Thursday, October 18, 2018

Ten top horror books for wimps

Mallory O'Meara is an author, screenwriter and producer. Her first book, The Lady From The Black Lagoon, the chronicle of Mallory's search for and a biography of Milicent Patrick, is being published by Hanover Square Press on March 5th, 2019. One of "ten spooky books that won’t keep you up at night" she shared at Vulture.com:
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

The Lizzie Borden case is one of America’s most famous grisly true-crime stories. Looming large in the country’s imagination, Lizzie herself evolved into a character, a part of the horror landscape along with the likes of Jack the Ripper and Countess Elizabeth B├íthory. This is a compelling literary reimagining of Borden’s story that focuses not on the macabre details of the crime, but on the characters themselves and their interior lives.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Alyssa Palombo's "The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow by Alyssa Palombo.

The entry begins:
I usually have a hard time picturing specific actors playing my characters – I’ll usually have a good pick for one or two of the main ones, but not all of them. However, with my most recent release, The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel, it just so happened that I “cast” the main players very early on. Below are who I would want to play my quartet of main characters should the book become a movie (or a TV series – looking at you, Netflix!).

Katrina Van Tassel – Holliday Grainger

I first saw Holliday Grainger as Lucrezia Borgia on Showtime’s The Borgias, and have seen her in a few things since – I think she’s a great actress. She is exactly how I pictured Katrina Van Tassel in my retelling in terms of physical features, and based on the roles she’s done in the past I know she would be perfect for the character!

Ichabod Crane – Tom Mison

This one miiiiight be cheating a little bit, because of course Tom Mison has...[read on]
Visit Alyssa Palombo's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Violinist of Venice.

The Page 69 Test: The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence.

My Book, The Movie: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten of the all-time scariest haunted house books

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and the Ustari Cycle from Pocket/Gallery, including We Are Not Good People. At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog he tagged ten of the scariest haunted house books ever, including:
The Shining, by Stephen King

Sure, it’s not a house but an entire hotel. Still, King’s classic remains one of the scariest books to follow the basic template of an innocent family consumed by intelligent, possessed edifice. The Overlook Hotel is so alive, and finds a willing recruit in alcoholic, repressed domestic abuser John Torrance, who becomes its sharpened blade. But it’s the isolation the Torrance family experiences while acting as caretakers for the hotel over the long, dark winter that truly gives this story an air inevitable violence. Ultimately a story about a man who loses his fight with his own demons, the core of its horror is in how something familiar and reliable—like your spouse, or the roof over your head—can be turn unrecognizable so gradually, you don’t notice until you’re being chased by a killer wielding a roque mallet.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Shining is among Laura Purcell's five top gothic novels, Jeff Somers's five books totally unlike their adaptations, Sam Riedel's six eeriest SFF stories inspired by true events, Joel Cunningham's top seven books featuring long winters, Ashley Brooke Roberts's seven best haunted house books, Jake Kerridge's top ten Stephen King books, Amanda Yesilbas and Charlie Jane Anders's top ten horror novels that are scarier than most movies, Charlie Higson's top ten horror books, and Monica Ali's best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Laird Hunt reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Laird Hunt, author of In the House in the Dark of the Woods.

His entry begins:
While I always have multiple books on my nightstand (I mostly read in bed) the book that is preoccupying me with the most insistence is the new Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories edited by Jay Rubin and with an introduction, and a couple of fine stories, by Haruki Murakami. For some years now I have been closely following the work of Japan’s new wave of extraordinary fictioneers – like Mieko Kawakami, Tomoyuki Hoshino, Tomoka Shibasaki and Hideo Furukawa – largely through the yearly appearance of...[read on]
About In the House in the Dark of the Woods, from the publisher:
“Once upon a time there was and there wasn’t a woman who went to the woods.”

In this horror story set in colonial New England, a law-abiding Puritan woman goes missing. Or perhaps she has fled or abandoned her family. Or perhaps she’s been kidnapped, and set loose to wander in the dense woods of the north. Alone and possibly lost, she meets another woman in the forest. Then everything changes.

On a journey that will take her through dark woods full of almost-human wolves, through a deep well wet with the screams of men, and on a living ship made of human bones, our heroine may find that the evil she flees has been inside her all along. In the House in the Dark of the Woods is a novel of psychological horror and suspense told in Laird Hunt’s characteristically lyrical prose style. It is the story of a bewitching, a betrayal, a master huntress and her quarry. It is a story of anger, of evil, of hatred and of redemption. It is the story of a haunting, a story that makes up the bedrock of American mythology, but told in a vivid way you will never forget.
Visit Laird Hunt's Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Neverhome.

My Book, The Movie: Neverhome.

My Book, The Movie: In the House in the Dark of the Woods.

Writers Read: Laird Hunt.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Ten top books about the human condition

Robin Ince is a standup comedian, actor and writer. One of his ten favorite books that offer illuminating insights into the human condition, as shared at the Guardian:
Bee Season by Myla Goldberg

The story of our need for pattern and shape in the world, told through the increasingly intense atmosphere around a spelling bee competition and Jewish mystical texts. Will the yearning for ultimate meaning and its failure to arrive always destroy us? A book of thrilling spelling endeavour.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Matthew Farrell's "What Have You Done"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: What Have You Done by Matthew Farrell.

About the book, from the publisher:
Family is not what it seems in this raw, edgy thriller that New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline says “you won’t be able to put down.”

When a mutilated body is found hanging in a seedy motel in Philadelphia, forensics specialist Liam Dwyer assumes the crime scene will be business as usual. Instead, the victim turns out to be a woman he’d had an affair with before breaking it off to save his marriage. But there’s a bigger problem: Liam has no memory of where he was or what he did on the night of the murder.

Panicked, Liam turns to his brother, Sean, a homicide detective. Sean has his back, but incriminating evidence keeps piling up. From fingerprints to DNA, everything points to Liam, who must race against time and his department to uncover the truth—even if that truth is his own guilt. Yet as he digs deeper, dark secrets come to light, and Liam begins to suspect the killer might actually be Sean…

When the smoke clears in this harrowing family drama, who will be left standing?
Visit Matthew Farrell's website.

My Book, The Movie: What Have You Done.

Writers Read: Matthew Farrell.

The Page 69 Test: What Have You Done.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books from five different continents

S. L. Huang has a math degree from MIT and is a weapons expert and professional stuntwoman who has worked in Hollywood on Battlestar Galactica and a number of other productions. Her novels include the Cas Russell series—a new edition of book one, Zero Sum Game, is now available.

At Tor.com she tagged "five knockout reads from five different continents," including:
Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse

I think it’s very appropriate that I represent North America in this post with a book by an Indigenous author. Rebecca Roanhorse took home the Campbell Award for Best New Writer this year, and heck but she deserves it!

Trail of Lightning starts off with a bang—I won’t spoil it, but read the opening and then tell me if you’re capable of putting it down. The worldbuilding constructs one of the most creative and interesting dystopias I’ve yet read, the characters are each individually brilliant, and the descriptive prose is to die for.

Also, if you’re reading this article because you like my Cas Russell books—in particular, if you like that they have a badass, mercenary female lead—I can bet you’ll fall head over heels for Trail of Lighting’s Maggie Hoskie.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Steven Ujifusa's "Barons of the Sea"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Barons of the Sea: And their Race to Build the World's Fastest Clipper Ship by Steven Ujifusa.

About the book, from the publisher:
There was a time, back when the United States was young and the robber barons were just starting to come into their own, when fortunes were made and lost importing luxury goods from China. It was a secretive, glamorous, often brutal business—one where teas and silks and porcelain were purchased with profits from the opium trade. But the journey by sea to New York from Canton could take six agonizing months, and so the most pressing technological challenge of the day became ensuring one’s goods arrived first to market, so they might fetch the highest price.

“With the verse of a natural dramatist” (The Christian Science Monitor), Steven Ujifusa tells the story of a handful of cutthroat competitors who raced to build the fastest, finest, most profitable clipper ships to carry their precious cargo to American shores. They were visionary, eccentric shipbuilders, debonair captains, and socially ambitious merchants with names like Forbes and Delano—men whose business interests took them from the cloistered confines of China’s expatriate communities to the sin city decadence of Gold Rush-era San Francisco, and from the teeming hubbub of East Boston’s shipyards and to the lavish sitting rooms of New York’s Hudson Valley estates.

Elegantly written and meticulously researched, Barons of the Sea is a riveting tale of innovation and ingenuity that “takes the reader on a rare and intoxicating journey back in time” (Candice Millard, bestselling author of Hero of the Empire), drawing back the curtain on the making of some of the nation’s greatest fortunes, and the rise and fall of an all-American industry as sordid as it was genteel.
Visit Steven Ujifusa's website.

The Page 99 Test: Barons of the Sea.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Nigella Lawson's ten favorite books

One of TV host and food writer Nigella Lawson's ten best books, as shared at Vulture.com:
Lucy, by Jamaica Kincaid

This is a nuanced and powerful novel about growing up, the mother-daughter relationship, female identity, sexuality, cultural dissonance, privilege, poverty, and the pernicious legacy of colonialism. Kincaid’s style is both immediate and headily intense. A glinting, multifaceted work within relatively so few pages.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is S.K. Perry reading?

Featured at Writers Read: S.K. Perry, author of Let Me Be Like Water.

Her entry begins:
I've just started a PhD and - as well as trying to write a new novel - my research will centre on depictions of sex in contemporary, anglophone, fiction. This means I'm currently on the lookout for amazing novels that also have cracking sex scenes... and I'm particularly interested in fictional depictions of queer sex, and sex that is written within a feminist framework; I guess part of my research will be to work out exactly what I mean by that. At the moment I'm halfway through both Sally Rooney's new novel Normal People, and A Safe Girl To Love by Casey Plett, a collection of short stories that explore trans-womanhood. From what I've read so far, Plett's stories oscillate between archetypal coming-of-age tropes, and bold explorations of trauma and alienation; it's so clever how they...[read on]
About Let Me Be Like Water, from the publisher:
A beautifully poignant and poetic debut about love, loss, friendship, and ultimately, starting over.

Twenty-something Holly has moved to Brighton to escape. But now she’s here, sitting on a bench, listening to the sea sway… How is she supposed to fill the void her boyfriend left when he died, leaving her behind?

She had thought she’d want to be on her own, but when she meets Frank, a retired magician who has experienced his own loss, the tide begins to shift. A moving and powerful debut, Let Me Be Like Water is a book about the humdrum and extraordinariness of everyday life; of lost and new connections; of loneliness and friendship.
Visit S.K. Perry's website.

Writers Read: S.K. Perry.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight suspense novels that explore nurture vs. nature

Kate Moretti's new novel is In Her Bones.

At CrimeReads she tagged eight suspense novels that explore nature vs. nurture, including:
Defending Jacob, by William Landay

When an assistant district attorney’s fourteen-year-old son, Jacob, is accused of stabbing a classmate in the park and killing him, it’s a classic courtroom drama set up. Except when the boy’s father reveals that his own father has spent his life in prison for rape and murder, the theme of the story takes a drastic turn. After Jacob is seemingly and suddenly exonerated, the family takes a trip to Jamaica to reconnect. Another death occurs, and we are left wondering: did Jacob inherit his psychopathy or was it a product of his overindulgent, and perhaps not as stable as we’re initially led to believe, childhood?
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Defending Jacob.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Robert Masello's "The Night Crossing"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Night Crossing by Robert Masello.

About the book, from the publisher:
Bram Stoker kept secret a tale even more terrifying than Dracula.

It begins among the Carpathian peaks, when an intrepid explorer discovers a mysterious golden box. She brings it back with her to the foggy streets of Victorian London, unaware of its dangerous power…or that an evil beyond imagining has already taken root in the city.

Stoker, a successful theater manager but frustrated writer, is drawn into a deadly web spun by the wealthy founders of a mission house for the poor. Far from a safe haven, the mission harbors a dark and terrifying secret.

To save the souls of thousands, Stoker—aided by the explorer and a match girl grieving the loss of her child—must pursue an enemy as ancient as the Saharan sands where it originated. Their journey will take them through the city’s overgrown graveyards and rat-infested tunnels and even onto the maiden voyage of the world’s first “unsinkable” ship…
Learn more about the book and author at Robert Masello's website.

The Page 69 Test: Blood and Ice.

The Page 69 Test: The Medusa Amulet.

The Page 69 Test: The Einstein Prophecy.

My Book, The Movie: The Einstein Prophecy.

The Page 69 Test: The Night Crossing.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 15, 2018

Five top books about living with cancer

Adam Kay is a writer and comedian. He writes extensively for TV and film and is the author of the international number one bestselling and multi-award-winning book This is Going to Hurt.

One of five of the best books about living with cancer he tagged at the Guardian:
The true story beautifully told by Rebecca Skloot in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is astonishing. Henrietta was a penniless black tobacco farmer who died in 1951, but whose cervical cells changed the shape of medicine. Taken without permission, cells from her tumour have since been multiplied and shared around the world to advance our understanding of cancer. Skloot’s book was inspired by a science lesson in which her teacher told the class that if they went to almost any cell culture lab in the world and opened its freezers, they might find billions of Henrietta’s cells in small vials on ice. The biography examines how those cells enabled scientists to make advances in fields ranging from cancer and gene mapping to IVF. Skloot confronts issues of racism, poverty, consent and the anguish of Henrietta’s family.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is among Rose Byrne’s ten favorite books, Adam Kay's five top medical books, and Austin Duffy's top ten books about cancer.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Matthew Farrell reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Matthew Farrell, author of What Have You Done.

His entry begins:
I'm currently reading Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers and people. Jen is so nice to meet and talk with, and to read her shady characters with their diabolical plans is just so different than the person she is, which proves her talent. I'm always drawn to the psychological thriller first. I like reading about the dark side of characters in the setting of a police investigation. I feel it makes the pace of the story that much tighter because...[read on]
About What Have You Done, from the publisher:
Family is not what it seems in this raw, edgy thriller that New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline says “you won’t be able to put down.”

When a mutilated body is found hanging in a seedy motel in Philadelphia, forensics specialist Liam Dwyer assumes the crime scene will be business as usual. Instead, the victim turns out to be a woman he’d had an affair with before breaking it off to save his marriage. But there’s a bigger problem: Liam has no memory of where he was or what he did on the night of the murder.

Panicked, Liam turns to his brother, Sean, a homicide detective. Sean has his back, but incriminating evidence keeps piling up. From fingerprints to DNA, everything points to Liam, who must race against time and his department to uncover the truth—even if that truth is his own guilt. Yet as he digs deeper, dark secrets come to light, and Liam begins to suspect the killer might actually be Sean…

When the smoke clears in this harrowing family drama, who will be left standing?
Visit Matthew Farrell's website.

My Book, The Movie: What Have You Done.

Writers Read: Matthew Farrell.

--Marshal Zeringue

Daisy Johnson's six book recommendations

Daisy Johnson's first novel, Everything Under, has been short-listed for the 2018 Man Booker Prize.

One of six books she recommended at The Week magazine:
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss (2018).

Set in a forest camp that recreates Iron Age England, this is a book about family and abuse of power and how the most unsettling things are often those closest to us. Moss knows how to wrap the tension around her fist and keep it clenched right up until the final moment.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Helmut Norpoth's "Unsurpassed: The Popular Appeal of Franklin Roosevelt"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Unsurpassed: The Popular Appeal of Franklin Roosevelt by Helmut Norpoth.

About the book, from the publisher:
Franklin Roosevelt was not only the first US president to be covered by public opinion polls, but his ratings have consistently exceeded those of all subsequent sitting presidents, save for John F. Kennedy. Moreover, Roosevelt also stands out with a popular appeal that is unsurpassed by any of his successors serving at least a full term. The key to his approval, as this book shows, was wartime leadership, not economic performance. It began with policies preparing the nation for war in the two years before formal entry. To use FDR's own coinage, it was making the United States the "arsenal of democracy" in the battle against tyranny. That pursuit, not the New Deal, earned him high marks with the American people and re-election to an unprecedented third term. World War II--and its heavy human toll--did nothing to diminish FDR's popularity. As such, the FDR experience defies major paradigms of presidential politics. Yet, Roosevelt has been relatively ignored by scholars of public opinion. What can FDR's experience teach us and his successors about rousing broad public support, particularly during wartime? What light does his success shed on the failures of Presidents Truman, Johnson, and George W. Bush in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq? On key issues, mainly with foreign policy, FDR had to contend with an American public that opposed his plans at the outset. Helmut Norpoth argues that Roosevelt had an unparalleled ability for leadership, especially through the fabled "fireside chats" and his appreciation of opinion polls, that enabled him to move the public to embrace his policies. In this book, Norpoth takes an in-depth look at how FDR's leadership swayed public opinion, comparing his experience to his successors to draw broad conclusions about what makes for successful presidential politics.
Learn more about Unsurpassed at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Unsurpassed.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Five books to read after a bad date

Kass Morgan is the author of The 100 series, which is now a television show on the CW. She received a bachelor's degree from Brown University and a master's degree from Oxford University. Her new novel is Light Years.

At Tor.com Morgan tagged five books to read after bad dates, including:
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

You can only listen to so many hipsters describe the web series they’re never going to film without starting to wonder, is Brooklyn the most insufferable city on Earth? That’s when it’s time to read the brilliant Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova, a gorgeously written urban fantasy that presents a darkly seductive, magical version of Brooklyn populated by witches. With haunting echoes of Pan’s Labyrinth and Alice and Wonderland, the book follows Alex, the most powerful bruja of her generation, as she journeys to the underworld to rescue her family. Labyrinth Lost won’t help you fall in love in real life, but it’ll keep you too captivated to care!
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Malka Older's "State Tectonics"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: State Tectonics: The Centenal Cycle (Volume 3) by Malka Older.

About the book, from the publisher:
Campbell Award finalist Malka Older's State Tectonics concludes The Centenal Cycle, the cyberpunk political thriller series that began with Infomocracy.

The future of democracy must evolve or die.

The last time Information held an election, a global network outage, two counts of sabotage by major world governments, and a devastating earthquake almost shook micro-democracy apart. Five years later, it's time to vote again, and the system that has ensured global peace for 25 years is more vulnerable than ever.

Unknown enemies are attacking Information's network infrastructure. Spies, former superpowers, and revolutionaries sharpen their knives in the shadows. And Information's best agents question whether the data monopoly they've served all their lives is worth saving, or whether it's time to burn the world down and start anew.
Follow Malka Older on Twitter and visit her website.

The Page 69 Test: Infomocracy.

The Page 69 Test: State Tectonics.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight books Stacey Abrams recommends

Stacey Abrams, Georgia’s Democratic candidate for governor, is the author of a political memoir (Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change) as well as eight romance novels (written under the pen name Selena Montgomery). One of eight books she tagged at Vanity Fair:
The Dictator’s Learning Curve by William J. Dobson

William Dobson investigates how authoritarianism has taken on the trappings and lessons of modern institutions to strengthen its ability to strip nations of their democracy. A timely handbook for current political times around the world.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 13, 2018

What is Mitchell Hogan reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Mitchell Hogan, author of Shadow of the Exile (The Infernal Guardian Book 1).

His entry begins:
I'm currently reading Blackwing by Ed McDonald and very much enjoying it. It is grim though, and may not be to everyone's taste.

Major player motivations (the Deep Kings and the 'wizards', both with seemingly god-like powers) are generally unknown (apart from survival), and the protagonist is surprisingly likable for someone who has many unlikable traits. The story is quite dark and gritty, which some readers might be weary of by now, but I haven't read too many 'grimdark' novels so I don’t have grimdark-fatigue (which is a thing, apparently). The protagonist is Ryhalt Galharrow, who is definitely not a hero. He is a bounty hunter attempting to find a noblewoman, and his mission entail...[read on]
About Shadow of the Exile, from the publisher:
Outcast and exiled, the demon Tarrik Nal-Valim has long been forgotten by the world of humans. At least, so he thinks.

But when he is summoned as a last resort by a desperate sorcerer, it seems as though his past has caught up with him. The sorcerer is Serenity “Ren” Branwen, the daughter of Tarrik’s former master—and friend. Though she seems cold, driven, and ruthless, Tarrik can tell that Ren has her back against a wall, and he is compelled by ferocious powers to obey her.

As their world sinks into a terrifying maelstrom of murder, intrigue, and insurrection, Tarrik is forced to serve Ren’s arcane designs—plans that, if they were to succeed, would resurrect unimaginable power and could destroy Tarrik’s entire race.

But as events unfurl, the lines between demon and master become blurred, and Tarrik realizes that Ren is not what she seems. To prevent utter devastation, Tarrik may have to surrender what he values most: a chance at redemption and an end to his exile.
Visit Mitchell Hogan's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Crucible of Souls.

Writers Read: Mitchell Hogan.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top revenge novels

Jo Jakeman's debut psychological thriller is The Exes’ Revenge (UK title: Sticks and Stones). One of her ten top crime novels featuring "satisfying comeuppance, bloody vengeance, and ice-cold revenge," as shared at CrimeReads:
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

Made hugely popular by the film of the same name, this book is a taut thriller. When Amy disappears, husband Nick becomes a key suspect. At first you feel sorry for them both; by the second half of the book you realize that neither of the main characters are likable or reliable and nothing is as it seems. Amy takes revenge to a whole new level as she tries to frame Nick for her own murder. Oh Nick, you should have kept it in your pants. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Learn about another entry on the list.

Gone Girl made Amanda Craig's list of favorite books about modern married life, Sarah Pinborough's top ten list of unreliable narrators, C.A. Higgins's top five list of books with plot twists that flip your perception, Ruth Ware's top ten list of psychological thrillers, Jane Alexander's top ten list of treasure hunts in fiction, Fanny Blake's list of five top books about revenge, Monique Alice's list of six great fictional evil geniuses, Jeff Somers's lists of the top five best worst couples in literature, six books that’ll make you glad you’re single and five books with an outstanding standalone scene that can be read on its own, Lucie Whitehouse's ten top list of psychological suspense novels with marriages at their heart and Kathryn Williams's list of eight of fiction’s craziest unreliable narrators.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Connie Y. Chiang's "Nature Behind Barbed Wire"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Nature Behind Barbed Wire: An Environmental History of the Japanese American Incarceration by Connie Y. Chiang.

About the book, from the publisher:
The mass imprisonment of over 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry during World War II was one of the most egregious violations of civil liberties in United States history. Removed from their homes on the temperate Pacific Coast, Japanese Americans spent the war years in desolate camps in the nation's interior. Photographers including Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange visually captured these camps in images that depicted the environment as a source of both hope and hardship. And yet the literature on incarceration has most often focused on the legal and citizenship statuses of the incarcerees, their political struggles with the US government, and their oral testimony.

Nature Behind Barbed Wire shifts the focus to the environment. It explores how the landscape shaped the experiences of both Japanese Americans and federal officials who worked for the War Relocation Authority (WRA), the civilian agency that administered the camps. The complexities of the natural world both enhanced and constrained the WRA's power and provided Japanese Americans with opportunities to redefine the terms and conditions of their confinement. Even as the environment compounded their feelings of despair and outrage, the incarcerees also found that their agency in transforming and adapting to the natural world could help them survive and contest their incarceration. Japanese Americans and WRA officials negotiated the terms of confinement with each other and with a dynamic natural world.

Ultimately, as Connie Chiang demonstrates, the Japanese American incarceration was fundamentally an environmental story.
Learn more about Nature Behind Barbed Wire at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Nature Behind Barbed Wire.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 12, 2018

Twenty-one books that offer a crash-course in horror

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and the Ustari Cycle from Pocket/Gallery, including We Are Not Good People. At the B&N Reads blog he tagged twenty-one books that will give you an idea of how the horror genre has evolved, including:
Rosemary’s Baby, by Ira Levin, 1967

As the 20th century moved on, horror became more realistic and increasingly based in modern times, finding terror in society itself. Levin intended this story to be a critique of religion and belief systems in general, but its true horror lies in the fact that Rosemary is victimized by her neighbors and even, to an extent, her husband—society itself has lied to her, gaslighted her, and assaulted her. If you can’t trust your neighbors,who can you trust?
Read about another entry on the list.

Rosemary's Baby is among Ania Ahlborn's ten scariest books of all time, Jeff Somers's "twenty-five books that might not necessarily be the best horror novels, but are certainly the scariest," Christopher Shultz's top ten literary chillers, and Kat Rosenfield's top seven scary autumnal stories.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Dana Chamblee Carpenter's "Book of the Just"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Book of the Just: Book Three of the Bohemian Trilogy by Dana Chamblee Carpenter.

About the book, from the publisher:
After centuries of searching, Mouse now has everything she’s ever wanted within her reach—a normal life, a lover, a brother. What will she risk to keep them?

Cherished by a Father, coveted by a king, loved by an almost-priest; tormented by demons, tortured by a madman, hunted by a cult, hounded by her father. Mouse has survived it all. But then, she was never just a girl.

Despite Mouse’s power, her father always wanted a son—and now, at long last, he has him. And Mouse has a brother, someone else in the world just like her. Though she’s never met him, the hope of what they might mean for each other tugs at her soul, even as it terrifies her lover, Angelo.

Hiding among a tribe of the Martu in the isolation of the Australian outback near the edges of Lake Disappointment, Mouse and Angelo have seemingly evaded at least one of the predators hunting them. Carefully dropping bogus breadcrumbs across Europe, they misdirect the Novus Rishi, a ruthless cult that wants Mouse as the ultimate weapon in their battle against evil. But when unnerving dreams start to plague Angelo, and the ancient beings of the Martu’s Dreaming send prophetic warnings that include visions of Mouse at her father’s side, the two lovers realize it’s time to act. With nowhere left to run, Mouse and Angelo prepare for a last showdown with their enemies. As they chase after legendary ancient weapons ensconced in the ages old battle between good and evil, Mouse and Angelo must each decide if a final victory is worth the cost.

Book of the Just continues Mouse’s story after The Devil’s Bible and completes the journey she started so long ago in Bohemian Gospel. Imbued with a rich sense of history, magic, and mythology, this explosive final installment in Mouse’s journey will keep you captivated until the very end.
Visit Dana Chamblee Carpenter's website.

My Book, The Movie: Book of the Just.

The Page 69 Test: Book of the Just.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Ellen Goodlett reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Ellen Goodlett, author of Rule.

Her entry begins:
I try to read a little bit of everything, not just any one genre. My personal favorites are young adult (of course, since that’s what I write), science fiction, and memoir. But recently I’ve been on a creative nonfiction kick, as well as trying to catch up on all the new and great titles coming out in the young adult world lately.

Since I read so much, I’ll try to stick to just the couple of titles that have really stuck out to me, of the ones I’ve read this year. When it comes to nonfiction, the one that blew my mind is Homo Deus. It’s not just the big, trippy concepts that the author, Yuval Noah Harari, is confronting, either (ideas like the future of humanity, the terrifying knife’s edge we’re balanced on when it comes to AI, and how we got to this point of civilization in the first place). What struck me more is the way Harari writes about mankind—with a bird’s-eye view, as though he’s somehow managed to...[read on]
About Rule, from the publisher:
Three girls. Three deadly secrets. Only one can wear the crown.

The king is dying, his heir has just been murdered, and rebellion brews in the east. But the kingdom of Kolonya and the outer Reaches has one last option before it descends into leaderless chaos.

Or rather, three unexpected options.

Zofi has spent her entire life trekking through the outer Reaches with her band of Travelers. She would do anything to protect the band, her family. But no one can ever find out how far she’s already gone.

Akeylah was raised in the Eastern Reach, surrounded by whispers of rebellion and abused by her father. Desperate to escape, she makes a decision that threatens the whole kingdom.

Ren grew up in Kolonya, serving as a lady’s maid and scheming her way out of the servants’ chambers. But one such plot could get her hung for treason if anyone ever discovers what she’s done.

When the king summons the girls, they arrive expecting arrest or even execution. Instead they learn the truth: they are his illegitimate daughters, and one must become his new heir. But someone in Kolonya knows their secrets, and that someone will stop at nothing to keep the sisters from their destiny… to rule.

Magic, mystery, and blackmail abound in the first book of this sensational and striking fantasy duology.
Visit Ellen Goodlett's website.

My Book, The Movie: Rule.

The Page 69 Test: Rule.

Writers Read: Ellen Goodlett.

--Marshal Zeringue