Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Tyler Hayes's "The Imaginary Corpse," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Imaginary Corpse by Tyler Hayes.

The entry begins:
Given the mixed-media nature of the world(s) of The Imaginary Corpse, I picture it being, at least in part, an animated film, so I go into any dream-casting thinking about voice more than look. Even if some one of the more photorealistic Friends are played by live actors, prostheses and other special effects wouldn't look out of place in the film.

When I think of Tippy's voice, I think of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. A softened, kinder version of the cadences he used in Brick or Looper (well, with way fewer impressions of Bruce Willis) would really capture the spirit of our triceratops detective.

For Spindleman, I hear Matthew Mercer. The children he voices on Critical Role are regularly both heartwarming and heart-rending, and he would lend Spindleman the appropriate pathos.

For Chip Dixon, I'd go with...[read on]
Visit Tyler Hayes's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Imaginary Corpse.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Marco Z. Garrido's "The Patchwork City"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Patchwork City: Class, Space, and Politics in Metro Manila by Marco Z. Garrido.

About the book, from the publisher:
In contemporary Manila, slums and squatter settlements are peppered throughout the city, often pushing right up against the walled enclaves of the privileged, creating the complex geopolitical pattern of Marco Z. Garrido’s “patchwork city.” Garrido documents the fragmentation of Manila into a mélange of spaces defined by class, particularly slums and upper- and middle-class enclaves. He then looks beyond urban fragmentation to delineate its effects on class relations and politics, arguing that the proliferation of these slums and enclaves and their subsequent proximity have intensified class relations. For enclave residents, the proximity of slums is a source of insecurity, compelling them to impose spatial boundaries on slum residents. For slum residents, the regular imposition of these boundaries creates a pervasive sense of discrimination. Class boundaries then sharpen along the housing divide, and the urban poor and middle class emerge not as labor and capital but as squatters and “villagers,” Manila’s name for subdivision residents. Garrido further examines the politicization of this divide with the case of the populist president Joseph Estrada, finding the two sides drawn into contention over not just the right to the city, but the nature of democracy itself.

The Patchwork City illuminates how segregation, class relations, and democracy are all intensely connected. It makes clear, ultimately, that class as a social structure is as indispensable to the study of Manila—and of many other cities of the Global South—as race is to the study of American cities.
Learn more about The Patchwork City at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Patchwork City.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Gilly Macmillan's "The Nanny"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Nanny: A Novel by Gilly Macmillan.

About the book, from the publisher:
When her beloved nanny, Hannah, left without a trace in the summer of 1988, seven-year-old Jocelyn Holt was devastated. Haunted by the loss, Jo grew up bitter and distant, and eventually left her parents and Lake Hall, their faded aristocratic home, behind.

Thirty years later, Jo returns to the house and is forced to confront her troubled relationship with her mother. But when human remains are accidentally uncovered in a lake on the estate, Jo begins to question everything she thought she knew.

Then an unexpected visitor knocks on the door and Jo’s world is destroyed again. Desperate to piece together the gaping holes in her memory, Jo must uncover who her nanny really was, why she left, and if she can trust her own mother…

In this compulsively readable tale of secrets, lies, and deception, Gilly Macmillan explores the darkest impulses and desires of the human heart. Diabolically clever, The Nanny reminds us that sometimes the truth hurts so much you’d rather hear the lie.
Visit Gilly Macmillan's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Nanny.

The Page 69 Test: The Nanny.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven of the best books about the techniques of persuasion

Edith Hall is Professor in the Classics Department at King's College London.

Her books include Aristotle's Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life.

At the Guardian, Hall tagged some of the best books on the "techniques of persuasion – which the ancient Greeks called the science of rhetoric" – including:
The instrumentality of ancient speechmaking in the political oratory of more recent times is also explored in Garry Wills’s Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America. Wills examines the inspiration behind Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 address at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Pennsylvania – Pericles’ oration at the funeral of the Athenian war dead of 431BC, recorded by Thucydides. Pericles rousingly concluded, “Such is the city for whose sake these men nobly fought and died; they could not bear the thought that she might be taken from them; and every one of us who survive should gladly toil on her behalf.” Lincoln praised not the dead but the principles on which their country was founded.

Wills argues that his speech was revolutionary in assuming that the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution, was the supreme articulation of American government. He proposed that the US is a single nation and a single people, rather than an association of separate states. Lincoln follows Pericles in grasping a historic opportunity to frame a vision of his whole community and its values. He also followed the classical structure of Pericles’ oration in discussing first the dead and secondly the living – survivors, the bereaved – and instructing them on their future.
Read about another entry on the list.

Lincoln at Gettysburg is among Laurence Tribe's six book recommendations.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 16, 2019

What is Ashley Weaver reading"

Featured at Writers Read: Ashley Weaver, author of A Dangerous Engagement (An Amory Ames Mystery, Volume 6).

Her entry begins:
I’m currently reading Homer’s The Iliad. Every year a friend and I pick five classics of literature to read, and this is the final book on my list for 2019. I read large chunks of it in school, but this is my first time reading it cover-to-cover. It’s amazing how something written so long ago still has the power to stir the emotions. I have the Robert Fagles translation, and I’m really enjoying the clarity and beauty of the language.

My historical topic of interest this year has been polar exploration. I’m enjoying A Wretched and Precarious Situation: In Search of the Last Arctic Frontier by David Welky, which is the fascinating account of a group of explorers searching for “Crocker Land,” a distant and uncharted landscape spotted while...[read on]
About A Dangerous Engagement, from the publisher:
A Dangerous Engagement is the stylish, charming sixth novel in the Edgar-nominated Amory Ames mystery series by Ashley Weaver, set in 1930s New York.

As they travel by ship to New York for her childhood friend Tabitha’s wedding, Amory Ames gazes out at the city’s iconic skyline, excited by the prospect of being a bridesmaid. Her husband Milo, however, is convinced their trip will be deadly dull, since Prohibition is in full swing. But when a member of the wedding party is found murdered on the front steps of the bride’s home, the happy plans take a darker twist.

Amory discovers that the dead groomsman has links to the notorious—and notoriously handsome—gangster Leon De Lora, and soon she and Milo find themselves drawn into another mystery. While the police seem to think that New York’s criminal underworld is at play, Amory feels they can’t ignore the wedding party either. Tabitha’s fiancé Tom Smith appears to be a good man, but he has secrets of his own, and the others in the group seem strangely unaffected by the death of their friend...

In an unfamiliar city, not knowing who they can trust, Milo and Amory are drawn into the glamorous, dangerous world of nightclubs and bootleggers. But as they draw closer to unraveling the web of lies and half-truths the murdered man has left in his wake, the killer is weaving a web of his own.
Visit Ashley Weaver's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Most Novel Revenge.

The Page 69 Test: An Act of Villainy.

Writers Read: Ashley Weaver.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Derek Milman's "Swipe Right For Murder"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Swipe Right for Murder by Derek Milman.

About the book, from the publisher:
An epic case of mistaken identity puts a teen looking for a hookup on the run from both the FBI and a murderous cult in this compulsively readable thriller.

Finding himself alone in a posh New York City hotel room for the night, Aidan does what any red-blooded seventeen-year-old would do–tries to hook up with someone new. But that lapse in judgement leads him to a room with a dead guy and a mysterious flash drive…two things that spark an epic case of mistaken identity that puts Aidan on the run–from the authorities, his friends, his family, the people who are out to kill him–and especially from his own troubled past.

Inspired by a Hitchcock classic, this whirlwind mistaken-identity caper has razor-sharp humor, devastating emotional stakes, and a thrilling storyline with an explosive conclusion to make this the most compelling YA novel of the year.
Visit Derek Milman's website.

My Book, The Movie: Scream All Night.

Writers Read: Derek Milman.

The Page 69 Test: Swipe Right for Murder.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Jennie Bristow's "Stop Mugging Grandma"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Stop Mugging Grandma: The 'Generation Wars' and Why Boomer Blaming Won't Solve Anything by Jennie Bristow.

About the book, from the publisher:
A decisive intervention in the "war" between generations, asking who stands to gain from conflict between baby boomers and millennials

Millennials have been incited to regard their parents’ generation as entitled and selfish, and to blame the baby boomers of the Sixties for the cultural and economic problems of today. But is it true that young people have been victimized by their elders?

In this book, Jennie Bristow looks at generational labels and the groups of people they apply to. Bristow argues that the prominence and popularity of terms like "baby boomer," "millennial," and "snowflake" in mainstream media operates as a smoke screen—directing attention away from important issues such as housing, education, pensions, and employment. Bristow systematically disputes the myths that surround the "generational war," exposing it to be nothing more than a tool by which the political and social elite can avoid public scrutiny. With her lively and engaging style, Bristow highlights the major issues and concerns surrounding the sociological blame game.
Visit Jennie Bristow's website.

The Page 99 Test: Stop Mugging Grandma.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six of Samantha Powers's recommended books

Samantha Power is the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and William D. Zabel ’61 Professor of Practice in Human Rights at Harvard Law School.

From 2013 to 2017 Power served as the 28th U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as well as a member of President Obama’s cabinet. Her new memoir is The Education of an Idealist.

At The Week magazine Power shared six of her favorite books, including:
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (2014).

In this enraging yet ultimately inspiring memoir, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative recounts his work championing those denied fair trials, whether because of their skin color or their lack of means. Stevenson, whether in the Supreme Court or with an incarcerated client, never loses sight of those he refuses to leave behind.
Read about another entry on the list.

Just Mercy is among Brené Brown's six top books that inspire bravery.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Pg. 69: Richard C. Morais's "The Man with No Borders"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Man with No Borders: A Novel by Richard C. Morais.

About the book, from the publisher:
A father comes to terms with his mortality and secrets in a heartrending novel of family and forgiveness from the New York Times bestselling author of The Hundred-Foot Journey.

It is a time of reckoning for José María Álvarez, an aristocratic Spanish banker living in a Swiss village with his American wife. Nearing the end of a long and tumultuous life, he’s overcome by hallucinatory memories of the past. Among his most cherished memories are those of his boyhood in 1950s Franco-era Spain and the bucolic afternoons he spent salmon fishing on the Sella River with his father, uncle, and much-loved younger brother. But these fond reveries are soon eclipsed by something greater. José’s regrets and dark family secrets are flooding back, as is the devastating tragedy that drove José into exile and makes him bear the burden of a soul-deep guilt.

Now, as his three estranged sons return to their father’s side, José hopes to outpace death long enough to finally put his house in order and exorcise its demons. Only in his quest for redemption can José begin to understand the meaning of his life—and what his legacy has meant to others.
Visit Richard C. Morais's website.

Watch a video of the author explaining why he wrote the novel.

The Page 69 Test: The Man with No Borders.

--Marshal Zeringue

Gilly Macmillan's "The Nanny," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Nanny: A Novel by Gilly Macmillan.

The entry begins:
If they make The Nanny into a film, I would love to see Emma Stone play Jo, the young widow who is at the centre of the story. Emma Stone has that girl next door look but can turn on a haughty look. The actress playing Jo needs to be able to pack a punch in every expression on screen and Emma Stone could most definitely deliver that.

For the nanny character, Hannah, I think either Frances McDormand or Olivia Colman. Hannah is a nuanced character. She needs to very watchable.

For Ruby, the youngest character in the book at just 11 years old. I think a new and undiscovered actress should play her. Somebody who can bring a touch of tomboy, a fierce intelligence and a lot of bravery.

My favourite character in the book is the complex and surprising Lady Virginia Holt. She is Jo’s mother and Ruby’s grandmother...[read on]
Visit Gilly Macmillan's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Nanny.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five of fiction's most chilling extreme religion believers

Lizzy Barber studied English at Cambridge University. Having previously dabbled in acting and film development, she has spent the last ten years as head of marketing for a restaurant group.

Her first novel, A Girl Named Anna, won the Daily Mail and Random House First Novel Prize 2017.

Barber lives in London with her husband, a food writer.

At CrimeReads she tagged five favorite novels featuring extreme religion believers, including:
Children of Paradise, by Fred D’Aguiar

Also inspired by reality, Fred D’Aguiar’s mesmerizing psychological thriller turns to the People’s Temple for inspiration. In a South American commune, a young girl is singled out by the cult’s omnipotent leader, leading the girl’s mother, Joyce, to call her faith and everything she has known into question. A thrilling re-imagining of the horrific Jonestown massacre, Children of Paradise examines the tragic consequences of obsession and religious fanaticism.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Pg. 99: Ian Stewart's "Do Dice Play God?"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Do Dice Play God?: The Mathematics of Uncertainty by Ian Stewart.

About the book, from the publisher:
A celebrated mathematician explores how math helps us make sense of the unpredictable

We would like to believe we can know things for certain. We want to be able to figure out who will win an election, if the stock market will crash, or if a suspect definitely committed a crime. But the odds are not in our favor. Life is full of uncertainty — indeed, scientific advances indicate that the universe might be fundamentally inexact — and humans are terrible at guessing. When asked to predict the outcome of a chance event, we are almost always wrong.

Thankfully, there is hope. As award-winning mathematician Ian Stewart reveals, over the course of history, mathematics has given us some of the tools we need to better manage the uncertainty that pervades our lives. From forecasting, to medical research, to figuring out how to win Let’s Make a Deal, Do Dice Play God? is a surprising and satisfying tour of what we can know, and what we never will.
Learn more about the book at the author's website.

See Ian Stewart's top ten popular mathematics books.

The Page 99 Test: Why Beauty Is Truth.

The Page 99 Test: In Pursuit of the Unknown.

The Page 99 Test: Visions of Infinity.

The Page 99 Test: Do Dice Play God?.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Juliet Marillier reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Juliet Marillier, author of The Harp of Kings.

Her entry begins:
I’m currently reading an excellent non-fiction book, Our Dogs, Ourselves, by Alexandra Horowitz. The author is senior research fellow and head of the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College, Columbia University. She has written three previous books including the New York Times bestseller, Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know.

I’m thoroughly enjoying Our Dogs, Ourselves, which is a substantial, engagingly written, extremely well researched examination of the relationship between human and dog. The author, who has her own small menagerie, discusses with respect and insight the often contradictory nature of the way we think about and relate to dogs. As a foster carer and sometimes adopter of ageing and/or infirm rescue dogs, I was delighted to find...[read on]
About The Harp of Kings, from the publisher:
A young woman is both a bard—and a warrior—in this thrilling historical fantasy from the author of the Sevenwaters novels.

Eighteen-year-old Liobhan is a powerful singer and an expert whistle player. Her brother has a voice to melt the hardest heart, and is a rare talent on the harp. But Liobhan’s burning ambition is to join the elite warrior band on Swan Island. She and her brother train there to compete for places, and find themselves joining a mission while still candidates. Their unusual blend of skills makes them ideal for this particular job, which requires going undercover as traveling minstrels. For Swan Island trains both warriors and spies.

Their mission: to find and retrieve a precious harp, an ancient symbol of kingship, which has gone missing. If the instrument is not played at the upcoming coronation, the candidate will not be accepted and the kingdom will be thrown into disarray. Faced with plotting courtiers and tight-lipped druids, an insightful storyteller, and a boorish Crown Prince, Liobhan soon realizes an Otherworld power may be meddling in the affairs of the kingdom. When ambition clashes with conscience, Liobhan must make a bold decision—and the consequences may break her heart.
Learn more about the book and author at Juliet Marillier's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Juliet Marillier & Pippa, Gretel, and Sara.

The Page 69 Test: Heart’s Blood.

The Page 69 Test: Seer of Sevenwaters.

The Page 69 Test: Flame of Sevenwaters.

The Page 69 Test: The Caller.

Writers Read: Juliet Marillier.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten authors pushing space opera forward

John Birmingham is the author of Emergence, Resistance, Ascendance, After America, Without Warning, Final Impact, Designated Targets, Weapons of Choice, and other novels, as well as Leviathan, which won the National Award for Nonfiction at Australia’s Adelaide Festival of the Arts, and the novella Stalin’s Hammer: Rome. He has written for The Sydney Morning Herald, Rolling Stone, Penthouse, Playboy, and numerous other magazines.

Birmingham's newest novel is The Cruel Stars.

At Publishers Weekly he tagged ten authors shaking up space opera, including:
Empire of Silence by Chrisopher Ruocchio

There’s a peculiar derangement that comes over many SF writers, where they suddenly start trying to squeeze a lifetime’s worth of fantasy tropes into their narrative starships. (Seriously, Peter F. Hamilton, just build another Dyson sphere and fill it it full of hostile aliens. Enough already!) But Ruocchio could mash up genres at the Olympics and have the dais to himself. He wins gold silver and bronze for the brilliant Sun Eater series, a head spinning stew of speculative future history, retrofuturist fantasy, and utterly entrancing recursive loops back through all some of the oldest memes in the history of story telling, all made new by Hadrian Marlowe, his creator-destroyer of imaginary worlds. You will lose yourself in these books and stay happily lost again and again.
Read about another entry on the list.

My Book, The Movie: Empire of Silence.

The Page 69 Test: Empire of Silence.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 13, 2019

Pg. 69: Melissa Payne's "The Secrets of Lost Stones"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Secrets of Lost Stones by Melissa Payne.

About the book, from the publisher:
A soul-stirring novel about the bonds between mother and child and the redemption that comes with facing the past and letting it go.

Thirty-two-year-old Jess Abbot has lost everything: her job, her apartment, and—most heart-wrenching—her eight-year-old son, Chance, to a tragic accident. Haunted by memories and grief, Jess packs what’s left and heads for the small mountain town of Pine Lake, where she takes a position as caregiver to an eccentric old woman.

A rumored clairvoyant, Lucy is strange but welcoming and immediately intuits Jess as a “loose end” in need of closure. But Jess isn’t the only guest in Lucy’s large Victorian home. There’s also Star, a teenage runaway with a secret too painful to share. And the little boy with heart-shaped stones, who comes with a hope for reconciliation—and a warning.

Soon Jess learns that she’s not the only lost soul running from the ghosts of the past. She and Star have been brought together for a reason: to be saved by the very thing that destroyed them.
Visit Melissa Payne's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Melissa Payne & Max.

My Book, The Movie: The Secrets of Lost Stones.

The Page 69 Test: The Secrets of Lost Stones.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top Londons in fantasy fiction

Deborah Hewitt lives in the UK, somewhere south of Glasgow and north of London. She’s the proud owner of two brilliant boys and one very elderly dog. When she’s not writing, she can be found watching her boys play football in a muddy field, drinking tea or teaching in her classroom. Occasionally she cooks. Her family wishes she wouldn’t. The Nightjar is her first book.

At Tor.com Hewitt tagged five favorite Londons in fantasy fiction, including:
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

This is boss level stuff. The big one. The London-inspired fantasy that spawned them all. Set in the mid-1990s, the story follows Richard Mayhew, a mild-mannered city-worker, whose life is forever changed when he helps the mysterious Door (a girl, not a tall wooden thing with handles) and is catapulted into a strange and wonderful adventure beneath the city. There, in London Below, Richard will find his destiny. Neverwhere plays with London locations and the underground tube network in the most ingenious way—Night’s Bridge, Earl’s Court, Angel Islington, Black Friars are all literal interpretations. A dark and magical world that feels real because… it is real. Sort of.
Read about another entry on the list.

Neverwhere is among Sam Reader's top six horror books that will make you reconsider riding the aubway, Brad Abraham's five top books about magic, Nicole Hill's eight fantastical destinations she'd like to visit, and Monique Alice's top seven books for readers who love Haruki Murakami.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Victor Fan's "Extraterritoriality"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Extraterritoriality: Locating Hong Kong Cinema and Media by Victor Fan.

About the book, from the publisher:
Examining how Hong Kong filmmakers, spectators and critics wrestled with this perturbation between the Leftist Riots (1967) and the aftermath of the Umbrella Movement (2014), this book traces how Hong Kong's extraterritoriality has been framed: in its position of being doubly occupied and doubly abandoned by contesting juridical, political, linguistic and cultural forces.

Extraterritoriality scrutinises creative works in mainstream cinema, independent films, television, video artworks and documentaries - especially those by marginalised artists - actively rewriting and reconfiguring how Hong Kong cinema and media are to be defined and located.
Visit Victor Fan's website.

The Page 99 Test: Extraterritoriality.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Ten top spy novels by women, about women

Susan Elia MacNeal is the author of The New York Times, Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today-bestselling Maggie Hope mystery series, starting with the Edgar Award-nominated and Barry Award-winning Mr. Churchill’s Secretary.

Her latest book is The Prisoner in the Castle, the eighth novel in the series.

At CrimeReads, MacNeal tagged ten "favorite novels with female spies, written by women (with one exception), and inspired by the feats of the heroic women who served as spies in WWII." One title on the list:
Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin

Melanie Benjamin’s Mistress of the Ritz is based on the real-life stories of the American women who secretly worked for the Resistance, while mingling with the occupying Germans at the iconic Hôtel Ritz in Paris. Benjamin weaves in the true story of Blanche Auzello (née Rubenstein) who was the wife of the long-reigning Managing Director of the Ritz, Claude Auzello. If you’d like to read more about Madam Auzello, read Queen of the Ritz, by Samuel Marx.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Melissa Payne's "The Secrets of Lost Stones," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Secrets of Lost Stones by Melissa Payne.

The entry begins:
As I wrote The Secrets of Lost Stones, the story played like a movie in my head, but when I sat down to answer which actresses would play Jess, Star and Lucy, I drew a blank. Jess is a grief-stricken mother who blames herself for her young son’s death. Star is a fifteen-year-old homeless teen who believes that she is better off alone and living on the streets than with a family. And Lucy is an eccentric elderly woman who has a gift for tying loose ends for people who are hurting. When I wrote these characters I imagined their motives, their deepest fears, a glimpse of their souls, but not necessarily their faces. Until now. So here goes. For spirited and strong Star, I’d choose Rooney Mara from Tanner Hall, but with the hair and edginess she brought to her epic role in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Jess is best portrayed by...[read on]
Visit Melissa Payne's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Melissa Payne & Max.

My Book, The Movie: The Secrets of Lost Stones.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Caitlin Horrocks's "The Vexations"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Vexations by Caitlin Horrocks.

About the book, from the publisher:
Erik Satie begins life with every possible advantage. But after the dual blows of his mother’s early death and his father’s breakdown upend his childhood, Erik and his younger siblings — Louise and Conrad — are scattered. Later, as an ambitious young composer, Erik flings himself into the Parisian art scene, aiming for greatness but achieving only notoriety.

As the years, then decades, pass, he alienates those in his circle as often as he inspires them, lashing out at friends and lovers like Claude Debussy and Suzanne Valadon. Only Louise and Conrad are steadfast allies. Together they strive to maintain their faith in their brother’s talent and hold fast the badly frayed threads of family. But in a journey that will take her from Normandy to Paris to Argentina, Louise is rocked by a severe loss that ultimately forces her into a reckoning with how Erik — obsessed with his art and hungry for fame — will never be the brother she’s wished for.

With her buoyant, vivid reimagination of an iconic artist’s eventful life, Caitlin Horrocks has written a captivating and ceaselessly entertaining novel about the tenacious bonds of family and the costs of greatness, both to ourselves and to those we love.
Visit Caitlin Horrocks's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Vexations.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top culinary memoirs

Isabel Vincent is a Canadian investigative journalist who writes for the New York Post, an alumna of the University of Toronto Varsity newspaper, and the author of several books, including Gilded Lily: Lily Safra, The Making of One of the World's Wealthiest Widows and Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship.

At the Guardian Vincent tagged ten of the best culinary memoirs, including:
Cooking for Mr Latte: A Food Lover’s Courtship With Recipes by Amanda Hesser

The “Mr Latte” of the title is the author’s boyfriend, a writer for the highbrow New Yorker who has rather lowbrow tastes in food. Although affable and intelligent, he ends each exquisite meal they share with the fine-dining faux pas of a latte. First told in instalments for the New York Times where Hesser worked as a food writer, this is as much a love letter to New York and food as it is to the man Hesser ends up marrying.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Pg. 99: Christopher Shaw's "Money, Power, and the People"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Money, Power, and the People: The American Struggle to Make Banking Democratic by Christopher W. Shaw.

About the book, from the publisher:
Banks and bankers are hardly the most beloved people and institutions in this country. With its corruptive influence on politics and stranglehold on the American economy, Wall Street is not held in high regard by many outside the financial sector. But the pitchforks raised against this behemoth are largely rhetorical: we rarely see riots in the streets or public demands for an equitable and democratic banking system that result in serious national changes.

Yet the situation was vastly different a century ago, as Christopher W. Shaw shows in Money, Power, and the People. His book upends the conventional thinking that financial policy in the early twentieth century was set primarily by the needs and demands of bankers. Shaw shows that banking and politics were directly shaped by the literal and symbolic investments of the grassroots. This engagement remade financial institutions and the national economy, through populist pressure and the establishment of federal regulatory programs and agencies like the Farm Credit System and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Shaw reveals the surprising groundswell behind such seemingly arcane legislation as the Emergency Currency Act of 1908, as well as the power of the people to demand serious political repercussions for the banks that caused the Great Depression. One result of this sustained interest and pressure was legislation and regulation that brought on a long period of relative financial stability, with a reduced frequency of economic booms and busts. Ironically, though, this stability led to the current decline of the very banking politics that enabled it.

Giving voice to a broad swath of American figures, including workers, farmers, politicians, and bankers alike, Money, Power, and the People recasts our understanding of what might be possible in balancing the needs of the people with those of their financial institutions.
Visit Christopher W. Shaw's website.

The Page 99 Test: Money, Power, and the People.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight books about academics behaving disgracefully

T. M. Logan, the bestselling author of Lies, was born in Berkshire to an English father and a German mother. He studied at Queen Mary and Cardiff universities before becoming a national newspaper journalist.

Logan's new novel is 29 Seconds.

At CrimeReads he tagged eight favorite novels about academics behaving disgracefully, including:
Obedience by Will Lavender

The new students in Winchester University’s Logic and Reasoning class are given a startling assignment on their first day: find a hypothetical missing girl named Polly. If, after being given a series of clues, they have not found her before the end of term, she will be murdered. At first the students are as intrigued by the premise of their puzzle as they are wary of the strange and slightly unnerving Professor Williams. But as they delve deeper into the mystery, they begin to suspect the Polly story is far more sinister than a simple exercise in logical deduction…
Read about another entry on the list.

Obedience is among Jeff Somers's seven novels that show us how dangerous a college campus can be.

The Page 69 Test: Obedience.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Madeline Stevens's "Devotion"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Devotion: A Novel by Madeline Stevens.

About the book, from the publisher:
A captivating debut novel about a woman who falls into an overwhelming mutual obsession with the Upper East Side mother who hires her as a nanny

Ella is flat broke: wasting away on bodega coffee, barely making rent, seducing the occasional strange man who might buy her dinner. Unexpectedly, an Upper East Side couple named Lonnie and James rescue her from her empty bank account, offering her a job as a nanny and ushering her into their moneyed world. Ella’s days are now spent tending to the baby in their elegant brownstone or on extravagant excursions with the family. Both women are just 26—but unlike Ella, Lonnie has a doting husband and son, unmistakable artistic talent, and old family money.

Ella is mesmerized by Lonnie’s girlish affection and disregard for the normal boundaries of friendship and marriage. Convinced there must be a secret behind Lonnie’s seemingly effortless life, Ella begins sifting through her belongings, meticulously cataloguing lipstick tubes and baby teeth and scraps of writing. All the while, Ella’s resentment grows, but so does an inexplicable and dizzying attraction. Soon Ella will be immersed so deeply in her cravings—for Lonnie’s lifestyle, her attention, her lovers—that she may never come up for air.

Riveting, propulsive, and startling, Devotion is a masterful debut novel where mismatched power collides with blinding desire, incinerating our perceptions of femininity, lust, and privilege.
Visit Madeline Stevens's website.

My Book, The Movie: Devotion.

The Page 69 Test: Devotion.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five nonfiction books to put you in an astronaut’s boots

Becky Chambers is a science fiction author based in Northern California. Her most recent work is To Be Taught, If Fortunate, a standalone novella.

At Tor.com Chambers tagged five non-fiction books that will put you in an astronaut’s boots, including:
Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, by Carl Sagan

Let’s begin with the basics. Carl Sagan’s genius lay in his ability to viscerally drive home just how tiny and insignificant we are, but in a way that left you feeling euphoric rather than afraid. For a man that never left Earth, his ability to describe the cosmos in a zoomed-out way was truly uncanny. If you haven’t read Sagan before, Pale Blue Dot is a great entry point. It’s one of his best works, brimming with poetry and wisdom. For bonus points, I recommend checking out the recently re-released audiobook version read by Sagan himself. Audiophiles might disagree: the original master tapes were made in the ‘90s and lay damaged for decades, so the sound quality can be rough, and the recording is incomplete. But the gaps have been filled in by writer Ann Druyan, Sagan’s wife and creative partner, who lends her voice to his. I can’t listen to it without choking up.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Pg. 99: James Lindley Wilson's "Democratic Equality"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Democratic Equality by James Lindley Wilson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Democracy establishes relationships of political equality, ones in which citizens equally share authority over what they do together and respect one another as equals. But in today's divided public square, democracy is challenged by political thinkers who disagree about how democratic institutions should be organized, and by antidemocratic politicians who exploit uncertainties about what democracy requires and why it matters. Democratic Equality mounts a bold and persuasive defense of democracy as a way of making collective decisions, showing how equality of authority is essential to relating equally as citizens.

James Lindley Wilson explains why the US Senate and Electoral College are urgently in need of reform, why proportional representation is not a universal requirement of democracy, how to identify racial vote dilution and gerrymandering in electoral districting, how to respond to threats to democracy posed by wealth inequality, and how judicial review could be more compatible with the democratic ideal. What emerges is an emphatic call to action to reinvigorate our ailing democracies, and a road map for widespread institutional reform.

Democratic Equality highlights the importance of diverse forms of authority in democratic deliberation and electoral and representative processes—and demonstrates how that authority rests equally with each citizen in a democracy.
Learn more about Democratic Equality at the Princeton University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Democratic Equality.

--Marshal Zeringue

Nine top jazz-infused crime novels

Alex Segura is a novelist and comic book writer. He is the author of the Pete Fernandez Miami Mystery novels, all via Polis Books.

Segura's latest book is Miami Midnight.

One of the author's favorite jazz-infused crime novels, as shared at CrimeReads:
Devil in a Blue Dress, Walter Mosley

This classic noir novel is more tonally aligned with jazz than referential to the genre, with several scenes happening in secret jazz venues, infusing Easy Rawlins’ debut with a lively, dark, and menacing feel that not only evokes past masters of the jazz age, but carves out a place all its own. An essential read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Devil in a Blue Dress is among Lori Roy's five top morality-driven thrillers and Al Roker's six favorite crime novels.

Raymond “Mouse” Alexander, from Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins series, made The A.V. Club's list of “13 sidekicks who are cooler than their heroes.”

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Elizabeth J. Duncan's "Remembering the Dead"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Remembering the Dead by Elizabeth J. Duncan.

About the book, from the publisher:
Canadian amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan attends a dinner party at a posh country house–where a historic chair disappears and a waiter is murdered.

Artist and spa owner Penny Brannigan has been asked to organize a formal dinner to mark the centenary of the armistice that ended World War 1. After dinner, the guests adjourn to the library for a private exhibition of the Black Chair, a precious piece of Welsh literary history awarded in 1917 to poet Hedd Wyn. But to the guests’ shock, the newly restored bardic chair is missing. And then Penny discovers the rain-soaked body of a waiter.

When Penny learns that the victim was the nephew of one of her employees, she is determined to find the killer. Meanwhile, the local police search for the Black Chair. The Prince of Wales is due to open an exhibit featuring the chair in three weeks, so time is not on their side. A visit to a nursing home to consult an ex-thief convinces Penny that the theft of the Black Chair and the waiter’s murder are connected. She rushes to Dublin to consult a disagreeable antiquarian, who might know more than he lets on, and during the course of her investigation confronts a gaggle of suspicious travelers and an eccentric herbalist who seems to have something to hide. Can Penny find the chair and the culprit before she is laid to rest in the green grass of Wales?
Visit Elizabeth J. Duncan's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Elizabeth J. Duncan and Dolly.

The Page 69 Test: The Cold Light of Mourning.

The Page 69 Test: A Brush with Death.

The Page 69 Test: Never Laugh As a Hearse Goes By.

The Page 69 Test: Slated for Death.

The Page 69 Test: Murder on the Hour.

The Page 69 Test: The Marmalade Murders.

The Page 69 Test: Remembering the Dead.

--Marshal Zeringue

Madeline Stevens's "Devotion," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Devotion: A Novel by Madeline Stevens.

The entry begins:
I wasn’t picturing any specific actresses in Ella or Lonnie’s roles as I wrote. Imagining the movie of my book seemed like counting my chickens before they’d hatched—like I might jinx it! Now that the book is published I can fantasize a bit more. I loved Anya Taylor-Joy in The Witch and Thoroughbreds. I also think Joey King is an amazing actress. Both of these women are young, and have mostly played teenage roles, but the characters are only twenty-six, they’d need to look quite baby-faced. More than...[read on]
Visit Madeline Stevens's website.

My Book, The Movie: Devotion.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 09, 2019

Seven top books about remaking the world

Annalee Newitz is an American journalist, editor, and author of fiction and nonfiction. They are the recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship from MIT, and have written for Popular Science, The New Yorker, and the Washington Post. They founded the science fiction website io9 and served as Editor-in-Chief from 2008–2015, and then became Editor-in-Chief at Gizmodo and Tech Culture Editor at Ars Technica. Their book Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction was nominated for the LA Times Book Prize in science. Their first novel, Autonomous, won a Lambda award. The Future of Another Timeline is Newitz's latest book.

At Tor.com they tagged "seven works that define the new subgenre of geoscience fiction," including:
Arctic Rising and Hurricane Fever, by Tobias Buckell

In a future where the arctic ice has melted, new nations have formed in the arctic sea while island nations have been submerged in the rising waters of the Atlantic and Pacific. Crazy geoengineers battle with subaltern seasteaders in these thrillers about a future Earth whose climate is so different that it might as well be another planet. After all, Earth science doesn’t stop at the planet’s crust. One of the central premises of geoscience is that the planet and its atmosphere are part of the same system, exchanging gasses and other materials in an endless, fungible process. That’s why Buckell’s masterful duology about the politics of climate change is key to the geoscience fiction subgenre.
Read about another entry on the list.

My Book, The Movie: Arctic Rising.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Alix E. Harrow's "The Ten Thousand Doors of January"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.
Visit Alix E. Harrow's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Ten Thousand Doors of January.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Jennifer A. Herdt's "Forming Humanity"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Forming Humanity: Redeeming the German Bildung Tradition by Jennifer A. Herdt.

About the book, from the publisher:
Kant’s proclamation of humankind’s emergence from “self-incurred immaturity” left his contemporaries with a puzzle: What models should we use to sculpt ourselves if we no longer look to divine grace or received authorities? Deftly uncovering the roots of this question in Rhineland mysticism, Pietist introspection, and the rise of the bildungsroman, Jennifer A. Herdt reveals bildung, or ethical formation, as the key to post-Kantian thought. This was no simple process of secularization, in which human beings took responsibility for something they had earlier left in the hands of God. Rather, theorists of bildung, from Herder through Goethe to Hegel, championed human agency in self-determination while working out the social and political implications of our creation in the image of God. While bildung was invoked to justify racism and colonialism by stigmatizing those deemed resistant to self-cultivation, it also nourished ideals of dialogical encounter and mutual recognition. Herdt reveals how the project of forming humanity lives on in our ongoing efforts to grapple with this complicated legacy.
Learn more about Forming Humanity at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Forming Humanity.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six books to help make sense of parliament

Isabel Hardman is a journalist and broadcaster. She is Assistant Editor of The Spectator and presents Week in Westminster on BBC Radio 4. In 2015, she was named "Journalist of the Year" at the Political Studies Association's annual awards.

Hardman is the author of Why We Get the Wrong Politicians.

At the Guardian she tagged six of the best titles that explain what is happening in UK politics, including:
The best book that explains how parliament works, in theory and in practice, is written by a former clerk of the House of Commons, Robert Rogers, and a group of experts. How Parliament Works is now in its eighth edition and is up-to-date on the effects of Brexit on Westminster; what difference a minority government makes; and how it runs itself. It’s clearly written, which makes it handy for students as well as adults who just want to understand the difference between a second reading, secondary legislation and a bill committee.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Scott Johnston's "Campusland," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Campusland by Scott Johnston.

The entry begins:
I know this sounds unlikely, but I really didn't have any actors in mind when I wrote Campusland. There were one or two characters where I had actual, real people in mind, but perhaps it's best to keep that to myself. Also, Campusland is a (biting) satire. I happen to think this is by far the most difficult form of fiction to translate to film. Anyone remember Bonfire of the Vanities, the movie? Maybe the worst movie made from the best book ever. None of the carefully crafted tone of the book was captured by the movie. Tom Wolfe had to distance himself. The fact is, arch humor is tricky to get across. Some of my favorite scenes in Campusland are really difficult for me to imagine on the big screen. One director who I do think could do it would be Whit Stillman (see: Metropolitan).

Okay, casting. My protagonist, Eph Russell, is in his mid-thirties, is boyishly good looking, and a bit naive. I'm thinking Paul Rudd? Maybe Ron Livingston? (He of my second favorite movie ever, Office Space.)

Next up is Lulu Harris. This is a tough one - Lulu is only 19, so I don't think anyone over 25 should play the role. She should be beautiful in a severe, jaded way. She should be...[read on]
Learn more about Campusland and follow Scott Johnston on Twitter.

The Page 69 Test: Campusland.

My Book, The Movie: Campusland.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Meg Waite Clayton's "The Last Train to London"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Last Train to London: A Novel by Meg Waite Clayton.

About the book, from the publisher:
The New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Exiles conjures her best novel yet, a pre-World War II-era story with the emotional resonance of Orphan Train and All the Light We Cannot See, centering on the Kindertransports that carried thousands of children out of Nazi-occupied Europe—and one brave woman who helped them escape to safety.

In 1936, the Nazi are little more than loud, brutish bores to fifteen-year old Stephan Neuman, the son of a wealthy and influential Jewish family and budding playwright whose playground extends from Vienna’s streets to its intricate underground tunnels. Stephan’s best friend and companion is the brilliant Žofie-Helene, a Christian girl whose mother edits a progressive, anti-Nazi newspaper. But the two adolescents’ carefree innocence is shattered when the Nazis’ take control.

There is hope in the darkness, though. Truus Wijsmuller, a member of the Dutch resistance, risks her life smuggling Jewish children out of Nazi Germany to the nations that will take them. It is a mission that becomes even more dangerous after the Anschluss—Hitler’s annexation of Austria—as, across Europe, countries close their borders to the growing number of refugees desperate to escape.

Tante Truus, as she is known, is determined to save as many children as she can. After Britain passes a measure to take in at-risk child refugees from the German Reich, she dares to approach Adolf Eichmann, the man who would later help devise the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” in a race against time to bring children like Stephan, his young brother Walter, and Žofie-Helene on a perilous journey to an uncertain future abroad.
Learn more about the book and author at Meg Waite Clayton's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Four Ms. Bradwells.

The Page 69 Test: The Wednesday Daughters.

The Page 69 Test: Beautiful Exiles.

The Page 69 Test: The Last Train to London.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven international thrillers led by powerful, ambitious women

As an investigative journalist, Holly Watt has written about the refugee crisis, traveling to Libya, Lebanon, and Zaatari refugee camps in Jordan, and covered stories ranging from the Panama Papers to chasing modern-day pirates in the Indian Ocean. She has written for the Sunday Times, the Telegraph, and the Guardian. She lives in London. To the Lions is her first novel.

At CrimeReads, Watt tagged seven of her favorite international thrillers with female protagonists, including:
Absence of Light, by Zoe Sharp

This episode of Sharp’s long-running series about an ex-Special Forces soldier turned bodyguard sees Charlotte Fox race to Colombia in the aftermath of a huge earthquake. Put in charge of a specialist relief team, Fox investigates the death of her predecessor, as several question marks arise about loyalties in the heart of the crisis.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue