Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What is Carola Dunn reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Carola Dunn, author of Heirs of the Body.

Her entry begins:
Salaam Brick Lane: A Year in the New East End , by Tarquin Hall. The author is a British journalist who worked for several years in India and married an Indian. On his return to Britain, he couldn't find a job so he lived very cheaply in the East End of London. His acute and funny observation of the Indian/Pakistani immigrants now living there is fascinating.

I've also been reading...[read on]
About Heirs of the Body, from the publisher:
The Daisy Dalrymple series continues in Heirs of the Body—when one of four potential claimants to the title of Lord Dalrymple dies a sudden, nasty death, the question on everyone’s mind is, “was it murder”?

In the late 1920’s in England, The Honourable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher is recruited to help her cousin Edgar—i.e. the Lord Dalrymple. About to turn fifty, Lord Dalrymple decides it is time to find out who would be the heir to the viscountcy. With the help of the family lawyer, who advertises Empire-wide, they have come up with four potential claimants. For his fiftieth birthday, Edgar invites those would-be heirs—along with Daisy and the rest of the family—to Fairacres, the family estate.

In the meantime, Daisy is asked to be the family's representative at the lawyer's interviews with the claimants. Those four are a hotelier from Scarborough, a diamond merchant from South Africa, a young mixed-raced boy from Trinidad, and a sailor from Jamaica. However, according to his very pregnant wife, the sailor has gone missing.

Daisy and Alec must uncover a conspiracy if they are going to stop the killing in the latest from the accomplished master of the genre, Carola Dunn.
Learn more about the book and author at Carola Dunn's website and blog.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Carola Dunn and Trillian.

Writers Read: Carola Dunn.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top recent hidden histories

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Alexandra Silverman tagged six top recent hidden histories, including:
Divine Fury: A History of Genius, by Darrin M. McMahon

If you asked a roomful of people for a definition of genius, you’d probably get plenty of “hmmms…” and “ums,” proffered names of great scientists, athletes, and artists, stories of Socrates, and a cornucopia of associated qualities: transcendent intelligence, ineffable creativity, and the (evil genius’s) terrible talent for destruction. McMahon, an FSU historian who previously authored Happiness: A History, collects the wildly divergent applications of the word, beginning with its first use 2,000 years ago, and assesses its impact as a cultural concept. Divine Fury may not help you formulate a succinct definition, but it will vastly enrich your understanding of genius.
Read about another entry on the list.

Visit the Divine Fury website and Darrin McMahon's website.

The Page 69 Test: Happiness: A History.

The Page 99 Test: Divine Fury.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Nicholas Carnes's "White-Collar Government"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: White-Collar Government: The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policy Making by Nicholas Carnes.

About the book, from the publisher:
Eight of the last twelve presidents were millionaires when they took office. Millionaires have a majority on the Supreme Court, and they also make up majorities in Congress, where a background in business or law is the norm and the average member has spent less than two percent of his or her adult life in a working-class job. Why is it that most politicians in America are so much better off than the people who elect them— and does the social class divide between citizens and their representatives matter?

With White-Collar Government, Nicholas Carnes answers this question with a resounding—and disturbing—yes. Legislators’ socioeconomic backgrounds, he shows, have a profound impact on both how they view the issues and the choices they make in office. Scant representation from among the working class almost guarantees that the policymaking process will be skewed toward outcomes that favor the upper class. It matters that the wealthiest Americans set the tax rates for the wealthy, that white-collar professionals choose the minimum wage for blue-collar workers, and that people who have always had health insurance decide whether or not to help those without. And while there is no one cause for this crisis of representation, Carnes shows that the problem does not stem from a lack of qualified candidates from among the working class. The solution, he argues, must involve a variety of changes, from the equalization of campaign funding to a shift in the types of candidates the parties support.

If we want a government for the people, we have to start working toward a government that is truly by the people. White-Collar Government challenges long-held notions about the causes of political inequality in the United States and speaks to enduring questions about representation and political accountability.
Learn more about White-Collar Government at the University of Chicago Press website, and follow Nick Carnes on Twitter.

The Page 99 Test: White-Collar Government.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 30, 2013

The five lamest girlfriends in fiction

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Molly Schoemann-McCann tagged five of the lamest girlfriends in fiction, including:
Daisy Buchanan (The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald)

Granted, no one we meet in Gatsby is such a prize, but Daisy is arguably the novel’s most infuriatingly self-serving characters. After she and Gatsby fall in love, she turns around and marries big dumb brute Tom Buchanan while Gatsby is serving overseas. Nice, right? Given their disastrously unhappy marriage, I couldn’t really blame Daisy for rekindling her romance with Gatsby once he showed up in the neighborhood and was all, “Oh hey again, I now happen to be a newly minted millionaire who never stopped loving you.” Less sympathetic was Daisy’s willingness to allow Gatsby to take the fall for her hit-and-run car accident that killed Tom’s mistress. And when a tragic misunderstanding resulted in Gatsby’s violent death, Daisy skipped his meager funeral to take a vacation with her husband and child. Classy!
Read about another lame girlfriend on the list.

The Great Gatsby appears among Honeysuckle Weeks's six best books, Elizabeth Wilhide's nine illustrious houses in fiction, Suzette Field's top ten literary party hosts, Robert McCrums's ten best closing lines in literature, Molly Driscoll's ten best literary lessons about love, Jim Lehrer's six favorite 20th century novels, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best clocks in literature and ten of the best misdirected messages, Tad Friend's seven best novels about WASPs, Kate Atkinson's top ten novels, Garrett Peck's best books about Prohibition, Robert McCrum's top ten books for Obama officials, Jackie Collins' six best books, and John Krasinski's six best books, and is on the American Book Review's list of the 100 best last lines from novels. Gatsby's Jordan Baker is Josh Sorokach's biggest fictional literary crush.

Also see: Five of the lamest boyfriends in fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: M. A. Lawson's "Rosarito Beach"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Rosarito Beach by M. A. Lawson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Bold, brash, and beautiful, Kay Hamilton is not your average DEA agent she s as infuriating as she is irresistible. Having recently been transferred to San Diego after a case in Miami brought her more notoriety than medals, Kay once again finds herself embroiled in an international bust. Tito Olivera, younger brother of drug czar Caesar Olivera, is within her grasp. If she takes down Tito, Kay is positive that Caesar will follow and when Caesar falls, so does the largest and most vicious cartel in Mexico. But when a mysterious stranger shows up on her doorstep, all of Kay s carefully laid plans are thrown out the window. The Olivera case suddenly becomes far more personal not to mention dangerous and Kay must be willing to sacrifice everything to get her man.

Rosarito Beach is an explosive, action-packed thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seats until the final moments of the epic conclusion.
Learn more about the author and his work at Mike Lawson's website.

Writers Read: M. A. Lawson.

The Page 69 Test: Rosarito Beach.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top New Years in literature

A couple of years ago at the Guardian, John Mullan tagged the ten most notable New Years in literature. One title on the list:
The Children of Men by PD James

Is this the glummest new year in recent fiction? On New Year's Day, 2021, "the last human being to be born on earth was killed in a pub brawl". He was 25, a significant age because, in James's dystopian tale, it has been 25 years since a pandemic made all human beings infertile. On the same day Theodore Faron begins his journal of humanity's last days.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Children of Men is on Amanda Yesilbas and Charlie Jane Anders's list of the twelve most unfaithful movie versions of science fiction and fantasy books, Ben H. Winters' list of three books to read before the end of the world, and John Sutherland's list of the five best books about the end of England.

--Marshal Zeringue

Free book: "Somewhere in France"

William Morrow and the Campaign for the American Reader are giving away a copy of Somewhere in France: A Novel by Jennifer Robson.

HOW TO ENTER: (1) send an email to this address:

(2) In the subject line, type Somewhere in France.

(3) Include your name (or alias or whatever you wish to be called if I email you to tell you you've won the book) in the body of the email.

[I will not sell or share your email address; nor will I be in touch with you unless it is to tell you you have won the book.  I promise.]

Contest closes on Monday, January 7th.

Only one entry per person, please.

Winner must have a US mailing address.

Read more about Somewhere in France and visit Jennifer Robson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 29, 2013

What is Melissa Walker reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Melissa Walker, author of Ashes to Ashes.

Her entry begins:
The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers by Lynn Weingarten. On the surface, this is the story of a girl pining after a boy who broke up with her--but the book has amazing depth. Underneath the plotline is an understanding of longing, fear, friendship and what we look for when we fall in love--the pages are filled with wise gems and...[read on]
About Ashes to Ashes, from the publisher:
Callie McPhee knows all the classic Charleston ghost stories by heart.

What she doesn't realize is that she's about to become one.

When Callie's life is cut short by a tragic accident, she expects to find nothingness, or maybe some version of heaven. Instead, her spirit travels to the Prism, an ethereal plane populated by the ghosts she thought were fictional. Here she meets a striking and mysterious ghost named Thatcher, who is meant to guide her as she learns to haunt and bring peace to the loved ones she left behind.

With Thatcher at her side, Callie watches in agony while her father, her best friend, and her boyfriend mourn her—and she's not sure she wants to help them let her go; she may be invisible, but she's still here. However, as Callie desperately tries to make contact with the people she left behind, she uncovers a dark secret about the spirit world: The angry souls that always populate ghost stories are real, dangerous, and willing to do anything to stay on Earth, threatening the existence of everyone she ever cared about.

When she fights to save them, Callie will learn that while it may no longer beat, her heart can still love—and break.

Ashes to Ashes is Melissa Walker's sweeping, romantic, and emotionally rich story about the things that torment and tempt us, even from the Great Beyond.
Learn more about the book and author at Melissa Walker's website.

Writers Read: Melissa Walker.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books for readers who loved "Wolf Hall"

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Rebecca Jane Stokes tagged ten books for people who loved Wolf Hall, including:
The Six Wives of Henry VIII, by Alison Weir

I cannot recommend Alison Weir with any more vigor. This is a great place to start. If Mantel elevates fiction to a religious experience, Weir elevates history to a fine art. And her footnotes are a treat, second only to those of science writer Mary Roach.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Michael D. Matthews's "Head Strong"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Head Strong: How Psychology is Revolutionizing War by Michael D. Matthews.

About the book, from the publisher:
Psychology is the science that will determine who wins and who loses the wars of the 21st century, just as physics ultimately led the United States to victory in World War II. Changes in the world's political landscape coupled with radical advances in the technology of war will greatly alter how militaries are formed, trained, and led. Leadership under fire - and the traits and skills it requires - is also changing. Grant, Lee, Pershing, Patton - these generals would not succeed in 21st century conflicts.

In Head Strong: Psychology and Military Dominance in the 21st Century, Michael D. Matthews explores the many ways that psychology will make the difference for wars yet to come, from revolutionary advances in soldier selection and training to new ways of preparing soldiers to remain resilient in the face of horror and to engineering the super-soldier of the future. These advancements will ripple out to impact on the lives of all of us, not just soldiers. Amputees will have "intelligent" life-like prosthetics that simulate the feel and function of a real limb. Those exposed to trauma will have new and more effective remedies to prevent or treat post-traumatic stress disorder. And a revolution in training - based heavily in the military's increasing reliance on immersive simulations - will radically alter how police, fire, and first-responder personnel are trained in the future.

At its heart, war is the most human of endeavors. Psychology, as the science of human behavior, will prove essential to success in future war. Authored by a West Point military psychologist, this book is one of the first to expose us to the smarter wars, and the world around them, to come.
Learn more about Head Strong at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Head Strong.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Pg. 69: "City of Lost Dreams"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: City of Lost Dreams by Magnus Flyte.

About the book, from the publisher:
The exhilarating, genre-bending sequel to the sensational New York Times bestseller City of Dark Magic

In this action-packed sequel to City of Dark Magic, we find musicologist Sarah Weston in Vienna in search of a cure for her friend Pollina, who is now gravely ill and who may not have much time left. Meanwhile, Nicolas Pertusato, in London in search of an ancient alchemical cure for the girl, discovers an old enemy is one step ahead of him. In Prague, Prince Max tries to unravel the strange reappearance of a long dead saint while being pursued by a seductive red-headed historian with dark motives of her own.

In the city of Beethoven, Mozart, and Freud, Sarah becomes the target in a deadly web of intrigue that involves a scientist on the run, stolen art, seductive pastries, a few surprises from long-dead alchemists, a distractingly attractive horseman who s more than a little bloodthirsty, and a trail of secrets and lies. But nothing will be more dangerous than the brilliant and vindictive villain who seeks to bend time itself. Sarah must travel deep into an ancient mystery to save the people she loves.
Learn more about the book and author at Magnus Flyte's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: City of Dark Magic.

My Book, The Movie: City of Dark Magic.

The Page 69 Test: City of Lost Dreams.

--Marshal Zeringue

Twelve food books that will feed your mind

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Dell Villa tagged twelve food books that will feed your mind.

One title on the list:
My Life in France, by Julia Child, with Alex Prud’homme

This delightful memoir from one of America’s most endearing cultural icons is dedicated simply, “To Paul,” putting into perspective the fact that love transcended all else in the life of the enormously talented Julia Child. Her account, written jointly with Prud’homme, begins in 1948, when Child first arrived in France with her husband on diplomatic assignment. With tenderness, trademark wit, and a steady stream of stories that are immediately engaging, readers follow her windy road to Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television show, The French Chef, and through her 50-year marriage to Paul, the love of her life.
Read about another book on the list.

My Life in France also appears on Nikki Metzgar's list of five food memoirs worth digging into, Tien Nguyen's list of five addictive books by cooks, and Richard Lacayo and Lev Grossman's list of five memoirs worth reading.

Pamela Redmond Satran called My Life in France "unexpectedly transporting as the tale of a middle-aged woman’s discovery of herself, of her true calling, and of ambition."

--Marshal Zeringue

Mandy Hager's "Into the Wilderness," the movie

Now showing at My Book, The Movie: Into the Wilderness by Mandy Hager.

The entry begins:
For a taster of the plot, here’s the blurb: Maryam, Ruth and Joseph have fled Onewēre, reluctantly taking Joseph’s troublesome cousin Lazarus as well. They arrive at their destination, Marawa Island, filled with hope for rescue and reprieve. But at first glance the island appears to be solely populated by birds. Perhaps the Apostle’s dire warnings about the fallout of the Tribulation were true after all?

As Maryam and Joseph experience all the topsy-turvy misunderstandings and sexual tension first love entails, the antagonism between Maryam and Lazarus reaches explosive proportions. But when disaster brings the crushing realization that time is now against them, all four must decided just who they can risk turning to for help.

It’s a pleasure to imagine Into the Wilderness as a film — in fact, as I write I visualise each story as if it’s a film playing out inside my head. This is the second book in my Blood of the Lamb trilogy, a series that looks at the way power and control is wielded over women, faithful populations and people of colour. Set in an apocalyptic future, the book takes its characters from a small island in the Pacific to the shores of an island detention centre off the coast of a transformed Australia (The Confederated Territories), based on the detention centre on Nauru.

One of the features of the book is that the main protagonist Maryam and her friend Ruth are Pacific Islanders – people who are not often represented in fiction. Maryam is a strong and courageous character, who rails against the oppressive religious sect that controls the island where she was raised and who, in Into the Wilderness, must learn to overcome great grief to stand up against...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Mandy Hager's website and Facebook page.

My Book, The Movie: Into the Wilderness.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 27, 2013

Free book: "The House on the Cliff"

Bourbon Street Books and the Campaign for the American Reader are giving away a copy of The House on the Cliff: A Novel by Charlotte Williams.

HOW TO ENTER: (1) send an email to this address:

(2) In the subject line, type House on the Cliff.

(3) Include your name (or alias or whatever you wish to be called if I email you to tell you you've won the book) in the body of the email.

[I will not sell or share your email address; nor will I be in touch with you unless it is to tell you you have won the book.  I promise.]

Contest closes on Monday, January 7th.

Only one entry per person, please.

Winner must have a US mailing address.

Read more about The House on the Cliff and visit Charlotte Williams's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten notable books about the rest of the world

At The Daily Beast Kapil Komireddi tagged 10 books about the rest of the world that deserve your attention, including:
The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide, by Gary J. Bass

Created expressly to safeguard the Muslims of India, Pakistan disintegrated in 1971 – after committing the single-largest massacre of Muslims since the birth of Islam. Over nine months in what is today Bangladesh, up to three million people were slaughtered, more than 10 million displaced, and half a million Bengali women forced into brothels erected for the pleasure of Pakistani soldiers. It was an upheaval without parallel in South Asia’s history, and it happened in large measure with the support of President Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. Gary Bass’s title is a reference to the searing cables dispatched by Archer Blood, the American consul-general in Dhaka, in which he castigated his bosses back home for their complicity in the genocide unfolding before his eyes. Kissinger and Nixon, having recruited Pakistan as a conduit in their effort to broker relations with Mao’s China, continued to abet the dictatorship of Gen. Yahya Khan. Bass’s book is made indispensable by the mere fact of its existence. It will shame Americans. But will it prompt Pakistanis to ask why a country founded to protect Muslims oversaw their mass murder?
Read about another book on the list.

The Page 99 Test: The Blood Telegram.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is M. A. Lawson reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: M. A. Lawson, author of Rosarito Beach.

His entry begins:
Not long ago I finished Martin Cruz Smith’s Tatiana and I’m currently reading Michael Connelly’s The Gods of Guilt. Both authors are obviously great based on their popularity alone, but I couldn’t help but be struck by the stark difference in writing styles. Smith’s plots are never straightforward. He dishes out information in bits and pieces so you’re always trying to catch up with where the book is going. His protagonist, Arkady Renko, is unique and quirky, and I love this character....[read on]
About the book, from the publisher:
Bold, brash, and beautiful, Kay Hamilton is not your average DEA agent she s as infuriating as she is irresistible. Having recently been transferred to San Diego after a case in Miami brought her more notoriety than medals, Kay once again finds herself embroiled in an international bust. Tito Olivera, younger brother of drug czar Caesar Olivera, is within her grasp. If she takes down Tito, Kay is positive that Caesar will follow and when Caesar falls, so does the largest and most vicious cartel in Mexico. But when a mysterious stranger shows up on her doorstep, all of Kay s carefully laid plans are thrown out the window. The Olivera case suddenly becomes far more personal not to mention dangerous and Kay must be willing to sacrifice everything to get her man.

Rosarito Beach is an explosive, action-packed thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seats until the final moments of the epic conclusion.
Learn more about the author and his work at Mike Lawson's website.

Writers Read: M. A. Lawson.

--Marshal Zeringue

Four of the most memorable holiday gifts in fiction

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Melissa Albert highlighted a few of the most memorable holiday gifts in fiction. One entry on the list:
Pile of weapons.

Ho ho ho, children! Here comes Santa Claus, bearing gifts of Barbies and Xboxes heavy-duty weaponry! In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the Pevensies’ run-in with a noble Father Christmas wins them a veritable cache of evil-fighting tools: sword and shield for Peter; bow, arrows, and hunting horn for Susan; and a dagger and healing cordial for Lucy (no presents for errant Edmund). His arrival is also a sign that Narnia’s long winter is coming to an end.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Narnia Chronicles pop up on Paul Goat Allen's list of the ten most badass women in fantasy literature. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is on Lev Grossman's list of the six greatest fantasy books of all time.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pg. 69: Steve Perry's "The Vastalimi Gambit"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: The Vastalimi Gambit by Steve Perry.

About the book, from the publisher:
At the close of the twenty-fourth century, a series of revolutions has caused the galaxy to descend into chaos. With the Galactic Union Army stretched thin, mercenary units have arisen for those who have the need—and the means—to hire them…

Kay, the alien member of the Cutter Force Initiative, has returned to her brutal home world of Vast on a mission of mercy. Before she joined the merc team, she was a great healer. And now her skills are sorely needed. Hundreds of Vastalimi—including her blood-kin—are dying mysteriously.

But is the plague a work of nature? Or is it a bioengineered virus, purposefully unleashed? Kay and Doc Wink will have to find out the hard way.

With the Cutter Force light-years away, the two find the odds against them—and on a planet like Vast, where violence abounds and life is cheap, they may be facing a foe they can’t defeat…
Visit Steve Perry's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Vastalimi Gambit.

--Marshal Zeringue

Four famous authors who spent time in jail

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Alexandra Silverman tagged four famous writers who spent time in jail, including:
Jack London (The Call of the Wild, White Fang)

The Call of the Wild author spent a lot of time in the rugged outdoors. He started working at a cannery at 13 and within a few short years had been employed as an oyster thief in the San Francisco Bay, sailed on a schooner to Japan, and worked in a mill and a power plant—all before traveling to the Yukon for the Klondike Gold Rush, which provided the inspiration for The Call of the Wild and White Fang. London’s arrest for vagrancy, while participating in a protest march in 1932, also came before his literary success, and was at least partially responsible for his turn to scholastic and literary pursuits. London described the “horrors” of being locked up in the Erie County Pen for thirty days as “unprintable” and “unthinkable” in The Road. In 2002, the creator of the TV series Oz adapted The Road for the New York stage.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Call of the Wild is among Joshua Glenn's top 32 list of adventure novels of the 19th century, Sarah Lean's top ten animal stories, Ben Frederick's eleven essential books for dog lovers, Megan Miranda's top ten books set in a wintry landscape, Jill Hucklesby's top 10 books about running away, Charlie English's top ten snow books, and Thomas Bloor's top ten tales of metamorphosis. It appears on John Mullan's list of ten of the best wolves in literature and Alice-Azania Jarvis's reading list on dogs. 

White Fang is among Amy Wilkinson's top seven books with "white" in the title, Emma Barnes's top ten books with wolves, and Marcus Sedgwick's top ten books from cold climes.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Steven Casey's "When Soldiers Fall"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: When Soldiers Fall: How Americans Have Confronted Combat Losses from World War I to Afghanistan by Steven Casey.

About the book, from the publisher:
Call it the Vietnam Syndrome or Black Hawk Down blowback. It's the standard assumption that Americans won't tolerate combat casualties, that a rising body count lowers support for war. But that's not true, argues historian Steven Casey; even worse, this assumption damages democracy. Fearing a backlash, the military has routinely distorted its casualty reports in order to hide the true cost of war.

When Soldiers Fall takes a new look at the way Americans have dealt with the toll of armed conflict. Drawing on a vast array of sources, from George Patton's command papers to previously untapped New York Times archives, Casey ranges from World War I (when the U.S. government first began to report casualties) to the War on Terror, examining official policy, the press, and the public reaction. Not surprisingly, leaders from Douglas MacArthur to Donald Rumsfeld have played down casualties. But the reverse has sometimes been true. At a crucial moment in World War II, the military actually exaggerated casualties to counter the public's complacency about ultimate victory. More often, though, official announcements have been unclear, out of date, or deliberately misleading--resulting in media challenges. In World War I, reporters had to rely on figures published by the enemy; in World War II, the armed forces went for an entire year without releasing casualty tallies. Casey discusses the impact of changing presidential administrations, the role of technology, the dispersal of correspondents to cover multiple conflicts, and the enormous improvements in our ability to identify bodies. Recreating the controversies that have surrounded key battles, from the Meusse-Argonne to the Tet Offensive to Fallujah, the author challenges the formula that higher losses lower support for war.

Integrating military, political, and media history, When Soldiers Fall provides the first in-depth account of the impact of battlefield losses in America.
Learn more about When Soldiers Fall at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: When Soldiers Fall.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What is Anna Humphrey reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Anna Humphrey, author of Ruby Goldberg's Bright Idea.

Her entry begins:
The Night Guest, by Fiona McFarlane

I picked up this book because it was included on some kind of Oprah list as one of the best suspenseful books of the year, and honestly, I’ll do just about anything Oprah Winfrey tells me to. She introduced the world to Spanx, mail order pie and those shoes with the red soles on them. When has she ever steered us wrong?

The Night Guest, it turns out, is no exception. It’s the story of Ruth, an elderly widow who lives by herself near the ocean. One day a stranger appears, looking as if she’s been blown in from the sea. She claims to be a government worker assigned to help Ruth with daily tasks... but is she really? Aside from being absolutely gorgeously written, this book...[read on]
About Ruby Goldberg's Bright Idea, from the publisher:
Ruby wants first prize at the fifth grade science fair—and she thinks her quirky, creative, Rube Goldberg–esque invention is just the way to get it!

Ten-year-old Ruby Goldberg is determined to win her school science fair and beat her nemesis Dominic Robinson. She’s snagged second place for the last two years, and she’s set on claiming first prize. The only trouble is that Ruby has no ideas. When her grandfather’s beloved basset hound dies, Ruby thinks of the perfect thing that will cheer him up and win her first place—an innovative, state-of-the-art, not-to-be-duplicated Ruby Goldberg invention!

Before long Ruby is so busy working on her idea that she ignores everything else in her life, including her best friend, Penny. And what started out as simple turns into something much more complicated! Can Ruby get her priorities—and the mechanisms of her project—in order before it’s too late?
Anna Humphrey is the author of Rhymes with Cupid and Mission (un)Popular, both novels for teens. Ruby Goldberg’s Bright Idea, is her first novel for middle graders.

Visit Anna Humphrey's website.

Writers Read: Anna Humphrey.

--Marshal Zeringue

Twelve of the weirdest stories of Christmas

R. Clifton Spargo is the author of the novel Beautiful Fools, The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald (2013).

One entry on his list of the twelve weirdest stories of Christmas, as shared at The Huffington Post:
Leo Tolstoy, "Papa Panov's Special Christmas" (1890)

A widowed shoemaker whose children have moved away is lonely on Christmas Eve, so he rereads the biblical story of Christmas, confident that he would have provided lodging to the baby Jesus and his family. Drowsing, he recalls a pair of tiny leather shoes stashed away, the best he ever made, and vows to give them to the baby Jesus. Jesus appears in a dream to say he'll visit the old man on Christmas day. In the morning the streets are empty except for a street sweeper, whom Panov invites into his home, all the while keeping an eye out for his special visitor. Later he retrieves from the street a young mother with infant, preparing warm milk for the child. The infant girl needs shoes, but the mother can't afford any; and Panov must decide whether to save the shoes he's devoted to Jesus or donate them to this bare-footed child.
Learn about the other stories on the list.

Read "Papa Panov's Special Christmas" free online.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Six memorable New York City books

Cathleen Schine's latest novel, Fin & Lady, is about life in Greenwich Village in the swinging Sixties. One of her six favorite New York books, as shared with readers at The Daily Beast:
The Age of Innocence
by Edith Wharton

In addition to all its other virtues, the novel has wonderful descriptions of the city and the social significance of real estate. Location, location, location.
Read about another book on the list. 

The Age of Innocence also appears on Therese Anne Fowler's list of 6 favorite books, the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five top books on Gilded Age New York, Frances Kiernan's five best list of books that helped her understand the ways of New York society and David Kamp's list of six books that are notable for their food prose, and is among Elaine Sciolino's six favorite books, Mika Brzezinski's 6 best books and Honor Blackman's 6 best books. It is Lionel Shriver's favorite book from Virago's backlist.

Check out--Coffee with a Canine: Cathleen Schine & Hector.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books on Christmas history

Bruce Forbes is professor of religious studies at Morningside College in Iowa, and the author of Christmas: A Candid History, co-editor of Rapture, Revelation, and the End Times, and co-editor of Religion and Popular Culture in America.

One of five notable books on Christmas history he discussed with Alec Ash at The Browser:
The Origins of Christmas
by Joseph Kelly

This is another brief book accessible to general audiences, written by a Catholic religious studies professor in the US. He talks about what the limited Biblical evidence is for Christmas, and where we got some of the other traditions. Much of our Christmas story isn’t really in the Bible – in order to develop a big birthday celebration we’ve added all kinds of traditions. This book looks at the origins of St Nicholas, the Magi, and so on.

What does he say about St Nicholas?

He talks about how St Nicholas is really a legendary figure. It’s difficult to tell what is historical and what is legend, but the legends are I think marvellous. He was a bishop in the 4th century in what’s now Turkey, and gained a reputation for generosity, and for caring for young children and travellers. As a saint he almost became the equivalent of a guardian angel. He became very popular, and his saint’s day, December 6th, at least was in the month leading up to Christmas. So over time he became associated with Christmas celebrations. Then, when the legend got to the States, and especially to New York, St Nicholas morphed into Santa Claus.

Tell me more about how that happened.

Well, New York was founded as New Amsterdam, with Dutch beginnings. And the Dutch kept alive the tradition of St Nicholas where many other countries, influenced by Protestantism, had de-emphasised him. So St Nicholas hopped the waters with the Dutch to New York. Then, in a very complicated story in which you would have to trace five or six steps because of one person or another’s influence, he morphs and becomes de-frocked.

In Washington Irving’s writings, he is a Dutchman who rides a wagon pulled through the air by horses on St Nicholas’s day. Then later on, with the famous [1823] poem “Twas The Night Before Christmas”, he moves to Christmas day and gets reindeer.

In that poem, as you point out in your own book, St Nicholas is an elf.

Yes, which is a complete surprise for most people. If you buy a picture book of that poem, the illustrations are usually of the full-size, jolly, red and white Santa Claus. But if you read the words of the poem, he’s an elf – not just in the phrase “the jolly old elf”, but it talks about “a miniature sleigh”, “tiny reindeer” and his “little round belly”. He’s an elf. So he still has to morph more, through the art of [19th century American cartoonist] Thomas Nast and then the advertisements of Coca Cola, until he becomes our modern image of Santa Claus.
Read about another book Forbes tagged at The Browser.

Also see Penne Restad's five best list of books on Christmas traditions.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Libby McGugan's "The Eidolon"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: The Eidolon by Libby McGugan.

About the book, from the publisher:
When physicist Robert Strong loses his job at the Dark Matter research lab and his relationship falls apart, he returns home to Scotland. then the dead start appearing to him, and Robert begins to question his own sanity.

Victor Amos, an enigmatic businessman, arrives and recruits Robert to sabotage CERN’S large Hadron Collider, convincing him the next step in the collider’s research will bring about disaster. everything Robert once understood about reality, and the boundaries between life and death, is about to change forever. and the biggest change will be to Robert himself...

Mixing science, philosophy and espionage, Libby McGugan’s stunning debut is a thriller like no other.
Learn more about the book and author at Libby McGugan's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Eidolon.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six of the worst fictional seatmates on a plane

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Melissa Albert highlighted six of the worst fictional characters to sit next to on a plane. One entry on the list:
Ignatius Reilly.

Outside of accusing you of coveting his Dr. Nut soda (he brought several six-packs for the ride), loudly decrying the poor quality of the in-flight entertainment, and repeatedly, unapologetically farting, there’s this: Ignatius doesn’t travel well. Emotionally speaking. He’s left New Orleans once, and it was a scarring, self-inflicted disaster. There’s pretty much no chance you won’t end up getting grounded in Cleveland.
Read about another character on the list.

Ignatius Reilly is on Jill Boyd's list of five of the worst fictional characters to invite to Thanksgiving. A Confederacy of Dunces is among the Telegraph's critics' fifty best cult books, Melissa Albert's eight favorite fictional misfits, Ken Jennings's eight notable books about parents and kids, Sarah Stodol's top ten lost-then-found novels, Hallie Ephron's top ten books for a good laugh, Stephen Kelman's top 10 outsiders' stories, John Mullan's ten best moustaches in literature, Michael Lewis's five favorite books, and Cracked magazine's classic funny novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 23, 2013

Pg. 99: Nancy Bartley's "The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff – the Redemption of Herbert Niccolls Jr. by Nancy Bartley.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 1931, a 12-year-old boy shot and killed the sheriff of Asotin, Washington. The incident stunned the small town and a mob threatened to hang him. Both the crime and Herbert Niccolls's eventual sentence of life imprisonment at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla drew national attention, only to be buried later in local archives.

Journalist Nancy Bartley has conducted extensive research to construct a compelling narrative of the events and characters that make this a unique episode in the history of criminal justice in the United States. Niccolls became a cause for Father Flanagan of Boys Town, who took to the airwaves, imploring listeners to write Governor Hartley on the boy's behalf. The bitter campaign put Hartley in such a negative light that he lost his bid for reelection. Under a new and progressive warden, Niccolls thrived in prison. Inmates like physician Peter Miller and literary agent James Ashe became his tutors, finding that Niccolls had an insatiable appetite for knowledge. During the deadly 1934 prison riot at Walla Walla, several prisoners kept him from harm.

Niccolls was finally released from prison in his early twenties. He went to work at 20th Century Fox in Hollywood, where he kept his secret for the rest of his long life. The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff explores this little-known story of a young boy's fate in the juvenile justice system during the bloodiest years in the nation's penitentiaries.
Learn more about the book and author at Nancy Bartley's website, and follow her on Twitter.

My Book, The Movie: The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff.

The Page 99 Test: The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff.

--Marshal Zeringue

Coffee with a canine: Dale Kushner & Malibu

The current featured duo at Coffee with a Canine: Dale Kushner and Malibu.

The author, on Malibu's influence on her writing:
Mali is a muse wannabe, that is, if the only job of a muse is to offer a fetching smile and endless affection. Actually, Mali’s more of a trickster than a muse. But then again, as a writer, I never know what will end up in the writing stew. Because of Mali, I am learning a lot about dog behavior. At the moment, I’m interested in what behaviorists call “prey drive,” that almost unstoppable instinct that provokes dogs to chase squirrels or cats to pounce on mice. I haven’t yet discovered if humans too have a prey drive. Hmmm. Will a creature who boasts...[read on]
About Kushner's novel The Conditions of Love, from the publisher:
Dale M. Kushner's novel The Conditions of Love traces the journey of a girl from childhood to adulthood as she reckons with her parents' abandonment, her need to break from society's limitations, and her overwhelming desire for spiritual and erotic love. In 1953, ten-year-old Eunice lives in the backwaters of Wisconsin with her outrageously narcissistic mother, a manicureeste and movie star worshipper. Abandoned by her father as an infant, Eunice worries that she will become a misfit like her mother. When her mother's lover, the devoted Sam, moves in, Eunice imagines her life will finally become normal. But her hope dissolves when Sam gets kicked out, and she is again alone with her mother. A freak storm sends Eunice away from all things familiar. Rescued by the shaman-like Rose, Eunice's odyssey continues with a stay in a hermit's shack and ends with a passionate love affair with an older man. Through her capacity to redefine herself, reject bitterness and keep her heart open, she survives and flourishes. In this, she is both ordinary and heroic. At once fable and realistic story, The Conditions of Love is a book about emotional and physical survival. Through sheer force of will, Eunice saves herself from a doomed life.

This engaging examination of a mother and daughter's relationship will appeal to the same audience that embraced Mona Simpson's acclaimed classic Anywhere But Here and Elizabeth Strout's bestselling Amy and Isabelle.
Learn more about the book and author at Dale Kushner's website, blog, and Facebook page.

Writers Read: Dale M. Kushner.

The Page 69 Test: The Conditions of Love.

My Book, The Movie: The Conditions of Love.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Dale Kushner and Malibu.

--Marshal Zeringue

Bruce Wagner's 6 favorite books

Bruce Wagner is the author of Dead Stars, Memorial, The Chrysanthemum Palace (a PEN/Faulkner fiction award finalist), Still Holding, I’ll Let You Go, I’m Losing You, Force Majeure, and two companion novellas under the title The Empty Chair.

One of his six favorite books, as shared with readers of The Week magazine:
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

What can one say about Don Quixote's transcendent, comedic search? Dostoyevsky was said to have remarked that Don Quixote was the saddest book ever written. It is perhaps the most beautiful as well.
Read about another book on the list. 

Don Quixote was the second most popular book among prisoners at the U.S. base at Guantánamo Bay. It is on Panayiota Kuvetakis's top ten list of fictional best friends we'd like to have as nonfictional best friends, and John Mullan's lists of ten of the best literary women dressed as men and ten of the best books written in prison.

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

--Marshal Zeringue

Tj O'Connor's "Dying to Know," the movie

Now showing at My Book, The Movie: Dying to Know by Tj O'Connor.

The entry begins:
Unlike many writers I’m sure, I’ve never contemplated Dying To Know as a movie. Maybe it’s because this is the book I never thought I’d write and never thought would be published. But that all happened, so now, I see… Dying to Know—The Movie!

Dying to Know is about Oliver Tucker, a homicide cop murdered in his own home. Tuck returns as a dead detective to help his brilliant and beautiful wife, Professor Angel Tucker, solve his murder. Yes, Tuck’s dead and back home. But, unlike other novels with ghost characters, this is not a ghost story. It’s a murder case with a paranormal twist. Tuck’s predicament—he’s dead—is a means to find his killer, not the story. In Dying to Know, Tuck searches for his killer among a litany of suspects, beginning with Angel and his partner, Bear Braddock—were they involved? And there’s Poor Nic, a retired NY mobster who isn’t completely retired and is involved in Tuck’s last case. Add in Lucca Tuscani, a NY hit man stalking Winchester, and the always-present-at-the-wrong-time Ernie Stuart and André Cartier—both aged professors from Angel’s university. There are a few others mind you, but I have limited space.

My amazing agent, Kimberley Cameron, has likened this story to The Thin Man meets Topper (from the 40s) and Patrick Swayze’s Ghost meets Castle (Nathan Fillion). I think...[read on]
Visit Tj O’Connor's website, blog, and Facebook page.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Tj O’Connor & Toby, Mosby, and Maggie Mae.

My Book, The Movie: Dying to Know.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Eleven of the most eccentric relatives in fiction

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Nicole Hill tagged eleven of the most eccentric relatives in fiction, including:
Uncle: Bilbo Baggins (The Lord of the Rings)

He may be the bravest little hobbit of them all, but to Hobbiton, Bilbo Baggins will always be peculiar. It doesn’t take a Sackville-Baggins to see the old boy’s never been quite right since all those unseemly adventures. That business with the trolls and dragon addled him, I say. Nothing else explains that ruckus he made at his 111th birthday party, all that disappearing nonsense.
Read about another relative on the list.

The Lord of the Rings also made Nicole Hill's top seven list of literary wedding themes, Charlie Jane Anders's list of fifteen moments from science fiction and fantasy that will make absolutely anyone cry, Elizabeth Wein's top ten list of dynamic duos in fiction, Katharine Trendacosta and Charlie Jane Anders's list of the ten sources that inspired the dark storytelling of Game of Thrones, Rob Bricken's list of 11 preposterously manly fantasy series, Conrad Mason's top ten list of magical objects in fiction, Linus Roache's six best books list, Derek Landy's top ten list of villains in children's books, Charlie Jane Anders and Michael Ann Dobbs' list of ten classic SF books that were originally considered failures, Lev Grossman's list of the six greatest fantasy books of all time, and appears on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best women dressed as men, ten of the best bows and arrows in literature, ten of the best beards in literature, ten of the best towers in literature, ten of the best volcanoes in literature, ten of the best chases in literature, and ten of the best monsters in literature. It is one of Salman Rushdie's five best fantasy novels for all ages. It is a book that made a difference to Pat Conroy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Kathryn Erskine's "Seeing Red"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine.

About the book, from the publisher:
National Book Award winner Kathryn Erskine delivers a powerful story of family, friendship, and race relations in the South.

Life will never be the same for Red Porter. He's a kid growing up around black car grease, white fence paint, and the backward attitudes of the folks who live in his hometown, Rocky Gap, Virginia.

Red's daddy, his idol, has just died, leaving Red and Mama with some hard decisions and a whole lot of doubt. Should they sell the Porter family business, a gas station, repair shop, and convenience store rolled into one, where the slogan -- "Porter's: We Fix it Right!" -- has been shouting the family's pride for as long as anyone can remember?

With Daddy gone, everything's different. Through his friendship with Thomas, Beau, and Miss Georgia, Red starts to see there's a lot more than car motors and rusty fenders that need fixing in his world.

When Red discovers the injustices that have been happening in Rocky Gap since before he was born, he's faced with unsettling questions about his family's legacy.
Learn more about the book and author at Kathryn Erskine's website.

Check out Erskine's top 10 first person narratives.

My Book, The Movie: Seeing Red.

The Page 69 Test: Seeing Red.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Five of the best American journeys in literature

Simon Winchester is a best-selling British author, living in Massachusetts and New York City. His newest book is The Men Who United the States.

One title on his list of five great American journeys in literature, as shared with Telegraph readers:
Mark Twain['s] masterpiece, Life on the Mississippi (1883), was the first book offered to a publisher, typewritten. His tales are stirring; his affection for a troubled river shines through the pages.
Read about another book Winchester tagged.

See Winchester's five top novels on U.S. frontier social history and his five top novels on U.S. frontier social history.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Gail Oust reading?

The current feature contributor at Writers Read: Gail Oust, author of Rosemary and Crime.

Her entry begins:
Any time someone rattles off a title and tells me it’s the best book they’ve ever read, I’m curious. An avid reader I met recently told me about The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. The premise of a four year old child abandoned on a ship bound for Australia intrigued me. The novel was a gracefully layered tale told from multiple points of view and with multiple locales and time periods. It was a woman’s search for identity. I was particularly interested in...[read on]
About the book, from the publisher:
Murder comes well-seasoned in this charming mystery featuring a smart and spunky new amateur sleuth, small-town Georgia spice shop owner Piper Prescott

Piper Prescott, a transplanted Yankee living in the South, has got her sass back. She might be down, but don’t count her out. “Change of life?” she asks. Bring it on. Recently divorced, Piper decides to pursue a dream she’s secretly harbored: owning her own business, Spice it Up!, a spice shop in her adopted hometown, Brandywine Creek, Georgia. But Piper’s grand opening goes awry when the local chef who’s agreed to do a cooking demo is found stabbed. Not only did Piper find the body, she handled the murder weapon and doesn’t have a witness to her alibi, making the case look like a slam dunk to brand new police Chief Wyatt McBride. Desperate to uncover the truth—and prove her innocence—Piper enlists the help of her outspoken BFF Reba Mae Johnson to help track down the real culprit. The pair compile a lengthy list of suspects and work to eliminate them using their own creative brand of sleuthing techniques including stakeouts, breaking and entering, and one very unorthodox chocolate pie. When Piper narrowly avoids being a victim of a hit-and-run, she knows she’s getting closer to the truth, but can she catch the killer and clear her name before she becomes the next victim?

A captivating start to a new series featuring an unstoppably fabulous new crime-solving heroine, a colorful cast of small town characters, and more than a pinch of Georgia charm, Rosemary and Crime by Gail Oust is sure to delight fans of Donna Andrews and Jessica Beck.
Learn more about the book and author at Gail Oust's website.

My Book, The Movie: Rosemary and Crime.

Writers Read: Gail Oust.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven top books for sports fans

Claire Zulkey is a writer who lives in Chicago.  Her books include the novel An Off Year. She also edits the aptly named website, Zulkey.com.

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Zulkey tagged seven books for sports fans, including:
Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile, by Nate Jackson

Football took a major hit this year (get it?) with the Frontline investigation on the tragic results that can come from too many tackle-related concussions, and the NFL’s Big Tobacco–like denial of any knowledge of such problems. On the other hand, this story was a bit like a pebble thrown at Goliath, considering the recent NPR story discussing the fact that Monday Night Football is such a huge ratings event, even a game between the two worst players in the league would out-earn viewers on any other show. While Jackson may not go down in the record books as a player, he’s received praise for this plainspoken look at the grind of life in professional football.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Nomy Arpaly & Timothy Schroeder's "In Praise of Desire"

This weekend's feature at the Page 99 Test: In Praise of Desire by Nomy Arpaly and Timothy Schroeder.

About the book, from the publisher:
Joining the ancient debate over the roles of reason and appetite in the moral mind, In Praise of Desire takes the side of appetite. Acting for moral reasons, acting in a praiseworthy manner, and acting out of virtue amount to nothing more than acting out of intrinsic desires for the right or the good, correctly conceived.

Reason, understood as the power to deliberate about what to think and do, is shown not to be the basis for our ability to act for reasons. Reason is rather the ability to perform certain mental actions which help us to become settled about what to think or do, and these actions are in turn motivated by desire. Thus reason is, if not a slave of the passions, then at least a useful tool deployed by desiring agents.

If desire were merely an impulse to act, then a moral psychology built on intrinsic desires might be unpromising. But intrinsic desire is much more than an impulse to act. Intrinsic desires are a natural kind, states of the brain which contingently but commonly cause impulses to act, as well as causing a rich array of feelings and cognitive effects (on attention, learning, and more). Understood in this way, intrinsic desires are more central to agency, good will, and virtue than any mere impulse could be.

In Praise of Desire shows that a desire-centered moral psychology can be richer than philosophers commonly think, accommodating the full complexity of moral life.
Learn more about In Praise of Desire at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: In Praise of Desire.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 20, 2013

Ten top music histories

Bob Stanley has worked as a music journalist, a DJ, and a record label owner and is the cofounder and keyboard player for the band Saint Etienne. He lives in London. His new book is Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Modern Pop Music. One of his top ten music histories, as shared with the Guardian:
The Heart of Rock and Soul by Dave Marsh

Marsh celebrates the 7-inch single, listing what he considers to be the 1,001 greatest 45s in order (I won't spoil it by telling you what's number one). I love the intriguing, unlikely connections he makes to show how the story of pop can be seen as a whole: Nolan Chance's eerie doo-wop hit The Wind is described as "a prophecy of Michael Jackson 20 years before he came along … if it had arrived in a meteorite shower it couldn't have been any spookier". The only thing wrong with the book is its clunky title, but then it was written in the mid-80s when pop was a dirty word.
Read about another book on the list.

Also see: Greil Marcus's five top books on rock music, Nile Rodgers's top ten music books, Samuel Muston's ten best music memoirs, and Kitty Empire's ten best rock autobiographies.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ruth Dugdall's "The Sacrificial Man," the movie

Now showing at My Book, The Movie: The Sacrificial Man by Ruth Dugdall.

The entry begins:
To see one of my novels on the big screen is one of my favourite daydreams. For many writers, especially crime writers like myself, a movie deal is the Holy Grail.

But then the crunch question – who has the icy demeanour to play my uber-controlling, beautiful but brutalised Alice?

Alice is the central character in The Sacrificial Man, and she has agreed to kill a man, and eat him. She does not see herself as a criminal, but as a romantic heroine; she believes she is in a love story, that in helping her lover to die she was performing an act of devotion. Imagine Julie Christie, as she was in Doctor Zhivago, but with a knife.

Julie Christie being a bit too mature now, I think...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Ruth Dugdall's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Sacrificial Man.

--Marshal Zeringue