Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Seven fictional characters who are bent, but not broken

Kate McLaughlin's new novel is What Unbreakable Looks Like.

At CrimeReads she tagged seven "favorite Bent-But-Not-Broken characters who take the traumas of their past and triumph over them, or use them as sources of strength." One title on the list:
The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

Charlie, Charlie, Charlie—you are a contender. Twenty-eight years ago, young Charlie survived an attack on her family that not only robbed her of her mother, but robbed both she and her sister of their father, as he never quite recovered from the loss. Now, an adult and a lawyer like her father, Charlie is drawn into an investigation that brings back memories of that horrible time—memories she has done her best to bury. As usual, Slaughter delivers some amazing characters and unexpected twists and turns. The tragedy of a school shooting only adds to the darkness Charlie carries within her. She struggles to keep her life together, struggles to be who she wants to be, but nothing will stop her from getting to the truth, and when the truth about what happened that long ago night finally comes to light, it doesn’t destroy her as it could have, but rather starts her on a path of healing that is as heart-breaking as it is hopeful.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 29, 2020

Eleven thrilling procedurals that don’t involve police

Preety Sidhu, an intern at Electric Literature, tagged eleven thrilling nonfiction procedurals that don’t involve police, including:
Diagnosis by Lisa Sanders, M.D.

Physician Lisa Sanders, who worked as an advisor to the TV show House, M.D. and graduated from the Yale School of Medicine, offers up a collection of real life medical puzzles, from stomach pains following a barracuda dinner to perplexing full body rashes to headaches induced by a zebra attack. She illuminates the combination of expertise, careful procedure, and luck that it takes for doctors to successfully diagnose and treat their patients, inviting readers to share in the confusions experienced along the way and the thrills of finally hitting on the right solution.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Six crime titles for those in need of a fresh start

Born and raised in Santa Monica, California, Julie Clark grew up reading books on the beach while everyone else surfed. After attending college at University of the Pacific, and a brief stint working in the athletic department at University of California, Berkeley, she returned home to Santa Monica to teach. She now lives there with her two young sons and a golden doodle with poor impulse control.

Clark's new novel is The Last Flight.

At CrimeReads she tagged six "books that fall under the theme of escaping. Of slipping into someone else’s skin and leaving our old lives for something better," including:
Watch Me Disappear, by Janelle Brown

A missing mother, presumed dead after not returning from a hike in the mountains. A daughter who refuses to believe her mother is truly gone, and a husband who begins to unearth his wife’s many secrets. Watch Me Disappear forces the reader to tear through the pages, to figure out whether Billie Flanagan died on that mountain, or if she perhaps found an ingenious way to disappear instead. Watch Me Disappear is one of those rare books that will truly have you guessing until the very last page.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Watch Me Disappear.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Ten top works of literary fiction for runners

Emily Temple holds a BA from Middlebury College and an MFA in fiction from the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns fellow and the recipient of a Henfield Prize.

Temple's new novel, her first, is The Lightness.

At Lit Hub she tagged ten works of fiction "to boost your new running routine, or just help you cool down... complete with running-centric quotations to help you choose." One title on the list:
Naomi Benaron, Running the Rift (2010)

The runner squinted into the sun, and a field of wrinkles mapped his eyes. “No wonder, then. Do you know who you are named for?”

“The god who brings the thunder,” Jean Patrick said.

“Yes—Nkuba, Lord of Heaven, the Swift One.” Telesphore touched Jean Patrick below tthe left eye. “I see it there: the hunger. Sometday you will need to run as much as you need to breathe.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 26, 2020

Five top thrillers set in isolated places

Nina Laurin studied Creative Writing at Concordia University in Montreal, where she currently lives. She arrived there when she was just twelve years old, and she speaks and reads in Russian, French, and English but writes her novels in English. She wrote her first novel while getting her writing degree, and Girl Last Seen was a bestseller a year later in 2017.

Laurin's latest novel is A Woman Alone.

At CrimeReads she tagged five great thrillers set in isolated places, including:
Fake Like Me by Barbara Bourland

A meticulously researched journey into the world of contemporary art, Fake Like Me takes us to a remote abandoned resort where a group of artists once created their scandalous masterpieces, led by sculptor Carey Logan who later killed herself by drowning in the lake at that very compound. The nameless protagonist of Fake Like Me (so nameless that even her passport is rendered blank at the start of the novel) is here to recreate the paintings that got destroyed when her building burned down—and she must do it in complete secrecy because the paintings have already been sold. Oops.

Soon, she stumbles upon a box of unfamiliar drawings and finds herself drawn into the mystery of Carey Logan’s death. Fake Like Me isn’t only about art and fraud but about disillusionment and the disintegration of our most sacred idols.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Ten top books about remaking the future

"My latest series, The Salvation Sequence, is set in the far future after a catastrophe has scattered the human race across the stars, and sees us hunted," writes Peter F Hamilton in the Guardian. "The story follows a single goal that everyone shares, to defeat our enemy – which will finally allow us to reunite and live the life we once had. This quest for an ordinary existence is regarded as a destiny that’s worth fighting for."

Hamilton tagged ten top "stories of remaking the future that contain hope – or at least stability," including:
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

A multi-award-winning book, another far-future story where stability is achieved by empire and enforced by AIs. Planets live in harmony once they have been subjugated, but at huge cost. Leckie follows the story of one such warship of the empire that was destroyed, its AI mind now occupying a human body without understanding what being human really is.
Read about the other entries on Hamilton's list at the Guardian.

Ancillary Justice is among Gareth L. Powell's ten top spaceships in fiction, Stacey Berg's five speculative fiction books that obliterate the Bechdel Test, Andrew Liptak's six notable novels featuring Artificial Intelligence, and Jeff Somers's top five sci-fi novels that explore gender in unexpected and challenging ways.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Five mystery novels about characters searching for relatives

Sarah Stewart Taylor is the author of the Sweeney St. George series and the Maggie D'arcy series. She grew up on Long Island, and was educated at Middlebury College in Vermont and Trinity College, Dublin, where she studied Irish Literature. She has worked as a journalist and writing teacher and now lives with her family on a farm in Vermont where they raise sheep and grow blueberries.

Taylor's new novel is The Mountains Wild.

At CrimeReads she tagged a few "favorite mysteries about characters searching for relatives—and themselves." One title on the list:
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

I loved Wilkinson’s debut novel, about a black woman blazing trails—and becoming disillusioned—in the FBI and the CIA during the Cold War. Marie Mitchell, the brilliant and reserved daughter of a Martinican mother and an American father, is younger sister to the assured and brave Helene. Growing up without their mother, Helene and Marie are both spies of a sort. There’s something inscrutable about Helene and yet, she is fiercely protective of Marie, and as Marie makes her own way in the shadowy intersection of American law enforcement and intelligence, Helene’s example is never far away.

The novel is a clever spy thriller set in post-independence Burkina Faso, a murder mystery, and a love story, but it’s also about Marie’s search for the truth about Helene and her life and death. What she finds will have far-reaching consequences, for Marie and for her young sons. I found the sister pair at the heart of American Spy one of the most thought -provoking things about a truly wonderful and provocative novel.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Six titles searching for meaning in times of despair

Tara Isabella Burton's debut novel, Social Creature, praised by The New York Times' Janet Maslin as "a wicked original with echoes of the greats," was published in June 2018. It was named a "book of the year" by The New York Times, New York's Vulture, and The Guardian, and has been shortlisted for a Shirley Jackson Award and the WH Smith Thumping Good Read Award. A film adaptation is in development with Lionsgate.

Her next book, Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World -- explores the rites and practices of the religiously unaffiliated from SoulCycle to witchcraft.

At Lit Hub she tagged six books "that capture our hunger for something, anything, to believe in." One title on the list:
Jean-Patrick Manchette, Nada

If Dostoevsky’s The Devils tries to find profundity in its characters’ nihilism, then Jean-Patrick Manchette’s taut 1972 thriller seeks the emptiness in its characters ideals. Manchette revolutionized the “left-wing thriller” with this pot-boiler about a group of French anarchists that kidnap the American Ambassador—with chaotic and predictably tragic results, as its one-time idealists conclude that “Leftist terrorism and State terrorism, even if their motivations cannot be compared, are the two jaws of ... the same mug’s game.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 22, 2020

Seven true tales about the journey to seek asylum in the U.S.

Joe Meno is a fiction writer and journalist who lives in Chicago. He is the winner of the Nelson Algren Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Great Lakes Book Award, and was a finalist for the Story Prize. The bestselling author of seven novels and two short story collections including Marvel and a Wonder, The Boy Detective Fails, and Hairstyles of the Damned, he is a professor in the English and Creative Writing department at Columbia College Chicago.

Meno's new nonfiction book is Between Everything and Nothing: The Journey of Seidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal and the Quest for Asylum.

At Electric Lit he tagged seven true stories about the journey to seek asylum in the U.S., including:
Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat

Separated from her parents as a child, Danticat was raised by her uncle Joseph Dantica and his wife in Haiti. In 2004, her 81-year-old uncle fled the armed conflict between U.S. peacekeepers and Haitian gangs, and landed in Miami, where he was immediately placed in manacles. Two days later he was dead. Danticat’s blistering autobiography and memoir of her uncle captures the emotional cost many families suffer at the hands of the U.S.’s stultifying immigration policies.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Six top World War II spy books

At The Strand Magazine, Imogen Kealey (the pseudonym of American screenwriter Darby Kealey and British novelist Imogen Robertson) tagged six favorite World War II spy stories, including:
Restless — William Boyd

I’m a huge fan of William Boyd; he’s such a versatile writer, you never know what you are going to get when you pick up one of his books — other than an excellent story. Restless has a sort of urgency to it which is a million miles away from his bestseller, Any Human Heart, but it asks similar questions about what truth is, and how well you can truly know a person. Restless is a brilliant unpacking of a woman’s hidden past — a maze of a book with the sort of compulsive narrative drive to it that I love in thrillers. Eva’s story, and how it comes to a climax which tears through her daughter’s life, is utterly compelling. Boyd is one of those writers who make you feel you are right next to your characters, but still manages to surprise you at every turn.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Restless is among Jenny Quintana's five favorite dark and intelligent thrillers with strong female leads, Mark Skinner's twenty great espionage novels, Henry Hemming's ten top books about fake news, and Samuel Muston's ten best spy novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Ten books set in museums

Preety Sidhu, an intern at Electric Literature, tagged ten books about real and fictional museum collections, including:
Still Lives by Maria Hummel

Maggie Richter, the protagonist of this smart literary mystery/thriller, is an in-house editor at the fictional Rocque Museum in Los Angeles, whose boyfriend recently left her for provocative artist Kim Lord. Lord’s upcoming exhibit “Still Lives” features gruesome self-portraits of the artist recreating media images of famous murdered women. Though meant as a commentary on our culture’s fetishization of violence against women (especially beautiful women), some including Maggie see the work as glorifying that same violence and allowing the artist to capitalize off the victimization of others. When Lord goes missing on opening night, Maggie feels compelled to investigate and disprove the police’s theory that her ex is to blame.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 19, 2020

Seven queer true crime books

James Polchin is the author of Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall.

At CrimeReads he tagged "seven contemporary books that unsettle, illuminate, and define a queer aesthetic in true crime," including:
Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation by Robert Fieseler

In June of 1973, a disgruntled patron of the Up Stairs Lounge, a LGBTQ social space in New Orleans, doused the entrance steps with lighter fluid and lit a match. The ensuing inferno trapped and smothered the patrons, killing 32 people. Combining the eye of a journalist with the talents of a novelist, Fieseler recovers the history of this forgotten tragedy, the people who perished, and the prejudiced response by the media and political leaders. Central to the story Fieseler tells is the historical arc of queer activism that emerged in the aftermath of the fire, mobilizing the city’s LGBTQ population in the decades that followed, and the eventual decriminalization of homosexuality in the state in 2003.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 99 Test: Tinderbox.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Ten top books about witch-hunts

Eleanor Porter has lectured at Universities in England and Hong Kong and her poetry and short fiction has been published in magazines.

The Wheelwrights Daughter – her historical fiction debut set in Elizabethan England – was published last month.

At the Guardian, Porter tagged ten top books and stories books about witch-hunts, stories that show how societies in turmoil turn on the most vulnerable. One title on the list:
The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown

“Once, I scarcely believed in the devil,” Alice Hopkins begins, before widowhood forces her to go and live with her brother Matthew Hopkins, who is collecting names. We follow Alice’s attempts not only to document but to fathom her brother’s cruelty. “Turn over the stone,” she says, “and find another history, struggling to escape.” We need more of these histories.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Nine titles about the world-changing power of protest

McKayla Coyle, an intern at Electric Literature, tagged nine books about the world-changing power of protest, including:
1989 Tiananmen Square Protests: Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

This sprawling novel covers generations of Chinese politics and upheaval through the lens of two young women, Marie and Ai-ming, as they try to unravel the mystery of why Marie’s father, Kai, killed himself. The women bond over a series of notebooks written by Ai-ming’s father, Sparrow, that detail Kai and Sparrow’s lives as friends and burgeoning musicians during China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. As the Chinese government cracks down on artists and intellectuals, fear and political loyalties begin to tear the musicians apart.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Five books about women who did what they wanted

C. W. Gortner holds an MFA in writing, with an emphasis on historical studies, from the New College of California. He is the internationally acclaimed and bestselling author of Mademoiselle Chanel, The Queen’s Vow, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, The Last Queen, The Vatican Princess, and Marlene, among other books.

His new book is The First Actress: A Novel of Sarah Bernhardt.

At LitHub Gortner tagged five favorite novels about "inspiring historical women, who decided to do it their way." One title on the list:
Mary Sharratt, Illuminations

Sharratt always explores unusual women in her novels. Illuminations delves into the philosophical creativity of 12th-century nun and mystic, Hildegard von Bingen. Given over to the claustrophobic Benedictine Order as a child, Hildegard endures rigid enclosure and discovers a direct modem to the divine. She composes songs, writes books, and corresponds with popes and royalty, not to mention founding two monasteries. Centuries after her death, a modern CD of her music became an international hit, so she continues to regale us with her brilliance.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 15, 2020

Six of the best food titles to take you overseas

Caroline Eden is a writer and critic contributing to The Guardian, Financial Times and The Times Literary Supplement. In 2020, she was awarded the prestigious Art of Eating Prize.

Eden's latest book is Black Sea: Dispatches and Recipes, Through Darkness and Light.

At the Guardian, she tagged six of the "best food books to take you overseas - while stuck at home," including:
Recipes are threaded through Emily Nunn’s addictive and hopeful book The Comfort Food Diaries..., my lockdown culinary memoir of choice. It begins with Nunn, heartbroken following a breakup, and laid off from the Chicago Tribune, embarking on a trip across America to seek out friendship and comfort food, with a little help from her hosts, whose names often feature in recipe titles, such as “Toni’s Onion Rings” or “Aunt Mariah’s Pot Roast”. Anyone who is unschooled in regional US food will find the flavours and dishes – think scrapple (pork, cornmeal, herbs) and ham biscuits – are fascinating. A transporting tonic for our times.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Six titles that show lakes are a perfect setting for a murder mystery

Kimberly Belle is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of novels of suspense. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, she worked in marketing and nonprofit fundraising before turning to writing fiction. She divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

Belle's new novel is Stranger in the Lake.

At CrimeReads Belle tagged six favorite novels that use lakes to up the ante for their characters. One title on the list:
Not A Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

Granted, this story is set on a river and not a lake, but the creepiness factor still applies in spades. A deaf woman and her dog make a gruesome discovery: the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by the river, deep in the woods near her cabin. The remote setting, the wild waters, the main character’s inability to hear the villain crashing through the woods behind her…they all lend the story mystery and intrigue. I barely breathed for the last half of this book, a fantastic and enthralling read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Not A Sound is among Trish Bendix's twelve best mystery novels (June 2019).

My Book, The Movie: Not A Sound.

The Page 69 Test: Not A Sound.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Ten top books on forgotten civil rights pioneers

Jill Watts is a Professor of History at California State University San Marcos and is also the author of Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood which has been optioned for film. She is the Brakebill Distinguished Professor of 2017-2018 and is also the coordinator of the History Department’s graduate program.

Watts's new book is The Black Cabinet: The Untold Story of African Americans and Politics During the Age of Roosevelt. [See: The Page 99 Test: The Black Cabinet.]

At Lit Hub she tagged ten life stories about leaders who took up the civil right struggle in the years between 1930 and 1950. One title on the list:
Cornelius L. Bynum, A. Philip Randolph and the Struggle for Civil Rights

While the March on Washington in 1963 is recognized as one of the Civil Rights Movement’s turning points, the march’s father, A. Philip Randolph (1889-1979), often goes uncelebrated. Raised in the liberation theology of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Randolph left the Jim Crow South for Harlem. Bynum chronicles his evolving intellectual awakening to the power of grassroots activism and the intersectionality of race and class. In the 1920s Randolph founded the nation’s most successful African American labor union—the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. As the United States readied for war in 1941, Randolph called for African Americans to march on Washington to protest exclusion from defense work. That forced President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to sign an executive order outlawing discrimination in the war industry, a landmark in the fight for equal job opportunities. Randolph called off that march but it remained a blueprint for later civil rights action. He would remind leaders that “power is the product and flower of organization.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 12, 2020

Seven thrillers about identity and reinvention

Catherine McKenzie was born and raised in Montreal, where she now practices law.

Her bestselling novels include Spin, Arranged, Forgotten, Hidden, Smoke, The Good Liar and I'll Never Tell.

Her new novel is You Can't Catch Me.

One of seven top thrillers with themes of identity and re-invention she tagged at CrimeReads:
The Other Mrs. – Mary Kubica

Kubica is at the top of her game in this twisty thriller about a family that moves to a small town to rebuild their life. But something dark is stalking them. No one is who they appear to be in this cat and mouse game. You will be guessing at what is going on until the end and you will be wrong!
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Other Mrs..

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Ten top books about Tokyo

Nick Bradley was born in Germany in 1982 and grew up in Bath. After graduating with a master’s degree in English literature, he went to Japan for “just one year” and returned to England ten years later to attend the Creative Writing MA at UEA, graduating in 2016.

He has worked in a variety of jobs, including: Japanese teacher, English teacher, video game translator, travel writer, and photographer. He speaks Japanese fluently, and recently completed a PhD funded by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation in Creative & Critical Writing at UEA, focusing on the figure of the cat in Japanese literature.

Bradley's new novel is The Cat and The City.

One of the author's ten favorite books about Tokyo, as shared at the Guardian:
number9dream by David Mitchell

For me, this is the best and most electrifying depiction of Tokyo by a non-Japanese writer. It follows the quest of Eiji Miyake, coming from the rural island of Yakushima in order to find the father he has never met. Mitchell depicts Tokyo as an exciting, sprawling city, replete with neon and yakuza.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Six thrillers about the complexities of family relationships

Louise Jensen has sold over a million English language copies of her international #1 psychological thrillers The Sister, The Gift, The Surrogate, The Date and The Family.

At CrimeReads she writes:
The intricacies of family relationships is something that has endlessly fascinated me. The seemingly limitless lengths we go to both to protect our loved ones but also, sometimes, to avoid them. What is it about families that bring out our best and worst sides? Reduce adult children to petulant teenage behavior? Fully grown siblings to bickering and rivalry. And yet, despite our often complex and complicated feelings towards our loved ones there’s a deep, strong bond that isn’t easily broken.
One of the author's six favorite thrillers centered around families:
Tell No One – Harlan Coben

This story focuses on husband and wife. David is assaulted and left for dead while his wife, Elizabeth was kidnapped and murdered. Eight years later David receives an email containing a link to a website where he can see a webcam image—it’s Elizabeth. Is she alive? What really happened? A pacy page turner.
Read about the other entries on Jensen's list at CrimeReads.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Eight recommended books by women to understand the uprisings

Keisha N. Blain is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Pittsburgh and author of Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom. She is also the co-editor of To Turn the Whole World Over: Black Women and Internationalism, New Perspectives on the Black Intellectual Tradition, and Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence.

At Ms. magazine Blain recommended "eight books, all written by women, which have shaped [her] own thinking on race, politics and activism. They each grapple with the current challenges we are facing as a nation and offer solutions and strategies for how we might build a more just and equal society. And in this moment of pain and despair, they may even offer some hope." One title on the list:
From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (2016)

Drawing connections to earlier political movements for Black rights and freedom, Taylor powerfully demonstrates how racism and inequality has limited Black access to rights, opportunities, and services. She highlights many of the problems that continue to devastate Black communities, including mass incarceration, housing discrimination and unemployment.

Significantly, Taylor emphasizes the significance and potential of the Black Lives Matter movement to radically transform American society.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 8, 2020

Six notable books about appreciating living creatures

Lydia Millet (born December 5, 1968) is an American novelist and conservationist. Her third novel, My Happy Life, won the 2003 PEN Center USA Award for Fiction, and she has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize as well as a Guggenheim fellow, among other honors.

Her new novel is A Children's Bible.

At The Week magazine, Millet tagged favorite books about appreciating living creatures, including:
When Elephants Weep by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy (1995).

The authors, a former psychoanalyst and a science writer, offer an accessible, compelling look at the interiority and individuality of nonhuman creatures, showing them to be capable of anger, grief, altruism, and gratitude.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Six of the best books to help demystify Covid-19 data

Hannah Fry is an Associate Professor in the Mathematics of Cities at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London. She works alongside a unique mix of physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, architects and geographers to study the patterns in human behaviour - particularly in an urban setting. Her research applies to a wide range of social problems and questions, from shopping and transport to urban crime, riots and terrorism.

Her latest book is Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms.

At the Guardian, Fry tagged the best books to help you understand numbers and help demystify Covid-19 data. One title on the list:
Adam Kucharski, who is fast becoming a key voice of reason in the media circus surrounding the virus, examines the models we’re currently using to chart the course of the infection in The Rules of Contagion. Here he gives a clear, calm, historical overview of the mathematical ideas at the forefront of our pandemic response, where they came from and how well they stand up when you put them to the test.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Eleven crime titles that explore tensions between police & communities

Molly Odintz is the Associate Editor for CrimeReads. She grew up in Austin and worked as a bookseller at BookPeople for years before her recent move up to New York City for a life in crime. She likes cats, crime novels, and coffee.

At CrimeReads she tagged eleven "crime novels that take us into the tensions between policing and communities, and between the wants of individuals and the cruel prejudice of an uncaring system," including:
Andrew Case, The Big Fear (Hollow City Series)

Andrew Case’s Hollow City series explores authoritarian abuse and police brutality more directly than most, given the author’s experience investigating police misconduct claims and bearing witness to plenty of horror stories. His protagonist has a similar profession, and in The Big Fear, he teams up with an officer previously on the wrong side of an excessive force inquiry as they uncover a vast and terrible conspiracy. Earning comparisons to Serpico, this book is about much more than a few bad apples—it’s about a system that enables corruption, brutality, and oppression.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 5, 2020

Five top southern noir novels

Attica Locke’s latest novel Heaven, My Home is the sequel to Edgar Award-winning Bluebird, Bluebird. Her third novel Pleasantville was the winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and was also long-listed for the Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction. The Cutting Season was the winner of the Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Her first novel Black Water Rising was nominated for an Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award, as well as a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was short-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. A former fellow at the Sundance Institute’s Feature Filmmaker’s Lab, Locke works as a screenwriter as well. Most recently, she was a writer and producer on Netflix’s When They See Us and the also the Hulu adaptation of Little Fires Everywhere. A native of Houston, Texas, Locke lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and daughter.

At the Waterstones blog she tagged five favorite southern noir novels, including:
The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell

The only word I have for this book: perfection. There is not a single word wasted, not a single superfluous thought or kernel of wisdom in this taut tale of a mysterious fire in the Missouri Ozarks. Anna Dunahew, a lowly maid, suspects she knows the answers to what happened at a dance hall on the night of the fire, but it may take decades for her to find a way to be heard. The language in this novel is exquisitely beautiful and profound.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Four books to fortify the anti-racism struggle

Layla F. Saad is writer, speaker & teacher on the topics of race, identity, leadership, personal transformation & social change.

She is the author of Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor.

At the Guardian, Saad shared a short anti-racism reading list. One title on the list:
In When They Call You a Terrorist, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors and asha bandele share a gut-wrenching and powerful memoir of the prejudice and persecution so many black Americans experience at the hands of law enforcement. White people have become so desensitised to seeing black lives snuffed out on their mobile phones that they are often unable to connect the dots to see that each person had loved ones, desires, relationships, quirks and dreams. This memoir draws our attention not only to the statistics and atrocities committed against black Americans, but also to the humanity of those whose lives were taken, and those who, still living, continue to fight for justice for us all.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue