Monday, June 26, 2017

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Page 99 Test: The Bay of Pigs.

The Page 99 Test: Blue and Gray Diplomacy.

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

The Page 99 Test: My Lai.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books celebrating geek culture

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

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

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

--Marshal Zeringue

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

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

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

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

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

My Book, The Movie: The Voice of America.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven great YAs about reproductive choice

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

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

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

The Page 99 Test: Faster, Higher, Farther.

--Marshal Zeringue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Page 69 Test: The Philosopher’s Apprentice.

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

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Gail Godwin reading?

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

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

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

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

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

My Book, The Movie: Grief Cottage.

The Page 69 Test: Grief Cottage.

Writers Read: Gail Godwin.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six notable books set in California

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

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

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

--Marshal Zeringue