Sunday, May 27, 2018

Pg. 69: Susan Kietzman's "It Started in June"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: It Started in June by Susan Kietzman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Susan Kietzman’s engrossing and thought-provoking novel explores the choices and revelations that come with life’s most unexpected events.

Grace Trumbull’s after work drink with Bradley Hanover, a handsome younger colleague, on a warm summer night turns into an impulsive, intimate encounter. After a few weeks of exhilarating secret dates, Grace—forty-two and divorced—realizes she’s pregnant.

For Grace, whose estranged mother refers to her own teenage pregnancy as her biggest mistake, the prospect of parenthood is daunting. She’s just been made vice president of a media relations company and is childfree by choice. Still, something deeper than her fear makes her want to keep the baby. She knows she can be a better, more capable parent than her mother was to her.

As months pass and seasons change, Grace questions her decision to include Bradley in her plans. But they continue to navigate their complicated relationship, each struggling with what it means to make a commitment to someone. Most importantly, Grace begins trusting her instincts—maternal and otherwise—finding courage that will guide her through an uncertain future ripe with new possibilities...
Visit Susan Kietzman's website.

The Page 69 Test: Every Other Wednesday.

The Page 69 Test: It Started in June.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Peter J. Woodford's "The Moral Meaning of Nature"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Moral Meaning of Nature: Nietzsche’s Darwinian Religion and Its Critics by Peter J. Woodford.

About the book, from the publisher:
What, if anything, does biological evolution tell us about the nature of religion, ethical values, or even the meaning and purpose of life? The Moral Meaning of Nature sheds new light on these enduring questions by examining the significance of an earlier—and unjustly neglected—discussion of Darwin in late nineteenth-century Germany.

We start with Friedrich Nietzsche, whose writings staged one of the first confrontations with the Christian tradition using the resources of Darwinian thought. The lebensphilosophie, or “life-philosophy,” that arose from his engagement with evolutionary ideas drew responses from other influential thinkers, including Franz Overbeck, Georg Simmel, and Heinrich Rickert. These critics all offered cogent challenges to Nietzsche’s appropriation of the newly transforming biological sciences, his negotiation between science and religion, and his interpretation of the implications of Darwinian thought. They also each proposed alternative ways of making sense of Nietzsche’s unique question concerning the meaning of biological evolution “for life.” At the heart of the discussion were debates about the relation of facts and values, the place of divine purpose in the understanding of nonhuman and human agency, the concept of life, and the question of whether the sciences could offer resources to satisfy the human urge to discover sources of value in biological processes. The Moral Meaning of Nature focuses on the historical background of these questions, exposing the complex ways in which they recur in contemporary philosophical debate.
Learn more about The Moral Meaning of Nature at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Moral Meaning of Nature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Jason Flemyng's six best books

Jason Flemyng is an English actor, known for Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003). One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr

About a blind girl and her dad who escape Paris during the German occupation.

It’s about vulnerability and the power of positive thought, which I find very inspiring.

I’ve always had a glass-half-full view of the world.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 26, 2018

What is Humphrey Hawksley reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Humphrey Hawksley, author of Man on Ice.

His entry begins:
I have several paper and e-books going at once, some for ideas, some for research and some for a hinterland to take me away from work which whether fiction or non-fiction focuses on global politics and shifting balances of power.

Top of the pile of my research is Super Highway: Sea Power in the 21st Century by Admiral Chris Parry (Rtd) which is a brilliant layman’s read of how we are going to use the seas for war, trade and pleasure in the coming years. I am working on a sequel to Man on Ice set in the North Atlantic because this is becoming a new Cold War battleground between Russia and Europe. The international thriller often carries a Dystopian backdrop so I have with me...[read on]
About Man on Ice, from the publisher:
When Rake Ozenna of the elite Eskimo Scouts brings his fiancée, trauma surgeon Carrie Walker, to his remote home island in the Bering Strait, they are faced immediately with a medical crisis. Then Russian helicopters swarm in.

America is on the eve of an acrimonious presidential transition. As news breaks of a possible Russian invasion, Stephanie Lucas, British ambassador to Washington DC, is hosting a dinner for the presidentelect.

Ozenna’s small Alaskan island community is suddenly caught in the crosshairs of sabre-rattling big powers. The only way to save his people is to undertake a perilous mission across the ice. Can he survive long enough to prevent a new world war breaking out?
Visit Humphrey Hawksley's website.

The Page 69 Test: The History Book.

My Book, The Movie: Security Breach.

My Book, The Movie: Man on Ice.

Writers Read: Humphrey Hawksley.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Will Walton's "I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain by Will Walton.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the author of the poignant and provocative debut Anything Could Happen comes another hard-hitting exploration of love and friendship.

How do you deal with a hole in your life? Do you grieve? Do you drink? Do you make out with your best friend? Do you turn to poets and pop songs? Do you question everything? Do you lash out? Do you turn the lashing inward? If you're Avery, you do all of these things. And you write it all down in an attempt to understand what's happened — and is happening — to you. I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain is an astonishing novel about navigating death and navigating life, at a time when the only map you have is the one you can draw for yourself.
Follow Will Walton on Facebook.

The Page 69 Test: Anything Could Happen.

My Book, The Movie: Anything Could Happen.

Writers Read: Will Walton.

The Page 69 Test: I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain.

--Marshal Zeringue

Kathleen George's "The Blues Walked In," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Blues Walked In by Kathleen George.

The entry begins:
Lena Horne was not only gorgeous but spirited and positive and smart. One thing that got her ahead was that her skin was light. At first people weren’t sure she was African American or “Negro.” Her looks got her ahead. They also acted as a barrier, too. Hollywood, for instance, didn’t know what to do with her. She could sing. They let her sing in a few movies. The first person I thought of to play her was Hallie Berry. And she’s still on my list. But there are so many gorgeous black women out there, I’m sure there are others. Singing would have to be a big part of the casting process, of course. Of course all of us writers think of big names because big names sell scripts, so for I while I wondered if Meghan Markle might be...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Kathleen George's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Blues Walked In.

Writers Read: Kathleen George.

My Book, The Movie: The Blues Walked In.

--Marshal Zeringue

The ideal starter novel for 10 “must read” authors

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and the Ustari Cycle from Pocket/Gallery, including We Are Not Good People. At the B&N Reads blog he tagged ten "ideal 'starter novels' for authors guaranteed to be on many, if not most, lists of can’t miss writers," including:
Toni Morrison. Start Here: The Bluest Eye

Morrison is one of the most important writers of the 20th century; her work is consistently beautiful and poetic. But you shouldn’t just dive into Beloved—as incredible as that book is, it is one of the densest popular literary novels ever written, a book in which Morrison’s prose resonates, where an unexpected structure and layered allusions to myth and history form something greater than the sum of its parts. Instead, dip your toe in with The Bluest Eye, Morrison’s first novel, and which shows the beginnings of her style while keeping the number of characters and the branches of the plot more limited than her later work, which will allow you to pay closer attention to the smart things Morrison is doing on the edges (and to listen to that prose sing).
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 25, 2018

What is Will Walton reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Will Walton, author of I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain.

His entry begins:
Kheryn Callender's Hurricane Child is the best book I've read in recent history. It's poetic and also unpretentious. It's an incredibly moving exploration of a young person's inner life, and it's set on St. Thomas Island. I can't wait to read Callender's upcoming This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story.

I think Becky Albertalli's Leah on the Offbeat is pitch perfect, and I have a soft spot for it because...[read on]
About I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain, from the publisher:
From the author of the poignant and provocative debut Anything Could Happen comes another hard-hitting exploration of love and friendship.

How do you deal with a hole in your life? Do you grieve? Do you drink? Do you make out with your best friend? Do you turn to poets and pop songs? Do you question everything? Do you lash out? Do you turn the lashing inward? If you're Avery, you do all of these things. And you write it all down in an attempt to understand what's happened — and is happening — to you. I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain is an astonishing novel about navigating death and navigating life, at a time when the only map you have is the one you can draw for yourself.
Follow Will Walton on Facebook.

The Page 69 Test: Anything Could Happen.

My Book, The Movie: Anything Could Happen.

Writers Read: Will Walton.

--Marshal Zeringue

Coffee with a canine: Julie Clark & Teddy

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Julie Clark & Teddy.

The author, on how she and Teddy were united:
Teddy was a rescue dog that we got through an organization called Dogs Without Borders. They found him wandering the streets when he was about six months old. He was malnourished and suffering from pneumonia. He spent a few weeks in the dog hospital before we were able to bring him home. But now, he lives...[read on]
About The Ones We Choose by Julie Clark, from the publisher:
Lisa Genova meets 23andMe in this exploration of the genetic and emotional ties that bind, as debut author Julie Clark delivers a compelling read about a young boy desperate to find his place in this world, a mother coming to terms with her own past, and the healing power of forgiveness.

The powerful forces of science and family collide when geneticist Paige Robson finds her world in upheaval: Her eight-year-old son Miles is struggling to fit in at his new school and begins asking questions about his biological father that Paige can’t answer—until fate thrusts the anonymous donor she used into their lives.

Paige’s carefully constructed life begins to unravel as the truth of Miles’s paternity threatens to destroy everything she has grown to cherish. As Paige slowly opens herself up—by befriending an eccentric mother, confronting her own deeply buried vulnerabilities, and trying to make sense of her absent father’s unexpected return—she realizes breakthroughs aren’t only for the lab. But when tragedy strikes, Paige must face the consequences of sharing a secret only she knows.

With grace and humor, Julie Clark shows that while the science is fascinating, solving these intimate mysteries of who we are and where we come from unleashes emotions more complex than the strands of DNA that shape us.
Visit Julie Clark's website.

Writers Read: Julie Clark.

Coffee with a Canine: Julie Clark & Teddy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Serhii Plokhy's "Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe by Serhii Plokhy.

About the book, from the publisher:
From a preeminent historian of Eastern Europe, the definitive history of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster

On the morning of April 26, 1986, Europe witnessed the worst nuclear disaster in history: the explosion of a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Soviet Ukraine. Dozens died of radiation poisoning, fallout contaminated half the continent, and thousands fell ill.

In Chernobyl, Serhii Plokhy draws on new sources to tell the dramatic stories of the firefighters, scientists, and soldiers who heroically extinguished the nuclear inferno. He lays bare the flaws of the Soviet nuclear industry, tracing the disaster to the authoritarian character of Communist party rule, the regime’s control of scientific information, and its emphasis on economic development over all else.

Today, the risk of another Chernobyl looms in the mismanagement of nuclear power in the developing world. A moving and definitive account, Chernobyl is also an urgent call to action.
Learn more about Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe at the Basic Books website.

My Book, The Movie: The Last Empire.

The Page 99 Test: The Gates of Europe. 

The Page 99 Test: Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five unforgettable prisons in science fiction & fantasy

Corey J. White is a writer of science-fiction, horror, and other, harder to define stories. He is the author of The VoidWitch Saga, containing Killing Gravity and Void Black Shadow. One of five unforgettable prisons in science fiction and fantasy that he tagged at Tor.com:
The Quantum Thief, Hannu Rajaniemi

Trapped by Archons in the Dilemma Prison, Jean le Flambeur—the famous thief and raconteur—is faced again and again with variations of the prisoner’s dilemma, pitted against other criminals and other versions of himself in an endlessly iterative attempt at rehabilitation through game theory.

The original prisoner’s dilemma involves interrogating two prisoners, where if both prisoners stay quiet, they will both get a one year sentence, if one prisoner betrays the other (who remains quiet) they would go free at the expense of a worse sentence for the other prisoner, or where both prisoners betraying the other winds them both with a two year sentence. But when you run an infinitely iterative prison, things do tend to get boring, so simple interrogations are replaced by pistol-packing duels, games of chicken on an endless highway, or trench warfare. No matter the scenario there are always two choices: self-interest and betrayal, or cooperation.

When we first meet Flambeur, he’s not feeling too cooperative—and for his attempted betrayal of a fellow prisoner he’s treated to a bullet through the skull, rendered painfully, utterly real…until the whole dilemma is reset once again.

If all this sounds weird and deep and interesting (and the above is just the beginning—only the first few pages of the novel) then I’ve done a decent job of explaining it—if not, all blame should lie with the author of this article, and not with Hannu Rajaniemi, whose debut novel The Quantum Thief is an utterly unique slab of post-cyberpunk intrigue.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 24, 2018

What is Christina June reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Christina June, author of Everywhere You Want to Be.

Her entry begins:
I just finished the wonderful A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole. It's a contemporary romance with a royalty bent. A woman who grew up in the foster care system, and is on her way to becoming a successful scientist, turns out to be the long-lost betrothed to a handsome prince from the fictional African country, Thesolo. It's Coming to America meets The Princess Diaries plus a woman in STEM. I loved it. Naledi is a fantastic heroine--she is smart, funny, and never once...[read on]
About Everywhere You Want to Be, from the publisher:
From author Christina June comes Everywhere You Want to Be, a modern tale inspired by the classic Red Riding Hood story.

Matilda Castillo has always followed the rules, but when she gets injured senior year, she’s sure her dreams of becoming a contemporary dancer have slipped away. So when Tilly gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend the summer with a New York dance troupe, nothing can stop her from saying yes–not her mother, not her fears of the big city, and not the commitment she made to Georgetown. Tilly’s mother allows her to go on two conditions: one, Tilly will regularly visit her abuela in New Jersey, and two, after the summer, she’ll give up dancing and go off to college.

Armed with her red vintage sunglasses and her pros and cons lists, Tilly strikes out, determined to turn a summer job into a career. Along the way she meets new friends … and new enemies. Tilly isn’t the only one desperate to dance, and fellow troupe member Sabrina Wolfrik intends to succeed at any cost. But despite dodging sabotage and blackmail attempts from Sabrina, Tilly can’t help but fall in love with the city, especially since Paolo, a handsome musician from her past, is also calling New York home for the summer.

As the weeks wind down and the competition with Sabrina heats up, Tilly’s future is on the line. She must decide whether to follow her mother’s path to Georgetown or leap into the unknown to pursue her own dreams.
Visit Christina June's website.

Writers Read: Christina June.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Sarah Haywood's "The Cactus"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Cactus by Sarah Haywood.

About the book, from the publisher:
Even the prickliest cactus has its flower…

For Susan Green, messy emotions don’t fit into the equation of her perfectly ordered life. She has a flat that is ideal for one, a job that suits her passion for logic and an “interpersonal arrangement” that provides cultural and other, more intimate, benefits. But suddenly confronted with the loss of her mother and the news that she is about to become a mother herself, Susan’s greatest fear is realized. She is losing control.

When she learns that her mother’s will inexplicably favors her indolent brother, Edward, Susan’s already dismantled world is sent flying into a tailspin. As Susan’s due date draws near and her family problems become increasingly difficult to ignore, Susan finds help and self-discovery in the most unlikely of places.

Featuring an endearing cast of characters and tremendous heart, The Cactus is a poignant debut and a delightful reminder that some things can’t be explained by logic alone.
Visit Sarah Haywood's website.

Writers Read: Sarah Haywood.

My Book, The Movie: The Cactus.

The Page 69 Test: The Cactus.

--Marshal Zeringue

Glenn Cooper's "Sign of the Cross," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Sign of the Cross by Glenn Cooper.

The entry begins:
Actually I’ve been thinking about this topic lately, not for Sign of the Cross, but for my earlier Library of the Dead trilogy, which is in development as a TV series. Without getting into the thinking on that project, I’ve come to the same conclusion as many, many casting directors of late, that British and Commonwealth actors are lights-out great playing Americans. Think Damien Lewis in Homeland and Billions, Dominic West and Ruth Wilson in The Affair, Ben Mendelsohn in Bloodline, Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln and There Will Be Blood, Andrew Lincoln and Lennie James in Walking Dead, Idris Elba in The Wire, and Matthew Rhys, ironically enough, in The Americans. The hero of my new book, the first in a new series, is Cal Donovan, a professor of history of religion and biblical archaeology at the Harvard Divinity School. He’s late forties, wicked smart (of course), handsome (of course), and athletic enough to get himself out of a scrape or two. So, going with my American conversion proposition, I’d pick...[read on]
Glenn Cooper graduated with a degree in archaeology from Harvard and was formerly the Chairman and CEO of a biotechnology company in Massachusetts. His previous thrillers, including the bestselling Library of the Dead trilogy, have sold six million copies in more than thirty languages worldwide.

Visit Glenn Cooper's website.

The Page 69 Test: Sign of the Cross.

Writers Read: Glenn Cooper.

My Book, The Movie: Sign of the Cross.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books that reveal secret histories

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and the Ustari Cycle from Pocket/Gallery, including We Are Not Good People. At the B&N Reads blog he tagged ten books that "offer perspectives on history that remained hidden for a long time," including:
High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic, by Glenn Frankel

We all know about the McCarthy Era and the blacklisting of Hollywood figures who had ties to the Communist Party—even ancient, dubious ties. Few of us know how this shameful aspect of America’s past directly affected the films made during this period. Frankel studies one of the most famous movies of all time, the 1952 Western High Noon, which tells the story of a marshal who is abandoned by his friends and neighbors when a gang of criminal specifically targets him, and shows how the story purposefully parallels what was happening in America at the time. The film’s screenwriter, Carl Foreman, was hauled in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee—and when he refused to name other possible communists, he was blacklisted and it took him more than a decade to make his way back. His incredible script for High Noon will never be seen in the same light after reading this book.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Pg. 99: Susan Thomson's "Rwanda: From Genocide to Precarious Peace"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Rwanda: From Genocide to Precarious Peace by Susan Thomson.

About the book, from the publisher:
A sobering study of the troubled African nation, both pre- and post-genocide, and its uncertain future

The brutal civil war between Hutu and Tutsi factions in Rwanda ended in 1994 when the Rwandan Patriotic Front came to power and embarked on an ambitious social, political, and economic project to remake the devastated central-east African nation. Susan Thomson, who witnessed the hostilities firsthand, has written a provocative modern history of the country, its rulers, and its people, covering the years prior to, during, and following the genocidal conflict. Thomson’s hard-hitting analysis explores the key political events that led to the ascendance of the Rwandan Patriotic Front and its leader, President Paul Kagame. This important and controversial study examines the country’s transition from war to reconciliation from the perspective of ordinary Rwandan citizens, Tutsi and Hutu alike, and raises serious questions about the stability of the current peace, the methods and motivations of the ruling regime and its troubling ties to the past, and the likelihood of a genocide-free future.
Learn more about Rwanda: From Genocide to Precarious Peace at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Rwanda: From Genocide to Precarious Peace.

 --Marshal Zeringue

What is Kathleen George reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Kathleen George, author of The Blues Walked In.

Her entry begins:
I had surgery on January 16 and it was a big one that involved my spine top to bottom, so ... I read. I read a lot. I read at least 30 novels since then and have slowed down a little since I am now out and about. I read a good number of the much talked about current books like An American Marriage and Tangerine and I was appreciative of almost everything, but I will talk about the ones that still haunt me.

The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende caught me up in a redefinition of passionate love. The characters were interesting, ragged, unconventional and so was the secret love affair that lasted a lifetime. I was touched to think of such...[read on]
About The Blues Walked In, from the publisher:
Nineteen year-old Lena Horne is walking the last few blocks to her father’s hotel in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Her chanced meeting with a Lebanese American girl, Marie David, sparks a relationship that will intertwine their lives forever. Lena will also meet Josiah Conner, a charismatic teenager who helps out at her father's hotel. Although the three are linked by a determination to be somebody, issues of race, class, family, and education threaten to disrupt their lives and the bonds between them. Years later, Josiah is arrested for the murder of a white man. Marie and Lena decide they must get Josiah out of prison—whatever the personal cost.
Learn more about the book and author at Kathleen George's website.

The Page 99 Test: Afterimage.

The Page 99 Test: The Odds.

The Page 69 Test: Hideout.

My Book, The Movie: Hideout.

The Page 69 Test: Simple.

The Page 69 Test: A Measure of Blood.

Writers Read: Kathleen George.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books about royal marriages

Kate Williams is a novelist, social historian and broadcaster who appears regularly on radio and television as a historical and royal expert. One of five books about royal marriages she tagged at the Guardian:
Royal weddings would not exist in their present form had it not been for Queen Victoria. Her 1840 extravaganza of white and purity was meant to show how different she was from her predecessors George IV and William IV, who were seen as immoral and extravagant. Before Victoria, brides wore any colour and royal weddings were quiet, usually late-night affairs. When she drove to the ceremony in an open carriage, wearing a white gown, the giant white wedding was born, with a celebration that was designed to foster and secure public support. As Daisy Goodwin and Sara Sheridan show in their compelling study Victoria and Albert, it was the beginning of the royal couple’s stellar propaganda campaign, selling an image of the ideal family to the country and the empire.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Mindee Arnett's "Onyx & Ivory"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett.

About Onyx & Ivory, from the publisher:
They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king of Rime.

Cast out of the nobility, Kate now works for the royal courier service. Only the most skilled ride for the Relay and only the fastest survive, for when night falls, the drakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: She is a wilder, born with forbidden magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals.

And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by drakes in broad daylight—the only survivor Corwin Tormaine, the son of the king. Her first love, the boy she swore to forget after he condemned her father to death.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin must put the past behind them to face this new threat and an even darker menace stirring in the kingdom.
Visit Mindee Arnett's website.

The Page 69 Test: Avalon.

Writers Read: Mindee Arnett.

The Page 69 Test: Onyx & Ivory.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Humphrey Hawksley's "Man on Ice," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Man on Ice by Humphrey Hawksley.

The entry begins:
The lead protagonists are Rake Ozenna, a captain in the Alaskan National Guard’s Eskimo Scouts unit and his fiancee, Carrie Walker a trauma surgeon. Both are familiar with difficult, hostile environments but from vastly different cultural backgrounds. Carrie is from Brooklyn and Rake is an Eskimo from Little Diomede island on the Russian border. The action begins when Rake brings Carrie to see his home village. Ideal for Rake would be Rudi Youngblood (Apocalypto, Crossing Point), tough, quick-thinking, ruthless in a good way, and Carey...[read on]
Visit Humphrey Hawksley's website.

The Page 69 Test: The History Book.

My Book, The Movie: Security Breach.

My Book, The Movie: Man on Ice.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Julie Clark reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Julie Clark, author of The Ones We Choose.

Her entry begins:
I just finished an ARC of The Summer List by Amy Mason Doan. This is a gorgeous debut that will completely capture your mind and heart. It's the story of childhood friends Laura and Casey, who are re-united after...[read on]
About The Ones We Choose, from the publisher:
Lisa Genova meets 23andMe in this exploration of the genetic and emotional ties that bind, as debut author Julie Clark delivers a compelling read about a young boy desperate to find his place in this world, a mother coming to terms with her own past, and the healing power of forgiveness.

The powerful forces of science and family collide when geneticist Paige Robson finds her world in upheaval: Her eight-year-old son Miles is struggling to fit in at his new school and begins asking questions about his biological father that Paige can’t answer—until fate thrusts the anonymous donor she used into their lives.

Paige’s carefully constructed life begins to unravel as the truth of Miles’s paternity threatens to destroy everything she has grown to cherish. As Paige slowly opens herself up—by befriending an eccentric mother, confronting her own deeply buried vulnerabilities, and trying to make sense of her absent father’s unexpected return—she realizes breakthroughs aren’t only for the lab. But when tragedy strikes, Paige must face the consequences of sharing a secret only she knows.

With grace and humor, Julie Clark shows that while the science is fascinating, solving these intimate mysteries of who we are and where we come from unleashes emotions more complex than the strands of DNA that shape us.
Visit Julie Clark's website.

Writers Read: Julie Clark.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: James Hudnut-Beumler's "Strangers and Friends at the Welcome Table"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Strangers and Friends at the Welcome Table: Contemporary Christianities in the American South by James Hudnut-Beumler.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this fresh and fascinating chronicle of Christianity in the contemporary South, historian and minister James Hudnut-Beumler draws on extensive interviews and his own personal journeys throughout the region over the past decade to present a comprehensive portrait of the South’s long-dominant religion. Hudnut-Beumler traveled to both rural and urban communities, listening to the faithful talk about their lives and beliefs. What he heard pushes hard against prevailing notions of southern Christianity as an evangelical Protestant monolith so predominant as to be unremarkable.

True, outside of a few spots, no non-Christian group forms more than six-tenths of one percent of a state’s population in what Hudnut-Beumler calls the Now South. Drilling deeper, however, he discovers an unexpected, blossoming diversity in theology, practice, and outlook among southern Christians. He finds, alongside traditional Baptists, black and white, growing numbers of Christians exemplifying changes that no one could have predicted even just forty years ago, from congregations of LGBT-supportive evangelicals and Spanish-language church services to a Christian homeschooling movement so robust in some places that it may rival public education in terms of acceptance. He also finds sharp struggles and political divisions among those trying to reconcile such Christian values as morality and forgiveness—the aftermath of the mass shooting at Charleston’s Emanuel A.M.E. Church in 2015 forming just one example. This book makes clear that understanding the twenty-first-century South means recognizing many kinds of southern Christianities.
Learn more about Strangers and Friends at the Welcome Table at the University of North Carolina Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Strangers and Friends at the Welcome Table.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six of the scariest fictional digital viruses

Sam Reader is a writer and conventions editor for The Geek Initiative. He also writes literary criticism and reviews at strangelibrary.com. At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog he tagged six terrifying fictional digital viruses and plagues, including:
Zen (Virology, by Ren Warom)

Due to the chaotic, bizarre nature of Warom’s new weird/cyberpunk thriller, it might not be quite correct to call Zen a virus. An engineered goddess imprisoned inside a polar bear that might also be an extension of her soul (I said it was chaotic and bizarre), Zen uses her viral nature to hack into the citizens of the megacity of Foon Gung and use them as her personal puppets. To make matters worse, she also infects their avatars in the Slip, a combination artificial-reality and collective subconscious, meaning she owns her infectees mind, body, and soul. It’s an insidious touch that makes Zen’s ability to unleash zombies on her enemies that much worse—knowing she’s using her godlike powers to infect a person in ways that can’t easily be cured.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 21, 2018

Pg. 69: Kathleen George's "The Blues Walked In"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Blues Walked In by Kathleen George.

About the book, from the publisher:
Nineteen year-old Lena Horne is walking the last few blocks to her father’s hotel in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Her chanced meeting with a Lebanese American girl, Marie David, sparks a relationship that will intertwine their lives forever. Lena will also meet Josiah Conner, a charismatic teenager who helps out at her father's hotel. Although the three are linked by a determination to be somebody, issues of race, class, family, and education threaten to disrupt their lives and the bonds between them. Years later, Josiah is arrested for the murder of a white man. Marie and Lena decide they must get Josiah out of prison—whatever the personal cost.
Learn more about the book and author at Kathleen George's website.

The Page 99 Test: Afterimage.

The Page 99 Test: The Odds.

The Page 69 Test: Hideout.

My Book, The Movie: Hideout.

The Page 69 Test: Simple.

The Page 69 Test: A Measure of Blood.

The Page 69 Test: The Blues Walked In.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Glenn Cooper reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Glenn Cooper, author of Sign of the Cross.

From his entry:
I’ve got a number of books on my table, mostly for research for my work-in-progress, one for pleasure/work. The latter is Foreign Devils on the Silk Road by Peter Hopkirk. My college degree is in archaeology and I try to keep up with new developments in the field for personal and professional edification (translation: fishing for new ideas for Cal Donovan who’s an archaeologist). The Hopkirk book is a revelation to me because...[read on]
About Sign of the Cross, from the publisher:
Summoned by the Vatican, Harvard professor Cal Donovan flies to Italy to interview a young priest who has developed the stigmata of the crucifixion. Stunned to discover the priest's condition may be genuine, Cal comes to realize that the priest holds the key to an earth-shattering secret: a secret which others are desperate to control.
Glenn Cooper graduated with a degree in archaeology from Harvard and was formerly the Chairman and CEO of a biotechnology company in Massachusetts. His previous thrillers, including the bestselling Library of the Dead trilogy, have sold six million copies in more than thirty languages worldwide.

Visit Glenn Cooper's website.

The Page 69 Test: Sign of the Cross.

Writers Read: Glenn Cooper.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sarah Haywood's "The Cactus," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Cactus by Sarah Haywood.

The entry begins:
I’ve been weighing up what would work best: a big-budget Hollywood adaptation of The Cactus, or a lower-budget British one. The book is set in the UK - in London and Birmingham - but it’s a universal story that could be transplanted almost anywhere. For this blog, I’ve plumped for a British adaptation, simply because it’s closer to my original vision, but I have my US cast lined up too, should Hollywood come knocking at my door.

The Cactus is a wryly humorous, character-driven story about recognisably flawed, quirky people in a familiar domestic setting. It concerns family relationships and secrets, and the things we do to protect ourselves. Mike Leigh, whose films blend humour and pathos, would have been perfect to direct, if it weren’t for the fact that his plots and characters are crafted through improvisation. Equally perfect would be Andrea Arnold, who has a wonderful talent for making ordinary lives seem extraordinary.

My novel is narrated in the first person through the eyes of Susan Green, a strong, feisty forty-five-year-old woman who believes she’s created the ideal life for herself. She never lets anyone get close to her, so she can never be hurt. The challenge for the actor who plays Susan will be to...[read on]
Visit Sarah Haywood's website.

Writers Read: Sarah Haywood.

My Book, The Movie: The Cactus.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six books that show the workings of singular minds

Helen DeWitt is the author of the novels The Last Samurai and Lightning Rods, and the new story collection Some Trick. One of her six favorite books that illuminate the workings of singular minds, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Blind Side by Michael Lewis

Lewis shows us that Bill Walsh, who became a Hall of Fame NFL coach, had a different way of thinking about the passing game: If the system is the star, even mediocre quarterbacks can dazzle. I had no idea football was not excruciatingly boring.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Blind Side is among the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five top books on football and Malcolm Gladwell's six best books.

The Page 69 Test: The Blind Side.

--Marshal Zeringue