Monday, October 31, 2011

What is David O. Stewart reading?

Today's featured contributor at Writers Read: David O. Stewart, author of American Emperor: Aaron Burr's Challenge to Jefferson's America.

The entry begins:
Reading great narrative histories helps get me through the fretful days surrounding the launch of my new book, American Emperor, and I have enjoyed several excellent books in this stretch. Adam Goodheart’s 1861 offers a terrific view of how a nation goes to war, assembling fascinating scraps of social history into a powerful mosaic. I’ve read a lot of Civil War history, but 1861 taught me a great deal I did not know.

Three other recent books have focused on America at the turn of the last century. James McGrath Morris’s Pulitzer gives a fascinating, three-dimensional look at that brilliant, hopelessly...[read on]
Among the early praise for American Emperor:
“Talk about a page turner! David O. Stewart has written a riveting account of Aaron Burr’s swashbuckling adventures in the American West.”
--Douglas Brinkley, author of The Wilderness Warrior, Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America

“A fresh, vivid exploration of the exploits and trial of Aaron Burr (1756–1836), the most notorious figure of the early American republic. . . Stewart works the miracle of making even early-19th-century legal opinions and argument accessible and vital to modern readers. Two parts adventure story and one part courtroom thriller, Burr’s saga unfolds in “a North America of possibilities, not certainties,” . . . The author . . . lays out this complicated story with admirable clarity, while also explaining the long-term significance of its outcome for individual rights, the judiciary and the stability of the young nation. A persuasive, engaging examination.”
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Stewart’s American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America is a rattling tale . . . The author, who has written two other compelling works of American history, is that rare commodity: a lawyer who writes well. . . .The complexity of his topic does not inhibit his narrative in the least. He depicts his subject in all his eccentric vainglory.”
--David Holahan, Christian Science Monitor
Learn more about the book and author at David O. Stewart's website and blog.

Stewart's books include the highly acclaimed The Summer of 1787, the bestselling account of the writing of the Constitution, and Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy.

The Page 99 Test: Impeached.

My Book, The Movie: American Emperor.

Writers Read: David O. Stewart.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five best novels with spinster protagonists

Helen Oyeyemi was born in Nigeria in 1984 and moved to London when she was four. She is the author of The Icarus Girl, The Opposite House, White is for Witching, which won a 2010 Somerset Maugham Award, and, most recently, Mr Fox.

One of her five best books with a spinster protagonist, as told to the Wall Street Journal:
The Bunner Sisters
by Edith Wharton (1916)

'I always think if we ask for more what we have may be taken from us," Ann Eliza Bunner murmurs to her younger sister, Evelina. It's late-19th-century New York City and the Bunner sisters run a shop that does an uncertain trade in "artificial flowers, bands of scalloped flannel, wire hat-frames, and jars of home-made preserves." This is a story of the saddest magnificence. Evelina is the bolder sister—she accepts an unsuitable marriage proposal, moves away with her husband and no good comes of it. Ann Eliza stays alone in New York and struggles to maintain a fineness of spirit: "She saw the form of Solitude at her door. Ann Eliza was but a small person to harbour so great a guest, and a trembling sense of insufficiency possessed her. She had no high musings to offer to the new companion of her hearth." Ann Eliza is the braver sister; ultimately she has courage enough for both herself and Evelina.
Read about another novel on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Lisa A. Keister's "Faith and Money"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: Faith and Money: How Religion Contributes to Wealth and Poverty by Lisa A. Keister.

About the book, from the publisher:
For those who own it, wealth can have extraordinary advantages. High levels of wealth can enhance educational attainment, create occupational opportunities, generate social influence, and provide a buffer against financial emergencies. Even a small amount of savings can improve security, mitigate the effects of job loss and other financial setbacks, and improve well-being dramatically. Although the benefits of wealth are significant, they are not enjoyed uniformly throughout the United States. In the United States, because religion is an important part of cultural orientation, religious beliefs should affect material well-being. This book explores the way religious orientations and beliefs affect Americans' incomes, savings, and net worth.
Learn more about Faith and Money at the Cambridge University Press website.

Lisa A. Keister is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Director of the Markets and Management Studies Program at Duke University.

The Page 99 Test: Faith and Money.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Rebecca Coleman's "The Kingdom of Childhood"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: The Kingdom of Childhood by Rebecca Coleman.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Kingdom of Childhood is the story of a boy and a woman: sixteen-year-old Zach Patterson, uprooted and struggling to reconcile his knowledge of his mother's extramarital affair, and Judy McFarland, a kindergarten teacher watching her family unravel before her eyes. Thrown together to organize a fundraiser for their failing private school and bonded by loneliness, they begin an affair that at first thrills, then corrupts each of them. Judy sees in Zach the elements of a young man she loved as a child, but what Zach does not realize is that their relationship is—for Judy—only the latest in a lifetime of disturbing secrets.

Rebecca Coleman's manuscript for The Kingdom of Childhood was a semifinalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition. An emotionally tense, chilling work of fiction set in the controversial Waldorf school community, it is equal parts enchanting and unsettling and is sure to be a much-discussed and much-debated novel.
Learn more about the book and author at Rebecca Coleman's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Kingdom of Childhood.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ten of the best literary women dressed as men

At the Guardian, John Mullan named ten of the best women dressed as men in literature.

One book on his list:
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Out in the wilderness, Don Quixote's friends are looking for the deluded knight. They meet Dorothea, a young woman wearing male clothing. She tells her tragic story – she has been seduced then discarded by a rich man's son and has adopted this disguise in order to flee.
Read about another entry on the list.

Don Quixote was the second most popular book among prisoners at the U.S. base at Guantánamo Bay. It is on John Mullan's list of ten of the best books written in prison.

Paul Auster always returns to Don Quixote; Claire Messud hasn't read it.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is David Anthony Durham reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: David Anthony Durham, author of Acacia, The Other Lands, and The Sacred Band.

His entry begins:
The novel on my night table at the moment is Arms of Nemesis, by Steven Saylor. There’s a particular reason for this.

My next contracted book is about the Spartacus slave rebellion in ancient Rome. It’s to be a straight historical novel. As part of my research I try to read as much as I can about the period I’m writing in. The bulk of that is non-fiction, but I also enjoy reading novels set in Ancient Rome. A while back I read and enjoyed Saylor’s Roma. That one was a novel made up of linked stories that covered the early history of Rome, from its founding all the way up to the late Republic. It was a departure for him. He usually writes mysteries featuring a Roman Private Investigator named Gordianus the Finder. When I learned that one of those Gordianus novels is set during the Spartacus rebellion I knew I had to take a look.

I’m about halfway through and...[read on]
Among the early praise for The Sacred Band:
"Durham brings his sci-fi Acacia Trilogy to a satisfying close. Samuel R. Delany meets Cormac McCarthy meets J.R.R. Tolkien as the striking and subtly powerful Corinn Akaran settles into queenship over the Known World just in time to take up arms with the Other Lands.... [Durham] takes time to paint scenes in words that other writers might brush away...and [his] pages are full of thrilling action that would do Tolkien proud. A close, yes—but with wiggle room for more Acacian adventures. At any rate, on the strength of this installment, Durham’s many fans will be clamoring for more."
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"This triumphant conclusion to the Acacia trilogy vindicates Durham's resurrection of a major character in 2009's The Other Lands. Corinn Akaran, queen of Acacia, used her ever-growing magical powers to revive her brother Aliver to aid her defense of her kingdom. But there are no simple resolutions to the challenges facing Corinn and her siblings, and the gap widens between the means she employs and the ends she pursues. Durham provides a graphic and chilling look at how far Corinn is willing to go to advance her cause as she brutally massacres opposing armies, and that's just the beginning. A smooth plot, Corinn's well-developed character, and Durham's stellar prose and rich imagination will have many traditional fantasy fans hoping for future books set in this turbulent world."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Provides the best of both worlds: epic world-changing conflict and touching character-centered story. What else could you possibly want?”
—Patrick Rothfuss, author of The Wise Man’s Fear, a #1 New York Times bestseller
Learn more about the book and author at David Anthony Durham's website, blog, and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Acacia.

The Page 69 Test: The Other Lands.

The Page 69 Test: The Sacred Band.

Writers Read: David Anthony Durham.

--Marshal Zeringue

David O. Stewart's "American Emperor," the movie

Now showing at My Book, The Movie: American Emperor by David O. Stewart.

The entry begins:
For an actor in his middle years, Aaron Burr in American Emperor would be the role of a lifetime. The charismatic Burr, who romanced the ladies wherever he went, had remarkable adventures. A face-off with Thomas Jefferson in the election of 1800! Dueling with Alexander Hamilton! Traveling through America’s frontier to recruit an army to conquer Mexico and Florida! Defending himself against treason charges and cheating the gallows in a trial before Chief Justice John Marshall! To capture the mystery and magnetism of Burr, John...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at David O. Stewart's website and blog.

Stewart's books include the highly acclaimed The Summer of 1787, the bestselling account of the writing of the Constitution, and Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy.

The Page 99 Test: Impeached.

My Book, The Movie: American Emperor.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pg. 99: Ken Ballen's "Terrorists in Love"

This weekend's feature at the Page 99 Test: Terrorists in Love: The Real Lives of Islamic Radicals by Ken Ballen.

About the book, from the publisher:
Imagine a world where a boy's dreams dictate the behavior of warriors in battle; where a young couple's only release from forbidden love is death; where religious extremism, blind hatred, and endemic corruption combine to form a lethal ideology that can hijack a man's life forever. This is the world of Terrorists in Love.

A former federal prosecutor and congressional investigator, Ken Ballen spent five years as a pollster and a researcher with rare access—via local government officials, journalists, and clerics—interviewing more than a hundred Islamic radicals, asking them searching questions about their inner lives, deepest faith, and what it was that ultimately drove them to jihad. Intimate and enlightening, Terrorists in Love opens a fresh window into the realm of violent extremism as Ballen profiles six of these men—from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia—revealing a universe of militancy so strange that it seems suffused with magical realism.

Mystical dreams and visions, the demonic figure of the United States, intense sexual repression, crumbling family and tribal structures—the story that emerges here is both shocking and breathtakingly complex. Terrorists in Love introduces us to men like Ahmad Al-Shayea, an Al Qaeda suicide bomber who survives his attack only to become fiercely pro-American; Zeddy, who trains terrorists while being paid by America's ally, the Pakistani Army; and Malik, Taliban leader Mullah Omar's personal seer. Lifting the veil on the mysterious world of Muslim holy warriors, Ballen probes these men's deepest secrets, revealing the motivations behind their deadly missions and delivering a startling new exploration of what drives them to violence and why there is yet an unexpected hope for peace. An extraordinarily gifted listener and storyteller, Ballen takes us where no one has dared to go—deep into the secret heart of Islamic fundamentalism, providing a glimpse at the lives, loves, frustrations, and methods of those whose mission it is to destroy us.
Learn more about the book and author at the Terrorists in Love website.

The Page 99 Test: Terrorists in Love.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books by 2012 presidential hopefuls

At the Christian Science Monitor, Husna Haq tagged five books by the 2012 presidential hopefuls, including--under the category "most authentic"--Ron Paul's End the Fed:
Running for the third time, Libertarian Ron Paul comes across as authentic and unwavering in his beliefs, in both his campaign and his books, Wes Benedict, executive director of the Libertarian National Committee in Washington, told the Monitor. “He’s been consistent for 40 years, even his detractors say that he tells the truth the way he sees it and he sticks to his principles.”

A prolific author, Paul has penned more than 10 books, including “Freedom Under Siege: The U.S. Constitution after 200 Years,” “A Foreign Policy of Freedom,” “End The Fed,” “The Revolution: A Manifesto,” and his most recent, “Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom.”

In "End the Fed," Congressman Paul argues that the present monetary system under the Federal Reserve is immoral and unnecessary. “The entire federal government is one giant toxic asset at the moment,” he writes. “It certainly has no business telling the private sector how to run its affairs.” He continues later in the book, “"Nothing good can come from the Federal Reserve," Paul writes. It's "immoral, unconstitutional, impractical, promotes bad economics, and undermines liberty."

As he’s illustrated throughout his long career, Paul knows how to take an honest and unwavering, if radical, stand.
Read about the best written books by a candidate.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Brian Doyle's "Mink River"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Mink River by Brian Doyle.

About the book, from the publisher:
Like Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood and Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, Brian Doyle’s stunning fiction debut brings a town to life through the jumbled lives and braided stories of its people.

In a small town on the Oregon coast there are love affairs and almost-love-affairs, mystery and hilarity, bears and tears, brawls and boats, a garrulous logger and a silent doctor, rain and pain, Irish immigrants and Salish stories, mud and laughter. There’s a Department of Public Works that gives haircuts and counts insects, a policeman addicted to Puccini, a philosophizing crow, beer and berries. An expedition is mounted, a crime committed, and there’s an unbelievably huge picnic on the football field. Babies are born. A car is cut in half with a saw. A river confesses what it’s thinking…

It’s the tale of a town, written in a distinct and lyrical voice, and readers will close the book more than a little sad to leave the village of Neawanaka, on the wet coast of Oregon, beneath the hills that used to boast the biggest trees in the history of the world.
Read more about Mink River at the publisher's website.

My Book, The Movie: Doyle's Bin Laden’s Bald Spot.

Writers Read: Brian Doyle.

The Page 69 Test: Mink River.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 28, 2011

What is C. K. Kelly Martin reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: C. K. Kelly Martin, author of My Beating Teenage Heart.

Her entry begins:
I’m very happy to have the chance to talk about what I’ve been reading lately because for the last several months I’ve been weaving in and out of Australian author John Marsden’s outstanding young adult series that began with Tomorrow When the War Began. Since the seven books that compose the series were all released between 1993 and 1999 I’m not sure if they’re too recent to be regarded as classics but they certainly feel that way. They have a timeless quality that, I think, will make them still feel relevant in another forty years. I also believe adult readers would enjoy the series just as much as teen ones because Marsden doesn’t pull his punches. There’s some really tough stuff in these books. They’re not graphic but they’re extremely realistic and suspenseful yet emotionally nuanced too. That’s a...[read on]
About My Beating Teenage Heart, from the publisher:
Ashlyn Baptiste is falling. One moment she was nothing—no memories, no self—and then suddenly, she's plummeting through a sea of stars. Is she in a coma? She doesn't remember dying, and she has no memories of the life she left behind. All she knows is that she's trapped in a consciousness without a body and she's spending every moment watching a stranger.

Breckon Cody's on the edge. He's being ripped apart by grief so intense it literally hurts to breathe. On the surface, Breckon is trying to hold it together for his family and his girlfriend, but underneath he's barely hanging on.

Even though she didn't know him in life, Ashlyn sees Breckon's pain, and she's determined to find a way help him. As her own distressing memories emerge from the darkness, she struggles to communicate with the boy who can't see her, but whose life is suddenly intertwined with hers. In alternating voices of the main characters, My Beating Teenage Heart paints a devastatingly vivid picture of both the heartbreak and the promise of teenage life—a life Ashlyn would do anything to recover and Breckon seems desperate to destroy—and will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen, John Green, and David Levithan.
Learn more about the book and author at C. K. Kelly Martin's website and blog.

C. K. Kelly Martin's books include I Know It's Over, One Lonely Degree, and The Lighter Side of Life and Death.

My Book, The Movie: The Lighter Side of Life and Death.

My Book, The Movie: My Beating Teenage Heart.

Writers Read: C. K. Kelly Martin.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten short stories

In 2007 novelist and short story writer Alison MacLeod named her top 10 short stories for the Guardian.

Her criteria and one story from the list:

Writing a short story is a high-wire act, sentence by sentence, foot by foot. Very few story writers work with the safety net of a plot conceived in advance. They trust in the humming tension of a single opening line or in an image that rises in their mind, or in a fragment of a character's voice. They might have a sense of where they want their characters to go; they rarely know how they'll get them there. At times it's unnerving work. Lose your concentration or the line of tension in the story and both you and it fall. The best short stories have a breathless, in-motion quality to them, a quality that makes them ideal for adaptation into film, as directors are increasingly realising. A great story ending resonates far beyond its final word. It's a hit to the brain. I read stories and love them for that hit. As the writer Elizabeth Taylor commented, the short story gives the reader the feeling of "being lifted into another world, instead of sinking into it, as one does with longer fiction". The best stories leave you exhilarated.

"Meneseteung" by Alice Munro

While novels are arguably about life's big moments, stories, Munro says, are about "the moments within moments". This is the story of Almeda Roth, a little known Victorian poetess-spinster who lives in a small Canadian town. She resides on the respectable Dufferin Street but her back gate opens onto the edge of a boghole, an area known locally as the Pearl Street Swamp. "Bushy and luxuriant weeds grow there, makeshift shacks have been out up ... " and a woman cries out: 'Kill me! Kill me!' ...Yet there is something taunting and triumphant about her cry." It makes Almeda uncomfortably aware of the narrowness of her own life, one in which she waits to see if Jarvis Poulter will finally deem her to be suitable wife material. The woman of the Pearl Street Swamp is to Almeda what Bertha is to Jane Eyre: her alter ego, her nemesis, but also the agent for Almeda's new, painful insight. The detail of Almeda's home and her inner world are tenderly and sharply observed. Munro's prose is, as usual, translucent - so breathtakingly clear there is nothing between you and the world she creates.
Read about another title on MacLeod's list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: James S. Bielo's "Emerging Evangelicals"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Emerging Evangelicals: Faith, Modernity, and the Desire for Authenticity by James S. Bielo.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Emerging Church movement developed in the mid-1990s among primarily white, urban, middle-class pastors and laity who were disenchanted with America's conservative Evangelical sub-culture. It is a response to the increasing divide between conservative Evangelicals and concerned critics who strongly oppose what they consider overly slick, corporate, and consumerist versions of faith. A core feature of their response is a challenge to traditional congregational models, often focusing on new church plants and creating networks of related house churches. Drawing on three years of ethnographic fieldwork, James S. Bielo explores the impact of the Emerging Church movement on American Evangelicals. He combines ethnographic analysis with discussions of the movement's history, discursive contours, defining practices, cultural logics, and contentious interactions with conservative Evangelical critics to rethink the boundaries of "Evangelical" as a category. Ultimately, Bielo makes a novel contribution to our understanding of the important changes at work among American Protestants, and illuminates how Emerging Evangelicals interact with the cultural conditions of modernity, late modernity, and visions of "postmodern" Christianity.
Learn more about Emerging Evangelicals at the NYU Press website.

James S. Bielo is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Miami University. His books include Words Upon the Word: an ethnography of Evangelical group Bible study (NYU, 2009) and The Social Life of Scriptures: cross-cultural perspectives on Biblicism (Rutgers, 2009).

The Page 99 Test: Emerging Evangelicals.

--Marshal Zeringue

J.T. Ellison's "Where All the Dead Lie," the movie

Now showing at My Book, The Movie: Where All the Dead Lie by J.T. Ellison.

The entry begins:
For years, I’ve been trying not to answer this question. I’ve put it out there for my readers to comment on, not wanting to influence that psychic connection people have with fictional characters. I’ve always felt that if I tell you what Taylor Jackson looks like to me, it may alter your reading of the novel.

I’ve come to change my mind on that, mostly because I’ve finally seen a few actresses who I think could successfully interpret the character. So much of Taylor Jackson is physical – and I’d love to see that physicality explored on the screen. I was very surprised to realize that Blake Lively is probably as close to Taylor in my mind as a real person could be. I’d always thought of her as Charlize Theron, but Charlize is...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at J.T. Ellison's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: All the Pretty Girls.

The Page 99 Test: 14.

The Page 69 Test: 14.

The Page 99 Test: Judas Kiss.

The Page 69 Test: The Cold Room.

The Page 69 Test: So Close the Hand of Death.

Writers Read: J.T. Ellison.

The Page 69 Test: Where All the Dead Lie.

My Book, The Movie: Where All the Dead Lie.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What is Brian Doyle reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Brian Doyle, author of Bin Laden's Bald Spot & Other Stories.

His entry about what he has been reading begins:
Lately a wild burst of American Catholic writers – initially to prepare for a burbling public mumble & shamble about same, but increasingly in amazement at (a) how many unbelievably great and will-be-in-print-forever-in-these-united-states writers were and are Catholic (Annie Dillard, Barry Lopez, Tony Hillerman, Andre Dubus, Edwin O’Connor, Alice McDermott, Mary Gordon, Flannery O’Connor, Frank McCourt, for example), and (b) how many interestingly sort of sidelong Catholic writers there are and were of remarkable cultural influence (William...[read on]
About Bin Laden's Bald Spot & Other Stories, from the publisher:
Welcome to the peculiar and headlong world of Brian Doyle's fiction, where the odd is happening all the time, reported upon by characters of every sort and stripe. Swirling voices and skeins of story, laughter and rage, ferocious attention to detail and sweeping nuttiness, tears and chortling - these stories will remind readers of the late giant David Foster Wallace, in their straightforward accounts of anything-but-straightforward events; of modern short story pioneer Raymond Carver, a bit, in their blunt, unadorned dialogue; and of Julia Whitty, a bit, in their willingness to believe what is happening, even if it absolutely shouldn't be.

Funny, piercing, unique, memorable, this is a collection of stories readers will find nearly impossible to forget. Along the way, readers will meet:

... The barber who shaves the heads of the thugs in Bin Laden's cave tells cheerful stories of life with the preening video-obsessed leader, who has a bald spot shaped just like Iceland.

... A husband gathers all of his wife's previous boyfriends for a long day on a winery-touring bus.

... A teenage boy drives off into the sunset with his troubled sister's small daughters . . . and the loser husband locked in the trunk of the car.

... The late Joseph Kennedy pours out his heart to a golf-course bartender moments before the stroke that silenced him forever.

... A man digging in his garden finds a brand-new baby boy, still alive, and has a chat with the teenage neighbor girl whose son it is.

... A man born on a Greyhound bus eventually buys the entire Greyhound Bus Company and revolutionizes Western civilization.

... A mountainous bishop dies and the counting of the various keys to his house turns . . . tense.

... A man discovers his wife having an affair, takes up running to grapple with his emotions, and discovers everyone else on the road is a cuckold too.
Learn more about Bin Laden’s Bald Spot and visit its Facebook page.

My Book, The Movie: Bin Laden’s Bald Spot.

Writers Read: Brian Doyle.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top 10 African memoirs

Alexandra Fuller has written four books of non-fiction.

Her debut book, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood, was a New York Times Notable Book for 2002, the 2002 Booksense best non-fiction book, a finalist for the Guardian’s First Book Award and the winner of the 2002 Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize.

Her 2004 Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier won the Ulysses Prize for Art of Reportage.

The Legend of Colton H Bryant was a Toronto Globe and Mail Best Non-Fiction Book of 2008.

Her latest book is Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness.

One of Fuller's top ten African memoirs, as told to the Guardian:
This Child Will Be Great by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

A true story of Sirleaf's ascent from ordinary Liberian child to leader that reads as much like an awful whodunnit on a catastrophically awesome scale, as it does like the memoirs of an ambitious and brave woman. This autobiography from the woman who is Africa's first (and, at present count, only) female head of state, is as inspiring as it is page-turning.
Read about another book on Fuller's list.

This Child Will Be Great is on Samantha Herbert's brief reading list on Nobel Prize winners.

See Alexandra Fuller's five best list of books that "brilliantly evoke the modern American West."

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: William G. Thomas's "The Iron Way"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: The Iron Way: Railroads, the Civil War, and the Making of Modern America by William G. Thomas.

About the book, from the publisher:
Beginning with Frederick Douglass's escape from slavery in 1838 on the railroad, and ending with the driving of the golden spike to link the transcontinental railroad in 1869, this book charts a critical period of American expansion and national formation, one largely dominated by the dynamic growth of railroads and telegraphs. William G. Thomas brings new evidence to bear on railroads, the Confederate South, slavery, and the Civil War era, based on groundbreaking research in digitized sources never available before. The Iron Way revises our ideas about the emergence of modern America and the role of the railroads in shaping the sectional conflict.

Both the North and the South invested in railroads to serve their larger purposes, Thomas contends. Though railroads are often cited as a major factor in the Union's victory, he shows that they were also essential to the formation of "the South" as a unified region. He discusses the many—and sometimes unexpected—effects of railroad expansion and proposes that America's great railroads became an important symbolic touchstone for the nation's vision of itself.
Learn more about The Iron Way at the Yale University Press website, William G. Thomas's blog, and the Railroads and the Making of Modern America website.

William G. Thomas is professor of history and the John and Catherine Angle Chair in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The Page 99 Test: The Iron Way.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: David Anthony Durham's "The Sacred Band"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: The Sacred Band (Acacia Series #3) by David Anthony Durham.

About the book, from the publisher:
With the first two books in the Acacia Trilogy, Acacia and The Other Lands, David Anthony Durham has created a vast and engrossing canvas of a world in turmoil, where the surviving children of a royal dynasty are on a quest to realize their fates—and perhaps right ancient wrongs once and for all. As The Sacred Band begins, one of them, Queen Corinn, bestrides the world as a result of her mastery of spells found in the ancient Book of Elenet. Her younger brother, Dariel, has been sent on a perilous mis­sion to the Other Lands, while her sister, Mena, travels to the far north to confront an invasion of the feared race of the Auldek. Their separate trajectories will converge in a series of world-shaping, earth-shattering battles, all ren­dered with vividly imagined detail and in heroic scale.

David Anthony Durham concludes his tale of kingdoms in collision in an exciting fashion. His fictional world is at once realistic and fantastic, informed with an eloquent and dis­tinctively Shakespearean sensibility.
Learn more about the book and author at David Anthony Durham's website, blog, and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Acacia.

The Page 69 Test: The Other Lands.

The Page 69 Test: The Sacred Band.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What is Caroline B. Cooney reading?

Today's featured contributor at Writers Read: Caroline B. Cooney, author of The Lost Songs.

Her entry begins:
Making Haste From Babylon by Nick Bunker is a fascinating examination of the English world from which the Pilgrims sprang. Don’t be put off by the title. This is a vivid and rich account, covering the geography, economics, politics and of course theology that led a tiny group of ardent Christians to make the terrifying decision to cross the sea in a splinter of a ship and create a New World.

Making Haste from Babylon set me on an expedition to learn more. That often happens with nonfiction, when I am so intrigued I need another layer.

I then read...[read on]
About The Lost Songs, from the publisher:
The day Lutie Painter takes the city bus north instead of the school bus west, cutting class for the first time ever, her aunt and uncle have no idea what she is up to. They cannot prevent her from riding into danger.

That same morning, Lutie's pastor, Miss Veola, whispers as always, "This is the day that the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."

A block from Miss Veola and up a hill in Chalk, Train Greene, thin and hungry, burns with anger. He has a decision to make, and he's running out of time.

A few miles away, among finer houses, Kelvin Hartley yawns and gets ready for another day at school, where he is a friend to all and makes an effort at nothing.

And Doria Bell, who recently moved to the South from Connecticut, walks to the bus stop, hoping the high school kids who live nearby will say hello.

All of these lives intertwine and—in surprising ways—become connected to Lutie's ancestors, who are buried in the cemetery in Chalk. Who would have dreamed that the long-dead Mabel Painter, who passed down the Laundry List songs to her great-great-granddaughter Lutie, had passed along a piece of American history that speaks to so many who feel lost and need hope. Big changes are in store for all, and things will never be the same.

In this luminous novel, Caroline B. Cooney delves deeply into a Southern community. Cooney reveals the comfort, inspiration, and hope its members draw from the power of faith, the glory of music, and the meaning of family.
Learn more about the book and author at Caroline B. Cooney's website.

Writers Read: Caroline B. Cooney (January 2010).

Writers Read: Caroline B. Cooney.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten English translations

Adam Thorpe is a poet, playwright and novelist...and a translator of Madame Bovary.

One of his top ten English translations, as told to the Guardian:
Russian Short Stories, translated by Robert Chandler and others

The indefatigable Robert Chandler is now best known for his masterly translation of Grossman's marathon Life and Fate, but this volume is a superb introduction to the Russian genius for the literary sprint – in all its variation of subject, style and mood. From Gogol and Chekhov to lesser-known figures such as Platonov or the tragic Shalamov, there is always a streak of pain.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Joseph A. McCartin's "Collision Course"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, the Air Traffic Controllers, and the Strike that Changed America by Joseph McCartin.

About the book, from the publisher:
In August 1981, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) called an illegal strike. The new president, Ronald Reagan, fired the strikers, establishing a reputation for both decisiveness and hostility to organized labor. As Joseph A. McCartin writes, the strike was the culmination of two decades of escalating conflict between controllers and the government that stemmed from the high-pressure nature of the job and the controllers' inability to negotiate with their employer over vital issues. PATCO's fall not only ushered in a long period of labor decline; it also served as a harbinger of the campaign against public sector unions that now roils American politics.

Collision Course sets the strike within a vivid panorama of the rise of the world's busiest air-traffic control system. It begins with an arresting account of the 1960 midair collision over New York that cost 134 lives and exposed the weaknesses of an overburdened system. Through the stories of controllers like Mike Rock and Jack Maher, who were galvanized into action by that disaster and went on to found PATCO, it describes the efforts of those who sought to make the airways safer and fought to win a secure place in the American middle class. It climaxes with the story of Reagan and the controllers, who surprisingly endorsed the Republican on the promise that he would address their grievances. That brief, fateful alliance triggered devastating miscalculations that changed America, forging patterns that still govern the nation's labor politics.

Written with an eye for detail and a grasp of the vast consequences of the PATCO conflict for both air travel and America's working class, Collision Course is a stunning achievement.
Learn more about the book and author at Joseph McCartin's Collision Course blog.

The Page 99 Test: Collision Course.

--Marshal Zeringue

Brian Doyle's "Bin Laden’s Bald Spot," the movie

Now showing at My Book, The Movie: Bin Laden’s Bald Spot by Brian Doyle.

The entry begins:
For my new collection of stories, Bin Laden’s Bald Spot, I would choose old Gregory Peck to play His Murderous Idiocy. You want a tall gangly guy with a fixed stare, which in Peck’s case was always taken for intent calm dignity, but in His High Killingness I would ascribe to a roaring arrogant mania; he really thought, I bet, that he was important, and right that killing children would be a good thing for his religion and his idea of how the world should be (something like the year 900, but with cell phones). Seth Rogen or Albert...[read on]
In addition to Bin Laden's Bald Spot & Other Stories, Brian Doyle is the author of five collections of essays, two nonfiction books (The Grail, about a year in an Oregon vineyard, and The Wet Engine, about the “muddles & musics of the heart”), two collections of short prose, and the sprawling novel Mink River, which Publishers Weekly called a “original, postmodern, shimmering tapestry of smalltown life.”

Learn more about Bin Laden’s Bald Spot and visit its Facebook page.

My Book, The Movie: Bin Laden’s Bald Spot.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What is Geoff Hyatt reading?

Today's featured contributor at Writers Read: Geoff Hyatt, author of Birch Hills at World’s End.

His entry begins:
Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis

“You know what it’s like, finding eight middle-aged guys having tantric sex with ostriches? ...My girlfriend came to bed one night in a feather boa and I started crying.”

I read the above couple of lines in the bookstore and then walked to the counter and bought the book. Guess I’m a cheap date. Even though this detective novel sends up what is perhaps already the most satirized popular genre, Ellis is a witty and gleefully vulgar writer whose narrator recalls a hybrid of Phillip Marlowe and...[read on]
About Birch Hills at World’s End, from the publisher:
Birch Hills at World’s End begins between Detroit and nowhere, in 1999, when high school senior Josh Reilly senses an apocalypse approaching. Josh's unease increases as his privileged but disturbed friend Erik schemes in a journal he calls "The Doomsday Book," where he plots revenge against the suburbia he's learned to despise. When Lindsay, a sixteen-year-old famed for dramatic self-mutilation and questionable poetry, becomes Josh's girlfriend, Erik finds companionship in a circle of bikers and small-time meth traffickers. Josh, suspecting his friend Erik has become a competitor for Lindsay's affections, peeks into the Doomsday Book and is shocked by what he learns. A web of domestic strife, romantic rivalry, and millennial anxiety challenges two boys to stand together as their youth comes apart.

Columbine... Y2K... can friendships survive the end of the world?
Learn more about the book and author at Geoff Hyatt's website, and read an excerpt from Birch Hills at World’s End.

Writers Read: Geoff Hyatt.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books about good energy

Juliet Davenport is chief executive of Good Energy, the UK's only 100% renewable electricity supplier.

With Daisy Banks at The Browser, Davenport discussed five books about "good energy"--having a practical interaction with climate change--including:
by Ian McEwan

Your first choice is Solar by Ian McEwan, which sets out to put the issues of climate change in more of an everyday setting through a novel.

I met Ian McEwan as part of the Cape Farewell programme. That is an organisation set up by a lovely man called David Buckland, who is a photographer and an artist. He wanted to create a social response to climate change. In other words, he wanted to get people like Ian McEwan to mix with the scientists and find out more about what is going on. So he took a lot of people – including Ian McEwan, Philip Pullman and Jarvis Cocker – to the North Pole along with some scientists, so they could see what was going on for themselves. Ian took what he saw and put it in a novel. He wanted to put some big scientific ideas into everyday language.

So much of our world revolves around creative media. We watch television, we watch films and it is very much part of our society. David Buckland wanted to make climate change part of that dialogue. A lot of people find it very difficult to write about climate change because it is not something that lends itself to comic effect, and it is not something that people often want to write about, but Ian managed to.

What did you think of the actual novel, because it has had mixed reviews?

I thought it was very funny. It was an interesting take on the perceptions of some of the big issues between society and scientists, and the fact that we as a society don’t really understand what scientists are doing. Scientists are these objects that go around winning Nobel prizes, but actually not many of us really appreciate that they are human beings as well. In Ian’s book you have the physicist Michael Beard, who was brilliant once, won a Nobel prize earlier in his career and has been cruising ever since. Quite often a scientist makes a brilliant discovery and then you become part of a government and funding system where you stop being a scientist. It is a little bit like teachers, who when they progress get further and further away from the classroom.

The novel starts when Michael Beard has lost his scientific thread, and there is this rather bizarre death at the beginning when someone falls over and kills himself in his house. Then he steals a science idea from the dead man, and the rest of the book is an unravelling of the personality of the professor and this solar technology idea that he has stolen. Part of the book is set in the Arctic, where Ian went with Cape Farewell. It all has Ian McEwan’s humour.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: David Welky's "The Thousand-Year Flood"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: The Thousand-Year Flood: The Ohio-Mississippi Disaster of 1937 by David Welky.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the early days of 1937, the Ohio River, swollen by heavy winter rains, began rising. And rising. And rising. By the time the waters crested, the Ohio and Mississippi had climbed to record heights. Nearly four hundred people had died, while a million more had run from their homes. The deluge caused more than half a billion dollars of damage at a time when the Great Depression still battered the nation.

Timed to coincide with the flood's seventy-fifth anniversary, The Thousand-Year Flood is the first comprehensive history of one of the most destructive disasters in American history. David Welky first shows how decades of settlement put Ohio valley farms and towns at risk and how politicians and planners repeatedly ignored the dangers. Then he tells the gripping story of the river's inexorable rise: residents fled to refugee camps and higher ground, towns imposed martial law, prisoners rioted, Red Cross nurses endured terrifying conditions, and FDR dispatched thousands of relief workers. In a landscape fraught with dangers—from unmoored gas tanks that became floating bombs to powerful currents of filthy floodwaters that swept away whole towns—people hastily raised sandbag barricades, piled into overloaded rowboats, and marveled at water that stretched as far as the eye could see. In the flood's aftermath, Welky explains, New Deal reformers, utopian dreamers, and hard-pressed locals restructured not only the flood-stricken valleys, but also the nation's relationship with its waterways, changes that continue to affect life along the rivers to this day.

A striking narrative of danger and adventure—and the mix of heroism and generosity, greed and pettiness that always accompany disaster—The Thousand-Year Flood breathes new life into a fascinating yet little-remembered American story.
Learn more about The Thousand-Year Flood at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Thousand-Year Flood.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Dean Crawford's "Covenant"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Covenant by Dean Crawford.

About the book, from the publisher:

When archaeologist Lucy Morgan uncovers a seven-thousand-year-old tomb holding remains alien to our world, she realizes she has stumbled upon something important—something with the potential to rewrite history. But before Lucy can retrieve the remains, she's abducted.

A former war correspondent in Iraq and Afghanistan, Ethan Warner has seen much action in the line of fire. Now back home in Chicago, he's hoping to finally pick up the pieces of his broken life and begin to lead a more normal existence. But when called upon by Lucy's family to help find her, he knows he cannot let them down. Especially since he knows firsthand what it's like to have a loved one go missing.

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., detectives Nicola Lopez and Lucas Tyrell are called to an abandoned building to check out a possible homicide. What at first glance appears to be the bodies of overdose victims in a crack den is instead something more sinister. How is it possible that these emaciated, naked bodies—rotting in the sweltering heat of August—show signs of hypothermia?

Working independently, Ethan and the detectives each discover that a shadowy corporation may have something to do with Lucy's disappearance and the mysterious bodies. And Ethan soon realizes that it's not just Lucy's life that's at stake but the fate of the world, and he must risk everything to stop those willing to alter the course of history, before it's too late.

In the tradition of books by Michael Crichton and James Rollins, Covenant combines science, suspense, and ingenious speculation to create an action-packed blockbuster not to be missed.
Learn more about the book and author at Dean Crawford's website and blog.

Writers Read: Dean Crawford.

My Book, The Movie: Covenant.

The Page 69 Test: Covenant.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 24, 2011

What is Todd Ritter reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Todd Ritter, author of Death Notice and Bad Moon.

The entry begins:
When it comes to books, I’m not usually a double-dipper. I wait until I finish one to start another. Yet there are two books out right now that I so desperately wanted to begin that I couldn’t choose which one to start first. So I’m reading both of them — and loving it.

The first is Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean. I love dogs. I love Hollywood. So the story of this dog (and his many, many offspring) who became a movie star is right up my alley. Then there’s the little fact that Susan Orlean is one of the...[read on]
About Bad Moon, from the publisher:
On the same night that Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon, ten-year-old Charlie Olmstead jumped on his bike to see if there was some way he could get a better look. It was the last anyone ever saw of him. After Perry Hollow Police Chief Jim Campbell found Charlie’s bike caught in the water above Sunset Falls, he assumed the worst. Everyone did—except Charlie’s mother.

Years later, Eric Olmstead—now a famous author and Charlie’s younger brother—has come back to Perry Hollow to bury his mother and fulfill her last request: Find Charlie. To do so, he goes to the current police chief, his former sweetheart, Kat Campbell, who happens to be Jim Campbell’s daughter. Together they soon discover that Eric’s mother was convinced Charlie was kidnapped, and that finding him—whether he was dead or alive—was her secret obsession. While she never succeeded, she did uncover clues that suggested he wasn’t the only boy across Pennsylvania to vanish into thin air during that time.

The haunting story of a boy missing for forty years, and of a small town that found lies easier to believe than the truth, explodes into the present in Bad Moon, Todd Ritter’s excellent follow-up to his acclaimed debut.
Learn more about the book and author at Todd Ritter's website.

Writers Read: Todd Ritter (October 2010).

The Page 69 Test: Todd Ritter's Death Notice.

My Book, The Movie: Death Notice.

Writers Read: Todd Ritter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five best books on the origins of World War II

Richard Overy's books include 1939: Countdown to War.

One of his five best books on the beginnings of World War II, as told to the Wall Street Journal:
Hitler Strikes Poland
by Alexander Rossino (2003)

Alexander Rossino's grim account of the German invasion of Poland and of the horrors perpetrated almost immediately by the German armed forces and security units shows how fully Hitler's war, even in its earliest days in 1939, differed from previous European wars. Brutal ethnic tension in the Polish-German borderlands created a febrile atmosphere in the months before the war. Poles reacted to German invasion by perpetrating atrocities of their own against Polish Germans, and the German invaders were no less savage. Rossino offers a detailed, blow-by-blow account of how resentful German nationalism was used to justify the slaughter of Polish intellectuals, the Polish national elite and Polish Jews, well before the death camps were established. Much of the work was done by Hitler's Einsatzgruppen, security squads assigned not to fight but to murder suspected enemies of the new German Reich. Within days of the invasion, the Germans were already engaged in what came to be known in 1945 as crimes against humanity.
Read about another book on Overy's list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Teofilo Ruiz's "The Terror of History"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: The Terror of History: On the Uncertainties of Life in Western Civilization by Teofilo F. Ruiz.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book reflects on Western humanity's efforts to escape from history and its terrors--from the existential condition and natural disasters to the endless succession of wars and other man-made catastrophes. Drawing on historical episodes ranging from antiquity to the recent past, and combining them with literary examples and personal reflections, Teofilo Ruiz explores the embrace of religious experiences, the pursuit of worldly success and pleasures, and the quest for beauty and knowledge as three primary responses to the individual and collective nightmares of history. The result is a profound meditation on how men and women in Western society sought (and still seek) to make meaning of the world and its disturbing history.

In chapters that range widely across Western history and culture, The Terror of History takes up religion, the material world, and the world of art and knowledge. "Religion and the World to Come" examines orthodox and heterodox forms of spirituality, apocalyptic movements, mysticism, supernatural beliefs, and many forms of esotericism, including magic, alchemy, astrology, and witchcraft. "The World of Matter and the Senses" considers material riches, festivals and carnivals, sports, sex, and utopian communities. Finally, "The Lure of Beauty and Knowledge" looks at cultural productions of all sorts, from art to scholarship.

Combining astonishing historical breadth with a personal and accessible narrative style, The Terror of History is a moving testimony to the incredibly diverse ways humans have sought to cope with their frightening history.
Learn more about The Terror of History at the Princeton University Press website.

Teofilo F. Ruiz is Distinguished Professor of History and of Spanish and Portuguese at UCLA. His many books include Spain's Centuries of Crisis and From Heaven to Earth. In 2007, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and selected as one of UCLA's Distinguished Teachers.

The Page 99 Test: The Terror of History.

--Marshal Zeringue

Dean Crawford's "Covenant," the movie

Now showing at My Book, The Movie: Covenant by Dean Crawford.

The entry begins:
Funnily enough, a copy of my debut novel Covenant is in Los Angeles at the moment! Although I did not write the novel with a film in mind, as the movie would have to look very different from the book, many readers have told me that it would make a great film.

I’m a die-hard Harrison Ford fan but as the hero of the novels, Ethan Warner, is in his thirties, I could see Hugh...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Dean Crawford's website and blog.

Writers Read: Dean Crawford.

My Book, The Movie: Covenant.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What is Mike Mullin reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Mike Mullin, author of Ashfall.

His entry begins:
Fellow young adult author Saundra Mitchell was gracious enough to visit my launch party for Ashfall at Kids Ink Children’s Bookstore on Saturday (10/8). She came bearing a gift: the advance reading copy (ARC) of her newest novel, The Springsweet (Harcourt, April 2012). It wasn’t a gift for me, mind, but for the owner of the bookstore. However, by some devious means the ARC wound up in my bag. (I’ll give it back to Kids Ink tomorrow, Saundra, no need to hunt me down.)

The Springsweet is the companion novel to The Vespertine, released last year. It has a very different feel though—The Vespertine bustles through late 1800s Baltimore high society, while in The Springsweet, Zora lights out for...[read on]
About Ashfall:
Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the Earth forever.

Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when the supervolcano erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away.

Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter. When an escaped convict injures Alex, he searches for a sheltered place where he can wait—to heal or to die. Instead, he finds Darla. Together, they fight to achieve a nearly impossible goal: surviving the supervolcano.
Learn more about the book and author at Mike Mullin's website.

Writers Read: Mike Mullin.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten of the literary best: cliffs

At the Guardian, John Mullan named ten of the best cliffs in literature.

One book on his list:
The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles

Charles Smithson has come to the Dorset coast to look for fossils, but instead becomes obsessed with the woman of the novel's title, Sarah Woodruff. He encounters her on the undercliff above Lyme Regis, lying among the tangled plants "in the complete abandonment of deep sleep". He is hooked.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: William Ian Miller's "Losing It"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: Losing It by William Ian Miller.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Losing It, William Ian Miller brings his inimitable wit and learning to the subject of growing old: too old to matter, of either rightly losing your confidence or wrongly maintaining it, culpably refusing to face the fact that you are losing it. The “it” in Miller’s “losing it” refers mainly to mental faculties—memory, processing speed, sensory acuity, the capacity to focus. But it includes other evidence as well—sags and flaccidities, aches and pains, failing joints and organs. What are we to make of these tell-tale signs? Does growing old gracefully mean more than simply refusing unseemly cosmetic surgeries? How do we face decline and the final drawing of the blinds? Will we know if and when we have lingered too long?

Drawing on a lifetime of deep study and anxious observation, Miller enlists the wisdom of the ancients to confront these vexed questions head on. Debunking the glossy new image of old age that has accompanied the graying of the Baby Boomers, he conjures a lost world of aging rituals—complaints, taking to bed, resentments of one’s heirs, schemes for taking it with you or settling up accounts and scores—to remind us of the ongoing dilemmas of old age. Darkly intelligent and sublimely written, this exhilarating and eccentric book will raise the spirits of readers, young and old.
Learn more about Losing It at the Yale University Press website.

William Ian Miller is Thomas G. Long Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School. His books include The Anatomy of Disgust, which was named 1997 best book in anthropology/sociology by the Association of American Publishers.

The Page 99 Test: Losing It.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: J. T. Ellison's "Where All the Dead Lie"

Today's feature at the Page 69 Test: Where All the Dead Lie by J. T. Ellison.

About the book, from the publisher:
In her showdown with the murderous Pretender, a bullet taken at close range severed the connection between Taylor's thoughts and speech. Effectively mute, there's no telling if her voice will ever come back. Trapped in silence, she is surrounded by ghosts—of the past, of friendships and trusts lost...of a lost faith in herself and her motives that night.

When Memphis Highsmythe offers Taylor his home in the Scottish Highlands to recuperate, her fiancé can't refuse her excitement, no matter his distrust of the man. At first, Memphis's drafty and singularly romantic castle seems the perfect place for healing. But shortly the house itself surrounds her like a menacing presence. As Taylor's sense of isolation and vulnerability grows, so, too, does her grip on reality.

Someone or something is coming after Taylor. But is she being haunted by the dead…or hunted by the living?
Learn more about the book and author at J.T. Ellison's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: All the Pretty Girls.

The Page 99 Test: 14.

The Page 69 Test: 14.

The Page 99 Test: Judas Kiss.

My Book, The Movie: the Taylor Jackson series.

The Page 69 Test: The Cold Room.

My Book, The Movie: The Cold Room.

The Page 69 Test: So Close the Hand of Death.

Writers Read: J.T. Ellison (March 2011).

Writers Read: J.T. Ellison.

The Page 69 Test: Where All the Dead Lie.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chris Bohjalian's 6 favorite books about plane crashes

Chris Bohjalian latest novel, The Night Strangers, is a ghost story that begins with a plane crash.

At The Week magazine he came up with a list of six favorite books about plane crashes, including:
Fly by Wire by William Langewiesche

If you want an accident with a happy ending, there is US Airways Flight 1549, the "Miracle on the Hudson." Fly by Wire chronicles the January 2009 ditching, focusing on the role that the Airbus's technology may have played in the remarkable water landing. Equally gripping, however, are the stories of flight emergencies that did not end so well.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue