Saturday, January 21, 2017

Pg. 69: Tony Healey's "Hope's Peak"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Hope's Peak by Tony Healey.

About Hope's Peak, from the publisher:
Beyond the shores of Hope’s Peak, North Carolina, evil waits as his next victim approaches. He’ll make her a princess like the others…

Detective Jane Harper can’t shake the image of the young woman discovered in a field—eyes closed, a crown of woven vines on her head. She expects macabre murders like this in her native San Francisco, not here. Jane and her partner, Stu, vow to catch the killer, but in this town, that’s easier said than done. The police department is in the grips of a wide-reaching scandal that could topple the entire force, and Jane and Stu face a series of dead ends. Until they meet Ida Lane.

Ida knows too well the evil that lurks in the cornfields. Tortured by her mother’s murder years before, Ida is paralyzed by the fear that she could be next. As the killer grows bolder, Jane must persuade Ida to use her remarkable gifts to help in the investigation. It’s a decision that brings them closer to the killer…maybe too close.
Visit Tony Healey's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Hope's Peak.

The Page 69 Test: Hope's Peak.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 20, 2017

Five marvelous big, engrossing books

At B&N Reads Jenny Shank tagged five "big, engrossing books to get buried under when it’s cold and blustery outside," including:
To The Bright Edge of the World, by Eowyn Ivey

Eowyn Ivey’s debut, Pulitzer Prize finalist The Snow Child, would make a great read for a snowbound weekend. But if the blizzard is really intense, you’re going to need even more to read, and her new historical adventure novel clocks in at 432 pages. Ivey tells the story of a colonel charged with leading a mission into Alaska’s interior in 1885, when it was uncharted. She alternates his journal entries with those of his spirited, intelligent, photography-loving wife, left behind while he leads the group into the wilderness. Fans of Ivey’s magical realism won’t be disappointed with her latest, in which geese become women and women become fog.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Mette Ivie Harrison reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Mette Ivie Harrison, author of For Time and All Eternities.

One book she tagged:
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. I went through a five year long depression after the loss of my sixth child and I've been interested in the different experiences of depression of others since then. Honestly, my experience was very different from Matt Haig's, but both of us ended up getting through without medication (not something I necessarily recommend). I...[read on]
About For Time and All Eternities, from the publisher:
The Mormon church may have disavowed the polygamy it became so infamous for in the 19th century, but for some Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints, “plural marriage” isn’t just ancient history.

Mormon bishop’s wife Linda Wallheim is stunned to learn her son Kenneth has gotten engaged to a young woman from a polygamous family. Naomi Carter may have left the religion she grew up in, but the Carters will still be the Wallheims’ in-laws once Kenneth and Naomi are married.

Stephen Carter, Naomi’s father and the patriarch of the Carter clan, invites the Wallheims over to the Carter family compound in the remote foothills of the mountains outside Salt Lake City. Stephen Carter wishes to extend an olive branch to his future in-laws, and introduce them to his five wives and twenty-two children. But Linda suspects he also wants to try to persuade the Wallheims that his way of life is truly righteous.

From Linda’s point of view, polygamy is an abhorrent practice, one that dehumanizes women and makes children vulnerable to unhealthy family structures. She and her husband, Kurt, arrive at the Carter compound braced for trouble—Linda has her eyes peeled for signs that Stephen’s wives and children are unhappy or abused. Although she can’t find concrete evidence of mistreatment, Linda’s gut instinct tells her that something on the Carter family compound is deeply wrong. She can’t quite put her finger on what—until it’s too late, and one of the family members is found murdered.

Afraid that Stephen Carter’s unworldly, sequestered wives and children might suffer at the hands of investigating police, Linda vows to stay at the compound until the murderer is found and the survivors are safe. But even if she manages to do more good than harm with her snooping and interfering, Linda can’t unsee what she has seen during her time at the Carters’—now, confronting the legacy of polygamy in her own Mormon family raises even more questions about her already shaky faith.
Visit Mette Ivie Harrison's website.

Writers Read: Mette Ivie Harrison (January 2015).

The Page 69 Test: His Right Hand.

Writers Read: Mette Ivie Harrison.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Sheila Kohler's "Once We Were Sisters"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Once We Were Sisters: A Memoir by Sheila Kohler.

About the book, from the publisher:
When Sheila Kohler was thirty-seven, she received the heart-stopping news that her sister Maxine, only two years older, was killed when her husband drove them off a deserted road in Johannesburg. Stunned by the news, she immediately flew back to the country where she was born, determined to find answers and forced to reckon with his history of violence and the lingering effects of their most unusual childhood—one marked by death and the misguided love of their mother.

In her signature spare and incisive prose, Sheila Kohler recounts the lives she and her sister led. Flashing back to their storybook childhood at the family estate, Crossways, Kohler tells of the death of her father when she and Maxine were girls, which led to the family abandoning their house and the girls being raised by their mother, at turns distant and suffocating. We follow them to the cloistered Anglican boarding school where they first learn of separation and later their studies in Rome and Paris where they plan grand lives for themselves—lives that are interrupted when both marry young and discover they have made poor choices. Kohler evokes the bond between sisters and shows how that bond changes but never breaks, even after death.
Visit Sheila Kohler's website.

The Page 69 Test: Dreaming for Freud.

My Book, The Movie: Dreaming for Freud.

The Page 99 Test: Once We Were Sisters.

--Marshal Zeringue

Susan Sherman's "If You Are There," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: If You Are There: A Novel by Susan Sherman.

The entry begins:
I can see it now, the red carpet, cameras, cheering crowds, and Meryl Streep, twenty years younger, waving to the bleachers on her way into the Academy Awards. I’m not an ageist, but my novel depicts Madame Curie in her mid-thirties, hence the time cheat. It takes place at the end of the Belle Époque: Paris, science and spiritualism, radium and séances.

The protagonist, Lucia Rutkowska, played by...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Susan Sherman's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Little Russian.

Coffee with a Canine: Susan Sherman & Henry and Bessie.

My Book, The Movie: If You Are There.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Coffee with a canine: Sally J. Pla & Leo

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Sally J. Pla & Leo.

The author, on how she and Leo were united:
When my son was 10, he campaigned like crazy for second dog. We resisted, until the day he developed acute appendicitis. They wheeled my son into the OR, still pleading, hands clasped, suffering, angelic. “All this would be better if I only had a puppy!” he moaned. What monster would say no to that?

We got Leo soon after. And as the two homebodies of the family, Leo and I… bonded. Deeply. It happened almost from day one – while Leo loves my son, he has always been ‘my’ dog, somehow. I feel closer to him than to many people.

Several years ago, I was bedridden for a month after major surgery. Leo never left the foot of my bed. He never left me. My son had to pull him by the collar to get him to go downstairs to eat. Leo guards my bed every night, and is never more than an arm’s reach away from me at all times. When I leave to run errands, he parks himself by the front door until I get back. I can’t even go...[read on]
About Sally Pla's new novel, The Someday Birds:
The Someday Birds is a debut middle grade novel perfect for fans of Counting by 7s and Fish in a Tree, filled with humor, heart, and chicken nuggets.

Charlie’s perfectly ordinary life has been unraveling ever since his war journalist father was injured in Afghanistan.

When his father heads from California to Virginia for medical treatment, Charlie reluctantly travels cross-country with his boy-crazy sister, unruly brothers, and a mysterious new family friend. He decides that if he can spot all the birds that he and his father were hoping to see someday along the way, then everything might just turn out okay.

Debut author Sally J. Pla has written a tale that is equal parts madcap road trip, coming-of-age story for an autistic boy who feels he doesn’t understand the world, and an uplifting portrait of a family overcoming a crisis.
Visit Sally J. Pla's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Sally J. Pla & Leo.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Joe Starita reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Joe Starita, author of A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America's First Indian Doctor.

His entry begins:
We are, it is often said, a nation of immigrants – a nation cobbled together from the restless, sometimes desperate spirits of ancestors who moved from their home base across an ocean with the idea of staying put in America, a place where they could make something of themselves. But I have always been attracted to the stories of two groups who were not – and have never been – a part of that traditional immigrant narrative: the Native Americans who were already here and the African Americans who arrived in chains. Consequently, it is not surprising that writers whose ancestors endured Trails of Tears and decades of enslavement consistently turn out riveting stories carved from their cultural heritage, powerful stories often littered with many of literature’s great themes.

So it is with Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, a haunting piece of nonfiction I recently read about one man’s decades-long crusade to bring humanity and justice to the inhumane and unjust world of Alabama’s death row. It is often a painful, debilitating look at who we have been – as a people and a nation – but, in the end, provides plenty of...[read on]
About A Warrior of the People, from the publisher:
On March 14, 1889, Susan La Flesche Picotte received her medical degree—becoming the first Native American doctor in U.S. history. She earned her degree thirty-one years before women could vote and thirty-five years before Indians could become citizens in their own country.

By age twenty-six, this fragile but indomitable Indian woman became the doctor to her tribe. Overnight, she acquired 1,244 patients scattered across 1,350 square miles of rolling countryside with few roads. Her patients often were desperately poor and desperately sick—tuberculosis, small pox, measles, influenza—families scattered miles apart, whose last hope was a young woman who spoke their language and knew their customs.

This is the story of an Indian woman who effectively became the chief of an entrenched patriarchal tribe, the story of a woman who crashed through thick walls of ethnic, racial and gender prejudice, then spent the rest of her life using a unique bicultural identity to improve the lot of her people—physically, emotionally, politically, and spiritually.

Joe Starita's A Warrior of the People is the moving biography of Susan La Flesche Picotte’s inspirational life and dedication to public health, and it will finally shine a light on her numerous accomplishments.

The author will donate all royalties from this book to a college scholarship fund he has established for Native American high school graduates.
Visit Joe Starita's website.

Writers Read: Joe Starita.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Laura Bickle's "Nine of Stars"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Nine of Stars by Laura Bickle.

About the book, from the publisher:
From critically acclaimed author Laura Bickle (Dark Alchemy) comes the first novel in the Wildlands series, NINE OF STARS. Longmire meets Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson in this exciting new series that shows how weird and wonderful the West can truly be.

Winter has always been a deadly season in Temperance, but this time, there’s more to fear than just the cold…

As the daughter of an alchemist, Petra Dee has faced all manner of occult horrors – especially since her arrival in the small town of Temperance, Wyoming. But she can’t explain the creature now stalking the backcountry of Yellowstone, butchering wolves and leaving only their skins behind in the snow. Rumors surface of the return of Skinflint Jack, a nineteenth-century wraith that kills in fulfillment of an ancient bargain.

The new sheriff in town, Owen Rutherford, isn’t helping matters. He’s a dangerously haunted man on the trail of both an unsolved case and a fresh kill - a bizarre murder leading him right to Petra’s partner Gabriel. And while Gabe once had little to fear from the mortal world, he’s all too human now. This time, when violence hits close to home, there are no magical solutions.

It’s up to Petra and her coyote sidekick Sig to get ahead of both Owen and the unnatural being hunting them all – before the trail turns deathly cold.
Learn more about the book and author at Laura Bickle's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The Outside.

The Page 69 Test: Dark Alchemy.

The Page 69 Test: Nine of Stars.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top megacities in fiction

Chibundu Onuzo is the author of Welcome to Lagos. One of her top 10 megacities in fiction, as shared at the Guardian:
Clear Light of Day by Anita Desai

This novel is set in old Delhi, in a crumbling family house in retreat from the louder, newer city outside. Every family has its own personal version of a national crisis and this is the Das family’s Partition story. Novels are not history books but there’s an emotional accuracy in this novel that shows how cities and countries can split over religious and cultural differences.
Read about another book on the list.

Also see: nine of the greatest (worst) megacities in sci-fi.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Emily Robbins's "A Word for Love," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: A Word for Love: A Novel by Emily Robbins.

The entry begins:
I have no idea whom I would want to play the main roles in A Word for Love, but I do know that my dream director is Sofia Coppola.

I remember seeing...[read on]
Learn more about A Word for Love.

My Book, The Movie: A Word for Love.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Elizabeth Heiter reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Elizabeth Heiter, author of Stalked.

Her entry begins:
I recently finished reading Karin Slaughter’s Pretty Girls. It was the first book I’d read by her, but it definitely won’t be my last. Gritty, dark and uncompromising in its glimpse into the world of sexualized violence, Pretty Girls was at times...[read on]
About Stalked, from the publisher:
If you're reading this, I'm already dead…

That's the note seventeen-year-old Haley Cooke leaves behind when she disappears from inside her high school. FBI profiler Evelyn Baine is called in to figure out who had reason to hurt her. On the surface, the popular cheerleader has no enemies, but as Evelyn digs deeper, she discovers that everyone close to Haley has something to hide. Everyone from estranged parents, to an older boyfriend with questionable connections, to a best friend who envies Haley's life.

Secrets can be deadly…

One of those secrets may have gotten Haley killed. If she's still alive, Evelyn knows that the more the investigation ramps up, the more pressure they could be putting on Haley's kidnapper to make her disappear for good. It's also possible the teenager isn't in danger at all, but has skillfully manipulated everyone and staged her own disappearance. Only one thing is certain: uncovering Haley's fate could be dangerous—even deadly—to Evelyn herself.
Visit Elizabeth Heiter's website.

My Book, The Movie: Vanished.

The Page 69 Test: Vanished.

The Page 69 Test: Seized.

My Book, The Movie: Seized.

My Book, The Movie: Stalked.

The Page 69 Test: Stalked.

Writers Read: Elizabeth Heiter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five great novels that may never be made into movies

At the B&N Reads blog Brian Boone tagged five great novels that will probably never be made into movies, including:
Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian is another great novel from the master of the unsettling postmodern Western in that the plot is spare but full of dread and violence. Western? Dread? Violence? How is this, one of McCarthy’s best reviewed and enduring novels, not a movie? Oh, how Hollywood has tried. After the book about 19th century Old West unsavories was first published in 1984, many big-name movie folks have not quite gotten Blood Meridian off and running. Ridley Scott, Tommy Lee Jones, Martin Scorsese, and James Franco have all put in attempts, but each and every time it was scrapped while in development. The extreme violence might be the hold-up. Or it’s the lack of a cinematic friendly linear narrative. Ah, but that didn’t stop Cloud Atlas.
Read about another entry on the list.

Blood Meridian is one authority's pick for the Great Texas novel; it is among Sarah Porter's five best books with unusual demons and devils, Chet Williamson's top ten novels about deranged killers, Callan Wink's ten best books set in the American West, Simon Sebag Montefiore's six favorite books, Richard Kadrey's five books about awful, awful people, Jason Sizemore's top five books that will entertain and drop you into the depths of despair, Robert Allison's top ten novels of desert war, Alexandra Silverman's top fourteen wrathful stories, James Franco's six favorite books, Philipp Meyer's five best books that explain America, Peter Murphy's top ten literary preachers, David Vann's six favorite books, Robert Olmstead's six favorite books, Michael Crummey's top ten literary feuds, Philip Connors's top ten wilderness books, six books that made a difference to Kazuo Ishiguro, Clive Sinclair's top 10 westerns, Maile Meloy's six best books, and David Foster Wallace's five direly underappreciated post-1960 U.S. novels. It appears on the New York Times list of the best American fiction of the last 25 years and among the top ten works of literature according to Stephen King.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Carolyn Bronstein & Whitney Strub's "Porno Chic and the Sex Wars"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Porno Chic and the Sex Wars: American Sexual Representation in the 1970s, edited by Carolyn Bronstein and Whitney Strub.

About the book, from the publisher:
For many Americans, the emergence of a “porno chic” culture provided an opportunity to embrace the sexual revolution by attending a film like Deep Throat (1972) or leafing through an erotic magazine like Penthouse. By the 1980s, this pornographic moment was beaten back by the rise of Reagan-era political conservatism and feminist anti-pornography sentiment.

This volume places pornography at the heart of the 1970s American experience, exploring lesser-known forms of pornography from the decade, such as a new, vibrant gay porn genre; transsexual/female impersonator magazines; and pornography for new users, including women and conservative Christians. The collection also explores the rise of a culture of porn film auteurs and stars as well as the transition from film to video. As the corpus of adult ephemera of the 1970s disintegrates, much of it never to be professionally restored and archived, these essays seek to document what pornography meant to its producers and consumers at a pivotal moment.

In addition to the volume editors, contributors include Peter Alilunas, Gillian Frank, Elizabeth Fraterrigo, Lucas Hilderbrand, Nancy Semin Lingo, Laura Helen Marks, Nicholas Matte, Jennifer Christine Nash, Joe Rubin, Alex Warner, Leigh Ann Wheeler, and Greg Youmans.
Visit Whit Strub’s blog, and read more about Porno Chic and the Sex Wars at the University of Massachusetts Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Porno Chic and the Sex Wars.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Eleven heartwarming books for dog lovers

At Bustle, Sadie L. Trombetta tagged 11 heartwarming books for dog-lovers, including:
Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

Called a "profound experience" by The Washington Post, Steven Rowley's dog story, Lily and the Octopus was the talk of dog parks everywhere this summer, and with good reason. A magical novel about love and companionship, this canine story is one you'll want to savor with your own dog BFF by your side.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Coffee with a Canine: Steven Rowley & Tilda Swinton.

My Book, The Movie: Lily and the Octopus.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Gerald Brandt reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Gerald Brandt, author of The Operative.

His entry begins:
Reading has been such a precious commodity lately. I manage to get a few minutes in before bedtime most days, but a long block of time is rare.

Of the few books that I've managed to read this year, Jason Hough's Zero World is one of the ones that got a good chunk of time. Published by Del Rey in 2015, this novel is a fast paced science fiction thriller that grabs on to you right at the beginning and drags you along for a hell of a ride. To me, it felt like John Wick meets Jason Bourne meets alternate world.

The main character is an assassin who works for a corporation. He basically does what he's told when he's told to do it. The twist is that he has an implant that gets activated just before he takes on an assignment. When he's done the job, his memory is rewound to the point in time the implant was activated, essentially letting him forget all the nasty things he's done. Throw in the fact that he has a conscience and and you get a great lead character. Then couple him with a kick ass female lead that isn't...[read on]
About The Operative, from the publisher:
Kris Merrill was a survivor. She’d lost her parents as a young girl, and she’d been forced to flee the dubious shelter of her aunt’s home at thirteen to escape the unwanted attentions of her uncle. She’d lived on the streets of San Angeles, finding refuge in the lowest level of the city. When she got the chance, Kris found a room to rent on Level 2, earning a precarious living as a motorcycle messenger, a courier delivering sensitive materials the megacorporations would not trust to any method that could be hacked.

A year ago, Kris’s life changed irrevocably when a delivery went terribly wrong, and she was targeted for termination by the Meridian corporation, one of the most powerful ofthe megaconglomerates that controlled the government. Salvation came in the form of Ian Miller, who rescued Kris from certain death, recruiting her for the underground resistance group of which he was a part.

Since then, Kris has been hidden with the resistance, training to become an operative. Just as her training with the anti-corporate movement is nearing its end, their compound is destroyed by surprise attack. Ready or not, Kris and the other trainees are recalled to the dangerous metropolis of San Angeles. But their transport is shot down and Ian Miller, the man she loves, is captured. Someone, it seems, is using him to get to Kris.

With the help of a retired operative with PTSD, and the mysterious man who fled the scene when Kris’s parents were killed, Kris searches for any sign of Ian. As the corporations battle civil unrest—and each other—the city slowly shuts down. Kris and San Angeles are running out of time….
Visit Gerald Brandt's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Operative.

Writers Read: Gerald Brandt.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Jeremy K. Brown & Christopher Mari's "Ocean of Storms"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Ocean of Storms by Jeremy K. Brown and Christopher Mari.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the near future, political tensions between the United States and China are at an all-time high. Then a catastrophic explosion on the moon cleaves a vast gash in the lunar surface, and the massive electromagnetic pulse it unleashes obliterates Earth’s electrical infrastructure. To plumb the depths of the newly created lunar fissure and excavate the source of the power surge, the feuding nations are forced to cooperate on a high-risk mission to return mankind to the moon.

Now, a diverse, highly skilled ensemble of astronauts—and a pair of maverick archaeologists plucked from the Peruvian jungle—will brave conspiracy on Earth and disaster in space to make a shocking discovery.

Ocean of Storms is an epic adventure that spans space and time as its heroes race to fulfill an ancient mission that may change the course of humanity’s future.
Learn more about Ocean of Storms at the publisher's website.

My Book, The Movie: Ocean of Storms.

The Page 69 Test: Ocean of Storms.

--Marshal Zeringue

Twenty sci-fi & fantasy books with a social justice message

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Joel Cunningham tagged "20 novels that incorporate themes of social justice into stories that still deliver the goods—compelling plots, characters you’ll fall in love with, ideas that will expand your mind." One title on the list:
Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor

This World Fantasy Award-winner is set in a post-apocalytpic future Sudan where a light-skinned race oppresses a darker-skinned one, and a girl of both societies, born out of violence and gifted with magical abilities, sets off to murder her father. Incorporating scenes of barbaric female genital mutilation and the use of rape as a weapon of control, it is a harrowing, angry novel about a woman who refuses to be a victim. Okorafor’s morerecent, Hugo-winner novella Binti would also fit nicely here; the protagonist is a woman from a marginalized human tribe who is the first of her people to be offered a chance to study at a the galaxy’s most elite university, but doing so will require her to give up her identity—but it is ultimately that uniqueness that will help her to save her own life and form new bonds of understanding across a vast cultural divide.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 16, 2017

Lawrence Millman's "At the End of the World," the movie

Now featured at My Book, The Movie: At the End of the World: A True Story of Murder in the Arctic by Lawrence Millman.

The entry begins:
At the End of the World documents a series of murders in the name of religion not in San Bernardino, California, or Orlando, Florida, but in the Belcher Islands, a remote archipelago in Canada’s Hudson Bay. Likewise, those murders took place not yesterday but in the winter of 1941. At the time, the local Inuit in these islands had virtually no contact with the outside world.

So there I was, describing the following scene to a friend: An Inuit woman named Mina had decided Jesus would soon be kayaking down from the sky, and that (in her words) “We must go out onto the ice to meet our Savior.” Whereupon she dog whipped a number of people onto the ice in -20’F temperatures, all the while shouting, “Come, Jesus, come!” Suddenly she announced: “Naked we must greet our Savior!” And then...[read on]
Visit Lawrence Millman's website.

My Book, The Movie: At the End of the World.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Kathleen Rooney reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Kathleen Rooney, author of Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk.

Her entry begins:
My latest novel, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, takes place in New York City. The title character, Lillian, takes a 10-or-so-mile walk through the rundown Manhattan of New Year’s Eve 1984, and as she does so, she looks back on her life since she arrived there in 1926. I love New York, but I live and walk in Chicago.

I love my city and am always seeking ways to better understand it—the people who live here and why its neighborhoods are the way they are. Currently, I’m reading Natalie Y. Moore’s The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation, which is an immensely insightful examination of racism, disinvestment, and inequality and how these factors have historically shaped—and continue to shape—America’s third most-populous city. Walking through Chicago, it’s easy to see that...[read on]
About Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, from the publisher:
“In my reckless and undiscouraged youth,” Lillian Boxfish writes, “I worked in a walnut-paneled office thirteen floors above West Thirty-Fifth Street…”

She took 1930s New York by storm, working her way up writing copy for R.H. Macy’s to become the highest paid advertising woman in the country. It was a job that, she says, “in some ways saved my life, and in other ways ruined it.”

Now it’s the last night of 1984 and Lillian, 85 years old but just as sharp and savvy as ever, is on her way to a party. It’s chilly enough out for her mink coat and Manhattan is grittier now—her son keeps warning her about a subway vigilante on the prowl—but the quick-tongued poetess has never been one to scare easily. On a walk that takes her over 10 miles around the city, she meets bartenders, bodega clerks, security guards, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be, while reviewing a life of excitement and adversity, passion and heartbreak, illuminating all the ways New York has changed—and has not.

A love letter to city life in all its guts and grandeur, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop.

Lillian figures she might as well take her time. For now, after all, the night is still young.
Learn more about the book and author at Kathleen Rooney's website.

The Page 99 Test: Live Nude Girl.

The Page 99 Test: For You, for You I Am Trilling These Songs.

My Book, The Movie: For You, for You I Am Trilling These Songs.

My Book, The Movie: Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk.

Writers Read: Kathleen Rooney.

--Marshal Zeringue

Four books that changed Rosalie Ham

Rosalie Ham's books include the bestselling novel The Dressmaker, which became a 2015 film starring Kate Winslet, and Summer at Mount Hope.

One of four books that changed the author, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard

In The Transit of Venus, Shirley Hazzard writes everything, internally and externally, from a subtly objective third-person point of view. Carefully chosen images and words infuse every phrase, sentence and paragraph with atmosphere. Every event is complex and glints with subtext. Characters' impetus, motivation and physical appearance are succinct and precise, yet detailed, and I enjoy analysing her sharp, multilayered paragraphs with students. I would have loved to sit opposite Shirley Hazzard [who died aged 85 in December] in a foyer and watch her watching.
Read about another book on the list.

The Transit of Venus is among Zoë Heller's five best books on sisters and Jennifer Egan's five most important books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Kimberley Reynolds's "Left Out"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Left Out: The Forgotten Tradition of Radical Publishing for Children in Britain 1910-1949 by Kimberley Reynolds.

About the book, from the publisher:
Left Out presents an alternative and corrective history of writing for children in the first half of the twentieth century. Between 1910 and 1949 a number of British publishers, writers, and illustrators included children's literature in their efforts to make Britain a progressive, egalitarian, and modern society. Some came from privileged backgrounds, others from the poorest parts of the poorest cities in the land; some belonged to the metropolitan intelligentsia or bohemia, others were working-class autodidacts, but all sought to use writing for children and young people to create activists, visionaries, and leaders among the rising generation.Together, they produced a significant number of both politically and aesthetically radical publications for children and young people. This "radical children's literature" was designed to ignite and underpin the work of making a new Britain for a new kind of Briton. While there are many dedicated studies of children's literature and childrens' writers working in other periods, the years 1910-1949 have previously received little critical attention. In this study, Kimberley Reynolds shows that the accepted characterization of interwar children's literature as retreatist, anti-modernist, and apolitical is too sweeping and that the relationship between children's literature and modernism, left-wing politics, and progressive education has been neglected.
Learn more about Left Out at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Left Out.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Six top novels connected to the 1980s

Darren Croucher writes YA novels with a partner, under the name A.D. Croucher. At the B&N Reads blog he tagged "awesome fantasy/mystery novels from—or almost from, or inspired by, or spiritually connected to—the [19]80s," including:
Wintersong, by S. Jae-Jones

If you’re a fan of [1980s fantasy movie] Labyrinth—and let’s be honest, how could you not be?—then you need to get your hands on Wintersong. When Liesl’s sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl must travel into the Underground to save her. The Underground is a dark, enchanting world Liesl must work out how to navigate and survive in. This debut is a spellbinding tale of love, music, and finding out who you really are. It comes out in February, but fear not, here’s a sneak peek of the first five chapters, because you’re awesome and you deserve it.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Elizabeth Heiter's "Stalked"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Stalked by Elizabeth Heiter.

About the book, from the publisher:
If you're reading this, I'm already dead…

That's the note seventeen-year-old Haley Cooke leaves behind when she disappears from inside her high school. FBI profiler Evelyn Baine is called in to figure out who had reason to hurt her. On the surface, the popular cheerleader has no enemies, but as Evelyn digs deeper, she discovers that everyone close to Haley has something to hide. Everyone from estranged parents, to an older boyfriend with questionable connections, to a best friend who envies Haley's life.

Secrets can be deadly…

One of those secrets may have gotten Haley killed. If she's still alive, Evelyn knows that the more the investigation ramps up, the more pressure they could be putting on Haley's kidnapper to make her disappear for good. It's also possible the teenager isn't in danger at all, but has skillfully manipulated everyone and staged her own disappearance. Only one thing is certain: uncovering Haley's fate could be dangerous—even deadly—to Evelyn herself.
Visit Elizabeth Heiter's website.

My Book, The Movie: Vanished.

The Page 69 Test: Vanished.

The Page 69 Test: Seized.

My Book, The Movie: Seized.

My Book, The Movie: Stalked.

The Page 69 Test: Stalked.

--Marshal Zeringue

David Haig's six best books

David Haig is an English actor perhaps best known to US audiences for Two Weeks Notice (2002), My Boy Jack (2007), and Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
OSCAR AND LUCINDA by Peter Carey

An eccentric couple of loners in Victorian times find love. The concept of building a glass church for the women you love is just fantastic.

I love the way it is written and you feel people should not judge others just because they’re odd or don’t conform.
Read about another book on the list.

Oscar and Lucinda also appears among Katharine Norbury's top ten books about rivers, the Guardian's ten best unconsummated passions in fiction, and Elise Valmorbida's top ten books on the migrant experience, and on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best horse races in literature, ten of the best fossils in literature, ten of the best thin men in literature and ten of the best card games in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Christine Husom reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Christine Husom, author of Frosty the Dead Man.

Her entry begins:
I have stacks and stacks of to-be-read books on my shelves, and each one seems to cry out, “Pick me, it’s my turn,” when I’m perusing through them. I discovered Up Like Thunder by Colin T Nelson was a treat to read. I first met Colin at a Twin Cities Sisters in Crime some years ago. Besides being a wonderful storyteller, he’s also a great guy, all around.

Up Like Thunder follows Investigator Pete Chandler from Minneapolis to Myanmar, the former Burma. Myanmar, after years of maintaining closed borders, began allowing tourists and limited business interests in the country in 2011. When Bridget Holmes, a young American woman who is working in the country, goes missing, her influential father contacts Chandler, and implores him to find Bridget and bring her home safely. Although it’s about the last thing on earth he wants to do, Chandler reluctantly agrees. He soon finds himself in a dangerous world he...[read on]
About Frosty the Dead Man, from the publisher:
A snow globe becomes a murder weapon in the latest cozy mystery from the national bestselling author of Snow Way Out and The Iced Princess.

Mayor Lewis Frost has always been known as Frosty to his friends—not that he has many these days. Controversies swirling around the city council have members wondering if Frosty is trying to snow them. After one councilman storms off in a huff, the mayor turns to curio shop manager Camryn Brooks and asks her to consider taking a seat on the council.

Later, when Cami goes to his office to discuss the proposal, her blood runs cold. She finds Frosty dead, and the very snow globe she sold him earlier that day lies in sparkling shards on his carpet—along with a large diamond. Does the snow globe—which features a peculiar tableau of an armed man and three menacing bears—hold a clue to Frosty’s demise? One way or another, it’s up to Cami to shake things up before the killer’s trail goes cold...
Visit Christine Husom's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Iced Princess.

My Book, The Movie: Frosty the Dead Man.

The Page 69 Test: Frosty the Dead Man.

Writers Read: Christine Husom.

--Marshal Zeringue