Thursday, December 08, 2016

Top ten cats in literature

Lynne Truss is the author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Cat Out of Hell, the newly released The Lunar Cats, and other books. One of her ten top cats in literature, as shared at the Guardian:
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by TS Eliot

Criminal mastermind cat

Macavity – the feline equivalent of Sherlock Holmes’s Moriarty – is the super-brain puss in this collection. Even the shape of his head tells us how intelligent he is: “His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly domed.” Just the name is perfect – Macavity rhyming with “gravity”, “depravity” and “suavity”. But the proof of this cat’s criminal brilliance is that whenever a crime is committed, “Macavity’s not there!”
Read about another entry on the list.

Also see the 25 best cats in sci-fi & fantasy and the top ten cats in children's books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Larrie D. Ferreiro's "Brothers at Arms"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It by Larrie D. Ferreiro.

About the book, from the publisher:
The remarkable untold story of how the American Revolution’s success depended on substantial military assistance provided by France and Spain, and places the Revolution in the context of the global strategic interests of those nations in their fight against England.

In this groundbreaking, revisionist history, Larrie Ferreiro shows that at the time the first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord the colonists had little chance, if any, of militarily defeating the British. The nascent American nation had no navy, little in the way of artillery, and a militia bereft even of gunpowder. In his detailed accounts Ferreiro shows that without the extensive military and financial support of the French and Spanish, the American cause would never have succeeded. France and Spain provided close to the equivalent of $30 billion and 90 percent of all guns used by the Americans, and they sent soldiers and sailors by the thousands to fight and die alongside the Americans, as well as around the world.

Ferreiro adds to the historical records the names of French and Spanish diplomats, merchants, soldiers, and sailors whose contribution is at last given recognition. Instead of viewing the American Revolution in isolation, Brothers at Arms reveals the birth of the American nation as the centerpiece of an international coalition fighting against a common enemy.
Learn more about Brothers at Arms at the Knopf website.

My Book, The Movie: Brothers at Arms.

The Page 99 Test: Brothers at Arms.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Eight top portal fantasy novels

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Martin Cahill tagged eight truly transporting portal fantasy novels, including:
The Stormwrack series, by A. M. Dellamonica

Avast! Dellamonica wastes no time in shunting her protagonist, marine biologist Sophie, Hansa, straight from our world into the sea-heavy world of Stormwrack, a system of island nations that are a part of no world she has ever visited before, one of ships and magic, Sophie is utterly lost, but soon finds she’s landed herself in the middle of a political broil that could not only dismantle this world, but the family she never knew existed. Dellamonica’s novel further pursue the idea of family, and her shrouded past, in the sequel, where she finds that her biological parents are actually of Stormwrack. Combining the science of our world with the magic of another, Sophie makes for a brilliant protagonist, and the trials and travails that Dellamonica is looking to put her through in the just-released The Nature of A Pirate promise to up the stakes evenfurther! Be sure not to miss this wonderful, Lambda Award-nominated series.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Child of a Hidden Sea.

My Book, The Movie: Child of a Hidden Sea.

The Page 69 Test: A Daughter of No Nation.

The Page 69 Test: The Nature of a Pirate.

--Marshal Zeringue

R.M. Meluch's "Jerusalem Fire," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Jerusalem Fire by R.M. Meluch.

The entry begins:
I wanted Peter O'Toole to play Alihahd in Jerusalem Fire. Well, that didn't happen. The planet is a poorer place without Peter O'Toole. I wrote the Alihahd/Shad Ilyia character around him and his Lawrence of Arabia/ Flavius Silva screen roles.

Who would I want to direct the movie?...[read on]
Visit R.M. Meluch's website.

My Book, The Movie: Jerusalem Fire.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top tales of adventure

Jane Johnson has written a number of books under the pseudonym Jude Fisher: the official guides to Peter L. Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, and Fool’s Gold fantasy trilogy. One of her top ten tales of adventure, as shared at the Guardian:
Antarctica by Kim Stanley Robinson

Robinson is better known for his massive future history of the terraforming and colonisation of Mars but this eco-thriller is a tremendous rollercoaster ride set in this world's last wilderness, a mineral-rich area targeted by multinational oil companies, conniving governments and the tourist industry. Robinson creates brilliant people who carry his idea-packed narratives effortlessly and entertainingly, all the while prompting you to think pretty hard about the state of the world today and how we may preserve it.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Beatrice Colin's "To Capture What We Cannot Keep"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin.

About the book, from the publisher:
Set against the construction of the Eiffel Tower, this novel charts the relationship between a young Scottish widow and a French engineer who, despite constraints of class and wealth, fall in love.

In February 1887, Caitriona Wallace and Émile Nouguier meet in a hot air balloon, floating high above Paris, France--a moment of pure possibility. But back on firm ground, their vastly different social strata become clear. Cait is a widow who because of her precarious financial situation is forced to chaperone two wealthy Scottish charges. Émile is expected to take on the bourgeois stability of his family's business and choose a suitable wife. As the Eiffel Tower rises, a marvel of steel and air and light, the subject of extreme controversy and a symbol of the future, Cait and Émile must decide what their love is worth.

Seamlessly weaving historical detail and vivid invention, Beatrice Colin evokes the revolutionary time in which Cait and Émile live--one of corsets and secret trysts, duels and Bohemian independence, strict tradition and Impressionist experimentation. To Capture What We Cannot Keep, stylish, provocative, and shimmering, raises probing questions about a woman's place in that world, the overarching reach of class distinctions, and the sacrifices love requires of us all.
Visit Beatrice Colin's website.

My Book, The Movie: To Capture What We Cannot Keep.

Writers Read: Beatrice Colin.

The Page 69 Test: To Capture What We Cannot Keep.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Pg. 99: Meghan K. Roberts's "Sentimental Savants"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Sentimental Savants: Philosophical Families in Enlightenment France by Meghan K. Roberts.

About the book, from the publisher:
Though the public may retain a hoary image of the lone scientific or philosophical genius generating insights in isolation, scholars discarded it long ago. In reality, the families of scientists and philosophers in the Enlightenment played a substantial role, not only making space for inquiry within the home but also assisting in observing, translating, calculating, and illustrating.

Sentimental Savants is the first book to explore the place of the family among the savants of the French Enlightenment, a group that openly embraced their families and domestic lives, even going so far as to test out their ideas—from education to inoculation—on their own children. Meghan K. Roberts delves into the lives and work of such major figures as Denis Diderot, Émilie Du Châtelet, the Marquis de Condorcet, Antoine Lavoisier, and Jérôme Lalande to paint a striking portrait of how sentiment and reason interacted in the eighteenth century to produce not only new kinds of knowledge but new kinds of families as well.
Learn more about Sentimental Savants at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Sentimental Savants.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five YA novels for "Westworld" fans

Darren Croucher writes YA novels with a partner, under the name A.D. Croucher. At the B&N Reads blog he tagged five YA novels for fans of HBO's Westworld, including:
Caraval, by Stephanie Garber

Scarlett is the dutiful sister, Tella the impetuous, headstrong one. So when they receive an invitation from the mysterious Master Legend to attend Caraval—a magical event that lasts days, in which players enter an immersive game they may never leave—it’s Tella who hatches a plan to sneak away from their terrifying father. What neither sister bargains on is Tella getting kidnapped and being made the prize in the game. Just like in Westworld, nothing here is what it seems, and once players get drawn into the Caraval storyline, the danger is real, and anything can happen. Loaded with atmosphere, secrets, and scares, this is a magical, entrancing tale. (It’s not out till next month, but get your pre-order on today!)
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is David Grinspoon reading?

Featured at Writers Read: David Grinspoon, author of Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet's Future.

His entry begins:
I’ve been re-reading The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe. I read it years ago but I picked it up recently for inspiration because I’m writing a new book now about the exploration of Pluto. I’m co-authoring this new book with Alan Stern, the scientist who led the New Horizons mission to Pluto, and in the process I’ve been learning so much about all the ridiculous trials and tribulations that the young scientists who wanted to fly such a mission experienced for decades before they were successful. I want to bring that to life so I’m seeking inspiration from the master. Nobody has written about the adventure of space exploration as boldly and with such punch-in-the-gut intensity as Wolfe. Of course here we are writing about robotic exploration, so...[read on]
About Earth in Human Hands, from the publisher:
For the first time in Earth's history, our planet is experiencing a confluence of rapidly accelerating changes prompted by one species: humans. Climate change is only the most visible of the modifications we've made--up until this point, inadvertently--to the planet. And our current behavior threatens not only our own future but that of countless other creatures. By comparing Earth's story to those of other planets, astrobiologist David Grinspoon shows what a strange and novel development it is for a species to evolve to build machines, and ultimately, global societies with world-shaping influence.

Without minimizing the challenges of the next century, Grinspoon suggests that our present moment is not only one of peril, but also great potential, especially when viewed from a 10,000-year perspective. Our species has surmounted the threat of extinction before, thanks to our innate ingenuity and ability to adapt, and there's every reason to believe we can do so again.

Our challenge now is to awaken to our role as a force of planetary change, and to grow into this task. We must become graceful planetary engineers, conscious shapers of our environment and caretakers of Earth's biosphere. This is a perspective that begs us to ask not just what future do we want to avoid, but what do we seek to build? What kind of world do we want? Are humans the worst thing or the best thing to ever happen to our planet? Today we stand at a pivotal juncture, and the answer will depend on the choices we make.
Visit David Grinspoon's website.

Writers Read: David Grinspoon.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Esquire"'s twenty-five best books of 2016

At Esquire Maris Kreizman and Angela Ledgerwood came up with a list of the 25 best books of 2016, including:
Seinfeldia by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

A little TV show about nothing became a cultural phenomenon that still inspires avid fandoms to this day. In Seinfeldia entertainment reporter Jennifer Keishin Armstrong not only goes behind the scenes of the making of Seinfeld to deliver some great insider stories, she also widens her lens to cover the people who love it. Packed with many delights and great trivia (if you want to know which suggestion from the writers made Julia Louis-Dreyfus burst into tears, you'll have to read the book), Seinfeldia is a smart, fun read by a writer who truly is the master of her domain.
Read about another book on the list.

The Page 99 Test: Seinfeldia.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 05, 2016

Pg. 99: Andrew Harding's "The Mayor of Mogadishu"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Mayor of Mogadishu: A Story of Chaos and Redemption in the Ruins of Somalia by Andrew Harding.

About The Mayor of Mogadishu, from the publisher:
In The Mayor of Mogadishu, one of the BBC’s most experienced foreign correspondents, Andrew Harding, reveals the tumultuous life of Mohamoud “Tarzan” Nur - an impoverished nomad who was abandoned in a state orphanage in newly independent Somalia, and became a street brawler and activist. When the country collapsed into civil war and anarchy, Tarzan and his young family became part of an exodus, eventually spending twenty years in north London.

But in 2010 Tarzan returned, as Mayor, to the unrecognizable ruins of a city now almost entirely controlled by the Islamist militants of Al Shabab. For many in Mogadishu, and in the diaspora, Tarzan became a galvanizing symbol of courage and hope for Somalia. But for others, he was a divisive thug, who sank beneath the corruption and clan rivalries that continue, today, to threaten the country’s revival.

The Mayor of Mogadishu is a rare an insider’s account of Somalia’s unraveling, and an intimate portrayal of one family’s extraordinary journey.
Visit Andrew Harding's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Mayor of Mogadishu.

Writers Read: Andrew Harding.

The Page 99 Test: The Mayor of Mogadishu.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: A. M. Dellamonica's "The Nature of a Pirate"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Nature of a Pirate by A. M. Dellamonica.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Nature of a Pirate is the third book in acclaimed author, A.M. Dellmonica’s high seas, Stormwrack series. The Lambda Award nominated series begins with Child of a Hidden Sea.

Marine videographer and biologist Sophie Hansa has spent the past few months putting her knowledge of science to use on the strange world of Stormwrack, solving seemingly impossible cases where no solution had been found before.

When a series of ships within the Fleet of Nations, the main governing body that rules a loose alliance of island nation states, are sunk by magical sabotage, Sophie is called on to find out why. While surveying the damage of the most recent wreck, she discovers a strange-looking creature—a fright, a wooden oddity born from a banished spell—causing chaos within the ship. The question is who would put this creature aboard and why?

The quest for answers finds Sophie magically bound to an abolitionist from Sylvanner, her father’s homeland. Now Sophie and the crew of the Nightjar must discover what makes this man so unique while outrunning magical assassins and villainous pirates, and stopping the people responsible for the attacks on the Fleet before they strike again.
Visit A.M. Dellamonica's website.

The Page 69 Test: Child of a Hidden Sea.

My Book, The Movie: Child of a Hidden Sea.

The Page 69 Test: A Daughter of No Nation.

The Page 69 Test: The Nature of a Pirate.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wendy Lee's "The Art of Confidence," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Art of Confidence by Wendy Lee.

The entry begins:
The Art of Confidence is told from five different points of view involving a forged painting: the forger, the gallery owner, her assistant, the buyer, and the original artist.

The forger, Liu Qingwu, is a Chinese immigrant in his fifties who’s lived in America for thirty years as an unsuccessful artist. Outwardly, he’s nearly invisible—another character describes him as looking like a deliveryman. Inside, though, he possesses a keen and pessimistic wit. John Lone (from The Last Emperor and M. Butterfly) would be great at depicting those two sides.

Caroline Lowry, the gallery owner who commissions the forgery, is described by Liu as “well-preserved in the way city women over a certain age are.” She also has her vulnerable and quirky moments, so I feel like Diane...[read on]
Visit Wendy Lee's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Across a Green Ocean.

The Page 69 Test: Across a Green Ocean.

Writers Read: Wendy Lee.

My Book, The Movie: The Art of Confidence.

--Marshal Zeringue

Roz Chast's six favorite books

Roz Chast is a New Yorker cartoonist and author of the award-winning graphic memoir Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? One of her six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

Highsmith's first in a series of novels about a charming, fascinating sociopath is by far my favorite. It's one of the most darkly funny books I've read. Tom Ripley is not really a bad guy! He has no conscience and sometimes does some pretty terrible things, but there are always reasons. He just wants to live a nice life surrounded by beauty — doesn't everybody? — though God forbid you should get in his way.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Talented Mr Ripley is on Nicholas Searle's top five list of favorite deceivers in fiction, Chris Ewan's list of the ten top chases in literature, Meave Gallagher's top twenty list of gripping page-turners every twentysomething woman should read, Sophia Bennett's top ten list of books set in the Mediterranean, Emma Straub's top ten list of holidays in fiction, E. Lockhart's list of favorite suspense novels, Sally O'Reilly's top ten list of novels inspired by Shakespeare, Walter Kirn's top six list of books on deception, Stephen May's top ten list of impostors in fiction, Simon Mason's top ten list of chilling fictional crimes, Melissa Albert's list of eight books to change a villain, Koren Zailckas's list of eleven of literature's more evil characters, Alex Berenson's five best list of books about Americans abroad John Mullan's list of ten of the best examples of rowing in literature, Tana French's top ten maverick mysteries list, the Guardian's list of the 50 best summer reads ever, the Telegraph's ultimate reading list, and Francesca Simon's top ten list of antiheroes.

The Page 69 Test: The Good Liar.

My Book, The Movie: The Good Liar.

Writers Read: Nicholas Searle.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Pg. 99: Coll Thrush's "Indigenous London"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Indigenous London: Native Travelers at the Heart of Empire by Coll Thrush.

About the book, from the publisher:
An imaginative retelling of London’s history, framed through the experiences of Indigenous travelers who came to the city over the course of more than five centuries

London is famed both as the ancient center of a former empire and as a modern metropolis of bewildering complexity and diversity. In Indigenous London, historian Coll Thrush offers an imaginative vision of the city's past crafted from an almost entirely new perspective: that of Indigenous children, women, and men who traveled there, willingly or otherwise, from territories that became Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States, beginning in the sixteenth century. They included captives and diplomats, missionaries and shamans, poets and performers. Some, like the Powhatan noblewoman Pocahontas, are familiar; others, like an Odawa boy held as a prisoner of war, have almost been lost to history. In drawing together their stories and their diverse experiences with a changing urban culture, Thrush also illustrates how London learned to be a global, imperial city and how Indigenous people were central to that process.
Learn more about Indigenous London at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Indigenous London.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five of the best novels representing the ins & outs of large families

At B&N Reads Hanna McGrath tagged five top novels that really represent the ins and outs of large families, including:
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, by Ayana Mathis (11 kids)

As a teenager in 1923, Hattie Shepard fled Georgia in search of a better life in Philadelphia. What Hattie finds, though, is far from what she’s looking for, and it turns her into a brash and cold mother bent on preparing her children to live in a loveless and cruel world. Hattie’s tribes consist of her eleven children and one granddaughter, and it’s through those tribes that her story unfolds. Each chapter is a focused narrative of one family member, each adding another piece to their family’s puzzle. While the novel’s form is unusual, isn’t this how families (of any size) work? Each tribesman’s story informs/influences the story of the group as a whole.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Beatrice Colin reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Beatrice Colin, author of To Capture What We Cannot Keep.

Her entry begins:
Exposure (2016) by Helen Dunmore

I’m a big fan of Helen Dunmore and have been for years. I love her pared down, poetic prose and clever twists. I met her once at an event and we walked around Winchester Cathedral together. She impressed me further when she looked down at the 12th century Winchester Bible in its glass case and translated the Latin. Anyway, set in England in the 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, this novel explores what happens to a young family when caught up in the fringes of an espionage ring. Drawing links with the Jewish experience in Germany in the 1930s, it captures how easily the security of middle-class domesticity can be pulled from below and how one mother goes on to rebuild her life. Like all the best tales, this is a love story with...[read on]
About To Capture What We Cannot Keep, from the publisher:
Set against the construction of the Eiffel Tower, this novel charts the relationship between a young Scottish widow and a French engineer who, despite constraints of class and wealth, fall in love.

In February 1887, Caitriona Wallace and Émile Nouguier meet in a hot air balloon, floating high above Paris, France--a moment of pure possibility. But back on firm ground, their vastly different social strata become clear. Cait is a widow who because of her precarious financial situation is forced to chaperone two wealthy Scottish charges. Émile is expected to take on the bourgeois stability of his family's business and choose a suitable wife. As the Eiffel Tower rises, a marvel of steel and air and light, the subject of extreme controversy and a symbol of the future, Cait and Émile must decide what their love is worth.

Seamlessly weaving historical detail and vivid invention, Beatrice Colin evokes the revolutionary time in which Cait and Émile live--one of corsets and secret trysts, duels and Bohemian independence, strict tradition and Impressionist experimentation. To Capture What We Cannot Keep, stylish, provocative, and shimmering, raises probing questions about a woman's place in that world, the overarching reach of class distinctions, and the sacrifices love requires of us all.
Visit Beatrice Colin's website.

My Book, The Movie: To Capture What We Cannot Keep.

Writers Read: Beatrice Colin.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Pg. 99: David Welky's "A Wretched and Precarious Situation"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: A Wretched and Precarious Situation: In Search of the Last Arctic Frontier by David Welky.

About the book, from the publisher:
A remarkable true story of adventure, betrayal, and survival set in one of the world’s most inhospitable places.

In 1906, from atop a snow-swept hill in the ice fields northwest of Greenland, hundreds of miles from another human being, Commander Robert E. Peary spotted a line of mysterious peaks looming in the distance. He called this unexplored realm “Crocker Land.” Scientists and explorers agreed that the world-famous explorer had discovered a new continent rising from the frozen Arctic Ocean.

Several years later, two of Peary’s disciples, George Borup and Donald MacMillan, assembled a team of amateur adventurers to investigate Crocker Land. Before them lay a chance at the kind of lasting fame enjoyed by Magellan, Columbus, and Captain Cook. While filling in the last blank space on the globe, they might find new species of plants or animals, or even men; in the era of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, anything seemed possible. Renowned scientific institutions, and even former president Theodore Roosevelt, rushed to endorse the expedition.

What followed was a sequence of events that none of the explorers could have imagined. Trapped in a true-life adventure story, the men endured howling blizzards, unearthly cold, food shortages, isolation, a fatal boating accident, a drunken sea captain, disease, dissension, and a horrific crime. But the team pushed on through every obstacle, driven forward by the mystery of Crocker Land and faint hopes that they someday would make it home.

Populated with a cast of memorable characters, and based on years of research in previously untapped sources, A Wretched and Precarious Situation is a harrowing Arctic narrative unlike any other.
David Welky is the author of The Thousand-Year Flood: The Ohio-Mississippi Disaster of 1937, The Moguls and the Dictators: Hollywood and the Coming of World War II, and other books. He is a professor of history at the University of Central Arkansas.

The Page 99 Test: The Thousand-Year Flood.

My Book, The Movie: A Wretched and Precarious Situation.

Writers Read: David Welky.

The Page 99 Test: A Wretched and Precarious Situation.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books about human horror

J.A. Rock is the author or coauthor of over twenty LGBTQ romance, suspense, and horror novels, as well as an occasional contributor to HuffPo Queer Voices. One of her five "favorite horror stories where the real danger is human, rather than paranormal," as shared at Tor.com:
The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

I’m a sucker for anything carnival-themed, but there are no evil clowns or funhouses of death here. Instead, The Wicked Girls follows two middle-aged women—Amber, a carnival cleaner, and Kirsty, a journalist—as they attempt to keep their separate, unremarkable lives under control. Until a chance encounter sets things spiraling toward disaster.

The book weaves back and forth in time, from the present to a childhood where Amber and Kirsty knew each other by different names. The two women are bound together by a horrible event: the long ago murder of a four-year-old, for which they were jointly convicted and served time in a juvenile prison before being released with new identities and a legal mandate never to contact each other again. Props to Marwood for her ability to make her leads by turns sympathetic and repellant, while casually offering mob mentality as an alternative villain in this story. What’s scarier—two allegedly murderous eleven-year-olds, or a gang of self-righteous townspeople hell-bent on vigilante justice? At times, it’s a toss up.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Karen Harper's "Chasing Shadows"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Chasing Shadows by Karen Harper.

About the book, from the publisher:
The dead still talk if you know how to listen

Every case that Claire Britten cracks is a win, not only professionally but personally. The forensic psychologist has spent a lifetime fighting a neurological disorder, and her ability to conquer it is a testament to her razor-sharp intuition.

Nick Markwood is used to winning in the courtroom, so when his latest case is overthrown by Claire's expert testimony, he can't help being impressed by her skill. He needs her on the team of his passion project—investigating unusual cases involving mysterious deaths. Her condition doesn't deter him, and neither does the attraction that sparks between them…even if it should.

As they join forces to investigate a murder in St. Augustine, Florida, Claire is thrust into a situation far more dangerous than she'd anticipated, pushing her disorder to a breaking point. Just when she fears she can't trust her own mind, she discovers Nick's personal connection to the case—and wonders whether she can trust anyone at all.
Visit Karen Harper's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Broken Bonds.

The Page 69 Test: Chasing Shadows.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 02, 2016

Pg. 99: Charles Wohlforth & Amanda Hendrix's "Beyond Earth"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Beyond Earth: Our Path to a New Home in the Planets by Charles Wohlforth and Amanda R. Hendrix.

About the book, from the publisher:
From a leading planetary scientist and an award-winning science writer, a propulsive account of the developments and initiatives that have transformed the dream of space colonization into something that may well be achievable.

We are at the cusp of a golden age in space science, as increasingly more entrepreneurs—Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos—are seduced by the commercial potential of human access to space. But Beyond Earth does not offer another wide-eyed technology fantasy: instead, it is grounded not only in the human capacity for invention and the appeal of adventure but also in the bureaucratic, political, and scientific realities that present obstacles to space travel—realities that have hampered NASA’s efforts ever since the Challenger disaster.

In Beyond Earth, Charles Wohlforth and Amanda R.Hendrix offer groundbreaking research and argue persuasively that not Mars, but Titan—a moon of Saturn with a nitrogen atmosphere, a weather cycle, and an inexhaustible supply of cheap energy, where we will even be able to fly like birds in the minimal gravitational field—offers the most realistic and thrill­ing prospect of life without support from Earth.
Visit Charles Wohlforth's website and Facebook page, and learn more about Amanda R. Hendrix.

The Page 99 Test: The Fate of Nature.

The Page 99 Test: Beyond Earth.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Wendy Lee reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Wendy Lee, author of The Art of Confidence.

Her entry begins:
I’ve just finished The Expatriates by Janice Y. K. Lee, author of the also excellent The Piano Teacher. The story revolves around three women living in Hong Kong and the way their lives intersect—literally, in the place that’s become their temporary home; and thematically, around the issues of belonging, grief, and...[read on]
About The Art of Confidence, from the publisher:
“I suppose I did it because I wanted something to show for the thirty years—longer than I had lived in my homeland—that I had been here in America. Something that was properly appreciated, even if someone else got all the credit.”

Liu Qingwu doesn’t set out to commit a crime. He only wants to sell a painting—something more substantial than the Impressionist knockoffs he flogs to tourists outside New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. But the lucrative commission he receives from a Chelsea art dealer is more complicated than he initially realizes. Liu has been hired to create not an homage to Andrew Cantrell’s modernist masterpiece, Elegy, but a forgery that will sell for millions.

The painting will change the lives of everyone associated with it—Liu, a Chinese immigrant still reeling from his wife’s recent departure; Caroline, a gallery owner intent on saving her aunt’s legacy; Molly, her perceptive assistant; and Harold, a Taiwanese businessman with an ethical dilemma on his hands. Weaving together their stories with that of Cantrell and the inspiration for his masterpiece, Wendy Lee’s intricate, multilayered novel explores the unique fascination of great art and the lengths to which some are driven to create it—and to possess it.
Visit Wendy Lee's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Across a Green Ocean.

The Page 69 Test: Across a Green Ocean.

Writers Read: Wendy Lee.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top classic mysteries

Charles Finch is a graduate of Yale and Oxford. He is the author of the Charles Lenox mysteries. His first novel, A Beautiful Blue Death, was nominated for an Agatha Award and was named one of Library Journal's Best Books of 2007, one of only five mystery novels on the list. His first contemporary novel, The Last Enchantments, was published in 2015.

In 2014, for USA Today, he tagged six classic mysteries every fan should read, including:
The Moving Target by Ross Macdonald (1949)

At some invisible moment in the middle of the 20th century, America wrestled the mystery novel away from the Brits. Conan Doyle, Margery Allingham and Christie gave way to the tougher, wisecracking style of Dashiell Hammett and Chester Himes. As Raymond Chandler said, it was their job to "get murder away from the upper classes."

For my money, the best book in that hard-boiled, sun-soaked California style is The Moving Target. What's amazing about it is how the crime Lew Archer is hired to solve – the disappearance of an oil magnate – is obscured by a whole multitude of unrelated crimes. In Archer's line of work, everyone's guilty of something, even if it's not the something you're chasing. That fits the weary post-war worldview of the genre whose dispassionate detectives, like Archer, Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe knew that solving one mystery only meant uncovering a few new ones. We love them because they kept trying anyway.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Beatrice Colin's "To Capture What We Cannot Keep," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin.

The entry begins:
Some writers have a vivid picture of who they would cast in the movie of their book as they write it. I can picture my characters but they aren’t Hollywood actors. And so when my agent asked me at first I drew a blank. And yet if I could have anyone from any period, it would be much easier. For my main character, Cait Wallace, who is a young Scottish widow, I would cast a young Faye Dunaway or a young Jeanne Moreau. Both are beautiful, intelligent and effortlessly stylish. For Emile Nougieur, one of the engineers who designed the Eiffel Tower, the...[read on]
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My Book, The Movie: To Capture What We Cannot Keep.

--Marshal Zeringue