Books

What's New

May 2016
419
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2012
Pages : 399
When Henry Curtis' involvement with an Internet scam leads to his death, his daughter Laura is bent on revenge. Her journey to uncover the deception takes her from Canada to Nigeria and back again, from a world of relative privilege to poverty ... and back again.

Both riveting and thought-provoking, this is a story of greed, corruption and justice of the international oil industry, and what it takes to survive in a hostile world.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"The story is absorbing with an array of vastly diverse characters - the book has interesting and unexpected twists and turns."

"The book gives you a great insight into the plight of Nigeria and by association other resource-rich African nations."

"An excellent book; the narrative, descriptions, characters are all good - there were no negatives for me."

"There's no good guys and bad guys, just people trying to survive and achieve their various goals."

"I enjoyed this book as a read, but as a discussion topic it's excellent. Heaps of material to discuss."

"The book explores some important themes around globalisation, poverty, environmental degradation etc."

"Some people could be upset by the descriptions of life in Nigeria; the disregard for oil pollution, violence, etc."


Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Environmental, Morals/Ethics, Suspense/Thriller, Nigeria, 2017 Title - New to Scheme, Blind Foundation book

After Such Kindness
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2012
Pages : 369
The introduction to the eleven year old daughter of his friend and fellow clergyman Daniel Baxter sets John Jameson on the path to obsession. Years later Daisy ponders what transpired when she became his muse and their unusual friendship that blossomed within the propriety of the time.

Narrated by the different characters and with its dark undertones and carefully controlled tension, this is a psychologically fascinating and thought-provoking story.

Inspired by the much vaunted relationship between Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell, this novel will especially appeal to Alice in Wonderland fans.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Very well written. The tension mounts subtly."

"Some could find this book quite disturbing. Although there are no explicit scenes or depictions of child abuse, the tension is intense and disturbing."

A challenging storyline which becomes enormously gripping. Very cleverly crafted and well-written."

"After reading this book, I was inspired to re-read Alice and Through the Looking Glass."

"Very thought provoking. The author was a social worker so understands the minds of abusers."


Categories: Fiction, Faction, Historical, Literature oriented, Morals/Ethics, Relationships, Religion, England, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Amsterdam
Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 387
With its prominent red light district and freely available recreational drugs, Amsterdam's reputation as a hotspot of Western liberalism is well known, but what about those stolid burghers of yore? This book reveals the history behind Amsterdam's transformation from marshy swampland to sophisticated city and everything in between.

Whether you are an intending traveller or a European history enthusiast, this book ticks all the boxes with its comprehensive facts and anecdotes and its examination of the events, people and ideas that created Amsterdam and continue to influence its evolution today.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"An engrossing and easily assimilated history of Amsterdam."

"Amsterdam history made easy."

"I think this book will appeal to groups that enjoy non-fiction in general and history in particular."

"Insightful explanation of the sociological origins of the city's unique blend of market capitalism and co-operative spirit."

"It's a great read for those interested in historical themes and the development of western political ideas."


Categories: Non fiction, Contemporary, Historical, Social commentary/perspectives, Travel, 2017 Title - New to Scheme, The Netherlands

Axeman's Jazz, The
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 420
In the sultry Big Easy, with the music soaring, and the body count rising, Detective Lieutenant Michael Talbot is struggling to identify a killer, the jazz-loving 'axeman'. But he is not alone in his pursuit of the suspect - disgraced former detective Luca d'Andrea and an ambitious secretary from the Pinkerton Detective Agency, Ida Davis, are also hot on the trail.

Based on true events from 1919, this is a riveting story of pre-prohibition New Orleans, complete with the mafia, a trumpet toting Louis Armstrong and more.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"The story is extremely compelling. It has history, music and crime."

"There are a lot of characters so you need to concentrate to sort them out. Well worth the effort though!"

"A good blokes' book, but the girls will enjoy it too."

"Excellent characterisation. You can really feel what the characters are feeling – even the bad characters and there are a few!"

"The atmosphere is electric with the jazz clubs, the racial tensions and the weather."

"Great read. I liked the characters. This is a detective story that's a little bit different."

"Excellent description of old New Orleans and the spooky, creepy bayous."


Categories: Fiction, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Historical, Mystery, Suspense/Thriller, America, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Being Mortal
Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 282
According to Benjamin Franklin, 'in this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes'. In this book American surgeon Atul Gawande addresses the first of these certainties and the death that awaits us all. Beginning with the history of residential care for the elderly and moving on to the issue of medical intervention, this is a thought-provoking analysis presenting these issues in an open and easy to read style.

Confronting the harsh realities of our mortality, this book is a springboard into examining our attitudes and expectations for our eventual demise, well supported by research and the author's professional and personal experiences in USA and India.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Thought-provoking, well-written and fascinating."

"Some may find this book confronting but I think it's well worth it."

"An incisive and brilliant study of the medical profession's relationship with the dying."

"This is a topical subject and the book is frank."

"Perhaps not for the faint-hearted, squeamish, deeply religious or those who are very ill."

"It's most informative, but quite confronting and certainly it won't be for all. There are no stories of those who have passed away in happy circumstances!"


Categories: Non fiction, Medical/Health, Morals/Ethics, Philosophy, Social commentary/perspectives, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Chappy
Genre : Fiction: New Zealand
Year : 2015
Pages : 252
Daniel, a young man needing to find his place in the world, travels to New Zealand to reconnect with his whanau. He becomes immersed in the story of his Maori grandmother Oriwia and his Japanese grandfather Chappy. Played out against the changing backdrop of the 20th century, theirs is a love story fraught with cross-cultural misunderstandings and peppered with the challenges of racial discrimination.

Set in Japan, rural New Zealand and Hawaii, this is an absorbing novel of the Pacific steeped in the mystery and nature of family.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Very enjoyable and easy reading with poetic language."

"I really enjoyed this novel – engaging from the outset."

"Though there are dark themes, it is overall a positive and charming story."

"The story has pace and the words flow making it an easy (but not a light) read."

"I'm new to Patricia Grace novels, but I will now read her other books."

"Many positives – the fast pace, it's thought-provoking and there is early engagement. A pleasure to read."


Categories: Fiction - New Zealand, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Family Saga, Love story, Relationships, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Dear Vincent
Genre : Fiction: New Zealand
Year : 2013
Pages : 271
Between school, part-time work and caring for her paralysed father, seventeen year old Tara McCluskey barely has time to draw breath. She misses her sister Van who died five years earlier and all in all, life is pretty bleak. As an aspiring artist and passionate Vincent van Gogh aficionado, Tara is on the cusp of an exciting future, if she can only negotiate the way forward.

Powerful and uplifting, this is a contemporary New Zealand coming-of-age story that sensitively and insightfully examines issues around suicide.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Fascinating information about Vincent van Gogh, his life and his art."

"This is a young adult book but is an extremely good book and I think it's great to know what our teenagers are reading."

"The book deals with a difficult subject in an empathetic way."

"There are beautifully crafted parallel stories that intersect and it's very well done."

"There is a high level of drama in this story, but it suits the facts that the protagonist is a young adult with fluctuating hormones and teenage angst."

"It's easy to read and has a fast pace. It portrays a NZ teenager's life credibly - school, part-time work etc."

Categories: Fiction - New Zealand, Arts, The, Cross-over, Grief/loss, Love story, Tragedy/disaster, Young narrator, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Door, The
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 260
Acting on a recommendation from a friend, a young Hungarian writer employs an elderly housekeeper, Emerence Szeredas. Emerence, it transpires, is stoic, fanatically private, and exhibits peculiar behaviour, fortunately outweighed by her strong work ethic. Over the decades as her tragic past is revealed, a deep bond develops between the two women.

Partly autobiographical, this unpredictable and understated story resonates with a haunting Eastern European flavour. Translated from Hungarian.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"A deeply moving and insightful novel which I highly recommend. It is tragic, brilliant and sad."

"Really interesting writing. The story is revealed in parts and there is an eastern European moodiness to the whole book."

"This is one of the best books I've read for a while."

"It's brilliantly written and keeps your attention throughout."

"I can't think of another novel which explores so eloquently questions of privacy and respect in our desire for friendship and our perception of others."

"The book is quite moody and some may find it too dark at the beginning. It's an excellent book so keep reading."


Categories: Fiction, Community, Contemporary, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Relationships, Translation, 2017 Title - New to Scheme, Hungary

End of Plenty, The
Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 408
Projected world population in 2050: nine or ten billion ... According to award-winning environmental journalist Joel Bourne, modern agriculture may have made it possible for the world population to grow, but the subsequent ecological damage aligned with global warming and questionable agro-economics ensure that global food supply difficulties lie ahead.

Bringing together the history of food systems, current food security dilemmas and potential solutions, this meticulously researched book explores the challenges of feeding the world, now and in the future.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"This was one of the most educational books I've read for a long time. It was well researched, topical and at times humorous."

"The book is readable, interesting and factual. The research has been meticulous so that the whole is believable."

"The reading of this book will stay with me."

"It's not a 'Ladies afternoon tea' book, but is good. For general reading it is perhaps a tad detailed."

"I learnt so much. This is very much a current problem."

"While it is an extremely interesting book I found I could only digest a chapter at a time as there is a lot of facts and information to absorb."

Categories: Non fiction, Environmental, Food, Journalistic reporting/media, Science & Technology, Social commentary/perspectives, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Forty Days Without Shadow
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 444
With a UN conference on indigenous peoples about to start on their doorstep, detectives Klemet Nango and Nina Nansen of the Reindeer patrol need to urgently locate a stolen Sami artefact. Solving the crime becomes imperative when a local reindeer herder is found brutally murdered and it's possible the cases are related.

Set in the snowy expanses of Lapland, this uniquely Arctic Circle whodunit also presents a fascinating snapshot of a minority group struggling to retain their traditional way of life in the face of 21st century challenges.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Very hard to put down. Really gripping but a bit gruesome at the start."

"Fascinating insight into the harsh life within the Arctic Circle."

"This is a passionately written account of the exploitation and colonisation of a small group of indigenous people and their traditional way of life."

"I loved the fresh approach and setting of this thriller - modern day Lapland."

"The author knows his adopted country and uses the plot to outline the trouble the indigenous people have in adapting to the onslaught of 21st Century technology."

"There are some confronting descriptions of sexual harassment."


Categories: Fiction, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Environmental, Human Rights, Morals/Ethics, Mystery, Suspense/Thriller, Translation, 2017 Title - New to Scheme, Lapland

Girl On The Train, The
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 316
Another day, another train journey along the same stretch of track looking into the same old London backyards. But one morning, something is different and for Rachel Watson and her overactive imagination, there's no going back. And for the couples she observes in those houses in Blenheim Rd, including her ex-husband Tom, there's no going back for them either.

Unreliable narrators, clever plot and frequent reminders that appearances can be misleading create an engrossing and compelling thriller.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"I couldn't put the book down. A gripping story with all sorts of twists and turns."

"It is interesting that the main character is so unattractive - both physically and in her behaviour - and yet the reader still relates to her."

"I enjoyed this book very much and I think group members will enjoy it as an easy read which still makes you think."

"A lively and pacy read - not great literature but a clever plot and one that holds the interest."

"This is a very well written and descriptive book set in modern times - a great read, I couldn't put it down."

"This is a slow, evolving crime thriller that readers of this genre, both men and women, will enjoy."

"The themes are a little shocking, but the language isn't."

"The characters are well-developed, their traits and personalities very believable."


Categories: Fiction, Mystery, Relationships, Suspense/Thriller, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

God Help The Child
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 178
Discrimination comes in all shapes and sizes and in Bride's case the fact that she is ebony black puts her at the bottom of the colour pecking order. Even her light-skinned mother, Sweetness, finds her darkness an affront. However, Bride survives and prospers but just how successfully can you distance yourself from a troubled childhood?

Told from multiple viewpoints, this provocative and punchy story exposes discrimination within discrimination and considers the legacy of childhood experience.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Initially I found it hard going, but then got caught up in the story and found it hard to put down."

"I liked the writing style – short, punchy sentences."

"It's well written - great narrative."

"It's an easy, fast read."

"Great characters. You have to keep reading to find out what happens."

"The telling of the story in several voices is very effective in giving various perspectives."

"I liked the subject matter – discrimination due to the degree of colour and the effects of having unresolved issues in one's life."


Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Grief/loss, Short read, Social commentary/perspectives, America, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Good Doctor, The
Genre : Non Fiction: New Zealand
Year : 2015
Pages : 251
It could have gone either way for Lance O'Sullivan: a fast track to underachievement and trouble or knuckling down, connecting with his Maori heritage and eventually studying medicine. The latter prevailed and from humble beginnings he has gone on to become a household name when he received the 2014 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Award. With a passion and commitment to those who are disadvantaged, particularly Maori in Northland, he exemplifies the book's subtitle 'breaking the rules, making a difference'.

Not only does this book offer an inspiring personal story but also cogent analysis of New Zealand's health related social issues, from an expert in the field.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"An excellent book for all New Zealanders to read – it should be in every high school library."

"This book speaks to all New Zealanders and especially those who have a voice in policy, politics, governance and finance."

"This is a book for content and discussion rather than literary style. He's really an amazing man."

"I hadn't realised that he had a rather troubled youth – it was a very interesting upbringing. What would have happened to him if he didn't get that discipline and guidance?"

"Not only has he succinctly analysed the problems faced by Maori (and others) in Northland, but he's devised schemes and methods to break the cycle and effect real changes."


Categories: Non Fiction - New Zealand, Biography, Contemporary, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Human Rights, Inspirational, Maori, Medical/Health, 2017 Title - New to Scheme, Blind Foundation book

H Is For Hawk
Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 300
As a young girl Helen Macdonald vows to train her own hawk, but it does not come to fruition until decades later when her father dies. In an attempt to deal with her grief she acquires a goshawk - Mabel - and begins the arduous challenge of taming the bird.

In this fascinating insight into the world of falconry, the reader is not only exposed to the day to day training but to the experiences of another falconer and author, T.H. White, who also found healing through this arcane sport.

Interwoven with memories of her father and lyrical descriptions of the English countryside, this is a deeply moving and unusual memoir. Winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2014.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"An emotional yet beautiful account of how a hawk occupies a grieving woman's heart."

"This book is lyrical, emotional, unflinchingly honest and a delight to read."

"MacDonald writes in poetical terms and her descriptions of her personal demons adds a depth to her book that lingers on in the memory."

"The intensity of the concerted dual between author and hawk will tell you all you ever wanted to know about the ancient sport of falconry and more."

"This is a powerful, passionate and earthy book in which the reader follows the progress of training the hawk."


Categories: Non fiction, Environmental, Grief/loss, Personal Interests, Relationships, England, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Headscarves and Hymens
Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 238
Journalist Mona Eltahawy appeared on the world stage following the 2011 Egyptian Revolution when she was assaulted by riot police. Her response - in the form of an article - ignited debate so controversial that Time magazine named her as one of its People of the Year. In this book, this award-winning commentator continues her fearless discussion on the repression of women's rights in the Middle East, bolstered by information about the socio-political and religious contexts and the catalysts of the Arab Spring.

Refreshing and authoritative, it is both a thought-provoking examination of female oppression and a passionate advocacy vehicle for change.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"The author illustrates the great difficulty of achieving any change in society when the tyrants have so much to lose."

"This barbaric behaviour is rationalised by men who say they are behaving not out of self-interest, but in order to protect their women."

"This book will engage many women as the make comparisons between their own lives and the lives of these women."

"I'd love to hear the conversation in a mixed group! I'm not sure of its appeal to men. There is confronting content/language/description."

"This book won't be for everyone. I initially thought that everyone should read it, but I think some could see it as overkill."

"It's a confronting view that puts more detail around the newspaper articles. The title starts conversations when people see you reading it."

