Thursday, December 18, 2014

The top 10 novels about 9/11

Porochista Khakpour is the author of Sons and Other Flammable Objects and The Last Illusion; both are 9/11 novels.

One of her top ten novels about 9/11, as shared at the Guardian:
The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud

Messud has been a great supporter of my work, so it may look biased to choose this; but many agree The Emperor’s Children is the best 9/11 novel. Messud captures the struggles of a still-very-much-alive Manhattan privileged intellectual class through the portrait of three friends, just as well as she evokes those months leading up to the attacks.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Emperor’s Children is on Jimmy So's list of five novels that deal with 9/11 in significant if oblique ways, Rachel Syme's list of the ten most attractive men in literature, the (London) Times' list of the 100 best books of the last decade, and the New York Times' list of the 10 best books of 2006.

Also see: David Ulin's five essential 9/11 books, five best works of literature on 9/11, five of the best new 9/11 books and eight worthy 9/11 books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The top 25 young adult novels of 2014

Caitlin White rounded up her top 25 young adult novels of 2014 for Bustle. One title on the list:
Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern (HarperTeen)

Too often novels about people with disabilities or disease become novels about those conditions and not about people. Cammie McGovern doesn’t fall into this trap in Say What You Will. In her story about a 17-year-old woman with cerebral palsy and a teenage boy with crippling OCD, she manages to be honest and not condescending. This way, instead of becoming about the “other,” this disease, her story becomes about the resilience of human character and the heartrending ache of first love amid obstacles of any kind.
Read about the other books on the list.

Writers Read: Cammie McGovern (July 2014).

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Seven books for readers who love Haruki Murakami

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Monique Alice tagged seven books for readers who love Haruki Murakami, including:
The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie

Some books change the world forever, and The Satanic Verses is one of them. Horned demon men falling from the sky, a battle between good and evil, and a heavy dose of playful irreverence are just some of the features of this monumental work. After its publication, author Salman Rushdie was forced to live in fear of attack from those who found his work blasphemous. Like Murakami, he defies the status quo in his writing by playing with the laws of reality and thumbing his nose at cultural convention.
Read about the other entries on the list.

See--Ten of the best Haruki Murakami books.

The Satanic Verses is among Felicity Capon and Catherine Scott's twenty top famously banned books, Seth Satterlee's top six famously banned books, Diarmaid MacCulloch's five best books about blasphemy, Atul Gawande's favorite books, and Karl O. Knausgaard's top ten angel books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 15, 2014

Billy Collins's six favorite books

One of Billy Collins's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes

This is one of the best titles to drop when asked what you're currently reading, and also a revealing, radical study of our divided brains. According to Jaynes, people who hear voices (be they mystics or schizophrenics) may just be listening to one side of the brain talking to the other on a delayed loop. Something to think about next time you find yourself thinking out loud, or just thinking period.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Eleven of the spookiest true crime stories

At Bustle Jordan Foster tagged eleven of the spookiest true crime stories, including:
My Dark Places by James Ellroy

Best known for his L.A. Quartet novels — The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz — Ellroy’s own life is darker than any of his fiction. In 1958, the battered body of Jean Ellroy was found in a sleazy corner of Los Angeles; her son James was 10. For the next nearly four decades, James Ellroy tried to exorcise his mother’s ghost through writing fiction but her unsolved murder continued to haunt him. In 1994, he stopped running from the past and confronted it head on, hiring a retired LAPD detective to help him solve the biggest crime of his career. Reading this raw, searing memoir will only deepen the experience of Ellroy’s fictional oeuvre, giving readers an unflinching look at his life-long, and often unhealthy, obsession with sex crimes and police work. You should really call your mom after reading this and tell her that you love her.
Read about the other entries on the list.

My Dark Places is among Errol Morris's five top tales of true crime and Peter Collier's five best books about writers' lives.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ten books to read before you go to New York City

Jessica Colley is a freelance travel and food writer. For Fodor's, she tagged ten books to read before you go to New York City, including:
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Irish author and New York resident Column McCann delivers a meticulous portrayal of life in New York City in this award-winning novel. Real events—like a tightrope walker strolling between the Twin Towers in 1974—are juxtaposed with the fictional lives of a variety of intriguing characters. This engrossing story brings together the tales of characters from all points in the social spectrum, all sharing the same city.
Read about the other books on the list.

Let the Great World Spin is one of Mickey Sumner's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Washington Post's ten best books of 2014

One title on the Washington Post's list of the ten best books of 2014:
Station Eleven
by Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf)

In this genre-blurring dystopian novel, set in the near future, the Georgia Flu becomes airborne the night an actor named Arthur Leander dies during his performance as King Lear. Within months, most of the world’s population has been wiped out. The story presents Arthur’s life in flashbacks and describes how the pandemic affects his friends and ex-wives after his death. Among the survivors is Kirsten, a former child actor with no memory of her first year after the flu. Now in her 20s, she performs Shakespeare with a makeshift family of musicians and actors. Their band is threatened when they accidentally wander into territory controlled by a messianic tyrant. A gorgeous retelling of “King Lear” unfolds through the story of Arthur’s life and Kirsten’s attempt to stay alive in this surprisingly beautiful tale of human relationships amid almost total devastation. — Nancy Hightower
Read about the other books on the list.

See--Six books that most influenced Emily St. John Mandel as a writer.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten neo-Victorian novels

Charles Palliser's books include The Quincunx, The Unburied, and Rustication. One of his top ten neo-Victorian novels--books that "don’t merely use the 19th-century setting but exploit readers’ knowledge of the fiction of that period"--as shared at the Guardian:
Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin

This takes the form of a journal kept by a young servant-girl working for a kindly doctor in late 19th-century London. The girl is naive and trusting and only gradually does the reader start to work out who the doctor is, and what is really going on. Without giving too much away, I can say that this is a sly and thoughtful “revisiting” of a classic text of the period that succeeds in generating new insights into a story that has become iconic. It brings a fresh psychoanalytical perspective to a text which has inspired many post-Freudian narratives in literature and film.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The ten best adventure novels from 1965

At Boing Boing, Joshua Glenn tagged the ten best adventure novels from 1965, including:
Sol Yurick’s hunted-man adventure The Warriors.

After an assembly of New York gangs devolves into chaos, the Coney Island Dominators, a black/Hispanic gang of murderers and rapists, must trek home from the Bronx — all the while defending their thuggish sense of manhood — through gang turfs. It’s loosely based on Xenophon’s Anabasis (c. 370 BC), which recounts the travails of Greek mercenaries betrayed and stranded deep within enemy territory. The Warriors was adapted into a cult 1979 movie of that title.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Seven great books for people who love "Modern Family"

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Chrissie Gruebel tagged seven great books for people who love Modern Family, including:
Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple

Families are chaos! Families are crazy! But no matter what, families forgive each other—at least in books and movies and TV shows designed to make us feel good about our lives. Right now, you might be thinking to yourself: “How do I know this novel is funny? How can I be SURE? Because if I’m giving this book to someone, I’m staking my reputation on its ability to inspire laughter and good feels.” Well, Maria Semple wrote for Arrested Development, Mad About You, and Saturday Night Live, so you can feel confident she’s got the funny thing covered.
Read about the other books on the list.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is among Charlotte Runcie's ten best bad mothers in literature, Joel Cunningham's seven notable epistolary novels and Chrissie Gruebel's five top books for readers inspired by Nora Ephron.

--Marshal Zeringue

The Washington Post's five best science fiction/fantasy books of 2014

Nancy Hightower tagged the Washington Post's five best science fiction/fantasy books of 2014, including:
A DARKLING SEA
by James L. Cambias (Tor)

You’ve probably never rooted for giant lobsters before, but when science fiction meets ethnography in “A Darkling Sea,” you will. This witty, erudite novel chronicles the expedition of a scientific team studying lobsterlike inhabitants in the icy seas of the planet Ilmatar. The scientists have won permission for this study from the Sholen, six-limbed, extraterrestrial creatures who forbid any human interaction with the Ilmatarans. But then a self-serving media big-shot with the diving team gets too close while observing his subject. An epic battle results in heavy casualties, but the novel ends with the deep, hopeful yearning we have to explore the mysteries of all creatures and worlds around us.
Read about the other books on the list.

My Book, The Movie: A Darkling Sea.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Top ten coming of age stories

John Corey Whaley is the author of Where Things Come Back and Noggin. At the Guardian he tagged ten "absolutely genius, life-changing coming of age books for teens," including:
The Giver by Lois Lowry

The ultimate story of individuality in the face of conformity – I think everyone reads this book in school for a very good reason. And, despite the dystopian setting and futuristic sway, I think Lowry paints a simple, but elegant portrait of teenage angst in this book, exploring that early adolescent confusion about the real world that some coming of age stories skip over.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Giver made Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick's list of thirteen top, occasionally-banned YA novels, Guy Lodge's list of ten of the best dystopias in fiction, film, art, and television, Joel Cunningham's list of six great young adult book series for fans of The Hunger Games, and Lauren Davis's top ten list of science fiction’s most depressing futuristic retirement scenarios.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Lois Lowry & Alfie.

--Marshal Zeringue