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December Newsletter 2014

FICTION

The Hunter - By Tony Park

hunterSafari guide and private investigator Hudson Brand hunts people. He's on the trail of Linley Brown, a young woman named as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. Linley's friend Kate died in a car crash in Zimbabwe, but Kate's sister believes that she is still alive - she needs Linley to give her answers. But Linley doesn't want to be found. South African detective Sannie van Rensburg is also looking for Linley. But her priority right now is a murderer. The killer could be a safari guide, and Hudson Brand is top of her list of suspects. Sannie and Hudson cross paths as they track Linley from South Africa and Zimbabwe to the wilds of Kenya's Masai Mara game reserve. The hunt is about to turn deadly.

 

Deadline - By John Sandford

deadline"In Southeast Minnesota, down on the Mississippi, a school board meeting is coming to an end. The board chairman announces that the rest of the meeting will be closed, due to personnel issues. "Issues" is correct. The proposal up for a vote before them is whether to authorize the killing of a local reporter. The vote is four to one in favor. Meanwhile, not far away, Virgil Flowers is helping out a friend by looking into a dognapping, which seems to be turning into something much bigger and uglier--a team of dognappers supplying medical labs--when he gets a call from Lucas Davenport. A murdered body has been found--and the victim is a local reporter" --

 

Gray Mountain - By John Grisham

grayThe year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer's career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track - until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the "lucky" associates. She's offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she'd get her old job back. In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Mattie Wyatt, lifelong Brady resident and head of the town's legal aid clinic, is there to teach her how to "help real people with real problems". For the first time in her career, Samantha prepares a lawsuit, sees the inside of an actual courtroom, gets scolded by a judge, and receives threats from locals who aren't so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town. And she learns that Brady, like most small towns, harbors some big secrets. Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly.

The Burning Room - By Michael Connelly

burningIn the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet ten years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but any other clues are virtually nonexistent. Even a veteran cop would find this one tough going, but Bosch's new partner, Detective Lucia Soto, has no homicide experience. A young star in the department, Soto has been assigned to Bosch so that he can pass on to her his hard-won expertise.Now Bosch and Soto are tasked with solving a murder that turns out to be highly charged and politically sensitive. Beginning with the bullet that has been lodged for years in the victim's spine, they must pull new leads from years-old evidence, and these soon reveal that the shooting was anything but random.As their investigation picks up speed, it leads to another unsolved case with even greater stakes: the deaths of several children in a fire that occurred twenty years ago. But when their work starts to threaten careers and lives, Bosch and Soto must decide whether it is worth risking everything to find the truth, or if it's safer to let some secrets stay buried.

The Women who Stole my Life - Marian Keyes

women who stoleStella Sweeny is back in Dublin. After living the dream in New York for a year - touring her self-help book, appearing on talk shows all over the USA and living it up in her 10-room duplex on the Upper West Side - she's back to normality with a bang. And she's got writer's block. Stella wants a clean break as she didn't exactly leave New York on a high. Why isshe back in Ireland so soon? Who is it who keeps calling? Stella wants to get back to being the woman she used to be. But can she? And should she?

 

It Started with Paris - By Cathy Kelly

parisIt all started with Paris. At the top of the Eiffel Tower, a young man proposes to his girlfriend, cheered on by delighted tourists. In that second, everything changes, not just for the happy couple, but for the family and friends awaiting their return in Bridgeport, Ireland...Leila's been nursing a badly broken heart since her love-rat husband just upped and left her one morning, but she's determined to put on a brave face for the bride. Vonnie, a widow and exceptional cake-maker, is just daring to let love back into her life, although someone seems determined to stop it. And Grace, a divorced head teacher, finds the impending wedding of her son means that she's spending more time with her ex-husband. After all those years apart, is it possible she's made a mistake?

The Chateau on the Lake - By Charlotte Betts

lake1792. As a teacher at her parents' Academy for Young Ladies in the heart of London, Madeleine Moreau has lived her life sheltered from the outside world. But on the night of a dazzling Masquerade, tragedy strikes and she is left alone in the world. Desperate to find the family she never knew, Madeleine impulsively travels to France in search of them. But with war around the corner, and fearing for Madeleine's safety, the enigmatic Comte Etienne d'Aubery offers her shelter at his home, Chateau Mirabelle.Chateau Mirabelle enchants Madeleine with its startling beauty, but it is a place of dark and haunting secrets. As the Revolution gathers momentum and the passions of the populace are enflamed, Madeleine must take control of her own destiny and unravel events of the past in order to secure a chance at future happiness.

