Monday, October 18, 2021

Nine books about love, loss & belonging set in the Caribbean

Myriam J. A. Chancy, Guggenheim Fellow & HBA Chair of the Humanities at Scripps College, is a Haitian-Canadian/American writer born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and subsequently raised there and in Canada. After obtaining her BA in English/Philosophy from the University of Manitoba (1989) and her MA in English Literature from Dalhousie University, she completed her Ph. D. in English at the University of Iowa.

Chancy's new novel on the 2010 Haiti earthquake is What Storm, What Thunder.

At Electric Lit she tagged nine books about love, loss, and belonging set in the Caribbean, including:
The Marvellous Equation of the Dread by Marcia Douglass

In this novel, Douglass weaves an indelible tale of Jamaican life from a deeply spiritual perspective, as she fictionalizes Rastafarian history into a tale for the ages. Bob Marley is reincarnated as a homeless man, Fall Down, who might be a Jamaican Everyman. An unknown deaf woman, Leenah, once Marley’s lover, is a seer who extrapolates the meaning of unexplored spaces between life and death. Told through multiple perspectives, including those of children, and what Douglass calls “bass riddim,” the author brings to life the rhythms of reggae through its many incarnations through her very prose.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Five books on troublesome women in the House of Windsor

Wendy Holden has written numerous books and is a celebrated journalist. She lives in England.

Her latest novel is The Duchess.

At Lit Hub Holden tagged five top books on Troublesome Women in the House of Windsor. One title on the list:
Tina Brown, The Diana Chronicles

Reading for my Diana novel, I’ve found this sparky, irreverent and sharp-witted biography by the celebrated journalist both fascinating and entertaining. Brown, whose background is upmarket British glossy magazines, knew Diana’s milieu well and has some pungent opinions on why what happened happened. She is especially good on Diana’s early life, which is the focus of my book. A breezy and well-informed take on the fairytale which was actually anything but.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Four titles featuring paintings that illuminate their characters

Katie Lattari is the author of two novels, Dark Things I Adore (2021), her thriller debut, and American Vaudeville (2016), a small press work. Her short stories have appeared in such places as NOO Journal, The Bend, Cabildo Quarterly, and more. She lives in Maine with her husband Kevin and Alex the cat.

At CrimeReads Lattari tagged four books featuring paintings that reveal emotional truths about their characters. One title on the list:
Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood (1988)

When painter Elaine Risley returns home to Toronto for a retrospective of her career, she is forced to confront her past, including long-held memories tinged with trauma. As a child, Elaine was the victim of bullying from friends, a girl named Cordelia her particular tormenter. As the two grow up, however, the tables turn, and Elaine becomes the bully and Cordelia the victim. Over the years, the unhealthy relationship between these two frenemies continues until the retrospective, when, despite Elaine’s expectation to the contrary, Cordelia does not attend.

It is through Cordelia’s conspicuous absence that Elaine realizes that at least one of them has left their childish game of one-upmanship behind. Forced to experience her retrospective alone, which is filled with paintings rife with anger and hurt from her past, including intimations of people and moments that have left her wounded and disappointed – Elaine begins to come to terms with the meaning of her paintings and the journey of her career and her life.

The paintings that Elaine must confront seem to form a narrative only legible to her upon reflection. It is a corpus intimating the trials and tribulations of an entire life full of vulnerabilities and truths she must be the one to look upon most closely of all. Elaine must ruminate on what she has made, what these works reflect and refract back to her from various points in her life, and what to make of it all now, armed with her new understanding. The paintings become portals for reflection and revelation.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Cat's Eye is among Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott's ten top cliques in fiction and Jessica Winter's six favorite novels on girl power.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 15, 2021

Seven funny titles about the internal politics of working at a newspaper

Katherine Ashenburg is the prize-winning author of two novels, four non-fiction books and hundreds of articles on subjects that range from travel to mourning customs to architecture. She describes herself as a lapsed Dickensian and as someone who has had a different career every decade. Her work life began with a Ph.D. dissertation about Dickens and Christmas, but she quickly left the academic world for successive careers at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a radio producer; at the Toronto newspaper The Globe and Mail as the arts and books editor; and most recently as a full-time writer.

[ Q&A with Katherine Ashenburg]

Ashenburg's new novel is Her Turn. In it, Liz, a divorced newspaper editor, finds her tidy life overturned when the woman now married to Liz’s ex-husband submits a personal essay to the column Liz edits. Wife #2 has no idea that she is sending her essay to Wife #1, and Liz decides to keep that a secret, with surprising results. Elizabeth Renzetti writes of it, “It is infused with the joyful spirit of Nora Ephron and lit with a charm all its own.”

At Electric Lit Ashenburg tagged seven funny novels about journalists chasing stories and uncovering intrigue, including:
The Spoiler by Annalena McAfee

It’s 1997 and newspapers are beginning to fight for their survival. The novel centers on two women at different ends of the journalistic food chain—Honor, an older, admired war correspondent, and Tamara, a young writer of fluff for an entertainment supplement called Psst. Tamara, who specializes in listicles (“The Best Soap Opera Shags”), has never heard of Franco, thinks zeitgeist is a German magazine and assumes Levi-Strauss is a new kind of jeans. Ambitious to climb an increasingly shaky ladder, she tries to write a feature about the flinty and contemptuous Honor. The gap between two generations and two attitudes to journalism could not be starker, or more darkly amusing.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Six literary works that might be horror novels

James Han Mattson was born in Seoul, Korea and raised in North Dakota. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he has received grants from the Copernicus Society of America and Humanities North Dakota. He has been a featured storyteller on The Moth, and has taught at the University of Iowa, the University of Cape Town, the University of Maryland, the George Washington University, Murray State University, and the University of California – Berkeley. In 2009, he moved to Korea and reunited with his birth family after 30 years of separation.

He is the author of two novels: The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves (2017) and Reprieve (2021). He is currently the fiction editor of Hyphen Magazine.

At CrimeReads he tagged "six books that are widely classified as literary but could have easily made their way over to the horror shelf," including:
Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates

I mean, this book is straight-up horror. I wouldn’t even put it in that nebulous category of “literary horror”, but just, you know: this his horror. It’s about a psychopath who wants to perform ice-pick lobotomies on people so he can have sex with them. Yeah. Beyond grisly. The book even has pictures, one of which shows a head with an ice pick jammed into its brain. Joyce Carol Oates, though, mostly writes more subdued (but still very dark!) novels, and she’s by and large considered a literary luminary, so I don’t ever see any of her books making that trip over to the horror section (which, by the way, no longer exists in most bookstores).
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Seven of the weirdest high schools in literature

Bethany Ball was born in Detroit and now lives in New York with her family.

She is the author of What To Do About The Solomons and the newly released, The Pessimists.

[The Page 69 Test: What To Do About The Solomons.]

At Electic Lit Ball tagged seven "books set in schools where things aren't quite what they seem," including:
Ault School in Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

Upper-class waspy prep schools are something I can’t get enough of. A club so elite they’d never accept me? Please, tell me more. I devoured this book when it came out. Being a Midwesterner myself, I also pined for the J Crew catalog-looking East Coast boarding schools and begged my mother to attend one. However, because we were not rich and I was a fairly terrible student, it was never going to happen. Prep is the quintessential fish out of water story: Lee is Midwestern, not rich, not schooled in the ways of the monied East Coast elite, but she wants desperately to fit in. She finds herself, at least initially, with the outsiders on the margins, but rejects them as she moves closer to the center. Ault School is full of the sort of arcane rituals one expects: names like Tig and Cross and Gates, summers in Nantucket, and the game of Assassin played throughout campus.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Prep is among James Scudamore's ten top books about boarding school, Caroline Zancan's eight stories about what really happens on campus, Lucy Worsley's six best books, and James Browning's ten best boarding school books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Nine current classics in magic and covens and spells

For more than ten years, Fire Lyte has interviewed self-identified witches, fairy experts, goblin hunters, paranormal investigators, and even a werewolf on his podcast Inciting A Riot. His thousands of listeners worldwide tune in as he examines magic, witchcraft, Paganism, and spiritual seekership through a diverse, inclusive lens with a balance of modern science, critical thought, and pop culture. He lives in the Chicago suburbs with his husband and vast array of fur children.

Fire Lyte's new book is The Dabbler's Guide to Witchcraft: Seeking an Intentional Magical Path.

At Lit Hub he tagged nine "stories of witches, a coven of stories if you will, that encompass the history of the witch through time and how these stories are thriving in the modern era." One title on the list:
Madeline Miller, Circe

Madeline Miller’s 2019 masterpiece features history’s first witch, the eponymous Circe. She’s presented as a relatively minor goddess who likely would have been relegated to a footnote in a Classics textbook somewhere except for the fact that she realizes her power doesn’t lie in carrying the sun across the sky like her father Helios, but in the hidden magic and medicine of plants. Miller’s prose is at once familiar and romantic while always teetering on the edge of ripping the reader’s heart out, which is my very favorite kind of book.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Circe is among Elodie Harper's six top novels set in the ancient world, Kiran Millwood Hargrave's seven best books about islands, Zen Cho's six SFF titles about gods and pantheons, Jennifer Saint's ten top books inspired by Greek myth, Adrienne Westenfeld's fifteen feminist books that will inspire, enrage, & educate you, Ali Benjamin's top ten classic stories retold, Lucile Scott's eight books about hexing the patriarchy, E. Foley and B. Coates's top ten goddesses in fiction, Jordan Ifueko's five fantasy titles driven by traumatic family bonds, Eleanor Porter's top ten books about witch-hunts, Emily B. Martin's six stunning fantasies for nature lovers, Allison Pataki's top six books that feature strong female voices, Pam Grossman's thirteen stories about strong women with magical powers, Kris Waldherr's nine top books inspired by mythology, Katharine Duckett's eight novels that reexamine literature from the margins, and Steph Posts' thirteen top novels set in the world of myth.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 11, 2021

Eight novels in which a small town is the perfect crime incubator

L. Alison Heller is the author of The Neighbor’s Secret, The Never Never Sisters and The Love Wars. In a former life, she was an attorney in New York City. She now lives in Colorado with her family.

At CrimeReads Heller tagged eight "favorite novels in which a small town is the perfect incubator for some truly grisly secrets." One title on the list:
Faithful Place by Tana French

Detective Frank Mackey grew up in Faithful Place, a neighborhood consisting of two rows of eight red brick houses in Dublin. At nineteen, he and his girlfriend Rosie O’Daly plotted to flee their small flats and oppressive families for a better life in London. On the night of their planned departure, however, Rosie failed to show up.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Faithful Place is among Katie Tallo's top ten crime novels about returning home.

Also see Janice Hallett's five notable gripping mysteries set in small towns and Sophie Stein's eight top books about small-town woman detectives.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Seven books about older women behaving badly

Amy Lee Lillard is the author of Dig Me Out from Atelier26 Books. She was shortlisted for the 2017 Berlin Writing Prize and named one of Epiphany’s Breakout 8 Writers in 2018. Her fiction and nonfiction appears in Barrelhouse, Foglifter, Epiphany, Off Assignment, and other publications.

Lillard has worked as a copywriter and marketer for over twenty years, working in advertising, corporate communications, trade journalism, and medical education. She has also taught writing at local community colleges and mentored in the PEN America Prison Writing Program.

Lillard is the co-creator, co-host, and producer of Broads and Books, the funny and feminist book podcast.

At Electric Lit she tagged seven books "about women who refuse to disappear and insist on being seen." including:
Animal by Lisa Taddeo

After losing her parents at a young age, Joan has spent her life pursuing men. Especially the married, rich men that serve as father figures. She trades her youthful looks, her body, her emotional labor, for a sense of protection and care. But as she ages, things grow desperate.

When one of the delusional married men kills himself in front of her, she flees. And in California, she discovers her dormant, lifelong rage at men is demanding to come out. This is an intensely deep and nuanced look at a woman who defines herself with men and against women. But with age, with the withering of all her tools of youth, she accesses both a murderous anger and a shocking capacity to love. And with both, she’ll never cede the floor.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Six top books about migration & Caribbean identity in America

Antonio Michael Downing grew up in southern Trinidad, Northern Ontario, Brooklyn, and Kitchener. He is a musician, writer, and activist based in Toronto. His 2010 debut novel, Molasses, was published to critical acclaim. In 2017 he was named by the RBC Taylor Prize as one of Canada's top Emerging Authors for nonfiction. He performs and composes music as John Orpheus.

Downing's new book is Saga Boy: My Life of Blackness and Becoming.

At Lit Hub he tagged six favorite books about migration and Caribbean identity in America, including:
David Chariandy, Brother

This novel is closely based on the author’s experiences growing up in Scarborough, a massive, mostly immigrant section of Toronto; my high school there educated students from at least 70 different nationalities! Brother introduces the complexities of growing up in this melting pot. Chariandy is a masterful stylist, he deftly navigates the stories of immigrant parents as they raise children who are disconnected from them. The parents have “useless foreign degrees” framed on the walls while their children, “oiled creatures of mongoose cunning,” bang hip-hop and kick it in barber shops seeking some sense of belonging. Brother is a celebration of brotherhood, a mediation on the divide between migrants and their children, and an exquisite book.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 8, 2021

Ten books focused on opulent wealth, family secrets & suspense

The author of Nanny Needed, The Stepdaughter, and The Missing Woman, Georgina Cross worked as a journalist and then spent nine years in business development for an aerospace and defense contractor before joining the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce as the workforce director. She lives in Alabama with her husband and four sons.

At CrimeReads Cross tagged ten books focused on opulent wealth, family secrets and suspense. One title on the list:
Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia

In Nekesa Afia’s debut mystery, a young Black woman named Louise is working at a café by day in Harlem and the hottest speakeasy at night in 1920s Manhattan. This is a time for hopes and dreams and great jazz, but to everyone’s horror, someone is killing young Black girls, and no one knows who is behind the murders. After an unfortunate altercation with a police officer and Louise is arrested, her past threatens to lumber her with the consequences she’s been avoiding. Instead, she agrees to help the investigation and find the serial killer who is targeting young Black girls in her neighborhood. With the prejudices of New York society working against her and several influential people standing in her way, Louise must track down the killer before they hurt someone else, and before Louise finds herself in the crosshairs too.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Top 10 books about theatre

Michael Billington has written about theatre for the Guardian since 1971. His books include The 101 Greatest Plays and State of the Nation: British Theatre Since 1945.

His latest book is Affair of the Heart: British Theatre from 1992 to 2020.

At the Guardian Billington tagged his top ten books "on the fugitive art" of theatre, including:
The Empty Space by Peter Brook

This is arguably the most influential theatre book of modern times. Generations of students and practitioners have absorbed Brook’s division of theatre into four categories – deadly, holy, rough, immediate – but this is also a book for the playgoer. Time and again I am struck by Brook’s practical wisdom: that high prices often deter young theatregoers, that a permanent company is doomed to deadliness without a philosophy, that what remains after a performance is a central image. Brook says at the end that his book is already out of date: I’d say it is as topical as ever.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Seven books that grapple with memory & loss

Tom Lin was born in China and immigrated to the United States when he was four. A graduate of Pomona College, he is currently in the PhD program at the University of California, Davis.

The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu is his first novel.

At Electric Lit Lin tagged seven titles that grapple with memory and loss, including:
The Glen Rock Book of the Dead by Marion Winik

In the space of 100 pages, Winik pays poignant and often funny tribute to people in her life who have died. The book is a masterclass in character. Winik resurrects these memorialized dead as epithets—an occupation, a demonym, a relation—and pairs them with finely-wrought prose portraits that run two or three pages at most. In terms of pure word count, this book can be easily finished in a single sitting; in terms of weight and breadth, however, you’ll want to slow down, read and reread, if only to give these remembered phantoms a little more space to breathe, a little more time to linger.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Eight books based on real-life female spies

Stephanie Marie Thornton is a USA Today bestselling author and a high school history teacher. She lives in Alaska with her husband and daughter.

[The Page 69 Test: The Conqueror's WifeWriters Read: Stephanie ThorntonMy Book, The Movie: The Conqueror's Wife]

Her latest book, A Most Clever Girl: A Novel of an American Spy is a novel of love, loyalty, and espionage, based on the incredible true story of Elizabeth Bentley, a Cold War double agent spying for the Russians and the United States.

At CrimeReads Thornton tagged eight favorite books based on real-life female spies. One title on the list:
The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck

Uninterested in gossip or balls, young Virginia Hall instead seeks to help the Allies win the war against Hitler by becoming a spy. Despite having lost part of her leg in a hunting accident—and naming her prosthesis “Cuthbert”—Virginia becomes a pioneering spy early in the war and will be considered by the Gestapo to be the most dangerous of all the Allied Spies. Bold and courageous, this “limping lady” will receive the Distinguished Service Cross for her service during the war.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 4, 2021

Nine books to put your job in perspective

Sophie Stein is an intern at Electric Literature. She was born in Chicago and is currently an MFA candidate at Indiana University, where she is the Fiction Editor of the Indiana Review. Her short fiction has won awards from The Hypertext Review and december magazine; her work has also appeared in The Briar Cliff Review, The Tangerine, and elsewhere.

At Electric Lit Stein tagged nine books that "tackle the clashes inherent in everyday work environments and demonstrate that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel," including:
Empire Falls by Richard Russo

Russo’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel follows Miles Roby, who manages the most popular restaurant in the decaying mill town of Empire Falls, Maine. His manipulative employer has promised to leave the restaurant to him when she dies, but Roby is suspicious. The restaurant isn’t the only thing rooting him in Empire Falls—there’s his weed-growing younger brother, his equally ne’er-do-well father, his almost-ex-wife, and his teenage daughter—an unforgettable cast that slowly reveals Roby’s troubled past and his secrets. This character-driven opus examines America’s blue-collar towns through the lens of work, duty, and family.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Empire Falls is among Weston Williams's top fifteen books with memorable dads.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Six books set in, and about, New York

Vince Passaro is the author of the novel Crazy Sorrow.

His criticism and essays have appeared in many prominent publications, including Harper’s Magazine, of which he is a contributing editor, The Nation, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Elle, Salon, and others, along with short fiction in such national magazines and literary journals as Esquire, GQ, Open City, Agni, Story, Boulevard, and Quarterly West. His first book, Violence, Nudity, Adult Content: A Novel, was published in 2002. He lives a few miles north of New York City in an old Huguenot town with his wife, son, and a smattering of film cameras, fountain pens, and other fellow-traveling refuse from the mid-20th century.

At Lit Hub Passaro tagged six favorite books set in, and about, New York. One title on the list:
Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis

Not DeLillo’s most famous book, it nevertheless delivers perfectly on its conceit, a late 90s wunderkind banker, not yet 30, in his white stretch limo, a young man with no end of technology in his car and immense power over global currency markets, crossing Manhattan on 47th Street from east to west one day to get a haircut. It’s a wild and brilliant ride and takes all day. The book has an appearance by Bill Clinton, a Sufi rapper funeral, a labor strike accompanied by the big blow-up plastic rat swooning on the sidewalk and actual dead rats to heave at the rich—as well as a ghostly young wife and an assassin. What could go wrong?
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Six notable novels set in the ancient world

Elodie Harper is a journalist and prize-winning short story writer. Her story 'Wild Swimming' won the 2016 Bazaar of Bad Dreams short story competition, which was judged by Stephen King.

She is currently a reporter at ITV News Anglia, and before that worked as a producer for Channel 4 News. Her job as a journalist has seen her join one of the most secretive wings of the Church of Scientology and cover the far right hip hop scene in Berlin, as well as crime reporting in Norfolk where her first two novels were set – The Binding Song and The Death Knock.

Harper studied Latin poetry both in the original and in translation as part of her English Literature degree at Oxford, instilling a lifelong interest in the ancient world. The Wolf Den is the first in a trilogy of novels about the lives of women in ancient Pompeii.

At the Waterstones blog Harper tagged six favorite novels set in the ancient world, including:
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls is a visceral recreation of the Greek siege of Troy told from the perspective of the captured and prostituted women who were enslaved by the Greek heroes. The relationship between the central character Briseis and her legendary owner/lover Achilles is depicted with a total lack of sentimentality and Barker is unflinching in depicting the psychological and physical horrors the women would have faced, without being overly graphic. It is an approach that upends the myth’s sense of familiarity, forcing you to look at some of literature’s most famous characters with new eyes.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Silence of the Girls is among Abbie Greaves's ten top books about silence and Kris Waldherr's ten favorite books inspired by mythology.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 1, 2021

Six of the best bookstore romances

Mimi Granger began her publishing career writing historical romance. Many years later, there’s still nothing she likes better than a happily-ever-after...as long as there’s a little murder and mayhem thrown in. Her Love is Murder mystery series provides the perfect opportunity to salute the two genres she loves most—romance and mystery—and to play out every reader’s dream of owning a fabulous bookstore. Granger lives outside of Cleveland with her own personal romance hero and two dogs: Eliot, an enthusiastic Airedale, and Lucy, who provides the inspiration for Violet in her stories (including the incredible amount of shed fur).

The newest Love is Murder mystery is Death of a Red-Hot Rancher.

At CrimeReads Granger tagged six novels in which romance blooms in the stacks, including:
The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs

Natalie Harper inherits her mother’s financially strapped bookshop and also becomes the caretaker of her ailing grandfather. When Grandpa’s health declines, Natalie decides to sell the shop and the aging building that houses it. There’s only one problem: Grandpa owns the building and he refuses to sell. Enter Peach Gallagher, a contractor hired to handle repairs. So begins Natalie’s journey of making new connections and discovering the truth about her family, her future, and her own heart.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Top 10 books about human consciousness

Charles Foster is a Fellow of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford.

His books cover many fields. They include books on travel, evolutionary biology, natural history, anthropology, theology, archaeology, philosophy and law. Ultimately they are all attempts to answer the questions ‘Who or what are we?’, and ‘what on earth are we doing here?

Foster's newest book is Being a Human: Adventures in 40,000 years of consciousness. It tries to answer the question ‘What sort of creature is a human?’

At the Guardian Foster tagged ten top books about human consciousness, including:
Nine-Headed Dragon River by Peter Matthiessen

Matthiessen, best known for The Snow Leopard, was an advanced Zen practitioner. This book contains some of his meditation diaries. They’re full of vertiginous worked examples, showing how to watch your own mind working.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see Adrian Owen's top ten books about consciousness.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Ten notable books about water

Giulio Boccaletti is a globally recognized expert on natural resource security and environmental sustainability. He is an honorary research associate at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford. Trained as a physicist and climate scientist, he holds a doctorate from Princeton University, where he was a NASA Earth Systems Science Fellow. He has been a research scientist at MIT and was a partner at McKinsey & Company, where he was one of the leaders of its Sustainability and Resource Productivity Practice, and the chief strategy officer and global ambassador for water at The Nature Conservancy, one of the world’s largest environmental organizations.

Boccaletti's new book is Water: A Biography.

At Lit Hub he tagged ten top books about water, including:
Frances Perkins, The Roosevelt I Knew

Perkins was in the Roosevelt administration. The first woman to hold a cabinet office in the history of the United States, she was a leader of remarkable consequence. Aside from being the longest serving Secretary of Labor, she was the architect of countless policy reforms, not least the architect of Social Security. The book is interesting both because of who wrote it and because of the portrait of FDR that emerges. Through her words, amongst other things, you see just how devoted Roosevelt was to the success of the Tennessee Valley Authority as a model for the world. Plus, it is well written: a first-person account of one of the most important periods in modern American history. Well worth it.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Five notable aviation books

T.J. Newman, a former bookseller turned flight attendant, worked for Virgin America and Alaska Airlines from 2011 to 2021.

She wrote much of Falling, her first novel, on cross-country red-eye flights while her passengers were asleep.

Newman lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

At the Waterstones blog she tagged five favorite stories set in the world of aviation, including:
Flight 232 by Laurence Gonzales

An absolutely gripping piece of real-life detective work, Gonzales' meticulous piecing together of a horrific aeroplane crash from survivors' testimonies and official records reads like the most page-turning fiction.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Newman's Falling is among Louise Candlish's six top mysteries set on moving vehicles.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 27, 2021

Ten mysteries featuring the high country of the American West

Margaret Mizushima is the author of the award-winning and internationally published Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. She serves as president for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, was elected the 2019 Writer of the Year by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and is also a member of Northern Colorado Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Women Writing the West. She lives in Colorado on a small ranch with her veterinarian husband where they raised two daughters and a multitude of animals.

Mizushima's latest novel is Striking Range.

[Coffee with a Canine: Margaret Mizushima & Hannah, Bertie, Lily and TessCoffee with a Canine: Margaret Mizushima & HannahMy Book, The Movie: Burning RidgeThe Page 69 Test: Burning RidgeThe Page 69 Test: Tracking GameMy Book, The Movie: Hanging FallsThe Page 69 Test: Hanging FallsQ&A with Margaret Mizushima]

At Crimereads Mizushima tagged ten mysteries in which the rugged terrain and unforgiving elements of the high country of the American West become characters central to the story, including:
Dana Stabenow, A Cold Day for Murder

New York Times bestselling author Dana Stabenow writes the Kate Shugak novels set in the Alaskan wilderness among millions of mountainous acres that comprise The Park. A Cold Day for Murder is book one of twenty-two in the series and introduces Kate Shugak, an Aleut who left her home village of Niniltna to pursue education and a career in the justice system. When two national park rangers go missing, Kate, a former investigator for the Anchorage DA, is called back from a self-imposed exile to help find them. Readers can immerse themselves in the rugged Alaskan mountains as they follow Kate and her canine partner Mutt from one adventure to another in this terrific series.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 26, 2021

The top 10 party girls in literature

Marlowe Granados is a writer and filmmaker.

She co-hosts The Mean Reds, a podcast dedicated to women-led films. Her advice column, "Designs for Living," appears in The Baffler. After spending time in New York and London, Granados currently resides in Toronto. Happy Hour is her début novel.

At Electric List she tagged ten favorite titles featuring "glittering characters who pursue pleasure in a world that doesn't want them to succeed," including:
Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys

When I think of a Rhys novel, I envision scenes of a lone woman drinking Pernod at a café she can’t afford and gazing at shop windows for a dress she’ll spend the last of her allowance on. Good Morning, Midnight follows a middle-aged Sasha Jansen as she returns to Paris and is haunted by memories of a life that she’ll never return to. Rhys’s talent is in painting a scene that at turns is tragic, but cut through with moments of humor and lightness.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Good Morning, Midnight is among Leslie Jamison's six top books about addiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Top 10 novels of the 1930s

Alec Marsh is the author of the Drabble & Harris books.

Rule Britannia, a light-hearted historical adventure set against the backdrop of the Abdication Crisis in 1936, is the first in a series featuring protagonists Ernest Drabble and Percival Harris. The second novel in the series, Enemy of the Raj, is set in British India in 1937. The latest installment, Ghosts of the West, sees Drabble and Harris journey to the United States. Marsh is working on the fourth book in the series which will be set in Turkey.

At the Guardian Marsh tagged ten top novels of the 1930s, including:
Right Ho, Jeeves by PG Wodehouse

Jeeves, who first appeared in 1915, is an Edwardian immortal who had barely got into his stride in 1934 when this second full-length Jeeves and Wooster novel appeared. Regarded by some as the best in the series, John le Carré said it was one of his favourite books, and Stephen Fry is a noted admirer. Gerald Gould, reviewing it for the Observer, described it as “one long scream from start to finish”. It has a great comedic conceit: that Wooster is fed up with friends asking Jeeves for help, so insists on solving their problems for himself. In the end, only one gentleman’s gentleman can possibly save the day. Jeeves and Bertie, of course, kept going until 1974.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Right Ho, Jeeves is among Michael Hogan's top ten bachelors.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 24, 2021

Five books about death & what comes next

TJ Klune is a Lambda Literary Award-winning author (Into This River I Drown) and an ex-claims examiner for an insurance company. His novels include the Green Creek series, The House on the Cerulean Sea and The Extraordinaries. Being queer himself, Klune believes it's important—now more than ever—to have accurate, positive, queer representation in stories.

His new novel is Flash Fire, the sequel to The Extraordinaries.

[Q&A with TJ KluneThe Page 69 Test: Flash Fire]

At Tor.com Klune tagged five books about death and what comes next, including:
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

A different take on what comes next. The novel follows a girl named Susie Salmon who is murdered at the age of fourteen. She finds her heaven, but worries about those left behind: her family. Sebold’s prose is lovely and kind, even given the heavy subject matter. This novel is heartbreakingly wonderful look at the relationships between parents and their children, and what they do in order to protect each other. It’s also an unflinching look at grief, both Susie’s and her community reeling from her murder. There is a film version of this novel helmed by Peter Jackson (of Lord of the Rings fame), but to me, it loses something in the translation. In this case, the book is much, much better than the adaptation.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Lovely Bones is among Tim Thornton's top ten books about the afterlife, Louise Doughty's top ten ghost stories, Tim Thornton's top ten books about the afterlife, Jeff Somers's top eight speculative works with dead narrators, Nadiya Hussain's six best books, Judith Claire Mitchell's ten best (unconventional) ghosts, Laura McHugh's ten favorite books about serial killers, and Tamzin Outhwaite's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Top 10 books about lies and liars

Aja Raden studied ancient history and physics at the University of Chicago and, during that time, worked as the Head of the Auction Division at the famed House of Kahn. For over seven years, she worked as the Senior Designer for Los Angeles-based fine jewelry company Tacori. Raden is an experienced jeweler, trained scientist, and well-read historian. Her expertise sits at the intersection of academic history, industry experience, and scientific perspective. Raden's books include the New York Times bestseller Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World.

Her latest book is The Truth About Lies: The Illusion of Honesty and the Evolution of Deceit.

At the Guardian Raden tagged ten of her favorite books about lies and liars, including:
The Folly of Fools by Robert Trivers

So how do we work? Well, inconsistently, and with a great deal of contradiction according to one of the brilliant evolutionary theorists of our time, who argues that self-deception has been selected for on every level of biological life, from the microscopic, to us, the readers, because to lie to others we must first possess the ability to lie to ourselves. The Folly of Fools is evolutionary biology at its best; dense with bench science and psychology, yet wonderfully readable.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue