Sunday, May 26, 2024

Eight top dead characters with something to say

Michael Bennett (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Whakaue) is an award-winning screenwriter, director, and author whose films have been selections at major festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, and New York. He is the author of the crime novel Better the Blood and the nonfiction book In Dark Places, both of which won Ngaio Marsh awards, making him the first writer to win the award for both fiction and nonfiction. He is also the author of the young adult graphic novel Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas which, along with Better the Blood, was a finalist for the New Zealand Book Award.

At CrimeReads Bennett tagged eight "favourite dead characters from crime fiction, film and television, who come back through the misty veil, and who have something to say (usually, quite a lot)." One book on the list:
THE QUAKER (novel) by Liam McIlvanney

Eagle-eyed readers will notice a few New Zealand connections in this list. Bublitz is a Kiwi author, Edge Of Darkness was directed by Kiwi Martin Campbell, The Lovely Bones was adapted by Peter Jackson. Maybe people from this end of the planet feel at ease with the idea of dead people hanging around. Here’s another NZ connection – McIlvanney grew up in Glasgow but now lives in New Zealand. This is a fictionalised retelling of crimes that haunt Scottish consciousness in the same way the Boston Strangler or Zodiac killings haunt US readers. In late 1960s Glasgow, ‘Bible John’ murders three women after nights out at a dance hall. He’s never caught. McIlvanney uses the real case as a springboard for his award-winning novel, but gives each of the victims – all dead at the start of the novel – a strong voice throughout the story.

We get to know them and feel for them, making their loss deep and impactful, not just a way to kickstart a whodunnit.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Chris Harding Thornton's "Little Underworld," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Little Underworld: A Novel by Chris Harding Thornton.

The entry begins:
Little Underworld is a novel set in Omaha during Prohibition—specifically, during the spring of 1930. Jim Beely, a private investigator, kills the man who sexually assaulted his daughter. While disposing of the body, he runs across a dirty cop, Frank Tvrdik, who helps cover up the crime for a trade. Jim agrees to take down a candidate for city commission by bungling an investigation. When that plan goes awry, Jim and Frank try to figure out what happened. The answers lie in the twisting, turning, and brazenly ridiculous machinations of the city’s corrupt politics.

For better or worse, I write books to be read in one sitting (because that’s how I read them). To me, books are films inside a reader’s head, so I keep the intermissions to a minimum. What kept this book rolling for me, what made it a good time, was the dark humor and the absurdity of the plot. So, ideal directors of an adaptation would be someone like Paul Thomas Anderson or Joel and Ethan Coen, people who can balance intensity and hilarity on the head of a pin. There are only two movies I’ve re-started immediately after first watching them: Phantom Thread and No Country for Old Men. During the initial viewing of both, I was too tense, too sucked in, to fully appreciate how funny they were, so the second watch was solely for laughs.

As for casting, I’d pluck the leads from...[read on]
Visit Chris Harding Thornton's website.

Q&A with Chris Harding Thornton.

My Book, The Movie: Little Underworld.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: T.V. Paul's "The Unfinished Quest"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Unfinished Quest: India's Search for Major Power Status from Nehru to Modi by T.V. Paul.

About the book, from the publisher:
In The Unfinished Quest, T.V. Paul charts India's checkered path toward higher regional and global status, and sheds important light on its significance as the "swing power" that can mitigate China's aggressive rise in the Indo-Pacific region.

In 2022, India surpassed the United Kingdom, its former colonial ruler, as the fifth largest economy in the world. Since the 1990s, a series of US presidents and secretaries of state have all acclaimed India as a rising major power that deserves to be recognized as a lead actor in the international arena. All five permanent members of the UN Security Council except China have openly acknowledged the need to include India among their ranks. But even now, India has not attained the status of a globally recognized great power.

In The Unfinished Quest, leading international relations and South Asia scholar T.V. Paul charts India's checkered path toward higher regional and global status, covering both the successes and failures it has experienced since the modern nation's founding in 1947. Paul focuses on the key motivations driving Indian leaders to enhance India's global status and power, but also on the many constraints that have hindered its progress. He carefully specifies what counts as indicators of greater status and uses these as benchmarks in his assessment of each era. In this manner, he also brings forth some important insights on status competition and power transitions in the contemporary international system.

Paul's analysis of India's quest for status also sheds important light on the current geo-strategic situation and serves as a new framework for understanding the China-India rivalry, as well as India's relative position in the broader Indo-Pacific theater. As the economies of China and India grow rapidly, the power balance between them will be determined by each country's ability to develop the hard and soft powers needed to outpace the other and solidify their place in the global hierarchy. Whether India can be a "swing power" able to mitigate China's aggressive rise depends on its relative power position in that theater and its own evolution as an inclusive, tolerant democracy that can develop and utilize its most priced asset, the demographic dividend. This sweeping account of India's uneven rise in the global system will serve as the authoritative work on the subject.
Visit T.V. Paul's website.

The Page 99 Test: Restraining Great Powers.

The Page 99 Test: The Unfinished Quest.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top books featuring superstitions

Jessie Rosen got her start with the award-winning blog 20-Nothings and has sold original television projects to ABC, CBS, Warner Bros., and Netflix. Her live storytelling show Sunday Night Sex Talks was featured on The Bachelorette. She lives in Los Angeles.

Rosen's new novel is The Heirloom.

At Lit Hub she tagged six books that explore superstitions "from every angle. In some an omen defines the character’s struggle, in others its used as a thematic point, and in one the belief runs so deep it’s presented as fact." One title on the list:
Jennifer Weiner, Big Summer

Jennifer Weiner dives into the very tense world that my own main character fears: a wedding weekend. Our eyes in are through Daphne who is cajoled into being the maid-of-honor for her ex best friend Drue. Much has changed in the years since the fight that ended their friendship. Daphne feels like she’s meeting Drue all over again, and at one of the trickiest moments in her life.

Of course superstitions about ensuring a happy marriage enter the mix. Drue insists on one that was new to even me: she believes her wedding will be cursed if she buys her own wedding dress. Here belief systems inform the way we behave as friends and reveal what matters most at the most important times in our life.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 24, 2024

Q&A with Ash Clifton

From my Q&A with Ash Clifton, author of Twice the Trouble:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

My book is a neo-noir P.I. novel, and I wanted the title to have a slightly retro, pulpy feel. Twice the Trouble fit the bill. It evokes, I hope, the deliberately melodramatic titles of famous P.I. mysteries like The Big Sleep and The Moving Target. So, I’m proud of my title in that regard.

And, of course, it’s a pun on the main character’s name, Noland Twice, which came to me out of the ether for reasons I cannot fathom.

What's in a name?

Names are poetry. It’s that simple. Even if a character’s name is...[read on]
Visit Ash Clifton's website.

My Book, The Movie: Twice the Trouble.

The Page 69 Test: Twice the Trouble.

Q&A with Ash Clifton.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Kevin J. McMahon's "A Supreme Court Unlike Any Other"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: A Supreme Court Unlike Any Other: The Deepening Divide Between the Justices and the People by Kevin J. McMahon.

About the book, from the publisher:
A data-rich examination of the US Supreme Court’s unprecedented detachment from the democratic processes that buttress its legitimacy.

Today’s Supreme Court is unlike any other in American history. This is not just because of its jurisprudence but also because the current Court has a tenuous relationship with the democratic processes that help establish its authority. Historically, this “democracy gap” was not nearly as severe as it is today. Simply put, past Supreme Courts were constructed in a fashion far more in line with the promise of democracy—that the people decide and the majority rules.

Drawing on historical and contemporary data alongside a deep knowledge of court battles during presidencies ranging from FDR to Donald Trump, Kevin J. McMahon charts the developments that brought us here. McMahon offers insight into the altered politics of nominating and confirming justices, the shifting pool of Supreme Court hopefuls, and the increased salience of the Court in elections. A Supreme Court Unlike Any Other is an eye-opening account of today’s Court within the context of US history and the broader structure of contemporary politics.
Learn more aboutA Supreme Court Unlike Any Other at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: A Supreme Court Unlike Any Other.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five of the best books about west African cities

At the Guardian Eromo Egbejule tagged five top books about west African cities, including:
Sleep Well, My Lady by Kwei Quartey

Kwei Quartey, an Accra-born physician, has made his name with several crime fiction titles in the last two decades. The most recent one is Sleep Well, My Lady. On the first day of the Accra fashion week, a fashion mogul is found dead in her home in the city’s most expensive neighbourhood. That leads a relative who suspects her socialite boyfriend to engage the services of a young female private investigator to meander past big-city corruption and find out the truth about the tragedy.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Pg. 69: Susan Coll's "Real Life and Other Fictions"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Real Life and Other Fictions: A Novel by Susan Coll.

About the book, from the publisher:
Cassie Klein has always used stories to help her fly, but now her plot points aren’t lining up.

In her 50s, Cassie has already weathered more than most. She was orphaned at the age of two and has never fully understood why her DC-based parents were on a bridge in West Virginia that just so happened to collapse as they drove across it. Her search for answers prompted a failed career in journalism, and now she’s an aspiring novelist teaching at a local community college waiting for her literary dreams to finally come true. She stood by her once-doting husband when his meteorology career took a nosedive, and now she has learned that the man who became an internet meme has been cheating on her.

She’s had enough. She scoops up a teething puppy and embarks on a road trip that’s heavy on impulse and light on planning. She’s not sure where she’s going, but she knows she might as well start at the beginning. What really happened to her parents all those years ago?

In this comically surreal, warmhearted journey, she encounters people she never knew existed—chief among them, an enigmatic cryptozoologist, who helps her in the quest to discover her past. And along the way, she looks for answers regarding curious sightings of a creature known as the Mothman in the months before her parents died. As the line between real life and fiction blurs, Cassie finds herself grappling with the nature of stories, myths, and who gets to write the endings.
Learn more about the book and author at Susan Coll's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Susan Coll & Zoe.

The Page 69 Test: Acceptance.

The Page 69 Test: Beach Week.

The Page 69 Test: The Stager.

The Page 69 Test: Real Life and Other Fictions.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Eric Jay Dolin's "Left For Dead"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Left For Dead: Shipwreck, Treachery, and Survival at the Edge of the World by Eric Jay Dolin.

About the book, from the publisher:
The true story of five castaways abandoned on the Falkland Islands during the War of 1812―a tale of treachery, shipwreck, isolation, and the desperate struggle for survival.

In Left for Dead, Eric Jay Dolin―“one of today’s finest writers about ships and the sea” (American Heritage)―tells the true story of a wild and fateful encounter between an American sealing vessel, a shipwrecked British brig, and a British warship in the Falkland archipelago during the War of 1812.

Fraught with misunderstandings and mistrust, the incident left three British sailors and two Americans, including the captain of the sealer, Charles H. Barnard, abandoned in the barren, windswept, and inhospitable Falklands for a year and a half. With deft narrative skill and unequaled knowledge of the very pith of the seafaring life, Dolin describes in vivid and harrowing detail the increasingly desperate existence of the castaways during their eighteen-month ordeal―an all-too-common fate in the Great Age of Sail.

A tale of intriguing complexity, with surprising twists and turns throughout―involving greed, lying, bullying, a hostile takeover, stellar leadership, ingenuity, severe privation, endurance, banishment, the great value of a dog, the birth of a baby, a perilous thousand-mile open-ocean journey in a seventeen-foot boat, an improbable rescue mission, and legal battles over a dubious and disgraceful wartime prize―Left for Dead shows individuals in wartime under great duress acting both nobly and atrociously, and offers a unique perspective on a pivotal era in American maritime history.
Visit Eric Jay Dolin's website.

The Page 99 Test: Fur, Fortune, and Empire.

The Page 99 Test: When America First Met China.

The Page 69 Test: Brilliant Beacons.

The Page 99 Test: Brilliant Beacons.

The Page 99 Test: Black Flags, Blue Waters.

The Page 99 Test: A Furious Sky.

Writers Read: Eric Jay Dolin (May 2022).

The Page 99 Test: Rebels At Sea.

The Page 99 Test: Left For Dead.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven books about Black people who pass as white

Kuchenga Shenjé is a writer, journalist, and speaker with work on media platforms including Stylist, British Vogue, and Netflix. She has contributed short stories and essays to several anthologies, most notably It's Not OK to Feel Blue (And Other Lies), Who's Loving You, and Loud Black Girls. Owing to a lifelong obsession with books and the written word, Kuchenga studied Creative Writing at The Open University. Her work is focused on the perils of loving, being loved, and women living out loud throughout the ages. Her debut The Library Thief, is the ultimate marriage of her passions for history, mystery, and rebels. Kuchenga lives in Manchester, where she is determined to continue living a life worth writing about.

At Electric Lit she tagged seven "stories that delve into race and identity in the U.S. and U.K." One title on the list:
Passing by Nella Larsen

The now seminal text portraying vignettes into the life of the ridiculously reckless Clare Kendry and the endlessly anxious Irene Redfield has captivated readers for a century. A sky-scraping achievement from a writer of the Harlem Renaissance, the queer coded depiction of a woman who uses her ability to pass as white to play in the face of a racist, will continue to be argued as an act of Black feminist defiance. Snatching racial privilege out of the mouth of the lion in the age of Gatsby which lasted only as long as it could. My mind remains made up, but I’ve never recovered from the “did she or didn’t she” of the last scene. Possibly the most perfect novella ever written.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Kate Feiffer's "Morning Pages," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Morning Pages by Kate Feiffer.

The entry begins:
This extraordinary Morning Pages dream cast will be announced by a scowling dream anchorman (George Stephanopoulos), who would prefer to be interviewing politicians rather than announcing dream casts on a dream morning show:

Morning Pages is Elise Hellman’s story. Elise (Jennifer Aniston) is a 48-year-old playwright. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s clumsy. She's been divorced for two years, but still has feelings for her ex (Jason Bateman). She’s dating, unsuccessfully (Jarvier Bardem, Edward Norton). She’s the mother of an 18 year old (Gaten Matarazzo), who she acknowledges...[read on]
Visit Kate Feiffer's website.

Writers Read: Kate Feiffer (May 2011).

The Page 69 Test: Morning Pages.

Q&A with Kate Feiffer.

My Book, The Movie: Morning Pages.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: John K. Brown's "Spanning the Gilded Age"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Spanning the Gilded Age: James Eads and the Great Steel Bridge by John K. Brown.

About the book, from the publisher:
The fascinating history of the St. Louis Bridge, the first steel structure in the world.

In Spanning the Gilded Age, John K. Brown tells the daring, improbable story of the construction of the St. Louis Bridge, known popularly as the Eads Bridge. Completed in 1874, it was the first structure of any kind—anywhere in the world—built of steel. This history details the origins, design, construction, and enduring impact of a unique feat of engineering, and it illustrates how Americans built their urban infrastructure during the nineteenth century.

With three graceful arches spanning the Mississippi River, the Eads Bridge's twin decks carried a broad boulevard above a dual-track railroad. To place its stone piers on bedrock, engineer James Eads pioneered daring innovations that allowed excavators to work one hundred feet beneath the river. With construction scarcely begun, Eads circulated a prospectus—offering a 400 percent return on investment—that attracted wealthy investors, including J. Pierpont Morgan in New York and his father, Junius, in London. This record-breaking design, which employed a novel method to lay its foundations and an untried metal for its arches, was projected by a steamboat man who had never before designed a bridge.

By detailing influential figures such as James Eads, the Morgans, Andrew Carnegie, and Jay Gould, Spanning the Gilded Age offers new perspectives on an era that saw profound changes in business, engineering, governance, and society. Beyond the bridge itself, Brown explores a broader story: how America became urban, industrial, and interconnected. This triumph of engineering reflects the Gilded Age's grand ambitions, and the bridge remains a vital transportation artery today.
Visit the Spanning the Gilded Age website.

The Page 99 Test: Spanning the Gilded Age.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight top novels about destructive women

Alana B. Lytle is a screenwriter whose recent credits include Netflix’s Brand New Cherry and Peacock’s A Friend of the Family. Her short fiction has been published in Guernica. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and sausage-shaped dog. Man’s Best Friend is her debut novel.

At CrimeReads Lytle tagged eight "excellent novels about destructive women," including:
Luster by Raven Leilani

Some might take issue with Edie’s inclusion in the destructive female protagonist tradition, because Edie is not all that hard to love, ultimately. This is a main character who does graduate to a more mature perspective in the end (literally as well as figuratively—her painting improves over the course of the novel). That said, Edie’s behavior in the early chapters of Luster is problematic and frustrating, and in my view firmly cements her in the transgressive canon. A Black woman in her early twenties, Edie is fired from her publishing job for inappropriate sexual behavior. She’s been involved with so many colleagues, men and women, she’s not even sure who brought her behavior to the attention of HR. Edie compares herself unfavorably to another Black female colleague: “She plays the game well… She is Black and dogged and inoffensive… I’d like to think the reason I’m not more dogged is because I know better, but sometimes I look at her and I wonder if the problem isn’t her but me. Maybe the problem is that I’m weak and overly sensitive. Maybe the problem is that I am an office slut.”

Leilani’s choice to have Edie address us in the first person present makes the narration inherently unreliable, so we don’t know, after this admission of Edie’s, how much we should forgive and how much we should judge. Should we be understanding that Edie is not more dogged? Should we think she’s weak? Both, I think. Most of the novel is the story of Edie’s entanglement with Eric, an older, alcoholic white man, and how she comes to move in with Eric and his wife, Rebecca, and their adoptive daughter Akila. Edie’s sexual relationship with Eric is fine by Rebecca until it is not, at which point Edie carries on with Eric anyway, for a time. More interesting than this, however, is the fact that Edie allows, even encourages, Eric to hurt her, hit her. At a certain point, Eric leaves Edie a remorseful, drunk voicemail saying something about how he knows she’s a human being. It’s not terribly relevant whether Eric knows this or not—the only relevant question is whether Edie knows who she is, what she deserves. Will I continue in this pattern of destruction, or won’t I? These are the worthy stakes of this novel.
Read about another entry on the list.

Luster is among Forsyth Harmon's five top obsessive female relationships in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Pg. 69: Ash Clifton's "Twice the Trouble"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Twice the Trouble by Ash Clifton.

About the book, from the publisher:
A private investigator follows a trail of blood and bodies to find his latest target–or die trying–in this riveting thriller perfect for fans of Jeffery Deaver and Mick Herron.

Noland Twice, a star athlete turned private investigator, can find anyone, no matter how far they run or how well they hide. He works the Orlando-Tampa corridor, a bizarre land where theme parks and tourists coexist with drug deals and crooked businessmen. When a shady local executive, Valkenburg, goes missing, Noland is the only man for the job.

Within hours of taking the case, Noland realizes nothing about this case is going to be easy, and he recruits his friend Kiril to help him with the dirty work when he finds a dead body. But the corpse isn’t the missing man–it’s the body of one of the partners of his construction firm. There’s only one clue as to Valkenburg’s whereabouts: a set of strange numbers hastily scrawled on the dead man’s arm.

When Noland discovers that the numbers are a set of GPS coordinates, he follows the trail to a construction site. At the exact location inscribed on the body, there’s a box buried in the dirt. Inside, he finds a handwritten journal–and a woman’s severed head.

Propulsive and unpredictable, this gritty P.I. thrill ride races through a criminal world where nothing is ever as it seems.
Visit Ash Clifton's website.

My Book, The Movie: Twice the Trouble.

The Page 69 Test: Twice the Trouble.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five titles with small-town settings

Carolyn Kuebler was a co-founder of the literary magazine Rain Taxi and for the past ten years she has been the editor of the New England Review. Her stories and essays have been published in The Common and Colorado Review, among others, and “Wildflower Season,” published in The Massachusetts Review, won the 2022 John Burroughs Award for Nature Essay.

Kuebler’s debut novel is Liquid, Fragile, Perishable.

At Lit Hub she tagged "five books that, with their small-town settings and multiple points of view, could be placed in the tradition of [Sherwood Anderson's] Winesburg, Ohio—and yet, like my own, are nothing like Anderson’s at all." One title on the list:
Linda Legarde Grover, A Song over Miskwaa Rapids

Linda Legarde Grover’s latest novel, set in the fictional Mozhay Point Ojibwe reservation in northern Minnesota, also bears all the hallmarks of small-town fiction, with its layered interpersonal connections, its inescapably present past, and its multiple points of view—including, briefly, a zoom out to the robin who opens and closes the book with his morning song, opiichii, opiichii niin!, starting the new day with his song of “everything that has ever happened.”

On the surface, the book concerns the legal maneuverings around an allotment of land that the tribal government is hoping to purchase from Margie Robineau, who has become deeply attached to the place over the course of her youthful friendships, loveships, and marriage, and has no interest in selling. Hidden beneath the present but concerning these same people, this same land, is a story from half a century earlier, which occupies the center of the book.

Adding yet another dimension are several deceased ancestors—far more gossipy than ghostly—who pull up their lawn chairs and watch over the place. They bicker over the coffee, offer prayers to the Creator, and devise a simple scheme to uncover an unsolved mystery and disrupt the course of events. A dark history of betrayals and losses is always close at hand, but so are the laughter and pleasure that these characters take in each other and in the land they love.

The past is not past, and it is especially unavoidable at the Miskwaa River and Mozhay Point, places Grover returns to frequently in her stories and novels, working these characters’ stories to the surface one by one, lifting them to the light and then burying them again.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Carola Binder's "Shock Values"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Shock Values: Prices and Inflation in American Democracy by Carola Binder.

About the book, from the publisher:
How inflation and deflation fears shape American democracy.

Many foundational moments in American economic history—the establishment of paper money, wartime price controls, the rise of the modern Federal Reserve—occurred during financial panics as prices either inflated or deflated sharply. The government’s decisions in these moments, intended to control price fluctuations, have produced both lasting effects and some of the most contentious debates in the nation’s history.

A sweeping history of the United States’ economy and politics, Shock Values reveals how the American state has been shaped by a massive, ever-evolving effort to insulate its economy from the real and perceived dangers of price fluctuations. Carola Binder narrates how the pains of rising and falling prices have brought lasting changes for every generation of Americans. And with each brush with price instability, the United States has been reinvented—not as a more perfect union, but as a reflection of its most recent failures.

Shock Values tells the untold story of prices and price stabilization in the United States. Expansive and enlightening, Binder recounts the interest-group politics, legal battles, and economic ideas that have shaped a nation from the dawn of the republic to the present.
Visit Carola Binder's website.

The Page 99 Test: Shock Values.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 20, 2024

Ash Clifton's "Twice the Trouble," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Twice the Trouble by Ash Clifton.

The entry begins:
I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about this topic. A lot. Like practically everybody else these days, I'm a movie buff, and in my mind I'm a great film director. Specifically, I’m a big fan of Michael Mann's films, to the point that I believe the tone and pacing of movies like Thief, Heat, and Collateral were an influence on my book. Mann would be at the top of my dream list to direct any adaptation of Twice the Trouble. My second choice would be Nicolas Winding Refn, who directed a brilliant little noir thriller called Drive. That movie, also, had a strong influence on me.

(Heck, I believe that Steven Spielberg would be a great choice as director. No, I’m serious. People think he only directs fantasies, but he has a real dark side. Hello? Jaws? Munich? Schindler’s List?)

Regarding casting, my main character, Noland Twice, is a former star athlete who has become a private investigator. Whoever plays him would need to be relatively young (30-ish) and athletic. Also, Noland is smart, funny, and resourceful. He's a bit of a trickster. To top it all off, he's Southern, so...[read on]
Visit Ash Clifton's website.

My Book, The Movie: Twice the Trouble.

--Marshal Zeringue

Q&A with Kate Feiffer

From my Q&A with Kate Feiffer, author of Morning Pages:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

Morning Pages — three pages written every morning, the moment you wake up. This was Julia Cameron's suggestion to help creatives get over their blocks in her beloved book The Artist’s Way. Just write, it doesn't matter what you're writing, what matters is that you’re writing. The story in my novel Morning Pages is revealed through the main character’s morning pages. I titled my novel for the device used to tell the story. I suppose if her story was told through diary entries, I would have titled the book Diary.

How surprised would your teenage reader self be by your new novel?

We like to believe that we've evolved since our gnarly teenage years, that we think about different things, that the years behind us have provided us with...[read on]
Visit Kate Feiffer's website.

Writers Read: Kate Feiffer (May 2011).

The Page 69 Test: Morning Pages.

Q&A with Kate Feiffer.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eleven books for "The Three-Body Problem" fans

Neil McRobert is a writer and critic with a Ph.D. in contemporary horror fiction. At Vulture he tagged eleven books for fans of Liu Cixin's The Three-Body Problem. One title on the list:
The Doors of Eden, by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Science fiction is full of multiverses. Many stories follow along the branching paths of the Many Worlds theory, in which a butterfly flapping its wings causes an electro-quake in Orion’s Belt or the death of a god on Proxima Centauri. (Great idea actually, noted down!) The Doors of Eden is a different take on the conceit. Rather than positing the various forked futures ahead, Tchaikovsky peers into the deep past, examining all the potential routes of planetary evolution, had conditions differed just slightly. These musings are presented as interstitial chapters in between the central thrust of the plot, which concerns strange creatures on the English moors and a shadowy governmental conspiracy. It’s all great rollocking stuff, but those evolutionary thought experiments are where the author’s imagination really takes flight. Most fans would recommend Tchaikovsky’s lauded “Children of Time” trilogy, but The Doors of Eden shares more of the niche scientific enthusiasm of The Three-Body Problem.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue