Friday, January 27, 2023

"Culture: The Story of Us, From Cave Art to K-Pop"

New from W.W. Norton: Culture: The Story of Us, From Cave Art to K-Pop by Martin Puchner.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Culture, acclaimed author, professor, and public intellectual Martin Puchner takes us on a breakneck tour through pivotal moments in world history, providing a global introduction to the arts and humanities in one engaging volume.

What good are the arts? Why should we care about the past? For millennia, humanity has sought to understand and transmit to future generations not just the “know-how” of life, but the “know-why”—the meaning and purpose of our existence, as expressed in art, architecture, religion, and philosophy. This crucial passing down of knowledge has required the radical integration of insights from the past and from other cultures. In Culture, acclaimed author, professor, and public intellectual Martin Puchner takes us on a breakneck tour through pivotal moments in world history, providing a global introduction to the arts and humanities in one engaging volume.

From Nefertiti’s lost city to the plays of Wole Soyinka; from the theaters of ancient Greece to Chinese travel journals to Arab and Aztec libraries; from a South Asian statuette found at Pompeii to a time capsule left behind on the Moon, Puchner tells the gripping story of human achievement through our collective losses and rediscoveries, power plays and heroic journeys, innovations, imitations, and appropriations. More than a work of history, Culture is an archive of humanity’s most monumental junctures and a guidebook for the future of us humans as a creative species. Witty, erudite, and full of wonder, Puchner argues that the humanities are (and always have been) essential to the transmission of knowledge that drives the efforts of human civilization.
Visit Martin Puchner's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 26, 2023

"The Love Scribe"

New from Park Row Books: The Love Scribe: A Novel by Amy Meyerson.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the bestselling author of The Bookshop of Yesterdays comes a charming novel about a woman with a special gift—her stories help people fall in love.

When Alice’s best friend, Gabby, is reeling from a breakup, Alice writes her a heartfelt story to cheer her up. While reading it in a café, Gabby, as if by magic, meets the man of her dreams. Thinking the story might have some special power to it, Gabby shares it with her sister and other friends, who all find instant love. Word of mouth spreads, and Alice stumbles upon a new calling—to be a love scribe.

But not all the love stories she writes unfold as expected. And while Alice tries to harness her extraordinary gift, she is summoned to a mansion in the woods where she encounters the reclusive Madeline Alger and her mysterious library. As Alice struggles to write a story for Madeline, her most challenging assignment yet, she’s forced to confront her own guarded heart. Because maybe—just maybe—there’s a love story waiting to be written for her, too.

Emotional, deeply imaginative and brimming with valuable life lessons, The Love Scribe explores love, fate and the power of stories when we choose to believe in them.
Visit Amy Meyerson's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Bookshop of Yesterdays.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Mother Cow, Mother India"

New from Stanford University Press: Mother Cow, Mother India: A Multispecies Politics of Dairy in India by Yamini Narayanan.

About the book, from the publisher:

India imposes stringent criminal penalties, including life imprisonment in some states, for cow slaughter, based on a Hindu ethic of revering the cow as sacred. And yet India is among the world's leading producers of beef, leather, and milk, industries sustained by the mass slaughter of bovines. What is behind this seeming contradiction? What do bovines, deemed holy in Hinduism, experience in the Indian milk and beef industries? Yamini Narayanan asks and answers these questions, introducing cows and buffaloes as key subjects in India's cow protectionism, rather than their treatment hitherto as mere objects of political analysis. Emphasizing human–animal hierarchical relations, Narayanan argues that the Hindu framing of the cow as "mother" is one of human domination, wherein bovine motherhood is simultaneously capitalized for dairy production and weaponized by right-wing Hindu nationalists to violently oppress Muslims and Dalits. Using ethnographic and empirical data gathered across India, this book reveals the harms caused to buffaloes, cows, bulls, and calves in dairying, and the exploitation required of the diverse, racialized labor throughout India's dairy production continuum to obscure such violence. Ultimately, Narayanan traces how the unraveling of human domination and exploitation of farmed animals is integral to progressive multispecies democratic politics, speculating on the real possibility of a post-dairy society, based on vegan agricultural policies for livelihoods and food security.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Hungry Ghosts"

New from Ecco: Hungry Ghosts: A Novel by Kevin Jared Hosein.

About the book, from the publisher:

From an unforgettable new voice in Caribbean literature, a sweeping story of two families colliding in 1940s Trinidad—and a chilling mystery that shows how interconnected their lives truly are

Trinidad in the 1940s, nearing the end of American occupation and British colonialism. On a hill overlooking Bell Village sits the Changoor farm, where Dalton and Marlee Changoor live in luxury unrecognizable to those who reside in the farm’s shadow. Down below is the Barrack, a ramshackle building of wood and tin, divided into rooms occupied by whole families. Among these families are the Saroops—Hans, Shweta, and their son, Krishna, all three born of the barracks. Theirs are hard lives of backbreaking work, grinding poverty, devotion to faith, and a battle against nature and a social structure designed to keep them where they are.

But when Dalton goes missing and Marlee’s safety is compromised, farmhand Hans is lured by the promise of a handsome stipend to move to the farm as a watchman. As the mystery of Dalton’s disappearance unfolds, the lives of the wealthy couple and those who live in the barracks below become insidiously entwined, their community changed forever and in shocking ways.

A searing and singular novel of religion, class, family, and historical violence, and rooted in Trinidad’s wild pastoral landscape and inspired by oral storytelling traditions, Hungry Ghosts is deeply resonant of its time and place while evoking the roots and ripple effects of generational trauma and linked histories; the lingering resentments, sacrifices, and longings that alter destinies; and the consequences of powerlessness. Lyrically told and rendered with harrowing beauty, Hungry Ghosts is a stunning piece of storytelling and an affecting mystery, from a blazingly talented writer.
Follow Kevin Jared Hosein on Facebook and Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Period: The Real Story of Menstruation"

Coming April 18 from Princeton University Press: Period: The Real Story of Menstruation by Kate Clancy.

About the book, from the publisher:

A bold and revolutionary perspective on the science and cultural history of menstruation

Menstruation is something half the world does for a week at a time, for months and years on end, yet it remains largely misunderstood. Scientists once thought of an individual’s period as useless, and some doctors still believe it’s unsafe for a menstruating person to swim in the ocean wearing a tampon. Period counters the false theories that have long defined the study of the uterus, exposing the eugenic history of gynecology while providing an intersectional feminist perspective on menstruation science.

Blending interviews and personal experience with engaging stories from her own pioneering research, Kate Clancy challenges a host of myths and false assumptions. There is no such a thing as a “normal” menstrual cycle. In fact, menstrual cycles are incredibly variable and highly responsive to environmental and psychological stressors. Clancy takes up a host of timely issues surrounding menstruation, from bodily autonomy, menstrual hygiene, and the COVID-19 vaccine to the ways racism, sexism, and medical betrayal warp public perceptions of menstruation and erase it from public life.

Offering a revelatory new perspective on one of the most captivating biological processes in the human body, Period will change the way you think about the past, present, and future of periods.
Visit Kate Clancy's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

"Episode Thirteen"

New from Redhook: Episode Thirteen by Craig DiLouie.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the macabre mind of a Bram Stoker Award-nominated author, this heart-pounding novel of horror and psychological suspense takes a ghost hunting reality TV crew into a world they could never have imagined.

Fade to Black
is the newest hit ghost hunting reality TV show. Led by husband and wife team Matt and Claire Kirklin, it delivers weekly hauntings investigated by a dedicated team of ghost hunting experts.

Episode Thirteen takes them to every ghost hunter's holy grail: the Paranormal Research Foundation. This brooding, derelict mansion holds secrets and clues about bizarre experiments that took place there in the 1970s. It's also famously haunted, and the team hopes their scientific techniques and high tech gear will prove it. But as the house begins to reveal itself to them, proof of an afterlife might not be everything Matt dreamed of. A story told in broken pieces, in tapes, journals, and correspondence, this is the story of Episode Thirteen—and how everything went terribly, horribly wrong.
Visit Craig DiLouie's website.

My Book, The Movie: One of Us.

The Page 69 Test: One of Us.

Writers Read: Craig DiLouie (August 2019).

The Page 69 Test: Our War.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Saving the Protestant Ethic"

Coming March 31 from Oxford University Press: Saving the Protestant Ethic: Creative Class Evangelicalism and the Crisis of Work by Andrew Lynn.

About the book, from the publisher:

Protestant orientations to work and economics have shaped wider American culture for several centuries. But not all strands of American Protestantism have elevated secular work to the highest echelons of spiritual significance. This book surveys the efforts of a religious movement within white Protestant fundamentalism and its neo-evangelical successors to "make work matter to God."

Today, bearing the name the "faith and work movement," this effort puts on display the creative capacities of religious and lay leaders to adapt a faith system to the changing social-economic conditions of advanced capitalism. Building from the insights and theory of Max Weber, Andrew Lynn draws on archival research and interviews with movement leaders to survey and assess the surging number of new organizations, books, conferences, worship songs, seminary classes, vocational programming, and study groups promoting classically Protestant and Calvinist ideas of work and vocation. He traces these efforts back to early-twentieth-century business leaders and theologically trained leaders who saw a desperate need to foster a new "work ethic" among religious laity entering into professional, managerial, and creative class work.

Leaders interviewed for the study recount the challenges of rerouting energies that were previously steered toward inward spirituality, cultural separatism, and proselytization. Through these interviews, Saving the Protestant Ethic captures ongoing in-group tensions and creative adaptation among American evangelicals as they navigate changing class and political dynamics that shape American society.
Visit Andrew Lynn's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Looking for Jane"

New from Atria Books: Looking for Jane: A Novel by Heather Marshall.

About the book, from the publisher:

This “powerful debut” (Hello! Canada) for fans of Kristin Hannah and Jennifer Chiaverini about three women whose lives are bound together by a long-lost letter, a mother’s love, and a secret network of women fighting for the right to choose—inspired by true stories.

2017: When Angela Creighton discovers a mysterious letter containing a life-shattering confession, she is determined to find the intended recipient. Her search takes her back to the 1970s when a group of daring women operated an illegal underground abortion network in Toronto known only by its whispered code name: Jane.

1971: As a teenager, Dr. Evelyn Taylor was sent to a home for “fallen” women where she was forced to give up her baby for adoption—a trauma she has never recovered from. Despite harrowing police raids and the constant threat of arrest, she joins the Jane Network as an abortion provider, determined to give other women the choice she never had.

1980: After discovering a shocking secret about her family, twenty-year-old Nancy Mitchell begins to question everything she has ever known. When she unexpectedly becomes pregnant, she feels like she has no one to turn to for help. Grappling with her decision, she locates “Jane” and finds a place of her own alongside Dr. Taylor within the network’s ranks, but she can never escape the lies that haunt her.

Looking for Jane is “a searing, important, beautifully written novel about the choices we all make and where they lead us—as well as a wise and timely reminder of the difficult road women had to walk not so long ago” (Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author).
Visit Heather Marshall's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Best Minds"

Coming March 28 from Fordham University Press: Best Minds: How Allen Ginsberg Made Revolutionary Poetry from Madness by Stevan M. Weine.

About the book, from the publisher:

A revelatory look at how poet Allen Ginsberg transformed experiences of mental illness and madness into some of the most powerful and widely read poems of the twentieth century.

Allen Ginsberg’s 1956 poem “Howl” opens with one of the most resonant phrases in modern poetry: “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.” Thirty years later, Ginsberg entrusted a Columbia University medical student with materials not shared with anyone else, including psychiatric records which documented how he and his mother, Naomi Ginsberg, struggled with mental illness.

In Best Minds, psychiatrist , researcher, and scholar Stevan M. Weine, M.D., who was that medical student, examines how Allen Ginsberg took his visions and psychiatric hospitalization, his mother’s devastating illness, confinement, and lobotomy, and the social upheavals of the post-war world and imaginatively transformed them.

Though madness is often linked with hardship and suffering, Ginsberg showed how it could also lead to profound and redemptive aesthetic, spiritual, and social changes. Through his revolutionary poetry and social advocacy, Ginsberg dedicated himself to leading others toward new ways of being human and easing pain.

Throughout his celebrated career Ginsberg’s writings and most public life made us feel as though we knew everything there was to know about him. However, much has been left out about his experiences growing up with a mentally ill mother, his visions, and his psychiatric hospitalization.

In Best Minds, with a forty-year career studying and addressing trauma, Weine provides a groundbreaking exploration of the poet and his creative process especially in relation to madness.

Best Minds examines the complex relationships between mental illness, psychiatry, trauma, poetry, and prophecy—using the access Ginsberg generously shared to offer new, lively and indispensable insights into an American icon. Weine also provides new understandings of the paternalism, treatment failures, ethical lapses, and limitations of American psychiatry of the 1940s and 1950s.

In light of these new discoveries, the challenges Ginsberg faced appear starker and his achievements, both as a poet and an advocate, are even more remarkable.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

"The Spite House"

New from Tor Nightfire: The Spite House: A Novel by Johnny Compton.

About the book, from the publisher:

A terrifying Gothic thriller about grief and death and the depths of a father's love, Johnny Compton's The Spite House is a stunning debut by a horror master in the making—The Babadook meets A Head Full of Ghosts in Texas Hill Country.

Eric Ross is on the run from a mysterious past with his two daughters in tow. Having left his wife, his house, his whole life behind in Maryland, he's desperate for money—it's not easy to find steady, safe work when you can't provide references, you can't stay in one place for long, and you're paranoid that your past is creeping back up on you.

When he comes across the strange ad for the Masson House in Degener, Texas, Eric thinks they may have finally caught a lucky break. The Masson property, notorious for being one of the most haunted places in Texas, needs a caretaker of sorts. The owner is looking for proof of paranormal activity. All they need to do is stay in the house and keep a detailed record of everything that happens there. Provided the house’s horrors don’t drive them all mad, like the caretakers before them.

The job calls to Eric, not just because there's a huge payout if they can make it through, but because he wants to explore the secrets of the spite house. If it is indeed haunted, maybe it'll help him understand the uncanny power that clings to his family, driving them from town to town, making them afraid to stop running.
Visit Johnny Compton's website.

--Marshal Zeringue