Monday, April 30, 2018

Six top books with strong-willed female protagonists

Curtis Sittenfeld's new book, You Think It, I'll Say It, is her first short-story collection. One of her six favorite books with strong-willed female protagonists, as shared at The Week magazine:
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

Jones' justly acclaimed An American Marriage is a recent Oprah's Book Club pick; this 2011 novel is equally wonderful. Its teenage narrators are half sisters whose father is a bigamist, a situation Jones makes complex. She also magnificently captures details of teenage girlhood that are at once universal and specific to 1980s Atlanta.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Silver Sparrow is among Kyle Minor fifteen hottest affairs in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Five inspiringly badass YA women

Adrienne Young is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee. When she’s not writing, you can find her on her yoga mat, scouring antique fairs for old books, sipping wine over long dinners, or disappearing into her favorite art museums. She lives with her documentary filmmaker husband and their four little wildlings beneath the West Coast sun.

Young's new novel is Sky in the Deep.

One of her five favorite inspiringly badass YA women, as shared at the BN Teen blog:
Inej (Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo)

My favorite thing about this little spider wraith is that she’s incredibly fierce but doesn’t need to prove it. And although she’s had her fair share of pain and suffering, she hasn’t let it control her. All of that, and she scales up the sides of buildings and bridges, disappears in the dark, and names her many knives after Saints. Her loyalty, bravery, and humanity make her one of my absolute favorite YA characters.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five stories that celebrate the everyday in science fiction

Jack McDevitt is the Nebula Award–winning author of The Academy series, including The Long Sunset. He went to La Salle University, then joined the Navy, drove a cab, became an English teacher, took a customs inspector’s job on the northern border, and didn’t write another word for a quarter-century. He received a master’s degree in literature from Wesleyan University in 1971. He returned to writing when his wife, Maureen, encouraged him to try his hand at it in 1980. Along with winning the Nebula Award in 2006, he has also been nominated for the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, and the Philip K. Dick Award. In 2015 he was awarded the Robert A. Heinlein Award for Lifetime Achievement.

At McDevitt tagged "five stories, from the heart, about science fiction and everyday life," including:
I’ve had a passion for space ships since I was four years old, when my father took me to our local movie theater to watch the Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon serials. I’ve also had an intense interest in archeology all my life. I don’t know where it came from, but I suspect it arrived on the day I read Ray Bradbury’s “The Million-Year Picnic,” in which a family living on Mars approach the edge of one of the canals. The kids want to know where the Martians are. Mom and Dad had promised they’d see Martians.

Dad points at the water. “There they are,” he says. The kids look down but see only their own reflections. And then they realize they are the Martians.

After that I was never able to walk away from the glories of lost civilizations.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Writers Read: Jack McDevitt (April 2018).

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Ten stories that end their apocalypses on a beach

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Ceridwen Christensen tagged "nine (and possibly 10) novels that find themselves on the beach at the finale." One title on the list:
The Space Between the Stars, by Anne Corlett

At the opening of The Space Between the Stars, we find Jamie Allenby shivering out the last fevers of a lethal plague that has annihilated 99.9 percent and then some of a human race far flung over dozens of inhabited planets. Jamie sets out on a journey through empty worlds, attempting to get home to the Northumbrian coast of England, where she hopes her estranged lover still lives. The image of seaglass, tumbled smooth through the action of water and tides, wends its way through the novel, a metaphor for the grinding action of trauma and recovery on our protagonists, and everyone else left. The novel ends quite literally on a beach, alongside people quietly rock-picking their way through the end—and then on to a tentative beginning, putting together the broken pieces of the world.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 27, 2018

Top ten books about public housing

John Boughton is the author of Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing. At the Guardian, he tagged a (UK-centric) top ten list of books about public housing, including:
Garden Suburbs of Tomorrow? A New Future for the Cottage Estates by Martin Crookston

While tower blocks loom large, so-called cottage estates – “corporation suburbia”, in the author’s phrase – have been received little attention, despite making up around one-sixth of England’s homes and 40% of the country’s remaining socially owned housing. Crookston provides a useful history and typology of these estates, but he is most concerned with their future. Some – the more sprawling, isolated and economically depressed – have their problems; often, ironically, the kind of problems held to characterise high-rise estates by reason of their design. Crookston’s thoughtful, empathetic study of these estates suggests how residents and councils might together renew the promise they once held.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Twenty-four swoonworthy novels inspired by Ireland

At B&N Reads Tara Sonin tagged twenty-four swoonworthy novels inspired by Ireland, including:
The Irish Princess, by Karen Harper

If you love historical narratives from outside perspectives, you will love the story of Elizabeth Fitzgerald, a girl born to Irish royalty…and a girl who knew the wrath of Henry VIII almost as much as his wives. The King imprisons her father, destroying her family, she must seek allegiances and avoid enemies in the perilous English court.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Five books to get a grip on internet addiction

Olivia Sudjic’s debut novel is Sympathy. At the Guardian, she tagged five of the best books to explain how we behave in the digital world, including:
Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed (2015) manages to be addictive reading – as compulsive as any online newsfeed – while distancing itself from the hysteria social media can induce. It demonstrates a nuanced and well-balanced analysis of our online behaviour.
Read about the other entries on the list.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is among Helen FitzGerald's ten top books about the dangers of the web.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Six sci-fi novels about ecological disasters & environments gone mad

Sam Reader is a writer and conventions editor for The Geek Initiative. He also writes literary criticism and reviews at At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog he tagged "six science fiction novels about ecological disasters and environments gone mad," including:
Clade, by James Bradley

Clade is possibly the most beautiful, optimistic end of the world novel ever written. In interlinking narratives, it tells the story of Adam and Ellie Leith, their family, their friends, and their descendants, set against a backdrop of apocalyptic storms, vanishing glaciers, flooding, turmoil, and dwindling colonies of bees. But what that description doesn’t convey is the amount of hope, beauty, poetry, and heart that Bradley pours into his apocalypse, painting lush portraits of the Australian bush and the people there who are just trying to survive together. In spite of the encroaching doom they must face, somehow the Leiths and their friends survive together, leading to an ending equal parts beautiful, melancholy, and a little bit hopeful.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Six of the best stories of deception

Sara Shepard's new novel--her first adult thriller--is The Elizas. One of her six favorite stories of deception, as shared at The Week magazine:
Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

I read a lot of thrillers, but this recent example — two missing sisters, a narcissistic mother, and plenty of dark, ugly backstory — stood out. The psychology of this novel is very grounded and believable, and Walker managed to keep me guessing until the very last page.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 23, 2018

Ten top anti-novels

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 ten top anti-novels, including:
Ice, by Anna Kavan

Anna Kavan was born Helen Ferguson, and published under that name for decades. In 1940, she dyed her hair and changed her name, and her writing style changed drastically, too. Ice was the last novel published in her lifetime, and achieved her greatest renown; it’s a post-apocalyptic story of a world being strangled by advancing glaciers, and at first, she struggled to see it published. While there’s a premise, there’s almost nothing by way of plot; the prose is dreamy and often trades in disturbing imagery, and the book has been claimed as an early feminist work exploring the repression and brutalization of women in a lyrical, symbolic way. You don’t so much read this book as let the words flow through you, forming, if not a narrative, then an impression of one.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Ice is among Sofia Samatar's five favorite "intensely strange, beautifully written, and transportive fantasies."

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Five top fictional femme fatales

Peter Swanson's latest novel is All the Beautiful Lies. One of his five favorite fictional femme fatales, as shared at the Waterstones blog:
Crissy Harkinson in The Last One Left by John D. MacDonald (1966)

MacDonald wrote several femme fatales but none better than the truly evil Crissy Harkinson in one of his best standalone novels. She is the definition of ruthless, a woman who will stop at absolutely nothing to get what she wants. To that end she is willing to use every weapon in her arsenal, and she is pitiless. Characters like this can come across as oversimplified, or else misogynistic, but MacDonald was such an astute chronicler of the human condition that Crissy is a fully realized character, far more interesting than MacDonald’s most famous villain, Max Cady from his novel The Executioners, more popularly known as Cape Fear in the two film versions.
Read about the other entries on the list.

See John Mullan's ten best femmes fatales in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Eight books that make great party themes

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 eight books that make great party themes, including:
I, Claudius, by Robert Graves

Who’s up for a toga party? The answer is everyone. While Graves’ novels are short on food specifics, you can assume a few things: Wine, grapes, and the poisoned mushroom dish that ultimately kills Emperor Claudius. Of course, you don’t have to make the mushrooms poisonous, and honestly it probably doesn’t matter much what you serve, as long as there’s wine and everyone is wearing togas. Just don’t be the only one wearing a toga, or you’ll wish for poisoned mushrooms.
Read about the other entries on the list.

I, Claudius also appears on Christopher Wilson's top ten list of books about tyrants, Sarah Dunant's six favorite books list, Daniel Godfrey's top five list of books about ancient Rome, Jeff Somers's list of six historical fiction novels that are almost fantasy, Tracy-Ann Oberman's six best books list, the Telegraph's lists of the 21 greatest television adaptations of novels and the twenty best British and Irish novels of all time, Daisy Goodwin's list of six favorite historical fiction books, a list of the eleven best political books of all time, David Chase's six favorite books list, Andrew Miller's top ten list of historical novels, Mark Malloch-Brown's list of his six favorite novels of empire, Annabel Lyon's top ten list of books on the ancient world, Lindsey Davis' top ten list of Roman books, and John Mullan's lists of ten of the best emperors in literature and ten of the best poisonings in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 20, 2018

Top ten novels about painters

Amy Sackville is an author and a teacher of creative writing at the University of Kent. Her most recent novel is Painter to the King. One of her ten favorite literary works on artists, as shared at the Guardian:
The Horse’s Mouth by Joyce Cary

Gulley Jimson is 67 and just out of jail. He is impoverished and in trouble; he’s also thieving, selfish and callous. All he cares about is painting and everything he has is dedicated to it; every inch of space in his run-down habitation and his heart. Cary’s dazzling staccato prose manages to be hard and lyrical and hilarious all at once.
Learn about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Seven YA books about reproductive rights

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 seven YA books about reproductive rights, including:
In Trouble, by Ellen Levine

Because it takes place in the real America of 1956, Trouble is in some ways more unnerving than a dystopian or futuristic novel ever could be. High school juniors and BFFs Jamie (whose dad is in prison) and Elaine (whose boyfriend Neil claims sex is the only way to prove they’re in love) struggle to forge their own paths. Elaine’s pregnancy immediately brands her as a loose “bad girl,” deserving whatever befalls her. In an era of limited options for women, the trouble she’s in is not easily solved; each answer only presents more problems, some of them life-threatening, all of them emotionally isolating. For research, Levine interviewed dozens of women who came of age in the 1950s and ’60s, and the richness and authenticity of her book shows it.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Five non-fiction books about fairies in the real world

Alex Bledsoe grew up in west Tennessee an hour north of Graceland (home of Elvis) and twenty minutes from Nutbush (birthplace of Tina Turner). He has been a reporter, editor, photographer and door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. He now lives in a Wisconsin town famous for trolls.

Bledsoe's new novel is The Fairies of Sadieville, the sixth book in his Tufa series.

One of the author's five favorite non-fiction books about fairies in the real world, as shared at
Moving into more modern times, we have Signe Pike’s enchanting 2010 memoir Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enlightenment in a Modern World. Pike makes a pilgrimage to the sites of traditional fairy lore, delves into magic and tradition, and searches for a way into belief despite the modern world’s resistance to such things. It’s a moving personal story told with wit and honesty, and it demonstrates that belief is not something bound to any one era.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Fairies of Sadieville.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Thirteen ill-fated voyages in science fiction

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 thirteen unlucky ill-fated voyages in science fiction, including:
One Way, by S.J. Morden

If there’s a class of people who might jump at the ultimate chance on a one-way trip to Mars, it’s convicts serving life sentences in harsh prisons—which says something depressing about the state of our justice system. But as Frank Kittridge and his fellow criminals discover once they agree to build a habitat on Mars ahead of an official mission crewed by scientists and astronauts, getting out of prison isn’t always such a great thing, especially when you put yourself at the mercy of a ruthless corporation determined to cut any corner and expend any resource—including the human ones—in order to come in radically under budget.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 16, 2018

