Thursday, May 31, 2018

Top ten books to help you survive the digital age

Julian Gough is the author of several novels, a children's book (which Neil Gaiman has called "a breath of fresh air in children's fiction"), some BBC radio plays, and the narrative at the end of the wonderful computer game, Minecraft (TIME magazine's computer game of the year). His latest novel is Connect.

One of the author's ten top books to help you survive the digital age, as shared at the Guardian:
Marshall McLuhan Unbound by Marshall McLuhan (2005)

The visionary Canadian media analyst predicted the internet, and coined the phrase the Global Village, in the early 1960s. His dense, complex, intriguing books explore how changes in technology change us. This book presents his most important essays as 20 slim pamphlets in a handsome, profoundly physical, defiantly non-digital slipcase.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Ten top thrillers

Jessica Knoll's new novel is The Favorite Sister. At Publishers Weekly she tagged ten favorite "dark books to read in the summer sunshine," including:
In the Woods by Tana French

At once eerie and emotionally wrenching, French’s debut picks up twenty years after the disappearance of two boys. Only one was ever found—Rob Ryan, now a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad. When a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, Ryan and his partner, Detective Cassie Maddox, find themselves investigating a case disturbingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery.
The Page 69 Test: In the Woods.
Dare Me by Megan Abbott

Never have a group of cheerleaders been more terrifying, and never have the mores of girlhood been rendered in such gorgeous lyricism. Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy's best friend and second in command, and together, they rule the school and the cheer squad—until the young new coach arrives. As alliances shift, blood is spilled, and the bonds of friendship are truly tested.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Six YA books for graduates

At the BN Teen blog Natasha Ochshorn rounded up six YA books with which to honor the graduation season, including:
Delirium, by Lauren Oliver

“Most of us won’t see one another after graduation, and even if we do it will be different. We’ll be different. We’ll be adults—cured, tagged and labeled and paired and identified and placed neatly on our life path, perfectly round marbles set to roll down even, well-defined slopes.”
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books on human transformation

Gavin Francis is a doctor and writer. His books include Shapeshifters: On Medicine & Human Change. At the Guardian he tagged five favorite books that provide personal and profound insights into pregnancy, the menopause and gender, including:
To understand more about the menopause I was recommended Ursula K Le Guin’s "The Space Crone" – the first essay in her collection Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places. It is panoramic in scope but beautifully concise. Le Guin proposed that women become more comfortable with accepting the third stage in their lives: “The woman who is willing to make that change must become pregnant with herself, at last.” Women in the third stage of life, she said, have experienced more fully what it is to be human than any other group, having “acted the entire human condition – the essential quality of which is Change”.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 28, 2018

Five East Asian SFF novels by East Asian authors

Rebecca F. Kuang studies modern Chinese history. She has a BA from Georgetown University and is currently a graduate student in the United Kingdom on a Marshall Scholarship.

Kuang's new book, her debut novel, is The Poppy War.

At she tagged five notable East Asian SFF novels by East Asian authors, including:
An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King

I study modern China, so I was really fascinated by Maggie Shen King’s dystopia about Chinese Communist social engineering in a world where there are far too few eligible women as a result of the One Child Policy. In short: since China’s cultural preference for male heirs have resulted in about forty million unmarriageable men, women often take on two or three husbands, and the matchmaking industry has ballooned into something wildly profitable and truly terrifying. I was really impressed by the author’s grasp of the reach of Party surveillance and censorship, as well as her deft imitation of Party double-speak and twisted Orwellian logic of Communist ideals, which applies now to Xi Jinping’s China better than ever before.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Poppy War.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Eleven books that help share the meaning of Memorial Day

The editors of the BN Kids blog tagged eleven books that help share the meaning of Memorial Day, including:
The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and her Tribute to Veterans, by Barbara E. Walsh and Layne Johnson

At the beginning of WWI, Moina Michael was a professor at University of Georgia. Like many other women on the homefront, she contributed to the war effort by knitting, rolling bandages, and collecting items to be sent to troops overseas. But she wanted to do more. So, she left her job and traveled to New York to open a place where soldiers could come for a little rest and relaxation. But that still wasn’t enough. Inspired by a poem, Moina Belle Michael began wearing and distributing poppies. It was a simple gesture that grew into a grand movement. Today, the poppy is recognized as the symbol of fallen soldiers, all because one woman refused to let those soldiers be forgotten. (Ages 6 – 10)
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Jason Flemyng's 6 best books

Jason Flemyng is an English actor, known for Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003). One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
A LITTLE LIFE by Hanya Yanagihara

About a group of friends in New York, from student days through to middle age. It’s about enduring friendships.

With actors, you go from job to job but I’ve never been very nomadic.

The group I’m tight with are the same people I was at college with and I love that.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The ideal first novel for 10 “must read” authors

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 "ideal 'starter novels' for authors guaranteed to be on many, if not most, lists of can’t miss writers," including:
Haruki Murakami. Start Here: A Wild Sheep Chase

Murakami is another mainstay on the list of challenging contemporary authors, and it’s usually because people recommend his most famous works first—dense bricks like The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, 1Q84 or Kafka on the Shore. These books are brilliant, but they are also difficult to parse, unique in both style and structure, not to mention imagery. To ease into Murakami, start with A Wild Sheep Chase—it’s got all the trademark weirdness, but within a much more straightforward story. It will help you feel like you “get” Murakami, even the parts you don’t, so by the time you read one of his “must-read” books, your head (probably) won’t explode. Some might argue for Norwegian Wood, which has more in common with traditional Western literature, but that one is an outlier in his bibliography, and won’t prepare you for the epic strangeness of his major works.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 25, 2018

Five unforgettable prisons in science fiction and fantasy

Corey J. White is a writer of science-fiction, horror, and other, harder to define stories. He is the author of The VoidWitch Saga, containing Killing Gravity and Void Black Shadow. One of five unforgettable prisons in science fiction and fantasy that he tagged at
Camp Concentration, Thomas Disch

You could be excused for thinking that the title of Thomas Disch’s 1968 novel is a simple play on the term ‘concentration camp,’ but delve into the book and you’ll find it’s not as simple as that. Locked up at a subterranean prison called Camp Archimedes, Louis Sacchetti is tasked with monitoring an experimental program whereby inmates are infected with a strain of syphilis designed to break down mental walls and provide genius-level intellect. Similar to Kurt Vonnegut’s Mother Night, Camp Concentration uses the device of journal entries to tell its story, but where Vonnegut’s novel follows a free man who many consider a war criminal, Camp Concentration is the story of a writer imprisoned as a conscientious objector to an unpopular war.

While much of Sacchetti’s journal chronicles his efforts to hold onto his sense of self while in prison, he also details the actions and aspirations of the other prisoners, and even the staff of Camp Archimedes. Some of the prisoners use their newly-gifted intelligence to re-examine alchemical theories abandoned centuries earlier, but their objectives seem to pale in comparison to one of the warders whose goal is nothing less than the destruction of the entire human race.

It’s a dryly and darkly funny book, filled with references to Dante’s Inferno, Faust, the Bible, the operas of Wagner, and much more, with the pomp and prestige of these works standing juxtaposed against the depressing grimness of the prison’s underground setting.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Ten books that reveal secret histories

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 books that "offer perspectives on history that remained hidden for a long time," including:
Medical Apartheid, by Harriet A. Washington

Most people are familiar with the horrific Tuskegee Syphilis Study, in which the U.S. government allowed 600 black men sick with syphilis to go untreated so the disease could be studied, but Washington points out that this is merely the most famous instance of incredible racism inside the medical and scientific world. We tend to think of doctors and scientists as fair-minded and objective, but after reading this book you’ll know better. From slaves sold off for medical experiments to hospitals waiving fees for deceased black patients solely so they could claim the bodies for anatomy lessons and prison populations used for involuntary studies, there’s a whole secret and shameful history of abuse here that goes far beyond what most people think of when they think about racism.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Five books about royal marriages

Kate Williams is a novelist, social historian and broadcaster who appears regularly on radio and television as a historical and royal expert. One of five books about royal marriages she tagged at the Guardian:
And the most tragic wedding? There is hot competition, but I would choose Lady Jane Grey, who in May 1553 was married at just 15 to Lord Guildford Dudley, as Philippa Gregory recounts in her moving novel The Last Tudor. The teenage king, Edward VI, was too sick to attend but Lady Jane, dressed in silver and gold, danced happily. However, her new father‑in-law, the Duke of Northumberland, saw her as a route to power. Jane indeed became queen in the weeks after her wedding, but she reigned for only nine days. Within nine months of their wedding, both bride and groom were executed.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Six of the more terrifying fictional digital viruses

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 terrifying fictional digital viruses and plagues, including:
Snow Crash (Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson)

An insidious visual/digital plague that takes the form of a designer drug, the eponymous virus from Neal Stephenson’s post-cyberpunk classic first causes users’ digital interface rigs to crash with a static effect similar to “snow” on an old television screen. Its progression from there is dramatic, as the subliminal messages inside the viral program cause the user first to go comatose, then begin babbling in tongues thanks to a combination of audio signals, linguistic hacking, and ancient Sumerian memetic viruses that can alter DNA. Worse still, the virus makes its way into the hands of a Christian televangelist and his floating pirate nation, who want to use it to control both the physical world and the Metaverse, Snow Crash’s version of the internet. Scary stuff.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 21, 2018

Six books that illuminate the workings of singular minds

Helen DeWitt is the author of the novels The Last Samurai and Lightning Rods, and the new story collection Some Trick. One of her six favorite books that illuminate the workings of singular minds, as shared at The Week magazine:
Against the Gods by Peter L. Bernstein

I once thought insurance was boring, too. Bernstein, in his history of probability and forecasting, argues that the foundations of insurance are revolutionary, defining the boundary between modern times and the past. The mastery of risk means that the future can be understood as something more than a whim of the gods.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Ben Okri's six best books

Poet and novelist Ben Okri was born in 1959 in Minna, northern Nigeria, to an Igbo mother and Urhobo father. He grew up in London before returning to Nigeria with his family in 1968. He is the author of The Famished Road, which won the Booker Prize in 1991.

One of Okri's six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
by Cervantes

One of the greatest stories about the power of storytelling and the price paid for following the uniqueness of one’s thoughts. Its humour is very invigorating and it has two of the greatest characters in world literature: Quixote and Sancho Panza who between them define a broad range of humanity.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Don Quixote was the second most popular book among prisoners at the U.S. base at Guantánamo Bay. It is on Bruce Wagner's six favorite books list, Panayiota Kuvetakis's top ten list of fictional best friends we'd like to have as nonfictional best friends, and John Mullan's lists of ten of the best literary women dressed as men and ten of the best books written in prison.

Paul Auster always returns to Don Quixote; Claire Messud hasn't read it.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Eleven recent novels that powerfully tackle gun violence

At Entertainment Weekly Mary Kate Carr  tagged eleven recent novels that powerfully tackle gun violence. One title on the list:
This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

After being welcomed to a new semester by the principal of Opportunity High School, the students and teachers find themselves trapped in the auditorium as a ruthless shooter begins to open fire. Told through four different perspectives over the course of 54 minutes, the students do what they can to survive one classmate’s deadly revenge.
Read about the other entries on the list.

This is Where it Ends is among Jenny Kawecki's six top YA novels that take place in a single day, Tara Sonin's fifty YA novels adults will love, too, and Eric Smith's six top diverse YA thrillers.

The Page 69 Test:This Is Where It Ends.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 18, 2018

YA novels that get teen anxiety right

At the BN Teen Blog Dahlia Adler rounded up some expert opinion on YA novels that get teen anxiety right. One title to make the list, recommended by Sierra Elmore:
Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now by Dana L. Davis

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now begins with the titular character’s fear experienced during her first airplane ride, fear that you feel through a careful mix of dialogue, inner turmoil, and soothing words from stranger. From the start, Dana L. Davis’s debut YA contemporary weaves together a complicated story of grief and loss with the complications that come from generalized anxiety disorder and PTSD. Davis states in the Author’s Note that Tiffany’s experiences are based on her own, leading this #OwnVoices book to ring true in a way I don’t see often in YA. Add to this the devastation of entering a new, strict household (with four siblings!), and you get a novel that entertains as it introduces the reader to life with an anxious mind.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Top ten books to understand happiness

Dean Burnett is a neuroscientist, lecturer, author, blogger, media pundit, science communicator, comedian and numerous other things, depending on who’s asking and what they need. Although employed as a tutor and lecturer by the Cardiff University Centre for Medical Education in his day job, Burnett is best known for his satirical science column ‘Brain Flapping‘ at the Guardian, and his internationally acclaimed debut book The Idiot Brain. His latest book is Happy Brain: Where Happiness Comes From, and Why.

One of Burnett's ten top books to understand happiness, as shared at the Guardian:
Cringeworthy by Melissa Dahl

Humans are an incredibly social species, so our brains are often affected by, or geared towards, interpersonal interaction. Consequently, much of what we feel and experience is heavily influenced by other people. This has consequences for our happiness and how we go about achieving it.

In her first book, New York magazine’s Melissa Dahl focuses largely on the nature of embarrassment, in exquisite but accessible detail, providing a brilliantly insightful look at what the perceptions of others do to us on a fundamental level. Having it on your shelves would be nothing to be embarrassed about.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Five books to understand transhumanism

Mark O’Connell is a Dublin based writer. He is a books columnist for Slate. His work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, The Observer, and The New Yorker.

O'Connell is the author of To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death.

One of the author's five books to understand transhumanism, as shared at the Guardian:
Don DeLillo’s novel Zero K is a haunting story about an aging billionaire who arranges for himself and his dying wife to be cryogenically preserved, in the hope of being reanimated once the technology’s been developed to allow them to live eternally. There are obvious echoes of the transhumanist movement, and the Silicon Valley cult of eternal youth and transformative technology that it feeds off, as DeLillo brilliantly captures the broader perversity of our culture’s fraught relationship with technology, and the strange apocalyptic tenor of our current moment.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Six top stories of sand and sea

Melissa Broder's new novel is The Pisces.

One of her six favorite stories of sand and sea, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante

I had suspected that my professed reasons for not wanting to have children — too selfish, not sane enough, will regret it — could be easily overcome if I actually wanted children. But Ferrante's 2006 novel about a mother on a seaside holiday affirms that those reasons can't be discounted.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 14, 2018

Stefanie Powers's 6 best books

Stefanie Powers may be best known as co-star of the long running Hart to Hart, playing opposite Robert Wagner. One of her six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
by CW Ceram

I was given this history of archaeology when I was 12. It was a weighty book but if we went to the beach I always liked digging and I had an insatiable curiosity.

My interest has never waned. I've been on a lot of digs, most recently at a cluster of Mayan cities.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Eleven epic fictional bands in sci-fi & fantasy

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, Meghan Ball tagged eleven top fictional bands in sci-fi & fantasy, including:
Windhollow Faire (Wylding Hall, by Elizabeth Hand)

Moving from space satire to haunting horror, we have Elizabeth Hand’s spooky Wylding Hall. Windhollow Faire is a folk band dogged by tragedy: their lead singer has died under mysterious circumstances, and the band decamps to a remote manor house to regroup, and figure out what to do next. Death hangs over them, and they can’t shake the feeling something is horribly, hideously wrong. The book is haunting and tense, told as an oral history of the band as they recollect their time in the house. Each member is an unreliable narrator, having been drunk or high at the time, and unable to tell reality from hallucination. The story meanders as they try to make sense of what’s going on. It’s a hair-raising experience, and, in that sense, probably not unlike heading out on tour with Led Zeppelin.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Ten books that explore the fears & ambivalences of motherhood

Carol Goodman is the critically acclaimed author of over a dozen novels, including The Lake of Dead Languages and The Seduction of Water, which won the 2003 Hammett Prize. Her books have been translated into sixteen languages. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family, and teaches writing and literature at the New School and SUNY New Paltz.

Goodman's latest novel is The Other Mother.

One of ten books she tagged at CrimeReads "exploring the dark undertow of maternal angst and ambivalence, and society’s collective anxiety about what it means to be a mother:"
Can a mother love her child too much? Can she be too self-sacrificing? That’s the question James M. Cain poses in his 1941 noir masterpiece Mildred Pierce. Mildred is the perfect self-sacrificing mother, waitressing and baking pies to support her two daughters through the Depression after she’s left their unemployed dad. But all her hard work and sacrifice spawns an ungrateful monster of a daughter, Veda, whose name, which means “knowledge” in Sanskrit, also conjures up the Hindi goddess of destruction, Shiva. It’s as if that wild primeval force of mother-love has been embodied in the destructive offspring.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Mildred Pierce is among Patricia Abbott's five favorite novels about mothers and daughters and Ester Bloom's ten favorite fictional feminists.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 11, 2018

Six top giant robots from sci-fi books

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 giant robots from sci-fi books, including:
King Steam (The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt)

Stephen Hunt’s first novel is a sprawling, overstuffed affair. Its pulpy pages run rampant with superheroes, genetically modified adventurers, air pirates, spies, a horrifying cult, and an entire race of theocratic sapient robots led by a golden android named King Steam who reincarnates like the Dalai Lama. But Hunt holds all the best cards until the climax, when an eldritch abomination erupts from its slumber in the depths and is opposed in two consecutive giant robot fights. While the second fight might be the battle between a gigantic divine-relic mecha (the “Hex Machina”) and the villains that the book has been building towards, it’s the first that’s far more impressive. Clad in a gigantic battle version of his own chassis, the mostly pacifistic King Steam takes the field against a massive, tentacled scourge, attempting to stall the abomination’s approach. While the Hex Machina gets more of a buildup, King Steam’s towering, golden war-form, and the uncertain stakes he faces, make his fight the more memorable one.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Ten top wilderness books

Carys Davies is the author of a novel, West, and two collections of short stories, Some New Ambush and The Redemption of Galen Pike, which won the 2015 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the 2015 Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize.

One of her top ten wilderness books, as shared at the Guardian:
A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby

Newby’s account of his chaotic and eccentric trip to climb the remote, previously unconquered Mir Samir peak in Afghanistan is a delight, brimming with curiosity and closely observed detail. He was working at the time in Mayfair, in the world of haute couture, his only previous climbing experience amounting to three hastily scheduled days in Snowdonia. Though at times hungry and ill, his experience in the mountains is transporting: “Rarely in my life had I felt such an ecstatic feeling of happiness … The present was bliss beyond belief.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Five mystery series with awesome detectives

Emily Devenport has written several novels under various pseudonyms including one which was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick award. She is currently studies Geology and works as a volunteer at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. Devenport's new novel is Medusa Uploaded.

One of her five mystery series with awesome detectives, as shared at
Kay Scarpetta (Patricia Cornwell)

Kay is a smart gal, obsessed with detail and consumed by the particulars of any puzzle that’s put before her, and those are interesting qualities in medical examiner. But what I like about her is that she’s a bit of a sore-nosed bear. She’s got good reasons to feel that way: a lifelong struggle to prove her worth in a field dominated by men; some vicious and implacable enemies she’s earned along the way (on both sides of the law); a collection of screwed-up family members and friends about whom she’s constantly worrying; and a large pile of sorrows that grows bigger with every year she continues to Fight the Good Fight. Kay practices restraint so diligently, when she finally does lose her temper about something, she doesn’t kid around. Afterward, she vacillates between feeling bad about losing her temper and being pissed off that she’s got a reputation for being difficult. I love that about Kay Scarpetta.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Ten of the best political thrillers

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 of the best political thrillers ever, including:
House of Cards, by Michael Dobbs

The book that inspired the British TV show that in turn inspired Netflix’s very first original series, this is the story of Francis Urquhart, Chief Whip, a cynical, manipulative politician determined to become Prime Minister. He’s willing to use every secret he knows, every pressure point he can find, and every dirty trick in the book to secure his own rise to power—and in the process confirms just about every dark and terrible thing you thought you knew about politics. Dobbs drew on his extensive real-life experience in British politics for the books, and the result is an electrifying vision of how exceedingly violent governing can be behind closed doors.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 7, 2018

Six books that rearranged Tao Lin's understanding of the world

Tao Lin is the author of the novels Taipei and Richard Yates and Eeeee Eee Eeee, the novella Shoplifting from American Apparel, the story collection Bed, and the poetry collections cognitive-behavioral therapy and you are a little bit happier than i am. He was born in Virginia, has taught in Sarah Lawrence College's MFA program, and is the founder and editor of Muumuu House. His new book is Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation, and Change.

One of six books that rearranged Lin's understanding of the world, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Garden of Fertility by Katie Singer

Singer argues that women, by charting temperature, cervical fluid, and cervix changes, can prevent pregnancy as effectively as the (toxic) pill does. But millennia of sexism has achieved the opposite of honoring the female cycle: "On the Pill," she writes, "a woman's reproductive system essentially shuts down, and she becomes available for sex all the time without the consequence of pregnancy. This is male fertility rhythm."
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Ten notable fictional detectives marked by their addictions

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 books that "feature detectives who are alternatively brilliant, messy, arrogant, and tough—but they’re linked by their addictions, and the way those vices inform, enhance, or blunt their powers." Two entries on the list:
Hayden Glass (Boulevard, by Stephen Jay Schwartz)

Hayden Glass is a great detective, and also a sex addict, demonstrating how the growing understanding of the psychology of addiction and the possible vectors it can follow is invading the formerly walled garden of detective fiction, populated for so long by boozy cops and smart-mouthed underworld figures. Glass is in a 12-step program as the first novel opens, aware of his problems and working through them, but his addiction is as much an asset, as detective fiction begins a slow full-circle move, now imagining that the fatal flaws of its detectives might give them insight into the criminals they hunt. Glass tackles a series of crimes that only a sex addict could understand, and his work getting control over his impulses is just as important as his problems.
The Page 69 Test: Boulevard.
Mark Mallen (Untold Damage, by Robert K. Lewis)

Another example of addiction not only being presented as a problem, but a common and unexceptional one at that, is Mark Mallen, a junkie cop falling apart fast. The first book opens with him waking up with his latest needle still in his arm—and about to get caught up in a case in a personal way. What’s remarkable about Mallen is that his progress towards the solution to the mystery is paralleled with his recovery; after a friendly superior offers to let him get off the junk “the jailhouse way,” Mallen takes his first steps on the road to getting clean and becomes a stronger, more effective detective with each step.
The Page 69 Test: Innocent Damage.

Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Judy Murray's 6 best books

Judy Murray is a former tennis player and Scottish National coach. She is the mother of tennis stars Andy and Jamie Murray, and the author of Knowing the Score: My Family and Our Tennis Story.

One of her six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:

I love psychological thrillers and once I find a writer I like, I read everything they’ve done.

I’m amazed it took me until the age of 58 to find Val McDermid.

This concerns a guy who has been jilted and kills women.

You build up a good picture of how police piece evidence together.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 4, 2018

Eight YA reads about summers that shake things up

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 YA reads about the summer that changed everything, including:
Stay Sweet, by Siobhan Vivian

She has spent the past three summers scooping up cones at Meade Creamery, and this year, Amelia’s proud to be promoted to Head Girl and take charge. But then Molly Meade, the ice cream stand’s beloved founder, passes away, and her grandnephew Grady takes over with a major overhaul in mind. Can Amelia convince Grady and the gang to hold on to the ’40s parlor’s storied history? Or will the fact that she’s sort of sweet on Grady lead to a major meltdown?
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Top ten books about North Korea

D.B. John began training as a lawyer but switched to a career in publishing, editing popular children’s books on history and science. In 2009 he moved to Berlin, Germany, to write his first novel, Flight from Berlin. A visit to North Korea in 2012 inspired his new novel, Star of the North. One of the author's top ten books about North Korea, as shared at the Guardian:
North of the DMZ by Andrei Lankov

Lankov is these days one of the leading experts on North Korea, but in the 80s he was a young Soviet student in Pyongyang. This collection of vignettes, written with humour and wit, curates all kinds of fascinating details. One describes the regime’s unembarrassed falsification of the past with “hard evidence”. For example, at the time Kim Jong-il was becoming the heir apparent in the 70s, some 200 “slogan trees” were discovered in the forests of Mount Paektu. Supposedly carved by communist partisans in 1942, they praised the newborn Kim. “A Great Sun has been born!”
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see Mary Lynn Bracht's top ten books about South Korea.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Jo Nesbø's 6 favorite books

Norwegian crime novelist Jo Nesbø is the author of the best-selling Harry Hole series. His latest novel is Macbeth. One of his six favorite books, as shared at the Daily Express magazine:

Thompson was less well-known than Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler but this is more hardboiled, like American Psycho written 30 years before Bret Easton Ellis did so. What I liked was his minimalistic language but he still revealed character in every sentence.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Killer Inside Me is among Henry Sutton's top ten novels with unreliable narrators.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Six science fiction novels for "Westworld" fans

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 books loaded with the same mixture of existential weirdness, artificial consciousness, and killer machines [as HBO's Westworld]," including:
Brain Thief, by Andrew Jablokov

Upon receiving a cryptic message, Bernal Haydon-Rumi finds himself chasing a series of increasingly bizarre clues involving a defunct cryo-storage facility, a disgraced scientist, and his boss Muriel’s suddenly “eccentric” planet exploration AI. As he travels down a rabbit hole that sees him harassed and aided by a wide cast, including an anti-AI activist, a former cryonics researcher, and a local serial murderer, he movers ever closer to finding the key that will unlock the mystery of Muriel’s disappearance and the AI’s newfound eccentricity. It’s a bit of a left-field pick for Westworld fans, but the theme of developing robotic consciousness, the twisted web of storylines, and the SF-infused murder mystery do vibe nicely with the series, even if the book takes a more offbeat and darkly comic approach to its vision of not-too-distant future.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see five YA books for Westworld fans and eight books for fans of HBO’s Westworld.

--Marshal Zeringue