Thursday, January 31, 2019

Tony McNamara’s ten desert island books

Tony McNamara wrote the screenplay for The Favourite.

One of his ten favorite books, as shared at
The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead

Great Australian author Stead wrote this brilliant novel about the Pollits family, and set it in the USA at the behest of her agent. Jonathan Franzen said it best when he said that it “makes Revolutionary Road look like Everybody Loves Raymond.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Five of the best books about veganism

Bee Wilson is a celebrated food writer, food historian, and author. Her books include First Bite: How We Learn to Eat and Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat. She has been named BBC Radio's food writer of the year and is a three-time Guild of Food Writers food journalist of the year. She writes a monthly column on food in the Wall Street Journal. She lives in Cambridge, England.

Wilson's newest book is The Way We Eat Now: How the Food Revolution Has Transformed Our Lives, Our Bodies, and Our World.

One of her five favorite books about veganism, as shared at the Guardian:
Vegetarianism had a surprising flowering in late 19th-century Britain, as Colin Spencer describes in his comprehensive Vegetarianism: A History. As he recounts, there were multiple groups of campaigners in the 1880s who saw a non-animal diet as part of wider social radicalism. Many Victorian vegetarians were also pacifists or Fabians. Some of them were what Gandhi called “vegetarian extremists”, abstaining from milk and butter and well as meat.

Clearly, there have been de facto vegans for a long time, but the word itself was only invented in 1944. That year, the Vegan Society broke away from the Vegetarian Society on the grounds that, as Spencer explains: “The dairy herd is inextricably mixed up with the meat industry; three-quarters of beef production stems from it, and milk production entails the removal of the calves from their mothers when they are a few days old.”
Read about the other books Wilson tagged.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Six notable fictional books about art

Tessa Hadley's new novel is Late in the Day.

One of the author's six favorite examinations of art in fiction, as shared at The Week magazine:
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877).

Anna and Vronsky run away together to Italy and he resigns his commission in the Russian army. How to fill his days: Why not take up painting? Tolstoy enjoys some painful comedy at the expense of the dilettante aristocrat as he tries to learn from a real artist.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Anna Karenina also appears on Kathryn Harrison's list of six favorite epic novels, Jane Corry's list of five of literature's more fearsome families, Neel Mukherjee's six favorite books list, Viv Groskop's top ten list of life lessons from Russian literature, Elizabeth Day's top ten list of parties in fiction, Grant Ginder's top ten list of the more loathsome people in literature, Louis De Berniéres's six best books list, Martin Seay's ten best long books list, Jeffrey Lent's top ten list of books about justice and redemption, Bethan Roberts's top ten list of novels about childbirth, Hannah Jane Parkinson's list of the ten worst couples in literature, Hanna McGrath's top fifteen list of epigraphs, Amelia Schonbek's list of three classic novels that pass the Bechdel test, Rachel Thompson's top ten list of the greatest deaths in fiction, Melissa Albert's recommended reading list for eight villains, Alison MacLeod's top ten list of stories about infidelity, David Denby's six favorite books list, Howard Jacobson's list of his five favorite literary heroines, Eleanor Birne's top ten list of books on motherhood, Esther Freud's top ten list of love stories, Chika Unigwe's six favorite books list, Elizabeth Kostova's list of favorite books, James Gray's list of best books, Marie Arana's list of the best books about love, Ha Jin's most important books list, Tom Perrotta's ten favorite books list, Claire Messud's list of her five most important books, Alexander McCall Smith's list of his five most important books, Mohsin Hamid's list of his ten favorite books, Louis Begley's list of favorite novels about cheating lovers, and among the top ten works of literature according to Peter Carey and Norman Mailer. John Mullan put it on his lists of ten of the best erotic dreams in literature, ten of the best coups de foudre in literature, ten of the best births in literature, ten of the best ice-skating episodes in literature, and ten of the best balls in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 28, 2019

Seven literary anti-heroes who expose the underbelly of NYC

A.F. Brady is a writer, psychotherapist and mental health counsellor. Her latest novel is Once a Liar.

One of the author's favorite literary anti-heroes who expose the reality of how New York City privilege and excess can lead to anything but happiness, as shared at CrimeReads:
American Psycho, by Brett Easton Ellis (1991)

Patrick Bateman, Vice President at Pierce & Pierce, living in a gorgeous apartment with a coveted address, invited to all the important parties, and able to secure almost every exclusive restaurant reservation. His days are spent daydreaming about the brutal murders he’s just committed or those he is about to commit. He manipulates and uses people, only for his own benefit, never willing or able to connect on any deeper level. Set in the restaurants, offices and homes of New York’s wealthy elite, Bateman slowly loses his mind. Seemingly in possession of exactly what the world tells us we want out of life—good looks, charm, elite education and employment—in the end, it’s loneliness and fear that define Patrick Bateman’s life.
Read about the other entries on the list.

American Psycho appears on John O'Connell's top ten list of kitchens in literature, Seth Grahame-Smith's list of six favorite books about literal and metaphorical monsters, Ginni Chen's list of the eight grinchiest characters in literature, Whitney Collins's top sixteen list of totally awesome books that every Gen Xer needs, Chrissie Gruebel's top six list of fictional fashion icons, Jonathan Lee's list of the ten best office dramas in print and on screen, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best bankers in literature and ten of the best zoos in literature, Richard Gwyn's list of ten books in which things end badly, Nick Brooks' top ten list of literary murderers and Chris Power's list of his six top books on the 1980s. It is a book that Nick Cross "Finished Reading but Wanted My Time Back Afterwards."

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Five literary sci-fi scenarios in which the earth cools down dramatically

At James Davis Nicoll tagged five fictional narratives about global cooling, including:
Precisely what happened to the climate in Poul Anderson’s The Winter of the World is unclear; it’s set far enough in the future that Mars is green (presumably a hat tip to now outmoded models of Martian climate), so it’s possible that Earth is simply the victim of natural processes. Still, references in the novel suggest that the first phase of the cooling that ended our civilization involved a large number of extreme heating events provided courtesy of our pal, the nuclear bomb. (Presumably using them made sense at the time?) Millennia later, humanity is well on its way towards recovering what was lost under the ice—not least of all, epic imperialism. While the political machinations are familiar from history, time and isolation have given rise to something entirely novel in the far north.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Terrence McNally's ten desert island books

Terrence McNally is an American playwright, librettist, and screenwriter.

One of his ten favorite books, as shared at
Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir by Paul Monette

Paul Monette’s memoir is a devastating account of his encounter with a disease that would kill him. It is so intimate and personal that I often felt I was reading someone’s diary and was ashamed to be committing such a gross invasion of another person’s privacy. Paul Monette was not a careless man. He wanted us to know and remember what AIDS did to him. He succeeded more than he could ever have realized. Books about what it means to be human have no expiration date.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Fourteen SFF books with a powerful message of social justice

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Joel Cunningham tagged fourteen SFF books or series with a powerful message of social justice, including:
The Binti Trilogy, by Nnedi Okorafor

Okorafor’s recent, Hugo-winning Binti Trilogy fits nicely here; the protagonist is a woman from a marginalized human tribe who is the first of her people to be offered a chance to study at a the galaxy’s most elite university, but doing so will require her to give up her identity—but it is ultimately that uniqueness that will help her to save her own life and form new bonds of understanding across a vast cultural divide. But if you can stomach something unremittingly darker, the World Fantasy Award-winner Who Fears Death also applies. Set in a post-apocalyptic future Sudan where a light-skinned race oppresses a darker-skinned one, a girl of both societies, born out of violence and gifted with magical abilities, sets off to murder her father. Incorporating scenes of barbaric female genital mutilation and the use of rape as a weapon of control, it is a harrowing, angry novel about a woman who refuses to be a victim.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 25, 2019

Ten of 2018's best books about climate change, conservation and the environment

At Forbes, GrrlScientist tagged ten of 2018's best books about climate change, conservation and the environment, including:
Cane Toad Wars by Rick Shine

In 1935, white Australians (an alien invasive species) imported 101 cane toads (also an alien invasive species, as it turned out) from South America to eat beetles that were devastating the sugar cane crop (another alien species) in Queensland. What happened next is chilling because cane toads did not eat the insects they were supposed to eat, but they did quickly invade all of northern Australia, becoming fabulously, wildly successful. But more than just re-telling the history of this most fearsome of all man-made ecological disasters, Rick Shine, a Professor Emeritus at the University of Sydney, explores the complex and often nuanced story: the adaptation of the toads to their new environment and of their new environment to them, writing that these events have much to teach us about evolution and ecological resilience. This engaging firsthand account tells the personal story of Professor Shine’s lifetime of research into cane toads and how rigorous natural history studies can effectively inform conservation policies and practices. Professor Shine also makes a strong argument in support of that (apparently) most quaint of scientific practices: field work.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Page 99 Test: Cane Toad Wars.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight shocking thrillers that feature scandals

Kristyn Kusek Lewis is the author of the novels Save Me (2014) and How Lucky You Are (2012), both from Grand Central. Her new novel is Half of What You Hear.

At CrimeReads she tagged "eight favorite shocking thrillers that feature scandals, all of which spotlight central characters who are memorably, deliciously, deplorable." One title on the list:
The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

When The May Mothers, a Brooklyn mother’s group that typically meets at a local park, decide one summer night to blow off steam and go out drinking, the unthinkable happens: One of the mother’s babies goes missing. The scandal rocks the community, most of all the mothers in the group, who begin pointing fingers—and drawing suspicion—as the story deepens and more questions arise about what actually happened to the baby and who is to blame.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Perfect Mother.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Five top Young Adult sci-fi & fantasy novels

Django Wexler graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with degrees in creative writing and computer science, and worked for the university in artificial intelligence research. Eventually he migrated to Microsoft in Seattle, where he now lives with two cats and a teetering mountain of books. When not writing, he wrangles computers, paints tiny soldiers, and plays games of all sorts.

One of his favorite YA sci-fi & fantasy novels, as shared at
Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo

I was a big fan of Leigh Bardugo’s original Grisha trilogy, with its Russian aesthetic and fascinating magic, but Six of Crows and The Crooked Kingdom really raised the bar. Six of Crows manages to pack in a fascinating cast, an amazing city that feels real, and a lot of wonderful character moments and still have room for a pulse-pounding magical heist. I loved every minute of both of these.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top musical novels

Rebecca Kauffman is originally from rural northeastern Ohio. She received her B.A. in Classical Violin Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, and several years later, she received her M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University. She currently lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She is the author of Another Place You’ve Never Been, which was long-listed for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and the acclaimed The Gunners.

At the Guardian, Kauffman tagged ten great works of fiction that incorporate music and/or musicians, including:
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

“‘The thing with the new world,’ the tuba had said once, ‘is it’s just horrifically short on elegance.’” Members of the Traveling Symphony roam a post-apocalyptic world performing Shakespeare and musical numbers for the remaining humans. The book opens with a scene from King Lear and uses classic motifs throughout. It is a wonderfully bizarre and haunting tribute to the endurance of art in the face of an unrecognisable world.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Station Eleven is among Nathan Englander’s ten favorite books, M.L. Rio’s five top novels inspired by Shakespeare, Anne Corlett's five top books with different takes on the apocalypse, Christopher Priest’s five top sci-fi books that make use of music, and Anne Charnock's five favorite books with fictitious works of art.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Seven novels that explore the crooked land deal

Wil Medearis is the author of Restoration Heights. At CrimeReads he tagged seven favorite novels that explore real estate swindles, including:
Attica Locke, The Cutting Season

Belle Vie, once a sprawling Louisiana plantation, is now a tourist attraction managed by Caren Gray, a black woman whose mother was a cook for the family who owns the estate. The staff—most of them also black—perform pageants that perpetuate the standard myths of the Old South, full of happy slaves and genteel, good-hearted masters. Yet Caren maintains a deep affection for the place—a conflict that anyone who grew up in the South will recognize as requiring the kind of mental and moral gymnastics that are routinely expected of black Americans—and it is this affection that drives her suspicion of the sugar-cane company that has been buying up land around the plantation. The narrative is set in motion when the body of a migrant worker is found in the cane fields just across the fence from Belle Vie, but it is the tension of the descendants of slaves trying to make a good life for themselves while the crimes of their history go unacknowledged that drives the novel.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Thirteen novels set in the world of myth

Steph Post is the author of A Tree Born Crooked, Lightwood, and Walk in the Fire, as well as a short story writer, reader, teacher and dog lover (among many other things...).

Her new novel is Miraculum.

At LitReactor Post tagged thirteen novels set in the world of myth, including:
Ragnarok: The End of the Gods by A.S. Byatt

While Gaiman['s Norse Mythology] works a bit of humor into his retelling of the Norse gods’ antics, A.S. Byatt’s Ragnarok is piercingly somber and yet captures the epic showdown of the Twilight of the Gods in all its spectacular, Wagnerian glory. Ragnarok: The End of the Gods juxtaposes the experiences of a young British girl evacuated to the countryside during World War Two with the Norse end-of-the-world myth in a startling, yet gorgeously wrought way that brings power and humanity to both sides of the coin.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Ragnarok is among Michael Swanwick's five fantasy books you won’t find in the fantasy section.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven of the best books to understand climate change

Annie Proulx is the author of eight books, including the novel The Shipping News and the story collection Close Range. Her many honors include a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and a PEN/Faulkner award. Her story “Brokeback Mountain,” which originally appeared in The New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award-winning film. Her most recent novel is Barkskins.

One of "her favourite books to help us cope with how our world is changing – and inspire everyone to do something about it," as shared at the Guardian:
The Water Will Come by Jeff Goodell is especially good at showing the daunting complexity of solutions to on-the-ground problems in places such as Miami Beach, Alaska, New York, Venice and remote islands whose residents have nowhere to go. Here are real-world headaches of flood insurance, transportation, nuclear reactors on eroding shorelines, the tendency to rebuild rather than rethink following disasters.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 21, 2019

Ten top books about Martin Luther King, Jr's legacy

From The ReadDown, one of ten essential nonfiction books to shed light on these decades after Dr. King’s life, the Civil Rights movement, and how his legacy has shaped the past half-century:
There Will Be No Miracles Here

When Casey Gerald is recruited to play football at Yale, he enters a world he’s never dreamed of, the anteroom to secret societies and success on Wall Street, in Washington, and beyond. But even as he attains the inner sanctums of power, Casey sees how the world crushes those who live at its margins.
Learn about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six notable books about addiction

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

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

At The Week, Jamison tagged six favorite books about addiction. One title on the list:
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (1996).

I first read Infinite Jest when I was nine months sober, and found an unexpectedly poignant account of recovery where I'd been expecting mere intellectual virtuosity. Don Gately is easily the most compelling fictional rehab house counselor you'll ever meet.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Eight modern classics of rural noir

Keith Scribner's new novel is Old Newgate Road.

At CrimeReads he tagged eight modern classics of rural noir, including:
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Bryn Greenwood

Set against the backdrop of meth dealers and their thugs, poverty, alcoholism, broken families, and abuse, Greenwood’s novel is ultimately about how people care for each other in such a harsh and corrosive environment. In this slowly unfolding love story, we gasp at the developing relationship between a girl and a (much older) young man, but at the same time recognize its inevitability. The book is provocative, unsettling, and honest, and much of its success lies in Greenwood’s ability to make us feel the genuine love between these two so powerfully that we suspend judgment.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Five SFF books about family drama

S. A. Chakraborty's new novel is The Kingdom of Copper.

At she tagged five recent science fiction and fantasy books about family drama, including:
The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden

Set in medieval Russia, in an era when Christianity is replacing folk magic, the Winternight Trilogy revolves around Vasilisa, a young woman with one of the last connections to the magical world, and her extended family. So many of the relationships are incredibly well drawn, but I was particularly captivated by the one between Vasilisa and her brother Sasha, a devout warrior monk. Though they’re set on VERY different sides of a theological war, with Sasha’s faith a direct threat to Vasilisa’s beloved magical world and Sasha truly fearing for his sister’s soul, they never stop fighting for (and with) each other.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 18, 2019

Ten top titles in mother-daughter noir

Lisa Levy is a columnist and contributing editor at LitHub and CrimeReads. At the latter she tagged ten books in which "mothers and daughters are trying to reconnect, protect each other, and reckon with their formative bond," including:
The Lost Ones, by Sheena Kamal

The first book in Canadian Kamal’s Nora Watts series is a twisted story of—what else?—a missing girl. Watts, a recovering addict and underemployed depressive, gets a call that Bonnie, the daughter she put up for adoption years before, has run away from her adoptive family. Thinking Bonnie might go looking for her birth mother, Bonnie’s adoptive father contacts Nora and asks for her help in the search for Bonnie. Watts is still dealing with her own demons after a childhood spent in foster care and her fall into addiction, but she cares enough about her daughter to try and find her, revealing parts of the past she’d rather not reckon with.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Lost Ones.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Top ten books about Trinidad and Tobago

Claire Adam is the author of Golden Child: A Novel.

One of her top ten books about Trinidad and Tobago, as shared at the Guardian:
Measures of Expatriation by Vahni Capildeo

The 2016 winner of the Forward prize for best poetry collection. Some of the locations and experiences are recognisably Trinidadian, and yet the poems, and the larger work, transcend particularity. In one poem, “The mouth is planetary, circled by systematic tides”; it is also “geographical to the extent that the body is terrain”.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Five books about bad-ass modern-day magicians

David Mack is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels of science fiction, fantasy, and adventure, including the newly released The Iron Codex.

One of the author's five favorite books about bad-ass modern-day magicians, as shared at
Child of Fire by Harry Connolly

Being a tough-guy mage isn’t always about being the best or the strongest. This is doubly true for down-on-his luck car thief turned driver Ray Lilly. He’s got a bit of magical talent, but he makes his living as a driver for Annalise Powliss, a member of the Twenty Palaces Society, which hunts down rogue mages. She has it in for Ray because he betrayed her once before, and she’s looking for an excuse to kill him—or to turn a blind eye while someone else does. But when her latest mission goes wrong, it falls to Ray to finish it for her—meaning he will have to take down a sorcerer with powers far beyond his own. This is a classic David-vs.-Goliath tale with a high rate of collateral damage, one in which raw power must be overcome through cunning, courage, and sheer guts. Urban fantasy adventure doesn’t get much better than this.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Seven of the best conspiracy thrillers of the 1970s

Daniel Palmer is a critically acclaimed suspense novelist. One of his seven favorite conspiracy thrillers of the 1970s, as shared at CrimeReads:
Frederick Forsyth, The Day of the Jackal Frederick Forsyth’s depiction of a professional assassin, contracted by a French dissident paramilitary organization to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France, renders such an accurate portrayal of a global manhunt that it was no surprise when the author later revealed his past role as a British M16 agent. Perhaps that’s why he was able to write the book in 35 days, which is utterly discouraging for us mere mortal writers. When it comes to grand conspiracies, nothing satisfies quite like a high-level assassination. The Jackal’s cunning makes him compellingly enigmatic and oddly sympathetic. The Day Of the Jackal is arguably the best conspiracy thriller ever written, and inarguably had a profound impact on the genre of political/conspiracy thrillers.
Learn about the other books on the list.

The Day of the Jackal is among Jeff Somers's five thrillers that resist easy fixes, Sam Bourne's five favorite classic thrillers, and Christopher Timothy's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 14, 2019

Eight examples of the best writing about sex

Hannah Tennant-Moore is the author of Wreck and Order.

At LitHub she tagged a "collection of credible, affecting sex scenes by writers who are celebrated not for their illicit content, but for their uncommonly precise prose and insightful observations of human nature," including:
In The Good Mother by Sue Miller, a recently divorced woman meets a man who awakens her sexual longing for the first time. This would seem to be a familiar storyline: frigid female set free by confident, sexy hunk. But the form Anna’s new passion takes is far from cliché or fantastic. Rather than swooning or feeling helpless and breathless in Leo’s presence, Anna feels that her “pelvic bones got heavier, shifted somehow.” And the first time they have sex, Anna does not experience multi-orgasmic fireworks, but a more realistic longing for the sex to last longer, to “feel more.” With her ex-husband Brian and her prior lovers—starting with groping adolescent boys—Anna has always been passive, accepting male advances as “intrusions” to be endured, wanting the man to finish so the sex would end. But with Leo, Anna feels “left behind” when Leo comes, longing to experience the same pleasure he does. This is a far more interesting—and believable—depiction of the awakening of heterosexual female lust than, say, having your first orgasm when a man plays with your nipples (as happens to Anastasia in Fifty Shades of Grey).

For Anna, having pleasurable sex is not the magical result of good chemistry, but the logical result of...[read on]
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Kristen Roupenian's six favorite books

Kristen Roupenian's new story collection is You Know You Want This.

One of her six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Belly Up by Rita Bullwinkel (2018).

All of this book's short stories are great, but "Arms Overhead," about two teenage girls who bond over their shared desire to cannibalize men, has earned a special place in my heart. One review called the book "bloodless," but I couldn't disagree more — I could practically feel the blood dripping down my chin as I read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Five of the best books to explore the Antarctic

Jean McNeil is the author of thirteen books, including six novels and a collection of short fiction, a collection of poetry, a travel guide and literary essays. Her work has been shortlisted for the Governor-General’s Award for fiction and the Journey Prize for short fiction (Canada). Her 2016 book Ice Diaries: an Antarctic Memoir, which The New York Times has called 'stunningly written', won the Grand Prize at the Banff Mountain Film Festival Book Competition.

One of McNeil's best books to explore the Antarctic, as shared at the Guardian:
“It appears out of the fog and low clouds, like a white comet in the twilight.” [Environmental historian Stephen J] Pyne opens his thrilling survey The Ice on this looming note. He obeys his own dictum to find a language worthy of the place in this narrative steeped in science and history and so commandingly written it is best read a few paragraphs at a time, to savour the cold voltage of his prose. Structured by the stratigraphy of the continent, with sections titled The Berg, The Sheet, The Glacier, The Ice’s vertiginous language voices the Antarctic’s Wagnerian grandeur and unpacks its image as a blank space to reveal its true character: a metaphor, an enigma.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Eight novels that fuel our fascination with twins

Emma Rous grew up in England, Indonesia, Kuwait, Portugal and Fiji, and from a young age she had two ambitions: to write stories, and to look after animals. She studied veterinary medicine and zoology at the University of Cambridge, then worked as a small animal veterinary surgeon for eighteen years before switching to full time writing in 2016.

The Au Pair is her first novel.

At CrimeReads Rous tagged eight novels that fuel our fascination with twins, including:
The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield

Adeline and Emmeline are out-of-control twins growing up in a wealthy but unstable family. The bond between them is powerful and, at times, destructive. The book opens with a reclusive author, approaching the end of her life, deciding to tell the truth—or at least, part of the truth—about her disturbing childhood. She convinces her reluctant biographer to listen to her tale, and her memories take her back to Angelfield, her family’s estate, long since burnt to the ground under mysterious circumstances. The identity of Adeline and Emmeline, and the exact relationship between them, is more complicated than the biographer at first understands, and gradually the elderly author reveals the dark secrets that have haunted her all her life.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 11, 2019

Five books to read if you care about the planet

Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist who in 2014 was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel.’ His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages; he’s gone on to write a dozen more books.

His forthcoming book is Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?

One title on McKibben's 2015 list of five books to read if you care about the planet, as shared at LitHub:
Merchants of Doubt, Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway: Which will help you understand the mushrooming #ExxonKnew scandal.

“Doubt-mongering also works because we think science is about facts—cold, hard, definite facts. If someone tells us that things are uncertain, we think that means that the science is muddled. This is a mistake. There are always uncertainties in any live science, because science is a precess of discovery.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Ten top books to read when the carnival is calling you

Steph Post is the author of A Tree Born Crooked, Lightwood, and Walk in the Fire, as well as a short story writer, reader, teacher and dog lover (among many other things...).

Her new novel is Miraculum.

At The Rumpus Post tagged ten books to read when the carnival is calling you, including:
The Goshawk by T.H. White

T.H. White is known for The Once and Future King and his Arthurian scholarship and fantasies, but it is The Goshawk, a slim, humble volume I found referenced in Helen Macdonald’s brilliant H is for Hawk that has haunted my dreams for years. White, frustrated with teaching and yearning to embrace a more wild existence, moves to a country house with a goshawk, determined to tame the bird using archaic methods that prove brutal to both parties. It’s the true portrait of a twisted, complex relationship between a single man and a single bird, pushing and pulling against one each other in a heartbreaking tug-of-war.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five fully immersive novels of psychological suspense

Laura Sims's new novel is Looker.

At CrimeReads she tagged five fully immersive novels of psychological suspense, including:
The White City by Karolina Ramqvist

Ramqvist’s novel is quietly arresting from the start: “It was the end of winter. Under the sky that had always been there, now dark, the house still looked almost new. It had a sort of shine to it and was surrounded by nothing but silence and snow.” Inside this starkly beautiful, isolated landscape, in a once-grand, now-neglected and deeply mortgaged house, a woman is struggling to survive with her infant child after her partner, a high-rolling criminal, has died. I love everything about this book: the spare, finely honed language and atmospheric setting; the atypical focus on the criminal’s female partner, rather than the criminal himself; the realistic portrayal of motherhood’s comforts and demands; the protagonist’s piercing observations; and the escalating, realistic tension that drives the character to act as she never would have dreamed she could.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Top ten Quakers in fiction

Bridget Collins, an amateur bookbinder, actor and Quaker, is the author of The Binding and seven books for teenagers.

One of ten notable Quakers in fiction she tagged for the Guardian:
Captain Bildad in Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

A refreshing counter-example to the upstanding, idealistic Friends that feature elsewhere in this list, Captain Bildad is bitter, hard, avaricious and sanguinary, one of the “fighting Quakers … Quakers with a vengeance”. Opposed to bloodshed in principle, he has nonetheless spent his youth on the spillage of “tuns and tuns of leviathan gore” and retires to enjoy his substantial income.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Moby-Dick appears among John Boyne's six best books, Kate Christensen's best food scenes in fiction, Emily Temple's ten literary classics we're supposed to like...but don't, Sara Flannery Murphy's ten top stories of obsession, Harold Bloom's six favorite books that helped shape "the American Sublime,"  Charlotte Seager's five well-known literary monomaniacs who take things too far, Ann Leary's top ten books set in New England, Martin Seay's ten best long books, Ian McGuire's ten best adventure novels, Jeff Somers's five top books that will expand your vocabulary and entertain, Four books that changed Mary Norris, Tim Dee's ten best nature books, the Telegraph's fifteen best North American novels of all time, Nicole Hill's top ten best names in literature to give your dog, Horatio Clare's five favorite maritime novels, the Telegraph's ten great meals in literature, Brenda Wineapple's six favorite books, Scott Greenstone's top seven allegorical novels, Paul Wilson's top ten books about disability, Lynn Shepherd's ten top fictional drownings, Peter Murphy's top ten literary preachers, Penn Jillette's six favorite books, Peter F. Stevens's top ten nautical books, Katharine Quarmby's top ten disability stories, Jonathan Evison's six favorite books, Bella Bathurst's top 10 books on the sea, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best nightmares in literature and ten of the best tattoos in literature, Susan Cheever's five best books about obsession, Christopher Buckley's best books, Jane Yolen's five most important books, Chris Dodd's best books, Augusten Burroughs' five most important books, Norman Mailer's top ten works of literature, David Wroblewski's five most important books, Russell Banks' five most important books, and Philip Hoare's top ten books about whales.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Eight notable Nixons in fiction

Alan Glynn's latest novel is Under the Night (US title: Receptor). One of eight notable fictional Nixons he tagged for CrimeReads:
Our Gang, by Philip Roth

One day in 1971 Philip Roth saw side-by-side stories on the front page of his morning newspaper: one, Nixon declaring his belief in the sanctity of human life where abortion is concerned, and two, Nixon ordering the release of a man recently convicted for his participation in the My Lai massacre. Roth figured there was no small irony in this juxtaposition and he went to town on it. The resulting satire is savage and Swiftian, if a little unrelenting. Reading it today, the funniest and most resonant joke is the notion of President Trick E. Dixon picking on a country like Denmark to declare war on and invade.
Read about the other Nixons on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top literary grudges

Sophie Hannah's new book is How to Hold a Grudge: From Resentment to Contentment—The Power of Grudges to Transform Your Life.

One of the author's six favorite literary grudges, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side by Agatha Christie

A party hosted by a famous actress is interrupted by a suspicious death in one of Christie's finest Miss Marple novels. I don't want to give away any surprises, but it's safe to say that the grudge central to the plot stands out because of its unusual position in the narrative.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 7, 2019

Steven Pinker's ten desert island books

Steven Pinker is a Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as the New York Times, Time and The Atlantic. His books including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Stuff of Thought, The Better Angels of Our Nature, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, and Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.

One of his ten favorite books, as shared at
“Enemies: A Love Story,” by Isaac Bashevis Singer

Perhaps my favorite contemporary novel by someone I’m not married to. It’s about a Holocaust survivor who ends up with three wives. Every scene is a gold mine of insight about human nature.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue