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Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

New books for green looks

Published in the Sunday Times

From food and architecture to décor and city living, you’ll find all the inspiration you need right here, writes Roberta Thatcher.

Jane's Delicious A-Z of VegetablesJane’s Delicious A-Z of Vegetables
By Jane Griffiths, Jonathan Ball, R280

Whether you have an established veggie garden or are thinking of testing out your green thumb, this book is an invaluable resource. Jane Griffiths has been growing herbs and vegetables in her Joburg garden for over two decades, and has written several books on the subject, all of which are relevant to our local climate. Her latest is a guide to the vegetables most commonly grown in SA gardens and to the many unusual heirloom varieties that are available. It provides a wealth of information on how to sow, plant, feed, water, protect, harvest and eat the plants, as well as advice on how to save seed for future generations. Written in her quirky, practical style and illustrated with full-colour photos for easy reference, this is a one-stop guide to growing organic vegetables.

HabitatHabitat: Vernacular Architecture for a Changing Planet
Edited by Sandra Piesik, Thames & Hudson, R2700

Climate change is the biggest challenge facing our planet, and when it comes to architecture, we need to start understanding how to produce buildings that do not rely on stripping the environment or transporting materials across the globe. This beautiful large-format book is the perfect guide to doing so. The result of years of research, the book brought together an international team of more than 100 experts who reveal how people and cultures have adapted to their environment to make the best use of indigenous materials and construction techniques. Notably, it also stresses the importance of preserving craftsmanship and local knowledge.

The Green HomeThe Green Home
By Susanna Vento, Cozy Publishers, R400

With a tagline “inspiring book of plants”, this beautiful tome is just what it sets out to be – and more. Written and styled by Helsinki-based interior stylist Susanna Vento, it features more than 30 Finnish homes, which are not only beautiful in their signature Scandi simplicity, but are filled with stylish indoor plants. While the book is a drool-worthy guide on interiors and home décor solutions, it also focuses on plants and how to care for them. It’s only available online from the publishers, so if you can’t get your hands on a physical copy, you can get inspiration from their Instagram page @greenhomebook.

Garden CityGarden City: Supergreen Buildings, Urban Skyscapes and the New Planted Space
By Anna Yudina, Thames & Hudson, R1250

Urban gardens are transforming our cities, and this spectacular book captures the growing global movement. Showcasing more than 100 projects, the book shows how plants can be used to improve both city landscapes and our quality of life. It’s packed with ideas that can be applied to new buildings and old alike. Think office buildings that incorporate urban farms and exchange the CO² produced by humans for food and oxygen produced by plants, lightweight systems for growing vertical gardens or “tree houses“ the size of city blocks. This book proves that the future of our urban architecture can be self-sustaining and alive.

Book details


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Wenners van kykNet-Rapport-boekpryse 2017 bekend

Die wenners van die kykNET-Rapport-boekpryse – die grootste pryse van hul soort in Afrikaans – is op Saterdag 30 September 2017 in Kaapstad bekend gemaak. Die Jan Rabie-Rapportprys vir die beste debuutroman in Afrikaans asook die twee kykNET-Rapportpryse vir boekresensent van die jaar is by dieselfde geleentheid oorhandig.

Hulde is gebring aan ontslape skrywers soos Karel Schoeman en PG du Plessis, maar die aand het behoort aan die huidige geslag skrywers, wat sulke geleenthede moontlik en gedenkwaardig maak. Hettie Scholtz, sameroeper van die drie hoofboekpryse, het die skrywers geloof vir boeke wat diep sny, diep delf, en ’n aar raak boor. “Dit het by my ’n insig van Chesterton opgeroep, sy geloof dat daar één ding is wat ’n helderheid aan dinge verleen: die vermoede van iets nét om die draai. Ek kan werklik nie wag om te sien waarmee hierdie skrywers volgende vorendag gaan kom nie! Hierby sluit ek die inskrywings vir die Jan Rabie-Rapportprys in.”

Die kykNET-Rapport-boekpryse met ’n gesamentlike prysgeld van R500 000 is toegeken aan die volgende skrywers:
- Fiksie: Huilboek, Ryk Hattingh (Human & Rousseau)
- Niefiksie: Emily Hobhouse: Geliefde Verraaier, Elsabé Brits (Tafelberg)
- Film: Al wat ek weet, Marita van der Vyver, (Lapa)

Die keurders het die fiksiewenner, Ryk Hattingh, geloof “vir sy sagkense behandeling van groot dinge, die subtiliteit van segging, die beskeie toon en algehele gebrek aan selfkoestering. Die manier waarop hy persoonlike pyn uiteindelik, sonder politieke grandstandery, vestig in die konteks van ’n hele land se trauma, is uitsonderlik en maak van Huilboek ’n prestasie in hoe groot kragte in beweging gestel kan word deur ’n minimum aan woorde en vertoon.”

Waardering is ook uitgespreek vir die niefiksiewenner, Elsabé Brits, se herbesoek aan ou bronne oor Emily Hobhouse “wat ons in staat stel om opnuut in hierdie merkwaardige vrou die eienskappe te sien wat aan die kern lê van ons universele menslikheid – die vermoë om te empatiseer met die onderdruktes, op te staan vir reg en geregtigheid selfs teen ’n hoë persoonlike en politieke prys, om nood en lyding te verlig ongeag waar dit voorkom. Sy skets Hobhouse as die vergestalting van verset soos dit in die woorde van die Nederlandse digter Remco Campert gedefinieer word: Om aan jouself ’n vraag te vra, daarmee begin verset – en om dit dan aan ’n ander te vra. Dit noop ons om in die Suid-Afrika van vandag weer hierdie kritiese vrae te vra oor menswaardigheid, gelykheid, en weerstand.”

Marita van der Vyver se jeugboek Al wat ek weet het van die prysaand ’n behoorlike rap-aand gemaak. Sy is geloof vir die ligte, vaardige hand waarmee sy die sensitiewe verhaal van ’n seun van gemengde afkoms stuur tot waar hy sy plek in die groter bestel van die lewe vind. En dit deur die skryf van rap songs waarmee hy sy verliese en woede transendeer en sy eie stem vind. “Dis ’n verhaal wat getuig van besondere vakmanskap, een wat smeek om verfilm te word,” sê keurder Herman Binge. “Dink – nét vir ’n oomblik – aan die nuwe Afrikaanse treffers wat hierdie film gaan oplewer, die eerste volwaardige hip-hop-fliek in Afrikaans!”

Die Jan Rabie-Rapportprys ter waarde van R35 000 is vanjaar toegeken aan Valda Jansen vir Hy kom met die skoenlappers (Human & Rousseau). Volgens die keurders is Jansen se debuutroman in vele opsigte meer as “’n elegie aan verlore liefde”, soos dit op die omslag bestempel word. Dit word “’n pynlik intieme en deurtastende verkenning van al die maniere waarop ’n hele lewe soos een byna noodwendig verspeelde kans kan voorkom . . . Jansen kleur nie dit wat persoonlik is ooit met groot politieke stellings nie, maar wys hoe onontwarbaar die persoonlike en die politieke in Suid-Afrika verstrengel is. Haar debuut gee ’n aangrypende en ontstemmende blik op ’n bevreemdende, bruin middelklas-ervaring van apartheid; ’n genuanseerde perspektief op ’n benarde posisie wat nog bitter min in Afrikaanse fiksie belig is.”

Die kykNET-Rapportpryse vir boekresensent van die jaar, vir die beste Afrikaanse resensies wat in 2016 oor ’n Afrikaanse fiksie- of niefiksiewerk onderskeidelik verskyn het, is ook oorhandig. Die wenners, wat elk R25 000 ontvang het, is:
- Fiksie: Danie Marais vir “Die ‘Kook en Geniet’ van oneerbiedigheid” (oor Anton Kannemeyer en Conrad Botes se Bitterkomix 17, Media24-dagblaaie, 4 Julie 2016), en
- Niefiksie: Emile Joubert vir “Die afkook van ’n vol lewe vind hier beslag” (oor Wat die hart van vol is deur Peter Veldsman met Elmari Rautenbach, Media24-dagblaaie, 31 Oktober 2016).

Die keurpanele vir die onderskeie pryse was: kykNET-Rapport-fiksieprys: Frederik de Jager, Elmari Rautenbach, Steward van Wyk en Gerrit Schoonhoven; kykNET-Rapport-niefiksieprys: Herman Wasserman, Irma du Plessis, Darryl David en Herman Binge; kykNET-Rapport-filmprys: Herman Binge en Gerrit Schoonhoven; kykNET-Rapport-boekresensentpryse: Bibi Slippers, Alfred Schaffer, Jomarié Botha en Yvonne Beyers; Jan Rabie-Rapportprys: Elna van der Merwe, Danie Marais en Kerneels Breytenbach.

Die seremoniemeesters vir die aand was Karen Meiring van kykNet en Waldimar Pelser van Rapport. Die prysfunksie is by die Dapper Coffee Company restaurant in Kaapstad gehou.

Boekbesonderhede

Huilboek

 
 
 
 
Emily Hobhouse

 
 
 
 
Al wat ek weet

 
 
 
 
Hy kom met die skoenlappers

 
 
 
 
Bitterkomix 17

 
 
 
 
Wat die hart van vol is


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Garden tomes: Bridget Hilton-Barber on gardening books and happiness

Think of them as self-help books — they inform and inspire, and set you on the right garden path, writes Bridget Hilton-Barber for the Sunday Times

In the chaotic pile of books that lives next to my bed, at least three will be gardening books. Bedtime gardening is one of my favourite things, and about once a week I fall asleep alongside Bold Romantic Gardens or Jane’s Delicious Garden or How to Propagate, depending on whether I’m concerned about my aubergines, needing an escape or just playing part scientist, part philosopher. I have a thing for gardening books, and am lucky to have inherited a fine collection from my grandmother and mother, to which I keep adding. I’m happy to lend them out as long as they get returned. If not – as we gardeners say, with fronds like you, who needs anemones?

In my grandmother’s day, gardening books were illustrated with exquisite line drawings; these days they use full-colour photography and enormous imagery, Lord help us and our credit cards. It was Cicero who said that if you have a garden and a library you have everything you need. I’ll raise the game and say that if you have a garden and a library full of garden books you have more than your heart could desire.

Just what is it about gardening books that makes us happy?

Well they aren’t just about gardening, they’re about life, history, drama, travel, passion, escape and autobiography. One can pick a gardening book according to mood and genre. If I’m inclined towards local travel for example, I may take to bed Remarkable Gardens of South Africa (Nini Bairnsfather Cloete, Quivertree Publications, 2012) – and have an imaginary twirl around some of the most beautiful private gardens in the country, from the amazing food gardens of Babylonstoren in the Western Cape to the moody farm gardens of the misty KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

For the reassurance of the value of beauty, I will go for something like The Classic Italian Garden (Judith Chatfield, Rizzoli Books, 1991); if it’s history I’m after, perhaps I’ll meander through Great Gardens of the World (Ronald King, Peerage Books 1985), taking in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the nymph-haunted gardens of classical Greece and Rome.

In a crime-solving mood? I’ll try What Rose is That? (Mary Moody, Weldon Publishing, 1992). After personal inspiration – hand me Pippa’s Organic Kitchen Garden (Pippa Greenwood, Dorling Kindersley, 2000) in which she transforms a patch of weeds into a glorious kitchen garden. And if I’m into a little eroticism, I’ll dip into Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening (Louise Riotte, Storey Communications, 1975). There’s something deliciously racy in the slow unfurling of fronds, the skyward thrusting of velvety nosed shoots, the tangle of tendrils… As British author Sam Llewelyn wrote, in vegetable gardens beauty is a by-product. The main business is sex and death.

Garden books fulfil a variety of needs. You can read the real-life stories of those whose gardens were a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself. You can lose yourself in the micro world of composting and mulch, or soar heavenward with a book on remarkable trees around the world, from the giant sequoias of Canada to the ancient baobabs of Madagascar.

There is an increasing and healthy trend towards indigenous and water-wise gardening and these books can be invaluable, covering everything from how to grow an urban edible garden to recycling water. Change is part and parcel of gardening history – which is why gardening books are so important. Not only do they offer inspiration, but they provide a record.


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Stephen Coan reviews Commonplace, a new photographic book that provides a unique view of parallel universes which occasionally collide

A new photographic book provides a unique view of parallel universes which occasionally collide: life lived in a Johannesburg township and life on a farm near Estcourt in KwaZulu-Natal. STEPHEN COAN reports. Originally published in The Witness

A man opening a door with one hand, in the other a lit cigarette. He looks directly at the camera; at you. An invitation to enter the book you hold in your hands? Turn the page. A short explanatory text for what will follow. Turn the page. Another photograph: a man in shorts, in one hand a camera in the other a bunch of leaves. Behind him, not far along a rural dirt road, is a car dating the taking of the photograph to the 1950s.

The man in the first photograph is black, in the second, white. They are photographs from two collections, The Ngilima Collection and the Drummond-Fyvie Collection.

In 1905 Temple Lascelles Fyvie bought a plot of land outside Estcourt in the then Colony of Natal. In the 1930s Ronald Majongwa Ngilima left the Eastern Cape and headed for Benoni on the East Rand. “The photographic collections that grew out of these two moves form the basis of our book,” write Tamsyn Adams and Sophie Feyder, authors of Commonplace.

Tamsyn Adam
Sophie Feyder

 
“Their placement, side by side, starts to suggest the varied ways in which lives lived in different times and places, and under very disparate circumstances, might nevertheless be tied to each other – if not in a common place then at least in their commonplaces.”

“Collection” may seem a rather formal word to apply to these photographs but Adams and Feyder were trying to find an alternative to “archive” and opted for “collection” as, according to Adams, “the word implied a sense of the messiness, especially of the Drummond and Fyvie photos – which were rather an ‘accumulation’ as opposed to a formal ‘collection’.”

In the latter case the old-fashioned word “snaps” would likely have been applied by the two families (united by marriage in 1941) to describe their “collection” however the Ngilima Collection had more deliberate beginnings. When Ngilima obtained one of the new houses in the location of Wattville outside Benoni in 1952 he set up a dark room in the bathroom. Otherwise employed at the Leonard Dingler tobacco company in Boksburg Ngilima took photographs in his spare time, cycling around the townships with his camera to take photographs of people in their own homes while others came to “Mr. Snappy”, as he was popularly known, in his home-based studio.

Location unknown, mid-1950s. Photo: Ronald Ngilima, Ngilima Collection.

 

Scottburgh, 1930s. Photo: Drummond-Fyvie Collection

 
When Ronald Ngilima died suddenly in 1960 his son Thorence took over and ran what had become a small business until his work for the ANC became all consuming. A street in Wattville is named after him.

Meanwhile 25 boxes of negatives were kept safe in the family home where Ronald’s grandson Farrell came across them in 1999. Realising their historical value he was instrumental in their being stored at the Historical Papers archive at University of the Witwatersrand and thus making them publicly accessible.

Scottburgh, 1930s/1940s. Photo: Drummond-Fyvie Collection

 

Wattville, Benoni, early 1960s. Photo: Thorence Ngilima, Ngilima Collection

 
The photographs in the Drummond-Fyvie Collection date back to the 19th century and were probably stored without any particular consideration other than being family photographs from whenever until Adams similarly realised they possessed an importance that went beyond “family snaps”.

Both Adams, who has a fine arts background, and Feyder began working with the collections collaboratively as part of a joint doctoral research project between the History and Anthropology departments of the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.

Location unknown, 1930s. Photo: Drummond-Fyvie Collection.

 

Wattville, Benoni, early 1960s. Photo: Thorence Ngilima, Ngilima Collection

 
Feyder, from Luxembourg and now resident in Brussels, Belgium, had long had an interest in southern Africa and studied political science and development. “But I realised you needed history to understand the situation today; to understand colonialism. I had a background in photography and at Leiden in the African Studies Program I was able to combine African history and photography.”

Feyder first encountered the Ngilima Collection in 2008 and arranged its digitization. Subsequently she and Adams worked with other colleagues from Leiden organising a conference in Johannesburg built around the relatively new discipline of visual studies. Their contribution would be to present their work with the two collections.

“We wanted to say that private archives, family photographs, are also interesting to look at in terms of history,” said Feyder. “They also have something to tell us; historic photographs are not just the famous photographs of iconic figures or of violent protests.”

At first Adams and Feyder intended presenting images from the collections separately but then decided it would be interesting to combine these seemingly non-political images within a larger context. Would it be possible to see apartheid reflected in these private photographs?

The answer was a qualified “yes”, according to Adams. “Putting the two collections together suggests another way of understanding them. It draws attention to the specific political context in which the photographs were taken. But it also highlights similarities in a way that hopefully doesn’t try to resolve the underlying tensions.”

Glenroy, near Estcourt, 1950s. Photo: Drummond-Fyvie Collection

 

Suburbs of Benoni, mid-1950s. Photo: Ronald Ngilima, Ngilima Collection

 

The resulting exhibition, Sidetracks: Working with Two Photographic Collections, went on display at the Market Photo Workshop in 2013. “For the book we drew on the same photographs but we worked with them in a slightly different way,” said Adams. “We also emphasised more social pictures. There is a perception that photographs from this period should focus on struggle – we were trying to give a different view.”

Feyder agrees. “Private photos like these suggest what it was like to live at the time. People did not go to the photographic studio to “resist” apartheid, they went there because it was fun. But you can say that it was part of a strategy of resilience, to construct a positive image of oneself in a context where you are being constantly told that you are inferior for not being white.”

Whereas the exhibition featured text and maps the book is determinedly minimal. Commonplace is a photographic book and the photographs dominate. Apart from those opening few words other text is to be found at the back of the book. Nor are there captions to the photographs; they too are at the back below thumbnail reference images.

Davies Social Centre, Benoni location, mid-1950s. Photo: Ronald Ngilima, Ngilima Collection.

 

Fyvie Farm near Estcourt, 1930s. Photo: Drummond-Fyvie Collection

 

The absence of captions was quite a leap for Adams and Feyder. “We were both reluctant at first,” recalled Feyder, “but Oliver Barstow, the book’s designer, encouraged us to keep it simple. As scholars the idea of having no captions horrified us, but we were also aware that scholars write all sorts of things about the images they are working with while forgetting to really look at them. “

For the viewer a lack of captions forces direct engagement with the images. You also discover how captions, when and if you refer to them, exert power and add bias thus mediating and manipulating your response. For example, you find that a full-length portrait photograph of a teenage Temple Fyvie in the late 1900s was taken shortly before he died, thrown by a horse. Does that knowledge add or detract to the image? It certainly changes how you “read” it. On a more prosaic level you discover the cigarette held by the man in that very first photograph has an added dimension: he is opening the door of the Leonard Dingler tobacco factory.

The many and various images in Commonplace either stand alone or on facing pages, such as the coy “pin-ups” of white women posing on sandy holiday beaches juxtaposed with those of black women on beds in their township homes; black or white their poses echo those of models in the swim- or underwear advertisements of the day.

Individuals, adults and children, couples, groups. Family photographs. In Adams case the family is her own. “Yes, they are private family ‘snaps’– and I feel protective of them in that sense – but they also bear witness to a particular past. In both the book and the exhibition we wanted to keep that sense of conflict.”

Feyder acknowledges the shared aspects of the photographs drawn from the two collections but the similarities are serendipitous rather than schematic. “There are similarities,” said Feyder, “but we are not out to make some redemptive statement about our shared common humanity with the book. We are more interested in the grey areas.”

Commonplace

Book details


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Kortlyste vir die kykNET-Rapport Boekresensent van die Jaar-toekennings 2017 bekendgemaak

Die Afrikaanse resensiebedryf kan homself op die skouer klop te oordeel na die gehalte van inskrywings wat vir vanjaar se kykNET-Rapport Boekresensent van die Jaar-wedstryd ontvang is.

Die kortlyste is pas bekend gemaak vir dié pryse, wat ingestel is om die belange van boeke en die leesgenot van boekliefhebbers te bevorder deur die wêreld van Afrikaanse boeke vir die breë Suid-Afrikaanse publiek toeganklik te maak. Dit dien ook as aanmoediging om hoë standaarde in die Afrikaanse boekjoernalistiek te handhaaf.

Altesaam 33 van die voorste resensente in Afrikaans het vanjaar ingeskryf, tien meer as verlede jaar. Twee pryse van R25 000 elk word toegeken vir die beste Afrikaanse resensie wat in 2016 oor Afrikaansie fiksie en niefiksie onderskeidelik verskyn het. Die kortlyste, wat uit 90 inskrywings saamgestel is, is soos volg:

Fiksie

Danie Marais: “Die ‘Kook en Geniet’ van oneerbiedigheid” (oor Anton Kannemeyer en Conrad Botes se Bitterkomix 17, Media24-dagblaaie, 4 Julie 2016)
Charl-Pierre Naudé: “Digterlike afdruk van ‘n lewe verbeeld” (oor Bibi Slippers se Fotostaatmasjien, Media 24-dagblaaie, 5 Desember 2016)
Elmari Rautenbach: “Debuut se stiltes ’n elegie aan verlore liefde” (oor Valda Jansen se Hy kom met die skoenlappers, Media 24-dagblaaie, 18 Julie 2016)

Niefiksie

Reinhardt Fourie: Vlam in die sneeu: Die liefdesbriewe van André P. Brink en Ingrid Jonker (geredigeer deur Francis Galloway, Tydskrif vir letterkunde, September/Oktober 2016)
Daniel Hugo: “Een van die heel grotes” (oor Om Hennie Aucamp te onthou, saamgestel deur Danie Botha, Rapport, 14 Februarie 2016)
Emile Joubert: “Die afkook van ’n vol lewe vind hier beslag” (oor Wat die hart van vol is deur Peter Veldsman met Elmari Rautenbach, Media24-dagblaaie, 31 Oktober 2016)

Die keurders was boekjoernalis en digter Bibi Slippers (sameroeper), senior joernalis en skrywer Jomarié Botha en digter en dosent Alfred Schaffer. Aangesien ’n werk van Slippers geresenseer is, is sy vir die finale keuring deur die redakteur van Huisgenoot, Yvonne Beyers, vervang.

Die keurders was dit eens dat die inskrywings deur die bank van ’n baie hoë gehalte was en werklik leeslus aanwakker.

“Daar was heelparty gevalle waar ek nie noodwendig onder normale omstandighede in ’n sekere boek sou belangstel nie, maar die resensent se entoesiasme en insigte het my genoeg geprikkel om dit ’n kans te wil gee,” sê Slippers.

“Dit was ook veral heerlik om verskillende resensies van belangrike boeke soos Die na-dood, Vlakwater en Koors te lees, en uiteenlopende interpretasies en leesbenaderings te kan ervaar via die resensente.”

Daar was vanjaar heelwat nuwe name onder die resensente wat ingeskryf het. “Ek hoop dat ons deur inisiatiewe soos dié die poel selfs verder kan vergroot. Hoe meer ingeligte, intelligente menings uit verskillende perspektiewe verteenwoordig is, hoe beter vir alle rolspelers in die boekbedryf,” sê Slippers.

Die wenners word op 30 September 2017 saam met die wenners van die kykNET-Rapport-boekpryse in Kaapstad aangekondig.
 

Bitterkomix 17Boekbesonderhede

 
 

Fotostaatmasjien

 
 

Hy kom met die skoenlappers

 
 

Vlam in die sneeu

 
 

Om Hennie Aucamp te onthou

 
 

Wat die hart van vol is


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Nielsen Booksellers Choice Award shortlist announced

The Nielsen Booksellers Choice Award is bestowed upon a local author for a South African published book that booksellers most enjoyed selling or that sold so well that it made a difference to the bottom line of booksellers across the country.

The books are voted for by members of the South African Booksellers Association all of whom are booksellers. It is the Booksellers Choice award, thus the booksellers vote for the book they most enjoyed selling during the year.

The shortlist this year includes previous winner, Deon Meyer, who makes it with his book Koors, a son’s story of his father’s murder. The much-loved comedian Trevor Noah joins him with Born a crime and other stories. Other shortlisted authors include Elsabé Brits who traces the fascinating life of Emily Hobhouse, from her tireless campaigning for women’s rights to her outspoken opposition to injustice, in Emily Hobhouse: Geliefde verraaier. My own liberator by former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke plays homage to the many people and places that have helped define and shape him. Meanwhile JAN: A breath of French Air by Jan Hendrick van der Westhuizen is a memoir and celebration of the renowned eatery JAN, a South African restaurant in the South of France. Kook saam Kaaps by Koelsoem Kamalie and Flori Schrikker continues the culinary theme with an easy-going home cookbook with ‘food from the heart’ recipes.

Last year’s winner was Recipes for Love and Murder by Sally Andrew. On accepting the award Sally commented: “I am so honoured to win the Nielsen Booksellers’ Choice Award 2016; booksellers are heroes – up there with librarians in my estimation. Reading can entertain, challenge and educate. It takes us to places and ideas we don’t normally visit. It can even open our hearts and uplift our souls. Thank you, booksellers for this gift you give to us all”.

Stephen Long, Global Managing Director, Book Discovery and Commerce at Nielsen said, “With the help of members of the South African Booksellers Association, the number of submissions for this year’s event has been incredible. We wish all this year’s shortlisted authors the very best of luck.

The short-listed books for 2016 are:

· Born a crime and other stories by Trevor Noah (Published by Pan Macmillan)
· Emily Hobhouse: Geliefde verraaier by Elsabe Brits (Published by Tafelberg)
· JAN A breath of French Air by Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen (Published by Struik)
· Kook saam Kaaps by Koelsoem Kamalie and Flori Schrikker (Published by Lapa Uitgewers)
· Koors by Deon Meyer (Published by Human & Rousseau)
· My own liberator by Dikgang Moseneke (Published by Picador Africa)

The winning author will be announced on the 22nd of August at the Sefika Awards Dinner in Durban and will receive a cheque from Nielsen for R 20 000.

Koors

Book details

 
 
Born A Crime

 
 
 

Emily Hobhouse

 
 
 

My Own Liberator

 
 

JAN - A Breath of French Air

 
 

Kook Saam Kaaps


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Jan Braai wants YOUR bo-baas braai recipe for his new book!

Jan Braai is writing a new book!

This book, to be published in both English and Afrikaans, will contain a compilation of the best braai recipes, advice and braai stories of the South African public. Yes, that means you!

If you’re a keen braaier, contribute your champion braai recipe by clicking on the link below and play your part in creating a local-is-lekker braai culture!

All recipes chosen for the final book will be credited and you’ll receive a signed copy of the book if your recipe is included.

Afrikaanse inskrywings is ook welkom!

Interested in contributing a recipe? Click here for more!

Die Demokratiese Republiek van Braai

Book details

 
 

Braai - The South African Barbecue Book

 
 
 
 

The Democratic Republic of Braai

 
 
 
 

Vuurwarm

 
 
 

Fireworks


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Drop The Ball advocates shattering the glass ceiling – starting at home

For women, a glass ceiling at work is not the only barrier to success – it’s also the emotional labour at home. Women have become accustomed to delegating, advocating and negotiating for themselves at the office, but when it comes to managing households, they still bear the brunt on their own shoulders. A simple solution is staring them in the face: negotiate with the men in their personal lives.

In Drop The Ball, Tiffany Dufu urges women to embrace imperfection, to expect less of themselves and more from others – enabling them to flourish at work and develop deeper, more meaningful relationships at home.

Book details


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Book Bites: 13 November 2016

Published in the Sunday Times

Early One Sunday MorningEarly One Sunday Morning I Decided To Step Out And Find South Africa
Luke Alfred (Tafelberg)
****
Known for his brainy sports writing, Alfred leaves the field in grand style with this delightful book, which recounts 12 long rambles he took across the cities and wildernesses of South Africa, from Soweto to the Groot Marico, from the Baviaanskloof to False Bay. His voice is by turns wry and lyrical, melancholy and jubilant, and his eye is superbly alert to the interminglings between our landscapes and our histories. There is much reverence for natural grace and for the remains of long-lost lives, from dam walls to Khoisan digging sticks to graves and railway tracks; “history throwing us a crumb across the great void of time”. It’s all an antidote to the national mood of mediated hysteria: a long stomp through the real world is the best way for urban worrywarts to get a grip. If you can’t get out there yourself, outsource the hard yards to Alfred, whose wandering mind is far from pedestrian. – Carlos Amato @CarlosBAmato

BlindBlind
Cath Weeks (Little Brown)
****
Twyla has just had her first child, Charlie, on Christmas Day and everyone says he’s perfect. Only Twyla fears that he is not, and is proved right when Charlie is declared blind. Driven by her love for her son, Twyla is determined to restore his sight, and the opportunity presents itself in the form of experimental surgery with a staggering price tag. However, despite her hard work and dedication to the cause, when the day of Charlie’s surgery arrives, he is abducted. Blind is a superb, gripping read and emotional rollercoaster. Weeks has definite skill in portraying emotional depth and anguish. – Samantha Gibb @samantha_gibb

30 000 Years of Art30,000 Years Of Art
Various (Phaidon)
****
This is the updated and slightly downsized version – it’s still enormous, but your bookshelf will protest a little less, thanks to a slightly smaller format – of a truly wonderful compilation of artworks from, as the title suggests, the last 30 millennia. It’s a great resource for art lovers, being instant inspiration for those who are already informed in such matters and a goldmine of information and sumptuous visuals for anyone who cares enough about art. The editors and compilers of this tome have combined quantity (nearly 600 artworks, each on their own page) with quality, packing a wealth of data into four or five paragraphs. This makes it possible to read the giant volume in bite-size segments. – Bruce Dennill @BroosDennill

The Bedside ArkThe Bedside Ark
David Muirhead (Struik Nature)
****
Muirhead’s essays on a “motley collection” of animals is hugely entertaining and informative. Whether or not the knowledge is useful is beside the point. Although, who knows, your chance to win a million rand may hinge on your knowledge of porcupines’ sex lives. Muirhead charts the animals’ past and current appearances in human society; revered god, omen and dinner, and shares the bizarre facts you probably won’t find in guidebooks. His book is a reminder of just how varied and strange the animal kingdom is. Each essay is long enough for a quick chuckle. – Jem Glendinning @jemathome

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Stephen Coan reviews Mzansi Zen by Antony Osler

By Stephen Coan for The Witness

Mzansi ZenVerdict: carrot

Mzansi “means, quite simply, ‘the South’. We are the people of the South. And we live at the southern tip of Africa.” How are we to live in this place, in this time? The question Antony Osler’s Mzansi Zen challenges us to explore.

The word “zen” is Japanese for meditation as well as the name of a particular Buddhist tradition, Zen Buddhism, literally “meditation Buddhism”, emphasising the practice that is its hallmark.

Osler’s own practice, study and teaching of Zen has paralleled his career as a human rights lawyer and an advocate. He was the first teacher at the Buddhist Retreat Centre in Ixopo and thereafter spent some years as a monk at the Mount Baldy Zen Centre in the United States. Osler now lives on a farm in the Karoo where he and his wife Margie lead Zen retreats and run workshops for children in need.

Osler’s first book, Stoep Zen (2008), came with the subtitle “A Zen Life in South Africa”, which provided a springboard for Osler “to investigate how an ancient tradition sits in a new setting – in an African, South African, Karoo setting, right where I sit outside my house on the dusty Oorlogspoort road.”

Zen Dust (2012), subtitled “A journey home through the back roads of South Africa”, continued the detective work but broadened the focus: “In Stoep Zen I looked at the open spaces of South Africa through a Zen lens,” wrote Osler. “The open spaces are still there but the politics have changed – the heady days of the new democracy and towering presence of Nelson Mandela have given way to the slow, painstaking building of a society that is still asking who it is and how to do whatever must be done.”

Four years on those two questions seem even more pressing. Mzansi Zen. No subtitle necessary. “Those who predicted a troubled democracy see their certainties coming true. Those who wept with relief at the end of apartheid find the happy rainbow nation dissolving before their eyes.”

In Mzansi Zen (Mzansi meditation), as with his previous books, Osler has conjured up an addictive brew of stories, reflections, photographs, Buddhist lore, meditations and poems, both his own and others, among them Kobus Moolman, Steve Shapiro and Anne Shuster. You’ll also bump into Osler’s friends Breyten Breytenbach and Athol Fugard.

New to the mix are Osler’s line drawings depicting “cartoon monks” – wry visual comments to his stories; while each section of the book ends with “an experimental verse in a style I call Zen Doggerel” – part-Bob Dylan, part-Leonard Cohen, one hundred per cent Osler.

Osler’s inimitable voice rings true and bell-clear throughout Mzansi Zen, especially in the stories, drawn from direct experience and populated with authentic South African characters; self-deprecating, moving stories that never descend into feel-good bathos; funny stories, occasionally even laugh out loud, each one reinforcing, illustrating and inter-connecting with Osler’s over-riding concern: life in “the South”.

“The news tonight is a recital of collapsing infrastructure, financial mismanagement and violence. It feels as if we are sliding irreversibly towards a precipice. I am overwhelmed by discouragement.

“Because I have nailed my flag to the mast of things as they are, I can’t pretend all is well when it isn’t. I can’t run away from the suffering or deny it; I can’t invent a silver lining. No going forward, no going back. I am stuck so what now? How do I find my life in all this?”

Rather like being confronted with a traditional Chinese or Japanese koan. These, as Osler describes, are “teaching stories” from which are extracted questions that have no correct answer but serve to provoke the student into insight beyond intellect when “the habits of the controlling mind are exhausted into grace”.

Osler adds: “Our real koan – our life koan – is how we respond to the life we find ourselves in, whatever it may be. Can we face each situation with unflinching clarity, can we find a response that arises out of our connection to the world and our love for it? However we may falter along the way, this is our direction and we do our best, moment after moment after moment. This life we live here in Mzansi, with these people in this time; this is our koan. How will we answer?”

Mzansi Zen does not provide the answer. That has to be our own. But Osler does suggest a way in which the answer might be found.

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