Sunday, October 21, 2018

Six top epic novels

Kathryn Harrison has written the novels Thicker Than Water, Exposure, Poison, The Binding Chair, The Seal Wife, Envy, and Enchantments. Her autobiographical work includes The Kiss, Seeking Rapture, The Road to Santiago, The Mother Knot, and True Crimes. She has written two biographies, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and Joan of Arc, and a book of true crime, While They Slept: An Inquiry into the Murder of a Family. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the novelist Colin Harrison.

Harrison's new book is On Sunset: A Memoir.

One of the author's six favorite epic novels, as shared at The Week magazine:
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1878).

This book is as remarkable for its portrait of 19th-century Russia as it is for its heroine — one of the few to step out of her story and into literary history. The novel takes in all of Russia, from the bejeweled occupants of the boxes of St. Petersburg's opera house to the destitute in their tubercular hovels.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Anna Karenina also appears on Jane Corry's list of five of literature's more fearsome families, Neel Mukherjee's six favorite books list, Viv Groskop's top ten list of life lessons from Russian literature, Elizabeth Day's top ten list of parties in fiction, Grant Ginder's top ten list of the more loathsome people in literature, Louis De Berniéres's six best books list, Martin Seay's ten best long books list, Jeffrey Lent's top ten list of books about justice and redemption, Bethan Roberts's top ten list of novels about childbirth, Hannah Jane Parkinson's list of the ten worst couples in literature, Hanna McGrath's top fifteen list of epigraphs, Amelia Schonbek's list of three classic novels that pass the Bechdel test, Rachel Thompson's top ten list of the greatest deaths in fiction, Melissa Albert's recommended reading list for eight villains, Alison MacLeod's top ten list of stories about infidelity, David Denby's six favorite books list, Howard Jacobson's list of his five favorite literary heroines, Eleanor Birne's top ten list of books on motherhood, Esther Freud's top ten list of love stories, Chika Unigwe's six favorite books list, Elizabeth Kostova's list of favorite books, James Gray's list of best books, Marie Arana's list of the best books about love, Ha Jin's most important books list, Tom Perrotta's ten favorite books list, Claire Messud's list of her five most important books, Alexander McCall Smith's list of his five most important books, Mohsin Hamid's list of his ten favorite books, Louis Begley's list of favorite novels about cheating lovers, and among the top ten works of literature according to Peter Carey and Norman Mailer. John Mullan put it on his lists of ten of the best erotic dreams in literature, ten of the best coups de foudre in literature, ten of the best births in literature, ten of the best ice-skating episodes in literature, and ten of the best balls in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Michelle Pannor Silver's "Retirement and Its Discontents"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Retirement and Its Discontents: Why We Won't Stop Working, Even if We Can by Michelle Pannor Silver.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the popular imagination, retirement promises a well-deserved rest—idle days spent traveling, volunteering, pursuing hobbies, or just puttering around the house. But as the nature of work has changed, becoming not just a means of income but a major source of personal identity, many accomplished professionals struggle with discontentment in their retirement. What are we to do—individually and as a culture—when work and life experience make conventional retirement a burden rather than a reprieve?

In Retirement and Its Discontents, Michelle Pannor Silver considers how we confront the mismatch between idealized and actual retirement. She follows doctors, CEOs, elite athletes, professors, and homemakers during their transition to retirement as they struggle to recalibrate their sense of purpose and self-worth. The work ethic and passion that helped these retirees succeed can make giving in to retirement more difficult, as they confront newfound leisure time with uncertainty and guilt. Drawing on in-depth interviews that capture a range of perceptions and common concerns about what it means to be retired, Silver emphasizes the significance of creating new retirement strategies that support social connectedness and personal fulfillment while countering ageist stereotypes about productivity and employment. A richly detailed and deeply personal exploration of the challenges faced by accomplished retirees, Retirement and Its Discontents demonstrates the importance of personal identity in forging sustainable social norms around retirement and helps us to rethink some of the new challenges for aging societies.
Visit Michelle Pannor Silver's website.

The Page 99 Test: Retirement and Its Discontents.

--Marshal Zeringue

Chris Difford's six best books

Chris Difford is a founder member and lyricist with the band Squeeze, perhaps best known in the US for the hit songs "Tempted" and "Black Coffee In Bed."

His new memoir is Some Fantastic Place: My Life In and Out of Squeeze.

One of Difford's six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
FAREWELL MY LOVELY by Raymond Chandler

I read all Chandler's books when I was about 17. I used to wear a hat like Humphrey Bogart and see all those wonderful films.

I loved the language and it made me write a certain way.
Read about another entry on the list.

Farewell, My Lovely is among Andrew Martin’s ten best examples of dialogue in crime fiction, Lynda La Plante's six best books, and Dennis McDougal's five top books on Southern California; it features one of the fifty greatest villains in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Pg. 69: Lisa Gabriele's "The Winters"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Winters: A Novel by Lisa Gabriele.

About the book, from the publisher:
A spellbindingly suspenseful new novel set in the moneyed world of the Hamptons, about secrets that refuse to remain buried and consequences that can’t be escaped

After a whirlwind romance, a young woman returns to the opulent, secluded Long Island mansion of her new fiancé Max Winter—a wealthy politician and recent widower—and a life of luxury she’s never known. But all is not as it appears at the Asherley estate. The house is steeped in the memory of Max’s beautiful first wife Rebekah, who haunts the young woman’s imagination and feeds her uncertainties, while his very alive teenage daughter Dani makes her life a living hell. She soon realizes there is no clear place for her in this twisted little family: Max and Dani circle each other like cats, a dynamic that both repels and fascinates her, and he harbors political ambitions with which he will allow no woman—alive or dead—to interfere.

As the soon-to-be second Mrs. Winter grows more in love with Max, and more afraid of Dani, she is drawn deeper into the family’s dark secrets—the kind of secrets that could kill her, too. The Winters is a riveting story about what happens when a family’s ghosts resurface and threaten to upend everything.
Visit Lisa Gabriele's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Winters.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five YA books that reinvent the love triangle trope

Rachel Strolle is a librarian and a reader. At the BN Teen Blog she tagged "five books with well done, unique love triangles that reinvent the trope." One title to make the list:
Rule, by Ellen Goodlett

After the death of the heir, three illegitimate daughters of a dying king are brought to the palace to see if one of them might be fit to rule. One has spent her life as a lady’s maid, one grew up surrounded by rebels, and one has lived most of her life as a part of a group of travelers. Matters become complicated when the king’s young wife (unwillingly wed to him through an arranged marriage) and one of the girls begin falling for each other.
Read about another entry on the list.

My Book, The Movie: Rule.

The Page 69 Test: Rule.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is D.B. Jackson reading?

Featured at Writers Read: D.B. Jackson, author of Time’s Children.

His entry begins:
My list of recent reads is a little bit odd, and at the same time rather typical for someone in my profession. Writers read for so many different reasons that we often wind up jumping among a fairly eclectic selection of books, articles, and stories.

This summer, I taught at a writing workshop, and spent much of the week talking with fellow instructors about books, craft, etc. During that time I realized that there were (and still are) some holes in my reading history that needed filling. Upon returning from the conference, I immediately dove into Toni Morrison’s Beloved, which was incredibly powerful. Such gorgeous prose and complex, nuanced storytelling. It should be...[read on]
About Time’s Children, from the publisher:
Fifteen year-old Tobias Doljan, a Walker trained to travel through time, is called to serve at the court of Daerjen. The sovereign, Mearlan IV, wants him to Walk back fourteen years, to prevent a devastating war which will destroy all of Islevale. Even though the journey will double Tobias’ age, he agrees. But he arrives to discover Mearlan has already been assassinated, and his court destroyed. The only survivor is the infant princess, Sofya. Still a boy inside his newly adult body, Tobias must find a way to protect the princess from assassins, and build himself a future… in the past.
Learn more about the book and author at D. B. Jackson's website and blog.

D.B. Jackson is also David B. Coe, the award-winning author of a dozen fantasy novels.

The Page 69 Test: Thieftaker.

Writers Read: D.B. Jackson.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 19, 2018

Five books to understand Saudi Arabia

Ian Black was the Guardian's Middle East editor, European editor, diplomatic editor and foreign leader writer in 36 years on the paper. He is now a visiting senior fellow at the Middle East Centre, LSE. His latest book is Enemies and Neighbors: Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917-2017.

At the Guardian, Black tagged five books to understand Saudi Arabia, including:
Understanding Saudi Arabia has never been easy: leaks, rumours and official denials surrounding the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi are a grim reminder of a notoriously opaque system. Historian Madawi al-Rasheed (herself the scion of a powerful dynasty that lost out to the Al-Saud in the formative years of the 1920s) provides a focused and up-to-date political and social guide as the editor of Salman’s Legacy: The Dilemmas of a New Era in Saudi Arabia. The promotion of the king’s ambitious son, Mohammed (MBS), to crown prince in June 2017 proves that “the survival and mystique of the monarchy are closely linked to its unpredictability,” she writes, noting the taboo on public discussion of royal struggles and intrigues.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Laird Hunt's "In the House in the Dark of the Woods"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: In the House in the Dark of the Woods by Laird Hunt.

About the book, from the publisher:
“Once upon a time there was and there wasn’t a woman who went to the woods.”

In this horror story set in colonial New England, a law-abiding Puritan woman goes missing. Or perhaps she has fled or abandoned her family. Or perhaps she’s been kidnapped, and set loose to wander in the dense woods of the north. Alone and possibly lost, she meets another woman in the forest. Then everything changes.

On a journey that will take her through dark woods full of almost-human wolves, through a deep well wet with the screams of men, and on a living ship made of human bones, our heroine may find that the evil she flees has been inside her all along. In the House in the Dark of the Woods is a novel of psychological horror and suspense told in Laird Hunt’s characteristically lyrical prose style. It is the story of a bewitching, a betrayal, a master huntress and her quarry. It is a story of anger, of evil, of hatred and of redemption. It is the story of a haunting, a story that makes up the bedrock of American mythology, but told in a vivid way you will never forget.
Visit Laird Hunt's Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Neverhome.

My Book, The Movie: Neverhome.

My Book, The Movie: In the House in the Dark of the Woods.

Writers Read: Laird Hunt.

The Page 69 Test: In the House in the Dark of the Woods.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Elizabeth Segal's "Social Empathy"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Social Empathy: The Art of Understanding Others by Elizabeth Segal.

About the book, from the publisher:
Our ability to understand others and help others understand us is essential to our individual and collective well-being. Yet there are many barriers that keep us from walking in the shoes of others: fear, skepticism, and power structures that separate us from those outside our narrow groups. To progress in a multicultural world and ensure our common good, we need to overcome these obstacles. Our best hope can be found in the skill of empathy.

In Social Empathy, Elizabeth A. Segal explains how we can develop our ability to understand one another and have compassion toward different social groups. When we are socially empathic, we not only imagine what it is like to be another person, but we consider their social, economic, and political circumstances and what shaped them. Segal explains the evolutionary and learned components of interpersonal and social empathy, including neurobiological factors and the role of social structures. Ultimately, empathy is not only a part of interpersonal relations: it is fundamental to interactions between different social groups and can be a way to bridge diverse people and communities. A clear and useful explanation of an often misunderstood concept, Social Empathy brings together sociology, psychology, social work, and cognitive neuroscience to illustrate how to become better advocates for justice.
Learn more about Social Empathy at the Columbia University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Social Empathy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Ten top horror books for wimps

Mallory O'Meara is an author, screenwriter and producer. Her first book, The Lady From The Black Lagoon, the chronicle of Mallory's search for and a biography of Milicent Patrick, is being published by Hanover Square Press on March 5th, 2019. One of "ten spooky books that won’t keep you up at night" she shared at Vulture.com:
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

The Lizzie Borden case is one of America’s most famous grisly true-crime stories. Looming large in the country’s imagination, Lizzie herself evolved into a character, a part of the horror landscape along with the likes of Jack the Ripper and Countess Elizabeth Báthory. This is a compelling literary reimagining of Borden’s story that focuses not on the macabre details of the crime, but on the characters themselves and their interior lives.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Alyssa Palombo's "The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow by Alyssa Palombo.

The entry begins:
I usually have a hard time picturing specific actors playing my characters – I’ll usually have a good pick for one or two of the main ones, but not all of them. However, with my most recent release, The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel, it just so happened that I “cast” the main players very early on. Below are who I would want to play my quartet of main characters should the book become a movie (or a TV series – looking at you, Netflix!).

Katrina Van Tassel – Holliday Grainger

I first saw Holliday Grainger as Lucrezia Borgia on Showtime’s The Borgias, and have seen her in a few things since – I think she’s a great actress. She is exactly how I pictured Katrina Van Tassel in my retelling in terms of physical features, and based on the roles she’s done in the past I know she would be perfect for the character!

Ichabod Crane – Tom Mison

This one miiiiight be cheating a little bit, because of course Tom Mison has...[read on]
Visit Alyssa Palombo's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Violinist of Venice.

The Page 69 Test: The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence.

My Book, The Movie: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten of the all-time scariest haunted house books

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and the Ustari Cycle from Pocket/Gallery, including We Are Not Good People. At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog he tagged ten of the scariest haunted house books ever, including:
The Shining, by Stephen King

Sure, it’s not a house but an entire hotel. Still, King’s classic remains one of the scariest books to follow the basic template of an innocent family consumed by intelligent, possessed edifice. The Overlook Hotel is so alive, and finds a willing recruit in alcoholic, repressed domestic abuser John Torrance, who becomes its sharpened blade. But it’s the isolation the Torrance family experiences while acting as caretakers for the hotel over the long, dark winter that truly gives this story an air inevitable violence. Ultimately a story about a man who loses his fight with his own demons, the core of its horror is in how something familiar and reliable—like your spouse, or the roof over your head—can be turn unrecognizable so gradually, you don’t notice until you’re being chased by a killer wielding a roque mallet.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Shining is among Laura Purcell's five top gothic novels, Jeff Somers's five books totally unlike their adaptations, Sam Riedel's six eeriest SFF stories inspired by true events, Joel Cunningham's top seven books featuring long winters, Ashley Brooke Roberts's seven best haunted house books, Jake Kerridge's top ten Stephen King books, Amanda Yesilbas and Charlie Jane Anders's top ten horror novels that are scarier than most movies, Charlie Higson's top ten horror books, and Monica Ali's best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Laird Hunt reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Laird Hunt, author of In the House in the Dark of the Woods.

His entry begins:
While I always have multiple books on my nightstand (I mostly read in bed) the book that is preoccupying me with the most insistence is the new Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories edited by Jay Rubin and with an introduction, and a couple of fine stories, by Haruki Murakami. For some years now I have been closely following the work of Japan’s new wave of extraordinary fictioneers – like Mieko Kawakami, Tomoyuki Hoshino, Tomoka Shibasaki and Hideo Furukawa – largely through the yearly appearance of...[read on]
About In the House in the Dark of the Woods, from the publisher:
“Once upon a time there was and there wasn’t a woman who went to the woods.”

In this horror story set in colonial New England, a law-abiding Puritan woman goes missing. Or perhaps she has fled or abandoned her family. Or perhaps she’s been kidnapped, and set loose to wander in the dense woods of the north. Alone and possibly lost, she meets another woman in the forest. Then everything changes.

On a journey that will take her through dark woods full of almost-human wolves, through a deep well wet with the screams of men, and on a living ship made of human bones, our heroine may find that the evil she flees has been inside her all along. In the House in the Dark of the Woods is a novel of psychological horror and suspense told in Laird Hunt’s characteristically lyrical prose style. It is the story of a bewitching, a betrayal, a master huntress and her quarry. It is a story of anger, of evil, of hatred and of redemption. It is the story of a haunting, a story that makes up the bedrock of American mythology, but told in a vivid way you will never forget.
Visit Laird Hunt's Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Neverhome.

My Book, The Movie: Neverhome.

My Book, The Movie: In the House in the Dark of the Woods.

Writers Read: Laird Hunt.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Ten top books about the human condition

Robin Ince is a standup comedian, actor and writer. One of his ten favorite books that offer illuminating insights into the human condition, as shared at the Guardian:
Bee Season by Myla Goldberg

The story of our need for pattern and shape in the world, told through the increasingly intense atmosphere around a spelling bee competition and Jewish mystical texts. Will the yearning for ultimate meaning and its failure to arrive always destroy us? A book of thrilling spelling endeavour.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Matthew Farrell's "What Have You Done"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: What Have You Done by Matthew Farrell.

About the book, from the publisher:
Family is not what it seems in this raw, edgy thriller that New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline says “you won’t be able to put down.”

When a mutilated body is found hanging in a seedy motel in Philadelphia, forensics specialist Liam Dwyer assumes the crime scene will be business as usual. Instead, the victim turns out to be a woman he’d had an affair with before breaking it off to save his marriage. But there’s a bigger problem: Liam has no memory of where he was or what he did on the night of the murder.

Panicked, Liam turns to his brother, Sean, a homicide detective. Sean has his back, but incriminating evidence keeps piling up. From fingerprints to DNA, everything points to Liam, who must race against time and his department to uncover the truth—even if that truth is his own guilt. Yet as he digs deeper, dark secrets come to light, and Liam begins to suspect the killer might actually be Sean…

When the smoke clears in this harrowing family drama, who will be left standing?
Visit Matthew Farrell's website.

My Book, The Movie: What Have You Done.

Writers Read: Matthew Farrell.

The Page 69 Test: What Have You Done.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books from five different continents

S. L. Huang has a math degree from MIT and is a weapons expert and professional stuntwoman who has worked in Hollywood on Battlestar Galactica and a number of other productions. Her novels include the Cas Russell series—a new edition of book one, Zero Sum Game, is now available.

At Tor.com she tagged "five knockout reads from five different continents," including:
Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse

I think it’s very appropriate that I represent North America in this post with a book by an Indigenous author. Rebecca Roanhorse took home the Campbell Award for Best New Writer this year, and heck but she deserves it!

Trail of Lightning starts off with a bang—I won’t spoil it, but read the opening and then tell me if you’re capable of putting it down. The worldbuilding constructs one of the most creative and interesting dystopias I’ve yet read, the characters are each individually brilliant, and the descriptive prose is to die for.

Also, if you’re reading this article because you like my Cas Russell books—in particular, if you like that they have a badass, mercenary female lead—I can bet you’ll fall head over heels for Trail of Lighting’s Maggie Hoskie.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Steven Ujifusa's "Barons of the Sea"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Barons of the Sea: And their Race to Build the World's Fastest Clipper Ship by Steven Ujifusa.

About the book, from the publisher:
There was a time, back when the United States was young and the robber barons were just starting to come into their own, when fortunes were made and lost importing luxury goods from China. It was a secretive, glamorous, often brutal business—one where teas and silks and porcelain were purchased with profits from the opium trade. But the journey by sea to New York from Canton could take six agonizing months, and so the most pressing technological challenge of the day became ensuring one’s goods arrived first to market, so they might fetch the highest price.

“With the verse of a natural dramatist” (The Christian Science Monitor), Steven Ujifusa tells the story of a handful of cutthroat competitors who raced to build the fastest, finest, most profitable clipper ships to carry their precious cargo to American shores. They were visionary, eccentric shipbuilders, debonair captains, and socially ambitious merchants with names like Forbes and Delano—men whose business interests took them from the cloistered confines of China’s expatriate communities to the sin city decadence of Gold Rush-era San Francisco, and from the teeming hubbub of East Boston’s shipyards and to the lavish sitting rooms of New York’s Hudson Valley estates.

Elegantly written and meticulously researched, Barons of the Sea is a riveting tale of innovation and ingenuity that “takes the reader on a rare and intoxicating journey back in time” (Candice Millard, bestselling author of Hero of the Empire), drawing back the curtain on the making of some of the nation’s greatest fortunes, and the rise and fall of an all-American industry as sordid as it was genteel.
Visit Steven Ujifusa's website.

The Page 99 Test: Barons of the Sea.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Nigella Lawson's ten favorite books

One of TV host and food writer Nigella Lawson's ten best books, as shared at Vulture.com:
Lucy, by Jamaica Kincaid

This is a nuanced and powerful novel about growing up, the mother-daughter relationship, female identity, sexuality, cultural dissonance, privilege, poverty, and the pernicious legacy of colonialism. Kincaid’s style is both immediate and headily intense. A glinting, multifaceted work within relatively so few pages.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is S.K. Perry reading?

Featured at Writers Read: S.K. Perry, author of Let Me Be Like Water.

Her entry begins:
I've just started a PhD and - as well as trying to write a new novel - my research will centre on depictions of sex in contemporary, anglophone, fiction. This means I'm currently on the lookout for amazing novels that also have cracking sex scenes... and I'm particularly interested in fictional depictions of queer sex, and sex that is written within a feminist framework; I guess part of my research will be to work out exactly what I mean by that. At the moment I'm halfway through both Sally Rooney's new novel Normal People, and A Safe Girl To Love by Casey Plett, a collection of short stories that explore trans-womanhood. From what I've read so far, Plett's stories oscillate between archetypal coming-of-age tropes, and bold explorations of trauma and alienation; it's so clever how they...[read on]
About Let Me Be Like Water, from the publisher:
A beautifully poignant and poetic debut about love, loss, friendship, and ultimately, starting over.

Twenty-something Holly has moved to Brighton to escape. But now she’s here, sitting on a bench, listening to the sea sway… How is she supposed to fill the void her boyfriend left when he died, leaving her behind?

She had thought she’d want to be on her own, but when she meets Frank, a retired magician who has experienced his own loss, the tide begins to shift. A moving and powerful debut, Let Me Be Like Water is a book about the humdrum and extraordinariness of everyday life; of lost and new connections; of loneliness and friendship.
Visit S.K. Perry's website.

Writers Read: S.K. Perry.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight suspense novels that explore nurture vs. nature

Kate Moretti's new novel is In Her Bones.

At CrimeReads she tagged eight suspense novels that explore nature vs. nurture, including:
Defending Jacob, by William Landay

When an assistant district attorney’s fourteen-year-old son, Jacob, is accused of stabbing a classmate in the park and killing him, it’s a classic courtroom drama set up. Except when the boy’s father reveals that his own father has spent his life in prison for rape and murder, the theme of the story takes a drastic turn. After Jacob is seemingly and suddenly exonerated, the family takes a trip to Jamaica to reconnect. Another death occurs, and we are left wondering: did Jacob inherit his psychopathy or was it a product of his overindulgent, and perhaps not as stable as we’re initially led to believe, childhood?
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Defending Jacob.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Robert Masello's "The Night Crossing"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Night Crossing by Robert Masello.

About the book, from the publisher:
Bram Stoker kept secret a tale even more terrifying than Dracula.

It begins among the Carpathian peaks, when an intrepid explorer discovers a mysterious golden box. She brings it back with her to the foggy streets of Victorian London, unaware of its dangerous power…or that an evil beyond imagining has already taken root in the city.

Stoker, a successful theater manager but frustrated writer, is drawn into a deadly web spun by the wealthy founders of a mission house for the poor. Far from a safe haven, the mission harbors a dark and terrifying secret.

To save the souls of thousands, Stoker—aided by the explorer and a match girl grieving the loss of her child—must pursue an enemy as ancient as the Saharan sands where it originated. Their journey will take them through the city’s overgrown graveyards and rat-infested tunnels and even onto the maiden voyage of the world’s first “unsinkable” ship…
Learn more about the book and author at Robert Masello's website.

The Page 69 Test: Blood and Ice.

The Page 69 Test: The Medusa Amulet.

The Page 69 Test: The Einstein Prophecy.

My Book, The Movie: The Einstein Prophecy.

The Page 69 Test: The Night Crossing.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 15, 2018

Five top books about living with cancer

Adam Kay is a writer and comedian. He writes extensively for TV and film and is the author of the international number one bestselling and multi-award-winning book This is Going to Hurt.

One of five of the best books about living with cancer he tagged at the Guardian:
The true story beautifully told by Rebecca Skloot in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is astonishing. Henrietta was a penniless black tobacco farmer who died in 1951, but whose cervical cells changed the shape of medicine. Taken without permission, cells from her tumour have since been multiplied and shared around the world to advance our understanding of cancer. Skloot’s book was inspired by a science lesson in which her teacher told the class that if they went to almost any cell culture lab in the world and opened its freezers, they might find billions of Henrietta’s cells in small vials on ice. The biography examines how those cells enabled scientists to make advances in fields ranging from cancer and gene mapping to IVF. Skloot confronts issues of racism, poverty, consent and the anguish of Henrietta’s family.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is among Rose Byrne’s ten favorite books, Adam Kay's five top medical books, and Austin Duffy's top ten books about cancer.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Matthew Farrell reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Matthew Farrell, author of What Have You Done.

His entry begins:
I'm currently reading Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers and people. Jen is so nice to meet and talk with, and to read her shady characters with their diabolical plans is just so different than the person she is, which proves her talent. I'm always drawn to the psychological thriller first. I like reading about the dark side of characters in the setting of a police investigation. I feel it makes the pace of the story that much tighter because...[read on]
About What Have You Done, from the publisher:
Family is not what it seems in this raw, edgy thriller that New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline says “you won’t be able to put down.”

When a mutilated body is found hanging in a seedy motel in Philadelphia, forensics specialist Liam Dwyer assumes the crime scene will be business as usual. Instead, the victim turns out to be a woman he’d had an affair with before breaking it off to save his marriage. But there’s a bigger problem: Liam has no memory of where he was or what he did on the night of the murder.

Panicked, Liam turns to his brother, Sean, a homicide detective. Sean has his back, but incriminating evidence keeps piling up. From fingerprints to DNA, everything points to Liam, who must race against time and his department to uncover the truth—even if that truth is his own guilt. Yet as he digs deeper, dark secrets come to light, and Liam begins to suspect the killer might actually be Sean…

When the smoke clears in this harrowing family drama, who will be left standing?
Visit Matthew Farrell's website.

My Book, The Movie: What Have You Done.

Writers Read: Matthew Farrell.

--Marshal Zeringue

Daisy Johnson's six book recommendations

Daisy Johnson's first novel, Everything Under, has been short-listed for the 2018 Man Booker Prize.

One of six books she recommended at The Week magazine:
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss (2018).

Set in a forest camp that recreates Iron Age England, this is a book about family and abuse of power and how the most unsettling things are often those closest to us. Moss knows how to wrap the tension around her fist and keep it clenched right up until the final moment.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Helmut Norpoth's "Unsurpassed: The Popular Appeal of Franklin Roosevelt"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Unsurpassed: The Popular Appeal of Franklin Roosevelt by Helmut Norpoth.

About the book, from the publisher:
Franklin Roosevelt was not only the first US president to be covered by public opinion polls, but his ratings have consistently exceeded those of all subsequent sitting presidents, save for John F. Kennedy. Moreover, Roosevelt also stands out with a popular appeal that is unsurpassed by any of his successors serving at least a full term. The key to his approval, as this book shows, was wartime leadership, not economic performance. It began with policies preparing the nation for war in the two years before formal entry. To use FDR's own coinage, it was making the United States the "arsenal of democracy" in the battle against tyranny. That pursuit, not the New Deal, earned him high marks with the American people and re-election to an unprecedented third term. World War II--and its heavy human toll--did nothing to diminish FDR's popularity. As such, the FDR experience defies major paradigms of presidential politics. Yet, Roosevelt has been relatively ignored by scholars of public opinion. What can FDR's experience teach us and his successors about rousing broad public support, particularly during wartime? What light does his success shed on the failures of Presidents Truman, Johnson, and George W. Bush in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq? On key issues, mainly with foreign policy, FDR had to contend with an American public that opposed his plans at the outset. Helmut Norpoth argues that Roosevelt had an unparalleled ability for leadership, especially through the fabled "fireside chats" and his appreciation of opinion polls, that enabled him to move the public to embrace his policies. In this book, Norpoth takes an in-depth look at how FDR's leadership swayed public opinion, comparing his experience to his successors to draw broad conclusions about what makes for successful presidential politics.
Learn more about Unsurpassed at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Unsurpassed.

--Marshal Zeringue