Thursday, March 31, 2016

Top ten books on 1960s America

Stuart Cosgrove is the author of Detroit 67: the Year that Changed Soul. One of his ten top books on 1960s America, as shared at the Guardian:
The Medium Is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan

Another landmark book from 1967 that revolutionised the way we see technological media and communication. A huge influence on Wired magazine, it foresaw ideas we take for granted today, such as the growth of participative media and user-generated content. It manages to crystallise big ideas in a small, accessible format.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The ten best adventure novels

Ian McGuire's new novel is The North Water.

One of the author's ten top adventure novels, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
by Herman Melville

Melville started off writing more straightforward adventure novels set in exotic South Sea locations and featuring alluring and dangerous natives, but then he wrote Moby-Dick, which was much more brilliant and original and much less commercially successful. The basic framework of the adventure novel is still there, but for most of the novel the hazards Ishmael wrestles with are philosophical rather than physical.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Moby-Dick appears among Jeff Somers's five top books that will expand your vocabulary and entertain, 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

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Top ten books featuring marriages with dark secrets

Fiona Barton, author of The Widow, tagged her ten favorite books centering on marriages that hold dark secrets, at the B&N Reads blog:
Bring Up The Bodies, by Hilary Mantel

This partnership is one of the best known and examined in history, but Mantel makes the marriage of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and the adulterous and political secrets that destroy it as accessible and immediate as an episode of Coronation Street. Of course, no one actually loses their head in Corrie.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The position of Queen, in Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies, is among Rachel Cantor's ten worst jobs in books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 28, 2016

Six top books about big ideas

Douglas Rushkoff's latest book is Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity. One of his six favorite books about big ideas, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Peripheral by William Gibson

Gibson's novel describes a digital economic landscape only a notch or two more extreme than our own, and plays out a scenario detailing what happens when we get all the tech we want, but it's all geared toward extracting value from us. Crazy brilliant.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The five creepiest rabbits in fiction

Diana Biller is a writer and dinosaur enthusiast.

At B & N Reads Biller tagged five of the creepiest rabbits in fiction, including:
Fiver, from Watership Down, by Richard Adams

This one really isn’t the poor little fellow’s fault: he’s a clairvoyant, and clairvoyants are inherently creepy. No one wants to be told their warren is about to be destroyed, particularly not when that prophecy comes in rhyme, and then there’s the whole thin line between seers and insanity that seems to permeate mythology. A clairvoyant bunny that may or may not go insane? I’ll skip it, thanks.
Read about the other entries on the list.

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

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Five books that shaped Jason Gurley's "Eleanor"

Jason Gurley is the author of the novels Greatfall, The Man Who Ended the World, and the ongoing Movement series. His bestselling self-published novel Eleanor was acquired by Crown Publishing in the U.S., HarperCollins in the U.K., Editora Rocco in Brazil, Arunas in Turkey, and Heyne Verlag in Germany. His short fiction has appeared in Lightspeed Magazine and numerous anthologies, among them Loosed Upon the World and Help Fund My Robot Army!!! from editor John Joseph Adams. Gurley lives and writes in Oregon.

One of five books that shaped him and Eleanor, as shared at the Harper Voyager blog:
Contact, by Carl Sagan

Perhaps it’s an unlikely influence, but without Contact, Eleanor wouldn’t have existed at all. The novel’s flawed, intelligent heroine, Eleanor Arroway, not only gave me the name of my protagonist, but Sagan’s gentle skepticism prompted me to ask questions of my own life which became the root of my early drafts.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Eleanor Arroway from Contact is among io9's ten greatest (fictional) female scientists.

The Page 69 Test: Eleanor.

My Book, The Movie: Eleanor.

Writers Read: Jason Gurley.

--Marshal Zeringue

The ten best cycling books

Rob Penn is the author of The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees and It’s All About the Bike. One of his ten best cycling books, as shared at the Guardian:
Bicycle: The History

David V Herlihy (2004)

For much of the 20th century, the history of the bicycle was muddied by the proprietary claims and myths of competing industrial nations: Germany, France, England, Italy, the US and even Scotland all asserted they had invented the machine. Herlihy brings academic rigour and clarity to the development of the steel horse. It is a fantastic tale – of ingenuity, eccentric inventors, technological impasses, lost fortunes and luck, which culminates in the first modern bicycle. The prose can be a little dry but the illustrations are excellent.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see Jon Day's ten best books about cycling, the Barnes & Noble Review's five top books on cycling, John Mullan's list of ten of the best bicycles in literature, Marjorie Kehe's list of ten great books about cycling, Matt Seaton's top 10 books about cycling, and William Fotherham's top ten cycling novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 25, 2016

Top ten embarrassing parents in books

Anna Wilson's newest book is The Parent Problem. At the Guardian, Wilson tagged her top ten embarrassing parents in books, including:
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Cassandra Mortmain seems to lead an exotic and romantic existence, living in a tumbledown castle, sitting in a turret and writing in her journal. I know I wanted to be her when I read the book, hence my character, Skye Green, feels the same way about the Mortmain family. But on re-reading it as an adult, I can see how pained she is at the eccentric behaviour of her novelist father who never earns any money and keeps them teetering on the edge of abject poverty. And then there is her crazy stepmum, Topaz, who dyes everyone’s clothes green and is so otherworldly that mothering seems rather beyond her.
Read about the other entries on the list.

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

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Top ten books about revolutionaries

Alexei Sayle is an English stand-up comedian, actor, author and former recording artist. His new book is Thatcher Stole My Trousers. One of Sayle's ten top books about revolutionaries, as shared at the Guardian:
The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Written in collaboration with Alex Haley, who interviewed Malcolm more than 50 times and finished the narrative after Mr X’s death. It is a gripping read from the opening, with the Ku Klux Klan menacing his pregnant mother, through to the troubled last months of his life: we follow Malcolm Little, common thief, on his journey to Malcolm X, inspirational leader. His ambitions for the black civil rights struggle in the US led him to what were then truly revolutionary ambitions for American society. They still are. The grand story also contains a useful security tip: from his years of housebreaking, Malcolm tells us that the best deterrent to being burgled is to leave a bathroom light on. The burglar knows you won’t be up and in the living room at 3am. But he can’t be certain that there isn’t an angry homeowner in the bathroom.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see: Neel Mukherjee's top ten books about revolutionaries.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Five fantastic novels that mess with time

At B & N Reads Jenny Shank tagged five innovative novels that mess with chronology, including:
Truth Like The Sun, By Jim Lynch

What was Seattle like before it became the vibrant tech-and-coffee-loving city we know it as today? In 1962 Seattle hosted the World’s Fair, which gave it the Space Needle and propelled it from being a “stuffy, postwar” outpost into the city of the future. Lynch’s novel follows the young businessman Roger Morgan, who spurred Seattle to host the World’s Fair in 1962, and alternates that chapter of his life with his story in 2001, when the 70-year-old decides to run for mayor of the city. Helen Gulanos, a new-to-town journalist, digs into Morgan’s past to uncover the shady secrets beneath the exalted fair.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Five books that show us the weirder side of the wild west

Sam Reader is a writer and conventions editor for The Geek Initiative. He also writes literary criticism and reviews at One of his top five books that show us the weirder side of the wild, wild west, as shared at the B & N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog:
Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest

The first volume of a steampunk alternate history universe called “Clockwork Century,” this is the story of an alternate Seattle, where it wasn’t a massive earthquake that created the infamous Underground, but a massive steam-powered drill invented by a man named Leviticus Blue that ripped through downtown Seattle, uncovering a deposit of “blight gas” and creating an infestation of zombies (and wrecking a large portion of the city in the process). Years later, Blue’s widow Briar Wilkes ventures into the walled city to retrieve her son Zeke, who hopes to find evidence to clear his family’s name. Priest’s stated intent was to give steampunk a “magnum opus,” and Boneshaker delivers with exhaustive worldbuilding, vivid detail, and a ton of atmosphere.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 21, 2016

Katie Roiphe's six favorite books that deal with illness & dying

Katie Roiphe's new book, The Violet Hour, examines how several great writers confronted their own impending deaths. One of Roiphe's six favorite books that deal with illness and dying, as shared at The Week magazine:
On Being Ill by Virginia Woolf

In this lovely, wise book, Woolf offers a wholly original meditation on being ill. She captures the separateness from everyday life engendered by illness, the isolation (both the good and bad sides of it), and the ways in which illness inheres in identity.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Ten inspirational STEM girls in teen literature

Christiane Dorion is a children’s author and expert in education for sustainable development. One of her ten most inspirational STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) girls in teen literature, as shared at the Guardian:
3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

Josie Byrne and her scientific dreaming leads to a double life. For Josie, teenage life is pretty tough so far. Her parents are divorcing, she’s struggling in physics at school and she feels like she is becoming detached from her boyfriend. However, when she gets some shut eye at night, she dreams of a polar life. One exactly like her own but better and… she dreams about Jo. Josie and Jo realise that they are doppelgängers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Josie is intrigued by this other life but there’s a chance she’ll be trapped there when the portal seals. Thank goodness she’s got a sharp, analytical brain because that is certainly needed in order for her to make a home run. Perhaps her next physics lesson won’t be so tough after all!
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The five best Anita Brookner novels

At the Guardian, Tessa Hadley tagged her five favorite Anita Brookner novels, including:
A Start in Life (1981)

This was Brookner’s first published novel – she seems to spring into being as a novelist fully-formed. The rot in Ruth Weiss’s life began when she was small, and her nurse told her that Cinderella shall go to the ball – but the ball never materialised. Instead she’s working on the second volume of her academic study, “Women in Balzac’s Novels”, and taking care of her helpless, selfish, childish parents – who only want to have fun, not to grow old and die. It’s blackly, bleakly, wonderfully funny.
Read about the other novels on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top novels that reveal publishing world secrets

Jeff Somers is the author of We Are Not Good People, the Avery Cates series, Lifers, and Chum. He has published over thirty short stories, including “Ringing the Changes,” which appeared in the Best American Mystery Stories 2006 anthology. One of his five favorite novels that reveal publishing world secrets, as shared at the B&N Reads blog:
Three-Martini Lunch, by Suzanne Rindell

Set in the vibrant, Beatnik-infused world of 1950s New York and San Francisco, this is the story of three people with intense literary ambitions. Cliff sees himself as a bold novelist, but enjoys living the lifestyle more than actually writing. Eden wants to shed her Midwest Nice and become Holly Golightly, seeking a job as an editor but finding a secretarial position—and Cliff—instead. And Miles, black and gay in the 1950s, struggles to find inspiration for his own writing. As the three characters’ lives become increasingly intertwined, the bygone era of midcentury New York publishing is explored to fascinating effect, detailing the often unspoken price of pursuing literary dreams.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 18, 2016

Ten top New York books

Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney's new novel is The Nest.

One of her ten favorite New York books, as shared at the B&N Reads blog:
Random Family, by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

This non-fiction book by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc reads like a novel. For eleven years she immersed herself within an extended family in the Bronx and chronicled their struggles to survive the grip of tenacious poverty, the government’s “war on drugs” and its policy of mass incarceration. I still think about the people in this book and wonder where they are and what they’re doing. A brilliant and necessary reminder of the unfathomable chasm that divides the rich and poor, the lucky and unlucky, in New York.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Random Family is among Nick Hornby's six favorite books.

Also see Jay McInerney's five essential New York novels, five novels that explore the dark side in New York City, Edmund White's top 10 New York books, The Great New York City Novel, Frances Kiernan's five best books about New York society, Russell Shorto's five best books on the history of New York City, and Joanna Smith Rakoff's five favorite books of New York stories.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Top ten books about the dangers of the web

Helen FitzGerald's latest novel is Viral. One of her ten top books about the dangers of the web, as shared at the Guardian:
The Dark Net by Jamie Bartlett

After reading this absorbing, fantastic book, I understand more about what the darknet is, and am therefore a little less terrified of it. It’s people, most of them unremarkable, buying and selling, talking and reviewing. One day, I might use it to buy stationery like I use Amazon, or to talk about writing like I do on Facebook. Bartlett lays out the good aspects of the darknet – freedom of speech, freedom to be anonymous, anti-corruption, anti-authority. And he also talks about the bad – racism, sexism, child pornography, suicide forums, how easy it is to groom victims and ruin lives. So I’m not going there, not yet.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Ten top female villains

M.G. Leonard is an English writer with an inordinate fondness for beetles. Her debut novel is Beetle Boy.

One of Leonard's top ten female villains, as shared at the Guardian:
Miss Slighcarp in The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

Letitia Slighcarp is a greedy con-artist after Sir Willoughby’s money. She takes control of the house, fires the staff, dresses in Bonnie’s mother’s rich clothes, and goes through Sir Willoughby’s papers. She treats the girls appallingly and when they get in the way of her schemes she sends them off to a workhouse as orphans. Slighcarp is an A grade criminal.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see Emerald Fennell's top ten villainesses in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Five great books about Julius Caesar

Conn Iggulden’s books include Emperor: The Blood of Gods. One of his five best books about Julius Caesar, as shared at the Telegraph:
In 1998, I was looking for a new subject, unable to get published after years of trying. I opened Christian Meier’s Caesar (1992) with no sense that it would change my life completely. It is a brilliant, readable tale of the politics and lives of early Rome. I could not have asked for a better introduction.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 14, 2016

Helen Oyeyemi's six favorite books

Helen Oyeyemi's new book is What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, a collection of nine interlocking stories. One of her six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Half a Lifelong Romance by Eileen Chang, translated by Karen S. Kingsbury

The silences in this novel, set in 1930s Shanghai, emerge from an extraordinary sensitivity to language and its limitations. So many crucial words unheard or unsaid — a host of flames kindling and dying in silence.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Four books that changed Simon Winchester

Simon Winchester is a best-selling British author, living in Massachusetts and New York City. His newest book is The Pacific: The Ocean of the Future. One of four books that changed the author, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
Life A User's Manual
Georges Perec

Perec, famed for writing one novel (La Disparition) without the letter "e" and another (Les Revenentes) with "e" the only vowel, plays mischievously with the minds of those who read him. No cleverer book has ever been written than Life, and it set the bar for me in all my writings: I have never been able even to approach it, but for all my life thus far, and for whatever remains, I keep on trying.
Read about the other books on the list.

Also see: Winchester's list of five great American journeys in literature, five top novels about the social history of America's expanding frontiers from the late 19th century to the Great Depression, and six favorite books about sailing.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Seven of the greatest rivalries in fiction

At the B&N Reads blog Ross Johnson tagged seven of the greatest rivalries in fiction, including:
Bennet v Darcy (Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen)

She’s prejudice and he’s pride in Jane Austen’s most popular (perhaps) novel. Though the two (spoiler!) wind up together in the end, there’s no meet-cute for one of literature’s most prickly couples. A series of misunderstandings, compounded by the aforementioned character traits and the sinister intervention of a Mr. Wickham lead to some brutal sparring matches between Miss Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. If cutting retorts and significant glances could take down buildings, there’d be at least as much violence as we expect to see in Batman v Superman, with nary a country estate left standing.

Fighting Since: 1813

Greatest Battle: After a brief rapprochement, Elizabeth scolds Darcy over his ill-treatment of (enormous liar) Wickham. The fight ultimately leads to a greater understanding between the two, but not before a few legendary verbal strikes.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Pride and Prejudice also appears on Helen Dunmore's six best books list, Jenny Kawecki's list of eight fictional characters who would make the best travel companions, Peter James's top ten list of works of fiction set in or around Brighton, Ellen McCarthy's list of six favorite books about weddings and marriage, the Telegraph's list of the ten greatest put-downs in literature, Rebecca Jane Stokes' list of ten fictional families you might enjoy more than the one you'll actually spend the holidays with, 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

Friday, March 11, 2016

Tracy Chevalier's six best books

Tracy Chevalier is the best-selling author of Girl With a Pearl Earring and other books.

For the Daily Express, she named her six best books. One title on the list:

I’m a big fan. She sets her books in Baltimore and concentrates on family relationships. This is about a woman who walks down the beach away from her family, gets on a bus and starts a whole new life. I’ve always loved that idea of stepping away from everything you’ve built up.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top political sci-fi novels

At the B & N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Andrew Liptak tagged six top works of political science fiction, including:
The Lights in the Sky Are Stars, by Fredric Brown

When it comes to space travel, Frederic Brown’s take is an intriguing one: in this version of 1997, space travel to Mars and Venus is possible, but is being held back by political operatives who view the efforts as a waste of money. The narrative follows a rocket mechanic named Max Andrews who’s working to make his way to the stars. He marries a senator, Ellen Gallagher, and together, they push for funding for a new rocket that will go to Jupiter. Brown accurately predicts the present state of manned spaceflight, and certainly takes a hard turn from what one might expect from a book ostensibly about space travel.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Top ten books about breasts

Hollie McNish is a UK poet who loves writing. Her latest book is Nobody Told Me: Poetry and Parenthood. One of her top ten literary works about breasts, as shared at the Guardian:
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence (novel)

Yes, Connie is a pretty obvious character whose body is focused on way more than her mind. Yes, Mellors the gardener is an obvious choice with speeches that remind me of Dick Van Dyke’s chimney-sweep English. But Jesus, in this era of airbrushing, silent and statue-still photographed bodies, these breasts are in motion, having fun: purely positive attributes swinging”softly, like bells”, stroked under nighties, wrapped “in honeysuckle” and held up to that “heavy rain”
Read about the other entries on the list.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover is among Alex Preston's ten best sex scenes from film, TV and literature, Hannah Jane Parkinson's top ten readers of fiction in fiction and Joni Rendon and Shannon McKenna Schmidt's list of nine works inspired by writers’ love lives.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Top ten invented worlds in teen books

Alwyn Hamilton is the author of Rebel of the Sands. One of her ten top invented worlds in teen fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
The Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu

The world in Marie Lu’s trilogy is our own, in the future. What sets this world apart from other dystopian worlds for me is that it is a whole world. While the first book stays in the oppressive regime of Los Angeles, the rest of the series opens the world up and we get to see other parts of the world which have evolved in clever and realistic ways, but we also get to see the outside world’s views of the oppressive government which seems so mighty from the inside. The whole thing adds up the most complex well-realised future world I can think of.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Top ten linked story collections

Amy Parker was born in Okinawa, Japan, and spent most of her childhood on diplomatic and military compounds overseas. She returned to the United States after her high school graduation and attended Indiana University, where she studied comparative literature. She won a Michener fellowship in fiction from the University of Texas, Austin. Afterward, she spent four years doing intensive monastic practice at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, the oldest Soto Zen monastery in the United States, and at Green Gulch Farm and Zen Center in Mill Valley, California. She received lay ordination in the Soto Zen lineage in 2007. She left the monastery for the Iowa Writers Workshop, where she graduated in 2012. She currently lives in Wichita with her son.

Parker's debut story collection is Beasts and Children.

One of the author's ten favorite linked story collections, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
The Illumination
by Kevin Brockmeier

Two threads bind the characters together in Brockmeier’s The Illumination. First, wound sites begin to emit light. Pain shines and suffering is made luminous and visible. Second, a journal compiled of daily love notes from a husband to his wife circulates through the hands of the characters, shedding light on their own predicaments, providing a counterpoint of warmth, love, and humor to their own immense pain. The journal itself is a masterpiece of deeply observed details, a celebration of a beloved in all her particularity. Brockmeier is one of the greatest prose stylists working today, and his tenderness for the human condition registers in every line.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Beasts and Children.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 7, 2016

Peter Straub's six favorite books

Peter Straub is an award-winning writer of horror fiction. His new book, Interior Darkness, is a story collection drawn from his 45-year career. One of Straub's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

For me, this is Gaiman's most successful foray into adult fiction, though delivered with the emotional directness of Stardust and Coraline. An unnamed narrator explores the rural Sussex of his childhood, with unsettling results.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The ten best novels by poets

Poet and novelist Naja Marie Aidt's books include the novel Rock, Paper, Scissors. One of her ten favorite novels by poets, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson

In this verse novel Carson points to the fact that poetry and fiction have never been strictly separate categories. She combines myth and modernity in the guise of a boy named Geryon, who is also a red, Ancient Greek monster with wings. He begins to write an autobiography at the age of five, and later he falls in love with a boy named Herakles, who leaves him. As usual, Carson brings "eros the bittersweet" very much to life, and described the heaviness of lost love in a tone of elegant lightness.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 5, 2016

TIME's top ten YA & children’s books

One of Time magazine's top ten YA and children’s books of 2015:
Confessions of an Imaginary Friend, Michelle Cuevas

Jacques Papier is going through an early-life crisis: None of the kids or teachers at school seem to like him—in fact, they always ignore him. That’s because, as he eventually discovers, he’s not a real boy at all, but the imaginary friend of his sister, Fleur. Stunned by this news, Jacques tries to convince Fleur to set him free in this funny and bittersweet growing-up story.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 4, 2016

Ten top books about loneliness

Olivia Laing's latest book is The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone.

One of her top ten books about loneliness, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
The Wall by by Marlen Haushofer

One of the subsets of loneliness literature is the disaster that leaves a single survivor, a genre that dates right back to Robinson Crusoe, marooned on his island. It's frequently deployed in science fiction – I Am Legend springs to mind. But you might also consider Marlen Haushofer's The Wall, a 1963 Austrian novel that deals with the travails of an unnamed woman who must survive in the rural landscape where she has been vacationing, after an unexplained event creates a transparent wall that seals her off from the outside world, with only a cow, a cat, and a dog for company.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Top ten novels featuring hateful characters

Heinz Helle’s debut novel is Superabundance. One of his top ten novels featuring hateful characters, as shared at the Guardian:
The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

They call him the professor, and he is the perfect anarchist. Carrying enough explosives under his clothing to annihilate any block he walks by, the self-developed rubber ball detonator sitting resting in his hand at all times, he is safe from the police. However, he has two problems. One: the time lag between ignition and explosion, a technical flaw he is working to improve, is a horrifying 20 seconds. Two: he is afraid; afraid that the busy, antlike crowd around him, which he constantly threatens to attack, might be insensible to fear.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Secret Agent is among Neel Mukherjee's top ten books about revolutionaries, Jason Burke's five books on Islamic militancy, Iain Sinclair's five novels on the spirit and history of London, Dan Vyleta's top ten books in second languages, Jessica Stern's five best books on who terrorists are, Adam Thorpe's top ten satires, and on John Mullan's list of ten of the best professors in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Six deliciously dark & decadent YA retellings of familiar stories

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 six strange and stunning takes on familiar stories, including:
The Star-Touched Queen, by Roshani Chokshi

Maya isn’t like other princesses. She spends most of her time eavesdropping on matters of court instead of dolling herself up and dreaming of marriage. After all, she knows her match would mean destruction for anyone who chooses her—death and darkness are written in her stars. But when her beloved, distant father asks her to make the ultimate sacrifice to help save his kingdom, she’s on the verge of giving in. Until she meets Amar, the King of Akaran, and realizes they might just be a match made in heaven—or hell. A spin on the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone melded with the magic of Indian folklore, Star-Touched is riveting, chock full of flesh-eating (but fun!) horses, jeweled gardens, and a love that just might destroy the world.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Six books that explore Hollywood’s SF/F backlot

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Nicole Hill tagged six top novels that explore the stranger, more fantastical, science fictional side of Hollywood, including:
Radiance, by Catherynne M. Valente

Radiance weaves so many subgenres into its delicate web, it’s almost literally head-spinning. To briefly sum up its appeal, however, let us say it’s a decopunk space opera noir that glorifies an alternate Golden Age of Hollywood, maintains a complicated mystery, and does it all in epistolary format. The enigma at the heart of this celestial narrative is the disappearance of upstart docu-director Severin Unck, darling daughter of a legendary filmmaker, while shooting her latest film near Venus. While what happened to Severin is the core of this story, it is by no means the most interesting element. You unwrap the mystery layer by layer, as you learn just how life led her to that distant planet to begin with, exploring decades of wildly alternate cinema history along the way.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Radiance is among Jeff Somers's seven best books that explore the dark side of the Moon.

--Marshal Zeringue