Categories: Non fiction, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Feminism, Gender Issues, Human Rights, Journalistic reporting/media, Morals/Ethics, Relationships, Social commentary/perspectives, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

History of the Rain
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 358
Every way she turns, Ruthie Swain is surrounded by books, 3958 of them to be precise. From her bed in the attic of the family farmhouse in County Clare, Ruthie seeks out the stories of the Swains: from her great-grandfather the Reverend Swain, her pole-vaulting salmon-loving grandfather Abraham, to her poet farmer father Virgil, and her twin brother Aeney.

With the support of her literary legacy and her powerful imagination, Ruthie the storyteller reveals the lives of her unconventional family and life in small town Ireland.

Rich with literary references, poetic language and gentle humour, this is a family saga to savour.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Wonderful, poetic use of language that's very easy to read."

"Beautifully paced - the last quarter was impossible to put down."

"I absolutely loved this book - I wonder, is it a poetic novel or a poem in novel form?"

"This book shows the power of literature and the healing power of the imagination."


Categories: Fiction, Community, Family Saga, Grief/loss, Humour, Relationships, Ireland, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Honeydew
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 275
From Tenderfoot's, the pedicure parlour to Forget Me Not's, the antique store, many of the twenty stories in this short story collection are set in the fictional Boston suburb of Godolphin. Often linked, often playful, each story offers an acute view of everyday life, highlighting the unexpected in the ordinary minutiae of living.

Anaesthetist, patient, headmistress, shop owner to name but a few: all are treated with respect and compassion with the resultant stories witty and satisfying.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"I can't imagine any reader not being entertained, uplifted and inspired by these short stories."

"Fascinating characters, colourfully drawn."

"These stories are amazingly complete and satisfying for short tales."

"The assorted situations presented in seemingly ordinary lives provide ample scope for Pearlman to capture entertaining and revealing complexities of life."

"The writing is highly readable - colourful and punchy, depicting people and places with clarity.

"Most of the characters and their stories are odd and unusual and yet totally believable."


Categories: Fiction, Short Stories, Community, Contemporary, Relationships, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

How the Light Gets In
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2013
Pages : 402
Although his enemies in the Surete are sharpening their knives, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Homicide Department gives the appearance of 'business as usual' as he goes about investigating the death of a woman who was once one of the most famous people in Canada. Moving between the isolated village of Three Pines and Montreal, the gentlemanly Gamache must solve the mystery of Constance Pineault's life while simultaneously uncovering the corruption festering in the Quebecois elite.

Quirky characters, carefully controlled tension and a lacing of subtle humour render this multi-layered story a most satisfying and enjoyable read.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"I find the author's books to be utterly enjoyable, readable and credible."

"Great book to read - engrossing and hard to put down."

"This was a really comfortable read with lots of interesting characters to get to know and a couple of mysteries thrown in."

"The writing is assured, competent, literate, descriptive and probably deserves to be regarded as literature rather than crime writing."

"It's an easy-read that kept my interest throughout - a gentle murder mystery."

"This book reads easily and is interesting, I enjoyed reading it. I would recommend it as an easy, interesting holiday read."


Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery, Relationships, Suspense/Thriller, Canada, 2017 Title - New to Scheme, Blind Foundation book

How To Fly A Horse
Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 298
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. It turns out that our parents really did know what they were talking about. Forget about needing to be a genius, this book convincingly debunks the mythical nature of creativity and reveals the consistent factors at the root of discovery and innovation.

Drawing on examples as diverse as the discovery that stomach ulcers are caused by a bacterium through to James Dyson's development of a cyclone-based vacuum cleaner, author Kevin Ashton demonstrates that the same principles apply.

Subtitled 'The secret history of creation, invention and discovery' this is a thought-provoking and wide ranging exploration of creativity.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"It's a very positive book and the stories about the individuals are told in a lively manner."

"It's a well written book with a wide range of insights which rewrite history (eg, the discovery of DNA)."

"A startling explanation of the process of innovation and discovery."

"There are original anecdotes about a subject many others have written about."

"They're very interesting stories about the various people. I re-read the section about the Wright Brothers and why the author didn't think Einstein was a genius."

"This book is a call to action, even if that action is only writing."


Categories: Non fiction, Psychology, Science & Technology, Social commentary/perspectives, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Humans, The
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2013
Pages : 291
Have you ever wondered what an alien would make of life on Earth? Well Cambridge maths Professor Andrew Martin could be the one answering the question. Although he has just solved a seemingly impossible-to-solve mathematical problem, everything else seems to be at odds, and it's only going to get worse before it gets better.

In this perceptive and quirky commentary on the experience of the human condition from someone with little experience, Prof Martin offers the reader wry and humorous observations on the contrariness of modern living and the challenges of love and life for those who call Earth home.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"It's a great read. It draws you in at the beginning and there are laugh-out-loud moments."

"I really liked it. It is quirky enough to satisfy many readers without getting into heavy duty science fiction/fantasy."

"Great book. I loved it and struggled to put it down."

"I don't usually choose Sci Fi but I thoroughly enjoyed this book."

"The humour and perceptiveness, sometimes thought-provoking, put it in the category of a good read."


Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Fantasy, Humour, Science Fiction, England, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

I Let You Go
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 371
The only way Jenna Gray believes she can survive the nightmare of her life after the death of a child in a hit and run incident is to just walk away from everything. She finds sanctuary on the Welsh coast, but even that isolation is not sufficient to elude the long arm of the law and worse.

Narrated from multiple viewpoints, this is a clever, insightful psychological thriller with authentic detail from its former police investigator author and the unexpected to keep you on your toes.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Well written. Extremely good characterisation."

"A great thriller, I couldn't put it down."

"I particularly commend this book for the way it describes how the battered-woman syndrome can overcome the victim."

"This book will be enjoyed by anyone who likes a well-paced thriller."

"The book is written in a refreshing way – it twists and turns until all is revealed."

"It's not often I savour the last chapters just to enjoy the sensation of the book. I had butterflies happening with the suspense."

"There's such a clever twist in this book – I never saw it coming!"

"Very good information about policing as the author spent 12 years in the CID."


Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Grief/loss, Relationships, Suspense/Thriller, Wales, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Indonesia Etc
Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 395
The largest Islamic nation and the fourth most populous country in the world, Indonesia, looming large to New Zealand's north is a land of diverse language, ethnicity, religion and peoples. Journalist, seasoned observer and enthusiastic Indonesia-phile Elizabeth Pisani guides us through the culture, politics and society that comprise this 'improbable' post-independence nation.

Blending humour, empathy and information galore, this is the best of travel writing as it weaves anecdote and analysis into a fascinating and entertaining mix.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"An engaging education for kiwis relating to one of our most mysterious neighbours."

"I think this is an example of the very best kind of travel book, one that combines interesting personal experiences with serious information about the country."

"The most insightful explanation of Indonesia and its recent political and cultural history I've read."

"The prose is delivered in a forthright and clear style which engages the reader at the same time as educating them."

"The author writes with a sense of humour, with amazing empathy for the people she meets, and with a wry awareness of the gap between her English self and the varied Indonesian characters she describes."

"Well researched and well-written but sometimes there was a lot of information to take in."


Categories: Non fiction, Big Read, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Political, Religion, Social commentary/perspectives, Travel, Indonesia, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives
Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 254
According to the field of epigenetics, the interaction of genes and the environment, 'you are what you eat' can now be expanded to 'you are what you eat as well as where and how you live and the stresses you face'. In the face of this new knowledge that it is possible to change our genes, physician Dr Sharon Moalem outlines how it all comes together.

From individualised chemotherapy to how much fruit you can consume, this fascinating and immensely readable book confirms that with our genes calling the shots, there are many implications with respect to our ability to affect our individual genetic make-up and that of generations to come.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Excellent summary of the subject for the general reader."

"Informative and very readable with relevant anecdotes."

"This book will leave the reader fascinated and probably wanting more."

"I found it an easy read, not overly long and not too detailed – some might want more details."

"A lot of information, much of it new to me so it takes time to absorb."

"The author explains difficult scientific ideas clearly with stories of patients to make the ideas real."

"Very, very stimulating and interesting. Easily accessed language and a good length."


Categories: Non Fiction - New Zealand, Medical/Health, Science & Technology, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Investigation, The
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 323
Where he was once a World War Two prison guard, Yuichi Watanabe is now himself, held captive. During his incarceration as a 'low-level war criminal' by the Americans, he has time to remember his experiences in the notorious Fukuoka Prison: the Korean prisoners, the Japanese guards and particularly the investigation he undertook to find the killer of the prison guard Sugiyama Dozan. What he discovers is unexpected given Sugiyama's reputation as the 'Butcher' and leads to Yuichi's exposure to the Korean poet Yun Dong-ju.

Inspired by a true story, this novel is not only a complex murder mystery but a celebration of the power of literature and the resilience of the human spirit. Translated from Korean.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"There are several ingenious plot threads to be unravelled and a lot of twists and turns to make this book a very intriguing read."

"A powerful and rewarding book, written with much subtlety, skill and respect for the human spirit."

"Ostensibly this is a conventional whodunit, but it quickly becomes a multi-layered tale where the facts and the truth are not the same."

"The prison setting for this story contains many contradictory strands of incredible hardship and inspirational insights into the human spirit."

"I formed an opinion in the beginning and my mind was totally changed by the end."

"I think this book will really appeal to male readers. A good investigative mystery, and something totally different; less feminine."

"This book is for adults as it does contain violence."


Categories: Fiction, War theme, Faction, Human Rights, Literature oriented, Morals/Ethics, Mystery, Japan, 2017 Title - New to Scheme, Korea

Just Mercy
Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 335
Although he grew up in a poor black community in the American South, Bryan Stevenson is a Harvard graduate, a law professor and an influential and impassioned advocate for those at the bottom of the heap. With their fate resting in the balance, he established a legal practice, the Equal Justice Initiative, which has successfully defended many of those most in need.

With one in three black men imprisoned in the USA, his plea for justice and mercy from their dysfunctional criminal justice system is compelling and powerfully argued. A disturbing but undoubtedly inspiring story.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Extremely well written, with a compelling style and lucidly told case stories."

"The book is hard to put down and reads like a thriller rather than a book about the law."

"Stevenson's characters are all real, the cases factual, but the life he gives to his writing is exceptional for a book of this type."

"It is a chilling and at times harrowing account and the reader is left feeling an enormous admiration for Stevenson and despair for poor black Americans."

"Inspirational. We need more people like Bryan Stevenson."

"Several stories are told over a number of chapters with other topics and material in between. Occasionally this leads to a disjointed effect, but the quality of writing largely overcomes it."

"This is a powerful story about a man whose life work is helping those less fortunate than himself and inspiring others to come on board and help."

"The NZ justice system didn't seem so bad after reading this book! An excellent non-fiction book."

"I felt that this is a book which should be read widely. The fates of many of the people Stevenson defends are quite simply horrifying and the level of injustice revealed in his book needs to be exposed and discussed."


Categories: Non fiction, Biography, Contemporary, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Human Rights, Inspirational, Medical/Health, Morals/Ethics, Political, America, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Last Days of Rabbit Hayes, The
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 436
Single mum 'Rabbit' Hayes is coming to the end of her innings ... prematurely, it has to be said but that is not going to stop her making the most of what time she does have left. Gathered at the hospice in her final days are her friends and family, recalling and celebrating the life she has led to the full.

Tempered with Irish humour and the perfect balance of sadness and hope, this is a credible, heartwarming story of a reluctant but beautiful journey.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"A 'laugh out loud and weep' read."

"A powerful piece of fiction - a story of heartbreak, joy, love and loss. A novel with heart and soul."

"Definitely not for groups if they have someone who has a terminal illness."

"This is not just a 'weepy' book. It is a story of faith, hope and acceptance."

"Humour is essential to balance pain and this book has the perfect balance."

"The writing is honest, endearing and perfectly paced. I can guarantee that the story will stay with you for a long time."

"The dialogue is very good - entertaining but also thought-provoking. Pity about the four-letter words though."


Categories: Fiction, Grief/loss, Humour, Inspirational, Medical/Health, Morals/Ethics, Relationships, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Laughing All The Way To The Mosque
Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 221
Domiciled in Canada from the time she was a young child, Zarqa Nawaz comes from a conservative Muslim family and describes in a forthright and humorous fashion the tricky business of growing up and being a practising Muslim in a Western society.

From a film-maker who produced a TV series titled Little Mosque on the Prairie, one would expect an amusing and clever story; happily this memoir succeeds on all counts. Entertaining as well as informative.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"A very good and amusing story."

"The lifestyle of Muslims is explained in a humorous yet educational way."

"A great way to learn details of another culture and have a good laugh at the same time."

"Zarqa gives a frank and humorous account of life in a traditional family and the concessions made by modern Muslims to be part of mainstream life while remaining Muslim."

"Reading this book is an entertaining way to learn about Muslim life today."

"Zarqa is warm and friendly but deadly serious about the rights of women."


Categories: Non fiction, Biography, Community, Contemporary, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Feminism, Morals/Ethics, Relationships, Religion, Canada, Pakistan, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Madness Made Me
Genre : Non Fiction: New Zealand
Year : 2014
Pages : 260
From psychiatric wards through to the hallowed halls of the United Nations, Mary O'Hagan has had the full gamut of experience in the mental health sphere. With her belief in the value of 'madness' Mary channelled her experiences of the New Zealand mental health service and those of her fellow sufferers into committed advocacy, culminating in her roles as the Mental Health Commissioner and more recently as an international mental health consultant.

Sometimes uncomfortable, always honest and uniquely insightful, this is an important and thought-provoking personal account of the full human experience of 'madness', and its place in our society.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"This is an honest and largely positive look at the author's own life and the deficiencies of the 'system'."

"I think everyone should be exposed to the contents of this book. The struggle is inspiring."

"The book provides excellent insight into psychiatric illness in NZ - it would be good to have such a book in the scheme."

"The author is brutally honest in revealing the flaws in the current mental health system in NZ."

"Some enforced treatments that Mary experienced and observed could be disturbing to some readers."


Categories: Non Fiction - New Zealand, Biography, Human Rights, Medical/Health, Morals/Ethics, Psychology, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Malice
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 280
Author Kunishiko Hidaka never gets to finish his popular serialised novel, instead, seemingly mid-sentence, he is murdered and his body found by his wife Rei and best friend and fellow writer Osamu Nonoguchi. Enter one Detective, Kyochiro Kaga, an insightful and painstaking operator poised to sift fact from fiction.

Identifying the killer is one thing, but understanding the motive is a far more demanding task and is at the heart of this complex and understated Japanese thriller.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"The apparently simple plot is far from being so, as each development is unravelled in a way that keeps the reader in suspense till the end."

"It's a relatively quick read - each chapter builds nicely on the other explaining the twists and turns of the plot and the characters."

"Originally written in Japanese, this book has been translated extremely well which makes it very easy to read."

"The 'cat and mouse' style of the storyline is intriguingly different form the usual murder mystery format."

"This is a real page-turner with fascinating characters. I loved it and will certainly look for more works by the author."

"The originality of the plot makes for a refreshing read."

"I prefer a real whodunit, this one is more of a why rather than a who."


Categories: Fiction, Mystery, Psychology, Translation, Japan, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Not Forgetting The Whale
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 366
When a computer programme he designs predicts the end of the world as we know it, Joe Haak leaves London in a panic. He eventually washes up on the shores of St Piran in Cornwell where, fortunately, he is able to persuade the close-knit community to heed his warning.

In this hopeful post-apocalyptic story the author skilfully combines the theories of macroeconomics with the unpredictability of human nature producing a thoughtful, enjoyable tale. As for the whale? Well, there turns out to be a bit of a myth about whales in St Piran ...

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"A pleasurable read with plenty of food for thought but presented in an easily digested manner."

"A Louis de Bernieres fan would enjoy this book, and possibly women more than men."

"This story should have wide appeal and is deceptively simple in its narrative."

"A great story, a contemporary reflection on how fragile society is."

"No negatives for me. A really enjoyable read occasionally linking contemporary themes with classical and biblical literature."

"I enjoyed the uplifting story which emerged from the doom predicted."


Categories: Fiction, Community, Contemporary, Environmental, Morals/Ethics, Relationships, Uplifting, England, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Orhan's Inheritance
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 333
It comes as a shock to the Turkoglu family when patriarch Kemal leaves his Anatolian estate to an unknown woman on the other side of the world. Behind this bequest is a history that they know little about and it is up to the grandson Orhan to confront the elderly beneficiary in Los Angeles and ascertain her connection with the family. The ill-fated 1915 love story between a Christian Armenian and Muslim Turk that is eventually revealed, will have Orhan questioning his family legacy and his future.

Told from different perspectives, this story, both romantic and tragic, tells of a country's painful history and its citizens who must reconcile with their past.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"I loved this book. At times it was hard to read because it was so upsetting but it is beautifully written, romantic and tragic."

"The book brings to life both sides (Turks and Armenians) of this horrific historical event."

"It brings the shameful treatment of the Armenians to the fore."

"I think this book will be widely enjoyed by anyone who reads it. A great story, sadly based on history."

"I love stories where you learn about historical events. This is one of those books. Really interesting."

"It's well written and grips you from the first paragraph. Good characters too."

"For me the ending didn't work."

"The Armenian genocide is a heart-breaking account which the author brings vividly to life."


Categories: Fiction, War theme, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Grief/loss, Historical, Human Rights, Love story, Morals/Ethics, Political, Relationships, Religion, Social commentary/perspectives, Turkey, 2017 Title - New to Scheme, Armenia

President's Hat, The
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2012
Pages : 200
When Daniel Mercier's eyes alight on an abandoned black felt hat in a Paris restaurant, it's not just any old hat; it belongs to none other than President Francois Mitterrand. And that's not all: surprising things happen to wearers of the hat, so discovers Daniel and the next temporary custodian, and the next ...

Entertaining and charmingly nostalgic, this story of destiny is a delightfully whimsical Gallic adventure. Translated from the French.


Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"A lovely whimsical novel that has a great feel and is an enjoyable read."

"A wonderfully nostalgic snapshot of the 1980s France, pre mobile phones and social media."

"It's an easy read and has an unexpected twist at the end."

"An easy and undemanding read, especially for anyone with a little familiarity with the French style."

"There are many delightful Gallic touches as the little adventures unwind."

"An utterly charming story set in France in 1986."

"The book invites the reader along for a joyful ride with a bunch of French characters."

Categories: Fiction, Relationships, Translation, Uplifting, France, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Remedy, The
Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 298
In 1890 when renowned German scientist Robert Koch staged a public event to demonstrate a remedy for tuberculosis, Arthur Conan Doyle, physician and creator of the fictional Sherlock Holmes was in attendance. Although Koch had discovered the TB bacillus earlier that decade, an absolute cure for the disease still remains a challenge more than a century later. Drawing together the intersecting paths of these two devotees of the progressive scientific thinking of the time, this is a captivating medical detective story with tuberculosis at its heart.

It is a fascinating easily accessible account of 19th century science and the men at the forefront establishing the beginnings of modern medicine.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"The author's tone, style and content carry the reader along effortlessly."

"Part I is a real page-turner. Parts II & III are not so gripping, but still very interesting."

"I think the book will be appreciated by those who enjoy non-fiction and in particular those who enjoy history. It's very well written and easy to read."

"Highly accessible especially for the layperson – concepts are easily explained."

"I'm pleased I read the book because now I have a greater knowledge of TB and the flight to conquer it."

"I think the link between Koch and Conan Doyle is a tenuous one, but I still enjoyed the book very much."


Categories: Non fiction, Historical, Medical/Health, Science & Technology, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Rich Man Road
Genre : Fiction: New Zealand
Year : 2015
Pages : 251
Sister Olga Mastrovic and Sister Pualele Sina Auva'a initially appear to have little in common beyond their membership of the same religious order. Scratching below the surface however, reveals many shared experiences even though Olga migrated to New Zealand, decades earlier than Pualele's arrival from Samoa for an illegal family adoption. Recognising their similarities, Olga records her story, and it is following her death that her cathartic journal (narrating her family's experiences fleeing Dalmatia at the end of World War Two), helps Pualele examine own life.

Sensitively written, this multi-layered story bears witness to the experiences of migrants in their journey towards a new home in New Zealand, a nation of migrants.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"A good read. A view of life through the eyes of an immigrant."

"Very readable – a very well-written page turner. It's multi-layered and very interesting."

"I found this to be a very satisfying read."

"The bond between the two women is sensitively depicted and the background to their stories has been well researched."

"I think most women would enjoy this book with its focus on female characters and cultural differences."


Categories: Fiction - New Zealand, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Relationships, Religion, 2017 Title - New to Scheme, Blind Foundation book

Song for Issy Bradley, A
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 397
A staunch Mormon family, the Bradleys, are about to have their faith sorely tested. For parents Ian and Claire, teenagers Zippy and Alma and youngster Jacob, the unimaginable happens when four year old Isobel is stricken with meningitis. In the resulting melee they each grapple with faith, doubt and the yearning for a miracle.

In this poignant and insightful story of a family undone but seeking a way forward, readers are guaranteed fiction that never strays into sentimentality but is punctuated with moments of unexpected humour.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"The characters were really well rounded, credible and complex. I thought the children were exceptionally well drawn."

"The novel is not trite, but rather it's a moving account of a family learning to cope and believe again."

"The characterisation is very good, as too is the use of humour. Very poignant."

"The book engaged me and made me think. I learnt about the Mormon religion in day-to-day life."

"Very easy to read. I was pulled into the narrative and the conflicts as they developed."

"This is absolutely the story of a 'journey' and as a reader I really wanted to see this family again five years later."

"The story is one of faith, grief, loss and healing. I enjoyed the book - it's particuarly well suited for discussion."


Categories: Fiction, Community, Contemporary, Grief/loss, Morals/Ethics, Relationships, Religion, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Stone Mattress
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 268
From Verna and the 1.9 billion-year-old stromatalite she is about to wield as a weapon through to Sam's discovery in a storage locker of all the accoutrements of a wedding, including a 'freeze-dried' groom, these nine dark and quirky tales have, in one form or another, death or revenge waiting in the wings.

Unpicking friendships and relationships, both good and bad, it is a collection of stories encompassing the real and the fantastical that is bristling with sly humour and interwoven with the author's trademark acerbic social commentary.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Margaret Atwood's writing is always sharp, clever and funny. This collection of stories shows an author who, at age 75, seems to just get better and better."

"Atwood is as razor sharp and grounded as ever and for Atwood fans, this is as good as it gets."

"I liked the balance of fantasy and realism. Each story has a different structure and tone. The writing is very clever."

"Great to have such a good selection of short stories."

"All nine tales are beautifully crafted and a little unusual, they're quite quirky."


Categories: Fiction, Short Stories, Literary, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Unnecessary Woman, An
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 291
As the New Year rolls around, Aaliya opens the first page of a new book ready to begin her annual project. Living alone in her Beirut apartment she certainly has the time and opportunity to undertake this task, but inclination is her most powerful motivator. She may have survived an arranged marriage and a civil war but her reason d'etre revolves around the world's great literature. And what better way to engage with it than translating it into classical Arabic.

This is a story rich with literary wealth and the internal monologue of a prickly but compelling narrator confiding her unconventional story and who is about to have change forced upon her whether she likes it or not.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"The story is beautifully written with wonderful use of language and a clever play on words."

"The book is warm and engaging, the reader feels Aaliya is confiding in them personally."

"I didn't find this an easy book to read but I think it would have great appeal to the more serious reader."

"I loved the book so much I instantly read it a second time."

"Aaliya comes across as a complex but deeply unhappy woman and her character, while not always likeable, is strangely compelling."

"Life in Beirut is depicted with skill and a rather black humour."

"I think readers would need to be interested in literature to find the book satisfying."


Categories: Fiction, Grief/loss, Literature oriented, Political, Relationships, Social commentary/perspectives, Translation, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

We Never Asked for Wings
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 294
Letty Espinosa thought she had struck an excellent bargain: she earned the money and her parents looked after the children. A perfect bargain really, that is until Maria Elena and Enrique deemed it time to return to Mexico. Left alone with her children for the first time in her life, Letty must choose between her default parenting style - benign neglect - and one that offers her vulnerable children a better future.

From motherhood to illegal immigration and the allure of the American Dream, this heart warming story with its likeable characters and promise of redemption, is a satisfying and optimistic read.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Well-written, cohesive and human. The characters are "˜real' and their situations well-drawn."

"This is a feel good book; the characters are all likeable people and the story is beautiful."

"Small events have huge consequences and the plight of Alex and Yesenia evokes empathy and understanding."

"This is heart-warming story that should appeal to women more than men."

"This is the perfect holiday read – I couldn't put it down."

"I think this book is for those groups who want a lighter style but still want to discuss a serious issue."

"This book had high personal appeal as I used to live in Southern California and witnessed the tremendous sacrifices immigrants make to give their children a better life."

"I didn't enjoy the style of the book – too many side-issues got in the way of the flow of the story."

Categories: Fiction, Community, Contemporary, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Family Saga, Relationships, Mexico, America, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Wolf Border, The
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 435
When zoologist Rachel Caine takes on the job of reintroducing grey wolves into the Earl of Annerdale's estate in Cumbria, it's a chance to kill two birds with one stone. Not only will she be able to continue working with the animals she is so passionate about, it's also a chance for her to return home to England and reassess her life. With Scottish independence flexing its muscles just over the border and the controversy ignited by rewilding of the wolves, there is plenty happening to accompany Rachel on her own journey of self-discovery.

From environmental advocacy to personal transition, this is a novel of beautifully described landscapes, vivid characters and contemporary Britain.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"I loved this book. It was gripping and I stayed up far too late reading it."

"The writing style is great, flowing and gritty but also sensitive."

"The author achieves the rare distinction of having mastered plot, narrative, characters and subject matter."

"The book throbs with excellence of prose and personality, formation and comment."

"This is a book you do not want to put down."

"A complex mix of relationships, conservation and politics – a powerful and inspiring novel."


Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Environmental, Morals/Ethics, Political, Relationships, England, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

March 2016
Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, An
Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2013
Pages : 295
The maxim 'prepare for the worst and enjoy every moment of it' has served Canadian Chris Hadfield well in his chosen career. Inspired to become an astronaut after watching Neil Armstrong's televised moon landing as a 9 year old, he has gone on to achieve his dream, participating in several NASA missions, most recently as Commander of the International Space Station.

In this behind-the-scenes exposure of the life of an astronaut, Hadfield weaves his personal reflections with the fascinating details of space travel to create an engaging, inspiring and unforgettable memoir. The ultimate in armchair travel!

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"A really interesting and inspirational read. The author has quite a sassy way of saying things."

"I rate this book really highly personally and for BDS readers. Another of my best reads of the year."

"A very interesting and inspirational, easy to read book."

Í will give this to my teens to read as it has some very insightful and helpful ideas on how to succeed in any chosen path."

"I don't usually read non-fiction books but it was appealing enough to hold my attention."

Categories: Non fiction, Biography, Adventure/Exploration, Inspirational, Philosophy, Relationships, Science & Technology, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Nelly Dean
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 484
In this story of the great house Wuthering Heights, of Thrushcross Grange and the Earnslaw and Linton families, Mr Lockwood is once again the recipient of housekeeper Nelly Dean's narration; but this time round it is Nelly's story that is centre stage.

A faithful companion to Emily Bronte's 1837 classic that encourages but does not require a reading of the original, this is a beautifully crafted and engaging page-turner that is easily accessible to the 21st century reader.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"I approached this book with some trepidation, but in the end I was completely delighted with it."

"Absorbing and beautifully crafted."

"I could see and hear the characters - it's language-perfect for the period."

"I think anyone who enjoys historical England and the English language would enjoy this book."

"The author has done an excellent job of writing a complementary 'Wuthering Heights' novel which makes the story more accessible to the modern reader."

Categories: Fiction, Gender Issues, Grief/loss, Historical, Literature oriented, Love story, Relationships, England, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Our Souls at Night
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 179
Septuagenarians Addie Moore and Louis Waters set the tongues wagging when they embark on a loving friendship. What develops is as much a surprise to them as it is to the good citizens of Holt, Colorado, who it seems have some very traditional views of how Addie and Louis should be behaving at their age.

With its gentle cadence and unadorned prose, this is a thoughtful and poignant story of our yearning to love and be loved and the challenges in achieving this universal need.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Such a lovely book!"

"A joyful book – almost poetic in its sparse use of language."

"I wish it could have been longer, but I so enjoyed the storyline."

"A lovely story for older women who prefer a lighter read – and it is quite short."


Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Relationships, Short read, Social commentary/perspectives, Uplifting, America, 2016 Title - New to Scheme, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Tears of Dark Water
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 485
We've all heard about Somali pirates, but it is father and son Daniel and Quentin Parker's misfortune to sail right into their clutches on the African leg of their around-the-world voyage. Daniel, needing time out from his floundering marriage and Quentin, from his litany of troubling behaviour, come up against someone with nothing to lose - twenty year old Ismail Ibrahim, bent on avenging the destruction of his own family. From the FBI negotiator called in to manage the crisis, through to the US Navy's involvement, nothing is as it seems.

Told from multiple viewpoints, this is an engrossing and insightful thriller that illuminates the contemporary issues of international relations, especially those of Somalia, and offers a glimmer of possibility for future justice and reconciliation.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Excellent story - so much more than just a story of piracy."

"It was so engrossing. I read it in one rainy day session which is quite unusual for me."

"A good read. An engaging and enjoyable story with characters I could relate to."

"It's not a book that can be skimmed through. It took me more time to read than usual."

"I loved the way the book covered everyone's aspect of the situation."

"A good bloke's book, but women should enjoy it too. Topical in content and a good engaging read."

"Very clever intertwining of three stories. Lots of good background info on Somalia and its troubles."

Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Human Rights, Suspense/Thriller, Africa, 2017 Title - New to Scheme, Somalia

February 2016
After the Crash
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 386
Is she Lyse-Rose granddaughter of the wealthy de Carvilles or Emilie, granddaughter of the humbler Vitral family? The identity of the three-month old baby, the sole survivor of a plane crash on the Franco-Swiss border, is in dispute. Even with the courts making the call on custody, the de Carvilles are prepared to employ a private detective for as long as it takes, to irrevocably determine her parentage. Eighteen years on as Credence Grand-Duc is about to release his findings, murder is added to the mix. Just who is this young woman?

With a full complement of deception and intrigue, this is an engrossing and unusual psychological thriller that will not let you rest easy until the mystery is solved. Translated from the French.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"A fine novel, well-constructed and written, highly entertaining and with wide appeal."

"Very clever. I didn't guess the ending at all. It's an easy read which I know many enjoy."

"This book catches the reader's attention right from the first pages."

"The book has many twists and turns. I was engrossed."

"I felt I needed to read it quickly - I couldn't relax until I found out the baby's true identity."

"A very good read - an easy read for groups."

Categories: Fiction, Grief/loss, Mystery, Suspense/Thriller, Tragedy/disaster, Translation, France, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Do No Harm
Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 276
In this contemplation of a distinguished career, British brain surgeon Henry Marsh reveals what goes on behind those swinging doors leading into the operating theatre. Written with disarming candour, it is a memoir offering a fascinating insight into the holy grail of surgery: its successes and failures and its effects on those wielding the scalpel.

Featuring drama and compassion through to risk and wonder, it is a moving and informative account of the world of neurosurgery.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"This book has an elegance of writing style. It's very readable."

"There is no plot as such. It is simply the story of his life: the successes and failures and how he has dealt with them."

"I found the book very readable and appreciated the honesty, compassion and humour."

"It must be virtually unique for a medical specialist currently practising to reveal so openly his mistakes, mental upsets and his views on life and death. He lets readers right into this world."

"There are probably a few people who would find it upsetting because of personal experience or squeamishness, but I found it very interesting and informative and I'm pleased to have read it."

"I think this book would appeal most to readers with at least some interest in the health sciences."

"It reads a little like a series of short stories. Not the sort of book that you're going to complete in one go."

Categories: Non fiction, Biography, Medical/Health, Morals/Ethics, Science & Technology, Social commentary/perspectives, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Song Collector, The
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 383
It takes the obnoxious antics of composer Harry Fox-Talbot's young grandson Robin to set Fox on the road to recovery. Recently widowed, he has been languishing, bereft without his wife Edie. But Robin, it turns out, is a musical prodigy and as his talent emerges, so too does Fox's interest in life. He starts composing again and is finally able to confront the long-standing family schism that began decades earlier when Edie was first introduced to the Fox-Talbot clan.

Threaded with wry humour and with a passion for music at its core, this gently written story of love, betrayal and yearning will captivate you to its very last note.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"The writing style is beautiful – lyrical, poetic at time, threaded with humour and honesty."

"I loved this book. The past and present plots were very cleverly woven together."

"The rather wry humour is a delightful touch and keeps the novel from being a wallow in old age and loss."

"I felt that this was a very special book. It is beautiful to read, with enormous clarity of description so that places and people are all strong and individual."

"The themes are so many and so well-crafted that I can see a book group session racing past."

"I really enjoyed this book but it's for groups looking for a lighter style. I don't know what a group would discuss."

Categories: Fiction, Arts, The, Family Saga, Grief/loss, Relationships, England, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

January 2016
History of Loneliness, A
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 380
As Father Odran Yates reflects on his life as a priest he encounters uncertainties and ripples of unease. Has he been wilfully ignorant or just plain naive? As for his clergy contemporaries, especially his friend Tom Cardle who entered the seminary with him when they were teenagers, have they upheld the faith that is so important to them all?

Passionate and unflinching, this novel is a powerful examination of Irish life that confronts the accusations levelled at the Church.


Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"The writing is beautiful - it draws you in very quickly."

"Told in the first person, this is a powerful story, very well written."

"A powerful and unforgiving account of child abuse by clergy."

"This book could offend some people on religious grounds."


Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Human Rights, Morals/Ethics, Religion, Ireland, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Station Eleven
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 333
Who would have thought it would all fall apart so quickly? One minute, it's life as per usual then literally overnight it's lights out. Moving between their pre-pandemic lives and their post-pandemic realities, this story focuses on a disparate group of people connected to Arthur Leander who is performing King Lear on the night the Georgia Flu hits North America. Centre stage, twenty years on, is the Travelling Symphony, a troupe of musicians and actors who tour the remaining pockets of population performing Shakespearean works and classical music.

Both calm and convincing, this elegantly written novel is the rarest of beasts, a dystopian story of hope that reminds us what is best about our world.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"I could really picture myself in this story, a mystery unfolding. Excellent writing."

"Clever story telling, interwoven threads, clues slowly given. Very nice."

"This book would be an excellent, modern contribution to the BDS catalogue."

"Great to have a post-apocalyptic book with a hopeful ending!"

"The characters are interesting, well drawn and you want to know what happens to them."


Categories: Fiction, Dystopia/Futuristic, Relationships, Science Fiction, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

We Are Called To Rise
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 306
Beyond the glamour and glitz of Las Vegas, real life can be hard and the jackpot elusive. For eight year old Bashkim, an Albanian migrant, a split-second decision means nothing is going to be the same ever again. In this collision of lives, much is at stake and the real question is: will everyone - returned soldiers, police officers, judges, social workers and foster carers - be able to put his best interests first?

This is a powerful contemporary story sensitively written which examines how we behave and how we can behave when the chips are down. A satisfying and thought-provoking read.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"The characters are all beautifully and sensitively portrayed and the story is well-crafted."

"I think everyone would enjoy this book - it is great and thought-provoking."

Beautifully, gently written. Very rich individual characterisation."

"A superbly written book, every character well drawn and utterly believable."

"It's an emotional read and can be very sad but it's worth reading and finishes with hope."

"Powerful story - you can imagine yourself being there."

"The stories, while initially quite separate, entwine seamlessly."


Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Grief/loss, Relationships, America, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

November 2015
Narrow Road To The Deep North, The
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2013
Pages : 467
Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is a flawed man, struggling with the guilt of his love affair with his uncle's young wife. But he is also a hero; in a World War Two POW camp on the Thai-Burma railway, he is striving to keep the men in his charge alive. They face the worst of conditions, and for those who will survive, the trauma will be forever present.

Focusing on the lives of the Japanese and Korean guards as well as the Australian captives, this is an intense and challenging story that doesn't flinch from the brutality and violence of its setting. Winner of the Man Booker Prize for 2014.


Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"A fascinating and engaging read."

"I really liked this book. It's a tragic story that left a deep impression on me."

"This is a truly stand-out and perceptive novel - one of the best I've read."

"There is tension galore to keep the reader interested and intriqued in this immersive read."

"It's long, intense and very good."

"The plot is complex - for me there was something quite Tolstoyan about the novel."

"It's not possible to write about this topic without including violence and brutality. Many readers will find this a very challenging read indeed."


Categories: Fiction, War theme, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Historical, Human Rights, Love story, Relationships, Japan, Australia, Burma, 2017 Title - New to Scheme, Blind Foundation book

Where the Rekohu Bone Sings
Genre : Fiction: New Zealand
Year : 2014
Pages : 270
From the 19th century invasion of Rekohu (Chatham Islands) through to contemporary Aotearoa, this is the story of a truly New Zealand family: Moriori, Maori, and Pakeha. In order to have a life together Mere and Iraia with their irreconcilable difference in status, must leave their home and start afresh in Wellington. Twins Lula and Bigs, born a century later with their Maori and Pakeha heritage will have their own demons to grapple with, and binding them all together, an ancestral voice.

Bringing to light the history of Rekohu and the challenge of cultural identity, this is a unique and satisfying read.


Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"I read this book quickly as it was hard to put down. Excellent."

"An interesting way of presenting some NZ history."

"My knowledge of NZ history, especially that part relating to the Chatham Islands, has been greatly enhanced."

"The writer engages the reader's sympathies with all the main characters."


Categories: Fiction - New Zealand, Contemporary, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Historical, Love story, Maori, Relationships, Social commentary/perspectives, 2017 Title - New to Scheme, Blind Foundation book

October 2015
Boys In The Boat, The
Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 392
Who would have imagined it; trounced by a university rowing team! At the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, a crew of young American lads won gold, defeating the German team who were expected to win. This is the story of these working-class boys, particularly young Joe Rantz who rises from adversity to participate in this triumphant event.

Capturing the difficult economic and social conditions in the US at the time, and the rise of Nazism in Europe, this is a moving and inspiring piece of history given full rein in this detailed story.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"I found this to be an inspirational book. It has an easy, readable style that makes the reader want to keep reading."

"Even though this is an American book, it has a wider coverage than the United States."

"I learned a lot of history particularly about the Depression and the western United States in the 1920s/1930s."

"Easy to read and well written - an excellent social history of Seattle, USA."

"It could be a bit long for some as there are a lot of words but I found it to be a really enjoyable read."

"A lovely story of a wonderful man and a wonderful marriage - despite Joe's awful childhood."

"Perhaps more suited for an American audience and those who love organised sport but it is an inspirational read."


Categories: Non fiction, Biography, Historical, Human Rights, Inspirational, Morals/Ethics, America, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Spy Among Friends, A
Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 340
Oscar Wilde may have asserted that 'true friends stab you in the front', but it would have been no consolation to the friends of English spy Kim Philby. One of the notorious 'Cambridge Four', and reputedly a charming and charismatic man, Philby spied for the Russians over a thirty year period during the Cold War. Betraying his colleagues, family and especially his friends, he was responsible for many people being tortured and killed.

This well written and researched account of his relationship with his friends, including his MI6 handler Nicholas Elliot and the head of the CIA James Angleton, delivers a thrilling real-life spy story of duplicity and subterfuge.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"This book reads like one of John le Carre's novels."

"An in-depth look at the life of a spy, the intrigue of deception and the damage to many."

"This is a powerful story which would be appreciated by men and women."

"This is a very well written book, gripping in content."

"Given the present state of the world and the need for intelligence gathering, this is an awful reminder of the perils involved in spying and the probability of double agents."

"This is an exceptionally well written and researched book."

"This book is suitable for all who are interested in history and concerned about matters of security and intelligence."

"The portrait of Philby, the man of two distinct parts, is chilling."


Categories: Non fiction, War theme, Historical, Political, Relationships, England, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Miniaturist, The
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 425
When Petronella Oortman marries the rich merchant Johannes Brandt in 1686, he presents her with a miniature of their home as a wedding gift. The miniaturist contracted to furnish it creates artefacts that not only reflect the contents of the Brandt household but mysteriously foretell future possibilities as well. But Nella will need to have her wits about her if she is to survive these intrigues and the deception that swirls around her in this pious and repressed society.

This is an absorbing, atmospheric tale with a young heroine equal to the demands of Calvinistic Amsterdam which is presented in meticulously researched detail.


Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"An atmospheric and compelling dip into late 17th Century Amsterdam."

"Supernatural elements are cleverly blended into life-changing events experienced by a wealthy merchant's household."

"Engrossing both for its detail of the times and the individualism expressed by its main characters."

"An absorbing tale set in a fascinating historical period. It's very easy to read."

"Very readable, quite a different storyline - an interesting snapshot of Amsterdam of the time."

"There's lots to discuss. Quite an unusual setting for a BDS book."


Categories: Fiction, Family Saga, Gender Issues, Historical, 2017 Title - New to Scheme, The Netherlands

Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing, The
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 498
Tamil Nadu, India and Albuqueque, New Mexico may only be separated by plane journey, but they are worlds apart for the Eapen family, brain surgeon Thomas, wife Kamala and children Akhil and Amina, who are pursuing the American dream. Of course their new life of freedom and opportunity is not without its own challenges and just like any other family they will have their own dark times to contend with. Spanning three decades and told from Amina's perspective this is a complex family saga.

With its sharp dialogue and likeable characters, including the warm supporting cast of the Christian Indian community, this absorbing story perfectly captures the migrant experience and the messy business of family life.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"A lovely story, a great read and quite thought-provoking."

"The characters are empathetic and likeable."

"Really good writing."

"Lovely, vivid perceptive writing and often very funny."

"This is quite a big book but I finished it in less than a week because I couldn't put it down."

"This is a complicated and incredibly wonderful story."

The story is full of sub-plots, well-drawn characters, wonderful Indian food and it grips the reader from the first page."

"A wonderful book, I did enjoy it."


Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Grief/loss, Relationships, Social commentary/perspectives, India, America, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

September 2015
I, Migrant
Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 280
Did you hear the one about the kangaroo and the Karachi comedian? Well, if you haven't yet chuckled over this unlikely combination, it's time to investigate Sami Shah's story of life in Western Australia, his new home. Pakistani born and bred, with a sojourn in the United States for tertiary education, Sami Shah is well qualified to reflect on the tension between Muslim orthodoxy and Western culture, modern Islam, and the migrant experience, and he doesn't hold back ...

Confronting, inspiring and capable of inducing involuntary laughter, this is an engaging memoir infused with the humour and insight one would expect from Pakistan's first stand-up comedian.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"The book is written with humour, as you would expect, but it's also written with compassion - no-one is denigrated or written off."

"A fascinating account of life in Karachi with many details of family life, schooling, business and leisure."

"I found it an exceedingly interesting book overall."

"It is a frank and often humorous account of Sami's life. He doesn't shirk the hurt of being the butt of racial prejudice."

It's an insider's account of the life of well-off, educated city people in Pakistan."

"I think this would be an important and valuable additIon to the BDS catalogue."


Categories: Non fiction, Biography, Contemporary, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Humour, Morals/Ethics, Religion, Social commentary/perspectives, Pakistan, Australia, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Dead Wake
Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2015
Pages : 418
In May 1915 when the Cunard liner Lusitania left New York bound for Liverpool laden with more than 2000 people, it was reputedly the fastest civilian vessel afloat. But it was to be no match for the German submarine Unterseeboat-20. What had happened to the previous unofficial gentleman's agreement that had protected civilian ships? And how could the ensuing catastrophe have occurred when the U-boat was being tracked by British Intelligence?

Comprehensively researched from its human tragedy through to the details of maritime history and the perfect 'storm' of events, this is a vividly described account of a never to be forgotten disaster.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"A very well researched and vividly descriptive book."

"This is much more than a marine shipping disaster analysis because the whole background of the event is fully covered."

"For a comprehensive work of history, it's a very easy read."

"A book that reminds us of the horrors of war and the ability of countries to ruthlessly destroy those in other countries."

"I gave this book a 10 out of 10 as it is very well written and very informative."

"Anyone who enjoys extending their knowledge of history should find this book really interesting - perhaps 'enjoy' is not the right word to use because of the nature of the book."

Categories: Non fiction, War theme, Grief/loss, Historical, Political, Social commentary/perspectives, Tragedy/disaster, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

August 2015
Reach
Genre : Fiction: New Zealand
Year : 2014
Pages : 286
An artist, a vet and a deep sea diver. In this unlikeliest of vocational juxtapositions, Quinn is totally focused on her up and coming exhibition, her partner Marcus is tentatively re-establishing a relationship with his estranged daughter, and Callum? Well, Callum is there in his badly parked house truck pondering the great love of his life: the sea. As they contemplate the 'what next' of their lives, each must weigh up the risks and rewards of their choices.

With its tantalisingly familiar New Zealand coastal setting and its hard to relinquish, well realised characters, this an assured contemporary novel.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Beautiful writing - it becomes a compelling read. I couldn't put it down!"

"A very thought-provoking book that will lead me to read other Fearnley novels."

"This book is literary but still approachable and very readable."

"Fearnley does an incredible job to keep the reader's interest with only three main characters in the story."

"I felt a connection with all the main characters with all their strengths and weaknesses. They are flawed but real."

"The landscape described can only be NZ - it almost becomes another character in the book."


Categories: Fiction - New Zealand, Environmental, Grief/loss, Relationships, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

Underground Girls of Kabul, The
Genre : Non Fiction
Year : 2014
Pages : 336
When the birth of a boy is a cause for celebration and the birth of a girl the absolute opposite, families in patriarchal Afghanistan must survive this cultural reality the best way they can. Bacha posh - a daughter raised as a son - is a solution that enables families to maintain their honour. From childhood and puberty to marriage and beyond, this book investigates the experience of bacha posh, their place in history and the outcomes for them and their families.

Lifting the lid on the hidden lives of Afghani women this is a thought-provoking and profoundly moving story from an award winning journalist.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"Easy to read. It grabs your interest from the outset."

"A thought-provoking and profoundly moving account of the lives of these women that simply leaves you gasping."

"It's a book that would encourage much discussion - our world is more liberated yet still retains some of the threads of a patriarchal society."

"It's an interesting and well-written book but not an uplifting read."

"The power of the book comes from the individual stories that the author investigates."


Categories: Non fiction, Contemporary, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Feminism, Gender Issues, Morals/Ethics, Political, Relationships, Social commentary/perspectives, Afghanistan, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Genre : Fiction
Year : 2013
Pages : 320
When Rosemary was just five, back in Bloomingdale, Indiana, the Cooke family began to implode. Now, almost two decades on, it is time for Rosemary to retrace her steps and understand how her sister Fern could have disappeared and why her brother Lowell is also among the missing. Most important of all will be the question that could be asked of her parents: How could they?

Featuring serious ethical conundrums, a unique sibling dynamic and a dramatic revelation or two, this is an irresistible and moving story of an extraordinary family.

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"The reader can expect that books listed on the Booker shortlist will be of the highest writing standard - this book is no exception."

"Loved the surprise element of the plot - didn't expect that one!"

"There are moving moments that had me in tears, but also humour and tragedy. It is an unusual but totally appealing story."

"I think people interested in ethical issues of research and/or animal rights will enjoy this book."


Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Environmental, Psychology, Relationships, 2017 Title - New to Scheme

 
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