Sunday, December 26, 2010

"I will add two more to the 'Top Ten' " - Tarryn Talbot



Harry Potter Deathly Hallows (part one)


Distant Hours by Kate Morton
White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. Before everyone starts screaming and crashes our comment block; yes, I know this was not published in 2010. But something that makes me want to carry on reading throughout the night, even with a presentation the next day has to be good, right?


My favourite meal of 2010 was the sesame tuna at the V&A Waterfront with not only my favourite ladies but also excellent local authors: Lawrence Anthony, Emma Chen and Chris van Wyk. We had such fun that night with plenty of laughs and creative ideas for “next books” and left the restaurant in giggles after a long, event-filled weekend at Cape Town Book Fair.

Present of 2010

Has to be not only the best Christmas gift of 2010 but probably the best one I have received in my lifetime thus far: a limited edition of The Secret Garden, given to me by Kelly Ansara. It’s beautiful. The cover and the text and images inside bring back all my childhood memories of insisting my mother read it to me every night.

Book memory of 2010

Starting up this blog! I have had so much fun creating this with Kelly. It’s wonderful to be afforded an opportunity to put your passions and creativity in one and to just go ahead with it. The photo “shoots” are by far one of the best book memories that I have, trying to keep a straight face while Kelly is in the room is no easy feat!

Reading Rebecca. Everyone knows how much I love this book. And yes, it is a great book in itself. But sometimes, it is the memories that surround the book that make it more poignant for a person. I started reading this book when I was in a rather complicated relationship. Four chapters in, I stopped. After the relationship ended, I started the book again. Just like the story of Rebecca, my life was full of tumultuous relationships, learning to find my feet in a new environment and burning something to the ground so that something new could begin (don’t take that too literally. I am not an arsonist). Thankfully, it was minus the malicious house-keeper.

Memory of 2010

No one but Kelly and Fuzz will really understand this: “She gonna go and fetch Flo-Flo!”

Receiving the promotion at Pan Macmillan. Still searching for the four-leaf clover that someone has obviously sneaked into my life.

The Supplier’s party. Not because of the party itself but because of the events afterwards and the laughs it affords amongst us girls now.

Favourite memory of 2010

Driving with Fuzz and Kelly, bottles of wine and plenty of junk food in tow with soccer songs at full volume as we were stuck in 2010 World Cup traffic. Everyone was hooting and-above all else-friendly to everyone. Beat the Christmas spirit!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me”.

Little did I know that from that sentence on, I would be on a literary roller-coaster. The way that this book is written; the suspense, the performance, characters who you hate and love and cry for, the yelling at the yellowed pages “what are you doing to me?!” all made for a day at the fair for the brain.

The main character-and story teller-of the book-is the second wife of Maxim de Winter. The book begins with her looking back on a dream that she had about Manderley and as she remembers her dream the story unfolds (this may be a bit tricky for some who think she is just had one very long dream throughout the book, but stick with it). We never know the name of this character, but we certainly learn about her thoughts and emotions.

We are lead on a journey through Monte Carlo where we are introduced to a rich, obnoxious Mrs Van Hopper who happens to be paying our narrator for companionship (no euphemism intended). And Maxim, dear tortured Maxim, the owner of Manderley, who lost his first wife, Rebecca, in a drowning accident. The narrator and Maxim spend a lot of time with each other when Van Hopper falls ill and has to spend her days in bed. In brief, their car rides together and Maxim’s imparting of daily wisdom on the naive and shy narrator leads to an engagement and very quiet affair for a wedding.

Back at Manderley, that is where the story really gets good. With a malevolent woman for a house keeper (Mrs Danvers), an almost-silent butler and servants that seem to be more capable of day to day activities of Manderley than the new woman of the house (the narrator) all make for a compelling drama with intrigue, jealousy, suspense, romance, twist and turns, makes-you-pace-the-room pages.

I would love to dissect the whole story here for you, but then you wouldn’t need to read it. And you must!

It is study of envy, of juxtapositions that make the reader put down the book and contemplate the concepts and marvel at the sheer genius that du Maurier was without even trying.

Rebecca has also been described as the first major gothic romance in the 20th century. It certainly contains all the elements of the great gothic novel and had often been compared to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, with the house so strongly influenced by the previous occupant, the brooding hero in the shape of Maxim, the mad woman in the shape of Mrs Danvers, the growing tension and, well, I won’t give any more examples because that will just give the game away.

However, I thought the book ended abruptly. I am a “and then” reader and felt a little out done when Maurier -done on purpose, I am sure-ends it as spectacularly as she began the book.

Do me a favour: pick the book up. Read the first chapter. After that, you can sit with me and have a glass of wine as we discuss the whole book. For that is what you will have read...

- Review by Tarryn Talbot

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Fear: The Last Days of Robert Mugabe

I am, probably, the least likely person to read this book out of Tarryn and I.  I always figured that I would be reading non-fiction books while sitting on my veranda at the spritely age of 85 during my retirement – a very juvenile notion.  I will also admit that I am the first to opt fiction over non-fiction!  However, this one can be made the proverbial exception to the rule. 
I finally placed Peter Godwin’s The Fear back on to my bookshelf yesterday afternoon; I was white-faced and the pit at the bottom of my stomach lurched as I thought of the torture victims I had, only 30 minutes before, encountered.  I placed the book in its alphabetical place on my bulging bookshelf and had the intense urge to start building a Zimbabwean relief centre in my back garden (Another juvenile thought).  I wanted to blow my vuvuzela down the street and rally all my neighbours to start a mini Kempton Park revolution against these horrid crimes and to somehow regain the dignity of these tortured people.
Peter Godwin, a writing gem to the African Journalism Genre, whips you about on this 4X4, uneven road, 3rd world, eye-opening, heat-ridden, and flinching non-fiction rollercoaster journey through Zimbabwe’s nail-biting elections that has finally brought a tyrant to his knees.   Though, Zimbabweans can smell freedom, Robert Mugabe won’t go down without a fight.  The Fear is what people have dubbed this pogrom of torture and discipline – a way to turn the vote to favour Robert Mugabe.
I haven’t gasped and cringed at TRUE writing before, because we live in Africa and anything is possible.  The Fear by Peter Godwin left me outraged, sympathetic, saddened, weepy, unmoved, thought provoked, jolted, separated, grateful and just plain sick to my stomach towards each case all at one time.  I placed this book on the shelf and hugged my Dad, my Mother and had sugared tea with my Gran. This book forces you to look at the world in a new and eye-opening way.  This happened right “next door” without any media covering this!
A book not for the faint hearted but something you as, not only an African, but as a Human being should read.  A book that confirms that power makes monsters of men (By men I am not be gender specific).

- Review by Kelly Ansara

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's a Book Thing is MIA

Dear Followers & devout book readers,

I hope this blog post finds you well and eagerly celebrating the Christmas cheer with a flurry of bestsellers and old favourites?

Tarryn and I would like to apologise for falling off the face of the earth.  We took a step and whoops! off we fell, thus making us rethink and redo everything we have learnt about the earth being round.  Admittedly, Tarryn & I have discovered the trials and tribulations of Christmas and Publishing.  I hope we don’t disappoint with the posts, reviews, photos & ideas we have for this blog.  We have been attending book launches, meeting authors, planning author tours, working full time, reading, pretending to stay awake at our desks, drinking copious amounts of coffee and living on Woolworths Salads, and Sour Worms – All for the benefit of the blog.

So out of the publishing trenches we come, alive with new and improved photos, reviews and some great events.  We hope to enlighten, excite, and make you laugh...

Kelly & Tarryn

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Gallow’s Hill by Margie Orford
Published by: Jonathan Ball Publishers
Publication date: 2011
(Sorry! There is no cover image for this title as yet!)

So here is a picture of us instead

Fans of Dr Clare Hart should gear themselves up for Gallow’s Hill, the next installment in this exciting series, coming in 2011.

Margie Orford is the acclaimed author of Daddy’s Girl.  There is no information on this title as yet but if we are to base this on the 2009 title Daddy’s Girl, Gallow’s Hill will not disapoint.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Follow (3) Blog Hop

Hello Bloggers!  Welcome to It’s a Book Thing blog hop Fridays.  We really think there should be a cheesy ad and a catchy jingle when Friday Follow comes along.  So we tap our feet and bop our way through this blog post and registering on the Linky List while humming the tune “We are Family”.
So we welcome comments, thoughts, criticisms (not so much) and referrals.  YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO!

Book Blogger Hop
If you find a book that looks interesting but is part of a series, do you always start with the first title?
Tarryn: Yes! Not reading a series in consecutive order is like putting your t-shirt on before your bra.
Kelly: Yes, but with family (books) there is always one loony uncle in the back who has fallen completely off the tree.
What is your usual monthly book budget?
Tarryn: I have no monthly budget – it is against my book-buying religion.
Kelly: Tarryn has her religion; I have my addiction (I would sell my alzheimic, frail Grandmother for signed limited edition box set of Harry Potter).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating...

Our pick this week:
Bad Blood by Amanda Coetzee
Publisher: Pan Macmillan South Africa
Publication Date: February 2011

Blending in everywhere; belonging nowhere ...

An eight-year-old boy is abandoned by his mother at a fairground and raised by a clan of Irish Travellers as one of their own. Given the name ‘Harry’ (as in any Tom, Dick or Harry) he carves out a reputation as a young, bare knuckle boxer who never backs down, and earns himself the clan name ‘Badger’.

Eight years on, Badger is angry, dangerous and ready to make his own way in the world. He severs all ties with his clan and in a final act of rebellion joins the London Metropolitan Police Force. He soon finds his niche as an undercover operative, blending in everywhere yet belonging nowhere. Just as Harry believes he has left his clan roots and ‘Badger’ behind him, he is sent by his superiors to establish a connection with a clan living on an informal land settlement in Bedford. A Traveller child named Mikey has been abducted and the clan is refusing to cooperate with the investigation. 

Harry pairs up with Emily, an idealistic social services liaison officer, to investigate the case. Together they uncover a string of gruesome child murders and abductions dating back to 1985. Badger finds himself drawn deeper into clan life and he is ultimately forced to confront the truth about his own conflicted childhood if he is to save Mikey from becoming another victim of a twisted serial killer.

This gripping debut novel is guaranteed to keep you spellbound from the first page all the way through to its twist-in-the-tail climax.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Follow - Book Blog Hop (3)

Not only does Friday signify the oncoming of the weekend, a book buying, reading, devouring-words frenzy spread over 3 days, but also Friday Follow.  Tarryn & I relish in Fridays for both reasons.  We are satisfied with long baths, large glasses of wine and what seems like an endless 3 days of reading; but there is something that gets us all glowing and clapping our hands in ungracious delight as we skip about, flipping and flapping our hair and hands in excitement – You guessed it!  Blog Hop Friday!!!

Who are your favourite authors??

Kelly:  I have been dreading this question popping up; I break into a sweat and hyperventilate!  Picking my favourite authors is like asking a mother who her favourite child is – I can never chose!  I lay my books out and calmly say to myself “Seriously, Pick one it really is not that difficult.  Everyone has them”, I then look from one to the other nervously expecting them to jump up and scream “Pick me!” but then the guilt settles and I have hug them all to me and say “I really do love you all and I am sorry for my lack of courage to admit it!”.

Tarryn: It is against my book religion to answer this question

Book Blogger Hop 

What are your feelings on losing followers? Have you ever stopped following a blog?

It’s a Book Thing is relatively new so we flop about with excitement when it comes to comments and an increase on Google Friend counter.  When you decide to blog you make a conscious decision to create content selfishly; reviewing books you like and putting your word out there, but when a stranger posts a comment like “I am a new follower and I just love your blog, definitely coming back!” and then they comment on the next blog post and the next.  You in turn visit their blog and comment to your heart’s content and before you know it you are creating content and having web based conversations with people who are your Reading lovers Soul Mate (Not Romantically).  We would hate to lose the comments on our blog and the random pop past comments! So followers come one, come all! You are welcome here regardless of book preference, attitude, age, gender and writing style – It’s a Book Thing is for you! Please don’t leave...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


Tarryn & Kelly's Pick:

Mice by Gordon Reece

Published by: Mantle (imprint of Pan Macmillan UK)
Release Date: South Africa release March 2011

'Shelley, darling,’Mum said. ‘Don’t be frightened. He just wants money. If we do everything he says, he’s going to go away and leave us alone.’

I didn’t believe her, and I could tell from the trembling of her hands and the catch in her voice that she didn’t believe it herself. When a cat gets into the mousehole, it doesn’t go away leaving the mice unharmed.

I knew how this story was going to end.

Shelley and her mum have been bullied long enough. When they retreat to an isolated cottage in the country, they think their troubles are over, and they revel in their cosy, secure life. But one night, an intruder disturbs their peace and something inside Shelley snaps. What happens next will shatter all their certainties.

What are you waiting on this week?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Follow (2) - Book Blog Hop

Not only does Friday signify the oncoming of the weekend, a book buying, reading, devouring-words frenzy spread over 3 days, but also Friday Follow.  Tarryn & I relish in Fridays for both reasons.  We are satisfied with long baths, large glasses of wine and what seems like an endless 3 days of reading; but there is something that gets us all glowing and clapping our hands in ungracious delight as we skip about, flipping and flapping our hair and hands in excitement – You guessed it!  Blog Hop Friday!!!
If you have, or would have a daughter, what book would you want your daughter to read?
Kelly:  Matilda by Roald Dahl.  This book was one of the first that I sat huddled over in our local library every Saturday morning.  I relished in the sense of fantasy and the utterly grotesque descriptions that Roald Dahl is famous for.  It was this book that harvested my love for reading, taught me that reading makes you smarter (Who would have THUNK!) with each word, broadens your horizons and anything that keeps you captivated is everything.
Tarryn:  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  This novel is a book considered ahead of its time. In spite of the dark, brooding elements, it has a strong sense of right and wrong, of morality at its core.  This book highlighted so many things for me as a girl: morality, independence, gender relations, love and passion (not necessarily the same thing), forgiveness and the importance of family. Why would you not want your daughter to read this?

Book Blogger Hop
What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost?
Tarryn: My Bookish Dream would be a library in my home.
Kelly:  My Bookish Dream is to one day own a bookstore with dark mahogany shelves, spilling over with books.  There would be four enormous couches and huge, delicious, gooey cupcakes would be sold off the one side of the bookstore.  BLISS!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating...

Tarryn’s Pick

Birth by Peter Harris
ISBN: 9781415201022
Publisher: Random House (Pty) Ltd South Africa
Publication Date: 1 November 2010

I have just finished The Fear by Peter Godwin and I suddenly cannot get enough of political biographies to do with the African continent. On another note, I have met Peter Harris-been fortunate to be deserted by a shuttle with him-and I have heard him in discussion with other supporting justice-seekers and he is a very fair, honest and intelligent man that does not take himself too seriously.

In the early 1990s South Africa was repetitively rocked by violent incidents that often threatened to derail the delicate peace process and negotiations for a new state. Among these was a right-wing conspiracy to ruin the 1994 election by staging a coup d'etat from the northwest of the country, aided by mutinous elements in the SA Defence Force. Harris relates grippingly how some of the biggest bombs in the country's history were exploded in the then Transvaal, and, with moving sympathy, the desperate plight of the right-wingers in their pitiful invasion of the then homeland of Bobhuthatswana.

But the biggest drama was perhaps the attempt to break into the electronic counting system of the election, for whose supervision Harris was responsible. Harris has one at the edge of one's seat as he tells of the drama behind the scenes, eleventh-hour meetings with Mandela and de Klerk, the plans to make the results flow again, and of how closely the country steered away from disaster and ended giving itself a miracle result.

Kelly’s Pick

Cooked Out of the Frying Pan by Justin Bonello
ISBN: 9780143026372
Publisher: Penguin Books (SA) (Pty) Ltd
Publication Date: 1 November 2010

I have to be the BIGGEST Justin Bonello fan (Ok so are 5000 other people) but after meeting him in the flesh I could just pack him up in my bag and carry him around with me – what a great person to sit down and chat to (Well in his case humble and shy and me mumbling like a 14 year-old intimidated teen meeting Edward Cullen). After religiously watching his TV program (Cooked in Africa) I am dying to see what he comes up with in this new cookbook...

Justin visits 13 professional kitchens - all beacons on the South African culinary landscape - and gets to cook with some of the most celebrated chefs in the country. In spite of a baptism of flour, after three seasons of Cooked in Africa he's up for the challenge and finds these culinarians warm and willing to share their secrets. Along the way he manages to lift the lid on a smorgasbord of tips and take aways that surround fine dining. Follow the adventures of this self-confessed bush cook as he makes this giant leap and smarts up to the value of salsa verde and a good mirepoix. He'll guide you through the intricacies of deboning a pig and quartering a rabbit and let you in on how the experts prepare dishes like potato gnocchi and dim sum dumplings.

All information from Exclusive Books’ Website (

Three Stations by Martin Cruz Smith

Martin Cruz Smith does it again with his new Arkady Renko novel called Three Stations.

The story begins on a Moscow-bound train, with Maya and her 3-week-old daughter Katya, where “snoring, sex, body odour and domestic quarrels were shared by all”. Later, Maya wakes from a drugged sleep in Yaroslavl Station to discover her possessions and her baby missing.

While trying to rescue Sergeant Victor Orlov from a drunken state, Renko, a Moscow Prosecutor, gets call about a dead girl found without a mark on her at a train station.
A distraught Maya, still in search of her baby, is running from the police (who think that Maya sold the child) when she runs into Zhenya, Renko’s surrogate son. Zhenya is a chess hustler on the streets and has made himself at home in the casino of Peter the Great Casino. Maya & Zhenya are on the run from the cops, muggers, killers and gangs in search of 3 month-old, Katya. 
The local authorities feel Renko should drop the case of the dead girl putting it to a drug overdose – only piquing Renko’s curiosity and deepening his quest to find out the truth.
The reader is pulled into the underbelly of Russian aristocracy, drug dealers, prostitution, and gambling.  Renko, Maya and Zhenya all go on a journey in finding the killer and the missing baby and soon all three find out that the hunter now becomes the hunted.
This novel keeps you hooked and intrigued with great character sketches and fast paced writing.
To know how it ends you need to read it...

- Review by Rene Burgers

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Conversations with Myself by Nelson Mandela Early Morning Launch - 12 October 2010

‘These archives contain traces of my life and those who have lived it with me. It is a treasure house, one that is full of surprises, crossing paths, dead ends, painful reminders and unanswered questions’ – Nelson Mandela
Invitation to the Early Morning Launch

Tarryn: I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw that I (Well, Kelly and I and most probably the rest of South Africa) had been invited to an event that Nelson Mandela-in his own way-had played a part in.  I know that most of us (before this book) thought “not another Nelson Mandela book”.  But that’s just it: this isn’t “another Nelson Mandela book”. It’s personal from his own words.  Also, what I find very appealing in any book, are the little notes, letters and diary entries that spring out at you when you turn the page.  This book is full of it, including little annotations he made on calendars throughout the years and letters to his daughters (that never reached them). 

Counter Display

Counter Display

Anyway, back to the launch.  So there Kelly and I stood, bright-eyed and eager to purchase our copies.  Early-morning opening was no joke. Waking up at sparrow-fart meant I was looking as forward to the free latte as I was the purchase of the book.  Once the doors opened, it was a bit like a 50%-off couture sale.  One woman did a little jig, threw her arms into the air and grabbed a book, running to the counter: all done in less than a minute. This really got the mood going for the rest of the morning, in the traditional Zulu-dance spirit (even if it was just in our heads).  Plenty of media meant that I got interviewed by one of the more popular news stations (nervous much?).
After we bought our books, and posed like regular celebs for media, we grabbed our coffees, huddled around the tables with other CWM (Conversations with Myself – As Kelly and myself, now owners of this book, so loosely refer to it) customers and swopped notes on what-we think-will be our favourite parts of the book, guarding our individual purchases like hounds.
Laura Hammond, Nina Gabriels & Tarryn Talbot - Showing off their purchases

It was a great way to start the day; book and coffee in hand. In fact, I’m considering making it a daily ritual.  It’s simply convincing my regular book hang-out to open early that may be a bit of a problem.
Get it. You’ll love it. Your Family will love it. Your coffee table will love it. Your family tree 100 years down will love it.
Nicola Almond, Justine Lloyd-Jones, Graham Isaacs & Belinda Weyer - Pan Macmillan & Macmillan Staff

Kelly: Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to attend the early morning release of this highly anticipated book?  It was that, that attracted Tarryn and I to this exciting occasion.  Decked in our best (because the Invite said “Don’t forget your Camera’s” and as you well know Tarryn and I jump at the chance of a new photo op) we battled through the traffic ridden streets of Johannesburg to be there to pick up our very own copy of this iconic book – because it’s a book we just had to have on our bookshelves for years to come.

Window Display - Exclusive Books Hyde Park

Free coffee with every copy bought, what could be better.  Media arrived in their droves snapping pictures and interviewing enthusiastic consumers baying to get their hands on this book.  So naturally Tarryn and I snapped away and here are the pics.  I really hope you all can get your book – loving hands on this book it truly is something to own, read and to live by.
Conversations with Myself and a FREE Coffee

Kelly & Tarryn
It's a Book Thing Team

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating...

Tarryn's Pick: Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy
Published: March 2011

"Maeve Binchy is back with a tale of joy, heartbreak and hope in a close-knit Dublin community.

When Noel learns that his former flame is terminally ill and pregnant with a child she claims is his, he agrees to take care of the baby girl once she’s born. But as a recovering alcoholic whose demons are barely under control, he can’t do it alone. Luckily, he has an amazing network of family and friends who are ready to help: love-starved Lisa, who becomes his round-the-clock partner in little Frankie’s care; his American cousin and pep-talker Emily; and the many eager babysitters from the neighborhood, including old friends like Signora and Aidan, Dr. Declan and his parents.

The unconventional arrangement works out beautifully—until a nosy social worker becomes convinced that Frankie would be better off in a foster home. Now it’s up to everyone in town to persuade her that each of them has something special to offer when it comes to minding Frankie."

Kelly's Pick: The Peech Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
Published: March 2011

There are no details on this title as yet, but rest assured if her previous titles are anything to go by I know it is going to be worth the long wait...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Frankfurt Book Fair: A personal journey through the eyes of a South African publisher

Macmillan Stand at Frankfurt Bookfair
Heading to Frankfurt was the culmination of many weeks of preparation in terms of setting up meetings with various literary agents and other publishers, mostly with the goal of generating overseas rights interest in our local publications. I had 31 meetings lined up for the three days I was at the Fair and I was ready for the challenge!
Macmillan UK Stand at Frankfurt Book Fair
Fortunately, I had heeded the advice of various people who had been to Frankfurt before in terms of packing comfortable shoes because the scale of the Fair was both daunting and inspiring. To give you an idea, the ENTIRE Cape Town Book Fair could fit into half of ONE of the halls at Frankfurt – and there were eleven halls, some of which had more than one storey!

Cape Town Book Fair Floor Plan

Frankfurt Book Fair Floor Plan
Initially it made me feel completely overwhelmed by how small our publishing scene is on the global scale – we are a really tiny piece of the global publishing puzzle. But fortunately, as I went from one meeting to the next and spoke about our books to people and saw the interest that some of the titles generated, my faith was restored in terms of the quality and variety of the titles that we are producing.
Rights Centre

Key results that came out of the trip to Frankfurt for me include the following:

-         The chance to meet and talk to many of the publishers and directors of the various companies in the broader Holtzbrinck group at the Trade Publishers’ meeting the day before the Book Fair started. It was great to be able to showcase some of our South African titles and to hear what the other companies have had success with and are looking forward to in 2011.  
-         For our local titles that we own world rights to we now have literary sub-agents selling rights to some of these titles in France; Italy; Holland; Germany; the UK; Australia; and the US interested in seeing some of our books. This increases our chances of selling rights to our local titles, which would be fantastic for our authors as well as for our brand and profile.
-         Being exposed to such a variety of publishers and titles from around the globe. Even when my feet were aching I kept walking – and collecting catalogues along the way.

Beautiful Stand
All in all it was a fantastic and eye-opening experience. 
View from my Hotel

For all you Wally Fans!

Andrea Nattrass
Pan Macmillan South Africa

The Cupid Effect by Dorothy Koomson

I was first introduced to Dorothy Koomson in the heart breaking Goodnight Beautiful-a novel that sent me from reading it like any other drama-chicklit to becoming engrossed and tearful by each page.  I am an avid Marian Keyes fan and was struck that my fellow Marian fans had suggested this book as a quick-fix until her next one.  I am now a huge fan of Dorothy Koomson and-granted this isn’t her newest novel-I still felt I needed to review it as it was her debut novel published in 2003.
Ceri D'Altroy has given up her life working for a top magazine in London to move to Liverpool to lecture Psychology at a university there: all this because of Oprah.  Cheri has a gift or curse (you can decide for yourself). People are drawn to her to express and rant about their lives.  Within days of Ceri’s ‘new life’ she has outed the secret relationship of two of her colleagues, managed to convince her flatmate to confront the girl of his dreams (who is clearly out of his league) and her boss has a secret that she wants to tell Ceri.  Being a modern day Cupid leaves Ceri out in the dust when it comes to her own love life and so she finds herself mixed up in love triangles, secrets and she may even have a stalker?
A real beach book... though it is no Jane Austen, it is a cosy funny read ready to be bought.

 - Review by Kelly Ansara

Friday, October 15, 2010

Book Blog Hop Friday


A Blog Hop, has nothing to do with a new type of dance move, is a great way for book bloggers and blog readers to hop from one blog to the next; inspiration – Twitter!
This is where the underworld of book blogging comes to life, we all hop from one blog to the next finding new and exciting reviews, interviews, giveaways and maybe (in our case hopefully) more followers.  A book geek’s wonderland by combining social networking and books?
Each blog adds their name to a “Linky List” on a host blogger’s page (our hosts are Crazy for Books and Parajunkie) and off they go surfing the book-blogosphere with the other added blogs.  Hop host posts a question related to books and blogging about books that each follower should answer either in a blog or comment.  Once the blog is posted followers and Webbers reign free of internet constraints and comment away with their answers to the questions – creating a Book Lovers Frenzy!  What is better?

Here goes!
Parajunkie’s Question:
What is your reading suggestion this week?
Tarryn:  My reading suggestion for this week has to be-Undoubtedly-Conversations with Myself by Nelson Mandela. Finally, we are able to learn about the man and not just the leader.  An iconic book written in his own words from journals, post-its and calendars during his political years; said to be the new Long Walk to Freedom­: but better!
Kelly:  My reading suggestion for this week is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.  A classic tale that some have compared to Jane Eyre – a Masterpiece!  Get a copy now!

Crazy for Books’ Question:
"When you read a book that you just can't get into, do you stick it out and keep reading or move to your next title?"
Tarryn: I feel that there are too many books to get through in a lifetime.  Why waste part of the journey on something you don’t enjoy?
Kelly: Life is too short for books you cannot enjoy – If you need to read it, read it.  But there is probably a better novel waiting to be devoured.

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