Thursday, September 20, 2018

Eight thrillers that use social media to ratchet up the tension

At CrimeReads T.M. Logan tagged eight suspense novels that use social media to ratchet up the tension, including:
Cut to the Bone by Alex Caan

Ruby Day is a rising star of YouTube, a vlogger with a million teenage followers of her lifestyle tips and fashion advice. Ruby is also missing, and it isn’t until a video is posted online that her fans realize why: because the video shows her sprawled in the dirt, pleading for her life. Ruby’s army of fans are hysterical, the media are having a field day and as the investigation hurtles out of control in the glare of publicity, it becomes clear that the world of YouTube vloggers and social media is far darker than it appears. An excellent debut thriller that lifts the lid on YouTube stardom and explores the powerful cocktail of money, fame, and influence that fuels it.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Top ten real-life monsters in fiction

Glenn Skwerer is a psychiatrist who lives and practices in the Boston area. He was inspired by reading August Kubizek’s memoir, The Young Hitler I Knew, to look more closely at the psychology of the friendship between Kubizek and Hitler, and to recast it entirely as fiction. The Tristan Chord is his first book.

One of Skwerer's top ten "interesting and complex fictional portraits of monstrous characters from real life," as shared at the Guardian:
Perfume: the Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind

The character of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was reportedly based on Manuel Romasanta, a 19th-century Spanish serial killer who extracted the body fat of his (female) victims to produce expensive soap. Grenouille, born in 1738, is a savant and connoisseur of scent. He apprentices himself to a master chemist of perfumes, and begins to murder young girls in order to extract and analyse their scents. The book can be read on many levels: as a story of exquisite addiction; as a meditation on compulsion and lust, and as an exploration of a primitive aspect of experience that is usually sanitised and repressed.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Perfume is among four books that changed Meg Keneally, four books that changed Katrina Lawrence, Karen Runge's five (damn-near) perfect (dark) novels, and Lara Feigel's top ten smelly books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Six stories that find the drama in utopian settings

At Tor.com James Davis Nicoll tagged six stories that find the drama in utopian settings, including:
Terrestrial humanity is entirely extinct in Arthur C. Clarke’s The Songs of Distant Earth. No doubt awareness of the Sun’s impending nova provoked all manner of drama on Earth. For the people of the exoplanet Thalassa, settled centuries before by a sub-light seedship, the nova is barely a historical footnote. Ocean-covered Thalassa offers its island-dwelling population of decent, sensible people satisfactory small lives punctuated only by small-scale, non-threatening interesting events.

This tranquil existence is disrupted by the sudden arrival of Magellan, the last starship from now-expunged Earth. Forced by mishap to pause briefly at the backwater world, the crew of Magellan appeal to Thalassa to allow them to orbit and rebuild their debris shield from Thalassa’s abundant water. “Briefly” is still enough time for the Thalassan woman Mirissa to notice just how attractive strangers can be (in a world that’s normally entirely lacking in strangers). As the ensuing romance and its repercussions unspool, the Magellan’s crew must decide whether to continue to their intended destination or to stay at Thalassa.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top funny books by women

Emma Thompson is a British actress, screenwriter, activist, author and comedienne. She stars in The Children Act, a film based on the novel by Ian McEwan. One of her six favorite comic works written by women, as shared at The Week magazine:
How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

The only book I know that starts with a woman masturbating. Given the taboo around this interesting subject, that fact alone makes How to Build a Girl required reading. Plus, it's brilliant and hilarious and has made a lot of people feel a lot less alone.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 17, 2018

Four books that changed Stephen Giles

Stephen Giles is the author behind the Ivy Pocket children's series, which has been translated into twenty-five languages. He lives in Australia. The Boy at the Keyhole is his first work for adults.

One of four books that changed the author, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
THE LAST BATTLE
C. S. Lewis

The Narnia books were the first and best fantasy series I've ever read. My mother was a high school librarian and she brought the books home one at a time when I was nine or 10 and I devoured them with an intensity that was new and heady. The stories were utterly immersive and I remember holding the final book, The Last Battle, with something like awe. These books taught me that words are a kind of magic.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Five stories that serve up cannibalism

Karin Tidbeck is originally from Stockholm, Sweden. She lives and works in Malmö as a freelance writer, translator and creative writing teacher, and writes fiction in Swedish and English. She debuted in 2010 with the Swedish short story collection Vem är Arvid Pekon?. Her English debut, the 2012 collection Jagannath, was awarded the Crawford Award 2013 and shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award as well as honor listed for the Tiptree Award. Her novel debut, Amatka, was shortlisted for the Locus Award and Prix Utopiales 2018.

At Tor.com Tidbeck served up five stories that involve cannibalism, including:
Barbecue ribs in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café by Fannie Flagg

Abusive husband Frank Bennett returns to his estranged wife to steal their child, but is stopped by café employee Sipsey who kills him with a frying pan. To hide the body, Big George does the logical thing and puts Frank on the barbecue. The detectives who show up to investigate Frank’s disappearance are delighted by the best barbecue they’ve ever had in their lives. Satisfaction and disgust in one neat package.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 15, 2018

John Boyne's 6 best books

John Boyne is an Irish author best known for The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, which was made into a film in 2008. His latest novel is A Ladder To The Sky. One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
THE CIDER HOUSE RULES by John Irving

Irving really inspired me and is himself influenced by Dickens.

This is very funny, moving and political. It’s a commentary on abortion rights, which was controversial in the States in the 1980s.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Cider House Rules is among Jenny Colgan's ten top unlikely romantic heroes in fiction and Kate Hamer's ten top books about adopted children.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 14, 2018

Five books starring characters who wake up in strange situations

Parker Peevyhouse is the author of the critically acclaimed collection of novellas for young adults, Where Futures End, which was named a best book for teens by the New York Public Library, Chicago Public Library, and Bank Street. Her science fiction thriller, The Echo Room, is out in September from Tor Teen.

One of the author's five top books starring characters who wake up in strange situations, as shared at Tor.com:
Paradox by A. J. Paquette

Ana wakes in a round room, remembering nothing but her name. When she opens the door, she discovers she’s stepping out of a spacecraft and onto an alien planet. Paquette puts a great twist on the exploring-an-alien-planet story, because while Ana has a map of the strange terrain, we have no idea what the map is leading her to. To safety? To a problem that needs solving? To someone who can revive her memory? Along the way, we have to puzzle out how this planet works and why Ana has been sent here with her memory wiped, a fun mystery that keeps the pages turning.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Top ten trains in novels

Sarah Ward is the author of The Shrouded Path and three previous books in the DC Childs crime series set in the Derbyshire Peak District. One of her top ten trains in novels, as shared at the Guardian:
1222 by Anne Holt, translated by Marlaine Delargey

In this Norwegian take on Murder on the Orient Express, a northbound train from Oslo gets stranded during one of the worst snow storms in the country’s history. Passengers move to a nearby hotel where a body is discovered, leaving ex-cop Hanne Williamsen to uncover the murderer. One of the best Nordic noir books, it perfectly conveys the isolation of snowy landscapes; I remember reading it during one windy, wintry night in the Peaks.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see Andrew Martin's top ten books about trains.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Fifteen books to read on a French vacation

At the Waterstones blog Martha Greengrass tagged fifteen books to take on a French vacation. One title on the list:
The Riviera Set
Mary S. Lovell

The Riviera Set is the story of the group of people who lived, partied, bed-hopped and politicked at the Chateau de l'Horizon near Cannes, over the course of forty years from the time when Coco Chanel made southern French tans fashionable in the twenties to the death of the playboy Prince Aly Khan in 1960.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Six of the best books about history’s forgotten women

Jenni Murray is a journalist and broadcaster who has presented BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour since 1987. Her latest book is A History of the World in 21 Women. One of Murray's six best books about history’s forgotten women, as shared at the Guardian:
Mary Beard has become something of a star when it comes to bringing classical history to life. She exposes the roots of today’s expectations of how a woman should behave. Women & Power: A Manifesto is a small but wonderfully potent call to action. With references to mythological figures such as Perseus, Medusa, Philomela and Telemachus, she shows how often we’ve been told that “Speech will be the business of men” and that a woman who breaks this rule may risk having her tongue cut out. Time for change, she argues – and now!
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

The twenty best 9/11 books

In 2011 Justin Webb, Pankaj Mishra, and Jason Burke tagged twenty of the best 9/11 books at the Guardian, including:
Debunking 9/11 Myths by David Dunbar and Brad Reagan

Why are conspiracy theories about 9/11 so annoying? I suppose it is the wilfulness of the delusion: life is hard enough without adding to the upset with suppositions of evil plots on the part of those one should be able to trust. The main issue is the toppling of the twin towers; how could it have been possible without some evil plot involving insurance payments and internal bombs to melt the metal? Unhinged folk will disregard this book but it is compelling if you really are given to ask whether what seemed to happen actually did.-JW
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue