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The Witness Reviewers Name their Top Books of 2009

The Book of JacobThe Virus, Vitamins and VegetablesSouth Africa's Brave New WorldChoice, not FateHouse of WarWe are All Zimbabweans NowThe Double CrownSummertimeA Fork in the Road

BOOK SA members Lisa Lazarus,Gregory Fried, Hamilton Wende and André Brink caught the attention of the Witness’ book reviewers this year – along with a healthy number of other SA authors.

Here are the reads of the year from Julia Denny-Dimitriou, Christopher Merrett, Janet van Eeden, Moira Lovell, Stephen Coan, Stephanie Alexander and Yves Vanderhaeghen. One question: where are Margaret von Klemperer’s picks?

The book that affected me most has to be The Book of Jacob — a journey into parenthood by Lisa Lazarus and Greg Fried. It was painful but cathartic to read about this couple’s struggles as they navigated the treacherous waters of new parenthood. Like many, they were completely unprepared for the storm they sailed into when they had their son, Jacob. A courageous and beautifully written book.

I do sometimes get a chance to read works I want to read, as opposed to those I have to read. One is A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka. I laughed so hard in places that my husband came to find out if I’d finally gone completely loony. I wasn’t brave enough to tell him that the eccentric main character reminded me a lot of my father-in- law.

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