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Check out a Guide to the Best Stargazing Spots in the Southern Hemisphere (Excerpt from Offbeat SA) @PRHSouthAfrica…

Archive for the ‘Book Excerpts’ Category

Sunday Read: Excerpt from African Psycho by Man Booker International Prize Finalist Alain Mabanckou

African PsychoThis Sunday, read an excerpt from African Psycho by Alain Mabanckou, who was announced as a finalist in this year’s Man Booker International Prize last week.

Mabanckou is one of just six African authors to have been nominated for the prize since it began, in 2005. Four of those six are on this year’s shortlist: Mabanckou, Mia Couto, Ibrahim al-Koni and Marlene van Niekerk.

Mabanckou was born in Congo-Brazzaville in in 1966, and left for France at 22 to study law. Today he lives in the United States, where he teaches literature at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has written six volumes of poetry, 10 novels and four books of essays. Among his many awards are the Grand prix littéraire d’Afrique noire, the Prix Renaudot – one of France’s most prestigious literary prizes – and the Grand Prix de la Litterature Henri Gal.

African Psycho was first published in 2003, and in 2008 became the first of Mabanckou’s books to appear in English. It concerns a would-be serial killer, Gregoire Nakobomayo, who considers himself the heir of a much more successful serial killer, but who is unable to commit murder himself. The New Yorker called it “disturbing – and disturbingly funny”, adding: “Although the title invokes American Psycho, the book owes more to Dostoyevsky and Camus, as the narrator broods and dithers, longing to ‘exist at last’.”

Read the excerpt:

I have decided to kill Germaine on December 29. I have been thinking about this for weeks—whatever one may say about it, killing someone requires both psychological and logistical preparation. I believe I have now reached the necessary state of mind, even if I have yet to choose the means with which I will do the deed. It is now a question of detail. I’d rather give myself a bit of latitude on this practical point, and in so doing add a measure of improvisation to my project.

I am not looking for perfection, no—far from me the thought. As a matter of fact, I do not like to undertake anything without due consideration, and a murder is not going to change the way I go about things . . .

Reading news items in our town’s dailies, I find that no gesture is as simple as that of bringing someone’s life to an end. All you need is to procure a weapon, whatever it may be, set a trap for the future victim, and finally commit the act. The police and the courts will then get on with their job, trying to figure out the murderer’s motives. These keepers of the law will even go so far as to endow a scoundrel with genius when in fact his deed was so absolutely clear that it needed no such speculation. But the poor bastards have to work, don’t they? This is what they get paid for, and to some extent it is thanks to people like us that they earn a living. I wonder what they will say about me once I have committed my crime. The worst would be that it goes unnoticed. Of course I am not about to consider this humiliating possibility. I mean, why then spend days in deep reflection, during which my brain got all tangled up trying to choose the right weapon for this upcoming crime—so much so that I nearly found myself on the verge of a nervous breakdown?

Ideally, I would benefit from as much media coverage as my idol, Angoualima, the most famous of our country’s assassins, used to get. From time to time, to give thanks for his genius, keep him informed of what I am doing, or even just for the pleasure of talking to him, I make my way to the cemetery of the Dead-Who-Are-Not-Allowed-To-Sleep and kneel in front of his grave. And there, as if by magic, I swear, the Great Master of crime appears before me, as charismatic as in his glory days. We converse in the privacy of this sinister locale, the haunt of crows and other birds of bad omen . . .


I refrain from dreaming.

Angoualima had intuition; crime and highway robbery fit him like a glove. Can you imagine someone who was born with one extra finger on each hand? Not the type of additional little fingers you notice on some individuals, which surgery can fix with success. Those were real fingers, as necessary as the other ten, and he could really move them around. He would use them to scratch his body’s hard-to-reach places, no doubt, and to satisfy his criminal impulses as well. I myself do not have such additional fingers, I know. I am not going to make a mountain out of it.


Read more Man Booker International coverage:


Book details

Author image courtesy of Babelio

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Fiction Friday: Read a Chapter from Mike Ormsby’s Compelling Novel, Child Witch Kinshasa

Child Witch KinshasaChild Witch Kinshasa is Romanian-based British author Mike Ormsby’s compelling novel about a young Congolese street child, who has fled to the largest city in the DRC because he is being persecuted by religious zealouts for being a witch.

Ormsby’s novel has been widely praised for casting an authentic and convincing eye on an African phenomenon traditionally not covered in media.

The protagonist of the novel, Frank, is a journalist who meets the young boy on the street and decides, after much inner conflict, to help him. What follows is a clash of altruism and scepticism set against the backdrop of a relentless civil war.

Read an excerpt from Child Witch Kinshasa as this week’s Fiction Friday:

The story so far:

British journalist Frank has recently arrived in Kinshasa during a lull in the civil war, to work with local reporters on covering international peace talks. A new British acquaintance – Jerome Braddock – has invited Frank to visit a local church to watch a midnight ‘exorcism’. Frank is curious enough to go, because noise from the church woke him up last night. Braddock is a UN Special Investigator – tracking Hutus from Rwanda for their role in the ’94 genocide – and also knows all about life in DR Congo, notably how self-styled religious pastors often pursue and persecute ’possessed’ kids.

Excerpt from Child Witch Kinshasa, by Mike Ormsby by Books LIVE


The Kindle edition of Child Witch Kinshasa is on special at, costing $0.99, until March 30

Book details

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Sunday Read: “Night”, A Reflection on Sleep by Nobel Laureate Alice Munro

This coming week sees the announcement of the finalists for the 2015 Man Book International Prize, an event which will take place in Cape Town, South Africa. Therefore it seems fitting to present to you, as this week’s Sunday Read, a story by a previous winner of this esteemed literary award, Nobel laureate Alice Munro.

The View from Castle RockThe View from Castle RockToo Much HappinessNew Selected StoriesDear LifeHateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, MarriageWho Do You Think You Are?
The Love of a Good WomanOpen SecretsSelected StoriesFriend of My YouthThe Progress of LoveSelected StoriesThe Moons of Jupiter

Granta has recently shared an essay by this award-winning author, entitled “Night”.

In it, she recalls the night her appendix had to be removed, remembering that “there seemed to be never a childbirth, or a burst appendix, or any other drastic physical event that did not occur simultaneously with a snowstorm”. This night led her to think about cancer for the first time, albeit briefly as topics such as that were not to be discussed.

Munro goes on to recount her sleeping habits, or lack thereof to the point where she was not herself any more. The essay on sleep evolves to reveal the dark thoughts that almost overwhelmed her, and her eventual victory over sleeplessness.

Read Munro’s essay about the period between sunset and sunrise, a story which first appeared in her anthology called Dear Life:

By this time it wasn’t sleep I was after. I knew mere sleep wasn’t likely. Maybe not even desirable. Something was taking hold of me and it was my business, my hope, to fight it off. I had the sense to do that, but only barely, as it seemed. It was trying to tell me to do things, not exactly for any reason but just to see if such acts were possible. It was informing me that motives were not necessary.

It was only necessary to give in. How strange. Not out of revenge, or even cruelty, but just because you had thought of something.

Book details

Image courtesy of BBC

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Sunday Read: An Excerpt from #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Langston Hughes


The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins has maintained the top spot on the New York Times Bestsellers List since its publication in the first week of February.

The novel is about a troubled divorcée, Rachel, who develops a fond attachment for a random happy couple whose home she passes on her daily commute. One day she sees something shocking from the train, and is helplessly drawn into a floundering obsession with the mystery of it all.

Hawkins, who worked as a journalist for 15 years before this fiction debut, told Jill Lawless for The Columbus Dispatch that she drew inspiration from her own commuting experience.

Read the article:

She has always enjoyed “the odd sense of connection you get as a commuter” with the people and places passed each day, she said, “and then idly wondering what it would be like if you saw something shocking or sinister.”

The intrigue of Hawkins’ thriller is built around an unreliable narrator – Rachel gets black-out drunk often, so even she cannot trust her perceptions. The characters in the book are not the easily lovable sort, but are complex and engaging nonetheless.

Hawkins has shared an excerpt from The Girl on the Train on her website. Read it here:

The Girl on the Train – Excerpt

Book details

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Fiction Friday: The Winning Story from Follow the Road, SSDA’s New Anthology Written by Children

Follow the RoadThis Fiction Friday, Short Story Day Africa have shared the winning story from their new Young Adult anthology, Follow the Road, edited by Máire Fisher and Tiah Beautement.

Follow the Road is a collection of science fiction and fantasy stories by young African writers, from the age of seven to 17.

The anthology will be launched along with Terra Incognita, the new SSDA anthology, at The Book Lounge on Wednesday, 18 March.

The winners are:

Winners of the 2014 YA competition:
1st Place: Kaya Oosthuizen, age 16, for “Phoenix”
2nd Place: Carla Lott, age 17, for “Megeni Kutua”
3rd Place: Lesego Pulamoeng, age 14, for “Patiko and Pajoko”

Winners of the 2014 10-13 competition:
Léa van Blerk, age 10, for “The Magic Gorah”
Bianca Matthee, age 10, for “The Sparkly Dragon of Drakensberg”
Kiera-Lee Hayes, age 11, for “No Ordinary Rock”

Winners of the 2014 9 & under competition:
Kyra Zinn, age 8, for “Our Time Traveling Parents are Gone”
Samuel Hayes, age 7, for “Sir Alfred and the Golden Arrow”
Tara Anne Du Preez, age 9, for “The Pig that had no Ears”

Read the winning YA story, “Phoenix”, by Kaya Oosthuizen:

Phoenix: A Short Story from Follow the Road, edited by Máire Fisher and Tiah Beautement by Books LIVE

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About the book

“Where on earth do these kids come up with these plots! They’re so clever.”2014 SSDA judge Sean Fraser, Publish Cape Town

Journeys and arrivals in strange and magical places — a kaleidoscopic collection of stories by Africa’s younger writers.

Follow the Road is the second anthology of short stories written by children to be published by Short Story Day Africa. Collected from their 2014 children’s creative writing competition, here are 27 refreshing takes on the science fiction and fantasy genres from minds wide open to possibility. From time travelling parents to sparkly dragons in the Drakensberg mountains, these are African stories from Africa’s children. This is science fiction that will challenge the perception of what children are capable of thinking and creating.

Stories by:
Amabedi Badisa – age 16
William Burger – age 17
Keisha Chelsea Domingo – age 9
Tara Anne Du Preez – age 9 – winner 9 & under category
Tanya Erlston – age 14
Dominique Fuchs – age 15
Katie Hayes – age 10
Kiera-Lee Hayes – age 11 – winner 10-13 age category
Samuel Hayes – age 7 – winner 9 & under category
Emily Hugo – age 8
Ruan Kitshoff – age 16
Telisa Lombard – age 16
Carla Lott – age 17 – 2nd place – winner YA competition
Morgan Lottering – age 13
Tyla Lottering – age 10
Bianca Matthee – age 10 – winner 10-13 age category
Aobakwe Mbonelele – age 15
Jordan Meyer – age 9
Kaya Oosthuizen – age 16 – 1st place winner YA competition
Pako Rameno – age 13
Lesego Pulamoeng – Age 14 – 3rd place winner YA competition
Kutso Setseeng – age 13
Nina Steyn – age 13
Léa van Blerk – age 10 – winner 10-13 age category
Ivan van Niekerk – age 11
Jané van Zyl – age 16
Kyra Zinn – age 8 – winner 9 & under category

About the editors

Máire Fisher, whose years of editing experience including editing Whiplash by Tracey Farren. Fisher is also the author of the acclaimed novel Birdseye.

Tiah Beautement co-runs Short Story Day Africa along with Rachel Zadok and Nick Mulgrew. Tiah’s second novel, This Day (Modjaji Books) was published in September 2014.

    Related stories:

Book details

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Sunday Read: An Excerpt from Kazuo Ishiguro’s New Novel, The Buried Giant (Plus a Video and an Epic Playlist)


The Buried GiantNocturnesNever Let Me GoThe Remains of the Day

Kazuo Ishiguro recently read an excerpt from his much anticipated first novel in 10 years, The Buried Giant, in an exclusive interview with The Wall Street Journal.

The author of the groundbreaking Never Let Me Go, the Booker Prize-winning The Remains of the Day and a collection of short stories called Nocturnes once again pushes the boundaries of fiction and fantasy with his new novel.

Ishiguro reads an extract from the first chapter of The Buried Giant, which is set in a medieval village in Britain before the arrival of the English.

Watch the video:

YouTube Preview Image

Ishiguro tells WSJ senior editor John Farley why the new book took so long to write: “I only want to write a particular kind of book and until that book comes right I’m just going to keep working at it.” He explains that he showed the book to his wife who told him, “This will not do”. She thought his ideas were fascinating but said that the language in the narration and the dialogue was wrong.

Ishiguro explains how he went about chiseling the language and shares stories from his childhood, especially those of Samurai warriors that swirled around in his young mind.

Watch the video:

YouTube Preview Image


The Guardian reviewer Alex Preston said that The Buried Giant is like “Game of Thrones with a conscience”. Preston describes the mist that unfurls around the village and explains why the allegory of forgetfulness reminds him of JM Coetzee’s novel, The Childhood of Jesus.

Read the review:

The infective forgetfulness spread by the mist seems to demand an allegorical reading. I thought of Camus’s La Peste and Saramago’s Blindness, but it was to another writer of obscure modern fables that I kept returning: JM Coetzee. Coetzee’s most recent novel, The Childhood of Jesus, met with the same baffled critical response as Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled. It was clear that something profound was being said, some deep allegory constructed, more than this was anyone’s guess. Coetzee’s tale turned upon a community that had within it a vast prison camp. A father and son arrive, are given new names, are well looked after. But always, a sense of unease, of hidden wrongs. The man and his son refuse to be processed by the apparatus of the state and finally flee.

BBC reviewer Lucy Scholes unpacked the elements of myth and memory in the novel and the issues that Ishiguro deals with, especially in reference to post-war Japan and post-apartheid South Africa.

Read the review:

Mythical creatures, magic and the history of the Saxons’ invasion of Britain aside, the issues Ishiguro examines have their origins in the aftermath of more recent conflicts: from post-World War Two Japan, Vichy France and post-apartheid South Africa, to the genocides of Rwanda and Yugoslavia. The novel asks, how do we make peace with a past that contains massive collective trauma? How can such trauma be memorialized and acknowledged without breeding vengeance? How are the sins of the fathers not revisited on their sons?

Ishiguro also shared a playlist of eight songs with PowellsBooks that affected the writing of The Buried Giant. These tunes did not “inspire” the novel but relate to a theme or emotion on some level.

Read the article:

2. “Did I Ever Love You?” by Leonard Cohen

This is from Cohen’s latest album, released as he approached 80. It’s up there with his finest songs: desperate, hilarious, heartrending. The singer’s barked question, “Did I ever love you?” sounds like it’s become the biggest one he could ask about himself. He sounds furious, not so much at the woman he addresses, as at the bewildering speed with which the years have vanished, and the coming of doubt about his life’s meaning. His follow-up question is even more of a killer: “Was I ever someone / Who could love you forever?” But for all the despair, you sense the answer is “Yes.” The funniest and saddest song I’ve heard in years.

Book details

Image courtesy of The Guardian

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Fiction Friday: Read Dilman Dila’s Short Story from Short Story Day Africa’s New Anthology, Terra Incognita

Terra IncognitaThe new Short Story Day Africa anthology, Terra Incognita, is now available, and Books LIVE has an excerpt to share!

Terra Incognita, which was edited by Nerine Dorman, features 19 new speculative fiction short stories from African authors.

Diane Awerbuck was announced as the winner of the competition in November, for her story “Leatherman”, which you can read here.

For this week’s Fiction Friday, SSDA are generously allowing us to share Dilman Dila’s story, “How My Father Became a God”:

How My Father Became a God by Dilman Dila by Books LIVE

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About the book

Terra incognita. Uncharted depths. Africa unknowable. 19 new short speculative stories from the fringes and hidden worlds of Africa, from writers both emerged and undiscovered. From past lives to future lives, from modern myths to twisted histories, Terra Incognita exposes the parts of ourselves and our continent hidden beneath.”

Terra Incognita is the second collection of short stories to be published by Short Story Day Africa. This carefully curated collection of nineteen stories is harvested from entries to the project’s annual short story competition, which in 2014 called for speculative fiction exploring a theme Terra Incognita, and ancient cartographic term denoting uncharted territories. The collection includes well-known and award-winning and authors Cat Hellisen, Diane Awerbuck and Gail Dendy, alongside emerging stars like Dilman Dila, Nick Mulgrew and Chinelo Onwaulu. The stories in the collection encompass all forms of speculative fiction, from literary magical realism to science fiction to dark horror, and pulsing through each is a new African paradigm. Here be vampires, tokoloshi, ghosts, unnatural obsessions and the unspeakable things that lurk beneath land and in the water.


  • Diane Awerbuck (South Africa — Awards: Commonwealth Writers Prize 2014; Shortlisted for the Caine Prize 2014)
  • Toby Bennett (South Africa)
  • Pwaangulongii Benrawangya (Nigeria)
  • Gail Dendy (South Africa — Awards: SA Pen Millenium Prize 2010; Thomas Pringle Award 2010; EU/Sol Plaatje Poetry Prize 2011 and 2012)
  • Dilman Dila (Uganda — Awards: Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2013 shortlist)
  • Kerstin Hall (South Africa)
  • Cat Hellisen (South Africa)
  • Mishka Hoosen (South Africa)
  • Nick Mulgrew (South Africa — Awards: Short Sharp Stories Winner 2014; Mandela Rhodes Scholar 2015)
  • Mary Okon Ononokpono (Nigeria/UK)
  • Chinelo Onwualu (Nigeria)
  • Jekwu Ozoemene (Nigeria)
  • Sylvia Schlettwein (Namibia)
  • Jason Mykl Snyman (South Africa)
  • Phillip Steyn (South Africa)
  • Brendan Ward (South Africa)
  • Sarah Jane Woodward (South Africa)
  • Sese Yane (Kenya)


Book details

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Sunday Read: Collected Excerpts from the Oddest Book Title of the Year Shortlist

Nature's Nether RegionsThe Madwoman in the VolvoStrangers Have the Best Candy

Where Do Camels Belong?The Ugly Wife Is a Treasure at HomeDivorcing a Real Witchnull

The shortlist for this year’s Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of the Year has been announced.

The seven books on the shortlist are:

  • Advanced Pavement Research: Selected, Peer Reviewed Papers from the 3rd International Conference on Concrete Pavements Design, Construction, and Rehabilitation, December 2-3, 2013, Shanghai, China edited by Bo Tian (Trans Tech)

Scroll down to read excerpts Books LIVE has collected from the shortlisted titles.

The winner will be chosen by a public vote, which takes place on We Love This Book.

Voting closes at midnight on Friday, 20 March, and the winner will be announced on Friday, 27 March. There is no prize, but the person who nominated the book will receive a “passable bottle of claret”.

Diagram Prize coordinator and The Bookseller’s features and insight editor Tom Tivnan said: “Britain’s, arguably the world’s, premier literary prize once again delivers the goods, with seven magnificent titles that are unparalleled in their oddity. With two of the last three winners sporting the word ‘poo’ in their title, 2014 was something of a return to the Diagram’s more hygienic roots.”

The Bookseller’s diarist Horace Bent said: “This is one of strongest years I have seen in more than three decades of administering the prize, which highlights the crème de la crème of unintentionally nonsensical, absurd and downright head-scratching titles. Ultimately, it is a stunning collection of books. Let other awards cheer the contents within, the Diagram will always continually judge the book by its cover (title).”

Are Trout South African?: Stories of Fish, People and Places by Duncan Brown came second last year, sharing the spot with The Origin of Feces by David Waltner-Toews.

* * * * *

Excerpts from the Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of the Year shortlist:

Nature's Nether RegionsNature’s Nether Regions: What the Sex Lives of Bugs, Birds, and Beasts Tell Us About Evolution, Biodiversity, and Ourselves by Menno Schilthuizen

Even more infamous is the traumatic insemination that is practiced by cimicids, blood-feeding bugs to which also Cimex lectularius, the common bedbug, belongs. Unforgettable to anyone who has ever been unlucky enough to spend several nights in bedbug-infested sleeping quarters, they will be truly memorable once you have learned about their sex lives. Living in densely packed colonies in crevices near the sleeping place of their “host,” sexual encounters are frequent, quick, and literally stabs in the dark. Bedbug researcher Mike Siva-Jothy of Sheffield University says: “When a female has not fed, she can avoid copulating males. But when’s fed and bloated, she’s a sitting duck. There’s no courtship—it’s brutal in every sense of the word.”

* * * * *

The Madwoman in the VolvoThe Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones by Sandra Tsing Loh

Excerpt from 'The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones' by Sandra Tsing Lo.

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Where Do Camels Belong?Where Do Camels Belong?: Why Invasive Species Aren’t All Bad by Ken Thompson

Where do camels belong? Ask the question and you may instinctively think of the Middle East, picturing a one-humped dromedary, some sand and perhaps a pyramid or two in the background. Or if you know your camels and imagined a two-humped Bactrian, you might plump for India and central Asia. But things aren’t quite so simple if we’re talking about the entire camel family. Camelids (the camel family) evolved in North America about 40 million years ago. Titanotylopus, the largest camel that has ever lived, stood 3.5 m high at the shoulder and ranged through Texas, Kansas, Nebraska and Arizona for around 10 million years. Other species evolved very long necks and probably browsed on trees and tall shrubs, rather as giraffes do today. Much, much later camels spread to South America, and to Asia via the Bering Strait, which has been dry land at various times during the recent Pleistocene glaciations. Camels continued to inhabit North America until very recently, the last ones going extinct only about 8,000 years ago. Their modern Asian descendants are the dromedary of north Africa and south-west Asia and the Bactrian camel of central Asia. Their South American descendants are the closely related llamas, alpacas, guanacos and vicuñas (llamas are only camels without humps; all you need to do is look one in the eye for this to be pretty obvious). Now you know all that, let me ask you again: where do camels belong?

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The Ugly Wife Is a Treasure at HomeThe Ugly Wife Is a Treasure at Home: True Stories of Love and Marriage in Communist China by Melissa Margaret Schneider

The 1950s Generation
When Love Didn’t Exist

I was twenty-four when I married my first wife, but I knew nothing about females. I didn’t understand why I had to marry at all, or what purpose marriage served. — Tom Liu, b. 1958

The 1950s generation, the first citizens born in Communist China, came of age in a world devoid of romantic love. They learned that life was a high-stakes mission and that their role was critical to its success. They grew up building socialism and fighting class enemies, not thinking about boyfriends or prom dresses. They were taught
to care about the causes and teachings of Mao Zedong and to work selflessly for their country. In the harsh light of this grand collective vision, any private desires for romantic love, intimacy, or happiness appeared petty, selfish, even criminal.

Under Mao, public life was purposely desexualized. Men and women dressed alike in drab blue or gray uniforms, cutting their hair in identical bobs trimmed around the ears. Books and movies were heavily censored, scrubbed clean of any reference to love or sex. The married people that the 1950s generation could observe, including
their own parents, did not touch or say “I love you.” Outside of the bedroom, life was generally sexless. Inside the bedroom it was hardly easier, as many couples shared their sleeping quarters with other relatives.

Interestingly, in the early years Mao Zedong thought of sexual satisfaction within marriage as an effective social pacifier.

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Strangers Have the Best CandyStrangers Have the Best Candy by Margaret Meps Schulte

Strangers Have the Best What?

The sun set over blue tropical waters as I swung gently in a hammock at Bahia Honda, a state park in the Florida Keys. It was a Thursday evening in May, a few days after my 29th birthday. The hammock was new; it had been a birthday gift.

“Barry?” I said.

“Hmm?” My husband was swinging in his own hammock, a few feet away.

“All our friends have to go to work tomorrow. Isn’t that weird?”

He was unmoved by my epiphany. “I guess so.”

Listening to the distant thunder of waves crashing on the beach, I envisioned our friend Andy, at home in his apartment. Back in northern Virginia, he’d be packing his lunch, folding his laundry, cooking dinner, maybe reading a book or watching TV. In the morning, he would take the bus to a government office and sit at his desk, talk on the phone, review documents. He’d take a lunch break, do more of the same work in the afternoon, and go home at the end of the day. The next day would bring the same familiar routine.

A month earlier, my life had been similar. Then we quit our jobs, gave up our apartment, and stored our belongings. We packed our Honda Civic with camping equipment and started driving south, staying at inexpensive state parks and free national forest campgrounds. We thought we had enough savings to travel like this through the summer. In the fall, we’d settle down again, find jobs, and resume a life with furniture and responsibilities. Maybe in Milwaukee.

For the first couple of weeks, it felt like a normal vacation. But on that evening in May, I recognized that I had left my old life behind, and I didn’t know if I would ever return. The absolute freedom was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.

I didn’t know that this pursuit of freedom would define my life for decades, not months.

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Divorcing a Real WitchDivorcing a Real Witch: For Pagans and the People That Used to Love Them by Diana Rajchel

Most of us model marriage on what we witnessed as children. Even when we try to see that experience as what not to do, we can find ourselves referring to that first when proceeding in our own relationship. In some ways, it’s experiencing two marriages at once: the one with your partner and the one in your own mind.

My own parents were married for 41 years; it ended with my father’s death by leukemia. My father always gave me an impression of a happy marriage. My mother always gave me an impression of a miserable one. My opinion of marriage, as a result, is that it needs to be deregulated.

I came to maturity in the 1990s; and interacted daily with children of divorced parents. Every year at least one classmate went through a parental breakup. Only a few of these children of broken homes seemed broken themselves – all of those talked about bad family dynamics long before divorce. For most of my peers, both parents worked. The media nicknamed them “latchkey children” and made them sound like the pending Apocalypse. Supposedly these children were more prone to drug use, dropping out of school and spreading general mayhem. In the long run, it turned out, that children in bad environments had these problems – and not all latchkey children lived in bad circumstances with neglectful parents.

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nullAdvanced pavement research: selected, peer reviewed papers from the 3rd International Conference on Concrete Pavements Design, Construction, and Rehabilitation (ICCPDCR 2013), December 2-3, 2013, Shanghai, China by Bo Tian

No excerpt available. Unfortunately.

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Book details

  • Nature’s Nether Regions: What the Sex Lives of Bugs, Birds, and Beasts Tell Us about Evolution, Biodiversity, and Ourselves by Menno Schilthuizen
    EAN: 9780670785919
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!
  • The Ugly Wife Is a Treasure at Home: True Stories of Love and Marriage in Communist China by Melissa Margaret Schneider
    EAN: 9781612346946
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

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Fiction Friday: “Lunch with Ifemelu” – Erotic Fan Fiction Based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah

Kiru Taye, a Nigerian-born novelist residing in the United Kingdom, has written an erotic fan fiction short story inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah.

AmericanahMaking ScandalKeeping Secrets

In March last year Adichie became the first African to win the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction for Americanah. It also won the 2013 Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Taye’s story, entitled “Lunch with Ifemelu”, follows the love story of Ifemelu and Obinze.

Obinze is waiting for Ifemelu in a restaurant. He arrived 15 minutes early to please her and to avoid suspicion since he is a married man. He hasn’t seen Ifemelu since she returned to Nigeria, but when she walks into the room he doesn’t need to look up to know that she has arrived.

She was the one person who could faze him and when he lays eyes on her he feels the all too familiar pangs of regret.

A few lines of witty banter later, Ifemelu and Obinze leave the restaurant, and a night of magical bliss follows.

Read the extract:

Her moan rang out, echoing in the hotel room. It felt like forever since he’d tasted her.

“I want to give you so much pleasure, Ifem.” He’d purposely shortened her name. Literally translated it meant, ‘My thing’ or ‘Mine’ qualifying his claim on her.

His hot mouth plunged onto her clit making her gasp. She grabbed the white sheet beneath. Her body quaked as he drove it to a state of madness.

Her skin felt hot to the touch as his tongue glided over the layers of her wetness.

She moaned long and low.

He smirked at her response. One of the things he’d learned in his sojourn abroad was how to use this mouth of his expertly and for climactic effect. He circled his tongue around the sweet bud of her clit, wanting to raise an orgasm out of her. Gentle spasms erupted from her core, spreading over her body announcing the arrival of sweet euphoria.

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Picture courtesy of Brittle Paper

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Fiction Friday: “The New Equality” from Melissa de Villiers’ New Collection, The Chameleon House

The Chameleon HouseThis week’s Fiction Friday is a short story from The Chameleon House by Melissa de Villiers, one of our local books to look out for this year.

De Villiers will be speaking about her new book of short stories with Liesl Jobson, author of Ride the Tortoise, at The Book Lounge on Tuesday, 24 February.

Modjaji Books publisher Colleen Higgs describes the short stories as “well written, tight and challenging”.

Read the excerpt:

"The New Equality" Short Story From The Chameleon House by Books LIVE

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