Sunday, March 31, 2019

Seven novels that provocatively tackle climate change

At O, the Oprah Magazine, Amy Brady tagged seven books that provocatively tackle climate change, including:
Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller

Playing out on a man-made floating island built as a permanent lifeboat for survivors of apocalypse, this unexpectedly life-affirming tale of community in the Arctic features a badass woman warrior. And yes, she arrives to take control of the situation astride her pet orca.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see: six top sci-fi books about climate change and ten top climate change fiction books for young readers.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Five top epistolary reads

Shelley Wood is a writer, journalist, and editor. Her work has appeared in the New Quarterly, Room, the Antigonish Review, Causeway Lit, and the Globe and Mail (UK). Born and raised in Vancouver, she has lived in Montreal, Cape Town, and the Middle East, and now has a home, a man, and a dog in Brittish Columbia, Canada. Her debut (epistolary) novel is The Quintland Sisters.

At LitHub Wood tagged her top five epistolary reads, including:
Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I have a friend I rely on for Netflix suggestions and in return I recommend books to her. “You’d love the movie we saw last night,” she told me recently, and I knew instantly the mistake she’d made. It’s sweet as a movie, but The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a different order of charming as a novel told entirely through letters, telegrams, and—briefly—“The Detection Notes of Miss Isola Pribby.” Set principally on the English Channel Island of Guernsey after World War II, the book is by turns funny and sad, but harkens back to a golden age of letter writing, when people offered up their best selves in their pithiest prose to people they were meeting for the first time, on paper.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 29, 2019

Five thrillers in which memory is unreliable, at best

Michelle Adams is a British writer living abroad in Cyprus. She is a part-time scientist and has published several science fiction novels under a pseudonym, including a YA dystopian series. If You Knew My Sister (published as My Sister in the UK) is her first psychological thriller.

Her new psychological thriller is Between the Lies.

At CrimeReads Adams tagged five favorite thrillers in which memory is unreliable, at best. One title on the list:
Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train

With no job, hurting from the failure of her marriage, and an increasing dependence on alcohol, Rachael spends her day travelling on the train. She begins to idolize the life of a young couple she watches during the journey, who live just a few doors away from her ex-husband and new wife, Anna. But when she discovers the woman from that seemingly-perfect couple has gone missing, she reports something that she thinks might help; the saw her kissing a man who was not her husband. But when the validity of her own memories comes into question it is not only her account of this potential crime that she begins to doubt, but everything she thinks she knows about her own life, including the end of her own marriage.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Girl on the Train is among Elisabeth Norebäck's top seven thrillers featuring therapists.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Thomas Keller’s ten desert island books

Thomas Keller is chef and proprietor of The French Laundry, Per Se, Bouchon, Bar Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery, Ad Hoc, and TAK Room. He has authored five cookbooks.

One of Keller’s ten favorite books, as shared at
My Life in France by Julia Child

Julia Child wrote, “One of the secrets, and pleasures, of cooking is to learn to correct something if it goes awry; and one of the lessons is to grin and bear it if it cannot be fixed.” Learning from our mistakes is one of the most important things we do, in and out of the kitchen. I’ve made many along the way, and it’s an important reminder that we can accept them and treat them as an opportunity to grow.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Top ten evil narrators

Leo Benedictus was born in London and graduated from Oxford University. He worked as an advertising copywriter and as a freelance sub-editor for the Guardian. His work on immigration issues has earned him widespread recognition: his article “London: The World in One City” won the Amnesty International UK Media Award (2005) and the Race in the Media Award (2006). His work has appeared in Prospect, The Observer, The New Statesman, The London Review of Books and The Literary Review.

Benedictus’s debut novel The Afterparty was long-listed for the 2011 Desmond Elliott Prize. His second novel is Consent (in the UK and Commonwealth, and Read Me in the US and elsewhere).

One of the author's ten top evil narrators, as shared at the Guardian:
Patrick Bateman in American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

Bateman represents a hated stereotype: the late-80s plutocrat, greedy and indifferent to others. And he does embody those things, but what gets forgotten is the unhappiness. Being Bateman is an endless, looping anxiety nightmare of missed reservations and unreturned videotapes, of the effort to feel superior, just to feel OK. It’s the best book on this list, in my opinion.
Read about the other entries on the list.

American Psycho appears on A.F. Brady's list of seven literary anti-heroes who expose the underbelly of New York City, 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

Four fictional trials that subverted the truth

Bonnie Kistler is a former trial lawyer. She spent her career in private practice with major law firms and successfully tried cases in federal and state courts across the country, as well as teaching writing skills to other lawyers and lecturing frequently to professional organizations and industry groups. Her new novel is House on Fire.

One of four classic fictional trials that subverted the truth she tagged at CrimeReads:
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Lee was not a lawyer, but her father was, and he served as the model for Atticus Finch, one of the most admired characters in American literature (at least until he was recently revisited in Go Set a Watchman, the regrettable follow-up to Mockingbird).

Lee’s much-loved first novel is a coming-of-age story, an expose of racial injustice, and a stirring courtroom drama. Atticus is appointed to represent Tom Robinson, a black man who stands accused of beating and raping Mayella Ewell, a poor white girl saddled with the care of her younger siblings and her no-good drunk of a father.

At trial, Atticus succeeds in showing that Mayella and her father are lying, and that Tom with his withered arm was physically incapable of causing Mayella’s injuries. The facts become abundantly clear: what really happened was that poor lonely Mayella tried to kiss Tom, and her father caught her and beat her, then leveled the false charges against Tom.

But even though the trial succeeds in establishing the facts, justice is not done: the jury convicts Tom anyway. Atticus hopes to get the verdict overturned on appeal, but in the final cruel injustice, Tom is shot and killed in prison.

Here the truth was subverted by the jury, the townspeople, and all their collective small-minded bigotry.
Read about the other entries on the list.

To Kill a Mockingbird made Kathy Bates's ten desert island books list, Lavie Tidhar's list of five fantastical heroines in great children’s books, Sarah Ward's ten top list of brothers and sisters in fiction, Katy Guest's list of six top books for shy readers, Jeff Somers's top ten list of fictional characters based on actual people, Carol Wall's list of five books that changed her, John Bardinelli's list of five authors who became famous after publishing a single novel and never published another one, Ellie Irving's top ten list of quiet heroes and heroines, a list of five books that changed Richelle Mead, Robert Williams's top ten list of loners in fiction, Alyssa Bereznak's top ten list of literary heroes with weird names, Louise Doughty's top ten list of courtroom dramas, Hanna McGrath's top fifteen list of epic epigraphs, the Telegraph's list of ten great meals in literature, Nicole Hill's list of fourteen characters their creators should have spared, Isla Blair's six best books list, Lauren Passell's list of ten pairs of books made better when read together, Charlie Fletcher's top ten list of adventure classics, Sheila Bair's 6 favorite books list, Kathryn Erskine's top ten list of first person narratives, Julia Donaldson's six best books list, TIME magazine's top 10 list of books you were forced to read in school, John Mullan's list of ten of the best lawyers in literature, John Cusack's list of books that made a difference to him, Lisa Scottoline's top ten list of books about justice, and Luke Leitch's list of ten literary one-hit wonders. It is one of Sanjeev Bhaskar's six best books and one of Alexandra Styron's five best stories of fathers and daughters.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Five books exploring Britain’s island mentality

Madeleine Bunting was for many years a columnist for the Guardian, which she joined in 1990. Born in North Yorkshire, Bunting read History at Cambridge and Politics at Harvard. She is the author of several works of nonfiction and a new novel, Island Song.

At the Guardian Bunting tagged five books exploring Britain’s island mentality, including:
The crisis over Brexit has deep roots in a central trope of the English imagination: islands. Trace it back to John of Gaunt’s speech in Richard II – “this little world / This precious stone set in the silver sea / Which serves it in the office of a wall … This blessed plot” – and then follow the sequence of iconic titles from Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe right down to the Lord of the Flies. Being an island has been a central part of English nationalism and generations of children (including, famously, David Cameron) learnt their history from HE Marshall’s Our Island Story, despite the title of that book being based on two obvious mistakes: England shares an island with two other nations, and Great Britain is actually an archipelago of 5,000 islands. English nationalism struggles with plurals, and for writers, the island trope has offered an easy way to pluck the heart strings of English sensibility.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 25, 2019

Nine great woman versus nature novels

Carla Buckley is the author of The Good Goodbye, The Deepest Secret, Invisible, and The Things That Keep Us Here, which was nominated for a Thriller Award as a best first novel and the Ohioana Book Award for fiction. She is a graduate of Oberlin College and the Wharton School of Business, and lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband and three children.

Buckley's new novel is The Liar's Child.

At CrimeReads she tagged nine top books pitting woman against nature, including:
In Wilderness by Diane Thomas

In Wilderness is the story of a woman who takes herself deep into the Appalachian mountains—dragging her only supplies behind her on a sleeping bag—to surrender to the deep grief following the loss of a child. The year is 1966, and the protagonist is Katherine Reid, advertising executive. The mountains close around her and she is alone—or is she? Thomas’ singular gift lies in portraying Reid’s struggle against the elements even as she wages her own internal war, resulting in the most unlikely of love stories.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: In Wilderness.

My Book, The Movie: In Wilderness.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six books recommended by Greg Iles

Greg Iles was born in Germany in 1960, where his father ran the US Embassy Medical Clinic during the height of the Cold War. Iles spent his youth in Natchez, Mississippi, and graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1983. While attending Ole Miss, Iles lived in the cabin where William Faulkner and his brothers listened to countless stories told by “Mammy Callie,” their beloved nanny, who had been born a slave.

Iles's new standalone thriller is Cemetery Road.

One of six books the author recommended at The Week magazine:
All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren (1946).

A political novel written by a poet whose pitiless insight into human fallibility penetrates MRI-deep. Inspired by the surreal saga of Louisiana politician Huey Long, All the King's Men is more relevant today than the year it was written. Some passages are as fine as any in American literature.
Read about the other entries on the list.

All the King's Men appears on David Simon's six favorite books list, Ester Bloom's top ten list of books for fans of the television series House of Cards, a list of the eleven best political books of all time, Gabe Habash's list of ten of the biggest book adaptation flops, David Blight's list of five outstanding novels about the Civil War era, Heather Brooke's top five list of books on holding power to account, Melanie Kirkpatrick's list of her five favorite novels of political intrigue, and H.W. Brands's five best list of books on truth or just in print; Robert McCrum called it a book to inspire busy public figures.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Isaac Mizrahi's ten desert island books

Isaac Mizrahi performs cabaret across the country, has written two books, hosted his own television talk show, and made countless appearances in movies and television. He has directed and designed many productions for the stage and screen. He founded his design company in 1987, was the star and cocreator of the documentary Unzipped, and was the subject of a large-scale, mid-career survey at the Jewish Museum in New York City. He currently develops projects in television, theatre, and literature through his own production company, Isaac Mizrahi Entertainment.

One of Mizrahi's ten favorite books, as shared at
The Diaries of Dawn Powell: 1931-1965

Dawn Powell’s diaries would place me in NYC no matter how remote this desert island is. Images, ideas, perfectly parceled out, brief, heartbreaking observations, a kind of urbane wisdom, even if you don’t like her novels.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Nine "unlikeable" protagonists in literature

Laura Benedict is the Edgar- and ITW Thriller Award- nominated author of seven novels of suspense, including the newly released The Stranger Inside. On the lighter side of mystery, Benedict wrote Small Town Trouble, a cozy crime novel, for the Familiar Legacy series. Her Bliss House gothic trilogy includes: The Abandoned Heart, Charlotte’s Story (Booklist starred review), and Bliss House. Her short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and in numerous anthologies like Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads, The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers, and St. Louis Noir. A native of Cincinnati, she lives in Southern Illinois with her family.

At CrimeReads Benedict tagged nine favorite "unlikeable" protagonists in literature, including:
Lester Ballard, Child of God, Cormac McCarthy, 1973

Cormac McCarthy’s second novel has limited appeal for readers who don’t appreciate his early work, which could be described as brutal and intense, with a side of poetic horror. Lester Ballard, deprived of his family and falsely accused of rape, is cast out of society, which has never been comfortable with his violent strangeness. He slides into inexcusable depravity, becoming a necrophilic serial killer who eventually retreats to a cave with his corpses. They don’t get less likable than Lester. The novel’s intensity, broad vision of Ballard’s tragic existence in our world, and tight focus on his descent make it unique and strangely beautiful.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Child of God is among Glenn Skwerer's ten top real-life monsters in fiction.

The Page 69 Test: The Stranger Inside.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 22, 2019

Five fictional books inside of real books

K Chess was a W.K. Rose Fellow and her short stories have been honored by the Nelson Algren Award and the Pushcart Prize. She earned an MFA from Southern Illinois University and currently teaches at GrubStreet. Her new novel is Famous Men Who Never Lived.

At Chess tagged five favorite fictional books inside of real books, including:
Dr. Eleven (from Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel)

Twenty years after a flu pandemic ravaged the United States, survivor Kirsten carries around two tattered issues of a comic book called Dr. Eleven that were given to her as a child. Decades earlier, we follow their creator, administrative assistant Miranda, as she sketches the first panels, after hours at her quiet desk at a logistics company. The titular character lives on a flooded space station where it is always twilight, or nighttime; his enemies attack from fallout shelters underwater. “You don’t have to understand it,” Miranda tells her unappreciative boyfriend. “It’s mine.” Mandel’s book contains only words; she can’t show us Station Eleven. But her descriptions of the comic’s moody simplicity leave me feeling like I can see Miranda’s inner world, giving me a fuller sense of why Kirsten prizes the issues.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Station Eleven is among Rebecca Kauffman's ten top musical novels, 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

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Top ten toxic families in fiction

Hannah Beckerman is an author and journalist. Her new novel is If Only I Could Tell You.

One of ten toxic families in fiction Beckerman tagged at the Guardian:
My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Like [The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie] O’Farrell, Strout explores the nuances of family relationships in her story centred around a five-day hospital visit to Lucy by her estranged mother. Through the course of their conversations, we hear of Lucy’s damaging childhood: of cultural deprivation, financial hardship, paternal rage, and inexplicable punishment. It is a novel that unpicks the tangled complexities of mother-daughter relationships – the conflicts and bonds, the absences and hope for reconciliation – with extraordinary insight and compassion.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Six crime novels where past and present crimes are connected

S. C. Perkins is a fifth-generation Texan who grew up hearing fascinating stories of her ancestry and eating lots of great Tex-Mex, both of which inspired the plot of her debut mystery novel, Murder Once Removed.

At CrimeReads she tagged six crime novels where past and present crimes are connected, including:
The Unquiet Dead, by Ausma Zehanat Khan

Set mostly in and around Toronto, Canada, Khan’s novel deals with a present-day death that may have connections to the atrocities committed during the 1995 genocide of Bosnians by the Serbians at Srebrenica. Detective Rachel Getty and her boss, Esa Khattak, are part of Canada’s Community Policing Section (CPS), which handles cases involving ethnic minorities. When Khattak is asked to investigate the apparent accidental death of a man named Christopher Drayton, he asks Rachel, his best officer, to accompany him. Rachel finds the request a little strange, especially when they find Drayton’s fall from the nearby cliffs likely wasn’t accidental. It’s possible Drayton may actually be a former Serbian war criminal. The more Rachel and Khattak look into the matter, the more complex it becomes, and the more they have to look inside their own hearts and into their own pasts while they work to uncover the truth.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Five books for helping with loss

Diana Evans is the award-winning author of Ordinary People, The Wonder and 26a. Her prize nominations include the Guardian and Commonwealth Best First Book awards, and she was the inaugural winner of the Orange Award for New Writers. Ordinary People was nominated for the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction, selected in The New Yorker Best Books of 2018, and has been longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Rathbones Folio Prize.

At the Guardian Evans tagged five books for helping with loss, including:
There is no such redemption for April Wheeler, the entrapped wife and mother who wants more out of life in Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road: her attempt to reach for it fails miserably. This is a dark and bleak novel, but darkness is sometimes just the thing – an equalness of tone, a comparing of shades. And here April’s tragic fate also acts as a warning of what happens when a dream for a life gets waylaid or upstaged by easy convention. And when is a better time to break from convention than in grief and loss, a place where such things fade into mist?
Read about the other books Evans tagged.

Revolutionary Road also appears on Jenny Eclair's six best books list, the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five top books for Mad Men fans, Hanna McGrath's list of five fictional characters who tell it like it is, John Mullan's list of ten of the best Aprils in literature, Selma Dabbagh's top ten list of stories of reluctant revolutionaries, Laura Dave's list of books that improve on re-reading, Tad Friend's seven best fiction books about WASPs, and James P. Othmer's list of six great novels on work.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 18, 2019

Laurie Halse Anderson's 6 favorite books

Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times-bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous international, national, and state awards. She has been nominated three times for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists, and Chains was also short-listed for the Carnegie medal.

Shout is Anderson's new memoir-in-verse.

One of Anderson's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Opposite of Fate by Amy Tan (2003)

I avoided reading memoirs while I was writing Shout so I could focus on my own truth. But as soon as I turned in the manuscript, I started devouring them. Reading Tan's memoir-in-essays is like taking a hike in the mountains with her. She skillfully threads connections between her family's past, her own life, and her stories, enchanting and delighting the reader.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Four books that changed Fiona McCallum

Fiona McCallum was raised on a farm in South Australia. She now lives in suburban Adelaide, but remains a country girl at heart. McCallum writes "heart-warming journey of self-discovery stories" that draw on her life experiences, love of animals and fascination with the human condition. She is the author of ten Australian bestsellers. A Life of Her Own will be her eleventh novel.

One of four books that changed the author, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
Maeve Binchy

A now-ex-partner's grandmother gave me a battered third-hand copy of The Glass Lake in the early 2000s when I was embarking on writing my first full-length fiction. I was instantly hooked. Having spent the first 25 years of my life in a small South Australian rural community, Maeve Binchy's brilliant depictions of small-town life and beautifully drawn, realistic characters struck an instant chord and had a profound and lasting impact on my own writing and storytelling.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books featuring complex mother/daughter relationships

Leanna Renee Hieber is an actress, playwright, ghost tour guide and award-winning, bestselling author. Her new book is Miss Violet and the Great War. At she tagged five books featuring complex mother/daughter relationships, including:
The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

Karuna Riazi’s The Gauntlet seamlessly weaves in the inextricable importance of family and culture while supporting a fantastic adventure where kids shine. Some of the qualities I loved in A Wrinkle in Time are also in play here: the heroine Farah’s love for her younger brother and willingness to go to all lengths to help him; the inevitable navigations and negotiations of family; and the wonderful lizard guide Henrietta Peel, who serves similar maternal and mentor qualities as the “Mrs.” characters in my favorite L’Engle work. Farah’s strong family dynamic has created a good foundation for her to take on the mantle of an elder’s responsibility.

Riazi and [Zoraida] Cordova’s works are great examples of engaging, beautifully realized, holistic portrayals of vibrant family dynamics that are expressions of each author’s lived experiences but also imminently relatable across all cultures and backgrounds.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Visit Leanna Renee Hieber's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Eight great books set in prisons

International bestselling author Brad Parks is the only writer to have won the Shamus, Nero, and Lefty Awards, three of American crime fiction’s most prestigious prizes. His novels have been translated into 15 languages and have won critical acclaim across the globe, including stars from every major pre-publication review outlet. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Parks is a former journalist with The Washington Post and The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger. He is now a full-time novelist living in Virginia with his wife and two school-aged children.

Parks's new novel is The Last Act.

At CrimeReads he tagged eight great books set in prisons, including:
The Green Mile by Stephen King

Okay, two King books in the same list. But this one is too terrific to leave out. Through the eyes of death row supervisor Paul Edgecombe, we get the story of John Coffey, a giant of a man who is sentenced to die—but, it turns out, has supernatural healing powers. Originally released in serialized form, as six separate works, it has some great cliffhangers in the middle if you consume it as one volume. A quick caution: don’t read the execution scene of Eduard Delacroix if you’re about to go to sleep. Just don’t.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 15, 2019

Five genre-bending YA novels

Astrid Scholte's new novel is Four Dead Queens.

At she tagged five favorite genre-bending YA novels, including:
Stalking Jack the Ripper Series by Kerri Maniscalco

Genres: Historical and Murder Mystery. The three books in this series are some of my favorite books from the last few years (and there’s a fourth book on the way). They’re packed full of fascinating historical details and settings that are paired with an enthralling whodunnit. The first book explores the events of the Jack the Ripper case and places our heroine, Audrey Rose Wadsworth, into the action as she seeks to uncover the identity of the infamous murderer. By building the first book around the hunt for an elusive real-life killer, as opposed to a fictional villain, the author raises the stakes and draws the reader into the mystery quickly and irrevocably. Part of Stalking Jack the Ripper’s appeal (and the eventual satisfaction to be found in its conclusion) is that Maniscalco provides a fictional resolution to one of history’s most infamous unsolved criminal cases.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Ten top books about building cities

Jonathan Carr first visited Chicago in 1983 in between periods spent living in the UK, Kenya, Gambia, Greece and Louisiana. A graduate of Cambridge University, he has worked as a travel correspondent, a book reviewer and a teacher of English. He holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. Make Me a City is his first novel. He currently lives in Bologna, Italy.

At the Guardian Carr tagged ten of the best books about building cities, including:
Smart Citizens, Smarter State by Beth Simone Noveck

With the term “expert” routinely undercut in our public discourse, it is refreshing to read about the effectiveness of open-source databases through which individuals with specialised knowledge are making valuable contributions to our world that I, for one, knew nothing about. Novak urges officialdom to open up and use technology to harness the untapped expertise of knowledgeable citizenries. Richly informative, unafraid to address problem areas (transparency and elitism), she offers an inspiring prospect of smarter cities in a smarter future.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Ten top thrillers featuring all-consuming obsession

K.L. Slater is the bestselling author of psychological crime thrillers Safe With Me, Blink, Liar, The Mistake, and The Visitor.

At CrimeReads she tagged ten thrillers that "plumb the uneasy depths of obsession, navigating deep, dark waters to fully explore the minds of both the obsessed and the obsession." One title on the list:
Into the Darkest Corner, Elizabeth Haynes

When singleton Catherine meets charismatic Lee, she, and her friends, all quickly fall under his spell. But it soon becomes apparent there is a darker side to Lee. An interesting narrative structure that starts in the present day and goes back in time, documenting the full, disturbing story of a woman isolated and controlled until she trusts no one and can only rely on herself to escape. A gripping and at times, terrifying, read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Five of the best books exposing gender myths

Gina Rippon is a professor of cognitive neuroimaging at the Aston Brain Centre, Aston University, Birmingham. Her new book is Gender and Our Brains: How New Neuroscience Explodes the Myths of the Male and Female Minds.

At the Guardian she tagged five of the best books exposing gender myths, including:
In The Mind Has No Sex?, Londa Schiebinger traces back through the centuries the idea that women just don’t have what it takes to do science. The philosopher François Poullain de la Barre bravely questioned whether there was any foundation to the inequality of the sexes in the 17th century, concluding that, as women’s brains were the same as men’s, they ought to be equally capable of success in any sphere. As Schiebinger demonstrates, this was not an idea that found popularity. She reveals the forgotten heritage of women in early science and charts their systematic exclusion as science became institutionalised and professionalised. Her book contains much valuable information for a world in which women are still viewed as intellectually inferior, where a scientist at CERN can stand up and publicly declare that women are not capable of the demands of physics.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 11, 2019

Kenny Scharf’s ten desert island books

Kenny Scharf is a Los Angeles-based artist. One of his ten favorite books, as shared at
Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera

This artist biography is a must-read for artist biography lovers. Frida fills the whole book with her fierce energy, talent, and tenacity. Her struggles were so severe, and yet she brought so much joy. I found her philosophies of life very inspirational.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The ten books that defined the 1960s

At LitHub Emily Temple tagged the ten books that defined the 1960s, including:
Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968)

Even if Joan Didion wasn’t on a certain tote bag, this collection would hold its own as an essential text of the 1960s—one that defines and describes it, particularly if you live in California. In 1979, Michiko Kakutani wrote that Didion “has created, in her books, one of the most devastating and distinctive portraits of modern America to be found in fiction or nonfiction—a portrait of America where “disorder was its own point.” A gifted reporter with an eye for the telling detail-the frayed hem, the shaking hand-she is also a prescient witness, finding in her own experiences parallels of the times. The voice is always precise, the tone unsentimental, the view unabashedly subjective. She takes things personally.” She is still the foremost chronicler of the American 60s, and one of the most important living American writers.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem is among Emma Cline's six favorite books set in California, Boris Kachka's six favorite books, Max Jones's top ten books about exploration, and Kurt Andersen’s five favorite ’60s books, and is a book David Rakoff keeps returning to.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Seven thrillers about losing our grip on reality

Harriet Tyce grew up in Edinburgh and studied English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University before practicing as a criminal barrister for the next decade. After having children she left the Bar and has recently completed with distinction an MA in Creative Writing - Crime Fiction at the University of East Anglia.

Blood Orange, Tyce's new psychological thriller, is her first novel.

At CrimeReads the author tagged seven thrillers about losing our grip on reality. One title on the list:
Adele by Leila Slimani

The tradition of bored housewives seeking external entertainment started with Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina, and it’s taken on by Slimani to a brutal extreme in the sex-addicted character Adele who, as Slimani explains in a recent interview, “loses herself in this crazy quest trying to find this perfect moment, this perfect orgasm, this perfect sex scene to fill the void, but at the end it’s impossible.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 8, 2019

Fifty of the best small-screen adaptations of literary works

At LitHub Emily Temple tagged--and ranked--50 of the best small-screen adaptations of literary works to date. #15 on the list:
Homicide: Life on the Street
NBC (1993-1999)
Based on: Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon

David Simon, Baltimore, fictional stories based on real ones. It’s basically the first draft of The Wire, and it’s already better than tons of other shows. No wonder The Wire is one of the best shows ever made.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets is among Caitlin Kleinschmidt's nine best true crime books and Laura Tillman's nine great unconventional true crime books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Ten thrillers that explore mental health

Peter Swanson's new novel is Before She Knew Him.

At CrimeReads he tagged ten thrillers that explore mental health, including:
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris (1981)

A smorgasbord of disorder. You’ve got sociopathic psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter, the psychotically delusional Francis Dolarhyde (also known as the tooth fairy), plus the man who brings them both down, Will Graham, suffering from his own ability to imagine the interior lives of psychopaths. One of the great thrillers of all time.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Red Dragon appears on John Verdon's list of the ten best whodunits, Laura McHugh's list of ten favorite books about serial killers, Kimberly Turner's list of the ten most disturbing sociopaths in literature, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best dragons in literature and ten of the best tattoos in literature, and the (U.K.) Telegraph 110 best books; Andre Gross says "it should be taught as [a text] in Thriller 101."

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Ten top books about Hollywood

Wayne Holloway is a writer and director.

At the Guardian he tagged his favorite writing about California’s dream factory, including:
You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again by Julia Phillips (1991)

Phillips’s producer credits include Taxi Driver and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This gleefully insulting account is her story of life in the heart of the Hollywood machine. More than that, reading between the lines of her story, we are treated to an insight into an ecosystem that values money as the only yardstick creating a very odd and unstable “liberal elite”.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top fictional musicians

At the B&N Reads blog Brian Boone tagged six fictional musicians "so fantastic (or compelling in some way) that we wish they’d jump off the page and rock us until our heads explode," including:
VTO, from The Ground Beneath Her Feet

It’s unfortunate that Salman Rushdie is most widely known for The Satanic Verses, a novel that led to a fatwa on his head, because he’s one of our most gifted, idiosyncratic, and varied contemporary writers. His writing is so surreal at times that it becomes insightfully real, exemplified by The Ground Beneath Her Feet. It’s the story of a rock band, but not a real rock band, and one that also inserts a great deal of fevered mythology (it’s based on the myths of Orpheus and Eurydice). Indian group VTO is the Beatles of this alternate universe of Rushdie’s creation, the most famous and most successful band in the world, probably because their frontman is the unbelievably powerful Ormus, whose style combines nods to real-life stars like John Lennon, Elvis Presley, and Freddie Mercury.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue