Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Pg. 99: Danilo Mandić's "Gangsters and Other Statesmen"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Gangsters and Other Statesmen: Mafias, Separatists, and Torn States in a Globalized World by Danilo Mandic.

About the book, from the publisher:
How global organized crime shapes the politics of borders in modern conflicts

Separatism has been on the rise across the world since the end of the Cold War, dividing countries through political strife, ethnic conflict, and civil war, and redrawing the political map. Gangsters and Other Statesmen examines the role transnational mafias play in the success and failure of separatist movements, challenging conventional wisdom about the interrelation of organized crime with peacebuilding, nationalism, and state making.

Danilo Mandić conducted fieldwork in the disputed territories of Kosovo and South Ossetia, talking to mobsters, separatists, and policymakers in war zones and along major smuggling routes. In this timely and provocative book, he demonstrates how globalized mafias shape the politics of borders in torn states, shedding critical light on an autonomous nonstate actor that has been largely sidelined by considerations of geopolitics, state-centered agency, and ethnonationalism. Blending extensive archival sleuthing and original ethnographic data with insights from sociology and other disciplines, Mandić argues that organized crime can be a fateful determinant of state capacity, separatist success, and ethnic conflict.

Putting mafias at the center of global processes of separatism and territorial consolidation, Gangsters and Other Statesmen raises vital questions and urges reconsideration of a host of separatist cases in West Africa, the Middle East, and East Europe.
Learn more about Gangsters and Other Statesmen at the Princeton University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Gangsters and Other Statesmen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten chilling thrillers to get you through the winter storms

Alice Blanchard is an award-winning author.

Her latest novel is The Wicked Hour.

At CrimeReads, Blanchard tagged ten chilling tales to get you through a winter storm, including:
Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Does one terrible mistake make you a terrible person? This is the disturbing question behind Jennifer Hillier’s grisly, harrowing thriller “Jar of Hearts.” When 16-year-old Geo’s best friend Angela goes missing, only Geo knows what really happened. Fourteen years later, when Angela’s body is found, Geo must testify against her former boyfriend, the Sweetbay Strangler. When he escapes from prison and new bodies start showing up, Geo’s life is in jeopardy—but what really happened back then? That’s the accelerant behind this dark twisty story of flawed characters, turbulent relationships, betrayal, obsession and self-delusion. The ending blew me away.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Kristy Dallas Alley's "The Ballad of Ami Miles," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Ballad of Ami Miles by Kristy Dallas Alley.

The entry begins:
I have imagined the opening sequence of The Ballad of Ami Miles so often that it plays in my mind like the memory of a movie I've watched again and again. I can see the POV shot of trees and forest floor as Ami tromps confidently toward home, not knowing her world is about to be turned upside down. I see the stiff forms of her grandparents and the strange man standing in the yard where she isn't expecting to find anything out of the ordinary, surrounded by the desolation of Heavenly Shepard, her family's trailer dealership-turned survival compound where they live in isolation after viral infertility has wiped out the world as we know it. She runs away to a communal settlement that is built in a real place, Lake Point state park near Eufaula, Alabama, and I picture it both as its real self and as the older, shabbier version in my mental movie of this book. But the casting keeps changing, as young actors quickly grow up and new talents constantly appear. 

For this "dream casting," I wanted to pick actors who could fit the roles right now. 

The main characters: 

Ami: Sadie Sink who played Max in Stranger Things fits the physical description of Ami pretty perfectly, and I think she's a good fit overall. 

Jessie: There's a young independent film actress named Stella Cole who I think would make a perfect Jessie. For a big-name choice, I can see...[read on]
Follow Kristy Dallas Alley on Facebook and Twitter.

My Book, The Movie: The Ballad of Ami Miles.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Pg. 69: Thomas Perry's "Eddie's Boy"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Eddie's Boy: A Butcher's Boy Novel by Thomas Perry.

About the book, from the publisher:
Michael Shaeffer is a retired American businessman, living peacefully in England with his aristocratic wife. But her annual summer party brings strangers to their house, and with them, an attempt on Michael’s life. He is immediately thrust into action, luring his lethal pursuers to Australia before venturing into the lion’s den—the States—to figure out why the mafia is after him again, and how to stop them.

Eddie’s Boy jumps between Michael’s current predicament and the past, between the skillset he now ruthlessly and successfully employs and the training that made him what he is. We glimpse the days before he became the Butcher's Boy, the highly skilled hit man who pulled a slaughter job on some double-crossing clients and started a mob war, to his childhood spent apprenticed to Eddie, a seasoned hired assassin. And we watch him pit two prominent mafia families against each other to eliminate his enemies one by one.

He’s meticulous in his approach, using an old contact turned adversary in the Organized Crime Division of the Justice Department for information, without ever allowing her to get too close to his trail. But will he be able to escape this new wave of young contract killers, or will the years finally catch up to him?

Perry’s Edgar Award–winning Butcher’s Boy returns in full force in this exhilarating new installment to the beloved series.
Learn more about the book and author at Thomas Perry's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Silence.

The Page 99 Test: Nightlife.

The Page 69/99 Test: Fidelity.

The Page 69/99 Test: Runner.

The Page 69 Test: Strip.

The Page 69 Test: The Informant.

The Page 69 Test: The Boyfriend.

The Page 69 Test: A String of Beads.

The Page 69 Test: Forty Thieves.

The Page 69 Test: The Old Man.

The Page 69 Test: The Bomb Maker.

The Page 69 Test: The Burglar.

The Page 69 Test: A Small Town.

Writers Read: Thomas Perry (December 2019).

Q&A with Thomas Perry.

The Page 69 Test: Eddie's Boy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books that are pulpy in all the right ways

James S. Murray is a writer, executive producer, and actor, best known as "Murr" on the hit television show Impractical Jokers on truTV. He is also one of the stars of the TV show The Misery Index on TBS along with his comedy troupe, The Tenderloins.

His new novel, with Darren Wearmouth, is Don't Move.

At Tor.com, Murray tagged five gory, creepy page-turners that still offer the best of modern storytelling. One title on the list:
Security by Gina Wohlsdorf

A new luxury resort is set to open in California. But when a hyper methodical murderer begins picking off the staff one by one, the opening ribbon meant for cutting is quickly transformed into crime scene tape. Wohlsdorf’s debut is an instant classic in my book. Using completely original and fresh storytelling devices, Wohlsdorf has somehow achieved making the reader feel like they’re inside of the security cameras bearing witness to the atrocities taking place within the resort. The entire novel is written from a sinisterly detached perspective, a technique that somehow amplifies the gore in a way that only a twisted and cold robotic mind could conceive. If you’re looking for bloody, mysterious murders that will keep your detective side guessing until the very tragic end, Security is the read for you.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Security.

My Book, The Movie: Security.

--Marshal Zeringue

Q&A with Josh Swiller

From my Q&A with Josh Swiller, author of Bright Shining World:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?
Photo by Heather Ainsworth

Bright Shining World is a straightforward title that right away gets mysterious as it doesn’t at all fit the action at the opening. But that is kind of the book in a nutshell: not what it seems to be. The title makes more sense at the end of the book for sure.

What's in a name?

I just liked the name Wallace, back from the character in the absolutely magnificent HBO show The Wire. Conveys a decency. In the book his last name is Cole but his placeholder last name through the early drafts was...[read on]
Visit Josh Swiller's website.

The Page 69 Test: Bright Shining World.

Q&A with Josh Swiller.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Nimisha Barton's "Reproductive Citizens"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Reproductive Citizens: Gender, Immigration, and the State in Modern France, 1880–1945 by Nimisha Barton.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the familiar tale of mass migration to France from 1880 onward, we know very little about the hundreds of thousands of women who formed a critical part of those migration waves. In Reproductive Citizens, Nimisha Barton argues that their relative absence in the historical record hints at a larger and more problematic oversight—the role of sex and gender in shaping the experiences of migrants to France before the Second World War.

Barton's compelling history of social citizenship demonstrates how, through the routine application of social policies, state and social actors worked separately toward a shared goal: repopulating France with immigrant families. Filled with voices gleaned from census reports, municipal statistics, naturalization dossiers, court cases, police files, and social worker registers, Reproductive Citizens shows how France welcomed foreign-born men and women—mobilizing naturalization, family law, social policy, and welfare assistance to ensure they would procreate, bearing French-assimilated children. Immigrants often embraced these policies because they, too, stood to gain from pensions, family allowances, unemployment benefits, and French nationality. By striking this bargain, they were also guaranteed safety and stability on a tumultuous continent.

Barton concludes that, in return for generous social provisions and refuge in dark times, immigrants joined the French nation through marriage and reproduction, breadwinning and child-rearing—in short, through families and family-making—which made them more French than even formal citizenship status could.
Visit Nimisha Barton's website.

The Page 99 Test: Reproductive Citizens.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 30, 2020

Sixteen nonfiction books that tried to define America

Tom Zoellner is the author of several nonfiction books, including Island on Fire: The Revolt that Ended Slavery in the British Empire and the newly released The National Road: Dispatches from a Changing America.

At Electric Lit, he tagged sixteen attempts at the "one nonfiction book that encapsulated the grandeur, folly, ugliness, bravado, idealism, and tempestuousness of the United States of America," including:
These Truths, by Jill Lepore

The Harvard historian takes us from 1600 up to 2018 in a whopper of a volume that cannot possibly have everything stuffed into it. But Lepore makes a valiant attempt to fit in as much color and analysis as possible in 955 pages about the first nation in the world, as she puts it, to be governed “not by accident and force but by reason and choice.” Wars, strikes, riots, slavery, new religions, emancipation, skyscrapers, railroads, movies, highways, muskets, prisons, capitol swamps—all of it pinned down in readable prose, never minding what had to be left out for space. Lepore could have been writing this DAV ["Defining America Volume"] for the rest of her career.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Tessa Arlen's "Poppy Redfern and the Fatal Flyers"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Poppy Redfern and the Fatal Flyers by Tessa Arlen.

About the book, from the publisher:
Poppy Redfern is back on the case when two female fighter pilots take a fatal dive in an all-new Woman of World War II Mystery by Tessa Arlen. 

It is the late autumn of 1942. Our indomitable heroine Poppy Redfern is thoroughly immersed in her new job as a scriptwriter at the London Crown Film Unit, which produces short films featuring British civilians who perform acts of valor and heroism in wartime. After weeks of typing copy and sharpening pencils, Poppy is thrilled to receive her first solo script project: a fifteen-minute film about the Air Transport Auxiliary, known as Attagirls, a group of female civilians who have been trained to pilot planes from factories to military airfields all over Britain. 

Poppy could not be more excited to spend time with these amazing ladies, but she never expects to see one of the best pilots die in what is being labeled an accident. When another Attagirl meets a similar fate, Poppy and her American fighter-pilot boyfriend, Griff, believe foul play may be at work. They soon realize that a murderer with a desire for revenge is dead set on grounding the Attagirls for good....
Visit Tessa Arlen's website.

See Tessa Arlen’s top five historical novels.

Coffee with a Canine: Tessa Arlen & Daphne.

The Page 69 Test: Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman.

My Book, The Movie: Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman.

The Page 69 Test: Death Sits Down to Dinner.

My Book, The Movie: Death Sits Down to Dinner.

The Page 69 Test: A Death by Any Other Name.

The Page 69 Test: Death of an Unsung Hero.

Writers Read: Tessa Arlen (November 2019).

The Page 69 Test: Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders.

Q&A with Tessa Arlen.

The Page 69 Test: Poppy Redfern and the Fatal Flyers.

--Marshal Zeringue

Q&A with Thomas Perry

From my Q&A with Thomas Perry, author of Eddie's Boy: A Butcher's Boy Novel:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story? 

The title Eddie's Boy operates differently for two kinds of readers. This is the fourth volume of the Butcher's Boy series, which I wrote over nearly forty years. Many readers will be familiar with the book and will know Eddie, the neighborhood butcher who raised the boy, and know that the Butcher's Boy isn't as threatening a name as some characters think. Or is it? For anyone, the title should hint at the fact that this is going to be a story about a man in the present, but that many things that are parts of it happened in the distant past, when this elderly man was a boy. Maybe a reader will come to the thought that even when a man has white hair, he's still...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Thomas Perry's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Silence.

The Page 99 Test: Nightlife.

The Page 69/99 Test: Fidelity.

The Page 69/99 Test: Runner.

The Page 69 Test: Strip.

The Page 69 Test: The Informant.

The Page 69 Test: The Boyfriend.

The Page 69 Test: A String of Beads.

The Page 69 Test: Forty Thieves.

The Page 69 Test: The Old Man.

The Page 69 Test: The Bomb Maker.

The Page 69 Test: The Burglar.

The Page 69 Test: A Small Town.

Writers Read: Thomas Perry (December 2019).

Q&A with Thomas Perry.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Five SFF books packed with twists and turns

Born and raised in the sunny lands of Portugal, Diana Pinguicha is a computer engineer graduate who currently lives in Lisbon. She can usually be found writing, painting, devouring extraordinary quantities of books and video games, or walking around with her bearded dragon, Norberta. She also has two cats, Sushi and Jubas, who would never forgive her if she didn’t mention them. 

Pinguicha's new novel, her debut, is A Curse of Roses

At Tor.com she tagged five sci-fi & fantasy "books that start one way, and by the time you’re done with them, there have been so many twists and turns your brain will feel like it’s completely lost in a maze," including:
This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

I read this book three or so years ago, and it was like being in a fever dream. Emily Suvada’s debut is a YA Science Fiction novel about Cat, whose father was the world’s leading geneticist and probably the only hope at finding a cure for a deadly virus. Now, I realize we’re going through a pandemic at the time of this article, and not everyone wants to read about fictional viruses ravaging the planet.

The genetic-engineering science in this novel doesn’t exist, but it’s done and explored in such a way you will believe it. The worldbuilding is incredibly complex, yet accessible. There’s a Pigeon Poem—yes, you read that right, a pigeon poem. And there are so many plot twists between these pages, you will constantly find yourself screaming at just how it’s possible that Suvada packed so many things into this book and did it successfully. By the end of the book, you still won’t have found our way out of the maze, but you’ll be so into it you’ll be breathing the next two books like it’s the freshest mountain air.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Julia Ember's "Ruinsong"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Ruinsong by Julia Ember.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Julia Ember's dark and lush LGBTQ+ romantic fantasy Ruinsong, two young women from rival factions must work together to reunite their country, as they wrestle with their feelings for each other.

Her voice was her prison…

Now it’s her weapon.

In a world where magic is sung, a powerful mage named Cadence has been forced to torture her country's disgraced nobility at her ruthless queen's bidding.

But when she is reunited with her childhood friend, a noblewoman with ties to the underground rebellion, she must finally make a choice: Take a stand to free their country from oppression, or follow in the queen’s footsteps and become a monster herself.
Visit Julia Ember's website.

The Page 69 Test: Ruinsong.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Michael J. Brown's "Hope and Scorn"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Hope and Scorn: Eggheads, Experts, and Elites in American Politics by Michael J. Brown.

About the book, from the publisher:
Intellectuals “have been both rallying points and railed against in American politics, vessels of hope and targets of scorn,” writes Michael J. Brown as he invigorates a recurrent debate in American life: Are intellectual public figures essential voices of knowledge and wisdom, or out-of-touch elites? Hope and Scorn investigates the role of high-profile experts and thinkers in American life and their ever-fluctuating relationship with the political and public spheres.

From Eisenhower’s era to Obama’s, the intellectual’s role in modern democracy has been up for debate. What makes an intellectual, and who can claim that privileged title? What are intellectuals’ obligations to society, and how, if at all, are their contributions compatible with democracy? For some, intellectuals were models of civic engagement. For others, the rise of the intellectual signaled the fall of the citizen. Carrying us through six key moments in this debate, Brown expertly untangles the shifting anxieties and aspirations for democracy in America in the second half of the twentieth century and beyond. Hope and Scorn begins with “egghead” politicians like Adlai Stevenson; profiles scholars like Richard Hofstadter and scholars-turned-politicians like H. Stuart Hughes; and ends with the rise of public intellectuals such as bell hooks and Cornel West. In clear and unburdened prose, Brown explicates issues of power, authority, political backlash, and more. Hope and Scorn is an essential guide to American concerns about intellectuals, their myriad shortcomings, and their formidable abilities.
Learn more about Hope and Scorn at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Hope and Scorn.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Five unconventional fictional families that might make you miss your own

Katie Yee is a Brooklyn-based writer and the Book Marks associate editor at Lit Hub. If you follow @bookmarksreads on Instagram, you'll see lots of photos of her rescue dog, Oliver.

At Lit Hub she tagged five unconventional fictional families that’ll make you miss your own. (Maybe.) One title on the list:
Mitsuko and Benson in Bryan Washington’s Memorial

Benson and Mike have been together for years, but when Mike learns his estranged father is dying, he flies to Japan to see him… just as his mother, Mitsuko, has arrived for a visit. Yes, Memorial is about a romantic relationship that has lost some of its momentum (Benson and Mike) and about the obligations one feels towards bloodlines (Mike and his father). But the most rewarding bond is the unexpected relationship that forms between Mitsuko and Benson: a true example of a forged family. (Plus, the cherished role that food plays in our shared sense of family.)
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Elinor Lipman's "Rachel to the Rescue," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Rachel to the Rescue by Elinor Lipman.

The entry begins:
I don’t think about casting a movie while writing a novel because movie dreams are pie in the sky. (Of my 12 novels, many were optioned but only one, Then She Found Me, made it to the screen, thanks to Helen Hunt. ) But if pressed, I would come up with the maybe-surprising choice of Halley Feiffer to play the title role in novel number 13, Rachel to the Rescue.

Why? Because she is funny; because she can play naturally, innocently gee-whiz funny; funny-insecure and funny-appealing. When I saw her in the movie she co-wrote and starred in, He’s Way More Famous Than You, she played a needy, on-the-skids version of herself, yet lovable. I’ll never forget her character bicycling down Broadway in a red sundress, singing “My Vagina,” as if...[read on]
Visit Elinor Lipman's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Family Man.

The Page 99 Test: I Can't Complain.

The Page 69 Test: Good Riddance.

Writers Read: Elinor Lipman (February 2019).

My Book, The Movie: Rachel to the Rescue.

--Marshal Zeringue

Q&A with Andrea Portes

From my Q&A with Andrea Portes, author of This Is Not a Ghost Story:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

You always want a title to have a kind of question to it. So, for instance, This is Not a Ghost Story really should be more like, “Why is this not a ghost story? What do ghosts have to do with any of this?” And, of course, it is a ghost story. But it is so much more than that. Without giving anything away, I’d say there are two kinds of hauntings occurring simultaneously in this book. The reader is then challenged to figure out what exactly those hauntings are, to figure out...[read on]
Visit Andrea Portes's website.

My Book, The Movie: This Is Not a Ghost Story.

The Page 69 Test: This Is Not a Ghost Story.

Q&A with Andrea Portes.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 27, 2020

Five top mysteries set on islands

Catriona McPherson was born in Scotland and lived there until immigrating to the US in 2010. She writes the multi-award-winning Dandy Gilver series, set in the old country in the 1930s, as well as a strand of multi-award-winning psychological thrillers. Very different awards. After eight years in the new country, she kicked off the humorous Last Ditch Motel series, which takes a wry look at California life. These are not multi-award-winning, but the first two won the same award in consecutive years, which still isn’t too shabby.

[My Book, The Movie: The Turning Tide; The Page 69 Test: The Turning Tide.]

McPherson is a proud lifetime member and former national president of Sisters in Crime.

Her latest Dandy Gilver mystery is The Turning Tide.

At CrimeReads, McPherson tagged five of her favorite mystery plots set on islands, including:
The Island: Tregarrick / Tresco / Burgh
The Novel: Death at High Tide

My island-hopping tour of crime fiction comes full circle with Hannah Dennison’s Death at High Tide. It takes place on the Isles of Scilly, specifically on a tidal island that’s half Tresco and half Christie’s Burgh, only with a much dowdier hotel. I’m a longtime fan of Dennison’s writing and would have followed her to any setting, but a recent widow and her sister mysteriously inheriting a run-down, once splendid, Art Deco pile and hot-footing it off there? I couldn’t have been more in. The writing of recent grief is sharp and convincing, but the book has a sunny nature overall. Like Ann Cleeves’ Shetland books, it’s pitch-perfect on the feuds and friendships, alliances and claustrophobia, of an isolated community. The relationship between the sisters is appealing and authentic and the dangers of fog, tides, and cliffs are to the fore. If I’d read this as a kid, I might never have gone on all those stealth picnics to Cramond.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Bill Hayton's "The Invention of China"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Invention of China by Bill Hayton.

About the book, from the publisher:
A provocative account showing that “China”—and its 5,000 years of unified history—is a national myth, created only a century ago with a political agenda that persists to this day

China’s current leadership lays claim to a 5,000-year-old civilization, but “China” as a unified country and people, Bill Hayton argues, was created far more recently by a small group of intellectuals.

In this compelling account, Hayton shows how China’s present-day geopolitical problems—the fates of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, and the South China Sea—were born in the struggle to create a modern nation-state. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, reformers and revolutionaries adopted foreign ideas to “invent’ a new vision of China. By asserting a particular, politicized version of the past the government bolstered its claim to a vast territory stretching from the Pacific to Central Asia. Ranging across history, nationhood, language, and territory, Hayton shows how the Republic’s reworking of its past not only helped it to justify its right to rule a century ago—but continues to motivate and direct policy today.
Visit Bill Hayton's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Invention of China.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Caroline Kim's "The Prince of Mournful Thoughts and Other Stories"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Prince of Mournful Thoughts and Other Stories by Caroline Kim.

About the book, from the publisher:
Exploring what it means to be human through the Korean diaspora, Caroline Kim’s stories feature many voices. From a teenage girl in 1980’s America, to a boy growing up in the middle of the Korean War, to an immigrant father struggling to be closer to his adult daughter, or to a suburban housewife whose equilibrium depends upon a therapy robot, each character must face their less-than-ideal circumstances and find a way to overcome them without losing themselves. Language often acts as a barrier as characters try, fail, and momentarily succeed in connecting with each other. With humor, insight, and curiosity, Kim’s wide-ranging stories explore themes of culture, communication, travel, and family. Ultimately, what unites these characters across time and distance is their longing for human connection and a search for the place—or people—that will feel like home.
Visit Caroline Kim's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Prince of Mournful Thoughts and Other Stories.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Q&A with Megan Bannen

From my Q&A with Megan Bannen, author of Soulswift:
Do you see much of yourself in your characters? Do they have any connection to your personality, or are they a world apart?

I think all characters are fragments of the author, or, at least, that's true in my case. As I mentioned earlier, I wrote Soulswift for my teenage self who struggled with faith, so Gelya, the main character, feels very much as I felt at age seventeen. Tavik, the
other major character in the book, might seem like her polar opposite, but in many ways, he's more me than even Gelya is. His tendency to cut tension and cloak insecurity with a robust sense of humor is 100% Megan. Even the Goodson, the novel's antagonist, has a certain amount wisdom and experience that comes from a writer who is, herself, middle-aged. I don't know that I could have...[read on]
Visit Megan Bannen's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Megan Bannen & Brontë.

The Page 69 Test: The Bird and the Blade.

Q&A with Megan Bannen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten books about consent

Mia Levitin is a cultural and literary critic based in London. Her work appears regularly in publications including the Financial Times, The Spectator and the Guardian.

She is the author of The Future of Seduction.

At the Guardian, Levitin tagged ten of the "books that informed [her] understanding of the complexities of consent," including:
Boys & Sex by Peggy Orenstein

Having interviewed more than 100 American college and college-bound boys, Orenstein sheds light on their views of masculinity and intimacy. It’s not that young men can’t read cues on consent, she concluded from her conversations, but that – due in large part to an unprecedented exposure to porn – they have been conditioned to prioritise their pleasure and interpret the cues through the lens of their own desires. Sex education, as such, would do well to address these blind spots, as well as remind young people that, as the educator Shafia Zaloom suggests, consent only ensures that sex is legal; it doesn’t necessarily make it ethical or good.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 99 Test: Boys & Sex.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Helen Fry's "MI9"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: MI9: A History of the Secret Service for Escape and Evasion in World War Two by Helen Fry.

About the book, from the publisher:
A thrilling history of MI9—the WWII organization that engineered the escape of Allied forces from behind enemy lines

When Allied fighters were trapped behind enemy lines, one branch of military intelligence helped them escape: MI9. The organization set up clandestine routes that zig-zagged across Nazi-occupied Europe, enabling soldiers and airmen to make their way home. Secret agents and resistance fighters risked their lives and those of their families to hide the men.

Drawing on declassified files and eye-witness testimonies from across Europe and the United States, Helen Fry provides a significant reassessment of MI9’s wartime role. Central to its success were figures such as Airey Neave, Jimmy Langley, Sam Derry, and Mary Lindell—one of only a few women parachuted into enemy territory for MI9. This astonishing account combines escape and evasion tales with the previously untold stories behind the establishment of MI9—and reveals how the organization saved thousands of lives.
Visit Helen Fry's website.

The Page 99 Test: The London Cage.

The Page 99 Test: The Walls Have Ears.

The Page 99 Test: MI9.

--Marshal Zeringue