In My Hands Today…

The Graphologist’s Apprentice – Whiti Hereaka

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When January’s obsession with a married man begins to jeopardise her emotional stability, she decides to risk it all and respond to a mysterious card with the words Tell me a secret? Not content with her home life or workplace, January takes comfort in reading romance novels but is suddenly brought back to reality when she meets the secret keeper, Mae, a graphologist. The Graphologists Apprentice is a story about friendship and love and how both can be found in unexpected places.

In My Hands Today…

The Red Kimono: A Novel – Jan Morrill

17074998In 1941, racial tensions are rising in the California community where nine-year-old Sachiko Kimura and her seventeen-year-old brother, Nobu, live. Japan has attacked Pearl Harbor, people are angry, and one night, Sachiko and Nobu witness three teenage boys taunting and beating their father in the park. Sachiko especially remembers Terrence Harris, the boy with dark skin and hazel eyes, and Nobu cannot believe the boys capable of such violence toward his father are actually his friends.

What Sachiko and Nobu do not know is that Terrence’s family had received a telegram that morning with news that Terrence’s father was killed at Pearl Harbor. Desperate to escape his pain, Terrence rushes from his home and runs into two high-school friends who convince him to find a Japanese man and get revenge. They do not know the man they attacked is Sachiko and Nobu’s father.

In the months that follow, Terrence is convicted of his crime and Sachiko and Nobu are sent to an internment camp in Arkansas, a fictionalised version of the two camps that actually existed in Arkansas during the war. While behind bars and barbed wire, each of the three young people will go through dramatic changes. One will learn acceptance. One will remain imprisoned by resentment, and one will seek a path to forgiveness.

In My Hands Today…

Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure – Sarah Macdonald

3858In her twenties, journalist Sarah Macdonald backpacked around India and came away with a lasting impression of heat, pollution and poverty. So when an airport beggar read her palm and told her she would return to India—and for love—she screamed, “Never!” and gave the country, and him, the finger.

But eleven years later, the prophecy comes true. When the love of Sarah’s life is posted to India, she quits her dream job to move to the most polluted city on earth, New Delhi. For Sarah this seems like the ultimate sacrifice for love, and it almost kills her, literally. Just settled, she falls dangerously ill with double pneumonia, an experience that compels her to face some serious questions about her own fragile mortality and inner spiritual void. “I must find peace in the only place possible in India,” she concludes. “Within.” Thus begins her journey of discovery through India in search of the meaning of life and death.

Holy Cow is Macdonald’s often hilarious chronicle of her adventures in a land of chaos and contradiction, of encounters with Hinduism, Islam and Jainism, Sufis, Sikhs, Parsis and Christians and a kaleidoscope of yogis, swamis and Bollywood stars. From spiritual retreats and crumbling nirvanas to war zones and New Delhi nightclubs, it is a journey that only a woman on a mission to save her soul, her love life—and her sanity—can survive.

In My Hands Today…

Darshan – Amrit Chima

18493146In 1911 rural India, Baba Singh Toor commits a shocking act of violence to avenge a crippling loss, setting a secret in motion that will haunt—and claim—the Toors for generations.

Hardened by a crime for which he was never caught, Baba’s past casts shadows over his sons, even as the era of British Colonial tyranny and oppression reaches its height. In the distant colony of 1940s Fiji, his son, Manmohan, a virtuoso of enterprise, bears the burden of his father’s sin, plagued by an all-consuming insecurity that suffocates his own children. And twenty-five years later in San Francisco, Darshan—inextricably linked to his grandfather, Baba Singh, by both birth and fate—finds himself dragged to the centre of conflict. Held accountable for the Toors’ dark history, he labours to honour his name—meaning one who is blessed with clarity of sight—attempting to keep the family from irreparably splintering apart.

In My Hands Today…

Bone Mountain – Eliot Pattison

435631When disgraced former inspector, Shan Tao Yun joins a group of reverent Tibetans returning a sacred artefact to its home, it seems he has at last found the peace he has struggled for since leaving prison. What starts as a spiritual pilgrimage, however, quickly turns into a desperate flight through the Tibetan wilderness as the outlawed monk who guides them is murdered and Sham discovers that the artefact has recently been stolen from the Chinese army.

But why is the army so desperate to find the artefact entrusted to Shan? Why is an aged medicine lama being stalked by government agents? Why has an American woman, a geologist for an oil company, abandoned the project and fled into the mountains? Shan discovers not answers, but only new mysteries as he is drawn to such unexpected places as the raucous headquarters base of the Western oil venture and a monastery that seems more attuned to the teachings of the party than those of Buddha. And the further he travels into the mountains, the more Shan realises that what is at stake is not only justice but the spiritual survival of those who have joined his strange quest. At the heart of Pattison’s powerful tale is a story of a brave, oppressed people who have learned to endure by drawing strength from their land and their rich spiritual traditions.