Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Chris Ware's 6 favorite books

Chris Ware's new book is Monograph.

One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

There's a reason Angelou's memoir of childhood rape is assigned in schools where books about reality aren't banned: The extraordinary will, life, and voice she forged in the wake of her trauma provide an example against which we all should dare to measure ourselves.
Read about the other entries on the list.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is among Dea Brøvig’s top ten books about mothers and Sona Charaipotra's six critical reads for Black History Month.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 30, 2017

Five YA novels that feature protagonists who identify as asexual

At the BN Teen blog, Nita Tyndall tagged five YA novels that feature protagonists who identify as asexual ("but what’s more important is the books don’t center around that fact"), including:
Before I Let Go, by Marieke Nijkamp

NY Times bestseller Marieke Nijkamp’s newest novel is just as chilling as her first, but in a completely different way. When Corey left her small town of Lost Creek, Alaska, she didn’t think it’d be the last time she’d ever see Kyra, her best friend. But now Kyra is dead and Corey has no idea why. And Lost Creek, the town that shunned Kyra when she was alive, has embraced her after her death. In flashbacks we see Kyra and Corey’s relationship, including discussions of Corey’s asexuality, that are handled with depth and care. This was a beautiful book about the price of friendships, and an asexual protagonist just made it better.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Ten terrifying horror books you've never read

At The Week magazine Matthew Walther tagged ten terrifying horror books you may have never read, including:
The Cipher by Kathe Koja

By the '90s, I think it had become clear that the future of horror fiction did not lie in the direction taken by Stephen King and others of doorstopper-sized tomes filled with irritating details, sloppy prose, and too many explanations. Koja strips the genre down to the basics: A black hole appears inexplicably in the floor of a couple's apartment in Detroit and dreadful things happen. I paid $60 for my mass-market paperback copy of The Cipher, which has never appeared between hardcovers. The only easy way of getting hold of it these days is, alas, in ebook form. Any publisher willing to bring it back into print would be performing an invaluable service to literature.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Five YA reads featuring rebels with a cause

At the BN Teen blog, Jenny Kawecki tagged five YA novels featuring rebels with a cause, including:
Dress Codes for Small Towns, by Courtney Stevens

As the pastor’s daughter in a small, southern town, Billie is already pushing the boundaries of acceptance by dressing like a boy. She doesn’t care, though, as long as she has her tight-knit hexagon of friends. Things get slightly more complicated when Billie realizes she’s crushing on two of her best friends—one a boy and one a girl—who also happen to be falling for each other. Keeping her feelings to herself seems like the best course of acton, until community service forces the friends to spend even more time together than normal. Soon it feels like everyone is kissing someone, and Billie’s no longer sure where she’ll end up. As someone who grew up in a similar environment, I love Stevens’ take on learning to explore ideas and beliefs beyond the world you’ve grown up in.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books featuring psychological hauntings

Sarah Porter is the author of the Lost Voices Trilogy (Lost Voices, Waking Storms, The Twice Lost) in addition to Vassa in the Night—all for the teen audience.

Her new novel is When I Cast Your Shadow.

One of Porter's five favorite books featuring psychological hauntings, as shared at Tor.com:
Beloved by Toni Morrison

The ghost as embodied mass trauma.

The most visionary of ghost stories suggests that individual tragedies may not be self-contained, but instead express an immense and devastating communal inheritance channeled through personal grief. After Sethe kills her two-year-old daughter to save the child from being returned to slavery, Beloved first manifests as a fairly classic poltergeist, venting her rage against her family. Later, though, she comes to Sethe as something much greater. Incarnate in the dewy, teenaged beauty that should have been hers, Beloved enacts infantile hunger, love, longing, and destructiveness. But behind her tantrums, Beloved keeps the secret of memories that she cannot communicate. She is not just the ghost of one little girl, but also the ghost of the Middle Passage’s uncountable victims. The trauma of her early death cannot be separated from the larger traumas of slavery. History haunts Beloved’s family through her; it returns embodied in a girl delicate, violent, and infinitely sad.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Beloved also appears on Matthew Fellion and Katherine Inglis' list of ten books that were subject to silencing or censorship, Jeff Somers's list of ten fictional characters based on real people, Christopher Barzak's top five list of books about magical families, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's ten top list of wartime love stories, Judith Claire Mitchell's list of ten of the best (unconventional) ghosts in literature, Kelly Link's list of four books that changed her, a list of four books that changed Libby Gleeson, The Telegraph's list of the 15 most depressing books, Elif Shafak's top five list of fictional mothers, Charlie Jane Anders's list of ten great books you didn't know were science fiction or fantasy, Peter Dimock's top ten list of books that challenge what we think we know as "history", Stuart Evers's top ten list of homes in literature, David W. Blight's list of five outstanding novels on the Civil War era, John Mullan's list of ten of the best births in literature, Kit Whitfield's top ten list of genre-defying novels, and at the top of one list of contenders for the title of the single best work of American fiction published in the last twenty-five years.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 27, 2017

Top ten books about pastoral life

Rosamund Young is the author of The Secret Life of Cows.

One of her ten top books about pastoral life, as shared at the Guardian:
As You Like It by William Shakespeare

In this gorgeous pastoral comedy, city meets countryside with the same yawning lack of understanding as today. When the perfumed court jester Touchstone encounters the simple shepherd Corin, whose greatest pride, like mine, is “to see my ewes graze and my lambs suck”, he chastises him for getting a living by the “copulation of cattle”. Similar criticism today might be found on billboards alongside the M25.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Fifty YA novels adults will love, too

At B&N Reads Tara Sonin tagged fifty YA novels adults will love, too, including:
This is Where it Ends, by Marieke Nijkamp

A shooter causes havoc in a school over 54 minutes in this bestseller, a harrowing, emotional psychological thriller. Told through four perspectives, all with their own fears and secrets, this novel’s diverse cast shines light on the importance of inclusivity and mental health care.
Read about the other entries on the list.

This is Where it Ends is among Eric Smith's six top diverse YA thrillers.

The Page 69 Test: This Is Where It Ends.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Twelve great books about the human brain

Jason Tougaw is the author of The One You Get: Portrait of a Family Organism and The Elusive Brain: Literary Experiments in the Age of Neuroscience. At Electric Lit he tagged twelve great books about the human brain, including:
Kazuo Ishiguro, The Unconsoled

Ishiguro has told interviewers that his most audacious novel — people love it or hate it — is an experiment with writing in “the language of dream.” Each section begins with Ryder, the novel’s bewildered narrator, waking up from sleep he can never get enough of, and finding himself in a world where closet doors lead to art parties, where strangers turn out to be his wife and child, and where there’s a city full of people who are certain his opinions about aesthetics will save them. It’s an experiment in disorientation, and I guess that’s why so many readers find it frustrating. But to me it’s a page-turner. If I pick it up, I can’t put it down. Ishiguro is a master.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Unconsoled is among Robert McCrum's ten most difficult books to finish.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Ten hair-raising horror novels not written by Stephen King

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Theresa DeLucci tagged ten top contemporary horror novels, including:
The Red Tree, by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Kiernan doesn’t consider herself a “horror” author and I want to respect that. But I couldn’t possibly exclude this Irish-American master of New Weird, Southern Gothic, and Lovecraftian terror. She is essential reading for anyone who loves evocative prose and truly frightening elements of existential awe. The Red Tree is a later work, combining several hallmarks of Kiernan’s distinctive wheelhouse: corrupt history, madness, and unreliable narrators that will force you to question everything. But, really, you should read as much of her bibliography as possible. And never feel safe again.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Fifteen of the best political novels and plays

At the Guardian Tim Adams and Robert McCrum tagged fifteen of the best political novels and plays, including:
Native Son by Richard Wright (1940)

Richard Wright wrote to his friend William Faulkner that black and white Americans were engaged in a “war over the nature of reality”. The terms of Wright’s engagement in that ongoing war were set by his 1940 novel Native Son, which sold 250,000 copies in its first three weeks. The novel tells the story of Bigger Thomas, a native of the south side of Chicago in the 1930s, who murders two women, one white and one black. Its controversy was rooted in the case Bigger’s lawyer makes in mitigating his crimes in the context of racist oppression – that white society is also responsible. The book did much to politicise the civil rights generation and continues to be a key reference point for #BlackLivesMatter.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 23, 2017

Twenty-one novels based on or inspired by Shakespeare

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged 21 novels based on or inspired by Shakespeare, including:
The Dead Father’s Club, by Matt Haig

Inspired by: Hamlet. Haig chooses a different route from most authors re-working Shakespeare, in that his story, though modernized, is pretty faithful to the original: the ghost of Phillip’s father visits the young man and implores him to murder his brother to prevent him from marrying Phillip’s mother and taking over the family business. Phillip pursues this goal, but slowly comes to doubt whether his father is right, while the reader begins to doubt Phillip’s grasp on reality.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Dead Fathers Club.

My Book, The Movie: The Dead Fathers Club.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Six top books of poetry

Alice McDermott is the author of several novels, including After This; Child of My Heart; Charming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award; and At Weddings and Wakes. That Night, At Weddings and Wakes, and After This were all finalists for the Pulitzer Prize.

Her new novel is The Ninth Hour.

One of Alice McDermott's six favorite books of poetry, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats

I love the value of big books of poetry, and for good reason: My parents literally weighed the paperbacks I was required to purchase for school. (Signet Classics' edition of Middlemarch at $5.95 was a good deal. Forty-five cents for The Turn of the Screw? Not so much.) Yeats' collected works might as well be called Poems for All Occasions. Love, marriage, death, divorce ("the hour of waning love is upon us"), reunions, elections. And of course there's "A Cradle Song" for a birth.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The perfect biographies of every US president

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged the ideal biographies of each US president, including:
Franklin Delano Roosevelt: FDR, by Jean Edward Smith

One of our greatest presidents deserves one of the greatest biographies ever written, and Smith comes through with her epic, well-written, and impeccably researched 2007 book. Smith offers a panoramic view of FDR, a man born into wealth and affluence who wound up a champion of the middle class and poor, a president whose efforts to guide the country out of the Depression were failures until World War II came along—and yet a man who is still routinely included in the top five presidents of all time.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten of the best manifestos and tracts

At the Guardian Will Hutton tagged ten polemical masterpieces that transformed the west, including:
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962)

This was the foundation of the modern environmental movement. Painstakingly and exhaustively researched, it exposed the widespread use of toxic pesticides to improve crop yields as a menace to nature and humanity alike. The title brilliantly captured the book’s core message – that human and natural life are interdependent, that today’s generation has a duty to itself and succeeding generations to organise itself so life is sustainable and that the price of not doing so is not only materially damaging – it risks silencing the tumult of nature as it comes to life in the Spring. The chemical industry attacked the book and its author – but its popularity not only forced changes to the way pesticides were administered, but triggered a much wider examination of what humans were – and are – doing to nature.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Silent Spring made a list of the best books on global warming at the Guardian in 2009. It is among Helen Macdonald's six favorite books, Tim Dee's ten best nature books, Gill Lewis's ten top birds in books, and John Kerry's five top books about progressivism.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 20, 2017

Thirty YA books that speak out against assault & harassment

At the BN Teen Blog Dahlia Adler tagged thirty YA books that address sexual harassment and/or assault, including:
Leftovers, by Laura Wiess

Blair and Ardith always have each other, but they don’t have much else. They’re forgotten by their families and face constant harassment and assault, and they’re not gonna take it anymore. There’s only one surefire way they know to get not only revenge but justice, though the destruction they’ll leave in their wake is its own kind of unspeakable. The clever crafting of this novel and unexpected character arcs make it a standout, and despite being a decade old, its relevance hasn’t lessened a bit.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Leftovers.

Coffee with a canine: Laura Wiess, Janie & Maggie.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten imaginary drugs in fiction

Jeff Noon's latest novel is A Man of Shadows.

One of his top ten "modern examples from the pharmacopoeia of dangerous delights" in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
Substance D (A Scanner Darkly by Philip K Dick)

Dick is perhaps the most prolific of the drug inventors. He used it as plot generator, a source of transformative energy – and a way to both escape reality and experience it more fully. He certainly put in the research in his own life, spending whole weeks off his head. Still, the books were written. Substance D is a psychoactive; it produces an initial euphoria, which is great until the user finds out what the D stands for: Despair, Desertion, Dumbness, and in its final incarnation, Death. Here lies the dark realism at the heart of Dick’s visionary craziness.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Six novel novels about novelists

Sarah Skilton is the author of Bruised, a martial arts drama for young adults; and High and Dry, a hardboiled teen mystery. At the B&N Reads blog she tagged six novels about novelists, including:
Less, by Andrew Sean Greer

“Minor novelist” Arthur Less is about to turn 50, and his younger, former lover Freddy is getting married. Down and out, and determined to escape the torturous nuptials—while not appearing as though he’s escaping—Less decides to accept every ham-fisted, bizarre invitation he’s received for the year. His writerly itinerary, which will take him from NYC to Paris, Berlin, and Morocco, includes teaching a class, attending an award ceremony (in which high schoolers are the judges), and interviewing a more successful author. A surprise narrator (whose identity is kept secret until the end) adds poignancy and tenderness to this lovely and comedic story.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Five books about the human and the divine

Karen Lord is the award-winning, Barbadian author of Redemption in Indigo, The Best of All Possible Worlds and The Galaxy Game, and editor of the anthology New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean. One of her five favorite books that "show the perils and joys of a life lived beyond the boundaries of self, a life that finds the divine in the human, and the human in the divine," as shared at Tor.com:
The Gods Themselves, by Isaac Asimov

I am recommending only the second part of this very variable book about the search for a safe, long-lasting source of energy by scientists in two different universes. Dua, who lives in the para-universe, is an unusual female of her species with unconventional desires and two conventional male spouses, Odeen, and Tritt. Reproduction for this threesome can go two ways. It may result in the birth of a Rational like Odeen, an Emotional like Dua, or a Parental like Tritt. But, eventually, the ecstasy of sex causes a permanent fusion of the three into one consciousness and a new being. Dua, Odeen and Tritt must figure out for themselves what they are and who they will become—and they must do it soon, while trying to communicate with scientists from our universe before they accidentally blow up our sun.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Top ten modern Nordic books

At the Guardian, Icelandic novelist Sjón tagged ten essential books from the far north, including:
Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson (translated by Lytton Smith)

Bergsson is the grand old man of Icelandic literature and this is the novel every Icelandic author must love and resist. Written in 1966, when biographies of turn-of-the-century greats were dominating the bestseller lists in Iceland, the novel pretends to be the autobiographical musings of its ageing protagonist. Having nothing to his name but the fact that he is descended from Vikings, and the small flat where he lives in one room, renting the rest out to lodgers, Tómas does his best to prove worthy of a book of his own. Only recently translated into English, it is a fabulous feast of wilting light, with a whiff of Beckett’s Unnamable’s underpants.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Fifty books that will turn you into a modern-day polymath

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged fifty books that will prepare you to discuss just about anything with the confidence of an expert, including:
Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess, by Bobby Fischer

What You’ll Learn: Chess.

Why play chess? For one, it’s one of the oldest games ever played. For another, humans’ ability to play chess may be all that’s standing between us and our computer overlords. Fischer was nuts, but he was a genius at the game, and his book (written before his full-on breakdown) remains a classic.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 16, 2017

Ten top life lessons from Russian literature

Viv Groskop is the author of The Anna Karenina Fix: Life Lessons From Russian Literature. One of her top ten life lessons from Russian literature, as shared at the Guardian:
You’re not as smart as you would like to think you are

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Poor Raskolnikov. Wanting to prove himself invincible, he hits on the perfect scheme to snaffle some cash by murdering an old lady. He bungles the job, kills an extra person by mistake and manages to leave most of the money behind. Rodion Romanovich, you are very silly indeed. But all is not lost. He can get some degree of comfort by becoming heavily religious. The lesson? Sometimes we do things so stupid that even God struggles to forgive us.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Crime and Punishment is among Annemarie Neary's top ten books about guilt, 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

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Six of the witchiest YA covens

At the BN Teen blog Nicole Hill tagged six of her favorite covens in YA fiction, including:
The Midnight Witch, by Paula Brackston

When Lady Lilith Montgomery’s father dies, he leaves her something to remember him by: the title of Head Witch of the Lazarus Coven. Naturally, that new job comes with hefty responsibility and inherent danger. Lilith will lead the coven in its charge to guard the Elixir against the shadowy Sentinels who would reclaim it. Things are complicated when she goes and falls in love with a non-witch—a fact made more awkward by her engagement to someone else.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Coffee with a Canine: Paula Brackston & Bluebell.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Lauren Child's six best books

Lauren Child is the creator of many best-selling and award-winning books, including the hugely popular Charlie and Lola and Clarice Bean series and a spin-off series of novels about Ruby Redfort. She is also the author-illustrator of The New Small Person and That Pesky Rat, among other picture books. She is the Children's Laureate in the U.K. and has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal.

Lauren Child lives in London.

One of the author's six favorite books, as shared at the Daily Express:
by Rose Tremain

This is about regret and how the main character, Merivel, loses the house he so loves. He’s a great character, joyful and a bit of a delinquent. We’re often told regret is a bad thing but it’s quite important because it reminds you how special some things are.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thirteen of the unluckiest characters in SFF

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged thirteen of the unluckiest characters in science fiction & fantasy, including:
Gregor Samsa in The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka

I don’t think it needs to be explained that waking up to discover that you’ve been transformed into a giant roach is bad luck of the highest order. When the story goes downhill from there, it really kind of redefines being born under a bad sign by a mind-blowing order of magnitude. When your death actually solves everyone else’s problems and no one mourns you for even a moment, you have crossed over into fields of bad luck no other living thing has ever inhabited.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Metamorphosis is among five books that changed Andy Griffiths, Jason Diamond's fifty most essential works of Jewish fiction, and Thomas Bloor's top ten tales of metamorphosis; Avi Steinberg says it is one of six books every prison should stock.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 13, 2017

Eleven of literature's least reliable narrators

At Electric Lit Carrie V Mullins tagged eleven of her favorite unreliable narrators, including:
Yunior de Las Casas from The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Diaz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is the story of Oscar De León, an overweight, sci-fi loving Dominican kid growing up in Paterson, New Jersey. Oscar’s story is narrated by Yunior de las Casas, Oscar’s best friend and the sometime boyfriend to Oscar’s sister Lola. Yunior acts as an omniscient narrator, populating the story with details that he couldn’t have known and admitting that he changed some names between “drafts.” His fabrications may not be strictly real, but they allow Yunior to weave Oscar’s story into the larger narrative of the Dominican Republic.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao appears among Saskia Lacey's fifty incredible literary works destined to become classics, Samantha Mabry's five books that carry curses, Susan Barker's top ten novels with multiple narratives, BBC Culture's twelve greatest novels of the 21st century, Emily Temple's fifty greatest debut novels since 1950, Niall Williams's top ten bookworms' tales, Chrissie Gruebel's nine best last lines in literature, Alexia Nader's nine favorite books about unhappy families, Jami Attenberg's top six books with overweight protagonists, Brooke Hauser's six top books about immigrants, Sara Gruen's six favorite books, Paste magazine's list of the ten best debut novels of the decade (2000-2009), and The Millions' best books of fiction of the millenium. The novel is one of Matthew Kaminski's five favorite novels about immigrants in America and is a book that made a difference to Zoë Saldana.

The Page 99 Test: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Ten of the best feminist texts

At the Guardian, Barbara Ellen tagged ten of the best feminist texts, including:
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf (1990)

Wolf’s work recognised the dark truth that however clever, funny and dynamic women might be, there was always something trying to make them feel bad about the size of their thighs. Worse, that this relentless external message (that a woman’s desirability was paramount)was internalising, and getting worse, even as modern women’s power and prominence outwardly increased. Wolf is viewed by some as controversial, sometimes inconsistent but her skilful analysis of female oppression (and the fact that they never really went away) makes The Beauty Myth all too relevant today.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten books that will remind you of your childhood

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged ten books that will remind you what it felt like to be a kid, including:
A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving

With patience and affection, Irving captures what it was like to grow up in the 1950s in this terrific novel. While John Wheelwright and Owen Meany aren’t typical kids in any sense—Owen’s growing conviction that he is an instrument of god isn’t exactly typical for a kid in any decade—Irving’s attention to detail renders a childhood air instantly recognizable to those who paralleled John and Owen’s fictional existence in their own lives. The decade was one where a slow subversion of tradition and accepted norms would eventually explode into the chaos of the ’60s, and it’s realistically presented here as a restless questioning of a kid’s purpose.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Five alternate histories that embrace diversity

Ginn Hale resides in the Pacific Northwest with her lovely wife and wayward cats. She is an award-winning author of science fiction and fantasy, as well as an avid coffee-drinker. At Tor.com she tagged five of her favorite "compelling, glorious and inclusive alternate histories," including:
Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

Ballad of Black Tom doesn’t technically fit the definition of alternate history. It’s something much more powerful and brave, a Person of Color confronting the hateful narrative of a historically acclaimed writer and transforming it. With Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle wrenches apart the racist narrative of H.P. Lovecraft’s Horror at Red Hook and not only gives Tom a powerful and moving voice but –in my opinion—LaValle out-writes anything Lovecraft ever penned both in terms of depicting humanity and our monsters. This is simply fiction at its most potent.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ten novels that teach you something about marriage

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged "which offer you all the marriage advice you’ll ever need," including:
Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty

Lesson: The grass is always greener. Every married couple has at least one other couple they see socially whom they love/hate because they seem too perfect. They are financially affluent, they have great taste, their kids behave well, they are obviously affectionate. As Moriarty’s great novel reminds us, that’s often window dressing. Everyone has problems. Some of us are just better at hiding them.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six books that inspire bravery

Brené Brown's latest book is Braving the Wilderness, a new best-seller about courage. One of her six favorite books that inspire bravery, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Book of Forgiving by Desmond and Mpho Tutu

Of all of the topics I've studied over the past two decades, forgiveness has been the most complex and difficult. Here, Bishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter take us on a journey that has the potential to change lives and the broader culture.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 9, 2017

Fifteen of the best political biographies and diaries

At the Guardian, Steve Richards and Gaby Hinsliff tagged fifteen of the best political biographies and diaries, including:
Team of Rivals by Dorothy Kearns Goodwin (2005)

As well as reading like a political thriller, this is partly a book on the art of leadership. Kearns Goodwin shows how Lincoln flourished by appointing his fiercest rivals to key cabinet positions, leading them subtly to help achieve his ambitious objectives in a country torn apart by civil war. After Alastair Campbell had read Team of Rivals he sent a copy to his friend Alex Ferguson who was facing some internal problems with his Manchester United squad at the time. Ferguson loved the book. There are lessons for leaders in many fields in the way Lincoln managed his team.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Team of Rivals is among Alastair Campbell's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Six of the scariest haunted houses in YA fiction

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 six of the scariest haunted houses in YA fiction, including:
The Cabin, by Natasha Preston

Seven teens. One epic party. Five survivors. 17-year-old Mackenzie just wants to let loose with her friends at a secluded cabin, sans parents. They’re all still coming to terms with the car crash that killed two of their group over the summer. What they don’t realize is that two more of them have been targeted for murder. But by whom, and why, is a secret Mackenzie will have to figure out after the smoke clears and the bodies are discovered. A new twist on the classic locked-room mystery.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Ten essential 21st-century Spanish-language books

Elvira Navarro was named by Granta magazine one of the “Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists” in 2010, and she was declared one of the major Spanish voices of the future by the magazine El Cultural in 2013.

One of the author's ten favorite Spanish-language books published this century, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enríquez, trans. Megan McDowell

In her short story collection Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego, which has become an international bestseller, Mariana Enríquez offers a masterly reappraisal of the horror genre and a different view of reality, with a good dose of subtle political criticism and everyday distortion. And all this without the loss of the spine-chilling effects of the genre. The collection includes a child murderer, women who protest against gender-related violence by setting themselves on fire, haunted houses, and suburbs that act as a depiction of society as a whole.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 6, 2017

Five of the best YA books set in the 1920s

At the BN Teen Blog Elodie tagged five of the best YA novels set in the 1920s, including:
Bright Young Things, by Anna Godbersen

Good news, Anna Godbersen fans: the author behind the addictive Victorian drama series The Luxe has crafted a Roaring Twenties version with Bright Young Things. It’s 1929 in Manhattan. The hemlines are higher, the morals are looser, and anything goes in the city that never sleeps. But it’s not all glittering Broadway lights and free-flowing champagne. Letty wants to become an actress. Cordelia’s on the hunt for her infamous criminal father. The socialite Astrid is dating a rich man but finds herself attracted to her mother’s stable boy. And soon enough—as the prologue will tell you—one will be famous, one will be married, and one will be dead. All the while, the tumultuous end of the “era that roared” draws ever closer.
Read about the other books on the list.

Bright Young Things is among Rachel Paxton's top eight YA novels for a guided tour through the 20th century.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Ten top human-animal relationships in literature

Henrietta Rose-Innes is a South African author of four novels and a short-story collection, and a contributing editor at the Johannesburg Review of Books. Her novel Nineveh was published in the UK and US in 2016, and Green Lion will appear in the UK in 2017. Both books were shortlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize, South Africa’s most prestigious literary award. One of the author's top ten human-animal relationships in literature, as shared at the Guardian:
The Hunter by Julia Leigh

This debut novel encouraged my interest in the tragic glamour of the extinct. We follow a sinister hunter, M, on a mission to hunt down the last Tasmanian tiger. This lean book gives us a primordial clash of hunter and prey in a landscape haunted by ghosts of the lost. There is a scene, where M finally sights his quarry and pursues her, her striped body flashing luminously between the trees, that will stay with me as an image of ungraspable desire.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Seven top books about pathogens

At Paste magazine B. David Zarley tagged seven viral books about pathogens, including:
Biohazard by Ken Alibek and Stephen Handelman

Biohazard is a chilling portrayal of the biopreparat, or the Soviet Union’s biological weapons program, from a man who would know it well. Alibek was the agency’s deputy chief from 1988 to 1992, at which point he defected and moved to the U.S. Alibek’s book sheds light on the impressive and horrifying work done by one of the world’s most extensive bioweapons programs, a vast web of labs stretching from the Sea of Japan to the Baltic. Their grim achievements include weaponizing Marburg—a vicious relative of Ebola—and creating custom made “chimaera” bugs.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Five YA books that will give you major wanderlust

At the B&N Teen blog Alyssa Sheinmel tagged five YA novels that will give you major wanderlust, including:
I See London, I See France, by Sarah Mlynowski

In this hilarious novel from bestselling author Sarah Mlynowski, nineteen-year-old Sydney is getting ready for what she’s certain will be the best summer of her life—travelling through Europe with her best friend Leela. Their itinerary includes England, Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy, France—and hopefully making out with a handsome foreign stranger or two. But Sydney didn’t plan for appearances from Leela’s cheating ex-boyfriend and his friends, or updates on her mother’s agoraphobia (which almost kept Sydney from taking off for Europe in the first place). As Sydney and Leela travel from city to city—each new city includes a description of what it’s best known for—Sydney will have to get used to the fact that her trip isn’t exactly going to plan. But that doesn’t have to mean it can’t still be the best summer ever.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 2, 2017

Andrew O'Hagan's 6 favorite books

Novelist and journalist Andrew O'Hagan's new book is The Secret Life: Three True Stories of the Digital Age. One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

"Nobody is simply one thing," Woolf wrote, and Mrs. Dalloway is filled with a beautiful sense of its characters' multiplicity. Everybody can be otherwise, but that doesn't stop their being distinctive and vivid.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Mrs. Dalloway also appears on Elizabeth Strout's six favorite books list, Juan Gabriel Vásquez's six favorite books list, Becky Ferreira's list of seven of the best fictional depictions of female friendship, Rebecca Jane Stokes's list of seven favorite fictional shopaholics, Suzette Field's top 10 list of literary party hosts, Jennie Rooney's top ten list of women travelers in fiction, John Mullan's list of ten of the best prime ministers in fiction, and among Michael Cunningham's 5 most important books, Dani Shapiro's 10 favorite books, and Kate Walbert's best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Six top scary YA novels

At the BN Teen Blog Elodie tagged six "YA novels ... sure to leave you feeling creeped out in the best possible way," including:
Shallow Graves, by Kali Wallace

There’s almost no chance that you’ve ever woken up in a shallow grave. Neither had seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin, until, of course, it happened. Even more disturbing: there’s a dead body nearby, one belonging to the man who was attempting to dig up her corpse. It’s been a year since she was murdered (an event she has no memory of, by the way), and suddenly she’s alive, or undead, or whatever she is. Not only that, but she now has the ability to sense murderers—and give them a taste of their own medicine. On a quest to find answers, Breezy encounters a world of monsters, creepy cults, and revenge in a darkly suspenseful urban fantasy that’s sure to reel you in with the very first line and give you goosebumps long after you’ve turned the final page.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue