Thursday, October 02, 2014

Ten top rural Irish books

Paul Charles's new book is The Lonesome Heart is Angry.

One of his top ten rural Irish books, as shared at the Guardian:
The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien

Brilliant and brave; banned and burned. Edna O’Brien’s first book (1960) brought shame on her family when it was banned by the Irish censor and burned by the local priest at the pulpit. Two young Irish girls, Kate (the narrator) and Baba, leave the safety of the local convent behind them in search of adventure and love in the big city. Kate’s priority is to find true love; Baba grasps the carefree life of a single girl while both try to maintain what is, at times, a difficult friendship. O’Brien’s book was responsible for outing sexual and social issues in greatly repressed times.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Country Girls is one of Alexis Coe's top ten books for recent graduates.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Lynn Hunt's "Writing History in the Global Era"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Writing History in the Global Era by Lynn Hunt.

About the book, from the publisher:
Leading historian Lynn Hunt rethinks why history matters in today’s global world and how it should be written.

George Orwell wrote that “history is written by the winners.” Even if that seems a bit too cut-and-dried, we can say that history is always written from a viewpoint but that viewpoints change, sometimes radically.

The history of workers, women, and minorities challenged the once-unquestioned dominance of the tales of great leaders and military victories. Then, cultural studies—including feminism and queer studies—brought fresh perspectives, but those too have run their course.

With globalization emerging as a major economic, cultural, and political force, Lynn Hunt examines whether it can reinvigorate the telling of history. She hopes that scholars from East and West can collaborate in new ways and write wider-ranging works.

At the same time, Hunt argues that we could better understand the effects of globalization in the past if we knew more about how individuals felt about the changes they were experiencing. She proposes a sweeping reevaluation of individuals’ active role and their place in society as the keys to understanding the way people and ideas interact. She also reveals how surprising new perspectives on society and the self—from environmental history, the history of human-animal interactions, and even neuroscience—offer promising new ways of thinking about the meaning and purpose of history in our time.
Learn more about Writing History in the Global Era at the W. W. Norton website.

Writers Read: Lynn Hunt.

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

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Pg. 69: S. Craig Zahler's "Mean Business on North Ganson Street"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Mean Business on North Ganson Street by S. Craig Zahler.

About the book, from the publisher, from the publisher:
A distraught businessman kills himself after a short, impolite conversation with a detective named Jules Bettinger. Because of this incident, the unkind (but decorated) policeman is forced to relocate himself and his family from Arizona to the frigid north, where he will work for an understaffed precinct in Victory, Missouri. This collapsed rustbelt city is a dying beast that devours itself and its inhabitants...and has done so for more than four decades. Its streets are covered with dead pigeons and there are seven hundred criminals for every law enforcer.

Partnered with a boorish and demoted corporal, Bettinger investigates a double homicide in which two policemen were slain and mutilated. The detective looks for answers in the fringes of the city and also in the pasts of the cops with whom he works—men who stomped on a local drug dealer until he was disabled.

Bettinger soon begins to suspect that the double homicide is not an isolated event, but a prelude to a series of cop executions...
Visit S. Craig Zahler's website.

Writers Read: S. Craig Zahler.

The Page 69 Test: Mean Business on North Ganson Street.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top classics of dystopian fiction

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Ellen Wehle tagged five can’t-miss classics of dystopian fiction, including:
The Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula K. Le Guin

Once again, the desire to do good results in terrible evil. George Orr has a power he can’t control: whatever he dreams turns into reality. His psychiatrist, Dr. Haber, sees the potential to improve society and begins giving George suggestions while he’s under hypnosis. But in true Frankenstein fashion, each improvement only triggers more pain. Hunger, overpopulation? Haber whispers in his ear, and George wakes to a world where millions have died in a plague. Another whisper and alien spaceships land on earth. Soon the very fabric of reality is at risk.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Stephanie Feldman's "The Angel of Losses," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman.

The entry begins:
I’ve always thought casting sounds like fun job, and what’s more fun than casting your own story? Or, more difficult? It’s tougher than I expected to put aside my mental images of the characters in The Angel of Losses. None of these actors look like the people I imagined as I wrote, but they’re all great, and could do the story justice.

My narrator, Marjorie, is a young graduate student writing a dissertation about a 200-year-old ghost story. She's a workaholic and a loner, but she's also fiercely protective of the people she loves. At the beginning of the story, however, Marjorie’s estranged from her younger sister Holly, who has converted to Orthodox Judaism and married a man her family despises. Holly was once the cheerful, easy-going one, but Holly’s no longer so flexible and forgiving.

They don’t look alike, but I can imagine Anna Kendrick and...[read on]
Visit Stephanie Feldman's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Angel of Losses made Nicole Hill's list of five of the best new girl-powered sci-fi and fantasy novels.

The Page 69 Test: The Angel of Losses.

Writers Read: Stephanie Feldman.

My Book, The Movie: The Angel of Losses.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Jana Bommersbach reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jana Bommersbach, author of Cattle Kate.

Her entry begins:
This summer when I began a new fiction book set in North Dakota, I searched out books by and about the 39th state. That's how I found Louise Erdrich and her fabulous books set on and off the Dakota reservation. Love Medicine is an acclaimed look inside the Dakota culture through several generations...[read on]
About Cattle Kate, from the publisher:
Cattle Kate is the only woman ever lynched as a cattle rustler. History called it “range land justice” when she was strung up in Wyoming Territory on July 20, 1889, tarring her as a dirty thief and a filthy whore.

But history was wrong. It was all a lie.

Her real name was Ella Watson. She wasn't a rustler. She wasn't a whore. And she'd never been called Cattle Kate until she was dead and they needed an excuse. She was really a 29-year-old immigrant homesteader, lynched with her husband by her rich and powerful cattle-baron neighbors who wanted her land and its precious water rights.

Now, on the 125th anniversary of her murder, the real Ella comes alive in Cattle Kate to tell her heartbreaking story. Jana Bommersbach’s debut novel bares a legend central to the western experience.
Visit Jana Bommersbach's website.

Writers Read: Jana Bommersbach.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pg. 69: Michael Nethercott's "The Haunting Ballad"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Haunting Ballad by Michael Nethercott.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Seance Society introduced mystery lovers to Mr. O’Nelligan and Lee Plunkett, an unlikely pair of sleuths on an equally unlikely case with a supernatural twist. Having taken over his father's PI business, Lee enlists O'Nelligan, a dapper Irishman with a flair for solving mysteries, to help catch a killer. Now, in Michael Nethercott's The Haunting Ballad, this sleuthing "odd couple" are back in another witty, charming, and wonderfully written mystery, this time set in 1957 in the burgeoning music scene of New York City's Greenwich Village.

It's the spring of 1957, and O'Nelligan and Plunkett are summoned to New York to investigate the death of a controversial folk song collector. The trail leads the pair to a diverse group of suspects including an eccentric Beat coffee house owner, a family of Irish balladeers (who may be IRA), a bluesy ex-con, a hundred-and-five-year-old Civil War drummer boy, and a self-proclaimed “ghost chanter” who sings songs that she receives from the dead. To complicate matters, there's a handsome, smooth-talking young folk singer who Lee's fiancée Audrey is enthralled by. And somewhere in the Bohemian swirl of the Village, a killer waits...
Visit Michael Nethercott's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: The Séance Society.

The Page 69 Test: The Haunting Ballad.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Charlotte Roberts's "Edward Gibbon and the Shape of History"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Edward Gibbon and the Shape of History by Charlotte Roberts.

About the book, from the publisher:
Edward Gibbon's presentation of character in both the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and in his posthumously published Memoirs demonstrates a prevailing interest in the values of transcendent heroism and individual liberty, but also an insistent awareness of the dangers these values pose to coherence and narrative order. In this study, Charlotte Roberts demonstrates how these dynamics also inform the 'character' of the Decline and Fall: in which ironic difference confronts enervating uniformity; oddity counters specious lucidity; and revision combats repetition.

Edward Gibbon and the Shape of History explores the Decline and Fall as a work of scholarship and of literature, tracing both its expansive outline and its expressive details. A close examination of each of the three instalments of Gibbon's history reveals an intimate relationship between the style of Gibbon's narrative and the overall shape of his historiographical composition. The constant interplay between style and substance, or between the particular details of composition and the larger patterns of argument and narrative, informs every aspect of Gibbon's work: from his reception of established and innovative historiographical conventions to the expression of his narrative voice. Through a combination of close reading and larger literary and scholarly analysis, Charlotte Roberts conveys a sense of the Decline and Fall as a work more complex and conflicted, in its tone and structure, than has been appreciated by previous scholars, without losing sight of the grand contours of Gibbon's superlative achievement.
Learn more about Edward Gibbon and the Shape of History at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Edward Gibbon and the Shape of History.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top walks in books

Duncan Minshull is the editor of While Wandering: A Walking Companion.

One of his top ten walks in books, as shared at the Guardian:
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Collecting material for While Wandering, I found that the early 20th century was a heyday for rambling in Britain – which also meant lots of knickerbockered bores going on about the miles covered and equipment used. In Gibbons’ satire, one of these types, Mr Mybug, rambles with Flora the heroine. But his points of reference are all sexual, with phallic symbols looming everywhere: buds are nipples, hills are breasts, hollows are navels … Yes, that’ll do. And it’s enough for Flora as well, who later vows to walk in solitude. Sometimes the world of walking is easy to spoof.
Read about another entry on the list.

Cold Comfort Farm is among Henry Alford's six favorite books, Belinda McKeon top ten farming novels, John Mullan's ten best parodies in literature, and Lisa Armstrong's top books on shoes.

--Marshal Zeringue

Mary Miley's "Silent Murders," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Silent Murders by Mary Miley.

The entry begins:
This question, commonly posed to fiction authors and book club readers, is harder for me to answer than it would seem. The main character in Silent Murders (and in the entire Roaring Twenties series) is a young woman who has spent her life on the vaudeville stage playing kiddie roles into her mid twenties. Any actress playing Jessie would need to be petite and have a boyish 1920s silhouette—those traits, along with her acting skills, allow her to continue impersonating teenage girls, which is important to the stories. So the film version requires an actress who can believably become 16 with the right clothes and makeup. Not many fit that description. Drew Barrymore would have been perfect 15 years ago. Keira Knightley and Emma...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Mary Miley's website, blog, and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: The Impersonator.

Writers Read: Mary Miley.

The Page 69 Test: Silent Murders.

My Book, The Movie: Silent Murders.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ten top books about losing one's virginity

At the Daily Express, Radhika Sanghani recommended ten top books about losing one's virginity, including:
THE VIRGINS BY PAMELA ERENS

This novel tells the story of a boarding school and what happens when a young, sexy girl arrives.

All the boys assume she's had sex because of her provocative clothing and independence. She hasn't.

It's a lesson in appearances versus reality, and brings up the idea of slut-shaming.

But Aviva does eventually lose her virginity to Seung - but tragedy isn't far away.

The novel shows just how scary sexuality is to teens who are trying to figure out sex, combined with parental pressures.

A must-read for anyone who went to a boarding school.
Read about another entry on the list.

Writers Read: Pamela Erens (March 2008).

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Barry Lyga's "Blood of My Blood"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Blood of My Blood (I Hunt Killers Series #3) by Barry Lyga.

About the book, from the publisher:
Jazz Dent has been shot and left to die in New York City. His girlfriend Connie is in the clutches of Jazz's serial killer father, Billy. And his best friend Howie is bleeding to death on the floor of Jazz's own home in tiny Lobo's Nod. Somehow, these three must rise above the horrors their lives have become and find a way to come together in pursuit of Billy. But then Jazz crosses a line he's never crossed before, and soon the entire country is wondering: "Like father, like son?" Who is the true monster?

The chase is on, and beyond Billy there lurks something much, much worse. Prepare to meet...the Crow King.
Visit Barry Lyga's website.

The Page 69 Test: Blood of My Blood.

--Marshal Zeringue

Coffee with a canine: Dori Hillestad Butler & Mouse

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Dori Hillestad Butler & Mouse.

The author, on how Mouse got his name:
I have to blame my older son for that. The shelter said his name was Mowgli, but that was too close to our other dog’s name (Molly). I was thinking I’d call him Shadow, but my son is a fan of the Dresden books. Harry Dresden has a big gray dog named Mouse. My son liked the irony of a huge dog named Mouse. And well…I guess I did, too. It worked well when we became a registered therapy dog team. Having a 102 pound dog named Mouse is...[read on]
About Dori Hillestad Butler's The Haunted Library, from the publisher:
When ghost boy Kaz’s haunt is torn down and he is separated from his ghost family, he meets a real girl named Claire, who lives above the town library with her parents and her grandmother. Claire has a special ability to see ghosts when other humans cannot and she and Kaz quickly form a friendship. The two join forces to solve the mystery of the ghost that’s haunting the library. Could it be one of Kaz’s lost family members?
Learn more about the book and author at Dori Hillestad Butler's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Haunted Library.

Coffee with a Canine: Dori Hillestad Butler & Mouse.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Meredith Gill's "Angels and the Order of Heaven in Medieval and Renaissance Italy"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Angels and the Order of Heaven in Medieval and Renaissance Italy by Meredith J. Gill.

About the book, from the publisher:
From earliest times, angels have been seen as instruments of salvation and retribution, agents of revelation, and harbingers of hope. In effect, angels are situated at the intersections of diverse belief structures and philosophical systems. In this book, Meredith J. Gill examines the role of angels in medieval and Renaissance conceptions of heaven. She considers the character of Renaissance angelology as distinct from the medieval theological traditions that informed it and from which it emerged. Tracing the iconography of angels in text and in visual form, she also uncovers the philosophical underpinnings of medieval and Renaissance definitions of angels and their nature. From Dante through Pico della Mirandola, from the images of angels depicted by Fra Angelico to those painted by Raphael and his followers, angels, Gill argues, are the touchstones and markers of the era's intellectual self-understanding, and its classical revival, theological doctrines, and artistic imagination.
Learn more about Angels and the Order of Heaven in Medieval and Renaissance Italy at the Cambridge University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Angels and the Order of Heaven in Medieval and Renaissance Italy.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is S. Craig Zahler reading?

Featured at Writers Read: S. Craig Zahler, author of Mean Business on North Ganson Street.

His entry begins:
Brittle paper life forms from the earlier part of the previous century are filling up my apartment.

Reading pulp magazines has changed from a growing interest to an outright addiction.

During my explorations of the pulpwood vastness, I read the May 1st 1931 issue of the Adventure pulp magazine, which will be the subject for this article. This highly-regarded publication is loaded with tales that were written by actual adventurers and well-traveled, worldly experts of that era. So yes, this publication is less "pulpy" than my favorite pulp magazines—The Spider, Operator #5, Dime Detective, Weird Tales, and Terror Tales—but I do not use the term "pulpy" in a pejorative sense, though many do. Melodrama and implausibility often cause something to feel "pulpy," but for me, creativity and passion regularly trump realism, so I...[read on]
About Mean Business on North Ganson Street, from the publisher:
A distraught businessman kills himself after a short, impolite conversation with a detective named Jules Bettinger. Because of this incident, the unkind (but decorated) policeman is forced to relocate himself and his family from Arizona to the frigid north, where he will work for an understaffed precinct in Victory, Missouri. This collapsed rustbelt city is a dying beast that devours itself and its inhabitants...and has done so for more than four decades. Its streets are covered with dead pigeons and there are seven hundred criminals for every law enforcer.

Partnered with a boorish and demoted corporal, Bettinger investigates a double homicide in which two policemen were slain and mutilated. The detective looks for answers in the fringes of the city and also in the pasts of the cops with whom he works—men who stomped on a local drug dealer until he was disabled.

Bettinger soon begins to suspect that the double homicide is not an isolated event, but a prelude to a series of cop executions...
Visit S. Craig Zahler's website.

Writers Read: S. Craig Zahler.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Six domestic chillers for fans of Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl"

At the Telegraph Siân Ranscombe tagged six domestic chillers for fans of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, including:
Before We Met, Lucie Whitehouse

Woman is swept off her feet by British man in New York and moves immediately back to London with him. Not sure how this could ever seem a good idea. Protagonist Hannah does exactly this, though, and soon regrets it. When new husband Mark fails to return from a business trip and she finds her bank account empty, she begins to regret it even harder. You will have seen this book in train stations everywhere since its release earlier this year and for good reason.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Emily Liebert's "When We Fall," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: When We Fall by Emily Liebert.

The entry begins:
This is the dream, right? Having your book turned into a movie (I’ll take TV too!). While I’d love to say I haven’t given this hours of thought—specifically when I can’t sleep in the middle of the night—that would be a big fat lie! So, here goes. Charlotte and Allison are the main characters in When We Fall, so I’d love to see two strong actresses play those roles. I’d have to say Natalie Portman for Allison. To me, they both embody beauty and grace, inside and out. For Charlotte, Amy...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Emily Liebert's website.

The Page 69 Test: When We Fall.

Writers Read: Emily Liebert.

My Book, The Movie: When We Fall.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Stuart Gibbs's "Space Case"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Space Case by Stuart Gibbs.

About the book, from the publisher:
It’s a murder mystery on the moon in this humorous and suspenseful space adventure from the author of Belly Up and Spy School.

Like his fellow lunarnauts—otherwise known as Moonies—living on Moon Base Alpha, twelve-year-old Dashiell Gibson is famous the world over for being one of the first humans to live on the moon.

And he’s bored out of his mind. Kids aren’t allowed on the lunar surface, meaning they’re trapped inside the tiny moon base with next to nothing to occupy their time—and the only other kid Dash’s age spends all his time hooked into virtual reality games.

Then Moon Base Alpha’s top scientist turns up dead. Dash senses there’s foul play afoot, but no one believes him. Everyone agrees Dr. Holtz went onto the lunar surface without his helmet properly affixed, simple as that. But Dr. Holtz was on the verge of an important new discovery, Dash finds out, and it’s a secret that could change everything for the Moonies—a secret someone just might kill to keep...
Visit Stuart Gibbs's website.

The Page 69 Test: Space Case.

--Marshal Zeringue

Jay Rayner's 6 best books

Jay Rayner is a British journalist, writer, broadcaster and food critic.

One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
FATHERLAND by Robert Harris

Set in the 1960s this surmises that Hitler won the war and nobody knows about the Holocaust.

It brought together thoughts on how you could use real current affairs to write a page-turner, which became influential when I wrote The Apologist.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pg. 99: Jonathan Darman's "Landslide"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Landslide: LBJ and Ronald Reagan at the Dawn of a New America by Jonathan Darman.

About the book, from the publisher:
In politics, the man who takes the highest spot after a landslide is not standing on solid ground.

In this riveting work of narrative nonfiction, Jonathan Darman tells the story of two giants of American politics, Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan, and shows how, from 1963 to 1966, these two men—the same age, and driven by the same heroic ambitions—changed American politics forever.

The liberal and the conservative. The deal-making arm twister and the cool communicator. The Texas rancher and the Hollywood star. Opposites in politics and style, Johnson and Reagan shared a defining impulse: to set forth a grand story of America, a story in which he could be the hero. In the tumultuous days after the Kennedy assassination, Johnson and Reagan each, in turn, seized the chance to offer the country a new vision for the future. Bringing to life their vivid personalities and the anxious mood of America in a radically transformative time, Darman shows how, in promising the impossible, Johnson and Reagan jointly dismantled the long American tradition of consensus politics and ushered in a new era of fracture. History comes to life in Darman’s vivid, fly-on-the wall storytelling.

Even as Johnson publicly revels in his triumphs, we see him grow obsessed with dark forces he believes are out to destroy him, while his wife, Lady Bird, urges her husband to put aside his paranoia and see the world as it really is. And as the war in Vietnam threatens to overtake his presidency, we witness Johnson desperately struggling to compensate with ever more extravagant promises for his Great Society.

On the other side of the country, Ronald Reagan, a fading actor years removed from his Hollywood glory, gradually turns toward a new career in California politics. We watch him delivering speeches to crowds who are desperate for a new leader. And we see him wielding his well-honed instinct for timing, waiting for Johnson’s majestic promises to prove empty before he steps back into the spotlight, on his long journey toward the presidency.

From Johnson’s election in 1964, the greatest popular-vote landslide in American history, to the pivotal 1966 midterms, when Reagan burst forth onto the national stage, Landslide brings alive a country transformed—by riots, protests, the rise of television, the shattering of consensus—and the two towering personalities whose choices in those moments would reverberate through the country for decades to come.
Visit Jonathan Darman's website and Twitter perch.

The Page 99 Test: Landslide: LBJ and Ronald Reagan at the Dawn of a New America.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five forgotten sci-fi novels that deserve to be rediscovered

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

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog he tagged five forgotten sci-fi novels that deserve to be rediscovered, including:
Blood Music, by Greg Bear

It’s difficult to believe how thoroughly everyone outside of SF fandom seems to have forgotten this 1985 novel, the most recent entry on this list. While it has dated in the same way as William Gibson’s contemporary work, Bear’s study of nanotechnology, the nature of observable reality, and the crooked, unpredictable path life follows as it evolves through new and unexpected environments remains thoughtful, powerful, and a little bit scary. For a time, Blood Music was taught in college courses, but today it’s slid into the first stages of obscurity—which is a terrible shame.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Lynn Hunt reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Lynn Hunt, author of Writing History in the Global Era.

Her entry begins:
I always read more than one book at a time. I recently finished a novel by one of my favorite authors, the Malaysian novelist Tan Twan Eng. The Gift of Rain is about the Japanese occupation of Malaysia and its effect in particular on a half English, half Chinese young man. I read it because I loved the author's novel The Garden of the Evening Mists, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. I count it as one of the most beautiful and compelling novels I have ever read, and...[read on]
About Writing History in the Global Era, from the publisher:
Leading historian Lynn Hunt rethinks why history matters in today’s global world and how it should be written.

George Orwell wrote that “history is written by the winners.” Even if that seems a bit too cut-and-dried, we can say that history is always written from a viewpoint but that viewpoints change, sometimes radically.

The history of workers, women, and minorities challenged the once-unquestioned dominance of the tales of great leaders and military victories. Then, cultural studies—including feminism and queer studies—brought fresh perspectives, but those too have run their course.

With globalization emerging as a major economic, cultural, and political force, Lynn Hunt examines whether it can reinvigorate the telling of history. She hopes that scholars from East and West can collaborate in new ways and write wider-ranging works.

At the same time, Hunt argues that we could better understand the effects of globalization in the past if we knew more about how individuals felt about the changes they were experiencing. She proposes a sweeping reevaluation of individuals’ active role and their place in society as the keys to understanding the way people and ideas interact. She also reveals how surprising new perspectives on society and the self—from environmental history, the history of human-animal interactions, and even neuroscience—offer promising new ways of thinking about the meaning and purpose of history in our time.
Learn more about Writing History in the Global Era at the W. W. Norton website.

Writers Read: Lynn Hunt.

--Marshal Zeringue

Peter Thiel's six favorite books that predict the future

Facebook investor Peter Thiel is the author of the new book, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. One of his six favorite books that predict the future, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

You can't build new things just with technical know-how; you need imagination. Stephenson's is boundless: This novel is not just the most entertaining book you can read about artificial intelligence and nanotechnology; it will inspire inventions your kids will use — or create.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Diamond Age is among Jason Stoddard's top five positive science fiction novels, i.e. works about the transformative powers of science.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 26, 2014

Joe Gannon's "Night of the Jaguar," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Night of the Jaguar by Joe Gannon.

The entry begins:
I always had a very specific man in mind for my detective, Captain Ajax Montoya – he is on the cover of his memoir of his years with the Sandinistas. His name is Omar Cabezas, and his book, Fire from the Mountain, was a big hit when it was published in 1980’s.

But for the movie, I have always channeled Javier Bardem, who can play a fop, a super- sized James Bond villain, or the cool psychopathic killer from No Country for Old Men. He has the face of a man overcome by sadness, but not defeated by it. However...[read on]
Visit Joe Gannon's website.

The Page 69 Test: Night of the Jaguar.

My Book, The Movie: Night of the Jaguar.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Benjamin Whitmer's "Cry Father"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Cry Father by Benjamin Whitmer.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the tradition of Cormac McCarthy and Larry Brown comes a haunting story about men, their fathers, their sons, and the legacy of violence.

For Patterson Wells, disaster is the norm. Working alongside dangerous, desperate, itinerant men as a tree clearer in disaster zones, he’s still dealing with the loss of his young son. Writing letters to the boy offers some solace. The bottle gives more.

Upon a return trip to Colorado, Patterson stops to go fishing with an old acquaintance, only to find him in a meth-induced delirium and keeping a woman tied up in the bathtub. In the ensuing chain of events, which will test not only his future but his past, Patterson tries to do the right thing. Still, in the lives of those he knows, violence and justice have made of each other strange, intoxicating bedfellows.

Hailed as “the next great American writer” (Frank Bill, author of Crimes in Southern Indiana), Benjamin Whitmer has crafted a literary triumph that is by turns harrowing, darkly comic, and wise.
Visit Benjamin Whitmer's website.

The Page 69 Test: Cry Father.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books for young danger lovers

Ross Montgomery, author of The Tornado Chasers, notes that "children’s books can demonstrate a somewhat lax approach to disaster and death." One of his favorite books for danger lovers, as shared at the Guardian:
Holes by Louis Sachar

Young Stanley Yelnats is sent to Camp Green Lake for a crime he didn’t commit, where the inmates are forced to dig holes in the desert all day to “build character” and the wardens don’t care if you live or die. Just in case that was too much like fun, there are also yellow-spotted lizards in the ground whose bites kill instantly.
Read about another entry on the list.

Holes is among Phil Earle's top ten zeros-to-heros in stories for children and young adults, Leah Hyslop's six best beverages in books, and Sarah Moore Fitzgerald's top ten books featuring grandparents.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Yong Zhao's "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon?"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon?: Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World by Yong Zhao.

About the book, from the publisher:
The secrets behind China's extraordinary educational system – good, bad, and ugly

Chinese students' consistently stunning performance on the international PISA exams— where they outscore students of all other nations in math, reading, and science—have positioned China as a world education leader. American educators and pundits have declared this a "Sputnik Moment," saying that we must learn from China's education system in order to maintain our status as an education leader and global superpower.

Indeed, many of the reforms taking hold in United States schools, such as a greater emphasis on standardized testing and the increasing importance of core subjects like reading and math, echo the Chinese system. We're following in China's footsteps—but is this the direction we should take?

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? by award-winning writer Yong Zhao offers an entertaining, provocative insider's account of the Chinese school system, revealing the secrets that make it both "the best and worst" in the world. Born and raised in China's Sichuan province and a teacher in China for many years, Zhao has a unique perspective on Chinese culture and education. He explains in vivid detail how China turns out the world's highest-achieving students in reading, math, and science—yet by all accounts Chinese educators, parents, and political leaders hate the system and long to send their kids to western schools. Filled with fascinating stories and compelling data, Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? offers a nuanced and sobering tour of education in China.
Visit Yong Zhao's website.

The Page 99 Test: Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon?.

--Marshal Zeringue