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.

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.

Book Review - Trump & Me

by Mark Singer (Allen Lane) ISBN: 9780141984971


With the presidential race ensuring a steady stream of Trump footage and memes, I had to wonder why no one had eagerly snapped up this little book to review. Then again, after the November 2016 election results people’s feelings towards the new President Elect left nothing to the imagination. 

As uncouth and bigoted as we’ve been led to believe the ‘Trumpster’ is, one still has to wonder if there is more to this man. And much to the dismay of Mark Singer from The New Yorker, there isn’t. 

Trump has become a modern day caricature who is a parody of everything the modern world has tried to disown. He is a relic who, despite being something of a maverick in his heyday, has now become like the unruly drunk relative at social gatherings who speaks his mind and sends us sprawling for cover. 

Singer discovered that there aren’t any real anecdotes or introspective slices of life when it comes to Trump. What you see, is exactly what you get. It’s a small book with a quote by Trump which sums up his feelings for this book perfectly: “Mark, you are a total loser! And your book (and writings) suck!” You be the judge. 

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.

Book Review - Lament For The Fallen

by Gavin Chait (Doubleday) ISBN: 9780857523761


This is a science-fiction novel set in a remote village of Nigeria called Ewuru. 

The villagers discover the body of a man when a strange object falls from the sky and crashes in the jungle. The villagers know that the warlord from a neighbouring militia will soon be over to investigate the crash site and in turn threaten their livelihood, so they decide to hide their guest and learn more about him. 

The man’s name is Samara and he has managed to escape his planet where he was imprisoned. He wants to go back to release the other prisoners from a world that is similar to the kind of world modern man is progressing towards, yet it has its failings.  
One of the biggest drawbacks of this story is that the characters are not fleshed out enough and I felt no real connection with any of them. 

Chait was born in Cape Town and later emigrated to the UK. He has degrees in Microbiology & Biochemistry, and Electrical Engineering. This is his first novel.  

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.

Book Review - The Supernotes Affair

by Agent Kasper translated by John Cullen and Luigi Carletti (A&U Canongate) ISBN: 9781782115731 


Super notes are counterfeit $100 bills so authentically made that the only difference between them and the real deal is the US Mint. Agent Kasper is deployed to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to pose as the co-owner of a bar by Italy’s national military police and the CIA so that he can seek out the offenders. However things go awry and without warning Kasper and his partner are detained without warning. 

The story details the detention, imprisonment and torture of Kasper in some of the worst Cambodian prisons imaginable. Without government or CIA assistance, he struggles to escape his capture while his family’s attorney in Rome tries to get him released. The story flips between his present day frustrations and suffering, and his past as he tries to identify what led up to his incarceration. 

Based on a true story, one can’t help but wonder if the nuance of the language was lost when it was translated from Italian into English. 

Ashleigh Seton-Rogers
www.writerswrite.co.za
2/5 

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

Book Review - Cold Case Confession

Unravelling the Betty Ketani Murder by Alex Eliseev (Pan Macmillan South Africa) ISBN: 9781770103108


Tandiwe ‘Betty’ Kitane was head cook at Cranks, one of the city’s most popular restaurants at the time, when she vanished without a trace. 

Despite her family’s best efforts, she is never found and the case goes cold. Fast forward 13 years and quite by chance, a typed three-page letter which appears to be a confession, is discovered underneath some old flooring. The letter is handed over to a security concern and once again life is breathed into the case surrounding Kitane. Grisly details of what became of her as well as other clandestine activities come to light. 

Written by Alex Eliseev who is a senior reporter and editor at Eyewitness News , the details of this case read like a well-documented thriller. 

It has all the ingredients to keep you hooked and leave you flabbergasted by the sheer audacity of the perpetrators of this crime. Cold Case Confession will take you back to a time when Hillbrow was still hip and Cranks was just a small eatery at the back of the OK Bazaars. 

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.

Book Review - City Rooster

by Claudia Eicker-Harris (Struik Children) ISBN: 9781432305901 


The City Rooster is a children’s tale about Mr Doodle the rooster who wakes up to the noise of the city one morning.  When he peers out of his barn he sees that the city has encroached upon their farm. 

Not content to live like this, Mr Doodle decides to find another farm to live on, but first he has to find a replacement to fill his spot. He goes about the task of interviewing animals to find a suitable candidate who will be able to wake the farmer and his family in the morning. 

The book is a bit long for small children, but older children will appreciate the story. It is educational in terms of introducing them to the birds Mr Doodle interviews. 

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.

Book Review - Always Anastacia

A Transgender Life in South Africa by Anastacia Tomson (Jonathan Ball Publishers) ISBN 9781868427130

 
Anastacia Tomson takes us on a journey of her inner struggle with gender dysphoria, and the challenges she has had to face when she decided to take the plunge and live her life authentically. 

Growing up in a Jewish family and raised as a boy, Anastacia knew that her discomfort in her own skin had less to do with her strict family upbringing, and more with the fact that she felt her body did not fit her identity. She went on to qualify and practice as a doctor and had a seven long year relationship with a female, but the experiences left her feeling hollow. ‘Coming out’ is to be her only salvation, despite the fact that running away from her life and assuming a new identity does seem appealing. 

Anastacia takes us through her gruelling transition experience from the daily mundane challenges, i.e., dealing with home affairs to the dogma she felt that was inherent in her faith.
 
I found this to be an interesting and empathetic glimpse into the life of someone who is transgender. The back and forth of the dates were at times confusing if you weren’t keeping track of your place.

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.

Book Review - Dudu’s Basket

by Dianne Stewart (Jacana) ISBN 9781431423286 


This beautifully illustrated children’s book follows the journey of a basket which has been woven by a young Zulu girl named Dudu. 

Her grandfather tells her that according to the Zulu Proverb, the first basket one weaves should be given away, or else the weaver might never get around to making another one. As the basket makes its rounds, we are introduced to different people and the different uses they have for the basket. 

This is a great read for young children as the illustrations not only capture their attention, but introduces them to different cultures as well. 

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.

Book Review - Ultimate Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting Guide

by Sister Lilian (Human & Rousseau) ISBN 9780798171458 


When it comes to raising children, everyone has an opinion. However put your mind at ease with this well-written guide by Sister Lillian who has over 30 years’ experience in pregnancy and baby care. 

Various topics such as pregnancy, birth and parenting are dealt with objectively and informatively. This book is filled to the brim with interesting subjects and includes the more modern themes that parents have on their minds these days such as childhood obesity, bullying, post-partum depression, co-sleeping, shaken head syndrome and so forth. 

Chapters are well indexed and subjects are easy to find. The book is divided into 10 sections: Pregnancy, Labour and Birth, Baby care, Toddler Time, Nursing your baby successfully, Baby & Toddler Nutrition, Baby and Toddler Sleep, Family Health, Other parenting concerns, and finally ‘Baby and Toddler Growth and Development’ which comes with a timeline and the developments you’re likely to see. 

Unlike most books of this nature, its advice spans through all the parenting challenges right from conception through to the toddler stage.  

Ashleigh Seton-Rogers
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.