Books in the News: 2-3 January 2016

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This week's Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum,features some great reads you might like to try- all available from the Library. 

Even dogs in the wild by Ian Rankin
"Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke is investigating the death of a senior lawyer during a robbery. The case becomes more complex when a note is discovered, indicating that this may have been no random attack. When local gangster Big Ger Cafferty receives an identical message, Clarke decides that the recently retired John Rebus may be able to help. Together the two old adversaries might just stand a chance of saving Cafferty's skin. But a notorious family tailed by a team of undercover detectives has also arrived in Edinburgh. There's something they want, and they'll stop at nothing to get it. As the cases collide, it's a game of dog eat dog--in the city as in the wild"
Golden Age by Jane Smiley
From the Pulitzer Prize-winner: the much-anticipated final volume of her magnificent, best-selling American trilogy, which brings the beloved Langdon family into our present times and beyond. A lot can happen in 100 years, as Jane Smiley has shown to dazzling effect in her astonishing, critically acclaimed Last Hundred Years Trilogy. When Golden Age, its last installment, opens in 1987, the next generation of the Langdon family is facing economic, social, cultural, and political challenges unlike anything their ancestors had encountered before. Richie and Michael, the rivalrous twin sons of Frank, the golden son and World War II hero, have grown into men, and the wild antics of their youth slide seamlessly into a wilder adulthood in finance on Wall Street and in government in Washington, D.C. Charlie, the mysterious young man we met in Early Warning who was revealed to be an unknown son of the Langdon clan, adds light and joy to the family, but gets caught up in the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks. Meanwhile, back on the family's Iowa homestead, the rich soil, tilled since 1920 when patriarch Walter planted his corn and oats, has been eroded by decades of continuous farming and now is threatened by climate change. Throughout the three decades that this novel comprises, with Smiley gazing into her crystal ball toward 2019 at its conclusion, we see how the Langdon children we've come to know and love--Frank, Joe, Lillian, Henry, and Claire--make room as adults for their own children and grandchildren as they face an uncertain future.

American Blood by Ben Sanders
After a botched undercover operation, ex-NYPD officer Marshall Grade is living in witness protection in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Marshall's instructions are to keep a low profile: the mob wants him dead, and a contract killer known as the Dallas Man has been hired to track him down. Racked with guilt over wrongs committed during his undercover work, and seeking atonement, Marshall investigates the disappearance of a local woman named Alyce Ray.Members of a drug ring seem to hold clues to Ray's whereabouts, but hunting traffickers is no quiet task. Word of Marshall's efforts spreads, and soon the worst elements of his former life, including the Dallas Man, are coming for him.
Gratitude by Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks died in August 2015 at his home in Greenwich Village, surrounded by his close friends and family. He was 82. He spent his final days doing what he loved: playing the piano, swimming, enjoying smoked salmon – and writing. As Dr Sacks looked back over his long, adventurous life his final thoughts were of gratitude. In a series of remarkable, beautifully written and uplifting meditations, Dr Sacks reflects on and gives thanks for a life well lived, and expresses his thoughts on growing old, facing terminal cancer and reaching the end.                                                                                I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and travelled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.

 The Changi Book edited by Lachlan Grant
In the tradition of The Anzac Book comes this fascinating collection of accounts of life inside th
e notorious Shangi prison camp. The camp is synonymous with suffering and hardship, and the Australian prisoner of-war experience in the Second World War. But the Changi story is also one of ingenuity, resourcefulness and survival. With cartoons, paintings, essays and photographs from POWs, The Changi Book provides a unique view of life in the camp: Medical innovation Machinery and tools made from spare parts and scrap Black markets Sports and gambling Entertainment A library and university Seventy years after its planned publication, material for The Changi Book was rediscovered in the Australian War Memorial archives and appears here for the first time along with insights from the Memorial's experts.

Australia's second chance by George Megalogenis 
Most nations don't get a first chance to prosper. Australia is on its second. For the best part of the nineteenth century, Australia was the world's richest country, a pioneer for democracy and a magnet for migrants. Yet our last big boom was followed by a fifty-year bust as we lost our luck, our riches and our nerve, and shut our doors on the world. Now we're back on top, in the position where history tells us we made our biggest mistakes. Can we learn from our past and cement our place as one of the world's great nations? Showing that our future is in our foundation, Australia's Second Chance goes back to 1788, the first contact between locals and migrants, to bring us a unique and fascinating view of the key events of our past right through to the present day. With newly available economic data and fresh interviews with former leaders (including the last major interview with Malcolm Fraser), George Megalogenis crunches the numbers and weaves our history into a riveting argument, brilliantly chronicling our dialogue with the world and bringing welcome insight into the urgent question of who we are, and what we can become.

My name is Mahtob by Mahtob Mahmoody
Two decades ago, Not Without My Daughter (a global phenomenon made into a film starring Sally Field) told of the daring escape of an American mother and her six-year-old child from an abusive and fanatical Iranian husband and father. Now the daughter tells the whole story, not only of her imprisonment and escape but of life after fleeing Iran: living in fear of re-abduction, battling recurring nightmares and panic attacks, taking on an assumed name, surviving life-threatening illness-all under the menacing shadow of her father. This is the story of an extraordinary young woman's triumph over life-crushing trauma to build a life of peace and forgiveness. Moving from Michigan to Tehran, from Ankara to Paris, Mahtob reveals the profound resilience of a wounded soul healed by her faith in God's goodness and his care and love for her.

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