Kanata Audio Books
Recommends...

Select from this list with confidence. Books here have been listened to by us and passed the test. The test we apply is: do you really look forward to getting into your car again because you'll be able to listen to more of it? The subject matter is wide and includes great literature, non-fiction that will expand your personal horizon, and thrillers that are well written (not so common). See Books I've read recently for star ratings of all the books read including those I didn't like so much which did not make it to this page. It is my hope that if you like some of the books reviewed here, you can be confident of choosing others, since our tastes may be similar. - Tony Copple, proprietor and reviewer.



The List

All books are audiobooks unless stated otherwise.
Books ship within 2 - 3 days unless otherwise indicated.


Books I've read recently
Just one more book
Cliff's Top Ten Books for
making sense of the world in 2002
Kanata Audio Books Home Page
Amazon breakthrough novel award
Books about the Beatles (not audio)
Amazon.com's "Daily Scoop" page
Audio Publishers Association
Google Books
Goodreads

Arts, entertainment | Business, Financial planning | Biography | Christian | Classics | DVD
Health & Wellness | Historical & Geographical | Fiction | Humour | Learning, Self-help
Science & Nature | Science Fiction | Short Stories | Sociology | Travel & Exploration

Biography

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt, read by the author.
Frank McCourt's superb reading of his own childhood is a triumph, with humour and compassion overcoming the stark poverty of slum living in the depression in New York and Limerick. It has forever molded the way I will view life as lived by a huge number of people on earth: never knowing whether the next meal will be more than bread and sweetened water, and when a huge treat was to share an egg between five.

A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr, read by John Shea
A legal thriller - and a true story of the business life of lawyer Jan Schlichtmann , a man who, bulldog like, held on when all others would have let go, on behalf of his clients poisoned by polution from industrial waste. This book shows what goes on between opposing lawyers in a society where what's right is only relevant to one side, and this is legal! The personal dedication shown to his profession is in the class of a Shackleton in the Antarctic.

Backcloth - By Dirk Bogarde, read by the author
I believe this is one of several autobiographical volumes written by actor - writer - artist Bogarde, who I've always enjoyed since he played opposite Brigitte Bardot in Doctor at Sea. But that isn't mentioned in this work which covers his life in the army before the movie period (he made 60 films) and the time from 1980 when he and Glenda Jackson made the The Patrica Neal Story for TV. After being recommended for Emmys and other awards for this, when it actually showed on US TV the ratings were poor, so it sank without trace, never realizing the potential for the big screen. He inspired me so much with this episode contrasting culture with mass entertainment that we are all subjected to that I have tracked down an unofficial DVD and look forward to its arrival here soon. Bogarde was a fine writer and ready with many opinions that you don't hear often to which I related to nearly all.

The Beatles - the biography - by Bob Spitz, read by Albert Molina.
The Beatles mean a lot to me, and the 11 hours of recordings they made 45 years ago benefitted my life more than any other entertainment. This is a fine work, capturing their magic, accurately recording their story in a level of detail only matched by The Beatles Anthology. It also covers the extreme angst of their breakup. Since then of course, their flame has burned brighter as each generation discovers them through the genius of their music and its remarkable recording quality. Bob Spitz has done the world a favour, bringing his great talent as a writer to allow those future generations as well as those of us who lived through it to hear the story. One week from today Paul McCartney plays Ottawa for the first time, and I will be there, all the better prepared for it thanks to this book.

Beyond Miss World - by Jennifer Hosten
Hard back. Audiobook not available.
Beyond Miss World is an autobiography of Jennifer Hosten, Grenada's Miss World 1970. A diverse and fascinating story of growing up in Grenada. Her victory at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England and subsequent world tour with Bob Hope. As Grenada's High Commissioner to Canada. Her career with the government of Canada as a diplomat. The challenges of Third world development and beyond. 
 Sample "Miss World," by The Mighty Sparrow

Bob Dylan Chronicles Vol 1 by Bob Dylan, read by Sean Penn.
I hadn't known Dylan as a prose writer, yet this book's prose outshines the majority of audiobooks I have ever read. Time after time the reader is awed by his original power of expression, and this is an intimate history of how his mind works. Simply, Dylan is a major intellect, and has opened up new vistas for us. And all of that would have been just as true had I not been a great fan. Add that and Chronicles is a major achievement. I can't wait for Vol 2.

Cash - The autobiography of Johnny Cash by Johnny Cash, with Patrick Carr.
Paperback. Audiobook not available. It was my sister Neesa who found this and then gave it me for Christmas 2016. Of course I was a fan and had watched "Walk the Line," but these did not prepare me for his autobiography. What a warm and loving human being. And so honest and caring. Non judging. Husband to June Carter Cash, an angel and he knew it very well. Contains the best description of what it's like to be addicted (to prescription drugs) that I have read. His insights into his music business contemporaries are valuable and intriguing, particularly his respect for Elvis Presley, and his association with Sam Phillips' Sun stable of artists that popularised rock'n'roll which led to rock, my favourite genre. I feel I owe him a personal debt. Permeating the book is his strong Christian faith, without which who knows how he would have ended - certainly not as an American hero. 'Walk the Line' (movie) chooses to ignore this central theme in his life. Hard to imagine how anyone could read this without being drawn to Christianity. It's a work of (accidental?) evangelism.

Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee, read by the author.
Rich language, read in later life by the author. [This edition seems not to be availanle on Amazon. Comes from Isis Books.] Although one might have thought that lives were simpler in those days, this story suggests otherwise, with intrigues from murder downwards, but where the village looked after its own without the help of police. The stories of his uncles and their exploits was intriguing.

The Cynical Idealist A Spiritual Biography of John Lennon, by Gary Tillery.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
Recommended by Alan Chrisman.

Dean & Me by Jerry Lewis and James Kaplan, read by Gregory Jbara.
The story of the Martin & Lewis 10 year comedy partnership, and then the sad break-up. Good insights into show biz, and for fans a story with laughter and tears. I would love to see Dean's side of the story, but I don't think he wrote it down. His daugher Deana has written "Memories are made for this" about her father.

Don't let's go to the dogs tonight by Alexandra Fuller, read by Lisette Lecat.
I chose this because it was large and read by Lisette Lecat. I enjoyed the superb reading, but even more the marvellous writing, in which Ms Fuller transports us into her world gowing up from young child to mid-teens in war torn and poverty torn African countries that she nevertheless loves with a passion, despite everything. As a history of the decolonialization of those countries it is superb - more so because of her child's view. And Lisette's command of the many voices is breathtaking.

Down and Dirty Pictures by Peter Biskind, read by Phil Gigante
Taught me 99% of what I now know about the business of (independent) film making. I now have a list of about 20 films I missed because I never heard of most of them that I now want to see. The book is minutely detailed, presumably from interviews, though one has to assume that the actual dialogue is a guestimate. (Judging from this book, movie executives find it hard to formulate a sentence excluding the word f***. I have been in business 40 years and seldom hear it used.) The stories of Miramax and Sundance needed to be told, and I found it fairly compelling. The business aspect was very interesting - the expenditure on making movies is mind boggling, and every one is a major risk. I will watch all movies with a different eye in future. There is one awful grammatical howler that somehow got past the proof reader, when Harvey Weinstein says, "Bob and I's pay is ...." instead of Bob's and my pay is. (Although Harvey may well have said it, it serves no purpose to promulgate such a parody of the English language that some readers might follow suit.)

Einstein by Walter Isaacson, read by Edward Hermann.
This is a long listen, and worth every hour. I had learned little about Einstein in my own education and his famous theories appeared baffling. This book not only describes every aspect of his life from childhood, but Mr. Isaacson does a pretty good job of explaining his science in terms that a layman can understand. And guess what? Einstein's thought experiments are accessible by anyone; they were designed to be. The book has been meticulously researched and it is gratifying that so many sources of information, particularly private letters, have been made available. Our lives today are hugely influenced by his vision and perseverance, and not least by his initiative in allerting President Roosevelt of the potential of chain reactions and splitting unranium atoms. He fell foul of the US security departments, though misrepresentation and ignorance on their parts, and Isaacson puts the lid on that nonsense. John Lennon had problems with them too.

Elvis Presley - The Man, The Life, The Legend by Pamela Clarke Keogh, read by Anna Fields
This is a warm, sympathetic and helpful account, and I recommend it to fan like myself who may not have studied his path from poverty to being the most famous man in the world.

The Escapes and Evasions of an Obstinate Bastard by Dominick Graham
Not available from Amazon yet. Paperback published by Wilton 65, Bishop Wilton, York, YO42 1RY, England, or e-mail Anita Graham, ac.graham@rogers.com.
Dominick Graham's story of battle, imprisonment and escape from POW camp in Italy in 1944 and 600 mile trek to freedom. Recommended by his daughter Anita, Ottawa resident. All profits from the sale of this book will be given to the Monte San Martino Trust to provide bursaries for the children and grandchildren of Italians who helped British prisoners of war 'on the run' in Italy in 1943 and 1944.

Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai, read by Shugith Varughese.
Two fascinating stories in one seen through the perceptive eyes of the author as a child: culminating in the flight of his Tamil family from racially-rioting Colombo, Sri lanka, (to Canada) against the backdrop of the author's discovery of his homosexuality and its effect on his family. In fact this was more instructive to me about the nature of homosexuality than anything I have previously read - not that I have read a lot.

Here, There and Everywhere by Geoff Emerick & Howard Massey, read by Martin Jarvis.
Only just started this but am enjoying the story of the recording of just one song so far, Tomorrow Never Knows, that I want to recommend it heartily to my Beatle friend and collaborator on the Ottawa Beatles Site , John Whelan, without delay....After finishing the audiobook - the initial promise was more than realized. This is the best book I have finished reading about the Beatles (I am still in the middle of the Bob Spitz biography). In Emerick hands, they become fully human, warts and all, and the warts, particularly Lennon's (and Yoko's) are huge. I have some knowledge of audio engineering and some experience of guitar playing and this rings true for me. One oddity is that though Strawberry Fields was recorded during the Pepper sessions, he fails to mention that - or why - it wasn't included on Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, but only as a single (in UK at least).
For a longer review and comments.

Hughes: the private diaries, memos and letters by Richard Hack, narrated by Dan Cashman.
Deliciously long, unabridged and well read biography of that nasty piece of work Howard Hughes, who had the natural ability to make money and make and fly airoplanes, and buy and sell businesses, but whose interpersonal skills, love for other humans and plain humanity were zero. Because he was too arrogant to take advice from anyone he died intestate, giving up huge amounts in death taxes. I enjoyed listening to this immensely, and not only because it shows yet again that money can't buy happiness or love.

It's a Long Way Home by Alan Chrisman read by the author
Not available from Amazon yet. Paperback or audio file available direct from the author, alanchrisman(at)hotmail.com.
This is listed because I am privileged to know Alan and he was kind enough to give me both audio and MSWord copies. Only a small number of people are currently aware. For (music) historians this can be a significant source, and Ottawa residents will relate very well. Alan immigrated from the US in 1969, a poignant time. Finding a job taxed his capabilities though he was a university student, and his exploits and relationships in Ottawa eking out a living are so different from those that we usually read about. His love of music, and particularly John Lennon drew him into the music industry, promoting concerts and local artists. I met him after the 1995 Ottawa Beatles Convention which he organized, and this inspired me to found the Ottawa Beatle Site. Fast forward to today, and he has started writing songs, and is still organizing concerts and guiding bands. He knows all of Ottawa's key music personalities.

Jesus by Deepak Chopra, read by the author.
I have placed this in the biography section rather then the Christian section, lest any might think Deepak had converted. That is not to say I didn't find the book very interesting; even unique in its slant on the early life of Jesus, written in the style of a historical novel. My problem with the book is that some new Christians could read it and have their faith subverted, for this seems to me a Hindu interpretation of the nature of God, suggesting God is in every rock and snowflake. Interestingly it gets some things right that many churchgoers are still confused about (until they take the Alpha course) such as the relationship between Jesus and God.

John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me by Tony Barrow.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
"The Real Beatles story" is a pretty good story, according to John Whelan, chief researcher of the Ottawa Beatles Site. Not just for Beatles fans, but they will really enjoy this.

Lennon: Man, myth and music by Tim Riley.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
Recommended by Alan Chrisman.

Life by Keith Richards and James Fox, read by Johnny Depp, Joe Hurley and Keith Richards
Blows the lid off the drug ridden lifestyle. I would say this book should be read by counsellors working to help addicts since it appears better than any medical treatise to explain and depict the motivations and lives of those who choose to shoot up. For Keith and many of his friends that is made possible by the never-ending supply of cash generated by the Rolling Stones over these 50 years. It seems that many of the rich and famous took this route; not just musicians. Keith makes a case for using pure (and therefore very expensive) shit, as he would call it, yet much as he wants to prove he was in control much of the time, the facts suggest otherwise. The second key subject of the book is the music - how it was made. As an amateur guitarist this was fascinating to me, to the extent that it has turned me into a fan of the Stones (I just went out and bought 'Exile on Main Street'). My other Stones CD, Between the Buttons was always my favourite but inexplicably it isn't mentioned. Keith philosophizes about the joys of friendship, and his deep love for his own kith and kin are unquestioned. The book's real trump card is that you can't help liking him despite everything. There is no doubt about his intelligence and drive, but he wasn't intelligent enough to stay clean from the beginning. When money rolls in, there is less incentive to stay clean and sober just to make a living, which has always been my motivation. He has forever changed the way I will think about bands, R & B, musicians and particularly guitarists. Having several readers is a first in my experience, and it works; all do a great job.

Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton, read by the author. CD format.
I listened to this immediately after "My Life" by her husband Bill. As the story of how an incredibly talented and dedicated lady fulfilled her role as First Lady in historic times, and as wife and mother, this is a "must read". Add to that the insight into the disgraceful tactics of political enemies whose only motivation was that the Republicans would regain power, and this book stands alongside "My Life" as a bastion of decency in a political environment inhabited by some very flawed people. Hillary deserves to be a future president, and the world would be the better for it.

Nick Drake by Patrick Humphries.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
I bought this out-of-print (?) book at a wonderful "Songs of Nick Drake" concert in Ottawa 9 Nov 2012, part of the tour put together by Luke Jackson with a string quartet which included Sahra Featherstone, and guitarist Kurt Swinghammer. Ron Sexsmith sang 'Time has told me.' Luke had brought a batch of the Patrick Humphries book signed by Patrick, and I am so glad I bought one. Over the past two years I have discovered the sublime songs that Nick created in a burst of creative energy in the early 70's, so I was ready to read about this young man, who is causing such a stir 40 years later. Type 'the songs of nick drake' into YouTube and wallow in the small group of excellent interpretations now available. I have listed many of these on my Nick Drake page. Nick was doomed from what we now call mental illness which left him bereft of social skills. He hated playing in public, so was unable to promote the music that Joe Boyd and Island Records recognized as being superb. The quality of the recordings he and they were able to collaborate on means that today thousands are enjoying these timeless songs. In today's world of indie labels he would likely have sunk without trace.

Madonna Now by Mark Bego, read by Mark Rolston.
I like biographies of music stars and composers, and was pleasantly surprized by this short book (1993) which attempts to explain an extaordinary life. It motivated me to borrow the video of "Who's that Girl?" which bombed at the box office. I couldn't figure out how they would know if it was good or bad if they didn't go see it. In fact it's a good film in the genre of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and I didn't fall asleep watching it!

The Path to Power by Margaret Thatcher, read by the author
A breath of fresh political air from a Lady who saw matters clearly, identified what was wrong with the system, and fixed it. This memoire concentrates on her life from childhood to becoming prime minister, and then fast forwards to her prescription for the western world for economic prosperity and moral values. (It does not cover her time while P.M. - The Downing Street Years. While most of us assume we have neither the brains nor the cunning to grasp top leadership, Thatcher's account shows that without subterfuge but with determination and confidence in her ability such dreams can be realized, and this story I found inspiring because she is not superwoman with quirks, but a regular person who cared enough. As with many successful politicians at the end she was more appreciated outside Britain than within (I emmigrated to Canada during her time in office). The final part of the book should be required reading for all presidents, prime ministers and dictators, as she logically destroys collectivism and socialism.

Mark Twain by Geoffrey C Ward, Dayton Duncan, Ken Burns, performed by Bill Meisle.
Hemingway rated Huckleberry Finn "the best book we've ever had." This biography pulls material from Twain's novels and short stories, but also lectures and letters and ends with a fascinating interview with frequent Twain portrayer Hal Holbrook. I enjoyed it so much particularly anything written or spoken by Twain, who had a way of turning every sentence into a memorable proverb. What a creative genious he was, and just as relevant for today.

My remarkable Journey by Larry King, read by the author.
At one point in this remarkable story. Larry actually bursts out laughing as he reads one of many many amusing incidents. I never heard a narrator do that - by Larry King is unique. I'm giving it five stars; four for the autobiography, and one for the wide variety of people involved, most famous, such as all the presidents of recent times, but others his wives and children. Bringing the family members in is the reason you must listen to this as an audiobook. Larry is a very bright and wise man, which is why he won the respect of so many in our times. Listening to him is an education, though he never went to college. I loved this book. A measure of ther quality of the writing is that many things he's passionate about - sports, television - don't much interest me, but he made them interesting.

The Soundtrack of my life by Clive Davis, with Anthony De Curtis, read by Dennis Boutsikanis.
This will be a long review, so I'll tell you now it gets a rare 6 stars on my books read page. You should also know that my love affair with pop music started in about 1955, and continues unabated. To read Clive Davis' story kind of legitimizes a key aspect of life, since I too believe pop music to be an important element of society. That this Harvard-educated lawyer, and very smart, should decide to build a career in the music industry, guiding artists in their choices is music to my ears. And, folks, Clive has guided a huge slew of music to your ears over his long career, beginning with his discovery of Janis Joplin, and bringing us Whitney Houston, whom I would say is Clive's pick for the greatest artist he discovered.

And now, confession time. I had never appreciated Whitney until I read this book. I had noticed just a few of her songs and never bought any of her records. I dug out a couple of cassettes that I inherited from my niece but had never played. And then I went to the store and bought "Whitney: The Greatest Hits," which has been reissued in the Millennium Series as The Essential Whitney Houston. This disc is amazing, and I am hearing most of the songs for the first time! Goose bumps. How did I ever miss this genius singer till now? I am forever grateful to Clive Davis and that I found this book. I have also purchased several other LPs of Arista artists from the 80s in the last few days, including Aretha Franklin, another great singer I have failed to appreciate in the past.

While Clive wasn't a music fan as a kid, he rapidly became one after he joined Columbia Records as corporate lawyer. In a relatively short time he headed that organization. His relationships with artists like Dionne Warwick were exceptional, as he brought them back into the limelight. By matching songs to artists, and sometimes persuading them not to write their own, he generated smash hit singles and blockbuster albums for them which, left to their own devices they would never have done. Today's plethora of 'índie' artists need Clive Jameses. His pre-Grammy parties showcased his artists. He took intense pleasure in their success. Another crowning achievement was the return of Carlos Santana to fame and fortune for the second time with the release by Arista of 'Supernatural,' which Clive crafted with him, 30 years after signing him to Columbia.

Another dimension of the book that is so insightful is the corporate competitive struggles of record lables and their business hierarchies. Clive reported to businessmen who often had little interest in music. When at age 67 he was offered a top management position that would separate him from daily contact with his beloved artists, he was shattered, and they were confused. Business people are often promoted to stratospheric positions where they control people with far more talent than them in most areas, other than bottom-line business. One result of this is poor decision-making at the highest levels, and dissatisfaction in the ranks which will eventually destroy companies. In Clive's case he was just smarter than most of his bosses. There is plenty in the book to enthrall students of business and entrepreneurs. There is big money to be made in the music industry, and this attracts many who wouldn't recognize a crotchet if they bumped into one.

Clive Davis has defined the music industry for 40 years. If all the units of pleasure felt in the hearts of music listeners over those years could be quantified, he would hold a record for giving pleasure to the human race. This book will give great pleasure to all who ever enter music stores. Watch a brief video of Clive 24 Nov 2014 on The Voice.

Still with us by Msenwa Oliver Mweneake.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
I purchased this book from my friend Cindy Yendt as a fundraiser for the Msenwa Foundation, knowing little other than the frightening front cover and her passionate recommendation. Now I know a whole lot more about DR Congo (the most dangerous country on earth), refugees and the huge Nyarugusu camp in Tanzania, and the gut determination of Oliver to get himself to another place (Canada) using the most powerful tool - education. The book mentions but does not dwell on the causes of the conflict, which include the illegal mining of coltan, an essential ingredient in many modern manufactured products including cell phones. That he survived is a series of miracles (by that I mean God's intervention) - hence the book's title. He is living proof that many individuals in war-torn countries are ethical, articulate, smart, brave, caring, and passionate followers of Jesus. Without all of these characteristics, people will either succumb to violent death, or join the satanic forces of evil in their desperate efforts to survive by treading on any in their path. And yes, miracles are needed for them to survive against all odds and the sweeping inefficiencies of UN refugee camps and immigration systems worldwide. That Oliver has told this tale is hope for the future, if there is any compassion in the hearts of our political leaders.

Teacher Man by Frank McCourt, read by the author.
Are you a teacher? You will relate to this. Have you been in school? You will also; and that accounts for all of us. This is no sugar coated account or teaching or or life - but authenticity haunts every word. Disguised in these pages is a new paradigm of teaching, where the kids are more engaged and participatory, and if that takes writing excuse notes as subject matter, then we must thank McCourt for his unsullied originality. I need to read 'Tis.

True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter carey, narrated by Gianfranco Negroponte.
Paperback. Audiobook not available from Amazon; this link goes to Recorded books LLC.
My second Carey book, also chosen by weight, and it has opened up for me a fascination with this #1 Australian folk hero. I also watched the recent movie "Ned Kelly" but it seemed skimpy in comparison with Carey's beautifully crafted book. I was taken in completely by the suggestion that Ned himself had written every word in his journal, and I wasn't giving Carey much credit till I reached the interview with the author at the end.

My Life by Bill Clinton, read by the author. CD format.
I could listen to Bill Clinton talking all day long, but this book is far more important than entertainment. Here is a superior intellect at work for good, with the capability to achieve it when opposed on every front by lesser men with questionable motives. With Hillary beside him these two were dynamite, and the public didn't realize it because of the forces of negativity which spent millions in a conspiratorial endeavour to defeat good people with great goals, most of which were achieved. Bill's one proven lapse should be forgiven, and have been by the only one whose perspective really counts - Hillary.

Papa Hemingway by A.E.Hotchner, read by Robert Stack.
A "with affection" biography of Ernest Hemingway by Hotchner who became his long-term friend after being sent to interview him by Cosmopolitan. An insightfull account of the man's "gusto", his thinking and some of his travels.

Paul McCartney by Barry Miles.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
Until Paul writes his autobiography, this is the definitive account of his life, written largely through his words. This one is easy and fascinating to read, unlike some pop biographies.

Pilgrimage by James A Mitchener, read by the author.
James Mitchener is usually found under 'travel,' but this remarkable "I was there" story is better classified as biography of key parts of the lives of Lech Walesa and Pope John Paul II, as Michener tells his personal reminiscences of Poland and Rome in 1988.

Radio Wizzard - Edward Samuel Rogers by Ian A. Anthony.
Hardback. Audiobook not available
How come I never learned about Ted Rogers Sr. in school in England, or from my dad who taught me how to build radios as a kid? My Canadian wife Laurie-Ann was never taught about him either. Yet he almost single handedly propelled the fledgeling radio industry into mass production with his development of the detector vacuum tube, allowing sets to be powered from a light socket rather than unwieldy batteries. His engineering designs allowed his signals to be heard half way around the world. Then, with his pioneering station CFRB (RB stands for Rogers Batteryless) he galvanized the programming content being offered to the public. In these matters he was the world leader. So I say again, how come we didn't learn about him in school? Ian Anthony probably felt the same, and his book tells the story of this Canadian genius, his Quaker roots and family background, finally bringing us up to date with a brief survey of the spectacular business success of his son Ted Rogers Jr. whose name is known to every Canadian.

Sinatra - The Life by Anthony Summers and Robyn Swan, read by Tony Roberts.
The authors have covered his Mafia connections and aspects of the explosive political history of his times with equal emphasis to his music. There are no musical snippets - but everyone knows his songs. Once again the genious of the American Way to permit people from low beginnings to find fabulous material success is illustrated. The sad part is that Sinatra's main thrill in life appears to have been getting laid. A sad conclusion is that it seems unlikely that his success would have been achieved without Mafia help. His song "My Way" is an anthem to nihilism and ego (just my comment) illustrating the other side of the American dream. As a biography this is a first class piece of work and I enjoyed it immensely. For a biography with more emphasis on his music see "Why Sinatra Matters," by Pete Hamill, in these pages.

Seldom Disappointed by Tony Hillerman, read by the author.
This link takes you to the abridged version. As I write this I am actually just at tape 3 of the 8 tape set unabridged version, which Amazon appear not to have. To think I nearly gave up after side 1. By side 3 I was hooked. Some of the most authentic sounding desciptions of what war must really be like that I have ever read (and this just from the early parts of this glorious book, when he was still a teenager.) Contains the phrase: "So much for unsolicited advice," perfect for a web page I have been planning.

A Tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales from BBC Topical Features, narrated by Sue McGregor.
From her childhood to her funeral, this first class BBC documentary (are they ever less?) will be enjoyed by all with affection. Modern history in the making.

Warren Beatty, a private man by Suzanne Finstad, read by Dylan Baker.
Lives of the rich and famous! Warren and his sister Shirley MacLaine were raised far from show business, yet both have made indellible marks in theatre and film. The women couldn't resist Warren, and he didn't settle down with one till his mid fifties. Extremely bright, creative, a leader in styles whatever he took on, yet one doesn't envy him. (If he had only taken seriously the Christian faith he grew up with, he could have been really happy for much longer - just my opinion.)

Why Sinatra Matters by Pete Hamill, read by Michael Mitchell.
This has enhanced my pleasure from his music, and added insight to an understanding of the shear skill he brought to such things as phrasing and pronounciation. Sound's boring? It isn't, particularly to musicians. However there's a great bonus in the excellent description of social history as Italian Americans put their stamp on US culture, something else for which Sinatra could claim some credit.

Working Class Mystic A Spiritual Biography of George Harrison, by Gary Tillery.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
Recommended by Alan Chrisman.

Business, Financial Planning, Investing

A Branded World by Michael Levine, read by Lloyd James. Blackstone Audiobooks
Branding is a vital ingredient in mass market success today, but Levine's experience and advice can be applied to ones own life, family, web site and business however small. A business book that is of interest to any member of the public, which is the target of branding.

Business @ the Speed of Thought by Bill Gates, read by Roger Steffens
Don't hesitate; just buy or borrow this if you are a business owner, or company director, or responsible for efficiency in your company. Essential listening. The book extends the virtues of a "digital nervous system" to many aspects of today's society, such as government, education and the armed forced. Gates expands his vision, showing how an operating system, DOS, and its successors, really will save the world. We can glimpse what drives him and how he has become so successful.

Cashflow quadrant by Robert T. Kiyosaki, with Sharon L.Lechter, read by Jim Ward.
"Rich Dad's" guide to financial freedom, and the four quadrants: employee, self-employed, business owner, investor. Which are you, and do you understand the implications that has for your financial potential?

The Craft of Advice by Nick Murray.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
A series of so-powerful essays on the skills needed for giving financial advice to clients.

The Cycle of Leadership by Noel M. Tichy, with Nancy Caldwell, read by Ron McLarty.
I have only listened to the first hour of this so far, yet I rushed to get it on this database so that you, reader, will have knowledge of it without delay. The best book on leadership in business I have ever encountered, it pulls no punches, naming companies that are doing it right (there aren't many) and also some of those that aren't. The basic premise is the huge value brought by leaders who are teachers of other leaders, and the bonus is that they also learn, and the synergy created is powerful. I can't wait to discover how the book develops, but it has altered my attitude significantly as I prepare to teach Alpha course colleagues in the next few days. (Later note: my insights from this book definitely helped motivate me to give a better seminar.)

The End of Growth by Richard Heinberg
Can we expect the growth economy to continue indefinitely? "No!" says Richard Heinberg. After all, it only started with the industrial revolution. Several factors are aligned that suggest that seeing everything targeted to rise by x% a year is unrealistic from now on. He factors in oil supplies, debt and the financial crisis of 2008, the story of China, and the environmental crisis. The question is, is the government reading the signs? Are investment companies? Are you? What is the alternative to the growth economy? I have written briefly on this.
I work with investment specialists so I asked one of them for an opinion about the end of growth. I give you his comments as a kind of antidote to Heinberg, so that you may not get too depressed. "These type of publications have been floating around for years and are rarely right. When they are right it is usually coincidental because as we know the markets will always correct and economic growth will move through peaks and valleys. This author alone has written over ten books and knows quite well that headlines sell. Without question the global economy is moving along at a pace slower than what would be preferred but it continues to grow. And perhaps the more mature economies may not expand at the same levels as they once did, newer economies are emerging that are expected to be the driving engine of global growth for many years to come. As for what stock markets will deliver in the coming future, this is all speculative on this guy’s part. Fact is that forecasts are usually wrong which is why we are not in the practice of commenting on something like this because it is purely speculative. Indirectly however, our views of expected growth are reflected through our T series offerings which operate at a level of expected sustainability. In that respect we still believe that stock markets will continue to deliver mid single digit returns over the long term."

Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance In Your Twenties and Thirties by Beth Kobliner
Paperback. CD Audiobook not available. A highly readable and substantial guide to the grown-up realms of money and business.” —Deborah Stead, The New York Times. I have not read this yet but it was highly recommended by a young client of mine.

The Heart of Success by Rob Parsons
Paperback. Audiobook not available. If not available at Amazon USA, try Amazon UK
Making it in business without losing it in life. Before you read one more book about how to climb the corporate ladder read this: it will help you make sure the ladder is leaning against the right wall.

