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It’s our Birthday Story Time!

Saturday, November 30th 2013 at 11:00 AM

sixTomorrow the Book Lounge will be 6 years old! That is pretty grown up, by 6 you go to big school and you can write your own name and you definitely know what your favourite colour and best ice cream is.

Please join us for our Birthday Story Time today. There will be prizes and stories and colouring in pages and songs and of course cake, what would a birthday be without some cake.

It would be great to see you.

Did we say balloons?


Bekendstelling van Tolbos, die laaste boek in Irma Joubert se Tussen Stasies trilogie. Jan-Jan Joubert vra die belangrike vrae

Thursday, November 28th 2013 at 5:30 PM

Tolbos inv 2Die tienjarige Katrien Neethling, kleindogter van Kate en Bernard uit Ver wink die Suiderkruis, hoor oor die radio die polisie skiet op betogende skoolkinders in Soweto. Gedurende dieselfde week in Pole word die vyftienjarige Wladek Kowalski, broerskind van Jakób Kowalski uit Tussen stasies, deel van ’n betoging teen Kommunisme.

Die gebeure vanaf Junie 1976 tot die einde van 1989, met die val van Apartheid in Suid-Afrika en die val van Kommunisme in Pole, vorm die politieke agtergrond van hierdie roman. Beide karakters raak betrokke by ondergrondse bedrywighede teen hulle onderskeie regerings en hulle name verskyn op die rekords van die veiligheidspolisie in albei lande.

Bekende aspekte uit die tagtigerjare gee verdere geur aan die verhaal: verpligte diensplig, die noodtoestand en perssensuur, die Vrye Weekblad, Afrikaner jongmense se opstand teen die gesag van die Nasionale Party, die Broederbond, die kerk, die literatuur van die daardie jare: Die swerfjare vanPoppie Nongena, Kanna hy kô hystoe, ’n Droë wit seisoen; en veral die alternatiewe Afrikaanse musiekgroepe en die Voëlvry-konserttoer.

Bo en behalwe die musikante wat deelneem aan die Alternatiewe Afrikaanse Beweging, ontmoet die leser ook bekende karakters soos Helen Zille, ’n jong joernalis by die Rand Daily Mail, en die enigmatiese Max du Preez in die deurmekaar kantore van die Vrye Weekblad.

Irma Joubert skryf oor mense. Haar romans lees so lekker, want hulle word deur die karakters gedryf.

Joubert se lesers sal dit dus nie vreemd vind dat Katrien en Wladek mekaar vind in hierdie omstuimige tye nie. Dit is onafwendbaar dat hierdie twee karakters aangetrokke tot mekaar sal wees, hoewel hulle uit twee wêrelde, twee taalgoepe en verskillende kulture en godsdienste kom. Die gedeelde passie is hulle vurige betrokkenheid by ’n rewolusie teen die bestaande orde. Die einde moet ’n triomf vir die mens se binneste wees, anders is dit nie ’n Irma Joubert-teks nie.


Join the gorgeous Karen Dudley for a taste of her new cookbook at La Cuccina

Wednesday, November 27th 2013 at 6:30 PM

The Kitchen_Book Lounge Another Week in The Kitchen - Book Lounge and La Cuccina (2)


Renowned food-blogger, Marie Viljoen joins us for the launch of her recipe book, 66 Square Feet

Wednesday, November 27th 2013 at 5:30 PM


South Africa–born Marie Viljoen captures the hearts of her readers as she blogs about cooking and gardening on her tiny 66-square-foot terrace in Brooklyn. Named one of the top 10 gardening blogs by Apartment Therapy and the Discovery Channel, 66 Square Feet has also been covered in the New York Times.

The book draws the reader into Viljoen’s beautiful world of unfolding city seasons as she forages through New York City and harvests from her garden to create elegant and inspiring meals that encourage the reader to pause and savor life. Each chapter is a month, and ends in the kitchen, with a menu inspired by her terrace and roof gardens, farmer’s markets, and the occasional weed. Set against a backdrop of growing up in South Africa and moving to the United States, meeting her French husband, and finding a culinary and emotional home in Brooklyn, Viljoen’s book is a love letter to living seasonally in the most famous city on the planet.

Praise for 66 Square Feet:

 “The book is easy to love. The photos are alluring, the typography and graphics are charming and the menus, divided by month, offer beautiful, seasonal delights.” —San Jose Mercury News

“This is creative nonfiction, cut from the same cloth as great nature writing…”
Edible Brooklyn

“This book shows you a New York City you will never forget.”
Wilder Quarterly

“Stories on every page with recipes tucked in between, gorgeous photos that make me see the streets of New York in a completely different light…” 
Apartment Therapy

“…a handsome hardback, filled with arty food, flower and city photos.”
The Seattle Times


Mervyn Sloman chats to Max du Preez about his latest book, A Rumour of Spring: South Africa after 20 Years of Democracy

Tuesday, November 26th 2013 at 5:30 PM

Rumour invite BLDemocracy in South Africa turns twenty on 27 April 2014.

In A Rumour of Spring, Max du Preez investigates and analyses the progress and lack of progress the country has made during these twenty years. He looks at the legacies of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki in an attempt to understand how we got here, and examines Jacob Zuma’s presidency to better understand where we are. In the context of blatant corruption, populism and tragedies such as the Marikana massacre, the book considers the current state of the ruling party and the opposition, and dissects the big issues currently afflicting our society, including the state of education, land reform, crime and policing, the judiciary, nationality and race. And then, with images of the Arab Spring fresh in our collective memory, it dares to look to the future and what it may hold.

An honest and balanced account, A Rumour of Spring tackles the questions asked by ordinary South Africans every day: How are we really doing? What is really going on in our country? How should we understand what is happening here? And will it get any better?

About the author:

Max du Preez is one of South Africa’s foremost journalists and political analysts. After working as a political correspondent for various newspapers, he founded Vrye Weekblad, South Africa’s first anti-apartheid Afrikaans newspaper, in 1988, and after 1994 he launched the television programmes Special Report on the Truth Commission and Special Assignment.

His books include Pale Native, Dwars, Of Lovers, Warriors and Prophets, Oranje Blanje Blues, Of Tricksters, Tyrants and Turncoats and Oor Krygers, Korrelkoppe en Konkelaars. He is currently a syndicated political columnist, public speaker and documentary filmmaker. Among his awards are the Pringle Award from the South African Society of Journalists, the Louis M Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism from the Nieman Fellows at Harvard University, and the Excellence in Journalism award from the Southern African Foreign Correspondents Association. He was the 2006 Yale Globalist International Journalist of the Year and the 2008 recipient of the Nat Nakasa Award for Integrity and Courage in Journalism from the SA National Editors Forum. He is a fellow of the Centre for Leadership Ethics in Africa at the University of Fort Hare and extraordinary professor at the School of Communications at North-West University.


November 2013

Tuesday, November 26th 2013 at 10:15 AM


Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon

 It is 2001 in New York City, in the lull between the collapse of the dotcom boom and the terrible events of September 11th. Silicon Alley is a ghost town, Web 1.0 is having adolescent angst, Google has yet to IPO, Microsoft is still considered the Evil Empire. There may not be quite as much money around as there was at the height of the tech bubble, but there’s no shortage of swindlers looking to grab a piece of what’s left.

Maxine Tarnow is running a nice little fraud investigation business on the Upper West Side, chasing down different kinds of small-scale con artists. She used to be legally certified but her licence got pulled a while back, which has actually turned out to be a blessing because now she can follow her own code of ethics – carry a Beretta, do business with sleazebags, hack into people’s bank accounts – without having too much guilt about any of it. Otherwise, just your average working mum – two boys in elementary school, an off-and-on situation with her sort of semi-ex-husband Horst, life as normal as it ever gets in the neighbourhood – till Maxine starts looking into the finances of a computer-security firm and its billionaire geek CEO, whereupon things begin rapidly to jam onto the subway and head downtown. She soon finds herself mixed up with a drug runner in an art deco motorboat, a professional nose obsessed with Hitler’s aftershave, a neoliberal enforcer with footwear issues, plus elements of the Russian mob and various bloggers, hackers, code monkeys and entrepreneurs, some of whom begin to show up mysteriously dead. Foul play, of course.

With occasional excursions into the Deep Web and out to Long Island, Thomas Pynchon, channelling his inner Jewish mother, brings us a historical romance of New York in the early days of the Internet, not that distant in calendar time but galactically remote from where we’ve journeyed to since.

Will perpetrators be revealed, forget about brought to justice? Will Maxine have to take the handgun out of her purse? Will she and Horst get back together? Will Jerry Seinfeld make an unscheduled guest appearance? Will accounts secular and karmic be brought into balance?

 “Thomas Pynchon, America’s greatest novelist, has written the greatest novel about the most significant events in his country’s 21st century history. It is unequivocally a masterpiece.”                              Scotsman

It’s dense, complex and riotously, ridiculously funny.”                   Esquire

Part thriller, part detective story, it’s a vibrant portrait of a city on the cusp of change.”                                Sunday Telegraph

“[Pynchon’s] eighth novel is something of a return to form, and could well be his best since his comeback. Offers a winning heroine, scintillating screwball dialogue and a typical host of weird, zany or depraved characters, this time corralled into a tighter-than-usual plot.”                              Sunday Times

Entropic in its plottery and joyously paranoid in its world view. My advice: read it, but don’t try to follow it. It’ll make you giddy.”                                                 The Times

Three Brothers by Peter Ackroyd

Three Brothers follows the fortunes of Harry, Daniel and Sam Hanway, born on a post-war council estate in Camden Town. Marked out from the start by curious coincidence, each boy is forced to make his own way in the world – a world of dodgy deals and big business, of criminal gangs and crooked landlords, of newspaper magnates, back-biters and petty thieves.

London is the backdrop and the connecting fabric of these three lives, reinforcing Ackroyd’s grand theme that place and history create, surround and engulf us. From bustling, cut-throat Fleet Street to hallowed London publishing houses, from the wealth and corruption of Chelsea to the smoky shadows of Limehouse and Hackney, this is an exploration of the city, peering down its streets, riding on its underground, and drinking in its pubs and clubs. Everything is possible – not only in the new freedom of the 1960s but also in London’s timeless past.

Suffused with Ackroyd’s intelligence and learning.”                        Observer

“A camp clever tour de force. an alternative autobiography, a ghost story and a murder mystery all in one slim volume. Brilliant. The quintessence of Ackroyd”                   Sunday Telegraph

“A book full of rich and sudden moments of delight”                       Scotsman

“Harking back to Dickens… London is a major character in the novel. In Ackroyd’s accomplished hands the city becomes a mystical place, where visions abound. Highly recommended.”                    Daily Mail


Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks

A gloriously witty novel from Sebastian Faulks using P.G. Wodehouse’s much-loved characters, Jeeves and Wooster, fully authorised by the Wodehouse estate.

Bertie Wooster, recently returned from a very pleasurable soujourn in Cannes, finds himself at the stately home of Sir Henry Hackwood in Dorset. Bertie is more than familiar with the country house set-up: he is a veteran of the cocktail hour and, thanks to Jeeves, his gentleman’s personal gentleman, is never less than immaculately dressed.

On this occasion, however, it is Jeeves who is to be seen in the drawing room while Bertie finds himself below stairs – and he doesn’t care for it at all.

Love, as so often, is at the root of the confusion. Bertie, you see, has met Georgiana on the Côte d’Azur. And though she is clever and he has a reputation for foolish engagements, it looks as though this could be the real thing. However, Georgiana is the ward of Sir Henry Hackwood and, in order to maintain his beloved Melbury Hall, the impoverished Sir Henry has struck a deal that would see Georgiana becoming Mrs Rupert Venables.

Meanwhile, Peregrine ‘Woody’ Beeching, one of Bertie’s oldest chums, is desperate to regain the trust of his fiancée Amelia, Sir Henry’s tennis-mad daughter.

But why would this necessitate Bertie having to pass himself off as a servant when he has never so much as made a cup of tea? Could it be that the ever-loyal, Spinoza-loving Jeeves has an ulterior motive?

Evoking the sunlit days of a time gone by, Jeeves and the Wedding Bells is a delightfully witty story of mistaken identity, a midsummer village festival, a cricket match and love triumphant.

 “At two memorable moments in Jeeves and the Wedding Bells I did indeed laugh until I cried. Jeeves and the Wedding Bells is a masterpiece. Faulks’s plot is bang on-message. Faulks captures perfectly both the tone and the spirit of Wodehouse’s originals. This is a pitch-perfect undertaking: proof, almost a century after his debut, that Jeeves may not be so inimitable after all.”                             Spectator

 “It is a wonderfully happy book.”                             Guardian

The finished product resembles, in all but cover, a traditional Wodehousian yarn. Harking back to the summer of 1926, it is a gentle, jolly tale – of farce and mistaken identity, of love lost and found, of cricket matches, village fetes and the eccentric upper classes.”                  Telegraph

“Faulks exhibits a highly developed sense of the speech patterns with which their creator originally characterised Bertie Wooster and Jeeves. As well as his propensity for la mot juste Faulks also captures the essence of the relationship between the gentleman and his personal gentleman. The plot is satisfyingly convoluted in the best Wodehouse tradition. A genuine addition to my growing Wodehouse collection and there is no higher tribute.”                   
Daily Express


Lion Heart by Justin Cartwright

 Richie Cathar’s father, Alaric, was a renaissance man: an intellectual, explorer, archaeologist and historian. He was also a man of the sixties: a fantasist, absentee parent and drug abuser. Alaric named his son after his hero, Richard, Coeur de Lion, but left him little when he died apart from conflicting memories. Now Richie, thirty-something, is in search of his own role…

Following his father’s trail to the Holy Land to research the Art of the Medieval Latin Kingdom, Richie’s quest – to uncover the fate of Christianity’s most sacred relic and the truth about his father – takes him from the high-table intrigue of Oxford to the imposing Crusader castles of Jordan, and into a passionate love affair with Noor, a Canadian-Arab journalist, whose fate will become entwined with Richie’s own. Shot through with Justin Cartwright’s trademark sharp observation and heartbreaking drama, Lion Heart is a thrilling, romantic and original work from one of our finest novelists.

 “Glorious…the magic trick of this extraordinary novel is that elusiveness is its appeal and its goal: like its protagonist, eccentric, funny and invincibly self-deprecating, it strenuously avoids the mainstream and picks its own meandering way towards truth.”                                Guardian

 “Anybody who wonders whether novelists can keep up with an accelerating world should read Justin Cartwright…Readers will relish the way that Cartwright embellishes the True Cross legend but they must solve Richie and Noor’s mysteries for themselves. Unlike Dan Brown’s potboilers, Lion Heart rewards careful reading and reveals parallels between its medieval and modern protagonist.”                           Independent on Sunday

 “Highly accomplished…The lunacy of religion is undercut throughout, not only in the Middle East, but also in a nicely understated overlap with the irrationality of the hippie ethos of the 1960s, and there are a couple of self-effacing jokes about Dan Brown. Novels involving esoteric relics too often tend to be bilge; Cartwright should be congratulated on writing one that isn’t.”  Sunday Times

 “Compelling…Lion Heart is a highly ambitious book, the tangled connections between past events and modern players plaited with sophistication and an effortlessly beguiling style…A Romance in the bygone, broadest sense… Even a less than perfect book by Cartwright is a pleasure, for the authority of his style, his intellectual mettle and his sentimental, courtly heart.”                  Herald

 “The range of this book is astonishing…And its author’s observations of modern life are razor sharp. If the idea of a highly complex, multi-layered story straddling continents and centuries appeals, then why not immerse yourself in Cartwright’s world of medieval drama, espionage, romance and intrigue?”                   Daily Mail

 “As smart and fluent as we expect from Cartwright, and more affecting than its scepticism about our knowledge and convictions would suggest, Lion Heart deciphers with a shrewd eye the nagging riddles of history – and of the human heart.”                  Independent

Black Chalk by Christopher J Yates

One game. Six students. Five survivors.

It was only ever meant to be a game.

A game of consequences, of silly forfeits, childish dares. A game to be played by six best friends in their first year at Oxford University. But then the game changed: the stakes grew higher and the dares more personal, more humiliating, finally evolving into a vicious struggle with unpredictable and tragic results.

Now, fourteen years later, the remaining players must meet again for the final round.

An inventive and intricate psychological puzzle thriller that mystifies, torments, disturbs, beguiles… a powerfully intelligent debut.”                                 The Times

“[A] chilling debut…this is a thriller, a cautionary tale and a sobering exploration of unintended consequences rolled into one.”                     Daily Mail

Sinister, addictive and unpredictable – this is a novel to be devoured greedily, at speed, but one that will leave its footprint on your memory for far longer.”                               Red Magazine

The New Girl by SL Grey

Don’t mess with the creepy new girl!

Ryan Devlin, a predator with a past, has been forced to take a job as a handyman at an exclusive private school, Crossley College. He’s losing his battle to suppress his growing fascination with a new girl who seems to have a strange effect on the children around her.

Tara Marais fills her empty days by volunteering at Crossley’s library. Tara is desperate, but unable, to have a baby of her own, so she makes Reborns – eerily lifelike newborn dolls. She’s delighted when she receives a commission from the mysterious ‘Vader Batiss’, but horrified when she sees the photograph of the baby she’s been asked to create. Still, she agrees to Batiss’s strange contract, unaware of the consequences if she fails to deliver the doll on time.

Both Tara and Ryan are being drawn into a terrifying scheme – one that will have an impact on every pupil at Crossley College…

Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg met in a pub while bunking a crime seminar and, as one does at pubs, discovered a mutual interest in horror. Sarah, a crime novelist and screenwriter, was a die-hard zombie fanatic; Louis, a literary writer, editor and recovering bookseller, had studied vampire and apocalyptic fiction. Rejecting their initial plans for a vampire-vs-zombie faceoff, they decided to write the first mainstream South African horror novel together and S.L. Grey was born.

The Thicket by Joe R Lansdale

Acclaimed author Joe Lansdale’s landmark tale of love and vengeance at the dark dawn of the East Texas oil boom.

Jack Parker knows all too well how treacherous life can be. His parents did not survive a smallpox epidemic. His grandfather was murdered. Now his sister Lula has been kidnapped by a bank robber.
Alongside bounty hunter Shorty, an eloquent dwarf with a chip on his shoulder, and Eustace, the grave-digging son of an ex-slave, Jack sets off to rescue Lula.
In turn-of-the-century Texas, that quest is likely to turn dangerous. Murderous outlaws find their homes in the remote wilderness. Oil wells spurt liquid money from the ground. And blood and redemption still rule supreme.

A master of noir laced with laugh-out-loud black humour…horror, bloodshed and laughs.”                        Shortlist

This latest work reads like a dark version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and feels like a Coen brothers movie. It’s the perfect mix of light and dark, with plenty of humor mixed in.”                    Houston Chronicle

Storytelling laced with bravado, good humor, action, and heart…As captivating as the best of Larry McMurtry and written in a style reminiscent of Mark Twain…This title cannot help but captivate readers.”                           Library Journal

Joe Lansdale is one of the dark kings of modern mystery fiction, a master of the genre. His name deserves to be whispered with the greats.”                              John Connolly


The Grand Scam: How Barry Tannenbaum Conned South Africa’s Business Elite by Rob Rose

The Grand ScamFrom 2005 to 2009 the heir to one of South Africa’s blue-blood families, Barry Tannenbaum, methodically constructed the largest-ever con in South African history. The Grand Scam exposes the brazen greed of the scammers, the bank that facilitated the shady dealings rather than alerting the authorities, and the naivety of business people who should have known better.

It goes far beyond the original news stories, containing original research and material that, for the first time, answers the central question of why Barry Tannenbaum, the grandson of the founder of one of the country’s biggest pharmaceutical firms, Adcock Ingram, offered investors stratospheric returns of more than 200 per cent a year by investing in the components used to make AIDS drugs. It was nothing more than a lie, which suckered the country’s business elite, including the former CEO of Pick n Pay, the one-time head of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the ex-boss of OK Bazaars.
After the bubble popped in June 2009, finance minister Pravin Gordhan announced that hundreds of investors in South Africa, Australia and Europe had ploughed more than R12.5 billion into Tannenbaum’s scheme, based on the empty promise of immense riches. Dwarfing the Brett Kebble rip-off, Fidentia and the Krion pyramid scheme, it proved to be the most embarrassing financial disaster in the country’s history, and it exposed holes in a banking and financial system billed as one of the safest in the world.
For Tannenbaum’s victims, the nightmare continued after the scheme collapsed, as liquidators, tax officials and criminal investigators demanded their pound of flesh. But Tannenbaum, now at large on Australia’s Gold Coast, continues to live as if nothing happened, working for an Australian insurance company.
The question that hasn’t been answered until now is, how did Tannenbaum swindle so many people with such ease? And, more crucially, why did he do it? Through extensive interviews with his family, friends and numerous ‘investors’, this book provides the startling answers to those questions. For the first time, the real motivation that fuelled South Africa’s Bernie Madoff is laid bare.

Cold: Extreme Adventures at the Lowest Temperatures on Earth by Sir Ranulph Fiennes

There are only few human beings who can adapt, survive and thrive in the coldest regions on earth. And below a certain temperature, death is inevitable. Sir Ranulph Fiennes has spent much of his life exploring and working in conditions of extreme cold. The loss of many of his fingers to frostbite is a testament to the horrors man is exposed to at such perilous temperatures. With the many adventures he has led over the past 40 years, testing his limits of endurance to the maximum, he deservedly holds the title of ‘the world’s greatest explorer’. Despite our technological advances, the Arctic, the Antarctic and the highest mountains on earth, remain some of the most dangerous and unexplored areas of the world. This remarkable book reveals the chequered history of man’s attempts to discover and understand these remote areas of the planet, from the early voyages of discovery of Cook, Ross, Weddell, Amundsen, Shackleton and Franklin to Sir Ranulph’s own extraordinary feats; from his adventuring apprenticeship on the Greenland Ice Cap, to masterminding over the past 5 years the first crossing of the Antarctic during winter, where temperatures regularly plummeted to minus 92 * C. Both historically questioning and intensely personal, Cold is a celebration of a life dedicated to researching and exploring some of the most hostile and brutally cold places on earth.

Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine who Launched Modern China by Jung Chang

Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) is the most important woman in Chinese history. She ruled China for decades and brought a medieval empire into the modern age.

At the age of sixteen, in a nationwide selection for royal consorts, Cixi was chosen as one of the emperor’s numerous concubines and sexual partners. When he died in 1861, their five-year-old son succeeded to the throne. Cixi at once launched a palace coup against the regents appointed by her husband and made herself the real ruler of China – behind the throne, literally, with a silk screen separating her from her officials who were all male.

In this groundbreaking biography, Jung Chang vividly describes how Cixi fought against monumental obstacles to change China. Under her the ancient country attained virtually all the attributes of a modern state: industries, railways, electricity, telegraph, and an army and navy with up-to-date weaponry. It was she who abolished gruesome punishments like ‘death by a thousand cuts’ and put an end to foot-binding. She inaugurated women’s liberation, and embarked on the path to introduce parliamentary elections to China. Jung Chang comprehensively overturns the conventional view of Cixi as a diehard conservative and cruel despot.

Cixi reigned during extraordinary times and had to deal with a host of major national crises: the Taiping and Boxer Rebellions, wars with France and Japan – and the invasion by eight allied powers including Britain, Germany, Russia and the United States. Jung Chang not only records the Empress Dowager’s conduct of domestic and foreign affairs, but also takes the reader into the depths of her splendid Summer Palace and the harem of Beijing’s Forbidden City, where she lived surrounded by eunuchs – with one of whom she fell in love, with tragic consequences. The world Jung Chang describes here, in fascinating detail, seems almost unbelievable in its extraordinary mixture of the very old and the very new.

Based on newly available, mostly Chinese, historical documents such as court records, official and private correspondence, diaries and eye-witness accounts, this biography will revolutionise historical thinking about a crucial period in China’s – and the world’s – history. Packed with drama, fast-paced and gripping, it is both a panoramic depiction of the birth of modern China and an intimate portrait of a woman: as the concubine to a monarch, as the absolute ruler of a third of the world’s population, and as a unique stateswoman.

Drunk Tank Pink: The Subconscious Forces that Shape how We Think, Feel and Behave by Adam Alter

Pink-painted walls that calm criminals; letters in product names that make you more likely to buy them; weather that has you falling in love. The world is full of hidden forces that shape our every thought, feeling and behaviour – without us ever realising. In this brilliant study of the strange recesses of our minds, Adam Alter reveals the power secret cues exert over our daily lives and the societies in which we live. The utterly ordinary makes for truly extraordinary effects. From how what floor your flat is on can determine your child’s development to how unconscious attitudes on race skew the criminal justice system, unlocking these hidden forces is key to smarter decision-making, more effective business, and better outcomes for our selves and our societies…

Reading Adam Alter’s book will change the way you look at our world.”                              Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational

A smart and delightful introduction to some of psychology’s most curious phenomena and most colourful characters.”                                 Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness

One of the best… clearly written and easy to understand.”                         Evening Standard

A fantastic introduction to the wealth of weird and wonderful psychology research out there.”                                BBC Focus

  “The best science book I’ve read all year… really provocative.”                   Malcolm Gladwell

To Move the World: JFK’s Quest for Peace by Jeffrey Sachs

The inspiring story of JFK, the Cold War, and the power of oratory to change the course of history.

John F. Kennedy’s last great campaign was not the battle for re-election that he did not live to wage, but the struggle for a sustainable peace with the Soviet Union. To Move the World recalls the extraordinary days from October 1962 to September 1963, when JFK marshaled the power of oratory and his astonishing political skills towards that end.

Jeffrey Sachs shows how Kennedy emerged from the Cuban Missile Crisis with the determination and capabilities to forge a new direction for the world. Together, he and the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, both deeply affected by this near-death experience, would pull the world away from the nuclear precipice and chart a path for future peacemakers.

During his final year in office Kennedy gave a series of speeches in which he sought to argue, against widespread pessimism, that peace with the Soviets was possible. He used his great gifts of persuasion on multiple fronts – with fractious allies, hawkish Republican congressmen, and dubious members of his own administration – to persuade America, the Soviet Union, and the world that cooperation between the superpowers was both realistic and necessary.

To Move the World gives us a startlingly fresh perspective on Kennedy’s presidency and an inspiring model for strong leadership and problem solving in our time.

Age of Oversupply: Overcoming the Greatest Challenge to the Global Economy by Daniel Alpert

The Age of Oversupply looks at why Western capitalism is broken and how the US can recover its global economic leadership status.

Economic and political forces are preventing markets from correcting themselves. Governments and central banks across the developed world have tried every tool imaginable, yet our economies remain sluggish. How did we get here, and how can advanced nations prosper once more?

In this bold call to arms, economic policy expert Daniel Alpert argues that oceans of cheap global labour and capital have shackled the economies of the West. Distracted by a technology boom and debt bubble, they failed to respond to the challenges unleashed by the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and beyond.

Global oversupply and the lack of domestic growth are intertwined, Alpert shows. We cannot understand the housing bubble and the financial crisis without appreciating how the rise of emerging nations distorted the economies of rich countries. And we can’t chart a path for growth without recognising that many of these forces are still at work.

The Age of Oversupply offers a bold, fresh approach to fixing the West’s economic woes. It also delivers a vigorous challenge to proponents of austerity economics.

A book that will make you think. Alpert does a magnificent job of analyzing the deeper underlying causes of our economic troubles.”                            Liaquat Ahamed, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lords of Finance

The Arts

Robert Plant: A Life – The Biography by Paul Rees

Robert Plant is one of the few genuine living rock legends.

Frontman of Led Zeppelin, musical innovator and seller of millions of records, Plant has had a profound influence on music for over four decades. But the full account of his life has barely been told…until now.

Robert Plant: A Life is the first complete and comprehensive telling of Plant’s story. From his earliest performances in folk clubs in the early 1960s, to the world’s biggest stages as Led Zeppelin’s self-styled ‘Golden God’, and on to his emergence as an emboldened solo star.

The sheer scale of Zeppelin’s success is extraordinary: in the US alone they sold 70 million records, a figure surpassed only by the Beatles. But their success was marred by tragedy.

These pages contain first-hand accounts of Plant’s greatest highs and deepest lows: the tragic deaths of his son Karac and his friend, Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.

Told in vivid detail, this is the definitive story of a man of great talent, remarkable fortitude and extraordinary conviction.

Anyone seeking insight into Plant as a man and a musician will find it here.”      Q

There have been countless books on Led Zeppelin but little of substance on lead singer Plant. Methodically researched, the music legend’s extraordinary career, influences and legacy are superbly articulated in this tremendous biography of an enigmatic rock star.”      The Bookseller

Short Book about Drawing by Andrew Marr

Like millions of others, Andrew Marr draws. He hasn’t had lessons, yet since childhood, the journalist and TV presenter has been at his happiest with a pen or brush in his hand. One way or another he draws most days, even if it’s just a doodle on the edge of a newspaper. But why does he do it? Does it have a point? And in what way, if any, does this activity of his relate to what we think of as ‘art’?

In this intriguing new book, Andrew Marr explores the subject of drawing and painting through his own experience. He considers the mechanics of the process – the act of making and its importance for a happy life – alongside the ways in which good drawing or painting can make us think harder and see the world differently. He discusses what a bad drawing is, and the nature of failure as well as success. The book, lavishly illustrated with over 50 of the author’s own pictures, was written during the winter of 2012 and completed weeks before Andrew suffered the major stroke from which he is currently recovering – and finding himself drawing again.

Written in his signature fresh, engaging and evocative style, A Short Book About Drawing is Andrew Marr’s unique take on this absorbing subject.


An Armenian Sketchbook by Vasily Grossman

Few writers had to confront so many of the last century’s mass tragedies as Vasily Grossman. He is likely to be remembered, above all, for the terrifying clarity with which he writes about the Shoah, the Battle of Stalingrad and the Terror Famine in the Ukraine.

An Armenian Sketchbook, however, shows us a very different Grossman; it is notable for its warmth, its sense of fun and for the benign humility that is always to be found in his writing.

After the ‘arrest’ – as Grossman always put it – of Life and Fate, Grossman took on the task of editing a literal Russian translation of a lengthy Armenian novel. The novel was of little interest to him, but he was glad of an excuse to travel to Armenia. This is his account of the two months he spent there.

It is by far the most personal and intimate of Grossman’s works, with an air of absolute spontaneity, as though Grossman is simply chatting to the reader about his impressions of Armenia – its mountains, its ancient churches and its people.

The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies by Susan Elderkin and Ella Berthoud

Are you weary in Brain and Body? Do you desire a Positive Cure for your Pessimism? Do you require Brontë to re-boot your Broken Heart? Do you despair of your Nose? Can Fielding open your Flood Gates? Or Pynchon purge your Paranoia? May we administer Austen to curb your Arrogance? Hemingway for your Headache? An injection of du Maurier for your low Self-Esteem? Are you Shy, Single, Stressed or Sixty? Are your Vital Statistics in need of some Spark? May we massage you with Murakami? Ease your pain with Wolf or Wodehouse? Do you require the Very Book to lessen your Loneliness? May we revive your Spirit with a Literary Tonic?

This is a medical handbook, with a difference. Whether you have a stubbed toe or a severe case of the blues, within these pages you’ll find a cure in the form of a novel – or a combination of novels – to help ease your pain. You’ll also find advice on how to tackle common reading ailments – such as what to do when you feel overwhelmed by the number of books in the world, or you have a tendency to give up halfway through. When read at the right moment in your life, a novel can – quite literally – change it, and The Novel Cure is a reminder of that power. Written with authority, passion and wit, here is a fresh approach to finding new books to read, and an enchanting way to revisit the books on your shelves.

Inside the ANC

The Lusaka Years: The ANC in Exile in Zambia 1963-1994 by Hugh Macmillan

This is the extraordinary story of the ANC in exile in Zambia, where the organisation had its headquarters for most of the time after it was banned in South Africa. The book uses the ANC’s own archives, the Zambian archives and oral sources, as well as the author’s own participant observation, to provide a vivid account of this crucial era in southern African history.

It seeks to understand the sociology of the ANC in exile in Zambia and argues that this was very different from its camp-based culture in Angola. It also examines the influence of the ANC’s exile experience on its approach to negotiations with the South African government and the transition from apartheid. It concludes by arguing that the legacy and lessons of exile were not, as some observers suggest, so much secrecy, paranoia and a lack of internal democracy, as caution, moderation and the avoidance of utopian experiments or great leaps forward.


A Kind of Magic: The Political Marketing of the ANC by Rushil Ranchod

This book provides a completely new and fresh way of understanding the ANC, by looking at the way the organisation has marketed itself and built up a distinctive brand. The concern here is not so much with politics as with publicity, promotion and propaganda – that is, with techniques of political persuasion.

In seven chapters we follow the development of the ANC’s political marketing strategy from 1955 to 2011. The author makes a strong case for arguing that marketing has enjoyed a central significance within the ANC for a very long time. Through the use of previously untapped sources, he provides us with important insights into the strategy and decision-making process of the ANC at critical phases of its existence, right up to the election campaign of 2009 and the Mangaung conference.

The book challenges us to rethink the politics of the ANC and the future of its position at the centre of South African political life.

Looking at Life Differently

The Reason I Jump: One Boy’s Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida

Composed by a writer still with one foot in childhood, and whose autism was at least as challenging and life-defining as our son’s, The Reason I Jump was a revelatory godsend. Reading it felt as if, for the first time, our own son was talking to us about what was happening inside his head.”

Written by Naoki Higashida when he was only thirteen, this remarkable book explains the often baffling behaviour of autistic children and shows the way they think and feel – such as about the people around them, time and beauty, noise, and themselves. Naoki abundantly proves that autistic people do possess imagination, humour and empathy, but also makes clear, with great poignancy, how badly they need our compassion, patience and understanding.

David Mitchell and his wife have translated Naoki’s book so that it might help others dealing with autism, and generally illuminate a little-understood condition. Like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, it gives us an exceptional chance to enter the mind of another and see the world from a strange and fascinating perspective.

A book that acts like a door to another logic, explaining why an autistic child might flap his hands in front of his face, disappear suddenly from home – or jump.”          Sunday Telegraph

A book that makes me want to say, ‘This is truly important, and anyone interested in autism should read it,’ is a rare find. The Reason I Jump achieves that status…[it] builds one of the strongest bridges yet constructed between the world of autism and the neurotypical world…There are many more questions I’d like to ask Naoki, but the first words I’d say to him are ‘thank you’. “                             Sunday Times

Every page dismantles another preconception about autism. Higashida’s language is precise and has a poetic quality that elevates it far beyond a self-help book for the parents of autistic children. His fictional stories, also included in this book, vary in length from a few lines to dozens of pages and are united by their beautiful simplicity. They all share a strong single theme, namely, that even if living is different and difficult, you can still find companionship and happiness. Once you understand how Higashida managed to write this book, you lose your heart to him.”                                                     New Statesman

The freshness of voice coexists with so much wisdom…it will stretch your vision of what it is to be human.”                        (Andrew Solomon, The Times


The Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4,000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft, and become a YouTube sensation with his performance of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ in space. The secret to Chris Hadfield’s success – and survival – is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst – and enjoy every moment of it. In his book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, Chris Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories filled with the adrenaline of launch, the mesmerizing wonder of spacewalks and the measured, calm responses mandated by crises, he explains how conventional wisdom can get in the way of achievement – and happiness. His own extraordinary education in space has taught him some counterintuitive lessons: don’t visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff. You might never be able to build a robot, pilot a spacecraft, make a music video or perform basic surgery in zero gravity like Colonel Hadfield. But his vivid and refreshing insights in this book will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth – especially your own.

Houston, we have a superstar’ Washington Post ‘Hadfield has done more than probably any astronaut since the Apollo missions to transform the image of space exploration …Space has rarely seemed to close, or the world so astonishing.”                 Daily Telegraph

Local is Lekker


Happiness in a Handbasket by Ute Kuhlmann

You can’t buy happiness but you can buy local – which is really the same thing!

This guide invites you to get on the trolley for an entertaining and practical journey to happiness by (ful)filling your basket with ‘Product of South Africa’.

Discover over a thousand local products handpicked for you. Food and drink, clothes, shoes, bags and jewellery, all things baby and child, personal care products, office equipment, household appliances, everything for beach days and the outdoors, wheels and deals. It’s all in here, together with a whole lot of bonus background and interesting facts.

Happy reading!

Launch of ‘A Passion for Freedom’ by Mamphela Ramphele – in conversation with Brent Meersman

Monday, November 25th 2013 at 5:30 PM


Story Time with Different Endings

Saturday, November 23rd 2013 at 11:00 AM

good little wolfWe sometimes forget that stories don’t always have to have a happy ending, sometimes in life, things happen differently.

Today we will read some stories that end a bit differently from what we are used to…but those are sometimes the funniest stories! Please join us today for a different kind of story time and who know what we will be colouring in!

Some stories are just unpredictable.


Zoleka Mandela discusses her memoir, When Hope Whispers with Shado Twala

Wednesday, November 20th 2013 at 5:30 PM

when hope whispersThis is a story about a woman; a story about her struggle. As the survivor of great tragedy; this is a story about triumph.

Despite only being 33 years old, Zoleka Mandela has endured enough to fill several lifetimes. While she may be a member of South Africa’s own royal family, Zoleka has not led a sheltered life. She has travelled down paths which most would not dare; from the horror of losing two children within two years, to the shadowy journey through cocaine addiction and rehab, and being diagnosed with cancer.

Though she was robbed of her children, stripped of her sobriety, and subject to a disease that necessitated a double mastectomy, Zoleka Mandela is not a victim. She is a survivor, and her story serves as testimony to the strength of the human spirit in fighting against life’s challenges. Zoleka is a living example of success in spite of overwhelming challenges.

Zoleka is now clean and cancer-free. Zoleka Mandela had her last session of chemotherapy in April this year, and has been sober for 36 months. Through her story, it is impossible not to have faith in the good things in life, and possible to believe that anything is achievable.

Zoleka’s book is an ideal read for those exposed to life’s challenges and traumas – from a mother who has had to deal with the loss of a child, or families who have had to endure the pains of cancer, or those who have dealt with the stress of addiction – it is a universal read exhibiting the power of healing.


Launch of Bouch at Sahara Park Newlands

Tuesday, November 19th 2013 at 5:30 PM

Bouch Book Launch Invitation