Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fifteen top books about the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan

Jesse Goolsby is an Air Force officer and the author of the novel I’d Walk with My Friends If I Could Find Them. At The Daily Beast he tagged fifteen great books about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including:
GREEN ON BLUE BY ELLIOT ACKERMAN (2015)

Opening:

“Many would call me a dishonest man, but I’ve always kept faith with myself.”

Ackerman’s Green on Blue is a fully realized accomplishment of radical empathy combined with brilliant storytelling. Not since Robert Olen Butler’s A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain have we encountered war literature that convincingly pulls off such an imaginative risk.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Green on Blue.

Writers Read: Elliot Ackerman.

My Book, The Movie: Green on Blue.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Philip T. Hoffman's "Why Did Europe Conquer the World?"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Why Did Europe Conquer the World? by Philip T. Hoffman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Between 1492 and 1914, Europeans conquered 84 percent of the globe. But why did Europe rise to the top, when for centuries the Chinese, Japanese, Ottomans, and South Asians were far more advanced? Why didn’t these powers establish global dominance? In Why Did Europe Conquer the World?, distinguished economic historian Philip Hoffman demonstrates that conventional explanations—such as geography, epidemic disease, and the Industrial Revolution—fail to provide answers. Arguing instead for the pivotal role of economic and political history, Hoffman shows that if variables had been at all different, Europe would not have achieved critical military innovations, and another power could have become master of the world.

In vivid detail, Hoffman sheds light on the two millennia of economic, political, and historical changes that set European states on a distinctive path of development and military rivalry. Compared to their counterparts in China, Japan, South Asia, and the Middle East, European leaders—whether chiefs, lords, kings, emperors, or prime ministers—had radically different incentives, which drove them to make war. These incentives, which Hoffman explores using an economic model of political costs and financial resources, resulted in astonishingly rapid growth in Europe’s military sector from the Middle Ages on, and produced an insurmountable lead in gunpowder technology. The consequences determined which states established colonial empires or ran the slave trade, and even which economies were the first to industrialize.

Debunking traditional arguments, Why Did Europe Conquer the World? reveals the startling reasons behind Europe’s historic global supremacy.
Learn more about Why Did Europe Conquer the World? at the Princeton University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Why Did Europe Conquer the World?.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 27, 2015

What is Mary Kubica reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Mary Kubica, author of Pretty Baby.

Her entry begins:
I’m in the middle of two books right now, which are both quite different. Pam Jenoff’s The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach is the first one, a historical fiction novel about World War II, which releases this July. This is the second novel of Jenoff’s that I’ve read and I’m absolutely enamored with her authentic characters and riveting writing. She has this lush, evocative way of creating beautiful love stories within the ravages of war, juxtaposing the misery and deprivation of wartime Europe with...[read on]
About Pretty Baby, from the publisher:
A chance encounter sparks an unrelenting web of lies in this stunning new psychological thriller from the national bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica

She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can't get the girl out of her head…

Heidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal—or worse. But despite her family's objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home.

Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues into Willow's past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she's willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.

Don't miss this thrilling follow-up to The Good Girl by master of suspense, Mary Kubica.
Visit Mary Kubica's website.

Writers Read: Mary Kubica.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Spencer Quinn's "Scents and Sensibility"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Scents and Sensibility (Book #8 of The Chet and Bernie Mystery Series) by Spencer Quinn.

About the book, from the publisher:
When a mysterious case of illegal cactus smuggling comes to their attention, Chet and his human P.I. companion, Bernie Little, find themselves in a prickly situation in this eighth book in the New York Times bestselling mystery series.

In the latest entry in the immensely popular Chet and Bernie mystery series, Private Investigator Bernie Little and his canine companion Chet return home to encounter some alarming developments. First off, Bernie’s wall safe—normally hidden behind the waterfall picture in the office—is gone, and with it Bernie’s grandfather’s watch, their most valuable possession. And next door, old Mr. Parsons is under investigation for being in possession of a saguaro cactus illegally transplanted from the desert. Bernie and Chet go deep into the desert to investigate. Is it possible that such a lovely old couple have a terrible secret in their past?

Chet and Bernie discover bad things going on in the wilderness, far worse that cactus smuggling, and all connected to a strange but innocent-seeming desert festival called Arrow Bright. They unearth leads that take them back to a long-ago kidnapping that may not have been a kidnapping and threaten a ruthless and charismatic criminal with a cult following, a criminal who sees at once what Chet and Bernie mean to each other and knows how to exploit it.

Every bit as “insightful” (Booklist), “humorous” (Library Journal), and “deliciously addictive” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) as Quinn’s previous books, Scents and Sensibility is a drool-worthy mystery that will have readers everywhere begging for more.
Visit Chet the Dog's blog and Facebook page, and Spencer Quinn's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Peter Abrahams and Audrey (September 2011).

Coffee with a Canine: Peter Abrahams and Pearl (August 2012).

The Page 69 Test: The Dog Who Knew Too Much.

The Page 69 Test: Paw and Order.

Writers Read: Spencer Quinn.

The Page 69 Test: Scents and Sensibility.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top YA thrillers with sisters

At the Guardian, author Laura Jarratt tagged her ten favorite Young Adult thrillers featuring strong relationships between sisters, including:
Sister by Rosamund Lupton

Technically this is adult fiction but it’s a good read for teens wanting a tense psychological thriller with a chilling twist. I love Rosamund Lupton’s writing and the relationship between the two sisters is skilfully drawn. The book is written in the form of a letter. Beatrice’s sister Tess has gone missing and everyone but Beatrice thinks she is dead. As Beatrice investigates, she discovers how little she really knew Tess. The ending took me completely by surprise.
Read about another book on the list.

Sister is one of Sophie McKenzie's top ten teen thrillers.

--Marshal Zeringue

Bridget Foley's "Hugo & Rose," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Hugo & Rose by Bridget Foley.

The entry begins:
I lived in Hollywood for 13 years.

That means I know first hand that the correct answer to the question, “Who do you want to star in the movie of your book?” is “Whoever the hell gets it made.”

That sounds jaded.

And I guess it is… a little.

But here’s what’s likely to happen if you ask anyone who has had a front row seat to the making of a film if they still believe in the “magic” of movies.

They will tell you that the magic died the day they realized that all filmmaking is a series of devastating compromises, budget considerations and jurassic egos.

Watch enough movies get made and you stop believing in the magic of movies and you start believing in the miracle of movies.

Movies are gargantuan efforts put forth by hundreds of people. Even the tight ships are a mess.

And good movies? Movies like The Godfather or...[read on]
Visit Bridget Foley's website.

My Book, The Movie: Hugo & Rose.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 26, 2015

What is Peter A. Shulman reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Peter A. Shulman, author of Coal and Empire: The Birth of Energy Security in Industrial America.

His entry begins:
As a historian, I'm fortunate that I get to read a lot of books for my research and teaching. Having just finished my first book, I'm starting a new project about the history of ideas about intelligence in America. For that, I'm reading Jamie Cohen-Cole's recent The Open Mind: Cold War Politics and the Sciences of Human Nature, a fascinating look at the intersection of cognitive science and American culture and politics after World War II. In the academy, in school curricula, and among public intellectuals, the idea of the open mind played a key role in how Americans thought about themselves, the practice of science, and human nature. It's...[read on]
About Coal and Empire, from the publisher:
Since the early twentieth century, Americans have associated oil with national security. From World War I to American involvement in the Middle East, this connection has seemed a self-evident truth. But as Peter A. Shulman argues, Americans had to learn to think about the geopolitics of energy in terms of security, and they did so beginning in the nineteenth century: the age of coal. Coal and Empire insightfully weaves together pivotal moments in the history of science and technology by linking coal and steam to the realms of foreign relations, navy logistics, and American politics. Long before oil, coal allowed Americans to rethink the place of the United States in the world.

Shulman explores how the development of coal-fired, ocean-going steam power in the 1840s created new questions, opportunities, and problems for U.S. foreign relations and naval strategy. The search for coal, for example, helped take Commodore Matthew Perry to Japan in the 1850s. It facilitated Abraham Lincoln’s pursuit of black colonization in 1860s Panama. After the Civil War, it led Americans to debate whether a need for coaling stations required the construction of a global island empire. Until 1898, however, Americans preferred to answer the questions posed by coal with new technologies rather than new territories. Afterward, the establishment of America’s island empire created an entirely different demand for coal to secure the country’s new colonial borders, a process that paved the way for how Americans incorporated oil into their strategic thought.

By exploring how the security dimensions of energy were not intrinsically linked to a particular source of power but rather to political choices about America’s role in the world, Shulman ultimately suggests that contemporary global struggles over energy will never disappear, even if oil is someday displaced by alternative sources of power.
Learn more about Coal and Empire at the Johns Hopkins University Press website.

Writers Read: Peter A. Shulman.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: David McCarthy's "American Artists Against War 1935—2010"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: American Artists against War, 1935-2010 by David McCarthy.

About the book, from the publisher:
Beginning with responses to fascism in the 1930s and ending with protests against the Iraq wars, David McCarthy shows how American artists—including Philip Evergood, David Smith, H. C. Westermann, Ed Kienholz, Nancy Spero, Leon Golub, Chris Burden, Robert Arneson, Martha Rosler, and Coco Fusco—have borne witness, registered dissent, and asserted the enduring ability of imagination to uncover truths about individuals and nations. During what has been called the American Century, the United States engaged in frequent combat overseas while developing technologies of unprecedented lethality. Many artists, working collectively or individually, produced antiwar art to protest the use or threat of military violence in the service of an expansionist state. In so doing, they understood themselves to be fighting on behalf of two liberal beliefs: that their country was the guarantor of liberty against empire, and that modern art was a viable means of addressing the most compelling events and issues of the moment. For many artists, creative work was a way to participate in democratic exchange by challenging and clarifying government and media perspectives on armed conflict. Charting a seventy-five-year history of antiwar art and activism, American Artists against War, 1935–2010 lucidly tracks the continuities, preoccupations, and strategies of several generations.
Learn more about American Artists against War, 1935-2010 at the University of California Press website.

The Page 99 Test: American Artists against War, 1935-2010.

--Marshal Zeringue

Kim Stanley Robinson’s 10 favorite SF novels

Kim Stanley Robinson’s novels include the landmark Mars trilogy to the award-winning 2312. One of his ten favorite science fiction novels, as shared at the B & N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog:
Sarah Canary, by Karen Joy Fowler

“Did I already mention a greatest first contact novel? Well, this is the other one, but this time located on Earth. Historical novel, detective novel, science fiction novel: just a plain great novel.”
Read about another entry on the list.

Also see Kim Stanley Robinson's ten favorite Mars novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Jane Lindskold's "Artemis Invaded"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Artemis Invaded by Jane Lindskold.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Artemis Invaded, Jane Lindskold returns to the world of Artemis, a pleasure planet that was lost for millennia, a place that holds secrets that could give mankind back unimaginable powers.

Stranded archaeologist Griffin is determined to make his way back to his home world with news of the Artemis discovery. He and his gene-modified native companion, the huntress Adara, and her psyche-linked puma Sand Shadow, set out to find another repository of the ancient technology in the hope that somehow Griffin will be able to contact his orbiting ship.

In the midst of this, Adara wrestles with her complex feelings for Griffin-and with the consequences of her and Sand Shadow's new bond with the planet Artemis. Focused on his own goals, Griffin is unaware that his arrival on Artemis has created unexpected consequences for those he is coming to hold dear. Unwittingly, he has left a trail-and Artemis is about to be invaded.
Visit Jane Lindskold's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Thirteen Orphans.

The Page 69 Test: Five Odd Honors.

The Page 69 Test: Artemis Awakening.

Writers Read: Jane Lindskold.

The Page 69 Test: Artemis Invaded.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Four books that changed Mary Norris

Mary Norris is a senior copy editor at The New Yorker magazine and the author of Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen.

One of four books that changed her, as shared at the Sydney Morning Herald:
Moby-Dick
Herman Melville

Moby-Dick gave me my mantra when I first read it, on moving back to my parents' house after graduating from college: "Oh Time, Strength, Cash, and Patience!" The motto did not quite last me through graduate school (the bastards wore me down), but I read the book again on a trip to Nantucket and was again caught up in the suspense. When I'm in the grip of it, I can never remember who wins, Ahab or the whale.
Read about another book on the list.

Moby-Dick appears among Tim Dee's ten best nature books, the Telegraph's fifteen best North American novels of all time, Nicole Hill's top ten best names in literature to give your dog, Horatio Clare's five favorite maritime novels, the Telegraph's ten great meals in literature, Brenda Wineapple's six favorite books, Scott Greenstone's top seven allegorical novels, Paul Wilson's top ten books about disability, Lynn Shepherd's ten top fictional drownings, Peter Murphy's top ten literary preachers, Penn Jillette's six favorite books, Peter F. Stevens's top ten nautical books, Katharine Quarmby's top ten disability stories, Jonathan Evison's six favorite books, Bella Bathurst's top 10 books on the sea, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best nightmares in literature and ten of the best tattoos in literature, Susan Cheever's five best books about obsession, Christopher Buckley's best books, Jane Yolen's five most important books, Chris Dodd's best books, Augusten Burroughs' five most important books, Norman Mailer's top ten works of literature, David Wroblewski's five most important books, Russell Banks' five most important books, and Philip Hoare's top ten books about whales.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Paul Moses reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Paul Moses, author of An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians.

His entry begins:
In June, I traveled to southern Italy to see the tiny villages where my two Italian grandparents were born. Carlo Levi’s classic Christ Stopped at Eboli was the perfect book to read. The idea behind the title is that the south of Italy was so marginalized that Christ never got there, having stopped further north in Eboli. Levi gives a vivid picture of the poverty in rural Basilicata in the 1930s, but what comes through even more so is...[read on]
About An Unlikely Union, from the publisher:
They came from the poorest parts of Ireland and Italy, and met as rivals on the sidewalks of New York. In the nineteenth century and for long after, the Irish and Italians fought in the Catholic Church, on the waterfront, at construction sites, and in the streets. Then they made peace through romance, marrying each other on a large scale in the years after World War II. An Unlikely Union unfolds the dramatic story of how two of America’s largest ethnic groups learned to love and laugh with each other in the wake of decades of animosity.

The vibrant cast of characters features saints such as Mother Frances X. Cabrini, who stood up to the Irish American archbishop of New York when he tried to send her back to Italy, and sinners like Al Capone, who left his Irish wife home the night he shot it out with Brooklyn’s Irish mob. Also highlighted are the love affair between radical labor organizers Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Carlo Tresca; Italian American gangster Paul Kelly’s alliance with Tammany’s “Big Tim” Sullivan; hero detective Joseph Petrosino’s struggle to be accepted in the Irish-run NYPD; and Frank Sinatra’s competition with Bing Crosby to be the country’s top male vocalist.

In this engaging history of the Irish and Italians, veteran New York City journalist and professor Paul Moses offers an archetypal American story. At a time of renewed fear of immigrants, it demonstrates that Americans are able to absorb tremendous social change and conflict—and come out the better for it.
Learn more about An Unlikely Union at the NYU Press website.

Writers Read: Paul Moses.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Olivia Weisser's "Ill Composed"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Ill Composed: Sickness, Gender, and Belief in Early Modern England by Olivia Weisser.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the first in-depth study of how gender determined perceptions and experiences of illness in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England, Olivia Weisser invites readers into the lives and imaginations of ordinary men and women. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including personal diaries, medical texts, and devotional literature, the author enters the sickrooms of a diverse sampling of early modern Britons. The resulting stories of sickness reveal how men and women of the era viewed and managed their health both similarly and differently, as well as the ways prevailing religious practices, medical knowledge, writing conventions, and everyday life created and supported those varying perceptions.

A unique cultural history of illness, Weisser’s groundbreaking study bridges the fields of patient history and gender history. Based on the detailed examination of over fifty firsthand accounts, this fascinating volume offers unprecedented insight into what it was like to live, suffer, and inhabit a body more than three centuries ago.
Follow Olivia Weisser on Twitter and learn more about Ill Composed at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Ill Composed.

--Marshal Zeringue

Taylor Stevens's "The Mask," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Mask by Taylor Stevens.

The entry begins:
Vanessa Michael Munroe is a quasi-psychotic, knife-wielding, butt-kicking, mercenary information hunter cut from the same cloth as characters like Jason Bourne and Jack Reacher. She’s tall, lithe, and androgynous and, because she spends most of her time working in developing and despot run countries, she sometimes spends more time under the guise of a male than she does as a female. This makes her a difficult character to cast.

Also at issue is the way Hollywood typically presents female action heroes—not so much as characters or people who own their choices or bodies, but as fantasy objects sewn up in tight, pleasing and teasing outfits, put there for eye candy. A phrase I once heard that accurately summed up this type of character was “Fighting F_ck Toy.” And Vanessa Michael Munroe is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an FFT—unless, of course, you’re...[read on]
Visit Taylor Stevens's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Mask.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 24, 2015

The twelve best fictional detectives (who aren't Sherlock Holmes)

At io9 Esther Inglis-Arkell tagged the twelve greatest fictional detectives (who aren't Sherlock Holmes), including:
Precious Ramotswe

Founder of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency in Botswana, Ramotswe may be this list’s only real extrovert. For a while her optimism, energy, and kindness blind the perpetrators, and even the reader, to how well she can work out confusing situations. Her books might be too light for people who expect their detectives to constantly find themselves in the middle of sordid, simmering family feuds or become the target of fiendish and well-connected criminal masterminds, but Ramotswe lacks drama, not brains, courage, or talent.
Read about another entry on the list.

Precious Ramotswe appears among Ellen Wehle's top eight fresh fictional female detectives, Ian Holding's top ten books that teach us something about southern Africa, and Adrian McKinty's ten best lady detectives.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Spencer Quinn reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Spencer Quinn, author of Scents and Sensibility.

His entry begins:
I just finished Days of Rage by Bryan Burrough. It's the story of six domestic terrorist groups - which is what we'd call them now - of the 1960's and 1970's. This is a fascinating, dumbfounding, and very well-reported book. It's telling to compare the history of the Weather Underground, led by upper-middle-class whites like Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, with that of the other self-proclaimed revolutionary bands, who came from less-privileged backgrounds. Most of the latter ended up...[read on]
About Scents and Sensibility, from the publisher:
When a mysterious case of illegal cactus smuggling comes to their attention, Chet and his human P.I. companion, Bernie Little, find themselves in a prickly situation in this eighth book in the New York Times bestselling mystery series.

In the latest entry in the immensely popular Chet and Bernie mystery series, Private Investigator Bernie Little and his canine companion Chet return home to encounter some alarming developments. First off, Bernie’s wall safe—normally hidden behind the waterfall picture in the office—is gone, and with it Bernie’s grandfather’s watch, their most valuable possession. And next door, old Mr. Parsons is under investigation for being in possession of a saguaro cactus illegally transplanted from the desert. Bernie and Chet go deep into the desert to investigate. Is it possible that such a lovely old couple have a terrible secret in their past?

Chet and Bernie discover bad things going on in the wilderness, far worse that cactus smuggling, and all connected to a strange but innocent-seeming desert festival called Arrow Bright. They unearth leads that take them back to a long-ago kidnapping that may not have been a kidnapping and threaten a ruthless and charismatic criminal with a cult following, a criminal who sees at once what Chet and Bernie mean to each other and knows how to exploit it.

Every bit as “insightful” (Booklist), “humorous” (Library Journal), and “deliciously addictive” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) as Quinn’s previous books, Scents and Sensibility is a drool-worthy mystery that will have readers everywhere begging for more.
Visit Chet the Dog's blog and Facebook page, and Spencer Quinn's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Peter Abrahams and Audrey (September 2011).

Coffee with a Canine: Peter Abrahams and Pearl (August 2012).

The Page 69 Test: The Dog Who Knew Too Much.

The Page 69 Test: Paw and Order.

Writers Read: Spencer Quinn.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Negar Mottahedeh's "#iranelection"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: #iranelection: Hashtag Solidarity and the Transformation of Online Life by Negar Mottahedeh.

About the book, from the publisher:
The protests following Iran's fraudulent 2009 Presidential election took the world by storm. As the Green Revolution gained protestors in the Iranian streets, #iranelection became the first long-trending international hashtag. Texts, images, videos, audio recordings, and links connected protestors on the ground and netizens online, all simultaneously transmitting and living a shared international experience.

#iranelection follows the protest movement, on the ground and online, to investigate how emerging social media platforms developed international solidarity. The 2009 protests in Iran were the first revolts to be catapulted onto the global stage by social media, just as the 1979 Iranian Revolution was agitated by cassette tapes. And as the world turned to social media platforms to understand the events on the ground, social media platforms also adapted and developed to accommodate this global activism. Provocative and eye-opening, #iranelection reveals the new online ecology of social protest and offers a prehistory, of sorts, of the uses of hashtags and trending topics, selfies and avatar activism, and citizen journalism and YouTube mashups.
Learn more about #iranelection at the Stanford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: #iranelection.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Barbara Claypole White's "The Perfect Son"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White.

About the book, from the publisher:
From a distance, Felix Fitzwilliam, the son of an old English family, is a good husband and father. But, obsessed with order and routine, he’s a prisoner to perfection. Disengaged from the emotional life of his North Carolina family, Felix has let his wife, Ella, deal with their special-needs son by herself.

A talented jewelry designer turned full-time mother, Ella is the family rock…until her heart attack shatters their carefully structured existence. Now Harry, a gifted teen grappling with the chaos of Tourette’s, confronts a world outside his parents’ control, one that tests his desire for independence.

As Harry searches for his future, and Ella adapts to the limits of her failing health, Felix struggles with his past and present roles. To prevent the family from being ripped apart, they must each bend with the inevitability of change and reinforce the ties that bind.
Learn more about the book and author at Barbara Claypole White's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The In-Between Hour.

The Page 69 Test: The Perfect Son.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 23, 2015

What is Jane Lindskold reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jane Lindskold, author of Artemis Invaded.

Her entry begins:
I read a lot… Sometimes it’s not all in print, though. Audiobooks make it possible for me to turn chore time into “reading time.”

My current audiobook is City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett. So far, I’m enjoying it a great deal. The setting is richly detailed, so much so that it’s been easy to overlook that – at least to this point – the plot is comparatively skimpy, and the characters fall into very familiar types. It will be interesting to see if this changes once the...[read on]
About Artemis Invaded, from the publisher:
In Artemis Invaded, Jane Lindskold returns to the world of Artemis, a pleasure planet that was lost for millennia, a place that holds secrets that could give mankind back unimaginable powers.

Stranded archaeologist Griffin is determined to make his way back to his home world with news of the Artemis discovery. He and his gene-modified native companion, the huntress Adara, and her psyche-linked puma Sand Shadow, set out to find another repository of the ancient technology in the hope that somehow Griffin will be able to contact his orbiting ship.

In the midst of this, Adara wrestles with her complex feelings for Griffin-and with the consequences of her and Sand Shadow's new bond with the planet Artemis. Focused on his own goals, Griffin is unaware that his arrival on Artemis has created unexpected consequences for those he is coming to hold dear. Unwittingly, he has left a trail-and Artemis is about to be invaded.
Visit Jane Lindskold's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Thirteen Orphans.

The Page 69 Test: Five Odd Honors.

The Page 69 Test: Artemis Awakening.

Writers Read: Jane Lindskold.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ted Kosmatka's "The Flicker Men," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Flicker Men by Ted Kosmatka.

The entry begins:
I grew up going to the movies all the time, so for me, now that I’m a writer, picking out actors to play the movie in my head is always a lot of fun. The main character of The Flicker Men is Eric Argus, a troubled scientist who soon finds himself out of his depth. I’m a huge fan of what James McAvoy did in The Last King of Scottland, so I’d love to see what McAvoy could do as Eric. For Satvik, one actor leapt to mind...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Ted Kosmatka's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Games.

My Book, the Movie: The Games.

My Book, the Movie: Prophet of Bones.

The Page 69 Test: Prophet of Bones.

Writers Read: Ted Kosmatka.

The Page 69 Test: The Flicker Men.

My Book, The Movie: The Flicker Men.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Irene S. Wu's "Forging Trust Communities"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Forging Trust Communities: How Technology Changes Politics by Irene S. Wu.

About the book, from the publisher:
Bloggers in India used social media and wikis to broadcast news and bring humanitarian aid to tsunami victims in South Asia. Terrorist groups like ISIS pour out messages and recruit new members on websites. The Internet is the new public square, bringing to politics a platform on which to create community at both the grassroots and bureaucratic level. Drawing on historical and contemporary case studies from more than ten countries, Irene S. Wu’s Forging Trust Communities argues that the Internet, and the technologies that predate it, catalyze political change by creating new opportunities for cooperation. The Internet does not simply enable faster and easier communication, but makes it possible for people around the world to interact closely, reciprocate favors, and build trust. The information and ideas exchanged by members of these cooperative communities become key sources of political power akin to military might and economic strength.

Wu illustrates the rich world history of citizens and leaders exercising political power through communications technology. People in nineteenth-century China, for example, used the telegraph and newspapers to mobilize against the emperor. In 1970, Taiwanese cable television gave voice to a political opposition demanding democracy. Both Qatar (in the 1990s) and Great Britain (in the 1930s) relied on public broadcasters to enhance their influence abroad. Additional case studies from Brazil, Egypt, the United States, Russia, India, the Philippines, and Tunisia reveal how various technologies function to create new political energy, enabling activists to challenge institutions while allowing governments to increase their power at home and abroad.

Forging Trust Communities demonstrates that the way people receive and share information through network communities reveals as much about their political identity as their socioeconomic class, ethnicity, or religion. Scholars and students in political science, public administration, international studies, sociology, and the history of science and technology will find this to be an insightful and indispensable work.
Learn more about Forging Trust Communities at the the Johns Hopkins University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Forging Trust Communities.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about migrants

Sunjeev Sahota is the author of Ours are the Streets and The Year of the Runaways. One of his top ten books about migrants, as shared at the Guardian:
Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish

This is the story of Zou Lei, a Chinese-Muslim illegal immigrant, and Brad Skinner, a disillusioned soldier, “stop-lossed” from Iraq. Zou, whose name means “thunder”, shows great resilience; it’s Brad who struggles to cope. The book is full of detail, sometimes upsetting, often beautiful in the way it gives a scene life: “He came towards her, his arms whispering on the body of his parka.”
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What is Caroline B. Cooney reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Caroline B. Cooney, author of No Such Person.

Her entry begins:
I'm reading David McCullough's The Wright Brothers, a topic that did not interest me in the slightest, but I loved his other books, so I felt I owed it to him. Now I am completely into Orville and Wilbur. Of course they deserve such a fine author after all. Here's my favorite line so far: when asked for advice on how to get ahead in life, Wilbur remarked, "Pick out a good father and mother, and...[read on]
About No Such Person, from the publisher:
From the author of the multimillion-copy bestseller The Face on the Milk Carton, this riveting new thriller, set against the backdrop of a bucolic summer town on the Connecticut River, will have readers guessing until the very last page, as a seemingly innocent sibling rivalry and newfound young love turn into something much more devastating than anyone could ever have imagined.

Miranda and Lander Allerdon are sisters. Miranda is younger, a dreamer, and floating her way through life. Lander is older, focused, and determined to succeed. As the girls and their parents begin another summer at their cottage on the Connecticut River, Miranda and Lander’s sibling rivalry is in high gear. Lander plans to start medical school in the fall, and Miranda feels cast in her shadow.

When the Allerdons become entangled in an unimaginable tragedy, the playing field is suddenly leveled. As facts are revealed, the significance of what has happened weighs heavily on all. How can the family prepare for what the future may hold?
Learn more about the book and author at Caroline B. Cooney's website.

Writers Read: Caroline B. Cooney.

--Marshal Zeringue

Siobhan Roberts's "Genius At Play," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Genius At Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway by Siobhan Roberts.

The entry begins:
The movie script for Genius At Play, which is in fact quickly writing itself in my head, bears the working title Let It All Hang Out, since that is Conway’s policy toward life in general, and in a sense toward mathematics as well. For the lead role, for young John, we’d need someone who can play the rogue, as well as smart and funny and deep, and with Mick Jagger’s performative charisma and sex appeal. Tom Hardy would do the trick (most recently in Mad Max: Fury Road). I also consulted Conway’s wife Diana on this, and for the older Conway she said there was no question: Jeff...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Siobhan Roberts' website.

The Page 69 Test: King of Infinite Space.

The Page 99 Test: Wind Wizard.

Writers Read: Siobhan Roberts.

The Page 99 Test: Genius At Play.

My Book, The Movie: Genius At Play.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Vanina Leschziner's "At the Chef's Table"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: At the Chef's Table: Culinary Creativity in Elite Restaurants by Vanina Leschziner.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book is about the creative work of chefs at top restaurants in New York and San Francisco. Based on interviews with chefs and observation in restaurant kitchens, the book explores the question of how and why chefs make choices about the dishes they put on their menus. It answers this question by examining a whole range of areas, including chefs' careers, restaurant ratings and reviews, social networks, how chefs think about food and go about creating new dishes, and how status influences their work and careers.

Chefs at top restaurants face competing pressures to deliver complex and creative dishes, and navigate market forces to run a profitable business in an industry with exceptionally high costs and low profit margins. Creating a distinctive and original culinary style allows them to stand out in the market, but making the familiar food that many customers want ensures that they can stay in business. Chefs must make choices between these competing pressures. In explaining how they do so, this book uses the case study of high cuisine to analyze, more generally, how people in creative occupations navigate a context that is rife with uncertainty, high pressures, and contradicting forces.
Learn more about At the Chef's Table at the Stanford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: At the Chef's Table.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Ted Kosmatka's "The Flicker Men"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Flicker Men: A Novel by Ted Kosmatka.

About the book, from the publisher:
A quantum physicist shocks the world with a startling experiment, igniting a struggle between science and theology, free will and fate, and antagonizing forces not known to exist

Eric Argus is a washout. His prodigious early work clouded his reputation and strained his sanity. But an old friend gives him another chance, an opportunity to step back into the light.

With three months to produce new research, Eric replicates the paradoxical double-slit experiment to see for himself the mysterious dual nature of light and matter. A simple but unprecedented inference blooms into a staggering discovery about human consciousness and the structure of the universe.

His findings are celebrated and condemned in equal measure. But no one can predict where the truth will lead. And as Eric seeks to understand the unfolding revelations, he must evade shadowy pursuers who believe he knows entirely too much already.
Learn more about the book and author at Ted Kosmatka's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Games.

My Book, the Movie: The Games.

My Book, the Movie: Prophet of Bones.

The Page 69 Test: Prophet of Bones.

Writers Read: Ted Kosmatka.

The Page 69 Test: The Flicker Men.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven YA novels where friendship trumps romance

At the B&N Teen Blog Natalie Zutter tagged seven Young Adult books "where friendship is more important than—or even entirely replaces—a love story," including:
Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein

The most important bond in this World War II novel is the trust between pilot Kittyhawk and spy Verity, which is put to the test after their plane crash-lands in France and Verity is captured by the Gestapo. With their code names stripped away, Queenie must protect Maddie and herself. With stakes that high, there’s no need for the story to include a romance plot—which would be superfluous, because, as Queenie writes, “It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.”
Learn about another entry on the list.

Code Name Verity also appears on Arwen Elys Dayton's top five list od books about false identities, Melissa Albert's top five list of YA books that might make one cry, Sara Brady's list of six of the best spies in romance, Lenore Appelhans's top ten list of teen books featuring flashbacks and Lydia Syson's list of ten of the best historical novels for young readers.

Writers Read: Elizabeth Wein (May 2015).

--Marshal Zeringue