Published in the Sunday Times
So much to read, so little time … here are some good places to start, with an emphasis on excellent local authors
Khwezi: The Remarkable Story Of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo, Redi Thlabi (Jonathan Ball Publishers): One of the absolute must-read books of the year, it’s the harrowing tale of Khwezi, the rape trial and the consequences of President Jacob Zuma’s acquittal.
65 Years of Friendship, George Bizos (Umuzi): The human rights lawyer lovingly reflects on his friendship with Nelson Mandela.
Hasta la Gupta, Baby!, Zapiro (Jacana Media): The latest collection from the cartoonist/political analyst/agent provocateur.
Unpresidented, Paige Nick (B&N): Another hilarious satire from the columnist and writer — this time about No1.
Rapid Fire: Remarkable Miscellany, John Maytham (Tafelberg): Random trivia collected by the talkshow host from his Rapid Fire insert on CapeTalk.
How to Steal a City: The Battle For Nelson Mandela Bay, Crispian Olver (Jonathan Ball Publishers): An insider’s account of the corruption and clean-up of the municipality.
Ramaphosa: The Man Who Would be King, Ray Hartley (Jonathan Ball Publishers): Hartley looks at how Ramaphosa has handled the key challenges he has faced in the unions, in business and in politics.
The President’s Keepers: Those Keeping Zuma in Power and out of Prison, Jacques Pauw (Tafelberg): The explosive book that has got the nation talking about Zuma’s shadow mafia state.
A Simple Man: Kasrils and the Zuma Enigma, Ronnie Kasrils (Jacana Media): The revelatory history of the two men.
What Have We Done, JT Lawrence (Pulp Books): Dystopian thriller series set in Johannesburg in 2036 in which the heroine Kate has to save her loved ones from The Prophecy.
Spire, Fiona Snyckers (Clockwork Books): A box of frozen viruses is brought to Spire, a remote research station in Antarctica, and within days people are dying of diseases.
Bare Ground, Peter Harris (Picador Africa): The first novel from the Alan Paton winner is packed with political and corporate intrigue, with insights into the society we have become.
Bad Seeds, Jassy Mackenzie (Umuzi): Joburg private investigator Jade de Jong tracks down a saboteur in a race to prevent a nuclear disaster.
The Cull, Tony Park (Pan Macmillan): Former mercenary Sonja Kurzt is hired by a British tycoon to lead an elite anti-poaching squad to take down the kingpins, but the body count starts rising.
Tin Man, Sarah Winman (Tinder Press): Bestseller author of When God Was a Rabbit pens a delicate and tender novel of friendship and loss.
New Times, Rehana Rossouw (Jacana Media): As Mandela begins his second year as president, political reporter Ali Adams discovers that his party is veering off the path. She follows the scent of corruption.
Dikeledi, Achmat Dangor (Picador Africa): A family saga set in a time of forced removals and the creation of bantustans.
My Absolute Darling, Gabriel Tallent (HarperCollins): It’s fraught, harrowing and divisive – some critics can’t stop raving about Tallent’s debut novel, others not so much.
Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders (Bloomsbury): The Man Booker prize-winning novel is an original literary experience. Abraham Lincoln visits his dead son Will in a graveyard filled with ghosts.
The Golden House, Salman Rushdie (Jonathan Cape): Nero Golden and sons move to the US under suspicious circumstances.
The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman (Simon & Schuster): Prequel to the much-loved Practical Magic, this features the witchy family in 1950s New York.
Wolf Trap, Consuelo Roland (Jacana Media): Paolo Dante must save her adopted daughter from a criminal mastermind.
Did You See Melody?, Sophie Hannah (Hodder & Stoughton): Hannah transports the reader to a sunny Arizona spa where a cast of characters are all suspects in an old missing-child case.
Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng (Little Brown): A hearty slice of American life in the Clinton era.
The Blessed Girl, Angela Makholwa (Pan Macmillan): Bontle Tau has to juggle her family and friends and all the men in her life wanting to give her emotional and financial support.
The Break, Marian Keyes (Michael Joseph): Amy’s husband decides he wants a break from their marriage and children, and to lose himself in South Asia.
Sleeping Beauties, Stephen King and Owen King (Hodder & Stoughton): The prolific writer and his son team up to tell the tale of a mysterious sleeping syndrome in a women’s prison.
Always Another Country, Sisonke Msimang (Jonathan Ball Publishers): One of the most searing voices of contemporary South Africa, this is Msimang’s candid and personal account of her exile childhood in Zambia and Kenya, college years in North America, and returning to the country in the ’90s.
Dare Not Linger, Nelson Mandela and Mandla Langa (Pan Macmillan): The remarkable story of Mandela’s presidency told in his own words is finished off by Mandla Langa.
I Am, I Am, I Am, Maggie O’Farrell (Tinder Press): The writer chronicles 17 of her own near misses with death.
The Fifth Mrs Brink, Karina M Szczurek (Jonathan Ball Publishers): A soul-baring memoir of Szczurek’s life before, with and after her marriage to André P Brink.
Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery, Scott Kelly (Doubleday): The astronaut’s gripping adventures of his year on the International Space Station in 2015.
Adventures of a Young Naturalist: The Zoo Quest Expeditions, David Attenborough (John Murray): The man who made nature cool gives a record of the voyages he did for the 1950s BBC show The Zoo Expeditions.
Outsiders, Lyndall Gordon (Little Brown): A profound investigation into the lives and works of Mary Shelley, Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Olive Schreiner and Virginia Woolf.
I’ll Take the Sunny Side, Gordon Forbes (Bookstorm): Memoirs from the author of A Handful of Summers and Too Soon to Panic.
Longthroat Memoirs: Soups, Sex and Nigerian Taste Buds, Yemisi Aribisala (Pan Macmillan): This down-to-earth collection from Aribisala, uses food as a lens to observe Nigerian society.
A Hat, a Kayak and Dreams of Dar, Terry Bell (face2face): In 1967 journo Bell and wife Barbara were living in exile in London when they decided to go back to Africa by paddling from England to Dar es Salaam in a 5m kayak.
Shisanyama: Braai Recipes from South Africa, Jan Braai (Bookstorm): Jan Braai’s first crowd-sourced cookbook.
The Sun and Her Flowers, Rupi Kaur (Simon & Schuster): The poet’s second collection is proving to be as popular as her first.
Way of the Wolf, Jordan Belfort (Hodder & Stoughton): The Wolf of Wall Street reveals his step-by-step playbook on making the sale.
The Curse of Teko Modise, Nikolaus Kirkinis (Jacana Media): How Modise overcame poverty to become “the General” and one of South Africa’s best footballers.
Collective Amnesia, Koleka Putuma (Uhlanga Press): A bestselling poetry collection that hits all of the emotions.
From Para to Dakar, Joey Evans (Tracey Macdonald Publishers): Evans shares how he faced the toughest challenges to fulfil his dream of competing in the 2017 Dakar Rally.
200 Women: Who Will Change the Way You See the World, Geoff Blackwell, Ruth Hobday, Kieran Scott (Bookstorm): The women, from a variety of backgrounds, are asked the same five questions and their answers are inspiring.
Bare Ground by Peter Harris
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