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Knotting Your Brain Over Festive Gifts? Check out the 2015 Exclusive Books Christmas Catalogue for Ideas

Does the very idea of Christmas make you break out in a cold sweat? Is your festive season countdown calendar an endless list of futile ideas (because really, how many creative gifts can you buy someone you’ve known for years now?) Or do you simply avoid the issue until Christmas Eve, and then pray for Groundhog Day?

However you approach the holiday that inevitably turns into a time of giving – and more giving – the 2015 Exclusive Books Christmas Catalogue will take the guesswork out of gift-shopping.

There is something for everyone in the Exclusive Books Christmas Catalogue – from fiction to poetry, children’s books to young adult, even books for inspired home cooks or avid gardeners.

For all that the Exclusive Books Christmas Catalogue has to offer, have a look at the contents page (click to see the entire list):



Here are a few of the local books in the 2015 Exclusive Books Christmas Catalogue:

The Book of MemoryThe Magistrate of GowerSweet MedicineFlame in the SnowBeer SafariVlakwaterImmer wes
SkarlakenDie verdwyning van Billy KatzDJ Opperman - Versamelde poësieRympies vir pikkies en peuters’n Goeie dag vir boomklimDie huis van ryeTwo Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights
Jane’s Delicious Urban GardeningGolden LionDonker stroomSugar ManThe Supper Club
Burchell's TravelsShed Happens50 Must-see Geological Sites in South AfricaThe Secret Society
Still GrazingWe Have Now Begun Our DescentJack Parow - Die ou met die snor by die barRhodes Rage

The catalogue was launched last week Friday at Exclusive Books Rosebank, with special presentations and activities by Suzelle DIY (SuzelleDIY: The Book), Lucy Corne (Beer Safari), Jane Griffiths (Jane’s Delicious Urban Gardening) and Rico of Madame & Eve (Shed Happens).


Read Monique Bernic’s blog post on the event:

We were then able to select our next activity between container gardening with Jane Griffiths, learning to draw the characters from Madam & Eve with Rico, tasting craft beer with Lucy Corne and decorating cookies with Elli Saayman in celebration of the release of the special edition of Alice in Wonderland.

I opted for the container gardening due to my background in Conservation and got to put together and take home an upside-down potted parsley which now graces my front door. We learned about the water-holding properties of peat (an essential in this drought!) and the soil enriching characteristics of earthworms.

Annetjie van Wynegaard (@Annetjievw) live tweeted the festivities:



Press release:

Exclusive Books Christmas Catalogue Event

Exclusive Books was delighted to have hosted media, publishers and clients at this year’s Christmas Catalogue Event at the Rosebank Exclusive Books store this past Friday.

As part of the festivities, Exclusive Books announced the 2015 Christmas Catalogue titles, among which were highly esteemed authors and one very special anniversary. CEO of Exclusive Books, Benjamin Trisk delivered a warm welcome to all attending guests and spoke heartily about the industry and Exclusive Books’ mission to keep the legacy of print books alive. After his speech guests quickly moved on to an exciting ‘make your own handbag’ activity with the comical and energetic Suzelle DIY.

After Suzelle’s hilarious delivery, the order of events continued and Rico Schacherl, Jane Griffiths, Lucy Corne and Elli Saayman kept the crowd thoroughly entertained with their activities. Publishers and media were invited to gather around the specially designed activity tables. All were in for a treat! Rico taught his guests a thing or two about cartoon drawing. Some of his guests’ attempts were dismal but Rico kept his students going, encouraging them to focus more on the pleasure of the creative exercise. Lucy Corne’s beer tasting table was a popular draw card, especially amongst the gents. The result? Great conversation, plenty of laughs and quite a few interesting facts about beer. Jane was not at all phased by her mall surrounding. She immediately set to work and got her hands (quite) dirty. Inspired by her enthusiasm, Jane’s table of guests all did their best at urban gardening and made their very own upside down pot plants. The final thrill of the afternoon was Elli Saayman’s cookie designs. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland, Elli’s table designed the most exquisite Alice in Wonderland cookies using glitter, icing, frosting and a rainbow of other sweets.

The Christmas Catalogue Event was a great success. The hosts went all out with the food and drinks menu too. The beautifully displayed tables of cheese boards, macaroons and other desserts were mouth-wateringly gorgeous. The endless supply of flat white coffees from the Exclusive Books cafe was certainly a win with guests, especially those who’d burnt through the midnight oil to ensure they didn’t miss out on this exclusive event.

All guests thoroughly appreciated the joys and spoils that the Exclusive Books team put together. We wait with childish anticipation on what the team will put together for 2016!


Book details

A Bad Black's Manifesto Author Zama Ndlovu: The Time Has Come to Reimagine South Africa

“We were foolish to think we could build a society without first determining which beliefs we had in common. We put what we thought was the best version of our collective beliefs into the Constitution and took the next steps for granted.”

A Bad Black's ManifestoSo writes Zama Ndlovu, a social activist, columnist, working professional, founder of Youth Lab and vanguard for the #badblacks. In her book A Bad Black’s Manifesto she talks about failed education and revolutions, dating on the interwebs, white people and their braais, women’s empowerment and Black Consciousness and identity.

Ndlovu, who currently works at the National Planning Commission secretariat, makes a call for a collective ideology in South Africa in her most recent column for Business Day, reflecting on the results of a lack thereof in our modern context. She writes that old debates about the country “have grown stale” and that “the time has come for new participants, a younger crop of exceptional leaders, to reimagine SA”.

Read the article:

We can continue these unproductive debates or we can decide to build a country that has a place for all of us. Our survival depends on the bravery to suspend our preferred blueprints to genuinely interrogate alternatives.

However, too many are invested in this destructive political economy, negotiating in bad faith to detonate an already volatile situation. SA is structurally and morally unsustainable; we should all be willing to agree on that at the very least. Nothing fruitful can come from a discussion between people who will not acknowledge this, nor let go of their tinted glasses. Arguments over old ideas have grown stale, and are impotent against the challenges we face.

Clearly, the time has come for new participants, a younger crop of exceptional leaders, to reimagine SA. These leaders are already here.

Book details

’n Goeie dag vir boomklim: Lees ’n uittreksel uit Jaco Jacobs se nuwe jeugroman

’n Goeie dag vir boomklimJaco Jacobs se aangrypende grootwordverhaal ’n Goeie dag vir boomklim het pas by LAPA verskyn.

Hierdie lekkerlees-jeugroman vertel die verhaal van ‘n middelkind wat moeg is daarvoor om in sy twee broers se skaduwee te leef. Sy ouer broer breek swemrekords en meisies se harte. Sy kleinboetie is op nege reeds ’n uitgeslape entrepreneur met briljante geldmaakplanne. En Marnus-die-middelmannetjie voel partykeer asof hy onsigbaar is.

Op ‘n dag verander alles egter wanneer ‘n meisie genaamd Leila een oggend aan Marnus-hulle se deur kom klop en vra hy moet ‘n petisie teken. So begin ‘n onverwagse avontuur wat moontlik alles vir Marnus kan verander …

Dié heerlike verhaal, wat gepas is vir jonk en oud, is ook ingesluit op Exclusive Books se jaarlikse Kersfeeslys – ‘n aanduiding dat een van die topboeke van die jaar is. Onthou: ‘n mens word nooit te oud vir boomklim nie!

Vir ‘n voorsmakie, hier is vier aanhalings en ‘n vet uittreksel uit ’n Goeie dag vir boomklim:


“’n Boom?”
   Ek kyk verbaas na Leila.
   Sy knik. “’n Witkaree. Wetenskaplike naam Rhus pendulina.”
   “Aangename kennis, boom,” sê ek.
   Die boom staan stil en effens treurig in die vroegoggendhitte.
   Ek vryf oor die skurwe stam. “Is dit ’n bedreigde spesie of iets?”
   “Nie regtig nie,” sê Leila sonder om na my te kyk. Sy kyk boontoe asof sy wil seker maak elke blaar is nog op sy plek. “Baie mense plant witkarees in hulle tuin. Hulle het nie baie water nodig nie en groei vinnig.” Sy klink ’n bietjie soos iemand wat ’n TV-program aanbied.
   Ek frons. “So, hoekom het jy ’n petisie opgestel om die boom te red?”
   Leila kyk lank na my, asof sy probeer besluit wat sy van my dink.
   Ek wonder wat sy sien. Ek het nie blonde hare, blou oë en bultende spiere soos my oudste broer nie. Ek het nie ’n wipneus vol sproete en ’n opvreet-oulike gesiggie soos my kleinboetie 14 nie. Nie dat ek dink my kleinboetie se gesig is opvreet-oulik nie, maar ou tannies is geneig om so te dink – net voordat Adrian hulle met die een of ander skelmstreek oorreed om vir hom geld te gee.
   My hare is bruin en effens te lank en vol kroontjies wat dit gedurig in alle rigtings laat staan. My oë is groen. As ek by my broers is, is ek altyd die laaste een wat enige iemand raaksien. Marnus-die-middelmannetjie. Soms voel dit asof ek onsigbaar is.
   Stadig blaas Leila haar asem uit terwyl sy my steeds stip dophou. “Dit is nie sommer enige boom nie,” sê sy. “Dit is die Boom in die Middel van die Heelal.” ’n Mens kan die hoofletters in haar stem hoor.
   Voor ek dit kan keer, proes ek van die lag. Hierdie meisiekind is nie lekker in haar kop nie. Wat het my besiel om al die pad tot hier by die parkie te stap, drie straatblokke ver, sodat sy my ’n boom kan wys?
   “Die Boom in die Middel van die Heelal?” vra ek.
   “Vergeet dit.” Haar oë flits. “Ek het gedink … Toemaar, los dit net.”
   Sy klink meteens woedend, en ek verwag dat sy gaan omdraai en wegstap. Uit die manier waarop sy my aangluur, is dit duidelik dat sy verwag ék moet die pad vat. Ek laat my nie twee keer nooi nie. Met ’n skoueroptrek draai ek om en begin terug huis toe loop. Ek het nie lus vir mallerige meisiekinders se geselskap nie. Buitendien, ek het skottelgoed om te was.
   Daar is nog net drie en twintig dae van hierdie aaklige Desembervakansie oor. Jip, ek het getel. Hoe vinniger ek vandag se skottelgoedbeurt agter die rug kry, hoe beter. Dan bly daar nog net twee en twintig wasbakke vol vuil skottelgoed oor.
   “Toe ek klein was, het ek altyd in hierdie parkie kom speel,” sê Leila. Haar stem is so sag dat ek byna-byna nie kan hoor wat sy sê nie. Ek gaan staan. “Ek het in hierdie boom geleer boomklim.” Ek draai om, maar dit lyk of sy nie eens weet dat ek na haar staan en kyk nie. Dit lyk asof sy met die boom praat. “Nie alle bome is goeie boomklimbome nie. ’n Witkaree se stam is skurf en jy kan maklik jou velle verloor as jy gly. Dis nie regtig ideaal vir boomklim nie, maar hierdie een se takke is lekker laag en dik. Hulle groei naby aan mekaar sodat jy tot amper heel bo kan klouter. Perfek vir boomklim.” Sy streel oor die boom se stam.
   Ons kyk albei om toe ’n wit bakkie oor die gras aangery kom.
   “Dis hulle,” sê Leila met ’n donker stem.
   Ek weet nie wie “hulle” is nie. Dalk die ouens met die wit jasse wat haar kom haal om haar te gaan toesluit in ’n plek vir mense wat met bome praat?
   Ek voel dadelik skuldig oor die gedagte.
   Die bakkie hou stil en twee mans klim uit. Een van hulle het ’n knipbord met papiere wat hom baie belangrik laat lyk. Sy hemp span oor sy maag sodat dit lyk of sy knope enige oomblik gaan afspring, en sy voorkop blink van die sweet.
   Die ander een is lank en maer, met ’n spits gesig en ’n yl snorretjie. Hy kyk nie een keer na ons kant toe nie – hy begin net dadelik die boom bestudeer.
   “Ek het ’n petisie opgestel,” sê Leila vir die man met die knipbord. Sy hou die papier met die handtekeninge na hom uit, asof sy wil wys haar papier is net so belangrik soos syne. “Amper vyftig mense het dit al geteken.”
   Aan haar stemtoon kan ’n mens hoor Leila tel die stemme op haar petisie nes ek die dae aftel wat ek nog skottelgoed moet was.
   Ek voel skielik sleg omdat ek nie my handtekening op die papier wou sit nie.
   “Te laat,” sê die man sonder om van sy knipbord af op te kyk. “Papierwerk is gedoen.”
   “Maar dis ’n petisie!” sê Leila. Haar blou oë blits. “Mense het dit geteken omdat hulle nie wil hê die boom moet afgesaag word nie. Amper vyftig mense. Mense wat omgee. Julle kan tog nie net aangaan daarmee nie.” Haar stem ry op en af soos ’n wipplank.
   Die man trek sy skouers op. “Probeer die munisipale bestuurder.”
   “Die munisipale bestuurder?” vra Leila hoopvol.
   “Met vakansie,” sê die man. “Einde Januarie terug.”
   Dit klink of dit vir hom te veel moeite is om in volsinne te praat.
   Die maer man begin met presiese treë rondom die boom stap. Hy kyk daarna soos ek en Donovan en Adrian altyd na die laaste skeppie Sondagmiddagpoeding in die bak kyk. Dit lyk asof hy van plan is om nie net die boom af te saag nie, maar dit te eet ook.
   “Wanneer is julle van plan om dit af te saag?” Met die laaste paar woorde klink dit of Leila se stem oor ’n spoedhobbel jaag.
   “Pyp word vroeg in Januarie gelê,” antwoord die man. “Boom moet vandag val.”
   Leila trek haar asem skerp in. Haar oë rek. Sy begin haar sandale afstroop en skop dit eenkant toe. Voor ek kan vra wat sy doen, spring sy om en begin rats teen die boom opklouter.
   “Waar gaan jy nou?” vra die man verbaas.
   Leila se rok flap om haar bene. Ek staan saam met die twee mans van die munisipaliteit en kyk hoe sy haar op ’n tak tuismaak. Net haar twee kaal voete hang tussen die blare uit. Haar voetsole is vuilbruin soos die binnekant
van haar sandale.
   Die man van die munisipaliteit kyk pleitend na my, asof hy verwag ek moet iets doen. Ek trek net my skouers op. Die man sug en bring ’n sakdoek te voorskyn. Stadig vee hy die sweet van sy rooi voorkop af. “Daai meisiekind.” Hy skud sy kop. “Praat met haar,” sê hy vir my. “Die pypleiding. G’n keuse nie. Boom is in die pad.”
   “Die boom was eerste hier!” roep Leila.
   “Moenie worry nie, Mister Venter, sodra my span hier is, kan een van hulle met ’n leer opklim en die meisiekind daar afhaal,” sê die maer man met die rotgesig. Sy stemtoon is dreigend.
   “Niemand vat aan my nie,” kom Leila se stem tussen die blare uit.
   Ek kyk op na die boom. Strepies sonlig flits verblindend tussen die blare, amper soos wanneer die son op water speel. ’n Onverwagse duiseligheid laat die sonlig voor my oë swem. Dit lyk asof die boom stadig in die rondte draai. Ek
knyp ’n oomblik lank my oë toe.
   Ek dink aan my oudste broer wat vandag weer die hele dag lank langs die swembad gaan lê en dreig om my wedgies te gee as ek nie vir hom koeldrank aandra nie.
   Ek dink aan my kleinboetie, die snotkopslawedrywer, wat my elke oggend beveel om sy bed op te maak in ruil vir sakgeld.
   Ek dink aan die deurklokkie wat “Jingle Bells” speel en die meisie met die draadjies wat betaal het sodat my broer haar kan soen.
   Ek dink aan my skoolrapport. Ek het hierdie kwartaal 77% vir wiskunde gekry – meer as 10% beter as verlede kwartaal – en ek het die beste in my klas in Afrikaans gevaar. Meneer Fourie sê dis omdat ek sulke goeie opstelle skryf. My pa het nie eens my rapport raakgesien nie, want hy was te besig om Donovan uit te trap oor sy vrot punte en Adrian te prys oor sy briljante rapport. Maak nie saak wat gebeur nie, ek verdwyn altyd iewers tussen my twee broers. Altyd iewers in die middel, waar niemand my raaksien nie.
   Toe ek weer my oë oopmaak, kyk ek af en sien die rooi-en-wit vadoek oor my skouer. Ek het skoon daarvan vergeet – ek het wraggies al die pad tot hier geloop, drie blokke ver, met ’n vadoek oor my skouer. Dit voel soos die soort vreemde ding wat Leila sal doen. Miskien is haar vreemdheid aansteeklik.
   Ek dink aan die hoop skottelgoed wat by die huis vir my wag.
   Bokant my skop Leila se twee vuil voete heen en weer tussen die groen blare.
   Iewers koer ’n tortelduif.
   Die rooigesig-man van die munisipaliteit snuit sy neus.
   Ek dink partykeer doen ’n mens in ’n oogwink, sonder om te dink, iets wat jou hele lewe verander.
   Jy vra iemand in die middel van ’n grilfliek om met jou te trou, soos my pa my ma gevra het.
   Jy besluit vyfuur in die oggend jy is lus vir roomys, soos my pa se suster, tannie Karla, verlede jaar toe sy douvoordag in ’n motorongeluk beland het en verlam is.
   Of jy klim agter ’n vreemde meisiekind aan in ’n boom, met ’n kombuisvadoek oor jou skouer.


Dis vir ons baie belangrik dat kinders boeke moet geniet - Nicol Stassen (Potgooi)

Protea Boekhuis se direkteur Nicol Stassen het onlangs met Ilse Salzwedel op RSG se Skrywers en Boeke-program gesels oor al die internasionale kinderboeke wat op Protea Boekhuis se rakke in Afrikaans beskikbaar is.

“As ek eerlik moet wees is dit boeke wat ek self lees en geniet,” vertel Stassen oor hoe hy besluit watter klassieke kinderboeke na Afrikaans vertaal sal word. Hy vertel verder dat hy eerder humor bo lesse in kinderboeke verkies. “Dis vir ons baie belangriker dat die kinders die boeke moet geniet.”

Een van hierdie boeke, Hoe om jou draak te tem deur Cressida Cowell en vertaal deur Kobus Geldenhuys, is vanjaar ingesluit op die IBBY SA-ererol vir 2015. Geldenhuys het ook die Elsabe Steenbergprys vir Vertaalde Kinder- en Jeugliteratuur in Afrikaans ontvang vir sy vertaling van Hoe om Drakonees te praat deur Cowell.

Stassen sê dat die boeke wat hy vandag kies om uit te gee grootliks bepaal word deur die stories wat hy as kind gelees en later aan sy kinders voorgelees het, soos byvoorbeeld Die tier wat kom tee drink het deur Judith Kerr en Neuskrap is lekker deur Daniela Kulot.

Hier is ‘n paar van die boeke waaroor Stassen gesels in die onderhoud:

Die tier wat kom tee drink hetNeuskrap is lekkerToe my kat nog klein wasMy kat, die mees verspotte kat ter wêreldNuus oor my kat
Asterix en die verlore papirusrolHoe om jou draak te temHoe om ’n draak se vloek te fnuikLillie die heksie by Dracula se kasteelDie Koning van KatorenMimus


Die gesprek begin om 31:00. Luister na die potgooi:

Lees ook:



Foto met dank van LitNet

Let's pick the right Bok coach this time

SHOULD Heyneke Meyer’s contract be extended? I think it should — but only for a year. This would be just long enough to enable the South African Rugby Union (Saru) to give proper consideration to the question of who should coach the national team next and what his job description should be.

They should take their time about it. A Springbok coach has more complex challenges than an England or All Blacks coach. It won’t be easy to find the right man. We should also completely rethink what we want from the next coach and how we want him to shape our national team.

The Saru general council will decide on December 4 whether to extend his contract. If they decide against, they will be without a national coach by the end of the month. What the union must not do is resort to the old short-term, knee-jerk approach to hiring coaches.

Peter de Villiers got the job because it was felt that a black coach was needed. De Villiers got the job ahead of perhaps a more appropriate black candidate because he was strongly pushed by certain Saru factions.

Meyer was appointed belatedly and in haste in 2012 because Saru were so keen to get rid of De Villiers. Meyer’s appointment was partly because it was felt he should have been appointed in place of De Villiers in 2008.

The Rugby World Cup has shown up Meyer’s limitations. I write this with some regret because I like him: he is an engaging, open man and the readiness with which he shares intense emotion is refreshing in a macho world. But the fact is that he was a brilliant club coach who has not been able to replicate that success on the national canvas.

At the Bulls, Meyer could exert control. He recruited players straight from school and moulded them in his image. They owed their careers to him. Nor did he have to venture out of his cultural comfort zone — white, Afrikaans and Christian. The main source of pressure, selection-wise, was the white right. The only imperative was to keep winning and his game plan did that very effectively.

This year, as national coach, he was relying on the same players and the same plan.

The master class in modern rugby provided by the All Blacks at the World Cup final showed up the creakiness of his game plan, and he wasn’t able to come up with anything else. He also showed himself to be woefully out of touch with the national psyche.

One would have thought the outpouring of anger at his squad selection before the Boks set off for the UK might have had some effect. But apparently not. His selections revealed no change in his reluctance to place trust in young players of colour.

He has given only one young black player, Trevor Nyakane, consistent game time. Nothing he has said in the past few days has indicated that he acknowledges how inadequate this is.

A continuation of this will damage the Springbok brand. There is a risk it will return rugby to the bitter, divisive role it occupied during apartheid.

There have been hints that some of Meyer’s assistant coaches might be axed: partly as sacrificial lambs to appease public anger and partly to make way for an assistant of colour. This won’t do. Meyer will still call the shots.

If, as it should be, our aim is to consistently be the best in the world, we need to be copying the All Blacks. Much has been written about the need to emulate their system of central contracting and collegial interaction between franchises — with the national team being given priority by all parties. Obviously, this is ideal but it is not likely to happen soon, given all the factional self-interest within Saru.

But, with the national coach, we can start at Year Zero. He should be tasked primarily with two things: inculcating a style of rugby that empowers players to beat the best at their own game by putting brains ahead of brawn. Players should be encouraged to assess the situation unfolding before them intelligently and then seizing whatever opportunity it presents skilfully and incisively.

Second, he needs to develop a team that properly represents our demographics. He should be given the time to do this. There should not be pressure to win the Webb Ellis Cup in 2019. The priority should be the building of a winning habit that would peak in 2023.

Planning and an emphasis on continuity are important. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was assistant to Graham Henry, who was himself head coach for eight years.

The next Springbok coach should be tasked with growing his successor.

A Kiwi coach might well be the way to go. An added advantage is that he would be unencumbered by the South African race filter. But merely having been born in New Zealand is not enough.

John Plumtree and John Mitchell have been mentioned. I’d suggest Saru chat to black players who have played under both — not current players because they wouldn’t talk openly for fear of jeopardising their careers — but former players who have nothing to lose. They may or may not endorse either or both of the Johns, but they will certainly have very interesting things to say about how black players fare under different coaches.

Coaches with more recent experience of New Zealand structures might also have more to offer. Hansen, for instance, is rumoured to be stepping down in 2017. He might be worth waiting for.

• This column first appeared in Business Day

Potgooi: Christien Neser gesels oor Elle se sewende avontuur in haar jongste boek, Middernagklub

MiddernagklubEsté Meyer Jansen het onlangs met Christien Neser gesels oor haar jongste jeugroman, Middernagklub.

Die sewende boek in Neser se Elle-reeks begin met die allerlaaste middernagfees. Elle en haar vriende is nou in graad elf en mik om die volgende jaar op die leerlingraad te wees. Hulle belowe om hul stoutighede af te sweer, maar moet darem eers nog een finale koshuisfees geniet.

Neser skryf Elle se gewildheid daaraan toe dat meisies haar as ‘n vriendin aanvaar, “soos ons as kinders vir Saartjie aanvaar het”, en vertel dat sy inspirasie put uit die jongmense in haar kring wat vir haar stories aandra.

Neser gesels ook oor die taalgebruik in haar reeks, wat sy graag skoon wil hou van kru taal, en die kreatiewe woorde waarmee die jongmense hulself uitdruk, soos byvoorbeeld Refilwe se voorliefde vir oudtydse Franse kragwoorde en Elle wat iets as “superhiepermegagoed” sal beskryf.

Luister na die potgooi: