Sunday, August 25, 2019

What is Sara Lövestam reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Sara Lövestam, author of The Truth Behind the Lie: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
Right now, I am actually reading Stephen King's On Writing, first published in 2000. I feel like most writers have read it - it is often referred to in conversations among writers, and I figured it was time for me to read it. I have just finished reading the parts about his upbringing and about the "writer's toolbox" and I am now on the "on writing" part. This book probably would have given me more aha moments 20 years ago - I have written 22 books (2 of them published in English) and pretty much have my procedure worked out - but I always get...[read on]
About The Truth Behind the Lie, from the publisher:
The Truth Behind The Lie is Sara Lövestam’s award-winning and gripping novel about blurred lines, second chances, and the lengths one will go to for the truth.

When a six-year-old girl disappears and calling the police isn’t an option, her desperate mother Pernilla turns to an unlikely source for help. She finds a cryptic ad online for a private investigator:

“Need help, but can’t contact the police?”

That’s where Kouplan comes in. He’s an Iranian refugee living in hiding. He was forced to leave Iran after news of his and his brother's involvement with a radical newspaper hated by the regime was discovered. Kouplan’s brother disappeared, and he hasn’t seen him in four years. He makes a living as a P.I. working under the radar, waiting for the day he can legally apply for asylum.

Pernilla’s daughter has vanished without a trace, and Kouplan is an expert at living and working off the grid. He’s the perfect PI to help… but something in Pernilla’s story doesn’t add up. She might need help that he can’t offer...and a little girl’s life hangs in the balance.
Visit Sara Lövestam's website.

My Book, The Movie: Wonderful Feels Like This.

The Page 69 Test: Wonderful Feels Like This.

Writers Read: Sara Lövestam.

--Marshal Zeringue

Twenty of the best school stories & university novels

At the Waterstones blog, Mark Skinner tagged twenty of the best school stories and university novels, including:
Election
Tom Perrotta

The suburban high school as a microcosm of corrupt American society, Tom Perrotta’s savagely witty satire deftly demonstrates how the noblest of intentions can turn ugly very quickly. Fiercely intelligent and blistering funny, Election is a vote-winning classroom cracker.
Read about another entry on the list.

Election is among Jeff Somers's five books that take place over one school year, Ellen Wehle's four top novels featuring bad teacher-student behavior, and Don Calame's top ten funny teen boy books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Pg. 69: H.G. Parry's "The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H. G. Parry.

About the book, from the publisher:
For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob — a young lawyer with a normal house, a normal fiancee, and an utterly normal life — hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his life’s duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world… and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing.

There’s someone else who shares his powers. It’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality.
Visit H.G. Parry's website.

Writers Read: H. G. Parry.

The Page 69 Test: The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Holly Lawford-Smith's "Not In Their Name"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Not In Their Name: Are Citizens Culpable For Their States' Actions? by Holly Lawford-Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
There are many actions that we attribute, at least colloquially, to states. Given their size and influence, states are able to inflict harm far beyond the reach of a single individual. But there is a great deal of unclarity about exactly who is implicated in that kind of harm, and how we should think about responsibility for it. It is a commonplace assumption that democratic publics both authorize and have control over what their states do; that their states act in their name and on their behalf. In Not In Their Name, Holly Lawford-Smith approaches these questions from the perspective of social ontology, asking whether the state is a collective agent, and whether ordinary citizens are members of that agent. If it is, and they are, there's a clear case for democratic collective culpability. She explores alternative conceptions of the state and of membership in the state; alternative conceptions of collective agency applied to the state; the normative implications of membership in the state; and both culpability (from the inside) and responsibility (from the outside) for what the state does. Ultimately, Lawford-Smith argues for the exculpation of ordinary citizens and the inculpation of those working in public services.
Visit Holly Lawford-Smith's website.

The Page 99 Test: Not In Their Name.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books that flirt with Area 51

At Tor.com Gabriella Tutino tagged five books that flirt with Area 51, including:
Adaptation by Malinda Lo

In this YA science fiction novel, the protagonist Reese Holloway and her partner David are driving home to San Francisco when they get into a car crash with a bird in the Arizona-Nevada desert that is Area 51. Holloway wakes up in a military hospital about a month later, healed from an operation. It isn’t until Holloway gets back home and encounters Amber Gray, that she realizes things are wrong and she may be wrapped up in one big government-extraterrestrial conspiracy. Moreso Area 51 adjacent as opposed to centralized, Adaptation is actually a two-part novel followed up by Inheritance.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 23, 2019

Coffee with a canine: Evan Ramzipoor & Lada

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Evan Ramzipoor & Lada.

The author, on how she and Lada were united:
A few years ago, we learned there was going to be a massive adoption fair in Marin: goats, pigs, chickens, sheep, horses, cats, and dogs. After my wife vetoed goats and chickens, we made a list of pups we wanted to meet. They were mostly large, sturdy dogs we could take running and hiking. I was especially interested in a stately specimen named Charlie.

We got to the fair twenty minutes before it officially opened. While walking to meet the first dog on our list, my wife stumbled across a little scruff-ball in a crate. I drifted away to try and woo an aloof spaniel. When I returned, my wife was holding this a strange, fuzzy alien with a long body and curly tail. I knelt down, and the pup snuggled into my arms. Ten minutes before the fair opened, we...[read on]
About Ramzipoor's new novel, The Ventriloquists, from the publisher:
The Nazis stole their voices. But they would not be silenced.

Brussels, 1943
. Twelve-year-old street orphan Helene survives by living as a boy and selling copies of the country’s most popular newspaper, Le Soir, now turned into Nazi propaganda. Helene’s world changes when she befriends a rogue journalist, Marc Aubrion, who draws her into a secret network that publishes dissident underground newspapers.

The Nazis track down Aubrion’s team and give them an impossible choice: turn the resistance newspapers into a Nazi propaganda bomb that will sway public opinion against the Allies, or be killed. Faced with no decision at all, Aubrion has a brilliant idea. While pretending to do the Nazis’ bidding, they will instead publish a fake edition of Le Soir that pokes fun at Hitler and Stalin—daring to laugh in the face of their oppressors.

The ventriloquists have agreed to die for a joke, and they have only eighteen days to tell it.

Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters and stunning historical detail, E.R. Ramzipoor’s dazzling debut novel illuminates the extraordinary acts of courage by ordinary people forgotten by time. It is a moving and powerful ode to the importance of the written word and to the unlikely heroes who went to extreme lengths to orchestrate the most stunning feat of journalism in modern history.
Visit E.R. Ramzipoor's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Evan Ramzipoor & Lada.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is David Gordon reading?

Featured at Writers Read: David Gordon, author of The Hard Stuff.

His entry begins:
As the beginning of the school term approaches, I am both finishing up summer reading and thinking about classes I will teach, so my my current book-list is even more of a hodge-podge than usual. I am reading:

Street of Thieves (Mathias Énard) This is a really thrilling and brilliant novel, written by a French Arabic scholar who now lives in Barcelona, about a young guy from Tangier who ends up lost in the no man’s land of the docks and ferries between Morocco and Barcelona as he flees his family, (who disowned him for sleeping with a cousin), a group of Islamic extremists, and the Spanish authorities, while also trying to connect with...[read on]
About The Hard Stuff, from the publisher:
Ex-black-ops-specialist-turned-strip-club-bouncer Joe Brody has a new qualification to add to his resume: an alliance of New York City’s mob bosses has deemed him its “sheriff.” In the straight world, when you “see something” you “say something” to the law. In the bent world, they call Joe.

Still reeling from a particularly difficult operation, and having plummeted back into the drug and alcohol addiction that got him kicked out of the military as a result, Joe has just managed to detox at the clinic of a Chinese herbalist when the mob bosses phone: they need Joe to help them swindle a group of opioid dealers (of all things). But these are no typical drug-ferrying gangsters. Little Maria, the head of the Dominican mob, has discovered that her new heroin suppliers belong to an al Qaeda splinter group, and that they’re planning to use their drug funds to back their terrorist agenda. With Joe in command, the mob coalition must pull off an intricate heist that will begin in Manhattan’s diamond district. At stake is not only their business, but the state of the world.

For readers who like a liberal dose of humor mixed with gritty crime, The Hard Stuff is a brilliant, action-packed thriller from a fresh virtuoso of the crime caper genre.
Visit David Gordon's blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Serialist.

The Page 69 Test: Mystery Girl.

The Page 69 Test: White Tiger on Snow Mountain.

Writers Read: David Gordon.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight books on a San Diego reading list

Patrick Coleman makes things from words, sounds, and occasional pictures. His debut collection of poems, Fire Season, was written after the birth of his first child by speaking aloud into a digital audio recorder on the long commute between the art museum where he worked and his home in a rural neighborhood that burned in the Witch Creek Fire of 2007. It won the 2015 Berkshire Prize and was released by Tupelo Press on December 1, 2018. His short-form prose has appeared in Hobart, ZYZZYVA, Zócalo Public Square, the Writer's Chronicle, the Black Warrior Review, Juked, and the Utne Reader, among others. The Art of Music, an exhibition catalogue on the relationship between visual arts and music that he edited and contributed to, was co-published by Yale University Press and the San Diego Museum of Art. Coleman earned an MFA from Indiana University and a BA from the University of California Irvine. He lives in Ramona, California, with his wife and two daughters, and is the Assistant Director of the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UC San Diego.

Coleman's new book, his first novel, is The Churchgoer.

One of the author's top eight San Diego books:
Julia Dixon Evans, How to Set Yourself on Fire

This frank and compelling portrait of Sheila, a thirty-something woman adrift, the box of love letters she inherits from her grandmother, and the grief-stricken neighbor girl she befriends is as cuttingly funny as it is moving. There’s a powerful tension in her secrets, compulsive lying, and ambivalence, a kind of suspended anticipation of the other shoe dropping. The San Diego fire season is the backdrop to the story from the first line and sets the tone: “It’s the third morning of a wildfire to the east and everyone’s used to the smell by now.” It’s a time of year when many of us San Diegans go through the day with our hearts in our throats, waiting for that signal: smoke on the horizon, the sounds of a CalFire plane or helicopter. With climate change, fire season is stretching out—some years into what feels like the entire year—and that feeling, which this book evokes so well and connects with the lives of its characters in complex ways, is only going to be more and more a part of our experience.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Pg. 99: Jens Zimmermann's "Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Christian Humanism"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Christian Humanism by Jens Zimmermann.

About the book, from the publisher:
Jens Zimmermann locates Bonhoeffer within the Christian humanist tradition extending back to patristic theology. He begins by explaining Bonhoeffer's own use of the term humanism (and Christian humanism), and considering how his criticism of liberal Protestant theology prevents him from articulating his own theology rhetorically as a Christian humanism. He then provides an in-depth portrayal of Bonhoeffer's theological anthropology and establishes that Bonhoeffer's Christology and attendant anthropology closely resemble patristic teaching. The volume also considers Bonhoeffer's mature anthropology, focusing in particular on the Christian self. It introduces the hermeneutic quality of Bonhoeffer's theology as a further important feature of his Christian humanism. In contrast to secular and religious fundamentalisms, Bonhoeffer offers a hermeneutic understanding of truth as participation in the Christ event that makes interpretation central to human knowing. Having established the hermeneutical structure of his theology, and his personalist configuration of reality, Zimmermann outlines Bonhoeffer's ethics as 'Christformation'. Building on the hermeneutic theology and participatory ethics of the previous chapters, he then shows how a major part of Bonhoeffer's life and theology, namely his dedication to the Bible as God's word, is also consistent with his Christian humanism.
Learn more about Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Christian Humanism at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Christian Humanism.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight books about idyllic vacations gone terribly wrong

Michele Campbell's latest novel is A Stranger on the Beach.

At CrimeReads she tagged eight psychological thrillers where holidays descend into nightmares, including:
One Little Secret by Cate Holahan

Susan invites her new neighbors to join in on a week-long beach getaway with her and her workaholic husband. Over the course of the first evening, liquor loosens inhibitions and lips. But someone says too much. And the next morning one of the women is discovered dead on the private beach. Chilling and filled with dark secrets.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Craig DiLouie's "Our War"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Our War by Craig DiLouie.

About the book, from the publisher:
A prescient and gripping novel of a second American civil war, and the children caught in the conflict, forced to fight.

Our children are our soldiers.


After his impeachment, the president of the United States refuses to leave office, and the country erupts into a fractured and violent war. Orphaned by the fighting and looking for a home, 10-year-old Hannah Miller joins a citizen militia in a besieged Indianapolis.

In the Free Women militia, Hannah finds a makeshift family. They’ll teach her how to survive. They’ll give her hope. And they’ll show her how to use a gun.

Hannah’s older brother, Alex, is a soldier too. But he’s loyal to other side, and has found his place in a militant group of fighters who see themselves as the last bastion of their America. By following their orders, Alex will soon make the ultimate decision behind the trigger.

On the battlefields of America, Hannah and Alex will risk everything for their country, but in the end they’ll fight for the only cause that truly matters – each other.
Visit Craig DiLouie's website.

My Book, The Movie: One of Us.

The Page 69 Test: One of Us.

Writers Read: Craig DiLouie.

The Page 69 Test: Our War.

--Marshal Zeringue

John Birmingham's "The Cruel Stars," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Cruel Stars: A Novel by John Birmingham.

The entry begins:
It’s a brave or stupid writer who willingly gives away the names of the actors they imagine starring in the movie adaptation of their book. But I’m not especially brave, so here goes.

Like most writers I do have a screen adaptation of my latest book running 24/7 between my ears, but not all of the actors are stars. Some characters are based on people I know, or knew once upon a time. Others do indeed have IMDb pages.

The Cruel Stars, the space opera I’ve always wanted to write, is an ensemble piece, with five main characters telling the story. But one stands out. Lucinda Hardy. She is the first of our band of five, and her arc probably reaches the furthest and bends the most under the mass of all she has to carry. I know exactly who would play her, if I had the budget. Cobie Smulders. She has always looked like she could kick your ass three ways from Sunday, but she would also take a moment to feel bad about it.

So too with the foul mouthed and even fouler tempered 700-year-old Scotsman, Fraser McLennan, one-time admiral of the Terran Fleets, now living in self imposed exile, picking over the corpse of an enormous, derelict generation ship. This role can only be played by...[read on]
Follow John Birmingham on Facebook and Twitter.

My Book, The Movie: The Cruel Stars.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Top ten caregivers in fiction

Lila Savage is originally from Minneapolis. Prior to writing fiction, she spent nearly a decade working as a caregiver. Her work has appeared in The Threepenny Review. She is the recipient of a Wallace Stegner fellowship and graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2018.

Savage's debut novel is Say Say Say.

At the Guardian she tagged the top ten caregivers in fiction, including:
Inheritance by Lan Samantha Chang

A gripping story about sisters growing up amid political turmoil in China, this novel also gives meaningful attention to Hu Mudan, a family servant, offering a rare glimpse of the complex intimacy between caregivers and employers. “She had been hungry. She had been alone. In that time of trouble, Chanyi had made room for her. Hu Mudan believed in the old loyalties, and she immediately began to serve as Chanyi’s maid. Only she knew how to comb Chanyi’s knee-length hair, beginning at the ends and moving gently to her scalp. Only she understood how to keep her mistress safe from the despondency that haunted her.”
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Reese Hogan's "Shrouded Loyalties"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Shrouded Loyalties by Reese Hogan.

About the book, from the publisher:
Naval officer Mila Blackwood is determined to keep her country’s most powerful secret – shrouding, the ability to traverse their planet in seconds through an alternate realm – out of enemy hands. But spies are everywhere: her submarine has been infiltrated by a Dhavnak agent, and her teenage brother has been seduced by an enemy soldier. When Blackwood’s submarine is attacked by a monster, she and fellow sailor, Holland, are marked with special abilities, whose manifestations could end the war – but in whose favor? Forced to submit to military scientists in her paranoid and war-torn home, Blackwood soon learns that the only people she can trust might also be the enemy.
Visit Reese Hogan's website.

My Book, The Movie: Shrouded Loyalties.

Writers Read: Reese Hogan.

The Page 69 Test: Shrouded Loyalties.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is H. G. Parry reading?

Featured at Writers Read: H. G. Parry, author of The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep.

Her entry begins:
I tend to dip in and out of many different books at once. This means that what I’m currently reading is usually an eclectic patchwork of classic novels, magic, science fiction, and historical fiction. I wish this was a strategy; in reality, I just can never bear to wait for one book to finish before I start the next one!

I’ve just finished CA Fletcher’s A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World, which was a title I couldn’t resist. The plot is simple and compelling: the young protagonist, Griz, leaves his family to pursue a thief who stole his dog across post-apocalyptic Scotland. Griz’s voice – a mixture of practicality, quiet reflection, and foreshadowing – is instantly arresting, and the book itself is a powerful testament to...[read on]
About The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep, from the publisher:
For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob — a young lawyer with a normal house, a normal fiancee, and an utterly normal life — hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his life’s duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world… and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing.

There’s someone else who shares his powers. It’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality.
Visit H.G. Parry's website.

Writers Read: H. G. Parry.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books help explain the relationship between women & horses

Tory Bilski is a travel writer based in Connecticut. She writes primarily about Iceland - its people, horses, and history. Her new book is Wild Horses of the Summer Sun: A Memoir of Iceland.

At LitHub Bilski tagged "five books that may help explain the relationship between women and horses," including:
Wendy Williams, The Horse: The Epic History of our Noble Companion

Williams approaches the horse with the coolness of a science journalist. What drives her to write the book is her desire to understand her own horses, a quest that is sparked by observing her horses’ sometimes bewildering behavior. She takes us to a few horse cultures throughout the world, but spends a good amount of time looking at horse evolution. She delves into the nitty-gritty of archaeological digs, the fossils of teeth and brain endocasts. The early ancestor of the horse started in the Eocene period 56 million years ago, where they were as small as dogs and ate fruit off trees up. In the Miocene era—considered the epoch of the horse—23 million years ago, the ancestors started three-toed but left the era 5 million years ago as one-toed—a solid hoof.

Williams succinctly joins the natural history of the planet and the horse together: how the eyes, hooves, teeth, and ears of the horse evolved as their environment changed from forests to grasslands as a result of climate change and tectonic plate movements: “What we see by looking into the eyes of the horse is that we are all members of one constantly seething energy system.” Knowing the full history gives the reader (and rider) a clear understanding of the human relationship to horses. The next time you can’t find your horse in the field, follow the sun, because the horse knows to follow the late-day sun to find the best grass.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 99 Test: The Horse.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Pg. 99: Brian Fox's "James Joyce's America"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: James Joyce's America by Brian Fox.

About the book, from the publisher:
James Joyce's America is the first study to address the nature of Joyce's relation to the United States. It challenges the prevalent views of Joyce as merely indifferent or hostile towards America, and argues that his works show an increasing level of engagement with American history, culture, and politics that culminates in the abundance of allusions to the US in Finnegans Wake, the very title of which comes from an Irish-American song and signals the importance of America to that work.

The volume focuses on Joyce's concept of America within the framework of an Irish history that his works obsessively return to. It concentrates on Joyce's thematic preoccupation with Ireland and its history and America's relation to Irish post-Famine history. Within that context, it explores first Joyce's relation to Irish America and how post-Famine Irish history, as Joyce saw it, transformed the country from a nation of invasions and settlements to one spreading out across the globe, ultimately connecting Joyce's response to this historical phenomenon to the diffusive styles of Finnegans Wake. It then discusses American popular and literary cultures in terms of how they appear in relation to, or as a function of, the British-Irish colonial context in the post-Famine era, and concludes with a consideration of how Joyce represented his American reception in the Wake.
Learn more about James Joyce's America at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: James Joyce's America.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten great boundary-breaking women of fiction

Louisa Treger has worked as a classical violinist. She studied at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and worked as a freelance orchestral player and teacher. Treger subsequently turned to literature, gaining a First Class degree and a Ph.D. in English at University College London, where she focused on early 20th century women’s writing and was awarded the West Scholarship and the Rosa Morison Scholarship “for distinguished work in the study of English Language and Literature.” The Lodger was published in 2014, The Dragon Lady in 2019 and she is currently working on her third novel.

At CrimeReads Treger tagged ten "strong women who refused to conform and who struggled to find their place in the world," including:
Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Offred lives in a dystopian society where women have no autonomy. She has been taken away from her husband and child and forced into a sexual relationship, yet she manages to retain her identity through small acts of disobedience. She steals butter and uses it as face and hand cream. She meets a man’s eyes in public, when she’s not supposed to look at men.
It’s an event, a small defiance of rule, so small as to be undetectable, but such moments are the rewards I hold out for myself, like the candy I hoarded, as a child, at the back of a drawer.
Offred’s unbroken spirit demonstrates the limitations of Gilead’s power over its subjects.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Handmaid's Tale made Claire McGlasson's top ten list of books about cults, Siobhan Adcock's list of five top books about motherhood and dystopia, a list of four books that changed Meg Keneally, A.J. Hartley's list of five favorite books about the making of a dystopia, Lidia Yuknavitch's 6 favorite books list, Elisa Albert's list of nine revelatory books about motherhood, Michael W. Clune's top five list of books about imaginary religions, Jeff Somers's top six list of often misunderstood SF/F novels, Jason Sizemore's top five list of books that will entertain and drop you into the depths of despair, S.J. Watson's list of four books that changed him, Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick's list of eight of the most badass ladies in all of banned literature, Guy Lodge's list of ten of the best dystopias in fiction, art, film, and television, Bethan Roberts's top ten list of novels about childbirth, Rachel Cantor's list of the ten worst jobs in books, Charlie Jane Anders and Kelly Faircloth's list of the best and worst childbirth scenes in science fiction and fantasy, Lisa Tuttle's critic's chart of the top Arthur C. Clarke Award winners, and PopCrunch's list of the sixteen best dystopian books of all time.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Julie E. Czerneda's "The Gossamer Mage"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Gossamer Mage by Julie E. Czerneda.

About the book, from the publisher:
From an Aurora Award-winning author comes a new fantasy epic in which one mage must stand against a Deathless Goddess who controls all magic.

Only in Tananen do people worship a single deity: the Deathless Goddess. Only in this small, forbidden realm are there those haunted by words of no language known to woman or man. The words are Her Gift, and they summon magic.

Mage scribes learn to write Her words as intentions: spells to make beasts or plants, designed to any purpose. If an intention is flawed, what the mage creates is a gossamer: a magical creature as wild and free as it is costly for the mage.

For Her Gift comes at a steep price. Each successful intention ages a mage until they dare no more. But her magic demands to be used; the Deathless Goddess will take her fee, and mages will die.

To end this terrible toll, the greatest mage in Tananen vows to find and destroy Her. He has yet to learn She is all that protects Tananen from what waits outside. And all that keeps magic alive.
Visit Julie E. Czerneda's website.

The Page 69 Test: To Guard Against the Dark.

The Page 69 Test: The Gossamer Mage.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books about humans making a mess of things

Rob Hart's new novel is The Warehouse.

At Tor.com he tagged "five books that mold our current state of constant anxiety into thoughtful, timely, terrifying fiction." One title on the list:
Infomocracy by Malka Older

Remember when we thought our elections were fair and free of interference by hostile nations? Oh what a world that was. It could be worse, like in Infomocracy, about an attempt to streamline the process by creating micro-democracies with the help of a search engine monopoly.

Older brings an extensive resume as an academic and international aid worker to this whip-smart debut that examines and challenges the core concepts of democracy. And it reinforces some disturbing truths—like the way technology is supposed to make things better and usually makes it worse, and the way information, in the wrong hands, can be used to manipulate rather than inform.
Read about another entry on the list.

Infomocracy is among Jeff Somers's eighteen SFF novels that get serious about economics and fifty science fiction essentials written by women, Emily Wenstrom's eight science fiction novels that explore the human dilemma, Joel Cunningham's twelve science fiction & fantasy books for the post-truth era, and Sam Reader's six most intriguing political systems in fantasy and science fiction.

The Page 69 Test: Infomocracy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 19, 2019

Louisa Treger's "The Dragon Lady," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Dragon Lady by Louisa Treger.

From the entry:
The Dragon Lady blends fact with fiction to tell the story of Lady Virginia Courtauld – beautiful and defiant, with a scandalous past and a tattoo of a snake running the length of one leg. After a brief marriage to an Italian aristocrat, she wed Stephen Courtauld, a war hero, mountaineer, orchid collector, and heir to a textile fortune. Ostracized for being a foreign divorcee at the time of Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson, Virginia moved with Stephen to Rhodesia, where their philanthropic attempts to better the lives of all the colony’s inhabitants, black and white, led to anonymous death threats, misunderstandings and a shooting. Many people had reason to dislike Virginia, but who had reason enough to pull the trigger?

Virginia is vibrant, capricious and captivating. She is also insecure - desperate for social acceptance and a comfortable, comforting place to call home. I think that Rachel Weisz would portray every one of her qualities to perfection.

Stephen would have to be played by...[read on]
Visit Louisa Treger's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Louisa Treger & Monty.

The Page 69 Test: The Lodger.

My Book, The Movie: The Lodger.

My Book, The Movie: The Dragon Lady.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six of the best New York City biographies

Christopher Bonanos is city editor at New York magazine, where he covers arts and culture and urban affairs. He is the National Book Critics Circle Award–winning author of Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous and Instant: The Story of Polaroid.

At The Week magazine Bonanos tagged six favorite New York City biographies, including:
The Man in the Glass House by Mark Lamster (2018).

Here's all 98 years of the life of that wily rich-kid-aesthete-fascist-turned-­corporate-smooth-talker Philip Johnson, who never met an architectural trend he didn't glom onto. What a career! At one point in the 1980s, he proposed a Manhattan skyscraper entered via a drawbridge over a moat full of alligators. It was designed, you will perhaps not be surprised to learn, for Donald Trump.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Craig DiLouie reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Craig DiLouie, author of Our War.

His entry begins:
Right now, I’m nearly finished with Grady Hendrix’s very solid We Sold Our Souls, a clever horror tale about a metal band destroyed after one of its members makes a deal with the Devil. It’s a lot of fun and far exceeding my expectations. Hendrix did his homework to capture the daily life of a rock band, weaving a rich tapestry of references and details, while never taking his eye off...[read on]
About Our War, from the publisher:
A prescient and gripping novel of a second American civil war, and the children caught in the conflict, forced to fight.

Our children are our soldiers.


After his impeachment, the president of the United States refuses to leave office, and the country erupts into a fractured and violent war. Orphaned by the fighting and looking for a home, 10-year-old Hannah Miller joins a citizen militia in a besieged Indianapolis.

In the Free Women militia, Hannah finds a makeshift family. They’ll teach her how to survive. They’ll give her hope. And they’ll show her how to use a gun.

Hannah’s older brother, Alex, is a soldier too. But he’s loyal to other side, and has found his place in a militant group of fighters who see themselves as the last bastion of their America. By following their orders, Alex will soon make the ultimate decision behind the trigger.

On the battlefields of America, Hannah and Alex will risk everything for their country, but in the end they’ll fight for the only cause that truly matters – each other.
Visit Craig DiLouie's website.

My Book, The Movie: One of Us.

The Page 69 Test: One of Us.

Writers Read: Craig DiLouie.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top thrillers featuring a small group of friends

Cambria Brockman grew up in Houston, London, and Scotland and attended Holderness School in New Hampshire. She graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, with a degree in English literature. She owns an award-winning wedding and portrait photography company, Cambria Grace, along with its popular Instagram account. Brockman lives in Boston with her husband, son, and dog.

Tell Me Everything is her first novel.

At CrimeReads Brockman tagged five thrillers featuring a small group of friends, including:
The Perfect Mother, by Aimee Molloy

Oh no, oh no, wow wow wow oh no wow = my thoughts reading this kidnapping novel, which I strangely chose to do with a sleeping infant in my arms. This book follows a group of new mothers, dubbed the May Mothers, who meet weekly in the idyllic Prospect Park of Brooklyn. When the mothers go out for a night on the town—which they never do—one of the babies gets taken from his crib—of course. What ensues is a race to find baby Midas as we follow the mothers turned close friends. Secrets are revealed and friendships are ruined. Will they find baby Midas in time? If you’re a new mom, stress read until you find out!
Read about another entry on the list.

The Perfect Mother is among Kristyn Kusek Lewis's eight shocking thrillers that feature scandals.

The Page 69 Test: The Perfect Mother.

--Marshal Zeringue