Friday, February 28, 2014

Six top science fiction romance novels

At USA Today, Veronica Scott compiled a short reading list of great SF romances, including:
Under Different Stars by Amy Bartol

Kricket isn't one to wish upon stars; she believes they're rarely in her favor. At 17, she's an expert at dodging caseworkers who'd force her back into Chicago's foster care system. But when soldiers from enemy factions find her, their plans to take her back to her true home on Ethar collide. Caught between Trey's high society in Rafe and the political intrigue of Kyon's Alameeda clan, Kricket's inherent gifts become more valuable than any fire in the night sky. With rumors of war threatening Kricket's existence, will her life be torn apart under different stars?
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten Berliners in literature

Rory MacLean's newest book is Berlin: Portrait of a City Through the Centuries.

One of his top ten Berliners in literature, as shared at the Guardian:
Alec Leamas in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré

John le Carré's first sight of the Berlin Wall filled him with disgust and outrage, inspiring him to write his seminal book in five intense weeks. Spies were vain fools, traitors, "pansies, sadists and drunkards, people who play cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten lives," he wrote. Through Alec Leamas, the novel's antihero, he too helped to transform the city, weaving further intricacy into its mythology, freezing in time a place both perilous and clandestine: black winter canals, deep dark shadows, and the "weasel faces of the brainwashed little thugs who guarded the Kremlin's latest battlement".
Read about the other entries on the list. 

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is among Louise Doughty's ten best courtroom dramas, Jon Stock's top ten John le Carré novels, the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five top books on The Cold War, Charles Cumming's best books, and Keith Jeffery's five best books about Britain's Secret Service.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Five books ready to be brought to the silver screen

One title on the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five books ready to be brought to the silver screen:
Tell the Wolves I'm Home
by Carol Rifka Brunt

14-year-old June is ostracized from her family and mourning the loss of her uncle when she suddenly finds an unexpected friend and embarks on a remarkable journey of discovery and compassion. This sophisticated, poignant coming-of-age story set under the shadow of the AIDS crisis within the art scene of the 1980s could be aptly brought to the screen by a director like Gus Van Sant or Cameron Crowe.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see: Fifteen top film adaptations of literary classics; Five great books that worked as films; and The Daily Telegraph's top 25 book to film adaptations.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Seven books for fans of "Orange Is The New Black"

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Rebecca Jane Stokes tagged seven books for fans of Orange Is The New Black, including:
Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood

Hands down one of my favorite books. I reread it annually. I’d argue it’s Atwood’s strongest work of fiction, and I’d recommend it to folks unwilling to start with the “feminist” The Handmaid’s Tale. So basically I’m talking about my dad, I guess? Based on a famous murder in Canada, it traces the life of young immigrant Grace, from her point of trauma to the terrifying act it makes possible.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Alias Grace is one of Tracy Chevalier's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top crime novels that double as great literature

Adam Sternbergh is the culture editor of the New York Times Magazine and the author of Shovel Ready, a future-noir thriller about a garbageman-turned-hitman set in a dystopian New York City. One of his six favorite crime novels that double as great literature, as shared at The Week magazine:
Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell

Woodrell is building a solid case for himself as the Faulkner of the Ozarks and started that work with this wounded tale of a tenacious young girl struggling to find her missing father. The movie made Jennifer Lawrence famous, and Woodrell more than deserves the same fate.
Read about the other books on the list.

Winter's Bone is one of Lauren Passell's ten must-read books that take place in the Midwest.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ten notable fictional works on winter sports

At the Guardian John Dugdale tagged ten notable fictional works on winter sports, including:
Louisa May Alcott – speed skating

In Little Women, Laurie and Jo race on a frozen river, ignoring Amy who falls through the ice.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Little Women also appears among Melissa Albert's five favorite YA books that might make one cry, Anjelica Huston's seven favorite coming-of-age books, Bidisha's ten top books about women, Katherine Rundell's top ten descriptions of food in fiction, Gwyneth Rees's ten top books about siblings, Maya Angelou's 6 favorite books, Tim Lewis's ten best Christmas lunches in literature, and on the Observer's list of the ten best fictional mothers, Eleanor Birne's top ten list of books on motherhood, Erin Blakemore's list of five gutsy heroines to channel on an off day, Kate Saunders' critic's chart of mothers and daughters in literature, and Zoë Heller's list of five memorable portraits of sisters. It is a book that disappointed Geraldine Brooks on re-reading.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten chilling fictional crimes

Simon Mason is a British author of novels for young readers as well as adults, and the nonfiction book The Rough Guide to Classic Novels.

He named his top ten chilling fictional crimes for the Guardian, including:
The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

Logical crime. Tom Ripley is holidaying with Dickie Greenleaf far from their American homes. Tom is poor. Dickie is rich. Why not kill Dickie and assume his identity? Why not kill again to protect your secret? And why not get away with it? Why not keep getting away with it? Most stories about crime have in-built systems of punishment, or at least disapproval. This one doesn't.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Talented Mr Ripley is on 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, February 24, 2014

Five great military-themed YA novels

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Dahlia Adler tagged five great military-themed YA novels, including:
Personal Effects, by E.M. Kokie

Matt’s brother, T.J., has died in combat, leaving Matt with their terrifying father, a lot of rage, some fond memories…and not much else. Until his personal effects show up, sending Matt on a journey to learn about the love and the life he never knew his brother had, giving him the strength to finally take control of his own.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Michael Rosen's six best books

Michael Rosen is an English poet, scriptwriter, broadcaster, and performer, has been writing for children since 1970. His books include We're Going on a Bear Hunt. One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
by Erich Kästner

This was my favourite book as a child. Emil's mother sends him to Berlin with some money for his aunt and grandmother but the money is stolen by a stranger on the train. It's funny, exciting and very atmospheric.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five of the best fictional book stores

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Nicole Hill tagged five of the best fictional bookstores, including:
Flourish and Blotts (Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling)

From the most important orphan in the world’s first visit: “They bought Harry’s school books in a shop called Flourish and Blotts, where the shelves were stacked to the ceiling with books as large as paving stones bound in leather; books the size of postage stamps in covers of silk; books full of peculiar symbols and a few books with nothing in them at all.”

Big ones. Small ones. Some as big as your head. Sounds like a hoot, not to mention the important author signings. But two quick tips: Never, ever step within 10 feet of The Monster Book of Monsters, and always check your cauldrons when the Malfoys are around—their ‘presents’ suck.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Albus Dumbledore is one of Rachel Thompson's ten greatest deaths in fiction.

Hermione Granger is among Nicole Hill's nine best witches in literature and Melissa Albert's top six distractible book lovers in pop culture.

Dolores Umbridge is among Melissa Albert's six more notorious teachers in fiction, Emerald Fennell's top ten villainesses in literature, and Derek Landy's top 10 villains in children's books. The Burrow is one of Elizabeth Wilhide's nine most memorable manors in literature.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban appears on Amanda Yesilbas and Katharine Trendacosta's list ot twenty great insults from science fiction & fantasy and Charlie Jane Anders's list of the ten greatest prison breaks in science fiction and fantasy.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone also appears on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best owls in literature, ten of the best scars in fiction and ten of the best motorbikes in literature, and Katharine Trendacosta and Charlie Jane Anders's list of the ten greatest personality tests in sci-fi & fantasy, Charlie Higson's top 10 list of fantasy books for children, Justin Scroggie's top ten list of books with secret signs as well as Charlie Jane Anders and Michael Ann Dobbs's list of well-known and beloved science fiction and fantasy novels that publishers didn't want to touch. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire made Chrissie Gruebel's list of six top fictional holiday parties and John Mullan's list of ten best graveyard scenes in fiction.

The Harry Potter books made Sara Jonsson's list of the six most memorable pets in fiction, Melissa Albert's list of more than eight top fictional misfits, Cressida Cowell's list of ten notable mythical creatures, and Alison Flood's list of the top 10 most frequently stolen books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ten tragic love stories that will break your heart

At Thought Catalog, Jason Allen Ashlock and Mink Choi tagged ten tragic love stories that will break your heart, including:
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Skip the movie–despite Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley. Read the book. Ishiguro’s sleight of hand will astonish you, and 100 pages in you’ll feel your stomach drop. Then you’ll fly to the end. Teenagers in England, growing up as friends in a strange kind of boarding school, are forced to confront the meaning of their short lives and imagine the possibility that love and friendship can make their years mean more than their commodotized bodies. This novel will crush you. And the pleasure of that pain will make you want to read it again.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Never Let Me Go is on Allegra Frazier's list of seven characters whose jobs are worse than yours, Shani Boianjiu's list of five top novels about coming of age, Karen Thompson Walker's list of five top "What If?" books, Lloyd Shepherd's top ten list of weird histories, and John Mullan's lists of ten of the best men writing as women in literature and ten of the best sentences as titles.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books for Nora Ephron fans

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Chrissie Gruebel tagged five books for readers inspired by Nora Ephron, including:
If you dig [Ephron's] complicated female characters:

READ THIS: Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple

This book is hilarious, first and foremost. It also happens to be about a brilliant, imperfect, rich woman, so it’s basically a 10 on the Ephron scale. Can we stress the brilliant and imperfect part, though? Because we’re talking REALLY brilliant and REALLY imperfect. Bernadette Fox royally messes up her own life, and you’ll read it and still kinda like her and want her to be your worst friend.

AND THEN…watch (and read) Orange is the New Black. The protagonist is completely insufferable, but the supporting cast is everything. Attn: Danielle Brooks (Taystee)—be my best friend? Please and thank you.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 21, 2014

Five top books on the life and work of Thomas Hardy

At the Telegraph Christopher Nicholson recommended five books that illuminate the life and work of Thomas Hardy, including:
Hardy’s novels, at their best, are mythic in nature: the stories they tell, from the changing countryside of the 19th century, are both local and universal. The most dreamlike is The Woodlanders (1887) – set in a hamlet deep in the woods, it feels like a fairy tale. A poor girl cuts off her hair for money, an old man becomes terrified of a large tree, a mantrap lies in wait…
Read about the other books Nicholson tagged.

The Page 99 Test: Thomas Hardy's The Woodlanders.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books on visiting Mars

One title on the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five top books on visiting Mars:
The Martian
by Andy Weir

Stranded on Mars after a wind storm kills his crew, astronaut Mark Watney must use all of his knowledge and wherewithal to survive an unforgiving planet and impossible odds. In pursuit of oxygen, fuel, protection from radiation, and a sense of purpose, Andy Weir's genrebending new foray into the paranormal is balanced with a realist, slice-of-modern life approach to scouring Big Red, and exploring the perimeters of our galaxy.
Read about the other books on the list.

See--Kim Stanley Robinson's 10 favorite Mars novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Top ten computer books

Vikram Chandra's first non-fiction book, Geek Sublime: Writing Fiction, Coding Software, came from his own lived experience as novelist and sometimes-programmer.

One of Chandra's top ten computer books, as shared with the Guardian:
The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder

More than 30 years old, but still unsurpassed as a description of working programmers and the problems they tackle. Kidder watched the engineers and programmers at the Data General Corporation build a new minicomputer in just a year; the "veterans" on the project were 35-year-olds who hired fresh college graduates willing to sacrifice themselves to make the machine work. This story of epic effort, technical idealism and management cynicism is repeated in many a startup today.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Soul of a New Machine is one of William Rosen's five best books about inventions.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Five dark thrillers to soothe your Valentine’s Day hangover

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Melissa Albert tagged five "recent releases that’ll warm (or further chill) your Cupid-intolerant heart," including:
The Winter People, by Jennifer McMahon

Another cold case is brought to light in McMahon’s mystery, which finds the two daughters of a reclusive small-town woman left struggling after their mother’s sudden disappearance. After the eldest discovers an artifact linking her family to the decades-old murder of a grieving woman from their town, McMahon’s tale alternates between the events of the past and the unfolding terrors of the present.
Read about the other books on the list.

Learn more about The Winter People.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The ten best courtroom dramas

Louise Doughty is the author of seven novels, including Apple Tree Yard. One of her ten best courtroom dramas, as shared at the Guardian:
To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)

Harper Lee’s classic of American literature is often thought of as a courtroom drama because of Gregory Peck’s performance as idealistic lawyer Atticus Finch. In fact, in the novel, the trial of Tom Robinson does not begin until over halfway and takes no more than a few pages. Lee’s portrayal of endemic racism in the deep south of the 1930s uses the courtroom setting to expose not an individual crime but the ills of society as a whole. Prejudice based on skin colour is what is really on trial, with the jurors and witnesses as guilty parties, and Tom, as the man in the dock, not perpetrator but victim.
Read about the other entries on the list.

To Kill a Mockingbird made Hanna McGrath's top fifteen list of epic epigraphs, the Telegraph's list of ten great meals in literature, Nicole Hill's list of fourteen characters their creators should have spared, Isla Blair's six best books list, Lauren Passell's list of ten pairs of books made better when read together, Charlie Fletcher's top ten list of adventure classics, Sheila Bair's 6 favorite books list, Kathryn Erskine's top ten list of first person narratives, Julia Donaldson's six best books list, TIME magazine's top 10 list of books you were forced to read in school, John Mullan's list of ten of the best lawyers in literature, John Cusack's list of books that made a difference to him, Lisa Scottoline's top ten list of books about justice, and Luke Leitch's list of ten literary one-hit wonders. It is one of Sanjeev Bhaskar's six best books and one of Alexandra Styron's five best stories of fathers and daughters.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 17, 2014

Diane Johnson's six favorite books

Diane Johnson's new memoir is Flyover Lives.

One of her six favorite books, as shared with The Week magazine:
The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy

A chronicle of a rich Edwardian family obsessed with lineage and money, and, in the case of its successful scion, his wife — the only person he couldn't own. Galsworthy embedded a secret (or not-so-secret) message for young women about independence and the perfidy of men within absorbing details about a world that the First World War would soon change.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Forsyte Saga is among Douglas Hurd's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Nine works inspired by writers’ love lives

Joni Rendon and Shannon McKenna Schmidt are the authors of Writers Between the Covers: The Scandalous Romantic Lives of Legendary Literary Casanovas, Coquettes, and Cads.

For The Daily Beast they came up with a list of nine works inspired by writers’ love lives, including:
Lady Chatterley’s Lover
by D.H. Lawrence

Lusty Frieda Lawrence believed she deserved equal credit for her husband’s novels since she was the one who tapped into his amorous side. Lawrence liberally drew on her traits and experiences for his characters, including Lady Chatterley, the adulterous noblewoman who cheats on her wheelchair-bound husband. The novel mirrored the writer’s own struggle with impotence, which put an end to the couple’s once-active sex life and prompted Frieda to take a lover.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The ten worst couples in literature

Hannah Jane Parkinson is a writer on pop culture, lifestyle and the arts, and performs poetry around Oxford, on evenings when Coronation Street isn't on. She likes reading, sauvignon blanc, laughing and Liverpool FC.

At the Guardian she tagged the ten worst couples in literature, including:
Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil (Les Liaisons dangereuses)

The ultimate twisted and sadistic literary relationship. The scheming pair get their comeuppance (of sorts) when all of their philandering ends in heartbreak and tears, death and, er, smallpox. The two lovers seduce and manipulate their way through a whole host of vulnerable characters, and in the end nobody gets to have a happy ending. Probably would have been for the best if these two never met, to be honest.
Read about the other entries on the list. 

Les Liaisons Dangereuses also appears on Jonathan Grimwood's top ten list of French Revolution novels, Helena Frith Powell's top ten list of sexy French books, H.M. Castor's top ten list of dark and haunted heroes and heroines, and John Mullan's list of ten of the best lotharios in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 14, 2014

The six most memorable bullies in literature

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Becky Ferreira tagged six of the most memorable bullies in literature, including:
Carrie’s mother and schoolmates, in Stephen King’s Carrie

A remake of Carrie was released last year, and the timing was just right. School bullying has been such a huge topic in recent years that everyone was primed to watch the iconic social outcast unleash her telekinetic fury in the middle of prom. Chucking cars at bullies is not how you should handle them, but nevertheless, the schadenfreude of Carrie’s revenge—in both the films and the book—never gets old.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Carrie is on Julie Buntin's list of favorite literary kids with deadbeat and/or absent dads, Gregg Olsen's top ten list of deadly YA books, and James Dawson's top ten list of books to get you through high school.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Top ten most romantic books

Stephanie Perkins' novels include Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and the forthcoming Isla and the Happily Ever After.

One of her top ten most romantic books, as shared with the Guardian:
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

One of my favorite novels ever, this is a cross between "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" and "The Frog Prince." Set in the forest of historical Romania, it features both types of romance – true love as well as the traditional definition, the sublime and mysterious. Marillier made me fall head-over-heels for an amphibian. That, my friends, takes talent.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Juliet Marillier & Pippa, Gretel, and Sara.

Writers Read: Juliet Marillier (November 2012).

--Marshal Zeringue

The top ten difficult love stories

Graeme Simsion is a former IT consultant with an international reputation. His screen adaptation of The Rosie Project won the Australian Writers Guild/Inscription Award for Best Romantic Comedy Script. Simsion lives in Australia with his wife, Anne, and their two children, and is currently working on a sequel to The Rosie Project.

One of Simsion's ten top difficult love stories, as shared at the Guardian:
Addition by Toni Jordan

The nearest thing to a sister novel to The Rosie Project: a first-person story of someone – in this case a woman – who believes their psychological oddness will forever stand in the way of a relationship. There's a strong comedic thread, laced with wry self-awareness. Grace's obsession is with numbers and counting. Seamus comes into her life and is initially accepting – but then wants her to take medication. Addition copped some flak for finding comedy in mental illness and supposedly encouraging sufferers not to take their meds: my wife, a psychiatrist, thinks Jordan describes the dilemma pretty well.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Addition.

My Book, The Movie: The Rosie Project.

The Page 69 Test: The Rosie Project.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Five top stories about unlikely survivors

Claire Cameron's new novel is The Bear.

One of the author's five favorite stories about unlikely survivors, as shared at The Daily Beast:
by Marilyn Robinson

Published in 1980, this one of my favorite character driven novels set in a hard mountain town of Fingerbone, Idaho, where a life alone is brutish and short. Ruth and Lucille are sisters. When they are left parentless a series of people try to help, but it becomes clear that finding a place among other people is a question that each has to answer on her own. The body needs food, warmth and water, but your heart needs more.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Housekeeping is among Sara Zarr's top ten family dramas, Philip Connors's top 10 wilderness books, Kate Walbert's best books, and Aryn Kyle's favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Six short-story collections for ultra-specific moods

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Chrissie Gruebel tagged six short-story collections for very specific moods, including:
Your Mood: Whimsical—but in a Björk way, not a Zooey Deschanel way

The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, by Aimee Bender

In a single collection, you get a boyfriend de-evolving into a salamander, a woman giving birth to her own mother, a man without lips, and a mermaid (among others). It’s an eccentric parade of characters and situations that will make you want to climb into Bender’s brain and get your Entertainment Weekly subscription forwarded there. Still, no matter how fantastical their premises, each story has an emotional payoff that feels all too relatable. Sure, we haven’t all been in a relationship with someone who has lost his lips—but we’ve all felt love, disappointment, hope, and grief. Bender wraps all that up in weird. And it’s great.
Read about the other books on the list.

Writers Read: Aimee Bender (June 2010).

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 10, 2014

Ten dirty romance novels

Victoria Dahl is the author of twenty-one hot romances and one dirty erotic novella, “The Wicked West.” Her latest release is So Tough to Tame.

One of her top ten dirty romances, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
Dirty by Megan Hart

A rich, dominant business man and an unassuming, submissive woman… Sound familiar? Not the way Megan Hart writes it, believe me. This is vulgar, intelligent prose and a heart-wrenching romance all wrapped up in one. It’s one of my favorite recent reads.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Writers Read: Megan Hart (February 2009).

--Marshal Zeringue

Rabih Alameddine's six favorite novels

Lebanese-American writer Rabih Alameddine is the author of The Hakawati (The Storyteller), a 2008 international best-seller. His new novel is An Unnecessary Woman.

One of Alameddine's six favorite novels, as shared at The Week magazine:
Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar

The ultimate magic act, this novel is so impeccably rendered that one can't believe it's fiction. A historical record, a novel of government and power, a love story; it is all that and more.
Read about the other entries on the list. 

Memoirs of Hadrian is among John Mullan's ten best emperors in literature and Teju Cole's top 10 novels of solitude.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Five notable books about the Olympics

One title on the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five top books on the Olympics:
The Boys of Winter
by Wayne Coffey

The "Miracle on Ice," or the surprise victory of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team against the Soviet Union, has become synonymous with an underdog romanticism and the triumph of Western capitalism over communist ideals. But what of the ramshackle, blue-collar bunch who just wanted to play a good game of hockey? Wayne Coffey delves into the unlikely team’s back-story in The Boys of Winter, sketching intimate portraits of the players, coach Herb Brooks, and even the Russian opponents, paralyzed with disbelief at a match that had appeared a guaranteed win.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The six most momentous weddings in fiction

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Becky Ferreira tagged her six most momentous weddings in fiction, including:
The Rochester/Eyre Wedding in Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë

Jane and Mr. Rochester have the perfect romance…that is, until their wedding day. As they are exchanging vows, a man in the crowd objects to the marriage, claiming that Rochester is already married to his sister. Awk-ward. As with Claudio and Hero [from Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare], the second time is the charm for these lovebirds.
Read about the other weddings on the list.

Jane Eyre also made Molly Schoemann-McCann's list of five of the best--and more familiar--tropes in fiction, Julia Sawalha's six best books list, Honeysuckle Weeks's six best books list, Kathryn Harrison's list of six favorite books with parentless protagonists, Megan Abbott's top ten list of novels of teenage friendship, a list of Bettany Hughes's six best books, the Guardian's top 10 lists of "outsider books" and "romantic fiction;" it appears on Lorraine Kelly's six best books list, Esther Freud's top ten list of love stories, and Jessica Duchen's top ten list of literary Gypsies, and on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best governesses in literature, ten of the best men dressed as women, ten of the best weddings in literature, ten of the best locked rooms in literature, ten of the best pianos in literature, ten of the best breakfasts in literature, ten of the best smokes in fiction, and ten of the best cases of blindness in literature. It is one of Kate Kellaway's ten best love stories in fiction.

The Page 99 Test: Jane Eyre.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 7, 2014

Eleven books that will make you glad you're single

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Chrissie Gruebel tagged eleven books that will make you glad you're single, including:
A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole

Because you don’t actually like people all that much and have often thought you’re surrounded by idiots. Read this and laugh, laugh, laugh at the peasants.
Read about the other books on the list.

Ignatius Reilly is on Melissa Albert's list of six of the worst fictional characters to sit next to on a plane and Jill Boyd's list of five of the worst fictional characters to invite to Thanksgiving. A Confederacy of Dunces is among the Telegraph's critics' fifty best cult books, Melissa Albert's eight favorite fictional misfits, Ken Jennings's eight notable books about parents and kids, Sarah Stodol's top ten lost-then-found novels, Hallie Ephron's top ten books for a good laugh, Stephen Kelman's top 10 outsiders' stories, John Mullan's ten best moustaches in literature, Michael Lewis's five favorite books, and Cracked magazine's classic funny novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Isabel Allende's six favorite books

Isabel Allende's new novel, Ripper, is a murder mystery that's set in San Francisco and features a teenage sleuth.

One of the author's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Among the thousands of apocalyptic futuristic novels in existence, this one stands out as the most depressing. Yet it is so beautifully crafted that I have read it three times. In McCarthy's tale, the love of a father for his son sheds the only light in the midst of supreme horror and darkness. What a writer!
Read about the other entries on the list. 

The Road appears on the Telegraph's list of the 15 most depressing books, Joseph D’Lacey's top ten list of horror books, the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five unforgettable fathers from fiction, Ken Jennings's list of eight top books about parents and kids, Anthony Horowitz's top ten list of apocalypse books, Karen Thompson Walker's list of five notable "What If?" books, John Mullan's list of ten of the top long walks in literature, Tony Bradman's top ten list of father and son stories, Ramin Karimloo's six favorite books list, Jon Krakauer's five best list of books about mortality and existential angst, William Skidelsky's list of the top ten most vivid accounts of being marooned in literature, Liz Jensen's top 10 list of environmental disaster stories, the Guardian's list of books to change the climate, David Nicholls' top ten list of literary tear jerkers, and the Times (of London) list of the 100 best books of the decade. In 2009 Sam Anderson of New York magazine claimed "that we'll still be talking about [The Road] in ten years."

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Five great novels set in hot places

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Allegra Frazier tagged five top books to remind you of warmer climes, including:
The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver

This novel follows the growth of the four daughters of the Price family. Having left the sweltering heat of Georgia for the even more sweltering heat of the Belgian Congo with all of their belongings packed in carry-on bags, the girls adapt to Congolese culture in a way that their strict Southern Baptist father cannot. Narrated alternately by each child, Poisonwood will leave you with visions of crocodile-filled rivers, sunshiny days, and purposeful young women.
Read about the other novels on the list.

The Poisonwood Bible appears on Segun Afolabi's top ten list of "on the move" books and John Mullan's list of ten of the best snakes in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Four books that will make you glad you are alive now

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Melissa Albert highlighted four books that will make you glad you are alive now (and not in the past or the future). One entry on the list:
A Highly Unlikely Scenario, by Rachel Cantor

Leonard is what you’d call a highly devoted employee, having created a special whitewashed room for contemplation and customer complaints, the two tasks he’s charged with as an employee of delivery chain Neetsa Pizza. In Cantor’s future America, religion, food supply, and the ruling class have amalgamated into one odd entity, an array of fast food chains that are at war with each other and ripe for subordination. Though he wants nothing more than to keep his job and be a good uncle to his nephew, Felix, Leonard becomes an unlikely hero, trading his whitewashed room for the unfriendly outside world, and traveling through time to an even more dangerous past.
Read about the other books on the list.

Check out Cantor's list of the ten worst jobs in books.

The Page 69 Test: A Highly Unlikely Scenario.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten cats in children's books

Pip Jones is a London-based feature writer, columnist, editor and children's author. Her latest book is Squishy McFluff: The Invisible Cat!.

For the Guardian, Jones named her top ten cats in children's books, including:
Mog by Judith Kerr

The Mog books have been enjoyed by countless children since the 1970s but, just over a decade ago, Judith Kerr did something rather brave with her adored feline – she sent Mog to heaven. Mog helps a new kitten settle in to the family home before ascending completely, and it's hard to imagine anyone else tackling the sensitive subject of loss quite so straightforwardly and yet quite so gently.
Read about the other cats on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ten top books set in London

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Chrissie Gruebel tagged ten top books set in London, including:
Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens

Low-hanging fog + cobblestone streets + orphans + hilarious.
Read about the other books on the list.

Great Expectations appears on Melissa Albert's list of five interesting fictional characters who would make undesirable roommates, Janice Clark's list of seven top novels about the horrors of adolescence, Amy Wilkinson's list of five books Kate Middleton should have read while waiting to give birth, Kate Clanchy's top ten list of novels that reflect the real qualities of adolescence, Joseph Olshan's list of six favorite books, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best clocks in literature, ten of the best appropriate deaths in literature, ten of the best castles in literature, ten of the best Hamlets, ten of the best card games in literature, and ten best list of fights in fiction. It also made Tony Parsons' list of the top ten troubled males in fiction, David Nicholls' top ten list of literary tear jerkers, and numbers among Kurt Anderson's five most essential books. The novel is #1 on Melissa Katsoulis' list of "twenty-five films that made it from the book shelf to the box office with credibility intact."

Read an 1861 review of "Great Expectations".

Also see: Ten of the best books set in London.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven great autobiographies by entertainers

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Matt Kraus tagged seven great autobiographies by entertainers, including:
Born Standing Up, by Steve Martin

At the height of his fame, Martin performed in front of crowds large enough to make rock stars jealous, and his book Born Standing Up provides a fascinating look at what led up to that fame, then what caused him to eventually step down from the stage. Martin talks not just about his career in show business, but also his early experiences at theme parks like Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. Many fans were disappointed when he retired from standup in the early 80s, but Born Standing Up is a superb record of how he came to that decision.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Born Standing Up made Whitney Collins's list of five books to read when you need a good laugh and Will Dean's reading list on stand-up comedy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 3, 2014

Charles Kenny's six favorite books

Charles Kenny, previously a senior economist at the World Bank, is now a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and a columnist for Bloomberg Businessweek and Foreign Policy magazines.

Kenny's new book is The Upside of Down: Why the Rise of the Rest is Good for the West.

One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Happiness: A History by Darrin M. McMahon

Before asking whether humanity is "doing better" today, it's best to ask, "better at what?" McMahon tackles that question through a beautiful, accessible history of thought about the life well-lived — what it is that people through the ages have said they're striving for.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Happiness: A History.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Nine top books about horses

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Molly Schoemann-McCann tagged nine of her favorite books about horses, including:
Misty of Chincoteague, by Margeurite Henry

Paul and Maureen are a brother and sister who love horses, and long for one of their own. Will they be able to save up enough money to buy wild mare Phantom and her foal, Misty, who have captured their hearts? Based on the story of a real life wild pony who was raised in captivity by the Beebe family of Chincoteague Island, Virginia, every child who reads this story will dream of visiting Chincoteague—which I can say from experience will NOT disappoint. Plus, it’s cheaper than Disneyland. Family road trip!
Read about the other books on the list.

Also see Belinda Rapley's top ten horse books and Megan Wasson's eight great books about horses.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Ten of the worst jobs in literature

Rachel Cantor is the author of the novel A Highly Unlikely Scenario, or a Neetsa Pizza Employee's Guide to Saving the World.

One entry on her list of the ten worst jobs in books, as shared in Publishers Weekly:
Concubine, The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

Offred is the titular handmaid of Margaret Atwood’s chilling The Handmaid’s Tale. Known to be fertile, she is given to a high-ranking couple after a theocratic revolution so she can have highly ritualized sex with the husband (the wife is always present) and, they hope, conceive for them a child.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Handmaid's Tale made Charlie Jane Anders and Kelly Faircloth's list of the best and worst childbirth scenes in science fiction and fantasy, Lisa Tuttle's critic's chart of the top Arthur C. Clarke Award winners, and PopCrunch's list of the sixteen best dystopian books of all time.

The Page 69 Test: Rachel Cantor's A Highly Unlikely Scenario.

--Marshal Zeringue