Wednesday, June 28, 2017

What is Jeannine Atkins reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jeannine Atkins, author of Stone Mirrors: The Sculpture and Silence of Edmonia Lewis.

Her entry begins:
You’d think finishing a novel based on the life of Edmonia Lewis would mean I could let her go, but even while my writing days are now spent with another woman, I’m still preoccupied with the ways that the nineteenth century sculptor’s biracial background shaped her life.

Some of these tensions are beautifully expressed in The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow. The novel works around an incident of a mother and her children falling from the roof of an apartment building, and the resulting deaths, a girl saved, and the mystery of how those falls came to be. Birds are always in the picture, too, and the ways memories mimic flight – veering, falling, rising again. We try to learn what “really” happened along with the young narrator, who misses her mother, a white woman from Denmark, and her father, an African American in the military, though we comes to believe that...[read on]
About Stone Mirrors, from the publisher:
From critically acclaimed author Jeannine Atkins comes a gorgeous, haunting biographical novel in verse about a half Native American, half African American sculptor working in the years following the Civil War.

A sculptor of historical figures starts with givens but creates her own vision. Edmonia Lewis was just such a sculptor, but she never spoke or wrote much about her past, and the stories that have come down through time are often vague or contradictory. Some facts are known: Edmonia was the daughter of an Ojibwe woman and an African-Haitian man. She had the rare opportunity to study art at Oberlin, one of the first schools to admit women and people of color, but lost her place after being accused of poisoning and theft, despite being acquitted of both. She moved to Boston and eventually Italy, where she became a successful sculptor.

But the historical record is very thin. The open questions about Edmonia’s life seem ideally suited to verse, a form that is comfortable with mysteries. Inspired by both the facts and the gaps in history, author Jeannine Atkins imagines her way into a vision of what might have been.
Visit Jeannine Atkins's website.

Writers Read: Jeannine Atkins.

--Marshal Zeringue

Hallie Ephron's "You'll Never Know, Dear," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: You'll Never Know, Dear by Hallie Ephron.

The entry begins:
One of my favorite reviews of You’ll Never Know, Dear came from Kirkus: “Would have been a great vehicle for Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, including all the slightly creepy dolls.” Taking that as my lead, I’d want to subtitle (do movies have subtitles?) my movie What Ever Happened to Baby Janey?

Right. Maybe. Though horror fans would be disappointed, because though the book is creepy (and full of mildly creepy dolls and doll parts), it's more suspense edging over into women’s fiction. It tells the story of a little girl’s disappearance and the porcelain doll that may hold the key to her fate, but what propels the narrative is the complicated relationships among three generations of women. That, in turn, is powered by secrets.

Still, taking a cue from Kirkus, my dream cast would be:

Sorrel “Miss Sorrel” Woodham: Joan Crawford

Miss Sorrel is an elegant older woman and gifted artist, famous for her porcelain dolls; her four-year-old daughter Janey disappeared forty years ago, along with a “portrait doll” Miss Sorrel had made for her.

Evelyn Dumont: Bette Davis

Evelyn lives next door to Miss Sorrel, helps her make and repair dolls, and has been her best friend ever since they were girls. Of Evelyn, Miss Sorrel says, “She won a baby contest and never got over it.”

Elisabeth “Lis” Woodham Strenger: Reese Witherspoon

Miss Sorrel’s older daughter, a single mom who had to move home in the wake of a messy divorce; forty years ago she was supposed to be watching her sister Janey when she disappeared. Now she sometimes...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Hallie Ephron's website.

See Ephron's top ten books for a good laugh and ten best books for a good cry.

The Page 69 Test: Never Tell A Lie.

My Book, The Movie: There Was an Old Woman.

My Book, The Movie: You'll Never Know, Dear.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top classic (and perhaps not so classic) road trip books

Steph Post is the author of A Tree Born Crooked (2014) and Lightwood (2017) as well as a short story writer, reader, teacher and dog lover (among many other things...). At LitReactor she tagged ten classic (and perhaps not so classic) road trip books, including:
The Road by Cormac McCarthy

It seems fitting to wrap up this list with a novel so simply named. McCarthy's post-apocalyptic masterpiece about a father and son traveling to the coast is harrowing, but gorgeously written and an utterly compulsive read. It strips down the concept of the road trip to it's most simple elements: the need for movement and the desire for something new.
Read about another book on the list.

The Road appears on a list of five of the best climate change novels, Claire Fuller's top five list of extreme survival stories, Justin Cronin's top ten list of world-ending novels, Rose Tremain's six best books list, Ian McGuire's ten top list of adventure novels, Alastair Bruce's top ten list of books about forgetting, Jeff Somers's lists of five science fiction novels that really should be considered literary classics and eight good, bad, and weird dad/child pairs in science fiction and fantasy, Amelia Gray's ten best dark books list, Weston Williams's top fifteen list of books with memorable dads, ShortList's roundup of the twenty greatest dystopian novels, Mary Miller's top ten list of the best road books, Joel Cunningham's list of eleven "literary" novels that include elements of science fiction, fantasy or horror, Claire Cameron's list of five favorite stories about unlikely survivors, Isabel Allende's six favorite books list, the Telegraph's list of the 15 most depressing books, Joseph D’Lacey's top ten list of horror books, the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five unforgettable fathers from fiction, Ken Jennings's list of eight top books about parents and kids, Anthony Horowitz's top ten list of apocalypse books, Karen Thompson Walker's list of five notable "What If?" books, John Mullan's list of ten of the top long walks in literature, Tony Bradman's top ten list of father and son stories, Ramin Karimloo's six favorite books list, Jon Krakauer's five best list of books about mortality and existential angst, William Skidelsky's list of the top ten most vivid accounts of being marooned in literature, Liz Jensen's top 10 list of environmental disaster stories, the Guardian's list of books to change the climate, David Nicholls' top ten list of literary tear jerkers, and the Times (of London) list of the 100 best books of the decade. In 2009 Sam Anderson of New York magazine claimed "that we'll still be talking about [The Road] in ten years."

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Pg. 99: David E. James's "Rock ‘N’ Film"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Rock 'N' Film: Cinema's Dance With Popular Music by David E. James.

About the book, from the publisher:
For two decades after the mid-1950s, biracial popular music played a fundamental role in progressive social movements on both sides of the Atlantic. Balancing rock's capacity for utopian popular cultural empowerment with its usefulness for the capitalist media industries, Rock 'N' Film explores how the music's contradictory potentials were reproduced in various kinds of cinema, including major studio productions, minor studios' exploitation projects, independent documentaries, and the avant-garde.

These include Rock Around the Clock and other 1950s jukebox musicals; the films Elvis made before being drafted, especially King Creole, as well as the formulaic comedies in which Hollywood abused his genius in the 1960s; early documentaries such as The T.A.M.I. Show that presented James Brown and the Rolling Stones as the core of a black-white, US-UK cultural commonality; A Hard Day's Night that marked the British Invasion; Dont Look Back, Monterey Pop, Woodstock, and other Direct Cinema documentaries about the music of the counterculture; and avant-garde films about the Rolling Stones by Jean-Luc Godard, Kenneth Anger, and Robert Frank.

After the turn of the decade, notably Gimme Shelter, in which the Stones appeared to be complicit in the Hells Angels' murder of a young black man, 1960s' music-and films about it-reverted to separate black and white traditions based respectively on soul and country. These produced blaxploitation and Lady Sings the Blues on the one hand, and bigoted representations of Southern culture in Nashville on the other. Ending with the deaths of their stars, both films implied that rock 'n' roll had died or even, as David Bowie proclaimed, that it had committed suicide. But in his documentary about Bowie, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, D.A. Pennebaker triumphantly re-affirmed the community of musicians and fans in glam rock.

In analyzing this history, David E. James adapts the methodology of histories of the classic film musical to show how the rock 'n' roll film both displaced and recreated it.
Learn more about Rock 'N' Film at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Rock 'N' Film.

--Marshal Zeringue

Coffee with a canine: Melissa Scholes Young & Huckleberry Nacho Finn

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Melissa Scholes Young & Huckleberry Nacho Finn.

The author, on how Huck got his name:
I grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, Mark Twain's boyhood home, so I'm a big literary fan of Twain's. Huck just seemed to be a Huck, but the first time he ate an entire stick of butter off of our table Huckleberry Finn came out of my mouth in a certain tone that Widow Douglass would have used. My youngest daughter added the Nacho part to his name. He mostly goes by Huckanoodles and...[read on]
About Scholes Young's debut novel, Flood, from the publisher:
A sparkling debut set in Mark Twain's boyhood town, Flood is a story of what it means to be lost ... and found.

Laura Brooks fled her hometown of Hannibal, Missouri, ten years ago after a historic flood and personal heartbreak. Now she's returned unannounced, and her family and friends don't know what to make of it. She says she's just home for a brief visit and her high-school reunion, but she's carrying too much luggage for that: literal and metaphorical. Soon Laura is embroiled in small-town affairs—the contentious divorce of her rowdy best friend Rose; the campaign of her twelve-year-old godson, Bobby, to become the town's official Tom Sawyer; and the renewed interest of the man Laura once thought she'd marry, Sammy McGuire.

Leaving town when she was eighteen had been Laura's only option. She feared a stifling existence in a town ruled by its past, its mythological devotion to Mark Twain, and the economic and racial divide that runs as deep as the Mississippi River. She can't forget that fateful Fourth of July when the levees broke or the decisions that still haunt her. Now as the Mississippi rises again, a deep wound threatens to reopen, and Laura must decide if running away once more might be the best way to save herself.
Visit Melissa Scholes Young's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Melissa Scholes Young & Huckleberry Nacho Finn.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Mary Kubica's "Every Last Lie"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica.

About Every Last Lie, from the publisher:
New York Times bestselling author of THE GOOD GIRL Mary Kubica is back with another exhilarating thriller as a widow's pursuit of the truth leads her to the darkest corners of the psyche.

Clara Solberg's world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident…until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon.

Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick's death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out—and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit.

Told in the alternating perspectives of Clara's investigation and Nick's last months leading up to the crash, master of suspense Mary Kubica weaves her most chilling thriller to date—one that explores the dark recesses of a mind plagued by grief and shows that some secrets might be better left buried.
Visit Mary Kubica's website.

Writers Read: Mary Kubica.

The Page 69 Test: Every Last Lie.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eleven top novels set in Old Hollywood

At Bustle, Kerri Jarema tagged eleven top novels set in Old Hollywood, including:
The Notorious Pagan Jones by Nina Berry

Pagan Jones went from America's sweetheart to fallen angel in one fateful night in 1960: the night a car accident killed her whole family. Pagan was behind the wheel and driving drunk. Nine months later, she's stuck in the Lighthouse Reformatory for Wayward Girls. Then Pagan's old agent shows up with a mysterious studio executive, Devin Black, and an offer. Pagan will be released if she accepts a role in a comedy by award-winning director Bennie Wexler. The shoot starts in West Berlin in just three days. The offer's too good to be true, Berlin's in turmoil and Devin Black knows way too much about her—there's definitely something fishy going on. But if anyone can take on a divided city, a scheming guardian and the world's criticism, it's Pagan Jones.
My Book, The Movie: The Notorious Pagan Jones.

The Page 69 Test: The Notorious Pagan Jones.
Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner

Los Angeles, Present Day. When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind ends up in Christine McAllister’s vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take her on a journey more enchanting than any classic movie... Los Angeles, 1938. Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Hollywood and lands a job on the set of Gone With the Wind. There, she meets enigmatic Audrey Duvall, a once-rising film star who is now a fellow secretary. Audrey’s zest for life and their adventures together enthrall Violet…until each woman’s deepest desires collide. What they are willing to risk, for themselves and for each other, to ensure their own happy endings will shape their lives far into the future.
My Book, The Movie: Stars Over Sunset Boulevard.

Read about more entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 26, 2017

Pg. 99: Alice Weinreb's "Modern Hungers"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Modern Hungers: Food and Power in Twentieth-Century Germany by Alice Weinreb.

About the book, from the publisher:
During World War I and II, modern states for the first time experimented with feeding--and starving--entire populations. Within the new globalizing economy, food became intimately intertwined with waging war, and starvation claimed more lives than any other weapon. As Alice Weinreb shows in Modern Hungers, nowhere was this new reality more significant than in Germany, which struggled through food blockades, agricultural crises, economic depressions, and wartime destruction and occupation at the same time that it asserted itself as a military, cultural, and economic powerhouse of Europe.

The end of armed conflict in 1945 did not mean the end of these military strategies involving food. Fears of hunger and fantasies of abundance were instead reframed within a new Cold War world. During the postwar decades, Europeans lived longer, possessed more goods, and were healthier than ever before. This shift was signaled most clearly by the disappearance of famine from the continent. So powerful was the experience of post-1945 abundance that it is hard today to imagine a time when the specter of hunger haunted Europe, demographers feared that malnutrition would mean the end of whole nations, and the primary targets for American food aid were Belgium and Germany rather than Africa. Yet under both capitalism and communism, economic growth as well as social and political priorities proved inseparable from the modern food system.

Drawing on sources ranging from military records to cookbooks to economic and nutritional studies from a multitude of archives, Modern Hungers reveals similarities and striking ruptures in popular experience and state policy relating to the industrial food economy. In so doing, it offers historical perspective on contemporary concerns ranging from humanitarian food aid to the gender-wage gap to the obesity epidemic.
Learn more about Modern Hungers at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Modern Hungers.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Mary Kubica reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Mary Kubica, author of Every Last Lie.

Her entry begins:
The majority of the books on my nightstand are mysteries and suspense, like Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke’s The Good Widow, and Alice Feeney’s Sometimes I Lie, which I’m so eager to read. Just this morning I finished The Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens, an elegant and heartbreaking mystery about the great lengths one man, a Minnesota homicide detective, will go to find his wife’s killer and avenge her death. A thought-provoking and compelling read, I highly recommend fans of Eskens keep...[read on]
About Every Last Lie, from the publisher:
New York Times bestselling author of THE GOOD GIRL Mary Kubica is back with another exhilarating thriller as a widow's pursuit of the truth leads her to the darkest corners of the psyche.

Clara Solberg's world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident…until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon.

Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick's death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out—and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit.

Told in the alternating perspectives of Clara's investigation and Nick's last months leading up to the crash, master of suspense Mary Kubica weaves her most chilling thriller to date—one that explores the dark recesses of a mind plagued by grief and shows that some secrets might be better left buried.
Visit Mary Kubica's website.

Writers Read: Mary Kubica.

--Marshal Zeringue

Stephen Hinshaw's "Another Kind of Madness," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Another Kind of Madness: A Journey Through the Stigma and Hope of Mental Illness by Stephen Hinshaw.

The entry begins:
The material is clearly cinematic.

My father, a brilliant philosopher who studied with Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein, has periodically experienced wild bouts of psychosis and mania since age 16. As a teen in Pasadena during the 1930s, he believed he could stop the worldwide Fascist threat by flying, with outspread wings, to warn the leaders of the free world. Barely surviving, he was warehoused in a snake-pit hospital for half a year, beginning his life of high achievement intermixed with utter madness.

It’s now years later, and he’s a professor in the Midwest during the 50s and 60s, following even more terrifying episodes and incarcerations. He and his beautiful wife, who also teaches at Ohio State, are expressly forbidden by his doctors from telling their two young children—my sister and me—the real reason for his sudden, mysterious disappearances: His recurring madness and forced entry into brutal mental hospitals. Indeed, his episodes during that time endangered the family.

Focusing on Dad’s dramatic past and my own childhood, the film would convey the core tension: Life was idyllic, filled with school, sports, and high accomplishment, but simultaneously terrifying, as Dad tried to survive electroshock treatment and beatings and I scrambled to understand the truth behind the silence and shame. Like so many kids in families where danger lurks but nothing is said, I blamed myself for not being able to prevent Dad’s mysterious absences. During all of those, it was as though he’d been abducted by aliens in the middle of the night.

A crucial scene occurs in the early 70s. As I return home from Harvard for my first spring break, having convinced myself to draw away from the silence of my upbringing, Dad pulls me into his study and...[read on]
Visit Stephen Hinshaw's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Mark of Shame.

My Book, The Movie: Another Kind of Madness.

--Marshal Zeringue

Alain Mabanckou's six favorite books

Alain Mabanckou, a professor at UCLA, may be the world's most celebrated Francophone African writer. His latest comic novel to be translated into English is Black Moses. One of the author's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Shameful State by Sony Labou Tansi

Tansi's The Shameful State, originally published in French in 1981, was a novel that had a real impact on my generation, because its author dared to criticize postcolonial dictatorships. Gabriel García Márquez's influence is tangible in this tale of a despot who rises to power in an unnamed African nation, but the farcical and jubilant tone is truly Congolese.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Pg. 99: Tristan Donovan's "It's All a Game"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: It's All a Game: The History of Board Games from Monopoly to Settlers of Catan by Tristan Donovan.

About the book, 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.

The Page 99 Test: It's All a Game.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Keely Hutton's "Soldier Boy"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Soldier Boy by Keely Hutton.

About the book, from the publisher:
Soldier Boy begins with the story of Ricky Richard Anywar, abducted at age fourteen in 1989 to fight with Joseph Kony's rebel army in Uganda’s decades-long civil war. Ricky is trained, armed, and forced to fight government soldiers alongside his brutal kidnappers, but never stops dreaming of escape.

The story continues twenty years later, with a fictionalized character named Samuel, representative of the thousands of child soldiers Ricky eventually helped rehabilitate as founder of the internationally acclaimed charity Friends of Orphans.

Working closely with Ricky himself, debut author Keely Hutton has written an eye-opening book about a boy’s unbreakable spirit and indomitable courage in the face of unimaginable horror.
Visit Keely Hutton's website.

The Page 69 Test: Soldier Boy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eleven must-read novels about female artists

At Electric Lit Carrie V Mullins tagged eleven top novels about female artists, including:
The Painter from Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein

This novel is based on the unlikely true story of early 20th century Chinese painter Pan Yuliang. As a child, Yuliang was sold into prostitution by her uncle, who needed the money to support his opium habit. Pan became the concubine for a wealthy customs inspector who allowed her to go to art school in Shanghai and eventually Europe. The move made Pan into a talented painter, but when she returned to China, which was on the brink of revolution, her art was considered too modern. Pan’s journey questions the inherent value of a piece of art versus the society and lens that its viewed in.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Painter from Shanghai.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Pg. 99: Kenda Mutongi's "Matatu: A History of Popular Transportation in Nairobi"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Matatu: A History of Popular Transportation in Nairobi by Kenda Mutongi.

About the book, from the publisher:
Drive the streets of Nairobi, and you are sure to see many matatus—colorful minibuses that transport huge numbers of people around the city. Once ramshackle affairs held together with duct tape and wire, matatus today are name-brand vehicles maxed out with aftermarket detailing. They can be stately black or extravagantly colored, sporting names, slogans, or entire tableaus, with airbrushed portraits of everyone from Kanye West to Barack Obama. In this richly interdisciplinary book, Kenda Mutongi explores the history of the matatu from the 1960s to the present.

As Mutongi shows, matatus offer a window onto the socioeconomic and political conditions of late-twentieth-century Africa. In their diversity of idiosyncratic designs, they reflect multiple and divergent aspects of Kenyan life—including, for example, rapid urbanization, organized crime, entrepreneurship, social insecurity, the transition to democracy, and popular culture—at once embodying Kenya’s staggering social problems as well as the bright promises of its future. Offering a shining model of interdisciplinary analysis, Mutongi mixes historical, ethnographic, literary, linguistic, and economic approaches to tell the story of the matatu and explore the entrepreneurial aesthetics of the postcolonial world.
Learn more about Matatu: A History of Popular Transportation in Nairobi at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Matatu: A History of Popular Transportation in Nairobi.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Elizabeth Anderson reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Elizabeth Anderson, author of  Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don't Talk about It).

Her entry begins:
Since the stunning result of the Presidential election, I have been reading books that help explain what happened. At the top of my list is Jan Werner-Müller's brilliant What is Populism? Everyone knows that populist politicians back "the people" against "the elites." While this rhetoric is common to all populists, it cannot distinguish them from non-populist politicians, because nearly all politicians in democratic regimes talk this way. The key to populism is rather that "the people" is always defined exclusively, as a subset of the citizens and permanent residents of a state, and in contrast with those who are not "real Poles" (because they are Jewish or liberal), not "true Finns" (because they are Muslim, or have immigrant ancestry), not "real Americans" (because they are coastal city dwellers, Black, Muslim, Latino/a, or liberal), etc.. Populist politicians gain support from the "real" people by telling them that they are being taken advantage of, humiliated, or threatened by enemies, both foreign and domestic (where the domestic enemies are those citizens and/or permanent residents who don't belong to the "real people"), and that elites are to blame for this. Populism is inherently authoritarian and anti-democratic, because it rejects a core constitutive feature of democracy, which is...[read on]
About Private Government, from the publisher:
Why our workplaces are authoritarian private governments—and why we can't see it

One in four American workers says their workplace is a "dictatorship." Yet that number probably would be even higher if we recognized most employers for what they are—private governments with sweeping authoritarian power over our lives, on duty and off. We normally think of government as something only the state does, yet many of us are governed far more—and far more obtrusively—by the private government of the workplace. In this provocative and compelling book, Elizabeth Anderson argues that the failure to see this stems from long-standing confusions. These confusions explain why, despite all evidence to the contrary, we still talk as if free markets make workers free—and why so many employers advocate less government even while they act as dictators in their businesses.

In many workplaces, employers minutely regulate workers' speech, clothing, and manners, leaving them with little privacy and few other rights. And employers often extend their authority to workers' off-duty lives. Workers can be fired for their political speech, recreational activities, diet, and almost anything else employers care to govern. Yet we continue to talk as if early advocates of market society—from John Locke and Adam Smith to Thomas Paine and Abraham Lincoln—were right when they argued that it would free workers from oppressive authorities. That dream was shattered by the Industrial Revolution, but the myth endures.

Private Government offers a better way to talk about the workplace, opening up space for discovering how workers can enjoy real freedom.

Based on the prestigious Tanner Lectures delivered at Princeton University's Center for Human Values, Private Government is edited and introduced by Stephen Macedo and includes commentary by cultural critic David Bromwich, economist Tyler Cowen, historian Ann Hughes, and philosopher Niko Kolodny.
Learn more about Private Government.

Writers Read: Elizabeth Anderson.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight books in which things are going poorly for the gods

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog Nicole Hill tagged "eight books [that] deal with deities in the midst of a bad day, week, or eon, as the case may be," including:
Gods Behaving Badly, by Marie Phillips

Maybe those fallen Greek gods aren’t living in New York, though. Maybe they’re actually crammed into a crumbling London townhouse, eking out a living with odd jobs and a fair amount of angst. (Apollo is a budding TV psychic and Aphrodite is a phone-sex operator, for starters.) Bored gods, though, make for dangerous gods, particularly when they start meddling with the lives of mortals around them. And you can probably already guess there’s a disarmingly charming trip to the Underworld in your future.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Gods Behaving Badly.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Laura Levine's "Death of a Bachelorette"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Death of a Bachelorette: A Jaine Austen Mystery by Laura Levine.

About the book, from the publisher:
Freelance writer Jaine Austen thought working for a knock-off reality show in the tropics would be paradise. But when she and her kitty Prozac find themselves trapped between a dimwitted leading man, catty contestants, and a cold-blooded murderer, the splashy gig becomes one deadly nightmare...

Jaine’s life has been a royal pain since she started penning dialogue for Some Day My Prince Will Come—a cheesy dating show that features bachelorettes competing for the heart of Spencer Dalworth VII, a very distant heir to the British throne. As if fending off golf ball-sized bugs on a sweltering island wasn’t tough enough, Jaine must test her patience against an irritable production crew and fierce contestants who will do anything to get their prince...

But Jaine never expected murder to enter the script. When one of the finalists dies in a freak accident, it’s clear someone wanted the woman out of the race for good—and the police won’t allow a soul off the island until they seize the culprit. Terrified of existing another day without air conditioning and eager to return home, Jaine is throwing herself into the investigation. And she better pounce on clues quickly—or there won’t be any survivors left...
Visit Laura Levine's website.

The Page 69 Test: Killing Cupid.

My Book, The Movie: Death by Tiara.

The Page 69 Test: Death of a Bachelorette.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 23, 2017

Pg. 99: Samuel C. Heilman's "Who Will Lead Us?"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Who Will Lead Us?: The Story of Five Hasidic Dynasties in America by Samuel C. Heilman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Hasidism, a movement many believed had passed its golden age, has had an extraordinary revival since it was nearly decimated in the Holocaust and repressed in the Soviet Union. Hasidic communities, now settled primarily in North America and Israel, have reversed the losses they suffered and are growing exponentially. With powerful attachments to the past, mysticism, community, tradition, and charismatic leadership, Hasidism seems the opposite of contemporary Western culture, yet it has thrived in the democratic countries and culture of the West. How? Who Will Lead Us? finds the answers to this question in the fascinating story of five contemporary Hasidic dynasties and their handling of the delicate issue of leadership and succession.

Revolving around the central figure of the rebbe, the book explores two dynasties with too few successors, two with too many successors, and one that believes their last rebbe continues to lead them even after his death. Samuel C. Heilman, recognized as a foremost expert on modern Jewish Orthodoxy, here provides outsiders with the essential guide to continuity in the Hasidic world.
Learn more about Who Will Lead Us? at the University of California Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Who Will Lead Us?.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Cynthia Eden reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Cynthia Eden, author of Wrecked (LOST Series #6).

Her entry begins:
I’ve accidentally returned to required summer reading days… The very last book I read was The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. My son had this title on his required reading list, and after reading the blurb… I was curious. I’ll confess—blurbs always hook me. I can’t...[read on]
About Wrecked, from the publisher:
In New York Times Bestselling Author Cynthia Eden’s gripping new LOST novel, who’s the cat and who’s the mouse…?

SHE LEFT HIM ONCE.

LOST Agent Ana Young was only fourteen when she was abducted by a madman, but unlike many kidnapping victims, she did go home. Now, her mission is to find the missing. But her new case has her on the hunt for the escaped convict who’s obsessed with her. And Ana has an unlikely partner—the sexy, supposedly-by-the-book FBI agent she had one amazing night with and had to forget.

NOW HE HAS TO PROTECT HER 24/7…

FBI Special Agent Cash Knox knows that Ana, the petite, tough-ass former bounty hunter, can get the job done again. But this time, someone else leads them to “Bernie-the-Butcher,” someone who’s been watching Ana. Waiting for her.

FROM A CRAZED KILLER.

Now, catching a deranged murderer means Ana must trust her guarded heart to the gorgeous, complicated G-man she wasn’t supposed to fall for.
Visit Cynthia Eden's website.

Writers Read: Cynthia Eden.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books inspired by Norse sagas

Scott Oden's new novel is A Gathering of Ravens.

One of five books inspired by Norse sagas he shared at Tor.com:
The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

Bernard Cornwell’s is a familiar name to fans of historical fiction; he is the reigning king of the bloody and thunderous epic, with tales running the gamut—from the Stone Age through to the Napoleonic Wars. But with The Last Kingdom, set in a 9th-century England wracked by war, Cornwell really hits his stride. It is the tale of Uhtred son of Uhtred, a dispossessed earl of Northumbria, who is captured as a child and raised by pagan Danes. Uhtred is a Viking in all but blood, as swaggering and headstrong and profane as his foster-brother, Ragnar Ragnarsson—and every inch as dangerous in that crucible of slaughter, the shieldwall. Historical fiction is close cousin to fantasy, and Cornwell blurs the edges between the two by having characters who believe in the myths of the North, in the power of prophecy and magic. This clash of cultures, and of faiths, comes to a head when Uhtred is forced to choose: live as a Dane and become the enemy of God and King Alfred of Wessex, or return to the Saxon fold, pledge himself to Alfred, and perhaps win back his stolen patrimony: the Northumbrian fortress of Bebbanburg.
Read about another book on the list.

The Last Kingdom is among Joe Abercrombie's top ten Viking stories.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sarah Azaransky's "This Worldwide Struggle," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: This Worldwide Struggle: Religion and the International Roots of the Civil Rights Movement by Sarah Azaransky.

The entry begins:
A crackerjack production team is necessary for This Worldwide Struggle, a movie about a group of black American Christians who looked abroad, even in other religious traditions, for ideas and resources to transform American democracy.

The location manager needs to have extensive contacts in South Asia to chart Howard and Sue Bailey Thurman’s five-month journey in 1935-1936 through what is now Sri Lanka, Burma, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and throughout India, when they met many activists and intellectuals, including Rabindranath Tagore and Mohandas Gandhi. After meeting with the Thurmans, Gandhi proclaimed it may be through black Americans “that the unadulterated message of non-violence will be delivered to the world.”

A skilled lighting team is necessary to capture William Stuart Nelson’s awe of an Indian dawn. Nelson and his wife Blanche spent a year in India, working with....[read on]
Learn more about This Worldwide Struggle at the Oxford University Press website.

My Book, The Movie: This Worldwide Struggle.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pg. 99: Jean R. Freedman's "Peggy Seeger"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Peggy Seeger: A Life of Music, Love, and Politics by Jean R. Freedman.

About the book,from the publisher:
The first full-length biography of the music legend

Born into folk music's first family, Peggy Seeger has blazed her own trail artistically and personally. Jean Freedman draws on a wealth of research and conversations with Seeger to tell the life story of one of music's most charismatic performers and tireless advocates.

Here is the story of Seeger's multifaceted career, from her youth to her pivotal role in the American and British folk revivals, from her instrumental virtuosity to her tireless work on behalf of environmental and feminist causes, from wry reflections on the U.K. folk scene to decades as a songwriter. Freedman also delves into Seeger's fruitful partnership with Ewan MacColl and a multitude of contributions which include creating the renowned Festivals of Fools, founding Blackthorne Records, masterminding the legendary Radio Ballads documentaries, and mentoring performers in the often-fraught atmosphere of The Critics Group.

Bracingly candid and as passionate as its subject, Peggy Seeger is the first book-length biography of a life set to music.
Visit Jean R. Freedman’s website.

My Book, The Movie: Peggy Seeger.

The Page 99 Test: Peggy Seeger.

--Marshal Zeringue

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