Thursday, 28 May 2015

Fearless: My Life, My Way by Gina Liano

Paperback:  Most people will know Gina Liano as the larger-than-life personality on The Real Housewives of Melbourne.  But few know the real-life story behind her rise to fame on reality TV and in Australia's legal circles as a respected Melbourne barrister.

Just like the woman herself, Fearless (2015) is up-front, inspiring and passionate.

Born in Melbourne to Italian parents, Gina's happy childhood turned sour when her parents' business and marriage failed.  Gina battled to finish her schooling, and while her ambition was to study law, she was a married mother of one by the time she was 23.  Along with her talented sisters she would establish three highly successful fashion stores in stylish inner-Melbourne.

But Gina never lost sight of her goal to study law and become a barrister, and at 33, after years of schooling, she was finally admitted to the bar.  With a dream career, a new husband and a second child, she was ready to take on the world.  But it was not to be;  only four years later, she received a shock diagnosis of life-threatening cancer.

"I've learned that the human spirit is amazing and that love can conquer all.  A lot can be said in few words.  In fact, people quickly forget your words but they rarely forget how you made them feel.  The universal language of love is not easily forgotten," wrote Gina.

With more twists and turns than any reality TV show, every step of Gina's unique journey is intimately recounted with the frankness and honesty that audiences have come to expect from the straight-talking star of the Real Housewives series.

About the author:  Intelligent, stylish, witty and feisty, Gina Liano, Criminal Barrister and single mother of two boys, this year blazed to national fame as the glamorous, no-nonsense star of Foxtel Arena’s runaway hit series, Real Housewives of Melbourne.  Gina is no stranger to public life - both as a hardworking, highly respected and sought after criminal barrister of fifteen years standing with a reputation for fighting for the underdog;  and as a committed family member of Australian fashion royalty who works with her talented sisters Bettina Liano and Teresa (TL Wood).  Besides fashion and the law, Gina has been a successful property developer and is a qualified art curator.
Gina has had her battles. She has confronted cancer and with her typical determination and optimism, successfully recovered from her treatment, all the more determined to live her life to the full. Committed to passing on her insights and inspiration, Gina is a valued Ambassador for the Victorian Cancer Council.  Gina’s much publicised involvement in the acclaimed first series of Foxtel Arena’s Real Housewives of Melbourne has changed everything for her again.  Gina’s popularity and immense support from the viewers and fans of Real Housewives of Melbourne has been overwhelming.

Shunryƫ Suzuki (1904-1971)

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Reversible Error by Robert K Tanenbaum

Paperback:  A killer is at work on the New York streets, and no one seems to want to catch him.  A serial rapist is savaging one woman after another, and beating every rap.  Assistant D A Butch Karp, his ultra-liberated lover, Marlene Ciampi, and three maverick cops who fight crime their own way have to cut all corners and bend all rules in a maze of mean streets and crooked courthouse corridors to rip the blindfold off justice and put teeth into the law.

About the author:  New York Times bestselling author Robert K Tanenbaum is a nationally known attorney and legal expert.  He is one of the country’s most respected trial lawyers and has never lost a felony case.  Born in Brooklyn, New York, Tanenbaum attended the University of California at Berkeley on a basketball scholarship.  He received his law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.  At the outset of his distinguished career, he was an Assistant D.A. in New York County, where he ran the Homicide Bureau, served as Chief of the Criminal Courts, and was in charge of the D.A.’s legal staff training program.  Mel Glass, John Keenan, and D.A. Frank Hogan were his esteemed mentors, and Echoes of My Soul is a tribute to them, written at the request of Mel Glass with his active involvement.

Tanenbaum’s tireless quest for justice led him to be appointed Deputy Chief Counsel for the Congressional committee investigations into the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Following an esteemed career as a successful prosecuting attorney and high profile defender, he served two terms as Mayor of Beverly Hills and continues to teach law in California, New York and Pennsylvania.  A popular media guest, he regularly appears on television shows as a legal commentator.

He is the author of three non-fiction books, including The Piano Teacher: The True Story of a Psychotic Killer and Badge of the Assassin, the true account of his investigation and trials of self-proclaimed members of the Black Liberation Army who assassinated two NYPD police officers – later adapted into a movie starring James Woods as Tanenbaum.  He is also the bestselling author of the Butch Karp series featuring two fictional District Attorneys in New York.  A native of New York, Robert Tanenbaum currently lives with his family in Beverly Hills, California.

Rating:  5/5

Monday, 25 May 2015

Inspector Cataldo's Criminal Summer by Luigi Guicciardi

Paperback:  In a quiet holiday town in the Italian Apennines, during a torrid summer, a string of gruesome deaths stirs up trouble in the local community.  A suspected suicide which Inspector Cataldo is called in to investigate brings to the surface shady events belonging to the past, and a mysterious foreigner shakes up the delicate social balance of a group of friends who have a lot to hide.

About the author:  Born in Modena, Italy, a high school professor and literary critic, Luigi Guicciardi is the creator of Inspector Cataldo, a policeman protagonist of many successful thrillers.

Inspector Cataldo's Criminal Summer (2010) - the only book by Luigi Guicciardi translated into the English set in a fictional Italian town called Guiglia - is translated from the Italian by Iain Halliday.

Rating:  4/5

Definition: Genshai

Saturday, 23 May 2015

The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders To Justice by Rebecca Musser with M Bridget Cook

Paperback:  Rebecca Musser grew up in fear, living downstairs from her father's "real" family, and concealing her family's polygamous lifestyle from the "dangerous" outside world.  After attending Alta Academy, a Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints school, she became the nineteenth wife of her people's Prophet, eighty-five-year-old Rulon Jeffs, in her late teens.

Forty-six additional wives were added to Rebecca's marriage before she was widowed at twenty-six and threatened with another arranged marriage.  Unwilling to remarry, she pulled off a daring escape, eventually building a new life and family.  But by 2007, she was no longer able to stand for the abuse and underage marriages still being perpetuated within the church.

So she took the witness stand against Warren Jeffs, the new Prophet of the FLDS.  Her testimony revealed the horrific secrets behind the temple's closed doors, sending the leaders to prison for years, and Warren Jeffs for life.  Now Rebecca tells the full story - one of crimes committed in the name of God and the abuse of power played out across generations.

A revealing memoir and a fast-paced courtroom drama, The Witness Wore Red (2013) is a testament to the power of one woman's decisions to change the world.

About the author:  Rebecca Musser is a New York Times bestselling author, highly sought-after keynote speaker and agent for social revolution.  She empowers women around the world to escape from oppression in all its forms, because, as she has said, "I was once owned, too."  Born into the FLDS, an extreme, isolated, polygamist sect of the Mormon faith, as a teenager she was married to the eighty-five-year-old Prophet Rulon Jeffs, destined to be his nineteenth wife of sixty-five.  After enduring years of violation, upon her husband's death she escaped from his son, Warren Jeffs, when he tried to force her to remarry.  On behalf of her little sisters and other voiceless young girls trapped within that culture, Rebecca testified more than twenty times against cult leaders to bring evidence to light and freedom to her people.  Today, Rebecca is the found of, a nonprofit human rights organization dedicated to teaching survivors of oppression and abuse how to recognize, prevent, and break the cycle of abusive behaviour.

M Bridget Cook is a national best-selling author well-known for penning riveting tales of transformation.  Her gift is her courage to bring light into the darkest places of humanity, and illuminating paths that awaken readers to their own magnificent journey.  Her powerful work has been showcased on Oprah, CNN, and Good Morning America, and in People, among others.  She is coauthor of the best-selling Shattered Silence:  The Untold Story of a Serial Killer's Daughter (2009) with Melissa G Moore, and Skinhead Confessions:  From Hate to Hope (2008) with former neo-Nazi T J Leyden, and her stories continue to rock readers around the world.  In writing as in life, she loves to refute stereotypes.  Bridget runs two trucking companies while enjoying her four amazing children and more pets than her beloved husband can handle.  An internationally sought-after speaker and activist, Bridget wows audiences on the subjects of transformation, conscious business, and how to leave the footprints of an inspired legacy.

Friday, 15 May 2015

B B King (1925-2015)

We Must Do That Which We Think We Cannot

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul aka A Cup of Friendship by Deborah Rodriguez

Paperback:  In a little coffee shop in one of the most dangerous places on earth, five very different but extraordinary women come together.

Sunny, the proud proprietor, who needs an ingenious plan - and fast - to keep her cafe and customers safe.

Yasmina, a young pregnant woman stolen from her remote village and now abandoned on Kabul's violent streets.

Isabel, a determined journalist with a secret that might keep her from the biggest story of her life.

Candace, a wealthy American who has finally left her husband for her Afghan lover, the enigmatic Wakil.

And Halajan, the sixty-year-old den mother, whose long-hidden love affair breaks all the rules.

As these five women discover there's more to one another than meets the eye, they form a unique bond that will for ever change their lives and the lives of many others.

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul aka A Cup of Friendship (2011) is an uplifting debut tale about sisterhood, survival, Afghan culture, empowerment and includes recipes.

About the author:  Deborah Rodriguez is a hairdresser, a motivational speaker, and the author of the bestselling memoir Kabul Beauty School:  An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil (2007) as wel as The House on Carnaval Street (2014) and Margarita Wednesdays:  Making a Life by the Mexican Sea (2014).  She spent five years teaching at and later directing the Kabul Beauty School, the first modern beauty academy and training salon in Afghanistan.  Rodriguez also owned the Oasis Salon and co-owned the Cabul Coffee House.  She is the founder of the non-profit organisation Oasis Rescue, which aims to teach women in post-conflict and disaster-stricken areas the art of hairdressing.  She currently lives in Mexico.

Rating:  5/5

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Prophet's Prey: My Seven-Year Investigation into Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints by Sam Brower

...but others there are, who, of necessity and by force, are driven to write history, because they are concerned in the facts, and so cannot excuse themselves from committing them to writing, for the advantage of posterity;  nay, there are not a few who are induced to draw their historical facts out of darkness into light, and to produce them for the benefit of the public, on account of the great importance of the facts themselves with which they have been concerned. - Titus Flavius Josephus (37 AD to 100 AD)

Hardback:  From the private investigator who cracked open the case that led to the arrest of Warren Jeffs, the maniacal and self-proclaimed prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) - polygamous and extremist offshoot of the traditional Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon LDS church) - comes the compelling, horrifying story of how a rogue sect used sex, money, and power disguised under a facade of religion to further criminal activities and a madman's vision.

The FLDS was founded when its forebears broke away from the mainstream Mormons more than a hundred years ago, after the latter officially renounced the practice of polygamy.

Despite considerable press coverage and many lengthy legal battles, the full story has remained largely untold.

Only one man can reveal the whole, astounding truth:  private investigator Sam Brower, who devoted years of his life to breaking open the secret practices of the FLDS and bringing Jeffs and his inner circle to justice.

"Although polygamy is illegal in all fifty states and more often than not leads to abuse in one form or another, it was not the focus of my investigation.  That focus was child abuse, and my job had taken on a dual purpose:  investigating civil grievances on behalf of my clients and alerting a complacent bureaucracy to the sickening and illegal activities...hidden in plain sight.  I couldn't believe that such a brutal cult could exist, virtually unnoticed, in the United States in the twenty-first century," wrote Brower.

In Prophet's Prey (2011), Brower implicates Jeffs in his own words, bringing to light the contents of Jeffs's personal priesthood journal, discovered in a hidden underground vault, and reveals to readers the shocking inside world of FLDS members whose trust he earned and who showed him the staggering truth of their lives.

Prophet's Prey offers the gripping, behind-the-scenes account of a bizarre world from the only man who knows the full story.

"Warren Jeffs is a tall, bony man with a bulging Adam's apple and a frightening sense of his own perfection in the eyes of God.  The self-proclaimed prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), has taken more than seventy women and girls as wives - one of whom was just a few weeks past her twelfth birthday when he commanded her to lie on a ceremonial bed in the sanctum of his massive Texas temple and brutally raped her.  He demands absolute, unquestioning obedience from his ten thousand followers.  He has sodomized children as young as five years old (including his own nephew, who wrote a book about it).  He has destroyed untold hundreds of lives."

"Jeffs conducted his reign of terror with impunity for three decades thanks to a pervasive, Mafia-like code of silence that he systematically instilled in the congregation.  Then, in the winter of 2004, a private investigator named Sam Brower began looking into the FLDS Church.  Shocked by what he uncovered, Brower concluded that Warren Jeffs needed to be put behind bars posthaste.  Thanks in large part to Brower's courageous efforts, in May 2006, Jeffs was placed on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted List," was arrested three months later, and on 25 September 2007, was convicted of two counts of rape as an accomplice.  On 20 November 2007, Jeffs was sentenced to imprisonment for ten years to life and began serving his sentence at the Utah State Prison.  The conviction, however, was overturned by the Utah Supreme Court on 27 July 2010, due to incorrect jury instructions."

"For the better part of five years, I watched with awe (and occasionally provided assistance) as Brower relentlessly tracked Jeffs down, earned the trust of the prophet's victims, and provided state and federal law enforcement agencies with crucial evidence.  A remarkable man on many levels Sam Brower is the real deal.  Readers are apt to find his firsthand account of bringing Warren Jeffs to justice both extremely disturbing and absolutely riveting." - Jon Krakauer, 2011, in the Preface.

In August 2011, Jeffs was extradited by Utah to Texas, where bigamy, sexual assault on a child or aggravated sexual assault of a child carry a life sentence.  It was a place Jeffs had been desperately trying to avoid.  He was found guilty of sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault of children in connection with a raid of the FLDS Church's YFZ Ranch in 2008.

After the jury had deliberated for less than thirty minutes, Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison plus twenty years, to be served consecutively, and a $10 000 fine for sexual assault of both twelve- and fifteen-year-old girls.

Jeffs is presently incarcerated at the Louis C Powledge Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice near Palestine, Texas.  He, Texas Department of Criminal Justice #01726705, will be eligible for parole on 22 July 2038.

About the author:  Raised in the Mormon Church (the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or LDS), private detective Sam Brower is the investigator who pushed forward the long and hard legal battles against the radical FLDS and Warren Jeffs.  He lives in Cedar City, Utah.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The Book of Margery Kempe translated by Barry Windeatt

The story of the eventful and controversial life of Margery Kempe - wife, mother, businesswoman, pilgrim and visionary - is the earliest surviving autobiography in English.

Here, Kempe (c1373-c1440) recounts in vivid, unembarrassed detail the madness that followed the birth of the first of her fourteen children, the failure of her brewery business, her dramatic call to the spiritual life, her visions and uncontrollable tears, the struggle to convert her husband to a vow of chastity and her pilgrimages to Europe and the Holy Land.

Margery Kempe could not read or write, and dictated her remarkable story late in life.

It remains an extraordinary record of human faith and a portrait of a medieval woman of unforgettable character, undeniable courage and unparalleled experience.

Margery Kempe, of well-to-do middle-class parentage in King's Lynn in Norfolk, was married at twenty, had a vision of Christ in her madness following her first childbirth, and, after early failures as a businesswoman, saw visions and felt herself called to a spiritual life.  At about the age of forty, when she had borne fourteen children, she persuaded her husband to join her in a mutual vow of chastity, and then embarked on an eventful life of pilgrimage in England, Europe and the Holy Land, visiting both great and humble religious figures of her day, ceaselessly seeking the counsel of mystics and recluses.

Always a controversial figure, her devotion characteristically expressed itself in loud weeping and cries, which often divided priests, congregations and fellow pilgrims into friends or enemies, and she was several times in danger of being burnt at the stake as a heretic.  Towards the end of her life, she dictated in an account of her travels and visions her spiritual autobiography, and the discovery of a unique fifteenth-century manuscript - which had long been in the possession of an old Catholic family, the Butler-Bowdons - in 1934 has restored to English literature the earliest autobiography in English.

About Barry Windeatt:  Barry Windeatt came to Emmanuel as a College Lecturer in English in 1978.  In the Faculty of English, he has been a University Assistant Lecturer and Lecturer (1983-95), Reader in Medieval Literature (1995-2001), and, from 2001, Professor of English.  In Emmanuel, he has been Director of Studies in English (1979-97) and a Tutor (1983-95).  At various times, he has also acted as Admissions Tutor in Arts, Tutor for Advanced Students, Financial Tutor, Librarian and Archivist.  He is Keeper of Rare Books and Special Collections in the College Library, and since 1990 he has curated the College's collection of portraits and paintings and is preparing a revised catalogue of them.

His translation of The Book of Margery Kempe (1985) makes the text accessible for the modern reader while remaining as close as possible to the original manuscript.  His introduction discusses Kempe's life, the composition of her Book and its striking, down-to-earth style.  The edition also includes notes, a chronology and further reading.