Wednesday, December 28th 2011 at 3:00 PM
Goodness gracious, the year is nearly over!
This is the last of our holiday activity afternoons and today we will be making our own notebooks. It is always good to have a little book to keep your thoughts and ideas in. We will cut up some pictures and make our own cover art on the books. As always, we will also read a story.
Ages 4 – 10 would enjoy this event.
Wednesday, December 21st 2011 at 3:00 PM
This is the second of our holiday afternoons where we will be reading some stories and doing a crafting activity.
Today we will make our own cards (for anyone you want to) and reading some festive stories.
Ages 4 – 10 would enjoy coming along.
Sunday, December 18th 2011 at 4:03 PM
For most of his career, Christopher Hitchens, who has died of oesophageal cancer aged 62, was the left’s biggest journalistic star, writing and broadcasting with wit, style and originality in a period when such qualities were in short supply among those of similar political persuasion. Nobody else spoke with such confidence and passion for what Americans called “liberalism” and Hitchens (regarding “liberal” as too “evasive”) called “socialism”.
His targets were the abusers of power, particularly Henry Kissinger (whom he tried to bring to trial for his role in bombing Cambodia and overthrowing the Allende regime in Chile) and Bill Clinton. He was unrelenting in his support for the Palestinian cause and his excoriation of America’s projections of power in Asia and Latin America. He was a polemicist rather than an analyst or political thinker – his headteacher at the Leys school in Cambridge presciently forecast a future as a pamphleteer – and, like all the best polemicists, brought to his work outstanding skills of reporting and observation.
To these, he added wide reading, not always worn lightly, an extraordinary memory – he seemed, his friend Ian McEwan observed, to enjoy “instant neurological recall” of anything he had ever read or heard – and a vigorous, if sometimes pompous writing style, heavily laden with adjectives, elegantly looping sub-clauses and archaic phrases such as “allow me to inform you”.
His socialism was always essentially internationalist, particularly since the British working classes responded sluggishly to literature he handed out at factory gates for the International Socialists, a Trotskyist group of which he was a member from 1966 to 1976. He had little interest in social or economic policy and, in later life, seemed somewhat bemused at questions about his three children being educated privately.
Hitchens travelled widely as a young man, often at his own expense, visiting, for example, Poland, Portugal, Czechoslovakia and Argentina at crucial moments in their anti-totalitarian struggles, offering fraternal solidarity and parcels of blue jeans. Later, he rarely wrote at length about any country without visiting it, sometimes at risk of arrest or physical attack. His loathing of tyranny was consistent: unlike many of the 1960s generation, he never harboured illusions about Mao or Castro. His concerns grew about the left’s selective tolerance for totalitarian regimes – as early as 1983, he ruffled “comrades” by supporting Margaret Thatcher’s war against General Leopoldo Galtieri’s Argentina – but they did not initially threaten a rupture in his political loyalties.
After the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington in 2001, however, Hitchens announced he was no longer on the left – while denying he had become any kind of conservative – and “swore a sort of oath to remain coldly furious” until “fascism with an Islamic face” was “brought to a most strict and merciless account”.
To the horror of former allies, he accepted invitations to the George W Bush White House; embraced the deputy defence secretary and Iraq war hawk Paul Wolfowitz as a friend (“they were finishing each other’s sentences”, was one account of an early meeting); and resigned from the Nation, America’s foremost leftwing weekly. In 2007, after living in the US for more than 25 years, he took out American citizenship in a ceremony presided over by Bush’s head of homeland security. Long friendships with the aristocracy of the Anglo-American left – Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali, Alexander Cockburn, Edward Said – ended in harsh exchanges. Gore Vidal once named Hitchens as his inheritor or dauphin. The relevant quotation appeared on the dustjacket of Hitch-22, Hitchens’s memoir published in 2010, but was overlain by a red cross with “no, CH” inscribed beside it.
Hitchens was born in Portsmouth to parents of humble origins who progressed to the fringes of what George Orwell (a Hitchens role-model) would have termed the lower-upper-middle-classes. His father was a naval commander of “flinty and adamant” Tory views who became a school bursar. Father and son were never close; nor were Christopher and his younger brother, Peter. The first love of Hitchens’s life was his mother, “the cream in the coffee, the gin in the Campari”. She insisted (at least according to Hitchens) he should go to boarding school because “if there is going to be an upper class in this country, then Christopher is going to be in it”.
He was already a Labour supporter at school, organising the party’s “campaign” in a mock election, and joining a CND march from Aldermaston. At Balliol College, Oxford, where he read philosophy, politics, and economics, he “rehearsed”, as he put it, for 1968. But he led a curiously dualistic life. By day, “Chris” addressed car workers through a bullhorn on an upturned milk crate while by night “Christopher” wore a dinner jacket to address the Oxford Union or dine with the warden of All Souls. (He did not, in fact, like being called “Chris” – his mother would not, he explained, wish her firstborn to be addressed “as if he were a taxi-driver or pothole-filler” – and found “Hitch”, which most friends used, more acceptable.) While not exactly a social climber, Hitchens wished to be on intimate terms with important people.
Equally dualistic was his sex life. He was almost expelled from school for homosexuality and later boasted that at Oxford he slept with two future (male) Tory cabinet ministers. But also at Oxford, he lost his virginity to a girl who had pictures of him plastered over her bedroom wall and he eventually became a dedicated heterosexual because, he said, his looks deteriorated to the point where no man would have him.
The “double life”, as he called it, continued after he left university with a third-class degree – he was too busy with politics to bother much with studying – and found, partly through his Oxford friend James Fenton, a berth at the New Statesman. He supplemented his income by writing for several Fleet Street newspapers, but also contributed gratis to the Socialist Worker.
It was while working for the Statesman that he experienced a “howling, lacerating moment in my life”: the death of his adored mother in Athens, apparently in a suicide pact with her lover, a lapsed priest. Only years later did he learn what she never told him or perhaps anyone else: that she came from a family of east European Jews. Though his brother – who first discovered their mother’s origins – said this made them only one-32nd Jewish, Hitchens declared himself a Jew according to the custom of matrilineal descent.
Later in the 1970s, Hitchens became a familiar Fleet Street figure, disporting himself in bars and restaurants and settling into a literary set that included Fenton, Martin Amis, Julian Barnes, Clive James and others. It specialised in long lunches and what (to others) seemed puerile and frequently obscene word games. But he was hooked on America as a 21-year-old when he visited on a student visa and tried unsuccessfully to get a work permit. In October 1981, on a half-promise of work from the Nation, he left for the US. It was the making of his career: Americans have always had a weakness for plummy voiced, somewhat raffish Englishmen who pepper their writing and conversation with literary and historical allusions.
He became the Nation’s Washington correspondent, contributing editor of Vanity Fair from 1982, literary essayist for Atlantic Monthly, a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and a talking head on innumerable cable TV shows. He authored 11 books, co-authored six more, and had five collections of essays published. The targets included Kissinger, Clinton and Mother Teresa (“a thieving fanatical Albanian dwarf”); his books on Orwell, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine were more positive, and less widely noticed. His most successful book, which brought him international fame beyond what Susan Sontag called “the small world of those who till the field of ideas”, was God Is Not Great, a mocking indictment of religion which put him alongside Richard Dawkins as a leading enemy of the devout.
Hitchens was also, to his great pleasure, a liberal studies professor at the New School in New York and, for a time, visiting professor at Berkeley in California, as well as a regular on the public lecture and debate circuit. Hitchens loved what he called “disputation” – there was little difference between his public and private speaking styles – and America, a more oral culture than Britain’s, offered ample opportunity. When his final break with the left came, it seemed to some as though the pope had announced he was no longer a Catholic. His support for Bush’s war in Iraq – which he never retracted – and his vote for the president in 2004, were even bigger shocks, and some suspected a psychological need, as the first male Hitchens never to wear uniform, to prove his manhood. But Hitchens, in many respects a traditionalist, was never a straightforward lefty. He abstained in the UK’s 1979 election, admitting he secretly favoured Thatcher and hoped for an end to “mediocrity and torpor”.
The Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa, issued in 1989 against his friend Salman Rushdie, was, in Hitchens’s mind, as important in exposing the left’s “bad faith” as 9/11. He supported, albeit belatedly, the first Gulf war, demanded Nato intervention in Bosnia, and refused to sign petitions against sanctions on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Hitchens, though, did not deny he had changed. He became, if truth be told, a bit of a blimp and ruefully remarked – with the quiet self-irony that often underlay his bombastic style – that he sometimes felt he should carry “some sort of rectal thermometer, with which to test the rate at which I am becoming an old fart”.
But, he insisted, he wasn’t making a complete about-turn. Though no longer a socialist, he was still a Marxist, and an admirer of Lenin, Trotsky and Che Guevera; capitalism, the transforming powers of which Marx recognised, had proved the more revolutionary economic system and, politically, the American revolution was the only one left in town. He remained committed to civil liberties. After voluntarily undergoing waterboarding, he denounced it as torture, and he was a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Bush’s domestic spying programme. He never let up in his “cold, steady hatred … as sustaining to me as any love” of all religions.
Other things were unchanging. Hitchens’s life was full of feuds with old friends. He broke with the Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal who, before a congressional committee, denied spreading calumnies about Monica Lewinsky. Hitchens, earning himself the sobriquet “Snitchens”, signed affidavits testifying that Blumenthal had, in his hearing, indeed smeared the president’s lover. His rightwing brother, Peter, also a journalist, was put on non-speakers for several years after revealing a pro-red joke that Christopher once made in private. But his friendship with Amis never wavered. “Martin … means everything to me,” he once said, while “more or less” acquitting himself of carnal desire. Amis, in turn, spoke of “a love whose month is ever May” and described his friend as a rhetorician of such distinction that “in debate, no matter what the motion, I would back him against Cicero, against Demosthenes”.
Hitchens’s love affairs with alcohol and tobacco were equally constant. He smoked heavily, even on public occasions and even on TV, long after the habit – for everyone else – became unacceptable. Despite reports in 2008 that he had given up, a reporter found him getting through two packets of cigarettes in a morning in May 2010. As for alcohol, he drank daily, on his own admission, enough “to kill or stun the average mule”. Technically, he was probably an alcoholic but, he pointed out, he never missed deadlines or appointments. Regardless of condition, he wrote fast and fluently, if with erratic punctuation. Only rarely did alcohol make him a bore, blunt his wit or cloud his arguments. The journalist Lynn Barber rated him “one of the greatest conversationalists of our age”. Inebriated or sober, he could charm almost anybody. He could also, with what the New Yorker’s Ian Parker called “the sudden, cutthroat withdrawal of charm”, wound deeply and unnecessarily.
In the summer of 2010, during a promotional tour for Hitch-22, he was diagnosed with terminal oesophageal cancer, a disease that had killed his father at a much more advanced age. He inhabited “Tumourville”, as he called it, with rueful wit and little self-pity. “In whatever kind of a ‘race’ life may be,” he wrote, “I have abruptly become a finalist.” In the same Vanity Fair article, he observed that “I have been taunting the Reaper into taking a free scythe in my direction and have now succumbed to something so predictable and banal that it bores even me”. But he never repented of his convivial lifestyle – on the contrary, he continued to take his beloved whisky, having received no medical instructions to the contrary – and nor did he turn his rhetorical skills to persuading others to eschew his example, confining himself, in a TV interview, to the observation that “if you can hold it down on the smokes and cocktails, you may be well advised to do so”.
He continued, as well as giving valedictory newspaper and magazine interviews, to write, broadcast and participate in public debates with no discernible diminution of vigour or passion. He confronted the Catholic convert Tony Blair before an audience of 2,700 in Toronto and, by general consent, won with ease. He gave early notice that there would be no deathbed conversion to religion. If we ever heard of such a thing, he advised, we should attribute it to sickness, dementia or drugs. When believers prayed for him, he politely declared himself touched, but resolute in his atheism. He was as severe with the conventional cliches of terminal illness as he was, throughout his life, with any other form of convention.
“To the dumb question ‘Why me?’,” he wrote, “the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply, ‘Why not?'” All the same, his many friends and admirers, who do not, as one of them put it, “relish a world without Hitchens”, will be asking “why him?” today.
Hitchens was married, first, to Eleni Meleagrou, a Greek Cypriot, and then, after they divorced, to Carol Blue, an American screenwriter. Both survive him, as do one son and two daughters.
Saturday, December 17th 2011 at 11:00 AM
It is our last story time for the year, we will be reading some of our favourites and maybe a festive one too.
Thank you so much to everyone who joined us this year for many Saturdays of reading and colouring in. We will be back next year, Saturday 14 January 2012 will be our first story time for the new year.
Thursday, December 15th 2011 at 5:00 PM
Come and do your Christmas shopping, meet top local authors, get your purchases personalised and gift-wrapped and help stock a school library at the Cape Times Annual Christmas Book Signing in association with The Book Lounge and Café Nood.
Participating authors: Peter Church, Joanne Hiches, Mary Murphy, Alistair Morgan, Eval Faull, Reuben Riffel, Terry Westby-Nunn, Lauren Beukes, Mike Nicol, Peter Merrington, Tina Bester, James Clelland, Callie Maritz & Mari-Louis Guy, Yewande Omotso, Tracey Farren and Gary Lemke.
Dial-a-Surprise will be gift-wrapping all books bought at the event, and we’ll be tagging R10 on to the price of each book for the ‘Library in every School’ project.
If you have any books you would like to donate to the project, which are in good condition and suitable for 7-18 year-olds, do bring them along on the day.
For further details please contact Café Nood on 021 671 4475, or email email@example.com.
See you there!
Wednesday, December 14th 2011 at 3:00 PM
We know it is school holidays and not everyone has left Cape Town.
For the last three Wednesday afternoons of the year, we will be reading some stories and doing a crafting activity.
Ages about 4-10 would enjoy it.
This week we will be making some summer beads and reading funny stories.
Saturday, December 10th 2011 at 11:00 AM
We have been having an annual pyjama story time for a while now and they are the best. So today we are reading starry bed time stories and you can come along in your pjs if you want to and make stars with us.
Thursday, December 8th 2011 at 5:30 PM
Join Dave Southwood for the launch of his photographic essay on local landmark, the Milnerton Market.
Dave has spent a decade documenting this singular fringe community in Cape Town.
He will be in conversation with Clare Butcher and publisher Oliver Barstow, of Fourth Wall Books
Wednesday, December 7th 2011 at 5:30 PM
Join Nelle Dreyer, the first South African model to appear in European glamour magazines, for the launch of this memoir about the glamorous and decadent fashion world of the 70’s, and how her unconventional upbringing helped her remain standing through it all.
Nelle will be in conversation with Jackie Burger of Elle Magazine SA.
Kom mee vir die bekendstelling van Nelle Dreyer se memoir oor die glansryke en dekadente Europese modewêreld van die 1970’s. Nelle was die eerste Suid-Afrikaanse model om in Europese glanstydskrifte te verskyn, en sy vertel die storie van haar belewenisse en hoe haar onkonvensionele opvoeding haar gehelp het om haarself te handhaaf.
Sy sal in gesprek verkeer met Jackie Burger van Elle tydskrif SA.
Published by Protea./Published by Protea
Tuesday, December 6th 2011 at 9:00 AM
Stuck for something to buy that special person in your life? Or perhaps obliged to find something for Auntie Doris?? Got a Secret Santa at work??? The Book Lounge is here to help. With a swish of our velvet cape let us solve your gift problems with our specially chosen, Santa-approved smorgasbord of goodies, in no particular order…
F In Exams: The Funniest Test Paper Blunders
Q: How can you prevent milk turning sour?
A: Keep it in the cow.
Q: What is the highest frequency noise that a human can register?
A: Mariah Carey
These are all very funny and – scarily – all true!
Go the F*ck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortes
One of the runaway successes of the year, and one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. A gleeful nod to the brilliant manipulations of a small child who doesn’t want to sleep, and the way it makes real parents feel. This is a must for anyone who has ever had a toddler – they will cry with laughter, recognition and sleep deprivation! (Also now available in Afrikaans)
The Art Museum from Phaidon
This is a simply gorgeous collection of over 2,700 works of art – the most comprehensive visual history of art ever published. Organised in to rooms, galleries and special exhibitions, you can wander through the biggest and most eclectic art gallery in the entire world – without leaving the comfort of your chair.
