Sunday, 14 January 2018

Recollections


Fire and Fury (US Politics) by Michael Wolff


Hardback:  With extraordinary access to the Trump White House, Michael Wolff tells the inside story of the most controversial presidency of our time, to say the least.

The first nine months of Donald Trump's term were stormy, outrageous - and absolutely mesmerizing. Now, thanks to his deep access to the West Wing, bestselling author Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself.

In this explosive book, Wolff provides a wealth of new details about the chaos in the Oval Office. Among the revelations:

— What President Trump's staff really thinks of him
— What inspired Trump to claim he was wire-tapped by President Obama
— Why FBI director James Comey was really fired
— Why chief strategist Steve Bannon and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner couldn't be in the same room
— Who is really directing the Trump administration's strategy in the wake of Bannon's firing
— What the secret to communicating with Trump is
— What the Trump administration has in common with the movie The Producers

Never before has a presidency so divided the American people.  Brilliantly reported and astoundingly fresh, Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury (2018) shows us how and why Donald Trump has become the king of discord and disunion, and again, that is the least of it.

About the author:  Michael Wolff is an American author, essayist, and journalist who is a regular columnist and contributor to USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter, and the UK edition of GQ.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Will Donald Trump Destroy The Presidency?


The Book Of Mirrors by E O Chirovici


Paperback:  The Book of Mirrors (2017) is a gripping psychological thriller full of hidden fragments and dark reflections.

How would you piece together a murder?

Do you trust other people's memories?

Do you trust your own?

Should you?

Princeton, 1987:  renowned psychologist Professor Joseph Weider is brutally murdered.

New York, 25 years later:  literary agent Peter Katz receives a manuscript. Or is it a confession?

Today:  unearth the secrets of The Book of Mirrors and discover why your memory is the most dangerous weapon of all.

Inspired by false memories from his childhood and written in the author's second language, remarkably The Book of Mirrors nearly wasn't published at all.  Having been rejected in the US, E O Chirovici took to the novel to a small UK publisher who advised him to try just one more time to get it to a wider readership.  He did, and The Book of Mirrors was immediately signed by a literary agent, sparking a UK auction and world-wide rights sales. 

About the author:  Eugen O Chirovici had a career in mass-media, running a national daily newspaper and then a TV news channel.  He has published over 1 000 articles in Romania and abroad.  He currently holds three honorary doctorates (in Economics, Communication & History) and is a member of the Romanian Academy of Science.  He is the recipient of several prizes for journalism.  The Book of Mirrors is his first novel in English.  He now lives in Brussels with his wife. 

Rating:  5/5

Friday, 12 January 2018

An Exorcist Explains The Demonic (Spiritual Warfare/Angelology and Demonology) by Fr Gabriele Amorth with Stefano Stimamiglio


Paperback:  From Fr Gabriele Amorth, the renowned exorcist in Rome, comes this powerful, eye-opening book on the deadly antics of Satan and his fallen angels, as well as spiritual remedies for each.

These pages provide a basic orientation in the dark phenomenology, succinctly explaining Catholic doctrine on the fallen angels and the innumerable manifestations.  Among the many questions Fr Amorth answers in this book are:

Where does the Evil One dwell in the human body?
How does the Devil appear and what does he look like?
What are the powers that comes from Satan?
Do the sins of ancestors influence our life?
How are spiritual evils contracted?
What is the state of souls in purgatory?
What is the role of sacramentals in fighting off temptation?
When should exorcisms and prayers of healing be performed?
What happens during an exorcism?
What you should do when a family is being attacked by a demon?

An Exorcist Explains The Demonic:  The Antics of Satan and His Army Of Fallen Angels (2016) is translated from the Italian by Charlotte J Fasi.

About the author:  Fr Gabriele Amorth is a priest of the Congregation of San Paolo.  Fr Amorth is internationally recognized as the world's greatest exorcist.  His mission of expelling the devil through incessant dedication has earned the gratitude of thousands of believers and the esteem of the most important authorities of the Catholic Church.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Slow Horses (Jackson Lamb Series) by Mick Herron


Paperback:  Let us be clear about this much at least:  Slough House is not in Slough, nor is it a house.  Slough House is Jackson Lamb's kingdom;  a dumping ground for members of the intelligence service who have screwed up:  left a secret file on a train, blown a surveillance, or become drunkenly unreliable.  They are the service's poor relations - the slow horses - and bitterest among them is River Cartwright, whose days are spent transcribing mobile phone conversations.

But when a young man is abducted, and it is threatened that he will be beheaded live on the Internet, River sees an opportunity to redeem himself. 

Is the victim who he first appears to be?

And what is the kidnappers' connection with a disgraced journalist?

As the clock ticks on the execution, River finds that everyone involved has their own agenda.  And unless the slow horses can prove they are not as useless as they are thought to be, a young man's death is going to echo around the world.

Slow Horses (2010) is the first instalment in one of the finest spook fiction series set in England.

About the author:  Mick Herron is a novelist and short story writer whose books include the Sarah Tucker/Zoë Boehm series and the standalone novel Reconstruction (2008).  His work has been shortlisted for the Macavity, Barry and Shamus awards, and his novella Dolphin Junction was joint winner of the 2009 Ellery Queen Readers Award.  His second standalone, Nobody Walks, was shortlisted for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger in 2015, and was one of Booklist Magazine’s Best 101 Crime Novels of the Decade.

He is the author of the acclaimed Jackson Lamb series, the first of which, the Steel Dagger-nominated Slow Horses, was hailed by the Daily Telegraph as one of the “the twenty greatest spy novels of all time”.  The second in the series, Dead Lions, won the 2013 CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger, and was picked by the Sunday Times as one of the best 25 crime novels of the past five years.  The third, Real Tigers, was shortlisted for both the Gold and Steel Daggers, for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year, and for the 2017 Macavity Award.  It won the Last Laugh Award at Crimefest 2017, for the best humorous crime novel of 2016.

Spook Street, the fourth Jackson Lamb novel – praised by Ian Rankin for its “sublime dialogue and frictionless plotting” – won the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2017.

The fifth Jackson Lamb novel, London Rules, will appear on 15 February 2018.

Mick was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and now lives in Oxford. He writes full time.

Rating:  5/5

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

2018 Commitments


New Year's Resolutions


Our Souls At Night by Kent Haruf


Paperback:  Our Souls At Night (2015) is a spare yet eloquent, bittersweet yet inspiring story of a man and a woman who, in advanced age, come together to wrestle with the events of their lives and their hopes for the imminent future.

In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf's inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbour, Louis Waters.

Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades;  in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis's wife.

His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with.

Their brave adventures - their pleasures and their difficulties - are hugely involving and truly resonant, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final instalment to this beloved writer's enduring contribution to American literature.

About the author:  Kent Haruf was born in eastern Colorado.  He received his Bachelors of Arts in literature from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1965 and his Masters of Fine Arts from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1973.  For two years, he taught English in Turkey with the Peace Corps and his other jobs have included a chicken farm in Colorado, a construction site in Wyoming, a rehabilitation hospital in Colorado, a hospital in Arizona, a library in Iowa, an alternative high school in Wisconsin, and universities in Nebraska and Illinois.

Haruf is the author of Plainsong (1999), which received the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Maria Thomas Award in Fiction, and The New Yorker Book Award.  Plainsong was also a finalist for the 1999 National Book Award.  His novel, The Tie That Binds (1984), received a Whiting Foundation Award and a special citation from the Pen/Hemingway Foundation.  In 2006, Haruf was awarded the Dos Passos Prize for Literature.

All of his novels are set in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado.  Holt is loosely based on Yuma, Colorado, an early residence of Haruf in the 1980s. 

Haruf lived with his wife, Cathy, in Salida, Colorado, with their three daughters.  He died of cancer on 30 November 2014.

Rating:  5/5

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito


Hardback:  Quicksand (2017) is an incisive courtroom thriller and a drama that raises questions about the nature of love, the disastrous side effects of guilt, and the function of justice.

A mass shooting has taken place at a prep school in Stockholm’s wealthiest suburb.  Eighteen-year-old Maja Norberg is charged for her involvement in the massacre that left her boyfriend and her best friend dead.  She has spent nine months in jail awaiting trial.  Now the time has come for her to enter the courtroom.

How did Maja - popular, privileged, and a top student - become a cold-blooded killer in the eyes of the public?

What did Maja do?

Or is it what she failed to do that brought her here?

Malin Persson Giolito has written a perceptive portrayal of a teenage girl and a blistering indictment of a society that is coming apart.  A work of great literary sensibility, Quicksand touches on wealth, class, immigration, and the games children play among themselves when parents are no longer attuned to their struggles.

Quicksand (2017) is named the Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year by the Swedish Crime Writers Academy.  It is translated from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles.

About the author:  Malin Persson Giolito was born in Stockholm in 1969, and grew up in Djursholm, Sweden.  She holds a degree in law from Uppsala University and has worked as a lawyer for the biggest law firm in the Nordic region and as an official for the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium.  She is now a full-time writer and has written four novels including Quicksand, her English debut.  Persson Giolito lives with her husband and three daughters in Brussels.

Rating:  4/5