Gruen is the author of Water for Elephants, a New York Times best-seller that was also made into a major Hollywood motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson. Her new novel, At The Water’s Edge, is set to be released in March. From the At Water’s Edge website:
In At the Water’s Edge, she tells the gripping and poignant story of a privileged young woman’s moral and sexual awakening as she experiences the devastations of World War II in the Scottish Highlands.
Madeline Hyde, a young socialite from Philadelphia, reluctantly follows her husband and their best friend to the tiny village of Drumnadrochit in search of the Loch Ness monster—at the same time that a very real monster, Hitler, wages war against the Allied Forces. Despite German warplanes flying overhead and scarce food rations (and even scarcer stockings), what Maddie discovers—about the larger world and about herself—through the unlikely friendships she develops with the villagers, opens her eyes not only to the dark forces that exist around her but to the beauty and surprising possibilities as well.
Essig is a writer and former Asheville Citizen-Times writer/editor. He’s the author of Edison and the Electric Chair, a work the Washington Post deemed “A thoroughly modern view of Edison, removed from his pedestal.”
Essig’s latest is Lesser Beasts: A snout-to-tail history of the humble pig. It’s due out in May. From the Amazon description:
Unlike other livestock, which pull plows, give eggs or milk, or grow wool, a pig produces only one thing: more pigs. Incredibly efficient at converting almost any organic matter into nourishing, delectable meat, swine are nothing short of a gastronomic godsend. As historian of science Mark Essig shows in Lesser Beasts, pork has been a crucial staple of the human diet since ancient times. Yet the very qualities that make pigs so essential—their intelligence, hardiness, and omnivorousness—have also led people throughout history to demonize them as craven, opportunistic, and unclean. Today’s inhumane system of factory farming, Essig explains, is only the latest instance of people taking pigs for granted—and the most recent evidence of how both species suffer when our symbiotic relationship falls out of balance.
An expansive, illuminating history, Lesser Beasts celebrates the long-suffering creature that has been a mainstay of civilization since its very beginnings—whether we like it or not.