Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Seven top retellings of "Alice in Wonderland"

At Tor.com Natalie Zutter tagged seven of the best retellings of Alice in Wonderland, including:
Alice in Sunderland by Bryan Talbot

The greatest shipbuilding port in the world during Lewis Carroll’s time and a supposed inspiration for his Alice books (it literally rhymes with “Wonderland”), Sunderland possesses a rich history. In his 300-page, nonlinear graphic novel, writer-illustrator Bryan Talbot delves into Carroll’s famous visits and the legacy of the area itself in relation to art and imagination. To do so, Talbot must draw himself into the narrative; true to the book’s subtitle—An Entertainment—he takes on the roles of both Traveler and Storyteller for what Teen Reads describes as “theatrical performance with academic lecture.” Fitting with Alice’s journey, it’s the kind of topsy-turvy tour that readers should just give themselves over to, and all the nonsense will give way to sense.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Three of the best books on Ethiopia

At the Guardian, Pushpinder Khaneka tagged three top books on Ethiopia. One title on the list:
Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengiste

Mengiste’s novel of the early years of Ethiopia’s revolution begins in 1974 as student demonstrations and famine lead to the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie by the military. She creates an intimate portrait of an extended family, and it is through their eyes that we see the revolution unfolding – and descending into chaos and brutality.

Hailu, a respected surgeon in Addis Ababa, and his elder son Yonas, a university professor, prefer to keep their distance from Ethiopia’s violent and dangerous politics. But the younger son, Dawit, is determined to be politically active. Initially, he is a student protestor against the emperor and supports the Marxist junta. Later, when the military begins to crush dissent and sow terror, he becomes a brave and dogged opponent of the regime. Dawit recalls his mother telling him that “hope can never come from doing nothing”.

When the military forces Hailu to treat a young woman who has been horrifically tortured, a decision he makes causes him and his family to be swept up in the political storm.

This compassionate, tightly woven tale immediately draws the reader into its unfurling domestic and political drama. It’s an impressive literary debut.

Mengiste’s family left Ethiopia when she was a child; she now lives in the US.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Smithsonian" magazine's ten best history books of 2017

One of Smithsonian magazine's ten best history books of 2017:
Ali: A Life by Jonathan Eig.

Much has been written about the many dimensions of Muhammad Ali’s life, namely his boxing prowess. In this tome, Jonathan Eig sets out to write the definitive biography of “The Greatest,” complete with information from more than 500 contemporary interviews, hours of interviews from the 1960s, and thousands of pages from newly released Department of Justice and FBI files. He follows the arc of the man’s life, from his humble beginnings in Louisville to his larger-than-life success as a boxer. Ali isn’t a saint-like figure, though; interviews with those close to him suggest that the man was a bundle of contradiction, both fighting for racial justice and hurting those who loved him.
Learn about the other entries on the list.

My Book, The Movie: Ali: A Life.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 11, 2017

Six notable books about self-deception

Emily Fridlund is the author of the story collection Catapult and History of Wolves, a debut novel that was a finalist for the Man Booker Award. One of her six favorite books about self-deception, as shared at The Week magazine:
Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam

This is one of the most unflinching and seductive novels I know about a man's drive to deceive himself. David Lamb kidnaps an 11-year-old girl and takes her on a road trip out West, all the while telling himself, and her, the sweepingly romantic story that he is rescuing her from her lonely suburban life.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seventeen books for "Jane Eyre" lovers

At Bustle, Kristian Wilson tagged seventeen books for Jane Eyre lovers, including:
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Lyndsay Faye's eponymous heroine murdered the schoolmasters who made her life miserable. Then she disappeared. Now her late aunt's second husband, Mr. Thornfield, needs a governess, and the job might be just the thing to help her create a life off the run.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Seven top middle grade mysteries

At the BN Kids Blog Maria Burel tagged "seven middle grade mysteries to cozy up with on dreary days," including:
Absolutely Truly, by Heather Vogel Frederick

Truly Lovejoy is accustomed to change. Her father’s military career means they move often. But the kind of change that comes when her father loses an arm in Afghanistan and decides to move the family to middle-of-nowhere Pumpkin Falls to take over the family bookstore is a little more than Truly can handle. During the middle of a bitter cold New Hampshire winter, Truly finds a mysterious letter tucked into the pages of a rare book. The letter starts her on a journey that will not only lead her into mysteries of the past, but also draw her closer to the current residents of her new hometown.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Four books that changed Jesse Blackadder

Jesse Blackadder is an author and screenwriter. She has published seven books for adults and children. Her latest novel, Sixty Seconds, is about a family's journey to forgiveness after their toddler son drowns. One of four books that changed the author, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
THE WOMEN'S ROOM - Marilyn French

I read this novel at 15 and felt the electrifying sensation that an author had somehow understood my unarticulated feelings and written them on the page. I felt a powerful sense of recognition and identification with the main character Mira, even though I was growing up 10 years later than the 1950s setting in which Mira was coming of age. My deeply felt feminism was given form and voice by reading The Women's Room.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Five top food history books

At B&N Reads Madina Papadopoulos tagged five top food books for history buffs, including:
Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, by Bee Wilson

When foodies discuss their favorite dishes and chefs, they tend to forget the silent guest at every meal: the eating utensil. But food writer Bee Wilson is here to remind us in beautifully detailed descriptions and history just how important forks are. Looking at how humans first began to use utensils, how those tools evolved, and in turn, how they affected food, Wilson takes an in-depth look at metal forks, wooden spoons, chopsticks, and their friends. After reading Consider the Fork, eaters might find a newfound appreciation when loading the dishwasher.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 8, 2017

Ten essential books of the American West

Alex Higley's new novel is Old Open.

One of the author's ten favorite books about the American West, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
The Works of Love by Wright Morris

I’m not sure if it was the accretion of mentions of Wright Morris by Michael Silverblatt on Bookworm over the years that caused me to seek Morris’s work out, or if it was that I stumbled across his photography while deep in a Robert Adams image search. Probably one of those two scenarios, or both, is the truth. When I finally did read Morris, The Works of Love, the experience was haunted. His interests and humor and his eye, all felt modern and deeply familiar to me. It was one of those instances where I felt reading the book, “I know this writer.” Here’s the opening: “In the dry places, men begin to dream. Where the rivers run sand, there is something in man that begins to flow. West of the 98th Meridian–where it sometimes rains and it sometimes doesn’t–towns, like weeds, spring up when it rains, dry up when it stops.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten of the unlikeliest SFF love stories ever told

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and the Ustari Cycle from Pocket/Gallery, including We Are Not Good People. At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog he tagged ten times sci-fi & fantasy went looking for love outside our species, including:
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers

There are several interspecies romances in Chambers’ delightful debut novel, including one between the nominal main character Rosemary and the reptile-like alien Sissix—who overcomes his distaste for the way humans smell—and a one-sided love affair between a technician and the AI that runs their ship. Chambers assumes that if you cram numerous sentient biological—and, er, non-biological—entities onto a ship together and send them on an extended trip across the stars, eventually, love will find a way. We have to agree.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Five books for getting a feel for the South Carolina Lowcountry

At MapQuest Travel Rebecca Robertson tagged five top books for getting a feel for the South Carolina Lowcountry, including:
Pawleys Island by Dorothea Benton Frank

Set in the "arrogantly shabby" setting of Pawleys Island in Georgetown County, this book with the same name follows Rebecca Simms after the dissolution of her marriage. Rebecca comes to the island to make a fresh start, but a cast of island characters changes her life once she's invited into their circle of friendship.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Top ten novels about God

Neil Griffiths is the author of Betrayal in Naples, winner of Authors' Club Best First Novel, and Saving Caravaggio, shortlisted for the Costa Best Novel of the Year. His new novel is As a God Might Be. One of the author's ten top novels about God, as shared at the Guardian:
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The first “God is dead” narrative, and Ivan Karamazov is its storyteller. In the chapter Mutiny, he explains to Aloysha, his younger brother and novice monk, why he is returning his ticket to be present at the end of time when all those who have suffered are finally redeemed. Focusing on reports of the torture and murder of children with a kind of ecstatic glee, he asks Aloysha whether he himself would make a world that ends with universal love at the cost of a single child’s suffering. It is the question all believers must ask themselves and then live with the answer.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Brothers Karamazov made Becky Ferreira's list of the eight best siblings in literature, Alexandra Silverman's list of four famous writers who spent time in jail, Paul Murray's top ten list of wicked priests in fiction, James Runcie's top ten list of books about brothers, and is one of the top ten works of literature according to Norman Mailer.

--Marshal Zeringue