The Film Book by DK
A gorgeous, scholarly and comprehensive history of film – from the earliest silent films to the advent of 3-D, and covering every school of film-making – for the film buff in your life. Test your knowledge with the essential trivia section – how much do you know about Oscar winners, biggest flops, banned films and more? AND it comes in a snazzy tin!
The Last Sushi by Zapiro
Take a trip back through the year in the delightful company of South Africa’s finest political cartoonist. Biting and poignant as ever, Zapiro never loses his edge.
Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson
The most talked-about biography of the year. Walter Isaacson was allowed exclusive access to Steve Jobs for over two years, and conducted extensive interviews with his friends and colleagues, as well as his competitors and adversaries. Jobs not only authorised the book, he agreed not to censor it. The result is an in-depth, ‘warts and all’ biography of the man who changed the way we view computers – from necessary tools to covetable ‘shiny things’. Compelling.
Van Gogh by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith
This new biography, from a prize-winning team of authors, is meticulously reasearched and comprehensive. It is beautifully written and offers a controversial new theory challenging the widely-held belief that he took his own life.Drawing for the first time on all of his (and his family’s) extensive letters, which offer exquisite glimpses into his thoughts and feelings, this is the definitive portrait of one of the world’s cultural giants.
Great Railway Maps of the World by Mark Ovenden
A unique, beautifully illustrated and comprehensive history of the world’s greatest railway maps, and the railways behind them. The fabulous follow-up to the cult favorite (and Stocking Choice for 2010), Metro Maps of the World, Mark Ovenden’s new book is a wonderful compendium of historical and contemporary railway maps and posters from every corner of the world. Featuring hundreds of images, covering two centuries of advertising,surveyors’ maps, route guides, travel posters, photos, and Google Earth maps, this book brims with history, anecdotes, facts, and data. Utterly lovely.
Mapping South Africa by Andrew Duminy
And speaking of which – Andrew Duminy, Professor Emeritus at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, brings us a beautiful history of attempts to map this complex and often turbulent country. Beginning with the Portuguese voyages of exploration in the late 15th century, the book explores the attempts of the Dutch and then of the British to chart and lay claim to the vast and expanding landscape of the Cape Colony. There are chapters that illustrate the effects of frontier wars, colonialism and land exploitation, and close attention is given to the relation between science, exploration and cartography, as well as the colourful figures who developed them.
The Natural History Book by DK
A monumental and extraordinarily beautiful guide to the Earth’s natural wonders – 5 years in the making, covering over 5,000 species, The Natural History Book is the only book to offer a complete survey of the Earth’s natural history.Each geological and biological grouping is introduced and explained in an engaging and highly informative way and, as ever with Dorling Kindersley book, it is illustrated throughout with eye-wateringly beautiful photographs. A wonderful gift.
The Wars of Empire in Cartoons
At the beginning of the Victorian era it seemed that the sun would never set on the vast British Empire which spanned the globe. Well, we all know how that worked out. Any period of such extraordinary violence and insanity will always bring out the satirists and cartoonists – the Zapiros of the day – and this splendid volume brings together some of the best that were produced.
Can you Eat, Shoot & Leave? The Workbook by Lynne Truss
The punctuation workout for sticklers and rookies alike – this is one that is guaranteed to get the family into heated discussions over the Christmas turkey.The official workbook for the international bestseller Eats, Shoots and Leaves.
For established punctuation sticklers: Fine-tune existing skills, taking guilty pleasure from testing your (already somewhat unsettling) seventh sense.
For confused novices: Never again inflict flawed and perplexing punctuation on your innocent readers.
Gloomster by Axel Sheffler
Music depresses me. Dancing distresses me. Everything turns out wrong. That’s why, the whole day long, I feel so gloomy. Inspired by Ludwig Bechstein’s nineteenth-century poem, Axel Scheffler has created a set of delightfully dark depictions of misanthropic misery – a triumph of negativity, in the macabre yet merry spirit of the late, great Edward Gorey. Superbly miserable, brilliantly curmudgeonly and oddly cheering, gloominess has never been so appealing – Merry Christmas!
The Oxford Companion to Beer
The first reference work to fully investigate the history and vast scope of beer, from the agricultural makeup of various beers to the technical elements of the brewing process, local effects of brewing on regions around the world, and social and political implications of sharing a beer.Cultural entries on such topics as drinking songs or beer gardens offer vivid accounts of how our drinking traditions have shifted through history, and how these traditions vary in different parts of the world. The Companion is comprehensive, unprecedented, and of great value to anyone who has ever had a curiosity or appetite for beer.
Cape Winelands Cuisine by Hetta van Deventer
The Cape Winelands hold the combined history of many different nationalities who, over the centuries, travelled to this most southern part of Africa to start a new life. As they adapted the recipes of their homelands to new surroundings and shared their culinary skills with one another, a new cuisine was born. Cape Winelands Cuisine is the result of a culinary collaboration unique to this region.Set against the breathtaking scenery of the Cape Winelands, this book pays tribute to a unique heritage.
Heston’s Fantastical Feasts by Heston Blumenthal – Very special boxed and SIGNED edition
This beautiful book is a wild ride through the imagination of one of the most creative chefs in the world. The book consists of a Willy Wonka Feast, a Fairy Tale Feast, an Edwardian Feast, a Gothic Feast, a ’70s Feast and more. Delving deep into the world of each dish, Blumenthal creates poison apples, transforms pumpkins into carriages, and builds Edwardian gingerbread houses with sugar windows. Scouring Italy for rare mushrooms and Switzerland for wild boar, he records the journeys and inspiration behind each meal, laying it all out in grandly illustrated detail. Witness his delectable riffs on Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham and Roald Dahl’s Lickable Wallpaper, and even try the recipe if you dare! A number, limited edition, signed by the author himself.
Numpty! by Mike Haskins
a) Someone who confidently asserts themselves towards a false truth in the presence of others. Even when the rest of the people there know that they are completely wrong.
ie. Given the choice of a shovel or a ladder to get out of a hole, they have dug themselves, a numpty would confidently choose the shovel!
b) A good humoured admonition, a term of endearment – originating in Scotland
c) Scottish colloquialism, a stupid person, a figure of ridicule.
“Coca Cola is made from dried beetles”
“Of course not you numpty.”
We all know one – and this is a book for and about them!
Pilgrimage by Annie Liebowitz
This is an extraordinary new collection of photographs from Annie Leibovitz, taken with no agenda except for her own passions and inspirations. Her subjects were all chosen because of what they mean to her, and her deep personal connection to them is deeply felt in each image. This was a restorative project for Leibovitz – and her narrative is very personal. “From the beginning, when I was watching my children stand mesmerised over Niagara Falls, it was an exercise in renewal,” she says. “It taught me to see again.”
The Winston Churchill corner
Author, politician, Prime Minister, raconteur, prolific drinker, brilliant orator – Winston Churchill was a man of many talents, a perennial favourite who still intrigues and entertains us today. Famous for his wit and his insults, which are brought together in two new collections which bring together hundreds of his wittiest and wickedest quips as a record of all that was best about this lovable, infuriatingly conceited, wildly funny, and brilliantly talented Englishman. Choose from All will be Well and The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill – perfect for the old curmudgeon in your life!
“An empty taxi arrived at 10 Downing Street, and when the door was opened, Attlee got out.” On Clement Attlee
“A lie gets halfway round the world before the truth gets a chance to put its pants on.”
“History will be kind to me…for I intend to write it”
Dos & Don’ts: 400 New Jokes from the Funniest Magazine Column to Ever Exist in the History of the Universe
In this new book of photographs – complete with sniping commentary – that document the dizzy heights and murky depths of street fashion, VICE magazine’s staple humour series is collected in its entire, unabashed glory. The DOs are put on a pedestal that soars way past God and the DON’Ts are so cruel they sound litigiously close to death threats. Very funny.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. A beautiful and eerie mix of fiction and photography, which creates a dark atmosphere around the story of a young boy who believes his grandfather was killed by a monster only he can see…
America by Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol carried a camera with him everywhere he went and this stunning collection of 10 years of photography illuminates the stark contradictions of his country. Exploring his greatest obsessions – including image and celebrity – he photographs wrestlers and politicians, the beautiful wealthy and the disenfranchised poor, Capote with the fresh scars of a facelift and Madonna hiding beneath a brunette bob. He writes about the country he loves, wishing he had died when he was shot, commercialism, fame and beauty.
New Club Kids: London Party Fashion in the Noughties
Flamboyant, fabulous, trashy, beautiful, freaky – meet the New Club Kids. London’s Blitz Club was home to the new alternative scene and the chosen hangout of Siouxsie Sioux, Boy George and Leigh Bowery, who famously remarked “Dress as though your life depends on it or don’t bother”. A gorgeous collection of 10 years of being outrageously FABulous!
Bike Snob: Systematically and Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling by Eben Weiss
Cycling is exploding – in a good way. Urbanites everywhere, from ironic hipsters to earth-conscious commuters, are taking to the bike like aquatic mammals to water. BikeSnobNYC – cycling’s much-loved hilarious, and anonymous blogger – brings a fresh and humorous perspective to the most important vehicle to hit personal transportation since the horse.
Seeing Stars by Simon Armitage
The man whose wife drapes a border-curtain across the middle of the marital home; the English astronaut with a terrestrial outlook on life; an orgiastic cast of unreconstructed pie-worshipers at a Northern sculpture farm; the soap-opera supremacists at their zoo-wedding; the driver who picks up hitchhikers as he hurtles towards a head-on collision with Thatcherism; a Christian cheese-shop proprietor in the wrong part of town; the black bear with a dark secret, the woman who curates giant snowballs in the chest freezer. Celebrities and nobodies, all come to the ball.A beautiful new collection from the very talented Simon Armitage.
Mobile Art: Papers, Designs, and Instructions for Making Twenty Stunning Mobiles
Instant decor is just a few snips away with this gorgeous portfolio that contains everything crafters need to make twenty exquisite paper mobiles that will bring a special handmade touch to any space, occasion, or home!
Complete Peanuts by Charles Schulz
The next two volumes in the Canongate project to publish the entire chronological catalogue of one of the world’s best-loved strip comics cover 1967-1970, with introductions by John Waters and Mo Willems. Feel inspired by Snoopy, scared of Lucy and sorry for Charlie Brown. An absolute favourite!
Star Wars Moleskine
Yes, Moleskine have gone over to the Dark Side, and harnessed the powers of the Empire to bring you these Galactically awesome notebooks. The perfect present for the Sith Lord in your life, they would even make Jabba the Hut seem cool!
And speaking of the Dark Side…Granta 117 is a seasonably appropriate collection of the very best new horror writing, with gritty and gruesome new stories from Stephen King, Santiago Roncagliolo, Paul Auster, Will Self and a dark host of authors and artists – each with their own interpretation of this most popular of genres.
Mothballs & Elbow Grease/Salt of the Earth
Two charming, attractively illustrated collections of country and household sayings with their origins and meanings. Mothballs and Elbow Grease and Salt of the Earth explore the impact and influence of both the domestic and the country environment on our language.
Language of Flowers: A Miscellany by Mandy Kirby
All over the world, flowers are an integral part of human culture. But, while everyone knows that red roses signify love, few may realise that an entire language of flowers exists with every bloom, folliage and plant having a particular emotion attached. This unique language was created by the romantic early Victorians who carefully planned every bouquet and posy so as to deliver a desired message. This gift book is a novel present that any flower lover will want to own.
Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange
Celebrity model Ines de La Fressange shares the well-kept secrets of how Parisian women maintain effortless glamour and timeless allure. The ultrachic red volume is flexi-bound and a must have for any woman who wants to add a touch of Paris to her own style.
Die TweedeReen – Bittercomix
Koos A. Kombuis is een van die swakste digters in Afrikaans, en tog het hy nog nooit ‘n literere prys gewin nie! Die feit dat sy boeke wyd gelees word is net nog ‘n bewys van sy totale gebrek aan talent!
O waar sal jy gaan
En met watter Skip?
Die Aarde is Branding
En oral is klip
Of as jy wil flug
Uit die Stad wat brand
Den flug ek saam
Soos ‘n Vrou aan jou hand
Light a Brief Candle: How Generosity Will Make you Shine and Your World Glow by Andre Oosthuizen
“It is better to light a brief candle, than to curse the darkness”.
Our 21st century society is focused almost entirely on acquisition – “the acquisition of assets, of knowledge, of social and business networks, of stuff”. In the process, we have forgotten that giving is as important as acquiring, and constitutes a vital component of a balanced lifestyle. This book is a locally produced guide to redressing that situation – a practical guide for all South Africans who want to help, but don’t know where to start.
It Chooses You by Miranda July
In the summer of 2009, Miranda July was struggling to finish writing the screenplay for her much-anticipated second film. During her increasingly long lunch breaks, she began to obsessively read the PennySaver, the iconic classifieds booklet that reached everywhere. Who was the person selling the “Large leather Jacket, $10″? It seemed important to find out – or at least it was a great distraction from the screenplay. July crisscrossed Los Angeles to meet a random selection of PennySaver sellers, glimpsing thirteen surprisingly moving and profoundly specific realities, along the way shaping her film, and herself, in unexpected ways. Elegantly blending narrative, interviews, and photographs with July’s off-kilter honesty and deadpan humor, this is a story of procrastination and inspiration, isolation and connection, and grabbing hold of the invisible world.
Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
The inimitable P. D. James masterfully recreates the world of Pride and Prejudice, and combines it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly-crafted crime story. The year is 1803, and Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years. There are now two handsome and healthy sons in the nursery, and the orderly world of Pemberley seems unassailable. But all this is threatened when, on the eve of the annual autumn ball, a chaise appears from Pemberley’s wild woodland. As it pulls up, Lydia Wickham – Elizabeth’s younger, unreliable sister – stumbles out screaming that her husband has been murdered!
A perfect Christmas mystery, beautifully written, for all the family.
Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People by Douglas Coupland and Graham Roumieu
Warning! This book contains:
Seven pants-peeingly funny stories featuring seven evil characters you can’t help but love.
A cast of unlovable miscreants who unleash their dark, unruly and antisocial desires on every page: They are Donald, the Incredibly Hostile Juice Box; Kevin, the Hobo Minivan with Extremely Low Morals; Brandon, the Action Figure with Issues; Sandra, the Truly Dreadful Babysitter; Hans, the Weird Exchange Student; Cindy, the Terrible Role Model; and Mr. Fraser, the Undead Substitute Teacher.
A lot of laughs-of the evil, twisted kind: Definitely inappropriate for young people.
Elmore Leonard’s Complete Western Stories
Before he turned his attention to the gritty landscapes of underworld Detroit and Miami, Elmore Leonard wrote brilliant adventure stories set in America’s nineteenth-century western frontier—elevating a popular genre with his trademark twisting plots, rich characterisations, and scalpel-sharp dialogue. These are rich and wonderful stories, a must for all Western and Leonard fans alike.
Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century Architecture
First there was the giant collection of the greatest buildings of the 21st Century, and now our friends at Phaidon have issued a teeny-sized version, just for our Christmas stocking! It still book contains over 1,000 buildings including 50 new projects, each of which is illustrated and has all the vital information for the architect in your life.
The Bird King and Other Sketches by Shaun Tan
What do the bird king, the thing in the bathroom and the paraffin-oil koala have in common? They all inhabit the unique and beautiful world of renowned artist, author and illustrator Shaun Tan. Collected from his working sketchbooks, with commentary by the artist, these ideas, studies and doodles offer a special insight into the imagination of this internationally acclaimed storyteller. We love Shaun Tan!
And if you can’t find what you are looking for here, do come in and ask one of our staff, who will be happy to help you find that perfect present – we offer a free gift wrapping service too.
See you soon, and wishing you a very Merry Christmas from all at The Book Lounge.