Monday, May 31, 2021

"The Box in the Woods"

New from Katherine Tegen Books: The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson.

About the book, from the publisher:

After solving the case of Truly Devious, Stevie Bell investigates her first mystery outside of Ellingham Academy in this spine-chilling and hilarious stand-alone mystery from New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson.

Amateur sleuth Stevie Bell needs a good murder. After catching a killer at her high school, she’s back at home for a normal (that means boring) summer.

But then she gets a message from the owner of Sunny Pines, formerly known as Camp Wonder Falls—the site of the notorious unsolved case, the Box in the Woods Murders. Back in 1978, four camp counselors were killed in the woods outside of the town of Barlow Corners, their bodies left in a gruesome display. The new owner offers Stevie an invitation: Come to the camp and help him work on a true crime podcast about the case.

Stevie agrees, as long as she can bring along her friends from Ellingham Academy. Nothing sounds better than a summer spent together, investigating old murders.

But something evil still lurks in Barlow Corners. When Stevie opens the lid on this long-dormant case, she gets much more than she bargained for. The Box in the Woods will make room for more victims. This time, Stevie may not make it out alive.
Visit Maureen Johnson's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Hand on the Wall.

The Page 69 Test: The Hand on the Wall.

Writers Read: Maureen Johnson (January 2020).

--Marshal Zeringue

"Bath Haus"

New from Doubleday: Bath Haus: A Thriller by P. J. Vernon.

About the book, from the publisher:

Oliver Park, a recovering addict from Indiana, finally has everything he ever wanted: sobriety and a loving, wealthy partner in Nathan, a prominent DC trauma surgeon. Despite their difference in age and disparate backgrounds, they’ve made a perfect life together. With everything to lose, Oliver shouldn’t be visiting Haus, a gay bathhouse. But through the entrance he goes, and it’s a line crossed. Inside, he follows a man into a private room, and it’s the final line. Whatever happens next, Nathan can never know. But then, everything goes wrong, terribly wrong, and Oliver barely escapes with his life.

He races home in full-blown terror as the hand-shaped bruise grows dark on his neck. The truth will destroy Nathan and everything they have together, so Oliver does the thing he used to do so well: he lies.

What follows is a classic runaway-train narrative, full of the exquisite escalations, edge-of-your-seat thrills, and oh-my-god twists. P. J. Vernon’s Bath Haus is a scintillating thriller with an emotional punch, perfect for readers curious for their next must-read novel.
Visit P. J. Vernon's website.

The Page 69 Test: When You Find Me.

Writers Read: P. J. Vernon (November 2018).

My Book, The Movie: When You Find Me.

Coffee with a Canine: P. J. Vernon & Chauncey and Mikko.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 30, 2021

"The Biomedical Empire"

New from Stanford University Press: The Biomedical Empire: Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic by Barbara Katz Rothman.

About the book, from the publisher:

We are all citizens of the Biomedical Empire, though few of us know it, and even fewer understand the extent of its power. In this book, Barbara Katz Rothman clarifies that critiques of biopower and the "medical industrial complex" have not gone far enough, and asserts that the medical industry is nothing short of an imperial power. Factors as fundamental as one's citizenship and sex identity—drivers of our access to basic goods and services—rely on approval and legitimation by biomedicine. Moreover, a vast and powerful global market has risen up around the empire, making it one of the largest economic forces in the world. Katz Rothman shows that biomedicine has the key elements of an imperial power: economic leverage, the faith of its citizens, and governmental rule. She investigates the Western colonial underpinnings of the empire and its rapid intrusion into everyday life, focusing on the realms of birth and death. This provides her with a powerful vantage point from which to critically examine the current moment, when the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the power structures of the empire in unprecedented ways while sparking the most visible resistance it has ever seen.
Visit Barbara Katz Rothman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Woodrow on the Bench"

Coming in October from Harper: Woodrow on the Bench: Life Lessons from a Wise Old Dog by Jenna Blum.

About the book, from the publisher:

“For anyone who’s ever loved an old dog.”

Since she adopted him as a puppy fifteen years earlier, Jenna Blum and Woodrow have been inseparable. Known to many as “the George Clooney of dogs” for his good looks and charm, Woodrow and his “Mommoo” are fixtures in their Boston neighborhood.

But Woodrow is aging. As he begins to fail, the true nature of his extraordinary relationship with Jenna is revealed. Jenna may be the dog parent, but it is Woodrow, with his amazing personality and trusting nature, who has much to teach her. A divorcée who has experienced her share of sadness and loss, Jenna discovers, over the months she spends caring for her ailing dog, what it is to be present in the moment, and what it truly means to love.

Aided by an amazing group of friends and buoyed by the support of strangers, Jenna and Woodrow navigate these precious final days together with kindness, humor, and grace. Their unforgettable love story will reaffirm your belief in kindness, break your heart, and leave your spirit soaring.
Visit Jenna Blum's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Lost Family.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 29, 2021

"The Godmothers"

Coming soon from William Morrow: The Godmothers: A Novel by Camille Aubray.

About the book, from the publisher:

Big Little Lies set in World War II era Greenwich Village! An irresistible, suspenseful novel about four women who marry into an elegant, prosperous Italian family, and then must take charge of the family’s business when their husbands are forced to leave them during the war.

Meet the Godmothers: Filomena is a clever and resourceful war refugee with a childhood secret, who comes to America to wed Mario, the family's favored son. Amie, a beautiful and dreamy French girl from upstate New York, escapes an abusive husband after falling in love with Johnny, the oldest of the brothers. Lucy, a tough-as-nails Irish nurse, ran away from a strict girls' home and marries Frankie, the sensuous middle son. And the glamorous Petrina, the family’s only daughter, graduates with honors from Barnard College despite a past trauma that nearly caused a family scandal.

All four women become godmothers to one another’s children, finding hope and shelter in this prosperous family and their sumptuous Greenwich Village home, and enjoying New York life with its fine dining, opulent department stores and sophisticated nightclubs.

But the women’s secret pasts lead to unforeseen consequences and betrayals that threaten to unravel all their carefully laid plans. And when their husbands are forced to leave them during the second World War, the Godmothers must unexpectedly contend with notorious gangsters like Frank Costello and Lucky Luciano who run the streets of New York City.

Refusing to merely imitate the world of men, the four Godmothers learn to put aside their differences and grudges so that they can work together to protect their loved ones, and to find their own unique paths to success, love, forgiveness, and the futures they’ve always dreamed of.
Visit Camille Aubray's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Pastels and Pedophiles"

New from Stanford University Press: Pastels and Pedophiles: Inside the Mind of QAnon by Mia Bloom and Sophia Moskalenko.

About the book, from the publisher:

Two experts of extremist radicalization take us down the QAnon rabbit hole, exposing how the conspiracy theory ensnared countless Americans, and show us a way back to sanity.

In January 2021, thousands descended on the U.S. Capitol to aid President Donald Trump in combating a shadowy cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles. Two women were among those who died that day. They, like millions of Americans, believed that a mysterious insider known as "Q" is exposing a vast deep-state conspiracy. The QAnon conspiracy theory has ensnared many women, who identify as members of "pastel QAnon," answering the call to "save the children."

With Pastels and Pedophiles, Mia Bloom and Sophia Moskalenko explain why the rise of QAnon should not surprise us: believers have been manipulated to follow the baseless conspiracy. The authors track QAnon's unexpected leap from the darkest corners of the Internet to the filtered glow of yogi-mama Instagram, a frenzy fed by the COVID-19 pandemic that supercharged conspiracy theories and spurred a fresh wave of Q-inspired violence.

Pastels and Pedophiles connects the dots for readers, showing how a conspiracy theory with its roots in centuries-old anti-Semitic hate has adapted to encompass local grievances and has metastasized around the globe—appealing to a wide range of alienated people who feel that something is not quite right in the world around them. While QAnon claims to hate Hollywood, the book demonstrates how much of Q's mythology is ripped from movie and television plot lines.

Finally, Pastels and Pedophiles lays out what can be done about QAnon's corrosive effect on society, to bring Q followers out of the rabbit hole and back into the light.
The Page 99 Test: Bombshell: Women and Terrorism by Mia Bloom.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 28, 2021

"One Two Three"

New from Henry Holt and Co.: One Two Three: A Novel by Laurie Frankel.

About the book, from the publisher:

In a town where nothing ever changes, suddenly everything does...

Everyone knows everyone in the tiny town of Bourne, but the Mitchell triplets are especially beloved. Mirabel is the smartest person anyone knows, and no one doubts it just because she can’t speak. Monday is the town’s purveyor of books now that the library’s closed—tell her the book you think you want, and she’ll pull the one you actually do from the microwave or her sock drawer. Mab’s job is hardest of all: get good grades, get into college, get out of Bourne.

For a few weeks seventeen years ago, Bourne was national news when its water turned green. The girls have come of age watching their mother’s endless fight for justice. But just when it seems life might go on the same forever, the first moving truck anyone’s seen in years pulls up and unloads new residents and old secrets. Soon, the Mitchell sisters are taking on a system stacked against them and uncovering mysteries buried longer than they’ve been alive. Because it's hard to let go of the past when the past won't let go of you.

Three unforgettable narrators join together here to tell a spellbinding story with wit, wonder, and deep affection. As she did in This Is How It Always Is, Laurie Frankel has written a laugh-out-loud-on-one-page-grab-a-tissue-the-next novel, as only she can, about how expanding our notions of normal makes the world a better place for everyone and how when days are darkest, it’s our daughters who will save us all.
Learn more about the book and author at Laurie Frankel's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Laurie Frankel and Calli.

The Page 69 Test: The Atlas of Love.

My Book, The Movie: Goodbye for Now.

The Page 69 Test: Goodbye for Now.

My Book, The Movie: This Is How It Always Is.

The Page 69 Test: This Is How It Always Is.

Writers Read: Laurie Frankel (February 2017).

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 27, 2021

"Martin Scorsese and the American Dream"

Coming soon from Rutgers University Press: Martin Scorsese and the American Dream by Jim Cullen.

About the book, from the publisher:

More than perhaps any other major filmmaker, Martin Scorsese has grappled with the idea of the American Dream. His movies are full of working-class strivers hoping for a better life, from the titular waitress and aspiring singer of Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore to the scrappy Irish immigrants of Gangs of New York. And in films as varied as Casino, The Aviator, and The Wolf of Wall Street, he vividly displays the glamour and power that can come with the fulfillment of that dream, but he also shows how it can turn into a nightmare of violence, corruption, and greed.

This book is the first study of Scorsese’s profound ambivalence toward the American Dream, the ways it drives some men and women to aspire to greatness, but leaves others seduced and abandoned. Showing that Scorsese understands the American dream in terms of a tension between provincialism and cosmopolitanism, Jim Cullen offers a new lens through which to view such seemingly atypical Scorsese films as The Age of Innocence, Hugo, and Kundun. Fast-paced, instructive, and resonant, Martin Scorsese and the American Dream illuminates an important dimension of our national life and how a great artist has brought it into focus.
Visit Jim Cullen's website.

The Page 99 Test: Sensing the Past.

Writers Read: Jim Cullen (February 2013).

The Page 99 Test: From Memory to History.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Girls in the Attic"

New from Lake Union Publishing: The Girls in the Attic by Marius Gabriel.

About the book, from the publisher:

The bestselling author of The Designer presents a sweeping story of blind faith, family allegiance and how love makes one man question everything he thought he knew.

Max Wolff is a committed soldier of the Reich. So when he is sent home wounded, only to discover that his mother is sheltering two young Jewish women in their home, he is outraged.


His mother’s act of mercy is a gross betrayal of everything Max stands for. He has dedicated his life to Nazism, fighting to atone for the shame of his anti-Hitler father’s imprisonment. It’s his duty to turn the sisters over to the Gestapo. But he hesitates, and the longer Max fails to do his duty, the harder it becomes.

When Allied bombers fill the skies of Germany, Max is forced to abandon all dogma and face the brutality of war in order to defend precious lives. But what will it cost him?
Follow Marius Gabriel on Twitter.

The Page 69 Test: The Parisians.

My Book, The Movie: The Parisians.

Writers Read: Marius Gabriel.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

"City on the Edge"

New from Mulholland Books: City on the Edge by David Swinson.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the wake of a baffling tragedy, 13-year-old Graham moves with his family to Beirut, Lebanon, a city on the edge of the sea and cataclysmic violence. Inquisitive and restless by nature, Graham suspects his State Department father is a CIA operative, and that their family’s fragile domesticity is merely a front for American efforts along the nearby Israeli border. Over the course of one year, 1972, Graham’s life will utterly change. Two men are murdered, his parent’s marriage disintegrates, and Graham, along with his two ex-pat friends, run afoul of forces they cannot understand.

The City on the Edge is elegiac, atmospheric, and utterly authentic. It’s the story of innocents caught within the American net of espionage, of the Lebanese transformed by such interference, of the children who ran dangerously beside the churning wheel of history. One part Stephen King’s “The Body” and another John le Carre’s A Perfect Spy, it’s a transformative crime story told with heart and genuine experience.
Visit David Swinson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Mission France"

New from Yale University Press: Mission France: The True History of the Women of SOE by Kate Vigurs.

About the book, from the publisher:

The full story of the thirty-nine female SOE agents who went undercover in France

Formed in 1940, Special Operations Executive was to coordinate Resistance work overseas. The organization’s F section sent more than four hundred agents into France, thirty-nine of whom were women. But while some are widely known—Violette Szabo, Odette Sansom, Noor Inayat Khan—others have had their stories largely overlooked.

Kate Vigurs interweaves for the first time the stories of all thirty-nine female agents. Tracing their journeys from early recruitment to work undertaken in the field, to evasion from, or capture by, the Gestapo, Vigurs shows just how greatly missions varied. Some agents were more adept at parachuting. Some agents’ missions lasted for years, others’ less than a few hours. Some survived, others were murdered. By placing the women in the context of their work with the SOE and the wider war, this history reveals the true extent of the differences in their abilities and attitudes while underlining how they nonetheless shared a common mission and, ultimately, deserve recognition.
Visit Kate Vigurs's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

"Follow Your Conscience"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Follow Your Conscience: The Catholic Church and the Spirit of the Sixties by Peter Cajka.

About the book, from the publisher:

What is your conscience? Is it, as Peter Cajka asks in this provocative book, “A small, still voice? A cricket perched on your shoulder? An angel and devil who compete for your attention?” Going back at least to the thirteenth century, Catholics viewed their personal conscience as a powerful and meaningful guide to align their conduct with worldly laws. But, as Cajka shows in Follow Your Conscience, during the national cultural tumult of the 1960s, the divide between the demands of conscience and the demands of the law, society, and even the church itself grew increasingly perilous. As growing numbers of Catholics started to consider formerly stout institutions to be morally hollow—especially in light of the Vietnam War and the church’s refusal to sanction birth control—they increasingly turned to their own consciences as guides for action and belief. This abandonment of higher authority had radical effects on American society, influencing not only the broader world of Christianity, but also such disparate arenas as government, law, health care, and the very vocabulary of American culture. As this book astutely reveals, today’s debates over political power, religious freedom, gay rights, and more are all deeply infused by the language and concepts outlined by these pioneers of personal conscience.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Hidden Palace"

New from Harper: The Hidden Palace: A Novel of the Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this enthralling historical epic, set in New York City and the Middle East in the years leading to World War I— the long-awaited follow-up to the acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Golem and the Jinni—Helene Wecker revisits her beloved characters Chava and Ahmad as they confront unexpected new challenges in a rapidly changing human world.

Chava is a golem, a woman made of clay, who can hear the thoughts and longings of those around her and feels compelled by her nature to help them. Ahmad is a jinni, a restless creature of fire, once free to roam the desert but now imprisoned in the shape of a man. Fearing they’ll be exposed as monsters, these magical beings hide their true selves and try to pass as human—just two more immigrants in the bustling world of 1900s Manhattan. Brought together under calamitous circumstances, their lives are now entwined—but they’re not yet certain of what they mean to each other.

Both Chava and Ahmad have changed the lives of the people around them. Park Avenue heiress Sophia Winston, whose brief encounter with Ahmad left her with a strange illness that makes her shiver with cold, travels to the Middle East to seek a cure. There she meets Dima, a tempestuous female jinni who’s been banished from her tribe. Back in New York, in a tenement on the Lower East Side, a little girl named Kreindel helps her rabbi father build a golem they name Yossele—not knowing that she’s about to be sent to an orphanage uptown, where the hulking Yossele will become her only friend and protector.

Spanning the tumultuous years from the turn of the twentieth century to the beginning of World War I, The Hidden Palace follows these lives and others as they collide and interleave. Can Chava and Ahmad find their places in the human world while remaining true to each other? Or will their opposing natures and desires eventually tear them apart—especially once they encounter, thrillingly, other beings like themselves?
Visit Helene Wecker's website.

Writers Read: Helene Wecker.

The Page 69 Test: The Golem and the Jinni.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Daughter of Sparta"

New from Jimmy Patterson Books: Daughter of Sparta by Claire Andrews.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this thrilling reimagining of ancient Greek mythology, a headstrong girl does whatever it takes to rise up and become the most powerful fighter her people have ever seen.

Seventeen-year-old Daphne has spent her entire life honing her body and mind into that of a warrior, hoping to be accepted by the unyielding people of ancient Sparta. But an unexpected encounter with the goddess Artemis—who holds Daphne's brother's fate in her hands—upends the life she's worked so hard to build. Nine mysterious items have been stolen from Mount Olympus and if Daphne cannot find them, the gods' waning powers will fade away, the mortal world will descend into chaos, and her brother's life will be forfeit.

Guided by Artemis's twin—the handsome and entirely-too-self-assured god Apollo—Daphne's journey will take her from the labyrinth of the Minotaur to the riddle-spinning Sphinx of Thebes, team her up with mythological legends such as Theseus and Hippolyta of the Amazons, and pit her against the gods themselves.

A reinterpretation of the classic Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo, Daughter of Sparta by debut author Claire Andrews turns the traditionally male-dominated mythology we know into a heart-pounding and empowering female-led adventure.
Visit Claire M. Andrews's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 24, 2021

"The Wolf and the Woodsman"

New from Harper Voyager: The Wolf and the Woodsman: A Novel by Ava Reid.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the vein of Naomi Novik’s New York Times bestseller Spinning Silver and Katherine Arden’s national bestseller The Bear and the Nightingale, this unforgettable debut— inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology—follows a young pagan woman with hidden powers and a one-eyed captain of the Woodsmen as they form an unlikely alliance to thwart a tyrant.

In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.

But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.

As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.
Visit Ava Reid's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Worlds Beyond"

New from Yale University Press: Worlds Beyond: Miniatures and Victorian Fiction by Laura Forsberg.

About the book, from the publisher:

An innovative study of how the Victorians used books, portraits, fairies, microscopes, and dollhouses to imagine miniature worlds beyond perception

In 1856, Elizabeth Gaskell discovered a trove of handmade miniature books that were created by Charlotte and Branwell Brontë in their youth and that, as Gaskell later recalled, “contained an immense amount of manuscript, in an inconceivably small space.” Far from being singular wonders, these two-inch volumes were part of a wide array of miniature marvels that filled the drawers and pockets of middle- and upper-class Victorians. Victorian miniatures pushed the boundaries of scientific knowledge, mechanical production, and human perception. To touch a miniature was to imagine what lay beyond these boundaries.

In Worlds Beyond, Laura Forsberg reads major works of fiction by George Eliot, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Lewis Carroll alongside minor genres like the doll narrative, fairy science tract, and thumb Bible. Forsberg guides readers through microscopic science, art history, children’s culture, and book production to show how Victorian miniatures offered scripts for expansive fantasies of worlds beyond perception.
Visit Laura Forsberg's website.

--Marhsal Zeringue

Sunday, May 23, 2021

"Dream Girl"

Coming June 22 from William Morrow: Dream Girl: A Novel by Laura Lippman.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the end, has anyone really led a blameless life?

Injured in a freak fall, novelist Gerry Andersen is confined to a hospital bed in his glamorous high-rise apartment, dependent on two women he barely knows: his incurious young assistant, and a dull, slow-witted night nurse.

Then late one night, the phone rings. The caller claims to be the “real” Aubrey, the alluring title character from his most successful novel, Dream Girl. But there is no real Aubrey. She’s a figment born of a writer’s imagination, despite what many believe or claim to know. Could the cryptic caller be one of his three ex-wives playing a vindictive trick after all these years? Or is she Margot, an ex-girlfriend who keeps trying to insinuate her way back into Gerry’s life?

And why does no one believe that the call even happened?

Isolated from the world, drowsy from medication, Gerry slips between reality and a dreamlike state in which he is haunted by his own past: his faithless father, his devoted mother; the women who loved him, the women he loved.

And now here is Aubrey, threatening to visit him, suggesting that she is owed something. Is the threat real or is it a sign of dementia? Which scenario would he prefer? Gerry has never been so alone, so confused – and so terrified.

Chilling and compulsively readable, touching on timely issues that include power, agency, appropriation, and creation, Dream Girl is a superb blend of psychological suspense and horror that reveals the mind and soul of a writer.
Visit Laura Lippman's website.

The Page 69 Test: Another Thing to Fall.

The Page 69 Test: What the Dead Know.

The Page 69 Test/Page 99 Test: Life Sentences.

The Page 69 Test: I'd Know You Anywhere.

The Page 69 Test: The Most Dangerous Thing.

The Page 69 Test: Hush Hush.

The Page 69 Test: Wilde Lake.

My Book, the Movie: Wilde Lake.

The Page 69 Test: Sunburn.

The Page 69 Test: Lady in the Lake.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Rise and Fall of Morris Ernst, Free Speech Renegade"

Coming soon from the University of Chicago Press: The Rise and Fall of Morris Ernst, Free Speech Renegade by Samantha Barbas.

About the book, from the publisher:

A long-overdue biography of the legendary civil liberties lawyer—a vital and contrary figure who both defended Ulysses and fawned over J. Edgar Hoover.

In the 1930s and ’40s, Morris Ernst was one of America’s best-known liberal lawyers. The ACLU’s general counsel for decades, Ernst was renowned for his audacious fights against artistic censorship. He successfully defended Ulysses against obscenity charges, litigated groundbreaking reproductive rights cases, and supported the widespread expansion of protections for sexual expression, union organizing, and public speech. Yet Ernst was also a man of stark contradictions, waging a personal battle against Communism, defending an autocrat, and aligning himself with J. Edgar Hoover’s inflammatory crusades.

Arriving at a moment when issues of privacy, artistic freedom, and personal expression are freshly relevant, The Rise and Fall of Morris Ernst, Free Speech Renegade brings this singularly complex figure into a timely new light. As Samantha Barbas’s eloquent and compelling biography makes ironically clear, Ernst both transformed free speech in America and inflicted damage to the cause of civil liberties. Drawing on Ernst’s voluminous cache of publications and papers, Barbas follows the life of this singular idealist from his pugnacious early career to his legal triumphs of the 1930s and ’40s and his later idiosyncratic zealotry. As she shows, today’s challenges to free speech and the exercise of political power make Morris Ernst’s battles as pertinent as ever.
The Page 99 Test: Laws of Image.

The Page 99 Test: Newsworthy.

Visit Samantha Barbas's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 22, 2021

"Frontier"

New from Baen: Frontier by Patrick Chiles.

About the book, from the publisher:

Marshall Hunter only wanted to fly: the faster, the higher, the better. But a life of rescuing wayward spacefarers and derelict satellites in the cislunar cruiser U.S.S. Borman is far from the adventure he’d imagined. But his fortunes change when a billionaire couple goes missing on their way to a near-Earth asteroid. Out of contact and on a course that will eventually send them crashing into Mars, the nuclear-powered Borman is dispatched on an audacious, high-speed interplanetary run to bring the couple home. As they approach the asteroid, however, the Borman itself becomes hopelessly disabled. With the Borman suddenly out of commission and far beyond reach, cislunar space begins falling into chaos as critical satellites fail and valuable lunar mineral shipments begin disappearing in transit. Nothing is as it seems, and Marshall Hunter and the rest of the crew suspect none of it is by coincidence.
Visit Patrick Chiles's website.

The Page 69 Test: Frozen Orbit.

Coffee with a Canine: Patrick Chiles & Frankie and Beanie.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Secrets We Left Behind"

New from Lake Union: The Secrets We Left Behind by Soraya M. Lane.

About the book, from the publisher:

How far will they go for family, friendship, and love?

Occupied France, 1940. When the staff at a field hospital draw straws to find out who will join the evacuation from Dunkirk, Nurse Cate is left behind. But when the Nazis arrive to claim prisoners of war, she takes her chance and flees into the night, taking one patient with her.

Fifty miles away, the surrendering soldiers of the Royal Norfolk Regiment are shot dead by the advancing Germans. Beneath the pile of bodies two men survive, crawling to the safety of a nearby farmhouse, where sisters Elise and Adelaide risk their lives to take them in. When Cate, too, arrives at their door with her injured soldier, the pressure mounts.

The sisters are risking everything to keep their visitors safe. But with the Nazis coming ever closer and relationships in the farmhouse intensifying, they must all question the sacrifices they are willing to make for the lives of others. How far will they go for family, friendship, and love?
Visit Soraya Lane's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Spitfire Girls.

The Page 69 Test: The Spitfire Girls.

Writers Read: Soraya M. Lane (March 2019).

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 21, 2021

"The Shadows of London"

New from Blackstone Publishing: The Shadows of London by Nick Jones.

About the book, from the publisher:

A time traveler’s work is never done.

Likable antiques dealer Joseph Bridgeman is back in the present and dreaming of a quiet life. But when a mysterious and enigmatic time traveler arrives in his shop, Joe learns that his first trip was just the beginning and this time, the rules of the game have changed.

Blackmailed into accepting a new mission, Joe is flung back to 1960s London where he comes face-to-face with a ruthless gangster and witnesses the brutal murder of an innocent woman. Joe knows better than most that death can be reversed and the final chapter is sometimes where the story actually begins. Emotionally involved, he has no choice but to act, and quickly. With the help of Vinny, his vinyl-loving sidekick, Joe once again sets out to change the course of history. Sounds simple enough … but when it comes to time travel, nothing is ever as it seems. Who is the old time traveler working for? And who decides what can and can’t be changed?

In a thrilling twist, Joe discovers that the victim is critically important to the future, and what starts out as a straightforward mission soon becomes a race to unravel a mystery—one that threatens the very timeline he fought so hard to protect. Joe must dig deeper than ever, master his newfound skills, and save the woman before the past catches up with him for good.

Turns out time doesn’t heal after all. It just adds salt.
Visit Nick Jones's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Lost Boys of Montauk"

New from Gallery Books: The Lost Boys of Montauk: The True Story of the Wind Blown, Four Men Who Vanished at Sea, and the Survivors They Left Behind by Amanda M. Fairbanks.

About the book, from the publisher:

An immersive account of a tragedy at sea whose repercussions haunt its survivors to this day, lauded by New York Times bestselling author Ron Suskind as “an honest and touching book, and a hell of a story.”

In March of 1984, the commercial fishing boat Wind Blown left Montauk Harbor on what should have been a routine offshore voyage. Its captain, a married father of three young boys, was the boat’s owner and leader of the four-man crew, which included two locals and the blue-blooded son of a well-to-do summer family. After a week at sea, the weather suddenly turned, and the foursome collided with a nor’easter. They soon found themselves in the fight of their lives. Tragically, it was a fight they lost. Neither the boat nor the bodies of the men were ever recovered.

The fate of the Wind Blown—the second-worst nautical disaster suffered by a Montauk-based fishing vessel in over a hundred years—has become interwoven with the local folklore of the East End’s year-round population. Back then, on the easternmost tip of Long Island, before Wall Street and hedge fund money stormed into town, commercial fishing was the area’s economic lifeblood.

Amanda M. Fairbanks examines the profound shift of Montauk from a working-class village—“a drinking town with a fishing problem”—to a playground for the ultra-wealthy, seeking out the reasons that an event more than three decades old remains so startlingly vivid in people’s minds. She explores the ways in which deep, lasting grief can alter people’s memories. And she shines a light on the powerful and sometimes painful dynamics between fathers and sons, as well as the secrets that can haunt families from beyond the grave.

The story itself is a universal tale of family and brotherhood; it’s about what happens when the dreams and ambitions of affluent and working-class families collide. Captivating and powerful, The Lost Boys of Montauk explores one of the most important questions we face as humans: how do memories of the dead inform the lives of those left behind?
Visit Amanda M. Fairbanks's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Darkest Flower"

New from Thomas & Mercer: The Darkest Flower (Allison Barton, 1) by Kristin Wright.

About the book, from the publisher:

You’ll never believe the terrible things being said about the perfect president of the PTA.

Attempted murder? Inexplicable accident? Either way, a PTA mom struggled for her life in an elementary school cafeteria, poisoned by a wolfsbane-laced smoothie at the fifth-grade graduation party. Now all eyes are on the accused, the victim, and a woman hired to look deeper.

Ambitious defense attorney and single mother Allison Barton is anxious to escape the shadow of the low-down dog of a marquee partner carrying their renowned Virginia law firm. A win for her high-profile new client will give Allison the career she deserves. And PTA president Kira Grant certainly appears innocent―except for the toxic bloom in her backyard and perhaps a bit of a malicious streak. But no one said the innocent had to be likable―or entirely honest. Besides, with an image as carefully cultivated as her garden, Kira would be insane to risk everything on something as outrageous as the attempted murder of one of her closest friends.

What about those in Kira’s orbit, a sunny suburb of moms behaving badly? What do they really know about Kira? What does Kira know about them? For Allison, the answers are getting darker every day.
Visit Kristin B. Wright's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 20, 2021

"Ravenous"

New from Liveright: Ravenous: Otto Warburg, the Nazis, and the Search for the Cancer-Diet Connection by Sam Apple.

About the book, from the publisher:

The extraordinary story of the Nazi-era scientific genius who discovered how cancer cells eat—and what it means for how we should.

The Nobel laureate Otto Warburg—a cousin of the famous finance Warburgs—was widely regarded in his day as one of the most important biochemists of the twentieth century, a man whose research was integral to humanity’s understanding of cancer. He was also among the most despised figures in Nazi Germany. As a Jewish homosexual living openly with his male partner, Warburg represented all that the Third Reich abhorred. Yet Hitler and his top advisors dreaded cancer, and protected Warburg in the hope that he could cure it.

In Ravenous, Sam Apple reclaims Otto Warburg as a forgotten, morally compromised genius who pursued cancer single-mindedly even as Europe disintegrated around him. While the vast majority of Jewish scientists fled Germany in the anxious years leading up to World War II, Warburg remained in Berlin, working under the watchful eye of the dictatorship. With the Nazis goose-stepping their way across Europe, systematically rounding up and murdering millions of Jews, Warburg awoke each morning in an elegant, antiques-filled home and rode horses with his partner, Jacob Heiss, before delving into his research at the Kaiser Wilhelm Society.

Hitler and other Nazi leaders, Apple shows, were deeply troubled by skyrocketing cancer rates across the Western world, viewing cancer as an existential threat akin to Judaism or homosexuality. Ironically, they viewed Warburg as Germany’s best chance of survival. Setting Warburg’s work against an absorbing history of cancer science, Apple follows him as he arrives at his central belief that cancer is a problem of metabolism. Though Warburg’s metabolic approach to cancer was considered groundbreaking, his work was soon eclipsed in the early postwar era, after the discovery of the structure of DNA set off a search for the genetic origins of cancer.

Remarkably, Warburg’s theory has undergone a resurgence in our own time, as scientists have begun to investigate the dangers of sugar and the link between obesity and cancer, finding that the way we eat can influence how cancer cells take up nutrients and grow. Rooting his revelations in extensive archival research as well as dozens of interviews with today’s leading cancer authorities, Apple demonstrates how Warburg’s midcentury work may well hold the secret to why cancer became so common in the modern world and how we can reverse the trend. A tale of scientific discovery, personal peril, and the race to end a disastrous disease, Ravenous would be the stuff of the most inventive fiction were it not, in fact, true.
Follow Sam Apple on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Lizzie & Dante"

New from The Dial Press: Lizzie & Dante: A Novel by Mary Bly.

About the book, from the publisher:

What if falling in love means breaking someone’s heart?

On the heels of a difficult break-up and a devastating diagnosis, Shakespeare scholar Lizzie Delford decides to take one last lavish vacation on Elba, the sun-kissed island off the Italian coast, with her best friend and his movie-star boyfriend. Once settled into a luxurious seaside resort, Lizzie has to make big decisions about her future, and she needs the one thing she may be running out of: time.

She leaves the yacht owners and celebrities behind and sneaks off to the public beach, where she meets a sardonic chef named Dante, his battered dog, Lily, and his wry daughter, Etta, a twelve-year-old desperate for a mother. While Dante shows Lizzie the island’s secrets, and Etta dazzles with her irreverent humor, Lizzie is confronted with a dilemma. Is it right to fall in love if time is short? Is it better to find a mother briefly, or to have no mother at all? And most pressingly, are the delicacies of life worth tasting, even if you will get to savor them only for a short while?

A luscious story of love, courage, and Italian wine, Lizzie & Dante demands to know how far we should travel to find a future worth fighting for.
Visit Mary Bly/Eloisa James's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Safe and Sound"

Coming June 1 from HQ: Safe and Sound by Philippa East.

About the book, from the publisher:

How is it possible that her body went undiscovered for ten whole months?

Sarah Jones, by all accounts, is young, pretty, charismatic and full of life—a good tenant.

But after three months go by without Sarah paying her rent, property manager Jenn enters the small London apartment to find a radio is playing, a small dining table set for three, and a decomposing body curled up on the sofa…

How is it possible that almost a year went by before someone found Sarah? Who has been paying her rent? Who was she expecting for dinner the night she died? Jenn is determined to uncover the mystery but has demons of her own to contend with…

A masterfully plotted, intelligent and emotionally riveting psychological thriller for fans of Sally Hepworth and Lisa Jewell.
Follow Philippa East on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

"The Fall of Robespierre"

Coming September 1 from Oxford University Press: The Fall of Robespierre: 24 Hours in Revolutionary Paris by Colin Jones.

About the book, from the publisher:

The day of 9 Thermidor (27 July 1794) is universally acknowledged as a major turning-point in the history of the French Revolution. At 12.00 midnight, Maximilien Robespierre, the most prominent member of the Committee of Public Safety which had for more than a year directed the Reign of Terror, was planning to destroy one of the most dangerous plots that the Revolution had faced.

By 12.00 midnight at the close of the day, following a day of uncertainty, surprises, upsets and reverses, his world had been turned upside down. He was an outlaw, on the run, and himself wanted for conspiracy against the Republic. He felt that his whole life and his Revolutionary career were drawing to an end. As indeed they were. He shot himself shortly afterwards. Half-dead, the guillotine finished him off in grisly fashion the next day.

The Fall of Robespierre provides an hour-by-hour analysis of these 24 hours.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Planet Palm"

New from The New Press: Planet Palm: How Palm Oil Ended Up in Everything—and Endangered the World by Jocelyn C. Zuckerman.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the tradition of Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation, a groundbreaking global investigation into the industry ravaging the environment and global health—from the James Beard Award–winning journalist

“Palm oil . . . has quietly become one of the most indispensable substances on Earth.” —Jocelyn Zuckerman, in the New Yorker

Over the past few decades, palm oil has seeped into every corner of our lives. Worldwide, palm oil production has nearly doubled in just the last decade: oil-palm plantations now cover an area nearly the size of New Zealand, and some form of the commodity lurks in half the products on U.S. grocery shelves. But the palm oil revolution has been built on stolen land and slave labor; it’s swept away cultures and so devastated the landscapes of Southeast Asia that iconic animals now teeter on the brink of extinction. Fires lit to clear the way for plantations spew carbon emissions to rival those of industrialized nations.

James Beard Award–winning journalist Jocelyn C. Zuckerman spent years traveling the globe, from Liberia to Indonesia, India to Brazil, reporting on the human and environmental impacts of this poorly understood plant. The result is Planet Palm, a riveting account blending history, science, politics, and food as seen through the people whose lives have been upended by this hidden ingredient.

This groundbreaking work of first-rate journalism compels us to examine the connections between the choices we make at the grocery store and a planet under siege.
Visit Jocelyn C. Zuckerman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Olympus, Texas"

New from Doubleday: Olympus, Texas: A Novel by Stacey Swann.

About the book, from the publisher:

A bighearted debut with technicolor characters, plenty of Texas swagger, and a powder keg of a plot in which marriages struggle, rivalries flare, and secrets explode, all with a clever wink toward classical mythology.

The Briscoe family is once again the talk of their small town when March returns to East Texas two years after he was caught having an affair with his brother’s wife. His mother, June, hardly welcomes him back with open arms. Her husband’s own past affairs have made her tired of being the long-suffering spouse. Is it, perhaps, time for a change? Within days of March’s arrival, someone is dead, marriages are upended, and even the strongest of alliances are shattered. In the end, the ties that hold them together might be exactly what drag them all down.

An expansive tour de force, Olympus, Texas cleverly weaves elements of classical mythology into a thoroughly modern family saga, rich in drama and psychological complexity. After all, at some point, don’t we all wonder: What good is this destructive force we call love?
Visit Stacey Swann's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

"Gossip Men"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Gossip Men: J. Edgar Hoover, Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn, and the Politics of Insinuation by Christopher M. Elias.

About the book, from the publisher:

J. Edgar Hoover, Joseph McCarthy, and Roy Cohn were titanic figures in midcentury America, wielding national power in government and the legal system through intimidation and insinuation. Hoover’s FBI thrived on secrecy, threats, and illegal surveillance, while McCarthy and Cohn will forever be associated with the infamous anticommunist smear campaign of the early 1950s, which culminated in McCarthy’s public disgrace during televised Senate hearings. In Gossip Men, Christopher M. Elias takes a probing look at these tarnished figures to reveal a host of startling new connections among gender, sexuality, and national security in twentieth-century American politics. Elias illustrates how these three men solidified their power through the skillful use of deliberately misleading techniques like implication, hyperbole, and photographic manipulation. Just as provocatively, he shows that the American people of the 1950s were particularly primed to accept these coded threats because they were already familiar with such tactics from widely popular gossip magazines.

By using gossip as a lens to examine profound issues of state security and institutional power, Elias thoroughly transforms our understanding of the development of modern American political culture.
Visit Christopher M. Elias's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Against the Law"

New from Mysterious Press: Against the Law: A Joe the Bouncer Novel by David Gordon.

About the book, from the publisher:

A Special Forces agent turned strip club bouncer with a side hustle as a fixer for the New York mob seeks the source of a new brand of heroin flooding the city streets

Joe is an ex-Special Forces operative with a bad case of PTSD and some substance abuse issues, trying to rebuild a simple life as a strip club bouncer living with his grandmother in Queens. But this simple life is constantly complicated by the fact that, at the invitation of a childhood friend, now a Mafia boss, Joe also moonlights as a fixer for the most powerful crime families in town.

In his newest assignment, Joe is sent to take out a shadowy figure named Zahir, the faceless name behind White Angel, a powerful new brand of heroin invading the mob’s territories and threatening their sales. Then Joe discovers a link between Zahir and a shady group of private military contractors, and the stakes of his mission become increasingly deadly.

Soon the Five Boroughs are on the verge of an all-out drug war, pitting Joe and the crime world’s most infamous talents against a ruthless clan of professional killers. Joe’s only chance to calm the violence is to intercept the newest shipment of Zahir’s product—if his skills as a master thief prove up to the task.

A comic caper with heists, car chases, and shoot-outs aplenty, Against the Law is Joe the Bouncer’s most exciting outing to date, as humorous as it is thrilling. Gordon’s memorable characters, tight plotting, and breathless action sequences make this a standout in the pantheon of the New York crime novel, certain to appeal to fans of authors such as Donald E. Westlake and Elmore Leonard.
Visit David Gordon's blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Serialist.

The Page 69 Test: Mystery Girl.

The Page 69 Test: White Tiger on Snow Mountain.

Writers Read: David Gordon (August 2019).

The Page 69 Test: The Hard Stuff.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Painting the Light"

New from William Morrow: Painting the Light: A Novel by Sally Cabot Gunning.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the critically acclaimed author of Monticello and The Widow’s War comes a vividly rendered historical novel of love, loss, and reinvention, set on Martha’s Vineyard at the end of the nineteenth century.

Martha’s Vineyard, 1898. In her first life, Ida Russell had been a painter. Five years ago, she had confidently walked the halls of Boston’s renowned Museum School, enrolling in art courses that were once deemed “unthinkable” for women to take, and showing a budding talent for watercolors.

But no more. Ida Russell is now Ida Pease, resident of a seaside farm on Vineyard Haven, and wife to Ezra, a once-charming man who has become an inattentive and altogether unreliable husband. Ezra runs a salvage company in town with his business partner, Mose Barstow, but he much prefers their nightly card games at the local pub to his work in their Boston office, not to mention filling haystacks and tending sheep on the farm at home—duties that have fallen to Ida and their part-time farmhand, Lem. Ida, meanwhile, has left her love for painting behind.

It comes as no surprise to Ida when Ezra is hours late for a Thanksgiving dinner, only to leave abruptly for another supposedly urgent business trip to Boston. But then something truly unthinkable happens: a storm strikes, the ship carrying Ezra and Mose sinks, and they are presumed dead.

In the wake of this shocking tragedy, Ida must settle the affairs of Ezra’s estate, a task that brings her to a familiar face from her past—Henry Barstow, Mose’s brother and executor. As she joins Henry in sifting through the remnants of her husband’s life and work, Ida must learn to separate truth from lies and what matters from what doesn’t.

Painting the Light is an arresting portrait of a woman, and a considered meditation on loss and love.
Learn more about the author and her work at Sally Cabot Gunning's website.

The Page 69 Test: Bound.

The Page 69 Test: The Rebellion of Jane Clarke.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 17, 2021

"The Accidental History of the U.S. Immigration Courts"

New from the University of California Press: The Accidental History of the U.S. Immigration Courts: War, Fear, and the Roots of Dysfunction by Alison Peck.

About the book, from the publisher:

How the immigration courts became part of the nation’s law enforcement agency—and how to reshape them.

During the Trump administration, the immigration courts were decried as more politicized enforcement weapon than impartial tribunal. Yet few people are aware of a fundamental flaw in the system that has long pre-dated that administration: The immigration courts are not really “courts” at all but an office of the Department of Justice—the nation’s law enforcement agency.

This original and surprising diagnosis shows how paranoia sparked by World War II and the War on Terror drove the structure of the immigration courts. Focusing on previously unstudied decisions in the Roosevelt and Bush administrations, the narrative laid out in this book divulges both the human tragedy of our current immigration court system and the human crises that led to its creation. Moving the reader from understanding to action, Alison Peck offers a lens through which to evaluate contemporary bills and proposals to reform our immigration court system. Peck provides an accessible legal analysis of recent events to make the case for independent immigration courts, proposing that the courts be moved into an independent, Article I court system. As long as the immigration courts remain under the authority of the attorney general, the administration of immigration justice will remain a game of political football—with people’s very lives on the line.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Chosen and the Beautiful"

New from Tordotcom / Tor/Forge: The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo.

About the book, from the publisher:

Immigrant. Socialite. Magician.

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer and Asian, a Vietnamese adoptee treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.

But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.

Nghi Vo’s debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.
Visit Nghi Vo's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 16, 2021

"Malibu Rising"

New from Ballantine Books: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo ... Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever.

Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud—because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own—including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come rising to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.
Learn more about the book and author at Taylor Jenkins Reid's website.

The Page 69 Test: Forever, Interrupted.

Writers Read: Taylor Jenkins Reid (June 2014).

The Page 69 Test: After I Do.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Playing with History"

New from Rutgers University Press: Playing with History: American Identities and Children’s Consumer Culture by Molly Rosner.

About the book, from the publisher:

Since the advent of the American toy industry, children’s cultural products have attempted to teach and sell ideas of American identity. By examining cultural products geared towards teaching children American history, Playing With History highlights the changes and constancies in depictions of the American story and ideals of citizenship over the last one hundred years. This book examines political and ideological messages sold to children throughout the twentieth century, tracing the messages conveyed by racist toy banks, early governmental interventions meant to protect the toy industry, influences and pressures surrounding Cold War stories of the western frontier, the fractures visible in the American story at a mid-century history themed amusement park. The study culminates in a look at the successes and limitations of the American Girl Company empire.
Follow Molly Rosner on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 15, 2021

"Kiss and Repeat"

New from Feiwel & Friends / Swoon Reads: Kiss and Repeat by Heather Truett.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Heather Truett's Kiss and Repeat, a teen uses the scientific method drilled into him by his scientist father to begin a kissing experiment. Only the experiment gets messy, and Stephen will have to come clean if he wants to win one girl's heart in this heartfelt and funny YA debut.

Stephen Luckie isn't so lucky in love. He's completely inexperienced when it comes to girls, and wonders if his tics - caused by Tourette's Syndrome – are the reason.

Then a game at a party reveals that his body goes still while kissing. Using the scientific method drilled into him by his scientist father, Steven begins the best experiment ever--one that involves kissing as many girls as possible. Who knew science could be so fun?

But when the experiment gets underway, Stephen begins to question how he treats girls - and if his tics have been standing in his way at all. With two girls interested in him, he has to figure out what really matters to him and what he'll risk - and gain - by being his true self.
Visit Heather Truett's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 14, 2021

"Feeling Like It"

New from Oxford University Press: Feeling Like It: A Theory of Inclination and Will by Tamar Schapiro.

About the book, from the publisher:

You may have an inclination to do it, but there is still a moment when you can decide to do it or not. This "moment of drama" is more puzzling than it first appears. When you are inclined to do something, are you related to your inclination as rider to horse? As ruler to subject? As thinker to thoughts? Schapiro shows that these familiar pictures fail to confront the central puzzle. Inclinations are motives with respect to which we are distinctively passive. But to be motivated is to be active—to be self-moved. How can you be passive in relation to your own activity? Schapiro puts forward an "inner animal" view, inspired by Kant, which holds that when you are merely inclined to act, the instinctive part of yourself is already active, while the rest of you is not. At this moment, your will is at a crossroads. You can humanize your inclination, or you can dehumanize yourself. Feeling Like It provides a concise and accessible investigation of a new problem at the intersection of ethics, philosophy of action, and philosophy of mind.
Tamar Schapiro holds a BA from Yale and a PhD in Philosophy from Harvard. She taught in the department of philosophy at Stanford for many years before joining MIT, where she is currently Associate Professor of Philosophy. She has published articles on Kantian ethics, the theory of action, and motivational psychology.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 13, 2021

"The Bone Field"

New from Kensington Books: The Bone Field by Debra Bokur.

About the book, from the publisher:

Celebrated travel writer Debra Bokur reveals the dark side of paradise while exploring the nuanced culture and captivating beauty of Hawaii in The Bone Field, the second installment in her acclaimed series featuring Maui detective and Hawaiian cultural expert Kali Māhoe.

A series of strange cold-case ritual murders leads Maui detective Kali Māhoe on a trail of legendary vengeful spirits and more human monsters in paradise.


Kali Māhoe, Hawaiian cultural expert and detective with the Maui Police Department, has been called to a bizarre crime scene. In the recesses of a deep trench on Lanai Island, a derelict refrigerator has been unearthed. Entombed inside are the skeletal remains of someone buried decades ago. Identification is a challenge. The body is headless, the skull replaced with a chilling adornment: a large, ornately carved wooden pineapple.

The old field soon yields more long-buried secrets, and Kali is led along an increasingly winding path that brings to light an unlikely suspect, an illegal cock-fighting organization, and a strange symbol connected to a long-disbanded religious cult. Her task is to dispel the dark shadows lingering over the Palawai Basin plains, and to solve a puzzle that no one wants exposed by the bright, hot tropical light.

To discover the answer, Kali will be drawn deeper in the mysteries of the island's ancient legends—stories that tell of an enraged rooster god and man-eating monsters. For Kali, a detective of sound logic and reason, it's not easy to consider the unknown for explanations for what appears to be a series of illogical links in a twisting chain of deadly events. Or safe. Because the dormant pineapple fields of Lanai have yet to give up their darkest and most terrifying secrets.
Visit Debra Bokur's website.

Q&A with Debra Bokur.

The Page 69 Test: The Fire Thief.

My Book, The Movie: The Fire Thief.

--Marshal Zeringue

"We the Gamers"

New from Oxford University Press: We the Gamers: How Games Teach Ethics and Civics by Karen Schrier.

About the book, from the publisher:

Distrust. Division. Disparity. Is our world in disrepair?

Ethics and civics have always mattered, but perhaps they matter now more than ever before. Recently, with the rise of online teaching and movements like #PlayApartTogether, games have become increasingly acknowledged as platforms for civic deliberation and value sharing. We the Gamers explores these possibilities by examining how we connect, communicate, analyze, and discover when we play games. Combining research-based perspectives and current examples, this volume shows how games can be used in ethics, civics, and social studies education to inspire learning, critical thinking, and civic change.

We the Gamers introduces and explores various educational frameworks through a range of games and interactive experiences including board and card games, online games, virtual reality and augmented reality games, and digital games like Minecraft, Executive Command, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, Fortnite, When Rivers Were Trails, Politicraft, Quandary, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The book systematically evaluates the types of skills, concepts, and knowledge needed for civic and ethical engagement, and details how games can foster these skills in classrooms, remote learning environments, and other educational settings. We the Gamers also explores the obstacles to learning with games and how to overcome those obstacles by encouraging equity and inclusion, care and compassion, and fairness and justice.

Featuring helpful tips and case studies, We the Gamers shows teachers the strengths and limitations of games in helping students connect with civics and ethics, and imagines how we might repair and remake our world through gaming, together.
Visit Karen Schrier's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

"Lights Out in Lincolnwood"

Coming July 6 from Harper Perennial: Lights Out in Lincolnwood: A Novel by Geoff Rodkey.

About the book, from the publisher:

A mordantly funny, all-too-real novel in the vein of Tom Perotta and Emma Straub about a suburban American family who have to figure out how to survive themselves and their neighbors in the wake of a global calamity that upends all of modern life.

It’s Tuesday morning in Lincolnwood, New Jersey, and all four members of the Altman family are busy ignoring each other en route to work and school. Dan, a lawyer turned screenwriter, is preoccupied with satisfying his imperious TV producer boss’s creative demands. Seventeen-year-old daughter Chloe obsesses over her college application essay and the state tennis semifinals. Her vape-addicted little brother, Max, silently plots revenge against a thuggish freshman classmate. And their MBA-educated mom Jen, who gave up a successful business career to raise the kids, is counting the minutes until the others vacate the kitchen and she can pour her first vodka of the day.

Then, as the kids begin their school day and Dan rides a commuter train into Manhattan, the world comes to a sudden, inexplicable stop. Lights, phones, laptops, cars, trains…the entire technological infrastructure of 21st-century society quits working. Normal life, as the Altmans and everyone else knew it, is over.

Or is it?

Over four transformative, chaotic days, this privileged but clueless American family will struggle to hold it together in the face of water shortages, paramilitary neighbors, and the well-mannered looting of the local Whole Foods as they try to figure out just what the hell is going on.
Visit Geoff Rodkey's website.

--Marshal Zeringue