A review of The Lost Girls by Wendy James

Though solving the crime does certainly drive the narrative pace in The Lost Girls, this book is a rich, dense novel, that goes so much deeper than whodunit. As is almost always the case with Wendy James, her blockbuster, airport styled covers belie the fact that this is as much literary fiction as it is a crime novel, driven, above all, by character development and exquisite writing.

On Robert Redford’s Biography and Film Work (& Other Books on Culture)

Appearance or truth? Both? Form and spirit. There has been a tension in our appreciation for Robert Redford, a dedicated actor and filmmaker who also happens to be an image of masculine beauty. Redford, as a young man of impulse and integrity, and not a little rebellion, was interested in adventurous exploration, whether involving art, travel, or relationships. Everything considered, he was a lot less selfish and shallow than most of us would be. That may be part of why he has become such an intriguing and respectable elder statesman.

A review of The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Kidd’s extensive historical research does much more than provide a backdrop to the story. The period details further the plot. For instance, the Grimke family acquires a state-of-the-art copper bathing tub on wheels, an innovation which allows a lying-down bath, and can be drained rather than dumped or bailed. When Sarah discovers Handful emerging from this tub in her room she feels, at first, that her privacy has been invaded. Then she realizes that “Handful had immersed herself in forbidden privileges, yes, but mostly in the belief that she was worthy of these privileges.

A review of Hand In Glove by Paddy Bostock

Hand in Glove is a different type of mystery that will make you wonder whether a comedy team such as Abbot and Costello wrote the script, acted it out in order to elicit the laughs readers will get when reading this book. The characters are quite different and yet all they want to do is solve the case but not before some other wild and zany things happen.

A review of The Man Who Couldn’t Stop—OCD, and the true story of a life lost in thought by David Adam

In The Man Who Couldn’t Stop, David Adam provides a compelling history of mental dysfunction, its various treatments and cites numerous cases of the miraculous and downright bizarre. But far more than being a book filled with facts and figures, this is a story about Adam’s own battle with OCD, which began early in his childhood. No one understands the effect OCD has on a life quite like a sufferer, and it’s this unique insight that sets this book apart from others of its ilk.

A review of Griffith REVIEW 43: Pacific Highways

There is so much diversity in the work presented – some of it written from the point of view of the migrant or even observer. The vantage point changes. The two editors, Julianne Schultz and Lloyd Jones open the book by orienting the reader, providing a kind of guide to modern New Zealand – from the indigenous history to the transition to the current polyglot nation “where all children learn Maori in school” and Auckland is one of the “most cosmopolitan cities in Australasia, boasting 160 ethnicities…” Roberto Onell takes a Chilean perspective, looking eye-to-eye across the Pacific Ocean to his neighbour 9,700 kms away. His essay, “To a neighbour I am getting to know” is translated, as are a number of the pieces in the books, also reflecting the polyglot nature of New Zealand. Following Onell’s essay is Li Po’s poem, translated from Chinese by New Zealand poet Ya-Wen Ho.

A review of And there was Light by Jacques Lusseyran

Some books should not be read with other books. Or the other book will not compare favorably. Some books remind the reader of why books are read in the first place – because they open the eyes and heart to new worlds that the reader had never dreamed of. Some books remove the cap from our head, and open the top of our skulls. And There was Light is such a book — at least in the first section. But for some, it might be the second section. It depends.

A review of The Upright Ape: A New Origin of the Species by Dr. Aaron G. Filler

Dr. Filler proposes a fascinating new hypothesis about the evolutionary development of apes and humans. He is well qualified on this subject. He has degrees in anthropology and in medicine and is both a respected anthropologist and a world famous neurosurgeon specializing in spinal disorders. An anthropologist friend asked his opinion about a twenty-two million year old fossil that eventually became the inspiration for The Upright Ape. Filler easily recognized the fossil as the mid lumbar vertebrae from an ape-like animal that stood upright, and the fossil dates from a time fifteen million years earlier than any paleontologist would claim an upright posture for a hominoid.