Thursday, June 30, 2022

"Half Outlaw"

New from Blackstone: Half Outlaw by Alex Temblador.

About the book, from the publisher:

Looking for the missing half of herself, a woman goes on one last ride with the motorcycle club that raised her, and gets more than she bargained for.

After the tragic death of her parents when she was just four years old, Raqi is sent to live with her uncle Dodge in Escondido, California. Taking after her Mexican father, Raqi immediately faces hostility from the members of Dodge’s all-white, 1 percenter motorcycle club, the Lawless, and from her uncle himself. Being raised by a drug addict is no picnic, and Raqi must quickly learn how to survive. She manages to form a few friendships. Still, as soon as she can, she leaves the violence and bigotry behind and doesn’t look back.

Years later, Raqi is a successful partner at a law firm in Los Angeles. She gets a call from Billy, the leader of the Lawless. Dodge is dead, and Billy wants her to go on the Grieving Ride, a special ride taken for all deceased members, and one that strictly follows the deceased’s wishes. There is no way Raqi would ever attend, except for one thing: Billy promises to give her the address of her grandfather if she goes on the ride. It’s the address of her father’s father, her Mexican grandfather. Learning for the first time that she has other family and desperate to connect, she agrees. But this will be no ordinary Grieving Ride. Raqi is reacquainted with her old bike and with the various club members. During the cross-country trek, she will learn more about her uncle, and about herself, than she ever imagined possible.

Alternating between Raqi’s childhood and a present 90s setting, and accented by moments of magical realism, Half Outlaw is the story of one woman’s quest to find a better future while still wrestling with a tumultuous past. In her first adult novel, Alex Temblador gives readers an immersive look into a dangerous subculture at the end of an era, and a powerful and heartfelt story that explores self-knowledge, acceptance, and the meaning of family.
Visit Alex Temblador's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"On Believing"

New from Oxford University Press: On Believing: Being Right in a World of Possibilities by David Hunter.

About the book, from the publisher:

Developing original accounts of the many aspects of belief, On Believing puts the believer at the heart of the story. Hunter argues that to believe something is to be in position to do, think, and feel things in light of a possibility whose obtaining would make one right. The logical aspect is that being right depends only on whether that possibility obtains. The psychological one concerns how that possibility can rationalise what one does, thinks, and feels. But, Hunter argues, beliefs are not causes, capacities, or dispositions. Rather, believing rationalises because possibilities are potential reasons. Hunter also denies that believing is a form of representing. The objects of belief are possibilities, not representations, and belief states are not themselves true or false. Hunter defends this modal view against familiar objections and explores how objective and subjective limits to belief generate credal illusions and ground credal necessities. Developing a novel account of the normativity of belief, he argues that voluntary acts of inference make us responsible for our beliefs. While denying that believing is intrinsically normative, Hunter grounds the ethics of belief in attributive goodness. Believing something is to our credit when it shows us to be good in some way, and what we ought to believe depends on what we ought to know, and not on the evidence we have. The ethics of belief, Hunter argues, concern how a believer ought to be positioned in a world of possibilities.
Visit David Hunter's website.

--Marshal Zeringue


New from Tor Nightfire: Mary: An Awakening of Terror by Nat Cassidy.

About the book, from the publisher:

Nat Cassidy’s highly commercial, debut horror novel Mary: An Awakening of Terror, blends Midsommar with elements of American Psycho and a pinch of I'll Be Gone in the Dark.

Mary is a quiet, middle-aged woman doing her best to blend into the background. Unremarkable. Invisible. Unknown even to herself.

But lately, things have been changing inside Mary. Along with the hot flashes and body aches, she can’t look in a mirror without passing out, and the voices in her head have been urging her to do unspeakable things.

Fired from her job in New York, she moves back to her hometown, hoping to reconnect with her past and inner self. Instead, visions of terrifying, mutilated specters overwhelm her with increasing regularity and she begins auto-writing strange thoughts and phrases. Mary discovers that these experiences are echoes of an infamous serial killer.

Then the killings begin again.

Mary’s definitely going to find herself.
Visit Nat Cassidy's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

"FDR: Transforming the Presidency and Renewing America"

New from Bloomsbury Academic: FDR: Transforming the Presidency and Renewing America by Iwan Morgan.

About the book, from the publisher:

One of the greatest American presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt built a coalition of labour, ethnic, urban, low-income and African-American voters that underwrote the Democratic Party's national ascendancy from the 1930s to the 1980s. Over his four terms, he promoted the New Deal – the greatest reform programme in US history – to meet the challenges of the Great Depression, led the United States to the brink of victory in the Second World War, and established the modern presidency as the driving force of American politics and government.

Iwan Morgan takes a fresh look at FDR, showing how his leadership enabled the United States of America to become the most successful country of the twentieth century. This astute and original assessment of a highly consequential presidency explains how Roosevelt enhanced the governing capacity of his office, promoted a constitutional revolution through his dealings with the Supreme Court, and forged a new intimacy between the president and the American people through his genius for political communication. It also demonstrates the significance of his organizational and strategic leadership as commander-in-chief in America's greatest foreign war, his role in holding together the US-British-Soviet Grand Alliance against the Axis powers, and his pioneering development of the national-security presidency that sought to promote a lasting post-war peace for the world.

In fluid, immensely readable prose, Morgan focuses on the ways in which FDR transformed the presidency into an institution of domestic and international leadership to establish the modern ideal of the office as an assertive, democratic executive charged with meeting the challenges facing the US at home and abroad.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Recruit"

New from Random House: The Recruit: A Novel by Alan Drew.

About the book, from the publisher:

An idyllic California town. A deadly secret. A race against killers hidden in plain sight....

Rancho Santa Elena in 1987 seems like the ideal Southern California paradise—that is, until a series of strange crimes threatens to unravel the town’s social fabric: workers attacked with mysterious weapons; a wealthy real estate developer found dead in the pool of his beach house. The only clues are poison and red threads found at both crime scenes. As Detective Benjamin Wade and forensic expert Natasha Betencourt struggle to connect the incidents, they begin to wonder: Why Santa Elena? And why now?

Soon Ben zeroes in on a vicious gang of youths involved in the town’s burgeoning white power movement. As he and Natasha uncover the truth about Santa Elena’s unsavory underbelly, Ben discovers that the group is linked to a much wider terror network, one that’s using a new technology called the internet to spread its ideology, plan attacks, and lure young men into doing its bidding. Ben closes in on identifying the gang’s latest target, hoping that the young recruit will lead him to the mastermind of the growing network. But as he digs deeper in an ever-widening investigation, Ben is forced to confront uncomfortable truths about himself and his beloved community, where corruption is ignored and prejudice is wielded against fellow citizens without fear of reprisal.

Chilling and timely, The Recruit follows one man’s descent into the darkness lurking just beneath the respectable veneer of modern life.
Visit Alan Drew's website.

My Book, The Movie: Shadow Man.

Writers Read: Alan Drew (June 2017).

The Page 69 Test: Shadow Man.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

"The Souls of White Jokes"

New from Stanford University Press: The Souls of White Jokes: How Racist Humor Fuels White Supremacy by Raúl Pérez.

About the book, from the publisher:

A rigorous study of the social meaning and consequences of racist humor, and a damning argument for when the joke is not just a joke.

Having a "good" sense of humor generally means being able to take a joke without getting offended—laughing even at a taboo thought or at another's expense. The insinuation is that laughter eases social tension and creates solidarity in an overly politicized social world. But do the stakes change when the jokes are racist? In The Souls of White Jokes Raúl Pérez argues that we must genuinely confront this unsettling question in order to fully understand the persistence of anti-black racism and white supremacy in American society today.

W.E.B. Du Bois's prescient essay "The Souls of White Folk" was one of the first to theorize whiteness as a social and political construct based on a feeling of superiority over racialized others—a kind of racial contempt. Pérez extends this theory to the study of humor, connecting theories of racial formation to parallel ideas about humor stemming from laughter at another's misfortune. Critically synthesizing scholarship on race, humor, and emotions, he uncovers a key function of humor as a tool for producing racial alienation, dehumanization, exclusion, and even violence. Pérez tracks this use of humor from blackface minstrelsy to contemporary contexts, including police culture, politics, and far-right extremists. Rather than being harmless fun, this humor plays a central role in reinforcing and mobilizing racist ideology and power under the guise of amusement.

The Souls of White Jokes exposes this malicious side of humor, while also revealing a new facet of racism today. Though it can be comforting to imagine racism as coming from racial hatred and anger, the terrifying reality is that it is tied up in seemingly benign, even joyful, everyday interactions as well— and for racism to be eradicated we must face this truth.
Follow Raúl Pérez on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Night Shift"

New from Park Row Books: The Night Shift: A Novel by Natalka Burian.

About the book, from the publisher:

Only by traveling into the past can Jean discover a happy future…

Hidden behind back doors of bars and restaurants and theaters and shops all over New York City are shortcuts—secret passageways that allow you to jump through time and space to emerge in different parts of the city. No one knows where they came from, but there are rules—you can only travel through them one way and only at night.

When Jean’s work friend Iggy introduces her to the shortcuts, it’s to help shorten her commute between her night shifts bartending and her work at an upscale bakery. Jean is intrigued but has a hard time shaking the side effects—the shortcuts make her more talkative, more open to discussing her past and recalling memories she’s tried hard to forget.

When Iggy goes missing, Jean believes it’s related to the shortcuts and his growing obsession with them. But as she starts digging into their origins, she comes to find a strange connection between herself and the shortcuts. A shimmering, propulsive novel set in New York City during the early aughts and across time, The Night Shift shows that by confronting the past can we reshape our future.
Follow Natalka Burian on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

"A Theory of Subjective Wellbeing"

New from Oxford University Press: A Theory of Subjective Wellbeing by Mark Fabian.

About the book, from the publisher:

The study of 'subjective wellbeing' has seen explosive growth in recent decades, opening important new discourses in personality and social psychology, happiness economics, and moral philosophy. Now it is moving into the policy domain. In this it has arguably overstepped its limits. The shallow theoretical base of subjective wellbeing research, the limitations of its measurement instruments, and its ethical naivety makes policymaking on the basis of its findings a risky venture. The present volume is an attempt to shore up these weaknesses and set subjective wellbeing scholarship on a course for several more decades of growth and maturity. It presents a theory of subjective wellbeing in two parts. The first is the subjective wellbeing production function-a model of wellbeing as outcome. The second is the coalescence of being: a model of the self-actualisation process by which wellbeing is achieved. This two-part model integrates not only ideas in SWB studies and analytical philosophy, but also ideas from clinical, moral, and developmental psychology, continental philosophy, and welfare economics. Importantly, this theory is ethically sensitive, bridging the gap between psychological and philosophical perspectives on wellbeing that illuminates the complexities facing the application of subjective wellbeing in public policy. The book also provides a thorough review of various ways complex theories of subjective wellbeing can be studied empirically, and the hard trade offs between long surveys that capture the richness of the concept and the short surveys that are feasible in the context of social surveys and policy analysis.
Follow Mark Fabian on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 27, 2022

"A Heavy Dose of Allison Tandy"

New from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers: A Heavy Dose of Allison Tandy by Jeff Bishop.

About the book, from the publisher:

You’ve Reached Sam meets John Hughes in a funny and heartfelt debut about a boy’s delirious summertime quest with his ex-girlfriend.

The summer after senior year should have been a time for Cam to party and hang out with his friends. It should also have been a time for him to win back the love of his life, Allison Tandy, who’d dumped him so brutally the year before.

But it quickly becomes clear that this summer is going to be worse than a failure for Cam. It’s going to be a tragedy.

Ally is left comatose after a terrible car crash, then Cam tears his ACL in a basketball accident. The operation leaves him in agony, confined to his couch and ruminating over the fact that his ex may not survive.

But when (after taking his medication) Cam starts seeing Ally, he starts to think: 1. He may be headed for a complete mental breakdown and 2. This summer might just be interesting afterall.

Brimming with honesty and humor, A Heavy Dose of Allison Tandy interrogates how much control we really have over matters of love—and life.
Visit Jeff Bishop's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Forging the Anglo-American Alliance"

New from the University Press of Kansas: Forging the Anglo-American Alliance: The British and American Armies, 1917-1941 by Tyler R. Bamford.

About the book, from the publisher:

The joint British and US campaigns in the European theater of operations during World War II rank among the most impressive examples of coalition warfare in history. In just eighteen months, the US and British armies integrated their planning, intelligence, and command structures more thoroughly than any previous alliance. Millions of British and American soldiers fighting alongside one another liberated North Africa, France, Italy, and western Germany.

How did these two armies come together so quickly? How did they combine their forces to a degree never before seen among the services of sovereign nations? And how did they sustain their alliance in the face of severe disagreements and battlefield setbacks? In Forging the Anglo-American Alliance, Tyler Bamford answers these questions by presenting the first history of the two armies’ relations from 1917 to 1941.

Great Britain and the United States emerged from World War I as the strongest military powers in the world. Forging the Anglo-American Alliance examines why the armies of these two nations chose to view each other as their closest strategic partner instead of their greatest potential threat and illustrates the legacy that World War I had on the attitudes of the US and British armies toward one another and alliance warfare.

Through personal interactions and military education in the years leading up to World War II, army officers shared large amounts of military intelligence and formed positive opinions of one another. As the threat of Germany and Japan grew, army officers were the first to anticipate the need for an alliance between their nations and to begin thinking about ways to structure their combined forces. Using untapped archival sources, official reports, and officers’ personal papers, Bamford presents an important and engaging new analysis of how this partnership grew out of the experiences and initiative of British and US Army officers and attachés during World War I and the two decades that followed.
Follow Tyler R. Bamford on Facebook.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Sirens & Muses"

New from Ballantine Books: Sirens & Muses: A Novel by Antonia Angress.

About the book, from the publisher:

Four artists are drawn into a web of rivalry and desire at an elite art school and on the streets of New York in this magnificent debut for fans of Writers & Lovers and The Goldfinch.

It’s 2011: America is in a deep recession and Occupy Wall Street is escalating. But at the elite Wrynn College of Art, students paint and sculpt in a rarefied bubble. Louisa Arceneaux is a thoughtful, observant nineteen-year-old when she transfers to Wrynn as a scholarship student, but she soon finds herself adrift in an environment that prizes novelty over beauty. Complicating matters is Louisa’s unexpected attraction to her charismatic roommate, Karina Piontek, the preternaturally gifted but mercurial daughter of wealthy art collectors. Gradually, Louisa and Karina are drawn into an intense sensual and artistic relationship, one that forces them to confront their deepest desires and fears. But Karina also can’t shake her fascination with Preston Utley, a senior and anti-capitalist Internet provocateur, who is publicly feuding with visiting professor and political painter Robert Berger—a once-controversial figurehead seeking to regain relevance.

When Preston concocts an explosive hoax, the fates of all four artists are upended as each is unexpectedly thrust into the cutthroat New York art world. Now all must struggle to find new identities in art, in society, and among each other. In the process, they must find either their most authentic terms of life—of success, failure, and joy—or risk losing themselves altogether.

With a canny, critical eye, Sirens & Muses overturns notions of class, money, art, youth, and a generation’s fight to own their future.
Visit Antonia Angress's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 26, 2022

"1368: China and the Making of the Modern World"

New from Stanford University Press: 1368: China and the Making of the Modern World by Ali Humayun Akhtar.

About the book, from the publisher:

A new picture of China's rise since the Age of Exploration and its historical impact on the modern world.

The establishment of the Great Ming dynasty in 1368 was a monumental event in world history. A century before Columbus, Beijing sent a series of diplomatic missions across the South China Sea and Indian Ocean that paved the way for China's first modern global era. 1368 maps China's ascendance from the embassies of Admiral Zheng He to the arrival of European mariners and the shock of the Opium Wars. In Ali Humayun Akhtar's new picture of world history, China's current rise evokes an earlier epoch, one that sheds light on where Beijing is heading today.

Spectacular accounts in Persian and Ottoman Turkish describe palaces of silk and jade in Beijing's Forbidden City. Malay legends recount stories of Chinese princesses arriving in Melaka with gifts of porcelain and gold. During Europe's Age of Exploration, Iberian mariners charted new passages to China, which the Dutch and British East India Companies transformed into lucrative tea routes.

But during the British Industrial Revolution, the rise of steam engines and factories allowed the export of the very commodities once imported from China. By the end of the Opium Wars and the arrival of Commodore Perry in Japan, Chinese and Japanese reformers called for their own industrial revolutions to propel them into the twentieth century.

What has the world learned from China since the Ming, and how did China reemerge in the 1970s as a manufacturing superpower? Akhtar's book provides much-needed context for understanding China's rise today and the future of its connections with both the West and a resurgent Asia.
--Marshal Zeringue

"What Jonah Knew"

New from Harper Paperbacks: What Jonah Knew: A Novel by Barbara Graham.

About the book, from the publisher:

A seven-year-old boy inexplicably recalls the memories of a missing 22-year-old musician in this psychological thriller about the fierce love between mothers and sons across lifetimes, a work of gripping suspense with a supernatural twist that will mesmerize fans of Chloe Benjamin and Lisa Jewell.

Helen Bird will stop at nothing to find Henry, her musician son who has mysteriously disappeared in upstate New York. Though the cops believe Henry’s absence is voluntary, Helen knows better.

While she searches for him—joined finally by police—Jonah is born to Lucie and Matt Pressman of Manhattan. Lucie does all she can to be the kind of loving, attentive mother she never had, but can’t stop Jonah’s night terrors or his obsession with the imaginary “other mom and dog” he insists are real.

Whether Jonah’s anxiety is caused by nature or nurture—or something else entirely—is the propulsive mystery at the heart of the novel.

All hell breaks loose when the Pressmans rent a summer cottage in Aurora Falls, where Helen lives. How does Jonah, at seven, know so much about Henry, Helen’s still-missing son? Is it just a bizarre coincidence? An expression of Jung’s collective unconscious? Or could Jonah be the reincarnation of Henry?

Faced with more questions than answers, Helen and Lucie set out to make sense of the insensible, a heart-stopping quest that forces them to redefine not just what it is to be a mother or a human being, but the very nature of life—and death—because of what Jonah knows.
Visit Barbara Graham's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 25, 2022

"Places of Tenderness and Heat"

New from Cornell University Press: Places of Tenderness and Heat: The Queer Milieu of Fin-de-Siècle St. Petersburg by Olga Petri.

About the book, from the publisher:

Places of Tenderness and Heat is a ground-level exploration of queer St. Petersburg at the fin-de-siècle. Olga Petri takes us through busy shopping arcades, bathhouses, and public urinals to show how queer men routinely met and socialized. She reconstructs the milieu that enabled them to navigate a city full of risk and opportunity.

Focusing on a non-Western, unexplored, and fragile form of urban modernity, Petri reconstructs a broad picture of queer sociability. In addition to drawing on explicitly recorded incidents that led to prosecution or medical treatment, she investigates the many encounters that escaped bureaucratic surveillance and suppression. Her work reveals how queer men's lives were conditioned by developing urban infrastructure, weather, light and lighting, and the informal constraints on enforcing law and moral order in the city's public spaces.

Places of Tenderness and Heat is an ambitious record of the dynamic negotiation of illicit male homosexual sex, friendship, and cruising and uncovers a historically fascinating urban milieu in which efforts to manage the moral landscape often unintentionally facilitated queer encounters.
Follow Olga Petri on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Wake the Bones"

New from Wednesday Books: Wake the Bones: A Novel by Elizabeth Kilcoyne.

About the book, from the publisher:

The sleepy little farm that Laurel Early grew up on has awakened. The woods are shifting, the soil is dead under her hands, and her bone pile just stood up and walked away.

After dropping out of college, all she wanted was to resume her life as a tobacco hand and taxidermist and try not to think about the boy she can’t help but love. Instead, a devil from her past has returned to court her, as he did her late mother years earlier. Now, Laurel must unravel her mother’s terrifying legacy and tap into her own innate magic before her future and the fate of everyone she loves is doomed.

Elizabeth Kilcoyne’s Wake the Bones is a dark, atmospheric debut about the complicated feelings that arise when the place you call home becomes hostile.
Visit Elizabeth Kilcoyne's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 24, 2022


New from Oxford University Press: Epiphanies: An Ethics of Experience by Sophie Grace Chappell.

About the book, from the publisher:

Epiphanies is a philosophical exploration of epiphanies, peak experiences, 'wow moments', or ecstasies as they are sometimes called.

What are epiphanies, and why do so many people so frequently experience them? Are they just transient phenomena in our brains, or are they the revelations of objective value that they very often seem to be? What do they tell us about the world, and about ourselves? How, if at all, do epiphanies fit in with our moral systems and our theories of how to live? And how do epiphanic experiences fit in with the rest of our lives?

These are Sophie Grace Chappell's questions in this ground-breaking new study of an area of inquiry that has always been right under our noses, but remains surprisingly under-explored in contemporary philosophy.
Follow Sophie Grace Chappell on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Local"

New from Doubleday: The Local: A Legal Thriller by Joey Hartstone.

About the book, from the publisher:

A freewheeling, small-town attorney takes on a national murder trial when an out-of-town client is accused of killing a federal judge in Texas.

In the town of Marshall sits the Federal courthouse of the Eastern District of Texas, a place revered by patent lawyers for its speedy jury trails and massive punitive payouts. Marshall is flooded with patent lawyers, all of whom find work being the local voice for the big-city legal teams that need to sway a small-town jury. One of the best is James Euchre.

Euchre’s new client is Amir Zawar, a firebrand CEO forced to defend his life’s work against a software patent infringement. Late one night, after a heated confrontation in a preliminary hearing, Judge Gardner is found murdered in the courthouse parking lot. All signs point to Zawar—he has motive, he has opportunity, and he has no alibi. Moreover, he is an outsider, a wealthy Pakistani-American businessman, the son of immigrants, who stands accused of killing a beloved hometown hero.

Zawar claims his innocence, and demands that Euchre defend him. It’s the last thing Euchre wants—Judge Gardner was his good friend and mentor—but the only way he can get definitive answers is to take the case. With the help of a former prosecutor and a local PI, Euchre must navigate the byzantine world of criminal defense law in a town where everyone knows everyone, and bad blood has a long history. The deeper he digs, the more he fears that he’ll either send an innocent man to death row or set a murderer free.

The Local is a small-town legal thriller as big in scope as Texas. It crackles with courtroom tension and high stakes gambits on every page to the final, shocking verdict.
Visit Joey Hartstone's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"How to Do Things with Dead People"

New from Cornell University Press: How to Do Things with Dead People: History, Technology, and Temporality from Shakespeare to Warhol by Alice Dailey.

About the book, from the publisher:

How to Do Things with Dead People studies human contrivances for representing and relating to the dead. Alice Dailey takes as her principal objects of inquiry Shakespeare's English history plays, describing them as reproductive mechanisms by which living replicas of dead historical figures are regenerated in the present and re-killed. Considering the plays in these terms exposes their affinity with a transhistorical array of technologies for producing, reproducing, and interacting with dead things—technologies such as literary doppelgängers, photography, ventriloquist puppetry, X-ray imaging, glitch art, capital punishment machines, and cloning.

By situating Shakespeare's historical drama in this intermedial conversation, Dailey challenges conventional assumptions about what constitutes the context of a work of art and contests foundational models of linear temporality that inform long-standing conceptions of historical periodization and teleological order. Working from an eclectic body of theories, pictures, and machines that transcend time and media, Dailey composes a searching exploration of how the living use the dead to think back and look forward, to rule, to love, to wish and create.
Follow Alice Dailey on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 23, 2022

"Nura and the Immortal Palace"

New from Little, Brown: Nura and the Immortal Palace by M. T. Khan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Aru Shah and the End of Time meets Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away in this mesmerizing portal fantasy that takes readers into the little-known world of Jinn.

Nura longs for the simple pleasure of many things—to wear a beautiful red dupatta or to bite into a sweet gulab. But with her mom hard at work in a run-down sweatshop and three younger siblings to feed, Nura must spend her days earning money by mica mining. But it’s not just the extra rupees in her pocket Nura is after. Local rumor says there’s buried treasure in the mine, and Nura knows that finding it could change the course of her family’s life forever.

Her plan backfires when the mines collapse and four kids, including her best friend, Faisal, are claimed dead. Nura refuses to believe it and shovels her way through the dirt hoping to find him. Instead, she finds herself at the entrance to a strange world of purple skies and pink seas—a portal to the opulent realm of jinn, inhabited by the trickster creatures from her mother’s cautionary tales. Yet they aren’t nearly as treacherous as her mother made them out to be, because Nura is invited to a luxury jinn hotel, where she’s given everything she could ever imagine and more.

But there’s a dark truth lurking beneath all that glitter and gold, and when Nura crosses the owner’s son and is banished to the working quarters, she realizes she isn’t the only human who’s ended up in the hotel’s clutches. Faisal and the other missing children are there, too, and if Nura can’t find a way to help them all escape, they’ll be bound to work for the hotel forever.

Set in a rural industrial town in Pakistan and full of hope, heart, and humor, Nura and the Immortal Palace is inspired by M.T. Khan’s own Pakistani Muslim heritage.
Visit M.T. Khan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Gender-Critical Feminism"

New from Oxford University Press: Gender-Critical Feminism by Holly Lawford-Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:

The expectation used to be that men would be masculine and women would be feminine, and this was assumed to come naturally to them in virtue of their biology. That orthodoxy persists today in many parts of society. On this view, sex is gender and gender is sex.

A new view of gender has emerged in recent years, a view on which gender is an 'identity', a way that people feel about themselves in terms of masculinity or femininity, regardless of their sex. On this view, sex is dismissed as unimportant, and gender is made paramount.

In the rush to celebrate this new view of gender, we have lost sight of a more powerful challenge to the traditional orthodoxy, namely the feminist sex/gender distinction according to which sex is biological and gender is social. On this view, gender is something done to people on the basis of sex. Women are socialised to conform to norms of femininity (and sanctioned for failure), and masculinity and femininity exist in a hierarchy in which femininity is devalued. This view helps us to understand injustice against women, and what we can do about it.

Holly Lawford-Smith introduces and defends gender-critical feminism, a theory and movement that reclaims the sex/gender distinction, insists upon the reality and importance of sex, and continues to understand gender as a way that men and women are made to be, rather than a way they really are.
Visit Holly Lawford-Smith's website.

The Page 99 Test: Not In Their Name.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Human Blues"

New from Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: Human Blues: A Novel by Elisa Albert.

About the book, from the publisher:

From an author whose writing has been praised as “blistering” (The New Yorker), “virtuosic” (The Washington Post), and “brilliant” (The New York Times) comes a provocative and entertaining novel about a woman who desperately wants a child but struggles to accept the use of assisted reproductive technology—a hilarious and ferocious send-up of feminism, fame, art, commerce, and autonomy.

On the eve of her fourth album, singer-songwriter Aviva Rosner is plagued by infertility. The twist: as much as Aviva wants a child, she is wary of technological conception, and has poured her ambivalence into her music. As the album makes its way in the world, the shock of the response from fans and critics is at first exciting—and then invasive and strange. Aviva never wanted to be famous, or did she? Meanwhile, her evolving obsession with another iconic musician, gone too soon, might just help her make sense of things.

Told over the course of nine menstrual cycles, Human Blues is a bold, brainy, darkly funny, utterly original interrogation of our cultural obsession with childbearing. It’s also the story of one fearless woman at the crossroads, ruthlessly questioning what she wants and what she’s willing—or not willing—to do to get it.
Learn more about the author and her work at Elisa Albert's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Book of Dahlia.

The Page 69 Test: After Birth.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Unmaking Migrants"

New from Cornell University Press: Unmaking Migrants: Nigeria's Campaign to End Human Trafficking by Stacey Vanderhurst.

About the book, from the publisher:

Unmaking Migrants engages critical questions about preventing trafficking by preventing migration through a study of a shelter for trafficking victims in Lagos, Nigeria.

Over the past fifteen years, antitrafficking personnel have stopped thousands of women from traveling out of Nigeria and instead sent them to the federal counter-trafficking agency for investigation, protection, and rehabilitation. Government officials defend this form of intervention as preemptive, having intercepted the women before any abuses take place. Yet many of the women protest their detention, insist they were not being trafficked, and demand to be released.

As Stacey Vanderhurst argues, migration can be a freely made choice. Unmaking Migrants shows the moments leading up to the migration choice, and it shows how well-intentioned efforts to help women considering these paths often don't address their real needs at all.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

"After Everyone Else"

New from Turner: After Everyone Else by Leslie Hooton.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the acclaimed author of Before Anyone Else comes a captivating new novel about the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love.

Bailey thought she’d gotten her happy ending. She is married to the man she loves, she has started a family, and her design business is flourishing. But when Bailey’s ex-husband, a famous TV chef, is found murdered with her DNA all over his apartment and body, she is suddenly facing murder charges in a high-profile case. Already burdened by the demands and challenges of marriage, motherhood, and her career, Bailey now must do everything she can to prove her innocence. But it’s the ones she thought would surely be on her side—her enigmatic lawyer and her husband—who might be doubting her innocence the most.

Alternating between the past and present, After Everyone Else chronicles the grip of the past, the challenges of forgiveness, and the resilient love we save for the person we love after everyone else.
Visit Leslie Hooton's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Mother's Milk and Male Fantasy in Nineteenth-Century French Narrative"

New from Liverpool University Press: Mother's Milk and Male Fantasy in Nineteenth-Century French Narrative by Lisa Algazi Marcus.

About the book, from the publisher:

Should all mothers breast-feed their children? This question remains controversial in the twenty-first century. In an interview with the newspaper Liberation in 2010, feminist philosopher Elisabeth Badinter claimed that the pressure to breast-feed signified "a reduction of woman to the status of an animal species, as though we were all female chimpanzees."

The debate over maternal nursing held even more urgency before pasteurization provided a safe alternative in the early 1900s. While scholars of literary criticism and art history have described the abundance of breast-feeding imagery following the publication of Rousseau's Emile in 1762, little has been written on its manifestations in the nineteenth century. Despite an ongoing propaganda campaign to encourage mothers to nurse, reflected in such diverse sources as medical theses, paintings, and fictional cautionary tales, French mothers continued to entrust their infants to wet nurses more often and for longer than was the norm in other European countries throughout the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth.

This book examines representations of breast-feeding in French literature and culture from 1800 to 1900 and their apparent dissonance with the socio-historical realities of French mothers.
--Marshal Zeringue


New from Henry Holt: NSFW: A Novel by Isabel Kaplan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Blisteringly sharp and hypersmart—meet Isabel Kaplan’s searing debut novel about a young woman trying to succeed in Hollywood without selling her soul.

From the outside, the unnamed protagonist in NSFW appears to be the vision of success. She has landed an entry-level position at a leading TV network that thousands of college grads would kill for. And sure, she has much to learn. The daughter of a prominent feminist attorney, she grew up outside the industry. But she’s resourceful and hardworking. What could go wrong?

At first, the high adrenaline work environment motivates her. Yet as she climbs the ranks, she confronts the reality of creating change from the inside. Her points only get attention when echoed by male colleagues; she hears whispers of abuse and sexual misconduct. Her mother says to keep her head down until she’s the one in charge—a scenario that seems idealistic at best, morally questionable at worst. When her personal and professional lives collide, threatening both the network and her future, she must decide what to protect: the career she’s given everything for or the empowered woman she claims to be.

Fusing page-turning prose with dark humor and riveting commentary on the truths of starting out professionally, Isabel Kaplan’s NSFW is an unflinching exploration of the gray area between empowerment and complicity. The result is a stunning portrait of what success costs in today’s patriarchal world, asking us: Is it ever worth it?
Visit Isabel Kaplan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Recording History"

New from Stanford University Press: Recording History: Jews, Muslims, and Music across Twentieth-Century North Africa by Christopher Silver.

About the book, from the publisher:

A new history of twentieth-century North Africa, that gives voice to the musicians who defined an era and the vibrant recording industry that carried their popular sounds from the colonial period through decolonization.

If twentieth-century stories of Jews and Muslims in North Africa are usually told separately, Recording History demonstrates that we have not been listening to what brought these communities together: Arab music. For decades, thousands of phonograph records flowed across North African borders. The sounds embedded in their grooves were shaped in large part by Jewish musicians, who gave voice to a changing world around them. Their popular songs broadcast on radio, performed in concert, and circulated on disc carried with them the power to delight audiences, stir national sentiments, and frustrate French colonial authorities.

With this book, Christopher Silver provides the first history of the music scene and recording industry across Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, and offers striking insights into Jewish-Muslim relations through the rhythms that animated them. He traces the path of hit-makers and their hit records, illuminating regional and transnational connections. In asking what North Africa once sounded like, Silver recovers a world of many voices—of pioneering impresarios, daring female stars, cantors turned composers, witnesses and survivors of war, and national and nationalist icons—whose music still resonates well into our present.
Visit Christopher Silver's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

"Acts of Violet"

New from Flatiron Books: Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore.

About the book, from the publisher:

From Margarita Montimore, the author of GMA Book Club pick and national bestseller Oona Out of Order, Acts of Violet is a dazzling and twisty new novel about a famous magician who disappears, leaving her sister to figure out what really happened.

Nearly a decade ago, iconic magician Violet Volk performed her greatest trick yet: vanishing mid-act. Though she hasn’t been seen since, her hold on the public hasn’t wavered. While Violet sought out the spotlight, her sister Sasha, ever the responsible one, took over their mother’s salon and built a quiet life for her daughter, Quinn. But Sasha can never seem to escape her sister’s orbit or her memories of their unresolved, tumultuous relationship. Then there’s Cameron Frank, determined to finally get his big break hosting a podcast devoted to all things Violet—though keeping his job hinges on an exclusive interview with Sasha, the last person who wants to talk to him.

As the ten-year anniversary approaches, the podcast picks up steam, and Cameron’s pursuit of Sasha becomes increasingly intrusive. He isn’t the only one wondering what secrets she might be keeping: Quinn, loyal to the aunt she always idolized, is doing her own investigating. Meanwhile, Sasha begins to experience an unsettling series of sleepwalking episodes and coincidences, which all lead back to Violet. Pushed to her emotional limits, Sasha must finally confront the most painful truths about her sister, and herself, even at the risk of losing everything.

Alternating between Sasha’s narration and Cameron’s podcast transcripts, interspersed with documents that offer a tantalizing peek at Violet herself, Acts of Violet is an utterly original, propulsive story of fame, deception, and forgiveness that will make you believe in magic.
Visit Margarita Montimore's website.

The Page 69 Test: Oona Out of Order.

--Marshal Zeringue

"A Vehicle for Change"

New from Liverpool University Press: A Vehicle for Change: Popular Representations of the Automobile in 20th-Century France by Éamon Ó Cofaigh.

About the book, from the publisher:

Since its invention, the automobile has been systematically 'consumed', to become part of the fabric of twentieth- and twenty-first-century society, its impact and perception making the car an accurate gauge of changing cultural norms and values. As it grew in popularity, the automobile conditioned the very texture of modern life, and the particularly car-centred society of contemporary France is an especially apt locus for examination. The ubiquity of the automobile across all social strata provides us with a defined lens through which to examine the evolution of French society in the modern and post-modern eras. Taking the Second World War as a pivotal moment in recent French history, this book demonstrates how the automobile was both consumed and fetishized in distinct ways before and after this conflict. The ways in which society evolved from the pre- to the post-war period allow us to view French culture through the prism of the automobile as it embodied technological and social progress in twentieth-century France. The present volume seeks to explore and interrogate the processes of representation and mediation inherent in the evolving patterns of automobile consumption, and their subsequent impacts on local and national identity, framed by a detailed case study centred on France from the late-nineteenth century to the oil crisis of the early 1970s.
Follow Éamon Ó Cofaigh on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Fellowship Point"

New from Scribner/Marysue Rucci Books: Fellowship Point: A Novel by Alice Elliott Dark.

About the book, from the publisher:

The masterful story of a lifelong friendship between two very different women with shared histories and buried secrets, tested in the twilight of their lives, set across the arc of the 20th century.

Celebrated children’s book author Agnes Lee is determined to secure her legacy—to complete what she knows will be the final volume of her pseudonymously written Franklin Square novels; and even more consuming, to permanently protect the peninsula of majestic coast in Maine known as Fellowship Point. To donate the land to a trust, Agnes must convince shareholders to dissolve a generations-old partnership. And one of those shareholders is her best friend, Polly.

Polly Wister has led a different kind of life than Agnes: that of a well-off married woman with children, defined by her devotion to her husband, and philosophy professor with an inflated sense of stature. She exalts in creating beauty and harmony in her home, in her friendships, and in her family. Polly soon finds her loyalties torn between the wishes of her best friend and the wishes of her three sons—but what is it that Polly wants herself?

Agnes’s designs are further muddied when an enterprising young book editor named Maud Silver sets out to convince Agnes to write her memoirs. Agnes’s resistance cannot prevent long-buried memories and secrets from coming to light with far-reaching repercussions for all.

Fellowship Point reads like a classic 19th-century novel in its beautifully woven, multilayered narrative, but it is entirely contemporary in the themes it explores; a deep and empathic interest in women’s lives, the class differences that divided us, the struggle to protect the natural world, and, above all, a reckoning with intimacy, history, and posterity. It is a masterwork from Alice Elliott Dark.
Visit Alice Elliott Dark's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Our Transgenic Future"

New from New York University Press: Our Transgenic Future: Spider Goats, Genetic Modification, and the Will to Change Nature by Lisa Jean Moore.

About the book, from the publisher:

How scientific advances in genetic modification will fundamentally change the natural world

The process of manipulating the genetic material of one animal to include the DNA of another creates a new transgenic organism. Several animals, notably goats, mice, sheep, and cattle are now genetically modified in this way. In Our Transgenic Future, Lisa Jean Moore wonders what such scientific advances portend. Will the natural world become so modified that it ceases to exist? After turning species into hybrids, can we ever get back to the original, or are they forever lost? Does genetic manipulation make better lives possible, and if so, for whom?

Moore centers the story on goats that have been engineered by the US military and civilian scientists using the DNA of spiders. The goat’s milk contains a spider-silk protein fiber; it can be spun into ultra-strong fabric that can be used to manufacture lightweight military body armor. Researchers also hope the transgenically produced spider silk will revolutionize medicine with biocompatible medical inserts such as prosthetics and bandages. Based on in-depth research with spiders in Florida and transgenic goats in Utah, Our Transgenic Future focuses on how these spidergoats came into existence, the researchers who maintain them, the funders who have made their lives possible, and how they fit into the larger science of transgenics and synthetics. This book is a fascinating story about the possibilities of science and the likely futures that may come.
The Page 69 Test: Sperm Counts.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 20, 2022

"Take No Names"

New from Ecco: Take No Names: A Novel by Daniel Nieh.

About the book, from the publisher:

A riveting thriller about a fugitive in search of a quick payday in Mexico City who finds himself in the crosshairs of a dangerous international scheme

Victor Li is a man without a past. To his new employer, Mark, he’s just an anonymous hired hand to help with the dirty work. Together, they break into storage units that contain the possessions of the recently deported, pocketing whatever is worth selling. Only Victor and his sister, Jules, know that he’s a wanted man.

Amid the backpacks and suitcases, Victor makes the find of a lifetime: a gem rare and valuable enough to change his fortunes in an instant. But selling it on the sly? Nearly impossible. Thankfully, its former owner, a woman named Song Fei, also left a book of cryptic notes—including the name of a gemstone dealer in Mexico City.

When Victor and Mark cross the southern border, they quickly realize that this gem is wrapped up in a much larger scheme than they imagined. In Mexico City, shadowy international interests are jockeying for power, and they may need someone with Victor’s talents—the same ones that got him in trouble in the first place.

On the heels of his knockout debut Beijing Payback, Daniel Nieh delivers Take No Names, a white-knuckled and whip-smart thriller that races to an electrifying finish.
Visit Daniel Nieh's website.

--Marshal Zeringue


New from Oxford University Press: Misfire: The Sarajevo Assassination and the Winding Road to World War I by Paul Miller-Melamed.

About the book, from the publisher:

A new interpretation of the Sarajevo assassination and the origins of World War I that places focus on the Balkans and the prewar period.

The story has so often been told: Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Habsburg Empire, was shot dead on June 28, 1914, in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. Thirty days later, the Archduke's uncle, Emperor Franz Joseph, declared war on the Kingdom of Serbia, producing the chain reaction of European powers entering the First World War.

In Misfire, Paul Miller-Melamed narrates the history of the Sarajevo assassination and the origins of World War I from the perspective of the Balkans. Rather than focusing on the bang of assassin Gavrilo Princip's gun or reinforcing the mythology that has arisen around this act, Miller-Melamed embeds the incident in the longer-term conditions of the Balkans that gave rise to the political murder. He thus illuminates the centrality of the Bosnian Crisis and the Balkan Wars of the early twentieth century to European power politics, while explaining how Serbs, Bosnians, and Habsburg leaders negotiated their positions in an increasingly dangerous geopolitical environment. Despite the absence of evidence tying official Serbia to the assassination conspiracy, Miller-Melamed shows how it spiraled into a diplomatic crisis that European statesmen proved unable to resolve peacefully.

Contrasting the vast disproportionality between a single deadly act and an act of war that would leave ten million dead, Misfire contends that the real causes for the world war lie in "civilized" Europe rather than the endlessly discussed political murder.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Precious Jules"

New from Blackstone: The Precious Jules by Shawn Nocher.

About the book, from the publisher:

A deeply felt family narrative that examines the fine line between selfishness and what passes for love.

After nearly two hundred years of housing retardants, as they were once known, the Beechwood Institute is closing the doors on its dark history, and the complicated task of reassigning residents has begun. Ella Jules, having arrived at Beechwood at the tender age of eight, must now rely on the state to decide her future. Ella’s aging parents have requested that she be returned to her childhood home, much to the distress of Ella’s siblings, but more so to Lynetta, her beloved caretaker who has been by her side for decades. The five adult Jules children, haunted by their early memories of their sister, and each dealing with the trauma of her banishment in their own flawed way, are converging on the family home, arriving from the far corners of the country—secrets in tow—to talk some sense into their aging parents and get to the root of this inexplicable change of heart.

The Precious Jules examines the thin line between selfishness and what passes for love. This family story asks what is best for one child in light of what is perceived as the greater good, and just what is the collective legacy of buried family secrets, shame, and helplessness. The Precious Jules is a deeply felt family narrative that will make you fall in love with these flawed and imperfect characters standing on the threshold of an awakening they never expected.
Follow Shawn Nocher on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

"America’s Philosopher"

New from the University of Chicago Press: America’s Philosopher: John Locke in American Intellectual Life by Claire Rydell Arcenas.

About the book, from the publisher:

America’s Philosopher examines how John Locke has been interpreted, reinterpreted, and misinterpreted over three centuries of American history.

The influence of polymath philosopher John Locke (1632–1704) can still be found in a dizzying range of fields, as his writings touch on issues of identity, republicanism, and the nature of knowledge itself. Claire Rydell Arcenas’s new book tells the story of Americans’ longstanding yet ever-mutable obsession with this English thinker’s ideas, a saga whose most recent manifestations have found the so-called Father of Liberalism held up as a right-wing icon.

The first book to detail Locke’s trans-Atlantic influence from the eighteenth century until today, America’s Philosopher shows how and why interpretations of his ideas have captivated Americans in ways few other philosophers—from any nation—ever have. As Arcenas makes clear, each generation has essentially remade Locke in its own image, taking inspiration and transmuting his ideas to suit the needs of the particular historical moment. Drawing from a host of vernacular sources to illuminate Locke’s often contradictory impact on American daily and intellectual life from before the Revolutionary War to the present, Arcenas delivers a pathbreaking work in the history of ideas.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 19, 2022

"The Hidden One"

New from Minotaur Books: The Hidden One (Kate Burkholder Series #14) by Linda Castillo.

About the book, from the publisher:

The discovery of an Amish bishop's remains leads chief of police Kate Burkholder to unearth a chilling secret in The Hidden One, a new thriller from bestselling author Linda Castillo.

Over a decade ago, beloved Amish bishop Ananias Stoltzfus disappeared without a trace. When skeletal remains showing evidence of foul play are unearthed, his disappearance becomes even more sinister.

The town’s elders arrive in Painters Mill to ask chief of police Kate Burkholder for help, but she quickly realizes she has a personal connection to the crime. The handsome Amish man who stands accused of the murder, Jonas Bowman, was Kate’s first love. Forced to confront a painful episode from her past, Kate travels to Pennsylvania’s Kishacoquillas Valley, where the Amish culture differs dramatically from the traditions she knows. Though Bishop Stoltzfus was highly respected, she soon hears about a dark side to this complex man. What was he hiding that resulted in his own brutal death?

Someone doesn’t want Kate asking questions. But even after being accosted and threatened in the dead of night, she refuses to back down. Is she too close to the case—and to Jonas—to see clearly? There’s a killer in the Valley who will stop at nothing to keep the past buried. Will they get to Kate before she can expose the truth? Or will the bishop’s secrets remain hidden forever?
Visit Linda Castillo's website.

The Page 69 Test: Sworn to Silence.

My Book, The Movie: Pray for Silence.

The Page 69 Test: Gone Missing.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Families We Keep"

New from NYU Press: Families We Keep: LGBTQ People and Their Enduring Bonds with Parents by Rin Reczek and Emma Bosley-Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:

Why LGBTQ adults don’t end troubled ties with parents and why (perhaps) they should

Families We Keep is a surprising look at the life-long bonds between LGBTQ adults and their parents. Alongside the importance of “chosen families” in the queer community, Rin Reczek and Emma Bosley-Smith found that very few LGBTQ people choose to become estranged from their parents, even if those parent refuse to support their gender identity, sexuality, or both.

Drawing on interviews with over seventy-five LGBTQ people and their parents, Reczek and Bosley-Smith explore the powerful ties that bind families together, for better or worse. They show us why many feel obliged to maintain even troubled—and sometimes outright toxic—relationships with their parents. They argue that this relationship persists because what we think of as the “natural” and inevitable connection between parents and adult children is actually created and sustained by the sociocultural power of compulsory kinship. After revealing what holds even the most troubled intergenerational ties together, Families We Keep gives us permission to break free of those family bonds that are not in our best interests.

Reczek and Bosley-Smith challenge our deep-rooted conviction that family—and specifically, our relationships with our parents—should be maintained at any cost. Families We Keep shines a light on the shifting importance of family in America, and how LGBTQ people navigate its complexities as adults.
Visit Rin Reczek's website and Emma Bosley-Smith's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Long Answer"

New from Riverhead Books: The Long Answer: A Novel by Anna Hogeland.

About the book, from the publisher:

A woman considers pregnancy, motherhood, and the nature of female relationships in this profound and provocative novel.

Twelve weeks pregnant for the first time, Anna speaks to her sister on the other side of the country and learns she has just miscarried her second child. As this loss strains their bond and complications with Anna’s own pregnancy emerge, her tenuous steps towards motherhood are shadowed and illuminated by the women she meets along the way, whose stories of the children they have had, or longed for, or lost, crowd in.

The Long Answer is a stunning novel of secrets kept, and secrets shared. Deeply empathetic and hugely absorbing, it unravels the intimate dynamics of female friendship, sisterhood, motherhood and grief, and the ways that women are bound together and pulled apart by their shared and contrasting experiences of pregnancy, abortion, miscarriage, and infertility.
Visit Anna Hogeland's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 18, 2022

"Freedom Inside?"

New from Oxford University Press: Freedom Inside?: Yoga and Meditation in the Carceral State by Farah Godrej.

About the book, from the publisher:

An estimated forty million people in the United States regularly practice yoga, and as an industry it generates over nine billion dollars annually. A major reason for its popularity is its promise of mental and physical well-being: yoga and meditation are thought to be spiritual paths to self-improvement. Yoga is also widely practiced in prisons, another large business in the United States. Prisons in all fifty states offer yoga and meditation as a form of rehabilitation. But critics argue that such practices can also have disempowering effects, due to their emphasis on acceptance, non-judgment, and non-reaction. If the root of suffering is in the mind, as the philosophy behind yoga and meditation suggests, then injustice (including mass incarceration) may be reduced to a mental state requiring coping techniques rather than a more critical mindset. Others insist that yoga can heighten people's attention to structural violence, hierarchy, racism, and inequity. In fact, some of history's most radical activists, including M.K. Gandhi and Thich Nhat Hanh, traced their ethical and political commitments to their grounding in yogic or meditative traditions.

Yoga and meditation programs no doubt offer crucial respite for those who are incarcerated, but what sort of political effects do they have? Do they reinforce the neoliberal logic of mass incarceration which emphasizes individual choices, or can they assist marginalized people in navigating systemic injustice? Drawing on collaborations with incarcerated practitioners, interviews with volunteers and formerly incarcerated practitioners, and her own fieldwork with organizations offering yoga/meditation classes inside prisons, Farah Godrej examines both the promises and pitfalls of yoga and meditation. Freedom Inside? reveals the ways in which incarcerated persons have used yogic practices to resist the dehumanizing effects of prisons, and to heighten their awareness of institutional racism and mass incarceration among poor people and people of color. Godrej argues that while these practices could unwittingly exacerbate systemic forms of inequity and injustice, they also serve as resources for challenging such injustice, whether internally (via the realm of belief) or externally (through action). A combination of ethnography and political theory, Freedom Inside? reimagines the concept of "resistance" in a way that considers people's interior lives as a crucial arena for liberation.
Learn more about Farah Godrej's work.

--Marshal Zeringue