Saturday, December 16, 2017

Five delicious food memoirs to drool over

At B&N Reads Madina Papadopoulos tagged five delicious food memoirs, including:
Miss Ella of Commander’s Palace, by Ella Brennan and Ti Martin

New Orleans is one of those cities that instantly conjures up images of food and fine dining. Just the mention of “The Big Easy” sends déjà vu taste buds and smells swirling through the mind. And couple that with the surname, “Brennan,” well; brunch is pretty much served. The Brennan family of New Orleans has a long history as restaurateurs, among the most eminent is the inimitable Ella Brennan, leader of Commander’s Palace, first established in 1893. The book, whose colors recall the restaurant with its vibrant blue and white, follows the story of Brennan’s life and career. Brennan co-wrote it with one of her daughters (and restaurant partners), Ti Adelaide Martin.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 15, 2017

Ten essential neo-noir authors

In 2013 Richard Thomas tagged ten top neo-noir authors at Flavorwire. One entry on the list:
Holly Goddard Jones

There are few stories or collections that have left me weeping, but Holly Goddard Jones’s Girl Trouble is one of them. A mixture of Flannery O’Connor and Denis Johnson, with a sprinkle of John Cheever, what Jones does so well is create tension and fear while at the same time whispering in our ear that everything is going to be all right. But it isn’t going to be all right, that’s the problem — it will never be the same again. Her story “Proof of God,” from this very collection, went on to be selected for the Best American Mystery Stories anthology. Jones can take a scene as innocent and common as watching a daughter dive into a pool, taking a little bit too long to come up for air, and make it pulsate with foreshadowing and danger. Her latest novel, The Next Time You See Me, builds on that history, creating a layered tapestry, torn and stained at the edges.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Coffee with a canine: Holly Goddard Jones & Bishop.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six hilarious middle grade novels

At the BN Kids Blog Rachel Paxton tagged six hilarious middle grade novels, including:
Well, That Was Awkward, by Rachel Vail

Middle school relationships can be complicated—a fact middle grade readers know very well. But that awkwardness and weirdness can make for some funny moments, which is exactly what this grin-inducing book is about. It follows Gracie as she tries to woo AJ for her best friend Sienna by crafting Sienna’s texts. Unfortunately, Gracie also likes AJ. It’s a modern Cyrano story told through the lens of text messages and middle schoolers that is as awkward as it is hilarious.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Eight books to read during Hanukkah

At Bustle, Melissa Ragsdale tagged eight books that "go right along with the spirit of [Hanukkah]," including:
The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

If you're looking for a Jewish adventure story, Michael Chabon's your guy. This brilliant novel takes place in Sitka, an independent Jewish colony in Alaska that, after sixty years, is about to become part of Alaska again. We follow the slightly off-the-rails homicide detective Meyer Landsman, as he works to solve a murder that may just be tied in closely with the fate of Sitka.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Yiddish Policemen's Union is among Jeff Somers's five best oddball detective novels, J.D. Taylor's ten top counter-factual novels, and Molly Driscoll's top six alternate-history novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Top ten books about growing old

Christopher Matthews is the author of The Old Man and the Knee: How to Be a Golden Oldie. One of his ten top books about growing old, as shared at the Guardian:
Nothing to Be Frightened Of by Julian Barnes

Reading this book is like going on a long walk with a friend who is as erudite and serious as he is entertaining. Barnes is at his most contemplative as he takes us through his family and childhood and into arguments about the existence of God (“I don’t believe in God, but I miss Him”) and startling exchanges with his philosopher brother. But what preoccupies him most is death and the fear of death – his, mainly. What will it be like when it comes? A good one, or one filled with pain and regret?
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven top retellings of "Alice in Wonderland"

At Natalie Zutter tagged seven of the best retellings of Alice in Wonderland, including:
Alice in Sunderland by Bryan Talbot

The greatest shipbuilding port in the world during Lewis Carroll’s time and a supposed inspiration for his Alice books (it literally rhymes with “Wonderland”), Sunderland possesses a rich history. In his 300-page, nonlinear graphic novel, writer-illustrator Bryan Talbot delves into Carroll’s famous visits and the legacy of the area itself in relation to art and imagination. To do so, Talbot must draw himself into the narrative; true to the book’s subtitle—An Entertainment—he takes on the roles of both Traveler and Storyteller for what Teen Reads describes as “theatrical performance with academic lecture.” Fitting with Alice’s journey, it’s the kind of topsy-turvy tour that readers should just give themselves over to, and all the nonsense will give way to sense.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Three of the best books on Ethiopia

At the Guardian, Pushpinder Khaneka tagged three top books on Ethiopia. One title on the list:
Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengiste

Mengiste’s novel of the early years of Ethiopia’s revolution begins in 1974 as student demonstrations and famine lead to the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie by the military. She creates an intimate portrait of an extended family, and it is through their eyes that we see the revolution unfolding – and descending into chaos and brutality.

Hailu, a respected surgeon in Addis Ababa, and his elder son Yonas, a university professor, prefer to keep their distance from Ethiopia’s violent and dangerous politics. But the younger son, Dawit, is determined to be politically active. Initially, he is a student protestor against the emperor and supports the Marxist junta. Later, when the military begins to crush dissent and sow terror, he becomes a brave and dogged opponent of the regime. Dawit recalls his mother telling him that “hope can never come from doing nothing”.

When the military forces Hailu to treat a young woman who has been horrifically tortured, a decision he makes causes him and his family to be swept up in the political storm.

This compassionate, tightly woven tale immediately draws the reader into its unfurling domestic and political drama. It’s an impressive literary debut.

Mengiste’s family left Ethiopia when she was a child; she now lives in the US.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Smithsonian" magazine's ten best history books of 2017

One of Smithsonian magazine's ten best history books of 2017:
Ali: A Life by Jonathan Eig.

Much has been written about the many dimensions of Muhammad Ali’s life, namely his boxing prowess. In this tome, Jonathan Eig sets out to write the definitive biography of “The Greatest,” complete with information from more than 500 contemporary interviews, hours of interviews from the 1960s, and thousands of pages from newly released Department of Justice and FBI files. He follows the arc of the man’s life, from his humble beginnings in Louisville to his larger-than-life success as a boxer. Ali isn’t a saint-like figure, though; interviews with those close to him suggest that the man was a bundle of contradiction, both fighting for racial justice and hurting those who loved him.
Learn about the other entries on the list.

My Book, The Movie: Ali: A Life.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 11, 2017

Six notable books about self-deception

Emily Fridlund is the author of the story collection Catapult and History of Wolves, a debut novel that was a finalist for the Man Booker Award. One of her six favorite books about self-deception, as shared at The Week magazine:
Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam

This is one of the most unflinching and seductive novels I know about a man's drive to deceive himself. David Lamb kidnaps an 11-year-old girl and takes her on a road trip out West, all the while telling himself, and her, the sweepingly romantic story that he is rescuing her from her lonely suburban life.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seventeen books for "Jane Eyre" lovers

At Bustle, Kristian Wilson tagged seventeen books for Jane Eyre lovers, including:
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Lyndsay Faye's eponymous heroine murdered the schoolmasters who made her life miserable. Then she disappeared. Now her late aunt's second husband, Mr. Thornfield, needs a governess, and the job might be just the thing to help her create a life off the run.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Seven top middle grade mysteries

At the BN Kids Blog Maria Burel tagged "seven middle grade mysteries to cozy up with on dreary days," including:
Absolutely Truly, by Heather Vogel Frederick

Truly Lovejoy is accustomed to change. Her father’s military career means they move often. But the kind of change that comes when her father loses an arm in Afghanistan and decides to move the family to middle-of-nowhere Pumpkin Falls to take over the family bookstore is a little more than Truly can handle. During the middle of a bitter cold New Hampshire winter, Truly finds a mysterious letter tucked into the pages of a rare book. The letter starts her on a journey that will not only lead her into mysteries of the past, but also draw her closer to the current residents of her new hometown.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Four books that changed Jesse Blackadder

Jesse Blackadder is an author and screenwriter. She has published seven books for adults and children. Her latest novel, Sixty Seconds, is about a family's journey to forgiveness after their toddler son drowns. One of four books that changed the author, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
THE WOMEN'S ROOM - Marilyn French

I read this novel at 15 and felt the electrifying sensation that an author had somehow understood my unarticulated feelings and written them on the page. I felt a powerful sense of recognition and identification with the main character Mira, even though I was growing up 10 years later than the 1950s setting in which Mira was coming of age. My deeply felt feminism was given form and voice by reading The Women's Room.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue