Inconvenient Memories: A Personal Account of the Tiananmen Square Incident and the China Before and After by Anna Wang

 

 

In writing this fascinatingly informative book, the author Anna Wang has fulfilled a promise she made to herself long after the terrible massacre at Tiananmen Square, Beijing, a promise to tell her story about the events at that time.

Born in China in 1966, a few years later than myself in England, Anna has really opened my eyes through her memoir to how different life is in East Asia.

The author was abandoned by her mother into the care of her grandmother who lived in Beijing. It is through Anna’s recollections of her childhood and youth, that we discover how strict the upbringing of Chinese children is, and also what living conditions were like in the capital city during her youth. Perhaps the most eye-opening part of this whole book for me was to discover the different ‘regimes’ which Chinese people have to, and still do adhere to, and the class distinctions and restrictions imposed on its people by the government, and their policies.

It wasn’t until she was accepted into Peking University in Beijing as a microelectronics major that Anna experienced protests for the first time. The death on the 15th April 1989 of a former Communist Leader Hu Yaobang, who had worked hard to move China toward a more open political system, and had become a symbol of democratic reform caused the initial uprising in Tiananmen Square. This commenced with the students marching through the capital to Tiananmen Square. From that beginning the uprising grew, hunger strikes, and rally’s caused Premier Li Peng to impose martial law on 19th May.

Anna’s memories of these times are full of fear, with troupes roaming the street, innocent citizens shot, families decimated, and a city in lockdown. On the 4th June, 1989 the demonstration ended when Chinese troops fired on civilians and students. The true death toll has never been released…

At the time of the incident, and after, she worked as a secretary at Canon Beijing, and then went on to have a successful writing career. She has had published other books about her life and experiences, and is married to Lao Xin who she met when he was a student of literature in college. The couple have two children, and with her own vivid childhood memories, their future is paramount to her.

Throughout her extremely interesting life this determined woman, with strength and fortitude, has intermittently lived in Beijing, and also in America, New Zealand and Canada. Through her vividly detailed accounts the author gives her reader a real insight into life in China, and being Chinese. For me, an added bonus was that her recollections of her grandmother’s stories to her during childhood, gives a fascinating glimpse into early 20th century life, including the custom of foot binding.

I would highly recommend this fascinating book to anyone interested in history, memoirs, and life in China through the 20th, and into the 21st century.


About the Author:

Born and raised in Beijing, China, Anna Wang received her BA from Peking University and is a full-time writer. She has published nine books in Chinese. These include two short story collections, one essay collection, four novels, and two translations. An English translation of her short stories, Beijing Women: Stories, was published in 2014. Inconvenient Memories is her debut book written in English.

About the Book:

Inconvenient Memories is a rare and truthful memoir of a young woman’s coming of age amid the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989. In 1989, Anna Wang was one of a lucky few who worked for a Japanese company, Canon. She traveled each day between her grandmother’s dilapidated commune-style apartment and an extravagant office just steps from Tiananmen Square. Her daily commute on Beijing’s impossibly crowded buses brought into view the full spectrum of China’s economic and social inequalities during the economic transition. When Tiananmen Protests broke out, her Japanese boss was concerned whether the protests would obstruct Canon’s assembly plant in China, and she was sent to Tiananmen Square on a daily basis to take photos for her boss to analyze for evidence of turning tides. From the perspective as a member of the emerging middle class, she observed firsthand that Tiananmen Protests stemmed from Chinese people’s longing for political freedom and their fear for the nascent market economy, an observation that readers have never come across from the various accounts of the historical events so far.

Available from Amazon in Hardcover, Kindle and Audiobook formats https://www.amazon.com/Inconvenient-Memories-Personal-Tiananmen-Incident/dp/0996640576/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1559118435&refinements=p_27%3AAnna+Wang&s=books&sr=1-1&text=Anna+Wang 

Surgeon’s Story: Inside OR-1 with One of America’s Top Pediatric Heart Surgeons by Mark Oristano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Kristine Guleserian is a paediatric heart surgeon, and this fascinating book gives the reader a glimpse into her life, career, cases, and what has made her the incredible person she is today.

Congenital heart disease affects approximately 35,000 new born babies in the US alone each year, although it may not reveal itself straight away, sometimes never.

The problem may be discovered at, or just after birth, however, as medical techniques advance problems can be detected whilst the baby is still in the womb, and, if necessary a medical team can be in place to perform surgery straight away.

Like many remarkable people, Dr G, as she is known throughout the book, is humble and does not seek fame, ‘she’s a surgeon, not a writer,’ the author quotes (despite her numerous medical articles), and so he has the honour of shadowing this amazing lady, and telling her story.

I can promise the reader that they will find this book absolutely fascinating and heart-wrenching, as they follow the medical journeys of some of her young patients, discover the problems they faced, and how they were overcome, by Dr G and her amazing team.

One case in particular, I read with a mixture of dread, fear, anticipation and joy, the life journey of little Rylynn, which started pre-birth in the womb of her mother Andrea. Bonding through the story with her parents, having been the mother of a 13 week premature daughter who was born only weighing .635 of a gram, and is now 29 years old. I found it incredibly easy to slip back through the years to the time when I slept on a bed next to hers, and life echoed to the beeps of various monitors…

However Dr G doesn’t just make the dreams and prayers of her patients and their families come true, she also has that amazing capacity, which people in her profession have, of going the extra mile. A shining example of this is in the story of 13 year old Andrew Madden a patient who has a special none medical bond with her, and who attracts the attention of the media by being the 100th heart transplant at the Children’s Medical Center.

Getting personal, she recalls her childhood for the author, and we learn that her calling came at a very early age and was influenced by family and childhood incidents. With a passion for learning, and a loved Greek classics, sports, languages and music, this enquiring and knowledge hungry mind meant that she naturally enjoyed studying. This would prove an essential quality in the years to come, as she graduates from Harvard, and spends many years perfecting her knowledge in her chosen profession. To this day she maintains that you can never afford to stop learning.

Indeed as we look at her work, it is enlightening to see her life through the eyes of the patients, their relatives, her teams, and the students who are lucky enough to learn from her.

Whether you have an interest in pediatric heart problems, love the opportunity to peek into someone else’s life, or are considering a career in the medical profession, this book makes compelling reading. The volume of information and human interest content will have you riveted to every single page.

 

About the Author: Mark is a 35-year veteran sportscaster whose assignments have included work on the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Oilers radio networks. Mark was one of the broadcasters for Super Bowl XXX between the Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s also worked for NFL Films, the Dallas Cowboys P.R. department, and numerous radio and TV stations.

His first book, A SPORTSCASTER’S GUIDE TO WATCHING FOOTBALL, was published in 2009.

This spring, Mark’s new book, SURGEON’S STORY, will publish. It’s the story of Kristine Guleserian, a pediatric heart surgeon at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, a story filled with drama, and a special kind of caring all too absent from modern medicine.

Mark’s on-air colleagues have included Verne Lundquist, now the CBS voice of college football, who hired Mark at WFAA-TV, Dallas in 1973; Oprah Winfrey, with whom Mark co-anchored in Nashville at WLAC-TV in 1974-75; Ron Franklin, now with ESPN, who shared the Oiler radio booth with Mark from 1978-1981.

Mark was born in New York City in 1952, and moved to Texas in 1970 to attend Texas Christian University, gaining a BFA in Mass Communication in 1974.

He left broadcasting in 2002, and is currently a much sought-after portrait photographer in Dallas, as well as a successful actor. His daughter Stacey lives in L.A., and continues the family football tradition as a cast member on FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS on NBC-TV.

About the Book: SURGEON’S STORY is your passport into OR-1, the cardiac surgical suite at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. You’ll be there as Dr. Kristine Guleserian, noted pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon, fixes the tiny hearts of the tiniest children. Follow the young boy who gets a new heart and then, three weeks later, joins Dr. Guleserian on the mound at Fenway Park to throw out the first pitch at a World Series game. Discover the years of training Dr. G went through to become the highly respected surgeon she is today. See how her warmth, humor, intelligence and dedication provide a shining example of what is good about the American health care system. To get a closer look than this, you’d have to scrub in.

Available from Amazon in Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/Surgeons-Story-1-Americas-Pediatric-ebook/dp/B06XRDKMFS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1490970855&sr=1-1&keywords=Surgeon%27s+Story%3A+Inside+OR-1+with+One+of+America%E2%80%99s+Top+Pediatric+Heart+Surgeons

and Barnes & Noble in Paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/surgeons-story-mark-oristano/1126022247?ean=9781935953777

NOOK Book http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/surgeons-story-mark-oristano/1126022247?ean=2940154081280

and Hardcover http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/surgeons-story-mark-oristano/1126022247?ean=9781935953784

 

Wishing for the Better: The life story of a dreamer by John Needham

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Well… the fact that this book is written by someone who is not a celebrity makes it so much the better. In it, John Needham lets the reader into his life, sharing with them what it was like growing up in the 40’s and 50’s with his siblings.

It is lovely too that there are so many pictures, bringing the story even more to life. The preschool picture is adorable, and with his brother. This wonderful biography brings back personal memories of times long past, and due to the changing world, and advances in technology, never to be repeated. We walk in his shoes through his childhood adventures, holidays, home life, starting work, getting a car and learning to drive.

Like many of us, life’s natural course finds the author’s spiralling towards love, marriage and children. However, as with many of us, these paths are not always straight and uncomplicated, and can be tinged with sadness. However, John Needham with great courage takes us through the decades sharing selflessly with us one man’s triumphs and struggles.

The author says in his synopsis that he is a dreamer, well, his dreams and leaps of faith have provided him with an interesting life, career choices, and also they have given him a the opportunity to write this interesting book, I look forward to reading part two.

 

About the author:      

I have had a love affair with the written and printed word all my life. An avid reader as a child, my passion for print really took off when I was apprenticed as a compositor in the bygone age of hot-metal letterpress, long before the advent of computers, high-tech printing and ebooks.

Much of my career continued around print, in copywriting and as a graphic designer. Now retired from all that, I write books, issues-based and exploring the human condition. I have produced two house renovation books although not yet published them, and published part one of an autobiography, Wishing for the Better.

In fiction, my debut novel was Convergence, a story of elderly, interracial love. This was followed by Forebears, a family saga set in the east of England spanning 106 years from the early 20th century almost to the present day.

A third novel, The One of Us, is about the trials and tribulations and nature/nurture theory of separated-when-babies, adopted identical twins. My fourth book, Secret Shame, is a companion to The One of Us, telling the later poignant story of the birth mother of the twins.

My fifth novel, The Flautist, about a minor character from Secret Shame, is a gentle, sometimes sad story of music, love, belonging and rescue from despair.

Awakening is a small anthology of short stories: six of them stand-alone and five modified sample chapters from my novels.

I live and write my words in west Wales.

About the book:

This is not the autobiography of a Celebrity. Not a Well Known Person; not a Loved-By-The-Nation Lovie Thespian or Revered Rock Star or Virtually Deified Sportsperson. Or even a Politician.

No; it’s simply the sometimes funny, sometimes sad story of a really very ordinary, poorly educated bloke born in England during the dark days of World War Two to humble working-class parents, who might well have spent his life a tradesman like his dad (not that there’s anything wrong with that of course) but instead always had Ideas Above His Station; who had the sneaking suspicion that life could be full of exciting opportunities if one just dared to Go For It; that the grass just might indeed be greener on the other side of the fence; that one didn’t have to settle for the mundane. That one could Wish For The Better.

That it might be possible for daydreams to come true; that there might be a crock of gold at the end of the rainbow.

So this is it: the story (Part One, anyway) of that famous complete unknown, John Needham, sometime typesetter, graphic designer, house renovator, landscape gardener and now, in retirement, writer with passion. Please, if you’ve a mind to, Look Inside to sample the aperitif; see what you think.

 

Available from Amazon in Kindle fomat:

Amazon.co.uk https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wishing-Better-life-story-dreamer-ebook/dp/B01DRDHTCI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1463561305&sr=8-2&keywords=john+needham

Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Wishing-Better-life-story-dreamer-ebook/dp/B01DRDHTCI?ie=UTF8&qid=1463561925&ref_=la_B00JNRZDDA_1_7&s=books&sr=1-7

 

 

 

Biff the Useless Mention: Book IV of the Sell the Pig trilogy by Tottie Limejuice

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Those of us who are avid fans of Tottie Limejuice have enjoyed following her adventures through the Sell the Pig series. We have watch, fly on the wall like, as she left her native England and moved to the Auvergne department in the central region of France, with her alcoholic brother, and their elderly mother suffering from dementia. Then, after her mother’s death she decided to buy the ‘grottage’ and moved there. She is a very open author and gives the reader, whether they are living in France themselves, or just enjoying a good read, lots of information about the French people, customs, idiosyncrasies’ etc.

Now, with the grottage not finished, but coming along nicely, she has decided to tell her readers more about her lovely area and also the neighbouring Rhône-Alpes region. In this the fourth book in the trilogy (she explains that in the book too) she takes us on camping trips, mini breaks, and days out, nearly always accompanied by her Border Collies.

There are wonderful days out described in detail, and I have to say personally a big thank you for her descriptions of the many adventures she has had with her friend Alex. Alex is in a wheelchair a lot of the time and with a wheelchair bound husband myself, it was very interesting to hear about the facilities, or not, at the places they visited especially at the Puy de Dôme.

For those of us who have not yet visited this side of France it makes us yearn to go there and see the wonderful sights she describes.

It is obvious that the author has found her forever home, as she has even become a French national. My father has always said that you cannot live on a view, that may be true, however it must be amazing to look out of your window and be able to see the magnificent Puy de Dôme and some of the volcanic chain (chaîne des Puys).

I was given a copy of this book for an unbiased review thoroughly enjoyed it.

The back of this book allows her readers to sample snippets of her other books, some, like the Ted Darling Detective series totally different from this series.

 

About the Author: Retired journalist, freelance copywriter and copy editor Lesley Tither writes under various pen names for different genres. Already well known for travel memoirs as Tottie Limejuice, Lesley also writes crime fiction under the name L. M. Krier.

“Sell the Pig” is the first in a series of travel memoirs describing how Lesley, writing as Tottie Limejuice, decided to make the move from the UK to France to start a new life, taking with her an 89-year-old mother suffering from vascular dementia.The story continues in two further books, ‘Is That Billinge Lump?’ and ‘Mother, Was It Worth It?’
Book IV in the series, ‘Biff the Useless Mention’, is scheduled for release in early 2016.

Lesley’s first crime thriller, writing as L M Krier, ‘Baby’s Got Blue Eyes’, was published in February 2015, followed by ‘Two Little Boys’ in June 2015. Book III in the DI Ted Darling series, ‘When I’m Old and Grey’ is scheduled for release in October 2015, followed by a fourth in the series early in 2016.

Lesley also writes under the collective pen name of Jilli Lime-Holt, together with authors Jill Pennington and Janet Holt. Their first joint book, Take Three Birds, was published in December 2014.

Lesley is a former journalist, working as both a criminal court and coroner’s court reporter. She also worked as a case tracker for the Crown Prosecution Service, and for a firm investigating irregularities in offshore finance. Her other jobs have included owning and running a holiday riding centre and acting as a ‘charity mugger’, lying in wait to sign up shoppers for a wildlife charity.

Lesley’s interests centre around nature and wildlife and encompass dogs, wild camping and organic gardening. She lives in the Auvergne region of Central France and holds dual French/British nationality. Her current dogs are two rescued border collies.

Want to chat with Lesley? You’ll find a Tottie Limejuice Chat Group on Facebook, with lots of photos of the Auvergne.

About the Book: In March 2007, Tottie left Britain to follow the dream of a new life in France for herself, her elderly mother and her damaged brother. Has the dream turned to a nightmare or is Tottie still happily living the quiet life in her little ‘grottage’ in the Auvergne region of central France?
Come with Tottie now as she takes you on Tottie’s Tours of the Auvergne. Enjoy the familiar ironic humour and keen eye for detail that will bring the landscape and the people to life for you. Be prepared to shed a tear as you say goodbye to some familiar characters. And find out how Tottie took to a life of crime once she retired from her work as a freelance copywriter.
‘Biff the Useless Mention’ is the fourth and concluding part of what started out as a trilogy, with ‘Sell the Pig’, ‘Is That Billinge Lump?’ and ‘Mother Was It Worth It?’. Don’t miss this concluding part of the ‘Sell the Pig’ series.
‘Mother, mother, it’s a bugger, sell the pig and buy me out’.

Available from Amazon in Kindle format http://www.amazon.com/Biff-Useless-Mention-Book-trilogy-ebook/dp/B0198J9L6M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450795993&sr=8-1&keywords=tottie+limejuice

 

Cowboys, Armageddon, and the Truth: How a Gay Child was Saved from Religion by Scott Terry

51wTA+Kh3eL__AA160_Just by the title I expected this book to be an eye-opener and I certainly wasn’t disappointed!

This is not a story for the faint hearted, it is gut wrenchingly frank and tells of a childhood that no child should have to suffer. Yet, it is written from the author’s own harrowing experiences, and this book tells of his childhood under the tyrannical reign of his stepmother “Fluffy.”

Scott and his older sister Sissy’s father is so besotted with his second wife that he turns a blind eye to the inhumane treatment of his children, and so they are afraid to put a foot wrong and suffered terrible abuse whilst growing up.

Rejected and unloved, he turned to religion for his salvation, and as a Jehovah’s Witness he was continually reminded that Armageddon was just around the corner, not allowed to celebrate many of the festivals his friends did and prayed daily for help and understanding as his sexuality bloomed.

This is a compelling read. The content is very sad, and yet the author tells the story of his childhood calmly, and without bitterness. His sexual preferences and coming to terms with them are graphically described in this no holds barred audiobook and he also offers an insight into the world of the Jehovah’s Witness, which those of us who are not one, do not realise.

 

About the Author: In 2007, Scott Terry sent an excerpt from his yet-to-be published book, Cowboys, Armageddon, and The Truth, to the San Francisco Chronicle. An hour later, he received a freelance contract and a request for more, leading to many stories for the paper.

In his book, Terry has produced a gritty and poignant autobiography of a young boy escaping an abusive and fanatical childhood. Scott Terry was raised as a devout Jehovah’s Witness, and spent his childhood praying for Armageddon to come and asking God to heal him of his homosexual thoughts. By adulthood, he had escaped the Witness religion and no longer believed in an upcoming apocalypse. Indeed, as a gay man and a real cowboy, he was riding bulls in the rodeo, abandoning all faith in religion.

Cowboys, Armageddon, and The Truth was named one of the Top 20 Must Read Books of 2013 by Advocate Magazine. It was named one of the best LGBT releases of 2012 by Out In Print and Band of Thebes book lists, and was a Bronze Medal winner in the Living Now Book awards, a finalist in the Next Generation Book Awards, and a finalist in the Rainbow Book Awards. Scott’s writing has been featured in the Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Alternet Magazine, among others.

For more information on Scott Terry’s work, visit his web page at http://www.ScottTerryProjects.com. For information on events or upcoming book signings, visit his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CowboysArmageddonAndTheTruth

Cowboys, Armageddon and The Truth is available from Amazon in Kindle format http://www.amazon.com/Cowboys-Armageddon-Truth-Child-Religion-ebook/dp/B009F2F02C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421072343&sr=8-1&keywords=cowboys%2C+the+truth+and+armageddon

in Paperback http://www.amazon.com/Cowboys-Armageddon-The-Truth-Religion/dp/1590213661/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1421072343&sr=8-1

and in Audiobook format from Audible http://www.audible.com/pd/Bios-Memoirs/Cowboys-Armageddon-and-the-Truth-Audiobook/B00NH3IP90/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srImg?qid=1421072549&sr=1-1

 

The Boots My Mother Gave Me by Brooklyn James

51pSVeq-yAL__AA160_This is the story of Harley, bought up in a dysfunctional home, with an alcoholic and abusive father, who sends the family on an emotional rollercoasters, a weak mother, and her sister Kat with whom she has a very strong bond.

The day after she graduates from high school she packs her bags into her 1970 Chevelle, Charlene, and takes off, knowing only that she must go.

This is a coming of age novel, and we, the listener follow the strong, independent Harley, as she grows from girl into womanhood. As normal, through rite of passage, the woman she becomes is shaped by the people she meets and jobs she does as she moves around the country. However, Harley finds herself, despite her escape, being drawn back home to help her family with each emergency which arises.

And, waiting in the background is Jeremiah Jones, her childhood neighbour and sweetheart, best friend and lover, who joined the Marines the day she took off. Although they don’t see each other for years, the chemistry between them when they do, is so strong. He loves her unconditionally, and understands, and knows the fears she battles with after growing up in such a dysfunctional family, but will she ever commit?

This was a compelling story packed with brutal truths about such subjects as growing up in an abusive home and alcoholism, yet a fascinating story which I could not fail to recommend.

Available from Amazon in Paperback http://www.amazon.com/The-Boots-My-Mother-Gave/dp/1461054397/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1413383281&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=the+boots+my+mother+gave+me

and Kindle format http://www.amazon.com/Boots-My-Mother-Gave-Me-ebook/dp/B00457XGNM/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1-catcorr&qid=1413383281

and from Audible http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Boots-My-Mother-Gave-Me-Audiobook/B00MV0LQN2

 

I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry by Susie Kelly

Open, honest, and compelling reading.

 

  I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry...

 

Books are escapism, and Susie Kelly’s books about her adventures and life in France have kept me entertained over the years.

I knew this book was going to be different, but nothing prepared me for its content.

When you see an author’s picture, and have followed her escapades, somehow you feel in a way, you know her. This book dispels that illusion. The title is easily understandable, everyone regrets not having the chance to say things, or leaving it too late…

What a story! Written in Susie’s extremely honest way, but unlike her other books, in this one, we learn of her childhood in England and Kenya, her life choices and the decisions she has had to make.

An open, heart-rending insight into her life, which I found a compelling read.

 

Available on Amazon Kindle here http://www.amazon.com/Wish-Could-Say-Sorry-ebook/dp/B00CS8YG34/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1369049019&sr=1-1&keywords=i+wish+i+could+say+i+was+sorry