Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What is Elizabeth Boyle reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Elizabeth Boyle, author of Six Impossible Things.

Her entry begins:
I always look forward to Laura Lee Guhrke’s books, and her latest, The Truth and Love and Dukes, is no exception. I know before I open one of her romances, that the story is going to be moving and quite possibly tear jerking, but most of all a great read, but what I love most about her books is that there is always a point about 50 pages in where she manages a twist that sends the story in a new direction I was not expecting.

That moment as a reader (and a writer) where I think to myself, “Oh, no, she didn’t.” Well...[read on]
About Six Impossible Things, from the publisher:
In the sixth novel of the enchanting Rhymes With Love series from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Boyle, a nobleman falls in love with a beautiful spy he must protect

Lord Rimswell is a man of honor and absolutes. If he says something is impossible, it is. Yet his life of right and wrong is turned upside down when he finds himself in a compromising situation with the most unyielding, yet maddeningly beautiful, woman in London. If only he had not given in to the irresistible temptation to kiss her. Now he must marry her.
Visit Elizabeth Boyle's website.

Writers Read: Elizabeth Boyle.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 24, 2017

Tobin Miller Shearer's "Two Weeks Every Summer," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Two Weeks Every Summer: Fresh Air Children and the Problem of Race in America by Tobin Miller Shearer.

The entry begins:
So, here’s the pitch.

Two Weeks Every Summer is not about children. It is not about the city. It’s not even about fresh air. The book is about sex and violence and mystery. Those three themes will make this movie sizzle.

First, the sex. In the movie, we will dramatize the sexual tensions present in white families hosting children of color as they approach dating age. We show a white middle class family at dinner – father, mother, daughter, son – discussing the sleeping arrangements after their long-time Fresh Air guest – an African-American twelve-year old from the Bronx – arrives the following day. The tension is understated but palpable when the twelve-year-old daughter notes how handsome their guest is and that she can hardly wait to see him.

A second major scene will dramatize the violence associated with the programs. The camera will pan across the aftermath of one of the hundreds of rebellions that broke out after Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in 1968. Switch to a press conference where the director of the Fresh Air Fund, played by...[read on]
Learn more about Two Weeks Every Summer at the Cornell University Press website.

My Book, The Movie: Two Weeks Every Summer.

--Marshal Zeringue

Twenty top books for the beginner fantasy reader

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog Nicole Hill tagged twenty top fantasies to introduce beginners to the genre, including:
The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss

In his Kingkiller Chronicle series, Rothfuss has managed to nail all the prototypical elements of high fantasy without ever succumbing to cliché or reduction. (The series is also Lin-Manuel Miranda-approved.) There is a unique intimacy in The Name of the Wind, because it’s narrated by its own hero, Kvothe, who relates to the listener and the reader the details of his daring and magic-infested life.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Name of the Wind is among Meghan Ball's top ten fictional educational institutions from SFF books and Arwen Elys Dayton's five top books about false identities.

My Book, The Movie: The Name of the Wind.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Mugambi Jouet's "Exceptional America"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Exceptional America: What Divides Americans from the World and from Each Other by Mugambi Jouet.

About the book, from the publisher:
Why did Donald Trump follow Barack Obama into the White House? Why is America so polarized? And how does American exceptionalism explain these social changes?

In this provocative book, Mugambi Jouet describes why Americans are far more divided than other Westerners over basic issues, including wealth inequality, health care, climate change, evolution, gender roles, abortion, gay rights, sex, gun control, mass incarceration, the death penalty, torture, human rights, and war. Raised in Paris by a French mother and Kenyan father, Jouet then lived in the Bible Belt, Manhattan, and beyond. Drawing inspiration from Alexis de Tocqueville, he wields his multicultural sensibility to parse how the intense polarization of U.S. conservatives and liberals has become a key dimension of American exceptionalism—an idea widely misunderstood as American superiority. While exceptionalism once was a source of strength, it may now spell decline, as unique features of U.S. history, politics, law, culture, religion, and race relations foster grave conflicts. They also shed light on the intriguing ideological evolution of American conservatism, which long predated Trumpism. Anti-intellectualism, conspiracy-mongering, a visceral suspicion of government, and Christian fundamentalism are far more common in America than the rest of the Western world—Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Exceptional America dissects the American soul, in all of its peculiar, clashing, and striking manifestations.
Learn more about Exceptional America at the University of California Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Exceptional America.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six top books for understanding how cities work

Richard Florida is one of the world’s leading urbanists. His latest book is The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class-and What We Can Do About It. One of the author's six favorite books on urban capitalism, innovation, and inequality, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Economy of Cities by Jane Jacobs

Her earlier book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, is better known, but this 1969 book is her masterwork, the one she said she wanted to be remembered for. In it, she outlines her theory of cities — as opposed to companies and industries — as the basic platforms that make innovation possible.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 23, 2017

What is Cassandra Rose Clarke reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Cassandra Rose Clarke, author of Star's End.

Her entry begins:
I’m a multi-reader, so here are the three books that currently have me totally ensnared:

It, by Stephen King: I have never read this before, despite reading Stephen King quite a bit in junior high. I was always most interested in his short stories; as a kid his novels intimidated me. Actually, they still intimidate me. The paperback version of It that I bought at Barnes and Noble the other day has a two and half inch spine. Seriously, I measured it. I’m only about a quarter of an inch in, but already I can see why this book has the reputation it does. I’m not one to really be scared by books, but...[read on]
About Star's End, from the publisher:
A new space opera about a young woman who must face the truth about her father’s past from critically acclaimed author Cassandra Rose Clarke.

The Corominas family owns a small planet system, which consists of one gaseous planet and four terraformed moons, nicknamed the Four Sisters. Phillip Coromina, the patriarch of the family, earned his wealth through a manufacturing company he started as a young man and is preparing his eldest daughter, Esme, to take over the company when he dies.

When Esme comes of age and begins to take over the business, she gradually discovers the reach of her father’s company, the sinister aspects of its work with alien DNA, and the shocking betrayal that estranged her three half-sisters from their father. After a lifetime of following her father’s orders, Esme must decide if she should agree to his dying wish of assembling her sisters for a last goodbye or face her role in her family’s tragic undoing.
Visit Cassandra Rose Clarke's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Mad Scientist's Daughter.

The Page 69 Test: Star's End.

Writers Read: Cassandra Rose Clarke.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top feminist YA books

At the BN Teen blog, Jenny Kawecki tagged "five feminist reads that’ll have you raising hell while you wait" for the release of Jennifer Mathieu’s upcoming novel, Moxie, including:
Under a Painted Sky, by Stacey Lee

It’s Missouri in 1849, and Chinese American Samantha dreams of becoming a professional musician. But soon after her father dies in a fire, Samantha finds herself a fugitive in the aftermath of her landlord’s attempt to sexually assault her. Rather than heading back to New York to pursue her dreams, Samantha finds herself hiding from the law with runaway slave Annamae. Disguised as boys, the two girls make their way over the Oregon Trail, falling in with a trio of cowboys as they try to stay ahead of their past. If you’re looking for strong female friendship in the wild west, this is the book for you.
Read about another entry on the list.

Under a Painted Sky is among Sarah Skilton's seven top YA duos on the run and top six YA books featuring cross-cultural friendships, Eric Smith's top five YA reads for fans of the Wild West, Nicole Hill's five top historical YA novels about adventurous and independent-minded women, John Hansen's ten must-read YA novels you've probably never heard of, and Dahlia Adler's seven top YA novels about best friendship.

My Book, The Movie: Under a Painted Sky.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Hannah Lillith Assadi's "Sonora"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Sonora by Hannah Lillith Assadi.

About the book, from the publisher:
A fevered, lyrical debut about two young women drawn into an ever-intensifying friendship set against the stark, haunted landscape of the Sonoran desert and the ecstatic frenzy of New York City.

Ahlam, the daughter of a Palestinian refugee and his Israeli wife, grows up in the arid lands of desert suburbia outside of Phoenix. In a stark landscape where coyotes prowl and mysterious lights occasionally pass through the nighttime sky, Ahlam’s imagination reigns. She battles chronic fever dreams and isolation. When she meets her tempestuous counterpart Laura, the two fall into infatuated partnership, experimenting with drugs and sex and boys, and watching helplessly as a series of mysterious deaths claim high school classmates.

The girls flee their pasts for New York City, but as their emotional bond heightens, the intensity of their lives becomes unbearable. In search of love, ecstasy, oblivion, and belonging, Ahlam and Laura’s drive to outrun the ghosts of home threatens to undo them altogether.
Visit Hannah Lillith Assadi's website.

The Page 69 Test: Sonora.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ian Ogilvy's six best books

Ian Ogilvy played Simon Templar in the 1970s TV series Return Of The Saint and has appeared in Upstairs, Downstairs and Murder, She Wrote. One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
VANITY FAIR by William Makepeace Thackeray

A huge book that I’ve only recently read. I’ve been having a catch-up of books I should have read. Becky Sharp’s one of the best characters ever written. You hate and love her at the same time. It’s a wonderful piece of juggling with the readers’ reactions.
Read about another entry on the list.

Vanity Fair also appears on Vikram Chandra's list of five books that changed him, Joanna Trollope's six favorite books list, Maddie Crum's top ten list of fictional characters who just might be psychopaths, Allegra Frazier's list of five of her favorite fictional gold diggers, John Mullan's list of ten of the most memorable governesses in literature, Stella Tillyard's list of favorite historical novels, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best fat men in literature and ten of the best pianos in literature, and Thomas Mallon's list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Pg. 99: Timothy H. Dixon's "Curbing Catastrophe"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Curbing Catastrophe: Natural Hazards and Risk Reduction in the Modern World by Timothy H. Dixon.

About the book, from the publisher:
What does Japan's 2011 nuclear accident have in common with the 2005 flooding of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina? This thought-provoking book presents a compelling account of recent and historical disasters, both natural and human-caused, drawing out common themes and providing a holistic understanding of hazards, disasters and mitigation, for anyone interested in this important and topical subject. Based on his on-the-ground experience with several major recent disasters, Timothy H. Dixon explores the science, politics and economics behind a variety of disasters and environmental issues, arguing that many of the worst effects are avoidable. He describes examples of planning and safety failures, provides forecasts of future disasters and proposes solutions for hazard mitigation. The book shows how billions of dollars and countless lives could be saved by adopting longer-term thinking for infrastructure planning and building, and argues that better communication is vital in reducing global risks and preventing future catastrophes.
Learn more about Curbing Catastrophe at the Cambridge University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Curbing Catastrophe.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven top books to celebrate Earth Day

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged seven books to celebrate Earth Day, including:
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, by Al Gore

More than a decade ago, former Vice President Al Gore became the public face of climate change with the release of An Inconvenient Truth. In many ways, that film raised the profile of our troubled environment and changed the conversation about climate change and our role in combating it—and yet, very little seems to have actually changed. On Earth Day, in 2017, we argue about the causes of what’s happening to our planet, and Gore’s new book offers data and eye-witness experience that should be compelling to anyone willing to explore the issue. An Inconvenient Sequel builds the case that human beings are the main cause of climate change, then offers concrete steps we can still take to change the course of our shared future. Fuel up your debate machine with information straight from one of the foremost experts on the subject, then wade into the battle for the planet on April 22—and every day after.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Nicole Helget reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Nicole Helget, author of The End of the Wild.

Her entry begins:
I have a different book or reading device in every area of the house, in the car, and on the porch. Next to my bed, I keep Sarah Kendzior’s essay collection, The View From Flyover Country. She’s a fantastic journalist, who has spent her career studying totalitarianist regimes and whose twitter feed is the first thing I consult in the morning before I turn on the news and get my morning fix of rage and inspiration to be a better writer, teacher, neighbor, and citizen. Her book is a collection of some of her best works on the economy, globalization, academics, and culture. I am daily in contact with rural people, many of whom voted for Trump, and I’m...[read on]
About The End of the Wild, from the publisher:
A timely coming of age novel set against a backdrop of the controversial issue of fracking.

Eleven-year-old Fern's rundown home borders a pristine forest, where her impoverished family hunts and forages for food. It's also her refuge from the crushing responsibility of caring for her wild younger brothers and PTSD-stricken stepfather. But when a fracking company rolls into town, Fern realizes that her special grove could be ripped away, and no one else seems to care.

Her stepfather thinks a job with the frackers could help pull the family out of poverty. Her wealthy grandfather--who wants to take custody of Fern and her brothers--likes the business it brings to his manufacturing company. Facing adversity from all sides, can one young girl make a difference in the fate of her family and their way of life?

This modern, beautifully written story from the acclaimed author of Wonder at the Edge of the World explores the timely themes of poverty, environmental protection, what makes a family, and finding your place in the world.
Learn more about the book and author at Nicole Helget's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Turtle Catcher.

The Page 69 Test: The End of the Wild.

Writers Read: Nicole Helget.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 21, 2017

Flaubert's 5th best book

Peter Brooks is the author of Flaubert in the Ruins of Paris: The Story of a Friendship, a Novel, and a Terrible Year. Number five on his ranked list of favorite Flaubert's works:
Bouvard and Pécuchet

Flaubert’s strangest but in some ways most characteristic work—left unfinished at his death—in which he exercises a kind of cosmic irony on the pretentions of his time and his contemporaries. His main figures, Bouvard and Pécuchet—seemingly Tweedledum and Tweedledee, but they do eventually become distinguishable one from another—are copyists who retire and move to Normandy and undertake a number of do-it-yourself projects studied up in books—always with dire results. From farming to horticulture to history writing to child rearing, all their experiments tend to prove the fatuousness of most human knowledge. Yet their comic misadventures eventually lead them to a mentality like their creator’s: perceiving human stupidity and no longer being able to tolerate it. The work of a master ironist no longer restraining himself in unleashing his contempt for his surroundings. There is a really great translation of the novel by Mark Polizzotti, published by Dalkey Archive.
Read about Peter Brooks's favorite Flaubert book.

Bouvard and Pécuchet also appears on Adam Ehrlich Sachs's list of ten of the funniest books, Michael Foley's top ten list of absurd classics, John Mullan's list of ten of the best unfinished literary works, and John Sutherland's list of the best books about listing.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Lee Irby's "Unreliable"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Unreliable: A Novel by Lee Irby.

About the book, from the publisher:
Riotous and riveting, this is the story of a charming college professor who most definitely did not—but maybe did—kill his ex-wife. Or someone else. Or no one. Irby plays with the thriller trope in unimaginably clever ways.

Edwin Stith, a failed novelist and college writing instructor in upstate New York, is returning home for the weekend to Richmond, Virginia, to celebrate his mother’s wedding—to a much younger man. Edwin has a peculiar relationship with the truth. He is a liar who is brutally honest. He may or may not be sleeping with his students, he may or may not be getting fired, and he may or may not have killed his ex-wife, a lover, and his brand-new stepsister.

Stith’s dysfunctional homecoming leads him deep into a morass of long-gestating secrets and dangers, of old-flames still burning strong and new passions ready to consume everything he holds dear. But family dysfunction is only eclipsed by Edwin’s own, leading to profound suspense and utter hilarity. Lee Irby has crafted a sizzling modern classic of dark urges, lies, and secrets that harks back to the unsettling obsessions of Edgar Allan Poe—with a masterful ending that will have you thinking for days.
Learn more about Unreliable.

My Book, The Movie: Unreliable.

The Page 69 Test: Unreliable.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight inspiring picture books for Earth Day

At the BN Kids blog Charlotte Taylor tagged eight top picture books for Earth Day, including:
Wangari’s Trees of Peace, by Jeanette Winter

When Wangari was a little girl in Kenya, she lived surrounded by trees. But when she returned to her home in the countryside after being away at school for several years, she was horrified to see how few remained. And without the trees, life was harder and hotter. So Wangari decided to take action, and start planting. Other women joined her, and the Green Belt Movement has planted more that 30 million trees. This accessible and enjoyable picture book is a great introduction to this inspiring woman, who went from the first nine trees she planted in her backyard to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her environmental activism.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pg. 99: Rebecca Schuman's "Schadenfreude, A Love Story"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Schadenfreude, A Love Story: Me, the Germans, and 20 Years of Attempted Transformations, Unfortunate Miscommunications, and Humiliating Situations That Only They Have Words For by Rebecca Schuman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Sometimes Love Gets Lost in Translation

You know that feeling you get watching the elevator doors slam shut just before your toxic coworker can step in? Or seeing a parking ticket on a Hummer? There’s a word for this mix of malice and joy, and the Germans (of course) invented it. It’s Schadenfreude, deriving pleasure from others’ misfortune. Misfortune happens to be a specialty of Slate columnist Rebecca Schuman—and this is great news for the Germans. For Rebecca adores the Vaterland with the kind of single-minded passion its Volk usually reserve for beer, soccer, and being right all the time.

Let’s just say the affection isn’t mutual.

Schadenfreude is the story of a teenage Jewish intellectual who falls in love – in love with a boy (who breaks her heart), a language (that’s nearly impossible to master), a culture (that’s nihilistic, but punctual), and a landscape (that’s breathtaking when there’s not a wall in the way). Rebecca is an everyday, misunderstood 90’s teenager with a passion for Pearl Jam and Ethan Hawke circa Reality Bites, until two men walk into her high school Civics class: Dylan Gellner, with deep brown eyes and an even deeper soul, and Franz Kafka, hitching a ride in Dylan’s backpack. These two men are the axe to the frozen sea that is Rebecca’s spirit, and what flows forth is a passion for all things German. First love might be fleeting, but Kafka is forever, and in pursuit of this elusive passion Rebecca will spend two decades stuttering and stumbling through German sentences, trying to win over a people who can’t be bothered.

At once a snapshot of a young woman finding herself, and a country slowly starting to stitch itself back together after nearly a century of war (both hot and cold), Schadenfreude, A Love Story is an exhilarating, hilarious, and yes, maybe even heartfelt memoir proving that sometimes the truest loves play hard to get.
Visit Rebecca Schuman's website.

The Page 99 Test: Schadenfreude, A Love Story.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about trees

Fiona Stafford is professor of English language and literature, University of Oxford. Her latest book is The Long, Long Life of Trees.

One of Stafford's top ten books about trees, as shared at the Guardian:
The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy

Hardy’s novels all show a deep understanding of the natural world, but this one’s so thick with trees that at times the human characters almost get lost in the woods. The woodlands supply everyone with fuel, timber, fruit and a livelihood, but Hardy, never comfortable with pleasing pastoral, directs us to the ominous figure of the elm looming over Marty ’s father. Paralysed by fear of this tree, Mr South becomes too ill to leave his house, but when Dr Fitzpiers arrives with a fresh approach and orders the tree to be felled, the shock of its removal proves far too great. His patient dies the next day.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Woodlanders is on John Mullan's list of ten of the best locks of hair in fiction.

The Page 99 Test: Thomas Hardy's The Woodlanders.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Brian Staveley reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Brian Staveley, author of Skullsworn.

His entry begins:
Silk, by Alessandro Baricco, is a stunning novella that’s one part fairy tale, one part historical fiction, and one part heartbreaking romance. It tells the tale of Hervé Joncour, a merchant who travels the world to find silkworm eggs to sell in the French town where he lives. As the European and African silkworms succumb to disease, he must travel further and further, leaving his wife, Hélène, for months at a time. At last, his travels bring him to Japan, where he falls in love with a woman to whom he never speaks.

The story covers years and thousands of miles, but rather than try to render everything, Baricco chooses his moments. Joncour will cross all of Europe and Asia in a short paragraph, but then we get the chance to...[read on]
About Skullsworn, from the publisher:
Pyrre Lakatur is not, to her mind, an assassin, not a murderer—she is a priestess. At least, she will be once she passes her final trial.

The problem isn’t the killing. The problem, rather, is love. For to complete her trial, Pyrre has ten days to kill the seven people enumerated in an ancient song, including “the one who made your mind and body sing with love / who will not come again.”

Pyrre isn’t sure she’s ever been in love. And if she fails to find someone who can draw such passion from her, or fails to kill that someone, her order will give her to their god, the God of Death. Pyrre’s not afraid to die, but she hates to fail, and so, as her trial is set to begin, she returns to the city of her birth in the hope of finding love ... and ending it on the edge of her sword.
Visit Brian Staveley's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Providence of Fire.

Writers Read: Brian Staveley.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Nicole Helget's "The End of the Wild"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The End of the Wild by Nicole Helget.

About the book, from the publisher:
A timely coming of age novel set against a backdrop of the controversial issue of fracking.

Eleven-year-old Fern's rundown home borders a pristine forest, where her impoverished family hunts and forages for food. It's also her refuge from the crushing responsibility of caring for her wild younger brothers and PTSD-stricken stepfather. But when a fracking company rolls into town, Fern realizes that her special grove could be ripped away, and no one else seems to care.

Her stepfather thinks a job with the frackers could help pull the family out of poverty. Her wealthy grandfather--who wants to take custody of Fern and her brothers--likes the business it brings to his manufacturing company. Facing adversity from all sides, can one young girl make a difference in the fate of her family and their way of life?

This modern, beautifully written story from the acclaimed author of Wonder at the Edge of the World explores the timely themes of poverty, environmental protection, what makes a family, and finding your place in the world.
Learn more about the book and author at Nicole Helget's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Turtle Catcher.

The Page 69 Test: The End of the Wild.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Seven top YA books about twins

At the BN Teen Blog Dahlia Adler tagged seven favorite YA books about twins, including:
Jerkbait, by Mia Siegert

Robbie and Tristan haven’t been close since they shared a womb, but when Robbie attempts suicide, they have no choice but to share space in order to keep him safe. Now that they’re sharing a room, Tristan finally sees there’s more to his hockey star brother, including the toll that being closeted has taken on him as he considers the ways it may limit the future in pro sports everyone has always imagined for him. Robbie’s finds his only solace in an online stranger, but when even that turns into a dangerous secret, Tristan may have to put his own future on the line to save the brother he’s only just getting to know.
Read about another book on the list.

Also see Francesca Haig's top ten list of the greatest twins in children’s books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Conan Fischer's "A Vision of Europe"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: A Vision of Europe: Franco-German Relations during the Great Depression, 1929-1932 by Conan Fischer.

About the book, from the publisher:
It is commonly held that the inter-war era marked little more than a ceasefire between two world wars, with the improvement in German-Allied relations forged at Locarno in 1925 cut short by the global economic turmoil that followed the 1929 Wall Street Crash. A Vision of Europe challenges this received wisdom, offering a fundamental re-evaluation of inter-war Franco-German relations during the Great Depression and providing a fuller understanding of the historical origins of today's European Union. It demonstrates that rather than lapsing into mutual recrimination and national egotism, France and Germany engaged with the challenges of the post-1929 slump by way of plans for a Franco-German customs union and wider bilateral economic collaboration, whether across the Rhine, in the French Empire, or elsewhere in Europe. These plans were regarded as the initial steps on the road to a European Union that would reconcile Berlin's search for national rehabilitation with France's need for national security, so providing a means of resolving the formidable legacies of the First World War and Versailles Peace Settlement. Their efforts culminated in September 1931 in a formal agreement to establish a Franco-German economic community, which included the institutional means to transform ambition into reality. Unlike comparable post-1949 diplomacy, however, these aspirations ended in failure, but they nonetheless provided an invaluable, if largely unacknowledged template for the process of (West)-European recovery in the aftermath of the Third Reich.

This finely-focused study of the exchanges between individual politicians and diplomats, whether domestically or across the Rhine, also examines the relationship between the official sphere, the press, and a range of cultural associations and initiatives. It also explores the role of key economic associations and pressure groups whose energies were harnessed by Paris and Berlin in the cause of rapprochement. These were complex processes where success or failure could rest on particular personal exchanges, a badly-timed election, or unanticipated economic upsets that compromised diplomacy's best-laid plans.
Learn more about A Vision of Europe at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: A Vision of Europe.

--Marshal Zeringue

Allen Steele's "Avengers of the Moon," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Avengers of the Moon by Allen Steele.

The entry begins:
Generations of SF fans have been waiting to see a Captain Future movie. In fact, he's one of the few major pulp heroes of the 30's and 40's who didn't get a feature film, a movie serial, or at least a radio show. But Curt Newton and the Futuremen didn't follow his contemporaries Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon to the screen; his adventures ended in the early 50's, just as the Saturday afternoon serials were being replaced by TV.

Well, not quite. In 1978, the Japanese anime series Captain Future came out. Produced during the post-Star Wars space opera craze, it was a two-season adaptation of Edmond Hamilton's classic pulp novels. It's crude by today's animation standards, and clearly meant for kids, but nonetheless it was a big hit at the time ... everywhere except the U.S, that is. In France it was called Capitaine Flam, in Spain it was Capitan Futuro, in Saudi Arabia it was Space Knights, but in the country where Captain Future was created it was, "Who?" A couple of badly edited and translated VHS tapes eventually appeared in the U.S., but otherwise the series -- a mainstay for kids in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, generating countless graphic novels, toys, games, pajamas, and so forth -- remained obscure in America.

So now I've published the first new Captain Future novel since 1946, and of course I'd love to see Avengers of the Moon made into a movie...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Allen Steele's website.

My Book, The Movie: V-S Day.

My Book, The Movie: Avengers of the Moon.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five elegant & moody fantasies

Sofia Samatar is the author of the World Fantasy Award-winning novel A Stranger in Olondria and its sequel, The Winged Histories. One of her five favorite "intensely strange, beautifully written, and transportive fantasies," as shared at Tor.com:
Ice by Anna Kavan

A man drives into a snowstorm in pursuit of a white-haired girl. His planet is dying, succumbing to the ice of a nuclear winter. Cities crumble, water sources freeze, and our narrator becomes less trustworthy as hallucinations trouble his heroic role. At the center of it all stands the glittering, fragile heroine, passive as snow, apparently at the mercy of her brutal husband. On its publication in 1967, Brian Aldiss championed this novel as science fiction; in the 2006 reissue, Christopher Priest describes it as slipstream. Anna Kavan, who died in 1968, can no longer inform us about her genre (though she told Aldiss she hadn’t intended to write science fiction). She can’t tell us whether she was writing an allegory of the Cold War, an ecofeminist critique, or a chilled fever-dream of heroin addiction. We are left with this crystalline novel by a writer so dedicated to her art she took the name of one of her own characters as a pseudonym. It’s more than enough; Ice is a wintry and desolate marvel.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue