Showing posts with the label New Books

Book review: Sycamore Row by John Grisham

In Luke 19, a rich man climbs a Sycamore tree to get a closer look at Jesus who is passing through the city of Jericho. Inspired to acts of justice after Jesus visits him for lunch, the man, Zaccheus, gives away much of his wealth to those he has previously robbed as a tax collector.

In John Grisham's latest legal thriller, Sycamore Row, a rich man climbs a Sycamore tree and hangs himself, and there ensues an almighty court battle over how he has divided his estate. I'll say no more about Zaccheus only that Grisham may well have been inspired by this very gospel story....

Sycamore Row is billed as a sequel to ATime To Kill, being set in the same small southern community of Clanton, Ford County, with same lawyer Jake Brigance in the pivotal legal role.

Those who have read A Time to Kill, or seen the movie, will at times find it hard to fit the smouldering performances of Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock, with the somewhat subdued and more nuanced characters Grisham depic…

Food is not all it seems says new book Rich Food Poor Food

Foods that might pass the low fat, low sodium test may actually use substitutes that are banned additives in some nations.

This is part of the message from new book Rich Food Poor Food: The Ultimate Grocery Purchasing System (GPS) and while it is written for the US market, its claims are relevant in other parts of the world, such as Australia, where similar products are sold.

The Washington Times reports the books claims that, 'An estimated 80 per cent of all packaged foods sold in America are actually so unhealthy and packed with chemical additives that they’re banned in much of the world.'

Fat-substitue Olestra, bromine and a food colouring made from petroleum are some of the food additives Rich Food Poor Food discusses.

So before you head back to the potato chip or frozen food aisle, check out Rich Food Poor Food by Dr Jayson Calton and Mira Calton.

The dance of faith and family explained in new book: How the West Really Lost God

Secularisation in western culture is due to the breakdown of the family, and not the intelligent strength of atheists or the spiritual apathy brought on by wealth.

So argues author Mary Eberstadt in her new book How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory on Secularization, published by Templeton Press, 268 pages.

Eberstadt attempts to dispel myths such as the idea that atheists are intellectually superior to dimwitted believers and argues that a growing secularisation is due to a less flourishing family life among people of faith.

Faith reinforces family life and family life reinforces family. When this cycle is broken, both decline.

She looks at the shattering of family life that occurred in 18th and 19th century Britain bringing a parallel decline in religious (until challenged by revival moments such as seen in the Methodists and Salvation Army).

A similar decline in family life, such as among American farmers this century, coincides with growing secularisation, for example.

And s…

Book review: The Childhood of Jesus by JM Coetzee

The Childhood of Jesus is a beautifully written book as you would expect from an author who has won the Nobel Prize for Literature and two Booker Prizes.

But did even JM Coetzee reach his limit in his daring attempt to write a book with such a searching title? Maybe, but then we have the age-old philosophical question, can the created express without limit the qualities of the Limitless? But to the book...

Is this a retelling of the hidden years of Jesus' childhood? Is the title more metaphor, allegory or descriptive? Are we learning about childhood, family, refugee, society, community or the psychosocial complexity of the individual? Are we seeing the plainness of a world without the divine spark or the goodness of a simple life?

To be honest, it is all and none of these and I'm not entirely sure if there is a single motivation or intention from the author. And perhaps that's the beauty of a great writer, they do not need to tell, but keep that secret to themselves.

If …

Malala Yousafzai's new book 'I am Malala'

'I hope this book will reach people around the world, so they realise how difficult it is for some children to get access to education. I want to tell my story, but it will also be the story of 61m children who can't get education. I want it to be part of the campaign to give every boy and girl the right to go to school. It is their basic right.'

The next episode in the amazing life of Malala Yousafzai is about to occur with the 15-year-old Pakistani girl reportedly signing a £2mbook deal with UK publisher Weidenfeld & Nicolson, part of Hatchette UK.

And this instantly recognisable event from her life is just one reason why the new book, to be known as I am Malala is destined to be a best-seller:
'In October last year, gunmen boarded a school bus and asked: "Which one of you is Malala? Speak up, otherwise I will shoot you all". When she was identified, a gunman shot her in the head and the bullet passed through her head, neck and embedded itself in her s…

James Dobson focuses on fictional future in new book Fatherless

Author of Dare to Discipline, Bringing up Boys and about 30 other titles has written his first fiction book, Fatherless, with co-author Kurt Bruner.

Released last month, Fatherless is a dystopia likened by the publisher, Faithwords (Hatchette) to 1984 and Brave New World.

Conservative US media personality, Glen Beck, likened the book to Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic that contributed to the start of the American Civil War and the end of slavery in that country.

While interviewing Dobson recently, Beck held up both Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Fatherless, and said, 'This, uh, many believe, is this. This will wake people up.'

Wake people up, in Dobson's words, to the 'redefining of life' through a growing normalisation of abortion, euthanasia and infanticide.

The book opens in 2041 with a 'volunteer' submitting to an ending of life or 'transition' for the good of family and country. It continues by exploring this future where the…

Move over Hungry Caterpillar, cover revealed of Eric Carle's new book Friends

The Very Hungry Caterpillar author Eric Carle will release his 68th book, Friends, later this year and The Huffington Post is reporting an exclusive look at the cover. 
Meanwhile, Eric Carle's colourful and sprightly blog continues to feature his current book, The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse, which is "an homage to the Expressionist painter Franz Marc. In WW11 Germany, my high school teacher Herr Krauss introduced me to abstract and Expressionist art during a time when works such as these had been banned. he so-called “degenerate art,” paintings of modern and expressionistic art my teacher showed me were unlike anything I had been exposed to before. And really this experience changed my life, though I didn't know it at the time."

Regarding the upcoming book, Friends, by the 83-year-old author, a Penguin media statement says it is about:
"...the love that binds people and the obstacles they will overcome in order to be together... Friends dates back to 1952…

Jan Austen's Pride and Predjudice meets Downton Abbey in Longbourn

'Jane Austen was my first experience of grown-up literature. But as I read and re-read her books, I began to become aware that if I’d been living at the time, I wouldn’t have got to go to the ball; I would have been stuck at home with the sewing. Just a few generations back, my family were in service. Aware of that English class thing, Pride and Prejudice begins to read a little differently.'

Author Jo Baker explains her motivation for writing Longbourn*, a novel  to be published later this year that tells Pride and Prejudice from the servants point of view, giving it a resonance with Downtown Abbey

'While Longbourn brings to life a different side of the world Austen first created, I was impressed even more by the way this novel stands as a transporting, fully realised work of fiction in its own right,' Diane Coglianese, an editor at publisher Alfred K Knopf, said in a statement.

Alfred A. Knopf is the flagship imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, which is…

Book review: Forged with Flames by Ann Fogarty and Anne Crawford

The opening chapter of Forged With Flames seems as timeless as our continent's contention with bushfire and as immediate as this summer's smoky ruins.

It doesn't matter that it tells the events of Ash Wednesday, 1983, because it could be happening to someone, somewhere - today.

I read this chapter in the midst of a busy day and at the end had to take a few moments to collect myself. Ann Fogarty, with the assistance of Anne Crawford, tells what happens when "a massive fireball" leaping ahead of a raging bushfire heads straight toward her and her children.

I could see an entire movie being made from this one chapter.

Perhaps it is the kind of telling only possible so many years later and that is true of much of the rest of the book which is intensely personal and would not be easy to write without the passing of time.

It is a well-written book that ensures not only the compelling action scenes, but also the ebb and flow of an entire life, are engaging and fulfillin…

New book about Hitler a bestseller in Germany

Er Ist Wieder Da (He's Back) - a comedy about Adolf Hitler returning to Berlin in the summer of 2011 - is topping bestseller lists but creating controversy in Germany and soon the world no doubt with translations coming in more than 15 languages.

Author Timur Vermes, defending his book against criticism that Germans too often absolve themselves by blaming Hitler for everything, says this is why he wrote the book.

"Often, we tell ourselves that if a new Hitler came along, it would be easy to stop him. I tried to show the opposite – that even today, Hitler might be successful. Just in a different way.”

"To present him as a monster is to call those who voted for him idiots. And that reassures us. We tell ourselves that today we are smarter. We would never elect a monster or a clown. But at the time, people where just as smart as us – this is what is so painful."

Many Germans, including book critics, are enjoying the humour of Er Ist Wieder Da.

"This book is so fun…

Author of The Shack writes the book he didn't need, Cross Roads

“I didn’t need a next book, I have everything that matters to me,” author of The Shack, William Paul Young, told Publisher's Weekly earlier this year.

But a much-anticipated new book is exactly what he has with the novel Cross Roads published worldwide this week (Faith Words - Hatchette Group, hardcover, 480 pages) although in Australia it is available as 304 page paperback.

Once again Young turns to fiction as spiritual metaphor and this time the main character is not working out his pain in a shack in the woods but reassessing his life while in a coma:

"Anthony Spencer is egotistical, proud of being a self-made business success at the peak of his game, even though the cost of winning was painfully high. A cerebral hemorrhage leaves Tony comatose in a hospital ICU. He 'awakens' to find himself in a surreal world, a 'living' landscape that mirrors dimensions of his earthly life, from the beautiful to the corrupt. It is here that he has vivid interactions with…

Book review: The Inca Curse by Christopher Ride

I first saw The Inca Curse advertised on a Sydney bus, competing for space there with Val McDermid's The Vanishing Point. It seems those of use often confined to city traffic gridlock are seen as susceptible to suspense and intrigue.

And there is plenty of that in author Christopher Ride's latest thriller, the third in his successful Overseer series.

Having lived in Peru, Ride moves confidently through its landscape, history and culture - providing a mountainous backdrop for a supernatural thriller with time travel, demonic power, crucifixion, omens and Amazons.

The Golden Cube of the Sun God has been stolen from its hiding place in Machu Picchu and its embedded evil has taken over the most powerful religious figure in South America. It is unleashing horror and interferes with Overseer's seemingly simple task of aiding the discovery of the lost Inca city.

Genetically modified as a kind of super human, overseer Wilson Dowling carries our hopes for vanquished evil on his re…

Mal Fletcher's new book to be launched in November

This morning Mal Fletcher tweeted:
"Just saw draft ideas for cover of my new #book, launch late November. Very impressive! Editing now in progress. #author" It sounds like a fast-turnaround, but then Mal Fletcher is a man with a firm grip on the future.

A futurist and social commentator with a background as a Christian pastor, Fletcher moved from Australia to Europe in 1994 to found Next Wave International, a communications group which helps European community organisations and charities to deal with future change.
Based first in Copenhagen then London, he also launched the Euro Youth Events network, hosting ongoing, alcohol-free concerts in eight major European capitals.
Fletcher also founded the Strategic Leadership Consultation, an annual summit for European community and church leaders from 20 nations. The summit focuses on engaging the future of society in a proactive way.
In 2008, he launched 2020Plus to assist companies and media groups as they prepare for change durin…

Cread Storifies The Casual Vacancy on Twitter

[] Twitter reviews The Casual Vacancy JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy released last month was one of the most awaited novels of recent time. But what is the world's verdict on the adult novel from the author of Harry Potter? Rather than read 10 million reviews, let's keep comments to about... say... 140 characters? Storified by Cread · Thu, Oct 18 2012 04:50:32 J.K. ROWLING " The Casual Vacancy "← o bruxinhoo Rather enjoyed The Casual Vacancy, in a gentle, guilty way. Like Joanna Trollope crossed with Jonathan CoeJustine Jordan That's one for TCV. I just finished reading The Casual Vacancy. I feel so empty now but at the same time I need a new book to read #bookwormproblemsMaryah Not sure if that's for or against. I bought The Casual Vacancy :) And I'm liking it so far...JessicaCamicaWood ϟ That's another for... so far. the casual vacancy is one of the most boring books i've ever read. struggling to pick it up …

From the margins to a new book riding the Groundswell of support

“We felt marginalised by the surfing community because we were Christians and marginalised from the church community because we were surfers.”Groundswell is the new book telling the history of Christian Surfers from its launch in southern-Sydney beachside suburb of Cronulla in 1977 through to today when it is an international movement involving thousands of surfers in more than 30 nations.

And Groundswell is a fitting title for a book that has used the crowd-sourcing website Kickstart to secure $20,000 funding to ensure the books publication. More than 170 backers raised $23,564 to send the book to the printers in time for its launch at Cronulla Rydges on October 19 at 8pm. There'll be other launches around the nation with the international launch in Hawaii at the Christian Surfers international conference on November 8.

The book is written and compiled by Christian Surfers founder Brett Davis who said during the Kickstart campaign: "We’re seeking to release Groundswell as …

Book review: The Vanishing Point by Val McDermid

The Vanishing Point by Val McDermid is described as her “most accomplished standalone novel to date” and for me it is the first McDermid novel I’ve reviewed.

There are some fine moments in this suspense novel and it is original in its array of well-developed characters which include a reality television star, ghost writer, FBI agent, Scotland Yard officer and Romanian nanny, to name a few.

And it only took a few pages in the first chapter for the action and suspense to begin. Stephanie is asked to go to a special area of airport security because the metal rods and bolts in her leg have set off the metal detector.

Jimmy, who Stephanie is travelling with, presumably her son, waits nearby while she goes through the additional clearance process. While she watches, a man comes alongside the boy, speaks to him and they walk away together. She screams and attempts to chase them but the overzealous airport security officers think she’s a terrorist and eventually taser her while the man and b…

Book review wrap-up from NZ, India and Japan

Let's check out the books being reviewed by our neighbours around the Asia Pacific region through some of the leading national newspapers - there are a few surprises and hidden treasures.

Starting with our Kiwi friends at The New Zealand Herald, The Girl Below by Bianca Zander was reviewed by Paula Green, herself an Auckland poet and children's author. "The central character, Suki Piper, returns to London after a decade in Auckland and for many reasons she occupies a world out-of-kilter." Paula loved the aptly named debut novel saying, “You might think there is a high risk of superficial stereotypes at work here (a cranky stepmother, a selfish father, a distant mother, spiteful friends). Far from it.”

Zoo Time by Howard Jacobson was reviewed by John Gardner, also of The New Zealand Herald, who is pleased with the entertainment value of the cast of characters in this story of a novelist surrounded by the collapse of the literary world. “Ableman's (protagonist) min…

JK Rowling's new book for adults is no Harry Potter

JK Rowling's new novel is the most pre-ordered book of 2012, and it's no Harry Potter either. (Click image to order yours.)

A Casual Vacancy is a book for adults and its content is real world not fantasy. Set in the rural English town of Pagford, it's a novel about the death of a man named Barry, a parish council election with class-warfare, addiction and teen sexuality.

Writer Ian Parker has read A Casual Vacancy, and has written about it in The New Yorker. He made a point of the fact that it's for adults, quoting this: “leathery skin of her upper cleavage radiated little cracks that no longer vanished when decompressed” and "...with an ache in his heart and in his balls".

While these quotes demonstrate the change from writing for children to writing for adults, in some ways the writing – according to Parker – hasn't changed so much.

“...but whereas Rowling’s shepherding of readers was, in the Harry Potter series, an essential asset, in The Casual Vacanc…

New book tells the story of the man who invented Vegemite

Vegemite is an Australian cultural icon, and soon a book about the invention of this salty, black paste will be available.

The Man Who Invented Vegemite documents the life of Cyril Callister, scientist and director of Fred Walker & Co. Cyril invented the spread during the early 1920s as an alternative to the British Marmite, the import of which was disrupted due to World War I.

Jamie Callister – Cyril's grandson – wrote the book. A former advertising executive and builder, Jamie decided to put pen to paper in this his first book after reading through some of his grandfather's letters and documents. He believes his grandfather deserves “to be remembered as a significant and remarkable Australian.”

Cyril had an ''an unshakeable belief in Vegemite, that it was good, and he persevered''. While invented as mentioned in the 1920s, Vegemite did not become the legendary icon it is today until the late 30s. Off the back of profits made from Fred Walker & Co's…

New book: Black Caviar The Horse of a Lifetime

Black Caviar is undefeated from 22 races throughout her career, attaining legend status with a race success record not equalled in over 150 years.

A new "authorised" book, Black Caviar: The Horse of  Lifetime, document the career of this thoroughbred racehorse come Australian icon and will be available from October 1 (hardcover, 400 pages, ABC Books).

Written by journalist and broadcaster Gerard Whateley, Black Caviar begins with the story of trainer Peter Moody of remote outback Queensland, who eventually came to select and guide Black Caviar to dominance. The book's foreword is written by Peter Moody himself.

Black Caviar follows the superstar horse's career through to her victory on one of the most famous race tracks of all.

But as for her future, the Black Caviar website reports Peter Moody as saying this week that, "Everything is very positive at this point in time. I'll chat with the owners on Saturday or Sunday week." (Click cover image to purch…