Saturday, March 31, 2018

Seven diverse historical fantasy novels

At the BN Teen Blog, Nicole Brinkley tagged "seven wonderful historical fantasies that don’t center on straight, cis, able-bodied white people," including:
Iron Cast, by Destiny Soria

You know that book your best friend keeps talking about and foisting on every person you come into contact with? For me, Iron Cast is that book. This alternate history, set in Boston in 1919, highlights friendship and magic. Heiress Corinne and biracial immigrants’ daughter Ada are best friends and fellow hemopaths, folks whose blood gives them illusion magic. But when their boss at the nightclub they both perform at convinces them to con the wealthy, Ada lands in prison, Corinne must bust her out, and soon they find themselves on the run from the police.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 30, 2018

Thirty of the worst couples in literature

One entry from Literary Hub's list of thirty of the worst couples in literature:
Jackson and Imabelle, A Rage in Harlem

Jackson’s love for Imabelle is never in question in Chester Himes’ first novel to feature his Harlem police detectives Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones (the detectives have a more peripheral role than in later installments in the series, playing second fiddle to the dysfunctional con artist couple of Jackson and Imabelle). Imabelle’s love for Jackson, however, is up for debate. In this 1950s tale of hustlers, con artists, cops, and dreamers, Jackson and Imabelle come to Ed and Jones’ attention for a scheme that purports to create gold out of cash, and when Imabelle does a runner, Jackson and the detectives work hard to track her down and figure out once and for all if she’s running the con for love or for money. Readers will have to wait to the very end to discover Imabelle’s true motivations.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see Jeff Somers's five best worst couples in literature and Hannah Jane Parkinson's ten worst couples in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Seven complicated sibling bonds in SFF books

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog Nicole Hill tagged seven complicated sibling bonds in science fiction & fantasy books, including:
Taema and Tila
False Hearts, by Laura Lam

No sibling relationship could be quite so complicated as that between conjoined twins. For their first 16 years, that was Taema and Tila: raised in a reclusive cult, the sisters found salvation at death’s door; as their shared heart began to fail, they fled Mana’s Hearth for San Francisco, where they were saved and separated. After a decade apart, though, other fractures in their bond have appeared. It all comes crashing down with Tila, accused of murder and soaked in blood, appearing on her sibling’s doorstep. To absolve her sister, Taema goes undercover in the city’s underground crime syndicate, where Tila’s many, many secrets seem central to solving the other perverse mysteries surrounding the trade of a new drug.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten books based in Tangier

Christine Mangan's new novel is Tangerine. One of the author's top ten books based in Tangier, as shared at the Guardian:
Street of Thieves by Mathias Énard, translated by Charlotte Mandell

A coming-of-age narrative set against the backdrop of the 2011 Arab spring uprisings, Street of Thieves follows young Moroccan narrator Lakhdar after he is expelled from his family home following an indiscretion with his cousin. Resorting to begging and prostitution to survive, his journey takes him across the Straits to the shores of Spain and the streets of Barcelona, where memories of his childhood friend, Bassam – who may have been involved in violence connected to the uprisings – haunt him.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Fifty science fiction essentials written by women

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and the Ustari Cycle from Pocket/Gallery, including We Are Not Good People. At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog he tagged fifty science fiction essentials written by women, including:
Infomocracy, by Malka Older

Older’s debut novel imagines a world where the entire population is divided into groups of 100,000, known as centenals. Each centenal can vote for the government they wish to belong to—governments ranging from corporate-dominated PhilipMorris, to policy-based groups with names like Liberty. A global organization called Information seeks to police elections and ensure that the many governments keep their promises and play by the rules—and when a researcher for a government called Policy1st stumbles onto a conspiracy to rig elections, he’s teamed with an agent of Information as they struggle to find out the truth, expose the plot, and stay alive. Older’s fierce imagination and eye for detail make her future world entirely plausible, and her characters, believably flawed. It’s one of most promising debuts of recent years, and the sequels only further impress.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Infomocracy is among Joel Cunningham's twelve science fiction & fantasy books for the post-truth era and Sam Reader's six most intriguing political systems in fantasy and science fiction.

The Page 69 Test: Infomocracy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Five books to change your mind

At the Guardian Elif Shafak tagged five books to change our minds and heal our souls, including:
Anti-intellectualism in American Life was written in the 1960s but, again, couldn’t be more timely today. It is an insightful study that gained its author, Richard Hofstadter, a Pulitzer prize. Later on, the book was forgotten for a while but now it is becoming a bestseller and is visible on bookstore shelves once again. Hofstadter explored how resentment of the life of the mind was a long-standing undercurrent in US culture and society. With the rise of populism and illiberal democracies today, anti-intellectual rhetoric has increased. The romanticisation of “the real people” and the denigration of the intellectual are familiar signs for anyone who has studied ultranationalism and tribalism. Hofstadter shows us that this anti-intellectual strand is nothing new, yet it might bring unexpected consequences.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five classic books Hollywood should adapt into corny sitcoms

At the B&N Reads blog Brian Boone tagged five classic books Hollywood should adapt into corny sitcoms, including:
Skellig, by David Almond

There have been so many high-concept sitcoms about normal people trying to keep some extraordinary creature hidden from the neighbors or the authorities—an alien on ALF, an alien on American Dad, a robot on Small Wonder, a genie on I Dream of Jeannie, and so on. Just sub in “wise and mystical human/owl/angel creature” for alien, robot, or genie and you’ve got Skellig!, the hilarious tale of a little boy who keeps his garage friend a secret.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 26, 2018

Anna Quindlen's six favorite books by contemporary female authors

Anna Quindlen's new novel is Alternate Side. One of her six favorite books by contemporary female authors, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott

The latest of McDermott's deeply felt novels is the story of a girl who grows up among the Little Sisters of the Poor in a Brooklyn convent. With her deft use of detail and her profound understanding of human nature, McDermott creates a world entire in a slender volume.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Ten literary classics we (not so) secretly hate

At LitHub Emily Temple asked her colleagues about the literary classics we're supposed to like...but don't. One title from the survey:
Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

I [Molly Odintz] know, none of us like to think of culture in competition, but the fact remains that we can only read a certain number of books in our lives (a total you can calculate based on this simple formula). My resentment of Wuthering Heights stems from high school English, when I was robbed of my chance to discuss Kafka’s Metamorphosis for longer than a week, because Wuthering Heights, and its concomitant endlessly boring romanticism, had taken up two months of stultifying class discussion time I would never, ever get back.
Read about the other books on the list.

Wuthering Heights appears on Cristina Merrill's list of eight of the sexiest curmudgeons in romance, Kate Hamer's list of six top novels with a strong evocation of atmosphere, Siri Hustvedt's six favorite books list, Tom Easton's top ten list of fictional "houses which themselves seem to have a personality which affects the story," Melissa Harrison's list of the ten top depictions of British rain, Meredith Borders's list of ten of the scariest gothic romances, Ed Sikov's list of eight top books that got slammed by critics, Amelia Schonbek's top five list of approachable must-read classics, Molly Schoemann-McCann's top five list of the lamest girlfriends in fiction, Becky Ferreira's list of seven of the worst wingmen in literature, Na'ima B. Robert's top ten list of Romeo and Juliet stories, Jimmy So's list of fifteen notable film adaptations of literary classics, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best thunderstorms in literature, ten of the worst nightmares in literature and ten of the best foundlings in literature, Valerie Martin's list of novels about doomed marriages, Susan Cheever's list of the five best books about obsession, and Melissa Katsoulis' top 25 list of book to film adaptations. It is one of John Inverdale's six best books and Sheila Hancock's six best books.

The Page 99 Test: Wuthering Heights.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Fifteen terrific Easter picture books

At the BN Kids Blog the B&N editors tagged fifteen terrific Easter picture books, including:
Bunny Bus, by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Lesley Breen Withrow

Animals get to hop on the Bunny Bus—yes, an actual bus shaped like a bunny!—and take a ride through town to the Easter Parade. Cats and owls and other well-dressed animals climb on board and make room for more as they go up and down, and temporarily break down. This colorful picture book takes readers on a different Easter adventure and is a great pick for kids who love transportation and animals.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five essential mind-bending novels

Chuma Nwokolo's is the author of the novel The Extinction of Menai and other works. One of five essential mind-bending novels he tagged at Publishers Weekly:
Search Sweet Country by Kojo Laing

You will need your wits about you when reading Kojo Laing (Woman of Aeroplanes, Big Bishop Roko and the Altar Gangsters). In his fiction, a sentence is a recreational universe with its own internal logic and world order, free to contort, invert, and luxuriate in a love of lexicon, free from any obligation to conform with the sentence before, or the sentence afterwards. This is the recipe, of course, for bedlam. But Kojo Laing is an innovative stylist whose fiction is saved from the madhouse by its sheer inventiveness, and by its wit. In Search Sweet Country, the characters are searching for Change, and the author serves up change in spades in a narration that bucks novelistic conventions.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 23, 2018

Five books about the history of booze

At B&N Reads Madina Papadopoulos tagged five books about the history of booze, including:
Moonshine: A Cultural History of America’s Infamous Liquor, by Jaime Joyce

Moonshine is perhaps one of the more elusive liquors with possibly the best name, and a slew of great nicknames as well (white lightning, choop, mountain dew, etc.). The lore of Moonshine is braided into American history, and this book takes the reader through colonial times, the American Revolution, prohibition, and onto moonshine in the modern era. Writer Jaime Joyce tells an intoxicating tale that mixes anecdotes, folklore, history, and even a few cocktails, like the Moonshine-based take on the Margarita, aptly called the ‘Moon-a-Rita.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Top ten runaway mothers in fiction

Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working full-time and published seven books about “accidental PI” Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001.

Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards.

Lippman's new novel is Sunburn.

One of the author's top ten runaway mothers in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler

This wry, big-hearted novel is quintessential book club fodder, meant to be dissected with other women, preferably over wine and snacks. Delia Grinstead, still somewhat unformed at the age of 40, bolts from her family on a beach vacation, only to find a new life caring for the child of another runaway mother. This is Tyler at her best, which is as good as it gets.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Twelve graphic novels for beginners

At the BN Teen Blog Ross Johnson tagged twelve titles for readers new to graphic novels, including:
March, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

Congressman and revered icon John Lewis is among the last people you’d expect to write a graphic novel, especially one as confident and successful as this three-part memoir of the civil rights movement. Inspired by a 1958 comic book that inspired him, “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story,” March tells of the movement from Lewis’ perspective, centered around the events of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march. By talking personally rather than broadly about his life and those years, Lewis and co-author Andrew Aydin go well beyond the standard history lesson. The story is inspiring, the black-and-white art (by Nate Powell) is gorgeous. March establishes one of our unlikeliest graphic novel writers among the very best.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Six top books about exile, migration, and resistance

Daniel Borzutzky is a poet and translator, and the author of The Performance of Becoming Human, winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Poetry. His latest book, Lake Michigan, a series of 19 lyric poems, imagines a prison camp located on the beaches of a Chicago that is privatized, racially segregated, and overrun by a brutal police force. One of his recommended books about exile, migration, and resistance, as shared at The Week magazine:
Discourse on Colonialism by Aimé Césaire

In powerful and poetic prose, Césaire's 1955 book offers blasting indictments of Europe, its relationship to its colonial subjects, and the hypocrisy of its labeling those subjects barbarians.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 19, 2018

Twenty-four books to soothe your post awards-season letdown

At B&N Reads Tara Sonin tagged two dozen books to soothe your post awards-season letdown, including:
Painfully Rich, by John Pearson

This movie starring Christopher Plummer, Michelle Williams, and Mark Wahlberg is based on who made himself very very rich…but ruined his family in the process. Drugs, suicide, a kidnapping, and much more feature in this saga that is as strange as it is true.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Five books with different visions for a connected future

Nick Clark Windo is the author of The Feed. One of five "books with different visions for a connected future" he tagged at
Defender by GX Todd

Here’s a great dystopian thriller. I read this after I finished The Feed but immediately felt we were in similar worlds. I love the beauty she finds in the brutality of the world: the factuality of both seems to be a great trait of this sort of fiction. And there’s a post-apocalyptic connectivity going on here, too…though not what you might think. It’s book one of a quadrilogy and the next—Hunter—is out soon. Very unnerving; highly recommended.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Six YAs set in Ireland

At the BN Teen Blog Dahlia Adler tagged six YA novels set in Ireland, including:
The Spellbook of the Lost and Found, by Moira Fowley-Doyle

Olive, Rose, Hazel, Laurel…it seems none of the girls of Balmallen managed to hold onto their possessions at their town’s last bonfire. Relationships are disintegrating, items are going missing and odd new ones are turning up in their place, and secrets abound. A mysterious spellbook may be key to moving forward, but magic isn’t made to be messed with, and retrieving a lost item means sacrificing something else. Fowley-Doyle’s magical realistic sophomore novel explores what happens when you find something that cannot be unfound.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Denise Mina's 6 best books

Denise Mina's latest novel is The Long Drop.

One of her six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
THE BETRAYAL by Helen Dunmore

Dunmore will be remembered in 200 years. Her descriptions of small, strange worlds are heartbreaking and her prose style is incredible.

This is about the Stalinist persecution of a doctor.

A lot of crime novels are spectacular and gory. This isn’t but has the same narrative pace.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 16, 2018

Six outstanding standalone fantasy novels

Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon are the co-authors of Blood of the Four. At they tagged six outstanding standalone fantasy novels. One of Golden's picks:
Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock

It’s probably cheating, because Holdstock went on to write numerous other novels that are tied to this one, but Mythago Wood reads very much as if those expansions and further explorations were additions. Second thoughts. He finished this one and decided he had more to say—at least that’s how I’ve always viewed it. A beautiful journey and a fantastical mystery, this is The Lost City of Z, with every acre of forest peeling back centuries of ancestral memory and digging at the roots of folklore. A classic.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Top 10 books about Kenya

Peter Kimani is an award-winning Kenyan author and journalist. He works in fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays. His latest novel, Dance of the Jakaranda, is a New York Times Editors’ Choice.

One of his top ten books about Kenya, as shared at the Guardian:
A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o

The last of his foundational trilogy on culture and society – the others are Weep Not, Child, and The River Between – this novel evaluated what political independence heralded for ordinary citizens in the early 60s. Mugo is a hermit whom locals mistake for a freedom hero, but who is privately burdened by other troubles, and his unravelling signals the denouement of one of Ngugi’s finest novels.
Read about the other entries on the list.

A Grain of Wheat is among Pushpinder Khaneka's three best books on Kenya.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Six YA novels starring evil (and irresistible) magical ladies

At the BN Teen Blog, Nicole Brinkley tagged six YA novels featuring magical ambitious ladies willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want, including:
The Shadow Queen, by C.J. Redwine

Let’s get the most important thing out of the way: this reimagining of Snow White features a dragon huntsman. A huntsman who is a dragon shapeshifter. Nobody told me this when the book first came out, and now I feel the need to shout it from the rooftops. But this list is about magical evil ladies, and The Shadow Queen has two: Lorelai (our Snow White) and Irina (our Evil Queen). Lorelai will do anything to destroy Irina and retrieve her crown, and Irina will do anything to keep it, both using the only thing they have in common: magic.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books to help us understand the future

Michio Kaku's newest book is The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond Earth. At the Guardian, he tagged five books to help you understand the future, including:
Working for Google, Ray Kurzweil has made many predictions that have surprised and amazed others, because he believes in the exponential rise of technology, leading to the singularity. In The Singularity Is Near, he predicts that computers may begin to rival or surpass human intelligence. Also, computers may one day be so small they will circulate in our blood, repairing cellular damage, giving us health and perhaps some form of immortality. Should we fear these computers, or celebrate their arrival?
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Eight books guaranteed to make kids SFF fans for life

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Ross Johnson tagged eight books guaranteed to make kids SFF fans for life, including:
City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau

Ember was built underground in order to spare mankind from a coming disaster. The problem is, 241 years after the city’s founding, the city is dying—its stores running low and its machinery failing—and no one remembers why they’re even down there in the first place. The secret set of instructions has been lost—or has it? Lina Mayfleet is a young woman whose baby sister uncovers the tattered documents that were intended to guide humans out of the city at the proper time. Reconstructing them with her friend Doon, Lina uncovers the history of Ember as well as a way to a promised future on the surface. But, because nothing is ever easy, she and Doon are declared fugitives by the greedy Mayor and forced to decide if they can save both themselves and the people of Ember itself.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 12, 2018

Jesse Ball's 6 favorite books

Jesse Ball's latest novel, Census, is a fable about the travels of a father and an adult son with Down syndrome. One of the author's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam

Arudpragasam's elegant debut novel takes place in a refugee camp being rained with bombs. The book's great power, though, lies in the author's awareness of the meaning embedded in simple things. There is no need to search for what is marvelous in the sensational; the marvelous is already present.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Seven YA novels starring fierce female pirates

At the BN Teen Blog, Nicole Brinkley tagged seven YA novels that feature powerful lady pirates, including:
Pirates!, by Celia Rees

When I was younger and would devour every book in the library, I kept trying to check out Pirates!—but it was never on the shelves. Turns out, other kids wanted to read it, too. After her father dies, Nancy Kington is sent to live on her family’s plantation in Jamaica, and finds herself in a disgusting situation—both in terms of how her brother treats slaves and in his willingness to marry her off to the highest bidder. Alongside slave girl Minerva, Nancy flees Jamaica and join a band of pirates—one that breaks all the rules she thought unbreakable.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Four inspirational memoirs

Tara Westover's new book is Educated: A Memoir. One of four memoirs that moved her as a reader, then as a writer, as shared at the Waterstones blog:
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeannette Winterson

This is a beautiful book about one woman’s journey to accept herself despite never being accepted by her adoptive parents. It is her reckoning with herself—with how she sees herself, and the fact of that being so different from how her mother sees her, and of all the ways she will be forever marked by that difference. Winterson writes, “Where you are born—what you are born into, the place, the history of the place, how that history mates with your own—stamps who you are, whatever the pundits of globalisation have to say.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Twenty-five must-reads for Women’s History Month

At B&N Reads Tara Sonin tagged twenty-five must-reads for Women’s History Month, including:
Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly

The book that became a box office smash is a must-read. The story of the NASA mathematicians—and African-American women—who changed the face of the race to space was lost to time and whitewashed history. But now you can read about the brilliance and ambition of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden, and Gloria Champine.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 9, 2018

The ten scariest books of all time

At at The Strand Magazine Ania Ahlborn tagged the ten scariest books of all time. One title on the list:
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin: I can gush on and on about how masterfully Ira Levin can weave a sinister undercurrent into an otherwise mundane tale, but if you want to experience it for yourself, look no further than Rosemary’s Baby. Yes, there’s a movie, but the book is so much better. It’s a quick read that’ll leave you wondering why you haven’t read more of Levin’s work. I highly recommend it, as long as you aren’t pregnant.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Rosemary's Baby is among Jeff Somers's "twenty-five books that might not necessarily be the best horror novels, but are certainly the scariest," Christopher Shultz's top ten literary chillers, and Kat Rosenfield's top seven scary autumnal stories.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Five books featuring adorable teenage sociopaths

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and the Ustari Cycle from Pocket/Gallery, including We Are Not Good People. At the B&N Reads blog he tagged five books starring adorable teenage sociopaths, including:
Kazou Kiriyama in Battle Royale, by Koushun Takami

Handsome, rich, intelligent, and a good student: you might imagine Kazuo Kiriyama be popular with kids and teachers alike. He’s also a pretty good fit for the Battle Royale, a brutal government program that pits students against each other in a fight to the death. After a car accident damages the part of his brain that processes emotions, Kazuo becomes an extremely bored genius who masters challenges with ease—to the point where his decision whether to play along with the government’s demand he murder his classmates is left to the flip of a coin. He proves to be as good at killing as he was at playing the violin.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Battle Royale is among Peter Tieryas's five favorite books that have games with deadly consequences and Sian Cain's ten top books to read now you've finished The Hunger Games.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Ten top parallel narratives

Lisa Halliday grew up in Medfield, Massachusetts and currently lives in Milan, Italy. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review and she is the recipient of a 2017 Whiting Award for Fiction. Asymmetry is her first novel.

One of Halliday's top ten parallel narratives--i.e., novels that track unconnected but related stories, as shared at the Guardian:
NW by Zadie Smith (2012)

The most prominent parallel in this vital, fragmentary novel is between Leah and Keisha, friends who seem at once irreconcilable and two sides of the same coin. The novel winds melancholically among additional binary details and concepts concerning class, identity, and empathy: Keisha renames herself Natalie; over Prosecco, a character says, “It must be comforting being able to divide the world in two like that in your mind … Of course, I’m already divided in half”; and riding a bus, Leah imagines “a more gentle universe, parallel to our own, where people are fully and intimately known to each other and there is no time or death or fear”.
Read about the other entries on the list.

NW is among Jessica Winter's six favorite books on girl power.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten essential nonfiction graphic novels

At the B&N Reads blog Brian Boone tagged ten "of the most profound and fascinating non-fiction graphic novels," including:
Tetris: The Games People Play

As great as many of them turn out to be, most video games don’t have that interesting of an origin story—somebody at a software company gets an idea, 100 people develop it, millions get entertained. The story of the classic puzzle game Tetris is far more interesting…and harrowing. Created by a Russian computer scientist named Alexey Pajiitnov during the Soviet era, the story of Tetris is one of corporate manipulation, government interference, and a peek behind the Iron Curtain. Author and artist Box Brown also fits his style to the material, drawing in a boxy, blocky style, suggesting the endless shapes of Tetris itself.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Five SFF books set in the City of Light

E.J. Swift is a speculative fiction writer based in London. Her new novel is Paris Adrift.

One of her five best SFF books set in Paris, as shared at
The Last Days of New Paris by China Mieville

Miéville’s alternative history The Last Days of New Paris delivers the ultimate psychedelic feast. 1941 in occupied-Paris: an S-bomb detonates, resulting in surrealist arts materializing as physical entities which become known to the Parisians as manifs. Fast forward to 1950, the war has not yet ended and a quarantined Paris has become a battleground between the Nazis, the Resistance, the supernatural forces of manifs and demons, and various intelligence agencies—with agents on both sides seeking to manipulate and weaponise the manifs. The strength of the novella lies in its fantastical descriptions and Miéville’s trademark prose, such as the description of the Vélo on the opening pages: “a torso, jutted from the bicycle itself, its moving prow, a figurehead where handlebars should be. She was extruded from the metal. She pushed her arms backward and they curled at the ends like coral.” This is 170 pages of hallucinogenic, at times chilling, and at times unexpectedly moving madness.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 5, 2018

Six books with amazing dialogue

David Mamet's new book, his first crime novel, is Chicago. One of the author's six favorite books with amazing dialogue, as shared at The Week magazine:
Outlaws by George V. Higgins

Great dialogue — in novels, drama, on the street corner, or at the barbershop — adheres to our consciousness and shapes our understanding of the world. If you appreciate great dialogue, read some of George Higgins' novels. He was a 1970s state and federal prosecutor before he became a Homeric chronicler-inventor of the language of the cops, crooks, and shysters of Boston.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Five historical fiction YAs featuring intrepid female protagonists

At the BN Teen blog, Nita Tyndall tagged "five historical novels showcasing girls surviving against all odds in a society that doesn’t make it easy," including:
The Pearl Thief, by Elizabeth Wein

Perhaps two of historical YA fiction’s best known girls are from Wein’s Code Name Verity, a book that captured my heart and made me weep openly onto my ereader. One of these heroines, Julie (“Verity” in the first book), gets her own prequel with The Pearl Thief, in which she’s every bit as feisty and mouthy as she was when we first met her. Julie is spending one last summer on her grandfather’s Scottish estate before it’s sold—but her plans for an idyllic season don’t pan out. She’s assaulted near the river where her family harvests mussels for pearls, and after her rescue by two Travellers, Euan and his sister Ellen, Julie begins to realize the attack may not have been incidental. As she grows to know her saviors, she faces her own prejudices against Travellers and enlists their help to find out who hurt her and why.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Pearl Thief.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Nicky Henson's 6 best books

The English actor Nicky Henson has appear in the television series Downton Abbey and in such films as Syriana, Blitz, and No. 1 of the Secret Service. One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:

Keaton is my hero and I think I’ve read everything that has ever been printed about him. I’ve chased all over the world finding books and cuttings and my youngest son is named after him.

Keaton was the opposite to me: he did nothing and conveyed everything.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten spaceships in fiction

Gareth L. Powell is an award-winning author from the UK. His alternate history thriller, Ack-Ack Macaque won the 2013 BSFA Award for Best Novel, spawned two sequels, and was shortlisted in the Best Translated Novel category for the 2016 Seiun Awards in Japan. His latest project is a trilogy of novels: Embers Of War (2018), Fleet Of Knives (2019) and Light Of Impossible Stars (2020).

One of Powell's ten top spaceships in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

The all-conquering story of a murdered starship’s quest for vengeance, and the human body in which it now finds its consciousness trapped. Leckie’s debut novel, the first volume in her Imperial Radch trilogy, won a stack of honours, including the Hugo, Nebula and Arthur C Clarke awards.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Ancillary Justice is among Stacey Berg's five speculative fiction books that obliterate the Bechdel Test, Andrew Liptak's six notable novels featuring Artificial Intelligence, and Jeff Somers's top five sci-fi novels that explore gender in unexpected and challenging ways.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 2, 2018

Seven YA books set in spooky small towns

At the BN Teen Blog, Nicole Hill tagged seven top YA books set in spooky small towns, including:
The Grave Keepers, by Elizabeth Byrne

Death isn’t a far away eventuality in Laurel and Athena’s upstate New York hometown, and graves aren’t just a place you go when you die: they’re a profoundly meaningful personal space, tended meticulously by the people who will one day inhabit them. While the premise alone is enough to give you goosebumps, it’s the outside world that intrudes upon the quiet life of the sisters, raised in relative seclusion by their cemetery owner parents. Well, and the scheming ghost. The scheming ghost is pretty intrusive, too.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Five top threequels

Spencer Ellsworth is the author of the Starfire Trilogy, including the newly released threequel, Memory’s Blade. One of five favorite threequels he tagged at
Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey

Everyone agrees that The Expanse is great, and everyone also has very different opinions about which is the best book. And I have to agree this was a tough choice—for one, Gate doesn’t feature a viewpoint for Detective Miller, one of the best characters in the first book, although he features in the story as the alien surrogate. Nor does Chrisjen Avasarala figure in, with her Sol-system-spanning politics and entertainingly foul mouth.

But this book, designed to serve as a finale if Corey’s remaining story was not picked up, shows the heart of The Expanse. Humanity is ready to move on, in theory having outgrown a few planets and asteroids, and the ring gate is the key. But humanity is not ready to move on in spirit. A brutal, short-sighted force seizes control of the ship at the heart of the ring gate, and Clarissa Mao’s quest for vengeance almost ends interstellar exploration before it starts.

Anna Volovodov, a preacher, reaches out to Clarissa, and who becomes the voice of calm during the uprising. The books never comment on whether there is a divine force in the universe, other than extra-dimensional threats. Anna’s character, though, and all of Abaddon’s Gate, show that faith and hope are as real in space as are avarice, vengeance and despair.

Well done, Abaddon’s Gate. You get a brand-new David Bowie CD, to take into the farthest reaches of space. No, it’s not weird that I’m giving you a CD in 2018. It’s not used. It’s new, I promise. Fresh from the factory that definitely still makes CDs.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue