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Sally-Ann Partridge: Fuse

Tuesday, July 7th 2009 at 5:30 PM

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07 July 2009 @ 5.30 for 6pm

Sally-Ann Partridge: Fuse
At the launch of her brilliant new novel Fuse, Sally-Ann Partridge will be in conversation with Hunter from Fokofpolisiekar, with music by Derick Muller. Fuse follows the success of The Goblet Club which won both the I am a Writer Competition in 2007 and the MER prize for best youth novel in 2008.
Kendall Mullins hates high school, almost as much as he hates the situation at home, but that all changes when Craig Baumgarten joins his class. Craig makes life at Percy Fitzpatrick High almost bearable, until the bullies set their sights on the new best friends and Craig hatches a plan to fight back with devastating consequences.

As Kendall is drawn in deeper he finds himself in a situation he can’t escape and its up to his brother Justin to protect him. The Mullins brothers flee the suburbs as they attempt to outrun the law and the wrath of their parents, but on the streets of Cape Town they find that life just got very real.

Sally-Ann Partridge has had a passion for literature since an early age and has been writing since first being able to hold a pen. It was not uncommon for her to be found with her nose in book while other children were out playing.The inspiration for the book were the many tales her friends would tell her during the school holidays, of their own experiences in boarding school.

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Storytime: Farm day

Saturday, July 4th 2009 at 11:00 AM

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04 July 2009 @ 11am

Storytime: Farm day
Moo! Baa! Oink! We might live in the city, but we do know the makings of a great farm animal. We are reading stories from the farm and making woolly sheep (well, paper ones).

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Rahla Xenopoulos: A Memoir of Love and Madness Living with Bipolar Disorder

Thursday, July 2nd 2009 at 12:00 AM

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02 July 2009

Rahla Xenopoulos: A Memoir of Love and Madness Living with Bipolar Disorder
In 1992 Rahla Xenopoulos was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. As a result of this devastating diagnosis she sought education on her affliction. Although she found an abundance of literature on various mental illnesses, none of it seemed applicable to her. This inspired her to write a book chronicling her efforts to come to terms with a disease that is, in effect, a life sentence: from her upbringing in an eccentric, loving, Jewish family to her struggle with bulimia, anorexia and self-mutilation, her attempts at suicide, finding true love and, finally, the ‘crazy, utterly unpredictable experience of giving birth to triplets’.
This is not a self-help book, or a medical guide. Reading this book will not cure anyone; bipolar disorder is a chronic illness. But it did help Rahla – as it will countless others – ‘to understand the rhythm in the cacophony of this condition’.
Rahla is a high-school dropout who spent the first few years of her life under-achieving on an epic scale. She flitted from dancing, teaching and counseling to working in a laundromat, serving as a barmaid and a shop girl, and being the wife of a talented filmmaker. In 2002 she started writing, and has had short stories published in Women Flashing, Twist and Just Keep Breathing. She has also published short stories in Glamour and O Magazine. Her story Child Hold My Hand was chosen as one of O Magazine’s top 10 stories of 2008

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July 2009

Wednesday, July 1st 2009 at 12:00 AM

Good Reads for the Winter

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The Angel’s Game

by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man – David Martin – makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. The survivor of a troubled childhood, he has taken refuge in the world of books, and spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city’s underworld. But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem, for in a locked room deep within the house are letters hinting at the mysterious death of the previous owner. Like a slow poison, the history of the place seeps into his bones as he struggles with an impossible love. Then David receives a letter from a reclusive French editor, Andreas Corelli, who makes him the offer of a lifetime. He is to write a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realises that there is a connection between this haunting book and the shadows that surround his home. Set in the turbulent 1920s, The Angel’s Game takes us back to the gothic universe of the Cemetery of the Forgotten Books, the Sempere and Son bookshop, and the winding streets of Barcelona’s old quarter, in a masterful tale about the magic of books and the darkest corners of the human soul.
his narrative style embraces relentless pace and fantastical and magical diversions…Zafon is the tempter.” The Guardian
Zafon is master of the atmospheric…its faith in the power of fiction is endearing, and addictive.” Financial Times
The tale is rich, evocative and literate, with Great Expectations and Faust among its more nakedly displayed influences. Zafon is a great describer, with a cinematic flair for murders and sexual encounters.” Evening Standard

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In the Kitchen

by Monica Ali
At the once-splendid Imperial Hotel, executive chef Gabriel Lightfoot is trying to run a tight kitchen. But his integrity, to say nothing of his sanity, is under constant challenge from the competing demands of an exuberantly multinational staff, a gimlet-eyed hotel management, and business partners with whom he is secretly planning a move to a restaurant of his own. Despite the pressures, all his hard work looks set to pay off
Until the discovery of a porter’s dead body in the kitchen appears to tip the scales. It is a small death, a lonely death – but it is enough to disturb the tenuous balance of Gabe’s life.
Enter Lena, an eerily attractive young woman mysteriously tied to the death of the porter. Under her spell, Gabe makes a decision, the consequences of which strip him bare and change the course of the life he knows – and the future he thought he wanted.

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Granta 106: New Fiction Special

edited by Alex Clark
The newest volume from this superb literary establishment brings a delicious selection of new stories from a diverse group of writers, whose only commonality is the quality of their writing – so here we have new work from Eleanor Catton, Ha Jin, Nicola Barker, Helen Simpson, William Pierce, Chris Ware, Adam Thirlwell, Amy Bloom and Paul Auster – as well as John Banville’s objet trouvé, poetry by Fanny Howe and Jhumpa Lahiri in conversation with Mavis Gallant.

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Counting Sleeping Beauties

by Hazel Frankel
“We came to Johannesburg. Lived in Wynberg. After a time, my twin sisters Betty and Rosie also came looking for husbands. They stayed with us and the shadchen fixed them up. I can see that Hannah doesn’t understand. Not the ideas. Not my mixture of Yiddish and English. Still she listens, looking at my face. Then they moved to their own homes but we always spent Shabbos and Yom Tov together. I go on, When your Mommy married your Daddy, they lived a one bedroom flat in Clarendon Circle. We wrapped you up tightly in your blanket when you were born. You slept in a drawer. I show her with my hands. You were this small”. Spanning the pogrom years in Lithuania and the 1950s South Africa, Frankel weaves a delicate tale of despair and loss, of love and attachment and of place. She evokes the post-war years in South Africa in heartbreaking detail, and traces the relationships within an extended family and their own struggle with racism, grief and guilt.

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Sleeper’s Wake

by Alistair Morgan
When forty-six year-old John Wraith regains consciousness after the horrific car accident that claims the lives of his wife and daughter, he is adrift, bewildered and deeply traumatized. He takes up the offer of time to recuperate in Nature’s Valley – a wild, unspoilt coastal settlement at the edge of dense forest and indigenous bush. It is winter, and most of the holiday homes are boarded up. It is here that his path crosses that of a damaged family in retreat from their own horrific trauma: Roelf, a devoutly religious man trying to make sense of what has happened to them, and his two children, seventeen year-old Jackie and her younger brother Simon. John’s uneasy involvement with this trio and particularly with Jackie, for whom he feels a confusing mixture of protectiveness and sexual attraction, provides the novel with its driving narrative and, ultimately, its shocking denouement. Written in lucid and beautiful prose, Sleeper’s Wake is a haunting study of man at his most vulnerable.

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Turbulence

by Giles Foden
The D-day landings – the fate of 2.5 million men, 3000 landing craft and the entire future of Europe depends on the right weather conditions on the English Channel on a single day. A team of Allied scientists is charged with agreeing an accurate forecast five days in advance. But is it even possible to predict the weather so far ahead? And what is the relationship between predictability and turbulence, one of the last great mysteries of modern physics?
Wallace Ryman has devised a system that comprehends all of this – but he is a reclusive pacifist who stubbornly refuses to divulge his secrets. Henry Meadows, a young maths prodigy from the Met Office, is sent to Scotland to discover Ryman’s system and apply it to the Normandy landings. But turbulence proves more elusive than anyone could have imagined, and events, like the weather, begin to spiral out of control. From the prize-winning author of The Last King of Scotland, a gripping blend of fact and fiction in a novel about how human beings deal with uncertainty.

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New Writing from Africa 2009: Original short stories by young African Writers for the South African Centre of International PEN

selected by JM Coetzee
What are African writers thinking and writing about as the first decade of the twenty-first century draws to a close? The South African Centre of International PEN asked the question, and this volume holds the answer.
More than 800 pieces of new writing from across the continent flowed in once the call for entries was made for the PEN/Studzinski Literary Award. This collection contains the 34 short stories eventually selected, including the prize-winners and those receiving honourable mentions from final judge JM Coetzee.
This is a contemporary African reading journey that will take you from Algeria to Zimbabwe, with stops along the way in Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Mauritius, Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa. The writers are young and old, established and unpublished; the subject matter as diverse as Africa itself. It is an African literary journey – and definitely one to be savoured.

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Nightingale Wood

by Stella Gibbons
From the author of the wonderful Cold Comfort Farm (amongst many others) comes the newly republished, funny and delightful Nightingale Wood – which was originally published in 1938.
Life is not quite a fairytale for poor Viola. Left penniless, the young widow is forced to live with her late husband’s family in a joyless old house. There’s Mr Wither, a tyrannical old miser, Mrs Wither, who thinks Viola is just a common shop girl, and two unlovely sisters-in-law, one of whom is in love with the chauffeur. Only the prospect of the charity ball can raise Viola’s spirits – especially as Victor Spring, the local prince charming, will be there. But Victor’s intentions towards our Cinderella are, in short, not quite honourable …
“NIGHTINGALE WOOD is in essence, a sprawling, delightful, eccentric fairy tale … There is romance galore, a transformative dress, and a ball, much dizzy kissing in hedgerows and beyond, spying, retribution and runaways, fights and a fire, poetry and heartbreak, a few weddings AND funerals, and a fairytale ending with a twist. What luxury to stumble upon this quirky book, and the fascinating modern woman who wrote it. It is a rare unadulterated pleasure and high time for its encore.” Sophie Dahl, from her introduction

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The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet

by Rief Larsen
T.S. Spivet is a 12-year-old genius mapmaker who lives on a ranch in Montana. His father is a silent cowboy and his mother is a scientist who for the last twenty years has been looking for a mythical species of beetle. His brother has gone, his sister seems normal but might not be, and his dog – Verywell – is going mad.
It’s odd, but then families are. T.S. makes sense of it all by drawing beautiful, meticulous maps kept in innumerable colour-coded notebooks: maps of the countryside, maps of his family’s behaviour, maps of animal and plant life. He is brilliant, and the Smithsonian Institution agrees, though when they telephone with news that he has won a major scientific prize they don’t suspect for a minute that he is twelve years old.
So begins T.S.’s life-changing adventure, fleeing in the dead of night, riding freight trains two thousand miles across America – how else do 12-year-olds get to Washington D.C.? – to reach the awards dinner, the fame, the secret-society membership and the TV appearances that beckon. But is this what he wants? Do maps and lists explain the world? And why are adults so strange?
The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet is a story like no other: exhilarating, funny, endlessly charming and unbearably poignant. It is a journey through life’s mysteries great and small, and about how on earth a boy with a telescope, four compasses and a theodolite should set about solving them.

Non-Fiction to Broaden the Mind

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A Memoir of Love and Madness: Living with Bipolar Disorder

by Rahla Xenopoulos
In 1992 Rahla Xenopoulos was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. As a result of this devastating diagnosis she sought education on her affliction. Although she found an abundance of literature on various mental illnesses, none of it seemed applicable to her. This inspired her to write a book chronicling her efforts to come to terms with a disease that is, in effect, a life sentence: from her upbringing in an eccentric, loving, Jewish family to her struggle with bulimia, anorexia and self-mutilation, her attempts at suicide, finding true love and, finally, the “crazy, utterly unpredictable experience of giving birth to triplets”.
This is not a self-help book, or a medical guide. Reading this book will not cure anyone; bipolar disorder is a chronic illness. But it did help Rahla – as it will countless others – ˜to understand the rhythm in the cacophony of this condition’.
Rahla is a high-school dropout who spent the first few years of her life under-achieving on an epic scale. She flitted from dancing, teaching and counseling to working in a laundromat, serving as a barmaid and a shop girl, and being the wife of a talented filmmaker. In 2002 she started writing, and has had short stories published in Women Flashing, Twist and Just Keep Breathing. She has also published short stories in Glamour and O Magazine. Her story Child Hold My Hand was chosen as one of O Magazine’s top 10 stories of 2008

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Out of Steppe: The Lost Peoples of Central Asia

by Daniel Metcalfe
Central Asia is the general name for the landmass between Iran, China, Siberia and Afghanistan. An area of enormous diversity both geographically and ethnically, it has been shaped by trade and commerce (the Silk Road) and by many invaders, including Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Stalin. The ethnic make-up of this area is bewildering: Turkish, Chinese, Iranian and Slav to name a very few. There are in fact over a hundred ethnic groups, but tragically many of these peoples are disappearing. They are emigrating, dying or blending into their surroundings, succumbing to the uniformity favoured by an increasingly globalised world.
Metcalfe’s journey through Central Asia brings to life the brilliant human tapestry of this vast area – uniquely shaped by the immigrants, deportees and conquerors that have settled there. He seeks out six of the least known peoples, travelling from the Aral Sea in western Uzbekistan – where the Karakalpaks are still paying the price for the USSR’s ˜cotton cold war’ – to Bukhara where he disguises himself, to find the last surviving Central Asian Jews; and then to the green steppelands of northern Kazakhstan in search of the last German descendants of those who settled Ukraine in 1763, at the invitation of Catherine the Great. He then turns to the mountain passes of western Tajikistan and the Silk Road, to the descendants of the fire-worshipping Soghdians. Trying to conceal his English roots once again, Metcalfe travels through Afghanistan as a Muslim, to locate the Hazaras, who have had to fight for their existence in this Sunni-dominated country.
His final trip is from Kabul through the Khyber Pass to Peshawar and then on to Chitral in northern Pakistan, to visit the Kalasha people – a tiny group practising their own shamanic religion in three valleys in the Hindu Kush. They are the last non-Muslim people in the region and are threatened daily by their Muslim neighbours.
This is a magical journey through tough terrain, an eye-opening exploration of vanishing ways of life, which revels in all our differences.

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My Happiness bears no relation to Happiness: A poet’s life in the Palestinian Century

by Adina Hoffman
Beautifully written, and composed with a novelist’s eye for detail, this book tells the story of an exceptional man and the culture from which he emerged.  
Taha Muhammad Ali was born in 1931 in the Galilee village of Saffuriyya and was forced to flee during the war in 1948. He traveled on foot to Lebanon and returned a year later to find his village destroyed. An autodidact, he has since run a souvenir shop in Nazareth, at the same time evolving into what National Book Critics Circle Award-winner Eliot Weinberger has dubbed “perhaps the most accessible and delightful poet alive today.” 
As it places Muhammad Ali’s life in the context of the lives of his predecessors and peers, My Happiness offers a sweeping depiction of a charged and fateful epoch. It is a work that Arabic scholar Michael Sells describes as “among the five ˜must read’ books on the Israel-Palestine tragedy.” In an era when talk of the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ dominates, this biography offers something else entirely: a view of the people and culture of the Middle East that is rich, nuanced, and, above all else, deeply human.
Adina Hoffman is the author of House of Windows: Portraits from a Jerusalem Neighborhood. Her essays and criticism have appeared in the Nation, the Washington Post, and the Times Literary Supplement and on the BBC. One of the founders and editors of Ibis Editions, she lives in Jerusalem.

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Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You

by Sam Gosling
What does your desk reveal about your personality? What about the books on your shelves or the pictures on your walls? And what is the best way to find out what your new partner is really like?
For years award-winning psychologist Sam Gosling has been studying how people reveal their inner selves, and how we form impressions of others. He dispatches teams of scientific snoops to see what we can learn about people from their bathrooms, offices and bedrooms – and even from where they live and what they wear.
These elements of our daily lives can say more about our character than our most intimate conversations. Gosling’s will help you discover how someone is likely to vote, how motivated an interviewee really is, and how not to be misled.
A fascinating guide to the way we leave impressions without really knowing it, Snoop will sharpen your perceptions of others, and ensure you project what you want others to see.
Hugely enjoyable and insightful…Gosling has produced the perfect combination of rigorous research and lightness of prose to create a book that will transform every reader into a super snooper.” Richard Wiseman, author of Quirkology
“…charming and well written…readable and practical guide to understanding the people around you.” New Scientist

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Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney

by Dennis O’Driscoll
Widely regarded as the finest poet of his generation, Seamus Heaney is the subject of numerous critical studies; but no book-length portrait has appeared until now. Through his own lively and eloquent reminiscences, Stepping Stones retraces the poet’s steps from his early works, through to his receipt of the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature and his post-Nobel life. It is supplemented with a large number of photographs, many from the Heaney family album and published here for the first time. In response to firm but subtle questioning from Dennis O’Driscoll, Seamus Heaney sheds a personal light on his work (poems, essays, translations, plays) and on the artistic and ethical challenges he faced, providing an original, diverting and absorbing store of reflections, opinions and recollections.

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Fakers

by Paul Maliszewski
From James Frey and his fake memories of drug-addled dissolution to Stephen Glass and his fake dispatches from the fringes of politics to the author formerly known as JT LeRoy and his fake rural tough talk, we are beset by real-seeming fiction masquerading as truth. We are living in the era of the fake.

Fakers is a fascinating exploration of the varieties of faking, from its historical roots in satire and con artistry to its current boom. Paul Maliszewski journeys into the heart of our fake world, telling tales of the New York Sun’s 1835 moon hoax, the invented poet Ern Malley (the inspiration for Peter Carey’s novel My Life as a Fake), and Maliszewski’s own satiric letters to the editor of the Business Journal of central New York (written, unbeknownst to the editor, while he worked there as a reporter). Through these stories, he explains why fakers almost always find believers and
often flourish.

Since 1997, the author has been on the trail of fakers and believers, asking the tricksters why they dissembled and the believers why they were ever fooled. Fakers tells us much about what we believe and want, why we trust, and why we still get duped.

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The Lost Mona Lisa

by R.A. Scotti
Late on the afternoon of Sunday, August 20 1911, three men strolled through the Louvre. Disguising themselves as museum staff they hid until nightfall. Sixteen hours later the most famous painting in the world, the Mona Lisa, had vanished. It took twenty-four hours for anyone in the museum to notice. When the alarm went out, the police rushed to the museum. The doors were locked, staff and visitors were detained, but the painting was long gone. France sealed her borders. And when the museum reopened a week after the theft, Parisians queued up in record numbers to view the blank space where the famous painting once hung. A huge police hunt continued, but months passed with no breakthrough in the case. It seemed that the theft of the Mona Lisa was the perfect crime.
Two years later in Florence, art dealer Alfredo Geri received a letter signed ‘Leonardo’.The Mona Lisa was for sale; the price half a million dollars. A meeting was arranged and ‘Leonardo’ was persuaded to let Geri remove the painting and take it to the Uffizi for authentication. The moment Geri left the hotel he called the police. Minutes later ‘Leonardo’ – aka Vincenzo Peruggia – was arrested. In a further twist, Peruggia was hailed as a national hero in Italy. He portrayed himself as a nationalist, who only stole back what rightly belonged to Italy. The Mona Lisa was brought back to Paris with much fanfare.
But what of the other two men from the Louvre heist? Their story is even more incredible. Eduardo de Valfierno, an Argentine con man, was the brains behind the operation. Together with art forger Yves Chaudron, he planned a truly audacious crime. Chaudron forged six copies of the Mona Lisa. They then employed Peruggia to help steal the original. When news of the heist hit the international headlines Eduardo sold the six fakes to wealthy collectors, each of whom believed he was buying the original, netting the equivalent of $90 million in today’s money. Neither man was convicted for their part in the theft. The whereabouts of the fakes remains a mystery…
In The Lost Mona Lisa, R.A. Scotti uncovers the truth behind the ‘crime of the century’. It is a story to rival the best detective fiction – a story about audacious thieves, art forgers, shadowy conmen, millionaire collectors, a global manhunt, and the most beautiful and enigmatic woman in the world – Mona Lisa Giaconda.

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The Lightness of Being

by Frank Wilczek
What’s the meaning of it all? Or rather: what exactly is ˜it’? Here Frank Wilczek, Nobel Prize-winning physicist and legend, examines the very nature of reality itself, showing how almost everything we think we know about ˜it’ is wrong. The Lightness of Being is an engaging tour de force, revealing a universe where matter is the hum of strange music, mass doesn’t weigh, and empty space is a multilayered, multicoloured superconductor. Physicists’ understanding of the essential nature of reality changed radically over the past quarter century. And Frank Wilczek has played a lead role in establishing the new paradigms. Transcending the clash and mismatch of older ideas about what matter and space is, Wilczek presents some brilliant and clear syntheses. Extraordinarily readable and authoritative, The Lightness of Being is the first book to unwrap these exciting new ideas for the general public. It explores their implications for basic questions about space, mass, energy, and the longed-for possibility of a fully unified theory of Nature. Pointing to new directions where great discoveries in fundamental physics are likely, and providing a visionary context for the experiments in CERN, he envisions a new Golden Age in physics.
A thrilling read…a glimpse of physics at its quirkiest and most illuminating” The Economist
The Lightness of Being is an apt description of Wilczek’s writing style…at once profound and light, filled with humour, wordplay and original explanations” New Scientist
Wilczek possesses a compelling writing style…The beauty of the intellectual leaps, the grandness of the discovery, are palpable.” St Petersburg Times

Afrikaanse Hoekie

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Sonbrand en Braaiboud: Die Beste van Weg! Vol. 2

gekies deur Bun Booyens
Ruik die sout van vakansies by die see. Hoor die sonbesiies in die Wildtuin. Proe die jellie in die basaarpoeding…
Ervaar dit alles en meer tussen die blaaie van Sonbrand en Braaiboud, die jongste versameling rubrieke uit Weg. Dit bevat die beste skryfwerk uit dié tydskrif sedert die wegholsukses van Waar die leeus Afrikaans verstaan. Gaan op reis saam met gewilde skrywers soos Dana Snyman, Jaco Kirsten en Toast Coetzer, wat jou sal laat lag en onthou.
‘n Weg-rubriek se mees onderskatte eienskap is die vermoë om doodgewone donge – telefoonhokkies, urinaalkoekies, melkbekertjies – hulle regmatige plek te gee tussen al daardie groter dinge wat reis so onvergeetlik maak.” Bun Booyens

Something Really Quite Different…

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Roberto the Insect Architect

by Nina Laden
Ever since he was a wee mite (termite that is), Roberto wanted to be an architect. He longed to follow in the footsteps of such architectural greats as Hank Floyd Mite and Fleas van der Rohe. Discouraged by comments from family and friends that he is biting off more than he can chew, he decides to follow his dream to the big, buzzing city, where he meets some not-so-creepy crawlers who spark in him the courage to build a community for them all.
This lovely tale, with striking collages which incorporate wood products and city photographs, introduces a termite who goes against the grain. Roberto doesn’t eat his food, he plays with it. While other termites picnic on wood chips and, Roberto yearns to build with boards. He also exhibits a philanthropic streak. His first project is a neighborhood for homeless bugs, including a fireproof stone dwelling for a ladybug whose first house burned down. Nina Laden, who wrote the wonderful When Pigasso Met Mootisse, wittily imagines a termite with a social conscience – one who ensures that bedbugs have their very own beds. Even if children don’t get the gags about Hank Floyd Mite (seated at a Guggenheim-shaped desk with a sketch of Fallingwater) and Fleas Van Der Rohe, nonstop insect quips and humorous bug house illustrations keep this book buzzing along.
This charming book combines clever wordplay, exuberant illustrations, and the inevitable message about following your dreams.” Architecture Magazine

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John Burningham

This beautiful book opens with a foreword by John’s U.S. contemporary, Maurice Sendak – creator of Where the Wild Things Are, followed by an appreciation of John’s work by the critic Brian Alderson, before John himself goes on in his own words to explore his childhood, his schooling at Summerhill, his beginnings as an illustrator designing posters for London Transport, and then his hugely successful, award-winning and still-ongoing career as a picture book author and illustrator.
We see developmental notes for his first picture book, Borka, sketches, and lavish colour illustrations from his backlist of over forty books. Providing new insights into his work, this is an ideal gift for Burningham fans, and for anyone interested in illustration.
John Burningham is one of the most prestigious and best-loved illustrators working in the children’s book field today. He trained at the Central School of Art and his first picture book, Borka was published in 1963. He has won numerous awards during his distinguished career including the Kate Greenaway Medal (twice) and the Kurt Maschler Award and his books are enjoyed by children all over the world.
Drawing is like playing the piano; it’s not a mechanical skill like bricklaying and you have to practise constantly to keep it fluent. Even after 40 years it doesn’t get any easier“.

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Len Deighton’s Action Cookbook

Len was a great cook, a smashing cook. I learned a lot about food from playing Harry Palmer” Michael Caine
If you look carefully at Harry Palmer’s kitchen in the classic film The Ipcress Files you will notice a newspaper pinned on the wall. This is one of Len Deighton’s classic cookstrips, the series that ran for two years when he was the Observer food writer. Because before he became famous as the thriller writer of his generation, Len Deighton had trained as a pastry chef. He was also a brilliant graphic artist (his credits include the first ever UK cover for Kerouac’s On The Road). The Action Cookbook is the perfect mix of these two passions. The Action Cook Book was once an instructional book for the bachelor male – a guide to sophisticated cooking for the would-be Harry Palmer. It now has a great following as a fabulous piece of nostalgia as well as retaining real credibility as a genuinely useful cook book.
If you need to create the basic wine cellar (basic to Len Deighton — decidedly aspirational to the rest of us), or to learn how to cook full-bodied meals with a seductive touch then this is the book for you.
How does one go about achieving some Harry Palmer style? Details first. Remember, Palmer is a gourmet, so get hold of the Len Deighton Action Cook Book” Michael Jacovides, GQ
Len Deighton’s Action Cook Book is not a good cookbook. It is a shockingly good cookbook.” Paul Collins, Village Voice
Cooking as I’d never seen it: fun, cheeky, male and promising the awesome prospect of sex! The taut clarity of Deighton’s writing, his encyclopaedic knowledge and attention to detail! The prose reads like Dashiell Hammett channelling Brillat-Savarin.” Waitrose Food Illustrated
“[Len Deighton’s cookbooks] have attracted cult following for their brilliant design as much as for their comprehensive approach to cooking! His democratising, demystifying approach couldn’t be more appropriate.” Guardian
“[Len Deighton was] decades ahead of Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver! An early example of what we might call gastrosexual! The Action Cook Book saved many from starvation in the sixties” Telegraph

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The Western Nostril

by Patrick and Alex Latimer
From the belly of Laugh it Off, and now featured in the august publication Business Day – join Osteus and Finbar as they apply their very own, very twisted philosophy to everyday life, and come up with some of the weirdest, and funniest, observations – very, very funny.

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The Making of Music

written and presented by James Naughtie
In this landmark Radio 4 series, broadcaster and music enthusiast James Naughtie uncovers the roots of our music and explores its historical context. His journey reveals how composers and performers, princes and patrons, and the chance happenings of the past have built a classical tradition that is the soundtrack to our history and tells a glittering and inspiring story.
Volume 1 opens with the music from the consecration of Notre Dame in Paris in 1163, explores the changes in Renaissance and Reformation music and introduces the genius of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.
In Volume 2 the starting point is the nineteenth century and the great works of Wagner and Verdi. The twentieth century musical landscape includes two World Wars, the beginnings of Jazz, the Sixties and the impact of technology on the music-making of an extraordinary century.
The Making of Music proves both entertaining and informative” Daily Telegraph”.

Thankyou for reading – see you soon!