Sunday, September 24, 2017

Ten YA books that tackle racism

Dhonielle Clayton is the co-author of the Tiny Pretty Things series and the forthcoming The Belles. A former teacher and middle school librarian, Clayton is co-founder of CAKE Literary—a creative development company whipping up decidedly diverse books for a wide array of readers—and COO of the non-profit We Need Diverse Books. At Paste magazine, she tagged ten top YA books that tackle racism, including:
Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez

Under the backdrop of the 1937 New London school explosion, one of the worst disasters in American history, this book pushes two kids together across the most powerful line at the time: the color line. In East Texas, you don’t mix with people who aren’t your kind. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller understand this deeply. These kinds of things are reinforced and there are painful consequences for failing to understand—even death. But sometimes love pushes you to cross the boundaries of everything you’ve ever known despite the risk. This book unpacks the complicated history of the school explosion and challenges readers to dig into how the forces of love, community and segregation shape people.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Cora Harrison reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Cora Harrison, author of Beyond Absolution: A mystery set in 1920s Ireland.

Her entry begins:
Currently I am reading Hilary Mantel’s book on the French Revolution, A Place of Greater Safety. It’s not at all as well-known as her Wolf Hall and its sequel, but oddly I find myself enjoying it very much, more so, I think, than her more famous work. I was led to it by an article about Hilary Mantel that I read, in the Guardian, I think, which describes how this, her first novel, was written almost accidentally. She had intended to write a non-fiction book about the French Revolution, had done a tremendous amount of research, filing cabinets full of tantalizing snippets of information, and, no doubt, books, with post-it notes or cards stuck into relevant pages, lying around on tables and desk.

And then, suddenly, her non-fiction book turned into fiction. The three main characters of her research, Robespierre, Danton and Camille began to come alive for her; began to talk; had, in her mind’s eye, childhoods that modelled their future actions; had developed...[read on]
About Beyond Absolution, from the publisher:
Ireland. 1925. The body of the priest is found wedged in a confessional cubicle. Loved by all, Father Dominic had lent a listening ear to sinners of all kinds, but who inserted a deadly weapon into that listening ear? The Reverend Mother Aquinas can do nothing for Father Dominic, but find out who killed him, and why.
Visit Cora Harrison's website.

My Book, The Movie: Cross of Vengeance.

My Book, The Movie: Beyond Absolution.

Writers Read: Cora Harrison.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top dark romances for adventurous readers

At B&N Reads Amanda Diehl tagged five gritty and twisted dark romances for adventurous readers, including:
Asking for It, by Lilah Pace

Vivienne Charles has overcome a devastating moment of trauma and is now living a pretty average life as an graduate student. There’s just one problem: her sex life. She remains constantly unfulfilled save for the rape fantasies she hides from her previous partners. When she meets mysterious Jonah Marks at a party, she’s stunned to find that he’ll help her with her fantasies. In a no-strings-attached arrangement, Viv and Jonah begin an affair there’s no coming back from, until Jonah discovers the source of Viv’s desires. Bonus points for scenes where Viv visits her therapist in an effort to make sense of her conflicting history versus sexual needs.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Pg. 99: Katja Maria Vogt's "Desiring the Good"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Desiring the Good: Ancient Proposals and Contemporary Theory by Katja Maria Vogt.

About the book, from the publisher:
Desiring the Good defends a novel and distinctive approach in ethics that is inspired by ancient philosophy. Ethics, according to this approach, starts from one question and its most immediate answer: "what is the good for human beings?"—"a well-going human life." Ethics thus conceived is broader than moral philosophy. It includes a range of topics in psychology and metaphysics. Plato's Philebus is the ancestor of this approach. Its first premise, defended in Book I of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, is that the final agential good is the good human life. Though Aristotle introduces this premise while analyzing human activities, it is absent from approaches in the theory of action that self-identify as Aristotelian. This absence, Vogt argues, is a deep and far-reaching mistake, one that can be traced back to Elizabeth Anscombe's influential proposals. And yet, the book is Anscombian in spirit. It engages with ancient texts in order to contribute to philosophy today, and it takes questions about the human mind to be prior to, and relevant to, substantive normative matters. In this spirit, Desiring the Good puts forward a new version of the Guise of the Good, namely that desire to have one's life go well shapes and sustains mid- and small-scale motivations. A theory of good human lives, it is argued, must make room for a plurality of good lives. Along these lines, the book lays out a non-relativist version of Protagoras's Measure Doctrine and defends a new kind of realism about good human lives.
Visit Katja Maria Vogt's website.

The Page 99 Test: Desiring the Good.

--Marshal Zeringue

Nose in a book: Katy Perry


Who: Katy Perry

What: The Destruction of Hillary Clinton by Susan Bordo

When: May 2017

Where: Mexico

Photo credit: Katy Perry's Instagram account

Visit Susan Bordo's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Brad Abraham's "Magicians Impossible"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Magicians Impossible: A Novel by Brad Abraham.

About the book, from the publisher:
Twenty-something bartender Jason Bishop’s world is shattered when his estranged father commits suicide, but the greater shock comes when he learns his father was a secret agent in the employ of the Invisible Hand; an ancient society of spies wielding magic in a centuries-spanning war. Now the Golden Dawn—the shadowy cabal of witches and warlocks responsible for Daniel Bishop’s murder, and the death of Jason’s mother years before—have Jason in their sights. His survival will depend on mastering his own dormant magic abilities; provided he makes it through the training.

From New York, to Paris, to worlds between worlds, Jason's journey through the realm of magic will be fraught with peril. But with enemies and allies on both sides of this war, whom can he trust? The Invisible Hand, who’ve been more of a family than his own family ever was? The Golden Dawn, who may know the secrets behind his mysterious lineage? For Jason Bishop, only one thing is for certain; the magic he has slowly been mastering is telling him not to trust anybody.
Visit Brad Abraham's website.

The Page 69 Test: Magicians Impossible.

--Marshal Zeringue

Alastair Campbell's 6 best books

Alastair Campbell was born in Keighley, Yorkshire in 1957, the son of a vet. Having graduated from Cambridge University in modern languages, he went into journalism, principally with the Mirror Group. When Tony Blair became leader of the Labour Party, Campbell worked for him first as press secretary, then as official spokesman and director of communications and strategy from 1994 to 2003. He continued to act as an advisor to Blair and the Labour Party, including during the 2005 and subsequent election campaigns. He is now engaged mainly in writing, public speaking and consultancy and is an ambassador for a number of mental health charities. His new book is Diaries Volume 6: From Blair to Brown, 2005 - 2007.

One of Campbell's six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
MADAME BOVARY by Gustave Flaubert

The story of doctor’s wife Emma Bovary, her affairs and her attempts to escape a banal provincial life. It made me fall in love with the French language, a love that’s endured rather longer than hers did for her husband.
Read about another book on the list.

Madame Bovary is on Paul Theroux's six favorite books list, Peter Brooks's list of favorite Flaubert's works (at #1), Ed Sikov's list of eight great books that got slammed by critics, BBC.com Culture's list of the three of the worst mothers in literature, Alex Preston's top ten list of sex scenes from film, TV and literature, Rachel Holmes's top ten list of books on the struggle against gender-based inequality, Jill Boyd's list of six memorable marriage proposals in literature, Julia Sawalha's six best books list, Jennifer Gilmore's list of the ten worst mothers in books, Amy Sohn's list of six favorite books, Sue Townsend's 6 best books list, Helena Frith Powell's list of ten of the best sexy French books, the Christian Science Monitor's list of six novels about grand passions, John Mullan's lists of ten landmark coach rides in literature, ten of the best cathedrals in literature, ten of the best balls in literature, ten of the best bad lawyers in literature, ten of the best lotharios in literature, and ten of the best bad doctors in fiction, Valerie Martin's list of six novels about doomed marriages, and Louis Begley's list of favorite novels about cheating lovers. It tops Peter Carey's list of the top ten works of literature and was second on a top ten works of literature list selected by leading writers from Britain, America and Australia in 2007. It is one of John Bowe's six favorite books on love.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 22, 2017

Pg. 99: Mara Einstein's "Advertising: What Everyone Needs to Know"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Advertising: What Everyone Needs to Know by Mara Einstein.

About the book, from the publisher:
3000. That's the number of marketing messages the average American confronts on a daily basis from TV commercials, magazine and newspaper print ads, radio commercials, pop-up ads on gaming apps, pre-roll ads on YouTube videos, and native advertising on mobile news apps. These commercial messages are so pervasive that we cannot help but be affected by perpetual come-ons to keeping buying. Over the last decade, advertising has become more devious, more digital, and more deceptive, with an increasing number of ads designed to appear to the untrained eye to be editorial content. It's easy to see why. As we have become smarter at avoiding ads, advertisers have become smarter about disguising them.

Mara Einstein exposes how our shopping, political, and even dating preferences are unwittingly formed by brand images and the mythologies embedded in them. Advertising: What Everyone Needs to Know® helps us combat the effects of manipulative advertising and enables the reader to understand how marketing industries work in the digital age, particularly in their uses and abuses of "Big Data.' Most importantly, it awakens us to advertising's subtle and not-so-subtle impact on our lives--both as individuals and as a global society. What ideas and information are being communicated to us--and to what end?
Learn more about Advertising: What Everyone Needs to Know at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Compassion, Inc.

The Page 99 Test: Advertising: What Everyone Needs to Know.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Jacob Stone reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jacob Stone, author of Crazed.

His entry begins:
I've been reading John Lutz's Quinn series out of order, and the last book I finished was the second book in this series, In for the Kill. Lutz has a breezy witty style, and he's a masterful crime thriller writer, and I'm reading these books both because they're a lot of fun, and also to study them. I think a lot of crime thriller writers could improve their craft studying Lutz....[read on]
About Crazed, from the publisher:
L.A. detective Morris Brick has seen the face of evil. He has witnessed the grisly handiwork of a deranged sadist known as SCK-the Skull Cracker Killer. But Brick isn't the only one watching. A crazed lunatic's interest in the case has turned into a deadly obsession. This sicko vows to outdo SCK and reach new heights of macabre mayhem. The mounting body count is a personal challenge to Brick. But as he lays his trap, he can hardly imagine the evil he is about to face...
Jacob Stone is the byline chosen by award-winning author Dave Zeltserman for his Morris Brick series of serial-killer thrillers. Visit Zeltserman's website.

My Book, The Movie: Deranged.

The Page 69 Test: Deranged.

My Book, The Movie: Crazed.

Writers Read: Jacob Stone.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ismée Williams's "Water in May," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Water in May by Ismée Amiel Williams.

The entry begins:
I’ve fantasized about Water in May becoming a movie since I started writing it! In fact, I pictured Reese Witherspoon as Helen, the woman Mari shares a hospital experience with, from the very beginning. She would do an amazing job playing the mother of a baby in distress. And I always hoped she would like the book since I once saw her say that if she couldn’t be an actor she would be a pediatric cardiologist (look up Reese Witherspoon, Vogue’s 73 questions video).

For Dr. Love, my vote would be Scott...[read on]
Visit Ismée Williams's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Ismée Amiel Williams & Rowan.

My Book, The Movie: Water in May.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top memoirs by funny, awkward women

Sarah Skilton is the author of Bruised, a martial arts drama for young adults; and High and Dry, a hardboiled teen mystery. At the B&N Reads blog she tagged six funny, awkward memoirs by funny, awkward women, including:
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, by Issa Rae

After producing an award-winning web series, but prior to launching her successful HBO show Insecure (now in its second season), Rae published a collection of clever and entertaining essays about her inability to act, feel, or be cool. This inability bothered her, because society told her coolness is supposedly intrinsic to black people. As a guide for fellow Awks, she covers race and relationships, her introverted style, her parents’ divorce, and how to deflect unsolicited questions and opinions.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Pg. 99: Anna Alexandrova's "A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being by Anna Alexandrova.

About the book, from the publisher:
Well-being, happiness and quality of life are now established objects of social and medical research. Does this science produce knowledge that is properly about well-being? What sort of well-being? The definition and measurement of these objects rest on assumptions that are partly normative, partly empirical and partly pragmatic, producing a great diversity of definitions depending on the project and the discipline. This book, written from the perspective of philosophy of science, formulates principles for the responsible production and interpretation of this diverse knowledge. Traditionally, philosophers' goal has been a single concept of well-being and a single theory about what it consists in. But for science this goal is both unlikely and unnecessary. Instead the promise and authority of the science depends on it focusing on the well-being of specific kinds of people in specific contexts. Skeptical arguments notwithstanding, this contextual well-being can be measured in a valid and credible way - but only if scientists broaden their methods to make room for normative considerations and address publicly and inclusively the value-based conflicts that inevitably arise when a measure of well-being is adopted. The science of well-being can be normative, empirical and objective all at once, provided that we line up values to science and science to values.
Learn more about A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Alys Clare reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Alys Clare, author of The Devil's Cup: A Medieval mystery.

Her entry begins:
This question has come at an opportune moment, since I’ve just been enjoying a short break from writing and have caught up with a great deal of reading. One of my early mentors used to say that a writer needs to breathe in as well as breathe out, and ever since in the course of my 28 years as a professional writer, I’ve tried to have regular breathing-in breaks in my work schedule.

I’ve read quite a stack of recent best-sellers, as another good piece of advice for writers is to stay aware of what’s doing well. With the exception of Ruth Hogan’s charming and delightfully idiosyncratic The Keeper of Lost Things, however, I’ve been disappointed, since the rave reviews clearly saw something in the fast-paced and often shallow thrillers and psychological mysteries that clearly I was missing. With relief, then, I...[read on]
About The Devil's Cup, from the publisher:
1216. England has been invaded. The country is divided. Some support Prince Louis of France; others remain loyal to the king. King John summons Sir Josse d'Acquin to support him, but can Josse save the king from himself? Meanwhile, Meggie attends a sick patient, who tasks her with retrieving a cursed treasure...
Learn more about The Devil's Cup at the publisher's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Devil's Cup.

Writers Read: Alys Clare.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Cora Harrison's "Beyond Absolution"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Beyond Absolution: A mystery set in 1920s Ireland by Cora Harrison.

About the book, from the publisher:
Ireland. 1925. The body of the priest is found wedged in a confessional cubicle. Loved by all, Father Dominic had lent a listening ear to sinners of all kinds, but who inserted a deadly weapon into that listening ear? The Reverend Mother Aquinas can do nothing for Father Dominic, but find out who killed him, and why.
Visit Cora Harrison's website.

My Book, The Movie: Cross of Vengeance.

My Book, The Movie: Beyond Absolution.

The Page 69 Test: Beyond Absolution.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about consciousness

Adrian Owen is the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging at The Brain and Mind Institute, Western University, Canada, and author of Into the Grey Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death. One of his top ten books about consciousness, as shared at the Guardian:
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith

Written by a philosopher, yet borrowing heavily from evolutionary biology, this unique and fascinating book – which was shortlisted for this year’s Royal Society science book prize – asks us to rethink intelligence and how we conceptualise “other minds” – notably, that of the octopus. While the octopus evolved independently of humans, it has a similar number of neurons and exhibits highly intelligent patterns of behaviour that allow it to do things like opening screwtop jars from the inside. Yet unlike humans, more than half of an octopus’s neurons are in its arms, suggesting that in searching for intelligent life, we need look beyond those whose form resembles our own.
Read about another entry on the list.

Writers Read: Peter Godfrey-Smith (December 2016).

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Pg. 99: Alvaro Jarrín's "The Biopolitics of Beauty"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Biopolitics of Beauty: Cosmetic Citizenship and Affective Capital in Brazil by Alvaro Jarrín.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Biopolitics of Beauty examines how beauty became an aim of national health in Brazil. Using ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Brazilian hospitals, the author shows how plastic surgeons and patients navigate the public health system to transform beauty into a basic health right. The book historically traces the national concern with beauty to Brazilian eugenics, which established beauty as an index of the nation’s racial improvement. From here, Jarrín explains how plastic surgeons became the main proponents of a raciology of beauty, using it to gain the backing of the Brazilian state. Beauty can be understood as an immaterial form of value that Jarrín calls “affective capital,” which maps onto and intensifies the social hierarchies of Brazilian society. Patients experience beauty as central to national belonging and to gendered aspirations of upward mobility, and they become entangled in biopolitical rationalities that complicate their ability to consent to the risks of surgery. The Biopolitics of Beauty explores not only the biopolitical regime that made beauty a desirable national project, but also the subtle ways in which beauty is laden with affective value within everyday social practices—thus becoming the terrain upon which race, class, and gender hierarchies are reproduced and contested in Brazil.
Learn more about The Biopolitics of Beauty at the University of California Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Biopolitics of Beauty.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Scott Reintgen reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Scott Reintgen, author of Nyxia.

His entry begins:
I’m always reading several books at a time. Right now, I’m halfway through Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb. I’ll humble brag and say that I picked the series back up after sitting down for drinks with Robin and a handful of other authors at San Diego Comic Con. She is such a delight, and her writing always casts a spell over me. It’s such traditional fantasy, and follows a character in Fitz who...[read on]
About Nyxia, from the publisher:
Every life has a price in this sci-fi thriller that has the nonstop action of The Maze Runner and the high-stakes space setting of Illuminae. This is the first in a new three-book series called the Nyxia Triad that will take a group of broken teens to the far reaches of the universe and force them to decide what they’re willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune.

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.
Visit Scott Reintgen's website.

The Page 69 Test: Nyxia.

Writers Read: Scott Reintgen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Jacob Stone's "Crazed," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Crazed by Jacob Stone.

From the entry:
Morris Brick, my ex-LAPD homicide detective and serial killer hunter, is tough, smart, and relentless, and Jason Isaacs showed from the Showtime series Brotherhood showed that he could play all that brilliantly, plus he physically looks like my Morris.

Evangeline Lilly would be a good choice to play Natalie Brick, Morris’s beautiful and charming wife.

Sheila Proops, the wheelchair-bound serial killer who escaped prosecution from Deranged and is back in Crazed. Elizabeth...[read on]
Jacob Stone is the byline chosen by award-winning author Dave Zeltserman for his Morris Brick series of serial-killer thrillers. Visit Zeltserman's website.

My Book, The Movie: Deranged.

The Page 69 Test: Deranged.

My Book, The Movie: Crazed.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books about magic

Brad Abraham's new novel is Magicians Impossible.

One of his five top books about magic, as shared at Tor.com:
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Has urban fantasy ever been as groundbreaking (or influential) as Neil Gaiman’s modern classic Neverwhere? Its DNA is etched into everything from Harry Potter to Fables. What makes Neverwhere such a seminal work is its juxtaposition of gods and goddesses, ancient beasts, and hidden societies against the seemingly mundane travails of one Richard Mayhew, recently transplanted from Scotland to London, who stops and helps a bleeding and distressed young woman on a dark street. This act of kindness plunges Richard into the magical realm of London Below, and into the middle of a battle between angels and devils, with the fate existence hanging in the balance. Gaiman took the themes of his groundbreaking Sandman comic book series and expanded on them here first, and kick started a genre in the process.
Read about another entry on the list.

Neverwhere is among 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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pg. 69: Alys Clare's "The Devil's Cup"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Devil's Cup: A Medieval mystery by Alys Clare.

About the book, from the publisher:
1216. England has been invaded. The country is divided. Some support Prince Louis of France; others remain loyal to the king. King John summons Sir Josse d'Acquin to support him, but can Josse save the king from himself? Meanwhile, Meggie attends a sick patient, who tasks her with retrieving a cursed treasure...
Learn more about The Devil's Cup at the publisher's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Devil's Cup.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Gideon Reuveni's "Consumer Culture and the Making of Modern Jewish Identity"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Consumer Culture and the Making of Modern Jewish Identity by Gideon Reuveni.

About the book, from the publisher:
Antisemitic stereotypes of Jews as capitalists have hindered research into the economic dimension of the Jewish past. The figure of the Jew as trader and financier dominated the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. But the economy has been central to Jewish life and the Jewish image in the world; Jews not only made money but spent money. This book is the first to investigate the intersection between consumption, identity, and Jewish history in Europe. It aims to examine the role and place of consumption within Jewish society and the ways consumerism generated and reinforced Jewish notions of belonging from the end of the eighteenth century to the beginning of the new millennium. It shows how the advances of modernization and secularization in the modern period increased the importance of consumption in Jewish life, making it a significant factor in the process of redefining Jewish identity.
Gideon Reuveni is Reader in History and Director of the Centre for German-Jewish studies at the University of Sussex. His central research and teaching interest is the cultural and social history of modern European and Jewish history.

Learn more about Consumer Culture and the Making of Modern Jewish Identity at the Cambridge University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Consumer Culture and the Making of Modern Jewish Identity.

--Marshal Zeringue

Fifty novels that changed how later novels were conceived

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged fifty novels that changed novels, including:
The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler

How It Changed Novels: Chandler’s novel is one of the first noir detective stories to hit the big time, and in many ways remains the source for many of the noir tropes still in use today. Its famously complicated plot (which Chandler himself admitted had huge holes) mapped out what a noir story should contain, and just about every noir work that follows adheres to that basic outline.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Big Sleep also appears on a list of four books that changed David Free, Jeff Somers's list of five famous books that contain huge mistakes, John Sweeney's top ten list of books on corruption, the Telegraph's top 23 list of amazing--and short--classic books, Lucy Worsley's ten best list of fictional detectives, Becky Ferreira's list of seven of the best books set in Los Angeles, Ian Rankin's list of five perfect mysteries, Kathryn Williams's reading list on greed, Gigi Levangie Grazer's list of six favorite books that became movies, Megan Wasson's list of five top books on Los Angeles, Greil Marcus's six recommended books list, Barry Forshaw's critic's chart of six American noir masters, David Nicholls' list of favorite film adaptations, and the Guardian's list of ten of the best smokes in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Lisa Berne reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Lisa Berne, author of The Laird Takes a Bride.

Her entry begins:
I’m slowly making my way through Jane Austen’s Letters, a great thick volume which is so interesting — so funny — so revelatory — and also such an important contrapuntal to her fiction, that I’m in no rush to finish it. I’ve long felt that a true understanding of Austen’s work depends on having at least a passing familiarity with her life and times, and her letters provide tremendous illumination — particularly so as she left behind no diary or journal and remains, essentially, a....[read on]
About The Laird Takes a Bride, from the publisher:
Alasdair Penhallow, laird of his clan and master of Castle Tadgh, is forced to end his carefree bachelorhood, thanks to an ancient decree that requires him to marry. But Alasdair’s search for a biddable wife comes to a screeching halt when Fate serves up Fiona Douglass. Prickly as a thistle, Fiona challenges him at every turn, rendering herself surprisingly irresistible. Her love would be a prize indeed ... if Alasdair could accept it.

Fiona gave her heart once, and doesn’t plan to repeat that folly. Yet she finds herself drawn to Alasdair’s intelligence and strength, and the passion he incites goes well beyond her expectations for what’s only a marriage of expedience. Despite herself, she’s falling in love with her husband.

But there’s a high wall between them—and Fiona’s not sure it can ever be torn down.
Visit Lisa Berne's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Laird Takes a Bride.

The Page 69 Test: The Laird Takes a Bride.

Writers Read: Lisa Berne.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 18, 2017

Christopher Kimball's six favorite books about food

Christopher Kimball is the author of Christopher Kimball's Milk Street: The New Home Cooking. One of his six favorite books about food, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Billionaire's Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace

Wallace's doubts about the authenticity of a $156,000 bottle of Bordeaux — purportedly once owned by Thomas Jefferson — led him into the dark side of the wine world. This book reads like a lucid, well-paced murder mystery, but it also conveys the complexity of a business that is only loosely regulated. It's good fun.
Read about another book on the list.

The Page 99 Test: The Billionaire’s Vinegar.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Scott Reintgen's "Nyxia"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Nyxia by Scott Reintgen.

About the book, from the publisher:
Every life has a price in this sci-fi thriller that has the nonstop action of The Maze Runner and the high-stakes space setting of Illuminae. This is the first in a new three-book series called the Nyxia Triad that will take a group of broken teens to the far reaches of the universe and force them to decide what they’re willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune.

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.
Visit Scott Reintgen's website.

The Page 69 Test: Nyxia.

--Marshal Zeringue

Cora Harrison's "Beyond Absolution," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Beyond Absolution: A mystery set in 1920s Ireland by Cora Harrison.

The entry begins:
I had no hesitation here. I have immediately chosen Angela Lansbury to star in the movie of my book.

The main character in Beyond Absolution is an elderly Reverend Mother, superior of an order of nuns whose main task is to provide an education for the children of the poor. Cork city in the south of Ireland was, at that time, a place where terrible poverty and dreadful slums co-existed with wealth and splendid houses, built by the merchant princes on the hills well outside the filth and fog that envelope the city and its slums.

The Reverend Mother is by birth and upbringing one of the merchant princes’ class, but...[read on]
Visit Cora Harrison's website.

My Book, The Movie: Cross of Vengeance.

My Book, The Movie: Beyond Absolution.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Randy M. Browne's "Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean by Randy M. Browne.

About the book, from the publisher:
Atlantic slave societies were notorious deathtraps. In Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean, Randy M. Browne looks past the familiar numbers of life and death and into a human drama in which enslaved Africans and their descendants struggled to survive against their enslavers, their environment, and sometimes one another. Grounded in the nineteenth-century British colony of Berbice, one of the Atlantic world's best-documented slave societies and the last frontier of slavery in the British Caribbean, Browne argues that the central problem for most enslaved people was not how to resist or escape slavery but simply how to stay alive.

Guided by the voices of hundreds of enslaved people preserved in an extraordinary set of legal records, Browne reveals a world of Caribbean slavery that is both brutal and breathtakingly intimate. Field laborers invoked abolitionist-inspired legal reforms to protest brutal floggings, spiritual healers conducted secretive nighttime rituals, anxious drivers weighed the competing pressures of managers and the condition of their fellow slaves in the fields, and women fought back against abusive masters and husbands. Browne shows that at the core of enslaved people's complicated relationships with their enslavers and one another was the struggle to live in a world of death.

Provocative and unflinching, Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean reorients the study of Atlantic slavery by revealing how differently enslaved people's social relationships, cultural practices, and political strategies appear when seen in the light of their unrelenting struggle to survive.
Visit Randy M. Browne's website.

The Page 99 Test: Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean.

--Marshal Zeringue