Saturday, January 25, 2020

Ten books about the mysterious world of audiophiles

Luke Geddes's new novel is Heart of Junk.

At CrimeReads he tagged "ten of the many mystery and mystery-tinged books about audiophiles," including:
Do Not Sell at Any Price by Amanda Petrusich

The title of this nonfiction book refers to 78rpm records so singular in their rarity that they are literally priceless. Petrusich embeds herself with a cadre of deeply committed collectors as they follow leads and resort to Indiana Jones levels of ingenuity to track down and recover records as rare as Biblical artifacts. One memorable incident involves a scuba expedition in Grafton, Wisconsin. But the collectors’ aim is ultimately less hoardery and more altruistic; they digitize and preserve the historical recordings, many of which have survived only in quantities of one. In light of the Universal Studios fire that allegedly destroyed more than a hundred-thousand priceless master recordings from artists as diverse and important as Buddy Holly, Blackstreet, the Carter Family, Rosemary Clooney, and Lionel Essrog’s beloved Prince—among many, many others—their work feels all the more heroic.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marhal Zeringue

Friday, January 24, 2020

Five hilarious books by women

Josh Gondelman is a writer and comedian who incubated in Boston before moving to New York City, where he currently lives and works as a writer and producer for Desus & Mero on Showtime. Previously, he spent five years at Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, first as a web producer and then as a staff writer. He’s also the author of the essay collection Nice Try: Stories of Best Intentions and Mixed Results. In 2016, he made his late night standup debut on Conan (TBS), and he has also performed on Late Night With Seth Meyers (NBC) and The Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS).

At Electric Lit, Gondelman tagged five "favorite funny essay collections by women," including:
One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None Of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul

Scaachi writes alternatingly with hilarious scathing fury and equally hilarious aggrieved tenderness. It’s amazing to see the way she turns her laser focused prose from wrath at the world’s sexism to her intense love of her niece to her bemused frustration with her parents in quick and powerful succession. What a joy to read the work of someone in total command of her voice, you know?
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Five books about murder all in the family

Tiffany Tsao's new novel is The Majesties.

At CrimeReads she tagged "five tales featuring family murdering family, or family members who end up murdering someone else." One title on the list:
The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

A bleak novel about a lazy, incompetent spy. After years of living undercover as a “shopkeeper” (read: pornography seller) in London, Verloc is finally mobilized by his government—the country is never named, but it’s totally Russia—to commit a terrorist act. His mission is to blow up the Royal Observatory. But instead of placing the bomb himself, he enlists his intellectually disabled brother-in-law, Stevie, to do so. When Stevie trips en route, he sets off the bomb and is instantly killed. A police investigation follows, sending Verloc into a panic. But Verloc’s unintentional murder of Stevie isn’t the only death by loved one that occurs. Unrelentingly dark and cynical, this book leaves no illusions or ideals intact by its grim end.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Secret Agent is among Alan Burdick's ten top books about time, Heinz Helle’s top ten novels featuring hateful characters, Neel Mukherjee's top ten books about revolutionaries, Jason Burke's five books on Islamic militancy, Iain Sinclair's five novels on the spirit and history of London, Dan Vyleta's top ten books in second languages, Jessica Stern's five best books on who terrorists are, Adam Thorpe's top ten satires, and on John Mullan's list of ten of the best professors in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Top ten political travel books

Edward Platt was born in 1968 and lives in London. His first book, Leadville, won a Somerset Maugham Award and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. He is also the author of The Great Flood which explores the way floods have shaped the physical landscape of Britain, and The City of Abraham, a journey through Hebron, the only place in the West Bank where Palestinians and Israelis lived side by side.

At the Guardian, Platt tagged ten favorite political travel books, including:
The Jaguar Smile by Salman Rushdie

Rushdie visited Nicaragua during July 1986, when the Sandinista government was battling to survive in the face of hostility from the US and the US-sponsored Contra rebels. Since he was a patron of the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign in London, he was not “a wholly neutral observer”. He was dismayed by the censorship in force, but “el escritor hindú”, as he was called, could not bring himself to condemn a government led by a poet, Daniel Ortega. Rushdie’s “postcards” from Nicaragua, as he calls this record of his trip, were once an insight into a venture that failed. But since Ortega won power again in 2011 and 2016, their historical significance has changed again.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight thrillers about women in the workplace

Lisa Levy is a columnist and contributing editor at LitHub and CrimeReads. She is the former EIC of crime fiction site The Life Sentence and the former Mystery/Noir editor at the LA Review of Books.

At CrimeReads Levy tagged eight thrillers focused on women in the workplace, including:
Megan Abbott, Give Me Your Hand (Little Brown)

Abbott always dives deep into her settings: cheerleading in Dare Me; gymnastics in You Will Know Me; the less than fatale femmes of Hollywood in Die a Little; and a research lab led by a prominent doctor in Give Me Your Hand. Two former friends and classmates, Kit and Diane, are both chomping to work on the cure for a women’s disease under the eminent Dr. Severin. But Diane knows a secret about Kit that could destroy them both, and the project they are so eager to be a part of.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Give Me Your Hand is among Layne Fargo's eight top thrillers featuring ambitious women, Allison Dickson's ten thrillers featuring a dance of girlfriends and deception and Carl Vonderau's nine notable moral compromises in crime fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Six top books with unreliable narrators

Catherine Steadman is an actress and author based in North London, UK. Her debut novel, Something in the Water, has become a New York Times bestseller published in thirty countries with film rights optioned by Reese Witherspoon’s production company Hello Sunshine. As an actress, she has appeared in leading roles on British and American television as well as on stage in the West End, where she was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award. She grew up in New Forest, UK, and lives with a small dog and a fairly tall man.

Steadman's new novel in the U.S. is Mr. Nobody.

At The Week magazine she tagged six of her favorite books that feature unreliable narrators. One title on the list:
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1955).

Another confessional novel, one whose narrator tries to explain how and why he murdered a man named Clare Quilty — and in the process confesses to more devastating crimes and desires.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Lolita appears on Leo Benedictus's top ten list of evil narrators, Juno Dawson's best banned books list, Jo Nesbø's six favorite books list, Emily Temple's list of ten essential road trip books that aren’t On the Road, Olivia Sudjic's list of eight favorite books about love and obsession, Jeff Somers's list of five best worst couples in literature, Brian Boyd's ten best list of Vladimir Nabokov books, Billy Collins' six favorite books list, Charlotte Runcie's list of the ten best bad mothers in literature, Kathryn Williams's list of fifteen notable works on lust, Boris Kachka's six favorite books list, Fiona Maazel's list of the ten worst fathers in books, Jennifer Gilmore's list of the ten worst mothers in books, Steven Amsterdam's list of five top books that have anxiety at their heart, John Banville's five best list of books on early love and infatuation, Kathryn Harrison's list of favorite books with parentless protagonists, Emily Temple's list of ten of the greatest kisses in literature, John Mullan's list of ten of the best lakes in literature, Dan Vyleta's top ten list of books in second languages, Rowan Somerville's top ten list of books of good sex in fiction, Henry Sutton's top ten list of unreliable narrators, Adam Leith Gollner's top ten list of fruit scenes in literature, Laura Hird's literary top ten list, Monica Ali's ten favorite books list, Laura Lippman's 5 most important books list, Mohsin Hamid's 10 favorite books list, and Dani Shapiro's 10 favorite books list. It is Lena Dunham's favorite book.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 20, 2020

Seven novels featuring the unapologetic woman in the Gothic

Kim Taylor Blakemore's new novel, The Companion, is her adult debut in historical mystery.

At CrimeReads she tagged seven books that represent the transformation of the Gothic heroine from victim to strong and dangerous, including:
The Weight of Lies, by Emily Carpenter

In Emily Carpenter’s modern-day gothic, a mother, Frances Ashley, writes a horror novel that becomes a bestseller – and may or may not be true. Her daughter Meg lives in the shadow of her mother’s fame, not able to find her own way. Meg is offered a contract to write a tell-all book about her mother and the book, Kitten. Meg sees this as a way to break off completely with her mother, and jets off to Bonny Island, a long, low, isolated island of the southern eastern seaboard with one run-down hotel, a band of wild horses, and the real-life woman Frances Ashley accused of murder in her novel. Doro Kitchens—the Kitten to the cultish readers of the book—might or might not have murdered another girl when she was young. Meg is soon entangled in the secrets and stories of the island, in the said and unsaid, in the lies and delusions of Doro Kitchens. The twists come fast and furious, and the overarching dread is as thick as the humid air.
The Weight of Lies is among Wendy Webb's eight best modern gothic mysteries.

Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Eleven of the best books under the bigtop

At Electric Lit, intern McKayla Coyle tagged eleven of the best books about the circus, including:
The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

In turn-of-the-century Coney Island, young Coralie lives with her father above a museum of oddities. When Coralie’s father begins displaying her in the museum as a mermaid, she forms bonds with the other so-called freaks on display. One night, while out for a swim, Coralie happens upon a young Russian immigrant with a camera and quickly becomes embroiled in a mystery involving a missing girl and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire that sets Coralie’s life into motion.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Five books to better understand the British royal family

At the Guardian, Kathryn Hughes tagged five books to understand the British royal family. including:
Before she married into the royal family, Meghan Markle had her own lifestyle website called The Tig. Those who saw it before she shut it down in 2017 will remember her “badass reading list” which included Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. The novella’s fox is the character with whom Markle identifies most and who tells the Prince: “One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Little Prince is among Judy Wajcman's top five books to get to a grip on the pace of life, Rosa Rankin-Gee's top ten novellas about love, Viv Groskop's ten best fictional royal babies, Christopher Clark's five top books on unusual journeys, the best literary quotes ever tattooed, Simon Callow's six best books, Sita Brahmachari's top 10 books that take you travelling, Maria Popova's seven essential books on optimism, and Dalia Sofer's most important books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 17, 2020

Ten novels that evoke a childhood of curiosity and sleuthing

Laura Elliot was born in Dublin, Ireland. She lives in Malahide, a picturesque, coastal town on the north side of Dublin. Writing as June Considine, she has twelve books for children and young adults. Her short stories have appeared in a number of teenage anthologies and have also been broadcast on the radio. She has also worked as a journalist and magazine editor. Elliot's novels include, most recently, The Wife Before Me and The Thorn Girl.

At CrimeReads she tagged ten novels that evoke a childhood of curiosity and sleuthing, including:
Night of the Werewolf by Franklin W. Dixon

This was my introduction to the Hardy brothers, Frank and Joe. A hair-raising mystery with horror undertones, I was hooked. The brothers made their debut in 1927 and have undergone many manifestations in the almost-century since then. Still selling strongly, the characters were originally created by the American writer Edward Stratemeyer. The series would later continue under the authorship of several ghost writers, all sharing the pen-name, Franklin W. Dixon, but Stratemeyer must have been one of the most prolific writers in the world, producing in excess of 1,300 books and selling in excess of 500 million copies.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven top books with family secrets

At The Strand Magazine Jason Allen tagged his seven top novels "featuring complex characters and narratives that are masterfully crafted around lies and family secrecy for a powerful effect," including:
All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr – While most people know this novel as a WWII epic, I see the storyline between six-year-old Marie-Laure, one of the two young protagonists, and her father, as a profound statement of love that evolves for the reader as the father lies and keeps secrets from his daughter. He not only trains her to see once she is completely blind—similar to how Roberto Benigni’s character does for the child in the film Life is Beautiful—he distracts Marie-Laure from the impending German invasion with sublime and intricately fabricated details of the world he wishes his daughter could continue to inhabit. Life for Marie-Laure, he knows, is hard enough without her having to sit in constant panic prior to their inevitable flight from their home. This novel is panoptic and multifaceted (it even includes fake precious gems, decoys away from the one true treasure), and is fraught with secrecy and lies that are spawned from a wide spectrum of motivations, not the least of which is love.
Read about the other entries on the list.

All the Light We Cannot See is among Whitney Scharer's top ten books about Paris, David Baldacci's six favorite books with an element of mystery, Jason Flemyng's six best books, Sandra Howard's six best books, Caitlin Kleinschmidt's twelve moving novels of the Second World War and Maureen Corrigan's 12 favorite books of 2014.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Seven books about surviving political and environmental disasters

Tochi Onyebuchi is the author of Beasts Made of Night, its sequel Crown of Thunder, War Girls, and Riot Baby, out this month from He has graduated from Yale University, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Columbia Law School, and L’institut d’études politiques with a Masters degree in Global Business Law.

At Electric Lit Onyebuchi tagged seven books about surviving political and environmental disasters. One title on the list:
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

In a place where the End of the World is quite literally a seasonal occurrence, Jemisin’s mind-bursting, heart-shattering novel begins with an unthinkable loss. Essun, a woman with the ability to manipulate earth and stone, lives in hiding with her husband and two children. But when one child is violently murdered and the other kidnapped, her world is quite literally riven. Her quest to reclaim her daughter propels this ambitious and ambitiously structured book, as well as the rest of this astounding, accomplished, much-feted trilogy. Catastrophic climate change and racial oppression co-exist here in this novel that dares to ask the question: what good is a monstrous world to those trapped in its maw? Then, more daringly, what if we burned it all down?
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Fifth Season is among Lit Hub's twenty best novels of the decade, Mark Skinner's eleven top works of science fiction & fantasy by black authors and Emily Temple's ten best road trip books. The Broken Earth series is among John Scalzi's six best examples of sci-fi worldbuilding and Joel Cunningham's eleven top sci-fi & fantasy books or series with a powerful message of social justice.

--Marshal Zeringue