Thursday, December 18, 2014

"Night After Night"

New from Atlantic Books: Night After Night by Phil Rickman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Liam Defford doesn't believe in ghosts. As the head of a production company, however, he does believe in high-impact TV. On the lookout for his next idea, he hires journalist Grayle Underhill to research the history of Knap Hall—a Tudor farmhouse turned luxury hotel, abandoned by its owners at the height of its success. The staff has been paid to keep quiet about what happened there, but the stories seep through. They're not conducive to a quick sale, but Defford isn't interested in keeping Knap Hall for more than a few months. Just long enough to make a reality TV show that will run nightly. A house isolated by its rural situation and its dark reputation; six people—known to the nation but strangers to one another—locked inside; but this time Big Brother is not in control.
Learn more about the book and author at Phil Rickman's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Bones of Avalon.

The Page 69 Test: The Bones of Avalon.

Writers Read: Phil Rickman (July 2011).

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences"

New from Columbia University Press: Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth by James Lawrence Powell.

About the book, from the publisher:

Over the course of the twentieth century, scientists came to accept four counterintuitive yet fundamental facts about the Earth: deep time, continental drift, meteorite impact, and global warming. When first suggested, each proposition violated scientific orthodoxy and was quickly denounced as scientific--and sometimes religious--heresy. Nevertheless, after decades of rejection, scientists and many in the public grew to acknowledge the truth of each theory.

The stories behind these four discoveries reflect more than the fascinating push and pull of scientific work. They reveal the provocative nature of science, which raises profound and uncomfortable truths as it advances. For example, the Earth and the solar system are older than all of human existence; the interactions among the moving plates and the continents they carry account for nearly all of the Earth's surface features; and nearly every important feature of our solar system results from the chance collision of objects in space. Most surprising of all, we have altered the climate of an entire planet and threaten the future of human civilization. This absorbing scientific history is the only book to describe the evolution of these four ideas from heresy to truth, showing how science works in practice and how it inevitably corrects the mistakes of its practitioners. Scientists can be wrong, but science can be trusted. In the process, astonishing ideas are born and, over time, take root.
Visit James L. Powell's website.

Writers Read: James L. Powell (March 2009).

--Marshal Zeringue

"Jealousy"

New from Yale University Press: Jealousy by Peter Toohey.

About the book, from the publisher:

Compete, acquire, succeed, enjoy: the pressures of living in today’s materialistic world seem predicated upon jealousy—the feelings of rivalry and resentment for possession of whatever the other has. But while our newspapers abound with stories of the sometimes droll, sometimes deadly consequences of sexual jealousy, Peter Toohey argues in this charmingly provocative book that jealousy is much more than the destructive emotion it is commonly assumed to be. It helps as much as it harms.

Examining the meaning, history, and value of jealousy, Toohey places the emotion at the core of modern culture, creativity, and civilization—not merely the sexual relationship. His eclectic approach weaves together psychology, art and literature, neuroscience, anthropology, and a host of other disciplines to offer fresh and intriguing contemporary perspectives on violence, the family, the workplace, animal behavior, and psychopathology. Ranging from the streets of London to Pacific islands, and from the classical world to today, this is an elegant, smart, and beautifully illustrated defense of a not-always-deadly sin.
The Page 99 Test: Peter Toohey's Boredom: A Lively History.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer"

New from Berkley: The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer (Paws and Claws Mystery Series #2) by Krista Davis.

About the book, from the publisher:

Wagtail, Virginia, the top pet-friendly getaway in the United States, is gearing up for a howling good Halloween—until a spooky murder shakes the town to its core...

Holly Miller doesn’t believe in spirits, but the Sugar Maple Inn is filled with guests who do. The TV series in development, Apparition Apprehenders, has descended on Wagtail’s annual Halloween festivities to investigate supernatural local legends, and Holly has her hands full showing the ghost hunters a scary-fun time.

But the frights turn real when Holly’s Jack Russell, Trixie, and kitten, Twinkletoes, find a young woman drowned in the Wagtail Springs Hotel’s bathhouse—the spot of the town’s most infamous haunting. The crime scene is eerily similar to the creepy legend, convincing Holly that the death wasn’t just accidental. Now she’ll have to race to catch a flesh-and-blood killer—before someone else in town gives up the ghost...
Visit Krista Davis's blog.

Coffee with a canine: Krista Davis & Han, Buttercup, and Queenie.

--Marshal Zeringue

"American Queen"

New from Da Capo Press: American Queen: The Rise and Fall of Kate Chase Sprague--Civil War "Belle of the North" and Gilded Age Woman of Scandal by John Oller.

About the book, from the publisher:

Had People magazine been around during the Civil War and after, Kate Chase would have made its “Most Beautiful” and “Most Intriguing” lists every year. The charismatic daughter of Salmon P. Chase, Lincoln’s treasury secretary, Kate Chase enjoyed unprecedented political power for a woman. As her widowed father’s hostess, she set up a rival “court” against Mary Lincoln in hopes of making her father president and herself his First Lady. To facilitate that goal, she married one of the richest men in the country, the handsome “boy governor” of Rhode Island, in the social event of the Civil War. She moved easily between the worlds of high fashion, adorning herself in the most regal Parisian gowns, and politics, managing her father's presidential campaigns. "No Queen has ever reigned under the Stars and Stripes," one newspaper would write, "but this remarkable woman came closer to being a Queen than any American woman has."

But when William Sprague turned out to be less of a prince as a husband, Kate found comfort in the arms of a powerful married senator. The ensuing sex scandal ended her virtual royalty; after the marriage crumbled and the money disappeared, she was left only with her children and her ever-proud bearing. She became a social outcast and died in poverty, yet in her final years she would find both greater authenticity and the inner peace that had always eluded her.

Kate Chase’s dramatic story is one of ambition and tragedy, set against the seductive allure of the Civil War and Gilded Age, involving some of the most famous personalities in American history. In this beautifully written and meticulously researched biography, drawing on much unpublished material, John Oller captures the extraordinary life of a woman who was a century ahead of her time.
Visit John Oller's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 15, 2014

"Horses of the Dawn #2: Star Rise"

New from Scholastic: Horses of the Dawn #2: Star Rise by Kathryn Lasky.

About the book, from the publisher:

For the filly Estrella, nothing is more precious than freedom. She was born at sea, chattel to men sailing to the New World in search of gold. But Estrella and her herd escaped the conquerors and embarked on a journey across thousands of miles -- braving harsh terrains and fierce predators -- to a land where they can finally run wild.

But now, an unforeseen danger threatens to destroy the pack. A boy with a special gift is lost in the wilderness, and only the horses can keep him alive. But to save the boy, the herd will have to abandon their quest, and risk galloping straight back into the hands-and harnesses- of their captors.

And so, it's up to Estrella, the herd's unlikely leader, to make a life-changing decision. Should the horses accept the orphan boy as one of their own? How do you choose between freedom and friendship?
Learn more about the book and author at Kathryn Lasky's website.

Writers Read: Kathryn Lasky (August 2013).

My Book, The Movie: The Rise of a Legend.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Vanessa and Her Sister"

New from Ballantine Books: Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar.

About the book, from the publisher:

For fans of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank comes a captivating novel that offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of Vanessa Bell, her sister Virginia Woolf, and the controversial and popular circle of intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury Group.

London, 1905: The city is alight with change, and the Stephen siblings are at the forefront. Vanessa, Virginia, Thoby, and Adrian are leaving behind their childhood home and taking a house in the leafy heart of avant-garde Bloomsbury. There they bring together a glittering circle of bright, outrageous artistic friends who will grow into legend and come to be known as the Bloomsbury Group. And at the center of this charmed circle are the devoted, gifted sisters: Vanessa, the painter, and Virginia, the writer.

Each member of the group will go on to earn fame and success, but so far Vanessa Bell has never sold a painting. Virginia Woolf’s book review has just been turned down by The Times. Lytton Strachey has not published anything. E. M. Forster has finished his first novel but does not like the title. Leonard Woolf is still a civil servant in Ceylon, and John Maynard Keynes is looking for a job. Together, this sparkling coterie of artists and intellectuals throw away convention and embrace the wild freedom of being young, single bohemians in London.

But the landscape shifts when Vanessa unexpectedly falls in love and her sister feels dangerously abandoned. Eerily possessive, charismatic, manipulative, and brilliant, Virginia has always lived in the shelter of Vanessa’s constant attention and encouragement. Without it, she careens toward self-destruction and madness. As tragedy and betrayal threaten to destroy the family, Vanessa must decide if it is finally time to protect her own happiness above all else.

The work of exciting young newcomer Priya Parmar, Vanessa and Her Sister exquisitely captures the champagne-heady days of prewar London and the extraordinary lives of sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf.
Learn more about the book and author at Priya Parmar's website.

Writers Read: Priya Parmar (February 2011).

My Book, The Movie: Exit the Actress.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"No Fortunate Son"

New from Dutton: No Fortunate Son: A Pike Logan Thriller by Brad Taylor.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the latest military thriller from the retired Delta Force Operator and New York Times bestselling author, a hostage situation places America’s most powerful political elite at the mercy of its worst enemies.

When veteran operator Pike Logan and partner Jennifer Cahill receive a letter from Blaisdell Consulting—the umbrella cover company for their real employer, a top secret counterterrorist unit called the Taskforce—they expect orders for their next mission-impossible tasking. Instead, they learn that their latest actions have gotten them fired, despite having saved thousands of innocent lives.

Pike’s shock and fury is redirected when their commander, Colonel Kurt Hale, asks him and Jennifer for help with a personal matter: His niece Kylie, an exchange student in England, has gone missing. Neither Pike nor Jennifer understands how critical her disappearance will become.

Meanwhile, all Taskforce teams have been redirected to a developing situation. A terrorist organization has targeted military relatives of key members of the US government, including the vice president’s son. Their seizure of hostages was far-reaching and meticulously coordinated, and the full extent of the threat—and potential demands—has thrown the government into turmoil. They face a terrible choice: Cease counter-terrorist operations, or watch hostages die one by one. How much is a single life worth? Unless the Taskforce can decipher the web of lies devised by their enemies, the United States is about to find out.
Visit Brad Taylor's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Rosie Effect'

New from Simon & Schuster: The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion.

About the book, from the publisher:

The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Rosie Project, starring the same extraordinary couple now living in New York and unexpectedly expecting their first child. Get ready to fall in love all over again.

Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are back. The Wife Project is complete, and Don and Rosie are happily married and living in New York. But they’re about to face a new challenge because— surprise!—Rosie is pregnant.

Don sets about learning the protocols of becoming a father, but his unusual research style gets him into trouble with the law. Fortunately his best friend Gene is on hand to offer advice: he’s left Claudia and moved in with Don and Rosie.

As Don tries to schedule time for pregnancy research, getting Gene and Claudia to reconcile, servicing the industrial refrigeration unit that occupies half his apartment, helping Dave the Baseball Fan save his business, and staying on the right side of Lydia the social worker, he almost misses the biggest problem of all: he might lose Rosie when she needs him the most.

Graeme Simsion first introduced these unforgettable characters in The Rosie Project, which NPR called “sparkling entertainment along the lines of Where’d You Go Bernadette and When Harry Met Sally.” The San Francisco Chronicle said, “sometimes you just need a smart love story that will make anyone, man or woman, laugh out loud.” If you were swept away by the book that’s captivated a million readers worldwide, you will love The Rosie Effect.
Learn more about the book and author at Graeme Simsion's website and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: The Rosie Project.

The Page 69 Test: The Rosie Project.

Writers Read: Graeme Simsion.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 13, 2014

"Cinema of the Dark Side"

New from Edinburgh University Press: Cinema of the Dark Side: Atrocity and the Ethics of Film Spectatorship by Shohini Chaudhuri.

About the book, from the publisher:

A few days after 9/11, US Vice-President Dick Cheney invoked the need for the USA to work 'the dark side' in its global 'War on Terror'. In Cinema of the Dark Side, Shohini Chaudhuri explores how contemporary cinema treats state-sponsored atrocity, evoking multiple landscapes of state terror. She investigates the ethical potential of cinematic atrocity images, arguing that while films help to create and confirm normative perceptions about atrocities, they can also disrupt those perceptions and build different ones. Asserting a crucial distinction between morality and ethics, the book proposes a new conceptualisation of human rights cinema that repositions human rights morality within an ethical framework that reflects upon the causes and contexts of violence. It builds upon theories of embodied spectatorship to explore how films can implicate us in histories that may appear to be distant and unrelated to us, and how they draw connections between past and present patterns of oppression.

The book covers a diverse spectrum of 21st century cinema dealing with documentary or fictional representations of atrocity such as state-sanctioned torture, genocide, enforced disappearance, deportation, and apartheid, including Zero Dark Thirty (2012), Standard Operating Procedure (2008), Hotel Rwanda (2004), Sometimes in April (2005), Nostalgia for the Light (2010), Chronicle of an Escape (2006), Children of Men (2006), District 9 (2009), Waltz With Bashir (2008), and Paradise Now (2005). Cinema of the Dark Side provides readers with fresh insights into how we respond to atrocity images and the ethical issues at stake.
--Marshal Zeringue