Thursday, January 29, 2015

The top ten books about returning from war

Phil Klay is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. In 2014 his short story collection Redeployment was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor Prize and won the National Book Award for Fiction.

One of his top ten books about returning from war, as shared at the Guardian:
Regeneration by Pat Barker

At the beginning of this novel Dr William Rivers, the psychiatrist to the first world war poet Siegfried Sassoon, holds up Sassoon’s antiwar manifesto and declares, “It just occurs to me that a diagnosis of neurasthenia might not be inconvenient confronted with this.” Sassoon’s mental anguish is both real and, to those who’d like to dismiss what he has to say, useful.
Read about another entry on the list.

Regeneration is among Sarah Moss's top ten hospital novels and Hermione Norris's six best books. The Regeneration Trilogy is on William Skidelsky's list of the 10 best historical novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What is Don H. Doyle reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Don H. Doyle, author of The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War.

His entry begins:
After working intensively on the Civil War and its international dimensions, one might guess I had enough, but I find myself immersed in some big new books that bear on the subject.

Sven Beckert’s Empire of Cotton: A Global History is a book we have all been waiting for. This is a sweeping history of cotton as a commodity and how it helped give birth to modern capitalism, Beckert’s book is a bracing antidote to the glib celebrations of “creative destruction” we hear so much of these days. I like it also because he reclaims economic history, which is much too important to be left to...[read on]
About The Cause of All Nations, from the publisher:
A prominent historian puts the Civil War in a global context, revealing the startling degree to which the conflict shaped—and was shaped by—European interests.

When Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in 1863, he had broader aims than simply rallying a war-weary nation. Lincoln realized that the Civil War had taken on a wider significance—that all of Europe and Latin America was watching to see whether the United States, a beleaguered model of democracy, would indeed "perish from the earth."

In The Cause of All Nations, distinguished historian Don H. Doyle explains that the Civil War was viewed abroad as part of a much larger struggle for democracy that spanned the Atlantic Ocean, and had begun with the American and French Revolutions. While battles raged at Bull Run, Antietam, and Gettysburg, a parallel contest took place abroad, both in the marbled courts of power and in the public square. Foreign observers held widely divergent views on the war—from radicals such as Karl Marx and Giuseppe Garibaldi who called on the North to fight for liberty and equality, to aristocratic monarchists, who hoped that the collapse of the Union would strike a death blow against democratic movements on both sides of the Atlantic. Nowhere were these monarchist dreams more ominous than in Mexico, where Napoleon III sought to implement his Grand Design for a Latin Catholic empire that would thwart the spread of Anglo-Saxon democracy and use the Confederacy as a buffer state.

Hoping to capitalize on public sympathies abroad, both the Union and the Confederacy sent diplomats and special agents overseas: the South to seek recognition and support, and the North to keep European powers from interfering. Confederate agents appealed to those conservative elements who wanted the South to serve as a bulwark against radical egalitarianism. Lincoln and his Union agents overseas learned to appeal to many foreigners by embracing emancipation and casting the Union as the embattled defender of universal republican ideals, the "last best hope of earth."

A bold account of the international dimensions of America's defining conflict, The Cause of All Nations frames the Civil War as a pivotal moment in a global struggle that would decide the survival of democracy.
Visit The Cause of All Nations Facebook page, and learn more about the book at the publisher's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Cause of All Nations.

Writers Read: Don H. Doyle.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Julie-Marie Strange's "Fatherhood and the British Working Class, 1865-1914"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Fatherhood and the British Working Class, 1865-1914 by Julie-Marie Strange.

About the book, from the publisher:
A pioneering study of Victorian and Edwardian fatherhood, investigating what being, and having, a father meant to working-class people. Based on working-class autobiography, the book challenges dominant assumptions about absent or 'feckless' fathers, and reintegrates the paternal figure within the emotional life of families. Locating autobiography within broader social and cultural commentary, Julie-Marie Strange considers material culture, everyday practice, obligation, duty and comedy as sites for the development and expression of complex emotional lives. Emphasising the importance of separating men as husbands from men as fathers, Strange explores how emotional ties were formed between fathers and their children, the models of fatherhood available to working-class men, and the ways in which fathers interacted with children inside and outside the home. She explodes the myth that working-class interiorities are inaccessible or unrecoverable, and locates life stories in the context of other sources, including social surveys, visual culture and popular fiction.
Learn more about Fatherhood and the British Working Class, 1865-1914 at the Cambridge University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Fatherhood and the British Working Class, 1865-1914.

--Marshal Zeringue

Fourteen notable novels about Muslim life

At BuzzFeed, Ahmed Ali Akbar tagged 14 novels about Muslim life that open up worlds for their audiences, including:
A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar — Kuwait, Egypt, and Texas

What it’s all about: Growing up in a turbulent but loving household during the First Gulf War.

Why you should read it: The frank discussion of sex and masturbation in an Arab household will have you crying with laughter.
Read about another novel on the list.

My Book, The Movie: A Map of Home.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Martine Bailey's "An Appetite for Violets"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: An Appetite for Violets: A Novel by Martine Bailey.

About the book, from the publisher:
“That’s how it is for us servants. No one pays you much heed; mostly you're invisible as furniture. Yet you overhear a conversation here, and add a little gossip there. Then you find something, something you should not have found.”

Irrepressible Biddy Leigh, under-cook at forbidding Mawton Hall, only wants to marry her childhood sweetheart and set up her own tavern. But when her elderly master marries young Lady Carinna, Biddy is unwittingly swept up in a world of scheming, secrets, and lies. Forced to accompany her new mistress to Italy, she documents her adventures and culinary discoveries in an old household book of recipes, The Cook’s Jewel. Biddy grows intrigued by her fellow travelers, but her secretive and unconventional mistress is the most intriguing of all.

In London, Biddy finds herself attracted to her mistress’s younger brother. In France, she discovers her mistress’s dark secret. At last in Italy, Biddy becomes embroiled in a murderous conspiracy, knowing the secrets she holds could be a key to a better life, or her downfall.

Inspired by eighteenth-century household books of recipes and set at the time of the invention of the first restaurants, An Appetite for Violets is a literary feast for lovers of historical fiction. Martine Bailey's novel opens a window into the fascinating lives of servants, while also delivering a suspenseful tale of obsession and betrayal.
Visit Martine Bailey's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: An Appetite for Violets.

The Page 69 Test: An Appetite for Violets.

--Marshal Zeringue

Bartholomew Sparrow's "The Strategist," the miniseries

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security by Bartholomew Sparrow.

The entry begins:
I never really thought about making The Strategist into a movie, perhaps because General Scowcroft is a reserved man and doesn’t relish being in the limelight. Notwithstanding the fact that he’s been involved with a number of key events over the course of US national security policy from the 1970s through the early 2010s—events such Nixon’s resignation from office, the collapse of the Soviet empire, repairing US-China relations after the Tiananmen Square massacre, and his dissent against going to war on Iraq after 9/11—however, Scowcroft’s quiet and multi-faceted life doesn’t readily lend itself to a movie version. As a man of nuance and subtlety who has been involved nuclear strategy, national intelligence, the management of national security policy, and other issues of highest importance, his life story—he will be ninety years old this March—would be hard to capture on film.

But if The Strategist were to work as cinema, I think it would have to be made into miniseries, one at least half-dozen episodes long, so as to capture the range of his considerable achievements and the remarkable span of his career. I would begin with an episode based in Ogden, Utah, featuring...[read on]
Learn more about The Strategist at the publisher's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Strategist.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What is William C. Dietz reading?

Featured at Writers Read: William C. Dietz, author of The Mutant Files; Deadeye.

His entry begins:
I have a strong interest in military history—and write military science fiction novels. That, plus the fact that I know one of the editors, is why I chose to read The Battle of Mogadishu, which was edited by Matt Eversmann and Dan Schilling.

The book is about the battle made famous in the film Blackhawk Down. The movie, which was released in 2001, was based on the true story of what occurred in the city of Mogadishu, Somalia on October 3, 1993. A U.S. Army force consisting of U.S. Army Rangers, members of Delta Force, Navy SEALS, and Air Force personnel tried to capture two of Mohamed Farrah Aidid's high-ranking lieutenants.

Shortly after the assault began, Somali militia and armed civilian fighters shot down two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. The subsequent operation to secure and recover the crews of both helicopters...[read on]
About Deadeye, from the publisher:
The national bestselling author of the Legion of the Damned novels, “a must-read for any fan of Mil Fic,” (Archaeologist’s Guide to the Galaxy) begins a brand new science fiction police procedural series…

In the year 2038, an act of bioengineered terrorism decimated humanity. Those who survived were either completely unaffected or developed horrible mutations. Across the globe, nations are now divided between areas populated by “norms” and lands run by “mutants”…

Detective Cassandra Lee of Los Angeles’s Special Investigative Section has built a fierce reputation taking down some of the city’s most notorious criminals. But the serial cop killer known as Bonebreaker—who murdered Lee’s father—is still at large. Officially, she’s too personally involved to work on the Bonebreaker case. Unofficially, she’s going to hunt him to the ends of the earth.

In the meantime, duty calls when the daughter of Bishop Screed, head of the Church of Human Purity, is kidnapped by mutants and taken into the red zone to be used for breeding. Assigned to rescue her, Lee must trust her new partner—mutant lawman Deputy Ras Omo—to guide her not only through the unfamiliar territory but through the prejudicial divisions between mutants and norms…
Visit William C. Dietz's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Andromeda's Fall.

My Book, The Movie: Andromeda's Fall.

The Page 69 Test: Andromeda's Choice.

The Page 69 Test: Deadeye.

Writers Read: William C. Dietz.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Don H. Doyle's "The Cause of All Nations"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War by Don H. Doyle.

About the book, from the publisher:
A prominent historian puts the Civil War in a global context, revealing the startling degree to which the conflict shaped—and was shaped by—European interests.

When Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in 1863, he had broader aims than simply rallying a war-weary nation. Lincoln realized that the Civil War had taken on a wider significance—that all of Europe and Latin America was watching to see whether the United States, a beleaguered model of democracy, would indeed "perish from the earth."

In The Cause of All Nations, distinguished historian Don H. Doyle explains that the Civil War was viewed abroad as part of a much larger struggle for democracy that spanned the Atlantic Ocean, and had begun with the American and French Revolutions. While battles raged at Bull Run, Antietam, and Gettysburg, a parallel contest took place abroad, both in the marbled courts of power and in the public square. Foreign observers held widely divergent views on the war—from radicals such as Karl Marx and Giuseppe Garibaldi who called on the North to fight for liberty and equality, to aristocratic monarchists, who hoped that the collapse of the Union would strike a death blow against democratic movements on both sides of the Atlantic. Nowhere were these monarchist dreams more ominous than in Mexico, where Napoleon III sought to implement his Grand Design for a Latin Catholic empire that would thwart the spread of Anglo-Saxon democracy and use the Confederacy as a buffer state.

Hoping to capitalize on public sympathies abroad, both the Union and the Confederacy sent diplomats and special agents overseas: the South to seek recognition and support, and the North to keep European powers from interfering. Confederate agents appealed to those conservative elements who wanted the South to serve as a bulwark against radical egalitarianism. Lincoln and his Union agents overseas learned to appeal to many foreigners by embracing emancipation and casting the Union as the embattled defender of universal republican ideals, the "last best hope of earth."

A bold account of the international dimensions of America's defining conflict, The Cause of All Nations frames the Civil War as a pivotal moment in a global struggle that would decide the survival of democracy.
Visit The Cause of All Nations Facebook page, and learn more about the book at the publisher's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Cause of All Nations.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Maggie Hall's "The Conspiracy of Us"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall.

About the book, from the publisher:
A fast-paced international escapade, laced with adrenaline, glamour, and romance–perfect for fans of Ally Carter

Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.

To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family–but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she’s falling in love with.
Visit Maggie Hall's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Conspiracy of Us.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten books for reluctant and dyslexic readers

Tom Palmer is a UK-based writer of fiction for children.

At the Guardian he tagged ten top books for reluctant and dyslexic readers, including:
Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Percy Jackson books are fantastic, but you need a bit of stamina to read them. They are long for reluctant readers, but perfect for when someone who has not been a big reader until now, but is ready to have a go at longer books. The storylines – weaving modern children with Greek Myths – are awesome. A brilliant idea, brilliantly written. Lots of action. The eponymous hero is dyslexic.
Read about another entry on the list.

Percy Jackson is among Casey Lee's ten favorite book series. Percy Jackson And The Last Olympian is one of Damian Dibben's top ten time travel books.

Also see Sally Gardner's top ten books for children with dyslexia.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 26, 2015

What is Alyssa Brugman reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Alyssa Brugman, author of Alex as Well.

Her entry begins:
I have a few books on the go at the moment.

The Last Resort by Douglas Rogers is a memoir about a family who own a backpacker lodge in Zimbabwe during the time Robert Mugabe was reclaiming white farms. Books about Africa generally have the drama of landscape, as do books set in Outback Australia, or Newfoundland, or Alaska, or anywhere that being a human in that landscape is its own contest. I can identify with that, coming from a place that is pretty comfortable for most of the time, but can be devastated in a heartbeat by the elements. We are also a British colony, and we have racial tension here too, so there is a lot that feels familiar to me, while at the same time being completely foreign. This book has that, but also political tension, family tension and a protagonist not sure of his own path either. He has a really beautiful flow to his writing, and makes astute observations...[read on]
About Alex as Well, from the publisher:
Alex is ready for things to change, in a big way. Everyone seems to think she’s a boy, but for Alex the whole boy/girl thing isn’t as simple as either/or, and when she decides girl is closer to the truth, no one knows how to react, least of all her parents. Undeterred, Alex begins to create a new identity for herself: ditching one school, enrolling in another, and throwing out most of her clothes. But the other Alex—the boy Alex—has a lot to say about that. Heartbreaking and droll in equal measures, Alex As Well is a brilliantly told story of exploring gender and sexuality, navigating friendships, and finding a place to belong.
Visit Alyssa Brugman's website.

My Book, The Movie: Alex as Well.

The Page 69 Test: Alex as Well.

Writers Read: Alyssa Brugman.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top books about literal & metaphorical monsters

Seth Grahame-Smith is the author of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter and, more recently, The Last American Vampire.

For The Week magazine he tagged his six favorite books about literal and metaphorical monsters, including:
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

Some monsters wear scaly skin and dark cloaks. Others wear pastel sweaters and perfect smiles. This book did for yuppies what Jaws did for great white sharks. The fact that we find ourselves rooting for Patrick Bateman says more about us than it does about him.
Read about another entry on the list.

American Psycho appears on Ginni Chen's list of the eight grinchiest characters in literature, Whitney Collins's top sixteen list of totally awesome books that every Gen Xer needs, Chrissie Gruebel's top six list of fictional fashion icons, Jonathan Lee's list of the ten best office dramas in print and on screen, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best bankers in literature and ten of the best zoos in literature, Richard Gwyn's list of ten books in which things end badly, Nick Brooks' top ten list of literary murderers and Chris Power's list of his six top books on the 1980s. It is a book that Nick Cross "Finished Reading but Wanted My Time Back Afterwards."

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Kathryn Gin Lum's "Damned Nation"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Damned Nation: Hell in America from the Revolution to Reconstruction by Kathryn Gin Lum.

About the book, from the publisher:
Among the pressing concerns of Americans in the first century of nationhood were day-to-day survival, political harmony, exploration of the continent, foreign policy, and--fixed deeply in the collective consciousness--hell and eternal damnation. The fear of fire and brimstone and the worm that never dies exerted a profound and lasting influence on Americans' ideas about themselves, their neighbors, and the rest of the world.

Kathryn Gin Lum poses a number of vital questions: Why did the fear of hell survive Enlightenment critiques in America, after largely subsiding in Europe and elsewhere? What were the consequences for early and antebellum Americans of living with the fear of seeing themselves and many people they knew eternally damned? How did they live under the weighty obligation to save as many souls as possible? What about those who rejected this sense of obligation and fear? Gin Lum shows that beneath early Americans' vaunted millennial optimism lurked a pervasive anxiety: that rather than being favored by God, they and their nation might be the object of divine wrath. As time-honored social hierarchies crumbled before revival fire, economic unease, and political chaos, "saved" and "damned" became as crucial distinctions as race, class, and gender. The threat of damnation became an impetus for or deterrent from all kinds of behaviors, from reading novels to owning slaves.

Gin Lum tracks the idea of hell from the Revolution to Reconstruction. She considers the ideas of theological leaders like Jonathan Edwards and Charles Finney, as well as those of ordinary women and men. She discusses the views of Native Americans, Americans of European and African descent, residents of Northern insane asylums and Southern plantations, New England's clergy and missionaries overseas, and even proponents of Swedenborgianism and annihilationism. Damned Nation offers a captivating account of an idea that played a transformative role in America's intellectual and cultural history.
Learn more about Damned Nation: Hell in America from the Revolution to Reconstruction at the Oxford University Press website.

Cover story: Damned Nation.

The Page 99 Test: Damned Nation.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: William C. Dietz's "Deadeye"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Deadeye by William C. Dietz.

About the book, from the publisher:
The national bestselling author of the Legion of the Damned novels, “a must-read for any fan of Mil Fic,” (Archaeologist’s Guide to the Galaxy) begins a brand new science fiction police procedural series…

In the year 2038, an act of bioengineered terrorism decimated humanity. Those who survived were either completely unaffected or developed horrible mutations. Across the globe, nations are now divided between areas populated by “norms” and lands run by “mutants”…

Detective Cassandra Lee of Los Angeles’s Special Investigative Section has built a fierce reputation taking down some of the city’s most notorious criminals. But the serial cop killer known as Bonebreaker—who murdered Lee’s father—is still at large. Officially, she’s too personally involved to work on the Bonebreaker case. Unofficially, she’s going to hunt him to the ends of the earth.

In the meantime, duty calls when the daughter of Bishop Screed, head of the Church of Human Purity, is kidnapped by mutants and taken into the red zone to be used for breeding. Assigned to rescue her, Lee must trust her new partner—mutant lawman Deputy Ras Omo—to guide her not only through the unfamiliar territory but through the prejudicial divisions between mutants and norms…
Learn more about the book and author at William C. Dietz's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Andromeda's Fall.

My Book, The Movie: Andromeda's Fall.

The Page 69 Test: Andromeda's Choice.

Writers Read: William C. Dietz (December 2013).

The Page 69 Test: Deadeye.

--Marshal Zeringue

S. G. Redling's "Ourselves," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Ourselves by S. G. Redling.

The entry begins:
Ourselves is the first book of the Nahan series, about a complex culture of predators hidden in our midst. They’re not cursed or supernatural; they are human in every sense of the word. They’re just different. They’re private and insular and, by their own reckoning, they’re a step above common humans on the evolutionary chain. They also happen to be the creators and manipulators of vampire myths throughout history.

Because they are a race that is biologically isolated, (No half-breeds here, my friends.) they have distinctive physical qualities -- black hair, fair skin, and blue eyes. It sounds simple but that leaves quite a range of looks.

I’ve been casting secondary characters for months. In my mind, the killer Anton Adlai is Christian Kane from Leverage; Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick could be Tomas’ best friend Louis. For the lovely and ambitious Aricelli, I see...[read on]
Visit S.G. Redling's Facebook page and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Ourselves.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ten top books for Liane Moriarty fans

Liane Moriarty is the Australian author of six internationally best-selling novels, including Three Wishes, The Last Anniversary, What Alice Forgot, The Hypnotist's Love Story and the number 1 New York Times bestsellers, The Husband's Secret and Big Little Lies.

At B & N Reads Rebecca Jane Stokes tagged ten books for readers who read and loved Moriarty's books, including:
The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith

The first in J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike detective series, and absolutely delicious. Strike is called in to investigate the mysterious death (and supposed suicide) of an up-and-coming young fashion model. Twists and turns galore, with Rowling’s instinctively good sense of plotting.
Learn about another book on the list.

The Cuckoo’s Calling is on Amy Wilkinson's list of six books for people who love Harry Potter.

See: Liane Moriarty's 3 favorite books of 2014.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Becky Masterman reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Becky Masterman, author of Fear the Darkness.

Her entry begins:
For an introvert, the holidays are the best time of the year to have a head cold. You have a good excuse to opt out, drink hot tea, enjoy your ladder turned bookcase turned tree, and binge read a nice long book so you don’t even have to make decisions about what to read next. For me, it was Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things. I’ve been a Faber fan since reading his The Crimson Petal and the White, and being his fan isn’t hard work since he only writes a novel every seven years.

This book was a special treat for me because...[read on]
About the book, from the publisher:
It’s hard to recognize the devil when his hand is on your shoulder. That’s because a psychopath is just a person before he becomes a headline….Psychopaths have preferences for Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, denim or linen, Dickens or…well, you get the point.

Ex-FBI agent Brigid Quinn has seen more than her share of psychopaths. She is ready to put all that behind her, building a new life in Tucson with a husband, friends, and some nice quiet work as a private investigator. Sure, she could still kill a man half her age, but she now gets her martial arts practice by teaching self-defense at a women's shelter.

But sometimes it isn't that simple. When her sister-in-law dies, Brigid take in her seventeen-year-old niece, Gemma Kate. There has always been something unsettling about Gemma-Kate, but family is family. Which is fine, until Gemma-Kate starts taking an unhealthy interest in dissecting the local wildlife.

Meanwhile, Brigid agrees to help a local couple by investigating the death of their son—which also turns out not to be that simple. Her house isn't the sanctuary it used to be, and new dangers—including murder—seem to lurk everywhere. Brigid starts to wonder if there is anyone she can trust, or if the devil has simply moved closer to home.
Learn more about Fear the Darkness at Becky Masterman's website.

My Book, The Movie: Rage Against the Dying.

The Page 69 Test: Rage Against the Dying.

My Book, The Movie: Fear the Darkness.

The Page 69 Test: Fear the Darkness.

Writers Read: Becky Masterman.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Stuart B. Schwartz's "Sea of Storms"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Sea of Storms: A History of Hurricanes in the Greater Caribbean from Columbus to Katrina by Stuart B. Schwartz.

About the book, from the publisher:
The diverse cultures of the Caribbean have been shaped as much by hurricanes as they have by diplomacy, commerce, or the legacy of colonial rule. In this panoramic work of social history, Stuart Schwartz examines how Caribbean societies have responded to the dangers of hurricanes, and how these destructive storms have influenced the region’s history, from the rise of plantations, to slavery and its abolition, to migrations, racial conflict, and war.

Taking readers from the voyages of Columbus to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Schwartz looks at the ethical, political, and economic challenges that hurricanes posed to the Caribbean’s indigenous populations and the different European peoples who ventured to the New World to exploit its riches. He describes how the United States provided the model for responding to environmental threats when it emerged as a major power and began to exert its influence over the Caribbean in the nineteenth century, and how the region’s governments came to assume greater responsibilities for prevention and relief, efforts that by the end of the twentieth century were being questioned by free-market neoliberals. Schwartz sheds light on catastrophes like Katrina by framing them within a long and contentious history of human interaction with the natural world.

Spanning more than five centuries and drawing on extensive archival research in Europe and the Americas, Sea of Storms emphasizes the continuing role of race, social inequality, and economic ideology in the shaping of our responses to natural disaster.
Learn more about Sea of Storms at the Princeton University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Sea of Storms.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Five top Young Adult horror novels

One title on Dahlia Adler's list of five top YA horror novels, as shared on The Barnes & Noble Book Blog:
I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga

I have to confess I haven’t yet read this one, but in my defense, it’s because I’ve heard Lyga read aloud from it at a panel, and I was so terrified by a single scene that I couldn’t handle sitting down with the entire book. Those braver than I can enjoy a whole lot of terror in this series about a boy with a serial killer father; not only did the final book of the trilogy, Blood of my Blood, publish [recently], but the prequel novella, Lucky Day, is now available in digital format as well.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Blood of My Blood.

My Book, The Movie: Blood of My Blood.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Peter Hancock reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Peter Hancock, author of Hoax Springs Eternal: The Psychology of Cognitive Deception.

His entry begins:
This is a great time for a blog on what writers read since the holiday break is when professors like me store up all the books they wanted to read during the semester but didn’t get time to. The first book I read served to put my academic cortex on park and just revel in the joy of reading fiction; I chose Anthony Horowitz’s Moriarty. I have enjoyed previous books by Horowitz and also like the Foyle’s War series on PBS and fie on the reader who doesn’t revel in Sherlock Holmes. But Horowitz extends the domain beyond the usual pastiche and indeed neither Holmes nor Watson feature in this novel. Let me say that I enjoyed the book which kept my attention, if not my rapt attention. We begin again at the pesky Reichenbach Falls where apparently nobody died and...[read on]
About Hoax Springs Eternal, from the publisher:
Unlike sleights of hand, which fool the senses, sleights of mind challenge cognition. This book defines and explains cognitive deception and explores six prominent potential historical instances of it: the Cross of King Arthur, Drake's Plate of Brass, the Kensington Runestone, the Vinland Map, the Piltdown Man, and the Shroud of Turin. In spite of evidence contradicting their alleged origins, their stories continue to persuade many of their authenticity. Peter Hancock uses these purported hoaxes as case studies to develop and demonstrate fundamental principles of cognitive psychology. By dissecting each ostensible artifact, he illustrates how hoaxes can deceive us and offers us defenses against them. This book further examines how and why we allow others to deceive us and how and why we even deceive ourselves at times. Accessible to beginner and expert alike, Hoax Springs Eternal provides an essential interdisciplinary guide to cognitive deception.
Learn more about Hoax Springs Eternal at the Cambridge University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Hoax Springs Eternal.

Writers Read: Peter Hancock.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Corina Vacco's "My Chemical Mountain"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: My Chemical Mountain by Corina Vacco.

About the book, from the publisher:
Jason and his friends live for the rush of racing their dirt bikes on Chemical Mountain and swimming in chunky orange Two Mile Creek. But they hate wealthy and powerful Mareno Chem, the company responsible for invading their territory, polluting their town, and killing Jason’s father. The boys want to get even. But revenge has a price—and more than one person will pay.
Visit Corina Vacco's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: My Chemical Mountain.

--Marshal Zeringue

John Batchelor's "Tennyson," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Tennyson: To Strive, To Seek, To Find by John Batchelor.

The entry begins:
For a film of my biography of Tennyson? I don't really like bio-pics, although I think the recent film about Turner, Mr. Turner, is a masterpiece in the genre (the portrayal of John Ruskin in that film is disappointing, though).

A biographical film about Tennyson's life would be...[read on]
Read more about Tennyson: To Strive, To Seek, To Find at the publisher's website.

My Book, The Movie: Tennyson: To Strive, To Seek, To Find.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 23, 2015

Five top inspiring books on mental health

Sarah Rayner is the British author of five novels and one non-fiction book, Making Friends with Anxiety.

For the Picador Blog she tagged five inspiring books on mental health, including:
Sane New World by Ruby Wax

If you've not encountered how mindfulness techniques can help with depression before, this book is a good place to start. It explains the concepts simply and wittily, and provides useful exercises at the end to help put the theory into practice. There are, it's true, other more fulsome tomes on mindfulness out there, and more searing accounts of going through breakdown too, but they don't detract from this book, which, as a cross between the two genres – part self-help tome, part memoir – aims to do something different.

The short chapters make it easy to assimilate, and Ruby's willingness to expose her own vulnerabilities makes it feel as if you're in the company of a friend as you read. Moreover, because Ruby Wax is a household name, there's every chance Sane New World will find its way into the hands of people who might not otherwise read about depression, and that can be no bad thing. I have enormous respect for Ruby and admire what she's done (and continues to do) to raise awareness of mental illness by admitting she’s had problems herself. To my mind that takes even greater courage than stand-up comedy, and I'm sure I'm not alone in being grateful for her bravery.
Read about another book on the list.

Also see: Eight great YA novels involving characters who struggle with mental illness and Five best novels that focus on mental disorders.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Colleen Oakley reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Colleen Oakley, author of Before I Go.

Her entry begins:
I just finished Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I loved The Husband’s Secret, but I think I liked this one even more. Moriarty has a real gift for her wry observation of human nature in current society. As a parent, I completely related, cringing and laughing in turns, at the various parents I recognized from my own social circle. But the best part about her writing is that she never slips into stereotypes— each character is fully realized as a three-dimensional person that you can empathize with — they’re never just...[read on]
About Before I Go, from the publisher:
A heart-wrenching debut novel in the bestselling tradition of P.S. I Love You about a young woman with breast cancer who undertakes a mission to find a new wife for her husband before she passes away.

Twenty-seven-year-old Daisy already beat breast cancer three years ago. How can this be happening to her again?

On the eve of what was supposed to be a triumphant “Cancerversary” with her husband Jack to celebrate three years of being cancer-free, Daisy suffers a devastating blow: her doctor tells her that the cancer is back, but this time it’s an aggressive stage four diagnosis. She may have as few as four months left to live. Death is a frightening prospect—but not because she’s afraid for herself. She’s terrified of what will happen to her brilliant but otherwise charmingly helpless husband when she’s no longer there to take care of him. It’s this fear that keeps her up at night, until she stumbles on the solution: she has to find him another wife.

With a singular determination, Daisy scouts local parks and coffee shops and online dating sites looking for Jack’s perfect match. But the further she gets on her quest, the more she questions the sanity of her plan. As the thought of her husband with another woman becomes all too real, Daisy’s forced to decide what’s more important in the short amount of time she has left: her husband’s happiness—or her own?
Visit Colleen Oakley's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Before I Go.

Writers Read: Colleen Oakley.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Udi Greenberg's "The Weimar Century"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Weimar Century: German Emigres and the Ideological Foundations of the Cold War by Udi Greenberg.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Weimar Century reveals the origins of two dramatic events: Germany’s post–World War II transformation from a racist dictatorship to a liberal democracy, and the ideological genesis of the Cold War. Blending intellectual, political, and international histories, Udi Greenberg shows that the foundations of Germany’s reconstruction lay in the country’s first democratic experiment, the Weimar Republic (1918–33). He traces the paths of five crucial German émigrés who participated in Weimar’s intense political debates, spent the Nazi era in the United States, and then rebuilt Europe after a devastating war. Examining the unexpected stories of these diverse individuals—Protestant political thinker Carl J. Friedrich, Socialist theorist Ernst Fraenkel, Catholic publicist Waldemar Gurian, liberal lawyer Karl Loewenstein, and international relations theorist Hans Morgenthau—Greenberg uncovers the intellectual and political forces that forged Germany’s democracy after dictatorship, war, and occupation.

In restructuring German thought and politics, these émigrés also shaped the currents of the early Cold War. Having borne witness to Weimar’s political clashes and violent upheavals, they called on democratic regimes to permanently mobilize their citizens and resources in global struggle against their Communist enemies. In the process, they gained entry to the highest levels of American power, serving as top-level advisors to American occupation authorities in Germany and Korea, consultants for the State Department in Latin America, and leaders in universities and philanthropic foundations across Europe and the United States. Their ideas became integral to American global hegemony.

From interwar Germany to the dawn of the American century, The Weimar Century sheds light on the crucial ideas, individuals, and politics that made the trans-Atlantic postwar order.
Learn more about The Weimar Century at Udi Greenberg's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Weimar Century.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven of the best recent books to give an honest account of war

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and We Are Not Good People from Pocket/Gallery. He has published over thirty short stories as well.

At B & N Reads Somers tagged seven of the best recent books that give an honest account of war, including:
Shock Factor: American Snipers in the War on Terror, by Jack Coughlin and John R. Bruning

This engrossing, often thrilling book explores the life of the modern-day sniper, switching from pulse-pounding action tale to heartbreaking emotional exploration of the very human people behind the scope. Coughlin is a retired sniper who provides an insider’s perspective that’s compelling and absolutely authentic, with eye-opening examples of snipers embroiled in tense battles of wills with their counterparts, playing central roles in historic moments, and discovering the inhuman practices of their own allies.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sara Raasch's "Snow Like Ashes," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch.

The entry begins:
I adore Ksenia Solo for my main character, Meira. The moment I saw her in Lost Girl, with her spunk and her positivity and her confidence, I fell in love. She'd...[read on]
Visit Sara Raasch's website.

My Book, The Movie: Snow Like Ashes.

--Marshal Zeringue