The fifteen most powerful memoirs about addiction & recovery

At Entertainment Weekly Mary Kate Carr and David Canfield tagged the fifteen most powerful memoirs about addiction and recovery. One title on the list:
Smashed by Koren Zailckas

Koren Zalickas began drinking at a young age – 14 years old. From her first taste and throughout her young adult life, her increasing dependence on alcohol would lead to hospital trips, blackouts, and dangerous and destructive tendencies that eventually helped her see she should quit drinking for good.
Read about the other titles on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Twenty-five books for fans of Shakespeare

At B&N Reads Tara Sonin tagged twenty-five books, many of them romances, you’ll love if you’re a fan of Shakespeare, including:
Miranda and Caliban, by Jacqueline Carey

Jacqueline Carey has the unique ability to blend beautiful prose, lush world building, and lots of fascinating character development. This retelling of The Tempest stars Miranda and Caliban: the daughter of the play’s main character Prospero, who has taken them to an island for mysterious reasons…and the slave described as a monster by his master. Carey reimagines them as star-crossed lovers caught in a web of powerful people they can’t escape.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Five books about nonsense

Maria Tatar is the John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures. She chairs the Program in Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University, where she teaches courses in German Studies, Folklore, and Children’s Literature. One of her five top books about nonsense, as shared at
Henry James, The Turn of the Screw

What got me hooked on books? I remember a cozy nook where I retreated as a child into the sweet serenity of books only to be shocked and startled in ways I thankfully never was in real life. What in the world happened to little Miles in that uncanny story about a governess and her two charges? There had to be away to end my profound sense of mystification. It took some time for me to figure out that disorientation and dislocation was the aim of every good story. Keats called it negative capability, the capacity to remain in “uncertainties, mysteries, and doubts.”
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 13, 2018

Five novels that get Leonardo da Vinci right

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 novels that get Leonardo da Vinci right, including:
Oil and Marble, by Stephanie Storey

Storey is up-front about her approach to her use of real history within her fiction: she seeks emotional truth as opposed to literal truth, and isn’t ashamed of that. This story is set in Florence at a time when Leonardo was 50 years old and suffering through a particularly challenging period in his life, as newly-arrived—and much younger—Michelangelo became his rival. While the story is fiction, Storey’s depiction of a middle-aged Leonardo is plausible, and in line with the surviving accounts of the man left behind by contemporaries.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Top ten books about miscarriages of justice

Julia Dahl's latest book in the Rebekah Roberts series is Conviction. One of the author's ten top books about miscarriages of justice, as shared at the Guardian:
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Atlanta newlyweds Roy and Celestial are ready to take on the world, but when Roy is convicted of a crime he did not commit, their union is jolted. What I admired most was Jones’s focus on the intimate details of what injustice does to people who love each other. Trust, desire, loyalty – they are all hit. Could your marriage withstand such a test?
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Five top books to understand the Irish border

Fintan O'Toole is assistant editor of the Irish Times and author of Ship of Fools: How Stupidity and Corruption Killed the Celtic Tiger. One of five books to understand the Irish border that he tagged at the Guardian:
Garrett Carr’s The Rule of the Land: Walking Ireland’s Border came out last year but describes a journey just before the Brexit vote brought back all the old fears. It, too, is haunted by history and violence, but Carr is much more hopeful than [Colm] Tóibín['s Bad Blood: A Walk Along the Irish Border (1987)] could afford to be. His is a place that appears to be settling down, coming into its own. It matters greatly that his book does not come to seem a mere record of a short period between the wars.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Eight top historical YA romances

At the BN Teen Blog, Nicole Brinkley tagged "eight historical YA romances ... that will inspire many a happy sigh," including:
The Freemason’s Daughter, by Shelley Sackier

Do you watch a lot of Outlander and daydream about finding your own handsome lad? Then Shelley Sackier has you covered. No, love interest Alex Pembroke isn’t Scottish—one of his only flaws—but Sackier’s debut, set in 18th-century Scotland, hits many of the same romantic notes as Gabaldon’s beloved series. Jenna MacDuff has no interest in leaving her home in Scotland behind, but her clan, in rallying support for the exiled former British king, have dragged her reluctantly into England. There, they’re hired to build a garrison for Lord Alex Pembroke’s father—the perfect place to scheme, unless Jenna falls in love with Alex Pembroke, which she absolutely cannot do, as it will put the clan’s entire plan in jeopardy. No matter what choice Jenna makes, part of her heart will be broken—unless she can find a way to have it all.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 9, 2018

Jan Morris's six favorite books about New York

Jan Morris's new book is Battleship Yamato: Of War, Beauty and Irony.

One of her six favorite books about New York City:
Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas

The book that launched the Dutch architect's renown is a wonderfully eccentric and influential analysis of the physical and symbolic development of New York City. Illustrated with paintings, photographs, plans, and imaginative propositions, it amounts to a dashing manifesto of Manhattanism.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Eight beautiful poetry books for kids

At the BN Kids Blog Angie Brown tagged eight beautiful poetry books for kids, including:
Color Me a Rhyme: Nature Poems for Young People, by Jane Yolen, photography by Jason Stemple

The colors found in the nature photography of Jason Stemple, which include green, purple, orange, and blue, serve as inspiration for poet Jane Yolen, who captures the vibrant and myriad colors of the outside world in her words. A great book to read with your child before venturing outside to spot real life example of the many hues.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten great road trip books

At Entertainment Weekly, Mary Kate Carr tagged ten great road trip books, including:
On Such a Full Sea, by Chang-Rae Lee

In a distant future divided strictly by class, descendants of those brought to America from provincial China work as laborers to provide for the elite charter villages. One such laborer, Fan, abandons her post to track down the man she loves when he disappears, a quest that will take her through the anarchic Open Counties and beyond.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Five YA novels set in quirky small towns

At the BN Teen Blog Elodie tagged five "YA novels set in quirky small towns, from the eccentric to the creepy," including:
As You Wish, by Chelsea Sedoti

Have you ever wished upon a shooting star? Of course you have, you’re a human being who wants an X-Box. But in the tiny desert town of Madison, Nevada, wishes do come true: each of the locals gets one on their eighteenth birthday. Eldon, our protagonist, is on the brink of receiving his wish and finally joining the ranks of his peers who have wished themselves richer, more beautiful, more popular. The problem: he’s seen how wishing can destroy you. He’s seen people waste their wishes. He’s seen people regret their wishes for the rest of their lives. In this beautifully plotted sophomore effort saturated with thought-provoking magical realism, Sedoti explores what it means to yearn, to regret, and to live with the consequences of one’s choices.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 6, 2018

Four books that changed Elizabeth J. Church

Elizabeth J. Church is the author of the novels The Atomic Weight of Love and All the Beautiful Girls. One of four books that changed the author, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
Thomas Hardy

I love a good rebel, and Hardy was that sort of brave writer. He espoused unpopular positions and courageously challenged long-held traditions and institutions. What fascinates me still is Hardy's modern sensibility, expressed within the confines of Victorian society. I particularly love his recognition of marriage as oppressive to women and his take on the unrealistic nature of marriage vows. Hardy's highly sensitive nature is further apparent when Jude expresses anguish over a pig's pain.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten books about horses

Jane Smiley is the author of the Horses of Oak Valley Ranch series, as well as many novels for adults and three works of nonfiction. She won the Pulitzer Prize for A Thousand Acres.

Smiley's new book for young readers is Riding Lessons.

One of the author's ten top books about horses, as shared at the Guardian:
The Kellys and the O’Kellys by Anthony Trollope

Trollope’s second novel is insightful about Ireland, women, money and family friction, but my favourite bits take place on the turf. Dot Blake is one of the great horse-racing characters in fiction, not because he’s so colourful but because he’s so smart. He gives good advice, about racing and marriage, and he makes use of many intemperate men while never being one himself. Trollope knew his horses and his hunting: there’s a neatly choreographed hunting scene in his novel Orley Farm, and in The Duke’s Children, Lord Silverbridge is swindled out of what would now be £7m by a racecourse scoundrel.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Five delightfully Gothic novels

Christine Mangan’s novel is Tangerine. One of the author's five favorite Gothic novels, as shared at the B&N Reads blog:
The Icarus Girl, by Helen Oyeyemi

Questions of identity abound in this Gothic tale of doubling. At the heart of the novel is Jessamy Harrison, a troubled eight-year-old girl who can’t seem to make connections with anyone around her, until a family trip to Nigeria where she meets TillyTilly. Ecstatic to have finally found a friend, things take a sinister turn as Jess begins to question her new friend’s intentions—and whether or not she is, in fact, real.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Five top apocalyptic novels

M.R. Carey is the author of The Girl with All the Gifts and The Boy on The Bridge. One of his favorite apocalyptic novels, as shared at the Waterstones blog:
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.

Like [The Chrysalids author John] Wyndham, Vonnegut went back to the apocalyptic well many times. Cat’s Cradle is an early work, but it stands out as a masterpiece because of the astonishing virtuosity of its storytelling and the sneaky indirections of its plot. We know the world is going to end, we just don’t know exactly how or when, and the book jeeps us waiting all the way to an insane, bravura climax. Also, if you read this book you’ll be exposed to the teachings of Bokonon. Wampeters, foma and granfalloons will change your life.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Cat’s Cradle is one of David Peterson's five best books with invented languages.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Eight diverse YA romances

Sona Charaipotra is a New York City-based writer and editor with more than a decade’s worth of experience in print and online media. At the BN Teen blog she tagged eight diverse YA romances, including:
Let’s Talk About Love, by Claire Kann

One of the still rare YA contemporaries to feature a black girl on the cover, Kann’s Let’s Talk About Love is a standout for more than one reason. A sweet romance with plenty of twists and turns, it centers on Alice, a biromantic asexual teen smarting from a breakup with her girlfriend, who doesn’t get why Alice isn’t into sex. Then Alice falls hard for male coworker Takumi, which makes her even more confused about what (and who) she truly wants. She’s trying to figure herself out on all fronts, and it’s definitely worth going along for the journey in this quirky, fun contemporary.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six notable books about the private lives of artists

Tom Rachman's latest novel is The Italian Teacher.

One of the author's six favorite books about the private lives of artists, as shared at The Week magazine:
Life With Picasso by Françoise Gilot

An antidote to dreamy ideas about artists. Gilot was a young painter in 1943 when she met that legendary face-rearranger, Pablo, he a mere 40 years her senior, and married. The latter condition never stopped him. Two kids later, Gilot had had her fill of Picasso, who in these pages proves petulant, cruel, and (spoiler alert) unfaithful. He's a man easier to admire from the safe distance of a museum.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 2, 2018

Seven top irreverent self-help books

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 seven of the best irreverent self-help books, including:
Adulting, by Kelly Williams Brown

The funny, helpful nuggets of advice in Adulting are geared toward twenty-somethings and run the gauntlet from cooking/hosting (“How to make a dope cheese plate,” “Do not fear the puff pastry”) to socializing (“The small-talk bell curve”) to employment (“Do not steal more than three dollars’ worth of office supplies per quarter.”) A self-help book with a little something for everyone.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 1, 2018

The scariest books set in every state

At Bustle, Kristian Wilson tagged the scariest books set in every state. Two entries on the list:
California: The Hunger by Alma Katsu

Set in the middle of the tragic Donner Party Expedition, Alma Katsu's The Hunger follows the wagon train into the Sierra Nevada, where their already weakened group begins to lose members to the mysterious and malevolent force they worry is always watching them.
My Book, The Movie: The Hunger.

The Page 69 Test: The Hunger.
Maine: The Keeper by Sarah Langan

With the shuttering of its primary employer, the town of Bedford, Maine turns its attention to Susan Marley, a former beauty who now spends her life on the streets and in the shadows. She's on everyone's mind, quite literally: they're all dreaming about her. But things are about to get worse, much worse, as the violence in Bedford's dreams becomes reality.
The Page 69 Test: The Keeper.

Read about all of the titles on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue