Friday, May 29, 2015

Pg. 69: K. J. Larsen's "Bye, Bye Love"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Bye, Bye Love: A Cat DeLuca Mystery by K. J. Larsen.

About the book, from the publisher:
Chicago’s Pants On Fire Detective Agency targets liars and cheats. But PI Cat DeLuca is once again up to her smokin’ skinny jeans in murder.

Cat is out running in a neighborhood park when she crashes over the faceless body of Bernie Love. Bernie was the finance guy to the scary Provenza family, with whom he grew up. And friend to Cat’s shady, Ferrari-wheeling-cop Uncle Joey. As she hauls out her phone, Cat is assaulted by someone with a Rolex, stun gun, and wheelbarrow. When the cops show up, the killer is gone. And so is the body.

Captain Bob, a stickler for habeas corpus, blows off Cat’s story. Stung by a chorus of snickers from the Ninth Precinct, home base for DeLuca men, Cat vows to make her case and goes after Rolex man. The murderer, desperate to silence the only person who can place him at the park, comes after Cat. She’s quickly on a collision course with the deadliest adversary she’s ever encountered—but she has the help of her beagle partner, her gun-happy assistant, an ex-spy (or two), and her outrageous, interfering Italian family. Meanwhile her hot, FBI-boyfriend seems sidelined in Vegas.

In Bye, Bye, Love, K.J. Larsen delivers another nail-biting tale rife with unexpected plot twists, zany characters, fabulous food, and laugh-out-loud humor.
Visit K. J. Larsen's website.

Writers Read: K. J. Larsen.

The Page 69 Test: Bye, Bye Love.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Jason Stanley's "How Propaganda Works"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: How Propaganda Works by Jason Stanley.

About the book, from the publisher:
Our democracy today is fraught with political campaigns, lobbyists, liberal media, and Fox News commentators, all using language to influence the way we think and reason about public issues. Even so, many of us believe that propaganda and manipulation aren’t problems for us—not in the way they were for the totalitarian societies of the mid-twentieth century. In How Propaganda Works, Jason Stanley demonstrates that more attention needs to be paid. He examines how propaganda operates subtly, how it undermines democracy—particularly the ideals of democratic deliberation and equality—and how it has damaged democracies of the past.

Focusing on the shortcomings of liberal democratic states, Stanley provides a historically grounded introduction to democratic political theory as a window into the misuse of democratic vocabulary for propaganda’s selfish purposes. He lays out historical examples, such as the restructuring of the US public school system at the turn of the twentieth century, to explore how the language of democracy is sometimes used to mask an undemocratic reality. Drawing from a range of sources, including feminist theory, critical race theory, epistemology, formal semantics, educational theory, and social and cognitive psychology, he explains how the manipulative and hypocritical declaration of flawed beliefs and ideologies arises from and perpetuates inequalities in society, such as the racial injustices that commonly occur in the United States.

How Propaganda Works shows that an understanding of propaganda and its mechanisms is essential for the preservation and protection of liberal democracies everywhere.
Learn more about How Propaganda Works at the Princeton University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: How Propaganda Works.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five notable YA time travel novels

At B & N Teen Blog, Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick tagged five top YA time travel novels, including:
Time Between Us, by Tamara Ireland Stone

Nothing can get in the way of true love, not even pesky things like decades. Bennett is a time traveler from 2012 who falls in love with a girl from 1995. Now Anna and Bennett have to find a way to be together, despite the fact that time is trying to keep them apart. A definite must-read for those who like their time travel with a heaping side of romance.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Will Walton's "Anything Could Happen," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Anything Could Happen by Will Walton.

The entry begins:
I hadn’t planned these ahead of time! But after thinking about it, I have to say: I think Max Records would make a good Tretch. Records gave such a raw, emotional performance in Where the Wild Things Are—and he should be about the right age! If there were a way to travel back in time, I’d like for Gaby Hoffmann and Evan Peters to play Tretch’s friends, Lana Kramer and Matt Gooby. Hoffmann is one of my favorite actresses, and Peters is pretty dreamy (even when he’s acting all scary in American Horror Story).

For Tretch’s grandparents (important), I’d choose Michael...[read on]
Visit Will Walton's website.

Writers Read: Will Walton.

The Page 69 Test: Anything Could Happen.

My Book, The Movie: Anything Could Happen.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Kristy Woodson Harvey reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Kristy Woodson Harvey, author of Dear Carolina.

Her entry begins:
A few days ago, I had the pleasure of doing a joint signing with Natasha Boyd, an internationally beloved writer of escapism that is particularly fabulous! I met Natasha at a writing conference, and we became fast friends. And she is the perfect person to do a book event with because her South African accent is so fabulous that everyone wants to listen to her all night! I flew through her first two books, Eversea and Forever Jack. So, now, I picked up her latest, Deep Blue Eternity, and know it will be as wonderful as her first two! A couple of chapters in, I can already tell that...[read on]
About Dear Carolina, from the publisher:
A moving debut novel about two mothers—one biological and one adoptive—from a compelling new voice in Southern women’s fiction.

One baby girl.
Two strong Southern women.
And the most difficult decision they’ll ever make.

Frances “Khaki” Mason has it all: a thriving interior design career, a loving husband and son, homes in North Carolina and Manhattan—everything except the second child she has always wanted. Jodi, her husband’s nineteen-year-old cousin, is fresh out of rehab, pregnant, and alone. Although the two women couldn’t seem more different, they forge a lifelong connection as Khaki reaches out to Jodi, encouraging her to have her baby. But as Jodi struggles to be the mother she knows her daughter deserves, she will ask Khaki the ultimate favor…

Written to baby Carolina, by both her birth mother and her adoptive one, this is a story that proves that life circumstances shape us but don’t define us—and that families aren’t born, they’re made…
Visit Kristy Woodson Harvey's website.

My Book, The Movie: Dear Carolina.

Writers Read: Kristy Woodson Harvey.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pg. 99: Thomas Aiello's "Jim Crow's Last Stand"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Jim Crow's Last Stand: Nonunanimous Criminal Jury Verdicts in Louisiana by Thomas Aiello.

About the book, from the publisher:
The last remnant of the racist Redeemer agenda in the Louisiana’s legal system, the nonunanimous jury-verdict law permits juries to convict criminal defendants with only ten out of twelve votes. A legal oddity among southern states, the ordinance has survived multiple challenges since its ratification in 1880. Despite the law’s long history, few are aware of its existence, its original purpose, or its modern consequences. At a time when Louisiana’s penal system has fallen under national scrutiny, Jim Crow’s Last Stand presents a timely, penetrating, and concise look at the history of this law’s origins and its troubling legacy.

The nonunanimous jury-verdict law originally allowed a guilty verdict with only nine juror votes, funneling many of those convicted into the state’s burgeoning convict lease system. Yet the law remained on the books well after convict leasing ended. Historian Thomas Aiello describes the origins of the statute in Bourbon Louisiana—a period when white Democrats sought to redeem their state after Reconstruction—its survival through the civil rights era of the 1950s and 1960s, and the Supreme Court’s decision in Johnson v. Louisiana (1972), which narrowly validated the state’s criminal conviction policy.

Spanning over a hundred years of Louisiana law and history, Jim Crow’s Last Stand investigates the ways in which legal policies and patterns of incarceration contribute to a new form of racial inequality.
Learn more about Jim Crow's Last Stand at the LSU Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Jim Crow's Last Stand.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: E. E. Cooper's "Vanished"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Vanished by E. E. Cooper.

About the book, from the publisher:
Gone Girl meets Pretty Little Liars in the first book of this fast-paced psychological thriller series full of delicious twists and turns.

Friendship. Obsession. Deception. Love.

Kalah knows better than to fall for Beth Taylor . . . but that doesn't stop her from falling hard and falling fast, heart first into a sea of complications.

Then Beth vanishes. She skips town on her eighteenth birthday, leaving behind a flurry of rumors and a string of broken hearts. Not even Beth's best friend, Britney, knows where she went. Beth didn't even tell Kalah good-bye.

One of the rumors links Beth to Britney's boyfriend, and Kalah doesn't want to believe the betrayal. But Brit clearly believes it—and before Kalah can sort out the truth, Britney is dead.

When Beth finally reaches out to Kalah in the wake of Brit's suicide, Kalah wants to trust what Beth tells her. But she's swiftly realizing that nothing here is as it seems. Kalah's caught in the middle of a deadly psychological game, and only she can untangle the deceptions and lies to reveal the unthinkable truth.
Learn more about Vanished at E.E. Cooper's website.

Writers Read: E. E. Cooper.

My Book, the Movie: Vanished.

The Page 69 Test: Vanished.

--Marshal Zeringue

Cover story: "Out of Ashes"

Konrad H. Jarausch is the Lurcy Professor of European Civilization at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His many books include Reluctant Accomplice: A Wehrmacht Soldier’s Letters from the Eastern Front and After Hitler: Recivilizing Germans, 1945–1995.

His new book is Out of Ashes: A New History of Europe in the Twentieth Century.

Here Jarausch explains the connection of the book's cover to the pages within:
In this snapshot LIFE magazine journalist William Vandiver captures the effort to clean up the rubble in a German city in March 1946. Standing on top of a ruined house, three women and two men in heavy coats, wearing scarves, caps, and gloves are picking up stones and stripping them of mortar in order to prepare them for use in rebuilding ruined houses. In the background looms a neo-gothic church that has miraculously survived the Allied bombardment which has destroyed the rest of the city. Since many men of working age had been killed in the fighting, women had to take on such physical labor in order to make their towns habitable again. Sometimes they were also helped by former Nazis. But it was the “rubble women” who became famous for their exertions that signaled an indomitable will to survive within all the ruins.

In a broader sense, the photograph symbolizes the self-destruction of Europe through Nazi aggression, Communist complicity and Allied resistance. Since the lightning strikes of the German military had overrun much of the continent initially, it took a massive effort of the British, Russian and American armies to stop this advance. Making use of their superiority in raw materials and industrial production, the Western Allies turned tables on the Luftwaffe, subjecting Germany to a devastating campaign of air bombardment that not just erased military targets but also systematically destroyed civilian cities through unleashing “fire-storms.” By the fall of 1944 this strategic bombing campaign had devastated the Nazi economy and prohibited the full use of “miracle weapons” by choking the transportation grid. Hunched in bomb shelters, the civilians bore the brunt of the bombing attacks, hoping somehow to survive their fury. Since German morale would not break, the Allies continued their pressure with raids involving as many as a thousand bombers that produced tens of thousands of non-combatant deaths in cities like Cologne, Hamburg or Dresden.

Surprisingly, in the cellars, make-shift shelters and still standing buildings, life continued after the Nazi surrender. During Allied occupation the Germans were confronted with the same rape and pillage which their soldiers had visited upon their neighbors. Moreover, they had to dig out the corpses, clear the streets and reconnect the gas and water lines in order to make the rubble somehow habitable again. This enormous effort took years to complete, since there was little heavy machinery. Instead many women and some men sorted the debris by hand, removing the broken stones and cleaning the others that might still be salvaged for reconstruction. In this way, post-war rebuilding literally rose from the ashes of burnt houses. All that was left was mourning for the millions of Holocaust victims such as the murdered Jews, Slavs and others, as well as for the military dead and the civilian casualties. In this metaphorical way, the reference in the title also alludes to the ashes of concentration camp crematoria, the torn corpses of soldiers and incinerated remains in bomb shelters.

The political rebuilding required recovering a sense of humanity in all this carnage. Equally pervasive as the physical destruction, the mental devastation needed to be overcome by a revival of religious faith or by a return to the humanistic values of the Enlightenment. In a broader sense, this horrendous suffering taught the survivors the need for maintaining peace in the future, the respect for human rights for everyone and the importance of social solidarity with the less fortunate. Out of this self-imposed suffering, Europe did manage to rise like a Phoenix from the ashes through economic integration, a return to the rule of law and a strengthening of the welfare state. These European lessons of the first half of the twentieth century have a universal relevance -- even for the United States which has twice rescued the old continent from self-destruction. Through this horrendous experience, Europe has developed a chastened sense of modernity that contains a universal message of humanity.
Learn more about Out of Ashes: A New History of Europe in the Twentieth Century at the Princeton University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top unlikely friendships in literature

Alex Hourston’s first novel In My House was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize 2013. One of her top ten unlikely friendships in literature, as shared at the Guardian:
H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

Goshawks are not cuddly. Macdonald is utterly clear-eyed on both the bird’s reptilian qualities and what’s in it for her: to “possess the hawk’s eye … to live the safe and solitary life” after the shock of her father’s sudden death. Yet she writes a definitive account of the relationship between an animal and human. Her book is lucid and beautiful; there is so much heart in it, and though she refuses to anthropomorphise, I love the moment when she and the hawk play ball, Macdonald throwing “Mabel” pills of scrunched-up paper, which she catches in her beak – and tosses back.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What is Susan Pedersen reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Susan Pedersen, author of The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire.

Her entry begins:
I’ve always got a number of books going at once. I live with a pile in my office, and another pile on the living room table, and another pile next to the bed (those tend to be the novels and biographies). Here’s what’s at the top of the piles right now:

I’m a chapter or two into Frederick Cooper’s Citizenship between Empire and Nation: Remaking France and French Africa, 1945-1960 (Princeton University Press, 2014). I’m reading this for a lot of reasons. Cooper has been writing African and imperial history for decades, and here he’s tackling a really important moment: the period of decolonization in French colonial Africa. What he wants to do, I think, is to challenge the nationalist teleology that we’ve all somehow accepted. We tend to assume that all colonial territories were striving manfully (usually “manfully”) for independence, and that the nation-state was the inevitable and only valid outcome. But we also now know how hard it is for new nation-states to thrive in a globalized world in which they often have very little economic power or autonomy. Cooper argues that African leaders were well aware of those dangers, and worked hard to imagine an alternative models – federation, for example – that might preserve some tie between the component parts of the French empire while ending racial hierarchy and...[read on]
About The Guardians, from the publisher:
At the end of the First World War, the Paris Peace Conference saw a battle over the future of empire. The victorious allied powers wanted to annex the Ottoman territories and German colonies they had occupied; Woodrow Wilson and a groundswell of anti-imperialist activism stood in their way. France, Belgium, Japan and the British dominions reluctantly agreed to an Anglo-American proposal to hold and administer those allied conquests under "mandate" from the new League of Nations. In the end, fourteen mandated territories were set up across the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific. Against all odds, these disparate and far-flung territories became the site and the vehicle of global transformation.

In this masterful history of the mandates system, Susan Pedersen illuminates the role the League of Nations played in creating the modern world. Tracing the system from its creation in 1920 until its demise in 1939, Pedersen examines its workings from the realm of international diplomacy; the viewpoints of the League's experts and officials; and the arena of local struggles within the territories themselves. Featuring a cast of larger-than-life figures, including Lord Lugard, King Faisal, Chaim Weizmann and Ralph Bunche, the narrative sweeps across the globe-from windswept scrublands along the Orange River to famine-blighted hilltops in Rwanda to Damascus under French bombardment-but always returns to Switzerland and the sometimes vicious battles over ideas of civilization, independence, economic relations, and sovereignty in the Geneva headquarters. As Pedersen shows, although the architects and officials of the mandates system always sought to uphold imperial authority, colonial nationalists, German revisionists, African-American intellectuals and others were able to use the platform Geneva offered to challenge their claims. Amid this cacophony, imperial statesmen began exploring new means - client states, economic concessions - of securing Western hegemony. In the end, the mandate system helped to create the world in which we now live.

A riveting work of global history, The Guardians enables us to look back at the League with new eyes, and in doing so, appreciate how complex, multivalent, and consequential this first great experiment in internationalism really was.
Learn more about The Guardians at the Oxford University Press website.

Writers Read: Susan Pedersen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Melanie Keene's "Science in Wonderland"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Science in Wonderland: The scientific fairy tales of Victorian Britain by Melanie Keene.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Victorian Britain an array of writers captured the excitement of new scientific discoveries, and enticed young readers and listeners into learning their secrets, by converting introductory explanations into quirky, charming, and imaginative fairy-tales; forces could be fairies, dinosaurs could be dragons, and looking closely at a drop of water revealed a soup of monsters.

Science in Wonderland explores how these stories were presented and read. Melanie Keene introduces and analyses a range of Victorian scientific fairy-tales, from nursery classics such as The Water-Babies to the little-known Wonderland of Evolution, or the story of insect lecturer Fairy Know-a-Bit. In exploring the ways in which authors and translators - from Hans Christian Andersen and Edith Nesbit to the pseudonymous 'A.L.O.E.' and 'Acheta Domestica' - reconciled the differing demands of factual accuracy and fantastical narratives, Keene asks why the fairies and their tales were chosen as an appropriate new form for capturing and presenting scientific and technological knowledge to young audiences. Such stories, she argues, were an important way in which authors and audiences criticised, communicated, and celebrated contemporary scientific ideas, practices, and objects.
Learn more about Science in Wonderland at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Science in Wonderland.

--Marshal Zeringue

Kristy Woodson Harvey's "Dear Carolina," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey.

The entry begins:
I’ll be honest. “Who would play the characters in Dear Carolina if it was made into a movie?” has been one of my most feared and most avoided questions of the publication process. Mostly, probably, because it’s a question that has forced me to face a harsh realization: I’m no longer cool. I used to read every People magazine and watch every new film that came out and at least channel surf by Entertainment Tonight. But now? I guess with a three-year-old and squeezing in writing time, I’ve somehow become way less attuned to Hollywood’s best and brightest.

But I decided that it’s time to quit avoiding the question and, instead, embrace it! Who wouldn’t, after all, want to see her work come to life on the big screen?

Khaki, the adoptive mother in Dear Carolina, is a Southern woman through and through. She’s glamorous when she’s working in her role as NYC interior designer, relaxed when she has her hands in the dirt on her NC farm and most at home in her most important life’s role: mother. She knows how to chase big dreams, she’s found success, but she’s never forgotten where she came from. So, it seemed just right to “pretend cast” another NC girl, who has lived a life somewhat similar to Khaki’s, to play her in the film: Jaime Pressly. She’s run the gamut in the characters she has played, but now, as a mother herself, I think she would fully embrace the heart that needs to be put into this film.

And, for her leading man, Graham? Chris...[read on]
Visit Kristy Woodson Harvey's website.

My Book, The Movie: Dear Carolina.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven books in which technology goes horribly wrong

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and We Are Not Good People from Pocket/Gallery. He has published over thirty short stories as well.

At B & N Reads Somers tagged seven books that explore what might happen when technology betrays us, including:
American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin

If you want to talk about technology gone wrong, you can’t avoid the atomic bomb, as there are very few ways for technology to go more wrong than the potential end of the world. It’s the worst-case scenario of the fundamental forces of our universe being used not to feed the hungry, or to build incredible things, but to destroy in one tiny sunburst of energy. Again, it took human intention to turn this technology against us, and this incredibly rich and thoughtful biography of the man who led the way and his regrets and reactions to the consequences of his research puts a serious spin on an idea that’s usually exciting and fun in tension-filled thrillers.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Will Walton's "Anything Could Happen"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Anything Could Happen by Will Walton.

About the book, from the publisher:
A phenomenal debut about a gay Southern boy in love with his straight best friend.

Tretch Farm lives in a very small town where everybody's in everybody else's business. Which makes it hard for him to be in love with his best friend, Matt Gooby. Matt has two gay dads, but isn't all that gay himself . . . which doesn't stop Tretch from loving him anyway. Things get even more complicated when a girl falls for Tretch, and Tretch doesn't know how to put her off without revealing everything to everyone. Meanwhile, his family is facing some challenges of its own, and it's going to take Tretch coming out and coming to peace with his situation for his life to move forward.

ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN is a poignant, hard-hitting exploration of love and friendship, a provocative debut that shows that sometimes we have to let things fall apart before we can make them whole again.
Visit Will Walton's website.

Writers Read: Will Walton.

The Page 69 Test: Anything Could Happen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What is K. J. Larsen reading?

Featured at Writers Read: K. J. Larsen, author of Bye, Bye Love: A Cat DeLuca Mystery.

The entry begins:
Kari: I’m rereading Paulo Coelho’s charming tale about a shepherd boy. The Alchemist is a parable of discovery, self empowerment, and transformation. I first read this book a decade ago. It still gives me goose-bumps....[read on]
About Bye, Bye Love, from the publisher:
Chicago’s Pants On Fire Detective Agency targets liars and cheats. But PI Cat DeLuca is once again up to her smokin’ skinny jeans in murder.

Cat is out running in a neighborhood park when she crashes over the faceless body of Bernie Love. Bernie was the finance guy to the scary Provenza family, with whom he grew up. And friend to Cat’s shady, Ferrari-wheeling-cop Uncle Joey. As she hauls out her phone, Cat is assaulted by someone with a Rolex, stun gun, and wheelbarrow. When the cops show up, the killer is gone. And so is the body.

Captain Bob, a stickler for habeas corpus, blows off Cat’s story. Stung by a chorus of snickers from the Ninth Precinct, home base for DeLuca men, Cat vows to make her case and goes after Rolex man. The murderer, desperate to silence the only person who can place him at the park, comes after Cat. She’s quickly on a collision course with the deadliest adversary she’s ever encountered—but she has the help of her beagle partner, her gun-happy assistant, an ex-spy (or two), and her outrageous, interfering Italian family. Meanwhile her hot, FBI-boyfriend seems sidelined in Vegas.

In Bye, Bye, Love, K.J. Larsen delivers another nail-biting tale rife with unexpected plot twists, zany characters, fabulous food, and laugh-out-loud humor.
Visit K. J. Larsen's website.

Writers Read: K. J. Larsen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five sci-fi works featuring homicidal artificial minds

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and We Are Not Good People from Pocket/Gallery. He has published over thirty short stories as well.

At the B & N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Somers tagged five sci-fi books featuring homicidal artificial minds, including:
Newton’s Wake, by Ken MacLeod

This one is fun because it uses an A.I. apocalypse not to drive its narrative, but merely to establish its setting. Long after artificial intelligence took over and nearly drove humanity to extinction, much of what was formerly human has evolved into post-singularity beings forcibly combined with A.I.s and shipped off to other parts of the universe. The human remnant no longer lives on Earth, where the dormant sentient war machines doze, and they attempt to use the technology left behind despite having imperfect knowledge of the science behind it all. Both hopeful and dour about humanity’s fate in the wake of an A.I. genocide referred to as the “Hard Rapture,” the novel’s unique focus on survival makes it more interesting than Ultron’s overly complex and ultimately doomed plans.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

E. E. Cooper's "Vanished," the movie

Featured at My Book, the Movie: Vanished by E.E. Cooper.

The entry begins:
I imagine I’m not unique in saying that I would absolutely love if they turned Vanished into a movie. Since it was a movie in my mind as I wrote, it seems only natural to see it make the jump to the big screen so the rest of you could see it that way too!

The most important character to cast is Kalah the main character. I couldn’t think of an actress that fit her exactly. She’s half Indian, and half French heritage and that mix is important to her so I would want to make sure that was represented on the screen. She would need to be an actress that was willing to put it all out there emotionally and be that mix of brave and vulnerable all at the same time. Almost like a young Katherine...[read on]
Learn more about Vanished at E.E. Cooper's website.

Writers Read: E. E. Cooper.

My Book, the Movie: Vanished.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Thomas Parker's "Tasting French Terroir"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Tasting French Terroir: The History of an Idea by Thomas Parker.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book explores the origins and significance of the French concept of terroir, demonstrating that the way the French eat their food and drink their wine today derives from a cultural mythology that developed between the Renaissance and the Revolution. Through close readings and an examination of little-known texts from diverse disciplines, Thomas Parker traces terroir’s evolution, providing insight into how gastronomic mores were linked to aesthetics in language, horticulture, and painting and how the French used the power of place to define the natural world, explain comportment, and frame France as a nation.
Learn more about Tasting French Terroir at the University of California Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Tasting French Terroir.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 25, 2015

Nick Offerman’s 6 favorite books

Actor Nick Offerman (NBC's Parks and Recreation) has a new book out: Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom With America's Gutsiest Troublemakers.

One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert

A ripping good tale of a modern-day Davy Crockett: Eustace Conway, who for the past three decades has chosen to live and thrive off the land in the Appalachian woods of North Carolina. In her 2002 book, Gilbert proved herself a humorous and tenacious author, committing to no small amount of wilderness living herself in order to chase her story over its long arc.
Read about another entry of the list.

Also see: Nick Offerman’s 12 favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Elizabeth J. Duncan's "Slated for Death"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Slated for Death: A Penny Brannigan Mystery by Elizabeth J. Duncan.

About the book, from the publisher:
When the body of well-liked and respectable Glenda Roberts is discovered at the bottom of a former slate mine, now a busy tourist attraction, pandemonium erupts in the North Wales town of Llanelen. Penny Brannigan finds herself drawn into the investigation when jars of her house-brand hand cream are found among counterfeit inventory Glenda and her sister were selling.

Police are convinced that the mine operator whose asthmatic son suffered an almost-fatal attack due to the merchandise is responsible for Glenda's death. But Penny's not so sure. A visit to Glenda's mother only deepens her conviction that a hidden family secret is the real reason for the murder.

Elizabeth J. Duncan's Slated for Death is a wonderful traditional mystery with snappy dialogue, lively characters and an enchanting setting.
Visit Elizabeth J. Duncan's website and blog.

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.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Will Walton reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Will Walton, author of Anything Could Happen.

His entry begins:
I love this question. Today, I’ll be reading The Transcriptionist, by Amy Rowland—I’m totally smitten with the concept: a lonely transcriptionist in New York who’s starting to lose her grip on reality! I just read...[read on]
About Anything Could Happen, from the publisher:
A phenomenal debut about a gay Southern boy in love with his straight best friend.

Tretch Farm lives in a very small town where everybody's in everybody else's business. Which makes it hard for him to be in love with his best friend, Matt Gooby. Matt has two gay dads, but isn't all that gay himself . . . which doesn't stop Tretch from loving him anyway. Things get even more complicated when a girl falls for Tretch, and Tretch doesn't know how to put her off without revealing everything to everyone. Meanwhile, his family is facing some challenges of its own, and it's going to take Tretch coming out and coming to peace with his situation for his life to move forward.

ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN is a poignant, hard-hitting exploration of love and friendship, a provocative debut that shows that sometimes we have to let things fall apart before we can make them whole again.
Visit Will Walton's website.

Writers Read: Will Walton.

--Marshal Zeringue

Coffee with a canine: Michael Harwood & Reggie

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Michael Harwood & Reggie.

The author, on how Reggie got his name:
We named him after Reggie Kray one half of the Kray twins, the notorious London gangsters of the 1960’s. We thought we might get another Frenchie and call him Ronnie after the other twin...[read on]
About Michael Harwood's novel, Manservant:
In this bitingly witty, saucy, acutely observed debut novel, Michael Harwood pulls back the damask drapes to reveal life among the modern aristocracy--upstairs, downstairs, and occasionally, behind stairs...

Anthony Gowers assists guests at a high-end London hotel with the kind of requests that can't be filled from a room-service menu. His reward: lavish tips and a closet full of cashmere. Then a client's after-hours entertainment ends in a tabloid scandal, and Anthony quickly becomes the city's best-dressed unemployed person...

In desperation, Anthony takes a position in the countryside as personal butler to Lord Shanderson. As a former Royal footman, Anthony is well versed in the peerage's peculiar ways. But Castle Beadale conceals an abundance of intrigue behind its stately doors. On the surface, Lord Shanderson is a model English gentleman--with a few personal interests that Anthony is sure the absent Lady Shanderson knows nothing about. But when the horrendously high-maintenance Lady Shanderson returns, tempers will flare, secrets will be exposed, and Anthony must decide whether the perks of privilege he's enjoyed are worth the price he's compelled to pay...
Visit Michael Harwood's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Coffee with a Canine: Michael Harwood & Reggie.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Seven YA novels for pop-culture obsessives

Rachel Paxton-Gillilan is a freelance writer and semi-professional nerd.

At the B & N Teen Blog she tagged seven Young Adult novels for the pop-culture obsessed, including:
Life in Outer Space, by Melissa Keil

If movies are your scene, then Life in Outer Space is the book for you. Sam is a total movie nerd, spending his free time talking about slasher flicks and World of Warcraft. The movie references are plentiful, and the nerd factor is high. Sam’s pretty happy with his group of assorted misfits, but when Camilla, the statistical anomaly who breaks social barriers, enters the picture, his easy world is turned upside down. And like the best teen movies, this book is laugh-out-loud funny and full of classic teen angst.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Anita Hughes's "French Coast," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: French Coast by Anita Hughes.

The entry begins:
One of the biggest inspirations for French Coast was To Catch A Thief with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly - my favorite couple in cinema. French Coast and To Catch A Thief are both set at the fabulous Carlton-Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes. I watched the movie a half dozen times to soak up the spectacular architecture and interior design while writing the book!

So when I was asked to cast French Coast in my mind, I jumped at the chance. Here are my selections:

It's not hard to imagine Blake Lively as Serena. (Especially as she played Serena on Gossip Girl). Blake Lively is beautiful and confident and wears clothes wonderfully, I think she would be perfect for the part.

I imagine someone bright and bubbly as Zoe - perhaps Selena Gomez or...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Anita Hughes's website.

My Book, The Movie: Market Street.

My Book, The Movie: Lake Como.

My Book, The Movie: French Coast.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Cedric de Leon's "The Origins of Right to Work"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Origins of Right to Work: Antilabor Democracy in Nineteenth-Century Chicago by Cedric de Leon.

About the book, from the publisher:
“Right to work” states weaken collective bargaining rights and limit the ability of unions to effectively advocate on behalf of workers. As more and more states consider enacting right-to-work laws, observers trace the contemporary attack on organized labor to the 1980s and the Reagan era. In The Origins of Right to Work, however, Cedric de Leon contends that this antagonism began a century earlier with the Northern victory in the U.S. Civil War, when the political establishment revised the English common-law doctrine of conspiracy to equate collective bargaining with the enslavement of free white men.

In doing so, de Leon connects past and present, raising critical questions that address pressing social issues. Drawing on the changing relationship between political parties and workers in nineteenth-century Chicago, de Leon concludes that if workers’ collective rights are to be preserved in a global economy, workers must chart a course of political independence and overcome long-standing racial and ethnic divisions.
Learn more about The Origins of Right to Work at the Cornell University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Origins of Right to Work.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Matthew Crawford's 6 favorite books

Matthew B. Crawford is the author of Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work and The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction. One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Addiction by Design by Natasha Dow Schüll

Why do people park themselves at slot machines for eight-hour stretches? Not to win money, but to get "in the zone," a state of repetitive absorption where the frustrations of life beyond the screen fall away. Vegas has long been honing the dark arts of screen-based behaviorist conditioning, but the business model has wider appeal.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is E. E. Cooper reading?

Featured at Writers Read: E. E. Cooper, author of Vanished.

Her entry begins:
I read a wide variety of things and am always collecting suggestions from other people of what I should read next. I tell myself that I’m not going to buy any more books until I read the ones I already have--but I have zero willpower to resist two books that I’m recommending now for totally different reasons are:

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson: This book is non-fiction and tackles the phenomenon of Internet shaming where someone does something wrong and then what must seem like the entire world piles on social media to make sure they are taken to task for what they said or did. It’s an interesting form of bullying and as someone who is involved in...[read on]
About Vanished, from the publisher:
Gone Girl meets Pretty Little Liars in the first book of this fast-paced psychological thriller series full of delicious twists and turns.

Friendship. Obsession. Deception. Love.

Kalah knows better than to fall for Beth Taylor . . . but that doesn't stop her from falling hard and falling fast, heart first into a sea of complications.

Then Beth vanishes. She skips town on her eighteenth birthday, leaving behind a flurry of rumors and a string of broken hearts. Not even Beth's best friend, Britney, knows where she went. Beth didn't even tell Kalah good-bye.

One of the rumors links Beth to Britney's boyfriend, and Kalah doesn't want to believe the betrayal. But Brit clearly believes it—and before Kalah can sort out the truth, Britney is dead.

When Beth finally reaches out to Kalah in the wake of Brit's suicide, Kalah wants to trust what Beth tells her. But she's swiftly realizing that nothing here is as it seems. Kalah's caught in the middle of a deadly psychological game, and only she can untangle the deceptions and lies to reveal the unthinkable truth.
Learn more about Vanished at E.E. Cooper's website.

Writers Read: E. E. Cooper.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top sci-fi sagas for teens

Paul Magrs' latest novel is Lost on Mars.

At the Guardian, he tagged his top ten sci-fi sagas for teens, including:
Splinter of the Mind’s Eye by Alan Dean Foster

Disney is kicking the Star Wars franchise back into life this year with a new series of sequel movies and tie-in novels and comics which expand the canonical universe that’s still so far, far away. But here was the very first sequel, a tense and exciting drama on a deadly swamp world that pitched Luke and Leia and the droids against Vader and his troopers. I was eight in 1978 when this came out and I was agog. Reading this was like being let into secrets about what happened after that first, brilliant movie.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Ed Ifkovic's "Café Europa"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Café Europa: An Edna Ferber Mystery by Ed Ifkovic.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 1914, as rumors of war float across Europe, Edna Ferber travels to Budapest with Winifred Moss, a famous London suffragette, to visit the homeland of her dead father and to see the sights. Author Edna is fascinated by ancient Emperor Franz Joseph and by the faltering Austro-Hungarian Empire, its pomp and circumstance so removed from the daily life of the people she meets. Sitting daily in the Café Europa at her hotel, she listens to unfettered Hearst reporter Harold Gibbon as he predicts the coming war and the end of feudalistic life in Europe while patrons chatter.

Then a shocking murder in a midnight garden changes everything.

Headstrong Cassandra Blaine is supposed to marry into the Austrian nobility in one of those arranged matches like Consuela Vanderbilt’s still popular with wealthy American parents eager for titles and impoverished European nobility who have them to offer. But Cassandra is murdered, and her former lover, the dashing Hungarian Endre Molnár, is the prime suspect. Taken with the young man and convinced of his innocence, Edna begins investigating with the help of Winifred and two avant-garde Hungarian artists. Meanwhile possible war with Serbia is the topic of the day as Archduke Franz Ferdinand prepares to head to Sarajevo. While the world braces for disaster, Edna uncovers the truth –and it scares her.
Visit Ed Ifkovic's website.

Writers Read: Ed Ifkovic.

My Book, The Movie: Café Europa.

The Page 69 Test: Café Europa.

--Marshal Zeringue