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.

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.

Book Review - Managing Diabetes

by Dr Arien van der Merwe (Human & Rousseau) ISBN: 9780798169417 


South African medical doctor and holistic integrative medicine practitioner, Dr Arien van der Merwe, explains the causes of diabetes and how to manage the condition in this book. 

The three different types of diabetes are explained as are the physical to emotional causes. The link between insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome to diabetes is made as well as the connection with heart disease, Alzheimer's and depression. 

There are a number of lifestyle, exercise and nutritional tips and stress management techniques. The overall advice is that the mind-body connection is key, and there is hope for the management and even reversal of the condition. 

An interesting read even for those who do not suffer from diabetes, as it is a holistic manual for how to live a healthy, happy life. 

Amanda Blankfield-Koseff
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.

Book Review - Hausfrau

by Jill Alexander Essbaum (Mantle) ISBN: 9781447280804 


It is rare that a first novel is so beautifully written, rich, profound and deep. 

Anna is an American who marries Bruno and they move back to his home town in Switzerland. They have two sons and then a daughter, none of whom were planned, and one of whom is not Bruno's. Anna feels that she belong, even after being immersed in Swiss culture for nine years. 

Bruno sends her to German lessons to get her to settle in better, but she still feels lonely, bored and isolated. How she deals with this is by filling up her emptiness with sexual encounters with a few regular men. 

Anna confides in nobody, not even her psychiatrist, whom she sees because her husband wants her to stop being so miserable. Even Anna's new bubbly, kind Canadian friend, Mary, knows nothing about her secret life. How long will it take Bruno to discover her lies and indiscretions? What will Anna do when her charade is exposed? 

This is a novel so beautifully and delicately woven that the succinct final sentence, like the final thread of a quilt, sends shivers down one's spine. 

Amanda Blankfield-Koseff
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.

Book Review - Selection Day

by Aravind Adinga (Picador) ISBN 9781509806485
 

Radha Kumar and his younger brother, Manjunath, live with their controlling and cricket-obsessed father in Bombay. They have one goal in their lives: to be selected for the cricket team, which will bring fame and fortune to the family. There are many role players in this endeavour, who each take their share of the fees in order to make the leap from obscurity to 'The next Sachin Tendulkar'. 

The brothers are close in the beginning because there is no competition between them for who will be selected- this is until Manju's talent and skill surpasses his older brother's. Manju also becomes friendly with another rival cricket player, Javed, who is homosexual and wants to quit cricket. 

This leads to a convoluted tale of self-discovery, embarrassment, decisions and acceptance for the family. Selection Day is an interesting look at the darker side of the cut-throat and selfish nature of a lucrative sport in contrast to the Slumdog Millionaire narrative. 

Aravind Adaga is the Man Booker winning author of White Tiger and Last Man in Tower

Amanda Blankfield-Koseff
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.

Book Review - Becoming Nicole

by Amy Ellis Nutt (Atlantic Books) ISBN 9781782399698 


Imagine your luck when you find out that although you have not been able to have children, your teenaged cousin wants you to raise her child? Then the luck is even greater when you discover that she is carrying identical twins! Your husband is even more excited to hear they are boys and he is already shining his hunting rifles and fishing rods to teach them all the manly things they need to know. 

Then think how you would feel when you realise one of the two-year-old twin boys is more interested in Barbie dolls than toy cars..."It's just a phase," you think, laughing it off. Then, at four, he wants to wear pink dresses to playschool and grow his hair long...Then he asks his father when his manly bits will fall off so he can be the girl he feels he is already? 

This is the conundrum Kelly and Wayne Maines face when one of their twin boys declares that he is a girl trapped in a girl's body. At first, the school is helpful and allows Wyatt to dress in a more feminine manner, and when his name is officially changed to Nicole, the kids welcome this as they have seen Wyatt as a girl in their eyes for so many years already. 

All does not continue smoothly when one of the boys in the class and his conservative grandfather decide to make Nicole's life hell because Nicole has been allowed to use the girl's restroom at school. This results in a petition that is won by the opposing side. Eventually, Kelly realises the only way to help Nicole avoid this harassment and bullying is to move far away from Maine and to not tell anyone she is a transgender child who will have a gender reassignment surgery when it is legally possible at eighteen. 

This book is written factually, with research and case studies added to show the pain that transgender children and adults feel. There is a high suicide and depression rate amongst this group of people because they feel alienated and judged for something that is outside their control. 

One way of explaining this is that sexual orientation is who you go to bed with and gender identity is who you go to bed as. This is a fascinating success story about how one family managed to assist their child in self-actualisation with as little trauma as possible. 

Amanda Blankfield-Koseff
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.

Book Review - Path Of The Lion

by Sandy Geyer (Allcopy Publishers) ISBN 9781869218775 


Entrepreneurship seems like the logical thing to do when you have had many years of work experience in your position and you want to earn more money. However, moving from being an employee to an entrepreneur is not as simple as it seems. When you are good at a specific job, it does not mean you can suddenly run all the other departments of the company that make it function correctly overnight. 

Sandy Geyer learned this the hard way when she quit her job in 1996. She was pregnant with her second child and she resigned from a successful and lucrative corporate position to start her own business. Her husband gave her six months to make a profit, but it took six years for the business to break even. However, after that the business became exponentially profitable. 

She started EnQ - the University for Entrepreneurship to train entrepreneurs in the skills and abilities they need to cultivate in order to become successful. She uses analogies of wild animals to describe different types of entrepreneurs and what they should be cautious of, what strengths they naturally possess and what they need to develop in order to thrive - the Rhino, Fish Eagle, Baboon and ultimately, the Lion - King of the Jungle. 

It is a high level book, but she also offers courses on the EnQ Model in New Zealand (where she lives), Australia, and South Africa throughout the year. 

Amanda Blankfield-Koseff
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.

Book Review - Season Of Salt And Honey

by Hannah Tunnicliffe (Macmillan) ISBN 9781742612416


This beautifully and tenderly written novel is about love, family, loss, betrayal and finding peace. Hannah Tunnicliffe describes the slice of life in such a vivid and gentle manner. Have your tissues handy though - this is not a fairy tale. 

Francesca "Frankie" Caputo is an Italian American who is about to marry her childhood sweetheart, Alex. She knows his waspish mother does not like her, and that he is less than comfortable around her loud and demonstrative family...but she knows they love one another and that should be enough. 

Then Alex goes out surfing one day, which brings him so much joy, but this time, he does not return home. His body is found with a gash to the head, and the autopsy cannot determine whether he drowned first or hit his head on a rock before that. 

Frankie's perfect life is shattered. Her dream wedding to the only man she has ever loved is ripped away and all she is left with are broken promises and memories. She runs away to Alex's grandfather's cabin near to where Alex proposed to her to escape. 

In the forest, she meets some down-to-earth and loving people who take her in and help her find her feet again. Her estranged sister comes to help as well, but has to sleep in her car because Frankie does not want to see her. Frankie's family comes to visit, and her father tells her to come home as life does go on - as it did when Frankie's mother died many years before. 

The story has its twists and turns but the moral is the same - people all have flaws and irritations but we need to keep those who are truly there for us close to us for they will bring us back when we've lost our way. 

Amanda Blankfield-Koseff
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.

Book Review - 101 Kruger Tales

compiled by Jeff Gordon (Leadwood Publishing) ISBN: 9780620611329 


I loved this book. As an animal and nature aficionado, I enjoy game drives and stories about the bush. This comprehensive book covers 101 stories about the three sections of Kruger Park as told by members of the public over the years. 

Jeff Gordon has taken the best of the stories he received and edited them into short stories. My favourites include the German tourists who decided to camp by a watering hole in the park and bath in the watering hole; the hippo who tried to save the impala's life; the little girl who was bitten by a snake but still loves the Park and is not afraid of snakes; the leopard who killed the cheetah who killed the buck; the people who got stuck in the storm that filled the river for 30 hours; the drunk youngsters who walked into the Park at night to claim a "trophy" of a buffalo skull and so many more. 

I would say this is a must-read for anyone who enjoys such tales, as they paint vivid images in your mind and you feel you're also in the Park. Almost as good as a holiday. 

Amanda Blankfield-Koseff
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.

Book Review - Making It Up As I Go Along

by Marian Keyes (Michael Joseph) ISBN: 9780718181734


This is the third collection of Marian Keyes's articles, after the two Under the Duvet compilations. I enjoy Marian's easy-to-read style, and her humour is contagious. Although, my favourite book is still Rachel's Holiday, I always enjoy reading Marian's work. 

This anthology has some previously publishes as well as some unpublished articles, blogs and diaries as well. The book is split into different sections - from health and beauty through celebrities she has met, her friends and family, and, her travels. The story on how to break up with your hairdresser was funny, as well as the Keyes' health issues Christmas tale. 

My personal favourite in the travel section was her story about when she went to Antarctica...that she felt the most at peace there, even if it was the most freezing place she's ever been to. The way she describes the ship, the activities on it, the feeling she had when seeing the penguins and other wildlife made me feel like I was there with her... 

Amanda Blankfield-Koseff
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.