Monday, December 31, 2018

Ten of the most notable New Years in literature

At the Guardian, John Mullan named ten of the most notable New Years in literature.

One title on the list:
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

At Camelot one New Year's Day the feasting knights are interrupted by a gigantic green knight who arrives for a trial of blows. Sir Gawain decapitates him, but he picks up his head and leaves, challenging Gawain to meet him next New Year's Day, when he will have to bare his neck for a return blow.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is among Cressida Cowell's ten best stories to celebrate the magic of Christmas.

Read about the other titles on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Ten spy thrillers featuring Russia versus the West

CrimeReads senior editor Dwyer Murphy tagged ten thrillers featuring Russia versus the West, including:
Ian Fleming, From Russia with Love

And finally, 007. Go ahead, enjoy yourself, no need to feel guilty. From Russia with Love is easily one of Fleming’s best, and if you need the extra motivation, remember that at least one US President—none other than JFK—counted this among his favorite novels. Soviet co-intel sends a phony defector—an attractive young woman, as it happens—into Bond’s hands. The goal is to compromise 007 and ultimately dispatch him. (Yes, sex is involved. Tuxedos and negligee, too. A classic honey trap.)
Read about the other entries on the list.

From Russia with Love also made Sarah Ward's top ten list of trains in novels, John Lawton's top ten list of Cold War noir novels, Sinclair McKay's five best list of books on ciphers and codebreakers during World War II and after, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best housekeepers in literature, ten of the best chess games in fiction, ten of the best punch-ups in fiction, and ten of the best breakfasts in literature, and a list of eleven presidents' favorite books. It is on Keith Jeffery's five best list of books on Britain's Secret Service and Samuel Muston's ten best list of spy novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Eight essential Midwestern novels by women

Meghan O'Gieblyn is a writer who lives in Wisconsin. Her essays have appeared in Harper's Magazine, n+1, The Point, Boston Review, The Guardian, Ploughshares,, The Paris Review, and Tin House, and have been included in the Pushcart Prize anthologies and in The Best American Essays 2017. She is the author of the essay collection Interior States.

At LitHub she shared an essential reading list of Midwestern novels by women. One title on the list:
Angela Flournoy, The Turner House

This novel, set in Detroit, is an epic family history that toggles between the 2008 housing crisis and the Great Migration. It is also a ghost story: Cha-Cha, the eldest of the 13 Turner children, is haunted by an apparition that once visited the bedroom of his childhood home and shows up again, unexpectedly, as he is approaching late middle-age. But the hauntings of this story also point to the elusive nature of race relations in the industrial Midwest. When the family patriarch, Frances, arrives in Michigan Central Station in 1944, coming north from Arkansas, he notices that prejudice in Detroit is more insidious than it was in the South: “There was cruelty in the country too, but it was plain. Not veiled beneath promises of progress, nor subtle when it manifested itself.” In the Midwest, the daylight oppression of Jim Crow is sublimated into the more shadowy practices of redlining and racist real estate pacts. In the end, the novel conceives of Detroit through the conventions of the gothic, in which the repressed returns in shadowy guises that are no less malevolent. Just as the members of the Turner family are haunted by family secrets, so the past continues to haunts the present, and the legacy of the south persists in the north.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Quiara Alegría Hudes’s ten desert island books

Quiara Alegría Hudes is a writer, strong wife and mother of two, barrio feminist and native of West Philly, U.S.A. Hailed for her work’s exuberance, intellectual rigor, and rich imagination, her plays and musicals have been performed around the world. They include Water By the Spoonful, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama; In the Heights, winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical and Pulitzer finalist; and Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue, another Pulitzer finalist. Her most recent musical, Miss You Like Hell, appeared Off-Broadway at New York’s Public Theater.

One of Hudes's ten favorite books, as shared at
The Known World by Edward P. Jones

For complete submersion in a novelistic world I’d choose Edward P. Jones’s epic masterpiece, The Known World. A universe unto itself, there are terrible moments and beautiful revelations about a black slave owner and the many lives around him.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Known World is among Rosie Perez's six favorite books and Philipp Meyer's five favorite books about America.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 28, 2018

Ten great clerical sleuths

Reverend Jane Willan is a parish minister and author in Paxton, Massachusetts. She serves the First Congregational Church of Paxton and lives in the church parsonage with her husband Don and their two rescue dogs, Magi and Moses. She is the author of the Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mysteries.

At CrimeReads, Willan tagged ten great clerical sleuths, including:
Deborah Woodworth, A Deadly Shaker Spring

One thing to especially enjoy about this series by Deborah Woodworth is its historical accuracy. The author, Deborah Woodworth has a Ph.D. in the Sociology of Religion and grew up in southern Ohio near the historical site of several Shaker communities—a background which informs and colors her descriptions of the Shaker world. Woodworth effortlessly introduces the reader to Shaker history and culture making the book an intriguing lesson in history as well as an exciting murder mystery. Sister Rose is a sharp, perceptive sleuth who fights for her own identity in the very male world of the 1930’s. She comes out the winner though, and this first mystery wins as well.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Five important books bearing witness to America’s carceral state

The Literature for Justice initiative of the National Book Foundation tagged "five books that shine a necessary light on the American criminal justice system and provide crucial perspectives that help further the nation’s understanding of this massive apparatus that impacts the lives of citizens and non-citizens alike," including:
Kalisha Buckhanon, Upstate: A Novel (2006)

Upstate masterfully takes as its subject a lost world. It’s a toxic world where incarceration is treated as a rite of passage, one created by all of us but too often ignored by artists. Kalisha Buckhanon captures it all perfectly. Antonio and Natasha are indelible and individuated but also tragically emblematic. And this is the novel’s forceful achievement: that the dirty secrets of this country’s mass incarceration program, the great civil rights malfunction of our time, can feel so lyric and personal.

The committee is pleased to draw more attention to this powerful work that highlights the role fiction can play in resisting social injustice. The book can only further our understanding of the devastating impact decades of illegitimate policing has had and should be required reading for anyone hoping to contribute to meaningful reform.
Sergio de la Pava
Read about the other books on the list at LitHub.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Ten top books on booze

Henry Jeffreys is a journalist who writes about wine and other drinks in the Guardian, Spectator and Food & Wine. He is the author of Empire of Booze.

One of the writer's top ten books on booze, as shared at the Guardian:
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Brideshead is neither Waugh’s best book (I favour the Sword of Honour trilogy), nor his funniest (Scoop or The Loved One), but it is the best from a booze point of view. The scenes of drunkenness between Sebastian Flyte and Charles Ryder include some of the funniest parodies of wine talk: “a little, shy wine like a gazelle”. There’s also the excellent cognac-off between Rex Mottram and Ryder, which is a masterclass in razor-sharp snobbery.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Brideshead Revisited is one of Johanna Lane's five top imaginary castles in fiction, John Mullan's ten of the most memorable hunting scenes in literature, Robert Irwin's top ten quest narratives, Val McDermid's top ten Oxford novels, and Christopher Buckley's best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

The ten books that defined the 1970s

At LitHub Emily Temple tagged the ten books that defined the 1970s, including:
Alex Haley, Roots (1976)

I’m bending the rule on not repeating authors for Alex Haley, because The Autobiography of Malcolm X, while being told to and reported by him, wasn’t really his story. Roots: The Saga of an American Family was based on his own family’s history (though the authenticity of the book and even the originality of Haley’s work has been called into question), and it quickly became a cultural sensation. It sold more than six million copies by 1977, and was on the New York Times bestseller list for forty-six weeks, twenty-two of them at number one. Though Saul Bellow won the Pultizer for fiction in 1976, Haley was awarded a special citation the next year—which, incidentally, was the year the miniseries hit American televisions and truly exploded this book into the mainstream. Haley was a huge celebrity; Historian Willie Lee Rose called it “the most astounding cultural event of the American Bicentennial.” According to Haley’s 1992 obituary in the New York Times, the book and miniseries “spurred an interest in genealogy among Americans of many ethnic heritages,” and at least at that time, the show was still counted “among the 100 highest-rated programs. According to Nielsen Media Research, its eight episodes reached average audiences that ranged from 28.8 million households to 36.3 million households.” In a 1992 interview, Haley said, “To this day, people, particularly African-American people but white people as well, will just totally, unexpectedly walk up and not say a word, just walk up and hug you and then say “Thank you.””
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Five fun and funny reads to escape the hectic holidays

Lish McBride is the author of funny and creepy Young Adult books such as Hold Me Closer, Necromancer; Necromancing the Stone; Firebug; and Pyromantic. At she tagged five fun and funny reads to escape the hectic holidays, including:
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

So, while not technically fantasy, there’s an evil villain in an underground volcano lair, so I’m going to count it. Beauty Queens, at first glance, is a retelling of Lord of the Flies but with contestants from a teen beauty pageant. Except, it’s also more than that. It’s not about the girls turning on each other, but about cooperation. There’s no symbolic pig, but there is self-discovery. It’s also about an evil corporation and the pressure society puts on teens, especially girls, to be perfect. This book is smart, and it’s ridiculous in the best possible way, and it is oh-so-funny.

I love all of Libba Bray’s books, but most of them break my heart (in a good way)—this one fills me with hope.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Beauty Queens is among Lisa Williamson's top ten books about gender identity.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 24, 2018

The best books to celebrate the magic of Christmas

Cressida Cowell is an English children’s author, best known for the novel series, How to Train Your Dragon.

At the Guardian she tagged some books for the season "to terrify and cheer – and even inspire a little kindness," including:
Beatrix Potter’s The Tailor of Gloucester offers consolation, magic and hope all at the same time. There is a dark side to this tale – the tailor is on the edge of starvation, and Simpkin the cat’s capture of the little mice is made all the more terrifying because he traps them so delicately under teacups. But the tailor pities the mice, and the mice save the tailor, and the magic of Christmas is encapsulated in perfect picture-book form.
Read about the other books Cowell tagged.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Ten mysteries that explore the noir world of social media

Molly Odintz is the Associate Editor for CrimeReads. She grew up in Austin and worked as a bookseller at BookPeople for years before her recent move up to New York City for a life in crime. She likes cats, crime novels, and coffee.

At CrimeReads she tagged ten "mystery novels to make us even more afraid of technology than we already are," including:
The Last Hack by Christopher Brookmyre

In The Last Hack, Brookmyre introduces a feminist hacker whose technological brilliance is matched only by her problems outside the internet. Her mother’s in prison, her father’s identity is a cipher, and she’s worried about losing custody of her handicapped younger sister. Oh, and she’s experiencing increasingly vicious bullying from the other girls at her school, who do not approve of her good grades and ambitious goals. While much of the story has her teaming up with a reporter to infiltrate a highly secure technology firm, she also makes time for some sweet social media revenge against her tormentors.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

William Finnegan's ten desert island books

William Finnegan is a staff writer at The New Yorker. His latest book is Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life.

One of the author's ten favorite books, as shared at
City of Bohane by Kevin Barry

The language sizzles and hisses in this 2011 Irish novel set in a steampunk future. We slip from the Trace, all tangled alleyways, to the Fancy, which is as it sounds, and even out to the wastes of the Big Nothin’, from which the Bohane river crashes down through the city. There’s a gang war, indelible characters, a martial music. Sweet Baba Jay, did anyone ever really speak this way? It’s wordplay at the level of Nabokov, but with a very different, Gaelic purpose. “Fucker Burke and Wolfie Stanners set their face against the hardwind as they climbed the bluffs.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The ten books that defined the 1980s

At LitHub Emily Temple tagged the ten books that defined the 1980s, including:
William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)

“There is no way to overstate how radical Gibson’s first and best novel was when it first appeared,” Lev Grossman wrote in TIME. “Violent, visceral and visionary (there’s no other word for it), Neuromancer proved, not for the first or last time, that science fiction is more than a mass-market paperback genre, it’s a crucial tool by which an age shaped by and obsessed with technology can understand itself.”

The book, Cory Doctrow told The Guardian, “remains a vividly imagined allegory for the world of the 1980s, when the first seeds of massive, globalised wealth-disparity were planted, and when the inchoate rumblings of technological rebellion were first felt.”
A generation later, we’re living in a future that is both nothing like the Gibson future and instantly recognisable as its less stylish, less romantic cousin. Instead of zaibatsus [large conglomerates] run by faceless salarymen, we have doctrinaire thrusting young neocons and neoliberals who want to treat everything from schools to hospitals as businesses.
In it, Gibson popularized the term “cyberspace” (this is the 80s, remember) and predicted the internet, that “consensual hallucination” that we’re all now plugged into at all hours. He also more or less invented “cyberpunk,” an aesthetic system that has had untold influence on all the SF and fantasy since. It was, after all, the first novel to win the “holy trinity of science fiction”: the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Philip K. Dick Award, and it is still read and lionized today.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Neuromancer made Jeff Somers's top ten list of books for non-geek parents of geeks, Soman Chainani's top five list of SFF novels with perfect opening lines, Abhimanyu Das and Gordon Jackson's list of eleven science fiction books regularly taught in college classes, Steve Toutonghi's list of six top books that expand our mental horizons, Ann Leckie's top ten list of science fiction books, Madeleine Monson-Rosen's list of 15 books that take place in science fiction and fantasy versions of the most fascinating places on Earth, Becky Ferreira's list of the six most memorable robots in literature, Joel Cunningham's top five list of books that predicted the internet, Sean Beaudoin's list of ten books that changed his life before he could drive, Chris Kluwe's list of six favorite books, Inglis-Arkell's list of ten of the best bars in science fiction, PopCrunch's list of the sixteen best dystopian books of all time and Annalee Newitz's lists of ten great American dystopias and thirteen books that will change the way you look at robots.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 21, 2018

Ten fictional feasts for Christmas

Kate Young is the author of The Little Library Cookbook. At the Guardian she tagged ten fictional feasts for Christmas, including:
Dubliners, James Joyce

The final, magisterial story “The Dead” is focused on a Christmas dinner. The table is spread with a goose, an enormous crusted ham, spiced beef and an extraordinary list of desserts: blancmanges, figs, custard, jellies and chocolate. I’ll be putting figs and baked custard on the table this year.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Dubliners is among Ann Beattie's six favorite books and Ciarán Hinds's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Uzo Aduba’s ten desert island books

Uzoamaka Nwanneka "Uzo" Aduba is a Nigerian-American actress. She is known for her role as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren on the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black, for which she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2014, an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2015, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series in 2014 and 2015.

One of her ten favorite books, as shared at
Notes of a Native Son, by James Baldwin

James Baldwin remains one of the most prolific and prophetic writers to have lived. Every page had been stamped by a genius. This autobiographical collection of essays moved my heart, expanded my mind to the larger, richer perspective of the black experience in civil rights America, and firmed up my opinion that, “There is more to being black than meets the eye.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Nine immortal sibling duels in fiction

Maureen Lindley, born in Berkshire and raised in Scotland and England, was trained as a psychotherapist. She is the author of the novels The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel, A Girl Like You, and The Beloveds. At CrimeReads she tagged "nine tales of sibling rivalry and woe, from classic literature to stories grounded in modern life, all with an affinity for the mysterious and the twisted." One title on the list:
Tim Winton, Cloudstreet

Tim Winton tells this Australian story to wonderful effect. It’s the tale of two working class Australian families, the Lambs (a god-fearing bunch) and the Pickles (considered wastrels). Cloudstreet is the name of the big messy house that both families end up occupying together. Parents and siblings live their inextricably linked lives over a period of twenty years. We share birth and death, marriage and adultery, loss and gain, as they go from World War II up to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Siblings argue and fight, they worry about each other, they go fishing and swimming together; it’s a soap opera full of the joy and the awfulness of knowing not only where you belong, but also of loving and hating the tribe that holds you only slightly against your will.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Cloudstreet is among Rose Byrne’s ten favorite books, five books that changed Evie Wyld, and Mariella Frostrup's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Top ten Irish science fiction authors

Jack Fennell is the author of Irish Science Fiction (2014) and editor of A Brilliant Void (2018). At the Guardian he tagged his top ten Irish science fiction authors, including:
Sarah Maria Griffin (1988-)

Spare and Found Parts is a homage to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a feminist dissection of creativity and interpersonal relationships, and a dystopian critique of Irish society. Set in a disease-ravaged future Dublin, the story follows Nell Crane, a talented roboticist who decides to construct a companion for herself out of items she salvages from a nearby beach. Griffin refers to herself as a “spec” (speculative) writer, rather than declaring allegiance to any one genre, but her appreciation for sci-fi, horror and fantasy bleeds through all her work.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

The ten books that defined the 1990s

At LitHub Emily Temple tagged the ten books that defined the 1990s, including:
Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’ Diary (1996)

I don’t know what to tell you. This book is good, and truly funny—and it’s also widely credited with kicking off an enormous wave of “chick-lit” (and attendant money for authors and publishers) on both sides of the pond. It not only reflected the culture of the 90s but also invented some of it—or at least a lot of its terminology. Were Americans saying “fuckwit” before Bridget? I think not. In closing, here is a blurb from Salman Rushdie: “Even men will laugh.” Even men, indeed.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Bridget Jones's Diary also appears on Rebecca Stokes's list of eight books perfect for reality TV fans, Melissa Albert list of six of the worst fictional characters to sit next to on a plane, Allegra Frazier's list of five top diary novels, Gigi Levangie Grazer's list of six favorite books that became movies, Caryn James's top five list of recent novels that channel classics, Sean O'Hagan's list of the ten best fictional hangovers in print, film and song, Christina Koning's list of the best of chick-lit, and a list of eight books for the broken-hearted.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Six notable family gatherings from literature

Julie Myerson is an English author and critic. At the Guardian she tagged six favorite family gatherings from literature, including:
“A wedding!” Two words that form the memorable start to Jonathan Dee’s sublimely dark novel of family dysfunction, The Privileges. In a breathtakingly sustained, real-time opening chapter, Dee gives us a minute-by-minute account as friends and splintered families gather for the “big schmaltzy wedding” of a wealthy and beautiful young couple. Wryly done and unforgettable.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten heroines who kept their motives hidden

Jane Corry is a writer and journalist and has spent time as the writer in residence of a high-security prison for men–an experience that helped inspire My Husband’s Wife, her suspense debut.

Corry's latest novel is The Dead Ex.

At CrimeReads she tagged ten classics where the heroines are mistresses of the “secret motive game,” including:
Bertha: Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea

I’m not always a lover of sequels that aren’t written by the original author. but this is an exception in my book. In Jane Eyre, it’s Rochester who has the secret motive in hiding his mad wife. However, I’d always wanted to know more about poor old Bertha who has such a horrible end. Rhys not only fills in the gaps – she also takes us down the road of self-deception. “You can pretend for a long time, but one day it all falls away and you are alone.” Brilliant.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Wide Sargasso Sea is among Siân Phillips's six favorite books, Richard Gwyn's top ten books in which things end badly, and Elise Valmorbida's top ten books on the migrant experience.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 17, 2018

Nathan Englander’s ten desert island books

Nathan Englander is the author of the novels Dinner at the Center of the Earth and The Ministry of Special Cases, and the story collections For the Relief of Unbearable Urges and What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank—winner of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

His forthcoming novel is

One of Englander's ten favorite books, as shared at
The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead

This goes on my short list of gigantical best sellers that, when I read it way back in galleys, made me think, “This is going to be a gigantical best seller — and truly deserves to be.” It’s just fantastically imagined and extraordinarily powerful.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Underground Railroad is among Greg Mitchell's top ten escapes in literature and President Obama's summer 2016 reading list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Nine novels that tap into the myths of “Americana”

Susan Bernhard is a Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowship recipient and a graduate of the GrubStreet Novel Incubator program. She was born and raised in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana, is a graduate of the University of Maryland, and lives with her husband and two children near Boston.

Winter Loon is her debut novel.

At Lithub she took "a look at contemporary fiction that taps into Americana mythology and storytelling, that is unafraid to turn the body over and examine the underbelly for wounds and scars," and tagged nine novels. One title on the list:
Wiley Cash, A Land More Kind Than Home

Cash’s debut novel reads like a ballad—a story about love and religion gone wrong, about moral codes put to test in an Appalachian town. In the tradition of southern gothic noir, Cash writes in the distinct voices of three richly-drawn narrators—a young boy whose brother dies at the hands of a false prophet in a Pentecostal church, an old midwife who knows the town’s buried secrets, and the Sheriff who investigates the child’s death while carrying grief for his own dead son.
Read about the other titles on the list.

A Land More Kind Than Home is among Tom Bouman's ten top rural noir novels.

My Book, The Movie: A Land More Kind Than Home.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Five books that influenced Louise Penny's life

Louise Penny shared with CBC Books "some of the books that have played an important role in her personal and professional life," including:
Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat

"One of the books that made a big impression on me was Farley Mowat's Never Cry Wolf. I remember the moment, in the classroom, when I suddenly realized that Farley Mowat was Canadian, that he was a writer and he was alive. It was possible to be all three at once! Up until that moment, most of the books we had read were by British writers who were long dead. So the fact that a Canadian could be a contemporary writer was an eye opener... When Still Life was about to come out, my husband Michael and I were on a train and a couple of rows up ahead of us was this tiny little man. Mowat had this very specific look — you couldn't mistake him for anyone else. I spent most of the trip wondering if I should say something. Finally, I got up and went down to introduce myself. I explained how his body of work had been such an inspiration to me, and how my first book was just about to be published and the taproot was Never Cry Wolf. I remember thanking him and then walking back in streams of tears, happy that I could finally thank this man for what he had done."
Read about the other entries on the list.

Visit Louise Penny's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Louise Penny & Trudy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven novels that tell the story of Gilded Age NYC

Simon Baatz is a New York Times-bestselling author and award-winning historian. His latest book is The Girl on the Velvet Swing: Sex, Murder, and Madness at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century.

At CrimeReads Baatz tagged seven novels that tell the story of Gilded Age New York City, including:
Henry James, Washington Square (1880)

James set most of his best-known novels in England and continental Europe but he had been born in New York, at 21 Washington Place, and one of his earliest works, Washington Square, is set in one of the city’s most exclusive neighborhoods. Austin Sloper, a wealthy physician, worries that his dull, commonplace daughter, Catherine, has attracted a suitor, Morris Townsend, who seeks only to get hold of her inheritance. He refuses his consent to the marriage and Catherine finds herself torn between her father’s disapproval and her affection for Morris.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Washington Square is among Four books that changed Rachel Seiffert, four books that changed Ian McGuire, five books that changed Carol Wall, and Will Eaves's top ten siblings' stories.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 14, 2018

Six ghost stories to read on a cold Christmas night

Sam Reader is a writer and conventions editor for The Geek Initiative. He also writes literary criticism and reviews at At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog he tagged six "spectral tales best enjoyed during the most wonderful (and darkest) time of the year," including:
“Is Your Blood As Red As This?” by Helen Oyeyemi

Oyeyemi’s collection of linked short stories is brighter in palette than some of her more gothic work, but the stories themselves are no less eerie for it, especially “Is Your Blood…” which manages to blend an unusual arts academy, a haunted brass puppet, and a young woman who can see spirits together into a tale of relationships, how an artist’s disposition can affect their art, and the weird ways we connect with one others—even if those others aren’t quite human. It’s a strange story, bursting with odd details and strange flourishes (like the nihilistic puppets of one of the art students, and the fear amid the puppet collection that they might all be split up) that only serve to deepen the weird sense of humanity and empathy the narrative creates.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Five books that can inspire hope in tough times

Laura Weymouth is a Canadian living in exile in America, and the sixth consecutive generation of her family to immigrate from one country to another. Born and raised in the Niagara region of Ontario, she now lives at the edge of the woods in western New York, along with her husband, two wild-hearted daughters, a spoiled cat, and an indeterminate number of chickens. Her debut YA fantasy novel is The Light Between Worlds.

At Weymouth tagged five books that can inspire hope in tough times, including:
The Naming by Alison Croggon

A richly told epic fantasy, in which Light and Darkness exist as literal, semi-religious forces and magic wielders known as Bards serve them through the Three Arts of Reading, Tending, and Making. Main character Maerad enters the wider world of Bardic intrigue and conflict in her late teens, after a childhood of great difficulty and hardship. Though darkness both literal and metaphorical sometimes threaten to swallow Maerad up, she always battles through, clinging to the beauty that remains in her world no matter what evils may arise.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Top ten fictional booksellers

Bartholomew Bennett is the author of the debut horror novella, The Pale Ones. One of his top ten fictional booksellers, as shared at the Guardian:
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Ruiz Zafón’s sprawling fictional sequence, the Cemetery of Lost Books, takes its central motif from another type of book repository – the library. The first published instalment, The Shadow of the Wind, introduces Daniel Sempere who runs a bookshop with his father. Daniel’s narration guides us into an intricate plot where books and history collide with the present moment.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Shadow of the Wind is among Malcolm Burgess's ten best books set in Barcelona.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Nine thrillers featuring untrustworthy spouses

Margot Hunt is the pseudonym of a bestselling novelist. Her new book is For Better and Worse.

One of nine thrillers featuring duplicitous spouses she tagged at CrimeReads:
The Wife by Alafair Burke

Don’t crack this book open if you have plans for the day, because I promise you, once you start reading, you won’t be able to put it down. Angela and Jason Powell have by all appearances the perfect marriage. They have a magical life in Manhattan fueled by Jason’s amazing career success, and both adore their charming son, Spencer. But then Jason is accused of sexually harassing an intern, and everything begins to unravel. Is Jason guilty of misconduct? And how does Angela’s troubled past affect the current allegations against her husband? This taut story plays out masterfully.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Wife is among Jessica Knoll's ten top dark thrillers.

The Page 69 Test: The Wife.

--Marshal Zeringue

Daniel Libeskind's 6 favorite inspiring books

Daniel Libeskind is an international figure in architectural practice and urban design. His practice extends from museums and concert halls to convention centers, universities, hotels, shopping centers, and residential projects. Born in Lodz, Poland in 1946, Libeskind was a virtuoso accordion player at a young age before giving up music to become an architect. Today he is universally known for introducing a new critical discourse into architecture and for his multidisciplinary approach. Libeskind has taught and lectured at universities all over the world, received numerous awards, and designed world-renowned projects, including the master plan for the World Trade Center in New York and the Jewish Museum in Berlin, among others. His new book is Edge of Order.

One of his favorite inspiring books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Herbarium by Emily Dickinson (2006).

From childhood onward, Dickinson collected, pressed, and classified the plants she grew in her garden in Amherst. Though the images in this book, you can see how her poetry — all her symbols, all her metaphors, the colors she mentions — mirrors nature. You don't even have to read her poetry to see what a great artist she was.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 10, 2018

Eight great reads about miniature worlds

Simon Garfield was born in London in 1960. He is the author of an appealingly diverse and unpredictable canon of non-fiction, including the bestsellers Mauve, Just My Type and On The Map. He is a trustee of Mass Observation, and is the editor of several books of diaries from the archive, including Our Hidden Lives and A Notable Woman. His study of AIDS in Britain, The End of Innocence, won the Somerset Maugham Prize, while To The Letter was one of the inspirations for the theatre shows Letters Live.

His most recent book is In Miniature: How Small Things Illuminate The World.

At the Guardian, Garfield tagged eight favorite reads about miniature worlds, including:
The darkest book on the subject is perhaps The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, a coffee-table guide to the extraordinarily unnerving dioramas of Frances Glessner Lee. The photographer Corinne May Botz traces Lee’s journey from a wealthy but lonely childhood in Chicago to becoming the creator of 18 detailed crime scenes designed to train police detectives in the art of long-looking and forensics. Lee made most of her boxes (bloodied corpses in moody attics and cabins formed from wool, felt, paper and wood) in the 1940s, but they continue to set the imagination aflame. Just how did a woman’s body end up in the bath with her clothes still on and the tap still running? The answer is almost besides the point: the point is that we learn how to look.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six notable coming-of age-memoirs

Christine O'Brien's new book is Crave: A Memoir of Food and Longing.

One of six favorite coming-of age-memoirs she tagged at LitHub:
Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

I read this memoir in my MFA program and felt swallowed whole by the intensity of Grealy’s story, and by her writing style, which invites her readers into her most intimate thoughts. Though her circumstances are very specific—Cancer and disfigurement—they also feel utterly relatable as we follow her journey after she is diagnosed with a potentially terminal cancer at age nine, has a third of her jaw removed, and begins a painful circuitous trek towards healing and self-acceptance. Along the way she falls in love with words, a love she uses to craft her fascinating, compelling, tragic, and ultimately transcendent, story.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Nineteen wonderful short books and stories

In 2016 Maris Kreizman tagged nineteen "of the most entertaining and mind-opening stories, novellas, essays, and short treatises from the recent past" for One title on the list:
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (2016)

You can read one of the best books of 2016 in an hour or two. Another Brooklyn follows the friendship of four girls in the 1970s. Jacqueline Woodson is a YA superstar, and although this novel is for adults, her subject matter reminds us of the great empathy with which she portrays teenagers. During a time when Donald Trump characterizes inner-city life is “devastating,” Woodson gives us a window into a way of life that’s full of struggle, yes, but also beauty and wonder.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Five top thrillers about when technology betrays us

Ezekiel Boone is the internationally bestselling author of The Hatching, Skitter, and Zero Day. His latest novel is The Mansion.

At CrimeReads he tagged five top novels about when technology betrays us, including:
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Ah, hubris! What is it about human nature that as soon as we can do something, we go for it without thinking through the consequences? Crichton was the king of “what if?” fiction, and in Jurassic Park he’s got a good one: what if we could make dinosaurs come alive again? The book is a typical Crichton page turner, filled with mayhem, corporate espionage, extremely dumb decisions by extremely smart people, a reasonable number of people chomped by dinosaurs, and some surprisingly thoughtful inquiries into the question of whether or not humans can conquer nature and if we should even try.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Jurassic Park is among Shawn Pryor's five top books with giant monsters, Nicole Hill's five weird science stories in which nothing could possibly go wrong, Kat Rosenfield's ten worst traitors in fiction, Chuck Wendig's five books that prove mankind shouldn’t play with technology, Jeff Somers's top seven books that explore what might happen when technology betrays us, Damian Dibben's top ten time travel books, and Becky Ferreira's eleven best books about dinosaurs.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 7, 2018

Twenty-six very long books worth the time

Boris Kachka is the books editor for New York magazine and the author of Hothouse and Becoming a Veterinarian. At he tagged twenty-six very long books worth the time they’ll take to read, including:
Middlemarch, by George Eliot (1872, 880 pp.)

Eliot was a world-builder in the classic sense; her fictional Middlemarch is an English town like many others, exemplary of bourgeois mores and the site of many parallel plots. The epic is made ordinary, and vice versa.
Learn about the other books on the list.

Middlemarch also made Mary Gordon's list of ten desert island books, 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