Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Seven of the best books about doppelgangers

Laurence Scott’s essays and criticism have appeared on NewYorker.com and in the Guardian, the Financial Times, and the London Review of Books, among other publications. He is a lecturer in writing at New York University in London and lives in London.

Scott’s new book is Picnic Comma Lightning: The Experience of Reality in the Twenty-First Century.

At the Guardian, he tagged his favorite books on convincing imposters. One title on the list:
“The real world isn’t just real … It’s virtual too.” So claims a character in Joanna Kavenna’s new tech-dystopian novel Zed, which explores how digital life is making doubles of all of us. With our “real selves” now living alongside our lookalike online avatars, we have domesticated the spooky figure of the doppelganger.

Yet unsettling moral and political questions about the uniqueness of identity will inevitably proliferate in our doubled world of the physical and virtual. Deepfakes threaten to make audiovisual evidence inadmissible in court. Indeed, why should we be held accountable for the slanders, confessions, or virtually violent actions of our rebooted evil twins?
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Erin Lee Carr's 6 favorite books

Erin Lee Carr is a director, producer, and writer based in New York City. Named one of the “30 Under 30” most influential people in media by Forbes, Carr directed At the Heart of Gold, about the USA Gymnastics scandal, and I Love You: Now Die, about the Michelle Carter murder-by-texting trial, both for HBO. Her memoir, All That You Leave Behind, deals with the loss of her father and guiding light, former New York Times journalist David Carr.

At The Week magazine Carr shared her six favorite books. One title on the list:
Lit by Mary Karr (2009).

I remember reading this profound memoir of alcoholism while I was struggling with substance abuse myself. Because I identified with a lot of Karr's behaviors and thoughts, Lit gave me insight into what was going on inside my brain and body. I loved and hated and appreciated reading it.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Lit is on Lindsay Lohan's jailhouse reading list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 15, 2019

Eleven of the best “ragtag crews” in space opera books

Jeff Somers is the author of Writing Without Rules, the Avery Cates series, The Ustari Cycle, Lifers, and Chum (among many other books) and numerous short stories.

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog he tagged eleven of the best “ragtag crews” in space opera books today, including:
A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe, by Alex White

In a past life, Boots Elsworth was a treasure hunter—one of the best. Now past her prime, Boots has been reduced to selling information about fake salvage opportunities and hoping no one comes back for a refund. But then she unexpectedly stumbles onto some real information: the story of what happened to the legendary warship Harrow, one of the most powerful weapons ever created. And then there’s Nilah Brio, once a famous racer in the Pan Galactic Racing Federation, until she was framed for murder. On the run to prove her innocence, Nilah chases her one lead—the real killer, now hunting someone named Boots Elsworth. They eventually wind up on the same ship, the Capricious, the captain and crew of which have been manipulated by these crafty and desperate women. That crew, and especially the cynical and snarky quartermaster Orna, are ragtag without being silly, presented as individuals who have come together with common purpose and are now faced with an increasingly short list of options and reacting accordingly. It’s terrific stuff—and those titles: book two is A Bad Deal for the Whole Galaxy and the forthcoming finale promises a visit to The Worst of All Possible Worlds.
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

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Ten top crime novels with small-town settings and big social issues

Terry Shames grew up in Texas, and her Samuel Craddock series, set in the fictitious town of Jarrett Creek, is based on the fascinating people, landscape, and culture of the small town where her grandparents lived.

The first book in the series A Killing at Cotton Hill received the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery of 2013.

The newest (and eighth) book in the series is A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary.

At CrimeReads, Shames tagged ten favorite crime novels that "use small-town settings to explore the day's most important and complex issues," including:
Margaret Maron, Home Fires

Issue: Bigotry

Race is also the subject in Margaret Maron’s Home Fires. Judge Deborah Knott is faced with racism, anger, and betrayal as she tries to see justice done in Colleton Country, North Carolina. The novel deals with church burning, desecration of a family graveyard, secrets and betrayals. In the course of investigating and trying to walk the fine line of the town’s politics, Knott is challenged to reevaluate her own beliefs.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Top ten reads for "Stranger Things" fans

At the Waterstones blog, Mark Skinner tagged ten top books for Stranger Things fans, including:
Neverworld Wake
Marisha Pessl

From the mercurial pen of Marisha Pessl comes a typically polished high concept thriller that will entrance readers of her acclaimed Night Film. A group of friends face an unbearable choice that will see one of them killed – and the others guilty of their murder. Pulsating with jeopardy and finely drawn characters, Neverworld Wake is a chilling literary thrill-ride.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 12, 2019

Seven unlikeable female characters

Kristen Lepionka is the Shamus Award-winning and Anthony and Macavity Award-nominated author of The Last Place You Look and What You Want to See. Her newest Roxane Weary mystery is The Stories You Tell. She grew up mostly in her local public library, where she could be found with a big stack of adult mysteries before she was out of middle school. Lepionka is a co-founder of the feminist podcast Unlikeable Female Characters, and she lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her partner and two cats.

One of Lepionka's seven favorite unlikeable women characters, as shared at CrimeReads:
The Best Bad Things (Katrina Carrasco)

A Shamus Award nominee for Best First PI novel, this is a historical mystery featuring a genderqueer investigator in a gritty Washington State port town. Alma is an undercover operative who is credible as a man or as a woman, a useful skill to have in what turns out to be a small world.
Learn about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Ten top books on Burma

David Eimer is the author of the critically acclaimed The Emperor Far Away: Travels at the Edge of China. A former China correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph, Eimer was the Southeast Asia correspondent for the Daily Telegraph between 2012 and 2014. He is currently based in Bangkok.

His new book is A Savage Dreamland: Journeys in Burma.

One of Eimer's top ten books on Burma, as shared at the Guardian:
From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey by Pascal Khoo Thwe

Pascal Khoo Thwe writes about his extraordinary journey from Shan state to Cambridge University in prose that makes a nonsense of the fact that English is his “second” language. From his earliest years in a remote village still gripped by the animist beliefs that held sway in Burma before Buddhism arrived, it takes in the 1988 pro-democracy uprising that made Aung San Suu Kyi a global name and his time as a soldier in a rebel army in the jungles of southern Burma. The story would be almost unbelievable if it wasn’t true.
Read about the other entries on the list.

See Rory MacLean's top ten books on Burma.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Nine of the greatest moral compromises in crime fiction

Carl Vonderau is the author of Murderabilia, a thriller that takes place in the upper crust world of private banking. Like the protagonist, William McNary, he has been a private banker and was raised in a Christian Science family.

At CrimeReads Vonderau tagged nine of the greatest moral compromises in crime fiction, including:
Winter’s Bone, by Daniel Woodrell

Family loyalty and history are also huge determinants in the work of Daniel Woodrell, who writes wonderful descriptions of the winter landscape in a third-person voice thick with the Ozarks. In Winter’s Bone, Ree Dolly is sixteen. She must protect and care for her mentally ill mother and her two young brothers. Her one hope is to someday be free enough that she can join the army. As the story opens, her father, a meth cooker, has jumped bail and disappeared. A deputy marshall shows up and informs the family that their father put up the house and their timber acres as collateral for the bail bond. If Ree doesn’t make her father show up in court the next week, she, her mother, and her two brothers will lose the little that they own.

Ree must align with the murderers and drug dealers her father worked with in order to find him and save her family. As with Michael Corleone, it is as if a whole society is pulling her back into what she is trying to escape. Through force of will, she manages to convince the criminals around her to rise above their deadened selves and help, perhaps to prove to themselves they are still capable of compassion. This story is a devastating portrait of a society crushed by inescapable drugs and poverty, where violence hides tenderness, and where loyalty to family is everything.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Winter's Bone is among Adam Sternbergh's six top crime novels that double as great literature and Lauren Passell's ten must-read books that take place in the Midwest.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Five sweltering Southern Gothic horror novels

At Tor.com Emily Hughes tagged five deliciously creepy Southern Gothic horror books, including:
Those Across The River by Christopher Buehlman

Christopher Buehlman has been writing world-class horror for years now, and if you haven’t read him yet, it’s time to change that. Those Across the River is a book that never went where I expected it to go, but I loved where it ended up.

Frank Nichols and his not-yet-wife Eudora arrive in Whitbrow, Georgia, in the hopes of a fresh start. Frank has been left the remains of his family’s old estate, where he plans to write the history of his family, particularly his great-grandfather, a slave owner of legendary cruelty and brutality who was killed when those he enslaved rose up and revolted.

But the legacy of the Nichols family’s brutal past lives on in the forest across the river, on the original site of the plantation, and before long, Frank will find out why the townsfolk of Whitbrow send a couple hogs off into the woods every full moon.

Read if you love: Spanish moss, insular small towns with dark secrets, shifters, grappling with the demons of American history in an often literal manner, and stories that will send chills down your spine like condensation down a glass of sweet tea.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 8, 2019

Five great literary dystopias

At the Waterstones blog, Mark Skinner tagged five great literary dystopias, including:
We
Yevgeny Zamyatin

OneState is a society predicated on mathematical principle and any creativity or independent thinking is brutally stamped out. But when D-503 discovers that he possesses a soul the revelation sets in motion a chain of events that threaten OneState’s very existence. Suppressed for decades by the Soviet authorities, We pioneered the concept of the literary ‘superstate.’
Read about the other entries on the list.

We is among 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

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Six novels that examine the dark side of female relationships

Emily Liebert's new novel is Pretty Revenge.

At CrimeReads she tagged six novels that explore the dark side of female relationships, including:
Temper by Layne Fargo (Gallery Books)

Kira, an ambitious actress, has finally landed the role of a lifetime. Unfortunately, she still has to work with the theater’s co-founder, Joanna, who considers Kira a threat to her own foiled artistic ambitions, her perverse relationship with volatile director Malcolm, and the scandalous secret she’s been hiding about the show. With opening night approaching, readers will realize that Malcolm’s perilous disposition is nothing compared to what Kira and Joanna are capable of.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 6, 2019

The best books to help with coming out

At the Guardian, Charlotte Mendelson tagged the best books that might help with coming out, including:
[I]f you want to feel that there is hope, despite everything, read Andrew Solomon’s Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, a moving, riveting account of how families with children who are different do sometimes find a way through the complexity and increase the world’s sum of love, and pride.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 5, 2019

Ten top Spanish-language authors

At O: The Oprah Magazine, McKenzie Jean-Philippe shared a list of ten Spanish-language authors whose books will change your literary world. One entry on the list:
Rosa Montero

Notable works: The Cannibal's Daughter, The Crazed Woman Inside Me, The Story of the Translucent King

A renowned journalist and long-time correspondent for Spain's El Pais newspaper, Montero's award-winning contemporary fiction is delves into the complexities of femininity and the rollercoasters of emotions and responsibilities that come with it. She's won Spain's Qué Leer Prize and has won multiple awards in journalism.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Six mysteries that capture the essence of England's capital

Caz Frear grew up in Coventry, England, and spent her teenage years dreaming of moving to London and writing a novel. After fulfilling her first dream, it wasn’t until she moved back to Coventry thirteen years later that the second finally came true. She has a degree in History & Politics, and when she’s not agonizing over snappy dialogue or incisive prose, she can be found shouting at Arsenal football matches or holding court in the pub on topics she knows nothing about. Sweet Little Lies is her first novel.

Frear's new book is Stone Cold Heart, her second novel featuring DC Cat Kinsella.

At CrimeReads the author tagged six mysteries that capture the essence of London, including:
London Rules, by Mick Herron.

London Rules might not be written down, but everyone knows rule one: Cover your arse.

I’ve chosen London Rules, the fifth in the Jackson Lamb spy series, simply because of the obvious nod to the capital, but frankly, any of these novels can be picked up for a lesson in how to blend character and setting and lace it with a huge dollop of humour. The series follows the misfortunes of a number of exiled M15 agents (exiled for good reason) and at the heart of the rabble is head spook, Jackson Lamb—foul-mouthed, obnoxious with questionable personal hygiene standards. London Rules follows Lamb’s crew on the trail of a terrorist cell, with Herron perfectly capturing the zeitgeist along the way. Brexit. Addiction. Trial by media. Nothing is off limits. I defy anyone not to enjoy this series.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Nineteen self-love books that will lift you up

At O; The Oprah Magazine Sharon Choe and McKenzie Jean-Philippe tagged nineteen of the best self-love books. One title on the list:
The Course of Love by Alain De Botton

In this novel, Alain de Botton—the philosopher who founded the global emotional intelligence organization The School of Life—explores the oft-overlooked story of what happens after you fall in love through the lives of a modern couple in Edinburgh.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five novels recounted by the dead

Mamta Chaudhry is the author of Haunting Paris: A Novel.

At LitHub she tagged five novels with ghostly narrators, including:
Elliot Ackerman, Waiting for Eden

This taut, spare novel is told by a man who is in a “between space,” after he died on a second deployment to the Middle East, where their Humvee hit a pressure plate. The explosion that killed him left his friend alive but in ruined fragments of his former self. The ghost considers himself “luckier,” and indeed it seems he might have been the more fortunate one when we learn the extent of Eden’s mutilation as he lies in a burn center, with his wife Mary by his bedside.

But the ghost is with them too, “just on that other side, seeing all there is, and waiting.” In this novel, waiting—inherently passive—constitutes the central action, around which everything else revolves. Eden and Mary, no less than the ghost, are in limbo, suspended between neither living fully, nor letting go. In the scalene triangle of friendship, love, and betrayals both big and small that connects Eden to his friend and to his wife, we learn from the ghost the events in the past that have brought them to this point.

There is only one possible ending to the story, and Mary sometimes thinks: “Her husband dying would be a good thing.” But she is the only one who can make the decision to let him go. In a dream, Eden asks his friend if he is indeed going to die, and we learn the limits of the ghost’s omniscience. “I don’t know,” he says.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Seven novels that have rumors and false information

Lesley Kara is an alumna of the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course. She completed an English degree and PGCE at Greenwich University, having previously worked as a nurse and a secretary, and then became a lecturer and manager in Further Education. She lives on the North Essex coast.

The Rumour is Kara's first novel.

At CrimeReads she tagged "seven examples of novels that have rumors and false information at their heart," including:
The Passenger, by Lisa Lutz

But not telling the whole truth is how some people survive. In The Passenger, by Lisa Lutz, a woman’s husband dies under mysterious circumstances and even though she didn’t kill him, she runs away and changes her identity. It soon becomes clear that this isn’t the first time she’s had to reinvent herself and it won’t be the last. This is a fast-paced thriller about someone with a past they need to escape.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Passenger is among Lou Berney's top ten stories about characters on the run,

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 1, 2019

Six notable nonfiction books set in the Revolutionary War era

Deborah Harkness teaches European history and the history of science to undergraduates and graduate students at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

She is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life.

Her latest novel is Time's Covert.

At The Week magazine Harkness tagged six favorite nonfiction books set in the Revolutionary War era. One title on the list:
Fugitives, Smugglers, and Thieves by Sharada Balachandran Orihuela (2018).

Orihuela offers a riveting argument about how men and women who existed outside the law opened up a space to conceive of community in radically different ways. Her nuanced readings of the period's literature will open up further vistas to explore.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Siri Hustvedt’s ten desert island books

Siri Hustvedt is a critic, poet, and author. Her latest book is Memories of the Future.

One of the author's ten favorite books, as shared at Vulture.com:
Either/Or by Soren Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard’s ironies have driven me crazy for many years, but I crave them anyway. Every time I read it, this novel as philosophy or philosophy as novel never stops producing new meanings.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Five notable morality-driven thrillers

Lori Roy is the author of Bent Road, winner of the Edgar Award for Best First Novel; Until She Comes Home, finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel; Let Me Die in His Footsteps, winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel; and The Disappearing.

Roy's new novel is Gone Too Long.

At CrimeReads the author tagged five "books that deliver smartly drawn plots, but that also mine the greater moral issues that make us all part of the story," including:
The Long Goodbye (1953) by Raymond Chandler

When my second novel was close to coming out, a friend emailed me a link to an article about a research study. In the study, three people, via a computer game, threw a digital ball back and forth. At a certain point, one person was excluded for no apparent reason. Upon studying the physical response of the excluded person, researches found that the need to belong is so strong in human beings that when excluded, they experience a physical pain such that it can be treated with Tylenol. Raymond Chandler, who became a writer after losing his job during the Great Depression, is widely credited with being the founder of the hardboiled crime novel. But I include him here today for his examination of this desperate need to belong, a need most certainly tied to our very survival. Specifically, the need for acceptance and the crushing loneliness when we are denied it is at the heart of The Long Goodbye, the sixth of his seven novels.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Long Goodbye is among Joseph Knox's four top books for crime lovers, the ten top adaptations tagged by Guardian and Observer critics, Benjamin Black's five favorite works of noir, Melissa Albert's top four books that will drive all but the staunchest teetotaler to the nearest cocktail shaker, some Guardian readers' ten best writers in novels, David Nobbs's top five faked deaths in fiction, Malcolm Jones's ten favorite crime novels, David Nicholls' ten favorite film adaptations, and John Mullan's list of ten of the best fake deaths in fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 28, 2019

Five top SFF books set in contemporary Africa

Suyi Davies Okungbowa is a Nigerian author of stories featuring African gods, starships, monsters, detectives and everything in-between. His godpunk novel, David Mogo, Godhunter, is out from Abaddon in July 2019. His internationally published fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Lightspeed, Fireside, Podcastle, The Dark, Mothership Zeta, Omenana, Ozy, Brick Moon Fiction and other periodicals and anthologies. He is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona, where he teaches writing, and has worked in editorial at Podcastle and Sonora Review.

At Tor.com he tagged five SFF books set in contemporary African locales, including:
Lagos, Nigeria: Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor

Lagoon, it may be argued, is the prime Lagos SFF novel. An alien ambassador named Ayodele lands in Lagos’s Bar Beach of the early 2000’s, drawing three diverse protagonists with special abilities into a whirlwind journey. The city quickly devolves into chaos then, but Lagos is no stranger to madness, responding with almost extraterrestrial alacrity. This science-fantasy tale of first contact carries Lagos with it, allowing the city’s characteristic dank infrastructure, colourful motley of inhabitants and bustling energy shine, while paying homage to its history and folklore.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Five books with complex and credible child narrators

Michelle Sacks is the author of the story collection, Stone Baby, and the novels, You Were Made for This and All The Lost Things.

At LitHub she tagged five books with complex and credible child narrators, including:
Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones

Set in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina, the luminous and lyrical Salvage the Bones is narrated by fourteen-year-old Esch. Poor, motherless and pregnant, Esch lives with her father and her three brothers in the backwoods of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, where life is often harsh and violent, nature brutal and unpredictable. The hurricane looms, but it is only one threat among many. Esch and her family are almost always hungry, rationing food, stealing supplies. Her father drinks; her older brother Skeetah breeds pitbulls to sell.

Esch, a lover of Greek mythology, is wise beyond her years, a child without a childhood. But the story she’s telling isn’t one of victimhood. Though she doesn’t shy away from the ruthlessness that surrounds her, Esch manages to find its opposite: tenderness and wonder, and the unbreakable bonds of family love.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Salvage the Bones is among Amy Brady's seven books that provocatively tackle climate change, Jodi Picoult's six recommended books, Peggy Frew's ten top books about "bad" mothers, and Jenny Shanks's five least supervised children in literature

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about the River Thames

Caroline Crampton is a writer and editor who contributes regularly to the Guardian, the Mail on Sunday and the New Humanist. She has appeared as a broadcaster on Newsnight, Sky News and BBC Radio 4.

The Way to the Sea: The Forgotten Histories of the Thames Estuary is her first book.

One of Crampton's top ten books about the River Thames, as shared at the Guardian:
Thames: Sacred River by Peter Ackroyd

The nearest thing there is to a comprehensive modern biography of the river, packed with fascinating titbits about its literary, artistic and religious connections down the ages. It’s particularly good on the upper reaches of the Thames before it gets to London, where medieval monasteries used to stand at every bend and pilgrims would pass by on their way to the great shrine at Canterbury.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Six terrifying doctor-villains in fiction

Caroline Louise Walker grew up in Rock Island, Illinois. For her fiction and nonfiction, she has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, The Kerouac Project, Jentel Arts and Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts & Sciences. She holds an MA from NYU.

Man of the Year is Walker's first novel.

At CrimeReads she tagged six medical men with terrible designs, including:
DR. HENRY JEKYLL from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Lewis Stevenson

Maybe we ask too much of our doctors: to be skilled and brilliant, with gentle bedside manner, and also to be upstanding citizens, strong of heart, guided by an infallible moral compass. No one is perfect. Dr. Jekyll hosts darkness, as do we all, but he is unable to hold his darkness alongside the light.. He divides his identity into all good or all bad, a splitting (as with Borderline Personality Disorder) turned inward. His desire to suppress his shadow side is so colossal, so consuming, that it all but ensures Hyde’s vitality.

For Jekyll, Hyde is the embodiment of Poe’s “Imp of the Perverse”—the backlash of an all-consuming desire to snuff out our ugliest impulses, thoughts, or desires. There is no intermediary between id and superego, no integration of his shadow side. He terrifies himself. And yet, as Settembrini tells rest-cure devotee Hans Castorp, in and on The Magic Mountain: “Fear and euphoria aren’t mutually exclusive.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde also appears on Robert Masello's list of six classic stories with supernatural crimes at their center, J.R.R.R. (Jim) Hardison's list of eleven top vile villains in fiction, Chris Howard's top five list of addictive books featuring sci-fi drugs, Steve Toutonghi's list of six top books that expand our mental horizons, Irvine Welsh's list of six favorite books that explore human duality, the Huffington Post's list of classic works that are all under 200 pages, Koren Zailckas's top 11 list of favorite evil characters, Stuart Evers's list of the top ten homes in literature, H.M. Castor's top ten list of dark and haunted heroes and heroines and John Mullan's list of ten of the best butlers in literature, and among Yann Martel's six favorite books. It is one of Ali Shaw's top ten transformation stories and Nicholas Frankel's five best pieces of decadent writing from the nineteenth century.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Eight of the best books set over 24-hours

Alex Clark writes for the Guardian and the Observer. One of her best books set over twenty-hours:
For those who feel that a day is simply too long a time-span for a piece of fiction, there is always Nicholson Baker’s novella The Mezzanine, set during a mere lunch-hour and garlanded with footnotes upon footnotes. It’s a dazzling feat of both compression and expansion that – despite its workaday office setting and diminutive canvas – is on more than nodding terms with the modernist adventures of Woolf and Joyce.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 24, 2019

Herman Koch's recommended books that spotlight political incorrectness

Herman Koch is the best-selling author of The Dinner. His new novel is The Ditch. Booklist on The Ditch: “A compelling exploration by a master stylist of what jealousy and distrust can do even to a solid relationship.”

At The Week magazine he tagged six books that spotlight political incorrectness, including:
The Friend by Sigrid Nunez (2018).

In Nunez's award-winning novel, the girlfriend of a deceased famous author puts most of her criticisms of her late lover aside to survive as an individual while contending with Wives One, Two, and Three. Which of the four women is most entitled to be the author's true heir? The one who has inspired his best work, or the one who gets stuck with his Great Dane?
Read about the other entries on the list.

The author Thomas Perry called The Friend "wise, funny, tragic, and moving. It’s also a deep meditation on death, grieving, and the bond between humans and animals."

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight top crime novels set in the art world

Lisa Levy is a columnist and contributing editor at LitHub and CrimeReads.

At CrimeReads she tagged eight notable crime novels set in the art world, including:
Rebecca Scherm, Unbecoming (Penguin)

This Edgar-nominated first novel reveals its true core to the reader slowly and skillfully. When we first meet Grace she’s working for a less than upstanding dealer in high-value tchotchkes. Grace is very good at her job, but she doesn’t care about it. We know she’s running from something or someone, since she’s calling herself Julie and keeping everyone at an almost rude distance. Scenes from her current life are woven into her past as an all-American small-town girl who did an unforgivable thing that sent two men to jail. One of them has just been paroled and he’s looking for her, causing upheaval in her carefully ordered fake life.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Writers Read: Rebecca Scherm (February 2015).

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Ten essential books about contemporary artists

Barbara Bourland is the author of the critically acclaimed I’ll Eat When I’m Dead, a Refinery29 Best Book of 2017 and an Irish Independent Book of the Year, and the newly released Fake Like Me.

At Publishers Weekly she tagged ten essential books about contemporary artists, including:
Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton

In Seven Days in the Art World, an investigation-slash-ethnography of art world spaces—an auction house, a studio, an art fair, the Turner Prize, an art-school critique, and the Venice Biennale—Thorton thoughtfully transcribes what she first sees in the (highly elite) spaces of world that, as she writes, is “so diverse, opaque, and downright secretive, it is impossible to be truly comprehensive.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Twenty “perfect summer books"

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 twenty “perfect summer books," including:
James Collins, Beginner’s Greek

According to Jon Michaud in The New Yorker:
I’m just finishing James Collins’s Beginner’s Greek, an elegant, page-turning début novel of thwarted desire that reads like one of Jane Austen’s books retold by Mark Helprin. In the first chapter, the affable but chronically passive hero, Peter Russell, finds himself seated next to the woman of his dreams on a transcontinental flight. They talk; he gets her number; he promptly loses it. Years later, they meet again, but by then, she has become involved with Peter’s best friend. Collins’s light, observant style carries the reader over the numerous implausiblities and coincidences required by his romantic plot. It’s a perfect summer read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Beginner's Greek.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 21, 2019

Six top novels featuring bad neighbors

Louise Candlish was born in Hexham, Northumberland, and grew up in the Midlands town of Northampton. She studied English at University College London and worked as an illustrated books editor and copywriter before writing fiction. Her novels include the thriller Our House, winner of the British Book Awards 2019 Crime & Thriller Book of the Year, and the new book, Those People.

One of six novels favorite novels featuring bad neighbors Candlish tagged at CrimeReads:
Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen

Not crime fiction, but rather a masterly portrait of a group of residents on the Upper West Side, whose relationships are considerably less solid than they’ve been tempted to believe. On the surface, the ultimate goal of Nora and Charlie is an assigned parking space—so far so white-middle-class New York—but just as this is achieved far more profound aspects of life are found to be disintegrating.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Ten top books about cults

Claire McGlasson is a journalist who works for ITV News and enjoys the variety of life on the road with a TV camera. She lives in Cambridgeshire. The Rapture is her debut novel.

At the Guardian McGlasson tagged ten favorite books about cults, including:
Underground by Haruki Murakami

I knew nothing of the 1995 Tokyo subway gas attack that left 12 people dead and I had never heard of Aum, the doomsday cult responsible. In his 1997 book, Murakami first records the testimony of victims, then speaks to those on the other side of the story: encouraging cult members to question their motivations. Some left Aum, some have remained devoted, many are still in denial about their guru’s involvement. The result is a series of separate interviews that allow the reader to consider multiple perspectives.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Twelve recent mystery novels that will get your blood racing

Trish Bendix is a writer and editor in Los Angeles, California.

At O: The Oprah Magazine Scharer tagged twelve of the best recent mystery novels. One title on the list:
A Study in Honor: A Novel (The Janet Watson Chronicles)

This futuristic feminist spin on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s greatest creation follows Dr. Janet Watson's not-so-triumphant return to Washington D.C. after being shot caring for wounded soldiers in America's New Civil War. Now, with a prosthetic arm and without a purpose or a place to stay, she falls into depression. That all changes when she meets government agent Sara Holmes.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: A Study in Honor.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten novels about class-conscious narrators

Barbara Bourland is the author of the critically acclaimed I’ll Eat When I’m Dead, a Refinery29 Best Book of 2017 and an Irish Independent Book of the Year, and the newly released Fake Like Me.

At CrimeReads she tagged ten favorite novels about class-conscious narrators, including:
The Outsider, Richard Wright

This is the book Wright wrote this after he left the communist party and became a nihilist, and this book is steeped in expositions of race, class, and political relations like no other work of twentieth-century fiction. His protagonist, Cross Damon, is alienated, angry, and does not change. Damon doesn’t believe that money will change his life, but he knows that power would, and his rage at being made so powerless by a society that hates and devalues anyone who with skin that is not white metastasizes until he kills four people, and then later dies. People didn’t like this book at the time it was published because it has extremely long passages about existential despair, but that is exactly why I love it.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue