Saturday, June 30, 2018

Five top astronaut memoirs

At the B&N Reads blog Molly Schoemann-McCann tagged five of the best astronaut memoirs, including:
An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, by Chris Hadfield

Not only is Chris Hadfield an astronaut with more than 4,000 space hours to his credit, he’s an unabashedly joyful and welcoming ambassador (and fan) of space programs. He revived widespread interest in space travel with his dispatches from space, satellite hookups to classrooms, and viral video of himself singing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” aboard the International Space Station. In his book, the perpetually-wonder-filled Hadfield details his journey from an Ontario corn farm to the world’s most famous modern-day spaceman. He’s also remarkably frank—and fantastically detailed—about the process of going into space, and the day-to-day, moment-to-moment realities of living in space.
Read about another entry on the list.

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth is among Emma Barrett and Paul Martin's ten favorite books about and by people in extremes.

--Marshal Zeringue

Susan Mallery's "When We Found Home," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: When We Found Home by Susan Mallery.

The entry begins:
I don't usually picture actors when I'm writing but sometimes, especially with a large cast, it helps. In When We Found Home, Delaney, for me, looks like a young Dana Delaney. I love her. There's something really vulnerable about her as an actress that creates immediate empathy. In the book, Delaney lost her fiancé a year ago, and she's dealing with the loss and with guilt about the second thoughts she had been having before he died.

I see Malcolm as Chris...[read on]
Visit Susan Mallery's website.

My Book, The Movie: When We Found Home.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Edward M. Hallowell's "Because I Come from a Crazy Family"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Because I Come from a Crazy Family: The Making of a Psychiatrist by Edward M. Hallowell.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the bestselling author of the classic book on ADD, Driven to Distraction, a memoir of the strange upbringing that shaped Dr. Edward M. Hallowell's celebrated career.

When Edward M. Hallowell was eleven, a voice out of nowhere told him he should become a psychiatrist. A mental health professional of the time would have called this psychosis. But young Edward (Ned) took it in stride, despite not quite knowing what "psychiatrist" meant. With a psychotic father, alcoholic mother, abusive stepfather, and two so-called learning disabilities of his own, Ned was accustomed to unpredictable behavior from those around him, and to a mind he felt he couldn't always control.

The voice turned out to be right. Now, decades later, Hallowell is a leading expert on attention disorders and the author of twenty books, including Driven to Distraction, the work that introduced ADD to the world. In Because I Come from a Crazy Family, he tells the often strange story of a childhood marked by what he calls the "WASP triad" of alcoholism, mental illness, and politeness, and explores the wild wish, surging beneath his incredible ambition, that he could have saved his own family of drunk, crazy, and well-intentioned eccentrics, and himself.

Because I Come from a Crazy Family is an affecting, at times harrowing, ultimately moving memoir about crazy families and where they can lead, about being called to the mental health profession, and about the unending joys and challenges that come with helping people celebrate who they are.
Visit Edward M. Hallowell's website.

The Page 99 Test: Because I Come from a Crazy Family.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 29, 2018

Five recommended books by Indigenous speculative fiction authors

Rebecca Roanhorse's new novel is Trail of Lightning.

One of five speculative fiction books written by Indigenous to the Americas authors that she recommended at
Robopocalypse by Daniel Wilson

While the premise of Wilson’s book may sound familiar, it takes on new life in Wilson’s superior storyteller hands. Having a PhD in Robotics probably doesn’t hurt, either.

Fast-paced and thrilling, this story of robots taking over the world is told in a montage of first-person accounts and lost camera footage from various corners of the world. But the heart of the story, the place where rebellion begins and ends, is Osage land. In Wilson’s world, the things that might be seen as drawbacks to reservation life, e.g. lack of technology and traditional ways, become humanity’s strengths, as the war between man and machine escalates into a final battle.Robopocalypse is a lot of fun, but also a lot of smart.

Wilson is also pretty prolific and his works include a sequel to Robopocalypse called Robogenesis, a recent novel The Clockwork Dynasty and a new anthology of short fiction called Guardian Angels and Other Monsters.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Robopocalypse.

The Page 69 Test: Robogenesis.

My Book, The Movie: Robogenesis.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Jeff Wheeler reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jeff Wheeler, author of Storm Glass.

His entry begins:
The Casquette Girls, by Alys Arden

Ok, so I’m not that keen on vampire novels, but the premise of this one grabbed me. It’s set in New Orleans after Katrina. So imagine a place with no reliable power, complete devastation, and now the undead are on the loose. I also grabbed this one on audiobook because the narrator (Kate Rudd) does my novels and she’s so amazing, I knew she’d do a great job with the characters. So far, Casquette Girls hasn’t fallen victim to some of the main vampire tropes I’ve read in other paranormal books. There is a lot of...[read on]
About Storm Glass, from the publisher:
Theirs is a world of opposites. The privileged live in sky manors held aloft by a secretive magic known only as the Mysteries. Below, the earthbound poor are forced into factory work to maintain the engine of commerce. Only the wealthy can afford to learn the Mysteries, and they use their knowledge to further lock their hold on society.

Cettie Pratt is a waif doomed to the world below, until an admiral attempts to adopt her. But in her new home in the clouds, not everyone treats her as one of the family.

Sera Fitzempress is a princess born into power. She yearns to meet the orphan girl she has heard so much about, but her father deems the girl unworthy of his daughter’s curiosity.

Neither girl feels that she belongs. Each seeks to break free of imposed rules. Now, as Cettie dreams of living above and as Sera is drawn to the world below, they will follow the paths of their own choosing.

But both girls will be needed for the coming storm that threatens to overturn both their worlds.
Visit Jeff Wheeler's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Queen's Poisoner.

My Book, The Movie: The Queen's Poisoner.

My Book, The Movie: Storm Glass.

The Page 69 Test: Storm Glass.

Writers Read: Jeff Wheeler.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Nicola Moriarty's "Those Other Women"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Those Other Women: A Novel by Nicola Moriarty.

About the book, from the publisher:
The author of The Fifth Letter takes a laser look at the uneasy relationships between women and the real-world ramifications of online conflicts and social media hostilities in this stunning domestic drama. A story of privilege, unspoken rivalries, and small acts of vengeance with huge repercussions sure to please fans of Sarah Jio and Ruth Ware.

Overwhelmed at the office and reeling from betrayals involving the people she loves, Poppy feels as if her world has tipped sideways. Maybe her colleague, Annalise, is right—Poppy needs to let loose and blow off some steam. What better way to vent than social media?

With Annalise, she creates an invitation-only Facebook group that quickly takes off. Suddenly, Poppy feels like she’s back in control—until someone begins leaking the group’s private posts and stirring up a nasty backlash, shattering her confidence.

Feeling judged by disapproving female colleagues and her own disappointed children, Frankie, too, is careening towards the breaking point. She also knows something shocking about her boss—sensitive knowledge that is tearing her apart.

As things begin to slide disastrously, dangerously out of control, carefully concealed secrets and lies are exposed with devastating consequences—forcing these women to face painful truths about their lives and the things they do to survive.
Visit Nicola Moriarty's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Fifth Letter.

The Page 69 Test: Those Other Women.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Five hilarious Thurber Prize-winning reads

At the B&N Reads blog Brian Boone tagged five hilarious Thurber Prize-winning titles, including:
2017: Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah

Noah had his work cut out for him when he was plucked from the world of stand-up comedy and a brief tenure as a correspondent on The Daily Show to host the popular fake news show when Jon Stewart stepped down in 2015. He’s proven a worthy and funny choice, and he even matched his predecessor’s feat of winning a Thurber Award—Stewart and the TDS writing staff won in 2005 for America (The Book). Noah’s book isn’t a rehash of that book, though. Far from The Daily Show in book format, Noah wrote a harrowing and yet deeply funny memoir about his long, difficult, and at times, seemingly impossible road to success. Noah had to develop a sense of humor as a kid just to deal with living under apartheid laws in South Africa. The title refers to Noah’s very existence—his father is European, and his mother African, and interracial marriage was against the law in South Africa. Born a Crime is really a book about the power of humor and comedy to elevate and transform…which makes it a very worthy Thurber Prize winner.
Learn about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Nora Doyle's "Maternal Bodies"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Maternal Bodies: Redefining Motherhood in Early America by Nora Doyle.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the second half of the eighteenth century, motherhood came to be viewed as women's most important social role, and the figure of the good mother was celebrated as a moral force in American society. Nora Doyle shows that depictions of motherhood in American culture began to define the ideal mother by her emotional and spiritual roles rather than by her physical work as a mother. As a result of this new vision, lower-class women and non-white women came to be excluded from the identity of the good mother because American culture defined them in terms of their physical labor.

However, Doyle also shows that childbearing women contradicted the ideal of the disembodied mother in their personal accounts and instead perceived motherhood as fundamentally defined by the work of their bodies. Enslaved women were keenly aware that their reproductive bodies carried a literal price, while middle-class and elite white women dwelled on the physical sensations of childbearing and childrearing. Thus motherhood in this period was marked by tension between the lived experience of the maternal body and the increasingly ethereal vision of the ideal mother that permeated American print culture.
Learn more about Maternal Bodies at The University of North Carolina Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Maternal Bodies.

--Marshal Zeringue

Mary Carter Bishop's "Don't You Ever," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Don't You Ever: My Mother and Her Secret Son by Mary Carter Bishop.

The entry begins:
I’ve long imagined Daniel Day-Lewis as Ronnie, but didn’t Day-Lewis announce after Phantom Thread that he wouldn’t take any more roles? (I hope I imagined that.) The thing is, as a young man Ronnie developed acromegaly, a rare hormonal disorder. Over decades it slowly deformed his face, dramatically enlarging his brow bone, nose, tongue, lips and jaws. It separated his teeth and wrecked organs throughout his body. I don’t recall Day-Lewis ever relying on appliances and extreme makeup, but I...[read on]
Learn more about Don't You Ever.

My Book, The Movie: Don't You Ever.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about unrequited love

Kirsty Gunn is an internationally awarded writer of novels, short stories, as well as a collection of fragments and meditations, and essays. Her latest book is Caroline's Bikini.

One of Gunn's top ten books about unrequited love, as shared at the Guardian:
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Another book I go back to, rereading and finding yearning represented there by such quiet force and sense of elegy that sometimes I can hardly bear it. War and Peace is, alongside its many other stories, about the love of Natasha for her Prince Andrei. The way this is drawn out, rendering a love that seems to wear itself out with time and circumstance, is one of the finest pieces of writing about loss that I can think of. So subtle, like life, that we barely notice the size of its devastation until it has passed us by.
Read about another entry on the list.

War and Peace appears among Terry Waite's six best books, Adrian Edmondson's six best books, Robert Newman's six best books, John Cleese's six favorite books, Kate Kellaway's ten best Christmases in literature, the Telegraph's ten best historical novels, Simon Sebag Montefiore's five top books about Moscow, Oliver Ford Davies's six best books, Stella Tillyard's four favorite historical novels, Ann Shevchenko's top ten novels set in Moscow, Karl Marlantes' top ten war stories, Niall Ferguson's five most important books, Norman Mailer's top ten works of literature, and John Mullan's lists of ten of the best battles in literature, ten of the best floggings in fiction, and ten of the best literary explosions.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Pg. 69: Elissa Brent Weissman's "The Length of a String"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Imani is adopted, and she’s ready to search for her birth parents. But when she discovers the diary her Jewish great-grandmother wrote chronicling her escape from Holocaust-era Europe, Imani begins to see family in a new way.

Imani knows exactly what she wants as her big bat mitzvah gift: to find her birth parents. She loves her family and her Jewish community in Baltimore, but she has always wondered where she came from, especially since she’s black and almost everyone she knows is white. Then her mom’s grandmother–Imani’s great-grandma Anna–passes away, and Imani discovers an old journal among her books. It’s Anna’s diary from 1941, the year she was twelve and fled Nazi-occupied Luxembourg alone, sent by her parents to seek refuge in Brooklyn, New York. Anna’s diary records her journey to America and her new life with an adoptive family of her own. And as Imani reads the diary, she begins to see her family, and her place in it, in a whole new way.
Visit Elissa Brent Weissman's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Length of a String.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Alex Csiszar's "The Scientific Journal"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Scientific Journal: Authorship and the Politics of Knowledge in the Nineteenth Century by Alex Csiszar.

About the book, from the publisher:
Not since the printing press has a media object been as celebrated for its role in the advancement of knowledge as the scientific journal. From open communication to peer review, the scientific journal has long been central both to the identity of academic scientists and to the public legitimacy of scientific knowledge. But that was not always the case. At the dawn of the nineteenth century, academies and societies dominated elite study of the natural world. Journals were a relatively marginal feature of this world, and sometimes even an object of outright suspicion.

The Scientific Journal tells the story of how that changed. Alex Csiszar takes readers deep into nineteenth-century London and Paris, where savants struggled to reshape scientific life in the light of rapidly changing political mores and the growing importance of the press in public life. The scientific journal did not arise as a natural solution to the problem of communicating scientific discoveries. Rather, as Csiszar shows, its dominance was a hard-won compromise born of political exigencies, shifting epistemic values, intellectual property debates, and the demands of commerce. Many of the tensions and problems that plague scholarly publishing today are rooted in these tangled beginnings. As we seek to make sense of our own moment of intense experimentation in publishing platforms, peer review, and information curation, Csiszar argues powerfully that a better understanding of the journal’s past will be crucial to imagining future forms for the expression and organization of knowledge.
Learn more about The Scientific Journal at The University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Scientific Journal.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight visually striking mysteries

Sarah J. Harris's new novel is The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder. At CrimeReads she tagged eight mysteries with images that might stay with you forever, including:
Fierce Kingdom, by Gin Phillips

A small, toy spear stabs Joan’s hip as she plays with her four-year-old son, Lincoln, in the Dinosaur Discover pit at the zoo shortly before closing time. The sand around the pair is scattered with plastic heroes and villains such as Thor and Loki—foreshadowing the battle for survival about to play out. When Joan initially hears pops like balloons bursting, she is not immediately alarmed. But when she sees “scarecrows” lying on the ground and glimpses a figure armed with a rifle by the women’s bathrooms, Anna grabs her son and runs. And so it begins—a deadly game of cat and mouse that Joan must play, to save her son from shooters who prowl the grounds in a hunt for human prey. High fences keep animals from escaping, but also trap Joan and Lincoln, while lights are alternatively friends and foe. Phillips doesn’t need to use gore to shock the reader—it’s the simple images which are most effective, such as a child’s abandoned sippy cup “spilling a wet liquid.” This is enough to make us imagine the unspeakable horrors unfolding, while reinforcing the fact that Fierce Kingdom is essentially a book about motherhood, and how far a mother will go to save her child. The novel has been optioned for film by Margot Robbie’s LuckyChap Entertainment.
Read about another entry on the list.

Fierce Kingdom is among Mary Kate Carr's eleven recent novels that powerfully tackle gun violence.

The Page 69 Test: Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Margaret Bradham Thornton reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Margaret Bradham Thornton, author of A Theory of Love: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
I’ve just finished Trust by Alphonso Lingis, given to me by the poet Eleanor Chai. It is one of those rare books that maps its own genre - combining philosophy, anthropology, personal reflection, and travel writing. I was hooked by the third page in the essay on Araouane with Lingis’s observation, “when the sky is overcast a Tuareg verifies the way by tasting the sand.” In my own novel, A Theory of Love, I begin with the story of a sea captain who was so well traveled that...[read on]
About A Theory of Love, from the publisher:
A follow-up to her successful debut Charleston and set in the world’s most glamorous landscapes, this moving new love story from Margaret Bradham Thornton draws on a metaphor of entanglement theory to ask: when two people collide, are they forever attached no matter where they are?

Helen Gibbs, a British journalist on assignment on the west coast of Mexico, meets Christopher Delavaux, an intriguing half-French, half-American lawyer-turned-financier who has come alone to surf. Living lives that never stop moving, from their first encounter in Bermeja to marriage in London and travels to such places as Saint-Tropez, Tangier, and Santa Clara, Helen and Christopher must decide how much they exist for themselves and how much they exist for each other.

In an effort to build his firm, Christopher leads a life full of speed and ambition with little time for Helen and even less when he suspects his business partner of illegal activity. Helen, a reluctant voyeur to Christopher’s world of power and position, searches far and wide for reporting work that will “take a bite out of her soul”—refugees in Calais, a mountain climber in Chamonix, an orphaned circus performer in Cuba. A Theory of Love captures the ambivalence at the center of human experience: does one reside in the familiar comforts of solitude or dare to open one’s heart and risk having it broken? Set in some of the most picturesque places in the world, this novel questions what it means to love someone and leaves us wondering—can nothing save us but a fall?
Visit Margaret Bradham Thornton's website.

Writers Read: Margaret Bradham Thornton.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Five top books about intricate games

A Korean-American sf/f writer who received a B.A. in math from Cornell University and an M.A. in math education from Stanford University, Yoon Ha Lee finds it a source of continual delight that math can be mined for story ideas.

His new novel is Revenant Gun.

One of five books about intricate games Lee tagged at
The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks

This was the first of two Banks novels that I’ve read. (The other is Surface Detail.) Its protagonist is a master game-player who is recruited, through trickery, to compete in a society where there is not only rampant game-playing but casual torture. Not only is the depiction of game-playing fascinating, there’s also a lot of political intrigue and skulduggery. If I ever write something a tenth as good I might be able to die happy.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Jeff Wheeler's "Storm Glass"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Storm Glass by Jeff Wheeler.

About the book, from the publisher:
Theirs is a world of opposites. The privileged live in sky manors held aloft by a secretive magic known only as the Mysteries. Below, the earthbound poor are forced into factory work to maintain the engine of commerce. Only the wealthy can afford to learn the Mysteries, and they use their knowledge to further lock their hold on society.

Cettie Pratt is a waif doomed to the world below, until an admiral attempts to adopt her. But in her new home in the clouds, not everyone treats her as one of the family.

Sera Fitzempress is a princess born into power. She yearns to meet the orphan girl she has heard so much about, but her father deems the girl unworthy of his daughter’s curiosity.

Neither girl feels that she belongs. Each seeks to break free of imposed rules. Now, as Cettie dreams of living above and as Sera is drawn to the world below, they will follow the paths of their own choosing.

But both girls will be needed for the coming storm that threatens to overturn both their worlds.
Visit Jeff Wheeler's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Queen's Poisoner.

My Book, The Movie: The Queen's Poisoner.

My Book, The Movie: Storm Glass.

The Page 69 Test: Storm Glass.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books on how to achieve gender equality

Laura Bates is the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, a collection of more than 80,000 women's daily experiences of gender inequality. One of her five (plus) books on how to achieve gender equality, as shared at the Guardian:
Nobody said equality was only going to be won by grownups. A new generation of young women is rising up to fight for fairness, resulting in a recent boom in school and university feminist societies. If we really want to change hearts and minds, it’s never too young to start talking about equality, particularly when you consider that a quarter of seven-year-olds have dieted to lose weight and girls today are targeted with plastic surgery apps and dolls so emaciated they make Barbie look plus-size. What better way to inspire budding feminists than a book like I Dissent, Debbie Levy’s entertaining and enraging account of the life of supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Complete with gorgeous illustrations by Elizabeth Baddeley, it is one of a wave of recent books for young readers that present real-life role models.
Read about another entry on the list.

I Dissent is among Maria Burel's seven books for young readers featuring strong females and Rachel Paxton's eight kids’ books filled with girl power to inspire the young women in your life.

--Marshal Zeringue

James Hankins's "A Blood Thing," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: A Blood Thing by James Hankins.

The entry begins:
A Blood Thing is a crime thriller about a powerful family targeted by a twisted, cunning blackmailer. The importance of family and the lengths to which we go to protect our loved ones is the central theme of the book, so if it were made into a movie, the casting of the actors who would play the family members would be critical to bringing that theme to life on the screen.

The story begins with the murder of a young woman, followed by a strange encounter. Andrew Kane, the youngest governor in Vermont’s history, is at yet another public meet-and-greet when a stranger slips him a cellphone and, before disappearing in the crowd, mysteriously instructs Andrew to hold onto the phone because he’ll need it “after the arrest.” Shortly thereafter, the obvious question is answered when Andrew’s youngest brother, Tyler, is arrested for murder. Rounding out the family members are Henry, an internal affairs detective, and Molly, Tyler’s twin sister and a decorated army veteran.

The two characters who would see the most screen time are Andrew and Henry. For Andrew, I see Gregory Peck in his To Kill A Mockingbird days (though perhaps a few years younger). Andrew is a former prosecutor and current governor of Vermont, who has built his entire career on a platform of honesty and integrity. His reputation...[read on]
Visit James Hankins's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Blood Thing.

My Book, The Movie: A Blood Thing.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 25, 2018

Six horror books that will make you reconsider riding the subway

Sam Reader is a writer and conventions editor for The Geek Initiative. He also writes literary criticism and reviews at At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog he tagged "six tales of terror that travel the dark pathways beneath us, and burrow into our imaginations," including:
Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

Arguably the most successful TV novelization of all time, Neil Gaiman’s first novel doesn’t directly feature the subways and subway tunnels of the London Underground, but their influence is felt all the same, from the way the people and places of London Below take their names and inspiration from real-world stations such as Blackfriars and Angel Station in Islington, to such memorable settings as the Earl’s Court, a tricked-out tube train owned by a mad, one-eyed noble that houses part of his estate. It’s a beautiful, vibrant, strange world, with just enough connections to our own to seem like something glimpsed out of the corner of your eye, but weird enough to unnerve. As fantastical as Neverwhere is, with a bizarre world with its own rules, customs, and mythology, what truly makes it fantastic are the characters.
Read about another entry on the list.

Neverwhere is among Brad Abraham's five top books about magic, Nicole Hill's eight fantastical destinations she'd like to visit, and Monique Alice's top seven books for readers who love Haruki Murakami.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Stephanie Butland reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Stephanie Butland, author of The Lost for Words Bookshop.

Her entry begins:
When I'm in the writing phase of a book, rather than the research or edit, as I am now, I need to stay away from contemporary fiction, as I just confuse myself! (It's very easily done.) So at the moment I am on a Muriel Spark jag: I re-read The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie and went on to The Girls Of Slender Means and now The Driver's Seat. Her writing is...[read on]
About The Lost for Words Bookshop, from the publisher:
Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never, ever show you.

Into her hiding place - the bookstore where she works - come a poet, a lover, and three suspicious deliveries.

Someone has found out about her mysterious past. Will Loveday survive her own heartbreaking secrets?
Follow Stephanie Butland on Twitter and Facebook.

My Book, The Movie: The Lost for Words Bookshop.

The Page 69 Test: The Lost for Words Bookshop.

Writers Read: Stephanie Butland.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eleven top crime books featuring investigative reporters

J. G. Hetherton's new novel is Last Girl Gone. At CrimeReads he tagged eleven great crime books featuring investigative reporters, including:
Rogue Island, by Bruce DeSilva

DeSilva’s debut earned him an Edgar Award for Best First Novel, and his industry experience shines through on every page. He’s another example of a career journalist slinging ink in a new direction, but unlike Connelly, he doesn’t shy away from using a reporter as his main character. We follow a disenchanted Liam Mulligan hot on the trail of a serial arsonist burning up his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island. Mulligan has an old-school sensibility that makes him a spiritual successor to the newspapermen of yesteryear, and here we get to see DeSilva’s expertise on full display.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Rogue Island.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Joshua T. McCabe's "The Fiscalization of Social Policy"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Fiscalization of Social Policy: How Taxpayers Trumped Children in the Fight Against Child Poverty by Joshua T. McCabe.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 1970, a single mother with two children working full-time at the federal minimum wage in the US received no direct cash benefits from the federal government. Today, after a period of austerity, that same mother would receive $7,572 in federal cash benefits. This money does not come from social assistance, family allowances, or other programs we traditionally see as part of the welfare state. Instead, she benefits from the earned income tax credit (EITC) and the child tax credit (CTC)-tax credits for low-income families that have become a major component of American social policy.

In The Fiscalization of Social Policy, Joshua McCabe challenges conventional wisdom on American exceptionalism, offering the first and only comparative analysis of the politics of tax credits. Drawing comparisons between similar developments in the UK and Canada, McCabe upends much of what we know about tax credits for low-income families. Rather than attributing these changes to anti-welfare attitudes, mobilization of conservative forces, shifts toward workfare, or racial antagonism, he argues that the growing use of tax credits for social policy was a strategic adaptation to austerity. While all three countries employ the same set of tax credits, child US poverty rates remain highest, as their tax credits paradoxically exclude the poorest families.

A critical examination of social policy over the last fifty years, The Fiscalization of Social Policy shows why the US government hasn't tackled poverty, even while it implements greater tax benefits for the poor.
Visit Joshua T. McCabe's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Fiscalization of Social Policy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Laurence Tribe's 6 book recommendations

Laurence Tribe is a Harvard law professor and leading constitutional scholar. His latest book, co-authored with Joshua Matz, is To End A Presidency, an examination of presidential impeachment. One of six books he recommended at The Week magazine:
Tyrant by Stephen Greenblatt

As an avid fan of Greenblatt's work, I read his new book the moment it became available. Following the lead of Shakespeare, who used history to shed light on his own time, Tyrant offers a brilliant meditation on the patterns of character and fate that drive tyrants to seek unbounded power and lead some societies to submit to their cruelties.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eric Bernt's "The Speed of Sound," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Speed of Sound by Eric Bernt.

The entry begins:
Even when I'm writing a screenplay (I've had seven movies produced to date), I never think of a specific actor in a role unless an actor has been cast or is 'attached' to a project. I think about how I want the audience to feel during the journey, as well as afterward. In this regard, my hope is that an audience watching the movie (or television series) version of The Speed of Sound would feel the emotional honesty achieved in Call Me By Your Name with the excitement and intensity of technology-driven action in The Bourne Identity. I do recognize what...[read on]
Visit Eric Bernt's website.

Writers Read: Eric Bernt.

The Page 69 Test: The Speed of Sound.

My Book, The Movie: The Speed of Sound.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five SFF books where art matters

C.L. Polk's debut novel is Witchmark. At she tagged five SFF "stories where art matters—to the story, to its society, and to its character," including:
Mortal Love by Elizabeth Hand

Hand’s sublime book leaps from one century to another, from one artist to another, exploring the popular and often destructive ideas around art, madness, drugs, and visionary creativity. Through every thread of narrative is a woman—chestnut haired, green-eyed, irresistible and dangerous. She’s drawn to artists and leaves devastation behind her as she tries to find her way. When I read it, the part of me that staunchly believes that magic is real, fey, and dangerous wakes up and glides a finger down the nape of my neck.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: James Hankins's "A Blood Thing"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: A Blood Thing by James Hankins.

About the book, from the publisher:
Never trust a blackmailer.

Vermont’s promising young governor, Andrew Kane, is at another public meet-and-greet when a stranger from the crowd slips him a cell phone and whispers, “Keep this with you…keep it secret…you’re going to need it after the arrest.”

Hours later, Andrew’s brother, Tyler, is taken into custody—framed for the brutal murder of a young woman—and Andrew discovers there is only one way to free him: answer the mysterious phone and agree to a blackmailer’s demands. All the governor has to do to make it all go away is compromise everything he stands for and grant a full pardon to a convicted felon. With no better option, he complies. Which is his first mistake…because the stranger isn’t through with him. He has another little condition. Then another. And another. And Andrew has no choice but to play along until he can find a way out of this personal and political nightmare. But he isn’t prepared for what he will face, or how far he will have to go to save his brother and keep his family together.
Visit James Hankins's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Blood Thing.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Five genre-bending sci-fictional crime novels

Amanda Bridgeman is an Aurealis Award finalist and author of seven science fiction novels, including the best-selling space opera Aurora series and apocalyptic drama The Time of the Stripes. One of five genre-bending science-fictional crime novels she tagged at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog:
Thirteen, by Richard K. Morgan

Marsalis is what’s known as a ‘Thirteen’. Genetically engineered by the U.S. government, Thirteens were intended to be the ultimate military fighting force. After a series of events, Marsalis finds himself imprisoned on Mars, until he’s offered the chance for release. All he has to do is use his superior skills to bring in another fugitive – a serial killer. But this one is no common criminal. He’s another Thirteen–one who’s already shanghaied a space shuttle, butchered its crew, and left a trail of bodies in his wake on a bloody cross-country spree. And like his pursuer, he was bred to fight to the death.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Thirteen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Michael North's "What Is the Present?"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: What Is the Present? by Michael North.

About the book, from the publisher:
A provocative new look at concepts of the present, their connection to ideas about time, and their effect on literature, art, and culture

The problem of the present—what it is and what it means—is one that has vexed generations of thinkers and artists. Because modernity places so much value on the present, many critics argue that people today spend far too much time in the here and now—but how can we tell without first knowing what the here and now actually is? What Is the Present? takes a provocative new look at this moment in time that remains a mystery even though it is always with us.

Michael North tackles puzzles that have preoccupied philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, history, and aesthetic theory and examines the complex role of the present in painting, fiction, and film. He engages with a range of thinkers, from Aristotle and Augustine to William James and Henri Bergson. He draws illuminating examples from artists such as Fra Angelico and Richard McGuire, filmmakers like D. W. Griffith and Christopher Nolan, and novelists such as Elizabeth Bowen and Willa Cather. North offers a critical analysis of previous models of the present, from the experiential present to the historical period we call the contemporary. He argues that the present is not a cosmological or experiential fact but a metaphor, a figurative relationship with the whole of time.

Presenting an entirely new conception of the temporal mystery Georg Lukács called the "unexplained instant," What Is the Present? explores how the arts have traditionally represented the present—and also how artists have offered radical alternatives to that tradition.
Learn more about What Is the Present? at the Princeton University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Novelty: A History of the New.

The Page 99 Test: What Is the Present?.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Lillian Li reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Lillian Li, author of Number One Chinese Restaurant: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
If you love trippy, experimental ruminations on the intersections of technology and the human condition, read Rubik by Elizabeth Tan. A connected short story collection, it's so smart, so inventive, and so emotionally resonant. Every story stacks on top of the one before, but also the one that comes after, like one of Escher's staircases. An example of its brilliance? The "Homestyle Country Pie" one of the characters eats right before she's hit by a car is reincarnated in...[read on]
About Number One Chinese Restaurant, from the publisher:
The Beijing Duck House in Rockville, Maryland, is not only a beloved go-to setting for hunger pangs and celebrations; it is its own world, inhabited by waiters and kitchen staff who have been fighting, loving, and aging within its walls for decades. When disaster strikes, this working family’s controlled chaos is set loose, forcing each character to confront the conflicts that fast-paced restaurant life has kept at bay.

Owner Jimmy Han hopes to leave his late father’s homespun establishment for a fancier one. Jimmy’s older brother, Johnny, and Johnny’s daughter, Annie, ache to return to a time before a father’s absence and a teenager’s silence pushed them apart. Nan and Ah-Jack, longtime Duck House employees, are tempted to turn their thirty-year friendship into something else, even as Nan’s son, Pat, struggles to stay out of trouble. And when Pat and Annie, caught in a mix of youthful lust and boredom, find themselves in a dangerous game that implicates them in the Duck House tragedy, their families must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice to help their children.

Generous in spirit, unaffected in its intelligence, multi-voiced, poignant, and darkly funny, Number One Chinese Restaurant looks beyond red tablecloths and silkscreen murals to share an unforgettable story about youth and aging, parents and children, and all the ways that our families destroy us while also keeping us grounded and alive.
Visit Lillian Li's website.

Writers Read: Lillian Li.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 22, 2018

Ten vital southern books you probably haven’t read

A native of Mississippi, Nick White is the author of the novel How to Survive a Summer and the newly released short story collection, Sweet & Low.

At Publishers Weekly he tagged ten "vital, and quintessentially Southern, titles that deserve to sit on the shelf alongside the classics," including:
Veneer by Steve Yarbrough

This gorgeous collection highlights the lives of Mississippians at home and abroad. The title story centers on two childhood friends, a man and woman, who reconnect over dinner while the man’s family is away on vacation. As they reminisce, the past is, at first, given a nostalgic gloss, which slowly rubs away as the two delve deeper into their histories. Such is the theme that connects the stories found here: the shiny “veneer” we give our troubled pasts in order to live with them.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Demetra Brodsky's "Dive Smack," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Dive Smack by Demetra Brodsky.

The entry begins:
This is such a fun question. I don’t think there’s a writer out there who hasn’t thought about this as they watch the scenes they’re writing play out in the heads. I spent a lot of time thinking about Theo Mackey and watching springboard diving videos, but at the end of the day Lucas Till is my perfect Theo Mackey - I feel like he has the perfect mix of athletic and kind.

The easiest one for me is Dylan O'Brien for Chip Langford. I seriously can't picture another person more Chip-like to pay Theo’s best friend.

For Iris Fiorello, Theo’s crush and love interest who has a similar tragic background, I’d pick...[read on]
Visit Demetra Brodsky's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Demetra Brodsky & L.B. and Ponyboy Curtis.

The Page 69 Test: Dive Smack.

Writers Read: Demetra Brodsky.

My Book, The Movie: Dive Smack.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: E.M. Powell's "The King’s Justice"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The King's Justice by E.M. Powell.

About the book, from the publisher:
A murder that defies logic—and a killer on the loose.

England, 1176. Aelred Barling, esteemed clerk to the justices of King Henry II, is dispatched from the royal court with his young assistant, Hugo Stanton, to investigate a brutal murder in a village outside York.

The case appears straightforward. A suspect is under lock and key in the local prison, and the angry villagers are demanding swift justice. But when more bodies are discovered, certainty turns to doubt—and amid the chaos it becomes clear that nobody is above suspicion.

Facing growing unrest in the village and the fury of the lord of the manor, Stanton and Barling find themselves drawn into a mystery that defies logic, pursuing a killer who evades capture at every turn.

Can they solve the riddle of who is preying upon the villagers? And can they do it without becoming prey themselves?
Visit E.M. Powell's website, blog, Twitter perch and Facebook page.

Coffee with a Canine: E.M. Powell & Marshall.

The Page 69 Test: The King's Justice.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 21, 2018

What is Cara Black reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Cara Black, author of Murder on the Left Bank.

Her entry begins:
This summer, I’m re-reading Philip Kerr’s books, the Bernie Gunther series.

In March, after ordering Kerr’s latest book, Greeks Bearing Gifts, and planning to spend a long weekend with Bernie in his latest investigation, shocking news came. I was at Left Coast Crime, and the rumor spreading around the conference was sadly true. Philip Kerr had passed two weeks before his book was coming out.

I’ve been a reader and fan since the 90’s. Bernie Gunther’s wise cracking, irreverent, police detective, then PI with a conscience in Berlin pre and post WW2 stuck with me. Kerr’s writing and the way he referenced history and that time so vivid in detail, had influenced me.

After the author’s untimely death, I missed Bernie, and definitely missed that this would be the author’s last book. I’ve...[read on]
About Murder on the Left Bank, from the publisher:
The eighteenth mystery in the New York Times bestselling Parisian detective series!

A dying man drags his oxygen machine into the office of Éric Besson, a lawyer in Paris’s 13th arrondissement. The old man, an accountant, is carrying a dilapidated notebook full of meticulous investment records. For decades, he has been helping a cadre of dirty cops launder stolen money. The notebook contains his full confession—he’s waited 50 years to make it, and now it can’t wait another day. He is adamant that Besson get the notebook into the hands of La Proc, Paris’s chief prosecuting attorney, so the corruption can finally be brought to light. But en route to La Proc, Besson’s courier—his assistant and nephew—is murdered, and the notebook disappears.

Grief-stricken Éric Besson tries to hire private investigator Aimée Leduc to find the notebook, but she is reluctant to get involved. Her father was a cop and was murdered by the same dirty syndicate the notebook implicates. She’s not sure which she’s more afraid of, the dangerous men who would kill for the notebook or the idea that her father’s name might be among the dirty cops listed within it. Ultimately that’s the reason she must take the case, which leads her across the Left Bank, from the Cambodian enclave of Khmer Rouge refugees to the ancient royal tapestry factories to the modern art galleries.
The Page 69 Test: Murder at the Lanterne Rouge.

My Book, the Movie: Murder at the Lanterne Rouge.

The Page 69 Test: Murder below Montparnasse.

The Page 69 Test: Murder in Pigalle.

My Book, The Movie: Murder in Pigalle.

My Book, The Movie: Murder on the Champ de Mars.

Writers Read: Cara Black.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five notable books about motherhood and dystopia

Siobhan Adcock is the author of the novels The Barter and The Completionist. One of five top books about motherhood and dystopia she tagged at
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The grandmama of them all is back on bestseller lists and the inspiration for a wildly successful streaming series that brings Atwood’s original storyline onto an even bigger, scarier, more international stage. Atwood challenges us with a vision of a world so terrifyingly altered that women have lost every freedom, and motherhood itself has been redefined as a state of slavery. Yet of all the losses women face in Atwood’s story, Offred’s loss of her daughter is the most intimate and horrifying. Still, Offred’s determination to remain essentially herself—in her stubborn love of language (when even reading food labels is forbidden), and in her refusal to deny her own kindness, passion, anger, and fear—is what makes this novel such a masterpiece.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Handmaid's Tale made a list of four books that changed Meg Keneally, A.J. Hartley's list of five favorite books about the making of a dystopia, Lidia Yuknavitch's 6 favorite books list, Elisa Albert's list of nine revelatory books about motherhood, Michael W. Clune's top five list of books about imaginary religions, Jeff Somers's top six list of often misunderstood SF/F novels, Jason Sizemore's top five list of books that will entertain and drop you into the depths of despair, S.J. Watson's list of four books that changed him, Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick's list of eight of the most badass ladies in all of banned literature, Guy Lodge's list of ten of the best dystopias in fiction, art, film, and television, Bethan Roberts's top ten list of novels about childbirth, Rachel Cantor's list of the ten worst jobs in books, Charlie Jane Anders and Kelly Faircloth's list of the best and worst childbirth scenes in science fiction and fantasy, Lisa Tuttle's critic's chart of the top Arthur C. Clarke Award winners, and PopCrunch's list of the sixteen best dystopian books of all time.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Gideon Yaffe's "The Age of Culpability"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Age of Culpability: Children and the Nature of Criminal Responsibility by Gideon Yaffe.

About the book, from the publisher:
Why be lenient towards children who commit crimes? Reflection on the grounds for such leniency is the entry point into the development, in this book, of a theory of the nature of criminal responsibility and desert of punishment for crime. Gideon Yaffe argues that child criminals are owed lesser punishments than adults thanks not to their psychological, behavioural, or neural immaturity but, instead, because they are denied the vote. This conclusion is reached through accounts of the nature of criminal culpability, desert for wrongdoing, strength of legal reasons, and what it is to have a say over the law. The centrepiece of this discussion is the theory of criminal culpability. To be criminally culpable is for one's criminal act to manifest a failure to grant sufficient weight to the legal reasons to refrain. The stronger the legal reasons, then, the greater the criminal culpability. Those who lack a say over the law, it is argued, have weaker legal reasons to refrain from crime than those who have a say. They are therefore reduced in criminal culpability and deserve lesser punishment for their crimes. Children are owed leniency, then, because of the political meaning of age rather than because of its psychological meaning. This position has implications for criminal justice policy, with respect to, among other things, the interrogation of children suspected of crimes and the enfranchisement of adult felons.
Learn more about The Age of Culpability at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Age of Culpability.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about the afterlife

Tim Thornton is the author of the novels The Alternative Hero, Death of An Unsigned Band, and Felix Romsey's Afterparty. He also plays drums for the band Fink. Among his top ten books about the afterlife, as shared at the Guardian:
The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier (2006)

In an accommodating but bland city, the deceased continue to exist, but only as long as someone still alive remembers them. Back on mid-21st-century Earth, things are going dangerously wrong: not least, the rampant spread of genetically modified viruses. If Earth’s population dwindles, what happens to the city of the remembered dead? An intriguing, melancholic portrait of an “in-between” place blossoms into a beautifully lyrical study of memory itself.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

What is Kyle Burke reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Kyle Burke, author of Revolutionaries for the Right: Anticommunist Internationalism and Paramilitary Warfare in the Cold War.

From his entry:
I just finished Kathleen Belew’s outstanding and dismaying Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America. Based on deep research into FBI files, obscure far-right publications, and other sources, Belew explains the origin and evolution of a militarized white power movement that now spans the country. Starting in the late 1970s, disparate sets of Klansman, neo-Nazis, tax protesters, Christian Identarians, and others joined forces. But rather than unite under a single banner, they utilized a strategy of “leaderless resistance,” which bred dispersed acts of terrorism and guerrilla warfare. Few authorities or commentators were able to link seemingly diffuse acts of violence to each other, or to the world of white power. Instead, they explained the far-right’s growing capacity for violence as the work of “lone wolves,” a framing that persists today. But...[read on]
About Revolutionaries for the Right, from the publisher:
Freedom fighters. Guerrilla warriors. Soldiers of fortune. The many civil wars and rebellions against communist governments drew heavily from this cast of characters. Yet from Nicaragua to Afghanistan, Vietnam to Angola, Cuba to the Congo, the connections between these anticommunist groups have remained hazy and their coordination obscure. Yet as Kyle Burke reveals, these conflicts were the product of a rising movement that sought paramilitary action against communism worldwide. Tacking between the United States and many other countries, Burke offers an international history not only of the paramilitaries who started and waged small wars in the second half of the twentieth century but of conservatism in the Cold War era.

From the start of the Cold War, Burke shows, leading U.S. conservatives and their allies abroad dreamed of an international anticommunist revolution. They pinned their hopes to armed men, freedom fighters who could unravel communist states from within. And so they fashioned a global network of activists and state officials, guerrillas and mercenaries, ex-spies and ex-soldiers to sponsor paramilitary campaigns in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Blurring the line between state-sanctioned and vigilante violence, this armed crusade helped radicalize right-wing groups in the United States while also generating new forms of privatized warfare abroad.
Learn more about Revolutionaries for the Right at The University of North Carolina Press website.

Writers Read: Kyle Burke.

--Marshal Zeringue