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Launch of Making Finn by Susan Newham-Blake (in conversation with Margie Orford)

Thursday, February 28th 2013 at 5:30 PM


One couple’s unconventional journey to motherhood
Susan’s childhood dream of becoming a mother has not diminished with the revelation, alarming both to herself and her bewildered family, that she does, in fact, ‘bat for the other team’. Having made peace with her identity and having finally found a beloved partner, she is now faced with a daunting problem: with no penis around, how the hell do you make babies?

Time is of the essence: at 34 years old, Susan cannot afford to waste another moment. And so begins an unconventional journey to parenthood with some agonising decisions along the way. Should she accept help from a close and willing friend or go the anonymous sperm donor route? What are the legal and psychological implications of her options? How will her child be affected?

Told with disarming honesty, Making Finn is a warm, witty and moving first-person account of two women’s quest to create a family.

About the author:
Susan Newham-Blake has worked as a writer, editor and columnist in the magazine industry for the past 14 years. Her articles have appeared in Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Femina and Woman’s Value. Susan is currently the editorial director of a magazine publishing company. She lives in Cape Town with her partner and two sons.


Launch of The Housemaid’s Daughter by Barbara Mutch (in conversation with Beverley Roos Muller)

Wednesday, February 27th 2013 at 5:30 PM


housemaids daughter


Duty and love collide on the arid plains of central South Africa. Previously released as ‘Karoo Plainsong’ this is a fully revised debut novel.

Cathleen Harrington leaves her home in Ireland in 1919 to travel to South Africa and marry the fiance she has not seen for five years. Isolated and estranged in a harsh landscape, she finds solace in her diary and the friendship of her housemaid’s daughter, Ada. Cathleen recognises in her someone she can love and respond to in a way that she cannot with her own husband and daughter. Under Cathleen’s tutelage, Ada grows into an accomplished pianist, and a reader who cannot resist turning the pages of the diary, discovering the secrets Cathleen sought to hide.

When Ada is compromised and finds she is expecting a mixed-race child, she flees her home, determined to spare Cathleen the knowledge of her betrayal, and the disgrace that would descend upon the family. Scorned within her own community, Ada is forced to carve a life for herself, her child, and her music. But Cathleen still believes in Ada, and risks the constraints of apartheid to search for her and persuade her to return with her daughter. Beyond the cruelty, there is love, hope – and redemption.


February 2013

Tuesday, February 26th 2013 at 8:54 AM

If you loved ‘Capital’ by John Lanchester, read this…

The Darlings by Cristina Alger

A sophisticated page-turner about a wealthy New York family embroiled in a financial scandal with cataclysmic consequences.
Now that he’s married to Merrill Darling, daughter of billionaire financier Carter Darling, attorney Paul Ross has grown accustomed to New York society and all of its luxuries: a Park Avenue apartment, weekends in the Hamptons, bespoke suits. When Paul loses his job, Carter offers him the chance to head the legal team at his hedge fund. Thrilled with his good fortune in the midst of the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression, Paul accepts the position.
But Paul’s luck is about to shift: a tragic event catapults the Darling family into the media spotlight, a regulatory investigation, and a red-hot scandal with enormous implications for everyone involved. Suddenly, Paul must decide where his loyalties lie-will he save himself while betraying his wife and in-laws or protect the family business at all costs?
Cristina Alger’s glittering debut novel interweaves the narratives of the Darling family, two eager SEC attorneys, and a team of journalists all racing to uncover-or cover up-the truth. With echoes of Too Big to Fail, Other People’s Money and the novels of Dominick Dunne, The Darlings offers an irresistible insight into the highest echelons of both New York society and Wall Street. A highly entertaining read.

Non-fiction Book of the Month

The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age by Nathan Wolfe

In The Viral Storm award-winning biologist Nathan Wolfe – known as ‘the Indiana Jones of virus hunters’ for his work in jungles and rain forests across the world – shows the threat of a global pandemic is greater than we have ever imagined.
The Viral Storm examines how viruses like HIV, swine flu, and bird flu have almost wiped us out in the past – and may do so in the future. It explores why modern life makes us so vulnerable to global pandemics, and what new technologies can do to prevent them. Wolfe’s provocative vision may leave you feeling distinctly uncomfortable – but it will reveal exactly what it is we are up against.
Nathan Wolfe is the Lorry I. Lokey Visiting Professor in Human Biology at Stanford University and Director of Global Viral Forecasting, a pandemic early warning system which monitors the spillover of novel infectious agents from animals into humans. Wolfe has been published in or profiled by Nature, Science, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Economist, Forbes and many others. Wolfe was the recipient of a Fulbright fellowship in 1997 and was awarded the National Institutes of Health (NIH) International Research Scientist Development Award in 1999 and the prestigious NIH Director’s Pioneer Award in 2005.

An excellent piece of scientific gothic, rich in descriptions of the threat we face from emerging viruses.”     Nature

Part autobiography, part warning…enthralling.”            BBC Focus

Quietly terrifying…It’s hard not to feel a bit feverish at times while reading.”              Boston Globe

Wolfe has an important story to tell and as a virologist at the forefront of pandemic forecasting, he is the perfect person to tell it. He explains the science clearly and never stoops to sensationalism – the evidence of our increasing vulnerability to pandemics speaks for itself.”           Guardian

The plague-ridden future imagined by this authoritative, measured, yet gripping book is extremely alarming.”        Sunday Times


The Spiral House by Claire Robertson

Katrijn van der Caab, freed slave and wigmaker’s apprentice, travels with her eccentric employer from Cape Town to Vogelzang, a remote farm where a hairless girl needs their services. The year is 1794, it is the age of enlightenment, and on Vogelzang the master is conducting strange experiments in human breeding and classification. It is also here that Trijn falls in love.
Two hundred years later and a thousand miles away, Sister Vergilius, a nun at a mission hospital, wants to free herself from an austere order. It is 1961 and her life intertwines with that of a gentleman farmer – an Englishman and suspected Communist – who collects and studies insects and lives a solitary life. While a group of Americans arrive in a cavalcade of caravans and a new republic is about to be born, desire is unfurling slowly.
In Claire Robertson’s majestic debut novel, two stories echo across centuries to expose that which binds us and sets us free.

The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh

The critically acclaimed debut novel The Fever Tree, by Jennifer McVeigh, a Richard and Judy bookclub pick.
1880, South Africa – a land torn apart by greed…
Frances Irvine, left penniless after her father’s sudden death, is forced to emigrate to the Cape. In this barren country, she meets two very different men – one driven by ambition, the other by ideals. When a smallpox outbreak sends her to the diamond mines, she is drawn into a ruthless world of greed and exploitation, of human lives crushed in the scramble for power. But here – at last – she sees her path to happiness. Torn between passion and integrity, she makes a choice that has devastating consequences…

Place and people come alive in this book… a gripping story.”              Kim Edwards, author of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

There is nothing more exciting than a new writer with a genuine voice. I loved it.”        Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey

A skilled unfolding of a woman’s struggle with desire, class divide and disease in 19th Century South Africa.”        Financial Times

McVeigh’s attention to the material culture of South Africa that really fascinates: no object is too small to attract her notice, and through accumulation such objects become evocative and strangely moving – well worth reading.”           TLS

The Instructions by Adam Levin

This is the story of Gurion Maccabee, age ten: a lover, a fighter, a scholar, and a truly spectacular talker. Gurion has been expelled from three Jewish day-schools for acts of violence and messianic tendencies. He ends up in the Cage, a special lockdown program for the most hopeless cases at Aptakisic Junior High. But in just four days, from the moment he meets the beautiful Eliza June Watermark to the terrifying Events of November 17, Gurion’s search for righteousness sparks a violent, unstoppable rebellion. Driven equally by moral fervour and teenage exuberance, The Instructions is hilarious, troubling, empathetic, monumental, breakneck, romantic and unforgettable.

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

The opening pages of Ayana’s debut took my breath away. I can’t remember when I read anything that moved me quite this way, besides the work of Toni Morrison.” Oprah Winfrey

Fifteen years old and blazing with the hope of a better life, Hattie Shepherd fled the horror of the American South on a dawn train bound for Philadelphia.
Hattie’s is a tale of strength, of resilience and heartbreak that spans six decades. Her American dream is shattered time and again: a husband who lies and cheats and nine children raised in a cramped little house that was only ever supposed to be temporary.
She keeps the children alive with sheer will and not an ounce of the affection they crave. She knows they don’t think her a kind woman – but how could they understand that all the love she had was used up in feeding them and clothing them.
How do you prepare your children for a world you know is cruel?
The lives of this unforgettable family form a searing portrait of twentieth century America. From the revivalist tents of Alabama to Vietnam, to the black middle-class enclave in the heart of the city, to a filthy bar in the ghetto, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is an extraordinary, distinctive novel about the guilt, sacrifice, responsibility and heartbreak that are an intrinsic part of ferocious love.

Stepping Out by Steven Boykey Sidley

Harold Cummings, retired mechanical engineer, has everything he wants: a house, a devoted wife, Millie, and two children, whom he barely sees, but it’s everything he has wanted and as his friend Chippie says, ‘Hey, lighten up. You’ve got Millie. Kids, a grandson. A few shekels in the bank. You got your rewards’.
A distant friend dies and Harold is asked to give a Eulogy at the funeral that triggers his boredom at his life. When Millie leaves town to care for her ill sister, Harold’s behaviour begins to spiral downwards. He gets involved in theft, other crime, has a tattoo done, begins drinking heavily, experiments with drugs, meets a prostitute named Rose and falls foul of her pimp.
This is a gripping tale of stepping out of your comfort zone, beating the mundane into submission and watching one respectable man’s journey to the underbelly of life with a mixture of enthusiasm and horror.

Ratlines by Stuart Neville

Right at the end of the war, some Nazis saw it coming. They knew that even if they escaped, hundreds of others wouldn’t. They needed to set up routes, channels, ways out for their friends. Ratlines.

Ireland, 1963. As the Irish people prepare to welcome President John F. Kennedy to the land of his ancestors, a German is murdered in a seaside guesthouse. He is the third foreign national to die within a few days, and Minister for Justice Charles Haughey is desperate to protect a shameful secret: the dead men were all former Nazis granted asylum by the Irish government.
A note from the killers is found on the corpse, addressed to Colonel Otto Skorzeny, Hitler’s favourite WWII commando, once called the most dangerous man in Europe. It says simply: ‘We are coming for you. Await our call.’
Lieutenant Albert Ryan, Directorate of Intelligence, is ordered to investigate the crimes. But as he infiltrates Ireland’s secret network of former Nazis and collaborators, Ryan must choose between country and conscience. Why must he protect the very people he fought against twenty years before? And who are the killers seeking revenge for the horrors of the Second World War?

Only the Dead by Hamilton Wende

Deep in the Ugandan jungle, a mysterious new presence has infiltrated the Claws of God – a cult army of child soldiers led by the depraved General Faustin. The children are now being controlled by the sinister Papa Mephisto, and believe he is possessed by the magic and power of the lion.
Psychologist Tania Richter is struggling to penetrate the minds of these dangerous and brainwashed children. She calls on Sebastian Burke who, while trying to escape his traumatic past and failed relationship, has been researching lion mythology and its tangled history in human culture.
Sebastian soon finds himself embroiled in a war that extends to the conflict between Islamic extremists and the American government. With the world under threat of a nuclear terrorist attack and the lives of the children at stake, he and Tania must race to uncover the tangled history of lions and humans through the ages, and face its horrifying implications.

Intentional Dissonance by Iain S.Thomas

NewLand, the last city on Earth after The End. Before The End, the world was on the cusp of widespread adaptation of technologies that should never have been invented. Popular use of teleportation polluted the fabric of time and space. The gifts of a select few meant a whole new world was about to erupt. After The End, Jon Salt is addicted to feeling. In a world where the remaining populace is drugged into being happy, Jon escapes through his addiction to Sadness and his gift of bringing life to mere thoughts. A shadowy government department has taken an interest in his remarkable abilities and it’s a surreal and strange world that he tries to evade, but his efforts are impeded by his all-consuming obsession over Michelle, the only girl he’s ever loved.
By the author of I Wrote this for You.


Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander

Internationally acclaimed neurosurgeon Dr Eben Alexander always considered himself a man of science. His unwavering belief in evidence-based medicine fuelled a career in the top medical institutions of the world. But all this was set to change.
One morning in 2008 he fell into a coma after suffering a rare form of bacterial meningitis. Scans of his brain revealed massive damage. Death was deemed the most likely outcome. As his family prepared themselves for the worst, something miraculous happened. Dr Alexander’s brain went from near total inactivity to awakening. He made a full recovery but he was never the same. He woke certain of the infinite reach of the soul, he was certain of a life beyond death.
In this astonishing book, Dr Alexander shares his experience, pieced together from the notes he made as soon as he was able to write again. Unlike other accounts of near-death experiences, he is able to explain in depth why his brain was incapable of fabricating the journey he experienced. His story is one of profound beauty and inspiration.

Book Was There: Reading in Electronic Times by Andrew Piper

Andrew Piper grew up liking books and loving computers. While occasionally burying his nose in books, he was going to computer camp, programming his Radio Shack TRS-80, and playing Pong. His eventual love of reading made him a historian of the book and a connoisseur of print, but as a card-carrying member of the first digital generation – and the father of two digital natives – he understands that we live in electronic times.

Book Was There is Piper’s surprising and always entertaining essay on reading in an e-reader world. Much ink has been spilled lamenting or championing the decline of printed books, but Piper shows that the rich history of reading itself offers unexpected clues to what lies in store for books, print or digital. From medieval manuscript books to today’s playable media and interactive urban fictions, Piper explores the manifold ways that physical media have shaped how we read, while also observing his own children as they face the struggles and triumphs of learning to read. In doing so, he uncovers the intimate connections we develop with our reading materials – how we hold them, look at them, share them, play with them, and even where we read them – and shows how reading is interwoven with our experiences in life. Piper reveals that reading’s many identities, past and present, on page and on screen, are the key to helping us understand the kind of reading we care about and how new technologies will – and will not – change old habits. Contending that our experience of reading belies naive generalizations about the future of books, Book Was There is an elegantly argued and thoroughly up-to-date tribute to the endurance of books in our ever-evolving digital world.

Bright Young Things: Life in the Roaring Twenties by Alison Maloney

Bright Young Things is a thoroughly entertaining non-fiction account of ‘the real Downton Abbey’, which brings to life the historical backdrop of the series in an informative, fun and engaging book.
So step into a time of hot jazz and even hotter all-night dance halls, as Alison Maloney shares the gossip about life in the Roaring Twenties. Read all about it: high society’s scandalous exploits, fresh new fashions, the Charleston dance craze, costume parties, talking movies and, of course, the feisty flapper.
With chapters such as Makin’ Whoopee, Cocktail Hour and Upstairs, Downstairs, Bright Young Things takes a sweeping look at the changing society of the Jazz Age, as life below stairs vanished forever, loose morals ran riot, and new inventions made it seem anything was possible. Peppered with first-person accounts that convey the spirit of the era in the words of those who lived it, Bright Young Things is a scintillating celebration of a truly iconic decade.

Former People: The Last Days of the Russian Aristocracy by Douglas Smith

Epic in scope, intimate in detail, heartbreaking in its human drama, Former People is the first book to recount the history of the nobility caught up the maelstrom of the Bolshevik Revolution and the creation of Stalin’s Russia. It is a book filled with chilling tales of looted palaces, burning estates, of desperate flights in the night from marauding bands of thugs and Red Army soldiers, of imprisonment, exile, and execution. It is the story of how a centuries’-old elite famous for its glittering wealth, its service to the empire, its promotion of the arts and culture, was dispossessed and destroyed along with the rest of old Russia. Drawing on the private archives of two great families – the Sheremetovs and the Golitsyns – it is also a story of survival and accommodation, of how many of the tsarist ruling class, so-called ‘former people’, managed to find a place for themselves and their families in the hostile world of the Soviet Union. It reveals, too, how even at the darkest depths of the terror, daily life went on – men and women fell in love, children were born, friends gathered. Ultimately, Former People is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

Absolutely gripping, brilliantly researched, with a cast of flamboyant Russian princesses and princes from the two greatest noble dynasties and brutal Soviet commissars, this is a important history book but it is really the heartbreaking human story of the splendours and death of the Russian aristocracy and the survival of its members as individuals.”       Simon Sebag Montefiore

The Russian aristocracy attracted fierce persecution in the Bolshevik Revolution, and yet its story has never been properly told until now. Douglas Smith’s outstanding book is a vivid and well-researched account of the lives and deaths of prominent families. It is a tour de force.”        Robert Service

It is very refreshing to see the Bolshevik Revolution described through the eyes of a prominent group of its many victims. The Red Terror of 1918-22 lasted longer than its French counterpart of 1793-4, claimed far more innocent lives, and inflicted immeasurable physical and social damage. Douglas Smith has found a way of exploring this tragedy with empathy, and of exposing the appalling human cost.”              Norman Davies, author of Europe: A History and Vanished Kingdoms

Smith’s narrative is pervaded by a profound rage against the savagery with which the victors in the class struggle pursued the vanquished… The author has done well to tell this tale”             Max Hastings, Sunday Times

Dostoevsky: A Writer in his Time by Joseph Frank

Joseph Frank’s award-winning, five-volume Dostoevsky is widely recognised as the best biography of the writer in any language – and one of the greatest literary biographies of the past half-century. Now Frank’s monumental, 2500-page work has been skillfully abridged and condensed in this single, highly readable volume with a new preface by the author. Carefully preserving the original work’s acclaimed narrative style and combination of biography, intellectual history, and literary criticism, Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time illuminates the writer’s works – from his first novel Poor Folk to Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov – by setting them in their personal, historical, and above all ideological context. More than a biography in the usual sense, this is a cultural history of nineteenth-century Russia, providing both a rich picture of the world in which Dostoevsky lived and a major reinterpretation of his life and work.

A Feast for the Eyes

Chris Ware Building Stories

In Chris Ware’s own words, “Building Stories follows the inhabitants of a three-flat Chicago apartment house: a thirty-year-old woman who has yet to find someone with whom to spend the rest of her life; a couple who wonder if they can bear each other’s company for another minute; and finally an elderly woman who never married and is the building’s landlady

With the increasing electronic incorporeality of existence, sometimes it’s reassuring—perhaps even necessary—to have something to hold on to. Thus within this colorful keepsake box the purchaser will find a fully-apportioned variety of reading material ready to address virtually any imaginable artistic or poetic taste, from the corrosive sarcasm of youth to the sickening earnestness of maturity—while discovering a protagonist wondering if she’ll ever move from the rented close quarters of lonely young adulthood to the mortgaged expanse of love and marriage. Whether you’re feeling alone by yourself or alone with someone else, this book is sure to sympathise with the crushing sense of life wasted, opportunities missed and creative dreams dashed which afflict the middle- and upper-class literary public (and which can return to them in somewhat damaged form during REM sleep).

A pictographic listing of all 14 items (260 pages total) appears on the back, with suggestions made as to appropriate places to set down, forget or completely lose any number of its contents within the walls of an average well-appointed home. As seen in the pages of The New Yorker, The New York Times and McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Building Stories collects a decade’s worth of work, with dozens of “never-before-published” pages (i.e., those deemed too obtuse, filthy or just plain incoherent to offer to a respectable periodical).

Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes by Mary and Bryan Talbot

Part personal history, part biography, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes contrasts two coming-of-age narratives: that of Lucia, the daughter of James Joyce, and that of author Mary Talbot, daughter of the eminent Joycean scholar James S. Atherton. Social expectations and gender politics, thwarted ambitions and personal tragedy are played out against two contrasting historical backgrounds, poignantly evoked by the atmospheric visual storytelling of award winning comic artist and graphic novel pioneer Bryan Talbot. Produced through an intense collaboration seldom seen between writers and artists, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes is intelligent, funny and sad – a fine addition to the evolving genre of graphic memoir. Winner of the Costa Biography Category.

Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes is doubly enjoyable for writer Mary Talbot’s masterful interweaving of two father-daughter relationships and cartoonist Bryan Talbot’s equally brilliant drawings, which transported me back-and-forth between gritty postwar Britain and the swinging Paris of the 20s and 30s. This is one of the best collaborative efforts I’ve seen in the comics medium.”        Joe Sacco

Elegantly drawn and fluidly told, like Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, Fun Home, this is a moving take on fathers, daughters and literature.”                  The Times

Lucia Joyce’s tragic descent from creativity into fragmentation is brilliantly brought home by the writing and art of the Talbot team.”                   Irish Times

No It Is by William Kentridge

NO, IT IS, a new flipbook by William Kentridge, contains 280 drawings from a series of approximately 500 drawings made over three months. The flipbook is launched in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name at the Goodman Gallery in Cape Town. The 280 drawings in NO, IT IS were made on the pages of old, found books and also feature in a series of films to be shown at the exhibition.

Calma: The Art of Stephan Doitschinoff

Calma introduces the visual language of Brazilian painter and illustrator Stephan Doitschinoff, who finds his creative cadence in the realm between authentic urban art and rural spirituality.
The title Calma is not only Stephan Doitschinoff s alias as a graffiti writer, but also the abbreviation of con alma (c alma) in Latin, meaning with soul . His emblematic metaphoric imagery feeds off Afro-Brazilian folklore, pagan and alchemistic symbolism and contemporary pop culture. Doitschinoff composes spectacular murals and applies his extraordinary talent to emblazon houses, churches and walls in rural cities in his South American homeland.
For the first time, Calma documents his artistic journey through these rustic areas and presents the complete visual pandemonium of a young urban artist who creates powerful figurative worlds. His colourful murals and black and white drawings are a sensation internationally and have been shown in galleries and museums around the world.

A Feast for a Feast

NoMU Recipe Box and Top-up Cards

The NoMU Recipe Box is a creative, innovative and actually quite sentimental answer to how to store, collect and swap your favourite recipes with friends and family!

Order your NoMU Recipe Box and receive a beautiful, sleek box with 6 colour coded section dividers, conveniently splitting your Recipe Box into Starters, Mains, Desserts, Sides, Basics and Treats. We have also included additional Blank Cards for you to compose your own recipes and a convenient Conversion Chart.

Then with your first 48 recipes already in your box, continue your collection with additional ‘TOP UP’ Envelope Packs, each containing another 8 Recipes, available for each section again. Each pack contains a ‘Mystery Card’ witExpansion Packsh a fun and (quite remarkable) prize on offer for those who collect, swap and then send in their full sets!

Each Recipe Box contains:

  • 48 Recipe Cards (8 Recipes per section)
  • 6 Blank Recipe Cards
  • 1 Conversion Chart
  • 6 Colour Coded dividers

Add to your Recipe Card Collection! The NoMU Expansion Packs provide 8 EXTRA RECIPE CARDS for each section in the NoMU Recipe Box, i.e. Starters, Mains, Desserts, Sides, Basics and Treats. Each pack will also include a Mystery ‘Collect and WIN’ Card, in one of four colours! Collect all four colours and every three months, NoMU will have an amazing new prize to offer one lucky winner in a random draw!

And finally…

Just because we can, here is a wonderful poem, recently discovered, written by Rudyard Kipling in 1899, all about the intrusion of the pres. Talk about foresight! If only he knew…

The Press by Rudyard Kipling

Why don’t you write a play –
Why don’t you cut your hair?
Do you trim your toe-nails round
Or do you trim them square?
Tell it to the papers,
Tell it every day.
But, en passant, may I ask
Why don’t you write a play?

What’s your last religion?
Have you got a creed?
Do you dress in Jaeger-wool
Sackcloth, silk or tweed?
Name the books that helped you
On the path you’ve trod.
Do you use a little g
When you write of God?

Do you hope to enter
Fame’s immortal dome?
Do you put the washing out
Or have it done at home?
Have you any morals?
Does your genius burn?
Was you wife a what’s its name?
How much did she earn?

Had your friend a secret
Sorrow, shame or vice –
Have you promised not to tell
What’s your lowest price?
All the housemaid fancied
All the butler guessed
Tell it to the public press
And we will do the rest.

Why don’t you write a play?

Happy reading!

Zine Night Returns to the Book Lounge

Monday, February 25th 2013 at 5:30 PM

small zine


Brothers and Sisters Story Time

Saturday, February 23rd 2013 at 11:00 AM

brother sisterSome of us have brothers or sisters. Some of us have both. Some of us are only children. All a mixed bunch really. Today we will read stories about having a brother and sister and how this often leads to a fight or two.

It took years before my brother and I really liked each other and today we are best friends, it does happen!

Today Claire will read stories to you, she doesn’t have a brother, but she does love monkeys!


Launch of The Great African Society by Hlumelo Biko (son of Steve Biko and Mamphela Ramphele). Hlumelo will be in conversation with Judith February

Friday, February 22nd 2013 at 5:30 PM

‘The ANC, in its rush for political control, chose power over the people instead of power of the people. History will judge them harshly.’

‘Historically, societies tend to wait until it is too late before rich people understand that their wealth can only be secured in a more just society.’

Only a dramatic, imaginatively crafted intervention – a massive redistribution programme managed by the private sector, far-reaching policy changes in schooling, housing and health, and better, disciplined governance – will deliver the genuine liberation South Africa’s still-poor millions expected
from the 1994 settlement.

Without it, without the real promise of a free, meritocratic society, South Africa will flounder and fail as corruption, crime, social decay, hopelessness and anger engulf society.

This is the compelling thesis of Hlumelo Biko’s hard-hitting, thoughtful analysis of South Africa’s past, present and future, a sobering assessment of where we stand today, and where we need to go.

At once unnervingly candid and inspiring, The Great African Society demolishes the complacent optimism that underpins much soft thinking about South Africa’s future and places at the service of public debate practical, achievable objectives for business, government and civil society. South Africa’s challenge, the book argues, is to act now to avoid the mounting threat of revolt and decline that would devalue every political and economic achievement of the past decade-and-a-half and leave Nelson Mandela’s feted rainbow nation staring decrepitude in the face.

Biko, the son of two great South Africans, Steve Biko and Mamphela Ramphele, is generous in acknowledging achievements to date, but unsparing in judging the flaws and failures of the ANC-led government, of business, unions and civil society. He offers a comprehensive survey of the profound and
continuing devastation visited on the country by its unjust history, and plain, rational proposals for repairing the damage.

No debate from here on about the South African future can be taken seriously without weighing Biko’s insights and his warnings. The Great African Society is vividly moral in its intentions, but sober and unsentimental in examining political and economic imperatives. It is guaranteed to make
the reader sit up and take stock afresh.


Launch of Swimming Home by Deborah Levy (in conversation with Imraan Coovadia)

Thursday, February 21st 2013 at 5:30 PM


As he arrives with his family at the villa in the hills above Nice, Joe sees a body in the swimming pool. But the girl is very much alive. She is Kitty Finch: a self-proclaimed botanist with green-painted fingernails, walking naked out of the water and into the heart of their holiday. Why is she there? What does she want from them all? And why does Joe’s enigmatic wife allow her to remain?

Profound and thrilling, Swimming Home reveals how the most devastating secrets are the ones we keep from ourselves.

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and selected as a New York Times Notable Book, Swimming Home is a sexy psychological thriller from a highly acclaimed writer.


Comedy Night at The Book Lounge! – SOLD OUT!!

Wednesday, February 20th 2013 at 6:00 PM

Comedy Night at The Book LoungeWe think of ourselves as a funny bunch (sometimes more in the weird way than the haha one) and thought let’s do something different  (and funny) in the new year. We asked our on-staff comedian, Stuart Cairns, to collect a bunch of funnies for us and voila!

Join us for:
Wednesday, 20 February 2013, at  6 for 6.30pm – Down in the Basement
A comedy night hosted by Christopher Steenkamp, featuring Gino Fernandez. Aren’t you already laughing? The stage will also be shared by Khanyiso Kenqa, Bradford Keen, Wesley C, Mughammed Mujaahid Gameildien and of course Stuart himself.
This is a ticketed event for the Book Lounge, as we all know, having a laugh in South Africa is not always free…so at R30 a seat we thought it’s rather cheap.
Tickets must be bought at the shop with cash or a card and you will receive a token which will grant you access to this evening.

And yes, there will be wine (courtesy of Leopard’s Leap)  and pretzels.
Tickets will go on sale on Saturday, 2 February 2013, ’cause nothing good ever starts on a Monday.

Hope to see you there!


I Heart You Story Time

Saturday, February 16th 2013 at 11:00 AM

Valentine’s Day is this week and there’s heart and candy everywhere. Everyone is telling someone they love them, which is always a nice thing to hear, but it is good to remember you can say it any day of the year!

Today we will read some stories about love and friendship and make heart cards to give to someone you love (PS this could be your mom!)


The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes – Special Offer!

Friday, February 15th 2013 at 8:59 AM

 The girl who wouldn’t die, hunting a killer who shouldn’t exist…

A terrifying and original serial-killer thriller from award-winning author, Lauren Beukes.

1930’s America: Lee Curtis Harper is a delusional, violent drifter who stumbles on a house that opens onto other times.

Driven by visions, he begins a killing spree over the next 60 years, using an undetectable MO and leaving anachronistic clues on his victims’ bodies.

But when one of his intended ‘shining girls’, Kirby Mazrachi, survives a brutal stabbing, she becomes determined to unravel the mystery behind her would-be killer. While the authorities are trying to discredit her, Kirby is getting closer to the truth, as Harper returns again and again…

 There are 2 pre-orders available:

Paperback edition: R162 (retail price R180)

Hardback Limited Collectors Edition: R261 (retail price R290)

The books will be signed by Lauren, and she is happy to personalise/dedicate the books as required.

To order just mail us on, stating which edition you would like, and we will send you an invoice. In order to qualify for the discount, books must be paid for before the publication date of 15th April.

Published by Random House