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Bunnies and Carrots Story time

Saturday, March 30th 2013 at 11:00 AM

Bunnieswithcarrots1It’s Easter weekend and everyone is eating chocolates, shaped like eggs or rabbits. So we thought we will read stories about bunnies and eat carrots, it good to do your own thing sometimes.

Join us for our annual bunny story time and make your own bunny masks!

(Okay…there might be chocolate!)

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Launch of Cityscapes 3: The Smart City?

Wednesday, March 27th 2013 at 5:30 PM

Cityscapes 3

The latest instalment of Cityscapes, the hybrid current affairs and culture magazine devoted to “re-thinking urban things”, will be launched in Cape Town on 27 March 2013. Featuring interviews with Lagos governor Babatunde Fashola and novelist Imraan Coovadia, the bumper 140-page third issues has as its thematic focus the “smart city”.
This fuzzily defined term speaks to the increasing use of networked information and communications technologies in ordering of large-scale urban phenomenon. The magazine visits Rio de Janeiro to find out what this means practically. “Technology gives you a faster response,” explains Dario Bizzo Marques, a technology systems coordinator at Rio’s $14-million integrated city management centre, home to Latin America’s largest surveillance screen.
“We increasingly share the space and time of cities with semi-autonomous agents of a nonhuman, indeed non-biological, nature, from drones to algorithms,” offers Adam Greenfield in his provocative 100-point manifesto appearing in Cityscapes and addressing the pervasive use of tech-savvy urban management solutions. Noted urban theorist Ash Amin, in a cornerstone 5000-word interview with Matthew Gandy, is also wary of the ideological implications of reducing city management to the top-down marshalling of abstract data.
“The positivist legacy has been rekindled in the ‘big data’ approach to the city,” offers Amin. “Its conceit is to think that the availability of sophisticated mathematical models able to work large data in nuanced ways, allows the city to be visualised and understood in all its complexities and evolving changes.”
Also included in the latest issue of Cityscapes: an intimate account of living in the Nairobi slum of Kibera; a description of Sao Paulo’s oppositional graffiti cultures; a fond appraisal of the career of legendary Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray; a look at Kigali’s ambitious master plan; a profile of artist Theaster Gates; a speculation on the city without the automobile; and a photo essay describing life in Kowloon, the famous Hong Kong tenement slum demolished in the early 1990s.
About Cityscapes: Launched in 2011 and jointly edited by Sean O’Toole and Tau Tavengwa, in collaboration with Professor Edgar Pieterse, Cityscapes offers a disparate blend of in-depth interviews, enquiring journalism, polemical editorialising and illustration rich content to document and theorise urban experience in the global south.

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Launch of The Concentration Camps of the Anglo-Boer War: A Social History by Elizabeth van Heyningen (in conversation with Prof. Albert Grundlingh)

Tuesday, March 26th 2013 at 5:30 PM

Concentration-Camps

This is the first general history of the concentration camps of the Anglo-Boer or South African War in over fifty years, and the first to use in depth the very rich and extensive official documents in South African and British archives. It provides a fresh perspective on a topic that has understandably aroused huge emotions because of the great numbers of Afrikaners, especially women and children, who died in the camps. This fascinating social history overturns many of the previously held assumptions and conclusions on all sides, and is sure to stimulate debate. Rather than viewing the camps simply as the product of the scorched-earth policies of the war, the author sets them in the larger context of colonialism at the end of the 19th century, arguing that British views on poverty, poor relief and the management of colonial societies all shaped their administration. The book also attempts to explain why the camps were so badly administered in the first place, and why reform was so slow, suggesting that divided responsibility, ignorance, political opportunism and a failure to understand the needs of such institutions all played their part. Since the original research arose from a project on the medical history of the camps, funded by the Wellcome Trust, there is a particularly strong focus on health and medicine, looking not only at the causes of mortality in the camps, but at the ideas which shaped the culture of the doctors and nurses ministering to the Boers. The author has also used material derived from a database of the camp registers to argue, somewhat controversially, that the camp inmates were primarily landless bywoners, rather members of the middle classes, as people like Emily Hobhouse implied, and that the rather numerous men in the camps were young and able-bodied rather than the old men suggested in the conventional literature.

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March 2013

Tuesday, March 26th 2013 at 11:28 AM

Book of the Month

The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves by Stephen Grosz

“This book is about change.”

We are all storytellers – we make stories to make sense of our lives. But it is not enough to tell tales. There must be someone to listen.

In his work as a practicing psychoanalyst, Stephen Grosz has spent the last twenty-five years uncovering the hidden feelings behind our most baffling behavior. The Examined Life distils over 50,000 hours of conversation into pure psychological insight, without the jargon.

This extraordinary book is about one ordinary process: talking, listening and understanding. Its aphoristic and elegant stories teach us a new kind of attentiveness. They also unveil a delicate self-portrait of the analyst at work, and show how lessons learned in the consulting room can reveal as much to him as to the patient.

These are stories about our everyday lives: they are about the people we love and the lies that we tell; the changes we bear, and the grief. Ultimately, they show us not only how we lose ourselves but how we might find ourselves too.

“Grosz writes lucidly and with sensitivity, treating his patients with respect. The cases are sprinkled with wise reflections, such as this on deadening one’s emotions as a self-defense: “We all try to silence painful emotions. But when we succeed in feeling nothing we lose the only means we have of knowing what hurts us, and why.” This is highly recommended.”

Independent

In an intelligent, human and deeply moving book, Grosz guides us through their lives, and preoccupations. The mundane becomes extraordinary, the minutiae the focus. Grosz is listening for the unspoken and the gaps in between. His book celebrates change and the triumphs and tragedies of humanity.

Express

 “The suspense in each perfectly plotted chapter is so expert that I had to double-check that The Examined Life was not a work of fiction…This is an elegant, jargon-free expedition into the secret business of our minds written with such wisdom and kindness that even those who think psychoanalysis is bunk might find that lying on a couch being listened to is worthwhile.

The Times

 “Grosz’s vignettes are so brilliantly put together that they read like pieces of bare, illuminating fiction…It is [the] combination of tenacious detective work, remarkable compassion and sheer, unending curiosity for the oddities of the human heart that makes these stories utterly captivating.

Sunday Times

 

 

Non-Fiction

Band Aid for a Broken Leg: Being a Doctor with no Borders (and Other Ways to Stay Single) by Damien Brown

Damien Brown thinks he’s ready when he arrives for his first posting with Medecins Sans Frontieres in Africa. But the town he’s sent to is an isolated outpost of mud huts surrounded by landmines. The hospital, for which he’s to be the only doctor, is filled with malnourished children and conditions he’s never seen. The health workers are Angolan war veterans twice his age who speak no English, and they walk out on him following an altercation on his first shift. Left to fend for himself, Damien confronts these challenges all the while dealing with the social absurdities of living with only three other volunteers for company. The medical calamities pile up – leopard attacks, landmine explosions, performing surgery using tools cleaned on the fire – but as Damien’s friendships with the local people evolve, his passion for the work grows. Written with great warmth and empathy, Band-Aid for a Broken Leg is a compassionate, deeply honest and often humorous account of life on the medical frontline in Angola, Mozambique and South Sudan. It is also a moving testimony to the work done by medical humanitarian groups and the remarkable, often eccentric people who work for them.

Mad Girls’ Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life before Ted by Andrew Wilson

A new biography of Sylvia Plath, a literary icon who continues to haunt, fascinate, and enthrall even now, fifty years after her death.

On February 25, 1956, twenty-three-year-old Sylvia Plath walked into a party and immediately spotted Ted Hughes. This encounter – now one of the most famous in all of literary history – was recorded by Plath in her journal, where she described Hughes as a “big, dark, hunky boy.” Sylvia viewed Ted as something of a colossus, and to this day his enormous shadow has obscured her life and work. The sensational aspects of the Plath-Hughes relationship have dominated the cultural landscape to such an extent that their story has taken on the resonance of a modern myth.

Before she met Ted, Plath had lived a complex, creative, and disturbing life. Her father had died when she was only eight; she had gone out with literally hundreds of men, had been unofficially engaged, had tried to commit suicide and had written more than two hundred poems. Mad Girl’s Love Song chronicles these early years, traces the sources of her mental instability, and examines how a range of personal, economic, and societal factors—the real disquieting muses— conspired against her.

Drawing on exclusive interviews with friends and lovers who have never spoken openly about Plath before and using previously unavailable archives and papers, this is the first book to focus on the early life of the twentieth century’s most popular and enduring female poet. Mad Girl’s Love Song reclaims Sylvia Plath from the tangle of emotions associated with her relationship with Ted Hughes and reveals the origins of her unsettled and unsettling voice.

Creating Room to Read: A Story of Hope in the Battle for Global Literacy by John Wood

What’s happened since John Wood left Microsoft to change the world? Just ask six million kids in the poorest regions of Asia and Africa. In 1999, at the age of thirty-five, Wood quit a lucrative career to found the nonprofit Room to Read. Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “the Andrew Carnegie of the developing world,” he strived to bring the lessons of the corporate world to the nonprofit sector-and succeeded spectacularly.

In his acclaimed first book, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, Wood explained his vision and the story of his start-up. Now, he tackles the organisation’s next steps and its latest challenges-from managing expansion to raising money in a collapsing economy to publishing books for children who literally have no books in their native language. At its heart, Creating Room to Read shares moving stories of the people Room to Read works to help: impoverished children whose schools and villages have been swept away by war or natural disaster and girls whose educations would otherwise be ignored.

People at the highest levels of finance, government, and philanthropy will embrace the opportunity to learn Wood’s inspiring business model and blueprint for doing good. Even the more general readers will love Creating Room to Read for its spellbinding story of one man’s mission to put books within every child’s reach.

Science Magpie: A Hoard of Fascinating Facts, Stories, Poems, Diagrams and Jokes, Plucked from Science and Its History by Simon Flynn

From the Large Hadron Collider rap to the sins of Isaac Newton, The Science Magpie is a compelling collection of scientific curiosities. Expand your knowledge as you view the history of the Earth on the face of a clock, tremble at the power of the Richter scale and learn how to measure the speed of light in your kitchen. Skip through time with Darwin’s note on the pros and cons of marriage, take part in an 1858 Cambridge exam, meet the African schoolboy with a scientific puzzle named after him and much more.

The Slow Fix by Carl Honoré

What do we do when things go wrong in a fast world? Many of us go for the quick fix that delays the problem rather than solving it. To make real progress we need real solutions – we need to take time for The Slow Fix.

People have long been in search of a quick fix. Truth is, it doesn’t work. The problems facing us today are bigger and more urgent than ever before and we need to learn to start fixing things properly, rather than settling for short-term solutions.

The Slow Fix offers real, life-changing solutions to tackling these problems and extends the movement defined by Carl Honore in his global bestseller, In Praise of Slow, to offer a recipe for problem-solving that can be applied to every walk of life, from business and politics to relationships, education and health reform.

Taking time to build up expertise, taking advantage of the hidden benefits of teamwork, finding the right messenger to deliver the message, and employing a transparent approach are all essential elements of The Slow Fix.

This book will help you make sense of what is going wrong – and right – in the world, and gives inspiration, ideas and practical tools to help fix your own life and everything around you.

Stuff you Can’t Bottle: Advertising for the Youth Market by King Adz

In the networked, multimedia era of Internet 2.0, the only way for advertisers and brands to connect with the notoriously difficult youth market is to get involved with the cultures and subcultures that make up their world. Here, King Adz shares his unique insight into the lives of young people across the globe. His research has taken him to skate parks, clubs, gigs, music festivals and street art events in Europe and North America, Brazil, Russia, China, India, Hong Kong, South Africa and beyond. In each location, he has talked to young people to find out what really fires them, as well as to the advertising creatives who have succeeded in connecting with them. No one can predict what youth will be into next month, but this book shows how creatives can grab its attention, build a relationship and crack the market.

Rough Guide to Conspiracy Theories

Who might be trying to convince us that climate change is or isn’t real?

What is the truth behind the death of Osama bin Laden and is he still alive?

When did the CIA start experimenting with mind control?

Where is the HAARP installation and did it have anything to do with the Japanese tsunami disaster?

Why is surveillance in our cities and online so widespread and what are the real benefits?

This definitive guide to the world’s most controversial conspiracies wanders through a maze of sinister secrets, suspicious cover-ups hidden agendas and clandestine operations to explore all these questions – and many many more.

Confessions of a New York Taxi Driver by Eugene Salomon

Driving a cab for more than 30 years Gene Salomon has collected a remarkable selection of stories. He shares the very best in this unforgettable memoir.

Gene has had everyone in the back of his cab…

…Lauren Bacall, Leonardo di Caprio, John McEnroe, Sean Penn and Dennis Hopper, Simon and Garfunkel, Tony Bennett, Robin Williams, Norman Mailer, Suzanne Vega, Kevin Kline, Dan Ackroyd, Diane Keaton and, yes, even Kevin Bacon.

He has taken all sorts of people for a ride…

…mafiosi, hookers, the rich and famous, down and outs, young lovers, old lovers, passengers from every corner of the globe, fare dodgers, a variety of animals, tourists, lifetime New Yorkers, people in a rush and others with no particular place to go.

In well over 30 years driving a cab he has collected a remarkable selection of stories and share the very best in this unforgettable memoir.

So sit back and enjoy the ride…

…the meter’s running.

Fiction

The Childhood of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee

After crossing oceans, a man and a boy arrive in a new land. They are each assigned a name and an age, and held in a camp in the desert while they learn Spanish, the language of their new country. As Simón and David they make their way to the relocation centre in the city of Novilla, where officialdom treats them politely but not necessarily helpfully.

Simón finds a job in a grain wharf. The work is unfamiliar and backbreaking, but he soon warms to his stevedore comrades, who conduct philosophical dialogues on the dignity of labour during breaks, and generally take him in.

Now he must set about his task of locating the boy’s mother. Despite that like everyone else who arrives in this new country he seems to be washed clean of all traces of memory, he is convinced he will know her when he sees her. And indeed, while walking with the boy in the countryside Simón catches sight of a woman he is certain is the mother, and persuades her to assume the role.

David’s new mother comes to realise that he is an exceptional child, a bright, dreamy boy with highly unusual ideas about the world. But the school authorities detect a rebellious streak in him and insist he be sent to a special school far away. His mother refuses to yield him up, and it is Simón who must drive the car as the trio flees across the mountains.

The Childhood of Jesus is a profound, beautiful and continually surprising novel from a very great writer.

Quiet Kind of Courage by Anthony Schneider

Henry Wegland, a former ANC activist now living in New York City with his son, encourages Saul, his grandson, to travel to South Africa to make a documentary about the people involved in the country’s liberation.

Saul begins to unravel the dark secrets of his grandfather’s past and the shocking events that led to his exile, when he is kidnapped in a rural township. Henry, now in his twilight years, must come to a new understanding of his son and make peace with the choices he once made for them both.

Spanning past and present, South Africa and New York, the interlocking narratives of A Quiet Kind of Courage are a fascinating portrayal of exile, the meaning of home, and how one man’s attempt to liberate his country changed the lives of his family for generations.

The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont

Jason Prosper grew up in the elite world of Manhattan penthouses, Maine summer estates, old boy prep schools and exclusive sailing clubs. A smart, athletic teenager, Jason maintains a healthy, humorous disdain for the trappings of affluence, preferring to spend afternoons sailing with Cal, his best friend and boarding school roommate. When Cal commits suicide during this junior year at Kensington Prep, Jason is devastated by the loss and transfers to Bellingham Academy. There, he meets Aidan, a fellow student who harbours a mysterious and troubled past. They embark on a tender, awkward, deeply emotional relationship. When a major hurricane hits the New England coast, the destruction it causes brings with it another upheaval in Jason’s life. The desolation that follows finally forces Jason to make sense of a terrible secret that has been buried by the boys he considers his friends.

30 Second World by Emma van der Vliet

Alison appears to have life sorted. Despite her high-flying job producing commercials, she still manages to keep her infant son on the breast and her daughter in Strawberry Pops. But her texts to her best friend Evie tell a far less glamorous story. Alison’s co-worker Beth is new to the ad industry and desperate to impress. However, she has problems of her own. The more she succeeds at work, the more things seem to be unraveling at home. To make matters worse, she’s finding it hard to resist the advances of a sleazy colleague.

Things begin to unravel when a shoot takes their team to an isolated hell-hole in the middle of the South African bush. Dark secrets are revealed and bizarre accidents occur, and soon both Beth and Alison are forced to face some home truths.

Saucy and smart, Thirty Second World is a funny, moving, real-world tale set in the unreal world of the South African film industry.

The Chef by Martin Suter

A huge international bestseller – The Chef is a thriller entangled in a love story that is gripping readers across Europe. As the financial crisis tightens its hold on Europe, the gilded world of Zurich’s leading restaurant, Chez Huwyler, seems immune to plunging stock markets and collapsing banks. But behind the scenes, even the rarefied world of haute cuisine is feeling the bite. Enter Maravan – a Tamil dishwasher and undiscovered culinary genius – and Andrea – a stunningly beautiful waitress – who find themselves out of a job and in need of another way to survive. After Maravan seduces Andrea by cooking her a dinner that fuses the aphrodisiac recipes of his ancestors with the necromancy of molecular gastronomy, Andrea hits upon a business idea: romantic catering for couples. But even culinary magic can’t ward off recession – when their new company begins to struggle, they are forced to enter into a much more unsavoury business, plunging them deep into an underworld where murder and sex feed otherwise unquenchable thirsts. The Chef will be relished by readers of: Pascal Mercier’s “Perlmann’s Silence”, Patrick Suskind’s “Perfume” and Joanne Harris’ “Chocolat”.

This Magnificent Desolation by Thomas O’Malley

A heart-breaking, staggering, soaring novel about war, music, loneliness and the redemptive power of the imagination.

Duncan’s entire world is the orphanage where he lives, a solitary outpost in the snowy expanse of northern Minnesota. It is 1980 and Duncan is 10 – with no memories of his life before now, he recites stories like prayers: the story of how his mother brought him here during the worst blizzard of the century; the story of how God spoke to him at his birth and gave him a special purpose.

Duncan is sure that his mother is dead – until the day she turns up to claim him. Maggie Bright, a soprano who was once the talent of her generation, now sings in a San Francisco bar through a haze of whisky cut with sharp regret. She often finishes up in the arms of Joshua McGreevey, a Vietnam vet who earns his living as part of a tunneling crew seventy feet beneath the Bay. He smells of sea silt and loam, as if he has been dredged from the subterranean bottom of the world -leaving him with scars etched just as deep.

Thrown into this mysterious adult world, Duncan finds comfort in an ancient radio. Through the radio he hears the voices of the Apollo mission astronauts who never came home, while dreaming of finding his real father.

This Magnificent Desolation allows a child’s perspective to illuminate a dark world, and explores the creeping devastation of war, the many facets of loneliness and the emancipating power of the imagination.

The Last Runaway by Tracey Chevalier

The stunning new novel from the bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Fleeing heartache, modest Quaker Honor Bright sails from Bristol with her sister to a new life in America far from home. But tragedy leaves her alone and vulnerable, torn between two worlds and dependent on the kindness of strangers.

Life in 1850s Ohio is precarious and unsentimental. The sun is too hot, the thunderstorms too violent, the snow too deep. The roads are spattered with mud and spit. The woods are home to skunks and porcupines and raccoons. They also shelter slaves escaping north to freedom.

Should Honor hide runaways from the ruthless men who hunt them down? The Quaker community she has joined may oppose slavery in principle, but does it have the courage to help her defy the law? As she struggles to find her place and her voice, Honor must decide what she is willing to risk for her beliefs.

Set in the tangled forests and sunlit cornfields of Ohio, Tracy Chevalier’s vivid novel is the story of bad men and spirited women, surprising marriages and unlikely friendships, and the remarkable power of defiance.

Exposure by Sayed Kashua

In Jerusalem, two Arabs are on the hunt for the same identity. The first is a wealthy lawyer with a thriving practice, a large house, a Mercedes and a beautiful family. With a sophisticated image to uphold, he decides one evening to buy a second-hand Tolstoy novel recommended by his wife – but inside it he finds a love letter, in Arabic, undeniably in her handwriting. Consumed with jealous rage, the lawyer vows to take his revenge on the book’s previous owner.

Elsewhere in the city, a young social worker is struggling to make ends meet. In desperation he takes an unenviable job as the night-time carer of a comatose young Jew. Over the long, dark nights that follow, he pieces together the story of his enigmatic patient, and finds that the barriers that ought to separate their lives are more permeable than he could ever have imagined.

As they venture further into deception, dredging up secrets and ghosts both real and imagined, the lawyer and the carer uncover the dangerous complexities of identity – as their lies bring them ever closer together.

Light Shining in the Forest by Paul Torday

Norman Stokoe has just been appointed Children’s Czar by the new government. He sells his flat and moves up north to take up the position. However before his first salary cheque has even hit his bank account, new priorities are set for the government department for which he works. The Children’s Czar network is put on hold but it is too late to reverse the decision to employ Norman. So he is given a P.A. and a spacious office in a new business park on the banks of the Tyne. He settles down in his new leather chair behind his new desk, to wait for the green light to begin his mission. The green light never comes. What does happen is that two children go missing. As Children’s Czar, surely this case should fall within his remit, but Norman has built a career on doing nothing, on stamping pieces of paper with ‘send to the relevant department’. Now, faced with a campaigning journalist and a distraught mother, he is forced to become involved. The search will take him to dark places and will make him ask questions about the system he is supposed to uphold.

Gripping, tense and intricate, Torday’s new novel will enthrall old readers and new.

Short Story Collection of the Month

Ride the Tortoise by Liesl Jobson

In this long-awaited collection, Liesl Jobson, internationally acclaimed for her mastery of the very short “flash fiction” form, turns to the longer form of the short story. The author experiments with the narrative structure by crafting together snapshots in a collage form, as well as exploring a more conventional storyline.

She writes with panache and hypnotic honesty about topics as diverse as anorexia, cleaning the oven, the terror of losing a child, exile, infidelity and desire. Few writers are as assured in traversing the terrain of loss and fear. Yet there is quirky humour and sly surprise in these stories told from the perspectives of the policewoman, art teacher, athlete, bassoonist, lover and mother. Treat yourself: these dark chocolate and bitter orange stories are erotic, edgy and wise.

Something Visual…

Painting Cape Town: Grafitti from South Africa by Matthew Olckers

Painting Cape Town provides the reader with an insider view into the graffiti subculture in this well-known South African city. The book includes interviews with 29 of Cape Town’s most prominent graffiti artists. Each story provides a unique insight into the rationale behind the artist’s passion and obsession for spreading their names. The history of the graffiti scene is traced from its beginnings on the Cape Flats in the 1980s and its roots within hip hop culture to the current graffiti scene polarised by contempt and praise. Painting Cape Town is the first publication of its kind and the reference text on the subject. The text is coupled with over 150 full colour illustrations.

The Naked Artist: Comic Book Legends by Bryan Talbot

The book you’ve all been waiting for! Comic Book Legends is an outrageous collection of the unreported exploits of comic creators, the stories only usually told late at night between the hallowed walls of convention pro bars! Eisner Award winner Bryan Talbot brings you all the anecdotes, funny, shocking and downright weird, told about your favorite comic writers and artists, from Simon Bisley to Neil Gaiman, from Grant Morrison to Jeff Smith.

The British Larder: A Cookbook for All Seasons by Madalene Bonvini-Hamel

An informative, photography-filled package that celebrates the seasonal bounty of Britain’s produce refracted through the mind of one of the country’s most exciting new talents. Before opening her award-winning pub and restaurant, The British Larder, chef Madalene spent her time in many professional kitchens, including working with Gordon Ramsay. In her first book for the industry she brings her passion for seasonal, locally-sourced produce to the fore, aiding her crusade to convert all who love food to thinking and eating seasonally. This is a month-by-month tour of the best produce that the country has to offer, paired and transformed in the unique way that has been responsible for so much of the The British Larder‘s swiftly-gained and extremely fast-growing reputation (including winning ‘Best Newcomer’ at the 2012 Top 50 Gastropub awards). Madalene’s own sumptuous photographs of food created and styled by her own hands make The British Larder cookbook a glowing testament to her immense talent and her admirable ethos.

The Temple: Meeting Place of Heaven & Earth by John M. Lundquist

The Temple – the holy precinct, the dwelling place of the gods, the forum between man and god – is historically central to all religions. The site of ritual and initiation, the mountain, the waters of generation, the pillar joining heaven, earth and the underworld, the path to the innermost sanctuary: these concepts are universal and eternal in many faiths around the world. The Temple is a wide-ranging study of sites of worship, from the tomb-temples of Ancient Egypt, to Jerusalem, Mexico, Greece, and the great Buddhist shrine at Borobudur. The Art & Imagination series casts fresh light onto art, archetypes, cosmology and sacred traditions. It offers the perfect introduction to the world’s great esoteric traditions.

Unusual Creatures: A Mostly Accurate Account of Some of Earth’s Strangest Animals by Michael Hearst and Jelmer Noordeman

With humour and flair, Michael Hearst introduces the reader to a wealth of extraordinary life forms in this nonfiction book. Which animal can be found at the top of Mt Everest, 10,000 feet under the sea, and in your back garden? Which animal poops cubes? Which animal can disguise itself as a giant crab? These fascinating facts (and hundreds more) await intrepid readers, amateur zoologists and anyone who has ever laughed at a funny-looking animal.

Engineers by Adam Hart-Davis

This is an epic visual guide to the great engineers who have built our world. Full of great tales of achievement and ingenuity, Engineers celebrates 80 of the greatest engineers that ever lived and the stamp they have left on the world. Learn all about how their projects have changed the course of history and added to human progress – from the men who built the Great Pyramid in Egypt, insight into the Industrial Revolution, the impressive structures of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and on to the pioneers of space travel and the computer scientists of today. From initial concepts to prototypes and finished designs, Engineers is full to bursting with technical drawings, specially commissioned artworks, blueprints and virtual tours that help bring the structures, inventions and technological breakthroughs to life. Engineers is perfect for anyone who is intrigued by the power of the pioneering mind.

Poetry Corner

Collected Poems by Sean O’Brien

This collection, drawing on almost forty years of verse, represents the definitive guide to one of the leading English poets working today. It will allow the reader the chance to survey both the remarkable variety and the consistent quality of O’Brien’s work, as well as the enduring strength of his obsessions: these have helped create a tone and a landscape as immediately recognizable as those of MacNeice, Larkin or Eliot. O’Brien’s hells and heavens, underworlds and urban dystopias, trains and waterways have formed the imaginative theatre for his songs, satires, pastorals and elegies; throughout, the poems demonstrate O’Brien’s astonishing flair for the dramatic line, where he has inherited the mantle of W. H. Auden. Also included are selections from both O’Brien’s dramatic writing and his acclaimed version of the Inferno.

Sean O’Brien is a poet, critic, playwright, broadcaster, anthologist and editor. The Drowned Book won both the Forward Prize for best collection and the T S Eliot Prize. His most recent collection, November, was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award, the T S Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize.

 

 

 

Happy Reading!

Join Nicholas Ellenbogen as he talks about his production of Alexander McCall Smith’s first opera, The Okavango MacBeth

Monday, March 25th 2013 at 5:30 PM

Okavango Macbeth Talk at Book Lounge invitation

Ellenbogen will be speaking on the context and creation of this first opera written by McCall Smith. The evening will be accompanied by glorious singing from the musical cast, bringing to life the sites and sounds of the bushveld.

Ellenbogen has directed each of the shows in the UK which have enjoyed 5 star reviews. The evening promises to be a fun one in true Theatre for Africa style, with snippets of history from Nick and Alexander’s years growing up together in Zimbabwe.

 

RSVP

Hugs and Squeezes Story time

Saturday, March 23rd 2013 at 11:00 AM

hug girlsThis week was Human Right’s Day in our country. And one of our human rights is to be loved and  to feel special and to know that someone cares about us. One of the best ways to say that you care is a good old-fashioned hug. Hugging someone you like is a good way to say you are happy to see them.

Today Danica will be reading stories about hugs and  helping you make you own hugs to give someone you love.

Squeezies xoxo

RSVP

Down in the Basement: Human Rights Doccie Night – SOLD OUT!

Tuesday, March 19th 2013 at 5:30 PM

human rightsThe next Down In the Basement event  will be the showing of some short documentaries around Human Rights. It is Human Rights Day this week, Thursday, and instead of it just being a day off work, we thought it will be great to do something a bit different.

Tickets are R35 each and we would like all the money to go to our neighbour, Scalabrini Centre (www.scalabrini.org.za) who do amazing work with refugees and just social outreach and awareness.

We have asked different filmmakers to let us use some of their work and in this way also honour those who wish to record the many untold stories in our country.

Films by Sydelle Willow Smith, Khanyisile Maimela, Terry Westby-Nunn, Unite as One Africa, Palesa Shongwe, Molly Blank and others will be shown.

They are all short documentaries from 4 – 20 minutes and really just highlight this thing called LIFE.

RSVP

Launch of Cape Town Globalist Edition One: The Sea with guest speakers Kevin Winters, Kimon de Greef and Micha Lau

Monday, March 18th 2013 at 6:00 PM

ct globalistThe Cape Town Globalist is UCT’s international affairs magazine. We come out three times a year and this is the launch of our first edition, The Sea: Not Waving but Drowning. The magazine includes news articles and articles on a theme. In this edition we explore the sea from various angles, including health, politics, conservation, philosophy and art. At the launch our freshly-printed magazine will be available free of charge. There will be a panel discussion on how we can leverage law and policy to save our seas. The panel members include Kevin Winter who is an environmentalist who focuses on cities and their water supplies. We are also joined by Micha Lau who is an environmental lawyer. Our last guest is Kimon de Greef who is a Masters student who spent time on the ‘other side of conservation law’ with abalone poachers.

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Car Story time BROOOOOOM!

Saturday, March 16th 2013 at 11:00 AM

car cartoonCars are amazing things, strange to think they were not always around. There was a time when people just walked or had a horse… funny that!

Today we are reading stories about cars (not the movie, which is funny, but no, not that Cars), stories about cars that you might not have heard before.

Do join us if you like driving around…

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Launch of Thirty Second World by Emma van der Vliet (in conversation with Peter Anderson)

Friday, March 15th 2013 at 5:30 PM

30 second worldAlison seems to have life sorted. Despite her high-flying job producing commercials she still manages to keep her infant son on the breast and her daughter in Strawberry Pops. But her texts to her best friend Evie tell a much less glamorous story.

Beth is new to the ad industry and desperate to impress. But the more she succeeds at work, the more things seem to be unravelling at home. And to make matters worse, she’s finding it hard to resist the advances of a sleazy colleague.

Things get really messy when a shoot takes their team to an isolated hell-hole in the middle of the South African bush. Accidents happen and dark secrets are revealed, and soon both Beth and Alison are forced to face some home truths.

Saucy and smart, Thirty Second World is a funny, moving, real-world tale set in the unreal world of the South African film industry.

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