Sunday, December 17, 2017

David Miliband

David Miliband is president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. His new book is Rescue: Refugees and the Political Crisis of Our Time.

From his Q&A with Rachel Cooke at the Guardian:

Your book bulges with statistics about the refugee crisis. If you could pick just one, what would it be and why?

It would be that the average duration of displacement for a refugee is 10 years, and that once someone has been outside their own country for five years, that figure rises to 21 years. This demands a complete change in the humanitarian system. We have to recalibrate our vision: aid in the 21st century is about helping people to thrive as well as survive. This means providing education and employment, as well as food aid.

Politicians can be somewhat detached, not to say grand. Has leading the IRC made you more humble?

When I met [in 2009] Tamil women in the Jaffna peninsula in Sri Lanka whose husbands had been taken from them [“for screening”], that was humbling. But talking to women in a similar position on the Syrian border today was equally humbling. My reaction was the same, even though on the first occasion I was foreign secretary, and on the second I was working for an NGO. Hopefully, I’m someone who’s learning all the time. The upside of an NGO job is that you deal in human stories, and that you have more entrepreneurial freedom; the downside is...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Ben Bradlee

Ben Bradlee was executive editor of The Washington Post from 1968 to 1991.

From the transcript of his 1995 Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross:

GROSS: What was it like for The Post to cover the White House during Watergate? Did your sources there shut you out?

BRADLEE: Yeah, they sure did. And the White House correspondent was Carl Kilpatrick, who was a gentle - really, a brilliant journalist, a gentle man, though, and - from Alabama. And he - we made his life tremendously difficult. And to be called - you know, to sit in the White House briefing room while Ziegler or whoever else it was called your paper liars and - was very difficult. And some of the people calling you a liar were quite - there were politicians who held quite high office....[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 15, 2017

Wiley Cash

Wiley Cash's latest novel is The Last Ballad.

From his Q&A with Joel Cunningham at the B&N Reads blog:

Where did The Last Ballad start for you?

I grew up in Gastonia, North Carolina, completely unaware of the history of the mill. Firestone purchased the mill not long after the 1929 strike, which was one of the only communist-led strikes in American history. It turned the city upside down, people died, and families were run out of town. But by the time I was born in 1977, Gastonia had completely buried the story of the Loray Mill strike.

It wasn’t until I went to grad school in 2003 that one of my professors learned that I was from Gastonia and mentioned the Loray Mill strike. I researched the name Loray Mill and was shocked to learn that the place I’d always known as the Firestone Plant was the epicenter of one of the most important labor movements in American history. It had all occurred in my hometown, and I had grown up knowing nothing about it. My mother and father were born and raised in mill villages close to Loray in 1945 and 1943 respectively, and they never heard about the Loray Mill or Ella May Wiggins, the woman who would become the face of the strike. This is not surprising, especially because they came of age during the Red Scare, when any mention of communism or anyone with supposed communist ties were reason enough to keep quiet.

I was raised in Gastonia during the Cold War, and many of those restrictions still applied. This is to say that the silence surrounding the history of the strike was...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Wiley Cash's website.

My Book, The Movie: A Land More Kind Than Home.

My Book, The Movie: This Dark Road to Mercy.

Writers Read: Wiley Cash.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Gabourey Sidibe

Gabourey Sidibe's break out acting role was in Precious. Her new book is This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare.

From the transcript of her NPR interview with Rachel Martin:

MARTIN: I want to ask you about this chapter in the book devoted to the acronym MYOB, which doesn't stand for mind your own business but pretty close. Explain what that means to you and why it's so important.

SIDIBE: Yeah, MYOB - mind your own body. It's important because I don't happen to have the kind of body that we usually see on television and in films. I am plus-size. I have dark skin. And I am 100 percent beautiful. But I get a lot of flak - oh, you should lose weight. And now that I have lost weight - and I lost weight for health reasons - I get, you look good but don't lose too much weight because your face is starting to sink in. And it's, like, I don't know you, sir. You have no...

MARTIN: So what do you say?

SIDIBE: I say - I literally - someone said, congratulations on your - I see you lost weight, congratulations. And I say, that's a weird thing to congratulate me on because this is my body. This is - and it's not just the male gaze. It's, like, the human gaze. People do this to me. I mean the gaze not gays.

MARTIN: G-A-Z-E.

SIDIBE: (Laughter) Yeah, G-A-Z-E.

MARTIN: Not the gays.

SIDIBE: Yeah, people staring at me and like this - but also this has been my body since I was 5-ish, you know? It's been a 30-year thing of other people putting their own stuff on my body. But...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Jason Fagone

Jason Fagone's books include Ingenious: A True Story of Invention, the X Prize, and the Race to Revive America and Horsemen of the Esophagus: Competitive Eating and the Big Fat American Dream.

His latest book is The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies.

From Fagone's Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: How would you describe the dynamic between Elizebeth Smith Friedman and her husband, William Friedman, both of whom worked as codebreakers?

A: They were a duo, a team of equals. That's how they saw themselves from the very beginning, when they started working together in 1916, as young people still in their twenties.

It was a true meeting of minds in that sense -- as individuals, they were both pretty good, but when they sat at the same table with their pencils and pads of graph paper, solving these important puzzles together in the era before computers, they felt like they were suddenly way more powerful.

Not just twice as good but four times as good. That's how they felt about it, because...[read on]
Visit Jason Fagone's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Woman Who Smashed Codes.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Steven Savile

Steven Savile's new novel is Glass Town.

From his Q&A with Paul Semel:

To start, what is Glass Town about?

Back in 1924, two brothers were in love with the same woman, Eleanor Raines. Eleanor was a promising young actress from the East End of London with the world at her feet. She disappeared during the filming of Alfred Hitchcock’s debut, Number 13, which itself is now lost. It was the crime of the age, capturing the imagination of the city: the beautiful actress never seen again, and the gangster who disappeared the same day.
Fast forward to the present day, generations have passed and the world has moved on. Everyone involved is long dead, and yet now this long-buried secret is bubbling back to the surface, and old obsessions threaten to tear the city apart.

Finding a twenty-four-year-old letter from one of the brothers claiming to have seen Eleanor that morning, and no matter that she’d been gone seventy years, she didn’t appear to have aged a day, Joshua Raines finds himself drawn into a place where these old hatreds and obsessions are still all too real. The unsolved case his new obsession, his search for the truth about...[read on]
Visit Steven Savile's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 11, 2017

Matthew J. Salganik

Matthew J. Salganik is the author of Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age.

From his Q&A at the Princeton University Press website:

Bit by Bit devotes a lot attention to ethics.  Why?

The book provides many of examples of how researchers can use the capabilities of the digital age to conduct exciting and important research. But, in my experience, researchers who wish to take advantage of these new opportunities will confront difficult ethical decisions. In the digital age, researchers—often in collaboration with companies and governments—have increasing power over the lives of participants. By power, I mean the ability to do things to people without their consent or even awareness. For example, researchers can now observe the behavior of millions of people, and researchers can also enroll millions of people in massive experiments. As the power of researchers is increasing, there has not been an equivalent increase in clarity about how that power should be used. In fact, researchers must decide how to exercise their power based on inconsistent and overlapping rules, laws, and norms. This combination of powerful capabilities and vague guidelines can force even well-meaning researchers to grapple with difficult decisions. In the book, I try to provide principles that can help researchers—whether they are in universities, governments, or companies—balance these issues and...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sofia Grant

Called a "writing machine" by the New York Times and a "master storyteller" by the Midwest Book Review, Sofia Grant has written dozens of novels for adults and teens under the name Sophie Littlefield. She has won Anthony and RT Book Awards and been shortlisted for Edgar®, Barry, Crimespree, Macavity, and Goodreads Choice Awards. Grant/Littlefield works from an urban aerie in Oakland, California.

Grant's latest novel is The Dress in the Window.

From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: How did you come up with the idea for The Dress in the Window, and why did you set it in the post-World War II period?

A: As a lifelong seamstress and amateur artist, I’m fascinated with fashion illustration and garment construction.

A number of years ago, I stumbled on historic newspaper accounts of the controversy that greeted French designer Christian Dior’s “New Look” in 1947 after the conclusion of World War II. I had no idea that some Americans resisted the lush new styles that came to symbolize an entire era of fashion.

Combined with my interest in the role of women in the workplace during and after the war, I...[read on]
Visit Sofia Grant's website.

Writers Read: Sofia Grant.

The Page 69 Test: The Dress in the Window.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Chris Holm

Chris Holm is the author of the Collector trilogy, which blends crime and fantasy, and the Michael Hendricks thrillers. His first Hendricks novel, The Killing Kind, was nominated for an Anthony, a Barry, a Lefty, and a Macavity Award and named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a Boston Globe Best Book of 2015, and Strand Magazine’s #1 Book of 2015.

Holm's latest novel is Red Right Hand, the second Hendricks novel.

From his 2016 Q&A with Steph Post:

Steph Post: I was initially drawn to your book by its striking cover and its title, which I hoped was a reference to Nick Cave’s song “Red Right Hand.” I was, of course, thrilled to see that you included an excerpt from the song in the epigraph for the novel. Did Cave’s song, or its imagery or themes, in any way influence or guide you as you began to write Red Right Hand?

Chris Holm: Very much so. In The Killing Kind, I introduced the Council, which is essentially a criminal UN comprising representatives from every major organized crime outfit in the country, and the Council’s right-hand man. In Red Right Hand, that man—whose name is Sal Lombino (the birth name of the late, great Ed McBain)—and his machinations on the Council’s behalf take center stage. I envisioned him as a chaos agent, an emissary of evil, the prime mover of a vast criminal conspiracy. Or, as Cave puts it:

You’re one microscopic cog
In his catastrophic plan
Designed and directed by
His red right hand

The phrase “red right hand” didn’t originate with Cave, though. He borrowed it from...[read on]
Visit Chris Holm's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Killing Kind.

The Page 69 Test: Red Right Hand.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 8, 2017

Ken Scholes

Ken Scholes's latest book is Hymn: The Final Volume of the Psalms of Isaak.

From his Q&A with Martin Cahill at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog:

You’ve been very open about the losses that occurred over the course of your work on The Psalms of Isaak, and it’s not hard to see you working through that in this series. What did it mean to keep writing through everything that happened?

I wrote four of these five books through the hardest circumstances of my adult life: between burying my parents and one of my ex-wife’s parents, along with a grandparent, a nephew, a couple of aunts and a best friend, and ultimately, a marriage. I was already fairly familiar with grief and loss, but my experience with them grew exponentially. The part I wasn’t familiar with was the impact the grief and loss would take on my writing process. I didn’t realize there were things that could simply shut down my writing, and that I did not really have control over it. After a long stretch of years where I could pretty much write whenever I wanted to, this was a difficult discovery, and I resisted to the point of making an even bigger, tangled mess.

Of course, one of the benefits is that it was pretty fantastic research to experience so much stress and loss while crafting this particular series, and I think that it lent an air of truth to the story. It makes the loss and grief [of the characters] palpable. And I think...[read on]
Learn more about the author and his work at Ken Scholes's website.

The Page 69 Test: Lamentation.

The Page 69 Test: Antiphon.

The Page 69 Test: Requiem.

--Marshal Zeringue