Thursday, July 31, 2014

Five top books about small towns

For the Barnes & Noble Review, Jessica Ferri tagged five top books on American small towns, including:
Pet Sematary
by Stephen King

While Stephen King once called Shirley Jackson America’s best horror writer, it’s King who has carried that torch into the twenty-first century. Zombie pets are scary — but the true terror behind Pet Sematary (as in many of King’s novels) is the frustration of a man who doesn’t fit in. Like Jack Torrance in The Shining, Louis Creed has lost his job as a doctor under suspicious circumstances and must move his family to the rural Maine hamlet of Ludlow to work at a university clinic. Ludlow’s constant stream of Mack trucks (the throughway has yet to be built) dooms all pets. Despite warnings not to venture past into the town’s animal graveyard from neighbors and ghosts alike, grief-impaired Louis makes a horrifying mistake.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Pet Sematary is one of Sandra Greaves's top ten ghost stories.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight new beach reads for the social justice set

Some staff members at In These Times tagged a few new books that "will sharpen your awareness of injustice and even provide you with some new tools to fight it," including:
Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women’s Movements by Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid Henry

In an attempt to rewrite a century of U.S. women’s history, Cobble, Gordon and Henry challenge the framing of the feminist movement as a set of competing “waves.”
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Top ten child narrators

John Boyne is the author of numerous works of fiction, including The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, a young adult novel that became an international bestseller and was made into an award-winning film.

One of his top ten child narrators, as shared at the Guardian:
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

From the opening line, where David queries whether he will be the hero of his own life or whether that station will be held by someone else, the reader shares the heartaches, loneliness and occasional triumphs of Dickens' favourite creation. The early chapters – his love for his mother, Clara, the abusive relationship with his stepfather, Edward Murdstone, and his eventual sanctuary in the home of his great-aunt Betsey – are unparalleled in their presentation of the cruelties that can shape a child's life and the relief of eventual asylum.
Read about the other entries on the list.

David Copperfield is among Lynn Shepherd's top ten fictional drownings and Elizabeth Gilbert's six favorite books. It appears on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best seductions in literature, ten of the best trips to Canterbury in literature and ten of the best valets in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Four top books about adventures abroad

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Ellen Wehle tagged four top books top books for armchair travelers, including:
Lords of Corruption, by Kyle Mills

Josh Hagerty has a brand-new MBA, a mountain of student debt, and no job prospects. When a shadowy aid organization called New Africa offers him a post, Josh is suspicious at first, wondering why they would want a guy who’s never done aid work. Desperate for a job and seduced by the “you can make a difference” speech, he accepts. But no sooner has Josh’s plane landed in Africa (although the country is never named) than he realizes he’s in trouble.

The country’s two tribes, the Yvimbo and the Xhisa, hate each other with a ferocity that echoes the Hutus and Tutsis in 1990s Rwanda. And just like that real-life conflict, this one soon erupts into genocide, with Josh and a beautiful Scandinavian aid worker trapped in the middle. Meanwhile, New Africa is raking in the dough as a “nonprofit” group. Will Josh live long enough to tell the world the truth? An action-packed and all-too-believable thriller.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 28, 2014

Germaine Greer's six favorite books

Germaine Greer is an Australian academic and journalist, and a major feminist voice of the mid-twentieth century. She earned her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1967. Greer's ideas have created controversy ever since The Female Eunuch became an international bestseller in 1970. She is the author of many other books including Sex and Destiny: The Politics of Human Fertility (1984); The Change: Women, Ageing and the Menopause (1991); Shakespeare's Wife (2007); and The Whole Woman (1999).

Greer's new memoir, White Beech, is an account of the decade she spent converting land that was once a dairy farm back to its primeval state.

One of her six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Wild Trees by Richard Preston

In 2008, I was lucky enough to come across The Wild Trees in an airport bookstall. This is the ripping tale of the coastal redwoods of California and the people who climb them. It is as true as a book can be.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Wild Trees is among the Barnes & Noble Review's five top books on trees and Michelle Nijhuis's 15 green books to take to the beach.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Top ten animal villains

Piers Torday was born in Northumberland, which is possibly the one part of England where more animals live than people. After working as a producer and writer in theatre, live comedy and TV, he now lives in London where there are more animals than you might think. His book The Last Wild was released in the US in March and is followed by the sequel, The Dark Wild.

One of Torday's top ten animal villains, as shared at the Guardian:
Napoleon from Animal Farm by George Orwell

Not technically a children’s book, as some thought at the time, but one I enjoyed as a child – although I feared the tyrannical pig Napoleon, “the rather fierce looking Berkshire boar, with a reputation for getting his own way” who promises equality for all beasts but ends up living like a human in the farmhouse, at their expense.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Animal Farm is one of Robson Green's six best books, Heather Brooke's five books on holding power to account, Chuck Klosterman's most important books; it appears on John Mullan's list of ten of the best pigs in literature and Charlie Jane Anders and Michael Ann Dobbs's list of well-known and beloved science fiction and fantasy novels that were rejected over and over.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books that changed Dav Pilkey

Dav Pilkey has written and illustrated numerous popular, award-winning books for children, including the Captain Underpants and Dumb Bunnies series.

One of five books that changed him, as shared with the Sydney Morning Herald:
Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak

This was the first book to have a huge effect on me. My mother wouldn't let me read it because she thought the scary-looking creatures would give me nightmares. My church library had a copy, though, and I'd sneak it every chance I got. There was something wonderfully forbidden about this experience. I had to hide behind a desk to read it, and the thrill of getting caught made the book seem even more exciting. As an adult, I appreciate this book even more. The illustrations seem just as groundbreaking today as they were when the book came out more than 50 years ago.
Read about the other books on the list.

Where the Wild Things Are is among Molly Schoemann-McCann's five favorite fictional creatures, Michael Rosen's six best books, Jessica Ahlberg's top ten family-themed picture books, Edward Carey's top ten writer/illustrators, Sara Maitland's top ten books of the forest, and Anthony Browne's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ten favorite fictional feminists

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Ester Bloom tagged ten favorite fictional feminists, including:
Dr. Maud Bailey (Possession, by A. S. Byatt)

Overlook, if you would, the fact that Gwyneth Paltrow played her in the movie version, and Maud becomes much easier to identify with. A passionate scholar and keen literary detective, Maud finds love without letting that goal displace her desire to be successful and taken seriously.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Possession also appears on Niall Williams's list of ten of the best books that manage to make heroes out of readers, Kyle Minor's list of fifteen of the hottest affairs in literature, Emily Temple's list of the fifty greatest campus novels ever written, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best fossils in literature, ten of the most memorable libraries in literature, ten of the best fictional poets, ten of the best locks of hair in fiction, ten of the best graveyard scenes in fiction, and ten of the best lawyers in literature, and on Rachel Syme's list of the ten most attractive men in literature, Christina Koning's critic's chart of six top romances, and Elizabeth Kostova's top ten list of books for winter nights.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 25, 2014

Five top books on cycling

One title on the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five top books on cycling:
The Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance by David Herlihy

Writes Paul Di Filippo of David Herlihy's history of Franz Lenz: "One of the posers -- they are all amateur bicycle fanatics from the Victorian era -- shows a mild resemblance to the young Paul Newman. He is Frank Lenz, twenty-four years old, and he has conceived of the grand and bold notion of cycling alone entirely around the globe. He will never succeed, meeting a mysterious death in Turkey: a death that will induce further heroics from one of his peers." When Lenz, inspired by a fellow cyclist's 1887 bike trek around the world, sets off on a transcontinental jaunt of his own, an international incident and incredible story of mystery, tragedy, and touching camaraderie-in-memoriam begins.
Read about the other books on the list.

Also see John Mullan's list of ten of the best bicycles in literature, Marjorie Kehe's list of ten great books about cycling, Matt Seaton's top 10 books about cycling, and William Fotherham's top ten cycling novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten injustices inflicted on fictional characters

Jonathan Meres is based in Edinburgh. A former stand-up comedian, he has won a Time Out award for comedy and was nominated for The Perrier Award. Having left behind his stand-up days, Meres now classifies himself as a writer and an actor, strictly in that order.

For the Guardian he shared his top ten books that are so unfair, including:
Matilda by Roald Dahl

When it comes to being treated unfairly, Matilda Wormwood has been there, done that and got the proverbial t-shirt. Well, she would have got the t-shirt, except Miss Trunchbull - a headmistress who makes Mr. Sir from [Louis Sachar's] Holes look like Alan Bennet – and who wreaks revenge on her pupils for the mildest of misdemeanours - would have probably confiscated it. Just as well then for the fragrant Miss Honey. And for Matilda's special powers of course. They always come in handy.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Matilda appears among Sara Jonsson's seven worst fictional kids to babysit, Nicole Hill's ten top fictional tricksters, Chrissie Gruebel's top ten actually insane children’s book characters, Jeremy Strong's ten funniest fictional families, James Dawson's top ten books to get you through high school, and Christopher Timothy's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Top ten holidays in fiction

Emma Straub is the author of the novels The Vacationers and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, and the short story collection Other People We Married. One of her top ten holidays in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter

For some, vacations are all about sex – that is certainly the case for Salter's couple, an American man and a French woman, on the go. They cavort (clothed, unclothed, in this position and that) and drink and talk, clearly loth to return to their daily lives. This book makes the 1960s in provincial France look like the place to go.
Read about the other entries on the list.

A Sport and a Pastime is among Thomas H. Cook's five must reads on the writing life, Adam Ross's favorite books under 200 pages, Lorin Stein's six Paris Review book picks, and Jeff Gordinier's list of five books that will make you question the wisdom of ever falling in love.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Top ten unlikely heroes

SF Said is an award-winning author. He was born in Lebanon in 1967, but has lived in London since he was 2 years old. His novels include Varjak Paw (2003), the sequel, The Outlaw Varjak Paw (2005), and PHOENIX (2013), an epic space adventure for readers of 9 and up.

For the Guardian, Said tagged his ten favorite "underdogs who come good and save the day," including:
Katniss in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I'm in the early stages of writing my next book now – and yes, it features an unlikely hero! So it's good to read stories which remind me how exciting that can be. I love Katniss as a character. She's always up against enormous odds. She prevails partly because Suzanne Collins had the genius idea of making her deadly with the bow and arrow; but more, because of her amazing resilience. Whatever life throws at Katniss Everdeen, she keeps going, and never gives up. I find that very inspiring, because that's exactly what you need if you want to write books.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Hunger Games also appears on Rebecca Jane Stokes's top eight list of books perfect for reality TV fiends, Chrissie Gruebel's list of favorite fictional fashion icons, Lucy Christopher's top ten list of literary woods, Robert McCrum's list of the ten best books with teenage narrators, Sophie McKenzie's top ten list of teen thrillers, Gregg Olsen's top ten list of deadly YA books, Annalee Newitz's list of ten great American dystopias, Philip Webb's top ten list of pulse-racing adventure books, Charlie Higson's top ten list of fantasy books for children, and Megan Wasson's list of five fantasy series geared towards teens that adults will love too.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Seven books that are not beach reading

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Rebecca Jane Stokes tagged seven books not to bring to the beach, including:
On The Beach, by Nevil Shute

Ain’t nobody handles the apocalyptic genre like an Australian, and Nevil Shute is no exception. This book takes place on the beach…where a bunch of survivors are quietly waiting to be killed by nuclear radiation. There isn’t enough sunscreen in the world to make this lighthearted reading.
Read about the other entries on the list.

On the Beach is among Ben H. Winters's three books to read before the end of the world, Sloane Crosley's five depressing beach reads, and Michael Evans's top six books on nuclear war.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dean Koontz's five favorite books

Dean Koontz's new novel is The City.

One of his five favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Both cities in this classic are portrayed with Dickens's talent for detail. His Paris in revolution is chilling. Madame Defarge is one of the great monsters of literature. The last scene and final sentence are deeply moving, as is the author's insistence that totalitarian politics doesn't have the power to eradicate love from the world.
Read about the other books on the list.

A Tale of Two Cities also appears on Maya Angelou's six favorite books list, Alice-Azania Jarvis's reading list on revolutions, Paulette Jiles's list of her 12 favorite books, and John Mullan's list of ten of the best doppelgängers in fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sixteen of the funniest books

Some staff members at Publishers Weekly their favorite funny books. The entry tagged by Judith Rosen, New England correspondent:
Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov

If I were to be honest with myself, the funniest book I ever read is a Mad Libs, which I encountered decades ago at summer camp. Later, I discovered a different kind of humor, not so much laugh out loud, but with lines that make you nudge the person next to you until they stop what they’re doing. Then you insist that you just want to read them one line, and the next thing you know you’re doing it again. Ivan Goncharov’s Oblomov, which I read in college in what was then a “new" translation by Ann Dunningan was such a book. In fact I still have the yellowing 95¢ Signet Classic edition. The very idea of a healthy 30-something-year-old man who spent the better part of his life in bed wearing his “authentic oriental robe” struck me then and now as hilarious. And he didn’t even have Angry Birds to while away his time. I’m sure I missed many of the layers of meaning about Russian society, but the idea of a person incapable of exerting himself to cut the pages of a book he wants to read, to figure out what to do about his impending eviction, or to decide whether to get up spoke to my teenage sensibility directly, and still does.
Read about the other books on the list.

Oblomov is among John Sutherland's top ten overlooked novels, Alexandra Silverman's eight top examples of sloth in literature, Francine du Plessix Gray's five favorite fictional portraits of idleness and lassitude and Emrys Westacott's five best books on bad habits.

The Page 69 Test: Ivan Goncharov's Oblomov.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Top ten books of the Midlands

Sathnam Sanghera is a British journalist and author of Marriage Material: A Novel and The Boy With The Topknot: A Memoir of Love, Secrets and Lies in Wolverhampton. He claims "there is certain way of thinking and writing when you are neither from the north or the south, when you live in an English urban, multicultural setting which is not London," and tagged ten top books that capture that mindset, including:
Nice Work by David Lodge

If there is one thing that runs through Midlands literature – and this list, as it happens – it is humour. I suspect this is a consequence of geography: Midlanders are never not aware that they live in an aesthetically-challenged part of the country. And no one harnesses this self-deprecation better than David Lodge. A great comic novel, from one of our best comic novelists.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ten top books about World War I

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Molly Schoemann-McCann tagged ten "books [that] will amaze and educate readers as we remember World War I on its centennial," including:
The Guns of August, by Barbara W. Tuchman

It could be argued that the greatest nonfiction books read like fiction, which is the case with Tuchman’s intensely detailed look at the tragically ruinous first 30 days of World War I. You might imagine that you couldn’t focus an entire book around the events leading up to the First World War, let alone make it an utterly riveting read—but that’s exactly what Pulitzer Prize–winning author Tuchman has done with this mesmerizing book.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Guns of August is among the Telegraph's twenty-three best war and history books of all time and Ruth Harris's five top books on Dreyfus and the Belle Epoque.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top books on surveillance

One title on the Barnes & Noble Review's list of six top books on surveillance:
The Crying of Lot 49
By Thomas Pynchon

Despite our potential entry into a devastating surveillance state, Big Brother wasn't watching hard enough to keep us from sneaking a sixth book onto this list. A major influence on everyone from David Foster Wallace to William Gibson to fake fact-finding comedian John Hodgman, this uncharacteristically slim volume from legendary postmodernist Thomas Pynchon finds heroine Oedipa Mass uncovering a worldwide conspiracy between two secret American postal services, each striving to control information and the means of its distribution. Pynchon's darkly comic, savagely witty fable foresaw Big Data before there ever was such a thing, and carries a savvy satirical critique that reads today as prescient and disturbingly conceivable.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Crying of Lot 49 is on John Mullan's list of ten of the best secret societies in literature.

Also see Seth Rosenfeld's five top books on the surveillance state.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Top ten books about Chicago

Andrew Rosenheim's novels include Fear Itself and The Little Tokyo Informant. He grew up in Chicago and in a small town in Michigan, and then went on to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in 1977.

One of Rosenheim's top ten books about Chicago, as shared at the Guardian:
Endless Love by Scott Spencer

The movie version of the novel – a combination of Zeffirelli schmaltz, Brooke Shields, and a theme tune that can be heard in elevators across the world – has relegated this remarkable book to undeserved obscurity. For although most "tragic" love stories remind me of Oscar Wilde's dictum about Little Nell, this is the exception. It's the story of Chicago teenager David Axelrod who lives in the city's famously liberal Hyde Park. David falls in love with a local girl, Jade Butterfield – and with her family who, embodying the kind of socially tolerant views the neighbourhood has always been famous for, invite him to live with them. But growing alarmed by David's intensity, Jade's father suddenly puts a halt to the affair. In a madcap scheme, David then accidentally burns down the Butterfield house and is sent to a mental institution. On release, he is reunited with Jade, only for catastrophe to strike a second time. A heartbreaking novel no synopsis can stand in for. Read it.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see: Five books that show real life in Chicago.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Five must-read Nadine Gordimer books

At the Guardian, Claire Armitstead tagged five must-read books by the late Nadine Gordimer, including:
The Conservationist (1974)

Gordimer was joint winner of the Booker prize for this novel, which exposes the delusions of apartheid through the character of Mehring, a rich white businessman turned dilettante farmer, who is confronted with an unidentified corpse on his land. Mehring's certainty that he always does "the right thing" is undermined by a narrative that constantly undercuts his smug conservatism. Considering the novel as a contender for the Best of Booker prize, Sam Jordison wrote: "The intensity of this writing requires serious concentration, especially when coupled with an impressionistic narrative that skips backwards and forwards over time and situates us right inside Mehring's head – an increasingly unpleasant place to be. It's hard work – but is correspondingly effective."
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Emily Gould's six favorite books

Emily Gould is the author of the 2010 memoir And the Heart Says Whatever and the newly released debut novel, Friendship.

One of her six best books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Lee and Elaine by Ann Rower

An art professor ends a long relationship and retreats to a friend's beach house, where she obsesses over the legacies of Willem de Kooning's and Jackson Pollock's wives. Rower's wide-ranging imagination and translucent, funny, and intelligent style transforms ordinary life into a series of surprises.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven great reads for the seven deadly sins

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Ellen Wehle tagged seven "books for ... folks who commit the Seven Deadly Sins…and don’t regret a single moment of it," including:
Pride: You Should Have Known, by Jean Hanff Korelitz

What would you say if I told you a therapist had written a best-seller scolding women who choose lousy men? You’d think, “So how good is her marriage,” right? Grace, the therapist in question, is the poster child for Pride. She’s smart and successful and married to a brilliant doctor…in other words, ripe for a fall.

Korelitz has lots of fun setting up the disaster. Though Grace’s husband, Jonathan, is never home—we don’t see him for most of the book—she’s oblivious, telling herself he’s just busy saving lives. Clues mount that something is wrong, but Grace ignores them all. She tells her poor, hopeful patients the same message she writes in her best-seller: Your own fault, my dears, you chose the wrong man. Ouch! By the time Grace’s perfect life begins to teeter, she’s been smug for so long that we can’t help but enjoy the crash.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see: Jean Hanff Korelitz's six top books about failed marriages.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fifteen books set in sci-fi & fantasy versions of fascinating places on Earth

At io9, Madeleine Monson-Rosen tagged 15 books that take place in science fiction and fantasy versions of the most fascinating places on Earth, including:
Paolo Bacigalupi's Bangkok, The Windup Girl

Bacigalupi's Thailand manages to be geopolitically unique in a future that's both distant and familiar. And his Bangkok, a "drowning city" stands out in his dystopic Asia, where almost every other country is starving. This Bangkok is drowning in its own abundance, awash in gray and black marketeers.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Windup Girl is among Annalee Newitz's lists of books to prepare you for the economic apocalypse and the 35 essential posthuman novels.

Writers Read: Paolo Bacigalupi.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Six books that changed Catherine Jinks

Catherine Jinks, author of How to Catch a Bogle and many other books, is a three-time winner of the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year award, and has also won a Victorian Premier's Literature Award, the Ena Noel Award for Children's Literature, and an Aurealis Award for Science Fiction. In 2001 she was presented with a Centenary Medal for her contribution to Australian Children's Literature.

One of six books that changed her, as shared with the Sydney Morning Herald:
The Fatal Shore, Robert Hughes

In primary school I was bored witless by Australian history. But on reading The Fatal Shore in my early 20s, I discovered Australian history was full of death and sex and sadism and lunacy and everything else you could possibly want as subject matter. This book was the reason I honeymooned in Tasmania, and it also led, indirectly, to my colonial novels, The Gentleman's Garden and The Dark Mountain.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Nine indispensable books for college graduates

Whitney Collins is the author of The Hamster Won't Die: A Treasury of Feral Humor and the creator and editor of two humor sites -- errant parent and The Yellow Ham.

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog she tagged nine indispensable books for college graduates, including:
Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, by Studs Terkel

Pulitzer Prize–winning author, historian, and broadcaster Studs Terkel brings together a wealth of interviews with men and women from all sorts of vocations in his rich and varied Working. Touted by the L.A. Times as “a deep penetration of American thought and feeling,” Working is a valuable read for those just heading out into the world of work.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Working is among Roman Krznaric and John-Paul Flintoff's top ten books new graduates can turn to for practical insights about the real world, Sheila Heti's top ten books that began as speech, and Daniel H. Pink's six favorite books about work.

--Marshal Zeringue

Rose Mannering’s top five books

Rose Mannering (AKA G. R. Mannering) is an English writer and international author. She signed up with literary agency Creative Authors when she was eighteen and secured her first UK publishing deal when she was nineteen.

Roses, her first fantasy novel, is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

At Eat More Cake, Mannering tagged her five top books, including:
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

I think this book just epitomises my teenage-hood. So many of the things that Cassie says, I too said and thought. I was absolutely sure that I would never fall in love, I was consciously naïve and I wrote obsessively in practice books trying to document and ‘capture’ the stories around me. However, that’s sadly where the similarities end. I didn’t live in a castle and I’m pretty bitter about it. But that doesn’t stop me adoring this book. I reread I Capture the Castle every spring and each time I fall in love with it all over again. It’s an amazing summer read if you’re looking for something dreamy and beautiful.
Read about the other books on the list.

I Capture the Castle is among Diane Johnson's six favorite books and Sophia Bennett's top ten stylish reads.

Visit G. R. Mannering's website, blog, Facebook page and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Roses.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 11, 2014

Top ten atmospheric locations in fiction

Helen Grant is a highly acclaimed YA author. Her latest novel is Demons of Ghent, the second book in the Forbidden Spaces trilogy.

One of Grant's ten "best books with settings that are strikingly brought to life," as shared at the Guardian:
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Set in a graveyard with a magnificent hilltop location overlooking the town, the tale of Bod, a living child adopted by ghosts and a vampire after the murder of his parents, has a location striking in its incongruity: the cute infant Bod practises his alphabet by picking out the letters on tombstones. But in spite of the numerous friendly ghosts, the graveyard is still a sinister place – who is the being who has been buried under the hill since before even the Celts were there?
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Graveyard Book is one of Nevada Barr's 6 favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fifteen classic science fiction books

At the Christian Science Monitor Weston Williams tagged fifteen classic science fiction books, including:
We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin

This science fiction dystopia where free will is forbidden by an authoritarian government was written as a criticism of growing Soviet repression in the early 1920s. "We" was the very first book banned by the Soviet censorship bureau. Controversy over the work eventually sent Zamyatin into exile.
Read about the other entries on the list.

We is one of Lawrence Norfolk's five most memorable dystopias in fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Top ten books with secrets

Cathy Cassidy wrote her first picture book for her little brother when she was eight or nine and has been writing stories ever since. Her latest book is Sweet Honey.

One of Cassidy's ten favorite books with a sneaky secret, as shared at the Guardian:
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

This is a teen book, and hugely powerful. It's about a girl who feels alone, isolated, outcast at her high school; her old friends won't speak to her. Melinda cannot quite remember why, but she's certain that they've got things very, very wrong. Then something happens to bring the memories flooding back, and Melinda finds her voice again… the secret is out at last.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Speak is among Lauren Roedy Vaughn's five top literary adult mentors and Kerry Cohen's five great books about teenage girls and sex.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Seven books that belong on your social media–obsessed friend’s shelf

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Ginni Chen tagged "7 books you can sneak onto your social media–obsessed friend’s shelf that will inspire them to tone it down," including:
Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart

A masterful satire that will give your friend a grim look at a future where retail and media are king. Everyone’s either shopping or rating things online, there’s no privacy, there are no books (!), and everyone is hooked to a device that streams their thoughts. Oh, and everybody is graded on a hotness scale. Yikes.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Super Sad True Love Story appears on Molly Schoemann-McCann's list of five of the best--and more familiar--tropes in fiction, Charlie Jane Anders's lists of ten great science fiction novels, published since 2000, that raise huge, important questions and ten satirical novels that could teach you to survive the future, and Nicholas Carr's list of five notable books on the impact of the Information Age.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight of the best books for elementary schoolers

Whitney Collins is the author of The Hamster Won't Die: A Treasury of Feral Humor and the creator and editor of two humor sites -- errant parent and The Yellow Ham.

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog she tagged eight of the best books for for elementary schoolers, including:
The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster

Milo’s a bored little boy who thinks there’s nothing interesting about life. That is, until he drives through a magical tollbooth in his room and heads toward Dictionopolis, where he meets the Whether Man, goes through the Doldrums, teams up with a watchdog named Tock, and encounters all sorts of otherworldly characters and places, such as the Mountains of Ignorance and twin princesses Rhyme and Reason. This droll and witty fantasy is the perfect introduction to wordplay and irony for young readers.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Phantom Tollbooth is a book Cristina García hopes parents will read to their kids and one of Rebecca Stead's favorite classic American novels for children that may be overlooked outside of the US.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 7, 2014

Top ten lesser-known literary heroines

At the Telegraph Anna Murphy tagged the ten "most inspiring fictional women you may never have heard of," including:
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

It is hard to pick from Wharton’s world-class line-up, but Lily Bart is one of the greatest women ever written. As a 19th-century lady without means, she is in need of a fortune. But she keeps not closing the deal. Can she reconcile her desire for love with the socio-economic imperative?
Read about the other entries on the list.

The House of Mirth is one of Anna Quindlen's five best list of novels about women in search of themselves, Jay McInerney's five essential New York novels, Megan Wasson's five novels that explore the dark side in New York City, Rachel Cusk's five best books on disgrace and Kate Christensen's six books that she rereads all the time; it appears on Robert McCrum's top ten list of books for Obama officials.

Also see: Nine notable unsung heroines.

--Marshal Zeringue

Nick Harkaway's six favorite holiday books

Nick Harkaway is the author of a nonfiction work about digital culture, The Blind Giant: Being Human in a Digital World, and three novels: The Gone-Away World, Angelmaker, and the newly released Tigerman. Harkaway happens to be the son of John Le Carré.

One of Harkaway's six favorite holiday books, as shared at the Daily Express:
Beat The Reaper by Josh Bazell

This has been one of my favourite thrillers for many years. It's about a guy who used to be a mobster and is now a doctor and his past comes back to haunt him.

It's hilarious and it's fabulous and it's terrifying and there are sharks.
Read about the other books on the list. 

Beat the Reaper also made the Telegraph's list of best crime books of 2009 and is one of Time's top ten fiction books of 2009.

The Page 69 Test: Beat the Reaper.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Stuart Dybek's six favorite books

Stuart Dybek is the author of five books of fiction, including the newly released story collections Ecstatic Cahoots and Paper Lantern, as well as two collections of poetry. He is the recipient of many prizes and awards—including the PEN/Malamud Award, an Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and four O. Henry Awards.

One of Dybek's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

Calvino calls this one-of-a-kind masterpiece a novel. Yet its plot is simply Marco Polo describing to Kublai Khan the cities in his kingdom. The book's true setting is the border between poetry and prose. It proceeds not by plot but by theme and variation, like a piece of music, and its lyrical beauty can be experienced over and over.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Invisible Cities is among Mark Binelli's ten favorite cities in literature and Pat Conroy's six favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The ten best books & stories on drinking and booze

Olivia Laing is the author of The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking. Hilary Mantel described it as "one of the best books I've read on the creative uses of adversity."

One of Laing's ten best books and stories on drinking and booze, as shared at The Daily Beast:
Tender is the Nightby F. Scott Fitzgerald

I can think of very few books that choreograph a downward spiral with such elegant and terrifying precision. Dick Diver begins as the graceful, competent king of the Riviera and ends as a washed-up drunk, estranged from everyone he loves. Though it’s denser and more irregular than The Great Gatsby, Tender also contains some of Fitzgerald’s most magical writing and arresting images and scenes.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Tender is the Night is among Joni Rendon and Shannon McKenna Schmidt's top nine works inspired by writers’ love lives.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 4, 2014

Four great dystopian novels that made it to the big screen

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Allegra Frazier tagged four great dystopian novels that made it to the big screen, including:
Technology Run Amok

Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick (Film adaptation: Blade Runner)

One dystopian possibility that seems increasingly real is the technological takeover, in which machines that are supposed to make life easier ultimately become too efficient, and intelligent, and start making scary and unexpected demands on (or even threatening) their former masters. In the truly horrific scenario of Dick’s novel, the company that manufactures this out-of-control technology refuses to stop development out of concern that competing companies will encroach on their profit margin. Unfortunately, in this case, the technology happens to be highly realistic androids that have a pesky habit of murdering their owners and passing as human in order to escape slavery.

The story’s central questions—when does being a machine end and being a human begin, and which one is ultimately more dangerous?—are illustrated in Dick’s novel by complicated characters who share similar traits with their android counterparts, even though they are sworn enemies. The ambiguity of good and evil is very similar to that found in noir films, which is exactly the style director Ridley Scott and screenwriter Hampton Francher decided to adopt when bringing Dick’s story to the silver screen.

As a result, Blade Runner is a good example of an adaptation really going off the rails—in the best way possible. Scott takes some huge liberties with the story in order to blend the hard sci-fi and droid-era ethics of the novel with classic film noir elements: hard-talking cops, smoke-haloed vixens, and a complex and powerful syndicate. One of the best things about Scott’s film is that the novel’s many doubles are streamlined down to one amazing doppelgänger pair: Deckard and Baty, each trying to preserve the community they believe to be the safer one.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? also appears on Ryan Menezes's list of five movies that improved the book, Amanda Yesilbas and Charlie Jane Anders's list of the twelve most unfaithful movie versions of science fiction and fantasy books, Katharine Trendacosta and Charlie Jane Anders's list of the ten greatest personality tests in sci-fi & fantasy, John Mullan's list of ten of the best titles in the form of questions, Charlie Jane Anders and Michael Ann Dobbs's list of ten classic sci-fi books that were originally considered failures and Robert Collins's top ten list of dystopian novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Alison Weir's ten favorite books

Alison Weir's new novel The Marriage Game is about Elizabeth I's scandalous affair with Robert Dudley.

One of the author's ten favorite books, as shared at the Daily Express:
KATHARINE by Anya Seton (1954)

Still my all-time favourite historical novel and I know that many people feel the same way about it. It charms me as much now as it did when I was 15, and it inspired me back then to write historical fiction. It’s a benchmark for the genre and vividly evokes the world of the 14th century.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten parallel narratives

Philip Hensher's new novel is The Emperor Waltz.

At the Guardian the author shared his top ten parallel narratives--i.e., novels that track unconnected but related stories. One entry on the list:
The Hours by Michael Cunningham

This lovely book runs three lives in parallel, including Virginia Woolf and a contemporary version of Clarissa Dalloway; fleeting, elegant and exquisite, it resembles an object picked up and examined from three quite different angles.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Five new detective fiction classics

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Melissa Albert tagged five of the best recent detective fiction classics, including:
The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith

The last time we saw veteran and private eye Cormoran Strike, he was dodging flashbulbs after debunking a model’s suspicious suicide in The Cuckoo’s Calling. Now he’s investigating a seedy seam of London publishing, after a writer’s latest manuscript, a vicious roman à clef, leads to his macabre murder. J.K. Rowling’s second turn under pseudonym Galbraith is just as satisfying as her first.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven essential yoga books

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Monique Alice tagged seven essential yoga books, including:
Bhagavad Gita: The Song of God, translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood

If you only ever read one book about yogic philosophy, this should be it. This book is part of the triumvirate of Hindu religious texts, and includes some of the most profound wisdom ever scribed by human hands. “The Gita,” as the cool kids call it, is written in the style of an epic poem. It’s essentially a long conversation between the deity Krishna and his pupil Arjuna. The two contemplate the most baffling of ethical dilemmas, from war to lust to laziness. This trove of teachings will help you to see modern yoga in its true spiritual, cultural, and historical context. There are countless translations available, but this one is a personal favorite and gets even better when you read it at the beach.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Kenneth Turan's six favorite books

Kenneth Turan is a film critic for the Los Angeles Times and NPR's Morning Edition. His new book is Not to Be Missed.

One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Elia Kazan: A Life

A huge sprawling autobiography from "the actor's director" whose films included On the Waterfront, A Streetcar Named Desire, and East of Eden. When this nearly 900-page book came out in 1988, Norman Mailer described it as "the best autobiography I've read by a prominent American in I don't know how many years."
Read about the other entries on the list.

Elia Kazan: A Life is among William Friedkin's five best books on film directors, Stefan Kanfer's five best books on remarkable Hollywood lives, and Richard Schickel's five best show-biz biographies.

--Marshal Zeringue