Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Thirteen novels set in the world of myth

Steph Post is the author of A Tree Born Crooked, Lightwood, and Walk in the Fire, as well as a short story writer, reader, teacher and dog lover (among many other things...).

Her new novel is Miraculum.

At LitReactor Post tagged thirteen novels set in the world of myth, including:
Ragnarok: The End of the Gods by A.S. Byatt

While Gaiman['s Norse Mythology] works a bit of humor into his retelling of the Norse gods’ antics, A.S. Byatt’s Ragnarok is piercingly somber and yet captures the epic showdown of the Twilight of the Gods in all its spectacular, Wagnerian glory. Ragnarok: The End of the Gods juxtaposes the experiences of a young British girl evacuated to the countryside during World War Two with the Norse end-of-the-world myth in a startling, yet gorgeously wrought way that brings power and humanity to both sides of the coin.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Ragnarok is among Michael Swanwick's five fantasy books you won’t find in the fantasy section.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven of the best books to understand climate change

Annie Proulx is the author of eight books, including the novel The Shipping News and the story collection Close Range. Her many honors include a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and a PEN/Faulkner award. Her story “Brokeback Mountain,” which originally appeared in The New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award-winning film. Her most recent novel is Barkskins.

One of "her favourite books to help us cope with how our world is changing – and inspire everyone to do something about it," as shared at the Guardian:
The Water Will Come by Jeff Goodell is especially good at showing the daunting complexity of solutions to on-the-ground problems in places such as Miami Beach, Alaska, New York, Venice and remote islands whose residents have nowhere to go. Here are real-world headaches of flood insurance, transportation, nuclear reactors on eroding shorelines, the tendency to rebuild rather than rethink following disasters.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 21, 2019

Ten top books about Martin Luther King, Jr's legacy

From The ReadDown, one of ten essential nonfiction books to shed light on these decades after Dr. King’s life, the Civil Rights movement, and how his legacy has shaped the past half-century:
There Will Be No Miracles Here

When Casey Gerald is recruited to play football at Yale, he enters a world he’s never dreamed of, the anteroom to secret societies and success on Wall Street, in Washington, and beyond. But even as he attains the inner sanctums of power, Casey sees how the world crushes those who live at its margins.
Learn about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six notable books about addiction

Leslie Jamison is the author of the essay collection The Empathy Exams, a New York Times bestseller, and the novel The Gin Closet, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Her latest book is The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath.

At The Week, Jamison six favorite books about addiction. One title on the list:
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (1996).

I first read Infinite Jest when I was nine months sober, and found an unexpectedly poignant account of recovery where I'd been expecting mere intellectual virtuosity. Don Gately is easily the most compelling fictional rehab house counselor you'll ever meet.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Eight modern classics of rural noir

Keith Scribner's new novel is Old Newgate Road.

At CrimeReads he tagged eight modern classics of rural noir, including:
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Bryn Greenwood

Set against the backdrop of meth dealers and their thugs, poverty, alcoholism, broken families, and abuse, Greenwood’s novel is ultimately about how people care for each other in such a harsh and corrosive environment. In this slowly unfolding love story, we gasp at the developing relationship between a girl and a (much older) young man, but at the same time recognize its inevitability. The book is provocative, unsettling, and honest, and much of its success lies in Greenwood’s ability to make us feel the genuine love between these two so powerfully that we suspend judgment.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Five SFF books about family drama

S. A. Chakraborty's new novel is The Kingdom of Copper.

At Tor.com she tagged five recent science fiction and fantasy books about family drama, including:
The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden

Set in medieval Russia, in an era when Christianity is replacing folk magic, the Winternight Trilogy revolves around Vasilisa, a young woman with one of the last connections to the magical world, and her extended family. So many of the relationships are incredibly well drawn, but I was particularly captivated by the one between Vasilisa and her brother Sasha, a devout warrior monk. Though they’re set on VERY different sides of a theological war, with Sasha’s faith a direct threat to Vasilisa’s beloved magical world and Sasha truly fearing for his sister’s soul, they never stop fighting for (and with) each other.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 18, 2019

Ten top titles in mother-daughter noir

Lisa Levy is a columnist and contributing editor at LitHub and CrimeReads. At the latter she tagged ten books in which "mothers and daughters are trying to reconnect, protect each other, and reckon with their formative bond," including:
The Lost Ones, by Sheena Kamal

The first book in Canadian Kamal’s Nora Watts series is a twisted story of—what else?—a missing girl. Watts, a recovering addict and underemployed depressive, gets a call that Bonnie, the daughter she put up for adoption years before, has run away from her adoptive family. Thinking Bonnie might go looking for her birth mother, Bonnie’s adoptive father contacts Nora and asks for her help in the search for Bonnie. Watts is still dealing with her own demons after a childhood spent in foster care and her fall into addiction, but she cares enough about her daughter to try and find her, revealing parts of the past she’d rather not reckon with.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Lost Ones.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Top ten books about Trinidad and Tobago

Claire Adam is the author of Golden Child: A Novel.

One of her top ten books about Trinidad and Tobago, as shared at the Guardian:
Measures of Expatriation by Vahni Capildeo

The 2016 winner of the Forward prize for best poetry collection. Some of the locations and experiences are recognisably Trinidadian, and yet the poems, and the larger work, transcend particularity. In one poem, “The mouth is planetary, circled by systematic tides”; it is also “geographical to the extent that the body is terrain”.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Five books about bad-ass modern-day magicians

David Mack is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels of science fiction, fantasy, and adventure, including the newly released The Iron Codex.

One of the author's five favorite books about bad-ass modern-day magicians, as shared at Tor.com:
Child of Fire by Harry Connolly

Being a tough-guy mage isn’t always about being the best or the strongest. This is doubly true for down-on-his luck car thief turned driver Ray Lilly. He’s got a bit of magical talent, but he makes his living as a driver for Annalise Powliss, a member of the Twenty Palaces Society, which hunts down rogue mages. She has it in for Ray because he betrayed her once before, and she’s looking for an excuse to kill him—or to turn a blind eye while someone else does. But when her latest mission goes wrong, it falls to Ray to finish it for her—meaning he will have to take down a sorcerer with powers far beyond his own. This is a classic David-vs.-Goliath tale with a high rate of collateral damage, one in which raw power must be overcome through cunning, courage, and sheer guts. Urban fantasy adventure doesn’t get much better than this.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Seven of the best conspiracy thrillers of the 1970s

Daniel Palmer is a critically acclaimed suspense novelist. One of his seven favorite conspiracy thrillers of the 1970s, as shared at CrimeReads:
Frederick Forsyth, The Day of the Jackal Frederick Forsyth’s depiction of a professional assassin, contracted by a French dissident paramilitary organization to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France, renders such an accurate portrayal of a global manhunt that it was no surprise when the author later revealed his past role as a British M16 agent. Perhaps that’s why he was able to write the book in 35 days, which is utterly discouraging for us mere mortal writers. When it comes to grand conspiracies, nothing satisfies quite like a high-level assassination. The Jackal’s cunning makes him compellingly enigmatic and oddly sympathetic. The Day Of the Jackal is arguably the best conspiracy thriller ever written, and inarguably had a profound impact on the genre of political/conspiracy thrillers.
Learn about the other books on the list.

The Day of the Jackal is among Jeff Somers's five thrillers that resist easy fixes, Sam Bourne's five favorite classic thrillers, and Christopher Timothy's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 14, 2019

Eight examples of the best writing about sex

Hannah Tennant-Moore is the author of Wreck and Order.

At LitHub she tagged a "collection of credible, affecting sex scenes by writers who are celebrated not for their illicit content, but for their uncommonly precise prose and insightful observations of human nature," including:
In The Good Mother by Sue Miller, a recently divorced woman meets a man who awakens her sexual longing for the first time. This would seem to be a familiar storyline: frigid female set free by confident, sexy hunk. But the form Anna’s new passion takes is far from cliché or fantastic. Rather than swooning or feeling helpless and breathless in Leo’s presence, Anna feels that her “pelvic bones got heavier, shifted somehow.” And the first time they have sex, Anna does not experience multi-orgasmic fireworks, but a more realistic longing for the sex to last longer, to “feel more.” With her ex-husband Brian and her prior lovers—starting with groping adolescent boys—Anna has always been passive, accepting male advances as “intrusions” to be endured, wanting the man to finish so the sex would end. But with Leo, Anna feels “left behind” when Leo comes, longing to experience the same pleasure he does. This is a far more interesting—and believable—depiction of the awakening of heterosexual female lust than, say, having your first orgasm when a man plays with your nipples (as happens to Anastasia in Fifty Shades of Grey).

For Anna, having pleasurable sex is not the magical result of good chemistry, but the logical result of...[read on]
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Kristen Roupenian's six favorite books

Kristen Roupenian's new story collection is You Know You Want This.

One of her six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Belly Up by Rita Bullwinkel (2018).

All of this book's short stories are great, but "Arms Overhead," about two teenage girls who bond over their shared desire to cannibalize men, has earned a special place in my heart. One review called the book "bloodless," but I couldn't disagree more — I could practically feel the blood dripping down my chin as I read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue