Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What is Martha Woodroof reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Martha Woodroof, author of Small Blessings.

Her entry begins:
At this moment, I'm reading J.K. Rowling's second Cormoran Strike novel, The Silkworm. As I live to lunch, this is my favorite quotation, so far: "They love their bloody lunches, book people," Strike said.

I recently read The Son by Philipp Meyer (cracking good story, recommended by a gym buddy) and...[read on]
About Small Blessings, from the publisher:
From debut novelist Martha Woodroof comes an inspiring tale of a small-town college professor, a remarkable new woman at the bookshop, and the ten-year old son he never knew he had.

Tom Putnam has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. An English professor in a sleepy college town, he spends his days browsing the Shakespeare shelves at the campus bookstore, managing the oddball faculty in his department and caring, alongside his formidable mother-in-law, for his wife Marjory, a fragile shut-in with unrelenting neuroses, a condition exacerbated by her discovery of Tom’s brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess a decade earlier.

Then, one evening at the bookstore, Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the shop's charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to their home for dinner, out of the blue, her first social interaction since her breakdown. Tom wonders if it’s a sign that change is on the horizon, a feeling confirmed upon his return home, where he opens a letter from his former paramour, informing him he'd fathered a son who is heading Tom's way on a train. His mind races at the possibility of having a family after so many years of loneliness. And it becomes clear change is coming whether Tom’s ready or not.

A heartwarming story with a charmingly imperfect cast of characters to cheer for, Small Blessings's wonderfully optimistic heart that reminds us that sometimes, when it feels like life has veered irrevocably off track, the track shifts in ways we never can have imagined.
Visit Martha Woodroof's website.

My Book, The Movie: Small Blessings.

The Page 69 Test: Small Blessings.

Writers Read: Martha Woodroof.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight of the best doomsday books

For Omnivoracious, Neal Thompson tagged eight top doomsday books, including:
A History of the Future, James Howard Kunstler

What the heck happened? You name it: pandemics, environmental disaster, no more oil, plenty of social and political chaos.

Now what? The people of Union Grove, in upstate New York, continue to strive for a simpler "world made by hand" pioneer lifestyle. (This is book 3 in the "World Made By Hand" series.) But then, on Christmas Eve: a gory double murder.
Read about another book on the list.

Writers Read: James Howard Kunstler.

The Page 69 Test A History of the Future.

My Book, the Movie: A History of the Future.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: David P. Baker's "The Schooled Society"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Schooled Society: The Educational Transformation of Global Culture by David P. Baker.

About the book, from the publisher:
Only 150 years ago, the majority of the world's population was largely illiterate. Today, not only do most people over fifteen have basic reading and writing skills, but 20 percent of the population attends some form of higher education. What are the effects of such radical, large-scale change? David Baker argues that the education revolution has transformed our world into a schooled society—that is, a society that is actively created and defined by education.

Drawing on neo-institutionalism, The Schooled Society shows how mass education interjects itself and its ideologies into culture at large: from the dynamics of social mobility, to how we measure intelligence, to the values we promote. The proposition that education is a primary rather than a "reactive" institution is then tested by examining the degree to which education has influenced other large-scale social forces, such as the economy, politics, and religion. Rich, groundbreaking, and globally-oriented, The Schooled Society sheds light on how mass education has dramatically altered the face of society and human life.
Learn more about The Schooled Society at the Stanford University Press website and David Baker's research website.

The Page 99 Test: The Schooled Society.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Edgar Cantero's "The Supernatural Enhancements," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero.

The entry begins:
First off, if my book were made into a movie, I’d want to be part of it. Even if I’m not allowed to take decisions.

I actually talked to producers already regarding The Supernatural Enhancements. When asked who would I cast to play the most charismatic role in the story—mute, punk-haired, Catholic-raised Niamh—, my answer was, “no one I know.” It still is. I’m not up to date on teen actresses, but Niamh seems too young to be played by anyone who has built up much of a name. Her partner and chronicler A. is slightly older, but I think anyone who reads the book will agree that Niamh is the real heroine, and I wouldn’t like a male star to steal the spotlight from her. So I’d go for relatively unknown actors in the lead roles.

One person I’d love to recruit for a supporting role...[read on]
Visit Edgar Cantero's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Supernatural Enhancements.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Sarah Fine's "Of Metal and Wishes"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine.

About the book, from the publisher:
This love story for the ages, set in a reimagined industrial Asia, is a little dark, a bit breathless, and completely compelling.

Sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic, housed in a slaughterhouse staffed by the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor. Wen often hears the whisper of a ghost in the slaughterhouse, a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. And after one of the Noor humiliates Wen, the ghost grants an impulsive wish of hers—brutally.

Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including the outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the ghost. As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen is torn between her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat—real or imagined. Will she determine whom to trust before the factory explodes, taking her down with it?
Visit Sarah Fine's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Of Metal and Wishes.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is April Genevieve Tucholke reading?

Featured at Writers Read: April Genevieve Tucholke, author of Between the Spark and the Burn.

Her entry begins:
I listen to a lot of audiobooks, and I’m currently listening to Connie Willis’s To Say Nothing of the Dog, which is a delightful comic science fiction classic, styled after Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men In a Boat (with a bit of time travel thrown in). It’s a purely pleasant summer read, clever and droll, no drama, no tragedy. I’m also listening to...[read on]
About Between the Spark and the Burn, from the publisher:
The conclusion to Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, this gothic thriller romance with shades of Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier is a must-read for fans of Beautiful Creatures and Anna Dressed in Blood.

Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world.
But then, the Devil once told me that it’s easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry.
The problem with River West Redding was that he’d done both to me.


The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet’s life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River’s other brother, are left to worry—until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn’t long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own...
Learn more about the book and author at April Genevieve Tucholke's website.

My Book, The Movie: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

Writers Read: April Genevieve Tucholke.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books by doctors

Gabriel Weston is an ear, nose and throat surgical specialist and author of the memoir, Direct Red: A Surgeon’s View of her Life-or-Death Profession.

One of her five best books by doctors, as shared at The Daily Beast:
Very soon after beginning my medical training, I started wanting to write. I would go to dissection classes, cut up a human cadaver, and then go home and write about what I had learned and felt. I didn’t think of this impulse as anything other than a kind of private therapy until, one day, a friend gave me a copy of Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage. This wonderful and highly autobiographical novel gave me my very first sense that the stuff I was witnessing in the hospital was worth writing about.
Read about another book Weston tagged.

Of Human Bondage is among Hallie Ephron's ten best literary tear-jerkers and Tad Friend's five best novels about success.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pg. 99: Jason McGraw's "The Work of Recognition"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Work of Recognition: Caribbean Colombia and the Postemancipation Struggle for Citizenship by Jason McGraw.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book tells the compelling story of postemancipation Colombia, from the liberation of the slaves in the 1850s through the country's first general labor strikes in the 1910s. As Jason McGraw demonstrates, ending slavery fostered a new sense of citizenship, one shaped both by a model of universal rights and by the particular freedom struggles of African-descended people. Colombia's Caribbean coast was at the center of these transformations, in which women and men of color, the region's majority population, increasingly asserted the freedom to control their working conditions, fight in civil wars, and express their religious beliefs.

The history of Afro-Colombians as principal social actors after emancipation, McGraw argues, opens up a new view on the practice and meaning of citizenship. Crucial to this conception of citizenship was the right of recognition. Indeed, attempts to deny the role of people of color in the republic occurred at key turning points exactly because they demanded public recognition as citizens. In connecting Afro-Colombians to national development, The Work of Recognition also places the story within the broader contexts of Latin American popular politics, culture, and the African diaspora.
Learn more about The Work of Recognition at The University of North Carolina Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Work of Recognition.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Martha Woodroof's "Small Blessings"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Small Blessings: A Novel by Martha Woodroof.

About the book, from the publisher:
From debut novelist Martha Woodroof comes an inspiring tale of a small-town college professor, a remarkable new woman at the bookshop, and the ten-year old son he never knew he had.

Tom Putnam has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. An English professor in a sleepy college town, he spends his days browsing the Shakespeare shelves at the campus bookstore, managing the oddball faculty in his department and caring, alongside his formidable mother-in-law, for his wife Marjory, a fragile shut-in with unrelenting neuroses, a condition exacerbated by her discovery of Tom’s brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess a decade earlier.

Then, one evening at the bookstore, Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the shop's charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to their home for dinner, out of the blue, her first social interaction since her breakdown. Tom wonders if it’s a sign that change is on the horizon, a feeling confirmed upon his return home, where he opens a letter from his former paramour, informing him he'd fathered a son who is heading Tom's way on a train. His mind races at the possibility of having a family after so many years of loneliness. And it becomes clear change is coming whether Tom’s ready or not.

A heartwarming story with a charmingly imperfect cast of characters to cheer for, Small Blessings's wonderfully optimistic heart that reminds us that sometimes, when it feels like life has veered irrevocably off track, the track shifts in ways we never can have imagined.
Visit Martha Woodroof's website.

My Book, The Movie: Small Blessings.

The Page 69 Test: Small Blessings.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Bill Crider reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Bill Crider, author of Half in Love with Artful Death.

His entry begins:
At the moment I’m about halfway through The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee by Marj Mills. Mills, a reporter, got to know Harper Lee and her sister, Alice, while working on a story for a Chicago newspaper. She and the sisters became friends, and Mills eventually moved to Monroeville, Alabama, and lived near them for a time. Her book tells as much about herself as it does them, as she learned a lot about life in the south and the people in small towns there. Before the book was even published, Lee disavowed it, claiming to be hurt and upset by its publication. Mills says that both Lee and her sister were aware that Mills was writing it and that they were her friends both during and after its composition. Whatever the case, it’s an interesting and engaging account, and...[read on]
About the book, from the publisher:
The local community college and an antique dealer team up to have a workshop for artists. One local man, Burt Collins, isn't fond of the art, and he isn't fond of having the artists in town. Sheriff Dan Rhodes is called to the antique store because Collins has been accused of vandalizing some paintings. When Rhodes arrives, two men are restraining Collins. But before Rhodes can take Collins into custody, a near riot breaks out. Rhodes gets the situation under control with the help of college math instructor and wannabe cop Seepy Benton.

Later that day Rhodes has to help the county animal control officer round up some runaway donkeys, and that evening there's a robbery at a local convenience store. After looking into the robbery, Rhodes goes by to see Collins and talk to him about the vandalism. Collins isn't talking because he's been killed, his head bashed in with a bust of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Rhodes is faced with other problems, too: a naked woman in a roadside park and a gang of meth-cookers. It seems as if a Sheriff's work is never done.

Half in Love with Artful Death is the 21st book in this entertaining and original series. It's the perfect time for mystery fans to discover this Texan star of the genre, Bill Crider.
Learn more about the book and author at Bill Crider's website and blog.

Read the Page 69 Test entries for Crider's A Mammoth Murder, Murder Among the OWLS, Of All Sad Words, Murder in Four Parts, Murder in the Air, The Wild Hog Murders, Murder of a Beauty Shop Queen, and Compound Murder.

Learn about Crider's choice of actors to portray Dan Rhodes et al on the big screen.

The Page 69 Test: Half in Love with Artful Death.

Writers Read: Bill Crider.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten of the best creepy books

Stephanie Feldman's debut novel The Angel of Losses "explores the intersections of family secrets, Jewish myths, the legacy of war and history, and the bonds between sisters."

For Publishers Weekly, Feldman tagged ten of her favorite "books that are smart and scary—just frightening enough for catharsis, and just exotic enough in their trappings that you'll probably still be able to sleep at night, if you're not lying awake thrilled by just how good they are." One title on the list:
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Everyone talks about The Haunting of Hill House. Stop doing that. Talk about this book instead. Sisters Merricat (for Mary Katherine) and Constance hide out in their family estate, ostracized by their neighbors since Constance was acquitted of murdering six other members of their family. But their isolation isn't too last. Merricat's narration is simultaneously appealing and chilling, making her an unforgettable character.
Read about another book on the list.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle is among Lauren Passell's five top Gothic novels and Will Eaves's top ten siblings' stories.

Visit Stephanie Feldman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Stephan Eirik Clark's "Sweetness #9," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Sweetness #9 by Stephan Eirik Clark.

The entry begins:
The character of David Leveraux came to me fully-formed. Even before I knew that he would fail to blow the whistle on a potentially dangerous new artificial sweetener, I could hear his washed-out English accent and see his neatly parted hair. Even before I knew he'd have a family that would inherit the same side-effects he first observed while testing that artificial sweetener on rats and monkeys, I could see him flashing a polite smile and feel his eagerness to please.

What I didn't ever picture when imagining David was a movie star, not in the beginning at least. David was always just David, and thankfully so. If I had started out picturing an actor in his place, that actor's personality and style of speech would have taken control. That actor would have become my character.

Instead, the reverse happened. I only started to cast Sweetness #9 in my mind when the novel was all but finished. By then, David was safely on the page, so I...[read on]
Visit Stephan Eirik Clark's website.

My Book, The Movie: Sweetness #9.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Four top horror stories set in the real universe of girlhood

For Hazlitt, Anna Fitzpatrick tagged four books "featuring small towns, teen girls, intimate friendships on the border between love and hate, and brutal murders," including:
Megan Abbott’s books [are] high school stories for a grownup readership. The Fever is also based on the Le Roy story, featuring an unnamed epidemic that hits only teen girls. It’s the follow-up to Abbott’s 2012 novel, Dare Me, a high school noir starring a cheerleading squad. The friendship between Beth, the squad’s captain, and Addy, her beta best friend, is strained when a new, young coach arrives with her own way of doing things. Addy is enchanted by this coach. Beth is not. And then there is a murder.
Read about another book Fitzpatrick tagged.

My Book, The Movie: The Fever.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Joanne Rocklin's "Fleabrain Loves Franny"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin.

About the book, from the publisher:
This gem of a novel takes place in Pittsburgh in 1952. Franny Katzenback, while recovering from polio, reads and falls in love with the brand-new book Charlotte’s Web. Bored and lonely and yearning for a Charlotte of her own, Franny starts up a correspondence with an eloquent flea named Fleabrain who lives on her dog’s tail. While Franny struggles with physical therapy and feeling left out of her formerly active neighborhood life, Fleabrain is there to take her on adventures based on his extensive reading. It’s a touching, funny story set in the recent past, told with Rocklin’s signature wit and thoughtfulness.
Visit Joanne Rocklin's website.

The Page 69 Test: Fleabrain Loves Franny.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Tom Leveen reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Tom Leveen, author of Random.

His entry begins:
Am I the only one who has multiple books going at once? Currently sitting on my kitchen table (where I do most of my reading) is Secret Windows, by Stephen King, which is an out-of-print book-of-the-month exclusive collection of King fiction, nonfiction, and interviews. Much of it comes from King’s Danse Macabre, which I recently finished after taking copious notes on other horror books to read and movies to watch. While both Danse and Windows are dated, the information in both is excellent for horror writers, or fans of the genre. I think that’s particularly true for young aspiring horror or urban fantasy writers—it’s important to know who came before, what they did, and why it mattered. King didn’t invent the horror genre, after all, and reading about his influences (and why they should be influential) is...[read on]
About the book, from the publisher:
Who’s the real victim here? This tense and gripping exploration of cyberbullying and teen suicide is perfect for fans of Before I Fall and Thirteen Reasons Why.

Late at night Tori receives a random phone call. It’s a wrong number. But the caller seems to want to talk, so she stays on the line.

He asks for a single thing—one reason not to kill himself.

The request plunges her into confusion. Because if this random caller actually does what he plans, he’ll be the second person connected to Tori to take his own life. And the first just might land her in jail. After her Facebook page became Exhibit A in a tragic national news story about cyberbullying, Tori can’t help but suspect the caller is a fraud. But what if he’s not? Her words alone may hold the power of life or death.

With the clock ticking, Tori has little time to save a stranger—and maybe redeem herself—leading to a startling conclusion that changes everything…
Learn more about the book and author at Tom Leveen's website.

Leveen is also the author of Sick, Party, Zero, and manicpixiedreamgirl. Zero was named to YALSA’s list of Best Fiction for Young Adults.

My Book, The Movie: Zero.

My Book, The Movie: Sick.

The Page 69 Test: Sick.

Writers Read: Tom Leveen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Kate Elswit's "Watching Weimar Dance"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Watching Weimar Dance by Kate Elswit.

About the book, from the publisher:
Watching Weimar Dance asks what audiences saw on stages from cabaret and revue to concert dance and experimental theatre in the turbulent moment of the Weimar Republic. Spectator reports that performers died or became half-machine archive not only the physicality of past performance, but also the ways audiences used the temporary world of the theatre to negotiate pressing social issues, from female visibility within commodity culture to human functioning in an era of increasing technologization. Archives of watching a range of performance artists, including Oskar Schlemmer, Valeska Gert, Kurt Jooss, Mary Wigman, Bertolt Brecht, Anita Berber, and the Tiller Girl troupes also revise and complicate our understanding of Ausdruckstanz as the representative dance of this moment in Germany. They further reveal how such practices came to be imbued with different significance in the postwar era as well as in transnational context. By bringing insights from theatre, dance, and performance studies to German cultural studies, and vice versa, Watching Weimar Dance develops a culturally-situated model of spectatorship that not only offers a new narrative but also demonstrates new methods for dance scholarship to shape cultural history.
Visit Kate Elswit's website.

The Page 99 Test: Watching Weimar Dance.

--Marshal Zeringue

Martha Woodroof's "Small Blessings," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof.

The entry begins:
I must say no, no, no! to visualizing actors as the characters in Small Blessings. They are much to specifically drawn inside my head for me to see them inhabited by anyone else. I blame my mother for this. She read aloud to me long past the age I was able to read to myself, and got me into the habit of such precise imagining that I was ruined for life as far as...[read on]
Visit Martha Woodroof's website.

My Book, The Movie: Small Blessings.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pg. 69: April Genevieve Tucholke's "Between the Spark and the Burn"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Between the Spark and the Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke.

About the book, from the publisher:
The conclusion to Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, this gothic thriller romance with shades of Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier is a must-read for fans of Beautiful Creatures and Anna Dressed in Blood.

Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world.
But then, the Devil once told me that it’s easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry.
The problem with River West Redding was that he’d done both to me.


The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet’s life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River’s other brother, are left to worry—until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn’t long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own...
Learn more about the book and author at April Genevieve Tucholke's website.

My Book, The Movie: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

The Page 69 Test: Between the Spark and the Burn.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Donna Gephart reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Donna Gephart, author of Death by Toilet Paper.

Her entry begins:
I adore books with humor and heart, so I was enamored by Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park. The friendship/love story between these two kids who felt like they didn't fit in was both harrowing and heart-warming. Loved the book so much that I've been reading all of Rainbow Rowell's other books.

One of my favorite books with humor, heart and fun illustrations is...[read on]
About Death by Toilet Paper, from the publisher:
Fans of How to Survive Middle School will welcome the adventures of a contest-crazed seventh grader who uses his wits and way with words in hopes of winning a big cash prize to help his family avoid eviction.

Dear Royal-T Toilet Paper Company,

You guys make the best toilet paper. I realize that’s a weird thing for a seventh grader to say, but it’s true. I didn’t know how good I had it until the day it was replaced by scratchy (sand)paper.

Good toilet paper was the first thing to go....

Your friend,

Benjamin Epstein


Benjamin is about to lose a whole lot more than good toilet paper. But even with his flair for clever slogans, will he be able to win a cash prize large enough to keep a promise he made to his dad before he died?
Learn more about the book and author at Donna Gephart's website.

Writers Read: Donna Gephart.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about hair

Bea Davenport drew on her experiences as a journalist for her first novel, In Too Deep, which was shortlisted for the 2009 Luke Bitmead Bursary. Her children’s novel, The Serpent House, was shortlisted for the 2010 Times/Chicken House Award.

One of Davenport's top ten books about hair, as shared at the Guardian:
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Red hair has now become very desirable indeed in children's literature, but poor Anne Shirley hated being teased for her carrot-coloured plaits. In a disastrous attempt to look like her raven-haired friend Diana, she tries to dye her hair black – but it turns out green.
Read about another entry on the list.

Anne of Green Gables is among the Observer's ten best fictional mothers.

Marilla's raspberry cordial in Anne of Green Gables is one of Jane Brocket's top ten food scenes in children's literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Jon Keller's "Of Sea and Cloud," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Of Sea and Cloud by Jon Keller.

The entry begins:
I’m not much of a movie watcher—though I love them, I don’t live in a place conducive to watching many. I now live aboard a boat, and before that in an isolated cabin, so my power supply is limited, as is my internet service.

That said, the actor that pops into my head concerning Of Sea and Cloud is Daniel...[read on]
Visit Jon Keller's website.

Writers Read: Jon Keller.

The Page 69 Test: Of Sea and Cloud.

My Book, The Movie: Of Sea and Cloud.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 15, 2014

Five fictional characters who deserved better

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Melissa Albert tagged five fictional characters who deserved better than they got, including:
Lydia Bennet (Pride and Prejudice).

More unfairness from the pages of Austen, who we’re sure was only calling it like she saw it. Yes, Lydia’s a giggly twit, but who among us stands by every decision we made when we were 15? We’ve all crushed on somebody who ended up being so not worth it. Now think of being tied to that person for life, with hardly any money to boot. And that’s why we don’t understand the people who wish they could be transported back to Austen’s day.
Read about another entry on the list.

Pride and Prejudice also appears on Melissa Albert's lists of [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

Pg. 69: Bill Crider's "Half in Love with Artful Death"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Half in Love with Artful Death: A Dan Rhodes Mystery by Bill Crider.

About the book, from the publisher:
The local community college and an antique dealer team up to have a workshop for artists. One local man, Burt Collins, isn't fond of the art, and he isn't fond of having the artists in town. Sheriff Dan Rhodes is called to the antique store because Collins has been accused of vandalizing some paintings. When Rhodes arrives, two men are restraining Collins. But before Rhodes can take Collins into custody, a near riot breaks out. Rhodes gets the situation under control with the help of college math instructor and wannabe cop Seepy Benton.

Later that day Rhodes has to help the county animal control officer round up some runaway donkeys, and that evening there's a robbery at a local convenience store. After looking into the robbery, Rhodes goes by to see Collins and talk to him about the vandalism. Collins isn't talking because he's been killed, his head bashed in with a bust of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Rhodes is faced with other problems, too: a naked woman in a roadside park and a gang of meth-cookers. It seems as if a Sheriff's work is never done.

Half in Love with Artful Death is the 21st book in this entertaining and original series. It's the perfect time for mystery fans to discover this Texan star of the genre, Bill Crider.
Learn more about the book and author at Bill Crider's website and blog.

Read the Page 69 Test entries for Crider's A Mammoth Murder, Murder Among the OWLS, Of All Sad Words, Murder in Four Parts, Murder in the Air, The Wild Hog Murders, Murder of a Beauty Shop Queen, and Compound Murder.

Learn about Crider's choice of actors to portray Dan Rhodes et al on the big screen.

The Page 69 Test: Half in Love with Artful Death.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Susan Elia MacNeal reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Susan Elia MacNeal, author of The Prime Minister's Secret Agent.

Her entry begins:
Right now, I’m reading a lot of non-fiction, to research the book I’m working on, Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante. This is the fifth book in the Maggie Hope series, and follows the adventures of Maggie Maggie’s adventures as she accompanies Winston Churchill’s on his post-Pearl Harbor meeting with President Roosevelt in Washington, D.C.

Although the two leaders agreed on many issues, one of the sticking points was Churchill’s idea of Empire — and Roosevelt’s desire to see people free to govern themselves. And so, to learn more, I’m reading Churchill's Empire: The World That Made Him and the World He Made by Richard Toye, Churchill and Empire: A Portrait of an Imperialist by Lawrence James, and...[read on]
About The Prime Minister's Secret Agent, from the publisher:
For fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Todd, and Anne Perry, The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent is a gripping new mystery featuring intrepid spy and code breaker Maggie Hope. And this time, the fallout of a deadly plot comes straight to her own front door.

World War II rages on across Europe, but Maggie Hope has finally found a moment of rest on the pastoral coast of western Scotland. Home from an undercover mission in Berlin, she settles down to teach at her old spy training camp, and to heal from scars on both her body and heart. Yet instead of enjoying the quieter pace of life, Maggie is quickly drawn into another web of danger and intrigue. When three ballerinas fall strangely ill in Glasgow—including one of Maggie’s dearest friends—Maggie partners with MI-5 to uncover the truth behind their unusual symptoms. What she finds points to a series of poisonings that may expose shocking government secrets and put countless British lives at stake. But it’s the fight brewing in the Pacific that will forever change the course of the war—and indelibly shape Maggie’s fate.
Visit Susan Elia MacNeal's website.

Writers Read: Susan Elia MacNeal.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Hassan Abbas's "The Taliban Revival"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Taliban Revival: Violence and Extremism on the Pakistan-Afghanistan Frontier by Hassan Abbas.

About the book, from the publisher:
In autumn 2001, U.S. and NATO troops were deployed to Afghanistan to unseat the Taliban rulers, repressive Islamic fundamentalists who had lent active support to Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda jihadists. The NATO forces defeated and dismantled the Taliban government, scattering its remnants across the country. But despite a more than decade-long attempt to eradicate them, the Taliban endured—regrouping and reestablishing themselves as a significant insurgent movement. Gradually they have regained control of large portions of Afghanistan even as U.S. troops are preparing to depart from the region.

In his authoritative and highly readable account, author Hassan Abbas examines how the Taliban not only survived but adapted to their situation in order to regain power and political advantage. Abbas traces the roots of religious extremism in the area and analyzes the Taliban’s support base within Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. In addition, he explores the roles that Western policies and military decision making— not to mention corruption and incompetence in Kabul—have played in enabling the Taliban’s resurgence.
Learn more about The Taliban Revival at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Taliban Revival.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten books set on the seaside

Anna Wilson is the author of many books for children and teens, including Summer's Shadow. One of her ten top books set on the seaside, as shared at the Guardian:
Undertow by Joanna Nadin

This compelling YA novel, set in Cornwall in a small seaside town, deals with some huge themes: depression, family secrets and difficult relationships. It is a perfect summer holiday read for teens full of suspense and angst with a gripping plot. My daughter and I fought over this: I bought it for myself but in the end I had to let her read it first on the understanding that she was not to give anything away! The only trouble with this as a holiday read is that it is guaranteed to make you completely anti-social as you will not want to put it down.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Toby Ball's "Invisible Streets," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Invisible Streets by Toby Ball.

The entry begins:
While I visualize scenes before writing them, I’ve never mentally put specific actors in the place of characters. I have a pretty strong sense of what I think the characters look like and what their demeanor is, and these two factors drove my thinking when casting these parts. So, without further ado:

Phil Dorman – Channing Tatum. This was the hardest one to cast. You need a younger guy, handsome, physically strong, who also conveys intelligence. Nobody seemed perfect, but Tatum seems close.

Torsten Grip – Mark Wahlberg. He’s not a great physical match, but he definitely can project that middle-age tough guy aura mixed with a hint of regret.

Frank Frings – Stanley...[read on]
Visit Toby Ball's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Vaults.

Writers Read: Toby Ball.

My Book, The Movie: Invisible Streets.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Terra Elan McVoy's "In Deep"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: In Deep by Terra Elan McVoy.

About the book, from the publisher:
Ultracompetitive Brynn from The Summer of Firsts and Lasts craves swimming victory—and gets in over her head—in this irresistible novel from Terra Elan McVoy.

Swim.
Push.
Breathe.
Swim.


Nothing else matters to Brynn as she trains her body and mind to win. Not her mediocre grades and lack of real friends at school. Not the gnawing grief over her fallen hero father. Not the strained relationship with her absent mother and clueless stepdad. In the turquoise water, swimming is an escape and her ticket to somewhere—anywhere—else. And nothing will get in her way of claiming victory.

But when the competitive streak follows Brynn out of the pool in a wickedly seductive cat-and-mouse game between herself, her wild best friend, and a hot new college swimmer, Brynn’s single-mindedness gets her in over her head, with much more than a trophy to lose.
Learn more about the book and author at Terra Elan McVoy's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: The Summer of Firsts and Lasts.

My Book, The Movie: Being Friends with Boys.

Writers Read: Terra Elan McVoy (May 2013).

The Page 69 Test: Criminal.

The Page 69 Test: In Deep.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Michelle Lovric reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Michelle Lovric, author of The True and Splendid History of The Harristown Sisters: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
These days, much of what I read is suggested by my father, Vladimir. I’ve inherited both his voracious reading habit and his taste for dark humour and ornate turns of phrase. He’s always right about what I would like. He’s in Australia, and I live in Venice and London, but we talk books every week. The conversation is free, thanks to Skype, but the calls end up expensive as they always involve me in book-shopping afterwards.

My father is a paediatric haematologist, so he’s also brilliant at helping me with the clinical details in my novels.

Recently, he’s put me on to Andrei Makine’s Human Love and Simon Rich’s The Last Girlfriend on Earth.

I also recommend books for my father. Lately, I’ve been urging him to...[read on]
About The True and Splendid History of The Harristown Sisters, from the publisher:
It’s rural Ireland in the second half of the nineteenth century, the age of the Pre-Raphaelites, when Europe burns with a passion for long, flowing locks. So when seven sisters, born into fatherless poverty, grow up with hair cascading down their backs, to their ankles, and beyond, men are not slow to recognize their potential.

Soon, they’re a singing and dancing septet: Irish jigs kicked out in dusty church halls. But it is not their singing or their dancing that fills the seats: it is the torrents of hair they let loose at the end of each show. In an Ireland still hungry and melancholy with the Great Famine, the Swiney hair is a rich offering. And their hair will take dark-hearted Darcy, bickering twins Berenice and Enda, plain Pertilly, gentle Oona, wild Ida, and fearful, flame-haired Manticory—the writer of their on- and off-stage adventures—out of poverty, through the dance halls of Ireland, to the salons of Dublin and the palazzi of Venice. It will bring them suitors and obsessive admirers, it will bring some of them love and each of them loss. For their past trails behind the sisters like the tresses on their heads and their fame and fortune will come at a terrible price.

Rich in period detail, peopled by a bewitching cast of characters, The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters is a tale of exploitation and celebrity, illegitimacy and sibling rivalry, love triangles and financial skullduggery, of death and devilry. And a very great deal of hair.
Visit Michelle Lovric's website.

Writers Read: Michelle Lovric.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Stephen Eric Bronner's "The Bigot: Why Prejudice Persists"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Bigot: Why Prejudice Persists by Stephen Eric Bronner.

About the book, from the publisher:
Stephen Eric Bronner is a prolific author, activist, and one of America’s leading political thinkers. His new book presents bigotry as a systematic, all-encompassing mindset that has a special affinity for right-wing movements. In what will surely prove a seminal study, Bronner explores its appeal, the self-image it justifies, the interests it serves, and its complex connection with modernity. He reveals how prejudice shapes the conspiratorial and paranoid worldview of the true believer, the elitist, and the chauvinist. In the process, it becomes apparent how the bigot hides behind mainstream conservative labels in order to support policies designed to disadvantage the targets of his contempt. Examining bigotry in its various dimensions—anthropological, historical, psychological, sociological, and political—Professor Bronner illustrates how the bigot’s intense hatred of “the other” is a direct reaction to social progress, liberal values, secularism, and an increasingly complex and diverse world. A sobering look at the bigot in the twenty-first century, this volume is essential for making sense of the dangers facing democracy now and in the future.
Learn more about The Bigot at the Yale University Press website.

Bronner is a noted political theorist and Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Comparative Literature, and German Studies at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. His books include Modernism at the Barricades: Aesthetics, Politics, Utopia.

The Page 99 Test: Modernism at the Barricades.

The Page 99 Test: The Bigot: Why Prejudice Persists.

--Marshal Zeringue

Nose in a book: Ed Lin


Who: Ed Lin

What: Ghost Month by Ed Lin

When: August 2014

Where: Eastwind Books of Berkeley

Photo credit: Cynthia Lin

Visit Ed Lin's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Ghost Month.

Writers Read: Ed Lin.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top hotel novels

Mark Watson's new novel is Hotel Alpha. One of ten top hotel novels he tagged at the Guardian:
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

This tense, bloody bungled-drug-deal novel, adapted by the Coen brothers into an even tenser and bloodier film, sets a pivotal scene in an El Paso motel. It's particularly gripping if, like me, you have spent a fair bit of time in roadside motels feeling almost certain that you're likely to be killed in the night.
Read about another entry on the list.

No Country For Old Men is among Matt Kraus's top six famous books with extremely faithful film adaptations, Allegra Frazier's five favorite fictional gold diggers, Kimberly Turner's ten most disturbing sociopaths in literature, and Elmore Leonard's ten favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue