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There was irony here: I have never been comfortable in a world fraught with electrons. From the parking lot we were herded to another holding tank in a large cafeteria. A television near the front door was tuned to CNN; the crawl across the bottom of the screen noted that the national threat level had been lowered from orange to yellow.

Pass it on. At P. Fog and dusk had settled over Fort Campbell. Troop, Ten- hut! Who does not have a mask? DeGrace held up a canvas sack and read the stenciled number. A squadron of buses pulled up. DeGrace stood in the door of the first bus and looked each boarding soldier in the eye. With a hiss of air brakes the convoy rolled toward the airfield, led by a police cruiser with flashing blue lights. I noticed a 10th Mountain Division combat patch on his right sleeve and asked DeGrace if he had been in Somalia when the unit deployed to Mogadishu in the mids.

He had indeed, and he had also served in Haiti, in Bosnia, and on various other deployments. I hope this is the last time I have to do this. He told me that his father, also named Henry, had enlisted at sixteen, deceiving the authorities with the birth certificate of an older brother who had died in infancy. Henry Senior was eighty-two years old and had worked in the post office for forty-five years after the war; Henry Junior had a Screaming Eagle tattooed on his calf. It was that kind of unit, a confederacy not only of foxhole brothers but also of fathers and sons.

The buses pulled up to an empty hangar and Chalk 19 trooped inside. Metal bleachers lined two walls and the troops settled in with a clatter of rifles. A chaplain at a table draped with a desert camouflage dropcloth handed out vest-pocket New Testaments and a devotional volume titled The Power of Crying Out.

The atmosphere in the hangar was neither jovial nor somber. For most troops, the day of trouble was not here yet, only the day of leaving.

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Soldiers who still required inoculations peeled off their uniform blouses and lined up to be pricked against smallpox or hepatitis or influenza. Sergeants circulated through the hangar, herding female soldiers toward a restroom for a final pregnancy test; expectant mothers could not deploy to a combat zone. A young specialist groaned and tossed her rucksack on the floor. Snatches of conversation drifted from the bleachers. A few soldiers made final, teary calls on their cell phones. Some Chinook helicopter pilots, I knew, had been home from Afghanistan for only three weeks before shipping out for Kuwait.

Maybe when I retire. So guess what? The whole division is going. Much palaver was devoted to whether Chalk 19 would land in Kuwait City before midnight on February 28, which would earn each soldier an income tax exemption for the entire month of February. Few soldiers considered themselves mercenaries, but most were keenly aware of the deployment pay entitlements.

There was a commotion in the middle of the hangar and I spied an officer I had known since the Gulf War, when he was a major. Now Benjamin C. Freakley was a brigadier general and the assistant division commander for operations, often referred to simply as the O. Freakley was a force of nature, an oldfashioned warfighter with a big heart and five sons.

Freakley had been delegated by Petraeus to oversee the deployment; he was unhappy both at being left behind for two weeks and at various bureaucratic malfeasances, which he was now trying to correct. The Turkish government appeared disinclined to let the 4th Infantry Division attack through eastern Turkey into northern Iraq. If it gets into Baghdad, or the other cities, the plan is to use precision strikes by identifying points of resistance and hitting quick and hard, then getting out. There will be no kicking-in of doors. Freakley strode off to resume his scourging.

At 10 P. Each soldier carried twenty rounds of ammunition in the unlikely event the st would have to come off the plane shooting. I pulled my wheeled backpack behind me, feeling like a tourist. An assistant chaplain, Major Len Kircher, ruminated on the flurry of marriages that had preceded the deployment. One accommodating local magistrate had even been dubbed the Love Judge.

Kircher disapproved. The failure rate is too high. Four big charter jets waited in the fog, including a Northwest Airlines Boeing and an airliner whose fuselage advertised Hawaiian vacations. The runway lights were orange and weird,casting long shadows. Chalk 19 tramped in a column along the tarmac to World Airways Flight As the soldiers climbed the boarding ramp and stowed their weapons beneath the seats, butts toward the aisles, a flight attendant apologized over the public-address system: because of a broken valve, the aircraft had no running water.

At A.


Spiderman leaped around the cabin during the in-flight movie. Christianna McCausland. Spring Idyll Press. Alden Forth was raised to believe she could never have true love. When a revivalist minister upsets the balance in her town, she must decide if love will save her or destroy her. Could anyone justify the murder of million people if it would save an American city?

The new, unelected U. Michael E. Robbie Jaspers embraces grounded values, principles, and the simple lifestyle of a River Rat who finds and saves his life. He then becomes a River Rat himself. Liliana Joo is your average teenage drama queen—with a twist. High school can be tough, but when she deals with both personal and academic life, she finds trouble to meddle in. Augustus Herring experiences flying machine success and a series of catastrophic setbacks. Cancer turned year-old Dr. Kevin J. A scientist vanishes on a dinosaur dig. Hired to find him, PI Harry Przewalski chases treachery and murder from the bone field of petrified skeletons to the bone rooms of the museum.

In a case that tests the bonds of time, Det. Velasquez is thrust into two cases, a rape and the year-old murder of her friend, as she digs into this sick, gritty tale of evil. Fifteen-year-old Austin Moreland finds his life turned upside down when he unexpectedly enters the foster system and is mistaken for another teen who has been setting fires. Don Daglow. Sausalito Media. Kelly Consulting. A thriller about U.

Marines testing a top secret time travel technology. Their missions are a roller-coaster ride of emotions that take them to hell and back. A disgraced former military attorney reluctantly returns home, only to be assigned a case defending a former classmate accused of murder. Alice Sandoval. Christian Faith Publishing. With great effort, he solves the crime. Eva Guardia believes that she killed her son 18 years ago.

The beautiful Kim Jae Pak has spent the years since her escape from North Korea training with a martial arts grand master. But soon she is caught in a murderous past continuing into the present after the death of her beloved uncle Yoshi. Frank Martorana. VinChaRo Ventures. Reclusive veterinarian Kent Stephenson and his dog, Lucinda, put their lives on the line to defend their small town from a cult that thrives on all that animal lovers despise.

Eileen Enwright Hodgetts. Emerge Publishing. The first book in the Truth Allies Trilogy about a friendly artificial intelligence that resets our entire society and world. A gifted engineer discovers that gravity is not a singular force and that it can be harnessed, rendering all related technology obsolete; a dystopian outcome seems inevitable.

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In the 15th century, three kingdoms are caught up in a decades-long war that may finally end, but no one realizes that dark forces are waiting to invoke chaos as a full moon rises. An urban fantasy about a girl thrown into the magical world of the Fae.

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Becca must fight for answers and accept hard truths if she is to stay alive. In 17th-century Spain, soulmates suffer and fight against prejudice, social rules, and politics in a story of love and magic, tragedy and humor, dreams and reality. Sophia wants to save the world with her psychic gifts. Nate just wants Sophia. Murder pulls them into a battle for the future, but can they survive?

While there, she meets Christian. James D. WestBow Press. The author offers concise minilessons for devout Christians and newcomers alike. Candace Nadine Breen. The past and the present unfold. I found myself thinking that the sweltering, claustrophobic atmosphere of the tale combined with the lush, vivid descriptions of Tangier itself would make an equally enjoyable film—and it turns out that Scarlett Johansson has already been cast in the role of Alice in a forthcoming production. No mere chronological travelogue—there are plenty of those—this is a freewheeling narrative which often sees the author step into the historical account himself and relate his own experience.

Thomas highlights incidents that illuminate the two-way encounters of Pacific islander and the Europeans. Make no mistake. This is political literature. It is about trees and humans and the fate of the planet. It is a poetic call to arms. It is brilliant. No matter what theory prevails at any given time, I have always tended to think that good literature is potent in that it can at least influence our moral compass.

I would like to believe that great literature will always influence us for the better. We have one decade left to avoid catastrophic climate change, and even the head of Shell has said that we need to plant the equivalent of another Amazon rainforest immediately. I read The Overstory before it was shortlisted for the Booker, and I am writing this on the day before the winner is announced.

With luck, millions more will read it now. And do something worthwhile. Allen discusses her music, excess drug and alcohol use, and her mental health. She talks candidly about her chaotic childhood, the breakdown of her marriage, the ugly side of celebrity where men took advantage and of loss and grief. She is smart, witty and wise, talented and beautifully flawed. Its shadowy, extraordinary characters, the crepuscular settings in both the English countryside and London, and the detailed, imaginative plot, all written with grace and clarity. The Only Story by Julian Barnes is also a memorable love story, but a heartbreaking one.

Very affecting. Their struggles, their resilience, their relationship engage us completely and yet the perspective afforded by the author is large, poetic. He tells us, through this fantastic novel, that we are all displaced, all lurching through doors to other lives—even the woman who lives her whole life in one place as the neighbourhood transforms utterly around her.

To be alive on this planet is to be moved along. It surpassed the death toll of both WW1 18 million and WW2 60 million and probably the two combined. Yet how many people today have even heard of it?

The Liberation Trilogy, by Rick Atkinson

The story reads like a modern blend of Graham Greene and Paul Coehlo—weaving magical realism through an otherwise familiar world. As Saeed and Nadia escape the religious conflict that devastates their home, they share moments of fear, anger, and tenderness in the face of the unknown. It was a moving and surprisingly sweet journey, told without sanctimony or artifice. He was a master of composition, managing to layer information into photos that may at first sight look simple.

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His work is genius in its simplicity. The story of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft, and a group of magazine writers who would become pioneers of investigative journalism. Not only a well-written page turner, but a journey back into Australian s suburban culture. Set to become a classic. He reflects on a lifetime of engagement with the Middle East, first as an Orientalist scholar at the University of London and later as an academic in the United States and occasional adviser to Western governments and their allies in the Middle East.

He knew personally many of the key players in the region during the last century and relates an endless store of surprising and frequently amusing anecdotes of political gamesmanship, misunderstandings and lost opportunities. But, for me, the last four books Sense of an Ending, Levels of Life, The Noise of Time, and now, The Only Story , show us a writer at the peak of his powers, and focused on what truly matters. The Only Story is, put simply, about love what other story is there, in the end? His books should be required reading for all of us. Two years after she leaves Helena, a former student, Patrick Browning, is jailed on a murder charge.

Kuo abandons her law career, moves back to Arkansas and teaches him to read and write while he awaits trial. She brilliantly examines the effects of race, class, poverty and privilege. I still catch myself daydreaming about certain scenes and the extraordinary cast of supporting characters who are all so vivid in my mind. You can imagine how that goes.

You can almost feel the heat and dust. It is narrated by fifteen year old Jaxie, which is a powerful drive throughout the novel. Why is he there? The other book I loved was published last year but I only got around to reading it this year—and that is Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. The siblings experience much of the world vicariously through the weekly issues of a Build-It-At-Home Encyclopedia, and Lenny, as family chronicler, allows us to engage with everyone who intersects with their single parent family. I encourage parents to give this to their kids in the hope it inspires them likewise.

Marianne and Connell attend the same school, but come from very different backgrounds and families. The reader gets to know them as they navigate their friendship and relationships through the final year of high school to University in Dublin and beyond. Well, Eleanor is not even remotely fine, rather she is a bit of a mess. With no friends at work or at home, she spends her week days alienated from her colleagues and spends her weekends drinking vodka. She lives a life of endless routine, wearing the same clothes to work every day, eating the same lunch.

Then something happens, and Eleanor discovers a new way of living, one that brings friends, hope and happiness This is a joy of a book. Keiko is a convenience store worker and she loves her job. She finds peace and purpose in simple daily tasks.

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How Keiko finds a partner, and how she tries to live a life away from the convenience store, makes a great read. Funny, quirky, absurd, this book is for those, like me, who often find themselves at odds with the world. Sophie: Hunger by Roxane Gay—The heart-wrenching memoir of one of my favourite feminist writers. It reveals the physical effects sexual trauma can have on your body, and the complicated relationship between food, hunger and self-image. Gay is still struggling with her unruly body, and that is refreshing to read.

A fast paced and moving narrative of a most terrible coming of age. A prison novel of confinement and consequence. Drnaso channels the malaise of our times through a story about murder, those left behind, and conspiracy theories in the wake of a national crisis. I agree with James. Drnaso piles on page after page of uneasy paranoid silence—in both word and image Basically the erudite narrator, Fay, sits and listens to people; often complete strangers, and in her relaying what they tell her, lays out a myriad of discursive, philosophical commentaries on the state of being alive.

John: Scrublands by Chris Hammer—Sent by his editor to a dusty Riverland town 12 months after a mass shooting, a journalist with his own demons, asks why a priest murdered parishioners on the forecourt of the church? There is some great writing here. My pick for best Aussie crime novel this year. A consideration of choices and their context in the lives of ordinary mortals. Small in scale, light of touch, spare and apt in its use of metaphor. A pleasure. Fascinating to learn just how huge cycling was in Australia and Europe especially in the 20s and 30s and the almost inhumane endurance Oppy and his contemporaries displayed.

Great read. Viki: Dictator Literature by Daniel Kalder—Daniel Kalder really does seem to have consumed the sum total tedium of all of the opuses written by the publishing-mad dictator fraternity of the 20th C. The author illuminates extraordinary connections between science: evolutionary-psychology, and the historic, philosophical and practical aspects of Buddhism. Far from theoretical, every page is filled with strikingly applicable revelations. Highly recommended! Convenience Store Woman, Sayaka Murata. Keiko is a square peg in a round hole, happy in her small role as a convenience store worker but feeling the pressure from friends and family to conform.

A quietly quirky little novel which speaks to us on what it means to be happy while challenging society's perception of what happiness should look like. And what a journey! This book will make you furious. And it should! It draws focus to an insidiously entrenched aspect of our society, confronting but essential to look at. What if the victim is smart, angry and finds their own strength?

With skill and courage Lee is able to invert this doctrine leaving us with a slither of hope! Nathaniel and his sister are abandoned by their parents and put into the care of some interesting and sometimes dodgy characters. Years later Nathaniel wants to know why his parents did this…and who were they really…and what were they doing all that time?

Now slaves to the Greeks the women must endure a life of hardship, at the same time mourning the terrible loss of their husbands, their fathers, their brothers, their homes burnt to the ground, their wealth stolen. I cried as I turned the last page. Adele Ferguson - Banking Bad - 5th August. Erik Jensen and Josephine Tovey - 2nd July. Full Events Calendar. No one logged in.

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