The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas L Friedman, read by George Wilson
If you want to understand today's world, reading this book subtitled "understanding globalization" would be an excellent step forward. After the cold war era came the new era of globalization, the fruit of the microchip and the Internet, and there's nothing stopping it - not students at G8 summits nor the isolated nations such as North Korea. Everyone else will come to the party sooner or later, or will fail to see their living standards rise. This is the most important book I have ever read on economics, sociology, culture and how to solve the great problems. There are so many facts and conclusions drawn about international events that I had no idea about, and I had thought myself well-informed. Very little of this stuff ever seems to be written up in newspapers, except as isolated incidents. Friedman, a renowned jouralist with the New Your Times, connects the dots. Do not be put off by the fact that it was published in 2000. Since then, these trends have accelerated but are the same trends. I am encouraged that the book has already been published in many languages, since our third world friends have the most to learn from it.

Money - Master the Game by Tony Robbins, read by Jeremy Bobb and Tony Robbins.
By the time I reached the final disk, the tears were flowing, as the real subject of study here was made very clear, and it's happiness, and a life worth living. The book could have been titled "The Meaning of Life," except that fewer would have been drawn to it. God and some of his words and advice appear fairly often; it seems that quite a few of the 50 wealthy professionals Tony interviewed, from Sir John Templeton onwards, were/are believers. That gelled well with me. To craft a manual on building wealth while remaining a loving human being is a tall order, but Tony has achieved it. The book will strenghthen your faith in the capitalist model.

Personal financial planning is seldom taught in schools or universities. Algonquin College in Ottawa is one of the few places where it is now on the curriculum. In the school of hard knocks, most people learn by making costly mistakes which taken cummulatively reduce the goss domestic product significantly. In this vacuum, banks, investment companies and financial planners sell advice and financial products to naive consumers. He points out that the prime objective of such organizations is to remain in business - ie be profitable - which does not correspond with the objectives of their clients. The more profitable the companies, the less effective the wealth-building strategies of their clients. The central problem is fees. Hundreds of companies levy significant fees on investment funds which over time can halve the performance of the investment. These fees are the main income for those companies. A smaller but growing number of companies follow the Vanguard model devised by Jack Bogle and instead of employing highly paid fund managers to buy and sell securities within investment funds, they buy the stocks listed on the world's primary stock exchange indexes. This reqires no expertise, and yet these 'index funds' usually outperform actively managed funds. The index fund model has a couple of problems which Tony ignored: since they have far lower income they can't afford to (pay financial planners to) provide advice to individual clients either on their choice of index funds or any other important aspects of financial planning: tax, cash management, insurance, retirement, estate planning, corporate planning etc. These issues combined are more significant than the growth of investments. An investor must either pay an independent financial planner for this advice, or receive the advice free from an investment company offering actively managed funds, and therefore able to provide this added value. The cost of paying for advice can rival the fees charged by such companies. While more and more advisors are switching to the fee-for service model, this effectively eliminates financial planning for the poor (who really need it) and encourages planners to concentrate on the rich (who can manage without it). One of Tony's stated missions is to make available to the bulk of the population what in the past has only been offered to those who already have high net worth. The problem of owning index funds without advice is neatly (but not intentionally) illustrated in the book where Tony tells the story of a wealthy business colleague who was shocked to discover he would be paying income tax on every dollar redeemed from his large 401K (US equivalent of a Canadian RRSP). This is pretty fundamental fact not to know, but illustrates the serious lack of financial literacy among all parts of society. (Tony shows elswhere in the book that his very broad skills don't extend into science when he confuses nuclear fusion with fission.) The second endemic problem with index funds occurs when markets fall for extended times. Since 2009 markets have risen, but right now we may be seeing the top of the market. Who is going to advise index fund holders to switch from the S & P to a bond index or cash. The managers of actively managed funds handle it for them ensuring that their funds do not fall as fast as the indexes. Despite these negatives, almost all of the successful wealth creation experts that Tony interviewed for the book strongly endorsed index funds, including Ray Dalio, legendary leader of the Bridgewater hedge fund, the largest one in the world with $150B in assets. Watch his interview with Charlie Rose here. The only one preferring the actively managed model that Tony interviewed was J P Morgan's Mary Callahan Erdoes, and she is hugely respected. Companies that charge fees for active mutual fund management usually offer fee reductions of as much as 30% to larger clients, particularly those invested in 'WRAP' accounts where investable money is allocated to large investment 'pools' managed by external extra-specialists subcontracted by the company. At these lower levels, fees are considered reasonable, particularly if the investments outperform.

I have a personal logical objection to index funds which I have seldom seen expressed. If everyone bought index funds, the main force driving up the markets would be the markets themselves, causing a massive bubble. Companies not listed on an index would see their share prices fall through reduced demand. It is the actively managed sector and individual stock pickers that prevent this happening, but as more and more switch to index funds, the active managers' influence wanes. Currently the fees paid by owners of actively managed funds are subsidizing the performance of the index fund sector – but this may not last forever.

This book gives general information to navigate the stormy waters of building a retirement nest egg. Tony would agree that general information is not going to be sufficient in most cases. People need personal advice crafted for them in their specific situation, something no book can offer. Although Tony spends a lot of time persuading people of the wisdom of saving a portion of income for their retirement, something their parents should have drummed into them, this emphasis is justified. Heck, teens and twenty somethings seem to believe that the whole purpose of money is to buy a truck. New. Just as the TV ads tell them. For driving on freeways where cars work pretty well. His arguments in this and other aspects are half financial and half psychological. His stories of rags to riches (including his own) suggest that those who have experienced poverty are more likely to grasp for the principles that will save them from ever again becoming poor. He doesn't get to that other bastion of every good plan, dollar cost averaging until fairly late in the book. But he does an excellent job stressing the importance of asset allocation and diversification. The book has a lot to say on investment products and particularly those where principle is protected, such as structured notes. (The night after reading that section I dreamed about them.) He leaves variable life insurance contracts (segregated funds in Canada) to a late stage, conveniently not mentioning their necessarily higher fees. His descriptions of investments that go up but cannot go down sound a lot like segregated funds with 1-year maturity guarantees. Products like this have brought at least one insurance company to its knees. More cautious companies offer 10 or 15 year maturity guarantees. Towards the end of the investment survey he explores permanent insurance policies as dependable investments and the fact that tax free retirement income may be taken from them as policy loans. This why millionaires buy life insurance. Tony is very clear on the need to draw up a financial plan to calculate among other things how much money must be put away every month so as to provide sufficient income in retirement (a number almost noone has tried to estimate!) He provides an app downloadable from tonyrobbins.com to facilitate that and other calculations. He virtually begs people to do this rather than just reading about it and doing nothing. Once you have the magic number he enters the world of regular saving and letting compound interest do its miraculous work. At every stage he warns about aspects that can slow down the prosess - particularly fees and taxes. He lists web sites where low cost investments can be obtained, particularly Vanguard.

One of the most fascinating parts of the book are his brief interviews with about 12 of the 50 extremely weathly financial professionals who Tony spent a lot of time with over four years gathering material for the book. The interviews were fascinating for the consistency of their advice, and also the moral - even bible-based philosophies advanced by many (whether they realized it or not). These are men and women of great wisdom and humanity, many of whom expressed their love of giving their wealth to causes that benefit the human race. Some have pledged to give away most of their wealth - and that is what motivates billionaires to continue making money. In the last chapter, which Tony narates, the joys of giving are truly explored.

You can read the first chapter here. But don't stop there!

On the brink by Henry M. Paulson, Jr., read by Dan Woren
On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System was published in February 2010. It is the most gripping financial book I have ever read or listened to. In 2008 the world had experienced the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. It fell to US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to lead the team that eventually would deal with the many aspects of the problem in the US. One of Paulson's qualifications was the excellent rapport her had developed with Chinese leaders while he headed up Goldman Sachs. The crisis was triggered by a bubble in sub-prime mortgages being taken by folk who never had the wherewithall to repay them. Most living humans owes a debt to Paulson and his team and their colleagues at the Federal Reserve headed by Ben Bernanke, Fed chairman. Paulson reitterates the support given by President George W Bush to the very controversial measures that Paulson was forced to propose. Anything sounding like a bail-out was strongly resisted particularly by republicans. Paulson had two huge challenges: figuring out financial tactics, and selling these to all sides of government. His skills in both were extraordinary, but the latter taxed him most. He makes the point that only when a crisis comes in our democracies can significant changes be made. [This is the thesis behind The Shock Doctrine, by Naomi Klein.] For this reason many outdated systems live on, e.g. in government, health services, and yes, your own family. The problems were so immense in 2008 that he had to persuade presidential candidates Obama and McCain not to turn them into party political gambits. In the end, after some huge financial corporations including Lehman Brothers, Fanny Mae, Freddy Mac, Bear Stern, Merrill Lynch and AIG had been rescued with public money or taken over, the crisis declined, around the time when Barack Obama came into office. There are a couple of aspects of this story that Paulson might have added. Sub-prime mortgages were sold by salesmen on commission but with no ongoing responsibility to the financial health of their clients. Zero downpayment mortgages were a disaster waiting to happen, and when added to premium holidays, and the fact that people could legally walk away from homes where the debt exceeded the value of the home, the crisis should have been forseen. Secondly, in Canada, no banks failed, and Canada came through the crisis relatively unscathed except for the drastic fall in stock markets. Paulson mentions Canada once, but not this aspect. In the final segment of the book, Paulson gives his prescriptions for reducing the chance of similar crises in the future. Who better to pronounce on this? He can have few peers among the wise and experienced in these matters. Sadly, there is little evidence any of these suggestions have been acted on. Why? No crisis, as the stock markets have recovered over the past six years. And withiout a crisis, it seems there can only be incremental change. On June 27, 2011, Paulson announced the formation of the Paulson Institute, an independent center located at the University of Chicago, dedicated to fostering international engagement to address issues of global scope, with particular emphasis on cooperation between the United States and China. Perhaps this vehicle will allow his ideas to permeate the system in time.

Pour your heart into it by Howard Schultz & Dori Jones Yang, read by Eric Conger.
Winner of a 1998 Audie Award, given by the Audio Book Industry.
How Starbucks built a company one cup at a time.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki, with Sharon L.Lechter, read by Stephen Hoye.
To continue to advise a child to simply, "Study hard, get good grades, and find a secure job," could be the most dangerous advice a parent could give a child. If a child follows that advice, they will probably wind up working harder, being paid less, paying more than their fair share in taxes, and remain in a high risk position of financial uncertainty. This book offers an alternative strategy, and leads on to describe effective strategies to obtain great wealth in business and investing.

Rich Dad's guide to investing by Robert T. Kiyosaki, with Sharon L.Lechter, read by Jim Ward.
The third in the "Rich Dad" series. This is out-of-the-box (lateral) thinking on how to achieve great financial security - and happiness is not necessarily uncorrolated according to Kiyosaki. most of us have never heard of these principles, and the few who have become fabulously rich if they apply them. Think assets, not income, is just one theme. Most of us are not just wrong about investing; we are 180 degrees out of phase, and the damage is passed from father to son without the schools even attempting to correct the malaise.

Rich kid, smart kid by Robert T. Kiyosaki, read by Jim Ward..
I just want to force feed this to the people who choose the school curricula in the western world (in addition to all parents). We are failing our kids in the game of life by ignoring education in how to be financially secure. "Rich kid..." hammers home the fact that high income is often an impediment. It's not what you make, it's what you keep. "Right on!" (says this financial planner).

Rich Dad's Prophecy by Robert T. Kiyosaki, read by Jim Ward.
Why the biggest stock market crash in history is still coming, and how you can prepare yourself and profit from it. Kiyosaki is on a mission to save the US from again loading this generation's financial problems on to the next. He has a unique Japanese / American perspective, and he might be right.

Serious Money by Nick Murray.
Hardcover. Audiobook not available.
The backbone of my understanding of the magic of mutual funds, and how to sell them, from our industry guru.

Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth by Nick Murray.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
How you and your financial advisor can grow your fortune in stock mutual funds. Of the three books by Nick Murray listed her, this is the one written directly for investors rather than financial planners or fund salespeople. If you read this book, prepare to have your previous attitudes turned on end, and become wealthy the easy way.

Survival is not enough by Seth Godin, read by the author.
Map business onto evolution and you get a powerful new model for what works in business and why so much fails. Business owners and H/R directors will ignore this book to their peril. Brilliant. If you are employed or an employer, read it! z

The Wealthy Barber returns by David Chilton.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
Hard to imagine this will not do almost as well as the seminal "Wealthy Barber," every Canadian's best guide to personal financial planning. With humourous style that makes a potentially dry subject sparkle, Chilton looks at financial decision making from a common sense point of view, again hammering home the key issues (eg. don't buy things you don't need). His section on the math of index funds seems plausible, yet something in my subconscious rebels against it. Suppose all the journalists in the world just got their news from other newspapers, web sites and blogs, to save money on research. Many do already, but breaking news still comes in on the wire, which keeps the system from imploding from incestuous feeding on its own body. Isn't this analogous to index funds and exchange traded funds in the financial markets? We have got to the point where a third of all mutual funds merely follow the indexes. This is unhealthy; see Is popularity ruining indexing? Supposing all investors just bought index funds to save money on Management Expense Ratios (MERs). There would be no equivalent of the newswire to inject objectivity. Funds would go up because funds would go up because funds would go up - until the bubble bursts. Result: huge volatilty. Maybe this is a reason for the significant increases in volatility we have seen in the last 10 years. I am delighted that my company Investors Group does not offer index vehicles. They have an eye on the financial environment. Only active and independent fund managment can keep the system healthy, and that's why you should be happy to pay the MERs.

What every Christian should know about Money Management by Monty McKinnon.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
The Bible is stacked with guidance on money matters. By mapping out today's economic realities over timeless principles, Monty McKinnon's unique blend of of Canadian law and God's principles of finance has benefitted thousands. Also recommended for non-Christians.

Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anthony D Williams.
The subtitle is "How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything." I have seldom given five stars to a business book before. This one gets it not so much for the writing style but for the importance and novelty of the subject matter. Have you ever uncovered a new paradigm which you had not recognized, but then seems almost overwhelming in its potential to permeate society? This is such a one. Furthermore if you are hoping to see your medium to large size business grow, and you do not open your eyes to Wikinomics, you will find it very hard slogging. Here is a link to some of the websites mentioned in the book, and also to Wikinomics Chapter 11, a collaborative venture.

Who says Elephants can't dance? by Louis Gerstner, read by Edward Herrmann.
If you either worked in the computer industry in the last 40 years, or are interested in the role that a strong leader can have even ver a huge operation, then this book is an essential read. It is clear and disciplined, like a business report but a lot more fun. How about Gerstner to overhaul the US intelligence community? He may be the only man with the intellect and experience to do it.

Work in Progress by Michael Eisner with Tony Schwartz, read by the author.
The name most identified with Disney after Walt has written a fine fine book about business, success, ambition and the relationships which determine how a megalith like Disney progresses and prospers. Health buffs should read it for how he deals with his lifestyle changes after heart disease, and business, investment, film and entertainment buffs should read it, period.

The world is flat by Thomas L Friedman, read by Oliver Wyman.
Read this after The Lexus and the Olive Tree (above). Friedman expands his territory from globalization to the extraordinary changes the 21st Century has already brought about through the greater availability of intellectual resources from all nations - not just the West - as China, India, etc claim their share of the potential wealth, and are able to do so as a result primarily of the Internet and communications technology installed in the dot.com bubble. Friedman concludes that the #1 issue facing North America is the declining number of engineers, physicists and mathematicians. Meanwhile China and India churn them out in increasing numbers.

Music DVD

Paul McCartney - Live at the Cavern
Historic 1999 appearance by Paul at his alma mater.

Yellow Submarine - The Beatles, animated, 1968 movie.
Want to know how Beatles music sounds and looks in the hands of the world's greatest technologists: buy this for the superb remixes of the songs. You won't find better on any other disc at the time of writing (2002). The fact that it is visually stunning and to my eye a peak in the art of animation is a bonus. If you like the Beatles, visit the Ottawa Beatles Site.

Christian

Abraham Lincoln - The Spiritual Growth of a Public Man by Abraham Lincoln and Elton Trueblood.
Paperback. Audiobook not available. Further information from The Trinity Forum 800-585-1070.
Of the hundreds of books about Lincoln, only this pamphlet focusses on his Christian faith, and that it alone sustained him through some of the most stressfull times in American history. This begs several questions: how come most biogaphers missed this; why was it not politically correct then, as now, to sing God's praise when writing in the secular world; why is this book that can be read in an hour not well known in schools and libraries. For me it was a powerful example of pure Godly leadership from one whom God chose to lead a country that has led the world in many areas and continues to do so. Most, if not all, American presidents have sought out Christian wisdom, including Mr Trump. How come the press and the public blindly ignore the essential nature of such a partnership - man and God - in affairs of state.

Apollyon by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, narrated by Richard Ferrone.
This is the fifth in the Left Behind series. I am not reading them in order, other than the order I can get my hands on them in audio format. The first tape or so was therefore confusing; some of the characters were new to me. Once I got into it I found it entertaining and faith renewing, as it reinforces my personal belief that the first goal of Christians should be evangelism and bringing people to the Lord. The authors tell a powerful story, but they try almost too hard to humanize it by any number of detours which are more to help us get to know the characters than to keep on the main target. I find this juxtaposition of the eternal with the trivial slightly disconcerting. Don't let that put you off reading it!
Sourced from Recorded Books.

Battle for the Soul of Canada by Ed Hird.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
Subtitled "Raising up the emerging generation of leaders," Rev. Ed Hird reminds us how crucial it s for the faith that each generation sees leaders who are schooled in the truth, and not some ersatz copy that will die out. In Canada today ersatz is the norm, with a majority of mainstream church leaders taking their flocks down a parth to liberalism; to a new man-made religion that ignores those parts of the Bible that they find inconvenient. This book was written in response to the current crisis in Anglicanism. See more detail here and here.

Behold the Beauty of the Lord by Henry Nouwen.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
Reflections to offer a unique way to pray with sacred images as much as with words - and see something of the beauty of God.

Birthing the Miraculous by Heidi Baker.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
Heidi explains the multi-faceted spectrum of her deep relationship with God, with compelling examples from her life as missionary, teacher and speaker. In none of these is she cut from regular cloth. In this book there are precious few principles and practices that I have read of in the writings of others. Her relationship with God transcends those of any others I have yet read of. Indeed, she explains that walking in the shoes of others is not productive. We have our own unique gifts and these should be employed in ministry. Hers is a ministry of total love for everyone she meets with that love expressed in practical tangible real results. For a year in Mozambique at the beginning of her time there she prayed for the healing of many who were blind and sick, and although all came to faith, none were healed. Then for God's reasons, the miracles came, beginning with three blind women who had the same name as her in Portuguese, Mama Aida, a God-incidence that Heidi interpreted as a word from God that she, Heidi was blind to the needs of people in affluent nations, preferring the poor. This revelation led to her speaking career all over the world, where spiritual needs are just as high.

The Book of God by Walter Wangerin.
Comes strongly recommended by friends as the Bible as a novel; good for reading to children. I await a child's review.

Building a Bridge to the 18th Century by Neil Postman.
Hardcover. Audiobook not available.
How the past can improve our future. Recommended by Dr. Allen Churchill.

The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel.
I read the paperback, but an audiobook is available on Amazon.
In similar style as his "The Case for Christ" Lee Strobel documents his move from unbelief to committed Christian through detailed interviews with leading scientists of the evidence of God's total and continuing involvement in the creation of the universe. If you are a skeptic, particularly if you are schooled in Darwin's Origin of Species, then this is designed specifically for you. It turns out that the last 50 years have yielded many discoveries in cosmology, biology and philosophy that have up-ended previous assumptions and beliefs. Strobel provides more science here that you will ever remember from school and ties up all the loose ends. Also recommended for staunch Christians who maybe need specific evidence for their belief when challenged. I have made use of quite a few of the ideas in this book in my reviews of The Truth Seeker, and Religulous.

The God Ask by Steve Shardach
I read the Kindle edition, but an audiobook is available on Amazon.
Essential reading for raising support funds for missionary work. Read it at at least a year before you'll need the funds. I read it a month before and so am in major catch-up mode, as I write this. Based on biblical and sales principles, it will transform your mission.

Chasing the Dragon by Jackie Pullinger.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
British missionary in Hong Kong Jackie Pullinger's amazing story of soft heart hard feet bringing the poorest of the poor to Christ.

Christ The Lord - Out of Egypt by Anne Rice, read by Josh Heine.
The first book I have read where Jesus is the narrator. Here he tells of his life from age 7 to 12. The first of Anne Rice's "Christ the Lord" series, it is unique, moving, anointed, and presents a plausible narrative of the unknown childhood of Jesus in historical novel format. DO NOT SKIP Anne's author's note (testimony) which finishes the book.

Christ The Lord - The Road to Cana by Anne Rice, read by James Naughton.
Jesus is the narrator, as he was in Christ the Lord. Anne Rice's courageous gamble pays off, as her insight into his thoughts and feelings add immensely to the thrill of hearing these well known stories under the microscope. His encounter with the Devil during his 40 days in the wilderness is a powerful confrontation. She has added many characters and put them right into the Biblical events - but it seems so right. James Naughton is the perfect reader - the voice of Jesus. This is the second in a series and I can't wait for more.

The Christ Commission by Og Mandino.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
The period immediately following the Crucifiction analysed detective-style to bring those crucial events into close perspective, and perhaps add insight to understanding. Brilliant concept; moving realization in the hands of a great writer who was also a man of great faith.

Churches that Pray by C. Peter Wagner.
Audiobook not available.
Essential reading for anyone involved in serious intercessory prayer. How prayer can help revitalize your congragation and break down the walls between your church and your community. A great source of information on prayer walking.

Compelled by love by Heidi Baker, with Shara Pradhan.
Audiobook not available.
The introduction to this book is 7 pages of the most compelling Christian writing outside of the pages of the Bible. The book comprizes stories of Heidi and Rolland Baker's ministry powerfully illustrating the principles laid down in the Sermon on the Mount. There is significant quoting of Mother Theresa, who is clearly among Heidi's heroes. Note that this book is not the screenplay for the movie "Compelled by Love," which is more like a biography of Heidi and Rolland Baker, and enthralling.

Consumed by love by Duncan Smith.
Audiobook not available.
Every chapter brought revelations from the Bible that were new to me. I am far from being a Bible scholar, but Duncan's forensic delvings into the Word and mind of God and his delivery of timeless truths with authority made this, for me, second only to the Bible itself as a source of information that affects every man/woman walking the earth. When he gets on to the key message of 'oneness with Christ,' I am asking myself why I have never heard this concept before. Either I have been asleep in church or this really is a new way of understanding why we are here and what power we potentially possess. This is the man who walked up to me with a bear hug as our first contact before the Revival Leadership Conference Jan 2017 at Catch the Fire, Toronto. (Find one of his talks via the link). Later he signed this book for me, having signed it for Laurie-Ann my wife at a previous conference. In these way he showed he walks the walk.

Conversations with God 3-book series by Neale Donald Walsch
Audio CD
Recommended by Dr. Cliff Saunders, whose opinion I greatly respect. The ultimate journalling experience?

Deliver us from evil by Ron Corcoran.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
Ron Corcoran's childhood was evil, at the hand of his mother. He survived by the skin of his teeth, only to be manipulated by an awfully misguided church worker during his twenties. That in the end he was able to come through these times alive is a blessing of the Holy Spirit. Today he is a happy and fulfilled pastor. The mystery of his situation remains how others who knew only too well what was going on failed to take any action on his behalf, preferring to let him suffer as long as their lives were OK. Every human needs to learn the lesson of what happens when otherwise good people fail to speak out. Better to learn it from Ron than wait till you go through any kind of similar circumstance. Highly recommended.

Crucial questions about hell by Arith Fernando.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
This is not a popular subject, but it is vital in the Christian faith, whether the people want to hear it or not. With a forward by Dr. J I Packer, Arith Fernando has constructed a fairly brief and emminently readable treatise that tells us just about everthing a lay person needs to know about hell, and sad to say most priests these days should also read this because I suspect it's one of those subjects no longer given much time in seminary. Universalists beware!

The Defilers by Deborah Gyapong
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
The other day Deborah posted on her Facebook wall that she was off to Quebec wearing the largest cross in her collection. (For the uninitiated, Quebec has proposed a new law banning almost all religious apparel in the name of secularism.) That gives an insight into her character. Always ready to use her jouralistic skills in defence of her faith, and with a personal testimony that is far stranger than fiction, she turned her skills toward Christian fiction with this, her first novel. But instead of a standardised tale of atonement and redemption, this book reaches into some of the darkest depths of the human condition, with child trafficking, satanic ritual, murder and rape being significant elements in a who-dunnit thriller. There is plenty here for those hungry to read about the changes in thought that a person would experience moving to belief from unbelief, since the story also features the misunderstood but sincere activities of a priest desperate to bring light and hope into a very sad community. In these days when fantasy is a mainstay of much new fiction, some might thus classify The Defilers, but it isn't. There is nothing in this book that could not happen in our fallen world, but there is also the knowledge of a loving God who wants to rescue us from the forces of evil, and can do so using the hands and feet of the faithful. The Defilers won the Best New Canadian Christian Author award in 2005.

Desecration by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, narrated by Richard Ferrone.
This is the ninth in the Left Behind series. I guess I'm hooked. As soon as I finished it I went straight to the library to get The Remnant.
Sourced from Recorded Books.

Desire of the Everlasting Hills by Thomas Cahill, narrated by Brian F. O'Bryne.
Comes recommended by Rev Dr. Allen Churchill.

Don't stop believing by Reggie Vinson
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
If you love the rock and pop music of the past thirty years, Rockin' Reggie Vinson's story is insightful and of historical value. As Christian testimony, it is dynamite. Don't read this and not expect to be changed. I found this in a prison library. No wonder some of the inmates are men of strong belief.

Don't waste your life by John Piper
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
This book was given out at last year's Billy Graham school of evangelism in Ottawa. It has been a very real gift to me, having not read John Piper before. Page after page is filled with new ways to understand the ways of the world, and how biblical truth tries to show how we can live lives of significance and continual joy.

Epicenter by Joel C Rosenberg
Paperback. Audio CD also available, but Joel not as good a reader as a writer.
One of the most important books I have read, after the Bible, and you should read it alongside a Bible - Ezekiel to be precise. Rosenberg has brought together a combination of statements amd writings from Middle East leaders and what he calls the third lens of scripture to predict coming events in the region. His earlier works of fiction also made use of the third lens and proved eerily prophetic. If you haven't read Rosenberg, your understanding of what's going on may be sadly inadequate. And lots of people are reading Rosenberg. Follow current Middle East events on Joel's blog at www.joelrosenberg.com.

Evangelism for "normal" people by John Bowen.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
Some key themes in this book are: breaking down the barriers that the word "evangelism" conjures up; the direction of someone's life is of more significance than the current position, on their journey of faith; the Gospel is an invitation to be involved in God's bigger purposes. I am indebted to Katherine Barton-Coward for these comments. Katherine highly recommends this book by Ottawa resident John Bowen, who will soon be taking up a position as Professor of Evangelism at Wycliffe Bible College, Toronto.

Every good gift by Linda Baker Kaahanui.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
Missionaries like Eric Liddell (Chariots of Fire) took Christianity to China 100 years ago. But Mao Tse Tung imprisoned or expelled many of the missionaries, expecting that without them, Christianity in China would evaporate. It didn't. This book narrates the stories of those left behind who more than kept the faith going. Today Christianity is spreading fast, partly because of the heroes and heroines in this book.

The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
This is a great book. It is a great outline for being a excellent Godly wife. Every woman wishing to lead a Godly life and be the wife that God intended should not miss this one...... [this review by an Amazon reader. I read some of this in a dentist's waiting room, and was immediately motivated to add it to this page.]

Fast Forward by Lou Engle.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
A call to the Millennium Prayer Revolution, this is an important work of current prophecy that speaks to youth and particularly today's youth in North American schools where Jesus has been officially excluded. Promise Keepers will like this book. Will its prophecies be fulfilled in 2000?

Fresh wind, fresh fire by Jim Cymbala
Hardback. Audiobook not yet available. Jim Cymbala started Brooklyn Tabernacle. The way he did it has become a textbook for church planters. That means you unless you just want to sit in the pew and watch a performance each Sunday (fightin' words, eh?). Jim virtually proves that in all things God works for the good of those who love him (Rom 8:28). Required reading for pastors, and great for everyone else too.

The God Memorandum by Og Mandino.
Does God speak to you? With Mandino's unique insight you can experience what a loving God might say to you.

The Gospel according to Job by Mike Mason.
Paperback.
This book was recommended by a non-Christian client of mine. I saw that it was endorsed by J.I.Packer. By God-incidence I was also reading the Book of Job as my devotions when I started to read this - an honest look at pain and doubt from the life of one who lost everything. What a special Bible-study this is. The meaning that Mason extracts from these ancient words, both prophetic for Jesus and wisdom for all is remarkable. Recommended for anyone who thinks they have been dealt a raw deal in life, and anyone who loves the Bible.

The Gospel according to Judas by Jeffrey Archer and Prof. Francis J Moloney, read by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
I picked this out only because it was read (beautifully) by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Then I found it was written by Jeffrey Archer. What a combination - and what a concept! This is not intended as a Christian work. It is a historical novel, where the author may add narrative and even change history as a we have known it. Archer does both of in order to create a credible story. In suggesting that Judas did not commit suicide he contradicts Matthew. Yet, the first 3/4 of this book adds value, for me at least, to the Gospel story, allowing a novelist to re-tell the great stories and add insight, paricularly when interpreted by a Christian reader (Tutu) and you (if you are a Christian). I wouldn't recommend it for a seeker; could confuse. Read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John first.

High Street Monasteries by Ray Simpson.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
Ray is a leading member of the Holy-Island-based Community of Aidan and Hilda. This important book tackles nothing less than what ails modern civilization. It reports on the rise of new forms of Christian community which could well in time replace the current one-type-fits-all church. He shows how this has its origins not in some new idea, but in forms of Christian community that sprang up in early Britain from the 5th to 11th centuries based on the Celtic model. I read this just after encountering The Michmash Chronicles, the pre-cursor of that era. Ray argues that such 'villages of God' - the monastry in the high street - offers a third way between greed-driven capitalism and hate-driven fundamentalism.

How to read the Bible for all its worth by Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
I love down-to-earth Christians who describe our faith in a matter-of-fact way rather than an emotional onslaught. These authors' faith is never in doubt as they explail so much about what's under the surface of the Bible. What it adds up to for me was one more nail in the coffin of any possibility that the Bible could have been written by un-Holy Spirit-inspired mere men. The construction of this book by its ~40 authors is a miracle indeed.

Homosexuality, The Church, & Society by Michael L. Brown, Ph.D.
DVD of a lecture series.
Can the voice of one man crying in the wilderness reverse the huge effects of the gay revolution, probably the mose successful project in history to rapidly change society's fundamental thinking about anything? For anyone dismayed by the fact that behaviour that the Bible calls sinful is now built into the curriculum of many American schools, and that church denominations are scrambling to be accepting of all aspects of the GLBT agenda, this series of public lectures delivered in Charlotte, NC may give hope that not all the world has gone mad. Despite accusations of hate-mongering and worse, Dr. Brown has no hatred for gays. He is reporting objectively on their wildly successful infiltration into every strata of North American society, and he shows beyond any possible doubt from his expertise as a Biblical scholar that the Biblical commands against homosexual acts (not homosexuals) are unambiguous. This is brilliant work of crucial importance to the western world if we are to stave off the wrath of God. However, it also will bring great comfort to individuals striving to remain true to their faith and traditional beliefs that their stance is faithful and logical, and that it is the rest of the population which has gone off the rails.

The Jesus Dynasty, by James D. Tabor
90% of the message of this book is excellent historical and archeological background to the New Testament. His extensive research into Jesus' family, and reading of Josephus, Eusebius and others throws dazzling light not only on the Gospels, but on the historial information not recorded in the Gospels, right up to the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The 10% makes it a dangerous source for anyone not fully grounded and comfortable in their faith. In my view, the problem is identified by the author himself when he states that he is writing from the perspective of a historian, and reporting only what can be proved by evidence. This excludes all miraculous events in the Bible. Tabor's faith is devoid of miracles, the virgin birth, the resurrection and the divine inspiration of the Bible's authors including Paul. At the heart of it is the question: is Jesus God? I suspect Tabor would say no, and would back it up by his interpretation of the two books of the Bible written by those who one would think would know Jesus best, his siblings James and Jude. But did they? It seems to me that God may have chosen Paul to fully interpret the extraordinary events of those days, despite his Roman biases.

I am a church member by Thom S. Rainer
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
Thank the Lord for short books (unless they are audio books). Can be read in a couple of hours even by slow readers like me. Should be read by any and all attending church every Sunday or more. How wrong most of our attitudes are. Thom Rainer sets you straight. Don't expect easy. Do expect clarity and new determination in your heart. As a special bonus, enjoy Thom's humourous ways of making his points. Other Christian writers take note.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam: The Monotheists, Lectures by Prof F E Peters.
This was my introduction to lectures on CD. It's called The Modern Scholar - Great Professors Teaching You! Full marks for format. It also increased my knowledge of Judaism and Islam enormously, and filled in many aspects of Christianity. I wonder what the effect of such a book is on Jews and Muslims. How could they not want to leap to the loving arms of Jesus Christ after such a study.

Just give me Jesus, a life changing revival for women, by Anne Graham-Lotz, with Jill Briscoe
The audio from the event of the same name in Toronto, 29-30 Sept 2006, which Laurie-Ann attended.
I thoroughly benefitted from listening to these 5 CDs. Can probably be obtained via annegrahamlotz.com, tel 919-787-6606.

Just as I am by Billy Graham, read by Cliff Barrows.
Bestseller in both Christian and secular lists, this down-to-earth biography sincerely portrays the extraordinary life of one second only to the Pope in Christan influence.

Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard, read by Bill O'Reilly.
At the beginning, Bill O'Reilly, writer and well known TV journalist (Fox News) states that he and Martin Dugard were brought up Roman Catholic, but now consider themselves agnostics. He then presents Jesus' life and death, as well as Roman history of the time, in a way that I would have thought would turn any agnostic into a sincere believer. This book is a rich companion for any Christian, adding context and independent validation to the Gospels. My appreciation for Jesus' motivations, actions, strategy and spirituality only increased as I learned so much about the political environment of the time. What I don't understand is how Bill and Martin can beieve in the historical accuracy of the resurrection - as would appear from this book - without their placing Christian faith front and central in importance in their lives - as they have not done.

Leadership: the power of a creative life by Rick Joyner.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
Businessman turned major prophet Rick Joyner has written an encouraging and stimulationg template for Christian leadership. Without leaders, we will flounder. Maybe you are a potential leader - if so you are desperately needed in this world ruled by the enemy. Read the book and get working!

Left Behind by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B Jenkins, read by Richard Ferrone.
The first of the "Left Behind" series of bestsellers based on Revelation and the end times. Left Behind is now a major movie release. Can be enjoyed both as a good story and a work of evangelism. There are now 14 books in the series, and we can expect more of them to be filmed. Left Behind is also available on Video and DVD.

Like a Mighty Wind by Tari Mel & Cliff Dudley.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
Authentic, amazing and moving account of miracles, signs and wonders in the great Indonesian revival of the 1960's-70's lead by local Presbyterian missionary teams. One of those true stories that by rights should be on the front page of the newspapers, but isn't. You may have difficulty believing it, but it's true. If you ever doubt the power of God to intervene in human affairs in answer to prayer, turn to this book.

Love one another by Joyce Meyer.
Subtitled "A Teaching on Marriage," this recording of one of Joyce's seminars has enough terrific teaching to enhance even an archbishop's marriage. She is syndicated on radio and TV stations, including at the moment CTS TV out of Toronto, and rightly so.

Luis Palau - Evangelist to the world by Ellen Bascuti.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
I am one of the tens of thousands who was convicted by Christ at a Luis Palau event - in my case the Mission to London, 1984. (The story of that is in this document.) So reading this was very special to me personally. Second only to Billy Graham in the stretch of his ministry in so many countries, Luis really is a hero of the faith, which is the name of the series of books put out by Barbour. And he rightly takes his place alongside D.L.Moody, John Newton and Eric Liddell.

Mark's Story by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins, read by Robertson Dean.
I am an audiobook junkie, and when I find a really good one, I just have to share the news, even before I have finished it. So I am half way through Mark’s Story, by Tim Lehaye and Jerry B Jenkins, who are almost as famous as Mark and the other gospel writers, and more prolific. I had bought John’s Story in hardback a year ago, but I’m a slow reader and haven’t finished it yet. But in the audio format, for me the time from the Last Supper when Mark was 16 for the next decade of joy and persecution has come even more alive than the Biblical text, if that is not heresy, and I look forward to the rest of the book, remembering the broad sequence from my favourite Christian movie “Peter and Paul,” which features Mark extensively. Using the minimum of storyteller’s licence, such as making the Upper Room a room in Mark’s mother’s house so that young Mark hears everything, and making him the protégé and confidant of Peter (hence the subtitle; The Gospel according to Peter), I am hearing these events through new ears and I’m thrilling to them. The written words of the gospels have it all, but somehow the combination of loving treatment of these events by Lehaye and Jenkins, and the excellent reading by Robertson Dean bring an anointed urgency to the narrative that is utterly compelling.

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
I read the paperback. Audiobook is available.
How come it took me so long before I read this logical description of the faith; the foundation on which so many columns rest, including the Alpha course? It is a transcript of a series of BBC radio broadcasts during the war. Unlike the majority of Christian writing which draws from the Bible, Lewis was speaking to a largely secular audience, looking for hope in dark days, and largely unfamiliar with the Bible in any depth. So this book is a series of thought experiments, looking at life and society through a logical microscope and unveiling the eternal structure on which Christianity is built. It is analogous to mathematics - teaching us that if 2 and 2 makes 4, and the square on the hypoteneuse is the sum of the squares of the other two sides, etc, etc, then, following subsequent deduction it can be proved that space is curved and that E = MC squared: mass-equivalence. Though it isn't a page turner, every time I dipped into it I was blessed, and the last chapter, "The New Men," with its analogy to evolution was unique - a concept I loved and have never met before. There are so many simple descriptions of theological concepts, that all will be enlightened. My copy was a gift from Angel, a saver of young lives on the streets of Ottawa, and my brother in Christ.

The Michmash Chronicles by James H. Wardroper.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
We never learned details of the 'dark ages' in school. Yet through those times, the small light that was Christianity continued to burn. This is the story of the bearers of that light in England. Even if it were written in history book style such a story would have power to inspire. Jim Wardroper's historical novel is written in page-turner language that allows us to appreciate what it would have been like for those light-bearers, and one of his peripheral characters is St. Patrick. The early part of the book takes us to the Holy Land where young monks Linus and Justin are able to make a copy of the Bible, which opens their eyes to the heretical teachings of Palagius with which British Christianity had been hoodwinked. Defrocked on their return, but inspired by a prophesy from (St.) Jerome in Jerusalem, they find themselved in a position to bring the truth (but not the Bible itself except in their memories) to a community in the west of England, from where it will eventually spread across the British Isles (though not in Vol 1 of the Michmash Chronicles). The book is wonderfully constructed, with unforgetable characters, Celtic and Roman whose acceptance of the Christian story leads them to live their whole lives according to its teachings. Just being in the company of such saints makes reading this book a time of joy. Consider what would have happened with no Linus. And in today's church, there's much to learn here for those confronted with false teachers in some established churches.

Ministry with the Poor - Four talks by Jackie Pullinger
Available as a 5-audiotape package from Holy Trinity Brompton Church, Brompton Rd, London SW7 1JA, England, tel 01144-171-581-8255, e-mail: publications@htb.org.uk
Jackie Pullinger has been a missionary to the poorest of Hong Kong society for thirty years. These talks given at HTB for Focus '92 are probably the most powerful Christian witness I have yet experienced, and it has changed my thinking on many matters.

The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity by Philip Jenkins.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
Professor Jenkins (Penn Stae University) argues that the present global trends of Christianity will have an impact on the world similar to major religious movements such as the Reformation, and that the 21st century will be seen as a time in history when religion replaced the importantance once occupied by ideology.

The Next Move of God by Fuchsia Picket.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
A startling vision of revival seen in 1959 gave Fuschia Picket insight into how God would prepare the church for His return. With prophetic revelation and sound scriptural teaching, Dr. Picket reveals The Next Move of God.

New Beginnings by Ann Chidwick, Family Life Education Services.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available. Link is e-mail to the author.
A step-by-step approach to facilitating experientially-based remarriage preparation. My then-fiancee Laurie-Ann and I have done this course, conducted within a spiritually-friendly environment, and found it very valuable. This is the course book, and could be almost as valuable for folk who are unable to come on the course.

Not by might, nor by power by Graham Power and Diane Vermooten
Hardback. Audiobook not yet available.
In 1997 South African businessman Graham Power was the hugely successful owner of Power Contruction, and a nominal Christian. By 2009 he had spearheaded the largest prayer movement in history: The Global Day of Prayer. This marvellous book tells us how these transformations came about, strongly suggesting God at work in worldwide revival. It is priced at around $10, so don't hesitate! [This review is also posted on Amazon.]

Partners in Ministry by James L. Garlow.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
The best book you'll find on laity and pastors working together. "If you are a Christian, you are a minister...."

The Prophets, by John Sandford and Loren Sandford.
This is an audio transcript of a course given by these two renouned Christian leaders some years ago. I had found it among Laurie-Ann's rich repository of study materials, and thought I'd give it a listen. I was most surprized and struck by what I heard; aspects of our faith that I had not been taught in any other forum. It is most enlightening, and not just in the area of what is associated with prophets in our time.

The Purpose Driven Life - by Rick Warren
Hardback - a better format for study(?).
40 chapters of pure gold to raise you in your journey of faith. Ideal for lenten study, as many churches are doing - but don't wait till lent. You need this now!

Questions of Life - by Nicky Gumbel
This is the Alpha Course material in book form. At the time this was posted, Amazon did not stock this. Also obtainable in Canada through Cook Communications. If you can't attend Alpha, this would be a fine alternative. Either way, Alpha is where Christian evangelism is at today.

Rebel with a Cause by Franklin Graham.
I read the paperback. Audiobook available on cassette.
Frankin Graham's biography came out in 1995. My feeling on finishing it yesterday is that if he had a second volume taking us on from 1995, I would want to get my hands on it asap. A latter day St. Paul in that he was not at all interested in an evangelistic life as a teenager - though always loving and respectful of his parents Billy and Ruth - his life demonstrates the influence of the Holy Spirit at every turn, once he had allowed the door to be opened. Since then, his work leading Samaritan's Purse International Relief from the front in some of the world's most dangerous places, and presenting the gospel at many mass evangelism campaigns qualifies him as being in the forefront of Christian workers in the world today. The book is a page turner - Go get a copy!

Reese Howells - Intercessor by Norman Grubb
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
I have not yet read this, but Ramses Girgis recommended it, so it must be excellent

The Regenerators - Social criticism in late Victorian English Canada by Ramsay Cook.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
Recommended by Dr. Allen Churchill for its description of the beginnings of liberalism in the church.

No Compromise by Melody Green & David Hazard.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
Life story of outstanding Christian Keith Green, who died tragically in 1982 at 28. "The most inspirational story I have ever read" - John Taylor. I agree. A life lived the way Christians should live, continuing to have huge influence. Keith was influential in the Christian contemporary music movement, and his music stands among the best of the genre, but his real legacy was the depth of his faith and his dreams and plans for attracting people to mission work. His wife Melody who continues his work shows herself a worthy teller of the story, in which her own role was significant.

Of love and evil by Anne Rice, read by Paul Michael.
Anne Rice is not a churchgoer any more, and one of her reasons for this is her disagreement with the stance of the Roman Catholic church on same-sex marriage, as related on the Greorge Stombopoulos show last night 17 Feb 2012. On this point Anne and I would greatly disagree. But in this modern story of angels and demons, I find her writing totally convincing and its Christian undergirding faultless. In one scene, our hero Toby senior teaches his son Tony junior about the importance of prayer - I haven't heard it done better even on the Global Day of Prayer. Love is also explored in all its shining beauty, and the wily schemes of the devil are shown up for what they are, disguised as only an angel of light can. The Remnant by Tim LaHaye & Jerry B Jenkins, read by Richard Ferrone.
Penultimate in the "Left Behind" series, but the first I'd listened to since the original Left Behind (see above). After the first couple of cassettes I was able to pick up the trust of the story and soon it became for me a powerful prophetic piece. Sad that the vast majority of Christians are largely ignorant of the "end times" prophecies in Revelation. Since we may be entering the early stages of the end times, it behoves us all to be more aware of this crucial subject.

The Shack by William P Young, read by Roger Mueller.
As a read for people with a mild interest in Christianity, this is a brand new way of looking at some aspects of the Christian faith, particularly for those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Do not however read this book as a mature Christian expecting some sort of enlightened explanation of the Persons of the Trinity, or how to find salvation. There are aspects that contradict fundamental truths from the Bible, particularly in the push for a non-hierarchical faith where we are all somehow on a par with God, and the vital matter of whether there are there other ways to know God than through His Son (there aren't). See this commentary by Albert Mohler (starting about 11 minutes in) for more detail on these concerns. Writers of religious fiction need to be absolutely scrupulous on the spin they will place on matters of faith when characters are in apologetic roles.

Searching Issues by Nicky Gumbel.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
Companion to "Questions of Life," the book of The Alpha Course. Searching Issues answers (beautifully) the 7 most common questions asked by attenders on the course. Also obtainable in Canada through Cook Communications.

The Surpassing Greatness of His Power by Rick Joyner.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
Recommended highly by Gail Reid, managing editor of "Fellowship Magazine," and that's good enough for me!

Surprized by Joy by C.S. Lewis.
The subtitle of this book is The shape of my early life, which might have been a more descriptive main title. Lewis was an intellectual and a philosopher. We lesser souls may envy the scale of his reading and the intricacy of his logic in the years before God shook him into submission. What does this tell us about logic and philosophy? It explains why Christopher Hitchens has not yet seen the light. But over a short period of time, and near the end of the book, Lewis was firmly tapped on the shoulder by the Almighty, and all his perspectives were forever altered. I found the book engaging and enlightening about Lewis, and less so about Christianity. Yet, more than any other writer he may have influenced the way in which we understand and enjoy our faith in this generation, particularly if you have been fortunate enough to attend an Alpha course.

Surprized by Oxford by Carolyn Weber.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
Reading this memoire of Carolyn's experience of being gently brought from the darkness to the light, I was continually struck by the surreal idea that this is not a book but an entity in a different dimension from other books, with a purpose that transcends the story-telling and can reach people who though a misunderstanding of the power of their intellect have rejected the divine. For me, a Cambridge man who visited Oxford in 2014 and re-kindled the passion of those endearing and enduring centres of great learning, but also now a Canadian, the book was all the more powerful and poignant. Would that I had had my own TDH in my Cambridge days to rescue me then rather than 20 years later when Louis Palau did it.

There is always enough by Rolland and Heidi Baker.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
The amazing story of Rolland and Heidi Baker's ministry among the poor, particularly in Mozambique.

Those controversial gifts by George Mallone.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
Prophecy, dreams, visions, tongues, healing.

True and false prophets by Don Basham.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
Confronting immorality in ministry. Recommended to me by a friend.

The truth about same-sex marriage by Erwin W. Lutzer.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
If our politicians and friends and neighbours would only read this book (and others like it), no-one would even be considering ripping our civilization apart at the beck and call of the homosexual revolution.

Visions beyond the veil by H.A. Baker.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
Today China is experiencing a surge in Christian belief like no other country. Yet two generations ago, when H.A. Baker (grandfather of Rolland Baker of Iris Global) was spreading the Gospel at the Adullam Rescue Mission in Yunnanfu, China, he took his life in his hands to do so. This extraordinary book details an immense outpouring of the Holy Spirit among the orphan children in the Adullam mission, so great that they 'experienced Heaven' through visions, were aware of angels, and were able to describe in great detail what they saw. These children grew up to lead the huge Chinese revival resulting in the situation today.

Voice in the night by Surprize Sithole, with David Wimbish.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
At age 15 this child of witchdoctors in the jungle had an encounter with God whom he had never heard of. Today he is the international director of pastors for IRIS Global. This astounding book of miracles tells how he got from a to b.

Waves of hope by Allan T McGuirl
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
I had no idea! Evangelism through a million solar powered 'Go Ye' fixed tuned radios? Whole unreached groups becoming Christian just through listening, and giving up pagan rites including child sacrifice (in this day and age, yes!). It's all in this wonderful book, the story of Galcom by its founder. With a miracle on almost every page, usually God helping out with installations of small radio stations in almost inaccessible places, this book shows how one man and a tiny team can have a huge effect on the spread of the Gospel. And it also showed God or his angels accompanying Allan 24/7 ready to answer his frequent prayers.

What good is God? by Philip Yancey, read by the author.
Subtitled "In Search of a faith that matters," Yancy documents recent speaking tours to some places that one might have thought God forgot, to discover that all the evidence is the contrary. If you gave up on your faith because you blame God for not curing your child or any other personal trajedy, this book is for you. It is also for all Christians yearning to see how God is indeed present in the worst excesses of human behavior, which of course is the devil at work.

Whatever happened to the Jesus Lane lot? by Oliver R Barclay.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
Recommended by Rev. George Sinclair at an Anglican Essentials Canada conference in 2006, this 1977 book (which I bought second hand from Amazon, since it is no longer in print) has been a huge help to me, placing in context the orthodox - liberal debate I am currently involved in and showing that a hundred years ago the same debate was raging. It tells the story of the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union (CICCU), an evangelical group started in 1877, and still going strong. The CICCU was the primary source of missionaries from the West a century ago. The book even covers the period I was up at Cambridge, 1959 - 1962, as something of a low point (I never heard of it, not having any interest in faith in those days). It also mentions John Stott, and J I Packer. Highly recommended for those fighting today for a faith that would be motivational enough to move new missionaries out of their comfortable parishes in the West to joint the current workers from South Korea.

Classics

Many are the classics that I never read when I was young, or tried at too early an age to appreciate them. The experience now on audiobook is pure pleasure.

1984 by George Orwell, read by John Nettles.
Audiobook available from Penguin.
So, it's now well past 1984; is this relevant? You bet! In fact, this book may have been the vaccine the world needed to avoid the horrific future that Orwell projected from the vantage point of 1949. Read and be thankful, but don't be too complacent... Note: the version I read, also from Penguin Audiobooks, was ready by Timothy West. This is not listed on Penquin's site, so may now be unubtainable. An unabridged version is strongly recommended.

Animal Farm by George Orwell, read by Timothy West.
This parable of government examines power and its corruptability of men (oh yes, the characters are almost all animals). Orwell again projects the more sinister trends of sociology to provide us with a weapon to withstand them.

Billy Budd by Herman Melville, read by Simon Jones
A revelation! Even better than Moby Dick. I'd always thought this would be a boring opera libretto, but instead found it a thrilling and authentic picture of navy life in the late 18th century, and human life in any century.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, read by Michael York
Human cloning is in the news - at the time of writing, May 2002, there is a human clone awaiting birth. This book was written in 1932, describing a world where cloning has become the norm and everyone is "conditioned" for their roles in the world. It's also a good story, regardless of the element of prophecy. Earth, beware!

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, read by Simon Callow.
Dicken's favourite amongst his novels, and much based on his own life.

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, performance recreated by the original Broadway cast.
Miller really gets inside the world of deteriorating salesman Willy Loman, the effects on his family and the root cause of the family's dyfunction. As an aging salesman I found it more than fascinating as a work of high art. The performances and studio recording are excellent.

The Great Books, Series 1 - a CBC conversation between Dr. Bruce Mayer and Michael Enright.
A review of the "essential texts," those works that have, in Meyer's view, shaped Western thought and literature. Series 1 includes The Bible and works by Homer, Ovid, Virgil, Sophocles.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, read by Martin Jarvis
I heard an abridged version read by Tom Baker, which was terrific (and excellently read), so the unabridged would be more so.

The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald, read by Lawrence Pressman.
This story I had to take out of the car and carry on listening in the house. What more praise can I give?

Hamlet by William Shakespeare.
Terrifying tale of murder, supernatural, near-incest, vengeance, ambition. Unsuitable for children.

Hard Times by Charles Dickens, read by Martin Jarvis
Martin Jarvis brings this splendid story of passion, deception, and the triumph of innocence over evil to a near theatrical level of narration expertise. Written in 1854, it is amazing how many 'modern' inventions were in full swing by then, such as railroads (not railways), banks, politicians, factories and a performing dog, Merrylegs. All the characters are most wonderfully drawn.

The Hound of the Baskervilles - by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, read by Ralph Cosham
This is one to hear again, particularly if the last time you read it was as a child.

Huckleberry Finn - by Mark Twain, read by Dick Cavert
A "must read" after Tom Sawyer. I remember giving up on this as a child when I was told to start reading it. The whole book is far more fun, subtle and impressive for adults. Huck's character is no less memorable than his adventures.

The Iliad - by Homer, translated by W.H.D. Rouse, read by Nadia May
First time I had revisited this since age 13 with Mr Marshall, my Greek teacher at Bigshotte, yet many of the names sounded so familiar. What a chronical of death it is, and how wasteful and pointless the attitude of kill or be killed by people who knew (and liked) each other in this war which seems to have been fought over the most trivial of goals - the repatriation of Helen of Troy. She is hardly mentioned - the fighting has a mind of its own, like terrorism today. It is remarkable how sophisticated they were in those days. We have learned little in 3000 years other than from Jesus coming to earth and technology. Was Homer the only accomplished writer of his day or were there thousands of others whose works are all lost to us? I suspect the latter.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, read by Jonathan Hyde.
Don't make the mistake of thinking this book was written too long ago to grip today's thrill-seeking reader! You'll be spellbound; and learn a lot about the nature of one of today's biggest problems.

Lady Chatterley's Lover by D H Lawrence, read by Judi Dench.
Published 1928, banned till 1959, a pioneering work about love and sexuality written (beautifully) in an age when such things were never mentioned. I thoroughly enjoyed the story we all read furtively as kids, seeing it today as a fine study of human behaviour and the class society.

Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad, read by Simon MacCorkindale.
Unlike any other story I've ever read, in the aspect of human nature that it examines - guilt for lack of courage.

The Lost Girl by D.H. Lawrence, read by Joanna Ward.
I guess the only other D.H. Lawrence I ever read was Lady Chatterly's Lover, and that when I was too young to appreciate his artistry with words. This story is for all those struggling in a tough world but refusing to be pressed into the mold. Here is a love story to touch the hearts of all who have fallen deeply in love. It is an enlightening description of life in England (mainly) a century ago. I wish he had written a sequel because the heroine deserves it. In an interesting quirk in his writing, Lawrence frequently uses the same word within two sentences, in an almost repetitive gambit. We learned from English teachers that this showed a lack of imagination, but with Lawrence's pen it works.

Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens, read by John Wells.
Undoubtedly the most engaging reading (by John Wells) of any book in this collection. His huge selection of voices, perfectly matching the characters of the huge cast, is a feat of imagination and memory. This is not the easiest story to follow. I listened the first time just enjoying the reading but not with much comprehension. After the first three tapes I started again and this time was better able to figure out the complex plot and sub-plots, and this was not therefore spoiled for me by the revelations on the final (fourth) tape. Dickens' language is wit-in-words, and well repays the double serving.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville, read by George Kennedy.
George Kennedy's narration captures the age and the power of Ahab vs the fish, and we learn much about human and whale nature and life at sea in times past.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, read by Gary Sinise.
Evocative and chilling story of the commitment of George to his retarded buddy Lennie.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway, read by Donald Sutherland.
Unique study, stunningly written of what men (and boys) of good character can achieve, without much education or training other than by life itself. It restors ones faith in human beings, in a time such as now when that faith is sorely tested by world events and the emergence of evil.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac, narrated by Frank Muller.
Paperback. Audiotape version narrated by Robert Muller not available from Amazon at the time of posting, but is available in the Ottawa library, where all these books were found.
Want to know the roots of the 60s revolution incuding the beginning of the drug culture? No? Well listen to this this anyway, and you will see that there was a logical if not always legal alternative to the conventions of the time, through which some were able to enjoy life to what seemed to them an extent not possible in recent times; casting off the shackles of the work ethic and just about every other ethic. Of course, the result of such attitudes leads to the cultural chaos descibed in Leonard Sax's Why Gender Matters. Call it what you will, Dean Moriaty will stay in your mind as one of the great characters of literature. Frank Muller's reading is nothing short of brilliant.

Paddle to the Sea by Holling Clancy Holling, read by Terry Bregy.
Although this is a famous children's book originally published 1941, I learned some Canadian geography from Nipigon Country through the great lakes to the Atlantic, and also some human nature. Enjoyed it.

Plato's Republic by Simon Blackburn, read by Simon Vance. Not the actual words written by Plato, but a study on the meaning and purpose of Republic, a book that changed the world. Helps you realize that thought was very well developed thousands of years ago, and since then we have merely added details. I am going to have to re-listen to this; like Shakespeare, the meaning is so rich and compacted, you don't "get it" the first time.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, read by Jean Marsh.
Jean Marsh's "Upstairs, Downstairs" expertise brings the height of authenticity to this unsurpassed masterpiece of romantic suspense, beginning with the words "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again..." I think I spotted an interesting connection with The Three Musketeers (see below).

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, read by Simon Williams
"We seek him here..." maybe this is the true ancestor to the modern spy story. It has the key features of Bond or the Sandbaggers and I enjoyed it even more than I did as a teenager.

A Streetcar named Desire by Tennessee Williams, performed by Rosemary Harris and James Farentino.
From the cast of the New York smash revival (1973) this atmospheric recording reveals a powerful expose of of human nature.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, read by Tom Baker.
Enjoyed this so much, I listened twice straight. Unsuitable for children.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, read by Louis Jourdan.
I think Daphne du Maurier enjoyed this, and named Rebecca de Winter after the Countess de Winter in this tale of swashbuckling, deceit and marital infidelity in high places from the 17th century which make today's royal philanderings seem pretty tame. The characters always "spring from" their horses, and "leap" back onto them; very athletic. Again: is this story suitable for children?

Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, read by Pat Bottino.
Pat Bottino's first rate reading brings boyhood back, and for me re-visiting with Tom, Huck and Becky Thatcher after so long reminded me how in some ways this book had coloured my understanding and emotions. And what a great story of adventure!

The Trial by Franz Kafka, read by Rupert Degas, translation by David Whiting
Brilliant study of the totalitarian state and the length it will go to impose power. Even the logical brian of the very smart hero Josef K is finally brought down by a ridiculous justice system in the service of the state. No separation of powers here. Those involved in the court know that they must somewhow justify it an theselves, but Josef K shows it for what it is. Horrifying to think that echoes of such a system are probably at work in a dozen countries today, and may we in Canada forever appreciate how lucky we are.

Arts, entertainment

The Beatles Anthology by The Beatles
Hardback and large. Audiobook not planned.
Despite the price, Amazon's top seller (at the time of writing), and hardly surprizing, considering the important place held in the hearts of the baby boomers by the Fab Four. Every page is packed with gems and vignettes entertainling described. Is there no end to their collective talents? This is the definitive book about a band, and what a band!   Visit the Ottawa Beatles Site.

The Noel Coward Audio Collection - Performed by Simon Jones, Noel Coward, Margaret Leighton.
It was high time for me to examine this icon. Playwright, songwriter, lyricist, poet, totally English, and sharp observer of human nature, and usually the less attractive characteristics. Quite well done, and happily includes excellent recordings of the man himself.

Miles Davis - The Man with the Horn, written and narrated by Ross Porter.
When I got this from the Beaverbrook library I was familiar with a couple of Miles Davis recordings, and quite liked him. 5 CD's later on this magnificent presentaion of his life, with lots of his music, I gotta get into Miles a lot deeper. The fuse has been lit by this quality appreciation of an amazing talent, who pointed the way ahead in jazz, fusion and even hip hop. Much of the music we listen to today is influenced by his eternal quest to break down barriers and explore new musical territory.

Fair Ball by Bob Costas, read by the author.
This expose of big league hockey is well researched, well written, well read, and full of wisdom in a field that normally bores me to death. But Bob Costas is a very intelligent man, so I listened to it. I have seldom read such a strong, well-argued case for anything. Sadly no-one in the league seems to be taking any notice of the book.

Rock & Roll at 50 by Megan Kaplan and others, Time Life Books, Tel 800-327-6388 (USA)
Audiobook not planned.
The writers and photographers whose work is represented here have given us one of the best rock music books ever. Every page is a loving momento; a respectful tribute to over 100 key figures who have enriched my life and perhaps yours far more than is generally realized. The book was sold in groceries and convenience store in 2002 and you should buy it before it disappears.

Searching for the Sound - My life with the Grateful Dead - by Phil Lesh, read by the author.
The first thing that hit me: how intelligent and articulate he is. That probably would apply therefore to Jerry Garcia and other long term members. The second thing: since they were so intelligent, how come they indulged so much in drugs, particularly LSD in the early years. Perhaps it really did help the music to flow. There is a case (my view) for considering the Dead as jazz - they certainly extemporized all the time. The descriptions of how the music was made, including considerable fascinating detail about the audio engineering challenges, is rare in rock bios and much appreciated by me at least. The descriptions of Woodstock and Altamont were gripping. The economic challenges which could only be met by staging huge concerts, were a Catch 22, since in such venues the spontanaity was sacrificed. Phil doesn't shy away from expressing his emotions at the deaths of several of the band (and crew) including Garcia. This marvellous audiobook is enhanced by a musical selection on each of the five disks; I wish there were more.

Tell Me Why: The Beatles: Album By Album, Song By Song, The Sixties And After by Tim Riley
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
Recommended by Alan Chrisman.

Van Morrison - Into the Music by Ritchie Yorke
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
This book was a gift from my sister Neesa in 2015. We have both been fans a long time. It may have been written in 1975, and he may still be touring, including coming to CityFolk festival in Ottawa in 2015, but the book paints a fine portrait of the man and his music. There have been 27 more albums to add to the 8 official albums released before 1975. His music never sounds dated, and will be popular among future generations of discerning listeners. His character is so different from typical popular musicians; this book describes his character very well. Has it changed since? I suspect he is mellower. Judging by the 40 year anniversary re-recording of Astral Weeks Live (2009), he has lost none of his musicianship. I would like to mention one album I own that is not listed among most discographies: "The Skiffle Sessions - Live in Belfast," where he shared the billing with Lonnie Donegan and Chris Barber. Magic.

The Wavedancer Benefit - Stephen King, Pat Conroy, John Grisham & Peter Straub in tribute to Frank Muller
Frank Muller died in 2008 after injuries sustained from a motorcyle acciden in 2001. He remains a master of his trade - narrator of audiobooks, and therefore a hero on this web site. Noone else sounds remotely like Frank, and few can so completely contribute to the work of the writer to such a degree. For those of us who love this medium it is gratifying when four emminent authors get together for a benefit for a narrator. Stephen King, Pat Conroy, John Grisham & Peter Straub did this February 2, 2002 at New York's Town Hall, all except Pat Conroy reading from one of their own books, and Conroy delivering a hillarious memoire in celebration of the art of writing. The event was the brainchild of Stephen King. Their own readings only emphasised Frank's supreme skills (which may be why Par Conroy didn't). I am not a reader of Stephen King, and the piece he read, a short story about a pie eating contest will not change that. Neither could I get into Straub's reading. Grisham's choice was good. However, the best things about it all were the sense of occasion, the chance to hear famous writers speaking, and the fact that these emminent writers cared enough to do it, and for these reasons I recommend it.

Health & Wellness

Arthritis & Folk Medicine by D.C.Jarvis, M.D.
Paperback
I have a hunch I will always be grateful to my sister Neesa for introducing me to this book, written in 1961. How sad that civilization forgets things as we learn new things, and sometimes the new things (eg drugs) are less effective than the wisdom of ages, as distilled into this very readable gem by Dr. Jarvis, who studied the behaviour of animals and children in his research. If you are looking for great health, read it.

Exercise Danger by Dr. Grant Donovan, Jane McNamara, Peter Gianoli.
Paperback. Not available from Amazon at the time of posting (but keep trying!) Audiobook not available. Obtainable direct from the Canadian publisher Activetics, 416-733-9433.
Many exercises you were taught 20 years ago are seriously dangerous, and you may end up at your chiropractic clinic having the results corrected (I did). This booklet tells you what to avoid and what to replace it with. A must for all exercisers, trainers, aerobic instructors, PE instructors, chiropractors.

Overcoming addictions by Deepak Chopra, read by the author.
A more spiritual approach to heaving that habit from a master blender of the best of Ayurvedic traditions and modern medicine and psychology. For smokers, drinkers, chocoholics, TV addicts etc.

Mindless eating by Brian Wansink, Ph.D.
A scientist tells us why we eat much more than we think we eat, and what to do about it. A refreshing change from most other dietry approaches. Anyone can benefit, not just the obese.

Personal Resilience by Mark Walter, MD
Paperback. Audiobook not available. Obtainable direct from the author.
A landmark manual in the new field of lifestyle Medicine, I endorse this practical guide to a compehensive lifestyle program to tune body, mind and spirit for optimum health, well-being and performance.

Read this if you have a heart by Dr. Elie Klein, BSc, ND
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
Published 2013, so up to date, this tackles the problem of why cardiovascular disease (CVD) is on the rise despite conventional dietry recommendations. Although CVD is the world's leading cause of death, it is preventable with the right diet. Cholesterol and saturated fats are NOT the problem. So what is? Sugar is certainly a key cause. You can read this book in 2 or 3 hours. You owe it to your spouse to become knowledgable in this area, not just an other heart-attack statistic.

Social intelligence by Daniel Goleman, read by Dennis Boutsikaris.
Ever wondered how you form an opinion about whether you like or dislike someone on sight? There is now solid science behind this and hundreds of other aspects of how our brains work as we inhabit a world of social interractions starting with our mothers. Although any human being should be fascinated by such things, if you interract with others for a living, or lead or follow others, or area parent, this book will definitely help you to a better understanding of why things are the way they are inside your head and the heads of others. I had never imagined that the healthy brain was quite so clever, but it all makes perfect sense.

The art of aging by Sherwin B Nuland, read by the author.
The goal of aging should be to live well and strong until the day you die. This book shows you how to do that, both physically and mentally, and for this I believe I will long be grateful. He gives examples of aging success stories from people of faith and people without faith (though personally the idea of dying faithless would scare me sh*tless). The chapter on suicide is particularly compelling; Nuland uses the stories of a number of people to illustrate his thesis, greatly adding to the readability of what could have been a dry medical book. But isn't. Recommended to anyone over 50.

Medical Books - not an Amazon link

Historical and Geographical Non-fiction and Novels

Includes recent history

An officer and a spy by Robert Harris, read by David Rintoul.
I remember seeing a book about the Dreyfuss case in my father's bookshelves, but hadn't appreciated the enormity of it all. In this reconstruction of the French scandal of the 1890s, Robert Harris does much more than tell the stoy of a miscarriage of justice. He shows the inner strength of his hero Major Georges Picquart when all of France is against him, as gradully he uncovers the plot. We learn of the lengths armed services will go to cover up their misdeads, for the 'greater good.' We learn how obeying orders without question may win the battle but lose the war. We are reminded the evil of rampant antisemitism. We discover that some men are driven by moral principles, but who knows where they get them, because most are driven purely by self interest. I like to think Christianity plays a role here, but this hero is a non-believer. I happened to see a performance by political activist folksinger David Rovics while in the middle of this book, reinforcing the danger to society from the kind of extreme activities illustrated by the book. Reader David Rintoul does a fabulous job of making the fascinating characters jump off the page.

Against all Enemies by Richard A Clarke, read by the author.
Essential reading, particularly if you weren't sure whether the Bush administration was devious or misguided or what in dropping the ball on Al Qaeda to target Saddam. Now we know, from the insider view of Dick Clarke, security advisor to four presidents but ignored by Bush. Don't read anything else on the war before you read this, so all can fall into context. Why can't the Americans persuade someone like Clarke to run for political office, instead of basing their campaings on contests between millioanaires?

Anne Boleyn by Evelyn Anthony, read by Sarah Sherborne.
Sounds a litte boring? It was written 50 years ago. It's a revelation, particularly if you are interested in the wars within Christianity at the time. What was it that so motivated Henry VIII to wrench control of the church from the pope? You'll find out. How was Henry able to execute Anne in all conscience for uncommitted crimes? Kings and queens of England have held the title Defender of the Faith (Fid def) ever since. The book includes other characters from your schooldays: Cardinal Wolesey, Sir Thomas Moore, Cranmer, Jane Seymour, etc, bringing them to life, lives towered over by the extraordinary monarch Henry VIII.

The Archer's Tale by Bernard Cornwell, read by Tim Piggott-Smith.
Boy, were they tough in the 14th century! A superb reading of a story of good vs evil at the beginning of the hundred years war with well drawn characters who get under your skin. The superiority of the English bowmen over the Genoese mercenery crossbowmen wins the day - many days. Descriptions of war in olden times rivalling "The Gladiator."

The Book of Negroes aka "Someone Knows my Name" by Lawrence Hill
Paperback
I could not have chosen a better time to read this wonderful book about the human spirit in the face of one of the obscenities of history, the slave trade. For it includes the return of the Black Loyalists from Nova Scotia to Africa - and the founding of Freetown, where we were just two months ago. It illustrates more connection between Canada and Sierra Leone. Written in the first person by a woman, Amanita Diallo, it was hard for me to accept that the writer is a man - and Canadian. Yet he inhabits the lives of his characters throughout this fascinating and moving story, much of which is based on true event and real people, such as John Clarkson, brother of Thomas, both famous abolitionists. Read this book, and watch the film Amazing Grace. See the 3000 names of black loyalists known as the Book of Negroes here.

Chesapeake by James A.Mitchener, read by George Grizzard.
The inspiring story of 400 years of history from the viewpoint of the families who live there.

The Dam Busters by Paul Brickhill, read by Richard Todd
Classic true WW2 story of unlikely hero Barnes Wallis, engineer, designer of the Wellington bomber and the bouncing bomb.

The Forest by Erward Rutherfurd, read by Lynn Redgrave.
If you enjoyed Sarum, and London, this pesonalized history of families who lived in the New Forest from William Rufus day will enthral you.

The Fifties by David Halberstam, read by Edwin Newman.
Panoramic view of the 20th century's pivotal decade, including Korea, Sputnik, Elvis, McCarthism, consumerism.

How the Irish saved civilization by Thomas Cahill.
Paperback
Why wasn't this taught in school? Maybe it was in Irish schools, but we owe the Irish a huge debt for preserving what would have been lost when the barbarians sacked Rome. Specifically, Patrick was the key man in a key time, but hundreds of others were inspired by him and his faith. Clearly it was done for the love of God. Today's crop of atheists owe their freedom of thought to a civilization forged by men of God, who contrasted with, but also complimented the Roman approaches to Christianity.

I shall not hate by Dr. Izzelchin Abuelaish.
Hardback A Muslim born in a refugee camp in Gaza claws his way to a better life through education - becomed a medical specialist - a friend to Palestinians and Israelis alike - yet suffers extreme trajedy - his children killed. He refuses to hate, and becomes a man who may yet receive the Nobel peace prize. Required reading for all - and if you believe that violence achieves nothing you will empathise greatly with this vital work. Tell everyone about this book. YouTube of his call to a radio staion following the deaths of his children. Interview with Steve Paikin on The Agenda.

Inside the Revolution by Joel C. Rosenberg, read by Mel Foster.
Subtitle: How the followers of Jihad, Jefferson and Jesus are battling to dominate the Middle East and transform the world. It is a successor to Epicenter. Every few years or so I read a book which upends my previous understanding of a particular subject, and reminds me that relying on print and TV journalism for imformation leaves a lot to be desired. This is such a book. As I was reading it, I was hoping that governments were consulting Mr. Rosenberg for the priceless information he has gathered on Mid-East affairs, and indeed they do as he tells in the book. Page after page contains information vital for an understanding of today's dangerous world; Iran being the greatest of those dangers. This was published in 2009, but it is now 2013 and the book had lost none of its immediacy for me. You can keep up with Joel on his blog and @joecrosenberg on Twitter. Muslims (as well as Christians) should read it to know of the remarkable moderate leaders who have emerged in Afghanistan and Iraq, all as passionate against terrorism as is the west. How will it all end? Perhaps as in Joel's novels such as Damascus Countdown. Yet in the final quarter of the book we hear of the amazing march of Christianity in these nations. Could it be possible that this will accelerate to the level where the major threats become nullified? (This is not suggested in the book.) The stories Joel tells from his talks with mission workers are breathtaking, and utterly convincing.

Imperium by Robert Harris, read by Simon Jones.
Historical novel based on Cicero as narrated by Marcus Tullius Tiro (103 BC–4 BC), a slave and later a freedman of Cicero, who developed the Tironian notes so he could write down Cicero's speeches. My overriding impression after greatly enjoying everything about this book is how sophisticated the world was 2050 years ago. Don't imagine that our "civilization" today is the product just of the last 1000 years.

Jarhead by Anthony Swofford, read by the author.
A first hand account of training and fighting with the US Marines in the Gulf war. Swofford reads The Iliad for relaxation while prearing for modern war, and writes about it with total candour. The war itself only starts about 80% through the book. Nothing is hidden, certainly not the cussing, and not the friendly fire, their first experience on being shot at. He's a sniper, which adds an extra dimension to this authentic diary. When I was in the navy I sometimes wondered if the folks back home had any clue about our life, and now you folks back home have no excuse for not being aware of the minute to minute horror and exhilaration of it all.

Kill Bin Laden by Dalton Fury, narrated by Dave Drummond.
In 2001 the hunt for the world's most wanted man may have seen him slip through their fingers, but this description of real life anti-terrorism makes gripping reading - and for me authenticates the fictional versions such as The Panther. We often fail to acknowlege the skill, courage and value of today's fighting elites, like Delta Force and the SAS, which stay under the radar, so this is a rare peek into a lifestyle that would scare most of us to death long before the bullets got us.

The Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell, read by Jamie Glover.
The dark ages were skipped in my school, but there was a lot going on in 878. Saxons, Vikings/Danes we heard of vaguely. Bernard Cornwell brings them to life in the times when St. Cuthbert's corpse - a neo relic - was being trundled around the land to bring God's favour to the Christian Saxons, subjects of Alfred the Great. Physical prowess in fighting was the passport to fame and fortune, and our hero Uhtred, at 21 is fearless and sharp, a combination that allows him to shape history.

The Last Wife of Henry VIII by Carolly Erickson, read by Terry Donnelly.
Fascinating because noone ever taught us in school much about Catherine Parr. Yet her story encompasses all the other wives and a lot more beside. Certainly the most intelligent and articulate of his wives, Catherine survived by her wits and understanding of Henry's devious character. Delightfully long. The reading is so so.

Midnight Diaries by Boris Yeltsin, read by ?
My copy from the library doesn't say who was the reader. If it was Yeltsin himself, I am even more impressed with the man and his thought processes so well documented here. Although some have suggested that the writer(s) were other than he, I sense a man of integrity, and a man of the Christian faith who was warmly welcomed by Pope John Paul and who made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. His liking for informal relations with other world leaders - "meetings in shirtsleeves" - may have contributed to good international relations, particularly with USA (Bill Clinton) and Japan. He strongly believed in the concept of the G7, which became the G8 on his watch, where shirtsleeves could often be the dress code. Those who demonstrate against such informal meetings of world leaders would do well to read his views. His opposition to the bombing of Kosovo has credibility. I found the book fascinating from a historical perspective and moving from a human perspective.

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory, read by Bianca Amato, Dagmara Domnczyk, & Graeme Malcom.
Elizabeth 1 was not a nice person, and neither was her chief advisor William Cecil according to this historical novel where Mary Queen of Scots is the central figure. Life in those days was precarious for those not currently in favour, when inuendo could lead to imprisonment in the tower for the queen's displeasure. This book brings such matters to life and teaches us much about living in those times.

Pakistan on the brink - The future of America, Pakistan and Afghanistan, by Ahmed Rashid, read by Arthur Morey.
When I read such a well-researched an convincing book as this I often wonder why the author has not been brought in to government, since his knowledge must surely exceed that of the majority of politicians and civil servants. In fact Ahmed Rashid's books are used as reference by governments; as a very high profile journalist he certainly has little difficulty speaking with leaders in many countries and forming his opinions. He reminds me of Joel C Rosenberg. These two men seem to have been given remarkable wisdom and vision, unhampered by party-political trivia. Prepare to be shocked by this book. All you ever see on the TV news is a series of atrocities perpetrated against the long-suffering citizens of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Rashid joins the dots, tracing the tactics of the Talibans and the countermeasures of the Americans, explaining motivations behind the killings. So many costly errors; so many misunderstandings; so many deaths for dubious objectives. Things are getting worse, staggering from impasse to impasse. Do enough people care? Do you? Read this and gain an understanding of why all of us should care deeply.

Paris by Erward Rutherfurd, read by Jean Gilpin.
I believe I have learned as much history from historical noves as from school history lessons. Rutherfurd conjours up the very essence of the city, and the French character, in this deliciously intertwined novel as we follow the lives of some flawed families over the centuries. His description of the French Revolution throught the eyes of one couple is especially poignant. The climax, in the occupation of the 1940s is classic trajedy.

The Penelopiad by Margaret Arwood, read by Laural Merlington
In fact most beautifully read by Laural Merlington, who in my view elevates this story, fascinating though it be. The telling of Homer's Oddyssey through the eyes of Penelope is a most effective device, allowing Atwood a number of sideswipes at our version of civilization from the perspective of earlier times. Lots of murder, rape and slave bashing make these things sound almost normal.

The President's Lady by Irving Stone. Ships in 4-6 weeks.
Although not biography in the strict sense, this story of President Andrew Jackson's love for Rachel, who became his wife contains enough good history to merit its inclusion in this section.

The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein, read by Jennifer Wiltsie.
Years ago I recorded off TV a Canadian documentary called The Sleep Room, about the mind control experiments done by Canadian psychiatrist Ewan Cameron at MgGill university, Montreal, on mental parients, funded by the CIA, which eventually led to the publication of the KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation manual. This is the starting point for Naomi Klein's startling indictment of certain aspects of US military and government policy, influenced by Milton Friedman's Chicago school anti Keynesian economic theories. She shows that shocks to the economy or to international events or even hurricanes are used as reasons to tear down exixting insitutions and replace them with new, paid for by taxpayers money and implemented by the private sector: corporations like Haliberton, Bechtel. The wholesale destruction of culture and infrastructure that has accompanied such activity, particularly in Chile, Russia and Iraq are shown to be deplorable and extremely costly in human life. A thread running through all these events is legalized torture, using some of the methods pioneered by Ewen Cameron. Read this book and you will see all key events of the last 30 years through new eyes, and be frightened. One trivial criticism of the audiobook; Klein might have done a better job as reader.

Sharpe's Triumph by Bernard Cornwell, read by Paul McGann.
Paperback. Audiobook not available from Amazon, but it does exist: ISBN 0001054821.
India, 1803. Seen through the exploits of Sgt. Richard Sharpe, this action novel vividly underscores the nature of battle in those days, and the characters for whom it was a way of life as the East India Company battles with mercenary armies. The book includes the battle of Assaye which the Dule of Wellington (then Wellesley) considered his finest achievement.

We were soldiers once, and young by Lt.Gen. Harold G. Moore (Ret.) & Joseph L. Galloway, read by Joseph L. Galloway
True gut-wrenching account of Ia Drang, the battle that changed the war in Vietnam. I have never read a more realistic account of modern war. So many lessons learned and to be learned by future infantry commanders. I urge you to read this book and appreciate the heroism of our fathers, uncles and sons who fought these battles - and also the heroism of the North Vietnamese, who also had mothers, fathers and children, and died in a ratio 12:1.

Winter of the World by Ken Follett, read by John Lee.
How can anything be more fascinating than modern history? Answer, when Ken Follett adds some fictional characters to bring to life those momentous events. After listening to this second volume in 'The Century Trilogy,' I like many other am anxious to dive into the third, expected soon (it is now September 2014). We see evil; we see good, we even see bad people doing good, just as human nature shows us. We understand more about the causes for events than we ever learned in school or from journalists. This book should be used to teach history. However this may not happen any time soon, due to the graphic descriptions of lovemaking which our passionate heroes and heroines seemed to experience as a part of life; fancy that! - better than any pulp fiction novel for its honesty. But not suitable for children under 18, methinks.

Young Philby by Robert Littell, read by John Lee.
Though the above link takes you to the paperback version, I actually listed to an audio CD version, which Amazon appears not to have (any more).
This is a spy story like none other. Philby, Burgess and MacLean were quite famous particularly in the UK as Russian spies. They met in Trinity College Cambridge (I was at St. Johns, up the road, a generation later). They were all very bright, very cultured, very articulate, and in Burgesses case very homosexual. The dialogue in this book is spectacular - shades of Shakesperian. The descripions of homosexual encounters are unlike anything I have read before. Philby was a remarkable character. Double agent? A very significant player in what he thought of as the spying game. This book is highly recommended as a window on espionage as it really is.

Fiction

44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith, read by Robert Alan Mackenzie.
Delightful, insightful, charmingly Scottish, and very well read. Learn more about human nature and character.

The Affair by Lee Child, read by Dick Hill.
This one entertained L-A and me on our drive to Virginia in April 2015. "I said nothing' became our catchphrase. Definitely the sexiest version of Reacher I have yet read, and a terrific story line that keeps up a great pace. The story is set when Reacher was 36, an MP on active service sent on a fool's errand. In solving the crime, he demonstrates that one smart, extremely intelligent person can outwit whole organizations of lesser men. This is true in the real world also. Brains matter.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, read by Atossa Leoni.
Seven stars for this one - I have read few books in my life to compare with it in story, understanding of human nature good and bad, character development, and sheer quality of writing. At the time of writing I have not yet read The Kite Runner, which made Hosseini famous (but I have it on order from the Ottawa library, and I can't wait). Providentially I had recently read Judaism, Christianity & Islam, by Prof Peters. A Thousand Splendid Suns is a powerful insight into the oppression of women by men, and particularly their husbands, in some Muslim countries, and certainly by the Taliban in Afghanistan. But it is also a timeless story of human virtue in the face of evil. My prayer would be to see it as a movie being viewed in Muslim countries, showing how their faith has been hi-jacked by power brokers, a faith that the book shows can be the staff of life for so many (even though it isn't true!)

All that remains by Patricia Cornwell, performed by C.J.Critt.
9 cassettes of unabridged pure gold. One of the best detection stories I've read in years, written as by the medical examiner - Dr. Kay Scarpetta. Comparisons with Kathy Reichs' Deja Dead are likely, and I'd class this as even better. Spellbinding and beautifully constructed. My only criticism is with the man from Harper who tells us when to turn over the tape (an unnecessary function) whose voice is most aggravating.

America America by Ethan Canin, read by Robertson Dean
The first thing that strikes you is Robertson Dean's rich baritone, which so well matches the inherant goodness of most of the characters in this incredible novel. After a few CDs you start wondering if the key characters existed as well as the many real historical figures in the book. In my case, I even Google them to discover that others before me have been equally struck, so that numbers of entries turn up there about fictional characters in this book. As a statement of the fundamental goodness in the American Character inherited from the founding fathers enriched by later immigrants with hugepotential, this book is unequalled in my experience, but it also allows for the betrayal of good in the hands of powerful men seeking good ends, but believing these can be achieved by not-good means. Seven stars - very rare for me.

Angel time by Anne Rice, read by Paul Michael.
Anne Rice's unique format - historical novel with heavey Christian overtones - resonates well with me. This is a story of redemption and atonement: the hero is the perpetrator of major crimes, yet when given the opportunity to make up for his wrongdoings jumps at it. On the level of a novel alone this is a terrific story, but for those of us understanding the message of hope that is Christianity, the book adds to that hope. Much of it takes place in Norwich, England, where I used to life, so that added to my enjoyment. I also learned about the Jewry in England in the 13th century; something I was never taught in school history.

Answered Prayers by Danielle Steel, read by Ron McLarty.
My first modern romantic novel, the whole action involving the hero and heroine falling in love, with a backdrop of their most unpleasant current spouses.

Arctic Drift by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler, read by Richard Ferrone
My helpmate Lynn had recently been introduced (by me) to Cussler, and debuted with the book version of Arctic Drift, and loved it. The audio version is abridged, and I would have preferred every single word. The fascination of this recent story is lots of Canadian content, global warming, secrets of the North West Passage, oil sands, and a plausible discovery that could deal with the build up of carbon, solving global warming. I of course enjoyed the chemical science. How Dirk and Giordino don't freeze to death in the final part beats me; but I knew they would survive!

The Associate by Phillip Margolin, performed by Margaret Whitton
This book contains one of the longest fashbacks since Carousel, as the events of the past are revealed during an investigation of thse of the present. Although this device seemed to me a trifle clumsy, and the exploits of the hero as he drowns in problems, to be rescued by women whose actions were close to angelic a trifle close to credible, I still enjoyed the story and reading. It also provokes thought about the ways of law and the fact that the huge fees paid to lawyers have become too much temptation for their integrity.

As the crow flies by Jeffrey Archer, narrated by Simon Prebble with Barbara Rosenblat
The version I read was narrated by Simon Prebble with Barbara Rosenblat, but Amazon may have another version listed. Simply one of the best stories I have ever read. As another review says, as you listen, or read, why would you want to bother with such mundane things as goung to work or sleeping. Also, this book could be a good primer in business, personal development, and the evil that engulfs some people, as good people suffer from it. Magnificent.

Atlas Shrugged Part III by Ayn Rand, read by Christopher Hurt - audio download.
(Parts 1 and 2 also available for audio download from the same page). In this very long trilogy, famous as a defence of capitalism, Part III shows the effect on the USA after many top industialists and thinkers have decided to go on strike for lack of appreciation and recognition. As a capitalist and a Christian, I found some of the philosophy contrived and unconvincing, the book supporting a hierarchy of excellence (good) but at the expense of those less well endowed with the capacity for deep thought who were painted as malevolent fools. Unfortunately the book also takes a side swipe at religion, which is where I found it really came unstuck. "I stand at the door and knock," said Jesus. Evidently Ayn Rand had not opened the door by the time she wrote this. Her understanding of Christianity was therefore slight, having not experienced it. The implication in the book is that in a world where reason rules, there can be no room for religion, implying that religion is not based on reason. True, in many cases, but not in the case of Christianity and Judaism. If you in doubt of this, I recommend you attend an Alpha course.

Atonement by Ian McEwan, performed by Josephine Bailey
As with Shakespeare, I found this a little confusing at first - so many characters I had them mixed up. Maybe I just wasn't listening carefully enough, so I listened to the first tape a second time, and the veil lifted completely. This intricate and interweaving story is almost Biblical in its powerful message of lifelong remorse for a child's error, and the wrecking of peoples' lives that resulted. Beautifully written, elegantly shocking and an indictment of human flawed nature. There but for the grace of God...but just a minute, after seeing the movie in early 2008, I was struck by parallels in my own life, Debbie as my Briony. In my case however, the false accusations turned out to be a blessing, because they brought me to Canada and eventually to Laurie-Ann.

Isolation ward by Joshua Spanogle, read by Christian Rummel.
One of the newish breed of medical thrillers, this one makes ER seem pretty tame. A CD turner, for sure.

The Attorney by Steve Martini, read by Chris Meloni.
Read this after The Judge, and The Jury. Lawyer hero Paul Madriani takes on cases that appear to have little hope of success, lose what little they have until the final 20% of the book, and then he works his magic and all is not lost after all - in fact his hunches about the wrongly accused are proved right. This may be one of the secrets of the success that Steve Martini enjoys - in addition to their all being rattlingly good reads - it feeds on our own fantasies of false accusation.

Bad Company by Jack Higgins, read by Patrick Macnee.
Whether it's Patrick Macnee's reading (his pidgeon Italian is painful) or Higgins is getting long in the tooth, I found this 2003 novel less beguiling than his previous stories (and he is still producing). However Sean Dillan, Charles Ferguson, the Salters and the Rashid family are familiar territory and are comforting for checking into. This book has interesting historical aspects including Hitler and the bunker. The same aerobatic tactic to bring down a shadowing enemy is used three times in this story. Probably best just for other fans like me, rather than an introduction to Higgins' work.

Beach Road by James Patterson & Peter de Jonge, performed by 7 separate actors.
This is the only book in these pages written by two authors and read by 7 readers all in the first person. For that latter originality I am giving it three stars instead of two on my books list. It also has the most wildly unexpected twist near the end. For me it was too fantastic to be credible, and we were being asked to stretch our imaginations beyond reasonableness. It is also about evil, and that is a subject that brings limited pleasure to this reader at least.

Be careful what you wish for by Jeffrey Archer, read by Alex Jennings.
Archer never fails to grip me with the creativeness of his story lines and characters similar to people I grew up with. This part of a multi-generational Clifton family epic does not dissapoint.

Barney's Version by Mordecai Richler, dramatised by a cast led by Saul Rubinek.
Brilliant, unique writing about one of the most depressingly realistic characters in literature. What an egotistical, childish, un-empathetic, hedonistic, selfish and downright stupid character is Barney. Yet in my earlier life I knew of people like him. I guess I learned to avoid them. If only he had been granted the experience of good Christianity; how different his attitudes and life might have been. None of this is to downplay the quality of the writing, or the understanding of human nature that Richler offers. The book is packed with clever humour, to which the reading does great justice. The dramatization by a cast of seven, and the stereo production are excellent (nothing like it in any other book here reviewed to date, March 2013). I don't quite understand how such a drunken nincompoop manages to run a successful business, and Richler doesn't explain well enough why Miriam is prepared to marry him. But these are minor, in a work filled with majors.

Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen, read by the author.
One of the very best crime stories I've read, made specially memorable by humour, and (for me) the backdrop of the rock music industry. The hero Jack Tagger is an obituary writer, who notices unusual facts in the death of Jimmy Stoma, infamous leader of Jimmy and the Slut Puppies. The story is put together with consumate skill, with all the ends being tied up nicely, and without confuding the listener (unusual in my experience of modern crime writers).

Be Cool by Elmore Leonard, performed by Jason Culp.
Likeable villains at work in the music industry in Hollywood. You'll enjoy this if you are interested in what makes songs and artists successful.

A Bed by the Window by M. Scott Peck, read by the author.
Paperback. Audiobook not available from Amazon.
Scott Peck fans particularly will enjoy this novel of an unlikely love affair in a mental intitution between a severely disabled patient and his nurse, which turns into a murder mystery, but teaches throughout about human nature.

Best kept secret by Jeffrey Archer, read by Alex Jennings and Emilia Fox.
I should have read this before 'Be careful what you wish for' (see a page above) instead of after, but that doesn't diminish the quality, or my enjoyment of this story of the Clifton dynasty.

Black Ops by W E B Griffin, read by Dick Hill.
My first Griffin, but I want more! What a magnificent spy story, marvellous characters, topical interest, humour, a sexy Russian with red underbritches, even dogs and children (nice ones). A hero who makes mistakes, and almost loses everything because what he has discovered is unbelievable by the regular spies in the CIA. So rare to see the tentative thought processes in deliberation before the action. I enjoyed the parts between the action as we delved into atmosphere and scene-setting. Probably the most enjoyable spy story I have ever read.

Black Wind by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler, read by Scott Brick.
Dirk Pitt (father and son) plus daughter Summer star in this adventure, where in a humourous vignette one of the characters is named Clive Cussler, and the co-author is Dirk Cussler, son! A good story of the world in deep trouble, saved by the Pits. World stage novels need the bad guys to come from rogue nations so that the nations can be cast in a bad light, and in this case it is North Korea.

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, read by Margot Dionne (unabridged)
This is an extraordinary story, told in an extraordinary way. Even where I was confused I always enjoyed the language and the way Ms Atwood evokes the feeling of the periods that she writes about. It is a story about some very sad people, and I felt so sorry for the characters and their hopeless lives, though lack of cash was never the reason. I suspect many lead lives of such desparation in our complex world. Unfortunately God is presented here as part of the problem, not as the solution.

Blood Sport by Dick Francis, narrated by Simon Prebble.
When Dick Francis weaves one of his stories around horses, we all become horse lovers and wonder whether anything else in the world is so interesting to write about. This is a first-class thriller with well drawn characters I cared about engaged in a cassette-turning thriller, expertly read by Simon Prebble.

The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman, read by the author.
I started Tony Hillerman at the end, with his excellent autobiography "Seldom Disappointed," and then to this, his first novel, set among law and order among Navaho Indians. Probably told me more about Indians than I had ever known before. Tony tells a good sleuthing story, but you can tell it's the characters you meet along the way that fascinate him.

The Bourne Deception by Eric van Lustbader, read by Jeremy Davidson.
Frantic action and activity throughout, augmented by sound effects at peak moments (a gimmick I haven't encountered before). Much to deplore here in man's inhumanity described in gory detail. However, it is saved by a strong and intricate storyline which is just believable and reminiscent of some current international trends. The characters are well drawn with very human emotions under stress - and this reader avoided the book when I didn't want my mood depressed.

Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd, read by Fiona Shaw.
Extraordinary and beautifully written story of strange events in the life of zoologist Hope Clearwater, allowing a comparison between extreme behaviour of man and chimpanzee.

Brother Cadfael's Penance by Ellis Peters, read by Derek Jacobi.
Medieval drama sprinkled with history (King Stephen) in which Brother Cadfael's sleuthing prevails over rogues and bad knights.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, read by Alan Arkin.
The famous novel about the re-entrant Catch is really a satire on the futility of war, the naiveté of many who find themselves in a position of leadership in war, and the timeless battle between commen sense and moral courage in the face of danger. Only Heller's use of humour to tell the story disguises its a bitter indictment of human attitudes towards age-old beliefs.

The Chase by Clive Cussler, read by Scott Brick.
This is an early Izaac Bell story, where he meet Marian, who he will eventually marry after many more exploits. The villain is identified faily soon in the book, with the reader wondering what the rest of the book can hold, and then it explodes like an earthquake. For train lovers, this is mothers' milk. All Cussler's work; no co-writer in those days.

Cat o' Nine Tails by Jeffrey Archer, read by Anton Lesser.
Short stories by one of my favourite authors, this one based on characters he met in jail. He is in a couple of the stories. Some of the exploits aiming to earn a lot more than regular wages are ingenious, but in the end never worked out for their perpetrators, or Jeffrey wouldn't have met them. I suspect there are many out there whose plans were successful, and if they weren't greedy, they will still be undetected.

The Constant Gardener by John Le Carré, read by the author.
It is hard to imagine that the events described - megafraud by a drug company - are wholly fictitious and Le Carré might have become a target for this brave indictment of that industry, true or not. Seldom has severe wrongdoing by captains of industry abetted by captains of politics been so well captured. I have seen the excellent film a while ago, but it seems to me that the book is almost a different story. That a young woman - his dead heroine Tessa Quayle - should have fought against the odds with such courage is an inspiration for all even though this is just a story.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain, read by Richard Kiley.
Twain uses humour to satirize the beginnings of privileged society based on heredity which eventually led to the departure of the pilgrim fathers to create one where every man is created equal.

Cruel and Unusual by Patricia Cornwell, read by Kate Burton.
While not quite in the class of "All that remains" (possibly seemed like that because this version was abridged) this is a fine piece of detection by Kay Scarpetta, which kept me listening and enjoying my driving. The ingenious story includes the hero's being accused of the crime, and fingerprints of a dead man being found at the scene of a crime. Cornwell writes quite complex stories, but tells them with such clarity that the reader can follow exactly what's happening - not always the case in today's fiction (or movies).

Cold Harbour by Jack Higgins, read by David McCallum.
2nd world war espionage illustrating that the British could be ruthless too in their determination to overcome the enemy. If it's Jack Higgins, it had to be a good read, and it was.

Corsair by Clive Cussler with Jack du Brul, read by Scott Brick
Quite apart from the first class story that we expect from the Cussler factory, this presents insights into the minds of terrorists and the forces at work to maintain war and prevent peace. The action takes place in Libya before the death of Gaddafi and involves the kidnapping of the uS secretary of state. Cabrillo solves most of the issues single handed while some of his men make serious errors of judgement - unusually realistic for a Cussler novel. The search for a jewel said to contain drops of Jesus' blood makes for a fascinating finish when DNA tests are done.

Crescent Dawn by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler, read by Scott Brick.
This one steps in dangerous territory with a rumoured ossary containing Jesus' bones, and I haven't yet finished it to see where that strand leads. Yesterday in Istanbul a terrorist attack killed 30, which made this story very topical; even informative about terrorist motivations (Muslims killing Muslims to push an electorate towards fundamentalism). The Pitts, ever resourceful, unite to save the world (I expect). With the involvement of the sinking of HMS Hampshire with Lord Kitchener aboard in June 1916, the book postulates an intriguing and worrisome reason for the sinking, which sets the scene for the train of events described in Crescent Dawn, drawing to a conclusion in Cyprus at Stavrovourni Monastry which I visited as a child.

Crossfire by Dick Francis and Felix Francis, read by Martin Jarvis
Firtsly, Martin Jarvis' reading is superb, with accents that neatly characterize all the participants in this great story. Home from Afghanistan without his foot, hero Captain Tom Forsyth finds his mother, a top racehorse trainer in a real mess: blackmail, etc, etc. They never have got on too well. Tom decides to sort out the problem, since bringing in the police would land his mother in jail. What I really liked about this story was that quite a lot of it deals with getting the bad guys their just desserts in a truly deserving manner. There was a special pleasure for the reader in this. Sadly this was Dick Francis' last book before he died. Great legacy!

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, read by Paul Michael.
Pretty good marks as a fictional thriller. I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of phi in the codebreaking aspects. Trouble is, this story masquerades as a historical novel. In a historical novel, the author typically fills in the gaps in our knowledge with as realistic a story as might have been truly possible. In contrast, Dan Brown takes well established truth within Christianity and replaces it with fantasy so extreme to be ridiculous. Most peoples' knowledge of the Bible is scant, and they may be taken in by Brown's musings. Other reviewers praise Brown for the detailed reserach he must have undertaken. There is a character called Sir Lee Teebing. in common practice he would be referred to either as Sir Lee Teebing, or Sir Lee, or perhaps Lee, or Lee Teebing. Brown repeatedly calls him Sir Teebing. That would be like referring to Sir Isaac Newton as Sir Newton. If this is an illustration of the quality of Brown's research, I would surmise that all of the exotic stuff comes straight from his imagination. For me, the revelations in the Bible are far more exciting, and logical, than the mixture of myths in the Da Vinci Code. I like Nicky Gumbel's booklet: The Da Vinci Code: A response, which neatly consigns every single aspect of Dan Brown's imaginings to the world of fiction.

The Danger by Dick Francis, read by Tim Pigott-Smith.
This is a great kidnapping story against the background of racing. Tim Pigott-Smith is perfect.

Dark Angel by Geoffrey Archer, read by Christian Rodska.
To save you researching, Geoffrey Archer is not the same as Jeffery Archer, though they share a talent for complex and absorbing storytelling. A traumatic event in the lives of three teenagers transform those lives, so there is ample opportunity for character development over the 55-year timespan of the novel. Though none of them is tainted by virtue, except perhaps the struggling-with-his-homosexuality Tom, and one is positively evil, there is much to wonder at in the way they conduct their subsequent lives, scheeming and manipulating. There are also fascinating glimpses of the Korean and Faulkland wars, where the author is comfortable with including his own well-informed opinions on those events.

Dark Lady by Richard North Patterson.
Ever wondered what might be going on behind the staid facades of municipal politics. In Steeton, a seething writhing gamut of ambition, greed, scheeming, murder and unnatural practices that heroine Stella Marz, assistant county prosecutor must untangle to rid the town of the dark influence of organized crime. I sy this because what otherwise would be just another thriller makes one wonder about local politics and politicians. No, its OK; I'm sure yours aren't like those in Steelton...

The Camel Club by David Baldacci, read by Jonathan Davis.
I discovered Baldacci only in 2015, and am reading them in the order I find them in the Ottawa library, which is anything but chronological. I suspect this may be the first in the series involving his misfit friends. While way above the standards of most thrillers of its type, I would say the writing here is less well-honed that in Hell's Corner or Divine Justice. I still enjoyed it enormously.

The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat, read by Robert Powell. Delivery delays.
As an ex Royal Navy man I feel this is a great classic of war and of the traditions of the Navy.

Day of Reckoning by Jack Higgins, read by Patrick Macnee.
A deliciously long Higgins novel with Sean Dillon and friends inflicting major damage on the Mafia over and over and over again. Higgins' characters inspire affection and the book is spiced with dry Irish humour, and not a few Bushmills when Liam Devlin (still alive after all these years) is on stage.

Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs, read by Katherine Borowitz.
Forensic scientist Kathy Reichs' third novel is even more gripping than Deja Dead, and as an added bonus has the biker gangs as her backdrop for this novel. There's a special message for folk who may think bikers are just people who like riding Harleys.

Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs, read by Katherine Borowitz.
There's a lot of blood and badly treated flesh, but if you want to know what life in a CSI team is really like in the real world, here's your opportunity. I was reminded that one of the things that never stops or changes in our broken world is murder. While crime novelists have exploited our sad fascination for people killing people, a dose of Reichs realism is appropriate to remind us that the whole subject is horrifying.

The Deceiver by Frederick Forsyth, performed by Charles Keating.
Sam McCready is a cunning but charming British agent who is usually several moves ahead of his adversaries, and in Forsyth's fast-moving and well-constructed plots his exploits are always captivating.

Debt of Honour by Tom Clancy, read by John Rubinstein.
Are there no bounds to Clancy's suggestions as to what could be. Here a copybook repeat of Pearl Harbour by Japanese attempting to repay the first go-round takes every shill that Ryan has learned, to defeat, and in the process advances his career somewhat. Did I tell you my dog is named for Clancy?

Trojan Odyssey Clive Cussler, read by Ron McLarty
I am listening to the Cussler books in the order I can pull them from the shelf at the Beaverbrook Library, not in chronological order. This predates the others I've explored so far, making Dirk Pitt senior the hero. And what a hero! One step removed from Superman, ready to bust into any danger zone and trust in his own skills to get him out of trouble, with the help of puppetmaster Cussler. Cussler's penchant for reworking ancient events, this time Homer's Oddyssey, is stunning in its invention. I prefer Ron McLarty's voice to Scott Brick, which was a plus for me in this bunch of wild fun, saving Europe from utter disaster. It is shorter than the others, which is a pity - the longer the better.

Declarations of War by Len Deighton, read by Michael Jayston.
Short stories of war-inspired emotions and traumas, this collection even better (to my mind) than "Twelve Good Men and True" included below.

Deep Six by Clive Cussler, read by Tom Wopat.
With echoes of The Manchurian Candidate, Dirk Pitt's unravelling of presidential kidnapping and the release of nerve agent "S" into the northern Pacific prompted praise from Tom Clancy - "A new Clive Cussler novel is like a visit from your best friend" - and made it a NYT bestseller.

Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs, read by Amy Irving
Forensic scientist Kathy Reichs turns novelist and produces a seemingly totally authentic account of the nailing of a Montreal serial killer. Should make a great movie.

Destination Gold by Richard Marcinko & John Weisman, read by Richard Marcinko
Almost as good as "Seal Force Alpha" (see below) and just as vernacular - which seems in keeping with this story and this hero, who looks like a biker, is a Navy Captain, and has to work around lesser mortals like admirals and generals on a daily basis.

The Devil's Alternative by Frederick Forsyth, read by Peter Egan.
From the opening words, a compelling story of international forces at work, in the unique Forsyth tradition.

Divine Justice by David Baldacci, read by Ron McLarty.
Almost on a par with Hell's Corner, and I just can't get enough of Oliver Stone, Baldacci's super-spy hero in the Camel Club series. Of particular interest to anyone connested with prisons or prison visiting, describing a fictional super-max where all humanity has long been dispensed with and the superintendent dispenses death as routine, seeming to get away with it. If you want 'tough on crime,' here is your eventual destination.

The Eagle has Landed by Jack Higgins, read by Christopher Casenove, unabridged.
Classic WW2 story in that the individual Germans in the story were (for the first time?) portrayed as honourable foes rather than inhuman.

The Edge by Dick Francis, narrated by Simon Prebble.
The action takes place in Canada - Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver, and mainly on a special train with racehorses, owners, fans, villain Julius Filmer, and hero sleuth Tor Kelsey. I (an Englishman) have never actually crossed Canada on the train, but after thoroughly enjoying this novel by an Englishman, I feel I know what it would be like. Another Canadian ingredient is a murder mystery which becomes entangled in the real mystery. Great stuff by the master of racing thrillers. All Canadians should read!

Edge of Danger by Jack Higgins, read by Patrick Macnee.
This is as good as The Eagle Has Landed, if not better! The characters Higgins continues to use in the series of his books have become well drawn friends with whom we feel comfortable - even the villains. The twist here is that the initial hero becomes the villain, but not before I was asking "What's going on; is the hero an assassin?" As in the Devil's Alternative, the good guys have multiple missions to put paid to the bad guys; it's like having three books in one without having to say goodbye. I have some niggling criticism of Macnee's reading and would like to hear someone else have a go at the next one, but this didn't hurt my enjoyment. I loved it.

Enquiry by Dick Francis, narrated by Simon Prebble.
One of those stories where the good guy is falsely accused but only a few stand by him. I sensed that Mr Francis was having a not-so-subtle go at the crowd that control racing in Britain. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard; read by Jeremy Irons.
Based on the author's childhood experiences in 2nd world wartime Shanghai, he paints an unforgettable portrait of war, China and childhood resilience.

The Empty House by Rosamunde Pilcher; performance by Lynn Redgrave.
Beautifully told story of love and children sixty years ago in England, as an insecure young widow recaptures her first love. Descriptive flair, so true to life, in every paragraph. Rosamunde Pilcher is one of the finest of writers, and in Lynn Redgrave she has the perfect interpreter.

Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett, read by Edward Woodward.
British war efforts could be totally frustrated if master spy Henry Faber is not stopped from completing his mission. Some of the events based on truth emphasise that the versatile Ken Follett can excell in the world of espionage.

Eyes of a Child by Richard North Patterson, read by Ken Howard.
Suicide or murder? Mysterious events within two families linked by fate, cleverly devised to keep us guessing till the very end, with characters who could be your neighbours and their children.

Extremely loud and incredibly close by Jonathan Safran Foer, performed by Barbara Caruso, Richard Farone, Jeff Woodman.
For the first few disks I wondered if I would finish this, since I was confused in the strange world of the characters. I would not have continued had it been the hard cover version. I persevered and so should you. There is a strong endorsement from Salman Rushdie and the audiobook narrators do a fine job. The book is unique in subject matter, in behaviour of the characters, and in the way the story is told from the angles of the different characters. The 'hero' is a 9 year old boy, very articulate and gifted but without the reticence that adults develop. The emotions he experiences following the death of his father at 9/11 are heartrending, and the overall impression one is left with is the power of love in a family. The author adds to the drama by making the main characters atheists, but in real life, only folk with a dependence on the Holy Spirit could have handled such events without damaging levels of stress (in my view).

Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout, read by Michael Pritchard.
Rex Stout's first crime novel, written in 1934, introduced super sleuth Nero Wolfe who would become one of the great fictional dectectives.

Felix in the underworld by John Mortimer, read by Michael Pennington
Wonderfully crafted story that introduces us to a world of which most of us know nothing, yet it is all too real. This is all mapped on to an elegant crime mystery.

Falling Man by John DeLillo, read by John Slattery.
I understood very little of this book. The 'story' and the characters confused me. It was like one of those thriller movies where I can't tell what's going on because it jumps about so much. The writing contained frequent brilliant descriptive sentences which is the only reason I kept reading, hoping that at some point it would all fall into place. It didn't; not for me anyway.

False impression by Jeffrey Archer, read by Byron Jennings
Archer in the art world, and specifically the market for the likes of Van Gogh, makes for high finance, aristocratic living, greedy white collar criminals and a Rosa Kleb-styled Romanian assassin called Olga Krantz. The story doesn't disappoint, though as I am simultaneously reading James Joyce the prose seems somewhat mundane. I several times asked myself whether Byron Jenning's use of Romanian, Japanese and other accents adds to the enjoyment or not.

The Family by Mario Puzo, read by Philip Bosco.
An extraordinary historical novel based around the life loves and cimes of the family of Rodrigo Borgia - Pope Alexander VI, who ruled the Vatican in the 15th century, when a somewhat different moral ethic was normal. A work two decades in the making. Puzo is the author of "The Godfather." The book was completed by his companion, novelist Carol Gino.

Finding Moon by Tony Hillerman, performed by Jay O. Sanders.
In working through the Hillerman novels after happening on his wonderful autobiography "Seldom Disappointed," this is the one I have enjoyed most, and there isn't a Navaho in sight. Set in the closing weeks of the Viet Nam war (as was Miss Saigon) it follows the exploits of Moon Mathias as he attempts the almost impossible following his brother's death in a helicopter accident. Beautifully crafted story with chunks of real history as the backdrop. Particularly fine for people who appreciate a capacity for "getting the job done."

Fire Ice by Clive Cussler, read by James Naughton.
I'm working backwards through Clive Cussler's consistently enjoyable thrillers, and every time I learn something about the oceans, the earth, engineering, weather, (pseudo) science and other fascinating aspects of our planet. Good heroes, good villains, great stories.

The Firm by John Grisham, read by D.W.Moffett.
Although centred on a fast moving crime story, for me the unique aspect was the description of the attempted exploitation of the Mitch McDeere by the senior partners in the Bendini tax firm. In Mitch, they met their match, because his brilliance enabled him to survive a work schedule that would have shattered most of us. Such firms exist.

The First Eagle by Tony Hillerman, performed by George Guidall.
A joy of a detective novel because the environment (Navaho Indian) and the characters are as finely drawn as the so-believable plot. Feels like a true story (perhaps through Hillerman's journalism background). Of particular interest in these SARS days is the authentic-sounding medical science involving bubonic plague in humans and prairie dogs.

First Family by David Baldacci, read by Ron McLarty
This is first class thriller, made all the more poignant by the inclusion of a fictitious president and first lady, and showing us their frailties despite high office. Features a likeable villain, Sam Quarry, who takes the law into his own hands for reasons that one can understand.

The Fist of God by Frederick Forsyth, read by Simon Jones.
This is the best war/spy story I have ever encountered. I don't know how much of it is based on fact in the Gulf War, but it is certainly a feasible and extremely revealing explanation of events.

Flesh and blood by Jonathan Kellerman, read by John Rubinstein.
Just another whudunit? Turned out to be a very well constructed crime novel where all the loose ends were well tied up by the end, and it kept my keen interest throughout.

The Fledgling Spy by John Le Carré, read by the author.
So you thought all spies were old, or bold (but not both). Meet two tyros, embroiled in a tough world, where more than intelligence is needed to survive, and enjoy Le Carré's veiled cynicism about the profession.

The Fly on the Wall by Tony Hillerman, read by the author.
A non-Navaho Hillerman novel, set in the world of state and municipal politics and newspapers that he knew so well. Investigating corruption in building contracts may not sound like the stuff of a good crime story, but in Hillerman's hands it not only rings true but becomes subject matter that we all need to be aware of. I really enjoyed this.

For whom the bell tolls by Ernest Hemingway, performed by Campbell Scott.
I'd read this decades ago (it was written in 1940) but only remembered the 'felt the earth move' segment, which made a deep impression ... it did again; but so did the whole story in this splendid audio production. Although set in the Spanish civil war, the thoughts and experiences of the characters are for all conflicts in all their terror and excitement and human toll, as are the descriptions of mans' inhumanity.

The Fourth K by Mario Puzo. Ships in 4-6 weeks.
By the author of "The Godfather" this thriller details the trauma of newly elected President Xavier Kennedy following the kidnapping of his daughter. Terrific story.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, read by Simon Vance.
The first in the Millennium trilogy (I have previously read The Girl who Played with Fire). Extraordinary characters; extraordinary crime story/whodunnit. Methinks Lisbeth Salander legitimized a generation of smart girls refusing to follow the norm. Fascinating that she sees herself as a freak for remarkable skills that most of us can only dream of. The business background of the novel added hugely to my enjoyment culminating in Mikael Blomkvist's comment near the end separating stock markets from the real economy. Although Simon Vance's reading is generally excellent, I question the lower class accents that he gives to many of the characters, other than business tycoons, employing the unfortunate British phenomenon where speaking 'BBC English' reflects class and background and in an extraordinary social reverse has become something to be avoided. In Scandinavia and North America people of all classes use broadly correct pronounciation, whether they are aristocracy or street people - one of the many reasons I love Canada.

The Glace Bay Miner's Museum by Sheldon Currie, read by Mary Colin Chisholm.
A long short Canadian story with a twist you won't forsee.

God's Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell, read by Burt Reynolds.
Winner of a 1998 Audie Award, given by the Audio Book Industry.

The Good Germanby Joseph Kanon, read by Stanley Tucci.
Not only an excellent and exciting story, with a hero who is all the more believable for the mistakes he makes under stress, but also a fine description of a moment in history that we hear little of - the mopping up in Germany after the end of the war, when the prize was rocket scientists and the Americans and the Russians were in a race to get them, and the novel suggests war criminal activity being hushed up along the way. Stanley Tucci added much to my enjoyment (after previously listening to his rendering of "The Judge.")

Gone but not forgotten by Phillip Mangolin, read by Margaret Whitton.
I read this after seeing the latest Batman film, Dark Knight. Evil is portrayed in both, this time in the form of a murderer who is clever enough to negotiate a pardon for his admitted crimes. But, ten years later, very similar murders are committed. The book goes more deeply than most into the mind of an evil man. Captivating.

Gone tomorrow by Lee Child, read by Dick hill.
My first Jack Reacher thriller, and I can't understand why it took me so long. Ths is top notch thriller writing with enough topical content (Patriot Act) to make it very real, and quite frightening. Edward Snowdon would like this. Meticulously constructed around a fascinating anti-hero who breaks all the stereotypes. Loved it. Immediately got another Jack Reacher novel from the library (A Wanted Man)

The Greek Key by Colin Forbes, read by Jon Cartwright
Another story that makes me want to go driving so I can hear the next episode asap., and also to continue borrowing Colin Forbes audiobooks from the library. You can't go wrong - particularly if Athens, Sunion and other Greek locations form any part of your background. I was there for my first honeymoon.

The Great Santini by Pat Conroy, performed by Michael O'Keefe.
All children of military servicemen should read; it explains a lot. The dilemmas of the war hero trying to be a husband and father.

H.M.S. Saracen by Douglas Reeman, read by David Rintoul.
Novel of Royal Navy life, with the hero spanning both world wars. This is the most realistic description of sea battles I have ever heard, and we get to know the characters as if we were on board with them. The stresses of command and the frustration with a degree of incompetance are finely described. How do I know it's so accurate? I was in the Royal Navy from 1959 - 1973, and nothing had changed, other than the probability of getting killed.

The Heart of Justice by William J. Coughlin, read by Dick Hill.
While other reviewers have panned this as not up to Coughlin's usual high standard, I liked it because of it's depiction of high finance and conflict of interest. Business is still rare as a subject for fiction.

Hannibal by Thomas Harris, read by the author, unabridged.
Sequel to Silence of the lambs (elswhere on this page).

The Heights of Zervos by Colin Forbes, read by Sean Barrett, unabridged.
This 1941 war story of sabatage and endurance is so good (and nice and long-8 tapes) that I submitted a review to Amazon that you can probably read by clicking on this link.

Hell's Corner by David Baldacci, read by Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy.
How come this is only my second Baldacci till now (2015). Anyway the great news is there are 19 previous bestsellers by him for me to wallow in. Hell's Corners is one of the top thrillers in these pages for storyline, characters, political relevance and narration.

Holy Thief by Ellis Peters, read by Paul Scofield.
12th century whodunit, and nicely told, charmingly evocative of an earlier age but no less short on sleuths.

Honour among Thieves by Jeffrey Archer, read by Edwin McCain.
Tremendous tale almost in the same class as "The Fist of God" and with a similar theatre of operations. Easy to follow (makes a change) and a storyline where all the pieces fit neatly together for first class entertainent. In October 2003 I listened to another reading of this book, performed by Martin Jarvis, and had no idea I had read it before. This illustrates the quality of my memory, but may suggest that the book had not made a lasting impression. Fun, but not a monolith on the stage of literature.

The Hunters by W.E.B.Griffin, read by J.O.Sanders
Let's just say that the next time I go to the library, if I can find either of the Presidential Agent series by W.E.B.G. that I have not yet read, I will select it immediately. The pleasure I get from all aspects of these great books of military fiction is boundless. Part of this is that I once was a Royal Navy officer, so the military feel of the books rings true for me, with some nostalgia. Does the public realize the debt we owe to real-life Charley Castillos?

The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans, read by Peter Coyote.
From the first exciting tragic scene to the last sentence, this perfect story of horses and people is an addictive delight. This story string your emotions on a journey of discovery and passion. Peter Coyote's reading is masterly, as if he were a character in the story.

I know this much is true by Wally Lamb, narrated by George Guidall
In the past 5 weeks while I have listened to this unabridged reading in awe and appreciation for such a story, I feel I have come to know the charactors intimately, and they have taught me aspects of life in multiple generations and cultures (Italian and US) I had never imagined before, but ring so true in this master's telling. Some reviewers rate this as their all-time favourite audio book; it is certainly in my top 3. The link is to "Recorded Books," not Amazon.

Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln by Stephen L. Carter, read by Paul Boehmer
I don't think I am going to forget Abigail Canner, a central (and fictional) character around whose exploits this remarkable work of alternative history is woven. It's a great lesson in events, powerful people, conspiracy and the fact that decisions are made when different motivations temporarily join forces even though some of those motives are less than palatable. In our age we vilify our leaders (in the USA uncontrolled $billions are spent on it at election time) yet in a democracy we expect them to achieve results for a country while opposed by personal interest, greed, and the overriding aim of parties to seek and keep power. This novel shows that it was ever thus, and that America's greatest president was equally foiled by it. A terrific read with finely drawn people throughout.

In the company of cheerful ladies by Alexander McCall Smith, performed by Lisette Lecat.
I have been trying to persuade my wife Laurie-Ann to listen to this, since she has a heart for Africa. She asked if I could get a regular book version, but I insist that Lisette Lecat's performance is not to be missed. Once more McCall Smith shows that entrancing stories don't have to be based in the first world, and that human nature is universal, and that the humans he has imagined are totally intriguing and believable.

The Innocent by Harlan Coben, read by ??
I think this is one of the best crime novels I have ever listened to, in that a complex story has been so well thought out that even in the last few pages, there are surprizes that perfectly mesh with the earlier episodes. While some of the subject matter is not exactly uplifting, the exploration of the lifelong legacy the hero Matt Hunter must somehow live through after he accidently killed a fellow student is fascinating. Extremely well read, but I forgot to write down the reader's name before retuning it to the library, and this important data is nowhere to be found on Amazon.

Innocent Blood by P.D.James, (very well) read by Michael Jayston.
get right inside the mind of a man planning a murder with this one. Also explore the world of an adoptee desperate to re-unite with her birth mother, who just happens to be a murderess. Or is she? For the first time ever, I think I figured out a better plot punch-chapter than the novelist had, and spent the last half of the book wondering if she had the same idea. She didn't. A great book for a group to read and discuss.

The Intruders by Stephen Coonts, read by Jay O. Saunders
Good and autentic story for ex-navy buffs, partic flyboys. The hero is human and makes mistakes, but comes through in the end.

The Judge by Steve Martini, read by Stanley Tucci.
Written from the point of view of Martini's courtroom hero Paul Madriani, this is possibly the best crime novel I've heard, listed in these pages. The story is wonderfully crafted, and the telling of it by Martini brought to life by Tucci had me panting for more by this author (see "The Jury")

Jump by Jilly Cooper, read by Samatha Bond.
I hardly got started with this one because I couldn't stand some of the characters - upper middle class British trash. But Etta the human heroine was unselfish and kind, and led me to the real heroine, Mrs Wilkinson, a racehorse in terrible condition. This is a story about the world of steeplechasing. Though the story did keep me reading till the end, the achievements of Mrs Wilkinson belied belief, and the humans, some of whom had gutter morals presented as if such behaviour was almost common, titillated my sensual receptors but not my literary ones.

The Jungle by Clive Cussler with Jack du Brul, read by Jason Culp.
First, I really like Jason Cup's reading. This is one fascinating story, and although the computer science is far fetched, the team does a bang-up job of saving the whole world from almost certain total disaster. I am only part way through the last disk, but I know there are other stories to come, so I am very confident all the angles will be tied up as usual. Somehow with Cussler the predictability doesn't compromise the enjoyment I get from each one of his novels, and I will continue pulling them off the library shelves whenever I see them.

The Jury by Steve Martini, read by John Slattery.
Almost as good as "The Judge" and with an equally unpredictable ending, Martini's storytelling is second to none, with no loose ends and every piece of the complex jigsaw puzzle finally put in place. Convincingly presented by John Slattery.

Just Cause by John Katzenbach, read by Burt Reynolds.
Reporter Matt Cowart never imagines how thick the plot will get when he visits death row convict Robert Earl Ferguson, and in Burt Reynolds' capable hands you will enjoy how the story unfolds. Includes interesting insights into the criminal mind.

The Key to Rebecca by Ken Follett, read by Anthony Quayle.
Having recently enjoyed Rebecca (see above), this title intrigued me, and the book (and the connection with Manderley) intrigued me even more, set in the time and region of The English Patient, and also a spy story of the highest calibre.

The Panther by Nelson De Mille, read by Scott Brick.
De Mille has just become my hero of the terrorist genre, outpacing WEB Griffin and Clive Cusler. One of my very few 7* books. John Corey is selected to kill the Al Qaeda leader in Yemen, but only because he is seen as bait for the Panther. The book explores how a U.S. born Yemeni can turn his back on his adopted country with such horifying results. The Panther is drawn as the mastermind behind the bombing of the USS Cole in Aden harbour. Now I have been in Aden and know how it is pronounced - not ARDen as Scott Brick insists (though I can't fault the rest of Scott's performance). I learned a lot about terrorism and the war against it, particularly with the help of drone-launched missiles, from this terrific book.

Kiligrew R.N. by Jonathan Lunn, read by Bill Wallis.
Although I love any book about the Royal Navy, one that takes place 40 years after the abolishon of the slave trade by England in 1807 and gives the role of enforcement to the R.N. was bound to be fascinating. This book is far more than another swashbuckling tale of sails and rigging. The hero Killigrew is a man who knows right from wrong regardless of what those around him believe, and is ready to lay down his life for it. The slavers have met their match.

Kill me if you can by James Patterson and Marshall Karp, read by Jeff Woodman and Jason Culp.
This is only the second James Patterson book I have ever read, surprizing considering he has had more New York Times bestsellers than any other writer. (The other one was Beach Road.) This one has twists and surprizes that I certainly didn't see coming and made for compulsive listening. Lots of humour to counterbalance the violence, which makes it more fun to read but less realistic. The characters were nicely drawn, very talented or over-the-top evil. I did catch myself being relieved that the good guys would win in the end, because that is what always happens in thrillers, but I didn't mind because the hero and heroine were so fetching. I will read more Patterson.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, read by the author.
Hosseini's is a prodigious writing talent. Who that I can remember has chosen to present his hero, of a book written in the first person, as such an apparently flawed character, devoid of courage, moral or physical, who knowingly wrecks the lives of others whom he loves, for his own benefit? Doesn't sound like a promising scenario. Just read it, if you haven't already as millions have, and discover some great truths of humanity permeating a terrific story.

Kilo Class by Patrick Robinson, read by Stephen Lang.
As a navy man I'm a sucker for good navy stories, and this is good, evoking the peculiar mixture of fear and power that makes up the submariner's environment.

The Kingdom by Clive Cussler and Grant Blackwood read by Scott Brick.
The Fargos are on the track of priceless Nepalese relics and the location of Shangri-La. As with many of Cussler's novels, part of the fascination is the great depth of research and realism brought to places and event I could only have dreamed about. The villains and heros are as spectacular as ever.

Kowloon Tong by Paul Theroux, read by David Dukes.
Wow! The first non-travel book I have read by Theroux, and what a novel! His portrayal of an English cockney family in a business environment in Hong Kong in the run up to the "Chinese Take-away" in 1997 is an epic tragedy. The unabridged version I greatly enjoyed read by Nicky Henson, ISBN 0754001466, is not listed by Amazon.

The Last Days by Joel C Rosenberg
Paperback. Audiobook also available from Amazon.
This follows on from The Last Jihad, and with an even more furious pace. However, the story is intriguing as a kind of "what-if" scenario, allowing Rosenberg at one point to lay out a detailes prescription for lasting peace between Palestine and Israel. One has to assume that the powers that be are reading this. Christian content is subtle but effective; I have just given the book to my Muslim Iranian dentist.

The Last Jihad by Joel C Rosenberg
Paperback. Audiobook also available from Amazon.
I read this work of fiction after reading Epicenter by Joel C Rosenberg, which is certainly not fiction. Rosenberg's venture into dramatising the kind of events that are taking place this decade in the Middle East are scary and thought-provoking, not to mention thrilling to read. Christian readers will relate to a number of aspects in the book, not least the prophetic which are dealt with in greater depth in Epicenter. I can't wait to read The Last Days.

Last Seen by Matt Cohen, narrated by R.H.Thomson.
A deeply sensitive story of the love of a man for his brother who had died at 37 from cancer, with flashbacks to key moments in their relationships. Healthy descriptions of emotions related to life, suffering and death that most of us keep unhealthily within us.

The Legacy by D.W. Buffa, read by Mark Feuerstein
Six stars! The best book I ever read involving courtroom activity. A beautiful jigsaw puzzle of intrigue. The desciptions of how lawyer Joseph Antonelli does his work, down to exactly when he puts his hands in his pockets or moved an eyebrow show how important such things are in communication. The story is terrific, and its unwinding a delight.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel, read by Jeff Woodman.
I feel I have just read an amazing story, but failed to mine all its gold. I was quite near the end when it came to me that there was an allegory her, but so far (and without cheating) I have not discerned any of its other meanings. I am tempted to listen again, but other books beckon. On face value it is a great story, with much insight into the human condition, and the conditions of many other species including Bengal Tiger. The Canadian connection really failed to materialize - but that is immaterial, though one of the reasons I picked up the book in my son James's home in the first place and sampled a few pages. He had long urged me to read it.

Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis, read by the author.
Entertaining and insightful insider expose of the heady world of bond trading on Wall Street and in London in Salomon Brothers. Not just for financial types, but particularly recommended for anyone in financial services.

A long way down by Nick Hornby, read by Scott Brick, Simon Vance, Kate Reading. Unusual idea for a story: four would-be suicides wanting to jump off a tall building meet as they about to take the plunge, and think again. We then follow this disparate group through their next three months. The 'F' word is used throughout, reminding me of the navy. Hornby's telling depiction of examples of characters and attitudes all too common to my mind in young British society today reminds me of why I have been much more comfortable living in Canada this past quarter century. A total lack of empathy, civility and faith, other than Maureen, the one, middle aged, member of the quartet I could relate to. No wonder they were suicidal. Read this particularly if you don't get on with your children.

The Loop by Nicholas Evans, preformed by John Bedford Lloyd.
What do you think of wolves? Read this and it will forever shape your future thinking. An unusual and excellent story told in remarkably believable detail that the disclaimer at the end that it was all fiction doesn't ring too true. Delightfully long (10 cassettes, unabridged).

Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon, performed by Jeff Woodman with disc introductions by George Guidall.
As I read this, one of my early thoughts was 'how can a woman have written so intimately about male homosexuality in such graphic detail, and the answer is 'only with very specific research.' The heroes of this story set shortly after the Jacobite rising of 1745 in Britain are gay lovers, both high in society and serving army officers, when the penalty for 'sodomy' was death. Their passion for each other is all the more poignant given the mores of the time. Even in my own youth in Britain, homosexuals were almost universally reviled. Lord John Grey is anything but a gay stereotype, and the book whether by design or happenstance reinforces a view of gays that is very modern. Not that this makes me feel any more comfortable when reading of two men kissing and having sex. At times I wondered if this is primarily gay propaganda but my research revealed the author is happily married to a tall readhead called James, so by the end of the book I must give her enormous credit as a writer for her ability to describe people, attitudes and events that she can not know from personal experience. Although she has some British blood, she is American, yet her descriptions of British matters are totally authentic. The story she weaves around the historical events of the time is irresistable and I will be seeking out more of her writing. Jeff Woodman's reading is faultless, and it id always a pleasure to hear the voice of George Guidall, though he is not credited.

Lost Empire by Clive Cussler with Grant Blackwood, read by Scott Brick.
If you have an interest in physics, geography, (naval) history and treasure hunting, and you don't vacation in Mexico, you will enjoy this mystery thriller as much as I did. If you need murder and explosions on every page to keep your interest up, maybe seek elsewhere. While one never quite knows with Cussler whether he is into science, pseudo science, or pure fiction, or whether places really exist, you can still hugely enjoy the pure imagination of his fairy tale stories. Definition of a fairy tale: the good guys always win.

!--Lost Boys by Or

--> The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon, read by Christopher Hurt. Delivery 4-6 weeks.
Story of a Korean war platoon brainwashed and its leader returned to US society programmed to kill on command by deeply implanted suggestion. Recent newspaper articles in Canada have suggested that both sides tried such techniques. An engrossing thriller with huge psychological implications.

Man of the hour by Peter Blauner, read by Joe Mantegna.
Ever wondered what could drive a young Muslim to commit acts of terrorism? This book, which was published before Sept 11, 2001, should be required reading for all in today's dangerous world. Putting that aside, however, it's a gripping story that shows the problems within a US Arab family when the teenage son is influenced by extremists.

Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brien, read by Robert Hardy.
The Royal Navy at war, 1800. Vivid recounting of life at sea and at war in one of a series of novels that the New York Times book review called "The best historical novels ever written."

A Matter of Honour by Jeffrey Archer, read by David Rintoul.
I guess this must be one of his earlier novels (1986) and as I gorged on every "page" I felt the need for a more profound involvement. I also wondered why the hero Adam Scott went to such trouble to bring home the icon when destroying its content would have achieved the same end. But these comments should not dissuade you having a bunch of fun with this book.

The Matarese Countdown by Robert Ludlum, performed by Stephen Lang.
My first Ludlum. I enjoyed the story (even though the hero Beowolf Agate seemed a little like superman, wining against all odds). The day after I finished it, the World Trade Centre was demolished by terrorist kamikaze attack, and I felt that the predictions of the book were a little too close to reality.

McNally's Secret by Lawrence Sanders, read by Nathan Lane.
I sometimes feel that humour gets in the way of detective stories; that they are a deadly serious subject and humour is inapropriate. Sanders has cured me. The wit that permeates this story and the wonderful reading by Nathan Lane adds greatly to this tale of unravelling a plot surrounding the theft of a set of rare stamps known as the "inverted Jennies" (which are real stamps). I enjoyed it immensely

The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna.
Hardback. Audiobook not yet available from Amazon.
I was introduced to this book by my sister Neesa because of the Sierra Leone connection, and I was delighted to find it in the Ottawa library. Except for a vivid but brief recounting of events in 1999 in the civil war, near the end of the book, it avoids that focus, instead examining the altered lives of the key characters following the end of the conflict. I am left with a burning admiration for the surgeon Kai, who manages to live in a way that honours humanity and the Hipocratic Oath despite awful challenges. The beautiful Saffia haunts the story. Ms. Forna's skill in describing human emotions, circumstances and actions is very rare even among the finest of authors. Read about our 2010 visit to Sierra Leone, where we met may who had lived through the terror, and had repaired their lives, as did the characters in this outstanding story.

Microserfs by Douglas Coupland.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available from Amazon.
"My name is Daniel U. I am a bug tester at Microsoft. Lately I've been unable to sleep..." so starts this romp through the lives of a bunch of software developers in todays unique computer world (1993). Hilarious, and it rings true. A must for anyone who has ever developed software, and a great read of historical significance for everyone.

The Mission Song by John le Carré, read by David Oyelowo
Let's start with the briliant reading by David Oyelowo. I am so glad I have never attempted to read this book. Oyelowo seems the very personification of the hero Bruno Salvadore (Salvo to his friends). Surely his reading adds 30% to the enjoyment of this extraordinary story, one of the cleverest I have ever read. As with other le Carré novels, the characters are all too human and make mistakes and misjudgements which can seem almost frustrating, but they ring true. The futility of just about everything is another theme. These characteristics add to the quality of this book. In the course of this tale you will learn much about Congo and nearby nations, and the African mind. The title is not explained, but there are enough clues for the reader to come to conclusions that were not really necessary to be tied up.

Midnight Runner by Jack Higgins, read by Patrick Macnee.
Neither Jack nor his hero Sean Dillon have lost their touch. Thoroughly enjoyable; marvellous story. The reading by Patrick Macnee seemed a little slapdash to me, sometimes according the wrong accent to a character, but in the end this didn't spoil it.

A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters, read by Glyn Houston.
A mediaeval whodunnit in which Brother Cadfael excels in deduction against a backdrop of religious fervour (showing us how much more serious out forefathers were about the important things of life), but is not above usinf artificial holy influence to further his righteous cause.

Moscow Quadrille by Ted Allbeury, read by Peter Wheeler.
After 7.5 hours this story and its characters had become part of my life, and I wish it had been longer! A thoroughly entertaining story of espionage where the reader is left to decide who are the good guys and who are the bad. Allbeury is no Le Carré, but you can follow the story pretty well the first time around.

Mr. Ives' Christmas by Oscar Hijuelos, performed by Alfred Molina
Occasionally, a novel is written in which God is a character, usually indirectly. Mr. Ives' struggle with the untimely death of his beloved son while on the brink of priesthood does not avoid the big questions, and illuminates human and Godly nature.

A Murder of Quality by John Le Carré, read by the author.
This one is not a spy story but a whodunnit set in a school, and with a nicely constructed suite of motive, opportunity and suspense.

My Life as a Fake by Peter Carey, narrated by Susan Lyons.
An extraordinary tale, which will allow you to feel familiar with life in Australia and Malaya 50 years ago, based on a literary hoax (I believe non-fictional) gone wrong (fictional). The world of poetry and poets drives the story (don't be put off by that - it will open your eyes if they were closed!). The narrative is rambling - intentionally - but persevere.

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs, read by the author.
Unique narrative of drug-induced sexual fantasy, peppered with articulate influential references. For the strong-minded only.

Never change by Elizabeth Berg, read by Maryann Plunkett.
This book talked to my innermost soul about matters that I never thought others have experienced, and they have, and can express them. So many fundamental issues in a human life explored and made shareable. Superby crafted narrative, hugely supported by the reading by Maryann Plunkett, who has exactly the right voice for the main character Myra Lipinsky. I will leave it to you to discover the controversial climax, and it may change your views. A courageous book.

Never go back by Lee Child, read by Dick Hill We listened to this on our trip to New Mexico in Nov 2015, and both enjoyed it hugely. For much of the story, Reacher works closely with Major Susan Turner, who of course is smart, tough and gorgeous, as they unravel a huge scam of materiel returning after Afghanistan.

Night of the Fox by Jack Higgins, read by Paul Sorvino.
Not in the class of "The Eagle has landed" but with some deja vu to that classic. The story, of course, is ingenious. However I felt the abridgement was perhaps too severe; we never had any time to discover the cast except when they were in high stress activity of one sort or another.

Nimitz Class by Patrick Robinson, performed by Jay O. Sanders.
A gripping tale of naval warfare and the danger from one rogue diesel submarine driven by the best in the business.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, performed by Lisette Lecat.
Utterly charming account of Mma Precious Ramotswe's rise to be the only lady private detective in Botswana. Each case that is described is an insight into human nature with an African slant. If feel as if I want to give up Western books and start on books by authors in far distant lands, learning more about their peoples. In fact I visited Gabarone with the help of Google Earth - that was well worth the trip!
Sourced through Recorded Books

No Comebacks by Frederick Forsyth.
Four glorious short stories each showing how an underdog makes good.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, read by Juliet Stevenson.
I know I am the only person in the world who just doesn't understand Jane Austen's popularity. Laurie-Ann loves her, and this story particularly, and we listened to it together driving to Catskill, NY., in July 2008.

Nothing to lose by Lee Child, read by Dick Hill.
Dick Hill's reading of the Jack Reacher series is masterly and adds so much to the enjoyment. In this masterpiece, the action seems slow for the first 70%, but I didn't mind; I enjoy Lee Child's writing style so much that it's fun even when not much seems to be happening. The veterans issues in "Nothing to Lose" add to the value of this novel, and they aren't fiction. 6 stars again for Jack Reacher!

Numbered Account by Christopher Reich; preformance by Stephen Lang.
This is a rare 6-star book by my reckoning, even though I was biased through its background of financial services. Reich writes with the authority of having been a Swiss banker, and what a frighening vista he projects, as the world of drug terrorism attempts to legitimize its obscene profits by buying not one but two huge banks. Hero, American Nick Neumann is the American who takes a job in the bank as a ruse to uncover his father's killer, and he uncovers far more.

The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth, read by Patrick Allen.
Excellent semi-fictional (?) account of Nazi hunt. Interesting name for the safebreaker who frees the actual file of Nazi criminals: Copple.

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, read by the author.
Not for the sexually prudish, this unique work shows how a single event in the lives of a young couple makes a huge difference to their futures, and it is an event that most of us handle for better or worse during our lives. See McEwan's "Atonement" elswhere on this page.

On Moving Mountains by Jiri Soukup. See also Music references
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
The names have been changed but this story could not have been dreamed up. Two young lovers take their chances with the authorities in their desperate wish to defect from Czechoslovakia, recently invaded by the Soviets. The fact that their destination of choice is Ottawa certainly upped the stakes for this reader. In their adventures they risk so much, as many must have done. Michal and Danna are well educated in the then new field of computer science and share a love of culture particularly classical music. They need every ounce of ingenuity to outwhit their employers, customs and various forms of transportation. Although on the first level this is an adventure story, the undercurrents of cold war politics, communism versus capitalism, and even espionage add greatly to the book's appeal. For me, reading it was a unique experience, since I have come know the characters very well in their new life in Canada, but only imagined snippets of their epic journeys to get here.

On the Beach by Nevil Shute. Delivery 4-6 weeks.
A serious study of human nature under threat of extinction, and a powerful anti-nuclear weapon drama which maybe will turn out to have been extremely effective.

One flew over the cuckoo's nest by Ken Kesey.
Life in an asylum takes a turn for the better from the inmates point of view when new patient McMurphy arrives, less acepting of the status quo, and turns the organization on its head, as well as our understanding of the mentally ill.

Open House by Elizabeth Berg, read by Beth Fowler.
The best description of the aftermath of the break-up of a marriage I have read. Many will relate to it, but no-one tells it like Elizabeth Berg. (I couldn't help thinking how much better crises can be handled by those with strong Christian faith; the heroine Samantha was so alone.)

Op Center - Call to treason by Jeff Rovin, read by Adam Gripper.
It's months since I read this, and then lost my note about it, so I will not comment other that Tom Clancy's name is there but Jeff Rovin wrote it, and I seem to remember having enjoyed it, but not very much.

Op Center - Mirror Image by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik, read by Jay O.Sanders.
This I thoroughly enjoyed as much as the great earlier Clancys, particularly because the characters were well developed on both sides and one could relate to the inner as well as the outer struggles.

Our kind of traitor by John Le Carré, read by Robin Sachs.
His special style continues to appeal, and his insight into the minds of spies is either uncanny or he has an amazing imagination. In this story an unsuspecting tourist couple find themselves at the heart of a planned defection by the world's #1 money launderer. What would you do? This is the story of what they did. Le Carré also take the opportunity to pillory elements of upper crust society suggesting traitorous doings a-plenty. If his allegations are based on evidence we should all be concerned.

The Outlaws by W.E.B. Griffin and William E Butterworth IV, read by Jonathan Davis.
After reading several Lee Child novels, I deliberately returned to Griffin's Castillo and co. to see how they measured up in comparison with Jack Reacher. At first I thought 'not so well.' The president and his CIA chief and other key government figures are presented as caricatures. Surely no US president could be so lacking in leadership skills and common sense. But this makes one particular point better than in any other book I have read, that if government and the civil service they oversee doesn't have the best brains, then others with better brains will outsmart them, and if those others are criminals we are in trouble. This bunch of 'leaders' are no match for the regular brilliance of Castillo's people - the outlaws(!) - even though all of them have been ordered to disappear from view. And without them, the world is in big trouble. Will this president realize that his capabilities are insufficient to the task? I will find out as I finish the book. A great read, with laughs, and a few lessons.

Path of the Assassin by Brad Thor, read by Armand Schultz
The storytelling is just not in the same class as WEB Griffin, John Le Carré, or Jack Higgins. I was only mildly interested in knowing how it would all turn out. Too many places where I felt people would never actually say, or do, that.

Paths of Glory by Jeffrey Archer, read by Roger Allam.
Made me proud to be British, although the 'old boy/old fellow' network way of doing things 100 years ago in England makes us laugh today. George Mallory was a different kind of man, and his character and the sory of his short life are captured brilliantly by Jeffery Archer. Did he reach the summit with Sandy Irvine in 2024? Here is some of the footage by expedition photographa Capt. John Noel. I was tempted to place this in the biography section, but after you have read to the end you will know why I didn't, even though it could well belong there. The very last paragraph made me burst spontaneously into tears. See also The Mystery of Mallory and Irvine's Fate, and this BBC Documentary.

The Patient by Michael Palmer, narrated by Paul Hecht.
What if a master villain needed brain surgery? So mused surgeon and medical thriller writer Michael Palmer, and this is the result. In the course of reading it one feels as if one is receiving a practical course in brain surgery, which for me was a bonus! Its quality is such that made me look for excuses to go out in the car, which is where I do 100% of my audio book reading.

Platform by Michael Hyatt.
I was given this by One Way Ministries, Ottawa, as a hardback, but it is available from Amazon on mp3 and on-line audio.
Why a one-word title? Because it's more tweetable. And that is one of hundreds of insights I gained into the world of social media for building your 'platform' - your on-line brand that has become vital for everone with a product to sell. No longer does a good product sell itself. Few people browse web pages any longer. They go to pages they have been directed to by Twitter and to a lesser extent Facebook. If you aren't building your platform, expect to be depressed at the lack of interest in your better mousetrap. This book made me realize that things I had thought were cosmetic aspects of the on-line world have become essential tools. That One Way Ministries gave copies to a bunch of pastors and church leaders shows their leadership quality in my fair city of Ottawa.

The Perfect Murder by Jeffrey Archer, read by Martin Jarvis and Rosalind Ayres.
Six exquisite short stories that will bind you up. Is "Colonel Bullfrog" a true story? It sounds very plausible.

A Perfect Spy by John Le Carré, read by the author.
Confusing in continuous flash-backs without warning, as only the life of a spy must be, yet fascinating and rewarding to the audio listener. This is the length and type of book I could never complete in regular format, whereas in audio it's quite acceptable.

Personal by Lee Child, read by Dick Hill.
Can't imagine Reacher through any other voice than Dick Hill's. One more scortching tale from the master of suspence and daring deeds, this one based in the world of rogue snipers.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, read by Tim Piggott-Smith.
Sarum and London graduates (and everyone else!) will love this saga of life in the 12th century, sounding far more exciting and packed with drama than life today, illustrating the major influence of the church for good and not so good. Follett has become one of my favourite storytellers.

A Place called Freedom by Ken Follett, read by Victor Garber.
While not the greatest Follett, this novel of the hard life in the time of child labour in England and practices resembling slavery in the mines was a tale that I certainly enjoyed and learned from.

Polar Shift by Clive Cussler, read by Scott Brick.
Intriguing mixture of pseudo science, extreme weather, engineering, archeology, biology, where doomsday looms were it not for Numa, Kurt Austin and a beautiful young woman, Carla Janos. The skillfull storytelling keeps one always ready for the next episode; in my case the next time I climb into my car, which becomes something to look forward to.

Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell, read by Kate Burton.
Easier to follow than "Predator," with many of the same not-so-likeable characters and a chilling plot, and I am worried that the robotics described is not science fiction. Much of the story takes place inside Kay Scarpetta's head as she fights insecurity, even though she is the boss, and I am wondering if this is more the rule than the exception among normal bosses where lives are at stake. There is an episode where she has handled toxic material and the writing becomes near hysterical, a device I have not seen used before. Shades of smellovision movies.

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, read by Claire Bloom
Inspired by Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, I decided it was time for me to tackle Henry James, since there is no Nabokov in audio in the Ottawa library. The Golden Globe proved too hard to get into (although I am now trying for the third time) but "Portrait" is significantly easier to follow. I suppose that I am not a fan of romance between the sexes as a sufficient reason for a book to be written, and this seems to be James' forte. Despite this, I have come to appreciate the sophistication of his prose - a kind of half way to Shakespeare - and was then able first to follow, and then to be involved in the story. Three stars.

Predator by Patricia Cornwell, read by Kate Reading
I am in the process of listening to this a second time because I was confused. The narrative continually jumps from one scene to another often without introducing the character we are now following. It is a complex story with many characters and false clues abounding. Is the study patient Basil the same person as the multi-murderer Hogg, since although Basil is in jail, the story may be jumping back and forward in time. We don't know, but they certainly share many characteristics. At the end of the first reading I wasn't totally sure who had been killed and who had killed her. This style of writing borrows from some movie screenplays which are deliberately confusing more for style than reason. I think the trend has gone too far. It was not the case with other Patricia Cornwell books I have read and reviewed. Oh well, we'll see if things are clearer on the second reading. This book also explores the tensions and character (flaws) of the good guys as well as the bad guys in ways I have not seen before in thrillers; in fact the multiple stories going on in the lives of the forensic investigators are quite a large subset of the book as a whole.
I am now most of the way through my second listening, and following the details of the story far better. In this regard it is similar to Shakespeare. I am hearing the clues that explain what is going on; clues I simply missed on my first try. I considered giving it **** instead of *** on my list opf books read, but decided to leave it at three, because for many listeners it will be less than satisfying for the reasons given. But for a few, and those who listen twice, Predator is time spent in a world most of us will never experience.

A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer, read by Roger Allam.
As good things happen in this book I become content. As bad things happen I become dejected. It has taken over my life this last 10 days. If you want a great example of getting knocked down, picking yourself up, and carrying on to greater things, this is the ultimate. If you have a sneaking feeling that the biggest crooks are walking free while their victims are in jail, this will give you a credible scenario. If you like courtroom drama, this is the most dramatic you are likely to find. If you want to know what goes on behind prison walls, the master storyteller doesn't have to make it up. If your taste in novels is one where every twist and turn is carefully designed to construct a brilliant total package, this will amaze you. I absolutely love, love, love this book, one of the top three or four works of fiction I have ever read.

Private by James Patterson and Maxime Paetro, read by Peter Hermann.
Very well crafted novel which gets into the heads of some evil characters out to murder teenage girls at random, plus several other unrelated crimes solved by Jack Morgan's detective agency, while he fights his own demons. Excellent of its class, though I did find his capacity to bed his colleagues was fanciful. But the rest reflects our damaged society in a world where Jesus and everything he stood for seems ever less present.

The Progress of Love by Alice Munro, read by the author.
At first I wasn't attracted, as much by her voice as the story, and then as the intimate details unfolded of family life in rural Canada provoked deja vus from my own experience, I needed to finish it and ended enjoying her perceptive insight to the human condition.

Psycho by Robert Bloch, read by Kevin McCarthy, delivery 4 - 6 weeks.
Seemed to me to have far more narrative to enjoy than the suberb film, with every bit as much suspense.

Quantum of Solace - the complete James Bond short stories by Ian Fleming, reader Simon Vance.
Long before the torrent of films started I had read many of the James Bond books. They are terrific; serious representations of espionage, articulate and intelligent. I always thought it sad that Saltzman and Broccoli turned them into comedy thrillers, albeit very successfully. This collection of the short stories, some of which were elongated into movies, recaptured for me the original magic. [This review is also posted on Amazon.]

Quicksand by Bryan Forbes, read by James Faulkner.
Simply the best spy novel I have ever read, and one of the most enjoyable in any genre. I had heard of Bryan Forbes as a filmmaker, but hadn't realized he was also a writer. Packed with character studies so that the characters begin to really matter to the reader, this is a sizzling story with almost no loose ends. In the telling it also allows Forbes to point out the evil that lurks among us.

The girl who played with fire by Stieg Larsson, read by Simon Vance.
I had wrongly assumed for some reason that Larsson's string of bestsellers were fantasy genre, but when I saw this one in audio I grabbed it. Not fantasy at all, but a thriller centred on an extraordinary character, Lisbeth Salander. There is a special pleasure in a story where a society outsider outwits both the bad guys and the less competant good guys. She does have computer hacking skills that I hope are beyond what people can actually achieve. It's an object lesson in ignoring peer pressure to conform, though I must admit surprize that one so smart indulges in tattoos, piercings and smoking. Great story.

The Race by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott, read by Scott Brick.
This Isaac Bell of the Van Dorn Detective Agency book takes us back to the early years of flying - 1910 - and the race in question was to cross the USA in 50 days. It's worth reading just for the information on those fragile constructions and the risks taken by their 'drivers.' The story isn't to my mind as strong as 'The Wrecker' but that still makes it immensely readable, with heroes and villains determined to achieve their goals. Guess who wins!

Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy, read by David Dukes.
Clancy on international terrorism. Deliciously long.

Rear Window, and Three O'Clock by Cornell Woolrich, read by Keir Dullea.
The classic filmed by Hitchcock in 1954, this intriguing story of a murder solved by a watcher from an opposite window is still as fresh more than 50 years after it was written, and the second story, Three O'Clock, proves Woolrich's talent for unusual situations, keeping you on the edge of your seat.

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, performed by Richard Crenna.
Stephen Crane's masterpiece about a young private in the Union army whose youthful enthusiasm for battle gives way to doubt and worry. If you ever wondered what it is that gives men the courage to fight, here is the answer.

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, read by Chris Saringon.
Sequels "Silence of the lambs", and "Hannibal" are elswhere on this page.

Rising Phoenix by Kyle Mills, performed by Campbell Scott.
Can one brilliant ex-FBI man halt America's drug problem, where successive governments have failed dismally? A great listen.

The Runaway by Terry Kay, read by Dick Hill.
Don't be put off by the slow start (the joy of audiobooks is that slow starts are no problem). Dick Hill's brilliant rendition of the southern and black voices in this tale of racialist attitudes and action will enthrall you and teach you a history lesson.

The Runner by Christopher Reich, read by Stephen Lang.
A fine post-WW2 story involving a war crimes investigator on a project to track down the killer of his priest brother, with background from real events including a climax at the "Big 3" meeting at Pottsdam.

The Salzburg Connection by Helen MacInnes, read by Steven Pacey.
The longest audio book on this site (12 cassettes), this story of regular people caught in an espionage web has the advantage that it takes a long time to end, a quality to my mind in this fascinating medium.

The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith, read by Lisette Lecat.
Precious Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi delight us again with tales of justice in Botswana. This one is particularly interesting because it shows how a private detective is able to protect an innocent child who would have been hauled off to jail had the police been involved. Sometimes, rules and regulations must be circumvented. I love these books - thay almost make me want to go and live in Botswana.

The Sea by John Banville, read by John Lee.
The first time through I was captivated by the rich language and the insight into human thought. I couldn't figure out which of the charactures was which. There are so many flash backs, forward, sideways. Its mercurial. So I listened to it again and this time knew what to listen for to follow the story line. I enjoyed it just as much as the first time, maybe more. The only other author I have listened to twice - for the same reason - is Shakespeare. Banville is in a class by himself as a writer.

Seal Force Alpha by Richard Marcinko & John Weisman, read by Richard Marcinko
About as far removed from James Bond as you can imagine, yet focussed on the same objectives - brought up to date in today's world. Well constructed, reads like a true story and just as strange (as in truth stranger than fiction). Bad language throughout.

Secret by W.E.B. Griffin, read by Stephen Lang.
Remarkable historical novel of the 2nd World War largely from the German (and Argentine) viewpoint, with US involvement from OSS agent Cletus Frade, who balances his multiple allegencies with skill. Includes some neat studies of senior officers very disturbed by the actions of the "Austrian corporal."

Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella, beautifully read by John Heard.
Pure magic; perhaps the best book I have read in years; unique story wonderfully told, palely reflected in the movie Field of Dreams.

The Shooters by W.E.B Griffin, read by Dick Hill.
One of the best novels in its class I have ever found. Dick Hill adds considerably to the marvellous experience this book provides; I feel sorry for those who have read, not listened. Although this is Charley Castillo doing seriuous work against the bad guys, there is humour in the writing and the reading which in places had me in stitches. While other reviewers have a problem with Griffin's character building at the expense of action, that's what I like, particularly the insights into Castillo's leadership style. That the President of the USA would authorize such massive expense to free one DEA agent is unlikely, and we never do hear whether Timmons' forced drugging proves permanent; but these are forgivable in view of the elegant storyline which depends to some extent on accepting the former premise.

Silence of the lambs by Thomas Harris, read by Kathy Bates.
Sequel to Red Dragon (elswhere on this page).

The Silent Sea - The Oregon Files by Clive Cussler, with Jack Du Brul, read by Scott Brick. Same genre as WEB Griffin, and even has a co-writer like WEB in his later books. The economic survival of the US is threatened by an alliance of Argentina and China, and only one man (and his crew) can prevent it - Jual Cabrillo. Maybe a little far fetched in concept, but the story kept me listening and enjoying. When I'd finished it I went and got another Cussler with the same cast of heroes.

Silks by Dick Francis and Felix Francis, read by Martin Jarvis.
Martin Jarvis delivers a cast of accents and dialects that is masterly - I just love his readings. But that is just a pedestal to this triumph of the legal genre, with jump racing of course. There is a race in this book which was one of the most exciting I ever saw or heard. Best of all however is the story, which brilliantly exorcizes one of all our frustrations with the slow speed of justice, the evil wrought by men, and lack of punishment done to the bad guys. There are so many points of philosophy under the surface of this masterpiece that I would recommend it to any student of the human condition. (Now that's a song by Laila Biali ...)

Skeleton Coast by Clive Cussler, with Jack Du Brul, read by Scott Brick.
Listened to this page turner while decorating a bedroom, and enjoyed it so much that whenever I enter that room I think of Juan Cabrillo and his stalwart team as they attempt to avert the worst 'natural' disaster in the history of hurricances.

Small town by Lawrence Block, read by the author.
I read this because we are driving to New York City in a couple of weeks and I wanted to sense the atmosphere of the city. The book deals with the lives of a number of characters in the wake of 9/11. I hope the people we meet aren't even remotely like some of the characters in this book. The degree of evil and lust (soft porn, though not included for tittilation but for the storyline) permeating every chapter is, I sincerely hope, not typical of that great city and its inhabitants. Not recommended for the faint hearted, but I have to say a powerful insight into some aspects of human nature under severe stress.

Smiley's People by John Le Carré, read by the author.
I listened to this superb story of Smiley's career triumph twice, and on the second hearing figured out the complex story. This is no adverse criticism; I took twice as much pleasure.

Snow in April by Rosamunde Pilcher, read by Lynn Redgrave.
Another captivatingly written romantic novel by the only romantic novelist for me. Try any Pilcher; you'll be hooked.

Solar by Ian McEwan, read by Roger Allam.
When a nobel-prizewinning physicist turns out to be a really nasty piece of work, driven by ambition, greed and the bottle, anything can happen, and in Ian McEwan's capable hands, almost everything does, and as cleverly as an Einsteinian equation. Near the beginning, the main character Michael Beard seems to lose his penis in a freak accident, and I was never sure how he recovered. (I must have coughed when this situation was rectified.) But recover he did since his use of it later in the story seldom let up. Beard is clearly a flawed genius, and I was reminded that human society often foolishly asks advice on wide ranging topics from individuals who have made a mark in just one speciality. We ask pop singers for their opinions on politics. Bob Dylan wrote 'Don't follow leaders' and I suppose I just dented his credibility, but I think this was what he was getting at. McEwan has used the novel to make a number of valid philosophical, behavioural and scientific points, the latter mainly about the environment, global warming and clean energy. I will forever see every leaf as a solar panel. When Beard facilitates jail time for murder for a rival for his wife's affections - when no murder was committed - he reveals the depths of his depravity, which allows him to commit massive intellectual plagiarism without a hint of remorse. Brilliant brain; heart of the devil. Very original story.

Southern Cross by Patricia D. Cornwell, narrated by Christine McMurdo-Wallis.
A frighteningly authentic visit to the world of street crime, gang indoctrination, and what today's police have to deal with. Unabridged on 9 cassettes, it opened my eyes to life in urban USA. Patricia Cornwell swipes at some illogicalities along the way, such the wiping the slate clean for juvenile offenders at 16, and parents who encourage their evil children.

Special Ops by W.E.B. Griffin, read by Joe Morton.
Che Guevara could become a martyr if killed, and the CIA wants to prevent that at all costs. (In fact Che was singularly unsuccessful in his ventures.) Working with Congo president Joseph Mobutu, this final saga in the exploits of Griffin's "Brotherhood of War" reminds us of the global nature of terrorism long before Al Qaeda.

The Spy by Clive Cussler with Justin Scott, read by Scott Brick
Most of Cussler's books (that I have listened to) start with a historical foretaste of the story. This one allows us to stay in 1908 with the tall detective, Isaac Bell, who stumbles upon a diabolical plot to disable the US Navy prior to the expected war. Because of its qualities as a historical novel with the story embedded in a time when one could well imagine similar events, I found this the most powerful of the 10 Cussler tales I have so far heard. The storyline is classic Cussler (or is it Scott?) full of daring deeds, close calls, and even several very beautiful women. I am realizing that the Cussler books follow a very strong moral code in the writing and the motivations between good and evil, and as such are suitable for teenagers as well as seniors like me.

State of Fear by Michael Crichton, performed by George Wilson.
I place this under fiction, rather than science and nature, because its focus is in its (deliberately?) erroneous scientific message, debunking the idea of global warming. The underlying message is to learn from science, not from the media or politicians, who are frankly unqualified to speak on scientific matters. But Chrichton has falsified the science in this book! In an appendix, Crichton explains his views in depth - more a political diatribe. His thesis is well and truly debunked here and here.

The Sum of all Fears by Tom Clancy, read by David Ogden Stiers.
Clancy tackles the threat posed by small powers and individuals to hold the world to ransome in the nuclear age. Could it happen? Sure sounds possible in Tom Clancy's convincing hands.

A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand, read by Isabel Keating
How eros love can totally take over, destroying logic and common sense, and making everything else in life relatively boring. This story involves the preparations for a huge charity event, the Nantucket Children's Summer Gala, where tow of the people on the committee fall in love. An interesting additional aspect is the inclusion in the story of a world class rock star and his lifelong relationship with our main character Claire Danner Crispin. Characters all well drawn.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, read by William Hurt
First, William Hurt brilliantly interprets and excavates a novel that on the face of it is just about some very unsavoury charactors on a bullfighting jaunt. But this is a story for me because I also was in Bayonne and San Sebastien and Pamplona and Burguete on my Pyrrennean walk with John Loosely in 1961, although not during the fiesta - the famous running of the bulls in Pamplona, unforgettably described by Hemingway. I found the descriptions of the characters including the young matador Pedro Ramirez utterly convincing - as if noone had really got dialogue down before.

The Surgeon's Mate by Patrick O'Brian, read by Simon Vance.
Great Royal Navy stuff from the Napoleonic wars. They talk about "the peace" as we would talk about "the war" since it was mainly war, with France and America (separate wars). The version I listened to was read by Patrick Tull, but that one is not available from Amazon (it is from ISIS Audio Books). The reading by Patrick Tull is excellent and unusual, not just for his voice and expression, but because I think I detect from background noise that this complete recording was transcribed from 78 rpm records. There's nothing to substantiate this on the cover.

The Thief by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott, read by Scott Brick.
Isaac Bell survives even more than the normal number of death-defying challenges, but the story is still strong enough to stop this reader turning it off. What persuaded me to give it four stars was the fascinating glimpse into the early days of the movie industry when sound was being added. Spoiler alert: this is also the book where Isaac and Marion finally get married. Written in 2012 but the action takes place in 1910.

Swag by Elmore Leonard, read by Robert Lansing.
Charmingly written small time crook book. Elmore Leonard extends the Raymond Chandler tradition into the seventies.

The Third Reich by Roberto Bolano, read by Simon Vance.
The Third Reich is a war game and Udo Berger is good at it, so much so that it takes over his life. I carried on reading because I thought it was leading up to something compelling, but it didn't. Bolano was Chilean and this early book was found in his papers after his death.

Three Blind Mice by Agatha Christie, read by Denholm Elliott.
I finally read Agatha Christie, the most polular mystery writer of all time, and loved it. Not just a clever whodunit, this is a good novel with believable people who one begins to care about. There is a touch of Fawlty Towers about this story!

Thunderball by Ian Flemming, read by David Rintoul.
First there were the great books. I loved 'em and read the lot. Then came the second rate films, turning it all into comedy. Now here's an audio of the origianl book and I loved it. Forget the movies!

To have and have not by Ernest Hemingway, read by Will Patton.
Cuba and Key West in the 20s, gunrunning, liquor, murder, and people - such real people, if alcoholics all. Hemingway changed the style of English prose, and this is a fine example.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, read by Roses Prichard.
Seen trough the eyes of the 8-year old narator, Scout, the racial bigotry of the small town Alabama population in 1935 grates on her, and her lawyer father Atticus, as he battles in court to defend a negro wrongly accused of rape. In her innocence, Scout in the hands of Harper Lee (who only wrote this one novel) teaches us all what humanity is, and was probably influential in changing the attitudes of the South.

Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck, narrated by John McDonough
Seemed slow at first. Then I got into it. By the end I was wanting to find out the whole history of this story, a kind of latter day King Arthur legend set among the poor in Monterey in the 30s.

Touch the Devil by Jack Higgins, read by Ian Holm.
Set a thief to catch one, and spring him from jail to do so if necessary. But you are playing with fire, particularly if you don't play fair yourself, Ferguson. Liam Devlin and Martin Brosnan working together...a good read.

The hour I first believed by Wally Lamb, perfomed by George Guidall
Yes I was attracted by the title! Christian content maybe? Well, yes, but that's all I'm saying on that point, because I want you to listen to this book, all 25 hours of it, and you will learn so much about life. I was convalescing from hip surgery when I started, rather than listening while driving, and there first three disks were heavy going. I couldn't figure out what the point was. And then, Columbine happened. This is the story of the psychological damage done to the two main characters who were on staff when the young assassins struck, and how it bent their future lives. The book could have been shortened, or abridged for audio, but in some strange way I got to enjoy the ramblings, which seemed off topic, as much as the main story. A tour de force. Wally Lamb is one helluva writer. I am still trying to figure out how much of it was fact and how much fiction.

Tick tock by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge, read by Bobby Connavale and Scott Sowers.
Top notch thriller which attempts to explain the thinking of a couple of surely the worst sadists in fiction attempting to copycat heinous crimes. I don't know if that is purely from the imagination of the authors, but I have often wondered why we seem to study criminals so little, when the results of their crimes are so devastating. I gobbled this book up, and I liked the dual readers.

The Traffickers by WEB Griffin and WE Butterworth IV, read by Scott Brick
Should be subtitled "Text message;" it has hundreds. Near the end, the hero Matthew Payne is so dominated by texting to his new girlfriend that his operational judgement risks impairment; he behaves like a teenager. He even rants about the defficiencies of texting compared to phoning. I don't understand why he doesn't phone and hear his girlfriend's voice. The use of our Lord's name as an explitive so often borders on blasphemy and I was offended. This is the least gripping of the Griffin novels I have listened to. It doubles as a soapbox for the Giffin/Butterworth passions: anti gun-control, and the honour of the police profession. For its descriptions of human trafficking and drug abuse the book has educational value. However, as I work through the last disk I look forward to my next book - Hemmingway, since this one has depressed me and I need the joys English language again. It's a bad world.

Tricky Business by Dave Barry, read by Dick Hill.
Brilliant performance by Dick Hill - possibly the most inspired on this list - of the inimitable Dave Barry's second novel. I was set laughing out loud by the credits before the book even started. This is not a farce; it's biting satire where you are never more than a paragraph away from a smile or a guffaw. Not for the squeamish; probably better for male readers or fans of Dave's syndicated column from the Miami Herald.

True blue by David Baldacci, read by Ron McLarty.
Superb detective story with national security implications. I was captivaterd by my first Baldacci. Stories like this make TV crime drama seem very ordinary. It shares with Cussler no bad language, and the certain knowledge for the reader that the good guys and gals will survive, and I am persuaded that that is what I want to happen, having really got to like the Perry sisters. This story starts with Mace Perry being released from jail (where she shouldn't have been) and there are a number of insights that would enthrall my fellow prison volunteers and indeed my inmate friends.

Twelve Good Men and True by Len Deighton, read by Michael Jayston.
Short stories from a wide range of war settings, with a common thread of disturbing reality.

Ulysses by James Joyce, narrated by Donal Donnelly
What an experience I have had these few weeks that I have listened to this famous book. The telling of the tale is an exploration of the English (Irish?) language and includes more words that I have never heard before than any other book I've read. The wit and content of every paragraph that I could understand was exceptional, and beautifully brought out in Donal Donelly's reading. The last 10% of the book was incomprehensible to me; and written in a fantasy language with more than a hint of alcoholic engagement, and even though I couldn't figure it out, Donnelly brought it to life and made it listenable. The tale itself I could not fathom, so the loss of the last section made no difference. I was struck by the wealth of idioms that I had believed were relatively modern, but it seems we have been using them these ninety years or longer if Joyce wasn't the first to do so. The descriptions of activities we all recognize but seldom talk about were so real that I was struck how static is human nature. As for the analogy with Homer's classic - and I recently read Atwood's "Penelopiad" - it is very well disguised at least from my pea brain.

Under Fire by W.E.B.Griffin, narrated by James Naughton.
It's the outset of the Korean war, and General MacArthur has to re-take Seoul. But there's a serious problem, and only the clandestine initiative of the Marine Corps and the CIA can save the day. Great story, based on true incidents, very well narrated. The inclusion of MacArthur and President Truman add to the historical realism.

U.S.S. Seawolf by Patrick Robinson, performed by David McCallum.
An ingenious story, sullied by less than great writing and attention to detail - which I didn't have a problem with in "Nimitz Class" and "Kilo Class." The behaviour of some characters, such as the US President, was distorted from likely reality in the interest of the story line. The final event was also out of character with Judd Crocker, captain of Seawolf.

Valhalla rising by Clive Cussler, read by Ron McLarty. Unfortunately this is abridged. I love the Cussler books so much that I like them to take me as long as possible to listen to. In this early story Cussler imagines a non-fiction Capt Nemo from Jules Verne - Capt Cameron Amherst RN, a submarine far before its time, and a plot to monopolise USA's oil supplies. The part that had me under emotional strain was at the very end when Dirk Pitt discovers he has two children (whose exploits I had marvelled at in other books; I have made no attempt to read the Cussler books in chronological order). Even abridged, this is a terrific story.

The Vigilantes by W.E.B. Griffin & William E Butterworth IV, read by Scott Brick
If I had come to this before "Black Ops" I would have been pretty impressed. I am only giving this one 3 stars on my associated Books Read page. While I learned a lot about how police investigations are run in a fictional philadelphia, it seemed to me the cops were not the brightest, and were outsmarted by the villain for far too long. The final car chase seemed to be constructed with movie rights in mind, because I sincerely hope no real detective would take so many risks chasing a criminal whom be then he knew was not THE villain. Having said that, this is a plausible study on what can happen when citizens attempt to take the law into their own hands.

A Wanted Man by Lee Child, read by Dick hill.
After 'Gone Tomorrow' I just had to read another Jack Reacher, and this did not disapoint. Reacher's philosophy of life is unique I dare say, but Child has fun making it sound practical and economic. Only wears clothes once then throws them away. Virtually no possessions and no apparent income. But a brain sharper than all the villains and most of the good guys. The picture he paints of uncoordinated secret services in a terrorist age is a warning. The concept of one determined man being more effective than whole security departments may also be logical - if men of such skill and bravery exist. Probably not, or not too much, as Reacher would say.

Warrior Class by Dale Brown, read by Stephen Lang.
Set marginally in the future (some weapons and sci-fi gadgets) this is an action-filled exploration of a possible global conflict, constructed in Tom Clancy style (visiting each scene of action in rotation).

Wings by Danielle Steel, read by Laurel Lefkow
Steel's writing style is of a pedestrian quality that most English teachers would hopefully have said "could do a lot better," but there's no denying her talent for a good story line, with well drawn characters that one cares about.

The Web by Jonathan Kellerman, read by John Rubinstein
Set in the aftermath of dubious cold-war activities (real events), and on a remote island paradise, this unusual story unravels strange mysteries of human existence. I was slightly irked by the author's need to describe every item of clothing of his characters, almost like a fashion show, but that aside it grabbed me, after a slowish start.

Where are the Children by Mary Higgins Clark, read by Lindsay Crouse.
After the first side, I couldn't "put this down" (audio equivalent) as it unwound into a creepy and fascinating tale of suspense. If you pick up on clues well, try listening without reading the blurb on the cover. In my case I should have read it first and side one would have seemed more coherent.

Widows by Ed McBain, performed by Len Cariou.
One from Ed McBain's bestselling series of the exploits of the police from the 87th Precinct.

Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb, read by the author.
We forget just how complex and enveloping were our childhoods. With this book written in the person of its ten-year-old hero, Wally takes us back to those times (the sixties). How he remembers the way a child thinks I don't know but it brought it all back to me. No shortage of laughs, usually due to under-age misunderstandings, and a charming teacher from Quebec. Don't skip the epilogue which made it all doubly real.

The Wreck of the Mary Deare by Hammond Innes, read by Bill Wallis
Hammond Innes was in great vogue when I was at school, and this was published in 1956. Let no-one think that it is period piece. What a story! If you have a seafaring background it will especially grip you. Heroes like Capt. Patch are less common these days. But the Minkies are still out there. I'm off to find them on Google earth!

The Wrecker by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott, read bt Scott Brick
The best Cussler I have yet listened to, and the first I have awarded six stars on my associated books read list. In 1907 the American railroad system was already mature, but with huge potential which forms the motive of one of Cussler's more deeply probed villains. Lots of great engineering content. We listeners know a lot more about what is going on than Van Dorn's Isaac Bell, and part of the fascination is in following his thought processes as he unravels the plot (we knew he would).

Without Remorse by Tom Clancy.
An ordinary man named John Kelly crosses the lines of justice and morality to become the CIA legend Mr. Clark, triggered by a genuinely emotional love story not normally found in the gripping pages of a Clancy thriller.

Learning and Self-Help

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, read by the author
All on one C-90, for the busy executive! Yes, you will learn something, despite the heavy abridgement.

The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom by Suze Orman, read by the author
Step 1 is a guide to the psychology of dealing with your (very) personal financial situation, so this is recommended particularly for people who are having trouble taking action, even though they know they have to do something about their situation. The book is published in the US - legal aspects and many of the sprecifics of investment vehicles covered apply differently in Canada. I would take issue on some of her investment recommendations; nevertheless there is plenty of good stuff here. This audiobook is available in the Kanata Public Library (Mlacak Centre) - as are most of the audiobooks on this web page.

The Couple's Journey - Intimacy as a path to wholeness, by Susan M Campbell, PhD.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.The Five Stages of Relationships, on our wedding page, is taken from this recommended book: a very helpful guide for any relationship, not only marriage.

Everything you always wanted to know about sex by David Reuben, read by the author.
Ignorance abounds on this vitally important subject. Whether you want to improve your own sex life (who wouldn't?), improve your health, or understand all sex matters, from the current proliferation of STDs, to the menopause, I urge you to read this book. Your parents didn't tell you this, your teachers didn't tell you, so get the imformation from Dr. Reuben!

The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino, read by the author.
The greatest sales skills book I have come across, and unique. NOT JUST FOR SALES PEOPLE! FOR EVERYONE!

The Greatest Salesman in the World; the End of the Story by Og Mandino, read by Billy Nash.

The Greatest Secret in the World by Og Mandino, read by Billy Nash.
A retrospective on Og's life, and mentions the event when I saw Og give a spellbinding talk to 8,000 at the Nu Skin Convention in 1993, and asked them all to pray for him, right there. The prayer was answered.

The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino, read by the author.
Framework on which "The God Memorandum" was built.

The Greatest Mystery in the World by Og Mandino, read by the author.

Family Secrets. Seminar by John Bradshaw
You grew up in a family? - You need this! How social characteristics and dark secrets from your parents and grandparents surface in you. Answers many questions we all have but often don't like to ask.

Feel the Fear and do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers PhD.
A dynamic and inspirational work filled with techniques to turn passivity into assertiveness. Highly recommended in network marketing circles.

How to delegate work, and ensure it's done right - seminar by Dick Lohr.
Even if you are not a manager of people, you should read this to see just how poor a job so many managers are making of this fundamentally important skill set. If you are a manager, listen three times at least.

How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie, read by Andrew MacMillan.
The original, simply the best in its class.

Jesus CEO by Laurie Beth Jones.
One person trained 12 human beings of questionable backgrounds, fractious feelings and momentary cowardice, who went on to so influence the world that time itself is now recorded as being before or after his existence. His leadership style was intended to be put to use by any of us.

Make the most of your mind by Tony Buzan.
Paperback.   Audiobook also available.
Buzan is one of the best authors on organizing your mind to plan virtually anything, from a speech to a task to a vacation. This book is also available in audio formats, but I feel that you will want to refer to it over and over. I first read him in the '80s and use his mind-mapping techniques regularly to this day. Most self help books can elevate you for a while till you grow lazy; Buzan's ideas are so simply powerful that once discovered, they stay with you.

Meditations from The Road by M.Scott Peck, read by the author.
Reflections from "The Road Less travelled" and "The Different Drum". Particularly valid for those contemplating marriage.

Megatrends by John Naisbitt, read by the author
The audiobook version updates the bestseller of the early nineties, yet the basic concepts put forward then by Naisbitt are just as important to understand today as we live out most of his predictions and see the effect in our daily lives. The book is primarily aimed at trends in business and commerce, and particularly those that have come about through advances in technology.

Napkin Notes on the Art of Living by G Michael Durst, Ph.D
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.. Paperback also may take a while.
Recommended by Dr. Cliff Saunders, whose opinion I greatly respect.

New Beginnings by Ann Chidwick
Paperback. Not yet available from Amazon. E-mail the author direct.
A Remarriage Preparation Workbook - in fact the course book of Family Life Education Services' unique Toronto course for people approaching a second (or third...) marriage.

Mission Success by Og Mandino, read by the author. Delay in shipping
The young Mandino as a bomber navigator in the war learns how to survive and how to live, from an unusual source.

Obsession by John Douglas & Mark Olshaker, read by John Douglas.
John Douglas, FBI, takes us behind the scenes of predatory crime: rape, stalking and sexual murder, helping us better understand the criminal mind, and how to protect against it.

The Peter Principle by Lawrence J. Peter.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
The famous book that postulates that people rise to their level of incompetence. Also visit my study on Ineptitude.

Power Sleep by Dr. James B. Maas, read by the author.
Become truly awake for the first time in your life - learn how to leave the ranks of the sleep-deprived majority suffering from the #1 medical condition in our society.

Powertalk: 6 Master Steps to Change by Anthony Robbins, read by the author.
Creating and implementing behavioral and emotional change (practical things you can do!), followed by amazing interview with Mark McCormack, founder of IMG, and business author.

The Spellbinder's Gift by Og Mandino, read by the author.

Rich dad, poor dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki.
To continue to advise a child to simply, "Study hard, get good grades, and find a secure job," could be the most dangerous advice a parent could give a child. If a child follows that advice, they will probably wind up working harder, being paid less, paying more than their fair share in taxes, and remain in a high risk position of financial uncertainty. This book offers an alternative strategy.

The Rest of Us by Jacqueline Mitchard, read by the author.
Winner of a 1998 Audie Award, given by the Audio Book Industry.

Secrets for Success and Happiness by Og Mandino, read by the author.
Paperback. Audiobook available, but the paperback may be more practical for study.
Expansion of the concept of "The Greatest Salesman"; not so much a book as a 6-month course to re-program your subconscious. Powerful. If you haven't yet read "The Greatest Salesman", and are serious about your life's purpose, I recommend undertaking this instead.

Sharkproof by Harvey Mackay, read by the author.
Get the job you want, keep the job you love...in today's frenzied job market.

The Talent Code - Unlocking the secrets of skill in sports, art, music, math, and just about anything, by Daniel Coyle, read by John Farrell.
Myelin. Have you ever heard of it? Perhaps in connection with multiple sclerosis, a condition caused by malfunction of the myelin in a brain. This book describes how myelin in a healthy brain works to enable electical impulses to transmit without loss along nerve cells. The implications of myelin in how we learn are huge, explaining physical and mental (over-) achievement. Supreme capability is is not randomly allocated through the population; it is taught and learned, albeit often subconsciously. All of this was new to me (though the book was published in 2009). I have told more people about this book than any other in this list because it opens up keys to understanding that can significantly benefit anyone. There are connections with Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, which describes so well the 10,000 hours of deep practice required to master virtually anything. Daniel Coyle supplies the reason for this, coming directly from fairly recent brain research. At 74, my myelin is breaking down, but now that I understand what is happening I don't beat myself up too much.

The top ten mistakes leaders make by Hans Finzel.
Paperback. Audiobook not available
The new paradigm, servant leadership, is not new after all. It is Biblical and its greatest exponent was Jesus. In this influential and practical book, you will learn that effective leadership is not what you have inferred from poor leaders through your experience. Here is the alternative to the hierachial (military) leadership model, and should be universally practised for the sake of civilization. Church leaders particularly will find this helpful, though this book is not just for you. I was recently asked to chair Good News Christian Ministries, and I will try to apply the priciples of this book. For example, I am meeting all the committee members, and speaking to members of our radio audience to learn what is necessary to ensure this ministry continues its mission.

The Twelfth Angel by Og Mandino.

The Unconscious Civilization by John Ralston Saul, read by the author.
From the 1995 CBC Radio Massey Lectures, one of Canada's formost philosophers bemoans the replacement of individualism by corporatism, to the detriment of Soctratean democracy. If you think that sounds abstruce, try this as an introduction to practical philosophy; you will find it surprizingly readable and convincing.

When all you've ever wanted isn't enough by Harold Kushner, read by the author.
Rabbi Kushner's recipe for happiness in a world where it would appear that material success is all that matters. You need to hear this!

A Year to Live by Stephen Levine, read by the author
How to live this year as if it were your last. Comforting and philosophical description of the art of dying.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M Pirsig.
Paperback. Audiobook available from "Books on Tape", read by Michael Kramer
I listened to the Books on Tape audiobook. This is the longest (11 tapes) and one of the best I have experienced. Christians, don't be put off by Zen in the title; it's not about Zen. This book will teach you a lot about philosophy and the human condition, and entertain you richly.

Science and Nature

Call of the Wild by Jack London, read by Theorore Bikel.
Considered the best dog story ever, set a century ago, this story of hardship and character will enthrall you. Not surprisingly, the central canine, Buck, shows his human tormentors what true character is. If you enjoy this, you'll also enjoy "The Loop," fiction section.

Creatures of the Kingdom by James A Mitchener, read by John Cullum.
Read this for the incredible story of the life of a salmon, and you'll have value enough. The rest is a bonus.

Embracing the wide sky by Daniel Tammet, read by Daniel Gerroll.
Daniel Tammett is an autistic savant with Asperger's syndrome. I didn't know what that was but I do now, and this book will fascinate anyone interested in how the brain works. Tammet's brain is extraordinary, and I doubt if there are many with his skills who also have the more mundane capability of writing in a captivating way. He has made this a manual into how all of us can use a more logical approach to life. I learned a lot, including such a practical detail that when doing a google search, enclose any text string with parentheses if you know those words are an exact description. Google will then not include approximate solutions.

The Pleasure of finding things out by Richard P. Feynman, read by Dan Cashman
Nobel prizewinner Richard Feynman, who was on the Los Alamos team under Oppenheimer that developed the bomb, and also solved the Challenger space-shuttle mystery, was one of the most brilliant scientists of the 20th century, and the discoverer of nanotechnology, the potential of extreme miniaturization. These are his best short works, lectures, speeches in which his unique character and approach to discovering the universe are revealed. In some matters, such as faith, he comes across as naive, only being prepared to accept what can be proven by the scientific method. As I read this I realized that to only a very few are given the capacity for such thought, but that we only need a few to unravel the mysteries so that we can all walk down the path. So often those leading lights are uncelebrated and unappreciated by a population that prefers soap opera to science.

Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander, M.D.
I read in paperback but now available in audio formats
I bought this as a Christmas gift for Laurie-Ann my wife (M.Div.), thinking that it might add to her wide knowledge of Christian thought. It didn't. I don't think Jesus is mentioned. God is a frequent character, sometimes under the name OM, which is not one of the names of God in the Bible. Maybe Eben (who attends a church) has written the book to appeal to any who know of God through various spiritual disciplines. None of this takes away from the scientific content, describing from a neurosurgen's perspective the process of a near death experience (NDE). These have happened throughout history following trauma. The book shows that consciousness does not depend on full brian funcion and may not even be located in the brain. Much of his brain was disabled completely as a result of bacterial meningitis, an attack by a very rare form of e-Coli. For six days while he apperared to be getting closer to death to his watching family and doctors, he experienced a spiritual journey that he believes proves the existence of Heaven, given to him to bring hope to many.

Relativity by Albert Einstein, and introduction by Roger Penrose.
Hardback
This was Einstein's introduction for the layman, written in 1916. I was attracted to this after reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Eistein, reviewed elsewhere on this page. Although I have long since lost my detailed understanding of the calculus equations used even in this simplified version, I was able to follow the logic and descriptions given. At a crucial point, when illustrating his key first idea with the train, lightening and embankment analogy, he fails to describe in enough detail the crucial reason why the man on the train will see two flashes instead of one, but after fifteen minutes of concentrated thought I was able to figure it out well enough to explain to Laurie-Ann. My previous reading of the Isaacson biography certainly made this eaier to follow, if only in appreciating the working out of the general theory after establishing the special theory. But it was this book that has given me the undertanding that relativity is fundamental, normal and all around us.

The Theory of Everything by Stephen W. Hawking, delivered by the author
One of the brightest brains in the world also has the desire to explain his work in ways that regular minds can understand. He succeeds, though I didn't understand all of it! Having read "A Brief History of Time" years ago, I was very interested to see how in these lectures which begin with the material from that book and end with a discussion of time running backwards, Hawking had discovered or felt aware of the influence of God. He has! In fact God is referred to many times. There is a fascinating point near the end where he postulates (tongue in cheek?) that maybe God chooses to influence physics by way of the Uncertainty Principle, a cornerstone of quantum mechanics, by taking advantage of the fact that we can never be 100% sure of any physical situation, so He might have opportunities to act. It is clear that Hawking would associate the discovery of the Big Bang and the events of the succeeding fractions of a second with a God who working outside the universe and therefore not subject to time as we know it decided for his reasons to create the universe and used his infinite reasoning power to figure out how it could be done. Hawking's final ambition is similar to Einstein's - to understand what those reasons were, and in so doing understand the thoughts of God.

The Universe Story by Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry.
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
From the primeval flaring forth...this amazing book traces what modern science knows of the 15 billion years since the big bang, and describes creation from photons to mankind. For me, a profoundly religious experience.

Your Sleeping Genius by Gayle Delaney, Ph.D, read by the author
Those dreams you thought were random jumbled recollections are not. They are a whole new expression of yourself, your hope and aspirations, and your problem solving skills. For me this was all new, but I have already started putting into practice the techniques described, and am getting results. If you aren't taking your dreams into account your life is being led one-handed. Major corprations and universities are taking notice and Gayle Delaney is a highly sought-out speaker.

The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery, performed by Drew de Carvalho.
Want to know the science behind the projections of a doomed world if we don't act, and fast, to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere? This is among the finest examinations of climate change ever written (according to the back cover). Many vested interests have disgracefully sought to discredit the conclusions that this book so elegantly draws. The greed of the oil and coal lobby has resulted in fraudulent manipulation of governments and public opinion. Flannery's criticism of the policies of his own country, Australia, are particularly brave and poignant and he deserves our rapt attention. God help us if this crisis is not recognized for its extreme seriousness.

Why Gender Matters by Leonard Sax, M.D.,Ph.D. read by Raymond Todd
Paperback. CD version read by Raymond Todd not available from Amazon at the time of posting, but is available in the Ottawa library, where all these books were found.
"What parents and teachers need to know about the emerging science of sex differences." I could have put this in "sociology," but I decided on "science" because of the brain research that has made these facts clear to those who will listen. It's controversial because in the '70s, '80s and '90s it was believed that boys and girls brains were the same and any behavioural differences were due to environment. Now we know better, and every single person contemplating having children, and every single teacher in a co-ed school needs to be aware. Reader, I beg you to bring this book to the attention of parents and teachers. Among other subjects it looks at where the drug culture described in On the Road elsewhere on this page has brought us to 40 years later, where permissive sex had landed us, and most importantly the failure of parents to discipline their children. One in seven North American children is now on mind-altering prescription drugs to control their behaviour. Smacking a childs bottom is illegal in some States and countries, but drugging them is now OK. [Oh how people need Jesus, the only way through the maze - my comment, not Sax's].

Science Fiction

Analog - Science Fiction - stories by Theodore Sturgeon and SC Sykes.
These two stories from the pages of Analog magazine - Thunder and Roses, and Rockabye Baby - are good explorations of situations in a future world, that make you think about today's world.

Blade Runner by Philip K Dick, read by Scott Brick.
Philip K Dick's 1968 story "Do androids dream of electric sheep?" was the base for the cult movie "Blade Runner." It is possible that it introduced the word Android to the language. The book is part sci-fi and part philosophy, delving in to the nature of humanness by contrasting it with android-ness. I wrote some comments on my blog which struck me while reading the book. While the main focus appears to be 'retiring' the Nexus 6 androids, other spin-offs are fascinating, notably the ultra high value placed on natural animals (sheep, goat, spider, toad) in a world where their scarcity has led to the manufacture of electric versions. The book remains valid today, though some of the technology is quaint, such as pay-phones and TV antennae, and the phrase before the war seems to refer to the second world war, but this is unclear. I would have preferred this not to have been read by Scott Brick.

3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke, read by John Glover.
The conclusion to the most successful science fiction series of all time (that is to the present). This is my kind of science fiction. No fantasy, just a brilliant extrapolation of the journey of the human race 1000 years ahead, and relatively easy to follow, though I needed to re-listen to several passages (one of the joys of audiobooks). As a Christian I like to see where God fits in, and whether the writer excludes Him altogether; Clarke doesn't, although he is somewhat ambivolent about His role.

Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov, read by the author, and William Shatner.
This is a six star book. Listen to each of the thee stories in the series at least twice. The second time you'll understand why every word is there for a purpose and enjoy it all the more. Azimov's projection of human life in the galaxy 12,000 years hence is great literature, and provokes much thought, with lessons for us today. Absolutely no furry creatures, or any other fantasy.

Prophet of bones by Ted Kosmatka, read by Scott Sowers.
I was attracted by the statement on the cover suggesting the world to be only 5,800 years old, a fringe Christian belief (but not mine). But that doesn't really come in to the story. First and formost a thriller, and a good one, the book contains considerable (pseudo) scientific information, particularly on paleometagenomics. Trouble is, one isn't sure which data are pseudo.

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien, BBC Radio performance.
This needs to be read before venturing into the Lord of the Rings (in my view). Introduces the key characters and concept of Middle Earth, etc, and the fact that Hobbits wear no shoes and have hairy feet and other important data. I actually enjoyed this; maybe I'll take another look at LOTR. The link above takes you to many many versions of this higely popular book, and does not seem to include the BBC performance that I read broadcast 1988 on Tolkien's centenary; no matter, any will do well enough.

Star Trek Federation by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens, read by Mark Leonard.
Enterprises NCC-1701 and NCC-1701-D, Kirk and Picard in different times collaborate to rescue Zefram Cochrane, inventor of the warp bomb centuries before...with all the sound effects.

Star Trek First Contact by J.M.Dillard, read by Gates McFadden.
Picard and the Enterprize travels back in time to assist Zefram Cochrane initial flight of his warp speed ship, almost failing in the Borg onslaught, which would have a disastrous effect on subsequent history. I find the audio book Star Treks rather more explanatory and gripping than the TV shows.

The Underground City by Jules Verne, badly read by John Bolan.
The CD I listened to is not available from Amazon. The link above points to the paperback version.
Despite the poor narration I enjoyed this a lot. It explores the possibility of men living their lifetime underground, using a believable story as the vehicle. Some of the descriptions could apply to future lives of humans on other planets.

Short Stories

James Herriot's Animal Stories by James Herriot, read by Christopher Timothy.
Winner of a 1998 Audie Award, given by the Audio Book Industry.

Out of Sync, Boating Disorders & other stories by Patrick F.McManus, read by George S. Irving.
Some of the hilarious stories on this so-well read tape had me crying with mirth, particularly the description of his dog "Strange." This is a really funny selection of true to life reminiscences.

Stories from Flowers in the Rain by Rosamunde Pilcher, read by Lynn Redgrave.
Exquisite stories of human nature and high-class romance read in masterly fashion. A true meshing of minds between author and reader. Highly recommended for lovers of good writing.

To cut a long story short by Jeffrey Archer, performed by Bill Wallace.
I listened to this after "As the crow flies" to assuage my withdrawal symptoms, and it did. Each story illustrates aspects of human nature with the characteristic Archer flair for stories constructed with precision, and made me think.

Sociology

Beyond the Gods & Back by Reginald W. Bibby
Paperback. Audiobook not yet available.
This goes in the sociology section rather than the Christianity section because a casual reader would be unlikely to become a Christian as a result of reading it. The concept of "one way to one God" is absent - indeed would be out of place in a study of general trends in religion. However, there is much here of interest born-again Christians in addition to the statistic that for many in the population, finding themselves seated next to a born again Christian would make them feel less stress than being next to an ex-convict, but a lot more than being next to a Muslim. We need to be aware of Bibby's rich seam of data if we Christians are to to be better evangelists for the one true faith.

Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcom Gladwell, read by the author.
I'm reading Malcolm Gladwell in the reverse order that he wrote his three key books (to date) and now I can't wait for The Tipping Point. And he reads them so well. Blink explains so much. It is now clear (to me at least) what happened when the RCMP officers tasered a scared Polish traveller to death at vancouver airport. It also gives me more control over my thoughts and actions in everyday intercourse with the world. There's a lot in Blink about how police are (or should be) trained. We really are creatures of instinct, but instinct is sometimes dangerous, even though it preserves us more than we ever imagined - before reading Blink.

Click by Bill Tancer, read by the author.
Subtitle: What millions of people are doing online, and why it matters. Bill Tancer loves data, and lives and breathes its implications. As an executive at Hitwise Bill can measure - and sometimes predict - virtually any social effect from enquiries to search engines. This is the new face of market research. If you are a polster and not using such sources, better find a new job. This is one of those books that is an eye opener to facts that most of us will have been blissfully unaware - until we read it.

Drive by Daniel H Pink, read by the author.
Subtitle: The Surprising Truth about what Motivates us. And indeed it is surprizing. The science of motivation is way ahead of its implementation in 80% of companies. The carrot and stick method is outdated. This book should be required reading by all CEOs, teachers, scoutmasters, pastors and every sort of leader. We are demotivating by the traditional methods of the past. Run, don't walk to your library or bookstore, or click the link above to get your hands on this book. Dan covered the key points in his 2009 Ted Talk The Puzzle of Motivation.

Freakonomics by Stephen D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner, read by Stephen J Dubner.
Since Malcolm Gladwell recommends this, how could I not select it from the shelves of the Beaverbrook Public Library, part of the Ottawa Library from which just about book on this page has been borrowed. I was not dissappointed. If ever there was a book which took an irreverent look at a major discipline and gleaned the most amazing facts from it, this is it. Levitt is the kind of man we need to have in our universities. Long after I have forgotten the classical principles of economics, I will remember the titbits from this volume, like the man who named two of his children Winner and Loser just to see if names made a difference. He analyses the economics of drug dealing, and shows that a back yard swimming pool is far more dangerous than a gun in the family. He explains the dramatic fall in the crime rate in the '80s and '90s. These are just three of many diverse subjects he tackles. The power of the book is in statistical analysis, and even Einstein might have been convinced about statistics as a tool in quantum mechanics if this had been around for him to read.

The Future of Marriage by David Blankenhorn
I have not yet read this book, but I profoundly agree with one of its premises: that the decay of marriage is not just a tragedy for Christian values, but for everyone regardless of their faith if any. For review on The Source see here.

Godless - The church of liberalism by Ann Coulter, read by the author.
Stunning! The perfect companion to "100 people who are screwing up America," reviewed a few books down in these pages. I loved this because of its solid grounding in Christian thought. How many authors these days are prepared to discuss international affairs from God's point of view (the only perspective that really counts) and do so with the analytical skill of a top trial lawyer. She covers a lot of ground destroying a range of cultural myths. She has also reversed my lifetime belief in evolution and Darwinism, a subject I have lent my puny weight to in hyperspace but will now have to revise. Many have tried to convince me that evolution is baloney, with arguments that I found illogical, but Ann Coulter has this week sliced through my intellectual shiboleths like a knife and turned me right around. For this at least I will never forget this book.

The Hidden life of dogs by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, narrated by Barbara Caruso
A whole sociological strata out there I had never considered. Always a dog lover, I discovered I have been greatly underestimating dogs, based on this fascinating research. The characters, almost all dogs, become as real as many humans do in a novel, but these are not fiction.

Hooked by Joe S McIlhaney JR., MD and Freda McKissic Bush MD
Hardback. Audiobook not yet available.
New science on how casusl sex is affecting our children. I found out I have led a sheltered life. Parents, you need to know this stuff, so you can teach your children how not to wreck their lives. The Ontario government wants to tell them of the many ways they can experience sex (and suggest that LGBT lifestyles are legitimate). Your parents probably told you little about sex; this book can reduce your learning curve.

I can see clearly now by Wayne Dyer, read by the author.
I have been struggling over whether to review this, because it is dangerous. The first 80% was compelling and insightful. I should have been warned when Dyer referred to himself as a new ager. What we have here, and it becomes only too apparent towards the end, is the birthing of the New Age as a religion. His belief in reincarnation was not hidden at the start of the book, but I decided to continue reading since everything else was pretty compelling, referring as it does to his earlier life as a revolutionary thinker. He was given supernatural insights, but what was their source? The last few chapters contradicted/augmented Christianity and I feel now that he will have a lot to answer for on judgement day, when he is asked why he led so many down the wrong path, considering he had a working knowledge of Christianity. But he never experienced the personal love of God.

Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman, read by Stephen Hoye.
I met an intelligent, articulate and attractive young lady recently with a piercing through her lower lip. My uncomprehension of why she would have done that is a microcosm of my failure to understand why anyone would be attracted to Scientology, let alone many from the more financially successful throughout the world. I was accosted in a London steet in the 70s, and tried to read Dianetics, realizing after a few chapters it was drivel, yet it grew into this philosophy that has ensnared millions. It became a (non-theistic) religion only to get tax-relief status. It neatly fits the definition of a cult. While several countries banned it, the US allows it to operate in the name of freedom of expression, encouraging it with charity status! Janet Reitman deserves the gratitude of the world for this no-holds-barred, totally absorbing, intricately researched, detailed description of the story of Scientology and its evil ways and how it enslaves the young. She shows how its teachings can cause the mental illness that it claims it is able to cure. The culture of forced abortion particularly pierced my heart. Two men, L Ron Hubbard and David Miscavige must take the prize, and ultimately the divine judgement for knowingly leading gullible people down the garden path and manipulating governments in their single minded passions to see how far they can spread a philosophy based on science fiction fantasy.

Magic Circles: The Beatles in dream and history by Devin McKinney.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
Recommended by Alan Chrisman.

Marching toward Hell by Michael Scheuer, read by the author.
A chronical of the seriously flawed policies of western leaders, particularly U.S. leaders after Reagan, and the devastating aftermath that they have left us with in the war agaist Bin Laden, who is winning hands down. Although Scheuer, CIA veteran, has been denouced as alarmist and extreme, this reader for one takes what he warns us of as logical and probable. Better forwarned; read this and be shocked.

Military Chaplains as Agents of Peace by S.K. Moore.
Hardcover. Audiobook not available.
This book will be released 31 December 2012, and can be pre-ordered on Amazon. I have not yet read it, but I attended a powerful talk by the author and chatted with him at a men's breakfast at the Anglican Church of the Resurrection, Ottawa on 10 Nov 2012, and recognize this as a paradigm shift in peacemaking in modern warfare. The review that follows is lifted from Amazon. See also.
Occasionally a book comes along that (re)defines a field: this in one such book. Military Chaplains as Agents of Peace is worth having on the reading list for any course that engages seriously with the deep nature of peacemaking and peace support. The case study section on religious leader engagement alone makes the book a powerful resource. But it is only when you add the work Moore includes on defining the practice of religious leader engagement in operational terms and its implementation within mission spaces that the full value becomes apparent. This is a book that will feature centrally in the readings for my future courses in humanitarian action, CIMIC / CMCoord, and development practice. - (Conor Galvin, University College Dublin and Field Exercise Coordinator, UN Training School, Ireland )

Occult America by Mitch Horowitz, read by Paul Michael Garcia.
- The secret history of how mysticism shaped our nation.
As a Christian, I read this for educational purposes, not for inspiration. It's a fascinating journey through the obviously occult, such as ouija boards and freemasonry, to quite a range of very bright seekers who wrote major books and gave major lectures on movements such as New Thought, New Age, and other groups who disobeyed Revelation 22:18, adding significantly to the phophetic in the Bible, and thereby risking plagues. I learned about Ernest Holmes, Frank B Robinson (Psychiana), Manley P Hall, and some less savoury misguided individuals, as well as religious science, Christian Science, and other fringe movements. In many cases, these people were desperately seeking spirituality, yet had failed to find it in the Christian Church (where it is most fully realised) and that is often the church's fault.
Yet I have serious concerns. It seems that Horowitz is quite ready to accept supernatural power and insight emanating from occult sources such as Tarot cards, horoscopes, the Zodiac/astrology, just as many of the characters on the book. What he doesn't investigate is the source of occult power. The Bible warns us explicitly against meddling in all such dangerous activities - suggesting that occult power is real. Christians believe that there is a continual war between these powers of darkness and the powers of light. We call it 'spiritual warfare.' The powers of darkness are inspired and led by Satan/the devil/Lucifer. Acceptance of the existence of this demonic power explains so much in our broken world. That articulate men of intelligence would align themselves with such powers can only mean one thing: they don't realize where the occult power comes from.

100 people who are screwing up America by Bernard Goldberg, read by the author.
Bernard Goldberg is a republican. You wouldn't believe how many democrats and feminists are screwing up the country. He also majors on talk-show hosts and newspaper proprietors. The majority of the people I had never heard of. Overall, his theme is the erosion of values, morals and common decency in our society, hypocrisy, lack of patriotism, and failure to follow the rules/law. One might have expected many of these folk to sue Goldberg for libel, except that he hasn't misrepresented them; he has just quoted them and published writings about them which they presumably are proud of. My favourites: Scott Harshbarger and Margaret Marshall, both of Massachusetts. Marshall it was who first forced through a gay marriage bill, which has landed the country in an awful mess. You gotta love the book though, Unique and very enlightening.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcom Gladwell, read by the author.
Gladwell looks at statistics for successful people in various fields and discovers connections you would never have imagined, such as the majority of top hockey players being born in January and February. This has nothing to do with astrology! When he looks at success in school we find that your child's performance is more related to when or where he/she was conceived than to hard work. Asian kids have a definite advantage. Among many success stories he examines is that of the Beatles, and how they were catapulted to success once they had experienced what turns out to be a pretty universal prerequisite. A portion of the book is devoted to the study of air crashes and how the causes are related almost entirely to cultural norms in different upbringings. I checked with my fighter pilot son and he confirmed that these facts are well known at least in the R.A.F. I learned a lot from "Outliers," because Gladwell is not just rehashing information; this is not a text-book.

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, narrated by Lisette Lecat.
I was drawn to this entirely by the name of the narator, having recently hugely enjoyed her reading of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith - see elsewhere on this page. But what a work it turned out to be. Ms Afisi writes about life under a totalitarian regime - Iran - following her unique background and experience teaching 20th century literature in that country, and in the course of the story filling us in on the extraordinary society that the Iranians voted in after the demise of the Shah. Anyone involved in international policy planning in these times of Islamic fundamentalism should read this to help them understand the nature of the political animal that hi-jacked the Muslim faith and continues to do so. The book also succeeds in teaching us, her readers, how to appreciate and interpret our own western novelists including Nabokov, Fitzgerald and others, who she sees first and foremost as activists attempting to disturb their readers out of complacency. Ms. Lecat is superb again, teaching us how to pronounce our own language.

Secrets of the Koran by Don Richardson.
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
Is what you hear on the evening news about Islam the truth, or has political correstness contaminated all moral standards? Is their holy book, the Koran, a book of peace or a book of war? How much do most Muslims know about Mohammed, and the murky beginnings of the faith that a billion or more treat as a divine revelation? What do we discover if we project current trends about Islam's strategy for growth. Are suicide bombers today motivated by an afterlife of continual orgasm? To contradict Bob Dylan, you really can con all of the people all of the time. The ones I feel desperately saddest for are those - particularly women - born into this 'faith' who know no alternative, and risk their lives should they seek one. Every one of us should realize, as I now do, that we face a peril worse than war that may be unstoppable. The situation has continued to worsen in the years since the book was written. Read this brave book.

Six pixels of separation by Mitch Joel, read by the author
This book, and Platform by Michael Hyatt are essential reading for the Twitter age, particularly if you are planning anything that might involve a need for publicity, or customers. Six Pixels is oriented towards marketing using free tools available on the Internet. If you are not making use of the breathtaking potential available on line, you business will surely die.

Resilience by Elizabeth Edwards, read by the author.
Wife of US presidential candidate John Edwards, Elizabeth Edwards was very much her own woman. She suffered three heart-wrenching tragedies: the death of her 16-year old son Wade in a car accident, the breast cancer which eventually killed her, and the infidelity of her husband which hit headlines. 'Resilience' may help others in times of severe stress in learning how Elizabeth coped. The subtitle is 'Reflections on the burdens and gifts of facing life's adversities.' it is also a book that could strenghthen marriages, by describing so eloquently the so-sad results of infidelity in a way that must touch the hearts of men and women alike.

Things I overheard while talking to myself by Alan Alda, read by the author
Alan is on a search for the meaning of life. He has found it and wants to share it. There is such talent displayed and described on these pages, and terrific insight into the human condition. Alan does brilliantly what only 3% of the population like to do: speak in public. He is a much sought-after speaker at university commencements and he loves science - a rare thing these days. This book could inspire people to go into science, particularly where Alan talks about one of his heroes, Richard Feynman. Alan played the part of Feynman in the play QED. The sad thing about Alan is that while he remains an atheist he will never understand the meaning of life. Can you imagine how more effective a speaker he could be if he did, rather than rather desperately trying to convince young people that life can be fulfilling in many different ways - other than The Way?

This I believe - The personal philosophies of remarkable men and women.
The genesis of the This I Believe project was in the 1950's, when the famous and obscure alike were given the chance to write short essays on the key driving forces in their lives. The experiment was repeated 2006, with a combination of new testimonies and some from the first collection. Here is your chance to hear Helen Keller's voice and her credo, plus many other historical giants. No less eloquent are some of the passions of regular people like you and me, and a couple of 16 year-olds will convince you that the education system is still intact. To submit an essay on what drives you, visit This I Believe.

The Truth Seeker by James Copple
Paperback. Audiobook not available.
This book is brave and creative in its attacks on so many shibboleths, and clearly the product of a very intelligent brain. In postulating that a large proportion of what people believe today simply is not true, it is a wake-up call to civilization. The author allows us to audit a beginner's course in logic and philosophy, and makes these dry subjects understandable to the layman. It is particularly strong in defining the differences between truth, belief, knowledge and faith. It shows how cognitive bias can distort all of these and therefore their judgement. We pay judges large salaries so that they will be able to separate out these factors, yet the basis of appeals in law are to exploit exactly these failures in logic. Cognitive dissonance is shown to cause all manner of problems where anxiety is generated as a result of holding views which conflict. The chapter on morality suggests that morality is not the product of divine guidance, but this leads to rather dangerous territory when it saddles each of us with the responsibility to define our own morality.

Philosophers postulating a society not dependent on divine forces of both good and evil start from a disadvantage. So much in our universe is much more explainable if such forces are given credence. It is almost as if the human DNA is pre-programmed to believe in divine forces. Although we cannot see them, their effects are all around us for those whose eyes have been opened. I would live to see a version of The Truth Seeker that accepts the Christian faith. There would be less scrambling for non-faith explanations of what we see and experience.

One of the reasons the author rejects any faith-based explanation is that he (and so many others) are fixated on the negative spin-offs of religion, including wars, fanatical behavior, cult craziness (mass suicide). Close to home in Canada, the scandals resulting from the policy of assimilation of aboriginal culture into the mainstream culture represent evil in our time, as clergy from Roman Catholic, Anglican and United churches who taught native children also physically, sexually and emotionally abused them over several decades. Should the despicable actions of these criminals - and those throughout history - be sufficient cause for Christianity to lose all value and credibility? On the contrary, Christians believe that God landed on earth in human form and lived and died among us because of the evil in the world. To question his existence because of evil is like blaming Mother Theresa for the slums of Calcutta. Those who promote anti-Christian fervor because of the sins of some 'Christians' invariably ignore the profoundly beneficial effects of belief in God. It has led to no end of human endeavours to improve the lot of fellow humans. It has inspired countless artists and musicians through the ages. It is the basis for our modern practice of law, and much of the structure of western government. Relief agencies are led and staffed largely by believing Christians. The hospice movement, and many orphanages and hospitals were founded by Christians. We do not condemn physics because it proves that water boils at 100 degrees C (212 degrees F) and this can scald; we teach children to avoid putting their fingers near a boiling kettle.

So let me move to the parts of the book (and there are many) where religion in general and Christianity in particular are ridiculed. - more

Women in the Material World by Faith D'Aluisio, read by C Pounder, Greg Daniel and others.
Winner of a 1998 Audie Award, given by the Audio Book Industry.

Humour

I'm a stranger here myself by Bill Bryson, read by the author.
Although billed as humour (and it is extremely funny), to my mind it is actually a brilliant summary of many things desperately wrong with our society, dressed up in humour to make it palatable.

Insane City by Dave Barry, read by the author.
As with Bryson's I'm a Stranger here Myself, humour is the vehicle for biting satire - on stag nights, the ultra rich, and other targets - while discovering some good in hopeless cases. The city in question is Miami, and the main action around an improbable wedding. Mayhem, but lots of fun.

The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog by Dave Barry, read by the author.
Humorist Dave Barry brilliantly shows us family life through the eyes of a 15 year old (himself?) at Christmas time in 1960, and age of wistful innocence (compared with today) but somehow so perceptive that you will remember some of your own teenage attitudes and thoughts as they are expressed here. This book is also suitable for reading to children, and I might have listed it in the Christian section of this site.

Travel and Exploration

Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell & Jeffrey Kluger, read by Edward Herrmann and Jim Lovell.
The detailed story of an engineering achievement no less extraordinary than the building of the Golden Gate Bridge or the Empire State Building. Knowing a little about mechanics and rocket science is helpful for an appreciation of the skills and dedication practised particularly in mission control as they adjusted to a "bring them home" objective from "land them on the moon." Talk about coolness in the face of deparate deadlines on the ship itself. Yet the heroes who achieved all this were hardly feted at the time and all three astronauts left the space program. How little we encourage people. I enjoyed it more than the movie.

Mind over Matter by Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
Story of unbelievable personal hardship, pain and courage, Fiennnes vividly tells the story of his and Dr Michael Stroud's 1991 epic journey across Antarctica, the longest unsupported journey in Polar history.

Riding the Iron Rooster by Paul Theroux
Paperback. Audiobook ISBN 0140861661 not available from Amazon.Com.
Favourite travel writer Theroux takes us to China (from London) by train (of course) where we seem to breathe every nuance of Chinese ways of life with geography and history thrown in wherever appropriate.

Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose, narrated by Cotter Smith.
Story of one of the world's greatest explorations, against all odds. The first time white men had ascended the Mississippi, crossed the Rockies, and travelled the Columbia River to the Pacific.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, read by the author.
In 1998 Bill set out to walk the length of the Appalachian Trail. Sounds pretty boring; it isn't! Bill manages to set the world to rights, spicing his observations with humour, in the course of his trek. Not just for hikers.

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