Monday, November 30, 2015

Six top books that take place in hotels

Rick Moody's new novel is Hotels of North America. One of his favorite books that take place in hotels, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving

I became an Irving convert with The World According to Garp, the novel that preceded this one. But I loved The Hotel New Hampshire too, especially for its refrain "Sorrow floats," which, like the "Under Toad" repeatedly mentioned in Garp, becomes a compelling, illuminating shorthand for certain feelings we have about the ways of this world.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Hotel New Hampshire is among Mark Watson's top ten hotel novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Five top books with fictitious works of art

Anne Charnock's debut novel A Calculated Life, was a finalist for the 2013 Philip K. Dick and Kitschies Golden Tentacle Awards. Her new novel is Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind. One of her five favorite books with fictitious works of art, as shared at
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

The children incarcerated at Hailsham boarding school spend endless hours in art classes, engaged in creative activities in the hope of winning praise from the school’s patron, Madame. They believe their best paintings and drawings will be exhibited in her London gallery. But it’s a ruse. Madame uses the paintings as evidence, hoping to convince society that the cloned children are truly human and should be treated better. In this heartbreaking coming-of-age novel, Tommy agonizes over his inability to paint, instilling pity in his friend Cathy, and contempt among other classmates. Ishiguro, a one-time songwriter himself, takes the title of this novel from the lyrics of a fictitious song.
Read about the other books on the list.

Never Let Me Go is on Jeff Somers's top seven list of speculative works for those who think they hate speculative fiction, Esther Inglis-Arkell's list of nine great science fiction books for people who don't like science fiction, 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, November 28, 2015

David Mitchell's top six reads

David Mitchell's novels include The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, Cloud Atlas, Black Swan Green, and most recently, Slade House. One title from his "life in books," as shared at the Telegraph:
Foster, by Claire Keegan

An Irish author. She hasn’t written much, but it’s as good as Chekhov. There’s nothing wrong with it, not a word.
Read about the other books on the list.

Also see: David Mitchell's six favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Four books that changed Samantha Van Leer

Samantha Van Leer is the co-author, with her mother Jodi Picoult, of two young-adult fairy tales. One of four books that changed the writer, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling is my role model. She's a smart, confident woman who is comfortable enough in her own skin to laugh about the ugly truths in her life. Her quick-witted autobiography made me laugh uncomfortably to myself in public places. She's inspired me to want to write about the ridiculous adventures my best friend Katie and I had when I was growing up.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 27, 2015

Five top novels set in a single location

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. One of Somers's five top "bottle novels" where "the writers confine everyone in a single pressure cooker location, set the timer, and see what happens," as shared at B & N Reads:
Trophy, by Michael Griffith

When Vada helps his friend Yancey move a stuffed bear—Yancey’s latest hunting trophy—into his house, it tips and crushes Vada beneath it, and from that point forward, the entire story takes place in that room, while Vada is crushed to death beneath the awful, enormous trophy. The real story takes place in Vada’s head, as the omniscient narrator takes us through his lackluster life, his petty desires and many frustrations, often addressing the reader directly in a voice that is equal parts sarcastic, hilarious, and perceptive. With a lot to say about the absurdities of modern life, Trophy is the ultimate bottle novel, not only taking place in a single room, but unfolding over the course of just a few minutes.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

J. Kingston Pierce's ten most arresting crime novels of 2015

J. Kingston Pierce is both the editor of The Rap Sheet and the senior editor of January Magazine. At Kirkus, he tagged ten of the more memorable crime novels he read this year, including:
Little Pretty Things, by Lori Rader-Day

Juliet Townsend was once a high-school athlete with big dreams of becoming a track star. Ten years on, though, she’s trapped in a spirit-snuffing purgatory, half-cleaning rooms at a sordid motel in her Indiana hometown. When her former sports rival and onetime friend, Maddy Bell, suddenly checks into those same lodgings, and asks to share a libation with Juliet, our heroine is as suspicious as she is jealous. Clearly, Maddy has all the trappings of success. Why would she come back to this claustrophobic, nowhere burg or have anything to do with a motel maid? Unfortunately, Juliet doesn’t ask enough questions—until it’s too late. Maddy is found dead the following day, hanging from one of the motel’s railings, and the cops immediately label Juliet a suspect. To prove her innocence, and curious about why her friend’s life ended so abruptly, Juliet plumbs her memories of Maddy, their mutual friends and their respective roads not taken, trying to reveal the killer and make peace with her past. Rader-Day, who recently took home an Anthony Award for her first novel, 2014’s The Black Hour, provides this new book with a carefully constructed and most satisfying story arc that finds Juliet demonstrating her chops as a shamus at the same time as she discovers that she still has other value in the world.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Five of your great-grandma’s dirty books

Amy Stewart's latest book is the novel, Girl Waits with Gun. One of her top five lurid novels about innocent girls led astray from early in the last century, as shared at The Daily Beast:
Her Soul and Her Body by Louise Closser Hale (1912)

Pretty young Melissa doesn’t understand the power of her own beauty. “What do I fear when a man notices me? Not him, for I can run away. Myself? Perhaps it is; because the something in me that makes them stare is the something in me that makes me afraid.”

Ah, but then: “He came toward me and toward me. I stretched out my arms, fingers extended, to keep him back. When he reached them he crumpled them up and came on. As his mouth was over mine I threw back my head to avoid him. His lips rested on the hollow in my throat. Then he helped me on with my things, for I was trembly, and, at the door, I kissed him.”

Later, when she is so bold as to ask him over: “He rested his pale grey eyes on me. He didn’t seem to be looking; he was planning. ‘Of course. Expect me any evening.’”

Strangely, Melissa more or less survives this ordeal, making it a rare bright spot in the literature of fallen girls.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top historical YA novels about adventurous women

At the BN Teen Blog Nicole Hill tagged five top historical YA novels about adventurous and independent-minded women, including:
Under a Painted Sky, by Stacey Lee

The drama in Under a Painted Sky works precisely because of its protagonists: two girls on the fringes of 19th-century American society. There’s Samantha, a 15-year-old Chinese American who wants nothing more than to pursue a music career. And then there’s Annamae, a 16-year-old runaway slave who longs for freedom. Together, they shed their unwelcome pasts on the Oregon Trail, disguising themselves as boys for safety and making some unexpected allies. It’s a striking tale of adventure, danger, and survival.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Under a Painted Sky is among John Hansen's ten must-read YA novels you've probably never heard of, Sarah Skilton's top six YA books featuring cross-cultural friendships, and Dahlia Adler's seven top YA novels about best friendship.

My Book, The Movie: Under a Painted Sky.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The five worst fictional characters to invite to Thanksgiving

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Jill Boyd tagged five of the worst fictional characters to invite to Thanksgiving. One entry on the list:
Dr. Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs)

And you thought it was going to be difficult to accommodate the dietary needs of your vegan cousin…
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Silence of The Lambs is among Monique Alice's six great fictional evil geniuses, sixteen book-to-movie adaptations that won Academy Awards. Red Dragon appears on Kimberly Turner's list of the ten most disturbing sociopaths in literature and John Mullan's lists of ten of the best dragons in literature and ten of the best tattoos in literature, and the (U.K.) Telegraph 110 best books; Andre Gross says "it should be taught as [a text] in Thriller 101."

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten genre-bending books

Lincoln Michel's new story collection is Upright Beasts.

One of his ten favorite genre-bending books, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
Gun, with Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem

Lethem made his name as genre mash-up master with a string of books that combined two genres to form new literary hybrids. His best of those early books is Gun, with Occasional Music, which takes the hardboiled prose style of Raymond Chandler and drops it in a Philip K. Dick-esque paranoid SF world. Conrad Metcalf is hired by a man who says he is being framed for murder. The case leads Metcalf into a world of memory-suppressing drugs, genetically-engineered mob muscle, and Karma debit cards. Above all, Gun, with Occasional Music is a plain old fun read, and Lethem’s wit shines on every page.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Five fabulous food-focused works

At B & N Reads Jenny Shank tagged five top books to get you in the mood to eat, including:
The Devil’s Larder, by Jim Crace

Crace, the winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award, among many other honors, turns his attention toward food in 2001’s The Devils Larder. The book consists of 64 short, surprising tales that all revolve around food in some unexpected way, including a story in which a daughter asks her mother, “Do you think that pasta tastes the same in other people’s mouths,” and they experiment to find out. “The finest food, like the best of marriages, is bound to break the rules,” Crace writes.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 23, 2015

Kevin Barry's six favorite books

Kevin Barry is the author of the highly acclaimed novel, City of Bohane, and two short-story collections, Dark Lies the Island and There Are Little Kingdoms. His new novel is Beatlebone.

One of Barry's six favorite books, as shared with The Week magazine:
Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor

I risk the wrath of O'Connorians everywhere when I suggest that there's a particular time in life when her short stories have the most charge or reverb, and it's in one's late teens or early 20s. That was when I read this collection, and I was awed by the dense emotional humidity of the world it depicted.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Everything That Rises Must Converge is one of four books that changed David Vann.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Top ten wilderness adventures

Alexander Yates was born in Haiti and grew up in Mexico, Bolivia, and the Phillipines. He is the author of the critically acclaimed adult novel Moondogs and his debut YA novel, The Winter Place. He lives with his wife in Hanoi, Vietnam. One of the author's top ten wilderness adventures, as shared at the Guardian:
Wilderness by Roddy Doyle

Beyond having a title that makes it perfectly suited for this list, Wilderness lands at the intersection of two of my favorite things - the winter forests of Finland, and the fiction of Roddy Doyle. At once a family story and an adventure in the snowbound woods, Doyle’s novel follows three children navigating very different wild spaces. Brothers Tom and Johnny have the more straightforward adventure, racing through the woods of Lapland on dogsled to rescue their mother on a winter safari gone awry. Half-sister Gráinne, on the other hand, has stayed home in Dublin to meet the mother who long since abandoned her. It’s a beautiful little novel, one that captures not only the exhilaration of the boys as they course into the darkness, but the bewildering process of growing up and coming to terms with past hurts.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Five top Nordic noir 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. One of Somers's five top Nordic noir titles, as shared at B & N Reads:
The Keeper of Lost Causes, by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Adler-Olsen is Denmark’s bestselling novelist, and has lately been taking the world by storm. In The Keeper of Lost Causes he creates Department Q, a police division assigned to work on unsolved cases. Carl Mørck, who has been in a personal tailspin ever since a shooting gone wrong, is assigned to lead the division, with his first case centering on the five-year-old disappearance of a politician everyone assumes is dead. Even as the investigation unveils a shocking crime, the real attraction is Mørck himself, a man ruled by curiosity and written as a fully-fleshed out, haunted human being. He’s a character who will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 20, 2015

The ten best Vladimir Nabokov books

Brian Boyd, University Distinguished Professor of English, University of Auckland, wrote an MA thesis that Vladimir Nabokov called “brilliant” and a PhD thesis that Véra Nabokov thought the best thing written about her husband to date. His biography of Nabokov won awards on four continents; his criticism has been translated into eighteen languages. He has edited Nabokov's English-language novels, autobiography, butterfly writings, and translations from Russian poetry. Boyd is the editor of Letters to Véra.

One entry on his list of the ten best Vladimir Nabokov books, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
Pale Fire (1962)

Crystalline perfection within fractured form makes for what has been called the world’s first and best hypertext novel, and the greatest novel of its century. An Appalachian campus poet’s long autobiographical poem is commandeered and annotated line by line by his insanely egoistic neighbour, whose notes foreground himself and Zembla rather than poem and poet. A torrent of stories, a magic whirl of opposites, poetry and prose, realism and untrammelled fancy, solid homeliness and wild exile, stasis and haste, sanity and madness, serenity and despair, hilarity and heartbreak. Beneath the radiant surface that dazzles from the first lie endless depths and echoes, sunken cities with trapdoors into more mysteries and wonders.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Pale Fire's John Shade is among John Mullan's ten best fictional poets. The novel appears among David J. Peterson 's five best books with invented languages, Jane Harris's five best psychological mysteries and Edward Docx's top ten deranged characters. It is one of Tracy Kidder's six best books as well as the novel Charles Storch would save for last. It is one of "Six Memorable Books About Writers Writing" yet it disappointed Ha Jin upon rereading.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books that give women their apocalyptic due

Jackie Hatton is the author of Flesh and Wires, a post-apocalyptic, post-alien novel that imagines women as the agents of their own destiny. One of her five top books that give women their apocalyptic due as shared at
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

Almost everyone is dead of an unknown plague that returns like a fever every now and again. There are no more live births. Only one in ten survivors are women, many of them shackled to gangs of men who use them for sex. Most of the world has devolved into savagery. Decent men and free women are rare and vulnerable creatures, safe only in awful and total isolation. Danger lurks in desolate corners and boldly stalks the empty highways. Enter the unnamed midwife, dressed like a man, armed like a cowboy, capable of surviving on her own and sometimes willing to save others. Written both in the first and the third person (a slightly unnerving literary device that offers both emotional proximity and critical distance) this is a strikingly powerful story of one woman’s physical and emotional resourcefulness under the most dire of circumstances. An apocalyptic page-turner that picks up where Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale left off.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Top ten celebrity appearances in fiction

John O’Farrell's latest book is There’s Only Two David Beckhams. Among his top ten celebrity appearances in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
James Joyce in Any Human Heart by William Boyd (2002)

This is the imagined memoir of a British writer, Logan Mountstuart, whose life spans most of the 20th century. Boyd uses these journals as a way of interrogating the idea of celebrity, particularly literary celebrity, and on his travels he comes across various authors and well-known people, including James Joyce in Paris. He makes the Irish legend laugh and Joyce informs him he will have to steal that joke – something I’ve had more than one celebrity say to me.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Any Human Heart also appears among Eoin Colfer's six favorite books and John Mullan's ten best novels about novelists.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Eight fantastical airborne societies

David Dalglish's books include, Skyborn, the first installment of his all new fantasy series. One title on his list of eight top airborne societies in fantasy fiction, as shared at the B & N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog:
The Cloud Roads, by Martha Wells

Like many flying islands and cities, those in the Three Worlds, home to Wells’ Books of the Raksura, are buoyed by magical rocks. Naturally, some of the (many and varied) earthbound humanoids have harnessed their power (the rocks retain their anti-gravity properties even when removed from the islands) to power flying boats. Moon, a Raksura (a race of shapeshifting humanoids) without familial ties, is ostracized by his adopted tribe, and his quest for a place to call home sets him off on a series of grand adventures.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Six YA books with a not-so-conventional approach to family ties

At the B&N Teen blog Alyssa Sheinmel tagged six YA books that explore an unconventional approach to family ties, including:
Love Letters to the Dead, by Ava Dellaira

Laurel’s sister May died young, so when the new assignment in Laurel’s English class is to write a letter to a dead person, Laurel chooses someone else who died young: Kurt Cobain, May’s favorite musician. The entire novel is a series of letters from Laurel to people who died too soon, people like Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, and even Amelia Earhart. In her letters, Laurel reveals what it’s like to navigate life without her beloved sister. She writes about high school and friends, about her fragile family life and falling in love for the first time. But all along, you know the person she’s really talking to, the person she’s really trying to understand, the person for whom she has a million unanswered questions, is her sister, May. It’s only when Laurel confronts the truth about what happened when May wasn’t looking out for her that Laurel can begin to come to terms with her sister’s death, and accept her sister as the amazing but imperfect person she was.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 16, 2015

Mary-Louise Parker's six favorite contemporary books

In Dear Mr. You, actor-author Mary -Louise Parker composes letters "to the men, real and hypothetical, who have informed the person she is today." One of the author's six favorite contemporary books, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs

Hobbs thoughtfully brings to life his college roommate — a genius who deservedly landed at Yale despite all odds, but was unable to use that education as a path away from the poverty and violence he grew up with.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Five top books that will expand your vocabulary and entertain

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. One of Somers's five top books that will expand your vocabulary and entertain, as shared at B & N Reads:
Moby Dick, by Herman Melville

Another novel many keep locked away out of sheer terror, Moby Dick sports about 17,000 unique words and uses them in a much denser way than even Ulysses, offering up a new one in practically every line. Melville’s language is lyrical and dignified, and many words you might not be familiar with can be understood in context, making it not just the painfully detailed story of 19th-century whaling you’ve been dreaming of, but an incredible way to improve your vocabulary without downloading a single app.
Read about the other books on the list.

Moby-Dick appears among Four books that changed Mary Norris, Tim Dee's ten best nature books, the Telegraph's fifteen best North American novels of all time, Nicole Hill's top ten best names in literature to give your dog, Horatio Clare's five favorite maritime novels, the Telegraph's ten great meals in literature, Brenda Wineapple's six favorite books, Scott Greenstone's top seven allegorical novels, Paul Wilson's top ten books about disability, Lynn Shepherd's ten top fictional drownings, Peter Murphy's top ten literary preachers, Penn Jillette's six favorite books, Peter F. Stevens's top ten nautical books, Katharine Quarmby's top ten disability stories, Jonathan Evison's six favorite books, Bella Bathurst's top 10 books on the sea, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best nightmares in literature and ten of the best tattoos in literature, Susan Cheever's five best books about obsession, Christopher Buckley's best books, Jane Yolen's five most important books, Chris Dodd's best books, Augusten Burroughs' five most important books, Norman Mailer's top ten works of literature, David Wroblewski's five most important books, Russell Banks' five most important books, and Philip Hoare's top ten books about whales.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sophie Kinsella's six best books

Sophie Kinsella is the author of the Shopaholic novels. One of her six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
FIVE LITTLE PIGS by Agatha Christie

I have the entire collection of Christie books and this one was particularly engrossing because she goes back to look at an old crime. I started reading them in my early teens then later on they appealed to a nostalgia kick.

You know you’re going to read about butlers and drinks on the lawn and Poirot or Miss Marple and they begin to feel like familiar friends.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Ten fantasy novels with satisfying depictions of women

At the B & N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Kate Elliott tagged "ten fantasy novels (and series) whose depiction of women did not make me want to throw the book I was reading against the wall." One title on the list:
Truthwitch, by Susan Dennard

Truthwitch isn’t out yet: It’s coming in January 2016. When I read this first novel of a new epic fantasy YA series, I felt at home at once because it is the book I so desperately wanted to read when I was 16, and it simply did not exist then. Two girls, best friends, get thrown over their heads into adventures and intrigue and politics, and they come up fighting. Even better, they meet other women on their way, competent women, complex women, older women. There are plenty of male characters too, and definitely shipping, and swordplay and magic and grand world-building, and of course I keep coming back to Safiya and Iseult, best friends forever.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 13, 2015

Seven fictional schools that wouldn't pass a safety inspection

At B & N Reads, Jenny Kawecki tagged seven fictional schools that "had better hope no one ever sends a safety inspector their way, because there is no way they’re up to code," including:
Wayside School (Sideways Stories from Wayside School, by Louis Sachar)

Wayside should have been shut down a long time ago for architectural issues alone. 30 floors high, with no sort of support? It’s a death trap. Add to that the fact that one of the teachers turns students into inanimate objects, the lunch food is inedible (where’s Michelle Obama when you need her?), and someone is selling toes, and you’ve got an insurance nightmare on your hands.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School is among Jia Tolentino's top twelve books to creep yourself out with.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Eleven books to instill an attitude of gratitude

At the BN Kids Blog Erin Jones tagged eleven books to instill an attitude of gratitude, including:
Those Shoes, by Maribeth Boelts, illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

Fads may come and go, but Jeremy’s grandma is resolute in helping him understand the value of understanding “needs” vs. “wants”. Jeremy’s determination finds him a pair of the latest cool shoes from the thrift store which are, unfortunately, a size too small. When Jeremy decides sore feet are not fun after all, he puts on his boots and gives his friend Antonio the shoes. What Jeremy finds is that what he can do is worth more than the things he wants for himself. What matters most is gratitude for what he has, and graciously giving to others.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten books about bankers

Joris Luyendijk is the author of Swimming With Sharks: My Journey into the World of the Bankers.

At the Guardian he tagged his ten top books about bankers. One title on the list:
The Big Short by Michael Lewis

This is the same case study, only now about one professional investor who saw how dangerous the complex products were. Nobody wanted to believe him until it was too late (and he had made billions). If Michael Lewis were a footballer, his name would be Lionel Messi and reading him as a writer I feel like a defender at some second-rate football club getting nutmegged again and again.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Five modern books with bad-ass fairies

Sylvia Spruck Wrigley is an American/German writer of science fiction, fantasy and aviation non-fiction. Her new novella is Domnall and the Borrowed Child. One entry on her list of five modern books with bad-ass fairies, as shared at
Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan

Marie Brennan is best known for A Natural History of Dragons but I first discovered her when a good friend read my drafts and told me I needed to read Brennan’s faerie world. I have good friends! The faeries in the Onyx Court series aren’t bit characters in a larger plot: they are the story, living their lives while being fully three-dimensional and bad-ass without even trying. No sparkles here! Funnily enough, it was Brennan who made me aware that it was possible to descend into the London sewers as a guest of Thames water, an amazing experience that formed the core of my novel-in-progress (not faeries).

The Onyx Court series takes place beneath London: a subterranean faerie realm full of politics and drama. The series is historical, running from 1499 to 1884. The first novel, Midnight Never Come, connects the dark Faerie court’s Machiavellian scheming to the reign of Queen Elisabeth the Virgin Queen. If you are interested in terrifying and captivating faeries with their own fully thought-out world, then I heavily recommended you start here.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: With Fate Conspire.

My Book, The Movie: A Star Shall Fall and With Fate Conspire.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Five books where girls disguise themselves as boys

Gail Carriger writes comedic steampunk mixed with urbane fantasy in three series: 2 adult, the Parasol Protectorate and the Custard Protocol, and 1 YA, the Finishing School series. Her newest book ends the Finishing School series and is called Manners & Mutiny. Her books are published in 18 different languages. She has 12 New York Times bestsellers via 7 different lists (including #1 in Manga). She was once an archaeologist and is overly fond of shoes, hedgehogs, and tea.

At Carriger tagged five books where girls disguise themselves as boys, including:
To Play the Lady by Naomi Lane

The first book in a (sadly) unfinished series. It features many of the things I love about a girl playing a boy, although in this story our low class tomboy from another culture must play at being both a noble lady and a stable lad. Politics force Jenna to assume this double act, hiding her magical abilities and her manly skills. If discovered, Jenna will bring shame and destruction down upon her family, her nationality, and her entire social caste. For Jenna, the stakes are very very high indeed.
Learn about the other books on the list.

Also see: Ten of the best literary men dressed as women.

--Marshal Zeringue

The ten best quotes in a crisis

At the Guardian Anna Bradley came up with the ten best literary quotes in a crisis, including:
‘‘I am not pretty. I am not beautiful. I am as radiant as the sun.”
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Stick this mantra on your mirror and when things get tough, just repeat, repeat, repeat. You are as radiant as the sun.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Hunger Games also appears on Laura Jarratt's top ten list of YA thrillers with sisters, Jeff Somers's top eight list of revolutionary SF/F novels, Tina Connolly's top five list of books where the girl saves the boy, Sarah Alderson's top ten list of feminist icons in children's and teen books, Jonathan Meres's top ten list of books that are so unfair, SF Said's top ten list of unlikely heroes, Rebecca Jane Stokes's top ten list of fictional families you could probably abide during holiday season and 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

Monday, November 9, 2015

Ted Koppel's 6 favorite books

Ted Koppel, the former anchor of Nightline, has won dozens of Emmys and several Peabody awards during his long career as a broadcast journalist. His new book is Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath. One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

An uneasy truce exists between black and white Americans: We avoid giving offense largely by not talking about how race alters lived experience. Coates takes that subject head on, explaining the nearly constant fear that still afflicts black Americans. This is an uncomfortable book, but brilliant and right on point.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Five haunted house novels you may not have read

Christopher Golden's latest novel is Dead Ringers. At he tagged five haunted house novels you may not have read, including:
BURNT OFFERINGS (1973) by Robert Marasco

So many classic horror films were adapted from novels without most members of the viewing audience having any idea of the films’ literary origins. If you’ve seen the film version of Burnt Offerings starring Oliver Reed, Karen Black, and Bette Davis, you know the basic story. A couple from the city get an impossible to refuse deal on the summer rental of a mansion, as long as they’re willing to take care of the owners’ ancient mother, bringing food to her attic room. Soon, the new tenants find their bodies, emotions, and relationship withering, as if they’re being drained away. It’s an excellent film, one that scared the hell out of me as a kid. I didn’t read the novel until years later, and I wished (of course) that I’d read it first. But either way, if you love a good haunted house novel, don’t pass on Burnt Offerings.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eleven books about domed cities

At the B & N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Ceridwen Christensen tagged eleven books about domed cities. One title on the list:
Our Lady of the Ice, by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Hope City is an Argentine colony, built in Antarctica at the turn of tan alternate 19th century as an amusement park. Fast forward to mid-century, and Hope City’s been converted to an atomic power station, the amusement park androids have gone feral, and the lights have begun to flicker. Our Lady of Ice invokes the claustrophobia of the working poor, how hard it is to get out of one’s ethnic neighborhood, even if your city isn’t cut off from the mainland during a brutal Antarctic winter. One of the characters has dreams of building agricultural domes, making Hope City autonomous from the mainland, but the metaphor is against her: they are already autonomous, and autonomy is a trap.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Frank Lampard's six best books

Frank Lampard is an English professional soccer player who now plays as a midfielder for New York City FC. He is also the author of over a dozen children’s books in the Frankie’s Magic Football series. One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
OF MICE AND MEN by John Steinbeck

This book got me interested in English lessons at school. It captured my imagination in terms of the descriptions of the Depression era and the two main characters, Lennie and George. They’ve got a dream and go off to work but it all falls apart. It’s fantastic and timeless.
Read about the other books on the list.

Of Mice and Men is among Susan Shillinglaw's thirteen best John Steinbeck books, Becky Ferreira's six most memorable bullies in literature, Paul Wilson's ten top books about disability, and Sarah Salway's top ten books about unlikely friendships.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 6, 2015

Top ten goodbyes in children’s literature

Lara Williamson is the author of A Boy Called Hope and The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair.

One of her ten top goodbyes in children’s literature, as shared at the Guardian:
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Hazel Grace meets Augustus Waters at a cancer support meeting. After which unfolds a love story and a goodbye that will take your heart, hug it, crush it, and then repair it again. Not long after reading the book I went to the cinema to see the movie. On leaving most of the teen audience could barely see the exit through their tears. To be honest, I could barely see the audience through my own eye water.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Fault in Our Stars is among the Off the Shelf Staff's eight great books told by child narrators, Luke Kelly's five top YA novels, and Sophie McKenzie's five favorite Young Adult books that appeal to teenagers.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Ten adventure books that should be in every kid’s library

At the BN Kids Blog Connie Diaz de Teran tagged ten adventure books that belong in every kid’s library, including:
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brien

The classic story of a widowed mouse, Mrs. Frisby is desperate to keep her children safe from Mr. Fitzgibbons’ plow. Their yearly trek from the garden to their summer haven is complicated when her youngest son, Timothy, falls ill with pneumonia. With the help of a sophisticated group of rats called NIMH, Mrs. Frisby will experience the most perilous journey of her life…all for the love of her family.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten assassination plots in fiction

Jonathan Lee's latest novel is High Dive. One of his ten top assassination plots in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
A Brief History Of Seven Killings by Marlon James

The playfulness of this novel is announced by its title: James’s book is not brief, is not a work of history and encompasses many more killings than seven. It’s a wonderfully bold blend of experience and imagination, fiction and fact, centring on the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in 1976. James focuses on drawing the reader into a mass of ghostly voices surrounding “The Singer”: CIA operatives, groupies, journalists. “The dead never stop talking,” he writes, “and the living sometimes hear.” The judges of the Man Booker prize heard, and made this a worthy winner last month.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Six works of literary fiction that take their mythical creatures seriously

At B & N Reads Jenny Shank tagged six works of literary fiction that take their mythical creatures seriously, including:
Vampires in the Lemon Grove, by Karen Russell (Vampires and more)

Karen Russell never got the memo that says that in order to be taken seriously as a literary fiction writer, you have to put mythical creatures aside. Her debut story collection, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, features characters of a lupine nature, and Russell’s most recent collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, includes elderly vampires hanging out in Santa Francesca’s lemon grove, where the lemons they suck quell their thirst for blood. In another story in the collection, “Reeling for the Empire,” Russell invents her own mythical creatures, imagining young Japanese women working in a silk factory transforming into silkworms.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Top five books about asteroids and their uses

Emma Newman writes dark short stories and science fiction and urban fantasy novels. Between Two Thorns, the first book in Emma’s Split Worlds urban fantasy series, was shortlisted for the BFS Best Novel and Best Newcomer awards. Her latest novel is Planetfall—a scifi narrative about a secret withheld to protect humanity’s future.

One of Newman's top five books about asteroids and their uses, as shared at
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

The Sparrow is a beautiful and heart rending novel which tells a first contact tale in flashbacks as we follow the slow, painful recovery of a Jesuit priest who is the only person to return from a mission to a planet called Rakhat. After detecting a form of music coming from the planet via the SETI project, a crew is formed to go and make contact. Their craft is made from an asteroid mostly hollowed out already by a mining company extracting minerals. I love the idea of using what is considered waste material, sticking an engine on it and hurtling across space inside it.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see: The 10 coolest fictional asteroids of all time.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 2, 2015

Five fictional characters with dirty jobs

At B & N Reads Jenny Shank tagged five unforgettable fictional characters with dirty jobs, including:
The Reconstructionist, by Nick Arvin

Most of us don’t want to look closely at the aftermath of a car accident, but for Ellis Barstow, the protagonist of Arvin’s thoughtful, compelling novel, looking closely is his job. Ellis is a forensic reconstructionist, hired to settle legal disputes by using his engineering knowledge to figure out just what caused one grisly accident after another. As the book opens, he’s trying to sort out what happened when a Mercedes collided with a bunch of wild pigs. Let’s just say it leaves a mess you’ll be glad you’re not responsible for cleaning up.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Reconstructionist.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Seven diverse YA horror reads

Sona Charaipotra is a New York City-based writer and editor with more than a decade’s worth of experience in print and online media. For the B & N Teen Blog she tagged seven top spine-tingling stories that draw on myth and lore from the whole world over and the great beyond, including:
Possess, by Gretchen McNeil

Bridget Liu isn’t sure who to trust. Her psychologist dad was killed by a patient, and now her dolls are coming to life. Her boyfriend’s being a bit weird, and she’s hearing voices in her head. The worst part? They’re demons. And it’s her job to send them back to whatever hell they came from. McNeil’s deliciously creepy debut—followed by her hit Get Even series—follows everygirl Liu, who’s half-Chinese, half-Irish, and all-American, as she learns to use her demon-slaying powers and works to uncover who’s good, who’s evil, and who lurks in that murky middle. Dolls that come to life? I’ll be hiding in the closet. With the lights on. And a snack. And this book.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Peter James's six best books

Peter James has worked as a screenwriter and a producer of numerous films, including the The Merchant Of Venice, starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes. His novels include the award winning Detective Superintendent Roy Grace crime series. One of James's six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
THE EXORCIST by William Peter Blatty

The scariest book ever written. I read it in a Switzerland hotel at midnight and I was certain that there was something in the room.

In a thriller it’s important to have a believable setting with characters you care about and the characterisation in this is very clever.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue