Sunday, September 30, 2018

Ten great, under-read story collections by women

Sara Batkie's stories have been published in various journals, received mention in the 2011 Best American Short Stories anthology, and, most recently, honored with a 2017 Pushcart Prize. Her story collection Better Times won the 2017 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. One of ten "story collections by women you should read right now" she tagged at Publishers Weekly:
Bear Down, Bear North: Alaska Stories by Melinda Moustakis

There were a lot of op-eds in fancy newspapers after the election about so-called Trump-land, but, perhaps paradoxically, I’ve often found that the best way to understand people who are different than you is to read their fiction. I wouldn’t presume to guess how the characters in Melinda Moustakis’s stories would vote, but they certainly live in a manner that’s entirely foreign to me, despite being part of the same country. These are hunters, homesteaders, fishermen and women, surviving in one of the most unforgiving landscapes in the world, but Moustakis isn’t interested in further mythologizing her heritage, or in lazy miserabilist clichés. With sentences that cut as fine as a fillet knife, she illuminates Alaska’s dark corners, revealing its full and varied shape in the process.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Nine YA books worthy of the Muses

Heidi Heilig's new novel is For a Muse of Fire.

At the BN Teen blog she tagged nine YA books worthy of the Muses, including:
To honor Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, read Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds.

Now, on its face, a novel-in-verse about a sixty-second elevator ride might not seem like an epos, but let’s see…We have an extraordinary hero in fifteen-year-old Will, who has shoved a gun his waistband on his way to avenge his brother’s murder. We have superhuman forces when the elevator stops to let on ghosts from Will’s past—ghosts of kids who died by gun violence. And in this story, we definitely have doings that give shape to our own moral universe, that we must understand to know ourselves as a nation. Jason Reynolds’ novel in verse is truly worthy of the gods themselves.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 28, 2018

Amanda Craig's best books about modern married life

Amanda Craig is a British novelist, short-story writer and critic. Her latest novel is The Lie Of the Land. One of the author's favorite books about modern married life, as shared at the Guardian:
Deborah Levy’s The Cost of Living is a meditation on the way that a modern marriage still requires a wife to “wear a mask and her face grows to fit it”, especially when children arrive. Her account of her marriage breakdown and determination to be an artist is beautifully defiant and full of acute observation.
Read about the other books Craig tagged.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Five fantasies driven by unconventional minds

Heidi Heilig's new novel is For a Muse of Fire. At she tagged "five books [that] are great examples of the way mentally ill characters fit and function in the fantastical," including:
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Oh how I love a good narcissist! (At least, in fiction.) Princess Sophia is a perfect foil for a world obsessed with beauty. Her self-centeredness, rage, and feelings of infallibility drive all of her actions, and her inability to see anything from anyone else’s point of view prevent any limitations to her whims and demands. Thematically, The Belles touches on the dichotomy between ugliness and loveliness, and while I can’t give away too much lest I risk spoiling the unfolding mysteries of this intricate plot, I can guarantee that as you read Camellia’s story, you will feel awe at watching what a true narcissist can dream up.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten books about Old Shanghai

Born in London and educated there and in Glasgow, Paul French has lived and worked in Shanghai for many years. He is a widely published analyst and commentator on China and has written a number of books, including a history of foreign correspondents in China and a biography of the legendary Shanghai adman, journalist and adventurer Carl Crow. His new book is City of Devils: The Two Men Who Ruled the Underworld of Old Shanghai.

One of French's top ten books about Old Shanghai, as shared at the Guardian:
Lust, Caution by Eileen Chang (Zhang Ailing) (1979)

Chang recalls her own traumatic and adventurous wartime years in this novella that, because it is so personal and revelatory, took her more than 35 years to write. The long Japanese occupation of the city, the relationships that formed in those desperate times, and the terrible choices the Shanghainese were forced to make are at the heart of a book that became a fantastic movie directed by Ang Lee. Chang remains the pre-eminent bard of Shanghai.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Five books to help you cope with the loss of your planet

Drew Williams is an author and bookseller. His new novel is The Stars Now Unclaimed.

One of Williams's five books to help you recover from the loss of your planet, as shared at
The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

All right, worst case scenario: your spacecraft hasn’t managed to escape your devastated world, though it has insulated you from whatever plague/disaster wiped humanity off of its surface (if that isn’t the case, then you’re not likely reading this, and there’s not much can do to help you). In that case, you’ll have no better reference to than Weisman’s non-fiction chronicle, a moment-to-moment guide to exactly how a world would fall apart after humanity’s disappearance. From what happens to our pets (feel bad for your dog; feel… less bad for your cat) in the immediate aftermath to a eons-later examination of what might still remain to mark humanity’s existence, Weisman’s work is a fantastic guide for what will await you in some sort of Richard Matheson, I Am Legend situation.
Read about the other books on the list.

The World Without Us appears on David Mitchell's six favorite books list, Annalee Newitz's list of thirty-five essential posthuman novels and is one of Louise Erdrich's five most important books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Nine of the best banned books

Juno Dawson is the multi award-winning author of novels and non-fiction. One of her best banned books, as shared at the Guardian:
Rarely would we see book burnings today, but routinely books are challenged or banned on grounds of impropriety. Let’s start with a personal example. My guide to gender, sexual identity and LGBTQ sex education, This Book Is Gay (2014), was challenged in Wasilla, Alaska, when a parent discovered the title in the children’s non-fiction section of her local library. I concur that it is not a children’s book; it’s for young adults. I agree it should be shelved appropriately in libraries. However, before long, locals demanded that the book be removed entirely. I’m pleased to say the title remains in the YA section of Wasilla public library.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven banned books that should be required reading

At the BN Teen blog Natasha Ochshorn tagged seven "(mostly) YA books off the ALA’s banned book lists that should be required reading," including:
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

challenged in 2017 for drug use, profanity, and language

Starr, a Black high school student sorting through the turmoil after witnessing the death of a friend at the hands of a police officer, is eventually drawn toward activism confronting institutionalized racism in the police department. Starr has a clearly drawn, complex inner life, and is surrounded by lived-in characters who balance out the viewpoints in the story, and show both the support and the challenges that Starr faces. Thomas manages to both write an entertaining, non-didactic book, and to illustrate how Starr’s story is both universal and specific.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 24, 2018

Ryan North's 6 favorite books

Ryan North is the writer responsible for Dinosaur Comics, the Eisner and Harvey award-winning Adventure Time comics, the #1 bestselling anthology series Machine of Death and the New York Times bestselling and Eisner-award winning Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series for Marvel. His latest book is How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler.

One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969).

Vonnegut's novel is brilliant, heartbreaking, hilarious, and features space aliens who look like toilet plungers. There's literally nothing not to like here. My friend who owns a bookstore once told me that this is one of the most perennially shoplifted books.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Slaughterhouse-Five also made Jesse Armstrong's top ten list of comic war novels, Joel Cunningham's top five list of short but deep novels, Tom Lamont's top ten list of time travelers, Melissa Albert's list of six favorite fictional book nerds, Jon Ronson's five top list of books on madness, Charlie Yu's top ten list of time travel books, John Mullan's list of ten of the best aliens in science fiction, Charlie Jane Anders and Michael Ann Dobbs's list of twelve great stories to help you to cope with mortality, Sebastian Beaumont's top 10 list of books about psychological journeys, and Tiffany Murray's top ten list of black comedies.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Seven thrillers featuring therapists

Elisabeth Norebäck is the author of Tell Me You’re Mine. One of seven thrillers featuring therapists she tagged at CrimeReads:
The Hypnotist (Lars Kepler, 2009)

This is the first book to feature Detective Inspector Joona Linna. A family—a father, a mother and their daughter—has been brutally murdered in Tumba, Sweden. There is one surviving witness, the son, severely injured. When Joona Linna learns that there is yet another family member still alive, a big sister, he sets out to find her before the killer does. Additional conflict enters the story when Linna wants trauma expert Erik Maria Bark to hypnotize the boy to be able to find out what happened, despite Bark’s insistence to never hypnotize anyone again. When he breaks his promise, a terrifying chain of events is set in motion.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Five books that explore the monstrous

Fran Wilde’s novels and short stories have been finalists for three Nebula Awards, a World Fantasy Award, and two Hugo Awards, and include her Andre Norton- and Compton-Crook-winning debut novel Updraft, its sequels Cloudbound, and Horizon, and the Nebula-, Hugo-, and Locus-nominated novelette The Jewel and Her Lapidary. At she shared five books that explore the monstrous, including:
The Scar — China Miéville

There are so many monsters and monstrous elements in The Scar. The avanc. The female Anophelli. The Grindylow. The Remade. The Lovers. The unfamiliar writ as monstrous. There is wonder too. And more familiar monsters envisioned as almost glamourous (the Vampir). There is the monstrous Armada itself. All of it and more spins together across the quest that lies at the heart of the book, and through the incredible world on the edge of Mieville’s Bas-Lag.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 21, 2018

Five top works of gothic fiction

Laura Purcell is the author of The Silent Companions and The Corset. One of her five favorite works of gothic fiction, as shared at the Waterstones blog:
Affinity by Sarah Waters

It feels a bit of a betrayal not to pick Waters’ spellbinding ghost-story, The Little Stranger, which has just been adapted into a film, but Affinity moved me in ways few books have managed. I can’t forget it. I can’t forget screaming ‘No!’ at the pages, blindsided by Waters’ plotting yet again.

The narrative follows recently bereaved spinster Margaret into the grim fortress of Millbank Penitentiary, where she volunteers to visit the prisoners. Margaret finds herself drawn to and increasingly obsessed with Selina Dawes. Selina claims to be a medium, but her last séance ended in disaster, leaving one woman dead and another deranged.

I adored the way this book distorted my perceptions, making me alternatively believe and distrust Selina. The atmosphere sneaks up on you unawares, and you will come away from Affinity with feelings of melancholy and dread that are difficult to shake off.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Eight thrillers that use social media to ratchet up the tension

At CrimeReads T.M. Logan tagged eight suspense novels that use social media to ratchet up the tension, including:
Cut to the Bone by Alex Caan

Ruby Day is a rising star of YouTube, a vlogger with a million teenage followers of her lifestyle tips and fashion advice. Ruby is also missing, and it isn’t until a video is posted online that her fans realize why: because the video shows her sprawled in the dirt, pleading for her life. Ruby’s army of fans are hysterical, the media are having a field day and as the investigation hurtles out of control in the glare of publicity, it becomes clear that the world of YouTube vloggers and social media is far darker than it appears. An excellent debut thriller that lifts the lid on YouTube stardom and explores the powerful cocktail of money, fame, and influence that fuels it.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Top ten real-life monsters in fiction

Glenn Skwerer is a psychiatrist who lives and practices in the Boston area. He was inspired by reading August Kubizek’s memoir, The Young Hitler I Knew, to look more closely at the psychology of the friendship between Kubizek and Hitler, and to recast it entirely as fiction. The Tristan Chord is his first book.

One of Skwerer's top ten "interesting and complex fictional portraits of monstrous characters from real life," as shared at the Guardian:
Perfume: the Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind

The character of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was reportedly based on Manuel Romasanta, a 19th-century Spanish serial killer who extracted the body fat of his (female) victims to produce expensive soap. Grenouille, born in 1738, is a savant and connoisseur of scent. He apprentices himself to a master chemist of perfumes, and begins to murder young girls in order to extract and analyse their scents. The book can be read on many levels: as a story of exquisite addiction; as a meditation on compulsion and lust, and as an exploration of a primitive aspect of experience that is usually sanitised and repressed.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Perfume is among four books that changed Meg Keneally, four books that changed Katrina Lawrence, Karen Runge's five (damn-near) perfect (dark) novels, and Lara Feigel's top ten smelly books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Six stories that find the drama in utopian settings

At James Davis Nicoll tagged six stories that find the drama in utopian settings, including:
Terrestrial humanity is entirely extinct in Arthur C. Clarke’s The Songs of Distant Earth. No doubt awareness of the Sun’s impending nova provoked all manner of drama on Earth. For the people of the exoplanet Thalassa, settled centuries before by a sub-light seedship, the nova is barely a historical footnote. Ocean-covered Thalassa offers its island-dwelling population of decent, sensible people satisfactory small lives punctuated only by small-scale, non-threatening interesting events.

This tranquil existence is disrupted by the sudden arrival of Magellan, the last starship from now-expunged Earth. Forced by mishap to pause briefly at the backwater world, the crew of Magellan appeal to Thalassa to allow them to orbit and rebuild their debris shield from Thalassa’s abundant water. “Briefly” is still enough time for the Thalassan woman Mirissa to notice just how attractive strangers can be (in a world that’s normally entirely lacking in strangers). As the ensuing romance and its repercussions unspool, the Magellan’s crew must decide whether to continue to their intended destination or to stay at Thalassa.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top funny books by women

Emma Thompson is a British actress, screenwriter, activist, author and comedienne. She stars in The Children Act, a film based on the novel by Ian McEwan. One of her six favorite comic works written by women, as shared at The Week magazine:
How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

The only book I know that starts with a woman masturbating. Given the taboo around this interesting subject, that fact alone makes How to Build a Girl required reading. Plus, it's brilliant and hilarious and has made a lot of people feel a lot less alone.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 17, 2018

Four books that changed Stephen Giles

Stephen Giles is the author behind the Ivy Pocket children's series, which has been translated into twenty-five languages. He lives in Australia. The Boy at the Keyhole is his first work for adults.

One of four books that changed the author, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
C. S. Lewis

The Narnia books were the first and best fantasy series I've ever read. My mother was a high school librarian and she brought the books home one at a time when I was nine or 10 and I devoured them with an intensity that was new and heady. The stories were utterly immersive and I remember holding the final book, The Last Battle, with something like awe. These books taught me that words are a kind of magic.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Five stories that serve up cannibalism

Karin Tidbeck is originally from Stockholm, Sweden. She lives and works in Malmö as a freelance writer, translator and creative writing teacher, and writes fiction in Swedish and English. She debuted in 2010 with the Swedish short story collection Vem är Arvid Pekon?. Her English debut, the 2012 collection Jagannath, was awarded the Crawford Award 2013 and shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award as well as honor listed for the Tiptree Award. Her novel debut, Amatka, was shortlisted for the Locus Award and Prix Utopiales 2018.

At Tidbeck served up five stories that involve cannibalism, including:
Barbecue ribs in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café by Fannie Flagg

Abusive husband Frank Bennett returns to his estranged wife to steal their child, but is stopped by café employee Sipsey who kills him with a frying pan. To hide the body, Big George does the logical thing and puts Frank on the barbecue. The detectives who show up to investigate Frank’s disappearance are delighted by the best barbecue they’ve ever had in their lives. Satisfaction and disgust in one neat package.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 15, 2018

John Boyne's 6 best books

John Boyne is an Irish author best known for The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, which was made into a film in 2008. His latest novel is A Ladder To The Sky. One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:

Irving really inspired me and is himself influenced by Dickens.

This is very funny, moving and political. It’s a commentary on abortion rights, which was controversial in the States in the 1980s.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Cider House Rules is among Jenny Colgan's ten top unlikely romantic heroes in fiction and Kate Hamer's ten top books about adopted children.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 14, 2018

Five books starring characters who wake up in strange situations

Parker Peevyhouse is the author of the critically acclaimed collection of novellas for young adults, Where Futures End, which was named a best book for teens by the New York Public Library, Chicago Public Library, and Bank Street. Her science fiction thriller, The Echo Room, is out in September from Tor Teen.

One of the author's five top books starring characters who wake up in strange situations, as shared at
Paradox by A. J. Paquette

Ana wakes in a round room, remembering nothing but her name. When she opens the door, she discovers she’s stepping out of a spacecraft and onto an alien planet. Paquette puts a great twist on the exploring-an-alien-planet story, because while Ana has a map of the strange terrain, we have no idea what the map is leading her to. To safety? To a problem that needs solving? To someone who can revive her memory? Along the way, we have to puzzle out how this planet works and why Ana has been sent here with her memory wiped, a fun mystery that keeps the pages turning.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Top ten trains in novels

Sarah Ward is the author of The Shrouded Path and three previous books in the DC Childs crime series set in the Derbyshire Peak District. One of her top ten trains in novels, as shared at the Guardian:
1222 by Anne Holt, translated by Marlaine Delargey

In this Norwegian take on Murder on the Orient Express, a northbound train from Oslo gets stranded during one of the worst snow storms in the country’s history. Passengers move to a nearby hotel where a body is discovered, leaving ex-cop Hanne Williamsen to uncover the murderer. One of the best Nordic noir books, it perfectly conveys the isolation of snowy landscapes; I remember reading it during one windy, wintry night in the Peaks.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see Andrew Martin's top ten books about trains.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Fifteen books to read on a French vacation

At the Waterstones blog Martha Greengrass tagged fifteen books to take on a French vacation. One title on the list:
The Riviera Set
Mary S. Lovell

The Riviera Set is the story of the group of people who lived, partied, bed-hopped and politicked at the Chateau de l'Horizon near Cannes, over the course of forty years from the time when Coco Chanel made southern French tans fashionable in the twenties to the death of the playboy Prince Aly Khan in 1960.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Six of the best books about history’s forgotten women

Jenni Murray is a journalist and broadcaster who has presented BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour since 1987. Her latest book is A History of the World in 21 Women. One of Murray's six best books about history’s forgotten women, as shared at the Guardian:
Mary Beard has become something of a star when it comes to bringing classical history to life. She exposes the roots of today’s expectations of how a woman should behave. Women & Power: A Manifesto is a small but wonderfully potent call to action. With references to mythological figures such as Perseus, Medusa, Philomela and Telemachus, she shows how often we’ve been told that “Speech will be the business of men” and that a woman who breaks this rule may risk having her tongue cut out. Time for change, she argues – and now!
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

The twenty best 9/11 books

In 2011 Justin Webb, Pankaj Mishra, and Jason Burke tagged twenty of the best 9/11 books at the Guardian, including:
Debunking 9/11 Myths by David Dunbar and Brad Reagan

Why are conspiracy theories about 9/11 so annoying? I suppose it is the wilfulness of the delusion: life is hard enough without adding to the upset with suppositions of evil plots on the part of those one should be able to trust. The main issue is the toppling of the twin towers; how could it have been possible without some evil plot involving insurance payments and internal bombs to melt the metal? Unhinged folk will disregard this book but it is compelling if you really are given to ask whether what seemed to happen actually did.-JW
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 10, 2018

Olivia Laing's 6 favorite books

Olivia Laing is an acclaimed British editor and critic. Her new novel is Crudo. One of her six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Orlando by Virginia Woolf

This October, it will be 90 years since Orlando was first published. Woolf's most playful book remains strikingly relevant today, not least for its sustained and elegant argument about the fluidity of gender.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Orlando is among Gregory Woods's top ten landmarks in gay and lesbian literature, Jonathan Gibbs's top ten fictitious biographies, and Sam Mills's top ten fictional sex changes.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Five books that give voice to artificial intelligence

Australian SFF writers Tansy Rayner Roberts and Rivqa Rafael are the co-editors of the speculative fiction anthology, Mother of Invention. One of five books that give voice to artificial intelligence they tagged at
The Tea Master & the Detective by Aliette de Bodard

The trouble with reading SFF is that you end up with amazing life goals that probably will not be attained during your own lifetime. It’s bad enough when a favourite book leaves you wanting a dragon librarian to be your best friend, or a magic school to invite you in when you turn eleven… and now I need a spaceship who brews tea in my life.

A really good cozy mystery balances rich characters with charmingly creepy murders, and de Bodard hits all the right notes in this wonderful, warm homage to Sherlock Holmes in which our detective is Long Chau, an angry and traumatised scholar, and her Watson is a calm, tea-brewing shipmind.

As with the original Watson, Long Chau’s story is told from the point of view of the detective’s friend, which allows a contrast between the detective’s technical brilliance, and our narrator’s emotional intelligence. Yes, the emotional work in the story is largely done by the spaceship. That’s how great it is.–Tansy
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Five SFF worlds that definitely want to kill you

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Joel Cunningham tagged five favorite invented locations that don’t plan to let you leave, including:
Mars (The Martian, by Andy Weir)

Even though Mars is (purportedly) an actual planet and not an invented world like the others on this list, the hostile environment in Andy Weir’s 2011 novel rivals any author-envisioned hellscape. Stranded alone on the surface, astronaut Mark Watney deals with starvation, explosive decompression, and being impaled by an antenna. And that’s before he decides to go on a freezing road trip across his atmosphere-free home. Much of the horror in this story comes from the fact that it is so grounded in science that it could actually happen to the first Mars explorers. Luckily, they’ll have a Tesla up there with them to drive to safety. Truly, the only enjoyable part of being stranded on Mars is that you get to eat baked potatoes every day.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Martian is among Tim Peake's five top books to take to space, Jeffrey Kluger's five favorite books that make epic drama out of space-faring history, Elisabeth Delp's seven classic science fiction space odysseys, Alexandra Oliva's five novels that get important aspects of survival right, Jeff Somers's seven works of speculative fiction that don’t feel all that speculative and  five top sci-fi novels with plausible futuristic technology, Ernest Cline’s ten favorite SF novels, and James Mustich's five top books on visiting Mars.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 7, 2018

Six mysteries that will make you a believer in heartland noir

Mindy Mejia's books include Everything You Want Me To Be and Leave No Trace. At CrimeReads she tagged six mysteries that will make you a believer in Midwestern noir, including:
The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day

Award-winning author Lori Rader-Day’s third novel follows a reclusive handwriting expert trying to help locate an abducted child while keeping her own past buried. The small towns housing the heroine’s past and present are pitch-perfect examples of Midwestern life, places without pomp or pretense bordered by cornfields and lakes hidden in stands of pines. Even as the protagonist runs from her hometown, she becomes drawn inexorably back to that place in the Heartland so many of us know, where friendliness lives next door to violence and nothing is forgotten.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Ten top false identities in fiction

Simon Lelic's new psychological thriller is The Liar's Room. One of the author's top ten false identities in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
The Likeness by Tana French

French is one of my favourite crime authors. In fact, she is one of my favourite authors, full stop. This, her second novel, revolves around the physical resemblance of Detective Cassie Maddox to murder victim Lexie Madison, and involves Cassie going undercover as Lexie and trying to tempt the murderer out of hiding to finish the job. With something of The Secret History about the story, it is a bold conceit, and one that only a writer of French’s skill could carry off.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Five gorgeous classic retellings

Ilana C. Myer is the author of Last Song Before Night. One of her five favorite classic retellings, as shared at
Beauty by Robin McKinley

There are two kinds of Robin McKinley fans: Those who prefer Beauty, her debut novel and initial retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and those who prefer Rose Daughter. I have to admire the guts it took to retell the same fairy tale twice, but I am firmly in the Beauty camp: Simpler in its prose stylings than Rose Daughter, Beauty combines the sumptuous imagery of fairy tales with a no-nonsense, down-to-earth protagonist.

Beauty is not badass, nor kickass, just very sensible—a wonderful contrast to the fairy tale elements thrust upon her. She is further grounded by her commitment to family—her father and sisters, who love her in turn. Written in the first person, the narrative voice is a joy—warm and full of humor. Somehow a book told from the perspective of a commonsense character ends up pure magic.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Nine gender-swapped retellings of classic books

At Bustle, Sadie Trombetta tagged nine gender-swapped retellings of classic stories, including:
Great by Sara Benincasa

A contemporary retelling of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic, Great tells the story of Naomi Rye, who is forced to spend the summer with her socialite mother in the Hamptons. Prepared to despise everyone of the mega-rich socialites she meets, Naomi is surprised when she finds herself drawn to her next-door neighbor Jacinta, an "It" girl known for her wild parties. But Jacinta is hiding something, and when the truth comes out, it has tragic consequences for everyone involved.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven books to understand differences between Brits and Americans

Kathleen Burk’s newest book is The Lion and the Eagle: The Interaction of the British and American Empires 1783-1972. At the Guardian she tagged seven books to understand differences between Brits and Americans, including:
In the 20th century, there was plenty of evidence of cynicism and dislike. Evelyn Waugh’s The Loved One: An Anglo-American Tragedy (1948), set in Los Angeles, displays contempt for both self-deluding English expats and the even more bizarre Americans. David Lodge’s Changing Places (1975), in which academics from Birmingham and Berkeley exchange jobs, is more understanding, as well as funny.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 3, 2018

Six notable works of criticism

One of Joshua Cohen's six favorite works of criticism, as shared at The Week magazine:
Note Book by Jeff Nunokawa

It's an idea as obvious as a face, and as inimitable: to turn Facebook into a book book. This recent masterpiece collects social media posts the author wrote across several years, each inspired by his reading and addressed to friends, to strangers, to the self, and to the offline dead. The totality is nothing less than an image of criticism's most hopeful future.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Four books that changed Rupert Guinness

Rupert Guinness is an Australian sports journalist and author. One of four books that changed the writer, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
Jon Krakauer

American writer and adventurer Jon Krakauer set off on an expedition to climb Mount Everest in 1996 in which eight people died. His account of the disasters in which several groups were summitting the same day was breathtaking, but some disputed his story. It still shed new light on the climbing industry. It also reminded me that while value exists for writers to leave the comfort zone, the risks can be huge.
Read about the other books on the list.

Into Thin Air is among Jeff Somers's five best books where nature is the antagonist, Nicole Dieker's top nine books even non-readers will love, James Mustich's five top books about mountaineering, and Ed Douglas's ten best survival stories.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Nine novels that challenge us to see the humanity in everyone

Sheena Kamal was born in the Caribbean and immigrated to Canada as a child. She holds an HBA in political science from the University of Toronto, and was awarded a TD Canada Trust scholarship for community leadership and activism around the issue of homelessness.

The Lost Ones/Eyes Like Mine is her debut novel. The sequel It All Falls Down was released earlier this year.

Prior to writing novels, Kamal worked as a crime and investigative journalism researcher for the film and television industry--among other rather unsavory professions.

At CrimeReads Kamal tagged nine novels that teach us empathy, including:
What Remains Of Me, by Alison Gaylin

Gaylin’s novel is about a woman who was convicted for a high profile murder that occurred when she was a teenager. Now that she’s out, she is drawn into another murder investigation that mimics the killing she was convicted for. It’s difficult to feel for a woman so cold, for a convicted criminal, but this book masterfully draws you in and paints a portrait of a complicated, tragic heroine. By the end, you realize perhaps it doesn’t matter that she’s a murderess. Perhaps she was even justified.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: What Remains of Me.

--Marshal Zeringue