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January 2016 Newsletter

FICTION

 

The Danish GirlThe Danish Girl by David Ebershoff

The Danish Girl is now a major motion picture starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, directed by Tom Hooper. Loosely inspired by a true story, this tender portrait of marriage asks: What do you do when the person you love has to change? It starts with a question, a simple favour asked by a wife of her husband while both are painting in their studio, setting off a transformation neither can anticipate. Uniting fact and fiction into an original romantic vision, The Danish Girl eloquently portrays the unique intimacy that defines every marriage and the remarkable story of Lili Elbe, a pioneer in transgender history, and the woman torn between loyalty to her marriage and her own ambitions and desires. The Danish Girl is an evocative and deeply moving novel about one of the most passionate and unusual love stories of the 20th century.

Avenue of MysteriesAvenue of Mysteries by John Irving

In his latest novel, John Irving explores - in his inimitable way - the ways in which our pasts reverberate in our presents and, indeed, our futures.

As we grow older - most of all, in what we remember and what we dream - we live in the past. Sometimes, we live more vividly in the past than in the present. As an older man, Juan Diego will take a trip to the Philippines, but his dreams and memories will travel with him; he is most alive in his childhood and early adolescence in Mexico. 'An aura of fate had marked him,' John Irving writes. 'The chain of events, the links in our lives - what leads us where we're going, the courses we follow to our ends, what we don't see coming, and what we do - all this can be mysterious, or simply unseen, or even obvious. 'Avenue of Mysteries is the story of what happens to Juan Diego in the Philippines, where what happened to him in the past - in Mexico - collides with his future.

The Secret ChordThe Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks

With more than two million copies of her novels sold, New York Times bestselling author Geraldine Brooks has achieved both popular and critical acclaim. Now, Brooks takes on one of literature's richest and most enigmatic figures: a man who shimmers between history and legend. Peeling away the myth to bring David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage. The Secret Chord provides new context for some of the best-known episodes of David's life while also focusing on others, even more remarkable and emotionally intense, that have been neglected. We see David through the eyes of those who love him or fear him - from the prophet Natan, voice of his conscience, to his wives Mikal, Avigail and Batsheva, and finally to Solomon, the late-born son who redeems his Lear-like old age. Brooks has an uncanny ability to hear and transform characters from history, and this beautifully written, unvarnished saga of faith, desire, family, ambition, betrayal, and power will enthral her many fans.

Small WonderSmall Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver

In this collection of essays, the author of High Tide in Tucson brings to us (out of one of history's darker moments) an extended love song to the world we still have. From its opening parable gleaned from recent news about a lost child saved in an astonishing way, the book moves on to consider a world of surprising and hopeful prospects ranging from an inventive conservation scheme in a remote jungle to the backyard flock of chickens tended by the author's small daughter. Whether she is contemplating the Grand Canyon, her vegetable garden, motherhood, adolescence, genetic engineering, TV-watching, the history of civil rights, or the future of a nation founded on the best of all human impulses, these essays are grounded in the author's belief that our largest problems have grown from the earth's remotest corners as well as our own backyards, and that answers may lie in those places, too. In the voice Kingsolver's readers have come to rely on - sometimes grave, occasionally hilarious, and ultimately persuasive - Small Wonder is a hopeful examination of the people we seem to be, and what we might yet make of ourselves.

Shopaholic to the RescueShopaholic to the Recue by Sophie Kinsella

#1 New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella returns with another laugh-out-loud Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) adventure: a hilarious road trip through the American West to Las Vegas.

Becky is on a major rescue mission through the American West to Las Vegas! Her father has vanished from Los Angeles on a mysterious quest with the husband of Becky’s best friend, Suze. Becky’s mum is hysterical; Suze is flat-out desperate. Worse, Becky must tolerate an enemy along for the ride, who she’s convinced is up to no good.

Determined to get to the bottom of why her dad has disappeared, help Suze, contain the dreaded Alicia, and reunite her fractured family, Becky knows that she must marshal all her trademark ingenuity. The result: her most outrageous and daring plan yet!

But just when her family needs her more than ever, can Becky pull it off?

Precious GiftsPrecious Gifts by Danielle Steel

From Rome to Paris, New York to Venice, Precious Gifts is an uplifting story about love, loss, and the gifts people pass on that can change lives beyond imagination...

One act of love will change one family's destinyAs a devoted mother, Veronique Parker has dedicated herself to her three daughters, before and since her divorce.Her world is turned upside down when her former husband dies suddenly, leaving her and their daughters astonishing inheritances: a painting of mysterious provenance, a château in the south of France, the freedom to pursue their dreams, and a shocking revelation from the past.The Precious Gifts he left will lead them on a Journey certain to change Veronique and her daughters' destinies in the most surprising of ways . . .From Rome to Paris, New York to Venice, Precious Gifts is an uplifting story about love, loss, and the gifts people pass on that can change lives beyond imagination...

Stars of FortuneStars of Fortune (Guardians Trilogy) by Nora Roberts

Sasha Riggs is a reclusive artist, haunted by vivid dreams and nightmares that she turns into extraordinary paintings. Desperate to understand her visions, she finds herself drawn to the Greek island of Corfu.

She has only just arrived when she encounters Bran Killian, an Irish magician with a warm charisma and secrets dancing in his eyes. Sasha has never met Bran before, but she knows him only too well - because this is the man from her dreams. The man she has painted over and over again. The man she seems fated to be with...if she can find the courage to accept who she really is.

Sasha soon discovers that four other strangers have been lured to the island. Like Bran, they are all desperately searching for a mysterious jewel known as the fire star - before it falls into the wrong hands. Together, they might just succeed. But first they must learn to trust one another, and reveal their deepest secrets.

On the sun-drenched island of Corfu, love and magic are sparked into life. And for Sasha, nothing will ever be the same again.

NON-FICTION

 

How To Invest Like Warren BuffettHow to Invest Like Warren Buffet by Alec Hogg

Learn how Warren Buffett's philosophy and investment strategy can be applied.

This is the South African guide on investing like Buffett by award-winning financial publisher Alec Hogg.

Learn how the investment genius of Warren Buffett can be applied to South African investing. This book is packed with invaluable lessons and insights from the world's greatest wealth creator.

Useful charts and graphics are included in the book to provide more details about concepts and shares.

My Own StoryMy Own Story: Inspiration for the Major Motion Picture Suffragette by Emmeline Pankhurst

Don't miss Meryl Streep as Emmeline Pankhurst in the major motion picture Suffragette. Emmeline Pankhurst was raised in a world that valued men over women. At fourteen she attended her first suffrage meeting and returned home a confirmed suffragist. Throughout her career she endured humiliation, prison, hunger strikes and the repeated frustration of her aims by men in power but she rose to become the guiding light of the Suffragette movement. This is Pankhurst's story, in her own words, of her struggle for equality.

 

 

One of UsOne of Us: the Story of a Massacre and its Aftermath by Asne Seierstad

In the tradition of Truman Capote's classic In Cold Blood, a powerful and gripping depiction of a crime and its aftermath.

On 22 July 2011 Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 of his fellow Norwegians in a terrorist atrocity that shocked the world. Many were teenagers, just beginning their adult lives. In the devastating aftermath, the inevitable questions began. How could this happen? Why did it happen? And who was Anders Breivik?

Åsne Seierstad was uniquely placed to explore these questions. An award-winning foreign correspondent, she had spent years writing about people caught up in violent conflict. Now, for the first time, she was being asked to write about her home country.

Based on extensive testimonies and interviews, One of Us is the definitive account of the massacres and the subsequent trial.

But more than that, it is the compelling story of Anders Breivik and a select group of his victims. A picture emerges of a killer - isolated, awkward, with a strange and troubled childhood. And on the other side, we come to know fascinating, dazzling young people such as Simon Sæbø and Bano Rashid, eager to contribute to their society. As we follow the path to their inevitable collision, it becomes clear just what was lost in that one day.

A gripping, shattering and vital book, One of Us is the story of a massacre and a study of evil. But it is also a story about community versus isolation, hope versus rejection, love versus bigotry - and a powerful memorial to those who lost their lives.

P53P53: The Gene that Cracked the Cancer Code

All of us have lurking in our DNA a most remarkable gene, which has a crucial job – it protects us from cancer. Known simply as p53, this gene constantly scans our cells to ensure that they grow and divide without mishap, as part of the routine maintenance of our bodies. If a cell makes a mistake in copying its DNA during the process of division, p53 stops it in its tracks, summoning a repair team before allowing the cell to carry on dividing. If the mistake is irreparable and the rogue cell threatens to grow out of control, p53 commands the cell to commit suicide. Cancer cannot develop unless p53 itself is damaged or prevented from functioning normally. Perhaps unsurprisingly, p53 is the most studied single gene in history. This book tells the story of medical science's mission to unravel the mysteries of this crucial gene, and to get to the heart of what happens in our cells when they turn cancerous. Through the personal accounts of key researchers, p53: The Gene that Cracked the Cancer Code reveals the fascination of the quest for scientific understanding, as well as the huge excitement of the chase for new cures – the hype, the enthusiasm, the lost opportunities, the blind alleys, and the thrilling breakthroughs. And as the long-anticipated revolution in cancer treatment tailored to each individual patient's symptoms begins to take off at last, p53 remains at the cutting edge. This timely tale of scientific discovery highlights the tremendous recent advances made in our understanding of cancer, a disease that affects more than one in three of us at some point in our lives.

As I was SayingAs I was Saying by Jeremy Clarkson

Crikey, the world according to Clarkson's been a funny old place of late . . .

For a while, Jeremy could be found in his normal position as the tallest man on British television but, more recently, he appears to have been usurped by a pretend elephant.

But on paper the real Jeremy remains at the helm.  That's as it should be.  For nearly thirty years he has been fearlessly leading the charge as one the best comic writers in the country.  And in 2015, he shows no sign of slowing down.

So, whether it's pondering:

•If Jesus might have been better off being born in New Zealand

•Why reflexive pronoun abuse is the worst thing in the world

•How Pam Ayres's head trumps Gordon Gekko's underpants

or

•What a television presenter with time on his hands gets up to

Jeremy is still trying to make sense of all the big stuff.

Circumstances change.  Nothing's forever.  But As I Was Saying provides glorious proof that Jeremy remains as funny, puzzled, excitable, outspoken, insightful and thought-provoking as ever.  

As if you ever doubted it . . .

An AutobiographyAn Autobiography by M.K Gandhi

Gandhi's non-violent struggles against racism, violence, and colonialism in South Africa and India had brought him to such a level of notoriety, adulation that when asked to write an autobiography midway through his career, he took it as an opportunity to explain himself. He feared the enthusiasm for his ideas tended to exceed a deeper understanding of his quest for truth rooted in devotion to God. His attempts to get closer to this divine power led him to seek purity through simple living, dietary practices, celibacy, and a life without violence. This is not a straightforward narrative biography, in The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Gandhi offers his life story as a reference for those who would follow in his footsteps.

Letters from LadysmithLetters from Ladysmith: Eyewitness Accounts from the South African War by Edward M Spiers

Edward Spiers, a leading authority on the Victorian British army, presents here a select edition of letters from the siege of Ladysmith (1899-1900) that have not been seen since their original publication in metropolitan and provincial newspapers. The 250 letters were published in different British newspapers and provide crucial insights into contemporary perceptions of the battles that preceded the siege, the onset of the siege itself, and the desperate and bloody attempts to relieve the town. Subsequent efforts to defend Ladysmith - and to march to its relief - became the great dramatic saga of the early phase of the Anglo-Boer War, providing the context for a series of dramatic battles that embarrassed the Empire and destroyed established reputations. Much has been written about the failings of the British commanders but it is clear that in no other theater in the war were the practical difficulties so real - or the stakes so high.These letters reflect vividly the feelings of junior officers and other ranks as they struggled to cope with the demands of modern warfare. Their eyewitness testimonies provide firsthand commentary upon the events in Natal that shattered the prewar confidence in Britain.

 

CHILDREN

 

6-8 Years

 

Candy FairiesCandy Fairies 3-Books-in-1! Chocolate Dreams; Rainbow Swirl; Caramel Moon by Helen Perelman

Get a taste of the Candy Fairies series with this yummy paperback bind-up that includes the first three books!This supersweet paperback edition of the first three Candy Fairies books includes Chocolate Dreams, Rainbow Swirl, and Caramel Moon.In Chocolate Dreams, Cocoa the Chocolate Fairy is blamed for the missing chocolate eggs. But soon the other fairies discover that it’s the sour troll Mogu who is taking their candies—and they’re determined to stop him...

 

 

9-12 years

 

ice dogsIce Dogs by Terry Lynn Johanson

Victoria Secord, a fourteen-year-old Alaskan dogsled racer, loses her way on a routine outing with her dogs. With food gone and temperatures dropping, her survival and that of her dogs and the mysterious boy she meets in the woods is entirely up to her.

The author Terry Lynn Johnson is a musher herself, and her crackling writing puts readers at the reins as Victoria and Chris experience setbacks, mistakes, and small triumphs in their wilderness adventure.

 

 

Diary of a wimpy kidDiary of a Wimpy Kid 10: Old School by Jeff Kinney

Life was better in the old days. Or was it? That's the question Greg Heffley is asking as his town voluntarily unplugs and goes electronics-free. But modern life has its conveniences, and Greg isn't cut out for an old-fashioned world. With tension building inside and outside the Heffley home, will Greg find a way to survive? Or is going 'old school' just too hard for a kid like Greg?

 

 

Anybody ShiningAnybody Shining by Frances O’Roark Dowell

Can one mistake destroy the chance of a lifetime? A girl discovers there are many ways of being true in this magnificent ode to handwritten letters and the shining power of friendship from the author of Dovey Coe, set in the Appalachian mountains of 1920s North Carolina.

One true friend. Someone shining. That’s all twelve-year-old Arie Mae wants. But shining true friends are hard to come by deep in the mountains of western North Carolina, so she sets her sights on a cousin unseen, someone who lives all the way away in the big city of Raleigh, North Carolina. Three unanswered letters later, Arie Mae learns that a group of kids from Baltimore are coming to spend a summer on the mountain.

Arie Mae loves her smudge of a town—she knows there’s nothing finer than Pa’s fiddling and Mama’s apple cake, but she also knows Big City folk might feel differently. How else to explain the song catcher ladies who have descended upon the village in search of “traditional tunes” and their intention to help “save” the townspeople? But when the group from Baltimore arrives, it seems there just might be a gem among them, one shining boy who doesn’t seem to notice Arie Mae wears the same dress every day and prefers to go barefoot. So what if he has a bit of a limp and a rumored heart problem—he also is keen about everything Arie Mae is keen about, and has all the makings of a true friend.

And so what if the boy’s mother warns him not to exert himself? He and Arie Mae have adventures to go on! In between writing letters to her cousin, Arie Mae leads her one shining friend on ghost hunts and bear chases. But it turns out those warnings were for a reason…

all wrapped upAll Wrapped Up (Geek Girl Special) by Holly Smale

All I want for Christmas is...a new GEEK GIRL story! Harriet Manners knows a lot about Christmas. She knows that every year Santa climbs down 91.8 million chimneys. She knows that Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer was almost definitely a girl. She knows that the first artificial Christmas trees were made out of goose feathers. But this Christmas is extra special for Harriet, because four days ago she had her First Ever Kiss. Now she just needs to work out what's supposed to happen next...A romantic festive treat from the internationally bestselling award-winning author of the GEEK GIRL series. Also includes a BONUS previously unpublished GEEK GIRL short story TEAM GEEK!

 

 

Teen

 

UnthinkableUnthinkable by Nancy Werlin

This much anticipated sequel to the New York Times Bestseller Impossible—a fantasy full of suspense, mystery, and romance—will appeal to fans of Beautiful Creatures, Raven Boys, and Wicked Lovely.

Fenella was the first Scarborough girl to be cursed, hundreds of years ago, and she has been trapped in the faerie realm ever since, forced to watch generations of daughters try to break this same faerie curse that has enslaved them all. But now Fenella’s descendant, Lucy, has accomplished the impossible and broken the curse, so why is Fenella still trapped in Faerie?

In her desperation, Fenella makes a deal with the faerie queen: If she can accomplish three acts of destruction, she will be free, at last, to die.  What she doesn't realize is that these acts must be aimed at her own family—and if she fails, the consequences will be dire, for all of the Scarborough girls.

How can she possibly choose to hurt her own cherished family—not to mention the new man whom she’s surprised to find herself falling in love with? But if she doesn’t go through with the tasks, how will she manage to save her dear ones?

 

Published in Newsletter Archive