Friday, November 30, 2018

Ten top books of Washington intrigue

CrimeReads senior editor Dwyer Murphy tagged ten "paranoid thrillers and conspiracy classics from the nation’s capital." One title on the list:
Paul Vidich, An Honorable Man

An Honorable Man is one of the more impressive espionage debuts in some time, a book that earns its place in the Le Carré tradition. George Mueller, a Yale man and a seasoned case officer, performs the Smiley-esque spy work of rooting out a Soviet mole. Vidich sets his story in the McCarthy era, a snarl of backstabbing, suspicion, and secrets. This DC is, in short, “a terrible place for honorable men to work.” The book’s primary conceit is cynical in the finest tradition of continental spy literature: both countries, both systems are irredeemably corrupt, and the spies working in their service are only playing a sisyphean game, occasionally to the death. But even in that Cold War morass, Vidich manages moments of vivid humanity, not to mention a brooding DC atmosphere to rival any of the city’s crime fiction or noir.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Lena Dunham's ten desert island books

Lena Dunham is the creator of HBO's Camping and Girls.

One of her ten favorite books, as shared at
There Are Things More Beautiful Than Beyoncé, by Morgan Parker

Parker is, quite simply, our best working poet, and she just blinds me with her skill. She somehow makes a book about deep psychic pain (also a meditation on a broken society, no biggie) into something that feels celebratory and joyous. I’m nominating her for the Best Pop References in Poetry award! She is also the funniest on Twitter and echoes my judge-y, agoraphobic general mind-state, only with pizzazz.
Learn about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Ten top folk tales in fiction

Dan Coxon is the editor of the anthology, This Dreaming Isle. One of his top ten folk tales in fiction, a shared at the Guardian:
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Carter’s work casts a long shadow over the stranger end of the literary spectrum, but this book is where she most explicitly tackles folklore and fairytales. Drawing on tales such as Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood, these stories aren’t direct retellings. Instead, Carter crafts something new, challenging stereotypes and questioning the ways in which folk tales have represented women down the ages.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Bloody Chamber is among Sam Reader's top five books that give old legends a new spin, four books that changed Angelica Banks, four books that changed Justine Larbalestier, Stephanie Feldman's ten creepiest books, and Jonathan Stroud's favorite fantasy books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Ten literary classics you may not have read

Henry Eliot is an author and editor. He has written three books: The Penguin Classics Book (2018), Follow This Thread (2018) and Curiocity (2016). He is the Creative Editor of Penguin Classics.

One of ten lesser known literary classics you may not have read that he tagged at the Guardian:
MP Shiel, The Purple Cloud, 1901

Matthew Phipps Shiel was born on Montserrat of mixed parentage. He sailed for England in 1885, claiming to be King Felipe of Redonda, a small, uninhabited rocky islet in the Caribbean. (The current king of the micronation Redonda is the Spanish author Javier Marías.) Shiel studied medicine in London and wrote detective stories. In The Purple Cloud, Adam Jeffson is the first man to reach the north pole, but on his return journey he discovers he is also the last person left alive on Earth: an insidious, sweet-smelling cloud of poisonous gas has enveloped the world and destroyed all animal life. He wanders the empty streets of London and the rest of the deserted globe, slowly descending into madness, dressed in Turkish costume and burning cities to the ground, until he discovers that he may not be the sole survivor of the calamity.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten books helping George Saunders through the “current political moment”

George Saunders is the author of nine books, including the novel Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the Man Booker Prize, and the story collections Pastoralia and Tenth of December, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. For he tagged ten books that are helping him through the “current political moment,” including:
Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right, by Angela Nagle

This book shot a lightning bolt of understanding into my mind regarding the role of social media in the terrible political division racking our country. It also made me think that we make a grave error when we mistake the virtual world (of anonymity, cowardice, surficial snark and posturing, one-dimensional, self-presentational bravado) for the real one — the one where people have to say things to one another’s faces, and are constrained, via the basic manners we are all pretty adept at learning, from being rude, dickish, or insulting.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Six historical crime novels set during The Gilded Age

Rosemary Simpson is the author of two previous historical novels, The Seven Hills of Paradise and Dreams and Shadows, and two previous Gilded Age Mysteries, What the Dead Leave Behind and Lies that Comfort and Betray. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Historical Novel Society. Educated in France and the United States, she now lives near Tucson, Arizona.

Simpson's newest Gilded Age Mystery is Let the Dead Keep Their Secrets.

One of her six favorite historical crime novels set during The Gilded Age:
The Alienist, by Caleb Carr

Set in 1896. Another classic of modern writing set in the Gilded Age, author Carr explores the new world of psychology, and especially psychological profiling, as Dr. Laszlo Kreizler delves into the mind of a serial killer who sexually mutilates his victims. The trio of alienist/psychiatrist Kreizler, journalist John Moore, and secretary Sara Howard work with Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt to uncover corruption in the police department and capture the killer who is savaging young male prostitutes, most of whom are impoverished immigrants. As murder follows murder, the team put together by Roosevelt expands to include NYC Detectives Marcus and Lucius Isaacson. The new sciences of fingerprinting and handwriting analysis are combined with Kreizler’s psychological research into the criminal mind to create a portrait of the unknown assassin. The reader is drawn into the frustrating complexity of criminal investigation before DNA and modern technologies were even dreamed of, and the descriptive details of time and setting are captivating and convincing. The Alienist was made into a 2018 ten episode TV series, which begs for comparison with the book.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 26, 2018

Four books that changed Karen Foxlee

Karen Foxlee writes for children and adults. Her latest novel, Lenny's Book of Everything, is about a young boy who has a rare form of gigantism and won't stop growing.

One of four books that changed the author, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
Kelly Link

One of my favourite collections of short stories contains my favourite story, "The Wizards of Perfil." I still get that feeling of wonder when I think about these short stories that are a mix of speculative fiction and horror but also so much more. Link's stories stop you in your tracks, fill you with dread, make you laugh, make you cry. I love these stories because the magic is so raw and earthy and real.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Mark Duplass' six favorite books

Mark Duplass is an American film director, film producer, actor, musician, screenwriter, and author.

One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (2010).

Sorry, this one is also very long. But Murakami is left to his own devices here, and it's a beautiful result. Some think, at 928 pages, the novel needs editing, but the looseness is why I loved it. It is a magical, heartfelt hodgepodge of speculative fiction and nostalgic melodrama. Read it when you get sick.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The six best books about divided governments

David Runciman is a professor of politics at Cambridge University and the author of How Democracy Ends and other books. At the Guardian he tagged six books that explore political division – and why we need it. One title on the list:
Most modern politicians are familiar with Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince, still the go-to guide for political intrigue more than 500 years after it was written. But Machiavelli’s other great work, The Discourses, is where he spells out the particular perils of governing in the name of the people. Factionalism and in-fighting, he says, are the price we pay for the pursuit of national glory: someone will always think they can do it better than the person in charge. He also devotes a lengthy section to dissecting how political conspiracies work. Long story short: they are easy to start, but very hard to finish.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Liz Phair's ten desert island books

Liz Phair began her career in the early 1990s by self-releasing audio cassettes under the name Girly Sound, before signing with the independent record label Matador Records. Her 1993 debut studio album Exile in Guyville has been ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Phair has sold nearly three million records worldwide and had two Grammy nominations.

One of the musician's ten favorite books, as shared at
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Probably my favorite book of all time because of the truthful, raw language — it sounds so modern. To think that it was written almost 75 years ago at the end of World War II seems both astounding and inevitable. Plain, honest communication and wild, spontaneous beauty were all that was left after they’d cleared away the rubble. Enter Holden Caulfield, an off-kilter personality balancing an unlikely mix of cruelty, kindness, truth, acceptance, and rebellion in one rather average noggin. Holden represents a new type of heartthrob, presaging the bored, hypervigilant James Dean types of later cinema — the romantic nihilists, capable of loving fiercely in the moment but standing equally aloof from and critiquing their own emotions. The dawning of the age of emo.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Catcher In The Rye appears on Brian Boone's list of five great novels that will probably never be made into movies, Natalie Zutter's list of nine classic YA books ripe for some creative genderbending of the main characters, Lance Rubin's top ten list of books with a funny first-person narrator, Andy Griffiths's list of five books that changed him, Chris Pavone's list of five books that changed him, Gabe Habash's list of the 10 most notorious parts of famous books, Robert McCrum's list of the 10 best books with teenage narrators, Antoine Wilson's list of the 10 best narrators in literature, A.E. Hotchner's list of five favorite coming-of-age tales, Jay McInerney's list of five essential New York novels, Woody Allen's top five books list, Patrick Ness's top 10 list of "unsuitable" books for teenagers, David Ulin's six favorite books list, Nicholas Royle's list of the top ten writers on the telephone, TIME magazine's list of the top ten books you were forced to read in school, Tony Parsons' list of the top ten troubled males in fiction, Dan Rhodes' top ten list of short books, and Sarah Ebner's top 25 list of boarding school books; it is one of Sophie Thompson's six best books. Upon rereading, the novel disappointed Khaled Hosseini, Mary Gordon, and Laura Lippman.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top crime novels & mysteries at the seashore

CrimeReads senior editor Dwyer Murphy tagged ten oceanfront crime stories and mysteries. One title on the list:
Jean-Claude Izzo, Chourmo

About ten years ago, Jean-Claude Izzo’s Marseille Trilogy was an international sensation. A decade on, the novels seem again under-read, underappreciated and in danger of slipping back into the pile of international crime fiction forgotten by most Americans. Trust me, that would be a mistake. Izzo’s Marseille is one of the most vividly rendered cities in contemporary literature. His detective, Fabio Montale, is Marseillais through-and-through. Montale’s great passion in life is sitting on the deck of the local café, sipping an espresso (or something stronger come afternoon), and gazing out at the Mediterranean. But the city keeps drawing him back in. In Chourmo, the second in the trilogy, Montale dives into a milieu still sadly resonant in today’s France: xenophobia, organized crime, the Front Nationale, and Islamist extremists. Meanwhile, we get the series’ hallmark: a running account of the Mediterranean bounty (food, drink, sex) Montale consumes along the way.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 23, 2018

Seven great books on female friendship not written by Elena Ferrante

At Hillary Kelly tagged seven great books on female friendship not written by Elena Ferrante, including:
An Experiment in Love, by Hilary Mantel (1996)

Long before Mantel chronicled Anne Boleyn’s long waltz to the guillotine in her iconic Wolf Hall series, she wrote this smart, slim novel about a trio of impoverished girls who first meet as young children and matriculate from a North England convent school. Moving together to the lonely dormitories of a London university in the upswing of the late 1960s, Carmel, Karina, and Julianne face the “Sophies” — city girls with more money, more taste, and more men. While the girls are implicitly encouraged to achieve without overachieving, they dance hesitantly around the sexual revolution that’s beginning to upend the roles into which they thought they were born.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Top ten books about Japan

Christopher Harding is a cultural historian of modern Japan, India, and the UK, based at the University of Edinburgh and working also as a journalist for the BBC and a number of newspapers and magazines.

Harding's new book is Japan Story: In Search of a Nation, 1850 - the Present.

One entry on the author's list of the top ten books about Japan, as shared at the Guardian:
Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa

Akutagawa was already a star author when he took his own life in 1927, at the age of just 35. The “vague anxiety” about the future that he described in his suicide note seemed later to mark a tipping point for Japan: from an era of trial-and-error democratisation and cosmopolitanism into something darker and more inward-looking, leading eventually to terrible conflict. This collection features an excellent introduction to Akutagawa and his times by a star author of a later era: Haruki Murakami. More importantly, it features the short story Spinning Gears: a terrifying (self-)portrait of a man at the end of his tether: rifling through bookshop shelves “like a compulsive gambler”, riding Tokyo trains and taxis back and forth, trying to make life tolerable a little while longer. Not much longer, as it turned out. Akutagawa died soon after finishing this final story.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Five notable crime novels from Scandinavia

Martin Österdahl has studied Russian, East European studies, and economics. He worked with TV productions for twenty years and was simultaneously the program director at Swedish Television. His interest in Russia and its culture arose in the early 1980s. After studying Russian at university and having had the opportunity to go behind the Iron Curtain more than once, he decided to relocate and finish his master’s thesis there.

The 1990s were a very exciting time in Russia, and 1996, with its presidential election, was a particularly crucial year. Seeing history in the making inspired Österdahl to write the first novel in the Max Anger series, Ask No Mercy. The series has been sold to more than ten territories and is soon to be a major TV series.

At CrimeReads he tagged five crime novels from Scandinavia that show the breadth of the genre, including:
A Conspiracy of Faith, by Jussi Adler Olsen

A bottle is found by police in Scotland. Inside is a cry for help, scripted in blood. When the bottle eventually lands in the hands of Danish detective Carl Morck he sets his quirky cold case group into action. The hunt is on for a madman kidnapper who preys on members of an austere religious sect, exploiting their reclusive nature to ransom two siblings at a time without fear of the police finding out. Morck faces the obstacles, small and large, by perceiving them as essentially analogues to everything that Denmark’s welfare state has turned rotten. The end takes us to a remote boathouse where the suspense is built to a perfect pitch, leading to a very satisfying end.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Five of the best books about deforestation

John Vidal was the Guardian's environment editor. He is the author of McLibel: Burger Culture on Trial. One of five top books about deforestation he tagged at the Guardian:
Today we see that the ecological violence involved in palm oil growing has gone hand in hand with social havoc and corruption. Kenyan Nobel peace prize-winner Wangari Maathai, who mobilised Kenyans to plant 30m trees, wrote in her autobiography, Unbowed, of the first time she saw large-scale deforestation when she flew over Haiti in 1992. “It looked like someone had taken a razor and shaved the land bare. When the rains came the soil just washed away. When people call for forests to be cut down I think of Haiti and vow to do all I can to prevent that happening.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 19, 2018

Six top seaside stories

Lynne Truss is a celebrated author, screenwriter, columnist, and broadcaster. Truss is the writer of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including the bestselling book on punctuation Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Her new novel is A Shot in the Dark.

One of the author's six favorite seaside tales, as shared at The Week magazine:
'At the Bay' by Katherine Mansfield (1922; published in The Garden Party and Other Stories).

I had read a lot of Katherine Mansfield before I even started on Virginia Woolf, and I've always preferred Mansfield. This long story, set near her native Wellington, New Zealand, is wonderfully atmospheric and sensuous, and alive to sensations — especially to those of swimming. The morning sea in the antipodes is evidently more inviting than the green, choppy stuff we get on the south coast of England.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Greta Gerwig's ten desert island books

Greta Gerwig is an American actress, playwright, screenwriter, and director (Lady Bird). One of her ten favorite books, as shared at
The Argonauts, by Maggie Nelson

This book doesn’t fit neatly into a category. It’s personal but also global. It doesn’t prescribe anything; it raises questions. It allows the reader to feel as if they are watching this brilliant woman think in real time. It seems as if you are inside her mind with her. It’s funny and sexy and made me cry. And it is one of the best books on being a stepmother I’ve ever encountered.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Five top boozy mysteries

Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

The Pint of No Return is Alexander's latest novel in the Sloan Krause brewing series.

One of the author's five favorite boozy cozy mysteries, as shared at CrimeReads:
To Brew or not to Brew by Joyce Tremel

Calling all hop lovers. Who’s ready to hit the pub and toast with a frothy pint? We’ll stop at the Allegheny Brew House in Pittsburg to meet up with Max O’Hara a brewmaster (or mistress) who has just returned from Germany with an abundance of beer knowledge to open her first pub. Whether you’re a fan of deep, dark stouts or light and airy pilsners, Max will fill your stein to the brim and give you a crash course on the brewing process. That is until her assistant brewmaster and head chef end up dead, and she is suddenly thrust into a murder investigation. Max isn’t about to let a murder stop the taps from flowing. She’ll figure out a way to solve the case and keep pouring pints of her craft beer.
Learn about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Ellie Kemper's ten desert island books

Ellie Kemper is the Emmy-nominated star of the Netflix original series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. She portrayed Erin Hannon on NBC’s The Office; costarred in Bridesmaids; and has also appeared in 21 Jump Street, Identity Thief, and Somewhere. Kemper voiced Katie in The Secret Life of Pets and is the voice of Crackle on Disney’s Sofia the First. Her writing has appeared in GQ, Esquire, The New York Times, McSweeney’s, and The Onion. Kemper currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and son, but is constantly trying to find a way to get back to St. Louis. My Squirrel Days is her first book.

One of Kemper's ten favorite books, as shared at
Working by Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel was a radio host in Chicago who also wrote fantastic oral histories about 20th-century America by interviewing regular people about their lives. He covered the Great Depression in Hard Times; World War II in The Good War; and, in this book, what people’s jobs mean to them. His books are invaluable time capsules of how Americans in previous generations spoke and thought about themselves.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Working is among Whitney Collins's nine indispensable books for college graduates, Roman Krznaric and John-Paul Flintoff's top ten books new graduates can turn to for practical insights about the real world, Sheila Heti's top ten books that began as speech, and Daniel H. Pink's six favorite books about work.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 16, 2018

Nine mysteries with unconventional investigators

Erica Wright's latest crime novel The Blue Kingfisher is filled with "substance, entertainment, and chills-a-plenty" according to The Seattle Review of Books. Her debut, The Red Chameleon, was one of O, The Oprah Magazine's Best Books of Summer 2014. She is also the author of the poetry collections Instructions for Killing the Jackal and All the Bayou Stories End with Drowned. She is the poetry editor and a senior editor at Guernica Magazine as well as a former editorial board member for Alice James Books.

At CrimeReads Wright tagged nine mysteries that challenge our expectations for crime fighters, including:
99 Ways to Die by Ed Lin

Lin’s Taipei Night Market series stars Jing-nan, a food stand operator who finds himself drawn—and occasionally dragged—into more dangerous work. In this third installment, Jing-nan is being blackmailed to investigate the kidnapping of a high-profile billionaire. The victim and his champion are not particularly sympathetic, and Lin never shies away from the complicated politics of Taiwan. His books are smart and richly detailed. Lin offers truly original contributions to the crime series landscape.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Top ten novels about the First World War

Daniel Mason is a physician and author of The Piano Tuner (2002), A Far Country (2007), and The Winter Soldier ​(2018). His work has been translated into 28 languages and adapted for opera and theater. A Far Country was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Northern California Book Award. His short stories and essays have appeared in Harper’s, Zoetrope: All Story and Lapham’s Quarterly; in 2014 he was a recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A Clinical Assistant Professor in the Stanford University Department of Psychiatry, his research and teaching interests include the subjective experience of mental illness and the influence of literature, history, and culture on the practice of medicine.

One of Mason's top ten novels about the First World War, as shared at the Guardian:
The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek

Hašek’s meandering, unfinished comedy tells the story of a dog thief turned soldier, who blusters, pranks and malingers his way through the early days of the war. Some of the sequences are so funny I often found myself laughing out loud, but the darkness of the humour only highlights the suffering of those caught up in the conflict. Here, the unrelenting portrayals of a cynical bureaucracy extend Švejk’s lessons beyond the first world war, and to all wars, offering a sardonic blueprint for resistance against the structures of faceless power.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Good Soldier Svejk is among Michael Honig's top ten satires and Tim Pears's top ten 20th-century political novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Five SFF books drawn from neglected histories

Ausma Zehanat Khan's books include The Bloodprint, the first book in the Khorasan Archives, and its sequel to The Black Khan. At she tagged five sci-fi & fantasy books drawn from neglected histories, including:
Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

In Tasha Suri’s remarkable debut, the writing is richly evocative, the world delicately drawn—a place of legends and hard devotional truths, told from the perspective of Mehr, a noblewoman, who exists simultaneously as a person of high status and no status at all. As the illegitimate daughter of the governor of Jah Irinah, Mehr is used to luxury, sheltered from the eyes of men, allowed to make her own choice in marriage. But she is also the descendant of an Amrithi mother, a tribe of outcasts whose only value to the empire lies in the magic of their blood, and in the rites they dance. Once her gifts at controlling the dreamfire become known to the Maha, a powerful mystic, she is coerced into marriage with a fellow Amrithi dancer. Mehr is as resolved and determined in who she is at her father’s court, as she becomes among the mystics—her act of claiming her sacred rites for herself is a means of defiance against those who seek to control her. All the more compelling in the midst of this, is that Mehr develops a relationship of equals with her Amrithi husband; Amun is compassionate and tender despite the mystics’ efforts to turn him into a monster. As the author says of the tales of the Mughal Empire that inspired her: “It was all opulence and colour and sword fights and romance. I wanted to capture a bit of that fantasy, that spinning of history into something compelling but not entirely real: too bright, too rich, too lush. I wanted to take that magic and actually write about magic.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Four books that changed A.S. Patrić

Australian writer AS Patrić is the author of the novels Black Rock White City, for which he won the Miles Franklin award in 2016, and Atlantic Black. His latest book is The Butcherbird Stories. One of four books that changed the author, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
Fyodor Dostoevsky

Dostoevsky was my Brando. "I am a sick man … I am a wicked man." I heard the opening lines from Notes From Underground in the Apocalypse Now whisper of General Kurtz. Brando didn't seem to be merely playing a half-mad genius; and neither did Dostoevsky. I'd found an author purely driven by truth and reality, no matter the character or story. The Russian master's voice emerged from the pages, raw and manifest – absolutely authentic.
Read about the other books Patrić tagged.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books that reveal how Russia influences the world

Luke Harding is the author of Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win. At the Guardian he tagged five books that reveal how Russia influences the world, including:
The election of Donald Trump in 2016 inspired a slew of books on Russian interference. One of the best is The Road to Unfreedom by Timothy Snyder – a brisk, conceptually convincing account of democracy’s retreat in the early years of the 21st century, and authoritarianism’s giddy rise.

Putin, according to Snyder, is the world’s leading exporter of the “politics of eternity”. Russia (or America) is an eternal victim. All politicians lie, the idea of progress an illusion, and truth unimportant. Trump, in this reading, is Putin’s willing pupil: an exponent of mythical, grudge-based politics and emotive nationalism.
Read about the other books Harding tagged.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 12, 2018

Jeff Tweedy's six favorite books

As the founding member and leader of the American rock band Wilco, and before that the cofounder of the alt-country band Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy is one of contemporary American music’s most accomplished songwriters, musicians, and performers.

His new book is Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back): A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc.

One of Tweedy's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil by George Saunders (2005)

I have no idea how my friend George Saunders gets language to do the things he gets it to do, mixing internal and external dialogue while achieving a depth and accuracy I've never encountered in anyone else's writing. He makes even jargon sound soulful. Like the Robert Coover book below [The Public Burning], this novella has an uncomfortably timely resonance.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Nine mysteries set in the immediate aftermath of WWI

J. Kingston Pierce edits The Rap Sheet, a blog focused on crime fiction, writes the book design-oriented blog Killer Covers, and is a columnist for Down & Out: The Magazine. At CrimeReads he tagged nine "crime and espionage stories whose action occurs within the first half-decade of the war’s finish," including:
The Second Rider by Alex Beer, translated by Tim Mohr (2018)

Like the city he serves—Vienna, former capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire—Inspector August Emmerich has been brought low by the Great War. He has a wounded leg that’s left him ingesting pain meds such as heroin, and that he fears will curtail his dream of joining an elite major-crimes unit. His lover has just learned her husband didn’t die in battle after all, and she’s decided to return to his side. And Emmerich has been saddled with a naïve partner, Ferdinand Winter, who he fears will spoil his opportunities for recognition as a crime solver. Actually, the inspector’s inclination toward disobedience and obstinacy might be equal handicaps in that regard. He and Winter are tasked with crushing a smuggling ring that operates partly out of the city’s sewers and is run by one of Emmerich’s boyhood pals, Veit Kolja…but the inspector is more interested in pursuing a seemingly unconnected sequence of deaths, which have been passed off as suicides or the consequence of mishaps. He’s sure those men were murdered, but can’t ascertain how they knew each other, or why their mouths were stained yellow. Emmerich’s resolve to prove his conclusions will result in his becoming a wanted man, and ultimately his turning for assistance to Winter and Kolja. Beer’s character development and portrayal of postwar Vienna’s economic divisions may push her English-language debut onto many best-of-the-year book lists.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Fifty of the greatest debut SFF novels ever written

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and the Ustari Cycle from Pocket/Gallery, including We Are Not Good People. At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog he tagged fifty of the greatest debut sci-fi and fantasy novels ever written, including:
Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee (2016)

Like many of the authors on this list, Lee was initially known for his shifting, strange short fiction (much of it collected in Conservation of Shadows), which raised expectations for his novel-length debut. When it arrived, it did not disappoint: Ninefox Gambit is a remarkably assured debut, one of those books that is difficult to summarize, or even to grasp upon that first, confounding read. The book is set in a universe with a “consensus reality” shaped by the shared, very rigid beliefs of its inhabitants, and controlled by numbers, equations, and other mathematical processes. Reality itself is therefore governed by an accepted application of formula—but the story pivots on the question: what happens if there’s a rebellion of thought? The answer is revealed in a book unlike any other. All three books in the Machineries of Empire trilogy were Hugo nominated, with good reason.
Read about the other entries on the list.

My Book, The Movie: Ninefox Gambit.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 9, 2018

Five books where we're unsure which side we’re supposed to be rooting for

Marissa Meyer lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and their three cats. Her new novel is Archenemies, book two in the Renegades trilogy.

At she tagged five "books that test our loyalties at every turn," including:
Legend by Marie Lu

In a futuristic version of the United States called The Republic, Day is the country’s most wanted criminal, while June is an elite military prodigy. When June’s older brother is killed and Day becomes the prime suspect, June makes it her mission to hunt him down. What follows is a battle of wits as Day and June attempt to stay one step ahead of each other… until they begin to uncover a series of lies and secrets that could suggest their goals aren’t so different after all. Legend is a thrilling page turner, but what sets it apart in the world of dystopians is the amount of heart and humanity Marie Lu brings to all her characters, and the ways in which Day and June are ultimately able to bridge the gap between distrust and empathy, despite the mounting struggles between them.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Nine novels that tell the story of heroin and opioid abuse in America

CrimeReads senior editor Dwyer Murphy tagged nine novels that tell the story of heroin and opioid abuse in America. One title on the list:
John Burdett, The Godfather of Kathmandu

Burdett’s long-running Bangkok series is a truly uncanny outlier in the current landscape of global crime fiction. His stories, which straddle cultures, languages, and religions, are vivid hallucinations of daily life in Bangkok, where vice reigns and the locals are fiercely independent thinkers, beholden to no western codes of conduct or morality. In The Godfather of Kathmandu, Burdett’s part-Thai, part-American detective, Sonchai Jitpleecheep is caught up in a heroin smuggling ring that brings together Thai police, Tibetan exiles, Chinese loyalists, Americans on the prowl, and hustlers both local and international. The drugs touch all strata of society, and the long history of opium smuggling out of southeast Asia flashes through with a cruel, quick power.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Godfather of Kathmandu.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Ten of the best modern Victorian novels

Paraic O’Donnell is a writer of fiction, poetry and criticism.

His essays and reviews have appeared in the Guardian, The Spectator, the Irish Times and elsewhere. His first novel, The Maker of Swans, was named the Amazon Rising Stars Debut of the Month for February 2016, and was shortlisted for the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards in the Newcomer of the Year category. O’Donnell's latest novel is The House on Vesper Sands.

One of the author's ten top modern Victorian novels, as shared at the Guardian:
Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge (1998)

Shortlisted for the Booker prize five times, it was not until after her death in 2010 that Bainbridge was finally honoured with a specially created award. Although it was chosen from among her novels by a popular vote, Master Georgie is one of Bainbridge’s most challenging and austere works. Indeed, she herself remarked that most people needed to read it three times before they understood it. She may have been right. With its carefully modulated perspectives and slyly observed details, this refracted Bildungsroman follows a young surgeon’s almost helpless progress towards the muck and depravity of the Crimean war, and it reveals new and brilliant facets no matter how often you come back to it.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Master Georgie was Erica Wagner's bad Booker beat.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books with manipulated memories

W.L. Goodwater's debut novel is Breach. At he tagged five books with manipulated memories, including:
The Giver by Lois Lowry

This classic hardly needs my recommendation, but if—like me—you missed reading it as a kid, do yourself a favor and grab a copy. YA dystopias are everywhere these days, but none can match the emotional gut punch of Jonas’s journey as he becomes a Receiver of Memory, the one member of his community forced to know the sins of their past. But it is what he learns about the present that is most haunting, as he alone can see what has become of a world that never learns and never regrets.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Giver made the Tor Teen blog's lit of eleven top YA dystopian novels, Jeff Somers's top five list of science fiction novels that really should be considered literary classics, Jen Harper's top ten list of kids' books from the ’90s that have proven to be utterly timeless, John Corey Whaley's top ten list of coming of age books for teens, Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick's list of thirteen top, occasionally-banned YA novels, Guy Lodge's list of ten of the best dystopias in fiction, film, art, and television, Joel Cunningham's list of six great young adult book series for fans of The Hunger Games, and Lauren Davis's top ten list of science fiction’s most depressing futuristic retirement scenarios.

Coffee with a Canine: Lois Lowry & Alfie.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Eight top modern gothic mysteries

Wendy Webb's new novel is Daughters of the Lake.

One of eight favorite modern gothic mysteries she tagged at CrimeReads:
A Head Full of Ghosts, by Paul Tremblay

Stephen King said: “A Head Full of Ghosts scared the hell out of me, and I’m pretty hard to scare.” Need any more than that? Okay here’s a description. This is a terrifying story about what may or may not be the demonic possession of a teenager, mixed with our culture’s obsession with reality TV. The parents of a teen who is behaving in an increasingly bizarre and terrifying way contact a Catholic priest in desperation. He comes, and brings a reality TV crew who documents the entire thing…which is a horror in itself.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 5, 2018

Five top books to understand drinking

Leslie Jamison is the author of the essay collection The Empathy Exams, a New York Times bestseller, and the novel The Gin Closet, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Her latest book is The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath.

At the Guardian, Jamison tagged five of the best books that "offer solace, if not salvation" to readers in the grip of drinking. One title on the list:
Billie Holiday’s memoir, Lady Sings the Blues, is a searing account of her life as a brilliant artist, a heroin addict, simultaneously worshipped as a siren of sorrow and persecuted by a legal system structured by systemic racism. Booze runs like a glimmering ribbon through these pages – she even makes moonshine from potato peelings while incarcerated – but Holiday emerges as a figure far more nuanced and human than her mythic image. In one memorable scene, she cooks red beans and hamburger meat – out of cans, heated with steno fuel – for the entire staff of her London hotel.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Gin Closet by Leslie Jamison.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top books about adventure and exploration

David Grann is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning staff writer at The New Yorker magazine. His new book, The White Darkness, is a true story of adventure and obsession in the Antarctic.

One of Grann's six favorite books about adventure and exploration, as shared at The Week magazine:
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (1902).

More than a century after it was first published, this novel remains one of the most subversive adventure tales. What begins as a classic Victorian quest narrative becomes a journey into the insidious nature of imperialism.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Heart of Darkness is on Katharine Norbury top ten list of books about rivers, Michael Palin's six favorite books list, Robert Twigger's list of five of the best books about rivers, Robert McCrum's list of ten of the best closing lines of books, Mark Malloch-Brown's lis of six favorite novels of empire, John Mullan's list of ten of the best fogs in literature, Tim Butcher's list of the top 10 books about Congo, Martin Meredith's list of ten books to read on Africa, Thomas Perry's best books list, and is #9 on the 100 best last lines from novels list.

--Marshal Zeringue