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Listen to five short stories by Nadine Gordimer (including Loot read by the author) via @openculture:

Rian Malan Reviews Until Julius Comes: Adventures in the Political Jungle by Richard Poplak

Until Julius Comes: Adventures in the Political JungleVerdict: carrot

Comparisons are odious, but Mr Poplak has clearly looked at Thompson’s craft and adapted aspects of it for his own devious purposes, which makes Until Julius Comes some sort of far-flung spawn of Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail. Many are called to emulate the Thompson gonzo. Almost all fail. But Until Julius Comes can stand shoulder to shoulder with its illustrious ancestor and not feel in the least ashamed. Odds are therefore that it too will be read and remembered long after the details of who won what in 2014 are forgotten. If I were Malusi Gigaba, I might just be a bit worried about that.

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Helen Schöer resenseer Love Tastes Like Strawberries deur Rosamund Haden

Love Tastes Like StrawberriesUitspraak: wortel

Lees lekker stadig aan Strawberries, want die leidrade oor Ivor se dood (al dan nie) is subtiel. Die boek bied egter veel meer as net dié raaisel. Die hoofkarakter, Stella, ’n trae joernalis, krap in haar eie verlede rond ná haar ma se dood. Sy hoop om genesing te kry, maar kry veel meer.


Fransjohan Pretorius resenseer Ons oorlog deur Klaas Steytler

Ons oorlogUitspraak: wortel

Die puik navorsing val op. Feite strook met die werklikheid, selfs tot in die kleinste besonderhede. Daar het egter ’n aantal vergissings deurgeglip. So byvoorbeeld was genl. De Wet nie by die Slag van Magersfontein teenwoordig nie. Daar was nog nie in Desember 1900 kampskole nie – dié stelsel het eers in Februarie 1901 beslag gekry. En in Maart 1900 het die Vrystaters nog nie die Kakies uitgeskud nie – dis eers teen Mei 1901 in die Vrystaat gebruik.

Hierdie ontroerende verhaal is daar vir lees en weer lees, ’n trotse kommando-maat vir P.G. du Plessis se Fees van die ongenooides.


Lise Swart en Louis Awerbuck gesels oor hul boek, Wie is ek?

Wie is ek?“Die vinnig veranderende wêreld en hoe dit ons denke, gevoel en gedrag beïnvloed, veroorsaak dat die vraag ‘Wie is ek?’ nie meer ‘n saak van interessantheid is nie, maar ‘n saak van oorlewing.” Só het Louis Awerbuck, medeskrywer van die wegholtreffer Wie is ek? onlangs in ‘n onderhoud aan Naomi Meyer gesê. Sy het met hom en sy kollega Lise Swart gesels om meer uit te vind oor hierdie publikasie wat by Naledi verskyn het asook hul gelyknamige program op RSG.

“Dit is eenvoudig so dat mense oor die algemeen oningelig is oor die betekenis en behandeling van sielkundige probleme. Omdat nog minder mense toegang het tot privaat behandeling, is dit vir my verstommend dat dit nie vroeër gedoen is nie. Een uit drie van alle Suid-Afrikaners ly aan ‘n geestestoestand!” sê Swart.

Lees die artikel vir meer oor Wie is ek?:

Hallo Louis en Lise. Julle boek, soos jul program op RSG, se titel is ‘n belangrike vraag wat min mense lus het om te beantwoord. Hoekom is dit belangrik om die vraag te vra?

Louis: Deel van die evolusie van bewussyn is die ontwikkeling van ‘n metaperspektief, waar die mens vanuit ‘n sogenaamde objektiewe waarnemingsposisie na hom- of haarself kyk. Nog nooit vantevore was ‘n “buiteperspektief” van jouself en jou interaksie met andere en jou omgewing so relevant soos vandag nie. Die vinnig veranderende wêreld en hoe dit ons denke, gevoel en gedrag beïnvloed, veroorsaak dat die vraag “Wie is ek?” nie meer ‘n saak van interessantheid is nie, maar ‘n saak van oorlewing.


Anita Worrall Reviews How to Fix South Africa’s Schools by Jonathan Jansen and Molly Blank

How to Fix South Africa's Schools: Lessons from Schools that WorkVerdict: carrot

This very moving book, described as a “short and simple manual any community of principals, teachers and parents can use to ‘turn around’ a dysfunctional or ineffectual school” is anything but “simple”. It represents the combined efforts of Professor Jonathan Jansen, who identified 19 “successful” schools around South Africa, and researcher Molly Blank, who travelled around the country filming the schools and talking to their principals, teachers and students.

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Koos Kombuis Plays Small but Critical Role in Tess Gerritsen Suing Warner Bros Over Gravity

I-TjiengGravityA blog post Koos Kombuis wrote back in January for Channel24 about the similarities between the film Gravity and Tess Gerritsen’s novel of the same name has proved prescient, as the Chinese-American author is pursuing legal action against Warner Bros., makers of the film.

The film, a science fiction thriller starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, won seven Oscars, including a Best Director gong for Alfonso Cuarón, and a Golden Globe, also for Best Director. In his January article for Channel24, Kombuis calls it “one of the best damn movies that had ever been made”. However, a chance purchase in a second hand bookshop raised his suspicions that the film’s premise might not be an original one:

Then something happened which, unfortunately, completely changed the way I saw the film.

I bought a paperback. In a small Book Exchange in, of all places, Jeffrey’s Bay. A novel by Tess Gerritsen, also called Gravity.

I have read other books by Gerritsen. She is an accomplished author, and her books have been translated into many languages. Yet after reading the book, Gravity, I must admit I felt cheated. Cheated, not by Gerritsen, but by the guys in Hollywood.

Kombuis goes on to say of the incident: “In my mind, this could very well be one of the most blatant and brazen acts of plagiarism ever seen in Hollywood!”

Despite Gerritsen’s response in September 2010 – “I have to admit, these coincidences do happen sometimes” – she released a statement in April confirming that she was planning legal action.

At the time, Ms. Gerritsen was unaware of any connection between those persons responsible for the film and those who had worked to develop her novel into a film. Ms. Gerritsen believed that as improbable as it appeared, it was at least within the realm of possibility that an independent storyteller could come up with the same specific setting, character, situation, and give it an identical title.

Then, in February 2014, Ms. Gerritsen received startling new information from a reliable source. She was told that at least one individual who was key to the development of the film Gravity had also been connected to her project while it was in development, and would have been familiar with her novel.

As the case slowly progresses, Gerritsen has written to Kombuis thanking him for “speaking his mind” when even she did not believe the accusations, and the two authors have been discussing the case on Twitter. Kombuis tells Books LIVE the incident “has got me really excited”, especially “to have received a letter from the great author herself!”

This is not the first international literary incident Kombuis has found himself involved in this year. He recently unknowlingly caused Cambridge students “sheer terror”, when they were faced with his “Tipp-Ex-Sonate” – a poem without words written in protest against apartheid censorship laws – in their exams.

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Book Bites: 27 July 2014

Dear BulletDear Bullet – Or a Letter to my Shooter
Sixolile Mbalo (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
Book buff
Sixolile Mbalo was 13 years old when a young man arrived in her village and began to abuse her – ultimately leaving her for dead in a pit. She clawed out of it and crawled 300 meters for help. This biography is her therapy session; it is also the face of what happens to our young girls each and every day, made to serve life sentences in the prisons of their minds, victims of bullets and knives. Dear Bullet is not a cry for help, it is a wail.
– Kgebetli Moele

The Side of the Sun at NoonThe Side of the Sun at Noon
Hazel Crampton (Jacana)
Book buff
A sumptuous, entirely engaging quest narrative that opens at the Cape of Good Hope in the mid-17th century, revealing the complex dynamics of the Dutch settlers’ interactions with the Khoikhoi – particularly the relationship between Jan Van Riebeeck and the young Eva. The Dutch set off to reach the fabled Chobona people, believed by the men from the Netherlands to stem from Monomotapa, the rich and gold-bearing southern empire that traded with the Portuguese. What emerges is a piercing inquest into the fraught relationships of colonial times.
- Jonathan Amid

Emma Jane Unsworth (Canongate)
Book fling
It’s Manchester, sometime just before the London Summer Olympics, and Laura and her best pal/housemate Tyler love the nightlife, love to boogie – and love take drugs and drink until they reach oblivion. They’re just a couple of girls, innit, having fun. But their friendship is being tested: Laura is now engaged to the recent teetotaler Jim, a serious man, concert pianist and a bit of a prick who wants her to stop her wild ways. Unsworth’s second novel is a frenetic, filthy account of chicks behaving badly. As Caitlin Moran blurbs, it’s “Withnail with girls”.
– Jennifer Platt @Jenniferdplatt

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Karina M Szczurek Reviews The Three by Sarah Lotz

The ThreeVerdict: carrot

The Three, Lotz’s first independent international success, is the culmination of her savvy talent and hard-won experience in which she’s honed her craft. Set around the globe, The Three tells the story of four planes which crash on the same day (not recommended for in-flight reading). There are three survivors, perhaps four; all are children. There is also an ominous message from a passenger who lived long enough to record it on her cell phone. A world-wide media frenzy erupts around the aviation tragedies. The families and friends of victims have to come to terms with the reality of unbearable loss. Those connected to the surviving children have to deal with traumas of an entirely different kind.

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Gert van der Westhuizen resenseer Call It Like It Is deur Jonathan Kaplan en Mike Behr

Call It Like It Is: The Jonathan Kaplan storyUitspraak: houtwortel

Hy vertel ook dat O’Brien hom basies gedwing het om vroeër af te tree as wat hy wou. Kaplan kon darem sy loopbaan as blaser in die Curriebeker-eindstryd afsluit.

Teen dié tyd het die leser al soveel saam met Kaplan deurgemaak dat jy saam met hom bly en hartseer is. Jy hoop selfs daar is nog baie Jonathan Kaplans in ons rugby-toekoms.

Jy het ook baie meer waardering vir dit wat skeidsregters moet deurmaak. Net dít maak al die lees van Call It Like It Is die moeite werd.


Kerneels Breytenbach resenseer Kamphoer deur Francois Smith

KamphoerUitspraak: wortel

Ek het laas met Donna Tartt se The Secret History ’n roman gelees wat dieselfde reaksie by my ontlok het: Ek wou daagliks die aantal sinne wat ek lees, rantsoeneer, sodat ek die genot kon uitrek. Skryfwerk uit die boonste rakke, en ’n reuse-bydrae tot die debat oor geweld teen vroue.