Articles on this Page
- 01/06/14--07:00: _Happy Birthday, She...
- 01/07/14--08:23: _Ereaders for the Ho...
- 01/08/14--06:24: _Science Fiction Wed...
- 01/08/14--11:53: _Nine Mystery Author...
- 01/09/14--13:08: _What Is Alternate H...
- 01/10/14--13:38: _Books to Read if Yo...
- 01/13/14--13:43: _E. R. Braithwaite 101
- 01/14/14--06:56: _A Resolution to Rea...
- 01/14/14--07:39: _January Retro Reads...
- 01/15/14--06:30: _Celebrate Tu B’Shev...
- 01/15/14--07:30: _Science Fiction Wed...
- 01/15/14--07:33: _Riverfinger Women: ...
- 01/16/14--07:00: _Murder in Pittsburgh
- 01/22/14--07:00: _Science Fiction Wed...
- 01/23/14--21:05: _Friday Tweetstakes:...
- 01/26/14--06:29: _6 Football Mysterie...
- 01/27/14--06:00: _Military Monday: Lo...
- 01/27/14--07:42: _Grief and Joy in Eq...
- 01/28/14--05:00: _On the Anniversary ...
- 01/29/14--07:10: _Science Fiction Wed...
- 01/06/14--07:00: Happy Birthday, Sherlock!
- 01/07/14--08:23: Ereaders for the Holidays: The Numbers behind the Trend
- 01/08/14--06:24: Science Fiction Wednesday: The New Grand Master—Samuel R. Delany
- 01/08/14--11:53: Nine Mystery Authors Like Agatha Christie
- 01/09/14--13:08: What Is Alternate History? A Literary Guide
- 01/10/14--13:38: Books to Read if You Like Neil Gaiman
- 01/13/14--13:43: E. R. Braithwaite 101
- 01/14/14--06:56: A Resolution to Read More
- 01/14/14--07:39: January Retro Reads Roundup
- 01/15/14--06:30: Celebrate Tu B’Shevat with Six Children’s Ebooks
- 01/15/14--07:30: Science Fiction Wednesday: Sci-Fi Getaway Collection
- 01/15/14--07:33: Riverfinger Women: An Excerpt
- 01/16/14--07:00: Murder in Pittsburgh
- 01/22/14--07:00: Science Fiction Wednesday: The Post-Middle Earth Reader
- 01/23/14--21:05: Friday Tweetstakes: Emily Post's Manners in a Digital World
- 01/26/14--06:29: 6 Football Mysteries to Get Your Football Fix
- 01/27/14--07:42: Grief and Joy in Equal Measure
- 01/28/14--05:00: On the Anniversary of the Challenger Disaster, a New Book
- 01/29/14--07:10: Science Fiction Wednesday: Ghostbusting
Happy birthday, Sherlock Holmes! January 6 marks the birth of literature’s legendary detective (he’d be one hundred sixty today!). To celebrate the sleuthing genius’s contribution to the mystery genre, we’ve gathered ten mysteries influenced by the brain-work of the detective himself. These novels and story collections either feature Sherlock or are written in a distinctly Sherlockian style—smart detectives with a tad of the eccentric, who solve crimes through Holmes’s trademark method of detection: “an observance of trifles.”
Click the ebook covers below for more!
With another holiday season come and gone, we thought we would take a look at the facts and figures behind the ereader phenomenon to get a sense of just how many (lucky) gift recipients are now reading (and reading more!) digitally.
35: Percentage of Americans who own tablets.
14.1 million: Number of iPads sold during the fourth quarter of 2013, just before the holidays.
24:15: Ratio of the average number of books read per year by digital consumers (24) versus their print-reading counterparts (15) in 2012.
41: Percentage of tablet owners who say they read more since they started doing so digitally.
19.9 million: Number of ereaders sold in 2012.
52.5 million: Number of tablets sold during the 2012 holiday season.
And here’s one more number for you: 30. That’s how many ebooks are in our Power Up collection, specially chosen for new ereader owners. Take a look at the list here.
Figures from PC Magazine, TechCrunch, Pew Research Center, Geek.com, and the Inquisitr.
The new Grand Master of Science Fiction brings his collection of new worlds to the digital realm in January 2014.Samuel “Chip” Delany is a writer who doesn’t just create extraordinary worlds; he has experienced many unique places of his own, which his stories have grown out of.
Delany is a native New Yorker who grew up in Harlem and later lived in various parts of the city. New York’s diversity and racial overtones are dominant in many of his novels.
The versatile writer, never one to be molded into one genre, dabbled in writing erotic novels and penned two issues of the Wonder Woman comic. Chip Delany is a Hugo and Nebula Award–winning author as well as a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. Nine of his novels are now available as ebooks, including the celebrated Dhalgren:
A young half–Native American known as the Kid has hitchhiked from Mexico to the midwestern city Bellona—only something is wrong there . . . In Bellona, the shattered city, a nameless cataclysm has left reality unhinged. Into this desperate metropolis steps the Kid, his fist wrapped in razor-sharp knives, to write, to love, to wound.
So begins Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany’s masterwork, which in 1975 opened a new door for what science fiction could mean. A labyrinth of a novel, it raises questions about race, sexuality, identity, and art, but gives no easy answers, in a city that reshapes itself with each step you take . . .
Next to Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, you can’t get much bigger than Agatha Christie. The unflappable Miss Marple and the unstoppable Hercule Poirot are almost impossible to beat in the mystery world. But what happens when you’ve read all eighty-two Christie novels, from The Mysterious Affair at Styles to Sleeping Murder? What do you do when your paperbacks are worn and torn and you’ve just about memorized the entire (magnificent) last chapter of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd?
We’ve put together a list of mystery authors whose books we hope will (partly) answer those questions. Full of eccentric characters, crafty plots, and clever red herrings, these mysteries may never replace Marple and Poirot, but just might become your new favorites.
Dorothy L. Sayers(1893–1957) has been called “one of the greatest mystery story writers of [the twentieth] century” by the Los Angeles Times. A British playwright, scholar, and acclaimed author of mysteries, Sayers is best known for her books starring Lord Peter Wimsey. Set between the two World Wars, the elegantly constructed detective fiction incorporates details from contemporary issues such as advertising, women’s education, and veterans’ health. The Nine Tailors rings in the New Year with stolen jewels and mysterious corpses in the wild flatlands of the country.
Patricia Wentworth (1878–1961) was another master of English mystery writing. In the 1920s, she introduced Miss Maud Silver, the former governess whose stout figure, fondness for Tennyson, and passion for knitting served to disguise a keen intellect. Along with Miss Marple, Miss Silver is the definitive embodiment of the English style of cozy mystery heroines. In The Chinese Shawl, Miss Silver must intervene when an age-old family feud returns to fatal effect.
Christianna Brand (1907–1988) was one of the most popular authors of the Golden Age of British mystery writing. She is best known for her novels starring Inspector Cockrill. In fact, Green for Danger, a mystery set in a military hospital during the Blitz, was turned into a film that is now considered to be one of the best-ever screen adaptations of a classic English mystery.
Charlotte Armstrong (1905–1969) was one of the finest American authors of classic mystery and suspense. Many of her mysteries were adapted for television and film, including Mischief, the movie version of which starred Marilyn Monroe. In the short novel, a couple makes the mistake of trusting their child to a very unbalanced babysitter. Something inside the seemingly plain face of the Indiana babysitter is broken inside, and as long as she’s in charge, the baby will not be safe.
Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876–1958) was one of the United States’s most popular early mystery writers. Although she began writing before Christie, she is frequently referred to as “America’s Agatha Christie.” She even coined the now-famous phrase “The butler did it.” In The Yellow Room, a young woman goes to her Maine summer house, only to find it completely deserted—with a dead body in the closet
Mignon G. Eberhart (1899–1996) is best known for her romantic crime fiction starring female leads. She is also often called America’s Agatha Christie, and was one of the highest-paid and most popular mystery authors in America. In Call After Midnight, Jenny Vleedam’s ex-husband, the man who left her for another woman, calls her for help—his new wife has been shot, and he’s the number-one suspect.
These three more contemporary mystery authors saw Agatha Christie as an inspiration. If you are looking for something more present day, here are three clever and cozy detective stories.
Charlotte MacLeod (1922–2005) was an international bestselling author of cozy mysteries. She wrote more than thirty whimsical whodunits featuring eccentric amateur sleuths solving wacky crimes. Her four delightful series—each as funny and entertaining as the next—promise to have you in hysterics on page one. Rest You Merry, the first mystery in MacLeod’s Peter Shandy Mysteries, is about a university scrooge who discovers a murdered librarian on Christmas Day.
Jane Langton(b. 1922) is a winner of the Bouchercon Lifetime Achievement Award. Although best known for her young adult series, her mysteries are equally delightful. Taking place in the northeast, they star Homer Kelly, a Harvard University professor who finds himself solving murder cases. Better still, the novels are illustrated with Langton’s charming line drawings. Start with the first in the series, The Transcendental Murder.
Jane Haddam (b. 1951) is an American mystery author, college professor, and magazine editor. She has two well-regarded mystery series: the Patience McKenna Mysteries star a sleuthing scribe, and the Gregor Demarkian Mysteries feature a former FBI agent. The latter series spans more than twenty novels, many of which are holiday themed. In the first in the series, Not a Creature Was Stirring, Demarkian investigates a family of crooks on the Philadelphia Main Line.
What if the Civil War had never happened, and history had gone spiraling down a completely different path? Or what if Lincoln had never been elected and America had ended up a very different place? Alternate history is a cross between science fiction, literary fiction, and historical fiction that asks the reader, what if?
Want to relive the past on different terms? Our list of favorite karma-bending novels spins history on its head.If you’ve ever wondered . . .
1) What ifJohn Lennon hadn’t been a part of the Beatles?
Read Ian R. MacLeod’s Snodgrass and Other Illusions, as seen on Sky Arts’ Playhouse Presents in the UK
Imagine there’s no Lennon . . . In the reality-altering novella “Snodgrass,” John Lennon sidesteps his musical destiny and instead becomes a civil servant.
2) What ifthe Middle East’s history had unraveled differently?
In Edward Whittemore’s masterful and surreal alternate history, a man’s search for answers about his vanished parents propels him on an odyssey from the present into the past, from a bar in the Bronx to Tokyo and Shanghai during the Second World War.
3) What ifBritain instead of Germany had lost World War I?
Winner of the World Fantasy Award and the Sidewise Award for Alternate History: A pastel-hued yet chilling alternate vision of England, The Summer Isles views the nightmare that the country has become since Germany’s victory in the Great War, through the eyes of a man whose life lies close to the heart of history.
4.) What if the Salem witch trials had contained evil of a different kind?
God and Satan are at war in the colonial Carolina town of Fount Royal, and even the citizens suspect that a witch is behind the tragedies that have plagued the town. The chief suspect is the beautiful and haunted widow Rachel. Traveling judge Isaac Woodward and his bright young clerk Matthew Corbett arrive to conduct a trial—and uncover the true evil at work in Fount Royal.
If you like the works of Neil Gaiman, and have already read through his other works, then you will quickly want to download ebooks by some of the authors we’ve listed below. These four novels include tales of ordinary citizens who are thrust into darkness, ugly secrets, and other oddities that lurk around every corner – signature Neil Gaiman themes.
1) If you liked The Sandman by Neil Gaiman, try the Zombies vs. Robots series edited by Jeff Conner.
These original stories of zombie-on-robot action—and vice versa—take IDW’s splatterific Zombies vs. Robots comic book series and expand it in ways that will redefine both zombie and robot fiction. These tales are illustrated and feature original stories by today’s leading perpetrators of zombie terror.
2) If you liked Gaiman’s American Gods, try Thomas Tryon’s Night Magic.
Though he bills himself as the Greatest Magician in the World, Michael Hawke is painfully aware that he’s nothing more than a sidewalk. He plies his trade outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, entrancing passing crowds with feats of conjuring and sleight of hand. One afternoon, he plays a trick on a shabbily dressed man whose beard is twisted and whose glass eye gives him a sinister leer. Offended, the man responds with magic of his own. This is black magic, mysterious and deadly, and pursuing it will mean a confrontation with an evil older than civilization itself.3) If you liked Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, try The Night Boat by Robert R. McCammon.
The son of a bank president, Robert Moore could have had the old man’s job if he’d just waited in line. But Moore isn’t the patient type, and rather than spend his life trapped behind a desk, he decamped for the Caribbean to pass his days diving beneath the perfect blue sea. One day, diving deeper than usual, he spies a sunken ship. A strange knocking echoes from inside the hull, as though something within is still alive. When Robert opens the long-closed hatch, he’ll learn that some sunken treasure is better left undisturbed.
4) If you liked Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, try James Morrow’s The Cat’s Pajamas and Other Stories.
In this rollicking and audacious collection of stories featuring Martian invaders, time travel, voodoo queens, giant Hollywood monsters, Dr. Moreau–like mad scientists, and more, James Morrow—called “the most provocative satiric voice in science fiction” by the Washington Post—takes the reader on thirteen wild and gleeful rides, each exploring a demented, dystopian, or provisionally desirable world.
E. R. Braithwaite left his native Guyana for Britain, hoping for, but ultimately denied, better opportunities—all because of the color of his skin. Born in 1912, Braithwaite witnessed the abuses of class distinctions and prejudice firsthand.
A former Royal Air Force pilot, Cambridge graduate, schoolteacher, social worker, diplomat, and bestselling author, E. R. Braithwaite became an expert at effecting change, pushing limits, and breaking down boundaries. He says of teaching, “I started to enjoy making [my students] toe the line.”
In honor of the profession that inspired Braithwaite’s literary debut, here’s an exploration of the life and works of this famous, groundbreaking teacher in the form of an E. R. Braithwaite course catalog:
Even with a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in physics from the University of Cambridge, Braithwaite’s status as a minority prevented him from pursuing a career as an engineer. Instead, he found work as a teacher in the East End of London and then as a social worker, experiences he wrote about in To Sir, With Love and Paid Servant.
No matter where Braithwaite traveled, he observed class distinctions and racial tensions. In A Kind of Homecoming, he describes his experience as a westernized black man who journeys to Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in search of his roots. Also set in Africa, Honorary Whitedocuments the six weeks Braithwaite spent in South Africa in 1973. “Honorary White” status allowed him to observe—and forced him to be subject to—the inequalities of apartheid. And in Reluctant Neighbors, even a train ride from New Canaan, Connecticut, to Grand Central Station in New York City offers a platform for Braithwaite to explore race and ignorance.
Much of E. R. Braithwaite’s fiction is imbued with events and knowledge gleaned from his own life. Choice of Straws, the story of Jack and his identical twin, Dave, is a thrilling tale of murder, mystery, and loss—all spurred by an incident of racial hatred. Equally as gripping but for different reasons, Billingsly:The Bear with the Crinkled Ear is a novel for children that boasts themes to which readers of all ages can relate: alienation, friendship, and love.
Film & Media Studies 407: Interview with E. R. Braithwaite
E. R. Braithwaite elaborates on immigrating to England and the story behind his renowned novel To Sir, With Love in an exclusive video. Learn how the challenges Braithwaite faced, including being the only black teacher at a London high school, ultimately helped him process both his own identity and social issues at large:
To discover ebooks by E. R. Braithwaite, visit his Open Road author page here.
We’ve come up with a few simple tips to help you stay motivated in your resolution to read more in 2014. Here, five ways to become a more frequent and voracious reader, no matter your current level.
1. Turn off your TV. If you replace a thirty-minute show with a book three times a week, that’s 4,680 reading minutes per year. At about one minute per page, you’re looking at over ten books this year.
2. Don’t always follow the crowd. If a book everyone is reading just doesn’t absorb you, put it down in favor of something that does. It’s simple: You’re more likely to make time to read a book you like than one you’re not into.
3. Make your commute count. If you’re one of the millions of Americans riding a bus or train to work, make a commitment to use that time to read—it’s a great way to wake up the brain in the morning and an even better way to decompress at the end of the day.
4. Join a book club or reading group. Whether you meet once a week or once a month, in person or online, having a group to discuss your reading with (and keep you accountable) can help you keep the momentum up.
5. Explore uncharted genres. It’s the same advice you get when you’re in an exercise rut: Switch it up! Sometimes all you need is a new rhythm—or in this case, a new genre—to keep things fresh.
Retro Reads RoundupLila perfectly captured the overall discussion of Come Pour the Wine, commenting, “This book brought up dangerous questions: Whether children, no matter how wonderful . . . are really worth sacrificing ourselves [for]. Whether everyone is the marrying kind. Whether you can love as well or better a second time.”
Reviewers also noted the many changes in Janet as middle age takes hold and realities shift; Julie remarked that Janet’s “entire personality will go through a transformation. Janet will become someone we don’t recognize as she rises up to take charge of her life.”
Maria brought up Freeman’s writing style, which often changes perspective between characters, saying this “helped the reader to understand what the other characters were thinking—adding more depth to the story.”
Check out our Retro Reads Goodreads group to see these reviews, related videos, and our ongoing discussion.
For January, we’re going a bit dark with Judy Griffith Gill’s The Dawning. A post-apocalyptic nail-biter, The Dawning follows Serena and Andrew, two survivors of the disastrous Bio Wars, in their quest to protect one of the youngest members of their community—and make sense of their growing connection to each other.
Want to become a Retro Reader? Learn more about the program here.
Teach children about Tu B’Shevat, the New Year or Birthday of the Trees, with fun read-aloud stories celebrating the holiday. Learn about its history and origin, and get great tips on celebrating with your family!
With the holidays over, January can often seem like a dull month, and you may wish you were anywhere but where you actually are. Science fiction fans are in luck! Alien planets, dystopian futures, magical lands, and galaxies faraway off are all present in our sci-fi getaway collection.The next time you find yourself sullenly looking out the window in thirty-degree weather, reach for one of our sci-fi novels, which are sure to transport you to places light-years away.
For more than a decade, Kayl has run a modest country inn. She opened it with her husband, and they managed it together until a summer illness took him away, leaving her alone with their two children. The three of them get by, living happily together as the years pass, but everything changes the day a sorceress asks for a room. Her name is Corrana, and by her silver brooch Kayl knows that she is a member of the order of Sisterhood of Stars, a coven of witches that Kayl left after a secret mission went horribly wrong. Kayl is sure that Corrana has come to take her back to the life she had renounced years before. Now, to save her family and her world, she will have to unlock a side of herself that she buried long ago.
This second volume of the Alien Sex anthology series brings together authors Neil Gaiman, Robert Silverberg, Samuel R. Delany, Joyce Carol Oates, Elizabeth Hand, and many others to explore the mysteries of sex, alien and human alike. From an alien spy who falls in love with one of the earthlings he’s monitoring, to a woman whose souvenir dream-catcher calls to her bedroom more than she bargained for, to a genetically engineered sex object aboard a space station, these thought-provoking tales of alien sex open up new worlds for fantastical exploration.
No life can survive on Unseeli—at least, not anymore. This little planet on the edge of the Empire has no oceans, rivers, or lakes—only an endless forest of metal trees, tall enough to scrape the stratosphere. Ten years ago, the indigenous people stormed out of the forest in rebellion, and Captain John Silence was there for the massacre that left Unseeli’s natives extinct and the planet completely lifeless save for the engineers who mine its invaluable metals. When the mining operation goes off the rails, Silence will be called back to the world that still haunts his nightmares.
For years, the embarrassing secret of the Singapore Three police department was Detective Inspector Chen—a specialist in the supernatural whose jurisdiction extended to Heaven and Hell. But when a rampaging goddess nearly destroyed the city, only to be stopped by Chen and his demonic partner, Zhu Irzh, the department was forced to reward them, resulting in the kind of attention that both cops loathe. Their new assignment is an affair of state, escorting the Heavenly functionary Mi Li Qi on a diplomatic mission to the underworld. By the time they’re finished, Chen and Zhu Irzh will wish they had remained forgotten.
In her oral history presented by the Oakland Standard, Elana Dykewomon says she had her first serious relationship when she was seventeen. Seventeen is also the age of Inez, the protagonist of Riverfinger Women, when we first see her with her lover, Abby, curled up in bed.
Inez Riverfingers narrates her story in the style of an open, powerful confession, revealing the difficulty of living as a gay woman in the 1960s. Penned by Dykewomon when she was only twenty-four years old, Riverfinger Women is hailed as a classic of lesbian fiction. Not only does the work champion the heroism of its lesbian characters, it was one of the first novels of its kind to have a happy ending.
Published by the women’s press Daughters, Inc., in 1974, Riverfinger Women is the first of Dykewomon’s seven books, including Beyond the Pale (1997) and Risk (2009). A recipient of the Lambda Literary Award and the Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists’ Prize, Dykewomon lives in Oakland, California.
Meet Inez and Abby and embark on an exploration of their relationship in this excerpt from Riverfinger Women, which is now available as an ebook:
Iron, football, and massive bridges: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia’s lesser-known sibling, is still making a name for itself as it navigates through hard economic times. However, the town’s rapid development recently earned it a place on Forbes’s list of most livable cities. Steelers Nation is not necessarily the first location we think of as a setting for tough crime. But as Kathleen George shows in her Richard Christie series, murder can be found anywhere, including the Steel City.
George’s newest novel, A Measure of Blood, takes place in the quiet neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, more famous for being the home of Mr. Rogers than for being the site of vicious crimes. Richard Christie is investigating the murder of Maggie Brown and his only witness is her young son, Matt. Too afraid to remember what happened, all Matt knows is that the murderer claims to be his father. The killer follows Matt’s every move, sure that he will eventually be able to claim him. As the slayer continues to evade the police, Christie must race to find him—before he gets to Matt.
As vividly as George paints this twisting tale of suspense, she portrays Pittsburgh as only a resident and lover of the city could. As Christie travels through the metropolis for his investigation, the reader becomes intimately familiar with many of the area’s nooks and crannies. Apart from Squirrel Hill, George takes us into small pockets of Pittsburgh including Christie’s home in Bloomfield, the hip South Side, and the developing Lawrenceville. From landmarks as big as the University of Pittsburgh (where George currently works as a professor) to the native Giant Eagle Market—a favorite among locals—George is unafraid to fully immerse us in her city, making insider references that readers quickly come to understand.
Unlike many mysteries that attempt to expose the seedy underbelly of an urban area, George’s portrayal reveals the deep roots of the city that inspires her. She breathes life into Pittsburgh, making it one of her characters, from the steel manufacturing origins that gave the town its reputation—and football team—to the gritty yet rich art culture that is still developing there.
To learn more about A Measure of Blood, the Richard Christie mysteries, and Kathleen George, visit her author page here.
Enter for a chance to win a copy of Emily Post's Manners in a Digital World as part of our weekly Friday Tweetstakes.
About the Book:
For generations of Americans, the Emily Post Institute is the authoritative source on how to behave with confidence and tact. Manners in a Digital World is its up-to-the-minute, straight-talking guide that tackles how we should act when using a digital device or when online. As communication technologies change, our smartphones and tablets become even more essential to our daily lives, and the most polished and appropriate ways to use them often remain unclear. As anyone who has mistakenly forwarded an email knows, there are many pitfalls, too. This essential guide discusses topics such as:
· Why you need a healthy digital diet that includes texts, emails, and calls
· How to appropriately handle a breakup announcement on social media
· What makes for the best—and the worst—online comment
· How to maintain privacy and security for online profiles and accounts, essential for everything from banking to online dating
· How parents and children can establish digital house rules
· The appropriate, low-maintenance ways to separate personal and professional selves online
Emily Post’s Manners in a Digital World is for technophiles and technophobes alike—it’s for anyone who wants to navigate today’s communication environment with emotional intelligence.
Learn more about the book and watch a video about Emily Post on the author's page here.
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With the Super Bowl fast approaching, do you ever wonder what becomes of football players after they reach the ends of their careers? Many go on to enjoy lucrative work in the public eye, but not all find glory beyond football. Many of our mystery authors present scenarios in which our beloved sports icons stray away from the limelight to pursue other ambitions.
Bill Hanrahan, the struggling alcoholic in Stuart M. Kaminsky’s Abe Lieberman Mysteries, starts out as a college football star, but when his bad knees throw him out of the league, he turns to a career as a homicide detective. Along with his new job comes a drinking problem that almost always causes issues during investigations. He eventually embraces sobriety and a new job as guard for a mob informant’s ex-wife and son in The Big Silence. When the ex-wife is murdered and the son disappears, Hanrahan’s demons threaten to return. With the help of his partner, Lieberman, he must find the young witness before it is too late.
Deviating from the typical style of his mysteries and thrillers, James M. Cain’s The Moth follows the extraordinary life of Jack Dillon after the Great Depression leaves him and his family destitute. He finds himself succeeding in a number of areas, including as a football player for Baltimore Polytechnic. But his career is derailed by a knee injury, and he must forge ahead after college without any prospects in professional sports. Despite the many hardships he faces, he continues on his journey to find happiness.
Although Collin Wilcox’s Lieutenant Hastings Mysteries take place in 1960s San Francisco, the football references don’t come from the 49ers, but from Hastings’s past. After a brief stint as a football player with the Detroit Lions, he turns to a career as a full-time alcoholic. His marriage fails and he leaves to rebuild himself as a homicide lieutenant with the San Francisco Police Department. Despite his reputation as one of the toughest policemen around, his past comes back to haunt him in The Lonely Hunter. His daughter, Claudia, arrives in San Francisco intent on following her hippie dreams to Haight-Ashbury. When she unexpectedly disappears, Hastings must confront his own issues in order to find her before she meets a more sinister fate.
William Campbell Gault’s Brock Callahan Mysteries center on a former football player for the Los Angeles Rams (a team now associated with St. Louis) who becomes a retired private investigator. Throughout the series, Callahan often comes across associates from his days as an athlete. Death in Donegal Bayreunites Callahan with Arthur Baker, a con artist who almost succeeded in swindling Callahan out of $5,000 when he was still playing for the Rams. When Baker returns years later to enlist Callahan’s help in an investigation, Callahan finds it easy to come out of retirement.
Charles Williams’s A Touch of Deathand The Big Biteput former football players to the ultimate test as they face off against the criminal underworld. In A Touch of Death, washed-up, broke player Lee Scarborough is desperate for money. He agrees to go undercover for Diana James and recover the $120,000 that her now-missing lover embezzled from a bank—money that happens to be in the possession of the wife of James’s lover. Scarborough must find the money before he, too, disappears.
In The Big Bite, John Harlan deals with the end of his football career when he is involved in a car accident that leaves the other driver dead. Harlan is on a downward spiral when he receives news that the incident may not be as clear cut as he thought. An insurance investigator believes the driver was murdered after the crash, and Harlan works with him to clear his own name and return to his former glory.
We hope these ebooks will satisfy the emptiness the Super Bowl might leave behind. After you finish these mysteries, you may wonder what has happened to your own beloved former players.
Today marks the forty-first anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords, signed on January 27, 1973. The intention of the accords was to establish peace between North and South Vietnam and end direct US military involvement in the Vietnam War (although in reality the last US troops would not leave until April 29, 1975, when Saigon fell to North Vietnamese forces).
Arguably the most controversial war of the twentieth century, the conflict has inspired many great books and films. To mark the anniversary of the Peace Accords, we took a look back at the path to peace through Vietnam-focused books published by Open Road Media and our partners Casemate Publishers and Warriors Publishing Group. (You can see a full overview of all our military titles here.)
First Major Battle of the Vietnam War
The First Battle: Operation Starlite and the Beginning of the Blood Debt in Vietnam by Otto J. Lehrack
On August 18, 1965, the first major clash of the Vietnam War took place on the Van Tuong Peninsula near the new marine base at Chu Lai. The First Battle explores Operation Starlite and the start of America’s long involvement in Vietnam.
Battle of Ia Drang
We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young: Ia Drang—The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam by Lt. Gen Harold G. Moore (Ret.) and Joseph L. Galloway
In November 1965, some 450 men of the First Battalion, Seventh Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col. Harold Moore, were dropped into a small clearing in the Ia Drang Valley. They were immediately surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers. Three days later, only two and a half miles away, a sister battalion was brutally slaughtered. We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young and creates a vivid portrait of war at its most devastating and inspiring.
Hal Moore: A Soldier Once . . . And Always by Mike Guardia
The hero of Ia Drang, coauthor of We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young, and one of the most admired American combat leaders of the last fifty years. Hal Moore was made famous when Mel Gibson portrayed him in the movie We Were Soldiers. This first-ever, fully illustrated biography details the full story of one of America’s true military heroes.
River of Perfumes by Michael Stokey
By 1968 opposition to the war had reached its height. The US was immersed in the Age of Aquarius, the civil rights movement, the pill, and young girls in long boots and short skirts. Life was completely different for those in the jungle and rice paddies of Southeast Asia during the 1968 Tet Offensive, one of the largest military campaigns of the Vietnam War and the subject of River of Perfumes.
Operation Texas Star
The 13th Valley by John M. Del Vecchio
A classic novel of the Vietnam War, The 13th Valley is based on the real-life Operation Texas Star, which began on April 1, 1970. The story follows the strange and terrifying combat experiences of James Chelini, a telephone-systems installer who finds himself an infantryman in territory controlled by the North Vietnamese Army.
The End of the War
Carry Me Home by John M. Del Vecchio
Nixon’s policy of Vietnamization marked the beginning of the end for US military involvement in Vietnam, and troop numbers started to decrease. In Carry Me Home, Del Vecchio transports the soldiers of the Vietnam experience to their final battlefield, the home front, and explores the challenges they faced in returning from the battlefield.
The Secret War
Starlight by Scott Ely
During the Vietnam War international law prevented US forces from entering ostensibly neutral Laos. A secret war there commenced, as the US tried to prevent Vietnamese forces from crossing the border. Starlight focuses on a firebase not far from the Laos border, as a radioman and a haunted sniper fight to survive.
The War at Home
Saigon, Illinois by Paul Hoover
In order to avoid going to Vietnam, Jim Holder registers as a conscientious objector. He’s assigned to work as a unit manager at a downtown Chicago medical center, worlds apart from his rural roots, and winds up fighting the Vietnam War from a Chicago hospital.
After the War
Goodbye, Vietnam by William Broyles
Broyles was one of the very first combat veterans to return to the battlefields after the war ended. No American before or since has gone so deeply into the other side of the war: the enemy side. Broyles interviews dozens of Vietnamese nationals, from the generals who ran the war to the men and women who fought it.
Following the loss of her father to cancer, her brother to an accident, and her five-year-old daughter, Grace, to sudden illness, author Ann Hood felt impelled to explore the theme of grief through writing. In an interview with BiblioStar.TV, Hood eloquently explains what she learned through her personal journey: “The heart, I think, can hold grief and joy in equal measure.”
Hood’s writing embodies this belief. Sadness finds its way into the lives of her characters, but so does the promise of healing. In each of the following stories, the process of loss, grief, and recovery takes on distinct but equally poignant forms.
Libby Harper abandons her family to chase her dream of fame, an opportunity she feels has been denied to her by suburban life. Her husband, Tom, and their children are crushed. However, after meeting a woman and her terminally ill daughter, Tom’s family finds an unexpected path to healing.
Two women struggle with love: Katherine, who leaves her husband at the altar, and Lucy, who thinks she may be falling out of love with her boyfriend. All the while attempting to come to terms with their decisions, Katherine, Lucy, and their friend Julia search for love and meaning.
Alexander Porter is on the phone with his six-year-old son when he is struck by lightning and killed. The freak accident affects everyone in Alex’s family, especially his young son, who goes silent. In the wake of the tragedy, Alex’s mother, father, ex-wife, sister, and son must discover their own paths to moving on.
After being married for less than a year, Olivia is widowed when her husband dies in a car accident. One day, a pregnant teenager named Ruby appears in Olivia’s cottage, seeking a safe haven. Having just lost one family member, Olivia sees an opportunity to fill the void—by adopting Ruby’s baby.
A memoir, Do Not Go Gentle recounts Hood’s search for a cure for her father’s cancer. She seeks a miracle, journeying from Rhode Island to El Santuario de Chimayo, New Mexico, in search of dirt reputed to contain astonishing healing powers. The tale, according to its author, is a “spiritual Odyssey, with a secret history all its own.”
Hood’s compassion, grace, and fluid prose reveal the complexity and depth of emotion that so often accompany heartbreak and healing. She has won awards for the best American spiritual writing, travel writing, and food writing; the Paul Bowles Prize for Short Fiction; and two Pushcart Prizes. Author of the bestselling novels The Knitting Circle, The Red Thread, and The Obituary Writer, Hood now lives in Providence, Rhode Island, with her husband and their children.
Encounter sympathetic characters and vivid prose in new ebooks by Ann Hood, available here today.
Twenty-eight years ago today, on January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger broke apart seventy-three seconds after lift-off. Millions watched in horror as the lives of all seven astronauts on board were lost. Going on sale today to mark the anniversary, Challenger: An American Tragedy—The Inside Story from Launch Control tells the full insider story. And who better to narrate than the man who delivered the iconic countdown on that fateful day: Hugh Harris, who was chief of public information for NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at the time. From his unique vantage point as “the Voice of NASA,” Harris takes us from the preparations for Challenger’s launch, through to lift-off, to the terrible moment when the O-ring failed, and on to the aftermath and investigation. Harris goes far beyond discussing just the technology of the accident, revealing the touching stories of the people that were involved.
To mark the release of Challenger: An American Tragedy, we took a look back at the history (and danger) of space travel with the infographic below.