– Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult –

  This is the first Jodi Picoult novel I have read. It will not be the last, for I found it interesting, informative, and totally absorbing. Jodi Picoult has been prolific, writing over twenty novels during the past twenty years. Not flimsy bodice rippers, but real novels. Leaving Time required an extensive gathering of information to give a solid background of support to the characters. The story is set in both Africa and America, often in elephant sanctuary parks. Most people — myself included — do not know much about elephants apart from the obvious things. In this novel, there is a great deal about elephants; factual information, not so much about their physical attributes, but about their psychology; their grieving for dead calves, their memories of events, and their individual characters. Long before the end of the novel, you will come to be fascinated by the life and character of elephants. The basis of the novel is not about elephants, but about a 13-year-old girl’s search for her mother who abandoned her when she was a three-year-old child. The girl, Jenna, has decided that she will track down her mother, believing her to still be alive, and believing that… Continue reading

– Guantanamo, my journey by David Hicks –

This is an autobiographical book, written when David Hicks was 35 years old.  He was born in 1975, and grew up in Adelaide, Australia. After leaving school at 15 he began working on remote cattle stations. His experiences in the outback gave him the skills needed to take a job in Japan pre-training racehorses. He became friends with an Israeli adventurer who planted ideas of travel in his mind. Hicks decided he would ride a horse along the old Silk Road to China. But before he could start that adventure, while still in Japan, he began watching news items about Kosovo, where the Serbians were carrying out atrocities against the Moslem population. He became convinced that he must go and help the people of Kosovo. Hicks joined up with the Kosovo forces, who were supported by NATO, but before he got into actual combat, the war ended.   Back in Australia he applied to join the army, but was refused due to his limited education. About this time there was conflict in East Timor, Hicks felt ashamed that Australia was not defending the local population, once again he tried to join a group to defend the East Timorese, but the… Continue reading

– Born in a small town, died from success –

Peyton Place by Grace Metalious I have read a lot of lists of “best books” but so far I have not seen Peyton Place on any of them. Wait! Don’t hang up yet. There could be reasons that are not to do with the quality of the novel. Firstly, it was controversial for its day. When it was published in 1956, it sold 60,000 copies in the first ten days of its release (Wikipedia). It was the third biggest selling novel of 1956, considered a lurid shocker, dealing with incest, abortion, murder, and small-town hypocrisy. It has now sold over 12,000,000 copies. These associations meant it was not accepted by critics as serious literature, religious authorities were disgusted by the subject matter and their portrayal as hypocrites. Despite this it stayed on the best-seller lists for years, and sold millions of copies. But the novel’s unsavory reputation was far from finished. The following year it was released as a movie, not bad, quite acceptable for its time, but the story was reduced to events; the descriptive passages, the inner thoughts of the characters were not included. The movie presented itself as sexy shocker. In 1959 Grace Metalious published Return to… Continue reading

– A story of murder, with a part played by Edgar Allan Poe –

The Poet, Michael Connelly. Crime Fiction This is the story of a crime reporter Jack McEvoy, who is told his twin brother, an LA cop, has committed suicide: a bullet to the head while sitting in a parked car, the doors locked. On the inside of the foggy windscreen, written with a finger, is a quote from Edgar Allan Poe. His fellow police officers are convinced that it is suicide. His twin brother, Jack, doesn’t believe it. He begins his own investigation, and soon finds that there has been an extraordinary number of police suicides. As Jack follows up leads, acting the detective, he finds evidence that indicates a cop killer is behind the deaths. Usually there is a suicide note found with the body, the note is a quote from Edgar Allan Poe. The local police try to discourage Jack, they tell him to accept the facts, move on, since they are certain it was suicide and the case is closed. But as Jack McEvoy gathers evidence from different states, the FBI become involved when they discover there is a pattern to the suicide/ murders. Jack and the FBI are now on the trail of “The Poet” who is… Continue reading