Saturday, August 29, 2015

David Simon's six favorite books

David Simon is the creator of the 2002–08 crime series The Wire. His new six-part miniseries, Show Me a Hero, is about a desegregation battle in Yonkers, New York.

One of Simon's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Two Nations by Andrew Hacker

In its quiet way, this slim, thoughtful 1992 volume from a careful political scientist demolishes the easy and indulgent notion that we are in any way, shape, or form living in a postracial America. A primer for anyone interested in honestly discussing our racial pathologies.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 28, 2015

Seven top YA sociopaths

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 seven of her favorite YA sociopaths, including:
Brutal Youth, by Anthony Breznican

Between the stressed-out staff and sadistic students, sociopaths are the norm at St. Michael’s, the boarding school where this novel takes place. My favorite is probably Colin Vickler (aka “Clink”), who stars in the prologue. Having been pushed to the breaking point by bullies, he stands atop the high school’s roof, flinging jars of hideous science class specimens at his fleeing victims. But the heart of the book belongs to Peter, Noah, and Lorelei, three freshman students to love and root for, even as they’re forced to make tough choices and suffer through even tougher mistakes.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ten top dog stories

Jill Ciment was born in Montreal, Canada. She is the author of Small Claims, a collection of short stories and novellas; The Law of Falling Bodies, Teeth of the Dog, The Tattoo Artist, Heroic Measures, and Act of God, novels; and Half a Life, a memoir.

One of her top ten dog stories, as shared at the Guardian:
The Odyssey by Homer

Argos, Odysseus’s loyal hound, is one of the first dogs in western literature. After waiting 20 years for his master’s return, Argos must make a most painful decision. He realises that Odysseus is in disguise. If he greets his master, or if his master acknowledges him, Odysseus will be in mortal danger. Argos has to accept that after two decades of longing for this moment, he will only be rewarded with a glimpse of the man he loves.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Learn about two dogs named Argos by their writer-humans: Ceiridwen Terrill & Argos and Jehanne Dubrow & Argos.

The Odyssey is among Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick's top seven bad witches in literature, Ellen Cooney's ten top canine-human literary duos, Nicole Hill's ten best names in literature to give your dog, Alexandra Silverman's biggest fictional literary crushes, James Marriott and Mika Minio-Paluello's top ten journeys across the Mediterranean and Caspian seas, Panayiota Kuvetakis's top ten fictional female friends who would make good real-life friends, James Marriott and Mika Minio-Paluello's top ten journeys across the Mediterranean and Caspian Sea, Tony Bradman's top 10 list of father and son stories, John Mullan's lists ten of the best shipwrecks in literature, ten of the best monsters in literature, ten of the best examples of rowing in literature, and ten of the best caves in literature, as well as Madeline Miller's top ten list of classical books, Justin Somper's top ten list of pirate books, and Carsten Jensen's list of the top ten seafaring tales.

The Page 69 Test: Jill Ciment's Heroic Measures.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Six exciting novels featuring teens in Tinseltown

At LitReactor Riki Cleveland tagged six top novels featuring teens in Hollywood, including:
This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

When small town girl Ellie O’Niell receives an email meant for someone else, she never imagines it could be the start of a flirtatious relationship. Graham Larkin might very well be the most well known teenage heartthrob out there, but he is smitten with Ellie from their first email exchange. From opposite sides of the country the two teens strike up a sweet rapport, discussing everything except their identities. When Graham finds out that Ellie’s small Maine hometown will make the perfect location for his latest film, he decides to take their relationship to the next level, but will Ellie ever find a way to live in the media’s spotlight?

Chock full of witty dialogue and the most adorable meet-cute ever, readers are sure to fall in love with Ellie and Graham. It is quirky and fun, with a swoon-worthy romance and wonderful sense of setting.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Five top novels on the perils of education

Ian R. MacLeod is an acclaimed writer of speculative and fantastic fiction. For he tagged five top novels on the perils of education, including:
Galatea 2.2 by Richard Powers

A blocked writer tries to recover from a torrid love affair by teaching a computer how to read and interpret fiction. The computer is called Helen, and a touching, but inherently doomed relationship evolves. The more Helen learns about books and the world, the less she understands, and she ends up deciding to shut herself down.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 24, 2015

Top nine historical novels

Philippa Gregory's new novel, The Taming of the Queen, tells the story of Henry VIII’s final bride, Kateryn Parr. One of the author's top nine historical novels, as shared at B & N Reads:
The King Must Die, by Mary Renault

The famous retelling of the story of Theseus, the minotaur and the classical world. Essential reading for the holidaymaker in Crete, who finds that it makes the Palace of Knossos come alive, and for the serious scholar alike.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ten must-read YA novels you've probably never heard of

Guardian children's books site teen blogger John Hansen tagged ten must-read YA novels that deserve a bigger following, including:
The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

It’s written like a longform piece of journalism. After Addison Stone, a talented street artist, mysteriously drowns, her former teacher investigates her death. The book itself is a compilation of the teacher’s findings, relaying what happened to Addison through interviews with Addison’s friends, which are interwoven with pictures of both Addison and her art. It’s a gripping read with a seriously ominous ending, and, because all of the characters are fictional, the way the author decided to tell the story makes it one of the most unique books I’ve ever read.
Read about the other books on the list.

Coffee with a Canine: Adele Griffin and Edith.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Five books that will entertain and drop you into the depths of despair

Jason Sizemore is the editor of five anthologies, author of Irredeemable and For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher, a three-time Hugo Award loser, and an occasional writer. For he tagged five books that will entertain and drop you into the depths of despair, including:
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Women are subjugated by a patriarchal society. They are used for menial chores and propagation. Our protagonist, Offred, can remember the days of freedom, and longs to find an escape. As the book moves forward, Offred becomes more desperate and depressed.
I know why there is no glass, in front of the watercolor picture of blue irises, and why the window opens only partly and why the glass in it is shatter-proof. It isn’t running away they’re afraid of. We wouldn’t get far. It’s those other escapes, the ones you can open in yourself, given a cutting edge.
Not a fun read, but thought-provoking, heartbreaking, and a siren’s call that we need to remain vigilant when it comes to equal rights for all.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Handmaid's Tale made S.J. Watson's list of four books that changed him, Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick's list of eight of the most badass ladies in all of banned literature, Guy Lodge's list of ten of the best dystopias in fiction, art, film, and television, Bethan Roberts's top ten list of novels about childbirth, Rachel Cantor's list of the ten worst jobs in books, Charlie Jane Anders and Kelly Faircloth's list of the best and worst childbirth scenes in science fiction and fantasy, Lisa Tuttle's critic's chart of the top Arthur C. Clarke Award winners, and PopCrunch's list of the sixteen best dystopian books of all time.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 21, 2015

Five Young Adult reads in which poetry is part of the plot

Eric Smith is the author of The Geek’s Guide to Dating and Inked. One of his five top YA reads in which poetry is part of the plot, as shared at the B&N Teen blog:
Paper Towns, by John Green

Feels timely, what with the movie out, right? Walt Whitman plays a big role in John Green’s road trip novel. In Paper Towns, we meet Quentin, a boy who’s been smitten with Margo, the girl next door, since forever. When they surprisingly connect for one wild night, and she vanishes the next day, he has to follow a series of odd clues to find his way to her. One of them happens to be a poem from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass collection, “Song of Myself.” It’s a quick reference, but an important one.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten crime capers

Robin Stevens is the author of the Murder Most Unladylike series. One of her top ten sleuthing stories, as shared at the Guardian:
Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kästner

Poor Emil. He falls asleep on the train on the way to visit his grandmother in Berlin and his pocket is picked. Too terrified to admit what has happened to the adults around him, he instead chooses to team up with the local children to solve the case and bring the criminal to justice. I love how resourceful Emil and his detectives are: Kästner doesn’t for a moment belittle the bravery or intelligence of his child heroes, and they solve the case absolutely on their own merits. This book is a wonderful caper for any detective fan.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Top ten conservative novels

Kate Macdonald is the author of Novelists Against Social Change: Conservative Popular Fiction, 1920-1960.

One of her top ten conservative novels, as shared at the Guardian:
Gaudy Night (1935) by Dorothy L Sayers

Sayers’ unquestioning acceptance of the social hierarchy, and her passion for Lord Peter Wimsey’s background and social assumptions make her a conservative novelist. Gaudy Night, a great feminist novel, also advocates the conservative status quo. The servants’ loyalty to the college is a metaphor for loyalty to a feudal society, even if the dons wear frocks. And order (it is a detective novel, underneath the romance) must be restored: the most conservative impulse of all.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Gaudy Night is one of Anna Quindlen's favorite mystery novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Five books that prove mankind shouldn’t play with technology

Chuck Wendig's latest novel is Zeroes.

One of the author's five books that prove mankind shouldn’t play with technology, as shared at
Jurassic Park—Michael Crichton

Certainly Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is the godmother of what we are talking about here (and I’ll be honest, if we could talk shorter works I’d make room for Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter”), and I think that makes Jurassic Park the daddy in this family. It’s a story we all know thanks to the Spielberg movie (and its three less successful sequels), but if you haven’t read the novel—which shows what happens when we resurrect dinosaurs as a form of amusement—you need to. It’s a deeper, weirder read than what shows up on screen. (Avoid the novel sequel, Lost World, as it loses almost everything that made the first book great in an effort to turn in something more “cinematic.”)
Read about the other entries on the list.

Jurassic Park is among Jeff Somers's top seven books that explore what might happen when technology betrays us, Damian Dibben's top ten time travel books, and Becky Ferreira's eleven best books about dinosaurs.

--Marshal Zeringue