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Antifragile: How to Live in a World We Don’t Understand by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Saturday, December 15th 2012 at 1:31 PM

From the bestselling author of The Black Swan and one of the foremost thinkers of our time, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a book on how to benefit from disorder.

In The Black Swan Taleb outlined a problem, and his revelatory new book Antifragile offers a definitive solution: how to live in a world that is unpredicatable, chaotic, and full of shocks, and how to thrive during periods of disaster. Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner. For what Taleb calls the ‘antifragile’ is beyond the merely robust; it benefits from shocks, uncertainty and stressors. Antifragile is about what to do when we don’t understand. It is a new word because it is a new concept.

Many of the greatest breakthroughs in human endeavour come from the innovation by trial and error that is part of antifragility. And some of the best systems we know of, including natural selection and evolution, have antifragility at their heart. How did the disaster of the sinking of the Titanic bring us closer to safety? Why does the stress on bones make us stronger? Why should you write a resignation letter on your first day in the office? Why should we detest the lack of accountability at the heart of capitalism?

The most successful of us, the most daring and creative will take advantage of disorder and invent new, more powerful opportunities and advantages beyond our expectations.

Irreverent and ambitious, Antifragile provides a blueprint for how to live-and thrive-in a world we don’t understand, and which is too uncertain for us to even try to predict. Taleb’s message is revolutionary: what is not antifragile will surely perish.

We are offering 20% off all pre-publication orders. The published price will be R225, but we are offering it for just R180. Published by Penguin Books. Please note that the book is due in December, but does not have a specific date yet, so cannot be guaranteed for Christmas. We will keep you informed as we are updated.

To take advantage of this offer, please contact us on 021 462 2425 or

Niki Daly’s Herd Boy tells of Madiba’s Youth

Saturday, December 15th 2012 at 11:00 AM


Christmas Stocking Part II

Friday, December 14th 2012 at 1:30 PM

Michael Poliza special

We’re in the festive spirit here at the Book Lounge (hic!) and we want to offer you a very special discount on two very limited editions of Michael Poliza’s Eyes Over Africa.

In 2006, to fulfill a long-held dream, widely acclaimed photographer Michael Poliza and friend Stefan Breuer undertook a helicopter journey across Africa. Skimming close to the ground, they flew over 19 countries. Poliza’s alluring and often surprising photographs share this exceptional journey with the world. With a bird’s-eye view, we witness the astounding beauty, scale and diversity of this imposing continent. The accompanying texts give a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the photographs, and brief background to some of the most fascinating subject matters.

The oversized deluxe edition filled with extraordinary images chronicle a remarkable 2006 helicopter journey over 12 African countries. They capture the immense scale, raw beauty and rich diversity of a vast and complex continent. Accompanied by behind-the-scenes information on this incredible journey and brief background on some of the most intriguing subjects, each strictly limited XXL edition is a fitting tribute to Africa.

Special limited deluxe edition

Retail price is R20,000. We are offering it at 30% off – just R14,000

Special limited deluxe edition signed by the author

Retail price is R27,000. We are offering it at 30% off – just R18,900

Offer available till December 24th

Forever Rumpole: The Best of the Rumpole Stories by John Mortimer

Our favourite barrister is represented here in a collection of some of the best stories of his career. Over thirty years John Mortimer wrote around eighty Rumpole stories, as well as four Rumpole novels, as the greatest of all fictional lawyers went from defending wife-murderers to defending hunt-saboteurs and alleged Islamic terrorists. Forever Rumpolecontains seven early stories chosen by the author himself in 1993 as his favourites to that point together with a further seven from the later years, and a fragment of a Rumpole novel Sir John left on his death. Perfect Christmas reading!

Testament of Mary by ColmToibín

In a voice that is both tender and filled with rage, The Testament of Mary tells the story of a cataclysmic event which led to an overpowering grief. For Mary, her son has been lost to the world, and now, living in exile and in fear, she tries to piece together the memories of the events that led to her son’s brutal death. To her he was a vulnerable figure, surrounded by men who could not be trusted, living in a time of turmoil and change. As her life and her suffering begin to acquire the resonance of myth, Mary struggles to break the silence. In her effort to tell the truth, she slowly emerges as a figure of immense moral stature.

Bicycle Portraits and Miss Beautiful Special Gift Pack

Local and very talented photographer Stan Engelbrecht has brought us a very special and exclusive gift pack. It contains all 3 volumes of his brilliant recent project – Bicycle Portraits – a collection of pictures of South Africans and their bicycles, plus a FREE copy of his stunning book Miss Beautiful– a tour around the beauty pageants of South Africa. A really great deal.

Gaudi Pop-ups

For over a century the fantastical works of the Catalan architect and designer Antoni Gaudí have enraptured visitors to the city of Barcelona. Gaudís creations reflected his abiding passion for nature and religion, as well as his meticulous attention to detail. Perhaps no other architect has become so synonymous with the aesthetic style of a city. Gaudí Pop-Ups celebrates  this visionary architect by bringing these spectacular works to life in a new and fascinating way that enables us to further appreciate the genius of Gaudí. Wow!

Mammoth Book of Street Art

Informed by his love of hip hop and grafitti, editorJAKe has compiled a fresh, diverse collection drawn from Rio, Berlin, London, Philadelphia and other street art hotspots. The emphasis is on humour and the artworks venture beyond grafitti to ‘installations’ such as RONZO’s Credit Crunch Monster, cemented in the centre of London’s financial district. JAKe brings an insider’s awareness of context to this collection which comprises both photographs from his personal archives and a selection of the world’s best street art from the artists themselves.

Meme Wars: The Creative Destruction of Neoclassical Economics

Over the last twenty years, Adbusters magazine has challenged consumerism, championed the environment and provided a platform for some of our greatest thinkers. In 2011, they instigated Occupy Wall Street, sparking a huge international movement.

Now Kalle Lasn, editor and founder of Adbusters, brings us this beautiful and thought provoking book, which provides the building blocks, in texts and visuals, for a new way of looking at and changing our world. Illustrated in the distinctive style of the magazine and drawing on a brilliant cast of contributers, Meme Wars debunks many of the assumptions about how we run our societies today.

Placing fresh emphasis on the environmental and human factors that are often left out in discussions of economics and examining alternative economies, Meme Wars is designed to be ‘a textbook for the future’ – one that brings to light inspiring ideas for positive change.

Limited edition Audio Cassette Moleskine

Celebrating 50 years of the audio cassette, these cute and cheeky notebooks will definitely raise a smile on Christmas morning. We love retro!

How are you Feeling: At the Centre of the Inside of the Human Brain’s Mind by David Shrigley

At the centre of the inside of the human brain’s mind is the place where one can find the reasons why human beings behave in such peculiar, delightful and unpleasant ways. Join David Shrigley as he takes a tour round the brain, pointing out the crazy and the bizarre along the way, looking at memory, the five senses, morals and the other strange and wonderful things that lurk there.

Afropolis: City, Media, Art

Lavishly illustrated and meticulously researched, Afropolisis the product of an exhibition developed by the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum in Cologne, Germany. The book focuses on the Big Five of African cities: Cairo, Lagos, Nairobi, Kinshasa and Johannesburg, and brings together positions of artistic and cultural studies, as well as detailed histories and the specific dynamics of these African cities, in order to expand our understanding of the concept of urbanity and the phenomenon of the City from an African perspective.

Artful by Ali Smith

Refusing to be tied down to either fiction or the essay form, Artful is narrated by a character who is haunted – literally – by a former lover, the writer of a series of lectures about art and literature. Full of both the poignancy and humour of fiction and all the sideways insights and jaunty angles you would expect from Ali Smith’s criticism, it explores form, style, life, love, death, mortality, immortality and what art and writing can mean.

Jewels of Paradise by Donna Leon

CaterinaPellegrini is a young Venetian musicologist hired by two competing cousins to find the truthful heir to an alleged treasure concealed by a once-famous, but now almost forgotten, baroque composer. Sworn to secrecy, Caterina can solve the mystery only by searching through the papers contained in the composer’s two chests that have not been opened for centuries.

As she delves into all quarters of his life, from professional to personal, she is drawn into one of the most scandalous affairs of the baroque era. When her research takes her in unexpected directions, she begins to wonder what dark secrets these chests hold and just whom can she trust?

John Lennon Letters edited by Hunter Davies

Perfect for the Lennon fan in your life. This collection shows John Lennon to have been as prodigious and talented a writer as he was a musician. He wrote many many letters to friends, family, loved ones, the newspapers, politicians and others – which are revealed in this book to be funny, informative, campaigning, wise, mad, poetic, anguished and sometimes heartbreaking. This is a fascinating and unique insight into the mind one of our most creative geniuses.

Wine Grapes: A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and José Vuillamoz

An essential for every wine lover, from some of the world’s greatest experts.

Where do wine grapes come from and how are they related to each other? What is the historical background of each grape variety? Where are they grown? What sort of wines do they make and, most importantly, what do they taste like?

Using the most cutting-edge DNA analysis and detailing almost 1,400 distinct grape varietiesthis particularly beautiful book includes revelatory grape family trees, and a rich variety of illustrations from Viala and Vermorel’s seminal ampelography with century-old illustrations. Wine Grapes offers essential and original information in greater depth and breadth than has ever been available before.

 The Bumper Book of Family Games: Activities and Fun All Year Round

Avoid boredom and family fisticuffs this season with this funtastic book packed with games and activities. Mixing the traditional with the modern, this book will keep you entertained at home, on the beach, in the car, and anywhere else you might find yourself over the holidays.

Fragile Earth: Dramatic Images of our Changing Planet

This amazing book provides a striking look at the dramatic changes that are happening to our planet. It shows over 350 dramatic images of natural disasters, human development and the impacts of climate change. Alongside the powerful imagery there are contributions from leading experts, with maps, graphs and statistics on the major subjects, such as climate change, the environment and urbanisation.

Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson

Each recipe in Vintage Cakes is a confectionary stroll down memory lane. After sifting through her treasure trove of cookbooks and recipe cards, master baker and author Julie Richardson selected the most inventive, surprising, and just plain delicious cakes she could find. The result is a delightful and delectable time capsule of American baking, with recipes spanning a century.
Each cake has been expertly tested and retooled using the best ingredients and most up-to-date techniques. With precise and careful guidance, Richardson guides home bakers—whether total beginners or seasoned cooks—toward picture-perfect meringues, extra-creamy frostings, and lighter-than-air chiffons.

 Extreme Origami: Transforming Dollar Bills into Priceless World of Art by Won Park

Origami expert Won Park has now taken this ancient art to a whole new level. With no cutting and no pasting, Park is able to incorporate the details on dollar bills into his model designs. He shows us how to create a myriad of groovy things – including a Formula 1 car, a toilet, a butterfly, a koi carp, a scorpion, a sea turtle, a fox, an ox, a marlin, a car, a praying mantis, a dragon, a spider, a stag beetle, a stegosaurus, a bat, Pegasus, a fighter jet, a tank, and a pig! Wow!

Memory of the World: The treasures that record our history from 1700 BC to the present day

From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, the UNESCO Memory of the World programme was created to preserve and record the treasures of humanity and mobilise resources so that future generations can enjoy the legacy which is preserved in the major libraries, archives and museums across the globe. This beautifully illustrated book is a tour through some of human kind’s most amazing and precious treasures.

The Book of Time: The Secrets of Time, How it Works and How We Measure It by Adam Hart-Davis

In The Book of Time we see how philosophers, religions and scientists have tried to explain time as everything from a perfect cycle to ever-increasing chaos. We see how time works in the natural world and in our own bodies and minds, and how we’ve tried to measure it.  And from Aristotle to Einstein, we explore how time has been essential for scientists in their quest to understand the universe and everything in it. Not forgetting the deliciously weird world of time travel, explaining what is fact and what is fiction. This is the kind of book that you can dip into or read in depth – but either way we promise time will just fly by…

Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks

Have you ever seen something that wasn’t really there? Heard someone call your name in an empty house? Hallucinations don’t belong wholly to the insane. Much more commonly, they are linked to sensory deprivation, intoxication, illness, or injury. People with failing eyesight, paradoxically, may become immersed in a hallucinatory visual world. Hallucinations can be brought on by a simple fever or even the act of waking or falling asleep. As a young doctor in California in the 1960s, Oliver Sacks had both a personal and a professional interest in psychedelics. These, along with his early migraine experiences, launched a lifelong investigation into the varieties of hallucinatory experience. Here, with his usual elegance, curiosity, and compassion, Dr Sacks weaves together stories of his patients and of his own mind-altering experiences to illuminate what hallucinations tell us about the organization and structure of our brains, how they have influenced every culture’s folklore and art, and why the potential for hallucination is present in us all, a vital part of the human condition.

 Pocket Posh: 100 Classic Poems

Give someone the gift of poetry with this handy pocket gift book with 100 classic and favourite poems. William Blake’s The Tyger, Emily Dickinson’s Hope Is the Thing with Feathers, William Wordsworth’s The World Is Too Much with Us, John Keats’s A Thing of Beauty, are among the classic poems collected in this pocket-sized edition. There is also a very pretty puzzle book to match!

Bookie, Gambler, Fixer, Spy: A Journey to the Heart of Cricket’s Underworld by Ed Hawkins

This is a shocking and detailed look at India’s illegal bookmaking industry that exposes the scale of corruption and the match-fixing that now runs rife throughout world cricket.For several years Ed Hawkins made friends with India’s illegal bookmakers – men who boast turnover of hundreds of millions of dollars per cricket match – as well as the corruption officers of the International Cricket Council who are trying to shut them down. It’s a shady world and rumours abound. But then Hawkins receives a message that changes everything and he decides it is time to expose the truth behind match-fixing. Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy is a story featuring politicians, governing bodies, illegal bookmakers and powerless players – as well as corruption, intimidation and even suicide. It is a story that touches all cricket-playing nations around the world. It is a story that every cricket fan must read.

The Compleat Ankh-Morpork by Terry Pratchett and the Discworld Emporium

Greetings, adventurer! We lay before you this most comprehensive gazetteer encompassing all the streets of Ankh-Morpork, as well as information on its principal businesses, hotels, taverns, inns, and places of entertainment and refreshment, enhanced by the all-new and compleat map of our great city state.  Our city has grown well beyond its ancient walls, but the remit of this commission from the honourable Guild of Merchants was to ‘map the city’, the pulsing organ of commerce and culture, the heart as opposed to the body, and this we have done. In spades.

We ask that when you pore over this glorious work you spare some thought for the humble cartographers and surveyors who made journeys into the darker corners of our metropolis – no less dangerous than the wilds of Skund or Bhangbhangduc. To some the only memorial is the map you now possess. Others, in their quest for knowledge, paid the highest price that scholarship demands, which is to say, a day off in lieu.  And so we dedicate this map and these accompanying words to the officers, councilors and members of the Merchants’ Guild and to all who will find in its pages paths yet to tread and places yet to explore within the magnificentbwonder that is the city of Ankh-Morpork.

I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons

I’m Your Man explores the facets of Cohen’s life – from his early childhood in Montreal, to his entrée into the worlds of literature and music, his immersion in Jewish culture, obsession with Christian imagery, and deep commitment to Buddhist detachment – including the five years he spent at a monastery outside of Los Angeles.

Sylvie Simmons draws on Cohen’s private archives and a wealth of interviews with many of his closest associates, colleagues, and other artists whose work he has inspired, as well as professors, Buddhist monks and rabbis, to share stories and details never before revealed, and correct mistakes propounded in previous works. Unlike other biographies, I’m Your Man gives equal time to Cohen’s poetry and prose and balances his intellectual and religious sides. This thoughtful and excellent biography is an absolute must for all Leonard Cohen fans.

Underwater Dogs by Seth Casteel

Yes! It’s a book of dogs under water. And it’s brilliant! Award-winning photographer Seth Casteel presents over 80 photos of dogs of all breeds and sizes swimming, diving, fetching and playing – under water!

Citizens of No Place: An Architectural Graphic Novel by Jimenez Lai

Citizens of No Place is a collection of short stories on architecture and urbanism, graphically represented using manga-style storyboards. Fiction is used as a strategy to unpack thoughts about architecture. Modeled as a proto-manifesto, it is a candid chronicle of a highly critical thought process in the tradition of paper architecture (especially that of architect John Hejduk and Bernard Tschumi’s Manhattan Transcript). The short stories explore many architectural problems through the unique language of the graphic novel, helping usher the next generation of architectural theory and criticism.

Bond on Bond by Roger Moore

This is everything you could want to know about Bond – the girls, the cars, the gadgets, the villains – written and presented by Mr Sta-Prest himself – Roger Moore. As well as letting us in on a few trade secrets, he takes us behind the scenes and reveals what it’s really like to be Bond. James Bond.

Consider the Fork: A History of Invention in the Kitchen by Bee Wilson

A wooden spoon – most trusty and loveable of kitchen implements – looks like the opposite of ‘technology’, as the word is normally understood. But look closer. Is it oval or round? Does it have an extra-long handle to give your hand a place of greater safety from a hot skillet? Or a pointy bit at one side to get the lumpy bits in the corner of the pan? It took countless inventions to get to the well-equipped kitchens we have now, where our old low-tech spoon is joined by mixers, freezers and microwaves, but the story of human invention in the kitchen is largely unseen. Discovering the histories of our knives, ovens and kitchens themselves, Bee Wilson explores, among many other things, why the French and Chinese have such different cultures of the knife; and why Roman kitchens contain so many implements we recognise. Encompassing inventors, scientists, cooks and chefs, this is the previously unsung history of our kitchens.

Life in Five Seconds: Over 200 Stories for Those with no Time to Waste by H-57, Gianmarco Milesi and Matteo Civashi

In today’s caffeine-charged, jet-fuelled, celebrity-a-minute world, who actually has the time to learn a thing or two? C’mon, let’s face it, life’s too bloody short. What you need is instant knowledge. Told in ingenious pictograms that are witty, provocative and to the point, Life in Five Seconds takes over 200 important events, inventions, great lives, wonders of the natural world and cultural icons that you really need to know about, and then – hey presto! – cuts away all the useless details. The result is a hilarious visual snapshot that puts all of life into context. You’ll laugh out loud as you identify everything from Satan to Santa Claus; Beethoven to Banksy; the Great Wall of China to the Berlin Wall; Elvis, Ikea, videogames and everything in-between. This is the perfect book for anyone with a sense of humour…and a short attention span.

Right to Fight by Terry Bell

This brilliant, timely and important book is a selection of Terry’s ‘Inside Labour’ columns from Business Report. In it he discusses the issues that are so important to South Africa, with cartoons by Zapiro. The Book Lounge is a strong supporter of Terr’s campaign to remove VAT from books, to make them more accessible to all South Africans – so we are selling this book without the VAT.

Atlas Maior of 1665

The finest and most comprehensive baroque atlas was Joan Blaeu’s exceptional “Atlas Maior”, completed in 1665. The original 11-volume Latin edition, containing 536 maps, put Blaeu ahead of his staunch competitor, mapmaker Johannes Janssonius, whose rivalry inspired Blaeu to produce a grandiose edition of the largest and most complete atlas to date. Covering Arctica, Europe, Africa, Asia, and America, Blaeu’s “Atlas Maior” was a remarkable achievement and remains to this day one of history’s finest examples of mapmaking. This reprint is made from the National Library of Vienna’s complete, colored, gold-heightened copy, thus assuring the best possible detail and quality.

Objest Lessons: The Paris Review presents the Art of the Short Story

What does it take to write a great short story? In Object Lessons, twenty-one contemporary masters of the genre answer that question, sharing favourite stories from the pages of The Paris Review.  A laboratory for new fiction since its founding in 1953, The Paris Review has launched hundreds of careers while publishing some of the most inventive and best-loved stories of the last half century. This anthology – the first of its kind – is more than a treasury: it is an indispensable resource for writers, students and anyone else who wants to understand fiction from a writer’s point of view.  A repository of incredible fiction, Object Lessons includes contributions from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Daniel Alarcon, Donald Antrim, Lydia Davis, Dave Eggers, Mary Gaitskill, Aleksandar Hemon, Jonathan Lethem, Sam Lipsyte, Ben Marcus, Colum McCann, Lorrie Moore, Norman Rush, Mona Simpson and Ali Smith, among others.


San Francisco Panorama Comics Section: McSweeney’s Issue 33

The comics section of the “San Francisco Panorama”–sold separately here at a lower price, features some of the best comic artists of our time printed in full-color on a luxuriously sized broadsheet paper. Contributors include Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine, Dan Clowes, Gene Luen Yang, Kim Deitch, Seth, Erik Larsen, Keith Knight, Jon Adams, Gabrielle Bell, and many more.
Also, as an added bonus, they’ve included a Chris Ware poster titled “Rocket Sam,” which features a build-it-yourself paper spacecraft, and accompanying scenery and characters. Totally cool!

The Kiss: A Celebration in Art by Serge Bramly

Let’s bring some romance into Christmas! This charming homage to the kiss features artistic depictions of love in iconic works of painting, sculpture, and photography. Whether delicate and tender or passionate and intense, the kiss transcends time, cultures, moral boundaries, and sometimes even life itself. This handsome volume, featuring stunning reproductions of the works explored, spans the ages, demonstrating how the concept of the kiss is common to all humanity. Oh la la!

And Finally…

Milestones in Lighthouse Engineering by Ebbe Almqvist and Kenneth Sutton-Jones

Who says we don’t have everything at the Book Lounge? This fascinating book takes a scholarly look at the important changes in lighthouse engineering, from the earliest days of sea navigation to the present. Packed with drawings, diagrams and photos, this is an essential addition to any lighthouse library!




THANK YOU so much for supporting the Book Lounge. Here’s hoping that you and your lighthouse have a fantasic festive season and a relaxing break, and the newsletter will be back in January, keeping you posted on all and any new books on lighthouses you may need!

Launch of Right to Fight by Terry Bell (in conversation with Zapiro and Tony Ehrenreich)

Thursday, December 13th 2012 at 5:30 PM


Come and meet Peter Goffe-Wood

Tuesday, December 11th 2012 at 5:30 PM


Launch of Marikana: A View from the Mountain and a Case to Answer, by Peter Alexander, Thapelo Lekgowa, Botsang Mmope, Luke Sinwell and Bongani Xezwi (Peter Alexander will be in conversation with Martin Legassick)

Monday, December 10th 2012 at 5:30 PM

The Marikana miners’ strike was the single most lethal use of force by South African security forces against civilians since 1960, and the end of apartheid. Dubbed the Marikana Massacre, the strike was initiated on 10 August 2012 by mine workers in pursuit of a pay raise to R12 500 per month, and now forms part of events which have collectively made 2012 the most protest-filled year in the country since the end of apartheid.

The core of Marikana: A view from the mountain and a case to answer is a series of interviews conducted with workers present at the massacre, and often physically conducted at the foot of the mountain, because that is where workers continued to meet. In addition, there is a narrative of the massacre and preceding events written from the perspective of the strikers.

We selected nine such interviews from more than thirty. We have also included one interview with a woman miner, who was on strike but not on the mountain; a miner’s wife, who was nearby at the time of the massacre; the president of AMCU; and a rock drill operator about his job (he was probably on the mountain, but we did not discuss that in the interviews). In addition there are speeches by worker leaders. I pull the story together with a narrative of the strike/massacre that draws mainly on the interviews.

– South African Research Chair in Social Change: Peter Alexander

This unique book provides rich details and tells of police murders, sadness, bravery and pride.



Festive stories for the Season

Saturday, December 8th 2012 at 11:00 AM

The days are ticking past on our calenders and for all those who celebrate it, Christmas is coming closer. Even if you don’t, it is a good time to remember family and friends that we love and to share a special time together.

Today we will read some festive stories to get us in to right sharing mood. And we will make our own twinkle stars to hang in our rooms or on a tree.



Childrens’ Books We Love

Friday, December 7th 2012 at 1:16 PM

For the last five years or so, every year’s harvest of children’s books just seem to get better and better. Illustrations are becoming breath taking, making picture books really a first art experience for children. Teen novels, known as YA, have gotten a wider reader market with more adults reading this genre of often fast paced, adrenaline reads. So there are many many amazing books and these are only some of the ones we love at the moment. Come and visit us and we will show you more oohs and aahs.




Beautiful Books for Little Ones


Creatures by Orla Kiely

Designer, Orla Kiely has done a range of small board books for little ones and the latest edition to the series is Creatures and Shapes. They are cloth bound and adorned with her very simple but beautiful design style illustrations.

Gems for young designer babies!

Animal Sounds by Tad Carpenter

A fun lift-the-flap book with an I say, You say component. So if I say Pig, you would say Oink! The illustrations are very humorous and it will lead to loud screaming answers and a few giggles. A lovely book for adult and child to enjoy together.


The Game of Red, Yellow and Blue by Herve Tullet

He is an artist. He is a designer. He is a genius. Tullet has done a range of books for children and really holds nothing back in explaining whatever concepts it is he wishes to engage them with. In this book he explains the mix of colours so cleverly you want to give a standing ovation.

Herve Tullet has done a wide range of amazing books for children.

Welcome to the Zoo by Alison Jay

A wordless picture book in board format. It tells the story of all the things that happen at the zoo in Jay’s well-known illustration style. And best of all, you can make up your own story or simply sit with your child and find all the same animals over the pages.

There are quite a few wordless books out these days, which all lends to the telling of your own stories, great for new imaginations.




Picture Books to Adore


Ambrose Goes for Gold by Tor Freeman

An old story, it got revived this year for the Olympic Games. It tells the story of Ambrose who tries out for all the different activities at the Great Insect Games, but seems to not be really any good at anything. Just as it seems all is lost, Ambrose eats his weight in sticks and so wins the Twig Eating Competition, because everybody knows that what termites are great at, is eating! And so we all have our special talents… like cupcake eating on a Saturday!

The Great Snortle Hunt by Claire Freedman

What if there was a giant creature living in your neighbourhood and no-one has seen him? Would you not want to go out and try to get a glimpse of him? Mouse, Cat and Dog decide to go out at night to surprise the Snortle. With great rhyming text the friends fumble their way about till they are in the Snortle’s room (as you do!) and when he starts to wake up they try to run away, only to discover that things that look scary, aren’t necessary. It turns out that the Snortle is really a loveable creature, looking for friends to invite to tea. A gentle story with great illustrations by Kate Hindley.

A Flower in the Snow by Tracey Corderoy

In an icy world lives a little girl, Luna and her best friend, Bear. One day a sparkly dancing flower pops out of the snow and Bear picks it for Luna. She loves the flower, which soon wilts and dies. Bear thinks that the only way to make Luna happy again is to give her another flower, so he sets off on a search that takes him to many faraway places. Eventually he returns home with no flower and no gift. When Luna sees him, she is so happy to have her friend back. She shows him that with the seeds of the dead flower she has planted a new one and together they sow the other seeds till they have a whole sparkly garden. Sometimes the best things are right with us. Sophie Allsopp’s illustrations are really magical and dreamy.

The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett

By accident a piglet and a tiny baby princess get swopped at birth (this is only possible in a story of course!) The King blamed a bad fairy and the Farmer gave thanks to a good fairy for giving him a child, and so the two grew up.. the princess, the child of poor, but loving farmers and the pig, as a princess. The girl was loved by all and the poor piglet drove the help in the Castle crazy with all her shenanigans. The farmer realises what happened many years ago and because he is honest, he goes to the to tell him where his real daughter is. No one believes the farmer and he is send away. So the real princess marries a young shepherd and lives happily ever after. The piglet princess also gets married, but that poor prince is in for a surprise! Illustrations by Poly Bernatene will have you giggling all the way.

Boot and Shoe by Marla Frazee

Boot is a back porch kind of dog. Shoe is a front porch kind of dog, and that is perfect for both of them. Although they are from the same litter and sleep on the same pillow at night, they have their own different day time routine. Until a cheeky squirrel gets under their skin and they start chasing him all over the yard. In the end they end up looking for each other to restore the peace and just when they have given up (and lost a lot of sleep) they find each other by the tree they both like to pee on. A funny story about friendship for all dog lovers.

Goldilocks and Just the One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson

We all remember when Goldilocks made such a mess in the Three Bears’ House, they were glad when she left, but do you ever wonder what happened after that? Well, many years later, Little Bear (now a big bear himself) gets lost in the noisy city and stumbles upon a house with strange beds and interesting meals. When the owners returns they see the state of the house and discover a lone bear in the bed. The bear and the woman realises that they have met each other years ago, when she (Goldilocks) came to his house. So Goldilocks makes him a big bowl of oats and the next day helps him find his way home (with a map of course, the city is really big). A really clever sequel to a story we all know very well.

The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp

What is a princess to do when the prince just won’t show up? Just as princess Sue is about to go off the find adventure, a prince arrives and whisks her away to his castle. This is not what Sue dreamed off, and soon boredom is getting the better of her. She makes friends with a Dragon who helps her escape the castle, the twit of a prince and the two of them travel the world having great adventures. A perfect book for girls of all ages who wish to sometimes fight their own battles. Sara Ogilvie’s illustrations are bright and brave and full of mischief.

Black Dog by Levi Pinfold

This is a beautifully illustrated, wonderfully told story of confronting and overcoming fears. The Hope family is visited unexpectedly one day by a big black dog, and all the Hopes are terrified until Small Hope shows them that even when facing a seemingly overwhelmingly large and frightening thing, there is nothing to be scared of really. With a liitle hope we can all face our own black dog and get it down to a manageable size. An important and rewarding tale.






Pop-up Books to Love


How to be a Hero by Edge & Howells

Do you know how to cross a troll bridge, escape from a dungeon or survive a banshee’s wail? Learn all the skills a budding hero needs in this indispensable guide to the world of fantasy and legend. Filled with dragons, wizards, unicorns and much more, every page is packed with clever solutions to the challenges of being a hero. If you want to be a hero, this is definitely the handbook for you. Bursting with maps, bone-chilling booklets, gruesome guides and much more. Don’t start your quest without it!


Alienography Tips for Tiny Tyrants by Chris Riddell

Fancy being the leader of the whole universe? It is very easy with this fail-safe guide. Expert advice on everything from selecting a sidekick to buying the best battleship cruiser there is means that you will be able to be a butt-kicking baddy before your mother can blink. Magnificently illustrated and hugely funny, with novelty elements including a mini comic, a fold-out cross-section of the ‘Centennial Turkey’ spaceship, and a ‘Top Chumps’ card game. Chris Riddell remains a man with a dangerously sharp mind and a very funny drawing hand.


How to Make Stuff – the story behind our everyday things by Christiane Dorion

Where do our clothes come from? What’s the link between gorillas and cellphones? And you say chocolate grows on trees, come on! Find out in this hand-on guide to how we make most of the things we never think about. It is crammed with pop-ups and stuff and facts. Lots of facts (even about toiletpaper).


The Practical Princess Guide by Andy Mansfield

The essential hand-on guide for all young princesses, it is time to get practical! Work out what kind of princess you want to be, learn the pitfalls of modern princessing and discover the tricks you can use to appear as if you have always been royalty. There are many different type of princesses in the world, and they don’t all wear pink. Find out the various paths to becoming royalty, explore the Pampered Princess Emporium that sells everything a budding royal lady needs and then take the Princess Test to see if you’ve got what it takes to make it to the top!


Lorax (pop-up) by Dr Seuss

We have all read the book, loved the movie and now this ecological tale has been transformed into an elaborate pop-up edition. The text is the same as the original, but now there are things that pop and flap and hop and tabs to pull. The Lorax, the Brown Bar-ba-loots, the Truffula Trees, none of them have ever looked more alive.






For the slightly older reader who has started to read on their own


In our world, we often call these chapter books, the stories are broken up into chapters so you can read one a night and feel like a genius (which you are, as you are learning to read, which is one of the greatest skills there is, as great as being able to do somersaults).

Claude in the Country by Alex T. Smith

Have you met Claude? He’s an extraordinary dog with an extraordinary life. He’s my favourite red-beret wearing adventuresome pup. In this story Claude takes a trip to the countryside. The wild blue yonder turns out to be quite hard work when Claude becomes the stand-in farm dog for Mrs Cowpat. What with lassoing and egg collecting, herding sheep and washing pigs Claude and his best friend Sir Bobblysock are quite worn out. What a dog, what a day!

Operation Bunny by Sally Gardner

When Emily Vole inherits an abandoned shop, she discovers a magical world she did not know existed. With the help of a talking cat (of course!0 and a fairy detective called Buster, Emily tries to solve the mystery of Operation Bunny. This is the Fairy Detective Agency’s first case and with David Roberts’s hilarious illustrations, we are hoping for many more adventures.

Did we mention that there are bunnies all over this book?

I’m Dougal Trump and It’s Not My Fault by D. Trump

Diary of a Wimpy Kid has definitely unleashed the concept of handwritten books that tell us what is happening inside the heads of our characters, and Dougal Trump is a great example of this. He lives in fear of being eaten by the thing in their shed and can’t help by being annoyed by his sister, Sibble.

A funny look at the life of a boy who just wants to play football and not do homework and has no idea why everyone always thinks it is all his fault!


The Factory Made Boy by Christine Nostlinger

Imagine receiving a parcel in the post that contains a boy, perfect in every way. If you can, you could understand Mrs Bartolotti’s surprise when she opened the box to find a 7-year old boy, Conrad, made in a factory. They soon grow fond of each other, but when the factory realises its mistake of delivering the parcel to the wrong address, the two have to come up with a brilliant plan to stick together forever.

A funny look at what makes up a family.

Alien in My Belly Button by Jimmy Mars

Who would get the biggest surprise, Pete – when an alien crash lands in his belly button, or the alien, Binko, when realising what his soft landing spot actually is! Binko is on a mission and soon he realises that he will need Pete’s help.

If you like cheese and often say “Pufflefarts!”, this is definitely the book for you.

Agatha Parrot and the Zombie Bird by Kjartan Poskitt

We have become big fans of Agatha Parrot. She is one crazy girl who is not afraid of adventures. In her latest book, there is a magic battle on at the school and it turns out that the Zombie Bird is not what everyone thought it was (a bird maybe?) Reading this book will not turn you into a rabbit, but it will reveal the secret behind how the Pen of Destiny works. How can you not want to read it?

Mr Poskitt could be a cousin of Andy Stanton as they have the same kind of humour, so if you are a Mr Gum fan, it’s time you meet Agatha.

The Winter Sleepwalker and other stories by Joan Aiken & Quentin Blake

Fairy tales are definitely popular again and when two book geniuses join forces, it leads to magic. Joan Aiken has teamed up with Quentin Blake in this telling of modern fairy tales. Yes there are kings and witches in this collection, but also singing blue shoes and a very pink snake and of course space football (maybe even you can finally score a goal).

This is a great gift book that will stay on your shelf till you are old and you wear your slippers to the shop.




Getting into reading


The Windvale Sprites by MacKenzie Crook

After a huge storm, Asa Brown find something strange in the garden pond. At first he thinks it is a huge dragonfly, but when he starts to investigate he can’t believe his eyes; it is a small winged creature that looks a lot like a fairy. Do fairies really exist? Asa embarks on a mission to find out. A mission that leads him to the lost journals of local eccentric Benjamin Tooth who, two hundred years earlier, claimed to have discovered the existence of fairies.

What Asa reads in those journals takes him on a secret trip to Windvale Moor, where he discovers much more than he’d hoped to.

Sword of Light (Pendragon Legacy Book 1) by Katherine Roberts

Katherine Roberts has written lots of children’s novels, but we haven’t heard from her for a while. So I was happy to see this new page-turning adventure with knights, dragons and magical horses, emerge this year. After the Death of King Arthur, the path to the throne is now open to his evil nephew, Mordred. No one wants this to happen in Camelot, but what else could happen.

Then someone with a better claim to the throne steps forward, Rhianna Pendragon, the secret daughter of Arthur, and really Camelot’s only hope.

Mr McCool by Jonathan Tulloch

Currently Mr McCool is a polar bear at the zoo, but he has plans. Plans to escape and the travel back to his true home, the North Pole. With a human boy and a furry sidekick for company, Mr McCool eventually sets sail, but the waters hold secrets and dangers.

The story takes the author along on the journey and soon you see that friendships can be formed in the most unlikeliest places between the most unlikeliest of companions.

Small Change for Stuart by Lizza Evans

So if your surname was Horten and by ten years of age you were still really small, would you not also be upset if you parents called you Stuart, because on all your school books it will then say S.Horten (shorten) which will make everyone in class laugh at you. Things are going from bad to worse for poor Stuart, as they move to a new town and he has to leave his few friends behind. But the town of Beeton seems to have some surprises up its sleeve. Once Stuart finds his great-uncle’s lost workshop, he realises it is full of magic and trickery. What starts out as fun exploring soon becomes dangerous when Stuart realises he will have to get help to see it through.

Mystery of the Missing Everything by Ben H. Winters

When the school’s sacred trophy is stolen, Principal van Vreeland is threatening to cancel the Grade 8 school trip, unless the trophy is found. Self-appointed sleuth, Bethesda Fielding is confident that she will be able to track down the culprit and save the class trip. With her tendency to find the right clues but jump to the wrong conclusions, Bethesda is a sort of lovable bumbler who does, in fact, eventually get her man, but not without insulting most of the eighth-grade class and nearly losing her best pal in the process. The book is full of great school humour, a bit of mystery and makes for an excellent holiday read.

Cordelia Codd Not Just the Blues by Claire O’Brien

Cordelia Codd wants to be glamorous, but mostly she is trapped in misadventures and a very uncool school with two mean ex-best friends and problems at home. A very very look at our quirky families and how we deal with life’s everyday curve balls, when all we actually want to do is have a small absurd-looking dog and manicures every Wednesday! It reads as if Jacqueline Wilson swallowed a whoopee cushion.

The second Cordelia Codd adventure will be out early next year.




For older readers (old enough to have an opinion, but not a driver’s license)


Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler (with art work by Maira Kalman)

Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for. This exposé begins at the end and flashes forward through meeting and falling for Ed, and realizing that the course of true love rarely follows a Hollywood script.  The characters are vivid and talk about their feelings, experiences, and images in a run-on fashion for the story ultimately to come together. It is a beautiful, bittersweet love story and with the art work in between the text, it really is a special keepsake book.

Gods and Warriors by Michelle Paver

Hylas is barely making a life for himself in the mountains when he is attacked by mysterious warriors, covered in armour with bronze spears and their faces smeared with ash, they are unlike any other beings he has encountered. The black warriors want Hylas dead, not that he knows why. All he knows is that he needs try and escape and find his sister. So begins Hylas’s quest along land and sea. Partnered with Pirra, the rebellious daughter of a High Priestess and a dilpine called Spirit, he tries to stay alive. Michelle Paver brought us the great Wolfbrother series, and once again she has done her research well. Gods and Warriors is set in the Greek Bronze Age, a time of chieftains, chariots and ancient magic.

The Killables by Gemma Malley

Evil has been destroyed, and the City has been established. All citizens can only live there once the “evil” part of their brains, have been removed. Your everyday activities are tracked and you are catalogued according to how good you are, or act. Should signs of evil re-emerge, you will be labelled as Killable and disappear from the City, never to be seen again. We meet Evie who is living in this environment, but in her dreams she longs for something more. She is supposed to marry Raphael, but secretly would rather be with his brother, Lucas. A great dystopian read, it really makes us ask ourselves whether our identity is with our society and the environment we grow up in or whether we ourselves have to break away from the norm and discover our own identity. This is/was definitely the year for dystopian reads and there are some great ones out in the market.

Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

What if we had doubles? People who were breed to look like us, who are told to study everything we do, to eat like us, to talk like us and love like us. The Weavers have the ability to make copies, echos of people and if you should die, you will be replaced by your echo. Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an echo,  made to replace a girl named Amarra, her ‘other’, if she ever died. Eva studies everything Amarra does, so when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.  But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this. Eva has to move to India to convince the world that Amarra is still alive and she has to give up what she know to be home, the guardians who raised her, the boy she has fallen in love with, all the things that make her Eva, whom she is not supposed to be. Such a great concept and such an amazing read.

Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

In a city where diamons and witches no longer are allowed to live together after the Big War, the class lines are clearly drawn. In the heart of the city is the Carnival of Souls where, once in a generation, anyone can fight for their chance to join the city’s elite. Kaleb is from the lowest caste, Aya again from the highest, but she’s a girl, so she has no future, other than to have children. They both enter the fight trying to make their lives better. Kaleb is also going to the human world to look for Mallory, who does not know the city but her heritage to this other world is stronger than she could have imagined.  Although her adopted father is trying to protect her, in the end it would be up to Kaleb to protect her from the dangers and mysteries of the Carnival of Souls, as she tries to claim what is rightfully hers. The book has excellent fight scenes in and a great dose of old-school magick.

Launch of Slave Emancipation and Racial Attitudes in 19th Century South Africa by Prof. Richard L. Watson featuring keynote speaker Prof. Nigel Worden

Thursday, December 6th 2012 at 5:30 PM



This book examines the social transformation wrought by the abolition of slavery in 1834 in South Africa’s Cape Colony. It pays particular attention to the effects of socioeconomic and cultural changes in the way both freed slaves and dominant whites adjusted to the new world. It compares South Africa’s relatively peaceful transition from a slave to a non-slave society to the bloody experience of the US South after abolition, analyzing rape hysteria in both places as well as the significance of changing concepts of honor in the Cape. Finally, the book examines the early development of South Africa’s particular brand of racism, arguing that abolition, not slavery itself, was a causative factor; although racist attitudes were largely absent while slavery persisted, they grew incrementally but steadily after abolition, driven primarily by whites’ need for secure, exploitable labor.

‘This book, based on meticulous research, is well written and at times deliciously sharp. It provides an unprecedented account of the ways in which both the slaves of the Cape Colony and their erstwhile owners reorganized their intertwined lives in the aftermath of abolition. For the first time, a description of Cape society is combined with a clear understanding of the shifting social ideologies that led to an enhanced South African racism. It is a singular achievement.’

– Robert Ross, Leiden University

‘Rick Watson’s accessible book admirably synthesizes existing scholarship with his new research, and, by focusing on the era of slave emancipation at the Cape, makes an important contribution to knowledge of the origins of South African racism.’

– Christopher Saunders, University of Cape Town


Launch of Back In From The Anger by Roger Lucey

Wednesday, December 5th 2012 at 5:30 PM

The inspiring story of a South African troubadour who lost his voice and then set out on an unbelievable journey to find it.

Many of us set out on our life journeys following plans, goals and directions that begin in our early years and mostly follow our initial trajectory. Sometimes an impulsive decision, an accident, incident or serendipitous meeting can change the direction of these journeys absolutely.

Roger Lucey’s life journey was changed radically by events that he only found out about a decade and a half after they had happened. By that time there was no turning back, no returning to the original plan.

Roger Lucey was and is a troubadour, a singer, songwriter and musician whose primary mandate is to reflect, through song, the world he lives in to anyone who cares to listen. In the late ’70s the South Africa that Lucey reflected was a cruel and violent place and his songs quickly drew the unwanted attention of the State and security police. A covert operation made sure that Lucey’s music career was severely curtailed and this in when the troubadour took to other directions in search of a livelihood.

Back in From the Anger tells the story of a once promising young musician who became a barman, roadie, sound technician, news cameraman and many other things as he waded through life always trying to find the voice that he had lost.

It is a story that at times stretches the imagination, often reminding us of the hard road this country has travelled, but it is always told with humanity and humour that keeps it engrossing.