Sunday, April 23, 2017

Ian Ogilvy's six best books

Ian Ogilvy played Simon Templar in the 1970s TV series Return Of The Saint and has appeared in Upstairs, Downstairs and Murder, She Wrote. One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
VANITY FAIR by William Makepeace Thackeray

A huge book that I’ve only recently read. I’ve been having a catch-up of books I should have read. Becky Sharp’s one of the best characters ever written. You hate and love her at the same time. It’s a wonderful piece of juggling with the readers’ reactions.
Read about another entry on the list.

Vanity Fair also appears on Vikram Chandra's list of five books that changed him, Joanna Trollope's six favorite books list, Maddie Crum's top ten list of fictional characters who just might be psychopaths, Allegra Frazier's list of five of her favorite fictional gold diggers, John Mullan's list of ten of the most memorable governesses in literature, Stella Tillyard's list of favorite historical novels, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best fat men in literature and ten of the best pianos in literature, and Thomas Mallon's list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Pg. 99: Timothy H. Dixon's "Curbing Catastrophe"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Curbing Catastrophe: Natural Hazards and Risk Reduction in the Modern World by Timothy H. Dixon.

About the book, from the publisher:
What does Japan's 2011 nuclear accident have in common with the 2005 flooding of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina? This thought-provoking book presents a compelling account of recent and historical disasters, both natural and human-caused, drawing out common themes and providing a holistic understanding of hazards, disasters and mitigation, for anyone interested in this important and topical subject. Based on his on-the-ground experience with several major recent disasters, Timothy H. Dixon explores the science, politics and economics behind a variety of disasters and environmental issues, arguing that many of the worst effects are avoidable. He describes examples of planning and safety failures, provides forecasts of future disasters and proposes solutions for hazard mitigation. The book shows how billions of dollars and countless lives could be saved by adopting longer-term thinking for infrastructure planning and building, and argues that better communication is vital in reducing global risks and preventing future catastrophes.
Learn more about Curbing Catastrophe at the Cambridge University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Curbing Catastrophe.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven top books to celebrate Earth Day

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged seven books to celebrate Earth Day, including:
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, by Al Gore

More than a decade ago, former Vice President Al Gore became the public face of climate change with the release of An Inconvenient Truth. In many ways, that film raised the profile of our troubled environment and changed the conversation about climate change and our role in combating it—and yet, very little seems to have actually changed. On Earth Day, in 2017, we argue about the causes of what’s happening to our planet, and Gore’s new book offers data and eye-witness experience that should be compelling to anyone willing to explore the issue. An Inconvenient Sequel builds the case that human beings are the main cause of climate change, then offers concrete steps we can still take to change the course of our shared future. Fuel up your debate machine with information straight from one of the foremost experts on the subject, then wade into the battle for the planet on April 22—and every day after.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Nicole Helget reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Nicole Helget, author of The End of the Wild.

Her entry begins:
I have a different book or reading device in every area of the house, in the car, and on the porch. Next to my bed, I keep Sarah Kendzior’s essay collection, The View From Flyover Country. She’s a fantastic journalist, who has spent her career studying totalitarianist regimes and whose twitter feed is the first thing I consult in the morning before I turn on the news and get my morning fix of rage and inspiration to be a better writer, teacher, neighbor, and citizen. Her book is a collection of some of her best works on the economy, globalization, academics, and culture. I am daily in contact with rural people, many of whom voted for Trump, and I’m...[read on]
About The End of the Wild, from the publisher:
A timely coming of age novel set against a backdrop of the controversial issue of fracking.

Eleven-year-old Fern's rundown home borders a pristine forest, where her impoverished family hunts and forages for food. It's also her refuge from the crushing responsibility of caring for her wild younger brothers and PTSD-stricken stepfather. But when a fracking company rolls into town, Fern realizes that her special grove could be ripped away, and no one else seems to care.

Her stepfather thinks a job with the frackers could help pull the family out of poverty. Her wealthy grandfather--who wants to take custody of Fern and her brothers--likes the business it brings to his manufacturing company. Facing adversity from all sides, can one young girl make a difference in the fate of her family and their way of life?

This modern, beautifully written story from the acclaimed author of Wonder at the Edge of the World explores the timely themes of poverty, environmental protection, what makes a family, and finding your place in the world.
Learn more about the book and author at Nicole Helget's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Turtle Catcher.

The Page 69 Test: The End of the Wild.

Writers Read: Nicole Helget.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 21, 2017

Flaubert's 5th best book

Peter Brooks is the author of Flaubert in the Ruins of Paris: The Story of a Friendship, a Novel, and a Terrible Year. Number five on his ranked list of favorite Flaubert's works:
Bouvard and Pécuchet

Flaubert’s strangest but in some ways most characteristic work—left unfinished at his death—in which he exercises a kind of cosmic irony on the pretentions of his time and his contemporaries. His main figures, Bouvard and Pécuchet—seemingly Tweedledum and Tweedledee, but they do eventually become distinguishable one from another—are copyists who retire and move to Normandy and undertake a number of do-it-yourself projects studied up in books—always with dire results. From farming to horticulture to history writing to child rearing, all their experiments tend to prove the fatuousness of most human knowledge. Yet their comic misadventures eventually lead them to a mentality like their creator’s: perceiving human stupidity and no longer being able to tolerate it. The work of a master ironist no longer restraining himself in unleashing his contempt for his surroundings. There is a really great translation of the novel by Mark Polizzotti, published by Dalkey Archive.
Read about Peter Brooks's favorite Flaubert book.

Bouvard and Pécuchet also appears on Adam Ehrlich Sachs's list of ten of the funniest books, Michael Foley's top ten list of absurd classics, John Mullan's list of ten of the best unfinished literary works, and John Sutherland's list of the best books about listing.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Lee Irby's "Unreliable"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Unreliable: A Novel by Lee Irby.

About the book, from the publisher:
Riotous and riveting, this is the story of a charming college professor who most definitely did not—but maybe did—kill his ex-wife. Or someone else. Or no one. Irby plays with the thriller trope in unimaginably clever ways.

Edwin Stith, a failed novelist and college writing instructor in upstate New York, is returning home for the weekend to Richmond, Virginia, to celebrate his mother’s wedding—to a much younger man. Edwin has a peculiar relationship with the truth. He is a liar who is brutally honest. He may or may not be sleeping with his students, he may or may not be getting fired, and he may or may not have killed his ex-wife, a lover, and his brand-new stepsister.

Stith’s dysfunctional homecoming leads him deep into a morass of long-gestating secrets and dangers, of old-flames still burning strong and new passions ready to consume everything he holds dear. But family dysfunction is only eclipsed by Edwin’s own, leading to profound suspense and utter hilarity. Lee Irby has crafted a sizzling modern classic of dark urges, lies, and secrets that harks back to the unsettling obsessions of Edgar Allan Poe—with a masterful ending that will have you thinking for days.
Learn more about Unreliable.

My Book, The Movie: Unreliable.

The Page 69 Test: Unreliable.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight inspiring picture books for Earth Day

At the BN Kids blog Charlotte Taylor tagged eight top picture books for Earth Day, including:
Wangari’s Trees of Peace, by Jeanette Winter

When Wangari was a little girl in Kenya, she lived surrounded by trees. But when she returned to her home in the countryside after being away at school for several years, she was horrified to see how few remained. And without the trees, life was harder and hotter. So Wangari decided to take action, and start planting. Other women joined her, and the Green Belt Movement has planted more that 30 million trees. This accessible and enjoyable picture book is a great introduction to this inspiring woman, who went from the first nine trees she planted in her backyard to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her environmental activism.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pg. 99: Rebecca Schuman's "Schadenfreude, A Love Story"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Schadenfreude, A Love Story: Me, the Germans, and 20 Years of Attempted Transformations, Unfortunate Miscommunications, and Humiliating Situations That Only They Have Words For by Rebecca Schuman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Sometimes Love Gets Lost in Translation

You know that feeling you get watching the elevator doors slam shut just before your toxic coworker can step in? Or seeing a parking ticket on a Hummer? There’s a word for this mix of malice and joy, and the Germans (of course) invented it. It’s Schadenfreude, deriving pleasure from others’ misfortune. Misfortune happens to be a specialty of Slate columnist Rebecca Schuman—and this is great news for the Germans. For Rebecca adores the Vaterland with the kind of single-minded passion its Volk usually reserve for beer, soccer, and being right all the time.

Let’s just say the affection isn’t mutual.

Schadenfreude is the story of a teenage Jewish intellectual who falls in love – in love with a boy (who breaks her heart), a language (that’s nearly impossible to master), a culture (that’s nihilistic, but punctual), and a landscape (that’s breathtaking when there’s not a wall in the way). Rebecca is an everyday, misunderstood 90’s teenager with a passion for Pearl Jam and Ethan Hawke circa Reality Bites, until two men walk into her high school Civics class: Dylan Gellner, with deep brown eyes and an even deeper soul, and Franz Kafka, hitching a ride in Dylan’s backpack. These two men are the axe to the frozen sea that is Rebecca’s spirit, and what flows forth is a passion for all things German. First love might be fleeting, but Kafka is forever, and in pursuit of this elusive passion Rebecca will spend two decades stuttering and stumbling through German sentences, trying to win over a people who can’t be bothered.

At once a snapshot of a young woman finding herself, and a country slowly starting to stitch itself back together after nearly a century of war (both hot and cold), Schadenfreude, A Love Story is an exhilarating, hilarious, and yes, maybe even heartfelt memoir proving that sometimes the truest loves play hard to get.
Visit Rebecca Schuman's website.

The Page 99 Test: Schadenfreude, A Love Story.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about trees

Fiona Stafford is professor of English language and literature, University of Oxford. Her latest book is The Long, Long Life of Trees.

One of Stafford's top ten books about trees, as shared at the Guardian:
The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy

Hardy’s novels all show a deep understanding of the natural world, but this one’s so thick with trees that at times the human characters almost get lost in the woods. The woodlands supply everyone with fuel, timber, fruit and a livelihood, but Hardy, never comfortable with pleasing pastoral, directs us to the ominous figure of the elm looming over Marty ’s father. Paralysed by fear of this tree, Mr South becomes too ill to leave his house, but when Dr Fitzpiers arrives with a fresh approach and orders the tree to be felled, the shock of its removal proves far too great. His patient dies the next day.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Woodlanders is on John Mullan's list of ten of the best locks of hair in fiction.

The Page 99 Test: Thomas Hardy's The Woodlanders.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Brian Staveley reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Brian Staveley, author of Skullsworn.

His entry begins:
Silk, by Alessandro Baricco, is a stunning novella that’s one part fairy tale, one part historical fiction, and one part heartbreaking romance. It tells the tale of Hervé Joncour, a merchant who travels the world to find silkworm eggs to sell in the French town where he lives. As the European and African silkworms succumb to disease, he must travel further and further, leaving his wife, Hélène, for months at a time. At last, his travels bring him to Japan, where he falls in love with a woman to whom he never speaks.

The story covers years and thousands of miles, but rather than try to render everything, Baricco chooses his moments. Joncour will cross all of Europe and Asia in a short paragraph, but then we get the chance to...[read on]
About Skullsworn, from the publisher:
Pyrre Lakatur is not, to her mind, an assassin, not a murderer—she is a priestess. At least, she will be once she passes her final trial.

The problem isn’t the killing. The problem, rather, is love. For to complete her trial, Pyrre has ten days to kill the seven people enumerated in an ancient song, including “the one who made your mind and body sing with love / who will not come again.”

Pyrre isn’t sure she’s ever been in love. And if she fails to find someone who can draw such passion from her, or fails to kill that someone, her order will give her to their god, the God of Death. Pyrre’s not afraid to die, but she hates to fail, and so, as her trial is set to begin, she returns to the city of her birth in the hope of finding love ... and ending it on the edge of her sword.
Visit Brian Staveley's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Providence of Fire.

Writers Read: Brian Staveley.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Nicole Helget's "The End of the Wild"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The End of the Wild by Nicole Helget.

About the book, from the publisher:
A timely coming of age novel set against a backdrop of the controversial issue of fracking.

Eleven-year-old Fern's rundown home borders a pristine forest, where her impoverished family hunts and forages for food. It's also her refuge from the crushing responsibility of caring for her wild younger brothers and PTSD-stricken stepfather. But when a fracking company rolls into town, Fern realizes that her special grove could be ripped away, and no one else seems to care.

Her stepfather thinks a job with the frackers could help pull the family out of poverty. Her wealthy grandfather--who wants to take custody of Fern and her brothers--likes the business it brings to his manufacturing company. Facing adversity from all sides, can one young girl make a difference in the fate of her family and their way of life?

This modern, beautifully written story from the acclaimed author of Wonder at the Edge of the World explores the timely themes of poverty, environmental protection, what makes a family, and finding your place in the world.
Learn more about the book and author at Nicole Helget's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Turtle Catcher.

The Page 69 Test: The End of the Wild.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Seven top YA books about twins

At the BN Teen Blog Dahlia Adler tagged seven favorite YA books about twins, including:
Jerkbait, by Mia Siegert

Robbie and Tristan haven’t been close since they shared a womb, but when Robbie attempts suicide, they have no choice but to share space in order to keep him safe. Now that they’re sharing a room, Tristan finally sees there’s more to his hockey star brother, including the toll that being closeted has taken on him as he considers the ways it may limit the future in pro sports everyone has always imagined for him. Robbie’s finds his only solace in an online stranger, but when even that turns into a dangerous secret, Tristan may have to put his own future on the line to save the brother he’s only just getting to know.
Read about another book on the list.

Also see Francesca Haig's top ten list of the greatest twins in children’s books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Conan Fischer's "A Vision of Europe"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: A Vision of Europe: Franco-German Relations during the Great Depression, 1929-1932 by Conan Fischer.

About the book, from the publisher:
It is commonly held that the inter-war era marked little more than a ceasefire between two world wars, with the improvement in German-Allied relations forged at Locarno in 1925 cut short by the global economic turmoil that followed the 1929 Wall Street Crash. A Vision of Europe challenges this received wisdom, offering a fundamental re-evaluation of inter-war Franco-German relations during the Great Depression and providing a fuller understanding of the historical origins of today's European Union. It demonstrates that rather than lapsing into mutual recrimination and national egotism, France and Germany engaged with the challenges of the post-1929 slump by way of plans for a Franco-German customs union and wider bilateral economic collaboration, whether across the Rhine, in the French Empire, or elsewhere in Europe. These plans were regarded as the initial steps on the road to a European Union that would reconcile Berlin's search for national rehabilitation with France's need for national security, so providing a means of resolving the formidable legacies of the First World War and Versailles Peace Settlement. Their efforts culminated in September 1931 in a formal agreement to establish a Franco-German economic community, which included the institutional means to transform ambition into reality. Unlike comparable post-1949 diplomacy, however, these aspirations ended in failure, but they nonetheless provided an invaluable, if largely unacknowledged template for the process of (West)-European recovery in the aftermath of the Third Reich.

This finely-focused study of the exchanges between individual politicians and diplomats, whether domestically or across the Rhine, also examines the relationship between the official sphere, the press, and a range of cultural associations and initiatives. It also explores the role of key economic associations and pressure groups whose energies were harnessed by Paris and Berlin in the cause of rapprochement. These were complex processes where success or failure could rest on particular personal exchanges, a badly-timed election, or unanticipated economic upsets that compromised diplomacy's best-laid plans.
Learn more about A Vision of Europe at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: A Vision of Europe.

--Marshal Zeringue

Allen Steele's "Avengers of the Moon," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Avengers of the Moon by Allen Steele.

The entry begins:
Generations of SF fans have been waiting to see a Captain Future movie. In fact, he's one of the few major pulp heroes of the 30's and 40's who didn't get a feature film, a movie serial, or at least a radio show. But Curt Newton and the Futuremen didn't follow his contemporaries Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon to the screen; his adventures ended in the early 50's, just as the Saturday afternoon serials were being replaced by TV.

Well, not quite. In 1978, the Japanese anime series Captain Future came out. Produced during the post-Star Wars space opera craze, it was a two-season adaptation of Edmond Hamilton's classic pulp novels. It's crude by today's animation standards, and clearly meant for kids, but nonetheless it was a big hit at the time ... everywhere except the U.S, that is. In France it was called Capitaine Flam, in Spain it was Capitan Futuro, in Saudi Arabia it was Space Knights, but in the country where Captain Future was created it was, "Who?" A couple of badly edited and translated VHS tapes eventually appeared in the U.S., but otherwise the series -- a mainstay for kids in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, generating countless graphic novels, toys, games, pajamas, and so forth -- remained obscure in America.

So now I've published the first new Captain Future novel since 1946, and of course I'd love to see Avengers of the Moon made into a movie...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Allen Steele's website.

My Book, The Movie: V-S Day.

My Book, The Movie: Avengers of the Moon.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five elegant & moody fantasies

Sofia Samatar is the author of the World Fantasy Award-winning novel A Stranger in Olondria and its sequel, The Winged Histories. One of her five favorite "intensely strange, beautifully written, and transportive fantasies," as shared at Tor.com:
Ice by Anna Kavan

A man drives into a snowstorm in pursuit of a white-haired girl. His planet is dying, succumbing to the ice of a nuclear winter. Cities crumble, water sources freeze, and our narrator becomes less trustworthy as hallucinations trouble his heroic role. At the center of it all stands the glittering, fragile heroine, passive as snow, apparently at the mercy of her brutal husband. On its publication in 1967, Brian Aldiss championed this novel as science fiction; in the 2006 reissue, Christopher Priest describes it as slipstream. Anna Kavan, who died in 1968, can no longer inform us about her genre (though she told Aldiss she hadn’t intended to write science fiction). She can’t tell us whether she was writing an allegory of the Cold War, an ecofeminist critique, or a chilled fever-dream of heroin addiction. We are left with this crystalline novel by a writer so dedicated to her art she took the name of one of her own characters as a pseudonym. It’s more than enough; Ice is a wintry and desolate marvel.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What is Nina Sankovitch reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Nina Sankovitch, author of The Lowells of Massachusetts: An American Family.

Her entry begins:
People often ask me if I still read a book a day, as I did during my year of magical reading. Although I no longer can read six or so hours a day, I still enjoy two to three books a week as a very necessary dose of escape and comfort. I also read eight to ten books a month as a judge for Book of the Month Club, which is a wonderful way of finding out about all the great new books coming out. I picked Kathleen Rooney’s Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk for January, a lovely, engaging, moving, and unforgettable story of an older woman taking a very long walk through New York City on New Year’s Eve 1984 and looking back at her twentieth century life in...[read on]
About The Lowells of Massachusetts, from the publisher:
The Lowells of Massachusetts were a remarkable family. They were settlers in the New World in the 1600s, revolutionaries creating a new nation in the 1700s, merchants and manufacturers building prosperity in the 1800s, and scientists and artists flourishing in the 1900s. For the first time, Nina Sankovitch tells the story of this fascinating and powerful dynasty in The Lowells of Massachusetts.

Though not without scoundrels and certainly no strangers to controversy , the family boasted some of the most astonishing individuals in America’s history: Percival Lowle, the patriarch who arrived in America in the seventeenth to plant the roots of the family tree; Reverend John Lowell, the preacher; Judge John Lowell, a member of the Continental Congress; Francis Cabot Lowell, manufacturer and, some say, founder of the Industrial Revolution in the US; James Russell Lowell, American Romantic poet; Lawrence Lowell, one of Harvard’s longest-serving and most controversial presidents; and Amy Lowell, the twentieth century poet who lived openly in a Boston Marriage with the actress Ada Dwyer Russell.

The Lowells realized the promise of America as the land of opportunity by uniting Puritan values of hard work, community service, and individual responsibility with a deep-seated optimism that became a well-known family trait. Long before the Kennedys put their stamp on Massachusetts, the Lowells claimed the bedrock.
Visit Nina Sankovitch's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Lowells of Massachusetts.

The Page 99 Test: The Lowells of Massachusetts.

Writers Read: Nina Sankovitch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Bethany Ball's "What To Do About The Solomons"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: What To Do About The Solomons by Bethany Ball.

About the book, from the publisher:
Short, elegant, sexy, and provocative, Bethany Ball’s debut What to Do About the Solomons weaves contemporary Jewish history through a distinctly modern, propulsive, and savvy tale of family life.

Meet Marc Solomon, an Israeli ex-navy commando now living in L.A., who is falsely accused of money laundering through his asset management firm. As the Solomons’ Santa Monica home is raided, Marc’s American wife, Carolyn—concealing her own dark past—makes hopeless attempts to hold their family of five together. But news of the scandal makes its way from America to the rest of the Solomon clan on the kibbutz in the Jordan River Valley. There we encounter various members of the family and the community—from Marc’s self-absorbed movie actress sister, Shira, and her forgotten son, Joseph; to his rich and powerful construction magnate father, Yakov; to his former star-crossed love, Maya; and his brother-in-law, Guy Gever, a local ranger turned “artist.” As the secrets and rumors of the kibbutz are revealed through various memories and tales, we witness the things that keep the Solomons together and those that tear them apart.

Reminiscent of Nathan Englander’s For the Relief of Unbearable Urges and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, What to Do About the Solomons is an exhilarating first book from a bright new star in fiction.
Visit Bethany Ball's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top coming-of-age graphic novels

At the B&N Reads blog Saskia Lacey tagged five fantastic coming-of-age graphic novels, including:
Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol

Anya just wants someone to talk to. She’s worried about her weight, the cute boy at school, and steering clear of Dima, a fellow Russian student who reminds her of everything she’s trying not to be. Feeling disconnected and friendless, Ana meets a young girl who seems like the answer to all of her issues. The only problem? She’s 100% dead. Vera Brosgol’s brilliant graphic novel is part murder mystery, part ode to awkward adolescence.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Amy Bryzgel's "Performance Art in Eastern Europe since 1960"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Performance Art in Eastern Europe since 1960 by Amy Bryzgel.

About the book, from the publisher:
This volume presents the first comprehensive academic study of the history and development of performance art in the former communist countries of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe since the 1960s. Covering 21 countries and more than 250 artists, this text demonstrates the manner in which performance art in the region developed concurrently with the genre in the West, highlighting the unique contributions of Eastern European artists to the genre. It offers a comparative study of the genre of performance art in countries and cities across the region, examining the manner in which artists addressed issues such as the body, gender, politics and identity, and institutional critique. As the first comprehensive history of the subject, this text is essential for those in the field of performance studies, or those researching contemporary Eastern European art. It will also be of interest to those in Slavic studies, art history and visual culture.
Learn more about Performance Art in Eastern Europe since 1960 at the Manchester University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Performance Art in Eastern Europe since 1960.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 17, 2017

Lidia Yuknavitch's 6 favorite books

Lidia Yuknavitch's new novel is The Book of Joan.

One of the author's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

In this vital speculative novel, a totalitarian theocracy strips women of all rights, even to their own bodies. In 1985, it resembled a bright warning flare. Recently, I've begun leaving free copies on buses and subways and in women's bathrooms.
Read about another book on the list.

The Handmaid's Tale made Elisa Albert's list of nine revelatory books about motherhood, Michael W. Clune's top five list of books about imaginary religions, Jeff Somers's top six list of often misunderstood SF/F novels, Jason Sizemore's top five list of books that will entertain and drop you into the depths of despair, S.J. Watson's list of four books that changed him, Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick's list of eight of the most badass ladies in all of banned literature, Guy Lodge's list of ten of the best dystopias in fiction, art, film, and television, Bethan Roberts's top ten list of novels about childbirth, Rachel Cantor's list of the ten worst jobs in books, Charlie Jane Anders and Kelly Faircloth's list of the best and worst childbirth scenes in science fiction and fantasy, Lisa Tuttle's critic's chart of the top Arthur C. Clarke Award winners, and PopCrunch's list of the sixteen best dystopian books of all time.

--Marshal Zeringue

Steph Post's "Lightwood," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Lightwood by Steph Post.

The entry begins:
Please, for the love of God, someone look at this casting list and decide to turn Lightwood into a film or television series just so I can see Margo Martindale and Chris Cooper fight it out in the church…

That being said, here’s the official cast list for Lightwood. Martindale and Cooper are perfect as is, but many of the characters are paired with actors from specific movies or refer to performances the actor delivered ten years ago. So perhaps not all of the selections are entirely realistic, but I hope this list can give you a visual approximation of who I see when I think about the characters of my novel.

Sister Tulah- Margo Martindale

This is the only character-actor pair I actually had in mind while writing Lightwood. As far as I’m concerned, there is no one else who could pull off Tulah. Absolutely no one.

Brother Felton- John C. Reilly

Felton was a hard one, because I can see picture his character so clearly in my mind. However, I think...[read on]
Visit Steph Post's website.

Writers Read: Steph Post.

My Book, The Movie: Lightwood.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five YA books for fans of "American Gods"

Darren Croucher writes YA novels with a partner, under the name A.D. Croucher. At the BN Teen blog he tagged five YA books for fans of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, including:
Starcrossed, by Josephine Angelini

There once was a girl from Nantucket…no, this isn’t a limerick. It’s the beginning of Starcrossed, in which high schooler Helen Hamilton has to deal with a new family in her small community of Nantucket. New folks wouldn’t normally be a problem, except for the fact that Helen really, really wants to kill all of them. And she has no idea why. One of them, Lucas Delos, joins her class when the new school year begins, and the two become inseparable—despite kind of hating each other, too. On top of that, Helen has powers she doesn’t understand (speed, healing) and can’t fully control. It turns out she, and many others, are descended from the Greek gods, and are playing out centuries-old grudges. Angelini spins a fine web of high school drama mixed with legit ancient Greek drama in this tale of love and gods in the modern world.
Read about another book on the list.

Starcrossed is one of Jenny Kawecki's six top YA novels for mythology lovers.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is G.M. Malliet reading?

Featured at Writers Read: G.M. Malliet, author of Devil's Breath (Max Tudor Series #6).

Her entry begins:
I am a great re-reader of books. It takes a long time for any book to come to my attention but when it does and I love it, I will go back and back over it. It think I'm hoping talent is contagious. Tana French has this affect on me, for one. Agatha Christie, for another.

Right now I'm rereading Wolf Hall. A book I loved so much we renamed our house to match Seymour's and attached a little plaque out front. It is meant as a joke of course. It confused the mail and delivery...[read on]
About Devil’s Breath, from the publisher:
Agatha Award-winning author G. M. Malliet has charmed mystery lovers, cozy fans, and Agatha Christie devotees with her critically acclaimed mysteries featuring handsome spy-turned-cleric Max Tudor.

In The Haunted Season, Max’s former life as an MI5 agent caught up with him, threatening his newfound happiness with Awena and baby son Owen. Realizing there is no escape from his past, Max, with his bishop’s tacit permission, has offered his services to MI5 on an as-needed basis.

And in Devil’s Breath, it’s time for Max to follow through. The body of glamorous film star Margot Browne has washed ashore from a luxury yacht and Max’s former colleague Patrice Logan wants his help to find the murderer.

It’s a perfect “closed circle” murder since victim Margot must have been killed by one of the actors, stylists, screenwriters, or second-tier royalty aboard. Patrice suspects the yacht’s owner, a playboy film director she’s been keeping tabs on for smuggling, but Max isn’t so sure. Max and DCI Cotton interview the suspects as they loll about one of the luxury hotels dotting the waterfront. The investigation into Margot’s lurid past uncovers a host of motives—it seems she was not the only person on board with a secret they’d kill to keep.
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