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Philani Dladla – The Pavement Bookworm (@BookVsDruggs) – Shares His Story with @TEDxJoburg:

Excerpt from One Midlife Crisis and a Speedo: Darrel Bristow-Bovey Remembers His Twenties

One Midlife Crisis and a SpeedoIn One Midlife Crisis and a Speedo by Darrel Bristow-Bovey shares the story of how he made peace with the fact that he was slap bang in the middle of his midlife crisis and not dealing with it the way he would have predicted.

“Middle age comes up fast for the usual reason things come fast: because we didn’t notice it coming slowly,” Bristow-Bovey writes in the third chapter of the book. He reflects back on his twenties, which he remembers being pretty awful. “I thought I was terribly cool and adult in my twenties but really I was like a pressurised fire hose that someone dropped and is snaking around the scene, soaking everyone.”

Read the excerpt shared by Random House Struik:

I don’t miss my twenties. God, my twenties were awful. I realise this isn’t a common view. Given the choice a lot of people might freeze their lives in some golden moment of twentysomethingness when a bra is only a style choice and men have so many erections they can afford to ignore some of them. But that’s madness. Unless you have one of those lifestyles that actually require you to be in your twenties – professional sperm donor, say, or Donald Trump’s next wife, or a poet in the First World War – your twenties are usually a waste of not being old.

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Sunday Read: A Chapter on the History of the Chapter

What is a chapter, exactly? Where do chapters come from?

They come from a Northumbrian monastery known as Jarrow, as it turns out:

Books have been written or arranged in chapters for over two millennia now, although that fact has never received the attention it deserves from historians of the written word. Perhaps the sheer longevity of the concept has rendered it invisible. It would not have been invisible in eighth-century Jarrow, however; Bede worked in the most important scriptorium of his era, where no small amount of scholarly labor was devoted to producing capitula—essentially, divisions of scriptural texts with headings or summaries. Bede himself produced several such works. The chapter was a tool of analysis and memory for Bede and his colleagues. Perhaps it has never ceased being so; we simply expect chapters to be there, breaking up our reading, giving us the permission to pause or stop.

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Christopher Ballantine's Marabi Nights and Goolam Vahed's Chatsworth Awarded UKZN Book Prizes

Marabi NightsChatsworthMarabi Nights: Jazz, ‘Race’ and Society by Christopher Ballantine and Chatsworth: The Making of a South African Township edited by Ashwin Desai and Goolam Vahed have been awarded 2012/13 University of KwaZulu-Natal Book Prizes.

Ballantine was awarded the Category A – Academic Book, while Vahed received the Category B – Edited Book award.

“The University of KwaZulu-Natal Book Prize is a prestigious honour for our authors,” Adele Branch of UKZN Press says. “The number of submissions is huge, especially as there are a lot of academics who publish books via overseas publishers, through departments and other avenues.

“We are proud of these two titles – they are certainly iconic in the true sense of the word as they each address something unique in South Africa, and, although being academic titles, are written in a very accessible styles which make them attractive to a wide reading audience.”

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Esther's House: Carol Campbell Wrote About People Facing Extreme Poverty and Breaking Free

Esther's House'n Huis vir EsterThe Mercury’s Patrick Compton recently interviewed Carol Campbell, asking her about her new novel, Ester’s House.

Campbell tells Compton about her time living in Prince Albert where she was exposed to the harsh realities faced by people living in the township on the outskirts of the Karoo town, an experience which influenced the base of this book. She wrote about how they overcome these challenges, if at all.

“I could see the story, and I knew how to tell it. And I also knew that it had to be a book that had a lasting life. Journalists write these kinds of stories all the time, but they have a very short life,” Campbel said. She tried her best to put faces to the countless lives struck by poverty by showcasing the desperate situations they face in order to survive.

Read the article:

What is it like to live in a shack or an abandoned water pipe? If you’re reading this, you’re likely to be a middle-class South African who will probably have little idea and even less interest in imagining the grim details.

But this desperate condition is the daily experience of hundreds of thousands of South Africans.

With her first two novels, Carol Campbell has poured dramatic light on the darkness that cloaks the “invisible” people of the Karoo. The first, My Children Have Faces, is about the “donkey-cart people” there.

Published last year to great acclaim, the book has already sold an impressive 10 000 copies.

Now, with Esther’s House, Campbell has dramatised the lives of people who try to break free of the cycle of poverty that afflicts them, specifically those people who live in shacks which they call hokke (literally animal cages).

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Alan Morris Helps to Interpret a 2000-Year-Old Skeleton and its Groundbreaking Genome

Missing and MurderedAlan Morris, biological anthropologist and author of Missing and Murdered: A Personal Adventure in Forensic Anthropology, was part of a team that unearthed a Strandloper skeleton at St Helena Bay recently.

Morris was quoted in a Cape Times article about the find. This skeleton is significant as it is the first from which scientists have been able to recover the genetic data of the ancient humans who inhabited the coast of Southern Africa. As the Cape Times writes, it “yielded is a complete, ancient mitochondrial genome – a first in southern Africa”.

In the article, Morris explains the scientific worth of the human genome that was discovered.

Read the article:

“With living humans, looking at their genomes is a bit like looking through the wrong end of a telescope. The information is all there, but it’s overlapping and there are layers and layers, so it’s harder to interpret. But with this information from the skeleton, it’s like taking a camera back in time.”

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Win A Random House Struik Book of Your Choice with Kobus Galloway

Idees Vol Vrees 4Test your book knowledge and stand a chance to win a Random House Struik book of your choice to the value of R500.

To enter, simply visit the Random Reads website, fill in your details and solve Kobus Galloway’s cartoon puzzle which depicts the name of a recently published book from Umuzi. The book is available in both English and Afrikaans.

Hint: Galloway, the creator of the Idees vol vrees series, has drawn the Afrikaans title of the book.

Have a look at the Random House Struik website for more options.

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Image courtesy Random House Struik