Book of the Month Part 1
Capital by John Lanchester
Pepys Road: an ordinary street in London. Each house has seen its fair share of first steps and last breaths, and plenty of laughter in between. Today, through each letterbox along this ordinary street drops a card with a simple message: We Want What You Have.
At forty, Roger Yount is blessed with an expensively groomed wife, two small sons and a powerful job in the City. An annual bonus of a million might seem excessive, but with second homes and nannies to maintain, he’s not sure he can get by without it. Elsewhere in the Capital, Zbigniew has come from Warsaw to indulge the super-rich in their interior decoration whims. Freddy Kano, teenage football sensation, has left a two-room shack in Senegal to follow his dream. Traffic warden Quentina has exchanged the violence of the police in Zimbabwe for the violence of the enraged middle classes. For them all, this city offers the chance of a different kind of life. Capital is a post-crash state-of-the nation novel told with compassion and humour, featuring a cast of characters that you will be sad to leave behind. Highly recommended.
“This is an intelligent and entertaining account of our grubby, uncertain, fragmented London society that has almost replaced religion with shopping. Read it.” Claire Tomalin, Observer
“Brimming with perception, humane empathy and relish, its portrayal of this metropolitan miscellany is, in every sense, a capital achievement.” Peter Kemp, Sunday Times
“John Lanchester has spun a complex and gripping tale of London life, a pre-crash portrait of greed and fear and money… is characters are richly and sympathetically drawn…He handles their disparate story lines with immense skill. There is, too, a rich seam of wit running throughout the book which makes it a treat to read, despite its serious intentions.” The Times, Book of the Week
Book of the Month Part 2
Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd
Vienna, 1913. It is a fine day in August when Lysander Rief, a young English actor, walks through the city to his first appointment with the eminent psychiatrist Dr Bensimon. Sitting in the waiting room he is anxiously pondering the particularly intimate nature of his neurosis when a young woman enters. She is clearly in distress, but Lysander is immediately drawn to her strange, hazel eyes and her unusual, intense beauty. Her name is Hettie Bull.
They begin a passionate love affair and life in Vienna becomes tinged with a powerful frisson of excitement for Lysander. He meets Sigmund Freud in a café, begins to write a journal, enjoys secret trysts with Hettie and appears – miraculously – to have been cured.
Back in London, 1914. War is imminent, and events in Vienna have caught up with Lysander in the most damaging way. Unable to live an ordinary life, he is plunged into the dangerous theatre of wartime intelligence – a world of sex, scandal and spies, where lines of truth and deception blur with every waking day. Lysander must now discover the key to a secret code which is threatening Britain’s safety, and use all his skills to keep the murky world of suspicion and betrayal from invading every corner of his life.
Moving from Vienna to London’s West End, from the battlefields of France to hotel rooms in Geneva, Waiting for Sunrise is a feverish and mesmerising journey into the human psyche, a beautifully observed portrait of wartime Europe, a plot-twisting thriller and a literary tour de force from the bestselling author of Any Human Heart, Restless and Ordinary Thunderstorms.
“William Boyd is one of our most cherished writers…Waiting for Sunrise is as much A Dance to the Music of Time as Any Human Heart, a giddy burlesque where characters, particularly figures of erotic obsession, vanish only to reappear unexpectedly…It’s the sort of novel you finish then begin again to revisit your favourite bits…More than anything, Waiting for Sunrise is a gleeful celebration of storytelling – sly, clever, frequently hilarious, always involving. For me at least this is the literary event of the year.” The Times
“There are few more reliable literary pleasures than a Boyd novel. Over three decades he has established himself as one of Britain’s most popular and highly regarded novelists…He is a novelist who writes intelligent books about plausible and fully rounded characters, brimming with challenging ideas and themes. Above all, he is a storyteller nonpareil.” Mick Brown, Telegraph
“Boyd guides the reader with a master’s hand. It’s ages since I read a novel that offers such breathlessly readable narrative enjoyment, such page-by-page storytelling confidence and solidity. Waiting for Sunrise is a homage to thriller writers, spy novels and crime detection stories and films from a hundred years ago, stretching from Sherlock Holmes, via Buchan and Greene, to Hitchcock.” Independent
“An intricately plotted world of spies, lies and the double cross…a coming of age story about an individual’s self-enlightenment, as much as a sui generis thriller. Waiting for Sunrise proves that rarest of beasts: a tantalisingly experimental work that is also an immensely satisfying page turner.” Sunday Telegraph
Various Pets Alive and Dead by Marina Lewycka
Marcus and Doro were part of a commune from the late 1960s until the early 1990s: lentils, free love, spliffs, left politics, cheesecloth blouses, sex, housework and cooking rotas, crochet, allotments. Their children have grown up rather different from them: primary schoolteacher Clara craves order and clean bathrooms, son Serge is pretending to his parents that he is still doing a Maths PhD at Cambridge, while in fact working making oodles of money in the City; while third child Oolie Anna, who has Downs Syndrome, is desperate to escape home and live on her own. Set half in Doncaster, half in London, this is a very funny riff on modern values, featuring hamsters, cockroaches, poodles, a Chicken and multiplying rabbits, told by Marina Lewycka in her unique and brilliant combination of irony, farce and wit.
“Thank heavens for Marina Lewycka whose Various Pets Alive and Dead me laugh at least once in every chapter…The warmth of its tone, its zest, its blend of quirky, humane comedy and intellectual seriousness make this a novel to treasure.” New Statesman
“Not many authors could successfully mix lentils, bra-burning and free love with city traders, quantitative analysts and the mathematical calculations that supposedly make naked short selling, CDOs and subprime mortgages infallible. But Marina Lewycka is an exception…Never has reading about something serious been quite so much fun.” Economist
“An affectionate picture of a free-thinking, beatnik lifestyle now regarded as batty, but which was underpinned by a real desire to change the world. We could all do with a bit more of that.” The Herald
“Wonderfully funny …a dizzy, eye-watering treat…Lewycka is somewhere between Hilary Mantel in her satirical mode and Sue Townsend.” Independent
The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen
Judith and her father don’t have much — their house is full of dusty relics, reminders of the mother she’s never known. But Judith sees the world with the clear Eyes of Faith, and where others might see rubbish, Judith sees possibility. Bullied at school, she finds solace in making a model of the Promised Land — little people made from pipe cleaners, a sliver of moon, luminous stars and a mirror sea — a world of wonder that Judith calls The Land of Decoration. Perhaps, she thinks, if she makes it snow indoors (using shaving foam and cotton wool and cellophane) there will be no school on Monday…
Sure enough, when Judith opens her curtains the next day, the world beyond her window has turned white. She has performed her first miracle. And that’s when her troubles begin.
With its intensely taut storytelling and fluid prose, The Land of Decoration is a heartbreaking story of good and evil, belief and doubt.
“A tremendously affecting novel, skilfully and arrestingly written, and one that packs
a big emotional punch.” Sunday Times
“A compelling and at times hideously tense narrative makes it an arresting read…a thrilling page turner.” Spectator
“Grace McCleen’s writing is deep, fantastical and powerful … She has been able to observe a fascinating world with generosity, wonder and spirit. A wonderful gem of a debut.” Independent on Sunday
Today by David Miller
August 1924. John Conrad arrives at his parents’ home on the outskirts of Canterbury, where family and friends are assembling for the bank holiday weekend. His crippled mother has been discharged from a nursing home, his brother drives down from London with wife and child. But as the guests converge, John’s father dies. Today follows the numb implications of sudden death: the surprise, the shock, the deep fissures in a family exposed through grief. But there is also laughter, fraud and theft; the continuation of life, all viewed through the eyes of Lilian Hallowes – John’s father’s secretary – never quite at the centre of things but always observing, the still point in a turning world. Today is a remarkable debut, an investigation of bereavement, family and Englishness, beautiful in its understatement and profound in its psychological acuity.
“David Miller’s quiet, subtle novel is not merely a story about Conrad and a tribute to Conrad. It is a Conradian achievement in itself. A wonderful piece of fiction. Moving and revelatory.” A N Wilson
“Short and beautifully written…Miller succeeds brilliantly [with] a pared and unadorned prose that works its effect with a minimum of fuss.” Sunday Times
“A rich, often comic portrait of a family coming to terms with grief…A moving and surprisingly funny caricature of a quintessentially English family.” Observer
“A sly chamber-piece of a novel…Miller offers a psychologically convincing portrait of grief, one that – like much of Conrad’s own work – suggests the barrier between civilisation and the void is paper thin. An impressive debut distinguished by its spot-on period detail.” Financial Times
“Miller’s slim, quietly elegiac novel on the death of Joseph Conrad in August 1924 is, despite elements of pastiche, compelling. Miller assumes the style not of his subject, but of novelists of the period, in particular EM Forster, whose A Passage to India had recently been published and is referenced throughout. Conrad’s rasping final hours in his country house near Canterbury are played out off-stage, muffled, yet acutely felt.” Guardian
The Institute for Taxi Poetry by Imraan Coovadia
Solly Greenfields, the first of the taxi poets, has been shot dead. At the Institute for Taxi Poetry, where they train young people to write poetry on the bodywork of Cape Town’s taxis, Solly’s protégé Adam Ravens tries to make sense of his death. Who killed Solly, and why is Adam’s son acting so odd?
In the world of Imraan Coovadia’s new tragicomic novel taxi companies thrive in a single-party state. Taxi poets are admired, sliding-door men rule, professors and politicians strut and fret and connive in a society shaped by violence and ambition, love, and the unsettling power of the imagination.
Winner of the Sunday Times Fiction Award, Imraan Coovadia is the author of the novels The Wedding, Green-eyed Thieves, and High Low In-between. He teaches at the University of Cape Town.
The Woman who went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend
The day her gifted twins leave home for university, Eva climbs into bed and stays there. For seventeen years she’s wanted to yell at the world, ‘Stop! I want to get off’. Finally, this is her chance. Perhaps she will be able to think.
Her husband Dr Brian Beaver, an astronomer who divides his time between gazing at the expanding universe, an unsatisfactory eight-year-old affair with his colleague Titania and mooching in his shed, is not happy. Who will cook dinner? Eva, he complains, is either having a breakdown or taking attention-seeking to new heights.
But word of Eva’s refusal to get out of bed quickly spreads.
Alexander, the dreadlocked white-van man, arrives to help Eva dispose of all her clothes and possessions and bring her tea and toast. Legions of fans are writing to her or gathering in the street to catch a glimpse of this ‘angel’. Her mother Ruby is unsympathetic: ‘She’d soon get out of bed if her arse was on fire.’
And, though the world keeps intruding, it is from the confines of her bed that Eva at last begins to understand freedom.
The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year is a funny and touching novel about what happens when someone stops being the person everyone wants them to be.
Sue Townsend is one of Britain’s favourite comic authors. Her hugely successful novels include eight Adrian Mole books, The Public Confessions of a Middle-Aged Woman (Aged 55¾), Number Ten, Ghost Children, The Queen and I and Queen Camilla, all of which are highly acclaimed bestsellers. She has also written numerous well-received plays.
“Proof, once more, that Townsend is one of the funniest writers around.” The Times
The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
From the author of the Booker-nominated The Gift Of Rain. Malaya, 1949. After studying law at Cambrige and time spent helping to prosecute Japanese war criminals, Yun Ling Teoh, herself the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle fringed plantations of Northern Malaya where she grew up as a child. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the Emperor of Japan. Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden in Kuala Lumpur, in memory of her sister who died in the camp. Aritomo refuses, but agrees to accept Yun Ling as his apprentice ‘until the monsoon comes’. Then she can design a garden for herself. As the months pass, Yun Ling finds herself intimately drawn to her sensei and his art while, outside the garden, the threat of murder and kidnapping from the guerrillas of the jungle hinterland increases with each passing day. But the Garden of Evening Mists is also a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? Why is it that Yun Ling’s friend and host Magnus Praetorius, seems to almost immune from the depredations of the Communists? What is the legend of ‘Yamashita’s Gold’ and does it have any basis in fact? And is the real story of how Yun Ling managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all?
New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and their Families by Colm Tóibin
In his essay on the Notebooks of Tennessee Williams, Colm Tóibín reveals an artist “alone and deeply fearful and unusually selfish” and one profoundly tormented by his sister’s mental illness. Through the relationship between W.B. Yeats and his father or Thomas Mann and his children or J.M. Synge and his mother, Tóibin examines a world of family relations, richly comic or savage in its implications. In Roddy Doyle’s writing on his parents we see an Ireland reinvented. From the dreams and nightmares of John Cheever’s journals Tóibín makes flesh this darkly comic misanthrope and his relationship to his wife and his children. “Educating an intellectual woman,” Cheever remarked, “is like letting a rattlesnake into the house.”
In pieces that range from the importance of aunts (and the death of parents) in the English nineteenth-century novel to the relationship between fathers and sons in the writing of James Baldwin and Barack Obama, Colm Tóibín illuminates not only the intimate connections between writers and their families but also articulates, with a rare tenderness and wit, the great joy of reading their work.
Rub Out the Words: The Letters of William S. Burroughs 1959-1974
This major collection of William Burroughs’ letters gives an unprecedented insight into one of America’s most incisive and influential writers, at a time when his work was at its most experimental and his life entered a new era of creativity.
William Burroughs’ life was often as extreme as his prose. This second volume of his letters documents the time after the notorious publication of Naked Lunch in 1959, as he drifted away from Kerouac, Ginsberg and the Beats and on towards new horizons in Europe and North Africa, moving from place to place in search of inspiration, or to avoid the law over his drug addiction and openly gay lifestyle. We see Brion Gysin gradually replace Ginsberg as Burroughs’ most trusted confidant, as they explore ideas on mind control and language, and there is correspondence with Paul Bowles, Ian Sommerville, Timothy Leary and Norman Mailer, among many others. These letters show the creative surge that led to works such as the Nova Trilogy; Burroughs’ brief fascination with Scientology; his desperation to kick his drug habit; his continuing dedication to the cut-up method, but also a gradual return to more narrative forms of writing as, in 1974, he prepared to return to New York.
Darkly funny, sharply perceptive and often shocking, these letters also reveal an open and curious side to Burroughs, in contrast to the familiar view of his isolated, itinerant life at this time. Rub Out the Words adds a new richness to our view of one of the most innovative artists of the twentieth century.
Road of Bones: A Journey to the Dark Heart of Russia by Jeremy Poolman
The Road of Bones is the story of Russia’s greatest road. For over 200 years, the route of the Vladimirka Road has been at the centre of the nation’s history, having witnessed everything from the first human footsteps to the rise of Putin and his oil-rich oligarchy. Tsars, wars, famine and wealth: all have crossed and travelled this road, but no-one has ever told its story. In pursuit of the sights, sounds and voices both past and present, Jeremy Poolman travels the Vladimirka. Both epic and intimate, The Road of Bones is a record of his travels – but much more. It looks into the hearts and reveals the histories of those whose lives have been changed by what is known by many as simply The Greatest of Roads. This is a book about life and about death and about the strength of will it takes to celebrate the former while living in the shadow of the latter. Anecdotal and epic, The Road of Bones follows the author’s journey along this road, into the past and back again. The book takes as its compass both the voices of history and those of today and draws a map of the cities and steppes of the Russian people’s battered but ultimately indefatigable spirit.
“The Road of Bones is informative, poetic and eerily beautiful…[Poolman's] words weave a haunting spell.” Metro
Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas by Matthew Hollis
A fascinating exploration of one of Britain’s most influential First World War poets and winner of the Costa Biography Prize. Edward Thomas was perhaps the most beguiling and influential of First World War poets. Now All Roads Lead to France is an account of his final five years, centred on his extraordinary friendship with Robert Frost and Thomas’s fatal decision to fight in the war. The book also evokes an astonishingly creative moment in English literature, when London was a battleground for new, ambitious kinds of writing. A generation that included W. B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, Robert Frost and Rupert Brooke were ‘making it new’ – vehemently and pugnaciously. These larger-than-life characters surround a central figure, tormented by his work and his marriage. But as his friendship with Frost blossomed, Thomas wrote poem after poem, and his emotional affliction began to lift. In 1914 the two friends formed the ideas that would produce some of the most remarkable verse of the twentieth century. But the War put an ocean between them: Frost returned to the safety of New England while Thomas stayed to fight for the Old. It is these roads taken – and those not taken – that are at the heart of this remarkable book, which culminates in Thomas’s tragic death on Easter Monday in 1917.
Running With the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn
After years of watching Kenyan athletes win the world’s biggest races, from the Olympics to big city marathons, Runner’s World contributor Adharanand Finn set out to discover just what it was that made them so fast – and to see if he could keep up. Packing up his family (and his running shoes), he moved from Devon to the small town of Iten, in Kenya, home to hundreds of the country’s best athletes. Once there he laced up his shoes and ventured out onto the dirt tracks, running side by side with Olympic champions, young hopefuls and barefoot schoolchildren. He ate their food, slept in their training camps, interviewed their coaches, and his children went to their schools. And at the end of it all, there was his dream, to join the best of the Kenyan athletes in his first marathon, an epic race through lion country across the Kenyan plains. With global attention on both the London Marathon in April 2012 and the London Olympics in the summer, there has never been a more exciting time to experience what it is really like to train and race with the stars of distance running.
“I’ve seldom read a better account of the exhilaration of running…what gives Running With the Kenyans its special appeal is Finn’s charm…He’s unusually engaging company both on and off the track.” Evening Standard
“An engaging memoir…The book is populated with engagingly drawn characters and towards the end, Finn’s quest – the burning need to attain a certain marathon time – is gripping.” Daily Telegraph
“A hugely inspiring story of what is possible when we dare to try.” Ruth Field, author of Run Fat Bitch Run
Megachange: The World in 2050 by the Economist
Navigating the future can be tricky… The scale of change happening around us can be bewildering, and scary. This book offers clarity, and hope. There is every chance that the world in 2050 will be richer, healthier, more connected, more sustainable, more innovative, better educated, and with less inequality between rich and poor and between men and women. Enormous challenges lie ahead, from managing climate change to feeding 9 billion people by 2050 and coping with a multitude of new security threats. In its 20 chapters that look at everything from health to wealth and religion to outer space Megachange confronts these issues in its exploration of the fundamental trends that are shaping the world. Brimming with (often counter-intuitive) ideas and facts Megachange provides fascinating insights into what the coming decades will bring, authoritatively outlined by Economist contributors, and rich in supporting facts and figures.
The Great Disruption: How the Climate Crisis will Transform the Global Economy by Paul Gilding
It’s time to stop just worrying about climate change, says Paul Gilding. We need instead to brace for impact, because global crisis is no longer avoidable. The ‘Great Disruption’ started in 2008, with spiking food and oil prices and dramatic ecological change like the melting polar icecap. It is not simply about fossil fuels and carbon footprints. We have come to the end of Economic Growth, Version 1.0, a world economy based on consumption and waste, where we lived beyond the means of our planet’s ecosystems and resources.
The Great Disruption offers a stark and unflinching look at the challenge humanity faces – yet also a deeply optimistic message. The coming decades will see loss, suffering and conflict as our planetary overdraft is paid. However, they will also bring out the best humanity can offer: compassion, innovation, resilience and adaptability. The Great Disruption is an invigorating and well-informed polemic by an advocate for sustainability who has dedicated his life to campaigning for a balanced use of Earth’s limited resources. It is essential reading.
“One of those who has been warning me of [a coming crisis] for a long time is Paul Gilding, the Australian environmental business expert. He has a name for this moment–when both Mother Nature and Father Greed have hit the wall at once – ‘The Great Disruption’.” Thomas Friedman, New York Times
“Gilding says that our current economic model is driving the system over a cliff. We are already living beyond the planet’s capacity to support us and a crisis is no longer avoidable.” The Times
“If you’re planning to stick around for the 21st century, this might be a useful book to consult.” Bill McKibben, author of Earth and The End of Nature
All about Africa
Old Enough to Know: Consulting Children on African Sexualities by Colleen McLoughlin et al.
This compelling study, comprising a sample of eight schools in three countries in sub-Saharan Africa – Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania. It examines the sources, contents and processes of children´s community-based sexual knowledge and asks how these knowledge interact with AIDS education programmes in school.
Old Enough to Know showcases the possibilities of consulting pupils using engaging, interactive and visual methods including digital still photography, mini-video documentaries, as well as interviews and observations. These innovative methods allow children to speak freely and openly in contexts where talking about sex to adults is a cultural taboo.
The study also sheds fresh light on teachers´ fears and struggles with a lack of training and limited opportunities for reflection on practice. It engages in dialogue with conflicting voices of community stakeholders who are both aware of the dangers faced by children living in a world with AIDS and who are also afraid of the many cultural, religious and moral restraints to sex education in Africa.
Voices of Liberation Series
Ruth First by Don Pinnock & Albert Luthuli by Gerald Pillay
The struggle to free South Africa from its apartheid shackles was long and complex. One of the many ways in which the apartheid regime maintained its stranglehold in South Africa was through controlling the freedom of speech and the flow of information, in an effort to silence the voices of those who opposed it. United by the ideals of freedom and equality, but also nuanced by a wide variety of persuasions, the ‘voices of liberation’ were many: African nationalists, communists, trade-unionists, pan-Africanists, English liberals, human rights activists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims and Jews, to name but a few.
The Voices of Liberation series ensures that the debates and values that shaped the liberation movement are not lost. The series offers a unique combination of biographical information with selections from original speeches and writings in each volume. By providing access to the thoughts and writings of some of the many men and women who fought for the dismantling of apartheid, this series invites the contemporary reader to engage directly with the rich history of the struggle for democracy.
This two volumes present brief biographies of Ruth First and Albert Luthuli, followed by a selection of their writings. The books present a timeline summary of significant events in their lives within the context of major socio-political events of the time. The books reflect on their respective legacies in a current context, and offer suggestions for further reading.
At Large: Reviewing the Arts in South Africa by Chris Thurman
Chris Thurman, Wits academic and author of Guy Butler: Reassessing a South African Literary Life, has a new book on the shelves. Part of The Arts in Society series, At Large: Reviewing the Arts in South Africa, is a collection of Thurman’s essays, reviews and interviews from the past five years in which he explores various aspects of the South African arts:
As a ‘critic at large’, Chris Thurman has engaged with the work of theatre practitioners, musicians, dancers, visual artists and writers from across the South African arts spectrum. In this collection of journalistic essays, reviews and interviews produced over the course of five years, he not only explores the role of the arts – and the challenges facing artists – in a country still completing its transition to democracy, but also asks provocative questions about a range of social and political issues. Informed by an awareness of South Africa’s complex cultural history/histories, At Large offers a series of snapshots of the arts in the country during the early years of the twenty-first century – providing insight into the production and reception of both ‘local’ and ‘global’ artistic phenomena.
Lolly Jackson: When Fantasy Becomes Reality by Sean Newman et al.
The Lolly Jackson murder case – a mix of elements that grabbed the public’s imagination. Fast cars, fast money, murder, revenge, missing millions and smashed up Teazers clubs. With kilometres of newspaper headlines and a growing body count, the insatiably curious public is still no closer to the truth.
Amidst the confusing reports, money laundering on a grand scale, SARS investigations and the mafia-like killings, this book brings you the inside story. It opens on the night of Lolly’s murder and is a personal, inside track into the reality of Lolly’s private and business lives, never before made public. Intimate and detailed, it provides the reader with a fascinating view of a world that previously could only be imagined.
Sean Newman began working for Lolly a year before his death and became his conﬁdant. He lived the Teazers brand and became integral in not only the day-to-day operations as media, marketing and public relations manager, but also as a keen observer of everything that really happened.
Bicycle Portraits by Stan Engelbrecht and Nic Grobler
Stan Engelbrecht & Nic Grobler have published the best 162 portraits and stories of the over 500 portraits of cyclists they’ve photographed during their 2 year journey around South Africa. Divided over 3 books, each contains a different 54 stories, and two essays each by local South African and major international cycling figures. The books are beautifully designed by Gabrielle Guy and they have also collaborated with celebrated South African artist Gabrielle Raaff to create an individual hand-painted watercolor map, based on Google Maps, to indicate the location of each of the portraits.
When they started the project, Bicycle Portraits aimed to be a study of South African commuter culture, and they wanted to find out who rides bicycles, why they ride bicycles, if and why they love their bicycles, and of course why so few South Africans choose bicycles as a transport option. But Bicycle Portraits has turned into a portrait of a nation through the bicycles that they own and ride every day – revealing all manner of social, class, historical and cultural nuances never imagined.
To find out more about the project visit: http://www.dayonepublications.com/Bicycle_Portraits/Home.html
Home Ground: Sanctuary in the City by Dan Pearson
Ten years ago Dan Pearson found an extremely rare, large, neglected city plot and set out to design and create a garden space all of his own. Arranged by seasons, Dan shares the challenges of gardening his city plot in a romantic and beautifully written series of diary-like essays, documenting the horticultural tasks required and sharing his successes and failures on the way. Written and photographed in ‘real time’ this book documents an urban garden and gardener at work, bringing the experience of gardening to life and offering a unique insight into the work and thoughts of the one of the world’s most respected garden designers.
Dan Pearson is a landscape and garden designer with an international reputation for design and planting excellence. The understanding of how plants relate to their surroundings and natural growing conditions together with an appreciation of landscapes and landforms, are the primary inspiration for his work. Dan trained at the RHS Gardens’ Wisley and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He is a weekly gardening columnist for The Observer, and has also been a columnist for The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times. He has presented and appeared in TV series on BBC2, Channel 4 and Channel 5 and appears regularly on radio.
“Dan has a way of making me look at plants, and the garden in which they live, with a fresh eye. His approach to my small, urban garden gently challenged my ideas of both design and planting. The result has enriched my life more than I ever thought a garden could. Dan had worked his quiet magic!” Nigel Slater
Lady Gaga X by Lady Gaga and Terry Richardson
In this book of original, behind-the-scenes photographs, acclaimed photographer Terry Richardson follows superstar Lady Gaga during one year of her life, from Lollapalooza through the final show of her Monster Ball tour.
During the time he followed her, Richardson took over 100,000 images and attended more than 30 Monster Ball dates around the world. From the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal rally in Portland, Maine, to the Thierry Mugler show at Maxime, Paris, Richardson captures Lady Gaga as you’ve never seen her before. A year-long global odyssey – all access, nothing off limits – this is a wild and intimate portrait of one of the most original entertainers around today..
“After countless cobbled together Gaga books, there’s finally an official – and officially cool – one…Lady Gaga X Terry Richardson is the Madonna-Meisel SEX book de nos jours.” Attitude
Permanent Error by Pieter Hugo
In his previous, and hugely popular, volumes of photographs, Hugo offers unflinching yet striking portraits of humans, animals, societies, and landscapes that shock and disturb, but also demand our attention. In Permanent Error, he documents a rubbish dump in Ghana that has become the repository for discarded computers from around the world. These haunting images document the true cost of a misguided policy – the shipping of millions of tons of obsolete computers to developing countries. The computers are burned to extract valuable metals, effectively turning the site into a toxic wasteland that contaminates air, soil, and groundwater for miles around. These amazing portraits tell a story of a marginal community overwhelmed by poverty, but where human strength and resilience shine through the inhuman conditions Hugo lays bare.
“Permanent Error paints a dark picture of the conditions imposed on this slum community, and the flip side of our rapid technological progress.” British Journal of Photography
“Permanent Error is a stunning achievement; South African photographer Pieter Hugo exposes in shocking detail consumerism’s shameful and toxic wasteland, but at the same time brings out the dignity and beauty of the people condemned to spend their days on it.” New Internationalist May 2011
“The book is a monument to our obsession with consumption and obsolescence, and the normally unseen consequences. Hugo found great recognition for his recent book The Hyena and Other Men and has continued to make arresting work since.” The Photographer
Small and Tall Tales of Extinct Animals by Helene Rajcak
A fascinating journey around the world of extinct animals, combining cartoons with naturalist drawings, and mythology with science. Hundreds of years ago, Earth was home to some strange animals. There was the giant beaver taller than a human; the Sicilian dwarf elephant; the three-metre-tall elephant bird; the giant lemur nicknamed the tratratratra; the world-famous dodo…
Hunted by humans and weakened by climate change, these animals gradually disappeared. All that remains are footprints and fossils, explorers’ stories and fascinating folk tales—all waiting to be discovered in the pages of this book. And jolly lovely they are too!
Figuring Faith: Images of Belief in Africa
Figuring Faith: Images of Belief in Africa arose from an exhibition of the same name at the Standard Bank Gallery in 2006, curated by Fiona Rankin-Smith. The book documents and extends the exhibition, bringing together the debates and discussions on faith and art that the exhibition gave rise to, and shedding light on the ways in which art interprets, exemplifies and challenges belief and ritual
Faith and religious belief are frequently debated and contested in South Africa, given our many cultural expressions and value systems, and a liberal constitution that permits same-sex unions, polygamy, freedom of sexual orientation and freedom of religious expression. Religion has shaped South Africa’s political history too. Dutch Reformed Church doctrine was used to justify the apartheid regime’s racist laws, while other Christian denominations as well as other faiths were vociferous and active opponents of the regime.
Through full-colour images and wide-ranging essays, Figuring Faith explores this history, as well as themes such as sacred spaces, death and sacrifice, taboo, the missionary gaze, the demonic, ancestors and spirit presences, confession, catharsis and revelation. Its consideration of historical, ‘traditional’ and contemporary artworks makes it a major contribution to our understanding of art’s relationship to the human desire for transcendence.
A Week in the Kitchen by Karen Dudley
The Kitchen is a focal point for creativity where people from all walks of life come to feed their appetites as well as their ingenuity. Every day sees an array of mouth-watering dishes prepared by a team of remarkable and dedicated chefs whose personalised approach and pride in their artistry ensures that every visit or event catered for will be a memorable one.
Here is the opportunity to bring Karen’s Kitchen to yours! This gorgeous book gives everyone a glimpse into one week of The Kitchen, where menus change daily and South African twists on Mediterranean and Oriental tastes promise clean, natural flavours undisguised by rich sauces.
Step in to Karen’s Kitchen, and find out what it is that has publications such as The New York Times and personalities like Michelle Obama relishing their experience.
Growing up in Cape Town, Karen Dudley learned to celebrate diversity. After studying all the wrong things at university, she worked in an historical mansion in Washington DC where she discovered new possibilities of what could be done with food. In England Karen worked at Finn’s on Chelsea Green, just off the King’s Road. There she learned how to ‘do’ parties amongst the who’s who of London society, and gained acknowledgement as a chef in her own right.
Back in Cape Town, Karen settled in Woodstock and started her own catering business. Over time it gained dedicated clients and loyal staff and then a shop front: The Kitchen. Besides being the home base for Karen’s catering operation, The Kitchen has become a celebrated eatery serving the gorgeous and talented folk of Woodstock. It is at the heart (and stomach) of a boom of creative new businesses, boutique shops and industries in the area. And Karen is right there bringing sustenance to locals and visitors in this funky little neighbourhood, with legendary salads and her signature Love Sandwiches.