Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pg. 69: Charlie Lovett's "First Impressions"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen by Charlie Lovett.

About the book, from the publisher:
A thrilling literary mystery costarring Jane Austen from the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookman’s Tale

Charlie Lovett first delighted readers with his New York Times bestselling debut, The Bookman’s Tale. Now, Lovett weaves another brilliantly imagined mystery, this time featuring one of English literature’s most popular and beloved authors: Jane Austen.

Book lover and Austen enthusiast Sophie Collingwood has recently taken a job at an antiquarian bookshop in London when two different customers request a copy of the same obscure book: the second edition of Little Book of Allegories by Richard Mansfield. Their queries draw Sophie into a mystery that will cast doubt on the true authorship of Pride and Prejudice—and ultimately threaten Sophie’s life.

In a dual narrative that alternates between Sophie’s quest to uncover the truth—while choosing between two suitors—and a young Jane Austen’s touching friendship with the aging cleric Richard Mansfield, Lovett weaves a romantic, suspenseful, and utterly compelling novel about love in all its forms and the joys of a life lived in books.
Learn more about the book and author at Charlie Lovett's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Bookman's Tale.

Writers Read: Charlie Lovett.

My Book, The Movie: The Bookman's Tale.

The Page 69 Test: First Impressions.

--Marshal Zeringue

Karen Miller's "The Falcon Throne," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Falcon Throne by Karen Miller.

The entry begins:
If I were to name every actor I'd cast in The Falcon Throne I think I'd still be here this time next year. But what I can do is mention the characters who most readily allied themselves with actors in my imagination. So, in no particular order:

Humbert - Roger Allam

I suspect that most people would know Allam from his portrayal of Javert in the original London cast of Les Miserables and, more recently, his work as DI Fred Thursday in the splendid early life of Morse series, Endeavour. But for me, it was his outstanding performance as Falstaff in The Globe's production of Henry IV Part 1 that caught my attention. You can see it for yourself on dvd and I urge you to do so. It is a truly astonishing piece of theatre and I defy anyone not to be outrageously entertained. Humbert isn't a rogue the way Falstaff is a rogue, but...[read on]
Learn more about the author and her work at Karen Miller's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Falcon Throne.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Martin J. S. Rudwick's "Earth’s Deep History"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Earth's Deep History: How It Was Discovered and Why It Matters by Martin J. S. Rudwick.

About the book, from the publisher:
Earth has been witness to mammoths and dinosaurs, global ice ages, continents colliding or splitting apart, comets and asteroids crashing catastrophically to the surface, as well as the birth of humans who are curious to understand it all. But how was it discovered? How was the evidence for it collected and interpreted? And what kinds of people have sought to reconstruct this past that no human witnessed or recorded? In this sweeping and magisterial book, Martin J. S. Rudwick, the premier historian of the earth sciences, tells the gripping human story of the gradual realization that the Earth’s history has not only been unimaginably long but also astonishingly eventful.

Rudwick begins in the seventeenth century with Archbishop James Ussher, who famously dated the creation of the cosmos to 4004 BC. His narrative then turns to the crucial period of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when inquisitive intellectuals, who came to call themselves “geologists,” began to interpret rocks and fossils, mountains and volcanoes, as natural archives of Earth’s history. He then shows how this geological evidence was used—and is still being used—to reconstruct a history of the Earth that is as varied and unpredictable as human history itself. Along the way, Rudwick defies the popular view of this story as a conflict between science and religion and reveals that the modern scientific account of the Earth’s deep history retains strong roots in Judaeo-Christian ideas.

Extensively illustrated, Earth’s Deep History is an engaging and impressive capstone to Rudwick’s distinguished career. Though the story of the Earth is inconceivable in length, Rudwick moves with grace from the earliest imaginings of our planet’s deep past to today’s scientific discoveries, proving that this is a tale at once timeless and timely.
Learn more about Earth's Deep History at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Earth's Deep History.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ten must-read Russian novels

At Off the Shelf, Andrew Kaufman tagged ten Russian novels to read before you die, including:
And Quiet Flows the Don
by Mikhail Sholokhov

Often compared to War and Peace, this epic historical novel traces the fate of a typical Cossack family over a tumultuous ten-year period, from just before the beginning of World War I to the bloody civil war following the Russian Revolution of 1917. Early twentieth-century Russian history comes alive in Sholokhov’s well-developed characters who must contend not only with a society under siege, but ill-fated romances, family feuds, and a secret past that haunts the present.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Charlie Lovett reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Charlie Lovett, author of First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen.

Part of his entry:
I am the president of the Board of Directors of my local literary non-profit, Bookmarks, which hosts a fantastic book festival every year. I always discover some great reads at the festival and this year was no exception. My favorite new find was Lev Grossman’s The Magicians. Lev is a great guy and I enjoyed getting to know him, and as a kid who grew up on Narnia his book really hit the mark. I’m looking forward to the other two books in the trilogy, but in the meantime I delved into his brilliant article about...[read on]
About First Impressions, from the publisher:
A thrilling literary mystery costarring Jane Austen from the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookman’s Tale

Charlie Lovett first delighted readers with his New York Times bestselling debut, The Bookman’s Tale. Now, Lovett weaves another brilliantly imagined mystery, this time featuring one of English literature’s most popular and beloved authors: Jane Austen.

Book lover and Austen enthusiast Sophie Collingwood has recently taken a job at an antiquarian bookshop in London when two different customers request a copy of the same obscure book: the second edition of Little Book of Allegories by Richard Mansfield. Their queries draw Sophie into a mystery that will cast doubt on the true authorship of Pride and Prejudice—and ultimately threaten Sophie’s life.

In a dual narrative that alternates between Sophie’s quest to uncover the truth—while choosing between two suitors—and a young Jane Austen’s touching friendship with the aging cleric Richard Mansfield, Lovett weaves a romantic, suspenseful, and utterly compelling novel about love in all its forms and the joys of a life lived in books.
Learn more about the book and author at Charlie Lovett's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Bookman's Tale.

My Book, The Movie: The Bookman's Tale.

Writers Read: Charlie Lovett.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Mike Maden's "Blue Warrior"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Blue Warrior by Mike Maden.

About the book, from the publisher:
A brutal conflict in Mali and an international race for rare elements sets the stage for Troy Pearce and his drone technology to rescue an old friend in this adrenaline-fueled series.

Blue Warrior is set in the remote Sahara Desert, where a recently discovered deposit of strategically indispensable Rare Earth Elements (REEs) ignites an international rush to secure them.

Standing in the way are the Tuaregs, the fierce tribe of warrior nomads of the desert wasteland, who are fighting for their independence. The Chinese offer to help the Malian government crush the rebellion by the Tuaregs in order to gain a foothold in the area, and Al-Qaeda jihadis join the fight. In the midst of all this chaos are Troy Pearce’s closest friend and a mysterious woman from his past who ask him for help.

Deploying his team and his newest drones to rescue his friends and save the rebellion, Troy finds that he might need more than technology to survive the battle and root out the real puppet masters behind the Tuareg genocide.
Visit Mike Maden's website, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

My Book, The Movie: Drone.

The Page 69 Test: Drone.

My Book, The Movie: Blue Warrior.

The Page 69 Test: Blue Warrior.

--Marshal Zeringue

Patrick Taylor's "An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War by Patrick Taylor.

The entry begins:
I would cast the primary characters as follows and invite the readers to cast the minor players:

Doctor Fingal O’Reilly — Liam Neeson

Doctor Barry Laverty — A young Leonardo DiCaprio

Kitty O’Reilly — Minnie...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Patrick Taylor's website.

My Book, The Movie: An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ten of the best fictional detectives

Lucy Worsley is the author of The Art of the English Murder: From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock.

She tagged a ten best list of fictional detectives for Publishers Weekly, including:
Philip Marlowe (The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, 1938)

‘Cosy crime’ dominated the British publishing industry between the wars. Murders seemed to happen mainly in country house libraries, and the characters became clichéd. It all got a bit boring.

A breath of fresh air arrived in 1938 with Raymond Chandler’s amoral, laconic, ‘hard-boiled’ detective, Philip Marlowe. Although Chandler was educated at Dulwich College in London, he ended up on America’s west coast. His short, sharp novels brought violence back into crime fiction.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Big Sleep also appears on Becky Ferreira's list of seven of the best books set in Los Angeles, Ian Rankin's list of five perfect mysteries, Kathryn Williams's reading list on greed, Gigi Levangie Grazer's list of six favorite books that became movies, Megan Wasson's list of five top books on Los Angeles, Greil Marcus's six recommended books list, Barry Forshaw's critic's chart of six American noir masters, David Nicholls' list of favorite film adaptations, and the Guardian's list of ten of the best smokes in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Boyd Cothran's "Remembering the Modoc War"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence by Boyd Cothran.

About the book, from the publisher:
On October 3, 1873, the U.S. Army hanged four Modoc headmen at Oregon's Fort Klamath. The condemned had supposedly murdered the only U.S. Army general to die during the Indian wars of the nineteenth century. Their much-anticipated execution marked the end of the Modoc War of 1872–73. But as Boyd Cothran demonstrates, the conflict's close marked the beginning of a new struggle over the memory of the war. Examining representations of the Modoc War in the context of rapidly expanding cultural and commercial marketplaces, Cothran shows how settlers created and sold narratives of the conflict that blamed the Modocs. These stories portrayed Indigenous people as the instigators of violence and white Americans as innocent victims.

Cothran examines the production and circulation of these narratives, from sensationalized published histories and staged lectures featuring Modoc survivors of the war to commemorations and promotional efforts to sell newly opened Indian lands to settlers. As Cothran argues, these narratives of American innocence justified not only violence against Indians in the settlement of the West but also the broader process of U.S. territorial and imperial expansion.
Learn more about Remembering the Modoc War at the University of North Carolina Press website, and visit Boyd Cothran's website.

The Page 99 Test: Remembering the Modoc War.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top modernizers in literature

John Grindrod is the author of Concretopia: A Journey Around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain.

At the Guardian he tagged ten books--half are novels, half biographies--that "give a flavour of what the modern movement in architecture and planning was up to, particularly in postwar Britain." One entry on the list:
The Glass Room by Simon Mawer (2009)

The elegant glass room of the novel’s title is heavily based on Mies van der Rohe’s 1920s Villa Tugendhat in Brno. Mies’s fictional counterpart is Rainer von Abt, and the house he designs remains the central conceit of the book, from where we move from bourgeois high living to Nazi invasion and beyond. Mawer fuses big history with domestic drama in a Booker-shortlisted novel that sometimes lacks the lightness of the building.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What is Jeff Somers reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jeff Somers, author of We Are Not Good People.

His entry begins:
I’m typically reading more than one book at a time. Books are planted around the place like Easter eggs – one in the office, one in the bathroom, etc. – because my memory is non-functional. I’m like Frosty the Snowman, I walk into a room and blink stupidly, smile, and shout “Happy Birthday!” So books need to be pre-seeded everywhere, or I forget to get them and end up reading a page a year. And because I have the attention span of a small child and weak, fawn-like arms that make carrying physical books any distance difficult, I keep one eBook on my phone at all times so I’ll have something to read on the bus or in my parole officer’s waiting room without having to carry a heavy physical book with me.

Currently, I’m only reading two books at once, though:

Night Film, Marisha Pessl. I’ve been reading this book on my phone for about 75 years now, which is not because the book isn’t really interesting and entertaining – it is, albeit overstuffed with...[read on]
About We Are Not Good People, from the publisher:
From the “exhilarating, powerful, and entertaining” (Guardian) storyteller of the Avery Cates series comes a gritty supernatural thriller featuring a pair of unlikely heroes caught up in the underground world of blood magic.

The ethics in a world of blood are gray—and an underground strata of blood magicians has been engineering disasters for centuries in order to acquire enough fuel for their spells. They are not good people.

Some practitioners, however, use the Words and a swipe of the blade to cast simpler spells, such as Charms and Cantrips to gas up $1 bills so they appear to be $20s. Lem Vonnegan and his sidekick Mags fall into this level of mage, hustlers and con men all. Lem tries to be ethical by using only his own blood, by not using Bleeders or “volunteers.” But it makes life hard. Soon they might have to get honest work.

When the pair encounters a girl who’s been kidnapped and marked up with magic runes for a ritual spell, it’s clear they’re in over their heads. Turning to Lem’s estranged master for help, they are told that not only is the girl’s life all but forfeit, but that the world’s preeminent mage, Mika Renar, has earth-shattering plans for her—and Lem just got in the way. With the fate of the world on the line, and Lem both spooked and intrigued by the mysterious girl, the other nominates him to become the huckleberry who’ll take down Renar. But even if he, Mags, and the simpletons who follow him prevail, they’re dealing with the kind of power that doesn’t understand defeat, or mercy.

Book One in the Ustari Cycle, the first portion of We Are Not Good People was originally published in an altered form as Trickster (Pocket Books).
Learn more about the book and author at Jeff Somers's website.

My Book, The Movie: Chum.

The Page 69 Test: Chum.

The Page 69 Test: We Are Not Good People.

My Book, The Movie: We Are Not Good People.

Writers Read: Jeff Somers.

--Marshal Zeringue

Mike Maden's "Blue Warrior," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Blue Warrior by Mike Maden.

The entry begins:
I chose Gary Sinise to play the lead role of Troy Pearce the first time I visited this blog, but my dear wife has since informed me that as much as she admires Mr. Sinise’s tremendous acting skill, she thinks the better choice to play Troy would be...[read on]
Visit Mike Maden's website, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

My Book, The Movie: Drone.

The Page 69 Test: Drone.

My Book, The Movie: Blue Warrior.

--Marshal Zeringue

The top 40 Chicago novels

For Chicago Magazine Geoffrey Johnson rounded up the top forty Chicago novels, including:
I Sailed with Magellan
Stuart Dybek (2003)

As James Joyce is to Dublin, Dybek is to Chicago, and these interconnected stories, centered initially on the Little Village world of Perry Katzek, may be the closest we will ever get to a novel from one of the city’s finest writers.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 99 Test: I Sailed with Magellan.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Peter Watts's "Echopraxia"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Echopraxia by Peter Watts.

About the book, from the publisher:
Prepare for a different kind of singularity in Peter Watts' Echopraxia, the follow-up to the Hugo-nominated novel Blindsight

It's the eve of the twenty-second century: a world where the dearly departed send postcards back from Heaven and evangelicals make scientific breakthroughs by speaking in tongues; where genetically engineered vampires solve problems intractable to baseline humans and soldiers come with zombie switches that shut off self-awareness during combat. And it’s all under surveillance by an alien presence that refuses to show itself.

Daniel Bruks is a living fossil: a field biologist in a world where biology has turned computational, a cat's-paw used by terrorists to kill thousands. Taking refuge in the Oregon desert, he’s turned his back on a humanity that shatters into strange new subspecies with every heartbeat. But he awakens one night to find himself at the center of a storm that will turn all of history inside-out.

Now he’s trapped on a ship bound for the center of the solar system. To his left is a grief-stricken soldier, obsessed by whispered messages from a dead son. To his right is a pilot who hasn’t yet found the man she's sworn to kill on sight. A vampire and its entourage of zombie bodyguards lurk in the shadows behind. And dead ahead, a handful of rapture-stricken monks takes them all to a meeting with something they will only call “The Angels of the Asteroids.”

Their pilgrimage brings Dan Bruks, the fossil man, face-to-face with the biggest evolutionary breakpoint since the origin of thought itself.
Learn more about the book and author at Peter Watts's website.

Blindsight is one of Charlie Jane Anders's ten great science fiction novels, published since 2000, that raise huge, important questions.

My Book, The Movie: Peter Watts's Rifters trilogy.

The Page 69 Test: Echopraxia.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 17, 2014

The fifty best debut novels since 1950

At Flavorwire, Emily Temple tagged the fifty greatest debut novels since 1950. One title on the list:
In the Woods, Tana French (2007)

The book that brought a million haters of thrillers and mystery novels over to the dark side.
Read about another book on the list.

In the Woods is among Megan Reynolds's top ten books you must read if you loved Gone Girl, Emma Straub's ten top books that mimic the feeling of a summer vacation, the Barnes & Noble Review's five top books from Ireland's newer voices, and Judy Berman's ten fantastic novels with disappointing endings.

The Page 69 Test: In the Woods.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Conevery Bolton Valencius's "The Lost History of the New Madrid Earthquakes"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Lost History of the New Madrid Earthquakes by Conevery Bolton Valencius.

About the book, from the publisher:
From December 1811 to February 1812, massive earthquakes shook the middle Mississippi Valley, collapsing homes, snapping large trees midtrunk, and briefly but dramatically reversing the flow of the continent’s mightiest river. For decades, people puzzled over the causes of the quakes, but by the time the nation began to recover from the Civil War, the New Madrid earthquakes had been essentially forgotten.

In The Lost History of the New Madrid Earthquakes, Conevery Bolton Valencius remembers this major environmental disaster, demonstrating how events that have been long forgotten, even denied and ridiculed as tall tales, were in fact enormously important at the time of their occurrence, and continue to affect us today. Valencius weaves together scientific and historical evidence to demonstrate the vast role the New Madrid earthquakes played in the United States in the early nineteenth century, shaping the settlement patterns of early western Cherokees and other Indians, heightening the credibility of Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa for their Indian League in the War of 1812, giving force to frontier religious revival, and spreading scientific inquiry. Moving into the present, Valencius explores the intertwined reasons—environmental, scientific, social, and economic—why something as consequential as major earthquakes can be lost from public knowledge, offering a cautionary tale in a world struggling to respond to global climate change amid widespread willful denial.

Engagingly written and ambitiously researched—both in the scientific literature and the writings of the time—The Lost History of the New Madrid Earthquakes will be an important resource in environmental history, geology, and seismology, as well as history of science and medicine and early American and Native American history.
Learn more about The Lost History of the New Madrid Earthquakes at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Lost History of the New Madrid Earthquakes.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Chelsey Philpot reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Chelsey Philpot, author of Even in Paradise.

The entry begins:
Holy Toledo! What I am reading now is wonderfully random…but then again, my “currently reading” stack is always an eclectic mix.

My background is in journalism, so I devour myriad newspapers (New York Times, Boston Globe, my local paper, etc.) and usually have a stack of New Yorkers (I’ve been a reader since high school) beside my desk.

I review books (mainly YA and middle grade novels) for a bunch of different places, so I am always reading a novel or two at a time. I recently finished Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun (gorgeous!) and am working through...[read on]
About Even in Paradise, from the publisher:
The Great Gatsby meets Looking for Alaska in this stunning debut novel.

When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne's at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about her. Most people do ... or think they do. Charlotte certainly never expects she'll be Julia's friend. But almost immediately, she dives headfirst into the larger-than-life new girl's world—a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia's handsome older brother, Sebastian. But behind Julia's self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes, she is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden ... until now.

With inspiration drawn from Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, Chelsey Philpot's moving debut novel perfectly captures the intensity, the thrill, and the heartbreak of our too-brief friendships and loves.
Visit Chelsey Philpot's website.

Writers Read: Chelsey Philpot.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Jeff Somers's "We Are Not Good People," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: We Are Not Good People by Jeff Somers.

The entry begins:
Let’s talk about Scoot McNairy.

First of all, his name. Jesus Christ, Scoot. I want anyone not only named Scoot but named Scoot and a survivor of that adolescence on my team. I pledge my troth to Scoot, to all the Scoots of this world.

Second of all, everything Scoot’s ever been in. Seen him in Halt and Catch Fire? Not a good show. Scoot, however, is fantastic in his role as an alcoholic, angry programmer. Mess him up a little, and he would be a fantastic Lem Vonnegan – who is also a sort of alcoholic, angry programmer, although his programs involve a magical grammar fueled by blood. Lem is “good with the Words,” meaning he can quickly and adroitly piece together a spell using an economy of words, quickly casting something efficient and effective. Usually while drunk and anemic and...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Jeff Somers's website.

My Book, The Movie: Chum.

The Page 69 Test: Chum.

The Page 69 Test: We Are Not Good People.

My Book, The Movie: We Are Not Good People.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Dave Zeltserman's "The Boy Who Killed Demons"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Boy Who Killed Demons by Dave Zeltserman.

About the book, from the publisher:
“My name’s Henry Dudlow. I’m fifteen and a half. And I’m cursed. Or damned. Take your pick. The reason? I see demons.”

So begins the latest thriller by horror master Dave Zeltserman. The setting is quiet Newton, MA, where nothing ever happens. Nothing, that is, until two months after Henry Dudlow’s 13th birthday, when his neighbor, Mr. Hanley, suddenly starts to look . . . different. While everyone else sees a balding man with a beer belly, Henry suddenly sees a nasty, bilious, rage-filled demon.

Once Henry catches onto the real Mr. Hanley, he starts to see demons all around him, and his boring, adolescent life is transformed. There’s no more time for friends or sports or the lovely Sally Freeman—Henry must work his way through ancient texts and hunt down the demons before they kill any more innocent children. And if hunting demons is hard at any age, it’s borderline impossible when your parents are on your case, and your grades are getting worse, and you can’t tell anyone about your mission.

A very scary thriller written with verve and flashes of great humor, The Boy Who Killed Demons is Dave Zeltserman’s most accomplished and entertaining horror novel yet.
Learn more about the book and author at Dave Zeltserman's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Small Crimes.

The Page 69 Test: Pariah.

The Page 69 Test: Outsourced.

My Book, The Movie: Outsourced.

The Page 69 Test: A Killer's Essence.

My Book, The Movie: A Killer's Essence.

Writers Read: Dave Zeltserman.

The Page 69 Test: The Boy Who Killed Demons.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Catherine Gildiner's "Coming Ashore: A Memoir"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Coming Ashore: A Memoir by Cathy Gildiner.

About the book, from the publisher:
Picking up her story in the late ’60s at age 21, Cathy Gildiner whisks the reader through five years and three countries, beginning when she is a poetry student at Oxford. Her education extended beyond the classroom to London’s swinging Carnaby Street, the mountains of Wales, and a posh country estate.

After Oxford, Cathy returns to Cleveland, Ohio, which was still reeling from the Hough Ghetto Riots. Not one to shy away from a challenge, she teaches at a high school where police escort teachers through the parking lot. There, she tries to engage apathetic students and tussles with the education authorities.

In 1970, Cathy moves to Canada. While studying literature at the University of Toronto, she rooms with members of the FLQ (Quebec separatists) and then with one of the biggest drug dealers in Canada. Along the way, she falls in love with the man who eventually became her husband and embarks on a new career in psychology.

Coming Ashore brings readers back to a fascinating era populated by lively characters, but most memorable of all is the singular Cathy McClure.
Visit Catherine Gildiner's website and blog.

The Page 99 Test: After the Falls.

My Book, The Movie: Coming Ashore.

Writers Read: Catherine Gildiner.

The Page 99 Test: Coming Ashore.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five contemporary novels about finding love in the darkness

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Dell Villa tagged five "contemporary novels abound with bittersweet tales of romance found under the bleakest of circumstances," including:
Secrets of the Lighthouse, by Santa Montefiore

Ellen Trawton has successfully escaped her smothering aristocratic existence in London, desperately seeking peace and solace in her aunt’s cottage on the craggy coast of Ireland, just beyond a haunted lighthouse. A new romantic relationship presents itself, but the ghost in the lighthouse, of a young wife and mother unable to let go, stands in the way of Ellen’s happy ending. In thrillingly lyrical prose, Montefiore’s portrait of two struggling women demonstrates love’s ability to hold us back—and propel us forward.
Read about another novel on the list.

Writers Read: Santa Montefiore (May 2011).

--Marshal Zeringue

Coffee with a canine: Catherine Reef & Nandi

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Catherine Reef & Nandi.

Reef is the author of more than 40 nonfiction books, including many highly acclaimed biographies for young people. Her subject who was the biggest dog-lover:
Sigmund Freud. Are you surprised?

Freud learned to love dogs late in life. In fact, he was in his seventies when he befriended his daughter Anna’s German shepherd, Wolf. He doted on Wolf and would feed him treats or leave a light on for him when exiting a room. This led to much laughter in the Freud household and caused his family to ask if Wolf was planning to read. Freud soon had a canine companion of his own, his beloved chow, Jofi. She kept him company while...[read on]
About Reef's book, Frida & Diego: Art, Love, Life, from the publisher:
Nontraditional, controversial, rebellious, and politically volatile, the Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are remembered for their provocative paintings as well as for their deep love for each other. Their marriage was one of the most tumultuous and infamous in history—filled with passion, pain, betrayal, revolution, and, above all, art that helped define the twentieth century.

Catherine Reef's inspiring and insightful dual biography features numerous archival photos and full-color reproductions of both artists' work.
Visit Catherine Reef's website.

The Page 69 Test: Frida & Diego.

Coffee with a Canine: Catherine Reef & Nandi.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What is Lisa Black reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Lisa Black, author of Close to the Bone.

Her entry begins:
I recently read The Nanny Diaries. This is not my usual choice of reading material, due to its lack of murder victims and at least one car chase, but I did so in the name of Research. I intend to use a nanny as a character in an upcoming work, and, not having children, I needed some background. I found the book hugely entertaining and hilarious in her descriptions of the ultra rich, not to mention criminally entitled, echelon of New York.

The authors specify that this is a work of fiction, and I very much hope that is true, but it contained so much detail that it read like fact. It also seemed to lag a little bit whenever the story turned to her own life, though that may be just me. I felt the same way about...[read on]
About Close to the Bone, from the publisher:
Forensic scientist Theresa MacLean stumbles across a murder too close for comfort when she returns to the Medical Examiner's office to find one deskman missing and the other dead. Written in blood above the dead man's head is one word: 'Confess'. Theresa soon realizes she must solve a crime from the past, if she is to remain alive herself...
Learn more about the book and author at Lisa Black's website.

My Book, The Movie: Trail of Blood.

The Page 69 Test: Trail of Blood.

My Book, The Movie: Defensive Wounds.

The Page 69 Test: Defensive Wounds.

My Book, The Movie: Blunt Impact.

The Page 69 Test: Blunt Impact.

The Page 69 Test: The Price of Innocence.

The Page 69 Test: Close to the Bone.

Writers Read: Lisa Black.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Jeff Somers's "We Are Not Good People"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: We Are Not Good People by Jeff Somers.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the “exhilarating, powerful, and entertaining” (Guardian) storyteller of the Avery Cates series comes a gritty supernatural thriller featuring a pair of unlikely heroes caught up in the underground world of blood magic.

The ethics in a world of blood are gray—and an underground strata of blood magicians has been engineering disasters for centuries in order to acquire enough fuel for their spells. They are not good people.

Some practitioners, however, use the Words and a swipe of the blade to cast simpler spells, such as Charms and Cantrips to gas up $1 bills so they appear to be $20s. Lem Vonnegan and his sidekick Mags fall into this level of mage, hustlers and con men all. Lem tries to be ethical by using only his own blood, by not using Bleeders or “volunteers.” But it makes life hard. Soon they might have to get honest work.

When the pair encounters a girl who’s been kidnapped and marked up with magic runes for a ritual spell, it’s clear they’re in over their heads. Turning to Lem’s estranged master for help, they are told that not only is the girl’s life all but forfeit, but that the world’s preeminent mage, Mika Renar, has earth-shattering plans for her—and Lem just got in the way. With the fate of the world on the line, and Lem both spooked and intrigued by the mysterious girl, the other nominates him to become the huckleberry who’ll take down Renar. But even if he, Mags, and the simpletons who follow him prevail, they’re dealing with the kind of power that doesn’t understand defeat, or mercy.

Book One in the Ustari Cycle, the first portion of We Are Not Good People was originally published in an altered form as Trickster (Pocket Books).
Learn more about the book and author at Jeff Somers's website.

My Book, The Movie: Chum.

The Page 69 Test: Chum.

The Page 69 Test: We Are Not Good People.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Roger Moorhouse's "The Devils' Alliance"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Devils' Alliance: Hitler's Pact with Stalin, 1939-1941 by Roger Moorhouse.

About the book, from the publisher:
A renowned historian presents a vivid account of the crucial Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939-1941, showing how it shaped World War II and the era that followed.

History remembers the Soviets and the Nazis as bitter enemies and ideological rivals, the two mammoth and opposing totalitarian regimes of World War II whose conflict would be the defining and deciding clash of the war. Yet for nearly a third of the conflict's entire timespan, Hitler and Stalin stood side by side as partners. The Pact that they agreed had a profound—and bloody—impact on Europe, and is fundamental to understanding the development and denouement of the war.

In The Devils' Alliance, acclaimed historian Roger Moorhouse explores the causes and implications of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, an unholy covenant whose creation and dissolution were crucial turning points in World War II. Forged by the German foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and his Soviet counterpart, Vyacheslav Molotov, the nonaggression treaty briefly united the two powers in a brutally efficient collaboration. Together, the Germans and Soviets quickly conquered and divided central and eastern Europe—Poland, the Baltic States, Finland, and Bessarabia—and the human cost was staggering: during the two years of the pact hundreds of thousands of people in central and eastern Europe caught between Hitler and Stalin were expropriated, deported, or killed. Fortunately for the Allies, the partnership ultimately soured, resulting in the surprise June 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union. Ironically, however, the powers' exchange of materiel, blueprints, and technological expertise during the period of the Pact made possible a far more bloody and protracted war than would have otherwise been conceivable.

Combining comprehensive research with a gripping narrative, The Devils' Alliance is the authoritative history of the Nazi-Soviet Pact—and a portrait of the people whose lives were irrevocably altered by Hitler and Stalin's nefarious collaboration.
Visit Roger Moorhouse's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Devils' Alliance.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six YA authors for fans of "The Hunger Games"

At the Telegraph Siân Ranscombe tagged six YA authors fans of The Hunger Games will love, including:
Cassandra Clare, The Mortal Instruments series

Clare (real name Judith Rumelt) is the New York Times best-selling author of The Mortal Instruments series. The first book in the series, City of Bones, was her first published novel. The series is set in New York and revolves around Clary Fray, a teenager who joins the Shadowhunters, a group of people tasked with protecting humanity from evil demons.
Read about another entry on the list.

Also see: top ten books to read now you've finished The Hunger Games and six top series for fans of The Hunger Games.

--Marshal Zeringue

Minerva Koenig's "Nine Days," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Nine Days by Minerva Koenig.

The entry begins:
I didn't really plan it this way, but when I've thought about actors who could play my characters, the best fits always seem to be the lesser-known and local. This pleases me no end. I'm a sucker for the undiscovered underdogs of the world, having been one myself for so long.

When I learned that I would be doing readings in front of large groups of people -- something that scares the bejesus out of me -- I considered hiring someone to read in character as Julia Kalas (my protagonist). That's how I found local Austin actor Cyndi Williams, whom I think would do really interesting things with the role.

The other day someone mentioned Camryn Manheim in a totally unrelated conversation, and I immediately knew she's who'd I'd cast as Teresa Hallstedt. She's got it all: the height...[read on]
Visit Minerva Koenig's website.

My Book, The Movie: Nine Days.

--Marshal Zeringue