Saturday, 18 November 2017
Friday, 17 November 2017
Paperback: Called "a book of the century", powerful, gripping, deeply moving, hauntingly beautiful, masterfully done, a must read and a freight train page turner, Fatherless (2013, Third Edition) is an intensely human tour of the great spiritual battles in the US Catholic church during the late 20th century.
Brian Gail takes us out into the "trenches" and shows what life was like for Catholics, good and bad, during this critical time. This book is a great opportunity for Catholics to take hold of who they really are.
Meticulously researched, brilliantly crafted, Fatherless takes the reader on an unforgettable journey inside Fortune 500 boardrooms and Madison Avenue screening rooms, behind one-way mirrors in America's heartland and two-way screens in church confessionals, to the very peak of Ireland's highest mountain and inside the papal dining room of John Paul II in Rome.
It is the searing journey to the centre of conscience, however, that marks Fatherless as the signature Catholic novel of its generation. In its pages we meet flesh and blood characters - noble and flawed, driven and seeking; each struggling to achieve the American Dream but discovering instead a uniquely American nightmare.
How each confronts the reality of ethical and moral dilemmas - while struggling to balance faith, family, and career - goes to the very heart of the Catholic experience in America in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
This is a tale you will never forget.
About the author: Brian J. Gail was a schoolboy baseball phenomenon recruited by Division One universities and scouted by Major League baseball teams; he suffered a disabling shoulder injury early in his college career and was sent to the Philadelphia Phillies team doctor whose efforts to help him regain his exceptional pitching velocity were unsuccessful.
Fueled by a white hot competitive fire and magnetic rhetorical gifts, he rocketed to the top of the Madison Avenue advertising world in his mid-30s only to see his career derailed by a great moral business dilemma and a direct challenge to his Catholic faith. A gifted entrepreneur and CEO, he provided strategic marketing counsel to elite Fortune 500 corporations and directed a variety of non-profit boards focused on assisting the underprivileged in Philadelphia.
Today, Brian J Gail is a critically acclaimed author, a Knight of the Immaculate, a co-founder of three catholic classical academies, a patent holder, and a highly sought after speaker on matters of faith and family. Brian’s remarkable novel Fatherless is published by Emmaus Road Publishing and has become a powerful tool for catechesis.
Brian married his high school sweetheart, Joan Mary Kain, 40 years ago and they were blessed with seven children including two sets of identical twins and one set of “Irish twins.” Brian has touched many lives with his optimism, humour, and unwavering Faith in Our Lady and the truths of the Catholic Church. He and his lovely wife, Joan, divide their time between homes in Villanova, Pennsylvania and Jupiter Island, Florida.
Wednesday, 15 November 2017
Tuesday, 14 November 2017
Friday, 10 November 2017
Thursday, 9 November 2017
Paperback: Kevin Kwan, best-selling author of Crazy Rich Asians (2013) and China Rich Girlfriend (2015), is back with an uproarious new novel of a family riven by fortune, an ex-wife driven psychotic with jealousy, a battle royal fought through couture gown sabotage, and the heir to one of Asia's greatest fortunes locked out of his inheritance.
When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside - but he is not alone. The entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe to stake claim on their matriarch's massive fortune. With each family member vying to inherit Tyersall Park - a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore - Nicholas' childhood home turns into a hotbed of speculation and sabotage.
As her relatives fight over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart, Charlie Wu, but tormented by her ex-husband - a man hell-bent on destroying Astrid's reputation and relationship.
Meanwhile, Kitty Pong, married to China's second richest man, billionaire Jack Bing, still feels second best next to her new stepdaughter, famous fashionista Colette Bing.
In this sweeping tale that takes us from the elegantly appointed mansions of Manila to the secluded private islands in the Sulu Sea, Kevin Kwan hilariously reveals the long-buried secrets of Asia's most privileged families and their rich people problems in his third and latest book in the Rich trilogy, Rich People's Problems (2017).
About the author: Kevin Kwan was born and raised in Singapore, where he attended Anglo-Chinese School in the mornings and spent his afternoons either hiding from his Chinese tutor or chasing after neighbourhood dogs on his bike. When he was eleven, he moved to the United States, where the next few years were a blur of trying to survive high school, reading too much F Scott Fitzgerald and Joan Didion, and dreaming of living in New York.
After obtaining his first degree in creative writing from the University of Houston, Kevin moved to Manhattan to pursue a BFA at Parsons School of Design. Kevin's early years in the city were spent working for Martha Stewart Living, Andy Warhol's Interview magazine, and M&Co, the legendary design firm founded by Tibor Kalman.
In 2000, Kevin established his own creative studio, where he specialized in producing high profile visual projects for clients such as the New York Times, the Museum of Modern Art, Rockwell Group, and TED.com. Many unforgettable experiences followed, like creating the ultimate publishing tribute to Oprah Winfrey's groundbreaking television show, handling Elizabeth Taylor's fabled jewel collection while producing Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry, and serving as the visual consultant for the re-launch of the TED website, which exceeded a billion views in November 2012.
Throughout all this, Kevin always remained passionate about books. As he became sought after as a visual consultant by acclaimed authors like Michael Korda, Gore Vidal, and Larry McMurtry, Kevin was inspired to return to his first love - writing. His critically-acclaimed debut novel Crazy Rich Asians became an international bestseller in 2013 and is now being made into a major motion picture by director Jon M Chu and Warner Brothers Studios. Its sequel China Rich Girlfriend also became a smash hit around the world, and the final book in the trilogy, Rich People Problems, was released in May 2017.
Kevin still resides in Manhattan, eats too much pasta, and these days dreams of living in Italy.
Friday, 3 November 2017
Hardback: In the early 1900s, coal miners burdened with heavy picks, shovels, and candles for their headlamps, carted canaries into the bowels of the earth with them. The small bird's internal organs were highly sensitive to the lethal gases the mining operations could disturb: methane, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide. If a canary fell from its perch, the miners knew they had scant minutes to get out of the mine before being overcome as well, or having a flame ignite a thunderous explosion. So valued and respected were these tiny creatures that the miners brought glass cages with air tanks to revive them and carried them to safety. The term cyanide canary became a common expression. While the beloved birds have since given way to technology, the coal miners' compassion was strictly a human quality, neither improved upon nor necessarily shared by all men.
The Cyanide Canary (2004) is the riveting true story of a horrific crime - of a brave young man left for dead, an unscrupulous business mogul, and the relentless EPA investigator who fought to overcome injustice.
On a crisp summer morning in Soda Springs, Idaho, twenty-year-old Scott Dominguez kissed his fiancée goodbye and went to work for Allan Elias, the owner of Evergreen Resources, an enterprise Dominguez thought was in the business of producing fertilizer from mining waste. A former high school wrestler blessed with Tom Cruise-like good looks, Dominguez seemed to have unlimited potential, but by eleven o'clock that morning he was fighting for his life, pulled unconscious from a cyanide-laced storage tank and not expected to live through the night.
In Seattle, Special Agent Joseph Hilldorfer of the Environmental Protection Agency was given the job of finding out what happened to Dominguez and why.
Initially, Hilldorfer did not want the case, still frustrated by an intense two-year investigation that concluded with corporate polluters walking out of a federal courthouse free. But as he learned more, Hilldorfer, the son of a Pittsburgh cop with a blue-collar work ethic, was touched by Scott's suffering and outraged at Elias's callous disregard for his employees' well-being.
Hilldorfer and his partner, Special Agent Bob Wojnicz, joined forces with seasoned Boise Assistant US Attorney George Breitsameter and an indefatigable, brilliant young attorney from the Department of Justice's Environmental Crimes Section named David Uhlmann. Together they would uncover the horrifying truths and build the criminal case against Elias.
A former New York whiz kid and Arizona real estate and business mogul, Elias owned businesses that had polluted Idaho with hazardous waste for nearly a decade. Yet Elias never spent a single day in jail, openly boasted of beating the environmental quality regulations, and avoided any significant fines.
Would this case by any different?
Hilldorfer, Uhlmann, and the government trial team embarked on an epic courtroom battle that would stretch them to the limits. What began as a struggle for justice for one young man became a fight by the EPA for its very ability to enforce the nation's environmental laws and to bring environmental polluters to justice. In the balance was whether Allan Elias would ever spend a day in jail.
Gripping, powerful, and compulsively readable, The Cyanide Canary is a major achievement in the classic tradition of A Civil Action, a book that unfolds like fiction yet is alarmingly true.
About the authors: Joseph Hilldorfer is a Special Agent for the Environmental Protection Agency and a member of the National Counter-Terrorism Evidence Response Team. He has been involved in high-profile environmental investigations in the Pacific Northwest since 1992. Prior to joining EPA, Hilldorfer was a distinguished Special Agent with the FBI in Seattle and New York City, working high-profile cases such as the Green River Killer and going undercover for the Counter-Espionage Squad. With an MA in Criminal Justice Administration from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, he is admitted to the Pennsylvania bar. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
Robert Dugoni has practised as a civil litigator in San Francisco and Seattle for seventeen years. In 1999, he left the full-time practice of law to write, and is a two-time winner of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with a degree in journalism and worked as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times before obtaining his doctorate of jurisprudence from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. He lives with his wife and two children in the Pacific Northwest.
Thursday, 2 November 2017
Paperback: It is precisely at that moment that it first dawns on me that I am a woman caught in a finely interwoven pattern of feelings and time, that there are many things going on simultaneously that have a significance to my life, that events don't just simply occur in a linear sequence, but on several plains of thought, dreams and feelings at the same time, that there is a moment at the heart of every moment. It is only much later that a thread through the turmoil that has occurred will emerge.
After a day of being dumped - twice - and accidentally killing a goose, a young woman yearns for a tropical vacation far from the chaos of her life.
Instead, her plans are wrecked by her best friend's four-year-old deaf-mute son, thrust into her reluctant care. But when the boy chooses the winning numbers for a lottery ticket, the two of them set off on a road trip across Iceland with a glove compartment stuffed full of their jackpot earnings.
Along the way, they encounter black sand beaches, cucumber farms, lava fields, flocks of sheep, an Estonian choir, a falconer, a hitchhiker, and both of her exes desperate for another chance.
What begins as a spontaneous adventure will unexpectedly and profoundly change the way she views her past and charts her future.
Butterflies in November (2013) is a blackly comic, uniquely moving, charming, extraordinary, uplifting and hilarious tale of friends and lovers, motherhood, self-discovery and the legacy of life's mistakes.
Butterflies in November is translated from the Icelandic by Brian FitzGibbon.
About the author: Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir was born in Reykjavík, Iceland, in 1958. She studied art history and art theory in Paris and is a lecturer in history of art at the University of Iceland and a director of the University of Iceland Art Collection. The Greenhouse, published in 2007 won the DV Culture Award for literature and a women's literary prize in Iceland, was nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Award and received unanimous acclaim. Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir lives and works in Reykjavik.
Wednesday, 1 November 2017
Hardback: 'Who am I? Who are we?'
Most politicians write autobiographies to 'set the record straight' and provide retrospective justification for their careers. That is not the case with this book. 'It occurred to me that to track down myself would enable me to discuss an issue that had begun to intrigue me, namely the relationship between politics and identity, the things that had shaped me and whether and how they had come to reflect my life and opinions.
As I wrote, the question of identity moved from the wings to centre stage, and roiled politics and nations on both sides of the Atlantic.'
Chris Patten's career has taken him from the outer London suburbs to the House of Commons, a seat in the Cabinet, last Governor of Hong Kong, Chairman of the BBC and Chancellor of Oxford University. About all of these he is enlightening and entertaining. He has unexpected and telling things to say about each of the three Prime Ministers for whom he worked - Edward Heath, Margaret Thatcher and John Major.
But his political heroes - Baldwin, Macmillan, Butler - came from an earlier time: he is proud to be 'wet', and reckons all his paladins were pretty damp themselves. Then, unusually, Patten uses each phase of his life as a spur to reflect upon its contemporary situation - education, America, conservatism, Ireland, China, Europe and finally the question of links between violence and religion. Unlike one No 10 press secretary, Patten definitely 'does God'.
At the end, the reader has an impression of someone who knows himself as well as any of us can, and who continues to think, passionately and intelligently, about the world around him. Wise, funny and opinionated, First Confession (2017) is a different sort of memoir, a meditation on personal and political identity which, in an age of simplification, reminds us of the complexities of both.
About the author: Chris Patten is currently Chancellor of Oxford University. As a British MP (1979-92) he served as Minister for Overseas Development, Secretary of State for the Environment and Chairman of the Conservative Party, being described afterwards as 'the best Tory Prime Minister we never had' (Observer). He is well known for being the last Governor of Hong Kong (1992-7), about which he wrote in East and West (1998). Both that and his most recent book, Not Quite the Diplomat: Home Truths about World Affairs (2005), were No 1 international bestsellers. In 2008, he wrote What Next? Surviving the Twenty-First Century. He was made a Companion of Honour in 1998 and a life peer in 2005.
Sunday, 29 October 2017
Paperback: Rory Buchanan has it all: looks, talent, charisma - an all around good-guy, he is the centre of every party and a loving father and husband. Then one summer's afternoon, tragedy strikes and those who are closest to him struggle to come to terms with their loss. Friendships are strained, marriages falter and loyalties are tested in a gripping and brilliantly crafted novel of loss, grief and desire.
Told from the points of view of nine of the people who are mourning Rory, this riveting novel presents a vivid snapshot of contemporary suburban Australia and how we live now. Marriage, friendship, family - all are dissected with great psychological insight as they start to unravel under the pressure of grief. The characters live on the page; their lives are unfolded and their dilemmas are as real as our own.
Last Summer (2011) is a stunning novel about loss - the terrible pain of losing a husband, brother or friend but also all those smaller losses that everyone must face: the loss of youth, the shattering of dreams, the fading of convictions and the change in our notions of who we thought we were.
It is also about what comes after the loss: how we pick up the pieces and the way we remake our lives.
About the author: Kylie Ladd is a novelist and freelance writer. Her essays and articles have appeared in The Age, Griffith Review, O Magazine, The Sydney Morning Herald, Good Medicine, Kill Your Darlings, The Hoopla and MamaMia, among others. Kylie's first novel, After the Fall, was published in Australia, the US and Turkey, while her second, Last Summer, was highly commended in the 2011 Federation of Australian Writers Christina Stead Award for fiction.
Her previous books are Naked: Confessions of Adultery and Infidelity and Living with Alzheimer's and Other Dementias. Kylie’s third novel, Into My Arms, has been selected as one of Get Reading’s Fifty Books You Can’t Put Down for 2013.
She holds a PhD in neuropsychology, and lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband and two children.
Saturday, 28 October 2017
Friday, 27 October 2017
Paperback: All trials are trials for one's life, just as all sentences are sentences of death. - De Profundis, Oscar Wilde
The last time Tess de Vere saw William Benson, she was a law student on work experience. He was a 21-year-old, led from the dock of the Old Bailey to begin a life sentence for murder.
He had said he was innocent.
She had believed him.
Sixteen years later, Tess overhears a couple of hacks mocking a newcomer to the London Bar, a no-hoper with a murder conviction, running his own show from an old fishmonger's in Spitalfields. That night she walks back into Benson's life. The price of his rehabilitation - and access to the bar - is an admission of guilt to the killing of Paul Harbeton, whose family have vowed revenge.
He is an outcast. The government wants to shut him down, and no solicitor will instruct him. But he is subsidised by a mystery benefactor, and a desperate woman has turned to him for help: Sarah Collingstone, mother of a child with special needs, accused of slaying her wealthy lover. It is a hopeless case, and the murder trial, Benson's first, starts in four days. The evidence is overwhelming, but, like Benson long ago, she swears she is innocent.
Tess joins the defence team, determined to help Benson survive. But as Benson follows the twists and turns in the courtroom, Tess embarks upon a secret investigation of her own, determined to uncover the truth behind the death of Paul Harbeton on a lonely night in Soho.
True to life, fast-paced and absolutely compelling, Summary Justice (2017) introduces a new series of courtroom dramas featuring two maverick lawyers driven to fight injustice at any cost and is a much welcome recital to modern courtroom thrillers in the UK as there has been a dearth in this field for a long time.
Blind Defence, the second book in the Benson and De Vere Series set in London, will be released in April 2018.
About the author: John Fairfax is the pen name of William Brodrick who practised as a barrister before becoming a full-time novelist. Under his own name, he is a previous winner of the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger Award and his first novel was a Richard and Judy Book Club Selection.
Sunday, 22 October 2017
Hardback: The No 1 New York Times best-selling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream - and the price required to make it come true.
A town this small cannot afford to take sides.
But when the worst happens, whose side would you take?
People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town.
And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semifinals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semifinal match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made, and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.
The Scandal (2017) - published in the USA as Beartown - explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain.
The Scandal is translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith.
About the author: Fredrik Backman is a Swedish blogger, columnist and the No 1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove (soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. His books are published in more than forty countries. The Scandal is being adapted for TV by the team behind The Bridge. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.
Saturday, 21 October 2017
Friday, 20 October 2017
Hardback: Thomas Keneally pulls no punches in this powerful novel about the Catholic Church's attempts to cover up cases of child abuse, and a priest who decides to help its innocent victims' fight to be heard.
Father Frank Docherty has known temptation. As a young priest, he came close to breaking his vows for a married woman, just before being expelled from the archdiocese of Sydney for his outspoken views on the Vietnam War.
Now, after years spent in Canada as a monk and psychologist, he returns home to speak at a conference about paedophilia within the Catholic Church. He had hoped to spend time with his mother and old friends. But from the moment he arrives, he gets caught up in the issue first-hand: his taxi driver turns out to be a former nun, boiling with anger at being abused by a priest in her childhood.
Then another case emerges; a man Docherty last saw when he was a small boy. And the eminent cleric accused in both cases is the brother of the woman he once fell for, who remains a dear friend. If Docherty follows his conscience and pursues the truth, the consequences could be devastating for many.
In this searing, compelling novel, Thomas Keneally draws on his own experience as an ex-seminarian to bring alive matters of faith, celibacy, perversion, conscience and marriage. Portraying the Catholic Church at a pivotal moment, he shows that its prevarications and cover-ups wreaked terrible damage not only on innocents but on itself, with toxic repercussions to this day.
Crimes of the Father (2016) is an excellent example of fiction's capacity to pull apart and explore polarising contemporary problems and gives an honest understanding of a deeply wounded culture.
About the author: Tom Keneally won the Booker Prize in 1982 with Schindler's Ark, later made into the Steven Spielberg Academy Award-winning film Schindler's List. His non-fiction includes the memoir Searching For Schindler and Three Famines, an LA Times Book of the Year, and the histories The Commonwealth Of Thieves, The Great Shame and American Scoundrel. His fiction includes Shame and the Captives, The Daughters Of Mars, The Widow And Her Hero (shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Award), An Angel In Australia and Bettany's Book. His novels The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Gossip from the Forest, and Confederates were all shortlisted for the Booker Prize, while Bring Larks and Heroes and Three Cheers For The Paraclete won the Miles Franklin Award. The People's Train was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award and shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize, South East Asia division.
Sunday, 15 October 2017
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 exorcismsas 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.
Saturday, 14 October 2017
Friday, 13 October 2017
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 www.tessgerritsen.com