Sunday, December 15, 2019

"A Piece of the Action"

New from Columbia University Press: A Piece of the Action: Race and Labor in Post–Civil Rights Hollywood by Eithne Quinn.

About the book, from the publisher:

Hollywood is often thought of—and certainly by Hollywood itself—as a progressive haven. However, in the decade after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the film industry grew deeply conservative when it came to conflicts over racial justice. Amid black self-assertion and white backlash, many of the most heated struggles in film were fought over employment. In A Piece of the Action, Eithne Quinn reveals how Hollywood catalyzed wider racial politics, through representation on screen as well as in battles over jobs and resources behind the scenes.

Based on extensive archival research and detailed discussions of films like In the Heat of the Night, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, Super Fly, Claudine, and Blue Collar, this volume considers how issues of race and labor played out on the screen during the tumultuous early years of affirmative action. Quinn charts how black actors leveraged their performance capital to force meaningful changes to employment and film content. She examines the emergence of Sidney Poitier and other African Americans as A-list stars; the careers of black filmmakers such as Melvin Van Peebles and Ossie Davis; and attempts by the federal government and black advocacy groups to integrate cinema. Quinn also highlights the limits of Hollywood’s liberalism, showing how predominantly white filmmakers, executives, and unions hid the persistence of racism behind feel-good stories and public-relations avowals of tolerance. A rigorous analysis of the deeply rooted patterns of racial exclusion in American cinema, A Piece of the Action sheds light on why conservative and corporate responses to antiracist and labor activism remain pervasive in today’s Hollywood.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 14, 2019

"Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me"

Coming April 2020 from Wednesday Books: Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me: A Novel by Gae Polisner.

About the book, from the publisher:

Fifteen-year-old JL Markham’s life used to be filled with carnival nights and hot summer days spent giggling with her forever best friend Aubrey about their families and boys. Together, they were unstoppable. But they aren’t the friends they once were.

With JL’s father gone on long term business, and her mother struggling with her mental illness, JL takes solace in the tropical butterflies she raises, and in her new, older boyfriend, Max Gordon. Max may be rough on the outside, but he has the soul of a poet (something Aubrey will never understand). Only, Max is about to graduate, and he's going to hit the road - with or without JL.

JL can't bear being left behind again. But what if devoting herself to Max not only means betraying her parents, but permanently losing the love of her best friend? What becomes of loyalty, when no one is loyal to you?

Gae Polisner’s Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me is a story about the fragility of female friendship, of falling in love and wondering if you are ready for more, and of the glimmers of hope we find by taking stock in ourselves.
Visit Gae Polisner's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Summer of Letting Go.

The Page 69 Test: The Memory of Things.

Writers Read: Gae Polisner (March 2018).

The Page 69 Test: In Sight of Stars.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Dust to Dust"

New from New York University Press: Dust to Dust: A History of Jewish Death and Burial in New York by Allan Amanik.

About the book, from the publisher:

A revealing look at how death and burial practices influence the living

Dust to Dust offers a three-hundred-year history of Jewish life in New York, literally from the ground up. Taking Jewish cemeteries as its subject matter, it follows the ways that Jewish New Yorkers have planned for death and burial from their earliest arrival in New Amsterdam to the twentieth century.

Allan Amanik charts a remarkable reciprocity among Jewish funerary provisions and the workings of family and communal life, tracing how financial and family concerns in death came to equal earlier priorities rooted in tradition and communal cohesion. At the same time, he shows how shifting emphases in death gave average Jewish families the ability to advocate for greater protections and entitlements such as widows’ benefits and funeral insurance. Amanik ultimately concludes that planning for life’s end helps to shape social systems in ways that often go unrecognized.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Good Girls Lie"

New from MIRA: Good Girls Lie: A Novel by J. T. Ellison.

About the book, from the publisher:

Goode girls don’t lie…

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond.

But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder.

When a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.
Visit J.T. Ellison's website, or follow her on Visit J.T. Ellison's website, or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

The Page 69 Test: Edge of Black.

The Page 69 Test: When Shadows Fall.

My Book, The Movie: When Shadows Fall.

My Book, The Movie: What Lies Behind.

The Page 69 Test: What Lies Behind.

The Page 69 Test: No One Knows.

My Book, The Movie: No One Knows.

The Page 69 Test: Lie to Me.

Writers Read: J.T. Ellison (September 2017).

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 13, 2019

"Deep State"

New from Atria/Emily Bestler Books: Deep State: A Thriller by Chris Hauty.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this white-knuckled, timely, and whip-smart debut thriller, a deadly plot against the president’s life emerges from the shadows of the Deep State.

Recently elected President Richard Monroe—populist, controversial, and divisive—is at the center of an increasingly polarized Washington, DC. Never has the partisan drama been so tense or the paranoia so rampant. In the midst of contentious political turf wars, the White House chief of staff is found dead in his house. A tenacious intern discovers a single, ominous clue that suggests he died from something other than natural causes, and that a wide-ranging conspiracy is running beneath the surface of everyday events: powerful government figures are scheming to undermine the rule of law—and democracy itself. Allies are exposed as enemies, once-dependable authorities fall under suspicion, and no one seems to be who they say they are. The unthinkable is happening. The Deep State is real. Who will die to keep its secrets and who will kill to uncover the truth?
Visit Chris Hauty's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"I Choose You"

New from Thomas & Mercer: I Choose You by Gayle Curtis.

About the book, from the publisher:

When a killer chooses you, what choice do you have?

Thirty years ago, Elise and Nathaniel shared a horrific trauma that united them in grief. Now, grown up and married with a young family, they feel their worst nightmares are behind them. Until the day their daughter is abducted and murdered.

Both Elise and Nathaniel lost their mothers to a notorious killer who manipulated innocent victims into taking their own lives. Could it be that ‘the Watcher’ has returned for another round of the same sadistic game? Why now? And why are Elise and Nathaniel being targeted again?

When Elise’s family falls under suspicion, her world crashes down around her. Is there anyone she can trust, or is her whole life built on lies?

Only one thing is clear: someone left their cruel game unfinished all those years ago. This time the Watcher intends to win – once and for all.
Visit Gayle Curtis's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 12, 2019

"Unmaking the Presidency"

Coming in January from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Unmaking the Presidency: Donald Trump's War on the World's Most Powerful Office by Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes.

About the book, from the publisher:

The definitive account of how Donald Trump has wielded the powers of the American presidency

The extraordinary authority of the U.S. presidency has no parallel in the democratic world. Today that authority resides in the hands of one man, Donald J. Trump. But rarely if ever has the nature of a president clashed more profoundly with the nature of the office. Unmaking the Presidency tells the story of the confrontation between a person and the institution he almost wholly embodies.

From the moment of his inauguration, Trump has challenged our deepest expectations of the presidency. But what are those expectations, where did they come from, and how great is the damage? As editors of the “invaluable” (The New York Times) Lawfare website, Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes have attracted a large audience to their hard-hitting and highly informed commentary on the controversies surrounding the Trump administration. In this book, they situate Trump-era scandals and outrages in the deeper context of the presidency itself. How should we understand the oath of office when it is taken by a man who may not know what it means to preserve, protect, and defend something other than himself? What aspects of Trump are radically different from past presidents and what aspects have historical antecedents? When has he simply built on his predecessors’ misdeeds, and when has he invented categories of misrule entirely his own?

By setting Trump in the light of history, Hennessey and Wittes provide a crucial and durable account of a presidency like no other.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Nietzsche and the Burbs"

New from Melville House: Nietzsche and the Burbs by Lars Iyer.

About the book, from the publisher:

When a new student transfers in from a posh private school, he falls in with a group of like-minded suburban stoners, artists, and outcasts—too smart and creative for their own good. His classmates nickname their new friend Nietzsche (for his braininess and bleak outlook on life), and decide he must be the front man of their metal band, now christened Nietzsche and the Burbs.

With the abyss of graduation—not to mention their first gig—looming ahead, the group ramps up their experimentations with sex, drugs, and…nihilist philosophy. Are they as doomed as their intellectual heroes? And why does the end of youth feel like such a universal tragedy?

And as they ponder life’s biggies, this sly, elegant, and often laugh-out-loud funny story of would-be rebels becomes something special: an absorbing and stirring reminder of a particular, exciting yet bittersweet moment in life … and a reminder that all adolescents are philosophers, and all philosophers are adolescents at heart.
Visit Lars Iyer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

"Nightmares in the Dream Sanctuary"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Nightmares in the Dream Sanctuary: War and the Animated Film by Donna Kornhaber.

About the book, from the publisher:

In 2008, Waltz with Bashir shocked the world by presenting a bracing story of war in what seemed like the most unlikely of formats—an animated film. Yet as Donna Kornhaber shows in this pioneering new book, the relationship between animation and war is actually as old as film itself. The world’s very first animated movie was made to solicit donations for the Second Boer War, and even Walt Disney sent his earliest creations off to fight on gruesome animated battlefields drawn from his First World War experience. As Kornhaber strikingly demonstrates, the tradition of wartime animation, long ignored by scholars and film buffs alike, is one of the world’s richest archives of wartime memory and witness.

Generation after generation, artists have turned to this most fantastical of mediums to capture real-life horrors they can express in no other way. From Chinese animators depicting the Japanese invasion of Shanghai to Bosnian animators portraying the siege of Sarajevo, from African animators documenting ethnic cleansing to South American animators reflecting on torture and civil war, from Vietnam-era protest films to the films of the French Resistance, from firsthand memories of Hiroshima to the haunting work of Holocaust survivors, the animated medium has for more than a century served as a visual repository for some of the darkest chapters in human history. It is a tradition that continues even to this day, in animated shorts made by Russian dissidents decrying the fighting in Ukraine, American soldiers returning from Iraq, or Middle Eastern artists commenting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Arab Spring, or the ongoing crisis in Yemen.

Nightmares in the Dream Sanctuary: War and the Animated Film vividly tells the story of these works and many others, covering the full history of animated film and spanning the entire globe. A rich, serious, and deeply felt work of groundbreaking media history, it is also an emotional testament to the power of art to capture the endurance of the human spirit in the face of atrocity.
--Marshal Zeringue

"I, Cosmo"

New from Candlewick Press: I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak.

About the book, from the publisher:

A golden retriever narrates a hilarious, heart-tugging tale of a dog and his humans as he tries to keep his family together while everything around them falls apart.

Ever since Cosmo became a big brother to Max ten years ago, he’s known what his job was: to protect his boy and make him happy. Through many good years marked by tennis balls and pilfered turkey, torn-up toilet paper and fragrant goose poop, Cosmo has doggedly kept his vow. Until recently, his biggest problems were the evil tutu-wearing sheepdog he met on Halloween and the arthritis in his own joints. But now, with Dad-scented blankets appearing on the couch and arguing voices getting louder, Cosmo senses a tougher challenge ahead. When Max gets a crazy idea to teach them both a dance routine for a contest, how can Cosmo refuse, stiff hips or no? Max wants to remind his folks of all the great times they’ve had together dancing — and make them forget about the “d” word that’s making them all cry. Told in the open, optimistic, unintentionally humorous voice of a golden retriever, I, Cosmo will grab readers from the first page — and remind them that love and loyalty transcend whatever life throws your way.
Visit Carlie Sorosiak's website.

Writers Read: Carlie Sorosiak (June 2017).

--Marshal Zeringue