Friday, March 06, 2015

What is Carly Anne West reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Carly Anne West, author of The Bargaining.

Her entry begins:
I’m doing a bit of reading and a bit of listening these days. In the reading column, I’m enjoying a book of short stories from the brilliant Shirley Jackson. No one creates atmosphere like her. She taps into the grotesqueness of human nature and emotion and generates this overwhelming sense of unease. We see a world of depravity in the seemingly mundane, day-to-day existence of ordinary people, and she does it with such grace, I can’t often believe she’s managed it in so few words. Read "The Renegade" or "Charles" to see what I mean. And of course "The Lottery." Chills! I also love reading short stories. They’re like...[read on]
About The Bargaining, from the publisher:
The Shining meets The Conjuring in this chilling and suspenseful new novel from the author of The Murmurings.

The fact that neither of her parents wants to deal with her is nothing new to Penny. She’s used to being discussed like a problem, a problem her mother has finally passed on to her father. What she hasn’t gotten used to is her stepmother…especially when she finds out what she’ll have to spend the summer with April in the remote woods of Washington to restore a broken-down old house.

Set deep in a dense forest, the old Carver House is filled with abandoned antique furniture, rich architectural details, and its own chilling past. The only respite Penny can find away from April’s renovations is in Miller, the young guy who runs the local general store. He’s her only chance at a normal, and enjoyable, summer.

But Miller has his own connection to the Carver house, and it’s one that goes beyond the mysterious tapping Penny hears at her window, the handprints she finds smudging the glass panes, and the visions of children who beckon Penny to follow them into the dark woods. Miller’s past just might threaten to become the terror of Penny’s future…
Learn more about the book and author at Carly Anne West's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Murmurings.

The Page 69 Test: The Bargaining.

Writers Read: Carly Anne West.

--Marshal Zeringue

Asali Solomon's "Disgruntled," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Disgruntled: A Novel by Asali Solomon.

The entry begins:
The reason I love the hypothetical movie Disgruntled is because it has extremely plum roles for African American actors, and I’m hoping the studio will go with one of the wide array of talented Black directors. I cannot decide between them though – Ava DuVernay, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Dee Rees would all be amazing. Or Ernest Dickerson. My friend Jason Moran could do the score.

The trickiest role to cast, also the most important one, is Kenya Curtis, who begins the book as a seven year-old, and ends it in her late teens. I really can’t cast that seven year-old role. That’s an open call. Of course, there’s Quvenzhané Wallis, who I think is a wonderful actor, but I want someone who seems sadder. So my suggestion for older Kenya is someone who has probably aged out: Camille...[read on]
Learn more about Disgruntled, and visit Asali Solomon's faculty webpage.

My Book, The Movie: Disgruntled.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten castles in fiction

Jessamy Taylor is the author of King’s Company, an historical adventure story.

At the Guardian she tagged her ten top castles in fiction, including:
The Château D’If, from The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

“The sea is the graveyard of the Château d’If.” It’s all so deliciously unfair. Poor seaman Edmond Dantès gets captured and locked up in the island fortress of the Château d’If, as part of a vicious plot, just before he marries his sweetheart Mercédès. The Château is merciless and omnipotent, its power reaching out over the dark plain of the sea, and its damp walls seeming to weep with the tears of its prisoners. Edmond escapes, of course, but only after 14 years. He turns up in Paris some time later, mysterious, handsome and complicated, with some great horses and a fabulous title, and above all, absolutely loaded with cash. Extremely satisfying.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Count of Monte Cristo is among Jonathan Kellerman's six favorite books and John Mullan's ten best valets in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Kathryn Holmes's "The Distance Between Lost and Found"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes.

About the book, from the publisher:
Blending elements of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak and Gary Paulsen's Hatchet, debut novelist Kathryn Holmes delivers a gripping story that author Richard Peck calls a "page-turner about several kinds of survival."

Sophomore Hallie Calhoun has just endured the most excruciating six months of her life. Once the rumors about her and the preacher's son, Luke, made their way around school, her friends abandoned her, and Hallie has completely withdrawn.

Now, on a hike in the Smoky Mountains with the same people who have relentlessly taunted her, Hallie is pushed to her limit. Then Hallie, outgoing newcomer Rachel, and Jonah—Hallie's former friend—get separated from the rest of the group. As days go by without rescue, their struggle for survival turns deadly. Stranded in the wilderness, the three have no choice but to trust one another in order to stay alive . . . and for Hallie, that means opening up about what really happened that night with Luke.

From the catty atmosphere of high school to the unpredictable terrain of the mountains, this novel is a poignant, raw journey about finding yourself after having been lost for so long.
Visit Kathryn Holmes's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Distance Between Lost and Found.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Pg. 99: Clancy Martin's "Love and Lies"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Love and Lies: An Essay on Truthfulness, Deceit, and the Growth and Care of Erotic Love by Clancy Martin.

About the book, from the publisher:
Is it possible to love well without lying? At least since Socrates’s discourse on love in Plato’s Symposium, philosophers have argued that love can lead us to the truth—about ourselves and the ones we love. But in the practical experience of erotic love—and perhaps especially in marriage—we find that love and lies often work hand in hand, and that it may be difficult to sustain long-term romantic love without deception, both of oneself and of others.

Drawing on contemporary philosophy, psychoanalysis and cognitive neuroscience, his own personal experience, and such famed and diverse writers on love as Shakespeare, Stendhal, Proust, Adrienne Rich, and Raymond Carver, Clancy Martin—himself divorced twice and married three times—explores how love, truthfulness, and deception work together in contemporary life and society. He concludes that learning how to love and loving well inevitably requires lying, but also argues that the best love relationships draw us slowly and with difficulty toward honesty and trust.

Love and Lies is a relentlessly honest book about the difficulty of love, which is certain to both provoke and entertain.
Learn more about Love and Lies at the Farrar, Straus and Giroux website.

The Page 69 Test: Clancy Martin's How to Sell.

Writers Read: Clancy Martin.

The Page 99 Test: Love and Lies.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Cynthia Swanson reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Cynthia Swanson, author of The Bookseller: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
I recently read - for the first time - Plainsong by Kent Haruf. As a Coloradan, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit it’s taken me this long to read Plainsong; since its publication in 1999, it’s been an institution here on the High Plains. Haruf’s passing a few months ago, and an adaptation at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts of Benediction (the final book in Haruf’s trilogy that began with Plainsong), have brought a renewed interest in his work.

And that resurgence is well-deserved. Plainsong tells the story of residents of a fictional town - Holt, Colorado. The novel revolves around the aging, never-married McPheron brothers, who open their cattle ranch home - and their hearts - to a pregnant teen who has nowhere else to go. Other characters' tales unfold and wind into the story of how a family is formed - not by blood relation but by...[read on]
About The Bookseller, from the publisher:
A provocative and hauntingly powerful debut novel reminiscent of Sliding Doors, The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams.

Nothing is as permanent as it appears...

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped.

Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.

Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?

As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?
Visit Cynthia Swanson's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Bookseller.

Writers Read: Cynthia Swanson.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten books about women in the 1950s

Virginia Nicholson is the author of Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story of Women in the 1950s.

At the Guardian, she tagged her ten top books about women in the 1950s, including:
Small Island by Andrea Levy

This indelibly impressive novel excavates the roots of Britain’s postwar multicultural society. When I came to research the period, immigrant women I spoke to told me “we thought England was the Mother Country”. In Small Island, Hortense Joseph discovers, like so many of them, cold, fear and hostility. But there is another side to the story. Some Jamaican women I interviewed felt released from the restraints of their strict religious upbringing. For one, arrival in the UK in the late ‘50s felt like being let loose “in a candy shop”.
Read about another entry on the list.

Small Island is among Martin Fletcher's five best books on nations and lives in transition and Gillian Cross's top ten books that throw everything you think you know upside down.

--Marshal Zeringue

Coffee with a canine: Meg Donohue & Cole

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Meg Donohue & Cole.

(photo credit: Alex Wang)
The author, on the connection of her actual dogs to her fictional canines:
The dogs I’ve loved and lost have served as tremendous inspiration in my writing, particularly in my latest novel, Dog Crazy. The experience of adopting a rescue dog resonates through the novel, which is about a pet bereavement counselor who comes undone following the loss of her own beloved dog. Dogs have meant so much to me in my life, and I was excited to write with honestly, respect, and humor about the human-canine bond. I hope dog lovers will enjoy the book and feel they are reading about the experiences of...[read on]
About Dog Crazy, from the publisher:
The USA Today bestselling author of How to Eat a Cupcake and All the Summer Girls returns with an unforgettably poignant and funny tale of love and loss, confronting our fears, and moving on ... with the help of a poodle, a mutt, and a Basset retriever named Seymour.

As a pet bereavement counselor, Maggie Brennan uses a combination of empathy, insight, and humor to help patients cope with the anguish of losing their beloved four-legged friends. Though she has a gift for guiding others through difficult situations, Maggie has major troubles of her own that threaten the success of her counseling practice and her volunteer work with a dog rescue organization.

Everything changes when a distraught woman shows up at Maggie’s office and claims that her dog has been stolen. Searching the streets of San Francisco for the missing pooch, Maggie finds herself entangled in a mystery that forces her to finally face her biggest fear-and to open her heart to new love.

Packed with deep emotion and charming surprises, Dog Crazy is a bighearted and entertaining story that skillfully captures the bonds of love, the pain of separation, and the power of our dogs to heal us.
Visit Meg Donohue's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: How to Eat a Cupcake.

My Book, The Movie: How to Eat a Cupcake.

The Page 69 Test: All the Summer Girls.

My Book, The Movie: All the Summer Girls.

Coffee with a Canine: Meg Donohue & Cole.

--Marshal Zeringue

Benjamin N. Lawrance's "Amistad’s Orphans," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Amistad's Orphans: An Atlantic Story of Children, Slavery, and Smuggling by Benjamin N. Lawrance.

The entry begins:
In Amistad’s Orphans there are six main characters, and all are children of various ages. There are several prominent adult supporting roles, but the key casting issue is finding dynamic and charismatic child actors.

The three girl roles are strikingly different, and require unique actresses. I would love to see Quvenzhané Wallis play the role of Te’me, because of her exceptional skills as demonstrated in Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012). Te’me is captured and enslaved as a young child, and during a custody battle in a court in Connecticut she makes a break for freedom, running across the New Haven green, before being tackled by a white male abolitionist. This would be a pivotal scene in the film.

For the roles of Marg’ru (the eldest of the three girls), and Kag’ne, I’d cast Josephine...[read on]
Learn more about Amistad's Orphans at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Amistad's Orphans.

My Book, The Movie: Amistad's Orphans.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Pg. 99: Kelly McMann's "Corruption as a Last Resort"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Corruption as a Last Resort: Adapting to the Market in Central Asia by Kelly M. McMann.

About the book, from the publisher:
Why do ordinary people engage in corruption? Kelly M. McMann contends that bureaucrats, poverty, and culture do not force individuals in Central Asia to pay bribes, use connections, or sell political support. Rather, corruption is a last resort when relatives, groups in society, the market, and formal government programs cannot provide essential goods and services. Using evidence from her long-term research in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, McMann shows that Islamic institutions, secular charities, entrepreneurs, and banks cannot provide the jobs and credit people need. This drives individuals to illicitly seek employment and loans from government officials.

A leading cause of this resource scarcity is market reform, as demonstrated by McMann's analysis of these countries as well as of Uzbekistan and global data. Market reform without supporting institutions, such as credit registries and antimonopoly measures, limits the resources available from the market and societal groups. McMann finds that in these circumstances only those individuals who have affluent relatives have an alternative to corruption. By focusing on ordinary people, McMann offers a new understanding of corruption. Previously, our knowledge was largely restricted to government officials’ role in illicit exchanges. From her novel approach comes a useful policy insight: supplying ordinary people with alternatives to corruption is a fundamental and important anticorruption strategy.
Learn more about Corruption as a Last Resort at the Cornell University Press.

The Page 99 Test: Corruption as a Last Resort.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Clancy Martin reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Clancy Martin, author of Love and Lies: An Essay on Truthfulness, Deceit, and the Growth and Care of Erotic Love.

His entry begins:
I’m always reading several books at the same time, like most of us. Right now I’m reading Patrul Rinpoche’s Words Of My Perfect Teacher, Junichiro Tanizaki’s In Praise of Shadows, Ottessa Mossfegh’s Eileen (a pre-release copy, I’m reviewing it), and Coetzee’s The Lives of Animals, as well as several others. (The ones I listed are the ones I’ve actually read from today). I love Tanizaki, because he understands that everything the artist should hold most dear is not true or false, black or white, on or off, but in the middle, in the murky, fascinating, elusive world of where real human thought and emotion actually takes place. Now that’s almost a cliché, but because we tend to slip into dogmatism so quickly and easily, because we are such natural hypocrites, because we are so quick to...[read on]
About the book, from the publisher:
Is it possible to love well without lying? At least since Socrates’s discourse on love in Plato’s Symposium, philosophers have argued that love can lead us to the truth—about ourselves and the ones we love. But in the practical experience of erotic love—and perhaps especially in marriage—we find that love and lies often work hand in hand, and that it may be difficult to sustain long-term romantic love without deception, both of oneself and of others.

Drawing on contemporary philosophy, psychoanalysis and cognitive neuroscience, his own personal experience, and such famed and diverse writers on love as Shakespeare, Stendhal, Proust, Adrienne Rich, and Raymond Carver, Clancy Martin—himself divorced twice and married three times—explores how love, truthfulness, and deception work together in contemporary life and society. He concludes that learning how to love and loving well inevitably requires lying, but also argues that the best love relationships draw us slowly and with difficulty toward honesty and trust.

Love and Lies is a relentlessly honest book about the difficulty of love, which is certain to both provoke and entertain.
Learn more about Love and Lies at the Farrar, Straus and Giroux website.

The Page 69 Test: Clancy Martin's How to Sell.

Writers Read: Clancy Martin.

--Marshal Zeringue

Cover story: "Mourning Lincoln"

Martha Hodes is Professor of History at New York University and the author of The Sea Captain’s Wife: A True Story of Love, Race, and War in the Nineteenth Century and White Women, Black Men: Illicit Sex in the Nineteenth-Century South.

Hodes’s latest book is Mourning Lincoln. Here the author explains the connection of the book's cover to the pages within:
A white woman in a star-spangled dress and a black man in striped drawers, both covering their eyes: these two figures are part of the black-and-white image that graces the cover of Mourning Lincoln. The lithograph was drawn soon after the assassination in April 1865. The Civil War had just ended, and five days later John Wilkes Booth went to Ford’s Theatre to fire a single shot into the back of Lincoln’s head.

The imposing tombstone at the center bears a profile of the president, along with the words, “TO ABRAHAM LINCOLN, THE BEST BELOVED OF THE NATION.” Leaning on the grave is the figure of Columbia, or “Lady Liberty,” a symbol of Union patriotism, one hand covering her eyes with black mourning cloth. Her other hand holds a sword, a symbol of valor in combat and of martyrdom. Behind the grave stands the man, also covering his eyes in grief. His scant clothing symbolizes recent enslavement, and in the distance you can see battlefield cannon and corpses.

Atop the tombstone are gathered a set of objects. A funerary urn is draped with a length of black “crape,” the ubiquitous mourning cloth of the nineteenth century (Lady Liberty shields her eyes with a corner of it). An American flag is draped by the urn, and three owls stand attentive, symbols of wisdom, but also of death.

On the ground, you can see a rolled paper labeled “Emancipation Act,” the Emancipation Proclamation that Lincoln signed on January 1, 1863, deeply influenced as he was by black and white abolitionists and by the enslaved men and women who had been running to freedom since the war began. Just so, the broken shackles of a slave lie nearby. A slain dragon (only partially visible on the book’s cover) marks an allegorical reference to the martyred Roman soldier St. George, symbolizing Christian triumph over evil. Before you open the cover, find the angel hovering above the monument, holding a palm frond. Lincoln died on Saturday morning, April 15, and the next day was Easter Sunday. He had been shot on Good Friday, and his mourners compared him to Jesus.

The cover image represents the sorrow of the bereaved, but it also alludes to the politics of Lincoln’s assassination by centering slavery and emancipation. Mourning Lincoln takes readers far beyond a static portrait of a grieving nation, into hundreds of diaries, letters, and other personal writings, encompassing North and South, Union and Confederate, black and white, men and women, soldiers and civilians.

Not everyone considered Lincoln “the best beloved of the nation”--Confederates celebrated his murder, even as they worried that the slain executive would have been their best ally in the war’s aftermath, and Lincoln’s northern enemies laughed and cheered when they heard the news. But African Americans claimed Lincoln as their ally too, fashioning the martyred president into a radical who would have ensured not only freedom, but also equality and citizenship. Mourning Lincoln explores the manifold responses to the nation’s first presidential assassination in the hours, days, and weeks afterward, illuminating the roots of long-lasting conflicts and clashes over black freedom and equality.
Learn more about the book and author at Martha Hodes's author website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Carly Anne West's "The Bargaining"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Bargaining by Carly Anne West.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Shining meets The Conjuring in this chilling and suspenseful new novel from the author of The Murmurings.

The fact that neither of her parents wants to deal with her is nothing new to Penny. She’s used to being discussed like a problem, a problem her mother has finally passed on to her father. What she hasn’t gotten used to is her stepmother…especially when she finds out what she’ll have to spend the summer with April in the remote woods of Washington to restore a broken-down old house.

Set deep in a dense forest, the old Carver House is filled with abandoned antique furniture, rich architectural details, and its own chilling past. The only respite Penny can find away from April’s renovations is in Miller, the young guy who runs the local general store. He’s her only chance at a normal, and enjoyable, summer.

But Miller has his own connection to the Carver house, and it’s one that goes beyond the mysterious tapping Penny hears at her window, the handprints she finds smudging the glass panes, and the visions of children who beckon Penny to follow them into the dark woods. Miller’s past just might threaten to become the terror of Penny’s future…
Learn more about the book and author at Carly Anne West's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Murmurings.

The Page 69 Test: The Bargaining.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top 19 books on the "How to be a man" reading list

At the Telegraph Chris Moss tagged "19 books - novels, poetry and non-fiction - that provide life lessons, relationship counselling and sex education for the modern male," including:
High Fidelity (1995)

Many of Nick Hornby’s books speak intimately to men’s inner lives, but the story of record shop employee Rob Fleming and his struggle to connect – and then separate – his musical passions from his erotic ambitions provides lots of laughs as well as insights into the anxieties that come with commitment.
Learn about another entry on the list.

High Fidelity also made Jeff Somers's list of six books that’ll make you glad you’re single, Chrissie Gruebel's top ten list of books set in London, Ted Gioia's list of ten of the best novels on music, Melissa Albert's top five list of books that inspire great mix tapes, Rob Reid's six favorite books list, Ashley Hamilton's list of 8 books to read with a broken heart, Tiffany Murray's top 10 list of rock'n'roll novels, Mark Hodkinson's critic's chart of rock music in fiction, and John Sutherland's list of the best books about listing.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Pg. 99: Benjamin N. Lawrance's "Amistad’s Orphans"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Amistad's Orphans: An Atlantic Story of Children, Slavery, and Smuggling by Benjamin N. Lawrance.

About the book, from the publisher:
The lives of six African children, ages nine to sixteen, were forever altered by the revolt aboard the Cuban schooner La Amistad in 1839. Like their adult companions, all were captured in Africa and illegally sold as slaves. In this fascinating revisionist history, Benjamin N. Lawrance reconstructs six entwined stories and brings them to the forefront of the Amistad conflict. Through eyewitness testimonies, court records, and the children’s own letters, Lawrance recounts how their lives were inextricably interwoven by the historic drama, and casts new light on illegal nineteenth-century transatlantic slave smuggling.
Benjamin N. Lawrance is the Hon. Barber B. Conable Jr. Endowed Chair in International Studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Learn more about Amistad's Orphans at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Amistad's Orphans.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Cara Black reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Cara Black, author of Murder on the Champ de Mars.

Her entry begins:
I’m reading the galley of The Alphabet House by Jussi Adler-Olsen, which I snagged via an online contest. See, writers enter contests, too. I’ve been dying to read this book, after inhaling all the Inspector Q series that Adler-Olsen writes but just aren’t translated fast enough. This is a departure, a standalone. From the notes, Adler-Olsen said he drew on the experience growing up, as a doctor’s son, and living on site with his family in mental institutions. The premise is quite unexpected: what happens...[read on]
About Murder on the Champ de Mars, from the publisher:
Paris, April 1999: Aimée Leduc has her work cut out for her—running her detective agency and fighting off sleep-deprivation as she tries to be a good single mother to her new bébé. The last thing she has time for now is to take on a personal investigation for a poor manouche (French Gypsy) boy. But he insists his dying mother has an important secret she needs to tell Aimée, something to do with Aimée’s father’s unsolved murder a decade ago. How can she say no?

The dying woman’s secret is even more dangerous than her son realized. When Aimée arrives at the hospital, the boy’s mother has disappeared. She was far too sick to leave on her own—she must have been abducted. What does she know that is so important it is worth killing for? And will Aimée be able to find her before it is too late and the medication keeping her alive runs out?

Set in the seventh arrondissment, the quartier of the Parisian elite, Murder on the Champ de Mars takes us from the highest seats of power in the Ministries and embassies through the city’s private gardens and the homes of France’s oldest aristocratic families. Aimée discovers more connections than she thought possible between the clandestine “Gypsy” world and the moneyed ancien régime, ultimately leading her to the truth behind her father’s death … After all, for Aimée, murder is never far from home.
Learn more about the book and author at Cara Black's website.

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

Tom Santopietro's "The Sound of Music Story," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Sound of Music Story: How A Beguiling Young Novice, A Handsome Austrian Captain, and Ten Singing Von Trapp Children Inspired the Most Beloved Film of All Time by Tom Santopietro.

The entry begins:
Since my book The Sound of Music Story concerns the making of The Sound of Music, the opportunity to cast other actors to portray Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker, and Robert Wise seems like a lot of fun--- a great hall of mirrors project. So:

Julie Andrews: Keira Knightley or Carey Mulligan

Christopher Plummer: Benedict Cumberbatch

Eleanor Parker: Cate...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Tom Santopietro's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Godfather Effect.

Writers Read: Tom Santopietro.

The Page 99 Test: The Sound of Music Story.

My Book, The Movie: The Sound of Music Story.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Cynthia Swanson's "The Bookseller"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Bookseller: A Novel by Cynthia Swanson.

About the book, from the publisher:
A provocative and hauntingly powerful debut novel reminiscent of Sliding Doors, The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams.

Nothing is as permanent as it appears...

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped.

Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.

Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?

As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?
Visit Cynthia Swanson's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Bookseller.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about love

Jemma Forte's novels include If You’re Not the One and When I Met You.

One of her top ten books about love, as shared at the Daily Express:
The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion

Don has Asperger’s and wants to find a wife, so applies his heightened sense of logic to the problem and comes up with a solution.

He writes a list of criteria, a questionnaire that he will pose to future dates in order to establish who is suitable and who isn’t. And yet, what transpires is that love ends up finding him. Not the other way around.

And isn’t that so true of life?

When single people are looking for love it’s so often a futile search, then, just when they’ve given up or stopped thinking about it, wallop, they meet someone.

This is such a humorous book. I love writers who deal with serious themes but manage to inject wit and levity into the story. Again I find this more honest than writing something incredibly downbeat because in my experience life is bad and good. It’s beautiful and terrible and humour is often the thing that keeps people going.

This is a romantic, modern, funny, interesting love story and I can’t imagine what a challenge it must have been to have written from the point of view of someone who has Asperger’s but it is done so successfully.

Don thinks very differently from most people which comes across in every thought that goes through his head. He is a wonderful character and one you find yourself cheering on throughout.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Rosie Project is one of  Bill Gates's nine favorite books.

My Book, The Movie: The Rosie Project.

The Page 69 Test: The Rosie Project.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 02, 2015

Pg. 99: Greg Weiner's "American Burke"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: American Burke: The Uncommon Liberalism of Daniel Patrick Moynihan by Greg Weiner.

About the book, from the publisher:
Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927–2003) may be best known as a statesman. He served in the administrations of presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford; was ambassador to India and the United Nations; and represented New York in the U.S. Senate for four terms. But he was also an intellectual of the first order, whose books and papers on topics ranging from welfare policy and ethnicity in American society to international law stirred debate and steered policy. Moynihan was, journalist Michael Barone remarked, “the nation’s best thinker among politicians since Lincoln and its best politician among thinkers since Jefferson.” He was, Greg Weiner argues, America’s answer to the 18th-century Anglo-Irish scholar-statesman Edmund Burke. Both stood at the intersection of thought and action, denouncing tyranny, defending the family, championing reform. Yet while Burke is typically claimed by conservatives, Weiner calls Moynihan a “Burkean liberal” who respected both the indispensability of government and the complexity of society. And a reclamation of Moynihan’s Burkean liberalism, Weiner suggests, could do wonders for the polarized politics of our day.

In its incisive analysis of Moynihan’s political thought, American Burke lays out the terms for such a recovery. The book traces Moynihan’s development through the broad sweep of his writings and career. “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society,” Moynihan once wrote. “The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.” In his ability to embrace both of these truths, this “American Burke” makes it bracingly clear that a wise political thinker can also be an effective political actor, and that commitments to both liberal and conservative values can coexist peaceably and productively. Weiner’s work is not only a thorough and thoroughly engaging intellectual exploration of one of the most important politicians of the twentieth century; it is also a timely prescription for the healing of our broken system.
Visit Greg Weiner's website.

The Page 99 Test: American Burke.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Kate Riordan reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Kate Riordan, author of Fiercombe Manor.

Her entry begins:
I’m currently in the middle of Rachel Hore’s A Gathering Storm, which I’m really enjoying. It’s just the sort of escapist read I look for when life is busy and the news is depressing. There is a modern strand but It’s mainly set in the 1930s and during the Second World War, and follows Beatrice Marlow from rural Cornwall (which I know and love myself) to war-battered London and back. It’s got all the elements I like in a book – and tried to put in my own: family secrets, a historical setting, a big old house, thwarted romance and a dose of...[read on]
About Fiercombe Manor, from the publisher:
In this haunting and richly imagined dual-narrative tale that echoes the eerie mystery of Rebecca and The Little Stranger, two women of very different eras are united by the secrets hidden within the walls of an English manor house.

In 1933, naive twenty-two year-old Alice—pregnant and unmarried—is in disgrace. Her mother banishes her from London to secluded Fiercombe Manor in rural Gloucestershire, where she can hide under the watchful eye of her mother’s old friend, the housekeeper Mrs. Jelphs. The manor’s owners, the Stantons, live abroad, and with her cover story of a recently-deceased husband Alice can have her baby there before giving it up for adoption and returning home. But as Alice endures the long, hot summer at Fiercombe awaiting the baby’s birth, she senses that something is amiss with the house and its absentee owners.

Thirty years earlier, pregnant Lady Elizabeth Stanton desperately hopes for the heir her husband desires. Tormented by the memory of what happened after the birth of her first child, a daughter, she grows increasingly terrified that history will repeat itself, with devastating consequences.

After meeting Tom, the young scion of the Stanton family, Alice becomes determined to uncover the clan’s tragic past and exorcise the ghosts of this idyllic, isolated house. But nothing can prepare Alice for what she uncovers. Soon it is her turn to fear: can she escape the tragic fate of the other women who have lived in the Fiercombe valley...
Visit Kate Riordan's website.

The Page 69 Test: Fiercombe Manor.

Writers Read: Kate Riordan.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tatjana Soli's 6 favorite books that conjure exotic locales

Tatjana Soli is the author of The Lotus Eaters, The Forgetting Tree, and The Last Good Paradise.

One of her six favorite books that conjure exotic locales, as shared at The Week magazine:
House of Stone by Anthony Shadid

A beautiful memoir by the gifted late journalist about rebuilding his family's ancestral home in southern Lebanon. Shadid gave us a personal story of the human costs of war. I'd urge anyone who wants to understand the Middle East beyond the headlines to read it.
Read about another entry on the list.

Writers Read: Anthony Shadid (August 2007).

--Marshal Zeringue

Cara Black's "Murder on the Champ de Mars," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Murder on the Champ de Mars by Cara Black.

The entry begins:
If they make my book into a film, here's who I'd like to play to direct the the movie: Sir Carol Reed. He directed The Third Man, and brought Graham Greene to Vienna and told him to write a screenplay with post war Vienna as a character. Greene did that in spades, the dark glistening cobbled streets at night, the sewers, the black market, all so evocative. I’ve read in interviews that Sir Carol Reed asked the characters to...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Cara Black's website.

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.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Augusta Scattergood's "The Way to Stay in Destiny"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Way to Stay in Destiny by Augusta Scattergood.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the author of the acclaimed Glory Be, a novel that celebrates baseball, fast piano, and small-town living in the wake of the Vietnam War.

When Theo gets off a bus in Destiny, Florida, he's left behind the only life he's ever known. Now he's got to live with Uncle Raymond, a Vietnam War vet and a loner who wants nothing to do with this long-lost nephew. Thank goodness for Miss Sister Grandersole's Boarding House and Dance School. The piano that sits in Miss Sister's dance hall calls to Theo. He can't wait to play those ivory keys. When Anabel arrives things get even more enticing. This feisty girl, a baseball fanatic, invites Theo on her quest to uncover the town's connection to old-time ball players rumored to have lived there years before. A mystery, an adventure, and a musical exploration unfold as this town called Destiny lives up to its name.

Acclaimed author Augusta Scattergood has delivered a straight-to-the-heart story with unforgettable characters, humor, and hard questions about loss, family, and belonging.
Learn more about the book and author at Augusta Scattergood's website and blog.

Writers Read: Augusta Scattergood (April 2012).

The Page 69 Test: The Way to Stay in Destiny.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Top five books about revenge

Fanny Blake's books include With a Friend Like You, The Secrets Women Keep, What Women Want, and Women of a Dangerous Age.

One of her five top books about revenge, as shared at the Daily Express:
The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Although Lisbeth Salander’s desire for revenge against the men who tried to kill her and the government who nearly destroyed her life fires her throughout the trilogy, the scene that stays with me is in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Having been violently abused by her court-appointed guardian, the lawyer Bjurman, unable to trust the police, she takes matters into her own hands.

She tasers him, sodomises him and tattoos the words, ‘I am a sadistic pig, a pervert and a rapist’ across his chest.

A revenge he won’t forget.
Read about another book on the list.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo made Kat Rosenfield's list of the eight most famous body parts in fiction, Rebecca Jane Stokes's top ten list of books about women in peril…who fought back, Maureen Corrigan's top five list of crime & mystery novels of 2008, Camilla Läckberg's top ten list of Swedish crime novels, and is one of Lynda Bellingham's six best books. The Millennium Trilogy is one of Ken Follett's five best trilogies, and Lisbeth Salander is among Panayiota Kuvetakis's top ten fictional female friends we'd like to have as anything close to real-life friends and Anne Holt's top ten female detectives.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Emily Gray Tedrowe reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Emily Gray Tedrowe, author of Blue Stars.

Her entry begins:
I'm late to the party on this wonderful novel, but I'm so glad I just read A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. Earlier this winter I took a long weekend's writing retreat with a good friend, the writer Zoe Zolbrod. We stayed at a Benedictine monastery where I've often found the quiet and simplicity conducive to work. She and I stayed in dorm-style rooms side by side, writing our new novels with the focused intensity two working mothers of young kids know how to bring when they get an opportunity like this. For breaks, we took long walks on the prairie preserve and shared meal time with the monastery community, including the three sisters in residence there. We spoke with admiration about their lives devoted to social justice and care for the earth. Zoe said, this reminds me of Ruth Ozeki's novel - I hadn't read it - but her enthusiasm made me...[read on]
About Blue Stars, from the publisher:
Emily Gray Tedrowe has written an extraordinary novel about ordinary people, a graceful and gritty portrayal of what it’s like for the women whose husbands and sons are deployed in Iraq.

BLUE STARS brings to life the realities of the modern day home front: how to get through the daily challenges of motherhood and holding down a job while bearing the stress and uncertainty of war, when everything can change in an instant. It tells the story of Ellen, a Midwestern literature professor, who is drawn into the war when her legal ward Michael enlists as a Marine; and of Lacey, a proud Army wife who struggles to pay the bills and keep things going for her son while her husband is deployed. Ellen and Lacey cope with the fear and stress of a loved one at war while trying to get by in a society that often ignores or misunderstands what war means to women today. When Michael and Eddie are injured in Iraq, Ellen and Lacey’s lives become intertwined in Walter Reed Army Hospital, where each woman must live while caring for her wounded soldier. They form an alliance, and an unlikely friendship, while helping each other survive the dislocated world of the army hospital. Whether that means fighting for proper care for their men, sharing a six-pack, or coping with irrevocable loss, Ellen and Lacey pool their strengths to make it through. In the end, both women are changed, not only by the war and its fallout, but by each other.
Visit Emily Gray Tedrowe's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Writers Read: Emily Gray Tedrowe.

--Marshal Zeringue

Four books that changed Peter Twohig

Peter Twohig was a rock musician, public servant, management consultant and naturopath before turning to full-time writing. He has degrees in professional writing and philosophy, and lives on the NSW Central Coast. His first novel, The Cartographer, won the prestigious Ned Kelly Award. Its sequel, The Torch, is "a novel about innocence for grown-ups" set in 1960s Melbourne.

One of four books that changed him, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
1984

George Orwell

I was about 20 when I first read it (I've returned to it a few times), and had just finished Animal Farm, which really made me think. But the sheer literary power of 1984 made me think a different way altogether, feel a different way - permanently. I had read masters before - Maugham is high on my list - but never before seen that mastery of modern English. I saw what it looks like when a writer owns the language.
Read about another book on the list.

Nineteen Eighty-four is on the Guardian's list of the five worst book covers ever, the Independent's list of the fifteen best opening lines in literature, W.B. Gooderham's top ten list of books given in books, Katharine Trendacosta and Amanda Yesilbas's list of ten paranoid science fiction stories that could help you survive, Na'ima B. Robert's top ten list of Romeo and Juliet stories, Gabe Habash's list of ten songs inspired by books and a list of the 100 best last lines from novels. The book made Charlie Jane Anders's list of ten science fiction novels we pretend to have read, Juan E. Méndez's list of five books on torture, P. J. O’Rourke's list of the five best political satires, Daniel Johnson's five best list of books about Cold War culture, Robert Collins' top ten list of dystopian novels, Gemma Malley's top 10 list of dystopian novels for teenagers, is one of Norman Tebbit's six best books and one of the top ten works of literature according to Stephen King. It made a difference to Isla Fisher, and appears on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best Aprils in literature, ten of the best rats in literature, and ten of the best horrid children in fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Thomas Ahnert's "The Moral Culture of the Scottish Enlightenment, 1690-1805"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Moral Culture of the Scottish Enlightenment, 1690–1805 by Thomas Ahnert.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the Enlightenment it was often argued that moral conduct, rather than adherence to theological doctrine, was the true measure of religious belief. Thomas Ahnert argues that this “enlightened” emphasis on conduct in religion relied less on arguments from reason alone than has been believed. In fact, Scottish Enlightenment champions advocated a practical program of “moral culture,” in which revealed religion was of central importance. Ahnert traces this to theological controversies going back as far as the Reformation concerning the conditions of salvation. His findings present a new point of departure for all scholars interested in the intersection of religion and Enlightenment.
Learn more about The Moral Culture of the Scottish Enlightenment, 1690–1805 at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Moral Culture of the Scottish Enlightenment, 1690–1805.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Auston Habershaw's "The Iron Ring," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Iron Ring by Auston Habershaw.

The entry begins:
The Iron Ring was just released by Harper Voyager Impulse early this month, so perhaps discussions of who will play whom in the movie are premature, but, hell, this is the Internet, dammit! Why shouldn’t I indulge in delusions of grandeur?

Tyvian Reldamar—played by Damian Lewis

Lewis has the right look, the right charm, and I have no doubt he can sport a devilish grin if he needs to. Whoever plays Tyvian needs a certain arrogance about him—he’s a guy who is supremely confident in himself and supremely disdainful of everyone else. I’m pretty sure Lewis could pull this off.

Artus—played by Currently Unknown

Tyvian’s sidekick/constant annoyance should be played be a newcomer—a fresh faced kid with a lot of potential, just like Artus. I want the next Daniel Radcliffe or...[read on]
Visit Auston Habershaw's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Iron Ring.

Writers Read: Auston Habershaw.

My Book, The Movie: The Iron Ring.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Tracy Weber reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Tracy Weber, author of A Killer Retreat: A Downward Dog Mystery #2.

Her entry begins:
I’ve been burying myself in cozy mysteries lately, both because I love cozies and because I’m trying to improve my writing technique. What better way to learn than by reading my fellow (and I must say, awesome) writers?

Right now I’m particularly excited, because my first book, Murder Strikes a Pose, has been nominated for the Agatha award for Best First Novel. So, of course, I have to read the competition. Of the other four books nominated, I’m currently reading two: Tagged for Death by Sherry Harris and Finding Sky by Susan O’Brien.

These two novels are great representations of the genre. Although crime takes center stage (in one, a disappearance; the other, a murder) we also learn...[read on]
About A Killer Retreat, from the publisher:
When Kate Davidson gets an offer to teach yoga classes at the Elysian Springs resort, she jumps at the opportunity—even if it means enduring the wedding ceremony of the center’s two caretakers. But avoiding the M-word turns out to be the least of Kate’s problems when a wedding guest is found floating face-down in the resort’s hot tub, shortly after a loud, public fight with Kate.

The police pick Kate as their number-one suspect, so she teams up with her boyfriend Michael, best friend Rene, and German shepherd sidekick Bella to find the real killer. They must solve the crime before the police arrest Kate, or her next gig may last a lifetime—behind bars.
Visit Tracy Weber's website, blog, and Facebook page.

Coffee with a Canine: Tracy Weber and Tasha.

The Page 69 Test: Murder Strikes a Pose.

The Page 69 Test: A Killer Retreat.

Writers Read: Tracy Weber.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six of the best SF/F novels with non-white protagonists

Lauren Naturale likes literary fantasy, the gothic, historical fiction, and sensational things to read on trains; she writes in and about all of these genres.

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog she tagged six SF/F novels with non-white protagonists that aren’t by Octavia Butler, including:
Adaptation and Inheritance, by Malinda Lo

After a car crash, David Li and Reese Holloway learn the truth: they’ve been “adapted” with alien DNA. Malinda Lo says she had The X-Files in mind when she wrote these linked YA novels, but what makes them truly stand out is her handling of the love triangle, in which Reese struggles to choose between David and her alien ex-girlfriend. I’m including Adaptation and Inheritance for David’s sake; for YA fantasy about Asian girls in love, consider Lo’s previous book, Huntress.
Read about another book on the list.

Writers Read: Malinda Lo (September 2009).

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Kate Riordan's "Fiercombe Manor"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Fiercombe Manor by Kate Riordan.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this haunting and richly imagined dual-narrative tale that echoes the eerie mystery of Rebecca and The Little Stranger, two women of very different eras are united by the secrets hidden within the walls of an English manor house.

In 1933, naive twenty-two year-old Alice—pregnant and unmarried—is in disgrace. Her mother banishes her from London to secluded Fiercombe Manor in rural Gloucestershire, where she can hide under the watchful eye of her mother’s old friend, the housekeeper Mrs. Jelphs. The manor’s owners, the Stantons, live abroad, and with her cover story of a recently-deceased husband Alice can have her baby there before giving it up for adoption and returning home. But as Alice endures the long, hot summer at Fiercombe awaiting the baby’s birth, she senses that something is amiss with the house and its absentee owners.

Thirty years earlier, pregnant Lady Elizabeth Stanton desperately hopes for the heir her husband desires. Tormented by the memory of what happened after the birth of her first child, a daughter, she grows increasingly terrified that history will repeat itself, with devastating consequences.

After meeting Tom, the young scion of the Stanton family, Alice becomes determined to uncover the clan’s tragic past and exorcise the ghosts of this idyllic, isolated house. But nothing can prepare Alice for what she uncovers. Soon it is her turn to fear: can she escape the tragic fate of the other women who have lived in the Fiercombe valley...
Visit Kate Riordan's website.

The Page 69 Test: Fiercombe Manor.

--Marshal Zeringue