Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ten top books about lies

Miranda Doyle's new memoir is A Book of Untruths. One of her top ten books about lies, as shared at the Guardian:
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (1997)

Roy’s beautifully written lies are quiet ones, so quiet and so unspeakable that Estha, a discarded twin, cannot, or will not, speak. The caste system and Ayemenem’s stratified community provokes Estha’s mother first to marry a drunk pathological liar, and once divorced, to find love with an untouchable. Baby Kochamma embarks on a series of fibs to save the family. Like falling dominoes, they crash through Estha’s childhood.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: William C. Dietz's "Seek and Destroy"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Seek and Destroy by William C. Dietz.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Legion of the Damned® novels and the Mutant Files series comes the second novel in a postapocalyptic military science fiction series about America struggling to overcome a natural disaster but starting a second civil war…

As people fight to survive the aftereffects of more than a dozen meteor strikes, a group of wealthy individuals conspires to rebuild the United States as a corporate entity called the New Confederacy, where the bottom line is law. As a second civil war rages, with families fighting against families on opposite sides, Union president Samuel T. Sloan battles to keep the country whole.

To help in the fight for unity, Union Army captain Robin “Mac” Macintyre and her crew of Stryker vehicles are sent after the ruthless “warlord of warlords,” an ex–Green Beret who rules a large swath of the West. But defeating him will be even more difficult than she thought. The warlord is receiving military assistance from Mac’s sister—and rival—Confederate major Victoria Macintyre. And when the siblings come together in the war-torn streets of New Orleans, only one of them will walk away.
Visit William C. Dietz's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Into the Guns.

My Book, The Movie: Into the Guns.

My Book, The Movie: Seek and Destroy.

The Page 69 Test: Seek and Destroy.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Tristan Donovan reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Tristan Donovan, author of It's All a Game: The History of Board Games from Monopoly to Settlers of Catan.

His entry begins:
I’ve just finished reading Jonathan Taplin’s Move Fast and Break Things.

It’s a nonfiction book and examines how the web has gone from being this exciting, utopian beacon of hope to a nightmare of hate mobs, intrusive advertising, and domineering corporations like Google and Facebook invading our privacy.

Taplin does a good job of clearly charting how we ended up here. From the cynical attempts of tech companies to dismantle the protections of copyright law to how social media has undermined the quality and trustworthiness of news and empowered online hate...[read on]
About It's All a Game, from the publisher:
Board games have been with us longer than even the written word. But what is it about this pastime that continues to captivate us well into the age of smartphones and instant gratification?

In It’s All a Game, British journalist and renowned games expert Tristan Donovan opens the box on the incredible and often surprising history and psychology of board games. He traces the evolution of the game across cultures, time periods, and continents, from the paranoid Chicago toy genius behind classics like Operation and Mouse Trap, to the role of Monopoly in helping prisoners of war escape the Nazis, and even the scientific use of board games today to teach artificial intelligence how to reason and how to win. With these compelling stories and characters, Donovan ultimately reveals why board games have captured hearts and minds all over the world for generations.
Visit Tristan Donovan's website.

Writers Read: Tristan Donovan.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pg. 99: Howard Jones's "My Lai"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: My Lai: Vietnam, 1968, and the Descent into Darkness by Howard Jones.

About the book, from the publisher:
On the early morning of March 16, 1968, American soldiers from three platoons of Charlie Company (1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade, 23rd Infantry Division), entered a group of hamlets located in the Son Tinh district of South Vietnam, located near the Demilitarized Zone and known as "Pinkville" because of the high level of Vietcong infiltration. The soldiers, many still teenagers who had been in the country for three months, were on a "search and destroy" mission. The Tet Offensive had occurred only weeks earlier and in the same area and had made them jittery; so had mounting losses from booby traps and a seemingly invisible enemy. Three hours after the GIs entered the hamlets, more than five hundred unarmed villagers lay dead, killed in cold blood. The atrocity took its name from one of the hamlets, known by the Americans as My Lai 4.

Military authorities attempted to suppress the news of My Lai, until some who had been there, in particular a helicopter pilot named Hugh Thompson and a door gunner named Lawrence Colburn, spoke up about what they had seen. The official line was that the villagers had been killed by artillery and gunship fire rather than by small arms. That line soon began to fray. Lieutenant William Calley, one of the platoon leaders, admitted to shooting the villagers but insisted that he had acted upon orders. An exposé of the massacre and cover-up by journalist Seymour Hersh, followed by graphic photographs, incited international outrage, and Congressional and U.S. Army inquiries began. Calley and nearly thirty other officers were charged with war crimes, though Calley alone was convicted and would serve three and a half years under house arrest before being paroled in 1974.

My Lai polarized American sentiment. Many saw Calley as a scapegoat, the victim of a doomed strategy in an unwinnable war. Others saw a war criminal. President Nixon was poised to offer a presidential pardon. The atrocity intensified opposition to the war, devastating any pretense of American moral superiority. Its effect on military morale and policy was profound and enduring. The Army implemented reforms and began enforcing adherence to the Hague and Geneva conventions. Before launching an offensive during Desert Storm in 1991, one general warned his brigade commanders, "No My Lais in this division--do you hear me?"

Compelling, comprehensive, and haunting, based on both exhaustive archival research and extensive interviews, Howard Jones's My Lai will stand as the definitive book on one of the most devastating events in American military history.
Learn more about My Lai: Vietnam, 1968, and the Descent into Darkness at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Bay of Pigs.

The Page 99 Test: Blue and Gray Diplomacy.

My Book, The Movie: My Lai: Vietnam, 1968, and the Descent into Darkness.

The Page 99 Test: My Lai.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books celebrating geek culture

Rachel Stuhler and Melissa Blue, along with Cathy Yardley and Cecilia Tan, are the writers of Geek Actually. One of their five top books celebrating geek culture, as shared at Tor.com:
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

We’d all say we’ve “escaped into” books, but what if we could really do it? Fforde’s Thursday Next is a bad-ass female literary detective working in Spec Ops. She owns an extinct dodo, her husband may or may not exist, and those pesky Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca keep causing headaches. She gives voice to our strange dystopian fears all while being the female near-superhero we always felt we deserved. And the best part of Fforde’s world-building is that Thursday’s geekdom is so intrinsically tied to her persona that it’s never a source of discussion—it just is, which is a powerful message for younger readers.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Eyre Affair is among Deborah Harkness’s five favorite otherworldly reads.

--Marshal Zeringue

Mitchell Stephens's "The Voice of America," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Voice of America: Lowell Thomas and the Invention of 20th-Century Journalism by Mitchell Stephens.

The entry begins:
A compact, confident 27-year-old American walks onto the stage of the Royal Opera House in London in August of 1919. There is to be no opera. There will be no one else on stage. Lowell Thomas will be entertaining this audience merely with a collection of images he has shot and his voice.

He is played, let us say, by Alden Ehrenreich, who is currently 27 and also comely without being aggressively handsome; who has the right air of self-possession and, of most importance, a commanding voice.

“I would like to have you close your eyes for a moment,” Thomas intones, “and try and forget that you are here in this theater, and come with me on a magic carpet out to the land of history, mystery and romance.” Somewhere in front of him out in the darkened hall his cameraman – wearing an asbestos suit and holed up in a “big walk-in steel booth,” in case the film catches fire – is madly feeding and alternating projectors. We can see the desert; a blond, beardless man in Arab robes; some charging camels...[read on]
Visit Mitchell Stephens's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Voice of America.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven great YAs about reproductive choice

At the BN Teen Blog Dahlia Adler tagged seven great YA books about reproductive choice, including:
Aftercare Instructions, by Bonnie Pipkin

Genesis’s relationship with Peter is everything, until she gets pregnant and he leaves her alone at the Planned Parenthood where she has just terminated the pregnancy. Genesis is forced to go through the aftermath of the procedure alone, which kickstarts her journey to figure out exactly what she wants from a life that has already taken more than one of the relationships she held dear. Alternating between prose in her present life and backstory told in the form of a script (Genesis was once an aspiring actress), this incredibly compelling and well-crafted debut is not to be missed.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Pg. 99: Jack Ewing's "Faster, Higher, Farther"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Faster, Higher, Farther: The Volkswagen Scandal by Jack Ewing.

About the book, from the publisher:
A shocking exposé of Volkswagen’s fraud by the New York Times reporter who covered the scandal.

In mid-2015, Volkswagen proudly reached its goal of surpassing Toyota as the world’s largest automaker. A few months later, the EPA disclosed that Volkswagen had installed software in 11 million cars that deceived emissions-testing mechanisms. By early 2017, VW had settled with American regulators and car owners for $20 billion, with additional lawsuits still looming. In Faster, Higher, Farther, Jack Ewing rips the lid off the conspiracy. He describes VW’s rise from “the people’s car” during the Nazi era to one of Germany’s most prestigious and important global brands, touted for being “green.” He paints vivid portraits of Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piëch and chief executive Martin Winterkorn, arguing that the corporate culture they fostered drove employees, working feverishly in pursuit of impossible sales targets, to illegal methods. Unable to build cars that could meet emissions standards in the United States honestly, engineers were left with no choice but to cheat. Volkswagen then compounded the fraud by spending millions marketing “clean diesel,” only to have the lie exposed by a handful of researchers on a shoestring budget, resulting in a guilty plea to criminal charges in a landmark Department of Justice case. Faster, Higher, Farther reveals how the succeed-at-all-costs mentality prevalent in modern boardrooms led to one of corporate history’s farthest-reaching cases of fraud—with potentially devastating consequences.
Follow Jack Ewing on Twitter and Facebook, and read more about Faster, Higher, Farther at the W.W. Norton website.

The Page 99 Test: Faster, Higher, Farther.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: James Morrow's "The Asylum of Dr. Caligari"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Asylum of Dr. Caligari by James Morrow.

About the book, from the publisher:
If you think today’s profiteers are diabolical, blink again…

It is the summer of 1914. As the world teeters on the brink of the Great War, a callow American painter, Francis Wyndham, arrives at a renowned European insane asylum, where he begins offering art therapy under the auspices of Alessandro Caligari—sinister psychiatrist, maniacal artist, alleged sorcerer.

Determined to turn the impending cataclysm to his financial advantage, Dr. Caligari will—for a price—allow governments to parade their troops past his masterpiece: a painting so mesmerizing it can incite entire regiments to rush headlong into battle.

As the doctor’s outrageous scheme becomes a reality, Francis joins with his brilliant, spider-obsessed student, Ilona Wessels, and a band of lunatic saboteurs to thwart the mercenary magic.

By radically reimagining the most famous of all German Expressionist silent films, satirist James Morrow has wrought a timely tale that is by turns funny and erotic, tender and bayonet-sharp—but ultimately The Asylum of Dr. Caligari emerges as a love letter to that mysterious, indispensable thing called art.
Visit James Morrow's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Philosopher’s Apprentice.

The Page 69 Test: The Asylum of Dr. Caligari.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Gail Godwin reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Gail Godwin, author of Grief Cottage.

Her entry begins:
Jonathan Cott's There's a Mystery There: The Primal Vision of Maurice Sendak. I was going to take it on my book tour with me, but it's too beautiful. Mr. Cott takes us on a rare tour of the inner workings of a complicated and profound artist. It will be...[read on]
About Grief Cottage, from the publisher:
The haunting tale of a desolate cottage, and the hair-thin junction between this life and the next, from bestselling National Book Award finalist Gail Godwin.

After his mother's death, eleven-year-old Marcus is sent to live on a small South Carolina island with his great aunt, a reclusive painter with a haunted past. Aunt Charlotte, otherwise a woman of few words, points out a ruined cottage, telling Marcus she had visited it regularly after she'd moved there thirty years ago because it matched the ruin of her own life. Eventually she was inspired to take up painting so she could capture its utter desolation.

The islanders call it "Grief Cottage," because a boy and his parents disappeared from it during a hurricane fifty years before. Their bodies were never found and the cottage has stood empty ever since. During his lonely hours while Aunt Charlotte is in her studio painting and keeping her demons at bay, Marcus visits the cottage daily, building up his courage by coming ever closer, even after the ghost of the boy who died seems to reveal himself. Full of curiosity and open to the unfamiliar and uncanny given the recent upending of his life, he courts the ghost boy, never certain whether the ghost is friendly or follows some sinister agenda.

Grief Cottage is the best sort of ghost story, but it is far more than that--an investigation of grief, remorse, and the memories that haunt us. The power and beauty of this artful novel wash over the reader like the waves on a South Carolina beach.
Visit Gail Godwin's website.

My Book, The Movie: Grief Cottage.

The Page 69 Test: Grief Cottage.

Writers Read: Gail Godwin.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six notable books set in California

Emma Cline is the author of the acclaimed best-seller The Girls. One of her six favorite books set in California, as shared at The Week magazine:
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

I read this book as a teenager — it was the first time I understood you could write about where you were from, that a place could take on the qualities of a character. This essay collection, alongside Didion's The White Album, defined for me a particular California darkness — the mythology and the danger, all filtered through Didion's crystalline details.
Read about another book on the list.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem is among Boris Kachka's six favorite books, Max Jones's top ten books about exploration, and Kurt Andersen’s five favorite ’60s books, and is a book David Rakoff keeps returning to.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 19, 2017

William C. Dietz's "Seek and Destroy," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Seek and Destroy by William C. Dietz.

The entry begins:
On May Day, 2018, sixty meteors enter Earth’s atmosphere and explode around the globe. Earthquakes and tsunamis follow. Then China attacks Europe, Asia, and the United States in the mistaken belief that the disaster is an act of war.

One of the objects strikes Washington D.C. and decimates the federal government. Surviving elements of the armed forces attempt to restore order even as American society begins to crumble. And as citizens battle each other and the military for scarce resources, a group of oligarchs create a new government, which is structured to run like a corporation. They call it The New Confederacy.

Seek And Destroy is the second volume in the America Rising trilogy, and picks up where Into The Guns left off. Both books follow a young army officer named Robin Macintyre (Mac), and Secretary of Energy Samuel T. Sloan, who is elevated to the presidency after Washington D.C. is destroyed by a meteor. Together with other freedom fighters Mac and Sloan battle to...[read on]
Visit William C. Dietz's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Into the Guns.

My Book, The Movie: Into the Guns.

My Book, The Movie: Seek and Destroy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Nine books for "Wonder Woman" fans

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Ross Johnson tagged nine books "with positive, powerful, and patriarchy-busting female heroes," including:
At the Table of Wolves, by Kay Kenyon

Kim Tavistock, the star of Kay Kenyon’s forthcoming novel, is one of a new breed of humans who developed paranormal talents following tumult of the Great War. Her talent is particularly Wonder Wonder Woman-esque: she has the ability to draw out the truths that people are most keen to hide. In 1936, with Germany again on the rise, she’s a test subject at a secret British facility whose head might be a spy for the fascists. Though she’s uniquely qualified to uncover the truth, she’s soon drawn into a world of espionage for which she has no experience or training. She’s also confronted by the real possibility that her own father might be among the fashionable aristocrats in sympathy with the Nazi party. The period splits the difference between Wonder Woman’s WWII origins on the page and the Great War setting of the new movie, with a hero who shares attributes with both Diana and Agent Carter.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Llana Barber's "Latino City"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Latino City: Immigration and Urban Crisis in Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1945–2000 by Llana Barber.

About the book, from the publisher:
Latino City explores the transformation of Lawrence, Massachusetts, into New England’s first Latino-majority city. Like many industrial cities, Lawrence entered a downward economic spiral in the decades after World War II due to deindustrialization and suburbanization. The arrival of tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in the late twentieth century brought new life to the struggling city, but settling in Lawrence was fraught with challenges. Facing hostility from their neighbors, exclusion from local governance, inadequate city services, and limited job prospects, Latinos fought and organized for the right to make a home in the city.

In this book, Llana Barber interweaves the histories of urban crisis in U.S. cities and imperial migration from Latin America. Pushed to migrate by political and economic circumstances shaped by the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America, poor and working-class Latinos then had to reckon with the segregation, joblessness, disinvestment, and profound stigma that plagued U.S. cities during the crisis era, particularly in the Rust Belt. For many Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, there was no “American Dream” awaiting them in Lawrence; instead, Latinos struggled to build lives for themselves in the ruins of industrial America.
Learn more about Latino City at the University of North Carolina Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Latino City.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Marina J. Lostetter's "Noumenon"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter.

About the book, from the publisher:
With nods to Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama series and the real science of Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves, a touch of Hugh Howey’s Wool, and echoes of Octavia Butler’s voice, a powerful tale of space travel, adventure, discovery, and humanity that unfolds through a series of generational vignettes.

In 2088, humankind is at last ready to explore beyond Earth’s solar system. But one uncertainty remains: Where do we go?

Astrophysicist Reggie Straifer has an idea. He’s discovered an anomalous star that appears to defy the laws of physics, and proposes the creation of a deep-space mission to find out whether the star is a weird natural phenomenon, or something manufactured.

The journey will take eons. In order to maintain the genetic talent of the original crew, humankind’s greatest ambition—to explore the furthest reaches of the galaxy— is undertaken by clones. But a clone is not a perfect copy, and each new generation has its own quirks, desires, and neuroses. As the centuries fly by, the society living aboard the nine ships (designated Convoy Seven) changes and evolves, but their mission remains the same: to reach Reggie’s mysterious star and explore its origins—and implications.

A mosaic novel of discovery, Noumenon—in a series of vignettes—examines the dedication, adventure, growth, and fear of having your entire world consist of nine ships in the vacuum of space. The men and women, and even the AI, must learn to work and live together in harmony, as their original DNA is continuously replicated and they are born again and again into a thousand new lives. With the stars their home and the unknown their destination, they are on a voyage of many lifetimes—an odyssey to understand what lies beyond the limits of human knowledge and imagination.
Visit Marina J. Lostetter's website.

The Page 69 Test: Noumenon.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Coffee with a canine: Trish Doller & Cobi

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Trish Doller & Cobi.

The author, on how Cobi got his name:
His original name was Korbin, given to him by the people who eventually surrendered him to animal services, but he was renamed Kobe by the rescue agency. I was not huge fan of the name, but his rescue “mom” loved him so much that I felt a little disrespectful changing it. So we changed the spelling instead.

My whole family loves soccer, so Kobe became Cobi Jones (after the former US player) and his aliases are Mr. Jones, Jones, Bones, Kobayashi Maru, Cobi Wan Kenobi, and sometimes...[read on]
About Trish Doller's In a Perfect World, from the publisher:
From critically acclaimed author Trish Doller comes a gorgeous, hopeful, and heartbreaking novel, set in Cairo, Egypt, about the barriers we tear down for the people and places we love most.

Caroline Kelly is excited to be spending her summer vacation working at the local amusement park with her best friend, exploring weird Ohio with her boyfriend, and attending soccer camp with the hope she’ll be her team’s captain in the fall.

But when Caroline’s mother is hired to open an eye clinic in Cairo, Egypt, Caroline’s plans are upended. Caroline is now expected to spend her summer and her senior year in a foreign country, away from her friends, her home, and everything she’s ever known.

With this move, Caroline predicts she’ll spend her time navigating crowded streets, eating unfamiliar food, and having terrible bouts of homesickness. But when she finds instead is a culture that surprises her, a city that astounds her, and a charming, unpredictable boy who challenges everything she thought she knew about life, love, and privilege.
Visit Trish Doller's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Trish Doller & Cobi.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thomas Dolby's 6 best books

Thomas Dolby is an English musician and producer. His hit singles include "She Blinded Me with Science." Dolby is the author of The Speed of Sound: Breaking the Barriers Between Music and Technology: A Memoir. One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
DESOLATION ISLAND by Patrick O’Brian

I’m a keen sailor and fond of books with a maritime theme. O’Brian is the greatest naval fiction writer and has an enormous knowledge of Nelson’s navy, naturalism and politics. His characters Aubrey and Maturin sit somewhere between Holmes and Watson and Spock and Kirk.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is David Housewright reading?

Featured at Writers Read: David Housewright, author of What the Dead Leave Behind.

His entry begins:
I’ve been reading Your Oasis on Flame Lake by Lorna Landvik I’m embarrassed to say that like a lot of guys, I was very dismissive of what many called “chick lit” even though I have read very little of it. But...[read on]
About What the Dead Leave Behind, from the publisher:
Looking into an unsolved murder as a favor, McKenzie soon uncovers either the strangest set of coincidences or the sites of a very real, very deadly conspiracy.

Once a police detective in St. Paul, Minnesota, Rushmore McKenzie has become not only an unlikely millionaire, but an occasional unlicensed private investigator, doing favors for friends and people in need. When his stepdaughter Erica asks him for just such a favor, McKenzie doesn’t have it in him to refuse. Even though it sounds like a very bad idea right from the start.

The father of Malcolm Harris, a college friend of Erica’s, was found murdered a year ago in a park in New Brighton, a town just outside the Twin Cities. With no real clues and all the obvious suspects with concrete alibis, the case has long since gone cold. As McKenzie begins poking around, he soon discovers another unsolved murder that’s tangentially related to this one. And all connections seem to lead back to a group of friends the victim was close with. But all McKenzie has is a series of odd, even suspicious, coincidences—until someone decides to make it all that more serious and personal.
Learn more about the book and author at David Housewright's website and Facebook page.

My Book, The Movie: The Last Kind Word.

The Page 69 Test: The Last Kind Word.

The Page 69 Test: Stealing the Countess.

The Page 69 Test: What the Dead Leave Behind.

Writers Read: David Housewright.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Twelve books for fans of "The Handmaid's Tale"

At Entertainment Weekly, Isabella Biedenharn and Nivea Serrao tagged twelve books to read if you loved The Handmaid's Tale, including:
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

The dystopian, future-set When She Woke retelling of The Scarlet Letter presents the story of Hannah, a woman living in a not-too-distant future where women’s rights have been stripped away, and the church and state have merged and begun to “chrome” criminals (genetically alter their skin to match the color-coded crime they might have committed) instead of imprisoning them. After Hannah is accused of murder, and her skin chromed red, she attempts to navigate life in America and sets off on a journey of self-discovery.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: When She Woke.

My Book, The Movie: When She Woke.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: J.M. Opal's "Avenging the People"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Avenging the People: Andrew Jackson, the Rule of Law, and the American Nation by J.M. Opal.

About the book, from the publisher:
Most Americans know Andrew Jackson as a frontier rebel against political and diplomatic norms, a "populist" champion of ordinary people against the elitist legacy of the Founding Fathers. Many date the onset of American democracy to his 1829 inauguration.

Despite his reverence for the "sovereign people," however, Jackson spent much of his career limiting that sovereignty, imposing new and often unpopular legal regimes over American lands and markets. He made his name as a lawyer, businessman, and official along the Carolina and Tennessee frontiers, at times ejecting white squatters from native lands and returning slaves to native planters in the name of federal authority and international law. On the other hand, he waged total war on the Cherokees and Creeks who terrorized western settlements and raged at the national statesmen who refused to "avenge the blood" of innocent colonists. During the long war in the south and west from 1811 to 1818 he brushed aside legal restraints on holy genocide and mass retaliation, presenting himself as the only man who would protect white families from hostile empires, "heathen" warriors, and rebellious slaves. He became a towering hero to those who saw the United States as uniquely lawful and victimized. And he used that legend to beat back a range of political, economic, and moral alternatives for the republican future.

Drawing from new evidence about Jackson and the southern frontiers, Avenging the People boldly reinterprets the grim and principled man whose version of American nationhood continues to shape American democracy.
My Book, The Movie: Avenging the People.

The Page 99 Test: Avenging the People.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Gail Godwin's "Grief Cottage"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin.

About the book, from the publisher:
The haunting tale of a desolate cottage, and the hair-thin junction between this life and the next, from bestselling National Book Award finalist Gail Godwin.

After his mother's death, eleven-year-old Marcus is sent to live on a small South Carolina island with his great aunt, a reclusive painter with a haunted past. Aunt Charlotte, otherwise a woman of few words, points out a ruined cottage, telling Marcus she had visited it regularly after she'd moved there thirty years ago because it matched the ruin of her own life. Eventually she was inspired to take up painting so she could capture its utter desolation.

The islanders call it "Grief Cottage," because a boy and his parents disappeared from it during a hurricane fifty years before. Their bodies were never found and the cottage has stood empty ever since. During his lonely hours while Aunt Charlotte is in her studio painting and keeping her demons at bay, Marcus visits the cottage daily, building up his courage by coming ever closer, even after the ghost of the boy who died seems to reveal himself. Full of curiosity and open to the unfamiliar and uncanny given the recent upending of his life, he courts the ghost boy, never certain whether the ghost is friendly or follows some sinister agenda.

Grief Cottage is the best sort of ghost story, but it is far more than that--an investigation of grief, remorse, and the memories that haunt us. The power and beauty of this artful novel wash over the reader like the waves on a South Carolina beach.
Visit Gail Godwin's website.

My Book, The Movie: Grief Cottage.

The Page 69 Test: Grief Cottage.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 16, 2017

Eight top romances for foodies

At B&N Reads Amanda Diehl tagged eight romances for foodies, including:
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, by Amy E. Reichert

A You’ve Got Mail scenario with a foodie twist! Elizabeth “Lou” Johnson is desperately trying to get her French restaurant, Luella’s, off the ground. But when a food critic writes a rather scathing review of Luella’s, Lou doesn’t know what to do but grab a stiff drink at the local pub. There, she meets a charming Brit named Al. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know that Al and her food critic nemesis are one and the same.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is April Henry reading?

Featured at Writers Read: April Henry, author of Count All Her Bones.

Her entry begins:
I just read a great book called Wildman by JC Geiger.

“Geiger” is German for violin, and JC Geiger plays the reader like an instrument in this marvelous first novel. The book is about Lance Hendricks, high school senior, who has a mantra he repeats any time he has doubts:
You are valedictorian.
You are the first-chair trumpet player.
You have a full-ride scholarship.
Miriam Seavers is in love with you.
Lance is driving 370 miles home to what promises to be the best night of his life, an epic graduation party where he will finally get to spend the night with Miriam. But then his ’93 Buick breaks down in the middle of nowhere, the kind of place Lance, who is a worrier, thinks probably has meth labs and Bigfoot. Not only does he end up missing...[read on]
About Count All Her Bones, from the publisher:
April Henry masterminds another edge-of-your-seat thriller in this much-anticipated sequel to Girl, Stolen.

Six months ago, Griffin Sawyer meant to steal a car, but he never meant to steal the girl asleep in the backseat. Panicked, he took her home. His father, Roy, decided to hold Cheyenne—who is blind—for ransom. Griffin helped her escape, and now Roy is awaiting trial. As they prepare to testify, Griffin and Cheyenne reconnect and make plans to meet. But the plan goes wrong and Cheyenne gets captured by Roy’s henchmen—this time for the kill. Can Cheyenne free herself? And is Griffin a pawn or a player in this deadly chase?

April Henry masterminds another edge-of-your-seat thriller in Count All Her Bones.
Learn more about the book and author at April Henry's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Girl, Stolen.

The Page 69 Test: The Body in the Woods.

The Page 69 Test: Blood Will Tell.

Writers Read: April Henry.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books about futuristic California

Laura Lam was raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams. She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet when he insulted her taste in books. She is the author of gaslight fantasy and near-future thrillers. Her latest novel is Shattered Minds.

One of the author's five favorite books about futuristic California, as shared at Tor.com:
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

Another one I really need to read. Have nothing but excellent things and I really enjoyed Charlie’s articles on io9. This is an interesting blend of sci fi and fantasy set in San Francisco, where Charlie lives. It’s magic versus technology. It’s two friends who go on wildly different paths. They’re both living in an unstable world where magic and science clash, much like the two main characters. It looks like a brilliant blend of genres and I swear I’ll get to it soon.
Read about another entry on the list.

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

--Marshal Zeringue

Jean R. Freedman's "Peggy Seeger," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Peggy Seeger: A Life of Music, Love, and Politics by Jean R. Freedman.

The entry begins:
Very few biographies are made into movies, which is odd, because documentaries about famous people and fictionalized “docu-dramas” are very popular. I think a biography could be a gift to a director: the biographer has written the story and done all the research, so the director can get down to the business of providing visual elements and sound. My book is the first full-length biography of an extraordinary woman, musician and activist Peggy Seeger. The title gives the three things that should be emphasized in the movie: music, love, and politics. Music should be both background and foreground. There should be scenes of Peggy singing and playing, and songs can also create mood, ease transitions between scenes, and indicate the time period in which the scenes take place. Since love and politics are two of the most exciting and dramatic things in life, the movie will focus on Peggy’s personal life intertwined with her political life. There should be elements of documentary, such as personal photographs, and perhaps newsreels of events that Peggy has written about: apartheid, the Vietnam War, the 1984-85 British miners’ strike, the Women’s Peace Camp at Greenham Common, and so forth. The viewer should leave the film singing and wanting to change the world, simultaneously.

The director should be an experienced political filmmaker who understands how to use music effectively. Top choices are Costa-Gavras and Gregory Nava. Without question, the mature Peggy should be played by Angela...[read on]
Visit Jean R. Freedman’s website.

My Book, The Movie: Peggy Seeger.

--Marshal Zeringue