When Haruki Murakami came out of his study earlier this year and said to his wife: "I'm going to call my latest collection of short stories 'Men Without Women'", I wonder if she thought to say to him: "Hasn't that title already been used darling?" Because it has. Ninety years ago in fact, when none other than Ernest Hemingway […]Read More from Men without women
In this world of alternative truths, acts of terrorism, online dating and climate change, sometimes what one really needs is a well-mannered book. In well-mannered books there is no gratuitous swearing, sex is private, and war (a sometimes necessary evil?) is viewed from a big picture perspective. These are books in which Mr Please and Mr […]Read More from The well-mannered read
It's a long time since I have read a happy Mothers and Daughters book. Honestly, decades. How can this be? Most of the mothers I know have great relationships with their daughters. Yet current fiction does not support this view, and I have the books to prove it: Let's start with Vivian Gornick's biographical account […]Read More from Mothers and daughters
So I missed WORD Christchurch Autumn Season but just up the drag from Cape Town, in the beautiful Western Cape lies Franschoek, where every year (in May) the Franschoek Literary Festival (FLF) takes place. I was curious to see how Africa festivates*, so my daughter and I offloaded the kids and headed into the mountains. What is it about […]Read More from Feeling festive, out of Africa!
I am a chameleon reader. This is someone who takes on the personality of a character in their current read. In other words, a person who has porous boundaries between their real and their imaginary worlds. The person most affected by this is my husband - who has taken to tentatively entering the house at […]Read More from The chameleon reader
When you emigrate, it takes time to get your histories all in a row. First up all you are aware of is loss, the huge gaping and unfillable loss of who you were. It takes all your energy just to keep your head above water. At least that was how it was for me. But then I rallied and […]Read More from Your history, my history, our history
Winter ailments are striking early. In library after library staff are succumbing to lurgies and being booked off work. When it happened to me, my first thought was: Goodie, now I will read all the books on my shelves that I've not had time for. I started with My Name is Lucy Barton. This was […]Read More from Sick leave and a personality change
I've lost count of the number of times people have said to me: "You should write a book!" Sometimes this is said after I have told a funny story, sometimes when they realise that I belong to not one but three book groups, but quite often it is said simply because I work in a […]Read More from Librarians who write!
On our very first date my husband and I discovered that we share a love of maps. In retrospect I can see now that we were coming from completely different planets, so to speak. His the planet in which the words "Cadastral" and "Great Circles" featured majorly. Mine the planet of the isolated farmhouse at the end of […]Read More from On Love and Art and Maps
What were you reading when all the events of 2016 took place? Looking back on my reading year, here's what brought me a bit of comfort in those weird and wonderful times: Brexit - well I never saw that one coming. The book on hand was Britt-Marie Was Here - another winner from Fredrik Backman, […]Read More from What were you reading when …?