Sunday, November 30, 2014

The five PD James novels you should read

Anita Singh, arts and entertainment editor at the Telegraph, tagged the five P.D. James novels you should read. One title on the list:
Cover Her Face (1962)

James’s debut novel introduced readers to Detective Chief Inspector Adam Dalgleish, the poetry-writing policeman. His first investigation is the violent death of a young parlourmaid at an Essex manor house. “Adam Dalgleish is not drawn from any person I know but does, I suppose, represent the qualities I most admire in a man, ie sensitivity, courage and intelligence,” James said.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ten of the most memorable crime novels of 2014

At Kirkus J. Kingston Pierce tagged ten of the most memorable crime novels of 2014, including:
Sweet Sunday, by John Lawton

Texas-born Turner Raines has found his place in late-1960s New York City as a private investigator, one who tracks down draft dodgers—not to haul them home from Canada, but to give them messages from their parents. What crime-solving skills Raines has, though, will be tested after his best friend, Village Voice journalist Mel Kissing, is murdered with an ice pick in the PI’s office. The clues suggest Kissing was croaked for what he’d learned about covered-up atrocities during the Vietnam War, but there may be more to the story than that. At the same time as he’s trying to determine the provocation of his buddy’s demise, Raines relives a personal past that found him mixed up in some of the decade’s best-remembered events and led him to ditch his oil-rich relatives back in the Lone Star State. A surprisingly satisfying combination of gumshoe yarn and study of ’60s societal upheaval.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Sweet Sunday.

My Book, The Movie: Sweet Sunday.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 28, 2014

Five top novels of the supernatural

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Ella Cosmo tagged five top supernatural books that promise to keep you up late at night, including:
Lullaby, by Chuck Palahniuk

What if you could kill someone just by singing a lullaby? Carl Streator is a reporter who has discovered the dark secret hidden inside seemingly innocuous children’s book Poems and Rhymes. In a desperate effort to stop the lullaby’s dark magic from spreading any further, Streator heads a motley group of characters, including witches and an ecoterrorist, on a road trip to destroy all existing copies of the book before it kills anyone else. Written by the author of Fight Club and Choke, this horror story initially has an almost lighthearted feel to it. But as the story progresses, the fun quickly becomes darkly frightening.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gayle Forman's three favorite reads of 2014

At Omnivoracious Gayle Forman tagged three favorite books she read this year, including:
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Woodson’s memoir in verse spans some revolutionary history—the Civil Rights movement, witnessed from Greenville, South Carolina—but equally compelling is the revolution within, when Woodson discovers the power of words and story. Maybe most telling, when I finished reading it, my 10-year-old picked it up, and devoured it.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven of the best bad witches in literature

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick tagged seven of the best bad witches in literature, including:
Circe (The Odyssey by Homer)

The original bad witch. She seduces men and turns them into pigs for…fun? It’s never entirely clear why Circe likes to turn men into swine, so I’m going to assume she just does it because she can. Which isn’t a bad reason, especially if you just want to show off how incredibly powerful you are. Sure, she gets bested by Odysseus, but let’s cut the girl some slack; he basically won the Trojan War. Men beware, no one is immune to her charms.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Odyssey is among Ellen Cooney's ten top canine-human literary duos, Nicole Hill's ten best names in literature to give your dog, Alexandra Silverman's biggest fictional literary crushes, James Marriott and Mika Minio-Paluello's top ten journeys across the Mediterranean and Caspian seas, Panayiota Kuvetakis's top ten fictional female friends who would make good real-life friends, James Marriott and Mika Minio-Paluello's top ten journeys across the Mediterranean and Caspian Sea, Tony Bradman's top 10 list of father and son stories, John Mullan's lists ten of the best shipwrecks in literature, ten of the best monsters in literature, ten of the best examples of rowing in literature, and ten of the best caves in literature, as well as Madeline Miller's top ten list of classical books, Justin Somper's top ten list of pirate books, and Carsten Jensen's list of the top ten seafaring tales.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ten fictional families you would love to visit this holiday season

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Rebecca Jane Stokes tagged ten fictional families you might enjoy more than the one you'll actually spend the holidays with, including:
The Bennet Family

You know what? I’d like to have my holidays with the Bennets because I think poor, homely Mary gets a raw deal! I’d go hang out with them, wear a dress that makes me look pregnant and a severe center-parted hairstyle, and listen attentively while she played the piano for hours and hours and hours. I’d also wisely impart to Kitty and Lydia the virtues of the single life, all the while being thankful for the opportunity to ogle Mr. Darcy to my heart’s delight.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Pride and Prejudice also appears on Melissa Albert's lists of five fictional characters who deserved better, [fifteen of the] romantic leads (and wannabes) of Austen’s brilliant books and recommended reading for eight villains, Molly Schoemann-McCann's list of ten fictional men who have ruined real live romance, Emma Donoghue's list of five favorite unconventional fictional families, Amelia Schonbek's list of five approachable must-read classics, Jane Stokes's top ten list of the hottest men in required reading, Gwyneth Rees's top ten list of books about siblings, the Observer's list of the ten best fictional mothers, Paula Byrne's list of the ten best Jane Austen characters, Robert McCrum's list of the top ten opening lines of novels in the English language, a top ten list of literary lessons in love, Simon Mason's top ten list of fictional families, Cathy Cassidy's top ten list of stories about sisters, Paul Murray's top ten list of wicked clerics, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best housekeepers in fiction, ten great novels with terrible original titles, and ten of the best visits to Brighton in literature, Luke Leitch's top ten list of the most successful literary sequels ever, and is one of the top ten works of literature according to Norman Mailer. Richard Price has never read it, but it is the book Mary Gordon cares most about sharing with her children.

The Page 99 Test: Pride and Prejudice.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Five long books that deserve their own movie series

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog John Bardinelli tagged five long books that deserve their own movie series, including:
Dune, by Frank Herbert

The sci-fi book to end all sci-fi books. That it hasn’t been turned into a series of movies is something of a miracle/curse, depending how you look at it. David Lynch tried to condense Dune’s 500 pages into a movie back in 1984, but as those haunting memories of Sting in metal underpants constantly remind me, it didn’t go so well. The Sci-Fi Channel (SyFy now) did a miniseries in the early 2000s that covered much of Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune, but it was small budget and didn’t quite capture the philosophical appeal of Herbert’s writing. Then there’s the ill-fated Jodorowsky movie, which, despite its groundbreaking concepts, planned on ditching most of Dune’s events in favor of an interpreted storyline.

Dune is so perfect for the big screen it hurts. It’s got everything a blockbuster should have, including gigantic otherwordly creatures, family vs. family conflicts, a larger than life villain, a protagonist you can totally identify with, and some great messages about humanity. It’s also got everything a good movie should have, such as complex characters and an incredibly rich mythology to explore. The problem is both length and converting Herbert’s cerebral writing style into something the modern moviegoer can appreciate. Dune movies would be an enormous project requiring a custom-engineered director ghola born from an axlotl tank on Tleilax.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Dune is among Mohsin Hamid's five great aliens in literature, Annalee Newitz and Emily Stamm's top ten stories where technology is indistinguishable from magic, Robin Sloan's five science fiction books that matter, Mohsin Hamid's six favorite books, io9's best and worst childbirth scenes in sci-fi & fantasy and top ten science fiction novels you pretend to have read, and on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best vendettas in literature and ten of the best deserts in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dick Cavett's six favorite books

Dick Cavett contributes regularly to the New York Times's online opinion section. His new book is Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks.

One of the legendary talk-show host's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Act One by Moss Hart

Hart rose from grinding poverty in Brooklyn to the heights of Broadway success in writing and directing. Act One is easily the best show — business autobiography — a riveting story that risks promoting the foolish idea that if you chase your dream and never give in, you will succeed. Bull. A few will. Hart did.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Five top oddball detective novels

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and We Are Not Good People from Pocket/Gallery. He has published over thirty short stories as well.

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Somers tagged five detective novels featuring "oddballs who will satisfy your yen for mystery and your yen for surprisingly creative worlds," including:
Inherent Vice, by Thomas Pynchon

Pynchon doesn’t really “do” plots, does he—at least not plots that make any sense in the conventional way. Which makes his decision to write a story structured similarly to a classic private eye story a fascinating one, but it works perfectly. Slacker/stoner detective Doc Sportello is an incredible entry in the category of literary detectives because he’s practically his own client: suffering from memory problems, apparent narcolepsy, and a myriad of other problems staying in sync with the real world, Sportello’s an unreliable narrator, seems aware of the fact, and isn’t troubled by it. While the central mystery is just a way for Pynchon to riff brilliantly for a few hundred pages, there’s a detective story at the core of this sprawling novel—one whose solution will surprise and challenge you. The book also serves as a lament of sorts for a moment in American history when it seemed like the Freaks were winning, which slots right in with the countercultural vibe of most detectives in modern literature.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Five top cop books

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Ellen Wehle tagged five cop books that hit the target, including:
Lush Life, by Richard Price

Speaking of The Wire, did you know Richard Price was one of the screenwriters? Known for his sharp, jazzy dialogue and “street cred,” in Lush Life he brings a whole neighborhood to life: the deli owners, deliverymen, and hip young art students who live shoulder to shoulder with the hustlers and gangbangers of New York’s Lower East Side. It’s a volatile mix. When artist Ike Marcus gets stopped on the street one night, he’s too high on life to care. “Not tonight, my man,” he calmly tells his mugger, and a single, fatal bullet is fired. Add a cop with a score to settle and a witness who lies about calling 911, and you’ve got an unforgettable police procedural.
Read about the other books on the list.

Lush Life is one of Gavin Knight's five top books on gang crime.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 21, 2014

Five books that changed Kimberley Freeman

Kimberley Freeman was born in London and grew up in Brisbane, Australia. Her books include Ember Island, Wildflower Hill, and Lighthouse Bay.

One of five books that changed her, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
Margaret Mitchell

The spirit of Scarlet O'Hara is very strong. It's a richly detailed portrait of a troubling time in 19th-century history, and it puts a woman's experience at the heart of something that was seen largely to be men's business, that is war and politics. It doesn't hurt that the frocks were also awesome.
Read about the other books on the list.

Gone With the Wind is among Becky Ferreira's seven best comeuppances in literature, Emily Temple's ten greatest kisses in literature and Suzi Quatro's six best books, and was a book that made a difference to Pat Conroy. It is on the Christian Science Monitor's list of the ten best novels of the U.S. Civil War.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six of the best YA antiheroes

One title on Dahlia Adler's list of six top Young Adult antiheroes, as shared on The Barnes & Noble Book Blog:
Astrid Krieger (Firecracker, by David Iserson)

Astrid has money—a lot of it—so she’s never really had trouble getting exactly what she wants. Until someone squeals on her at her fancy boarding school, and she’s forced to attend public school. Suddenly, there are a lot more things Astrid wants, like getting back into her old school, discovering who ratted her out, and getting revenge. To achieve her new goals, Astrid will have to push herself to do some good deeds for the first time in her life. Her methods aren’t exactly orthodox, and her definition of “good” may not match everyone else’s, and I wouldn’t say she evolves into a sweetheart…what was I saying again? Oh, yeah, Astrid’s hilarious.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Top seven books on feeding the world

One title from the Guardian's list of the top seven books on feeding the world:
Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in a World of Plenty by Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman

Recommended by our readers, this investigative book highlights – in the words of the authors – exactly how “American, British, and European policies have conspired to keep Africa hungry and unable to feed itself”. Written by two former American journalists, this read is essential for food activists looking to get clued up on this topical humanitarian issue.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Enough is among Lucas Wittmann's 5 books that can save the world.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Nine books for fans of Kate Atkinson’s "Life After Life"

At Bustle Kate Erbland tagged nine books for fans of Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life, including:
If you need to spend more time with women who unexpectedly participate in war, get Laird Hunt’s Neverhome

If you’ve already read [Diane Ackerman's] The Zookeeper’s Wife (or you’re like me and want to read even more war-set historical fiction), grab Hunt’s new novel Neverhome. Set during the American Civil War, the novel follows Ash Thompson, a seemingly average farmer’s wife who leaves her home (and her husband) to disguise herself as a man and fight in the war for the Union. Why does she do it? You have to read the book!
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Neverhome.

My Book, The Movie: Neverhome.

Writers Read: Laird Hunt.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Five sci-fi novels that explore gender in unexpected and challenging ways

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and We Are Not Good People from Pocket/Gallery. He has published over thirty short stories as well.

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Somers tagged five sci-fi novels that explore gender in unexpected and challenging ways, including:
The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin

Any discussion of gender in sci-fi generally starts with this classic 1968 novel. First-time readers in the modern day might not see the big deal, but 46 years ago LeGuin’s concept of a race of people who spend the majority of their time as sexless “potentials” and only take on sexual characteristics (either male or female) once a month for breeding purposes—and who are all referred to as “he” regardless of their nature—was kind of mind-blowing. LeGuin has stated that the book began as a thought experiment about what a society would be without gender, and it sometimes has the stiff feel of experiment. To the modern reader the book can seem much less daring—the POV character is a heterosexual male, and while he forms a deep emotional bond with one of the planet’s inhabitants, sexuality is not explored directly in the book—and LeGuin herself later expressed regret that she defaulted to the pronoun “he” instead of “she,” or some other alternative (such as Spivak pronouns).
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Left Hand of Darkness is among Joel Cunningham's top twelve books with the most irresistible titles, Damien Walter's top five science fiction novels for people who hate sci-fi and Ian Marchant's top 10 books of the night. Charlie Jane Anders included it on her list of ten science fiction novels that will never be movies.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 17, 2014

William Gibson's six favorite books

William Gibson's novels include Neuromancer, Pattern Recognition, and The Peripheral.

One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany

Huge, weird, disorienting, and great fun if you don't mind not knowing exactly what's going on, Dhalgren is the closest thing science fiction has produced to a genuinely experimental novel. All the action is set in and around a Midwestern city that's vanished into a weird, lawless catastrophe that functions as a sort of black hole. Not for everyone, but if you like it, you never forget it. Dhalgren reads like the Sixties felt.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Dhalgren is a book Junot Díaz always returns to.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Liane Moriarty's three favorite books of 2014

At Omnivoracious Liane Moriarty tagged three favorite books she read this year, including:
Accidents of Marriage by Randy Susan Meyers

This is an amazing story about a Boston family and the damaging effects of verbal abuse. Every character is beautifully rendered and the author’s meticulous research (I can’t tell you the subject without spoiling the story) gives it such compelling authenticity. It’s one of the most memorable stories about a marriage I’ve ever read.
Read about the other picks on Moriarty's list.

Visit Liane Moriarty's website. Her latest novel is Big Little Lies.

--Marshal Zeringue

Four reading recommendations for the reluctant paranormal YA reader

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Jenny Kawecki tagged reading recommendations for the reluctant paranormal YA reader, including:
The Grisha Trilogy, by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (book #1 in the Grisha series) falls between paranormal and fantasy on the map. In it, we meet Alina, a powerless orphan in a world whose war against darkness relies on the magical elite. But when Alina reveals an ability even she didn’t know she had, she just might be the only person capable of saving her nation.

Why you should read it: We never get tired of an orphan-turned-powerful-magician plot (Harry Potter, anyone?), and Bardugo’s writing is full of beautifully detailed descriptions and the perfect mix of action and romance.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Laura Lippman's four favorite reads of 2014

At Omnivoracious Laura Lippman tagged four favorite books she read this year, including:
My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff

...I'm not the biggest Salinger fan (I love maybe five of the Nine Stories, find A Catcher in the Rye painfully over-rated) but Rakoff's memoir of her time as an assistant at a literary agency is really about that particular post-college time when one is counting pennies and wondering if life has truly started yet.
Read about the other books on the list.

Also see Laura Lippman's top ten list of books about missing persons.

--Marshal Zeringue

Four books that changed Libby Gleeson

Libby Gleeson is the Australian author of many books for children and teenagers.

One of four books that changed her, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
Alice Munro

I was living in London trying to reinvent myself as a writer when someone in a feminist group I was in handed me this. I was blown away. Del Jordan is growing up in Jubilee, a small town in rural Ontario. She feels different from other townspeople but sees her future as becoming like them. The moment she chooses to leave, to make another life away from the town and the boyfriend, is revelatory. I empathised fully as a country girl in western NSW who had chosen to leave for university and travel.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 14, 2014

Seven awesomely scary novels

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick tagged seven awesomely scary novels, including:
Coraline, by Neil Gaiman

Coraline might be a book for kids, but I still have nightmares about the Other Mother and her button eyes. I used to check under my bed and behind my dresser to make sure her hand wasn’t creeping around. And by “used to” I mean “still pretty often, even though I’m almost 24 and an adult.” Gaiman creates a world that’s creepy and twisted and so horrifying it’s almost beautiful, with the mission of scaring the pants off of his readers. Mission accomplished, Neil.
Read about the other books on the list.

Coraline appears on Sam Leith's top ten list of alternative realities.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten quiet heroes and heroines

Ellie Irving's latest book is The Mute Button.

One of her top ten quiet heroes and heroines, as shared at the Guardian:
Atticus Finch, in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Atticus leads by example – he doesn’t talk down to his children, or shy away from the challenges that they will face. Instead, he is the very model of integrity, is doing what he thinks is right, and tries to teach Jem and Scout about moral courage. ‘Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.’ A strong, quiet, and truly remarkable man, in this, Michael Gove’s favourite novel.
Read about the other entries on the list.

To Kill a Mockingbird made a list of five books that changed Richelle Mead, Robert Williams's top ten list of loners in fiction, Alyssa Bereznak's top ten list of literary heroes with weird names, Louise Doughty's top ten list of courtroom dramas, 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

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The top 10 books about reading

Rebecca Mead is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of My Life in Middlemarch.

One of her ten favorite books about books, or about reading, as shared at the Guardian:
U and I by Nicholson Baker

Baker got there first – or at least early – with U and I, published in 1992. This short, startlingly original book marvelously meditates upon, and conveys, one writer’s compulsive obsession with another: in Baker’s case, John Updike.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Eleven books about women in the U.S. armed forces

At Bustle, Caitlin White tagged eleven books that tell the stories of women in the U.S. armed forces, including:
Neverhome by Laird Hunt

What jumps out from Laird Hunt’s Civil War novel Neverhome is the voice of Ash, the protagonist who disguises herself as a man to fight for the Union. Hunt gives a lyrical tone to the horror of the war, and you won’t be able to stop turning the pages as you begin to learn Ash’s secrets and her reasons for leaving behind her husband to fight. And it’s Ash you feel for on her Odyssey-like journey, and it’s her honest, knowing voice that you cling to and relate to amid the destruction.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Neverhome.

My Book, The Movie: Neverhome.

--Marshal Zeringue

The ten best Mark Twain books

Harry L. Katz's new book is Mark Twain's America: A Celebration in Words and Images.

One of Katz's ten best Mark Twain books, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
Roughing It (1872) is Twain’s second book, a comedic romp through the Wild West with hilarious sketches of the author’s misadventures. The book recounts Twain’s flight from Hannibal to the silver mines of Nevada at the outset of the Civil War. We read of his encounters with Mormons and Pony Express riders, gunslingers and stagecoach drivers along his way. He eventually finds himself in San Francisco and the California goldfields, where he strikes pay dirt with the mining camp tall tale, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” Twain’s West has been mostly ignored in subsequent popular depictions of the frontier, which concentrate on the bold-faced named outlaws, lawmen, and Indians like Jesse James, Wyatt Earp, and Crazy Horse. This is classic early Twain: rowdy, rambunctious and very funny.
Read about the other books on the list.

Roughing It is one of Scottish playwright Chris Hannan 's top ten tales of the American frontier.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Four top YA retellings of classics

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Sabrina Rojas Weiss tagged four recent Young Adult retellings of classic works, including:
Great, by Sara Benincasa (Based on The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald)

The original: (Like we have to tell you.) In a nutshell, young stockbroker Nick rents a house on Long Island, next to notorious party-thrower and self-made man Gatsby, who is still pining for his now-married love, Daisy, coincidentally Nick’s cousin. Tragedy ensues.

Benincasa’s take: While summering in the Hamptons with her mom, Naomi befriends her Internet-fashion wunderkind neighbor Jacinta, who is really interested in Naomi’s friend Delilah. The gender switching and modern setting provide an entertaining twist and a fresh story without displacing the original in our hearts.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Great also appears on Dahlia Adler's list of six great Young Adult retellings of classics.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six books that influenced Emily St. John Mandel as a writer

Emily St. John Mandel's books include The Singer's Gun, Last Night in Montreal, and the newly released Station Eleven. One of the six books that influenced her most as a writer, as shared at The Week magazine:
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Stevenson's 1883 page-turner was the first full-length book I ever read. I was slow to pick up reading — I struggled until I was 7 — and I still remember the joy I felt when the pieces suddenly clicked into place. All these years later, I retain strangely vivid images of scenes in Stevenson's book.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Treasure Island also appears on David McCallum's six best books list, Bear Grylls's top ten list of adventure stories, Eoin Colfer's top 10 list of villains in fiction, Charlie Fletcher's top ten list of swashbuckling tales of derring-do, Robert McCrum's list of the ten best first lines in fiction, John Mullan's list of ten of the best pirates in fiction, and among Mal Peet's top ten books to read aloud, Philip Pullman's six best books, and Eoin Colfer's six favorite books.

The Page 69 Test: Last Night in Montreal.

The Page 69 Test: The Singer's Gun.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 10, 2014

Herbie Hancock's six favorite books

Herbie Hancock is a multi-Grammy Award-winning keyboardist and composer. His new--and first--memoir is Possibilities. One of the musician's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama

I've had the good fortune to meet President Obama. I believe he's a compassionate man, and my impression of him is compatible with how he describes the flow of his life from his early childhood.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Dreams from My Father also appears on Husna Haq's top five list of books by the 2012 presidential hopefuls, Alice-Azania Jarvis's reading list of family memoirs, Gillian Orr's reading list on fatherhood, Sammy Perlmutter's list of the five best books from Nobel winners who didn't win their medal for literature, and Iain Finlayson's critic's chart of six books on young leaders.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five of the weirdest fictional crushes

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Melissa Albert tagged five of the weirdest fictional crushes, including:
Mr. Weasley, Harry Potter

Everyone has a secret-not-so-secret crush on Snape (and some of us can’t help but acknowledge the sexy intensity of a young Tom Riddle), but what about Mr. Weasley? He was raising ginger hell around Hogwarts long before Fred and George ever met a nose-biting teacup. There’s something weirdly charming about his bumbling obsession with the Muggle lifestyle, and I want to blow his mind by taking him on a date to the mall. Escalators? Cash registers? RadioShack? Best date ever.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Harry Potter books made Molly Schoemann-McCann's top five list of fictional workplaces more dysfunctional than yours, Sophie McKenzie's top ten list of mothers in children's books, Nicole Hill's list of five of the best fictional bookstores, 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.

Hedwig (Harry's owl) is among Django Wexler's top ten animal companions in children's fiction.

Butterbeer is among Leah Hyslop's six best fictional drinks.

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.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Five YA books that will make you swear off social media forever

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Jenny Kawecki tagged five Young Adult that will make you swear off social media forever, including:
The Social Media Experiment, by Cole Gibsen

Reagan’s experience is your worst nightmare: all her private texts and messages are printed out and displayed in public. Just another reminder that online secrets rarely stay that way, plus a nugget of paranoia now implanted in the back of your mind. ARE YOUR FRIENDS REALLY YOUR FRIENDS? CAN YOU TRUST ANYONE NOT TO FORWARD THAT ONE TOP SECRET TEXT MESSAGE? Probably not, so just avoid it altogether.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The ten best fictional fathers

At the Telegraph Jamie Fewery tagged the ten best fictional fathers, including:
Patrick Melrose in Mother’s Milk by Edward St Aubyn

Edward St Aubyn’s stunning Melrose novels feature possibly the worst fictional father ever committed to the page. David Melrose is a bullying, abusive sociopath. Throughout the five book series his shadow looms large as Patrick struggles to come to terms with what his father inflicted upon him in childhood.

It is perhaps a surprise then that in Mother’s Milk (the fourth book in the series), we find Patrick has become a fairly well adjusted father himself. His two boys are at times intensely irritating and Patrick is by no means an inspirational mentor to them. But he is functional, loving and caring in a book in which the focus shifts slightly from self preservation to protection. His concern for his kids is one of the more touching elements in a series that is better known for bad parenting than good.
Read about the other fathers on the list.

David Melrose made the Telegraph's list of the ten worst fathers in literature.

The Patrick Melrose series also appears among Melissa Albert's four top novels that may drive you to drink and Mickey Sumner's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 7, 2014

Sixteen top titles from the Generation X bookshelf

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 16 totally awesome books that every Gen Xer needs, including:
Bright Lights, Big City, by Jay McInerney

An excess-soaked read that tackles all-things eighties—New York, cocaine, hedonism, yuppies, even a mannequin obsession—Bright Lights, Big City stands out as one of the decade’s finest novels (and movies). A cautionary tale that reeks of whiskey, romance, and well-timed humor, McInerney’s classic reminds Gen Xers of the very bad good old days.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Top ten books about the 1970s

Ian Plenderleith’s latest book is Rock’n’Roll Soccer: The Short Life and Fast Times of the North American Soccer League.

One of his top ten books about the 1970s, as shared at the Guardian:
What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr President? Jimmy Carter, America’s “Malaise”, and the Speech That Should Have Changed the Country by Kevin Mattson

“This is not a message of happiness or reassurance, but it is the truth and it is a warning,” President Carter told the US in July 1979. Although Carter’s remarkably honest speech about the need for an enlightened energy policy resonated with the public, the media and the Moral Majority savaged the president for the “malaise” he supposedly believed was afflicting America (he never used that word). A fine book about the brave speech that sounded the death knell of the 70s.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 99 Test: 'What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?'.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Five books that contain amazing self-contained scenes

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and We Are Not Good People from Pocket/Gallery. He has published over thirty short stories as well.

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Somers tagged five books with an outstanding standalone scene that can be read on its own, out of context, including:
Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn: The “Cool Girl” Monologue

Very few excerpts in novels have the kind of impact the Cool Girl speech in Gone Girl has had over the last few years. The soliloquy opens like this: “Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl.” Then it builds from there into one of the most ferocious and memorable inner monologues ever committed to paper. It’s rare to see a film adaptation criticized specifically over a single sequence in a novel that isn’t action-oriented, but the recent Gone Girl film caught some flack because people thought they gave short shrift to the Cool Girl speech. If you’re curious what the fuss about Gone Girl is all about, you can read this speech and suffer no spoilers, but know exactly why you want to read the rest of the book.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Gone Girl made Lucie Whitehouse's ten top list of psychological suspense novels with marriages at their heart and Kathryn Williams's list of eight of fiction’s craziest unreliable narrators.

Also see ten books you must read if you loved "Gone Girl" and six domestic chillers for "Gone Girl" fans.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Eight novels set at the world's preppiest universities

At Town & Country magazine Adrienne Westenfeld tagged eight novels set at the world's preppiest universities, including:
Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon: University of Pittsburgh

Beneath a haze of pot, satire, and American dreaming, Chabon explores how artistic ambitions and youthful promise go awry with age. Expect to fall in love with this novel's triumvirate of wonder boys: a professor entrapped by his interminable second novel, his randy editor, and a student obsessed with Hollywood self-destruction.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Wonder Boys is among John Niven's top ten writers in novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 3, 2014

Top ten underground menaces

Paul Southern's latest YA horror novel is Killing Sound.

One of his ten top underground menaces, as shared at the Guardian:
The Morlocks in H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine

The Time Machine is one of the most influential sci-fi books ever written. It’s also home to one of its scariest underground villains. The Morlocks are ape-like troglodytes who terrorise the passive Eloi on the surface of the Earth. We find out they are the descendants of human beings who’d been driven underground to work for the Eloi, in a division of labour Marx couldn’t have foreseen. Now, they have the upper hand. When the Time Traveller’s Time Machine goes missing, he is forced to descend into the underworld to get his machine back. Rather him than me.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Time Machine is among Jane Rogers's top ten cozy catastrophes, Adam Roberts's five notable science fiction classics, David Lodge's top ten H.G. Wells books, and Linda Buckley-Archer's top ten time-travelling stories.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The ten best short story collections

Elizabeth Day is an author and journalist. Her critically-acclaimed debut novel Scissors Paper Stone won a Betty Trask Award for first novels written by authors under the age of 35. Her second novel Home Fires is also published by Bloomsbury.

One of her ten best short story collections, as shared at the Guardian:
Interpreter of Maladies
Jhumpa Lahiri (1999)

This debut collection of nine stories won the Pulitzer prize shortly after it was published in 1999 and was named the New Yorker’s debut of the year. The stories, written with what Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times described as “uncommon elegance and poise”, deal with the diversity of Indian-American immigrant experience and the curious alchemy of love and relationships. My particular favourite in this collection is “A Temporary Matter”, a beautiful mediation on grief, love and loss as a couple try to come to terms with the stillbirth of their child.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Five YA characters you just can’t trust

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Jenny Kawecki tagged five Young Adult characters you just can’t trust, including:
Cadel Pigott (Evil Genius, by Catherine Jinks)

Cadel may be a genius when it comes to world domination, but he’s a total moron like the rest of us when it comes to handling social situations. So it’s no surprise that his therapist/only confidant easily convinces him to become a student of the Art of Evil. But is he genuinely sold on this whole criminal mastermind thing, or is he just a lonely 14-year-old looking for love? We’re not sure, but we love watching his twisted mind work either way.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue