Sunday, 15 October 2017

Sunday Lifestyle

The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel by Felicitas D Goodman

Paperback:  Was a twenty-three-year-old university student a hostage to the devil?

Two priests claimed Anneliese Michel was possessed by Lucifer, Nero, Judas, Cain and Adolf Hitler.

Physicians diagnosed her seizures as a form of epilepsy.

Here a noted anthropologist offers a startling explanation of this tragic case.

In 1976, a young German girl named Anneliese Michel underwent a series of exorcisms.  The rites were administered by two priests of the Catholic Church to free Anneliese of the six demons they believed possessed her. 

Seemingly, as a result of the exorcisms, the girl died.

Worldwide publicity followed when the girl's parents and the two exorcists were brought to trial and convicted of negligent homicide.  Here a noted anthropologist offers her own interpretation of the exorcisms of Anneliese Michel.  Drawing on interviews with the two exorcists, the girl's parents and friends, transcripts of the trial, and tape recordings made during the exorcisms—as well as studies of religious experience in various cultures—, Felicitas Goodman has written a fascinating, compelling book, one that finally tells what happened in this strange case as it delves into the age-old mystery of demonic possession.

The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel (2005, reprint of 1981) is a brilliant, spellbinding new report of a young woman's bizarre religious experience.

About the author:  Felicitas D Goodman (1914-2005) was Associate Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Denison University in Granville, Ohio.  A Religious Anthropologist, she wrote numerous books including Speaking in Tongues, How About Demons?, Where the Spirits Ride the Wind and Esctasy, Ritual and Alternate Reality.  In 1978, she founded the Cuyamungue Institute, based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  The institute is a nonprofit anthropological research and teaching institution specializing in ecstatic trance and the use of ritual body postures.  Before her death in 2005, Goodman had published over forty articles and more than seven books.  Her book, The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel, was the inspiration for the film The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

I Worried by Mary Oliver

Friday, 13 October 2017

I Know A Secret (A Rizzoli and Isles Thriller) by Tess Gerritsen

Hardback:  In the twelfth and latest suspenseful and edgy novel featuring Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles, the crime-solving duo - featured in the smash-hit TNT series Rizzoli and Isles - are faced with the gruesomely staged murder of a horror film producer in I Know A Secret (2017).

The crime scene is unlike any that Detective Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles have ever before encountered.  The woman lies in apparently peaceful repose on her bed, and Maura finds no apparent cause of death, but there is no doubt the woman is indeed dead.  The victim’s eyes have been removed and placed in the palm of her hand, a gesture that echoes the terrifying films she produces. 

Is a crazed movie fan reenacting scenes from those disturbing films?

When another victim is found, again with no apparent cause of death, again with a grotesquely staged crime scene, Jane and Maura realize the killer has widened his circle of targets.  He has chosen one particular woman for his next victim, and she knows he is coming for her next.  She is the only one who can help Jane and Maura catch the killer.

But she knows a secret.

And it is a secret she will never tell.

About the author:  Bestselling author Tess Gerritsen is also a physician, and she brings to her novels her first-hand knowledge of emergency and autopsy rooms.  Her thrillers starring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the hit TV series Rizzoli and Isles.

But Tess' interests span far more than medicine and crime.  As an anthropology student at Stanford University, she catalogued centuries-old human remains, and she continues to travel the world, driven by her fascination with ancient cultures and bizarre natural phenomena.

She lives with her husband in Maine.  For more information on Tess Gerritsen and her novels, visit her website at

Rating:  5/5

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The House of Unexpected Sisters (The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency) by Alexander McCall Smith

Hardback:  Precious Ramotswe learns valuable lessons about first impressions and forgiveness in this latest instalment of the beloved and best-selling No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.

Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi are approached by their part-time colleague, Mr. Polopetsi, with a troubling story:  a woman, accused of being rude to a valued customer, has been wrongly dismissed from her job at an office furniture store.  Never one to let an act of injustice go unanswered, Mma Ramotswe begins to investigate, but soon discovers unexpected information that causes her to reluctantly change her views about the case.

Other surprises await our intrepid proprietress in the course of her inquiries.  Mma Ramotswe is puzzled when she happens to hear of a local nurse named Mingie Ramotswe.  She thought she knew everybody by the name of Ramotswe, and that they were all related.

Who is this mystery lady?

Then, she is alerted by Mma Potokwani that an unpleasant figure from her past has recently been spotted in town.  Mma Ramotswe does her best to avoid the man, but it seems that he may have returned to Botswana specifically to seek her out.

What could he want from her?

With the generosity and good humour that guide all her endeavours, Mma Ramotswe will untangle these questions for herself and for her loved ones, ultimately bringing to light important truths about friendship and family - both the one you’re born with and the one you choose.

The House of Unexpected Sisters (2017) is the eighteenth and latest book in the cleverly written, thought-provoking and superbly witty No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series set in Botswana, Africa.

About the author:  Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world's most prolific and most popular authors.  For many years, he was a professor of medical law, then, after the publication of his highly successful No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which has sold over twenty-five million copies, he devoted his time to the writing of fiction and has seen his various series of books translated into over forty-six languages and become bestsellers throughout the world.

These include the 44 Scotland Street novels, first published as a serial novel in the Scotsman, the Isabel Dalhousie novels, the von Igelfeld series and the Corduroy Mansions novels.  His novel, Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party, was winner of the 2015 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction.

Alexander McCall Smith is Professor Emeritus of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh and holds honorary doctorates from thirteen universities.  In 2017, he received the National Arts Club of America Medal of Honour for Achievement in Literature.

Rating:  5/5

Monday, 9 October 2017

Silence: In The Age of Noise by Erling Kagge

Hardback:  Quietly, wisely, Silence makes a case for dumbing the din of modern life, and learning to listen again. - Robert Macfarlane

This breathtaking, inspiring little book teaches us how to find precious moments of silence - whether we are crossing the Antarctic, climbing Everest, or on the train at rush hour.

What is silence?

Where can it be found?

Why is it more important than ever?

Norwegian explorer Erling Kagge once spent fifty days walking solo across Antarctica, his radio broken.

In this charming, quietly life-changing book - now an international publishing phenomenon - he takes us on a journey to unlock the power of silence.

"Only when I first understood that I had a primal need for silence, was I able to begin my search for it - and there, deep beneath a cacophony of traffic noise and thoughts, music and machinery, iPhones, and snowploughs, it lay in wait for me.  Silence," wrote Erling Kagge.

And he shows us how to find perfect silence in our daily lives, however busy we are.

Silence (2017) was translated from the Norwegian by Becky L Cook.

About the author:  Erling Kagge is a Norwegian explorer, lawyer, art collector, entrepreneur, politician, Rolex model, author and publisher.  Kagge was the first explorer in history to reach the 'three poles' - North, South and the summit of Everest.  During these expeditions, he experienced extreme periods of silence - the longest being fifty days.  He has since returned to Norway and searches for moments of silence amongst noisy family life and works as a writer and publisher.

Take A Walk

Saturday, 7 October 2017

The Father (Made In Sweden: Part 1) by Anton Svensson

Paperback:  How does a child become a criminal?

How does a father lose a son?

An epic crime novel with the excitement of Jo Nesbø's Headhunters and the narrative depth of We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Father is inspired by the extraordinary, intoxicating and heartbreaking true story of three brothers who committed ten audacious bank robberies in Sweden over the course of just two years.  It tells the story of how three boys are transformed over the course of their lives from innocent children to the most wanted criminals in Sweden.

None had committed a crime before. 

All were under 24 years old. 

All of them would be changed forever as individuals and as a family.

And of the man who made them that way:  their father.

The Father (2015) is the first instalment in the Made In Sweden series and is translated from the Swedish by Elizabeth Clark Wessel. 

More information on how the real case inspired this novel can be found in The Father.

The second book in the series - The Sons - is expected to be released on 9 January 2018.

About the author:  Anton Svensson is a pseudonym for Anders Roslund and Stefan Thunberg. 

Anders Roslund is an award-winning investigative journalist and one of the most successful and
critically acclaimed Scandinavian crime writers of our time.  Roslund is part of the New York Times bestselling author duo Roslund & Hellström, who are recipients of many prestigious awards, including the CWA International Dagger, The Glass Key and the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers’ Award, and who boast sales exceeding five million copies.  Films and TV-series based on Roslund & Hellström’s novels are in the works, both in Hollywood and Europe.

Stefan Thunberg is one of Scandinavia’s most celebrated screenwriters.  His body of work spans popular TV-series such as Henning Mankell’s Wallander and Håkan Nesser’s Van Veeteren as well
as two of Sweden’s biggest box office successes in recent years:  Hamilton and Jägarna 2.  While Thunberg achieved fame as a screenwriter, the rest of his family became infamous in an entirely different way:  his father and brothers were Sweden’s most notorious bank robbers, dubbed Militärligan (The Military Gang) by the media.

Rating:  5/5