Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Five stories about loving everybody

Nisi Shawl's new novel is Everfair. One of her five favorite polyamorous tales, "stories about kissing and hugging and making love with everybody, without guilt or shame," as shared at Tor.com:
Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

Octavia E. Butler’s last novel, Fledgling, was also ostensibly lighter fare, at least according to the author: a vampire story. Of course it’s something more, because of Butler’s inevitable engagement with problems with gender roles, racial representation, and hierarchy. Heroine Shori Matthews spends the bulk of the book carefully constructing a polyamorous family for her own protection and nourishment. Trading sex and pleasure and improvements to their immune systems for humans’ blood, Shori takes male and female symbionts into her fold. Lots and lots of them—a mentor advises her that eight is a good number of symbionts, and that she should let any jealousies work themselves out without interference. On top of that, her species, which is called the Ina, mate with other Ina in groups, and they live communal yet sex-segregated lives. I so wish Butler had lived to write this 2005 book’s sequels.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: John McFetridge's "One Or the Other"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: One Or the Other by John McFetridge.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the weeks before hosting the 1976 Summer Olympics, the Montreal police are tightening security to prevent another catastrophe like the ’72 games in Munich. But it isn’t tight enough to stop nearly three million dollars being stolen in a bold daytime Brink’s truck robbery. As the high-profile heist continues to baffle the police, Constable Eddie Dougherty gets a chance to prove his worth as a detective when he’s assigned to assist the suburban Longueuil force in investigating the deaths of two teenagers returning from a rock concert across the Jacques Cartier Bridge. Were they mugged and thrown from the bridge? Or was it a murder-suicide?

With tensions running high in the city and his future career at stake, Dougherty faces the limits of the force and of his own policing, and has to decide when to settle and when justice is the only thing that should be obeyed.
Visit John McFetridge's website.

The Page 69 Test: Black Rock.

The Page 69 Test: One Or the Other.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Jerry Flores's "Caught Up"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Caught Up: Girls, Surveillance, and Wraparound Incarceration by Jerry Flores.

About the book, from the publisher:
From home, to school, to juvenile detention center, and back again. Follow the lives of fifty Latina girls living forty miles outside of Los Angeles, California, as they are inadvertently caught up in the school-to-prison pipeline. Their experiences in the connected programs between “El Valle” Juvenile Detention Center and “Legacy” Community School reveal the accelerated fusion of California schools and institutions of confinement. The girls participate in well-intentioned wraparound services designed to provide them with support at home, at school, and in the detention center. But these services may more closely resemble the phenomenon of wraparound incarceration, in which students, despite leaving the actual detention center, cannot escape the surveillance of formal detention, and are thereby slowly pushed away from traditional schooling and a productive life course.
Learn more about Caught Up at the University of California Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Caught Up.

--Marshal Zeringue

Gerald Elias's "Playing with Fire," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Playing With Fire by Gerald Elias.

The entry begins:
I refrain from naming a contemporary actor to portray Daniel Jacobus, the hero of my mystery series and newest novel, Playing With Fire, because when the blockbuster movie deal that will make my books famous comes through I want to be able to convince the star that I had him, and only him, in mind for the role all along.

Jacobus is unique. He’s crusty. He’s old. And he’s blind. A cantankerous violin teacher who yearns for seclusion. At the same time, deep down (way deep down at times) he has a heart of gold. Plus...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Gerald Elias's website.

Interview: Gerald Elias (October 2009).

Interview: Gerald Elias (November 2011).

Interview: Gerald Elias (June 2012).

The Page 69 Test: Devil's Trill.

The Page 69 Test: Danse Macabre.

My Book, The Movie: Devil's Trill and Danse Macabre.

The Page 69 Test: Death and the Maiden.

My Book, The Movie: Playing With Fire.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 29, 2016

Nine of the greatest (worst) megacities in sci-fi

Jeff Somers is the author of the Avery Cates series, The Ustari Cycle, Lifers, and Chum (among many other books) and numerous short stories. At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog he tagged nine of the greatest (worst)urban sprawls in sci-fi, including:
San Angeles in The Courier, by Gerald Brandt

Brandt’s debut novel offers up San Angeles, a sprawl that combined everything from San Diego to San Francisco—and then built upwards. Brandt’s genius is to realize that just because the cities merge, that doesn’t mean growth stops—and the only way to go will be up. His vision of San Angeles is a fascinating nightmare, with the dim, cramped lower levels housing the desperate, poor, and criminally desperate, while the upper levels (and the sunlight) are reserved for the wealthy and powerful—with the truly powerful living on floating Sat Cities, closer to the sun and further from the compost.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Erik Storey's "Nothing Short of Dying"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Nothing Short of Dying: A Clyde Barr Novel by Erik Storey.

About the book, from the publisher:
Hailed by bestselling writer William Kent Krueger as “the year’s best thriller debut,” this furiously paced ride into harm’s way features a drifter with lethal skills, whose mission to rescue his abducted sister pits him against a ruthless meth kingpin and his army of killers.

Sixteen years. That’s how long Clyde Barr has been away from Colorado’s thick forests, alpine deserts, and craggy peaks, running from a past filled with haunting memories. But now he’s back, having roamed across three continents as a hunter, adventurer, soldier of fortune, and most recently, unjustly imprisoned convict. And once again, his past is reaching out to claim him.

By the light of a flickering campfire, Clyde receives a frantic phone call from his sister Jen. No sooner has she pleaded with him to come rescue her than the line goes dead. Clyde doesn’t know how much time he has, or where Jen is located, or even who has her. All he knows is that nothing short of dying will stop him from saving her.

Joining Clyde in his against-all-odds quest is a young woman named Allie whose motivations for running this gauntlet are fascinatingly complex. As the duo races against the clock, it is Allie who gets Clyde to see what he has become and what he can still be.

Vivid with the hues and scents of Colorado’s backcountry, and thought-provoking in its exploration of how past, present, and future collide to test resolve, Nothing Short of Dying is, above all, a propulsive, action-driven race against the clock.
Visit Erik Storey's website.

My Book, The Movie: Nothing Short of Dying.

The Page 69 Test: Nothing Short of Dying.

--Marshal Zeringue

Lisa McInerney's 6 favorite books with memorable characters

Lisa McInerney’s first novel, The Glorious Heresies, won the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Desmond Elliott Prize, was shortlisted for Best Newcomer at the Irish Book Awards, and longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize. One of her six favorite books with memorable characters, as shared at The Week magazine:
Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor

It's hard to decide on the worst person in O'Connor's blackly comic 1952 tale of apostates, con artists, and aggressively stolen gorilla suits. Asa? Mrs. Flood? Hoover Shoats? It could be Hazel Motes himself, so incensed by the irrationality of faith that he goes utterly mad.
Read about another entry on the list.

Wise Blood is among Jamie Kornegay's ten best Southern Gothic books.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Anastasia Aukeman reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Anastasia Aukeman, author of Welcome to Painterland: Bruce Conner and the Rat Bastard Protective Association.

Her entry begins:
Like most New Yorkers, July and August are the months that I catch up on back issues of the New Yorker. I turn first to anything Andy Borowitz has written, because he is hilarious. Then I look for anything written by my friends, so that I can feel jealous of their success in being published in my favorite magazine. Finally, I skim the shows, readings, and performances that I missed last spring.

I’ve been lazily preparing for a Bruce Conner symposium I’m participating in at the Museum of Modern Art in September by reading the essays in the excellent exhibition catalogue Bruce Conner: It’s All True. I love exhibition catalogues and am also reading Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia, the companion to a great show at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

I tend to gravitate toward novels by female authors. I just finished...[read on]
About Welcome to Painterland, from the publisher:
The Rat Bastard Protective Association was an inflammatory, close-knit community of artists who lived and worked in a building they dubbed Painterland in the Fillmore neighborhood of midcentury San Francisco. The artists who counted themselves among the Rat Bastards—which included Joan Brown, Bruce Conner, Jay DeFeo, Wally Hedrick, Michael McClure, and Manuel Neri—exhibited a unique fusion of radicalism, provocation, and community. Geographically isolated from a viable art market and refusing to conform to institutional expectations, they animated broader social and artistic discussions through their work and became a transformative part of American culture over time. Anastasia Aukeman presents new and little-known archival material in this authorized account of these artists and their circle, a colorful cultural milieu that intersected with the broader Beat scene.
Learn more about Welcome to Painterland at the University of California Press website.

Writers Read: Anastasia Aukeman.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Eight novels set at the dawn of time

At the B&N Reads blog Ross Johnson tagged eight of the best novels taking us back to before the earliest stories of humankind were written, including:
The Clan of the Cave Bear, by Jean M. Auel

Timeframe: ~28,000 years ago.

This is, of course, the grandmama of prehistorical fiction. Not only did it sell in amazing quantities and kick off the six-book Earth’s Children series, it sparked a major motion picture (with talk of a TV series on the way). Auel’s novel chronicles the conflict between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons, a term used to describe the earliest modern humans, who lived in Europe prior to the most recent glaciers. Auel’s book was applauded for its use of modern research in developing the world of its characters, but also for the compelling (and juicy) drama in the chronicling of the life of Ayla, a Cro-Magnon girl taken to live with Neanderthals when she becomes separated from her tribe. Over time, Ayla’s differences put her at odds with her adopted family and lead to a self-discovery that occurs over the rest of the series. Subsequent research has poked holes in Auel’s imagined past, but it was accurate at the time, and remains captivating today.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Clan of the Cave Bear is among five books that changed Richelle Mead.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eleni Gage's "The Ladies of Managua," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Ladies of Managua by Eleni N. Gage.

The entry begins:
I didn’t see the three main characters of The Ladies of Managua as I wrote the book; instead I heard them speaking. But once I’d finished the first draft and read it, I thought, “These are three great roles for Latina actresses!”

The book is told in the voices of three generations of Nicaraguan women—a grandmother, a mother and a daughter. I wrote the novel in 2012 and 13 while we were living in Granada, Nicaragua, and it wasn’t until we’d moved back to New York that Jane the Virgin premiered on TV. For those who haven’t seen the show (and if that’s you, you really should start DVRing right away) it’s also about three generations of Latina women, only they’re of Venezuelan origin. (It’s a satire of telenovelas, and my book is not, but at heart, both are about the relationships between three complicated women.) The grandmother, mom, and daughter in the TV show—who share a love as powerful and conflicts as profound as the women in my book—are played by three amazing actresses—Ivonne Coll, Andrea Navedo, Gina Rodriguez. So, of course, the easiest way to cast The Ladies of Managua would be to have this ready-made family play the characters. However, I think it would be difficult for the viewer (me included) to see them depict a different family. To solve that problem, I’ve come up with an alternate dream cast.

For me, the entire story begins with the character of the grandmother Isabela, the society lady whose bourgeois demeanor hides a surprising past. I would love to see her played by...[read on]
Visit Eleni N. Gage's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Ladies of Managua.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Lydia Pyne's "Seven Skeletons"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Seven Skeletons: The Evolution of the World's Most Famous Human Fossils by Lydia Pyne.

About the book, from the publisher:
An irresistible journey of discovery, science, history, and myth making, told through the lives and afterlives of seven famous human ancestors

Over the last century, the search for human ancestors has spanned four continents and resulted in the discovery of hundreds of fossils. While most of these discoveries live quietly in museum collections, there are a few that have become world-renowned celebrity personas—ambassadors of science that speak to public audiences. In Seven Skeletons, historian of science Lydia Pyne explores how seven such famous fossils of our ancestors have the social cachet they enjoy today.

Drawing from archives, museums, and interviews, Pyne builds a cultural history for each celebrity fossil—from its discovery to its afterlife in museum exhibits to its legacy in popular culture. These seven include the three-foot tall “hobbit” from Flores, the Neanderthal of La Chapelle, the Taung Child, the Piltdown Man hoax, Peking Man, Australopithecus sediba, and Lucy—each embraced and celebrated by generations, and vivid examples of how discoveries of how our ancestors have been received, remembered, and immortalized.

With wit and insight, Pyne brings to life each fossil, and how it is described, put on display, and shared among scientific communities and the broader public. This fascinating, endlessly entertaining book puts the impact of paleoanthropology into new context, a reminder of how our past as a species continues to affect, in astounding ways, our present culture and imagination.
Visit Lydia Pyne's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Last Lost World.

Writers Read: Lydia Pyne.

The Page 99 Test: Seven Skeletons.

--Marshal Zeringue

Four books that influenced Iain Reid

Iain Reid is the author of two critically acclaimed, award-winning books of nonfiction, One Bird's Choice and The Truth About Luck, and the novel I’m Thinking of Ending Things. One of four books that changed the author, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
One Man's Meat
E.B. White

I found this book on one of the shelves at the farmhouse where I grew up. I knew White from Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, books I'd loved as a child, but it wasn't until I read his essays that I started to fully appreciate White's skill. Although most were written 50 years or so before I was born, it was thrilling to read (in such beautiful prose) about a small farm that seemed similar to my own.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Pg. 69: Barbara J. Taylor's "All Waiting Is Long"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: All Waiting Is Long by Barbara J. Taylor.

About the book, from the publisher:
All Waiting Is Long tells the stories of the Morgan sisters, a study in contrasts. In 1930, twenty-five-year-old Violet travels with her sixteen-year-old sister Lily from Scranton, Pennsylvania, to the Good Shepherd Infant Asylum in Philadelphia, so Lily can deliver her illegitimate child in secret. In doing so, Violet jeopardizes her engagement to her longtime sweetheart, Stanley Adamski. Meanwhile, Mother Mary Joseph, who runs the Good Shepherd, has no idea the asylum’s physician, Dr. Peters, is involved in eugenics and experimenting on the girls with various sterilization techniques.

Five years later, Lily and Violet are back home in Scranton, one married, one about to be, each finding her own way in a place where a woman’s worth is tied to her virtue. Against the backdrop of the sweeping eugenics movement and rogue coal mine strikes, the Morgan sisters must choose between duty and desire. Either way, they risk losing their marriages and each other.

The novel picks up sixteen years after the close of Barbara J. Taylor’s debut novel, Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night—a Publishers Weekly Best Summer Book of 2014—and continues her Dickensian exploration of the Morgan sisters and other characters of Scranton in the early twentieth century.
Learn more about All Waiting Is Long, and visit Barbara J. Taylor's website.

My Book, The Movie: Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night.

Writers Read: Barbara J. Taylor.

The Page 69 Test: All Waiting Is Long.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six modern adaptations of classic novels

At B&N Reads Tara Sonin tagged six modern adaptations of classic stories, including:
Re-Jane, by Patricia Park

This retelling of Jane Eyre is truly modern: Jane Re is a Korean-American orphan trying rise above her circumstances (living with a strict uncle and working in his grocery store) in Queens. When she becomes the au pair for a Brooklyn couple—Ed and Beth Mazer-Farley—and their adopted daughter, Jane thinks she’s hit the jackpot. In this version, the mysterious Bertha Mason is reincarnated as Ed’s very-much-alive wife, Beth—and when he and Jane start to have an affair, the consequences are more than she might be able to bear.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Wendy Sand Eckel reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Wendy Sand Eckel, author of Death at the Day Lily Cafe.

Her entry begins:
Although I write mystery, I’m an eclectic reader. I love a tale well told in any genre. And beautiful writing stimulates my own creative drive. In the past year I’ve read some fabulous novels, such as The Goldfinch, All the Light We Cannot See, even a reread of The Poisonwood Bible. I also love nonfiction when told as a story and Ashley’s War and Dead Wake definitely met that requirement. Another book that really stuck with me is Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot.

There are good books. And then there are books you can’t put down. Books that keep you up into the late hours of the night or cause you to remain in bed longer than you should. Or both. This was one of those books for me.

In What Alice Forgot, Moriarty weaves a compelling story about a harried, compulsive mother who is so stressed she is snapping at her children and close to the breaking point in her marriage. But after being struck by a car while scolding the teenage drivers ahead of her, she loses the memory of the most recent years of her life. When she wakes up in the hospital, her mind is back at the time in her life when she was a happy go lucky mom and madly in love with her husband. All the years that followed are...[read on]
About Death at the Day Lily Cafe, from the publisher:
Rosalie Hart has finally opened the café of her dreams. Decked out with ochre-tinted walls and stuffed with delicious organic fare, the Day Lily Café is everything Rosalie could have hoped for. But not five minutes into the grand opening, Doris Bird, a dear and trusted friend, cashes in on a favor--to help clear her little sister Lori of a first degree murder charge.

With the help of her best friend and head waiter Glenn, Rosalie is on the case. But it's not going to be easy. Unlikable and provocative, murder victim Carl James Fiddler seems to have insulted nearly everyone in town, and the suspect list grows daily. And when Rosalie's daughter Annie gets caught in the crossfire, the search for the killer becomes personal in this charming cozy perfect for fans of Diane Mott Davidson and Joanne Fluke.
Visit Wendy Sand Eckel's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Murder at Barclay Meadow.

The Page 69 Test: Death at the Day Lily Café.

Writers Read: Wendy Sand Eckel.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 26, 2016

Seven of the best angry YA protagonists

Sarah Skilton is the author of Bruised, a martial arts drama for young adults; and High and Dry, a hardboiled teen mystery. At the BN Teen blog she tagged seven of the best angry YA protagonists, including:
Tessa in Before I Die, by Jenny Downham

“Buttons ping across the room as I slash my coats…I lacerate every pair of trousers. I line my shoes up on the window ledge and cut off their tongues. It’s good. I feel alive.” Feeling alive is important to Tessa, because it’s increasingly rare. She’s been fighting leukemia since she was 12 and now, at 16, the leukemia’s winning. In a fit of rage against the hand she’s been dealt, she rips apart and tosses out the window every item she owns—clothes, books, CDs, a television set—prompting her heartbroken dad to ask, “What happens if anger takes you over, Tessa? Who will you be then? What will be left of you?” An achingly realistic, beautiful book, whose heavy subject matter manages to provide love and even laughter in equal measure.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Lara Vapnyar's "Still Here"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Still Here: A Novel by Lara Vapnyar.

About the book, from the publisher:
A profound and dazzlingly entertaining novel from the writer Louis Menand calls “Jane Austen with a Russian soul”

In her warm, absorbing and keenly observed new novel, Lara Vapnyar follows the intertwined lives of four immigrants in New York City as they grapple with love and tumult, the challenges of a new home, and the absurdities of the digital age.

Vica, Vadik, Sergey and Regina met in Russia in their school days, but remained in touch and now have very different American lives. Sergey cycles through jobs as an analyst, hoping his idea for an app will finally bring him success. His wife Vica, a medical technician struggling to keep her family afloat, hungers for a better life. Sergey’s former girlfriend Regina, once a famous translator is married to a wealthy startup owner, spends her days at home grieving over a recent loss. Sergey’s best friend Vadik, a programmer ever in search of perfection, keeps trying on different women and different neighborhoods, all while pining for the one who got away.

As Sergey develops his app—calling it “Virtual Grave,” a program to preserve a person’s online presence after death—a formidable debate begins in the group, spurring questions about the changing perception of death in the modern world and the future of our virtual selves. How do our online personas define us in our daily lives, and what will they say about us when we’re gone?
Visit Lara Vapnyar's Facebook page.

Writers Read: Lara Vapnyar.

The Page 69 Test: Still Here.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: James E. Campbell's "Polarized"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Polarized: Making Sense of a Divided America by James E. Campbell.

About the book, from the publisher:
Many continue to believe that the United States is a nation of political moderates. In fact, it is a nation divided. It has been so for some time and has grown more so. This book provides a new and historically grounded perspective on the polarization of America, systematically documenting how and why it happened.

Polarized presents commonsense benchmarks to measure polarization, draws data from a wide range of historical sources, and carefully assesses the quality of the evidence. Through an innovative and insightful use of circumstantial evidence, it provides a much-needed reality check to claims about polarization. This rigorous yet engaging and accessible book examines how polarization displaced pluralism and how this affected American democracy and civil society.

Polarized challenges the widely held belief that polarization is the product of party and media elites, revealing instead how the American public in the 1960s set in motion the increase of polarization. American politics became highly polarized from the bottom up, not the top down, and this began much earlier than often thought. The Democrats and the Republicans are now ideologically distant from each other and about equally distant from the political center. Polarized also explains why the parties are polarized at all, despite their battle for the decisive median voter. No subject is more central to understanding American politics than political polarization, and no other book offers a more in-depth and comprehensive analysis of the subject than this one.
Learn more about Polarized at the Princeton University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Polarized.

--Marshal Zeringue

Erik Storey's "Nothing Short of Dying," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Nothing Short of Dying by Erik Storey.

The entry begins:
If I were ever lucky enough to have a movie made of the book, the actor chosen for Clyde would depend greatly on the casting director’s mental image of him. I left his physical descriptions rather vague in order to let the readers become more involved. But, if I were to choose, I would go with Anson Mount, of Hell on Wheels fame, first. Next would either be Jason Momoa or Joe Manganiello.

My first pick for Allie would be Mila Kunis, especially after watching her performance in The Book of Eli. Next would either be Michelle...[read on]
Visit Erik Storey's website.

My Book, The Movie: Nothing Short of Dying.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ten top books about The Beatles

Jeff Somers is the author of the Avery Cates series, The Ustari Cycle, Lifers, and Chum (among many other books) and numerous short stories. At the B&N Reads blog he tagged ten essential books about The Beatles, including:
A Cellarfull of Noise, by Brian Epstein

Although ghostwritten by his assistant, this account of the early days of the band is packed with insights from memories of their long-time manager, Brian Epstein. While a bit self-serving and lacking any mention of the more controversial aspects of The Beatles’ early history, it’s a fascinating document that manages to encapsulate what it was like to be there to experience the band’s completely unexpected, improbable rise.
Read about another entry on the list.

Also see: Philip Norman's ten top books about The Beatles and five top books on The Beatles.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Wendy Sand Eckel's "Death at the Day Lily Café"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Death at the Day Lily Café: A Mystery by Wendy Sand Eckel.

About the book, from the publisher:
Rosalie Hart has finally opened the café of her dreams. Decked out with ochre-tinted walls and stuffed with delicious organic fare, the Day Lily Café is everything Rosalie could have hoped for. But not five minutes into the grand opening, Doris Bird, a dear and trusted friend, cashes in on a favor--to help clear her little sister Lori of a first degree murder charge.

With the help of her best friend and head waiter Glenn, Rosalie is on the case. But it's not going to be easy. Unlikable and provocative, murder victim Carl James Fiddler seems to have insulted nearly everyone in town, and the suspect list grows daily. And when Rosalie's daughter Annie gets caught in the crossfire, the search for the killer becomes personal in this charming cozy perfect for fans of Diane Mott Davidson and Joanne Fluke.
Visit Wendy Sand Eckel's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Murder at Barclay Meadow.

The Page 69 Test: Death at the Day Lily Café.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top seaside novels

Alison Moore's first novel, The Lighthouse, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Awards (New Writer of the Year), winning the McKitterick Prize. Both The Lighthouse and her second novel, He Wants, were Observer Books of the Year. Moore's new novel is Death and the Seaside. One of the author's top ten seaside novels, as shared at the Guardian:
The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald (1978)

In an abandoned old house in the fictional Suffolk seaside town of Hardborough, widow Florence Green opens a bookshop. She is challenged by rising damp, a poltergeist and local opposition. Hardborough exemplifies insularity: “The town itself was an island between sea and river, muttering and drawing into itself as soon as it felt the cold. Every 50 years or so it had lost, as though careless or indifferent to such things, another means of communication.” As David Nicholls says in an introduction to this witty and tragic novel, the final sentence is “one of the saddest I’ve ever read”.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Barbara J. Taylor reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Barbara J. Taylor, author of All Waiting Is Long.

Her entry begins:
I just finished reading Adam Cohen’s Imbeciles about the American eugenics movement and found it fascinating. While researching my novel, All Waiting Is Long, I kept coming across medical books written by the American Eugenics Society in the 20s and 30s. Since my novel opens at the Good Shepherd Infant Asylum, a catholic home for unwed pregnant girls, I delved into eugenics as it pertained to women deemed morally unfit. In reading Cohen’s book, I realized just how...[read on]
About All Waiting Is Long, from the publisher:
All Waiting Is Long tells the stories of the Morgan sisters, a study in contrasts. In 1930, twenty-five-year-old Violet travels with her sixteen-year-old sister Lily from Scranton, Pennsylvania, to the Good Shepherd Infant Asylum in Philadelphia, so Lily can deliver her illegitimate child in secret. In doing so, Violet jeopardizes her engagement to her longtime sweetheart, Stanley Adamski. Meanwhile, Mother Mary Joseph, who runs the Good Shepherd, has no idea the asylum’s physician, Dr. Peters, is involved in eugenics and experimenting on the girls with various sterilization techniques.

Five years later, Lily and Violet are back home in Scranton, one married, one about to be, each finding her own way in a place where a woman’s worth is tied to her virtue. Against the backdrop of the sweeping eugenics movement and rogue coal mine strikes, the Morgan sisters must choose between duty and desire. Either way, they risk losing their marriages and each other.

The novel picks up sixteen years after the close of Barbara J. Taylor’s debut novel, Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night—a Publishers Weekly Best Summer Book of 2014—and continues her Dickensian exploration of the Morgan sisters and other characters of Scranton in the early twentieth century.
Learn more about All Waiting Is Long, and visit Barbara J. Taylor's website.

My Book, The Movie: Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night.

Writers Read: Barbara J. Taylor.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pg. 69: Jeff Somers's "The Stringer"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Stringer by Jeff Somers.

About the story, from the publisher:
Learn the Words. Get the blood. Rule the world. A stand-alone short story in the Ustari Cycle.

Most people never learn what a Stringer is—and their lives are better for it. Lem, however, gets to learn about them and possession by alien intelligences the hard way. A must-read in the gritty supernatural series that includes We Are Not Good People from the "exhilarating, powerful, and entertaining" (Guardian) storyteller of the Avery Cates series.

For blood mages, the twenty-first century means hiding in the shadows, keeping society unaware of their incredible powers. The power-hungry sort plot quietly to manufacture tragedies bloody enough to give them the gas they need to cast something monumental. Lem and Mags, down-and-out bosom buddies to the end, try to be good, bleeding nobody but themselves, skating by on small Cantrips, cons, and charms.

So when the siren song of easy money comes their way in the form of helping out a friend, clearly no good will come of it. Blood mages are not good people. And neither are Stringers—alien intelligences that can take over a body and run it ragged. Stringers: they aren’t subtle, aren’t content to skulk in the shadows, and aren’t a houseguest anyone wants. Lem is about to learn what a possession hangover feels like—if Mags and his more tentative allies can figure out how to stop the demon without killing him.
Learn more about the book and author at Jeff Somers's website.

My Book, The Movie: Chum.

The Page 69 Test: Chum.

The Page 69 Test: We Are Not Good People.

My Book, The Movie: We Are Not Good People.

My Book, The Movie: The Stringer.

The Page 69 Test: The Stringer.

--Marshal Zeringue

David Haven Blake's "Liking Ike," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Liking Ike: Eisenhower, Advertising, and the Rise of Celebrity Politics by David Haven Blake.

The entry begins:
Liking Ike centers on the personalities who helped promote Dwight Eisenhower’s campaigns for the presidency and his own ambivalence about the new worlds of television, advertising, and celebrity. The story lies in the remarkable set of characters, which makes casting especially fun:

Dwight Eisenhower – A general so conflicted about politics that he wants to be drafted to the Republican nomination rather than enter the race himself. Wary of the publicity machine and celebrities who campaign on his behalf, he nonetheless adjusts to the expectations of his Madison Avenue advisers. Intoxicated by the magical power of television, they boast that they want to “merchandise” Ike’s warm smile and personality. Ed Harris

Helen Hayes – “The first lady of American theater,” a former Democrat who became an ardent Eisenhower supporter and GOP activist. Dramatic and glamorous, she regularly politicizes American motherhood on the campaign trail and in her films. Meryl Streep

Jimmy Stewart – Reedy and self-effacing, a man who rarely talks about the combat missions he flew in World War II. A devout Republican who remains popular with Democratic presidents: Truman said that if he had a son, he’d want him to be just like...[read on]
Visit David Haven Blake's website.

My Book, The Movie: Liking Ike.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top novels about art and artists

At B&N Reads Jenny Shank tagged five terrific novels about art and artists, including:
The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud

Nora Eldridge, the narrator of Messud’s incandescent novel, once dreamed of being an artist, a wife, and a mother. Instead, due to caring for her aging parents and other concerns, she has ended up a single, middle-aged woman with a career as an elementary school teacher. Then she becomes enamored of the family of one of her students, Reza Shahid. His mother is Sirena, an Italian artist who invites Nora to share her studio space and return to her work as an artist, and his father is a Lebanese professor in Boston on a fellowship. Nora is drawn in, wanting to be a part of the Shahids’ lives, but finding Sirena respects no boundaries between art and life.
Read about another book on the list.

The Woman Upstairs is among Joyce Maynard's six favorite books and Alex Hourston’s top ten unlikely friendships in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Steven G. Marks's "The Information Nexus"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Information Nexus: Global Capitalism from the Renaissance to the Present by Steven G. Marks.

About the book, from the publisher:
Capitalism is central to our understanding of contemporary economic and political life and yet what does it really mean? If, as has now been shown to be the case, capital and property rights existed in pre-modern and pre-capitalist societies, what is left of our understanding of capitalism? Steven Marks' provocative new book calls into question everything we thought we knew about capitalism, from the word's very origins and development to the drivers of Western economic growth. Ranging from the Middle Ages to the present, The Information Nexus reveals that the truly distinctive feature of capitalism is business's drive to acquire and analyze information, supported by governments that allow unfettered access to public data. This new interpretation of capitalism helps to explain the rise of the West, puts our current information age into historical perspective, and provides a benchmark for the comparative assessment of economic systems in today's globalized environment.
Learn more about The Information Nexus at the Cambridge University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Information Nexus.

--Marshal Zeringue