Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pg. 69: Amy Fellner Dominy's "Die For You"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Die For You by Amy Fellner Dominy.

About the book, from the publisher:
Theirs was the perfect love story.

After Emma Lorde’s parents’ divorce forces her to move halfway across the state of Arizona to live with her father, Emma must face her senior year in a new school knowing absolutely no one.

Then she meets Dillon Hobbs and something just clicks.

Dillon introduces Emma to friends she can call her own. He provides a refuge from the chaos of her past and the security of a commitment that he promises will last forever. And because circumstances of her messy life forced Emma to put aside her dream of pursuing archaeology, Dillon creates a blueprint for a future together.

He saves her, over and over, by loving her more than she thought anyone ever would.

But just when everything seems picture-perfect, Emma is offered an opportunity that will upend the future they’ve planned. Uncertainty grows, and fear spirals into something darker.

Now Dillon is the one who needs saving.

But how much do you sacrifice for the one you love? What if saving Dillon means losing herself?
Visit Amy Fellner Dominy's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Coffee with a Canine: Amy Fellner Dominy & Riley.

The Page 69 Test: Die For You.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Jacqueline Carey reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jacqueline Carey, author of Miranda and Caliban.

Her entry begins:
Last summer, I traveled to Iceland, one of the countries featured in my current read, Eric Weiner’s The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World. Honestly, Iceland wasn’t really on my radar—the trip came about because it was on a friend’s bucket list. But it was fantastic, and it piqued my curiosity as to why this small, chilly island nation that’s largely benighted during the winter months consistently ranks high on the World Database of Happiness.

With a decade of experience as a foreign correspondent for NPR, Weiner is a concise, engaging writer, humorous and wry and keenly observant. He’s a skilled researcher. Despite a healthy dose of skepticism leavening his prose, he appears to have a...[read on]
About Miranda and Caliban, from the publisher:
A lovely girl grows up in isolation where her father, a powerful magus, has spirited them to in order to keep them safe.

We all know the tale of Prospero's quest for revenge, but what of Miranda? Or Caliban, the so-called savage Prospero chained to his will?

In this incredible retelling of the fantastical tale, Jacqueline Carey shows readers the other side of the coin—the dutiful and tenderhearted Miranda, who loves her father but is terribly lonely. And Caliban, the strange and feral boy Prospero has bewitched to serve him. The two find solace and companionship in each other as Prospero weaves his magic and dreams of revenge.

Always under Prospero’s jealous eye, Miranda and Caliban battle the dark, unknowable forces that bind them to the island even as the pangs of adolescence create a new awareness of each other and their doomed relationship.

Miranda and Caliban is bestselling fantasy author Jacqueline Carey’s gorgeous retelling of The Tempest. With hypnotic prose and a wild imagination, Carey explores the themes of twisted love and unchecked power that lie at the heart of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, while serving up a fresh take on the play's iconic characters.
Visit Jacqueline Carey's website.

Writers Read: Jacqueline Carey.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top alt-Londons in fantasy

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Jeff Somers tagged ten favorite alternate Londons in fantasy. One title on the list:
Smoke, by Dan Vyleta

Vyleta’s Victorian England setting looks deceptively like the one that actually existed, with one very big difference: impure thoughts and evil doings cause you to leak black “smoke” as a visual symbol of sin. As a result, the upper classes maintain power by demonstrating a lack of smoke, thus establishing their moral superiority over everyone else. There’s a mystery to the phenomenon, which is relatively recent, and half the fun is tracing how smoke has altered life in this alt-London.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pg. 69: Carola Dunn's "Buried in the Country"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Buried in the Country: A Cornish Mystery (Volume 4) by Carola Dunn.

About the book, from the publisher:
After many years working around the world for an international charity in the late 1960s, Eleanor Trewynn has retired to the relative quiet of a small town in Cornwall. But her quiet life is short-lived when, due to her experience, the Commonwealth Relations Office reaches out to her to assist in a secret conference that is to take place in a small hotel outside the historical village of Tintagel.

