Monday, September 23, 2019

Three top novels depicting therapists and therapy

Bijal Shah is a poet, book therapist, and author of The Happiness Mindset.

At the Guardian she tagged three of the best depictions of therapists and therapy in fiction, including:
Fiction offers thoughtful insight into the conscientious work of therapists. Using the full breadth and depth of the creative licence, client cases are examined in blistering detail. The book that jumps to mind is Irvin D Yalom’s When Nietzsche Wept. A perennial literary guide for both therapists and therapists-in-training, it marries philosophy and psychoanalysis. Modern psychoanalysis founder, Joseph Breuer, attempts to treat the influential philosopher, Nietzsche, who is on the brink of suicide. Breuer, himself, is recovering from a broken heart. They form a therapeutic alliance, each attempting to heal the other’s depression. Yalom’s other notable novels with protagonist therapists, also of interest, include Love’s Executioner & Other Tales of Psychotherapy and The Schopenhauer Cure.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Six thrillers set during the Gulf War

Siri Mitchell is the author of over a dozen novels. She has also written two novels under the pseudonym of Iris Anthony. She graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and has worked in various levels of government.

Mitchell's newest novel is State of Lies.

One of her six favorite thrillers set during the first Gulf War (August 1990 and February 1991), as shared at CrimeReads:
The Girl in Green, by Derek Miller (2017)

The Girl in Green was shortlisted for the 2017 CWA Gold Dagger Award. A soldier and a journalist team up just after the Gulf War to rescue a girl caught in the ensuing civil war between Iraqi factions. Despite their best intentions, the girl is killed. Twenty-two years later, the men meet up again and have the chance to redeem the past. This story underscores the cultural differences between the Middle East and the West.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Ten of the best British country house novels

At the Waterstones blog, Mark Skinner tagged ten of the best country house novels, including:
The Remains of the Day
Kazuo Ishiguro

Wistfully elegiac and simmeringly romantic, The Remains of the Day is Ishiguro’s meditation on duty, repressed desire and self-sacrifice, as seen through the eyes of a dedicated, unshakeably loyal butler. Expertly capturing a moment in time, this tale of convention and lost opportunities in an interwar stately home is both a deeply affecting and richly atmospheric read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Remains of the Day is among Xan Brooks's ten top terrible houses in fiction, Molly Schoemann-McCann's nine great books for people who love Downton Abbey, Lucy Lethbridge's ten top books about servants, and Tim Vine's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 20, 2019

Eight books with monstrous mothers

Evelyn Toynton’s most recent novel is Inheritance.

At CrimeReads the author tagged eight favorite books which "contain mothers who regard their children chiefly as a means to their own gratification, or as obstacles to that gratification, without any concern for those children’s happiness." One title on the list:
William Trevor, Felicia’s Journey

Mr. Hilditch, the bland-seeming catering manager who lures vulnerable, friendless young women into his house and murders them, is the sinister bogeyman in this novel, a truly horrifying portrait of a serial killer. As certain facts about his shadowy past emerge, we watch in mounting dread, expecting the worst for poor, pregnant, friendless Felicia, whose only money he steals and whom he manipulates into having an abortion. But then Trevor brings the horror full circle: he shows flashbacks of Mr. Hilditch’s life with his mother, a drunken “loose” woman who, when she could no longer entice the policeman or the insurance salesman or any other man into her bed, drew her son into it, always promising she would never make him have sex with her again, always breaking that promise.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Five fantasy books steeped in history

Jennifer Giesbrecht's debut novel is The Monster of Elendhaven.

At she tagged five favorite fantasy books steeped in history, including:
Everfair—Nisi Shawl

Everfair is a work of Steampunk-tinged alternative history that imagines a group of socialists and African-American missionaries buying a slice of the Belgium Congo out from under the genocidal grip of King Leopold II. Then it follows the evolution of this new proto-Utopia over the course of nearly three decades, using a “longue durée” narrative device that touches on a broad multiplicity of perspectives at every level of society. In many ways, the novel is more that “meaningful historiographical discourse” I was talking about in the introduction than it is fiction. Understanding the way Steampunk is utilized in this story is like getting a high-speed crash course in how the study of history rapidly changed in the 20th century, from something that was understood on an unspoken level to have a culturally edifying, propagandic purpose, to the multi-faceted, deconstructive school of thought it is today. Steampunk first gained popularity as a highly romanticized view of the Victorian Era, but was quickly co-opted and intelligently deconstructed through the lens of post-colonialism and third-worldism by non-white authors. Everfair goes for the jugular by derailing one of the most horrific tragedies of late colonialism. It’s a beautiful example of how fantasy can reveal just as much about where humanity has been, where we can go, and what we can be as the very best science fiction.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Everfair is among Kate Heartfield's five books featuring women in love with women and Ginn Hale's five top alternate histories that embrace diversity.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Ten top novels about burning issues for young adults

Sif Sigmarsdóttir is a writer and a journalist. She was born in the apparent feminist utopia that is Iceland and now lives in London.

The Sharp Edge of a Snowflake is her second book in the English language.

At the Guardian, Sigmarsdóttir tagged her top ten novels for young adults about current affairs. One entry on the list:
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

If it weren’t for Donald Trump, we’d still be gasping over what an awful president George W Bush turned out to be. American Wife is the literary reimagining of one man’s journey to the White House seen through the eyes of his long-suffering wife – a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Laura Bush.
Read about the other books on the list.

American Wife is among Jenny Eclair's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight novels featuring atypical amateur sleuths

Sarah Lotz is a novelist and screenwriter with a fondness for the macabre.

Her books include Day Four, The Three, and most recently, Missing Person, a novel about a group of amateur detectives infiltrated by the sadistic killer whose crimes they’re investigating.

At CrimeReads, Lotz tagged eight novels featuring unlikely amateur detectives, including:
The Caveman’s Valentine, by George Dawes Green

The protagonist, Romulus Ledbetter, once a brilliant pianist, now struggles with mental health issues and lives in a cave in a New York park. When the frozen body of a photographer’s model is found outside his cave, he decides to conduct his own deeply unconventional investigation. Original and lyrical.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Seven top books about the techniques of persuasion

Edith Hall is Professor in the Classics Department at King's College London.

Her books include Aristotle's Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life.

At the Guardian, Hall tagged some of the best books on the "techniques of persuasion – which the ancient Greeks called the science of rhetoric" – including:
A speaker who is anything but neutral is the civil rights activist Angela Davis. Her collection The Meaning of Freedom, and Other Difficult Dialogues gathers 12 previously unpublished speeches, delivered between 1994 and 2009, which expose the beating heart of the racist carceral state, global neoliberalism, and patriarchy’s symbiosis with capitalism. This is rhetoric at its compelling best, because skill is allied with moral conviction. Unlike many politicians, Davis’s authenticity shines through every phrase.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 16, 2019

Six of Samantha Powers's favorite books

Samantha Power is the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and William D. Zabel ’61 Professor of Practice in Human Rights at Harvard Law School.

From 2013 to 2017 Power served as the 28th U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as well as a member of President Obama’s cabinet. Her new memoir is The Education of an Idealist.

At The Week magazine Power shared six of her favorite books, including:
Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi (1947).

Levi's searing account of the Nazis' "demolition of man" raises often unanswerable moral questions. I read this memoir in my early 20s, and it helped ignite an abiding interest in the causes and consequences of the Holocaust. Rereading the book recently, I was struck again by the depth of Levi's character and the enduring power of his understanding of human nature.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Survival in Auschwitz is among Michael Palin's six best books, Eve Claxton's top ten memoirs and autobiographies, and Gail Caldwell's five groundbreaking memoirs.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Five of the most chilling extreme religion believers in fiction

Lizzy Barber studied English at Cambridge University. Having previously dabbled in acting and film development, she has spent the last ten years as head of marketing for a restaurant group.

Her first novel, A Girl Named Anna, won the Daily Mail and Random House First Novel Prize 2017.

Barber lives in London with her husband, a food writer.

At CrimeReads she tagged five favorite novels featuring extreme religion believers, including:
Carrie, by Stephen King

Stephen King’s first published novel was a big influence on A Girl Named Anna —I even reference the book, when school bullies place a bucket of blood in Anna’s locker with a note referring to her as “Carrie.” Carrie’s mother, Margaret White, rules over her teenage daughter with an iron fist, striking fear into her heart should she do something deemed “unproper.” Religion is the scapegoat here, and also the punishment: the words ‘go to your closet and pray’ haven’t stopped echoing in my mind since that unsettling first read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Carrie is on Katie Lowe's top ten list of books about angry women, Jo Jakeman's list of the ten best revenge novels, 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

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Ten writers pushing space opera forward

John Birmingham is the author of Emergence, Resistance, Ascendance, After America, Without Warning, Final Impact, Designated Targets, Weapons of Choice, and other novels, as well as Leviathan, which won the National Award for Nonfiction at Australia’s Adelaide Festival of the Arts, and the novella Stalin’s Hammer: Rome. He has written for The Sydney Morning Herald, Rolling Stone, Penthouse, Playboy, and numerous other magazines.

Birmingham's newest novel is The Cruel Stars.

At Publishers Weekly he tagged ten authors shaking up space opera, including:
The Salvagers series by Alex White

Okay, yes, it starts with a magic car race. But it's very colorful magic, and a very exciting car race, and White is a supercool stylist who soon drags you into the search for A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe. A misfit crew, a ship of legend, a universe in peril, all of the big boxes are ticked with big colorful technomagical pens. Boots Ellsworth, White’s washed up and not entirely trustworthy treasure hunter, and Nilah Brio, a brilliant racer framed for murder, make an engaging team as they heist, scheme, and copulate their way across the cosmos.
Read about the other entries on the list.

My Book, The Movie: A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.

The Page 69 Test: A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 13, 2019

Five of the best Londons in fantasy fiction

Deborah Hewitt lives in the UK, somewhere south of Glasgow and north of London. She’s the proud owner of two brilliant boys and one very elderly dog. When she’s not writing, she can be found watching her boys play football in a muddy field, drinking tea or teaching in her classroom. Occasionally she cooks. Her family wishes she wouldn’t. The Nightjar is her first book.

At Hewitt tagged five favorite Londons in fantasy fiction, including:
Smoke by Dan Vyleta

In an alternate Victorian London, the people are marked, literally, by sin. Smoke is expelled from the body and soot appears every time a minor misdeed, act of greed, small fib or criminal transgression is committed. This is a world in which every wicked thought and wrongdoing can be seen by others, and no one can hide what lurks beneath the surface. This London, appropriately, is the London of chimney sweeps, factory smokestacks and grimy slums; the city as soiled as its lower-class inhabitants. Yet there is a ruling class who have learned to restrain their more base desires and live smoke-free, their cleanliness and virtue a sign of their right to rule. We follow two young aristocrats, Thomas and Charlie, as they witness an event that makes them question the rules of their society—and uncover the truth about the nature of smoke.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Smoke is among Nicole Hill's top six fantasy novels that infuse the real cities in which they're set with new magic.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Ten novels that explore the world of women spies in WWII

Susan Elia MacNeal is the author of The New York Times, Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today-bestselling Maggie Hope mystery series, starting with the Edgar Award-nominated and Barry Award-winning Mr. Churchill’s Secretary.

Her latest book is The Prisoner in the Castle, the eighth novel in the series.

At CrimeReads, MacNeal tagged ten "favorite novels with female spies, written by women (with one exception), and inspired by the feats of the heroic women who served as spies in WWII." One title on the list:
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Quinn spins a tale inspired by a real-life incident a small town in German-occupied northwestern France, a few days after the D Day landings in Normandy. Great War spy Louise de Bettignies, whose code-name was “Lili,” is joined by fictional British/French Evelyn Gardiner, code-named “Marguerite.” Marguerite works in a collaborator’s restaurant, serving Germans and picking up information along the way to pass to Lili, her British handler. To learn more about Bettignies’s WWI spy work, try Female Intelligence: Women and Espionage in the First World War by Tammy M. Proctor.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Alice Network.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten culinary memoirs

Isabel Vincent is a Canadian investigative journalist who writes for the New York Post, an alumna of the University of Toronto Varsity newspaper, and the author of several books, including Gilded Lily: Lily Safra, The Making of One of the World's Wealthiest Widows and Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship.

At the Guardian Vincent tagged ten of the best culinary memoirs, including:
Talking With My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater by Gail Simmons

Simmons is a presenter/judge on Bravo’s Top Chef, but she’s also a fellow Canadian who found herself struggling to make it in a tough industry in New York. In this memoir, she writes about growing up in Toronto with a mother who wrote food columns and conducted cooking classes in their suburban home. Simmons’s trial-by-fire in some of the toughest high-end restaurant kitchens in New York City makes for a great read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Eight novels about academics behaving disgracefully

T. M. Logan, the bestselling author of Lies, was born in Berkshire to an English father and a German mother. He studied at Queen Mary and Cardiff universities before becoming a national newspaper journalist.

Logan's new novel is 29 Seconds.

At CrimeReads he tagged eight favorite books about academics behaving disgracefully, including:
An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study on ethics and morality conducted by the mysterious Dr. Lydia Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money and leave. Anonymity is guaranteed – or so she is led to believe. Suffice it to say that things get weird… As the questions grow more and more invasive, and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to lose track of what is real and what is just part of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiment.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five non-fiction books that will put you in an astronaut’s boots

Becky Chambers is a science fiction author based in Northern California. Her most recent work is To Be Taught, If Fortunate, a standalone novella.

At Chambers tagged five non-fiction books that will put you in an astronaut’s boots, including:
Packing for Mars, by Mary Roach

Space travel is weird! It is weird, and gross, and incredibly difficult. Packing for Mars strips the world’s spacefaring heroes of their right-stuff sheen, bringing the clumsy, grubby, human aspect back to human spaceflight. This massively entertaining book covers everything from bathroom procedures to bonkers psych tests to sleep and sex and centrifuges. Packing for Mars is to blame for sparking my insatiable interest in astronaut food, plus cementing my conviction that I will not make my home elsewhere until the Enterprise-D gets built. It’s not always a pleasant read (my embarrassing degree of squeamishness admittedly led me to skip the chapter on cadaver testing), but it’s a hell of a lot of fun.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Nine jazz-infused crime novels

Alex Segura is a novelist and comic book writer. He is the author of the Pete Fernandez Miami Mystery novels, all via Polis Books.

Segura's latest book is Miami Midnight.

One of the author's favorite jazz-infused crime novels, as shared at CrimeReads:
Knots and Crosses, Ian Rankin

Though Rankin’s Inspector Rebus has become more known for his affinity for artists like The Rolling Stones and Muddy Waters, the early Rebus novels feature the scruffy detective leaning more toward classical and jazz. But as Rankin got to explore his creation’s habits more, readers saw his musical tastes updated. Also, the introduction of younger characters later in the series opened the door to more modern acts, like Belle and Sebastian. Like the Bosch books, you’re well served starting at the beginning—with Rankin’s sharp, blue-collar, and evocative Knots and Crosses.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 9, 2019

Seven books about remaking the world

Annalee Newitz is an American journalist, editor, and author of fiction and nonfiction. They are the recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship from MIT, and have written for Popular Science, The New Yorker, and the Washington Post. They founded the science fiction website io9 and served as Editor-in-Chief from 2008–2015, and then became Editor-in-Chief at Gizmodo and Tech Culture Editor at Ars Technica. Their book Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction was nominated for the LA Times Book Prize in science. Their first novel, Autonomous, won a Lambda award. The Future of Another Timeline is Newitz's latest book.

At they tagged "seven works that define the new subgenre of geoscience fiction," including:
The Murderbot series by Martha Wells and the Cordelia’s Honor duology by Lois McMaster Bujold

I wanted to mention these two series together because they both feature heroes who are part of planetary survey teams. This is an old trope in science fiction, and shows up a lot in Golden Age stories about people exploring other worlds. Often they’re taking environmental samples and studying geology for the purpose of future mining operations. The Murderbot series begins with a group landing on a planet and studying it for resource exploitation, while the Cordelia’s team in Bujold’s duology—which began her legendary Vorkosigan Saga—appear to be doing basic research for scientific discovery. Either way, the planetary survey team is key to geoscience fiction because they treat planets as holistic systems, looking at everything from their internal composition and ecosystems, to atmosphere and magnetic field.
Read about the other entries on the list.

All Systems Red also appears among Tansy Rayner Roberts and Rivqa Rafael's five top books that give voice to artificial intelligence, T.W. O'Brien's five recent books that explore the secret lives of robots, Sam Reader's top six science fiction novels for fans of Westworld, and Nicole Hill's six robots too smart for their own good.

--Marshal Zeringue

Books to help make sense of parliament

Isabel Hardman is a journalist and broadcaster. She is Assistant Editor of The Spectator and presents Week in Westminster on BBC Radio 4. In 2015, she was named "Journalist of the Year" at the Political Studies Association's annual awards.

Hardman is the author of Why We Get the Wrong Politicians.

At the Guardian she tagged six of the best titles that explain what is happening in UK politics, including:
People very rarely lie in Westminster. This might sound absurd, but it’s true. What they do is use their words so carefully that only a linguist experienced in politicalese can translate what they actually mean. If a government says it “isn’t considering” proroguing parliament – as it did recently, before doing just that – this doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t going to prorogue parliament. The key is the verb: advisers will argue it doesn’t cover a decision that has already been taken. The best lexicon is the very entertaining Would They Lie to You? by Robert Hutton, which will help you understand what politicians are actually saying, while also making you profoundly dispirited about the way politics is conducted. See also Peter Oborne’s The Rise of Political Lying and The Triumph of the Political Class.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Seven top international thrillers with female protagonists

As an investigative journalist, Holly Watt has written about the refugee crisis, traveling to Libya, Lebanon, and Zaatari refugee camps in Jordan, and covered stories ranging from the Panama Papers to chasing modern-day pirates in the Indian Ocean. She has written for the Sunday Times, the Telegraph, and the Guardian. She lives in London. To the Lions is her first novel.

At CrimeReads, Watt tagged seven of her favorite international thrillers with female protagonists, including:
Sweet Caress, by William Boyd

This isn’t one of Boyd’s thrillers, but the glamorous, globetrotting life of Amory Clay is undoubtedly thrilling. Clay’s adventures—mainly as a photographer—take her across Europe and off to Vietnam before she journeys on to California and Scotland. In this novel, Boyd swirls together fact and fiction, borrowing real elements from the lives of several ground-breaking women, including the photographer Lee Miller and the journalist Martha Gellhorn, as he builds up this portrayal of a brave, bold, adventuring woman.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Lore Segal's ten desert island books

Lore Segal is the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Shakespeare’s Kitchen, as well as the novels Half the Kingdom, Lucinella, Other People’s Houses, and Her First American. She is the recipient of the American Academy and the Institutes of Arts and Letters Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, The O’Henry Prize, and the Harold U. Ribalow Prize. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The New Republic, and other publications. She also writes children’s books and translates from the German.

Segal's newest book is The Journal I Did Not Keep.

One of the author's ten favorite books, as shared at
Michael Kohlhaas, Heinrich Von Kleist

A landowner who must move his horses across another man’s property gets into a minor altercation. The hassle which would seem to be easy enough to settle escalates beyond the possibility of repair. We read on with a horrified recognition: This is how one set of humans gets into war with another.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 6, 2019

Seven essential contagion novels

David Koepp is a celebrated American screenwriter and director best known for his work on Jurassic Park, Spider-Man, Panic Room, War of the Worlds and Mission: Impossible. His work on screen has grossed over $6 billion worldwide.

Koepp's new novel is Cold Storage.

At CrimeReads the author tagged seven of his favorite contagion novels, including:
I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson

I Am Legend tops my list of seven essential contagion novels not just for the tender age at which I read it—and how many of my still-forming mental synapses were created or closed off by its horrors—but because of the genius of its simplicity. Vampirism is a communicable disease. The sharp edges of that premise cut clean; it’s an idea at once groundbreaking and obvious. Of COURSE this book had to exist. Written in 1954, it was in the middle of Matheson’s legendary streak of compelling fantasy work, a run that included The Shrinking Man (1956), A Stir of Echoes (1958), and most of the best Twilight Zones. Yowza! Interesting side note—I Am Legend has been made into a movie four times, but never once has a filmmaker had the nerve to shoot the chills-down-your-back, everything-is-clear-now ending of the book. Still one of the darkest and most beautiful closing passages I’ve ever read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

I Am Legend is among Jeff Somers's five notable books totally unlike their adaptations, Jonathan Hatfull's ten best vampire novels ever, Jennifer Griffith Delgado's top eleven mind-blowing surprise endings in science fiction and fantasy literature and Kevin Jackson's top ten vampire novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Ten top books about fake news

Henry Hemming is the bestselling author of six books including M, published as Agent M in North America, the Dolman Travel Award-shortlisted Misadventure in the Middle East and the New York Times bestseller The Ingenious Mr Pyke.

His new book is Agents of Influence: A British Campaign, a Canadian Spy, and the Secret Plot to Bring America into World War II.

At the Guardian, Hemming tagged ten top books about fake news, including:
Restless by William Boyd (2006)

Our narrator, Ruth, learns that her mother is not everything she seems. Via a stream of flashbacks we learn about her time working for “British Security Coordination”, the cover name used for the real British influence campaign in 1941. This is not so much a spy thriller as a novel about spies, that is thrilling as well as taut, emotionally rich, brilliantly researched and ultimately a powerful examination of the burden of espionage.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Restless is among Samuel Muston's ten best spy novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Joanna Kavenna's favorite books on surveillance

Joanna Kavenna grew up in various parts of Britain, and has also lived in the USA, France, Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltic States. Her first book The Ice Museum was about traveling in the remote North, among other things. Her second was a novel called Inglorious, which won the Orange Award for New Writing. It was followed by a novel called The Birth of Love, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize. Then came her novel Come to the Edge, a satire. Kavenna's latest novel is Zed, "a blistering, satirical novel about life under a global media and tech corporation that knows exactly what we think, what we want, and what we do--before we do."

At the Guardian, Kavenna shared her favorite books that reveal how we are scrutinized, including:
The Russian author Yevgeny Zamyatin’s novel We was banned by the Soviet censorship board in 1921, appearing in an English translation three years later. He describes a future society in which all the buildings are made of glass so – like the panopticon – everyone can be seen at all times. Orwell reviewed We in 1946, three years before echoing Bentham in his own novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four: “There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. You had to live … in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinised.”
Read about the other titles on the list.

We is among Mark Skinner's five great literary dystopias, Christopher Hill's top ten books about tyrants, Weston Williams's fifteen classic science fiction books, and Lawrence Norfolk's five most memorable dystopias in fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The fifty greatest coming-of-age novels

Emily Temple is a senior editor at Lit Hub. Her first novel, The Lightness, will be published by William Morrow in 2020.

At LitHub she tagged fifty of the greatest coming-of-age novels, including:
Tayari Jones, Silver Sparrow

This compelling novel also features one of the best opening lines in contemporary literature: “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist.” Don’t tell me you won’t keep reading after that—especially because what follows is the double-coming-of-age of Dana Lynn Yarbor and Bunny Chaurisse Witherspoon; when it begins, the former knows all about the latter, who knows nothing—but soon will.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Silver Sparrow is among Kyle Minor's fifteen hottest affairs in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 2, 2019

Six top social justice books

Karin Slaughter is one of the world's most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 37 languages, with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her nineteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter. Her most recent novel, The Last Widow, features Sara Linton and Will Trent. A native of Georgia, Slaughter currently lives in Atlanta. Her novels Cop Town, The Good Daughter, and Pieces of Her are all in development for film and television.

At The Week magazine, Slaughter tagged six of her favorite social justice books, including:
American Terrorist by Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck (2001).

There is very little daylight between Tim­o­thy McVeigh's perverse dogma (captured during 75 hours of interviews) and what we're hearing from white supremacist ex­trem­ists today. The man who bombed an Okla­ho­ma City federal building in 1995 was not a lone wolf. He was immersed in a white power movement with tentacles that have reached from Charles­ton to Char­lottes­ville to Christ­church and back again.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue