Saturday, April 13, 2024

"Freeman’s Challenge"

Coming soon from the University of Chicago Press: Freeman’s Challenge: The Murder That Shook America’s Original Prison for Profit by Robin Bernstein.

About the book, from the publisher:

An award-winning historian tells a gripping, morally complicated story of murder, greed, race, and the true origins of prison for profit.

In the early nineteenth century, as slavery gradually ended in the North, a village in New York State invented a new form of unfreedom: the profit-driven prison. Uniting incarceration and capitalism, the village of Auburn built a prison that enclosed industrial factories. There, “slaves of the state” were leased to private companies. The prisoners earned no wages, yet they manufactured furniture, animal harnesses, carpets, and combs, which consumers bought throughout the North. Then one young man challenged the system.

In Freeman’s Challenge, Robin Bernstein tells the story of an Afro-Native teenager named William Freeman who was convicted of a horse theft he insisted he did not commit and sentenced to five years of hard labor in Auburn’s prison. Incensed at being forced to work without pay, Freeman demanded wages. His challenge triggered violence: first against him, then by him. Freeman committed a murder that terrified and bewildered white America. And white America struck back—with aftereffects that reverberate into our lives today in the persistent myth of inherent Black criminality. William Freeman’s unforgettable story reveals how the North invented prison for profit half a century before the Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery “except as a punishment for crime”—and how Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and other African Americans invented strategies of resilience and resistance in a city dominated by a citadel of unfreedom.

Through one Black man, his family, and his city, Bernstein tells an explosive, moving story about the entangled origins of prison for profit and anti-Black racism.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Last Time She Saw Him"

Coming soon from Harper: The Last Time She Saw Him: A Novel by Kate White.

About the book, from the publisher:

A woman is left reeling when her former fiancĂ© appears to take his own life, and she becomes desperate to prove it was actually murder—in the latest psychological thriller from New York Times bestselling author Kate White

As Kiki Reed heads out to a party at a friend’s house in the Connecticut countryside, she’s more than a little nervous. Her ex-fiancĂ© Jamie, a great guy who just wasn’t “the one,” will be attending, and she hasn’t seen him since she broke his heart a few months earlier. But when they come face to face, their exchange is brief and pleasant, which is a huge relief.

Then, as the party is winding down, a noise pierces the night. The last few guests run outside to find Jamie inside his car, dead from a gunshot wound.

Shocked and grieving, Kiki learns that the police believe Jamie took his own life, but she knows he was moving on from the breakup and just doesn’t believe it. Determined to find the truth, she searches for any evidence that will get the police to take her seriously. But as she peels away the layers, she uncovers something far more sinister than she’d imagined—and it may be her life on the line next...
Visit Kate White's website, Facebook page, and Instagram page.

The Page 69 Test: Even If It Kills Her.

The Page 69 Test: Eyes on You.

The Page 99 Test: The Gutsy Girl Handbook.

The Page 69 Test: Have You Seen Me?.

The Page 69 Test: The Second Husband.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Influencer Factory"

New from Stanford University Press: The Influencer Factory: A Marxist Theory of Corporate Personhood on YouTube by Grant Bollmer and Katherine Guinness.

About the book, from the publisher:

Influencers are more than social media personalities who attract attention for brands, argue Grant Bollmer and Katherine Guinness. They are figures of a new transformation in capitalism, in which the logic of the self is indistinguishable from the logic of the corporation. Influencers are emblematic of what Bollmer and Guinness call the "Corpocene": a moment in capitalism in which individuals achieve the status of living, breathing, talking corporations. Behind the veneer of leisure and indulgence, most influencers are laboring daily, usually for pittance wages, to manufacture a commodity called "the self"—a raw material for brands to use—with the dream of becoming corporations in human form by owning and investing in the products they sell. Refuting the theory that digital labor and economies are immaterial, Bollmer and Guinness search influencer content for evidence of the material infrastructure of capitalism. Each chapter looks to what literally appears in the backgrounds of videos and images: the houses, cars, warehouses, and spaces of the market that point back to the manufacturing and circulation of consumer goods. Demonstrating the material reality of producing the self as a commodity, The Influencer Factory makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of contemporary economic life.
Visit Grant Bollmer's website and Katherine Guinness's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 12, 2024

"Boss Lady"

Coming July 2 from Montlake: Boss Lady: A Novel by Alli Frank and Asha Youmans.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this funny and inspiring novel from the authors of The Better Half, a mess of a heroine is desperate to resolve her past so she can finally rediscover who she was always meant to be.

Antonia “Toni” Arroyo’s protective mother has outdated notions for her daughter’s life: employ her natural beauty and marry young. But Toni has wholly different aspirations.

A promising inventor and budding entrepreneur, she fights to keep her passions alive as a financially strapped mother of twins with a job in airport transportation services that has her going in circles. One treasured frequent passenger is elderly traveler Sylvia Eisenberg, Toni’s sage but unofficial adviser and cheerleader. When Toni meets Sylvia’s grandson, Ash, a striking venture capitalist, luck just might bend her way.

With a game-changing new business endeavor in development, Toni hustles an opportunity to pitch her idea on TV’s Innovation Nation. Toni’s unexpected challenger? Her very own recently resurfaced, self-aggrandizing not-quite-ex-husband. As Toni’s interrupted past collides with her tenuous future, she is more determined than ever to follow through on her delayed dreams. Toni’s been clinging to “maybe” for so long―it’s finally time for “absolutely.”
Learn more about Alli Frank and Asha Youmans at the Alli + Asha website and on IG/FB/Twitter: @alliandasha.

My Book, The Movie: Never Meant to Meet You.

--Marshal Zeringue

"A War of Colors"

New from the University of Texas Press: A War of Colors: Graffiti and Street Art in Postwar Beirut by Nadine A. Sinno.

About the book, from the publisher:

Demonstrates the role of Beirut’s postwar graffiti and street art in transforming the cityscape and animating resistance.

Over the last two decades in Beirut, graffiti makers have engaged in a fierce “war of colors,” seeking to disrupt and transform the city’s physical and social spaces. In A War of Colors, Nadine Sinno examines how graffiti and street art have been used in postwar Beirut to comment on the rapidly changing social dynamics of the country and region. Analyzing how graffiti makers can reclaim and transform cityscapes that were damaged or monopolized by militias during the war, Sinno explores graffiti’s other roles, including forging civic engagement, commemorating cultural icons, protesting political corruption and environmental violence, and animating resistance. In addition, she argues that graffiti making can offer voices to those who are often marginalized, especially women and LGBTQ people. Copiously illustrated with images of graffiti and street art, A War of Colors is a visually captivating and thought-provoking journey through Beirut, where local and global discourses intersect on both scarred and polished walls in the city.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Unforgettable Loretta Darling"

Coming July 9 from Harper Paperbacks: The Unforgettable Loretta Darling: A Novel by Katherine Blake.

About the book, from the publisher:

An aspiring makeup artist takes on predatory Hollywood in this addictive debut novel with bite—a sultry, thrilling blend of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Killing Eve, and A Promising Young Woman.

It’s 1950 and Loretta Reynolds is newly arrived in Hollywood, fresh off a con that brought her from England to the sunny shores of California. She’s running away from a complicated past to fulfill her ambition of becoming a makeup artist to the stars.

When her new husband, a would-be actor, takes her to a sex-fueled Hollywood party on their wedding night—hoping to trade her to a powerful director for a favor—she discovers the dark side of Tinseltown and sets out on a path of revenge against the cruel men who use their money and power to play with lives and dreams.

In her quest for vengeance, Loretta gathers a band of La-La-Land misfits: a fading starlet past her prime, a friendly neighborhood sex worker, and a brooding screenwriter who proves yes, not all men are evil—just most . . .

Now, Loretta is about to get her big break—and Hollywood better beware. Loretta has learned a lot about makeup, and more. . . and some of her clients might not make it out alive.
Visit Katherine Blake's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Designed to Fail"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Designed to Fail: Why Racial Equity in School Funding Is So Hard to Achieve by Roseann Liu.

About the book, from the publisher:

A provocative examination of how systemic racism in education funding is sustained.

For people who care about urban school districts like Philadelphia’s, addressing the challenges that these schools face often boils down to the need for more money. But why are urban districts that serve Black and Brown students still so perennially underfunded compared to majority-white ones? Why is racial equity in school funding so hard to achieve?

In Designed to Fail, Roseann Liu provides an inside look at the Pennsylvania state legislature and campaigns for fair funding to show how those responsible for the distribution of school funding work to maintain the privileges of majority-white school districts. Liu analyzes how colorblind policies, political structures, and the maintenance of the status quo by people in power perpetuate wide and deepening racial disparities in education funding. Taking a lesson from community organizers fighting for a racially equitable school funding system, Liu’s work is a bold call to address structural racism at the root and organize from a place of abundant justice.
Visit Roseann Liu's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 11, 2024

"The Mother Act"

Coming soon from Dutton: The Mother Act: A Novel by Heidi Reimer.

About the book, from the publisher:

Set against the sparkling backdrop of the theater world, this propulsive debut follows the relationship between an actress who refuses to abandon her career and the daughter'she chooses to abandon instead.

Sadie Jones, a larger-than-life actress and controversial feminist, never wanted to be a mother. No one feels this more deeply than Jude, the daughter Sadie left behind. While Jude spent her childhood touring with her father’s Shakespearian theater company, desperate for validation from the mother she barely knew, Sadie catapulted to fame on the wings of The Mother Act—a scathing one-woman show about motherhood.

Two decades later, Jude is a talented actress in her own right, and her fraught relationship with Sadie has come to a scandalous head. On a December evening in New York City, at the packed premiere of Sadie’s latest play, the two come face-to-face and the intertwined stories of their lives unfold—colorfully and dramatically. What emerges is a picture of two very different women navigating the complicated worlds of career, love, and family, all while grappling with the essential question: can they ever really understand each other?

Compelling, insightful, and cleverly conveyed as a play in six acts, The Mother Act is a stylish page-turner that looks at what it means to be a devoted mother and a devoted artist—and whether it is possible to be both.
Visit Heidi Reimer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Total Garbage"

New from Avery: Total Garbage: How We Can Fix Our Waste and Heal Our World by Edward Humes.

About the book, from the publisher:

An investigative narrative that dives into the waste embedded in our daily lives—and shows how individuals and communities are making a real difference for health, prosperity, quality of life and the fight against climate change, by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist

What happens to our trash? Why are our oceans filling with plastic? Do we really waste 40 percent of our food 65 percent of our energy? Waste is truly our biggest problem, and solving our inherent trashiness can fix our economy, our energy costs, our traffic jams, and help slow climate change—all while making us healthier, happier and more prosperous. This story-driven and in-depth exploration of the pervasive yet hard-to-see wastefulness that permeates our daily lives illuminates the ways in which we've been duped into accepting absolutely insane levels of waste as normal. Total Garbage also tells the story of individuals and communities who are finding the way back from waste, and showing us that our choices truly matter and make a difference.

Our big environmental challenges – climate, energy, plastic pollution, deforestation, toxic emissions—are often framed as problems too big for any one person to solve. Too big even for hope. But when viewed as symptoms of a single greater problem—the epic levels of trash and waste we produce daily--the way forward is clear. Waste is the one problem individuals can positively impact—and not just on the planet, but also on our wallets, our health, and national and energy security. The challenge is seeing our epic wastefulness clearly.

Total Garbage will shine a light on the absurdity of the systems that all of us use daily and take for granted--and it will help both individuals and communities make meaningful changes toward better lives and a cleaner, greener world.
Learn more about the book and author at Edward Humes's website.

The Page 99 Test: Force of Nature.

The Page 99 Test: Garbology.

My Book, The Movie: Burned.

The Page 99 Test: Burned.

The Page 99 Test: The Forever Witness.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Sweetness in the Skin"

New from Harper: Sweetness in the Skin: A Novel by Ishi Robinson.

About the book, from the publisher:

A winning debut novel about a Jamaican girl determined to bake her way out of her dysfunctional family and into the opportunity of a lifetime.

Pumkin Patterson is a thirteen-year-old girl living in a tiny two-room house in Kingston, Jamaica, with her grandmother (who wants to improve the family’s social standing), her Aunt Sophie (who dreams of a new life in Paris for her and Pumkin), and her mother Paulette (who’s rarely home).

When Sophie is offered the chance to move to France for work, she seizes the opportunity, and promises to send for her niece in one year’s time. All Pumkin has to do is pass her French entrance exam so she can attend school there. But when Pumkin’s grandmother dies, she’s left alone with her volatile mother, and as soon as her estranged father turns up—as lazy and conniving as ever—the household’s fortunes take a turn for the worse.

Pumkin must somehow find a way to raise the money for her French exam, so she can free herself from her household and reunite with her beloved aunt in France. In a moment of ingenuity, she turns her passion for baking into a true business. Making batches of sweet potato pudding, coconut drops and chocolate cakes, Pumkin develops a booming trade—but when her school and her mother find out what she’s up to, everything she’s worked so hard for may slip through her fingers. . . .

Sweetness in the Skin is a funny and heartbreaking story about a young girl figuring out who she is, what she is capable of—and where she truly belongs.
Visit Ishi Robinson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue