Sunday, March 31, 2013

"Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything by Philip Ball.

About the book, from the publisher:

With the recent landing of the Mars rover Curiosity, it seems safe to assume that the idea of being curious is alive and well in modern science—that it’s not merely encouraged but is seen as an essential component of the scientific mission. Yet there was a time when curiosity was condemned. Neither Pandora nor Eve could resist the dangerous allure of unanswered questions, and all knowledge wasn’t equal—for millennia it was believed that there were some things we should not try to know. In the late sixteenth century this attitude began to change dramatically, and in Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything, Philip Ball investigates how curiosity first became sanctioned—when it changed from a vice to a virtue and how it became permissible to ask any and every question about the world.

Looking closely at the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, Ball vividly brings to life the age when modern science began, a time that spans the lives of Galileo and Isaac Newton. In this entertaining and illuminating account of the rise of science as we know it, Ball tells of scientists both legendary and lesser known, from Copernicus and Kepler to Robert Boyle, as well as the inventions and technologies that were inspired by curiosity itself, such as the telescope and the microscope. The so-called Scientific Revolution is often told as a story of great geniuses illuminating the world with flashes of inspiration. But Curiosity reveals a more complex story, in which the liberation—and subsequent taming—of curiosity was linked to magic, religion, literature, travel, trade, and empire. Ball also asks what has become of curiosity today: how it functions in science, how it is spun and packaged for consumption, how well it is being sustained, and how the changing shape of science influences the kinds of questions it may continue to ask.

Though proverbial wisdom tell us that it was through curiosity that our innocence was lost, that has not deterred us. Instead, it has been completely the contrary: today we spend vast sums trying to reconstruct the first instants of creation in particle accelerators, out of a pure desire to know. Ball refuses to let us take this desire for granted, and this book is a perfect homage to such an inquisitive attitude.
Read about Philip Ball's list of five notable books on the origins of curiosity.

Writers Read: Philip Ball.

"Prophet of Bones"

New from Henry Holt & Co.: Prophet of Bones: A Novel by Ted Kosmatka.

About the book, from the publisher:

Paul Carlson, a brilliant young scientist, is summoned from his laboratory job to the remote Indonesian island of Flores to collect DNA samples from the ancient bones of a strange, new species of tool user unearthed by an archaeological dig. The questions the find raises seem to cast doubt on the very foundations of modern science, which has proven the world to be only 5,800 years old, but before Paul can fully grapple with the implications of his find, the dig is violently shut down by paramilitaries.

Paul flees with two of his friends, yet within days one has vanished and the other is murdered in an attack that costs Paul an eye, and very nearly his life. Back in America, Paul tries to resume the comfortable life he left behind, but he can't cast the questions raised by the dig from his mind. Paul begins to piece together a puzzle which seems to threaten the very fabric of society, but world's governments and Martial Johnston, the eccentric billionaire who financed Paul's dig, will stop at nothing to silence him.
Learn more about the book and author at Ted Kosmatka's website.

Writers Read: Ted Kosmatka.

The Page 69 Test: The Games.

My Book, the Movie: The Games.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

"Learning to Fly"

New from Touchstone: Learning to Fly: An Uncommon Memoir of Human Flight, Unexpected Love, and One Amazing Dog by Steph Davis.

About the book, from the publisher:

“It’s not so surprising that on the day of my fifth wedding anniversary I would be crouched in the open door of an airplane, thirteen thousand feet above the Colorado plains, about to jump out. That coincidence of timing really wasn’t.”

Steph Davis is a superstar in the climbing community and has ascended some of the world’s most awe-inspiring peaks. But when her husband makes a controversial climb in a national park, the media fallout—and the toll it takes on her marriage—suddenly leaves her without a partner, a career, a source of income ... or a purpose.

In the company of only her beloved dog, Fletch, Davis sets off on a search for a new identity and discovers skydiving. Though falling out of an airplane is completely antithetical to the climber’s control she’d practiced for so long, she turns each daring jump into an opportunity to fly, first as a skydiver, then as a base jumper, and finds herself indelibly changed. As she opens herself to falling, she also finds the strength to open herself to love again, even in the wake of heartbreak. And before too long, she fortuitously meets someone who shares her passions.

Learning to Fly is Davis’s fascinating account of her transformation. From her early tentative skydives, to zipping into her first wingsuit, to surviving devastating accidents against the background of breathtaking cliffs, to soaring beyond her past limits, she discovers new hope and joy in letting go. Learning to Fly isn’t just an adventure but a woman’s story of risk-taking and self-discovery, with love at its heart.
Visit Steph Davis's website.

"The Baseball Trust"

New from Oxford University Press: The Baseball Trust: A History of Baseball's Antitrust Exemption by Stuart Banner.

About the book, from the publisher:

The impact of antitrust law on sports is in the news all the time, especially when there is labor conflict between players and owners, or when a team wants to move to a new city. And if the majority of Americans have only the vaguest sense of what antitrust law is, most know one thing about it-that baseball is exempt.

In The Baseball Trust, legal historian Stuart Banner illuminates the series of court rulings that resulted in one of the most curious features of our legal system-baseball's exemption from antitrust law. A serious baseball fan, Banner provides a thoroughly entertaining history of the game as seen through the prism of an extraordinary series of courtroom battles, ranging from 1890 to the present. The book looks at such pivotal cases as the 1922 Supreme Court case which held that federal antitrust laws did not apply to baseball; the 1972 Flood v. Kuhn decision that declared that baseball is exempt even from state antitrust laws; and several cases from the 1950s, one involving boxing and the other football, that made clear that the exemption is only for baseball, not for sports in general. Banner reveals that for all the well-documented foibles of major league owners, baseball has consistently received and followed antitrust advice from leading lawyers, shrewd legal advice that eventually won for baseball a protected legal status enjoyed by no other industry in America.

As Banner tells this fascinating story, he also provides an important reminder of the path-dependent nature of the American legal system. At each step, judges and legislators made decisions that were perfectly sensible when considered one at a time, but that in total yielded an outcome-baseball's exemption from antitrust law-that makes no sense at all.
Learn more about The Baseball Trust at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Baseball Trust.

Friday, March 29, 2013

"Blunt Impact"

New from Severn House: Blunt Impact by Lisa Black.

About Blunt Impact, from the publisher:

Forensic scientist Theresa MacLean is puzzled by the questionable death of a female construction worker at a Cleveland building site. A witness to the death - a young girl nicknamed Ghost - may be able to help. Ghost says the woman was pushed by someone she can only identify as the Shadow Man. Soon Theresa finds herself in a race against time to protect Ghost from an unknown killer before he is able to find the little girl and silence her for good.
Learn more about the book and author at Lisa Black's website.

Writers Read: Lisa Black.

My Book, The Movie: Blunt Impact.

The Page 69 Test: Blunt Impact.

"Oak and Dagger"

New from Berkley: Oak and Dagger by Dorothy St. James.

About the book, from the publisher:

When it comes to gardening, Cassandra “Casey” Calhoun isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. But when it comes to murder, she’s not the kind of gal to let any killer get away clean...

Despite cooler fall temperatures in Washington, D.C., tempers flare at the White House when important historical documents go missing from the curator’s office and the gardeners are blamed. As if that isn’t bad enough, Casey has started receiving death threats, the president’s pooch is digging unsightly holes all over the South Lawn, and the curator has been found dead. All evidence for the murder points to Gordon Sims, the chief gardener. His fingerprints are on the murder weapon, and witnesses saw him arguing with the curator shortly before her death.

With the help of Special Agent Jack Turner, her reluctant sidekick and new flame, Casey works to clear Gordon’s name. Along the way she finds herself in a deadly race against time to discover if there’s a link between the stolen papers, the dog’s holes in the South Lawn, and a rumored two-hundred-year-old treasure—before the killer strikes again...
Visit Dorothy St. James's website.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"Fear in the Sunlight"

New from Harper Paperbacks: Fear in the Sunlight by Nicola Upson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Summer 1936. Mystery writer Josephine Tey joins her friends in the resort village of Portmeirion, Wales, to celebrate her fortieth birthday. Alfred Hitchcock and his wife, Alma Reville, are there to sign a deal to film Josephine's novel, A Shilling for Candles. But things get out of hand when one of Hollywood's leading actresses is brutally slashed to death in a cemetery near the village. The following day, as fear and suspicion take over in a setting where nothing—and no one—is quite what it seems, Chief Inspector Archie Penrose becomes increasingly unsatisfied with the way the investigation is ultimately resolved. Several years later, another horrif ic murder, again linked to a Hitchcock movie, drives Penrose back to the scene of the original crime to uncover the shocking truth.
Visit Nicola Upson's website.

"Without a Summer"

New from Tor Books: Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal.

About the book, from the publisher:

Up-and-coming fantasist Mary Robinette Kowal enchanted fans with award-winning short stories and beloved novels featuring Regency pair Jane and Vincent Ellsworth. In Without a Summer the master glamourists return home, but in a world where magic is real, nothing—even the domestic sphere—is quite what it seems.

Jane and Vincent go to Long Parkmeade to spend time with Jane’s family, but quickly turn restless. The year is unseasonably cold. No one wants to be outside and Mr. Ellsworth is concerned by the harvest, since a bad one may imperil Melody’s dowry. And Melody has concerns of her own, given the inadequate selection of eligible bachelors. When Jane and Vincent receive a commission from a prominent family in London, they decide to take it, and take Melody with them. They hope the change of scenery will do her good and her marriage prospects—and mood—will be brighter in London.

Once there, talk is of nothing but the crop failures caused by the cold and increased unemployment of the coldmongers, which have provoked riots in several cities to the north. With each passing day, it’s more difficult to avoid getting embroiled in the intrigue, none of which really helps Melody’s chances for romance. It’s not long before Jane and Vincent realize that in addition to getting Melody to the church on time, they must take on one small task: solving a crisis of international proportions.
Learn more about the book and author at Mary Robinette Kowal's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Glamour in Glass.

Writers Read: Mary Robinette Kowal.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Orphan Train"

New from William Morrow Paperbacks: Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline.

About the book, from the publisher:

Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?

As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community-service position helping an elderly widow clean out her attic is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.

Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship.
Learn more about Christina Baker Kline's work at her website.

The Page 69 Test: Bird in Hand.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Christina Baker Kline & Lucy.

"A Long Day at the End of the World"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: A Long Day at the End of the World by Brent Hendricks.

About the book, from the publisher:

A chilling memoir of the Tri-State Crematory incident

In February 2002, hundreds of abandoned and decayed bodies were discovered at the Tri-State Crematory in rural Georgia, making it the largest mass desecration in modern American history. The perpetrator—a well-respected family man and a former hometown football star—had managed to conceal the horror for five years.

Among the bodies found at the Tri-State Crematory was that of Brent Hendricks’s father. To quell the psychic disturbance surrounding the desecration, Hendricks embarked on a pilgrimage to the crematory site in Georgia. In A Long Day at the End of the World, he reveals his very complicated relationship with the South as he tries to reconcile his love-hate feelings for the culture with his own personal and familial history there, and his fascination with the disturbed landscape. In achingly beautiful prose, Hendricks explores his fraught relationship with his father—not just the grief that surrounded his death but the uncanniness of his resurrection.

It’s a story that’s so heart-wrenching, so unbelievable, and so sensational that it would be easy to tell it without delving deep. But Hendricks’s inquiry is unrelenting, and he probes the extremely difficult questions about the love between a parent and a child, about the way human beings treat each other—in life and in death—and about the sanctity of the body. It’s the perfect storm for a true Southern Gothic tale.
Visit Brent Hendricks's website.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"A Dying Fall"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: A Dying Fall (Ruth Galloway Series #5) by Elly Griffiths.

About the book, from the publisher:

Ruth Galloway is shocked when she learns that her old university friend Dan Golding has died tragically in a house fire. But the death takes on a sinister cast when Ruth receives a letter from Dan written just before he died.

The letter tells of a great archaeological discovery, but Dan also says that he is scared for his life. Was Dan’s death linked to his find? The only clue is his mention of the Raven King, an ancient name for King Arthur.

Then Ruth is invited to examine the bones Dan found. Ruth travels to Lancashire–the hometown of DCI Nelson–with both her eighteen-month-old daughter, Kate, and her druid friend, Cathbad, in tow. She discovers a campus living in fear of a sinister right-wing group called the White Hand. She also finds that the bones revealed a shocking fact about King Arthur–and they’ve mysteriously vanished. When Nelson, visiting his mother in Blackpool, learns about the case, he is drawn into the investigation, especially when Ruth and his beloved Kate seem to be in danger. Who is willing to kill to keep the bones a secret?
Learn more about the book and author at Elly Griffiths's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Crossing Places.

My Book, The Movie: The House at Sea’s End.

The Page 69 Test: A Room Full of Bones.

"Black Helicopters"

New from Candlewick Press: Black Helicopters by Blythe Woolston.

About the book, from the publisher:

Ever since Mabby died while picking beans in their garden -- with the pock-a-pock of a helicopter overhead -- four-year-old Valley knows what her job is: hide in the underground den with her brother, Bo, while Da is working, because Those People will kill them like coyotes. But now, with Da unexpectedly gone and no home to return to, a teenage Valley (now Valkyrie) and her big brother must bring their message to the outside world -- a not-so-smart place where little boys wear their names on their backpacks and young men don’t pat down strangers before offering a lift. Blythe Woolston infuses her white-knuckle narrative, set in a day-after-tomorrow Montana, with a dark, trenchant humor and a keen psychological eye. Alternating past-present vignettes in prose as tightly wound as the springs of a clock and as masterfully plotted as a game of chess, she ratchets up the pacing right to the final, explosive end.

A teenage girl. A survivalist childhood. And now a bomb strapped to her chest. See the world through her eyes in this harrowing and deeply affecting literary thriller.
Visit Blythe Woolston's website and blog.

Monday, March 25, 2013

"Woke Up Lonely"

New from Graywolf Press: Woke Up Lonely: A Novel by Fiona Maazel.

About the book, from the publisher:

Thurlow Dan is the founder of the Helix, a cult that promises to cure loneliness in twenty-first century America. The Helix has become a national phenomenon—and attracted the attention of governments worldwide. But Thurlow, camped out in his Cincinnati headquarters, is lonely for his ex-wife, Esme, and their nine-year-old daughter. Esme is a covert agent who has spent her career spying on Thurlow, in an effort to protect him from the law. Now, with her superiors demanding results, Esme recruits four misfits to botch a reconnaissance mission. But when Thurlow abducts them, he ignites a siege that could keep him and Esme apart forever. With fiery, exuberant prose, Maazel takes us on a ride through North Korea’s guarded interior, a city of vice beneath Cincinnati, and a commune housed in a Virginia factory, while Thurlow, Esme, and their daughter search for a way to be a family again.
Visit Fiona Maazel's website.

The Page 69 Test: Last Last Chance.

My Book, The Movie: Last Last Chance.

"Frozen Solid"

New from Ballantine Books: Frozen Solid by James M. Tabor.

About the book, from the publisher:

The most dangerous place on Earth
A devious and deadly plan to save humanity from itself
A lone scientist battling the clock and ruthless enemies to avert global catastrophe

The Deep Zone was hailed as “an absolutely phenomenal read by the new Michael Crichton” (Brad Thor), a book that “should come shrink-wrapped with a seat belt” (Steve Berry). Now, bestselling author James M. Tabor ups the ante and the action in his second extreme thriller, as brilliant and battle-tested heroine Hallie Leland confronts intrigue and murder in the most unforgiving place on Earth.

The South Pole’s Amundsen Scott Research Station is like an outpost on Mars. Winter temperatures average 100 degrees below zero; week-long hurricane-force storms rage; for eight months at a time the station is shrouded in darkness. Under the stress, bodies suffer and minds twist. Panic, paranoia, and hostility prevail.

When a South Pole scientist dies mysteriously, CDC microbiologist Hallie Leland arrives to complete crucial research. Before she can begin, three more women inexplicably die. As failing communications and plunging temperatures cut the station off from the outside world, terror rises and tensions soar. Amidst it all, Hallie must crack the mystery of her predecessor’s death.

In Washington, D.C., government agency director Don Barnard and enigmatic operative Wil Bowman detect troubling signs of shadowy behavior at the South Pole and realize that Hallie is at the heart of it. Unless Barnard and Bowman can track down the mastermind, a horrifying act of global terror, launched from the station, will change the planet forever—and Hallie herself will be the unwitting instrument of destruction.

As the Antarctic winter sweeps in, severing contact with the outside world, Hallie must trust no one, fear everyone, and fight to keep the frigid prison from becoming her frozen grave.
Visit James M. Tabor's website.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"The Mermaid of Brooklyn"

New from Schuster: The Mermaid of Brooklyn: A Novel by Amy Shearn.

About the book, from the publisher:


Formerly an up-and-coming magazine editor, Jenny Lipkin is now your average, stretched-too-thin Brooklyn mom, tackling the challenges of raising two children in a cramped Park Slope walk-up. All she really wants is to survive the sweltering New York summer with a shred of sanity intact. But when her husband, Harry, vanishes one evening, Jenny reaches her breaking point. And in a moment of despair, a split-second decision changes her life forever.

Pulled from the brink by an unexpected ally, Jenny is forced to rethink her ideas about success, motherhood, romance, and relationships. But confronting her inner demons is no easy task....
Learn more about the book and author at Amy Shearn's website.

The Page 99 Test: How Far Is the Ocean from Here.

"Fatal Flaws"

New from Yale University Press: Fatal Flaws: How a Misfolded Protein Baffled Scientists and Changed the Way We Look at the Brain by Jay Ingram.

About the book, from the publisher:

Discovered and identified as the cause of mad cow disease only three decades ago, the prion is a protein molecule that, when misshapen in the brain, becomes fatal. Novel and controversial, prions have provoked a scientific revolution. They challenge the very foundations of biology: A disease-causing entity with no genetic material at all? A molecule capable of infecting, multiplying, and killing? This book recounts the birth of prion science and the imaginative detective work scientists have undertaken as they struggle to find the answers to devastating brain diseases from mad cow and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s, and others. As in each of his best-selling books, Jay Ingram here makes complex scientific concepts accessible and shows how little-known events may have profound significance. He describes the development of prion science as a rough-and-tumble affair, with rivals, eccentrics, interfering governments, and brilliantly creative people all playing salient roles. Weaving biology, medicine, human tragedy, discovery, and bitter scientific competition into his account, he reveals the stunning potential of prion science, whose discoveries may unlock the answers to some of humankind’s most destructive diseases.
Visit Jay Ingram's website.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

"Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot"

New from Yale University Press: Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot by Peter Crane; Foreword by Peter Raven.

About the book, from the publisher:

Perhaps the world’s most distinctive tree, ginkgo has remained stubbornly unchanged for more than two hundred million years. A living link to the age of dinosaurs, it survived the great ice ages as a relic in China, but it earned its reprieve when people first found it useful about a thousand years ago. Today ginkgo is beloved for the elegance of its leaves, prized for its edible nuts, and revered for its longevity. This engaging book tells the rich and engaging story of a tree that people saved from extinction—a story that offers hope for other botanical biographies that are still being written.

Inspired by the historic ginkgo that has thrived in London’s Kew Gardens since the 1760s, renowned botanist Peter Crane explores the history of the ginkgo from its mysterious origin through its proliferation, drastic decline, and ultimate resurgence. Crane also highlights the cultural and social significance of the ginkgo: its medicinal and nutritional uses, its power as a source of artistic and religious inspiration, and its importance as one of the world’s most popular street trees. Readers of this book will be drawn to the nearest ginkgo, where they can experience firsthand the timeless beauty of the oldest tree on Earth.

"Mutiny and Its Bounty"

New from Yale University Press: Mutiny and Its Bounty: Leadership Lessons from the Age of Discovery by Patrick J. Murphy and Ray W. Coye.

About the book, from the publisher:

Violent mutiny was common in seafaring enterprises during the Age of Discovery—so common, in fact, that dealing with mutineers was an essential skill for captains and other leaders of the time. Mutinies in today’s organizations are much quieter, more social and intellectual, and far less violent, yet the coordinated defiance of authority springs from dissatisfactions very similar to those of long-ago shipboard crews. This highly original book mines seafaring logs and other archives of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century ship captains and discovers instructive lessons for today’s leaders facing challenges to their authority as well as for other members of organizations in which mutinous events occur.

The book begins by examining mutinies against great explorer captains of the Age of Discovery: Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, Sebastian Cabot, and Henry Hudson. The authors then identify lessons that entrepreneurs, leaders, and other members may apply to organizational insurrections today. They find, surprisingly, that mutiny may be a force for good in an organization, paving the way to more collaborative leadership and stronger commitment to shared goals and values.

Friday, March 22, 2013

"The Money Kill"

New from Harper: The Money Kill by Katia Lief.

About the book, from the publisher:

Former New York City police detectives-turned-Brooklyn private investigators Karin Schaeffer and her husband Mac survived when brutal terror invaded their lives more than once. Now the offer of thirty thousand dollars for one day's work in London, followed by a family vacation in an exotic locale, seems too good to be true. And then they discover that it is.

Putting Mac's investigations into the alleged marital infidelities of billionaire Godfrey Millerhausen on hold, the family finds paradise in the sun-drenched Mediterranean island of Sardinia. But the holiday turns dark and terrible when the children vanish. Suddenly Karin and Mac must unravel a deadly web first spun when wronged wife Cathy Millerhausen walked into their world—as they discover firsthand the true evil of big money: how far it reaches, what it buys ... who it kills.
Learn more about the book and author at Katia Lief's website.

Writers Read: Katia Lief (November 2010).

The Page 69 Test: Next Time You See Me.

My Book, The Movie: Next Time You See Me.

The Page 69 Test: Vanishing Girls.

Writers Read: Katia Lief (July 2012).

"Ice Cold Kill"

New from Minotaur Books: Ice Cold Kill by Dana Haynes.

About the book, from the publisher:

Daria Gibron is a woman with a deadly past and an uncertain future. A former Shin-Bet agent now in exile in the U.S. and under the protection of the F.B.I., she works primarily as an interpreter. But Daria is a thrill junkie who can't resist the occasional freelance job as an operative—a habit that has left her with a trail of corpses behind her, and a few still living, very dangerous, high-powered enemies who would stop at nothing to get revenge.

En route to an impromptu meeting with an old contact from her days in the Israeli Secret Service, Daria gets an unexpected and anonymous tipoff that she's about to walk into an ambush. Unsure who is after her, or why, she slips away from her followers and soon learns that she's been set up—and set up good. Someone has linked her to a much sought-after terrorist, and now all the resources of the U.S. intelligence community are being marshaled against her.

As she tries to escape the ever-tightening snare laid out for her, someone else is using the operation against her as a distraction to hijack a very dangerous, highly guarded shipment. Now the only person who can keep this shipment from falling into terrorist hands is the one person they chose to set up as a diversion. Daria Gibron is many things—trigger-happy, resourceful, focused, and extremely dangerous —but the one thing she isn't is anybody's fool.
Visit Dana Haynes' website and blog.

Writers Read: Dana Haynes (July 2010).

The Page 69 Test: Crashers.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

"Red Planet Blues"

New from Ace: Red Planet Blues by Robert J. Sawyer.

About the book, from the publisher:

Alex Lomax is the one and only private eye working the mean streets of New Klondike, the Martian frontier town that sprang up forty years ago after Simon Weingarten and Denny O’Reilly discovered fossils on the Red Planet. Back on Earth, where anything can be synthesized, the remains of alien life are the most valuable of all collectibles, so shiploads of desperate treasure hunters stampeded to Mars in the Great Martian Fossil Rush.

Trying to make an honest buck in a dishonest world, Lomax tracks down killers and kidnappers among the failed prospectors, corrupt cops, and a growing population of transfers—lucky stiffs who, after striking paleontological gold, upload their minds into immortal android bodies. But when he uncovers clues to solving the decades-old murders of Weingarten and O’Reilly, along with a journal that may lead to their legendary mother lode of Martian fossils, God only knows what he’ll dig up...
Learn more about the book and author at Robert J. Sawyer's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: WWW: Wake.

The Page 69 Test: WWW: Watch.

The Page 69 Test:: WWW: Wonder.

Writers Read: Robert Sawyer (April 2011).

The Page 69 Test: Triggers.

"OCD, The Dude, and Me"

New from Dial: OCD, The Dude, and Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn.

About the book, from the publisher:

With frizzy orange hair, a plus-sized body, sarcastic demeanor, and "unique learning profile," Danielle Levine doesn't fit in even at her alternative high school. While navigating her doomed social life, she writes scathing, self-aware, and sometimes downright raunchy essays for English class. As a result of her unfiltered writing style, she is forced to see the school psychologist and enroll in a "social skills" class. But when she meets Daniel, another social misfit who is obsessed with the cult classic film The Big Lebowski, Danielle's resolve to keep everyone at arm's length starts to crumble.
Visit Lauren Roedy Vaughn's website.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Killer Tapes and Shattered Screens"

New from the University of California Press: Killer Tapes and Shattered Screens: Video Spectatorship From VHS to File Sharing by Caetlin Benson-Allott.

About the book, from the publisher:

Since the mid-1980s, US audiences have watched the majority of movies they see on a video platform, be it VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, Video On Demand, or streaming media. Annual video revenues have exceeded box office returns for over twenty-five years. In short, video has become the structuring discourse of US movie culture. Killer Tapes and Shattered Screens examines how prerecorded video reframes the premises and promises of motion picture spectatorship. But instead of offering a history of video technology or reception, Caetlin Benson-Allott analyzes how the movies themselves understand and represent the symbiosis of platform and spectator. Through case studies and close readings that blend industry history with apparatus theory, psychoanalysis with platform studies, and production history with postmodern philosophy, Killer Tapes and Shattered Screens unearths a genealogy of post-cinematic spectatorship in horror movies, thrillers, and other exploitation genres. From Night of the Living Dead (1968) through Paranormal Activity (2009), these movies pursue their spectator from one platform to another, adapting to suit new exhibition norms and cultural concerns in the evolution of the video subject.

"The Lightning Dreamer"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: The Lightning Dreamer by Margarita Engle.

About the book, from the publisher:

“I find it so easy to forget / that I’m just a girl who is expected / to live / without thoughts.” Opposing slavery in Cuba in the nineteenth century was dangerous. The most daring abolitionists were poets who veiled their work in metaphor. Of these, the boldest was Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, nicknamed Tula. In passionate, accessible verses of her own, Engle evokes the voice of this book-loving feminist and abolitionist who bravely resisted an arranged marriage at the age of fourteen, and was ultimately courageous enough to fight against injustice. Historical notes, excerpts, and source notes round out this exceptional tribute.
Visit Margarita Engle's website.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Man in the Empty Suit"

New from Soho Press: Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell.

About the book, from the publisher:

Say you're a time traveler and you've already toured the entirety of human history. After a while, the outside world might lose a little of its luster. That's why this time traveler celebrates his birthday partying with himself. Every year, he travels to an abandoned hotel in New York City in 2071, the hundredth anniversary of his birth, and drinks twelve-year-old Scotch (lots of it) with all the other versions of who he has been and who he will be. Sure, the party is the same year after year, but at least it's one party where he can really, well, be himself.

The year he turns 39, though, the party takes a stressful turn for the worse. Before he even makes it into the grand ballroom for a drink he encounters the body of his forty-year-old self, dead of a gunshot wound to the head. As the older versions of himself at the party point out, the onus is on him to figure out what went wrong--he has one year to stop himself from being murdered, or they're all goners. As he follows clues that he may or may not have willingly left for himself, he discovers rampant paranoia and suspicion among his younger selves, and a frightening conspiracy among the Elders. Most complicated of all is a haunting woman possibly named Lily who turns up at the party this year, the first person besides himself he's ever seen at the party. For the first time, he has something to lose. Here's hoping he can save some version of his own life.
Visit Sean Ferrell's website.

"Oleander Girl"

New from Free Press: Oleander Girl: A Novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.

About the book, from the publisher:

Beloved bestselling author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has been hailed by Abraham Verghese as a “gifted storyteller” and by People magazine as a “skilled cartographer of the heart.” Now, Divakaruni returns with her most gripping novel yet, a sweeping, suspenseful coming-of-age tale about a young woman who leaves India for America on a search that will transform her life.

THOUGH SHE WAS ORPHANED AT BIRTH, the wild and headstrong Korobi Roy has enjoyed a privileged childhood with her adoring grandparents, spending her first seventeen years sheltered in a beautiful, crumbling old mansion in Kolkata. But despite all that her grandparents have done for her, she is troubled by the silence that surrounds the circumstances of her parents’ death and clings fiercely to her only inheritance from them: the love note she found, years ago, hidden in a book of poetry that had belonged to her mother. As she grows, Korobi dreams of one day finding a love as powerful as her parents’, and it seems her wish has finally come true when she meets the charming Rajat, the only son of a high-profile business family.

Shortly after their engagement, however, a sudden heart attack kills Korobi’s grandfather, revealing serious financial problems and a devastating secret about Korobi’s past. Shattered by this discovery and by her grandparents’ betrayal, Korobi decides to undertake a courageous search across post-9/11 America to find her true identity. Her dramatic, often startling journey will ultimately thrust her into the most difficult decision of her life.

With flawless narrative instinct and a boundless sympathy for her irrepressible characters, in Oleander Girl Divakaruni brings us a perfect treat of a novel— moving, wise, and unforgettable. As The Wall Street Journal raves, “Divakaruni emphasizes the cathartic force of storytelling with sumptuous prose.... She defies categorization.”
Visit Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's website.

Monday, March 18, 2013

"The Missing File"

New from Harper: The Missing File by D. A. Mishani.

About the book, from the publisher:

Detective Avraham Avraham must find a teenage boy who has vanished from his quiet suburban neighborhood.

Police detective Avraham Avraham knows that when a crime is committed in his sleepy suburb of Tel Aviv, there is little need for a complex investigation. There are no serial killers or kidnappings here. The perpetrator is usually the neighbor, the uncle, or the father. As he has learned, the simplest explanation is always the answer.

But his theory is challenged when a sixteen-year-old boy named Ofer Sharabi disappears without a trace while on his way to school one morning. There is no simple explanation, and Avraham's ordered world is consumed by the unimaginable perplexity of the case.

The more he finds out about the boy and his circumstances, the further out of reach the truth seems to be. Avraham's best lead is Ofer's older neighbor and tutor, Ze'ev Avni. Avni has information that sheds new light on the case—and makes him a likely suspect. But will the neighbor's strange story save the investigation?

Told through dual perspectives, The Missing File is a crisp, suspenseful tale that introduces an indelible new detective and offers an evocative portrait of suburban life and tension with a universal reach. As it draws to its startling conclusion, D. A. Mishani's twisting mystery will have readers questioning notions of innocence and guilt, and the nebulous nature of truth.

"Pieces of Light"

New from Harper: Pieces of Light: How the New Science of Memory Illuminates the Stories We Tell About Our Pasts by Charles Fernyhough.

About the book, from the publisher:

How is it possible to have vivid memories of something that never happened?

How can siblings remember the same event from their childhoods so differently?

Do the selections and distortions of memory reveal a truth about the self?

Why are certain memories tied to specific places?

Does your memory really get worse as you get older?

A new consensus is emerging among cognitive scientists: rather than possessing fixed, unchanging memories, we create recollections anew each time we are called upon to remember. As the psychologist Charles Fernyhough explains, remembering is an act of narrative imagination as much as it is the product of a neurological process. In Pieces of Light, he eloquently illuminates this compelling scientific breakthrough via a series of personal stories—a visit to his college campus to see if his memories hold up, an interview with his ninety-three-year-old grandmother, conversations with those whose memories are affected by brain damage and trauma—each illustrating memory's complex synergy of cognitive and neurological functions.

Fernyhough guides readers through the fascinating new science of autobiographical memory, covering topics including imagination and the power of sense associations to cue remembering. Exquisitely written and meticulously researched, Pieces of Light brings together science and literature, the ordinary and the extraordinary, to help us better understand the ways we remember—and the ways we forget.
Visit Charles Fernyhough's website.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"Chasing Gideon"

New from The New Press: Chasing Gideon: The Elusive Quest for Poor People's Justice by Karen Houppert.

About the book, from the publisher:

There can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has.
—Hugo Black, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

On March 18, 1963, in one of its most significant legal decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Gideon v. Wainwright that all defendants facing significant jail time have the constitutional right to a free attorney if they cannot afford their own. Fifty years later, 80 percent of criminal defendants are served by public defenders. In a book that combines the sweep of history with the intimate details of individual lives and legal cases, veteran reporter Karen Houppert movingly chronicles the stories of people in all parts of the country who have relied on Gideon’s promise.

There is the harrowing saga of a young man who is charged with involuntary vehicular homicide in Washington State, where overextended public defenders juggle impossible caseloads, forcing his defender to go to court to protect her own right to provide an adequate defense. In Florida, Houppert describes a public defender’s office, loaded with upward of seven hundred cases per attorney, and discovers the degree to which Clarence Earl Gideon’s promise is still unrealized. In New Orleans, Houppert follows the case of a man imprisoned for twenty-seven years for a crime he didn’t commit, finding a public defense system near collapse before Katrina, and chronicling the harrowing months after the storm, during which overworked volunteers and students struggled to get the system working again. In Georgia, Houppert finds a mentally disabled man who is to be executed for murder, despite the best efforts of a dedicated but severely overworked and underfunded capital defender.

Half a century after Anthony Lewis’s award-winning Gideon’s Trumpet brought us the story of the court case that changed the American justice system, Chasing Gideon is a crucial book that provides essential reckoning of our attempts to implement this fundamental constitutional right.
Visit Karen Houppert's website.

"The Afterlife of Emerson Tang"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: The Afterlife of Emerson Tang by Paula Champa.

About the book, from the publisher:

A beloved car becomes a piece of us—a way back into our histories or forward into our destinies. For Emerson Tang, the only son of a prominent New England family, that car is a 1954 Beacon. A collector—of art and experience—Emerson keeps his prized possession safely stored away. But when his health begins to fail, his archivist and caretaker is approached by a secretive French painter determined to buy the Beacon at any cost. They discover that the Beacon has been compromised and that its importance reaches far beyond Emerson’s own history.

Soon they run into another who shares their obsession: the heir to the ruined Beacon Motor Company, who is determined to restore his grandfather’s legacy. These four become unlikely adventurers, united in their aim to reunite the Beacon’s original body and engine, pitted against one another in their quest to claim it. Each new clue takes one closer to triumph, but also takes these characters, each grieving a deep loss, toward finding missing pieces of their own lives.

A fast-paced ride through the twentieth century—to modernism, fascism, and industrialism, to Manhattan, a German zeppelin, a famed concours in Pebble Beach, and a road race in Italy—The Afterlife of Emerson Tang takes us deep into our complicated automotive romance. A novel of strangers connected across time, through a car that is so much more than a car, it asks us what should be preserved, what memories to trust, and whether or not some of the legacies we hold most dear—including that grand contraption, the automobile—can be made new again.
Visit Paula Champa's website.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

"Island 731"

New from Thomas Dunne Books: Island 731 by Jeremy Robinson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Mark Hawkins, former park ranger and expert tracker, is out of his element, working on board the Magellan, a research vessel studying the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But his work is interrupted when, surrounded by thirty miles of refuse, the ship and its high tech systems are plagued by a series of strange malfunctions and the crew is battered by a raging storm.

When the storm fades and the sun rises, the beaten crew awakens to find themselves anchored in the protective cove of a tropical island...and no one knows how they got there. Even worse, the ship has been sabotaged, two crewman are dead and a third is missing. Hawkins spots signs of the missing man on shore and leads a small team to bring him back. But they quickly discover evidence of a brutal history left behind by the Island’s former occupants: Unit 731, Japan’s ruthless World War II human experimentation program. Mass graves and military fortifications dot the island, along with a decades old laboratory housing the remains of hideous experiments.

As crew members start to disappear, Hawkins realizes that they are not alone. In fact, they were brought to this strange and horrible island. The crew is taken one-by-one and while Hawkins fights to save his friends, he learns the horrible truth: Island 731 was never decommissioned and the person taking his crewmates may not be a person at all—not anymore.
Learn more about the book and author at Jeremy Robinson's website.

My Book, the Movie: Instinct.

The Page 69 Test: Instinct.

The Page 69 Test: Threshold.

Writers Read: Jeremy Robinson (May 2011).

"Thrill of the Chaste"

New from the Johns Hopkins University Press: Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels by Valerie Weaver-Zercher.

About the book, from the publisher:

Browse the inspirational fiction section of your local bookstore, and you will likely find cover after cover depicting virtuous young women cloaked in modest dresses and wearing a pensive or playful expression. They hover innocently above sun-drenched pastures or rustic country lanes, often with a horse-drawn buggy in the background—or the occasional brawny stranger. Romance novels with Amish protagonists, such as the best-selling trailblazer The Shunning by Beverly Lewis, are becoming increasingly popular with a largely evangelical female audience. Thrill of the Chaste is the first book to analyze this growing trend in romance fiction and to place it into the context of contemporary literature, religion, and popular culture.

Valerie Weaver-Zercher combines research and interviews with devoted readers, publishers, and authors to produce a lively and provocative examination of the Amish romance novel. She discusses strategies that literary agents and booksellers use to drive the genre's popularity. By asking questions about authenticity, cultural appropriation, and commodification, Thrill of the Chaste also considers Amish fiction's effects on Amish and non-Amish audiences alike.
Visit Valerie Weaver-Zercher's website.

Friday, March 15, 2013

"Market Street"

New from St. Martin's Griffin: Market Street by Anita Hughes.

About the book, from the publisher:

Cassie Blake seems to lead a charmed life as the heiress to Fenton's, San Francisco's most exclusive department store. But when she discovers her husband, Aidan, a handsome UC Berkeley professor, has had an affair with a student, she flees to the comfort of her best friend Alexis's Presidio Heights mansion, where she wonders if she should give their marriage one more chance.

Whether or not she can forgive Aidan is not the only choice Cassie has to make. Cassie's mother is eager to have her oversee the opening of Fenton's new Food Emporium, which Fenton’s hopes will become San Francisco's hottest gourmet shopping destination. Cassie’s true passion has always been food, not fashion, and Cassie suspects her mother might be trying to lure her into the Fenton's fold by entrusting her with such an exciting opportunity. And then there is James, the architect designing the Emporium, who is quietly falling in love with her…
Learn more about the book and author at Anita Hughes's website.

Writers Read: Anita Hughes (July 2012).

"Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald"

New from St. Martin's Press: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler.

About the book, from the publisher:

I wish I could tell everyone who thinks we’re ruined, Look closer…and you’ll see something extraordinary, mystifying, something real and true. We have never been what we seemed.

When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the “ungettable” Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn’t wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner’s, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.

What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel—and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera—where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.

Everything seems new and possible. Troubles, at first, seem to fade like morning mist. But not even Jay Gatsby’s parties go on forever. Who is Zelda, other than the wife of a famous—sometimes infamous—husband? How can she forge her own identity while fighting her demons and Scott’s, too? With brilliant insight and imagination, Therese Anne Fowler brings us Zelda’s irresistible story as she herself might have told it.
Visit Therese Anne Fowler's website.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

"Once Upon a Flock"

New from Atria Books : Once Upon a Flock: Life with My Soulful Chickens by Lauren Scheuer.

About the book, from the publisher:

When longtime illustrator and lover of power tools Lauren Scheuer was looking for a project, she got the idea to raise backyard chickens. Her husband and teenage daughter looked on incredulously as coop sketches and chicken-raising books filled their New England home. But when the chicks arrived, the whole family fell in love with the bundles of fluff and the wild adventures began.

Once Upon a Flock: Life with My Soulful Chickens stars Scheuer’s backyard chickens—with their big personalities, friendships, rivalries, and secrets—and the flock’s guardian, Marky the terrier. The flock includes Hatsy, the little dynamo; Lil’White, the deranged and twisted Buff Orpington; Pigeon, the fixer-upper chicken; and Lucy, the special-needs hen who bonds with Lauren and becomes a fast friend.

This charming story of Lauren’s life with her quirky flock is filled with moments of humor and heartbreak: When Lucy is afflicted with a neurological disease, Lauren builds Lucy a special-needs coop. When Lucy’s nesting instinct leads Lauren to act as a chicken midwife of sorts, Lauren hatches a chick in her home. And when Lucy’s best friend Hatsy falls ill, Lauren finds an unlikely friend for Lucy in a chicken named Pigeon, who requires an emergency bath and blow-dry. Enthusiastically immersing herself in the world of her flock, Lauren discovers that love, loss, passion, and resilience are not only parts of the human experience, but of the chicken experience as well. Throughout it all, Lauren documents the laughter and drama of her flock’s adventures with her own whimsical photos and illustrations. At once humorous, poignant, and informative, Once Upon a Flock is a feathered tale like no other.
Visit Lauren Scheuer's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

"Helsinki Blood"

New from Putnam: Helsinki Blood (Inspector Vaara Series #4) by James Thompson.

About the book, from the publisher:

A missing woman too unimportant to raise alarms . . . criminal masterminds too powerful to pursue. And when the system fails, Inspector Kari Vaara must dispense his own brand of justice.

Kari Vaara is recovering from the physical and emotional toll of solving the Lisbet Söderlund case when he’s approached with a plea: an Estonian woman begs him to find her daughter, Loviise, a young woman with Down syndrome who was promised work and a better life in Finland . . . and has since disappeared.

One more missing girl is a drop in the barrel for a police department that is understaffed and overburdened, but for Kari, the case is personal: it’s a chance for redemption, to help the victims his failed black-ops unit was intended to save, and to prove to his estranged wife, Kate, that he’s still the man he once was. His search will lead him from the glittering world of Helsinki’s high-class clubs to the darkest circles of Finland’s underground trade in trafficked women ... and straight into the path of Loviise’s captors, who may be some of the most untouchable people in the country.

As Kari works his new case, a past one comes back to haunt him when powerful enemies return to settle unfinished business. In a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, he is propelled toward a reckoning in which the stakes are life or death ... and only the victors will be left standing.
Learn more about the book and author at James Thompson's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Snow Angels.

The Page 69 Test: Helsinki White.

Writers Read: James Thompson.

My Book, The Movie: Helsinki White.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"Between Man and Beast"

New from Doubleday: Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer, the Evolution Debates, and the African Adventure that Took the Victorian World by Storm by Monte Reel.

About the book, from the publisher:

The unbelievably riveting adventure of an unlikely young explorer who emerged from the jungles of Africa with evidence of a mysterious, still mythical beast—the gorilla—only to stumble straight into the center of the biggest debate of the day: Darwin's theory of evolution

In 1856 Paul Du Chaillu marched into the equatorial wilderness of West Africa determined to bag an animal that, according to legend, was nothing short of a monster. When he emerged three years later, the summation of his efforts only hinted at what he'd experienced in one of the most dangerous regions on earth. Armed with an astonishing collection of zoological specimens, Du Chaillu leapt from the physical challenges of the jungle straight into the center of the biggest issues of the time—the evolution debate, racial discourse, the growth of Christian fundamentalism—and helped push each to unprecedented intensities. He experienced instant celebrity, but with that fame came whispers—about his past, his credibility, and his very identity—which would haunt the young man. Grand in scope, immediate in detail, and propulsively readable, Between Man and Beast brilliantly combines Du Chaillu's personal journey with the epic tale of a world hovering on the sharp edge of transformation.
Visit Monte Reel's website.

"Dark Tide"

New from Harper Paperbacks: Dark Tide by Elizabeth Haynes.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Into the Darkest Corner comes another page-turning novel of "gripping suspense" (Wall Street Journal).

Genevieve has finally escaped the stressful demands of her sales job and achieved her dream: to leave London behind and begin a new life aboard a houseboat in Kent. Not many people know that she financed her fresh start by working weekends as a dancer at a less-than-reputable gentlemen's club called the Barclay, and she's determined to keep it that way. But on the night of her housewarming party the past intrudes when a body washes up beside the boat, and Genevieve recognizes the victim, a fellow dancer from the Barclay.

As the sanctuary of the marina is threatened, and Genevieve's life seems increasingly at risk, the story of how she came to be so out of her depth unfolds, and she discovers the hard way the real cost of mixing business with pleasure....
Visit the official Elizabeth Haynes website.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Frankenstein's Cat"

New from Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts by Emily Anthes.

About the book, from the publisher:

For centuries, we’ve toyed with our creature companions, breeding dogs that herd and hunt, housecats that look like tigers, and teacup pigs that fit snugly in our handbags. But what happens when we take animal alteration a step further, engineering a cat that glows green under ultraviolet light or cloning the beloved family Labrador? Science has given us a whole new toolbox for tinkering with life. How are we using it?

In Frankenstein’s Cat, the journalist Emily Anthes takes us from petri dish to pet store as she explores how biotechnology is shaping the future of our furry and feathered friends. As she ventures from bucolic barnyards to a “frozen zoo” where scientists are storing DNA from the planet’s most exotic creatures, she discovers how we can use cloning to protect endangered species, craft prosthetics to save injured animals, and employ genetic engineering to supply farms with disease-resistant livestock. Along the way, we meet some of the animals that are ushering in this astonishing age of enhancement, including sensor-wearing seals, cyborg beetles, a bionic bulldog, and the world’s first cloned cat.

Through her encounters with scientists, conservationists, ethicists, and entrepreneurs, Anthes reveals that while some of our interventions may be trivial (behold: the GloFish), others could improve the lives of many species—including our own. So what does biotechnology really mean for the world’s wild things? And what do our brave new beasts tell us about ourselves?

With keen insight and her trademark spunk, Anthes highlights both the peril and the promise of our scientific superpowers, taking us on an adventure into a world where our grandest science fiction fantasies are fast becoming reality.
Visit Emily Anthes's website.


New from Scribner: Fever: A Novel by Mary Beth Keane.

About the book, from the publisher:

Mary Beth Keane, named one of the 5 Under 35 by the National Book Foundation, has written a spectacularly bold and intriguing novel about the woman known as “Typhoid Mary,” the first person in America identified as a healthy carrier of Typhoid Fever.

On the eve of the twentieth century, Mary Mallon emigrated from Ireland at age fifteen to make her way in New York City. Brave, headstrong, and dreaming of being a cook, she fought to climb up from the lowest rung of the domestic-service ladder. Canny and enterprising, she worked her way to the kitchen, and discovered in herself the true talent of a chef. Sought after by New York aristocracy, and with an independence rare for a woman of the time, she seemed to have achieved the life she’d aimed for when she arrived in Castle Garden. Then one determined “medical engineer” noticed that she left a trail of disease wherever she cooked, and identified her as an “asymptomatic carrier” of Typhoid Fever. With this seemingly preposterous theory, he made Mallon a hunted woman.

The Department of Health sent Mallon to North Brother Island, where she was kept in isolation from 1907 to 1910, then released under the condition that she never work as a cook again. Yet for Mary—proud of her former status and passionate about cooking—the alternatives were abhorrent. She defied the edict.

Bringing early-twentieth-century New York alive—the neighborhoods, the bars, the park carved out of upper Manhattan, the boat traffic, the mansions and sweatshops and emerging skyscrapers—Fever is an ambitious retelling of a forgotten life. In the imagination of Mary Beth Keane, Mary Mallon becomes a fiercely compelling, dramatic, vexing, sympathetic, uncompromising, and unforgettable heroine.
Visit Mary Beth Keane's website.

Monday, March 11, 2013

"All the Light There Was"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: All the Light There Was by Nancy Kricorian.

About the book, from the publisher:

All the Light There Was is the story of an Armenian family’s struggle to survive the Nazi occupation of Paris in the 1940s—a lyrical, finely wrought tale of loyalty, love, and the many faces of resistance.

On the day the Nazis march down the rue de Belleville, fourteen-year-old Maral Pegorian is living with her family in Paris; like many other Armenians who survived the genocide in their homeland, they have come to Paris to build a new life. The adults immediately set about gathering food and provisions, bracing for the deprivation they know all too well. But the children—Maral, her brother Missak, and their close friend Zaven—are spurred to action of another sort, finding secret and not-so-secret ways to resist their oppressors. Only when Zaven flees with his brother Barkev to avoid conscription does Maral realize that the Occupation is not simply a temporary outrage to be endured. After many fraught months, just one brother returns, changing the contours of Maral’s world completely.

Like Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key and Jenna Blum’s Those Who Save Us, All the Light There Was is an unforgettable portrait of lives caught in the crosswinds of history.
Visit Nancy Kricorian's website.

"Margaret Fuller: A New American Life"

New from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall.

About the book, from the publisher:

The award-winning author of The Peabody Sisters takes a fresh look at the trailblazing life of a great American heroine—Thoreau’s first editor, Emerson’s close friend, first female war correspondent, and passionate advocate of personal liberation and political freedom.

From an early age, Margaret Fuller provoked and dazzled New England’s intellectual elite. Her famous Conversations changed women’s sense of how they could think and live; her editorship of the Transcendentalist literary journal The Dial shaped American Romanticism. Now, Megan Marshall, whose acclaimed The Peabody Sisters “discovered” three fascinating women, has done it again: no biography of Fuller has made her ideas so alive or her life so moving.

Marshall tells the story of how Fuller, tired of Boston, accepted Horace Greeley’s offer to be the New York Tribune’s front-page columnist. The move unleashed a crusading concern for the urban poor and the plight of prostitutes, and a late-in-life hunger for passionate experience. In Italy as a foreign correspondent, Fuller took a secret lover, a young officer in the Roman Guard; she wrote dispatches on the brutal 1849 Siege of Rome; and she gave birth to a son.

Yet, when all three died in a shipwreck off Fire Island shortly after Fuller’s 40th birthday, the sense and passion of her life’s work were eclipsed by tragedy and scandal. Marshall’s inspired account brings an American heroine back to indelible life.
Visit Megan Marshall's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Peabody Sisters.

Writers Read: Megan Marshall (October 2007).

Sunday, March 10, 2013


New from Thomas Dunne Books: Nose: A Novel by James Conaway.

About the book, from the publisher:

In a gorgeous wine valley in northern California, the economic downturn has put a number of dreams on hold. But not so for wine critic Clyde Craven-Jones, a man whose ego nearly surpasses his substantial girth. During a routine tasting in advance of his eponymous publication’s new issue, he blindly samples a selection of Cabernets. To his confounded delight, he discovers one bottle worthy of his highest score (a 20, on the Craven-Jones-on- Wine scale), an accolade he’s never before awarded.

But the bottle has no origin, no one seems to know how it appeared on his doorstep—and that's a problem for a critic who’s supposed to know everything. An investigation into the mystery Cabernet commences, led by the Clyde’s wife, Claire, and a couple of underdogs—one a determined throw-back to ancient viticulture, the other a wine-stained, Pygmalion-esque scribbler—who by wit and luck rise on incoming tides of money, notoriety, and, yes, love.

The stage is set for this true theater of the varietals—where the reader joins the local vinous glitterati and subterranean enthusiasts hanging out in a seedy bar called the Glass Act. Soon Clyde Craven-Jones finds himself in a compromised position in a fermentation tank, a prominent family finds its internal squabble a public scandal, and a lowly vintner seeks redemption for a decades-old wrongdoing. James Conaway's Nose is a witty, delectable, and fast-paced novel that, like a good Cabernet, only grows truly enjoyable once opened.
Visit James Conway's blog.

"Hopper: A Journey into the American Dream"

New from It Books: Hopper: A Journey into the American Dream by Tom Folsom.

About the book, from the publisher:

James Dean to Hopper
"I saw what you did today. Today you were great."

Jack Nicholson to Hopper
"We're geniuses, you know that?
Isn't it great to be a genius?"

The chopper-riding hippie outlaw in Easy Rider. The prophetic madman in the jungle in Apocalypse Now. The terrifying psychopath in Blue Velvet. The kid gone wrong in Rebel Without a Cause. The actor taken under the wing of James Dean who longed to be the next Orson Welles. The hell-raising director who revolutionized Hollywood. An enigmatic man from Dodge City, Kansas, on an endless quest to realize the American Dream.

Dennis Hopper has been described as a rebel, an icon, an addict plagued by demons, and one of the most important champions of the pop-art movement. Friend to Warhol, muse to David Lynch, mentor to Sean Penn, champion of Ice-T, Dennis Hopper built a career that was a half-century of rebellion waged at the edge of American popular culture.

Tom Folsom's Hopper is a wild ride through Dennis's many lives. Featuring hundreds of interviews with Hopper's fellow actors, artists, musicians, and residents of Taos, New Mexico (where he spent much of his most manic time), as well as his ex-wives and many other people who knew him, Hopper takes you on an extraordinary—and sometimes troubling—journey. From Dennis's early days with his grandparents on a dusty farm in Kansas, where he watched trains go by on their way to Los Angeles, to his formative time in Hollywood as one of a bright new crop of actors straddling the edge of the studio system, to the rebellious 1960s and the start of the independent film movement, to the drug-addled 1970s and beyond, when Hopper staged one of the greatest Hollywood comebacks of all time—Tom Folsom has crafted a biography as unconventional as Dennis Hopper himself.
Visit Tom Folsom's website.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

"The Gods of Heavenly Punishment"

New from W.W. Norton: The Gods of Heavenly Punishment: A Novel by Jennifer Cody Epstein.

About the book, from the publisher:

A lush, exquisitely rendered meditation on war, The Gods of Heavenly Punishment tells the story of several families, American and Japanese, their loves and infidelities, their dreams and losses, and how they are all connected by one of the most devastating acts of war in human history.

In this evocative and thrilling epic novel, fifteen-year-old Yoshi Kobayashi, child of Japan’s New Empire, daughter of an ardent expansionist and a mother with a haunting past, is on her way home on a March night when American bombers shower her city with napalm—an attack that leaves one hundred thousand dead within hours and half the city in ashen ruins. In the days that follow, Yoshi’s old life will blur beyond recognition, leading her to a new world marked by destruction and shaped by those considered the enemy: Cam, a downed bomber pilot taken prisoner by the Imperial Japanese Army; Anton, a gifted architect who helped modernize Tokyo’s prewar skyline but is now charged with destroying it; and Billy, an Occupation soldier who arrives in the blackened city with a dark secret of his own. Directly or indirectly, each will shape Yoshi’s journey as she seeks safety, love, and redemption.
Learn more about the novel and author at Jennifer Cody Epstein's website.

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"Visions of Infinity"

New from Basic Books: Visions of Infinity: The Great Mathematical Problems by Ian Stewart.

About the book, from the publisher:

It is one of the wonders of mathematics that, for every problem mathematicians solve, another awaits to perplex and galvanize them. Some of these problems are new, while others have puzzled and bewitched thinkers across the ages. Such challenges offer a tantalizing glimpse of the field's unlimited potential, and keep mathematicians looking toward the horizons of intellectual possibility.

In Visions of Infinity, celebrated mathematician Ian Stewart provides a fascinating overview of the most formidable problems mathematicians have vanquished, and those that vex them still. He explains why these problems exist, what drives mathematicians to solve them, and why their efforts matter in the context of science as a whole. The three-century effort to prove Fermat's last theorem — first posited in 1630, and finally solved by Andrew Wiles in 1995 — led to the creation of algebraic number theory and complex analysis. The Poincaré conjecture, which was cracked in 2002 by the eccentric genius Grigori Perelman, has become fundamental to mathematicians' understanding of three-dimensional shapes. But while mathematicians have made enormous advances in recent years, some problems continue to baffle us. Indeed, the Riemann hypothesis, which Stewart refers to as the Holy Grail of pure mathematics, and the P/NP problem, which straddles mathematics and computer science, could easily remain unproved for another hundred years.

An approachable and illuminating history of mathematics as told through fourteen of its greatest problems, Visions of Infinity reveals how mathematicians the world over are rising to the challenges set by their predecessors — and how the enigmas of the past inevitably surrender to the powerful techniques of the present.
Learn more about the book at the author's website.

See Ian Stewart's top ten popular mathematics books.

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