Saturday, January 21, 2017

Six awesome diverse YA thrillers

At the BN Teen Blog Eric Smith tagged six top diverse YA thrillers to read right now, including:
A Fierce and Subtle Poison, by Samantha Mabry

In this beautiful debut blending magical realism with a light retelling of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Rappaccini’s Daughter, a teenager named Lucas grows up hearing legends of a cursed girl, her body full of poison and gifted with magic. These rumors? Turns out they are all too true. After Lucas’s girlfriend is found dead on the beach with other locals, Isabel appears, sending him letters and drawing him into her world of magic and legend. This is a lyrical, heartbreaking book that’s incredibly sad and gorgeously imagined. Magic is mashed together with thrills and mystery, as Lucas tries to unravel the murders and the secrets of the poisoned girl.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Page 69 Test: A Fierce and Subtle Poison.

Writers Read: Samantha Mabry (May 2016).

--Marshal Zeringue

Five recommended books for Donald Trump

At the Guardian books blog Danuta Kean recommended a few books for Donald Trump, including:
One Billion Customers by James McGregor.

The man who built up the Dow Jones’s operation in China can offer the former star of The Apprentice useful tips on how to deal with the world’s biggest markets. No dry textbook, McGregor’s book provides insights into China that are witty, informed and might just prevent the new leader sparking a catastrophic trade war.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 20, 2017

Five top big, engrossing books

At B&N Reads Jenny Shank tagged five "big, engrossing books to get buried under when it’s cold and blustery outside," including:
Look At Me, by Jennifer Egan

Egan is probably best known for her sharp, spare 2011 novel-in-stories A Visit From the Goon Squad, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle award. But if a three-day blizzard is heading your way, you’re going to need more pages to turn, so check out her 500-pager Look At Me. It’s the involving and circuitous tale of a model whose face is damaged in a car accident then reconstructed, leaving her still beautiful but unrecognizable to those who knew her. Egan interweaves the stories of a wayward professor, a yearning teenage girl, and a mysterious chameleon-like man in a tale that remains eerily relevant.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Look At Me is one of Julie Christie's seven favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Top ten megacities in fiction

Chibundu Onuzo is the author of Welcome to Lagos. One of her top 10 megacities in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
Saturday by Ian McEwan

One day in the life of central London, including diverted traffic, brain surgery and armed robbery. If you wonder how 24 hours in one man’s life could be so eventful, you must live in the suburbs. Henry Perowne, neurosurgeon, is an intelligent mind wandering through the British capital, and there is little he doesn’t pause to ponder on: from the BT Tower, to squash, to the war in Iraq. One of my favourite state-of-the-nation novels.
Read about the other books on the list.

Saturday also appears among Jimmy So's five best 9/11 novels, and on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best good doctors in literature and ten of the best prime ministers in fiction.

Also see: nine of the greatest (worst) megacities in sci-fi.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Five great novels that will probably never be made into movies

At the B&N Reads blog Brian Boone tagged five great novels that will probably never be made into movies, including:
The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger

It’s arguably the most famous 20th century American novel, probably because it’s almost a rite of passage to read it during or after adolescence. The mystique of The Catcher in the Rye has only grown over the decades due to the reclusiveness and few other novels of its author, J.D. Salinger. Had it been written by someone a bit more willing to play with others, The Catcher in the Rye could’ve been a 1950s classic of American cinema, a searing black-and-white masterpiece of rage on par with On the Waterfront. (It probably would’ve even been remade a couple of times by now.) But alas, this one never went anywhere beyond a 17-year-old’s bookshelf. In the early ’50s, Jerry Lewis asked to adapt it but was turned down. So were all-time greats in their pursuits: Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, and Billy Wilder. More recently, Leonardo DiCaprio allegedly tried and failed to secure the rights. So did Steven Spielberg.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Catcher In The Rye appears on Natalie Zutter's list of nine classic YA books ripe for some creative genderbending of the main characters, Lance Rubin's top ten list of books with a funny first-person narrator, Andy Griffiths's list of five books that changed him, Chris Pavone's list of five books that changed him, Gabe Habash's list of the 10 most notorious parts of famous books, Robert McCrum's list of the 10 best books with teenage narrators, Antoine Wilson's list of the 10 best narrators in literature, A.E. Hotchner's list of five favorite coming-of-age tales, Jay McInerney's list of five essential New York novels, Woody Allen's top five books list, Patrick Ness's top 10 list of "unsuitable" books for teenagers, David Ulin's six favorite books list, Nicholas Royle's list of the top ten writers on the telephone, TIME magazine's list of the top ten books you were forced to read in school, Tony Parsons' list of the top ten troubled males in fiction, Dan Rhodes' top ten list of short books, and Sarah Ebner's top 25 list of boarding school books; it is one of Sophie Thompson's six best books. Upon rereading, the novel disappointed Khaled Hosseini, Mary Gordon, and Laura Lippman.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Eleven heartwarming books for dog-lovers

At Bustle, Sadie L. Trombetta tagged 11 heartwarming books for dog-lovers, including:
Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved My Life by Julie Barton

Our pets have saved us all in the metaphorical way, but in author Julie Barton's case, her dog literally saved her life. Dog Medicine tells the story of how one dog had the power to help Barton survive her own depression, and teaches us all that the power of love and companionship knows no bounds.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Coffee with a Canine: Julie Barton & Jackson.

--Marshal Zeringue

Twenty sci-fi & fantasy books with a message of social justice

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Joel Cunningham tagged "20 novels that incorporate themes of social justice into stories that still deliver the goods—compelling plots, characters you’ll fall in love with, ideas that will expand your mind." One title on the list:
Iron Council, by China MiƩville

MiĆ©ville is a member of the International Socialist Organization and wrote his doctoral thesis on Marxism, so it’s no surprise that his sci-fi and fantasy novels, in addition to being deeply weird and incredibly imaginative, tackle questions of economic and social inequality and speaking truth to power. This is most evident is his celebrated Bas Lag trilogy, particularly Iron Council, about a group of revolutionaries who seek to overthrow the corrupt powers that control and oppress the citizens of the twisted city of New Crobuzon. Though his work has been lambasted by some for being too overtly political, its narrative drive and potent imagery make it as unforgettable as literature as it is provoking as argument.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 16, 2017

Four books that changed Rosalie Ham

Rosalie Ham's books include the bestselling novel The Dressmaker, which became a 2015 film starring Kate Winslet, and Summer at Mount Hope.

One of four books that changed the author, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald

Sebald conveys the Kindertransport by linking buildings, photos and past images with Austerlitz's thoughts, his human experience, thus making events vivid. Rather than witness horror, we see how ideas are shaped, how memory is formed, and we learn the truth. There are no chapters, and the narrator's "ramblings" are a trope, therefore connected to other events in the story, and thus the style distracts from what happened and we aren't repelled from the story. Fiction makes events real.
Read about the other books on the list.

Austerlitz is among Charles Fernyhough's top ten books on memory, Susheila Nasta's top ten cultural journeys, and the top ten works of literature according to Peter Carey.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Six top 1980s (and 80s-inspired) novels

Darren Croucher writes YA novels with a partner, under the name A.D. Croucher. At the B&N Reads blog he tagged "awesome fantasy/mystery novels from—or almost from, or inspired by, or spiritually connected to—the [19]80s," including:
The Princess Bride, by William Goldman

It’s theoretically possible that 80s fantasy movies get more classic than this one, but in reality…nah. Basically, you love this movie, and you’ll love the novel, too. It’s a little darker, and of course it has more time to flesh out some of those characters and relationships (like the Fezzik–Inigo Montoya bromance). Where the movie uses Columbo and the kid from The Wonder Years as a framing device to the fairy tale, the book has Goldman annotating and commenting on an older novel he’s supposedly discovered. But both have that magical love story that gets us all. So add a few extra marshmallows to your ho-cho and dive in.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Princess Bride is among Nicole Hill's five best novels written as genre parodies that stand on their own and eight notable royal figures in fiction, Jeff Somers's five best grandfathers in literary history, Sebastien de Castell's five duelists you should never challenge, the Guardian's five worst book covers ever, Rosie Perez's six favorite books, Stephanie Perkins' top ten most romantic books, Matthew Berry's six favorite books, and Jamie Thomson's top seven funny books.

--Marshal Zeringue

David Haig's six best books

David Haig is an English actor perhaps best known to US audiences for Two Weeks Notice (2002), My Boy Jack (2007), and Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
A SUITABLE BOY by Vikram Seth

A family, political, religious and class saga set during the conflict between India and Pakistan.

As a hippy in my teens, I always wanted to go to India and I love Indian literature. I enjoyed the analysis of family dynamics and the flawed characters in this.

To live with them was extraordinary.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Seven novels with chronologies that will break you

At the B&N Reads blog Jeff Somers tagged seven "books that mess with the fundamentals of time and space so thoroughly...[that it] can be an exhilarating experience." One title on the list:
Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas is structured as nested stories sharing reincarnated characters, either repeating the fate of their previous selves or rebelling against them. The characters’ souls undergo various transformations as the timeline advances—but that advancement is difficult to follow, as each story is interrupted at a key moment, at which point, the next story begins—until we get to the sixth, central story. From that point on, each of the first five stories is continued, finishing each narrative. The connections between the stories go far beyond the characters, making this one of the densest and most complicated narratives of all time, a structure the movie version couldn’t even begin to replicate.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Cloud Atlas is among Christopher Priest’s top five science-fiction books that make use of music, Patrick Hemstreet's five top books for the psychonaut and the six books that changed Maile Meloy's idea of what’s possible in fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 13, 2017

Five essential books on media and government

Derek B. Miller's new novel is The Girl in Green. One of his five recommended books on media and government, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
Just the Facts: How "Objectivity" Came to Define American Journalism by David T.Z. Mindich (Revised edition, 2000)

This is a very approachable but authoritative biography of "objectivity" that explains how and why we value that notion and, by extension, why we feel so betrayed when objectivity is lost. Knowing this helps us see the arch and return to the topics that really matter, while fending off false claims we hear every day. Not bad for one book.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see Derek B. Miller's ten top books about the Iraq War.

--Marshal Zeringue