top ten list of fictional badgers, and Gill Lewis's top ten list of birds in books; it is the first part of The Once and Future King, which is among Philip Womack's best classic children's books and Lev Grossman's five top fantasy books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Top ten chases in literature

Chris Ewan is the critically acclaimed and bestselling author of many mystery and thriller novels. His most recent thriller is Long Time Lost, now available in the UK and forthcoming in the USA.

One of Ewan's top ten books which demonstrate that "the relationship between the hunted and the hunter can be an intense and strangely intimate one, with each anticipating the moves of the other, and in the crucible of the chase, with the psychological strains going both ways, it is sometimes unclear who is stalking whom," as shared at the Guardian:
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

As with many of my choices, McCarthy’s novel opens with a crime that arises from a pre-existing offence – this time, a drug deal gone wrong. When Llewelyn Moss stumbles upon the bloody aftermath, he also finds a case filled with cash. His decision to take the money and run is one he makes with a clear-eyed estimate of the likely consequences. But the fallout from the lawless pursuit that follows is far more devastating and wide-ranging than he can begin to appreciate. McCarthy’s rethought western thriller has a timeless feel and, in Anton Chigurh, a truly unforgettable antagonist.
Read about the other books on the list.

No Country For Old Men is among Mark Watson's ten top hotel novels, Matt Kraus's top six famous books with extremely faithful film adaptations, Allegra Frazier's five favorite fictional gold diggers, Kimberly Turner's ten most disturbing sociopaths in literature, and Elmore Leonard's ten favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ten top shapeshifters in fiction

Aimée Carter is the author of Simon Thorn and the Wolf's Den and other books. One of her top ten shapeshifters in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
Remus Lupin, from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

Lupin, Harry’s favourite Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, is yet another character who isn’t defined by his ability - or, in this case, curse - to turn into a wolf. Though he faces the stigma of being a werewolf, struggling to find steady employment and acceptance from others, he is enormously kind, knowledgeable, and generous, despite having little in the way of material things to begin with. We only see him turn into a werewolf once in the series but even after that frightening encounter, Harry still sees him as the person he really is beneath the curse.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Harry Potter books made Anna Bradley's list of the ten best literary quotes in a crisis, Nicole Hill's list of seven of the best literary wedding themes, Tina Connolly's top five list of books where the girl saves the boy, Ginni Chen's list of the eight grinchiest characters in literature, Molly Schoemann-McCann's top five list of fictional workplaces more dysfunctional than yours, Sophie McKenzie's top ten list of mothers in children's books, Nicole Hill's list of five of the best fictional bookstores, Sara Jonsson's list of the six most memorable pets in fiction, Melissa Albert's list of more than eight top fictional misfits, Cressida Cowell's list of ten notable mythical creatures, and Alison Flood's list of the top 10 most frequently stolen books.

Professor Snape is among Sophie Cleverly's ten top terrifying teachers in children’s books.

Hermione Granger is among Brooke Johnson top five geeky heroes in literature, Nicole Hill's nine best witches in literature, and Melissa Albert's top six distractible book lovers in pop culture.

Neville Longbottom is one of Ellie Irving's top ten quiet heroes and heroines.

Mr. Weasley is one of Melissa Albert's five weirdest fictional crushes.

Hedwig (Harry's owl) is among Django Wexler's top ten animal companions in children's fiction.

Scabbers the rat is among Ross Welford's ten favorite rodents in children's fiction.

Butterbeer is among Leah Hyslop's six best fictional drinks.

Albus Dumbledore is one of Rachel Thompson's ten greatest deaths in fiction.

Lucius Malfoy is among Jeff Somers's five best evil lieutenants (or "dragons") in SF/F.

Dolores Umbridge is among Melissa Albert's six more notorious teachers in fiction, Emerald Fennell's top ten villainesses in literature, and Derek Landy's top 10 villains in children's books. The Burrow is one of Elizabeth Wilhide's nine most memorable manors in literature.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban appears on Amanda Yesilbas and Katharine Trendacosta's list ot twenty great insults from science fiction & fantasy and Charlie Jane Anders's list of the ten greatest prison breaks in science fiction and fantasy.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone also appears on Jeff Somers's top five list of books written in very unlikely places, Phoebe Walker's list of eight mouthwatering quotes from the greatest literary feasts, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best owls in literature, ten of the best scars in fiction and ten of the best motorbikes in literature, and Katharine Trendacosta and Charlie Jane Anders's list of the ten greatest personality tests in sci-fi & fantasy, Charlie Higson's top 10 list of fantasy books for children, Justin Scroggie's top ten list of books with secret signs as well as Charlie Jane Anders and Michael Ann Dobbs's list of well-known and beloved science fiction and fantasy novels that publishers didn't want to touch. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire made Chrissie Gruebel's list of six top fictional holiday parties and John Mullan's list of ten best graveyard scenes in fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sixteen YA books that get mental health right

At the BN Teen Blog Dahlia Adler collected recommendations for her collection of sixteen YA books that get mental health right. One title that made the grade:
OCD Love Story, by Corey Ann Haydu

OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu is the best representation of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder I’ve come across in YA lit. Haydu smashes OCD stereotypes and presents a real, raw look at the myriad of ways OCD actually manifests. She creates full, round characters who are so much more than the disorder that at times takes over their lives, and weaves an unconventional, yet believable, romance that will have readers rooting for a happily ever after.
–Rena Olsen, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and author of The Girl Before
Read about the other entries on the list.

OCD Love Story is among Jennifer Mathieu's six best books for introverts.

The Page 69 Test: OCD Love Story.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The five best grandfathers in literature

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 of Somers's five best grandfathers in literary history, as shared at B & N Reads:
The Grandfather in The Princess Bride, by William Goldman

Okay, he’s not actually in the book. But William Goldman wrote the screenplay adaptation, so we’ll accept him as canon, and he’s wonderful. As portrayed by Peter Falk, the curmudgeonly grandfather knows how to handle his young grandson expertly at bedtime, and proceeds to reel off what is likely the greatest bedtime story ever told. Falk’s grandfather remains a bit of a mystery to us, as very little is revealed about him aside from his obvious affection for his grandson and his kind of prickly demeanor, but you still feel like you know him, and very likely fervently want to have lunch with him just to listen to him tell a great story from Back in the Day and then probably give you some hard candy he’s got in the pockets of his sweater.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Princess Bride is among Sebastien de Castell's five duelists you should never challenge, the Guardian's five worst book covers ever, Nicole Hill's eight notable royal figures in fiction, Rosie Perez's six favorite books, Stephanie Perkins' top ten most romantic books, Matthew Berry's six favorite books, and Jamie Thomson's top seven funny books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 23, 2016

Sherman Alexie's six favorite books about identity

Sherman Alexie is the award-winning author of The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian and other books. His first picture book, Thunder Boy Jr., has just been published by Little, Brown.

Among his six favorite reads "about exploring your origins and seeing yourself clearly," as shared at The Week magazine:
Bird Box by Josh Malerman

This is the scariest novel I have read in years and years. Its monsters can only see you if you open your eyes, so our heroes must keep theirs closed at all times. The book begins with an escape down a garden path that leads into a haunted house — and then our heroes continue their escape by taking a sightless journey down a river by raft. A highly original horror novel.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Five books for the psychonaut

Patrick Hemstreet is a novelist, neuro-engineer, entrepreneur, patent-pending inventor, special warfare-trained Navy medic, standup comic, and actor. He lives in Houston, Texas with his wife and sons. The God Wave is his first novel.

At Tor.com he named his five top books for the psychonaut--"psychonauts explore the vastness and depth of the mind"--including:
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas serves as means to whet the appetite for the psychonaut. David Mitchell’s ideas on reincarnation make for a great read, but they also open up an intriguing possibility for the psychonautically inclined. Consider that the mind does have multiple strata and these inhabit multiple planes of existence as the mystics claim. Now further contemplate that one or more of those strata dwell outside of space-time, a notion also posited by gurus. This suggests the possibility that a portion or strata of our minds exists in many different beings simultaneously, our past and future lives linked at a higher level of consciousness.

If reincarnation is real, the only thing separating our multiple incarnations is time. The big question here is whether our supposed extra-temporal mental stratum can be accessed with enough practice? Imagine being able to tap the wealth of knowledge of multiple lifetimes within one’s own psyche. This could well be the mother of all goals in psychonautics. Throw in the possibility of multiverses and you’ve got one heck of a spider web.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Cloud Atlas is among the six books that changed Maile Meloy's idea of what’s possible in fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue