Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Five top novels that explore anarchist society, philosophy, or struggle

Margaret Killjoy's new book is The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion, the first installment in the Danielle Cain series.

At Tor.com she tagged five "amazing novels that explore anarchist society, philosophy, or struggle," including:
The Steel Tsar by Michael Moorcock

Not all anarchist fiction is so serious. Some of it is just downright fun. No one does classic pulp adventure with an anti-authoritarian edge like Michael Moorcock. The Steel Tsar is the last in Moorcock’s Nomad In the Time Stream trilogy, which for the record is the earliest completely-and-utterly-steampunk work I’ve ever been able to find. I could kind of ramble on about Moorcock and all of the unacknowledged influences he’s had on this world (tabletop RPGs owe Moorcock at least as much credit as they owe Tolkien, plus he invented the chaos star, plus… steampunk…), but instead I’ll just tell you that The Steel Tsar has airships, nuclear weapons, a robotic Stalin, and the Ukranian anarchist Nestor Makhno. Which is to say, in the hands of a practiced master like Moorcock, you really can’t go wrong.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 21, 2017

Six delicious high-concept YA novels

Sona Charaipotra is a New York City-based writer and editor with more than a decade’s worth of experience in print and online media. At the BN Teen blog she tagged six "delicious 'why didn’t I think of that' high-concept stories," including:
Windfall, by Jennifer E. Smith

What would you do if you won a million bucks? That’s the question at the heart of Smith’s Windfall. Unlucky in life, love, and pretty much everything else, orphaned Alice has always found comfort in her pal Teddy, whom she’s secretly loved for years. Soon after her 18th birthday, she buys him a lottery ticket—and he wins $140 million. As they grapple with the fallout of this astonishing windfall, they’ll question everything they know about themselves, their relationship, and the world around them.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Ten unputdownable suspense novels, thrillers, & other creepy books

Kathleen Barber's debut novel Are You Sleeping is about "inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a mega-hit podcast that reopens a murder case—and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter."One of the author's top ten "suspense novels, thrillers, and other creepy books...when it comes to all-night reading binges," as shared at Publishers Weekly:
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

I am a huge Ruth Ware fangirl—I loved In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10—and so I was excited to get my hands on her latest. The book follows a group of former boarding school classmates who, summoned by an ominous text message sent by one of their own, gather to address a terrible incident from their shared past. It’s an intense page-turner that hit all the right notes for me with its rendition of an intense, exclusive teenage friendship, its spooky setting of a decaying mill surrounded by water, and plenty of secrets and lies.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five great books to help prepare the soon-to-be-middle schooler

At the BN Kids Blog Rachel Sarah tagged five great books to help prepare the soon-to-be-middle schooler, including:
How to Survive Middle School, by Donna Gephart

I wish I’d had this book when I was starting middle school. Sixth-grader David Greenberg’s idol is comedian Jon Stewart, so he spends all his free time with his best friend recording YouTube episodes starring his pet hamster. Until school starts and David’s best friend abandons him. It’s not the first time. David’s mother abandoned him years earlier, and these moments in the story made me reach for a box of tissues. Not for long, though, as David finds comfort in Sophie Meyers, a homeschooled redhead who smells like peppermint. I couldn’t put down this story about family, friendship, betrayal, and survival. The best part? It’s really funny.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Five books on America's problem with white supremacy

At the Guardian, Nadja Sayej shared books from "[f]ive history professors, pundits and human rights organizations [who] have recommended five historical titles that shed light on the history of white supremacy in the country," including:
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson

This title illustrates how white supremacy over the past 150 years has halted the progress of civil rights for Americans when it comes to access to basic human needs like healthcare, education and housing.

The award-winning book had its genesis as a Washington Post op-ed after the 2014 riots in Ferguson, Missouri following the death of an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, at the hands of a white police officer. While some media pundits described the unrest as “black rage”, the book’s author, a professor of African American studies at Emory University, traced it to “white rage at work”. “If you’re wondering ‘how did we get here?’ after the events in Charlottesville, this book helps answer that question,” said Amanda Chavez Barnes, deputy director of the US Human Rights Network. “Many people have remained in denial about the role of white supremacy in America,” she said, adding, “Even now they are unwilling or unable to recognize white rage until it appears as the torch-carrying, screaming face of violence and murder that we saw in Charlottesville.”
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 18, 2017

Ten top road trip books

At LitHub Emily Temple tagged ten "essential road trip books that aren’t On the Road," including:
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

People tend to forget that Lolita is not only the story of a pedophile’s angst, but also that of an immigrant on an Americana-infused, aimless road trip, the only destination in sight a nebulous and reprehensible one. Possibly the most beautifully-written and morally disturbing road trip novel ever written.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Lolita appears on Olivia Sudjic's list of eight favorite books about love and obsession, Jeff Somers's list of five best worst couples in literature, Brian Boyd's ten best list of Vladimir Nabokov books, Billy Collins' six favorite books list, Charlotte Runcie's list of the ten best bad mothers in literature, Kathryn Williams's list of fifteen notable works on lust, Boris Kachka's six favorite books list, Fiona Maazel's list of the ten worst fathers in books, Jennifer Gilmore's list of the ten worst mothers in books, Steven Amsterdam's list of five top books that have anxiety at their heart, John Banville's five best list of books on early love and infatuation, Kathryn Harrison's list of favorite books with parentless protagonists, Emily Temple's list of ten of the greatest kisses in literature, John Mullan's list of ten of the best lakes in literature, Dan Vyleta's top ten list of books in second languages, Rowan Somerville's top ten list of books of good sex in fiction, Henry Sutton's top ten list of unreliable narrators, Adam Leith Gollner's top ten list of fruit scenes in literature, Laura Hird's literary top ten list, Monica Ali's ten favorite books list, Laura Lippman's 5 most important books list, Mohsin Hamid's 10 favorite books list, and Dani Shapiro's 10 favorite books list. It is Lena Dunham's favorite book.

--Marshal Zeringue

Fourteen YA novels even better than the authors' debuts

At the BN Teen Blog Dahlia Adler tagged books by "fourteen authors whose second novels have made it clear they’re only getting better as they go," including:
How to Make a Wish, by Ashley Herring Blake

Ashley Herring Blake is rapidly becoming a master of writing stories of falling in somewhat contentious romantic love, while familial love proves to be considerably trickier and more complex to grasp. Here, that means that while Grace is falling in love with Eva, a dancer who moves to town while grieving her mother’s death, she’s struggling with the fact that her own mom, Maggie, has made a decision so utterly selfish, it’s unclear whether she realizes she even has a daughter to consider. Then Maggie takes it upon herself to finally be the mother Grace has always dreamed she would be…only it’s to Eva, and that makes everything even more complicated in this beautiful girl-girl romance.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Top ten twists in fiction

Sophie Hannah's newest novel is Did You See Melody?

One of her ten top twists in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Not all superb twists need to come at the end. There’s a twist in the middle of this classic novel that takes it to another level of passion, intrigue and excitement. There are hints before the big reveal, but not even the most imaginative reader would dare to imagine the truth. Twists in the middles of stories rather than at their ends tend to say: “And what do we all think now?” rather than, “So THIS is what we’re supposed to think!” – and this one does that brilliantly.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Jane Eyre also made Gail Honeyman's list of five of her favorite idiosyncratic characters, Kate Hamer's top ten list of books about adopted children, a list of four books that changed Vivian Gornick, Meredith Borders's list of ten of the scariest gothic romances, Esther Inglis-Arkell's top ten list of the most horribly mistreated first wives in Gothic fiction, Martine Bailey’s top six list of the best marriage plots in novels, Radhika Sanghani's top ten list of books to make sure you've read before graduating college, Lauren Passell's top five list of Gothic novels, Molly Schoemann-McCann's lists of ten fictional men who have ruined real live romance and five of the best--and more familiar--tropes in fiction, Becky Ferreira's lists of seven of the best fictional depictions of female friendship and the top six most momentous weddings in fiction, Julia Sawalha's six best books list, Honeysuckle Weeks's six best books list, Kathryn Harrison's list of six favorite books with parentless protagonists, Megan Abbott's top ten list of novels of teenage friendship, a list of Bettany Hughes's six best books, the Guardian's top 10 lists of "outsider books" and "romantic fiction;" it appears on Lorraine Kelly's six best books list, Esther Freud's top ten list of love stories, and Jessica Duchen's top ten list of literary Gypsies, and on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best governesses in literature, ten of the best men dressed as women, ten of the best weddings in literature, ten of the best locked rooms in literature, ten of the best pianos in literature, ten of the best breakfasts in literature, ten of the best smokes in fiction, and ten of the best cases of blindness in literature. It is one of Kate Kellaway's ten best love stories in fiction.

The Page 99 Test: Jane Eyre.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Five books with bargains you don’t want to make

Emily Lloyd-Jones's latest novel is The Hearts We Sold. At Tor.com she shared her five "favorite books featuring deals you probably don’t want to make!" One title on the list:
Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba

So you’re walking along. You find a notebook dropped by a death spirit. The death spirit explains that this notebook has magical powers. You can write a person’s name in it, and they’ll die instantly. Do you begin a spree of taking out the criminals that plague your nation? Or do you chalk up the experience to dehydration, put the notebook in the lost and found, and go on your merry way?

Trust me, take Option B.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Fifty must-read regency romances

At B&N Reads Tara Sonin tagged fifty of the best regency romances, including:
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Jane Austen should be incredibly satisfied that all of these regency romances evolved from the tradition her novels inspired. This classic tale of misconceptions, miscommunication, and misguided interference between a cold, stoic man and a woman who thinks she has him all figured out has endured the test of time.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Pride and Prejudice also appears on Grant Ginder's top ten list of book characters we love to hate, Katy Guest's list of six of the best depictions of shyness in fiction, Garry Trudeau's six favorite books list, Tara Sonin's list of seven sweet and swoony romances for wedding season, Ross Johnson's list of seven of the greatest rivalries in fiction, Helen Dunmore's six best books list, Jenny Kawecki's list of eight fictional characters who would make the best travel companions, Peter James's top ten list of works of fiction set in or around Brighton, Ellen McCarthy's list of six favorite books about weddings and marriage, the Telegraph's list of the ten greatest put-downs in literature, Rebecca Jane Stokes' list of ten fictional families you might enjoy more than the one you'll actually spend the holidays with, Melissa Albert's lists of five fictional characters who deserved better, [fifteen of the] romantic leads (and wannabes) of Austen’s brilliant books and recommended reading for eight villains, Molly Schoemann-McCann's list of ten fictional men who have ruined real live romance, Emma Donoghue's list of five favorite unconventional fictional families, Amelia Schonbek's list of five approachable must-read classics, Jane Stokes's top ten list of the hottest men in required reading, Gwyneth Rees's top ten list of books about siblings, the Observer's list of the ten best fictional mothers, Paula Byrne's list of the ten best Jane Austen characters, Robert McCrum's list of the top ten opening lines of novels in the English language, a top ten list of literary lessons in love, Simon Mason's top ten list of fictional families, Cathy Cassidy's top ten list of stories about sisters, Paul Murray's top ten list of wicked clerics, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best housekeepers in fiction, ten great novels with terrible original titles, and ten of the best visits to Brighton in literature, Luke Leitch's top ten list of the most successful literary sequels ever, and is one of the top ten works of literature according to Norman Mailer. Richard Price has never read it, but it is the book Mary Gordon cares most about sharing with her children.

The Page 99 Test: Pride and Prejudice.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 14, 2017

Ruth Ware's six favorite books about boarding schools

Ruth Ware is the author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game. One of her six favorite books about boarding schools, as shared at The Week magazine:
Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers

Set in an Oxford women's college, this is an enormously satisfying read — not just because of its happy ending, but also because of Sayers' pitch-perfect evocation of the febrile atmosphere that breaks out when a poison pen begins to work in the little community.
Read about the other books on the list.

Gaudy Night is among Kate Macdonald's top ten conservative novels and Anna Quindlen's favorite mystery novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Six of the best zombie novels

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Ceridwen Christensen tagged six top zombie novels. One title on the list:
Zone One, by Colson Whitehead

In Whitehead’s novel, in addition to the usual slow, collecting mob, there exists a small number of undead called “stragglers,” who are frozen in tableau while doing everyday things—flying a kite, running a copy machine. The characters ruminate on these creatures: was this the action that defined the straggler’s life, or just a random moment caught like a photo? (This results in some mordant comedy, such as when one character blows away a straggler standing over a fast food deep fryer “on principle.”) Zone One is less a genre exercise than a eulogy to a lost New York, and the stragglers, as they stand rotting, fit beautifully into his observations and reflections. Is our memory of the past random or representative?
Read about the other entries on the list.

Zone One is among Corey J. White's five top books about the collapse of New York City.

--Marshal Zeringue