Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Top ten deaths in fiction

Thomas Maloney was born in Kent in 1979, grew up in London, and studied Physics at Oxford. His first novel, The Sacred Combe, was published in 2016. His new novel is Learning to Die.

One of Maloney's top ten "fictional deaths that attempt to examine the experience or the immediate anticipation of dying," as shared at Guardian:
WP Inman in Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

In the abrupt, upsetting finale of this Homeric tale of a US civil war deserter, the reader shares the dying Inman’s bewilderment. There is something he wants to say to his beloved, but just before we hear it the author courteously, cinematically lifts us away. Our last glimpse – of what seems a pair of happy lovers, his head on her lap – is from a distance.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Cold Mountain is among Geraldine Brooks's six favorite works of historical fiction, Charles Palliser's top ten neo-Victorian novels, Henry Winkler's best books, and Tunku Varadarajan's five most delectable combinations of fiction and food.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five crime novels set in small-town Australia

Emma Viskic is the author of the multi-award-winning Caleb Zelic series. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, Resurrection Bay, won the 2016 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction, as well as an unprecedented three Davitt Awards: Best Adult Novel, Best Debut, and Readers' Choice. The second novel in the series is And Fire Came Down.

At CrimeReads, Viskic tagged five top crime novels set in small-town Australia, including:
An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire

An Isolated Incident is a psychological thriller about the murder of a young woman in the small town of Strathdee. The narration alternates between the victim’s sister, Chris, and a young reporter who arrives in town to report on the case. Faced with an insatiable media, Chris tries to makes sense of her loss and the knowledge that anyone in the close-knit town could be the killer. Lyrically written and offering deep insight into the aftermath of violence, An Isolated Incident, was nominated for numerous awards in Australia and is currently taking the UK by storm.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Mary Gordon's ten desert island books

Mary Gordon's novels include Final Payments, Pearl, and The Love of My Youth; her nonfiction includes the memoirs The Shadow Man and Circling My Mother; and her collections of short fiction include The Stories of Mary Gordon.

One of her ten favorite books, as shared at
Middlemarch, by George Eliot

The character of Dorothea Brooke, a gifted woman whose gifts are thwarted by the possibilities available to her, yet who flourishes despite it because of the greatness of her character, the depiction of a woman of passion and intelligence, the tracing of disillusionment in love and marriage — Middlemarch accomplishes all this while creating a vivid world of politics, community, and landscape.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Middlemarch also made Kirsty Gunn's top ten list of books about unrequited love, Jeff Somers's top five memorable books set on New Year’s Eve (and Day), Lauren Groff's list of six favorite portrayals of marriage in literature, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best bankers in literature, ten of the best marital rows, ten of the best examples of unrequited love, ten of the best funerals in literature, and ten of the best deathbed scenes in literature. It is among Emrys Westacott's five top books on philosophy & everyday living, Selma Dabbagh's top 10 stories of reluctant revolutionaries, Philip Pullman's six best books, Rebecca Goldstein's five best of novels of ideas, Tina Brown's five best books on reputation, Elizabeth Kostova favorite books, and Miss Manners' favorite novels. John Banville and Nick Hornby have not read it.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six classics with supernatural crimes at their center

Robert Masello is a former journalist, TV writer, and the bestselling author of many novels and nonfiction books, many of them supernatural thrillers with a strong historical foundation. They include The Einstein Prophecy, The Jekyll Revelation, The Romanov Cross, The Medusa Amulet, and his most recent work, The Night Crossing.

At CrimeReads Masello tagged "a half dozen of the most famous and influential supernatural novels and the intriguing, even unique, crimes central to their cores," including:
Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

Crime: Mortgage Fraud

Heathcliff, a man so deprived he only gets the one name, uses his ruthless temperament and financial acuity (gained somewhere in the New World, doing something mysteriously lucrative) to wind up as the owner of both Wuthering Heights, where he was at first brought as an orphan, and ultimately Thrushcross Grange, too, the estate where the love of his life, Catherine Earnshaw, once lived as the wife of the aristocratic Edgar Linton. Published in 1847, under Emily Bronte’s pen name, Ellis Bell, the book stirred up a ton of controversy with its dark, Gothic tone, its lonely ghosts wandering the moors, and its implicit challenges to traditional Victorian notions of morality. Why, Heathcliff even sneaks to the side of Catherine’s open coffin to open the locket around her neck and replace a snip of her husband’s hair with a lock of his own. Talk about chutzpah. The English poet and painter, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, had it just right when he declared Wuthering Heights to be “a fiend of a book…an incredible monster…The action is laid in hell – only it seems people and places have English names there.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

Wuthering Heights appears on André Aciman's list of five favorite books about the intensity of a once-in-a-lifetime love, Emily Temple's top ten list of literary classics we (not so) secretly hate, Cristina Merrill's list of eight of the sexiest curmudgeons in romance, Kate Hamer's list of six top novels with a strong evocation of atmosphere, Siri Hustvedt's six favorite books list, Tom Easton's top ten list of fictional "houses which themselves seem to have a personality which affects the story," Melissa Harrison's list of the ten top depictions of British rain, Meredith Borders's list of ten of the scariest gothic romances, Ed Sikov's list of eight top books that got slammed by critics, Amelia Schonbek's top five list of approachable must-read classics, Molly Schoemann-McCann's top five list of the lamest girlfriends in fiction, Becky Ferreira's list of seven of the worst wingmen in literature, Na'ima B. Robert's top ten list of Romeo and Juliet stories, Jimmy So's list of fifteen notable film adaptations of literary classics, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best thunderstorms in literature, ten of the worst nightmares in literature and ten of the best foundlings in literature, Valerie Martin's list of novels about doomed marriages, Susan Cheever's list of the five best books about obsession, and Melissa Katsoulis' top 25 list of book to film adaptations. It is one of John Inverdale's six best books and Sheila Hancock's six best books.

The Page 99 Test: Wuthering Heights.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 29, 2018

Six scary stories for Halloween

Daniel Mallory Ortberg is the author of The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror. One of six scary stories or story collections he tagged at the Guardian:
The short story lends itself to horror at least in part because both require an economy of detail. Slowly, Slowly in the Wind is a late-ish Patricia Highsmith collection, published in 1979, and while it’s a little uneven (the work of a miserable mid-century alcoholic 30 years into her career), nasty little treasures such as “Those Awful Dawns” make the journey worth it. This tale is a loosely reworked urban legend – bad, drug-addled parents; an open medicine cabinet; some unloved, curious children – in which dreadful but comic circumstances roll relentlessly downhill.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Curtis Sittenfeld’s ten favorite books

Curtis Sittenfeld’s books include the novels Prep and Eligible and the short-story collection, You Think It, I’ll Say It. One of her ten desert island books, as shared at
A Lucky Man, by Jamel Brinkley

This is my newest favorite book. This story collection’s protagonists are men and boys in New York experiencing pain and longing as they go about their daily lives. It’s amazingly insightful and emotionally nuanced.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Six top examples of sci-fi worldbuilding

John Scalzi's latest novel is The Consuming Fire.

At The Week magazine, he tagged six favorite sci-fi works, including:
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (1992).

Stephenson's vision of a fractured and fragmented United States is both hilariously written and depressing in its accurate depiction of increasing polarization. I don't think Stephenson intended to be a prophet for this crazy age we live in, but he's got the gig anyway.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five SFF books featuring women in love with women

Kate Heartfield's new time-travel novella is Alice Payne Arrives. One of the author's five favorite SFF books with F/F relationships, as shared at
Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi

This space opera is so much fun, start to finish. Alana Quick is a sky surgeon (like an engineer, but for starships) with a chronic illness, an ex-wife, and a fraught relationship with her mystical sister. When a starship comes looking for said sister, Alana stows away in its cargo hold, hoping to end up with a job as an engineer.

The brash, blonde starship captain, Tev Helix, is desperate to get some leverage over a transdimensional corporation, a corporation that can save the ship’s pilot from a slow, strange death. Alana finds herself desperate for Tev. But Tev already has a partner, and that’s only one of the complications Alana tries to untangle.

The science in this book is cool and magical (the other ship’s engineer is a man who might be a wolf if you look at him from the right angle), but the concerns of the characters are grounded and just so real, from the costs of medicines to the complexity of human relationships. It’s sexy and fast-paced, and most of the characters are women.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Eleven recent works with positive transgender representation

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Ross Johnson tagged eleven recent trans-positive SFF works, including:
Starless, by Jacqueline Carey

This new standalone epic from the author of the beloved Kushiel novels centers on Khai, chosen at birth to be a shadow—one bonded to the Sun-Blessed Princess Zariya of the royal house of Zarkhoum, and sworn to protect her. He has spent his whole life in the desert, preparing for his duty, but as his presentation to the princess draws near, however, Khai discovers he is actually bhazim—born genetically female, and raised as a male—even as learns of a prophecy of a fallen god rising in the west, whom the Sun-Blessed is destined to fight. We watch Khai struggle with the Zarkhoum’s ideas about the rights of different genders, and how gender performance is an integral part of being allowed to do the things a shadow is raised to do. Khai’s sexual and gender exploration is ultimately a celebration of life and growth, and we are witness to moments of joy around the discovery of the possibilities of the flesh—especially the discovery that limits that looked like impassable brick walls are actually illusory veils that can be passed through at will.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 26, 2018

Meg Wolitzer’s ten desert island books

Meg Wolitzer’s newest novel is The Female Persuasion. One of her ten favorite books, as shared at
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

A droll, precise novel about a charismatic teacher and her group of favorite students. Witty, chilling, divine.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is among E. Lockhart's five top books about women labeled “difficult”, Adam Ehrlich Sachs's top ten funny books, Sebastian Faulks's six favorite books, Stuart Husband's top ten fictional teachers, Rachel Cooke's top ten spinsters, Karin Altenberg's top ten books about betrayal, Megan Abbott's five most dangerous mentors in fiction, the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five top books on teaching and learning and Ian Rankin's six best books. Miss Jean Brodie is one of John Mullan's ten best teachers in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five spooky books set in real places

Alyssa Palombo is a writer living and working in Buffalo, NY. She attended Canisius College in Buffalo, where she majored in English and creative writing with a minor in music. She is a classically trained mezzo-soprano who also dabbles in playing piano. When not writing, Palombo can usually be found reading, hanging out and laughing way too hard at nonsensical inside jokes with friends, traveling (or dreaming of her next travel destination), at a concert, or planning for next Halloween. She is a metalhead and a self-proclaimed French fry connoisseur. She also owns way too many hoodies, pairs of sunglasses, and pajamas, but never enough books.

Palombo is the author of three historical novels, The Violinist of Venice, The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence, and The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel.

At she tagged five favorite spooky books set in real places, including:
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Perhaps a better word than “spooky” for this book is “unnerving”, deeply so. It’s one of those novels that is laced with tension and a general unsettling feeling right from page one. Set in Fall River, Massachusetts, this gorgeously written novel tells the story of the infamous Lizzie Borden through three different points of view: Lizzie herself, her sister Emma, and a male stranger. Schmidt’s prose is both complex and disquieting, and you’ll want to read her sentences over and over again even as you try to turn the pages as quickly as you can. America seems to have a fascination with this case—it remains officially unsolved, even though there seems to be an obvious culprit—and this book is one of the best I’ve read about it. The New England setting—and particularly the stifling atmosphere of the Borden house, which you can still visit today—comes to vivid life, illuminating both the larger community and the ways in which the Bordens seem to have cut themselves off from it.
Read about the other entries on the list.

See What I Have Done is among Mallory O'Meara's ten top horror books for wimps.

My Book, The Movie: Alyssa Palombo's The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Top ten books about steroids

Matthew Sperling joined University College London in 2016 as Lecturer in Literature in English. His first novel is Astroturf--"part black comedy, part literary thriller – in which much of the action takes place in the gym and on online bodybuilding and steroid forums."

One of Sperling's ten top books about steroids, as shared at the Guardian:
The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle (2012)

The other necessary book on drugs in sport is this whistleblowing story of the role they played in professional cycling during the Lance Armstrong era. Hamilton was part of Armstrong’s US Postal Service team, and his book is a gripping account of the extraordinarily ruthless, controlling and inventive doping regime Armstrong ran during his peak years.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Seven YA books for fans of "The Haunting of Hill House"

At the BN Teen Blog, Nicole Hill tagged seven YA books for fans of The Haunting of Hill House, including:
17 & Gone, by Nova Ren Suma

The true terror of Hill House isn’t (just) its literal ghosts; it’s the psychological haunting of the members of the Crain family, collectively and individually. Suma captures that same terror of the mind with Lauren, plagued by visions of missing girls. Like Lauren, all the girls in her waking nightmares are seventeen. What does it mean? Why is she seeing them? What happened to them? These are all questions she must answer before her whole life unravels.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Rachel Kushner’s 10 favorite books

Rachel Kushner’s new novel is The Mars Room. One of her ten favorite books, as shared at
The Ravishing of Lol Stein by Marguerite Duras

Duras … There is no one like her, who speaks with such simple and yet high-flown authority. Her tone is Biblical, absolute. She brushes off mediocre narrative expectations, and with this novel, a critical moment in her extraordinary writing career, and life, made something entirely new.
Read about the other entries on the list.

See Kushner's top ten books about 1970s art.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books about heroes who shouldn’t babysit your kitten

Weston Ochse is the author of more than twenty books, most recently the SEAL Team 666 series which has been optioned by MGM Films. He's also the author of the Grunt Life series, a military science fiction series concentrating on the lives of PTSD survivors. His first novel, Scarecrow Gods, won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in First Novel and his short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His new military horror novel is Burning Sky.

At Ochse tagged five books about heroes who shouldn’t babysit your kitten, including:
The Sacred Throne — Myke Cole

What about Myke Cole’s Heloise Factor? She’s a simple gal that gets strapped into a war machine and rips through some high-falluting religious types. She definitely would have the kittens best wishes in mind. She’d most certainly want the kitten to be safe and happy. I imagined the kitten in her metal hands all secure and cool. But then I remembered all of her interactions in The Armored Saint, Myke’s first book of her fantasy series. Didn’t bad things happen to pretty much everyone around her? Wasn’t she sort of like the Joe Btfsplk of fantasy books, a continuous dark cloud following her and promising that bad things were on the way? And this was the person who was going to be trusted to keep a kitten alive?
Read about the other entries on the list.

Coffee with a Canine: Weston Ochse & Goblin, Ghost, and Ghoulie.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 22, 2018

Thirteen spine-chilling books written by female authors

Mallory O'Meara is an author, screenwriter and producer. Her first book, The Lady From The Black Lagoon, the chronicle of Mallory's search for and a biography of Milicent Patrick, is being published by Hanover Square Press on March 5th, 2019. One of thirteen great horror books written by women she shared at
The Red Tree, Caitlin Kiernan

When the protagonist of this chilling novel moves to a rural farmhouse, she finds herself overtaken by a nightmarish obsession with an ancient oak tree growing on the property that is featured heavily in local legends. A genuinely frightening book, it blurs the line between reality, dreams, and nightmares. You might find yourself leaving this one in the freezer at night.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Six of the best epic novels

Kathryn Harrison has written the novels Thicker Than Water, Exposure, Poison, The Binding Chair, The Seal Wife, Envy, and Enchantments. Her autobiographical work includes The Kiss, Seeking Rapture, The Road to Santiago, The Mother Knot, and True Crimes. She has written two biographies, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and Joan of Arc, and a book of true crime, While They Slept: An Inquiry into the Murder of a Family. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the novelist Colin Harrison.

Harrison's new book is On Sunset: A Memoir.

One of the author's six favorite epic novels, as shared at The Week magazine:
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (1850).

"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show." Dickens answered the first line of the novel he identified as his favorite child with a bildungsroman fueled by fascination both for its inimitable characters and for their varied influences on the protagonist, an orphan forging his own identity.
Read about the other entries on the list.

David Copperfield is among Nigella Lawson's ten best books, ShortList's forty greatest villains in literature. Siri Hustvedt's six favorite books, Janet Davey’s top ten schoolchildren in fiction, Frank Rich's top ten books, John Boyne's top ten child narrators, Lynn Shepherd's top ten fictional drownings and Elizabeth Gilbert's six favorite books. It appears on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best seductions in literature, ten of the best trips to Canterbury in literature and ten of the best valets in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Chris Difford's 6 best books

Chris Difford is a founder member and lyricist with the band Squeeze, perhaps best known in the US for the hit songs "Tempted" and "Black Coffee In Bed." His new memoir is Some Fantastic Place: My Life In and Out of Squeeze. One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
DAVID BOWIE: A LIFE by Dylan Jones

I'm a massive fan and I used to be a roadie with him. His lyricism is what got me off the ground as a writer. His passion and femininity were inspiring.

This is put together in an imaginative way. You can go to any page and read something really interesting.

It's the only book about another artist that I've really enjoyed.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Five books that reinvent the love triangle trope

Rachel Strolle is a librarian and a reader. At the BN Teen Blog she tagged "five books with well done, unique love triangles that reinvent the trope." One title to make the list:
Odd One Out, by Nic Stone

This brings me to the newest fulfillment of the classic trope—Nic Stone’s sophomore book, Odd One Out. Featuring three main characters, each of whom has a possible love interest in the other two, Odd One Out brings a beautiful intersectionality to a traditionally white and heteronormative motif. Coop and Jupe are best friends and next-door neighbors, and Coop would be even more in love with Jupe if she didn’t self-identify as gay. When Rae moves to town, both Coop and Jupe acknowledge their crushes on her to each other—and Rae is unsure which of the two she has a crush on (maybe it’s both?). As Jupe’s feelings for Coop morph into something new, the three fall into a very messy love triangle that is bound to cause some heartache. Stone has presented one of the most authentic, innovative love triangles YA has ever seen. Three teens of color (Coop is black, Jupe is black/Latinx, and Rae is white/Chinese-Jamaican), two of whom are queer, are long-overdue leads in this miraculous story about love, friendship, and the sheer resilience of the teen heart.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 19, 2018

Five books to better understand Saudi Arabia

Ian Black was the Guardian's Middle East editor, European editor, diplomatic editor and foreign leader writer in 36 years on the paper. He is now a visiting senior fellow at the Middle East Centre, LSE. His latest book is Enemies and Neighbors: Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917-2017.

At the Guardian, Black tagged five books to understand Saudi Arabia, including:
For the background to the heavily spun narrative of modernisation under the thirtysomething MBS [Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman], a highly readable account is provided by Robert Lacey’s Inside the Kingdom (2009). Lacey wrote an earlier book describing the transformation of a pastoral and nomadic society – when traditional Bedouin raids were what Sir John Glubb called “a cross between Arthurian chivalry and county cricket” – into one when the soaring price of oil was producing unimaginable wealth. Lacey revisited it in the long shadow of 9/11, Osama bin Laden and the souring of the special relationship with what political scientist Robert Vitalis dubbed “America’s Kingdom”.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Ten great horror books for wimps

Mallory O'Meara is an author, screenwriter and producer. Her first book, The Lady From The Black Lagoon, the chronicle of Mallory's search for and a biography of Milicent Patrick, is being published by Hanover Square Press on March 5th, 2019. One of "ten spooky books that won’t keep you up at night" she shared at
Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

Monster stories are a staple of Halloween, but they don’t always have to be scary. This dark and hilarious coming-of-age werewolf book was named one of the best books of the year by and Book Riot. It was also a finalist for various horror honors like the Shirley Jackson Award and the Bram Stoker Award. Despite these literary horror accolades, worry not — this story is moving rather than chilling as it follows the life of a young boy and his beastly family as they try to find their place in the world.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten of the scariest haunted house books ever

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 ten of the scariest haunted house books ever, including:
Slade House, by David Mitchell

Mitchell has been quietly building a complex and compelling shared universe, tying his novels into one another in subtle ways. Slade House explicitly exists in the same universe as The Bone Clocks, so it’s helpful if you’ve read that one, though not necessary. It’s also less complicated in structure than some of his other work, but as a result is more viscerally scary. The titular house appears every nine years around the corner from a pub, presenting itself to a misfit, an outcast—someone who does not fit in with the rest of the world. The owners of the house, the Grayer Twins, welcome this person into their home and make them quite welcome. No sooner will the chosen person decide to leave than they’ll discover they are trapped—and that the twins have a nefarious purposes for luring the strangers in. It’s not technically not a ghost story, true, but it’s still a supernaturally scary read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Top ten books about the human condition

Robin Ince is a standup comedian, actor and writer. One of his ten favorite books that offer illuminating insights into the human condition, as shared at the Guardian:
What Do You Care What Other People Think? by Richard Feynman

The title story in this collection of reminiscences is a love story. Nobel prize-winning physicist Feynman tells of how he fell in love with his first wife, Arline. He explains how she taught him a lesson or two as he dealt with her premature death from tuberculosis while he worked on the atomic bomb. In this story alone, Feynman perfectly demonstrates his belief that, even when talking about love and tragedy, “science doesn’t subtract, it only adds”.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books from five different continents

S. L. Huang has a math degree from MIT and is a weapons expert and professional stuntwoman who has worked in Hollywood on Battlestar Galactica and a number of other productions. Her novels include the Cas Russell series—a new edition of book one, Zero Sum Game, is now available.

At she tagged "five knockout reads from five different continents," including:
Kintu, by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Kintu is spectacularly popular in Uganda, and is described in the introduction as being a book written unapologetically “for Ugandans.” In other contexts, I’ve been in that place where something felt like it was written “for me”—my cultural touchstones, my life experiences—so my interest was piqued immediately.

And I haven’t been disappointed. But Kintu is more than a novel that celebrates Uganda. It’s also an incredible, mind-blowing story. The narrative sucked me in from its first riveting scene, and I haven’t predicted a single twist it’s taken. The speculative elements have a literary bent, entwining with a tale that feels very human.

I haven’t finished Kintu yet, but at the rate I’m blowing through it I’ll be done very soon, and I’m already comfortable giving it my enthusiastic recommendation.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Nigella Lawson's ten best books

One of TV host and food writer Nigella Lawson's ten best books, as shared at
David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens

This may not just be my favorite Dickens novel, but my favorite novel period. I read it regularly, and every time is an undimmed pleasure. More, every time it feels fresh. That is the mark of greatness. Although the comic characterization is as juicy as ever, and it’s impossible to read without laughing out loud, Dickens here gives the fullest expression — through the hero who tellingly bears, if back to front, his initials — of horror at the heartbreak, savagery, and injustice of the world. It is the ultimate bildungsroman and the truest story of how a person comes to be. Not for nothing was it Freud’s favorite novel.
Read about the other entries on the list.

David Copperfield is among ShortList's forty greatest villains in literature. Siri Hustvedt's six favorite books, Janet Davey’s top ten schoolchildren in fiction, Frank Rich's top ten books, John Boyne's top ten child narrators, Lynn Shepherd's top ten fictional drownings and Elizabeth Gilbert's six favorite books. It appears on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best seductions in literature, ten of the best trips to Canterbury in literature and ten of the best valets in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight suspense novels that explore nature vs. nurture

Kate Moretti's new novel is In Her Bones.

At CrimeReads she tagged eight suspense novels that explore nature vs. nurture, including:
Baby Teeth, by Zoje Stage

Told in alternating perspectives, a mother and her unbalanced and possibly murderous seven-year-old daughter, Hanna. Suzette tries everything to get her daughter to behave but Hanna is hell-bent on destruction of her mother. She wants a happily ever after with Daddy! This novel was endlessly disturbing, mainly because it plays directly into the nature/nurture debate. Suzette and Alex are both upstanding citizens (if not flawed in their own ways, but certainly not murderous). So where does Hanna get her evil from? Is it nurtured by her happy, oblivious father and increasingly frustrated and impatient mother? Or is it something she was born with?
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 15, 2018

Five of the best books about living with cancer

Adam Kay is a writer and comedian. He writes extensively for TV and film and is the author of the international number one bestselling and multi-award-winning book This is Going to Hurt. One of five of the best books about living with cancer he tagged at the Guardian:
If we trust the Pulitzer prize panel about this kind of thing, and I suspect we should, then read The Emperor of All Maladies by oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee. It is an in-depth, but clear and at times poetic depiction of the “lethal, shape-shifting entity” – its past, present and putative future.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see Austin Duffy's top ten books about cancer.

--Marshal Zeringue

Daisy Johnson's book recommendations

Daisy Johnson's first novel, Everything Under, has been short-listed for the 2018 Man Booker Prize.

One of six books she recommended at The Week magazine:
White Is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi (2009).

Oyeyemi's third novel takes the typical haunted-house narrative and uses it to examine racism and the inevitable pull of the past. Nothing here is quite normal: Apples grow in the cellar, the house speaks to us, and the protagonist — a sufferer from an eating disorder that compels her to eat things that are not food — has gone missing.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Five books to read after bad dates

Kass Morgan is the author of The 100 series, which is now a television show on the CW. She received a bachelor's degree from Brown University and a master's degree from Oxford University. Her new novel is Light Years.

At Morgan tagged five books to read after bad dates, including:
Rootless by Chris Howard

Sometimes, you just need to spend time with a guy who isn’t intimidated by powerful women who make bold fashion choices. That’s one of the many reasons I’m head-over-heels in love with Rootless, a dystopian eco-thriller set in the near future, when genetic modification has resulted in the death of every tree on Earth. The main character, Banyan, is a tree-builder who crafts elaborate metal trees for rich people. And in addition to being good with his hands, he happens to have excellent taste in women—namely female pirates who sport mohawks and six-inch heels as they terrorize the wasteland beyond the walled city. If Banyan were on Tinder, I’d totally use one of my “super-likes” on him.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Stacey Abrams's recommended reading

Stacey Abrams, Georgia’s Democratic candidate for governor, is the author of a political memoir (Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change) as well as eight romance novels (written under the pen name Selena Montgomery). One of eight books she tagged at Vanity Fair:
The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami

Her novel about Estebanico, a Moroccan slave who was part of Narváez expedition, uses the narrative device of a fictional memoir to excavate the horror faced by African slaves and native peoples in 16th-century Florida. His story makes the reader uncomfortable, angry, and bereft by turn—yet willing to endure all to see it through to the end.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Ten of the best revenge novels

Jo Jakeman's debut psychological thriller is The Exes’ Revenge (UK title: Sticks and Stones). One of her ten top crime novels featuring "satisfying comeuppance, bloody vengeance, and ice-cold revenge," as shared at CrimeReads:
Stephen King, Carrie

The moral of this story is, don’t mess with a sixteen-year-old girl with telekinetic powers. Bullied by her classmates and mother, and even laughed at by some of her teachers, Carrie White goes on a rampage that kills her tormentors. Teenage cruelty at its worst and revenge to match. I remember reading this when I was about twelve and then practicing telekinesis every night with my hairbrush. In case you were wondering, it didn’t work. I’ve been slightly obsessed with King ever since.
Learn about the other entries on the list.

Carrie is on Ania Ahlborn's list of ten of the scariest books of all time, Jeff Somers's list of the five worst mothers in literary history, Becky Ferreira's list of six of the most memorable bullies in literature, Julie Buntin's list of favorite literary kids with deadbeat and/or absent dads, Gregg Olsen's top ten list of deadly YA books, and James Dawson's top ten list of books to get you through high school.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 12, 2018

Twenty-one books from a crash course on the literary horror world

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 twenty-one books that will give you an idea of how the horror genre has evolved, including:
The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All, by Laird Barron, 2013

Barron may represent the future of horror; he combines a literary flare with long, complex sentences, and lush descriptive passages with a fusion of genres; his most successful stories mashups of noir, crime, horror, and fantasy. Because why can’t everything be terrifying? Consider the first season of HBO’s True Detective: a crime thriller that was flat-out a horror story for a few episodes before resolving into a crime story again. Who’s to say what’s horror and what’s not?
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All is among Kelly Link's six notable books that warp reality and Jeff Somers's five great under-the-radar reads of 2014.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Kathy Bates's ten best books

One of actor/director Kathy Bates's ten best books, as shared at
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

This remarkable novel, which won the 2017 Man Booker Prize, takes place in a cemetery the evening after the burial of Lincoln’s son, Willie. The chorus of the dead, an astonishing cast of over 60 characters, are trapped in the Bardo, the state of existence between life and death. Another kind of bardo is taking place at the White House on the night before Willie dies. Historical diaries and letters written by those who attended the grand ball illustrate the struggle in Lincoln’s soul. His role is to be president, but he longs to be with his beloved son.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five plausible sci-fi novels in the spirit of "First Man"

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 five "mundane sci-fi books in the spirit of First Man"--"mundane SF eschews the deliriously futuristic in favor of the possible and the soon-to-be"--including:
Moonfall, by Jack McDevitt

McDevitt is one of the authors whose work often falls just outside the mundane sci-fi sphere—his stories are usually just a bit too fictional or fanciful to be truly mundane. But Moonfall is as close to it as he’s ever come—and it’s pretty close. In a future where a small lunar base has been established, a huge, fast-moving comet is discovered—and calculated to impact the moon in just a few days. When that happens, the moon will be vaporized, and destruction and fire will rain down on the Earth. Desperate measures are launched to evacuate the base and somehow avoid an extinction-level event, and McDevitt keeps a steady hand on the reins of plausibility the whole time, resulting in a story that trucks in realism, and shares a spirit of can-do science with First Man; it seems humanity can achieve anything if we can just find the right engineers.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Top ten books about psychiatry

Elizabeth Lowry was born in Washington DC and educated in South Africa and England. She is a frequent contributor to the London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal and other publications.

Her first novel, The Bellini Madonna, was published in 2008 to great acclaim and will be reissued in 2019.

Her second novel, Dark Water, appeared in September 2018.

One of Lowry's top ten books about psychiatry, as shared at the Guardian:
Darkness Visible by William Styron

Styron’s account of being overtaken in late middle age by clinical depression’s “toxic and unnameable tide” is an urgent frontline report of how it feels when the mind turns “agonisingly inward”. Its publication in 1990 helped initiate a public conversation about the condition and launched the contemporary trend in depression memoirs. Yet the candour and paradoxical beauty of Styron’s remains unequalled. His description of the hospital where he slowly recovers as “a kinder, gentler madhouse than the one I’d left” is rich in tender humour; his final message charged with hope: that those who dwell “in depression’s dark wood” will at last emerge, like Dante climbing out of hell’s black depths, into “the shining world”.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten books for fans of "A Star Is Born"

At Entertainment Weekly Esme Douglas and Maureen Lee Lenker tagged ten books to read if you loved A Star Is Born, including:
A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True: 1907-1940, by Victoria Wilson

When A Star Is Born was first released in 1937, rumors swirled that it was based on the real-life marriage of rising star Barbara Stanwyck and vaudeville actor Frank Fay. Their careers followed similar reverse trajectories, with Stanwyck breezing toward immortality as Fay sank into alcoholism. Whether Stanwyck was the real inspiration for this myth or not, Wilson’s in-depth, long-in-the-works biography is the first of its kind — and it’s only volume 1. Drawing on more than 200 interviews with Stanwyck’s colleagues and family, as well as her private papers, it examines her iconic, complex life with care.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue