Friday, August 22, 2014

Pg. 99: James Pattison's "The Morality of Private War"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Morality of Private War: The Challenge of Private Military and Security Companies by James Pattison.

About the book, from the publisher:
The increased use of private military and security companies (PMSCs) is often said to be one of the most significant changes to the military in recent times. The Morality of Private War: The Challenge of Private Military and Security Companies provides a detailed assessment of the moral arguments for and against the use of PMSCs. In doing so, it considers objections to private force at the employee, employer, and international levels. For instance, does the potential for private contractors to possess mercenary motives affect whether they can use military force? Does a state abdicate an essential responsibility when it employs PMSCs? Is the use of PMSCs morally preferable to the alternatives, such as an all-volunteer force and a conscripted army? What are the effects of treating military services as a commodity for the governing rules of the international system? Overall, The Morality of Private War argues that private military force leads to not only contingent moral problems stemming from the lack of effective regulation, but also several deeper, more fundamental problems that mean that public force should be preferred. Nevertheless, it also argues that, despite these problems, PMSCs can sometimes (although rarely) be morally permissibly used. Ultimately, The Morality of Private War argues that the challenges posed by the use of PMSCs mean that we need to reconsider how military force ought to be organized and to reform our thinking about the ethics of war and, in particular, Just War Theory.
Visit James Pattison's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Morality of Private War.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about Detroit

At The Daily Beast, Bill Morris tagged his top ten books about Detroit, including:
City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit
by Elmore Leonard (1980)

Elmore Leonard wrote ad copy before turning to fiction—first Westerns and then the indelible novels that made him America’s greatest crime writer. One of his very best is City Primeval, which has all the Leonard trademarks: a weirdly endearing bad guy named Clement “the Oklahoma Wildman” Mansell, a cop named Raymond Cruz who’s determined to bring down this thrill killer, and a story that surfs along on a wave of crisp dialog and moral ambiguity. Leonard said he wrote the book’s climactic showdown (hinted at in the subtitle) as a Western parody. “Underneath,” he added, typically deadpan, “it’s just two little boys playing with guns.” Of course, as always with Leonard, it’s much more than that.
Read about another book on the list.

City Primeval is among Mark Binelli's top ten cities in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Carys Bray's "A Song for Issy Bradley," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray.

The entry begins:
I didn’t have any actors in mind as I wrote A Song for Issy Bradley, so it was a somewhat tricky task to look back and pair the characters with actors. Having said that, it was also quite fun!

A clean shaven, bespectacled Jude Law would make a good Ian Bradley, but David Tennant would also be great – in fact, my children are ardent Doctor Who fans and would be immensely impressed if David Tennant appeared in the film of my novel, so I’ll plump for him. Suranne Jones would be perfect for Claire Bradley (she has appeared in a number of British television shows including Scott and Bailey, The Secret of Crickley Hall and the Crimson Field). I’d like to see Robbie...[read on]
Visit Carys Bray's website.

My Book, The Movie: A Song for Issy Bradley.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Tracy Barrett's "The Stepsister's Tale"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett.

About the book, from the publisher:
What really happened after the clock struck midnight?

Jane Montjoy is tired of being a lady. She's tired of pretending to live up to the standards of her mother's noble family—especially now that the family's wealth is gone and their stately mansion has fallen to ruin. It's hard enough that she must tend to the animals and find a way to feed her mother and her little sister each day. Jane's burden only gets worse after her mother returns from a trip to town with a new stepfather and stepsister in tow. Despite the family's struggle to prepare for the long winter ahead, Jane's stepfather remains determined to give his beautiful but spoiled child her every desire.

When her stepfather suddenly dies, leaving nothing but debts and a bereaved daughter behind, it seems to Jane that her family is destined for eternal unhappiness. But a mysterious boy from the woods and an invitation to a royal ball are certain to change her fate….

From the handsome prince to the evil stepsister, nothing is quite as it seems in Tracy Barrett's stunning retelling of the classic Cinderella tale.
Visit Tracy Barrett's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Tracy Barrett & Pericles.

The Page 69 Test: The Stepsister's Tale.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Stephen Eric Bronner reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Stephen Eric Bronner, author of The Bigot: Why Prejudice Persists.

His entry begins:
Writers Read caught me at the right time. Although most won’t admit it, writers do not read much while they are writing and, if they do, it is usually related to the project in which they are engaged. Following the publication of The Bigot: Why Prejudice Persists (Yale University Press) and the new 2nd edition of Moments of Decision: Political History and the Crises of Radicalism (Bloomsbury) I now have some time. And it’s been put to good use.

I have always liked to read a few books simultaneously and that is the case now. The best is a magisterial interdisciplinary work in German with the title Terror and Dream: Moscow 1937 by Karl Schlögel. It recreates the cultural social and political circumstances in which Stalin’s greatest purge took place. In this 900 page work, the author provides a constellation of intersecting facts, stories, and social scientific studies that range from an investigation of the Moscow phone book to an interpretation of Mikhal Bulgakov’s classic The Master and Margarita to a portrayal of the geographic shifts to a host of other pregnant depictions in demonstrating the modernizing process in action and the communist attempts to...[read on]
About The Bigot, from the publisher:
Stephen Eric Bronner is a prolific author, activist, and one of America’s leading political thinkers. His new book presents bigotry as a systematic, all-encompassing mindset that has a special affinity for right-wing movements. In what will surely prove a seminal study, Bronner explores its appeal, the self-image it justifies, the interests it serves, and its complex connection with modernity. He reveals how prejudice shapes the conspiratorial and paranoid worldview of the true believer, the elitist, and the chauvinist. In the process, it becomes apparent how the bigot hides behind mainstream conservative labels in order to support policies designed to disadvantage the targets of his contempt. Examining bigotry in its various dimensions—anthropological, historical, psychological, sociological, and political—Professor Bronner illustrates how the bigot’s intense hatred of “the other” is a direct reaction to social progress, liberal values, secularism, and an increasingly complex and diverse world. A sobering look at the bigot in the twenty-first century, this volume is essential for making sense of the dangers facing democracy now and in the future.
Learn more about The Bigot at the Yale University Press website.

Bronner is a noted political theorist and Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Comparative Literature, and German Studies at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. His books include Modernism at the Barricades: Aesthetics, Politics, Utopia.

The Page 99 Test: Modernism at the Barricades.

The Page 99 Test: The Bigot: Why Prejudice Persists.

Writers Read: Stephen Eric Bronner.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Andrew Stephen Sartori's "Liberalism in Empire"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Liberalism in Empire: An Alternative History by Andrew Stephen Sartori.

About the book, from the publisher:
While the need for a history of liberalism that goes beyond its conventional European limits is well recognized, the agrarian backwaters of the British Empire might seem an unlikely place to start. Yet specifically liberal preoccupations with property and freedom evolved as central to agrarian policy and politics in colonial Bengal. Liberalism in Empire explores the generative crisis in understanding property’s role in the constitution of a liberal polity, which intersected in Bengal with a new politics of peasant independence based on practices of commodity exchange. Thus the conditions for a new kind of vernacular liberalism were created.

Andrew Sartori’s examination shows the workings of a section of liberal policy makers and agrarian leaders who insisted that norms governing agrarian social relations be premised on the property-constituting powers of labor, which opened a new conceptual space for appeals to both political economy and the normative significance of property. It is conventional to see liberalism as traveling through the space of empire with the extension of colonial institutions and intellectual networks. Sartori’s focus on the Lockeanism of agrarian discourses of property, however, allows readers to grasp how liberalism could serve as a normative framework for both a triumphant colonial capitalism and a critique of capitalism from the standpoint of peasant property.
Learn more about Liberalism in Empire at the University of California Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Liberalism in Empire.

--Marshal Zeringue

The ten top restaurants & bars in modern literature

Michael Gibney began working in restaurants at the age of sixteen and assumed his first sous chef position at twenty-two. He ascended to executive sous chef at Tavern on the Green, where he managed an eighty-person staff. In addition to his experience in the food service industry, Gibney also holds a BFA in painting from Pratt Institute and an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University. He is the author of Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line.

At the Guardian, Gibney tagged the top ten restaurants and bars in modern literature, including:
Lantenengo Country Club smoking room in Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara

The Menu: "The liquor, that is, the rye, was all about the same: most people bought drug store rye on prescriptions (the physicians who were club members saved 'scrips' for their patients), and cut it with alcohol and colored water. It was not poisonous, and it got you tight, which was all that was required of it and all that could be said for it.

The Appeal: Watching the moth-eaten storytelling Harry Reilly get pelted in the eye with the round-cornered ice cubes from Julian English's scotch and soda.
Read about another entry on the list.

Appointment in Samarra is among Frederic Raphael's top ten talkative novels and Tom Wolfe's five most important books.

Also see: Esther Inglis-Arkell's ten best bars in science fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tom Leveen's "Random," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Random by Tom Leveen.

The entry begins:
Man, she’s way too old now, but Jennifer Lawrence would be awesome as Tori. Tori’s tough because she is not a likeable protagonist, nor was she ever meant to be. So having someone who could visually portray her weaknesses and vulnerabilities with the kind of understated strength that Lawrence has would be great. For a closer age, I’d like to see Valerie Tian (Words and Pictures) give it a whirl. She was fun in that.

For Noah, Chandler...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Tom Leveen's website.

Leveen is also the author of Sick, Party, Zero, and manicpixiedreamgirl. Zero was named to YALSA’s list of Best Fiction for Young Adults.

My Book, The Movie: Zero.

My Book, The Movie: Sick.

The Page 69 Test: Sick.

Writers Read: Tom Leveen.

My Book, The Movie: Random.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Stephan Eirik Clark's "Sweetness #9"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Sweetness #9 by Stephan Eirik Clark.

About the book, from the publisher:
It's 1973, and David Leveraux has landed his dream job as a Flavorist-in-Training, working in the secretive industry where chemists create the flavors for everything from the cherry in your can of soda to the butter on your popcorn.

While testing a new artificial sweetener--"Sweetness #9"--he notices unusual side-effects in the laboratory rats and monkeys: anxiety, obesity, mutism, and a generalized dissatisfaction with life. David tries to blow the whistle, but he swallows it instead.

Years later, Sweetness #9 is America's most popular sweetener--and David's family is changing. His wife is gaining weight, his son has stopped using verbs, and his daughter suffers from a generalized dissatisfaction with life. Is Sweetness #9 to blame, along with David's failure to stop it? Or are these just symptoms of the American condition?

David's search for an answer unfolds in this expansive novel that is at once a comic satire, a family story, and a profound exploration of our deepest cultural anxieties. Wickedly funny and wildly imaginative, Sweetness #9 questions whether what we eat truly makes us who we are.
Visit Stephan Eirik Clark's website.

My Book, The Movie: Sweetness #9.

The Page 69 Test: Sweetness #9.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Martha Woodroof reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Martha Woodroof, author of Small Blessings.

Her entry begins:
At this moment, I'm reading J.K. Rowling's second Cormoran Strike novel, The Silkworm. As I live to lunch, this is my favorite quotation, so far: "They love their bloody lunches, book people," Strike said.

I recently read The Son by Philipp Meyer (cracking good story, recommended by a gym buddy) and...[read on]
About Small Blessings, from the publisher:
From debut novelist Martha Woodroof comes an inspiring tale of a small-town college professor, a remarkable new woman at the bookshop, and the ten-year old son he never knew he had.

Tom Putnam has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. An English professor in a sleepy college town, he spends his days browsing the Shakespeare shelves at the campus bookstore, managing the oddball faculty in his department and caring, alongside his formidable mother-in-law, for his wife Marjory, a fragile shut-in with unrelenting neuroses, a condition exacerbated by her discovery of Tom’s brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess a decade earlier.

Then, one evening at the bookstore, Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the shop's charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to their home for dinner, out of the blue, her first social interaction since her breakdown. Tom wonders if it’s a sign that change is on the horizon, a feeling confirmed upon his return home, where he opens a letter from his former paramour, informing him he'd fathered a son who is heading Tom's way on a train. His mind races at the possibility of having a family after so many years of loneliness. And it becomes clear change is coming whether Tom’s ready or not.

A heartwarming story with a charmingly imperfect cast of characters to cheer for, Small Blessings's wonderfully optimistic heart that reminds us that sometimes, when it feels like life has veered irrevocably off track, the track shifts in ways we never can have imagined.
Visit Martha Woodroof's website.

My Book, The Movie: Small Blessings.

The Page 69 Test: Small Blessings.

Writers Read: Martha Woodroof.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight of the best doomsday books

For Omnivoracious, Neal Thompson tagged eight top doomsday books, including:
A History of the Future, James Howard Kunstler

What the heck happened? You name it: pandemics, environmental disaster, no more oil, plenty of social and political chaos.

Now what? The people of Union Grove, in upstate New York, continue to strive for a simpler "world made by hand" pioneer lifestyle. (This is book 3 in the "World Made By Hand" series.) But then, on Christmas Eve: a gory double murder.
Read about another book on the list.

Writers Read: James Howard Kunstler.

The Page 69 Test A History of the Future.

My Book, the Movie: A History of the Future.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: David P. Baker's "The Schooled Society"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Schooled Society: The Educational Transformation of Global Culture by David P. Baker.

About the book, from the publisher:
Only 150 years ago, the majority of the world's population was largely illiterate. Today, not only do most people over fifteen have basic reading and writing skills, but 20 percent of the population attends some form of higher education. What are the effects of such radical, large-scale change? David Baker argues that the education revolution has transformed our world into a schooled society—that is, a society that is actively created and defined by education.

Drawing on neo-institutionalism, The Schooled Society shows how mass education interjects itself and its ideologies into culture at large: from the dynamics of social mobility, to how we measure intelligence, to the values we promote. The proposition that education is a primary rather than a "reactive" institution is then tested by examining the degree to which education has influenced other large-scale social forces, such as the economy, politics, and religion. Rich, groundbreaking, and globally-oriented, The Schooled Society sheds light on how mass education has dramatically altered the face of society and human life.
Learn more about The Schooled Society at the Stanford University Press website and David Baker's research website.

The Page 99 Test: The Schooled Society.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Edgar Cantero's "The Supernatural Enhancements," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero.

The entry begins:
First off, if my book were made into a movie, I’d want to be part of it. Even if I’m not allowed to take decisions.

I actually talked to producers already regarding The Supernatural Enhancements. When asked who would I cast to play the most charismatic role in the story—mute, punk-haired, Catholic-raised Niamh—, my answer was, “no one I know.” It still is. I’m not up to date on teen actresses, but Niamh seems too young to be played by anyone who has built up much of a name. Her partner and chronicler A. is slightly older, but I think anyone who reads the book will agree that Niamh is the real heroine, and I wouldn’t like a male star to steal the spotlight from her. So I’d go for relatively unknown actors in the lead roles.

One person I’d love to recruit for a supporting role...[read on]
Visit Edgar Cantero's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Supernatural Enhancements.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Sarah Fine's "Of Metal and Wishes"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine.

About the book, from the publisher:
This love story for the ages, set in a reimagined industrial Asia, is a little dark, a bit breathless, and completely compelling.

Sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic, housed in a slaughterhouse staffed by the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor. Wen often hears the whisper of a ghost in the slaughterhouse, a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. And after one of the Noor humiliates Wen, the ghost grants an impulsive wish of hers—brutally.

Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including the outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the ghost. As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen is torn between her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat—real or imagined. Will she determine whom to trust before the factory explodes, taking her down with it?
Visit Sarah Fine's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Of Metal and Wishes.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is April Genevieve Tucholke reading?

Featured at Writers Read: April Genevieve Tucholke, author of Between the Spark and the Burn.

Her entry begins:
I listen to a lot of audiobooks, and I’m currently listening to Connie Willis’s To Say Nothing of the Dog, which is a delightful comic science fiction classic, styled after Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men In a Boat (with a bit of time travel thrown in). It’s a purely pleasant summer read, clever and droll, no drama, no tragedy. I’m also listening to...[read on]
About Between the Spark and the Burn, from the publisher:
The conclusion to Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, this gothic thriller romance with shades of Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier is a must-read for fans of Beautiful Creatures and Anna Dressed in Blood.

Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world.
But then, the Devil once told me that it’s easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry.
The problem with River West Redding was that he’d done both to me.


The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet’s life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River’s other brother, are left to worry—until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn’t long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own...
Learn more about the book and author at April Genevieve Tucholke's website.

My Book, The Movie: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

Writers Read: April Genevieve Tucholke.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books by doctors

Gabriel Weston is an ear, nose and throat surgical specialist and author of the memoir, Direct Red: A Surgeon’s View of her Life-or-Death Profession.

One of her five best books by doctors, as shared at The Daily Beast:
Very soon after beginning my medical training, I started wanting to write. I would go to dissection classes, cut up a human cadaver, and then go home and write about what I had learned and felt. I didn’t think of this impulse as anything other than a kind of private therapy until, one day, a friend gave me a copy of Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage. This wonderful and highly autobiographical novel gave me my very first sense that the stuff I was witnessing in the hospital was worth writing about.
Read about another book Weston tagged.

Of Human Bondage is among Hallie Ephron's ten best literary tear-jerkers and Tad Friend's five best novels about success.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pg. 99: Jason McGraw's "The Work of Recognition"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Work of Recognition: Caribbean Colombia and the Postemancipation Struggle for Citizenship by Jason McGraw.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book tells the compelling story of postemancipation Colombia, from the liberation of the slaves in the 1850s through the country's first general labor strikes in the 1910s. As Jason McGraw demonstrates, ending slavery fostered a new sense of citizenship, one shaped both by a model of universal rights and by the particular freedom struggles of African-descended people. Colombia's Caribbean coast was at the center of these transformations, in which women and men of color, the region's majority population, increasingly asserted the freedom to control their working conditions, fight in civil wars, and express their religious beliefs.

The history of Afro-Colombians as principal social actors after emancipation, McGraw argues, opens up a new view on the practice and meaning of citizenship. Crucial to this conception of citizenship was the right of recognition. Indeed, attempts to deny the role of people of color in the republic occurred at key turning points exactly because they demanded public recognition as citizens. In connecting Afro-Colombians to national development, The Work of Recognition also places the story within the broader contexts of Latin American popular politics, culture, and the African diaspora.
Learn more about The Work of Recognition at The University of North Carolina Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Work of Recognition.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Martha Woodroof's "Small Blessings"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Small Blessings: A Novel by Martha Woodroof.

About the book, from the publisher:
From debut novelist Martha Woodroof comes an inspiring tale of a small-town college professor, a remarkable new woman at the bookshop, and the ten-year old son he never knew he had.

Tom Putnam has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. An English professor in a sleepy college town, he spends his days browsing the Shakespeare shelves at the campus bookstore, managing the oddball faculty in his department and caring, alongside his formidable mother-in-law, for his wife Marjory, a fragile shut-in with unrelenting neuroses, a condition exacerbated by her discovery of Tom’s brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess a decade earlier.

Then, one evening at the bookstore, Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the shop's charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to their home for dinner, out of the blue, her first social interaction since her breakdown. Tom wonders if it’s a sign that change is on the horizon, a feeling confirmed upon his return home, where he opens a letter from his former paramour, informing him he'd fathered a son who is heading Tom's way on a train. His mind races at the possibility of having a family after so many years of loneliness. And it becomes clear change is coming whether Tom’s ready or not.

A heartwarming story with a charmingly imperfect cast of characters to cheer for, Small Blessings's wonderfully optimistic heart that reminds us that sometimes, when it feels like life has veered irrevocably off track, the track shifts in ways we never can have imagined.
Visit Martha Woodroof's website.

My Book, The Movie: Small Blessings.

The Page 69 Test: Small Blessings.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Bill Crider reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Bill Crider, author of Half in Love with Artful Death.

His entry begins:
At the moment I’m about halfway through The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee by Marj Mills. Mills, a reporter, got to know Harper Lee and her sister, Alice, while working on a story for a Chicago newspaper. She and the sisters became friends, and Mills eventually moved to Monroeville, Alabama, and lived near them for a time. Her book tells as much about herself as it does them, as she learned a lot about life in the south and the people in small towns there. Before the book was even published, Lee disavowed it, claiming to be hurt and upset by its publication. Mills says that both Lee and her sister were aware that Mills was writing it and that they were her friends both during and after its composition. Whatever the case, it’s an interesting and engaging account, and...[read on]
About the book, from the publisher:
The local community college and an antique dealer team up to have a workshop for artists. One local man, Burt Collins, isn't fond of the art, and he isn't fond of having the artists in town. Sheriff Dan Rhodes is called to the antique store because Collins has been accused of vandalizing some paintings. When Rhodes arrives, two men are restraining Collins. But before Rhodes can take Collins into custody, a near riot breaks out. Rhodes gets the situation under control with the help of college math instructor and wannabe cop Seepy Benton.

Later that day Rhodes has to help the county animal control officer round up some runaway donkeys, and that evening there's a robbery at a local convenience store. After looking into the robbery, Rhodes goes by to see Collins and talk to him about the vandalism. Collins isn't talking because he's been killed, his head bashed in with a bust of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Rhodes is faced with other problems, too: a naked woman in a roadside park and a gang of meth-cookers. It seems as if a Sheriff's work is never done.

Half in Love with Artful Death is the 21st book in this entertaining and original series. It's the perfect time for mystery fans to discover this Texan star of the genre, Bill Crider.
Learn more about the book and author at Bill Crider's website and blog.

Read the Page 69 Test entries for Crider's A Mammoth Murder, Murder Among the OWLS, Of All Sad Words, Murder in Four Parts, Murder in the Air, The Wild Hog Murders, Murder of a Beauty Shop Queen, and Compound Murder.

Learn about Crider's choice of actors to portray Dan Rhodes et al on the big screen.

The Page 69 Test: Half in Love with Artful Death.

Writers Read: Bill Crider.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten of the best creepy books

Stephanie Feldman's debut novel The Angel of Losses "explores the intersections of family secrets, Jewish myths, the legacy of war and history, and the bonds between sisters."

For Publishers Weekly, Feldman tagged ten of her favorite "books that are smart and scary—just frightening enough for catharsis, and just exotic enough in their trappings that you'll probably still be able to sleep at night, if you're not lying awake thrilled by just how good they are." One title on the list:
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Everyone talks about The Haunting of Hill House. Stop doing that. Talk about this book instead. Sisters Merricat (for Mary Katherine) and Constance hide out in their family estate, ostracized by their neighbors since Constance was acquitted of murdering six other members of their family. But their isolation isn't too last. Merricat's narration is simultaneously appealing and chilling, making her an unforgettable character.
Read about another book on the list.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle is among Lauren Passell's five top Gothic novels and Will Eaves's top ten siblings' stories.

Visit Stephanie Feldman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Stephan Eirik Clark's "Sweetness #9," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Sweetness #9 by Stephan Eirik Clark.

The entry begins:
The character of David Leveraux came to me fully-formed. Even before I knew that he would fail to blow the whistle on a potentially dangerous new artificial sweetener, I could hear his washed-out English accent and see his neatly parted hair. Even before I knew he'd have a family that would inherit the same side-effects he first observed while testing that artificial sweetener on rats and monkeys, I could see him flashing a polite smile and feel his eagerness to please.

What I didn't ever picture when imagining David was a movie star, not in the beginning at least. David was always just David, and thankfully so. If I had started out picturing an actor in his place, that actor's personality and style of speech would have taken control. That actor would have become my character.

Instead, the reverse happened. I only started to cast Sweetness #9 in my mind when the novel was all but finished. By then, David was safely on the page, so I...[read on]
Visit Stephan Eirik Clark's website.

My Book, The Movie: Sweetness #9.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Four top horror stories set in the real universe of girlhood

For Hazlitt, Anna Fitzpatrick tagged four books "featuring small towns, teen girls, intimate friendships on the border between love and hate, and brutal murders," including:
Megan Abbott’s books [are] high school stories for a grownup readership. The Fever is also based on the Le Roy story, featuring an unnamed epidemic that hits only teen girls. It’s the follow-up to Abbott’s 2012 novel, Dare Me, a high school noir starring a cheerleading squad. The friendship between Beth, the squad’s captain, and Addy, her beta best friend, is strained when a new, young coach arrives with her own way of doing things. Addy is enchanted by this coach. Beth is not. And then there is a murder.
Read about another book Fitzpatrick tagged.

My Book, The Movie: The Fever.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Joanne Rocklin's "Fleabrain Loves Franny"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin.

About the book, from the publisher:
This gem of a novel takes place in Pittsburgh in 1952. Franny Katzenback, while recovering from polio, reads and falls in love with the brand-new book Charlotte’s Web. Bored and lonely and yearning for a Charlotte of her own, Franny starts up a correspondence with an eloquent flea named Fleabrain who lives on her dog’s tail. While Franny struggles with physical therapy and feeling left out of her formerly active neighborhood life, Fleabrain is there to take her on adventures based on his extensive reading. It’s a touching, funny story set in the recent past, told with Rocklin’s signature wit and thoughtfulness.
Visit Joanne Rocklin's website.

The Page 69 Test: Fleabrain Loves Franny.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Tom Leveen reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Tom Leveen, author of Random.

His entry begins:
Am I the only one who has multiple books going at once? Currently sitting on my kitchen table (where I do most of my reading) is Secret Windows, by Stephen King, which is an out-of-print book-of-the-month exclusive collection of King fiction, nonfiction, and interviews. Much of it comes from King’s Danse Macabre, which I recently finished after taking copious notes on other horror books to read and movies to watch. While both Danse and Windows are dated, the information in both is excellent for horror writers, or fans of the genre. I think that’s particularly true for young aspiring horror or urban fantasy writers—it’s important to know who came before, what they did, and why it mattered. King didn’t invent the horror genre, after all, and reading about his influences (and why they should be influential) is...[read on]
About the book, from the publisher:
Who’s the real victim here? This tense and gripping exploration of cyberbullying and teen suicide is perfect for fans of Before I Fall and Thirteen Reasons Why.

Late at night Tori receives a random phone call. It’s a wrong number. But the caller seems to want to talk, so she stays on the line.

He asks for a single thing—one reason not to kill himself.

The request plunges her into confusion. Because if this random caller actually does what he plans, he’ll be the second person connected to Tori to take his own life. And the first just might land her in jail. After her Facebook page became Exhibit A in a tragic national news story about cyberbullying, Tori can’t help but suspect the caller is a fraud. But what if he’s not? Her words alone may hold the power of life or death.

With the clock ticking, Tori has little time to save a stranger—and maybe redeem herself—leading to a startling conclusion that changes everything…
Learn more about the book and author at Tom Leveen's website.

Leveen is also the author of Sick, Party, Zero, and manicpixiedreamgirl. Zero was named to YALSA’s list of Best Fiction for Young Adults.

My Book, The Movie: Zero.

My Book, The Movie: Sick.

The Page 69 Test: Sick.

Writers Read: Tom Leveen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Kate Elswit's "Watching Weimar Dance"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Watching Weimar Dance by Kate Elswit.

About the book, from the publisher:
Watching Weimar Dance asks what audiences saw on stages from cabaret and revue to concert dance and experimental theatre in the turbulent moment of the Weimar Republic. Spectator reports that performers died or became half-machine archive not only the physicality of past performance, but also the ways audiences used the temporary world of the theatre to negotiate pressing social issues, from female visibility within commodity culture to human functioning in an era of increasing technologization. Archives of watching a range of performance artists, including Oskar Schlemmer, Valeska Gert, Kurt Jooss, Mary Wigman, Bertolt Brecht, Anita Berber, and the Tiller Girl troupes also revise and complicate our understanding of Ausdruckstanz as the representative dance of this moment in Germany. They further reveal how such practices came to be imbued with different significance in the postwar era as well as in transnational context. By bringing insights from theatre, dance, and performance studies to German cultural studies, and vice versa, Watching Weimar Dance develops a culturally-situated model of spectatorship that not only offers a new narrative but also demonstrates new methods for dance scholarship to shape cultural history.
Visit Kate Elswit's website.

The Page 99 Test: Watching Weimar Dance.

--Marshal Zeringue

Martha Woodroof's "Small Blessings," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof.

The entry begins:
I must say no, no, no! to visualizing actors as the characters in Small Blessings. They are much to specifically drawn inside my head for me to see them inhabited by anyone else. I blame my mother for this. She read aloud to me long past the age I was able to read to myself, and got me into the habit of such precise imagining that I was ruined for life as far as...[read on]
Visit Martha Woodroof's website.

My Book, The Movie: Small Blessings.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pg. 69: April Genevieve Tucholke's "Between the Spark and the Burn"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Between the Spark and the Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke.

About the book, from the publisher:
The conclusion to Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, this gothic thriller romance with shades of Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier is a must-read for fans of Beautiful Creatures and Anna Dressed in Blood.

Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world.
But then, the Devil once told me that it’s easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry.
The problem with River West Redding was that he’d done both to me.


The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet’s life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River’s other brother, are left to worry—until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn’t long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own...
Learn more about the book and author at April Genevieve Tucholke's website.

My Book, The Movie: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

The Page 69 Test: Between the Spark and the Burn.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Donna Gephart reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Donna Gephart, author of Death by Toilet Paper.

Her entry begins:
I adore books with humor and heart, so I was enamored by Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park. The friendship/love story between these two kids who felt like they didn't fit in was both harrowing and heart-warming. Loved the book so much that I've been reading all of Rainbow Rowell's other books.

One of my favorite books with humor, heart and fun illustrations is...[read on]
About Death by Toilet Paper, from the publisher:
Fans of How to Survive Middle School will welcome the adventures of a contest-crazed seventh grader who uses his wits and way with words in hopes of winning a big cash prize to help his family avoid eviction.

Dear Royal-T Toilet Paper Company,

You guys make the best toilet paper. I realize that’s a weird thing for a seventh grader to say, but it’s true. I didn’t know how good I had it until the day it was replaced by scratchy (sand)paper.

Good toilet paper was the first thing to go....

Your friend,

Benjamin Epstein


Benjamin is about to lose a whole lot more than good toilet paper. But even with his flair for clever slogans, will he be able to win a cash prize large enough to keep a promise he made to his dad before he died?
Learn more about the book and author at Donna Gephart's website.

Writers Read: Donna Gephart.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about hair

Bea Davenport drew on her experiences as a journalist for her first novel, In Too Deep, which was shortlisted for the 2009 Luke Bitmead Bursary. Her children’s novel, The Serpent House, was shortlisted for the 2010 Times/Chicken House Award.

One of Davenport's top ten books about hair, as shared at the Guardian:
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Red hair has now become very desirable indeed in children's literature, but poor Anne Shirley hated being teased for her carrot-coloured plaits. In a disastrous attempt to look like her raven-haired friend Diana, she tries to dye her hair black – but it turns out green.
Read about another entry on the list.

Anne of Green Gables is among the Observer's ten best fictional mothers.

Marilla's raspberry cordial in Anne of Green Gables is one of Jane Brocket's top ten food scenes in children's literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Jon Keller's "Of Sea and Cloud," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Of Sea and Cloud by Jon Keller.

The entry begins:
I’m not much of a movie watcher—though I love them, I don’t live in a place conducive to watching many. I now live aboard a boat, and before that in an isolated cabin, so my power supply is limited, as is my internet service.

That said, the actor that pops into my head concerning Of Sea and Cloud is Daniel...[read on]
Visit Jon Keller's website.

Writers Read: Jon Keller.

The Page 69 Test: Of Sea and Cloud.

My Book, The Movie: Of Sea and Cloud.

--Marshal Zeringue