To feed my appetite for reading (and my ambition to write books - the word "author" is too daunting to speak aloud) I read and review books with a group of passionate bibliophiles called Writers Write's. Below are clickable links to these reviews.

 

Under Glass - Claire Robertson

This was a difficult book to read. Its use of language is unique and beautiful but its sparing dialogue and extensive sub-text and imagery makes it hard to feel confident that you know exactly what is going on.

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The Little Italian Bakery - Valentina Cebeni

The Little Italian Bakery isn’t about a little Italian bakery at all. The book is filled with flavoursome Italian recipes I intend to try out, but a physical bakery doesn’t form part of the story in any title-based way. That annoyed me

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The Choice - Edith Eger

As a part-Jew I have read numerous accounts of holocaust survivors. As a South African I have read numerous accounts of the survivors of Apartheid. This book is different. Not only did I enjoy it, I found it a solace for my own struggles, no matter their size or scope

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The Snowman - Jo Nesbo

The Snowman is the perfect summer read. Nesbo delivers suspense that makes more than 500 pages melt away just like the snow he uses as a beautiful but chilling backdrop to this Harry Hole thriller.

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Believe Me - Eddie Izzard

This book really caught me in the throat. This is because of Izzard’s powerful reminder that any amount or type of success is a long game. This is a man who has walked an incredibly long road to achieve great things.  That’s both humbling and deeply encouraging.

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The Choice - Edith Eger

As a part-Jew I have read numerous accounts of holocaust survivors. As a South African I have read numerous accounts of the survivors of Apartheid. This book is different. Not only did I enjoy it, I found it a solace for my own struggles, no matter their size or scope

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The Assassination of King Shaka - John Laband

It was inspiring and humbling to read a book so relevant and yet so alien to my own South African experience. The account left me feeling nourished and educated on an aspect of South African heritage that I did not previously appreciate.

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The people we hate at the wedding - Grant Ginder

Ginder writes both beautifully and economically, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Modern American novels leave me feeling dismissive of the challenges that the characters have to overcome and this was my experience again in this novel but I’m willing to accept that’s just my cynical African world view.

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I write what I like - Steve Biko

Steve Biko is widely accepted as the father of the Black Consciousness movement. He was murdered during prison detention at the age of 30 by the Apartheid government of South Africa in 1977. 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of his book which is comprised of his writings and lectures

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Dead Letters - Caite Dolan-Leach

I was surprised to discover that this is a first novel for Caite Dolan-Leach.  The depth and richness of the experiences she’s crammed into it certainly belie her age.

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Dangerous Crossing - Rachel Rhys

This memoir gives an account of a journey an ordinary woman took on a ship from England to Australia as part of an assisted passage scheme between the first and second World War.

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Shanghai Grand - Taras Grescoe

Though richly researched and emotively told, the book hasn’t brought together history and storytelling as well as it might have.

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The Beautiful Possible - Amy Gottlieb

The subtle twist at the end reminded me of the palpability and breadth of each character’s own story. It is brave and beautiful if a little unexciting.

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Shopaholic to the Rescue - Sophie Kinsella

This is a humorous, harmless read worth forgetting on the beach as soon as you finish reading it.

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Darien: Empire of Salt - CF Iggulden

The story itself isn’t as compelling as I expected but it does leave the reader wanting to know what comes next, as all good first books in a series should.

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Orphans of the Carnival - Carol Birch

This novel is bittersweet pathos. At a time where the whole world is embroiled in a raging war on inequality, the story of Julia reminded me of the true nature of humanity, both beautiful and terrible.

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Where's Zuma - Kobus Galloway

Kobus Galloway is an artist with a passion for comedy.  He puts both these skills to work in this illustrated localised ‘Where’s Wally’ allowing the reader to laugh through the tears looking for Zuma on every page.

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Not Working - Lisa Owens

I thoroughly enjoyed Owens’ pithy dialogue and beautiful yet pointed descriptive observations. I also appreciated her capacity for developing warm and humorous characters. I did however have the same problem with this book that I had with Bridget Jones.

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Marriages are made in Bond Street - Penrose Halson

This book reminded me why books are important. Without the written word woven into a consumable but enticing tale, there is just no true and detailed way to document and share the human experience.

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Ratner's Star - Don Delilo

I could compute more meaning in the book than I could while reading Midnight’s Children, but it didn’t convey metaphorical meaning as effectively as 1984 or Animal Farm. I might simply not be smart enough to grasp the message or the maths.

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Feminist Fightclub - Jessica Bennett

This book is everything you need, whether you are a man or a woman. It’s useful, witty, interesting, page-turning and worth every word. One criticism, The Black Sash should be listed among the Rebel Girls: FFCs through history section at the back.

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Double Echo - Francois Bloemhof

I was not disappointed in the style of the writing and the well-worded descriptions for characters and scenery. The book did however fail to meet acceptable standards of a compelling thriller.

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Pretending to Dance - Diane Chamberlain

Chamberlain has crafted an emotive and believable story, told through the viewpoint of the passionate and enriched character of Molly. She has interwoven the story with steady suspense that delivers a great page-turning holiday read.  

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Let's Talk Frankly - Onkgopotso JJ Tabane

JJ Tabane is a journalistically trained activist, academic and intellectual with his work boots on.  The book contains a foreword from Mathatha Tsedu, Executive Director of the South African National Editors’ Forum, providing support for a brave, considered and unabashed series of views to follow.

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Christmas Under the Stars - Karen Swan

Swan’s experienced story-telling fulfils all those good book requirements avid readers expect. There’s plenty of drama but none of it is unrealistic, lots of depth without the length and prose of a saga, and a smattering of factual information that really bring the words to life.

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Beer Safari - Lucy Corne

Beer Safari is more a travel book about beer than a beer book that
travels.  The book brings together the truly rich and fascinating beer
brewing culture of South Africa.  In each warmly crafted brewery story,
Corne unfurls neat snapshots into the lives of a multitude of South African brewers.

 

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Jack Simons: Teacher, Scholar, Comrade - Hugh Macmillan

I greatly appreciate the emotive yet candid incorporation of the light and shade of a man’s life that Macmillan has bravely included in the story. Even heroes are human and Macmillan shows that Simons is no different.

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