Saturday, October 3, 2015

"The Age of Clinton"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: The Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s by Gil Troy.

About the book, from the publisher:

The 1990s was a decade of extreme change. Seismic shifts in culture, politics, and technology radically altered the way Americans did business, expressed themselves, and thought about their role in the world. At the center of it all was Bill Clinton, the talented, charismatic, and flawed Baby Boomer president and his controversial, polarizing, but increasingly popular wife Hillary.

Although it was in many ways a Democratic Gilded Age, the final decade of the twentieth century was also a time of great anxiety. The Cold War was over, America was safe, stable, free, and prosperous, and yet Americans felt more unmoored, anxious, and isolated than ever. Having lost the script telling us our place in the world, we were forced to seek new anchors. This was the era of glitz and grunge, when we simultaneously relished living in the Republic of Everything even as we feared it might degenerate into the Republic of Nothing. Bill Clinton dominated this era, a man of passion and of contradictions both revered and reviled, whose complex legacy has yet to be clearly defined.

In this unique analysis, historian Gil Troy examines Clinton's presidency alongside the cultural changes that dominated the decade. By taking the '90s year-by-year, Troy shows how the culture of the day shaped the Clintons even as the Clintons shaped it. In so doing, he offers answers to two of the enduring questions about Clinton's legacy: how did such a talented politician leave Americans thinking he accomplished so little when he actually accomplished so much? And, to what extent was Clinton responsible for the catastrophes of the decade that followed his departure from office, specifically 9/11 and the collapse of the housing market?

Even more relevant as we head toward the 2016 election, The Age of Clinton will appeal to readers on both sides of the aisle.
Learn more about the book and author at Gil Troy's website and blog.

The Page 99 Test: Moynihan's Moment.

My Book, The Movie: Moynihan's Moment.

--Marshal Zeringue

"MJ: The Genius of Michael Jackson"

New from Scribner: MJ: The Genius of Michael Jackson by Steve Knopper.

About the book, from the publisher:

The ultimate critical biography of the King of Pop: a panoramic, vivid, and incisive portrait of Michael Jackson that explores and celebrates his influence in music, dance, and popular culture, drawing on 400 interviews.

From the moment in 1965 when he first stepped on stage with his brothers at a local talent show in Gary, Indiana, Michael Jackson was destined to become the undisputed King of Pop. In a career spanning four decades, Jackson became a global icon, selling over 400 million albums, earning thirteen Grammy awards, and spinning dance moves that captivated the world. Songs like “Billie Jean” and “Black and White” altered our national discussion of race and equality, and Jackson’s signature aesthetic, from the single white glove to the moonwalk, defined a generation. Despite years of scandal and controversy, Jackson’s ultimate legacy will always be his music.

Rolling Stone contributing editor Steve Knopper delves deeply into Michael Jackson’s music and talent. From the artist’s early days with the Jackson 5, to his stratospheric success as a solo artist, to “Beat It” and “Thriller,” “Bad” and “The Man in the Mirror,” to his volatile final years, his attempted comeback, and untimely death, Knopper explores the beguiling and often contradictory forces that fueled Michael Jackson’s genius. Drawing on an amazing 400 interviews—ranging from Jackson’s relatives, friends, and key record executives to celebrities like and Weird Al Yankovic—this critical biography puts all the elements of his career into perspective, and celebrates his triumph in art and music. This is a rare and panoramic view into the genius and influence of an incomparable talent.
Visit Steve Knopper's website.

Writers Read: Steve Knopper (February 2009).

--Marshal Zeringue


New from Atlantic Monthly Press: Icarus by Deon Meyer.

About the book, from the publisher:

South Africa’s preeminent crime fiction writer, Deon Meyer is internationally acclaimed for his razor’s-edge thrillers, unforgettable characters, and nuanced portrayals of contemporary life in his native country. The fifth pulse-pounder starring Captain Benny Griessel, a lead detective in South Africa’s priority crimes unit, delves into the country’s burgeoning tech and wine industries.

A week before Christmas, a young photographer discovers a plastic-wrapped corpse amidst the sand dunes north of Cape Town. The only thing found on the corpse is a dead iPhone, but it doesn’t take long for the police to identify the body as that of Ernst Richter—the tech whiz behind MyAlibi, an Internet service that provides unfaithful partners with sophisticated cover stories to hide an affair. Meanwhile, Benny Griessel is called to the scene of a multiple homicide involving a former colleague, and four years of sobriety are undone on the spot. He emerges from his drunken haze determined to quit the force, but the indomitable Major Mbali Kaleni, now his boss, wants Griessel on the Richter case. The high-profile murder has already been the subject of fierce media speculation, with questions swirling about the potential for motive: Could the perpetrator be one of the countless jilted spouses? An aggrieved client?

Before the week is out, an unexpected connection to a storied family winery comes to light, and Griessel’s reputation is again on the line. Mounting toward a startling conclusion, Icarus is another exceptional novel from the “King of South African Crime.”
Visit Deon Meyer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 2, 2015

"The Worst of Times"

New from Princeton University Press: The Worst of Times: How Life on Earth Survived Eighty Million Years of Extinctions by Paul B. Wignall.

About the book, from the publisher:

Two hundred and sixty million years ago, life on Earth suffered wave after wave of cataclysmic extinctions, with the worst—the end-Permian extinction—wiping out nearly every species on the planet. The Worst of Times delves into the mystery behind these extinctions and sheds light on the fateful role the primeval supercontinent, known as Pangea, may have played in causing these global catastrophes.

Drawing on the latest discoveries as well as his own firsthand experiences conducting field expeditions to remote corners of the world, Paul Wignall reveals what scientists are only now beginning to understand about the most prolonged and calamitous period of environmental crisis in Earth’s history. He describes how a series of unprecedented extinction events swept across the planet in a span of eighty million years, rapidly killing marine and terrestrial life on a scale more devastating than the dinosaur extinctions that would come later. Wignall shows how these extinctions—some of which have only recently been discovered—all coincided with gigantic volcanic eruptions of basalt lavas that occurred when the world’s landmasses were united into a single vast expanse.

Unraveling one of the great enigmas of ancient Earth, The Worst of Times also explains how the splitting apart of Pangea into the continents we know today ushered in a new age of vibrant and more resilient life on our planet.
--Marshal Zeringue

"A Poet of the Invisible World"

New from Picador: A Poet of the Invisible World by Michael Golding.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the tradition of SIDDHARTHA by Hermann Hesse comes a new spiritual novel that is a stunning feat of storytelling and imagination. A Poet of the Invisible World follows a boy named Nouri, born in thirteenth-century Persia, with four ears instead of two. Orphaned as an infant, he's taken into a Sufi order, where he meets an assortment of dervishes and is placed upon a path toward spiritual awakening. As he stumbles from one painful experience to the next, he grows into manhood. Each trial he endures shatters another obstacle within--and leads Nouri on toward transcendence.
Visit Michael Golding's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic"

New from HarperCollins: A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic by Lisa Papademetriou.

About the book, from the publisher:

Bestseller and author of the popular middle grade series Confectionately Yours Lisa Papademetriou is back with a magical, page-turning adventure for readers of all ages—a touching tale about destiny and the invisible threads that link us all, ultimately, to one another.

Kai and Leila are both finally having an adventure. For Leila, that means a globe-crossing journey to visit family in Pakistan for the summer; for Kai, it means being stuck with her crazy great-aunt in Texas while her mom looks for a job. In each of their bedrooms, they discover a copy of a blank, old book called The Exquisite Corpse. Kai writes three words on the first page—and suddenly, they magically appear in Leila's copy on the other side of the planet. Kai's words are soon followed by line after line of the long-ago, romantic tale of Ralph T. Flabbergast and his forever-love, Edwina Pickle. As the two take turns writing, the tale unfolds, connecting both girls to each other, and to the past, in a way they never could have imagined.

A heartfelt, vividly told multicultural story about fate and how our stories shape it.
Visit Lisa Papademetriou's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 1, 2015

"Orbiting Jupiter"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt.

About the book, from the publisher:

The two-time Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt delivers the shattering story of Joseph, a father at thirteen, who has never seen his daughter, Jupiter. After spending time in a juvenile facility, he’s placed with a foster family on a farm in rural Maine. Here Joseph, damaged and withdrawn, meets twelve-year-old Jack, who narrates the account of the troubled, passionate teen who wants to find his baby at any cost. In this riveting novel, two boys discover the true meaning of family and the sacrifices it requires.
Visit Gary D. Schmidt's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The White Rose"

New from HarperTeen: The White Rose by Amy Ewing.

About the book, from the publisher:

The compelling and gripping sequel to Amy Ewing's debut, The Jewel, which BCCB said "Will have fans of Oliver's Delirium, Cass's The Selection, and DeStefano's Wither breathless."

Violet is on the run—away from the Jewel, away from a lifetime of servitude, away from the Duchess of the Lake, who bought her at auction. With Ash and Raven traveling with her, Violet will need all of her powers to get her friends, and herself, out of the Jewel alive.

But no matter how far Violet runs, she can't escape the rebellion brewing just beneath the Jewel's glittering surface, and her role in it. Violet must decide if she is strong enough to rise against the Jewel and everything she has ever known.
Visit Amy Ewing's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Searcher"

New from William Morrow: The Searcher by Simon Toyne.

About the book, from the publisher:

The author of the acclaimed Sanctus trilogy conjures an eerie epic of good and evil, retribution and redemption—the first novel in the mesmerizing Solomon Creed series in which a man with no memory of his past must save a lost soul in a small Arizona town.

On a hilltop in the town of Redemption, Arizona, the townspeople gather at an old cemetery for the first time in decades to bury a local man. The somber occasion is suddenly disrupted by a thunderous explosion in the distant desert. A plane has crashed, and it’s pouring a pillar of black smoke into the air.

As Sheriff Garth Morgan speeds toward the crash, he nearly hits a tall, pale man running down the road, with no shoes on his feet and no memory of who he is or how he got there. The only clues to his identity are a label in his handmade suit jacket and a book that’s been inscribed to him: both giving the name Solomon Creed. When Morgan tells Solomon that he is in Redemption, Arizona, Solomon begins to believe he’s here for a reason—to save a man he has never met ... the man who was buried that morning.

Miles away, three men scan the skies for an overdue plane carrying an important package. Spotting a black cloud in the distance, they suspect something has gone badly wrong, and that the man who has sent them will demand a heavy price if the package has been lost.

To uncover the secret of his identity, Solomon Creed must uncover Redemption’s secrets too and learn the truth behind the death of the man he is there to save. But there are those who will do anything to stop him, men prepared to call on the darkest forces to prevent Solomon from seeing the light.
Learn more about the book and author at Simon Toyne's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Sanctus.

Writers Read: Simon Toyne (September 2011).

The Page 69 Test: Sanctus.

The Page 69 Test: The Tower.

Writers Read: Simon Toyne (June 2013).

My Book, The Movie: The Tower.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"The Odds of Getting Even"

New from Kathy Dawson Books: The Odds of Getting Even by Sheila Turnage.

About the book, from the publisher:

Humor and action abound in this second follow-up to the Newbery honor winner and New York Times bestseller, Three Times Lucky

The trial of the century has come to Tupelo Landing, NC. Mo and Dale, aka Desperado Detectives, head to court as star witnesses against Dale’s daddy–confessed kidnapper Macon Johnson. Dale’s nerves are jangled, but Mo, who doesn’t mind getting even with Mr. Macon for hurting her loved ones, looks forward to a slam dunk conviction–if everything goes as expected.

Of course nothing goes as expected. Macon Johnson sees to that. In no time flat, Macon’s on the run, Tupelo Landing’s in lockdown, and Dale’s brother’s life hangs in the balance. With Harm Crenshaw, newly appointed intern, Desperado Detectives are on the case. But it means they have to take on a tough client–one they’d never want in a million years.

For everyone who’s already fallen for Mo and Dale, and for anyone who’s new to Tupelo Landing, The Odds of Getting Even is a heartwarming story that perfectly blends mystery and action with more serious themes about family and fathers, all without ever losing its sense of humor.
Visit Sheila Turnage's website.

--Marshal Zeringue