Monday, September 25, 2017

"After the End of the World"

Coming soon from Thomas Dunne Books: After the End of the World: Carter & Lovecraft (Volume 2) by Jonathan L. Howard.

About the book, from the publisher:

After the End of the World by Jonathan L. Howard brings the H.P. Lovecraft mythos into the twenty-first century.

The Unfolded World is a bitter and unfriendly place for Daniel Carter and Emily Lovecraft. In this world, the Cold War never happened because the Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1941. In this world the Nazi Großdeutschland is the premier superpower, and is not merely tolerated but indulged because, in this world, the Holocaust happened behind the ruins of the Iron Curtain and consumed only Bolsheviks, Communists, and others the West was glad to see gone. In this world, there are monsters, and not all of them are human.

But even in the Unfolded World, there are still bills to pay and jobs to do. Carter finds himself working for the German secret security service to uncover the truth behind a major scientific joint project that is going suspiciously well. The trail takes Lovecraft and him to a distant, abandoned island, and a conspiracy that threatens everything. To fight it, Lovecraft must walk a perilously narrow path between forbidden knowledge and soul-destroying insanity.

Fortunately, she also has a shotgun.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Cinematic Nihilism"

New from Edinburgh University Press: Cinematic Nihilism: Encounters, Confrontations, Overcomings by John Marmysz.

About the book, from the publisher:

Exposing and illustrating how an ongoing engagement with nihilistic alienation may contribute to, rather than detract from, the value of life, Cinematic Nihilism both challenges and builds upon past scholarship that has scrutinised nihilism in the media, but which has generally over-emphasised its negative and destructive aspects. Through case studies of popular films, including Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises, Dawn of the Dead and The Human Centipede, and with chapters on Scotland's cinematic portrayal as both a site of 'nihilistic sacrifice' and as 'nowhere in particular', this book presents a necessary corrective, re-emphasising the constructive potential of cinematic nihilism and casting it as a phenomenon that need not be overcome.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Friends and Traitors"

New from Atlantic Monthly Press: Friends and Traitors by John Lawton.

About the book, from the publisher:

John Lawton’s Inspector Troy series is regularly singled out as of exceptional quality, earning comparisons to John le Carré, Philip Kerr, and Alan Furst. The latest novel in the spy thriller series—written to be read in any order—finds Inspector Troy entangled in Cold War tensions.It is 1958. Chief Superintendent Frederick Troy of Scotland Yard, newly promoted after good service during Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to Britain, is not looking forward to a Continental trip with his older brother, Rod. Rod was too vain to celebrate being fifty so instead takes his entire family on “the Grand Tour” for his fifty-first birthday: Paris, Siena, Florence, Vienna, Amsterdam. Restaurants, galleries, and concert halls. But Frederick Troy never gets to Amsterdam. After a concert in Vienna he is approached by an old friend whom he has not seen for years—Guy Burgess, a spy for the Soviets, who says something extraordinary: “I want to come home.” Troy dumps the problem on MI5 who send an agent to debrief Burgess—but the man is gunned down only yards from the embassy, and after that, the whole plan unravels with alarming speed, and Troy finds himself a suspect. As he fights to prove his innocence, Troy finds that Burgess is not the only ghost who returns to haunt him.

Combining richly atmospheric rendering of period and place, wonderfully well drawn characters—several of whom we have met before—with a compelling narrative full of twists and turns, Friends and Traitors will satisfy John Lawton’s many fans and win him new ones.
Learn more about the book and author at John Lawton's website.

The Page 69 Test: Then We Take Berlin.

Writers Read: John Lawton (November 2014).

The Page 69 Test: Sweet Sunday.

My Book, The Movie: Sweet Sunday.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 24, 2017

"James Joyce and the Phenomenology of Film"

New from Oxford University Press: James Joyce and the Phenomenology of Film by Cleo Hanaway-Oakley.

About the book, from the publisher:

James Joyce and the Phenomenology of Film reappraises the lines of influence said to exist between Joyce's writing and early cinema and provides an alternative to previous psychoanalytic readings of Joyce and film. Through a compelling combination of historical research and critical analysis, Cleo Hanaway-Oakley demonstrates that Joyce, early film-makers, and phenomenologists (Maurice Merleau-Ponty, in particular) share a common enterprise: all are concerned with showing, rather than explaining, the 'inherence of the self in the world'. Instead of portraying an objective, neutral world, bereft of human input, Joyce, the film-makers, and the phenomenologists present embodied, conscious engagement with the environment and others: they are interested in the world-as-it-is-lived and transcend the seemingly-rigid binaries of seer/seen, subject/object, absorptive/theatrical, and personal/impersonal. This book re-evaluates the history of body- and spectator-focused film theories, placing Merleau-Ponty at the centre of the discussion, and considers the ways in which Joyce may have encountered such theories. In a wealth of close analyses, Joyce's fiction is read alongside the work of early film-makers such as Charlie Chaplin, Georges Melies, and Mitchell and Kenyon, and in relation to the philosophical dimensions of early-cinematic devices such as the Mutoscope, the stereoscope, and the panorama. By putting Joyce's literary work--Ulysses above all--into dialogue with both early cinema and phenomenology, this book elucidates and enlivens literature, film, and philosophy.
Visit Cleo Hanaway-Oakley's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Dark Lake"

New from Grand Central Publishing: The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey.

About the book, from the publisher:

Rosalind’s secrets didn’t die with her.

The lead homicide investigator in a rural town, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is deeply unnerved when a high school classmate is found strangled, her body floating in a lake. And not just any classmate, but Rosalind Ryan, whose beauty and inscrutability exerted a magnetic pull on Smithson High School, first during Rosalind’s student years and then again when she returned to teach drama.

As much as Rosalind’s life was a mystery to Gemma when they were students together, her death presents even more of a puzzle. What made Rosalind quit her teaching job in Sydney and return to her hometown? Why did she live in a small, run-down apartment when her father was one of the town’s richest men? And despite her many admirers, did anyone in the town truly know her?

Rosalind’s enigmas frustrate and obsess Gemma, who has her own dangerous secrets–an affair with her colleague and past tragedies that may not stay in the past. Brilliantly rendered, THE DARK LAKE has characters as compelling and mysteries as layered as the best thrillers from Gillian Flynn and Sophie Hannah.
Visit Sarah Bailey's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Little Soldiers"

New from Harper: Little Soldiers: An American Boy, a Chinese School, and the Global Race to Achieve by Lenora Chu.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the spirit of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Bringing up Bébé, and The Smartest Kids in the World, a hard-hitting exploration of China’s widely acclaimed yet insular education system—held up as a model of academic and behavioral excellence—that raises important questions for the future of American parenting and education.

When students in Shanghai rose to the top of international rankings in 2009, Americans feared that they were being "out-educated" by the rising super power. An American journalist of Chinese descent raising a young family in Shanghai, Lenora Chu noticed how well-behaved Chinese children were compared to her boisterous toddler. How did the Chinese create their academic super-achievers? Would their little boy benefit from Chinese school?

Chu and her husband decided to enroll three-year-old Rainer in China’s state-run public school system. The results were positive—her son quickly settled down, became fluent in Mandarin, and enjoyed his friends—but she also began to notice troubling new behaviors. Wondering what was happening behind closed classroom doors, she embarked on an exploratory journey, interviewing Chinese parents, teachers and education professors, and following students at all stages of their education.

What she discovered is a military-like education system driven by high-stakes testing, with teachers posting rankings in public, using bribes to reward students who comply, and shaming to isolate those who do not. At the same time, she uncovered a years-long desire by government to alleviate its students’ crushing academic burden and make education friendlier for all. The more she learns, the more she wonders: Are Chinese children—and her son—paying too high a price for their obedience and the promise of future academic prowess? Is there a way to appropriate the excellence of the system but dispense with the bad? What, if anything, could Westerners learn from China’s education journey?

Chu’s eye-opening investigation challenges our assumptions and asks us to consider the true value and purpose of education.
Visit Lenora Chu's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 23, 2017

"Making Sense of the Alt-Right"

New from Columbia University Press: Making Sense of the Alt-Right by George Hawley.

About the book, from the publisher:

During the 2016 election, a new term entered the mainstream American political lexicon: “alt-right,” short for “alternative right.” Despite the innocuous name, the alt-right is a white-nationalist movement. Yet it differs from earlier racist groups: it is youthful and tech savvy, obsessed with provocation and trolling, amorphous, predominantly online, and mostly anonymous. And it was energized by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. In Making Sense of the Alt-Right, George Hawley provides an accessible introduction and gives vital perspective on the emergence of a group whose overt racism has confounded expectations for a more tolerant America.

Hawley explains the movement’s origins, evolution, methods, and core belief in white-identity politics. The book explores how the alt-right differs from traditional white nationalism, libertarianism, and other online illiberal ideologies such as neoreaction, as well as from mainstream Republicans and even Donald Trump and Steve Bannon. The alt-right’s use of offensive humor and its trolling-driven approach, based in animosity to so-called political correctness, can make it difficult to determine true motivations. Yet through exclusive interviews and a careful study of the alt-right’s influential texts, Hawley is able to paint a full picture of a movement that not only disagrees with liberalism but also fundamentally rejects most of the tenets of American conservatism. Hawley points to the alt-right’s growing influence and makes a case for coming to a precise understanding of its beliefs without sensationalism or downplaying the movement’s radicalism.
Visit George Hawley's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Death on Tap"

New from Minotaur Books: Death on Tap: A Sloan Krause Mystery by Ellie Alexander.

About the book, from the publisher:

When Sloan Krause walks in on her husband, Mac, screwing the barmaid, she gives him the boot. Sloan has spent her life in Leavenworth, Washington becoming an expert in brewing craft beer, and she doesn’t have time to be held back by her soon-to-be ex-husband. She decides to strike out on her own, breaking away from the Krause family brewery, and goes to work for Nitro, the hip new nano-brewery in the Bavarian-themed town. Nitro’s owner, brewmaster Garrett Strong, has the brew-world abuzz with his newest recipe, “Pucker-Up IPA.” This place is the new cool place in town, and Mac can’t help but be green with envy at their success.

But just as Sloan is settling in to her new gig, she finds one of Nitro’s competitors dead in the fermenting tub, clutching the secret recipe for the IPA. When Mac, is arrested, Sloan knows that her ex might be a cheater, but a murderer? No way. Danger is brewing in Beervaria and suddenly Sloan is on the case.
Visit Ellie Alexander's website.

My Book, The Movie: Fudge and Jury.

The Page 69 Test: Fudge and Jury.

Writers Read: Ellie Alexander.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Gorilla and the Bird"

New from Little, Brown and Company: Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother's Love by Zack McDermott.

About the book, from the publisher:

The story of a young man fighting to recover from a devastating psychotic break and the mother who refuses to give up on him

Zack McDermott, a 26-year-old Brooklyn public defender, woke up one morning convinced he was being filmed, Truman Show-style, as part of an audition for a TV pilot. This was it – his big dreams were finally coming true. Every passerby was an actor; every car would magically stop for him; everything he saw was a cue from “The Producer” to help inspire the performance of a lifetime. After a manic spree around Manhattan, Zack, who is bipolar, was arrested on a subway platform and admitted to Bellevue Hospital.

So begins the story of Zack’s freefall into psychosis and his desperate, poignant, often darkly funny struggle to claw his way back to sanity, regain his identity, and rebuild some semblance of a stable life. It’s a journey that will take him from New York City back to his Kansas roots and to the one person who might be able to save him, his tough, big-hearted Midwestern mother, nicknamed the Bird, whose fierce and steadfast love is the light in Zack’s dark world.

Before his odyssey is over, Zack will be tackled by guards in mental wards, run naked through cornfields, receive secret messages from the TV, befriend a former Navy Seal and his talking stuffed monkey, and see the Virgin Mary in the whorls of his own back hair. But with the Bird’s help, he just might have a shot at pulling through, starting over, and maybe even meeting a woman who can love him back, bipolar and all.

Written with raw emotional power, humor, and tenderness, GORILLA AND THE BIRD is a bravely honest account of a young man’s unraveling and the relationship that saves him.
Visit Zack McDermott's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 22, 2017

"For the Winner"

New from Pegasus Books: For the Winner: A Novel of Jason and the Argonauts by Emily Hauser.

About the book, from the publisher:

Some three thousand years ago, the warriors of Greece journeyed to the ends of the earth in the quest for the Golden Fleece. One woman fought alongside them.

When the king of Pagasae left his infant daughter on the slopes of a mountain to die, he believed he would never see her again. But Atalanta, against the will of the gods and the dictates of the Fates, survived—and went on to bring to life one of the greatest legends of all of ancient Greece...

Teaching herself to hunt and fight, Atalanta is determined to prove her worth to her father and, disguising herself as a man, she wins a place on the greatest voyage of that heroic age: the journey of Jason and the Argonauts to the very ends of the known world in search of the legendary Golden Fleece. But Atalanta is discovered, and abandoned in the mythical land of Colchis, where she is forced to make a choice that will determine her place in history.

Here then is the legend of Jason and the Argonauts as never told before: the true story of the princess who sailed and fought alongside Jason and Theseus and Peleus (father of Achilles), and who ultimately ran a race that would decide her destiny. Based on the myths of the ancient Greeks, For the Winner brings alive a mythological world where the gods can transform a mortal's life on a whim, where warrior heroes carve out names that will echo down the ages—and where one woman fights to determine her own fate.
Visit Emily Hauser's website.

--Marshal Zeringue