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  • Jeff Somers 6:00 pm on 2017/10/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , gone girl   

    10 Novels That Teach You Something About Marriage 

    As anyone who’s been married for more than a minute will tell you, it can be hard work. Many books tellingly end on the “happily ever after button,” leaving the results to the imagination, making it easy for the reader to dream up perfect marriages in which no one fights, cheats, or googles “divorce laws in my state.” Yet there are those books with plenty of real-life marriage lessons to share. Getting hitched and wondering what to expect? Sure, you could talk to real, live people, or you could read these 10 books, which offer you all the marriage advice you’ll ever need.

    The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton
    Lesson: Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. Many people see Wharton’s high society tale of a man who yearns to throw over his wife in favor of her more alluring cousin as the story of an unhappy marriage. But read it again after being married a while, and you see a heightened version of what everyone goes through: moments of doubt, when escape seems like your only option. The real lesson is that marriage is about more than romantic passion: it’s time plus partnership, weaving together into a life.

    Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
    Lesson: Family matters. From the moment you start dating someone, their family looms in the near distance. The initial meetings, the sizing up, the parental approval—you are never just marrying a single person. You are marrying their whole family. This is a lesson that Austen’s classic brings home with poetic power. If you find yourself denying that someone’s family issues (yours or theirs) matter … you’re lying to yourself, and need to re-read P&P immediately.

    Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty
    Lesson: The grass is always greener. Every married couple has at least one other couple they see socially whom they love/hate because they seem too perfect. They are financially affluent, they have great taste, their kids behave well, they are obviously affectionate. As Moriarty’s great novel reminds us, that’s often window dressing. Everyone has problems. Some of us are just better at hiding them.

    Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
    Lesson: You can never really know someone. Deciding to marry someone is a big step, and is reserved for people you know as well as you possibly can. After all, you’re linking your lives together in a myriad of ways—neither of you will ever be the same. Flynn’s ingenious thriller reminds us, however, that you will never know everything about your spouse. There’s a secret or two there, trust us, and if you discover it, you might find yourself uncertain whether you really know them at all.

    The Yellow Wall Paper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
    Lesson: Take your spouse seriously. Getting married is sometimes described as two souls becoming one. Ha ha, no. No matter how close you are, you remain two separate nervous systems filtering everything through unique perspectives. Thus it will always be easy to dismiss a spouse’s concerns, worries, or fears as unfounded or silly. Don’t do this. Doing this is how people wind up crawling around on the floor muttering about wallpaper.

    Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff
    Lesson: There are two sides to every marriage. Extending the previous idea a little, never assume that your spouse sees the marriage exactly like you do. There have been too many complacent spouses, certain that their relationship was fantastic, only to find themselves served divorce papers. In Groff’s fantastic novel, a husband and wife offer their own perspective on their marriage, and it’s interesting to see where they agree—and where they diverge.

    Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, by Edward Albee
    Lesson: Fighting in public makes you bad people.Albee’s searing story of middle-aged resentment and passive-aggressive subtext made howling text is a blistering read. You’re really watching four lives descend into chaos in front of you, but along the way he reminds us of a fundamental truth: fighting with your spouse at a party, or out at dinner, or in the movie theater, or literally anywhere but in your house when you’re alone, is a jerk move.

    Macbeth, by William Shakespeare
    Lesson: Don’t push your spouse outside their comfort zone. The day you wake up and realize you wish your spouse were more…anything is a dark day indeed. In the Scottish Play, Lady Macbeth wishes her husband were a bit more ambitious and murder-y, and her pushing him to grasp more than his reach can handle is what sets the violent tragedy in motion. Lesson? Remind yourself that you might be projecting your own issues on your spouse.

    The War of the Roses, by Warren Adler
    Lesson: Talk now or burn down your house later. Adler’s novel about a wealthy couple who go to war amid a divorce is black comedy at its best, but the chaotic, mean-spirited, and shockingly violent way the Roses go after each other holds a potent lesson: if you’re unhappy, say something. If you’re going to split up, start labeling your books today.

    Middlemarch, by George Eliot
    Lesson: Marriage is an ongoing process, and both partners will evolve. Middlemarch is a novel about marriage as much as it’s about anything else, and the basic lesson that Eliot imparts is that all marriages are different, and all people are different, and every day you’re going to wake up next to someone who is slightly different than the person you went to bed with the night before, and will be yourself a little different. Scary? A little. But also kind of exciting, no?

    The post 10 Novels That Teach You Something About Marriage appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Lauren Passell 1:30 pm on 2017/07/20 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , gone girl, , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    DO NOT READ THIS POST: The 10 Biggest Book Spoilers, Ever 

    Warning: if you like to be surprised, stop reading right now. Get a glass of water or look at Buzzfeed or start working on your memoir.

    But if you’re curious about these books and their kick-to-the-stomach endings, then by all means, read on. (Because I’m not completely cruel, I’ve whited out the spoilers—just highlight the empty space to see the hidden words.)

    Don’t say we didn’t warn you…

    The Sinner, by Petra Hammesfahr
    One of the best examples of a “whydunnit” in recent years, German author Hammesfahr’s twisty novel (soon to air as a miniseries on USA starring Jessica Biel) is largely told in flashback after Cora Bender, a seemingly normal mother and housewife, inexplicably stabs a man to death while on a beach picnic with her family. Cora confesses readily and claims to have no idea why she just committed homicide—but a patient policeman thinks there’s more to the story, and slowly susses out the truth—Cora’s younger sister was born extremely ill, and her mother became obsessed with caring for her, forcing her father to share a room with Cora, resulting in a creepily close relationship between the two that comes as close to abuse as possible without crossing that final line. Her sister Magdalena isn’t as innocent as she seems—despite her frailty, she manipulates Cora and also has an intensely, inappropriately intimate relationship with her. When Cora is 19, she takes Magdalena with her to meet a boy and his friends, not realizing that Magdalena is near death and wishes to die. Two of the boys rape Cora while the third has sex with Magdalena—who dies during the act, a specific piece of music playing on the radio. When Cora freaks out, one of the boys hits her in the head with an ashtray, and to cover up the crime, they hold Cora captive for six months. Years later, when the music plays again at the beach, Cora snaps, and strikes out with a knife.

    Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
    In Ender’s Game, the survival of the human race depends on Ender Wiggin, the child genius recruited for military training by the government… But while you (and Ender) believe he is fighting in mind simulation, in truth, he’s been  manipulated into fighting a real war, and actually killing the enemies, called buggers. He moves to a new colony planet with his sister, where he discovers that the buggers have created a space just for him. They didn’t know humans had intelligence, and they want to communicate with him. They show him what the war looked like from their point of view, and Ender and the buggers meet a point of understanding. He vows to live with them in peace, starts a new kind of religion, and writes a Bible-like book about the buggers, signing it Speaker For The Dead, which is a perfect segue into the Ender’s Game sequel.

    Atonement, by Ian McEwan
    Atonement is about misinterpretation and its repercussions. Briony observes her big sister Cecilia and Cecilia’s friend Robbie flirting and assumes something shameful has happened between them. She accuses Robbie of rape, and Robbie goes to jail. The story then follows Cecilia and Robbie as they go to war, fall in love, and wind up together forever. But at the end of the novel, you discover that Briony is actually the book’s narrator—and she’s been lying to you, too. She did accuse Robbie of rape, and he was jailed, but C & R didn’t live happily ever after together, after all. They both died in the war. Briony just wrote a happy ending for them to atone for her sins. That’s what she says, anyway. I’m not sure I believe anything she says anymore.

    And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
    Most Agatha Christie novels leave you gobsmacked (The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, anyone?) But And Then There Were None is an absolute masterpiece of the whodunnit? formula. People invited to a party in a mansion keep on being murdered, but by whom? Well, if you’re sure you want to know…it was Judge Wargrave! Swaddled in a red curtain, he fakes his own death so that you, the reader, assume the murderer is someone else. But in a written confession at the end of the novel, you learn that he invited people to a desolate island in order to kill them one by one as punishment for the terrible things they’d done (and thought they got away with). Agatha, you sneak!

    Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
    In Gone Girl, husband and wife Nick and Amy tell the story of their tumultuous marriage. We read what we think is Amy’s diary, and it condemns Nick as a violent jerk. We start to believe that Nick is responsible for Amy’s disappearance and possible death. But in a series of twists, the truth is revealed—Amy and Nick are both liars. Nick was having an affair, and Amy has been alive all along, on the lam, trying to frame Nick for her death. What we thought was her diary is actually a cunning trap: it’s a piece of fiction Amy wrote for the police to find. Amy kills a friend and returns to Nick, pregnant with his child, claiming she was kidnapped. Nick takes her back even though he knows the truth. In the end, Amy says she’s getting ready to become a mom by writing her abduction story. She should hang out with Briony.

    Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
    Rebecca begins with one of the most mesmerizing first lines in literature—“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Things only get more interesting from there. The unnamed protagonist marries Maxim de Winter and moves into his home, called Manderley. She struggles to live up to the legend of Maxim’s late wife, Rebecca, who was seemingly perfect. Mrs. Danvers, the maid, almost gets the protagonist to kill herself in despair. But one day, divers find a sunken sailboat that belonged to Rebecca, revealing that Rebecca was murdered. Maxim then tells the truth: Rebecca was a wretched woman who had multiple affairs—one, with her cousin, resulted in her pregnancy. When Maxim found out, he killed her. In yet another twist, we find out that Rebecca was lying to Maxim—she wasn’t pregnant, but was actually dying of a terminal illness. In the end Old Danvers burns the joint down and disappears. As for Maxim and the protagonist? Happily ever after.

    The Dinner, by Herman Koch
    In Howard Koch’s The Dinner, two brothers and their wives sit down for a meal to discuss the horrific crime committed by their sons. The cousins have been caught on camera attacking a sleeping homeless woman in an ATM, throwing trash and a container of gasoline at her, and then burning her to death. Koch makes it clear that the family is bonded by a common sociopathology. The family argues over what to do. Serge, a politician, wants to come clean about the boys’ crime. Enraged by Serge’s stance, his sister-in-law Claire attacks him, disfiguring his face. Claire urges her nephews to “take care” of Beau, Serge and Babette’s adopted son, who witnessed the crime and is blackmailing the boys by threatening to reveal what they did. At the end of the novel, Beau is missing, and one of the cousins comes home covered in blood and mud. Wonder what happened to him?

    Harry Potter And The Deathly Hollows, by J.K. Rowling
    In J.K. Rowling’s seventh and final installment in the Harry Potter series, it’s revealed that Harry is a Horcrux, and must be killed before Voldemort can be. Viewing Snape’s memories in the Pensieve, Harry sees Snape talking to Dumbledore and finds out that Snape’s been his protector all this time. Snape loved Harry’s mother, Lily Potter, and spent his entire life spying on Voldemort for Dumbledore. Meanwhile, Dumbledore had been steering Harry to sacrifice himself for the larger good. Good and evil are blurred once again when Harry survives and learns that Dumbledore loved him, even if he expected him to sacrifice himself. Ms. Rowling, you’ve tricked us again.

    Rant, by Chuck Palahniuk
    This novel is an oral biography of protagonist Buster Landru “Rant” Casey, who has died. The reader gathers that Rant lived in a dystopian future where lower class citizens, called “nighttimers,” engaged in an activity called “Party Crashing,” a demolition derby where the crashers slam into each other in cars. The catch: if you crash in the right mental state, you’ll travel backwards in time. Rant disappears during Party Crashing, so his friends assume he’s time traveling. It takes some piecing together to figure out that Rant has been traveling back through time, raping his ancestors every thirteen years in an effort to become a superhuman. He isn’t one character; he is many. You can’t make this stuff up, but I guess Palahniuk did.

    Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
    Anna Karenina is about a lot of stuff, but the heart of the story lies with Anna and her downward spiral from captivating spitfire to insecure shell of a woman. The book is beautifully written. Much of its pleasure comes from the character studies and quiet plotting. Then, in one of the most shocking moments in literature, Anna throws herself under a train and dies and you are stupefied. One of my friends always says, of Anna Karenina, “if you only read one ‘old’ book in your whole life, have it be this one.” Agreed.

    Something Happened, by Joseph Heller
    You’ll spend more than 400 pages reading about not much happening, rolling around in the protagonist’s brain as he goes to work, cares for his son, and fantasizes about the secretary. I can’t tell you what happens, though. That would ruin the book completely. 

    Kidding, obviously. The whole point, here, is to ruin your enjoyment of surprising books!

    Slocum’s son is a weakling because Slocum never made him go to gym class. This son gets hit by a car. In sadness and despair, Slocum hugs him to death. I mean that very literally, not the new kind of “literally.” Slocum hugs his son until he dies from squeezing. 

    Even with the surprises spoiled, reading these books is still a worthwhile endeavor. You’re going to read all of them, right? What’s the best book twist you’ve ever read?

    The post DO NOT READ THIS POST: The 10 Biggest Book Spoilers, Ever appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Lauren Passell 1:30 pm on 2017/07/20 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , gone girl, , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    DO NOT READ THIS POST: The 10 Biggest Book Spoilers, Ever 

    Warning: if you like to be surprised, stop reading right now. Get a glass of water or look at Buzzfeed or start working on your memoir.

    But if you’re curious about these books and their kick-to-the-stomach endings, then by all means, read on. (Because I’m not completely cruel, I’ve whited out the spoilers—just highlight the empty space to see the hidden words.)

    Don’t say we didn’t warn you…

    The Sinner, by Petra Hammesfahr
    One of the best examples of a “whydunnit” in recent years, German author Hammesfahr’s twisty novel (soon to air as a miniseries on USA starring Jessica Biel) is largely told in flashback after Cora Bender, a seemingly normal mother and housewife, inexplicably stabs a man to death while on a beach picnic with her family. Cora confesses readily and claims to have no idea why she just committed homicide—but a patient policeman thinks there’s more to the story, and slowly susses out the truth—Cora’s younger sister was born extremely ill, and her mother became obsessed with caring for her, forcing her father to share a room with Cora, resulting in a creepily close relationship between the two that comes as close to abuse as possible without crossing that final line. Her sister Magdalena isn’t as innocent as she seems—despite her frailty, she manipulates Cora and also has an intensely, inappropriately intimate relationship with her. When Cora is 19, she takes Magdalena with her to meet a boy and his friends, not realizing that Magdalena is near death and wishes to die. Two of the boys rape Cora while the third has sex with Magdalena—who dies during the act, a specific piece of music playing on the radio. When Cora freaks out, one of the boys hits her in the head with an ashtray, and to cover up the crime, they hold Cora captive for six months. Years later, when the music plays again at the beach, Cora snaps, and strikes out with a knife.

    Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
    In Ender’s Game, the survival of the human race depends on Ender Wiggin, the child genius recruited for military training by the government… But while you (and Ender) believe he is fighting in mind simulation, in truth, he’s been  manipulated into fighting a real war, and actually killing the enemies, called buggers. He moves to a new colony planet with his sister, where he discovers that the buggers have created a space just for him. They didn’t know humans had intelligence, and they want to communicate with him. They show him what the war looked like from their point of view, and Ender and the buggers meet a point of understanding. He vows to live with them in peace, starts a new kind of religion, and writes a Bible-like book about the buggers, signing it Speaker For The Dead, which is a perfect segue into the Ender’s Game sequel.

    Atonement, by Ian McEwan
    Atonement is about misinterpretation and its repercussions. Briony observes her big sister Cecilia and Cecilia’s friend Robbie flirting and assumes something shameful has happened between them. She accuses Robbie of rape, and Robbie goes to jail. The story then follows Cecilia and Robbie as they go to war, fall in love, and wind up together forever. But at the end of the novel, you discover that Briony is actually the book’s narrator—and she’s been lying to you, too. She did accuse Robbie of rape, and he was jailed, but C & R didn’t live happily ever after together, after all. They both died in the war. Briony just wrote a happy ending for them to atone for her sins. That’s what she says, anyway. I’m not sure I believe anything she says anymore.

    And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
    Most Agatha Christie novels leave you gobsmacked (The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, anyone?) But And Then There Were None is an absolute masterpiece of the whodunnit? formula. People invited to a party in a mansion keep on being murdered, but by whom? Well, if you’re sure you want to know…it was Judge Wargrave! Swaddled in a red curtain, he fakes his own death so that you, the reader, assume the murderer is someone else. But in a written confession at the end of the novel, you learn that he invited people to a desolate island in order to kill them one by one as punishment for the terrible things they’d done (and thought they got away with). Agatha, you sneak!

    Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
    In Gone Girl, husband and wife Nick and Amy tell the story of their tumultuous marriage. We read what we think is Amy’s diary, and it condemns Nick as a violent jerk. We start to believe that Nick is responsible for Amy’s disappearance and possible death. But in a series of twists, the truth is revealed—Amy and Nick are both liars. Nick was having an affair, and Amy has been alive all along, on the lam, trying to frame Nick for her death. What we thought was her diary is actually a cunning trap: it’s a piece of fiction Amy wrote for the police to find. Amy kills a friend and returns to Nick, pregnant with his child, claiming she was kidnapped. Nick takes her back even though he knows the truth. In the end, Amy says she’s getting ready to become a mom by writing her abduction story. She should hang out with Briony.

    Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
    Rebecca begins with one of the most mesmerizing first lines in literature—“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Things only get more interesting from there. The unnamed protagonist marries Maxim de Winter and moves into his home, called Manderley. She struggles to live up to the legend of Maxim’s late wife, Rebecca, who was seemingly perfect. Mrs. Danvers, the maid, almost gets the protagonist to kill herself in despair. But one day, divers find a sunken sailboat that belonged to Rebecca, revealing that Rebecca was murdered. Maxim then tells the truth: Rebecca was a wretched woman who had multiple affairs—one, with her cousin, resulted in her pregnancy. When Maxim found out, he killed her. In yet another twist, we find out that Rebecca was lying to Maxim—she wasn’t pregnant, but was actually dying of a terminal illness. In the end Old Danvers burns the joint down and disappears. As for Maxim and the protagonist? Happily ever after.

    The Dinner, by Herman Koch
    In Howard Koch’s The Dinner, two brothers and their wives sit down for a meal to discuss the horrific crime committed by their sons. The cousins have been caught on camera attacking a sleeping homeless woman in an ATM, throwing trash and a container of gasoline at her, and then burning her to death. Koch makes it clear that the family is bonded by a common sociopathology. The family argues over what to do. Serge, a politician, wants to come clean about the boys’ crime. Enraged by Serge’s stance, his sister-in-law Claire attacks him, disfiguring his face. Claire urges her nephews to “take care” of Beau, Serge and Babette’s adopted son, who witnessed the crime and is blackmailing the boys by threatening to reveal what they did. At the end of the novel, Beau is missing, and one of the cousins comes home covered in blood and mud. Wonder what happened to him?

    Harry Potter And The Deathly Hollows, by J.K. Rowling
    In J.K. Rowling’s seventh and final installment in the Harry Potter series, it’s revealed that Harry is a Horcrux, and must be killed before Voldemort can be. Viewing Snape’s memories in the Pensieve, Harry sees Snape talking to Dumbledore and finds out that Snape’s been his protector all this time. Snape loved Harry’s mother, Lily Potter, and spent his entire life spying on Voldemort for Dumbledore. Meanwhile, Dumbledore had been steering Harry to sacrifice himself for the larger good. Good and evil are blurred once again when Harry survives and learns that Dumbledore loved him, even if he expected him to sacrifice himself. Ms. Rowling, you’ve tricked us again.

    Rant, by Chuck Palahniuk
    This novel is an oral biography of protagonist Buster Landru “Rant” Casey, who has died. The reader gathers that Rant lived in a dystopian future where lower class citizens, called “nighttimers,” engaged in an activity called “Party Crashing,” a demolition derby where the crashers slam into each other in cars. The catch: if you crash in the right mental state, you’ll travel backwards in time. Rant disappears during Party Crashing, so his friends assume he’s time traveling. It takes some piecing together to figure out that Rant has been traveling back through time, raping his ancestors every thirteen years in an effort to become a superhuman. He isn’t one character; he is many. You can’t make this stuff up, but I guess Palahniuk did.

    Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
    Anna Karenina is about a lot of stuff, but the heart of the story lies with Anna and her downward spiral from captivating spitfire to insecure shell of a woman. The book is beautifully written. Much of its pleasure comes from the character studies and quiet plotting. Then, in one of the most shocking moments in literature, Anna throws herself under a train and dies and you are stupefied. One of my friends always says, of Anna Karenina, “if you only read one ‘old’ book in your whole life, have it be this one.” Agreed.

    Something Happened, by Joseph Heller
    You’ll spend more than 400 pages reading about not much happening, rolling around in the protagonist’s brain as he goes to work, cares for his son, and fantasizes about the secretary. I can’t tell you what happens, though. That would ruin the book completely. 

    Kidding, obviously. The whole point, here, is to ruin your enjoyment of surprising books!

    Slocum’s son is a weakling because Slocum never made him go to gym class. This son gets hit by a car. In sadness and despair, Slocum hugs him to death. I mean that very literally, not the new kind of “literally.” Slocum hugs his son until he dies from squeezing. 

    Even with the surprises spoiled, reading these books is still a worthwhile endeavor. You’re going to read all of them, right? What’s the best book twist you’ve ever read?

    The post DO NOT READ THIS POST: The 10 Biggest Book Spoilers, Ever appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 9:30 pm on 2017/02/22 Permalink
    Tags: , , gone girl, , , , the talentedmr. ripley   

    10 Seemingly Unrelated Books that Complement Each Other Perfectly 

    The literary world can like an infinite sea of ideas: walk into a bookstore and the thousands of titles on display—which are only the tip of the bookberg bobbing under the surface—is overwhelming in the best way. You might imagine the chances of two novels written by different people, at different times, and for different reasons being somehow linked would be pretty low. And it is—but not so low that we couldn’t make note of five pairs of books have nothing to do with each other—and yet have everything to do with each other. (Beware of spoilers!)

    Difficult Women, by Roxanne Gay & Men Without Women, by Haruki Murakami
    Roxanne Gay was born in Nebraska and writes fiction and non-fiction rife with feminist and racial themes. Haruki Murakami is Japanese, and writes complex, beautiful novels no one can claim to completely understand. Yet they both have written short story collections that are begging to be read together. Gay’s newest is exactly what it says on the tin: stories about challenging, strong-willed women (including one about a wife who knows her abusive husband has switched places with his gentler twin, and chooses to say nothing). Murakami’s new collection features seven stories about men explicitly without women (though there is at least one vanishing cat), and it’s easy to imagine the connections between the two. For extra fun, switch off between them, from Gay’s brash and occasionally desperate women to Murakami’s quieter, sadder men.

    The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck & The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    The Great Gatsby was published in 1925; The Grapes of Wrath in 1939. In the intervening twelve years, America went from a giddy postwar playground to a grim economic disaster on the brink of another World War. The books perfectly bookend the time between. Even more interestingly, they explore two sides of society that remain sadly relevant to this day: the super-rich, throwing lavish parties, and the desperately poor, who find that even a willingness to work like dogs isn’t enough to guarantee survival. Sharing themes but exploring them from opposite sides: if you read them back-to-back, it’s hard to believe they were written so close together in time—until you look past the surface of their settings and see the similarities. In the end, these may be among the most American novels ever written.

    Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley & Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
    The complementary nature of these two novels is all to do with the nightmarish inversion they represent for each other. Victor Frankenstein raids charnel houses and slaughterhouses for the parts he needs to create his creature, and in Ishiguro’s story human clones are raised from childhood in order to provide spare parts for their originals, a horrifying reversal. Interestingly, the precise nature of Frankenstein’s process is unclear—there is no evidence he literally stole arms and legs and hearts and lungs from graveyards; in fact, his process is more alchemical, even supernatural. Still, it’s easy to imagine him taking organs from corpses to build the better man, while in Ishiguro’s story organs are taken from perfectly healthy, living beings so their older genetic twins might live a bit longer, be a bit healthier. After reading these two books, ask yourself who the monster really is.

    Lord of the Flies, by William Golding & The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Both of these novels involve children being pitted against each other, but they are dark mirror reflections of each other in many ways. Golding’s children turn to violence and ritualistic murder because of their natures; left unsupervised by society, they become animals. Collins’ teenagers are forced to fight by society—and, in fact, ultimately resist and drive a revolution against it, asserting their better natures over the lure of violence. Reading them both, it’s easy to imagine dropping the kids from District 11 onto the Lord of the Flies island, and within weeks having set up a functioning democracy and gotten to work building a fleet of ships so they can go conquer the world.

    Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn & The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith
    Sociopaths are everywhere, whether you realize it or not. Flynn and Highsmith realize it, and they realize something else: that sociopaths are the most interesting people in any room. Highsmith’s classic sociopath Tom Ripley manipulates everyone around him in a grand game that only he can see. Flynn’s Amy Dunne manipulates everyone around her all the time in order to preserve the fiction of her perfection. But the people Ripley kills are done away with in a cold-blooded, calculating manner, whereas Amazing Amy’s murders stem from a simmering rage. Imagining a world where Amy, on the run and waiting for Nick to be executed, meets Tom Ripley, and the two square off. It’s the sort of fan fiction that might break the Internet.

    The post 10 Seemingly Unrelated Books that Complement Each Other Perfectly appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jen Harper 4:00 pm on 2016/03/03 Permalink
    Tags: girl on the train, gone girl, , , , , ,   

    Loved The Girl on the Train? Here are 6 New Books to Read Next 

    Yes, yes, we know. You know. Everybody and their great aunt knows. If you liked Gillian Flynn’s dark and suspenseful Gone Girl, then you have to read Paula Hawkins’s page-turner The Girl on the Train—and vice versa. But you likely knocked out both of those books before the calendar flipped over to 2016. So what now?

    You can’t just go around and around reading these two admittedly awesome books for the rest of your days, pretending you don’t anticipate the plot twists, and you’ve likely read a readalike or two since you first devoured them. So to keep the twists coming, we’ve rounded up some recent and upcoming releases that are musts for any The Girl on the Train superfan.

    Maestra, by L.S. Hilton
    Maestra, out April 19, marks the first in a new trilogy from author L.S. Hilton—and as it’s already been optioned for film by Columbia Pictures, you know it’s going to be buzzworthy. This sexy psychological thriller stars cynical narrator Judith Rashleigh, an assistant at a London art auction house by day, a hostess at a seedy club by night, and a high-class escort on her nights off. After getting fired from the art house for discovering a dark secret, she agrees to accompany one of the club’s biggest clients to the French Riviera—where he ends up the victim of a fatal accident. Judith must flee, while faking it among the rich and famous in this unpredictable new page-turner.

    Try Not to Breathe, by Holly Seddon
    Alex Dale and Amy Stevenson are both stuck, but in very different ways, in Seddon’s debut thriller. Alex is an alcoholic, having lost her husband, a baby, and her journalism job to addiction. She’s working on a freelance writing assignment when she meets Amy, who spent 15 years in a coma—conscious but paralyzed—following an attack by an older man when she was just 15 years old. Perspectives alternate between Alex, as she tries to solve the mystery of what happened to Amy and resurrect her own reporting career; Amy, as she relives the past and remains physically trapped in her present; and Jacob, Amy’s boyfriend at the time of the attack, who carries guilt about what happened to her. This well-paced tale takes some dark twists and turns, keeping readers guessing until the very end.

    The Widow, by Fiona Barton
    Barton’s debut asks a harrowing question: What would you do if your spouse was suspected of a horrific crime against a child? That’s precisely what Jean Taylor was faced with four years ago, when she was forced into the role of wife to a wrongly accused man. Though he was ultimately acquitted, the mystery of the little girl’s disappearance once pinned on him was never solved. Now Jean’s husband is dead, fatally struck by a bus, and reporters are trying to get the exclusive rights to her story. But what story will Jean choose to share? Suspenseful and intriguing, The Widow examines the dark secrets that can exist in a marriage.

    Second Life, by S.J. Watson
    Second Life is Watson’s second thriller, behind her bestselling Before I Go To Sleep, to offer up a thrilling mix of sex, murder, and mystery. Narrator Julia Wilding lives a comfortable, quiet life with her husband and their adopted 13-year-old son, Connor. But when Julia’s sister, Kate, is murdered in Paris, Julia becomes determined to find out what really happened—for her own sake and that of Connor, secretly Kate’s biological child. But soon Julia becomes entangled in Kate’s erotic online life, which stokes her own dark desires. Will she find out what happened to her sister, or will she lose herself in the hunt?

    All the Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda
    Miranda one-ups all the readers who flip to the end of a book first by starting her tale near the end of the story, and then backing up to tell the whole thing in reverse. Confused? You won’t be once you check out this gripping thriller, out June 28. It tells the story of two young women who go missing from the same rural town a decade apart. Nicolette Farrel left her hometown 10 years ago, after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared without a trace. The investigation at the time focused on suspects including Nic and the people closest to her. She’s the only one among them to have left leave their hometown, but now she’s back to care for her ill father. But when Annaleise, Nic’s neighbor and her crew’s alibi on the night of Corinne’s disappearance, goes missing herself, Nic suddenly finds herself thrown into a new mystery, as well as the ongoing mystery of what really happened to Corinne all those years ago.

    Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll
    Knoll’s bestselling debut paints a picture of a woman who has reinvented herself and left a painful, humiliating past behind. But how long can Ani FaNelli go on before her carefully resurrected facade of secrets and lies crumbles? And will it set her free or destroy her? Ani suffered as a teen at the hands of her fellow students at a prestigious private school, but now she’s re-created herself as a writer in New York with a wealthy and handsome fiancé. Then, a documentary about a violent incident at her former school brings Ani’s painful past crashing into her beautifully orchestrated present, forcing her to face some unfortunate truths in this twisty-turny thriller.

     
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