Meanwhile, her niece, Detective Sargent Megan Pencarrow, is investigating the disappearance of a local solicitor when she is assigned to help provide security for the conference. Two African students, refugees from Ian Smith’s Rhodesia, arrive for the conference, escorted by Megan’s bête noire from Scotland Yard. They are followed by two mysterious and sinister Londoners, whose allegiances and connections to the conference and the missing solicitor are unclear. With a raging storm having trapped everyone in the hotel, the stage is set for murder, and it’s up to Eleanor and Megan to uncover the truth before more lives are lost.
Learn more about the book and author at Carola Dunn's website and blog.

Coffee with a Canine: Carola Dunn and Trillian.

The Page 69 Test: Manna from Hades (the 1st Cornish Mystery).

The Page 69 Test: A Colourful Death (the 2d Cornish Mystery).

The Page 69 Test: The Valley of the Shadow (the 3d Cornish Mystery).

The Page 69 Test: Buried in the Country (the 4th Cornish Mystery).

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Abby Fabiaschi reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Abby Fabiaschi, author of I Liked My Life: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
Today I was at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, Texas, and there was a sign that read: Think before you speak; read before you think (Fran Lebowitz). Given all that is happening on our soil right now, this advice seems particularly prudent. I have been dedicating more reading time to The New Yorker and seeking out novels that focus on immigrant stories. I recently finished Behold the Dreamers, by Imbolo Mbue, which was excellent.

In memoir, I had the honor of reading...[read on]
About I Liked My Life, from the publisher:
A story from debut author Abby Fabiaschi that is "as absorbing as it is illuminating, and as witty as it is heartbreaking."

Maddy is a devoted stay-at-home wife and mother, host of excellent parties, giver of thoughtful gifts, and bestower of a searingly perceptive piece of advice or two. She is the cornerstone of her family, a true matriarch...until she commits suicide, leaving her husband Brady and teenage daughter Eve heartbroken and reeling, wondering what happened. How could the exuberant, exacting woman they loved disappear so abruptly, seemingly without reason, from their lives? How they can possibly continue without her? As they sift through details of her last days, trying to understand the woman they thought they knew, Brady and Eve are forced to come to terms with unsettling truths.

Maddy, however, isn’t ready to leave her family forever. Watching from beyond, she tries to find the perfect replacement for herself. Along comes Rory: pretty, caring, and spontaneous, with just the right bit of edge...but who also harbors a tragedy of her own. Will the mystery of Maddy ever come to rest? And can her family make peace with their history and begin to heal?
Visit Abby Fabiaschi's website.

The Page 69 Test: I Liked My Life.

Writers Read: Abby Fabiaschi.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top novels that begin “Dear Diary"

At the B&N Reads blog Jeff Somers tagged ten amazing novels that begin “Dear Diary," including:
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, by Anita Loos

Loos’ hilarious jazz-age novel remains one of the most undeservedly forgotten books of the 20th century. Written as a diary, complete with (frequently very funny) misspellings and misapprehensions, it’s difficult not to hear Marilyn Monroe’s voice as you read Lorelei Lee’s misadventures, which she lays down after a friend tells her that her life would make an interesting book. Lee’s simultaneous ability to manipulate the men around her while remaining charming and funny makes this a timeless story—despite its less-than feminist themes.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Matin Durrani & Liz Kalaugher's "Furry Logic"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life by Matin Durrani and Liz Kalaugher.

About the book, from the publisher:
The principles of physics lie behind many of the ways animals go about their daily lives. Scientists have discovered that the way cats and dogs lap up liquids can be explained by the laws of surface tension, how ants navigate is due to polarized light, and why pistol shrimps can generate enough force to destroy aquarium glass using their ”elbows!”

Each of Furry Logic's six chapters tackles a separate branch of physics and, through more than 30 animal case studies, examines each creature's key features before describing the ways physics is at play in its life, how the connection between physics and animal behavior was discovered, and what remains to be found out. Science journalists Matin Durrani and Liz Kalaugher make the incredible interdisciplinary world of animals accessible to all, in an enthralling and entertaining read.
Visit the Furry Logic website.

The Page 99 Test: Furry Logic.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 17, 2017

Pg. 69: Kim Garcia's "DRONE"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: DRONE by Kim Garcia.

Critical praise for DRONE:
“This is a necessary book of meditation, of prayer. Kim Garcia moves through innumerable facets of our American lives in order to understand what has happened to her soul in a time of drones. For drones are what hover around every poem here. Silently and unseen. When we tend our gardens, work our jobs, lawns, fields, when we dream or listen to our children or say our prayers alone or in church. The drones are never ‘somewhere else.’”
—Fady Joudah

“Kim Garcia has entered deeply into our recent hidden nightmare with her eyes and heart wide-open and made something of beauty out of the terrible and incomprehensible. Fittingly, things are always falling from the sky in these poems—rain, fire, the sound of bells, swords, two crows, sunlight—and we are, as usual, down below, dumbstruck, looking anxiously, hopefully, upward.”
—Nick Flynn

“Kim Garcia’s DRONE imagines the contemporary paradox of war in which we can pilot an ‘unpiloted’ aircraft. These compassionate poems reveal as much concern for our presumed enemies as for those listening and watching at a distance. We sense a great humanity behind this beautifully crafted book-length meditation centered on a woman’s perspective on war.”
—Heid E. Erdrich, 2015 Backwaters Prize Judge
Visit Kim Garcia's website.

The Page 69 Test: Madonna Magdalene.

The Page 69 Test: The Brighter House.

The Page 69 Test: DRONE.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Ryan David Jahn reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Ryan David Jahn, author of The Breakout: A Novel.

His entry begins:
Right now I’ve got two books on my nightstand. The first is James Sallis’s Willnot, which was my favorite book from last year. I like it even more now than I did the first time I read it. It’s quiet and subversive, the normalcy it presents a facade covering something much darker, as in...[read on]
About The Breakout, from the publisher:
James Murphy is a Marine Corps sniper. He’s done two tours in Afghanistan. He’s considered an American Hero. And James is out for revenge.

Alejandro Rocha, a massively powerful drug kingpin who operates out of La Paz, Mexico, is responsible for James’s sister, Layla’s death, and he intends to make Rocha pay for it.

James goes AWOL from his unit and travels to Mexico, ready to enact bloody vengeance, but before he can go through with his plan, he is arrested by the crooked police of La Paz. He’s quickly thrown into a dangerous prison on trumped-up charges. He knows he is marked for death while in this prison and there’s nothing he can do about it. However, there is a group of people who can do something about it.

Discovering that James is wasting away in a Mexican prison, the marines in his unit decide to risk court-martial themselves and go AWOL as well, ready to go to war in order to break their brother out. And that’s just the beginning of the mayhem and violence.
Visit Ryan David Jahn's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Breakout.

Writers Read: Ryan David Jahn.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books for fans of "Hidden Figures"

Swapna Krishna is a freelance writer, editor, and giant space and sci-fi geek. At Tor.com she tagged five books to read if you loved Hidden Figures, including:
Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, From Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt

While Hidden Figures tells the story of the black women breaking barriers in NASA’s Langley office, Holt’s story takes the reader to the west coast, to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which works on NASA’s unmanned robotic space missions. In the 1940s and 1950s, JPL recruited women of all different backgrounds (but mostly white women) to work as human computers, much like Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Katherine Johnson did at Langley on the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo projects. Holt follows different women through the years at JPL, outlining their almost-forgotten contributions to our nation’s space program.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Martine Murray's "Molly & Pim and the Millions of Stars," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Molly & Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray.

The entry begins:
I am terrible at getting round to watching movies, though I really love them. So I don’t know many contemporary young actors, I haven’t even seen Harry Potter, which I should perhaps not admit. So if someone were to play Molly or Pim….

Maybe Pim would be like Leonardo DiCaprio in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Molly could be...[read on]
Visit Martine Murray's website.

The Page 69 Test: Molly & Pim and the Millions of Stars.

Writers Read: Martine Murray.

My Book, The Movie: Molly & Pim and the Millions of Stars.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Pg. 69: Abby Fabiaschi's "I Liked My Life"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: I Liked My Life: A Novel by Abby Fabiaschi.

About the book, from the publisher:
A story from debut author Abby Fabiaschi that is "as absorbing as it is illuminating, and as witty as it is heartbreaking."

Maddy is a devoted stay-at-home wife and mother, host of excellent parties, giver of thoughtful gifts, and bestower of a searingly perceptive piece of advice or two. She is the cornerstone of her family, a true matriarch...until she commits suicide, leaving her husband Brady and teenage daughter Eve heartbroken and reeling, wondering what happened. How could the exuberant, exacting woman they loved disappear so abruptly, seemingly without reason, from their lives? How they can possibly continue without her? As they sift through details of her last days, trying to understand the woman they thought they knew, Brady and Eve are forced to come to terms with unsettling truths.

Maddy, however, isn’t ready to leave her family forever. Watching from beyond, she tries to find the perfect replacement for herself. Along comes Rory: pretty, caring, and spontaneous, with just the right bit of edge...but who also harbors a tragedy of her own. Will the mystery of Maddy ever come to rest? And can her family make peace with their history and begin to heal?
Visit Abby Fabiaschi's website.

The Page 69 Test: I Liked My Life.

--Marshal Zeringue

Coffee with a canine: Tracee de Hahn & Alvaro and Laika

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Tracee de Hahn & Alvaro and Laika.

The author, on how she and her dogs were united:
Alvaro and Laika were true life savers. We had a pair of Jack Russells and the girl, Sabatchka, died. She was the sweetest dog in the world and her brother fell into immediate depression (as did my husband). I found a girl puppy all the way up the coast at the top of California (we were living in the center of the state) and we drove there right away. During the seven hour drive we kept saying ‘them’ and not ‘her’. And sure enough we just couldn’t leave the final pup (a boy) there. For many years we had three Jack Russsells and I’m convinced that...[read on]
About Swiss Vendetta, from the publisher:
Swiss Vendetta, Tracee de Hahn's mesmerizing debut, is an emotionally complex, brilliantly plotted mystery set against the beautiful but harsh backdrop of a Swiss winter.

Inspector Agnes Lüthi, a Swiss-American police officer in Lausanne, Switzerland, has just transferred to the Violent Crimes unit from Financial Crimes to try to shed all reminders of her old life following her husband's death. Now, on the eve of the worst blizzard Lausanne has seen in centuries, Agnes has been called to investigate her very first homicide case. On the lawn of the grand Château Vallotton, at the edge of Lac Léman, a young woman has been found stabbed to death. The woman, an appraiser for a London auction house, had been taking inventory at the château, a medieval fortress dripping in priceless works of art and historical treasures.

Agnes finds it difficult to draw answers out of anyone—the tight-lipped Swiss family living in the château, the servants who have been loyal to the family for generations, the aging WWII survivor who lives in the neighboring mansion, even the American history student studying at the Vallotton château's library. As the storm rages on, roads become impassible, the power goes out around Lausanne, and Agnes finds herself trapped in the candlelit halls of the château with all the players of the mystery, out of her depth in her first murder case and still struggling to stay afloat after the death of her husband.
Visit Tracee de Hahn's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Tracee de Hahn & Alvaro and Laika.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Patricia Harman reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Patricia Harman, author of The Runaway Midwife.

Her entry begins:
I’m currently reading three books. Do you think I’d get confused? Not me. Actually, they are all so different.

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance.

If you’re interested in learning about Appalachia you’ll enjoy this book. Vance writes about his traumatic life in a way that’s very compelling. The book is part memoir and part social/political analysis. Since I live in West Virginia and write about people from this region, I thought it would be a good idea for...[read on]
About The Runaway Midwife, from the publisher:
From the USA Today bestselling author of the Hope River series comes a new contemporary midwife novel.

Say “goodbye” to your old life, and “hello” to the life you’ve been waiting for…

Midwife Clara Perry is accustomed to comforting her pregnant patients…calming fathers-to-be as they anxiously await the birth of their children…ensuring the babies she delivers come safely into the world.

But when Clara’s life takes a nosedive, she realizes she hasn’t been tending to her own needs and does something drastic: she runs away and starts over again in a place where no one knows her or the mess she’s left behind in West Virginia. Heading to Sea Gull Island—a tiny, remote Canadian island—Clara is ready for anything. Well, almost. She left her passport back home, and the only way she can enter Canada is by hitching a ride on a snowmobile and illegally crossing the border.

Deciding to reinvent herself, Clara takes a new identity—Sara Livingston, a writer seeking solitude. But there’s no avoiding the outside world. The residents are friendly, and draw “Sara” into their lives and confidences. She volunteers at the local medical clinic, using her midwifery skills, and forms a tentative relationship with a local police officer.

But what will happen if she lets down her guard and reveals the real reason why she left her old life? One lesson soon becomes clear: no matter how far you run, you can never really hide from your past.
Visit Patricia Harman's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Runaway Midwife.

My Book, The Movie: The Runaway Midwife.

Writers Read: Patricia Harman.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about the Vikings

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough is the author of Beyond the Northlands: Viking Voyages and the Old Norse Saga. One of her top ten books about the Vikings, as shared at the Guardian:
The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley

Greenland was settled in around 985 by Erik the Red, who had been outlawed from Iceland for murder. The colony survived for several hundred years, but how and why it came to an end is still up for debate. This meticulously researched saga imagines life in Norse Greenland during the final decades of the settlement. I had spent several years researching this part of Norse history before I discovered this novel, including two summers exploring Norse ruins in Greenland. But reading The Greenlanders was a revelation: for the first time, I felt I understood what it might have been like to live through this society’s slow decline towards oblivion.
Read about another entry on the list.

Also see: Joe Abercrombie's top ten Viking stories.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Traci Mann's "Secrets from the Eating Lab"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Secrets from the Eating Lab: The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and Why You Should Never Diet Again by Traci Mann.

About the book, from the publisher:
A provocative expose of the dieting industry from one of the nation’s leading researchers in self-control and the psychology of weight loss that offers proven strategies for sustainable weight loss.

From her office in the University of Minnesota’s Health and Eating Lab, professor Traci Mann researches self-control and dieting. And what she has discovered is groundbreaking. Not only do diets not work; they often result in weight gain. Americans are losing the battle of the bulge because our bodies and brains are not hardwired to resist food—the very idea of it works against our biological imperative to survive.

In Secrets From the Eating Lab, Mann challenges assumptions—including those that make up the very foundation of the weight loss industry—about how diets work and why they fail. The result of more than two decades of research, it offers cutting-edge science and exciting new insights into the American obesity epidemic and our relationship with eating and food.

Secrets From the Eating Lab also gives readers the practical tools they need to actually lose weight and get healthy. Mann argues that the idea of willpower is a myth—we shouldn’t waste time and money trying to combat our natural tendencies. Instead, she offers 12 simple, effective strategies that take advantage of human nature instead of fighting it—from changing the size of your plates to socializing with people with healthy habits, removing “healthy” labels that send negative messages to redefining comfort food.
Visit The Mann Lab website.

The Page 99 Test: Secrets from the Eating Lab.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Pg. 69: Steven Brust & Skyler White's "The Skill of Our Hands"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Skill of Our Hands by Steven Brust and Skyler White.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Incrementalists are a secret society of two hundred people—an unbroken lineage reaching back forty thousand years. They cheat death, share lives and memories, and communicate with one another across nations and time. They have an epic history, an almost magical memory, and a very modest mission: to make the world better, a little bit at a time.

Now Phil, the Incrementalist whose personality has stayed stable through more incarnations than anyone else’s, has been shot dead. They’ll bring him back—but first they need to know what happened. Their investigation will lead down unexpected paths in Arizona, and bring them up against corruption, racism, and brutality in high and low places alike.

But the key may lay in one of Phil’s previous lives, in “Bleeding Kansas” in the late 1850s—and the fate of the passionate abolitionist we remember as John Brown.

Steven Brust and Skyler White's The Skill of Our Hands is the thrilling and thought-provoking follow-up to their critically acclaimed The Incrementalists.
Visit Steven Brust's website and Skyler White's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Skill of Our Hands.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Sana Krasikov reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Sana Krasikov, author of The Patriots: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

Some books pull you in with rhythm and others, like this one, with the tactile particularity of the prose, which exerts a force of traction. The material of the world serves as a kind metaphor for the structure of the work as a whole… Rock, strata, the sediment of generation. Stegner had a big impact on me while I wrote The Patriots. He doesn’t just use time and place as backdrop for the story, he uses the story itself as an investigation in to the texture of a period we know only in...[read on]
About The Patriots, from the publisher:
A sweeping multigenerational debut novel about idealism, betrayal, and family secrets that takes us from Brooklyn in the 1930s to Soviet Russia to post-Cold War America

When the Great Depression hits, Florence Fein leaves Brooklyn College for what appears to be a plum job in Moscow—and the promise of love and independence. But once in Russia, she quickly becomes entangled in a country she can’t escape. Many years later, Florence’s son, Julian, will make the opposite journey, immigrating back to the United States. His work in the oil industry takes him on frequent visits to Moscow, and when he learns that Florence’s KGB file has been opened, he arranges a business trip to uncover the truth about his mother, and to convince his son, Lenny, who is trying to make his fortune in the new Russia, to return home. What he discovers is both chilling and heartbreaking: an untold story of what happened to a generation of Americans abandoned by their country.

The Patriots is a riveting evocation of the Cold War years, told with brilliant insight and extraordinary skill. Alternating between Florence’s and Julian’s perspectives, it is at once a mother-son story and a tale of two countries bound in a dialectic dance; a love story and a spy story; both a grand, old-fashioned epic and a contemporary novel of ideas. Through the history of one family moving back and forth between continents over three generations, The Patriots is a poignant tale of the power of love, the rewards and risks of friendship, and the secrets parents and children keep from one another.
Learn more about Krasikov's The Patriots.

Writers Read: Sana Krasikov.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sheryl Scarborough's "To Catch a Killer," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough.

The entry begins:
I set out to see if I could cast my book from the characters of Gossip Girl. I tried this because, strange as it may seem, I have found parallels between Gossip Girl and my actual life, despite that fact that I’m not a rich celebutante and I don’t live in New York city. So, here goes nothing.

Erin: (main character) She’s an iceberg, what’s really going on is all below the surface. She would be Blair, played by Leighton Meester.

Spam: She’s sassy, smart and completely irreverent. While Selena Gomez really would be the perfect Spam, in a GG world she would be...[read on]
Visit Sheryl Scarborough's website.

My Book, The Movie: To Catch a Killer.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top unexpectedly romantic novels

At the B&N Reads blog Brian Boone tagged five unexpectedly romantic novels, including:
Stardust, by Neil Gaiman

A master of the dark, the macabre, and the ridiculous, Neil Gaiman is really at heart just an old softy who wants to write timeless fairy tales. And fairy tales are stories made up of equal parts adventure and romance, and Stardust does not disappoint. Plus, the big romantic acts of Stardust that actually happen are different from the ones the characters set out to do. Early on, Victoria, the most beautiful girl in the village of Wall, tells the humble Tristran that she might considered being with him if he completes the impossible task of retrieving for her a fallen star. Well, he totally does, except that the fallen star takes on the human form of a beautiful woman named Yvaine. Together, Tristran and Yvaine fight off all manner of bad guys and witches, and through simple acts of kindness to one another along the way—he builds her a crutch, she enlists the power of magical creatures to help him escape—they fall in love…and accidentally become royalty.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pg. 99: Jessica O'Reilly's "The Technocratic Antarctic"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Technocratic Antarctic: An Ethnography of Scientific Expertise and Environmental Governance by Jessica O'Reilly.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Technocratic Antarctic is an ethnographic account of the scientists and policymakers who work on Antarctica. In a place with no indigenous people, Antarctic scientists and policymakers use expertise as their primary model of governance. Scientific research and policymaking are practices that inform each other, and the Antarctic environment—with its striking beauty, dramatic human and animal lives, and specter of global climate change—not only informs science and policy but also lends Antarctic environmentalism a particularly technocratic patina.

Jessica O'Reilly conducted most of her research for this book in New Zealand, home of the "Antarctic Gateway" city of Christchurch, and on an expedition to Windless Bight, Antarctica, with the New Zealand Antarctic Program. O’Reilly also follows the journeys Antarctic scientists and policymakers take to temporarily “Antarctic” places such as science conferences, policy workshops, and the international Antarctic Treaty meetings in Scotland, Australia, and India. Competing claims of nationalism, scientific disciplines, field experiences, and personal relationships among Antarctic environmental managers disrupt the idea of a utopian epistemic community. O’Reilly focuses on what emerges in Antarctica among the complicated and hybrid forms of science, sociality, politics, and national membership found there. The Technocratic Antarctic unfolds the historical, political, and moral contexts that shape experiences of and decisions about the Antarctic environment.
Learn more about The Technocratic Antarctic at the Cornell University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Technocratic Antarctic.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Ryan David Jahn's "The Breakout"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Breakout: A Novel by Ryan David Jahn.

About the book, from the publisher:
James Murphy is a Marine Corps sniper. He’s done two tours in Afghanistan. He’s considered an American Hero. And James is out for revenge.

Alejandro Rocha, a massively powerful drug kingpin who operates out of La Paz, Mexico, is responsible for James’s sister, Layla’s death, and he intends to make Rocha pay for it.

James goes AWOL from his unit and travels to Mexico, ready to enact bloody vengeance, but before he can go through with his plan, he is arrested by the crooked police of La Paz. He’s quickly thrown into a dangerous prison on trumped-up charges. He knows he is marked for death while in this prison and there’s nothing he can do about it. However, there is a group of people who can do something about it.

Discovering that James is wasting away in a Mexican prison, the marines in his unit decide to risk court-martial themselves and go AWOL as well, ready to go to war in order to break their brother out. And that’s just the beginning of the mayhem and violence.
Visit Ryan David Jahn's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Breakout.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Martine Murray reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Martine Murray, author of Molly & Pim and the Millions of Stars.

Her entry begins:
I have a pile of books by my bed, which I jump between as often I lose one or I’m not in the mood for it. The one I read last night is Hope in the Dark, by Rebecca Solnit, an inspiring guide on how and why to hold on to hope in the dark times of unfettered capitalism and all its devastating byproducts. It’s a little book with a big message, which works. It keeps me...[read on]
About Molly & Pim and the Millions of Stars, from the publisher:
For fans of Katherine Rundell’s Rooftoppers comes a story about mothers and daughters and magical trees that Rebecca Stead calls “an utter delight.”

All Molly wants is to be normal like her friend Ellen Palmer. Ellen, with her neat braids and a tidy house and a mother and father who are home for dinner every night. But Molly’s mom spends her mornings tramping through the woods, looking for ingredients for her potions. Their house is not neat, and their rooster, the Gentleman, runs wild in their yard. And it is the Gentleman that angers their grumpy neighbors, the Grimshaws. So Molly’s mom makes a potion that will grow a tree between their houses.

When Molly’s mom accidentally drinks the potion and turns into the tree, Molly is determined to get her back. But with the Grimshaws planning to cut down the tree branches that reach onto their property, time is of the essence. With the help of her mysterious classmate Pim Wilder, Molly sets out to save her mother and discovers the wonder that lies in the ordinary.
Visit Martine Murray's website.

The Page 69 Test: Molly & Pim and the Millions of Stars.

Writers Read: Martine Murray.

--Marshal Zeringue

Twelve of the best books about the Syrian experience

At Signature, Keith Rice tagged twelve of the best books to understand the Syrian experience, including:
Dark at the Crossing by Elliot Ackerman

Istanbul-based writer Elliot Ackerman set his new novel, Dark at the Crossing, at the Turkey-Syria border. Against the backdrop of the fight against Bashar al-Assad’s regime, we meet Haris Abadi whose existential crisis collides with his love of country.
Read about another entry on the list.

My Book, The Movie: Dark at the Crossing.

The Page 69 Test: Dark at the Crossing.

Writers Read: Elliot Ackerman (February 2017).

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 13, 2017

Patricia Harman's "The Runaway Midwife," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Runaway Midwife by Patricia Harman.

The entry begins:
Have you ever thought about running away, completely re-inventing yourself? You don’t really want to end it all; you just want the world to stop so you can get off. The stress has to be something terrible and overwhelming. I used to fantasize about escaping my life a lot and then I wrote a book about it.

In The Runaway Midwife, nurse-midwife, Clara Perry has had it. Her biology professor husband is screwing around. Her daughter, studying abroad in Australia, won’t answer her texts. Her best friend commits suicide without leaving a note and then as if things can’t get worse, one of her OB patients dies at a homebirth and Clara’s being blamed for it and accused of medical manslaughter.

Clara, is at the point where ordinary sensible solutions, things she would recommend to her patients, like going to a counselor, taking an antidepressant or divorce, seem as unhelpful as climbing Mount Everest with two broken legs.

So what does she do? The only thing a sensible, a down to earth, cautious person like Clara, would never do. She runs to a small island in Canada where she hopes she will never be found.

Jennifer Aniston would be perfect for the role because...[read on]
Visit Patricia Harman's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Runaway Midwife.

My Book, The Movie: The Runaway Midwife.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Kim Garcia's "The Brighter House"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Brighter House by Kim Garcia.

About the book:
White Pine Press Poetry Prize Winner

"Rainer Maria Rilke said that there are two inexhaustible sources for poetry, childhood and dreams, and Kim Garcia drinks deeply from both wells in these magical, spooky, riveting, and mysterious poems"—Edward Hirsch

"Garcia speaks in the language of delicate and mesmerizing touch without ever falling into precious sentimentality. Over and again, these poems mount to harsh and cold violences that speak to the intricacies of the soul in a gorgeous way that leaves the reader feeling bruised—as in pressed upon—but not bloody. This is a brilliant book of first-rate artistry."—Jericho Brown, Poetry Prize judge
Visit Kim Garcia's website.

The Page 69 Test: Madonna Magdalene.

The Page 69 Test: The Brighter House.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Kevin R. C. Gutzman's "Thomas Jefferson - Revolutionary"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Thomas Jefferson - Revolutionary: A Radical's Struggle to Remake America by Kevin R. C. Gutzman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Though remembered chiefly as author of the Declaration of Independence and the president under whom the Louisiana Purchase was effected, Thomas Jefferson was a true revolutionary in the way he thought about the size and reach of government, which Americans who were full citizens and the role of education in the new country. In his new book, Kevin Gutzman gives readers a new view of Jefferson—a revolutionary who effected radical change in a growing country.

Jefferson’s philosophy about the size and power of the federal system almost completely undergirded the Jeffersonian Republican Party. His forceful advocacy of religious freedom was not far behind, as were attempts to incorporate Native Americans into American society. His establishment of the University of Virginia might be one of the most important markers of the man’s abilities and character.

He was not without flaws. While he argued for the assimilation of Native Americans into society, he did not assume the same for Africans being held in slavery while—at the same time—insisting that slavery should cease to exist. Many still accuse Jefferson of hypocrisy on the ground that he both held that “all men are created equal” and held men as slaves. Jefferson’s true character, though, is more complex than that as Kevin Gutzman shows in his new book about Jefferson, a revolutionary whose accomplishments went far beyond the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.
Visit Kevin R.C. Gutzman's website.

The Page 99 Test: Thomas Jefferson - Revolutionary.

--Marshal Zeringue

Lydia Peelle's 6 favorite books

Lydia Peelle is an accomplished writer of short fiction. Her first novel is The Midnight Cool. One of the author's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Ain't I a Woman by bell hooks

To write a novel set in the Jim Crow South, I had to think deeply about the fraught timeline of race and gender politics in America. Discovering this energizing, important essay collection was one of the great rewards of that inquiry.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue