Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ten top New York novels

Among Francis Spufford's top ten New York novels, as shared at the Guardian:
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (2000)

Jewish New York in the 30s and 40s, at the moment when local-born geeks in glasses and escapees from Hitler’s Europe were inventing the superhero. It is chronicled by Chabon in exquisite prose attuned to both the art deco magic and the nightmarishness of a city where swastika-adorned zeppelins moored to the top of the Empire State Building.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is among Jenny Shank's top six works of literary fiction that take their mythical creatures seriously, Joel Cunningham's top twelve books with the most irresistible titles, and Sam Anderson's list of five books we'll still be talking about in 2020.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Top ten grandmothers in fiction

At the Guardian, Jenny Downham tagged her ten top grandmothers in fiction, including:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Funny, wise and complex, this novel tells the story of bright 14-year-old Junior, who lives on the Spokane Indian reservation with his alcoholic parents. He has water on the brain, ten teeth too many, a lisp and a stutter and is regularly beaten up by bullies. His family are so poor they often don’t eat. But, despite knowing he’ll become an outcast in his own community, Junior leaves to attend the rich white school miles away.

His grandma (nicknamed Grandmother Spirit) isn’t in the book that much, but she is Junior’s role model – extremely tolerant, loving and a source of advice and support. When she dies, Junior tells us, “My grandmother’s last act on earth was a call for forgiveness, love, and tolerance”. Grandmothers don’t come much wiser than that.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Five books about actual badass women who ruled the world

At the B&N Reads blog Nicole Hill tagged five top books about actual badass women who ruled kingdoms, including:
Cleopatra: A Life, by Stacy Schiff

Her skill with strategy and high-stakes diplomacy ensured Cleopatra would be written about and remembered far beyond her short time on earth. While we at Barnes & Noble can’t condone all of Cleopatra’s actions (there is the matter of her two dead brother-husbands), we have to admit she got things done, including the reshaping of an empire. Clever beyond measure and more than willing to do what she had to, she was a woman with no peers in her own time, and few since. Schiff’s historical fiction offering reconstructs Cleopatra’s life in a way that minimizes her notorious love affairs and shines a light on the bold personality that changed the world forever.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 27, 2016

Five YA historical novels about real-life disasters

Sarah Skilton is the author of Bruised, a martial arts drama for young adults; and High and Dry, a hardboiled teen mystery. At the BN Teen blog she tagged five notable YA historical novels about real-life disasters, including:
Hurricane Katrina
Beneath a Meth Moon, by Jacqueline Woodson

From the ages of 11 to 15, Laurel Daneau suffers losses most of us can’t fathom. Her beloved mother and grandmother are both killed in the storm, their home destroyed. Laurel, her father, and her baby brother are forced to leave Mississippi. Though heartsick and broken, Laurel manages to start over in Iowa by joining her new school’s cheer team and making some good friends. But when she meets T-Boom, who gets her hooked on meth, Laurel discovers that suppressing her misery through drug use is a welcome relief, and not one that’s easily given up, even as it destroys her life. The emotional devastation experienced by survivors of Hurricane Katrina is brought into stark clarity by award-winning Woodson. I read the last half of this book with blurred vision because I was crying so hard.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Six inspiring books on independence

Cathleen Schine is the author of the internationally best-selling novels The Love Letter, which was made into a movie starring Kate Capshaw, and Rameau’s Niece, which was also made into a movie (The Misadventures of Margaret), starring Parker Posey. Schine’s other novels are Alice in Bed, To the Bird House, The Evolution of Jane, She is Me, The New Yorkers, The Three Weissmanns of Westport, and Fin & Lady.

Her new novel is They May Not Mean To, But They Do.

One of Schine's six favorite inspiring books on independence, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Old Filth Trilogy by Jane Gardam

Really, any novel or story by Gardam is worth reading repeatedly. Her characters are unpredictable and irresistible. In this trilogy of novels, they are also old. Old age is a kind of forced independence, as all the props of one's former life fall away, and Gardam's characters meet their new lot with sanguine curiosity. The trilogy is a masterpiece.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Visit Cathleen Schine's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Cathleen Schine & Hector.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Six of the best read-aloud books for grown-ups

Christian McKay Heidicker's new book is Cure for the Common Universe.

For he tagged six of the best read-aloud books for grown-ups, including:
Best Read-Aloud Children’s Book for Grown-Ups: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Why: Neil Gaiman was a struggling cobbler from Wales, whose literary career was cut short by an errant horseshoe kicked free by a duke’s thoroughbred. Gaiman’s grieving husband found the individual pages of this work tucked beneath the insoles of every shoe he failed to sell.


Shut up, Lying Cat.

The Graveyard Book is, if you ask me, peak Gaiman. Each chapter is a unique short story that tells of a boy being raised by ghosts in a graveyard. The characters are as charming as they are unsettling and as trustworthy as they are transparent. Gaiman is able to pull off that rare magic trick of alluding to very adult things between the words, having grown-ups and children shiver alike at all the myths buried beneath us all.

Who will curl up in front of you: Your friends who say they’re “so weird” because Halloween is their favorite holiday (so a lot of them).

Tips: Make an effort to set a mood (candles, incense, smoke machine); better yet, find a graveyard and let it set a mood for you.

Runner-ups: The Canning Season by Polly Horvath, A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland series by Catherynne M. Valente, Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne, His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Graveyard Book is among Sophie Cleverly's ten top terrifying teachers in children’s books, Claire Barker's top ten haunted houses in fiction, Jon Walter's ten top first lines in children's and teen books, Helen Grant's ten "best books with settings that are strikingly brought to life" and Nevada Barr's 6 favorite books.

Cure for the Common Universe is among Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick's top seven geeky love stories that prove nerd love is the best love.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 24, 2016

Top ten books about The Beatles

Philip Norman is the author of Paul McCartney: The Life.

One of his ten top books about The Beatles, as shared at the Guardian:
Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now by Barry Miles

An authorised biography. Formerly known simply as “Miles”, the author was a co-founder of Indica, the art gallery and bookshop that became the epicentre of London’s underground scene in the mid-60s (and where John famously met Yoko Ono). Initially, Paul intended the book to deal solely with his “London years”, proving how he, not John, was the first to explore the avant garde, but Miles convinced him to include his childhood as well. The result is part-biography, part-autobiography, with long, fascinating first-person reminiscences by its subject. But there’s little about his marriage to Linda and nothing about their much-criticised career in Wings.
Read about the other books on the list.

Also see: Five top books on The Beatles.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten books written while their authors were serving time

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. One of his top ten books that were at least partially composed while their authors were serving time, as shared at the B&N Reads blog:
Couldn’t Keep it To Myself, by Wally Lamb and inmates at York Correctional Institution in Connecticut

Wally Lamb is the famous author of She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much is True, and since 1999, he’s run a writing program at York Correctional Institution. Couldn’t Keep it To Myself is a collection of essays written by the prisoners, often detailing the brutal conditions of their early lives, their experiences in prison, and their hopes for the future. The result is 12 powerful and moving stories that capture life in a modern-day women’s prison that isn’t anything at all like the one on Orange is the New Black.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Seven sweet and swoony romances for wedding season

At B&N Reads Tara Sonin tagged seven top romances to read during wedding season, including:
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

...Did you fall in love with your intended the moment you set eyes on each other? Or, like Lizzie and Darcy, did you have some “prejudices” and “pride” (see what I did there?) to overcome before you could say “I do”? A classic historical romance that will remind you that people are always more than what they seem.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Pride and Prejudice also appears on Ross Johnson's list of seven of the greatest rivalries in fiction, 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

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Six excellent books on the debate over guns rights

Adam Winkler, a professor of constitutional law at the University of California, Los Angeles, has been featured on CNN and in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The New Republic.

His many publications include the book, Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America.

One of six other books Winkler recommends you read if you want to understand the politics of guns in America, as shared at the Washington Post:
The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know by Philip J. Cook and Kristin A. Goss

Gun-control supporters are often disadvantaged in the debate because many don’t know very much about firearms or gun violence. Cook and Goss, public policy professors at Duke University, provide a fantastic overview of the major issues. Although they tend to favor stricter regulation, their book is balanced — and frank about what both sides get wrong.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Page 99 Test: Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America by Adam Winkler.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Seven top geeky love stories in YA literature

At the BN Teen Blog, Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick tagged seven geeky love stories that prove nerd love is the best love, including:
The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You, by Lily Anderson

Excuse me while I fangirl over this geeky retelling of Much Ado About Nothing. All Trixie wants is a complete set of Doctor Who figurines and to finally displace the obnoxious Ben West as the third smartest person in her graduating class. Her not-so-friendly rivalry with Ben becomes even more heated when their two best friends begin dating, meaning the two start having to spend way too much time together. (In Trixie’s opinion, anyway. Ben doesn’t seem to mind too much. Hmmmm.) When Trixie’s best friend is accused of cheating and expelled, she has to put her animosity aside and team up with Ben to clear her friend’s name. But she’s DEFINITELY NOT GOING TO FALL FOR HIM, YOU GUYS.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 20, 2016

Six top YA books that take place in pre-gentrified NYC

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 Teen blog she tagged six YA books that take place when New York City was pretty gritty, including:
Brown Girl, Brownstones, by Paule Marshall

A coming-of-age roman à clef about Selina, a black girl whose parents and sister emigrated from Barbados in 1939 to live in Brooklyn. Selina’s mother works herself to the bone as a cleaning woman and fantasizes about affording a brownstone—to her, the ultimate symbol of wealth and achievement—while Selina’s father spends his time on selfish pursuits. As Selina grows up, her mother’s desperation for success serves only to push both her children away. A keen and quiet observer, Selina must decide which portions of the family’s culture and ideals she wishes to emulate in her adult life.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Five of the greatest dad moments in SFF history

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. One of his top five dad moments in science fiction & fantasy history, as shared at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog:
Aral Vorkosigan Saves His Son (The Warrior’s Apprentice, by Lois McMaster Bujold)

Aral Vorkosigan is not a man who easily bends his principles or behaves counter to his beliefs; you can probably count the number of times he’s actually used his power and influence for personal gain on one hand—remarkable considering how much power he wields at various times in his career. At the end of the second book in Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga, his son Miles stands accused of raising a private army and is poised to be drummed out of the military and executed, but Aral influences the proceedings so that Miles is charged instead with the equally serious crime of treason. Why is having your son accused of treason a grand Dad Moment? Because Aral knew treason could never be proved—while it was pretty clear that Miles had indeed raised a private army (even if he had a really good reason). It’s a neat way for Aral to demonstrate his loyalty to his son without, technically, violating his own moral code.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

The ten best fictional fathers

At the Telegraph Jamie Fewery tagged the ten best fictional fathers, including:
Nikolai Petrovich Kirsanov in Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev

Turgenev’s novel is a look at the relationships between two fathers and two sons - the other is Vasily Ivanovich Bazarov. But I’ve picked Nikolai as he is the more intriguing character. His initial excitement at his son’s return home is tempered by the distance that has grown between them. This book is about how father and son relationships develop over time and how the former sometimes struggles to keep up with the latter.
Read about the other fathers on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Eleven of the worst fictional fathers

One of the eleven worst fathers in fiction:
Lt. Col. Wilbur “Bull” Meecham [from The Great Santini by Pat Conroy]

Too bad he wasn’t as great a father as he was a pilot.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see: the Telegraph's list of the ten worst dads in literature and Fiona Maazel's list of the ten worst fathers in books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 17, 2016

Ten top secret libraries of all time

D.D. Everest is the author of the Archie Greene series for children.

One of his top ten secret libraries of all time, as shared at the Guardian:
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell by Susanna Clark

Gilbert Norrell jealously guards his collection of magical books in Susanna Clark’s novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Norrell, one of the two magicians who emerge during the Napoleonic Wars to revive English magic, is not the sharing kind. At his house at Hurtfew he has a large hoard of magic books that he has spent many years collecting for his own use. At first he offers to mentor Jonathan Strange, but when he discovers Strange is a more gifted magician, he prefers to lock his books away.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Top ten books about middle age

Marina Benjamin's latest book, The Middlepause (2016), is an open and open-hearted account of the years that sandwiched the author turning 50. One of her ten top books about middle age, as shared at the Guardian:
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (2010)

Egan’s novel is a kind of madcap gambol through four decades, told by a dozen characters on the run from their younger selves – including a rock star organising his final “suicide tour”, and a disgraced PR commissioned to create a soft-focus makeover of a genocidal tyrant. The humour is deadpan, but Egan’s take on ageing is brutal: getting old, she suggests, is like being beaten up by a gang of thugs.
Read about the other entries on the list.

A Visit From the Goon Squad is among four books that changed Alison Lester, Jeff Somers's five top books that blur the line between the novel and short story, Gillian Anderson's six favorite books, and Julie Christie's seven favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Eight YA books with the most villainous parents around

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 Teen blog she tagged eight YA books with villainous parents, including:
Fake I.D., by Lamar Giles

In this witty, fast-paced mystery, a 2015 Edgar Award Nominee, Nick Pearson’s got a mob accountant for a dad and an assassin for a godfather, so it’s no wonder he and his family have wound up in witness protection. Their latest identities may be compromised after Nick’s friend Eli, editor of the school newspaper, winds up dead while in the midst of breaking a story. Stranger still, Nick’s the only person who seems to care about it. Determined to do right by his late friend—and his late friend’s beautiful sister—Nick temporarily embraces his criminal lineage to use his skills for good. But as Nick edges closer to the truth about the news story Eli was working on, he suspects and fears that all roads lead back to his dad.
Read about the other entries on the list.

My Book, The Movie: Fake ID by Lamar Giles.

The Page 69 Test: Fake ID.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Five books written by authors in the grip of mental illness

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 titles by writers who managed to write enduring books even though they were in the grip of mental illness, as shared at B&N Reads:
Save Me the Waltz, by Zelda Fitzgerald

Zelda Fitzgerald is a tragic figure, a classic example a person with “high spirits” secretly suffering from a severe mental disorder. When she was finally diagnosed with schizophrenia in the early 1930s, she spent time at a clinic, where she experienced a rush of creativity and wrote Save Me the Waltz as part of her therapy. Her husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald, wasn’t pleased with it because it covered much of the same semi-autobiographical material as the novel he was working on (which would eventually become Tender is the Night), and he forced Zelda to revise the book extensively before he would allow her to publish. The failure of the book and the mean-spirited reaction from her husband left Zelda crushed; she didn’t return to writing until after Scott’s death, and was working on a book when she died tragically in a fire at her hospital.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 13, 2016

Ethan Hawke's six favorite books

Ethan Hawke, Oscar-nominated for his roles in Boyhood and Training Day, is the author of four books, including Indeh, a graphic novel. One of the author's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Once They Moved Like the Wind: Cochise, Geronimo, and the Apache Wars by David Roberts

The story of the Apache Wars needs to be told again and again until the names Geronimo and Cochise are as familiar to young American ears as Washington and Lincoln. Indeh would have been impossible to write without the brilliant research and writing David Roberts poured into Once They Moved Like the Wind. It's a must-read for anyone interested in the history of the Southwest.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Eight fantasy destinations that are worth a visit

At the B&N Reads blog Nicole Hill tagged eight fantastical destinations she'd like to visit this summer, including:
Wonderland (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll)

Combining the whimsy of Neverland with the topsy-turvy nature of Hogwarts’s whirling staircases, Wonderland giveth and it taketh away. While it may alter you, temporarily or permanently, Carroll’s exotic land has a surprise around every corner, each more bizarre and more wonderful than the one before. If you can see something in Wonderland, you can probably talk to it, which makes sitting down to tea a new experience each and every time. Toss in hookah with a caterpillar and a heated game of croquet and you’ve got a very merry un-birthday, indeed.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Lewis Carroll's Alice stories are among Christopher Edge's top ten parallel worlds in fiction and Justin Scroggie's top ten list of books with secret signs. The White Knight in Alice Through the Looking Glass is one of David McKie's top 10 eccentrics in literature. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland popped up on Mark O'Connell's list of ten of the best songs based on books and Through The Looking Glass is among Christopher William Hill’s ten top fictional feasts in children's books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Mark Billingham's six best books

Mark Billingham is the author of the bestselling Tom Thorne detective novels, including the award-winning Lazybones and Death Message. An adaptation of his Time Of Death is being filmed for the BBC. His latest novel is the standalone thriller, Die Of Shame.

One of Billingham's six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
THE BIG BLOWDOWN by George Pelecanos

A crime thriller set among Washington DC’s immigrant Greek community. Pelecanos is one of those writers who makes me envious. He’s elegant and his dialogue is great. He was a writer on The Wire and this is his best book.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six of the strangest political systems in SFF

Sam Reader is a writer and conventions editor for The Geek Initiative. He also writes literary criticism and reviews at One of his six most intriguing political systems in fantasy and science fiction, as shared at the B & N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog:
Pax Democratica Elections, Infomocracy by Malka Older

In Malka Older’s debut novel, a global search engine and social networking concern called Information (think a lawyer-friendly version of Google) has divided the world into districts known as “Centenals,” which vote every ten years for both the ruling party in their district, and for the world-governing Supermajority. Adding to the frenzy are the incentives that each party secures for their voters—essentially gifts for voting a specific party—which are seen to influence the way the public votes. Older has deeply considered how this system would work on a global scale, and the Pax Democratica never seems entirely like it’s going to collapse under its own weight, even though the election season that kicks off the plot does contain at least one server crash and an attempt to hack votes, making it seem a little shakier than it first appears.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 10, 2016

Top ten books to make you unconventionally smarter

Chuck Klosterman's latest book is But What If We’re Wrong? Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past. One of his "top 10 books to increase your unconventional knowledge base," as shared at B&N Reads:
Archaic Revival, by Terence McKenna

Inside my memory, one of the central arguments made by this book is that the evolution of primates dramatically accelerated when a tribe of prehistoric apes consumed a specific variety of psychedelic mushroom. Now, it’s been a long time since I read Archaic Revival, so maybe I’m remembering this incorrectly. Maybe that particular argument is not even in this particular book. But if I’m wrong, it’s almost certainly because of books like this.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Ten top books about guilt

Annemarie Neary is an Irish-born, London-based novelist and short story writer. Her novel Siren is out now in the UK.

One of Neary's top ten books about guilt, as shared at the Guardian:
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Raskolnikov considers the guilt that wracks him to be a form of weakness. Would a superman like Napoleon torture himself over such a paltry act as the murder of a pawnbroker and her sister? In attempting to evade his guilt, he succeeds only in shunting it off into his unconscious, where it surfaces in the dreamtime visitations of Alonya’s taunting ghost. The wily detective Porfiry warns him that the law of nature dictates that he will either be driven mad or obliged to confess. And so it turns out.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Crime and Punishment is among Becky Ferreira's seven best comeuppances in literature, Lorraine Kelly's six best books, the top ten works of literature according to Norman Mailer, Gerald Scarfe's six best books, and Andrew Klavan's five best psychological crime novels. Elmore Leonard has never read beyond page fifty of the tome.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Eight top novels about women and wilderness

Alexis M. Smith's new novel is Marrow Island. One of her eight favorite stories about women and wilderness, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin

Though the main character of Amanda Coplin’s novel is a man, his life is shaped by the girls and women around him, who come and go like the seasons, in and out of the wilderness that surrounds them. There’s a central mystery—a sister who vanishes almost without a trace, into the wilds—but my favorite thing about this novel is the depiction the landscape of eastern Washington State, its brutality and its bounty, and the ways in which it has been shaped by human hands.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Top ten world-ending novels

Justin Cronin is the author of the trilogy: The Passage, The Twelve, and The City of Mirrors. One of his ten top world-ending novels, as shared at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog:
Children of Men, by P.D. James.

Somewhat different from the (excellent) movie—no spectacular action set pieces here—but a probing, deeply British story of a slow-motion apocalypse in which humanity loses the ability to reproduce.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Children of Men is on Anita Singh's list of five P.D. James novels you should read, Torie Bosch's top twelve list of great pandemic novels, Joel Cunningham's list of eleven scary fictional diseasesJohn Mullan's list of the ten most notable New Years in literature, Amanda Yesilbas and Charlie Jane Anders's list of the twelve most unfaithful movie versions of science fiction and fantasy books, Ben H. Winters' list of three books to read before the end of the world, and John Sutherland's list of the five best books about the end of England.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 6, 2016

Sebastian Junger's six favorite books

Sebastian Junger's new book is Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging. One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Matthiessen

Two mercenaries fly a plane into the remote Amazon jungle and are then hired to bomb an indigenous village. One of them decides to join the villagers instead, and when he parachutes out of his plane, he lands in their midst as a god...
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Seven sob-inducing books that deserve to be made into movies

Lindsey Lewis Smithson has her MFA from UC Riverside’s Palm Desert Low Residency MFA. She has served as the Poetry Editor and the Managing Editor for The Coachella Review, in addition to having read for The Pacific Review and The Whistling Fire. At the B&N Reads blog she tagged seven sob-inducing books that deserve to be made into movies, including:
We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart

Everything changes for Cadence Sinclair during her fifteenth summer at her family’s beach. As Cadence struggles with memory loss, physical injuries, and a secret that no one is willing to share, she is also growing into adulthood. After spending the next summer in Europe, and then finally returning to the family’s beloved summer house on the island, Cadence has to face some harsh realities about herself and her cousins. In much the same vein as the twisty Gone Girl, readers will find themselves by turns sad, frustrated, amazed, and shocked. It’s nearly impossible to read this book without having some strong feelings, and a movie adaption would be irresistible.
Read about the other entries on the list.

We Were Liars is among Ruth Ware's top ten psychological thrillers and Meredith Moore's five favorite YA thrillers.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Five books where the dead don’t stay that way

K. Eason's new book--her debut--is Enemy (On the Bones of Gods).

One of her five favorite books where the dead don’t stay that way, as shared at
World War Z by Max Brooks

No ghosts here! This is a classic zombie apocalypse story, told as a series of interviews with survivors and presented as a faux-history. The fascination here, for me, is not on the zombies, but on their effect on the living, and how our fear of death defines us. Corpses shuffling around, killing the living by the force of sheer numbers … inspiring the best and worst (mostly the worst) of human behavior. The horror of the zombie is that it’s the embodiment of inevitable, unavoidable death. We’re all going to succumb, eventually: our friends, our families. But it’s what we do before it gets to us that defines us.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 3, 2016

Ten top YA love stories

Nicola Yoon’s debut novel is Everything, Everything. One of her top ten YA love stories, as shared at the BN Teen blog:
I’ll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson

Jandy Nelson’s lyrical prose will make you feel like you’re flying. Also, this book contains one of my favorite main characters of all time. Watching him fall in love is breathtaking.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see Laura Barnett's top ten unconventional love stories, Kate Kellaway's ten best love stories in fiction, Holly Bourne's top ten love stories with a twist, and Jason Allen Ashlock and Mink Choi's top ten tragic love stories that will break your heart.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Top ten books to make you a better person

Greg Jackson’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. He has been a fiction fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and a resident at the MacDowell Colony, and he holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Virginia. Prodigals is his first book. He tagged ten top books that can "help us to see ourselves more clearly and understand life better," including:
The Boat by Nam Le

A Vietnamese writer in grad school weighs what use to make of his father’s experience at My Lai. A young Colombian assassin dreams of a paradise shimmering in the Caribbean beaches to the north. An ageing painter in New York, haunted by lost love and self-loathing, attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter. Told with immersive fluency, and a ravishing power and grace, these stories possess an imaginative range that reflects the ethos of literary endeavour at its best. For all the human frailty Le documents, he returns again and again to our small acts of perseverance amid violence, reminding us how hard we must fight to preserve reasonable hope and lending credence to the notion that literature might help us.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Top ten Southern-set YA novels

Jeff Zentner lives in Nashville, Tennessee. He came to writing through music, starting his creative life as a guitarist and eventually becoming a songwriter. He’s released five albums and appeared on recordings with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan, and Lydia Lunch, among others.

Now he writes novels for young adults.

Zentner's new novel is The Serpent King.

One of the author's top ten Southern-set YA novels, as shared at the BN Teen blog:
If I Was Your Girl, by Meredith Russo

Speaking of stories that haven’t been told enough, this is the story of Amanda Hardy, the new girl in small-town Lambertville, Tennessee. She begins to spend time with a handsome, kind boy at school, but she’s petrified he’s going to learn her secret: she’s transgender. This book is a double whammy, telling a story about a transgender girl and about a girl coming of age in the rural South, two underrepresented stories in YA. Meredith Russo’s writing is elegant, poignant, and hilarious, with a pitch-perfect ear for Southern speech.
Read about the other entries on the list.

My Book, The Movie: The Serpent King.

The Page 69 Test: The Serpent King.

--Marshal Zeringue