Sidney Poitier writes about his life experiences in the form of letters to his great granddaughter. I am not sure if it is the form of the book (letters) or perhaps the wisdom of the writer (Sidney Poitier), but I found myself totally engaged in reading it. The author shares his advice on love, marriage, faith, courage, and the future. His inspirational stories, although addressed to his great granddaughter, are really speaking to all of us. They are meant to motivate us and guide us in our own life journeys. If you are looking for a beautifully written and heartwarming memoir, you will not be disappointed by choosing this title. (submitted by IS)
When I picked up this audiobook, I was under the impression that it was the biography of Osama Bin Ladin’s wife. However, Carmen Bin Ladin is his former sister-in-law. She writes about her life in Saudi Arabia, being married to Osama’s brother Yeslam, finally getting divorced, and escaping with her three daughters to Switzerland. Carmen talks about the lives of women in Saudi Arabia. By custom they are mostly confined to their homes and most of their time is spent praying, reading Koran, and raising children. I started listening to this audiobook on my commute home, but found myself captivated so much that I ended up listening to it at home. A beautifully written memoir that will keep you engaged and might just help you get through tons of house chores without even noticing. (submitted by IS)
Bee Lavender has lived through more sickness than I thought I would have the stomach to even read about. It seems as though every unfortunate illness and ill-luck has befallen this woman: cancer, car accident, complications, and more complications. I read this book when I was quite sick and struggling through a series of unsuccessful diagnoses, feeling completely overwhelmed with chronic illness. Somehow reading Lavender’s writing about sickness actually made me feel better. Her book is empowering. Lavender faces illness without flinching, making for an uplifting, if slightly terrifying, read. The narrative is up-front and personal, which along with the book being a short 160 pages, makes it very accessible. (submitted by TH)
I found this book riveting and fascinating. Veteran journalist William Lobdell was in his early twenties when he became a born-again Christian. At the time, few reporters were interested in the religion beat – a topic regarded as an antiquated arena for fading journalists. Lobdell had a vision for this position however, and landing it became a powerful calling. He prayed and waited years for the opportunity. Then it happened in 1998. The Los Angeles Times hired him for the job and he felt his prayers were finally answered.
For eight years he travelled extensively, looking for inspirational stories in all walks of life, as well as interviewing some of the world’s most prominent religious leaders. However, he continually found disturbing discrepancies between the tenets of the various faiths, and the actual behaviour of the faithful and their leaders. Eventually, he let go of his faith and surprisingly, found more peace in “the truth.” This book is not a defence of atheism using hard science, instead it is a passionate, spiritual journey full of revelations – a must read for anyone grappling with all the hard questions.
A very angry cook wrote the iconoclastic Kitchen Confidential about the underbelly of the New York restaurant scene in the 1980s and 1990s, published in 2000. It made Anthony Bourdain a star. I loved that book. This is the follow-up. He’s older and wiser and less angry, or at least he’s more self-aware and philosophical about it. He writes the way he talks – which will be familiar if you’ve watched his TV show, No Reservations. This book is about how Kitchen Confidential utterly changed his life, opening up the world to him. He tells great stories, in a wry and humourous tone, and I was only sorry that the book ended – I would’ve been happy to keep reading.