Tuesday, October 4, 2022

"Only the Names Have Been Changed"

New from the University of Texas Press: Only the Names Have Been Changed: Dragnet, the Police Procedural, and Postwar Culture by Claudia Calhoun.

About the book, from the publisher:

Among shifting politics, tastes, and technology in television history, one genre has been remarkably persistent: the cop show. Claudia Calhoun returns to Dragnet, the pioneering police procedural and an early transmedia franchise, appearing on radio in 1949, on TV and in film in the 1950s, and in later revivals. More than a popular entertainment, Dragnet was a signifier of America's postwar confidence in government institutions—and a publicity vehicle for the Los Angeles Police Department.

Only the Names Have Been Changed shows how Dragnet's “realistic" storytelling resonated across postwar culture. Calhoun traces Dragnet's “semi-documentary" predecessors, and shows how Jack Webb, Dragnet's creator, worked directly with the LAPD as he produced a series that would likewise inspire public trust by presenting day-to-day procedural justice, rather than shootouts and wild capers. Yet this realism also set aside the seething racial tensions of Los Angeles as it was. Dragnet emerges as a foundational text, one that taught audiences to see police as everyday heroes not only on TV but also in daily life, a lesson that has come under scrutiny as Americans increasingly seek to redefine the relationship between policing and public safety.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Singer Distance"

New from Tin House: Singer Distance by Ethan Chatagnier.

About the book, from the publisher:

The odds of the planet next door hosting intelligent life are—that’s not luck. That’s a miracle. It means something.

In December 1960, Crystal Singer, her boyfriend Rick, and three other MIT grad students take a cross-country road trip from Boston to Arizona to paint a message in the desert. Mars has been silent for thirty years, since the last time Earth solved one of the mathematical proofs the Martian civilization carved onto its surface. The latest proof, which seems to assert contradictory truths about distance, has resisted human understanding for decades. Crystal thinks she’s solved it, and Rick is intent on putting her answer to the test—if he can keep her from cracking under the pressure on the way. But Crystal’s disappearance after the experiment will set him on a different path than he expected, forever changing the distance between them.

Filled with mystery and wonder, Ethan Chatagnier’s Singer Distance is a novel about ambition, loneliness, exploration, and love—about how far we’re willing to go to communicate with a distant civilization, and the great lengths we’ll travel to connect with each other here on Earth.
Visit Ethan Chatagnier's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"In the Midst of Things"

New from Princeton University Press: In the Midst of Things: The Social Lives of Objects in the Public Spaces of New York City by Mike Owen Benediktsson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Assumptions about human behavior lie hidden in plain sight all around us, programmed into the design and regulation of the material objects we encounter on a daily basis. In the Midst of Things takes an in-depth look at the social lives of five objects commonly found in the public spaces of New York City and its suburbs, revealing how our interactions with such material things are our primary point of contact with the social, political, and economic forces that shape city life.

Drawing on groundbreaking fieldwork and a wealth of original interviews, Mike Owen Benediktsson shows how we are in the midst of things whose profound social role often goes overlooked. A newly built lawn on the Brooklyn waterfront reflects an increasingly common trade-off between the marketplace and the public good. A cement wall on a New Jersey highway speaks to the demise of the postwar American dream. A metal folding chair on a patch of asphalt in Queens exposes the political obstacles to making the city livable. A subway door expresses the simmering conflict between the city and the desires of riders, while a newsstand bears witness to our increasingly impoverished streetscapes.

In the Midst of Things demonstrates how the material realm is one of immediacy, control, inequality, and unpredictability, and how these factors frustrate the ability of designers, planners, and regulators to shape human behavior.
Visit Mike Owen Benediktsson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 3, 2022

"Improbably Yours"

New from Lake Union: Improbably Yours: A Novel by Kerry Anne King.

About the book, from the publisher:

An unusual inheritance leads to a life-changing journey in a novel of romance, secrets, and the treasure of found family.

Blythe Harmon is on the fast track to a life she never wanted. On her thirtieth birthday, just as she’s about to lock herself into a high-powered job and accept a marriage proposal to match, an unusual bequest from her beloved late grandmother, Nomi, offers an escape and an invitation to adventure.

Equipped with Nomi’s urn of ashes and a treasure map, Blythe sets off for a small island in the San Juans where she rents the mysterious and unsettling Improbable House. Secret by secret, clue by cryptic clue, she begins to unravel the puzzle her grandmother has left her to piece together. Her quest is complicated, though, by a powerful attraction to an enigmatic islander and empathy for his orphaned niece, both of whom are inexorably tied to the old house.

Just when Blythe thinks she’s on the verge of solving the mystery, her quest takes an unexpected turn, and she discovers that the treasure she’s really seeking is something that could never be buried in the ground. While she’s on the treasure hunt of a lifetime, the past and the future are coming together in this magical novel by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of Whisper Me This.
Visit Kerry Anne King's website.

The Page 69 Test: Everything You Are.

The Page 69 Test: A Borrowed Life.

Writers Read: Kerry Anne King.

The Page 69 Test: Other People's Things.

--Marshal Zeringue

"This Flame Within"

New from Duke University Press: This Flame Within: Iranian Revolutionaries in the United States by Manijeh Moradian.

About the book, from the publisher:

In This Flame Within Manijeh Moradian revises conventional histories of Iranian migration to the United States as a post-1979 phenomenon characterized by the flight of pro-Shah Iranians from the Islamic Republic and recounts the experiences of Iranian foreign students who joined a global movement against US imperialism during the 1960s and 1970s. Drawing on archival evidence and in-depth interviews with members of the Iranian Students Association, Moradian traces what she calls “revolutionary affects”—the embodied force of affect generated by experiences of repression and resistance—from encounters with empire and dictatorship in Iran to joint organizing with other student activists in the United States. Moradian theorizes “affects of solidarity” that facilitated Iranian student participation in a wide range of antiracist and anticolonial movements and analyzes gendered manifestations of revolutionary affects within the emergence of Third World feminism. Arguing for a transnational feminist interpretation of the Iranian Student Association’s legacy, Moradian demonstrates how the recognition of multiple sources of oppression in the West and in Iran can reorient Iranian diasporic politics today.
Follow Manijeh Moradian on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Beasts of the Earth"

New from Blackstone Publishing: Beasts of the Earth: A Novel by James Wade.

About the book, from the publisher:

James Wade, whose first two novels were praised as “rhapsodic” and “haunting,” delivers his most powerful work to date—a chilling parable about the impossible demands of hate and love, trauma and goodness, vividly set in the landscapes of Texas and Louisiana.

Beasts of the Earth
tells the story of Harlen LeBlanc, a dependable if quiet employee of the Carter Hills High School’s grounds department, whose carefully maintained routine is overthrown by an act of violence. As the town searches for answers, LeBlanc strikes out on his own to exonerate a friend, while drawing the eyes of the law to himself and fending off unwelcome voices that call for a sterner form of justice.

Twenty years earlier, young Michael Fischer dreads the return of his father from prison. He spends his days stealing from trap lines in the Louisiana bayou to feed his fanatically religious mother and his cherished younger sister, Doreen. When his father eventually returns, an evil arrives in Michael’s life that sends him running from everything he has ever known. He is rescued by a dying poet and his lover, who extract from him a promise: to be a good man, whatever that may require.

Beasts of the Earth deftly intertwines these stories, exploring themes of time, fate, and free will, to produce a revelatory conclusion that is both beautiful and heartbreaking.
Visit James Wade's website.

Q&A with James Wade.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Mirror in the Sky"

New from the University of California Press: Mirror in the Sky: The Life and Music of Stevie Nicks by Simon Morrison.

About the book, from the publisher:

A stunning musical biography of Stevie Nicks that paints a portrait of an artist, not a caricature of a superstar.

Reflective and expansive, Mirror in the Sky situates Stevie Nicks as one of the finest songwriters of the twentieth century.

This biography from distinguished music historian Simon Morrison examines Nicks as a singer and songwriter before and beyond her career with Fleetwood Mac, from the Arizona landscape of her childhood to the strobe-lit Night of 1000 Stevies celebrations.

The book uniquely:
  • Analyzes Nicks's craft—the grain of her voice, the poetry of her lyrics, the melodic and harmonic syntax of her songs.
  • Identifies the American folk and country influences on her musical imagination that place her within a distinctly American tradition of women songwriters.
  • Draws from oral histories and surprising archival discoveries to connect Nicks's story to those of California's above- and underground music industries, innovations in recording technology, and gendered restrictions.
Visit Simon Morrison's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 2, 2022

"The Wolves Are Watching"

New from Viking Books for Young Readers: The Wolves Are Watching by Natalie Lund.

About the book, from the publisher:

A fresh, compelling, and eerie exploration of small-town living, stolen children, and wolves that watch in the woods.

The night little Madison disappears from her crib, Luce sees a pair of eyes–two points of gold deep in the forest behind her house–and feels certain they belong to a wolf. Her town, Picnic, Illinois, is the kind of place where everyone knows one another and no one locks their doors. It’s not the kind of place where a toddler goes missing without a trace, where wolves lurk in the shadows.

In town, people are quick to blame Madison’s mom. But when Luce’s English teacher shares an original script about the disappearance of another little girl in Picnic back in 1870, Luce begins to notice similarities that she can’t ignore. Certain that something deeper is going on, Luce tracks the wolf she saw into the woods and uncovers the truth about her town: magical animal-women, who have remained hidden in shadows for centuries, have taken her cousin for their own purposes–and they have no intention of bringing her back.

A chilling mystery that weaves elements of magical realism, drama, and folklore into a story of one teen’s bravery as she confronts her town’s past and tries to save the future.
Visit Natalie Lund's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Hybrid Sovereignty in World Politics"

New from Cambridge University Press: Hybrid Sovereignty in World Politics by Swati Srivastava.

About the book, from the publisher:

The idea of 'hybrid sovereignty' describes overlapping relations between public and private actors in important areas of global power, such as contractors fighting international wars, corporations regulating global markets, or governments collaborating with nongovernmental entities to influence foreign elections. This innovative study shows that these connections – sometimes hidden and often poorly understood – underpin the global order, in which power flows without regard to public and private boundaries. Drawing on extensive original archival research, Swati Srivastava reveals the little-known stories of how this hybrid power operated at some of the most important turning points in world history: spreading the British empire, founding the United States, establishing free trade, realizing transnational human rights, and conducting twenty-first century wars. In order to sustain meaningful dialogues about the future of global power and political authority, it is crucial that we begin to understand how hybrid sovereignty emerged and continues to shape international relations.
Visit Swati Srivastava's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"I Miss You, I Hate This"

New from Poppy / Little, Brown: I Miss You, I Hate This by Sara Saedi.

About the book, from the publisher:

Five Feet Apart meets Kate in Waiting in this timely story of two best friends navigating the complexities of friendship while their world is turned upside down by a global pandemic, from the author of Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card.

The lives of high school seniors Parisa Naficy and Gabriela Gonzales couldn't be more different. Parisa, an earnest and privileged Iranian American, struggles to live up to her own impossible standards. Gabriela, a cynical Mexican American, has all the confidence Parisa lacks but none of the financial stability. She can't help but envy Parisa's posh lifestyle whenever she hears her two moms argue about money. Despite their differences, as soon as they met on the first day of freshman year, they had an "us versus the world" mentality. Whatever the future had in store for them—the pressure to get good grades, the litany of family dramas, and the heartbreak of unrequited love—they faced it together. Until a global pandemic forces everyone into lockdown. Suddenly senior year doesn't look anything like they hoped it would. And as the whole world is tested during this time of crisis, their friendship will be, too.

With equal parts humor and heart, Parisa's and Gabriela's stories unfold in a mix of prose, text messages, and emails as they discover new dreams, face insecurities, and confront their greatest fears.
Visit Sara Saedi's website.

--Marshal Zeringue