NON FICTION

Brain Porn - By Daily Maverick

BRAIN PORNFor the past five years, Daily Maverick has been making sense of the madness that is South African reality. Every day, its team of respected journalists dissects politics and society with a healthy dose of scepticism and a natural loathing of spin-doctoring. Brain Porn offers the best of their astute, irreverent writing. Expect well-argued opinions and fresh analyses of the issues and individuals that make headlines: the Guptas, the President, the Public Protector, the Blade Runner, the Commander-in-Chief and the Ghost of Nkandla. A new order of sociopolitical stimulant, Brain Porn will challenge accepted beliefs and dare you to think differently. With contributions from Ranjeni Munusamy, Richard Poplak, Rebecca Davis, Stephen Grootes, Jay Naidoo, Marianne Thamm, Simon Allison, Greg Nicolson, J Brooks Spector, Greg Marinovich and others.

Bolly Wood Blonde - By Gené Gualdi

bolly woodBubbly fine arts graduate Gené is desperate to get into the film industry. She moves to Cape Town and works as a photographer for a tabloid magazine. Gené starts moonlighting on film sets and finds herself on an Indian paint commercial where a big Bollywood producer offers her a six-month stint in his company in Mumbai. Unable to resist the lure and glamour of working in film and travelling the world business class, she leaps at the opportunity and soon finds herself on a plane headed for India. But there is no free curry in Mumbai. On arrival she realises she is expected to sleep with the producer, and slips into an uneasy, culturally challenging role as his new firangi girlfriend. The producer soon insists on transforming Gené into a size-6 blonde who he can show off on the red carpet. He puts her on a gruelling diet and stringent exercise regime. Once a teenage anorexic, this pushes all her deepest buttons of insecurity around her fraught body issues. Even though he is twice her age, overweight and often rude, she becomes obsessed with him, and is soon convinced that he is cheating on her. She goes on an all-out mission to make him love her. When it becomes clear the producer no longer wants her, she manipulates her way into turning her six-month work stint into a six-year epic stay. In her first year there, she works on 96 commercials and gets drawn into the rich cultural textures of India, experiencing India in a way rarely written about. With access to the who’s who in Bollywood, she rubs shoulders with India’s most famous glitterati, including the great Bly Avibath, India’s most famous actor. Gené also becomes close to Bollywood’s top director, Kiran, and they dream about making the film of her life, together. After a traumatic night with the producer in a London hotel, she realises it’s time to leave India and come home. Although she continues to return to Bollywood over the next few years to do films with her hero Bly Avibath, who insists that she work with him, the producer now has little hold over her.

The Art of Asking - By Amanda Palmer

artImagine standing on a box in the middle of a busy city, dressed as a white-faced bride, and silently using your eyes to ask people for money. Or touring Europe in a punk cabaret band, and finding a place to sleep each night by reaching out to strangers on Twitter. For Amanda Palmer, actions like these have gone beyond satisfying her basic needs for food and shelter - they've taught her how to turn strangers into friends, build communities, and discover her own giving impulses. And because she had learned how to ask, she was able to go to the world to ask for the money to make a new album and tour with it, and to raise over a million dollars in a month.

 

Snake Dance - Patrick Marnham

snakeThe terrifying first use of nuclear weapons over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 was the most controversial act of warfare in history, dramatically ending the Second World War but ushering in the age of mass destruction. Yet it was also the climax of a story that extends beyond Japan and Washington: the culmination of decades of scientific achievement and centuries of colonial exploitation. Snake Dance is the account of a journey that turned into a quest to discover how humanity reaches this point. Patrick Marnham travels from the opulent nineteenth-century palaces of King Leopold II of Belgium, built with riches plundered from the Congo, to the lethally derelict nuclear reactor of modern-day Kinshasa. He follows the shipment of Congolese uranium to the deserts of New Mexico for the Manhattan Project’s secret test detonation. Here he uncovers the legacies of Robert Oppenheimer and Aby Warburg, two ‘mad geniuses’ who confronted the devastating power of twentieth-century science in very different ways. Both men travelled to New Mexico. Oppenheimer was honoured for buiding a bomb, the ancestor of weapons that have enslaved humanity. Warburg, condemned to obscurity and confined to a mental hospital, regained his sanity by studying the rituals of the Native Americans of the Southwest who, for thousands of years, practiced the ritual of the 'snake dance' in an attempt to harness the power of lightening. And it was in New Mexico, at Los Alamos, that the ultimate act of playing God was realised.

Playing it my Way - By Sachin Tendulkar

playingThe greatest run-scorer in the history of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar retired in 2013 after an astonishing 24 years at the top. The most celebrated Indian cricketer of all time, he received the Bharat Ratna Award - India's highest civilian honour - on the day of his retirement. Now Sachin Tendulkar tells his own remarkable story - from his first Test cap at the age of 16 to his 100th international century and the emotional final farewell that brought his country to a standstill. When a boisterous Mumbai youngster's excess energies were channelled into cricket, the result was record-breaking schoolboy batting exploits that launched the career of a cricketing phenomenon. Before long Sachin Tendulkar was the cornerstone of India's batting line-up, his every move watched by a cricket-mad nation's devoted followers. Never has a cricketer been burdened with so many expectations; never has a cricketer performed at such a high level for so long and with such style - scoring more runs and making more centuries than any other player, in both Tests and one-day games.And perhaps only one cricketer could have brought together a shocked nation by defiantly scoring a Test century shortly after terrorist attacks rocked Mumbai. His many achievements with India include winning the World Cup and topping the world Test rankings. Yet he has also known his fair share of frustration and failure - from injuries and early World Cup exits to stinging criticism from the press, especially during his unhappy tenure as captain. Despite his celebrity status, Sachin Tendulkar has always remained a very private man, devoted to his family and his country. Now, for the first time, he provides a fascinating insight into his personal life and gives a frank and revealing account of a sporting life like no other.

India Lost and Found - By David grier

indiaDavid Grier set off to run from Kashmir right down to the southern tip of India. Part coffee-table book, part travel book, part ‘how to’ for budding adventurers, this book embodies the multi-layered depth of India. Exploring it is an adventure in itself.

 

 

A Year at Silwwod - By Alicia and Carianne Wilkinson

silwoodFrom the whisper of chiffon cakes and a classic eggs Benedict to the more challenging exam dishes of confit duck and chicken terrine, a year in the world of a Silwood student is revealed. Alongside the outstanding recipes, principal Alicia Wilkinson and Michael Olivier’s words on the history, character and heritage of the school weave a memorable old Cape story. The cooking is based on the French classical style. There is an understanding that the French have total respect for food, that both plated offerings and their ingredients should be real and natural, and that fruit and vegetables should be served fresh, when they are in season, and cooked simply and properly. The Silwood School of Cookery is South Africa’s oldest cookery school, boasting student achievement unmatched by any cookery school in the country. Silwood has, over the past 49 years, earned itself a world-class reputation. Graduates can be found in top kitchens around the world, from Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck and Dinner restaurants to Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir, Gordon Ramsay’s numerous establishments and even The French Laundry. As the present principal, Lesley’s daughter, Alicia Wilkinson, Commanderie des Cordons Bleus de France, continues her mother’s work, producing chefs of a world-class standard.

Tsunami Kids - By The Gandy Brothers

tsunamiOn Boxing day 2004, Rob, Paul, Mattie and Rosie Forkan tragically lost their parents in the Boxing Day Tsunami that devastated Sri Lanka. Aged from 8 to 17, they subsequently faced a harrowing and solitary 200km trek across the decimated country to get home to safety. The bravery, ingenuity and resilience they displayed was the result of their unusual upbringing. Taken out of school at a young age, they received an unconventional and global education, learning independence and resourcefulness whilst carrying out voluntary work for charities in India alongside their parents. In the decade since the tsunami, Rob and Paul have achieved an incredible feat. They have created a multinational brand, Gandys Flip Flops, based in the front room of their rented flat and endorsed by entrepreneurs including Richard Branson, and set up Orphans for Orphans, a charitable organization that uses 10 per cent of the profits to support children deprived of education, nutrition and medication. This is a heartbreaking, engaging but ultimately uplifting journey from the streets of Sri Lanka to the boardrooms of London, Downing Street and beyond as told by two inspirational survivors.

Reeva - By JuneSteenkamp

reevaIn the early hours of Valentine's Day 2013, Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, shooting her multiple times while she cowered behind the locked door of their bathroom. His trial has attracted more international media attention and public scrutiny than any since that of OJ Simpson.What went on behind the scenes though? And what was the real Reeva like, away from the photo shoots and the attention of the media? A beautiful 29 year old from Port Elizabeth, Reeva graduated as a lawyer and campaigned for human rights causes before deciding to try the world of modelling in South Africa's most vibrant city. Her relationship with international hero Oscar Pistorius seemed like a fairy tale of triumph over adversity - double amputee turned champion athlete meets small town girl with beauty and brains wanting to make her mark on the world. No one could have predicted the tragic and horrifying conclusion to that fairy tale.Reeva's mother, June Steenkamp, has kept a dignified silence throughout the long months since she received the phone call every mother dreads. In this painfully honest and unflinching account of Reeva's life, she talks about what really went on in her mind as she sat in the packed Pretoria court room day after day and how she is coping in the aftermath of the verdict. Reeva is the only true insider's account of this tragic story.

CHILDREN'S FICTION

0 - 7 Years

Favourite Paddington Stories - By Michael Bond

paddingtonThree favourite stories of Paddington, the bear from Darkest Peru, brought together in one volume! This special edition brings together three favourite classic adventures - Paddington in the Garden, Paddington at the Carnival and Paddington and the Grand Tour. Whether he is gardening, walking along the canal, or seeing the sights of London - as always - there is never a dull moment when Paddington is around!

 

 

 

The Roald Dahl Treasury - Roald Dahl

roaldThis extraordinary collection takes readers on a fascinating journey into Dahl's unique imagination. At over 400 pages, it's filled with Dahl's best-loved fiction for children as well as much autobiographical material. It contains stories, rhymes, and memoirs as well as unpublished poetry and letters. Lavishly produced and illustrated in full-color, it features artwork by such prominent illustrators as Quentin Blake, Lane Smith, and Raymond Briggs.

 

 

The Sheep that Saved Christmas - By Jason Page

sheepCynthia the sheep just loves Christmas, so much so that her flock send her to the North Pole to help Father Christmas prepare for the big day... But just how much help can an enthusiastic sheep be at this time of year? 'Ewe' will love finding out...

 

 

 

Russell Brand's Trickster Tales - Russell Brand

pied-piper-of-hamelin-9781476791890 lg'Once upon a time, a mysterious time that exists through a window in your mind, a time that seemed, to those present, exactly like now does to us, except their teeth weren't so clean and more things were wooden, there was a town called Hamelin ...' In the first in his series of Trickster Tales, Russell Brand retells the classic children's story The Pied Piper of Hamelin. You'll be enchanted and revolted in equal measure by the host of characters you meet along the way: the anarchic rats, the arrogant townspeople, sharp-eyed Sam and of course the Pied Piper himself, all brought to life in Brand's inimitable style and with the illustrations of Costa Award-winner Chris Riddell.

 

8 - 12 Years

Atticus Claw Breaks the Law - Jennifer Gray

atticusWhen Atticus receives a mysterious message asking him to a meeting in a sleepy coastal town, he packs his bags and sets off. The world's greatest cat burglar likes a good mystery and this time curiosity has got the better of him. The writer of the message, it turns out, is none other than Jimmy the Magpie, gang leader. He wants Atticus to steal all the jewels in town and leave the humans baffled. And what could be more straightforward? But when Atticus moves in with Inspector Cheddar and his family, he starts to wonder if a life of crime is really for him . . .

Dork Dairies Once Upon a Time - By Rachel René Russell

dorkAfter a bump on the head, Nikki has a wild dream in which she, her BFF's Chloe and Zoey, her crush Brandon, and mean girl Mackenzie all end up playing the roles of some familiar classic fairy tale characters. Will Nikki's dream turn into a nightmare?

 

 

 

Legacy of the Claw - By C. R. Grey

legacyIn a world where humans have animal companions, one boy must fulfil his hidden destinyWhen Bailey enters the prestigious Fairmount Academy as a freshman, he is the only member of his class who doesn't yet have an Animas. And in a world where the bond between human and animal is the guiding principle to life, this makes him an outsider both at school and in the world at large.But Bailey is more important than he knows. He is the key to an ancient prophecy that will restore the rightful heir to the throne of a kingdom ripping at the seams. Through his budding friendships with Hal, Tori and Phi, along with the unlikely help of renegade teacher and former conspiracy theorist Tremelo, Bailey must learn to find his Animas, piece together the riddle of the prophecy and start on the path that will lead them all to their destinies.

Imaginary - By A. F. Harrold

imaginaryOnly Amanda can see her imaginary friend until the sinister Mr Bunting arrives at Amanda's door. Mr Bunting hunts imaginaries. Rumour says that he eats them. And he's sniffed out Rudger. Soon Rudger is alone, and running for his imaginary life. But can a boy who isn t there survive without a friend to dream him up?

 

 

TEEN FICTION

The Name of This Book is Secret - By Pseudonymous Bosch

secretWhen investigators Cass & Max-Ernest set out to discover the history of the mysterious Symphony of Smells, they become embroiled in an experiment involving kidnapped children & the secret of eternal youth. Together they must come up with a plan to rescue their classmate from a hideous fate & escape the pyramid of the Midnight Sun.

The Treachery of Beautiful Things - Ruth Frances Long

treacharyThe trees swallowed her brother whole, and Jenny was there to see it. Now seventeen, she revisits the woods where Tom was taken, resolving to say good-bye at last. Instead, she's lured into the trees, where she finds strange and dangerous creatures who seem to consider her the threat. Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with secrets of his own. Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack's help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where stunning beauty masks some of the most treacherous evils, and she's faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice--and not just her own.

Does my Head Look Big in This - By Randa Abdel-Fattah

does my headDon't panic - I'm Islamic! Amal is a 16-year-old Melbourne teen with all the usual obsessions about boys, chocolate and Cosmo magazine. She's also a Muslim, struggling to honour the Islamic faith in a society that doesn't understand it. The story of her decision to "shawl up" and its attendent anxieties (like how much eyeliner to wear) is funny, surprising and touching by turns.

Published in Newsletter Archive