Friday, May 26, 2017

Five top books on modern Germany history

Hester Vaizey is a lecturer in Modern European History, and a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. Her books include Surviving Hitler's War, Keep Britain Tidy and other posters from the Nanny State, and Born in the GDR: Living in the Shadow of the Wall. One of her five best books on modern Germany history, as discussed with Sophie Roell at Five Books:
Anna Funder's Stasiland (2002)

Stasiland is written by a journalist from Australia, Anna Funder, who moved over to Germany just after the wall fell. She placed an advert in the newspaper asking to speak to old Stasi officials.

Nearly one in seven people informed for the Stasi. There were 91,000 full-time employees, whereas the Gestapo had more like 7000. It was so pervasive. People love all the gory details of how the Stasi wired people’s houses, tapped their phones, collected smell samples from suspects in jars with the idea that sniffer dogs might be able to track their movements, all sorts of crazy spy equipment that feels so foreign to our world—although with Edward Snowden, perhaps not. She really brings all of that to life.

Her book is a collection of stories about people whose lives have been affected by the Stasi. She describes the whole process, from the correspondence she has with them and how she feels about what they’re saying.

For example, she agrees to meet a man under a clock and he’ll have a newspaper under his arm—this is pre-mobile phone. And she sits down opposite him, and she describes the whole thing—not just what he says about being a Stasi officer. It’s very lively and journalistic in its style. It really brings to life elements of life with the Stasi and made me particularly interested in life in East Germany. Her whole approach of interviewing and reporting on the experience of the interview as well as the content was the approach that I used in my own book.

I suppose, in my book, I was trying to report more of a range of experiences of life, the people who have more positive experiences too. But her book prompted me to delve into this area and I love her writing style.
Read about another book Vaizey tagged at the Five Books website.

Stasiland is among Steve Kettmann's ten best books on Germans and Germany.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What is C.A. Higgins reading?

Featured at Writers Read: C.A. Higgins, author of Radiate.

Her entry begins:
My bookshelf is small and so full of books stacked in like Tetris blocks that at this point it is the books holding the shelf up, and not vice versa. The books that I have recently read, am currently reading, or intend to read shortly exist in a teetering pile alongside my bed.

The most recent read in the pile is Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb. The last of her novels about FitzChivalry Farseer, it lived up to all my love for and investment in the characters in the series. Another...[read on]
About Radiate, from the publisher:
In the follow-up to Lightless and Supernova, C. A. Higgins again fuses science fiction, suspense, and drama to tell the story of a most unlikely heroine: Ananke, once a military spacecraft, now a sentient artificial intelligence. Ananke may have the powers of a god, but she is consumed by a very human longing: to know her creators.

Ananke may have the powers of a god, but she is consumed by a very human longing: to know her creators. Now Ananke is on a quest to find companionship, understanding, and even love. She is accompanied by Althea, the engineer who created her, and whom she sees as her mother. And she is in search of her “father,” Matthew, the programmer whose code gave her the spark of life.

But Matthew is on a strange quest of his own, traveling the galaxy alongside Ivan, with whom he shares a deeply painful history. Ananke and her parents are racing toward an inevitable collision, with consequences as violent as the birth of the solar system itself—and as devastating as the discovery of love.
Visit C. A. Higgins's website.

The Page 69 Test: Lightless.

Writers Read: C.A. Higgins.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: John Farrow's "Perish the Day"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Perish the Day: A Thriller by John Farrow.

About the book, from the publisher:
Perish the Day is a riveting new mystery from John Farrow, an author who "brings a literary fiction writer's sensitivity to nuance and feel for landscape to this fine, character-rich thriller with a bang-up finish" (Booklist).

A co-ed is found murdered on campus, her body scarcely touched. The killer paid meticulous attention to the aesthetics of his crime. Coincidentally (or not), a college custodian is also found dead.

While an epic rainstorm assails the Holyoake, New Hampshire campus, overflowing rivers and taking down power lines, a third crime scene is revealed: a professor, formerly a spy, has been shot dead in his home. A mysterious note is found that warned him to run.

Each victim is connected to the Dowbiggin School of International Relations, yet none seems connected to the other. The dead student was a close friend of Sergeant-Detective Émile Cinq-Mars’s niece, so he puts his nose in; when internecine battles between police departments create a rift, he covertly slips into the crevice so he can be involved in the investigation.

Coming up against campus secrets, Émile Cinq-Mars must uncover the links between disparate groups quickly before the next victim is selected for an elaborate initiation into murder.
Visit Trevor Ferguson's Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Seven Days Dead.

My Book, The Movie: Seven Days Dead.

The Page 69 Test: Perish the Day.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five of the best novels in which music is a character

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged five novels in which music is a character, including:
High Fidelity, by Nick Hornby

It seems like the old-school record shop culture has been on the cusp of complete destruction for decades now. Rob Fleming is the ideal example of it: a thirtyish man with an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music and a fetish for reducing everything down to Top Five lists. When he applies his list-making to his personal life, he begins an introspective journey that’s scored to his favorite music. Ironically (brilliantly), Rob rediscovers his love for music as a passion instead of a collection of knowledge as he moves through his past love affairs and figures himself out.
Read about another entry on the list.

High Fidelity also made Lisa Jewell's six best books list, Jen Harper's list of seven top books to help you get through your divorce, Chris Moss's top 19 list of books on "how to be a man," Jeff Somers's list of six books that’ll make you glad you’re single, Chrissie Gruebel's top ten list of books set in London, Ted Gioia's list of ten of the best novels on music, Melissa Albert's top five list of books that inspire great mix tapes, Rob Reid's six favorite books list, Ashley Hamilton's list of 8 books to read with a broken heart, Tiffany Murray's top 10 list of rock'n'roll novels, Mark Hodkinson's critic's chart of rock music in fiction, and John Sutherland's list of the best books about listing.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Claire D. Clark's "The Recovery Revolution"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Recovery Revolution: The Battle Over Addiction Treatment in the United States by Claire D. Clark.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the 1960s, as illegal drug use grew from a fringe issue to a pervasive public concern, a new industry arose to treat the addiction epidemic. Over the next five decades, the industry's leaders promised to rehabilitate the casualties of the drug culture even as incarceration rates for drug-related offenses climbed. In this history of addiction treatment, Claire D. Clark traces the political shift from the radical communitarianism of the 1960s to the conservatism of the Reagan era, uncovering the forgotten origins of today's recovery movement.

Based on extensive interviews with drug-rehabilitation professionals and archival research, The Recovery Revolution locates the history of treatment activists' influence on the development of American drug policy. Synanon, a controversial drug-treatment program launched in California in 1958, emphasized a community-based approach to rehabilitation. Its associates helped develop the therapeutic community (TC) model, which encouraged peer confrontation as a path to recovery. As TC treatment pioneers made mutual aid profitable, the model attracted powerful supporters and spread rapidly throughout the country. The TC approach was supported as part of the Nixon administration's "law-and-order" policies, favored in the Reagan administration's antidrug campaigns, and remained relevant amid the turbulent drug policies of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. While many contemporary critics characterize American drug policy as simply the expression of moralizing conservatism or a mask for racial oppression, Clark recounts the complicated legacy of the "ex-addict" activists who turned drug treatment into both a product and a political symbol that promoted the impossible dream of a drug-free America.
Visit Claire D. Clark's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Recovery Revolution.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ten top unlikely romantic heroes in fiction

Jenny Colgan is a novelist, journalist and occasional radio pundit. One of her top ten weird romantic heroes, as shared at the Guardian:
Dr Wilbur Larch in The Cider House Rules by John Irving

A man with a devastating romantic past who does nothing but the best for everyone he ever meets. An overlooked, ether-loving angel of Atticus Finch proportions: goodnight, you princes of Maine, you kings of New England.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Cider House Rules is among Kate Hamer's ten top books about adopted children.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Zan Romanoff's "Grace and the Fever"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Grace and the Fever by Zan Romanoff.

About the book, from the publisher:
Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl meets Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty in this contemporary YA about what it means to be a fan—and what it means to be a friend—when your whole world is in flux.

In middle school, everyone was a Fever Dream fan. Now, a few weeks after her high school graduation, Grace Thomas sometimes feels like the only one who never moved on. She can’t imagine what she’d do without the community of online fans that share her obsession. Or what her IRL friends would say if they ever found out about it.

Then, one summer night, the unthinkable happens: Grace meets her idol, Jes. What starts out as an elusive glimpse of Fever Dream’s world turns into an unlikely romance, and leads her to confront dark, complex truths about herself and the realities of stardom.

From the author of A Song to Take the World Apart, Grace and the Fever is a heart-clutching reminder of what it’s like to fall in love—whether it’s with a boy or a boy band—and how difficult it is to figure out who you are after you’ve fallen out of love again.
Visit Zan Romanoff's website.

The Page 69 Test: Grace and the Fever.

--Marshal Zeringue

Helene Stapinski's "Murder in Matera," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Murder In Matera: A True Story of Passion, Family, and Forgiveness in Southern Italy by Helene Stapinski.

The entry begins:
There are two killer (pun intended) roles for women in Murder in Matera. Marisa Tomei would have to play me, the crazy mom traveling back and forth to Southern Italy to uncover the family murder. And Isabella Rossellini would play Vita, my great great grandmother, who escaped to America from the town of Bernalda after the murder in the 1800s, leaving her husband, Francesco behind.

Oscar Isaac, with his sad, dark eyes, would have to play the young Francesco because I love Oscar Isaac and want to meet him and have dinner with him. If...[read on]
Visit Helene Stapinski's website.

Writers Read: Helene Stapinski.

My Book, The Movie: Murder In Matera.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Ryan Lobo reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Ryan Lobo, author of Mr. Iyer Goes to War.

His entry begins:
I am currently reading several books both fiction and non-fiction.

I also just finished reading The Poetry of Derek Walcott, much of it at 2:30 AM while feeding my one month old daughter. Such powerful writing. A line struck me '..and the doors themselves, usually no wider than coffins'. I recalled a friend telling me the story of a maid who had criticized an apartment building because its stairwell was not large enough for a coffin and it struck me that...[read on]
About Mr. Iyer Goes to War, from the publisher:
A fresh, unique interpretation of Don Quixote, set in modern India.

Dispatched to a hospice center in the sacred city of Varanasi, seventy-something Lalgudi Iyer spends his days immersed in scripture, awaiting spiritual transcendence. After he suffers a concussion, he sees a vision of his past life--he is the reincarnation of the mythological warrior Bhima sent from the heavens to destroy evil.

Convinced of his need to continue his mission and revive the noble principles of Hindu mythology, Iyer embarks on an epic adventure across India with the help of his trusted companion, Bencho the undertaker. His attempts at restoring order to the world, and in the process, winning over the heart of the deeply uninterested maiden Damyanti, are hampered only by his complete detachment from sanity and the reality of contemporary India.

An inventive, ambitious interpretation of Don Quixote for our times, Mr Iyer Goes to War is a sometimes playful, sometimes profound adventure heralding a bold new voice in Indian fiction.
Visit Ryan Lobo's website.

My Book, The Movie: Mr. Iyer Goes to War.

Writers Read: Ryan Lobo.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Five dramatic books about space-faring history

Jeffrey Kluger's latest book is Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon. One of his five favorite books that make epic drama out of space-faring history, as shared at
The Martian by Andy Weir

True, this isn’t based in history, but it reads like it could be. There are, so the thinking goes, only a few basic plots: comedy, tragedy, rebirth, romance, voyage and return, warfare, rags to riches. But there are sub-categories too, and in the “voyage and return” column, include the tale of the castaway. The storyline is so appealing because the survival tale is magnified by the lone person’s awful solitude. It was inevitable that eventually the person who was cast away would be cast away in space—the idea was tried in the broadly awful 1964 film, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, which relied on scale and flash to achieve its execrable results. Weir’s book is the utter opposite—precise, detailed, almost pointillistic. And yet from that fine, dot-at-a-time writing comes a roaring, churning story. Weir’s writing is the literary equivalent of nuclear fuel: compact, seemingly spare, and improbably powerful.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Martian is among Elisabeth Delp's seven classic science fiction space odysseys, Alexandra Oliva's five novels that get important aspects of survival right, Jeff Somers's seven works of speculative fiction that don’t feel all that speculative and  five top sci-fi novels with plausible futuristic technology, Ernest Cline’s ten favorite SF novels, and James Mustich's five top books on visiting Mars.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Alan Smale's "Eagle and Empire"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Eagle and Empire: The Clash of Eagles Trilogy Book III by Alan Smale.

About the book, from the publisher:
The award-winning author of Clash of Eagles and Eagle in Exile concludes his masterly alternate-history saga of the Roman invasion of North America in this stunning novel.

Roman Praetor Gaius Marcellinus came to North America as a conqueror, but after meeting with defeat at the hands of the city-state of Cahokia, he has had to forge a new destiny in this strange land. In the decade since his arrival, he has managed to broker an unstable peace between the invading Romans and a loose affiliation of Native American tribes known as the League.

But invaders from the west will shatter that peace and plunge the continent into war: The Mongol Horde has arrived and they are taking no prisoners.

As the Mongol cavalry advances across the Great Plains leaving destruction in its path, Marcellinus and his Cahokian friends must summon allies both great and small in preparation for a final showdown. Alliances will shift, foes will rise, and friends will fall as Alan Smale brings us ever closer to the dramatic final battle for the future of the North American continent.
Visit Alan Smale's website.

The Page 69 Test: Clash of Eagles.

The Page 69 Test: Eagle in Exile.

The Page 69 Test: Eagle and Empire.

--Marshal Zeringue

Paul Theroux's 6 favorite books

Paul Theroux's latest novel is Mother Land. One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West

The ultimate novel of Hollywood, written by a native (and the author of the masterpiece Miss Lonelyhearts). I read this when I was young, and my admiration fueled my ambition to be a writer. It is funny, wicked, satirical, and wholly in the American grain.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Day of the Locust is on Joel Cunningham's list of nine Hollywood novels to get you in the mood for Oscar night, Amy Sohn's six favorite books list, Megan Wasson's top 5 list of books about Los Angeles, Jerome Charyn's list of the five best tales of dislocation, Jane Ciabattari's list of the five best novels on Hollywood, Jonathan Kellerman's list of the top ten LA noir novels, and Peter Conn's list of the five best novels from the Great Depression; it also appears on Jonathan Evison's list of books about the Spirit of California and John Mullan's list of ten of the best riots in literature.

Learn about Theroux's five top travel books about an intense experience of a particular place.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Christopher J. Fuller's "See It/Shoot It"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: See It/Shoot It: The Secret History of the CIA’s Lethal Drone Program by Christopher J. Fuller.

About the book, from the publisher:
An illuminating study tracing the evolution of drone technology and counterterrorism policy from the Reagan to the Obama administrations

This eye-opening study uncovers the history of the most important instrument of U.S. counterterrorism today: the armed drone. It reveals that, contrary to popular belief, the CIA’s covert drone program is not a product of 9/11. Rather, it is the result of U.S. counterterrorism practices extending back to an influential group of policy makers in the Reagan administration.

Tracing the evolution of counterterrorism policy and drone technology from the fallout of Iran-Contra and the CIA’s “Eagle Program” prototype in the mid-1980s to the emergence of al-Qaeda, Fuller shows how George W. Bush and Obama built upon or discarded strategies from the Reagan and Clinton eras as they responded to changes in the partisan environment, the perceived level of threat, and technological advances. Examining a range of counterterrorism strategies, he reveals why the CIA’s drones became the United States’ preferred tool for pursuing the decades-old goal of preemptively targeting anti-American terrorists around the world.
Learn more about See It/Shoot It at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: See It/Shoot It.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 22, 2017

Six top YA stories about life-changing summers

At the BN Teen blog Natalie Zutter tagged six YA books about life-changing summers, including:
Just One Day, by Gayle Forman

Forman’s swooningly romantic Just One Day throws type-A traveler Allyson Healey a curveball on her first European trip, in the form of relaxed, confident actor Willem De Ruiter. When they meet at a performance of Twelfth Night in Paris, he offers to show her the city…and she abandons her carefully planned trip to say yes. But then he disappears the next day, the final day of her three-week trip. He’s already changed her, but it’s the next few months that truly form her into a new person, as she grapples with who he was and what their day together meant to her.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Helene Stapinski reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Helene Stapinski, author of Murder In Matera: A True Story of Passion, Family, and Forgiveness in Southern Italy.

Her entry begins:
I'm about a quarter of the way through The Sellout by Paul Beatty, a social satire about an African American man's unorthodox upbringing and his appeal before the Supreme Court after his attempt to reintroduce slavery to a Los Angeles neighborhood.

The book is simultaneously incredibly sad and laugh out loud funny, no easy feat. I have a problem with self-serious, pretentious writers who are afraid -- or maybe are just incapable -- of making people laugh. You can tell a moving story and still manage to entertain your reader. Beatty, so far, has managed to tell a painful, contemporary tale, while using wicked, biting humor. His...[read on]
About Murder In Matera, from the publisher:
A writer goes deep into the heart of Italy to unravel a century-old family mystery in this spellbinding memoir that blends the suspenseful twists of Making a Murderer and the emotional insight of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels.

Since childhood, Helene Stapinski heard lurid tales about her great-great-grandmother, Vita. In Southern Italy, she was a loose woman who had murdered someone. Immigrating to America with three children, she lost one along the way. Helene’s youthful obsession with Vita deepened as she grew up, eventually propelling the journalist to Italy, where, with her own children in tow, she pursued the story, determined to set the record straight.

Finding answers would take Helene ten years and numerous trips to Basilicata, the rural "instep" of Italy’s boot—a mountainous land rife with criminals, superstitions, old-world customs, and desperate poverty. Though false leads sent her down blind alleys, Helene’s dogged search, aided by a few lucky—even miraculous—breaks and a group of colorful local characters, led her to the truth.

Yes, the family tales she’d heard were true: There had been a murder in Helene’s family, a killing that roiled 1870s Italy. But the identities of the killer and victim weren’t who she thought they were. In revisiting events that happened more than a century before, Helene came to another stunning realization—she wasn’t who she thought she was, either.

Weaving Helene’s own story of discovery with the tragic tale of Vita’s life, Murder in Matera is a literary whodunit and a moving tale of self-discovery that brings into focus a long ago tragedy in a little-known region remarkable for its stunning sunny beauty and dark buried secrets.
Visit Helene Stapinski's website.

Writers Read: Helene Stapinski.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wendy Webb's "The End of Temperance Dare," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The End of Temperance Dare by Wendy Webb.

The entry begins:
Oh, this is fun. I imagine how my characters look when I’m writing my books, sometimes imagining real life actors. So here goes, for the main characters from The End of Temperance Dare.

Miss Penny: Maggie Smith
Miss Penny is the departing director of Cliffside Manor, daughter of Chester Dare, the philanthropist who build Cliffside as a tuberculosis sanatorium back in the day and turned it into a retreat for artists and writers when TB was cured. She hires Eleanor and sets in motion the events of the story.

Eleanor (Norrie): Sandra Bullock or...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Wendy Webb's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Tale of Halcyon Crane.

My Book, The Movie: The End of Temperance Dare.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Lucinda Riley's "The Shadow Sister"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley.

About The Shadow Sister, from the publisher:
Star D'Aplièse is at a crossroads in her life after the sudden death of her beloved father - the elusive billionaire, named Pa Salt by his six daughters, all adopted by him from the four corners of the world. He has left each of them a clue to their true heritage, but Star - the most enigmatic of the sisters - is hesitant to step out of the safety of the close relationship she shares with her sister CeCe. In desperation, she decides to follow the first clue she has been left, which leads her to an antiquarian bookshop in London, and the start of a whole new world...

A hundred years earlier, headstrong and independent Flora MacNichol vows she will never marry. She is happy and secure in her home in the Lake District, living close to her idol, Beatrix Potter, when machinations outside her control lead her to London, and the home of one of Edwardian society's most notorious players, Alice Keppel. Flora is pulled between passionate love and duty to her family, but finds herself a pawn in a game - the rules of which are only known to others, until a meeting with a mysterious gentleman unveils the answers that Flora has been searching for her whole life...

As Star learns more of Flora's incredible journey, she too goes on a voyage of discovery, finally stepping out of the shadow of her sister and opening herself up to the possibility of love. Following on from the bestselling The Seven Sisters and The Storm Sister, The Shadow Sister is the third book in Lucinda Riley's spellbinding series, loosely based on the mythology of the Seven Sisters star cluster.
Visit Lucinda Riley's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Storm Sister.

My Book, The Movie: The Storm Sister.

My Book, The Movie: The Shadow Sister.

Writers Read: Lucinda Riley.

The Page 69 Test: The Shadow Sister.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Congratulations, Charlie Jane Anders

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. has announced the recipients of the Nebula Awards® for works published in 2016.

The winner in the Novel category:
All The Birds In the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

My Book, The Movie: All the Birds in the Sky.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Wayne Franklin's "James Fenimore Cooper: The Later Years"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: James Fenimore Cooper: The Later Years by Wayne Franklin.

About the book, from the publisher:
A definitive new biography of James Fenimore Cooper, early nineteenth century master of American popular fiction

American author James Fenimore Cooper (1789–1851) has been credited with inventing and popularizing a wide variety of genre fiction, including the Western, the spy novel, the high seas adventure tale, and the Revolutionary War romance. America’s first crusading novelist, Cooper reminds us that literature is not a cloistered art; rather, it ought to be intimately engaged with the world.

In this second volume of his definitive biography, Wayne Franklin concentrates on the latter half of Cooper’s life, detailing a period of personal and political controversy, far-ranging international travel, and prolific literary creation. We hear of Cooper’s progressive views on race and slavery, his doubts about American expansionism, and his concern about the future prospects of the American Republic, while observing how his groundbreaking career management paved the way for later novelists to make a living through their writing. Franklin offers readers the most comprehensive portrait to date of this underappreciated American literary icon.
Learn more about James Fenimore Cooper: The Later Years at the Yale University Press website.

Writers Read: Wayne Franklin.

The Page 99 Test: James Fenimore Cooper: The Later Years.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books on Southeast Asian travel literature

Cat Barton is a correspondent for the Agence France Presse in Hong Kong. At Five Books she tagged five top titles on Southeast Asian travel literature, including:
The Beach by Alex Garland.

This is a great book to read on the beach, and it’s much better than the film. It’s an interesting pop-culture musing on the idea of backpackers travelling around in search of unspoilt beaches. It deals with themes many people are likely to think about when travelling around the region. For example, is it possible to find an unspoilt beach? And what do backpackers do to the societies we visit? For example, how much good has it done the locals to have areas with thriving sex industries? Yes, the money flowing in is good, but how much has it really benefited the area?

The Beach deals with what happens if backpackers go militantly in the other direction. This particular group of travellers find a secluded cove and set up a kind of kibbutz. But the book suggests that the idea of trying to find a perfect, secluded island is pretty stupid. The group experiences a Lord of the Flies style meltdown – they all start turning on each other and I think it’s quite dystopian. That said, it is of course nice to get off the beaten track – but this novel deals with how far you can really do that as a backpacker.
Read about another entry from the Five Books list.

The Beach also appears on Kate Kellaway's ten best list of fictional holidays, Eleanor Muffitt top 12 list of books that make you want to pack your bags and trot the globe, Anna Wilson's top ten list of books set on the seaside, the Guardian editors' list of the 50 best summer reads ever, John Mullan's list of ten of the best swimming scenes in literature, and Sloane Crosley's list of five depressing beach reads.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Jason M. Hough reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jason M. Hough, author of Zero World.

His entry begins:
As usual I'm devouring two books at once, because I'll do one in print when I have genuine reading time and the other as an audiobook when I'm driving or doing chores.

Right now in print I'm reading an advance copy of Scott Reintgen's Nyxia, which is a wonderful YA sci-fi novel about a planet with a unique and powerful element that the locals will only allow children to mine. It's extremely good and sports a great...[read on]
About Zero World, from the publisher:
Technologically enhanced superspy Peter Caswell has been dispatched on a top-secret assignment unlike anything he’s ever faced. A spaceship that vanished years ago has been found, along with the bodies of its murdered crew—save one. Peter’s mission is to find the missing crew member, who fled through what appears to be a tear in the very fabric of space. Beyond this mysterious doorway lies an even more confounding reality: a world that appears to be Earth’s twin.
Visit Jason M. Hough's website.

Writers Read: Jason M. Hough.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Ten top true crime books

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir. One of her ten favorite true crime books, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
Columbine by Dave Cullen

That journalistic challenge is one David Cullen faced head-on in the days after the devastating school shooting at Columbine. After the murders, the question of why Klebold and Harris had carried out their horrific plan was haunting—and the media quickly tried to put it to rest with too-simple, made-for-the-headlines answers: the Trenchcoat Mafia, bullying, the music of Marilyn Manson. Cullen spent 10years of investigation in Aurora, Colorado, digging through these answers to the complexity below, and the result is a page-turning, complex, disturbingly readable book of incredible ambition and scope.
Read about another book on the list.

Columbine is among Charles Graeber's top ten true crime books and Lauren Passell's top nine books for the true-crime obsessed.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Claire Cameron's "The Last Neanderthal"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Last Neanderthal: A Novel by Claire Cameron.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the author of The Bear, the enthralling story of two women separated by millennia, but linked by an epic journey that will transform them both

Forty thousand years in the past, the last family of Neanderthals roams the earth. After a crushingly hard winter, their numbers are low, but Girl, the oldest daughter, is just coming of age and her family is determined to travel to the annual meeting place and find her a mate.

But the unforgiving landscape takes its toll, and Girl is left alone to care for Runt, a foundling of unknown origin. As Girl and Runt face the coming winter storms, Girl realizes she has one final chance to save her people, even if it means sacrificing part of herself.

In the modern day, archaeologist Rosamund Gale works well into her pregnancy, racing to excavate newly found Neanderthal artifacts before her baby comes. Linked across the ages by the shared experience of early motherhood, both stories examine the often taboo corners of women's lives.

Haunting, suspenseful, and profoundly moving, THE LAST NEANDERTHAL asks us to reconsider all we think we know about what it means to be human.
Visit Claire Cameron's website and Facebook page.

See Cameron's five notable stories about unlikely survivors.

My Book, The Movie: The Line Painter.

The Page 69 Test: The Last Neanderthal.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Daniel Brückenhaus's "Policing Transnational Protest"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Policing Transnational Protest: Liberal Imperialism and the Surveillance of Anticolonialists in Europe, 1905-1945 by Daniel Brückenhaus.

About the book, from the publisher:
Policing Transnational Protest offers an original perspective on the history of police surveillance of anticolonial activists in France, Britain, and Germany in the first half of the twentieth century. Tracing the undertakings of anticolonial activists from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East in Europe and reconstructing the reaction of European governments, it illuminates the increasing cooperation of the police and secret services to monitor the activities of the "oriental revolutionaries" and curb their room to maneuver. But those efforts had an unintended inflammatory effect, provoking both supporters and opponents of colonial rule to understand the conflict in increasingly global and trans-imperial terms. The surveillance also exacerbated tensions between Europeans friendly to the anticolonial cause, and those who prioritized imperial security over civil liberties and national sovereignty. Tracking growing levels of transnational government cooperation against anticolonialists, this book pays special attention to Germany, where many activists were able to carry out their political work in relative safety after escaping surveillance in Britain and France.

By analyzing the emergence of ever more sophisticated counter-terrorism schemes and surveillance apparatuses, Brückenhaus also contributes a pre-history of similar phenomena characterizing the post-9/11 world. He shows how, then as now, an intensification of a "war on terror" went hand in hand with concerns about encroachments on civil liberties, often expressed in open protest against such governance measures. Policing Transnational Protest informs current debates about intelligence gathering and surveillance in several European countries as well as their new cooperative partner, the United States.
Learn more about Policing Transnational Protest at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Policing Transnational Protest.

--Marshal Zeringue