by Gary Greenberg
A resident of a tiny town in the US state of Connecticut, Gary Greenberg learned the hard way what brought people together. “No community … exists without someone or something to hate,” the psychotherapist writes in this Kindle Single, named after his hometown, Scotland. That something were three mentally retarded sex offenders who moved, as free citizens, into a house bought by a non-profit organisation that rehabilitated the intellectually disabled. Small-town America comes to the fore at a public meeting: the townsfolk demand Greenberg resign as chairman of the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission for allowing the men to enter the community. Despite being the target of their anger, Greenberg is also moved: “I heard people tell each other how glad they were to have met and gotten close.” Scotland has a message about the consequences of splitting society into us and them. Someone wants to know why the men can’t have GPS tags under their skin. “Because,” a woman from the organisation responds, “they are not animals.”
Eat, Drink and Remarry
by Margo Howard
The title is more frivolous than the actual marriages of Margo Howard, daughter of agony aunt Ann Landers and herself a columnist of renown. Single at 28 after her first marriage, in the 1960s, with a "starter husband", Howard discovered she had a skill for writing the way she spoke. Readers will understand what that means in this frank, sometimes humorous, often matter-of-fact account of her four marriages. About the second, she took to heart the saying that every woman should have a forgettable second husband, and that she did, after putting at the top of her to-do list her quest to find a mate and a father to the three children she had with her first. Number two, who lasted four years, bored Howard, which is not something she could say about the third, a married man who was a former bad-boy boyfriend and someone she hooked up with again at 51. She had become his "wife", she realised, upon discovering he had three women on the go. Mr Perfect, a surgeon, is at first so not her type. Assuming there won't be a sequel, it is fourth time lucky for both.
by Russell Brand
"The most potent tool in maintaining the status quo is our belief that change is impossible." No, Russell Brand is not declaring his support for Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement. In Revolution, he offers a more radical political solution than that demanded by the city's pro-democracy protesters. The British actor-activist is seeking change that can happen by disregarding obsolete systems, and he's not just talking about politics. The only revolution that can really change the world is the one in your own consciousness, he declares, going on to cite mythologist Joseph Campbell, members of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and others. His book is the outcome of an interview with Jeremy Paxman in which Brand vowed he would never vote because "whoever you vote for, you'll be voting for a party that represents a big-business agenda, not the will of the people". Brand, who narrates this polemic, offers few practical universal solutions: he is by turns frustrating, inspirational, rude and funny but, above all, idealistic. This manifesto leaves many questions unanswered.