Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Winston Churchill’s top ten books

Winston Churchill never actually published a “Top Ten” list of his favorite books. But he did read a great many books and was known for his strong opinions. So Jonathan Rose, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of History at Drew University and author of The Literary Churchill: Author, Reader, Actor, was able to speculate that Churchill’s top ten books list might include:
The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck

Churchill was sincerely moved by this saga of China in revolutionary turmoil, though he didn’t entirely get it. On finishing the book, he concluded that the toiling Chinese masses would have been much happier if, like the Indians, they had enjoyed the blessings of British rule—not exactly the message that the author intended to send.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Good Earth is among Evie Wyld's five favorite books about farmers and Tiger Mom's five best books on being a Mother.

My Book, The Movie: The Literary Churchill.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 29, 2015

Seven archetypes who just can’t seem to catch a literary break

At B & N Reads Tori Telfer tagged seven of the unluckiest archetypes in fiction, including:
The Morally Upstanding Man Who Lives in a Corrupt Society Determined to Bring Him Down

This guy really wants to do good and make things right, but EVERYTHING ALWAYS GOES WRONG. Like Okonkow, from Things Fall Apart, who tries really hard to have a good reputation then accidentally kills someone. Buzzkill, amirite? Or there’s the ethical Charles Darnay from A Tale of Two Cities, who gets unjustly thrown into prison and stays there for a long, long time. Who says you can’t keep a good man down?
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Nine great sci-fi books for people who don't like science fiction

At io9 Esther Inglis-Arkell tagged nine great science fiction books for people who don't like science fiction, including:
Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro

Here’s one that will break your heart. It’s definitely science fiction, but it subverts most of the tropes that go not only with science fiction, but with storytelling in general. It’s not about people witnessing the birth of a new era, and it’s definitely not about them changing their world. It’s about them quietly thinking about a situation that, to us, is unimaginable horror and to them is just the way the world works.

I can’t tell you more, and you probably shouldn’t tell the person you’re recommending it to more. Just tell them to brace themselves.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Never Let Me Go is on Sabrina Rojas Weiss's list of ten favorite boarding school novels, Allegra Frazier's top four list of great dystopian novels that made it to the big screen, James Browning's top ten list of boarding school books, Jason Allen Ashlock and Mink Choi's top ten list of tragic love stories, 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

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Five top YA books about summer camp

At the B & N Teen Blog, Jenny Kawecki tagged five of the best YA books about summer camp, including:
The Lost Summer, by Kathryn Williams

Helena is headed back to her old camp for the summer, but this time she’s a counselor instead of a camper. Her best friend, Katie, remains stuck in camper mode, and Helena is already worried about how the differences between their camp experiences might affect their friendship. But it’s hard to turn down the chance to go skinny dipping or sneak out to the nearby boys’ camp, especially when it means flirting with her longtime crush, Ransome. Because you know you always wondered what it was like to be a counselor (how were they so old and cool?), you have to check out The Lost Summer.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 26, 2015

Top ten most horribly mistreated first wives in Gothic fiction

At io9 Esther Inglis-Arkell tagged the ten most horribly mistreated first wives in Gothic fiction, including:
Bertha Antoinetta Mason Rochester from Jane Eyre

Here’s the star of the list. Thanks to high school English class, almost everyone knows Charlotte Brontë‘s most famous book. But here’s a quick review, from the first wife’s point of view. Bertha is rich. Edward Fairfax Rochester needs money. He marries her. She goes insane, in part, Rochester claims, because she was “unchaste.” He locks her in a single room in his attic with a single alcoholic servant to mind her, and then works off his anguish by slutting his way around Europe in an extremely “unchaste” manner. Finally comes back to England with an illegitimate daughter he barely tolerates and keeps Bertha a secret so he can marry the teenage governess he likes to verbally abuse.

The governess finds out about Bertha, and leaves. Eventually Bertha, who has a habit of being a firebug, sets fire to the entire house. Rochester escapes, and is reunited with Jane Eyre, the governess, but is blinded for many years and scarred for the rest of his life.

Lesson: Arson is usually the answer.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Jane Eyre also made Martine Bailey’s top six list of the best marriage plots in novels, Radhika Sanghani's top ten list of books to make sure you've read before graduating college, Lauren Passell's top five list of Gothic novels, Molly Schoemann-McCann's lists of ten fictional men who have ruined real live romance and five of the best--and more familiar--tropes in fiction, Becky Ferreira's lists of seven of the best fictional depictions of female friendship and the top six most momentous weddings 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

Four books that changed Maureen McCarthy

Maureen McCarthy is one of Australia's most popular young adult authors. One of four books that changed the author, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
The Commitments
Roddy Doyle

For many years I assumed seriously good writing had to be serious. Then I read The Commitments, about a group of working-class kids in Dublin trying to put a soul band together, and I realised my mistake. There are no long descriptive passages, no amazing epiphanies or huge satisfying conclusions. Nothing gets tied up neatly or comes right in the end. But the sheer exuberance and subtlety of the writing, the tight, edgy dialogue along with those funny, sharply drawn characters showed me that hilarious writing could also be seriously good.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Commitments is among Dorian Lynskey's ten best fictional musicians and Tiffany Murray's top ten rock'n'roll novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The top ten summers in fiction

Tim Lott's new novel is The Last Summer of the Water Strider. One of his top ten summers in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
Becoming Strangers by Louise Dean

In 2006, when I had the privilege of running the ultimate summer literary prize, the Le Prince Maurice Prize in Mauritius, this book won easily against the field. A work of humour and tenderness, set at a Caribbean resort and focused on two married couples, it was Dean’s debut and her finest novel to date.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Six fabulous fictional female prestidigitators

Sarah Skilton is the author of Bruised, a martial arts drama for young adults; and High and Dry, a hardboiled teen mystery. At the B&N Reads blog she tagged six fabulous fictional female prestidigitators, including:
Ceony Twill (The Paper Magician Series, by Charlie N. Holmberg)

Fans of fantasy and steampunk (circa late Victorian England) will devour this story about 19-year-old Ceony, a confident graduate of the Praff School for the Magically Inclined. Each magician has the ability to manipulate a particular type of object, but despite our heroine’s affinity for metal, Ceony is chosen to apprentice for a paper magician, which frustrates her no end. And when a mage from her instructor’s past unleashes her powers in a deadly attack, Ceony is tested to the limit. Good news: the third book in the trilogy comes out July 21!
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Eleven adult SF novels to turn teens into genre fans for life

At the B & N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Ceridwen Christensen tagged eleven works of science fiction and fantasy that were written for grown-ups, but, if read by precocious teens, are likely to turn them into genre readers for life. One title on the list:
The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord

The Best of All Possible Worlds feels very original Star Trek, with mannered near-Vulcans rubbing elbows with more pluralistic Federation types. As the novel opens, the Sadiri home world is destroyed; the only Sadiri left are the ones off-world at the time. Due to a number of factors, most of them are men. An ambassador comes to Cynus Beta in order to investigate possible lost Sadiri colonies, and is paired with a local, Grace, to guide him through her world. This is a pure road trip novel, stopping off to visit a number of various sub-cultures, but the stakes are high: if they can’t find a solution, Sadiri culture is going to die off. It’s about the big questions of society and culture, written in the most personal of ways.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 22, 2015

The ten best fictional holidays

At the Guardian Kate Kellaway tagged the ten best fictional holidays, including:
The Beach
Alex Garland, 1996

The atmosphere of this unforgettably unsettling, bestselling novel is also what happens when people live on holiday and off-limits – beyond themselves. It is an idyll turned inside out. When Richard, a British backpacker, is given a map by a mysterious Scotsman about a hidden beach on the gulf of Thailand, inaccessible to tourists, it sounds like paradise. But what follows is a hip, drug-laden, grown-up version of Lord of the Flies. Chapter titles read as if torn from a breezy tourist guide: “Getting there” and “Beach life”.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Beach also appears on Eleanor Muffitt top 12 list of books that make you want to pack your bags and trot the globe, Anna Wilson's top ten list of books set on the seaside, Kate Kellaway's ten best list of fictional holidays, the Guardian editors' list of the 50 best summer reads ever, John Mullan's list of ten of the best swimming scenes in literature, and Sloane Crosley's list of five depressing beach reads.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Four books that changed Angelica Banks

Angelica Banks is not one writer but two. Heather Rose and Danielle Wood are old friends who live in Tasmania. Both are award-winning authors of adult fiction and together they write children's fantasy.

One of four books that changed the authors, as shared with the Sydney Morning Herald:
The Bloody Chamber
Angela Carter

This book was my first and best lesson in how old stories can be made magnificently new. But it was also a liberating book thanks to the dense, elaborate, gorgeous language. Angela Carter was never afraid of adverbs or adjectives. She wasn't afraid to layer image over image, or to pull out heavy-duty vocabulary that would send me off to the dictionary (the Macquarie, which I own in three editions—and yes, this is a sneaky way of squeezing in a fifth life-changing book). (Danielle)
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Bloody Chamber is among four books that changed Justine Larbalestier, Stephanie Feldman's ten creepiest books, and Jonathan Stroud's favorite fantasy books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The eight best, worst, and weirdest dad/child pairs in sci-fi & fantasy

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 B & N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Somers tagged eight good, bad, and weird dad/child pairs in science fiction and fantasy. One good pairs:
The Father and Son (The Road, by Cormac McCarthy)

One thing people never seem to note when discussing McCarthy’s bleak, incredible book is how inspiring the central relationship is. The world is literally ending in the worst way possible (slow, grinding starvation and despair, peppered with a spice of cannibalism), and yet the unnamed man and his son maintain a loving bond. The father tries to shield his son from the worst of this dying world while struggling to keep them both alive, and even feeds his son spiritually with his stories of carrying the Light, giving the child a sense of hope and purpose he himself doesn’t share. If the value of our relationships is truly shown when the chips are down, these two may well be the greatest father/son duo in literary history.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Road appears on Amelia Gray's ten best dark books list, Weston Williams's top fifteen list of books with memorable dads, ShortList's roundup of the twenty greatest dystopian novels, Mary Miller's top ten list of the best road books, Joel Cunningham's list of eleven "literary" novels that include elements of science fiction, fantasy or horror, Claire Cameron's list of five favorite stories about unlikely survivors, Isabel Allende's six favorite books list, 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

Friday, June 19, 2015

Top ten heroes of refugee fiction

Jon Walter is the author of Close To the Wind and My Name's Not Friday. One of his top ten heroes of refugee fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
Hazel from Watership Down by Richard Adams

When property developers destroy their warren, Hazel leads the rabbits off into the wilderness in search of the promised land but not before they encounter the tyranny of General Woundwort. A modern re-telling of the Moses story, Hazel is a refugee hero in epic scale.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Watership Down is on John Dougherty's top ten list of fictional badgers and Piers Torday's top ten list of animal villains; it is a book Junot Díaz hopes parents will read to their kids.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Five “superpowered” characters found outside of sci-fi 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 B & N Reads Somers tagged "five characters that are basically superheroes, despite appearing in books that aren’t in any way speculative fiction," including:
Memory Man, by David Baldacci

Superpower: Perfect memory

Amos Decker’s life gets ruined twice. The first time, a head injury ends his professional football career, but blesses/curses him with a perfect memory stretching back even before the injury, allowing him to access details as if his brain were a DVR. The second time, he loses his family to a grisly murder, and is almost destroyed. When that tragedy turns out to have been the first step in a fiendish plan personally targeting him, his super memory is what helps him survive and solve the mystery. It’s a novel that seems to consciously draw on superhero tropes for much of its structure, including the origin story, the doppelgänger villain, and the “Moment of Despair” so common in superhero stories.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Six top sci-fi books about humans meeting dinosaurs

At the B & N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Adam Rowe tagged six top sci-fi novels about humans meeting dinosaurs, including:
Dinosaur Thunder, by James F. David

The entire Thunder series concerns the modern world colliding with the Cretaceous in bizarre time distortions, but Dinosaur Thunder has a particularly memorable moment: astronauts find that a T-Rex made it to the moon before they did. Worse, there’s a certain asteroid on the way that might destroy present-day Earth. Dinosaurs, sci-fi, and a trip to the moon? Awesome.
Read the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Five YA books for "Mad Max" fans

Rachel Paxton-Gillilan is a freelance writer and semi-professional nerd.

At the B & N Teen Blog she tagged five YA bookss for Mad Max fans, including:
Ashfall, by Mike Mullin

When the Yellowstone super-volcano erupts, much of North America is covered in ash and plunged into a terrible winter. While Ashfall might lack the dry heat of Mad Max, it makes up for it with a 140-mile journey across what amounts to an uninhabitable wasteland. Alex’s journey is aided by Darla, a lady with some impressive automotive and technical prowess. Together the duo must face this new and horrifying world, where the setting and the people are equally threatening.
Read about the other entries on the list.

My Book, The Movie: Ashfall.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 15, 2015

Five books you definitely shouldn’t buy for your next flight

Diana Biller is a writer and dinosaur enthusiast.

At B & N Reads Biller tagged five books you definitely shouldn’t buy for your next flight, including:
Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen

This classic of young adult survival tales, written by the master of wilderness adventure and coming of age stories, follows 13-year-old Brian after the single-engine plane he’s taking to see his father crashes in the Canadian wilderness. He’s stranded alone for over a month, with nothing but the clothes on his back and—you got it—a hatchet given to him by his mother before the trip. A recipient of the Newbery Honor, Hatchet is a great book to give a young person in your life…just not right before they hop on a plane.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Four huge books that will hurt your brain—but in a good way

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 B & N Reads Somers tagged four huge books that will hurt your brain—but in a good way, including:
Haunted, by Chuck Palahniuk

Even if you haven’t read Haunted, you may have heard about one of the stories it contains: “Guts,” which is so disturbing in its imagery people reportedly walked out of several readings Palahniuk gave before the book published. The story of a writer’s retreat that takes a left turn into horror, there are two tracks to the book: One the tale of the trapped writers, who are locked inside an ancient theater with food and water and other comforts and told they cannot leave until three months have passed—time in which to write their masterpieces—and the other the short stories each writer produces while at the retreat. To say things go sour would imply you’re unfamiliar with Palahniuk’s work, but understanding how it all ties together is something else entirely. In fact, considering that the characters in the book are all obviously self-sabotaging, the best question you can ask after reading this book is simple: Why is it titled Haunted?
Read about the other entries on the list.

Haunted is among Ginni Chen's top eight bone-chilling books to help beat the summer heat and Amanda Yesilbas and Charlie Jane Anders's ten horror novels that are scarier than almost any movie.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Aleksandar Hemon's six favorite books

Aleksandar Hemon is the author of the novels Nowhere Man and The Lazarus Project, both National Book Award finalists, and the new novel, The Making of Zombie Wars.

One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Panic in a Suitcase by Yelena Akhtiorskaya

Sentence for sentence, this is the wittiest, most intelligent book by a first-time author I've read in a long time. It shows us a Russian family stretched between Brooklyn and Odessa, love and confusion. Panic is a sad book for good-humored people, a funny one for those who know how to be sad.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five novels featuring mind-blowing time manipulation

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 B & N Reads Somers tagged "five examples of time manipulation in novels that will blow your mind," including:
Hopscotch, by Julio Cortázar

We are all likely familiar with the concept of the unreliable narrator, but in this book Cortázar takes on the role of unreliable author. A novel of 155 chapters designed to be read in any order—either one of the two orders Cortázar himself offers, or randomly—it manages to both make sense and tell a story. Cortázar even suggests that the final 99 chapters aren’t even necessary and can be skipped entirely. The effect is astoundingly freeing for the reader. The story of Horacio Oliveira’s search for his lover, La Maga, and the twisting, serpentine path it takes him on is perfectly suited to this remarkable and challenging book.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Hopscotch is on a list of 61 essential postmodern reads.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 12, 2015

Neal Stephenson's six favorite books

Neal Stephenson's new novel is Seveneves. One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors by Brian A. Catlos

Most reasonably well informed people already know that Spain under the Moors was a vibrant cultural melting pot. This book digs deeper, describing the place in fascinating detail and then moving on to Sicily, Alexandria, and Palestine during the centuries that culminated in the Crusades.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Neal Stephenson was of the 20 biggest science fiction movers-and-shakers of 2008.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Top ten books about being alone

Rebecca Dinerstein's new novel is The Sunlit Night. At the Guardian she tagged her top ten "books on solitude, remoteness and physical or psychic isolation," including:
An Experiment in Love by Hilary Mantel (1995)

[Twenty] years before she became Dame Mantel, the author of Wolf Hall wrote a captivating study of adolescence. This story of girls’ education in mid-century England follows Carmel McBain through a sequence of schools and cities; in each, she is an outsider. Mantel’s virtuosic, uncompromising prose and harsh anti-sentimentality give readers a story that is ordinary at the outset and harrowing in the end, full of the vivid confessions that describe isolation at its most relentless and raw.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see Teju Cole's top ten novels of solitude and Robert Williams's top ten loners in fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Top ten fantastical pets in children's literature

Martyn Ford is the author of The Imagination Box. One of his top ten fantastical pets in children's literature, as shared at the Guardian:
The Fish, from The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss

In this rhyming classic a couple of kids are just chilling out on a rainy day when this sociopathic cat arrives at their house and trashes the place. Their sensible pet fish susses, early on, that this eccentric, borderline sinister intruder is probably bad news. Turns out though, despite old Fishy’s scepticism, the cat is all right and cleans everything up. Moral: forgive burglars?
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Cat in the Hat appears on Pip Jones's top ten list of cats in children's book, Josh Lacey's top ten list of pseudonymous books, Liz Pichon's top 10 list of funny books with pictures, and Kate Kellaway's list of the 10 best illustrated children’s books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Top ten toxic friendships

Non Pratt is the author of Trouble and Remix. One of her top ten toxic friendships in literature, as shared at the Guardian:
Petyr Baelish and… anyone from the entire cast of Game of Thrones: A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin

It’s probably best not to rely on a man whose advice is not to trust him – a mistake Ned Stark learns the hard way. Baelish (aka Littlefinger) has pawns, not friends, and since he’s the most ambitious player in the game of thrones, this hardly bodes well for the people he uses.
Read about the other entries on the list.

A Game of Thrones is among Becky Ferreira's eight best siblings in literature and Nicole Hill's top six books on gluttony. A Song of Ice and Fire is among Ferreira's six favorite redheads in literature and six best books with dragons, Joel Cunningham's seven top books featuring long winters. The Red Wedding in A Storm of Swords is one of Ferreira's top six most momentous weddings in fiction. The Lannister family from A Game of Thrones is one of Jami Attenberg's top ten dysfunctional families in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 8, 2015

Five near-future YA novels set in awesomely altered worlds

One title on Melissa Albert's list of five near-future YA novels set in awesomely altered worlds, as shared on the B & N Teen Blog:
Falls the Shadow, by Stefanie Gaither

In this dark debut, death is not the end for a select group of early adopters of a new cloning technology. When Cate’s sister, Violet, dies, Cate doesn’t just have to get used to a perfectly identical clone interloper taking her sibling’s place. As the daughter of a prominent politician, she also has to put a happy face on, for both the anti-cloning protesters and paparazzi. But growing suspicions about the differences between old and new Violet send Cate down a rabbithole, into the heady sci-fi world of both the nefarious team behind the clone tech and their enemies, the Clone Control Advocacy group.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Ten top romantic reads

At USA Today romance author Kristan Higgins (In Your Dreams, The Perfect Match, Somebody to Love) tagged some of her favorite romantic reads, including:
The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman

A 49-year-old widow moves in with her cranky, formerly wealthy sister and attempts to step back into life and love. Rich with Lipman's inimitably facile and optimistic voice, the book will leave your heart happy.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Six YA princesses who can save themselves

At B & N Teen Blog, Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick tagged six YA princesses who can save themselves, including:
The Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen

There’s nothing better than a bookworm princess. Kelsea is coming out of exile to reclaim her rightful place on the throne, even if she has to take on murderous neighboring rulers and unfaithful members of her own court to do it. It’s great to see a princess who’s more concerned with protecting her country than finding the perfect ball gown.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Queen of the Tearling is among Nicole Hill's five best new (2014) girl-powered sci-fi and fantasy novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 5, 2015

The seven best literary wedding themes

At B & N Reads Nicole Hill tagged seven of the best literary wedding themes, including:
Harry Potter

The wedding of Fleur Delacour and Bill Weasley draws a nice nuptial blueprint with its sumptuous tent. Though she wore a simple white dress in the book, Fleur’s cinematic frock, with its double-phoenix design, could translate nicely if altered to feature, say, your own patronus—which is a totally real thing and not at all fictional, OK? (Might skip on the men’s dress robes, though; they can be a bit dodgy.) I can’t imagine any guest would object to getting a wand as a gift. Of course, if you keep the butterbeer flowing, they won’t object to much of anything, which is good news for you! Amid the revelry, servers push carts of candied wonders through the tent, asking guests if they’d like anything from the trolley, and then it’s time to get your Yule Ball on, you bumbling band of baboons.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Harry Potter books made Tina Connolly's top five list of books where the girl saves the boy, Ginni Chen's list of the eight grinchiest characters in literature, 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.

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

Neville Longbottom is one of Ellie Irving's top ten quiet heroes and heroines.

Mr. Weasley is one of Melissa Albert's five weirdest fictional crushes.

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.

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

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Top ten comic war novels

Jesse Armstrong is the co-creator and writer of the BAFTA Award-winning Peep Show, as well as co-writer of The Thick of It and the Oscar-nominated In the Loop. Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals is his first novel.

At the Guardian, Armstrong tagged his top ten comic war novels, including:
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut noted that nothing good had come from the terrible destruction of the allied firebombing of Dresden, which he survived in a meat cellar. It didn’t shorten the war by a day, or free a single person from a death camp. Only one person benefited: “Me, I got several dollars for each person killed. Imagine.” The firebombing is the central event and concern of the novel, but Vonnegut’s view from early on is that there is really not much to say about a massacre. So the firebombing is something of a black hole at the centre of the book – hardly visible, but swirling the whole crazy circus of alien zoos and time travel around its gravitational pull.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Slaughterhouse-Five also made Joel Cunningham's top five list of short but deep novels, Tom Lamont's top ten list of time travelers, Melissa Albert's list of six favorite fictional book nerds, Jon Ronson's five top list of books on madness, Charlie Yu's top ten list of time travel books, John Mullan's list of ten of the best aliens in science fiction, Charlie Jane Anders and Michael Ann Dobbs's list of twelve great stories to help you to cope with mortality, Sebastian Beaumont's top 10 list of books about psychological journeys, and Tiffany Murray's top ten list of black comedies.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Top ten Viking stories

Joe Abercrombie is the author of the best-selling fantasy books The First Law Trilogy – The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings; Half A King and Half the World, the first tow books in the Shattered Sea trilogy; and stand-alone novels Best Served Cold, The Heroes, and Red Country.

One of his top ten Viking stories, as shared at the Guardian:
The Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland

A great introduction to some of the Vikings’ strange and intricate beliefs, presenting a world filled with gods and goddesses, giants, witches, elves and dwarves, serpents that circle the world and wolves that swallow the sun, from the creation of the world to Ragnarok, the climactic battle that will see its destruction.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The ten best food and drink books of all time

One title on the Telegraph's list of the ten best food and drink books of all time:
Kitchen Confidential

Anthony Bourdain (2000)

In wonderfully salty prose Bourdain describes how he came to find himself working in the netherworld of the restaurant kitchen, a space populated by deviants and borderline lunatics with no time for niceties. Required reading for anyone who eats out.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Kitchen Confidential is among Grub Street's top 25 food memoirs of all time, the Guardian's top ten food books of the last decade, David Kamp's six books notable for their food prose, Trevor White's ten notable books about dining, and Laura Lippman's top ten memorable memoirs.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 1, 2015

The five most disastrous dinner parties in fiction

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 B & N Reads Somers tagged the five most disastrous dinner parties in fiction, including:
The Silver Linings Playbook, by Matthew Quick

Quick’s funny and heartbreaking (and ultimately inspiring) novel has a crackling energy throughout, but never more so than in the awful dinner party thrown in order for Pat and Tiffany, two people no one knows what to do with, to meet. Pat, so deeply in denial he doesn’t even realize how off-putting his behavior is, creates sparks with Tiffany, whose anger almost burns the pages—but they’re not (yet) the right kind of sparks. If you’ve ever had the sense the hosts of a party are split on whether or not the guests are actually welcome, you’ll recognize the tension running through this scene, and appreciate the dark humor Quick mines from it.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Silver Linings Playbook is among Lauren Passell's top eleven Manic Pixie Dream Girls in fiction, Jill Halfpenny's six best books, the Barnes & Noble Review's five top books on football, and the eight book adaptations that won 2013 Golden Globe awards.

The Page 69 Test: The Silver Linings Playbook.

--Marshal Zeringue