Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Litigators by John Grisham Pre Release Review

It's no surprise that John Grisham has done it again with his new book The Litigators. Long time law partners Finley & Figg have lead a boring legal life of DUIs and divorces. Now they think they finally have caught their big break when a bright new attorney who has made a few mistakes shows up on their doorstep needing a job. He has a sharp mind and is almost magical, but has a sketchy past. No one near as bright has ever shown interest in their firm. Not only that, but now they've found a pharmaceutical lawsuit to curtail onto, one that's worth $25 billion! It all seems a little too easy. As always, Grisham leads you through the exciting twists and turns of the judicial system with amazing characters. He never fails to entertain. Catch a full review here after its release in hard cover and ebook on October 25, 2011.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Confidence Men by Ron Suskind

Confidence Men by Ron Suskind hit shelves September 20, 2011. Ron Suskind, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, recounts the US financial hysteria of the Obama Administration era.

The book is a composition in story-telling form that relies on the journalist's interviews with the public figures and White House employees. There is, of course, other sides of the story. One must always keep in mind that when writing and talking about politics and journalism reporting, that there are many sides and one story always looks different to another person.

Suskind illustrates how the President learned of the impending financial crisis that was inevitable, and the reasoning behind the American President's ideas on how to help the failing US economy.

Confidence Men continually takes the view that President Obama lacks leadership skills to make timely and informed decisions mostly due to his lack of experience and thus not knowing what to do when the crisis struck.

Suskind compared Obama to Neville Chamberlain, the English Prime Minister in the late 1930s who, as Sunskind put it, stepped aside when he realized he wasn't the best man for the job.(Wikipedia reports Chamberlain realized the Labour and Liberal
parties wold not support him in office and he saw that the country needed to be united in their support for their leader). Chamberlain resigned from his post and Winston Churchill took his place. Suskind uses Confidence Men to say that Obama should dedicate his time to preparing for the next President in line who can lead, rather than attempting to lead himself because he does not yet possess the proper leadership skills.

Confidence Men chronicles pieces of the Presidential race that Senator Obama won, covering details of how he won some of the hardest states in the campaign and out played Hillary Clinton with his charisma, finesse and seemingly unalterable calmness.

Confidence Men is a great book to read if you need a summary of the Obama Administration from the winning of states in his election up until early 2011.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard

A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard is the first person account of what it is like to be abducted. Kidnapped June 10 of 1991 at the age of eleven, Jaycee recounts her experiences with Phillip & Nancy Garrido. Forced to become a sex slave for the pedophiles, she is held captive for 18 years and gives birth to two daughters before her seventeenth birthday. It's not until years later that one small mistake on behalf of Phillip, allows the truth to come forward. Finally, the world knows where Jaycee Dugard has been all these years. And finally, after eighteen years, she is allowed to say her real name and to tell her girls that she is not their sister, but in fact their mother.

While in captivity Jaycee and her daughters are forced to live in small shed-like houses and tents in the hidden second back yard of Phillip's mother's house. Their entire world consisted of just this back yard until eventually Phillip allows them to go on outings with Nancy.

A Stolen Life
tells how Jaycee has been reunited with her family: the first phone call home to her mother after all those years, finding a sister who she doted on but who can't remember her because she was just a baby when Jaycee was kidnapped, and the reunion with a special aunt and some old friends from school. Jaycee tells her readers how difficult it is to deal with the media after reunification and how a certain therapist has been crucial to changing the effects of the manipulation she has been through.

The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan

The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan is the story of how one old lady's generosity affects the members of her small rural Vermont community.Forced into confinement by her social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia, Mary McCallister has always trusted the wrong people her whole life. After the death of her abusive husband and caring father, Mary is left to fend for herself. Her husband's family wants nothing to do with her. Except grandpop Connor McCallister, who makes sure Mary is financially secure and set for the rest of her life. It is Conner who makes the local priest promise to help Mary for the rest of her life because of her social condition. The loyalty of the priest brings Mary a crucial friendship.

The Mill River Recluse follows the stories of a Police Chief and his bakery wife, a life-risking Boston police officer turned tired small-town cop and his motherless daughter, a new grade school teacher and a certain evil-minded pyromaniac whose lives all affect each other.

Mary lives her life experiencing the world from her marble mansion on the hill by looking out the window down onto the town she loves. She gets information about the inhabitants from newspapers, radio shows and television. Now on her death bed, she wants to give something back to the community she has watched grow over those sixty years. Something that will change all their lives forever.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, is a story told in the 1960s amid events such as the March on Washington led by Dr. Martin Luther King, the death of a popular US President, Mr. John F. Kennedy, and the most important era of Civil Rights activism.

Ms. Skeeter Phelan returns home from college to find her life-time maid, Constantine, gone and no one will tell her where she is and why she left. Constantine was her one true friend.

Skeeter sends her resume to Harper and Row, a big publishing company in New York City. Who would hire a female recent graduate from Jackson, Mississippi to work in New York City? And much to her surprise, she receives a letter. Yeah, it's a rejection letter, but the sender, Ms. Stein, encourages her to find unique things to write about and to send her a list of those things and she'd help her out. She encourages Skeeter to get a job at the local newspaper. And so Skeeter does...writing a housekeeping advice column.

When Skeeter realizes she knows nothing about housekeeping she turns to her good friend Elizabeth Leefolt and asks to use Elizabeth's hired help, Aibileen, to help her answer the Ms. Myrna housekeeping questions.

It is with Aibileen that Skeeter gets her most majestic idea ever.

"No one ever writes from the side of the help," she explains to Ms. Stein. And then she's off, collecting stories from maids all over town about what it's like to work for a white family. It isn't easy at first. What black lady in her right mind would take such a risk in the deep south in the sixties, telling stories about the white families they work for? Fortunately, Skeeter is able to convince Aibileen to take part and through a series of events, convinces more than a dozen others as well.

These women are risking their very lives to tell their stories. The stories these women tell are stories of hurt, shame, appreciation, love and everything in between. They are stories of heroism, bravery, and fun times along with the bad. Skeeter finds herself wrapped up in the lives of these ladies and the new perspective she's found to tell an old story. But in keeping the secret, she loses her best friends, Hilly Holbrook and Elizabeth Leefolt, and now her relationship with the Senator's son is at stake.

Will their personal accounts be published for the world to see? Of course, it'll be published under Anonymous, and all the names are changed. Will anyone recognize the stories and find out they come from Jackson, Mississippi? Even if they do, Minny has a weapon. Will it be strong enough to keep them from getting the maids thrown in jail...or worse?

To find out if Aibileen, Skeeter and Minny are able to pull off the most daring endeavor of the time, look for The Help at your local bookstore or online.