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June Newsletter 2015

FICTION

Sacrifices - By Roger Smith

sacrificeJust another murder in a country where killing is a national pastime . . .
Wealth insulates Michael Lane and his family from South Africa's violent crime epidemic until trouble comes from within the high walls of their Cape Town mansion one night when his teenage son commits an act of unspeakable savagery. Lane, joining his wife in a desperate lie to protect their boy (a lie involving the sacrifice of an innocent) encounters no opposition from cops and courts burdened by chaos and corruption, but he sets in motion a bloody train of revenge and retribution that threatens to destroy him and everything he loves.

 

 

Solitude Creek - By Jeffery Deaver

solitude creekAs an investigator with the California Bureau of Investigation, Kathryn Dance is used to putting criminals behind bars. But when she's suspended after a dangerous gang member she interviews - and deems innocent - is proven guilty and escapes in a violent shoot out, she begins to question her judgement. With her badge removed and forced to act as a consultant, Dance must turn her hand to another pressing case: a terrifying stampede of panicked music fans at a concert venue which left half a dozen people dead. When her investigations suggest that the stampede was deliberately instigated by assailant Anthony Marsh - a hired criminal renowned for using people's herd mentality as a weapon - Dance must use her skills to aid Chief Detective Michael O'Neil in a race against the clock to find Marsh before he makes his next deadly strike.

 

The Fisrt Role of Survival - By Paul Medelson

firstSeven years ago in Cape Town three young white South African schoolboys were abducted in broad daylight on three consecutive days. They were never heard of again. Now, a new case for the unpredictable Colonel Vaughn de Vries casts a light on the original enquiry; for him, a personal failure which has haunted him for those seven years and has cost him his marriage and peace of mind. A former British government agent, friend to De Vries, provides intelligence on this new case, but is any of it admissible? Struggling in a mire of departmental and racial rivalry, De Vries seeks the whole truth and unravels a complex history of abuse, deception and murder. Challenging friends, colleagues and enemies, De Vries comes to realise he doesn't know who is which. Set against the background of Cape Town and the endless, rolling South African veld, this chilling thriller reveals layer after layer of abuse - physical, political and psychological.

The Wrong Girl - By David Hewson

wrong girlSinterklaas, a beaming, friendly saint with a white beard, was set to mark his arrival in Amsterdam with a parade so celebrated it would be watched live on television throughout the Netherlands. Today the crowds would run into three hundred thousand or more, and the police presence top four figures. The city centre was closed to all traffic as a golden barge bore Sinterklaas down the Amstel river, surrounded by a throng of private boats full of families trying to get close.' Amsterdam is bursting at the seams with children trying to get a glimpse of their hero and families enjoying the occasion. The police are out in force, struggling to manage the crowds on one of the busiest days of the year. Brigadier Pieter Vos is on duty with his young assistant, Laura Bakker, when the first grenade hits. As Sinterklaas prepares to address the crowds a terrorist outrage grips the heart of the city. In the chaos a young girl wearing a pink jacket is kidnapped. But the abducted child isn't the daughter of an Amsterdam aristocrat as the terrorists first thought.

The Blue Between Sky and Water - By Susan Abulhawa

blueViolently pushed from their ancient farming village of Beit Daras, a Palestinian family tries to reconstitute itself in a refugee camp in Gaza. The men here, those who have escaped prison or the battlefields, worry over making ends meet, tend their tattered pride, join the resistance. The women are left to be breadwinners and protectors, too. Nazmiyeh is the matriarch, the center of a household of sisters, daughters, granddaughters, whose lives threaten to spin out of control with every personal crisis, military attack, or political landmine. Her brother's granddaughter Nur is stuck in America; her own daughter's son, traumatized in an Israeli assault, slips into another kind of exile; her daughter has cancer and no access to medicine. Their neighbor, the Beekeeper's wife, will extract the marijuana resin to shrink her tumor, but it is also Nazmiyeh's large heart and zest for life that heals, that will even call Nur back from the broken promise of America and set her on a new path. All Nazmiyeh's loved ones will return to her, and ultimately journey further, to that place between the sky and water where all is as it once was, and where all will meet again.

The Last Queen of India - By Michele Moran

last1857, India. At nineteen years old, Sita is the shining star of Queen Lakshmi of India's imperial guard, having pledged herself to a life of celibacy in the name of protecting the young ruler. When Sita agrees to train Lakshmi in the art of military combat, a close friendship develops between the two women. But trouble soon threatens - Lakshmi's court is dangerously divided and rumours are rife that the country is at risk. Meanwhile, in London, advisors to Queen Victoria are looking to extend the power of the Commonwealth, and India is coveted as the next jewel in the imperial crown. In the ensuing battle, will the bond between Lakshmi and Sita be broken for ever?

 

 

Letters to the Lost - By Iona Grey

lettersStella Thorne and Dan Rosinski meet by chance and fall in love by accident. Theirs is a reluctant, unstoppable affair in which all the odds are stacked against them: she is newly married, and he is an American bomber pilot whose chance of survival is just one in five. … He promised to love her forever Seventy years later Dan makes one final attempt to find the girl he has never forgotten, and sends a letter to the house where they shared a brief yet perfect happiness. But Stella has gone, and the letter is opened by Jess, a young girl hiding from problems of her own. And as Jess reads Dan's words, she is captivated by the story of a love affair that burned so bright and dimmed too soon. Can she help Dan find Stella before it is too late? Now forever is finally running out.

 

NON - FICTION

Telling Room - By Michael Paterniti

contentIn the medieval Castilian village of Guzmán (population: 80), villagers have gathered for centuries in the 'telling room' to share stories and drink the local wine. It was here, in the summer of 2000, that Michael Paterniti found himself listening to a compelling tale about a cheese made from an ancient family recipe that was reputed to be among the finest in the world. Until, Ambrosio said, things had gone horribly wrong. Hooked on the story, Paterniti relocated his young family to the tiny hilltop village to find out more. But like many Spanish villages, Guzmán was rife with gossip and old feuds, secret alliances and plotted vengeance and before long Paterniti was sucked into the heart of an unfolding mystery. When he learned that the cheesemaker had apparently plotted to murder his closest friend, the village began to spill its long-held secrets, and Paterniti found himself implicated in ways he never expected ...
 

A Year of Reading Dangerously - By Andy Miller

yearWorking father whose life no longer feels like his own discovers the transforming powers of great (and downright terrible) literature in this laugh-out-loud memoir. Andy Miller had a job he quite liked, a family he loved and no time at all for reading. Or so he kept telling himself. But, no matter how busy or tired he was, something kept niggling at him. Books. Books he'd always wanted to read. Books he'd said he'd read, when he hadn't. Books that whispered the promise of escape from the 6.44 to London. And so, with the turn of a page, began a year of reading that was to transform Andy's life completely. This book is Andy's inspirational and very funny account of his expedition through literature: classic, cult and everything in-between. Crack the spine of your unread 'Middlemarch', discover what 'The Da Vinci Code' and 'Moby-Dick' have in common (everything, surprisingly) and knock yourself out with a new-found enthusiasm for Tolstoy, Douglas Adams and 'The Epic of Gilgamesh'.

Eugene de Kock - By Anemari Jansen

assassinEugene de Kock has the blood of dozens of people on his hands. To most South Africans he is the monster from Vlakplaas. Nonetheless, Anemari Jansen was intrigued by him when she met him in 2011 in Pretoria Central Prison. How could the prisoner "with the soft voice" be reconciled with the man dubbed "Prime Evil"? Jansen's search for answers led her across the country, to De Kock's family, friends, and former Koevoet and Vlakplaas colleagues, who revealed much about him. She also quotes extensively from De Kock's diaries and an unpublished manuscript. In his own words, De Kock is scathingly honest: about the atrocities he committed, about the superiors from whom he received his orders - and about his shame.

 

 

Holy Cows - By Gareth von Onselen

holyIn a country such as ours with its myriad ethnic and race groups, one person’s holy cow is bound to be another’s T-bone steak ... Outspoken columnist Gareth van Onselen boldly tackles South Africa’s holy cows, those touchy subjects we hesitate to mention by name for fear of offence or being misunderstood. Incisive and witty, this book exposes the strange contradictions and ambiguities at the heart of South African society. Van Onselen identifies the many ways in which cultural practice or belief fly in the face of our much vaunted constitution. For instance, can lobola be reconciled with equal rights? And why are initiation rites, practiced not only by cultural groups, but also in university residences and by the Springbok rugby team, still accepted when they often lead to death or injury? He mocks political correctness, dissects the booming business of death, superstition and witchcraft, and bemoans the growing influence of religion in politics.

 

Girl at War - By Sara Novic

girlZagreb, 1991. Ana Jurić is a carefree ten-year-old, living with her family in a small apartment in Croatia’s capital. But that year, civil war breaks out across Yugoslavia, splintering Ana’s idyllic childhood. Daily life is altered by food rations and air raid drills, and soccer matches are replaced by sniper fire. Neighbors grow suspicious of one another, and Ana’s sense of safety starts to fray. When the war arrives at her doorstep, Ana must find her way in a dangerous world.New York, 2001. Ana is now a college student in Manhattan. Though she’s tried to move on from her past, she can’t escape her memories of war—secrets she keeps even from those closest to her. Haunted by the events that forever changed her family, Ana returns to Croatia after a decade away, hoping to make peace with the place she once called home. As she faces her ghosts, she must come to terms with her country’s difficult history and the events that interrupted her childhood years before.

Borderland - By Anna Reid

borderlandA classic and vivid history of Ukraine, fully updated to cover the Euromaidan Revolution in 2014 and ongoing crisis in the Donbass. Centre of the first great Slav civilisation in the tenth century, then divided between warring neighbours for a millennium, Ukraine finally won independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Tiring of their own corrupt governments, Ukrainians have since mounted two popular revolutions, taking to the streets to demand fair elections and closer ties to Europe. In the spring of 2014, Russia responded by invading Crimea and sponsoring a civil war in the Russian-speaking Donbass. Threatened by Moscow, misunderstood in the West, Ukraine hangs once more in the balance. Speaking to pro-democracy activists and pro-Russia militiamen, peasants and miners, survivors of Hitler's Holocaust and Stalin's famine, Anna Reid combines history and travel-writing to unpick the past and present of this bloody and complex borderland..

The First 30 Days - By Ariane de Bonvoisin

First 30 days 328 x 500The First 30 Days reveals the nine principles of change that will revolutionize how you face transition times. With real-life stories, practical exercises, and inspiring action points, this book teaches the skills you need to face or make any change in your life, including how to:

  • Use your Change Muscle
  • Combat fear, doubt, and all your change demons
  • Get in touch with your spiritual side
  • Create a plan that will get you results

 

Natural Born Heroes - By Christopher Mcdougall

heroWhen Chris McDougall stumbled across the story of Churchill's 'dirty tricksters', a motley crew of English poets and academics who helped resist the Nazi invasion of Crete, he knew he was on the track of something special. To beat the odds, the tricksters - starving, aging, outnumbered -tapped into an ancient style of fitness: the lost art of heroism. They listened to their instincts, replaced calories with stored bodily fat and used their fascia, the network of tissue which criss-crosses the body, to catapult themselves to superhuman strength and endurance. Soon McDougall was in the middle of a modern fitness revolution taking place everywhere from Parisian parkour routes to state-of-the-art laboratories, and based on the know-how of Shanghai street-fighters and Wild West gunslingers.

 

Alibaba's World - By Porter Erisman

alibabas worldIn September 2014, a Chinese company that most Americans had never heard of held the largest IPO in history - bigger than Google, Facebook and Twitter combined. Alibaba, now the world's largest e-commerce company, mostly escaped Western notice for over ten years, while building a customer base more than twice the size of Amazon's, and handling the bulk of e-commerce transactions in China. How did it happen? And what was it like to be along for such a revolutionary ride? In Alibaba's World, author Porter Erisman, one of Alibaba's first Western employees and its head of international marketing from 2000 to 2008, shows how Jack Ma, a Chinese schoolteacher who twice failed his college entrance exams, rose from obscurity to found Alibaba and lead it from struggling startup to the world's most dominant e-commerce player. He shares stories of weathering the dotcom crash, facing down eBay and Google, negotiating with the unpredictable Chinese government, and enduring the misguided advice of foreign experts, all to build the behemoth that's poised to sweep the ecommerce world today

 

 

 

 

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