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Launch of Against the Odds: A History of Zimbabwe Project Trust by Mary Ndlovu

Tuesday, February 28th 2012 at 5:30 PM

Author Mary Ndlovu will be here to launch Against the Odds, her history of the Zimbabwe Project Trust (Zimpro), an NGO which was established in 1978 and was at the frontline of NGO activity in Zimbabwe in facilitating access to skills and resources to the poor, disadvantaged and marginalized women, men, girls and boys of Zimbabwe.
Mary will be in conversation with ex-Zimpro director, Judith Todd.
Published by Weaver Press in Zimbabwe.

RSVP

February 2012

Tuesday, February 28th 2012 at 10:20 AM

Fiction

 

Jack Holmes and his Friend by Edmund White

 

Many straight men and gay men are best friends, but if the phenomenon is an urban commonplace it has never been treated before as the focus of a major novel. Jack Holmes is in love, but the man he loves never shares his bed. The other men Jack sleeps with never last long and he dallies with several women. Jack’s friend, Will Wright, comes from old stock, has aspirations to be a writer – Will is shy and lonely-and Jack introduces him to the beautiful, brittle young woman he will marry. Over the years Will discovers his sensuality and almost destroys his marriage in doing so. Towards the end of the 1970s Jack’s and Will’s lives merge as they both become accomplished libertines. Jack Holmes and his Friend deploys Edmund White’s wonderful perceptions of American society to dazzling effect, as character after character is delicately and colourfully rendered and one social milieu after another glows in the reader’s mind. He is a connoisseur of the nuances of personality and mood, and here unveils his very human cast in all their radical individuality. New York itself is a principle character with its old society and its bohemians rich and poor, with its sleek European immigrants and its rough-and-tumble transplanted Midwesterners. With narrative daring and a gifted sense of the rueful submerged drama of life, the novel is a beautifully sculpted exploration of sexuality and sensibility.

Edmund White has three voices. First there is the storyteller, relaxed, conversational, an anecdotalist, an inspired flaneur. Then there is the poet: on every page there lies in wait a metaphor of startling precision, an image that holds and reattracts the eye. And then there is the laic philosopher, who observes human life from the highest altitudes, held aloft by vast infusions of erudition and experience. In Jack Holmes and His Friend, White’s trio is in frictionless accord.”        Martin Amis

Edmund White is one of the best writers of my generation; he’s certainly the contemporary American writer I reread more than any other, and the one whose next book I look forward to reading most.”          John Irving

 

 

Kill Your Friends by John Niven

Meet Steven Stelfox. London 1997: New Labour is sweeping into power and Britpop is at its zenith. A&R man Stelfox is slashing and burning his way through the music industry, fuelled by greed and inhuman quantities of cocaine, searching for the next hit record amid a relentless orgy of self-gratification.
But as the hits dry up and the industry begins to change, Stelfox must take the notion of cut throat business practices to murderous new levels in a desperate attempt to salvage his career.
The filthiest, blackest, most shocking, most hilarious debut novel I’ve read in years.”        India Knight
Might well be the best British novel since Trainspotting.”      John Naughton, Word Magazine
Niven’s insider knowledge, coupled with the kind of headlong, febrile prose that would have Hunter S. Thompson happily emptying both barrels into the sky, results in a novel that is cripplingly funny.”           The Times
Wonderfully nasty…Extraordinarily vicious, deeply cynical and thoroughly depraved, but its also bed-wettingly funny…American Psycho meets Spinal Tap… except more evil, more shocking and much, much funnier.”           Scotsman
A rollicking tale of record company excess…Hysterical…Niven worked in the UK music industry for 10 years and his insider knowledge pays off…This is truly an account of a lost era, a brilliant description of the last decadent blow-out.”         Chris Power, The Times

 

 

Vital Signs by Tessa McWatt

 Vital Signs is a novel that takes us deep inside a marriage in crisis, teasing out the unspoken rules that run – or ruin – love relationships.
So much is taken for granted in a long marriage, so much is relied upon, so much is resented, so much is never spoken. But when Anna, Mike’s beautiful and self-possessed wife, begins to mangle her sentences as a result of a brain aneurysm that could kill her at any moment, it’s as if Mike has woken from a long dream in which he was only thinking about himself. Or is he still only thinking about himself? In his panic to show his wife that she has been his entire universe, will he finally confess all the ways in which he rebelled against her power over him, the way he betrayed her?
Incoherent with guilt, he uses his talent as a graphic artist to draw his way closer to his wife, trying to communicate with her, and himself too, through signs and symbols. Mike is deeply flawed, hovering on the knife-edge of a confession, selfishly looking to the woman he loves for absolution even as she faces the possibility of her own death. And through this portrait of a marriage in crisis, Tessa McWatt leads us deftly and deeply into the workings of a relationship that blooms and withers and reblooms over time, and into the lies and the truths necessary to sustain it.

 

 

In Darkness by Nick Lake

In darkness, I count my blessings like Manman taught me. One: I am alive. Two: there is no two.”

In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, a boy is trapped beneath the rubble of a ruined hospital, thirsty, terrified and alone. Shorty is a child of the slums, a teenage boy who has seen enough violence to last a lifetime, and who has been inexorably drawn into the world of the gangsters who rule Site Soley; men who dole out money with one hand and death with the other. But Shorty has a secret: a flame of revenge that blazes inside him and a burning wish to find the twin sister he lost seven years ago. And he is marked. Marked in a way that links him to Toussaint l’Ouverture, the Haitian rebel who led the slave revolt and faced down Napoleon to force the French out of Haiti two hundred years ago. As he grows weaker, Shorty relives the journey that took him to the hospital, with a bullet wound in his arm. In his visions and memories he hopes to find the strength to survive – perhaps then Shorty and Toussaint can find a way to be free…

 

The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman

 

On the crowded streets of New York City there are even more stories than there are people passing each other every day…only some of these stories survive to become history. Lamont Williams, recently released from prison and working as a hospital janitor, strikes up an unlikely friendship with a patient, an elderly Jewish Holocaust survivor who starts to tell him of his extraordinary past. Meanwhile Adam Zignelik, the son of a prominent Jewish civil rights lawyer, is facing a personal crisis: almost 40-years-old, his long-term relationship is faltering and his academic career has stalled. It’s only when one of his late father’s closest friends, the civil rights activist William McCray, suggests a promising research topic that the possibility of some kind of redemption arises. Dealing with memory, racism and the human capacity for guilt, resilience, heroism, and unexpected kindness, The Street Sweeper spans over fifty years, and ranges from New York to Melbourne, Chicago, Warsaw and Auschwitz, as these two very different paths – Adam’s and Lamont’s – lead to one greater story.

 

 

Crimes in Southern Indiana by Bill Frank

 

Welcome to Heartland America circa right about now, when the union jobs and family farms that kept the white on the picket fences have given way to meth labs, backwoods gunrunners, and bare-knuckle brawling. Frank Bill’s southern Indiana is haunted by a deep, abiding sense of place, and Frank Bill’s people are men and women pressed to the brink – and beyond. They are survivors, and in Frank Bill’s hands, their stories bristle with noir energy. Flat-out fearless and unputdownable, Crimes in Southern Indiana is at once a gut punch and a wake-up call – and the announcement of an authentic, original American literary.
Good Lord, where in the hell did this guy come from? Blasts off like a frigging rocket ship and hits as hard as an ax handle to the side of the head after you’ve snorted a nose full of battery acid and eaten a live rattlesnake for breakfast. One of the wildest damn rides you’re ever going to take inside a book.”       Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff
Dark, grim, and achingly beautiful. Frank Bill is one of the most original and compelling voices in this new generation of crime writers.”        John Rector, author of The Cold Kiss


These stories form the ideal nexus between literary art and pulp fiction: beautifully crafted, compulsively readable, and as addictive as crystal meth.”       Pinckney Benedict

 

Delicacy by David Foenkinos

 

He was passing by, she kissed him without thinking. Now she wonders whether she did the right thing. But Natalie isn’t certain of anything anymore. One minute she was a happily married young woman, successful in her career, and convinced the future was full of promise. But when her husband was run over by a car, her whole world was turned upside down. Years later, still bruised with grief but desperate to move on with her life, she impulsively kisses her colleague Markus. For Natalie, the kiss is just a gratuitous act. For the awkward, unassuming Markus, it is the moment at which he falls hopelessly, helplessly in love. But how will he ever convince such a beautiful, intelligent but confused young woman that he is the man who can bring her back to life?

Easy Money by Jens Lapidus

 

Easy Money was a huge bestseller in the author’s native Sweden – a dark and brutal account of the Stockholm underworld.
Jorge knows one thing – he’s never going back inside. Mrado knows one thing – he’s not going to kill for cash anymore. JW knows nothing – and that’s why he’s in too deep. Their paths are about to cross, but are they on the same side? Whether they are uneasy conspirators or deadly rivals, they’re all looking for the fastest way to get filthy rich. They’re about to learn the hard way that there’s no such thing as easy money ….
Jens Lapidus is a highly successful criminal defence lawyer. His experiences with some of the country’s most notorious criminals have made this debut novel the fastest-selling and most talked about thriller in Europe in a decade.

At last: an epic European thriller to rival the Steig Larsson books. It’s an entirely new criminal world, beautifully rendered – and a wildly thrilling novel.”        James Ellroy

 

Sweetness of Life by Paulus Hochgatter

 

It is Christmas in the alpine town of Furth am See and a six-year-old girl is playing ludo with her grandfather. The doorbell rings, and the old man goes to answer. The next time the girl sees him, he is lying with his skull broken, his face a red pulp against the white snow. From that time on, she does not speak a single word.

Raffael Horn, the psychiatrist engaged to treat the silent child, reluctantly becomes involved in solving the murder along with Detective Superintendent Ludwig Kovacs. Their parallel researches sweep through the town: a young mother who believes her new-born child is the devil; a Benedictine monk who uses his iPod to drown the voices in his head; a high-spending teenager who tortures cats. The psychological profile of this claustrophobic, winter-held town is not reassuring – which, if any, of its inhabitants was the brutal night-time slayer of the suffering girl’s grandfather?

 

Anthill by E.O Wilson

 

“What the hell do you want?” snarled Frogman at Raff Cody, as the boy stepped innocently onto the reputed murderer’s property. Fifteen years old, Raff, along with his older cousin, Junior, had only wanted to catch a glimpse of Frogman s 1000-pound alligator. Thus, begins the saga of Anthill, which follows the thrilling adventures of a modern-day Huck Finn, whose improbable love of the “strange, beautiful, and elegant” world of ants ends up transforming his own life and the citizens of Nokobee County. Battling both snakes bites and cynical relatives who just don t understand his consuming fascination with the outdoors, Raff explores the pristine beauty of the Nokobee wildland. And in doing so, he witnesses the remarkable creation and destruction of four separate ant colonies, whose histories are epics that unfold on picnic grounds, becoming a young naturalist in the process. An extraordinary undergraduate at Florida State University, Raff, despite his scientific promise, opts for Harvard Law School, believing that the environmental fight must be waged in the courtroom as well as the lab. Returning home a legal gladiator, Raff grows increasingly alarmed by rapacious condo developers who are eager to pave and subdivide the wildlands surrounding the Chicobee River. But one last battle awaits him in his epic struggle. In a shattering ending that no reader will forget, Raff suddenly encounters the angry and corrupt ghosts of an old South he thought had all but disappeared, and learns that war is a genetic imperative, not only for ants but for men as well. Part thriller, part parable, this is a gripping novel from one of the most outstanding environmental writers of his generation – the ‘father of sociobiology’.

 

Non-Fiction

 

Traces Remain: Essays by Charles Nicholl

 

In these wonderfully stylish and eclectic essays, Charles Nicholl (author of The Reckoning) pursues the fugitive traces of the past with the skill and relish that have earned him a reputation as one of the finest literary and historical detectives of our time. His subjects range from a murder case in Renaissance Rome to the disappearance of Jim Thompson in 1960s Malaya, from the boyhood of Christopher Marlowe to the crimes of Jack the Ripper, from the remnants of a lost Shakespeare play to the last days of the poet-boxer Arthur Cravan in a Mexican fishing port. Full of insights, curiosities and unexpected discoveries, these thirty pieces written over two decades show the author of The Lodger and Leonardo da Vinci at his inquisitive best.
Charles Nicholl is a historian, biographer and travel writer. His books include The Reckoning (winner of the James Tait Black prize for biography and the Crime Writers’ Association ‘Gold Dagger’ award for non-fiction), Somebody Else: Arthur Rimbaud in Africa (winner of the Hawthornden Prize) and the acclaimed biography, Leonardo da Vinci: The Flights of the Mind, which has been published in 17 languages. His most recent book is The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street, which was nominated as ‘Book of the Year’ 12 times in 2007. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

 

Titanic Thompson: The Man Who Bet on Everything by Kevin Cook

 

The True and Incredible Story of the Card-Sharking, Gun-Slinging, Golf-Hustling American Legend who inspired the character of Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls
Titanic Thompson is the rollicking true story of one of the most charismatic characters in twentieth-century America. Travelling only with his golf clubs, a .45 revolver, and a suitcase full of cash, this is the legendary tale of a man who was married five times to five different girls, all teenagers on their wedding day; of a man who murdered five men, though he’d say ‘they’d all agree they had it coming to them’; and of a man who won and lost millions in a time when being a millionaire still really meant something. Filled with fascinating facts and famous faces – Harry Houdini, Al Capone, Arnold Rothstein and Jean Harlow all make appearances – this is a brilliant and compelling snapshot of life on the road in freewheelin’ America. A great read.

 

 

Cape Town Between East and West edited by Nigel Worden

 

This is the first single-volume social history of eighteenth-century Dutch Cape Town. The product of a major seven-year research project involving leading South African and international historians, it looks at the port settlement in all the complexity of its social interactions. Not only does it consider the elite inhabitants such as the ‘expat’ officials of the Dutch East India Compan y and the free burghers but it also includes members of Cape Town’s underclasses: soldiers and sailors, artisans, convicts, exiles and freed slaves.
At the same time the book positions the town in the wider context of the Atlantic and Indian oceans, and stresses its complex connections with Europe, Asia and Africa. It is clear that Cape Town was shaped by forces beyond its immediate geographical confines, being part of a wide network of interchanges of people, goods and ideas across continents and oceans.
The book provides a fresh and vibrant understanding of this Dutch colonial town, the lives of its inhabitants, the identities they fashioned for themselves and the cultural landscape they created at the Cape.

 

Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to its Own Past by Simon Reynolds

 

Could it be that the greatest danger to the future of our music culture is…its past?
The first book to make sense of 21st Century pop, Retromania explores rock’s nostalgia industry of revivals, reissues, reunions and remakes, and argues that there has never before been a culture so obsessed with its own immediate past. Pulling together parallel threads from music, fashion, art, and new media, Simon Reynolds confronts a central paradox of our era: from iPods to YouTube, we’re empowered by mind-blowing technology, but too often it’s used as a time machine or as a tool to shuffle and rearrange music from yesterday. We live in the digital future but we’re mesmerized by our analogue past.
“Looking back over the last 25 years you’d be hard pressed to name a music journalist more adept at tracking and defining the zeitgeist.”          Dave Haslam, Guardian
Simon Reynolds, one of our most thoughtful music writers, poses a stark question for anyone who cares about the future of pop…A devastating critique of the way music is now consumed.”      Daily Telegraph
Bracingly sharp. As a work of contemporary historiography, a thick description of the transformations in our relationship to time – as well as to place – Retromania deserves to be very widely read.”          Sukhdev Sandhu, Observer
For a long time, Simon Reynolds has been pretty much the most intelligent and thoughtful commentator on pop music around. Here, with rare brilliance, he investigates why, as a culture, pop is becoming obsessed with the past … an excellent book, and not just about pop music.”         Evening Standard

 

Brothers in Arms by Chris Schoemann

 

Dutch expatriates joined the Boers, their reasons ranging from loyalty to their common ancestry to strong anti-British sentiments and a search for adventure.

Brothers in Arms documents the trials and tribulations of these volunteers – most of them unaccustomed to the harsh landscape and climate of South Africa. Quotations and personal anecdotes from their diaries and memoirs vividly bring to life their hardships on commando, the thunder and chaos of battle, and the trauma of comrades falling around them.

Some of the prominent figures in the book are Cornelius van Gogh, brother of the painter Vincent van Gogh; the Dutch artist Frans Oerder, who became the Transvaal’s first official war artist; Jochem van Bruggen, four-times winner of the coveted Hertzog Prize for Afrikaans literature; and Rev. Herman van Broekhuizen, who played rugby for South Africa in 1896 and later served as South African ambassador in The Hague.

Brothers in Arms covers the full spectrum of the Hollanders’ roles as soldiers at the various battle fronts, ambulance personnel and military attachés, and their life in prisoner-of-war camps overseas.

 

Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria by Noo Saro-Wiwa

 

Noo Saro-Wiwa was brought up in England, but every summer she was dragged back to Nigeria – a country she viewed as an annoying parallel universe where she had to relinquish all her creature comforts and sense of individuality. Then her father, activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, was murdered there, and she didn’t return for 10 years. Recently, she decided to rediscover and come to terms with the country her father loved. She travelled from the exuberant chaos of Lagos to the calm beauty of the eastern mountains; from the eccentricity of a Nigerian dog show to the empty Transwonderland Amusement Park – Nigeria’s decrepit and deserted answer to Disneyland. She explored Nigerian christianity, delved into its history of slavery, examined the corrupting effect of oil, investigated Nollywood. She found the country as exasperating as ever, and frequently despaired at the corruption and inefficiency she encountered. But she also discovered that it was far more beautiful and varied than she had ever imagined, and was seduced by its thick tropical rainforest and ancient palaces and monuments. Most engagingly of all she introduces us to the people she meets, and gives us hilarious insights into the Nigerian character, its passion, wit and ingenuity.

A compelling account of how feels to be a Nigerian today.”    Financial Times

Humorous and affectionate…Saro-Wiwa is fiercely honest and compassionate about a country most tourists travel miles to avoid.”      Sunday Telegraph

Remarkable…in this deftly woven account Saro-Wiwa tells us more about Nigeria than most academics do in a lifetime.”       Spectator

Saro-Wiwa is sharp and funny … she brings a new perspective to Africa’s most populous country.”      Prospect

An affectionate and irreverent guide that peels away many of the clichés that envelop Nigeria.”       Observer

 

Dirty Life: A Story of Farming the Land and Falling in Love by Kristin Kimball

 

When Manhattan writer Kristin Kimball arrived to interview Mark on a Pennsylvanian farm, she was wearing high heels and a crisp white shirt and had been vegetarian for thirteen years. That evening, she found herself helping him to slaughter a pig. By the next morning she was tucking into sizzling homemade sausages drizzled with warm maple syrup, and within a few months she’d given up her life in the city and moved with Mark, their combined savings, and a dozen chickens to a derelict farm in a remote corner of upstate New York. They gave themselves a year to transform 500 badly neglected acres into an organic community farm. Passionate, inspiring and gorgeously written, this is a story about falling in love with a man and with a different way to live, complete with runaway piglets and dew-fresh lettuce, sceptical locals and a wedding in a hayloft.

A captivating memoir …passionate, inspiring, and well written.”     Irish Times

From Dictatorship to Democracy by Gene Sharp

 

From Dictatorship to Democracy was a pamphlet, printed and distributed by Dr Gene Sharp and based on his study, over a period of forty years, on non-violent methods of demonstration. Now in its fourth edition, it was originally handed out by the Albert Einstein Institution, and although never actively promoted, to date it has been translated into thirty-one languages. This astonishing book travelled as a photocopied pamphlet from Burma to Indonesia, Serbia and most recently Egypt, Tunisia and Syria, with dissent in China also reported. Surreptitiously handed out amongst youth uprisings the world over, and likened to Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto and Mao Tse Tung’s Little Red Book in its historic importance; how the book came about and its role in the Arab Spring is an extraordinary tale and this little pamphlet has become the definitive ‘how-to’ guide for the nonviolent twenty-first century revolutionary.
Part handbook, part cult…a toolbox for the agitator…Sharp has emerged as one of the world’s most influential promoters of non-violent resistance to repressive regimes.”      Sunday Times
Aimed at no particular country … found universal appeal among opposition activists around the globe.”       Wall Street Journal

“Gene Sharp’s contribution to the struggle for non-violent protest and civil disobedience in the Arab world has been immense.”         Raja Shehadeh

Generally considered the father of the whole field of the study of strategic nonviolent action.”          Stephen Zunes, University of San Francisco

“…a must read for all those interested in human rights and democracy.”     Independent on Sunday

 

The Science Delusion by Rupert Sheldrake

 

The science delusion is the belief that science already understands the nature of reality. The fundamental questions are answered, leaving only the details to be filled in. In this book, Dr Rupert Sheldrake, one of the world’s most innovative scientists, shows that science is being constricted by assumptions that have hardened into dogmas. The ‘scientific worldview’ has become a belief system. All reality is material or physical. The world is a machine, made up of dead matter. Nature is purposeless. Consciousness is nothing but the physical activity of the brain. Free will is an illusion. God exists only as an idea in human minds, imprisoned within our skulls.
Sheldrake examines these dogmas scientifically, and shows persuasively that science would be better off without them: freer, more interesting, and more fun.
Sheldrake powerfully reminds us that science must be pursued with an open mind.”v       Robert Jackson, former UK Minister for Science

This is a terrific, engrossing book that throws open the shutters to reveal our world to be so much more intriguing and profound than could ever have been supposed.”       Dr James Le Fanu, author of The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine
The author, a biologist, takes issue with the idea that science already understands the nature of reality – and in doing so, frees up the spirit of enquiry.”        The Times
Rupert Sheldrake does science, humanity and the world at large a considerable favour.”       Colin Tudge, The Independent

 

A Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud and Sabina Spielrein by John Kerr

 

In 1907, Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung began what promised to be both a momentous collaboration and the deepest friendship of each man’s life. Six years later they were bitter antagonists, locked in a savage struggle. In between them stood a young woman named Sabina Speilrein: a patient and lover to Jung, a colleague and confidante to Freud, and one of the greatest minds in modern psychiatry. This mesmerising book reconstructs the fatal triangle of Freud, Jung and Spielrein. It encompasses clinical methods and politics, hysteria and anti-Semitism, sexual duplicity and intellectual brilliance wielded as blackmail. Learned, humane and highly readable, A Dangerous Method is intellectual history with the narrative power and emotional impact of great tragedy.

All the more powerful for its author’s scholarly but nimble style.”       Observer

Kerr tells the story of Spielrein’s life with great narrative skill, and argues persuasively for the importance of her work…Should be read by anyone with an interest in the cultural history of the 20th century.”         Mail on Sunday

Has all the elements of a juicy novel…riveting…Kerr’s style is erudite and elegant.’ Newsday ‘A huge scholarly work…Gripping.”        New York Times Book Review

 

Something MAD

 

Mad Fold-In Collection

 

Al Jaffee s fold-ins, on the inside back cover of virtually every issue of MAD Magazine since 1964, have become an icon of American humor. Generations have grown up with Jaffee s inspired skewerings of our foibles and cultural conundrums. Issue after issue, each Fold-in requires the reader to simply fold the page so that arrow A meets arrow B to reveal the hidden gag image, a simple idea that masks both undeniable artistic ingenuity and comic timing. In this deluxe four-volume set, each of the 410 fold-ins is reproduced at its original size, with a digital representation of the corresponding folded image on the following page (so collectors won’t have to fold their book to get the jokes). Featuring insightful essays by such luminaries as Pixar’s Pete Docter and humorist Jules Feiffer, The MAD Fold-In Collection is the definitive gift for the millions of fans who have grown up with MAD for nearly 60 years.

 

Books and Words

 

Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth

 

A runaway Christmas bestseller in the UK, The Etymologicon springs from Mark Forsyth’s Inky Fool blog on the strange connections between words. It’s an occasionally ribald, frequently witty and unerringly erudite guided tour of the secret labyrinth that lurks beneath the English language, taking in monks and monkeys, film buffs and buffaloes, and explaining precisely what the Rolling Stones have to do with gardening.

I’m hooked on Forsyth’s book.. Crikey, but this is addictive.”        Mathew Parris, The Times

One of the books of the year. It is too enjoyable for words.” Henry Coningsby, Bookseller

Kudos should go to Mark Forsyth, author of The Etymologicon…Clearly a man who knows his onions, Mr Forsyth must have worked 19 to the dozen, spotting red herrings and unravelling inkhorn terms, to bestow this boon – a work of the first water, to coin a phrase.”      Daily Telegraph

The stocking filler of the season…How else to describe a book that explains the connection between Dom Pérignon and Mein Kampf.”        Robert McCrum, The Observer

 

Stop What You’re Doing and Read This

 

In any 24 hours there might be sleeping, eating, kids, parents, friends, lovers, work, school, travel, deadlines, emails, phone calls, Facebook, Twitter, the news, the TV, Playstation, music, movies, sport, responsibilities, passions, desires, dreams.
Why should you stop what you’re doing and read a book?
People have always needed stories. We need literature – novels, poetry – because we need to make sense of our lives, test our depths, understand our joys and discover what humans are capable of. Great books can provide companionship when we are lonely or peacefulness in the midst of an overcrowded daily life. Reading provides a unique kind of pleasure and no-one should live without it.
In the ten essays in this book some of our finest authors and passionate advocates from the worlds of science, publishing, technology and social enterprise tell us about the experience of reading, why access to books should never be taken forgranted, how reading transforms our brains, and how literature can save lives. In any 24 hours there are so many demands on your time and attention – make books one of them.
Features: Carmen Callil, Tim Parks, Nicholas Carr, Michael Rosen, Jane Davis, Zadie Smith, Mark Haddon, Jeanette Winterson, Blake Morrison, Dr Maryanne Wolf and Dr Mirit Barzillai.

 

Unpacking my Library: Writers and their Books by Leah Price

 

As words and stories are increasingly disseminated through digital means, the significance of the book as object – whether pristine collectible or battered relic – is growing as well. Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books spotlights the personal libraries of thirteen favourite novelists who share their collections with readers. Beautiful photographs provide full views of the libraries and close-ups of individual volumes: first editions, worn textbooks, pristine hardcovers, and childhood companions.
In her introduction, Leah Price muses on the history and future of the bookshelf, asking what books can tell us about their owners and what readers can tell us about their collections. Supplementing the photographs are Price’s interviews with each author, which probe the relation of writing to reading, collecting, and arranging books. Each writer provides a list of top ten favourite titles, offering unique personal histories along with suggestions for every bibliophile.
This volume features the personal libraries of Alison Bechdel, Stephen Carter, Junot Diaz, Rebecca Goldstein and Stephen Pinker, Lev Grossman and Sophie Gee, Jonathan Lethem, Claire Messud and James Wood, Philip Pullman, Gary Shteyngart and Edmund White.

 

Something Beautiful

Frank Lloyd Wright Designs: The Sketches, Plans and Drawings

 

The first major presentation in decades of the visionary drawings of the artist-architect and master designer. Frank Lloyd Wright was an architect of vast and unprecedented vision, whose work is not only still admired by the critics and carefully studied by historians but is also widely beloved. Comfortable spaces, humanly scaled, with extraordinary attention to detail are at the center of Wright’s enduring appeal. This vision and attention is nowhere more evident than in the drawings. It has been said that had Wright left us only drawings, and not his buildings as well, he would still be celebrated for his brilliant artistry, and this is borne out here. Even more significant, and shown here as never before, are the magical first moments of invention and inspiration -Wright’s earliest sketches, some never before published-which offer unique insight into the mind of the master architect.

 

Albertus Seba’s Cabinet of Natural Curiosities by Irmgard Musch

 

Albertus Seba’s “Cabinet of Natural Curiosities” is one of the 18th century’s greatest natural history achievements and remains one of the most prized natural history books of all time. Though scientists of his era often collected natural specimens for research purposes, Amsterdam-based pharmacist Albertus Seba (1665-1736) was unrivaled in his passion. His amazing collection of animals, plants and insects from all around the world gained international fame during his lifetime. In 1731, after decades of collecting, Seba commissioned illustrations of every specimen and arranged the publication of a four-volume catalog – from strange and exotic plants to snakes, frogs, crocodiles, shellfish, corals, birds, and butterflies, as well as fantastic beasts, such as a hydra and a dragon. Seba’s scenic illustrations, often mixing plants and animals in a single plate, were unusual even for the time. The more peculiar creatures from the collection – some of them now extinct – were as curious in Seba’s day as they are today. This reproduction is taken from a rare, hand-colored original, and the introduction supplies background information about the fascinating tradition to which Seba’s curiosities belonged. A wonderful and wondrous collection.

Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

 

This is a compendium of the Brothers Grimm’s most beloved fairy tales, newly translated and accompanied by an array of glorious vintage illustrations. This book brings together twenty-seven of the most beloved of the famous Grimms’ fairy tales, including all the classics, such as Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Hansel and Gretel. Containing a painstakingly – researched selection of illustrations by some of the most famous illustrators from the 1820s to the 1950s-including golden age legend Kay Nielsen, bestselling author Gustaf Tenggren, British darlings Walter Crane and Arthur Rackham, and giants of nineteenth century German illustration Gustav Sus, Heinrich Leutemann, and Viktor Paul Mohn, as well as many new discoveries – this compilation also includes beautiful silhouettes culled from original publications from the 1870s and 1920s that run throughout the entire layout. Interlaced in the book are also dozens of entirely new silhouettes designed and created especially for this book. In addition to the tales, the book also includes an introduction to the Grimms’ legacy, brief introductory texts for each tale, and extended artists’ biographies in the appendix. For adults and children alike, this classic addition to any library brings to life the never-ending magic of the Grimms’ fairy tales and their delightful illustrations.

 

Nostalgia in Vogue

 

Nostalgia in Vogue celebrates the popular and poignant coming-of-age memoir columns that have been enchanting Vogue readers since 2000. This elegant volume collects a wonderful selection of Vogue’s famous “Nostalgia” columns and the stunning photographs that accompanied them. Writers, designers, models, and celebrities share coming-of-age stories based on a rich range of themes from fashion to art, Hollywood, music, childhood, work, and love, each triggered by an extraordinary photograph from Vogue’s history.
With a host of intriguing characters and stories, and images by legendary photographers such as Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Henry Clarke, Helmut Newton, Horst P. Horst, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, Nostalgia in Vogue is both a visual treat and a fascinating read. Whether told from the point of view of a budding movie star or a teenager straining to make sense of the sophisticated adult world, each entry offers a unique slice of life sharply evocative of time and place. Nostalgia in Vogue is a must for devotees of fashion, pop culture, photography, and literary memoir and reaches across a readership of all ages. Text by Eve Macsweeney with a Foreword by Anna Wintour and essays by Joan Didion, Margaret Atwood, Patti Smith, Edmund White, Karl Lagerfeld, Carly Simon, John Galliano, Ann Packer, Anjelica Huston, Nora Ephron, A. M. Homes, and others.

 

And now for your reading comfort…

 

Are you sick of squinting at the page in poor light? Does your reading into the wee small hours cause consternation in the marital home? Well the solution is now stylishly here at the Book Lounge – we have taken delivery of a selection of Tiny Book Lights,no larger than a fountain pen,  available in a range of fashionable colours, and at a very modest price. You can now settle down with your book and bask in your very own pool of light, at no inconvenience to those around you!

 

 

Happy Reading!

Leap Year (Story) Time

Saturday, February 25th 2012 at 11:00 AM

This year is Leap Year, we get an extra day on the 29th of February!

So we thought we would read stories about time and days of the week, things we have in place to help us understand the idea of time.

Tick Tock Tick Tock!

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Book Lounge Leap Year SALE!!

Thursday, February 23rd 2012 at 1:15 PM

Yes, Wednesday, 29 February will see the start of our Leap Year Sale – while jumping up and down in excitiement, we will be marking down a lot of stock by up to 40%, so if you’ve always had your eye on that one title, but had to grimace at the price… do come in to see if it’s on the sale!
Sale stock will be clearly marked and on tables in the downstairs area of the shop. We’re excited – and you should be too! 
 
AND: to make it even more exciting, for one day only, on Wednesday 29 February itself, we will also offer 10% off everything else in the shop.
So yes – a leap year only comes around every 4 years: make sure you make the most of this one!

Things that Go Story time

Saturday, February 18th 2012 at 11:00 AM

Do you love trucks and motor cycles and diggers and maybe even boats or aeroplanes? Today’s story time is just for you then.

We will read stories about big machines that move and go VROOM!

 

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Fanie Naudé: Alfabet van die Voëls

Wednesday, February 15th 2012 at 5:30 PM

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I heart you Story time

Saturday, February 11th 2012 at 11:00 AM

It is nearly Valentine’s Day, which is a great reminder that we have to tell the people we love how much we appreciate them.

Today we will read stories about love of course and get to make a card for someone special. Why don’t you bring a someone special along to story time for a treat?

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Lee-Roy Chetty: Imagining Web 3.0

Thursday, February 9th 2012 at 5:30 PM

Imagining Web 3.0 – The advanced development of the Internet and the cornucopia of information it provides has only been in existence for just over 18 years. During that time, the Internet has evolved from Web 1.0 or the Information Web, which was characterized by static content. The current version of the Internet, Web 2.0or the Social Web, is defined by online users communicating, contributing and collaborating. This online user collaboration and sharing has resulted in the breaking down of traditional, monolithic methods of communication and content generation.

Imagining Web 3.0 seeks to trace the next forecasted phase in the Internet’s development, which through intelligent software will allow the Internet to have the power to learn, intuit and decide, giving information found on the Internet well defined meaning.

Lee-Roy Chetty began his career in advertising at Ogilvy Cape Town, working as a digital strategist on some of South Africa’s biggest and most loved brands. He holds a Masters degree in Media studies from the University of Cape Town and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. A two-time recipient of the prestigious National Research Fund Scholarship, he is currently completing his PhD through UCT as well as a degree in Economics with Unisa. He works for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation in the South African government in public diplomacy.

Lee-Roy will be in conversation with Dr Adam Haupt, author of Stealing Empire: P2P, Intellectual Property and Hip-hop Subversion, and Eve Gray, Honorary Research Associate of the Centre For Educational Technology at UCT.

Published by Big Red.

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Silver Highlights: Poems by Azila Talit Reisenberger

Wednesday, February 8th 2012 at 5:30 PM

We are delighted to welcome Azila Talit Reisenberger to the Book Lounge, to read from her new collection of poems – Silver Highlights.

Azila Talit Reisenberger was born in Tel Aviv and lives in South Africa. she is an academic, a women’s rights activist and the only woman in South Africa serving as a rabbi. She is the spiritual leader of the Temple Hillel community in East London. She also heads the Hebrew section of the School of Languages and Literature at the University of Cape Town.. She is the author of several previous collections of poetry.

Azila will be in conversation with Nancy Richards from Otherwise at SAFM.

Published by Snailpress.

“Reisenberger’s fresh moments of insight and nostalgia make an important contribution to the multi-lingual nature of South African poetry.”          Marcia Leveson

“Azila Reisenberger’s poetry makes us overwhelmingly aware how often we have to translate ourselves in order to matter.”         Antjie Krog

 

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Ballet twirly tales for story time

Saturday, February 4th 2012 at 11:00 AM

Ballet is the stuff of dreams for little girls (and some boys!) who love to feel light as a feather on their feet and dance around pretty in pink.

Today we are reading ballet stories and feeling like princesses on our toes.

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