Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Five top stories where nature does its best to kill you

Rin Chupeco has written obscure manuals for complicated computer programs, talked people out of their money at event shows, and done many other terrible things. She now writes about ghosts and fantastic worlds but is still sometimes mistaken for a revenant. She is the author of The Girl from the Well, its sequel, The Suffering, and the Bone Witch trilogy.

Her new novel is The Never Tilting World.

At Tor.com, Chupeco tagged five favorite stories where nature does its best to kill you, including:
The Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer

An easy favorite, starting with the first book in the series, Annihilation. No one knows how the strange flora and fauna have come to claim the lands that is now known as Area X, only that the people who go on expeditions to study them never come back the same. In many instances, they don’t came back at all. A young unnamed biologist joins the twelfth expedition to find out the circumstances surrounding her husband’s death. The latter had joined the group before hers, only to show up in their kitchen without any recollection of how he’d gotten back, eventually dying of cancer along with his fellow expedition members. But as she explores Area X and watches the same strangeness overtake her fellow scientists while the hostile terrain stalks and attacks them, she realizes that there is an even worse fate waiting for them all there. What I adore the most about the series is that there’s no clear reason why the strange alien environment had started to manifest in Area X – it’s simply there, with no motivation other than to transform everything around it into something just as unnatural as itself.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Annihilation is among Nicholas Royle's ten top lighthouses in fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 11, 2019

Six notable mafia classics

Sean Rea studied at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, majoring in communications and minoring in management. The Don of Siracusa is his first novel. Rea has traveled much of America and nearly all of Italy. Like his protagonist, Stefano, from a young age Sean was exposed to the world of big business through his father and nonno, and he drew on much of this in crafting the business aspects of Siracusa. Rea is a long-time fan of the crime-fiction genre and all things mafia-related.

At CrimeReads he tagged six mafia classics you won't want to miss, including:
Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America’s Most Powerful Mafia Empires by Selwyn Raab

Selwyn Raab’s work of narrative nonfiction has taken its (rightful) place as the go-to­ book for organized crime non-fiction. Raab’s novel is expertly written, while still relying on Raab’s journalistic approach to create a reliable history and documentation of organized crime.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven acclaimed books about & from East Germany

Olivia Giovetti a writer and multidisciplinary artist interested in how our lives intersect through culture and the humanities.

At LitHub she tagged seven acclaimed books about and from East Germany, including:
Christa Wolf, Cassandra

Forced to submit their manuscripts for government approval before publication, many GDR authors turned to metaphor to vent their frustrations with the state while slipping past the censors. One of the country’s most celebrated authors, Christa Wolf, used a number of Greek myths as vehicles against an increasingly tight grip of censorship. Coming at the height of the regime’s crackdown on dissent was 1983’s Cassandra. “I told the Cassandra story the way it now presents itself to me,” Wolf wrote in her diary. This presentation was a Troy that fell due to the betrayal of its own leaders, as prophesied by a woman condemned to tell the truth but never be believed—an apt metaphor for what would come to pass in the GDR just a few years after publication.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Seven books about insomnia to distract you from late-night dread

Gnesis Villar, an intern at Electric Literature, tagged seven books to distract you from late night existential dread, including:
Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun

In another novel about the sleepless apocalypse, our narrator Biggs has just lost his wife Carolyn to an insomnia that is wreaking havoc across the nation. Sleep has become a precious commodity in this world. The telltale signs of red-rimmed eyes, slurred speech, and a clouded mind have yet to manifest in Biggs so he while he can still sleep and dream he sets out to find Carolyn–encountering others fighting against sleeplessness along the way.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 9, 2019

The best books about nannies

Amanda Craig is a British novelist, short-story writer and critic. Her novels include Hearts And Minds and The Lie Of the Land. She is currently working on her eighth novel, which is inspired by the fairy-tale of "Beauty and the Beast."

At the Guardian, Craig tagged some of the best books about nannies, including:
“Nanny shall fetch her,” says the odious Mrs Norris, orchestrating the arrival of little Fanny Price at Mansfield Park. Unseen and unheard, Jane Austen’s Nanny enters literature for the first time. Like governesses and housekeepers, nannies are mother substitutes. Although they are most often to be found in children’s literature, the rise of the working mother means they have recently been gaining an important role in adult fiction too.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Mansfield Park is among Salley Vickers's favorite books about family dynamics and Travis Elborough's top ten books featuring parks. Maria Bertram in Mansfield Park is among Melissa Albert's five fictional characters who deserved better than they got.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top crime books set in the American West

JP Gritton’s awards include a Cynthia Woods Mitchell fellowship, a DisQuiet fellowship and the Donald Barthelme prize in fiction. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Greensboro Review, New Ohio Review, Southwest Review, Tin House and elsewhere. His translations of the fiction of Brazilian writer Cidinha da Silva are forthcoming in InTranslation.

Wyoming is his first novel.

At Publishers Weekly, Gritton tagged ten of his favorite crime books set in the American West, including:
Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie

People tend to read Alexie as a humorist, but that might just be because laughing at things makes them less painful. Alexie’s noirish second novel unfolds as a mystery, but in the process it transcends the genre: when scalped white men begin to appear around Seattle, an Alex Jonesian radio personality (Truck Schulz) whips his listeners into a racist frenzy. Running alongside the resolution of the murders is the story of John Smith, a tribeless Native American whose descent into madness is written with sympathy and just the right touch of dark humor. A wonderful book.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 8, 2019

Five YA books based on real folklore

Shea Ernshaw the author of The Wicked Deep and Winterwood.

At Tor.com she tagged five "YA books [that] were inspired by real world myths and legends and unexplained tales," including:
The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

Forests create a perfect setting for the dark and unknown, and in Christine Lynn Herman’s debut book, The Devouring Gray, a beast and a sinister gray resides within the surrounding woods, killing off the people who live in the remote town of Four Paths.

This book gave me all the chills, and perhaps it’s because this story isn’t entirely fiction. Herman was inspired by the real-life history of upstate New York, specifically the burned-over district where in early 19th century, an influx of new religions sprouted up at the same time. The Devouring Gray imagines a town where a religion was centered around worshipping something dark and awful within the forest. This local folklore is the perfect setting for an eerie fictional tale.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Six legal thrillers with powerful social messages

Chad Zunker studied journalism at the University of Texas, where he was also on the football team. He’s worked for some of the most powerful law firms in the country and invented baby products that are now sold all over the world. He has wanted to write full time since he took his first practice hit as a skinny freshman walk-on from a 6’5, 240 pound senior All-American safety — which crushed both him and his feeble NFL dreams.

Zunker is the author of the David Adams legal thriller, An Equal Justice, as well as The Tracker, Shadow Shepherd, and Hunt the Lion in his Sam Callahan series. He lives in Austin with his wife, Katie, and their three daughters.

At CrimeReads, Zunker tagged six legal thrillers with essential social messages, including:
A Gambler’s Jury by Victor Methos

Victor Methos loves writing thrillers about underdogs taking on powerful opposition. Our hero here is Attorney Dani Rollins, who represents Teddy Thorne, a mentally challenged teen accused of selling drugs. Dani feels like it’s an easy case to settle. But when prosecutors move for an adult felony conviction, she suspects that her client is being used as a pawn in a sinister game. Dani will stop at nothing to protect the innocent boy, including taking on guardianship of Teddy. At the book’s heart is an important message about how far we should go to defend and care for those with mental disabilities.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten books of fiction about mathematics

Catherine Chung was born in Evanston, IL, and grew up in New York, New Jersey, and Michigan. Writing has been her life-long passion, but as an undergraduate she indulged in a brief, one-sided affair with mathematics at the University of Chicago followed by a few years in Santa Monica working at a think tank by the sea.

Eventually she attended Cornell University for her MFA, and since then she and her books have been given shelter and encouragement from The MacDowell Colony, Jentel, Hedgebrook, SFAI, Camargo, The University of Leipzig, VCCA, UCross, Yaddo, Civitella Ranieri, The Jerome Foundation, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and the Constance Saltonstall Foundation. Her brother, Heesoo Chung, has also given her a bed and fed her lots of ice cream at criticał times.

Chung is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Director’s Visitorship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She was a Granta New Voice, and won an Honorable Mention for the PEN/Hemingway Award with her first novel, Forgotten Country, which was a Booklist, Bookpage, and San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2012. She has published work in The New York Times, The Rumpus, and Granta, and is a fiction editor at Guernica Magazine. She lives in New York City.

Chung's latest novel is The Tenth Muse.

At the Guardian, she tagged ten top books of fiction about mathematics, including:
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Ivan’s love for the sticky leaves in spring, his longing for and subsequent rejection of harmony and forgiveness, since it demands he accept the suffering of children, have stayed with me, along with this passage tying those ideas to maths: “If God indeed created the Earth,” he says, “he created it according to the geometry of Euclid and the human mind … Yet there have been geometricians and philosophers [who] even dare to dream that two parallel lines, which according to Euclid can never meet on Earth, may meet somewhere in infinity.” The year I read this was the same year I learned about hyperbolic space, where – as it turns out – parallel lines can and do meet. I became a maths major: how could I resist?
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Brothers Karamazov made Neil Griffiths's top ten list of novels about God, Becky Ferreira's list of the eight best siblings in literature, Alexandra Silverman's list of four famous writers who spent time in jail, Paul Murray's top ten list of wicked priests in fiction, James Runcie's top ten list of books about brothers, and is one of the top ten works of literature according to Norman Mailer.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Six of the best books on the biggest days in sports

Nicholas Wroe is a writer and editor on the Guardian Review.

He tagged six sporting landmarks in literature, including:
There are few one-off sporting events that command more global attention than the Olympic 100m final. But what are the consequences of such intense focus? Richard Moore’s The Dirtiest Race in History is an enthralling investigation of the 1988 men’s final in Seoul, which apparently saw a remarkable world record set by Ben Johnson. However, within 48 hours the sense of wonder had soured as Johnson failed a drugs test, and in the years following, only two of the eight competitors were not associated with doping. A dark reminder that when the stakes are at their highest, sport is not always just a game.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Five top fantasy books with artists in them

Maggie Stiefvater's new novel is Call Down the Hawk.

At Tor.com, she tagged five fantasy books about artists and the magic of creativity, including:
Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander

This is book four in Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain Books, a high fantasy middle grade series about an assistant pig keeper becoming a hero, for better or for worse. The first three books of the series are traditional adventure tales, but in this one, instead of facing up great battles and comedic banter, Taran instead looks for his origins, hoping to find that he has worthy and noble lineage. When I first read this one as a child, I found it the most dull—why did I have to read about Taran apprenticing with various craftsmen and artists while sulking that he was probably unworthy for a princess? When I reread it as a teen, I loved it the best of all of them. Taran takes away a lesson from every artist and artisan and warrior he meets, and the hero he is in book five is because of the student he was in book four.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven novels about the modern problems of supernatural beings

Meghan Tifft teaches English at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. She is the author of The Long Fire and From Hell to Breakfast.

At Electric Lit she tagged seven "stories about the modern problems of supernatural beings," including:
Nights At The Circus by Angela Carter

This novel about a 19th century aerialiste extraordinaire is fanciful and flamboyant in its attentions to Sophie Fevvers, the part woman-part swan who runs the show of this book. Or so she claims. She’s a self-cultivated spectacle, glitzy and lurid and flaunting an air of greasy hoax, and she wields a raunchy feminine virility that wins everybody’s adulation. For all her audacity, Fevvers is sly and calculating, as she must be, for she exists in a man’s world and must fly torpidly into the swarm. While we cling to her migrations across London with the circus, through St. Petersberg, and into the wilds of Siberia, we experience her great soaring escape, which is always a woman’s dubious triumph, and especially at the end of a restless century—as if it is the natural order of things to slip from gaudy spectacle to the strange tribulations of the unmade self, and finally go out on the truancy of real myth.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 4, 2019

Eight of the most genuinely terrifying novels

Michael J. Seidlinger is a Filipino American author of My Pet Serial Killer, Dreams of Being, The Fun We’ve Had, and nine other books.

At CrimeReads he tagged eight of the most genuinely terrifying novels ever written, including:
Song for the Unraveling of the World by Brian Evenson

Brian Evenson has been a master of horror for quite some time now. With multiple collections and novels that track an impressive range, including the cult classics, Altmann’s Tongue and Last Days, his latest collection is, quite simply, a masterclass in horror. From the first story alone, which (no spoilers) consists of a faceless teenage girl and the terror that permeates the people that know her, Evenson sets the tone for a varied and versatile collection of scares. This is the best primer for scaring yourself to the brink. And it’s so, so good.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Stanley Fish's six essential reads

Stanley Fish is a prominent literary theorist and legal scholar whose books include How to Write a Sentence and How Milton Works. His latest book is The First: How to Think About Hate Speech, Campus Speech, Religious Speech, Fake News, Post-Truth, and Donald Trump.

At The Week magazine, Fish shared a list of six essential reads, including:
The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford (1915).

A story that's chock-full of monstrous betrayals is narrated by a participant who understands nothing of what has happened. "Empty" is too full a word for him. The maintenance of this personhood-free persona is extraordinary and unmatched in any novel I know.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Good Soldier also appears on Carrie V Mullins's list of eleven of the least reliable narrators in literature, Piers Paul Read's top ten list of novels about unfaithful wives, Jean Hanff Korelitz's top six list of her favorite books about failed marriages, Penelope Lively's six favorite books list, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best spas in literature, ten of the best failed couplings in literature, and ten great novels with terrible original titles, and on the Guardian's list of ten of the best unconsummated passions in fiction and Adam Haslett's list of the five best novelists on grief. One line from the novel appears among Stanley Fish's top five sentences.

The Page 99 Test: The Good Soldier.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Ten top works of fiction about climate disaster

Julie Carrick Dalton's debut novel, Waiting for the Night Song, is forthcoming from Forge (Macmillan) in January 2021, and her second novel, The Last Beekeeper, will follow a year later. She says if you enjoyed Where the Crawdads Sing or Barbara Kingsolver novels, her books are for you.

At Electric Lit she recommended ten books "that can motivate policymakers—and voters—by making the disastrous future feel present and real," including:
The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

By the end of the first chapter, you will be thirsty. Let the thirst sink in as you enter a future where the American Southwest has dried up, and people routinely drink their own filtered urine to avoid wasting water. Racism and anti-immigrant sentiments are on full display in The Water Knife. Economic inequality manifests in compounds that rise up with lush green vegetation and abundant water—but only if you can buy your way in. Characters jostle for control of water rights along the Colorado River and a mysterious ancient deed could change everything. As the mystery of the deed unfolds, and characters battle over water, we are reminded they are doing so on stolen land. Feeling uncomfortable yet? Good. Sit with the discomfort and ask who in this country, on this planet, is experiencing this reality.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Water Knife is among Jeff Somers's six top sci-fi books about the changing climate.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 2, 2019

The eight best tales of endurance

Emily Chappell worked as a cycle courier in London for many years, telling her story in What Goes Around. Since then she has explored the world on her bike and committed to supporting others to do the same, as a founder of The Adventure Syndicate.

Her new book is Where There's A Will: Hope, Grief and Endurance in a Cycle Race Across a Continent.

At the Guardian, Chappell tagged the eight best stories of survival, including:
Failure was at the heart of Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 expedition to Antarctica, his ship Endurance crushed by pack ice. The journey, as recounted in his book South, was remarkable not only because the entire 28-man crew survived their estrangement from the world for 22 months, but also for the relative good humour Shackleton reports.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 1, 2019

The 10 best debut novels of the decade

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

Temple and the Literary Hub staff picked the ten best debut novels of the decade. One title on the list:
Nicole Dennis-Benn, Here Comes the Sun (2016)

There’s no shortage of brilliant, hilarious, incisive Jamaican novels—to say nothing of the Caribbean as a whole. Caribbean literature is sometimes reduced by American critics and book blurbs to Jamaica—and this reflects, too, the way that many Americans tell me they’ve never heard of my island, Dominica, and if they know anywhere at all, it is probably Jamaica. (Ironically, it’s not Puerto Rico, which actually is an American territory.) Still, our literature would be very different without Jamaican fiction and poetry, and the Jamaican novel, in particular, like the Trinidadian novel, is critical to understanding our region’s artistic, social, and political conditions. Writing a memorable, meaningful novel is one thing; writing a memorable, meaningful debut is another, and Nicole Dennis-Benn managed to do both with her debut, Here Comes the Sun. Her novel is wide-ranging, telling a tale that examines colorism, homophobia, social mobility, women’s bodies, and the debilitating overreach of tourism, all while delivering a gripping story in softly luminous prose. I was excited to read it when I heard that it was coming out, particularly as Dennis-Benn has written movingly about many of these themes before in her essays, and her novel has stuck with me since then as a beautiful addition to the Jamaican canon of literature. In some ways, it’s conventional, particularly when set against the stylistic and representational subversiveness of Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings, published two years earlier, but Dennis-Benn’s novel is subversive in its own ways, joining a long history of talking about queerness in the Caribbean and its diaspora that includes Bernadine Evaristo’s Mr. Loverman, novels by Shani Mootoo, and more, and I especially appreciated that we have queer women here experiencing love and loss. And the setting of a Jamaica being overtaken by tourism is important; it echoes the warnings and plaints of Derek Walcott, Kamau Brathwaite, and the many writers who have reflected on the danger of the commercialization of the islands at the expense of their inhabitants. Here Comes the Sun is a debut that stuck with me, and will be with me, I suspect, for a long time. –Gabrielle Bellot, Staff Writer
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Nine mind-bending books about parallel universes

At Electric Lit, intern McKayla Coyle tagged nine mind-bending novels about parallel universes, including:
The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley

The Light Brigade is the nickname for shell-shocked soldiers of the war with Mars. But what’s actually happening to these soldiers? When Dietz joins the war and begins to experience lapses in reality—memories that don’t line up with the platoon’s, orders that lead to nothing—the new recruit is forced to wonder what this war is really about.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

The 10 best memoirs of the decade

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

Temple and the Literary Hub staff picked the ten best memoirs of the decade. One title on the list:
Sarah M. Broom, The Yellow House (2019)

Before I picked it up, Sarah Broom’s The Yellow House was intriguing to me precisely because it blends memoir with so many other forms. In her review of the books, Angela Flournoy describes it as “part oral history, part urban history, part celebration of a bygone way of life.”

The oral history component is drawn from Broom’s interviews with her mother and her 12 siblings about their lives in New Orleans East, an area of the city once vaunted as “a ‘new frontier,’ ripe for development,” which by the time Broom was coming of age there had been largely abandoned by the city. Her brothers and mother tell their stories of Katrina, “the Water,” which Broom experienced from New York, in one of the most wrenching sections of the book. The hurricane destroys the titular Yellow House and scatters the Broom family across the country. Broom herself lives for some months in Burundi before returning to New Orleans to work as a speechwriter for the mayor, then back to New York, then to New Orleans once more.

Broom is a master of sentences, but she also knows precisely when to hand over the floor. The result is a gorgeous pastiche of histories that is at once deeply personal and incredibly wide-ranging. Home—both the physical and the intangible sorts—are at the center of the story. The question of who gets to have a home in America, in the face of vast income inequality, institutional racism, and climate change, is ever-present. In his review, Dwight Garner predicts that The Yellow House “will come to be considered among the essential memoirs of this vexing decade.” I couldn’t agree more. –Jessie Gaynor, Social Media Editor
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Ten top books about graveyards

David Barnett writes about books and comics for the Guardian. The graveyard, he writes,
is the main setting for [his] novel Things Can Only Get Better. It’s set in 1996, when Arthur, who is in his 70s, is so grief-stricken by the death of his wife Molly that he refuses to leave her graveside, eventually moving into and fixing up a derelict chapel and becoming a sort of unofficial caretaker.
At the Guardian, Barnett tagged his ten favorite books about graveyards, including:
Pet Sematary by Stephen King

Graveyards are fertile ground for horror, usually through their desecration or disrespectful treatment. King’s 1983 take on the undead genre sees a family buying a remote house with its own pet burial ground that does a nicely creepy line in bringing family pets – and people – back to life, but horribly changed. Which, presumably, they never mentioned at Purple Bricks.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Pet Sematary is among C. J. Tudor's six thrillers featuring terrifying changelings, Jeff Somers's top 25 cats in sci-fi & fantasy, Jessica Ferri's five top books on American small towns, and Sandra Greaves's top ten ghost stories.

--Marshal Zeringue

The 13 fiercest feminist witches in modern literature

Pam Grossman is a writer, curator, and teacher of magical practice and history. She is the host of The Witch Wave podcast (“the Terry Gross of Witches” - Vulture) and the author of Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power and What Is A Witch.

At Electric Lit Grossman tagged thirteen stories about strong women with magical powers, including:
Marie Laveau in Voodoo Dreams by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau has enjoyed a recent surge in popularity thanks to Angela Bassett’s depiction of her in the FX series American Horror Story: Coven. But Rhodes’ version of Laveau’s story is a far richer and more nuanced imagining of the infamous New Orleanian’s life. In her novel, Laveau is a free, young black woman in early 19th-century Louisiana who is taken in by a seductive and violent charlatan named John. He grooms her to pretend to be a voodoo priestess so he can gain power and money from unwitting followers, but drama ensues when it becomes clear that Marie has true spiritual gifts and real miracles start to occur. Themes of lineage, religion, responsibility, and autonomy undulate beautifully throughout Rhode’s lush prose, as does the majestic snake deity that Marie comes to worship and embody.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Five books that delve into love’s complexity

Daniel Jones has edited the "Modern Love" column in the Sunday Styles section of The New York Times since its inception in October 2004. His books include two essay anthologies, Modern Love and The Bastard on the Couch, and a novel, After Lucy, which was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award.

At LitHub Jones tagged five books that taught him about love, including:
Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha

I think about Sex at Dawn nearly every time a man behaves badly (or criminally) in the sexual arena, which is basically (let’s face it) just about every minute of every day. And that’s partly the point of the book: We are wired through evolution to be deeply sexual creatures, but engaging in constant sexual activity isn’t workable, obviously, in society as it now exists. It’s a fascinating thesis, compellingly explained.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 28, 2019

Six classic thrillers featuring the most human of monsters

Steven L. Kent and Nicholas Kaufmann are the authors of the bestselling horror novel 100 Fathoms Below.

At CrimeReads they tagged six favorite literary human monsters, including:
Amy Dunne: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

We all know a “perfect couple,” two people who go together so well that you can’t imagine them with anyone else. They’re both attractive, they both lead interesting lives that never leave them at a loss for fascinating stories to tell over dinner, and their love and devotion to each other is evident in everything they say and do.

Or maybe that’s just what they want you to think. After all, Amy and Nick Dunne appear to be the perfect couple from the outside, but on the inside Amy is hatching a twisted, manipulative plot against him. She hates that Nick forced her to move from her beloved New York City to North Carthage, Missouri so he can be near his sick mother, and to punish him she fakes her disappearance and leaves clues framing Nick for her murder. It only gets more tangled from there, encompassing everything from a fictitious diary to a faked pregnancy to outright murder.

The perfect couple? Not exactly, but by the time we learn just how selfish and manipulative Nick is as well, we realize these two definitely deserve each other.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Gone Girl made Elizabeth Macneal's list of five sympathetic fictional psychopaths, Jo Jakeman's top ten list of revenge novels, Amanda Craig's list of favorite books about modern married life, Sarah Pinborough's top ten list of unreliable narrators, C.A. Higgins's top five list of books with plot twists that flip your perception, Ruth Ware's top ten list of psychological thrillers, Jane Alexander's top ten list of treasure hunts in fiction, Fanny Blake's list of five top books about revenge, Monique Alice's list of six great fictional evil geniuses, Jeff Somers's lists of the top five best worst couples in literature, six books that’ll make you glad you’re single and five books with an outstanding standalone scene that can be read on its own, Lucie Whitehouse's ten top list of psychological suspense novels with marriages at their heart and Kathryn Williams's list of eight of fiction’s craziest unreliable narrators.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six books on family roots and grief

Saeed Jones is the author of Prelude to Bruise, winner of the 2015 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry and the 2015 Stonewall Book Award/Barbara Gittings Literature Award. The poetry collection was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as awards from Lambda Literary and the Publishing Triangle in 2015.

Jones's new memoir, How We Fight for Our Lives, describes how owning his homosexuality required distancing himself from his mother's love, and was recently named winner of the nonfiction Kirkus Prize.

At The Week magazine he shared six favorite books on family roots and grief, including:
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilker­son (2010).

Without a doubt, this is the book I have recommended the most in the past decade. Drawing on incredible research and countless interviews, Wilkerson follows three black Southerners who — like millions of others in the 20th century — moved north to escape Jim Crow's caste system. Few other books have better helped me locate my family and personal history in the broader context of American history.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Warmth of Other Suns is among Ibram X. Kendi's six favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Twelve novels about historical women to inspire a better future

Courtney Maum is the author of the novels Costalegre, Touch, I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, and the handbook Before and After the Book Deal: A writer’s guide to finishing, publishing, promoting, and surviving your first book, forthcoming from Catapult. Her writing has been widely published in such outlets as BuzzFeed; the New York Times; O, the Oprah Magazine; and Poets & Writers.

At Electric Lit she tagged twelve novels about historical women to inspire a better future, including:
The Movement of Stars by Amy Brill

It’s Nantucket as you’ve never seen it. Inspired by the work of Maria Mitchell, the first professional female astronomer in American history, this is the story of two intelligent dreamers, both beguiled by astronomy, whose stars aren’t meant to align.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Movement of Stars.

My Book, The Movie: The Movement of Stars.

--Marshal Zeringue

Nine standout English village mysteries

Deborah Crombie is a New York Times bestselling author and a native Texan who has lived in both England and Scotland. She now lives in McKinney, Texas, sharing a house that is more than one hundred years old with her husband, two cats, and two German shepherds.

Crombie's newest novel, A Bitter Feast, is her 18th Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James novel.

At CrimeReads she tagged nine standout English village mysteries published from the Eighties onwards, including:
In a Dry Season, by Peter Robinson

Moving on a decade to 1999, Peter Robinson’s 10th novel featuring Yorkshire detective Alan Banks takes Banks to the once-drowned village of Hobb’s End and the unidentified bones of murdered young woman. This is a complex, multi-dimensional novel, one of Robinson’s best. It weaves a gritty investigation with the pastoral vision of Yorkshire, trying in haunting threads from the past.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Five books where criminals save the day

Alexandra Christo decided to write books when she was four and her teacher told her she couldn’t be a fairy. When she’s not busy making up stories, she can be found organizing food crawls over London and binge-watching Korean dramas. Christo has a BA in Creative Writing and currently lives in England with an abundance of cacti (because they’re the only plants she can keep alive). She is the author of To Kill a Kingdom and Into the Crooked Place.

At Tor.com Christo tagged five books where criminals save the day, including:
Legend by Marie Lu
“Brave thoughts, but am I ready to follow through on them?”
This book is a legend (HAH) of dystopia. Set in a world where the US is now the Republic and pretty much always at war, it follows: June (a wealthy military prodigy) and Day (a kid from the slums who just so happens to be the most wanted criminal in the country).

They’re not destined to meet and they’re certainly not destined to change the world together. Until June’s brother is killed and suddenly the fingers all point to Day, who just wants to find a cure for the plague and his family. But now the perfect soldier is out for blood, until she realises that she’s hunting the wrong prey and there are terrible secrets that the Republic she was groomed to serve may be hiding.

June and Day are both deadly, snarky and motivated by their families (either to save or avenge them!). While June is at the top of her class, Day has managed to give the government the slip forever, so when these two finally come together and military tactics are combined with street smarts, the corrupt forces around them better watch out!
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 25, 2019

Six revenge thrillers featuring female protagonists

As a child Kate Kessler seemed to have a knack for finding trouble, and for it finding her. A former delinquent, Kessler now prefers to write about trouble rather than cause it, and spends her days writing about why people do the things they do. She lives in New England with her husband.

Kessler's latest thriller is Seven Crows.

At CrimeReads, she tagged six favorite revenge thrillers featuring female protagonists, including:
Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

Jane’s a fabulous sociopath with one thing on her mind—avenge the death of the only true friend she’s ever had. That means taking down the man Jane holds responsible for her friend’s suicide. Jane’s intent isn’t to simply end the SOB—that’s too quick and easy. No, Jane’s going to ruin him and make him suffer. This book hits all the high notes and builds to a truly satisfying conclusion. I absolutely adored Jane. I rooted for her and wished her well on the last page. There’s a sequel coming out soon and I simply can’t wait.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Twenty great espionage novels

At the Waterstones blog, Mark Skinner tagged "twenty great titles are suffused with shadowy, smoke-filled subterfuge and high stakes games of national security," including:
Restless
William Boyd

A dazzling literary thriller and insightful character study from the author of Any Human Heart, Restless explores both the wartime adventures and peacetime intrigues of Russian émigré Eva Delectorskaya. Written with typical subtlety and nuance by Boyd, this is a spellbinding meditation on buried secrets and identities, and a top notch spy story to boot.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Restless is among Henry Hemming's ten top books about fake news and Samuel Muston's ten best spy novels.

--Marshal Zeringue