Saturday, October 21, 2017

The perfect biographies of every US president

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged the ideal biographies of each US president, including:
Franklin Delano Roosevelt: FDR, by Jean Edward Smith

One of our greatest presidents deserves one of the greatest biographies ever written, and Smith comes through with her epic, well-written, and impeccably researched 2007 book. Smith offers a panoramic view of FDR, a man born into wealth and affluence who wound up a champion of the middle class and poor, a president whose efforts to guide the country out of the Depression were failures until World War II came along—and yet a man who is still routinely included in the top five presidents of all time.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten of the best manifestos and tracts

At the Guardian Will Hutton tagged ten polemical masterpieces that transformed the west, including:
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962)

This was the foundation of the modern environmental movement. Painstakingly and exhaustively researched, it exposed the widespread use of toxic pesticides to improve crop yields as a menace to nature and humanity alike. The title brilliantly captured the book’s core message – that human and natural life are interdependent, that today’s generation has a duty to itself and succeeding generations to organise itself so life is sustainable and that the price of not doing so is not only materially damaging – it risks silencing the tumult of nature as it comes to life in the Spring. The chemical industry attacked the book and its author – but its popularity not only forced changes to the way pesticides were administered, but triggered a much wider examination of what humans were – and are – doing to nature.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Silent Spring made a list of the best books on global warming at the Guardian in 2009. It is among Helen Macdonald's six favorite books, Tim Dee's ten best nature books, Gill Lewis's ten top birds in books, and John Kerry's five top books about progressivism.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 20, 2017

Thirty YA books that speak out against assault & harassment

At the BN Teen Blog Dahlia Adler tagged thirty YA books that address sexual harassment and/or assault, including:
Leftovers, by Laura Wiess

Blair and Ardith always have each other, but they don’t have much else. They’re forgotten by their families and face constant harassment and assault, and they’re not gonna take it anymore. There’s only one surefire way they know to get not only revenge but justice, though the destruction they’ll leave in their wake is its own kind of unspeakable. The clever crafting of this novel and unexpected character arcs make it a standout, and despite being a decade old, its relevance hasn’t lessened a bit.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Leftovers.

Coffee with a canine: Laura Wiess, Janie & Maggie.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten imaginary drugs in fiction

Jeff Noon's latest novel is A Man of Shadows.

One of his top ten "modern examples from the pharmacopoeia of dangerous delights" in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
Substance D (A Scanner Darkly by Philip K Dick)

Dick is perhaps the most prolific of the drug inventors. He used it as plot generator, a source of transformative energy – and a way to both escape reality and experience it more fully. He certainly put in the research in his own life, spending whole weeks off his head. Still, the books were written. Substance D is a psychoactive; it produces an initial euphoria, which is great until the user finds out what the D stands for: Despair, Desertion, Dumbness, and in its final incarnation, Death. Here lies the dark realism at the heart of Dick’s visionary craziness.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Six novel novels about novelists

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 Reads blog she tagged six novels about novelists, including:
Less, by Andrew Sean Greer

“Minor novelist” Arthur Less is about to turn 50, and his younger, former lover Freddy is getting married. Down and out, and determined to escape the torturous nuptials—while not appearing as though he’s escaping—Less decides to accept every ham-fisted, bizarre invitation he’s received for the year. His writerly itinerary, which will take him from NYC to Paris, Berlin, and Morocco, includes teaching a class, attending an award ceremony (in which high schoolers are the judges), and interviewing a more successful author. A surprise narrator (whose identity is kept secret until the end) adds poignancy and tenderness to this lovely and comedic story.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Five books about the human and the divine

Karen Lord is the award-winning, Barbadian author of Redemption in Indigo, The Best of All Possible Worlds and The Galaxy Game, and editor of the anthology New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean. One of her five favorite books that "show the perils and joys of a life lived beyond the boundaries of self, a life that finds the divine in the human, and the human in the divine," as shared at
The Gods Themselves, by Isaac Asimov

I am recommending only the second part of this very variable book about the search for a safe, long-lasting source of energy by scientists in two different universes. Dua, who lives in the para-universe, is an unusual female of her species with unconventional desires and two conventional male spouses, Odeen, and Tritt. Reproduction for this threesome can go two ways. It may result in the birth of a Rational like Odeen, an Emotional like Dua, or a Parental like Tritt. But, eventually, the ecstasy of sex causes a permanent fusion of the three into one consciousness and a new being. Dua, Odeen and Tritt must figure out for themselves what they are and who they will become—and they must do it soon, while trying to communicate with scientists from our universe before they accidentally blow up our sun.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Top ten modern Nordic books

At the Guardian, Icelandic novelist Sjón tagged ten essential books from the far north, including:
Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson (translated by Lytton Smith)

Bergsson is the grand old man of Icelandic literature and this is the novel every Icelandic author must love and resist. Written in 1966, when biographies of turn-of-the-century greats were dominating the bestseller lists in Iceland, the novel pretends to be the autobiographical musings of its ageing protagonist. Having nothing to his name but the fact that he is descended from Vikings, and the small flat where he lives in one room, renting the rest out to lodgers, Tómas does his best to prove worthy of a book of his own. Only recently translated into English, it is a fabulous feast of wilting light, with a whiff of Beckett’s Unnamable’s underpants.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Fifty books that will turn you into a modern-day polymath

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged fifty books that will prepare you to discuss just about anything with the confidence of an expert, including:
Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess, by Bobby Fischer

What You’ll Learn: Chess.

Why play chess? For one, it’s one of the oldest games ever played. For another, humans’ ability to play chess may be all that’s standing between us and our computer overlords. Fischer was nuts, but he was a genius at the game, and his book (written before his full-on breakdown) remains a classic.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 16, 2017

Ten top life lessons from Russian literature

Viv Groskop is the author of The Anna Karenina Fix: Life Lessons From Russian Literature. One of her top ten life lessons from Russian literature, as shared at the Guardian:
You’re not as smart as you would like to think you are

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Poor Raskolnikov. Wanting to prove himself invincible, he hits on the perfect scheme to snaffle some cash by murdering an old lady. He bungles the job, kills an extra person by mistake and manages to leave most of the money behind. Rodion Romanovich, you are very silly indeed. But all is not lost. He can get some degree of comfort by becoming heavily religious. The lesson? Sometimes we do things so stupid that even God struggles to forgive us.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Crime and Punishment is among Annemarie Neary's top ten books about guilt, Becky Ferreira's seven best comeuppances in literature, Lorraine Kelly's six best books, the top ten works of literature according to Norman Mailer, Gerald Scarfe's six best books, and Andrew Klavan's five best psychological crime novels. Elmore Leonard has never read beyond page fifty of the tome.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Six of the witchiest YA covens

At the BN Teen blog Nicole Hill tagged six of her favorite covens in YA fiction, including:
The Midnight Witch, by Paula Brackston

When Lady Lilith Montgomery’s father dies, he leaves her something to remember him by: the title of Head Witch of the Lazarus Coven. Naturally, that new job comes with hefty responsibility and inherent danger. Lilith will lead the coven in its charge to guard the Elixir against the shadowy Sentinels who would reclaim it. Things are complicated when she goes and falls in love with a non-witch—a fact made more awkward by her engagement to someone else.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Coffee with a Canine: Paula Brackston & Bluebell.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Lauren Child's six best books

Lauren Child is the creator of many best-selling and award-winning books, including the hugely popular Charlie and Lola and Clarice Bean series and a spin-off series of novels about Ruby Redfort. She is also the author-illustrator of The New Small Person and That Pesky Rat, among other picture books. She is the Children's Laureate in the U.K. and has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal.

Lauren Child lives in London.

One of the author's six favorite books, as shared at the Daily Express:
by Rose Tremain

This is about regret and how the main character, Merivel, loses the house he so loves. He’s a great character, joyful and a bit of a delinquent. We’re often told regret is a bad thing but it’s quite important because it reminds you how special some things are.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thirteen of the unluckiest characters in SFF

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged thirteen of the unluckiest characters in science fiction & fantasy, including:
Gregor Samsa in The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka

I don’t think it needs to be explained that waking up to discover that you’ve been transformed into a giant roach is bad luck of the highest order. When the story goes downhill from there, it really kind of redefines being born under a bad sign by a mind-blowing order of magnitude. When your death actually solves everyone else’s problems and no one mourns you for even a moment, you have crossed over into fields of bad luck no other living thing has ever inhabited.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Metamorphosis is among five books that changed Andy Griffiths, Jason Diamond's fifty most essential works of Jewish fiction, and Thomas Bloor's top ten tales of metamorphosis; Avi Steinberg says it is one of six books every prison should stock.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 13, 2017

Eleven of literature's least reliable narrators

At Electric Lit Carrie V Mullins tagged eleven of her favorite unreliable narrators, including:
Yunior de Las Casas from The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Diaz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is the story of Oscar De León, an overweight, sci-fi loving Dominican kid growing up in Paterson, New Jersey. Oscar’s story is narrated by Yunior de las Casas, Oscar’s best friend and the sometime boyfriend to Oscar’s sister Lola. Yunior acts as an omniscient narrator, populating the story with details that he couldn’t have known and admitting that he changed some names between “drafts.” His fabrications may not be strictly real, but they allow Yunior to weave Oscar’s story into the larger narrative of the Dominican Republic.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao appears among Saskia Lacey's fifty incredible literary works destined to become classics, Samantha Mabry's five books that carry curses, Susan Barker's top ten novels with multiple narratives, BBC Culture's twelve greatest novels of the 21st century, Emily Temple's fifty greatest debut novels since 1950, Niall Williams's top ten bookworms' tales, Chrissie Gruebel's nine best last lines in literature, Alexia Nader's nine favorite books about unhappy families, Jami Attenberg's top six books with overweight protagonists, Brooke Hauser's six top books about immigrants, Sara Gruen's six favorite books, Paste magazine's list of the ten best debut novels of the decade (2000-2009), and The Millions' best books of fiction of the millenium. The novel is one of Matthew Kaminski's five favorite novels about immigrants in America and is a book that made a difference to Zoë Saldana.

The Page 99 Test: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Ten of the best feminist texts

At the Guardian, Barbara Ellen tagged ten of the best feminist texts, including:
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf (1990)

Wolf’s work recognised the dark truth that however clever, funny and dynamic women might be, there was always something trying to make them feel bad about the size of their thighs. Worse, that this relentless external message (that a woman’s desirability was paramount)was internalising, and getting worse, even as modern women’s power and prominence outwardly increased. Wolf is viewed by some as controversial, sometimes inconsistent but her skilful analysis of female oppression (and the fact that they never really went away) makes The Beauty Myth all too relevant today.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten books that will remind you of your childhood

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged ten books that will remind you what it felt like to be a kid, including:
A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving

With patience and affection, Irving captures what it was like to grow up in the 1950s in this terrific novel. While John Wheelwright and Owen Meany aren’t typical kids in any sense—Owen’s growing conviction that he is an instrument of god isn’t exactly typical for a kid in any decade—Irving’s attention to detail renders a childhood air instantly recognizable to those who paralleled John and Owen’s fictional existence in their own lives. The decade was one where a slow subversion of tradition and accepted norms would eventually explode into the chaos of the ’60s, and it’s realistically presented here as a restless questioning of a kid’s purpose.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Five alternate histories that embrace diversity

Ginn Hale resides in the Pacific Northwest with her lovely wife and wayward cats. She is an award-winning author of science fiction and fantasy, as well as an avid coffee-drinker. At she tagged five of her favorite "compelling, glorious and inclusive alternate histories," including:
Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

Ballad of Black Tom doesn’t technically fit the definition of alternate history. It’s something much more powerful and brave, a Person of Color confronting the hateful narrative of a historically acclaimed writer and transforming it. With Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle wrenches apart the racist narrative of H.P. Lovecraft’s Horror at Red Hook and not only gives Tom a powerful and moving voice but –in my opinion—LaValle out-writes anything Lovecraft ever penned both in terms of depicting humanity and our monsters. This is simply fiction at its most potent.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ten novels that teach you something about marriage

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged "which offer you all the marriage advice you’ll ever need," including:
Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty

Lesson: The grass is always greener. Every married couple has at least one other couple they see socially whom they love/hate because they seem too perfect. They are financially affluent, they have great taste, their kids behave well, they are obviously affectionate. As Moriarty’s great novel reminds us, that’s often window dressing. Everyone has problems. Some of us are just better at hiding them.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six books that inspire bravery

Brené Brown's latest book is Braving the Wilderness, a new best-seller about courage. One of her six favorite books that inspire bravery, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Book of Forgiving by Desmond and Mpho Tutu

Of all of the topics I've studied over the past two decades, forgiveness has been the most complex and difficult. Here, Bishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter take us on a journey that has the potential to change lives and the broader culture.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 9, 2017

Fifteen of the best political biographies and diaries

At the Guardian, Steve Richards and Gaby Hinsliff tagged fifteen of the best political biographies and diaries, including:
Team of Rivals by Dorothy Kearns Goodwin (2005)

As well as reading like a political thriller, this is partly a book on the art of leadership. Kearns Goodwin shows how Lincoln flourished by appointing his fiercest rivals to key cabinet positions, leading them subtly to help achieve his ambitious objectives in a country torn apart by civil war. After Alastair Campbell had read Team of Rivals he sent a copy to his friend Alex Ferguson who was facing some internal problems with his Manchester United squad at the time. Ferguson loved the book. There are lessons for leaders in many fields in the way Lincoln managed his team.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Team of Rivals is among Alastair Campbell's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Six of the scariest haunted houses in YA fiction

Sarah Skilton is the author of Bruised, a martial arts drama for young adults; and High and Dry, a hardboiled teen mystery. At the BN Teen blog she tagged six of the scariest haunted houses in YA fiction, including:
The Cabin, by Natasha Preston

Seven teens. One epic party. Five survivors. 17-year-old Mackenzie just wants to let loose with her friends at a secluded cabin, sans parents. They’re all still coming to terms with the car crash that killed two of their group over the summer. What they don’t realize is that two more of them have been targeted for murder. But by whom, and why, is a secret Mackenzie will have to figure out after the smoke clears and the bodies are discovered. A new twist on the classic locked-room mystery.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Ten essential 21st-century Spanish-language books

Elvira Navarro was named by Granta magazine one of the “Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists” in 2010, and she was declared one of the major Spanish voices of the future by the magazine El Cultural in 2013.

One of the author's ten favorite Spanish-language books published this century, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enríquez, trans. Megan McDowell

In her short story collection Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego, which has become an international bestseller, Mariana Enríquez offers a masterly reappraisal of the horror genre and a different view of reality, with a good dose of subtle political criticism and everyday distortion. And all this without the loss of the spine-chilling effects of the genre. The collection includes a child murderer, women who protest against gender-related violence by setting themselves on fire, haunted houses, and suburbs that act as a depiction of society as a whole.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 6, 2017

Five of the best YA books set in the 1920s

At the BN Teen Blog Elodie tagged five of the best YA novels set in the 1920s, including:
Bright Young Things, by Anna Godbersen

Good news, Anna Godbersen fans: the author behind the addictive Victorian drama series The Luxe has crafted a Roaring Twenties version with Bright Young Things. It’s 1929 in Manhattan. The hemlines are higher, the morals are looser, and anything goes in the city that never sleeps. But it’s not all glittering Broadway lights and free-flowing champagne. Letty wants to become an actress. Cordelia’s on the hunt for her infamous criminal father. The socialite Astrid is dating a rich man but finds herself attracted to her mother’s stable boy. And soon enough—as the prologue will tell you—one will be famous, one will be married, and one will be dead. All the while, the tumultuous end of the “era that roared” draws ever closer.
Read about the other books on the list.

Bright Young Things is among Rachel Paxton's top eight YA novels for a guided tour through the 20th century.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Ten top human-animal relationships in literature

Henrietta Rose-Innes is a South African author of four novels and a short-story collection, and a contributing editor at the Johannesburg Review of Books. Her novel Nineveh was published in the UK and US in 2016, and Green Lion will appear in the UK in 2017. Both books were shortlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize, South Africa’s most prestigious literary award. One of the author's top ten human-animal relationships in literature, as shared at the Guardian:
The Hunter by Julia Leigh

This debut novel encouraged my interest in the tragic glamour of the extinct. We follow a sinister hunter, M, on a mission to hunt down the last Tasmanian tiger. This lean book gives us a primordial clash of hunter and prey in a landscape haunted by ghosts of the lost. There is a scene, where M finally sights his quarry and pursues her, her striped body flashing luminously between the trees, that will stay with me as an image of ungraspable desire.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Seven top books about pathogens

At Paste magazine B. David Zarley tagged seven viral books about pathogens, including:
Biohazard by Ken Alibek and Stephen Handelman

Biohazard is a chilling portrayal of the biopreparat, or the Soviet Union’s biological weapons program, from a man who would know it well. Alibek was the agency’s deputy chief from 1988 to 1992, at which point he defected and moved to the U.S. Alibek’s book sheds light on the impressive and horrifying work done by one of the world’s most extensive bioweapons programs, a vast web of labs stretching from the Sea of Japan to the Baltic. Their grim achievements include weaponizing Marburg—a vicious relative of Ebola—and creating custom made “chimaera” bugs.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Five YA books that will give you major wanderlust

At the B&N Teen blog Alyssa Sheinmel tagged five YA novels that will give you major wanderlust, including:
I See London, I See France, by Sarah Mlynowski

In this hilarious novel from bestselling author Sarah Mlynowski, nineteen-year-old Sydney is getting ready for what she’s certain will be the best summer of her life—travelling through Europe with her best friend Leela. Their itinerary includes England, Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy, France—and hopefully making out with a handsome foreign stranger or two. But Sydney didn’t plan for appearances from Leela’s cheating ex-boyfriend and his friends, or updates on her mother’s agoraphobia (which almost kept Sydney from taking off for Europe in the first place). As Sydney and Leela travel from city to city—each new city includes a description of what it’s best known for—Sydney will have to get used to the fact that her trip isn’t exactly going to plan. But that doesn’t have to mean it can’t still be the best summer ever.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 2, 2017

Andrew O'Hagan's 6 favorite books

Novelist and journalist Andrew O'Hagan's new book is The Secret Life: Three True Stories of the Digital Age. One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

"Nobody is simply one thing," Woolf wrote, and Mrs. Dalloway is filled with a beautiful sense of its characters' multiplicity. Everybody can be otherwise, but that doesn't stop their being distinctive and vivid.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Mrs. Dalloway also appears on Elizabeth Strout's six favorite books list, Juan Gabriel Vásquez's six favorite books list, Becky Ferreira's list of seven of the best fictional depictions of female friendship, Rebecca Jane Stokes's list of seven favorite fictional shopaholics, Suzette Field's top 10 list of literary party hosts, Jennie Rooney's top ten list of women travelers in fiction, John Mullan's list of ten of the best prime ministers in fiction, and among Michael Cunningham's 5 most important books, Dani Shapiro's 10 favorite books, and Kate Walbert's best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Six top scary YA novels

At the BN Teen Blog Elodie tagged six "YA novels ... sure to leave you feeling creeped out in the best possible way," including:
Shallow Graves, by Kali Wallace

There’s almost no chance that you’ve ever woken up in a shallow grave. Neither had seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin, until, of course, it happened. Even more disturbing: there’s a dead body nearby, one belonging to the man who was attempting to dig up her corpse. It’s been a year since she was murdered (an event she has no memory of, by the way), and suddenly she’s alive, or undead, or whatever she is. Not only that, but she now has the ability to sense murderers—and give them a taste of their own medicine. On a quest to find answers, Breezy encounters a world of monsters, creepy cults, and revenge in a darkly suspenseful urban fantasy that’s sure to reel you in with the very first line and give you goosebumps long after you’ve turned the final page.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Ten books that were banned

Matthew Fellion and Katherine Inglis are the authors of Censored: A Literary History of Subversion & Control. One of ten books they tagged that were subject to silencing or censorship, as shared at the Guardian:
The Housewife’s Handbook on Selective Promiscuity by Lillian Maxine Serett (1960)

In 1966, while clearing Fanny Hill, the US Supreme Court upheld publisher and bookseller Ralph Ginzburg’s conviction for mailing material including Serett’s sexual autobiography, The Housewife’s Handbook, in which she hoped to show “that various forms of sexual expression are normal and healthy things to do, and also that women do have sexual rights”.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five picture books with a focus on compassion and hope

At the BN Kids Blog Maria Burel tagged five "picture books [to] empower young children to make a difference in their world, in the simplest of ways," including:
Ordinary Mary’s Extrordinary Deed, by Emily Pearson and Fumi Kosaka

Mary is just an ordinary girl, having an ordinary day, doing normal, ordinary things. But then one of those ordinary things leads to a kindness that multiplies not once, not twice, but over and over. A chain reaction of kindness that spans the globe until, fittingly, it comes back to where it all started, with Ordinary Mary. This story will having children thinking twice about the seeming unimportance of a simple, kind gesture.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 29, 2017

Five SFF worlds tied together by string theory

Ryan Graudin's most recent novel is Invictus. At she tagged "five of [her] favorite series that cross multiple dimensions," including:
Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab

I, like many others, love Schwab’s take on the multiverse. This series features a finite number of worlds, all four connected by a single fixed city. Grey, Red, White and Black… each version of London has its own personality and only Kell, the protagonist, possesses the ability to travel between them. His magic is a dying breed, however, and the consequences of this become clear when Kell mistakenly smuggles an item that puts every London in peril. The way Schwab parallels these worlds while also pitting them against each other makes for an addictive, exciting read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Fifty of the best adventure novels

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged "50 adventure novels you have to read before you die," including:
The Eiger Sanction, by Trevanian

Dr. Jonathan Hemlock is an art collector and mountaineer with a secret side-job as an assassin who takes contracts targeting other assassins who have killed American agents. To kill his latest target, he must join a group of mountain climbers tackling one of the most dangerous climbs in the world, figure out which one of the men is the subject of the sanction—and survive.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten brothers and sisters in fiction

Sarah Ward is the author of the crime novels In Bitter Chill, A Deadly Thaw, and A Patient Fury. One of her ten top brothers and sisters in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Mr Darcy is his younger sister Georgiana’s guardian and has already had to see off her attempted seduction by the feckless George Wickham. Georgiana is a faint character at first, introduced to Elizabeth Bennet in conversations that praise her musical ability but suggest she shares her brother’s weakness, pride. It is not until Elizabeth witnesses firsthand the fond relationship between the siblings in the inn at Lambton that she sees their true affection.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Pride and Prejudice also appears on Tara Sonin's lists of Fifty must-read regency romances and seven sweet and swoony romances for wedding season, Grant Ginder's top ten list of book characters we love to hate, Katy Guest's list of six of the best depictions of shyness in fiction, Garry Trudeau's six favorite books list, Ross Johnson's list of seven of the greatest rivalries in fiction, Helen Dunmore's six best books list, Jenny Kawecki's list of eight fictional characters who would make the best travel companions, Peter James's top ten list of works of fiction set in or around Brighton, Ellen McCarthy's list of six favorite books about weddings and marriage, the Telegraph's list of the ten greatest put-downs in literature, Rebecca Jane Stokes' list of ten fictional families you might enjoy more than the one you'll actually spend the holidays with, Melissa Albert's lists of five fictional characters who deserved better, [fifteen of the] romantic leads (and wannabes) of Austen’s brilliant books and recommended reading for eight villains, Molly Schoemann-McCann's list of ten fictional men who have ruined real live romance, Emma Donoghue's list of five favorite unconventional fictional families, Amelia Schonbek's list of five approachable must-read classics, Jane Stokes's top ten list of the hottest men in required reading, Gwyneth Rees's top ten list of books about siblings, the Observer's list of the ten best fictional mothers, Paula Byrne's list of the ten best Jane Austen characters, Robert McCrum's list of the top ten opening lines of novels in the English language, a top ten list of literary lessons in love, Simon Mason's top ten list of fictional families, Cathy Cassidy's top ten list of stories about sisters, Paul Murray's top ten list of wicked clerics, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best housekeepers in fiction, ten great novels with terrible original titles, and ten of the best visits to Brighton in literature, Luke Leitch's top ten list of the most successful literary sequels ever, and is one of the top ten works of literature according to Norman Mailer. Richard Price has never read it, but it is the book Mary Gordon cares most about sharing with her children.

The Page 99 Test: Pride and Prejudice.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Fourteen of the best YA gothic novels

At the BN Teen blog Nicole Hill tagged fourteen top YA gothic novels, including:
Beware the Wild, by Natalie C. Parker

You should pick this one up primarily because of two words: haunted swamp. Nothing good happens in the swamp outside of Sticks, Louisiana. Sterling knows this, and after her brother, Phin, goes missing in its muddy depths, she may be the only one who can figure out what happened. Phin didn’t return, but a girl named Lenora May comes home in his place—and Sterling’s the only one who remembers she had a brother, not a sister. It’s a Southern twist on changeling mythology.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Beware the Wild is among Jennifer Mathieu's six best books for introverts and Dahlia Adler's five great southern gothic Young Adult novels.

The Page 69 Test: Beware the Wild.

My Book, The Movie: Beware the Wild.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Six top books featuring iconic sleuths

Nelson DeMille's new thriller is The Cuban Affair. One of the author's six favorite books featuring iconic sleuths, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

Sjöwall and Wahlöö set the standard for Scandinavian noir, and also for brooding, flawed Scandinavian detectives. Unlike most of his Anglo-American counterparts, Martin Beck — in true socialist-democracy style — enlists other detectives to help him solve his cases. You eventually come to admire Beck, even if you don't like him.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 25, 2017

Ten books non-geek parents of geeks need to read

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged ten books non-geek parents of geeks need to read, including:
Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein

Heinlein’s influential sci-fi novel isn’t for everyone, but in it he captures the unique combination of brilliance, superiority, terror, and loneliness that defines many geeky folks’ early life experiences. The story of a human raised on Mars by Martians who returns to Earth as the ultimate outsider, it explores that painful outsider status in a way that resonates with many smart kids, while introducing a ton of concepts (and fun words like grok) that have become foundational in geek culture.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Stranger in a Strange Land is among John Bardinelli's five long books that deserve their own movie series, MaryKate Jasper and Charlie Jane Anders's top ten super-weird books that are considered part of the science fiction canon, and Battlestar Galactica creator Ron Moore's favorite sci-fi novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Ten Young Adult books that tackle racism

Dhonielle Clayton is the co-author of the Tiny Pretty Things series and the forthcoming The Belles. A former teacher and middle school librarian, Clayton is co-founder of CAKE Literary—a creative development company whipping up decidedly diverse books for a wide array of readers—and COO of the non-profit We Need Diverse Books. At Paste magazine, she tagged ten top YA books that tackle racism, including:
How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

Black 16-year-old Tariq Johnson is shot and killed by Jack Franklin, a white man. Sound familiar? As Tariq’s community tries to piece their lives back together again, readers will discover that no two accounts of the incident tell the whole truth. Everyone struggles to make sense of how everything went down. But all readers should question the things they think are true about how the media portrays boys who wear hoodies and look like Tariq.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five dark romances for adventurous readers

At B&N Reads Amanda Diehl tagged five gritty and twisted dark romances for adventurous readers, including:
First Touch, by Laurelin Paige

When Emily Wayborn receives a voicemail that her best friend is in trouble, she drops everything to track her down. Her amateur investigation leads her to billionaire hotelier Reeve Sallis. Reeve is rumored to be involved with the mafia and Emily believes he has some sort of involvement in her friend’s disappearance. What follows is an erotic cat and mouse game in the seductive world of the rich and dangerous. Told from Emily’s point of view, First Touch is full of suspense and readers never truly know whether or not Reeve is trustworthy.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Alastair Campbell's six best books

Alastair Campbell was born in Keighley, Yorkshire in 1957, the son of a vet. Having graduated from Cambridge University in modern languages, he went into journalism, principally with the Mirror Group. When Tony Blair became leader of the Labour Party, Campbell worked for him first as press secretary, then as official spokesman and director of communications and strategy from 1994 to 2003. He continued to act as an advisor to Blair and the Labour Party, including during the 2005 and subsequent election campaigns. He is now engaged mainly in writing, public speaking and consultancy and is an ambassador for a number of mental health charities. His new book is Diaries Volume 6: From Blair to Brown, 2005 - 2007.

One of Campbell's six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
TEAM OF RIVALS by Doris Kearns Goodwin

One of the best books written about politics. It brilliantly tells the story of Abraham Lincoln’s remarkable rise and how he built his administration around his rivals for the Republican nomination. It is a horrible thought that Donald Trump could now sleep in the Lincoln bed and the book’s a great reminder of a very different presidential character.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 22, 2017

Six memoirs by funny, awkward women

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 Reads blog she tagged six funny, awkward memoirs by funny, awkward women, including:
You’ll Grow Out of It, by Jessi Klein

As a tomboy who, despite the title, has never actually “grown out of it,” Klein’s highly relatable memoir analyzes the modern trappings of femininity, from the cult of bathing to the difficulty in finding women-friendly porn to the pressure placed on pregnant women to endure “natural births.” Her discovery of standup comedy as a refuge, passion, and calling takes her far in life. From SNL to Inside Amy Schumer (for which she won an Emmy as Head Writer), Klein never loses sight of what it means to be a woman today, whether you’re a poodle or a wolf.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Top ten books about consciousness

Adrian Owen is the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging at The Brain and Mind Institute, Western University, Canada, and author of Into the Grey Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death. One of his ten top books about consciousness, as shared at the Guardian:
Consciousness Explained by Daniel Dennett

Probably the best introduction to the central ideas and concepts that have preoccupied all great consciousness thinkers throughout history. It may be a little challenging for a general audience, but Dennett masterfully combines ancient philosophical concepts with more familiar modern analogies (such as “the brain as a computer”) in a book that continues to influence contemporary thought on the human condition more than a quarter of a century after its publication.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Five books about magic

Brad Abraham's new novel is Magicians Impossible.

One of his five top books about magic, as shared at
The Witches: Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff

Superstition. Paranoia. Bloodlust. The horrible crimes of Salem Massachusetts in 1692 cast a long shadow over an America that seems to fall victim to false accusations and baseless superstition with alarming reiteration. Stacy Schiff’s densely plotted non-fiction look at the witch trials, and the hysteria surrounding them may not seem like a story one wants to know more about. After all, you can read The Crucible anytime you want. But the devil’s in the details; despite the tales of black magic and witches’ covens, and pacts with Satan the workmanlike way the Puritan community set out to accuse, try, and execute nineteen people is a much more chilling potion than any fiction could concoct. The Salem Witch trials echo through the entirety of the three hundred years that followed it, in every culture, in every country as well-meaning but easily led people give in to their baser instincts because they fear what lurks in the dark, and what may be on the other side of that door.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fifty novels that changed novels

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged fifty novels that changed novels, including:
The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith

How It Changed Novels: Sociopaths have been in stories since stories were first told, and there had even been sociopathic protagonists in novels before. But Highsmith made Ripley the hero of her story despite his chillingly manipulative nature and his many crimes. Ripley opened a dark gate and many of the best novels of the last few decades owe his charmingly evil presence a debt.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Talented Mr Ripley is on Olivia Sudjic's list of eight favorite books about love and obsession, Roz Chast's six favorite books list, Nicholas Searle's top five list of favorite deceivers in fiction, Chris Ewan's list of the ten top chases in literature, Meave Gallagher's top twenty list of gripping page-turners every twentysomething woman should read, Sophia Bennett's top ten list of books set in the Mediterranean, Emma Straub's top ten list of holidays in fiction, E. Lockhart's list of favorite suspense novels, Sally O'Reilly's top ten list of novels inspired by Shakespeare, Walter Kirn's top six list of books on deception, Stephen May's top ten list of impostors in fiction, Simon Mason's top ten list of chilling fictional crimes, Melissa Albert's list of eight books to change a villain, Koren Zailckas's list of eleven of literature's more evil characters, Alex Berenson's five best list of books about Americans abroad John Mullan's list of ten of the best examples of rowing in literature, Tana French's top ten maverick mysteries list, the Guardian's list of the 50 best summer reads ever, the Telegraph's ultimate reading list, and Francesca Simon's top ten list of antiheroes.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 18, 2017

Six top books about food

Christopher Kimball is the author of Christopher Kimball's Milk Street: The New Home Cooking. One of his six favorite books about food, as shared at The Week magazine:
Apricots on the Nile by Colette Rossant

Memorable for both its gentle sweetness and the writer's portrait of her Egyptian-Jewish grandparents' household in 1930s Cairo. Ahmet the cook prepares a wedding feast with sambusak (small pastries filled with feta), stuffed quail, zalabia (deep-fried dough soaked in honey and orange blossoms), and pistachio-stuffed kunafa (cheese pastry).
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Eight contemporary YAs set amid high-stakes competition

At the BN Teen Blog Dahlia Adler tagged eight "contemporary YAs [that] lay it all on the line with intense competitions, life-changing prizes, and vicious rivalries," including:
No Good Deed, by Goldy Moldavsky

In a far more lighthearted version of the high-stakes competition setting, Moldavsky’s sophomore follows wannabe do-gooder Gregor to Camp Save the World, a summer camp for teen activists. There, each camper picks a cause to champion. Naturally, Gregor wants to feed the world’s hungry children; how could anyone pick a cause more worthy than that? While the others range from obviously deserving to utterly strange, competition heightens all around when they learn there’s a major internship at stake. Outgooding each other becomes the name of the game in a satire that gently balances support for and mockery of social justice advocacy.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Ten creepy psychological thrillers

Jane Robins is the author of White Bodies: An Addictive Psychological Thriller.

One of her ten favorite creepy psychological thrillers, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

The Queen of Crime excelled in concocting complex mysteries–but this, one of the best-selling books of all time–is a superlative read not just because of Christie’s intricate plotting, but also because of the profound sense of menace on every page. Eight people are invited to a house on a remote island off the Devon coast, and two servants are already present. In each bed room an old rhyme is hanging–Ten Little Indians, or in later editions, Ten Little Soldiers. The rhyme describes ten deaths. Then–one by one–the characters are murdered. Given that there are no hiding places on the island, the murderer is evidently one of the ten characters. A masterpiece.
Read about the other entries on the list.

And Then There Were None is among Molly Schoemann-McCann's nine great books for people who love Downton Abbey, Sjón's top ten island stories, and Pascal Bruckner's five best books on guilt.

--Marshal Zeringue