Friday, May 31, 2024

"All Friends Are Necessary"

New from Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill: All Friends Are Necessary: A Novel by Tomas Moniz.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this “tender and open-hearted novel," (Nina LaCour, author of Yerba Buena) Tomas Moniz—a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway and Lambda Literary awards—delivers a commanding new story about the power of friendship, community, and the families we create for ourselves.

Efren “Chino” Flores has just moved back to the Bay Area from Seattle, jumping from sublet to sublet. In Washington, he was an adored middle school biology teacher with a loving wife, and a child on the way—that is, until a stunning loss upended his life. Now he’s working temp jobs, terrified of commitment, and struggling to put himself back out into the world.

But there to nurture Chino is a coterie of new and old friends and lovers who form a protective web around him. Closest to him are Metal Matt, a red-haired metalhead with a soft spot for Courtney Love and a rangy dog named Sabbath, and Mike and Kay, a couple whose literary edge is matched only by the success of their secret OnlyFans account. As Chino begins to date more men and women—and to open himself up again to love—his bonds with those around him grow both rich and profound. Like a fern blooming in the wake of a forest fire, new life comes after even the most devastating upheaval.

With gorgeous, heartrending detail and a seemingly infinite catalogue of tender, unexpected interactions, Tomas Moniz has created a striking mosaic of desire and belonging. An anthem to both queer and platonic love, All Friends Are Necessary evinces the wonder of friendship and the joy of giving yourself up to the essential force of community.
Visit Tomas Moniz's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Sugar King of California"

New from University of Nebraska Press: The Sugar King of California: The Life of Claus Spreckels by Sandra E. Bonura.

About the book, from the publisher:

Claus Spreckels (1828–1908) emigrated from his homeland of Germany to the United States with only seventy-five cents in his pocket, built a sugar empire, and became one of the richest Americans in history alongside John D. Rockefeller, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates. Migrating to San Francisco after the gold rush, Spreckels built the largest sugar beet factory of its kind in the United States. His sugar beet production in the Salinas Valley changed the focus of valley agriculture from dry to irrigated crops, resulting in the vast modern agricultural-industrial economy in today’s “Salad Bowl of the World.” When Spreckels gave America its first sugar cube, he became the “Sugar King.”

The indomitable Spreckels was a colorful and complicated character on both sides of the Pacific. A kingpin in the development of the Hawai‘i-California sugarcane industry, he wielded a clenched fist over Hawai‘i’s economy for nearly two decades after occupying a position of unrivaled power and political influence with the Hawaiian monarchy, while also advancing major technology developments on the islands. The Sugar King’s legacy continued as the Spreckels family developed large portions of California, building and breaking monopolies in agriculture, shipping, railroading, finance, real estate, horse breeding, utilities, streetcars, and water infrastructure, and building entire towns and cities from infrastructure to superstructure.

In The Sugar King of California Sandra E. Bonura tells the rags-to-riches story of Spreckels’s role in the developments of the sugarcane industry in the American West and across the Pacific, triumphing in a milieu rife with cronyism and corruption and ultimately transforming California’s industry and labor. Harshly criticized by his enemies for ruthless business tactics but loved by his employees, he was unapologetic in his quest for wealth, asserting “Spreckels’s success is California’s success.” But there’s always a cost for single-minded determination; the legendary family quarrels even included a murder charge. Spreckels’s biography is one of business triumph and tragedy, a portrait of a family torn apart by money, jealousy, and ego.
Visit Sandra E. Bonura's website.

--Marshal Zeringue


New from Atria Books: Middletide: A Novel by Sarah Crouch.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this gripping and intensely atmospheric debut, disquiet descends on a small town after the suspicious death of a beautiful young doctor, with all clues pointing to the reclusive young man who abandoned the community in chase of big city dreams but returned for the first love he left behind. Perfect for fans of All Good People Here and Where the Crawdads Sing.

One peaceful morning, in the small, Puget Sound town of Point Orchards, the lifeless body of Dr. Erin Landry is found hanging from a tree on the property of prodigal son and failed writer, Elijah Leith. Sheriff Jim Godbout’s initial investigation points to an obvious suicide, but upon closer inspection, there seem to be clues of foul play when he discovers that the circumstances of the beautiful doctor’s death were ripped straight from the pages of Elijah Leith’s own novel.

Out of money and motivation, thirty-three-year-old Elijah returns to his empty childhood home to lick the wounds of his futile writing career. Hungry for purpose, he throws himself into restoring the ramshackle cabin his father left behind and rekindling his relationship with Nakita, the extraordinary girl from the nearby reservation whom he betrayed but was never able to forget.

As the town of Point Orchards turns against him, Elijah must fight for his innocence against an unexpected foe who is close and cunning enough to flawlessly frame him for murder in this scintillating literary thriller that seeks to uncover a case of love, loss, and revenge.
Visit Sarah Crouch's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Heart of American Darkness"

New from W.W. Norton: Heart of American Darkness: Bewilderment and Horror on the Early Frontier by Robert G. Parkinson.

About the book, from the publisher:

An acclaimed historian captures the true nature of imperialism in early America, demonstrating how the frontier shaped the nation.

We are divided over the history of the United States, and one of the central dividing lines is the frontier. Was it a site of heroism? Or was it where the full force of an all-powerful empire was brought to bear on Native peoples? In this startingly original work, historian Robert Parkinson presents a new account of ever-shifting encounters between white colonists and Native Americans. Drawing skillfully on Joseph Conrad’s famous novella, Heart of Darkness, he demonstrates that imperialism in North America was neither heroic nor a perfectly planned conquest. It was, rather, as bewildering, violent, and haphazard as the European colonization of Africa, which Conrad knew firsthand and fictionalized in his masterwork.

At the center of Parkinson’s story are two families whose entwined histories ended in tragedy. The family of Shickellamy, one of the most renowned Indigenous leaders of the eighteenth century, were Iroquois diplomats laboring to create a world where settlers and Native people could coexist. The Cresaps were frontiersmen who became famous throughout the colonies for their bravado, scheming, and land greed. Together, the families helped determine the fate of the British and French empires, which were battling for control of the Ohio River Valley. From the Seven Years’ War to the protests over the Stamp Act to the start of the Revolutionary War, Parkinson recounts the major turning points of the era from a vantage that allows us to see them anew, and to perceive how bewildering they were to people at the time.

For the Shickellamy family, it all came to an end on April 30, 1774, when most of the clan were brutally murdered by white settlers associated with the Cresaps at a place called Yellow Creek. That horrific event became news all over the continent, and it led to war in the interior, at the very moment the First Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Michael Cresap, at first blamed for the massacre at Yellow Creek, would be transformed by the Revolution into a hero alongside George Washington. In death, he helped cement the pioneer myth at the heart of the new republic.

Parkinson argues that American history is, in fact, tied to the frontier, just not in the ways we are often told. Altering our understanding of the past, he also shows what this new understanding should mean for us today.
The Page 99 Test: Thirteen Clocks.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 30, 2024

"The Sons of El Rey"

New from Simon & Schuster: The Sons of El Rey by Alex Espinoza.

About the book, from the publisher:

A timeless, epic novel about a family of luchadores contending with forbidden love and secrets in Mexico City, Los Angeles, and beyond.

Ernesto Vega has lived many lives, from pig farmer to construction worker to famed luchador El Rey Coyote, yet he has always worn a mask. He was discovered by a local lucha libre trainer at a time when luchadores—Mexican wrestlers donning flamboyant masks and capes—were treated as daredevils or rock stars. Ernesto found fame, rapidly gaining name recognition across Mexico, but at great expense, nearly costing him his marriage to his wife Elena.

Years later, in East Los Angeles, his son, Freddy Vega, is struggling to save his father’s gym while Freddy’s own son, Julian, is searching for professional and romantic fulfillment as a Mexican American gay man refusing to be defined by stereotypes.

With alternating perspectives, Ernesto and Elena take you from the ranches of Michoacán to the makeshift colonias of Mexico City. Freddy describes life in the suburban streets of 1980s Los Angeles and the community their family built, as Julian descends deep into our present-day culture of hook-up apps, lucha burlesque shows, and the dark underbelly of West Hollywood. The Sons of El Rey is an intimate portrait of a family wading against time and legacy, yet always choosing the fight.
Visit Alex Espinoza's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Problem of the Christian Master"

New from Yale University Press: The Problem of the Christian Master: Augustine in the Afterlife of Slavery by Matthew Elia.

About the book, from the publisher:

A bold rereading of Augustinian thought for a world still haunted by slavery

Over the last two decades, scholars have made a striking return to the resources of the Augustinian tradition to theorize citizenship, virtue, and the place of religion in public life. However, these scholars have not sufficiently attended to Augustine’s embrace of the position of the Christian slaveholder. To confront a racialized world, the modern Augustinian tradition of political thought must reckon with its own entanglements with the afterlife of the white Christian master.

Drawing Augustine’s politics and the resources of modern Black thought into extended dialogue, Matthew Elia develops a critical analysis of the enduring problem of the Christian master, even as he presses toward an alternative interpretation of key concepts of ethical life—agency, virtue, temporality—against and beyond the framework of mastery. Amid democratic crises and racial injustice on multiple fronts, the book breathes fresh life into conversations on religion and the public square by showing how ancient and contemporary sources at once clash and converge in surprising ways. It imaginatively carves a path forward for the enduring humanities inquiry into the nature of our common life and the perennial problem of social and political domination.
--Marshal Zeringue

"There Is a Door in This Darkness"

New from Dutton Books for Young Readers: There Is a Door in This Darkness by Kristin Cashore.

About the book, from the publisher:

A magic-tinged contemporary YA about grief and hope from the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of the Graceling Realm novels.

Wilhelmina Hart is part of the infamous class of 2020. Her high school years began with a shocking presidential election and ended with a pandemic. In the midst of this global turmoil, she also lost one of her beloved aunts, a loss she still feels keenly. Having deferred college, Wilhelmina now lives in a limbo she can see no way out of, like so many of her peers. Wilhelmina’s personal darkness would be unbearable (especially with another monumental election looming) but for the inexplicable and seemingly magical clues that have begun to intrude on her life—flashes of bizarre, ecstatic whimsy that seem to add up to a message she can’t quite grasp. But something tells her she should follow their lead. Maybe a trail of elephants, birds, angels, and stale doughnuts will lead Wilhelmina to a door?
Visit Kristin Cashore's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Speculative Time"

New from Oxford University Press: Speculative Time: American Literature in an Age of Crisis by Paul Crosthwaite.

About the book, from the publisher:

Speculative Time: American Literature in an Age of Crisis examines how a climate of financial and economic speculation and disaster shaped the literary culture of the United States in the early to mid-twentieth century. It argues that speculation's risk-laden and crisis-prone temporalities had major impacts on writing in the period, as well as on important aspects of visual representation. The conceptions of time-and especially futurity-arising from the theory and practice of speculation provided crucial models for writers' and other artists' aesthetic, intellectual, and political concerns and strategies. The attractions and dangers of speculation were most spectacularly apparent in the period's pivotal economic event: the Wall Street Crash of 1929. The book offers an innovative account of how the speculative boom and bust of the "Roaring Twenties" affected literary and cultural production in the United States. It situates the stock market gyrations of the 1920s and 1930s within a wider culture of speculation that was profoundly shaped by, but extended well beyond, the brokerages and trading floors of Wall Street. The early to mid-twentieth century was a “speculative time,” an age characterized by leaps of economic, political, intellectual, and literary speculation; and the notion of speculative time provides a means of understanding the period's characteristic temporal modes and textures, as evident in work by figures including F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, Nathan Asch, William Faulkner, Federico García Lorca, James N. Rosenberg, Margaret Bourke-White, Archibald MacLeish, Christina Stead, Claude McKay, Richard Wright, and Ralph Ellison.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

"In a Dark Mirror"

New from Thomas & Mercer: In a Dark Mirror by Kat Davis.

About the book, from the publisher:

A decade-old crime unites its devoted fans in a haunting novel about delusions in the dark and the dangerous games children play.

Twelve-year-old Maddie Thompson and her friend Lana share a love of horror stories and wild imaginings. But Lana insists they are too old for pretending. It’s time for a different game: serving Him, a figure she sees lurking in the dark, mysterious and demanding. According to Lana, she and Maddie must obey Him or else suffer the consequences. Maddie doesn’t want to lose her most important friendship, even if it means luring an innocent girl into the woods―as a sacrifice for Him.

Ten years later, Maddie is released from an institution and must reintegrate into society for the first time as an adult. While finding her first job and forming new friendships, Maddie struggles to determine what it means to forgive―or to trust―herself. Particularly when she discovers an online community that is not only eerily obsessed with her but committed to the cult of Him.

This is Maddie’s chance at absolution―to convince them not to follow in her violent footsteps. But the loyal devotees have a pull. And Maddie knows that these games often have deadly consequences.
Visit Kat Davis's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Fatal Denial"

New from the University of California Press: Fatal Denial: Racism and the Political Life of Black Infant Mortality by Annie Menzel.

About the book, from the publisher:

Fatal Denial argues that over the past 150 years, US health authorities’ explanations of and interventions into Black infant mortality have been characterized by the "biopolitics of racial innocence," a term describing the institutionalized mechanisms in health care and policy that have at once obscured, enabled, and perpetuated systemic infanticide by blaming Black mothers and communities themselves.

Following Black feminist scholarship demonstrating that the commodification and theft of Black women’s reproductive bodies, labors, and care is foundational to US racial capitalism, Annie Menzel posits that the polity has made Black infants vulnerable to preventable death. Drawing on key Black political thought and praxis around infant mortality—from W.E.B. Du Bois and Mary Church Terrell to Black midwives and birth workers—this work also tracks continued refusals to acknowledge this routinized reproductive violence, illuminating both a rich history of care and the possibility of more transformative futures.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Ghost of Us"

New from Wednesday Books: The Ghost of Us by James L. Sutter.

About the book, from the publisher:

One Last Stop meets Cemetery Boys in this swoony YA romance from beloved author James L. Sutter.

Eighteen-year-old ghost hunter Cara is determined to escape life as a high school outcast by finding proof of the supernatural. Yet when she stumbles upon the spirit of Aiden, a popular upperclassman who died the previous year, she learns that ghosts have goals of their own. In the wake of his death, Aiden’s little sister, Meredith, has become a depressed recluse, and Aiden can’t pass on into the afterlife until he knows she’ll be okay. Believing that nothing pulls someone out of a slump like romance, he makes Cara a deal: seduce Meredith out of her shell and take her to prom, and Aiden will give Cara all the evidence she needs for fame. If not, well—no dates, no ghost.

Wooing the standoffish Meredith isn’t going to be easy, however. With Aiden’s coaching, Cara slowly manages to win Meredith over—but finds herself accidentally falling for her in the process. Worse yet: as Meredith gets happier and Aiden’s mission nears completion, his ghost begins to fade. Can Cara continue to date Meredith under false pretenses, especially if it means Aiden will vanish forever? Or should she tell Meredith the truth, and risk both of them hating her? And either way, will she lose her only shot at proving ghosts are real?
Visit James L. Sutter's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Out of One, Many"

New from Princeton University Press: Out of One, Many: Ancient Greek Ways of Thought and Culture by Jennifer T. Roberts.

About the book, from the publisher:

A sweeping new account of ancient Greek culture and its remarkable diversity

Covering the whole of the ancient Greek experience from its beginnings late in the third millennium BCE to the Roman conquest in 30 BCE, Out of One, Many is an accessible and lively introduction to the Greeks and their ways of living and thinking. In this fresh and witty exploration of the thought, culture, society, and history of the Greeks, Jennifer Roberts traces not only the common values that united them across the seas and the centuries, but also the enormous diversity in their ideas and beliefs.

Examining the huge importance to the Greeks of religion, mythology, the Homeric epics, tragic and comic drama, philosophy, and the city-state, the book offers shifting perspectives on an extraordinary and astonishingly creative people. Century after century, in one medium after another, the Greeks addressed big questions, many of which are still very much with us, from whether gods exist and what happens after we die to what political system is best and how we can know what is real. Yet for all their virtues, Greek men set themselves apart from women and foreigners and profited from the unpaid labor of enslaved workers, and the book also looks at the mixed legacy of the ancient Greeks today.

The result is a rich, wide-ranging, and compelling history of a fascinating and profoundly influential culture in all its complexity—and the myriad ways, good and bad, it continues to shape us today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

"Over the Edge"

New from Crooked Lane Books: Over the Edge: A Novel by Kathleen Bryant.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Sedona’s red rock canyons, a former reporter must piece together her shattered memories in time to stop a killer in this cat-and-mouse thriller, perfect for fans of CJ Box and Anne Hillerman.

After a disastrous mistake ended her career as a crime reporter, Del Cooper returns to Sedona and takes a gig with a down-on-its-luck tour company while she rebuilds her life. Her peaceful small-town escape ends when, hiking in a remote red rock canyon, she finds the broken body of a murdered man.

At first, she believes the murder is connected to a proposed land trade that will pave the way for a luxury development on the edge of town, but it seems money isn’t the killer’s only motive. As she digs deeper, she uncovers the small town’s darkest secrets, all leading her to Lee Ranch, a former filming location for Western movies. Two women disappear after Del interviews them, and rumors begin to spin faster than Sedona’s famed energy vortexes. But she knows the truth: Someone is watching her from the shadows.

Desperate for answers, Del ventures into the wilderness to lure the killer into the open. But out here in the red rocks, bodies can be lost forever.
Visit Kathleen Bryant's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Wrong Stuff"

New from PublicAffairs: The Wrong Stuff: How the Soviet Space Program Crashed and Burned by John Strausbaugh.

About the book, from the publisher:

A witty, deeply researched history of the surprisingly ramshackle Soviet space program, and how its success was more spin than science.

In the wake of World War II, with America ascendant and the Soviet Union devastated by the conflict, the Space Race should have been over before it started. But the underdog Soviets scored a series of victories--starting with the 1957 launch of Sputnik and continuing in the years following--that seemed to achieve the impossible. It was proof, it seemed, that the USSR had manpower and collective will that went beyond America's material advantages. They had asserted themselves as a world power.

But in The Wrong Stuff, John Strausbaugh tells a different story. These achievements were amazing, yes, but they were also PR victories as much as scientific ones. The world saw a Potemkin spaceport; the internal facts were much sloppier, less impressive, more dysfunctional. The Soviet supply chain was a disaster, and many of its machines barely worked. The cosmonauts aboard its iconic launch of the Vostok 1 rocket had to go on a special diet, and take off their space suits, just to fit inside without causing a failure. Soviet scientists, under intense government pressure, had essentially made their rocket out of spit and band aids, and hurried to hide their work as soon as their worldwide demonstration was complete.

With a witty eye for detail and a gift for storytelling, John Strausbaugh takes us behind the Iron Curtain, and shows just how little there was to find there.
Visit John Strausbaugh's website.

The Page 99 Test: Victory City.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Housemaid Is Watching"

New from Poisoned Pen Press: The Housemaid Is Watching by Freida McFadden.

About the book, from the publisher:

A twisting, pulse-pounding thriller from Freida McFadden, the New York Times bestselling author of The Housemaid and The Coworker

"You must be our new neighbors!" Mrs. Lowell gushes and waves across the picket fence. I clutch my daughter's hand and smile back: but the second Mrs. Lowell sees my husband a strange expression crosses her face. In that moment I make a promise. We finally have a family home. My past is far, far behind us. And I'll do anything to keep it that way…

I used to clean other people's houses―now, I can't believe this home is actually mine. The charming kitchen, the quiet cul-de-sac, the huge yard where my kids can play. My husband and I saved for years to give our children the life they deserve.

Even though I'm wary of our new neighbor Mrs. Lowell, when she invites us over for dinner it's our chance to make friends. Her maid opens the door wearing a white apron, her hair in a tight bun. I know exactly what it's like to be in her shoes. But her cold stare gives me chills…

The Lowells' maid isn't the only strange thing on our street. I'm sure I see a shadowy figure watching us. My husband leaves the house late at night. And when I meet a woman who lives across the way, her words chill me to the bone: Be careful of your neighbors.

Did I make a terrible mistake moving my family here?

I thought I'd left my darkest secrets behind. But could this quiet suburban street be the most dangerous place of all?

From New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Freida McFadden comes the next instalment of the unbelievably twisty, tension-packed and globally bestselling Housemaid series. This book can be enjoyed as a standalone read: and once you start, it will have you up all night racing through the pages until the final explosive twist.
Visit Freida McFadden's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Garden of Ruins"

New from LSU Press: Garden of Ruins: Occupied Louisiana in the Civil War by J. Matthew Ward.

About the book, from the publisher:

J. Matthew Ward’s Garden of Ruins serves as an insightful social and military history of Civil War–era Louisiana. Partially occupied by Union forces starting in the spring of 1862, the Confederate state experienced the initial attempts of the U.S. Army to create a comprehensive occupation structure through military actions, social regulations, the destabilization of slavery, and the formation of a complex bureaucracy. Skirmishes between Union soldiers and white civilians supportive of the Confederate cause multiplied throughout this period, eventually turning occupation into a war on local households and culture. In unoccupied regions of the state, Confederate forces and their noncombatant allies likewise sought to patrol allegiance, leading to widespread conflict with those they deemed disloyal.

Ward suggests that social stability during wartime, and ultimately victory itself, emerged from the capacity of military officials to secure their territory, governing powers, and nonmilitary populations. Garden of Ruins reveals the Civil War, state-building efforts, and democracy itself as contingent processes through which Louisianans shaped the world around them. It also illustrates how military forces and civilians discovered unique ways to wield and hold power during and immediately after the conflict.
--Marshal Zeringue

"One Last Summer"

New from Grand Central Publishing: One Last Summer by Kate Spencer.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the cohost of the award-winning Forever35 podcast comes a dreamy, laugh-out-loud summer romance that asks: What do you do when the life you've planned isn't what you've dreamed?

Clara Millen’s life is spiraling out of control: her dream job is a nightmare, she’s resoundingly single, and it’s been years since she’s taken some time off. Thankfully, the last problem she can fix—this year she’ll join her friends on their annual summer vacation to their beloved childhood sleepover camp for a much-needed escape.

But when Clara arrives at Pine Lake Camp, she faces yet another unwelcome change: the owners are retiring and selling the property. The news turns her plans for revelry into a night of reminiscing . . . and prompts a surprise heart-to-heart between Clara and Mack, her old camp nemesis and constant competitor, who's still just as annoying (and annoyingly handsome).

Soon the campfires aren't all that's throwing off sparks. And when one wildly passionate night turns into two (then too many to count!), Clara begins to wonder if she and Mack could have a future together. But when Clara's boss finally offers her everything she's worked so hard for, Clara will need to decide if the life she's always wanted is the life that makes her feel truly alive.
Visit Kate Spencer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Enlightenment Links"

New from Stanford University Press: Enlightenment Links: Theories of Mind and Media in Eighteenth-Century Britain by Collin Jennings.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this ambitious work, Collin Jennings applies computational methods to eighteenth-century fiction, history, and poetry to reveal the nonlinear courses of reading they produce. Hallmark genres of the British Enlightenment, such as the novel and the stadial history, are typically viewed as narratives of linear progress, emerging from Britain's imperial growth and scientific advancement. Jennings foregrounds Enlightenment links: the paratextual devices, including cross-references, footnotes, and epigraphs, that make words work differently by pointing the reader to places inside and outside the text. Writers and printers combined text and paratext to produce nonlinear paths of reading and polysemous forms of reference that resist simple, causal structures of experience or theories of mind. Alexander Pope, Adam Smith, Ann Radcliffe, and other writers developed genres that operate diagrammatically, with different points of entry and varied relationships between the language and format of books. Revealing the eighteenth-century genealogy of the digital hyperlinks of today, Enlightenment Links argues that emergent print genres combined language and links to bring forward the associative, circular, and multi-sequential ways in which literature makes language work.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 27, 2024

"Pink Whales"

New from Little A: Pink Whales: A Novel by Sara Shukla.

About the book, from the publisher:

Falling in with the cool moms of her preppy New England town might upend one woman’s life, in a sparkling and sharp-witted novel about marriage, escape, and deceptively tidy little lives.

Charlie is already feeling adrift when she relocates to an exclusive town in coastal New England with her mysteriously distant husband, Dev, and their young twins in tow. She hopes the move will recharge her stalled marriage, and she wants her kids to feel like they belong, even if she’s clearly a fish out of water herself. In a strange new world where summer is a verb and both the harbor and the partygoers are awash in a dizzying constellation of pinks and pastels, she’s never felt so confounded or alone. She’ll need more than a preppy handbook to find her way.

Then a trio of power moms―imposing, beautiful, and monogrammed―comes to the rescue, and Charlie clings to their attention like a life raft. As Dev pulls further away, Charlie dives into her newfound friends’ circle of yacht clubs, rivalries, and bizarre theme parties, hoping to find her sea legs. She even dares to cozy up to a hot, barefoot, and aggressively flirty local. But if she’s running from her problems at home, where exactly is she escaping to? Charlie is beginning to wonder. This ridiculous new normal―and her desire to be part of it―might just eat her alive.
Follow Sara Shukla on Instagram and Threads and visit her website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Yukikaze's War"

New from Cambridge University Press: Yukikaze's War: The Unsinkable Japanese Destroyer and World War II in the Pacific by Brett L. Walker.

About the book, from the publisher:

Only one elite Imperial Japanese Navy destroyer survived the cruel ocean battlefields of World War II. This is her story. Brett Walker, historian and captain, delves into questions of mechanics, armaments, navigation, training, and even indoctrination, illustrating the daily realities of war for Yukikaze and her crew. By shifting our perspective of the Pacific War away from grand Imperial strategies, and toward the intricacies of fighting on the water, Walker allows us to see the war from Yukikaze's bridge during the most harrowing battles, from Midway to Okinawa. Walker uncovers the ordinary sailor's experience, and we see sailors fight while deep-running currents of Japanese history unfold before their war-weary eyes. As memories of World War II fade, Yukikaze's story becomes ever more important, providing valuable lessons in our contemporary world of looming energy shortfalls, menacing climate uncertainties, and aggressive totalitarian regimes.
Visit Brett L. Walker's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Deep Beneath Us"

New from Severn House: Deep Beneath Us by Catriona McPherson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Will the truth pull them under? A twisty, gripping mystery from a multi-award-winning master of suspense that you won't be able to put down...

Tabitha Muir returns to her childhood home in the remote hills of Hiskith in Scotland after twenty years away. She's lost her job, her house, and custody of her son after a divorce, and thinks this must be rock bottom - but worse is to come. An unplanned explosion at the dam on the loch and the suspicious death of her beloved cousin Davey force Tabitha to confront her past demons.

Is Davey's death just another dark episode in the Muir family's scandalous history? As Davey's closest friends, Gordo and Barrett, help Tabitha try to answer the many questions around Davey's demise, Tabitha discovers that nothing she thought she knew about herself and those around her is true...

The trio are about to bring Hiskith's darkest secrets to the surface, but will the truth destroy them?
Visit Catriona McPherson's website.

The Page 69 Test: Go to My Grave.

Writers Read: Catriona McPherson (November 2018).

My Book, The Movie: The Turning Tide.

The Page 69 Test: The Turning Tide.

My Book, The Movie: A Gingerbread House.

The Page 69 Test: Hop Scot.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Love in the Time of Self-Publishing"

New from Princeton University Press: Love in the Time of Self-Publishing: How Romance Writers Changed the Rules of Writing and Success by Christine M. Larson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Lessons in creative labor, solidarity, and inclusion under precarious economic conditions

As writers, musicians, online content creators, and other independent workers fight for better labor terms, romance authors offer a powerful example—and a cautionary tale—about self-organization and mutual aid in the digital economy. In Love in the Time of Self-Publishing, Christine Larson traces the forty-year history of Romancelandia, a sprawling network of romance authors, readers, editors, and others, who formed a unique community based on openness and collective support. Empowered by solidarity, American romance writers—once disparaged literary outcasts—became digital publishing’s most innovative and successful authors. Meanwhile, a new surge of social media activism called attention to Romancelandia’s historic exclusion of romance authors of color and LGBTQ+ writers, forcing a long-overdue cultural reckoning.

Drawing on the largest-known survey of any literary genre as well as interviews and archival research, Larson shows how romance writers became the only authors in America to make money from the rise of ebooks—increasing their median income by 73 percent while other authors’ plunged by 40 percent. The success of romance writers, Larson argues, demonstrates the power of alternative forms of organizing influenced by gendered working patterns. It also shows how networks of relationships can amplify—or mute—certain voices.

Romancelandia’s experience, Larson says, offers crucial lessons about solidarity for creators and other isolated workers in an increasingly risky employment world. Romancelandia’s rise and near-meltdown shows that gaining fair treatment from platforms depends on creator solidarity—but creator solidarity, in turn, depends on fair treatment of all members.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 26, 2024

"Assassins Anonymous"

New from G.P. Putnam’s Sons: Assassins Anonymous by Rob Hart.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this clever, surprising, page-turner, the world’s most lethal assassin gives up the violent life only to find himself under siege by mysterious assailants. It’s a kill-or-be-killed situation, but the first option is off the table. What’s a reformed hit man to do?

Mark was the most dangerous killer-for-hire in the world. But after learning the hard way that his life’s work made him more monster than man, he left all of that behind, and joined a twelve-step group for reformed killers.

When Mark is viciously attacked by an unknown assailant, he is forced on the run. From New York to Singapore to London, he chases after clues while dodging attacks and trying to solve the puzzle of who’s after him. All without killing anyone. Or getting killed himself. For an assassin, Mark learns, nonviolence is a real hassle.
Visit Rob Hart's website.

My Book, The Movie: Potter's Field.

The Page 69 Test: Potter's Field.

The Page 69 Test: The Warehouse.

Writers Read: Rob Hart (January 2021).

The Page 69 Test: The Paradox Hotel.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Radical Volunteers"

New from the University of Georgia Press: Radical Volunteers: Dissent, Desegregation, and Student Power in Tennessee by Katherine J. Ballantyne.

About the book, from the publisher:

Radical Volunteers tells the largely unknown story of southern student activism in Tennessee between the Brown decision in 1954 and the national backlash against the Kent State University shootings in May 1970. As one of the first statewide studies of student activism―and one of the few examinations of southern student activism―it broadens scholarly understanding of New Left and Black student radicalism from its traditionally defined hotbeds in the Northeast and on the West Coast.

By incorporating accounts of students from both historically Black and predominantly white colleges and universities across Tennessee, Radical Volunteers places events that might otherwise appear random and intermittent into conversation with one another. This methodological approach reveals that students joined organizations and became activists in an effort to assert their autonomy and, as a result, student power became a rallying cry across the state. Katherine J. Ballantyne illuminates a broad movement comprised of many different sorts of students―white and Black, private and public, western, middle, and east Tennesseans.

Importantly, Ballantyne does not confine her analysis to just campuses. Indeed, Radical Volunteers also situates campus activism within their broader communities. Tennessee student activists built upon relationships with Old Left activists and organizations, thereby fostering their otherwise fledgling enterprises and creating the possibility for radical change in the politically conservative region. But framing student activism over a long period of time across Tennessee as a whole reveals disjuncture as much as coherence in the movement. Though all case studies contain particular and representative features, Tennessee’s diversity lends itself well to a study of regional variations. While outnumbered, Tennessee student activists secured significant campus reforms, pursued ambitious community initiatives, and articulated a powerful countervision for the South and the United States.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Follow Her Down"

New from Lake Union: Follow Her Down: A Novel by Victoria Helen Stone.

About the book, from the publisher:

Decades of doubt, fear, and suspicion won’t let a woman overcome her trauma in a riveting novel of suspense by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of Jane Doe and The Hook.

The murder of Elise Rockwood’s sister shattered her family. Their mother’s anxiety kept her housebound. Elise’s paranoid brother, Kyle, saw conspiracies everywhere. Elise numbed her grief in an aimless lifestyle that left her emotionally broken. All of them victims. A local boy eventually confessed, but the damage was already done.

Years later, Elise is reinventing herself. She’s bought a mountain lodge to be close to home again and to find stability. Not even an email from her ex tempts her into revisiting the past. But Kyle won’t let it go. He still believes there’s more to their sister’s murder―and the confession―than meets the eye. When Elise’s ex is found dead in the same forest where her sister went missing decades before, Elise is finally willing to listen.

The traumas of the past are reemerging. So is the truth. Elise’s greatest fear now is who will survive it.
Visit Victoria Helen Stone's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Guiding God's Marriage"

New from NYU Press: Guiding God's Marriage: Faith and Social Change in Premarital Counseling by Courtney Ann Irby.

About the book, from the publisher:

Examines how religious leaders use premarital counseling to influence how we view intimacy

It is well-known that the institution of marriage has changed dramatically in the past few decades. However, very little research has focused on the role of religious institutions in helping couples form and maintain their relationships.

Guiding God’s Marriage offers an examination of Christian marriage preparation programs, exploring their efforts to stabilize the institution of marriage and highlighting the tension between individualism and community in people’s relational lives. Marriage preparation programs offer a useful lens through which to trace shifts in both religious and family institutions because they set out clear and intentional articulations of marriage ideologies and gendered relationship scripts by faith communities. By documenting the changes in content and practices of Christian premarital education along with its advice regarding what makes a good marriage, the book charts the ways that religious communities have been transformed by and have helped to contribute to the individualization of faith and relationships.

Featuring archival research as well as first hand observations of four marriage preparation courses―two Protestant and two Catholic―along with seventy interviews with participating couples and leaders of these and other programs, the book offers a rare view of visions about how to realize a successful and faith-filled relationship. This examination of marriage classes offers key insight into how religious communities have responded to cultural changes in marriage, gender, sexuality, and intimacy.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 25, 2024

"Hall of Mirrors"

New from Pegasus Crime: Hall of Mirrors: A Novel (A Judy Nightingale and Philippa Watson Mystery) by John Copenhaver.

About the book, from the publisher:

When a popular mystery novelist dies suspiciously, his writing partner must untangle the author’s connection to a serial killer in award-winning John Copenhaver’s new novel set in 1950s McCarthy-era Washington, DC.

In May 1954, Lionel Kane witnesses his apartment engulfed in flames with his lover and writing partner, Roger Raymond, inside. Police declare it a suicide due to gas ignition, but Lionel refuses to believe Roger was suicidal.

A month earlier, Judy Nightingale and Philippa Watson—the tenacious and troubled heroines from The Savage Kind—attend a lecture by Roger and, being eager fans, befriend him. He has just been fired from his day job at the State Department, another victim of the Lavender Scare, an anti-gay crusade led by figures like Senator Joseph McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover, claiming homosexuals are security risks. Little do Judy and Philippa know, but their obsessive manhunt of the past several years has fueled the flames of his dismissal.

They have been tracking their old enemy Adrian Bogdan, a spy and vicious serial killer protected by powerful forces in the government. He’s on the rampage again, and the police are ignoring his crimes. Frustrated, they send their research to the media and their favorite mystery writer anonymously, hoping to inspire someone, somehow, to publish on the crimes—anything to draw Bogdan out. But has their persistence brought deadly forces to the writing team behind their most beloved books?

In the wake of Roger’s death, Lionel searches for clues, but Judy and Philippa threaten his quest, concealing dark secrets of their own. As the crimes of the past and present converge, danger mounts, and the characters race to uncover the truth, even if it means bending their moral boundaries to stop a killer.
Visit John Copenhaver's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Savage Kind.

My Book, The Movie: The Savage Kind.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Commander in Chief"

New from the University Press of Kansas: Commander in Chief: Partisanship, Nationalism, and the Reconstruction of Congressional War by Casey B. K. Dominguez.

About the book, from the publisher:

The constitutional balance of war powers has shifted from Congress to the president over time. Today, presidents broadly define their constitutional authority as commander in chief. In the nineteenth century, however, Congress was the institution that claimed and defended expansive war powers authority. This discrepancy raises important questions: How, specifically, did Congress define the boundaries between presidential and congressional war powers in the early republic? Did that definition change, and if so, when, how, and why did it do so?

Based on an original, comprehensive dataset of every congressional reference to the commander-in-chief clause from the Founding through 1917, Casey Dominguez’s Commander in Chief systematically analyzes the authority that members of Congress ascribe to the president as commander in chief and the boundaries they put around that authority.

Dominguez shows that for more than a century members of Congress defined the commander in chief’s authority narrowly, similar to that of any high-ranking military officer. But in a wave of nationalism during the Spanish-American War, members of Congress began to argue that Congress owed deference to the commander in chief. They also tended to argue that a president of their own party should have broad war powers, while the powers of a president in the other party should be defined narrowly. Together, these two dynamics suggest that the conditions for presidentially dominated modern constitutional war powers were set at the turn of the twentieth century, far earlier than is often acknowledged.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Nice Work, Nora November"

New from Harper Muse: Nice Work, Nora November by Julia London.

About the book, from the publisher:

Now that Nora is not dead, only one question remains: What does she want to do with her life?

Nora November is alive—but she wasn’t always. She was once clinically dead, having spent several minutes under water after a terrible surfing accident she doesn’t remember. What she does remember from her time in a coma is her grandfather, who passed away over a year ago. And a beautiful garden. And the most delicious tomato she ever tasted.

Now that she’s awake again her life has been cleaved in two. In the Before, Nora lived like a ghost, drowning under the weight of her parents’ expectations. In the After, she’s determined to accomplish the things she left undone before she died. Her reverse bucket list is simple: She wants to learn to cook and to be a better older sister to Lacey. She wants to quit her terrible job as a personal injury lawyer at her dad’s firm. She wants to bring Grandpa’s now-neglected garden back to life. And she wants to find the guy she met in a corner store months ago—the one she never called but never stopped thinking about.

As Nora’s attempts at a new life prove disastrous at best, her mission to fulfill her reverse bucket list leads her to a reckoning with the truth she almost hid from herself.
Visit Julia London's website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Julia London and Moose.

Writers Read: Julia London (July 2010).

--Marshal Zeringue

"In Dialogue with Dickens"

New from Oxford University Press: In Dialogue with Dickens: The Mind of the Heart by Rosemarie Bodenheimer and Philip Davis.

About the book, from the publisher:

Written in the form of a back-and-forth dialogue between the two authors, this book is about the relationship between feeling and thinking in Dickens's novels. It presents Dickens as a psychological thinker, whose generative thought may be conscious, unconscious, half-conscious, or in transit between one state and another. This Dickens is always in live process, improvizing from one monthly number to the next, subtly revizing as he goes, shifting moods, tenses, and tones from one paragraph or sentence to the next, as what he writes sparks off what he suddenly, newly, thinks.

The chapters approach this inquiry through close readings of chosen passages, including studies of telling revisions in Dickens's manuscripts that reveal the power of his deepened second thoughts. They also draw on selected moments from his personal letters and prefaces when these more casual writings prove to be sketches or rehearsals for thoughts and feelings that achieve new life when they are transformed into fiction. The book concentrates on four novels of his great middle period: Dombey and Son, David Copperfield, Bleak House, and Little Dorrit, while making excursions into earlier and later Dickens novels, notably A Tale of Two Cities and Our Mutual Friend. The experiment of intense but informal conversation between the authors also models the relationship between feeling and thinking in the act of reading and responding to powerful moves in fiction.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 24, 2024

"Same Difference"

New from Severn House: Same Difference by E. J. Copperman.

About the book, from the publisher:

Nineteen-year-old trans woman Eliza is missing . . . and her worried father sets private investigators Fran and Ken Stein on her trail in this second instalment of the light-hearted and fun cozy mystery series with a paranormal twist.

Taking a break from their usual business of helping adoptees find their birth parents, New York private investigators - and super-sized, ever-so-slightly-paranormal siblings - Fran and Ken Stein accept a job to find a missing young woman.

Nineteen-year-old college student Eliza Hennessey is trans - and she has a rocky relationship with her father, their new client. Brian's convinced his daughter's vanished, rather than run away, but Fran and Ken aren't so sure she wants to be found.

The PI duo investigate, and soon Fran is butting heads with her irritating sort-of-ex-boyfriend Mank at the NYPD, who has what seems to be a similar case on his desk. But not even Fran could guess how tangled their investigations are going to get, and how deep they'll need to dive into murder and mayhem to solve the case!

The new instalment of the Fran and Ken Stein mystery series, following Ukulele of Death, has it all: unique characters, witty humour and a twisty mystery plot to die for!
Visit E. J. Copperman's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: The Thrill of the Haunt.

Writers Read: E. J. Copperman (November 2013).

The Page 69 Test: The Thrill of the Haunt.

My Book, The Movie: Ukulele of Death.

The Page 69 Test: Ukulele of Death.

Q&A with E. J. Copperman.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Vicious and Immoral"

New from Johns Hopkins University Press: Vicious and Immoral: Homosexuality, the American Revolution, and the Trials of Robert Newburgh by John Gilbert McCurdy.

About the book, from the publisher:

The fascinating story of a British army chaplain's buggery trial in 1774 reveals surprising truths about early America.

On the eve of the American Revolution, the British army considered the case of a chaplain, Robert Newburgh, who had been accused of having sex with a man. Newburgh's enemies cited his flamboyant appearance, defiance of military authority, and seduction of soldiers as proof of his low character. Consumed by fears that the British Empire would soon be torn asunder, his opponents claimed that these supposed crimes against nature translated to crimes against the king.

In Vicious and Immoral, historian John McCurdy tells this compelling story of male intimacy and provides an unparalleled glimpse inside eighteenth-century perceptions of queerness. By demanding to have his case heard, Newburgh invoked Enlightenment ideals of equality, arguing passionately that his style of dress and manner should not affect his place in the army or society. His accusers equated queer behavior with rebellion, and his defenders would go on to join the American cause. Newburgh's trial offers some clues to understanding a peculiarity of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century: while gay acts were prohibited by law in much of the British empire, the newly formed United States was comparatively uninterested in legislating against same-sex intimacy.

McCurdy imagines what life was like for a gay man in early America and captures the voices of those who loved and hated Newburgh, revealing how sexuality and revolution informed one another. Vicious and Immoral is the first book to place homosexuality in conversation with the American Revolution, and it dares us to rethink the place of LGBTQ people in the founding of the nation.
The Page 99 Test: Citizen Bachelors: Manhood and the Creation of the United States.

The Page 99 Test: Quarters.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Spilled Ink"

New from Quill Tree Books: Spilled Ink by Nadia Hashimi.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this insightful and affecting YA novel by well-loved author of books for adults and middle graders Nadia Hashimi, an Afghan American teenager's small town is thrown into controversy and violence when her brother, taking a stand against hatred, plays a prank that some think went too far…

When Yalda hears that her twin brother, Yusuf, will be performing with his band at a local venue, she lets her friends convince her to sneak out to see his show. But the night has something else in store: After the opening band makes some ugly jokes about “terrorists,” Yusuf uses his time in the spotlight for an impulsive stunt responding to the hate speech.

Suddenly, simmering tensions begin boiling over in their Virginia town, where many Afghan refugees have sought safety. When a video of Yusuf’s performance goes viral online, it seems like everyone in town turns against their family’s restaurant, leaving their livelihood in jeopardy. And then Yusuf is seriously injured in a mysterious fall.

Despite her grieving and frightened family, friends she is not sure she can trust, and a town that no longer feels like a safe home, Yalda must try to find her own voice—and do what she can to change her world for the better.
Visit Nadia Hashimi's website.

The Page 69 Test: When the Moon Is Low.

Writers Read: Nadia Hashimi (August 2015).

--Marshal Zeringue

"Sing Like Fish"

New from Crown: Sing Like Fish: How Sound Rules Life Under Water by Amorina Kingdon.

About the book, from the publisher:

A captivating exploration of how underwater animals tap into sound to survive, and a clarion call for humans to address the ways we invade these critical soundscapes—from an award-winning science writer

For centuries, humans ignored sound in the “silent world” of the ocean, assuming that what we couldn’t perceive, didn’t exist. But we couldn’t have been more wrong. Marine scientists now have the technology to record and study the complex interplay of the myriad sounds in the sea. Finally, we can trace how sounds travel with the currents, bounce from the seafloor and surface, bend with the temperature and even saltiness; how sounds help marine life survive; and how human noise can transform entire marine ecosystems.

In Sing Like Fish, award-winning science journalist Amorina Kingdon synthesizes historical discoveries with the latest scientific research in a clear and compelling portrait of this sonic undersea world. From plainfin midshipman fish, whose swim-bladder drumming is loud enough to keep houseboat-dwellers awake, to the syntax of whalesong; from the deafening crackle of snapping shrimp, to the seismic resonance of underwater earthquakes and volcanoes; sound plays a vital role in feeding, mating, parenting, navigating, and warning—even in animals that we never suspected of acoustic ability.

Meanwhile, we jump in our motorboats and cruise ships, oblivious to the impact below us. Our lifestyle is fueled by oil in growling tankers and furnished by goods that travel in massive container ships. Our seas echo with human-made sound, but we are just learning of the repercussions of anthropogenic noise on the marine world’s delicate acoustic ecosystems—masking mating calls, chasing animals from their food, and even wounding creatures, from plankton to lobsters.

With intimate and artful prose, Sing Like Fish tells a uniquely complete story of ocean animals’ submerged sounds, envisions a quieter future, and offers a profound new understanding of the world below the surface.
Visit Amorina Kingdon's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"One Killer Problem"

New from HarperTeen: One Killer Problem by Justine Pucella Winans.

About the book, from the publisher:

A darkly funny and thoroughly queer mystery thriller with a touch of camp, for fans of Kara Thomas and Kit Frick by way of Only Murders in the Building.

When Gianna “Gigi” Ricci lands in detention again, she doesn’t expect the glorified study hall to be her alibi.

But when she and her friends receive a mysterious email directing them to her favorite teacher, Mr. Ford's, room, they find him lying in a pool of blood. But calling the math teacher’s death an accident doesn’t add up, and Gigi needs all the help she can get to find the truth. Luckily, she’s friends with her high school’s Mystery Club, and so with her best friend, Sean, and longtime crush, Mari, Gigi sets out to solve a murder.

But it turns out that murderers are extremely unwilling to be caught, and the deeper Gigi gets in this mystery, the more dangerous things become. Between fending off a murderer, continual flare-ups of her IBS, and her archnemesis turning flirtatious, making it out of junior year is going to be one killer problem.

With a wry, hilarious voice and a main character who is the walking definition of a disaster bi, this book is an ode to cozy mysteries, queer found families, and fighting for the people you love, no matter what.
Visit Justine Pucella Winans's website.

--Marshal Zeringue


New from the University of Chicago Press: Vector: A Surprising Story of Space, Time, and Mathematical Transformation by Robyn Arianrhod.

About the book, from the publisher:

A celebration of the seemingly simple idea that allowed us to imagine the world in new dimensions—sparking both controversy and discovery.

The stars of this book, vectors and tensors, are unlikely celebrities. If you ever took a physics course, the word “vector” might remind you of the mathematics needed to determine forces on an amusement park ride, a turbine, or a projectile. You might also remember that a vector is a quantity that has magnitude and (this is the key) direction. In fact, vectors are examples of tensors, which can represent even more data. It sounds simple enough—and yet, as award-winning science writer Robyn Arianrhod shows in this riveting story, the idea of a single symbol expressing more than one thing at once was millennia in the making. And without that idea, we wouldn’t have such a deep understanding of our world.

Vector and tensor calculus offers an elegant language for expressing the way things behave in space and time, and Arianrhod shows how this enabled physicists and mathematicians to think in a brand-new way. These include James Clerk Maxwell when he ushered in the wireless electromagnetic age; Einstein when he predicted the curving of space-time and the existence of gravitational waves; Paul Dirac, when he created quantum field theory; and Emmy Noether, when she connected mathematical symmetry and the conservation of energy. For it turned out that it’s not just physical quantities and dimensions that vectors and tensors can represent, but other dimensions and other kinds of information, too. This is why physicists and mathematicians can speak of four-dimensional space-time and other higher-dimensional “spaces,” and why you’re likely relying on vectors or tensors whenever you use digital applications such as search engines, GPS, or your mobile phone.

In exploring the evolution of vectors and tensors—and introducing the fascinating people who gave them to us—Arianrhod takes readers on an extraordinary, five-thousand-year journey through the human imagination. She shows the genius required to reimagine the world—and how a clever mathematical construct can dramatically change discovery’s direction.
Visit Robyn Arianrhod's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 23, 2024

"Bright and Tender Dark"

New from Bloomsbury USA: Bright and Tender Dark by Joanna Pearson.

About the book, from the publisher:

For readers of Notes on an Execution and I Have Some Questions for You, a wire-taut literary debut about a murder on a college campus and its aftermath twenty years later.

Days after the dawn of Y2K, beautiful, charismatic nineteen-year-old Karlie Richards is found brutally murdered in her campus apartment. Two decades later, those who knew Karlie-and those who just knew of her-remain consumed by her death. Among them is her freshman year roommate, Joy, now middle-aged and mid-divorce, living in the same college town and desperate for a new beginning. When she stumbles upon a twenty-year-old letter from Karlie, Joy becomes convinced the man in prison for her murder was wrongfully convicted. Soon she is diving deep into the dark world of internet conspiracy theorists and amateur sleuth blogs and bouncing off others touched by the long, sensational aftermath of this crime. They include KC, the trans night manager at the building where Karlie was killed; Sheri, the mother of the man serving time; and Jacob Hendrix, the charming professor with whom, Joy knows all too well, Karlie was romantically entangled before her death.

Jumping between 2019 and 1999, Bright and Tender Dark takes us from the era of Reddit threads and online obsession to the evangelism-infused culture of the late '90s to reveal what really happened to Karlie. It is a compulsively readable, prismatic literary debut that brilliantly mines the mythology of murder, the power of urban legend, and the psychological urge to both protect and exploit what you love but cannot have.
Visit Joanna Pearson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Some New World"

New from Cambridge University Press: Some New World: Myths of Supernatural Belief in a Secular Age by Peter Harrison.

About the book, from the publisher:

In his famous argument against miracles, David Hume gets to the heart of the modern problem of supernatural belief. 'We are apt', says Hume, 'to imagine ourselves transported into some new world; where the whole form of nature is disjointed, and every element performs its operation in a different manner, from what it does at present.' This encapsulates, observes Peter Harrison, the disjuncture between contemporary Western culture and medieval societies. In the Middle Ages, people saw the hand of God at work everywhere. Indeed, many suppose that 'belief in the supernatural' is likewise fundamental nowadays to religious commitment. But dichotomising between 'naturalism' and 'supernaturalism' is actually a relatively recent phenomenon, just as the notion of 'belief' emerged historically late. In this masterful contribution to intellectual history, the author overturns crucial misconceptions – 'myths' – about secular modernity, challenging common misunderstandings of the past even as he reinvigorates religious thinking in the present.
--Marshal Zeringue