Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Coffee with a canine: Lisa Gardner & Annabelle and Bowie

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Lisa Gardner & Annabelle and Bowie.

The author, on the connection of actual dogs to her fictional canines:
My latest book, Right Behind You, features both a retired police dog, Luka, and a search dog, Molly. Luka is fictional, but Molly [photo right] is a real dog, a pit bull mix rescued by the Conway Area Humane Society. Abandoned and emaciated, Molly still managed to give birth to seven fat, healthy puppies and did an incredible job nursing them before finding her forever home with the shelter’s operations manager Deb Cameron. They are real heroes, deserving of a role tracking a spree killer in...[read on]
About Gardner's Right Behind You, from the publisher:
Is he a hero?

Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah has finally moved on. About to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner, Sharlah loves one thing best about her new family: They are all experts on monsters.

Is he a killer?

Then the call comes in. A double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun.

All she knows for sure: He’s back.

As the clock winds down on a massive hunt for Telly, Quincy and Rainie must answer two critical questions: Why after eight years has this young man started killing again? And what does this mean for Sharlah? Once upon a time, Sharlah’s big brother saved her life. Now, she has two questions of her own: Is her brother a hero or a killer? And how much will it cost her new family before they learn the final, shattering truth? Because as Sharlah knows all too well, the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you.
Visit Lisa Gardner's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Lisa Gardner & Annabelle and Bowie.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Laura Bickle reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Laura Bickle, author of Nine of Stars.

Her entry begins:
I recently finished Alice Hoffman’s The Red Garden. I’ve always admired Hoffman for building characters with complex motivations and the beautifully-wrought settings that surround them. In all of Hoffman’s books that I’ve read so far, the setting is a character in itself, and The Red Garden is no exception.

The Red Garden is a series of interlinked stories, spanning three centuries, that touch upon the legend of a mysterious red garden. The human characters in the book experience push-pull relationships with the town surrounding the red garden. Some seek to escape beyond the confines of the town, yearning for the world outside. Others seek to...[read on]
About Nine of Stars, from the publisher:
From critically acclaimed author Laura Bickle (Dark Alchemy) comes the first novel in the Wildlands series, NINE OF STARS. Longmire meets Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson in this exciting new series that shows how weird and wonderful the West can truly be.

Winter has always been a deadly season in Temperance, but this time, there’s more to fear than just the cold…

As the daughter of an alchemist, Petra Dee has faced all manner of occult horrors – especially since her arrival in the small town of Temperance, Wyoming. But she can’t explain the creature now stalking the backcountry of Yellowstone, butchering wolves and leaving only their skins behind in the snow. Rumors surface of the return of Skinflint Jack, a nineteenth-century wraith that kills in fulfillment of an ancient bargain.

The new sheriff in town, Owen Rutherford, isn’t helping matters. He’s a dangerously haunted man on the trail of both an unsolved case and a fresh kill - a bizarre murder leading him right to Petra’s partner Gabriel. And while Gabe once had little to fear from the mortal world, he’s all too human now. This time, when violence hits close to home, there are no magical solutions.

It’s up to Petra and her coyote sidekick Sig to get ahead of both Owen and the unnatural being hunting them all – before the trail turns deathly cold.
Learn more about the book and author at Laura Bickle's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The Outside.

The Page 69 Test: Dark Alchemy.

The Page 69 Test: Nine of Stars.

Writers Read: Laura Bickle.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top nonfiction titles about espionage

Charles Stross has won two Hugo Awards and been nominated twelve times. He has also won the Locus Award for Best Novel, the Locus Award for Best Novella, and has been shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke and Nebula Awards. His latest book is Empire Games. One of the author's five recommended nonfiction books about espionage, as shared at Tor.com:
Memoirs of a Spymaster by Markus Wolf

The second-oldest profession has been accompanied by a peculiar sub-genre of confessional autobiography since its inception, in which a former adversary bares all to explain to the public how their enemies see them. Sometimes these books are written by defectors, milking their experience for sensationalist and alarming content to earn a living in their new home. But this isn’t one of those books. In the wake of the revolutions of 1989, when the Berlin Wall was smashed, the former German Democratic Republic (GDR, or East Germany) underwent a traumatic reunification with West Germany. Many of the former Communist state’s politicians and civil servants were disgraced or even prosecuted: they became involuntary exiles in the west, and some of them chose to tell their tale.

Markus “Mischa” Wolf was head of the foreign intelligence division of East Germany’s Ministry for State Security, the Stasi, from 1953 to 1986. His fiefdom was a smaller, more agile agency than the lumbering behemoths of Soviet intelligence, the KGB and GRU: and his successes as a spymaster were legendary. In the 1960s and 1970s, he riddled the top echelons of West German industry and government with spies, even managing to insert an agent as private secretary to the West German Chancellor, Willy Brandt. Working with much more limited resources than the Soviet foreign intel apparatus, Wolf’s organization achieved something of a reputation as an elite espionage agency. And to this day, whenever I ask historians of Cold War espionage what the Stasi were doing on US soil, the answer I get is “we’re sure they were up to something, but we don’t actually know …”
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Amalia Kessler's "Inventing American Exceptionalism"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Inventing American Exceptionalism: The Origins of American Adversarial Legal Culture, 1800-1877 by Amalia D. Kessler.

About the book, from the publisher:
A highly engaging account of the developments—not only legal, but also socioeconomic, political, and cultural—that gave rise to Americans’ distinctively lawyer-driven legal culture

When Americans imagine their legal system, it is the adversarial trial—dominated by dueling larger-than-life lawyers undertaking grand public performances—that first comes to mind. But as award-winning author Amalia Kessler reveals in this engrossing history, it was only in the turbulent decades before the Civil War that adversarialism became a defining American practice and ideology, displacing alternative, more judge-driven approaches to procedure. By drawing on a broad range of methods and sources—and by recovering neglected influences (including from Europe)—the author shows how the emergence of the American adversarial legal culture was a product not only of developments internal to law, but also of wider socioeconomic, political, and cultural debates over whether and how to undertake market regulation and pursue racial equality. As a result, adversarialism came to play a key role in defining American legal institutions and practices, as well as national identity.
Learn more about Inventing American Exceptionalism at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: A Revolution in Commerce.

The Page 99 Test: Inventing American Exceptionalism.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 23, 2017

Twelve graphic novels in which the personal is political

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Ross Johnson tagged twelve top graphic novels for a new political reality, including:
Citizen Jack, by Sam Humphries and Tommy Patterson

Dancing between the sacred and the profane, political commentary is probably best served with a smirk. Which is a polite way of suggesting that Sam Humphries and Tommy Patterson take a bulldozer to the idea of modern political celebrity. Less concerned with issues, Sam and Tommy are (largely) equal-opportunity offenders with the story of snowblower salesman Jack Northworthy, an everyday (in the worst possible way) Joe who winds up as the nation’s leading candidate for the American presidency via a deal with a particularly vile demon named Marlinspike.

From the reader’s perspective, Jack’s pretty awful: slobbish, lazy, bigoted, and willfully ignorant. But to the voters? He’s a relatable straight-shooter who’s going to change the world with his plain talk and common sense, an anti-establishment type who’s poised to bring some real change. Readers are invited to draw any inferences about current events that they’d like, but the book’s less interested in particular polices or ideologies than it is in gleefully and profanely tearing down the entire weird process of modern American democracy.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Sibel Hodge reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Sibel Hodge, author of Duplicity.

Her entry begins:
I recently finished Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land. It came up on Netgalley for review saying, “Set to be one of the most extraordinary, controversial and explosive debuts of 2017”, so, of course, I wanted to give it a go to see if it lived up to the hype. And it did indeed! It was definitely a “Wow” book for me. It’s a taut psychological thriller that will get under your skin and won’t let go. It actually reminded me a little of Duplicity because of the very damaged character of a young girl, and the...[read on]
About Duplicity, from the publisher:
There are three sides to every story: Yours. Mine. And the truth…

Max and Alissa have a fairy tale life—newlywed, madly in love and enviously rich. Then Max is brutally stabbed to death at their home and Alissa, miraculously, escapes with her life. But why was she spared?

The hunt for the killer begins, uncovering a number of leads—was Max’s incredible wealth the motive? Had his shady business practices finally caught up with him? Or was it a stalker with a dangerous obsession?

Devoted friends rally around gentle, sweet Alissa as she is left to mourn the loss of her husband and pick up her life. But not everyone is who they seem…Deep-rooted jealousies, secrets and twisted love lie just beneath the surface, and not all fairy tales have a happy ending.

Duplicity is a suspenseful thriller from the bestselling author of Look Behind You and Where the Memories Lie.
Visit Sibel Hodge's website.

My Book, The Movie: Untouchable.

Writers Read: Sibel Hodge.

--Marshal Zeringue

Laurie Frankel's "This Is How It Always Is," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel.

The entry begins:
Listen, obviously Meryl Streep could play anyone — she’s the premier talent of her generation and all that — but after her comments at the Golden Globes this month and her plea that we use art for action and reaction, I’d give anything just to get This Is How It Always Is into her hands, never mind the fantasy I’m having that she cameo as the wry, smart, full-of-perspective, moral-heart-of-the-piece grandma. Please?

Otherwise, this is a book about a family with five kids so a great vehicle to introduce a bunch of talented newbies. The youngest child begins the story as a boy, transitions to being a girl, and...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Laurie Frankel's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Laurie Frankel and Calli.

The Page 69 Test: The Atlas of Love.

My Book, The Movie: Goodbye for Now.

The Page 69 Test: Goodbye for Now.

Writers Read: Laurie Frankel (August 2012).

My Book, The Movie: This Is How It Always Is.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Matt Hilton's "Painted Skins"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Painted Skins by Matt Hilton.

About the book, from the publisher:
Private investigator Tess Grey and her ex-con partner Po investigate the disappearance of a troubled young woman in this fast-paced action thriller.

PI Tess Grey and her partner Po have been hired by Margaret Norris to find her granddaughter, who has been missing for sixteen days. But if Tess is to have any chance of finding Jasmine Reed, she needs to know the truth about the young woman's troubled past. What is it that Margaret Norris isn't telling her?
Visit Matt Hilton's website.

Writers Read: Matt Hilton (August 2010).

The Page 69 Test: Judgment and Wrath.

My Book, The Movie: Judgment and Wrath.

The Page 69 Test: Painted Skins.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Ottessa Moshfegh's 6 favorite books

Ottessa Moshfegh's books are Eileen, a novel that won 2016's PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction, and the newly released story collection, Homesick for Another World.

One of her six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
You Are Having a Good Time by Amie Barrodale

Barrodale's stories straddle the mundane material world and the realm of the sacred, the impossible, the incomprehensible. I had to lie down between each one, head spinning, until I could accept the paradigm shift that had just taken place inside my brain.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Tony Healey reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Tony Healey, author of Hope's Peak.

His entry begins:
What I read depends on my mood. I read Bruce Springsteen's autobiography, Born To Run, over the festive period and once I'd finished that, I felt like reading something with a mystery element, maybe a little murder, so I chose The Devil's Country by Harry Hunsicker. I don't like to be bored, and long stretches of text where little-to-nothing happens send me to sleep. That's not the case here.

The Devil's Country is a real page turner, and tightly written. Hunsicker has several plot elements at play, and does a fantastic job of juggling them all at once. He does so in such a way that you genuinely don't know where the novel is headed next. I'm fascinated by the way Hunsicker treats the story of The Devil's Country. You feel like you're travelling in a dust storm, unable to see more than a few feet in front of you. The author is your only guide; and he has no plans to reveal the secrets beneath the surface of The Devil's Country anytime soon. You can't anticipate the turns and dead-ends. All...[read on]
About Hope's Peak, from the publisher:
Beyond the shores of Hope’s Peak, North Carolina, evil waits as his next victim approaches. He’ll make her a princess like the others…

Detective Jane Harper can’t shake the image of the young woman discovered in a field—eyes closed, a crown of woven vines on her head. She expects macabre murders like this in her native San Francisco, not here. Jane and her partner, Stu, vow to catch the killer, but in this town, that’s easier said than done. The police department is in the grips of a wide-reaching scandal that could topple the entire force, and Jane and Stu face a series of dead ends. Until they meet Ida Lane.

Ida knows too well the evil that lurks in the cornfields. Tortured by her mother’s murder years before, Ida is paralyzed by the fear that she could be next. As the killer grows bolder, Jane must persuade Ida to use her remarkable gifts to help in the investigation. It’s a decision that brings them closer to the killer…maybe too close.
Visit Tony Healey's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Hope's Peak.

The Page 69 Test: Hope's Peak.

Writers Read: Tony Healey.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Joe Starita's "A Warrior of the People"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America's First Indian Doctor by Joe Starita.

About A Warrior of the People, from the publisher:
On March 14, 1889, Susan La Flesche Picotte received her medical degree—becoming the first Native American doctor in U.S. history. She earned her degree thirty-one years before women could vote and thirty-five years before Indians could become citizens in their own country.

By age twenty-six, this fragile but indomitable Indian woman became the doctor to her tribe. Overnight, she acquired 1,244 patients scattered across 1,350 square miles of rolling countryside with few roads. Her patients often were desperately poor and desperately sick—tuberculosis, small pox, measles, influenza—families scattered miles apart, whose last hope was a young woman who spoke their language and knew their customs.

This is the story of an Indian woman who effectively became the chief of an entrenched patriarchal tribe, the story of a woman who crashed through thick walls of ethnic, racial and gender prejudice, then spent the rest of her life using a unique bicultural identity to improve the lot of her people—physically, emotionally, politically, and spiritually.

Joe Starita's A Warrior of the People is the moving biography of Susan La Flesche Picotte’s inspirational life and dedication to public health, and it will finally shine a light on her numerous accomplishments.

The author will donate all royalties from this book to a college scholarship fund he has established for Native American high school graduates.
Visit Joe Starita's website.

Writers Read: Joe Starita.

The Page 99 Test: A Warrior of the People.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Six top diverse YA thrillers

At the BN Teen Blog Eric Smith tagged six top diverse YA thrillers to read right now, including:
This Is Where It Ends, by Marieke Nijkamp

Whenever I talk about this book, I have to call out that instantly iconic cover. Look at it. Just look at it. You know this book is going to devastate you at a glance. The action of the entire novel takes place over less than one hour, centering on a diverse cast of characters dealing with a complete and total nightmare: a school shooting. The point of view in this book shifts among characters around the school, from students trapped inside a locked auditorium with the shooter, to students trying to find help for their friends trapped in the building. It’s a harrowing book full of heartbreak, and shows how even at the darkest times, there are people ready to take a stand.
Read about another book on the list.

The Page 69 Test: This Is Where It Ends.

Writers Read: Marieke Nijkamp (February 2016).

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Catherine Reef reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Catherine Reef, author of Florence Nightingale: The Courageous Life of the Legendary Nurse.

Her entry begins:
Many of us recall Mary Shelley as the eighteen-year-old girl who produced a startlingly original book that went on to become a horror classic. We may have heard that she was the daughter of two influential writers of the late eighteenth century, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft (who died soon after giving birth). We may also know that she ran off to Europe at sixteen with the married Percy Bysshe Shelley; that following Percy’s wife’s suicide, he and Mary married; and that Percy drowned in 1822, when he was twenty-nine and Mary was twenty-five.

But Mary Shelley hardly faded into obscurity after her husband’s death. Left with a son to support, she relied on her pen. Although she produced nothing to rival Frankenstein in lasting popularity, she authored several novels, short fiction for ladies’ magazines and other outlets, and nonfiction, including essays and entries for biographical dictionaries. Because I am writing a book on Mary Shelley, I have been reading her lesser-known works.

In her later fiction Shelley sometimes presented idealized or intense father-daughter relationships, causing some readers to speculate that she was responding to her difficult tie with her own father. Godwin had been outspoken in condemning institutions that hinder individual freedom and growth, including marriage. Still, he married twice himself, and he turned his back on Mary when she eloped, fearing public disapproval, and this hurt her profoundly. He resumed regular communication with Mary and Percy Shelley after they were married, only to hound them for money. Godwin believed wealth was meant to be shared and saw himself as deserving. He knew that his son-in-law was in line to inherit a large estate and...[read on]
About Florence Nightingale, from the publisher:
Most people know Florence Nightingale was a compassionate and legendary nurse, but they don’t know her full story. This riveting biography explores the exceptional life of a woman who defied the stifling conventions of Victorian society to pursue what was considered an undesirable vocation. She is best known for her work during the Crimean War, when she vastly improved gruesome and deadly conditions and made nightly rounds to visit patients, becoming known around the world as the Lady with the Lamp. Her tireless and inspiring work continued after the war, and her modern methods in nursing became the defining standards still used today.
Visit Catherine Reef's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Catherine Reef & Nandi.

The Page 69 Test: Frida & Diego.

My Book, The Movie: Noah Webster.

The Page 99 Test: Florence Nightingale.

Writers Read: Catherine Reef.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five recommended books for Donald J. Trump

At the Guardian books blog Danuta Kean recommended five books for Donald Trump, including:
When the Facts Change by Tony Judt.

Historian Judt knew what it was to change his mind – particularly to move from the extremes of Marxist Zionism in his youth to a commitment to social democracy. Not only will Judt’s essays help the new president to better understand Israel and Palestine, they may help him realise that it is possible to change your mind gracefully.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Tony Healey's "Hope's Peak"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Hope's Peak by Tony Healey.

About Hope's Peak, from the publisher:
Beyond the shores of Hope’s Peak, North Carolina, evil waits as his next victim approaches. He’ll make her a princess like the others…

Detective Jane Harper can’t shake the image of the young woman discovered in a field—eyes closed, a crown of woven vines on her head. She expects macabre murders like this in her native San Francisco, not here. Jane and her partner, Stu, vow to catch the killer, but in this town, that’s easier said than done. The police department is in the grips of a wide-reaching scandal that could topple the entire force, and Jane and Stu face a series of dead ends. Until they meet Ida Lane.

Ida knows too well the evil that lurks in the cornfields. Tortured by her mother’s murder years before, Ida is paralyzed by the fear that she could be next. As the killer grows bolder, Jane must persuade Ida to use her remarkable gifts to help in the investigation. It’s a decision that brings them closer to the killer…maybe too close.
Visit Tony Healey's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Hope's Peak.

The Page 69 Test: Hope's Peak.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 20, 2017

Five marvelous big, engrossing books

At B&N Reads Jenny Shank tagged five "big, engrossing books to get buried under when it’s cold and blustery outside," including:
To The Bright Edge of the World, by Eowyn Ivey

Eowyn Ivey’s debut, Pulitzer Prize finalist The Snow Child, would make a great read for a snowbound weekend. But if the blizzard is really intense, you’re going to need even more to read, and her new historical adventure novel clocks in at 432 pages. Ivey tells the story of a colonel charged with leading a mission into Alaska’s interior in 1885, when it was uncharted. She alternates his journal entries with those of his spirited, intelligent, photography-loving wife, left behind while he leads the group into the wilderness. Fans of Ivey’s magical realism won’t be disappointed with her latest, in which geese become women and women become fog.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Mette Ivie Harrison reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Mette Ivie Harrison, author of For Time and All Eternities.

One book she tagged:
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. I went through a five year long depression after the loss of my sixth child and I've been interested in the different experiences of depression of others since then. Honestly, my experience was very different from Matt Haig's, but both of us ended up getting through without medication (not something I necessarily recommend). I...[read on]
About For Time and All Eternities, from the publisher:
The Mormon church may have disavowed the polygamy it became so infamous for in the 19th century, but for some Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints, “plural marriage” isn’t just ancient history.

Mormon bishop’s wife Linda Wallheim is stunned to learn her son Kenneth has gotten engaged to a young woman from a polygamous family. Naomi Carter may have left the religion she grew up in, but the Carters will still be the Wallheims’ in-laws once Kenneth and Naomi are married.

Stephen Carter, Naomi’s father and the patriarch of the Carter clan, invites the Wallheims over to the Carter family compound in the remote foothills of the mountains outside Salt Lake City. Stephen Carter wishes to extend an olive branch to his future in-laws, and introduce them to his five wives and twenty-two children. But Linda suspects he also wants to try to persuade the Wallheims that his way of life is truly righteous.

From Linda’s point of view, polygamy is an abhorrent practice, one that dehumanizes women and makes children vulnerable to unhealthy family structures. She and her husband, Kurt, arrive at the Carter compound braced for trouble—Linda has her eyes peeled for signs that Stephen’s wives and children are unhappy or abused. Although she can’t find concrete evidence of mistreatment, Linda’s gut instinct tells her that something on the Carter family compound is deeply wrong. She can’t quite put her finger on what—until it’s too late, and one of the family members is found murdered.

Afraid that Stephen Carter’s unworldly, sequestered wives and children might suffer at the hands of investigating police, Linda vows to stay at the compound until the murderer is found and the survivors are safe. But even if she manages to do more good than harm with her snooping and interfering, Linda can’t unsee what she has seen during her time at the Carters’—now, confronting the legacy of polygamy in her own Mormon family raises even more questions about her already shaky faith.
Visit Mette Ivie Harrison's website.

Writers Read: Mette Ivie Harrison (January 2015).

The Page 69 Test: His Right Hand.

Writers Read: Mette Ivie Harrison.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Sheila Kohler's "Once We Were Sisters"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Once We Were Sisters: A Memoir by Sheila Kohler.

About the book, from the publisher:
When Sheila Kohler was thirty-seven, she received the heart-stopping news that her sister Maxine, only two years older, was killed when her husband drove them off a deserted road in Johannesburg. Stunned by the news, she immediately flew back to the country where she was born, determined to find answers and forced to reckon with his history of violence and the lingering effects of their most unusual childhood—one marked by death and the misguided love of their mother.

In her signature spare and incisive prose, Sheila Kohler recounts the lives she and her sister led. Flashing back to their storybook childhood at the family estate, Crossways, Kohler tells of the death of her father when she and Maxine were girls, which led to the family abandoning their house and the girls being raised by their mother, at turns distant and suffocating. We follow them to the cloistered Anglican boarding school where they first learn of separation and later their studies in Rome and Paris where they plan grand lives for themselves—lives that are interrupted when both marry young and discover they have made poor choices. Kohler evokes the bond between sisters and shows how that bond changes but never breaks, even after death.
Visit Sheila Kohler's website.

The Page 69 Test: Dreaming for Freud.

My Book, The Movie: Dreaming for Freud.

The Page 99 Test: Once We Were Sisters.

--Marshal Zeringue

Susan Sherman's "If You Are There," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: If You Are There: A Novel by Susan Sherman.

The entry begins:
I can see it now, the red carpet, cameras, cheering crowds, and Meryl Streep, twenty years younger, waving to the bleachers on her way into the Academy Awards. I’m not an ageist, but my novel depicts Madame Curie in her mid-thirties, hence the time cheat. It takes place at the end of the Belle Époque: Paris, science and spiritualism, radium and séances.

The protagonist, Lucia Rutkowska, played by...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Susan Sherman's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Little Russian.

Coffee with a Canine: Susan Sherman & Henry and Bessie.

My Book, The Movie: If You Are There.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Coffee with a canine: Sally J. Pla & Leo

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Sally J. Pla & Leo.

The author, on how she and Leo were united:
When my son was 10, he campaigned like crazy for second dog. We resisted, until the day he developed acute appendicitis. They wheeled my son into the OR, still pleading, hands clasped, suffering, angelic. “All this would be better if I only had a puppy!” he moaned. What monster would say no to that?

We got Leo soon after. And as the two homebodies of the family, Leo and I… bonded. Deeply. It happened almost from day one – while Leo loves my son, he has always been ‘my’ dog, somehow. I feel closer to him than to many people.

Several years ago, I was bedridden for a month after major surgery. Leo never left the foot of my bed. He never left me. My son had to pull him by the collar to get him to go downstairs to eat. Leo guards my bed every night, and is never more than an arm’s reach away from me at all times. When I leave to run errands, he parks himself by the front door until I get back. I can’t even go...[read on]
About Sally Pla's new novel, The Someday Birds:
The Someday Birds is a debut middle grade novel perfect for fans of Counting by 7s and Fish in a Tree, filled with humor, heart, and chicken nuggets.

Charlie’s perfectly ordinary life has been unraveling ever since his war journalist father was injured in Afghanistan.

When his father heads from California to Virginia for medical treatment, Charlie reluctantly travels cross-country with his boy-crazy sister, unruly brothers, and a mysterious new family friend. He decides that if he can spot all the birds that he and his father were hoping to see someday along the way, then everything might just turn out okay.

Debut author Sally J. Pla has written a tale that is equal parts madcap road trip, coming-of-age story for an autistic boy who feels he doesn’t understand the world, and an uplifting portrait of a family overcoming a crisis.
Visit Sally J. Pla's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Sally J. Pla & Leo.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Joe Starita reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Joe Starita, author of A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America's First Indian Doctor.

His entry begins:
We are, it is often said, a nation of immigrants – a nation cobbled together from the restless, sometimes desperate spirits of ancestors who moved from their home base across an ocean with the idea of staying put in America, a place where they could make something of themselves. But I have always been attracted to the stories of two groups who were not – and have never been – a part of that traditional immigrant narrative: the Native Americans who were already here and the African Americans who arrived in chains. Consequently, it is not surprising that writers whose ancestors endured Trails of Tears and decades of enslavement consistently turn out riveting stories carved from their cultural heritage, powerful stories often littered with many of literature’s great themes.

So it is with Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, a haunting piece of nonfiction I recently read about one man’s decades-long crusade to bring humanity and justice to the inhumane and unjust world of Alabama’s death row. It is often a painful, debilitating look at who we have been – as a people and a nation – but, in the end, provides plenty of...[read on]
About A Warrior of the People, from the publisher:
On March 14, 1889, Susan La Flesche Picotte received her medical degree—becoming the first Native American doctor in U.S. history. She earned her degree thirty-one years before women could vote and thirty-five years before Indians could become citizens in their own country.

By age twenty-six, this fragile but indomitable Indian woman became the doctor to her tribe. Overnight, she acquired 1,244 patients scattered across 1,350 square miles of rolling countryside with few roads. Her patients often were desperately poor and desperately sick—tuberculosis, small pox, measles, influenza—families scattered miles apart, whose last hope was a young woman who spoke their language and knew their customs.

This is the story of an Indian woman who effectively became the chief of an entrenched patriarchal tribe, the story of a woman who crashed through thick walls of ethnic, racial and gender prejudice, then spent the rest of her life using a unique bicultural identity to improve the lot of her people—physically, emotionally, politically, and spiritually.

Joe Starita's A Warrior of the People is the moving biography of Susan La Flesche Picotte’s inspirational life and dedication to public health, and it will finally shine a light on her numerous accomplishments.

The author will donate all royalties from this book to a college scholarship fund he has established for Native American high school graduates.
Visit Joe Starita's website.

Writers Read: Joe Starita.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Laura Bickle's "Nine of Stars"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Nine of Stars by Laura Bickle.

About the book, from the publisher:
From critically acclaimed author Laura Bickle (Dark Alchemy) comes the first novel in the Wildlands series, NINE OF STARS. Longmire meets Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson in this exciting new series that shows how weird and wonderful the West can truly be.

Winter has always been a deadly season in Temperance, but this time, there’s more to fear than just the cold…

As the daughter of an alchemist, Petra Dee has faced all manner of occult horrors – especially since her arrival in the small town of Temperance, Wyoming. But she can’t explain the creature now stalking the backcountry of Yellowstone, butchering wolves and leaving only their skins behind in the snow. Rumors surface of the return of Skinflint Jack, a nineteenth-century wraith that kills in fulfillment of an ancient bargain.

The new sheriff in town, Owen Rutherford, isn’t helping matters. He’s a dangerously haunted man on the trail of both an unsolved case and a fresh kill - a bizarre murder leading him right to Petra’s partner Gabriel. And while Gabe once had little to fear from the mortal world, he’s all too human now. This time, when violence hits close to home, there are no magical solutions.

It’s up to Petra and her coyote sidekick Sig to get ahead of both Owen and the unnatural being hunting them all – before the trail turns deathly cold.
Learn more about the book and author at Laura Bickle's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The Outside.

The Page 69 Test: Dark Alchemy.

The Page 69 Test: Nine of Stars.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top megacities in fiction

Chibundu Onuzo is the author of Welcome to Lagos. One of her top 10 megacities in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
Clear Light of Day by Anita Desai

This novel is set in old Delhi, in a crumbling family house in retreat from the louder, newer city outside. Every family has its own personal version of a national crisis and this is the Das family’s Partition story. Novels are not history books but there’s an emotional accuracy in this novel that shows how cities and countries can split over religious and cultural differences.
Read about another book on the list.

Also see: nine of the greatest (worst) megacities in sci-fi.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Emily Robbins's "A Word for Love," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: A Word for Love: A Novel by Emily Robbins.

The entry begins:
I have no idea whom I would want to play the main roles in A Word for Love, but I do know that my dream director is Sofia Coppola.

I remember seeing...[read on]
Learn more about A Word for Love.

My Book, The Movie: A Word for Love.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Elizabeth Heiter reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Elizabeth Heiter, author of Stalked.

Her entry begins:
I recently finished reading Karin Slaughter’s Pretty Girls. It was the first book I’d read by her, but it definitely won’t be my last. Gritty, dark and uncompromising in its glimpse into the world of sexualized violence, Pretty Girls was at times...[read on]
About Stalked, from the publisher:
If you're reading this, I'm already dead…

That's the note seventeen-year-old Haley Cooke leaves behind when she disappears from inside her high school. FBI profiler Evelyn Baine is called in to figure out who had reason to hurt her. On the surface, the popular cheerleader has no enemies, but as Evelyn digs deeper, she discovers that everyone close to Haley has something to hide. Everyone from estranged parents, to an older boyfriend with questionable connections, to a best friend who envies Haley's life.

Secrets can be deadly…

One of those secrets may have gotten Haley killed. If she's still alive, Evelyn knows that the more the investigation ramps up, the more pressure they could be putting on Haley's kidnapper to make her disappear for good. It's also possible the teenager isn't in danger at all, but has skillfully manipulated everyone and staged her own disappearance. Only one thing is certain: uncovering Haley's fate could be dangerous—even deadly—to Evelyn herself.
Visit Elizabeth Heiter's website.

My Book, The Movie: Vanished.

The Page 69 Test: Vanished.

The Page 69 Test: Seized.

My Book, The Movie: Seized.

My Book, The Movie: Stalked.

The Page 69 Test: Stalked.

Writers Read: Elizabeth Heiter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five great novels that may never be made into movies

At the B&N Reads blog Brian Boone tagged five great novels that will probably never be made into movies, including:
Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian is another great novel from the master of the unsettling postmodern Western in that the plot is spare but full of dread and violence. Western? Dread? Violence? How is this, one of McCarthy’s best reviewed and enduring novels, not a movie? Oh, how Hollywood has tried. After the book about 19th century Old West unsavories was first published in 1984, many big-name movie folks have not quite gotten Blood Meridian off and running. Ridley Scott, Tommy Lee Jones, Martin Scorsese, and James Franco have all put in attempts, but each and every time it was scrapped while in development. The extreme violence might be the hold-up. Or it’s the lack of a cinematic friendly linear narrative. Ah, but that didn’t stop Cloud Atlas.
Read about another entry on the list.

Blood Meridian is one authority's pick for the Great Texas novel; it is among Sarah Porter's five best books with unusual demons and devils, Chet Williamson's top ten novels about deranged killers, Callan Wink's ten best books set in the American West, Simon Sebag Montefiore's six favorite books, Richard Kadrey's five books about awful, awful people, Jason Sizemore's top five books that will entertain and drop you into the depths of despair, Robert Allison's top ten novels of desert war, Alexandra Silverman's top fourteen wrathful stories, James Franco's six favorite books, Philipp Meyer's five best books that explain America, Peter Murphy's top ten literary preachers, David Vann's six favorite books, Robert Olmstead's six favorite books, Michael Crummey's top ten literary feuds, Philip Connors's top ten wilderness books, six books that made a difference to Kazuo Ishiguro, Clive Sinclair's top 10 westerns, Maile Meloy's six best books, and David Foster Wallace's five direly underappreciated post-1960 U.S. novels. It appears on the New York Times list of the best American fiction of the last 25 years and among the top ten works of literature according to Stephen King.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Carolyn Bronstein & Whitney Strub's "Porno Chic and the Sex Wars"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Porno Chic and the Sex Wars: American Sexual Representation in the 1970s, edited by Carolyn Bronstein and Whitney Strub.

About the book, from the publisher:
For many Americans, the emergence of a “porno chic” culture provided an opportunity to embrace the sexual revolution by attending a film like Deep Throat (1972) or leafing through an erotic magazine like Penthouse. By the 1980s, this pornographic moment was beaten back by the rise of Reagan-era political conservatism and feminist anti-pornography sentiment.

This volume places pornography at the heart of the 1970s American experience, exploring lesser-known forms of pornography from the decade, such as a new, vibrant gay porn genre; transsexual/female impersonator magazines; and pornography for new users, including women and conservative Christians. The collection also explores the rise of a culture of porn film auteurs and stars as well as the transition from film to video. As the corpus of adult ephemera of the 1970s disintegrates, much of it never to be professionally restored and archived, these essays seek to document what pornography meant to its producers and consumers at a pivotal moment.

In addition to the volume editors, contributors include Peter Alilunas, Gillian Frank, Elizabeth Fraterrigo, Lucas Hilderbrand, Nancy Semin Lingo, Laura Helen Marks, Nicholas Matte, Jennifer Christine Nash, Joe Rubin, Alex Warner, Leigh Ann Wheeler, and Greg Youmans.
Visit Whit Strub’s blog, and read more about Porno Chic and the Sex Wars at the University of Massachusetts Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Porno Chic and the Sex Wars.

--Marshal Zeringue