Thursday, February 2, 2023

"When You Wish Upon a Lantern"

New from Viking Books for Young Readers: When You Wish Upon a Lantern by Gloria Chao.

About the book, from the publisher:

Acclaimed author Gloria Chao creates real-world magic in this luminous romance about teens who devote themselves to granting other people’s wishes but are too afraid to let themselves have their own hearts’ desires—each other.

Liya and Kai had been best friends since they were little kids, but all that changed when a humiliating incident sparked The Biggest Misunderstanding of All Time—and they haven’t spoken since.

Then Liya discovers her family’s wishing lantern store is struggling, and she decides to resume a tradition she had with her beloved late grandmother: secretly fulfilling the wishes people write on the lanterns they send into the sky. It may boost sales and save the store, but she can’t do it alone . . . and Kai is the only one who cares enough to help.

While working on their covert missions, Liya and Kai rekindle their friendship—and maybe more. But when their feuding families and changing futures threaten to tear them apart again, can they find a way to make their own wishes come true?
Visit Gloria Chao's website and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: American Panda.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Before Lawrence v. Texas"

New from the University of Texas Press: Before Lawrence v. Texas: The Making of a Queer Social Movement by Wesley G. Phelps.

About the book, from the publisher:

In 2003 the US Supreme Court overturned anti-sodomy laws across the country, ruling in Lawrence v. Texas that the Constitution protects private consensual sex between adults. To some, the decision seemed to come like lightning from above, altering the landscape of America’s sexual politics all at once. In actuality, many years of work and organizing led up to the legal case, and the landmark ruling might never have happened were it not for the passionate struggle of Texans who rejected their state’s discriminatory laws.

Before Lawrence v. Texas tells the story of the long, troubled, and ultimately hopeful road to constitutional change. Wesley G. Phelps describes the achievements, setbacks, and unlikely alliances along the way. Over the course of decades, and at great risk to themselves, gay and lesbian Texans and their supporters launched political campaigns and legal challenges, laying the groundwork for Lawrence. Phelps shares the personal experiences of the people and couples who contributed to the legal strategy that ultimately overturned the state’s discriminatory law. Even when their individual court cases were unsuccessful, justice seekers and activists collectively influenced public opinion by insisting that their voices be heard. Nine Supreme Court justices ruled, but it was grassroots politics that vindicated the ideal of equality under the law.
Follow Wesley G. Phelps on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Endless Song"

New from DAW: The Endless Song (Book 2 of 2: Tales of the Forever Sea) by Joshua Phillip Johnson.

About the book, from the publisher:

The second book in this environmental epic fantasy series delves into the mysteries of a world where ships kept afloat by magical hearthfires sail an endless grass sea.

After setting fire to the Forever Sea and leaving the surface world behind, Kindred Greyreach dives below to find a Seafloor populated by roving bands of scavengers. Among them, Kindred discovers a familiar face working to save the Sea from the continued spread of the Greys and the ravages of the world above. But when Kindred finds herself at odds with a faction below the Sea, she and her friends will have to use every power available to them—including their link to the surface world—to forestall disaster.

Meanwhile, above, a boy named Flitch, son of the Baron of the Borders, finds himself caught in a dangerous political crisis as survivors from Arcadia and the Once-City arrive on the Mainland. As monsters from the depths of the Sea begin to surface near the Mainland’s shores, Flitch must also navigate a crisis closer to home. As Flitch, his family, and their allies search for solutions, the truth they seek may lay hidden in old stories and long-held family secrets.

Above and below, Flitch and Kindred must work together to save themselves, their loved ones, and the Forever Sea itself.
Visit Joshua Phillip Johnson's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Forever Sea.

Q&A with Joshua Phillip Johnson.

--Marshal Zeringue

"From Chinatown to Every Town"

New from the University of California Press: From Chinatown to Every Town: How Chinese Immigrants Have Expanded the Restaurant Business in the United States by Zai Liang.

About the book, from the publisher:

From Chinatown to Every Town explores the recent history of Chinese immigration within the United States and the fundamental changes in spatial settlement that have relocated many low-skilled Chinese immigrants from New York City's Chinatown to new immigrant destinations. Using a mixed-method approach over a decade in Chinatown and six destination states, sociologist Zai Liang specifically examines how the expansion and growing popularity of Chinese restaurants has shifted settlement to more rural and faraway areas. Liang's study demonstrates that key players such as employment agencies, Chinatown buses, and restaurant supply shops facilitate the spatial dispersion of immigrants while simultaneously maintaining vital links between Chinatown in Manhattan and new immigrant destinations.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

"Stone Cold Fox"

New from Berkley: Stone Cold Fox by Rachel Koller Croft.

About the book, from the publisher:

A perfectly wicked debut thriller about an ambitious woman who, after a lifetime of conning alongside her mother, wants to leave her dark past behind and marry the heir to one of the country’s wealthiest families.

Like any enterprising woman, Bea knows what she’s worth and is determined to get all she deserves—it just so happens that what she deserves is to marry rich. Filthy rich. After years of forced instruction by her mother in the art of swindling men, a now-solo Bea wants nothing more than to close and lock the door on their sordid partnership so she can disappear safely into old-money domesticity, sealing the final phase of her escape.

When Bea chooses her ultimate target in the fully loaded, thoroughly dull and blue-blooded Collin Case, she’s ready to deploy all of her tricks one last time. The challenge isn’t getting the ring, but rather the approval of Collin’s family and everyone else in their 1 percent tax bracket, particularly his childhood best friend, Gale Wallace-Leicester.

Going toe-to-toe with Gale isn’t a threat to an expert like Bea, but what begins as an amusing cat-and-mouse game quickly develops into a dangerous pursuit of the grisly truth. Finding herself at a literal life-and-death crossroads with everything on the line, Bea must finally decide who she really wants to be.

Like mother, like daughter?
Visit Rachel Koller Croft's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Palo Alto"

New from Little, Brown: Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World by Malcolm Harris.

About the book, from the publisher:

The first comprehensive, global history of Silicon Valley, from railroad capitalists to microchip assemblers, showing how Northern California created the world as we know it

Palo Alto is nice. The weather is temperate, the people are educated, rich, healthy, enterprising. Remnants of a hippie counterculture have synthesized with high technology and big finance to produce the spiritually and materially ambitious heart of Silicon Valley, whose products are changing how we do everything from driving around to eating food. It is also a haunted toxic waste dump built on stolen Indian burial grounds, and an integral part of the capitalist world system.

In PALO ALTO, the first comprehensive, global history of Silicon Valley, Malcolm Harris examines how and why Northern California evolved in the particular, consequential way it did, tracing the ideologies, technologies, and policies that have been engineered there over the course of 150 years of Anglo settler colonialism, from IQ tests to the "tragedy of the commons," racial genetics, and "broken windows" theory. The Internet and computers, too. It's a story about how a small American suburb became a powerful engine for economic growth and war, and how it came to lead the world into a surprisingly disastrous 21st century. PALO ALTO is an urgent and visionary history of the way we live now, one that ends with a clear-eyed, radical proposition for how we might begin to change course.
Visit Malcolm Harris's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Tyranny of Faith"

New from Orbit: The Tyranny of Faith by Richard Swan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Action, intrigue, and magic collide in the second book in an epic fantasy trilogy, where Sir Konrad Vonvalt’s role as an Emperor’s Justice requires him to be a detective, judge, and executioner all in one—but these are dangerous times to be a Justice...

A Justice’s work is never done.

The Battle of Galen’s Vale is over, but the war for the Empire’s future has just begun. Concerned by rumors that the Magistratum’s authority is waning, Sir Konrad Vonvalt returns to Sova to find the capital city gripped by intrigue and whispers of rebellion. In the Senate, patricians speak openly against the Emperor, while fanatics preach holy vengeance on the streets.

Yet facing down these threats to the throne will have to wait, for the Emperor’s grandson has been kidnapped - and Vonvalt is charged with rescuing the missing prince. His quest will lead him – and his allies Helena, Bressinger and Sir Radomir – to the southern frontier, where they will once again face the puritanical fury of Bartholomew Claver and his templar knights – and a dark power far more terrifying than they could have imagined.
Visit Richard Swan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Serving Herself"

New from Oxford University Press: Serving Herself: The Life and Times of Althea Gibson by Ashley Brown.

About the book, from the publisher:

A compelling narrative of the trials and triumphs of tennis champion Althea Gibson, a key figure in the integration of American sports and, for a time, one of the most famous women in the world.

From her start playing paddle tennis on the streets of Harlem as a young teenager to her eleven Grand Slam tennis wins to her professional golf career, Althea Gibson became the most famous black sportswoman of the mid-twentieth century. In her unprecedented athletic career, she was the first African American to win titles at the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open.

In this comprehensive biography, Ashley Brown narrates the public career and private struggles of Althea Gibson (1927-2003). Based on extensive archival work and oral histories, Serving Herself sets Gibson's life and choices against the backdrop of the Great Migration, Jim Crow racism, the integration of American sports, the civil rights movement, the Cold War, and second wave feminism. Throughout her life Gibson continuously negotiated the expectations of her supporters and adversaries, including her patrons in the black-led American Tennis Association, the white-led United States Lawn Tennis Association, and the media, particularly the Black press and community's expectations that she selflessly serve as a representative of her race. An incredibly talented, ultra-competitive, and not always likeable athlete, Gibson wanted to be treated as an individual first and foremost, not as a member of a specific race or gender. She was reluctant to speak openly about the indignities and prejudices she navigated as an African American woman, though she faced numerous institutional and societal barriers in achieving her goals. She frequently bucked conventional norms of femininity and put her career ahead of romantic relationships, making her personal life the subject of constant scrutiny and rumors. Despite her major wins and international recognition, including a ticker tape parade in New York City and the covers of Sports Illustrated and Time, Gibson endeavored to find commercial sponsorship and permanent economic stability. Committed to self-sufficiency, she pivoted from the elite amateur tennis circuit to State Department-sponsored goodwill tours, attempts to find success as a singer and Hollywood actress, the professional golf circuit, a tour with the Harlem Globetrotters and her own professional tennis tour, coaching, teaching children at tennis clinics, and a stint as New Jersey Athletics Commissioner. As she struggled to support herself in old age, she was left with disappointment, recounting her past achievements decades before female tennis players were able to garner substantial earnings.

A compelling life and times portrait, Serving Herself offers a revealing look at the rise and fall of a fiercely independent trailblazer who satisfied her own needs and simultaneously set a pathbreaking course for Black athletes.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

"The Witch of Tin Mountain"

New from Lake Union: The Witch of Tin Mountain by Paulette Kennedy.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Depression-era Arkansas, something wicked has come to a haunted mountain town in a novel of uncanny suspense by the author of Parting the Veil.

Blood and power bind three generations of women in the Ozark Mountains. So does an evil that’s followed them across the decades.

1931. Gracelynn Doherty lives peacefully on Tin Mountain, helping her adoptive granny work her cures. Despite whispers that the women are witches, the superstitious locals still seek them out, whether to remedy arthritis or a broken heart. But when evangelist Josiah Bellflower comes to town promising miracle healing, full bellies, and prosperity, his revivals soon hold Tin Mountain in thrall―and Granny in abject fear.

Granny recognizes Josiah. Fifty years ago, in a dark and desperate moment, she made a terrible promise. Now Josiah, an enemy, has returned to collect his due.

As Granny sickens and the drought-ridden countryside falls under a curse, Gracelynn must choose: flee Tin Mountain and the only family she knows, or confront the vengeful preacher whose unholy mission is to destroy her.
Visit Paulette Kennedy's website.

The Page 69 Test: Parting the Veil.

--Marshal Zeringue

"India Is Broken"

New from Stanford University Press: India Is Broken: A People Betrayed, Independence to Today by Ashoka Mody.

About the book, from the publisher:

A provocative new account of how India moved relentlessly from its hope-filled founding in 1947 to the dramatic economic and democratic breakdowns of today.

When Indian leaders first took control of their government in 1947, they proclaimed the ideals of national unity and secular democracy. Through the first half century of nation-building, leaders could point to uneven but measurable progress on key goals, and after the mid-1980s, dire poverty declined for a few decades, inspiring declarations of victory. But today, a vast majority of Indians live in a state of underemployment and are one crisis away from despair. Public goods―health, education, cities, air and water, and the judiciary―are in woeful condition. And good jobs will remain scarce as long as that is the case. The lack of jobs will further undermine democracy, which will further undermine job creation. India is Broken provides the most persuasive account available of this economic catch-22.

Challenging prevailing narratives, Mody contends that successive post-independence leaders, starting with its first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, failed to confront India's true economic problems, seeking easy solutions instead. As a popular frustration grew, and corruption in politics became pervasive, India's economic growth relied increasingly on unregulated finance and environmentally destructive construction. The rise of a violent Hindutva has buried all prior norms in civic life and public accountability.

Combining statistical data with creative media, such as literature and cinema, to create strong, accessible, people-driven narratives, this book is a meditation on the interplay between democracy and economic progress, with lessons extending far beyond India. Mody proposes a path forward that is fraught with its own peril, but which nevertheless offers something resembling hope.
Follow Ashoka Mody on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue