Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Pg. 99: Nathan Spannaus's "Preserving Islamic Tradition"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Preserving Islamic Tradition: Abu Nasr Qursawi and the Beginnings of Modern Reformism by Nathan Spannaus.

About the book, from the publisher:
The end of the eighteenth century was a transformational period for the Muslim communities of the Russian Empire and their relationship with the tsarist state. Though they had been under Russian rule since the sixteenth century, it was at this time that they were incorporated into the imperial bureaucracy, most significantly through the founding of an official hierarchy for the Islamic religious scholars in 1788.

The introduction of a state-backed structure for Muslim religious institutions altered Islamic religious authority and, in turn, religious discourse. One of the major figures to emerge from this new context was Abu Nasr Qursawi (1776-1812). A controversial figure who was condemned for heresy in Bukhara in 1808, Qursawi put forward a sweeping reform of the Islamic scholarly tradition. Focusing on taqlid, the principle of conformity to established doctrine, Qursawi argued that its overuse had weakened scholarship in the areas of Islamic law (fiqh) and theology (kalam) and undermined scholars' ability to serve as religious guides.

In Preserving Islamic Tradition, Nathan Spannaus presents the first detailed analysis of Qursawi's reformist project, both in its contours and broad historical setting. Spannaus shows how state control of Muslim institutions impacted religious discourse, but also how it altered the entire religious environment into the twentieth century. Addressing issues of modernity, secularity, tradition, and intellectual history, Preserving Islamic Tradition demonstrates how the interaction with a European imperial state transformed the Islamic tradition, both directly and indirectly, and elicited new forms of religious thought and discourse.
Learn more about Preserving Islamic Tradition at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Preserving Islamic Tradition.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Margaret Mizushima's "Tracking Game"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Tracking Game: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery by Margaret Mizushima.

About the book, from the publisher:
Two brutal murders, a menacing band of poachers, and a fearsome creature on the loose in the mountains plunge Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo into a sinister vortex.

An explosion outside a community dance sends Mattie Cobb and Cole Walker reeling into the night, where they discover a burning van and beside it the body of outfitter Nate Fletcher. But the explosion didn't kill Nate—it was two gunshots to the heart.

The investigation leads them to the home of rancher Doyle Redman, whose daughter is Nate's widow, and the object of one of their suspect's affection. But before they can make an arrest, they receive an emergency call from a man who's been shot in the mountains. Mattie and Robo rush to the scene, only to be confronted by the ominous growl of a wild predator.

As new players emerge on the scene, Mattie begins to understand the true danger that's enveloping Timber Creek. They journey into the cold, misty mountains to track the animal—but discover something even more deadly in Tracking Game, the fifth installment in Margaret Mizushima's Timber Creek K-9 mysteries.
Visit Margaret Mizushima's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Margaret Mizushima & Hannah, Bertie, Lily and Tess.

My Book, The Movie: Burning Ridge.

The Page 69 Test: Burning Ridge.

Writers Read: Margaret Mizushima.

The Page 69 Test: Tracking Game.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top stories where nature is trying to kill you

Rin Chupeco has written obscure manuals for complicated computer programs, talked people out of their money at event shows, and done many other terrible things. She now writes about ghosts and fantastic worlds but is still sometimes mistaken for a revenant. She is the author of The Girl from the Well, its sequel, The Suffering, and the Bone Witch trilogy.

Her new novel is The Never Tilting World.

At Tor.com, Chupeco tagged five favorite stories where nature does its best to kill you, including:
Hothouse by Brian W. Aldiss

When the novel begins, the worse has already happened (at least, by contemporary standards); humans have changed, both physically and physiologically. Their world is slowly dying, and they are seeking out ways to survive this catastrophe, including escaping into space. All of the protagonists described in the novel are unrecognizable to readers as human, though with similar motivations to staying alive. The sun has expanded to fill the sky, and plants have evolved their own nervous systems, mimicking human physical features such as eyes and acquiring a taste for meat and flesh. The vegetable kingdom has mutated into a parasitical species that’s succeeded in wiping out other animals and endangering what’s left of humankind, which is not the kind of story you usually see in post-apocalyptic novels – which is probably why the premise sounds so terrifying. I’d come in to the book assuming that the strange beings were supporting characters and that the humans would show up soon, then soon realized that the strange beings were the humans!
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 11, 2019

Hank Early's "Echoes of the Fall," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Echoes of the Fall: An Earl Marcus Mystery by Hank Early.

The entry begins:
Confession: I’ve had the Earl Marcus Netflix series cast for some time. I’m just waiting on some Hollywood type to wake up and see what a goldmine these books are and get to work on the adaptation. Kidding, of course. Kind of. Okay, well, maybe I’m not. Hear me out.

Earl Marcus would be played by David Harbour of Stranger Things fame. My wife gave me the idea when we watched Stranger Things together and she said, “That sheriff is exactly how I pictured Earl Marcus when I read your first book.” Full disclosure: it wasn’t exactly how I pictured him (in my mind, Earl is skinnier and grayer), but close enough.

Earl’s two sidekicks is where it really gets fun. Ronnie is without question Walton Goggins. Goggins has the ability to project the chaos and instability of Ronnie while still displaying his considerable vulnerability and innate goodness. And let’s face it, Goggins would look great tatted up with a guitar slung around his neck while he and the boys...[read on]
Visit Hank Early's website.

The Page 69 Test: Echoes of the Fall.

My Book, The Movie: Echoes of the Fall.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top mafia classics

Sean Rea studied at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, majoring in communications and minoring in management. The Don of Siracusa is his first novel. Rea has traveled much of America and nearly all of Italy. Like his protagonist, Stefano, from a young age Sean was exposed to the world of big business through his father and nonno, and he drew on much of this in crafting the business aspects of Siracusa. Rea is a long-time fan of the crime-fiction genre and all things mafia-related.

At CrimeReads he tagged six mafia classics you won't want to miss, including:
Donnie Brasco by Joseph Pistone

Pistone’s tale of his infiltration into the mob provides fascinating, and sometimes tedious, insight into the daily workings of the mafia in the 1970’s. Any fan of organized crime novels would do well to read this one. The accompanying movie is also considered an all-time great.
Read about another entry on the list.

Donnie Brasco is among Dana Ridenour's five best books about working undercover.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: David J. Silverman's "This Land Is Their Land"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving by David J. Silverman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Ahead of the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving, a new look at the Plymouth colony's founding events, told for the first time with Wampanoag people at the heart of the story.

In March 1621, when Plymouth's survival was hanging in the balance, the Wampanoag sachem (or chief), Ousamequin (Massasoit), and Plymouth's governor, John Carver, declared their people's friendship for each other and a commitment to mutual defense. Later that autumn, the English gathered their first successful harvest and lifted the specter of starvation. Ousamequin and 90 of his men then visited Plymouth for the “First Thanksgiving.” The treaty remained operative until King Philip's War in 1675, when 50 years of uneasy peace between the two parties would come to an end.

400 years after that famous meal, historian David J. Silverman sheds profound new light on the events that led to the creation, and bloody dissolution, of this alliance. Focusing on the Wampanoag Indians, Silverman deepens the narrative to consider tensions that developed well before 1620 and lasted long after the devastating war-tracing the Wampanoags' ongoing struggle for self-determination up to this very day.

This unsettling history reveals why some modern Native people hold a Day of Mourning on Thanksgiving, a holiday which celebrates a myth of colonialism and white proprietorship of the United States. This Land is Their Land shows that it is time to rethink how we, as a pluralistic nation, tell the history of Thanksgiving.
Learn more about This Land Is Their Land at the Bloomsbury website.

The Page 99 Test: This Land Is Their Land.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven acclaimed books about and from East Germany

Olivia Giovetti a writer and multidisciplinary artist interested in how our lives intersect through culture and the humanities.

At LitHub she tagged seven top books about and from East Germany, including:
Anna Funder, Stasiland

Funder’s Stasiland is an anomaly on this list, written by an Australian who lived in West Berlin in the 1990s. Still, being a secondhand witness to history is a role that more of us will face as the fall of the Berlin Wall passes into its 30th, 40th, and 50th anniversaries. Funder’s history captures a rare moment in time during which one could experience both East and West before they became a unified whole. Her interviews with Stasi victims and former operatives creates what The Monthly best described as “Alice in a totalitarian Wonderland.”
Read about another entry on the list.

Stasiland is among Hester Vaizey's five top books on modern Germany history and Steve Kettmann's ten best books on Germans and Germany.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 10, 2019

What is Margaret Mizushima reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Margaret Mizushima, author of Tracking Game: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery.

Her entry begins:
I’m fortunate to have been asked to read an Advance Reader Copy of The Spoilt Quilt and Other Frontier Stories: Pioneering Women of the West, a collection that will be released by Five Star Publishing on November 20, 2019. This fine anthology includes stories written by two of my favorite historical fiction authors: New York Times bestselling author, Sandra Dallas, and two-time Colorado Book Awards finalist, Pat Stoltey.

The opening story that shares its name with the anthology title is written by Sandra Dallas and features a sheriff and his wife who arrive at an outlying farm to investigate the farmer’s death by pitchfork. The storyteller captivated me as the tale outlined the events leading up to this man’s murder—fine writing at its best.

Pat Stoltey’s contribution, "Good Work for a Girl," captures the hardships a family endures as they head west to...[read on]
About Tracking Game, from the publisher:
Two brutal murders, a menacing band of poachers, and a fearsome creature on the loose in the mountains plunge Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo into a sinister vortex.

An explosion outside a community dance sends Mattie Cobb and Cole Walker reeling into the night, where they discover a burning van and beside it the body of outfitter Nate Fletcher. But the explosion didn't kill Nate—it was two gunshots to the heart.

The investigation leads them to the home of rancher Doyle Redman, whose daughter is Nate's widow, and the object of one of their suspect's affection. But before they can make an arrest, they receive an emergency call from a man who's been shot in the mountains. Mattie and Robo rush to the scene, only to be confronted by the ominous growl of a wild predator.

As new players emerge on the scene, Mattie begins to understand the true danger that's enveloping Timber Creek. They journey into the cold, misty mountains to track the animal—but discover something even more deadly in Tracking Game, the fifth installment in Margaret Mizushima's Timber Creek K-9 mysteries.
Visit Margaret Mizushima's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Margaret Mizushima & Hannah, Bertie, Lily and Tess.

My Book, The Movie: Burning Ridge.

The Page 69 Test: Burning Ridge.

Writers Read: Margaret Mizushima.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven books about insomnia to distract you from late-night anxiety

Gnesis Villar, an intern at Electric Literature, tagged seven books to distract you from late night existential dread, including:
Insomnia by Marina Benjamin

More than a third of all adults experience insomnia and the number rises in those over sixty-five. Marina Benjamin writes on her personal experience with the condition and adds new dimensions to both our understanding of sleep, the night, and how we perceive darkness. In her usage of literature, art, philosophy, psychology, pop culture, and more, Benjamin pays close attention in her musings to the relationship between women and sleep detailed throughout history.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: James Lovegrove's "Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon by James Lovegrove.

About the book, from the publisher:
It is 1890, and in the days before Christmas Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson are visited at Baker Street by a new client. Eve Allerthorpe - eldest daughter of a grand but somewhat eccentric Yorkshire-based dynasty - is greatly distressed, as she believes she is being haunted by a demonic Christmas spirit.

Her late mother told her terrifying tales of the sinister Black Thurrick, and Eve is sure that she has seen the creature from her bedroom window. What is more, she has begun to receive mysterious parcels of birch twigs, the Black Thurrick's calling card...

Eve stands to inherit a fortune if she is sound in mind, but it seems that something - or someone - is threatening her sanity. Holmes and Watson travel to the Allerthorpe family seat at Fellscar Keep to investigate, but soon discover that there is more to the case than at first appeared. There is another spirit haunting the family, and when a member of the household is found dead, the companions realise that no one is beyond suspicion.
Visit James Lovegrove's website.

My Book, The Movie: Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon.

The Page 69 Test: Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 09, 2019

The best books about nannies

Amanda Craig is a British novelist, short-story writer and critic. Her novels include Hearts And Minds and The Lie Of the Land. She is currently working on her eighth novel, which is inspired by the fairy-tale of "Beauty and the Beast."

At the Guardian, Craig tagged some of the best books about nannies, including:
For most readers, nannies remain unusual or uncommon – proof of a family’s privilege. However, this year has seen three notable adult novels with nannies at their centre. Jill Dawson’s captivatingly lyrical The Language of Birds explores the life of “Mandy River”, based on the one murdered by Lord Lucan, and for once puts the nanny centre stage as a person in her own right. Madeline Stevens’s slow-burning thriller Devotion dramatises the resentment that a poor young woman might feel when working in the home of a rich New York couple, and the unhealthy friendship that develops between her and the children’s mother. Ruth Ware’s The Turn of the Key is a wonderfully suspenseful riff on Henry James’s classic The Turn of the Screw, set in the Scottish Highlands and with toxic children at its heart. Nana the dog has never seemed more left behind.
Read about another entry on the list.

My Book, The Movie: Devotion.

The Page 69 Test: Devotion.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Jon Lawrence's "Me, Me, Me?"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Me, Me, Me?: The Search for Community in Post-war England by Jon Lawrence.

About the book, from the publisher:
Many commentators tell us that, in today's world, everyday life has become selfish and atomised--that individuals live only to consume. But are they wrong?

In Me, Me, Me, Jon Lawrence re-tells the story of England since the Second World War through the eyes of ordinary people--including his own parents-- to argue that, in fact, friendship, family, and place all remain central to our daily lives, and whilst community has changed, it is far from dead.

He shows how, in the years after the Second World War, people came increasingly to question custom and tradition as the pressure to conform to societal standards became intolerable. And as soon as they could, millions escaped the closed, face-to-face communities of Victorian Britain, where everyone knew your business. But this was not a rejection of community per se, but an attempt to find another, new way of living which was better suited to the modern world.

Community has become personal and voluntary, based on genuine affection rather than proximity or need. We have never been better connected or able to sustain the relationships that matter to us. Me, Me, Me makes that case that it's time we valued and nurtured these new groups, rather than lamenting the loss of more 'real' forms of community--it is all too easy to hold on to a nostalgic view of the past.
Learn more about Me, Me, Me? at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Me, Me, Me?.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten must-read crime books set in the American West

JP Gritton’s awards include a Cynthia Woods Mitchell fellowship, a DisQuiet fellowship and the Donald Barthelme prize in fiction. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Greensboro Review, New Ohio Review, Southwest Review, Tin House and elsewhere. His translations of the fiction of Brazilian writer Cidinha da Silva are forthcoming in InTranslation.

Wyoming is his first novel.

At Publishers Weekly, Gritton tagged ten of his favorite crime books set in the American West, including:
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

De Witt’s hilarious, weird, wonderful novel follows two hired assassins, Eli and Charlie Sisters, on their latest job for “the Commodore,” a mysterious figure of infamy and riches: kill Hermann Warm, who has “stolen” something from the Commodore and now mucks about in the gold camps of California. Like the assassins themselves, however, the mission is much more than it appears at first glance.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Sisters Brothers is among John Larison's ten books that represent the evolution of the Western.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 08, 2019

James Lovegrove's "Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon by James Lovegrove.

The entry begins:
The best screen Holmes is undoubtedly Jeremy Brett, who played the role in the 1980s Granada series and nailed the character completely. Most of the time he was accompanied by Edward Hardwicke, who was likewise excellent as Watson – tolerant and reliable. If these two were still alive and in their prime, I would gladly have them star in a movie of any of my Holmes books. In fact, when writing Holmes’s dialogue, I tend to hear Brett’s voice.

I also think that Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, back when they were a comedy duo, would have made a fine Holmes and Watson. Each could have played either role.

Specifically for The Christmas Demon, the other main parts would offer present-day British thespians plenty to get their teeth into. Most of the action takes place at Fellscar Keep, a Yorkshire castle in the depths of a freezing winter, and the large family who live there form the bulk of the supporting cast. Roger Allam would make a convincing Thaddeus Allerthope, the crusty patriarch, and...[read on]
Visit James Lovegrove's website.

My Book, The Movie: Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Hank Early's "Echoes of the Fall"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Echoes of the Fall: An Earl Marcus Mystery by Hank Early.

About the book, from the publisher:
Earl Marcus has faced a litany of demons in his time, but a grisly murder sends him spiraling into a vortex of long-buried secrets.

After losing a hotly contested sheriff's race to the lackey of corrupt politician Jeb Walsh, Earl Marcus has had the worst summer of his life. But worst turns deadly when a body turns up on Earl's front lawn, accompanied by a cryptic letter.

Earl finds a cell phone in the victim's car and tracks it to The Harden School, an old, isolated campus surrounded by barbed wire and locked gates, and catches a sneak peek at a file labeled complaints, where he finds a familiar name: Jeb Walsh. Jeb's ex-wife Eleanor had lodged multiple complaints against the school on behalf of her son, and when he contacts Eleanor, the horrifying truth begins to emerge.

Desperate to make a connection between the school and the dead man, Earl journeys into a world where nothing is sacred.
Visit Hank Early's website.

The Page 69 Test: Echoes of the Fall.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five YA novels based on real folklore

Shea Ernshaw the author of The Wicked Deep and Winterwood.

At Tor.com she tagged five "YA books [that] were inspired by real world myths and legends and unexplained tales," including:
Conversion by Katherine Howe

Inspired by true events, Conversion is the story of several friends attending St. Joan’s Academy who are inexplicably struck by a strange condition which causes the girls to suffer from uncontrollable tics, seizures, hair loss, and coughing fits. In this fictional portrayal, the cause of their condition is linked to Salem, Massachusetts.

But this book was based on the real-life events that took place in a high school in Le Roy, N.Y. where high school students began suffering from similar ailments. The community of Le Roy feared it might be pollution or poisoning of some kind, but it was eventually determined to be a case of “conversion,” a disorder where a person is under so much stress that their body converts it into physical symptoms. Also known as hysteria.

Whatever the cause, this fictional book based on the events in this small town in N.Y. is a perfect read for fans of stories the explore the boundary between fact and fiction. I couldn’t put this one down!
Read about another entry on the list.

Conversion is among Darren Croucher's top five dual YA narratives that bridge history and the present day, Meredith Moore's five top YA thrillers and Anna Fitzpatrick's top four books "featuring small towns, teen girls, intimate friendships on the border between love and hate, and brutal murders."

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Pg. 99: Helen Fry's "The Walls Have Ears"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Walls Have Ears: The Greatest Intelligence Operation of World War II by Helen Fry.

About the book, from the publisher:
A history of the elaborate and brilliantly sustained World War II intelligence operation by which Hitler’s generals were tricked into giving away vital Nazi secrets

At the outbreak of World War II, MI6 spymaster Thomas Kendrick arrived at the Tower of London to set up a top secret operation: German prisoners’ cells were to be bugged and listeners installed behind the walls to record and transcribe their private conversations. This mission proved so effective that it would go on to be set up at three further sites—and provide the Allies with crucial insight into new technology being developed by the Nazis.

In this astonishing history, Helen Fry uncovers the inner workings of the bugging operation. On arrival at stately-homes-turned-prisons like Trent Park, high-ranking German generals and commanders were given a "phony" interrogation, then treated as "guests," wined and dined at exclusive clubs, and encouraged to talk. And so it was that the Allies got access to some of Hitler’s most closely guarded secrets—and from those most entrusted to protect them.
Visit Helen Fry's website.

The Page 99 Test: The London Cage.

The Page 99 Test: The Walls Have Ears.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six legal thrillers with essential social messages

Chad Zunker studied journalism at the University of Texas, where he was also on the football team. He’s worked for some of the most powerful law firms in the country and invented baby products that are now sold all over the world. He has wanted to write full time since he took his first practice hit as a skinny freshman walk-on from a 6’5, 240 pound senior All-American safety — which crushed both him and his feeble NFL dreams.

Zunker is the author of the David Adams legal thriller, An Equal Justice, as well as The Tracker, Shadow Shepherd, and Hunt the Lion in his Sam Callahan series. He lives in Austin with his wife, Katie, and their three daughters.

At CrimeReads, Zunker tagged six legal thrillers with essential social messages, including:
Havana Requiem by Paul Goldstein

Havana Requiem won the 2013 Harper Lee Prize of Fiction—can you tell I’m a big fan of that award? Goldstein’s book tells the efforts of lawyer Michael Seeley to help a group of aging Cuban jazz musicians and their families reclaim copyrights to their musical work. When his client goes missing, Seeley realizes there is a deeper conspiracy at play that begins to point not only at the Cuban secret police but also his former law firm.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Elizabeth LaBan reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Elizabeth LaBan, author of Beside Herself.

Her entry begins:
I am a firm believer that whatever is going on in your life can greatly affect your connection to a book. I think that’s why I love reading about marriage and family life so much, and literally couldn’t put down the book Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner when I read it recently. For that reason, I decided to read Less by Andrew Sean Greer right now during the weeks my novel Beside Herself is brand new in the world because I want to read about the plight of another author. The book, which won the Pulitzer Prize, is about Arthur Less who is described on the back of the book as a failed novelist. He is struggling with his love life, and, in an effort to escape, embarks on a journey around the world. As the book opens, Arthur Less is heading to another, more successful author’s book event where he...[read on]
About Beside Herself, from the publisher:
With her signature wit and charm, bestselling author Elizabeth LaBan shows how marriage doesn’t necessarily follow a straight line and unexpected detours might just bring you back to the place you most want to be.

When she finds out her husband cheated, Hannah Bent thinks her marriage is over. Isn’t that what happens after an affair? But she’s seen friends divorce, and it’s not pretty. Plus, she and Joel have kids and an otherwise-happy life, and she still loves him, although begrudgingly.

Furious and feeling stuck, she suggests having her own affair to even the score. Joel, desperate for forgiveness, agrees. But does she really want to go through with it? And how exactly does a married mother of two get back in the dating pool? Many awkward dates follow until she finds a deep and unexpected connection where she was least looking for it.

Just as she thinks she’s made a decision, her journey to happiness is waylaid by storms of doubt. But the important thing is that she’s finally figuring out what she truly wants for herself, and she understands that whatever choice she makes must be hers and hers alone.
Visit Elizabeth LaBan's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Restaurant Critic's Wife.

The Page 69 Test: Not Perfect.

Writers Read: Elizabeth LaBan.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books of fiction about mathematics

Catherine Chung was born in Evanston, IL, and grew up in New York, New Jersey, and Michigan. Writing has been her life-long passion, but as an undergraduate she indulged in a brief, one-sided affair with mathematics at the University of Chicago followed by a few years in Santa Monica working at a think tank by the sea.

Eventually she attended Cornell University for her MFA, and since then she and her books have been given shelter and encouragement from The MacDowell Colony, Jentel, Hedgebrook, SFAI, Camargo, The University of Leipzig, VCCA, UCross, Yaddo, Civitella Ranieri, The Jerome Foundation, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and the Constance Saltonstall Foundation. Her brother, Heesoo Chung, has also given her a bed and fed her lots of ice cream at criticaƂ times.

Chung is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Director’s Visitorship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She was a Granta New Voice, and won an Honorable Mention for the PEN/Hemingway Award with her first novel, Forgotten Country, which was a Booklist, Bookpage, and San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2012. She has published work in The New York Times, The Rumpus, and Granta, and is a fiction editor at Guernica Magazine. She lives in New York City.

Chung's latest novel is The Tenth Muse.

At the Guardian, she tagged ten top books of fiction about mathematics, including:
Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro

Sofia Kovalevskaya was a 19th-century mathematician at a time when women were not allowed in most of Europe to attend university. She married a man who promised to take her to Germany to study, and she became a pioneer, making major contributions to the field and becoming the first woman in Europe to obtain a doctorate in mathematics. Still, her life was filled with tragedy and disappointment, and the title story of Alice Munro’s collection is a rich but searing fictional account of her life.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Olivia Hawker's "One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow by Olivia Hawker.

The entry begins:
I don’t follow the film world closely enough to have a clear idea of which actors I’d like to see portray the characters from One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow. But I can tell you that if it were ever made into a film, I’d love to see Adrian Lyne direct it with Stephen...[read on]
Visit Olivia Hawker's website.

My Book, The Movie: One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: David Farber's "Crack"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Crack: Rock Cocaine, Street Capitalism, and the Decade of Greed by David Farber.

About the book, from the publisher:
A shattering account of the crack cocaine years from award-winning American historian David Farber, Crack tells the story of the young men who bet their lives on the rewards of selling 'rock' cocaine, the people who gave themselves over to the crack pipe, and the often-merciless authorities who incarcerated legions of African Americans caught in the crack cocaine underworld. Based on interviews, archival research, judicial records, underground videos, and prison memoirs, Crack explains why, in a de-industrializing America in which market forces ruled and entrepreneurial risk-taking was celebrated, the crack industry was a lucrative enterprise for the 'Horatio Alger boys' of their place and time. These young, predominately African American entrepreneurs were profit-sharing partners in a deviant, criminal form of economic globalization. Hip Hop artists often celebrated their exploits but overwhelmingly, Americans - across racial lines -did not. Crack takes a hard look at the dark side of late twentieth-century capitalism.
Learn more about Crack at the Cambridge University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Everybody Ought to Be Rich.

My Book, The Movie: Everybody Ought to Be Rich.

The Page 99 Test: Crack.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top books on the biggest days in sports

Nicholas Wroe is a writer and editor on the Guardian Review.

He tagged six sporting landmarks in literature, including:
Not every sport has a cup final, but most have set-piece moments of truth, big days that decide who is the best, and writers have long been drawn to them both to recall the action and to consider wider perspectives. Among the most successful efforts was Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch, his reinvention of the memoir through the prism of Arsenal matches. Fascinating in a different way was Norman Mailer’s The Fight, about the 1974 rumble in the jungle heavyweight boxing title fight in Kinshasa, Zaire, between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Mailer’s egotistical swagger theatrically captured the moment (and, in hindsight, also provided a revealing snapshot of 70s mind-sets, preoccupations and prejudices).
Read about another entry on the list.

Fever Pitch is among John Gustad's top ten sports books and Mihir Bose's top ten soccer books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Paula Munier's "Blind Search"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Blind Search (Mercy and Elvis Mysteries, Volume 2) by Paula Munier.

About the book, from the publisher:
Former Army MP Mercy Carr and her retired bomb-sniffing dog Elvis are back in Blind Search, the sequel to the page-turning, critically acclaimed A Borrowing of Bones

It’s October, hunting season in the Green Mountains—and the Vermont wilderness has never been more beautiful or more dangerous. Especially for nine-year-old Henry, who’s lost in the woods. Again. Only this time he sees something terrible. When a young woman is found shot through the heart with a fatal arrow, Mercy thinks that something is murder. But Henry, a math genius whose autism often silences him when he should speak up most, is not talking.

Now there’s a murderer hiding among the hunters in the forest—and Mercy and Elvis must team up with their crime-solving friends, game warden Troy Warner and search-and-rescue dog Susie Bear, to find the killer—before the killer finds Henry. When an early season blizzard hits the mountains, cutting them off from the rest of the world, the race is on to solve the crime, apprehend the murderer, and keep the boy safe until the snowplows get through.

Inspired by the true search-and-rescue case of an autistic boy who got lost in the Vermont wilderness, Paula Munier's mystery is a compelling roller coaster ride through the worst of winter—and human nature.
Visit Paula Munier's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Paula Munier & Bear.

My Book, The Movie: A Borrowing of Bones.

The Page 69 Test: A Borrowing of Bones.

Writers Read: Paula Munier.

My Book, The Movie: Blind Search.

The Page 69 Test: Blind Search.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

What is Liska Jacobs reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Liska Jacobs, author of The Worst Kind of Want: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
I tend to read multiple books at once. These are the ones that I have on my nightstand currently, although my TBR pile is probably four times this size!

The Oblivion Seekers, Isabelle Eberhardt: I recently just finished reading this, but I’m including it because now I’m obsessed with Eberhardt. She was a female adventurer who traveled Africa dressed as an Arab man in the early 20th century, smoking opium, writing—doing pretty much whatever she liked and...[read on]
About The Worst Kind of Want, from the publisher:
A trip to Italy reignites a woman’s desires to disastrous effect in this dark ode to womanhood, death, and sex

To cool-headed, fastidious Pricilla Messing, Italy will be an escape, a brief glimpse of freedom from a life that's starting to feel like one long decline.

Rescued from the bedside of her difficult mother, forty-something Cilla finds herself called away to Rome to keep an eye on her wayward teenage niece, Hannah. But after years of caregiving, babysitting is the last thing Cilla wants to do. Instead she throws herself into Hannah's youthful, heedless world—drinking, dancing, smoking—relishing the heady atmosphere of the Italian summer. After years of feeling used up and overlooked, Cilla feels like she's coming back to life. But being so close to Hannah brings up complicated memories, making Cilla restless and increasingly reckless, and a dangerous flirtation with a teenage boy soon threatens to send her into a tailspin.

With the sharp-edged insight of Ottessa Moshfegh and the taut seduction of Patricia Highsmith, The Worst Kind of Want is a dark exploration of the inherent dangers of being a woman. In her unsettling follow-up to Catalina, Liska Jacobs again delivers hypnotic literary noir about a woman whose unruly desires and troubled past push her to the brink of disaster.
Visit Liska Jacobs's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Worst Kind of Want.

The Page 69 Test: The Worst Kind of Want.

Writers Read: Liska Jacobs.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five fantasy books about artists & the magic of creativity

Maggie Stiefvater's new novel is Call Down the Hawk.

At Tor.com, she tagged five fantasy books about artists and the magic of creativity, including:
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

The end of the world has come and gone, illness ravaging the population, and what is left in its wake? In St. John Mandel’s vision of the end of the world: artists. Actors, to be precise. We have ever so many apocalypse stories that show us the ugly side of humanity, but Station Eleven stands out for highlighting the opposite. Yes, there are survivalists with shotguns and ugly truths in this version of the end of the world, but there’s also art, creativity, synthesis, the making of a new culture. This introspective novel follows a Shakespearean troupe across a wasteland and ponders what it means to be a creator in a world that by all rights, should care more about survival than art. In the end, which one really is the more human impulse?
Read about another entry on the list.

Station Eleven is among Mark Skinner's five top literary dystopias, Claudia Gray's five essential books about plagues and pandemics, K Chess's five top fictional books inside of real books, Rebecca Kauffman's ten top musical novels, Nathan Englander’s ten favorite books, M.L. Rio’s five top novels inspired by Shakespeare, Anne Corlett's five top books with different takes on the apocalypse, Christopher Priest’s five top sci-fi books that make use of music, and Anne Charnock's five favorite books with fictitious works of art.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: John Ibson's "Men without Maps"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Men without Maps: Some Gay Males of the Generation before Stonewall by John Ibson.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Men without Maps, John Ibson uncovers the experiences of men after World War II who had same-sex desires but few affirmative models of how to build identities and relationships. Though heterosexual men had plenty of cultural maps—provided by nearly every engine of social and popular culture—gay men mostly lacked such guides in the years before parades, organizations, and publications for queer persons. Surveying the years from shortly before the war up to the gay rights movement of the late 1960s and early ’70s, Ibson considers male couples, who balanced domestic contentment with exterior repression, as well as single men, whose solitary lives illuminate unexplored aspects of the queer experience. Men without Maps shows how, in spite of the obstacles they faced, midcentury gay men found ways to assemble their lives and senses of self at a time of limited acceptance.
Learn more about Men without Maps at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Men without Maps.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven novels about mythical creatures

Meghan Tifft teaches English at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. She is the author of The Long Fire and From Hell to Breakfast.

At Electric Lit she tagged seven "stories about the modern problems of supernatural beings," including:
When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord

During the full moon, the pubescent population of this town goes gruesomely carnal, thrashing and sexing it up in the neighborhoods while their parents and other institutional wardens cower behind locked doors. The next day, baths are run for them. This seems to be the way of things as Lumen, a late bloomer, finds herself slowly unraveling into the fray. Among other things, she wants to know why her mother did not succumb to the “breach.” Her mother who is dead now. The story is told by a Lumen who is reflecting back on this lost time of lycanthropy as a mother and wife, now far away and long gone. This is an interesting novel about the horrors of growing up and how harrowing it is to be ushered into a world that will grope and brutalize you, one that you have made yourself and will surely pass along.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 04, 2019

Pg. 69: Tess Arlen's "Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders by Tessa Arlen.

About the book, from the publisher:
Charming and feisty Poppy Redfern stumbles into murder in this exciting new World War II historical mystery series from critically acclaimed author Tessa Arlen.

Summer 1942
. The world has been at war for three long and desperate years. In the remote English village of Little Buffenden, Poppy Redfern’s family house and farmland has been requisitioned by the War Office as a new airfield for the American Air Force. As the village’s Air Raid Warden, Poppy spends her nights patrolling the village as she tries to ease her neighbors’ fears about the “Friendly Invasion” and what it means to their quiet way of life.

When two young, popular women who were dating American servicemen are found strangled, Poppy quickly realizes that her little town has been divided by murder. The mistrust and suspicion of their new American partners in war threatens to tear Little Buffenden apart. Poppy decides to start her own investigation with the help of a charismatic American pilot and she soon unearths some chilling secrets and long-held grudges. Poppy will have no choice but to lay a trap for a killer so perilously close to home, she might very well become the next victim….
Visit Tessa Arlen's website.

See Tessa Arlen’s top five historical novels.

Coffee with a Canine: Tessa Arlen & Daphne.

The Page 69 Test: Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman.

My Book, The Movie: Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman.

The Page 69 Test: Death Sits Down to Dinner.

My Book, The Movie: Death Sits Down to Dinner.

The Page 69 Test: A Death by Any Other Name.

The Page 69 Test: Death of an Unsung Hero.

Writers Read: Tessa Arlen.

The Page 69 Test: Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders.

--Marshal Zeringue

The eight most genuinely terrifying novels ever written

Michael J. Seidlinger is a Filipino American author of My Pet Serial Killer, Dreams of Being, The Fun We’ve Had, and nine other books.

At CrimeReads he tagged eight of the most genuinely terrifying novels ever written, including:
House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski

I may be a little biased with this one, given that I wrote a book about the book, but after asking literary Twitter about the scariest reads, this book consistently popped up as the one that left scars, frightening countless readers for decades. Simply stated, it’s about a house that’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside, whole hallways and rooms appearing in the night. There’s far more to it though, a true deep dive into madness and love. The book is one that you should experience at least once in your life. Just like if you care about horror at all, you should have already viewed The Shining at least once.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Tim Stuart-Buttle's "From Moral Theology to Moral Philosophy"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: From Moral Theology to Moral Philosophy: Cicero and Visions of Humanity from Locke to Hume by Tim Stuart-Buttle.

About the book, from the publisher:
The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries represent a period of remarkable intellectual vitality in British philosophy, as figures such as Hobbes, Locke, Hume, and Smith attempted to explain the origins and sustaining mechanisms of civil society. Their insights continue to inform how political and moral theorists think about the world in which we live. From Moral Theology to Moral Philosophy reconstructs a debate which preoccupied contemporaries but which seems arcane to us today. It concerned the relationship between reason and revelation as the two sources of mankind's knowledge, particularly in the ethical realm: to what extent, they asked, could reason alone discover the content and obligatory character of morality? This was held to be a historical, rather than a merely theoretical question: had the philosophers of pre-Christian antiquity, ignorant of Christ, been able satisfactorily to explain the moral universe? What role had natural theology played in their ethical theories - and was it consistent with the teachings delivered by revelation? Much recent scholarship has drawn attention to the early-modern interest in two late Hellenistic philosophical traditions - Stoicism and Epicureanism. Yet in the English context, three figures above all - John Locke, Conyers Middleton, and David Hume - quite deliberately and explicitly identified their approaches with Cicero as the representative of an alternative philosophical tradition, critical of both the Stoic and the Epicurean: academic scepticism. All argued that Cicero provided a means of addressing what they considered to be the most pressing question facing contemporary philosophy: the relationship between moral philosophy and moral theology.
Learn more about From Moral Theology to Moral Philosophy at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: From Moral Theology to Moral Philosophy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Stanley Fish's six essential books

Stanley Fish is a prominent literary theorist and legal scholar whose books include How to Write a Sentence and How Milton Works. His latest book is The First: How to Think About Hate Speech, Campus Speech, Religious Speech, Fake News, Post-Truth, and Donald Trump.

At The Week magazine, Fish shared a list of six essential reads, including:
Paradise Lost by John Milton (1667).

Any question anyone has ever had about anything — creation, life, death, salvation, astronomy, heroism, faith, sex, marriage, history, science — is posed and plumbed in this supreme achievement of mind. Paradise Lost reads you.
Read about another entry on the list.

Milton is on Stuart Kelly's list of five great darknesses in literature.

The Serpent (Snake from Paradise Lost)  is among Sara Brady's six talking-animal characters she’d like to have a drink with.

Satan from Paradise Lost is among the 50 greatest villains in literature according to the (London) Telegraph and appears on John Mullan's list of ten of the best devils in literature.

Paradise Lost also appears on Nicole Hill's list of seven books with Death as a character, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best snakes in literature, ten of the best pieces of fruit in literature, ten of the best visions of hell in literature, ten of the best angels in literature, ten of the best visions of heaven in literature, ten of the best walled gardens in literature, and ten of the best coups de foudre in literature. It is also on Diane Purkiss' critic's chart of the best books on the English Civil War and Peter Stanford's list of the ten best devils in literature.

The Page 69 Test for Stanley Fish's How Milton Works.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Pg. 69: Liska Jacobs's "The Worst Kind of Want"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Worst Kind of Want: A Novel by Liska Jacobs.

About the book, from the publisher:
A trip to Italy reignites a woman’s desires to disastrous effect in this dark ode to womanhood, death, and sex

To cool-headed, fastidious Pricilla Messing, Italy will be an escape, a brief glimpse of freedom from a life that's starting to feel like one long decline.

Rescued from the bedside of her difficult mother, forty-something Cilla finds herself called away to Rome to keep an eye on her wayward teenage niece, Hannah. But after years of caregiving, babysitting is the last thing Cilla wants to do. Instead she throws herself into Hannah's youthful, heedless world—drinking, dancing, smoking—relishing the heady atmosphere of the Italian summer. After years of feeling used up and overlooked, Cilla feels like she's coming back to life. But being so close to Hannah brings up complicated memories, making Cilla restless and increasingly reckless, and a dangerous flirtation with a teenage boy soon threatens to send her into a tailspin.

With the sharp-edged insight of Ottessa Moshfegh and the taut seduction of Patricia Highsmith, The Worst Kind of Want is a dark exploration of the inherent dangers of being a woman. In her unsettling follow-up to Catalina, Liska Jacobs again delivers hypnotic literary noir about a woman whose unruly desires and troubled past push her to the brink of disaster.
Visit Liska Jacobs's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Worst Kind of Want.

The Page 69 Test: The Worst Kind of Want.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top novels about climate disaster

Julie Carrick Dalton's debut novel, Waiting for the Night Song, is forthcoming from Forge (Macmillan) in January 2021, and her second novel, The Last Beekeeper, will follow a year later. She says if you enjoyed Where the Crawdads Sing or Barbara Kingsolver novels, her books are for you.

At Electric Lit she recommended ten books "that can motivate policymakers—and voters—by making the disastrous future feel present and real," including:
South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby

South Pole Station follows Cooper, an artist serving a residency at the South Pole, where a fun and sometimes prickly cast of characters live together in a claustrophobic research setting. When a climate-denialist shows up to conduct research intended to disprove generally accepted climate science, the other residents resent the resources being allocated to pseudoscience. As a non-scientist, Cooper serves as an observer in the world of climate research and allows the reader to question whether it is unfair to limit scientific inquiry. Shelby lifts the curtain on how private interests often fund climate-denial research, leaving the reader with a deep respect for the scientists who dedicate their lives to real climate work.
Read about another entry on the list.

South Pole Station is among Siobhan Adcock's nine top books in the new vanguard of climate fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Karen Stohr's "Minding the Gap"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Minding the Gap: Moral Ideals and Moral Improvement by Karen Stohr.

About the book, from the publisher:
Most of us care about being a good person. Most of us also recognize that we fall far short of our morals aspirations, that there is a gap between what we are like and what we think we should be like. The aim of moral improvement is to narrow that gap. And yet as a practical undertaking, moral improvement is beset by difficulties. We are not very good judges of what we are like and we are often unclear about what it would mean to be better. This book aims to give an honest account of moral improvement that takes seriously the challenges that we encounter--the practical and philosophical--in trying to make ourselves morally better.

Ethical theories routinely present us with accounts of ideal moral agents that we are supposed to emulate. These accounts, however, often lack normative authority for us and they may also fail to provide us with adequate guidance about how to live in our flawed moral reality. Stohr presents moral improvement as a project for non-ideal persons living in non-ideal circumstances. An adequate account of moral improvement must have psychologically plausible starting points and rely on ideals that are normatively authoritative and regulatively efficacious for the person trying to emulate them. Moral improvement should be understood as the project of articulating and inhabiting an aspirational moral identity. That identity is cultivated through existing practical identities and standpoints, which are fundamentally social and which generate practical conflicts about how to live. The success of moral improvement depends on it taking place within what she calls good "moral neighborhoods." Moral neighborhoods are collaborative normative spaces, constructed from networks of social practices and conventions, in which we can articulate and act as better versions of ourselves. The book concludes with a discussion of three social practices that contribute to good moral neighborhoods, and so to moral improvement.
Learn more about Minding the Gap at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Minding the Gap.

--Marshal Zeringue