Sunday, June 24, 2018

Pg. 69: James Hankins's "A Blood Thing"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: A Blood Thing by James Hankins.

About the book, from the publisher:
Never trust a blackmailer.

Vermont’s promising young governor, Andrew Kane, is at another public meet-and-greet when a stranger from the crowd slips him a cell phone and whispers, “Keep this with you…keep it secret…you’re going to need it after the arrest.”

Hours later, Andrew’s brother, Tyler, is taken into custody—framed for the brutal murder of a young woman—and Andrew discovers there is only one way to free him: answer the mysterious phone and agree to a blackmailer’s demands. All the governor has to do to make it all go away is compromise everything he stands for and grant a full pardon to a convicted felon. With no better option, he complies. Which is his first mistake…because the stranger isn’t through with him. He has another little condition. Then another. And another. And Andrew has no choice but to play along until he can find a way out of this personal and political nightmare. But he isn’t prepared for what he will face, or how far he will have to go to save his brother and keep his family together.
Visit James Hankins's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Blood Thing.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Five genre-bending sci-fictional crime novels

Amanda Bridgeman is an Aurealis Award finalist and author of seven science fiction novels, including the best-selling space opera Aurora series and apocalyptic drama The Time of the Stripes. One of five genre-bending science-fictional crime novels she tagged at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog:
Thirteen, by Richard K. Morgan

Marsalis is what’s known as a ‘Thirteen’. Genetically engineered by the U.S. government, Thirteens were intended to be the ultimate military fighting force. After a series of events, Marsalis finds himself imprisoned on Mars, until he’s offered the chance for release. All he has to do is use his superior skills to bring in another fugitive – a serial killer. But this one is no common criminal. He’s another Thirteen–one who’s already shanghaied a space shuttle, butchered its crew, and left a trail of bodies in his wake on a bloody cross-country spree. And like his pursuer, he was bred to fight to the death.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Thirteen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Michael North's "What Is the Present?"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: What Is the Present? by Michael North.

About the book, from the publisher:
A provocative new look at concepts of the present, their connection to ideas about time, and their effect on literature, art, and culture

The problem of the present—what it is and what it means—is one that has vexed generations of thinkers and artists. Because modernity places so much value on the present, many critics argue that people today spend far too much time in the here and now—but how can we tell without first knowing what the here and now actually is? What Is the Present? takes a provocative new look at this moment in time that remains a mystery even though it is always with us.

Michael North tackles puzzles that have preoccupied philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, history, and aesthetic theory and examines the complex role of the present in painting, fiction, and film. He engages with a range of thinkers, from Aristotle and Augustine to William James and Henri Bergson. He draws illuminating examples from artists such as Fra Angelico and Richard McGuire, filmmakers like D. W. Griffith and Christopher Nolan, and novelists such as Elizabeth Bowen and Willa Cather. North offers a critical analysis of previous models of the present, from the experiential present to the historical period we call the contemporary. He argues that the present is not a cosmological or experiential fact but a metaphor, a figurative relationship with the whole of time.

Presenting an entirely new conception of the temporal mystery Georg Lukács called the "unexplained instant," What Is the Present? explores how the arts have traditionally represented the present—and also how artists have offered radical alternatives to that tradition.
Learn more about What Is the Present? at the Princeton University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Novelty: A History of the New.

The Page 99 Test: What Is the Present?.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Lillian Li reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Lillian Li, author of Number One Chinese Restaurant: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
If you love trippy, experimental ruminations on the intersections of technology and the human condition, read Rubik by Elizabeth Tan. A connected short story collection, it's so smart, so inventive, and so emotionally resonant. Every story stacks on top of the one before, but also the one that comes after, like one of Escher's staircases. An example of its brilliance? The "Homestyle Country Pie" one of the characters eats right before she's hit by a car is reincarnated in...[read on]
About Number One Chinese Restaurant, from the publisher:
The Beijing Duck House in Rockville, Maryland, is not only a beloved go-to setting for hunger pangs and celebrations; it is its own world, inhabited by waiters and kitchen staff who have been fighting, loving, and aging within its walls for decades. When disaster strikes, this working family’s controlled chaos is set loose, forcing each character to confront the conflicts that fast-paced restaurant life has kept at bay.

Owner Jimmy Han hopes to leave his late father’s homespun establishment for a fancier one. Jimmy’s older brother, Johnny, and Johnny’s daughter, Annie, ache to return to a time before a father’s absence and a teenager’s silence pushed them apart. Nan and Ah-Jack, longtime Duck House employees, are tempted to turn their thirty-year friendship into something else, even as Nan’s son, Pat, struggles to stay out of trouble. And when Pat and Annie, caught in a mix of youthful lust and boredom, find themselves in a dangerous game that implicates them in the Duck House tragedy, their families must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice to help their children.

Generous in spirit, unaffected in its intelligence, multi-voiced, poignant, and darkly funny, Number One Chinese Restaurant looks beyond red tablecloths and silkscreen murals to share an unforgettable story about youth and aging, parents and children, and all the ways that our families destroy us while also keeping us grounded and alive.
Visit Lillian Li's website.

Writers Read: Lillian Li.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 22, 2018

Ten vital southern books you probably haven’t read

A native of Mississippi, Nick White is the author of the novel How to Survive a Summer and the newly released short story collection, Sweet & Low.

At Publishers Weekly he tagged ten "vital, and quintessentially Southern, titles that deserve to sit on the shelf alongside the classics," including:
Veneer by Steve Yarbrough

This gorgeous collection highlights the lives of Mississippians at home and abroad. The title story centers on two childhood friends, a man and woman, who reconnect over dinner while the man’s family is away on vacation. As they reminisce, the past is, at first, given a nostalgic gloss, which slowly rubs away as the two delve deeper into their histories. Such is the theme that connects the stories found here: the shiny “veneer” we give our troubled pasts in order to live with them.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Demetra Brodsky's "Dive Smack," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Dive Smack by Demetra Brodsky.

The entry begins:
This is such a fun question. I don’t think there’s a writer out there who hasn’t thought about this as they watch the scenes they’re writing play out in the heads. I spent a lot of time thinking about Theo Mackey and watching springboard diving videos, but at the end of the day Lucas Till is my perfect Theo Mackey - I feel like he has the perfect mix of athletic and kind.

The easiest one for me is Dylan O'Brien for Chip Langford. I seriously can't picture another person more Chip-like to pay Theo’s best friend.

For Iris Fiorello, Theo’s crush and love interest who has a similar tragic background, I’d pick...[read on]
Visit Demetra Brodsky's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Demetra Brodsky & L.B. and Ponyboy Curtis.

The Page 69 Test: Dive Smack.

Writers Read: Demetra Brodsky.

My Book, The Movie: Dive Smack.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: E.M. Powell's "The King’s Justice"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The King's Justice by E.M. Powell.

About the book, from the publisher:
A murder that defies logic—and a killer on the loose.

England, 1176. Aelred Barling, esteemed clerk to the justices of King Henry II, is dispatched from the royal court with his young assistant, Hugo Stanton, to investigate a brutal murder in a village outside York.

The case appears straightforward. A suspect is under lock and key in the local prison, and the angry villagers are demanding swift justice. But when more bodies are discovered, certainty turns to doubt—and amid the chaos it becomes clear that nobody is above suspicion.

Facing growing unrest in the village and the fury of the lord of the manor, Stanton and Barling find themselves drawn into a mystery that defies logic, pursuing a killer who evades capture at every turn.

Can they solve the riddle of who is preying upon the villagers? And can they do it without becoming prey themselves?
Visit E.M. Powell's website, blog, Twitter perch and Facebook page.

Coffee with a Canine: E.M. Powell & Marshall.

The Page 69 Test: The King's Justice.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 21, 2018

What is Cara Black reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Cara Black, author of Murder on the Left Bank.

Her entry begins:
This summer, I’m re-reading Philip Kerr’s books, the Bernie Gunther series.

In March, after ordering Kerr’s latest book, Greeks Bearing Gifts, and planning to spend a long weekend with Bernie in his latest investigation, shocking news came. I was at Left Coast Crime, and the rumor spreading around the conference was sadly true. Philip Kerr had passed two weeks before his book was coming out.

I’ve been a reader and fan since the 90’s. Bernie Gunther’s wise cracking, irreverent, police detective, then PI with a conscience in Berlin pre and post WW2 stuck with me. Kerr’s writing and the way he referenced history and that time so vivid in detail, had influenced me.

After the author’s untimely death, I missed Bernie, and definitely missed that this would be the author’s last book. I’ve...[read on]
About Murder on the Left Bank, from the publisher:
The eighteenth mystery in the New York Times bestselling Parisian detective series!

A dying man drags his oxygen machine into the office of Éric Besson, a lawyer in Paris’s 13th arrondissement. The old man, an accountant, is carrying a dilapidated notebook full of meticulous investment records. For decades, he has been helping a cadre of dirty cops launder stolen money. The notebook contains his full confession—he’s waited 50 years to make it, and now it can’t wait another day. He is adamant that Besson get the notebook into the hands of La Proc, Paris’s chief prosecuting attorney, so the corruption can finally be brought to light. But en route to La Proc, Besson’s courier—his assistant and nephew—is murdered, and the notebook disappears.

Grief-stricken Éric Besson tries to hire private investigator Aimée Leduc to find the notebook, but she is reluctant to get involved. Her father was a cop and was murdered by the same dirty syndicate the notebook implicates. She’s not sure which she’s more afraid of, the dangerous men who would kill for the notebook or the idea that her father’s name might be among the dirty cops listed within it. Ultimately that’s the reason she must take the case, which leads her across the Left Bank, from the Cambodian enclave of Khmer Rouge refugees to the ancient royal tapestry factories to the modern art galleries.
The Page 69 Test: Murder at the Lanterne Rouge.

My Book, the Movie: Murder at the Lanterne Rouge.

The Page 69 Test: Murder below Montparnasse.

The Page 69 Test: Murder in Pigalle.

My Book, The Movie: Murder in Pigalle.

My Book, The Movie: Murder on the Champ de Mars.

Writers Read: Cara Black.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five notable books about motherhood and dystopia

Siobhan Adcock is the author of the novels The Barter and The Completionist. One of five top books about motherhood and dystopia she tagged at
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The grandmama of them all is back on bestseller lists and the inspiration for a wildly successful streaming series that brings Atwood’s original storyline onto an even bigger, scarier, more international stage. Atwood challenges us with a vision of a world so terrifyingly altered that women have lost every freedom, and motherhood itself has been redefined as a state of slavery. Yet of all the losses women face in Atwood’s story, Offred’s loss of her daughter is the most intimate and horrifying. Still, Offred’s determination to remain essentially herself—in her stubborn love of language (when even reading food labels is forbidden), and in her refusal to deny her own kindness, passion, anger, and fear—is what makes this novel such a masterpiece.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Handmaid's Tale made a list of four books that changed Meg Keneally, A.J. Hartley's list of five favorite books about the making of a dystopia, Lidia Yuknavitch's 6 favorite books list, Elisa Albert's list of nine revelatory books about motherhood, Michael W. Clune's top five list of books about imaginary religions, Jeff Somers's top six list of often misunderstood SF/F novels, Jason Sizemore's top five list of books that will entertain and drop you into the depths of despair, S.J. Watson's list of four books that changed him, Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick's list of eight of the most badass ladies in all of banned literature, Guy Lodge's list of ten of the best dystopias in fiction, art, film, and television, Bethan Roberts's top ten list of novels about childbirth, Rachel Cantor's list of the ten worst jobs in books, Charlie Jane Anders and Kelly Faircloth's list of the best and worst childbirth scenes in science fiction and fantasy, Lisa Tuttle's critic's chart of the top Arthur C. Clarke Award winners, and PopCrunch's list of the sixteen best dystopian books of all time.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Gideon Yaffe's "The Age of Culpability"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Age of Culpability: Children and the Nature of Criminal Responsibility by Gideon Yaffe.

About the book, from the publisher:
Why be lenient towards children who commit crimes? Reflection on the grounds for such leniency is the entry point into the development, in this book, of a theory of the nature of criminal responsibility and desert of punishment for crime. Gideon Yaffe argues that child criminals are owed lesser punishments than adults thanks not to their psychological, behavioural, or neural immaturity but, instead, because they are denied the vote. This conclusion is reached through accounts of the nature of criminal culpability, desert for wrongdoing, strength of legal reasons, and what it is to have a say over the law. The centrepiece of this discussion is the theory of criminal culpability. To be criminally culpable is for one's criminal act to manifest a failure to grant sufficient weight to the legal reasons to refrain. The stronger the legal reasons, then, the greater the criminal culpability. Those who lack a say over the law, it is argued, have weaker legal reasons to refrain from crime than those who have a say. They are therefore reduced in criminal culpability and deserve lesser punishment for their crimes. Children are owed leniency, then, because of the political meaning of age rather than because of its psychological meaning. This position has implications for criminal justice policy, with respect to, among other things, the interrogation of children suspected of crimes and the enfranchisement of adult felons.
Learn more about The Age of Culpability at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Age of Culpability.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about the afterlife

Tim Thornton is the author of the novels The Alternative Hero, Death of An Unsigned Band, and Felix Romsey's Afterparty. He also plays drums for the band Fink. Among his top ten books about the afterlife, as shared at the Guardian:
The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier (2006)

In an accommodating but bland city, the deceased continue to exist, but only as long as someone still alive remembers them. Back on mid-21st-century Earth, things are going dangerously wrong: not least, the rampant spread of genetically modified viruses. If Earth’s population dwindles, what happens to the city of the remembered dead? An intriguing, melancholic portrait of an “in-between” place blossoms into a beautifully lyrical study of memory itself.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

What is Kyle Burke reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Kyle Burke, author of Revolutionaries for the Right: Anticommunist Internationalism and Paramilitary Warfare in the Cold War.

From his entry:
I just finished Kathleen Belew’s outstanding and dismaying Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America. Based on deep research into FBI files, obscure far-right publications, and other sources, Belew explains the origin and evolution of a militarized white power movement that now spans the country. Starting in the late 1970s, disparate sets of Klansman, neo-Nazis, tax protesters, Christian Identarians, and others joined forces. But rather than unite under a single banner, they utilized a strategy of “leaderless resistance,” which bred dispersed acts of terrorism and guerrilla warfare. Few authorities or commentators were able to link seemingly diffuse acts of violence to each other, or to the world of white power. Instead, they explained the far-right’s growing capacity for violence as the work of “lone wolves,” a framing that persists today. But...[read on]
About Revolutionaries for the Right, from the publisher:
Freedom fighters. Guerrilla warriors. Soldiers of fortune. The many civil wars and rebellions against communist governments drew heavily from this cast of characters. Yet from Nicaragua to Afghanistan, Vietnam to Angola, Cuba to the Congo, the connections between these anticommunist groups have remained hazy and their coordination obscure. Yet as Kyle Burke reveals, these conflicts were the product of a rising movement that sought paramilitary action against communism worldwide. Tacking between the United States and many other countries, Burke offers an international history not only of the paramilitaries who started and waged small wars in the second half of the twentieth century but of conservatism in the Cold War era.

From the start of the Cold War, Burke shows, leading U.S. conservatives and their allies abroad dreamed of an international anticommunist revolution. They pinned their hopes to armed men, freedom fighters who could unravel communist states from within. And so they fashioned a global network of activists and state officials, guerrillas and mercenaries, ex-spies and ex-soldiers to sponsor paramilitary campaigns in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Blurring the line between state-sanctioned and vigilante violence, this armed crusade helped radicalize right-wing groups in the United States while also generating new forms of privatized warfare abroad.
Learn more about Revolutionaries for the Right at The University of North Carolina Press website.

Writers Read: Kyle Burke.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books that explore hidden domestic lives

Lucy Worsley's latest books are a non-fiction book for adults called Jane Austen at Home, and a novel for younger readers called My Name is Victoria. At the Guardian she tagged "five volumes that help you understand the domestic lives of people in the past – and why they came to matter," including:
[D]o you have a lingering feeling that constitutional or diplomatic history is more serious, more worthy? Well the personal is the political, a point made, at the same time as Girouard [Life in the English Country House (1978)] was writing, in the wildly popular and highly influential novel by Marilyn French, The Women’s Room (1977). I cannot erase from my mind French’s astonishingly realistic re-creation of the heroine Mira’s terrible, turgid housework routine.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Women’s Room is among four books that changed Jesse Blackadder.

--Marshal Zeringue

Yoon Ha Lee's "Ninefox Gambit," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee, author of Revenant Gun.

The entry begins:
While I certainly wouldn't say no if someone offered to make my book Ninefox Gambit into a film, I suspect the special effects budget would be prohibitive! One of the hazards of writing space opera, I guess. I had actually imagined the book in animation instead, like Voltron: Legendary Defender or Code Geass or Avatar: The Last Airbender. But it costs nothing to dream, either way.

The first of my two main characters is Shuos Jedao, an undead general known both for never losing a battle across four hundred years and for an infamous massacre in which he blew up two armies, one of them his own. I'd cast Daniel Dae Kim. I've enjoyed his range in the different roles I've seen him in (I was so sad when his Gavin the evil lawyer died in Angel!) and I'd be fascinated to see how he interpreted a treacherous ghost general.

The second is Jedao's unwilling protégée, Captain Kel Cheris. She's dedicated and brilliant in a completely different way--she's a mathematician--and although she starts out...[read on]
Visit Yoon Ha Lee's website.

The Page 69 Test: Revenant Gun.

Writers Read: Yoon Ha Lee.

My Book, The Movie: Ninefox Gambit.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Stephanie Butland's "The Lost For Words Bookshop"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Lost for Words Bookshop: A Novel by Stephanie Butland.

About the book, from the publisher:
Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never, ever show you.

Into her hiding place - the bookstore where she works - come a poet, a lover, and three suspicious deliveries.

Someone has found out about her mysterious past. Will Loveday survive her own heartbreaking secrets?
Follow Stephanie Butland on Twitter and Facebook.

My Book, The Movie: The Lost for Words Bookshop.

The Page 69 Test: The Lost for Words Bookshop.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Pg. 99: Philip Thai's "China's War on Smuggling"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: China's War on Smuggling: Law, Economic Life, and the Making of the Modern State, 1842–1965 by Philip Thai.

About the book, from the publisher:
Smuggling along the Chinese coast has been a thorn in the side of many regimes. From opium and weapons concealed aboard foreign steamships in the Qing dynasty to nylon stockings and wristwatches trafficked in the People’s Republic, contests between state and smuggler have exerted a surprising but crucial influence on the political economy of modern China. Seeking to consolidate domestic authority and confront foreign challenges, states introduced tighter regulations, higher taxes, and harsher enforcement. These interventions sparked widespread defiance, triggering further coercive measures. Smuggling simultaneously threatened the state’s power while inviting repression that strengthened its authority.

Philip Thai chronicles the vicissitudes of smuggling in modern China—its practice, suppression, and significance—to demonstrate the intimate link between illicit coastal trade and the amplification of state power. China’s War on Smuggling shows that the fight against smuggling was not a simple law enforcement problem but rather an impetus to centralize authority and expand economic controls. The smuggling epidemic gave Chinese states pretext to define legal and illegal behavior, and the resulting constraints on consumption and movement remade everyday life for individuals, merchants, and communities. Drawing from varied sources such as legal cases, customs records, and popular press reports and including diverse perspectives from political leaders, frontline enforcers, organized traffickers, and petty runners, Thai uncovers how different regimes policed maritime trade and the unintended consequences their campaigns unleashed. China’s War on Smuggling traces how defiance and repression redefined state power, offering new insights into modern Chinese social, legal, and economic history.
Learn more about China's War on Smuggling at the Columbia University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: China's War on Smuggling.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six of the best books about the advertising industry

Ken Auletta is The New Yorker's senior media correspondent and author of Googled, Three Blind Mice, and other nonfiction best-sellers. One of six books that shaped his new book Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else), as shared at The Week magazine:
Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy

In a story reminiscent of Matthew Weiner's brilliant Mad Men series, Ogilvy offers an enjoyable jaunt back to a time when creatives rather than quants ruled advertising. He shares backstories to his most memorable ad campaigns, including his favorite: "At 60 Miles an Hour the Loudest Noise in This New Roll-Royce Comes From the Electric Clock."
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Demetra Brodsky reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Demetra Brodsky, author of Dive Smack.

Her entry begins:
This interview came at an odd time in my reading queue, because when I’m drafting I like to read non-fiction so the voice of whatever I’m reading doesn’t spill into my own writing. I’m currently working on a new thriller and reading two fascinating books as research for that novel. The first is The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America’s Coldest Cases by Deborah Halber. What’s interesting about this read is that there are so many people, including myself who listen to murder podcasts that the fascination with how cold cases are cracked has grown with the increased access to that knowledge. Naturally. Deborah Halber’s book paints individual portraits and opens with a case about a body that was found wrapped in...[read on]
About Dive Smack, from the publisher:
Theo Mackey only remembers one thing for certain about the fire that destroyed his home: he lit the match.

Sure, it was an accident. But the blaze killed his mom and set his dad on a path to self-destruction. Everything else about that fateful night is full of gaping holes in Theo’s mind, for good reason. Maybe it’s better that way. As captain of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team, with straight A's and solid friends, he's only one semester away from securing a scholarship, and leaving his past behind.

But when a family history project gets assigned at school, new memories come rushing to the surface, memories that make Theo question what he really knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone—including himself.
Visit Demetra Brodsky's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Demetra Brodsky & L.B. and Ponyboy Curtis.

The Page 69 Test: Dive Smack.

Writers Read: Demetra Brodsky.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top fantastical heroines in great children’s books

Lavie Tidhar's latest novels are the forthcoming Unholy Land (2018) and his first children’s novel, Candy (2018). He is the author of many other novels, novellas and short stories. At he tagged five fantastical heroines in great children’s books, including:
Scout, from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Scout, as everyone probably knows, is Harper Lee, and Dill is Truman Capote. What inspired me here was not just the book, which I love, but the actual life of (Nelle) Harper Lee. Nelle in Candy is named after her, of course. I first came across the idea of Lee as a detective of sort in the films Infamous and Capote, which weirdly came out around the same time, and both concern the writing of Capote’s In Cold Blood. Lee, his childhood friend (and before publication of her seminal novel), joined him on his investigation into the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas. Lee is wonderfully played in the two movies by Sandra Bullock and Catherine Keener, respectively. So “my” Nelle is very much intended as a homage for the young Scout/Harper Lee herself.

It’s probably worth saying Mockingbird is, of course, very much not a fantasy novel, though I don’t know! Boo Radley’s as gothic a character as anything out of Shirley Jackson, and—hold on, can we make this list six characters? Because Merricat, in Jackson’s incredible We Have Always Lived in the Castle is just such a wonderful—if wonderfully disturbing!—character in her own right…

(Incidentally, it once occurred to me to wonder what would have happened had Capote and Lee took a wrong turn and ended up investigating a murder in Innsmouth instead of Holcomb. It’s in a story called—you guessed it—“Cold Blood,” in an anthology called Innsmouth Nightmares… But I digress! Needless to say, though, the manuscript of To Kill a Mockingbird Lee is writing turns out quite a bit different than in our own reality.)
Read about another entry on the list.

To Kill a Mockingbird made Sarah Ward's ten top list of brothers and sisters in fiction, Katy Guest's list of six top books for shy readers, Jeff Somers's top ten list of fictional characters based on actual people, Carol Wall's list of five books that changed her, John Bardinelli's list of five authors who became famous after publishing a single novel and never published another one, Ellie Irving's top ten list of quiet heroes and heroines, a list of five books that changed Richelle Mead, Robert Williams's top ten list of loners in fiction, Alyssa Bereznak's top ten list of literary heroes with weird names, Louise Doughty's top ten list of courtroom dramas, Hanna McGrath's top fifteen list of epic epigraphs, the Telegraph's list of ten great meals in literature, Nicole Hill's list of fourteen characters their creators should have spared, Isla Blair's six best books list, Lauren Passell's list of ten pairs of books made better when read together, Charlie Fletcher's top ten list of adventure classics, Sheila Bair's 6 favorite books list, Kathryn Erskine's top ten list of first person narratives, Julia Donaldson's six best books list, TIME magazine's top 10 list of books you were forced to read in school, John Mullan's list of ten of the best lawyers in literature, John Cusack's list of books that made a difference to him, Lisa Scottoline's top ten list of books about justice, and Luke Leitch's list of ten literary one-hit wonders. It is one of Sanjeev Bhaskar's six best books and one of Alexandra Styron's five best stories of fathers and daughters.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 18, 2018

Pg. 99: Stephen W. Sawyer's "Demos Assembled"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Demos Assembled: Democracy and the International Origins of the Modern State, 1840–1880 by Stephen W. Sawyer.

About the book, from the publisher:
Previous studies have covered in great detail how the modern state slowly emerged from the early Renaissance through the seventeenth century, but we know relatively little about the next great act: the birth and transformation of the modern democratic state. And in an era where our democratic institutions are rife with conflict, it’s more important now than ever to understand how our institutions came into being.

Stephen W. Sawyer’s Demos Assembled provides us with a fresh, transatlantic understanding of that political order’s genesis. While the French influence on American political development is well understood, Sawyer sheds new light on the subsequent reciprocal influence that American thinkers and politicians had on the establishment of post-revolutionary regimes in France. He argues that the emergence of the stable Third Republic (1870–1940), which is typically said to have been driven by idiosyncratic internal factors, was in fact a deeply transnational, dynamic phenomenon. Sawyer’s findings reach beyond their historical moment, speaking broadly to conceptions of state formation: how contingent claims to authority, whether grounded in violence or appeals to reason and common cause, take form as stateness.
Learn more about Demos Assembled at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Demos Assembled.

--Marshal Zeringue

Rebecca Makkai's "The Great Believers," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai.

The entry begins:
If I get to indulge in this lovely daydream, I’m going to start by changing the parameters: I think The Great Believers would work better as a limited TV series than as a movie. Ten episodes. Great thing about TV shows, you can have an intro montage each time. I’d want photos of actual groups of friends from Chicago at the height of the AIDS epidemic. Friends dancing, friends posing, people in wheelchairs at the Pride parade, people at candlelight vigils, people at protests, people sick, friends lounging on the Belmont Rocks. While my novel is fiction, it’s about an experience that many very real people lived through—or lived only partway through—and I want those people there.

I’ve made myself a promise—one I’m intentionally putting in writing here—that if I’m lucky enough to have film or TV interest in this book, I would sell the rights only with the stipulation that the story stay in Chicago. Everything out there already is about San Francisco or New York. The story of AIDS in Chicago is different, and important, and fascinating. I could hand them a big long list of consultants, people who’ll kick their butts on 1980s Boystown details as much as they kicked mine. And we’re filming in Chicago, not in frickin’ Vancouver.

Some casting:

For Yale Tishman, my central guy, the one whose life simultaneously falls apart and takes on greater meaning over the course of the book, I want a young, gay cross between Paul Reiser and David Eigenberg. But no New York accent, please.

For Fiona, the woman we know as a flighty but loyal friend in the 1980s, and as a mother full of regret in 2015 Paris, I want both Kate...[read on]
Learn more about the author and her work at Rebecca Makkai's website, Facebook page and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: The Borrower.

The Page 69 Test: The Hundred-Year House.

My Book, The Movie: The Hundred-Year House.

My Book, The Movie: The Great Believers.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Anne Frasier's "The Body Counter"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Body Counter by Anne Frasier.

About the book, from the publisher:
From a New York Times bestselling author comes the chilling follow-up to the Thriller Award winner The Body Reader.

Months after discovering the mastermind behind her own kidnapping, Detective Jude Fontaine is dealing with the past the only way she knows how: by returning to every dark corner of it. But it’s a new, escalating series of mass slayings that has become her latest obsession at Homicide.

At first, Jude and her partner, Detective Uriah Ashby, can see no pattern to the seemingly random methods, the crime scenes, or the victims—until they’re approached by a brilliantly compulsive math professor. He believes that the madman’s next move is not incalculable; in fact, it’s all part of a sequential and ingenious numerical riddle. His theory is adding up. The body count is rising.

But when the latest victim is found in Jude’s apartment, the puzzle comes with a personal twist that’s going to test the breaking point of her already-fragile state of mind. For all she knows, her number may be up.
Visit Anne Frasier's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Body Counter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Marisha Pessl's six favorite stories of suspense

Marisha Pessl's new novel is Neverworld Wake. One of her six favorite stories of suspense, as shared at The Week magazine:
Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

My grandmother introduced me at an early age to the grand dame of mystery, and Christie remains one of my favorite writers. I still love this Hercule Poirot tale for its exotic setting, the unchecked passions and heartaches of its characters, and the shock twist ending.
Read about another entry on the list.

Death on the Nile is among Sophia Bennett's top ten books set in the Mediterranean.

--Marshal Zeringue