Monday, September 30, 2019

Seven books that influence Stephen Chbosky's writing

Stephen Chbosky's new novel is Imaginary Friend.

At The Week magazine the author tagged seven books that influence his writing, including:
Wonder by R.J. Palacio (2012).

R.J. Palacio's masterpiece of empathy-evoking storytelling should be required reading in every fifth-grade classroom in the world. This story of a 10-year-old boy with facial differences who is enrolling in a public school for the first time should come with its own box of tissues.
Read about another entry on his list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 29, 2019

The books we'll be reading in 2030

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

Temple polled her LitHub colleagues for "ten books from the last ten years that they thought we’d still be reading—for good or ill—ten years from now, circa 2030."

The title that made the most lists:
Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric (2014)
Read about the other entries on the list.

Learn more about Citizen: An American Lyric.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Twenty books to help you navigate grief

At Read It Forward, Eliza Smith tagged twenty books to help you navigate grief, including:
The Friend
Sigrid Nunez

The unnamed narrator of Sigrid Nunez’s National Book Award-winner isn’t mourning alone. She has the company of her departed mentor’s Great Dane, distressed over the sudden disappearance of his owner. His care becomes a channel for the narrator’s grief, who begins to spend every waking (and sleeping) moment with him in this pitch-perfect novel of companionship set in the ever-changing literary world.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Read more about The Friend.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 27, 2019

The twenty best campus novels

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

At LitHub she tagged--and ranked--the twenty best campus novels. Number one on the list:
Donna Tartt, The Secret History

Surprise, surprise. I mean, look, I know it has its detractors, but from where I’m standing, campus novels don’t get much better than this. Tartt’s debut has everything: snotty classics students, alluring and mysterious professors, convoluted social hierarchies, bad rich kids, good rich kids, murder, Bacchic rites, class warfare, allusions to the ancients, and some of the most intelligent, gorgeous writing going. You just can’t beat it.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Secret History is on a top ten list of the best Twinkies in fiction, and among Ruth Ware's top six books about boarding schools.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Ten top literary thrillers

Rachel Eve Moulton earned her BA at Antioch College and her MFA in fiction from Emerson College. Her work has appeared in The Beacon Street Review, Bellowing Ark, Chicago Quarterly Review, The Bryant Literary Review, among others.

Tinfoil Butterfly is her first novel.

At Publishers Weekly she tagged ten "favorite literary thrillers, the ones that will wake up your brain and your heart," including:
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

In Whitehead’s story world, trains run underground connected by safe houses. We follow Cora as she flees her plantation and the slave catcher who is hunting her. Ridgeway, her pursuer, also wants to know the secrets of the railroad, and the complicated chase brings back the horrors of slavery. Cora’s strength and determination to survive keeps us next to her the entire journey.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Underground Railroad is among Nathan Englander’s ten desert island books, Greg Mitchell's top ten escapes in literature, and President Obama's summer 2016 reading list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top escapes in books

Toby Litt is best-known for writing his books – from Adventures in Capitalism to (so far) Patience – in alphabetical order (apart from the non-fiction ones); he is currently working on Q and R.

At the Guardian, Litt tagged ten favorite escapes in books, including:
Persuasion by Jane Austen

Anne Elliot is the oldest of Austen’s heroines, and the longest-suffering. In order to reach her happy ending, she endures years of confinement. She isn’t literally in solitary, but – as an unmarried not-so-young woman, dependent on her demanding father, she is as trapped as any prisoner. Worse still, she has no true companionship. She is surrounded by a grotesque gallery of the neurotic and the interfering, the boring and the presumptuous. Only the reader knows Anne’s true worth. Her victorious escape from the hell of the English country house to be together with her true love, Captain Wentworth, makes her years of anguish worthwhile – almost.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Persuasion is among Lore Segal's ten favorite books, four books that changed Sasha Wasley, Cristina Merrill's five classic romantic stories that still ring true today, Melissa Albert's top fifteen male characters in Jane Austen's novels, Yiyun Li's six favorite novels, Joanna Trollope's six best books, Paula Byrne's ten best Jane Austen characters, Marjorie Kehe's list of ten perfect books for Valentine's Day gifts, Howard Jacobson's 5 favorite literary heroines and top ten novels of sexual jealousy, Elizabeth Buchan's top ten books guaranteed to give comfort during the ending of a relationship, and appears on John Mullan's list of ten of the best concerts in literature.

The Page 99 Test: Persuasion.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Seven of Maine's best thrillers

New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen earned international acclaim for her first novel of suspense, Harvest. She introduced Detective Jane Rizzoli in The Surgeon (2001) and Dr. Maura Isles in The Apprentice (2002) and has gone on to write numerous other titles in the celebrated Rizzoli & Isles series.

Her new novel is The Shape of Night.

At CrimeReads, Gerritsen tagged seven favorite Maine thrillers, including:
Also focusing on the dark side of Maine is author James Hayman, whose hero Mike McCabe is a homicide detective in Portland, Maine. In The Cutting (first in the series), McCabe and his partner Maggie Savage search for a killer who surgically excises the hearts of beautiful women. Real-life Portland is a vibrant city known for its lively arts and its foodie culture, but in the nightmarish world created by Hayman, a killer seems to be lurking behind every red-brick corner.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Cutting.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Five books about surprisingly supernatural teens

Leah Schnelbach is a staff writer for the pop culture website, a fiction editor for the literary journal No Tokens, a sci-fi & fantasy columnist for Lithub’s Book Marks site and a former associate prose editor for Fairy Tale Review. Her fiction appears in Joyland, Volume 1 Brooklyn, Madcap Review, The Boiler, Anamesa, and Lumina. Her criticism has appeared in Tin House Online, Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast, Speculative Fiction 2015, The Crooked Timber Symposium and Electric Literature.

At she tagged five favorite books about surprisingly supernatural teens, including:
Emily of New Moon and Emily’s Quest by L.M. Montgomery

This is another not-quite-as-famous series by a beloved author. L.M. Montgomery is primarily know as the author of the resolutely realistic Anne of Green Gables series, which follows a young redheaded orphan (who kinda wants to be a writer) through romantic trials and triumphs in Edwardian Canada. Emily of New Moon, my preferred Montgomery work, follow a black-haired orphan (who really, really wants to be a writer) through romantic trials and triumphs in Edwardian Canada. The difference between the two series is that Emily actually dedicates herself to her writing and sees some success despite the misogyny of the time, and also she’s fucking psychic. Two separate times over the course of the series she has several three-dimensional, full color, totally immersive visions. One concerns her best friend, Ilse Burnley. Ilse is practically feral, having been abandoned by her father, Dr. Burnley, who believes that Ilse’s mother left him for another man. It’s all very tragic and convoluted (especially as filtered through the points of view of two prepubescent Edwardian children—thanks, Lucy Maude) but it leads to a lot of misery. UNTIL. Emily contracts measles, nearly dies, and has a vision of a young woman running through a field and falling into a well. She recites the vision in a terrifying voice, the well is investigated, and voila! There are the bones of Ilse’s mother, who didn’t run away at all (yayyy!) but fell into a well and died (um, yay?). This has the happy (???) outcome of Dr. Burnley actually caring for his daughter. The second incident is much creepier. When Emily’s on-again-off-again artist boyfriend, Teddy, is about to leave for Europe, she falls into a fit. Hundreds of miles away Teddy sees her across a crowded dock, and follows her until he loses sight of her. This causes him to miss boarding his ship—which then sinks, killing everyone aboard. This isn’t even just telepathy or a psychic vision of some type, this is full-on bi-location! Teddy lives, tells Emily about it weeks later when he sees her again, and everyone in the book just goes about life as though they don’t have a superhero in their midst.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six books for understanding the American drug crisis

Ben Westhoff is an award-winning investigative journalist who writes about culture, drugs, and poverty. His books are taught around the country and have been translated into languages all over the world.

His new book is Fentanyl, Inc.: How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic.

At LitHub Westhoff tagged six books for understanding the American drug crisis, including:
Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs

No matter where you come from or how old you are, you’ve likely been given misinformation about drugs for most of your life. Chasing the Scream is one of those “everything you know is wrong” texts that uses first-hand reporting from around the globe to show how we’ve gotten in wrong, and how we can right the ship. Hari travels from Arizona—where prison camps try to humiliate users into going straight—to Portugal, where decriminalization has actually helped solve drug problems. Most astonishing is his reporting on heroin abuse. Counter to the traditional narrative that once an opiate or opioid get its “chemical hooks” into users it’s nearly impossible for them to break free, Hari shows the situation to often be less chemical than psychological. If users can get their personal lives in order, they can frequently get clean.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 23, 2019

Six books that explain death in America

Caitlin Doughty is a mortician, activist, and funeral industry rabble-rouser. In 2011 she founded the death acceptance collective The Order of the Good Death, which has spawned the death positive movement. Her books Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and From Here to Eternity were both New York Times bestsellers.

Doghty's newest book is Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death.

At The Week magazine she tagged six books that explain death in America, including:
The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander (2015).

Alexander, who read her poem "Praise Song for the Day" at Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration, wrote this memoir on grief after the sudden death of her young husband three years later. You find yourself truly rooting for this intelligent, funny couple, and when he is taken, you feel the deep pain alongside her.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Three top novels depicting therapists and therapy

Bijal Shah is a poet, book therapist, and author of The Happiness Mindset.

At the Guardian she tagged three of the best depictions of therapists and therapy in fiction, including:
Fiction offers thoughtful insight into the conscientious work of therapists. Using the full breadth and depth of the creative licence, client cases are examined in blistering detail. The book that jumps to mind is Irvin D Yalom’s When Nietzsche Wept. A perennial literary guide for both therapists and therapists-in-training, it marries philosophy and psychoanalysis. Modern psychoanalysis founder, Joseph Breuer, attempts to treat the influential philosopher, Nietzsche, who is on the brink of suicide. Breuer, himself, is recovering from a broken heart. They form a therapeutic alliance, each attempting to heal the other’s depression. Yalom’s other notable novels with protagonist therapists, also of interest, include Love’s Executioner & Other Tales of Psychotherapy and The Schopenhauer Cure.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Six thrillers set during the Gulf War

Siri Mitchell is the author of over a dozen novels. She has also written two novels under the pseudonym of Iris Anthony. She graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and has worked in various levels of government.

Mitchell's newest novel is State of Lies.

One of her six favorite thrillers set during the first Gulf War (August 1990 and February 1991), as shared at CrimeReads:
The Girl in Green, by Derek Miller (2017)

The Girl in Green was shortlisted for the 2017 CWA Gold Dagger Award. A soldier and a journalist team up just after the Gulf War to rescue a girl caught in the ensuing civil war between Iraqi factions. Despite their best intentions, the girl is killed. Twenty-two years later, the men meet up again and have the chance to redeem the past. This story underscores the cultural differences between the Middle East and the West.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Ten of the best British country house novels

At the Waterstones blog, Mark Skinner tagged ten of the best country house novels, including:
The Remains of the Day
Kazuo Ishiguro

Wistfully elegiac and simmeringly romantic, The Remains of the Day is Ishiguro’s meditation on duty, repressed desire and self-sacrifice, as seen through the eyes of a dedicated, unshakeably loyal butler. Expertly capturing a moment in time, this tale of convention and lost opportunities in an interwar stately home is both a deeply affecting and richly atmospheric read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Remains of the Day is among Xan Brooks's ten top terrible houses in fiction, Molly Schoemann-McCann's nine great books for people who love Downton Abbey, Lucy Lethbridge's ten top books about servants, and Tim Vine's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 20, 2019

Eight books with monstrous mothers

Evelyn Toynton’s most recent novel is Inheritance.

At CrimeReads the author tagged eight favorite books which "contain mothers who regard their children chiefly as a means to their own gratification, or as obstacles to that gratification, without any concern for those children’s happiness." One title on the list:
William Trevor, Felicia’s Journey

Mr. Hilditch, the bland-seeming catering manager who lures vulnerable, friendless young women into his house and murders them, is the sinister bogeyman in this novel, a truly horrifying portrait of a serial killer. As certain facts about his shadowy past emerge, we watch in mounting dread, expecting the worst for poor, pregnant, friendless Felicia, whose only money he steals and whom he manipulates into having an abortion. But then Trevor brings the horror full circle: he shows flashbacks of Mr. Hilditch’s life with his mother, a drunken “loose” woman who, when she could no longer entice the policeman or the insurance salesman or any other man into her bed, drew her son into it, always promising she would never make him have sex with her again, always breaking that promise.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Five fantasy books steeped in history

Jennifer Giesbrecht's debut novel is The Monster of Elendhaven.

At she tagged five favorite fantasy books steeped in history, including:
Everfair—Nisi Shawl

Everfair is a work of Steampunk-tinged alternative history that imagines a group of socialists and African-American missionaries buying a slice of the Belgium Congo out from under the genocidal grip of King Leopold II. Then it follows the evolution of this new proto-Utopia over the course of nearly three decades, using a “longue durée” narrative device that touches on a broad multiplicity of perspectives at every level of society. In many ways, the novel is more that “meaningful historiographical discourse” I was talking about in the introduction than it is fiction. Understanding the way Steampunk is utilized in this story is like getting a high-speed crash course in how the study of history rapidly changed in the 20th century, from something that was understood on an unspoken level to have a culturally edifying, propagandic purpose, to the multi-faceted, deconstructive school of thought it is today. Steampunk first gained popularity as a highly romanticized view of the Victorian Era, but was quickly co-opted and intelligently deconstructed through the lens of post-colonialism and third-worldism by non-white authors. Everfair goes for the jugular by derailing one of the most horrific tragedies of late colonialism. It’s a beautiful example of how fantasy can reveal just as much about where humanity has been, where we can go, and what we can be as the very best science fiction.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Everfair is among Kate Heartfield's five books featuring women in love with women and Ginn Hale's five top alternate histories that embrace diversity.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Ten top novels about burning issues for young adults

Sif Sigmarsdóttir is a writer and a journalist. She was born in the apparent feminist utopia that is Iceland and now lives in London.

The Sharp Edge of a Snowflake is her second book in the English language.

At the Guardian, Sigmarsdóttir tagged her top ten novels for young adults about current affairs. One entry on the list:
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

If it weren’t for Donald Trump, we’d still be gasping over what an awful president George W Bush turned out to be. American Wife is the literary reimagining of one man’s journey to the White House seen through the eyes of his long-suffering wife – a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Laura Bush.
Read about the other books on the list.

American Wife is among Jenny Eclair's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight novels featuring atypical amateur sleuths

Sarah Lotz is a novelist and screenwriter with a fondness for the macabre.

Her books include Day Four, The Three, and most recently, Missing Person, a novel about a group of amateur detectives infiltrated by the sadistic killer whose crimes they’re investigating.

At CrimeReads, Lotz tagged eight novels featuring unlikely amateur detectives, including:
The Caveman’s Valentine, by George Dawes Green

The protagonist, Romulus Ledbetter, once a brilliant pianist, now struggles with mental health issues and lives in a cave in a New York park. When the frozen body of a photographer’s model is found outside his cave, he decides to conduct his own deeply unconventional investigation. Original and lyrical.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Seven top books about the techniques of persuasion

Edith Hall is Professor in the Classics Department at King's College London.

Her books include Aristotle's Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life.

At the Guardian, Hall tagged some of the best books on the "techniques of persuasion – which the ancient Greeks called the science of rhetoric" – including:
A speaker who is anything but neutral is the civil rights activist Angela Davis. Her collection The Meaning of Freedom, and Other Difficult Dialogues gathers 12 previously unpublished speeches, delivered between 1994 and 2009, which expose the beating heart of the racist carceral state, global neoliberalism, and patriarchy’s symbiosis with capitalism. This is rhetoric at its compelling best, because skill is allied with moral conviction. Unlike many politicians, Davis’s authenticity shines through every phrase.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 16, 2019

Six of Samantha Powers's favorite books

Samantha Power is the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and William D. Zabel ’61 Professor of Practice in Human Rights at Harvard Law School.

From 2013 to 2017 Power served as the 28th U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as well as a member of President Obama’s cabinet. Her new memoir is The Education of an Idealist.

At The Week magazine Power shared six of her favorite books, including:
Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi (1947).

Levi's searing account of the Nazis' "demolition of man" raises often unanswerable moral questions. I read this memoir in my early 20s, and it helped ignite an abiding interest in the causes and consequences of the Holocaust. Rereading the book recently, I was struck again by the depth of Levi's character and the enduring power of his understanding of human nature.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Survival in Auschwitz is among Michael Palin's six best books, Eve Claxton's top ten memoirs and autobiographies, and Gail Caldwell's five groundbreaking memoirs.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Five of the most chilling extreme religion believers in fiction

Lizzy Barber studied English at Cambridge University. Having previously dabbled in acting and film development, she has spent the last ten years as head of marketing for a restaurant group.

Her first novel, A Girl Named Anna, won the Daily Mail and Random House First Novel Prize 2017.

Barber lives in London with her husband, a food writer.

At CrimeReads she tagged five favorite novels featuring extreme religion believers, including:
Carrie, by Stephen King

Stephen King’s first published novel was a big influence on A Girl Named Anna —I even reference the book, when school bullies place a bucket of blood in Anna’s locker with a note referring to her as “Carrie.” Carrie’s mother, Margaret White, rules over her teenage daughter with an iron fist, striking fear into her heart should she do something deemed “unproper.” Religion is the scapegoat here, and also the punishment: the words ‘go to your closet and pray’ haven’t stopped echoing in my mind since that unsettling first read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Carrie is on Katie Lowe's top ten list of books about angry women, Jo Jakeman's list of the ten best revenge novels, Ania Ahlborn's list of ten of the scariest books of all time, Jeff Somers's list of the five worst mothers in literary history, Becky Ferreira's list of six of the most memorable bullies in literature, Julie Buntin's list of favorite literary kids with deadbeat and/or absent dads, Gregg Olsen's top ten list of deadly YA books, and James Dawson's top ten list of books to get you through high school.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Ten writers pushing space opera forward

John Birmingham is the author of Emergence, Resistance, Ascendance, After America, Without Warning, Final Impact, Designated Targets, Weapons of Choice, and other novels, as well as Leviathan, which won the National Award for Nonfiction at Australia’s Adelaide Festival of the Arts, and the novella Stalin’s Hammer: Rome. He has written for The Sydney Morning Herald, Rolling Stone, Penthouse, Playboy, and numerous other magazines.

Birmingham's newest novel is The Cruel Stars.

At Publishers Weekly he tagged ten authors shaking up space opera, including:
The Salvagers series by Alex White

Okay, yes, it starts with a magic car race. But it's very colorful magic, and a very exciting car race, and White is a supercool stylist who soon drags you into the search for A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe. A misfit crew, a ship of legend, a universe in peril, all of the big boxes are ticked with big colorful technomagical pens. Boots Ellsworth, White’s washed up and not entirely trustworthy treasure hunter, and Nilah Brio, a brilliant racer framed for murder, make an engaging team as they heist, scheme, and copulate their way across the cosmos.
Read about the other entries on the list.

My Book, The Movie: A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.

The Page 69 Test: A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 13, 2019

Five of the best Londons in fantasy fiction

Deborah Hewitt lives in the UK, somewhere south of Glasgow and north of London. She’s the proud owner of two brilliant boys and one very elderly dog. When she’s not writing, she can be found watching her boys play football in a muddy field, drinking tea or teaching in her classroom. Occasionally she cooks. Her family wishes she wouldn’t. The Nightjar is her first book.

At Hewitt tagged five favorite Londons in fantasy fiction, including:
Smoke by Dan Vyleta

In an alternate Victorian London, the people are marked, literally, by sin. Smoke is expelled from the body and soot appears every time a minor misdeed, act of greed, small fib or criminal transgression is committed. This is a world in which every wicked thought and wrongdoing can be seen by others, and no one can hide what lurks beneath the surface. This London, appropriately, is the London of chimney sweeps, factory smokestacks and grimy slums; the city as soiled as its lower-class inhabitants. Yet there is a ruling class who have learned to restrain their more base desires and live smoke-free, their cleanliness and virtue a sign of their right to rule. We follow two young aristocrats, Thomas and Charlie, as they witness an event that makes them question the rules of their society—and uncover the truth about the nature of smoke.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Smoke is among Nicole Hill's top six fantasy novels that infuse the real cities in which they're set with new magic.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Ten novels that explore the world of women spies in WWII

Susan Elia MacNeal is the author of The New York Times, Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today-bestselling Maggie Hope mystery series, starting with the Edgar Award-nominated and Barry Award-winning Mr. Churchill’s Secretary.

Her latest book is The Prisoner in the Castle, the eighth novel in the series.

At CrimeReads, MacNeal tagged ten "favorite novels with female spies, written by women (with one exception), and inspired by the feats of the heroic women who served as spies in WWII." One title on the list:
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Quinn spins a tale inspired by a real-life incident a small town in German-occupied northwestern France, a few days after the D Day landings in Normandy. Great War spy Louise de Bettignies, whose code-name was “Lili,” is joined by fictional British/French Evelyn Gardiner, code-named “Marguerite.” Marguerite works in a collaborator’s restaurant, serving Germans and picking up information along the way to pass to Lili, her British handler. To learn more about Bettignies’s WWI spy work, try Female Intelligence: Women and Espionage in the First World War by Tammy M. Proctor.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Alice Network.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten culinary memoirs

Isabel Vincent is a Canadian investigative journalist who writes for the New York Post, an alumna of the University of Toronto Varsity newspaper, and the author of several books, including Gilded Lily: Lily Safra, The Making of One of the World's Wealthiest Widows and Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship.

At the Guardian Vincent tagged ten of the best culinary memoirs, including:
Talking With My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater by Gail Simmons

Simmons is a presenter/judge on Bravo’s Top Chef, but she’s also a fellow Canadian who found herself struggling to make it in a tough industry in New York. In this memoir, she writes about growing up in Toronto with a mother who wrote food columns and conducted cooking classes in their suburban home. Simmons’s trial-by-fire in some of the toughest high-end restaurant kitchens in New York City makes for a great read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Eight novels about academics behaving disgracefully

T. M. Logan, the bestselling author of Lies, was born in Berkshire to an English father and a German mother. He studied at Queen Mary and Cardiff universities before becoming a national newspaper journalist.

Logan's new novel is 29 Seconds.

At CrimeReads he tagged eight favorite books about academics behaving disgracefully, including:
An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study on ethics and morality conducted by the mysterious Dr. Lydia Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money and leave. Anonymity is guaranteed – or so she is led to believe. Suffice it to say that things get weird… As the questions grow more and more invasive, and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to lose track of what is real and what is just part of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiment.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five non-fiction books that will put you in an astronaut’s boots

Becky Chambers is a science fiction author based in Northern California. Her most recent work is To Be Taught, If Fortunate, a standalone novella.

At Chambers tagged five non-fiction books that will put you in an astronaut’s boots, including:
Packing for Mars, by Mary Roach

Space travel is weird! It is weird, and gross, and incredibly difficult. Packing for Mars strips the world’s spacefaring heroes of their right-stuff sheen, bringing the clumsy, grubby, human aspect back to human spaceflight. This massively entertaining book covers everything from bathroom procedures to bonkers psych tests to sleep and sex and centrifuges. Packing for Mars is to blame for sparking my insatiable interest in astronaut food, plus cementing my conviction that I will not make my home elsewhere until the Enterprise-D gets built. It’s not always a pleasant read (my embarrassing degree of squeamishness admittedly led me to skip the chapter on cadaver testing), but it’s a hell of a lot of fun.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Nine jazz-infused crime novels

Alex Segura is a novelist and comic book writer. He is the author of the Pete Fernandez Miami Mystery novels, all via Polis Books.

Segura's latest book is Miami Midnight.

One of the author's favorite jazz-infused crime novels, as shared at CrimeReads:
Knots and Crosses, Ian Rankin

Though Rankin’s Inspector Rebus has become more known for his affinity for artists like The Rolling Stones and Muddy Waters, the early Rebus novels feature the scruffy detective leaning more toward classical and jazz. But as Rankin got to explore his creation’s habits more, readers saw his musical tastes updated. Also, the introduction of younger characters later in the series opened the door to more modern acts, like Belle and Sebastian. Like the Bosch books, you’re well served starting at the beginning—with Rankin’s sharp, blue-collar, and evocative Knots and Crosses.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 9, 2019

Seven books about remaking the world

Annalee Newitz is an American journalist, editor, and author of fiction and nonfiction. They are the recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship from MIT, and have written for Popular Science, The New Yorker, and the Washington Post. They founded the science fiction website io9 and served as Editor-in-Chief from 2008–2015, and then became Editor-in-Chief at Gizmodo and Tech Culture Editor at Ars Technica. Their book Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction was nominated for the LA Times Book Prize in science. Their first novel, Autonomous, won a Lambda award. The Future of Another Timeline is Newitz's latest book.

At they tagged "seven works that define the new subgenre of geoscience fiction," including:
The Murderbot series by Martha Wells and the Cordelia’s Honor duology by Lois McMaster Bujold

I wanted to mention these two series together because they both feature heroes who are part of planetary survey teams. This is an old trope in science fiction, and shows up a lot in Golden Age stories about people exploring other worlds. Often they’re taking environmental samples and studying geology for the purpose of future mining operations. The Murderbot series begins with a group landing on a planet and studying it for resource exploitation, while the Cordelia’s team in Bujold’s duology—which began her legendary Vorkosigan Saga—appear to be doing basic research for scientific discovery. Either way, the planetary survey team is key to geoscience fiction because they treat planets as holistic systems, looking at everything from their internal composition and ecosystems, to atmosphere and magnetic field.
Read about the other entries on the list.

All Systems Red also appears among Tansy Rayner Roberts and Rivqa Rafael's five top books that give voice to artificial intelligence, T.W. O'Brien's five recent books that explore the secret lives of robots, Sam Reader's top six science fiction novels for fans of Westworld, and Nicole Hill's six robots too smart for their own good.

--Marshal Zeringue