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We Adore Splat the Cat! Story Time

Saturday, June 29th 2013 at 11:00 AM

splat the catIf you haven’t yet, this is your chance to meet Splat the Cat! An irresistible character from author and illustrator, Rob Scotton.

Splat has a pet mouse, Seymour, and when he goes to school, he hides him in his lunch box, with disasterous consequences. Poor Mrs Wimplydimple and his mother often aren’t sure that their best efforts will make Splat into a fine young Cat, but along the way, we can’t stop laughing at Splat’s adventures.
Today we will read Splat stories, and who knows,  you might just make a new friend along the way?

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Launch of Zebra Crossing by Meg Vandermerwe, in conversation with Sindiwe Magona

Thursday, June 27th 2013 at 5:30 PM

Zebra Crossing Invitation

Zebra Crossing tells the story of its protagonist and narrator, Chipo, an illegal immigrant in her late teens, and her older brother George. Both have fled poverty and political and private turmoil in their native Zimbabwe for a better life in Cape Town. Set during the 2010 World Cup, it explores myth and malice in the Mother City.

As excitement about the World Cup grows, so do xenophobic tensions. Consequently, George and fellow Zimbabweans Peter and David attempt to exploit Chipo’s albinism and local superstitions about the condition to make their fortunes amongst the illegal soccer betting rings that have sprung up along the city’s infamous Long Street. Their plan is to get rich quick and leave, before the violent rumours that all foreign Africans remaining in the country after the final soccer match will be attacked, come to fruition. However, their scheme has disastrous consequences.

Meg Vandermerwe was born in South Africa in 1978. She read English at Oxford University and holds Masters degrees from the universities of Sussex and East Anglia. She teaches English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of the Western Cape and lives in Cape Town. Zebra Crossing is her second book.

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Holiday Programme: Afternoon Story Time : Space!

Wednesday, June 26th 2013 at 2:30 PM

spaceFor the June/July Holidays we will have an afternoon story time slot every Wednesday and today is the first one!

We will be reading stories about space and rockets and men who go to the moon.  By using just known shapes we will then create our rocket in space pictures.

Would be great if you came and joined us.

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Launch of Love Interrupted by Reneilwe Malatji in conversation with Eva Hunter

Tuesday, June 25th 2013 at 5:30 PM

Love Interrupted_CT einvite

LOVE, INTERRUPTED is set partially in the university town of Grahamstown and partially in rural Limpopo. The stories in this collection have an intimate feel, like conversations eavesdropped on.

We hear the voices of black South African women, many of whom have to endure their husbands’ nyatsis (mistresses), their abuse or both. Some cope by turning to church, others by turning a blind eye and some, like the narrator of “Vicious Cycle”, by seeking to understand the legacy of South Africa’s past and the effects of migrant labour on its men.

Despite serious themes of patriarchy and racism, there is much humour and lightness in the stories, as in “Bridal Shower”, in which the narrator encounters a male stripper for the first time, and in “Toy Boy”, in which a woman befriends the gigolo next door.

This is an engaging collection full or rich characters you won’t forget, from Lebo, whose dream is take over the business of her domestic worker’s mother’s boss, and uses a witchdoctor to punish her detractors to MmaPhuti, who spikes her famous ginger-beer with whiskey.

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June 2013

Tuesday, June 25th 2013 at 11:52 AM

Fiction

Big Brother by Lionel Shriver

The brilliant new novel from the Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin.

When Pandora picks up her older brother Edison at her local Iowa airport, she literally doesn’t recognize him. The once slim, hip New York jazz pianist has gained hundreds of pounds. What happened?

Soon Edison’s slovenly habits, appalling diet, and know-it-all monologues are driving Pandora and her fitness-freak husband Fletcher insane. After the brother-in-law has more than overstayed his welcome, Fletcher delivers his wife an ultimatum: it’s him or me.

Rich with Shriver’s distinctive wit and ferocious energy, Big Brother is about fat: why we overeat and whether extreme diets ever really work. It asks just how much sacrifice we’ll make to save single members of our families, and whether it’s ever possible to save loved ones from themselves.

Glorious, fearless, almost fanatically hard-working prose. Nothing here feels half-hearted or accidental. There is so much to revel and enjoy…and the result is writing of a beauty and character that is lamentably missing from so much literary fiction.”            Guardian

Her best novel yet…who would have thought that a novel about a diet could be so moving, and so suspenseful?”                        Independent on Sunday

Shriver’s main gift as a novelist is a talent for coolly nailing down uncomfortable realities.”                   Economist

Shriver’s talents are many: she’s especially skilled at playing with readers’ reflexes for sympathy and revulsion, never letting us get too comfortable with whatever firm understanding we think we have of a character. Thick-skinned sibling tension is constantly flipped over to reveal its tender underbelly of devotion.”                  Washington Post

Her work is all the more valuable for its flagrant defiance of political correctness.”
The Times

The Humans by Matt Haig

It’s hardest to belong when you’re closest to home . . .

One wet Friday evening, Professor Andrew Martin of Cambridge University solves the world’s greatest mathematical riddle. Then he disappears.

When he is found walking naked along the motorway, Professor Martin seems different. Besides the lack of clothes, he now finds normal life pointless. His loving wife and teenage son seem repulsive to him. In fact, he hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton. And he’s a dog.

Can a bit of Debussy and Emily Dickinson keep him from murder? Can the species which invented cheap white wine and peanut butter sandwiches be all that bad? And what is the warm feeling he gets when he looks into his wife’s eyes?

This is a warm and surprising novel – funny and thought-provoking – and tells us much about our own humanity. Highly recommended.

The Humans is a laugh-and-cry book. Troubling, thrilling, puzzling, believable and impossible. Matt Haig uses words like a tin-opener. We are the tin.”      Jeanette Winterson

A brilliant exploration of what it is to love, and to be human, The Humans is both heartwarming and hilarious, weird, and utterly wonderful. One of the best books I’ve read in a very long time.”                       S J Watson

Matt Haig’s hilarious novel puts our species on the spot.”              Guardian

A wonderfully funny, gripping and inventive novel. Like Kurt Vonnegut and Audrey Niffenegger, Haig uses the tropes of science fiction to explore and satirise concepts of free will, love, marriage, logic, immortality and mercy with elegance and poignancy.”          The Times

Excellent…very human and touching indeed.”                     Patrick Ness

Fallen Land by Patrick Flanery

Following the critical acclaim for his debut, Absolution, Patrick Flanery’s Fallen Land is his brilliant break-out novel; a nail-biting story powered by a fierce anger at the utter failure of the American dream, and the greatest fears that lurk in every one of us. Poplar Farm has been in Louise’s family for generations, inherited by her sharecropping forebear from a white landowner after a lynching. Now, the farm has been carved up, the trees torn down; a mini-massacre replicating the destruction of lives and societies taking place all over America. Architect of this destruction is Paul Krovik, a property developer soon driven insane by the failure of his dream.

Julia and Nathaniel arrive from Boston with their son, Copley, and buy up Paul’s signature home in a foreclosure sale. They move into the half-finished subdivision and settle in to their brave new world. Yet violence lies just beneath the surface of this land, and simmers deep within Nathaniel. The great trees bear witness, Louise lives on in her beleaguered farmhouse, and as reality shifts, and the edges of what is right and wrong blur and are lost, Copley becomes convinced that someone is living in the house with them.

I am an Executioner: Love Stories by Rajesh Parameswaran

A Bengal tiger wakes up one morning realising he is ravenously in love. A pompous railway supervisor in a remote Indian province bites off more than he can chew when a peculiar new clerk arrives on his doorstep. In another place and in another time, a secret agent who spends her days watching the front door of an unknown quarry discovers something she isn’t meant to. An immigrant housewife in a Midwestern town geeing up for Thanksgiving makes a wish she may come to regret. And a small and famous country’s only executioner claims his conscience is as clean as his heavy, washed stones.

A glittering, savage and elegant first collection, where reality loops in Borgesian twists and dazzles with Bollywood exuberance, where frayed photographs take on a life of their own and where elephants wish only to die with dignity.

Ballistics by D.W. Wilson

It is summer and the Canadian Rockies are on fire.

Fleeing the fallout of a relationship gone wrong, Alan West returns to the small town in the valley where he grew up. There, his grandfather, Cecil, suffers a heart attack and gives him one last task: he must track down the father he’s never known, so that Cecil can make his peace.

And so Alan begins his search for the elusive Jack West, a man who skipped town decades earlier and of whom Cecil has always refused to speak. The quest will lead him to Archer, an old American soldier who went AWOL into Canada at the apex of the Vietnam War. Archer has been carrying a heavy burden for many years, and through him Alan learns the stories of Jack, of Cecil, and of Archer’s own daughter Linnea – a woman inextricably bound to them all.

Together, at the behest of a dying man, they set off on a reckless journey through the burning mountains and, slowly, they unravel the knots of the past.

What they find will change all of their lives for ever.

Wilson’s world is dangerous and unpredictable, and his writing has a terrific, understated force.”                                 The Times

Wilson’s voice is distinctive, confident and completely enthralling.”          Geoff Dyer

Wilson attains such effortless pathos and insight [and] leaves an unforgettable mark in his sublimely judged depiction of boys and men.”               Sunday Times

 

Ingredients of Love by Nicolas Barreau

The day begins like any other Saturday for beautiful Parisian restaurateur Aurélie Bredin, until she wakes up to find her apartment empty – her boyfriend gone off with another woman.

Heartbroken, Aurélie walks the streets of Paris in the rain, finally seeking refuge in a little bookshop in the Île Saint-Louis, where she’s drawn to a novel titled The Smiles of Women by obscure English author Robert Miller. She buys it and takes it home, but when she begins to read she’s astonished: The Smiles of Women can’t possibly be about her restaurant, about her. Except, it is.

Flattered and curious to know more, Aurélie attempts to get in touch with the reclusive Mr Miller, but it proves to be a daunting task. His French publishers seem determined to keep his identity secret, and while the Editor-in-Chief André Chabanais is happy to give Aurélie his time, he seems mysteriously unwilling to help her find her author.

Is Robert Miller really so shy, or is there something that André isn’t telling Aurélie?

 

Brief Loves that Live Forever by Andrei Makine

In Soviet Russia the desire for freedom is also a desire for the freedom to love. Lovers live as outlaws, traitors to the collective spirit, and love is more intense when it feels like an act of resistance.

Now entering middle age, an orphan recalls the fleeting moments that have never left him – a scorching day in a blossoming orchard with a woman who loves another; a furtive, desperate affair in a Black Sea resort; the bunch of snowdrops a crippled childhood friend gave him to give to his lover.

As the dreary Brezhnev era gives way to Perestroika and the fall of Communism, the orphan uncovers the truth behind the life of Dmitri Ress, whose tragic fate embodies the unbreakable bond between love and freedom.

 

Sociopath of the Month

Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight by M.E. Thomas

M. E. Thomas is a high-functioning non-criminal sociopath. She is charismatic, ambitious and successful. You would be charmed by her if you met her, might even be seduced by her. You would not realise that she is studying you to find your flaws, that she is ruthlessly manipulative, has no empathy and does not feel guilt or remorse. But she does like people – she likes to touch them, mould them and ruin them. She could be your friend or your boss. She could be you…

Now she writes with shocking honesty about her life, from the confusion of trying to fit in as a child to her growing need for power over others; from her successful stratagems at work and in love to the disasters that brought her greater understanding of herself and the motivation to control her behaviour – most of the time. She also draws on the latest research to explain why at least one in twenty-five of us are sociopaths – and shows why that’s not a bad thing. By turns fascinating, shocking and funny, Confessions of a Sociopath is a gripping insight into the mind of a self-confessed predator.

Local flavour

Random Kak I Remember from Growing up in South Africa by Trevor Romain

Random Kak I remember about growing up in South Africa by Trevor Romain is a foefie slide straight back to your youth in South Africa. Remember when you wore bell bottoms and wound up cassette tapes with a Bic pen. When ‘The World at War’ was on TV and LM Radio played on the radiogram, and when there were call-up papers in the mailbox and 2 cent stamps on letters. VW Beetles were everywhere, the Bay City Rollers were it, and the smell of Wintergreen filled the change rooms. On these pages, hundreds of the little things that made up the world for many in the 70s and 80s come to life in Trevor Romain’s whimsical drawings and laugh-out-loud commentary.

‘It’s not inside, it’s on top!’ – or is it? In this book it’s all inside. Enjoy the ride.

Trevor Romain, a best-selling author and illustrator of children’s books, was born in Johannesburg and now lives in Texas. Trevor can never remember to take out the rubbish, do the dishes or sweep the garage, but for some strange reason he does remember a whole bunch of random kak about growing up in South Africa.

The Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life

Photographers played an important role in the documentation of apartheid as they stepped in to capture how the system penetrated even the most mundane aspects of life in South Africa, from housing, public amenities, and transportation to education, tourism, religion, and businesses. Included in this vivid and compelling volume are works by such photographers as Eli Weinberg, Alf Khumalo, David Goldblatt, Peter Magubane, Ian Berry, and many others. Organised chronologically, it interweaves images and thoughtful essays to explore vital issues, including the institutionalisation of apartheid through the country’s legal apparatus; the growing resistance in the 1950s; and the radicalisation of the anti-apartheid movement within South Africa and, later, throughout the world. Finally, the book investigates the fall of apartheid, including Mandela’s return from exile. Far-reaching and exhaustively researched, this important book features more than 60 years of powerful photographic material that forms part of the historical record of South Africa.

African Brew by Lucy Corne

From beer’s porridge-like beginnings through to the cutting edge craft beers being poured across the country today, African Brew tells the story of South African beer. Join a pint-studded journey through seven provinces to meet the brewers, taste their beers and learn exactly what goes into that beverage you wouldn’t dream of braaiing without. There is also a section that covers up-and-coming breweries.

Delve deeper into food and beer pairing with delectable recipes from top South African chefs, each dish paired with a local lager or ale. And for those who don’t know the difference between the two, African Brew hopes to turn the beer novice into a connoisseur with tasting notes and troubleshooting tips showing you what to look for in your preferred pint.

Falls the Shadow: Between the Promise and the Reality of the New South African Constitution by Kristina Bentley

South Africa supposedly has one of the best Constitutions in the world, one which is intended to control and constrain the exercise of power by the state so that it does not threaten the liberty and security of citizens. But, in reality, does the Constitution contribute more to the security of some groups that others? Does it help to ensure certain types of security but not others? And does it have greater impact on some institutions than others? The book is based on the assumption that the Constitution has a significant impact on the security of Southern African citizens and communities but that this impact is differential. The chapters in the book explore what kind of differential impact the Constitution has, explains what accounts for the differences, examine the consequences of the different impact and consider whether there are any general observations and hypotheses that emerge from comparative perspectives.

Non-Fiction

Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal and the real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR BIOGRAPHY 2013

 The Three Musketeers! The Count of Monte Cristo! The stories of course are fiction. But here a prize-winning author shows us that the inspiration for the swashbuckling stories was, in fact, Dumas’s own father, Alex – the son of a marquis and a black slave…He achieved a giddy ascent from private in the Dragoons to the rank of general; an outsider who had grown up among slaves, he was all for Liberty and Equality. Alex Dumas was the stuff of legend.

So how did such this extraordinary man get erased by history? Why are there no statues of ‘Monsieur Humanity’ as his troops called him? The Black Count uncovers what happened and the role Napoleon played in Dumas’s downfall. By walking the same ground as Dumas – from Haiti to the Pyramids, Paris to the prison cell at Taranto – Reiss, like the novelist before him, triumphantly resurrects this forgotten hero. From the author of the highly-acclaimed The Orientalist.

Richly detailed, highly researched and completely absorbing…A triump.h”           Amanda Foreman

Totally thrilling…Brings to life one of history’s great forgotten characters”           Simon Sebag Montefiore

A terrific story.(Reiss) is to be congratulated for retrieving such a splendid character from the dustbin of history.”                         Sunday Times

Enthralling. A swashbuckling tale.”               Guardian

A cross between military biography and literary detective story. The author’s eye for colourful detail and palpable enthusiasm for his subject make for a highly entertaining read.”    Sunday Business Post

Heartfelt. Highly readable. Relentlessly, lovingly researched, indexed, cross-referenced and anecdotal. It is sustained by the author’s admiration for a singular individual, the brilliant father of a novelist whose subject was heroism and justice, the concepts by which his beloved sire had lived.”                              Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

The Secret Rooms: A castle filled with intrigue, a plotting duchess and a mysterious death by Catherine Bailey

A castle filled with intrigue, a plotting duchess and a mysterious death in Catherine Bailey’s The Secret Rooms.

At 6 am on 21 April 1940 John the 9th Duke of Rutland, and one of Britain’s wealthiest men, ended his days, virtually alone, lying on a makeshift bed in a dank cramped suite of rooms in the servants’ quarters of his own home, Belvoir Castle, in Leicestershire.

For weeks, as his health deteriorated, his family, his servants – even the King’s doctor – pleaded with him to come out, but he refused.

After his death, his son and heir, Charles, the 10th Duke of Rutland, ordered that the rooms be locked up and they remained untouched for sixty years.

What lay behind this extraordinary set of circumstances?

For the first time, in The Secret Rooms, Catherine Bailey unravels a complex and compelling tale of love, honour and betrayal, played out in the grand salons of Britain’s stately homes at the turn of the twentieth century, and on the battlefields of the Western Front. At its core is a secret so dark that it consumed the life of the man who fought to his death to keep it hidden. This extraordinary mystery from the author of Black Diamonds, perfect for lovers of Downton Abbey, Brideshead Revisited and The Suspicions of Mr Whicher.

Reads like the best kind of mystery story. It is a tale of mistresses and heirlooms, cowardice and connivance, and a deeply dysfunctional family…gripping.”            Sunday Times

Astonishing…jaw-dropping…It would spoil the book if I revealed the whole works, suffice it to say…what a family.”            Sunday Telegraph

An extraordinary detective operation.”         John Julius Norwich

 

Masters of the Word: How Media Shaped History by William J. Bernstein

In Masters of the Word, Bernstein (author of A Splendid Exchange) chronicles the development of the technology of human communication, or media, starting with the birth of writing thousands of years ago in Mesopotamia. In Sumer, and then Egypt, this revolutionary tool allowed rulers to extend their control far and wide, giving rise to the world’s first empires. When Phoenician traders took their alphabet to Greece, literacy’s first boom led to the birth of drama and democracy. In Rome, it helped spell the downfall of Empire. As Bernstein illustrates, new communication technologies – from the clay tablet to the radio – have all had a profound effect on human society. But it’s not just the technologies themselves that have changed the world, it’s access to them. Medieval scriptoria and vernacular bibles gave rise to religious dissent, but it was only when the combination of cheaper paper and Gutenberg’s printing press drove down the cost of books by some 97% that the dynamite of Reformation was lit. The Industrial Revolution brought the telegraph and the steam driven printing press, allowing information to move faster than ever before and to reach an even larger audience. But along with radio and television, these new technologies were more easily exploited by the powerful, as seen in Germany, the Soviet Union, even Rwanda, where radio incited genocide. With the rise of carbon duplicates (Russian samizdat), photocopying (the Pentagon Papers), and the internet and mobile phones (the Arab Spring), access has again spread and the world is both more connected, and more free, than ever before.

A Place in the Country by W.G. Sebald

From the author of the critically-acclaimed Austerlitz and Across the Land and Water comes A Place in the Country, the much anticipated translation of one of W.G. Sebald’s most brilliant works.

When W. G. Sebald, the prize-winning author of Austerlitz, travelled to Manchester in 1966, he packed in his bags certain literary favourites which would remain central to him throughout the rest of his life and during the years when he was settled in England. In A Place in the Country, he reflects on six of the figures who shaped him as a person and as a writer, from Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Jan Peter Tripp.

Fusing biography and essay, and finding, as ever, inspiration in place – as when he journeys to the Ile St. Pierre, the tiny, lonely Swiss island where Jean-Jacques Rousseau found solace and inspiration – Sebald lovingly brings his subjects to life in his distinctive, inimitable voice.

A Place in the Country is a window into the mind of this much loved and much missed writer.

A new kind of writing, combining fiction, memoir, travelogue, philosophy and much else besides…greatness in literature is still possible.”                  John Banville, Irish Times

When you read Sebald you are transported to another realm. Reading him is a truly sublime experience.”                   Literary Review

Is literary greatness still possible? One of the few answers available to English language readers is the work of W.G. Sebald.”              Susan Sontag

Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History by Eduardo Galeano

From Eduardo Galeano, one of Latin America’s greatest living writers, author of the Memory of Fire trilogy, comes Children of the Days a new kind of history that shows us how to remember and how to live

This book is shaped like a calendar. Each day brings with it a story: a journey, feast or tragedy that really happened on that date, from all possible years and all corners of the world. From Abdul Kassem Ismail, the tenth-century Persian who never went anywhere without his library – all seventeen thousand books of it, on four hundred camels; to the Brazilian city of Sorocaba, which on February 8th 1980 responded to the outlawing of public kissing by becoming one huge kissodrome; to July 1st 2008, the day the US government decided to remove Nelson Mandela’s name from its list of dangerous terrorists, Children of the Days takes aim at the pretensions of official history and illuminates moments and heroes that we have all but forgotten. Through this shimmering historical mosaic runs a common thread, one that joins humanity’s darkest hours to its sweetest victories. Children of the Days is the story of our lives.

Eduardo Galeano is the great master of fragments and splinters, a prince of the absurdly truthful. Children of the Days, his Calendar of Human History, is an immensely varied gathering of facts and oddments and truths and stories of every kind. Underlying them all is a passionate and humane concern for the underdog, the poor, the forgotten. How this can be so funny and at the same time so moving is a great mystery.”            Philip Pullman

Bedtime stories, you remember? This is a book of stories for each day of the year, addressed to adults. Stories of the historical human venture. Each story half a page. Put it beside your bed and the bed of those you love.”                  John Berger

Galeano is a superstar in the Hispanic world…His writing is full of candour, empathy, humane concern [and] he has a wonderful eye for the quirky…he evokes the wonders of a remarkable world that is not so bad after all.”             Financial Times

The telling of such secret histories makes it easy to see why Galeano is one of Latin America’s most influential writers…he has produced literature that will endure, monuments to the imagination.”                                         Independent

Shakespeare’s Restless World: An Unexpected History in Twenty Objects by Neil MacGregor

The Elizabethan age was a tumultuous time, when long-cherished certainties were crumbling and life was exhilaratingly uncertain. Shakespeare’s Restless World uncovers the extraordinary stories behind twenty objects from the period to re-create an age at once distant and yet surprisingly familiar. From knife crime to belief in witches, religious battles to the horizons of the New World, Neil MacGregor (author of A History of the World in 100 Objects) brings the past to life in a fresh, unexpected portrait of a dangerous and dynamic era.

“Shakespeare’s Restless World, filled with anecdotes and insights, eerie, funny, poignant and grotesque, is another brilliant vindication of MacGregor’s understanding of physical objects to enter deep into our fore-fathers’ mental and spiritual world.”                  Christopher Hart, Sunday Times

 

Man Within My Head: Graham Greene, My Father and Me by Pico Iyer

We all carry other people inside our heads – actors, leaders, writers, people from history or fiction, met or unmet, who sometimes seem closer to us than people we know.

In The Man Within My Head, Pico Iyer sets out to unravel the mysterious closeness he has always felt with the writer Graham Greene: he examines Greene’s obsessions, his life on the road, his penchant for mystery. Iyer follows Greene’s trail from his first novel, The Man Within, to such later classics as The Quiet American and begins to unpack all they have in common: a typical old-school education, a lifelong restlessness and refusal to make a home anywhere, a fascination with the complications of faith. The deeper Iyer plunges into their haunted kinship, however, the more he begins to wonder whether the man within his head is not Greene but his own father, or perhaps some more shadowy aspect of himself.

Drawing upon experiences across the globe, from Cuba to Bhutan, and moving, as Greene would, from Sri Lanka at war to intimate moments of introspection; trying to make sense of his own past, commuting between the cloisters of a fifteenth-century boarding school and California in the 1960s, one of our most resourceful cultural explorers gives us his most personal and revelatory book yet, and one of the best new portraits of Greene himself.

He has written the work that those who love Greene (as I do) have dreamt of writing and, in doing it so well, absolved us of the need…Humbling and moving…The Man Within My Head is one of a handful of magical books that I have read straight through.”    Nicholas Shakespeare, Daily Telegraph

A virtuoso memoir…A moving tribute to his real-life father concludes this triple memoir of three men mysteriously united by mutual obsessions and magically conjured by Iyer’s power of imaginative analysis.”                                           The Times


Vividly unusual memoir…generous, thoughtful, without ego the book I wish I’d written…Achieves a truly hard task, to make the writer’s mediation become the reader’s.”                                Independent

 

The Particle at the End of the Universe: The Hunt for the Higgs and the Discovery of a New World by Sean Carroll

Named a Best Science Book of the Year by The Guardian, Financial Times, and New Scientist

It was the universe’s most elusive particle, the linchpin for everything scientists dreamed up to explain how physics works. It had to be found. But projects as big as CERN’s Large Hadron Collider don’t happen without incredible risks – and occasional skullduggery. In the definitive account of this landmark event, Caltech physicist and acclaimed science writer Sean Carroll reveals the insights, rivalry, and wonder that fuelled the Higgs discovery, and takes us on a riveting and irresistible ride to the very edge of physics today.

Excellent…reminiscent of Richard Feynman’s QED, Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene or Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time….This book is so hard to put down. That’s testament to Carroll, a practising scientist, also being a gifted writer.”                        New Scientist

Vivid…Carroll is particularly skilled at tackling the complexities of particle physics in a readable yet reasonably uncompromising way…thanks to Carroll, and other popularisers of particle physics, we can all grasp enough to wonder at what the world’s most powerful atom smasher achieved and anticipate what’s still to come.”                        Financial Times

Carroll’s book is a very good – and very accessible – guide to all the theoretical physics, precision engineering, data handling, probability-measuring and other marvels involved in an adventure that in all has cost Europe’s taxpayers $9 billion.”              Guardian

An authoritative account of science’s discovery of the year: the Higgs boson. Carroll, a cosmologist, writes with remarkable clarity about the formidable complexities of particle physics and is just as good on the human side of “big science.”              Financial Times

Carroll tells the story of the particle that everyone has heard of but few of us actually understand. After you read this book – an enticing cocktail of personal anecdote, clever analogy, and a small dose of mind-bending theory – you will truly grasp why the Higgs boson has been sought after for so long by so many. Carroll is a believer in big science asking big questions and his beliefs are infectious and inspiring.”              Morgan Freeman

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollen

The New York Times Top Five Bestseller – Michael Pollan’s uniquely enjoyable quest to understand the transformative magic of cooking

In a culture of celebrity chefs and food reality shows, in countries which are crammed with fresh ingredients flown in from every corner of the Earth, we nonetheless year-on-year wade ever deeper into a great swamp of processed foods. The more we watch food on television, the less food we actually prepare and cook.

Michael Pollan’s marvellous new book is a clarion-call for the virtues and values of proper cooking – an essential, defining human activity which sits at the heart of our cultures, shapes family life and is in itself hugely enjoyable. Pollan recreates the transformative fundamentals of how we cook, building from the most basic principles: cooking with fire, cooking with water, cooking with air and cooking with earth.

Cooked is an extremely funny and surprising plea to Pollan’s readers to take control of their own fates and revel again in what should be a lifetime’s engagement with the almost magical activity of making food. And it is, of course, about so much more – how cooking can transform both how we think about ourselves and about our families and friends.

It’s not often that a life-changing book falls into one’s lap…Yet Michael Pollan’s Cooked is one of them. One it’s impossible to read and not act on…Embrace bacteria, cook thoughtfully and slow, and taste some of the most luscious food you’ve ever eaten, this powerful book says. And do it for the people you love as well as the invisible soldiers inside you who are fighting to keep you strong. Cooked is a book of revelations for today’s hungry human animal. Be changed by it.”                 Sunday Telegraph

“[Pollan] explores the same way a naturalist might, by studing the animals, plants and microbes involved in cooking, and delving into history, culture and chemistry … he describes the remarkable transformations that take place in the humble saucepan … Side by side with Mr Pollan the naturalist is the author as activist … his book is a hymn to why people should be enticed back into the kitchen.”                    Economist

 

FABulous!

What Presence! The Rock Photography of Harry Papadopoulos

Harry Papadopoulos began his photographic career outside the Apollo in Glasgow, flogging photographs to gig-goers. He soon moved to London, and from 1979 to 1984 worked as a staff photographer for Sounds, for which he provided countless front covers. During those five years he covered Blondie, David Bowie, Devo, Joy Division, Bryan Ferry, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Clash, The Specials, Wham!, ABC, Edwyn Collins, The Associates and many, many more. Harry’s London flat also became home to fellow Scots such as Aztec Camera, Orange Juice and the Bluebells. Savour Peter Capaldi, years before he mutated into Malcolm Tucker, looking cute and wholesome as frontman of Glasgow band The Dreamboys (with US chat show host Craig Ferguson on drums) and relive the inky-fingered days of the 1980s music press with this fascinating look at the work of guerrilla lensman Harry Papadopoulos.

Funny Birds by Philippe Ug

High up in the treetops strange birds are hatching from their eggs, craning their necks toward their mothers, and exploring their new environment. In this enchanting book, paper artist Philippe UG has created an avian paradise comprised of fourteen unique and delightful birds. As each page is turned, UG’s birds form intricate patterns of color and shape, inviting readers deep into a world of feathers, leaves, flowers, and wings, making this the perfect gift for children and anyone fascinated with exquisite design.

Things Come Apart: A Teardown Manual for Modern Living by Todd McLellan

This extraordinary book makes visible the inner complexity of some of the world’s most iconic products. Photographer Todd McLellan disassembles mechanical relics such as the typewriter and modern gadgets such as the iPad, before laying them out and photographing them in meticulously detailed arrangements, or capturing them in an exploded form, the individual pieces frozen in mid-air. Essays by people who work within the world of disassembly and restoration accompany each chapter.

Artfully reveals the beauty hidden within all the stuff of our lives.”           GQ Magazine

Every man loves smashing things up, doing DIY, nerding out on something and looking at very pretty things, so when these four worlds collide, holy mother mercy of hell do we get excited …It’s almost too amazing.”                        FHM

Jaw-dropping…hardcore OCD porn.”            Gay Times

Afrikaanse Storietyd vir Japsnoete

Saturday, June 22nd 2013 at 2:30 PM

leesOns kry soms navrae oor ‘n Afrikaanse storietyd vir die kleintjies en vanmiddag gaan Danica stories lees in Afrikaans vir japsnoete. Kom gerus en luister saam na nuwe stories wat jy dalk nog nooit gehoor het nie!

Ons gaan ook ons eie boekmerke maak om te onthou dat Lees tog Altelekker is!

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Three Little Pigs Story Time

Saturday, June 22nd 2013 at 11:00 AM

three little pigsWe all know the three little pigs story, but the great thing about a story we all know is that it often come along with twists and retellings.

Today Danica will read different versions of the three little pigs for you and who know, maybe the Big Bad Wolf is not as unfriendly as we were told!

We will huff and we will puff…

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Launch of Risk: A Novel by Jason Staggie

Thursday, June 20th 2013 at 5:30 PM

Risk Invitation

Nelson Jekwa, named after Nelson Mandela, is a new breed of black youth – privileged, studying at UCT and a shoe-in for a future job in law. Nelson yearns to do something great, but realises that The Struggle is over. He partakes in one drug debauchery after the next. His best friend, Troy Barnes, is a fan of quests and has the group trying to bed 1000 virgins. When Nelson introduces them to a risk game, they all agree to play. Everyone gets a “mission”.

 Nelson’s white friend Jeff has to call someone a “kaffir” on campus. One of them has to sleep with a prostitute without a condom in a country where HIV is rife, whilst another is dropped off in a gang-infested Coloured township to walk home. Nelson has to defecate in a police station.

When Nelson breaks up with his girlfriend, he shacks up with a prostitute in a chemically fuelled love nest for weeks. When he surfaces, the game has spawned an entire movement with Troy calling the shots. Their goal is African unity and attempting to “help Africa get out from the bottom of the toilet”. Missions are being executed all over Africa, from Cape Town to Cairo.

 Troy has concluded that what is really crippling Africa is its debts to the West. They plan ten heists to help pay back these debts. All goes well until Troy is shot.

 Jason Staggie is a filmmaker and writer from Cape Town. He graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2005, majoring in Psychology and Film Studies. He then lived and worked in Ireland and South Korea – teaching, fundraising for charities, and working on Risk. Subsequently, he studied directing and screenwriting at Prague Film School in the Czech Republic. During his time in Prague he worked on and directed several film shoots. Since his return to Cape Town in 2011, he has been working on his first full feature documentary, Hard Livings, about his uncles Rashied and Rashaad Staggie, as well as making video poetry. He is obsessed with the art movement called “Fluxus”, socially conscious transgressive fiction and revolutions.

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Launch of What Hidden Lies by Michéle Rowe, in conversation with Mike Nicol

Wednesday, June 19th 2013 at 5:30 PM

What Hidden Lies - Launch Invitation

The murder of a sex offender on the spectacular Cape Town coast brings together Detective Persephone (Percy) Jonas and retired criminal psychologist, Dr Marge Labuschagne. As they struggle to find answers and confront their own prejudices, the past stretches out to touch the present. This is a story about secrets – particularly those we keep from ourselves.

Brilliant crime, murder mystery fiction. The first in what the author envisages as a trilogy.

Michéle Rowe is an experienced scriptwriter for film and television. She has been nominated for, and won, several awards. These include an International Emmy nomination last year for a series which she co-originated and winning the CWA Debut Dagger in July 2011. She also teaches screenwriting at the University of Cape Town. WHAT HIDDEN LIES is her first novel.

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Flying High Story Time

Saturday, June 15th 2013 at 11:00 AM

flyingAeroplanes are such a part  of your life if you live in a city. We hear them fly by and we can spot them in the sky. Some of us have families who live in other places, so we have to use a plane to go and visit them and there is always that moment when the plane takes off and your tummy is full of butterflies and your ears are full of noise, that is so exciting! Then we get to fly just like the birds do.

Today we will read stories about aeroplanes and talk about things like wings and taxing down the runway!

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