Friday, July 15

Books I love... by Annika

Written by Annika

1.The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen

This book made me so happy when I read it and I laughed so much people stared at me when I was in a public place. It is part comic book, part family saga with an unlikely hero:

Meet T.S. Spivet - boy cartographer, award nominee, hobo. The story follows him on his journey to accept his award and ultimately to find peace with his silent, stone-faced cowboy father.

The layout is part of what makes this book so special as the square format literally holds the story together. Each chapter is accompanied by maps, graphs and observation by T.S. Notes about the human condition and life as we know it and sometimes just how it is in the eyes of a little boy.

2.Why do you kill? by Juergen Todenhoefer

Reading this broke my heart in a good way. It’s a bit difficult to explain as this book just confirmed for me what I suspected all along.

Juergen Todenhoefer, former German government member turned media mogul, travelled undercover to Iraq to speak with the local resistance. People fighting not only for their freedom from the Americans, but also from Al Qaida in their own country. He tells their story of how this is achieved by the highest standards of humanity and utter respect for the innocent human life.

In a nutshell he is a man who inspired me, telling a sad, true story that gives hope.

3.The Travel Book by Lonely Planet

I think technically this could be considered a coffee table book, but then again usually coffee table books are not meant to be read. I read in this book all the time. Two pages dedicated to each country there is in the world: pictures, map, things to do, best time to go, etc. Condensed to give an overview in the most beautiful and inspiring way possible. At one point mine was covered in two different coloured post-its from front to back – one colour for countries I have been to, one colour for countries I still want to go (quite a lot more of those unfortunately).

It’s quite big and heavy, but I love it so much that it has moved across oceans already twice with me. If I can’t travel, I will browse to feel away and better. It’s my mini-vacation vacation book.

4. The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren

When I was little my cousin’s mother died and I just asked her if she was sad. She said no, because her mother was in Nangijala. Astrid Lindgren created Nangijala, an afterlife and a land in the “campfire and storytelling days”. That’s where the Brother Lionheart meet again after they both have died and where the story really starts. It’s simply the most amazing story of two very unlikely brothers, having adventures and conquering evil against all odds.

I always liked the idea about this kind of afterlife. It also stuck with me since childhood that a story can give someone such comfort and would have such beautiful power to change a grieving child’s world. My Dad gave me a new copy a few years ago and it travels with me; it has become my ‘Alchemist’ and my ‘Little Prince’, explaining the inexplicable things in life.
Please note: "Books I love..." is a new series. Each week an awesome, book-loving lady will share a few of her favourite books with us.

Wednesday, July 13

A book is the only place...

"A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face.  It is one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both provocation and privacy."  - Edward P. Morgan

Friday, July 8

Summer in the City

Summer in the City - by Candace Bushnell
reviewed by Eeden

What's it about?
'Summer and the City' is a wonderfully written prequel to Sex and the City. In this follow-up book by Candace Bushnell -prior was The Carrie Diaries- we discover how Carrie found her lifelong friends, get into a mature relationship and also test the waters of serious journalism. She joins a writing school named, ‘The New School’ in which she meets new friends, gain confidence and most importantly, find love.
With only a few months in New York, Carrie needs to find a way that prevents her from going to Brown University in the fall. Follow her on a journey through the streets of the Big Apple as she fights her way back into society.

My thoughts:
It was a very girly book, which I can never resist. I found it very easy to relate to and I love that I now know all the details about how the four girls met, etc. It is an easy to read book with loads of excitement and I can't wait for the next one (there simply has to be  a next one). I love how the four girls are so grounded and always entertaining. I can honestly say, there was never a dull moment in the book where I want to skip a few pages. The book is set in the summer time and the descriptions are exactly how I'd imagine summer in New York to be. Loved it.

 Who should read it?
‘Summer and the City’ is an exciting page turner for all the SATC lovers out there. It is a perfect read for the winter days, under the covers with a cup of coffee.

Thursday, July 7

Author interview: Sally Partridge

Sally Partridge may still be young -  but she has already had three of her young adult fiction novels published, won awards for her writing and was recently named one of the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans for 2011. As if thats not enough, she finds time to contribute to various publications and is currently the editor of  The Event Newspaper.
 This week I got to ask this talented writer a few questions.... 

Your latest novel, Dark Poppy's Demise, has just been released in South Africa. Can you tell me a bit about it?

Dark Poppy’s Demise is my third published novel for teen readers. Sixteen year old Jenna Brooks is your average teen trying to get through high school without making too many waves, crushing after the class hunk, and living vicariously through her best friend’s love life. When Jenna meets a guy online she believes her greatest wish has finally come true: to be loved. But anyone who’s read my previous two novels will know that I don’t do happily ever after and terrible things tend to happen to my characters. Long story short: meeting strangers online is a bad idea. Full stop.

How long did it take you to write this book?

This book took an inordinately long time. After I had finished it in third person I then decided to re-write the entire thing in first person. I’d say it took me about six to eight months before I finally let go.

What mainly inspires and influences your writing?

Anything and everything. Here’s a list: Karen Russell’s short stories, Winter, Overcast days, The White Stripes, The smell of second hand books, Chapman’s Peak, The little streets in Noordhoek that abound with gnarled trees, Ivy covered houses, De Waal Drive at twilight, The ocean, Mountain drives, The X-Men cartoon series, Roman Polanski movies, Tom Waits, Abandoned houses, Dub step (don’t ask me why), The TV series 'Skins', Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Are your characters ever based on people you actually know?

I always joke that Principle Crabtree from The Goblet Club was based on my own high school principle who used to make us sing hymns over and over again until he was satisfied but usually I stay clear of basing characters on people I know. That said I can safely say that Jenna in Dark Poppy’s Demise has a little bit of me in her.

Have you already started work on your next novel?

I’m generally busy with at least two projects at any given time, but its not like I slave away day and night writing novels. I have a full time job so what generally happens is I’ll lie in bed jotting down thoughts in a notebook or if I have a spare Saturday I’ll write a few chapters. I do have a completed manuscript waiting in the works so hopefully something will happen with that.

So far all your books have been young adult fiction, would you ever write in another genre?

I never set out to write for the youth. I enjoy writing about young people. They tend to experience life on a much grander scale than the rest of us. (Plus I enjoy doing terrible things to them ala Christopher Pike) I wouldn't want to change.

Who is your favourite author?

I have several authors that I really enjoy. Growing up I devoured anything and everything by K.A. Applegate, Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine. I thoroughly enjoyed the Twilight and Harry Potter series (even though by that stage I was well into my adulthood). I also read a lot of South African fiction.

Do you have any advice for writers who are struggling to finish their first novel?

Just finish it. When you get halfway you’ll probably start to lose interest and write less and less. Push through that. It’ll be worth it at the end when you have a completed manuscript.

Where can people buy your books?

Exclusive Books, Wordsworths, Kalahari, Loot.
Thanks, Sally.
You can follow Sally on Twitter @Sapartridge
and can visit her blog here