Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Five works involving weird, unsettling isolation

Liz Harmer's debut novel is The Amateurs. She is working on a second novel, and a story collection, which was a finalist for the 2014 Flannery O'Connor Short Fiction Award.

At Tor.com she tagged five works involving weird, unsettling isolation, including:
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

Finally, I will leave us with a novel that has it all: marauders, survivors trying to figure out how to procure water and food (acorns are involved), and the hope of space travel. In some ways it is the opposite of [Shirley Jackson's] The Sundial, in which a group of purely detestable characters try to wait out the end of the world. With its empathic, visionary leader, and its Gospel-derived title, Parable of the Sower adds to this mytho-speculative genre by providing a dose of spiritual hope. People are terrible, but also capable of innovating and adapting, and this capacity to change may lead us both into and out of calamity.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten of the best moms in fiction

At the B&N Reads blog, Nicole Hill tagged the ten best moms in fiction, including:
The Aunts
Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman

Again, circumstances beyond biology can forge some of the greatest mothers. The Owens family is decidedly non-traditional: two aunts raising two nieces, all witches. Also, there’s that whole family curse that spells doom for the unfortunate man who might fall in love with any Owens woman. While the hijinks that occur in Practical Magic may make you wonder about supervision Sally and Gillian’s aunts provide, their enduring encouragement to embrace the weird and witchy—and to give zero flips about what anyone else thinks—is an inspiration.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 29, 2019

Nine top books in the new vanguard of cli-fi

Siobhan Adcock is the author of the novels The Barter and The Completionist.

One of nine top books in the new vanguard of climate fiction she tagged at LitHub in 2018:
Benjamin Warner, Thirst

A mysterious disaster has somehow burned away all the water, and while waiting for news of what’s next—and what’s behind the water’s sudden disappearance—the residents of a suburban community are driven to formerly unthinkable compromises in order to survive. Tense and character-driven, this story is how Alfred Hitchcock might have approached climate change.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Ten funny crime novels

Adi Tantimedh is the author of Her Nightly Embrace, Her Beautiful Monster, and Her Fugitive Heart.

At CrimeReads he tagged ten funny crime novels that have influenced him, including:
One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

This is the first book that introduced Evanovich’s heroine Stephanie Plum, a New Jersey gal whose life is a mess. She needs money and a job, and reluctantly tries her hand at bounty hunting. Her first bounty is a cop on the run who becomes her romantic interest and much better company than the psychopaths, sleazebags, and predators she comes across as she learns the ropes of being a bounty hunter one mistake at a time. As much a romantic screwball comedy as a crime thriller, here’s a deep sense of the New Jersey milieu as Janet Evanovich wrote about a world she know well. She’s gone on to write more than twenty books featuring Stephanie Plum, but the first entries are always the freshest and funniest.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Nine of the best books to understand modern terrorism

Iain Overton is the Executive Director of Action on Armed Violence (AOAV). Prior to joining AOAV in 2013, he worked as a journalist, notably for the BBC, ITN, the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and the Guardian, Telegraph, and Independent newspapers. He is the recipient of two Amnesty Media Awards, a BAFTA, and a Peabody Award, among others. He holds two degrees from Cambridge University.

Overton is the author of The Way of the Gun: A Bloody Journey into the World of Firearms and the newly released The Price of Paradise: How the Suicide Bomber Shaped the Modern Age.

At the Guardian he tagged the best books to understand modern terrorism, including:
Mia Bloom’s two recent books Bombshell and, with John Horgan, Small Arms investigate the roles of women and children in terrorism, specifically as victim-perpetrators in the case of the latter. In his powerful analysis of the US’s drone wars, Sudden Justice, Chris Woods shows how harmful counter-terrorism has been, while Julia Ebner astutely examines the rise of rightwing hate rhetoric alongside Salafi-jihadist violence in The Rage: The Vicious Circle of Islamist and Far-Right Extremism.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Page 99 Test: Bombshell.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Eleven notable hipster mysteries

Lisa Levy is a columnist and contributing editor at LitHub and CrimeReads. At the latter she tagged 11+ hipster mysteries, including:
New Yorked, by Rob Hart

In the first of Hart’s Ash McKenna series, his PI McKenna goes searching for an ex-girlfriend with a penchant for trouble. His landscape (for NYC contains multitudes) is the rapidly gentrifying East Village and its cohorts in Brooklyn. For people who are new to the city—new meaning pre-aughts—New Yorked is a love letter to how the city was pre-9/11 and pre-hipster.
Read about the other entries on the list.

My Book, The Movie: Potter's Field (the final book in the Ash McKenna series).

The Page 69 Test: Potter's Field.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 26, 2019

Eight sci-fi novels that explore the “human dilemma”

Emily Wenstrom is a freelance writer with a deep love for anything monstrous, magical, or strange. She is a regular contributor to BookRiot and DIY MFA, and her debut novel was named the 2016 Book of the Year by the Florida Writers Association. At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog she tagged eight science fiction novels that explore the “human dilemma,” including:
Vicious, by V. E. Schwab

In an imaginative twist on superhero tropes, this novel follows two college friends in their pursuit for power whose determination leads to tragic consequences, changing them both forever. Once friendly competitors, the two become bitter enemies as their powers lead them on divergent paths that will leave the reader asking questions about what really makes a hero or a villain. At the center of both men lies a hunger for power and an insatiable ambition that neither can turn off, even as the consequences continue to mount higher. Meanwhile, they struggle with identity, college crushes, and complicated parental relationships. In short—these are the human dimensions of a premise that couldn’t be more science fictional fun on the surface. After all, who wouldn’t want to be a super hero?
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven top medical mysteries & thrillers

Kathleen Valenti is the author of the Maggie O’Malley Mysteries, a pharmaceutical/medical mystery series that includes her Agatha- and Lefty-nominated debut novel, Protocol, fan favorite 39 Winks, and recently released As Directed.

At CrimeReads she tagged "a short list of medical mysteries and thrillers that function as great-reads therapy, including:
Two Kinds of Truth, by Michael Connelly

This entry isn’t strictly a medical mystery. Or maybe not so strictly. But this Harry Bosch tome burrows beneath the surface of pill mills, the opioid crisis, and medical malfeasance so convincingly—and compellingly—it easily makes the list for me. Connelly masterfully crafts multiple storylines, tackles social issues, and puts flesh-and-blood characters through their paces with his signature aplomb in this gripping book.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Six top books of correspondence

Isabella Hammad was born in London. She won the 2018 Plimpton Prize for Fiction for her story “Mr. Can’aan.” Her writing has appeared in Conjunctions and the Paris Review. The Parisian is her first novel.

At LitHub she tagged six great books of correspondence, including:
Alice Walker, The Color Purple (1982)

The Color Purple begins:
You better not never tell nobody but God. It’d kill your mammy.


I am fourteen years old. I am I have always been a good girl. Maybe you can give me a sign letting me know what is happening to me.
This first line is a command by the protagonist Celie’s abusive stepfather, Alphonso: Celie takes his command literally, although, as we discover by the start of her second letter, her mother has quickly passed away anyway. By recounting her life in these letters addressed to God, Celie rebels against a silence that has been forced upon her by racism and misogyny. Halfway through the book, her sister Nettie leaves for Africa, and Celie stops writing to God and starts writing to Nettie instead, redirecting her self-expression away from the great white male in the sky and towards her literal sister, to whom she describes her discovery and development of her sexuality, her spirituality, and her capacity for self-love.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Color Purple is among Jenn Ashworth and Richard V. Hirst's top ten modern epistolary novels, Sarai Walker's ten top novels about women's political awakening, Hollie McNish's top ten literary works about breasts, Sarah Alderson's top ten feminist icons in children's and teen books, Bruna Lobato's top ten must-read classics by African American authors, Hanna McGrath's top five fictional characters who tell it like it is, Andy McSmith's top ten books of the 1980s, and Sophie Ward's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top thrillers about siblings

Alafair Burke is a New York Times bestselling author whose most recent novels include The Wife and The Ex, which was nominated for the Edgar Award for best novel. She also co-authors the bestselling Under Suspicion series with Mary Higgins Clark. A former prosecutor, she now teaches criminal law and lives in Manhattan and East Hampton.

Burke's new novel is The Better Sister.

One of the author's ten favorite thrillers about siblings, as shared at the Guardian:
Sister by Rosamund Lupton

I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of this. I remember checking the jacket three times to make sure that it was actually a debut, because it was written with such confidence. When older, more reliable sister Bee goes looking for her younger, flakier sister Tess, she expects to find her off on her usual antics. Instead, she learns that Tess is dead, supposedly by suicide. Bee’s ensuing search for the truth is a moving and beautifully written tribute to sisterly love. It’s also got a jaw-dropping twist.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Sister is among Laura Jarratt's top ten YA thrillers with sisters and Sophie McKenzie's top ten teen thrillers.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Five books about fandom

Britta Lundin is a TV writer, author, and comic book writer. She currently writes on the hit CW show Riverdale. Her YA book Ship It, about a gay teenage fanfiction writer, is described as “the book that fandom has been waiting for, and the lived-in, fleshed-out portrait it deserves.” A longtime fanfiction reader and writer herself, she is still passionate about fan communities and shipping. Before becoming a writer, she worked as a political organizer for organizations such as MoveOn.org and a digital media producer for Geek & Sundry and Nerdist. She earned a BA in Political Science from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and an MFA in Film Production from the University of Texas at Austin. When not writing, she spends her time reblogging memes and analyzing the work of One Direction and its members. Originally from a small town on the Oregon coast, she now lives in Los Angeles with her wife.

At Tor.com Lundin tagged five favorite books about fandom, including:
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Pining / Enemies-to-Lovers

This is a meta pick because Carry On is not technically a book about fandom; it’s a fantasy novel about two teen wizards who hate each other and then fall in love. But the book is so shaped by fanfiction that every word is steeped in a deep understanding of fandom and the ways fandom chooses to love. Carry On is the companion novel to Fangirl (also great!), which is about Cath, a college student who writes gay fanfic about her favorite novel series-turned-movie-franchise. Carry On brings Cath’s fanfiction to life. What’s so wonderful about Carry On is that Rowell fully embraces the fanfic tropes that make fic so addictive. (Enemies-to-lovers? Yes! Mutual pining? Oh hell yes!) If you’ve never read fic before, Carry On is a great intro to why it’s so much fun to read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Eight dysfunctional fictional families

Sally Hepworth is the bestselling author of The Secrets of Midwives, The Things We Keep, The Mother's Promise, and The Family Next Door.

Her new novel is The Mother-in-Law.

At CrimeReads she tagged eight fictional families that will make you feel better about your own dysfunctional family, including:
The Marsh King’s Daughter, by Karen Dionne

In the present, Helena Pelletier has a loving, perfectly functional family – a husband and two beautiful daughters. In the past, not so much. That’s because Helena’s father is the notorious Marsh King. He kidnapped her mother at the young age of 15, and imprisoned her inside a remote cabin in the marshlands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Helena grew up knowing none of this, until she finally pieces together the puzzle of her mother’s tragic past, flees, and helps send her father to prison. Flash back to the present: her father’s escaped, and he’s coming for her. It all makes for an unputdownable, nail-biter of a read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top books on the gender pay gap

Laura Bates is the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project.

At the Guardian, she tagged six of the best books on financial inequality, including:
Some of the public scepticism about the gender pay gap comes from a position of ignorance about the reality of women’s daily lives. That can be remedied thanks to Opening Belle, a novel about the realities of being a working mother with a resentful husband in the cut-throat, hyper-misogynistic world of Wall Street. Author Maureen Sherry’s insights were gleaned first-hand: she spent more than a decade working at global investment bank Bear Stearns.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 22, 2019

Six top books about nature

Andrea Wulf is a full-time writer and the author of six books. She has written for many newspapers including the New York Times, the Guardian, Financial Times, The Atlantic and the Wall Street Journal.

Her latest books are The Invention of Nature and The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt.

One of Wulf's six favorite books about nature, as shared at the The Week magazine:
Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie by Lauren Redniss (2010).

Category-defying, stunningly beautiful, and utterly mesmerizing, Radioactive represents the perfect marriage between art and science. Redniss' text and magical images take the reader on a biographical and visual journey.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Five essential books about plagues and pandemics

Claudia Gray is the New York Times bestselling author of many science fiction and paranormal fantasy books for young adults, including the Defy the Stars series, the Firebird series, the Evernight series, the Spellcaster series, and Fateful.

At Tor.com she tagged five essential books about plagues and pandemics, including:
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Almost twenty years after humanity’s population is nearly wiped out by a global plague, a small Shakespearean troupe travels through a desolate landscape, united by the motto, “Survival is insufficient.” I’ll be honest: I have some issues with the epidemiology here. (Any virus that killed as quickly as the one she describes wouldn’t be able to spread worldwide; as anyone who’s played Plague, Inc. knows, viruses need hosts to remain ambulatory and contagious for a good long while if you want to wipe out civilization.) But the mechanics of the fictional disease are so beside the point. The excellence of Station Eleven lies in its vision of the world after the plague—the ways in which society, culture and art change in order to endure.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Station Eleven is among K Chess's five top fictional books inside of real books, 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

Eight novels for the literate oenophile

Jay McInerney's books include the novels Precious Days, Bright Lights, Big City, Model Behavior and The Good Life, which received the Grand Prix Littéraire. His short story collection How It Ended was named one of the ten best books of the year by the New York Times. He is the editor of Wine Reads: A Literary Anthology of Wine Writing.

At LitHub he tagged eight novels for the literate oenophile, including:
Rex Pickett, Sideways

Road trip! Famously translated to the screen by Alexander Payne, Sideways deserves to be read and relished. Dour Miles and priapic Jack are the Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty of this contemporary picaresque which is by turns hilarious, poignant, and intoxicating.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Six fictional murder scenes that left readers gobsmacked

Jane Haseldine's newest novel is You Fit the Pattern.

At CrimeReads she tagged six unforgettable fictional murder scenes, including:
Brighton, Michael Harvey

I grew up in Gloucester, Mass., and later lived in Boston, a city, if you’re from there, that is all about the neighborhood where you call home. All his books set in Chicago are terrific, but Harvey returns to his hometown for Brighton. His masterful descriptions of the city with its divergent neighborhoods that run from highbrow Back Bay’s brownstones to East Boston’s tight, triple-deckers where uniforms hang from laundry lines are dead-on. In Brighton, Kevin Pearce escapes his old Boston neighborhood to become a Pulitzer Prize nominated journalist. But the past is never really over for any of us, especially if you’ve left a whopper of a secret behind. Plenty of bodies fall in this book, but when one victim gets pushed off a roof by a deliciously horrible killer, you’ll feel a chill go through you that’s colder than a Boston January night.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 19, 2019

Six books about nonconformist women

Lissa Evans has written books for both adults and children, including Their Finest Hour and a Half, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize. Crooked Heart was also longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction (formerly known as the Orange Prize); it is her first novel to be published in the US. Evans lives in London with her family.

At LitHub she tagged six novels from other eras that "feature women (and in one case a small girl) from other eras who don’t do what they’re supposed to do," including:
Anita and Me, Meera Syal

Semi-autobiographical, and set at the start of the 1970s, this novel is narrated by nine-year-old Meena, daughter of Punjabi immigrants, and the only non-white child in a working-class village in the industrial English Midlands. She is perceptive and critical, not only of the narrow lives and prejudices of her neighbours, but of the eccentricities of her own, highly-educated parents. Caught between two cultures, and with no one to follow, she squares her shoulders and chooses a route of her own. The author is not just a superb writer, but an actor and comedian, and the book is shot through with her sharp wit.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Ten books to inspire graduates

At B&N Reads the editors tagged ten books to inspire graduates, including:
Becoming, by Michelle Obama

In this book, Mrs. O shares how she became the woman so many look up to. From her college years to life in the White House, her standard of excellence and generous spirit will inspire a new generation. This is a memoir that graduates, professors, and professionals alike will be proud to have on their bedside table.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten great thrillers centered on psychology

Heather Gudenkauf's new novel is Before She Was Found.

At CrimeReads she tagged "ten masterfully told works of psychological suspense, featuring protagonists with exceptional psychological characteristics," including:
“See, there I am. I told you I lived. I told you I was.”

Camille Peaker is a journalist returning to her hometown to report on the murders of two young girls. Camille reluctantly accepts the assignment knowing that her visit to Wind Gap, MO will dredge up the long-buried childhood traumas that contributed to Camille’s self-harming practices which included etching words into her skin with a razor blade. Through her investigation into the grisly murders, Camille confronts her own demons past and present and comes out the other side, scarred, yes, but whole.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Sharp Objects is among Peter Swanson's ten top thrillers that explore mental health.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Ten top bilingual books

Yara Rodrigues Fowler's first novel, Stubborn Archivist, is out now in the UK and forthcoming (July 2019) in the USA. One of her ten favorite tales told in multiple languages, as shared at the Guardian:
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

This book is very special to me. Written in vignettes and fragments, it’s a coming-of-age book about a young Chicana woman from Chicago with many untranslated, but italicised, Spanish words and phrases in the text. The ending (which I use as my epigraph) offers a take on Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, the protagonist finally finding “a house as quiet as snow, a space for myself to go, clean as paper before the poem”.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six of the best legal fiction / domestic suspense hybrids

Alafair Burke's new novel is The Better Sister.

At CrimeReads she tagged six "favorite novels that [she] also consider[s] to be hybrids between legal fiction and domestic suspense," including:
A Good Killing by Allison Leotta

Prosecutor Anna Curtis heads back to her hometown to defend her sister, who has been accused of murdering a beloved high school coach. As a former federal prosecutor, Leotta brings serious legal street cred to her work, but A Good Killing is as much a story about sisterly bonds as it is a taut courtroom thriller.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Five books where women in space take center stage

Michelle Anne Schingler, a former librarian and Hebrew school teacher, is the managing editor at Foreword Reviews. At BookRiot she tagged five books about the universe and women’s roles in its mapping, including:
Lily Brooks-Dalton’s Good Morning, Midnight is post-apocalyptic and engrossing. At least: we’re pretty sure that the story is post-apocalyptic. Sully and her team can’t get anyone on the comm [on their way back from a mission to Jupiter], and as they approach Earth, it appears to have gone dark. On the ground, at an Arctic research center, an older astronomer, Augustine, suspects the same; the rescue team that cleared out the rest of the base hinted as much, but Auggie stubbornly refused to move. Now he’s waiting out the end of the world with a young woman, Iris, whom the rescuers somehow forgot, and nurturing regret over the way he responded to love in his life. Somewhere in the universe he has a daughter whom he abandoned; Sully, too, knows that there’s a child out there for whom her dreams came to represent cruelty and withholding. As Sully and Auggie face everyone’s ends, they are still stuck reflecting on whether or not failing to be the perfect parent makes one a failure overall. (Conclusion: not.)
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 15, 2019

Five of the best books about Leonardo da Vinci

Jonathan Jones writes on art for the Guardian and was on the jury for the 2009 Turner prize. His books include The Loves of the Artists: Art and Passion in the Renaissance, The Lost Battles: Leonardo, Michelangelo and the Artistic Duel that Defined the Renaissance, and Sensations: The Story of British Art from Hogarth to Banksy.

At the Guardian he tagged the best books about Leonardo da Vinci of the last 500 years, including:
One of the reasons Vasari’s [The Lives of the Artists, 1550] blend of history and fairytale still works is that Leonardo and the Renaissance Italy that produced him are almost too exotic for scholars to portray. That’s why the most approachable introduction to the Tuscan prodigy and his world may be through Sarah Dunant’s well-researched historical novels. In the Name of the Family (Virago) is about the artist’s ruthless patron Cesare Borgia, the pope’s son who tried to conquer Italy. We encounter Leonardo working for Borgia as a military engineer – will his fortifications be ready in time or will he get distracted by some other invention?
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six novels that upend conventions

Susan Choi's new novel is Trust Exercise.

At The Week magazine she tagged six favorite books that overturn conventions, including:
How to Be Both by Ali Smith (2014).

Smith tells the stories of Italian Renaissance painter Francesco del Cossa and present-day Cambridge teenager George as two halves of a fiction that can be read either Francesco first or George first. As critic Laura Miller noted, once you choose which way to read it, you'll never know how it would have read in reverse, which she called a bit sad but "worth it."
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Nine modern SFF rock mythologies

Sam Reader is a writer and conventions editor for The Geek Initiative, and also writes literary criticism and reviews at strangelibrary.com. At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog they tagged nine modern sci-fi & fantasy rock mythologies, including:
Little Heroes, by Norman Spinrad

Glorianna O’Toole, a burnt-out former hippie known as “The Crazy Old Lady of Rock’n’Roll” is hired (okay, more like blackmailed) by Muzik Inc. to make them a new rock star with more of the old spirit and edge. With the aid of two young computer programmers and a weird hallucinogenic technology, Glorianna creates the perfect rock star to boost the fortunes of Muzik, Inc.—but as their new singer is adopted by an underground movement and personal tensions flare between the programmers, a war breaks out between artificial rockstars and corporations over the fate of reality itself. It’s a cyberpunk epic about the power and anti-authoritarian nature of rock, with Spinrad’s chaotic sense of humor and occasional insane flourishes (hallucinogenic software, an underground movement called the “Reality Liberation Front”) elevating it from being just another fable about the power of music.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Twelve great reads that celebrate the bonds between women

A reporter by trade, Sara Roncero-Menendez is a lover of horror, sci-fi, and all things pop culture. At Get Literary she tagged twelve great reads that celebrate the bonds between women, including:
The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See


There’s nothing like the story of a great friendship that spans decades. Mi-ja and Young-sook are part of a squad of all-female divers in Korea’s Jeju Island. While the two are very different people, it is their bond that helps them survive their dangerous diving job, as well as the ever-changing regimes and wars that affect their lives. A wondrous look at a world of work that few people know, and a fascinating study of friendship in the face of conflict, The Island of Sea Women is sure to engage readers…and make you want to check in on your bestie.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 12, 2019

Nine notable books inspired by mythology

Kris Waldherr's new book is The Lost History of Dreams: A Novel.

At The Strand Magazine she tagged ten favorite books inspired by mythology, including:
The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker

“But what about the Trojan War?” you might wonder after reading [Madeline Miller's] Circe. “Is there a book that explores Homer’s The Iliad from a similar feminist viewpoint?” For a follow-up to Miller’s novel, consider Barker’s The Silence of the Girls, which presents the heart-rending saga of Briseis and other women held as captives during the Trojan War. It’s a mythic rendering for the #MeToo generation.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Seven books about fame

Sarah Skilton the author of two young adult novels, Bruised and High & Dry, and the adult novels, Club Deception and the newly released Fame Adjacent.

At the B&N Reads blog she tagged seven new, recent, and upcoming books "in which a main character is either immersed in showbiz or otherwise famous." One title on the list:
Meet Cute, by Helena Hunting

How perfect is that cover? The book inside is equally enthralling. Back in law school, the normally cool and collected Kailyn Flowers was shocked to bump into former actor Daxton Hughes—aka, her teenage crush from the TV series It’s My Life—and fangirled all over him. When the dust and embarrassment settled, the two became classroom buddies, until Daxton ruined everything (or so Kailyn thinks). Now it’s several years later, and Kailyn finds herself helping Daxton’s family during a crisis, and all their old feelings return to the surface. But just because they once had a meet cute of epic proportions doesn’t mean a real romance could ever follow, does it? This heartfelt, beautiful story about the ways we lean on other people after tragedy made me swoon, laugh, and cry.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top 10 books set in the American midwest

Nickolas Butler's first novel was the internationally best-selling and prize-winning Shotgun Lovesongs, which has been optioned for film development and has been translated into ten languages. Beneath the Bonfire, a collection of short stories, followed a year later. In 2017, he published The Hearts of Men which was short-listed for two of France’s most prestigious literary prizes even before its American publishing. His new book is Little Faith.

One of Butler's top ten books set in the American midwest, as shared at the Guardian:
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

In fiction, we often talk about “what is at stake” in a story: what propels a reader through a narrative, and why should they care? It is through the eyes of Robinson’s 77-year-old minister John Ames that we understand the stakes here are essentially time. He’s running out of time and every action he makes, every feeling and every perception he has, is that much heightened.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Gilead is on Joanna Cannon's top ten list of clerics in fiction, The Telegraph's list of eight books every dad should read, Allegra Frazier's top five list of diary novels, Michael Arditti's ten best list of fictional clerics, Ayad Akhtar's list of three notable books on faith in the US, Michael Crummey's top ten list of literary feuds and Geraldine Brooks's five most important books list; it is a book Dalia Sofer would like to share with her children.

Also see: eight essential Midwestern novels by women, ten must-read books that take place in the Midwest, and thirteen great books out of the Midwest.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Twelve historical novels inspired by real-life bad-ass women

Greer Macallister is a novelist, poet, short story writer, and playwright who earned her MFA in creative writing from American University. Her new novel is Woman 99.

One title on her list of twelve historical novels inspired by real-life bad-ass women, as shared at Off the Shelf:
The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin

Celebrity weddings have riveted the nation for much longer than we currently realize, and in 1863 the biggest wedding featured the smallest couple: General Tom Thumb and Lavinia Bump, both less than three feet tall and met while working for P. T. Barnum. In Melanie Benjamin’s capable hands, Lavinia’s story is a breathtaking tale of ambition, tenacity, and persistence.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb.

My Book, The Movie: The Autobiography Of Mrs. Tom Thumb.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Twenty-five epic fantasies for fans of "Game of Thrones"

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Ross Johnson tagged twenty-five epic fantasies for fans of Game of Thrones, including:
The Night Angel Trilogy, by Brent Weeks

Azoth, unlike Arya Stark, was raised on the streets, scrounging to survive—but the two have much else in common. Weeks’ trilogy (now collected together in a single volume) follows the assassin anti-hero who knows an opportunity when he sees one. Under Durzo Blint, he seeks to become the perfect “wetboy”—an assassin navigating the dangerous politics of his world as well as its magic. The name he chooses: Kylar Stern means “one who kills and who is killed,” mirroring Arya’s role with the Faceless Men as a bringer of death, but also its servant.

Status: Completed trilogy
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five of the best books on atheism and faith

John Gray is the author of many critically acclaimed books, including Straw Dogs and Al Qaeda and What It Means to Be Modern. A regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, he is a professor of European thought at the London School of Economics.

Gray's new book is Seven Types of Atheism.

At the Guardian he tagged five of the best books on atheism and faith, including:
Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Gay Science (1882) was, among other things, an attempt to fashion an atheism that broke not only with religious belief but more importantly with the ways of thinking that monotheism had inculcated. For Nietzsche, modern atheism had been a byproduct of Christianity. Rightly, to my mind, he believed a genuinely free-thinking atheism would begin by questioning the surrogate faiths – in “humanity”, science, progress and so on – that replaced Christianity among those who liked to think they had rejected religion. Modern atheism was not, as its adherents imagined, an alternative to faith, but a way of closing the mind to doubt.

Sadly, but perhaps predictably (he was after all the son of a pastor), Nietzsche went on to produce an ersatz faith of his own in his myth of the Superman, a Christ-like figure that redeems humankind from nihilism – the condition of meaninglessness that supposedly befalls us when we no longer have any idea of God. The free-thinking atheism he originally envisioned remains elusive.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue