Sunday, May 20, 2018

What is Mindee Arnett reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Mindee Arnett, author of Onyx & Ivory.

Her entry begins:
As usual, my reading material has been all over the board in terms of genre and themes. I started the year off with young adult fantasies like An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson and Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. Then I switched to sci-fi for a little while, reading book 3 in The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey (which the awesome TV show of the same title is based on), and then Obsidio, the third and final book in the stellar Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, and now I’ve moved onto some middle grade.

But the book I want to talk about most, the book that has stayed with the most so far this season, is...[read on]
About Onyx & Ivory, from the publisher:
They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king of Rime.

Cast out of the nobility, Kate now works for the royal courier service. Only the most skilled ride for the Relay and only the fastest survive, for when night falls, the drakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: She is a wilder, born with forbidden magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals.

And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by drakes in broad daylight—the only survivor Corwin Tormaine, the son of the king. Her first love, the boy she swore to forget after he condemned her father to death.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin must put the past behind them to face this new threat and an even darker menace stirring in the kingdom.
Visit Mindee Arnett's website.

The Page 69 Test: Avalon.

Writers Read: Mindee Arnett.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ben Okri's 6 best books

Poet and novelist Ben Okri was born in 1959 in Minna, northern Nigeria, to an Igbo mother and Urhobo father. He grew up in London before returning to Nigeria with his family in 1968. He is the author of The Famished Road which won the Booker Prize in 1991.

One of Okri's six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
INVISIBLE MAN
by Ralph Ellison

An African-American novel that should be widely read. It was published in the 1950s and practically started a race war. It tells the story of a black man’s trials and tribulations. Many people have misunderstood the title, thinking how can a black man be invisible? But the real invisibility is in the mind. Windrush is a good example of that today.
Read about another entry on the list.

Invisible Man comes in second on the list of the 100 best last lines from novels; it appears among Matthew Guerrieri's five top books inspired by Beethoven's Fifth, Bruna Lobato's ten must-read classics by African American authors, Peter Dimock's top ten books that rewrite history, five novels that explore the dark side in New York City, Peter Forbes's top ten books on color, Joyce Hackett's top ten musical novels, Sam Munson's six best stoner novels, and John Mullan's list of ten of the best nameless protagonists in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Michael Zakim's "Accounting for Capitalism"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Accounting for Capitalism: The World the Clerk Made by Michael Zakim.

About the book, from the publisher:
The clerk attended his desk and counter at the intersection of two great themes of modern historical experience: the development of a market economy and of a society governed from below. Who better illustrates the daily practice and production of this modernity than someone of no particular account assigned with overseeing all the new buying and selling? In Accounting for Capitalism, Michael Zakim has written their story, a social history of capital that seeks to explain how the “bottom line” became a synonym for truth in an age shorn of absolutes, grafted onto our very sense of reason and trust.

This is a big story, told through an ostensibly marginal event: the birth of a class of “merchant clerks” in the United States in the middle of the nineteenth century. The personal trajectory of these young men from farm to metropolis, homestead to boarding house, and, most significantly, from growing things to selling them exemplified the enormous social effort required to domesticate the profit motive and turn it into the practical foundation of civic life. As Zakim reveals in his highly original study, there was nothing natural or preordained about the stunning ascendance of this capitalism and its radical transformation of the relationship between “Man and Mammon.”
Learn more about Accounting for Capitalism at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Accounting for Capitalism.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Pg. 69: Glenn Cooper's "Sign of the Cross"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Sign of the Cross: A religious conspiracy thriller by Glenn Cooper.

About the book, from the publisher:
Summoned by the Vatican, Harvard professor Cal Donovan flies to Italy to interview a young priest who has developed the stigmata of the crucifixion. Stunned to discover the priest's condition may be genuine, Cal comes to realize that the priest holds the key to an earth-shattering secret: a secret which others are desperate to control.
Visit Glenn Cooper's website.

The Page 69 Test: Sign of the Cross.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eleven top recent novels that powerfully tackle gun violence

At Entertainment Weekly Mary Kate Carr tagged eleven recent novels that powerfully tackle gun violence. One title on the list:
Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Joan is enjoying the end of a relaxing day at the zoo with her four-year-old son when she hears the sound of nearby gunfire. For the next three hours, Joan is on a whirlwind mission to protect herself and her son from danger, running through the zoo and hiding where she can.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Ryan Kirk reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Ryan Kirk, author of Nightblade's Honor. 

His entry begins:
I have to confess that 2018 has been a great year of reading so far. There have been a few stories that stand out to me.

The first is Abaddon's Gate, by James SA Corey. This is the third book of the much-loved Expanse series, and for good reason. I was introduced to the world by the television series, but immediately knew I needed to read the books the shows are based off of. This story deserves...[read on]
About Nightblade's Honor, from the publisher:
In the riveting sequel to Nightblade’s Vengeance, the nightblades must choose a side, and the Kingdom will either rise again…or shatter into pieces.

With the realm on the brink of war, the once-celebrated blades have become an easy target for the rage of its devastated citizens. The nightblade warrior Asa’s lifelong quest for vengeance is over, but now she finds herself on the run from the people she sought to protect. As Asa forges a new course of action in an uncertain world, her path crosses with that of a young noblewoman.

Mari knows that great opportunity lies in the heart of chaos. If the Kingdom is to rise again, Mari will need support, and she can think of no group better than the nightblades. But the nightblades have been betrayed before, and gaining their trust will not be easy.

Mari wants to save the Kingdom. Asa wants to save the people. Both are willing to risk everything. But do their quests make them allies…or enemies?
Visit Ryan Kirk's website.

The Page 69 Test: Nightblade's Vengeance.

The Page 69 Test: Nightblade's Honor.

Writers Read: Ryan Kirk.

--Marshal Zeringue

Jack Campbell's "Ascendant," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Ascendant by Jack Campbell.

The entry begins:
Who would I like to play the lead roles if Ascendant was turned into a movie?

That's a tough one. In part because some of the best actors for a certain role are ones I've already committed to roles if the later Lost Fleet series becomes movies. For example, Katee Sackhoff would be great as Mele Darcy the Marine, but I want Katee for the role of battle cruiser commander Tanya Desjani in the later books. Elena Anaya or...[read on]
Visit Jack Campbell's website.

Writers Read: Jack Campbell.

My Book, The Movie: Ascendant.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 18, 2018

Coffee with a canine: Melissa Caruso & Freya

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Melissa Caruso & Freya.

The author, on how she and Freya were united:
Freya was a Christmas present to the whole family. When my eldest (who was five at the time) opened the surprise box we’d carried her into the house in and saw her for the first time, she whispered “It’s real!” in this awed voice, as if she’d seen a magical creature. And in a way she really did—I’m not sure...[read on]
About Melissa Caruso's The Defiant Heir, from the publisher:
Across the border, the Witch Lords of Vaskandar are preparing for war. But before an invasion can begin, they must call a rare gathering of all seventeen lords to decide a course of action.

Lady Amalia Cornaro knows that this Conclave might be her only chance to smother the growing flames of war, and she is ready to make any sacrifice if it means saving Raverra from destruction.

Amalia and Zaira must go behind enemy lines, using every ounce of wit and cunning they have, to sway Vaskandar from war. Or else it will all come down to swords and fire.
Visit Melissa Caruso's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Melissa Caruso & Freya.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Stephanie J. Rickard's "Spending to Win"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Spending to Win: Political Institutions, Economic Geography, and Government Subsidies by Stephanie J. Rickard.

About the book, from the publisher:
Governments in some democracies target economic policies, like industrial subsidies, to small groups at the expense of many. Why do some governments redistribute more narrowly than others? Their willingness to selectively target economic benefits, like subsidies to businesses, depends on the way politicians are elected and the geographic distribution of economic activities. Based on interviews with government ministers and bureaucrats, as well as parliamentary records, industry publications, local media coverage, and new quantitative data, Spending to Win: Political Institutions, Economic Geography, and Government Subsidies demonstrates that government policy-making can be explained by the combination of electoral institutions and economic geography. Specifically, it shows how institutions interact with economic geography to influence countries' economic policies and international economic relations. Identical institutions have wide-ranging effects depending on the context in which they operate. No single institution is a panacea for issues, such as income inequality, international economic conflict, or minority representation.
Stephanie Rickard is Associate Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Learn more about Spending to Win at the Cambridge University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Spending to Win.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Samuel Miller's "A Lite Too Bright"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: A Lite Too Bright by Samuel Miller.

About the book, from the publisher:
For fans of literary classics such as The Catcher in the Rye and The Perks of Being a Wallflower comes a stirring new thought-provoking novel from debut author Sam Miller about a loss shrouded in mystery with twists and turns down every railway.

Arthur Louis Pullman the Third is on the verge of a breakdown. He’s been stripped of his college scholarship, is losing his grip on reality, and has been sent away to live with his aunt and uncle.

It’s there that Arthur discovers a journal written by his grandfather, the first Arthur Louis Pullman, an iconic Salinger-esque author who went missing the last week of his life and died hundreds of miles away from their family home. What happened in that week—and how much his actions were influenced by his Alzheimer’s—remains a mystery.

But now Arthur has his grandfather’s journal—and a final sentence containing a train route and a destination.

So Arthur embarks on a cross-country train ride to relive his grandfather’s last week, guided only by the clues left behind in the dementia-fueled journal. As Arthur gets closer to uncovering a sad and terrible truth, his journey is complicated by a shaky alliance with a girl who has secrets of her own and by escalating run-ins with a dangerous Pullman fan base.

Arthur’s not the only one chasing a legacy—and some feel there is no cost too high for the truth.
Visit Samuel Miller's website.

Writers Read: Samuel Miller.

The Page 69 Test: A Lite Too Bright.

--Marshal Zeringue

Novels that get YA anxiety right

At the BN Teen Blog Dahlia Adler rounded up some expert opinion on YA novels that get teen anxiety right. One title to make the list, recommended by Adler herself:
How it Ends, by Catherine Lo

What struck me in Lo’s debut, and which I haven’t really had hit me in the same way in any other book, is the way anxiety can take over your life in the way the insecurity it produces can quietly tear friendships apart. The way Jessie imagined people were viewing her, the way she assumed she was being judged, the way she was unable to voice her thoughts and feelings resonated with me so strongly, and watching her friendship with Annie crumble because they weren’t equipped to have the conversations they needed to have was painful to read in large part because it’s so real. This is such an underread book, and it’s a shame because when I read it, all I could think was how many people I knew would see themselves in its pages. So I hope they—you—pick it up now.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 17, 2018

What is Jack Campbell reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jack Campbell, author of Ascendant.

His entry begins:
I've been reading a mix of fiction and non-fiction lately. In non-fiction, I've been going back over Svetlana Alexievich's The Unwomanly Face of War. It's an incredibly powerful book, combining mostly untold history with a bottom up view of major events. For the most part the book consists of short pieces of interviews with Russian women who fought on the Eastern Front in World War Two. Their voices bring out clearly their sacrifices and their achievements without any boasting, just matter-of-fact accounts such as those of then-16-year old combat medics riding on the backs of tanks into battle so they could pull wounded men out of burning tanks and...[read on]
About Ascendant, from the publisher:
A young fleet officer and a Marine stand together to defend their colony in the continuation of the powerful and action-packed Genesis Fleet saga from New York Times bestselling author Jack Campbell.

In the three years since former fleet officer Rob Geary and former Marine Mele Darcy led improvised forces to repel attacks on the newly settled world of Glenlyon, tensions have only gotten worse.

When one of Glenlyon’s warships is blown apart trying to break the blockade that has isolated the world from the rest of human-colonized space, only the destroyer Saber remains to defend it from another attack. Geary’s decision to take Saber to the nearby star Kosatka to safeguard a diplomatic mission is a risky interpretation of his orders, to say the least.

Kosatka has been fighting a growing threat from so-called rebels–who are actually soldiers from aggressive colonies. When a “peacekeeping force” carrying thousands of enemy soldiers arrives in Kosatka’s star system, the people of that world, including Lochan Nakamura and former “Red” Carmen Ochoa, face an apparently hopeless battle to retain their freedom.

It’s said that the best defense is a good offense. But even if a bold and risky move succeeds, Geary and Darcy may not survive it…
Visit Jack Campbell's website.

Writers Read: Jack Campbell.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Lucas A. Powe Jr.'s "America’s Lone Star Constitution"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: America's Lone Star Constitution: How Supreme Court Cases from Texas Shape the Nation by Lucas A. Powe Jr.

About the book, from the publisher:
Texas has created more constitutional law than any other state. In any classroom nationwide, any basic constitutional law course can be taught using nothing but Texas cases. That, however, understates the history and politics behind the cases. Beyond representing all doctrinal areas of constitutional law, Texas cases deal with the major issues of the nation. Leading legal scholar and Supreme Court historian Lucas A. Powe, Jr., charts the rich and pervasive development of Texas-inspired constitutional law. From voting rights to railroad regulations, school finance to capital punishment, poverty to civil liberties, this wide-ranging and eminently readable book provides a window into the relationship between constitutional litigation and ordinary politics at the Supreme Court, illuminating how all of the fiercest national divides over what the Constitution means took shape in Texas.
Lucas A. Powe, Jr. is Anne Green Regents Chair in the School of Law and Professor of Government at the University of Texas.

Learn more about America's Lone Star Constitution at the University of California Press website.

The Page 99 Test: America's Lone Star Constitution.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Maxine Kaplan's "The Accidental Bad Girl"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Accidental Bad Girl by Maxine Kaplan.

About the book, from the publisher:
After getting caught hooking up with her best friend’s ex on the last day of junior year, Kendall starts senior year friendless and ostracized. She plans to keep her head down until she graduates. But after discovering her online identity has been hacked and she’s being framed for stealing from a dealer, Kendall is drawn into a tenuous partnership with the mastermind of a drug ring lurking in the shadows of her Brooklyn private school. If she wants to repair her tattered reputation and save her neck, she’ll have to decide who she really is—and own it. The longer she plays the role of “bad girl,” the more she becomes her new reputation. Friends and enemies, detectives and drug dealers—no one is who they appear to be. Least of all Kendall.
Visit Maxine Kaplan's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Accidental Bad Girl.

--Marshal Zeringue

Nick Oldham's "Bad Cops," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Bad Cops by Nick Oldham.

The entry begins:
With my first Henry Christie novel having been published some twenty-one years ago, the actors who I'd imagined in that role are probably a little bit long in the tooth now, so my ideas on that score have changed somewhat. That said, as a little anecdote, I did sell the TV rights (for about eight years) to a well-known production company in the 2000s for my novel Nightmare City. Needless to say, it was never made – however, I was privy to some of the names being suggested for the Christie role back then during production meetings, one of which was an emerging actor who went on to great fame and fortune playing James Bond (you'll just have to guess who that was!). However, the TV rights lapsed and it never happened, so I'm still in dreamland – and my current favourite for the Henry Christie role is Ioan Grufford, who's just about...[read on]
Follow Nick Oldham on Facebook and Twitter.

Writers Read: Nick Oldham.

The Page 69 Test: Bad Cops.

My Book, The Movie: Bad Cops.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten books to understand happiness

Dean Burnett is a neuroscientist, lecturer, author, blogger, media pundit, science communicator, comedian and numerous other things, depending on who’s asking and what they need. Although employed as a tutor and lecturer by the Cardiff University Centre for Medical Education in his day job, Burnett is best known for his satirical science column ‘Brain Flapping‘ at the Guardian, and his internationally acclaimed debut book The Idiot Brain. His latest book is Happy Brain: Where Happiness Comes From, and Why.

One of Burnett's top ten books to understand happiness, as shared at the Guardian:
Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall by Spike Milligan

When we think about what makes us happy, it often involves modern-day luxuries, such as expensive possessions, travelling, entertainments etc. But it’s possible to be happy without these things, even in the direst circumstances, as Spike’s collected war diaries demonstrate. Even amid a war zone, it seems the human brain can still find joy, laughter and pleasure.

Of course, this isn’t a given, and bleak situations will grind you down eventually. Milligan’s diaries grow more sombre and tragic as they progress. But even so, there are persistent happy moments throughout, which provide an amazing example of just how durable and persistent happiness can be.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

What is Samuel Miller reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Samuel Miller, author of A Lite Too Bright.

His entry begins:
Right now, I'm making my way through Liu Cixin's Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy (I'm on The Dark Forest now), which is thrilling me in a way that most Sci Fi doesn't (particularly Sci Fi that's this...measured). The ideas are enormous & sprawling & deliberately force the reader to question how much we know, & how much we can know about the universe around us. I'm also a sucker for people staring down the end of humanity & talking existentially about it, & this book has...[read on]
About A Lite Too Bright, from the publisher:
For fans of literary classics such as The Catcher in the Rye and The Perks of Being a Wallflower comes a stirring new thought-provoking novel from debut author Sam Miller about a loss shrouded in mystery with twists and turns down every railway.

Arthur Louis Pullman the Third is on the verge of a breakdown. He’s been stripped of his college scholarship, is losing his grip on reality, and has been sent away to live with his aunt and uncle.

It’s there that Arthur discovers a journal written by his grandfather, the first Arthur Louis Pullman, an iconic Salinger-esque author who went missing the last week of his life and died hundreds of miles away from their family home. What happened in that week—and how much his actions were influenced by his Alzheimer’s—remains a mystery.

But now Arthur has his grandfather’s journal—and a final sentence containing a train route and a destination.

So Arthur embarks on a cross-country train ride to relive his grandfather’s last week, guided only by the clues left behind in the dementia-fueled journal. As Arthur gets closer to uncovering a sad and terrible truth, his journey is complicated by a shaky alliance with a girl who has secrets of her own and by escalating run-ins with a dangerous Pullman fan base.

Arthur’s not the only one chasing a legacy—and some feel there is no cost too high for the truth.
Visit Samuel Miller's website.

Writers Read: Samuel Miller.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: David Charles Sloane's "Is the Cemetery Dead?"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Is the Cemetery Dead? by David Charles Sloane.

About the book, from the publisher:
In modern society, we have professionalized our care for the dying and deceased in hospitals and hospices, churches and funeral homes, cemeteries and mausoleums to aid dazed and disoriented mourners. But these formal institutions can be alienating and cold, leaving people craving a more humane mourning and burial process. The burial treatment itself has come to be seen as wasteful and harmful—marked by chemicals, plush caskets, and manicured greens. Today’s bereaved are therefore increasingly turning away from the old ways of death and searching for a more personalized, environmentally responsible, and ethical means of grief.

Is the Cemetery Dead? gets to the heart of the tragedy of death, chronicling how Americans are inventing new or adapting old traditions, burial places, and memorials. In illustrative prose, David Charles Sloane shows how people are taking control of their grief by bringing their relatives home to die, interring them in natural burial grounds, mourning them online, or memorializing them streetside with a shrine, ghost bike, or RIP mural. Today’s mourners are increasingly breaking free of conventions to better embrace the person they want to remember. As Sloane shows, these changes threaten the future of the cemetery, causing cemeteries to seek to become more responsive institutions.

A trained historian, Sloane is also descendent from multiple generations of cemetery managers and he grew up in Syracuse’s Oakwood Cemetery. Enriched by these experiences, as well as his personal struggles with overwhelming grief, Sloane presents a remarkable and accessible tour of our new American way of death.
Learn more about Is the Cemetery Dead? at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Is the Cemetery Dead?.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Ryan Kirk's "Nightblade's Honor"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Nightblade's Honor by Ryan Kirk.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the riveting sequel to Nightblade’s Vengeance, the nightblades must choose a side, and the Kingdom will either rise again…or shatter into pieces.

With the realm on the brink of war, the once-celebrated blades have become an easy target for the rage of its devastated citizens. The nightblade warrior Asa’s lifelong quest for vengeance is over, but now she finds herself on the run from the people she sought to protect. As Asa forges a new course of action in an uncertain world, her path crosses with that of a young noblewoman.

Mari knows that great opportunity lies in the heart of chaos. If the Kingdom is to rise again, Mari will need support, and she can think of no group better than the nightblades. But the nightblades have been betrayed before, and gaining their trust will not be easy.

Mari wants to save the Kingdom. Asa wants to save the people. Both are willing to risk everything. But do their quests make them allies…or enemies?
Visit Ryan Kirk's website.

The Page 69 Test: Nightblade's Vengeance.

The Page 69 Test: Nightblade's Honor.

--Marshal Zeringue

Daniel Czitrom's "New York Exposed," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: New York Exposed: The Gilded Age Police Scandal that Launched the Progressive Era by Daniel Czitrom.

The entry begins:
New York Exposed tells the story of how one man’s determination to uncover and end police corruption in 1890s New York upends the city and shocks the nation. Rev. Charles H. Parkhurst’s moral crusade to clean up New York reveals in unprecedented, headline grabbing detail, the tight links between police, politicians and the underworld. The city’s vice economy—including prostitution, the saloon trade, gambling, counterfeiting and more—thrives on servicing and conning thousands of New Yorkers and out of town visitors. All of this is managed by the New York Police Department, whose captains rule their precincts like personal fiefdoms.

Parkhurst’s fiery sermon of February 14, 1892 triggers widespread criticism and infuriates the District Attorney, who brings the minister before a Grand Jury. Can he offer any specific evidence about crimes back up his corruption charges? He...[read on]
Learn more about New York Exposed at the Oxford University Press website.

My Book, The Movie: New York Exposed.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books to understand transhumanism

Mark O’Connell is a Dublin based writer. He is a books columnist for Slate. His work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, The Observer, and The New Yorker.

O'Connell is the author of To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death.

One of the author's five books to understand transhumanism, as shared at the Guardian:
Speaking of inexhaustible weirdness, [The Denial of Death's Ernest] Becker could have written an entire book about Ray Kurzweil, the futurist and director of engineering at Google who has made a career out of the elaborate evasion of the reality of death. Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology is a monumental work of religious mysticism, which has somehow managed to pass itself off as technological futurism. It is long and complex, but its premise is simple, if incredibly strange: we are on the historical cusp of a great convergence, known as the Singularity, in which artificial intelligence becomes so powerful and sophisticated that we, as humans, will merge with technology, becoming immortal godlike creatures of infinite intelligence and capability. It’s an ecstatic vision of the end of history, from which Kurzweil emerges as a chimeric amalgam of Buckminster Fuller, Steve Ballmer and John of Patmos.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Singularity is Near is among Michio Kaku's five books to help you understand the future.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What is Martha Wells reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Martha Wells, author of Artificial Condition.

Her entry begins:
I've just finished An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon, which is getting excellent reviews for a good reason: it's an intense, gripping story that is brilliantly written. It's described as being about a group trapped on a generation ship which is under the control of a religious dictatorship and organized like the pre-Civil War south with decks segregated by race and treated like prisons. But it's also about smart people trying to...[read on]
About Artificial Condition, from the publisher:
Artificial Condition is the follow-up to Martha Wells's hugely popular science fiction action and adventure All Systems Red

It has a dark past—one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…
Visit Martha Wells's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Harbors of the Sun.

Writers Read: Martha Wells.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Nick Oldham's "Bad Cops"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Bad Cops by Nick Oldham.

About the book, from the publisher:
Two seemingly unconnected murders lead DCI Henry Christie to uncover a terrifying conspiracy in this gritty police procedural.

Two murders, apparently unconnected: one victim shot dead in his office, the other brutally stabbed in what appears to be a road rage incident. Neither case solved. Six months later, DCI Henry Christie is asked to carry out an urgent review of the two killings. His investigations will plunge him into a terrifying world of murder and corruption.
Follow Nick Oldham on Facebook and Twitter.

Writers Read: Nick Oldham.

The Page 69 Test: Bad Cops.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Emily Ogden's "Credulity"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Credulity: A Cultural History of US Mesmerism by Emily Ogden.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the 1830s to the Civil War, Americans could be found putting each other into trances for fun and profit in parlors, on stage, and in medical consulting rooms. They were performing mesmerism. Surprisingly central to literature and culture of the period, mesmerism embraced a variety of phenomena, including mind control, spirit travel, and clairvoyance. Although it had been debunked by Benjamin Franklin in late eighteenth-century France, the practice nonetheless enjoyed a decades-long resurgence in the United States. Emily Ogden here offers the first comprehensive account of those boom years.

Credulity tells the fascinating story of mesmerism’s spread from the plantations of the French Antilles to the textile factory cities of 1830s New England. As it proliferated along the Eastern seaboard, this occult movement attracted attention from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s circle and ignited the nineteenth-century equivalent of flame wars in the major newspapers. But mesmerism was not simply the last gasp of magic in modern times. Far from being magicians themselves, mesmerists claimed to provide the first rational means of manipulating the credulous human tendencies that had underwritten past superstitions. Now, rather than propping up the powers of oracles and false gods, these tendencies served modern ends such as labor supervision, education, and mediated communication. Neither an atavistic throwback nor a radical alternative, mesmerism was part and parcel of the modern. Credulity offers us a new way of understanding the place of enchantment in secularizing America.
Learn more about Credulity at the University of Chicago Press website.

My Book, The Movie: Credulity.

The Page 99 Test: Credulity.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top stories of sand & sea

Melissa Broder's new novel is The Pisces.

One of her six favorite stories of sand and sea, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe

"Certainly he must be the strangest of all ... he who was musing on the strangeness of things here," writes Abe in this novel, a Sisyphean tale about a man held against his will at the bottom of a sand pit and put to work shoveling sand dunes that never stop rising. If this isn't life, what is?
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 14, 2018

What is Madeline Miller reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Madeline Miller, author of Circe.

Her entry begins:
The Verdun Affair, by Nick Dybek. I was surprised to be sent an advanced copy of this novel, since I usually receive ancient war books, not modern ones. But I did what I always do: read the first page to see if it grabbed me. And it did! The novel is set after the first World War, and focuses on a former ambulance driver who is collecting the bones of the dead in the French countryside. It is a haunting set up, which Dybek draws out beautifully, giving us a narrator who can evoke both the mundane and devastating aspects of the task. It is a book about big things: memory and war, about the effect of unfathomable violence on our human psyches, about love, and the struggle to move forward after trauma. But what really drew me in was the characters. So often books that have such sweeping scope aren’t grounded in specific men and women struggling with hopes and griefs, but Dybek manages to...[read on]
About Circe, from the publisher:
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.
Learn more about the book and author at Madeline Miller's website.

See Madeline Miller's top ten classical books.

My Book, The Movie: The Song of Achilles.

Writers Read: Madeline Miller.

--Marshal Zeringue

Stacey Filak's "The Queen Underneath," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Queen Underneath by Stacey Filak.

The entry begins:
The Queen Underneath takes place in the city-state of Yigris, the smallest of four nations on an island called The Four Winds. The population of Yigris is varied and diverse, and so would be the cast of a movie version of it.

To play Gemma, the fierce but feminine leader of Under, the home of thieves, assassins, pirates, and sex-workers, I would cast Frankie Adams. Ever since I first saw Ms. Adams on The Expanse T.V. show, she has been my ideal for this leading character. Her confidence, charisma, and presence – both physical and personality-wise – make her a perfect fit.

In the role of Tollan, the naïve and untested King of Above, I would love to see John...[read on]
Visit Stacey Filak's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Queen Underneath.

Writers Read: Stacey Filak.

My Book, The Movie: The Queen Underneath.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Aimee Molloy's "The Perfect Mother"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Perfect Mother: A Novel by Aimee Molloy.

About the book, from the publisher:
A night out. A few hours of fun. That’s all it was meant to be.

They call themselves the May Mothers—a group of new moms whose babies were born in the same month. Twice a week, they get together in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park for some much-needed adult time.

When the women go out for drinks at the hip neighborhood bar,they are looking for a fun break from their daily routine. But on this hot Fourth of July night, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is taken from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but her fellow May Mothers insisted everything would be fine. Now he is missing. What follows is a heart-pounding race to find Midas, during which secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are destroyed.
Visit Aimee Molloy's website.

Writers Read: Aimee Molloy.

The Page 69 Test: The Perfect Mother.

--Marshal Zeringue

Stefanie Powers's six best books

Stefanie Powers may be best known as co-star of the long running Hart to Hart, playing opposite Robert Wagner. One of her six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN
by Simon Winchester

This is the story of the greatest contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary. You can't imagine it would hold your attention but it's riveting.

I am devoted to anything by this author. His books are based on good storytelling that feels like fiction but is absolutely true. I picked this up by chance in a bookshop years ago.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue