Monday, August 20, 2018

What is Michael J. Sullivan reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Michael J. Sullivan, author of Age of War: Book Three of The Legends of the First Empire.

His entry begins:
Fact is, I’m not a fast reader. On average, I get through about ten books a year. I also don’t read much contemporary fantasy. That’s the genre I write in, which makes me hyper-critical and kills the enjoyment of reading. I tend to focus on non-fiction, or out of genre novels both for enjoyment and as a source of new ideas. Living in an echo chamber is no way to be creative.

This spring I happened to see the PBS show The Great American Read, listing America’s 100 Favorite Novels that will be voted on all summer and the number one choice revealed in October. There are a lot of books on that list I haven’t read. Quite a few that I find very interesting. As a result, I have been reading them.

Presently I am reading, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, by Betty Smith. Published in 1943, her style is very different from more modern works with a greater emphasis on narrative, less on dialog, and a...[read on]
About the book, from the publisher:
The epic battle between humankind and their godlike rulers finally ignites in the masterful follow-up to Age of Myth and Age of Swords.

The alliance of humans and renegade Fhrey is fragile—and about to be tested as never before. Persephone keeps the human clans from turning on one another through her iron will and a compassionate heart. The arrogant Fhrey are barely held in check by their leader, Nyphron, who seeks to advance his own nefarious agenda through a loveless marriage that will result in the betrayal of the person Persephone loves most: Raithe, the God Killer.

As the Fhrey overlords marshal their army and sorcerers to crush the rebellion, old loyalties will be challenged while fresh conspiracies will threaten to undo all that Persephone has accomplished. In the darkest hour, when hope is all but lost, new heroes will rise . . . but at what terrible cost?
Visit Michael J. Sullivan's website.

My Book, The Movie: the Riyria Revelations series.

Writers Read: Michael J. Sullivan.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Gina Wohlsdorf's "Blood Highway"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Blood Highway: A Novel by Gina Wohlsdorf.

About the book, from the publisher:
Meet Rainy Cain, a tough, smart seventeen-year-old whose primary instinct is survival. That instinct is tested when her life is upended by the sudden appearance of her father, Sam, who she thought was long dead, but instead had been in prison for his part in an armored truck robbery gone murderously wrong. Now escaped and on the run, he kidnaps Rainy, who he is convinced knows where the money from the robbery, never recovered, is hidden.

Accompanied by a henchman with secret motives of his own, they set off on a cross-country dash to Big Sur, where Sam suspects his late wife stashed the cash. On their heels is a Minneapolis cop intent on bringing Rainy safely home.

It is an odyssey that will push Rainy to the limits of endurance, and that will keep readers guessing until the very end. What does Rainy really know—and what is she willing to sacrifice in order to live?
Visit Gina Wohlsdorf's website.

The Page 69 Test: Security.

My Book, The Movie: Security.

My Book, The Movie: Blood Highway.

The Page 69 Test: Blood Highway.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Dawn Raffel's "The Strange Case of Dr. Couney"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: How a Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies by Dawn Raffel.

About the book, from the publisher:
The extraordinary tale of how a mysterious immigrant “doctor” became the revolutionary innovator of saving premature babies–by placing them in incubators in World’s Fair side shows and on Coney Island and Atlantic City.

What kind of doctor puts his patients on display?

As Dawn Raffel artfully recounts, Dr. Couney figured out he could use incubators and careful nursing to keep previously doomed infants alive, and at the same time make good money displaying these babies alongside sword swallowers, bearded ladies, and burlesque shows. How this turn-of-the-twentieth-century émigré became the savior to families with premature infants, known then as “weaklings”–while ignoring the scorn of the medical establishment and fighting the climate of eugenics–is one of the most astounding stories of modern medicine. And as readers will find, Dr. Couney, for all his opportunistic entrepreneurial gusto, is a surprisingly appealing character, someone who genuinely cared for the well-being of his tiny patients. But he had something to hide.

Drawing on historical documents, original reportage, and interviews with surviving patients, acclaimed journalist and magazine editor Dawn Raffel tells the marvelously eccentric story of Couney’s mysterious carnival career, his larger-than-life personality, and his unprecedented success as the savior of tiny babies.
Visit Dawn Raffel's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Strange Case of Dr. Couney.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seventeen top killer schoolgirls in fiction

At Unbound Worlds Feliza Casano tagged seventeen killer schoolgirls in fiction, including:
Etiquette & Espionage
Gail Carriger

Rebellious Sophronia doesn’t want to go to finishing school, where she expects to lose her rambunctious personality to a curriculum of dancing, etiquette, and other dull activities. But at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality, students learn to finish everything, including death and espionage. And once Sophronia learns to harness her energy in just the right way, she could become one of Mdme. Geraldine’s best students.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 19, 2018

What is Katharine Weber reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Katharine Weber, author of Still Life With Monkey.

Her entry begins:
I am very excited to be reading the opening chapter of R.O. Kwon’s debut novel The Incendiaries. The New York Times calls her writing radiant, and almost every review I have seen—and the book has had tremendous attention (including a lengthy appraisal in The New Yorker) even before publication day—uses the word “dark.” I am confident that this will be an extraordinary and important novel. I have been looking forward to this occasion for a very long time. Reese (as she was then known) was a...[read on]
About, from the publisher:
Duncan Wheeler is a successful architect who savors the quotidian pleasures in life until a car accident leaves him severely paralyzed and haunted by the death of his young assistant. Now, Duncan isn’t sure what there is left to live for, when every day has become “a broken series of unsuccessful gestures.”

Duncan and his wife, Laura, find themselves in conflict as Duncan’s will to live falters. Laura grows desperate to help him. An art conservator who has her own relationship to the repair of broken things, Laura brings home a highly trained helper monkey-a tufted capuchin named Ottoline-to assist Duncan with basic tasks. Duncan and Laura fall for this sweet, comical, Nutella-gobbling little creature, and Duncan’s life appears to become more tolerable, fuller, and funnier. Yet the question persists: Is it enough?

Katharine Weber is a masterful observer of humanity, and Still Life with Monkey, full of tenderness and melancholy, explores the conflict between the will to live and the desire to die.
Visit Katharine Weber's website.

The Page 99 Test: Triangle.

The Page 69 Test: True Confections.

The Page 99 Test: The Memory of All That.

Writers Read: Katharine Weber.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: T. Greenwood's "Rust & Stardust"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Rust and Stardust by T. Greenwood.

About the book, from the publisher:
Camden, NJ, 1948. When 11 year-old Sally Horner steals a notebook from the local Woolworth's, she has no way of knowing that 52 year-old Frank LaSalle, fresh out of prison, is watching her, preparing to make his move. Accosting her outside the store, Frank convinces Sally that he’s an FBI agent who can have her arrested in a minute—unless she does as he says.

This chilling novel traces the next two harrowing years as Frank mentally and physically assaults Sally while the two of them travel westward from Camden to San Jose, forever altering not only her life, but the lives of her family, friends, and those she meets along the way.

Based on the experiences of real-life kidnapping victim Sally Horner and her captor, whose story shocked the nation and inspired Vladimir Nabokov to write his controversial and iconic Lolita, this heart-pounding story by award-winning author T. Greenwood at last gives a voice to Sally herself.
Visit T. Greenwood's website.

My Book, The Movie: Rust and Stardust.

The Page 69 Test: Rust and Stardust.

--Marshal Zeringue

Gina Wohlsdorf's "Blood Highway," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Blood Highway: A Novel by Gina Wohlsdorf.

The entry begins:
If Sofia Coppola directed Blood Highway the film, I could die happy. The best adaptation from book to movie I’ve ever seen — bar none — is The Virgin Suicides. That novel was friggin’ impossible to put to the screen: first-person plural narrator, disjointed timeline, thematic complexity that seemed beyond the reach of visual images. Coppola did the impossible, and then some. People will call this sacrilege, but I’m saying it: the movie might be even better than the book. And I do not remotely mind being bested by the best.

Taissa Farmiga is Rainy. That’s it, the end, cut, print, check the gate. I’ve been working on this story for fifteen years. You better believe I had my eyes open the whole time for an actress who could nail this part. For a decade, there was nobody. Then I rented...[read on]
Visit Gina Wohlsdorf's website.

The Page 69 Test: Security.

My Book, The Movie: Security.

My Book, The Movie: Blood Highway.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six compelling instances of dogs in literature

Claudia Dey's new novel is Heartbreaker.

One her six favorite instances of dogs in literature, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante

The narrator loses her long-time husband “one April afternoon, right after lunch” to the love of a younger woman. His announcement comes with the brutal, casual sting of a slap. The narrator must reconfigure her life and her interiors. She does this with the rage and odd remove of a woman watching her own body be consumed by fire. The reader cannot help but be addicted to the dark rush of Ferrante’s brain, the velocity of her sentences. The narrator’s small children pin her to reality, and yet what is so disturbing about this slender book, is that we, the readers, must take on the concern for them. The “abandonment” in the title is not only the husband’s but the mother’s instinct to keep her children safe. Add to this volatility: Otto, the dog––panting, straining, barking, whining, baring his fangs––another unruly, needy being the narrator must care for. By straining against his collar, he also strains against the mother’s violent wish for the love she has lost.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Coffee with a canine: Janna King & Melvin and Olive

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Janna King & Melvin and Olive.

The author, on how she and her dogs were united:
My daughter volunteered at a Los Angeles pet rescue and she fell in love with siblings Olive and Sully. The rescue didn’t want them separated, so my ex-husband adopted Sully and I took Olive. That way my kids could be with both dogs. I dogsit Sully on occasion so brother and sister can hang out together.

I was looking for another rescue pup and leaning towards German Shepherds because I had one I adored, Teddy. When we saw Mel, we thought he would grow to be Shepherd size, but he stopped about halfway there. He’s a handsome fella in his own right and...[read on]
About Janna King's novel, The Seasonaires:
For a twenty-something, there is no summer job better than being a seasonaire. No responsibilities, college is barely a thought, and you’re surrounded by glamorous, beautiful people. Intoxicating and seemingly carefree, what could possibly go wrong?

An idyllic Nantucket summer begins like a dream for scrappy Mia from South Boston; Presley, a gorgeous Southern beauty queen; Cole, a handsome introvert; Jade, the sultry daughter of a model and music mogul; J.P., an energetic young designer; and Grant, a playful party-boy. Tese six are working as seasonaires—influential brand ambassadors—for the clothing line Lyndon Wyld. But like all things that look too good to be true, the darkness lurking underneath slowly rises to the surface. Lyndon Wyld, the chic tigress who owns the eponymous business, rules their daily life by curating their every move, which the seasonaires are obligated to post on social media for their growing throngs of followers. Corporate greed, professional rivalries, and personal conflicts mix with sex, drugs, and the naiveté of youth, exploding in a murder that sullies their catalog-perfect lives. The Seasonaires is a fresh and stylish debut that perfectly captures today’s zeitgeist, promising to thrill until the very last page.
Visit Janna King's website.

Check out Mel and Olive on Instagram.

Coffee with a Canine: Janna King & Melvin and Olive.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Ellison Cooper reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Ellison Cooper, author of Caged.

Her entry begins:
I just recently finished Scream and Scream Again, a Mystery Writers of America anthology featuring RL Stine. I picked this one up to read with my son -- some of the stories were surprisingly funny while also being...[read on]
About Caged, from the publisher:
FBI profiler Sayer Altair hunts a brilliant serial killer with a dangerous obsession in Caged, a gripping thriller from debut author Ellison Cooper.

In a residential Washington, D.C. neighborhood, a young woman's body is found in the basement of an abandoned house--starved to death in a cage, along with the video footage of a dark and deadly ritual. The victim is identified as the daughter of a prominent D.C. politician, and it falls to the FBI to track down the unconscionable psychopath who murdered her.

FBI special agent Sayer Altair would rather conduct research on criminality than catch actual criminals. But when she's offered a promotion hinging on her next assignment, she reluctantly accepts the "Cage Killer" case. Taunted by a photo of another victim at the mercy of this vicious killer, Sayer and her team are driven to put an end to these grisly homicides.

During the investigation, clues emerge connecting the murders to Sayer's past. Now, the stakes are personal, and the deeper Sayer is drawn into the deadly web, the more she believes she is the only one who can uncover the killer's identity.

Told with devastating detail, shocking twists and unrelenting suspense, Cooper proves her exceptional ability to entertain and enthrall.
Visit Ellison Cooper's website.

My Book, The Movie: Caged.

The Page 69 Test: Caged.

Writers Read: Ellison Cooper.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five soapy novels about women & money

At Daytime Confidential, Andrea Peskind Katz of the Great Thoughts literary blog and salon tagged five fiction books that revolve around money, including:
My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley- This book is so damn witty that you just can’t help but laugh out loud. David is a college consultant to the wealthy, a sometimes exasperating career choice. His much younger boyfriend has just left him, and the beloved house he rents is being sold. Then, he gets a call from his ex-wife Julia. Yes, you read that right! Julia needs David’s help getting her daughter Mandy into college. She’s got her issues with love, housing and money. Julia has two whole months to come up with the money to buy her house from her second husband before their divorce is finalized. With so many one-liners you will laugh out loud and realize that the definition of family, home and money vary.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: My Ex-Life.

My Book, The Movie: My Ex-Life.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Ann Travers's "The Trans Generation"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) are Creating a Gender Revolution by Ann Travers.

About the book, from the publisher:
A groundbreaking look at the lives of transgender children and their families

Some “boys” will only wear dresses; some “girls” refuse to wear dresses; in both cases, as Ann Travers shows in this fascinating account of the lives of transgender kids, these are often more than just wardrobe choices. Travers shows that from very early ages, some at two and three years old, these kids find themselves to be different from the sex category that was assigned to them at birth. How they make their voices heard—to their parents and friends, in schools, in public spaces, and through the courts—is the focus of this remarkable and groundbreaking book.

Based on interviews with transgender kids, ranging in age from 4 to 20, and their parents, and over five years of research in the US and Canada, The Trans Generation offers a rare look into what it is like to grow up as a trans child. From daycare to birthday parties and from the playground to the school bathroom, Travers takes the reader inside the day-to-day realities of trans kids who regularly experience crisis as a result of the restrictive ways in which sex categories regulate their lives and put pressure on them to deny their internal sense of who they are in gendered terms.

As a transgender activist and as an advocate for trans kids, Travers is able to document from first-hand experience the difficulties of growing up trans and the challenges that parents can face. The book shows the incredible time, energy, and love that these parents give to their children, even in the face of, at times, unsupportive communities, schools, courts, health systems, and government laws. Keeping in mind that all trans kids are among the most vulnerable to bullying, violent attacks, self-harm, and suicide, and that those who struggle with poverty, racism, lack of parental support, learning differences, etc, are extremely at risk, Travers offers ways to support all trans kids through policy recommendations and activist interventions. Ultimately, the book is meant to open up options for kids’ own gender self-determination, to question the need for the sex binary, and to highlight ways that cultural and material resources can be redistributed more equitably. The Trans Generation offers an essential and important new understanding of childhood.
Learn more about The Trans Generation at the NYU Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Trans Generation.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 17, 2018

What is Martha Wells reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Martha Wells, author of Rogue Protocol: The Murderbot Diaries.

Her entry begins:
I recently finished Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, which I really enjoyed. It's a post-apocalyptic fantasy about a monster-hunter in a reborn Navajo nation with supernatural monsters, heroes, and mythic figures. It's an intense, gripping story in a very original and exciting world.

Next up I want...[read on]
About Rogue Protocol, from the publisher:
Who knew being a heartless killing machine would present so many moral dilemmas?

Sci-fi’s favorite antisocial A.I. is back on a mission. The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah's SecUnit is.

And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good.

Martha Wells' Rogue Protocol is the third in the Murderbot Diaries series, starring a human-like android who keeps getting sucked back into adventure after adventure, though it just wants to be left alone, away from humanity and small talk.

Read Rogue Protocol and find out why Hugo Award winner Ann Leckie wrote, "I love Murderbot!"
Visit Martha Wells's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Harbors of the Sun.

Writers Read: Martha Wells.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Liese O'Halloran Schwarz's "The Possible World"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Possible World: A Novel by Liese O'Halloran Schwarz.

About The Possible World, from the publisher:
A richly compelling and deeply moving novel that traces the converging lives of a young boy who witnesses a brutal murder, the doctor who tends to him, and an elderly woman guarding her long buried past.

It seems like just another night shift for Lucy, an overworked ER physician in Providence, Rhode Island, until six-year-old Ben is brought in as the sole survivor from a horrifying crime scene. He’s traumatized and wordless; everything he knows has been taken from him in an afternoon. It’s not clear what he saw, or what he remembers.

Lucy, who’s grappling with a personal upheaval of her own, feels a profound, unexpected connection to the little boy. She wants to help him…but will recovering his memory heal him, or damage him further?

Across town, Clare will soon be turning one hundred years old. She has long believed that the lifetime of secrets she’s been keeping don’t matter to anyone anymore, but a surprising encounter makes her realize that the time has come to tell her story.

As Ben, Lucy, and Clare struggle to confront the events that shattered their lives, something stronger than fate is working to bring them together.

An expertly stitched story that spans nearly a century—from the Great Depression through the Vietnam War era and into the present—The Possible World is a captivating novel about the complicated ways our pasts shape our identities, the power of maternal love, the loneliness born out of loss, and how timeless bonds can help us triumph over grief.
Visit Liese O'Halloran Schwarz's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Possible World.

Writers Read: Liese O'Halloran Schwarz.

The Page 69 Test: The Possible World.

--Marshal Zeringue

T. Greenwood's "Rust & Stardust," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Rust and Stardust by T. Greenwood.

The entry begins:
Because Rust & Stardust is based on a true crime (the 1948 kidnapping of eleven-year old Sally Horner – the crime that inspired Nabokov’s Lolita), I was writing with real people in mind. However, this novel is, in the end, a piece of historical fiction, and these characters have, in many ways taken on a life of their own.

I always love to imagine who might play the roles of the various characters if the novel were adapted for film. And this one was easy. (Here’s my all-star cast.)

Sally Horner:
I adored Brooklynn Prince as Moonee in The Florida Project. She’s both beautifully innocent and wise in that film; her performance was heart-breaking. She’s still a little young to play Sally, but luckily filmmaking takes time, so in a couple of years, she’d be perfect!

Frank La Salle:
Jackie Earle Haley brilliantly played a pedophile in Little Children. While he might not want to revisit that sort of role, I think he’d make a terrific Frank: able to portray a sick man who is simultaneously ominous and pathetic.

Ella Horner:
Sally’s mother would be...[read on]
Visit T. Greenwood's website.

My Book, The Movie: Rust and Stardust.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten books for fans of "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine"

At the Waterstones blog Martha Greengrass tagged ten books for fans of Gail Honeyman's debut novel Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. One title on the list:
The Rosie Project
Graeme Simsion

A thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, Don's never had a second date. So he devises the Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner. Enter Rosie - 'the world's most incompatible woman' - throwing Don's safe, ordered life into chaos. But what is this unsettling, alien emotion he's feeling?
Read about another entry on the list.

The Rosie Project is among Jemma Forte's top ten books about love and Bill Gates's nine favorite books.

My Book, The Movie: The Rosie Project.

The Page 69 Test: The Rosie Project.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 16, 2018

What is Cherise Wolas reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Cherise Wolas, author of The Family Tabor: A Novel.

One title she tagged:
Property by Lionel Shriver. This is Shriver’s first collection (stories bookended by two novellas), and the stories are intelligent, insightful, ironic, dense with details, sharp, and often very funny. The collection feels unified to me, more than most, because Shriver thoroughly explores her theme which is about ownership: about how we do—or do not—possess things like homes, land, money, empty nests, and ourselves. This thematic commitment allows the stories to communicate with one another in unusual ways, and I’ve been finding there is a fluidity to...[read on]
About The Family Tabor, from the publisher:
The new novel from Cherise Wolas, acclaimed author of The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

Harry Tabor is about to be named Man of the Decade, a distinction that feels like the culmination of a life well lived. Gathering together in Palm Springs for the celebration are his wife, Roma, a distinguished child psychologist, and their children: Phoebe, a high-powered attorney; Camille, a brilliant social anthropologist; and Simon, a big-firm lawyer, who brings his glamorous wife and two young daughters.

But immediately, cracks begin to appear in this smooth facade: Simon hasn’t been sleeping through the night, Camille can’t decide what to do with her life, and Phoebe is a little too cagey about her new boyfriend. Roma knows her children are hiding things. What she doesn’t know, what none of them know, is that Harry is suddenly haunted by the long-buried secret that drove him, decades ago, to relocate his young family to the California desert. As the ceremony nears, the family members are forced to confront the falsehoods upon which their lives are built.

Set over the course of a single weekend, and deftly alternating between the five Tabors, this provocative, gorgeously rendered novel reckons with the nature of the stories we tell ourselves and our family and the price we pay for second chances.
Visit Cherise Wolas's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Resurrection of Joan Ashby.

The Page 69 Test: The Family Tabor.

Writers Read: Cherise Wolas.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Jay Schiffman's "Game of the Gods"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Game of the Gods by Jay Schiffman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Jay Schiffman's Game of the Gods is a debut sci-fi/fantasy thriller of political intrigue and Speilberg-worthy action sequences in the vein of Pierce Brown's Red Rising.

Max Cone wants to be an ordinary citizen of the Federacy and leave war and politics behind. He wants the leaders of the world to leave him alone. But he’s too good a military commander, and too powerful a judge, to be left alone. War breaks out, and Max becomes the ultimate prize for the nation that can convince him to fight again.

When one leader gives the Judge a powerful device that predicts the future, the Judge doesn’t want to believe its chilling prophecy: The world will soon end, and he’s to blame. But bad things start to happen. His wife and children are taken. His friends are falsely imprisoned. His closest allies are killed. Worst of all, the world descends into a cataclysmic global war.

In order to find his family, free his friends, and save the world, the Judge must become a lethal killer willing to destroy anyone who stands in his way. He leads a ragtag band of warriors—a 13-year old girl with special powers, a mathematical genius, a religious zealot blinded by faith, and a former revolutionary turned drug addict. Together, they are the only hope of saving the world.
Visit Jay Schiffman's website.

My Book, The Movie: Game of the Gods.

The Page 69 Test: Game of the Gods.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: John A. Fliter's "Child Labor in America"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Child Labor in America: The Epic Legal Struggle to Protect Children by John A. Fliter.

About the book, from the publisher:
Child labor law strikes most Americans as a fixture of the country’s legal landscape, involving issues settled in the distant past. But these laws, however self-evidently sensible they might seem, were the product of deeply divisive legal debates stretching over the past century—and even now are subject to constitutional challenges. Child Labor in America tells the story of that historic legal struggle. The book offers the first full account of child labor law in America—from the earliest state regulations to the most recent important Supreme Court decisions and the latest contemporary attacks on existing laws.

Children had worked in America from the time the first settlers arrived on its shores, but public attitudes about working children underwent dramatic changes along with the nation’s economy and culture. A close look at the origins of oppressive child labor clarifies these changing attitudes, providing context for the hard-won legal reforms that followed. Author John A. Fliter describes early attempts to regulate working children, beginning with haphazard and flawed state-level efforts in the 1840s and continuing in limited and ineffective ways as a consensus about the evils of child labor started to build. In the Progressive Era, the issue finally became a matter of national concern, resulting in several laws, four major Supreme Court decisions, an unsuccessful Child Labor Amendment, and the landmark Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

Fliter offers a detailed overview of these events, introducing key figures, interest groups, and government officials on both sides of the debates and incorporating the latest legal and political science research on child labor reform. Unprecedented in its scope and depth, his work provides critical insight into the role child labor has played in the nation’s social, political, and legal development.
Learn more about Child Labor in America at the University Press of Kansas website.

The Page 99 Test: Child Labor in America.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about Americans abroad

Ian MacKenzie is the author of the novels Feast Days and City of Strangers.

One of his ten favorite books that both handle and complicate the theme of Americans abroad, as shared at the Guardian:
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

In this reimagining of Albert Camus’s The Fall, Hamid depicts a pas-de-deux over the course of an evening in Lahore. The narrator, a Pakistani man who spent a formative period in New York working in finance in the years before 9/11, addresses his interlocutor, an unidentified American man who may be an intelligence officer, but who never gets a word in edgewise, so to speak. As sharp and clean as the blade of a knife, this is a story, like [Joan] Didion’s [Democracy], about the uncertain empire the US has built, and about the pain and disruption this uncertainty inflicts upon individual lives.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is among Emily Temple's ten top contemporary novels by and about Muslims, Laila Lalami's eight top books about Muslim life for a nation that knows little about Islam, Porochista Khakpour's top ten novels about 9/11, Jimmy So's five best 9/11 novels, and Ahmede Hussain's five top books in recent South Asian literature.

The Page 69 Test: The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What is Georgia Clark reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Georgia Clark, author of The Bucket List: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
I’m always reading a few books at once. Here’s a sample of what’s currently on my nightstand.

Inappropriation by Lexi Freiman. Fifteen-year-old Ziggy Klein struggles to find her place in the complex eco-systems of high school, family, the internet and society at large in this broadly eccentric satire of identity politics. It's meaty and smart but makes this fearless novel truly hilarious is Lexi’s dry, offbeat eye and (what I’m calling) New Australian sense of humor. The ridiculous is sublime and Ziggy’s search for her truth takes us everywhere from Sydney drag bars to rich bitch pool parties to the online alt right underbelly. A must for anyone who’s ever had a circling argument about...[read on]
About The Bucket List, from the publisher:
From the author of the critically acclaimed “lively and engrossing parable for women of all generations” (Harper’s Bazaar) The Regulars­ comes a deeply funny and thoughtful tale of a young woman who, after discovering she has the breast cancer gene, embarks on an unforgettable bucket list adventure

Twenty-five-old Lacey Whitman is blindsided when she’s diagnosed with the BCRA1 gene mutation: the “breast cancer” gene. Her high hereditary risk forces a decision: increased surveillance or the more radical step of a preventative double mastectomy. Lacey doesn't want to lose her breasts. For one, she’s juggling two career paths; her work with the prestigious New York trend forecaster Hoffman House, and her role on the founding team of a sustainable fashion app with friend/mentor, Vivian Chang. Secondly, small-town Lacey’s not so in touch with her sexuality: she doesn’t want to sacrifice her breasts before she’s had the chance to give them their hey-day. To help her make her choice, she (and her friends) creates a “boob bucket list”: everything she wants do with and for her boobs before a possible surgery.

This kicks off a year of sensual exploration and sexual entertainment for the quick-witted Lacey Whitman. The Bucket List cleverly and compassionately explores Lacey’s relationship to her body and her future. Both are things Lacey thought she could control through hard work and sacrifice. But the future, it turns out, is more complicated than she could ever imagine.

Featuring the pitch-perfect “compulsively delicious” (Redbook) prose of The Regulars, The Bucket List is perfect for fans of Amy Poeppel and Sophie Kinsella.
Visit Georgia Clark's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Bucket List.

The Page 69 Test: The Bucket List.

Writers Read: Georgia Clark.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Inman Majors's "Penelope Lemon: Game On!"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Penelope Lemon: Game On! by Inman Majors.

About the book, from the publisher:
Penelope Lemon is a recent divorcée, closet Metallica fan, and accidental subversive to all the expectations of suburban motherhood. After ending her marriage with James, a woodsy intellectual who favors silky kimonos too short for his knobby knees, Penelope finds herself, at forty, living with her randy mother in her childhood home. Broke and desperate for work, she waitresses at Coonskins, a frontier-themed restaurant where the decor is heavy on stuffed mammals and discarded peanut shells.

Despite the pitfalls of balancing parental duties, jobs, and the vagaries of middle-age life, Penelope pushes through one obstacle after another, trying to regain her independence. Whether fumbling through the world of online dating; coping with a bullying situation involving her son, Theo, something of a gastric wonder on the school bus; or wrestling with the discovery of nude photos from her carefree college days that are not quite as “artistic” as she remembers, Penelope gradually emerges as a modern-day heroine who navigates the assorted inanities of life with verve and humor.

Audacious and laugh-out-loud funny, Inman Majors’s new novel holds up a fun-house mirror to the relatable challenges of being a single parent in the digital age. All those who live by the beat of their own drum gain a coconspirator, an accomplice, and a champion in the unstoppable Penelope Lemon.
Visit Inman Majors's website.

The Page 69 Test: Penelope Lemon: Game On!.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: David R. Coon's "Turning the Page"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Turning the Page: Storytelling as Activism in Queer Film and Media by David R. Coon.

About the book, from the publisher:
Surprisingly, Hollywood is still clumsily grappling with its representation of sexual minorities, and LGBTQ filmmakers struggle to find a place in the mainstream movie industry. However, organizations outside the mainstream are making a difference, helping to produce and distribute authentic stories that are both by and for LGBTQ people.

Turning the Page introduces readers to three nonprofit organizations that, in very different ways, have each positively transformed the queer media landscape. David R. Coon takes readers inside In the Life Media, whose groundbreaking documentaries on the LGBTQ experience aired for over twenty years on public television stations nationwide. Coon reveals the successes of POWER UP, a nonprofit production company dedicated to mentoring filmmakers who can turn queer stories into fully realized features and short films. Finally, he turns to Three Dollar Bill Cinema, an organization whose film festivals help queer media find an audience and whose filmmaking camps for LGBTQ youth are nurturing the next generation of queer cinema.

Combining a close analysis of specific films and video programs with extensive interviews of industry professionals, Turning the Page demonstrates how queer storytelling in visual media has the potential to empower individuals, strengthen communities, and motivate social justice activism.
Learn more about Turning the Page at the Rutgers University Press website.

Writers Read: David R. Coon.

The Page 99 Test: Turning the Page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Jay Schiffman's "Game of the Gods," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Game of the Gods by Jay Schiffman.

The entry begins:
Game of the Gods is the story of Max Cone, a former military commander and judge in the Federacy. Max wants to leave war and politics behind, but when his family is taken he must fight. Max and a band of outcasts—a 13-year-old girl with mysterious powers, a math savant, a revolutionary turned drug addict, and the daughter of the world’s most powerful religious leader—must save their family, friends, and the world. Game of the Gods is a fast-paced action adventure that follows Max and his band as they travel through exotic lands and strange political landscapes.

In terms of bringing Game of the Gods to the screen, I would choose...[read on]
Visit Jay Schiffman's website.

My Book, The Movie: Game of the Gods.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books on self-obsession

Will Storr is an award-winning journalist and novelist. His latest book is Selfie: How the West Became Self-Obsessed.

One of Storr's five best books on self-obsession, as shared at the Guardian:
My favourite novel of our solipsistic times is easily The Nix by Nathan Hill. Laura Pottsdam is a student caught plagiarising by her literature professor, the protagonist of the novel Samuel Andresen-Anderson. Pottsdam is the crushing embodiment of our Trumpian age. Not only entirely unrepentant, she is vengeful, and becomes her professor’s nemesis, all the while keeping her massive social network updated on her mental wellbeing via her iFeel app, which offers a predefined selection of emotional states from which to choose. Her followers can then broadcast their emotional responses to her emotional responses via a convenient auto-response function.

If his debut is anything to go by, Hill may well one day be seen as the Charles Dickens of our self-obsessed age.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

What is Laura van den Berg reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Laura van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel.

Her entry begins:
I’ve been reading Andrés Neuman’s How to Travel Without Seeing: Dispatches from the New Latin America—while traveling myself, which seems fitting. After winning the Premio Alfaguara, Neuman is sent on a tour of nineteen countries in Latin America and...[read on]
About The Third Hotel, from the publisher:
In Havana, Cuba, a widow tries to come to terms with her husband’s death—and the truth about their marriage—in Laura van den Berg’s surreal, mystifying story of psychological reflection and metaphysical mystery.

Shortly after Clare arrives in Havana, Cuba, to attend the annual Festival of New Latin American Cinema, she finds her husband, Richard, standing outside a museum. He’s wearing a white linen suit she’s never seen before, and he’s supposed to be dead. Grief-stricken and baffled, Clare tails Richard, a horror film scholar, through the newly tourist-filled streets of Havana, clocking his every move. As the distinction between reality and fantasy blurs, Clare finds grounding in memories of her childhood in Florida and of her marriage to Richard, revealing her role in his death and reappearance along the way. The Third Hotel is a propulsive, brilliantly shape-shifting novel from an inventive author at the height of her narrative powers.
Visit Laura van den Berg's website.

Learn about Laura van den Berg's 6 favorite unconventional mystery novels.

Writers Read: Laura van den Berg.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Carrie Jones's "Escape from the Badlands"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Escape from the Badlands (Time Stoppers) by Carrie Jones.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the exhilarating conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Carrie Jones's sweeping middle-grade fantasy trilogy, Time Stopper Annie and her friends venture into the Badlands to stop the wicked Raiff once and for all.
Visit Carrie Jones's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Carrie Jones & Tala.

My Book, The Movie: Enhanced.

The Page 69 Test: Enhanced.

The Page 69 Test: Escape from the Badlands.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Lynn Hunt's "History: Why It Matters"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: History: Why it Matters by Lynn Hunt.

About the book, from the publisher:
We justify our actions in the present through our understanding of the past. But we live in a time when politicians lie brazenly about historical facts and meddle with the content of history books, while media differ wildly in their reporting of the same event. Frequently, new discoveries force us to re-evaluate everything we thought we knew about the past.

So how can any certainty about history be established, and why does it matter? Lynn Hunt shows why the search for truth about the past, as a continual process of discovery, is vital for our societies. History has an essential role to play in ensuring honest presentation of evidence. In this way, it can foster humility about our present-day concerns, a critical attitude toward chauvinism, and an openness to other peoples and cultures. History, Hunt argues, is our best defense against tyranny.
Learn more about Lynn Hunt and Why History Matters.

The Page 99 Test: Writing History in the Global Era.

Writers Read: Lynn Hunt.

The Page 99 Test: History: Why it Matters.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight top dark fantasy noir novels

Sam Reader is a writer and conventions editor for The Geek Initiative. He also writes literary criticism and reviews at At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog he tagged "eight novels that blend the darker side of fantasy with the dark side of detective fiction," including:
This Body’s Not Big Enough for the Both of Us, by Edgar Cantero

Someone in the wretched hive of San Carnal is killing the sons of the Lyon, a ruthless Cartel boss. On the case are A. and Z. Kimrean, a formidable brother-and-sister private investigator team who unfortunately (for them) happen to share a single body between them. Cantero’s third English-language novel makes its intentions clear from the jump with a joke about Elmore Leonard’s rules of fiction writing, lunging forward in his trademark style as it switches back and forth between a script-format police interrogation with the Kimrean siblings and their narration of the case itself, a frothy, seedy adventure packed to the brim with (intentional) noir clichés, tough talkers, gunfights, ninjas, and all the lurid descriptions of people across the gender spectrum than anyone could ask for. Like Cantero’s other novels, Body approaches its subject with snark, blending chaotic action and comedy into a crime novel that treats its subject with affectionate charm while poking it with skewers.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue