tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Writers Write Reviews 2017-02-08T08:00:20Z Writers Write tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1112233 2016-12-02T10:00:00Z 2016-12-13T14:56:53Z Book Review - Born A Crime by Trevor Noah (Macmillan) ISBN: 139781770105065


Comedians are storytellers and some are better at it than others. 

Trevor Noah is a consummate teller of tales whose thoughtful comedy routines are carefully plotted and set up before he delivers the punch line. He seldom resorts to slapstick, hysteria, or profanity. He is seldom distracted. This ability to tell a linear story is perfect for translating material from his life and his routines into his memoir.

He writes beautifully. The simplicity of his technique allows the complexity of his narrative to shine through. Born A Crime is the story of Patricia Noah and her son, Trevor. It is about looking for a place to call home, and of wanting to belong. As much as Trevor Noah was defined by being born a crime in South Africa, he is even more defined by his mother and her journey, which became their journey. 

His story will resonate with any thinking South African. He manages to put so much of who we are into this book - a fractured people divided by colour, by tribe, and by language. The apartheid system separated everybody, black from white from Indian from coloured, and then divided us further by language. But we are also united because we witnessed it. 

Born A Crime is Noah’s testimony. It is brave and funny. Read it. Buy it for somebody you love. You won’t regret it.

Amanda Patterson
www.writerswrite.co.za 
5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1093289 2016-12-01T21:10:00Z 2016-12-03T09:17:15Z Book Review - Nutshell by Ian McEwan (Jonathan Cape) ISBN 9781911214335 


As a big fan of Ian McEwan, well-known author of Atonement (film won Golden Globe), Amsterdam (Booker Prize), and The Children Act  to name a few, I was looking forward to his newest book. And yes, he did it. He managed to enthral me again. Nutshell is original and nothing is predictable. This short, wonderfully different book is skilfully crafted, with believable characters. 

A very convincing unborn child tells the Hamlet story of his mother Trudy and the brother of her husband John, her lover Claude. They are plotting the murder of John, Trudy’s husband and father of the foetus. The unborn son is trying to prevent this, but feels restricted (“Oh God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space –were it not that I have bad dreams.”) Trudy is of course a reference to Gertrude and Claude to Claudius. 

The neonatal narrator is intelligent and gets a lot of information from the radio podcasts his mother listens to and loves the Sancerre wine his mother drinks. 

Brilliant and funny. Thought provoking. Full of word play. Highly recommended. 

Pauline Vijverberg
www.writerswrite.co.za 
5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1112628 2016-12-01T01:00:00Z 2016-12-13T15:00:40Z Book Review - The Ice Lands by Steinar Bragi (Macmillan) ISBN: 9781447298816
 

Set in Reykjavik, The Ice Lands tells the story of four friends. Egill, Hrafn, Anna and Vigdis who decide to go on a camping trip to regroup and recover from a very difficult year. 

As they leave behind the city and move further into the countryside they are forced to reflect on themselves, their relationships, and decisions they have made. Driving in a dense fog they crash and break down nowhere near to their intended destination. They stumble upon an isolated house, the only inhabitants being an elderly couple. 

Trapped in this dwelling until the weather clears, the four are forced to confront tensions amongst themselves. More unsettling is the strange behaviour of the old couple, who barricade themselves in every night. Something has been butchering animals near the house, and as the days stretch out they begin to uncover some unsettling facts. Are they trapped here, and will they ever get back home? 

Intense, fast-paced, and unsettling, The Ice Lands builds suspense and delivers surprises. It’s a stomach-turning read. 

Merissa Himraj
www.writerswrite.co.za
4/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1093320 2016-11-30T23:16:00Z 2016-12-13T14:57:02Z Book Review - Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett (Penguin) ISBN: 978-0062439789


I love a book written by a journalist. You will always get exactly what you are promised with a healthy dose of real-world. This book is exactly what Bennett means it to be; an office survival manual for a sexist workplace. 

FFC is packed with useful information, helpful and practical socio-politico-eco tips and interesting factoids about world history, which as you’d expect from a book with this proud title, is littered with the blood, bones, sweat and tears of women. I personally veered between being grateful that I have experienced very little of the sexist tactics outlined, and digging for a pen and paper to make notes in an attempt to commit some of Bennett’s ‘fight moves’ to memory for use next time a guy in my office ‘manterrupts’ me. 

This book is everything you need, whether you are a man or a woman. It’s useful, witty, interesting, page-turning and worth every word. One criticism, The Black Sash should be listed among the Rebel Girls: FFCs through history section at the back. 

Justine Cullinan
www.writerswrite.co.za 
5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1111757 2016-11-30T17:32:47Z 2016-12-06T16:46:33Z Book Review - Tall Oaks by Chris Whitaker (Twenty7) ISBN: 978-1-78577-030-2


Tall Oaks is a small American town where three-year-old Harry mysteriously disappears. His mother, Jess, is mad with worry, desperately reaching out to Harry’s absent father for support. 

In Tall Oaks, everyone knows everyone but not everyone’s business is what it seems. Obese, slow photographer, Jerry lives with his controlling mother; teenager Manny is a hilarious wannabe-gangsta with Daddy issues; Jim, the Police Chief has inappropriate fixations; new-in-town Jared is not who he appears to be…The lives of these and other characters entwine and collide spectacularly in the hunt for Harry. 

Tall Oaks is British writer Chris Whitaker’s debut novel. Its appeal lies in the plethora of colourful characters (I particularly loved Manny, poignant, yet comic relief), the racy pacing and the plot. The disappearance of the toddler is almost secondary to the individual stories of the characters themselves and the dynamics of their relationships. There are red herrings a-plenty and gasp-worthy revelations throughout. The conclusion is a real kicker. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book; I read it in one sitting. 

Deborah Minors
www.writerswrite.co.za 
3.5/5 

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1112629 2016-11-30T15:55:00Z 2016-12-07T11:45:50Z Book Review - The Fireman by Joe Hill (Gollancz) ISBN: 9780575130722 


A new disease is destroying mankind - an incurable spore that kills by causing spontaneous combustion in the host. There is no cure for Dragonspore, and once you have the mark, it’s only a matter of time before the Cremation Squad hunts you down. 

Ever positive and unflappable, Harper Grayson is three months pregnant when she becomes marked to burn. With some doctors stating that she could deliver a completely healthy baby, Harper becomes driven to protect her as yet unborn child. Hearing stories of a mysterious figure called The Fireman, Harper sets out to track him down, so that he can help her bring her baby to term. 

Along her journey she befriends a group of people like her, scrappy survivors who refuse to be rounded up and killed, who take on the forces hunting them in often violent clashes. 

The Fireman is an adventure story like no other, a keen observation of prejudice, government control, and the sheer determination of the human spirit. I loved this brilliant heart-warming read.

Merissa Himraj
www.writerswrite.co.za
4.5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1111999 2016-11-30T13:33:00Z 2016-12-06T16:44:25Z Book Review - Adam's Navel by Michael Sims (Penguin) ISBN: 9780141003610
 

Adam's Navel is a fascinating book that looks at the human body as it is portrayed in literature, mythology, commonly used phrases, biology, history and psychology. 

The author's interest in the human body is that there are both commonalities and adaptations across generations, diverse cultures and ancient species. The privilege of our "luxurious physicality" where we can experience life through the senses and fully immerse ourselves in the moment, is something we take for granted. 

In this examination of the "many separate yet interdependent parts of the body", Sims looks at the parts of the body that are visible, not the inner workings. It is like a travel diary of the human body. 

I found this book to be unique and interesting. I learned new facts, fables and mythologies. It is certainly a new way to look at the body. 

Amanda Blankfield-Koseff
www.writerswrite.co.za
3.5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1113040 2016-11-30T09:30:00Z 2016-12-13T14:57:10Z Book Review - The Face On The Cutting-Room Floor Who Is Cameron McCabe? by Cameron McCabe (Picador Classic) ISBN 9781509829811


1933. London. Cameron McCabe is editing a film involving a love triangle. The director has instructed him to edit out an aspiring actress, Estella Lamare. She becomes the face on the cutting room floor. Then Estella is found dead in the very film studio, exactly where her image was lying in pieces of celluloid on the floor. 

Is McCabe a suspect, victim, joker or storyteller? Who is Cameron McCabe? This is an unusual detective mystery. There is emphasis on its literary value, and the social and philosophical nature of the time. The novel was first published in 1937 but the true identity of the author was a mystery until 1974.

The epilogue invites you to go back and analyse the novel. It is as though you have eaten the main course and now face a large and varied dessert. 

Dawn Blankfield
www.writerswrite.co.za
2.5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1093286 2016-11-30T04:10:00Z 2016-12-03T10:41:03Z Book Review - The Steel Kiss by Jeffery Deaver (Hodder & Stoughton) ISBN: 9781473618480 


Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are old friends of mine. I have been reading their stories for a number of years. This one begins with a gory death, while Sachs is chasing down Unsub 40. But is it an accident? Never. 

In his cunning style, Jeffrey Deaver manages to convince us that this time it's different. Off to a slow start, this feels almost too layered, detailed and complex, yet you just know that you are being set up for a game where the stakes are epic, the action non-stop, and the tension gut-wrenching. 

All 480 pages are jam-packed with snide, witty remarks, smart-ass comments and observations, and great detection work. The plot is cleverly constructed, and changes direction in a sudden intake of breath. The support team of detectives and a student of Rhyme's are believable, and add colour and depth to the investigation. A modern day thriller that is very satisfying. 

I was entertained in every way and relished the adventure. 

Bev Bouwer
www.writerswrite.co.za 
5/5

~~~

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1111998 2016-11-30T03:24:00Z 2016-12-07T11:38:15Z Book Review - The Bedside Ark by David Muirhead (Penguin) ISBN: 9781775844617 


This is a wildlife book unlike any other. The author, David Muirhead, a long-time English writer and journalist, explores 42 of Southern Africa’s creatures. He details their habits and lifestyles, and manages to over-exaggerate their traits and reputations in a hilarious way. The writing is wonderfully executed. 

While relying on a bit of poetic justice, this charming book seeks to educate and entertain. The illustrations are also a sight to behold and have been lovingly rendered by Cape Town based artist, Patricia de Villiers. The Bedside Ark is a must read for nature lovers. 

Ashleigh Seton-Rogers
www.writerswrite.co.za 
4/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1111758 2016-11-29T19:10:00Z 2016-12-29T14:40:21Z Book Review - Bridget Jones’s Baby: The Diaries by Helen Fielding (Jonathan Cape) ISBN: 978-1-911-21456-4 


The world’s favourite Singleton is back in this latest novel that is a prequel to Bridget Jones:  Mad About The Boy

Bridget is her glorious and irreverent self in this novel, something that was clearly lacking in the last. She finds herself single again after Mark Darcy breaks up their engagement due to a minor indiscretion with Daniel Cleaver at their engagement party.  At least she is finally at her ideal weight. 

She is delighted to find herself accidentally pregnant, but there’s one tiny problem. She’s not sure who the father is. In one week she bumps into and beds both Mark and Daniel. She’d love for it to be Mark since Daniel is his usual emotionally unavailable, philandering self. Mark is back to being perfect and attentive. Daniel predictably turns Bridget’s pregnancy into a contest of the dominant sperm. 

Bridget not only has to contend with the smug-marrieds of the first two novels, but now the smug-mums too. She undergoes a touching metamorphosis as she prepares for the arrival of her baby. The book is written in the usual breezy diary form. A toothsome and indulgent read that I finished in a couple of hours. 

Ewa Fabris
www.writerswrite.co.za 
3/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1093331 2016-11-29T17:17:00Z 2016-12-13T08:45:52Z Book Review - The Shadow Sister - Star’s Story by Lucinda Riley (Macmillan) ISBN 978-1-4472-8860-2 


This is the third book in The Seven Sisters series, a family saga that begins with the death of the mysterious billionaire known as Pa Salt. His six adopted daughters, the D'Aplièse sisters, are each left a letter, an object, and a set of coordinates, which will take them on a journey to discover their true heritage. 

Lucinda Riley is a wonderful storyteller, and with Star’s story, the threads of past and present are skilfully woven as Star begins to discover herself and finally steps out of her sister CeCe’s shadow. Her journey takes her to an evocative old bookstore in London with a suitably brooding owner, and from there to a country estate in the Lake District. Along the way, Edwardian history comes alive with Lucinda’s rich descriptions and her brilliant use of real characters like Beatrix Potter and Alice Keppel. 

At over 600 pages, it seems a little intimidating at first. But Lucinda definitely holds your attention, taking you deeper into her characters’ lives, convincing you you’re going one way, and then surprising you with yet one more reveal that changes everything.  

I loved her characters, the richness of the settings and that feeling of being swept away by a storyline that keeps expanding. I just wish the next one was a little closer on the horizon! 

Judy Ward
www.writerswrite.co.za
4/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1111759 2016-11-29T16:00:00Z 2016-12-14T15:36:05Z Book Review - Thrive! by Dr Greg Venning (Vital Press) ISBN: 978-0-994-6840-0-4 


It is your turn to Thrive! But, only if you want to. Thrive is written with an energetic flair to change your lifestyle for the better. Dr Greg Venning helps us to understand the bad habits we have created in our lives, to break them down and form new behaviours that ensure we live a healthy and fulfilling life. 

“Are you thriving or simply surviving?” Greg helps us to answer this question simply, and then shares the steps needed to transform our lives with the essential requirements for well-being. Through his case studies, clients, years of research, and working closely with Elan Lohmann (the founder of sleek geeks, a community based group of over 50 000 people with the desires to live healthy lifestyles), he has created this book to show you have the potential to live an extraordinary life. 

Venning doesn’t sugar-coat anything and he hits the nail on the head with every topic. This is not an exercise plan, positive mantra, or diet book. It is about attaining a balanced life, mind and body. Thrive is a read for anyone who isn’t looking for a quick fix but a life transformation. 

Tammany Barton
www.writerswrite.co.za
5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1111996 2016-11-29T10:00:00Z 2016-12-13T14:57:29Z Book Review - Sbonelo Snoop by Sarah Groves (Struik Children) ISBN: 9781432306779 


South African story books for children are my favourite. There is no better way to introduce different cultures to a child than by way of a good story. 

Sbonelo Snoop is a story about a 10-year-old detective who takes on cases and tries to solve various mysteries with humorous results. There are three different stories in this book, which will keep young readers hooked. 

The text is large and easy to read, and the pictures are engaging.  Children who are five years and older would be best suited to understanding the story as it does tend to be a bit wordy. 

The author is Sarah Groves who is a free-lance writer based in Pietermaritzburg where she home-schools five children. 

Ashleigh Seton-Rogers
www.writerswrite.co.za 
3/5 

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1112633 2016-11-29T07:00:00Z 2016-12-06T16:32:30Z Book Review - Shepherds And Butchers by Chris Marnewick (Umuzi) ISBN: 9781415209011 


'On the tenth of December 1987 at about 18:00 hours on a deserted road near Magazine Hill Reservoir the accused forced the minibus in which the deceased were travelling from the road. He then shot each one of the deceased at least once with a pistol.' 

The accused is Leon Albert Labuschagne, 19-years-old. Lawyers For Human Rights appoints a pro bono advocate to defend him. Before the crimes, Leon was deployed at maximum security on death row as an escort to the prisoners. He was reaching breaking point and grappling with the perplexing question: How can you be a shepherd and then a butcher? 

The story is a mixture of fact and fiction and it is riveting throughout. Gruesome details are revealed concerning murderous criminals, including their abhorrent behaviours and twisted psyches. Yet equally horrifying is the process of implementing the death penalty. Is hanging a deterrent? Are we not as brutal as the criminals? Does violence beget violence? 

This story implies that those who are trained to kill can become automatons and will act on the slightest provocation. 

Shepherds And Butchers is definitely worth reading. 

Dawn Blankfield
www.writerswrite.co.za
4/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1112124 2016-11-29T05:00:00Z 2017-02-08T08:00:20Z Book Review - To Quote Myself by Khaya Dlanga (Macmillan) ISBN: 978-1-77010-471-6


As far as memoirs go, Dlanga’s book is a damn good story. It is well written, often humorous and sometimes really sad. 

To Quote Myself also has the dubious honour of being South Africa's most stolen book. Go figure. Perhaps it is a book that people cannot afford, but really want to know how a person goes from being homeless to one of the most influential voice in South Africa. 

To Quote Myself is about Dlanga’s childhood in a Transkei rural village. His mother had to work and his father abandoned his family for another woman. Dlanga grew up with his grandfather and grandmother who, according to the author, ‘what she lacked in physical appearance, she made up for it in spirit’. His grandfather Kaiser is a well-respected and feared person in the village. From this setup, the reader gets a glimpse into a patriarchal society, a childhood that lacked material resources and often faced difficulties like getting a quality education. 

The stories are written as standalone chapters so sometimes storylines are repeated or names, such as Dlanga’s grandfather’s name, is often introduced as if the reader is meeting the character for the first time. I felt that this made the book a little choppy. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the character that is Khaya Dlanga. 

To Quote Myself is a fascinating story and a must-read for the urban South African. 

Ulrike Hill
www.writerswrite.co.za 
4/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1093282 2016-11-29T04:09:00Z 2016-12-07T11:31:08Z Book Review - Reacher Said Nothing: Lee Child and the Making of Make Me by Andy Martin (Bantam Press) ISBN: 9780593076620


The name Jim Grant probably doesn’t mean much to readers of fiction. How about Lee Child? This lanky Camel-smoking, coffee-drinking author is now on his 20th Jack Reacher novel.  Reacher, his highly popular hero, is a former US military man turns free-roaming investigator and fixer. You’ve probably seen the movie with Tom Cruise … but this isn’t what this book is about.

What goes into the creative process of writing a novel? This book – which will fascinate writers – is a dissection of the approach Child takes in creating his fiction. Andy Martin, a lecturer and author of books on diverse subjects, from Sartre to surfing, shadows the author as he sits down to write his new Reacher title, Make Me. It follows him from page one to the final draft.

Sometimes the text goes off down side alleys to explore issues that are perhaps more interesting to academics than fans of popular fiction. However, the style is very engaging and easy to read. The warmth of the friendship and ribbing between Child and Martin comes off the page.  If you’re a writer, this one is worth a read. 

Anthony Ehlers
www.writerswrite.co.za 
3.5/5
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Writers Write
 offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1093287 2016-11-29T04:00:00Z 2016-12-09T01:38:43Z Book Review - Elephant Dawn by Sharon Pincott (Jacana) ISBN: 978-1-4314-2415-3 


This is the third book from Australian conservationist Sharon Pincott, chronicling 13 years of her experiences with the Zimbabwean Presidential Herd of elephants. 

In 2001 Pincott takes the brave decision to leave her comfortable life in Australia to work with elephants in troubled Zimbabwe. Completely self-funded and untrained, she arrives in Zimbabwe wanting to spend time with this herd that was granted protection under a decree from Robert Mugabe himself.

Her days are spent observing various family herds, recording details and forging bonds with the matriarchs. During Pincott’s time there land grabs drastically increase around Hwange National Park and Estate, where the herd roams. She is often threatened as she strongly opposes the sport hunting and poaching in those claimed areas. The book is full of horrific stories of snaring and poisoning juxtaposed with Pincott’s accounts of her deeply intimate bond with the elephant families.

This book showcases the desperate plight of wild animals in Zimbabwe as the country spirals into chaos with each passing year post-independence. It is a genuinely personal account of the hardships and triumphs of a courageous and often hilarious lady. I was riveted. 

Ewa Fabris
www.writerswrite.co.za 
5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1113037 2016-11-29T03:30:00Z 2016-12-13T14:57:41Z Book Review - The Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig (Canongate) ISBN: 978-1-78178211-826-8 


Nikolas tries to be a happy boy even though his mother has died and his father is a poor woodcutter. He was born on Christmas day and the only gifts he had ever received were a wooden sleigh and a doll carved out of turnip. Still Nikolas, who is nicknamed Christmas, tries to be happy. 

That is, until his father decides to go to the North Pole to discover if there are such things as elves and pixies. If he can prove their existence, then he will make a lot of money. Nikolas’s cruel aunt comes to live with him while his dad is away. She is mean and makes Nikolas sleep outside. He decides to go to the North Pole. 

And this is the true story about Father Christmas and how he met Blitzen, the reindeer. It is a story about how they nearly die and a kind elf saves them. There are some sad parts, but mostly, it is happy. The illustrations by Chris Mould are wonderful. 

My only criticism? The story seems to have unnecessary toilet humour with people peeing and reindeers pooping all the time. I am not sure what that has to do with magic and Christmas. Perhaps young readers will understand. 

Ulrike Hill
www.writerswrite.co.za
3/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1093284 2016-11-29T01:10:00Z 2016-12-13T14:57:44Z Book Review - The Affair by Sue Hickey and Philippa Sklaar (MF Books) ISBN: 9781920601


Sue Hickey is a psychologist, and Philippa Sklaar a domestic abuse and affair survivor. This book is a compilation of thoughts, reflections and stories from inside the minds of the Narcissistic Cheater, the Sexual Predator and the Romance Addict - the profiles of those who cheat. 

"I know that cheating has nothing to do with loving or not loving, but it does destroy love, among other things." This is a great example of the type of honesty and truth found here. 

What makes this book brave and unique is that it tells stories from both sides of the betrayal fence without judgement and (mostly) in the safety of anonymity. Whilst you're gaping with incredulity at the shocking lies other people tell themselves and their committed partners, you can't help admiring the personal growth in admitting and sometimes dealing with the issues. 

Whilst reading this book with its gorgeous creepy cover I got many disbelieving looks. I think I'll keep it in my bag a little longer - for the train, the hairdresser, and the waits at the doctor's rooms. I’m having so much fun. 

Bev Bouwer
www.writerswrite.co.za 
5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1111760 2016-11-28T20:00:00Z 2016-12-04T08:54:16Z Book Review - ADHD Nation by Alan Schwarz (Little, Brown) ISBN: 978-1-4087-0657-2 


Diagnoses of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have exploded in the USA over the past twenty years. However, the research shows that it can’t be that prevalent. 

ADHD Nation interrogates ‘the disorder, the drugs, the inside story’. It examines its history, starring the father of ADHD, Dr Keith Conners. It scrutinises drugs like Ritalin and Concerta that evolved to treat the (very real, the author emphasises) disorder. It investigates the role of a billion-dollar pharmaceutical industry that clearly sells products not healthcare. Within this context, ADHD Nation gives voice to Connors, to doctors, to parents, and mostly to patients who are misdiagnosed, some with devastating consequences. 

Schwarz is a New York Times journalist and this book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. It’s clear why. It is impeccably researched non-fiction that reads like fiction, making it enthralling and accessible. I particularly enjoyed the history of ADHD (originally ‘Minimal Brain Disorder’) and the ironic science of using stimulants to quell hyper-activity. The Big Pharma imperative to sell products (not healthcare) no doubt prevails in South Africa too. 

ADHD is an ‘everyone knows someone’ phenomenon in SA and this book provides informed and objective context. 

Deborah Minors
www.writerswrite.co.za 
3/5 

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1112000 2016-11-28T19:33:00Z 2016-12-13T14:57:53Z Book Review - The Street by Paul McNally (Macmillan) ISBN: 9781770104563 


The street is Ontdekkers Road in Sophiatown and Paul McNally is a journalist writing a book. He is the founding member of The Citizen Justice Network. He produces feature articles and narrative radio documentaries for Wits Journalism on criminal justice, health and science.

This story begins at a charge office in Sophiatown. Raymond is having an outburst at the police. Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Khaba becomes interested in Raymond as he has his own axe to grind from a previous case. Lerato, who is a cop, is married to Obi, a Nigerian drug dealer and they work hand-in-hand much to the chagrin of many. How will these people interact and what will the outcome be?

McNally points out the difficulties of all the parties involved. There is temptation for the law-abiding citizens, criminals and police. The story captures the feelings and dilemmas that each face. Who is the bad guy?

Two years ago McNally thought he was writing about a man who failed to conquer corruption. Now he sees reality in the power of adaptation and the capacity to survive.

I found this non-fiction story insightful and interesting. 

Dawn Blankfield
www.writerswrite.co.za
3.5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1093294 2016-11-28T19:11:00Z 2016-12-13T14:57:55Z Book Review - Duty And Honour

Jack Ryan Universe #21 by Grant Blackwood (Michael Joseph) ISBN: 9780718181956


Jack Ryan is thrust from what is meant to be a relaxing vacation, back into the world of espionage when an assassination attempt is made on his life. Working without the backing of The Campus, Jack needs to use all his training and prior knowledge to get to the bottom of who wants him eliminated.

Clues lead him to Jurgen Rostock who heads up a dubious security company out of Germany. Rostock has crossed paths with Jack before on a previous mission. It would seem that Jack is a liability Rostock needs removed. Armed with only his training, wits and the reluctant help of journalist Effrem Likkel, Jack is soon on a mission to uncover the truth behind Rostock’s company dealings, and why he wants Jack killed.

Fast-paced and written for easy translation to the screen, this is an action-packed thriller set in stunning locations with an engaging storyline. Grant Blackwood continues the legacy of Tom Clancy admirably.

Merissa Himraj
www.writerswrite.co.za 
3.5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1093277 2016-11-28T19:09:00Z 2016-12-13T14:57:58Z Book Review - Jack Simons: Teacher, Scholar, Comrade

by Hugh Macmillan (Jacana) ISBN: 9781431423347


Jacana’s pocket series is truly delightful. These little books have been written to offer a content packed overview of a range of African historical and political topics and are all authored by African thought-leaders. They also fit neatly into a handbag which appeals to the need to adapt traditional paperback reading to modern consumer behaviour and time poverty. 

Jack Simons was one of original “A-Team” of the ANC. He worked alongside struggle stalwarts and during the ANC’s golden era including the likes of Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and Helen Joseph. Simons was born in 1907, before the formation of the Union in 1910, and he died in 1995, one year after South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994.  During that life he was a constant critic of racist thinking, an advocate of feminism and a vital role player in the production of the ANC’s Constitutional Guidelines for a post-apartheid South Africa. 

I enjoyed this insight into the life of a remarkable man with the courage of his convictions. I greatly appreciate the emotive yet candid incorporation of the light and shade of a man’s life that Macmillan has bravely included in the story. Even heroes are human and Macmillan shows that Simons is no different.  

Justine Cullinan
www.writerswrite.co.za 
4/5 

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1093317 2016-11-28T16:15:00Z 2016-12-13T14:58:01Z Book Review - Africa Solo my world record race from Cairo to Cape Town by Mark Beaumont (Bantam Press) ISBN: 9780593076330 


What makes a man decide to ride a bicycle down the length of Africa as fast as he can? For Mark Beaumont, it’s a follow up to several extreme adventures: cycling across America, smashing the time record for cycling around the world, and nearly drowning in a team attempt to row across the Atlantic in less than thirty days.  

To be this driven, you’ve got to be passionate. And a little bit crazy. Maybe the pain and adrenaline are addictive. I never did get to understand this man. I didn’t really even get to like him very much, but I did find the account of his attempt to set a new record in the Guinness Book of Records by cycling, unsupported, from Cairo to Cape Town in under 50 days, completely fascinating. 

Every day brings new challenges: The daily challenge of achieving the kilometres required, finding food and lodging in some of remotest places on earth, and negotiating bureaucracy. There are many warm encounters with the local people, quite a few temper tantrums, mainly with slow kitchen staff (long-distance cycling makes you “hangry”- that anger brought on by extreme hunger) and some hard cycling. 

The book also includes some of the photographs taken en route, which highlight some of the sights and experiences he describes – a great addition to an epic story. 

Judy Ward
www.writerswrite.co.za
3.5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1093297 2016-11-28T16:12:00Z 2016-12-13T14:58:04Z Book Review - The Last One by Alexandra Oliva (Michael Joseph) ISBN: 9781405923170


Zoo needs one last adventure before she settles down to domestic bliss which is why she signed up for this show. The premise to the series is ground-breaking. A melding of real world meets reality where nothing is over-staged and contestants are in real situations with only hints and clues thrown in along the way to assist them. 

Set in the world of reality TV, The Last One explores what happens when twelve contestants take on a challenge like no other. Primed to give off their best and determined to win, contestants have no idea that life outside of their carefully filmed environment is also shifting and changing, while they duel it out for survival. 

Zoo is soon a fan-favourite working with fellow contestants to make it through each episode. Having found it easy to navigate at first, she begins to question why props seem uncharacteristically realistic and gruesome and clues and assistance seem to be scarce. 

Off camera a horrific scenario unfolds, forever altering the external landscape. The Last One is a spectacular look at our obsession with reality television, and a brilliant commentary on real life versus manufactured scenarios. 

Merissa Himraj
www.writerswrite.co.za
4/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1093292 2016-11-28T16:11:00Z 2016-12-30T18:24:31Z Book Review - Insanely Gifted Turn Your Demons into Creative Rocket Fuel by Jamie Catto (Canongate) ISBN: 978 1 78211 803 9 


Jamie Catto is a founding member of the band Faithless and 1 Giant Leap, an album and film project that seeks to showcase “Unity Through Diversity”. He has been leading personal development workshops for over a decade. 

I enjoyed this book thoroughly but think I need to read it a few more times. The cover grabbed me straight away with a zany reptile staring out defiantly, but it’s the wisdom it contains that had me inhaling each page. I appreciated Catto’s irreverent style of calling a spade a spade. 

I learned, to my enormous relief, that all the junk rattling around in my head can be pure gold. There are simple games and strategies in each chapter that are so useful without being overly academic about the psychology behind them. The book does what is says on the cover, the stuff that weighs you down is also the stuff that can propel you to living a miraculous life. Although this is the work of a lifetime, this book is a great boost in the right direction. 

It’s the perfect read for those feeling stuck in situations or frozen by the fear of the unknown. Also, it’s completely entertaining. 

Ewa Fabris
www.writerswrite.co.za
5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1093285 2016-11-28T16:10:00Z 2016-12-13T14:58:09Z Book Review - Christmas Under The Stars by Karen Swan (Pan Macmillan) ISBN: 9781447280163 


Swan is an international best-selling novelist with a penchant for fashion and a reputation as a romantic. This, her eleventh novel, certainly lives up to that image. 

Meg and her best friend Lucy live in a remote part of the Canadian Rockies where skiing and snowboarding in the breath-taking surrounds is what attracts tourists from all over the world to their little corner of heaven. As beautiful as Banff is, it is also treacherous and tragedy strikes setting Meg on a path of discovery involving an astronaut, her estranged sister, a bear attack and a series of realisations that her best friend isn’t the person she believed her to be. 

A real page-turner this novel doesn’t let the reader rest for excitement. Swan’s experienced story-telling fulfils all those good book requirements avid readers expect. There’s plenty of drama but none of it is unrealistic, lots of depth without the length and prose of a saga, and a smattering of factual information that really bring the words to life. A great summer read and a very quick 500 pages. 

Justine Cullinan
www.writerswrite.co.za
4/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1093329 2016-11-28T12:17:00Z 2016-12-07T11:55:52Z Book Review - The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble (Alma Books) ISBN: 9781846883545


Jonathan and Roger Maguire are brothers. They lead fairly normal lives, with Roger, the elder, being mentally challenged. 

Roger builds an insect farm. He purchases varieties of insects, and observes their behaviour. Jonathan, our narrator, attends an out of town university, together with his girlfriend Harriet. The boys are obsessed, Roger with his insect farm, and Jonathan with beautiful flautist Harriet. 

Described as a psychological thriller, the pace of this is somewhat gentle. More eerie than terrifying, and more lurking evil than in-your-face axe murderer, I found that made it all the more disturbing. 

The plot unfolds cleverly to a satisfying conclusion, and you will want to reread the prologue, as I did. This is a taut, well-written debut, and I couldn't put it down. 

Bev Bouwer
www.writerswrite.co.za
4/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
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Writers Write
tag:writers-write-reviews.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1113039 2016-11-28T05:00:00Z 2016-12-13T14:58:13Z Book Review - Dead To Me

by Lesley Pearse (Michael Joseph) ISBN: 9780718181215

Dead To Me begins in 1935 in Hampstead Heath. Verity is a well-mannered rich girl who meets the dirty and uncouth Ruby on a spring day. When their circumstances are reversed, they help one another through the transition. Their friendship lasts a lifetime, through tragedies and injuries, and troubles with parents and boyfriends. 

Although Verity is in London and Ruby in Babbacombe for most of the Second World War, and an incident leaves them estranged for years, they eventually reconnect at just the right time. 

The novel is a harrowing story of trials and tragedies for both characters. The story makes the realities and daily life of wartime Britain more tangible. After all the challenges the two face, it is good to see their resilience shine through.  Dead To Me is a good read. 

Amanda Blankfield-Koseff
www.writerswrite.co.za
3.5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

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Writers Write