Wednesday, January 31, 2024


New from Pantheon: Plastic: A Novel by Scott Guild.

About the book, from the publisher:

For fans of Interior Chinatown and American War, a surreal, hilarious, and sneakily profound debut novel that casts our current climate of gun violence and environmental destruction in a surprising new mold.

Erin is a plastic girl living in a plastic world. Every day she eats a breakfast of boiled chicken, then conveys her articulated body to Tablet Town, where she sells other figurines Smartbodies: wearable tech that allows full, physical immersion in a virtual world, a refuge from real life’s brutal wars, oppressive governmental monitoring, and omnipresent eco-terrorist insurgency. If you cut her, she will not bleed—but she and her fellow figurines can still be cracked or blown apart by gunfire or bombs, or crumble away from nuclear fallout. Erin, who’s lost her father, sister, and the love of her life, certainly knows plenty about death.

An attack at her place of work brings Erin another too-intimate experience, but it also brings her Jacob: a blind figurine whom she comforts in the aftermath, and with whom she feels an almost instant connection. For the first time in years, Erin begins to experience hope—hope that until now she’s only gleaned from watching her favorite TV show, the surrealist retro sitcom “Nuclear Family.” Exploring the wild wonders of the virtual reality landscape together, it seems that possibly, slowly, Erin and Jacob may have a chance at healing from their trauma. But then secrets from Erin’s family’s past begin to invade her carefully constructed reality, and cracks in the facade she’s constructed around her life threaten to reveal everything vulnerable beneath.

Both a crypto-comedic dystopian fantasy and a deadly serious dissection of our own farcical pre-apocalypse, Scott Guild’s debut novel is an achingly beautiful, disarmingly welcoming, and fabulously inventive look at the hollow core of modern American society—and a guide to how we might reanimate all its broken plastic pieces.
Visit Scott Guild's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Anxiety Aesthetics"

New from the University of California Press: Anxiety Aesthetics: Maoist Legacies in China, 1978–1985 by Jennifer Dorothy Lee.

About the book, from the publisher:

Anxiety Aesthetics is the first book to consider a prehistory of contemporaneity in China through the emergent creative practices in the aftermath of the Mao era. Arguing that socialist residues underwrite contemporary Chinese art, complicating its theorization through Maoism, Jennifer Dorothy Lee traces a selection of historical events and controversies in late 1970s and early 1980s Beijing. Lee offers a fresh critical frame for doing symptomatic readings of protest ephemera and artistic interventions in the Beijing Spring social movement of 1978–80, while exploring the rhetoric of heated debates waged in institutional contexts prior to the '85 New Wave. Lee demonstrates how socialist aesthetic theories and structures continued to shape young artists' engagement with both space and selfhood and occupied the minds of figures looking to reform the nation. In magnifying this fleeting moment, Lee provides a new historical foundation for the unprecedented global exposure of contemporary Chinese art today.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Framed Women of Ardemore House"

New from Hanover Square Press: The Framed Women of Ardemore House: A Novel by Brandy Schillace.

About the book, from the publisher:

An abandoned English manor. A peculiar missing portrait. A cozy, deviously clever murder mystery, perfect for fans of Richard Osman and Anthony Horowitz.

Jo Jones has always had a little trouble fitting in. As a neurodivergent, hyperlexic book editor and divorced New Yorker transplanted into the English countryside, Jo doesn’t know what stands out more: her Americanisms or her autism.

After losing her job, her mother, and her marriage all in one year, she couldn’t be happier to take possession of a possibly haunted (and clearly unwanted) family estate in North Yorkshire. But when the body of the moody town groundskeeper turns up on her rug with three bullets in his back, Jo finds herself in potential danger—and she’s also a potential suspect. At the same time, a peculiar family portrait vanishes from a secret room in the manor, bearing a strange connection to both the dead body and Jo’s mysterious family history.

With the aid of a Welsh antiques dealer, the morose local detective, and the Irish innkeeper’s wife, Jo embarks on a mission to clear herself of blame and find the missing painting, unearthing a slew of secrets about the town—and herself—along the way. And she’ll have to do it all before the killer strikes again…
Visit Brandy Schillace's website.

--Marshal Zeringue


New from the University of Chicago Press: Fixers: Agency, Translation, and the Early Global History of Literature by Zrinka Stahuljak.

About the book, from the publisher:

A new history of early global literature that treats translators as active agents mediating cultures.

In this book, Zrinka Stahuljak challenges scholars in both medieval and translation studies to rethink how ideas and texts circulated in the medieval world. Whereas many view translators as mere conduits of authorial intention, Stahuljak proposes a new perspective rooted in a term from journalism: the fixer. With this language, Stahuljak captures the diverse, active roles medieval translators and interpreters played as mediators of entire cultures—insider informants, local guides, knowledge brokers, art distributors, and political players. Fixers offers nothing less than a new history of literature, art, translation, and social exchange from the perspective not of the author or state but of the fixer.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

"The Devil's Daughter"

New from Blackstone Publishing: The Devil's Daughter by Gordon Greisman.

About the book, from the publisher:

From Emmy-nominated screenwriter Gordon Greisman, The Devil’s Daughter is a noir thriller full of the best—and worst—of New York City in the 1950s.

Most nights PI Jack Coffey can be found hanging out in smoky Greenwich Village jazz clubs with well-known mobsters, jazzmen, and hoods. So, when an uptown financier calls him in for a job, it seems like he’s headed for tonier climes. But it turns out the view from Louis Garrett’s lavish penthouse overlooks the same vice-ridden Manhattan streets, which explains why he’s so desperate to find his missing teenage daughter, Lucy.

When Jack’s search for Lucy leads him to swanky nightclubs packed with well-dressed pimps and wealthy drug dealers, he begins to wonder if Garrett is really concerned about his daughter’s welfare or if he simply fears she may reveal his own shocking secrets. After an attack outside Jack’s own apartment and Lucy’s boyfriend is found floating face down in the East River, the story kicks into high gear.

But death threats, crooked cops, lies, or ugly truths can’t stop Jack from finishing the job—whether an angel or a devil, Lucy is still a kid in danger, and Jack will do whatever it takes to find her.
Visit Gordon Greisman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Do the Humanities Create Knowledge?"

New from Cambridge University Press: Do the Humanities Create Knowledge? by Chris Haufe.

About the book, from the publisher:

There is in certain circles a widely held belief that the only proper kind of knowledge is scientific knowledge. This belief often runs parallel to the notion that legitimate knowledge is obtained when a scientist follows a rigorous investigative procedure called the 'scientific method'. Chris Haufe challenges this idea. He shows that what we know about the so-called scientific method rests fundamentally on the use of finely tuned human judgments directed toward certain questions about the natural world. He suggests that this dependence on judgment in fact reveals deep affinities between scientific knowledge and another, equally important, sort of comprehension: that of humanistic creative endeavour. His wide-ranging and stimulating new book uncovers the unexpected unity underlying all our efforts – whether scientific or arts-based – to understand human experience. In so doing, it makes a vital contribution to broader conversation about the value of the humanities in an increasingly STEM-saturated educational culture.
Visit Chris Haufe's website.

--Marshal Zeringue


New from Tor Books: Projections: A Novel by S. E. Porter.

About the book, from the publisher:

S. E. Porter, critically-acclaimed YA author of Vassa in the Night, bursts onto the adult fantasy scene with her adult novel that is sure to appeal to fans of Jeff VanderMeer and China Mieville.

Love may last a lifetime, but in this dark historical fantasy, the bitterness of rejection endures for centuries.

As a young woman seeks vengeance on the obsessed sorcerer who murdered her because he could not have her, her murderer sends projections of himself out into the world to seek out and seduce women who will return the love she denied—or suffer mortal consequence. A lush, gothic journey across worlds full of strange characters and even stranger magic.

Sarah Porter’s adult debut explores misogyny and the soul-corrupting power of unrequited love through an enchanted lens of violence and revenge.
Visit S. E. Porter's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Eyes on Amazonia"

New from Vanderbilt University Press: Eyes on Amazonia: Transnational Perspectives on the Rubber Boom Frontier by Jessica Carey-Webb.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Amazon extends across nine countries, encompasses forty percent of South America, and hosts four European languages and more than three hundred Indigenous languages and cultures. Eyes on Amazonia is a fascinating exploration of how Latin American, European, and US intellectuals imagined and represented the Amazon region during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This multifaceted study, which draws on a range of literary and nonliterary texts and visual sources, examines the complex ways that race, gender, mobility, empire, modernity, and personal identity have indelibly shaped how the region was and is seen. In doing so, the book argues that representations of the Amazon as a region in need of the civilizing influence of colonialism and modernization served to legitimize and justify imperial control.

Eyes on Amazonia operates in cultural geography, ecocriticism, and visual cultural analysis. The diverse and intriguing documents and images examined in this book capture the modernizing project of this region at a crucial juncture in its long history: the early twentieth-century rubber boom.
Learn more about Eyes on Amazonia at the Vanderbilt University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 29, 2024

"Dead Things Are Closer Than They Appear"

New from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Dead Things Are Closer Than They Appear by Robin Wasley.

About the book, from the publisher:

A painfully average teen’s life is upended by a magical apocalypse in this darkly atmospheric and sweepingly romantic novel perfect for fans of The Raven Boys, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Rest of Us Just Live Here.

High school is hard enough to survive without an apocalypse to navigate.

Sid Spencer has always been the most normal girl in her abnormal hometown, a tourist trap built over one of the fault lines that seal magic away from the world. Meanwhile, all Sid has to deal with is hair-ruining humidity, painful awkwardness, being one of four Asians in town, and her friends dumping her when they start dating each other—just days after one of the most humiliating romantic rejections faced by anyone, ever, in all of history.

Then someone kills one of the Guardians who protect the seal. The earth rips open and unleashes the magic trapped inside. Monsters crawl from the ground, no one can enter or leave, and the man behind it all is roaming the streets with a gang of violent vigilantes. Suddenly, Sid’s life becomes a lot less ordinary. When she finds out her missing brother is involved, she joins the remaining Guardians, desperate to find him and close the fault line for good.

Fighting through hordes of living corpses and uncontrollable growths of forest, Sid and a ragtag crew of would-be heroes are the only thing standing between their town and the end of the world as they know it. Between magic, murderers, and burgeoning

crushes, Sid must survive being a perfectly normal girl caught in a perfectly abnormal apocalypse.

Only—how can someone so ordinary make it in such an extraordinary world?
Visit Robin Wasley's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"None of the Above"

Coming soon from the University of Michigan Press: None of the Above: Protest Voting in Latin American Democracies by Mollie J. Cohen.

About the book, from the publisher:

Around the world each year, millions of citizens turn out to vote but leave their ballots empty or spoil them. Increasingly, campaigns have emerged that promote “invalid” votes like these. Why do citizens choose to cast blank and spoiled votes? And how do campaigns mobilizing the invalid vote influence this decision? None of the Above answers these questions using evidence from presidential and gubernatorial elections in eighteen Latin American democracies. Author Mollie J. Cohen draws on a broad range of methods and sources, incorporating data from electoral management bodies, nationally representative surveys, survey experiments, focus groups, semi-structured interviews, and news sources.

Contrary to received wisdom, this book shows that most citizens cast blank or spoiled votes in presidential elections on purpose. By participating in invalid vote campaigns, citizens can voice their concerns about low-quality candidates while also expressing a preference for high-quality democracy. Campaigns promoting blank and spoiled votes come about more often, and succeed at higher rates, when incumbent politicians undermine the quality of elections. Surprisingly, invalid vote campaigns can shore up the quality of democracy in the short term. None of the Above shows that swings in blank and spoiled vote rates can serve as a warning about the trajectory of a country’s democracy.
Visit Mollie J. Cohen's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles"

New from Tordotcom: The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles by Malka Older.

About the book, from the publisher:

Investigator Mossa and Scholar Pleiti reunite to solve a new mystery in the follow-up to the cozy space-opera detective mystery The Mimicking of Known Successes, which Hugo Award-winning author Charlie Jane Anders called “an utter triumph.”

Mossa has returned to Valdegeld on a missing person’s case, for which she’ll once again need Pleiti’s insight. Seventeen students and staff members have disappeared from Valdegeld University—yet no one has noticed. The answers to this case may lie on the moon of Io—Mossa’s home—and the history of Jupiter’s original settlements during humanity's exodus from Earth.

But Pleiti’s faith in her life’s work as a scholar of the past has grown precarious, and this new case threatens to further destabilize her dreams for humanity’s future, as well as her own.
Follow Malka Older on Twitter and visit her website.

The Page 69 Test: Infomocracy.

The Page 69 Test: State Tectonics.

The Page 69 Test: The Mimicking of Known Successes.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Puruṣa: Personhood in Ancient India"

New from Oxford University Press: Puruṣa: Personhood in Ancient India by Matthew I. Robertson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Personhood is central to the worldview of ancient India. Across voluminous texts and diverse traditions, the subject of the puruṣa, the Sanskrit term for "person," has been a constant source of insight and innovation. Yet little sustained scholarly attention has been paid to the precise meanings of the puruṣa concept or its historical transformations within and across traditions. In Puruṣa: Personhood in Ancient India, Matthew I. Robertson traces the history of Indic thinking about puruṣas through an extensive analysis of the major texts and traditions of ancient India.

Through clear explanations of classic Sanskrit texts and the idioms of Indian traditions, Robertson discerns the emergence and development of a sustained, paradigmatic understanding that persons are deeply confluent with the world. Personhood is worldhood. Puruṣa argues for the significance of this "worldly" thinking about personhood to Indian traditions and identifies a host of techniques that were developed to "extend" and "expand" persons to ever-greater scopes. Ritualized swellings of sovereigns to match the extent of their realm find complement in ascetic meditations on the intersubjective nature of perceptually delimited person-worlds, which in turn find complement in yogas of sensory restraint, the dietary regimens of Ayurvedic medicine, and the devotional theologies by which persons "share" and "eat" the expansive divinity of God. Whether in the guise of a king, an ascetic, a yogi, a buddha, or a patient in the care of an Ayurvedic physician, fully realized persons know themselves to be coterminous with the horizons of their world.

Offering new readings of classic works and addressing the fields of religion, politics, philosophy, medicine, and literature, Puruṣa: Personhood in Ancient India challenges us to reexamine the goals of ancient Indian religions and yields new insights into the interrelated natures of persons and the worlds in which they live.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 28, 2024

"The Book of Doors"

New from William Morrow: The Book of Doors: A Novel by Gareth Brown.

About the book, from the publisher:

A debut novel full of magic, adventure, and romance, The Book of Doors opens up a thrilling world of contemporary fantasy for readers of The Midnight Library, The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, The Night Circus, and any modern story that mixes the wonder of the unknown with just a tinge of darkness.

Cassie Andrews works in a New York City bookshop, shelving books, making coffee for customers, and living an unassuming, ordinary life. Until the day one of her favorite customers—a lonely yet charming old man—dies right in front of her. Cassie is devastated. She always loved his stories, and now she has nothing to remember him by. Nothing but the last book he was reading.

But this is no ordinary book…

It is the Book of Doors.

Inscribed with enigmatic words and mysterious drawings, it promises Cassie that any door is every door. You just need to know how to open them.

Then she’s approached by a gaunt stranger in a rumpled black suit with a Scottish brogue who calls himself Drummond Fox. He’s a librarian who keeps watch over a unique set of rare volumes. The tome now in Cassie’s possession is not the only book with great power, but it is the one most coveted by those who collect them.

Now Cassie is being hunted by those few who know of the Special Books. With only her roommate Izzy to confide in, she has to decide if she will help the mysterious and haunted Drummond protect the Book of Doors—and the other books in his secret library’s care—from those who will do evil. Because only Drummond knows where the unique library is and only Cassie’s book can get them there.

But there are those willing to kill to obtain those secrets. And a dark force—in the form of a shadowy, sadistic woman—is at the very top of that list.
Visit Gareth Brown's website.

Adam Simcox, author of The Dying Squad series, called The Book of Doors "a fiendishly clever display of powerhouse storytelling where there’s always something at stake, and none of the characters are safe."

--Marshal Zeringue

"How the Earth Feels"

New from Duke University Press: How the Earth Feels: Geological Fantasy in the Nineteenth-Century United States by Dana Luciano.

About the book, from the publisher:

In How the Earth Feels Dana Luciano examines the impacts of the new science of geology on nineteenth-century US culture. Drawing on early geological writings, Indigenous and settler accounts of earthquakes, African American antislavery literature, and other works, Luciano reveals how geology catalyzed transformative conversations regarding the intersections between humans and the nonhuman world. She shows that understanding the earth’s history geologically involved confronting the dynamic nature of inorganic matter over vast spans of time, challenging preconceived notions of human agency. Nineteenth-century Americans came to terms with these changes through a fusion of fact and imagination that Luciano calls geological fantasy. Geological fantasy transformed the science into a sensory experience, sponsoring affective and even erotic connections to the matter of the earth. At the same time, it was often used to justify accounts of evolution that posited a modern, civilized, and Anglo-American whiteness as the pinnacle of human development. By tracing geology’s relationship with biopower, Luciano illuminates how imagined connections with the earth shaped American dynamics of power, race, and colonization.
--Marshal Zeringue


New from W.W. Norton: Leaving: A Novel by Roxana Robinson.

About the book, from the publisher:

What risks would you be willing to take to fall in love again?

“I never thought I’d see you here,” Sarah says. Then she adds, “But I never thought I’d see you anywhere.”

Sarah and Warren’s college love story ended in a single moment. Decades later, when a chance meeting brings them together, a passion ignites―threatening the foundations of the lives they’ve built apart. Since they parted in college, each has married, raised a family, and made a career. When they meet again, Sarah is divorced and living outside New York, while Warren is still married and living in Boston.

Seeing Warren sparks an awakening in Sarah, who feels emotionally alive for the first time in decades. Still, she hesitates to reclaim a chance at love after her painful divorce and years of framing her life around her children and her work. Warren has no such reservations: he wants to leave his marriage but can’t predict how his wife and daughter will react. As their affair intensifies, Sarah and Warren must confront the moral responsibilities of their love for their families and each other.

Leaving charts a passage through loyalty and desire as it builds to a shattering conclusion. In her boldest and most powerful work to date, Roxana Robinson demonstrates her “trademark gifts as an intelligent, sensitive analyst of family life” (Wendy Smith, Chicago Tribune) in an engrossing exploration of the vows we make to one another, the tensile relationships between parents and their children, and what we owe to others and ourselves.
Visit Roxana Robinson’s website.

The Page 69 Test: Cost.

My Book, The Movie: Cost.

The Page 69 Test: Sparta.

My Book, The Movie: Dawson's Fall.

The Page 69 Test: Dawson's Fall.

Writers Read: Roxana Robinson (June 2019).

Q&A with Roxana Robinson.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Gospel Thrillers"

New from Cambridge University Press: Gospel Thrillers: Conspiracy, Fiction, and the Vulnerable Bible by Andrew S. Jacobs.

About the book, from the publisher:

What if the original teachings of Jesus were different from the Bible's sanitized 'orthodox' version? What covert motivations might inspire those who decide what the text of the Bible 'says' or what it 'means'? For some who ask conspiratorial questions like these, the Bible is the vulnerable victim of secular forces seeking to divest the USA of its founding identity. For others, the biblical canon suppresses religious truths that could upend the status quo. Such suspicions surrounding the Bible find full expression in Gospel Thrillers: a 1960s fictional genre that endures and still commands a substantial following. These novels imagine a freshly discovered first-century gospel and a race against time to unlock its buried secrets. They also reflect the fears and desires that the Bible continues to generate. Andrew Jacobs reveals, in his authoritative examination, how this remarkable fictional archive opens a window onto disturbing biblical anxieties.
Visit Andrew S. Jacobs's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 27, 2024


New from Blackstone Publishing: Unbound by Christy Healy.

About the book, from the publisher:

For fans of Hannah Whitten and Rebecca Ross, Unbound is a gender-bent reimagining of the classic tale of a monstrous beast and the beauty determined to tame it, set against the lush backdrop of Irish mythology and folklore.

Rozlyn Ó Conchúir is used to waiting--waiting for the king, her father, to relent and allow her to leave the solitude of her tower; waiting for the dreaded and mysterious Beast of Connacht to at last be defeated; waiting for the arrival of the man destined to win her heart and break the terrible curse placed on her and her land. So when she meets Jamie--a charming and compelling suitor--she allows herself to hope that her days of solitude and patience are over at long last.

But as she finds her trust betrayed--and newer, more sinister threats arising--Rozlyn learns that some curses are better left unbroken ...
Follow Christy Healy on Facebook, Instagram, and Threads.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Diplomats at War"

New from the University of Virginia Press: Diplomats at War: Friendship and Betrayal on the Brink of the Vietnam Conflict by Charles Trueheart.

About the book, from the publisher:

For two Americans in Saigon in 1963, the personal and the political combine to spark the drama of a lifetime

Before it spread into a tragic war that defined a generation, the conflict in Vietnam smoldered as a guerrilla insurgency and a diplomatic nightmare. Into this volatile country stepped Frederick “Fritz” Nolting, the US ambassador, and his second-in-command, William “Bill” Trueheart, immortalized in David Halberstam’s landmark work The Best and the Brightest and accidental players in a pivotal juncture in modern US history.

Diplomats at War is a personal memoir by former Washington Post reporter Charles Trueheart—Bill’s son and Nolting’s godson—who grew up amid the events that traumatized two families and an entire nation. The book embeds the reader at the US embassy and dissects the fateful rift between Nolting and Trueheart over their divergent assessments of the South Vietnamese regime under Ngo Dinh Diem, who would ultimately be assassinated in a coup backed by the United States. Charles Trueheart retells the story of the United States’ headlong plunge into war from an entirely new vantage point—that of a son piecing together how his father and godfather participated in, and were deeply damaged by, this historic flashpoint. Their critical rupture, which also destroyed their close friendship, served as a dramatic preface to the United States’ disastrous involvement in the Vietnam conflict.
Visit Charles Trueheart's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Queens of London"

New from Sourcebooks: Queens of London: A Novel by Heather Webb.

About the book, from the publisher:

Maybe women can have it all, as long as they're willing to steal it.

1925. London. When Alice Diamond, AKA "Diamond Annie," is elected the Queen of the Forty Elephants, she's determined to take the all-girl gang to new heights. She's ambitious, tough as nails, and a brilliant mastermind, with a plan to create a dynasty the likes of which no one has ever seen. Alice demands absolute loyalty from her "family"—it's how she's always kept the cops in line. Too bad she's now the target for one of Britain's first female policewomen.

Officer Lilian Wyles isn't merely one of the first female detectives at Scotland Yard, she's one of the best detectives on the force. Even so, she'll have to win a big score to prove herself, to break free from the "women's work" she's been assigned. When she hears about the large-scale heist in the works to fund Alice's new dynasty, she realizes she has the chance she's been looking for—and the added bonus of putting Diamond Annie out of business permanently.

A tale of dark glamour and sisterhood, Queens of London is a look at Britain's first female crime syndicate, the ever-shifting meaning of justice, and the way women claim their power by any means necessary, from USA Today bestselling author Heather Webb.
Visit Heather Webb's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Freaks Came Out to Write"

Coming soon from PublicAffairs: The Freaks Came Out to Write: The Definitive History of the Village Voice, the Radical Paper That Changed American Culture by Tricia Romano.

About the book, from the publisher:

A rollicking history of America's most iconic weekly newspaper told through the voices of its legendary writers, editors, and photographers.

You either were there or you wanted to be. A defining New York City institution co-founded by Norman Mailer, The Village Voice was the first newspaper to cover hip-hop, the avant-garde art scene, and Off-Broadway with gravitas. It reported on the AIDS crisis with urgency and seriousness when other papers dismissed it as a gay disease. In 1979, the Voice’s Wayne Barrett uncovered Donald Trump as a corrupt con artist before anyone else was paying attention. It invented new forms of criticism and storytelling and revolutionized journalism, spawning hundreds of copycats.

With more than 200 interviews, including two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Colson Whitehead, cultural critic Greg Tate, gossip columnist Michael Musto, and feminist writers Vivian Gornick and Susan Brownmiller, former Voice writer Tricia Romano pays homage to the paper that saved NYC landmarks from destruction and exposed corrupt landlords and judges. With interviews featuring post-punk band, Blondie, sportscaster Bob Costas, and drummer Max Weinberg, of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, in this definitive oral history, Romano tells the story of journalism, New York City and American culture—and the most famous alt-weekly of all time.
Visit Tricia Romano's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 26, 2024

"The Resort"

New from Sourcebooks: The Resort: A Novel by Sara Ochs.

About the book, from the publisher:

For readers of Rachel Hawkins and We Were Never Here comes a searing vacation thriller set on a remote island in Thailand following two mysterious women, a charismatic group of expats, and the one murder poised to bring their paradise crashing down.

Welcome to paradise. We hope you survive your stay...

There are three rules to follow during a vacation at the famous Koh Sang Resort

1 – Leave the past behind.

When Cass sets foot on the coast of Thailand's world-famous party island, she's searching for an escape. With dark secrets following her every move, Koh Sang becomes the perfect place to hide.

2 - Always be careful of who you trust.

Now, years later, Cass is a local dive instructor alongside the Permanents, a group of expats who have claimed the island as their own. The Permanents don't linger on who they were before the island. Simply because, like Cass, they all have something to outrun.

3 – If someone discovers who you really are, run.

But suddenly, a dive student is found dead and paradise comes crashing down. Because this isn't the first mysterious death on the island, and it won't be the last. Someone knows who Cass is and they're ready to make sure justice is finally served.
Visit Sara Ochs's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Marcus Aurelius"

New from Yale University Press: Marcus Aurelius: The Stoic Emperor by Donald J. Robertson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Experience the world of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius and the tremendous challenges he faced and overcame with the help of Stoic philosophy

This novel biography brings Marcus Aurelius (121–180 CE) to life for a new generation of readers by exploring the emperor’s fascinating psychological journey. Donald J. Robertson examines Marcus’s relationships with key figures in his life, such as his mother, Domitia Lucilla, and the emperor Hadrian, as well as his Stoic tutors. He draws extensively on Marcus’s own Meditations and correspondence, and he examines the emperor’s actions as detailed in the Augustan History and other ancient texts.

Marcus Aurelius struggled to reconcile his philosophy and moral values with the political pressures he faced as emperor at the height of Roman power. Robertson examines Marcus’s attitude toward slavery and the moral dilemma posed by capturing enemies in warfare; his attitude toward women; the role of Stoicism in shaping his response to the threat of civil war; the treatment of Christians under his rule; and the naming of his notorious son Commodus as his successor.

Throughout, the Meditations is used to shed light on the mind of the emperor—his character, values, and motives—as Robertson skillfully weaves together Marcus’s inner journey as a philosopher with the outer events of his life as a Roman emperor.
Visit Donald J. Robertson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Hurt for Me"

New from Montlake: Hurt for Me by Heather Levy.

About the book, from the publisher:

A single mother’s brutal past threatens to destroy the new life she’s built in this suspenseful dark romance set in the underground world of kink.

Rae Dixon is lucky to be alive. Fifteen years ago, she survived being trafficked and abused, escaping her captors to reclaim her life. Now, she’s running a thriving business with her best friend and raising a teenage daughter on her own. Rae’s finally in control―literally. As Mistress V, Rae is the one calling the shots catering to Oklahoma City’s elite in her private dungeon, which is fronted by a spa.

But when a client goes missing, Rae’s world spins out of control.

Detective Dayton Clearwater shows up at the spa, sparking panic when he asks questions that risk exposing Rae’s true business. After several young women from her underground community disappear, too, Rae spots a chillingly familiar pattern. Together, she and Detective Clearwater must find answers before more lives are destroyed, including those they love.
Visit Heather Levy's website.

My Book, The Movie: Walking Through Needles.

The Page 69 Test: Walking Through Needles.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Power to Destroy"

New from Princeton University Press: The Power to Destroy: How the Antitax Movement Hijacked America by Michael J. Graetz.

About the book, from the publisher:

How the antitax fringe went mainstream—and now threatens America’s future

The postwar United States enjoyed large, widely distributed economic rewards—and most Americans accepted that taxes were a reasonable price to pay for living in a society of shared prosperity. Then in 1978 California enacted Proposition 13, a property tax cap that Ronald Reagan hailed as a “second American Revolution,” setting off an antitax, antigovernment wave that has transformed American politics and economic policy. In The Power to Destroy, Michael Graetz tells the story of the antitax movement and how it holds America hostage—undermining the nation’s ability to meet basic needs and fix critical problems.

In 1819, Chief Justice John Marshall declared that the power to tax entails “the power to destroy.” But The Power to Destroy argues that tax opponents now wield this destructive power. Attacking the IRS, protecting tax loopholes, and pushing tax cuts from Reagan to Donald Trump, the antitax movement is threatening the nation’s social safety net, increasing inequality, ballooning the national debt, and sapping America’s financial strength. The book chronicles how the movement originated as a fringe enterprise promoted by zealous outsiders using false economic claims and thinly veiled racist rhetoric, and how—abetted by conservative media and Grover Norquist’s “taxpayer protection pledge"—it evolved into a mainstream political force.

The important story of how the antitax movement came to dominate and distort politics, and how it impedes rational budgeting, equality, and opportunities, The Power to Destroy is essential reading for understanding American life today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 25, 2024

"At Any Cost"

New from Severn House: At Any Cost by Jeffrey Siger.

About the book, from the publisher:

Greece is burning . . . and Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis is determined to save his country from disaster in the new novel in Jeffrey Siger's critically acclaimed, internationally bestselling mystery series

Chief Inspector Kaldis is initially dismayed to be asked to investigate a series of suspicious forest fires that took place last summer. In Greece, forest fires are an inevitability, and he fears he and his team are being set up to take the political blame for this year's blazes.

He quickly becomes suspicious, though, that the forests were torched for profit - and for a project on a far grander scale than the usual low-level business corruption. There are whispers on the wind that shadowy foreign powers intend to establish a surreptitious mega-internet presence on the island of Syros, with the intent to weaponize the digital world to their own dark ends.

Can Kaldis and his team stop the hostile foreign takeover of the idyllic island - or will the rise of the metaverse set not just Greece, but the whole world, on fire?

With its gorgeous Greek locations, engaging characters and fast-paced plotting, this international crime series is a perfect pick for fans of Donna Leon, Louise Penny, Martin Walker and David Hewson.
Visit Jeffrey Siger's website.

The Page 69 Test: Murder in Mykonos.

The Page 69 Test: Prey on Patmos.

The Page 69 Test: Target Tinos.

The Page 69 Test: Mykonos After Midnight.

The Page 69 Test: A Deadly Twist.

Q&A with Jeffrey Siger.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Playing for Freedom"

Coming May 7 from Amazon Crossing: Playing for Freedom: The Journey of a Young Afghan Girl by Zarifa Adiba and Anne Chaon, translated by Susanna Lea Associates.

About the book, from the publisher:

A passionate musician growing up in the war-torn streets of Kabul takes her forbidden talents abroad in this triumphant memoir from debut author Zarifa Adiba.

As an Afghan girl, Zarifa Adiba has big, unfathomable dreams. Her family is poor, her country mired in conflict. Walking to school in Kabul, Zarifa has to navigate suicide bombers.

But Zarifa perseveres, nurturing her passion for music despite its “sinful” nature under Taliban law. At sixteen she gains admission to the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, and at eighteen she becomes the lead violist, co-conductor, and spokesperson for Zohra, the first all-female orchestra in the Muslim world.

Despite Zarifa’s accomplishments―which include a stunning performance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland―her future in music demands a reckoning with her life back home. Many of the girls in Zohra are forced to marry, but Zarifa yearns to study, travel, and explore her independence. Her so-called “bad girl” identity puts her at odds with her culture and her family.

Playing for Freedom is the deeply compelling story of a woman who dares to compose a masterpiece even with all odds stacked against her.
Follow Zarifa Adiba on Instagram and Threads.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Stranger in the Asylum"

New from Severn House: The Stranger in the Asylum by Alys Clare.

About the book, from the publisher:

Private investigators Lily Raynor and Felix Wilbraham have to hunt down an escapee from a French asylum, in this new, gripping World's End Bureau Victorian mystery from critically-acclaimed author Alys Clare.

London, April 1882
. When cool-headed Phyllida visits the World's End Investigation Bureau to offer a curious case concerning her fiance, proprietor Lily Raynor is intrigued - and privately excited. For accepting the case means taking an unexpected trip abroad, to France.

Phyllida's fiance, Wilberforce, is currently in an asylum in Brittany, after a tragic incident which resulted in the death of his father. Did he kill him on purpose - or was it an accident?

Wilberforce's innocence looks increasingly in doubt when another murder happens at the asylum - and the evidence points to Wilberforce being the culprit. Phyllida fears for Wilberforce's wellbeing, but she can't marry a murderer! With the engagement hanging in the balance, Phyllida wants to know the truth before it's too late.

Lily and her assistant, Felix Wilbraham, journey to rural France to uncover the truth, but the case takes an unexpected turn when they discover that the accused man has escaped the asylum and is nowhere to be found. Soon the intrepid investigators are in over their heads with much greater and unexpected powers at play...
The Page 69 Test: The Devil's Cup.

Writers Read: Alys Clare (September 2017).

My Book, The Movie: The Devil's Cup.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Dogwhistles and Figleaves"

New from Oxford University Press: Dogwhistles and Figleaves: How Manipulative Language Spreads Racism and Falsehood by Jennifer Saul.

About the book, from the publisher:

Pinpoints how "dogwhistles" and "figleaves," two kinds of linguistic trick, distort political discourse and normalize racism

It is widely accepted that political discourse in recent years has become more openly racist and more accepting of wildly implausible conspiracy theories. Dogwhistles and Figleaves explores ways in which such changes--both of which defied previously settled norms of political speech--have been brought about. Jennifer Saul shows that two linguistic devices, dogwhistles and figleaves, have played a crucial role. Some dogwhistles (such as "88", used by Nazis online to mean "Heil Hitler") serve to disguise messages that would otherwise be rejected as unacceptable, allowing them to be transmitted surreptitiously. Other dogwhistles (like the 1988 "Willie Horton" ad) work by influencing people in ways that they are not aware of, and which they would likely reject were they aware. Figleaves (such as "just asking questions") take messages that could easily be recognized as unacceptable, and provide just enough cover that people become more willing to accept them. Saul argues that these devices are important for the spread of racist discourse. She also shows how they contribute to the transmission of norm-violating discourse more generally, focusing on the case of wildly implausible conspiracist speech. Together, these devices have both exploited and widened existing divisions in society, and normalized racist and conspiracist speech. This book is the first full-length exploration of dogwhistles and figleaves. It offers an illuminating and disturbing view of the workings of contemporary political discourse.
Writers Read: Jennifer Mather Saul (December 2012).

The Page 99 Test: Lying, Misleading, and What is Said.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

"Dead Girls Don't Say Sorry"

New from Knopf BFYR: Dead Girls Don't Say Sorry by Alex Ritany.

About the book, from the publisher:

What does it mean when your best friend is dead and your instinct is relief? A stunningly immersive debut about toxic friendships, grief, romance, and new beginnings.

Friendship, at least for me, has never been anything but complicated.

One year ago, best friends Nora and Julia were starting their senior year of high school, with plans to apply to the same university so they wouldn't be separated. When Dillan Fletcher comes back to town, life as Nora knows it begins to unravel. And then, the unthinkable happens.

Months after surviving the accident that killed her best friend, Nora Radford is stagnating. Dillan has remained by her side, but he and other friends are starting university, while Nora is still trying to unravel the lies that Julia told, lies disguised as friendship.

DEAD GIRLS DON’T SAY SORRY is an absorbing page-tuner told in two timelines about how friendships evolve, how growing up can reveal the dark side of those you trust most. And it’s about how even in the face of tragedy, we can find our way out of the dark and have the courage to step into something better.
Visit Alex Ritany's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"City of Intellect"

New from Cambridge University Press: City of Intellect: The Uses and Abuses of the University by Nicholas B. Dirks.

About the book, from the publisher:

During his four years as the tenth Chancellor of Berkeley (2013–17), Nicholas B. Dirks was confronted by crises arguably more challenging than those faced by any other college administrator in the contemporary period. This thoughtfully candid book, emerging from deep reflection on his turbulent time in office, offers not just a gripping insider's account of the febrile politics of his time as Berkeley's leader, but also decades of nuanced reflection on the university's true meaning (at its best, to be an aspirational 'city of intellect'). Dirks wrestles with some of the most urgent questions with which educational leaders are presently having to engage: including topics such as free speech and campus safe spaces, the humanities' contested future, and the real cost and value of liberal arts learning. His visionary intervention – part autobiography, part practical manifesto – is a passionate cri de cœur for structural changes in higher education that are both significant and profound.
Visit Nicholas B. Dirks's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Search Party"

New from Atria Books: The Search Party: A Novel by Hannah Richell.

About the book, from the publisher:

A spellbinding locked-room mystery about a glamping trip gone horribly wrong when a powerful storm leaves the participants stranded and forced to confront long-held secrets and a shocking disappearance.

Max and Annie Kingsley have left the London rat race with their twelve-year-old son to set up a glamping site in the wilds of Cornwall. Eager for a dry run ahead of their opening, they invite three old university friends and their families for a long-needed reunion. But the festivities soon go awry as tensions arise between the children (and subsequently their parents), explosive secrets come to light, and a sudden storm moves in, cutting them off from help as one in the group disappears.

Moving between the police investigation, a hospital room, and the catastrophic weekend, The Search Party is a propulsive and twisty destination thriller about the tenuous bonds of friendship and the lengths parents will go to protect their children—perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Lucy Foley.
Visit Hannah Richell's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Horizons Blossom, Borders Vanish"

New from Yale University Press: Horizons Blossom, Borders Vanish: Anarchism and Yiddish Literature by Anna Elena Torres.

About the book, from the publisher:

A bold recovery of Yiddish anarchist history and literature

Spanning the last two centuries, this fascinating work combines archival research on the radical press and close readings of Yiddish poetry to offer an original literary study of the Jewish anarchist movement. The narrative unfolds through a cast of historical characters, from the well known—such as Emma Goldman—to the more obscure, including an anarchist rabbi who translated the Talmud and a feminist doctor who organized for women’s suffrage and against national borders. Its literary scope includes the Soviet epic poemas of Peretz Markish, the journalism and modernist poetry of Anna Margolin, and the early radical prose of Malka Heifetz Tussman.

Anna Elena Torres examines Yiddish anarchist aesthetics from the nineteenth-century Russian proletarian immigrant poets through the modernist avant-gardes of Warsaw, Chicago, and London to contemporary antifascist composers. The book also traces Jewish anarchist strategies for negotiating surveillance, censorship, detention, and deportation, revealing the connection between Yiddish modernism and struggles for free speech, women’s bodily autonomy, and the transnational circulation of avant-garde literature.

Rather than focusing on narratives of assimilation, Torres intervenes in earlier models of Jewish literature by centering refugee critique of the border. Jewish deportees, immigrants, and refugees opposed citizenship as the primary guarantor of human rights. Instead, they cultivated stateless imaginations, elaborated through literature.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

"Like a Mother"

New from Crooked Lane Books: Like a Mother: A Thriller by Mina Hardy.

About the book, from the publisher:

Writing as Mina Hardy, New York Times bestselling author Megan Hart delivers a nail-biting psychological suspense about the bonds of family, perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell and Jeneva Rose.

Sarah and Adam Granatt had the perfect suburban life: a beautiful house, an adorable daughter, a baby on the way, and a once-in-a-lifetime love. They were the couple everyone envied–until Adam died.

In the wake of his death, Adam’s secrets begin to emerge. The first comes out when a woman named Candace introduces herself to Sarah as Adam’s mother. Sarah is rightfully confused: Adam had always said his mother was dead. Adam also lied about making sure Sarah, Ellie, and the new baby would be taken care of, financially. The truth is, there’s no money.

Candace proves she is who she says, but admits the relationship between her and Adam was strained. Her beloved son is gone, but she can offer emotional support and better yet, a place to stay until after the baby is born and Sarah can get back on her feet.

Living in Adam’s childhood home, Sarah begins to understand the life he had before they met–the life he buried along with his relationship with his mother. When Sarah notices Candace’s strange obsession with her, and the house begins to feel less like salvation and more like a cage, she realizes that the secrets go deeper than she ever could’ve imagined. Candace might not be the caring mother-in-law she seems...

And maybe Adam had good reason to pretend that his mother was dead.
Visit Mina Hardy's website.

Q&A with Mina Hardy.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The First Jewish Environmentalist"

New from Oxford University Press: The First Jewish Environmentalist: The Green Philosophy of A.D. Gordon by Yuval Jobani.

About the book, from the publisher:

Hailed by philosopher Martin Buber as "the true teacher", pioneer, philosopher and dreamer, Aharon David Gordon (1856—1922) is increasingly being recognized as the first Jewish environmentalist. Long before global warming became a major threat, Gordon warned against the mounting dangers of human assault on nature and urged us to open ourselves to nature and re-attune with it. Rather than trying to conquer nature, Gordon argued, we should merge with it; rather than being a master or slave of nature, we should become nature's friend and ally. Since childhood, nature fertilized and shaped Gordon's mindscape, as it eventually did his philosophical writings. Gordon's fresh insights on critical contemporary issues—such as ecology, gender, social justice, and post-secularism—have inspired not only a rapidly growing body of scholarly literature, but also communal readings and study among young readers whose imagination has been captured by Gordon's thoughts and dreams.

The First Jewish Environmentalist introduces Gordon's ideas and sets them in their historical context, shedding new light on the interconnections between religion, culture, education, and the environment. Expanding his canonical status beyond the realm of Hebrew culture, the book situates Gordon in the tradition of nature-intoxicated prophets such as Rousseau, Thoreau, and Tolstoy, and extracts from his writings empowerment and inspiration for seekers advocating the protection of our planet.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Since She's Been Gone"

New from Crooked Lane Books: Since She's Been Gone: A Novel by Sagit Schwartz.

About the book, from the publisher:

An emotionally charged, dual-timeline suspense set between LA and NYC, this debut novel is perfect for fans of The Last Thing He Told Me and Luckiest Girl Alive.

A clinical psychologist is thrown into her dark past as she races to uncover the truth about her mother's death while struggling with her own mental health.

Can we ever truly know the people we love?

Losing her mother to a hit-and-run at age 15 threw Beatrice “Beans” Bennett’s life into turmoil. Bereft, she developed a life-threatening eating disorder, and went through a challenging recovery process which paved the way for her work as a clinical psychologist decades later.

When a new patient arrives at her office and insists that Beans’s mother is still alive—and in danger—Beans is forced to revisit her past in order to uncover the truth. She learns the “patient” is a member of a notorious family that owns a drug company largely responsible for the national opioid epidemic, and that her mother was once tangled in their web. In a race against time—and her mother’s assailants—while once again facing the disorder she thought she’d put behind her, Beans discovers that, like herself, her mother had a devastating secret.

With its fast-moving, edge-of-your-seat action and intimate look at mental health, Since She’s Been Gone will keep readers in its grasp long after the last page.
Visit Sagit Schwartz's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Sensitive Witnesses"

New from Stanford University Press: Sensitive Witnesses: Feminist Materialism in the British Enlightenment by Kristin M. Girten.

About the book, from the publisher:

Kristin M. Girten tells a new story of feminist knowledge-making in the Enlightenment era by exploring the British female philosophers who asserted their authority through the celebration of profoundly embodied observations, experiences, and experiments. This book explores the feminist materialist practice of sensitive witnessing, establishing an alternate history of the emergence of the scientific method in the eighteenth century. Francis Bacon and other male natural philosophers regularly downplayed the embodied nature of their observations. They presented themselves as modest witnesses, detached from their environment and entitled to the domination and exploitation of it. In contrast, the author-philosophers that Girten takes up asserted themselves as intimately entangled with matter—boldly embracing their perceived close association with the material world as women. Girten shows how Lucy Hutchinson, Margaret Cavendish, Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, and Charlotte Smith took inspiration from materialist principles to challenge widely accepted "modest" conventions for practicing and communicating philosophy. Forerunners of the feminist materialism of today, these thinkers recognized the kinship of human and nonhuman nature and suggested a more accessible, inclusive version of science. Girten persuasively argues that our understanding of Enlightenment thought must take into account these sensitive witnesses' visions of an alternative scientific method informed by profound closeness with the natural world.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 22, 2024

"Greta & Valdin"

New from Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: Greta & Valdin: A Novel by Rebecca K Reilly.

About the book, from the publisher:

For fans of Schitt’s Creek and Sally Rooney’s Normal People, an irresistible and bighearted international bestseller that follows a brother and sister as they navigate queerness, multiracial identity, and the dramas big and small of their entangled, unconventional family, all while flailing their way to love.

It’s been a year since his ex-boyfriend dumped him and moved from Auckland to Buenos Aires, and Valdin is doing fine. He has a good flat with his sister Greta, a good career where his colleagues only occasionally remind him that he is the sole Maaori person in the office, and a good friend who he only sleeps with when he’s sad. But when work sends him to Argentina and he’s thrown back in his former lover’s orbit, Valdin is forced to confront the feelings he’s been trying to ignore—and the future he wants.

Greta is not letting her painfully unrequited crush (or her possibly pointless master’s thesis, or her pathetic academic salary...) get her down. She would love to focus on the charming fellow grad student she meets at a party and her friendships with a circle of similarly floundering twenty-somethings, but her chaotic family life won’t stop intruding: her mother is keeping secrets, her nephew is having a gay crisis, and her brother has suddenly flown to South America without a word.

Sharp, hilarious, and with an undeniable emotional momentum that builds to an exuberant conclusion, Greta & Valdin careens us through the siblings’ misadventures and the messy dramas of their sprawling, eccentric Maaori-Russian-Catalonian family. An acclaimed bestseller in New Zealand, Greta & Valdin is fresh, joyful, and alive with the possibility of love in its many mystifying forms.
Visit Rebecca K Reilly's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Women Moralists in Early Modern France"

New from Oxford University Press: Women Moralists in Early Modern France by Julie Candler Hayes.

About the book, from the publisher:

Early modern women writers left their mark in multiple domains—novels, translations, letters, history, and science. Although recent scholarship in literary and cultural studies has enriched our understanding of these accomplishments, less attention has been paid to other forms of women's writing. Women Moralists in Early Modern France explores the contributions of seventeenth and eighteenth-century French women philosophers and intellectuals to moralist writing, the observation of human motives and behavior. This distinctively French genre draws on philosophical and literary traditions extending back to classical antiquity. Moralist short forms such as the maxim, dialogue, character portrait, and essay engage social and political questions, epistemology, moral psychology, and virtue ethics. Although moralist writing was closely associated with the salon culture in which women played a major role, women's contributions to the genre have received scant scholarly attention.

Julie Candler Hayes examines major moralist writers such as Madeleine de Scudéry, Anne-Thérèse de Lambert, Émilie Du Ch'telet, and Germaine de Staël, as well as nearly two dozen of their contemporaries. Their reflections range from traditional topics such as the nature of the self, friendship, happiness, and old age, to issues that were very much part of their own lifeworld, such as the institution of marriage and women's nature and capabilities. Each chapter traces the evolution of women's moralist thought on a given topic from the late seventeenth century to the Enlightenment and the decades immediately following the French Revolution, a period of tremendous change in the horizon of possibilities for women as public figures and intellectuals. Hayes demonstrates how, through their critique of institutions and practices, their valorization of introspection and self-expression, and their engagement with philosophical issues, women moralists carved out an important space for the public exercise of their reason.
--Marshal Zeringue

"How We Named the Stars"

New from Tin House Books: How We Named the Stars by Andrés N. Ordorica.

About the book, from the publisher:

Set between the United States and México, Andrés N. Ordorica’s debut novel is a tender and lyrical exploration of belonging, grief, and first love—a love story for those so often written off the page.

When Daniel de La Luna arrives as a scholarship student at an elite East Coast university, he bears the weight of his family’s hopes and dreams, and the burden of sharing his late uncle’s name. Daniel flounders at first—but then Sam, his roommate, changes everything. As their relationship evolves from brotherly banter to something more intimate, Daniel soon finds himself in love with a man who helps him see himself in a new light. But just as their relationship takes flight, Daniel is pulled away, first by Sam’s hesitation and then by a brutal turn of events that changes Daniel’s life forever.

As he grapples with profound loss, Daniel finds himself in his family’s ancestral homeland in México for the summer, finding joy in this setting even as he struggles to come to terms with what’s happened and faces a host of new questions: How does the person he is connect with this place his family comes from? How is his own story connected to his late uncle’s? And how might he reconcile the many parts of himself as he learns to move forward?

Equal parts tender and triumphant, Andrés N. Ordorica’s How We Named the Stars is a debut novel of love, heartache, redemption, and learning to honor the dead; a story of finding the strength to figure out who you are—and who you could be—if only the world would let you.
Visit Andrés N. Ordorica's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"By the Numbers"

New from Oxford University Press: By the Numbers: Numeracy, Religion, and the Quantitative Transformation of Early Modern England by Jessica Marie Otis.

About the book, from the publisher:

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, English numerical practices underwent a complex transformation with wide-ranging impacts on English society. At the beginning of the early modern period, English men and women believed that God had made humans universally numerate, although numbers were not central to their everyday lives. Over the next two centuries, rising literacy rates and the increasing availability of printed books revolutionized modes of arithmetical practice and education. Ordinary English people began to use numbers and quantification to explain abstract phenomena as diverse as the relativity of time, the probability of chance events, and the constitution of human populations. These changes reflected their participation in broader early modern European cultural and intellectual developments such as the Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. By the eighteenth century, English men and women still believed they lived in a world made by God, but it was also a world made--and made understandable--by numbers.
Visit Jessica Otis's website.

--Marshal Zeringue