Monday, July 23, 2018

David Baldacci's 6 favorite books with an element of mystery

One of David Baldacci's six favorite books with an element of mystery, as shared at The Week magazine:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This is a tale of two lives, really, those of a German boy and a blind French girl whose paths converge during World War II. The prose is so lush you could love Doerr's Pulitzer Prize–winning 2014 novel for its language alone. But the story is also remarkable — heartfelt and heartbreaking.
Read about the other entries on the list.

All the Light We Cannot See is among Jason Flemyng's six best books, Sandra Howard's six best books, Caitlin Kleinschmidt's twelve moving novels of the Second World War and Maureen Corrigan's 12 favorite books of 2014.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Five books to inspire you to imagine a better future

Kameron Hurley is the author of The Stars Are Legion, the award-winning essay collection The Geek Feminist Revolution, the God’s War trilogy, and the Worldbreaker Saga. Her newest book is Apocalypse Nyx.

At she tagged five works "of uplifting speculative fiction that emphasize our collaborative greatness over our despair. Our passion for creation over destruction. Our struggle to become better together than we are individually." One title on the list:
Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman

One of my favorite surprise discoveries of the last few years, Dark Orbit is old-school science fiction at its finest. This “science saves the day!” plus “sense of wonder!” standalone novel features a smart, capable scientist who must use her wits to survive. Alien contact, mystery, murder, wondrous landscapes and breathtaking discoveries (bonus dark matter!)—this one has it all.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Six YA books featuring dangerous waters

At the BN Teen blog Samantha Randolph tagged six YA novels set in dangerous waters, including:
The Vicious Deep, by Zoraida Córdova

Once you’ve devoured Córdova’s latest YA, Bruja Born, check out her other series, beginning with The Vicious Deep. Tristan Hart was taken by the ocean for three days. When he’s returned, he has no memory of what happened, but he can’t get the image of a mermaid, a kingdom, and an ancient battle out of his head…a battle he might be in the middle of. When he’s pulled back to the waters, he will find that the ocean doesn’t like giving up what it has claimed.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 20, 2018

Four books that changed Pamela Hart

Pamela Hart is the author of The Soldier’s Wife, The War Bride, A Letter from Italy, and The Desert Nurse. As Pamela Freeman, she's written children’s fiction, epic fantasy, crime fiction and children’s poetry.

One of four books that changed the author, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:

John Berger

This was a set text for my first year of uni. It changed how I looked at things. That was its aim – as Berger said, it "wanted to question some of the assumptions made about European art". In doing so, it introduced this convent-school-educated 17-year-old to concepts such as "the male gaze", "the phallic image", and how advertising actually worked. It made me a critical consumer of all media, including books.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Ten top fantasy books steeped in the Southern Gothic

Craig DiLouie’s new fantasy novel is One of Us.

One of the author's ten top fantasy books steeped in the Southern Gothic, as shared at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog:
Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice

Louis, a vampire, shares his 200-year-long life story to a reporter, a story that begins in 1790s New Orleans.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Interview With The Vampire is among Tara Sonin's five sexy novels to unleash your wanderlust, Jeff Somers's eight good, bad, and weird dad/child pairs in science fiction and fantasy, Jonathan Hatfull's ten best vampire novels, Ryan Menezes' top five movies that improved the book, Will Hill's top ten vampires in fiction and popular culture, and Lynda Resnick's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Five top YA novels about immigration

At Bustle Kerri Jarema tagged five YA novels about immigration that every teen (and adult) should read, including:
You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

This family saga follows five girls across three generations and explores the inheritance of culture. Rane is worried that her children are losing their Indian culture; Sonia is wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair; Tara is seeking the limelight to hide her true self; Shanti is desperately trying to make peace in the family; and Anna is fighting to preserve her Bengali identity. This book is moving look at the struggle to adapt to a new country while holding on to beloved traditions.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Five of the best books about cycling

Jon Day, writer, academic and cyclist, is the author of Cyclogeography. He worked as a bicycle courier in London for several years, and is now a lecturer in English Literature at King's College London. One of his five best books about cycling, as shared at the Guardian:
Books about racing have tended to focus of the physical suffering endured by the long-distance road cyclist (and often on their chemical aids). As early as 1902 the experimental playwright and novelist Alfred Jarry, who scandalised French literary society by wearing his cycling outfit to the poet Stéphane Mallarmé’s funeral, described the way in which competitive cycling reduced riders to machines. His absurdist, whimsical novella The Supermale describes a race between a group of cyclists and a train. The riders are fuelled by a cocktail of drugs and one dies during the race but, being legally contracted to finish it, his body is obliged to carry on cycling.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see Bella Bathurst's seven stone-cold classics about cycling, Jon Day's ten best books about cycling, the Barnes & Noble Review's five top books on cycling, John Mullan's list of ten of the best bicycles in literature, Marjorie Kehe's list of ten great books about cycling, Matt Seaton's top 10 books about cycling, and William Fotherham's top ten cycling novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 16, 2018

Six of the best books based on true crimes

Megan Abbott's new novel is Give Me Your Hand.

One of her six favorite books based on true crimes, as shared at The Week magazine:
Beloved by Toni Morrison

Morrison based her stunning, Pulitzer Prize–winning novel on the story of Margaret Garner, a runaway slave who killed her baby daughter rather than surrender her to a life in bondage. "I think if I had seen what she had seen, and knew what was in store," Morrison said in a 1987 interview, "I would have done the same thing."
Read about the other entries on the list.

Beloved also appears on Melba Pattillo Beals's 6 favorite books list, Sarah Porter's list of five favorite books featuring psychological hauntings, Matthew Fellion and Katherine Inglis' list of ten books that were subject to silencing or censorship, Jeff Somers's list of ten fictional characters based on real people, Christopher Barzak's top five list of books about magical families, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's ten top list of wartime love stories, Judith Claire Mitchell's list of ten of the best (unconventional) ghosts in literature, Kelly Link's list of four books that changed her, a list of four books that changed Libby Gleeson, The Telegraph's list of the 15 most depressing books, Elif Shafak's top five list of fictional mothers, Charlie Jane Anders's list of ten great books you didn't know were science fiction or fantasy, Peter Dimock's top ten list of books that challenge what we think we know as "history", Stuart Evers's top ten list of homes in literature, David W. Blight's list of five outstanding novels on the Civil War era, John Mullan's list of ten of the best births in literature, Kit Whitfield's top ten list of genre-defying novels, and at the top of one list of contenders for the title of the single best work of American fiction published in the last twenty-five years.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Ten fantasy novels that bibliophiles will love

At Unbound Worlds Matt Staggs tagged ten "fantasy novels starring books, readers, and amazing libraries," including:
Jim C. Hines

Isaac Vainio is a libriomancer, a magician who can reach into books and draw forth things into our world. Sworn to protect the world from magical threats, Isaac has fought many enemies over the years: vampires, black magicians, and others. In Revisionary, book four of Magic Ex Libris, Isaac’s decision to reveal the existence of magic to the world has produced chaos, and he has to make things right or risk a war between the magical and the mundane.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Ten top alt-history World War II books

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and the Ustari Cycle from Pocket/Gallery, including We Are Not Good People. At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog he tagged ten "of the most ambitious, imaginative, and flat-out cool speculative takes on a World War II that never actually happened," including:
Bitter Seeds, by Ian Tregillis

Less realistic, but no less exciting for it: Tregillis doesn’t use any half-measures here, imagining that in the early days of World War II, a Nazi mad scientist manages to give a group of orphans super powers—invisibility, fire starting, precognition, your typical X-Men stuff. When a British secret agent discovers this, he recruits his magic-wielding acquaintance, who in turn brings out Britain’s population of warlocks in order to defend the Allies from a mutant-powered invasion by the Nazis. Tossing history out the window and running with this imaginative premise, this trilogy-starter is one of the most fun alternative World War II stories you’ll ever read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 13, 2018

Five novels dealing with time travel

Prentis Rollins has over twenty years of experience working as a writer and artist in the comics industry. The Furnace is his debut full-length graphic novel. One of his five top novels dealing with time travel, as shared at

Kindred (1979) by Octavia E. Butler is the outlier. It is often classified as science fiction simply because it is a time-travel story; probably it is best thought of as time-travel fantasy (Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court would be another example of this). A young African-American woman named Dana Franklin is a writer living in present-day Los Angeles. One day she suddenly feels strange, swoons, and finds herself transported back to a plantation in antebellum Maryland, where she has to live as a slave—until she just as suddenly jumps back to the present and normality. Her life becomes a nightmare as these time-shifting leaps continue to happen—she never knows when they are going to happen, or for how long she’ll be trapped in this particularly hellish past. At one point her white husband, Kevin, goes back with her—he becomes trapped in the past for five years. The question of how the time leaps are being accomplished (are they somehow being caused by Dana’s mind? Are they a natural phenomenon? Has Dana been chosen for some inscrutable reason?) is never addressed—and it really doesn’t matter; that’s not what the book is about. What the book is about (among other things) is the hideousness of slavery—how it blighted the lives of the slaves, of course, but also the ruinous and degrading effect it had on the slaveholders. It remains an enthralling, disturbing modern classic.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Kindred is among Caroline O'Donoghue's top ten lost women's classics.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Top ten books about self-reinvention

Liese O'Halloran Schwarz grew up in Washington, DC after an early childhood overseas. She attended Harvard University and then medical school at University of Virginia. While in medical school, she won the Henfield/Transatlantic Review Prize and also published her first novel, Near Canaan.

The newly released The Possible World is her second novel.

One of the author's ten books about self-reinvention, as shared at the Guardian:
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (2017)

At first we might pity Eleanor, the 30-year-old odd-bird outcast who lives in a rut of lonely vodka weekends and supermarket pizza. When a sudden passion for a pop star jolts Eleanor out of her track and she resolves to remake herself, her journey out of isolation is hilarious, surprising and poignant. The book doesn’t shy away from serious themes – “loneliness is the new cancer”, Eleanor says – but the sadness is perfectly balanced with hope. Damaged, quirky and above all resilient, Eleanor is a modern heroine.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue