It must be review time! This is a nice one from School Library Journal about my new book TYING THE KNOT: A WORLD HISTORY OF MARRIAGE:
What’s love got to do with it? Not much, Keyser asserts in this examination of the history of marriage. Up until about 250 years ago, marriage was mainly a transaction or union of couples that entailed political, social, and economic factors. Her discussion of traditions and customs from different cultures and countries is a fascinating and insightful one. All types of unions are explored in this book, including levirate, same-sex, green card, and polyandry marriages. Keyser is straightforward and objective in her examination of different views on the institution. She highlights how changes in society (women’s rights, economic conditions, divorce rates, etc.) as well as a general shifting of attitudes has greatly affected marital unions. Keyser’s book is well researched and greatly illustrated with photographs. VERDICT This highly readable text would be a commendable addition to a social science collection for its pertinent information on cultural studies.
Stoked to get this great review from School Library Journal for UNDERNEATH IT ALL: A HISTORY OF WOMEN’S UNDERWEAR.
The biologist and writer offers a fascinating examination of an often under-explored facet of life—underwear. Undergarments for women have evolved throughout the centuries from simple, plain cloth tunics and elaborate corsets made with steel or whalebone stays and to today’s contemporary bralettes and more. Historically, Keyser asserts, underwear is designed to create what ever is perceived as a perfect body. Examples are the Gibson Girl and today’s Victoria Secret Angels. The book is divided into eight chapters that follow a historical time line and place the garments in perspective with the events and culture of the time period discussed. Chapters are illustrated and contain sidebars. The writing utilizes contemporary language and examples, citing Beyoncé and ad campaigns that challenge stereotypical views of beauty. Highlights of the book are the author’s citation of women historians, writers, and entrepreneurs. VERDICT A bit niche but endlessly fascinating, a great addition to nonfiction collections.
When you’re running whitewater, there’s a moment just before entering the rapids when the world stills. The canoe seems to hang in the air above the smooth tongue of green water that leads into the roiling waves. At that moment, it’s too late to be afraid, and there is a crisp, focused moment of joy.
Now is that moment.
This is the cover for THE WAY BACK FROM BROKEN, which releases on October 1st from Carolrhoda Lab. This novel holds both my heart and my history, and I am so grateful to be able to share it with you.
I have in my hands an advance copy of the book, and I am going to give it away to one of you. If you sign up for my newsletter (which I send every 2 months or so), “like” my Facebook author page, or follow me on Twitter, I will enter your name in the giveaway. Do all three, and you’ve got three chances to win and be one of the first to read THE WAY BACK FROM BROKEN.
And more than that, you’ll have my gratitude for joining me in the rapids and helping me find the way back.
I’m getting really excited for the publication of my nonfiction book SNEAKER CENTURY: A HISTORY OF ATHLETIC SHOES (Twenty-First Century Books, January 2015). It was fun book to write and it will be fun to see it in the hands of readers. The book earned a nice review from Kirkus and another from Booklist. Here’s one from School Library Journal that leaves me grinning ear to ear. I’m glad to be able to share it with you.
Trainers. Tennies. Kicks. No matter what they’re called, athletic shoes have played an important role in American culture and the global economy during the past century, and this insightful look at the history of sneakers traces the shoes, from their humble origins in the Industrial Revolution to their current status as part of a multibillion dollar industry. While the text acknowledges the crucial role shoes play in athletic performance—a fact of which most readers are likely well aware—it does not dwell upon it. Instead, Keyser peppers the narrative with lesser-known human interest stories, such as the sibling rivalry between shoe manufacturers Adi and Rudolf Dassler that spawned Adidas and Puma. Equally fascinating is Keyser’s examination of the role youth culture has played in the athletic shoe industry (and vice versa) as well as her look at the seamier side of shoe manufacturing, including the extreme disparity between foreign labor costs and the price of the final product. While not comprehensive, the text provides readers with a solid understanding of sneaker culture. The graphics complement the text without overshadowing it, though there’s a lot of white space on some pages. Readers of all stripes will appreciate the role sneakers play in our lives. A fun and informative addition.
As the release date for my newest nonfiction title SNEAKER CENTURY approaches, reviews are starting to come in.
Exhilarating? Also Yes.
It’s exciting to know that real live humans will be reading my book soon. I had a ton of fun writing this one. It’s nice to know that Kirkus thought it was good (other than the personal trauma of the 1970s jogging boom, which I totally understand). If you are a blogger, reviewer, teacher, librarian, or bookseller, I can send you a pre-approved link to the digital ARC on NetGalley. Just drop me a quick note.
Anyway… here’s what Kirkus had to say!
A comprehensive look at the rise of sneakers in American culture. Exploring a narrow field that nevertheless yields plenty of interest, the author shines a light on several aspects of sneaker culture. Topics range from the footwear’s early development in the early 19th century to its rise in popularity that coincides with the rise of the American teenager. The book’s layout augments the text with colorful infographics and various small sidebars that, while not necessary to the historical narrative, are well worth highlighting on their own. Discussions of the shoe’s rise to fame in the 1950s and resurgence in the 1980s (both thanks to popular figures like James Dean, Steve McQueen, Run-D.M.C. and Michael Jordan) are the best bits. A portion regarding Olympic runners and shady endorsement dealings makes for another amusing section. A discussion of the global economics of shoe manufacturing arrives a bit too late in the book to capture readers’ interest, and it doesn’t help that this section is much less elaborate than all those that came before it. Another lesser moment is a look back at the 1970s fad of “jogging,” something no one wants to be reminded of. An illuminating and amusing look at a subject with much more history than one might expect. (Nonfiction. 12-16)