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Make Give Sell at City Bowl Market

Thursday, November 29th 2012 at 5:30 PM

Join Callie Maritz and Mari-Louis Guy for the launch of Make Give Sell at the City Bowl Food Market. What better way to celebrate a book about everything you could possibly make for a market, than at a market!
The team will be in conversation with food writer, Sam Woulidge about their latest book.

Please still RSVP to The Book Lounge if you want to join this fun night.

The City Bowl Market has recently started a Food Market on Thursday nights and we are proud to do this launch at our-around-the-corner neighbours. The City Bowl Market is situated at 14 Hope Street, Gardens.



Launch of Endings & Beginnings by Redi Thlabi (in conversation with Africa Melane)

Wednesday, November 28th 2012 at 5:30 PM

Redi Tlhabi, warm-hearted, charismatic and loved throughout South Africa is as well known for her 702 and Cape Talk radio show as she is for her TV performances and Sunday Times newspaper column. In this astonishing debut, Endings & Beginnings, she makes the painful journey back to her death-marred childhood, a journey in which she eventually finds peace and allows her demons to rest.

“Mabegzo’s place in my life is an uncomfortable space. The hypocrisy of my feelings for him has mauled my emotions for many years. I would think of him and my heart would swell with warmth, longing and regret and, immediately, disgust at myself for feeling this way. This would be followed by making excuses for myself: I was a little girl, I did not know, I was mourning my father and perhaps responded to the first male who showed me any kindness and warmth.”

When Redi Tlhabi is eleven years old, two years after her father’s death, she meets the handsome, charming and smooth, Mabegzo. A rumoured gangster, murderer and rapist, he is a veritable ‘jack-roller’ of the neighbourhood. Against her family’s wishes, she develops a strong connection to him. Redi herself doesn’t understand why she is drawn to Mabegzo and why, at eleven, she feels a brokenness that only Mabegzo can fix.

Endings & Beginnings is Redi’s emotional journey back into her past to finally humanise this man whose hollowness mirrored her own and who was hated and abhorred by so many when he was alive. Through interviews and deep emotional conversations with his family, friends and those who knew him, Redi finally gets to fit together the pieces of the puzzle that was Mabegzo. Her revelations do not in any way excuse who and what he was, but they go a long way in shedding light on the scourge that is violence in our societies and why young black men are consumed by anger.

One Saturday afternoon, I was on my way home from the church youth meeting when I saw Mabegzo. He had his back to me and didn’t see me approach. I saw him twist a girl’s arm and then slap her across the face.

‘Mabegzo, o etsang!? What are you doing!?’

He froze, and the girl took flight.

‘O etsa eng?’

‘I’m sorry.’

I stormed off and ignored him as he called out my name. He ran after me and tried to speak to me as I made my way home. He remained at my side even though I maintained a stony silence. We reached the corner of my street and he said goodbye, promising to wait for me at our corner on Monday.

‘Don’t wait for me. You’re a rapist and you hit girls! I saw you.’

He did wait for me. And when he smiled, I was conflicted again. He seemed unsure of himself. Often he would walk confidently towards me as I approached the corner. This time, he remained rooted to the spot, hesitating, waiting for me to invite him back into my life. His pleading eyes found something deep inside my soul, and without pausing to think, I said, ‘Why are you standing there? Let’s go.’


Zapiro will be launching But Will It Stand Up In Court?

Tuesday, November 27th 2012 at 5:30 PM

It’s been the year of living dangerously, a year of being acknowledged, and it will be the year of the long awaited court case. The national conscience has been hard at work in this, his latest collection, But Will It Stand Up In Court?

Zapiro has been tackling the state of the nation, and what a state it’s been in! President Zuma launched a R5 million court case against Zapiro which comes to trial on 25 October 2012. This, combined with the ANC’s court action against Brett Murray, informs the title of this year’s collection.

Zapiro won the prestigious 2012 International Publishers Association (IPA) Freedom to Publish Prize for his exemplary courage in upholding freedom to publish. And this week he was named Editorial Cartoonist of the Year in the Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Awards.


Happy Prince visits Story Time

Saturday, November 24th 2012 at 11:00 AM


November 2012

Friday, November 23rd 2012 at 2:30 PM


Astray by Emma Donoghue

Counterfeiter. Dishwasher. Prostitute. Attorney. Sculptor. Mercenary. Elephant. Corpse. The fascinating characters that roam across the pages of Emma Donoghue’s latest fact-inspired fictions have all gone astray: they are emigrants, runaways, drifters. They cross other borders, too: those of race, law, sex and sanity. They travel for love or money, incognito or under duress. Donoghue describes the brutal plot hatched by a slave in conjunction with his master’s wife to set them both free; she draws out the difficulties of gold mining in the Yukon, even in the supposedly plentiful early days, and she takes us to an early Puritan community in Massachusetts unsettled by an invented sex scandal. Astray also includes ‘The Hunt’, a shocking confession of one soldier’s violent betrayal during the American Revolution, which has been shortlisted for the 2012 Sunday Times Short Story Award. Astray is a sequence of fourteen stories by the prize-winning author of Room and The Sealed Letter. These strange, true tales light up four centuries of wanderings, offering a past made up of deviations, and a surprising and moving history for restless times.

Emma Donoghue is one of the great literary ventriloquists of our time. Her imagination is kaleidoscopic. She steps borders and boundaries with great ease and style. In her hands the centuries dissolve, and then they crystallise back again into powerful words on the page.”  Colum McCann

Time and again, Emma Donoghue writes books that are unlike anything I have ever seen before, and Astray is no exception. There is such a deep and compassionate imagination at work in every story in this collection that Astray feels almost like an act of clairvoyance.”            Ann Patchett

The Chocolate Money by Ashley Prentice Norton

An innocent little girl.

A phenomenal fortune.

A mother like no other.

Ten-year old Bettina and her mother, Babs, are heiresses to one of America’s biggest fortunes. But Bettina’s whole life is overshadowed by that of her beautiful, hedonistic mother, the glamorous but domineering Babs.

At fifteen, Bettina escapes to New England and an exclusive, preppy boarding school called Cardiss, where she hopes she can finally start to figure out who she really is. But while she thinks that fitting in with the other students represents her best chance of surviving the cliques and politics of Cardiss, soon she’s making choices that show that Babs’ maternal shadow still looms long over her. Can Bettina ever break free to forge her own identity – or is she simply doomed to being her mother’s daughter forever?

Darkly funny, shocking and utterly compulsive, this is an outrageous coming of age story set against the backdrop of the uber-rich elite of Chicago and New England.

 “Darkly funny…compulsively readable…” People

 “A novel to make you laugh, cringe, and appreciate your mother.”     O, the Oprah Magazine

 “Despite the sweet title, this debut novel by Ashley Prentice Norton is a dark tale of maternal sadism, twisted sex, and self-destruction. Norton is a fearless writer.”               James Frey

I am not a reader easily shocked, and I was shocked by the brave twists and daring turns of Ashley Norton’s compulsively readable The Chocolate Money. This story of a girl coming of age in Chicago, heir to a chocolate fortune and all the spoils and hungers that fortune sparks, is fearless and utterly unputdownable.”      Jennifer Gilmore, author of Something Red and Golden Country

Silent Valley by Malla Nunn

A remote mountain town. A girl of rare and exquisite beauty. A murder that silences a whole community.

The body of a seventeen-year-old girl has been found covered in wildflowers on a hillside in the Drakensberg Mountains, near Durban. She is the daughter of a Zulu chief and known as the most beautiful young woman in the valley, destined to fetch a high bride price. Was Amahle as innocent as her family claims, or is her murder a sign that she lived a secret life? And why would the killer have covered her body in flowers…like a lover? Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper and Constable Shabalala are sent to the dramatic landscape to investigate. They must enter the guarded worlds of a traditional Zulu clan and the white farming community to gather up the clues Amahle left behind and bring her murderer to justice. But the silence in the valley is deafening, and it seems that everyone – from the uncooperative local police officer, to the white farm boy who seems obsessed with the dead girl – has something to hide. With no cause of death, no obvious motive and signs that lead to every secret except those they are trying to uncover, Cooper’s investigation is blocked at each turn. Can he tough it out, or will the small-town politics that stir up his feelings about the past be more than he can bear?

In this page-turning tale of murder and mystery, Nunn entangles us in a rich and complex web of witchcraft, tribalism, taboo relationships…and plain old-fashioned greed.

Dominion by CJ Sansom

1952. Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany after Dunkirk. As the long German war against Russia rages on in the east, the British people find themselves under dark authoritarian rule: the press, radio and television are controlled; the streets patrolled by violent auxiliary police and British Jews face ever greater constraints. There are terrible rumours too about what is happening in the basement of the German Embassy at Senate House. Defiance, though, is growing. In Britain, Winston Churchill’s Resistance organization is increasingly a thorn in the government’s side. And in a Birmingham mental hospital an incarcerated scientist, Frank Muncaster, may hold a secret that could change the balance of the world struggle for ever. Civil Servant David Fitzgerald, secretly acting as a spy for the Resistance, is given the mission by them to rescue his old friend Frank and get him out of the country. Before long he, together with a disparate group of Resistance activists, will find themselves fugitives in the midst of London’s Great Smog; as David’s wife Sarah finds herself drawn into a world more terrifying than she ever could have imagined. And hard on their heels is Gestapo Sturmbannfuhrer Gunther Hoth, brilliant, implacable hunter of men…At once a vivid, haunting reimagining of 1950s Britain, a gripping, humane spy thriller and a poignant love story, with Dominion C. J. Sansom once again asserts himself as the master of the historical novel.

An intriguing thriller set in an alternative Britain under the Nazis cunningly reanimates the post-war years as they might have been…What if the second world war had ended not in 1945, but in 1940? In this haunting, vividly imagined novel by C. J. Sansom, the hinge on which history turns is the resignation of Neville Chamberlain in May 1940…The alternative Britain that Sansom constructs, a brilliant amalgam of the 1950s as they actually were and as they might have been, is entirely convincing. Throwaway details cleverly add verisimilitude to his portrait. The tale he sets within his parallel universe is at once exciting, sophisticated and moving. There will be few better historical novels published this year.”            Sunday Times

Masterly…sketched with hallucinatory clarity…Sansom, whose Tudor mysteries showed his feeling for the plight of good people in a brutal, treacherous society, builds his nightmare Britain from the sooty bricks of truth…From the thuggish “Auxies” who beat up protestors to the apolitical rebellion of the “Jive Boys”, every note in Sansom’s smoggy hell rings true…No bulldog defiance in 1940; no weary triumph in 1945; no dogged renewal with the post-war Welfare State: Dominion shows us what a truly broken Britain would look, and feel, like.”                   Boyd Tonkin, Independent

May We Be Forgiven by A. M. Homes

Harry is a Richard Nixon scholar who leads a quiet, regular life; his brother George is a high-flying TV producer, with a murderous temper. They have been uneasy rivals since childhood. Then one day George’s loses control so extravagantly that he precipitates Harry into an entirely new life.

In May We Be Forgiven, Homes gives us a darkly comic look at 21st century domestic life – at individual lives spiraling out of control, bound together by family and history. The cast of characters experience adultery, accidents, divorce, and death. But this is also a savage and dizzyingly inventive vision of contemporary America, whose dark heart Homes penetrates like no other writer – the strange jargons of its language, its passive aggressive institutions, its inhabitants’ desperate craving for intimacy and their pushing it away with litigation, technology, paranoia. At the novel’s heart are the spaces in between, where the modern family comes together to re-form itself. May We Be Forgiven explores contemporary orphans losing and finding themselves anew; and it speaks above all to the power of personal transformation – simultaneously terrifying and inspiring.

Lady Limbo by Consuelo Roland

 There is a place that is not Heaven or Hell, its name is Limbo. From the acclaimed author of The Good Cemetery Guide comes a new dark and twisted tale steeped in sexual intrigue and pulsing with the dangers of the online world.

One Friday evening Daniel de Luc, an elusive crime writer with a deep love of poetry, disappears from a Camps Bay apartment while cooking pasta. His wife Paola, desperately worried after days of hearing nothing, is contacted by an eccentric stranger who claims to have known her missing husband under a different name and warns her not to look for him.
Paola soon learns that her husband is involved in the shadowy world of the international sex industry, where well-heeled women pay men to become the anonymous fathers of their children. As her neat, controlled existence is turned inside out, Paola struggles to keep her head and find her own humanity while trying to outwit her enemies and stay alive.
The result is a fast-paced thriller that shifts between Cape Town and Paris, blending realism with the fantastic and pitting love against the attraction of sexual adventure.

The Twelve by Justin Cronin

THE TWELVE: Death-row prisoners with nightmare pasts and no future.

THE TWELVE: Until they were selected for a secret experiment.

THE TWELVE: To create something more than human.

THE TWELVE: Now they are the future and humanity’s worst nightmare has begun.

THE TWELVE: The epic sequel to THE PASSAGE

In the present day, as the man-made apocalypse unfolds, three strangers navigate the chaos. Lila, a doctor and an expectant mother, is so shattered by the spread of violence and infection that she continues to plan for her child’s arrival even as society dissolves around her. Kittridge, known to the world as “Last Stand in Denver,” has been forced to flee his stronghold and is now on the road, dodging the infected, armed but alone and well aware that a tank of gas will get him only so far. April is a teenager fighting to guide her little brother safely through a landscape of death and ruin. These three will learn that they have not been fully abandoned—and that in connection lies hope, even on the darkest of nights.

One hundred years in the future, Amy and the others fight on for humankind’s salvation . . . unaware that the rules have changed. The enemy has evolved, and a dark new order has arisen with a vision of the future infinitely more horrifying than man’s extinction. If the Twelve are to fall, one of those united to vanquish them will have to pay the ultimate price.

The follow-up the bestselling and compulsively readable The PassageThe Twelve is a heart-stopping thriller, a grand and gripping tale of sacrifice and survival.

Cold Hands by John Niven

 You thought you could leave the past behind.

Think again.

 Donnie Miller counts himself lucky. Living in a beautiful, spacious house in the wild and remote landscape of central Canada, he spends his days writing for the local newspaper, working on a film script, and acting as house-husband. After a troubled and impoverished upbringing in Scotland, he now has all he wants: a caring wife, a bright and happy son, a generous father-in-law. As the brutal northern winter begins to bite, he can sit back and enjoy life.

But his peace is soon broken. There are noises in the nearby woods, signs of some mysterious watcher. When the family dog disappears, Donnie makes a horrifying discovery. Is it wolves, as the police suspect, or something far more dangerous, far darker? What secrets has Donnie been keeping? And why does he have the terrible sense that his dream was never going to last?

A taut, shocking and visceral thriller that will leave you gasping for breath, Cold Hands is the first in an exciting new series by the remarkable John Niven.

Spinoza Problem by Irving D Yalom

 When sixteen-year-old Alfred Rosenberg is called into his headmaster’s office for anti-Semitic remarks he made during a school speech, he is forced, as a punishment, to memorise passages about Spinoza from the autobiography of the German poet Goethe. Rosenberg is stunned to discover that Goethe, his idol, was a great admirer of the Jewish seventeenth -century philosopher Baruch Spinoza. Long after graduation, Rosenberg remains haunted by this “Spinoza problem”: How could the German genius Goethe have been inspired by a member of a race Rosenberg considers inferior to his own, a race he was determined to destroy?

Spinoza himself was no stranger to punishment during his lifetime. Because of his unorthodox religious views, he was excommunicated from the Amsterdam Jewish community in 1656, at the age of twenty-four, and banished from the only world he had ever known. Though his life was short and he lived without means in great isolation, he nonetheless produced works that changed the course of history.

Over the years, Rosenberg rose through the ranks to become an outspoken Nazi ideologue, a faithful servant of Hitler, and the main author of racial policy for the Third Reich. Still, his Spinoza obsession lingered. By imagining the unexpected intersection of Spinoza’s life with Rosenberg’s, internationally bestselling novelist Irvin D. Yalom explores the mindsets of two men separated by 300 years. Using his skills as a psychiatrist, he explores the inner lives of Spinoza, the saintly secular philosopher, and of Rosenberg, the godless mass murderer.


The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present by Eric R Kandel

 A brilliant book by Nobel Prize winner Eric R. Kandel, The Age of Insight takes us to Vienna 1900, where leaders in science, medicine, and art began a revolution that changed forever how we think about the human mind – our conscious and unconscious thoughts and emotions – and how mind and brain relate to art.
At the turn of the century, Vienna was the cultural capital of Europe. Artists and scientists met in glittering salons, where they freely exchanged ideas that led to revolutionary breakthroughs in psychology, brain science, literature, and art. Kandel takes us into the world of Vienna to trace, in rich and rewarding detail, the ideas and advances made then, and their enduring influence today.
The Vienna School of Medicine led the way with its realisation that truth lies hidden beneath the surface. That principle infused Viennese culture and strongly influenced the other pioneers of Vienna 1900. Sigmund Freud shocked the world with his insights into how our everyday unconscious aggressive and erotic desires are repressed and disguised in symbols, dreams, and behavior. Arthur Schnitzler revealed women’s unconscious sexuality in his novels through his innovative use of the interior monologue. Gustav Klimt, Oscar Kokoschka, and Egon Schiele created startlingly evocative and honest portraits that expressed unconscious lust, desire, anxiety, and the fear of death.
Kandel tells the story of how these pioneers inspired by the Vienna School of Medicine, in turn influenced the founders of the Vienna School of Art History to ask pivotal questions such as What does the viewer bring to a work of art? How does the beholder respond to it? These questions prompted new and ongoing discoveries in psychology and brain biology, leading to revelations about how we see and perceive, how we think and feel, and how we respond to and create works of art. Kandel, one of the leading scientific thinkers of our time, places these five innovators in the context of today’s cutting-edge science and gives us a new understanding of the modernist art of Klimt, Kokoschka, and Schiele, as well as the school of thought of Freud and Schnitzler. Reinvigorating the intellectual enquiry that began in Vienna 1900, The Age of Insight is a wonderfully written, superbly researched, and beautifully illustrated book that also provides a foundation for future work in neuroscience and the humanities. It is an extraordinary book from an international leader in neuroscience and intellectual history.

 Light & Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page by Brad Tolinski

“How far did we go? As far as our imaginations would carry us, really. Those were the days of pure hedonism. LA in particular was like Sodom and Gomorrah…It was my life – that fusion of magic and music.”

Jimmy Page was the leader, mastermind, guitarist and producer of Led Zeppelin, described by Rolling Stone magazine as “the biggest band of the seventies” and “unquestionably one of the most enduring bands in rock history.” While there is no shortage of written material out there on Led Zeppelin’s legacy, none of the band members have ever written a tell-all book or co-operated with the press or a biographer. For the most part, their exploits are merely the stuff of legend. On the rare occasions that Page has opened his doors to journalists, he has done so with caution.

Over the last twenty years, Brad Tolinski, editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine, has interviewed Page more than any other journalist in the world and by asking incisive questions, he’s been able to gain the trust of this greatly misunderstood artist. Sifting through over fifty hours of conversations that touch on everything from the 1960s music scene and his early years as England’s top session guitarist working with artists like The Who, The Kinks, and Eric Clapton, to his wild years in Led Zeppelin, and post-Zep projects, Light & Shade will provide readers with the most complete picture of the media-shy guitarist ever published.

Mick Jagger by Philip Norman

 A miracle of still-plentiful hair, raw sex-appeal, and strutting talent . The frontman of one of the most influential and controversial groups of all time. A musical genius with a career spanning over four decades. He is a testament to British glamour, the ultimate architect and demi-god of rock.

Bestselling biographer Philip Norman offers an unparalleled account of the life of a living legend, Mick Jagger. From Home Counties schoolboy, to rebel without a cause to Sixties rock sensation and global idol, Norman unravels with astonishing intimacy the myth of the inimitable frontman of The Rolling Stones. Mick Jagger charts his extraordinary journey through scandal-ridden conspiracy, infamous prison spell, hordes of female admirers and a knighthood while stripping away the colossal fame, wealth and idolatry to reveal a story of talent and promise unfulfilled.

Understated yet ostentatious; the ultimate incarnation of modern man’s favourite fantasy: ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’, yet blessed with taste and intelligence; a social chameleon who couldn’t blend in if he tried; always moving with the Jagger swagger yet modest enough to be self-deprecating, Mick was a paradoxical energy that reconfigured the musical landscape.

This revelatory tour de force is ample tribute to a flawed genius, a Casanova, an Antichrist and a god who, with characteristic nonchalance realised the dreams of thousands of current contenders and rocker pretenders, longevity, while coasting on a sea of fur rugs.

Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story by Greg Smith

 On March 14, 2012, more than three million people read Greg Smith’s bombshell Op-Ed in the New York Times titled “Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs.” The column immediately went viral, became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter, and drew passionate responses from former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, legendary General Electric CEO Jack Welch, and New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg. Mostly, though, it hit a nerve among the general public who question the role of Wall Street in society – and the callous “take-the-money-and-run” mentality that brought the world economy to its knees a few short years ago. Smith now picks up where his Op-Ed left off.

His story begins in the summer of 2000, when an idealistic 21-year-old arrives as an intern at Goldman Sachs and learns about the firm’s Business Principle #1: Our clients’ interests always come first. This remains Smith’s mantra as he rises from intern to analyst to sales trader, with clients controlling assets of more than a trillion dollars.

From the shenanigans of his summer internship during the technology bubble to Las Vegas hot tubs and the excesses of the real estate boom; from the career lifeline he received from an NFL Hall of Famer during the bear market to the day Warren Buffett came to save Goldman Sachs from extinction-Smith will take the reader on his personal journey through the firm, and bring us inside the world’s most powerful bank.

Smith describes in page-turning detail how the most storied investment bank on Wall Street went from taking iconic companies like Ford, Sears, and Microsoft public to becoming a “vampire squid” that referred to its clients as “muppets” and paid the government a record half-billion dollars to settle SEC charges. He shows the evolution of Wall Street into an industry riddled with conflicts of interest and a profit-at-all-costs mentality: a perfectly rigged game at the expense of the economy and the society at large.

After conversations with nine Goldman Sachs partners over a twelve-month period proved fruitless, Smith came to believe that the only way the system would ever change was for an insider to finally speak out publicly. He walked away from his career and took matters into his own hands. This is his story.

Write edited by Phil Daoust

 Writing a novel can be a slow, painful and lonely process. Many writers never manage to achieve their goal. This inspirational book will help you to rediscover the joy of your craft and rekindle your creative fire.

Leading contemporary authors offer you support, guidance and encouragement as well as a fascinating insight into the craft of writing. The book features pieces from Andrew Miller (creating characters); Meg Rosoff (finding your voice); DBC Pierre (convincing dialogue); Mark Billingham (creating suspense), and many more including Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Geoff Dyer, Anne Enright, Richard Ford, Esther Freud, Neil Gaiman, David Hare, PD James, AL Kennedy, Hilary Mantel, Michael Moorcock, Andrew Motion, Joyce Carol Oates, Annie Proulx, Ian Rankin, Will Self, Helen Simpson, Colm Tóibín, Rose Tremain and Jeanette Winterson.

There are also unique insights into the making of modern classics, by the authors themselves:

Martin Amis on Time’s Arrow; Sue Townsend on The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole; Susan Hill on The Woman In Black; AS Byatt on Possession; Edna O’Brien on The Country Girls; Hanif Kureishi on The Buddha of Suburbia; Iain Banks on The Wasp Factory; Charles Frazier on Cold Mountain; Terry Pratchett on Unseen Academicals; Douglas Coupland on Generation X; Irvine Welsh on Trainspotting; Russell Hoban on Ridley Walker and lots more.

And a few final tips – not all entirely serious – from Blake Morrison, Charlie Brooker and Hilary Mantel.

The Tudors: A History of England Volume Two by Peter Ackroyd

 Rich in detail and atmosphere and told in vivid prose, Tudors recounts the transformation of England from a settled Catholic country to a Protestant superpower.  It is the story of Henry VIII’s cataclysmic break with Rome, and his relentless pursuit of both the perfect wife and the perfect heir; of how the brief reign of the teenage king, Edward VI, gave way to the violent re-imposition of Catholicism and the stench of bonfires under ‘Bloody Mary’.  It tells, too, of the long reign of Elizabeth I, which, though marked by civil strife, plots against the queen and even an invasion force, finally brought stability. Above all, however, it is the story of the English Reformation and the making of the Anglican Church.  At the beginning of the sixteenth century, England was still largely feudal and looked to Rome for direction; at its end, it was a country where good governance was the duty of the state, not the church, and where men and women began to look to themselves for answers rather than to those who ruled them.

Ackroyd delivers the grisly annals of Tudor persecutions with an eye for detailed pathos… Ackroyd evokes the purging of Catholic popular piety with a controlled, rueful passion…[He] neatly avoids imposing a 21st-century moral sensibility on the question of executions by warning against cultural anachronism…[A] superbly accessible and readable History of England”  Financial Times

Historian Peter Ackroyd clearly relishes the wicked glamour of the family which presided over the Reformation, saw off the Spanish Armada, founded the British Empire and left the country they ruled a great European power…The Tudors, as Ackroyd reminds us in this fluent and colourful second volume of his History of England, were more than just a dysfunctional ruling family. Some of our greatest names were true Tudors too…Such a shame that the Stuarts followed and ruined it all. That’s a story for Ackroyd s next volume, and I can’t wait”        Sunday Express

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

 Mary Anne Schwalbe is waiting for her chemotherapy treatments when Will casually asks her what she’s reading. The conversation they have grows into tradition: soon they are reading the same books so they can have something to talk about in the hospital waiting room. Their choices range from classic (Howards End) to popular (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), from fantastic (The Hobbit) to spiritual (Jon Kabat-Zinn), with many in between. We hear their passion for reading and their love for each other in their intimate and searching discussions.

A profoundly moving testament to the power of love between a child and parent, and the power of reading in our lives.

A wonderful book about wonderful books and mothers and sons and the enduring braid between them.”              Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays With Morrie

I was so moved by this marvellous book. Schwalbe has done something extraordinary: made a personal journey public in the most engaging, funny and revealing way possible. It is a true meditation on what books can do.”       Edmund de Waal, author of The Hare with Amber Eyes

Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries by Jon Ronson

 Jon Ronson has been on patrol with America’s real-life superheroes and to a UFO convention in the Nevada desert with Robbie Williams. He’s interviewed a robot and asked her if she has a soul. He’s travelled to the Alaskan theme town of North Pole (where every day is Christmas Day) to investigate a high school mass-murder plot. He’s met a man who tried to split the atom in his kitchen and another who’s preparing to welcome the aliens to earth. Jon Ronson is fascinated by madness, strange behaviour and the human mind, and he has spent his life exploring mysterious events and meeting extraordinary people. Collected here from various sources are the best of his adventures. Frequently hilarious, sometimes disturbing, always entertaining, these compelling stories of the chaos that lies on the fringe of our daily lives will have you wondering just what we’re capable of.

Ronson is one of the finest comic writers working today.”   Will Self, Guardian

Ronson is a tenacious, often courageous reporter, whose keen sense of humour never detracts from the integrity of his journalism.”                    Sunday Times

Simultaneously frightening and hilarious.”     The Times

Be Good: How to Navigate the Ethics of Everything by Randy Cohen

The New York Times Magazine’s original ‘Ethicist’ Randy Cohen helps readers locate their own internal ethical compasses as he delivers answers to life’s most challenging dilemmas–timeless and contemporary alike. Organised thematically in an easy-to-navigate Q&A format, and featuring line illustrations throughout, this amusing and engaging book challenges readers to think about how they would (or should) respond when faced with everyday moral challenges, from sex and love to religion, technology, and much more. Sure to ignite brain cells and spark healthy debate, Be Good is a book to refer to again and again.

What struck me most was his claim that, despite our quickly changing world of social media and altered interpersonal communications, ethics themselves have not changed much over time. Etiquette changes; social mores shift. But whether you’re a Googler or a gladiator, the basic line stays the same: When in doubt about how to act, be good. We all know (pretty much) what that means.”

Zuma Exposed by Adriaan Basson

 This is the book President Jacob Zuma does not want you to read. From Shaik to ‘The Spear’, award-winning investigative journalist Adriaan Basson reveals the truth behind Jacob Zuma’s presidency of the ANC and South Africa. From one bad decision to another, this explosive, roller-coaster account traces the unravelling of a likeable but deeply flawed leader who came to power as victim, not visionary.

Basson forensically unpacks the charges against Zuma and reveals a president whose first priority is to serve and protect his own, rather than the 50 million people he was elected to lead.

To be published on the eve of the ANC elective conference in Mangaung, this is essential reading for any South African who cares about the country they live in.

 Adriaan Basson is the assistant editor of City Press and author of Finish & Klaar: Selebi’s fall from Interpol to the Underworld. He is an award-winning investigative journalist who has received numerous prizes for journalistic excellence

Making the Cut: A Medico-Political Journey by Johan Naudé

 This is the personal story of one man’s medical experience in South Africa set in the context of apartheid and the HIV/AIDS explosion.

Before his retirement, Johan Naudé was president of the South African Urological Association, and a renowned transplant surgeon sharing, at one point, an organ transplant unit with legendary transplant surgeon Christian Barnard. Full of poignant tales touching on controversial subjects such as racism and poverty, corruption in medical practice, and African political history, this is a book for anyone.

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe

 From a tiny office on Madison Avenue in the early 1960s, a struggling company named Marvel Comics introduced a series of bright-costumed superhero characters distinguished by smart banter and compellingly human flaws. Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, The X-Men, Daredevil – these superheroes quickly won children’s hearts and sparked the imagination of pop artists, public intellectuals, and campus radicals. Over the course of half a century, Marvel’s epic universe would become the most elaborate fictional narrative in history and serve as a modern American mythology for millions of readers.

Interweaving history, anecdotes, and analysis, Sean Howe traces Marvel’s decades- long rise to a multi-billion-dollar enterprise, revealing how it weathered Wall Street machinations, Hollywood failures, legal battles, and the collapse of the comic book market. He shows how Marvel’s identity has continually shifted, careening between scrappy underdog and corporate behemoth. He also introduces the men behind the magic, including self-made publisher Martin Goodman, energetic editor Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby, the WWII veteran and co-creator of many of the company’s marquee characters. A story of fertile imaginations, lifelong friendships, action-packed fistfights, reformed criminals, unlikely alliances, and third-act betrayals that incorporates more than one hundred original interviews with Marvel insiders then and now, Marvel Comics: The Untold Story is a gripping narrative of one of the most dominant pop cultural forces in contemporary America.

 From Germany to Germany: Diary 1990 by Günther Grass

 In 1990, Günter Grass – a reluctant diarist – felt compelled to make a record of the interesting times through which he was living.

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and the collapse of Communism, Germany and Europe were enduring a period of immense upheaval. Grass resolved to immerse himself in these political debates: he travelled widely throughout both Germanys, the former East and the former West, conducting a lively exchange with political enemies, friends and his own children about all the questions posed by reunification.

His account gives the reader an unparalleled insight into a key moment in the life of modern Europe, seen through the eyes of one of its most acclaimed writers. It also provides a startling insight into the creative process as the reader witnesses ideas for novels occurring and then taking shape.

From Germany to Germany is both a personal journal by a great creative artist and a penetrating commentary on recent European history by someone who was simultaneously an acute observer and a highly engaged participant.

 Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design

 Born of the traditions of fine art and printing, graphic design is a form of visual communication that seeks to inform, identify or promote through the combination of word and image. But unlike the written word or a work of art, a graphic design operates exclusively in the context in which it will be seen, and mediates between the wishes of the client and the expectations of the public. Moreover, a graphic work is created for mass reproduction.

The field of graphic design, as we know it today, has its roots in two developments: the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century and the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, both of which contributed to the process of graphic reproduction. Today, trade, commerce, communications and culture continue to feed the need for graphic design, and technological developments – most notably the computer – are constantly broadening its possibilities. Of all the arts, graphic design comes closest to our contemporary daily life, as we interact with graphic design on an almost continuous basis.

Five hundred graphic designs created since the advent of mechanical reproduction, are showcased in this archive – from the Gutenberg Bible and Nuremberg Chronicles of the fifteenth century, to the cutting edge magazines, posters and ephemera of today. It is the authoritative selection of newspapers, magazines, advertisements, typefaces, logos, corporate design, record and CD covers and moving graphics from around the world, which have created a benchmark for excellence and innovation. Compiled and researched by experts, and illustrated with up to six images per entry, including rarely seen historical and contextual material, The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design is the ultimate reference guide for the design professional and enthusiast alike. Designed with exceptional production details and rich with information, this book also becomes an object that appeals to the creativity and imagination of the reader.


Happy reading!

Fabulous Friday Facebook Freebies

Friday, November 23rd 2012 at 8:42 AM

Morning all. Every Friday until Christmas we are giving away 1 gorgeous book on Facebook. All you have to do is like us on Facebook and, when we post the book, share and like the status. Simple right? And you have all weekend to enter – the draw stays open till Monday. So get those mouse fingers walking….

Launch of Zuma Exposed by Adriaan Basson (in discussion with Pierre de Vos)

Thursday, November 22nd 2012 at 5:30 PM

This is the book President Jacob Zuma does not want you to read. From Shaik to ‘The Spear’, award-winning investigative journalist Adriaan Basson reveals the truth behind Jacob Zuma’s presidency of the ANC and South Africa. From one bad decision to another, this explosive, roller-coaster account traces the unravelling of a likeable but deeply flawed leader who came to power as victim, not visionary.

Basson forensically unpacks the charges against Zuma and reveals a president whose first priority is to serve and protect his own, rather than the 50 million people he was elected to lead.

To be published on the eve of the ANC elective con-ference in Mangaung, this is essential reading for any South African who cares about the country they live in.

Adriaan Basson is the assistant editor of City Press and author of Finish & Klaar: Selebi’s fall from Interpol to the Underworld. He is an award-winning investigative journalist who has received numerous prizes for journalistic excellence.



Launch of Spearheading Debate: Culture Wars and Uneasy Truces by Stephen Dubin (in conversation with Pippa Skotnes)

Wednesday, November 21st 2012 at 5:30 PM

The concept of “culture wars” is very familiar to Americans but it is virtually unknown in other parts of the world. Sociologist James Hunter defined culture wars as public conflict based upon incompatible worldviews, what he differentiated as “the impulse toward orthodoxy” from “the impulse toward progressivism”. In other words, divergent moral visions have supplanted economics as the critical factor driving a wedge between different factions in the contemporary world. This robust concept is useful to analyse a broad range of impassioned confrontations between groups within the same society, polarised over hot-button issues regarding race and ethnicity; the body, sexuality and sexual orientation; religion; and patriotism and national identity. As South Africa’s democracy matures, this book analyses the following questions: how does the state mediate between traditional tribal authority and constitutional law in matters such as initiation customs or the rights of women, children and gay people? What are the limitations on artistic freedom in a society where sensitivities over colonial- and apartheid-era representations are acute? Whose histories are venerated and whose are obliterated? How does race open up discussions or Close down dialogue? What are the parameters of freedom of speech when minorities fear that hateful language may trigger actual violence against them? And do legacies of oppression generate exclusive insights and grant special rights? Examining disputes over South African art, music, media, editorial cartoons, history, public memory, and a variety of social practices, Past Imperfect/Future Conditional extends the culture-wars perspective to new territory, demonstrates its cross-cultural applicability, and parses critical debates within this vibrant society in formation.


Steven C. Dubin is Professor of Arts Administration at Teachers College–Columbia University and Research Affiliate of Columbia University’s Institute of African Studies. He received his MA and PhD from the University of Chicago and did post-doctoral work at both Chicago and Yale, all in Sociology. He is the author of four
books: Bureaucratizing the Muse: Public Funds and the Cultural Worker (U. of Chicago Press, 1987); Arresting Images: Impolitic Art and Uncivil Actions (Routledge, 1992; paperback edition, 1994); Displays of Power: Memory and Amnesia in the American Museum (NYU Press, 1999; expanded paperback edition, 2000); and Transforming Museums: Mounting Queen Victoria in a Democratic South Africa (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2006; Mounting Queen Victoria: Curating Cultural Change, paperback, Jacana,

Arresting Images was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and received the Gustavus Meyers Award for Outstanding Book in the Study of Human Rights. Both Arresting Images and Displays of Power were featured as the lead books of their respective lists; along with Mounting Queen Victoria, they remain in print.
Professor Dubin has been The Lady Davis Fellowship Trust Visiting Professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem on two occasions; was awarded a Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship to South Africa; served as a Fulbright Senior Specialist at the University of Iceland; and has enjoyed numerous writing residencies. He has visited South Africa regularly since 2000, for a total stay of over three years.


Launch of Just a Dead Man by Margaret von Klemperer (in conversation with Margie Orford)

Tuesday, November 20th 2012 at 5:30 PM

Amateur detection is not as straightforward as books and movies suggest – and in South Africa xenophobia and racism complicate the issues even more. Single mother and artist, Laura Marsh, finds this out when she tries to help a friend, Zimbabwean refugee and artist, Daniel Moyo, who is arrested for a murder committed close to Laura’s Pietermaritzburg home.

Concerned that Daniel has been arrested simply because he is a foreigner and was unlucky enough to find the body, Laura tries to help him. But a connection between Daniel and the dead man emerges, and the deeper Laura digs, the more complicated the situation becomes as she begins to realise that there are some very unpleasant and politically well-connected people lurking in the background of the case.

Laura’s actions put herself and other people at risk as the police seem unwilling to look beyond Daniel for a suspect. She also finds herself attracted to the Inspector in charge, even though she resents the police for their treatment of her friend. It will take another killing and a life-threatening situation for Laura before a resolution is reached.

As well as being a crime novel, the book touches on issues of xenophobia and racism in South Africa. It is also the human story of a woman trying to get on with her post-divorce life and bring up her sons as best she can on her own.

About the Author
Margaret von Klemperer was arts editor of the Witness newspaper for 16 years until she decided to give up full time work and see whether she could write a publishable book. She is still the newspaper’s books editor. She was born in Britain but has lived in Pietermaritzburg with her husband, Julian, for more than 40 years. They have two adult children.


Thank you for our ZINE-bombing

Saturday, November 17th 2012 at 3:04 PM

We are definitely dedicated to anything that celebrates print and the beauty of a book, so we were delighted like small children, when we found the one of a kind Great Book of Tissue in our Graphic Novel section last night. We simply adore it. Thank you to the unknown artist.