Thursday, December 14, 2017

"The Case of the Sexy Jewess"

New from Oxford University Press: The Case of the Sexy Jewess: Dance, Gender and Jewish Joke-work in US Pop Culture by Hannah Schwadron.

About the book, from the publisher:

Amidst the growing forums of kinky Jews, orthodox drag queens, and Jewish geisha girls, we find today's sexy Jewess in a host of reflexive plays with sexed-up self-display. A social phantasm with real legs, she moves boldly between neo-burlesque striptease, comedy television, ballet movies, and progressive porn to construct the 21st Century Jewish American woman through charisma and comic craft, in-your-face antics, and offensive charm. Her image redresses longstanding stereotypes of the hag, the Jewish mother, and Jewish American princess that have demeaned the Jewish woman as overly demanding, inappropriate, and unattractive across the 20th century, even as Jews assimilated into the American mainstream. But why does "sexy" work to update tropes of the Jewish woman? And how does sex link to humor in order for this update to work? Entangling questions of sexiness to race, gender, and class, The Case of the Sexy Jewess frames an embodied joke-work genre that is most often, but not always meant to be funny. In a contemporary period after the thrusts of assimilation and women's liberation movements, performances usher in new versions of old scripts with ranging consequences. At the core is the recuperative performance of identity through impersonation, and the question of its radical or conservative potential. Appropriating, re-appropriating, and mis-appropriating identity material within and beyond their midst, Sexy Jewess artists play up the failed logic of representation by mocking identity categories altogether. They act as comic chameleons, morphing between margin and center in countless number of charged caricatures. Embodying ethnic and gender positions as always already on the edge while ever more in the middle, contemporary Jewish female performers extend a comic tradition in new contexts, mobilizing progressive discourses from positions of newfound race and gender privilege.
Visit Hannah Schwadron's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"World Enough"

New from Severn House: World Enough by Clea Simon.

About the book, from the publisher:

This intriguing, hardhitting, intricately-plotted mystery set in Boston's clubland marks an exciting new departure for cozy author Clea Simon.

The Boston rock music scene is where Tara Winton belongs; the world she's been part of for 20 years. But when one of the old gang dies in mysterious circumstances, Tara sets out to uncover the disturbing truth beneath the surface of the club scene in its heyday.
Visit Clea Simon's website.

Writers Read: Clea Simon (April 2014).

The Page 69 Test: Panthers Play for Keeps.

My Book, The Movie: Panthers Play for Keeps.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"Ambition, Pragmatism, and Party"

New from the University Press of Kansas: Ambition, Pragmatism, and Party: A Political Biography of Gerald R. Ford by Scott Kaufman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Within eight turbulent months in 1974 Gerald Ford went from the United States House of Representatives, where he was the minority leader, to the White House as the country’s first and only unelected president. His unprecedented rise to power, after Richard Nixon’s equally unprecedented fall, has garnered the lion’s share of scholarly attention devoted to America’s thirty-eighth president. But Gerald Ford’s (1913–2006) life and career in and out of Washington spanned nearly the entire twentieth century. Ambition, Pragmatism, and Party captures for the first time the full scope of Ford’s long and remarkable political life.

The man who emerges from these pages is keenly ambitious, determined to climb the political ladder in Washington, and loyal to his party but not a political ideologue. Drawing on interviews with family and congressional and administrative officials, presidential historian Scott Kaufman traces Ford’s path from a Depression-era childhood through service in World War II to entry into Congress shortly after the Cold War began. He delves deeply into the workings of Congress and legislative-executive relations, offering insight into Ford’s role as the House minority leader in a time of conservative insurgency in the Republican Party.

Kaufman’s account of the Ford presidency provides a new perspective on how human rights figured in the making of U.S. foreign policy in the Cold War era, and how environmental issues figured in the making of domestic policy. It also presents a close look at the 1976 presidential election—emphasizing the significance of image in that contest—and extensive coverage of Ford’s post-presidency. In sum, Ambition, Pragmatism, and Party is the most comprehensive political biography of Gerald Ford and will become the definitive resource on the thirty-eighth president of the United States.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Senator’s Children"

New from Tin House Books: The Senator’s Children by Nicholas Montemarano.

About the book, from the publisher:

In a country that loves second chances, are some transgressions simply unforgivable?

Sisters Betsy and Avery have never met, but they have both spent their lives under the scrutiny of prying cameras and tabloid journalists. Their father, David Christie, was a charismatic senator and promising presidential candidate until infidelity destroyed his campaign and his family’s life. In the aftermath, Betsy grieves her broken family, while Avery struggles with growing up estranged from her infamous father yet still exposed by the national spotlight. Years later, as David’s health declines, Betsy and Avery are forced to face their complicated feelings about him―and about each other. With delicacy and empathy, Nicholas Montemarano brings these sisters together in a parallel of grief and grace. The Senator’s Children brilliantly distills the American family under pressure.
Learn more about the book and author at Nicholas Montemarano's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The Book of Why (January 2013).

Writers Read: Nicholas Montemarano.

--Marshal Zeringue

"As Dark as My Fur"

New from Severn House: As Dark as My Fur by Clea Simon.

About the book, from the publisher:

Blackie does not trust Care's new client, Mr Gravitz, who hired Care to shadow one of his workers, a man he suspects is stealing from him. Blackie knows the client is lying, but how can he protect Care when he is only a cat? The adventure continues for this detective duo as they fight for their lives and for the memories of those they love.
Visit Clea Simon's website.

Writers Read: Clea Simon (April 2014).

The Page 69 Test: Panthers Play for Keeps.

My Book, The Movie: Panthers Play for Keeps.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

"You Don't Own Me"

New from W.W. Norton: You Don't Own Me: How Mattel v. MGA Entertainment Exposed Barbie's Dark Side by Orly Lobel.

About the book, from the publisher:

The battle between Mattel, the makers of the iconic Barbie doll, and MGA, the company that created the Bratz dolls, was not just a war over best-selling toys, but a war over who owns ideas.

When Carter Bryant began designing what would become the billion-dollar line of Bratz dolls, he was taking time off from his job at Mattel, where he designed outfits for Barbie. Later, back at Mattel, he sold his concept for Bratz to rival company MGA. Law professor Orly Lobel reveals the colorful story behind the ensuing decade-long court battle.

This entertaining and provocative work pits audacious MGA against behemoth Mattel, shows how an idea turns into a product, and explores the two different versions of womanhood, represented by traditional all-American Barbie and her defiant, anti-establishment rival—the only doll to come close to outselling her. In an era when workers may be asked to sign contracts granting their employers the rights to and income resulting from their ideas—whether conceived during work hours or on their own time—Lobel’s deeply researched story is a riveting and thought-provoking contribution to the contentious debate over creativity and intellectual property.
Learn more about the book and author at Orly Lobel's website.

The Page 99 Test: Talent Wants to Be Free.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Love, Life, and the List"

New from HarperTeen: Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West.

https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062675774/love-life-and-the-listAbout the book, from the publisher:

Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings, Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list, she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being.

But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems ... and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.
Visit Kasie West's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Count to Infinity"

New from Tor Books: Count to Infinity: Book Six of the Eschaton Sequence by John C. Wright.

About the book, from the publisher:

Count to Infinity is John C. Wright's spectacular conclusion to the thought-provoking hard science fiction Eschaton Sequence, exploring future history and human evolution.

An epic space opera finale worthy of the scope and wonder of The Eschaton Sequence: Menelaus Montrose is locked in a final battle of wits, bullets, and posthuman intelligence with Ximen del Azarchel for the fate of humanity in the far future.

The alien monstrosities of Ain at long last are revealed, their hidden past laid bare, along with the reason for their brutal treatment of Man and all the species seeded throughout the galaxy. And they have still one more secret that could upend everything Montrose has fought for and lived so long to achieve.
Visit John C. Wright's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Hermetic Millennia.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 11, 2017

"Splintered Silence"

New from Kensington Books: Splintered Silence by Susan Furlong.

About the book, from the publisher:

Among the Irish Travellers living in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee, no one forgets and no one forgives. And as former Marine MP Brynn Callahan finds out when she returns home, it's hard to bury the past when bodies keep turning up...

After an IED explosion abruptly ends her tour of duty, Brynn arrives stateside with PTSD and her canine partner, Wilco—both of them bearing the scars of battle. With a mix of affection, curiosity, and misgivings, she goes back to Bone Gap, Tennessee, and the insular culture she'd hoped to escape by enlisting in the Marine Corps.

Marginalized and wary of outsiders, the Irish Travellers keep to themselves in a secluded mountain community, maintaining an uneasy coexistence with the “settled” townspeople of McCreary. When Wilco’s training as a cadaver dog leads Brynn to discover a body in the woods, the two worlds collide. Soon it’s clear that Brynn and Wilco are in danger – and they’re not the only ones.

After the police identify the dead woman, Brynn is shocked to learn she has a personal connection—and everything she’s been told about her past is called into question.

Forming a reluctant alliance with local sheriff Frank Pusser, Brynn must dig up secrets that not only will rattle her close-knit clan to its core, but may forever change her perception of who she is ... and put her back in the line of fire.
Visit Susan Furlong's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Last Suppers"

New from Kensington Books: The Last Suppers by Mandy Mikulencak.

About the book, from the publisher:

Many children have grown up in the shadow of Louisiana’s Greenmount State Penitentiary. Most of them—sons and daughters of corrections officers and staff—left the place as soon as they could. Yet Ginny Polk chose to come back to work as a prison cook. She knows the harsh reality of life within those walls—the cries of men being beaten, the lines of shuffling inmates chained together. Yet she has never seen them as monsters, not even the ones sentenced to execution. That’s why, among her duties, Ginny has taken on a special responsibility: preparing their last meals.

Pot roast or red beans and rice, coconut cake with seven-minute frosting or pork neck stew . . . whatever the men ask for Ginny prepares, even meeting with their heartbroken relatives to get each recipe just right. It’s her way of honoring their humanity, showing some compassion in their final hours. The prison board frowns upon the ritual, as does Roscoe Simms, Greenmount’s Warden. Her daddy’s best friend before he was murdered, Roscoe has always watched out for Ginny, and their friendship has evolved into something deep and unexpected. But when Ginny stumbles upon information about the man executed for killing her father, it leads to a series of dark and painful revelations.

Truth, justice, mercy—none of these are as simple as Ginny once believed. And the most shocking crimes may not be the ones committed out of anger or greed, but the sacrifices we make for love.
Visit Mandy Mikulencak's website.

--Marshal Zeringue